Under Pruitt the EPA is killing Americans in god’s name

According to the mission statement of the EPA, the agency conceived by a Republican president was “created for the purpose of protecting human health and the environment by writing and enforcing regulations.” It is a very straight-forward and simple mission; protect the people’s health and lives by protecting the environment from polluters.

Republicans serving the interests of the fossil fuel industry disagree with the EPA’s mission on principle; “the environment” is not donating tens-of-millions of dollars to Republican politicians. That being the case, Republicans have lusted for decades to put an end to protecting the environment without regard for Americans’ health or lives. Republicans have no interest in protecting anything except their wealthy donors, guns and single celled organisms to sate their special interests’ greed and nasty control issues. The concept of protecting Americans’ lives has had no place in “pro-life” religious Republican politics for some time now because it is not profitable.

The man Trump tapped to lead the EPA, Scott Pruitt, is one of those religious Republicans who claims to be pro-life, but has spent the past year systematically neutering the EPA’s ability to protect human lives and the environment.  As of late, Pruitt, an evangelical malcontent of some repute, has been “playing the god card” again to justify his fossil fuel environmental agenda; including citing his bastardized interpretation of the Christian bible as authority for his deadly environmental deregulation rampage.

Pruitt claims god gave humans a mandate to use, and apparently abuse, Earth’s resources, but only those dirty resources that are profitable to the GOP’s fossil fuel masters. The concept of using any of Earth’s free, renewable and clean resources such as wind, solar, and hydro is abominable to Pruitt. Probably because although those clean resources are allegedly gifts from Pruitt’s god according to his Stone Age mentality, they do not enrich the fossil fuel industry.

According to one religious man who occasionally acts like what a “real Christian” is purported to be, and is the spiritual leader of roughly 1.2 billion Christians around the world, Pruitt’s claim that his god and the  bible support a deadly environmental crusade is completely wrong.

It is noteworthy that when Pope Francis issued an environmental encyclical a couple of years ago, he specifically addressed Pruitt’s interpretation of  “man’s dominion” over the Earth as cruel because raping and pillaging the Earth is killing millions of human beings. In fact, it almost appears that Pope Francis was specifically targeting Pruitt, Trump, Republicans and their fossil fuel masters for what he claimed were “sins committed against the environment.”

The Pope pointed out that the “selfish system motivated by profit at any price” is “turning the planet into a polluted wasteland full of debris, desolation and filth … When [we] hurt the Earth, we hurt the poor and most vulnerable who are already suffering its impact.”

Apparently, and according to Pruitt’s biblical interpretation, his god supports hurting the Earth and the poor or he would not have given his “godly” blessing to turn the planet into a wasteland. That “wasteland,” by the way, is already killing over nine million human beings prematurely, and that is only the death count from pollution. Those numbers do not include the suffering and deaths resulting from anthropogenic climate change.

The atrocity in America is that religious Republicans carrying the “pro-life” banner are abolishing environmental rules and regulations that can drastically reduce pollution-related deaths among their constituents. That is why Scott Pruitt claiming god as justification for eliminating environmental protections is just beyond vile.

In America in 2012, there were 200,000 deaths from “air pollution”  and because there was an administration concerned about the health and welfare of Americans, new environmental rules resulted in 130,000 deaths by 2016. It is noteworthy that those Obama-era environmental rules have been abolished by Trump, and where rules are still in effect Pruitt has directed EPA inspectors to stop enforcing various environmental laws despite the drastic harm to the population. It is noteworthy that Trump has as much blood on his hands as Pruitt whether the  Oval Office sinner invokes god or not

Last fall in an effort to justify eliminating more environmental protections, Pruitt citedhis Christian bible as support for purging the agency of scientists and barring them from serving in advisory posts. He used some Old Testament scripture to justify appointing fossil fuel industry personnel and Republicans indebted to the industry as policy advisors. Pruitt claimed he needed “diversity” of opinions, or what the Trump administration calls “alternative facts,” to set environmental policy.

Trump concurred with Pruitt’s action banning scientists and this week the White House called on a federal court to dismiss an ethics lawsuit against Pruitt and the EPA. It is unclear how the recently Trump-appointed judge will rule on a challenge to the ethics of replacing scientists with fossil fuel industry advocates likely employed by the Koch brothers as EPA policy advisors.

