Hitler devotee’s primary victory informs the state of the GOP base

It would be a monumental miscalculation to assume that the alt-right’s poor showing in Washington over the weekend was a sign that the white supremacist movement is not as robust as it was directly following Trump’s poorly attended inauguration.

In fact, based on the number of alt-right (Nazi) candidates running for public office as Republicans, the white supremacist movement is growing with support of the party of Trump. No American should be fooled by “official party” criticisms of Republican candidates running under the Trump-Aryan banner because there are never any “official” condemnations until the candidates’ bigotry is widely exposed.

A perfect example occurred last week in Missouri after a Hitler sympathizer’s easy primary victory for the state legislature. That win informs that white supremacists are taking control of the GOP because they have support of the base, as well as the white supremacist-in-chief Trump.

It was only a race for the Missouri state legislature, but the victory of a conservative Christian renowned for raging against Jews, Muslims, LBGTQ Americans and any other non-Aryan, non-Christian person is a portent that the GOP is rapidly becoming the “official” party of white supremacists. Of course racists and all manner of religious bigots flocked to Republicans prior to Trump, but they were primarily closeted bigots; anti-gay and anti-women Republicans were never in the closet, they were in mega-churches with mega broadcast networks.

The racist, Steve West, easily won the four-way Republican primary race for a Missouri house seat by 25 points, garnering nearly 50 percent of the vote. West is, besides a Republican politician, an alleged “businessman” and KCXL radio show host. He is also a raging anti-Semite and a devotee of Adolf Hitler whom West asserts had the right idea in “dealing with who was behind” what was happening in Nazi Germany.

The Kansas City Star, in an effort to describe West’s background after his victory, reported that last week on his  radio show West promoted “fanatical conspiracies” about “Jewish cabals harvesting baby parts through Planned Parenthood, and torturing and molesting children.” West also claims that they [Jews] “run the Republican Party” he belongs to. And as far as his adoration of Adolf Hitler, West celebrated the evil monster claiming:

Looking back in history, unfortunately, Hitler was right about what was taking place in Germany. And who was behind it.

The only thing West did not do was praise Hitler for his solution to the “who” behind what the dictator claimed was taking place in Germany.

The “Star” also reported that West hosts a YouTube channel where he is less restrained from spouting his particularly dangerous brand of Trumpism – demeaning and defaming non-Aryans and non-Christians. Apparently West “dons a wig and fake beard and calls himself Jack Justice … unleashing an array of bigotry including homophobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and outright racism.”

West’s Democratic opponent, incumbent State Representative Jon Carpenter, hoped that the people who voted for West simply were unaware of his views. That is highly doubtful since West is the host of a radio talk show and not some character who crawled out of an alley. Mr. Carpenter issued an email statement:

“I just want everyone who lives in this community to know that they’re welcome here. Muslims, Jews, Catholics, the LGBTQ community, people of all races and national origins, and everyone else Steve West has targeted with hate. His views do not reflect our values. We’ll stand together and love will conquer hate, as it always does.”

That West won a four-way race by 25 percentage points, if typical of the GOP base, is a bad omen that the nation is even more deeply divided than even a dark cynic might have thought. Of course the Missouri Republican Party issued a statement disavowing West as one of their “fine people,” but the group waited two days after West won to issue a statement saying in part:

Steve West’s shocking and vile comments do not reflect the position of the Missouri Republican Party or indeed of any decent individual. West’s abhorrent rhetoric has absolutely no place in the Missouri Republican Party or anywhere. We wholeheartedly condemn his comments.”

Like all official Republican Party condemnations, it is purely for convenience and far too late. Where were the official condemnations prior to the primary? West has been a hateful broadcast bigot long enough that the party knew who they allowed on their ballot; just like the RNC knew what kind of bigoted pig Trump is and yet they still support him. No sane human being can imagine the RNC or GOP Congress  issuing an “official” statement condemning Trump’s “shocking and vile comments” or his perpetually “abhorrent rhetoric;” because they appreciate that it incites the base to flock to the polls. West’s shocking and vile comments and abhorrent rhetoric certainly incited Missouri Republicans to vote for the Hitler-loving anti-Semite.

Regardless of the accusations Omarosa Manigault-Newman made about Trump being a racist and using the “N” word to refer to African Americans, there are plenty of indications that he is a bigot inciting his racist base he knows oppose any non-Aryan and non-Christian. His attack on professional athletes exercising their rights under the Constitution is specifically focused on African Americans to divide the nation.

