House votes to make churches dark money PACs

One of the greatest atrocities against the U.S. Constitution and America as it was created was foolishly providing churches with tax exemption with one simple requirement they refuse to abide.

As much as Americans complain about the filthy rich and corporations not paying their fair share of tax, it is curious there is no outrage about religious groups paying no amount of tax or contributing anything of value to society. Oh, it is true the “faithful” boast about the church’s “good works,” but those works are mandated by the faith for entrance into eternal bliss, or some such absurd notion. “Good works” are alleged to be their own reward for “real” followers of Christ.

It has been on the religious right’s wish list for decades, but now those “good works” entail actively funding Republican candidates and campaigning from the pulpit for more Republican “good works” enriching the wealthy and punishing non-compliance with evangelical edicts. In addition, Republicans have provided wealthy donors and dark money groups with a nearly foolproof means of avoiding campaign finance regulations with a value-added bonus of deducting campaign contributions as “charitable donations to a tax-exempt church.”

The religious right has revolted against the Johnson Amendment since its inception in 1954 because without their political activism in support of Republicans, they would be incapable of installing anti-women and anti-gay cretins in office. They wanted their tax exemption and the ability to campaign from the pulpit – which is exactly what the Johnson Amendment prohibited until now.

Although House Republicans did not vote to repeal the dreaded amendment, they did vote to prohibit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from taking action against churches and clergy that violate the rule with veritable impunity. Every year for the past five years on so-called “pulpit freedom Sunday,” over a thousand evangelical churches recorded clergy campaigning from the pulpit and then sent the video records directly to the IRS – daring them to take action. The goal was to initiate a lawsuit all the way to the Supreme Court to give the evangelical conservatives an opening to strike down the Johnson Amendment as unconstitutional. It is ironic because giving churches taxpayer money is contrary to the Separation Clause in the First Amendment and seems patently unconstitutional. And yes, tax-exemption for churches is giving religious groups free taxpayer money as much as the obscene “faith-based initiative” atrocity is giving churches free taxpayer money.

Now, with Trump demanding that the IRS give churches what they want, something he promised before his poorly-attended inauguration,  and House Republicans voting to make it illegal for the IRS to hold churches accountable to their sacred agreement as non-profits; churches will be the ideal dark money PACs. Remember, donations to political campaigns or PACs and candidates are not deductible and are limited by law. However, donations to religious organizations are deductible and likely unlimited.

What that means is that wealthy donors like the Koch brothers can donate to churches that will funnel the money to the campaign coffers of Republican anti-choice and anti-gay candidates; and they would be tax-deductible unlike any other form of the Kochs’ political giving. It also means “dark money” donors will be able to conceal those contributions from the prying eyes of the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) and especially the Internal Revenue Service. As Matthew Bulger at The Humanist noted:

Donations to churches for political ends would be anonymous, unlike most other forms of political giving.  This is especially concerning because while most 501(c)(3) groups must file a Form 990 with their tax return, which provides some information about the group and its activities, churches are exempt from that reporting requirement. As a result, their political spending would be nearly impossible to track.”

Moreover, the recently announced Treasury Department rule allows certain tax-exempt organizations, including politically active nonprofit groups like churches, to conceal the identify of their donors to tax authorities ensuring an unlimited, and unchecked, supply of dark money in campaigns. If anyone still believes there is an ounce of fairness in America under Republican rule, they are a moron.

As an aside, it is difficult to believe that this Treasury Department action was not enacted, at least in part, to protect groups like the NRA from reporting that Russia paid the gun-zealots to campaign and advocate for Trump and his gun-crazed GOP cohorts during the 2016 general election.

As Politico noted, the Republican House legislation “amounts to a backdoor way around the so-called Johnson amendment,” but it is so much more. It portends nothing good for America’s waning democracy and all but guarantees that the religious right’s crusade to install more GOP theocrats in high places will proceed with the utmost expediency.

These Republican actions on behalf of churches, and the permanent political supremacy of Republicans, certainly have the potential to be a greater attack on democracy than the dreaded Citizens United ruling. It does not necessarily mean that every church in America will be holding weekly Republican campaign rallies, but it does give evangelical clergy the freedom to promote candidates that share their Dark Age mentality with a captive audience every Sunday. And, coupled with the recent Treasury Department ruling, it will give wealthy donors and dark money groups all the cover they ever hoped for without abolishing all campaign finance regulations.

The concept of giving churches tax exemption, and by extension free taxpayer money, is an honest-to-dog abomination; and it is contrary to the intent of the Founding Fathers and Constitution’s Framers. Why so many Americans believe church tax exemption is sacrosanct is beyond comprehension; likely a fair amount of the blame rests with the media and politicians who refuse to alert the people that they are giving churches free welfare to the tune of over a hundred-million dollars every year. Of course the ignoramus public falls for the tired argument that the church and clergy provide “special” benefits to society, but they never consider that nurses, teachers, police officers, fire fighters, soldiers, and public service workers all provide a benefit to all of society and they all pay taxes; a portion of which is flowing directly to churches.

It is an honest-to-dog travesty that large and small communities across America are struggling to find funding for services like clean water, law enforcement, schools, and dependable roads while churches avoid paying anything for the same roads, clean water, schools, law enforcement and firefighters the rest of the population funds. While discussing exactly what “religious freedom” entailed at the nation’s creation, Founding Father and third President Thomas Jefferson said:

No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever.”

Nearly two-and-a-half centuries later, not only are all Americans compelled to support religious worship, places and ministries by government fiat, they are soon going to compelled to comply with the evangelicals who now have all the tools they need to create their theocracy – a theocracy that is being partially funded by the poor unwitting American people.

Image: Patheos

Trump and McConnell’s judicial havoc will last for decades

After the events of the past 10 days, it is abundantly clear that there is no end to the amount of damage Trump will wreak on the United States internationally and domestically. However, it is almost certain that every dirty move Trump makes internationally can be reversed by a sane administration – although no foreign nation will ever trust America again whether they are an ally or an antagonist. It is a travesty, but because of Trump and his Republican henchmen in the Senate and the Christofascists running the Heritage Foundation, no American should ever trust their government to look out for their interests; or that they will continue to have constitutional protections. It is likely that within a year or so, Trump, his theocratic cabal, and Republicans will have succeeded in unleashing lasting damage on the American people and the federal government. In this case “lasting” means several decades if not permanently.

