Senate Republicans Expose the GOP’s Inherent Cruelty Towards Americans

According to Albert Einstein, doing  the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. Most people would claim it isn’t so much insanity as sheer stupidity. Only a fool repeats failed “experiments.” It is safe to say both conclusions are valid, but neither one applies to Republicans who continue pushing policies with a record of failure. When Republicans do something over again, they aren’t stupid or insane; they are pure evil because they expect the same results no matter their record of horrific failures.

When Republicans in the Senate passed a budget resolution late Thursday, they were so giddy it’s fairly certain a couple of them either soiled themselves or had a waking wet dream. Not only did they assure themselves that a trillion dollars would be cut  from Medicaid, and a half-a-trillion from Medicare,  they ravaged domestic spending to “shrink the government” paving the way for seriously monumental tax cuts for corporations and the ultra-rich.

To say the Republican budget portends  a “grotesque future with trillions of dollars in tax giveaways to the ultra wealthy, funded by cutting trillions from Medicaid, Medicare, and other vital programs for the poor and middle class”, is understating the cruelty endemic in the Republican Party. Beside ravaging Medicaid and Medicare, the GOP-Heritage Foundation budget cuts more than $5 trillion from education, health care, affordable housing, child care, nutrition assistance, transportation, and every other program that working families depend on.

Although the details of the “budget resolution” aren’t entirely clear, and it is not a done deal, it virtually guarantees that the GOP’s tax “reform” will pass right along with the budget without any debate, committees or Democratic involvement whatsoever. All Republicans need to implement a “horrific budget” and “tax cuts for the rich” for the House to pass  and Trump to sign it. Never mind it will explode the deficit and decimate all domestic programs, it will make the wealthiest Americans and their corporations incredibly richer.

The damage Republicans are about to wreak on America is something Republicans have been planning for over a decade, especially after witnessing the devastating results on a smaller scale in the Republican state of Kansas. For Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the time he finally keeps a pledge he made a coupe of years ago has arrived. Even as Kansas’ economy, job creation, social programs, and its government were dying from unwarranted tax cuts for the rich and corporations, and credit ratings agencies could not downgrade the state any lower, McConnell pledged to Kansas Governor Sam Brownback that “it’s exactly what we want to do in Washington.”

Republicans know that slashing domestic spending and drastically slashing taxes on the rich and corporations is a recipe for disaster, and yet they keep promising that the way to bring in more government revenue to pay down the deficit is cutting taxes for the rich; even though they know it will reduce revenue. They also claim that transferring wealth to the rich will “eventually” pay dividends and make every American a millionaire due to an explosion in economic growth. The so-called “trickle down” (supply side) economic policy has failed miserable every time it’s been implemented, but it has been a wealth creator for the already super-rich.

Over thirty years ago Reagan tried the “trickle down” scam and despite having to raise taxes several times after cutting them drastically, the economy floundered and the “trickle down” never happened. It took Bill Clinton nominally raising taxes on the rich to right the economy, create jobs, and provide the next administration with a tidy little budget surplus. One would assume that only a cruel fool would revert to “trickle down” again after Reagan’s monumental cock-up, and sure enough, George W. Bush’s Republicans played the fools and cut taxes for the rich dooming the economy. Most Americans remember the abominable economic mess Bush-Republicans left in 2008 that President Barack Obama had to contend with.

Like his Democratic predecessor, President Obama and Democrats eventually enacted a minute tax hike for the very richest Americans, and combined with restoring funding to domestic programs and enacting healthcare insurance reform, the country began paying down the debt, creating jobs at an astonishing rate, and grew the economy significantly.

During the Obama Administration’s economic successes, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback got together with “trickle down” creator Arthur Laffer and implemented huge tax cuts for the rich and corporations  and slashed government spending to the bone. Brownback promised that cutting the source of government revenue would increase the state’s revenue because giving the wealthy more money would create an economic bonanza and create jobs unlike never before. Instead, the state was starved of revenue leading to more cuts to social programs. Subsequently, Trump installed Brownback as his “most trusted economic advisor” to guide him on repeating the disaster in Kansas on a national scale.

Of course Brownback’s repeat of two previous failures resulted in a truly economic disaster in Kansas that the Trump administration, like Mitch McConnell, is anxious and on the verge of repeating. Although they don’t expect different results, they are promoting the same bovine excrement lies that cutting revenue sources will increase revenue, and that “eventually” the economy will surge, there will be more high-paying jobs than available applicants, the government will be flush with revenue and everybody gets rich. It’s all bullshit, but it is not all on Trump.

Of course Trump campaigned on ravaging the tax code for his class of “earner’s” benefit, but the tax “reform,” like the draconian budget disaster, are all longstanding Republican goals.  And it is noteworthy to mention that opposed to the Reagan and Bush “trickle down” disasters, this time Republicans are pairing it with a budget taking America a step closer to Grover Norquist’s dream of reducing government to the size he can drown it in a bathtub. In conservative parlance, “reducing government” begins by slashing spending on “education, health care, affordable housing, child care, nutrition assistance, transportation, and every other program that working families depend on;” precisely what congressional Republicans are on pace to do and exactly what decimated Kansas’ economy, jobs, and social programs.

As a brief aside, Republicans had the temerity this week to claim they don’t know how to do tax reform without giving everything away to the wealthy and corporations. Of course they know how to do it. But if they a little reminder how easy it is, they can summon Bill Clinton or Barack Obama because they were able to do it with no difficulty whatsoever and the economy flourished. Republicans don’t even pretend that the harsh budget will pay for the tax cuts for the rich; they claim, like past trickle down catastrophes, that the tax cuts will eventually pay for themselves when the economy explodes sometime down the road. Something that never happens.

There is no other way to assess the Republican budget or tax reform other than sheer evil and deliberately cruel. Of course Trump is on board and will rubber stamp the most vicious attack on Americans in recent memory, but he does not get all the blame. That goes to Republicans who are as excited as they’ve been in a decade because they finally get to raid the treasury and hand it directly to the rich and do serious damage to the majority of Americans in the process.

From an economic standpoint, what Republicans are close to enacting is insane and stupid, but they know it will adversely affect the great majority of Americans like Reagan and Bush and Brownback before them. That doesn’t make them stupid or insane, it reveals the cruelty endemic to the conservative movement.

