Don’t Blame Trump – Republicans Are Destroying America

There is a misconception among many Americans that the country is being rapidly dismantled from within and doled out to a few special interests because Donald Trump is in the White House. It is also erroneous to believe America is being radically transformed into something unrecognizable because a reality show host is setting domestic policy and a legislative agenda, and signing executive orders only his base believes are inspired by god. While it is true Trump is complicit in the impending and systematic  demise of America as it existed for 80 or so years, he is nothing more than a very convenient distraction, and a clueless rubber-stamp for the conservative movement’s evil machinations.

It is noteworthy that no small number of political opinion writers predicted the Republicans would do precisely what they are currently doing when they owned the government; only to be mocked as fear and conspiracy mongers. It turns out those pundits and opinion writers were spot on and not because they were prophets, but because they saw what the Koch brothers and their ilk demanded from Republicans sworn to do their bidding.

Everything happening in Washington, from tax reform to privatization to theocratization to deconstructing the federal government is a decades-long dream of America’s conservative oligarchs and it doesn’t matter which Republican is in the White House; a Republican majority in Congress guaranteed the current dismantling of the nation. In fact, dirty Donald Trump is so insignificant to the deconstruction of America that it will not be surprising when Republicans throw Trump to the impeachment police the instant they realize his usefulness as a distraction is unnecessary or too costly.

It is beyond refute that everything Republicans are doing since Trump’s poorly attended inauguration have been in the works long before Trump came on the scene. It is why Mike ‘preacher’ Pence works closely with and depends on the Heritage Foundation to provide a framework for “his” domestic policy reforms. Heritage has been instrumental in providing Pence and Trump with a harsh budget and current tax reform for the rich, as well as nominating blatantly partisan federal judges. Add to those horrors the Heritage Foundation was instrumental in selecting Trump’s cabinet and agency heads who are determined to dismantle those agencies and departments before handing control of the government over to special interests.

Trump is a bungling imbecile on his best day, but he is also too lazy and too stupid to have done the necessary research into which cabinet nominees were best suited to do the theocratic, corporate, fossil fuel and financial sector’s bidding; and why should he? The Heritage Foundation and a couple of special interest groups already had a wish list prepared to serve the needs of the corporate, theocratic, fossil fuel and financial sectors with a view towards destroying them from within . As Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman noted, this assault on America “is not a story about Donald Trump, bad as he is. The rot pervades the whole Republican Party.”

That rot has existed for decades, by the way, and the tax giveaway to the rich and corporations is just the beginning of the end of the country as most Americans know it. And it is worth pointing out that within that “tax reform” legislation are extra gifts to the Koch brothers that begin taking apart social safety nets such as Medicaid and Medicare as well as public education. And there is a special gift to the evangelical movement that has nothing whatsoever to do with tax reform and everything to do with setting a federal legal precedent necessary to completely eliminate the concept of women’s reproductive rights.  It’s a plan that the great majority of Americans are completely unaware of and was contrived in the 1970’s while Donald Trump was “fighting his own Vietnam trying to avoid contracting sexually-transmitted diseases because women’s vaginas are landmines.

Everything happening to America right now, and will continue unabated until they finish, are long-sought-after conservative movement goals and have nothing to do with Trump. In fact, even if Trump is thrown out of office, there are any number of successors who will toe the Republican line and do exactly what the “movement” orders.

Most of the conservative movement’s orders will center around ending “pillars of the safety net” created in the 1930’s (New Deal) to aid and protect the American people from fascist corporate assaults. The “movement’” has attempted to dismantle, and eliminate, such programs as Social Security, unemployment insurance, minimum wage, Medicare and Medicaid, workplace safety standards with as much fanaticism as they have attacked clean water, air and safe medicine standards. Now that they have complete control of the government, all of those programs are being targeted along with myriad assaults on anything the rich and corporations believe is either a burden to their profits, or belong to them because it means more wealth. Look at anything this administration is doing and it is glaringly apparent its raison d’être is handing control of the nation over to a nasty un-American cabal of special interests.

