Trump’s Shutdown Threat Reveals the Depth of His Contempt for the People

It is nearly impossible to believe that there are very many Americans remaining who fail to see the abject disaster of allowing a fake wrestling and reality show personality inside the White House. Of course Trump has supporters, but one seriously wants to believe the data that white supremacists {racists} and evangelical extremists (religious right) still represent a minority of the population; it is difficult to quantify the “stupid” contingent that do not fall into either of those categories, but it has to be under 50 percent of the population. After Trump’s outrageous statement last weekend, it is nearly impossible to believe anyone fails to see Trump as dangerously disastrous.

There was an interesting op-Ed in the Washington Post asking, “Does Trump operate out of any conception of what’s in the public interest?”

It is an easy to answer query, and it is a question that applies equally to the Republican Party; the GOP exists solely to advance the interests of the rich and the religious with no regard for “the public interest.”

Trump’s statement that he is looking ahead to September to “close down America” if Congress doesn’t bend to his will certainly insinuates that no, Trump has no “interest” in what is good for America or the people. It is not, as the WaPo piece suggests, that Trump is “incapable” of considering the good of the people or the country; he just has no regard for anyone but himself.

No doubt Trump was serious in threatening to “close down the country” if his Republican underlings in Congress fail to provide funding to build a Berlin Wall-type barrier along America’s Southern border. In fact, it is not a stretch to assume that Trump would in fact “close down America” if he was able, but it is not within his purview according to the document he dismisses as “archaic” and not applicable to him or his administration.

Obviously, someone in the White House informed Trump that regardless of what the voices in his head tell him, America is not one of his bankrupt hotels, at least not yet; he cannot just unilaterally close down the government if his perceived employees in Congress fail to do his bidding. Trump almost certainly meant he would impose a “government shutdown” as demanded by his minders at Fox News to facilitate punishing the American people if he doesn’t get his vanity project and monument to America’s xenophobia and isolationism.

Since he would require assistance from Congress, Trump could not possibly make an outrageous threat without lying; including using alternative facts sourced directly from his juvenile mind. Seriously, it is difficult to recollect any time in American history that a “president” White House resident threatened to “close down the country” if he doesn’t get his way, but then again Americans never allowed a petulant racist bastard take up occupancy in the White House.

Trump was speaking to a group during a tax reform roundtable in Ohio and as usual he was in the process of attacking Democrats “during a riff about border security” and just offered up a typically Trump idea. He said Americans should begin thinking about “closing up the country” if he doesn’t get his way. He said:

They don’t want the wall, but we’re going to get the wall, even if we have to think about closing up the country for a while. We’re going to get the wall. We have no choice. We have absolutely no choice. And we’re going to get tremendous security in our country.”

To show he was serious Trump repeated the idea of closing down the nation and he naturally lied about what he claims is the existential threat to the nation without a Berlin-type wall. He reiterated just how far he is willing to go and how much misery and damage he can inflict on the American people to get his way and sate the white supremacists, xenophobes, and isolationists who demand a whites-only nation. He said:

And we may have to close up our country to get this straight, because we either have a country or we don’t. And you can’t allow people to pour into our country the way they’re doing. We come up again on Sept. 28 and if we don’t get border security, we’ll have no choice. We’ll close down the country.” (author bold)

Trump naturally lied about immigration to defend shutting down the government, and of course his mendacity entailed fear mongering about a massive increase in Hispanic immigrants threatening America as a nation and the white people as a race. One even wonders if very many Americans are aware of the Berlin Wall Trump envisions for America; particularly since a frighteningly inordinate number of people are unaware of the Holocaust.

The truth is that immigration has been on the decline for well over a decade, and two years ago a new trend was reported; more Mexicans are fleeing America than are entering. In fact, exactly a day prior to Trump’s threat to close the country amid his own dire warning that America’s “Southern border is under siege,” Trump’s administration released  statistics showing that undocumented immigration was in line with historical norms that represent a steady decline of Hispanic immigrants; not an invasion and certainly not a dangerous surge.

Although Trump has made immigrants a target for ages, he began ramping up his nasty rhetoric about an hour after watching a Fox and Friends segment reporting on an annual publicity stunt to bring attention to the refugee crisis in Central America; what Fox News convinced Trump was an invasion force consisting of “a small migrant army marching toward the United States.” There is a fair explanation of what the annual “human rights demonstration” entails here; only Trump and his advisory committee at Fox News could possibly conflate the “demonstration” with an invasion force.