Trump Just Destroyed America’s Credibility and World Leadership

Once again, Trump has sullied America’s good name, and any semblance of trustworthiness it once enjoyed, and was “humiliated” in the process by the world’s leading nations. Trump is renowned for balking on his and his businesses’ dealings, and now he has taken another step toward making America in his own pathetic image. Subsequently, America’s image is so tarnished by Trump that any global leadership America once had vanished as the the world’s leading nations are “stepping over America” and moving forward.

There have been rumors over the past several months that in October or November Trump would make a move to expedite a conflict with Iran; partly to sate the warmongers in his cabal and further enrich the military industrial complex, and partly to fulfill Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s demand for America to wage war against the Islamic Republic of Iran. Trump’s loyalist advisor, Steve Bannon promised early in Trump’s administration that America would start a war with Iran prior to its eventual war with North Korea; Trump is on schedule to make Bannon’s pledge a reality.

Last week Trump refused to certify that Iran was in compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreed upon by Iran and the so-called P5+1 nations (America, United Kingdom, China, France, Russia and Germany). It’s the Iran Nuclear Deal that Israel and its representatives in the House and Senate railed against last year. In decertifying Iran’s compliance with the nuclear agreement, Trump ignored the prevailing arguments by American intelligence officials’ claims Iran was in compliance and that the “accord” was certainly in the United States national security interests.

The action doesn’t scuttle the deal, but it is a first step toward inciting a war with Iran and a sign to the rest of the world that under Trump,  America cannot be trusted and is no longer a world leader.

In what is being touted as “a humiliating moment” for Trump, the other P5+1 signatories reaffirmed their commitment to the Iran nuclear deal. Obviously, America no longer has any credibility in the world and is now relegated to an observer position. A former diplomat noted what foreign leaders already know;

Under Trump  the world will move on and the United States is going to be in the room but we’re not going to have the influence that we had.”

In reaffirming its commitment, Russia issued a damning indictment of America, not Iran, for violating the terms of the agreement in “spirit and letter.” Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Sergei Ryabkov said:

Trump administration officials have violated not only the spirit, but also the letter of the JCPOA, as it appears to us with a number of their actions.”

China said it is siding with Russia and the European signatories and is “pushing past Trump’s position on Iran to keep the deal intact.” China understands, unlike the moron in the White House, that in pulling out of the deal with Iran, it “doesn’t look good” and “sets a bad precedent” for any hopes of striking a deal with North Korea to curb its nuclear weapons program. Former Secretary of State John Kerry said yesterday that Trump’s actions “worsens” any hope for a peaceful settlement to North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

Even the deal’s critics in Congress now realize that it is in “the best interest of all parties to stay in the deal,” but Trump has a war to start in Israel’s behalf no matter how many times he has been told Iran is fully compliant with the terms of the JCPOA.

The organization responsible for verifying whether Iran has been in compliance, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), reported that yes, “Iran has been fulfilling the commitments it entered into” under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Add to the IAWA verification, American intelligence, America’s top military brass, Israeli intelligence, and Trump’s Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have all verified and assured Trump that “there is no evidence that Iran has violated the terms of the deal.”

It is noteworthy that Trump certified the deal twice before, but after his Defense Secretary, Jim Mattis, joined the rest of the world reporting directly to Trump that Iran was and has been in full compliance with terms of the deal, Trump said “no they’re not” and decertified Iran’s compliance.

Of course Trump and plenty of congressional representatives from Israel want a war with Iran and it is obvious that decertifying its compliance is a step towards what former Trump advisor Steve Bannon said was America’s next war in the Middle East. That is bad enough, but worse is the idea that no nation on Earth can trust anything America says or any agreement it enters into ever again.

Trump’s actions can’t scuttle a deal among 7 nations on its own, but his intent of levying new sanctions on the Islamic Republic will violate the P5+1 groups’ part of the agreement and in turn allow Iran to restart its nuclear program according to the terms of the deal. On top of that tragedy, North Korea now knows, for certain, that any negotiations, much less an agreement, with the United States will not be honored because there is a dishonest dotard in the White House

America’s image was already damaged by allowing a corrupt con man to enter the White House. And it hasn’t helped that the malcontent Trump has unilaterally insulted every nation’s leader except those ruling Russia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Philippines. America may have a powerful military, but that is where its leadership and exceptionalism ends. Because although it was once a world leader, with Trump in the White House the world is moving on while America becomes an deceitful outlier without an iota of credibility or leadership in the world.

Impeach Trump Now For Disrespecting the Military

There are myriad reasons Trump is “unfit to be the president of the United States,” and according to the man who broke the Watergate break-in case, Carl Bernstein, it is a sense shared among many in the military. It’s obvious to any sane human being that Trump disrespects the military based on several infamous comments by the dirty coward who paid some doctor for five deferments during the Vietnam War. But what Trump did to the widow of a fallen U.S. soldier, and the disrespect he showed to the slain soldier and his family, is the ultimate proof that Trump is unfit to call himself an American citizen; no-one in their right mind can bring themselves to call him president.

It is stunning that Trump equates “taking a knee” in support of soldiers and Veterans with disrespect for the military; especially after he has shown nothing but gross disrespect for members of the military. But this is Trump and he did something that almost seemed impossible; shock and embarrass decent Americans by attacking the expecting widow of a fallen American soldier. The vapid cretin is incapable of embarrassing himself or he would have ended his pathetic existence out of shame decades ago.

By now most people are aware that after waiting nearly two weeks, Trump succumbed to the criticism and pressure that he hadn’t acknowledged publicly, or contacted the families of, the four American soldiers who lost their lives in Niger. When he did mention it a couple of days ago he made it about his superior in every way – President Barack Obama.

After being beat down for lying that President Obama did not contact families of the fallen, Trump used former NFL standout and Green Beret Pat Tillman as a meme to attack NFL athletes exercising their constitutional rights that Tillman fought for. Mr. Tillman’s widow had some harsh words for Trump politicizing her husband’s sacrifice in what he said was “an illegal war.”

When Trump finally found some free time away from the links to call Myeshia Johnson, the widow of Sgt. La David T. Johnson, he said that her husband “knew what he signed up for.” And according to Sergeant Johnson’s mother and a congresswoman who “both listened to the call,” Trump could only refer to the fallen soldier as “your guy.” The soldier’s widow was naturally devastated that Trump didn’t even know her husband’s name.

Even after the furor the disrespectful call elicited, Trump couldn’t find the decency to use Sgt. Johnson’s widow’s name; just that he had spoken “with the woman, with the wife.” What a piece of work.