Right now there is a world of warranted attention on the GOP’s tax giveaway to the rich and corporations, but it is all in vain. Although Trump will benefit as much as any other member of the wealthy elite, and despite his claim that the tax cuts will really hurt him, it is something Republicans planned no matter who was president, Republican or Democrat. Now they have a Republican rubber stamp and it doesn’t matter what the rubber stamp’s name is, the trickle down attack was always the plan.

In fact, three years ago while Kansas’ economy was dying due to Governor Sam Brownback’s trickle down tax cuts, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Brownback it was exactly what Republicans wanted to do in Washington when they controlled Congress and the White House. The only difference between Brownback’s tax cut disaster is the level of severity; Republicans included unrealistic cuts in the current federal “trickle down reform” that actually raise taxes on the poor. The results of the federal reforms will be significantly more severe than those that decimated Kansas, but they were created to serve the exact same purposes; enrich the wealthy, punish the poor, and shrink the government into oblivion by starving it of revenue.

Look, no matter how bad Trump is, and he is admittedly as bad as they come, he is not driving the Republicans’ assault on the nation and it is a monumental mistake to even pretend that’s the case. The blame for the attack on America and the government that has somewhat protected the citizens for over eighty years belongs to Republicans devoted to the libertarian Koch brothers. Everything Republicans are planning to do to the nation, from assaulting social programs to privatizing the government to wiping out any form of regulatory oversight make up the policy proposals and dream agenda of Charles Koch’s campaign for the vice presidency in 1980 as a libertarian. Suffice it to say, the Kochs demand the abolition of the entire federal government and anything remotely related to providing for the “general welfare of the people.” The Heritage Foundation and Republicans are of the same mind and it is why they provided Trump with the personnel to dismantle every federal agency and department from within.

It is noteworthy to remind anyone who thinks Trump is running domestic policy that he told prospective vice presidential candidates that in his administration they would run domestic and foreign policy giving Trump time to focus on being CEO of making America great. It is safe to say that Pence isn’t running domestic policy unilaterally. He is too focused on making America an evangelical theocracy to concern himself with tax reform, social program cuts, or government privatization; the Koch brothers and the Heritage Foundation are running domestic policy and Republicans in Congress are, and will continue, executing their agenda. Paul Ryan actually said now that Republicans are close to raping the people with “tax reform,” they will shift their focus to making Draconian spending cuts concurrently with the planned major cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, and supplemental nutrition programs.

Americans have no idea how much the nation is going to change, for the worse, now that Republicans control the country. Any program created since the New Deal that served the interests of the people, whether social programs, workplace protections, medical safety standards, financial regulations or environmental protections are going to be assaulted with a view towards abolishment. Everything Republicans in the states have lusted after, such as turning over National Parks, protected wilderness areas, national monuments and public land to corporations is already in the works.

Republicans have dreamed of privatizing the government and agencies like the U.S. Postal Service, public education including higher education, public transportation, the prison system, and public health agencies and they are all currently under assault. Tragically, there is nothing whatsoever anyone can do to stop them. It is worth noting that everything that Republicans and Trump want to do are highly unpopular and they know it; but they also know there is no-one with authority to stop them, including the electorate.

Anyone who believes getting Trump out of the White House will change the way Republicans are governing is a fool. The Republicans’ agenda has not changed in decades and now that they own the government, it doesn’t matter who lives in the White House. They will take America apart and give the wealth of the nation to the rich and corporations with or without Trump; they could not care less who signs the nation’s death warrant, so stop blaming Trump and focus on the existential danger to America; the Republican Party.

 

God and Prayers Will Not Prevent More Gun Massacres

Most Americans are familiar with the term talk is cheap, and after another regular occurrence in America, they should be aware that Republicans talking about prayer isn’t just cheap, it’s utterly worthless; and that is precisely what it is meant to be.

It was interesting to see, yet again, that after the mass shooting at a Baptist church in Texas, a comedienne was raked over the coals for “talking politics” in the aftermath of a massacre. Apparently, Chelsea Handler should have followed Republicans’ lead and talked about prayer as if it is going to have any impact on stopping these uniquely American events. After several mass shootings every year and every Republican alive offering prayers for the victims, one can say without hesitation that prayers are not and will not stop senseless gun massacres; only politics will. Even Republicans’ base comprehends that flagrant truth.