One House Democrat, Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), echoed the sentiment of any sane American at the news that Trump threatened to “close down the country” if he doesn’t get his way. Ms. Jayapal said:

“[Trump] is absolutely out of his mind to think that is any kind of a reasonable solution for our economy or compassion or in line with our values. This President [Trump] has done everything he can every time he’s in trouble to turn around and try to turn it against immigrants, and it really deeply saddens me.”

Despite everything Trump says about immigrants, the real threat to Americans is the filthy lying racist living in the White House. The  one who appears ready and willing to burn down the country, or at least “shut it down,” until his employees in Congress hand over taxpayer dollars for Trump’s vanity wall.

It is likely that the same xenophobes who have supported him since his poorly attended inauguration, and his minders at Fox News, cheered his threat to “close America for a while” if he can’t get what he wants; no matter the damage to the nation’s economy and the people.

Despite what the WaPo op-ed proffered, there is not a question of whether Trump has any concern for the public interest, because he has none. The prescient question is how much damage will Republicans allow him to inflict on them if he doesn’t get what he wants.

There are no winners in Trump’s Iran move – except Netanyahu

Since his poorly attended inauguration, Trump has demonstrated that America can never be trusted to keep its word and as of Tuesday, that Israel is dictating America’s Middle East foreign policy. It was no surprise to anyone that Trump broke America’s word again by pulling out of a multinational agreement with Iran because it prevented the war that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dreams about – America versus Iran.

Trump has made America as untrustworthy as he is by exiting the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), Paris Climate Accord and threatening to pull out of NAFTA. And he just recently reneged on the budget deal he signed because it failed to take food and healthcare away from children and other vulnerable Americans. If he disagreed with the budget Congress sent him, then he should have vetoed it, but he didn’t.

At this juncture, no nation, or American citizen, should ever trust this government again because America’s word and commitment to anything is as worthless and deceitful as the villain in the White House. If that were not the case, the United States Congress would do its Constitutional duty and put a stop to Trump.

Trump’s announcement on Tuesday that he would reimpose sanctions on Iran’s oil sector that had been lifted as part of the P5+1 nuclear agreement immediately violated America’s obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Trump claimed that “we cannot prevent an Iranian bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement;” so he deliberately violated the agreement — effectively withdrawing from the “deal.”  What that means is Trump will impose “secondary sanctions” as if the agreement doesn’t exist. And like everything Trump does, it will adversely affect America’s allies as much or more than it does the country that has kept is word by not violating any terms of the agreement – Iran.

The problem with “secondary sanctions” is that they do not directly impact Iran. Instead, they will “punish“ international banks that were doing business with Iran’s oil sector, and cut off access to United States’ markets for third parties that still want to work with Iran because they are complying with “the agreement.”

This “punishment” is all on Trump who is negatively impacting America and its allies to sate the warmonger and corrupt Israeli Prime Minster –  Ben Netanyahu. It is almost certain that Netanyahu had a  waking nocturnal emission when he learned that Trump obeyed his demand to violate America’s obligation under the international deal – all to bring Netanyahu closer to realizing his dream scenario of America waging war against Iran.

As a few experts have noted, since this was an “international” deal involving 6 nations and Iran, Trump reneging on America’s behalf does not necessarily mean the deal is dead. In fact, if Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and China do not reimpose their own sanctions, Iran will still have more access to international markets than prior to signing the agreement. And it is noteworthy that the other nations in the deal have been opposed to Trump’s decision giving Iran even more impetus to stay in compliance with the deal and avoid irritating the five nations that do not violate international agreements to satisfy Israel, America’s warmongers and the all-powerful military industrial complex.

What is curious, and telling, is that Trump did not attempt to present evidence that Iran was not complying with its obligations under the agreement.  That is probably because Trump’s people,  and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have repeatedly confirmed that Iran is complying with all of its obligations under the deal. Unlike Trump’s America, Iran has stayed true to fulfilling its commitment from the outset; a fact the other P5+1 nations have independently verified over and over again. In fact, even the two countries that support Trump’s decision to violate the agreement, Israel and Saudi Arabia, could not come up with any evidence that Iran is violating the deal. Still, Israeli leader Netanyahu celebrated Trump as “courageous” for making an “historic move” by violating an international agreement that was over two years in the making.

Trump claims that according to his “perception of the deal,” all of the provisions are not permanent and some ‘sunset’ in 10 , 15, and 20 years; except that all-important provision forbidding the Islamic Republic from ever developing and building a nuclear weapon. Trump also claims the nuclear agreement does not punish Iran for its ballistic missiles or supporting insurgents in other countries like America has historically done as a matter of course. Trump fully intended to do Netanyahu’s bidding no matter there is no evidence Iran is violating the agreement, and to ensure he does not have to be reminded that Iran is in full compliance, Trump systematically removed members of his inner circle who thought America should preserve a semblance of trust among the world’s nations and stay in the deal.