When the news broke about the insensitive phone call, Trump did what he always does and lied, then attacked the congresswoman, Frederica Wilson (D-FL) because she confirmed Trump’s cruelty toward the family of the slain soldier. When asked about the phone call, Trump lied saying:

Didn’t say what that congresswoman said, didn’t say it all. I’d like her to make the statement again.”

It was a typically bullying tactic, but that is typical Trump.

Representative Wilson, however, wasn’t intimidated by Trump’s taunt and immediately responded; ”I still stand by my account of the call.” The Florida congresswoman also took note of Johnson’s name and reprimanded Trump for referring to her as “the woman” and “the wife.”

Now this screed isn’t necessarily about Trump’s indecency or his filthy lies; it is about his blatant disrespect for the military that began during the presidential campaign and continues unabated.

Trump once compared Americans being conscripted and sent to fight and die in Southeast Asia to what he claimed was his very own “personal Vietnam:” trying to avoid Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) “while he was on the dating scene.”

He also assailed Senator John McCain (R-AZ) for being a prisoner of war for five-plus years saying: “I like people who weren’t captured.”

Less than a week ago during a “solemn military ceremony honoring the flag” and the fallen who perished defending it, instead of following protocol and ceremony by standing in honor as a bugler signaled “Retreat,” Trump was joking and laughing about whose television ratings the song was being played for. That blatant disrespect for the flag and the fallen by the alleged “commander in chief” was on a military base.

Trump spent a fair amount of time on the campaign trail denigrating the military’s leaders by insisting that he knew more than “the generals” in the field leading the fight against ISIS because he’s Donald Trump. He said, “I know more about ISIS than the generals do, believe me.” He also dishonored the military’s leadership claiming the generals “don’t know much because they’re not winning.” It should have been humiliating to the man who didn’t know what the nuclear triad was to confidently claim to know more than the military’s leaders, but this is Trump; he has no shame.

This latest episode is not the first time Trump disrespected the family of a slain service member. Trump spent no small amount of time repeatedly attacking Keizer and Ghazala Khan, the Gold Star family whose son died serving his country because they spoke out against Trump’s unwarranted attacks on Muslims.

For dog’s sake, Trump even pulled his Chief of Staff’s slain son into the fray after knowing full well General Kelly has made it clear that his son’s sacrifice, and likely his grief, is off limits;  something about showing a modicum of respect for the family and the fallen soldier’s military service.

No person in America should conflate Trump’s big-mouth bully diplomacy with an intent to wage war as supporting the military. Trump only supports Donald Trump. He has no regard for the people making up the military and based on his habit of demeaning and disrespecting them at every turn, it’s time to “throw that son-of-a-bitch” out of the White House.

Image: ABC News

Trump Rejects House Oversight Demand For Private Email Records

Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign Donald Trump made as big an issue of Hillary Clinton’s emails as he did pledging to make America white and evangelical, going so far as calling on his Russian facilitators to find and release illegally hacked documents. However, in what is a blatant display of hypocrisy Trump is renowned for, on Monday the White House officially designated Trump administration players’ email records off limits to the House Oversight Committee; the reason given was that Trump’s people “endeavor” to comply with all relevant laws. Apparently Trump regards the House Oversight Committee’s demands “irrelevant” to his administration.

The bipartisan request came from Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Elijah Cummins (D-MD), and for their trouble they received a “terse” letter from Trump’s congressional liaison Marc Short. The request was for information “regarding the use of personal email and encrypted messaging apps for government work by White House staff.” Mr. Short also refused to hand over records Messers Gowdy and Cummings demanded regarding the use of expensive private air travel by administration officials.

In a two-page response to the Oversight Committee, Short said “The White House and covered employees endeavor to comply with all relevant laws.” It is noteworthy that Short said the Trump cabal only “endeavored” to comply with “relevant” laws, and if that were the case there was nothing to hide if they were really “trying” to comply with the laws.

The Trump response did not sit well with members of the Oversight Committee prompting member Gerry Connolly (D-VA) to remark:

These were bipartisan requests to the White House related to the Administration’s private travel and email usage, and the White House has completely blown off the Committee. The Committee needs to assert its jurisdiction and authority immediately to get this information. If the White House won’t provide documents to permit basic oversight, the Chairman should send subpoenas.”

An aid to the Committee’s chairman said the Committee’s members “are currently in the process of evaluating whether there has been compliance, partial compliance or non-compliance” by Trump’s White House and other administration officials. The aide added “We expect full compliance.

The requests from Gowdy and Cummings for details about the extent of the administration’s use of private email came after a report in POLITICO that Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, in particular was relying on his private email account to conduct official White House business.  It was also revealed that Steve Bannon, Gary Cohn, Ivanka Trump and Reince Priebus used private email accounts for “public business;” it leads any thinking human being to believe the practice was widespread in the West Wing. Apparently Trump’s cohorts using private email accounts is different than former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton using a private email account.

The Committee’s September 25th letter to White House counsel Don McGahn specifically asked for the names of any Trump senior official who “had ever used a personal email account to conduct official business.” They also asked for “the individual, cellular number and account used” by any White House officials who communicated using “text-messages, phone-based message applications, or encryption software to conduct official business.” Trump said no; his administration “endeavors” to comply with the law and as usual he is not going to release anything showing his people violated the law. It is the only reason to blow off a House Oversight Committee request.

The White House gave a similar reply to the demand for details on administration officials use of charter jets, but didn’t even bother to lie that they were “trying” to abide by the law. Instead, Short claimed the committee’s inquiry was addressed to the White House chief of staff and since “not all components” of the White House “are under the supervision of the President’s Trump’s Chief of Staff,” the Committee is getting nothing.

The Committee asked fora detailed breakdown of every flight on a government-owned aircraft” or a “private, non-commercial aircraft” used by “senior White House officials.” Of course the inquiry came on the heels of an investigation into costly flights taken by Tom Price, the former Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary who was forced out after reports he was fleecing the taxpayers. Since Price left his post, there have been several other Trump cabinet officials facing questions over chartering jets for expensive trips; like Trump’s weekly golf outings.

Trump’s congressional liaison wrote:

The White House seeks to ensure employee travel is conducted through the most economic and expeditious means of transportation available.”

According to Washington Post writer Eugene Robinson, Trump’s liaison is lying.  There is a fairly complete list of senior staffers and cabinet officials who are more concerned about “living large,” than they are “economic and expeditious means of travel.”

It is not out of line to assert that the only reason the Trump White House is refusing to “comply with the law” that gives the Oversight Committee authority to examine anything it deems necessary is because they have plenty to hide. If their communications and travel were in compliance with the law, they would have handed over everything the Committee demanded.