It is not clear how many more times Scott Pruitt is going to invoke his god to despoil the environment and kill off hundreds-of-thousands of Americans every year. It is true that Pruitt has not yet cited a passage in his Christian bible to support not doing his taxpayer-funded job, or deliberately preventing the agency he runs from fulfilling its mission, but he did find a scripture to support decimating the environment, and kill Americans in the process. They call people like Pruitt “religious extremists and fanatics” for good reasons.

This administration brought a world of doom and gloom to America after 8 years of beneficial changes for the environment and Americans’ health – albeit in tiny, hard-won increments. Now with Trump and an evangelical miscreant like Pruitt demolishing the EPA from the inside, and then invoking his god as justification for eliminating rules enacted to protect Americans, it is a fair assessment that they have a wanton disregard for human life.

It was just reported, again, that there is an alarming increase of birth defects, low birth rate, asthma and cancer in and around oil and gas “fracking” sites, but Congress and the Pruitt-led EPA has resisted taking any steps to enact new, or enforce existing, environmental rules because Republicans control Congress and the fossil fuel industry controls Republicans. Those children in Flint Michigan who ingested and bathed in mercury-laden water will suffer lifelong developmental consequences and yet Republicans and the EPA are still not concerned enough to address the mercury poisoning going on in other areas of the nation,  including in hundreds of public schools.

It is telling about the state of this nation and its people that they have willingly installed a government indebted to special interests, and in their crusade to serve those interests the Republicans running the government are culpable of killing Americans by the tens-of-thousands annually. It is terrifying that the man leading the Environmental Protection Agency responsible for protecting all Americans is using the EPA to kill and maim in god’s name like every other radical religious extremist.

Look, there is something horribly wrong with America and it is down to Americans who, for whatever reasons, are as lost and ignorant as Republicans are religious fanatics and inherently cruel. There has been some outrage after each gun massacre because innocent Americans were slaughtered at the hand of an extremist of some sort. And the nation went ballistic after 911 because innocent American lives were lost at the hands of foreign extremists.  When a gang of criminals knocked down some buildings and killed a few thousand Americans, the country united to support launching two wars against two innocent sovereign nations. No foreigners get to kill innocent Americans with impunity; right?

However, when a political party and the head of the EPA is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans by abolishing and refusing to enforce rules enacted to prevent those deaths, nothing happens and there is no outrage; even when the religious freak running the EPA plays the god card.

Image: Patheos

White House report vindicates President Obama’s regulatory agenda

One of the so-called pillars of conservatism is fervent resistance to change; like very unpleasant toddlers and petulant pre-teens. Republicans have never forgotten some progressive changes going back 80 years to the New Deal and they are still vehemently resisting those changes to the point of attempting to abolish them today.

What appears to rankle Republicans specifically is the very concept of the federal government regulating anything whatsoever, but particularly if it is a means of protecting Americans from the rich and powerful. Republicans particularly despise, and have resisted “vehemently,” any kind of regulations affecting the financial, energy, and commercial sector, or generally what Americans know as corporate America.

Republicans never fail to cite two specific economic reasons why they say regulations are an immoral act of federal government overreach,but their assertions have been disproven on a regular basis. Now the Trump White House has “quietly” joined the debunking effort.

As it turns out, according to a report from the Trump administration’s Office of Management and Budget, Obama era regulations were not “job-killing” or economic disasters like Trump and Republicans contend. And, those federal regulations definitely produced a far greater economic benefit than they cost. Remember, this is the Trump administrations’ Office of Management and Budget vindicating President Obama’s regulatory agenda; it is not “fake news” or part of a liberal media conspiracy. Everything Trump and Republicans have asserted or still claim about President Obama’s regulations, or regulations in general, is fake news and typical Republican lies.

No doubt when the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released its “annual report” late last week amid a rash of Trump scandals, they were taking advantage of the typical Trump weekend outrages. A Trump administration report titled “Report to Congress on the benefits and Costs of Federal Regulations and Agency Compliance with the Unfunded Mandates Act”  is certainly not something Trump or his Republican cohort ever want the public to learn about. Specifically because they would learn, from Trump’s administration, that Republicans, Trump, the Kochs, ALEC, and the Heritage Foundation have been blatantly lying about “regulations as a general matter and wrong about President Obama’s regulations specifically.”