His praise of the “very fine” alt-right (Nazis) after they brutally assaulted peaceful protestors in Charlottesville was offered as an official commendation to “his people.” On the anniversary of Charlottesville, he issued another dog whistle condemning “all types of racism;” he did spend the 2016 campaign convincing his base that there is raging discrimination and institutionalized bias against white people, and it is a beliefthat is growing among Republicans.

As much as Democrats, and decent human beings, should beware of the powerful evangelical extremist voting bloc in an important midterm election, they should give particular attention to the white supremacist bloc. They are just as driven as the fundamentalist cult, and most certainly hate the same people as the religious right.

As an aside, although evangelicals claim to support Israel, it is only because it is cited in their scriptural mythos. If the Christian’s bible said that Havana was the home of the “chosen people” and the site of an Earth-shaking spiritual battle, Israel would just be another Middle East country and Cuba would get an inordinate amount of taxpayer dollars and weaponry. It is important to remember that Nazi Germany was a Christian nation with support from the Christian, primarily Catholic, population and they participated in an unimaginable atrocity against the Jews. In addition, despite the complete demise of the Aryan Reich, many German Christians wanted the Nazi leadership back after the war.

It almost seems natural for a bigot like Steve West to run for office as a Republican after praising Hitler and using flagrantly bigoted dog whistles; his is aping Trump and tapping into his base. If Trump is not inciting racial and religious animus against non-Aryans and non-Christians like Hitler, he is doing his best to rule with an iron fist like der Führer. It should be unfathomable that a publicly acknowledged bigot like West could run for political office anywhere in America and beat his opponents handily, but this is Trump’s America now and the Republican base is sick with white supremacists and evangelical extremists.

Image: Patheos

Trump’s new asbestos rule will kill Americans to aid Russians

It has been widely accepted since Trump’s poorly attended inauguration that he epitomizes a despicably bad human being. A pair of related stories late last week confirmed that Trump is inherently greedy, has no regard for American lives, has utter contempt for the law and a glaring predilection to provide aid and comfort to foreign nations hostile towards America.

Any sane human being knows it was no coincidence that at about the same time Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced plans to relax prohibitions on using a globally known and almost universally banned carcinogen, asbestos, a Russian asbestos producer released images of Trump’s face on asbestos packaged for export.

First, the EPA announcement about allowing asbestos back in America attempted to portray the administration’s “concern” for American lives with some bovine excrement claim that new uses of asbestos “would require manufacturers and importers to receive EPA approval before starting or resuming manufacturing, and importing or processing of asbestos.

Despite EPA claims to the contrary, the new rule explicitly allows new uses for asbestos with the caveat that the EPA evaluate any new uses based on “risk evaluation, selected studies, and use the best available science.” However, the EPA evaluation process will not use “existing” science despite “the significant body of work around the inherent health risks associated with asbestos.” It is noteworthy that according to Russian asbestos producers, Trump and his former EPA chief Scott Pruitt have already deemed asbestos application “100 percent safe;” there will be no need for risk evaluations, selected studies, or any science.

The Russian asbestos producer, Uralasbest, is one of the world’s largest asbestos producers and included an image of Trump stamped on packaged asbestos with a caption: “Approved by Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States.” An English translation of the text accompanying the Trump image read:

Donald is on our side! … He supported the head of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, who stated that his agency would no longer deal with negative effects derived from products containing asbestos. Donald Trump supported a specialist and called asbestos ‘100% safe after application.’”

The prescient question that anyone with a pulse already knows the answer to is: if asbestos is safe, why is it banned in 55 developed and developing nations? The known carcinogen is still in use in Russia, Canada,  China, India and the United States. To be fair, sometime in the 1970s America  “had stopped” using asbestos in most buildings, and banned it from products like flooring felt and corrugated paper because it was too toxic to use around human beings. However, despite nearly 1 million Americans suing for asbestos-related diseases and deaths, Trump still claims the carcinogen is safe. So he directed his special interest running the EPA to do something he claims is “long overdue;” help asbestos make a comeback.

In one fell swoop Trump demonstrated again that he has no regard for established science or American lives, and that he will use Americans’ lives to repay his debt to Russia. By directing the EPA to pronounce asbestos “100 percent safe” for use in America, Trump confirmed to Russian asbestos producers that he is indeed “on their side.

Trump, an expert in peddling snake oil, treasonous acts, and pathological mendacity concluded as far back as 1997 that asbestos is perfectly safe and the rest of the developed world was wrong to ban its use. He also asserted that “the mob” was responsible for promoting fake news that gave a known carcinogen negative press and a bad reputation. Trump said in a book he could not possibly have written:

I believe that the movement against asbestos was led by the mob, because it was often mob-related companies that would do the asbestos removal. Great pressure was put on politicians, and as usual, the politicians relented. Millions of truckloads of this incredible material were taken to special ‘dump sites’ and asbestos was replaced by materials that were supposedly safe.”

