God Is Not A Surrogate For Sane Gun Measures

The Florida legislature did a fine job distinguishing itself as a dispassionate group of cretins this week by refusing to debate a ban on the kind of weapon used in the Valentine’s Day Massacre about a week ago. Florida Republicans failed to give the state’s students a modicum of consideration concerning their safety, but they succeeded in declaring that pornography is a public health risk to Floridians. That action alone should inform exactly what the Florida legislature’s priorities are regarding public safety. To further distinguish itself as out of touch with reality, the legislature’s lower chamber came through for the terrified massacre survivors with an action that will have no effect on public safety or school gun violence – invoking god.

In an overwhelming majority vote, the Florida house passed legislation putting god in all Florida schools because of the recent gun massacre and legislative inaction on school safety.  The final vote count was 97-10 and the numbers elicited a standing ovation from proud members of the Florida House.

The bill, H.B. 839, requires all public schools in the state to post a sign, “In God We Trust, in a conspicuous place” to bring a little light into the Sunshine state’s public schools and administration buildings. The bill’s sponsor, Representative Kimberly Daniels, is a Jacksonville Democrat who operates her own global Christian ministry and said the state’s public schools needed some god signs in light of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High gun massacre last week, and the legislature’s inaction on gun safety.

No doubt the massacre survivors will feel comforted that their representatives couldn’t be bothered to give them some consideration in restricting assault weapons, but they could damn sure declare that porn is dangerous and then vote to force a stupid god sign on the schools. Ms. Daniels explained why Florida desperately needed god signs in every school after a mass shooting. She said:

He [apparently god] is not a Republican or a Democrat. He is not black or white. He is the light, and our schools need light in them like never before.”

Daniels spoke directly to the school shooting and admitted that it’s no secret that the state has gun issues that must be addressed. She voted to move the assault weapon ban to the House floor for debate, but she was on the losing side – so she naturally thought the alternative is a god sign. The idea of substituting a “god sign” for action on assault weapons cannot be encouraging for Florida students reaching out to their representatives for help in making schools safe; particularly when those politicians are feigning regard for the students’ “hearts” and the public’s health threat from pornography. Daniels explained what is really important to aid the students.

The real thing that needs to be addressed are issues of the heart. We cannot put god in a closet when the issues we face are bigger than us.”

Ms. Daniels also talked about video games that train children to become virtual assassins, and that things are getting so bad that maybe people will finally “come to realize that problems are much bigger than politics.”

So apparently when the only Americans capable of putting the brakes on the NRA gun proliferation crusade fail to protect the population, because that problem is “bigger than politics,” they appeal to god. It sounds suspiciously like every insipid Republican calling for “thoughts and prayers” after every mass shooting, and it is exactly like every stinking religious right sycophant blaming school violence on the lack of god, bible and prayer in public schools.

This god business as a prophylactic against gun violence is just a monumental abomination, particularly so coming from a Democrat. For dog’s sake, putting up god signs is not going to stop angry white people from using firearms to kill innocents anyplace, much less in public schools. Perhaps Ms. Daniels, like no small number of evangelical fanatics, fails to recall that there were god signs, god books (bibles), god images (crosses), and all manner of “heavenly” icons in plain sight in the two Christian churches ravaged by gun violence. And it is beyond refute that those gun victims put all their trust in their god while they were in their god’s alleged houses; and yet they were still viciously massacred.

One of the 10 representatives to vote against an unconstitutional measure actually condemned the bill for exactly the right legal reason; it violates the 1st Amendment’s Establishment and Separation Clauses.  Representative Carlos G. Smith said on Twitter what should have informed every member of the Florida House’s vote on the god sign bill.

Let’s keep a clear separation between church + state. Forcing our public schools to post “In God We Trust” in a conspicuous place is inappropriate. I don’t care if it was a Democrat who sponsored the bill. I vote based on core values, not party lines.”

Mr. Smith is right, of course, about the unconstitutionality of legislating god in public places, especially in schools. But he would have been “more right” if he had also condemned the god signage as surrogate for action on assault weapons, which is what this ‘in god we trust’ business is really all about. It is also another dangerous step in forcing religion on the public by legislative fiat, and it is despicable for using the gun massacre as cover for an unconstitutional action advancing theocracy.

The survivors of the school massacre have an abundance of reasons to be incensed at their Florida representatives. It was insulting enough that the legislature refused to consider debating a ban on the kind of weapon used in the shooting to stop a clear and present public health risk, while officially declaring that pornography is a real serious health threat to Florida residents. But overwhelmingly voting to force schools to post god signs “to address issues that are bigger than politics” is beyond insulting. It is a personal affront to the survivors and the victims’ families; many who already trusted in a god while an angry man with an assault weapon slaughtered their friends and teachers.

Image: Patheos

There Is Only One Solution To America’s Mass Shooting Epidemic

By all accounts, the past week in 21st Century America was as normal as the Sun appearing to rise in the East and set in the West. Seriously, there was the run-of-the-mill news that Russians interfered in the 2016 election on behalf of Trump, Trump told a rash of lies, and then some high school students and their teachers were massacred in their school by a Trump supporter with easy access to several battlefield weapons.

As if to punctuate just how normal the week with another mass shooting really was, no small number of Republicans predictably responding with calls for thoughts and supplication to their god (prayers) to comfort the shooting victims and their families, and to blame people with mental health issues for another mass shooting and gun massacre; even though mental health is not the culprit.

The prayers and calls to address mental health will barely lasted another week, if that, and then it is back to awaiting the next mass shooting, the next batch of Republican calls to prayer, and of course the next round of calls to address mental illness. Oh, and to make the week of a mass shooting particularly normal, Republicans were perfectly normal in never addressing guns and it brings up a couple of issues Americans who are sick and tired of the “normal” never address.

First, it is high time for sane human beings to stop blaming and attacking the National Rifle Association for a very fundamental reason; the national gun lobby does not have the ability to pass or obstruct any kind of gun safety legislation. Everyone is aware that the NRA campaigns for Republicans, and they give those Republicans campaign donations, and they keep a gun-zealot “report card” to use against Republicans who would dare to oppose the NRA agenda.

But the truth is that the National Rifle Association is not an elected representative and does not get to cast one vote in the House or Senate for or against gun safety legislation any more than the Koch brothers get to cast even one vote for tax cuts or legislation ending environmental regulations. Those votes are the sole responsibility of Republicans.

At this point, it is important to remind gun safety advocates that the only Americans with the ability to address gun violence and pass sane gun safety regulations at the national level are Republicans in Congress; Democrats have mostly supported basic gun safety regulations. To be fair, Republicans are only able to protect the NRA and gun fanatics because they continue winning elections and it raises another issue that defies logic. If there is such overwhelming support for the most basic gun safety regulations, then why in dog’s name do those same Americans continue voting for Republicans who are religiously opposed to regulating guns?

Studies show that over 90 percent of the population supports a universal background check to purchase firearms, and nearly 70 percent support a ban on battlefield assault weapons like those used in the past three mass shootings. And yet a fair majority of those same people vote for Republicans even as they pander to the gun lobby at the same level they pander to evangelical fanatics.

