White House preacher heavily influenced Trump’s decision to tear families apart

There is a damn good reason the Constitution’s Framers and Founding Fathers went to great lengths to prevent what they knew was an ever-present threat of religious fanatics taking over the U.S. government. Since even before Trump’s poorly attended inauguration, Americans have been witnessing the greatest representation of the theocratic threat the Founders’ attempted to prevent because Trump has loving embraced radical Christian extremists and has given them authority over a broad range of issues related to domestic policy.

In the continuing saga of America’s transformation into an inherently barbaric theocracy, there was the revelation that the bastardized Christian fascists running the government played a pivotal role in directing Trump’s barbarous family separation policy. Although it is true there has been a tepid backlash to Trump’s brutal immigration policy by some Christian groups, the evangelical zealot running Trump’s White House Bible Study group has been, and still is, directing Trump’s administration according to his interpretation of the Christian bible, not the U.S. Constitution.

It looks very likely that J. Beauregard Sessions’ idea to use his Christian bible as justification for Trump’s policy of ripping children from their parents came by way of a theological edict from Trump’s White House Bible Study (WHBS) preacher. The evangelical cretin named Ralph Drollinger runs Capitol Ministries as well as an evangelical indoctrination program for the White House, Congress, and Trump’s Cabinet members. It is noteworthy that as reported by ThinkProgress, a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request noted that taxpayers are paying for “significant staff time and resources (invested) in coordinating Christian bible studies every week,” with an inordinate amount of involvement by Trump’s DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen who vehemently defended Trump’s family separation policy.

As reported by Andrew L. Seidel, the day prior to Sessions using the bible to defend Trump’s cruel child kidnapping crusade, preacher Drollinger’s bible lesson centered around “The Importance of Parenting and the Course of the Nation,” beginning with need to force “obedience to a nation’s laws” with the same cruel abuse as a good god-fearing parent.  The lesson included scriptural citations of Proverbs 28:4 and Romans 13:32 – the latter being the passage Sessions used to justify the tearing children from their parents. In fact, it is almost certain that Sessions jotted down some notes from Drollinger’s lesson verbatim because as the White House preacher has often boasted:

Jeff Sessions [will] go out the same day I teach him something and he’ll do it on camera. And I just think, man, these guys are faithful, available, and teachable.”

Obviously, because he has no expertise in anything of value to the people or the government, preacher Drollinger considers that his job does not entail advising or influencing Trump’s policies, it is manipulating them; and no members of Trump’s cabal are more easily manipulated thanSessions and aspiring preacher Mike Pence.

According to documents in the FOIA request, Drollinger provided the Trump cabal with the exact rationale supporting separating families using the same theological arguments “espoused in his previous Bible study entitled “What the Bible Says About Our Illegal Immigration Problem.” When Sessions was railed on for using the Christian bible to justify ripping families apart, Drollinger rushed to his defense with bible in hand. Drollinger defended Sessions with a “theological explanation of the child separation policy” from 2016 on the Capitol Ministries homepage. The “follower of Jesus” explained that there is “zero tolerance” for anything untoward or illegal in Trump’s America and losing ones children is an apropos price to pay for lawbreakers. Drollnger said:

It follows that when someone breaks the law of the land that they should anticipate that one of the consequences of their illegal behavior will be separation from their children.”

Like Sessions, Drollinger’s defense includes citing scripture about everyone following the law of the land, unless they are religious Republicans serving in Trump’s criminal organization. However, if they are refugees of color and seek asylum from abuse, Drollinger says god’s word justifies punishing the children of undocumented immigrants he insists “must suffer all the consequences of breaking the law.” Drollinger writes:

It is not overreaching to reason from this passage [Romans 13:1-7] that immigration laws, like all of a nation’s laws, should stem from a desire to protect the nation and its citizenry. That protection should deter a myriad of intrusions by illegals. God intends for Governments to bear the sword relative to enacting justice. They are to be an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. This means Government is sanctioned, bound, and responsible to punish those who break the law … including illegal immigration.”

However, Drollinger offers no mention of government vengeance for violating the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, Take Care Clause, or anti-nepotism laws committed by Trump, or several instances of Trump’s mendacious Cabinet members committing perjury under oath.

It is an atrocity that an evangelical maniac in the White House is “manipulating” the Trump administration to action despite a constitutional prohibition on religion influencing the government. If Democrats, the media, and American people were not so terrified of offending the “faithful,” the nation would not be facing a clear and present danger of a theocratic coup d’état. Moreover, although it is true there are some Christian groups opposed to Trump’s barbaric “zero tolerance” immigration policy, it is likely there are no small number of Trump’s evangelical acolytes clinging to the concept that their archaic bible does support tearing families apart – because they are the wrong color. This particular immigration issue is not about enforcing the law of the land. If that were the case Sessions, Pence, Trump, and several other Cabinet members would be sitting in a federal penitentiary. They did, in fact, violate 18 U.S. Code § 1621 that succinctly details the federal punishment for committing perjury under a “swear to god” oath.

No doubt there is plenty of blame to go around for Trump’s nasty “zero tolerance” immigration policy, and it is not unbelievable that Stephen Miller had a hand in convincing Trump that cruelty towards Hispanic children is a policy to be proud of implementing. However, a fair share of the blame lies at the feet of preacher Drollinger who has spent the past two years inculcating biblical inhumanity into the Trump cabal and defending the practice as “godly;” as if America is already an evangelical theocracy. Tragically, because far too many Americans still fail to see the impending doom of an extremist religious regime running the government, that dreaded theocracy is manipulating the most powerful office in the land; and all the while the people are mesmerized by Trump’s tweets and how often he hits the links at Mar-a-Lago.

Trump and Sessions should be in prison according to their bible

It is almost certain, at least to this author, that there are no greater hypocrites and liars in America than Republicans claiming Christianity as the one overriding force informing their actions and their lives. It was no surprise to learn upon returning from a wilderness hiatus that a man who regularly touts his Christian bona fides had no qualms gleefully announcing the Trump administration’s intent to continue ripping children from their families according to his decision to use the Christian bible to justify violating the number one rule of the “family values” cult – breaking families apart.

First, it was a prime example of Republican hypocrisy for an administration representing the evangelical Party of “family values” to take pleasure in separating families as a deterrent in Trump’s campaign to make America whiter. That is the overriding goal of the xenophobes, white supremacists, and nationalists propping up the corrupt dictator in the Oval Office.

It was also telling that part and parcel of J. Beauregard Sessions’ recent claims centering around the idea that mostly Brown women facing abuse have no right to appeal to America for sanctuary, and a little humanity. It reveals that Sessions is as true a representation of a patriarchal Christian male as most people will ever see in public during their lifetime. An abused woman seeking asylum to avoid being tortured by a man is obviously an atrocity to Sessions; it is a mindset likely based on the biblical commandment that women must subject themselves to whatever “a man” forces on them.

Now, as no small number of pundits, including Christians,  have noted; there is nothing whatsoever in the Christian bible supporting “ripping families” apart, or throwing thousands of young children, including infants, into concentration camps. There are Old Testament passages where the Israelites’ god ordered his people to rip women’s stomachs open and kill the fetuses, but there is nothing authorizing tearing what are surely Christian families apart because they are not white and speak a language other than English.