Trump has also claimed several times that the only reason the two World Trade Center towers collapsed was because of the absence of asbestos. Chris Hayes provided a video clip of Trump defending the carcinogen in front of Congress in 2005. He was doing in 2005 what he has done regularly since Russia aided his ascendancy to the White House – parrot a claim by Fox News. Trump told Congress in 2005 what he heard on Fox News in 2001:

A lot of people [Fox News] say that if the World Trade Center had asbestos it wouldn’t have burned down, it wouldn’t have melted. O.K.? A lot of people in my industry think asbestos is the greatest fireproofing material ever made.”

Trump lied, of course. According to Asbestos.com:

Builders constructed the World Trade Center using  asbestos in the structure’s insulation, drywall, fireproofing materials and steel because of the mineral’s affordability. The 9/11 terrorist attacks released the deadly toxin in a dust cloud across Manhattan.”

What Trump failed to tell Congress, and the only reason he is an ardent champion of a known carcinogen he claims is safe, is that like “a lot of people in his [hotel] industry,” he is furious that he was required to remove asbestos from his buildings to save lives. Trump has vehemently opposed any rule or regulation created to protect people, and because asbestos removal is an expensive and hazardous process, Trump naturally opposed paying to remove it to protect human lives because it impacts his bottom line.

In the late 1990’s “Trump fought a bill by ex-mayor-turned-presidential-lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, requiring all residential buildings to be retrofitted with sprinklers;” Trump claimed at the time that it was too costly to protect people living in buildings his corrupt organization owns. Just a few months ago, a Trump Tower resident perishedbecause he lived in an upper floor residence where there were no working sprinklers. Trump has no regard for human life and relaxing America’s asbestos prohibitions as remuneration to his Russian facilitators will add to the 12,000 to 15,000 American deaths annually due to asbestos.

According to “The World Trade Center Health Registry,” about 410,000 people were exposed to toxic asbestos “during the rescue, recovery and clean-up efforts that followed 9/11.” As of two years ago at  the 15-year anniversary of the WTC’s collapses, the greatest concern among medical professionals was the certain increase of cases of asbestosis, lung cancer, cancer of the larynx and ovary, and a rare but aggressive cancer with no cure, mesothelioma. It is exactly what medical professionals expect after nearly  half-a-million people were exposed to over 400 tons of airborne asbestos long after the Towers collapsed.

There is no coincidence surrounding the EPA’s plan to help asbestos make a comeback and Russian asbestos producers stamping Trump’s image and approval on packaged asbestos likely slated for export to America. Obviously, the Russian asbestos company knew in advance that Trump’s EPA was going to help asbestos make a comeback and further the Trump administration’s goal of killing off Americans in the name of helping Russia. It is not exaggeration or hyperbole to claim Trump’s administration disregards American lives at the same rate Trump lies and disregards the law. In fact, a recent (2018) Harvard University analysis revealed that Trump’s EPA crusade to rollback and/or reverse environmental protections will, under the most conservative estimate, cost the lives of over 80 000 US residents per decade and lead to respiratory problems for many more than 1 million people.”

If any American is looking for one example to convince skeptics that Trump is greedy, a liar, supports Russia and has contempt for American lives, this one incident should serve to disabuse them of any doubts that Trump is a monster. In addition, it is noteworthy that “helping asbestos make a comeback,” like all of Trump’s assaults on the environment, will indiscriminately kill and injure American citizens regardless of their race, religion or economic station.

That is the problem with allowing a greedy, lying, inhumane and traitorous piece of work to occupy a place he has no right visiting, and why Trump’s legacy will feature his inclination to kill American citizens on American soil like homegrown terrorists Trump calls “fine people.” The primary difference between Trump and other  homegrown terrorists is that the latter are driven by religion, racial animus and an ideology founded on hate. The former is driven by greed and allegiance to a hostile foreign state that happens to be the major producer of the toxic mineral Trump wants to impose on the American people.

Trump’s love of tyrants hits “religious freedom” limit

Anyone keeping track of the world leaders Donald Trump has lovingly embraced surely noticed one overriding characteristic and defining trait, they are predominately authoritarian dictators. In addition, the tyrants Trump is enamored with have human rights abuses on their records that seemingly make them more appealing to Trump for the obvious reason that his dream is imposing harsh punishment on the people he regards as enemies.

