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What's In A Name, Part II

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Message BK Faunce

Hello and welcome back!

In "Part I" of "What's in a Name," five felons on the US Supreme Court were rechristened with subversive, well-earned nicknames. "Part II" takes up where "Part I" left off, re-tagging a handful of celebrities, politicians and corporate entertainers. They're a slimy bunch, charming to disarming, soft spoken snakes slithering through the garden of rational thought, "trailing clouds" of noxious ooze. Let's begin, shall we?

"Wall Street Chuck" (aka Chuck Schumer). Kindly, avuncular, he's one side of a ruthless duopoly and a significant player in moving the Democratic party to the far right. His overseers are financial elites and wealthy stockholders and his record of protecting their profits is well documented. Keep this in mind the next time Wall Street Chuck swaggers onto the Senate floor and burbles platitudes about no one being "above the law." He's like tear gas at a rally, effective but criminal.

"Russia-Rachel" (aka Rachel Maddow). Another pleasant-sounding media phony who fronts for everything corporate as if she were hanging laundry in the backyard, including her relentless smear of Julian Assange and her peddling of "Russia-gate." No matter how many times she tells her audience Russia hacked the DNC emails, it still isn't true. The emails weren't hacked --- by Russia or anybody else. The CIA made it up. An Inspector General's report showed the FBI was in on the con, committing 17 separate violations in their FISA applications. The Fed's violated the law in an effort to sabotage the newly-elected administration. (It's called treason.) Then they got a major television network and their favorite "liberal" to help gaslight the country, which she continued to do even after the scam had been debunked. What does this tell us? It tells us Russia-Rachel is doing exactly what her handlers want her to do.

(Russia? C'mon, people! Ask yourself: did Putin poison the water in Flint? Did Russian Ministers block a minimum wage increase or ban collective bargaining? Are Russian oligarchs crashing the economy and sending jobs overseas? No, they're not. It's not the Russians waging class warfare against the people of this country. It's US elites.)

"Jim Crow Joe" (aka Joe Manchin). A seasoned grifter and dedicated enemy of the very people whose interests he was elected to represent, Jim Crow Joe is the Democrats version of the Grim Reaper. He votes to kill anything democratic, including the Green New Deal, Medicare for All and raising the minimum wage. (According to the Economic Policy Institute, a $15 minimum wage would improve the lives of 250,000 West Virginians.) Jim Crow Joe's recent op-ed in support of suppressing the vote, otherwise known as the filibuster rule, should shame him from public life altogether. Except, like his equally corrupt family, it probably won't.

"Franky the Pope" (aka Pope Francis). Maybe he's trying, maybe he means well, but far too often he makes things worse. The recent discovery of a mass grave in Kamloops, British Columbia, with 215 children's bodies, is the latest scandal involving a religious organization that institutionalized child rape. Franky the Pope was asked to apologize. The indigenous people of Kamloops are still waiting.

"Santorum Rick" (aka Rick Santorum). Talk about Neo-Catholic Neanderthals spreading religious nonsense, Santorum Rick is a well-known bigot who seemed to enjoy smearing people on TV until his latest racist remark got him fired. Praise be! He's a conservative all right, if by conversative is meant a vindictive reactionary who'd be right at home in the court of Bloody Queen Mary. Smug, resentful and very concerned about gay men, what are the odds he's a closeted self-hater?

"Mrs. Greenspan" (aka Andrea Mitchell). She epitomizes the sleazy marriage between political elites and corporate media, posing as a serious journalist while actually spreading propaganda for the state. She's paid to go on TV and lie, to misinform, to misrepresent, which is a little like being a hooker only with less prestige. She's not there to pose serious questions to people in positions of authority like, say, the former chair of the Federal Reserve. Viewers might find it useful to know he's an acolyte of Ayn Rand and a champion of crony capitalism. But they'll never hear it from Mrs. Greenspan. Raise your hand if you know why.