It is true that the only means of addressing gun violence in America is evicting Republicans from Congress and state legislatures because they always vehemently oppose and block gun laws and regulations. However, they would not be blocking what most Americans apparently want, sane gun safety measures, if those same Americans were not voting to keep them in power. Any effort to address the gun violence in this country begins and ends with getting religious fanatics and bigots to stop sending Republicans to Washington to continue the gun proliferation crusade only they can stop.

The latest massacre has also brought out the typical response from gun safety advocates that will eventually fade from the population’s memory. A rash of petitions, a campaign to “call your congressional representatives” and demand action, and appeals for money to fight the National Rifle Association are the big thing immediately after every typical gun massacre and the Florida massacre is no different. Those responses, although well-meaning, have proven to be every stinking bit as ineffective as the Republican calls for “thoughts and prayers” for the victims and their families.

This latest massacre has brought something new in that the student survivors are calling for mass protests, marches, sit-ins and student walkouts that may make the people feel like they are doing something constructive. But like thoughts and prayers, petitions, and donation requests, they will not influence even one Republican to support sane gun safety legislation. At best, the only real hope going forward is that voters, particularly half-sane Republican voters, will get the message that their political party is solely responsible for the NRA’s success at putting more guns, especially assault weapons, on American streets and in American schools. The only way to shut down the NRA, and begin bringing some sanity to the gun debate, is getting Republicans out of Congress and state legislatures.

Republicans are as terrified of inflaming their gun zealot base as they are the NRA or there would have been action on reducing gun violence immediately after any one of the “normal” mass shootings plaguing America. The only possibility of actually addressing gun violence and the gun proliferation crusade is evicting Republicans from power because every other approach has proven futile. That was made perfectly clear this week in Florida.

Despite their state making national headlines for another mass shooting with an assault weapon, Florida’s Republican controlled legislature rejected an attempt at banning assault rifles like the one used in the most recent massacre. With the massacre less than a week old and with survivors of the massacre present in the legislative chamber, Republicans put a quick end to any effort to ban assault weapons in Florida. Notice it was Republicans, not the NRA and not Trump, who voted against the assault weapon ban in the same manner it was Republicans and nasty right-wing maniacs who launched a smear campaign against the mass shooting survivors. However, Trump’s son did, in fact, join in the smear campaign even while it is reported he is advising dirty Don Sr. on gun policy.

Look, there should not be a need for a giant concerted effort to address the gun violence plaguing America, but since there is a pressing need it is imperative to make that effort effective; and it begins and ends with getting Republicans out of power. Even criticizing Trump, although satisfying, will not impress on Republicans in Congress and state legislatures that Americans want sane gun safety laws to protect American citizens. If the head of the Executive Branch could wave a magic wand and ban assault weapons or enact universal background checks for gun purchases, President Barack Obama would have taken action and solved the issue years ago. It is only Republicans in Congress and state legislatures who are blocking an effort to address gun violence and since they have demonstrated that they will never take action then they have to be sent packing.

If the current movement continues gaining momentum, then it is crucial that the effort targets the only people who can actually address this pressing issue – Republicans. Of course the NRA is a vile organization, but it is not capable of casting one vote against sane gun safety laws in the House or Senate, only Republicans are. Americans are not really serious about addressing the epidemic of gun massacres unless they make Republicans the focus of any concerted effort and evict them from power with extreme prejudice; if that effort fails there will be no change whatsoever.

Koch Republicans Inch Closer Towards Replacing the Constitution

In a nation governed by a supreme law of the land, a “law” every politician recites a “so help me god” oath to support and defend, it is a sad state that the political party running the government rejects that “supreme law” out of hand. Even worse, since Trump’s poorly attended inauguration, more Republicans are coming out against the U.S. Constitution with no outrage among the population. The party’s standard bearer, dirty Don Trump, boldly claimed the “supreme law” is bad for Americans and “archaic” to set the stage for Republicans to create a new modern law of the land. As of late, an increasing number of Republicans claim their truly archaic religious rule book, or some bastardized interpretation of it, supersedes the law of the land; anything in the Constitution stating otherwise is “unconstitutional.”

It is unfortunate, but the number of politicians dreaming of abolishing the U.S. Constitution for a new set of “god-bestowed” laws includes the entirety of the Republican Party; the Koch brothers have been greatly increasing their already very substantial funding for the campaign to “rebirth the Constitution.” This movement has been in the works for a long time, and of course the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has been instrumental in the crusade to transform the current Constitution into a document amenable to the demands of the libertarian Kochs and Christian Dominionists. The movement became mainstream in GOP circles when the RNC included an entire section devoted to creating a new evangelical and Koch-friendly constitution in its official 2016 platform.

Of course then, like now, many Americans claim a Republican platform is just a “guideline,” or wish-list of their Utopian vision of more perfect GOP Union. But they are well beyond a “guideline” and well on their way towards “replacing” the U.S. Constitution. Like Americans’ apathy at the creeping theocracy threatening their way of life,  there is little to no outrage or abject fear in the population at the demise of the document that informs this nation.

There is a concerted, and very well-funded, crusade among Republican-controlled states to be proactive in anticipating the addition of 5 states to successfully call for a constitutional convention. The requirement to convene a constitutional convention is 34 states and exactly a year ago Wyoming became the 29th state to pass a resolution “requesting a convention of the states”  to rewrite the law of the land.

There was little-to-no reporting about two weeks ago that another Republican state joined the others in passing an initiative to convene a constitutional convention to conform to the Koch brothers’ vision of America. In Iowa, the Senate passed “Joint Resolution 8” calling for a convention of the states to impose the Koch-libertarian-evangelical created Constitution on the American people.

This action is not by a rogue state or outlier by any stretch and if Republicans gain control of four or five more states, they will invoke Article 5 of the current Constitution and begin dismantling the administrative state (government). And because they intend to create a new constitution, they will enshrine protections to ensure the federal government will never return.

Iowa Republicans claim their intent is imposing “fiscal restraints” to limit federal government spending to only what Republicans want, and severely limit the authority and the jurisdiction of the federal judiciary and Congress. This is a common theme among the states’ “initiatives,” but as Bill Meyers noted, when Republicans states are the sole participants in “amending” the Constitution, they will not limit their efforts to one item and a “runaway convention” will be a certainty.

If Americans were aware of what the Kochs and evangelicals really intend for the new law of the land, they may wake up and revolt. But the population as a whole is inherently ignorant or we would not be on the brink of a new America and a two-bit corrupt celebrity would not be in the White House.

Of course the Kochs and evangelicals intend to have a federal government, but only to tax the people just enough to pay for an army, a federal police force, and the church. If any American doesn’t believe it, consider that “fiscal responsibility” is code for the Republicans’ long sought-after “balanced budget amendment.” Republicans will mandate a budget that cannot exceed tax revenue, and according to the earliest reporting on the recent and drastic revenue shortfall due to the Heritage Foundation’s tax reform, there will not even be enough budget to fund the military or federal police; of course “the church” funding has not been affected. Any part of government unrelated to waging wars or religion will have to be eliminated for lack of revenue according to the Koch’s libertarian agenda.