There is little doubt, at least to this author, that if he believed he could get away with it, Trump would parrot the actions of tyrants such as Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte, North Korea’s Kim Jung un, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and of course the tyrant he is most enamored with Vlad Putin. It is beyond doubt that one particular reason Trump is enamored with the aforementioned tyrants is the regularity of their human rights violations, particularly against dissenters.

During the 2016 presidential campaign Trump told supporters at a rally that he’d like to punch a protester in the face, and that he lusted for the “good ole’ days” when protesters could be  carried out on a stretcher.” During one rally he appallingly urged his supporters to “stand ready to knock the crap out of hecklers;” something he would instruct law enforcement to do if he had the same dictatorial authority his favorite tyrants enjoy. Instead, he offered to pay the legal fees of supporters arrested for assaulting peaceful protestors.

One of the tyrants Trump admires, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, must have held a special place in Trump’s black heart because after the terrible Turk  observed his security detail “brutally assault” American protestors in America’s capital, Trump’s silence was tacit approval. His silence also reinforced what many Americans already believed about Trump; an overwhelming desire to allow his vile supporters to “brutally assault”  anti-Trump protestors. It is certainly why he fairly praised white supremacists as “very fine people” after they attacked peaceful protestors in Charlottesville Virginia killing one woman for protesting against Trump’s fascist acolytes.

Trump has been silent about all of his favorite dictators’ record of human rights abuses since his poorly attended inauguration leaving many Americans to wonder what kind of atrocity would inspire Trump to condemn his authoritarian heroes. This week Americans learned there is a limit to Trump’s pleasure in human rights abuses at the hands of tyrants, but that limit was set by his extremist evangelical supporters and the aspiring preacher-in-chief Mike Pence – not any sense of common decency or regard for human rights.

It is telling that Trump condoned Turkish President Erdogan’s security detail viciously assaulting peaceful American protestors on American soil, but he is reportedly incensed at Erdogan for detaining an American evangelical preacher accused of causing dissent. This week, Trump threatened to “impose large sanctions” on Turkey over the detention of evangelical preacher Andrew Brunson. Trump’s threat was on the same day as  Mike “preacher”  Pence’s warning during a “religious freedom” summit. To keep pace with the “religious freedom” crusade to pressure an ally,  the Senate Foreign Relations committee passed legislation that would use America’s influence on the World Bank to withhold financial assistance to Turkey – for as long as the evangelical preacher is being detained.

Of course Turkey’s foreign minister responded to the threats in the same way America responds to threats from religious extremists:

No one dictates Turkey. We will never tolerate threats from anybody. Rule of law is for everyone; no exception.”

The particulars of why preacher Brunson is being held under house arrest are, for the purpose of this screed, primarily irrelevant. Harsh treatment, whether it is being imprisoned or summarily slaughtered, in Turkey has not incurred any untoward comments, much less threats, from the Trump theocrats. But there is a new “international religious freedom” campaign underway and it was during one such confab led by Pence that a tyrant is being reproached by America’s theocrats – over the treatment of one “man of the evangelical faith.”

What is noteworthy is that the Muslim-majority nation charged Brunson with “dividing and separating the majority-Muslim country by spreading his Christian faith.” That is the reason preacher Pence called on “believers across America to pray for Brunson” while warning the sovereign Muslim nation:

That if it does not take immediate action to free this innocent man of faith the United States will impose significant sanctions on Turkey – until pastor Andrew Brunson is free. To President Erdogan I have a message on behalf of the president of the United States of America: Release Pastor Andrew Brunson now or be prepared to face the consequences.”

Trump is no more interested in a tyrant’s aggression toward people in his nation than he is fulfilling the pledge he made to uphold and support the U.S. Constitution during his poorly attended inauguration. If that were the case he would be dispensing threats of “significant sanctions” on all manner of nations including his heroes Kim Jung un, Vlad Putin and Rodrigo Duterte et al for committing real human rights abuses, not just “detaining” an evangelical “man of faith.”

In fact, Trump and Pence had a prime opportunity to deliver threats and warnings against Egypt just recently for sentencing 75 people to death for participating in a “sit-in” in 2013. Just like when Turkey’s president watched his security detail brutally assault American protestors on American soil, Trump and Pence have been silent over a tyrannical nation imposing the death sentence for protesting; because the protestors are Muslims.

This absurd round of threats against a sovereign nation for imposing its own laws is a very bad sign that the Trump administration’s “international religious freedom” crusade has nothing to do with promoting religious freedom internationally. Frankly, it is nearly impossible to have any empathy for an American evangelical preacher who relocates to a majority-Muslim nation to “convert” Muslims to Christianity. For dog’s sake, the evangelicals  championing “religious freedom” in America do not comport Muslim adherents whatsoever, much less if they came from foreign nations to proselytize Christians and convert them to Islam.