This is just another signal that although Trump is a dunce of epic proportions, he is also a dirty hypocrite and corrupt. He railed on the debunked Hillary Clinton email “controversy” non-stop to great effect, including calling on his Rusky comrades to do his bidding. Now he’s flouting the authority of the sole check on his dirty corrupt administration. And instead of drafting articles of impeachment, the Republican Chair of the Oversight Committee hopes they will issue a subpoena.

Trump’s Bullying Backfires – NFL To Take Up Protestor’s Cause

Donald Trump epitomizes incompetence that he attempts to conceal with his big mouth; as if bloviating nonstop lies and absurdities will convince Americans he is anything other than a monumental douchebag. When the oaf in the Oval took up the cause of defining patriotism as denying other Americans their Constitutionally guaranteed rights, not only did he reveal his fascist tendencies, he pushed an American institution to declare that they would not join his tyranny against mostly African American athletes.

The fascist bully Trump was certain he could “force” the NFL to restrict its players’ constitutional rights by running his mouth and calling socially-conscious players “sons-of-bitches” and demand they be “thrown off the field.” There were even rumors that next week the NFL was convening a meeting with owners to do as Trump ordered and punish mostly African American players who are unwilling to forfeit their constitutional rights. However, the only thing Trump running his big mouth accomplished was doing precisely what Colin Kaepernick began over a year ago; use the NFL to bring attention to racial and social injustices.

Trump has been hoping to distract Americans from his corruption and incompetency by continuing to portray Americans exercising their constitutional right as being deliberately disrespectful to a song, the country, veterans, active duty soldiers and the American flag. On Friday he kept his big mouth running and addressed the issue again.

Before watching a football game, you want to see those players be proud of their country. Respect our country. Respect our flag. And respect our national anthem and we think they will. We certainly hope they will.”

Trump is a petty piece of work if he believes, and he does, that standing up when a song plays informs a person’s pride and respect for a country or a flag. If Trump wasn’t a know-nothing idiot, he would understand that this country began as a protest against his type of tyranny during a so-called ‘tea party’ in Boston Harbor in 1773. The nation’s founders and Constitution’s Framers made “freedom to protest” a guaranteed right for all Americans for all time, and like everything about America, Trump hates free expression and wants it to stop under threat of retribution. It’s why he called on the NFL to get the “sons-of-bitches” off the football field for exercising their First Amendment rights.

Loudmouth Don likely thought the NFL owners would follow the lead of Dallas Cowboys piece of shit owner and threaten to bench any player who dared exercise their constitutional right of free speech. On the same day Trump accused players taking a knee of disrespecting everything America because the displayed their pride to live in a country” that gives them freedom of speech,” the NFL made an announcement that it was not going to do what the fascist demanded.

Instead of strictly obeying the fascist Trump, the NFL has decided that it will focus on how best to use its powerful forum to do exactly what the protestors are taking a knee for; bring national attention to the racial and social injustices destroying America.

According to Reuters, NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart said the League’s commissioner Roger Goodell:

Has a plan that he is going to present to owners about how to use our platform to both raise awareness and make progress on issues of social justice and equality in this country.”

Mr. Lockhart said that instead of “throwing the sons-of-bitches” off the field, or “forcing” mostly African American athletes to give up their 1st Amendment rights like Trump demanded, the League is joining the players’ crusading to make social change. He said there will be discussions focusing on using the NFL players and clubs “broad platforms” to actually make progress on “issues of equality, social justice, and criminal justice reform.” Lockhart said:

These are issues that are important to our clubs, issues that are important to our players, issues that are important to the communities in which we play.  That’s what we are discussing. So for everyone who has speculated over the last few days that somehow there is a proposal that is set for a vote on Tuesday or Wednesday you are speculating. Those who are reporting it as fact are reporting it incorrectly.”

The announcement by the NFL reflects the desire of the NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith according to a statement he made last week. Mr. Smith related that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and New York Giants owner John Mara, chairman of the NFL’s management council, informed the players’ union that “they would respect the Constitutional Rights of our members without retribution.” Trump doesn’t get it, but that is precisely what it means to “respect America.”

The NFL announcement Friday also fulfilled one of Smith’s desires; He said:

I look forward to the day when everyone in management can unite and truly embrace and articulate what the flag stands for: ‘Liberty and justice for all’ instead of some of them just talking about standing. We look forward to continuing our talks with them on this very issue.”

Based on the NFL announcement Friday, those upcoming talks will address what the flag stands for and how to address the issues the players are protesting.

It is noteworthy that these “sit don’t stand,” or “take a knee” or “lock arms in solidarity” protests began well over a year ago and they went relatively unnoticed. There were isolated outbursts from from racists and faux patriots, but it was nothing like the “national outrage” Trump attempted to create to divert attention from his incompetence and corruption.

Trump’s big mouth changed all that and for all his insane rants, propaganda plots and lies about “disrespecting America,” what he accomplished was an announcement that the NFL commissioner has a “plan about how to use our platform to both raise awareness and make progress on issues of social justice and equality in this country.” It is precisely why Colin Kaepernick started protesting and why athletes from all over the sporting world joined the cause. Now, if the NFL follows through on its promise, the “League” will be joining the cause and it is the result of big mouth Trump’s tyrannical aspirations.

Vatican Edict In Trump’s HHS Portends Extreme Danger for Women

When the right-wing screams they want to take their country back to a dark era when women were relegated to third class status, they likely didn’t count on going back to the 14th Century. That was smack in the middle of the seriously dark era when the Catholic Church virtually ruled the world by controlling nearly all of western civilization by imposing its theocratic will on leaders of most nations.

Now, the Catholic Church is influencing America’s leaders according to an abominable three words in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) draft mission statement. Although it defies science, the Christian bible, the Catholic and evangelical right’s almighty god and just plain common sense, Trump’s evangelical cabal inserted a purely religious edict as government policy to sate the religious right and United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). They are the two extremely dangerous groups that vehemently oppose a woman’s right to make any decisions about their reproductive health and lives. This is really that serious and a sign of terrible imposition of religion by government fiat.

Some Americans know there was a Republican war on women but it was really always “religious” war on women. Now that war is being conducted by Trump’s federal theocrats who inserted a Vatican phrase into the HHS mission statement lifted right out of the 1968 Papal encyclical on life –  Humanae Vitae subtitled “On the Regulation of Birth.”