However, as Beauregard Sessions did rightly claim, his Christian bible does indeed command the religion’s adherents to obey the government authorities and submit to the law of the land; but it is noteworthy that the law of the land does not advocate or support the malice being displayed by Trump’s administration towards immigrants. Furthermore, the Constitution does not support using the Christian Bible to justify any law or any government action, much less the barbarism of separating children from their parents. Parents, by the way, who are only being charged with a misdemeanor for “improper entry” and may face up to six months in jail – apparently even if they are adhering to the law in seeking asylum as political or abused refugees.

Setting aside Beauregard Session’s savagery and inherent Republican brutality for a minute, it was bad enough that he cited his Christian bible as justification for abusing children, but his use of that particular scripture about obeying the law of the land was beyond hypocritical.

It is true that the bible passage Sessions cited does command Christians to obey the government authorities and adhere faithfully to the laws of the land, but if Sessions was not a raging evangelical hypocrite he would have already turned himself in to federal law enforcement authorities for immediate prosecution. He did, in fact, deliberately, and with malice aforethought, commit perjury under a “so help me god” oath before the United States Senate – at least twice.

Sessions made a big deal about everyone having to abide by the law in responding to other Christians’ condemning the Trump callousness against families and children. Sessions said:

“Many of the criticisms raised in recent days are not fair or logical and some are contrary to law. Persons who violate the law of our nation are subject to prosecution. I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the law of the government because god has ordained them for the purpose of order.”

Over the weekend, that Trump administration devotion to “law and order” was parroted, sans scriptural justification, by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during an appearance in New Orleans. Ms. Nielsen told the National Sheriffs’ Association:

Illegal actions have and must have consequences. No more free passes, no more get out of jail free cards.”

Of course there is no god ordaining any government leaders of any nation, but the idea that Sessions insists that “persons who violate the law of our nation are subject to prosecution” is patently hypocritical.

Sessions, and at least four other Trump cabinet nominees violated 18 U.S. Code § 1621 during their Senate confirmation hearings by committing perjury under a “so help me god” oath. And it is noteworthy that four of those nominees are self-confessed devout Christians who, like their criminal leader Trump, violate Number Nine of the BIG Ten Commandments regularly and with impunity.

If Sessions assertion about prosecuting federal law violations was sincere, Trump would be facing prosecution for violating the Emoluments Clause, the Constitution’s “take care” clause, the U.S. Code’s anti-nepotism law and for violating his own “so help me god” oath to support and defend the Constitution during his poorly-attended inauguration. It is highly likely that Trump has violated myriad other laws that, according to evangelical malcontents Sessions and Trump’s press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, make him “subject to prosecution to the fullest extent of the nation’s laws.”

Of course the lying Attorney General Sessions is never going to consider subjecting the lyin’ kings Trump and ‘preacher’ Pence, or any of Trump’s filthy lying Cabinet membersto prosecution to the fullest extent of the nation’s laws;” they are white Republicans and claim Christianity as their reason for living.

It was curious there was such an outrage over Sessions using his Christian bible as justification for tearing children from their mothers arms, and in one reported case from the infant’s mother’s breast. Religious right acolytes, and many Republicans, have used their Christian bible to justify slavery, racism, rape, starving the poor, pedophilia, persecuting the LGBTQ community, and subjecting women to the will of other religious Republicans.

No-one in their right mind should be surprised Sessions used his bible to justify tearing non-white immigrant families apart any more than they should be offended at the typically inherent evangelical Republican cruelty. Sadly, it is exactly the kind of cruelty documented in the Christian bible and at the rate Republicans are crusading to make the Christian bible the law of the land, Americans should be terrified if they weren’t so laser focused on Trump’s latest “tweets” or how often he goes golfing.

Image: Evan Vucci/Associated Press

U.N. blasts Trump for abusing families, children and the poor

No doubt there are very few foreigners who have a favorable opinion of the criminal occupying the Oval Office, and it is fairly safe to say entire nations see Trump as a global detriment. It is difficult to imagine how foreign peoples and nations regard the danger he poses to the people in America. However, the global family of nations, the United Nations, just released a rash of seriously harsh criticism specifically  targeting Trump for his human rights abuses against the poor, families and children; specifically immigrant children. It is a sad state of affairs for America, and if Republicans who claim to exist for “the family” had a modicum of conscience or morality, they would crawl under the nearest rock in shame or throw the bum in the Oval out of office. But since they lack any sense of conscience, or an ounce of  humanity, they likely disregard global criticism against their disgusting “feed the rich” agenda or their disgusting standard bearer Trump.

The latest United Nations round of condemnations against America for human rights abuses is not the first, and no doubt there will be many more with Trump and Republicans, including their “family values” religious right cohort, running the government and no small number of states.  In the recent past the United Nation Council on Human Rights has lambasted America for criminalizing povertyhomelessness, and peaceful protests,  failing to provide clean waterattacking the media, and doing nothing to halt law enforcement abuses based on racial animus. The latest condemnations, yes, there are two separate instances, specifically target Trump over his blatant disregard for the welfare of children, families and his tax reform favoring the filthy rich and corporations at the expense of the poor.

One of the U.N.’s condemnations was fully expected after the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty said he was “appalled at the conditions” Americans were living in; especially in the richest nation on the planet. He said at the time that,  “There is a human right for people to live decently, and that means the government has an obligation to provide people with the essentials of life.” That comment came after the U.N.’s tour of America’s rural South where said “he had never seen sewage problems like it in the developed world.”  That was in December, 2017. Now Philip Aston, who visited slums around the globe is laying the blame at Trump’s feet with particular attention to his hateful agenda and devotion to the filthy rich and corporations. Mr. Aston said,

The policies pursued over the past year seem deliberately designed to remove basic protections from the poorest, punish those who are not in employment and make even basic health care into a privilege to be earned, rather than a right of citizenship. The government should think harder about how to help those in need rather than punishing the poor.”

Aston also was not spare in his condemnation of Trump’s tax reform that he rightly noted was created specifically to provide “financial windfalls to the rich and large corporations, and lead to even more inequality and poverty.”

The second U.N. condemnation against Trump was included in a press briefingcriticizing Egypt and America’s human rights violations. The United Nations had nothing good to say about Trump’s abuse of immigrant children or his apparent glee at tearing immigrant families apart.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ravina Shamdasani, wrote that the global Human Rights watchdog is:

Deeply concerned that the zero tolerance policy recently put in place along the US southern border has led to people being subjected to criminal prosecution and having their children – including extremely young children – taken away from them as a result.

The practice of separating families amounts to arbitrary and unlawful interference in family life, and is a serious violation of the rights of the child. While the rights of children are generally held in high regard in the US, it is the only country in the world not to have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. We encourage it to accede to the Convention and to fully respect the rights of all children.”

The use of immigration detention and family separation as a deterrent runs counter to human rights standards and principles. The child’s best interest should always come first, including over migration management objectives or other administrative concerns. It is therefore of great concern that in the US migration control appears to have been prioritised over the effective care and protection of migrant children.