Ms. Handler was assailed for writing:

Innocent people go to church on Sunday to honor their God, and while doing so, get shot and killed. What country? America. Why? Republicans.”

Like plenty of other Americans, this wasn’t Ms. Handler’s first attack on Republicans over their rejection of gun safety measures, but to be criticized for calling out the real source of the problem is, in part, why these senseless massacres will continue unabated and result in more calls for “praying” from Republicans who are complicit in the proliferation of guns in the population. The gist of the criticism Handler received is as common as American mass shootings:

The bodies aren’t even cold yet and you are politicizing them. You really have a dark heart.”

That particular comment had to have come from a Republican and likely a gun-toting evangelical to boot. Handler wasn’t politicizing the “cold bodies;” she was rightly politicizing the massacre and putting the onus for the event on the politicians responsible – NRA-funded Republicans. They are the first to offer “prayers for the victims” because that is all they will do to protect the NRA. They bear the responsibility for creating a society that allows a former bible studies teacher to don “combat gear” and acquire an assault rifle in what will never be a civilized society as long as Republicans exist to serve the NRA.

What Ms. Handler knows, like even half-sane Americans, is that only Republicans can prevent more “cold bodies” as well as more worthless offerings of “prayers for the victims” that serve no purpose whatsoever. Let’s face it, if “prayers for the victims” were ever going to solve the regular gun massacres in America, the last mass shooting would have been in Sandy Hook; there were nationwide prayers, and calls for prayers for the victims after 20 children and six adults were slaughtered by a white guy with an assault weapon, but those prayers didn’t prevent any more. And, one adds that “praying for the victims” after they are slaughtered is not going to bring them back to their families.

Look you phony Christians, your religion’s namesake, Jesus Christ, specifically commanded you to go in your house, in a closet, and pray in private. For dog’s sake, if Jesus Christ condemned fake Christians for praying in public to put on a “showy display,” then he certainly condemns going on television or releasing “official” statements or issuing “Tweets” as a “showy display” of your fake “prayers for the victims.” The only thing Republicans are praying for, especially after another gun massacre, is a continued flow of campaign money from the National Rifle Association for not taking a political stance to protect the people they claim to be praying for.

It is noteworthy to mention, while “the bodies are barely cold,” that there is a completely different response from Trump and his Republican facilitators when a terror attack is committed by a non-white suspect. Three white guys within a month commit a mass shooting and it’s all about “praying for the victims.” And yet one Muslim kills several pedestrians in New York and there are immediate calls for harsh action to prevent any more senseless killings.

There have been no Republican calls for action on gun violence or the proliferation of assault weapons in the population no matter how many victims or how many times they issue “calls for prayer for the victims” to “stop the evil.” Curiously, there were even calls for more religion in America after Las Vegas becauseAmerica needs god, not gun control;” as if the innocent Texas victims were not in “their god’s house” sincerely “praying to their god” when they were killed with an assault rifle.

America does need gun control and Americans have to start politicizing the bodies ad nauseam; and they damn sure need to make it painful. Because several times a year Republicans call for and offer prayers for the victims of gun violence and nothing changes because the NRA doesn’t want it to. Don’t believe it?

Immediately after the Sutherland Springs massacre Texas attorney general Ken Paxton called for more people to buy and carry guns to church and for more liberal open carry laws. It is noteworthy that in 2014 the NRA proudly announced that its 5-million nationwide members were endorsing Ken Paxton in his campaign to be Texas’ attorney general.  It should be no surprise that Paxton was quick to offer his “prayers for the victims” just prior to calling for more guns in church and looser open carry laws.

Texas’ governor also got in on the “god and prayers” for the victims as if that is going to prevent more mass shootings. Gregg Abbott said what Texans need is more god.

Texans were asking for god’s comfort, for god’s guidance, and for god’s healing for all those who suffered.”