During previous administrations, the HHS mission statement was:

HHS accomplishes its mission through programs and initiatives that cover a wide spectrum of activities, serving Americans at every stage of life.”

 Now, with an administration hewing close to the standard Catholic discriminatory religious orthodoxy on women’s health and personal life decisions, the HHS mission statement says:

HHS accomplishes its mission through programs and initiatives that cover a wide spectrum of activities, serving and protecting Americans at every stage of life, beginning at conception.”

Those three words, “beginning at conception,” are the sole basis for the Vatican’s unholy and unscriptural opposition to “any form of ‘unnatural’ or ‘artificial’ birth control.” It is noteworthy that the only form of ‘natural’ birth control that literally guarantees “birth control” is celibacy.

Some Americans are aware that under the Affordable Care Act birth control was required to be covered with no co-pay as a preventive health service for women and their families. It was an attempt to correct the bias against women in the insurance industry as well as provide Americans with valuable assistance in family planning. That “assistance” was too much for Republicans indebted to the radical evangelical cult that exists to control and dominate women. So Trump jumped at chance to repay the patriarchs in the religious right and scrapped the contraception mandate in a blatant religious attack on American women.

The new theocratic ruling will impact the millions of women who now receive contraceptives at no cost under the “former” provision and it was a ruling the evangelical fanatics and USCCB wanted to eliminate. The idea of women getting or using contraceptives at all is an abomination to the Vatican, so in conjunction with the religious right they tasked Republicans to oppose the mandate and Trump made it go away.

The new rules allow all manner of employers, including nonprofits, private companies, and publicly traded corporations to join radical evangelicals like Hobby Lobby’s owners and ban contraceptives in health insurance plans based on a “sincerely held religious or moral objection;” an objection founded on the Vatican’s 1968 “encyclical on life.”

Tragically, now that the evangelical extremist sect got the basis for the Vatican’s edict on life inserted into the federal Health Department’s mission statement, the stage is set for the personhood movement to abolish, not just restrict,  any form of ”unnatural or artificial birth control,” fertility treatments, abortion, or anything to do with stem cell research; all forbidden in the 1968 Roman Catholic encyclical on life and founded on the religious fantasy that “life begins at conception.”

The idea that life begins at conception is a Catholic construct with absolutely no scriptural, biological, or medical science basis whatsoever. In fact it contradicts what the Christian bible’s almighty god said several times about when life begins. As a reminder, according to the “immutable and unerring word of god” of the Christian bible; there is no life, or “living being,” until a fetus leaves the womb and draws “the breath of life.” No zygote, embryo or fetus can possible draw “the breath of life;” but that inconvenient truth doesn’t fit the Vatican, and now bastardized American Christians, plan to control women’s reproductive lives.

Of course the evangelical fanatics and Vatican control freaks know exactly what their god said regarding living beings, but they cannot control women’s reproductive health choices unless a single-celled zygote is a person; that is exactly what the Catholic ‘personhood’ movement claims. Now the United States federal government claims it as official policy.

It was that “life begins at conception” absurdity that Hobby Lobby used to convince the conservatives on the Supreme Court that birth control pills are “abortifacients.” For the uninformed, an abortifacient is a drug used to induce an abortion or cause a miscarriage after a sperm cell fertilizes an ovum; the definition of “ the moment of conception.”

Hobby Lobby, following the Vatican’s encyclical on life, claimed that using birth control prevents conception and is therefore abortion. Of course the conservatives on the High Court conceded that using contraceptives is not “an abortion,” but because it was contrary to Hobby Lobby owners’ “sincerely held religious or moral objections,” the Court acquiesced to the Vatican edict and ruled in Hobby Lobby’s favor.

It is likely that many Americans, including religious Americans and women, have no concept of the danger inherent in an extremist religious edict such as “life begins at conception;” it will have a deleterious impact on women and men. Remember, according to the Vatican edict, any unnatural form of birth control is strictly verboten on pain of everlasting torment in Hellfire; because birth control prevents “conception” the clergy claims is tantamount to murder. That means birth control pills, IUDs, diaphragms, tubal ligations, hysterectomies, vasectomies, condoms and any other “unnatural or artificial” form of birth control are abortion; because they all prevent “conception.”

Now that America is in the clutches of a cabal of radical religious extremists, every nightmarish scenario possible is just another executive order away from becoming reality. It is worth remembering that the religious right was not always opposed to abortion or contraception. They embraced the issue as their own after they lost the right to impose school segregation in the South on counsel and advice from the United States Conference of Bishops (USCCB). The religious right needed an emotional cause célèbre to garner electoral support for Republicans and the USCCB gave them one straight from the Vatican – “life begins at conception.”

To be perfectly clear, and head off criticism, this is not condemning Catholics any more than it is condemning Christians; just those extremists, organizations, and clergy forcing their dangerous pseudo religious dogmata on all Americans. It is almost certain that most Catholics and Christians would be appalled if they understood the danger of theocratic edicts like “life begins at conception” as a federal government policy.

As an aside, it is odd that a very high percentage of Catholic women have used birth control and it leads one to wonder if making it harder to acquire contraception in America is driving this bizarre fantasy that life begins at conception. According to the Catholic god’s immutable and unerring word, life begins when a fetus exits the womb and draws “the breath of life.”

The only thing that begins at conception is a diploid cell (zygote) resulting from the fusion of two haploid gametes; a sperm and an ovum. It is a basic biological fact that the Vatican, evangelical fanatics and Republicans refuse to grasp even though their god explained it so a three-month-old Rottweiler could understand it. Now America is in the grip of these religious maniacs, and it appears women are in the grip of the Vatican’s 1968 Humanae Vitae; a document well-suited for the 14h Century the Trump administration and evangelical right are imposing in 21st Century America.

Image: CNS/Bob Roller

Pence’s NFL Stunt Reveals Trump’s Support of Racial Injustice

In his fight with the NFL over players protesting racial and social injustice, Trump has used his underlings to demean the “take a knee” players by accusing them of disrespecting the flag, a song, soldiers, first responders and America. What is an abomination is that all of the Trump administration knows exactly what the protests are about, and why predominately Black athletes are exercising their First Amendment rights; but they are still portraying the protestors as un-American.

Thanks to the diligence of too many Trump social media monitors, everyone and their imaginary friend knows Trump staged a propaganda scene starring his theocratic cohort Mike ‘preacher’ Pence.