Children should never be detained for reasons related to their own or their parents’ migration status. Detention is never in the best interests of the child and always constitutes a child rights violation.”(author bold)

What Ms. Shamdasani did not mention was that Trump recently claimed openly that immigrant children, “including extremely young children,” have no rights because “they are not innocent;” they are future criminals. And Trump made those comments the same day his beloved Border Patrol was accused of sexually and physically abusingchild detainees. To make matters worse, last week Trump “quietly” cut legal aid for migrant children separated from their parents and families. That includes families and children legally living in the United States that are being torn apart by deportation proceedings with no legal representation.

Trump has no regard whatsoever for children despite his claim that he was driven to launch a rash of missiles at an abandoned Russian airfield in Syria “because of the children.” Trump does not care about children, whether they are American citizens, documented immigrants, or refugees seeking relief from abuses in the countries they fled. It is an abomination that many of those fleeing human rights abuses, including very young children, are facing abuses in America because there is an abusive tyrant in the White House; something the United Nations Human Rights Commission condemned harshly.

Americans who aren’t humiliated by yet another condemnation by the global human rights watchdog are either vicious Trump supporters or inhumane Republicans; the only people supporting human rights abuses by government fiat under direction from that barbaric racist Trump.

Only dictators claim they are above the law

If there is one obvious prevailing trait of America’s government with a corrupt celebrity at its head, it is that nearly all leaders of the various federal agencies and departments are religiously opposed to fulfilling the duties of the agencies they lead. This is true of every department in Trump’s industry- and evangelical-heavy administration, including the criminal running the Executive Branch of government.

Like the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has no interest in protecting the environment, or the head of the Education Department has no interest in supporting public education, the head of the Executive Branch, dirty Don Trump, has no interest in “executing the laws” of the United States; the primary duty of the Executive Branch. In fact, as with everything Trump, he has gone far beyond just not executing the laws of the land, he claims that he is exempt from the laws and is not afraid to make it public knowledge.

During the 2016 presidential election, Trump claimed he could “shoot somebody in the face” and still maintain the support of his racist and religious acolytes. Some people likely believed Trump was boasting about his popularity among his zealot supporters, but based on his actions since even before his poorly attended inauguration, and a recently revealed White House “memo”  to the Special Prosecutor Robert S. Mueller, Trump was informing the American people that the nation’s laws simply do not apply to him. It has been an ongoing theme of Trump’s criminal tenure in the Oval Office and now his White House legal team all but claimed Trump decides what justice entails.

Whether it is violating campaign finance laws, flouting the U.S. Code prohibiting hiring family members, taking bribes from foreign governmentsobstructing justiceprofitingoff his position as White House resident, or colluding with foreign spies against the interests of the United States; Trump has shown that he regards laws as applicable to his alleged enemies, but not himself or members of his criminal enterprise.

It is worth noting that Trump’s criminal syndicate now includes the preponderance of the Republican Party that refuses to provide oversight or control the organized crime syndicate occupying the White House. That includes no small number of Republican senators and House representatives who violated 18 U.S. Code § 4 by not immediately reporting what they knew from personal experience was Trump attempting to obstruct justice. They did confirm that Trump pressured them to end their investigation. Although obstructing justice is a crime, it is one that Trump claims does not apply to him because he is the head of the Executive Branch tasked by the U.S. Constitution with “executing the laws of the land.”

At this point it is probably true that a fair number of Americans have at least heard about a “confidential memo” sent by the White House legal team informing Robert S. Mueller III that because he is the head of the Executive Branch, Trump is exempt from obstruction of justice laws. This is, as no small number of legal experts and pundits alike have asserted, a damned “ludicrous” claim. Particularly because Richard M. Nixon and William Jefferson Clinton each faced removal from the White House for “obstruction of justice.”

It is worth noting that there is probably no government office with more opportunities to obstruct justice than the presidency and it is almost certainly why the United States Congress was given Constitutional authority to ensure that the Executive Branch abides by the laws of the land.

Sadly today, the Republicans running Congress not only refuse to do their due diligence and their jobs, such as providing the oversight to the White House, they are actively obstructing justice by covering for the criminals and worse – they have acted contrary to their “law and order” bona fides by viciously attacking the Justice Department and federal law enforcement agencies that are doing their jobs.

The gist of the White House “memo” to Mr. Mueller’s team is that because he is head of the Executive Branch, the one Branch solely responsible for executing the law of the land:  “Trump can’t obstruct justice because as president [head of the Executive Branch] he has authority to end an investigation of himself.”

Representative Ted Lieu summed up the consensus of legal experts aware of the insanity entailed in the memo saying:

The confidential memo from attorneys for @realDonaldTrump is, to use a legal term, ludicrous. Under their view, @POTUS could shoot a federal employee on 5th Ave and still not be able to be indicted, or even subpoenaed.”

The mindset revealed in the White House memo is more than a claim Trump is exempt from the law; it is a statement that he is the law because he can “end an investigation of himself.” It is tantamount to claiming he can unilaterally invalidate any law of the land if it is applied to him or his crime family. It is likely why the “memo” contained a stunning admission by a Trump lawyer, Jay Sekulow, that Trump did more than weigh in on his son’s mendacious letter about the so-called “Trump Tower meeting with Russian nationals. According Trump’s lawyer, Trump “dictated” the letter his son provided in response to an article in the New York Times denying any collusion with the Russians. Despite several official White House denials that Trump had no involvement in crafting the letter, the White House legal team wrote to Mr. Mueller:

“You have received all of the notes, communications and testimony indicating that the President [Trump] dictated a response to the New York Times article on behalf of his son, Donald Trump, Jr.”

This admission is important for no other reason than, as documented by CNN, Trump’s administration lied profusely that Trump had nothing whatsoever to do with “the letter.”  As David Corn noted over at Mother Jones; Donald Jr.’s account in closed-door testimony before the United States Congress was a dirty lie. And Mr. Corn remarked that “it’s a crime to lie to Congress.”

But that is not the case in Trump’s administration as evidenced by at least five of his Cabinet nominees lying under “so help my god” oath during their Senate confirmation hearings with complete impunity. Trump’s liar’s club includes aspiring preacher-pope Mike Pence. Remember, Pence blatantly lied that he only learned of Michael Flynn’s ties to Russia and Turkey several months after Congressional Democrats had sent him a letter informing him that Flynn had close ties to Russia and Turkey.

The whole point of this little screed is to reiterate that America is being run by an honest-to-dog criminal enterprise with no regard for the law; the law that in Trump’s corrupt mind cannot apply to him. It is likely that Trump has labored under that concept his entire life. Whether it was him or his rich daddy obstructing justice with payments (donations) to politicians to ignore dumb Donnie’s real estate malfeasance, or being on the receiving end of a $500 billion Chinese investment (bribe), Trump has ignored the law of the land that every other American is beholden to follow under pain of prosecution.

As noted above, Republicans in Congress are complicit in Trump’s criminal syndicate because they are willingly colluding with the “Don” to obstruct justice, as well as question the legitimacy of America’s federal law enforcement and undermine federal investigative agencies.

America cannot survive a United States Congress that appears more than willing to aid and abet a known criminal occupying the White House. And yes, Trump is a criminal who has already violated no small number of laws, including lying by swearing on a stack of two Christian bibles to “faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States … and preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. So help me god.”