Abbott, like his NRA-funded attorney general just called for a temporary “no-cost license to carry” and in June signed every pro-NRA gun legislation he could get his hands on. And like Ken Paxton, Abbott garnered a coveted NRA endorsement during his campaign for governor that included “all 5-million nationwide NRA members” support to govern Texas and promote more firearms in the population; including assault weapons like the one that slaughtered 26 innocent Texans worshipping and praying to their god for comfort, guidance and healing. If Abbott cared about his constituents, he would stand up to the NRA instead of sitting there signing legislation putting more guns on Texas’ streets.

Exactly as happened after Sandy Hook, Orlando, Charleston, Las Vegas, and countless other mass shootings, Republicans will spend a day or two criticizing what they call  “politicizing the tragedy” even as they continue to offer meaningless “prayers for the victims” and more calls for “god.” Even though god or prayers have proven impotent to stop these preventable massacres, the only people who can help stop the madness continue praying and saying “more god.”

There will be more calls for some sane gun safety measures that an overwhelming majority of Americans ardently support, and the NRA will watch its industry sell more guns, likely more assault rifles. And those victims’ families will grieve and mourn the senseless gun violence that claimed their loved ones without wondering why their god is not listening to all the Republicans’ prayers. The insanity of this abominable and regular situation is that as absurd as it seems, every one of the victims’ families will likely rush to the ballot box to vote for Republicans, the NRA and more of their useless prayers.

Congress to Criminalize Speech Not Supporting Israeli Aggression

 

As some Americans may be aware, the nation of Israel has proceeded with an expanding occupation of Palestinian territories that America tacitly supports while the rest of the civilized world is appalled at the inhumane actions. And, in this particular crusade, inhumane is a gross understatement.

Since America under Trump refuses to pressure Israel into joining the civilized world and stop its encroachment and terrorizing of the Palestinian people, the rest of the world is engaged in a campaign known as BDS to encourage Israel through economic sanctions to change its aggressive  and inhumane ways. Remember, it was just recently that America warned the United Nations Human Rights Commission that if it did not stop, immediately, criticizing Israel for terrorizing the Palestinians, Trump’s America would leave the organization. Trump’s America loves aggression towards innocent and defenseless Muslim populations.

Now, members of Congress are working for Israel to eliminate the First Amendment’s Freedom of Speech provisions for any American who dares support the world’s attempt to bring Israel into compliance with civilized society. The bill currently before Congress is an Israeli-inspired response to any American who supports, calls for, or requests information about the BDS campaign to put economic pressure on Israel “to withdraw from lands it occupied in 1967, end its [illegal] occupation of Palestinian territories, dismantle its illegal settlements in the West Bank, and allow Palestinians in exile to return to their homeland.”

BDS stands for “boycott, divest, and sanction” Israel for its unrelenting militaristic expansion into Palestine. Instead of using their “freedom of speech” to convince other Americans why Republicans think economic sanctions against Israel’s occupation and encroachment is wrong, and why Israel’s takeover of Palestinian land is godly and right, members of Congress supporting the bill want to criminalize opposing views – by abolishing any speech not supporting Israel’s illegal expansion into Palestine.

The so-called “Israel Anti-Boycott Act” is legislation that:

Prohibits Americans from requesting the imposition of any boycott by a foreign country against a country which is friendly to the United States and from supporting any boycott fostered or imposed by an international organization [United Nations], or requesting imposition of any such boycott, against Israel.”

That patently unconstitutional bill prompted the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to send a letter to Congress demanding a halt to legislation “denying freedom of speech” to any American advocating for, or simply “requesting information about,” any kind of boycott of Israel.

If any American does exercise their right to free speech, the bill calls for penalties  including up to “20 years in prison and fines between $250,000 and $1 million;” simply  for advocating for, or even requesting information about, a boycott of the state of Israel.

Some Americans might recall that Republicans went ballistic over an attempt to overturn Citizens United they claimed was a dirty filthy un-American attack on the First Amendment’s free speech provision. In Republicans’ minds, free speech is sacrosanct and cannot be challenged if the speech is in the form of tens-of-millions of corporate dollars for Republican candidates, but it is punishable by serious terms in federal prison and ungodly fines if the speech entails calling for sanctions against Israel.