Of course the objective of the propaganda piece was teaching the people what Trump expects “good and godly real Americans” to do when other Americans exercise their constitutional rights. Trump has been targeting the right of a free press and the right to peaceably assemble since his poorly attended inauguration, but now he’s made “taking a knee” to protest racial injustice a clear and present danger and an example of “bad Americans.” Of course the issue is a distraction from Trump’s incompetence, but it is also a propaganda ploy in his crusade to silence opposition to more social and racial injustice.

If any American is still befuddled at why NFL and other professional and amateur athletes are taking a knee in protest, one image should clarify any confusion. The recent image explains why Trump’s attempt to conflate protesting racial injustice with disrespect for Veterans, the military, the flag, and the song is just pure theatre and nothing else. This is why athletes and decent Americans are “taking a knee.

story image

The image, and video here, epitomizes what many decent Americans are protesting against – racial injustice. This week two 6th grade boys were scuffling on the playground when a full-grown man-cop broke up the wrestlers’ “clinch” and threw the African American boy to the ground before dragging him away. The other child, a white boy, walked away unpunished as if the man-cop never saw him. Had the Black child been a couple of years older, he risked being gunned down based on the actions of the man-cop abusing a much smaller African American child.

Sadly, this was not an isolated occurrence; it is a microcosm of what it means to be African American in America and the only reason athletes are “taking a knee.” These protests have nothing to do with disrespecting a song, a flag, or the myriad other reasons the right devised to portray being opposed to racial injustice as being a bad American. Still, Trump and Pence admitted that the “lying preacher” was dispatched to a NFL football game for the express purpose of showing the rest of the country how “good Trump  Americans” are supposed to react to protests against racial injustice; feign disgust, praise Trump, and then rush to Twitter to praise Trump some more. Pence’s statement:

“I left today’s Colts game because President Trump and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem. At at time when so many Americans are inspiring our nation with their courage, resolve, and resilience, now, more than ever, we should rally around our Flag and everything that unites us. While everyone is entitled to their own opinions, I don’t think it’s too much to ask NFL players to respect the Flag and our National Anthem. I stand with President Trump, I stand with our soldiers, and I will always stand for our Flag and our National Anthem.”

What that means is lying preacher Pence, as surrogate for liar-in-chief Trump, represents “good Americans” who not only oppose other Americans exercising their First Amendment rights, they consider opposition to racial injustice un-American. However, in keeping with the administration’s policy of mendacity first, Pence lied saying he left because some of the athletes “took a knee” to disrespect a flag, a song, and  ‘our soldiers.’  It is too bad preacher Pence didn’t walk on the field and accuse the “take a knee” players of being un-American to their faces and away from cameras.

This “take a knee” issue is not going away and based on Trump’s devotees it is only going to get worse as is always the case when Americans, especially people of color, protest any kind of injustice. For example, one of Trump’s BFFs Alex Jones claimed the NFL players taking a knee are really saying:

Mainstream media: you’re my God, I am bad. They’re kneeling to political correctness and hating white people. They’re kneeling to white genocide.”

That is an odd statement, particularly considering a really white Nashville recording artist and country music singer recently explained why she and her white accompanist knelt during their performance of the National Anthem.

meghan-linsey-takes-a-knee

Country singer Meghan Linsey and guitarist Tyler Cain were not “kneeling to hating white people or kneeling to white genocide.” It also was not to disrespect “our” soldiers, Trump, god almighty, police, “our” flag or the “our” National Anthem; the one she just performed at a televised NFL game. The pair of white country musicians knelt because, “It needs to be white Americans who stand up in solidarity and say this [racial injustice] isn’t right.

Another one of Trump’s paramours, evangelical freak of nature Pat Robertson, is so sure his god believes “taking a knee” is a protest against Trump that he said the mass shooting in Las Vegas was a result of disrespect for Trump and the National Anthem. Robertson said:

There is profound disrespect for our president, all across this nation. They say terrible things about him. It’s in the news; it’s in other places. There is disrespect now for our national anthem, disrespect for our veterans, disrespect for the institutions of our government, disrespect for the court system.” 

 First, all the disrespect rabid Robertson blamed on NFL players “taking a knee” describes Trump and his administration. Second, it is no stretch to assert that many of the 58 country music fans killed and over 500 that were injured were likely Trump supporters and almost certainly oppose kneeling to protest racial injustice during the National Anthem. Those country music fans killed and wounded were victims of the GOP and NRA’s love affair with NRA gun money; they were not victims of professional athletes protesting racial injustice.

Trump and his nasty cohort are going to extreme lengths to portray opposition to racial injustice as un-American for a good reason; their base of support starts and ends with dirty racists opposed to justice for people of color. And it is noteworthy to mention that Trump and his racist attorney general ardently support making racial profiling a national policy; something most of the “take a knee” protestors are well aware of.

Trump claimed last week that his ranting and raving about the “take a knee” protests have nothing to do with racism even as the protestors on and off the field have made it abundantly clear they take a knee to protest racial injustice. No matter how one assesses this phony outrage and propaganda campaign against freedom of speech, it is clear that besides silencing dissent, Trump revealed his support for racial injustice and no half-baked propaganda ploy can conceal that fact.

 

Trump Inches Closer Towards Censoring Media

For all of Trump’s enmity toward North Korea’s Trump-like leader, the fascist in the White House is embracing concepts that keep Kim Jong-un in power without opposition or dissent. After a typical Trump Twitter outburst yesterday, it appears that he is serious in using the United States Congress to target, investigate, and punish the news media and journalists. Yesterday he called on the United States Senate to “investigate” the various news outlets that publish unflattering, but accurate and truthful, stories about him and his administration.

Apparently when Trump took the “swear to godoath of office to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” he was lying.  Of course he was lying and that became obvious the day of his poorly attended inauguration. Trump doesn’t have much use for the Constitution, much less any intent to preserve and protect it; not when he’s violated it willfully and often for pecuniary gain. But this is the first time he has made it clear he wants to use the federal government to aid him in violating the Constitution’s 1st Amendment to censor the media like his fascist paramours in Russia, North Korea, the Philippines and Saudi Arabia.

Trump’s panties were in a wad over a couple of reports, and one report that never happened, regarding his strained relationship with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson; a strained relationship like Trump eventually develops with anyone who fails to lick his boots. Apparently Trump was incited to a Twitter outburst after learning that his Secretary of State called him a “moron” with “an R-rated modifier” that rhymes with “trucking.” Tillerson’s aptly-worded remarks were many Americans’ reaction to Trump’s self-aggrandizing campaign speech to the Boy Scouts. For dog’s sake, except for evangelical extremists and Nazis, nearly everyone in America and around the world has called Trump a moron – probably with several “R-rated modifiers.”