Over at Salon, Amanda Marcotte, opined that there is a “vile reason why Republicans will keep covering for Trump’s unending, and perilous, scandals.” Although Ms. Marcotte makes a sound argument, it ignores the simple fact that even if Republicans were inclined to stop protecting Trump and throw the criminal out of the White House, there is a dyed-in-the-wool Christofascist conservative who will continue “packing the courts” with far right-wing religious extremists. According to Ms. Marcotte, that is the “vile reason” Republicans condone Trump’s wrecking-crew agenda as if only Trump will “pack the courts” with evangelical right-wing activists.

Where Trump does the evangelical extremists’ bidding for electoral support, Mike “preacher” Pence is a true believer that America was created as an evangelical theocracy and his Christian bible is the law of the land. Pence would move the proverbial “Heaven and Earth” to make America as Christian as Trump is attempting to make it Aryan. Still, there is no denying that with Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s “court packing” crusade in full swing, America as it has existed for 238 years is finished and two of the Heritage Foundation’s theocratic judicial appointments should disabuse any American’s idea that there is  a limit to the damage Trump is doing to America and its people.

It is true that the theocratic Heritage Foundation is in the process of shaping the Supreme Court in its image for at least a generation; the religious right has clamored for a Christian conservative majority for decades. However, the real damage is their appointments of young, incompetent, and inexperienced right wing ideologues and evangelicals filling the federal appellate courts. At the rate the lower courts are being packed with neo-con evangelical crusaders, it is possible that many cases will never reach the High Court. These recent Trump-Heritage appointees are openly biased and because it mainly concerns religion, they are not being assailed as religious extremists. There must be a convention in America that forbids questioning the imposition of the evangelical religion as if doing so is tantamount to what used to be considered treason – siding with a hostile foreign leader against the interests of the United States.

Regarding the Russian asset in the Oval, while the media and some Americans were watching Trump lie about his “misspeak” regarding Russia’s attack on America’s democracy, Mitch McConnell was holding a confirmation vote on a “radical right wing” ideologue, Andrew Oldham, as a 5th Circuit Court of Appeals judge. To label Oldham as a radical, anti-government neo-conservative is an understatement.

Oldham is, as reported in May, a wet dream for the Koch brothers and particularly the theocracy-minded Heritage Foundation. Like the Koch brothers, Oldham openly questions the “legitimacy” of the federal government by arguing vigorously, “The entire existence of this edifice of administrative law is constitutionally suspect.” He also claims that agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Labor are patently “illegal and illegitimate.” Apparently, Oldham is opposed to any form of taxation and federal or state regulations unless they target women’s right to self-determination; it is the primary reason the evangelicals at the Heritage Foundation ordered Trump to nominate him.

Oldham argued in defense of a set of bizarre 2013 Texas evangelical laws that regulated the medical profession with the purpose of closing down “safe, legal abortion clinics” while he was deputy solicitor general in Texas. The Supreme Court overturned the law that had nothing to do with improving women’s health, particularly when it immediately closed down 13 abortion clinics. As NARAL’s Adrienne Kimmell noted:

Oldham’s track record proves time and time again that he will be a foot soldier for the anti-choice movement’s agenda, which includes overturning and gutting Roe v. Wade to criminalize abortions.”

It is a “track record” as an evangelical foot soldier that prompted the Christofascist Heritage Foundation to appoint Oldham to the federal appellate court. His embrace of the Koch brothers’ mindset that federal government agencies, departments, and regulations are, for all intent and purposes, “illegitimate and illegal” is a value-added bonus to sate the greed of the bastard libertarian Kochs and their GOP ilk.

Just recently, a different Trump-Heritage appellate judge revealed exactly why he was appointed to the federal bench; he hates the idea of women’s choice and he loves the church he claims is being treated unfairly.  The Trump-Heritage appointee, some evangelical malcontent named James Ho sits on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the recently-confirmed Andrew Oldham is joining. In a case involving another Texas law requiring the cremation or proper (Christian) burials of “fetal remains,” a U.S. District Judge blocked its enactment because it imposed an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to abortion access. It was a more than reasonable decision simply because “it [the law] created absolutely no benefit for women, while passing on substantial costs to patients and clinics.”

Texas evangelicals disagreed and claimed that forcing proper Christian fetal burials does not impose any extra expense or burden on anyone because the Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops has offered to bury fetal remains for free, or at reduced costs. However, when the plaintiffs, Whole Woman’s Health, served a subpoena on the Bishops requesting documents relating to its funding fetal burials for veracity, the church said no – they don’t have to prove anything because they are the Holy and infallible church.

In a 2-1 decision, the appellate court ruled that the lower court had to “suppress” the plaintiff’s subpoena and stop being mean to “the church.” In that ruling the Court assailed the plaintiffs, Whole Woman’s Health, for daring to “intimidate” the poor beleaguered church by requesting proof of the Catholic Bishops’ claim. The ruling also attacked the District Judge for his “religious insensitivity” of having the audacity to “rule against the Catholic Church on a Sunday morning when its members were almost surely in church.” Trump’s appointee, Ho, added that the district court judge was barbaric in “retaliating against people of faith for not only believing in the sanctity of life—but also for wanting to do something about it.”

If anyone does not believe the reason “Mitch McConnell kept hundreds of vacant judicial seats open under President Barack Obama so the Senate Republicans could fill those seats” with evangelical far right ideologues, they are ridiculously naïve, if not stupid. As Kristine Lucius of The Leadership Conference noted:

Under McConnell and Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley, the record-breaking pace of hearings, committee votes and floor votes, and utter disregard for Senate norms and traditions on nominees, has been shameful. Trump is trying to take over the federal courts by nominating young extremists who are unfit to serve impartially.”

It is worth repeating that much of Trump’s damage can be reversed; tariffs can be lifted, environmental regulations can be reinstated, cuts to social programs can be halted, corporate tax cuts can be rescinded, and immigration atrocities can be stopped. However, there is nothing whatsoever any American, legislative body, or future administration can do to change the makeup of a federal judiciary packed with radical religious and far-right wing ideologues serving for life.

It is a sad state of affairs that the people are fundamentally ignorant of the coming disaster of a radical religious federal judiciary. But they will likely get a clue when their voting rights are restricted, LGBTQ rights are struck down, environmental protections are completely abolished, executive power is increased, campaign finance regulations are eliminated and when women are prohibited from making their own determination regarding their personal reproductive health and childbearing.