It is worth noting that as an American of Armenian descent, this author has little-to-no regard for Turkey or its tyrannical leader – no matter if the country is an American ally. However, Turkey is a sovereign nation and if according to its laws the evangelical preacher violated some statute against using his religion to divide the country, then it is the evangelical’s problem regardless of his nationality. He may enjoy “religious freedom” to ignore and violate the law and U.S. Constitution with impunity in America, but he is not in America. Moreover, regardless of how one views a nation guilty of exterminating 1.2 million Armenians, at least in Turkey “the rule of law is for everyone; no exception.”  If only that were the case in America that was founded on the “rule of law,” it is highly likely the threat of “religious freedom” to impose a theocracy would not exist.

Image: AP Photo/ Evan Vucci

Trump will have blood on his hands by eliminating California’s emissions waiver

It is no secret that Republicans despise California because the majority of its people hold beliefs contrary to everything conservatives love. It is particularly true that Trump hates California whether it is because the state’s economy is humming along after the people voted to raise taxes, or because the majority of the people recognize that Trump is a worthless charlatan, or because the people love and desire clean air and water enough to support environmental regulations.

There is not much Trump can do about the majority of Californians detesting him on general principles, something he knew before his poorly attended inauguration. But he and Republicans have punished the people for raising taxes by eliminating their ability to deduct them on their federal income tax returns.

Now Trump is preparing to punish Californians’ health and welfare, and their economic lives,  by revoking the Golden State’s authority to set its own vehicle emission and fuel efficiency standards; actions that would provide no benefits whatsoever for the people. It is just one reason why the majority of Californians abhor Trump.

There are a couple of reasons Trump is punishing Californians this time; likely one reason is to repay the oil industry for its electoral support. The oil industry does oppose environmental regulations nearly as much as they hate the idea of higher fuel efficiency standards. There is also the issue of California refusing to force its law enforcement agencies to become de facto ICE and Border Patrol agents. Trump’s obsession with eliminating anything beneficial to the American people that occurred during a real President, Barack Obama’s tenure in the White House is also a contributing factor in his decision to inflict serious harm on Californians.

The rumors thus far are that Trump is going use the EPA to bring a screeching halt California’s ability to set its own fuel efficiency standards, and put the brakes on the state’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles in place under the Clean Air Act (CLA). In 2009, California earned a waiver under the CLA allowing it to set emissions standards for cars and trucks that exceed those of the federal government. States’ rights Republicans opposed the waiver because the Koch brothers oppose the concept of emissions standards as a matter of course.

The idea of putting a halt to higher fuel efficiency standards will impact more than just Californians because Trump, like the oil industry, wants all Americans to buy more fuel; Trump’s assault on fuel efficiency will be a nationwide affair. Although the economic injury of paying more for transportation is not necessarily life threatening, but ending California’s ability to set higher car and truck emission standards is.

According to the World Health Organization, California’s San Joaquin valley, a region known as “America’s salad bowl,” has the worst air pollution in the entirety of the United States. That pollution in and around fertile farmland providing much of the country’s, and the world’s, fruits, nuts and vegetables is also the cause of higher rates of cancer, asthma, and several hundred premature deaths every year.

The World Health Organization also reported that in 2012 alone, “premature deaths from air pollution” was responsible for over 7 million deaths worldwide. The number of premature deaths in the San Joaquin portion of the “Great Central Valley” number several hundred every year and that is in spite of what Republicans claim are devastating air quality regulations that include vehicle emission standards. Those mortality numbers will only increase with Trump’s deregulatory crusade, but those deaths and health issues mean nothing to Trump, Republicans, and the oil industry.

Anyone who has spent any time in the San Joaquin valley can attest to the effects of pollution caused primarily from oil drilling, traffic and farming; most recently car and truck tailpipe emissions have been identified as the leading cause of pollution with oil drilling overtaking the damage from agricultural chemical pollutants.

It is true that California has a robust air quality resources agency, but “regional” air pollution control districts in “the valley” districts represented by Republicans Devin Nunes, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and special interest puppet Jeff Denham play according to special interest rules.

Those Republican-dominated regional “air quality representatives” pander to businesses vehemently opposed to clean air and water regulations. This author can attest that those local air quality representatives lie like Trump by asserting that state and federal environmental protections are “highly destructive” and are killing off “family” businesses responsible for pollution.

