Category: Politics

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #075: Fake History, Real Heroes

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #075: Fake History, Real Heroes

Last Saturday saw the fourth annual Women’s Rights Day with demonstrations all over the nation, many in very inclement weather. This year’s march was fueled in part by the calendar: 2020 is the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, expanding the ability to vote to those without that icky Y chromosome.

I have slightly mixed feeling about that. Every egalitarian victory should be celebrated, but, damn, why should we get all enthused over 144 years of denying half of our population the right to participate in our vaunted democracy? Whereas I can hold a grudge until it screams, we should be educating citizens current and future to all the limitations we have placed on women, including those many that have not been sliced from our massive national discrimination pie.

However, the National Archives celebrates that victory by layering it with a purposely misleading patina of truthiness. They maliciously chose to alter it, and in complete contradiction to their mission, they celebrated women’s suffrage under a veil of lies. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #075: Fake History, Real Heroes”

Brainiac On Banjo #070: When In Space, Dress For Success!

Brainiac On Banjo #070: When In Space, Dress For Success!

Before I start, I want to point out that I know today is Monday and it’s time for “Brainiac On Banjo,” where I wax on and on about comics and pop culture. I realize it is not Thursday, where, in “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind,” I do my seditious and sometimes salacious political rants. So, given today’s location, I’m going to do something I rarely do in “Weird Scenes.” I am going to let Donald Trump off the hook.

For a week now, the wires and tubes have been buzzing about the new, official costume of the new, official U.S. Space Force. Allegedly our sixth branch of the armed forces, it’s merely a part of the U.S. Air Force, the way the Air Force – then called the Air Corps – used to be part of the U.S. Army. But don’t bother Mr. Trump with that. Right now, he’s busy.

Yes, I know that some people call them uniforms but my pal, writer, former DC Comics editor and New Jersey bon vivant Jack C. Harris called ‘em costumes when he was in the Air Force, and so, I’ve absconded with it. If that pisses you off, well, no disrespect is meant… to you. Unless your last name is Westmoreland or Schwarzkopf. Damn, I am getting political. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #070: When In Space, Dress For Success!”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #074: Let’s Work Together?

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #074: Let’s Work Together?

Together we’ll stand / Divided we’ll fall / Come on now, people / Let’s get on the ball / And work together / Come on, come on / Let’s work together / Now, now people / Because together we will stand / Every boy, girl, woman and man – Wilbert Harrison, “Future Blues”

As I was watching the seven House managers march across the Capitol Building to deliver the impeachment papers to the Senate, I was wondering how many people felt this was just the latest parade before End Times. Not the biblical End Times where Putin and Netanyahu paint “666” on Trump’s forehead, but an indication of America, as we know it, coming to an end.

The best way, in my opinion (shared by several others) to prevent America’s End Time is to be rid of the aforementioned Great Evil, Mr. Trump – if not in the highly unlikely event of a guilty verdict in the impeachment trial that begins Tuesday, then at the polls this November. That will be tough as well, because already several hundred thousand likely Democratic voters already have been tossed off the rolls. The Republicans firmly believe they can do what the Russians can do, but without all those tubes and wires. Maybe so. Probably so, unless, as Wilbert Harrison wrote decades ago, we work together to make our stand against the greatest evil America has ever faced on its own shores. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #074: Let’s Work Together?”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #073: Holiday In Tehran

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #073: Holiday In Tehran

It’s time to taste what you most fear / Right Guard will not help you here / Brace yourself, my dear / Brace yourself, my dear – Holiday In Cambodia by the Dead Kennedys, 1980.

It was great fun watching Donald Trump and his Stooges run their victory lap yesterday. Let me paraphrase their comments: “Iran blinked.” Trump may very well be as stupid as his dangerous, but even I have a hard time believing the Great Orange Turd wasn’t knowingly lying through his teeth.

After Iran’s massive missile attacks that served as warning shots, followed by statements from Iranian leaders blatantly saying their response was just that, Trump says Iran blinked. If he really believes that, then he will continue to keep in jeopardy the lives of over 100,000 American troops – as well as that of his alleged best-bud Benji Netanyahu. Maybe Trump thinks that, since the Jews are the ones responsible for his impeachment (source: statement made January 6 by Delaware Republican Party official Nelly Jordan), he can get back to his family’s legacy of hating the Hebes so, hey, screw Benji.