America is headed for a seriously rough time with a generation’s worth of evangelical conservative federal courts earning the theocratic Heritage Foundation’s mandate to decide what laws are constitutional. It is not going to matter one iota what a future Democratic president or Congress passes into law – any one of Trump’s radical religious courts can rule them unconstitutional and that will be the end of them. Moreover, no American should believe for any measure of Planck time that with a federal judiciary packed with anti-women’s rights crusaders, women are not going to suffer the wrath of Christofascists who are perilously close to running all three branches of what was created as a secular government.

The GOP fears Nazi and racist candidates running as Republicans

There is an idiom, allegedly with biblical origins, that most people have heard and clearly understand to mean that one’s “actions dictate the consequences.” After marveling at their base’s racial animus targeting an African American man the majority of the population chose as their President twice, there are reports that Republicans are freaking out over a rash of white supremacists and Nazis running for public office under the GOP banner. Members of the Republican Party should not even feign outrage over the Republican Nazi ascendancy because the party’s standard bearer considers white supremacists and avowed Nazi fascists “very fine people;” the kind of people Trump warned the opposition to “just be careful” of criticizing or incurring their wrath for not worshipping the fascist in the Oval Office.

Republicans are only opposed to white supremacists and Nazis running for office as Republicans because they fear an electoral backlash – not because they have a problem with racists, Nazis, or fascists. After all, Party members are solidly behind, and desperate to protect, the chief Nazi, fascist and white supremacist they allow to stay in the White House; a place he shouldn’t be allowed to visit, much less occupy.

In fact, the only reason the dirty Nazis and racists feel emboldened to publicly promote their hate is because, as they are wont to claim, “this is Trump’s America now.” It is a favorite call before, during, and after attacks on people of color, immigrants, and people adhering to the wrong religion whether it is Judaism, Islam, or Catholicism.

Over at Vox, Jane Coaston penned a fairly comprehensive piece describing the GOP’s self-professed white supremacists in “at least five state and national races across the country.” No doubt there is some validity in claiming the GOP is dealing with what it considers “an uncomfortable problem,” but it is a problem of their own making; they are “reaping what they’ve sown” and it began long before Trump’s poorly attended inauguration.

Actually, it is more accurate to say that Republicans are reaping what their tacit approval has sown over the past ten years. Trump is part of the “uncomfortable problem” state and national Republicans are harvesting whether they like it or not. If the official GOP response to white supremacists and racial animus in their base was zero tolerance and robust condemnation during President Obama’s tenure in a place he belonged, it is likely the group unabashedly making their presence felt now would still be hiding under sheets – where Republicans like to keep them.

They certainly liked it when their nasty base openly displayed purely racist animus towards President Barack Obama as evidenced by their silent, but implicit approval. The filthy hypocrites have no right criticizing the self-described white supremacists, anti-Semites, and “card carrying Nazis” now after allowing them to rage and hate with impunity for eight long years; and that does not include the past two years they sat idly by and allowed dastardly Don to express his racism and adoration of white supremacists, Nazis, and fascists.

For a sample of what Republicans fostered over the past ten years only to fear the consequences in an election year, North Carolina Republicans are suffering a white supremacist pig, Russell Walker, who is running for the state House of Representatives. According to his personal website, replete with regular use of the n-word, Walker claims that “god is a white supremacist and racist” and that “the jews (sic) are NOT semitic they are satanic as they all descend from Satan.”

Another Republican who embraces “Trump’s America” and openly touts his disbelief that the Holocaust occurred, is Illinois candidate for a congressional seat in the House, Arthur Jones. Jones brags about being a proud member of the American Nazi Party. Illinois’ Republican Party is beside its collective self over a candidate it labeled “morally reprehensible” and a “complete nutcase.” It is curious, indeed, that the state Republican Party cannot bring itself to support a “morally reprehensible, complete nutcase” in a midterm race for Congress, but the “nutcase” in the White House has the Party’s unconditional approval and support.

In Virginia, the chair of the state’s Republican Party apparently “had to resign” over allowing a “pro-Confederate, alt-right candidate,” Corey Stewart, to win the state’s Republican primary. In addition, Republicans are gnashing their teeth in Wisconsin because they ignored the seriously nasty racist, Paul Nehlen, Nehlen is running to fill Paul Ryan’s seat in the House of Representatives. It is similar in the Blue state of California where the state GOP is disavowing a flagrant Nazi who argues vehemently that the concept of diversity is just a nasty Jewish plot.

It is true that the racists supporting Trump have always existed, and some were very proud to express their white supremacy and racist bona fides among their friends and under the radar. Now, however, they are emboldened by Trump who regards them as “very fine people” to the point that they are wearing their hate and racial animus as a badge of honor; and as a reason to vote for them in November. That Republicans are either criticizing their candidacies or disavowing them as “not good Republicans” is beyond stunning; especially after implicitly cultivating their hate throughout President Barack Obama’s tenure, and then supporting the racist in the White House.

Trump, like the Nazis and white supremacists presenting an “uncomfortable problem” for the GOP, was a beneficiary of the Republican implied approval of the racists throughout President Obama’s two terms in the White House. The only reason Republicans are being vocal about racists, card-carrying Nazis, and white supremacists now is because they fear the electoral consequences of Nazis running as Republicans. They certainly were not concerned during Barack Obama’s Presidency and they have not shown to be the least bit “uncomfortable” with their Nazi standard-bearer’s racism.

It is unclear if any of the racists, white supremacists and Nazis will win in November, or if their candidacies will be a detriment to other Republican candidates; one certainly hopes that is the case. However, this is Trump’s America now and racists, Nazis and white supremacists have been officially deemed “very fine people” by the head racist. That White House approval has given the green light to racists and Nazis across the nation to wear their hate and racial animus with pride because like Trump, they are what he considers “really good Republicans.”

 

Trump is doing more to divide the Western Alliance than the Kremlin

Loyalty is a trait Trump demands from everyone whether they are in his family, his criminal enterprise, American citizens, or leaders of America’s allies and trading partners. Of course, in Trump’s tiny narcissistic mind, loyalty entails abject obedience and perpetual praise for the aspiring dictator no matter the issue. Anyone falling short of what Trump considers loyalty soon finds themself on the receiving end of his typically vindictive nature and that includes leaders of sovereign nations Americans have called allies and partners for decades, if not generations.