What may be worse is the insertion of what Republicans denote as “god” rights and laws. An excerpt from the 2016 RNC platform clearly portends an end to equal rights, religious freedom and signals the imposition of an evangelical theocracy as the law of the land. It says that the new “rebirthed” Constitution will guarantee:

That God bestows certain inalienable rights on every individual; that government exists first and foremost to protect those inalienable [god] rights; that man-made law must be consistent with God-given, natural rights; and that if God-given rights come in conflict with government, court, or human-granted rightsGod-given, natural, rights always prevail.” (author bold)

It doesn’t take a genius to notice the number of “god” references or that, as evangelical fanatics scream mercilessly, that “god” prevails over everything. What that means for a new America is that all laws will have to conform with “god” law and the concept of church-State separation will cease to exist. Republicans and evangelical leaders have claimed loudly that god created America and he is the law of the land and that absurd notion will be the new law of the land’s overriding theme. Those radical  evangelicals directing Republicans will not pass up a chance to make the Bible the constitution and America a Christian nation.

As Mr. Moyers points out, since Republicans states will convene the constitutional convention, they will have the right to set the rules and the agenda. That includes creating a new ratification process by reducing the number of states needed to approve the new Constitution and removing Congress from the approval process altogether. Republicans can, and will, reserve participation to Republican leaders and their corporate and evangelical advisors, and there is nothing any Supreme Court, U.S. Congress, or masses of people can do to stop them. In fact, there is even talk of the new Constitution allowing states to nullify any past, present or future Supreme Court ruling that the evangelical right or Republicans don’t consider valid or “god” approved. It would not be a shock if they just disband the federal judiciary and adhere to the Oathkeepers’ mentality and make the Constitutional sheriff the sole criminal justice system and arbiter of the law of the land.

Republicans are serious about transforming America and the Koch brothers and a few oligarchs provide unlimited funds, much of it dark money, to accomplish the dirty deed. Evangelicals do their part by supplying voters, and Trump created a perfect conduit for corporate money to influence elections through tax deductible church SuperPACs.

It is stunning that this truly existential threat to Americans’ way of life, and their nation as it has prospered for over 230 years, has progressed this far to actually become a terrifying reality. It is not pleasant to contemplate, but America’s days as a nation other country’s citizens admired are over. Sadly this pitiful country is only five Republican states away from officially being over as the Founding Fathers created it. Because without the current U.S. Constitution there is no United States of America. This like everything else happening to Americans was in the works long before Trump, but he has done his part by declaring the Constitution is “bad for America” to make the Kochs, evangelicals, and Republicans heroes for crusading to replace it.

Another Republican Theocrat Rejects Church State Separation

The U.S. Constitution demands that there is no religious test to serve in any government capacity as an elected office holder or employee and for good reason; America is not a theocracy. Despite clear language in the Constitution, and historical evidence from the Constitution’s Framers and Founding Fathers, no small number of Republicans still  insist that the Christian god rejected the Founders’ concept of “separation of church and state” when he created America. As forward thinking as the Founding Fathers and Framers were, they were remiss to envision a Christian political party that rejects the law of the land  out of hand and with veritable impunity.

If the Constitution’s Framers had as much foresight into the threat of elected officials flouting the law of the land as they did theocrats taking over government, they would have included a Constitutional literacy test in Article VI, Section 3. If they had required every candidate for office pass a constitutional literacy test,  the “no religious test clause” would have been unnecessary. Of course, Republicans are not yet demanding a religious test to run for office or work for the government, but there is an increasing number of them denying the validity of the 1st Amendment’s “separation clause” in their crusade to create an America governed by an evangelical theocracy.

The latest Republican theocrat, Steve Scalise, is claiming that he is horrified that some people believe the Founding Fathers and Constitution’s Framers were serious about keeping evangelicals from dictating policy and running the government.  Scalise joins all manner of evangelical leaders and historical revisionists who not only claim there is no such thing as separation of church and state, but that no politician is capable of separating church and state. It is an integral part of the Dominionist crusade to put religion, the evangelical religion, in government as the nation’s guiding force and the only barrier to their success is the 1st Amendment’s Establishment and Separation Clause.

It is true that Scalise is an evangelical freak of nature, but he is far from being an outlier in Republican ranks. For dog’s sake, the nation’s top law enforcement official, Attorney General Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions, has argued that the Establishment Claus and separation of church and state are “extra-constitutional doctrine” and a “recent thing that is unhistorical and unconstitutional.” (Author bold) According to “sermon” Sessions, and likely Steve Scalise, the Constitution’s prohibition on Congress legislating any religion was a devious machination of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to evict god, the Christian bible, the Ten Commandments and Jesus Christ out of government.

However, Thomas Jefferson explained precisely what the meaning of the Establishment Clause was in 1802, at least a century before the ACLU was even created. An honest-to-dog historical figure, Founding Father, and third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson wrote explicitly what the Establish Clause in the First Amendment actually means.

I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”

Nevertheless, a sitting United States congressman, like the current attorney general, claim that no politician can possibly separate church and state despite swearing a “so help me god” oath to support and defend the Constitution – including the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment. It is noteworthy to remind Scalise that if not for the Establish Clause he claims is invalid, he would be prohibited from exercising his particular brand of Christianity. It is only because America is a secular nation and only because the Constitution forbids the government establishment of a religion that Scalise can be a practicing Catholic.

Remember, America was actually settled and founded by Puritans who vehemently forbade any other religions or religious celebrations such as Christmas and Easter. Their religion also strictly adhered to the Old Testament that demanded punishment for other “neo-Americans” if they displayed graven images such as the cross, “Christmas trees,” the nativity scene, or images of Jesus. Without a secular Constitution, all Americans would be Puritans by law and anything those Puritans considered “pagan” would be strictly verboten. It is precisely why Thomas Jefferson explained to Danbury “Baptists” that they were protected under the secular Constitution and were allowed to worship as they pleased; in the same manner Scalise can worship according to Vatican dictates.

There have always been religious fanatics like Scalise, Sessions and preacher Pence and they were generally regarded as harmless freakoids. They are still fanatical religious freaks, but they are no longer harmless now that evangelical extremists control the government lock, stock and barrel. Of course the religious right and their fundamentalist malcontents are in the minority and everything they advocate for is highly unpopular with the majority, but they wield enormous influence over the majority party running all three branches of government.

It is important to note that these religious fanatics are unafraid of saying out loud exactly what their intent is now that they own power over the government. Remember that Trump’s ridiculously unqualified Education Secretary announced that she would use her Cabinet level position to “advance god’s kingdom” and there was no outrage whatsoever. Remember too, that the Department of Health and Human Services designated a single-celled organism a “person” worthy of full government protection and no-one as much as blinked. There has also been relative silence, and acquiescence from most Americans, at the outrage of Trump and House Republicans giving the religious right preferential treatment including authority to ignore the conditions necessary to be tax exempt as well as equal rights protections in the 14th Amendment.

Americans have enjoyed a Constitution that prevents religious imposition for so long  that they actually believe that protection cannot be abridged. And yet it seems like every couple of weeks since Trump’s poorly attended inauguration  there is another violation of the Separation and Establishment Clause.  Now another Republican is claiming that evangelicals cannot possibly, and will not, adhere to the Constitution and keep their church dogma out of government policy. That being the case they are disqualifying themselves from serving and it is damned high time the people evict them from government with extreme prejudice.