Iran bombed the shit out of two of our bases in Iraq Tuesday night. They were meticulous in not killing Americans, Iranians, or (I take it) Iraqis. Then they said, and again I paraphrase, this town isn’t big enough for the two of us, and if we don’t get out or if we assassinate any more Iranian leaders, they will move their bombsites a little bit to the right and blow our troops to kingdom come. That is the textbook definition of a warning shot. Stop listening to the babblings of Trump’s lying toadies: the absolute truth is that, Wednesday night, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made Donald Trump dance in a hail of missile fire. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #073: Holiday In Tehran”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #072: Words of Wisdom, Words of Strife

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #072: Words of Wisdom, Words of Strife

“Words are trouble, words are subtle / Words of anger, words of hate / Words over here, words out there / In the air and everywhere / Words of wisdom, words of strife / Words that write the book I like.” – Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz and Steven Stanley, Wordy Rappinghood

“Gestapo? You asshole, I’m the mailman!” – Lenny Bruce

Lenny Bruce

Ayn Rand, Dick Gregory, and Pol Pot walk into a bar…

Yeah, I know. Too soon. But, damn, what ever happened to our sense of humor? It seems the more we care about something, the less perspective we have about the subject. Humor is key to establishing and expanding one’s perspective.

Irwin Corey

Laughter opens doors. Satire opens minds. Al Capone did not say “You can get much farther with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone,” but he could have. In fact, this observation was given to us by Professor Irwin Corey, a Broadway actor, an incisive comedian, a far-left activist, and a hero of mine. And the good professor certainly made Capone’s point for him – we take this misattributed quote as an axiom. It makes the point succinctly, and it gets that point across the plate.

We are so concerned about not hurting somebody’s feelings that we forget that some feelings deserve to be hurt. That’s part of bringing about change. You don’t have to take malicious pride in doing so if you don’t want to, but you can get much farther with a funny word than by breeding mopery. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #072: Words of Wisdom, Words of Strife”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #070: History Looks Forward

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #070: History Looks Forward

I blow through here / The music goes ’round and around / Whoa-ho-ho-ho-ho-ho / And it comes out here • Red Hodgson. 1935

The adage “history is written by the victors” is attributed to Winston Churchill, although there is no evidence he ever said or wrote that. Perhaps the more appropriate axiom is “History is bunk,” uttered by Thomas Edison in a 1916 Chicago Tribune interview. A loathsome man and a first-class bigot, Edison said:

“… what do I care about Napoleon? What do we care about what they did 500 or 1,000 years ago? I don’t know whether Napoleon did or did not try to get across and I don’t care. It means nothing to me. History is more or less bunk. It’s tradition. We don’t want tradition. We want to live in the present and the only history that is worth a tinker’s dam is the history we make today.”

We’ve always been surrounded by bunk. I’m a history buff, but I’m also a science-fiction fan and, often, it is hard to tell the difference. The problem is, today’s omnipresent instant communications means these days bullshit travels at the speed of light. But the yin to that yang is that the victors no longer have an exclusive on history-writing, no matter who first said history was controlled by the winners. By the way, to my research, that was India freedom fighter Jawaharlal Nehru.

We have cameras on our cellphones that record on-the-street reality. We have podcasts and blogs. We have much, much greater access to documentaries and to historical records. Of course, the problem remains discerning the truth from the bullshit while divining the trajectory of everybody’s point of view. This is nothing new, but if you’re good at using search engines, you have enough patience and determination and a hankering for facts you will probably get closer to the truth now than ever before.

Which brings us to Donald J. Trump. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #070: History Looks Forward”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #069: Talk Is Cheap, And So Is Trump

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #069: Talk Is Cheap, And So Is Trump

What will you do if we let you go home / And the plastic’s all melted / And so is the chrome? / Who are the brain police? – Frank Zappa, Who Are The Brain Police, 1966

One of the many ways we get into trouble as a society is when we issue sanctions on semantics. Acts can be evil. Thoughts can provoke bad acts – but thoughts can prevent bad actions as well. We can deal with the bad thoughts if we stay vigilant and use our brains from time to time.

Controlling the language has been an effective means of political persuasion. One of the reasons I admire the LGBTQ movements is that they seized the words gay and queer, turning insults into advocacy. This started about six decades ago, so we’ve had a couple generations of Americans who do not automatically perceive those terms in their original discriminatory context. We’ve got a way to go; change takes time and commitment.