As one might expect, NATO members are rightfully concerned that Trump’s upcoming visit will be a repeat of the G7 debacle just a month ago. Like that economic “summit,” Trump will depart from meeting with America’s allies and rush into the waiting arms of a tyrannical dictator – his favorite ruler Vladimir Putin. Putin would love nothing more than to learn directly from Trump that he succeeded  in alienating NATO members and weakening the “Western Alliance.” It is abominable that instead of displaying any loyalty to America’s historical allies, Trump has done little else but provoke our friends in an effort to please a hostile foreign leader.

Trump is desperate to please and display loyalty to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin for what appears to be purely pecuniary reasons. Subsequently, since even before his poorly attended inauguration, dirty Don has “pleased” Putin beyond the dirty Ruskie’s wildest dream. Putin’s long sought-after dream is fracturing the Western Alliance made up of the European Union and members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); it is the only way Putin can assert Russian authority over Europe to match the former Soviet Union’s sphere of influence. Trump has given every indication that one of his primary foreign policy goals includes helping Putin realize his dream with divisive attacks and comments targeting America’s allies; all under the guise of making America great by being disloyal to its friends, and all because they fail to obey Trump’s outrageous demands or praise him like a messiah.

Trump has attacked NATO members for not spending enough on their militaries, started a trade war with the bloc by levying punitive tariffs, abandoned international deals on climate change and Iran’s nuclear program, and refused to sign the typically-uncontroversial G-7 statement last month. He’s also publicly condemned a sovereign nation’s leader and close ally, Angela Merkel, because she refuses to enact Trump-like barbaric immigration policies. In addition, he has  reportedly pushed French President Emmanuel Macron to do Putin’s bidding and weaken “the Alliance” by asking the French leader, “Why don’t you leave the European Union?”

It is likely that because Russia handed out financial incentives to the right-wing malcontent behind the so-called “Brexit” movement, Trump decided to contribute to fracturing the Western Alliance by levying punitive tariffs against America’s allies and trading partners; anything to aid Putin break apart the only thing preventing him from annexing all of Europe. Remember, Putin only invaded and confiscated Crimea from Ukraine because it is not a NATO member-nation.

It is noteworthy that abandoning any one of the international deals with America’s democratic allies had nothing to do with how much NATO member nations spend on their own military. But those acts are contributing to Putin’s longstanding goal of ripping apart the so-called “Western Alliance.” It is why a renowned political analyst and Russian exile working at the Hudson Institute,  Andrei Piontkovsky said:

Putting these events together creates a moment of truth. All NATO countries are worried about it [Trump’s belligerence toward the EU]. For the Eastern members, this is a matter of life and death. Trump is doing more to divide the West and weaken NATO than the Kremlin itself. Trump is the ideal U.S. president for Putin.”

Mr. Piontkovsky’s statement could not possibly be more accurate and it goes beyond Trump’s claim that he is only going after NATO members because “they owe us money.” That excuse may work on Trump’s dirt-dumb acolytes, but any half-wit understands NATO members do not owe, or have to pay, America as a condition of NATO membership.  It is  likely that those same Trump supporters are unaware that there is only one instance of NATO members invoking Article 5 to defend a member who was attacked. The “common defense” clause commits all members to protect each other and generally sets a spirit of solidarity within the Alliance, not the price of membership.

After a criminal gang hijacked passenger aircraft and flew them into American buildings, the Alliance’s members committed, and followed through, to protect America by joining its never-ending war in Afghanistan. It is noteworthy that those NATO countries never called on America to pay for  receiving “protection;” it is what real loyalty and commitment looks like and is something Trump will never acknowledge or understand.

It is bad enough that Trump has no loyalty to his own country and that he has made ending whatever “spirit of solidarity” as Americans this country may have once enjoyed. But that is the price Americans have to pay for electing an aspiring dictator whose idea of loyalty is abject obedience. No matter how badly Trump rips America apart, it does not represent an existential threat to this nation’s most valuable allies and trading partners. His hostility and punitive actions against the European Union and NATO countries, however, if successful, will give Vladimir Putin exactly what he expected when he put his puppet in the White House – a willing servant devoted to dismantling the only thing preventing Russian expansion in Europe.

 

Celebrating Pruitt’s departure ignores the danger of his replacement

The endemic corruption permeating Trump’s administration is so ridiculously mind boggling that describing the so-called “swamp” as a rotting special interest cesspool is an understatement. Trump and the GOP’s plan to hand the government over to special interests was glaringly apparent immediately after Trump’s poorly attended inauguration based on the insertion of special interests throughout the federal government.

It is safe to say that there are no federal agencies or departments in Trump’s cesspool that are not infested with greedy special interests or industry lobbyists intent on dismantling the organization they were tapped to lead into ruination. That particular outrage is best represented by evangelical malcontents Betsy DeVos and Scott Pruitt. In Pruitt’s case, the sworn enemy of environmental regulations is now the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the celebratory mood on the Left is curious indeed.

Although there is an abundance of glee that Pruitt was allegedly pushed out over a dozen or so ethics investigations, it is clear that cheering Pruitt’s exit as some kind of victory is incredibly foolish. Obviously the people celebrating Pruitt’s “removal” are unaware that his temporary replacement is just as hazardous to the environment, and Americans’ health and welfare, as Pruitt. The new anti-environment crusader will be much worse simply because he is a seasoned Washington insider and fossil fuel  industry lobbyist who knows how to achieve Trump’s goals without drawing attention to himself or Trump’s corrupt administration.

It was reported shortly after news of Pruitt’s exit as EPA head that the only reason he was “forced out” was the optics of one of Trump’s operatives being perpetually investigated for ethics violations  – not his job performance and not because he was an unethical cretin like his boss in the Oval Office. In fact, Trump has praised Pruitt profusely for decimating environmental regulations at the behest of the fossil fuel and chemical industries which is the only reason he was appointed in the first place. Who better to eviscerate environmental regulations, and dismantle they EPA, than a special interest puppet whose self-professed claim to fame was suing the federal agency he wanted abolished to sate the greed of the fossil fuel industry.

Now that Pruitt is no longer doing the heavy lifting for the Koch brothers et al, no sane American should breathe a sigh of relief that the EPA will suddenly fulfill its mandate and revert to protecting the environment and Americans’ health and welfare; especially not with a coal industry lobbyist running the show.