It is a sad fact of life, but Republicans are on the brink of imposing a theocratic government on the American people because there is a fear of confronting evangelicals in public or ever citing the preponderance of attacks on women, the U.S. Constitution, and the LGBTQ community are borne of religion. That cowardice in the face of a bloodless theocratic coup d’état will be the death of the nation the Founding Fathers created and put an ugly end to the Constitution they purposefully left god and religion out of.

Spending Bill Exposes Trump-Republican Hypocrisy and Contempt

As if Democrats lacked a growing number of memes and issues to win more than one safe congressional seat in the upcoming midterms, Republicans provided a stellar example of real conservatives’ priorities that should give even staunch Trump supporters reason to pause.

If there was only one overriding narrative throughout President Barack Obama’s eight-year tenure in the White House, it was that Republicans opposed spending even a penny on domestic programs nearly as much as they vehemently rejected adding even a penny to the deficit. Of course all that changed when a white bald guy moved in the White House. Republicans have exposed their single-most damning trait this past week and if Democrats fail to seize on it they are morons.

Although there has been a steady effort by Trump to defund and dismantle nearly every federal agency in the name of saving revenue and reducing debts, Republicans and Trump put an end to the idea that conservatives are concerned about debt and deficits; exactly like they did during the Reagan and W. Bush administrations. There are still no small number of congressional Republicans who are violently opposed to increasing the debt and deficits, unless it involves enriching corporations and the already wealthy.

Throughout the crusade to pass tax reform for the rich and corporations, some Democrats and plenty of pundits wondered what happened to the Republican deficit hawks that held the country’s economy hostage during the Obama Administration over raising the debt limit or deficit spending. It was well-reported, and admitted by Republicans, that the tax reform legislation they rushed through Congress would significantly increase the deficit. It was also well-reported that the primary beneficiaries of close to 90 percent of the deficit-raising tax cuts were the very rich and their corporations. That GOP legislation passed easily because giving the rich more wealth, despite adding trillions to the deficit, is just what Republicans do as a matter of course.

However, when Republicans acquiesced to a little domestic spending to give the military industrial complex more wealth and children healthcare, the fiscal hawks went ballistic. Democrats should not forget the tantrums of members of the House Freedom Caucus (teabaggers) or the so-called deficit hawks in the Senate as they campaign in the midterms.

By all accounts, save the gigantic increase in military spending and the gigantic void in addressing the fate of the so-called Dreamers, it appears the budget deal is about as good as Republicans will ever give. But even with an unwarranted amount of money for the military industrial complex (MIC), 67 Republican members of the House screamed bloody murder over the deficit after they just heaped trillions on the deficit on behalf of the rich.

In fact, more than deficit spending on domestic programs, members of the “Tea-Party-aligned Freedom Caucus left a closed-door meeting because the deal included raising the debt limit.” The Republicans swore they would vote against the deal because “the spending deal is disgusting and reckless,” and “hiking the debt limit is giving fiscal hawks heartburn.”

It is prescient to mention that it was Trump’s Treasury Department and the Republican Congressional Budget Office that called for raising the debt limit quickly because of the immediate revenue shortfall due to the just enacted Republican tax reform. It is the same tax reform that the same Republican deficit hawks voted for about a month ago, and it is a fact Democrats should not let voters forget going forward. Monumental deficits to enrich corporations and the wealthy are awesome, but a minor increase for the military and domestic social programs is “disgusting and reckless.”

The rank hypocrisy of so-called deficit hawks is beyond stunning and Democrats should beat that horse to death and then thrash it mercilessly leading up to the midterms. Republicans cheerfully voted to add trillions to the deficit for their wealthy donors’ enrichment, but considered it a personal affront to increase domestic and defense spending because it adds about three-hundred-billion to the deficit.

There was plenty of consternation and gnashing of teeth by the Freedom Caucus (teabaggers), but one in particular, Representative Mo Brooks (R-AL), fairly epitomized the GOP hypocrisy and fealty to the rich. Brooks told reporters that the spending bill was “a debt junkie’s dream and that I’m not only a no. I’m a Hell no.” Brooks continued exposing his party’s major flaw saying:

All I know is that unfortunately those who vote for this bill are betraying our country’s future and they are selling out our kids and our grandkids. I am baffled why the Republican Party has turned into such a big spending party. It is one thing to spend money; it is another thing to spend money you don’t have. No American family can operate that way; no American business can operate that way, and it is folly to believe that the United States of America can operate that way.”

Another “real conservative,” Representative Justin Amash called on the American people to speak out against spending on defense and domestic programs. He tweeted,  “I urge every American to speak out against this fiscal insanity.”

It is curious that Messrs. Amash and Brooks aren’t gagging on their own hypocrisy after voting for “fiscal insanity” to benefit the already wealthy and create a dangerous revenue shortfall in the process. Brooks is right, no family or business spends money they don’t have. If they want to spend more money than they have they simply bring in more revenue. Republicans are spending trillions on the rich and corporations and blowing up the deficit  they will never be capable of paying down because they drastically slashed the government’s only revenue source. It is, no matter how one assesses it, “fiscal insanity” and flagrant hypocrisy. At least on Republican Senator called out his party’s hypocrisy. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) said:

If you were against President Obama’s deficits, and now you’re for the Republican deficits, isn’t that the very definition of hypocrisy? I can’t in all good honesty, in all good faith, just look the other way because my party is now complicit in the deficits. I ran for office because I was very critical of President Obama’s trillion-dollar deficits. Now we have Republicans hand in hand with Democrats offering us trillion-dollar deficits. I can’t in all honesty look the other way.” (Author bold)

Now, it would be perfect if anything Senator Paul said had even a modicum of validity, and it was awfully big of the libertarian to call out his Republican cohort’s blatant hypocrisy. Except that it was awfully hypocritical of Rand Paul to criticize his fellow Republicans for piling money on the deficit when he stood on the Senate floor and called on those same Senate Republicans to vote for tax reform legislation they all knew was offering a  multi-trillion-dollar deficit increase. It is not entirely clear what kind of pejorative best fits a cretin like Rand Paul, but his hypocrisy in criticizing his hypocritical Republican cohort is something special indeed.

Democrats should make note of why the 67 House Republicans voted against the spending bill; because it contains $320 billion in deficit spending on defense and domestic programs. They opposed spending on disaster relief, children’s healthcare, the opioid crisis and the military because of the deficit, but had no issue voting for $2.4 trillion in deficit spending to enrich the wealthy and corporations. They are beyond hypocritical, they are contemptible.

Every House seat is on the ballot in the midterms and every Democratic candidate has been handed yet another piece of ammunition to use against Republicans. They don’t even have to shine a light on the 67  Republicans’ hypocrisy, although it is glaringly obvious. They can just remind voters that Republicans just blew up the deficit to serve the rich and corporations while opposing any means of helping the people because of the deficit.

America Is On Pace To Eclipse the Kansas Trickle Down Disaster

Republicans are not renowned for being truthful, or following through on their promises. In fact, it is safe to say that they lie and break solemn pledges at about the same rate normal human beings visit a toilet in a typical day; but at least one Republican broke that pattern and has kept his word.