Those regulations, incidentally, “had benefits far in excess of their costs with no discernible effect on jobs or growth.” That last part, jobs and growth, was easily substantiated prior to the OMB report based on years of “regular job and economic growth” numbers during President Obama’s tenure. And all the while, Republicans screamed that President Obama’s regulations were killing jobs, retarding economic growth, and costing the American people dearly. However, according to the Trump OMB’s own reporting, the negative assertions from Republicans and Trump are patently false; particularly the false claims that the Obama regulations were killing jobs, the economy, and corporations.

The OMB analyzed data on all “major” federal regulations between 2006 and 2016 to produce a report founded on empirical data, not typical Heritage Foundation or Republicans’ “fake news.” Major federal regulations are considered those with $100 million or more in economic impact.

The aggregate costs of Obama era-regulations were “$59 to $88 billion” according to the federal agencies the OMB gathered data from. No matter how conservative of an estimate one makes, the $219 to $695 billion in benefits “wildly outweighed the costs” of federal regulations. What that means is that all of the Republican and Trump arguments against Obama Administration regulations, “arguably the organizing principle of Trump’s administration,” are demonstrably false; or in street parlance – filthy lies.

Any half sane American was aware Trump and Republicans’ assertions about President Obama’s regulations were false without a Trump OMB report. Like Republicans and Trump, most Americans heard reports about, or saw for themselves, the monthly job and economic growth reports proving that regulations were not bad for the economy. They were also not bad for “ordinary Americans” who benefitted from their enactment.

It is noteworthy to mention that environmental regulations, “specifically air pollution regulations” did in fact have the highest costs. However, they also have had the highest benefits exceeding those costs significantly. And it is particularly noteworthy that those “higher benefits” went to help the “ordinary American people” economically; but more crucially, it benefitted them with better health and longer lives.

David Roberts framed the issue of “regulatory costs versus benefits” in a very interesting way that informs another reason Republicans and Trump opposed President Obama’s environmental regulations. He wrote:

Air quality regulations serve as a downward redistribution of wealth, out of the pockets of industrialists and into the pockets of ordinary Americans, particularly the poor and vulnerable Americans (African Americans and Hispanics in particular) who tend to live closest to pollution sources. They shift costs, from the much higher health and social costs of pollution remediation to the comparatively smaller costs of pollution abatement.”

It didn’t take a Trump OMB report to “vindicate” President Obama’s regulatory agenda because the economy prospered and a record number of jobs were created in the midst of what Republicans claimed were deliberately cruel job and economy-killing regulations.

For example, the economy gained a net 11.6 million jobs; the unemployment rate dropped to below the historical norm; average weekly earnings for all workers were up 4.1 percent; after-tax corporate profits set new records, as did stock prices. It was nearly the same case during the Clinton Administration when the economy soared in spite of increased regulations, and like during the Clinton Administration,  those Obama regulations were accompanied by a slight tax hike on the very rich. Still, the economy grew, unemployment declined, corporations prospered, and the very rich became very much richer; and as a bonus American lives were saved.

Of course by now most Americans should be cognizant that Republicans and Trump exist solely to serve the rich and that includes giving the wealth of the nation, including the Treasury, to the already rich. But the only important way to frame this issue is that regulations save American lives.

The real story here, and the narrative for Democrats heading into the midterm elections, is that despite Obama’s regulations providing significantly more benefits than they cost, including a growing economy, Republicans and Trump have been eliminating them regardless of the harm to the people. Republicans are well aware that air pollution alone is responsible for killing over 200,000 Americans annually (in 2013), and yet with Trump’s assistance they have laid waste to 67 environmental rules in less than a year.

The message to the American people is not solely that Republicans and Trump are abolishing specifically environmental regulations that are economically beneficial and combat anthropogenic climate change; the message is that they are purposely eliminating regulations that save hundreds of thousands of American lives – all to enrich their wealthy corporate donors. If nothing else, it debunks their so-called “pro-life” status and should disabuse their base of any idea that either Republicans or Trump care if they live or die.

It is remarkable that President Obama’s regulatory agenda is now “officially vindicated” by the Trump’s own OMB, but it is noteworthy that unlike Republicans and Trump, President Obama’s actions were specific to saving Americans’ lives; something Trump or his Republican cohorts would never consider. In fact, they have demonstrated beyond dispute that they will kill American citizens by the tens-of-thousands to enrich their corporate masters.