Trump’s recent termination of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, both of whom thought the US should stay in the deal, was the confirmation that Trump was going to do as Netanyahu demanded and prove that America cannot be trusted. Trump brought teabagger Mike Pompeo and warmonger John Bolton on board because both are renowned Iran hawks who opposed the deal simply because it prevented what Netanyahu wants more than anything; America at war with Iran. Interestingly, less than a month ago Pompeo reported that Iran was in full compliance with the terms of the agreement.

Trump removed the reasonable members of his administration and surrounded himself with yes men to support what is being called “one of the most consequential decisions of his tenure [as an unworthy occupant] in the White House.”

It is a mystery why Trump allows Defense Secretary James Mattis to stay on the job because just last week he defended and praised the Iran deal even as Trump continued to “bash the multinational agreement” as “the worst deal ever made.” Mr. Mattis told a Senate Armed Services Committee that the deal contained provisions with robust oversight on everything Iran is doing to ensure the Iranians could not cheat.

Trump is putting America in a precarious position in global affairs going forward because by now no sane leader can trust the United States ever again; especially now that Israel is officially dictating America’s foreign and war policy as it relates to the Middle East. Netanyahu has made every effort to sabotage the deal both covertly and in plain sight because he wants America to go to war with Iran; and Trump desperately wants Netanyahu to like him. However, when America does goes to war with the Islamic Republic, it will be on dirty Donald Trump, not Netanyahu, and it will be because America violated a multinational agreement, not Iran.

It is as much a travesty that Trump is successfully creating America in his deceitful and corrupt image as he is willfully causing economic distress for America and its allies. As most observers have noted, Trump or his warmongers have no “plan B” if Iran does not stay in the deal with the other nations except  for war. A war the neo-cons have lusted for as long as Netanyahu has asked them to.

There have been myriad reasons to be ashamed of America over the past year-and-a-half, but none of them are remotely as disastrous as knowing America deliberately violated an international agreement as a prelude to another Middle East war. And this one, like George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq, serves the whims of another corrupt foreign leader who is effectively directing America’s Middle East foreign policy towards the war Netanyahu has coveted for over a decade.

Trump’s DHS to monitor and compile an “undesirable” media database

There is a very good reason the Constitution’s Framers and Founding Fathers made “freedom of the press” a top priority in the young nation’s Constitution and included it in the Bill of Rights’ First Amendment. That reason has been reiterated by champions of freedom and democracy throughout history and that particularly includes from this nation’s founding continuing to the 21st Century threat posed by an aspiring tyrant. At least in free societies the concept of a free press is regarded as sacrosanct and until recently, that was the case in America. A little over a week ago, a former Daily Kos writer and activist now working at the The Intercept, Shaun King, discovered the harsh truth about being an activist journalist living in Trump’s America.

Democracy Now reported last week that Mr. King and his family were detained by Customs and Border Patrol agents at JFK International Airport and endured questioning about his activism in support of Black Lives Matter. Mr. King reported that after being called out by name, he and his family were taken to a “secluded questioning room” where the officer, who “had clearly been reading his tweets,” asked about his “support for the Black Lives Matter movement.” It is a sad commentary, but it appears that going forward there will be an increasing number of Americans facing detention, or at least heavy-handed government scrutiny, by Trump’s security forces based on the “sentiment” in what they write or say.

Whether it was Founding Father and third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, or war hero and U.S. Senator John McCain, they concur with no small number of American leaders insisting that America as it was created cannot survive without a free press . Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1786:

The only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted, when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary, to keep the waters pure.”

Well over two centuries later, and in response to the speech and actions of the “aspiring dictator” Trump, Senator John McCain defended the free press while he was in Munich Germany saying:

“We need a free press. We must have it. It’s vital. If you want to preserve […] democracy as we know it, you have to have a free and many times adversarial press. And without it, […] we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time.”

Not to be outdone, Arizona’s other Republican Senator Jeff Flake took to the floor of the Senate to give a speech assailing Trump for perpetually attacking the media for factual reporting. Suffice it to say, even Republicans comprehend the importance of a free press for a bevy of reasons, but none more so than protecting democracy. Republicans cannot ignore the threat to democracy posed by Trump.

That is why it was, although sickening, not shocking that the anti-democracy Trump administration is targeting the free press by giving a federal law enforcement agency the authority to target Americans who express the “wrong sentiment” in what they write, share on social media, or insinuate in a recording. And let’s face it; the “wrong sentiment” includes anything contrary to what Trump thinks is the “right sentiment.”