At issue was the devastation Republicans wrought on Kansas’ economy and government during Sam “fetus” Brownback’s trickle down disaster that no sane politician would openly support or ever promise to repeat. But instead of pledging to avoid the “destroy Kansas” government and economy model, one high-ranking Republican promised a repeat at the national level when Republicans controlled Washington.

When then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell promised then-Kansas Governor Sam Brownback that Republicans would enact Kansas-style tax cuts for the rich and corporations, he fully intended to follow through on his pledge. It is particularly telling that when McConnell made his pledge, Kansas was already dying economically due to trickle down tax cuts, was hemorrhaging revenue, and smack in the midst credit downgrades.

McConnell’s pledge, and congressional Republicans subsequent tax reform, is not a case of what Albert Einstein called insanity; “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result;” there has always only been one result and expectation from the trickle down scam – abject failure and the rich getting richer. It is precisely the result Republicans, and probably dunce Don Trump, fully expect to see reach fruition like the one they saw during the Reagan and W. Bush administrations. They witnessed it again in Kansas over the past five years and still imposed it on America.

There is a handy timeline of the Kansas’ trickle down experiment courtesy of the Center for America Progress here with comparisons to what Republicans just rushed through Congress to enrich corporations and the rich under the guise of giving their hero Trump “victory.” They gave Trump some massive tax relief as well, but they sold it as a win for baldy.

Republicans knew their tax reform was another failure waiting to happen and in fact, that failure is an integral part of their crusade to dismantle the administrative state; or shrink the government to a size that can be drowned in a bathtub. “Cutting government down to size” was part and parcel of Kansas Republicans’ tax cuts for the rich and corporations and they did as significant damage to the state government as they did the state’s economy. That damage does not portend anything good for the economy nationally and the Congressional Budget Office issued a warning that comes from deliberately slashing the government’s only revenue source.

As 2018 began with new “Kansas-style” trickle down tax cuts for the rich and corporations, it is likely that McConnell et al were prepared for the news that the nation was rapidly heading for economic trouble. They all knew precisely what happened in Kansas due to tax cuts, although even Kansas’ woes did not begin within the first month of the ill-advised, and unpopular, tax reform. That current national trouble is the government facing a looming debt limit crisis much earlier than even Republicans imagined, and the near-desperation need to borrow a cool $1 trillion to keep the government operating and to meet the country’s debt obligations. The reason given for the dire warnings is the Republican trickle down tax reform driving the revenue shortfall.

It is noteworthy that the CBO’s warning about raising the debt limit earlier than expected, as well as the need to borrow $1 trillion, is after Republicans changed the way the CBO “scores” the cost of legislation to give the illusion that “trickle down” scams are good for the economy.  That trickle down friendly scoring informed the CBO that despite Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin  “exhausting extraordinary measures,”the debt limit will have to be increased in early March instead of late April.

The CBO was not hesitant in explaining that the reason for the change was due to the GOP tax cuts that began about a month ago. The CBO stated the obvious that those cuts translated exactly into what they were created to deliver; much less revenue to run the federal government. Early CBO estimates that the federal government would experience a $10 to $15 billion drop in revenue each month going forward was very generous according to “dynamic scoring.”  In fact, that estimate was extremely low because the CBO just reported that the federal government ran a deficit of $23 billion last month – the first month “trickle down” went into effect. It also demonstrates how fallacious trickle down “dynamic scoring” really is and why Republicans were desperate to use it.

It is difficult to imagine anyone with half a brain, much less so-called “business experts,” deliberately cutting their income source as a means of reducing debt, but that is precisely what Treasury Secretary Mnuchin promised would happen. However, the CBO and Treasury calls for borrowing $1 trillion after borrowing an additional $441 billion in “privately held debt” to keep a functioning government belies any claim the GOP tax reform was ever about reducing the deficit. Remember, Mnuchin promised the tax cuts will provide $1 trillion in deficit reduction in about 10 years.

All of these warnings from the Treasury and Congressional Budget Office about“needing to borrow” are occurring exactly a month into the GOP’s Kansas-style tax reform disaster. It is telling about how horrible of a mess Republicans have created at the national level when as disastrous as Kansas Republicans’ actions were, it took a couple of years before the economic shit hit the fan. In fact, in a warning message to Republicans in Congress, a Kansas Republican Senator, Dinah Sykes said that in the five years following her party’s ill-advised trickle down experiment:

Kansas experienced nine rounds of budget cuts, stress on state agencies and the inability to effectively provide the core functions of government for our citizens.”

Ms. Sykes failed to explain to Republicans in Congress that Kansas also suffered multiple credit downgrades from both major credit agencies with each citing the state’s lack of revenue as a result of trickle down tax cuts. That lack of revenue created a world of hurt for Kansas and its residents, and for a rough idea what kind of economic Hell Republicans have unleashed on Americans, a few of the Kansas atrocities are cited herehere, and here.

It is noteworthy that adding massive sums to the deficit serves another Republican purpose; justify massive cuts to Social Security even though the Social Security Trust is a self-sufficient entity and doesn’t technically add to the deficit.

The truth is Republicans could not care less about the deficit or they would not have passed tax reform the Tax Policy Center said would reduce revenue by at least $2.5 trillion  and substantially increase the deficit over ten years due to lost revenue. Remember that Trump’s Treasury Secretary promised that if all goes according to trickle down’s fantasy numbers, those tax cuts will reduce the deficit by about $1 trillion in ten years — in spite of adding trillions according to the CBO. It does not take a mathematician to comprehend there is at least a trillion dollar discrepancy in the GOP’s numbers, but they obviously aren’t concerned and why should they be? Brownback easily won re-election and Republicans kept control of the Kansas state legislature even while the state and its people were being raped and pillaged because Brownback brought out “the fetus” and the evangelical vote.

National Republicans have an easy-to-follow model in Kansas and Brownback because no matter what level of economic disaster they impose on Americans, or how much of the government they gift to corporations, or how many social programs they decimate to “reduce the deficit,”  all they have to do to maintain power is hoist an image of a fetus or an immigrant and the majority of Americans will reelect them out of abject fear. It worked in Kansas for six torturous years and Republicans knew it would work in 2016, which is why they control all three branches of the government they are crusading to demolish.

Trump Is Expanding the Koch War On Renewable Energy

America as a world leader in anything other than waging wars and bi-monthly gun massacres is declining rapidly since Trump’s poorly attended inauguration. If it isn’t the Trump administration agencies refuting science on a variety of topics, or an honest-to-dog rush toward an evangelical theocracy, America is devolving and reverting to a by-gone era when fossil fuels were the only source of reliable power on Earth. Part and parcel of that lurch backwards is sating the greed of the Koch brothers’ fossil fuel cabal that demands eliminating any energy sources that are alternatives to fossil fuels. It does not matter one iota how cheap, plentiful, environmentally friendly or beneficial to the people’s health and welfare clean and renewable sources are, Trump and the Koch brothers want them to go away.