Trump is not permitting the NSA to stop Russian cyber attacks

Free and fair elections are a crucial element to the success of any representative democracy and it is just one of the reasons Donald Trump despises America’s electoral system as passionately as he loathes the U.S. Constitution. There is some hope on the left that the upcoming midterm elections may be favorable for Democratic candidates, but with Trump in the Oval Office it is looking a lot less “favorable.” Trump is not doing anything to support fair elections and it should not surprise one American; he is a lying, corrupt Republican after all.

Whether it was Trump falsely claiming that 5.7 million immigrants voted illegally in 2016, or convening a special commission to affect future elections in Republicans’ favor, or rejecting the claims of intelligence agencies that the Russians interfered on his behalf in the last election; it is glaringly apparent Trump does not want fair elections.

That assertion was verified by Trump’s National Security Adviser who said Trump will not give permission and authorize intelligence and Defense Department officials to combat the Russians who are still interfering in the electoral process.

During queries to Trump’s director of the National Security Agency and commander of the U.S. Cyber Command, Admiral Michael Rogers testified that “President Donald Trump had not given him or his agency the authority to fight back against Russian attacks on the 2018 U.S. midterm elections.”

That’s right, despite the universal knowledge going back nearly two years that Russians interfered in the 2016 primaries and general election attacking America’s democracy, the corrupt reprobate has not taken any steps to protect America or the integrity of the electoral process. Of course that includes refusing to follow the direction of Congress and protect the nation by imposing sanctions on Russia for interfering in the 2016 election.

In response to a question from Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) regarding the Department of Defense’s ability to respond and defend against cyber attacks from Russia “against our forthcoming elections,” Admiral Rogers was not hesitant to explain why nothing whatsoever is being done to protect the nation’s democratic process. Senator Nelson said:

We have been attacked and there are a lot of us that feel like we are still being attacked and that we’re going to be attacked particularly with regard to our elections. So, what’s the holdup?”

Admiral Rogers replied:

The challenge for us is right now we have this thing called the law. And the legal framework shapes what DOD can and cannot do.”

Mr. Nelson pressed the issue to get an explanation about why there has been no action and what about the law is holding up a defense of America’s electoral process. He asked Rogers:

What do you need as the commander to say go after and punish these guys that are trying to tear apart our critical infrastructure?”

Rogers replied thus:

I need a policy decision that indicates that there’s specific direction to do that. The secretary [of defense] would ultimately make a recommendation to the president… and then based on that, we’d be given specific direction and specific authority.”

Seemingly perplexed, Senator Nelson asked, “So you need a direction and specific authority from the White House?”  Rogers explained that yes, “The president Trump ultimately would make this decision.”

Trump made his decision a little over a month ago when he decided not to impose Congress’ sanctions on Russia for interfering in the 2016 elections. His reasoning was that passing the legislation was enough to serve as a “deterrent.” Congress voted overwhelmingly to impose sanctions on Russia as punishment for “election meddling” in 2016. The concept of “deterring” a past action is beyond a mind-numbing assertion, even for a mind-numbing ignoramus like Trump.

Trump is not going to punish Russia for its past election meddling and it is apparent he has no interest in stopping them now. If that were not the case he would have imposed Congress’ latest sanctions a month ago, and unleashed the Department of Defense on the Russians immediately after learning the attacks are continuing, but he has not. He is so indebted to Russia and needs their attacks to continue unabated, he even violated the Constitution by not imposing Congress’ sanctions. It is a clear signal he is not going to stop Russian election interference because he obviously opposes fair elections.

Free and fair elections are no more appealing to Trump than they are to his Republican cohorts, particularly in Republican controlled states. The Trump demonstrated that a couple of weeks ago when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court had to take action to stop Republicans’ unconstitutional gerrymandering. Trump said that the Republicans’ “unconstitutional gerrymandering” was “correct” and that Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court was wrong. Trump encouraged Pennsylvania Republicans to take their case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court where conservatives will continue their, and the GOP’s, assault on fair elections.

What Trump claimed was correct, according to his disdain for fair elections, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court labeled “clearly, plainly, and palpably a violation of Pennsylvania’s state Constitution.” Of course Pennsylvania Republicans concurred with Trump and said the state Supreme Court’s ruling was wrong; they oppose the concept of “fair elections” or they would not have fashioned a system blatantly skewed to elect Republicans.