Trump’s flagrant disregard for the law, including openly asserting he is above the law, is a portent that America is perilously close to being run by an authoritarian dictator; a tragedy that would not be possible without the willing participation of the party of law and order – the GOP. In fact, Trump’s claim that he is immune from the law is the clearest sign yet that his goal is ruling as a dictatorial tyrant.

Propaganda works – 58 percent of Republicans believe education is bad

Critics of Fox News may discount the effectiveness of the right wing outlet’s effort to transform America into a fascist theocracy controlled by the ultra-rich and extremist evangelicals, but that would be a monumental mistake. Like all propaganda agencies, Fox broadcasts talking points crafted by evangelical and corporate activists nonstop until their mendacious messaging is considered a biblical truth.

Fox News, like Republicans and Trump, could never succeed as an ultra-conservative propaganda outlet without an ignorant population. The only way to continue having success at propagandizing is moving the proverbial Heaven and Earth to convince Americans that being educated and informed is detrimental to America and its citizens; something Fox and Republicans have been very successful at.

The idea that education is bad for the country is contrary to the belief of the Declaration of Independence’s author,  Founding Father and third American President Thomas Jefferson. He said:

“An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.”

Another great leader, Sir Winston Churchill said:

“The privilege of a university education is a great one; the more widely it is extended the better for any country.”

Obviously, the current administration and the Republican Party it represents wholly disagrees with the concept of a well-educated citizenry, or that it is beneficial to America if the populace is educated. Likely because the less educated the people are, the more electoral support Republicans enjoy and the more success Trump has as the ultimate purveyor of “fake news;” idiot morons will believe anything.

That being the case, it should be no surprise to any semi-conscious American that since Trump’s poorly-attended inauguration there has been a concerted effort to dismantle, and eventually destroy, America’s education system; from public elementary and secondary school to colleges and  universities. It is also not stunning that Trump and the GOP’s propaganda arm, Fox News, has played a crucial role in convincing Republican voters that education is “bad for America.”

For years conservatives have demeaned “secular” education at all levels, and over the past decade Republicans have pandered to the religious right by railing against higher education with valuable aid from the GOP and Trump’s propaganda agency Fox News. It is evident that neither Trump, Republicans, nor Fox News would exist without a fair number of the population mired in rank ignorance about everything, and that does not include the willingly stupid contingent.

To demonstrate precisely why the people’s freedom, and democracy, are in jeopardy today, a recent poll revealed that nearly 6 out of ten Republicans sincerely, believe that “education is bad for America.”

Seriously, it is beyond the pale that anyone in this country thinks education is bad for America, but nearly 60 percent of Republicans is a mind boggling number. It is not entirely unexpected, but it is stunning that they have no issue telling a pollster that they believe education is a negative for the country.

It is noteworthy to mention that to Republicans and the Trump organization, all education is not “bad;” only secular education and any subject not steeped in fantasy and not recorded as Bronze Age mythos in the Christian bible. If America’s education system followed that of theocracies founded on religion, such as Iran or Afghanistan under Taliban rule, Republicans would spend an unlimited amount of taxpayer money on education. Instead, because America is still a secular democracy with Separation of Church and State enshrined in the First Amendment, Trump and his evangelical malcontent Education Secretary are on an honest-to-dog religious crusade to decimate public education and create a system of taxpayer-funded evangelical madrasas.

Republicans have opposed education for well over a decade, but over the past two years the percentage of Republicans who believe education is bad for the nation has risen sharply. In fact, two years ago a Gallup poll revealed that 54 percent of Republicans viewed education in America as a positive for the country. Now, according to the latest  annual Pew Research Center poll, 58% of those same Republicans believe higher education negatively affects society. Those figures represent a swing of epic proportions, and although there are enough GOP supporters who are too stupid to see the value to themselves and the nations of an education, it is telling that close to 60 percent of Republicans consider education bad for America.

To get a good idea of why a majority of Republicans, obviously Fox News viewers, believe education is bad for America, a recent Fox segment featured Tucker Carlson presenting the issue of education as one of waste because “colleges and universities don’t teach kids anything.” He said:

“Colleges barely teach, yet every year they increase their fees. Try that in a private business, you might get indicted for fraud. Do it at an American university and you get billions in taxpayer subsidies.”

Carlson cited some studies about “adult literacy,” and it is unclear to this author how he connected “adult literacy” reports with universities not teaching students or wasting taxpayer money. For the record, “adult literacy” involves helping citizens 16 and older to better read, write, and do basic arithmetic; something any American graduating from the eighth grade will have mastered with relative ease … if they or their adult caregivers consider education as valuable.

What is glaringly apparent is that based on the opposition to education, the Fox audience only heard Carlson parrot what conservatives, and Fox News, have preached for close to a decade; “colleges barely teach …and they get billions in taxpayer subsidies.”  Of course there is a problem with the high cost of a college education in America, but to claim they don’t teach, or that taxpayers are funding liberal indoctrination programs, is something only dyed-in-the-wool religious conservatives, and obviously 58 percent of Republicans, believe as if uttered by their biblical god.

A big issue conservatives have pushed for years, and likely contributes to the Republican opposition to education, is the mindset expressed by no small number of conservatives, particularly those making up the religious right. A former member of the Arizona state legislature, Frank Antenori, summed up a belief often shared by conservatives. He said:

Why does a kid go to a university these days? They go there to get brainwashed and learn how to become activists  and cause trouble.”

No, kids go to a university or college for an education to hopefully have a better life than their parents. And what too many Republicans and religious conservatives consider brainwashing is what sane civilized human beings regard as “being informed.” And, that “being informed” generally results in a religious conservative “kid” informing their parents that no, the Earth is not 6,000 years old and flat; or that no, a zygote is not a living human being; or that no, America was not founded by religious white supremacists to exist and rule the world as an Aryan Christian nation.

This author knows two families who refuse to send their children to public schools because “they only hire teachers that are either gay, atheist, or sexual predators,” and because all colleges train “those teachers to brainwash the kids with lies about America.”

Of course none of the conservative propaganda warning that education is bad for America is true, but for the ignorant religious zealots and angry racists making up the majority of the Republican movement, that propaganda is biblical truth; why else would Fox News and Republicans promoting school privatization keep telling their supporters that America’s education system is inherently evil, and bad for the country?

Here’s the problem going forward; Trump and his evangelical crusader DeVos will not have much Republican opposition to their goal of dismantling the education system in America and replacing it with for-profit private religious and corporate charter schools – at taxpayer expense. For dog’s sake, they have already garnered support from close to 6 out of 10 Republicans who openly admit they believe education is bad for the country. It is probably true that Republican and conservative leaders are not nearly as concerned with religious indoctrination as they are keeping the voting public ignorant, but despite their motivation, wanting an uninformed population is appalling. However, it is the only way Republicans can ensure that the stupid contingent keeps faithfully voting against their own self-interests and contributes to keeping the GOP in power.

America faces myriad threats to its continued existence as a matter of course, even as a crippled world leader, but with Trump and DeVos on a religious crusade to decimate public education, the greatest threat is an ignorant population opposed to public education. Tragically, with 58 percent of Republicans claiming education is bad for the country, the ignorant population is going to grow with every Fox News segment and with every dirty lie from the fascist in White House and the evangelical extremist running the education system.