Despite the bluster and claims that he was decimating, especially “Obama-era,” environmental protections, by all accounts Scott Pruitt was as inept as he is corrupt and evangelically extreme. The man serving as acting EPA chief, Andrew Wheeler, is anything but incompetent. Of course he lacks whatever sense of ethical obligation to help protect his fellow Americans from the dirty filthy fossil fuel industry. That being the case, it should be no surprise that Wheeler shares Pruitt’s “passion” for completely deregulating the fossil fuel industry; he has spent the great majority of his lobbying career on behalf of the energy industry and, in particular, the dirty filthy coal companies. His particular speciality was lobbying Republicans to expedite the industry’s demand that Republicans “weaken federal regulations” if not abolish them with prejudice. Like Trump and Pruitt, Wheeler thinks he is smarter than 97 percent of the Earth’s scientist and denies the existential damage of ignoring global climate change.

As noted by many pundits and environmental activists, Wheeler is the epitome of a Washington insider who works “behind the scenes” to help “kill off regulations” the fossil fuel industry and other industrial polluters complain are restricting their profits. And unlike Pruitt, Wheeler will not be announcing which regulations protecting Americans’ water and air he just abolished. In effect, Wheeler will “reshape America’s environmental policies to benefit his powerful friends in the energy industry” at the expense of Americans’ health and welfare. Don’t believe it?

Even before being appointed as “acting” EPA chief, while Wheeler worked for Murray Energy he heavily lobbied the Department of Energy to start using taxpayer dollars to provide federal  subsidies for coal producers. Fortunately, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rightly “struck down the proposal” despite intense pressure from Trump’s Energy Secretary Rick Perry.

Wheeler was also part of the lobbying team that pushed Trump to open up Big Ears National Monument in Utah to a uranium mining company’s operation. Wheeler was a determined proponent of exempting industrial plants from adhering to pollution controls after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and he waged a ferocious battle to shield polluters from liability for the harm they caused by the release of toxic chemicals into the air and water.

Look, there is little doubt that Scott Pruitt, like Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, did not represent the scum of the Trump administration cesspool; both because Pruitt is unethical and because his intent was only ever serving the special interests in the fossil fuel, chemical and manufacturing industries. Now, there is a very competent, behind the scenes, kind of scum that will fight against protecting the environment with the same zeal as his lobbying effort on behalf of the country’s largest private coal company. The results will be the demise of the nation’s environmental and public health regulations that Trump and the Koch brothers want eliminated. It is true no-one in their right mind will miss Scott Pruitt, but they will likely miss being aware of exactly what damage the head of the Environmental Protection Agency plans to wreak on the environment and the American people.

Trump’s warning to the Left was a signal to his acolytes

Politics are messy in the best of times, and opposition politics, whether during elections or not, can be extremely messy – even in “civilized” societies like America used to be. In nations with tyrannical dictators, messy generally means violent and it can be life threatening to oppose the ruling party. Now, based on the threats and predictions of violence by white supremacists, evangelical extremists and now their messiah Donald Trump, opposition politics in America are leaning towards violence.

During a segment on Fox News when Trump was queried about his plan to bring the nation together, especially in light of opposition to his inhumane immigration policy, he sent a not-so-veiled threat to the opposition that they should fear his rabid supporters in the white supremacy and evangelical movements. Trump said:

I think some of the things that are said are terrible. And you know, it’s our people are so incredible — do you know, there’s probably never been a base in the history of politics in this country like my base. I hope the other side realizes that they better just take it easy. They better just take it easy because some of the language used, some of the words used, even some of the radical ideas I really think they are very bad for the country. I think they are actually very dangerous for the country.”

Obviously, Trump’s idea of bringing the nation together is threatening the opposition to either shut up and embrace his tyranny or face the wrath of his disgusting base. Trump’s remark was certainly a warning and a threat to the “opposition,” but it was also a very clear message to “his” base.

It is almost certain that Trump’s “threat” was as much a signal to “his base” to prepare for action against “the opposition” as it was a warning to said “opposition.” Of course this isn’t Trump first foray into inciting his racist and evangelical base to violence and it likely is not going to be the last.

Some Americans may recall that Trump sent another “not-so-subtle” message to his base shortly after one of his Nazi supporters drove a car into a crowd of protestors in Charlottesville Virginia killing Heather Heyer for “opposing” Trump’s revolting Nazi adherents.

The reason his “base” did not  lash out at or abandon him after he was eventually pressured to decry the violence in Charlottesville was because his first public statement signaled his steadfast support for the racists when he said they were “very fine people.” It is no coincidence that he sent the same signal when he said, “our people are so incredible” that the “other side better just take it easy.” It was a direct threat from the Oval Office that “saying things,” “using language, and words,” or promoting “ideas” that Trump doesn’t like are “very dangerous”’ and will incite “his base” to action.

If Americans and the world have learned anything since even before Trump’s poorly attended inauguration, it is that no matter the situation or who is involved, Trump’s first response is making threats – except against his most favored tyrant Vlad Putin. And just as religious extremists and racists follow a perceived messiah, Trump’s devotees are ready and willing to execute his threats in the worst possible way – bloodshed.

It is noteworthy that Trump did not create his incredible “base;”  he simply took advantage of his “birther” handiwork and then tapped into the same people as “his base.”  That base has longed for  bloodshed against the “opposition” since 2008 because it overwhelmingly elected an African American man to be their President. That thirst for civil war, or the so-called second revolution, only increased exponentially throughout President Barack Obama’s tenure in the White House. Trump did not have to do much more than embrace, and then incite, the racists and evangelical extremists during his particularly nasty campaign rallies.

Decent Americans should not underestimate the threat of violence from Trump’s “base.” Since the presidential campaign onward there have been honest-to-dog warnings that opposing Trump, or his policies, was courting danger in the form of violence. One member of Trump’s inner circle, Roger Stone, warned just a few months ago, and for the second time, that “blood will flow in the streets of America with an insurrection like you have never seen if President Trump is impeached.”

Stone specifically noted that any politician who joined the effort or called for removing Trump from the White House “would be endangering their own life.” Media Matters reported that Trump told conspiracy theorist Alex Jones that “he ‘really liked’ [Roger] Stone’s comment” negating any absurd claim that Trump’s “warning” was referring to his base as an electoral “threat.” He was sending a clear message to his supporters who have already threatened incredible bloodshed against the “opposition” if they think their messiah is in danger; it is precisely why Trump called the opposition “very dangerous for the country.”