The head of the Executive Branch refusing to punish a foreign entity for attacking America in the past, and failing to authorize the defense department to combat ongoing attacks is simply beyond comprehension; it is also un-American and it damn well should be considered treasonous. It is also a clear indication from Trump that he is as frightened of the Russians as he is opposed to free and fair elections. Plus, not punishing or opposing their election meddling efforts is remuneration for aiding him and Republicans in 2016. That the Republicans in Congress are refusing to use their considerable power to punish Trump indicates that they too are either afraid of the Russians or want them to carry on interfering with impunity; everyone knows they oppose fair elections.

One hopes that Democrats are prepared for what may be incredibly disappointing results in the 2018 midterm elections.  Because with the party in power opposed to fair elections that would evict them from power, and the head of the Executive Branch unwilling to interfere with the Russian election meddling efforts, the midterms may produce exactly what the Russians want – a wave election that augments Republican majorities in Congress and the states.


Mocking Pence For Hearing Voices Is Not Religious Intolerance

It is fairly well-acknowledged by some Americans that freedom of speech does not include the freedom to express an opinion that fails to praise and venerate the Christian religion and its adherents. Even though members of the religious right, particularly Republican members, routinely demean all manner of humans for being out of compliance with the bastardized version of Christianity that American evangelicals embrace, they feign being persecuted at the perception of an untoward remark about their religion.

Apparently, being outraged at the truth about their faith has something to do with the faithful always having to feel persecuted, which is itself a complete mystery. Especially in America where evangelicals hold great sway over society and persecute the rest of the population under the guise of religious freedom.

Recently, there was some bizarre outrage toward an entertainer for what evangelicals claim is being bigoted toward, and persecuting, Christians. Of course Fox News and an ultra-right wing outfit joined in the “outrage” and attempted to fan the flames by attacking “liberal media bias” driving attacks on poor persecuted evangelicals.

Most of the latest outrage originated with America’s aspiring “preacher in chief,” Mike Pence. Pence took umbrage at comments from a pair of television celebrities for expressing their concern over the man “one cheeseburger away from the presidency” hearing voices no-one else hears.

Hearing voices, no matter whose voices, is ‘generally’ a sign of mental illness. According to the Mental Health Foundation:

Between 5% and 28% of the general population hears voices that other people do not. Hearing voices is the most common type of hallucination in people with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia.”

 Apparently during a segment on ABC’s “The View” a little over two weeks ago, one of the co-hosts, Sunny Hostin, remarked:

“I don’t know that I want my vice president, um – speaking in tongues and having Jesus speak to him.”

That reasonable statement prompted co-host Joy Behar to proffer her opinion that “hearing from Jesus is actually call mental illness.” Seriously, Ms. Behar is right; even Christians have to admit that mythological Jesus died a couple of millennia ago and is not speaking to Pence or any other religious Republican.

Now, only poor persecuted evangelicals would take the women’s comments, and informed opinions, as “anti-Christian bias,” or as “preacher Pence” complained, “religious intolerance.”  Pence was incensed and attacked ABC News saying:

To have ABC maintain a broadcast forum that compared Christianity to mental illness is just wrong, It is simply wrong for ABC to have a television program that expresses that kind of religious intolerance.”

Except that Pence, no kind of “real” Christian, is lying again. Neither Ms. Hostin nor Ms. Behar compared Christianity to mental illness and Pence knows it. They simply stated a fact –  that hearing voices, no matter the source, is generally a sign of a mental disorder; and they expressed a very valid opinion most Americans would tend to agree with. A vice president hearing voices and speaking religious gibberish no-one alive or dead can comprehend is a frightening prospect. Besides, the Christian bible says speaking in tongues ended a couple of millennia ago.

Still, there was a minor outcry from about 30,000 infuriated evangelicals who joined a concerted evangelical campaign organized by Media Research Center (MRC) to force ABC to hold the “View” co-hosts accountable for expressing their opinions; or what the outraged evangelicals called spewing “anti-Christian bigotry.” Thus far the evangelical effort has fallen woefully short.

Obviously, the MRC has taken up the poor persecuted Pence mantle and accused Behar and Hostin, and by extension ABC News, of advancing “the liberal media’s pronounced bias against Christianity to the next level.

The MRC’s mouthpiece, a conservative piece of work named Brent Bozell, published an open letter to ABC News demanding an apology for allowing the View’s hosts to express their opinions. It wasn’t enough for Bozell to demand that ABC News sanction the two women, he used MRC to post contact information for the show’s advertisers so “angry evangelical viewers” can inflict damage on the program, the network, and the show’s co-hosts.