Evangelicals fear a “Blue Wave” but Democrats should fear evangelicals

As excitement grows on the Left for an anticipated “Blue Wave” in the upcoming midterm elections, it is apparent that what has transpired over the past few election cycles has the very real potential of happening again – the left gnashing its teeth and wailing over another disappointing election. For those who have not been keeping track, every couple of years while the left was prematurely celebrating the impending demise of the Republican movement and its theocratic aspirations, evangelicals were planning to flock to the polls to preserve and advance their progress for a theocratic America by 2020.

If there is only one constant in every recent American election, it is that every religious right sycophant will show up at the polls to vote for the candidate who promises to save the fetus, save guns, increase control over women, punish gays, and impose god and the Christian bible on every American citizen. Many pundits have already claimed that the increasing number of Americans claiming no religious affiliation informs that the religious right, like the Republican Party, is fundamentally finished; but that claim has proven abjectly false over the past three election cycles as evidenced by the evangelical extremist ascendancy and complete dominance in government despite predictions of Republicans’ electoral defeat.

The upcoming midterms are no different than the past few cycles and anyone who believes otherwise likely gloated while predicting that dumb Don Trump would be the death of the Republican and evangelical movement in 2016.  Trump’s victory, in no small part a result of a robust turnout by evangelical moderates and extremists alike, and his appointments of dyed-in-the-wool religious right zealots in positions of power, should disabuse any sane American of the idea that the evangelicals’ theocratic aspirations were, or are, going to be dealt a death blow.

It is curious that the evangelical extremist cult is terrified that a Blue Wave and subsequent Democratically controlled Congress will remove Trump and thwart their theocratic plans; especially when Mike “preacher” Pence is significantly more dangerous to America’s endangered secular democracy. Pence is a bonafide evangelical extremist who envisions an evangelical theocracy  with him ruling America according to his Old Testament worldview.

The religious right is terrified of the blue wave primarily because evangelicals ardently believe their theocratic plans will be crushed by a Democratically-controlled Congress itching to impeach Trump. One of their biggest fears is that without Trump, the nation’s federal courts will not be overrun with religious conservatives committed to creating, or ruling in favor of creating, a nation “founded on Judeo-Christian principles by establishing a biblically-based culture in America.”

That theocratic goal and warning that it is in jeopardy if the Blue Wave actually happens was the source of angst from a devoted Trump supporter and theocratic champion of the religious right, the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody. Brody was warning the faithful of the existential threat of a “Blue Wave” in the midterm elections and what kind of disaster it will be “for the faith agenda and the Trump administration.”

One member of the Dominionist cabal, Ralph Reed concurred with Brody and said:

If Democrats take control of Congress, they are going to move to impeach the president Trump. There’s no question about it.”

Another Dominionist crusader who bestows “privileged access” to Brody to incite the faithful to action at his racist religious events agreed that it is crucial to keep Trump, and his religious right judicial appointments coming, at any cost. There is a concerted evangelical effort to keep on schedule for an ISIS-Taliban type theocracy to rule Americans, and the Christian Reconstructionists fear that a Blue Wave will delay their intent to fully implement “their theocratic agenda” by 2020. Brody’s theocratic cohort, Christian nationalist and white supremacist David Lane boasted:

We are really clear about what we are doing. There is no hidden agenda about it. We’re trying to restore our Judeo-Christian heritage and reestablish a biblically-based culture in America.”

Set aside the dirty lie that America was ever established as a Judeo-Christian or biblically-based society, Brody, like Lane, has no reason to conceal the Dominionist agenda any longer. But he warned the Christian Broadcasting Network acolytes that their dream of ruling “Christian America” with an iron fist “could be squelched if Democrats win in 2018. Evangelicals see Trump implementing that agenda so far, but after 2018, it’s anybody’s guess.”

To demonstrate how frightened the Dominionist cult is of not imposing theocracy on the nation, Brody agrees with other right wing religious extremists who insist that the Republican Party is still not doing nearly enough to advance the evangelicals’ theocratic ambitions. The consensus among the evangelical extremist sect is that the RNC:  “Should be doing even more care and feeding of the evangelical base.” Brody quoted renowned conservative political consultant Dave Carney saying:

Liberals are motivated by their blind hatred of the president” Trump and Republicans will have to motivate a higher evangelical turnout this year to overcome what’s building on the Left.”

There is hatred of Trump on the Left, and it was developed before Trump’s poorly-attended inauguration, but it is borne of regard for preserving America as a secular democracy, concern for the plight of minorities, women, the environment, and the rule of law. There is nothing whatsoever “blind” driving the animus and growing opposition to a racist and corrupt megalomaniac destroying America.

Of course there is momentum on “the Left,” but it always appears there is momentum for Democrats only to see Republicans gain seats in Congress and worse, in the states.  And it is noteworthy to mention that despite the unpopularity of Trump or Republicans for that matter, the religious right was more than devoted to support a filthy sinner simply because he would allow a surrogate for the religious right theocrats, the Heritage Foundation,  provide a list of “Dominionist approved” nominees to serve on the federal courts at all levels.

All elections are crucial and there are always severe consequences for the over-confidence typically borne of predictions and popularity polls that predict victory; but they nearly always fail to factor in the theocratic voting bloc. Those evangelical voters would willingly vote for Satan the Devil if he was a Republican and pledged to impose god, the Christian bible, more guns, and the Aryan agenda on the people and their government — the goal of Dominionist Christians. Anyone who does not believe that to be true obviously was in a coma during the 2016 general election campaign for the presidency; the 2016 election demonstrated beyond dispute that no matter how evil a candidate, the religious right will vote for them unconditionally if they pledge fealty to the theocratic mission.

Now that they see a real Blue Wave threat to their congressional majority, and theocratic agenda, the various sects adhering to Christian Dominionists’ agenda will show up at the polls en masse, and they will campaign with a sense of urgency from the pulpit courtesy of their sinful facilitator Trump. That urgency is something our side nearly always seems to lack  — likely because they’ve been fed fake news that the impending Blue Wave is unstoppable.

It’s Trump who shouldn’t be in America, not Black athletes

There was a time in America, for a significant couple of centuries, that anyone who wanted to come to America was allowed, no welcomed, to emigrate and stay. In fact that welcoming sentiment was enshrined on the Statue of Liberty and it signified what B-movie actor Ronald Reagan claimed was how the world’s people should view America; “as a shining city on a hill …  open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here.”

That sentiment, like much of what actually used to make America exceptional among nations, has proven to be anathema to Donald Trump. It is why he has aligned himself with xenophobes, nativists, and Aryan acolytes. Since before Trump’s poorly attended inauguration, he singled out several non-Aryan groups that he implied are not welcomed in America. Now he has added another group to his list of “undesirables,” United States citizens who are also African American athletes. And it is remarkable that Trump believes those Black athletes should not be allowed in America simply because they celebrate America by exercising their constitutional right of free expression and freedom of speech; it is what Trump claims is an abominable display of anti-American sentiment.