I am often bewildered by the statements made by our president, and by “often” I mean “at least every day.” Because he gets his beliefs from Fox News and Vlad Putin, our dickhead-in-chief buys into the axiom that Jews are a monolithic group who are compelled by a hive-mind. This is a complete misunderstanding of the Jewish culture. As a group, Jews love to debate and discuss, generally with open-minds (I exempt the most fundamentalist of persuasions from this argument) but usually with great passion. I was raised in a Jewish environment, and I truly enjoy this exchange. Judaism as a culture encourages debate between the religious elders and their flocks. “Rabbi” means teacher. A teacher who is willing to discuss and debate. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #069: Talk Is Cheap, And So Is Trump”

Weird Scenes Inside The Good Mind 068: None Dare Call It Reason

Weird Scenes Inside The Good Mind 068: None Dare Call It Reason

Here’s a sequence of letters I never thought would flow from my fingertips: I miss the Republican Party.

Two-party systems suck. We do not live in a binary world. There are no “both sides of the issue,” there is a myriad of sides. There is a right and there is a wrong, but only by comparison. In other words, Ayn Rand was a purveyor of sociological science fantasy.

Of course, there is something worse than a two-party system. When one of those parties is nothing to write home about and the other one is brain dead (a popular term this week), and the two parties we’re stuck with rigged the system so that there can not be any more parties, what we are left with is America 2019.

It wasn’t always like this. There was a time, 111 years ago, when the Republicans were, by and large, the progressives in Washington. This ended when Teddy Roosevelt decided not to run for reelection in 1908. His chosen successor, William H. Taft, was the dude who pulled the party of Lincoln to the right. Appalled by this, Teddy, who did not speak quietly, challenged Taft in 1912. By then, Taft and his cronies had instituted a massive patronage system that prevented any outlier from having a chance. In his typical fashion, TR started his own party. A “third” party. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Good Mind 068: None Dare Call It Reason”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #067: Reasons To Be Cheerful

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #067: Reasons To Be Cheerful

Some of Buddy Holly, the working folly / Good Golly Miss Molly and boats / Hammersmith Palais, the Bolshoi Ballet / Jump back in the alley, add nanny goats

Today, you may have noticed, is Thanksgiving. I will step away from the issues involving Puritans, Christopher Columbus, and native Americans for the nonce solely because, go figure, Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks.

I’ve never seen more that distracts us from this reasonable goal. The United Nations released a major report on Earth’s environment and where it’s going (spoiler alert: to hell in a plastic bag), while many of us feast today many more go hungry, and we remain stuck with a sociopathic, petulant five-year old brat of a president who acts as though he just broke the neighbor’s picture window. I’m not thankful for any of that, but in the spirit of the holiday I am taking this day off from Bughouse Square duty.

We all need to take a breath, together.

Which, by the way, is the meaning of the word “conspiracy.”

A bit of grin and bear it, a bit of come and share it / You’re welcome, we can spare it, yellow socks / Too short to be haughty, too nutty to be naughty / Going on forty, no electric shocks

I think those who tell us to appreciate the small wonders of life are absolutely right. Yeah, things suck – they’ve always sucked, they always will suck. But as the 18-wheeler of life comes barreling down the hill aiming to crush us all, it passes by all sorts of stuff that entice us to get out of its way. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #067: Reasons To Be Cheerful”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #066: Has It Come To This?

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #066: Has It Come To This?

Here’s the latest sign of the apocalypse. Yes, it has come down to this – I, Mike Gold, whose Twitter handle is “@creepymikegold,” am the one lecturing on manners. Don’t start reading any continued stories, folks. Obviously, the end is nigh.

I totally understand why the Trumpublicans put their xenophobic, racist, sexist, narcissistic, treasonous habitual liar ahead of the security of the United States of America and its people. Most of us who aren’t them are the prodigy of immigrants and similar ne’er-do-wells, and some of us are poor, old, in lousy health and/or unwilling to work for fifty cents an hour. But does the Rabid Right have to be so damn rude about it?

These numbnuts are trying to belittle, on national television, those who have honored this country by putting their bodies between the legions of evil and the Americans of great wealth. Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and top West Point graduate / Vietnam War vet / Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor testified before the impeachment hearings this past week, along with other valiant witnesses including (to name but two) Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and National Security Council official Fiona Hill. These genuine heroes put it all on the line for truth, justice and the American way… and I mean that sincerely, without a shred of sarcasm.

But are the maniacal Trumpublicans grateful? Of course not. The patriots who have earned their chops the hard way in order to keep America great – and to keep America in business – have been maligned as prevaricators: dishonest “never-Trumpers” who are acting relentlessly against the desires and prattling fabrications uttered by the xenophobic, racist, sexist, narcissistic, treasonous habitual liar-in-chief, the one person who best symbolizes all that is wrong and likely could ever be wrong about humanity. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #066: Has It Come To This?”