For example, during an editorial board meeting a few years ago at a McClatchy newspaper serving the San Joaquin Valley, the Republican from the local air resources board complained bitterly that California emission standards were destroying too many “family businesses” up and down the valley; particularly the southern part of the valley. After a brief but heated exchange with this author, the air quality representative conceded that the “family businesses” were really oil drilling and refining operations run by some of the nation’s largest oil companies. As an aside, the Koch brothers contribute more to Republican candidates for state offices, including local air quality boards, in California than any other state. The Kochs are also responsible for all manner of “ballot initiatives” seeking to eliminate the Golden State’s environmental protections.

As the director of Sierra Club California, Kathryn Phillips, rightly noted: “They are conspiring to change the [air quality] standards so things don’t look as dirty as they are.”

The only glimmer of hope Californians have to cling to is, according to Dan Sperling of the California Air Resources Board, “We have the law on our side, as well as the people of the country and the people of the world.”

An attorney for Earthjustice, Paul Cort, concurred with Mr. Sperling:

California has done the math, and it’s concluded that the only way to meet both its greenhouse gas goals and its ozone targets is to move away from fossil fuel-based transportation. The law is very clear about California’s authority to set these standards, and for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to try to narrow it now means they have an uphill battle.”

Whether Trump likes it or not, Californians are like most Americans who want vehicles with higher fuel efficiency as much as they want clean air. The latter is an honest-to-dog existential issue and the former is economic. The only people in America that lust for lower fuel efficiency vehicles are the Koch brothers and their dirty oil industry cohorts. They are also the primary drivers of the conservative anti-environmental movement condoning higher cancer rates, respiratory problems, birth defects, and premature deaths if it increases their profits. Of course Trump is as inhumane as the Koch brothers and he hates California, but this atrocity is as much about reversing another good thing President Obama provided the people as it is Trump’s flagrant disregard for human life.

There is little doubt that Trump will publicly revel in aiding the fossil fuel industry with what is being touted as a major deregulatory action, with the value-added treat of punishing Californians. The real question is whether he will celebrate publicly that his obsession with eliminating President Barack Obama’s life- and environment-saving actions means he will have California residents’ blood on his hands.

 

Real GOP outrage at Trump’s ‘Soviet type’ $12 billion bailout for farmers

Anyone who has ever performed even a cursory look at how Trump ran his “business empire” should be well aware that he regularly used other people’s money to cover his failures. That is, after all, the reason Trump filed bankruptcy six times; to force contractors, material suppliers, employees and financial institutions to absorb the costs of his ineptitude and corruption. Now, the American people will absorb the monetary damage of Trump’s incompetence on international trade to the tune of $12 billion. If the people were not already outraged over the never-ending Trump atrocities, this latest expense should inspire their ire and drive them insane with rage.

After Trump’s Agriculture Department announced the oaf in the Oval’s plan to “bail out” farmers hurt by Trump’s trade war tariffs that primarily affect the agricultural industry, many Republicans in Congress from farm country were driven to rage.

For example, Trump supporter Joni Ernst, Republican senator from Iowa, said that international trade supports 456,000 jobs in her state alone. Ms. Ernst added:

These new tariffs are threatening $977 million in state exports.  Those are real people — Iowans — who are waiting for terms to be negotiated, for new deals to be finalized.”

A regular Trump critic, an anomaly in Washington politics, Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) issued a statement saying:

This trade war is cutting the legs out from under farmers and the White House’s ‘plan’ is to spend $12 billion on gold crutches. . . .America’s farmers don’t want to be paid to lose — they want to win by feeding the world. This administration’s tariffs and bailouts aren’t going to make America great again, they’re just going to make it 1929 again.”

After Trump gave a speech in Kansas City Missouri claiming that the economic and trade experts were wrong, and that his damaging tariffs were benefitting America’s farmers, one of Trump’s supporters, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said:

The president’s Trump is going to have to say more than ‘I like the farmers and I support the farmers.’”

Retiring Tennessee Republican, Senator Bob Corker, spoke plainly in condemning what he labeled “Trump’s incoherent trade policy offering welfare to farmers to solve a problem he created.” As Mr. Corker rightly noted, the “overall problem is Trump’s trade policies that go against free-market principles.”  Mr. Corker continued:

“You have a terrible policy that sends farmers to the poorhouse, and then you put them on welfare, and we borrow the money from other countries. It’s hard to believe there isn’t an outright revolt right now in Congress over what is happening.”

Another Republican senator, Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson, compared Trump’s bailout plan to cover his ineptitude to the former Soviet Union, labeling it “downright un-American.” Mr. Johnson said:

“This is becoming more and more like a Soviet type of economy here. Commissars deciding who should be granted waivers. Commissars in the administration trying to figure out how they’re going to sprinkle around benefits.”