Trump made his patently unAmerican remark about Black athletes after the National Football League obeyed Trump and announced it would “discipline” any player who dared exercise their constitutional right to kneel in protest during the singing of the National Anthem prior to the contest. Of course the NFL regularly “disciplines” its players for all manner of “infractions” such as wearing the wrong shoes, overly zealous celebrations, and using banned drugs; it is their game and they get to make the rules. But disciplining athletes for expressing their outrage over the mistreatment and shooting of unarmed African Americans is a signal to Trump that the the NFL owners will to do his bidding; it is an action they will live to regret. Obviously, protesting violence against African Americans does not impact an athletes performance, or display animosity towards America, its Veterans, or that  tri-colored piece of cloth; so the NFL’s actions are not founded on anything other than pacifying Trump.

Although Trump sort of praised the NFL for threatening its players with fines for exercising their First Amendment rights, he was irritated that “the League” allowed the players to “sit out” the National Anthem in the locker room instead of taking a knee as a form of protest. Remember, Trump did say the NFL should get the African American “sons-of-bitches” off the field if they wanted to act like an American citizen and exercise their constitutional rights, but his real sentiment came out when he said”

You have to stand proudly for the national anthem—or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.”

Trump’s “long-running quest to stop Black athletes from protesting peacefully” became a cause célèbre among his adherents because there are just enough racist Americanswho believe in Trump’s attempt to “compel patriotism” as he defines it. However, no small number of Americans have rightly noted that there is nothing as patriotic as those African American athletes exercising their First Amendment right to protest the patently unconstitutional practice of discrimination against Black Americans by some law enforcement officials.

It is true that this issue highlights that there are some people who shouldn’t be allowed in America, but the first people that come to mind are Donald J. Trump and his boot-licking little preacher Mike Pence; two Republicans condemning Black athletes for exercising their constitutional rights. Pence and Trump believe that protesting racial injustice is attacking America, Veterans, a nationalistic song and a flag. And speaking of the Constitution, Trump shouldn’t be allowed to be in America because he is opposed to the nation’s founding document to the point of calling it “bad for the American people and really bad for the country.” This is after he swore a “so help me god” oath on two bibles to uphold, defend, and support the document he holds in contempt; Trump shouldn’t be allowed to be in America, much less in the White House.

It is no great secret that Trump “holds democratic norms, culture, laws, and institutions in contempt,” or that he is doing everything in his power to become an honest-to-dog tyrannical dictator. And in no small measure, his dictatorial aspirations are borne of his fervent support from racists who are more than willing to support an authoritarian tyrant is he promises to fulfill their dream of crushing dissent and making America white.

No American should believe for any amount of Planck-time that Trump’s attempt to crush dissent is going to stop with African American athletes; and that is all his faux outrage about kneeling during the National Anthem entails – squashing dissent. Authoritarians cannot exist with any amount of dissent and Trump knows this well; he may be a moron but he has studied Adolf Hitler and revered no small number of modern-day tyrants.

He assailed peaceful protests against racism and fascism as an assault on America, and he even informed Great Britain’s Prime Minister that unless she promises to stop protests against him, he will not visit America’s closest ally. His perpetual assault on the free press is founded in squashing dissent and nothing else. There is no doubt that if the media were cheering his every word and deed, he would bestow honors on them. But they are reporting the truth and in Trump’s vile mind the truth is dissent against him and he is not going to tolerate it.

If anyone does not belong in America it is Donald Trump; not African American athletes exercising their First Amendment rights. Those athletes were protesting racial injustice and discrimination against other American citizens; precisely what many people naturally regard as “being good Americans.” Trump wouldn’t know what being a good American involves any more than the Sun will set in the East, and it more than disqualifies him from living in the White House; it disqualifies him from being in America.

Rex Tillerson warns military graduates of Trump’s “threat to democracy”

Since Trump’s poorly attended inauguration there have been precious few Republicans with the decency, or devotion to America, to condemn what they know is the clear and present danger of a lying fascist, and corrupt miscreant officially occupying the White House. There are a few theories regularly bandied about regarding why Republicans still support Trump when they know he is as corrupt as any Colombian drug kingpin or Mafia don, and all of them are plausible and likely contribute to why Republicans still support a crook.

With little opposition from Republicans, Trump has the entire GOP and conservative movement working in concert to demean and attack America’s federal law enforcement agencies and Department of Justice officials for doing their jobs. It is exactly what one expects from a criminal syndicate, which is what Trump has transformed Washington into with only a couple of resigning Republicans condemning the lying criminal and threat to democracy.

It would be refreshing if just one of the Republicans criticizing Trump was not making an exit from Washington politics, but any Republican condemnation is better than nothing at this point. In former Exxon Mobil CEO and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s case, his rebuke of Trump after being unceremoniously terminated via Tweet is not only welcomed, it is incredibly spot on. To Tillerson’s credit, he did call dumb Donnie a “fucking moron” while he was leading the State Department, but he should have expanded on the “fucking moron” theme while he was in office and called out Trump for being a dirty liar lacking any sense of ethics or integrity who is a threat to America.

While giving a commencement address last week at the Virginia Military Institute, Tillerson warned the graduating cadets that America’s democracy is being “threatened by a growing crisis of ethics and integrity.” Mr. Tillerson continued thus without ever mentioning Trump by name;

If our leaders seek to conceal the truth, or we as people become accepting of alternative realities that are no longer grounded in facts, then we as American citizens are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom.”

Tillerson also warned that even the “small falsehoods and exaggerations” are problematic:

When we as people, a free people, go wobbly on the truth even on what may seem the most trivial matters, we go wobbly on America. If we do not as Americans confront the crisis of ethics and integrity in our society and among our leaders in both the public and private sector — and regrettably at times even the nonprofit sector (churches) — then American democracy as we know it is entering its twilight years.”

Tillerson ended his address with a warning, and sound advice, to the graduating cadets as they prepare to enter the world:

Carefully consider the values and the culture of the organizations in which you seek to work. Look for employers who set high standards for ethical conduct.”

There was more to Tillerson’s address than just defaming Trump for creating an unethical cesspool in Washington, but it too was a not-so-subtle poke at Trump’s alleged expertise on international trade as well as the fascist habit of inciting hatred and contempt from America’s allies and trading partners. In what was deemed a “notable defense” of free trade and economic growth, Tillerson said:

Every nation has a right to aspire to a better quality of life, and that free trade and economic growth are the means by which opportunity is created for all people.”

That comment was as direct a reference to Trump as possible without mentioning his filthy name. And it carried weight coming from a man who was on the inside of a corrupt administration with an intimate insight into the head criminal; the punk who backs out of international agreements and then imposes “billions of dollars in tariffs on rivals and allies alike, and uses ‘America First’ as the official government’s guiding principle.”

Tillerson may not be an official member of “the resistance,” but he did as well as can be expected for a Republican and former Trump insider. He warned that “citizens must demand that America’s future be fact-based, not based on wishful thinking, not hoped-for outcomes made in shallow promises, but with a clear eyed view of the facts as they are and guided by the truth that will set us free to seek solutions to our most daunting challenges.”

There can be little doubt that Tillerson’s speech was tailored to warn the graduating class of allowing this particularly corrupt administration to continue unimpeded. It is interesting that Tillerson had to “regrettably” mention that the “non-profit sector” is just as unethical and mendacious as Trump. He could only have been referring to extremist evangelical non-profits that support Trump solely because they share a seemingly innate ability to lie and cheat for personal profit, power, and self-deification.