Two weeks ago when Trump announced steep tariffs on solar panels he lied and swore the purpose was to save and create a wealth of American jobs. Of course that was pure mendacity because the number of American jobs in manufacturing solar panels is far less than 2,000 in America for two specific reasons. First, the solar cell manufacturing process is highly mechanized and requires hardly any human labor. Second, advanced nations such as China began investing in solar manufacturing at about the same time the Koch brothers tasked Republicans with killing the renewable energy industry. America as a solar cell manufacturing power never took off because there was no urgency in investing in or developing a new technology that did not enrich the fossil fuel industry.

That idiotic lack of action allowed China to take an American invention and develop it into a highly profitable industry that left America behind and elevated China as the world leader in solar panel manufacturing. Trump’s imposition of tariffs was solely to make solar energy more costly for Americans according to the Koch brothers’ demand. The solar industry said Trump will also have killed off a tad over 23,000 good jobs in the solar installation and maintenance industry, and an untold number of related jobs according to conservative estimates released a couple of days ago.

At the time of Trump’s assault on solar, many commenters said Trump was really only preserving “American jobs for Americans” in the renewable energy sector. They also claimed there was no dastardly intent to harm renewable energy, and that Trump was not doing the bidding of the Koch brothers and their fossil fuel cohorts. It should have been enlightening to those commenters that Trump is fossil fuel’s puppet when he sang the praises of something that does not exist during his speech to Congress – “beautiful clean coal.” According to the leading coal industry CEO Trump panders to for support, “there is no such thing as clean coal.”

Now, to verify that Trump is not only targeting solar and that he is on a crusade to kill off renewable energy for the Koch brothers, the White House is proposing to drastically slash Department of Energy (DOE) funding for research and development of renewable energy; regardless if it is solar, wind, geothermal or bioenergy. The Washington Post got a copy of the draft document showing Trump wants to eviscerate any and all DOE programs related to energy efficiency and renewable energy, including drastic Energy Department staffing cuts.

As surrogate for the Koch brothers, Trump wants a 72 percent cut in spending for the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), including a massive cut in the DOE labor force. That labor force is responsible for conducting “research, development, grants and more aimed at developing and deploying energy efficiency and renewable technology.” The DOE has played an important role in “dramatically reducing the costs of solar power” and energy efficiency across the board and it explains why the Koch brothers are not about to allow it to go any farther now that they own the federal government.

The Koch administration also demands, and Trump wants to deliver, an 82 percent cut in research on fuel efficient vehicles, an 82 percent reduction in bioenergy technologies, and a 78 percent cut in solar energy technology research. It is, no matter how one assesses it, an all-out attack on renewable and clean energy for the sole benefit of the Koch brothers and their fossil fuel cohort’s continued profits and monopoly on energy.

Trump also intends on slashing funding for research into other alternative energy sources like wind, hydro and geothermal power because they are clean, cheaper, renewable, create new jobs and industries, and most importantly, they reduce the need and use of dirty fossil fuels. Obviously, those alternatives to fossil fuels also aid in combating anthropogenic climate change and a world of health issues killing off over 200,000 Americans unnecessarily every year.

To get a better grasp on just how far the new Koch-run White House is crusading to profit fossil fuel, the Trump administration is also demanding that Congress “abolish the weatherization program” because it both trained and employed thousands of workers and aided in reducing utility costs for tens-of-thousands of homeowners; mostly elderly and lower income Americans.

One EERE employee who spoke anonymously out of fear of reprisals said Trump’s proposals “show that we’ve made no inroads in terms of convincing the administration of our value, and if anything, our value based on these numbers has dropped.” That is not an accurate depiction of what is transpiring. If anything, it shows that Trump and his fossil fuel masters do indeed see the value of the EERE because better energy efficiency and cheaper renewable energy is cutting into fossil fuel’s profits and monopoly on energy.

As a fair number of commenters noted, Trump will probably not succeed in wiping out renewable energy in America over the long term, and it is just as likely that a few Republicans in Congress will not go along with all of the DOE cuts the Koch brothers want. However, there is no denying that Trump’s tariffs will kill jobs and raise the cost of solar energy, and coupled with any cuts to the EERE, any progress America has made in embracing renewable energy will be retarded to protect fossil fuel’s monopoly on energy.

Possibly worse for this backward nation is that while the rest of the civilized and developing world progress technologically and economically on into the 21st Century, America under Trump and the Kochs is reverting to dirty 20th Century technology to benefit the fossil fuel industry. It is worth mentioning that Trump can never claim the cuts to the DOE’s renewable energy activities are borne of cost-cutting because the fossil fuel industry will still garner tens-of-billions in taxpayer subsidies – partially paid for with cuts to renewable energy programs.

A Dictator In the White House Is A Constitutional Crisis

When the nation’s Founding Fathers and Constitution’s framers considered how the new republic would be governed, they were well aware of the inherent dangers of a government’s authority resting in one man. Of course it is why they created a government with three separate but equal branches as a means of checks and balances – to prevent what they were subjected to under an English monarchy. That system of government worked fairly well for 240-plus years because the Legislative and Judicial  branches understood the concept of separate but equal and exercised their constitutionally-mandated oversight of the only branch most likely to become authoritarian and its head a dictator.

Trump made it abundantly clear, even before his poorly attended inauguration, that he was not interested in following the rule of law or the Constitution; he did complain early on that the Constitution was “bad for America” because it prevented him or his criminal cohorts from ruling unilaterally and unchecked. That complaint by the head of the Executive Branch was a portent of what transpired recently when Trump refused to execute an act of Congress because it involved punishing the hostile foreign nation that granted him access to a place he should be banned from visiting, much less occupying.

If any American is still confused whether or not dirty Don Trump exists to serve the interests of Russia and Vladimir Putin, his refusal to impose sanctions as mandated by a ridiculously overwhelming majority of the United States Congress should enlighten them. If not, they are either idiots, dirty racists, or evangelical fanatics supporting the authoritarian in the White House.

There have been insinuations over the past year that a few of Trump’s actionspresented the government with an honest-to-dog Constitutional crisis, but they pale in comparison to Trump’s refusal to do what his overseers, the United States Congress, mandated was his Constitutional duty; execute the will of Congress.

This particular incident, violating Article 2, Section 3 of the Constitution (take care clause) represents two separate “constitutional crises.” Not only did Trump thumb his nose at an act of Congress, that very same Congress is thumbing its nose at the Constitution by not exercising its oversight of the executive branch. As this column noted the other day, America as a representative democracy is in a critical state because both Trump and Republicans in Congress refuse to adhere to the rule of law or govern according to the Constitution they all swore a “so help me god” oath to support and defend.

Instead of announcing he is a dictator and is going to violate the law to protect his Russian facilitators, Trump’s State Department issued an announcement with a genuine bovine excrement excuse for not adhering to the United States Constitution:

Today, we have informed Congress that this legislation and its implementation are deterring Russian defense sales. Since the enactment of the . . . legislation, we estimate that foreign governments have abandoned planned or announced purchases of several billion dollars in Russian defense acquisitions.”

It is a striking assertion, but a Trump state department representative actually saidthere was no need for sanctions “because the legislation is serving as a deterrent.”