An agricultural trade group leader who obviously understands the dangers of Trump’s trade war stated the obvious; “American farmers need contracts, not taxpayer funded welfare, for stability and to keep their livelihoods in place.” Brian Kuehl is the executive director of a trade group, Farmers for Free Trade, who said regarding Trump’s welfare for farmers:

“The best relief for the president’s trade war would be ending the trade war. This proposed action would only be a short-term attempt at masking the long-term damage caused by tariffs.”

It is noteworthy that there is indeed going to be long-term damage even if Trump should rescind the tariffs; because America’s once loyal trading partners are swiftly moving forward with a rash of new “free trade” agreements with nations opposed to isolationism. Trump’s bovine excrement lie that the taxpayer funded cover for his trade malfeasance is necessary to protect the farmers until he can negotiate new trade deals is typical Trump stupidity.

For dog’s sake, no nation in their right mind will negotiate with Trump because everyone knows he cannot be trusted, and they have already moved on to better trade deals. They have no reason to deal, or negotiate trade deals, with America when they have made remarkable “free trade” agreements with nations that are not opposed to globalization or afraid of Trump’s America.

It should be no surprise that despite the immediate negative reaction from members of his own party, Trump is not only undeterred, he intends to expand the trade war with utmost haste. Many pundits have opined that Trump’s intent to spend $12 billion of taxpayer funds to cover the damage from his tariffs is proof he is Hell-bent on expanding the trade war. In fact, after being criticized mercilessly by his own party for implementing an “incoherent trade policy” and creating “a Soviet-type” economy to cover his idiocy, Trump “tweeted” that his “Tariffs are the greatest!

This issue, like everything connected to the criminal in the Oval Office, should inspire ire and outrage among the population for myriad reasons. The people Trump is going to provide welfare to assuage the economic damage he created are among his most ardent and bigoted supporters. That includes the Senate Republicans from agriculturally rich states now railing against the policies Trump pledged to enact at every campaign rally throughout the 2016 presidential campaign.

No decent American wants to celebrate the economic damage Trump is wreaking on his supporters in the agriculture sector, but it is difficult to have an iota of compassion for their plight. Because despite the deliberate pain Trump is causing their families and livelihoods, they still support him and his make America white and Christian agenda.

However, the aspect of this latest abomination that is the most infuriating is that Trump is going to use $12 billion of taxpayer money for injuries he unilaterally inflicted on his base. In addition, it is a slap in the face of every American that Trump bemoans spending “money we don’t have” on healthcare, food, education, and housing for the poor, but is quick to drop $12 billion of other people’s money to cover his incompetence and idiotic trade war. Throughout his alleged “illustrious” business career, Trump has used material suppliers’, contractors’ and financial institutions’ money to cover his greed and incompetence. It should not be surprising he is using American taxpayers’ money to cover the damage from his “incoherent trade policy” and “Soviet style economic agenda.”

As retiring Republican Senator Bob Corker said, “It’s hard to believe there isn’t an outright revolt right now in Congress over what is happening.” It is also hard to believe there isn’t an outright revolt among the general population, because they are the ones who will suffer most from Trump’s trade war and now they have to pay for Trump’s incompetence.

Although Trump has provided a thousand reasons to be enraged over the past two years, the idea that he is blatantly using Americans’ tax dollars to pay for his idiocy, no matter who gets the money, may be the proverbial straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. At some point, even Republicans in Congress have to comprehend that like some of their colleagues, Americans will only stay silent and passive for so long, especially with midterm elections looming large.

Americans may continue tolerating Trump’s treasonous affair with Vlad Putin and Russia’s oligarchs; and they may even overlook Trump and his family personally profiting from living in the White House. But it is difficult to fathom very many Americans’ overlooking having to pay $12 billion to cover Trump’s personal incompetence and outrageous tariffs – especially when they understand that Russian President Vladimir Putin likes Trump’s tariffs on America’s trading partners.

Image: Reuters

Japan and the E.U. hit back at Trump with major free trade agreement

In Trump’s insignificant little mind he is a master of “the deal,” but his alleged prowess in “dealing” with America’s international trading partners is proving to be a significant detriment to nearly every industry in the United States. That fact was manifest in grand fashion when as expected, Japan and the European Union signed a major trade agreement that is as much a slap in Trump’s bloated orange face as it is going to be an economic benefit to the nations involved – nations that will not include the United States.