It is a shame that Tillerson waited until after he was out of Trump’s inner circle to lay waste to all things Trump. It gives the illusion that his remarks are borne of sour grapes at being fired by tweet. However, with the dearth of Republicans willing to call a spade a spade, or Trump a dirty lying corrupt thug, Mr. Tillerson’s rebuke of Trump is noteworthy. And although it was not as blunt as calling him a “fucking moron,” it was a relatively accurate portrayal of a piece of white trash who is so incapable of decency that he wouldn’t recognize integrity if it hit him in his bloated orange face.

Now DeVos wants separation of church and state in the “ash heap of history”

Despite what evangelical know-nothings the current administration is overflowing with claim incessantly, the intent of the Founding Fathers and Constitution’s Framers is crystal clear regarding the “wall of separation” between church and state. Thomas Jefferson famously said in his second explanation of what the religious clauses in the First Amendment mean that,“No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever.”

In Trump’s “cesspool” administration, far too many evangelicals from Mike “preacher” Pence to J. Beauregard Sessions to that nasty “B” DeVos person, the idea of “not compelling” all Americans to support religious places is an affront to evangelical zealots and patently unconstitutional; and according to DeVos it needs to be “assigned to the ash heap of history.”

Seriously, this idea of abolishing the “separation” clause is only being proposed openly by the Trump theocrats because the media, almost all media, and Democrats are too terrified of ever alerting the American people that their government is being hijacked by a minority of the population made up of evangelical extremists with the undying support of Republicans. As this column has stated over two-hundred times over the past twelve years; it is not against any federal or state law to cite the unconstitutionality of allowing evangelical zealots to force their bastardized version of Christianity on the people.

Even though it is brutally painful for a secular humanist and two decade-long educator to see Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ name in print, or her face in an image because of the horrors she represents, it was with no great pleasure to learn that there is yet another DeVos theocratic atrocity to comment on. And like everything that DeVos and her evangelical ilk represent, it is a struggle to comment without getting downright nasty; especially when her latest outrage is a major threat to America as it has existed for 238 years.

Some Americans are aware that DeVos openly claimed her intent as Education Secretary is to change American culture in ways that more rapidly advance her god’s kingdom, but they may not be aware that she and her wealthy and powerful friends intend on meeting their 2020 “deadline for restoring religion and Judeo-Christian values under the Constitution.” It is a goal that requires deleting the Amendment in the Constitution that forbids the government from “imposing” any religion on the people; or compelling the people to “support religious worship, places, and ministries.”  It is why DeVos and her evangelical cabal want the Constitution’s “Establishment and Separation” clauses “assigned to the ash heap of history.”

DeVos made the not-so-stunning remark after spending two days visiting some schools in New York and then addressing an evangelical-corporate outfit, the Alfred E. Smith Foundation. It is noteworthy, but not atypical for DeVos, that during her two-day visit to New York schools, she  spent the entirety of her taxpayer-funded time “officially” visiting private religious schools; she refused to set foot into any of the public schools the agency she runs is tasked with overseeing and assisting.

In defending her intent to shift even more taxpayer money intended for public schools to private, for-profit, religious schools, DeVos lashed out at the so-called “Blaine Amendment” founded on the Separation and Establishment Clauses in the Constitution’s First Amendment.

The Blaine Amendment is the law of the land in 38 states that were intelligent enough to know that unless there is a clear state Constitution prohibition on robbing public school funding to pay for private religious instruction, the stinking evangelicals would attempt to skirt around the U.S. Constitution; something that is occurring regularly in Republican controlled states.

The Blaine Amendment simply forbids “direct government aid to educational institutions that have a religious affiliation.”

DeVos used her speech to the religious-corporate “non-profit” group to rail against what she considers an atrocity of biblical proportions; not allowing religious parents to rob public school funds to send their children to private, for-profit, religious schools.

The nasty piece of work said:

I know very well there are powerful interests that want to deprive families their God-given freedom. I know that those sycophants of ‘the system’ have kept legislators here from enacting a common-sense program that would open options to thousands of kids in need.”

Then she cited last year’s atrocious Supreme Court ruling, Trinity Lutheran v. Comer,allowing a church to rob public money for its playground as why abolishing 38 states’ Blaine Amendments is something the new theocracy has to do quickly in order to legally rob public school funding for private religious schools. She screeched:

As many of you know, the Supreme Court ruled in last year’s Trinity Lutheran case that it was unconstitutional for a playground restoration program funded by state-taxpayers to exclude a school ‘simply because of what it is – a church.’ These amendments should be assigned to the ash heap of history.

The dirty evangelical comment is tantamount to saying that the Separation and Establishment Clauses of the First Amendment are destined for the “ash heap of history.” There is also the issue of another hypocritical Republican who regularly champions the States Rights when it contradicts federal law; unless it interferes with an agenda Republicans won’t comport. In this case those Blaine Amendments are founded on the U.S. Constitution so there is no “conflict.”  The only problem for the theocracy advocates is that those Amendments don’t allow the likes of DeVos to steal even more taxpayer dollars to fund religion.

There has been chapter and verse written about DeVos’ intent to decimate the public school system, including the Department of Education she leads. That was verified by a Dominionist Christian group with close ties to DeVos that devised what sane Americans would call “an alarming report” demanding the immediate end of the Education Department and a federal mandate promoting Christianity in “public schools.”

The report, an honest-to-dog evangelical manifesto, was handed to Trump and DeVos less than a month after Trump’s poorly attended inauguration. The Council for National Policy’s orders to Trump and DeVos were clear: “Restore education in America in accordance with historic Judeo-Christian principles.”  Translation: decimate public schools and create a system of taxpayer-funded evangelical madrassas with the Christian bible as curriculum.

Of course DeVos was already a major player and committed acolyte of the Council for National Policy organization, and Trump duly followed its orders in his first address to a joint session of Congress pledging his intent to provide all the taxpayer dollars necessary to fund private, for profit, religious schools; and this was after his call to drastically slash funding for the public schools system.

Look, this is getting serious rapidly and there seems to be little-to-no urgency to respond to America lurching towards an evangelical theocracy. It is true, of course, that religious Republicans have long advocated robbing the public schools to enrich the private religious school industry, but this is the first time anyone in a position like DeVos actually advocated sending the separation clause to the ash heap of history. It is true that Mike “preacher” Pence and J. Beauregard Sessions have called the Separation of Church and State patently “unconstitutional” and an unhistorical concept; but even those two evangelical maniacs have not called for deleting a major part of the First Amendment.

Although DeVos did not, in fact, call for sending the actual 1st Amendment to the ash heap of history, her call to abolish 38 states’ constitutional provisions founded on the First Amendment’s “wall of separation” informs that she and her dirty evangelical cohort will not rest until anything preventing a theocratic coup d’état, such as the First Amendment, is abolished and sent to the ash heap of history.

Image: Patheos

400-year-old trees cut down with blessings of Trump’s BLM

It is fair to claim that Republicans have done nothing positive for the American people over the past couple of decades at least; what can be termed “in the public interest” is of no use to Republicans. In fact, it is also a fair claim that Republicans have been relentless in taking away anything good about America no matter how popular or beneficial it is to the population, or how long it has been a crucial part of America.