A couple of hours before dawn yesterday, Trump “tweeted:

Why Isn’t the Senate Intel Committee looking into the Fake News Networks in OUR country to see why so much of our news is just made up-FAKE!”

As any eighth grader knows, the “Senate Intel Committee” isn’t investigating any kind of media because unlike Trump, the preponderance of senators comprehend that the First Amendment forbids Congress from abridging freedom of the press.

It is noteworthy that Mr. Tillerson held a news conference after the reporting that he called Trump a “f*cking moron;” a report he definitely did not deny. Instead, he took the “kind-of” high road and said, “I’m not going to deal with petty stuff like that.” Still, Trump interpreted Tillerson’s “non-denial” later in the day as proof  the media was lying by claiming the story reported by NBC was “totally refuted” and “made up.”

Not content to use Twitter to spread his own “totally refuted” and “made up” claims about what Tillerson did or did not say, Trump went back to Twitter less than an hour later; surely to impress on his devotees how important it is for Congress to investigate the press. Trump assailed NBC as spreading “fake news” that Rex Tillerson threatened to resign. He “tweeted:”

Rex Tillerson never threatened to resign. This is Fake News put out by NBCNews. Low news and reporting standards. No verification from me.”

 Besides news outlets or journalists not needing verification (approval) from the liar-in-chief, there is the minor issue of Trump’s wont of spreading “Fake News” to incite rage against the media. It is “Fake News” from Trump that NBC reported Tillerson threatened to resign; it just didn’t happen. What its report did claim was that Tillerson “was on the verge” of stepping down. It is an entirely believable claim after Trump assailed the Secretary of State in public for wasting his time in seeking a diplomatic solution to North Korea.

The insinuation from Trump, and a glaring dog whistle to his zealot followers, is that there is no “real news” except that which he “personally verifies is real” to reporters and news outlets. It is precisely how the “news” is curated in North Korea; only news personally approved by Kim Jong-un is real and verified as suitable for delivery to the public.

Many politicians have rocky relationships with the free press, especially those who lie at about the same rate most people use a toilet. But Trump is a different animal, (all due respect to every animal on the planet). Since his campaign he has made inciting animus toward the press nearly as high a priority as boasting about himself at every opportunity.

Trump has regularly assailed reporters en masse, and very personally. He incites his acolytes, especially in rallies, against various media outlets and reporters, and hypocritically accused individual reporters of sedition. As an aside, writing an accurate story is only considered seditious in countries like North Korea and Saudi Arabia.

During the campaign Trump made a big deal out of wanting libel laws changed to make it easier to sue news outlets he considers spreading fake news; like accurate stories and stories that don’t acknowledge his divinity. He also uses “memes” of violence against news outlets and they are not humorous or inconsequential. They are highly successful incremental acts to incite his followers to violence against the free press.

Although this latest call for the Senate to investigate news outlets is an authoritarian dictator’s move, and it is no revelation that Trump wants the authority to censor the free press, there is the “vengeance” factor Trump is renowned for. Remember, it was the free press that reported every moronic word Trump uttered as well as reporting that Trump is connected to Russia; and that he lies more often than an infant soils its diaper. Those accurately reported stories are one of the reasons the public even knows why the Senate Intelligence Committee, like several other committees and 17 different intelligence agencies, are investigating the corrupt fascist. Getting vengeance on people he thinks wronged him is Trump’s admitted raison d’être. Now he thinks the White House gives him authority to “get back” at his perceived enemies and it explains his attacks on the NFL and now poses a serious threat to the free press.

It is uncertain if anything comes from this latest authoritarian move, at least legally and in the near future. But what is certain is that Trump continues instilling a violent distrust of the media, and the truth, into his feeble-minded acolytes and Americans too ridiculously stupid to recognize a corrupt fascist dictator when they see one.

There is no doubt Trump would unilaterally censor the media if it was within his power, but since he can’t he is doing the next best thing; calling on Congress to do his dirty work. If Trump succeeds, there will still be media in America, but it will be Alex Jones Infowars, Brietbart and Fox News, and the extremist evangelical networks; the only media Trump hasn’t attacked because they are the only groups spreading his fake news.

Trump’s America Votes Against Condemning Death Penalty for Gays

America under Trump distinguished itself again late last week at the United Nations by opposing a simple resolution condemning an archaic Old Testament edict calling for the death penalty for committing a “capital crime” the Christian god says is “detestable.” It is no coincidence that under an extremist evangelical administration, the Trump ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, toed the evangelical line and voted with other religious regimes opposing a U.N. Human Rights Council resolution condemning the death penalty for homosexuality. It is important to note that Trump just endorsed evangelical malcontent Roy Moore of Alabama who has intimated often that according to his religious belief, homosexuality should be criminalized – gays have to be punished because “it’s in the bible.”

America was one of 13 nations in the minority voting against the United Nations resolution that condemned the practice of killing human beings because they love someone of the same gender. The so-called “land of the free” joined extremist religious nations such as Iraq, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, and Saudi Arabia to vote against the U.N. resolution condemning the execution of human beings for whom they love.

It is noteworthy that the U.N. resolution  stops far short of actually calling for an end to the death penalty because that is a bridge too far. The resolution simply condemns its use “in a discriminatory fashion;” such as singling out members of the LGBTQ community and executing them for not adhering to archaic religious rules.

As noted by the “International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association” (ILGA), besides targeting gays for death, the U.N. was condemning the death penalty to punish adultery because it is regularly and disproportionately imposed on women. America voted against condemning executing people for adultery, blasphemy, apostasy and homosexuality; all designated as sins against the god of the bible and embraced with religious fervor by extremist theocratic nations.

The ILGA’s executive director, Renato Sabbadini, remarked in a statement just how atrocious some countries’ laws against being gay are. Mr. Sabbadini said:

It is unconscionable to think that there are hundreds of millions of people living in States where somebody may be executed simply because of whom they love.”

A spokeswoman for the Trump State Department, Heather Nauert, attempted to assuage the shock and outrage the vote engendered and gave a bizarre explanation for why Trump directed his U.N. Ambassador to vote with theocratic nations stuck in the Bronze Age. Besides opposing any criticism for the death penalty, Ms. Nauert said:

The United States unequivocally condemns the application of the death penalty for conduct such as homosexuality, blasphemy, adultery, and apostasy. We do not consider such conduct appropriate for criminalization. Okay? I hope that’s clear.”