The MRC’s claim to fame is being “America’s leading media watchdog in documenting, exposing and neutralizing liberal media bias.” So there it is again – the dreaded “liberal media bias.” Seriously, liberal media bias is what sane human beings call accurate reporting and informed opinions. Bozell said:

I am sure the advertisers of “The View” will be just as appalled as I am about the anti-Christian remarks made on the show.”

However, as of late last week, the MRC sadly informed Fox News that neither ABC News nor any of “The View’s” advertisers had made contact with the angry folks at MRC.

The mad folks over at Fox News also weighed in to add some fuel to the fire and condemned Ms. Behar for not keeping her opinions to herself; even after viciously attacking Mike ‘preacher’ Pence’s Christianity. The View was accused by Fox News of failing to “tone down its rhetoric.” Because like no small number of journalists and pundits, Behar told the truth that “the conservative conference’s (CPAC) participants have a ‘penchant for Nazis.’” A statement even a lifelong, dyed-in-the-wool conservative columnist Mona Charen echoed in an opinion piece about her experience as a panelist at CPAC.

The problem here, and the reason evangelicals are outraged over an opinion, is that they are used to a media and population giving them a pass and never calling out their absurdities, or the bigotry, borne of their bastardized interpretation of Christianity. Face it, if Pence is hearing voices, or one voice, it is the voice of the Koch brothers and the Heritage Foundation, not Jesus. Even fictional Jesus wouldn’t tell Pence to take from the poor to enrich the wealthy or to be intolerant of anyone for not subscribing to his version of Christianity.

Neither of The View’s co-hosts attacked Christianity or Pence for that matter and they definitely did not express any “anti-Christian bigotry” or “religious intolerance.” It is a miracle that Pence, the 30,000 evangelical crybabies, and MRC chief Bozell didn’t choke on their own hypocrisy; because no group in America is as bigoted as the evangelical extremist movement and there is ample evidence to support that fact.

Perhaps if more media figures and politicians did, in fact, assail the religious as the source of most bigotry and attacks against other Americans, the nation may be less divided and less dominated by the religious right and their vile religious Republican facilitators.

As far as anyone being guilty of “religious intolerance” or “anti-Christian bigotry” for attacking Mike ‘preacher’ Pence, it is impossible because he is no kind of Christian. And if mythical Jesus were speaking to him, he would tell him he was going straight to proverbial Hell for being a lying hypocrite and a filthy fake Christian – because nothing he represents or stands for has any connection to anything mythical Jesus purportedly preached. That is not anti-Christian bigotry, it is a fact that most ‘real Christians’ know is true.

Image: Evan Vucci/AP

Billy Graham On Display in the Capitol Is a National Disgrace

One of the primary reasons Americans are fundamentally unaware that their nation and their freedoms are being whittled away by theocrats posing as Republicans is because of sheer cowardice. Mainstream media, Democrats, various pundits, and most commentators are absolutely terrified of attributing Republican atrocities like attacks on women, gays, contraception, Jews and other religions, and the Constitution’s equal rights provisions to one religion. Specifically it is the religion comprised of the cults adhering to the bastardized form of Christianity that falls under the umbrella term “evangelicals.”

Now there is another purely Republican religious atrocity being unchallenged and although it does not necessarily inflict harm in typical religious Republican fashion, it epitomizes just how deep theocracy is entrenched in government.

This particular little screed is over the lack of outrage at an honored privilege being bestowed, at taxpayer expense, on a private citizen simply because he was a Christian preacher. Billy Graham has spent decades adversely influencing at least two generations of Americans while not providing any contribution or service whatsoever to the nation. Still, House Speaker Paul  Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are honoring Graham for his “distinguished service to the nation.”

Graham died last week so Ryan and McConnell sent a letter to Graham’s evangelical extremist son for permission to honor his dead father in the Capitol Rotunda. McConnell and Ryan’s letter said:

“Congress joins the American people in expressing our sincerest condolences to you on the passing of the Rev. Billy Graham.

In recognition of Rev. Graham’s long and distinguished serve to the nation, it is our intention to ask the House of Representatives and the Senate to permit that his remains lie in honor in Rotunda of the Capitol.

With your approval, we will move forward with these arrangements, so that Americans have this opportunity to pay their respects to Rev. Graham before he is laid to rest.”