With Trump in the White House, Republicans have been on a tear attacking anything of interest to the people, but it is not all down to dunce Don Trump. Republicans have crusaded, often in the shadows, to abolish decades-old programs created specifically for the people such as Social Security, workplace protections, social safety nets, financial regulations and anything remotely connected to FDR’s New Deal.

According to Republicans, and now Trump, there is nothing in or about America worth protecting or preserving any longer whether it is the New Deal, public land, or a 400 year old stand of trees on public, federally protected land, Nothing is sacred to Republicans or Trump if it involves the “public interest,” and a travesty in Oregon is a clarion call for action to preserve Americans’ land and their natural, national treasures.

Since Trump’s poorly attended inauguration, there has been a concerted effort to sate the land and natural resources lust of Utah Mormons and the Koch brothers who are funding the GOP’s “public land grab” for their vast lumber, mining, and fossil fuel industries’ profits. This raping and pillaging of the public’s land did not begin with Trump or his dirty Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke; it has been as important to the fossil fuel, mining, and lumber industries as the drive to wipe out the Environmental Protection Agency.  In fact, over that past few years, Republicans have enthusiastically embraced Mormon Cliven Bundy’s crusade to seize the public’s land and it is no coincidence that Trump went to Utah first to deliver precisely what the Utah Mormon’s have demanded for years – possession of federally protected public lands.

Before commenting on why there is a tiny minority of the population vehemently opposed to the concept of “public land,” and who is behind the highly-unpopular “land grab,” it is worth noting why this new policy of giving public land over to corporate interests is an atrocity.

Earlier in the month in Oregon, a private lumber company senselessly  wiped out a stand of 400-year-old trees on the public’s land. As noted by conservationists, some of the trees were old-growth cedars and Douglas firs and cannot be brought back anytime within the next two or three centuries. To make the matter that much more infuriating, the trees “were” home to an endangered species, the Northern Spotted Owl. And the denuding occurred without the public’s knowledge or input.

And just in case the public did discover what was about to transpire, Trump’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) allowed the private timber company, Lone Rock Resources, to build gates to keep the public and the media from even approaching the public’s land. Local residents were not amused and complained that the entire affair was done behind closed doors; likely because the outrage and protests would have been robust.

One outraged group on Facebook fairly summed up the entire process that is going to be occurring regularly in Trump’s America to sate Utah Mormons, Republicans, and the Koch brothers. The group rightly said:

Your public lands are being handed away behind closed doors without your say so, and regardless of protest.”

The regional director for a conservation group, Cascadia Wildlands, stated how outrageous of an insult, and serious assault on natural treasures, this action was:

It’s very rare to find old-growth forests like this, and it’s going to be cut down for a senseless road.”

The private lumber company needed a “senseless road” to easily access a few acres of plantation land it intends to  clear cut (denude}, so it “legally” wiped out a stand of “rare” old-growth trees with the blessings of Trump’s Interior Department. The issue isn’t only the blatant disregard for trees older than America, or wiping out the habitat of an endangered species of owl, or that Trump’s BLM under Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is keeping the public unawares that their lands, and their natural resources, are being decimated to profit a private enterprise. It is that it is being done on the public’s land and against the public’s wishes; all to profit a private company. And although that land won’t be “public ” much longer, no groups will be happier than Utah Mormons and the Koch brothers. And it is not just this author’s opinion either. And no, there is no author bias against Mormons; just their belief that the federal government cannot own and protect the public’s land.

Some Americans may recall that the main complaint of Mormon extremist Cliven Bundy of the infamous “Bundy Ranch Standoff” was what he called the abomination of “public land” under protection of the land’s owner, the federal government. That “standoff” incited Republicans to join the Mormon and Koch brothers crusade to force the federal government to cede its ownership of protected “public lands” to Republican controlled states to sell off to private interests.

Republican governors and members of Congress jumped at the opportunity to aid the Bundy Mormons’ demand that the federal government immediately cede ownership of all national forests and public lands to the states; going so far as anointing Bundy as a true American hero and patriot. Bundy’s bent about the federal government owning land was, and still is, a longstanding issue with Mormons. But Republicans joined the fight to aid the Koch brothers.

In fact, Republicans would likely write and pass legislation forcing the government to hand over its land directly to the Koch brothers, but that may raise suspicions among Americans that Utah Mormons and Republicans in Congress exist to enrich the Koch brothers. It is particularly true since several Utah Republicans have cultivated a reputation as honest-to-dog “public lands enemies.”

Where the Mormon’s believe their god-given destiny is taking all land in the West, the Kochs believe they are destined to take all of the nation’s natural resources; no matter whose land it is. As Christine Colbert confessed in an opinion piece for the Washington Post, Mormons believe religiously that their crusade to force the federal government to relinquish ownership of the public’s land is simply “an effort to ‘take back’ what they believe is rightfully theirs.” Based on the staggering amount of money the Kochs are investing in the Utah Republicans’ land grab agenda, they obviously believe the nation’s natural resources are “rightfully theirs.”

This land grab, and decimation of the public’s national treasures, is a highly unpopular proposal. To belabor the point, last year Zinke’s EPA solicited public comments hoping to find that most Americans were like Utah Mormons, but he discovered that 98 percent of respondents were not only favorable about keeping public land, monuments and national parks as they are now, they “favored” expanding them. Shortly after learning of the public’s favorable opinion about their federal land, Zinke went directly and recommended that Trump modify (read shrink) at least 10 National Parks and Monuments.

Now, if anyone is curious about which demographic makes up the 2 percent of the population opposed to public lands, parks and monuments, consider that Mormons in America make up 1.7 percent of the population. It is likely no stretch of the imagination that the remaining 3-tenths of one percent are in the mining, lumber and fossil fuel business. As noted by people keeping score, it is primarily the Mormons and Koch brothers driving the GOP’s land grab agenda and plans to sell off federal land, national parks and monuments to private enterprise.

Some Americans may think cutting down 400-year old “natural monuments” is no big deal, even if it was to profit a private timber company. But what happened in Oregon is already in the works across the nation and along its coastlines. There are big plans to begin mining highly-toxic uranium in Utah and the Grand Canyon, and besides despoiling Americans’ land, threatening their health and their national treasures, the plans will primarily benefit a Canadian uranium producer, Energy Fuels. It is unclear if Energy Fuels is following China’s and other foreign nations’ lead and bribing Trump for favors, but it is not out of the realm of possibility whatsoever.

Look, the public lands, national parks, monuments, and wilderness areas belong to all Americans; it is one of the things that really “made America great” because they benefit all the people. But what the people want is of no consequence to Trump, Republicans, Utah Mormons or the Koch brothers; especially if it is beneficial to all the people. In fact, it almost appears that Republicans are crusading to take the public’s land and hand it over to corporate ownership simply because the overwhelming majority of people have a highly-favorable opinion of their public land. But the truth is that there is big money for the Kochs, and religious satisfaction for the Mormons; neither will be sated until they have stolen the entirety of Americans’ lands to rape and pillage at their pleasure.