There is nothing abnormal about Trump issuing threats against anyone he considers “the opposition,” it is just what bullies do as a matter of course. However, it is beyond the pale that the leader of the Executive Branch of government is issuing warnings against the opposition that “they just better take it easy” with their “words and ideas” or face the wrath of “his incredible base.

Unlike the dictators Trump wants to emulate, he is restrained from unleashing the military on “the opposition” for some extrajudicial justice; at least thus far. He has, in fact, promoted the idea that “due process” does not comport with his style of “governance.” So instead he will rely on his “incredible base” to do his dirty work against other Americans who dare to exercise their Constitutional right of free speech and condemn the dirty fascist in the White House.  As noted above, this is not the first time Trump sent his “base” a message regarding their craving for violence and bloodshed against other Americans. All because they refuse to submit to the corrupt and barbaric savage in the White House or the dictates of his racist and theocratic sycophants.

Churches are fuming over being taxed by Republicans and Trump

There is no reason whatsoever to celebrate America these days; the concept of good news has all but vanished. In fact, it is highly likely that a fair number of Americans are mourning the demise of their nation as it existed for 239 years and see nothing but the relentless advance of corporate fascism and a bloodless theocratic coup d’état on the near horizon; many observers, including this author, believe the theocrats have taken over already. These are seriously bad days for America as a nation, and devastating for any citizen that embraced a secular democracy with liberties and freedom for all Americans regardless of race, religious affliction, or gender.

There was a bit of news recently that, although not necessarily good, is certainly worth celebrating if for no other reason than the religious right is up in arms over what they regard as an attack on their religious freedom. In addition, even more reason to marvel is that the attack came at the hands of Congressional Republicans and the religious right’s messianic hero Dumb Don Trump. This particular attack entails a little known “reform” in Trump’s highly touted GOP tax legislation that includes a first ever tax on churches and other non-profits. It is a brief “good time” moment in what is now a horrifically hideous country run by a fascist pig with theocrats and white supremacists supporting his regime.

To remark that the various church leaders are dumbfounded and irate over being taxed would be a monumental understatement. Literally hundreds of church leaders are struggling to comprehend why Republicans would dare treat them like every other American and business, and why their Republican facilitators stabbed them in the back in secret. Actually, since the GOP tax reform legislation was conceived and crafted in secret by the Heritage Foundation, and Republicans voted en masse to enrich the wealthy and corporations without even perusing that legislation, few in Congress were aware of the tax on “the church.”

However, this “tax outrage” is not the kind of tax regular people bemoan; it is a minor tax on the various freebies church and some non-profit organization’s employees receive. Still, the concept of religious organizations being required to contribute anything in the way of “a tax” has infuriated church leaders who vehemently insist that their tax exemption is “sacrosanct,” and non-negotiable.

Subsequently, over 600 churches, thus far, signed a petition demanding that Republicans repeal the tax immediately; because regardless what Jeff Sessions says about the Christian bible command to obey the government, the faithful say they are “exempt” from that particular bible passage like they are exempt from contributing anything of value to America.

The gist of the “hidden tax atrocity” simply requires “churches, hospitals, and other historically tax-exempt organizations to begin paying a 21 percent tax on some types of fringe benefits they provide their employees.”

As a seasonal tax professional and former minister, this author is well-acquainted with the ridiculous number of “tax-free benefits” church employees, especially members of the clergy, receive because they are “blessed” to live in a country that gives churches tens of billions annually as “theocratic welfare.”

The new tax will seem like more “secular persecution” to churches and their employees who are accustomed to special treatment due to their “deeply held faith.” Expecting them to pay taxes like their bible commands is an abomination, and is perceived as the secular government punishing them. It is irrelevant that the “persecution” came at the hands of Republicans and Trump; Trump’s evangelicals, in particular, are beyond incensed. They are not satisfied that the same tax bill “persecuting” them with a small tax also grants them the unconstitutional and unconditional freedom to campaign from the pulpit with the Trump government’s blessings.

That perceived persecution has incited over 600 churches, and some other greedy groups, to sign a petition demanding the Republicans’ tax be repealed.  The churches claim they “don’t need the hassle” of taxes or interacting with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or their silly tax forms. The vice president of government relations at the National Association of Evangelicals, an umbrella group of evangelical organizations, Galen Carey said:

There’s going to be huge headaches. The cost of compliance, especially for churches that have small staffs or maybe volunteer accountants and bookkeepers — we don’t need this kind of hassle.”

It is an affront to decency that Carey has the temerity to complain about “the cost” of obeying his evangelical bible’s command to pay taxes. It is a particularly egregious remark since churches receive tens-of-billions of free taxpayer dollars annually due to being exempt from taxation. Moreover, since Bush’s “faith-based initiatives,” they receive billions of taxpayer dollars in direct payments from the federal government because “faith.”

The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) is joining evangelicals in complaining that their group may face a tax bill this year because of the Republican tax reform that Trump celebrated signing. The senior tax policy counsel for the group, Steven Woolf, predicted the faithful would force Congress and the Treasury to “stop the outrage.” Woolf said:

“A lot of people are just finding out about it and the more people find out about it, the more pressure there will be on Treasury and Congress to either delay implementation or consider changing this.”  

At least one Republican lawmaker is now promising to rescind the tax he just celebrated voting for because god – or some related nonsense. As previously mentioned, many groups are beyond outraged that they are expected to adhere to Jeff Sessions’ favorite scripture, Romans 13, that commands abject obedience to the government. The churches are particularly aggrieved because Republicans failed to get clearance from the religious right before passing tax reform that Trump signed. According to the crybaby chairperson of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, some malcontent named Mike Batts:

What we’re talking about is an income tax on the church. It’s absurd. The whole idea of tax exemption for nonprofit organizations that are doing charitable, religious and educational work is for them not to be on the same playing field when it comes to taxes, in order to incentivize the good work they do to make our society better.”

If Batts wasn’t an entitled religious cretin, he would understand that millions of Americans in jobs that “make our society better,” such as law enforcement, healthcare, education, disaster relief and the military pay taxes on all their earnings and employee benefits; and they don’t complain that they don’t understand how to do taxes.

Many of the 600 and counting churches demanding the tax’s abolition say  they are confused over how exactly the tax is supposed to work – because they have been exempt unlike the rest of the population. Churches want to know how they are supposed to calculate the value of “freebies” they include as compensation for their employees. Some openly wonder if the garages provided as part of clergy residences are now taxable, or if they can still “double dip” and avoid paying their fair share of tax.