So, the just the idea of sanctions “deterred” Russia from interfering in elections? Even for a Trump statement, this is a mind numbing assertion.  In no universe are sanctions ever meant as a deterrent; these particular sanctions were passed specifically to punish the Ruskies for helping Trump and Republicans in the 2016 elections as the nearly unanimous legislation Trump signed explains.

As the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY) stated directly after the State Department announcement:

The State Department claims that the mere threat of sanctions will deter Russia’s aggressive behavior. How do you deter an attack that happened two years ago, and another that’s already underway? It just doesn’t make sense. I’m fed up waiting for this administration to protect our country and our elections.”

The legislation’s title, “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act,” states that its explicit purpose is “to counter aggression by … the Russian Federation and for other purposes.” The legislation’s word choice, to “counter” cannot possibly be misconstrued as “to deter” something; especially something that occurred well over a year-and-a-half ago. Add to that the legislation “was widely billed by Republicans as a response to Russian interference in the 2016 election.” Even idiot Republicans comprehend there is no such thing as “deterring” a long-past event.

Still, no matter that Trump is lying about the purpose of the unanimous vote in Congress, or that the vote is working to “deter” Russian interference, there is the constitutional crisis of the “dictator” willfully refusing to follow the will of Congress.

Another issue it that there is no “success” in deterring Russian interference in America’s electoral process according to the Trump administration. In fact, mere hours prior to Trump’s State Department alerting Congress that the head of the executive branch is violating the Constitution, Trump’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director issued his own statement warning that Russia was continuing to intervene in the 2018 midterms. CIA chief Mike Pompeo said:

I haven’t seen a significant decrease in their [Russian] activity. I have every expectation that they will continue to try and do that, but I’m confident that America will be able to have a free and fair election, [and] that we will push back in a way that is sufficiently robust that the impact they have on our election won’t be great.”

There was no explanation from Pompeo for his “confidence”  that America will have a free and fair election when he is equally as confident that Russia is continuing to interfere in American elections. Still, despite Pompeo destroying Trump’s excuse for not imposing sanctions according to a near-unanimous vote by both houses of Congress, it does not address a lawless White House occupant refusing to follow the will of Congress, and by extension the will of the people.

Republicans being the criminal conspirators and beneficiaries of Russian electoral assistance they are likely knew Trump had no intention of adhering to the Constitution by executing Congress’ sanctions. Trump said the sanctions were “seriously flawed” and claimed he only signed them to avoid having his veto overridden; as if he could have ever vetoed a “veto-proof” 98-2 vote in the United States Senate and 419-3 in the House. Even if Trump refused to sign the legislation, it would have went into effect according to the law of the land.

Trump still claims it is doubtful that Russia ever interfered in the 2016 election despite 17 different American intelligence agencies contrary claims; including his hand-picked CIA director. It is glaringly apparent this particularly deliberate constitutional crisis is solely because Trump is not going to bite the Russian hand that gave him access to the White House; and congressional Republicans are not going to punish Trump because they received Russian election assistance in 2016 and will again in 2018.

It is obvious that Republicans in Congress are not going to hold Trump accountable for what is certainly a constitutional crisis. They simply accept that their party’s standard bearer is not going to adhere to the law of the land any more than they are going to exercise their Constitutional duty to exercise oversight on a lying corrupt dictator; they are too busy harassing a Special Prosecutor and investigating American intelligence agencies so Trump can continue shielding Putin from sanctions.

America as a representative democracy under the rule of law is doomed because the U.S. Congress is allowing the head of the Executive Branch to openly defy the will of Congress and violate the U.S. Constitution in the process. Trump not “taking care” to execute legislation by Congress is, no matter how one parses it, the action of a dictator, autocrat, despot, tyrant  or whatever moniker applies to a lawless cretin like Trump. Tragically, now Trump knows Congress will never hold him responsible for violating the law of the land and that should terrify the life out of every American – including Republicans in Congress.

The State of the Union is Critical

No matter which side of the political spectrum any American resides, it is nearly impossible to claim America is in anything but a state of decline as a representative secular democracy. The nation’s state of decline is no accident for myriad reasons, but none more apparent than the population allowing a bloodless coup d’état to unfold right before their eyes with hardly a whimper of opposition. At this juncture, the problem is not just a corrupt tyrant occupying the nation’s highest office; it is an entire political party aiding and abetting a crooked celebrity and lawless fascist’s assault on America and the rule of law.

It is not entirely clear to this author, at least not yet, why so many Americans are ignorant about the extent of damage one fascist and his anti-American conservative cabal have already wrought on this nation. It cannot possibly be because more people are still mesmerized by the Trump’s social media activity than care about America’s survival as a democracy, or believe the Oval Office fascist’s claim that the free  press is fake news and the enemy of the people. The majority of Americans still trust the free press as honest and legitimate.

This curious state of the people is particularly mind boggling because most Americans are well-aware that anything Trump says is a dirty filthy lie and that everything congressional Republicans are doing is highly unpopular and deliberately devastating for the people and the nation. That millions of Americans are not rioting in the streets is evidence that if the nation was a person admitted to a hospital, it would be listed in critical condition with little hope of surviving; particularly after the unrelenting mortal wounds Republicans and Trump have, and still are, inflicting on it.

Just the newest reporting that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) assistant director is fleeing out of fear of Republicans and Trump, or that Trump blatantly violated the United States Constitution again  should have the nation reeling and rioting, but it is not.  Maybe Americans are unaware that by not imposing the congressional sanctions on Russia, Trump again violated Article 2 Section 3 of the Constitution. It is at least the second time he has violated that section of the Constitution and yet Republicans continue protecting the criminal conspirator despite he is flouting their legally-passed legislation.

That the Republican-controlled Congress is rejecting its duty of oversight in holding a flagrant criminal to account for violating the Constitution is, in and of itself, a sure sign that the rule of law is non-existent. Add to that horrific collusion with a criminal tyrant, Republicans are, and have been, in a war with the nation’s highest law enforcement agency for doing its due diligence. For dog’s sake, Republicans are part of Trump’s crusade against the legally-appointed Special Prosecutor because he is investigating what most Americans consider treason and obstruction of justice. The latest outrage is Trump considering calling on the nation’s attorney general to prosecute the Special Prosecutor for doing his job; it is likely corrupt Republicans are deeply involved in Trump’s attempt to criminalize the job of Special Prosecutor.

In fact, as proof many Republicans are guilty of violating the law to protect a fascist criminal, consider that Trump approached more than a couple of congressional Republicans to pressure them to obstruct justice by dropping congressional investigations into his administration’s collusion with a hostile foreign power. Pressing members of congressional investigations to stop is obstructing justice and an actual felony. According to 18 U.S. Code § 4 – Misprision of Felony:

Whoever, having knowledge of the actual commission of a felony conceals and does not as soon as possible make known the same to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.”

It is noteworthy that no Republican made known to anyone in authority that Trump pressed them to drop an investigation into his administration any more than any Republican reported their suspicions that Trump “was being paid by Putin.”  If not for the “free press” Trump wants eliminated, Americans would be unaware that their elected Republican representatives willfully violated the law to protect a criminal because he is a Republican.