Graham will be only the fourth private citizen to “lie in honor” in recognition of his “contributions to the nation.” However, even Paul Ryan failed to identify any of Graham’s  “contributions to the nation” in an official Speaker of the House “press release“ announcing the atrocious waste of taxpayer money; no matter the amount.  The three other ‘honorees’ were private citizens who actually contributed to the nation either defending the Capital with their lives, or in Rosa Parks case, making a stand for civil rights the Constitution guaranteed to all Americans. Where the two Capital police officers and Ms. Parks contributed a service the nation that benefits all Americans,  Graham contributed to his Baptist religion; and his own incredibly substantial bank account.

Now, in all fairness there is something Graham has contributed to the nation, but it cannot possibly be regarded as anything other than horrific and contrary to the U.S. Constitution. For all intents and purposes, Graham is the dirty bastard who spawned the religious right movement, myriad charlatans posing as televangelists, and the bigoted evangelical extremist movement decimating America today. He also spawned that piece of work Franklin Graham who spreads hate the way mythological Jesus Christ is rumored to have spread love. It would be unfair to equate Graham’s hateful son with old Billy’s legacy, but old Billy was in no universe contributing anything resembling distinguished service to the nation. He was an enemy of the nation in most respects.

There are myriad reasons Congress is dead wrong in honoring a cretin like Graham, but none more so than he is responsible for the U.S. Congress violating the U.S. Constitution’s 1st Amendment. It was Graham who, in 1952, convinced Congress to “pass legislation establishing religion” and a nationwide religious practice by federal government fiat. Graham insisted that despite the 1st Amendment’s prohibition on Congress legislating religion, he wanted a federal law mandating that the president of the United States “declares an annual National Day of Prayer to see the leaders of our country kneeling before almighty God in prayer.” (author bold)

That one piece of legislation set in motion all manner of religious atrocities that have only increased to the point that theocrats following in Graham’s footsteps are not only fleecing millions of Americans, they are firmly ensconced in running the government. That is just one reason Ryan and McConnell giving a place of honor to an unAmerican preacher is an abomination; particularly in a secular democracy informed by a Constitution without any mention of god, Jesus, Baptists, Christians, bible, prayer, evangelists or revivals.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter to Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell protesting the Republicans’ decision to honor a Baptist preacher. They wrote:

The fact is that Graham lived his life in service to his evangelical Christian religion, and the bible that he believed was an infallible reference manual. He placed the bible far above the Constitution. He was known as a soul-winner and lauded as a “Christian superstar preacher.” What influence he had on this country and its government was purely religious, not civic in nature, and that religious influence was uniformly regressive. While it would be appropriate for evangelical Christian institutions to honor him in this manner, it is not appropriate for Congress and our federal government to do so.

Billy Graham believed fervently in Christianity and people listened to him. But that is not worthy of praise or a spot in the U.S. Capitol, however temporary. Graham in his own way sought to undo the only sure way to guarantee freedom of religion: a government free from religion. Graham is on the wrong side of history. You will be, too, if you authorize this unearned honor.”

Of course the Republicans ignored the concerns of FFRF like they ignore the U.S. Constitution because they are an integral part of the conspiracy to “undo the only sure way to guarantee freedom of religion.” If that were not the case, then Republicans would have never considered, not for any Planck-time, allowing a preacher to lie in a place of honor reserved for Americans who actually contributed to the general good of the nation; especially when that preacher has inflicted a world of damage on the nation.

Trump’s Evangelical War on Women Goes Global

If not for the flood of news regarding guns and Trump’s Russian problem, there may have been more reporting on yet another in a long line of Trump’s attacks on women on behalf of the religious right.

This administration has been on a tear in its relentless assault on women’s reproductive and equal rights since Trump’s poorly attended inauguration, and now it is obvious that a leaked White House memo last October outlining the escalation in the evangelical war in 2018 was not an aberration.

Instead of attempting to stealthily subvert women’s rights, the Trump administration is making it known globally that going forward, America does not regard women’s reproductive rights, or discrimination based on sex, gender, race and ethnicity as any kind of priority. Of course a couple of Americans are aware this evangelical-driven administration is engaged in a vicious war against women, the LGBTQ community and people of color, but it is stunning that the administration is making a global statement affirming to the world that Trump’s nasty evangelical agenda is official policy. Don’t believe it?