That remark is not clear, it is a giant pile of bovine excrement and stunning the State Department would dare issue such a remark.  If the United States “unequivocally condemns” killing people for that conduct; why did Haley vote against “unequivocally condemning” killing people for that conduct? And the “official” Trump State Department claim that they were opposing “condemning the death penalty in all circumstances” is just more bullshit after being railed on by civilized human beings.

The director of the Human Rights Campaign Global, Ty Cobb, issued a “scathing statementsaying:

Ambassador Haley has failed the LGBTQ community by not standing up against the barbaric use of the death penalty to punish individuals in same-sex relationships. While the U.N. Human Rights Council took this crucially important step, the [extremist evangelical] Trump/Pence administration failed to show leadership on the world stage by not championing this critical measure. This administration’s blatant disregard for human rights and LGBTQ lives around the world is beyond disgraceful.”

What was beyond disgraceful was Nikki Haley following her boss’ lead and lying in defending the vote, but only after harsh criticism. She even used Trump’s media outlet, “Twitter,” to claim the Trump administration “have always fought for justice for the LGBT community.”

Not content to lie just once, Haley also lied in saying that:

The vote that took place in Geneva is the same US vote that took place under the Obama admin. It was not a vote against LGBT.”

More bullshit and two more easily debunked dirty lies. First, during the Obama Administration the United States “abstained” from voting on a similar resolution because America as an institution just enjoys killing people. And second, there was no reference to gays in previous resolution; the “LGBT language was newly-added this year.

Haley was also lying when she said the Trump administration has “always fought for justice for the LGBTQ community” and she knows she was lying. Trump has rolled back protections for LGBTQ people quietly and in the case of transgenders, it has been very public. In fact, the Trump administration has already won the distinction as being the most “anti-LGBTQ administration” in modern history. When the Trump administration did have an opportunity to demonstrate fighting for justice for gays on the world stage, especially to condemn the practice of applying the archaic Old Testament death penalty, they said no.

Although the “no” vote rankled no small number of Americans, it likely thrilled Trump’s supporters in the extremist evangelical sector. There are still five states in America that carry anti-blasphemy laws on the books, and plenty of extremist evangelicals would be thrilled to see the death penalty imposed for being gay; Trump just endorsed one of those extremist evangelicals to represent Alabama in the U.S. Senate.

When given an opportunity to join 27 civilized nations in condemning application of Old Testament punishment for being gay, apostasy, blasphemy and adultery, Trump’s America “officially” said no; we won’t condemn it. Lying after the fact that Trump’s America condemns killing people who fail to conform to archaic bible edicts doesn’t change the fact that “officially” America does not condemn killing people for being gay. That official stance portends bad things for all Americans who think they are not living in an aspiring radical evangelical theocracy.

Image: Patheos

Republicans’ Focus Is Tax Cuts for the Rich, Not Gun Violence

In a scene right out of Groundhog Day, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan did exactly the same thing Republicans always do after mass shootings and domestic terror attacks committed by white guys; ignore the issue and change the subject.

Apparently, since Ryan offered up the typical Republican “thoughts and prayers” solution to a horrific terror attack that claimed 59 lives and injured 500-plus other Americans enjoying an outdoor concert on Monday, he had enough “gun talk” by Tuesday morning. If there is any question as to why nothing will be done to put a stop to these annual “pray for the dead” events, Ryan blowing off reporters’ queries about addressing gun violence should clarify why Americans will see more of guns involved in domestic terror attacks.

During a news conference Tuesday, when asked about Republican plans to forge ahead on an NRA bill to make killing Americans easier for the shooters to escape undetected, Ryan said he was focusing on tax cuts for corporations and the richest Americans. Ryan is more focused on helping the 400 richest families in America get richer, than the nearly 600 Americans impacted by the terrorist organization Republicans are closely aligned with and indebted to; the NRA.

Specifically, Ryan was asked if House Republicans were intent on passing a piece of NRA legislation making silencers legal in light of the deadliest mass shooting in American history. Ryan wouldn’t respond to the question because he can’t be bothered talking about gun violence when he had an opportunity to boast that Republicans are focusing on the need for corporate tax cuts; the only issue worthy of his time.

Ryan said he doesn’t know when the “Sportsmen Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act” (SHARE Act), the NRA’s bill to legalize silencers, will be next scheduled for a vote, because “right now we’re focused on passing our budget.

Ryan is lying. This week’s House Republican focus was interfering with women’s reproductive rights and voting to legalize silencers; at least until their handiwork allowed a madman to rain down death on innocent Americans in Las Vegas. Republicans did pass an extremist evangelical bill because next to tax cuts for corporations and the rich, nothing consumes Republicans more than controlling women.

After Ryan changed the subject from guns to the budget, he told the gathered reporters, with a “chuckle” no less;

“By the way, we’re bringing up our budget this week – I don’t know if you knew that. The reason we’re bring up our budget this week is because we want to pass tax reform, because we think that’s one of the most important things we can do to improve people’s lives. That is our present focus and the Sportsmen’s Bill is not scheduled.

For once, the reporters were not so easily put-off and they pressed Ryan asking if he “regrets passing legislation that President Trump signed” making it easier for mentally ill people to buy guns. Ryan “guffawed” and ignored the question by calling on a different reporter who asked a related gun safety related question. Defeated, Ryan answered by framing Republicans rolling back restrictions on “people with mental illness buying guns as about protecting people’s rights.”

Ryan couldn’t leave it at that and had to lie some more by feigning concern for mental health reform; something he said “is a critical ingredient to making sure we can try to prevent mass shootings.” He’s as big a liar as his standard bearer in the White House.

Ryan and his Republican cohort have perpetually supported healthcare and budget proposals that gut the “largest payer of mental health services in the country – Medicaid.” It is also noteworthy that Ryan has been a staunch proponent of eliminating the requirement that Medicaid covers mental health services. All of these “cuts” Ryan supports are for the sole purpose of funding greater tax cuts for the rich and corporations; the only thing, besides attacking women’s rights, that Republicans, as a movement, care about.

It’s painfully obvious that Republicans don’t want to talk about gun violence, or their part in advancing the National Rifle Association’s crusade to eliminate all gun safety regulations no matter what the people want or how many innocent lives are lost. Caring for Americans has not been a priority for Republicans for a couple of decades, at least, because all of their focus is on making a few hundred wealthy families richer except when they take time to attack women and help their NRA co-conspirators put more guns on the streets and in the hands of lunatics.