Of course there are more Trump abominations against the people of the United States than just flouting the rule of law and violating the “so help me god” oath he took to live in the White House. And regardless he is handing over the American people’s public land to corporations, many of them foreign, or creating the ultimate dark money PACsby giving churches freedom to campaign, or handing over social control of the population to evangelicals, his biggest crime is complete and utter disregard for the law of the land.

America might survive Trump and Republicans handing over the wealth of the nation to a few wealthy families and corporations; the people will surely suffer, the but nation will still exist. The agriculture industry might even stay afloat despite Trump’s ineptitude in international trade and his xenophobic excuse of an immigration policy. Women may not fare as well as equal citizens in the evangelical theocracy Trump and Republicans are creating, but they will likely be allowed to stay alive as birth machines. In fact, there will likely be an America despite Trump and Republicans, but it will be “America” in name only unless Trump decides to change the name.

It is easy to assign blame for America’s demise on Trump; he is the most visible villain and chief criminal. But without Republicans in Congress protecting the criminal he would likely be gone by now. The sad truth is that a fair majority of the American people are wholly responsible for America’s critical condition.

Remember, Putin may have helped Trump and congressional Republicans, in fact he did help Trump and congressional Republicans; but it was angry religious and racist Americans who voted for Trump and gave the criminal Republicans control of Congress. Now they are dismantling the government, creating a theocracy, and spending an inordinate amount of time and taxpayer dollars protecting a criminal in the White House;  including attacking the nation’s highest law enforcement agencies.

With a Republican-run Congress willfully violating the rule of law by not holding a treasonous fascist accountable for his crimes, and a fascist liar who openly denies the rule of law applies to him, the state of the Union is critical. America only survived for 242 years because it was effectively governed according to the rule of law in the U.S. Constitution; something Republicans and Trump now openly reject as a burden to their corruption and fascism.

Republican Bill Bans Non-Church Marriages

As if the nation is not in enough trouble, there is another sign that with Republicans in control of all three branches of government, the rush toward America as a theocracy is ramping up. At the rate Republicans and Trump are pandering to the evangelical fanatics, America is not far off from being run like Iran and Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.

Whether the religious right admits it or not, the majority hew to a mindset that only Christians are real Americans worthy of certain privileges and rights. It is likely true that mindset is substantiated by Republicans who work tirelessly to elevate evangelicals to a position of authority over the rest of the population with ever-increasing incidences of theocratic legislation.

The GOP has, in fact, given the religious right purview over women’s access to healthcare as well as the legal right to discriminate against any American unwilling to toe the evangelical line. There have even been murmurings that only evangelicals should be allowed to vote and that only Christians should run for and hold political office. Evangelicals still claim that America was created as a Christian theocracy and the Constitution was written by the god of the Christian bible. Now an emboldened religious Republican has introduced legislation that says only evangelicals can enter into the institution of marriage performed in a church.

Despite the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges nearly three years ago, religious Republicans are still crusading to deny same-sex couples the legal right to be married. In a new attack on same-sex marriage, a really religious  Republican in the Missouri state legislature, some theocrat named T.J. Berry,  introduced House Bill 1424to restrict marriage in the “show me state” to “people of faith.” It is noteworthy to mention that Berry is as real a religious Republican as any evangelical fanatic and an ordained deacon of the First Baptist Church In Kearney, Missouri.

Berry’s theocratic legislation defines marriage as being a “solemnized union that takes place only inside a church.”  Note that it doesn’t say inside a mosque, a synagogue, or a temple by design; Muslims, Buddhists or Jews do not worship or get “married” in a “church.” If Berry’s bill becomes law, any marriages that “were to take place outside of the church” will not be legal or recognized as legal marriages by the theocrats running Missouri; they will be domestic unions regardless the couple’s gender.

The First Baptist deacon Berry proudly admits that his bill’s purpose is redefining marriage in favor of “the church.” He said the only way a person in Missouri can be legally married under his legislation is “to go through a religious ceremony in a church.” Any couple refusing to take that route can get a civil document from the government, but they will not be legally married in Missouri.

The Legal Director at the Human Rights Campaign, Sarah Warbelow, explained the obvious that the law will hurt LGBTQ married couples in Missouri. She also said that restricting “marriage” to “church weddings calls into question all couples’ rights;” particularly those who were not married in a church in a “solemnized union.” Ms.Warbelow said:

It’s hard to believe [this legislation is] something most conservatives support. Most Americans think that marriage is an important institution, and they don’t want to get rid of it.

Most Americans are not running the government any longer so it doesn’t matter what they want or don’t want. Evangelicals are running the government despite their minority position, and along with their money machine the Koch brothers, they fully control the fate of the nation by wielding authority over Republicans.

It is noteworthy that this particularly nasty evangelical legislation is not about  “getting rid of marriage as an institution;” evangelicals love solemnized man-woman church marriages. Berry’s bill simply restricts participation in the “important institution of marriage” to the evangelical faithful, but only if they are wed in a church. It is the only way Republican evangelicals claim they can protect churches and businesses from “the gay encroachment” and protect religious bigots refusing to do their taxpayer-funded jobs. That was another urgent reason for the theocratic law.

The bill’s supporters claim the new law will be “the remedy to controversies across the country involving government employees who object and refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples for religious reasons.”

No, the remedy for government employees who object to following the law of the land, and willfully violate the 14th Amendment, is immediate termination of their taxpayer-funded employment. And if it were possible, they should face charges for violating terms of employment as government employees for refusing to support the Constitution. Nearly all government and public employees from presidents to senators to law enforcement to school teachers swear an oath to support the U.S. Constitution; and that includes the 14th Amendment that evangelical Republicans claim violates their religious liberty.

Critics of the legislation concur with the HRC’s legal director in warning that it would cause LGBT couples, as well as all other non-religious couples, a great deal of trouble. It is almost certain that “causing all non-religious couples a great deal of trouble” is an important aspect of this particular theocratic abomination.

Like many Americans, the executive director of a Missouri advocacy group, the Center Project, is “irritated and frustrated” over the religious Republicans’ never-ending assault on equality and the concept of progress. Dion Wisniewski said:

No matter how much progress we make, there is always going to be a push from conservative [evangelical] groups to roll back protections for individuals or enact new laws to make it more difficult to live normal lives. Conservative groups are putting pressure on the legislature to protect the ‘biblical definition’ of marriage, even though they aren’t being forced to perform these services.

The evangelical fanatics supporting this particular theocratic edict never elaborated on exactly what “gay encroachment” entails, but it likely has everything to do with gays having equal rights. It is not out of the realm of possibility that when evangelical theocracy is officially the law of the land, the LGBTQ community will be banned from America, much less “evangelical churches and businesses.”

Although it should be unbelievable in a 21st Century secular nation, it was not surprising to learn that a Republican state is working to ban non-Christians from being married.  It is unclear if the legislation will pass and become a state law, or progress to become a national crusade. But it is abundantly clear that with a puppet in the White House and most federal agencies in the grip of theocrats, evangelicals are on a crusade to do much more than ban non-Christians from being legally married. Tragically, very few Americans will notice the theocratic tyranny until they become targets of the religious right, and as centuries of “church” history informs, sooner rather than later every American will be a target of the fanatical religious right.