Bloomberg reported that a FedBizOpps.gov posting by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under the heading, “Media Monitoring Services” is nothing less than a devious “big brother” type maneuver if there ever was one. There was an attached Statement of Work that outlined precisely what the federal law enforcement agency planned to do to bring the media and many Americans into compliance with all things Trump; gather and monitor the activities of the public media and everything and everyone associated with it.

Now, it appears that Senator McCain’s warning about losing “our” personal liberties is not something that is going to happen “over time.” The threat from Trump’s Department of Homeland Security with an attack on the free press is a dangerous portent that the aspiring tyrant is attempting to keep pace with a rash of attacks on the media worldwide.

This is underway in America, “traditionally one of the bastions of press freedom,” where a powerful federal agency is planning to compile a comprehensive list of journalists, social media influencers, bloggers, and podcasters to monitor what they are “putting out to the public” with a particular interest in the “sentiment” they express.

As Michelle Fabio noted:

We are entering potentially dangerous territory with the government keeping track of the ‘sentiment’ of American citizens in a Department of Homeland Security media database.”

The primary concern of the Trump administration is “the sentiment” being expressed by private American citizens, media organizations, bloggers, print journalists and Americans active on social media. It is unlikely that DHS is going to do the same level of monitoring of “foreign” sentiment towards America as the other intelligence agencies such as the NSA and CIA. This action is targeting domestic “sentiment” and although it is normal for dictatorships Trump aspires to emulate, it is an abomination in an alleged “free society” anywhere in the world, much less in the United States of America.

It is nothing less than an outrage in a liberal democracy that a federal agency is monitoring and compiling data on what the dictionary deems are private citizens’  “views of, or an attitude toward, or an opinion of a particular situation or event.” Only someone who has been comatose for the past two years is unaware that the prevailing sentiment in America, and around the world, toward Trump is overwhelmingly negative. It should terrify all Americans that expressing those sentiments is deemed “dangerous” enough to warrant Homeland Security putting them in a federal law enforcement database; something that is unprecedented except in dictatorships.

An organization that has spent the past nearly 40 years monitoring press freedom, Freedom House, “recently concluded that global media freedom has reached its lowest level in the past 13 years.” The organization places the blame for less press freedom on government threats to journalists and media outlets in “major democracies” and “authoritarian countries like Russia and China.” The report also noted that:

It is the far-reaching attacks on the news media and their place in a democratic society by Donald Trump, first as a candidate and now as president of the United States [White House occupant] that fuel predictions of further setbacks in the years to come.”

This action is a dangerous administration’s attempt to rule by tyranny and intimidation and little else. It is also not the first time the Trump administration has suggested keeping a federal database of “undesirables.”

First they proposed forcing American Muslims to “register” in a national database, and then attempted to garner the highly-personal voting and citizenship information from Americans with a bogus “commission” to ferret out the non-existent massive voter fraud. Now they have tasked a federal law enforcement agency with compiling a database consisting of journalists, media organizations, bloggers, podcasters and “influencers” on social media based on their “sentiment?”

It is hardly arguable that the government does not already monitor everything Americans are reading, saying, and writing, and by its very nature everything related to the “media” is not secret. However, the concept of a federal agency monitoring the “sentiments” of Americans and creating a federal database based on those “sentiments” is chilling. It is also another indication that America under Trump, since his poorly-attended inauguration, is experiencing the exact same process that eventually gave the world North Korea, Russia and Nazi Germany.

An American president does not act like Trump

Donald Trump is the poster child for all manner of despicable human traits and no small number of serious personality disorders, and that does not include his inherent tendency towards criminality and corruption. In fact, it is so universally agreed that Trump epitomizes “bad” that only the most fervent Republican, racist and religious sycophant would argue that there is anything decent about the man.

For well over a year, some ridiculously naïve people continued to express confidence that as time passed, Trump would settle in and possibly stop heaping disgrace on the office he should not be occupying; by now only a fool would argue that Trump is not getting worse by the day. Republicans, for the most part, have behaved as if Trump is normal and are seemingly terrified of condemning Trump for demeaning the nation’s highest office he single-handedly transformed into a cause for national embarrassment.

A couple of days ago Senator John McCain issued a damning statement questioning what kind of “American president” Trump is after he ignored all counsel and congratulated Vladimir Putin’s “sham election” victory. One can read a world of intent into Mr. McCain’s brief, but stinging, comments targeting Trump, but the overall gist is that Trump is no kind of American president, or in McCain’s words; “an American president” would not act like Trump. One imagines that in McCain’s mind, Trump is no kind of American – period.