It is worth reiterating ad nauseam that religious organizations (churches et al) already receive at least $82.5 billion annually from taxpayers, and that 2013 amount did not include the billions in faith-based initiative funding from taxpayers. In a fair country with a secular Constitution, churches would not be tax exempt; it is probably why the immutable word of god and Jesus in the Christian’s holy bible commands the religion’s adherents to pay taxes.

Although this is not a major story among the daily revelations that America is lurching towards an evangelical theocracy with a corrupt fascist incrementally decimating everything decent about America, it is worth enjoying for a minute. Of course the “faithful” will force Republicans to abolish the tax, and they will continue using Republicans to take complete control of all facets of the government. They will succeed, in large part, due to a curious fear among Americans, the media and Democrats of “offending” the faithful by resisting their bloodless coup d’état.

It is little consolation, but for people devoted to America as a secular representative democracy, they now have an “event” to look back on fondly and they had better enjoy it. It is the last time the religious will ever be “inconvenienced” by the government because it is likely there will never be a law passed without the express consent of the religious right theocrats running America.

GOP Freedom Caucus cowards embolden Trump’s lies and attacks on Republicans

It is a good thing at least three Republicans meeting privately with Trump last week are not in the military, because if that were the case they would likely be convicted of cowardice and taken out to be “shot at dawn.”

Any individual who lacks courage is a coward. In fact, cowardice is defined as the opposite of courage and considered a “failure of character” in the face of a challenge. It is also regarded as a “trait wherein excessive self-concern overrides doing or saying what is right, good, and of help to others in a time of need.” In many military codes of justice, cowardice is a “capital crime punishable by death.”

Over the past week, there has been an ongoing display of Republican cowardice in the face of Trump’s continued attacks on a Republican considered a loyal and highly respected member of the House Freedom Caucus (teabaggers). It is typical for Trump to single out someone from his own party for criticism because the individual disagreed with the aspiring dictator, and as recent history shows it is just as typical for Republicans to refrain from condemning Trump out of abject fear.

It seemed that the Republicans’ tepid anger at Trump for attacking another Republican and lying about it had died down by the weekend, but as is his wont, Trump continued belittling Representative Mark Sanford after allegedly angering a few House Freedom Caucus members last week. Moreover, it is noteworthy that Trump continues unimpeded because he knows Republicans are too cowardly to do much more than bitch and moan among themselves; they are too spineless to confront Trump to his face or on national television.

Last week while the travesty of Trump’s immigration policy was dominating the news, there was a prime example of exactly how desperate cowardly Republicans are to avoid getting on the wrong side of their fascist standard-bearer Trump. It was hardly reported that during a “closed-door” meeting on immigration with about 200 House Republicans, dirty Don openly “disparaged” one House Republican, Representative Mark Sanford, as a “nasty guy” while celebrating Mr. Sanford’s primary election loss.

Instead of walking out en masse to protest Trump’s demeaning one of their own, the cowards in attendance could only muster an “awkward silence” with a few barely audible “boos” in the background. That was the extent of the 200 House Republicans’ response when a cheap criminal stood there and maligned a loyal Republican friend. The cowards were too terrified of “doing or even saying what is right” to defend one of their own as if doing so would have meant immediate expulsion from Congress. Nevertheless, that display of Republican cowardice was not the end of the story.

According to a typical self-aggrandizing “tweet,” the next day Trump claimed that the 200 assembled House Republicans “applauded and laughed loudly when I mentioned my experience with Mark Sanford. I have never been a fan of his!”

Apparently, it was acceptable for the Party leader to belittle a devoted Republican in person, but for three Republicans it was not acceptable for their hero to lie and mischaracterize their response as celebratory – especially over a remark that any civilized person would consider unbecoming.

What is telling is that the three Republicans who did object to Trump’s mendacious tweet did not object directly to his face because they fear him like plague. In fact, two of the congressional representatives, Justin Amash (R-MI) and Ryan Costello (R-PA), reported via “tweet” that Trump’s claim was “categorically false” and that the assembled Republicans were “disgusted” over their fearless leader’s “dazzling display of pettiness and insecurity.” However, their refutations were not directed at Trump. There is no doubt they fear being on the receiving end of Trump’s retribution

It is noteworthy that although Amash and Costello responded by “tweet” to Trump’s Twitter lie, neither one was brave enough to condemn the liar by sending their “Twitter” refutations directly to @realdonaldtrump. According to Trump’s Twitter account, he does not follow either Amash or Costello on Twitter; so it is highly unlikely the two Republicans are in danger of being targeted by Trump with retaliation for exposing the White House occupant’s filthy lie.

According to Mr. Amash, who is too cowardly to confront Trump in person or by “tweet,” the 200 or so Republicans in attendance were not laughing or applauding; he said they “were disgusted.” He tweeted:

House Republicans had front row seats to POTUS’s dazzling display of pettiness and insecurity. Nobody applauded or laughed. People were disgusted.”

Amash is running unopposed in his reelection bid so it is unclear exactly what drives his fear of openly challenging Trump in person for the mischaracterization of how Republicans responded after Trump demeaned their loyal cohort.

It is the same case with Ryan Costello (R-PA). Costello also took to Twitter to deny Trump’s claim that Republicans cheered and applauded his comments demeaning Mr. Sanford. Costello tweeted that Trump’s Twitter claim was “Categorically false,” and he told the Washington Post, “There’s no fricking way that that’s what happened.

Mr. Costello, like Amash, has nothing to fear from Trump electorally because he announced earlier in the year that he is not seeking reelection. He said he is weary of only “answering questions about Donald Trump rather than health insurance or tax policy.”

The only other denial out of 200 assembled Republicans came from Representative Scott DesJariais (R-TN) who told Politico that Trump’s “tweet” was patently false. He noted that instead of wild applause and laughter when Trump made the untoward comment, “there were crickets.”

Many of the other 200 Republicans queried about Trump’s nasty remarks against one of the own either feigned ignorance or pretended they didn’t hear their leader’s comments or notice the “decidedly awkward silence” or smattering of “muffled boos.”  As reported by Amber Phillips in the Washington Post:

“Not a single lawmaker of the two dozen questioned by The Washington Post backed up Trump’s claim that they applauded and laughed loudly as he dissed Sanford, and very few were willing to call out the president Trump for creating an alternate reality.”