President Barack Obama, and this nation’s leading economists, manufacturing industries and corporate leaders, were avid supporters of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) because it allowed America to dictate its own economic destiny. The concept of America ever being able to dictate, or control, its own economic destiny died the day of Trump’s poorly attended inauguration. That is the day when reality sunk in that a know-nothing television celebrity intended to “make America great” by abandoning hard-fought trade agreements negotiated solely to benefit American industries. That reality prompted America’s trading partners to begin seeking new trade agreements without the isolationist-minded United States’ involvement; the Japan and the European Union agreement is a result of Trump’s plan to make America great by isolating it from the rest of the world.

The agreement signed last week is the culmination of negotiations that began exactly one year ago during the so-called G20 economic summit in Hamburg Germany. Those negotiations were a direct result of Trump unilaterally withdrawing America from the TTP and coupled with his campaign pledge to force Canada and Mexico to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

It is noteworthy that just the threat of America reneging on its NAFTA agreement prompted Mexico to initiate its so-called “Plan B” and begin negotiations with other nations eager to supplant America’s powerful agriculture sector. Those negotiations have yielded agreements that benefit Mexico and several other nations at the expense of America’s agriculture sector; the new EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) deals an additional blow to American farmers.

The new EPA drastically reducesmost bilateral tariffs including high Japanese duties on EU products and EU tariffs on Japanese automobiles.” The European Commission projects that the EPA will eliminate roughly $1.2 billion in tariffs for EU exporters and “double the amount for Japanese companies.” Because of Trump, American exporters will be at a major trade disadvantage because they are now “isolated” from the “free-trade zone” the countries making up around 30 percent of the world’s GDP now enjoy. As noted by Bob Bryan writing for Business Insider, “The EPA is the just the latest in a series of liberalizing agreements that have been initiated or formalized by major economic powers around the world;” all while Trump is isolating America and antagonizing the country’s allies and trading partners as a matter of course.

That isolationism and protectionism Trump champions is also one of the reasons the EPA was signed in a very public way. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and European Council President Donald Tusk were forthright in telling the rest of the civilized world why they acted decisively without American participation. Mr. Tusk said:

This is an act of enormous strategic importance for the rules-based international order, at a time when some are questioning this order. We are sending a clear message that we stand together against protectionism.”

Prime Minister Abe also leveled some criticism Trump’s way and rightly asserted that Japan and the EU were taking the lead in international trade that America once enjoyed. Mr. Abe said:

“While protectionism is spreading in the world, Japan and the European Union will take the lead as flag bearers for free trade.”

It bears repeating, ad nauseam, that America is being left out of more and more free trade deals due to Trump. While the imbecile in the White House consults his own moronic mind on international trade, the world’s other “major economic powers” have been negotiating similar deals to the EPA over the past year or so.  It is true that some of the deals were in the works prior to Trump, but the loss of America’s leadership prompted the rest of the world to expedite their commitment to free trade and eliminate the barriers like those Trump is erecting on America’s trading partners.

This EPA deal is not the EU’s only foray into international trade as the new world leader. The EU is in the process of ratifying “a landmark agreement with Canada” and “pursuing deals with Mexico, Australia, and the so-called “Mercosur;” a trading bloc made up of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. The EU is also in talks with China that recently “lowered tariffs on products including vehicles and launched talks with the EU to build a stronger trade relationship;” all while Trump is doing everything in his power to decimate America’s trade relationships with ill-advised unilateral tariffs.

In fact, last Monday, China and the European Union economic leaders issued a rare joint statement reiterating their dedication “to resisting protectionism and unilateralism, and making globalization more open, balanced, inclusive, and beneficial to all;” except for America with its isolationist malcontent incapable of comprehending the benefits of participating in, much less leading, a global economy.

It is unclear how much damage to America Republicans and their corporate funders are going to allow Trump to single-handedly inflict on the nation’s economy before they say enough. He has created a disaster for the agriculture industry with idiotic immigration policies, tariffs, withdrawing from the TTP and just threatening to balk on America’s commitment to NAFTA. And the downstream damage to American manufacturers due to tariffs on steel and aluminum is going to be significantly devastating. All the while, Trump’s supporters who are the first casualties of his isolationism maintain their undying support for him. It is almost certain they will continue their support even as they lose their livelihoods and suffer higher prices due to Trump’s tariffs.

It is a travesty that although America is a powerful economic force, it ceded its global leadership to other nations like Japan, Canada, China, and the European Union simply because Trump fails to recognize the benefits of globalization and the value of free trade. The bigger travesty is that Trump’s supporters, those who are already feeling the effects of his isolationist and protectionist policies, will continue supporting him for two overriding reasons unrelated to international trade; he pledge to make America white and Christian.

Image: South China Morning Post

The GOP fears Nazi and racist candidates running as Republicans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Churches are fuming over being taxed by Republicans and Trump

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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