Last week current and former State Department officials say they were ordered to eliminate passages in its annual report on global human rights  that “traditionally discuss[es] women’s reproductive rights and discrimination.” It is a clear signal that Trump and his religious Republican cabal are serious about putting women in a place America’s religious patriarchs believe they belong – as second class citizens at the mercy of evangelicals.

It is also clear that Trump is giving a nod to other patriarchal nations that controlling women and subverting their human, equal, and reproductive rights is approved by America. It is a gross departure from America’s leadership on women’s rights under President Obama’s administration and what Trump and his acolytes insist is making America great again.

Politico reported that someone at the State Department, likely an aide to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, ordered officials to omit any mention of women’s reproductive rights and discrimination on the basis of sex, race, and ethnicity in its annual human rights report to reflect America’s new global focus. Trump’s message is that America is not concerned with human rights for women, people of color, or the LGBTQ community, and that women’s reproductive rights are officially under an evangelical assault. The dirty pig did pledge to the radical anti-women’s movement that the White House was firmly behind the evangelical crusade while boasting of his religious assault on women’s right of self-determination so far during his brief tenure in a place he does not belong.

Apparently, the evangelicals driving Trump’s anti-women’s rights crusade are hoping other nation’s will follow the United States in attacking women’s rights and legalizing discrimination for religious bigots. It is also likely that someone at the State Department is aware that any American report mentioning women’s reproductive and equal rights will put the focus on the Trump administration’s violations.

In past annual reports there were extensive details on women’s reproductive rights, but Trump’s evangelicals believe reproductive rights are an abomination leading the administration to attack them with a vengeance. In fact, in the “soon-to-be released report,” a section that was previously titled “Reproductive Rights” has been changed to “Coercion in Population Control.”  That phrase is as bad as it sounds and frames family planning and women’s reproductive rights advocates as tyrannical monsters.

The immediate meaning and reason for the name change is to portray advocates of women’s reproductive rights are part of a plot to force contraception, sterilization, and abortion on the rest of humanity. The anti-reproductive rights movement claims the only solution to those governments that are “coercing women” to stop reproducing is to abandon “reproductive rights” and promote the only Vatican approved method of “birth control,” the high failure rate rhythm method.

According to one current official at the State Department, the directive is intended to “send a clear signal that women’s reproductive rights are not a priority for this administration, and that it’s not even a rights violation we must or should report on.” However, the “official” Trump State Department spokesperson, Heather Nauert, said that completely stripping  entire passages about family planning, access to contraception and abortion, and another section dealing with discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity and sex was to bring some  “clarity and focus” to America’s foreign policy agenda.

Ms. Nauert said the move had nothing to do with “downgrading coverage of LGBT or women’s issues” like Trump began immediately after his poorly attended inauguration. If the statistics were included in the annual report, an inordinate amount of space would have to be devoted to the Trump administration’s rampant and relentless religious attacks on women’s reproductive rights.

Thus far Trump’s evangelical war on women includes giving religious employers authority to withhold contraceptives from their employees according to their Vatican-inspired belief that any “artificial” means of birth control is abortion; probably as remuneration for the religious rights’ electoral support. As part of the payment, Trump’s Health and Human Services Department mission statement was rewritten to include “personhood” language denoting a single-cell organism (zygote) as a living person worthy of federal government support.

Trump’s evangelical Health, and Human Services have twice dealt women’s rights a serious setback and like the State Department action, it had everything to do with bringing “clarity and focus” that Trump’s war on women is driven by religion. In both cases, women are relegated to third-class status and religious extremists gained federal authority to discriminate against women with impunity.

In that leaked memo from October outlining the 2018 war on women tactics, although it did not mention the State Department’s action, it did promise that one of the first acts is to “gut all funding” for any evidence-based pregnancy prevention programs. Instead, that funding will be transferred to evangelicals to promote failed “abstinence only education” and “fertility awareness programs” as family planning. It is noteworthy that the so-called “fertility awareness program” is the only Vatican approved method of family planning because it is not artificial – it is the failed  “rhythm method.”

America’s leadership internationally in several areas has suffered the Trump administration and international organizations are well aware that equal and human rights are no exception. Now it is glaringly obvious that women’s reproductive rights, like equal rights, are not any kind of priority for America domestically or globally, and that should concern the rest of the civilized world. The only “clarity and focus” the State Department is projecting by omitting of any mention of women’s reproductive rights is that the domestic assault on women driven by the theocrats running America is going global.

Image: Stephanie Keith/Reuters]

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.