Tuesday it was reported that since Trump continues criticizing “one of their own,” the House Freedom Caucus is taking him to task in the most cowardly means possible. Instead of calling a press conference in front of television cameras and reporters, or marching over to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to impose some serious condemnation on the fascist in the Oval Office, the Freedom Caucus sissies released a statement applauding Sanford’s service.

“Mark Sanford has been a strong, independent voice fighting for the people of South Carolina’s First District. We continue to support him, he is a valued member of the House Freedom Caucus, and it’s our honor serving with him. His thoughtful consideration of legislation and willingness to put constitutional principles ahead of the party line is commendable and will be missed.”

No doubt, very few Americans will consider the Freedom Caucus’ statement praising Sanford as condemning Trump for his mendacity, “dazzling display of pettiness,” or his typically “disgusting” behavior.

This particular incident, although seemingly routine for Trump’s America and Republicans, is very telling. If nothing else, it should disabuse every American of the idea that Trump will ever be held accountable for any of his crimes – whether they are crimes against humanity, the U.S. Constitution, or crimes that endanger the continued existence of America as created by the Founding Fathers.

Look, if 200 or so Republicans are too frightened of Trump to call out his “display of pettiness” or his “Twitter” lies about how they responded to his “disgusting” remarks, then they will never act to hold him to account for being a threat to America – something that has been glaringly apparent since his poorly attended inauguration.

The lack of response from the House Republicans should be a wakeup call to Americans foolishly awaiting Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller to rescue the people, and the country, from Trump’s deliberately destructive policies and agendas. Remember, only the Republican-controlled House can “impeach” Trump who is well aware that Republicans are cowards of the first order. It is why he is able to intimidate Republicans into remaining silent about anything he does; whether it is lying about their behavior, publicly demeaning one of their loyal cohorts, or decimating the Constitution they all pledged a “so help me god” oath to defend and support; something the cowards in the GOP are inherently unable to do if they are too terrified to stand up to a fascist punk like Trump.

Trump’s latest attack on the Constitution portends his intent to “rule” as dictator

The United States Constitution is not the sort of document that contains reiterations of the same “rule of law” for obvious reasons, mostly centering on the fact that there is not much room for interpretation of easy to understand “commands.” There is, however, one “command” that is referenced verbatim in separate Amendments to the Constitution because it is a foundational protection against tyranny – like many other aspects of the Constitution and the rule of law,

Trump revealed on Sunday, and doubled down on Monday, that he is no fan of the aforementioned Constitutional “clauses.” It is likely because they provide longstanding legal protections from tyranny as well as prevent an aspiring dictator like Trump from ruling like the various dictators, past and present, that he is so enamored with and desperate to emulate.

The Constitution’s Framers and Founding Fathers were well aware that without the concept of “due process of law” enshrined in the Constitution, and the nation’s consciousness, America would rapidly devolve into a dictatorship. Trump’s outrageous set of “tweets” decrying “due process of the law” for immigrants alleged to be guilty of a misdemeanor, “improper entry,” is the latest revelation that not only does he have no respect for the Constitution; his greatest aspiration is to rule as dictator according to his law.

If these were normal times, the head of the Executive Department “explicitly” advocating depriving people of their due-process rights would be grounds for congressional leaders to issue a sternly worded censure, if not articles of impeachment. Trump claims that anyone suspected of “improper entry,” a civil matter and a misdemeanor, is an “invader” and must immediately be deported without a civil trial or appearance before a judge – even if they are legally seeking asylum or are young children.

Trump said via his forum of choice for issuing domestic policy edicts and setting foreign policy:

We cannot allow all of these people to invade our Country. When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came. Our system is a mockery to good immigration policy and Law and Order. Most children come without parents.”

Setting aside Trump’s daily practice of attacking the nation’s laws, this is not the first time he has entertained the idea of suspending “due process” protections for the “kind” of people he and his supporters claim are “invading and infesting “ America. Remember, one of Trump’s fiercest supporters who was in the running to lead the Department of Homeland Security, David Clark, promoted the idea that Trump could just suspend the Constitution and imprison a million or so Muslim Americans indefinitely without due process of the law. Now Trump is proposing a similar idea as a means of dealing with those other Brown people he and his supporters claim are not allowed in their white America.

Due process is the cornerstone of any civilized society regardless of how stringent a nation’s law and order policies are. Without due process of law, the result is abject tyranny, not unlike the conditions in countries ruled by Trump’s favorite dictators. There is a good reason Trump praises tyrants renowned for extrajudicial killings and indefinite detentions; his greatest ambition is to rule as a dictator beholden to no law, no judicial system, and no legislative body.

The Founding Fathers took great care to protect America from tyranny with the Bill of Rights, particularly the Fifth Amendment. That protection was reiterated 75 years later when the States ratified the 14th Amendment. As “due process” is explained by Cornell Law School:

These words [due process] have as their central promise an assurance that all levels of American government must operate within the law and provide fair procedures. The Constitution states only one command twice. The Fifth Amendmentsays to the federal government that no one shall be ‘deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.’ The Fourteenth Amendment uses the same eleven words, called the Due Process Clause, to describe a legal obligation of all states.” (author bold)

It is now glaringly apparent that to Trump the idea of a “legal obligation” to follow the laws of the land is anathema to his dream of ruling America as dictator. He has openly disparaged the nation’s founding document, the one he swore a “so help me god” oath to support, defend and uphold, and has regularly attacked the federal judiciaryfor ruling according to the Constitution and not the dictates of Führer Trump.

Trump is now asserting that in his America, and this is his America, the rule of law is a barrier he is not going to tolerate, especially if he is flagrantly attacking the concept of due process of law. As conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin noted in the Washington Post, Trump’s latest outrageous assertion about immigrants is “the language of totalitarianism, [and] rule without civil rights.  It’s the language of racist regimes …. It is distinctly un-American.”

Of course it is “distinctly un-American.”  What else can anyone expect from Trump? He has been the picture of “distinctly un-American” since before his poorly attended inauguration. Throughout the entire lurch toward Trump ruling as dictator, Republicans have been complicit in his attacks on Americans, people of color, America’s staunchest allies and the United States Constitution through their continued silence and fear of confronting the un-American fascist.

It is still a mystery why Republicans are terrified of a legitimate threat to America and continue supporting Trump’s assault on the nation. It leaves one to conclude that Republicans are as un-American as their fascist standard bearer or they would have already taken the necessary steps to remove what they know is a clear and present danger to the U.S. Constitution and America as a representative democracy.

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.