"Cancun Ted" (aka Ted Cruz). A disturbed individual who appears to have escaped from an insane asylum and then somehow managed to get himself elected to the US Senate. This past February, while "millions of his constituents endure[d] deadly power outages and freezing temperatures," Cancun Ted went on vacation to a Mexican hotspot. When video of his vacation went viral, he stood tall, shouldered the responsibility and resigned rather than bring shame to his state or his office. Fooled ya'! No he didn't. He blamed his daughters.

"Kamala-Mnuchin" (aka Kamala Harris). The current Vice President is a cautionary tale of greed, hypocrisy, ambition and craven politics. Her elevation into the White House hasn't altered the dynamics of white supremacy a whit (insert ironic comment here). As California's Attorney General, Kamala-Mnuchin was a reliable defender of corporate power, turning her nose up at the courts, siding with rogue cops and joking about jailing low-income parents of children who miss school. What confirmed her subservience to financial elites, however, and most likely earned her the VP slot, has to be her refusal to prosecute OneWest Bank CEO Steve Mnuchin. Her staff documented "over a thousand" violations, they were pleading with her to prosecute, yet she refused. Asked to explain, she dismissed it as a "staff" decision. Yes, exactly. Round and round and round we go, where the truth lies, nobody knows. Brilliant. A liar and a cheat. Now there's a role model you can be proud of.

"Drone Ranger" (aka Barack Obama). A favorite of the US war machine and Wall Street banksters everywhere, this masked murderer is the real deal, the right stuff, a fearless leader who kills indiscriminately and still has room for desert. Who can slaughter innocents with a grin. Who can blow up children by remote. Who can terrorize middle eastern countries and assassinate US citizens without due process. It's only fair he is remembered for his major achievement: a drone assassination program, complete with a secret "kill list." Noam Chomsky called it "the most extensive terrorist program the world has ever seen." Or, as the Drone Ranger himself put it, "I'm pretty good at killing people." He got that right.

"Cruella" (aka Betsy DeVos). Holy poker face, Batman! The woman's sitting on a full house: crook, liar, cheat, racist and devout Christian. According to the president of AFT, she's also the "worst Secretary of Education ever." Among the highlights of her four-year horror show, Cruella failed to enforce students' civil rights, swindled student loan recipients, violated court orders, smeared school employees, proposed massive cuts to her department and diverted taxpayer money to her for-profit cronies. Her transgressions are, in fact, biblical. Check out Leviticon 29:1-4: "And God said, blessed be the thief / who taketh from the meek and giveth to the rich, / For she shall inherit a mansion, / ten boats and a $40 million yacht." And it was so.

"Slick Willie" (aka Bill Clinton). One would think, looking at the man's history, the Democratic Party would want to keep Slick Willie in the basement with the door securely bolted. Instead, party leaders continue to embrace this philandering cretin, recently pairing him with Vice President Kamala-Mnuchin for a talk on --- get this --- "empowering women." A serial adulterer and accused rapist. A convicted felon who flew on Jeffery Epstein's "Lolita Express" 26 times. Democratic Party leaders want you to know Slick Willie is their guy when it comes to "empowering women." Just don't let your daughter go alone. Ick.

"Stiff Arm" (aka Adam Schiff). He's the Democratic chair of the House Intelligence Committee who told the world Russia colluded with Trump officials to win the presidential election. He was confident, well spoken, aggressive and absolutely full of horse pucky. The world now knows what Stiff Arm knew all along: there was zero evidence connecting the Trump administration to Putin or to the Russian state. Intelligence insiders who were convinced Hillary Clinton would win the presidency openly cheated on her behalf. After she lost, they got caught. (See "Russia-Rachel," above.) All of a sudden these clowns need Congressional cover. It has to be someone they can control, someone compromised, someone so corrupt he'd do anything. Of course! "Hi-ho, Stiff Arm! Away!"

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BK Faunce is a retired Associate Professor of English (UMW / UCSC) specializing in British Romantic Literature, Film Theory and Writing. His recent work examines the use of state power and its impact on visual culture.

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