The bill’s sponsors epitomize hypocrisy on free speech. For example, in 2014 Ted Cruz (R-TX) railed against attempts to overturn Citizens United saying:

“Typically, when Americans hear that members of the Senate are proposing repealing the free speech protections of the First Amendment, the usual reaction is a gasp of disbelief. Could we really have entered a world so extreme that our common ground no longer even includes the First Amendment of the Constitution?”

And in a Wall Street Journal op-ed Cruz wrote:

Speech is more than just standing on a soap box yelling on a street corner. For centuries the Supreme Court has rightly concluded that free speech includes writing and distributing pamphlets, putting up billboards, displaying yard signs, launching a website, and running radio and television ads.”

One of Cruz’s Texas cohorts, Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn, said:

I guarantee that none of my constituents suggested we need to repeal the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.” And then he claimed the overturn Citizens United amendment was:

A vote to silence them. Tell them to sit down, be quiet, we are in charge and in control.”

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) is also a co-sponsor of the bill to muzzle citizens’ voices and in 2015 joined Cruz and Hatch in railing against overturning Citizens United on Free Speech grounds. He said:

Supporters of this radical proposal apparently believe that freedom itself is the problem. That view is contrary to the most fundamental principles of this republic, and incompatible with a free society. Freedom is not the problem, it is the solution.”

Republican Senator Pat Roberts (KS) concurred with Cruz, Hatch, and Cornyn that overturning Citizens United was an attack on free speech and added that it was an assault on democracy. He said:

In our system of government, all voices have the right to be heard. The First Amendment gives them that right. … We have a system that allows all voices to be heard, even those that oppose the majority. That is not the antithetical to democracy; it is the essence of democracy. So it is time, it seems to me, to stop pretending that allowing more voices to be heard somehow poses a danger just because we don’t like what they are saying.”

Another Republican attacking the attempt to overturn Citizens United, Senator Deb Fischer (NE) actually told her Senate colleagues that:

Over the preceding five weeks visiting constituents, not a single Nebraskan told me to go back to Washington and vote to limit free speech.” She said overturning Citizens United was “gutting the First Amendment and the principles of free speech that have endured since the Bill of Rights was ratified in 1791.” And that “it would actually diminish democratic participation and decrease freedom.”

 Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) complained that overturning Citizens United was tantamount to:

Amending the Bill of Rights. It would amend one of the most important of those rights — the right of free speech. The First Amendment provides that Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of speech.”

Of course Grassley is right; the First Amendment does indeed provide that “Congress shall make no law abridging free speech.” And yet that is precisely what he and the other four co-sponsors of the “Israel Anti-Boycott Act” are calling for because their loyalty to Israel’s inhumanity supersedes their phony respect for the First Amendment.

There are really two lessons for Americans here. First, Republicans only care about the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights, when it serves their purposes. And second, that they have no qualms severely punishing Americans who exercise their First Amendment freedom of speech by daring to oppose Israeli aggression against Palestinians.

Across America a Majority of Voters Say Republicans Are On the Wrong Track

 

 

Americans are, if nothing else, a strange lot; and it goes far beyond their belief that the Sun only rises because they draw breath as citizens of the United States. One of the strangest behaviors over the past several months was many Americans’ various levels of support for corrupt Trump they claimed was because they wanted the country to go in a different direction. In particularly representative fashion, directly after the election a bevy of professional women said they only voted for Trump because they thought the country had been headed in the wrong direction for eight years; it was time to reverse course. Now, however, a new poll reveals that women and men from every demographic in the population say with Trump and Republicans running the government, the nation is definitely on the wrong track and despite they wanted a change in direction, the country is on the wrong track.

What was, and still is, a monumental mystery to this author is why in dog’s name after several years of record job growth, a healthier population, relative peace, more universal equality, and economic good health a damn large number of voters believed those achievements were wrong for the country. In fact, many voters cognizant of the economic and social justice progress during the Obama Administration still thought that progress signified “America on the wrong track.”