At least Trump garnered some criticism from a Republican unlike his blatant and extremely public display of Schadenfreude late last week; a display that should disabuse any American of their belief that Trump has any socially redeeming qualities whatsoever. It is the height of absurdity, and a monumental disgrace to America, that he is the head of the Executive Branch of government he is regularly defiling. Trump has inflicted a world of damage on the White House as an institution, and ignoring the criminal component of his administration, it is his words and gross behavior that have defined his “presidency” as patently obscene.

It is probably true that no president has ever publicly celebrated the termination of a long-serving federal officer; Trump accomplished another first by rejoicing over the firing of Andrew McCabe a few days before his retirement. What is not surprising is that Republicans were mute at a crass public display by their standard bearer that any decent person considers morally evil; taking pleasure in another’s misfortune is a malicious act by anyone, much less “America’s leader.” Trump’s action was so despicable, that it is curious his religious right adherents were not railing on the Oval Office sinner for violating a biblical edict as well as common decency.

Taking pleasure in another’s misfortune is universally considered less acceptable than envy, and it is noteworthy that envy is a mortal sin. Philosophers contend that it is “morally more perverse to be pleased with another’s misfortune than to be displeased with another’s good fortune,” and most decent people would agree.  The 19th Century philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer argued that feeling envy is a human trait, but to enjoy other people’s misfortune is diabolical. The Christian bible mentions over 20 times that reveling in the misfortune of others is a major sin that “certainly will not go unpunished.”

Trump’s major sin, a celebrating Andrew McCabe’s termination two days before he was eligible to receive his full pension, was a “dick move” if there ever was one. And, like the subsequent ‘tweets’ continuing to defame Mr. McCabe along with former FBI Director James Comey, Trump’s Schadenfreude certainly garnered criticism from Democrats. Mr. McCabe’s lawyer took the high road and said “We will not be responding to each childish, defamatory, disgusting, and false tweet by the president.”  

The former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan, a man regardedas the epitome of “sober” by WaPo’s Gene Robinson, did respond with a “jaw-dropping message” that only lacked some well-placed profanity to be “perfect.” And, because he is aware of Trump’s struggle to read anything containing more than 140 characters at a time, Mr. Brennan took to Twitter to ensure Trump would be capable of reading the message:

“When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America . . . America will triumph over you.”

Mr. Brennan made good use of the Twitter character limit by omitting mention of Trump the sexual predator, but he made his point all the same; particularly informing the long campaign to fire Mr. McCabe was “scapegoating.”  In some circles Trump’s crusade to fire Mr. McCabe is another case of obstruction of justice. Trump openly questioned why Andrew McCabe was still at his FBI post in December and he has “spent months publicly slandering McCabe and pressuring Sessions to fire him.”

It is true that Trump has wanted Mr. McCabe gone for a long while because of his involvement in the DOJ’s investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign. Trump is still under the impression that government employees exist solely to protect him and his criminal enterprises like loyal lieutenants in a crime syndicate. It is noteworthy that Mr. McCabe said Trump asked him who he voted for in the 2016 election on more than one occasion.

If Trump doesn’t infuriate, terrify, and humiliate any American, then they are either a religious right sycophant, white supremacist bigot, or a corrupt Republican; it is highly likely that even some members of Trump’s immediate family are, at the very least, humiliated at the man’s blatant stupidity and lack of any sense of morality.

It is probably true, as John Brennan said, that Trump will not succeed in destroying America, although no small number of pundits and observers rightly assert that he and his Republican cohorts have severely damaged America’s democracy.

Where Trump has, in fact, inflicted damage beyond repair is the office he has no right occupying. Trump has successfully destroyed whatever level of respect owed to the office of the presidency because of his venality, moral turpitude, gross stupidity, perpetual mendacity and overt loyalty to foreign leaders. He has demeaned the federal judiciary, blatantly attacked America’s Intelligence community, and has openly violated the document he “so help me god” swore to support and protect; and throughout it all his Republican support remains solid.

If the man sitting in the Oval Office is allowed to publicly campaign for a public servant’s termination because he is doing his job, and then publicly gloat and celebrate the public servant’s firing after 21 years of devoted and loyal service to America, that office is as dirty and corrupt as its occupant; because as Senator McCain alluded, an American president does not act like the vulgar un-American Trump.

White House report vindicates President Obama’s regulatory agenda

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump is not permitting the NSA to stop Russian cyber attacks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Admiral Rogers replied:

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

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

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

Rogers replied thus:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Spending Bill Exposes Trump-Republican Hypocrisy and Contempt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump Is Expanding the Koch War On Renewable Energy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Dictator In the White House Is A Constitutional Crisis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The State of the Union is Critical

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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