According to a recent Morning Consult/Politico poll, “the majority of voters from virtually every demographic currently believe the United States is ‘on the wrong track’ under Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress.” This isn’t a simple case of buyer’s remorse; a majority of the country is terrified at the direction Trump and his Republican facilitators in Congress are taking the nation because everyone is in the GOP’s crosshairs.

One always hears about the Trump and Republicans’ firewall of support in rural areas and the former Confederacy, and constant propaganda that their supporters are overwhelmingly satisfied with the job they’re doing in Washington, but even that group believes that “the United States is on the wrong track” now that Republicans control the entire government. In fact, the dissatisfaction with Trump alone has resulted in a 5-percent rise in nationwide support for his impeachment in the last week.

As an aside, one would inform all those dissatisfied rural and Southern voters that getting Trump out of the White House will not change the direction of the country one iota, or alter the way Republicans want to govern to benefit the rich and corporations. An administration under Pence will be exactly like Trump’s only without daily Twitter crises. Instead there will be a crisis of a never-before-seen crusade to implement evangelical theocracy to accompany massive cuts to government programs and gargantuan tax cuts for the rich.

What the poll revealed is that for the first time in quite a while there is beginning to be “a striking sense of unity” among the population, and it’s not just unity among one socio-economic, regional, gender, or racial demographic. For example, “Americans living in urban areas were only slightly more likely than those living in rural areas to be concerned that Trump and Republicans are leading the nation down the wrong track.” City folk and those living in liberal coastal areas are only slightly more worried (60 percent) about the train wreck the GOP and Trump have the nation on than those in the South and rural areas (57 percent).

A majority of voters across the nation think Republicans are leading them in the wrong direction and it belies conventional wisdom that the GOP and Trump “own the heartland and Confederacy.”  It leads one to reassess the idea that Southern and rural Americans aren’t as savvy as those in urban and left-leaning coastal areas; a majority of all Americans are finally coming to grips with the reality that their beloved nation is headed for a big conservative fail. And that conservative fail is being attributed to Republicans in Congress as much as the idiot in the White House.

What was particularly telling is that dissatisfaction with Republicans and Trump is nearly the same for blue-collar workers as it is white-collar workers. That dissatisfaction with the current government was reflected in the percentage of Americans earning over $100,000 annually (55 percent) and those earning under $50,000 (61 percent). Of course the richest one-percent likely approve of the GOP-Trump agenda, but only if they get their monumental tax cuts as promised. That group’s opinion was not included in the poll.

It was also revealing that the majority of Americans of all racial backgrounds firmly believe the nation is “on the wrong track” under GOP rule and it disproves the mindset that among white Americans Trump and the Republicans can do no wrong in changing the direction of the country. Nationwide, 74 percent of African Americans, 57 percent of white Americans, 52 percent of Hispanic Americans and 64 percent of “other ethnicities” stated the country is headed in the wrong direction after just 5 months of a Republican-controlled government.

No-one should be surprised that the percentage of women (64 percent) claiming the country is on the wrong track is higher than men (54 percent) regardless of income, geographical region, religion or race. The Trump-Republican anti-women policies became evident on day one of the new administration and that was before their religious overlords began applying pressure on the GOP-controlled Congress for theocratic legislation targeting women’s rights as remuneration for evangelical electoral support.

Although there is a majority of the population dissatisfied with Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress “among a wide-ranging and diverse group of Americans,” no-one should be fooled into thinking there is a new sense of unity among the American people. Of course there is universal “resistance to, and dissatisfaction with” the current Republican government, but it is most likely because all Americans save the filthy rich now know that this Republican group is targeting every demographic for some kind of assault.

It may be the case that many Americans are laser-focused on the latest White House scandal, but one suspects it is the administration and Republicans’ harmful policies informing a growing majority of the population that Trump and Republicans are taking the country in the wrong direction. It is something that no small number of liberal opinion writers and pundits spent a year-and-a-half warning was going to happen, but few listened and now everyone is going to suffer.