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.

Trump Personally Killed 40 Thousand Jobs and Cost the Economy Billions

As much as dirty Donald Trump epitomizes the “ugly American” and every negative connotation that unflattering title entails, he is the personification of a very significant number of the ugly Americans the rest of the world, and no small number of decent Americans, despise.

Trump and his ugly “America first” acolytes could not possibly care less what the rest of the world, or other Americans, think of the uncivilized cretins Trump represents, but that is not the case for the highly profitable American tourism industry. In fact, exactly as predicted shortly after Trump’s poorly attended inauguration, everything about Trump will be harmful to the economy and those predictions have proven accurate for many sectors of the economy. The tourism sector realized immediate economic harm.

Although much of Trump’s economic damage will not result in immediate job or business losses, that is not the case in the tourism industry. World travelers contemplating trips to America were immediately aware that Trump’s America, like Trump himself, will not be a very friendly place to visit and no-one in their right mind can blame them. Those travelers began shunning America before Trump was allowed to occupy the White House after hearing his foul mouth drone on for several months about America first.

Now, the industry is reporting that since Trump took office, as many, many experts predicted; “inbound travel dropped by 4 percent and tourist spending declined 3.3 percent.” Those percentages translate into losses of tens-of-thousands of American jobs and roughly $4.6 billion in tourism dollars spent in American communities. It is noteworthy that those tens of thousands of jobs lost do not reflect “downstream jobs” lost by people serving the 40,000-plus now-unemployed Americans, or the billions of dollars in lost wages and tourist spending driving local economies.

The National Travel and Tourism Office reported the bad economic news that they and other groups dubbed the “Trump slump.” The report said that the unnecessary slump “translated to losses of tens of thousands of jobs and $4.6 billion in spending in 2017.”According to experts, “Trump’s travel ban proposals and his anti-immigration rhetoric, and heightened security measures have worsened the U.S.’s (sic) image in other countries.”

Tourism experts knew three months into Trump’s White House occupancy that there would be Hell to pay for Trump’s ugly American rhetoric and actions. In March, Tourism Economics president, Adam Sacks, said:

It doesn’t take very much uncertainty or antipathy to influence decisions away from a given travel destination. Ultimately, destinations and companies are in the business of building a brand and a message that is welcoming .… All the ‘America first’ rhetoric in various policy areas like trade, diplomacy and immigration is conveying the exact opposite.”

That was Mr. Sacks’ prediction in March;  in September he said:

It’s not a reach to say the rhetoric and policies of this administration are affecting sentiment around the world, creating antipathy toward the U.S. and affecting travel behavior.

To add insult to economic injury to America, because of one vile man’s mouth; “The U.S. slipped to No. 8 from No. 7 on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Countries list released on Tuesday.” That report “attributed the drop to Trump being more unpopular than any other state head or company CEO, and to the U.S. becoming more politically unstable and less progressive and trustworthy.” All because of one man and the malcontent racists, evangelicals, xenophobes and various bigots supporting him.

In what is sure to be a failure, the U.S. Trade Association intends on embarking on a “Visit U.S.” campaign they hope will “encourage international travelers to choose the U.S.” According to Johnathan Grella, the trade association executive vice president:

A very big portion of the coalition’s work is to promote more balanced rhetoric. We want to get to the place that the administration says we are closed for terrorism but open for business.”

Obviously, Mr. Grella has not spent any time listening to Trump or he would have realized the absurdity of expecting Trump or his administration ever being interested in, or capable of, presenting “more balanced rhetoric.” Trump and a significant percentage of the population are not only disinterested in “balanced rhetoric,” they oppose it like “the ugly Americans”  they are at a very fundamental level. Still, at least one major American city and tourist destination is being proactive in touting itself as “decidedly anti-Trump.

It is doubtful there will be a national campaign advertising that “This isn’t Trump’s America” or that “all international visitors are welcomed to visit America,” but that is precisely what Los Angeles is promoting.

Something the tourism industry might not consider is that the preponderance of prospective foreign travelers are not as concerned about running into Trump or terrorists as they are terrified of the fanatical gun zealots, radical evangelical extremists, racists, and xenophobes that support an ugly American like Trump. An equally disgusted number of prospective tourists have no interest in spending their hard-earned vacation money in a country that refuses to care for its own citizens and hates “foreigners.” And worse, foreign tourists are well aware it is dangerous to visit any nation with a government that empowers radical religious extremists to target several groups for discrimination based on their sex, gender identity, marital status, and sexual orientation.

Add to those disincentives to visit America, the concerted mindset among Trump supporters that anything not American, not English speaking, and not white is inherently evil and it should assure the tourism industry that their economic troubles are going to get much worse with or without Trump. The rest of the world is now fully cognizant that Trump’s “ugly American acolytes” make up a substantial percentage of the population and they are angry and they are not going away no matter what Trump does.

It is true that every administration can affect the economy and have an impact on international perceptions of America, but this Trump slump is a fairly new phenomenon for a couple of reasons. It was accurately predicted prior to Trump’s poorly attended inauguration, the downturn in tourism was immediate and sustained, and Trump has continued unabated terrifying and insulting the rest of the world. Of course the economic damage in lost tourism is down to Trump and his vile mouth, but it cannot be overstated that the rest of the world’s population understands that without a population rife with “ugly Americans,” Donald Trump would be promoting a new reality show, not America as a tourist destination to be avoided at all costs.

It’s Time For Media and Liberals to Stop Helping Trump Win

It is curious that a fair number of Americans claim to detest Donald Trump like plague, and yet they are at the forefront of promoting him and his agenda due to their obsession with his social media activities. By now everyone on the planet knows Trump is an incompetent fool and a mentally unstable narcissist, so it is mind boggling that so many allegedly “smart” people hang on his every social media action and then share his message with the world. It is something he depends and thrives on and uses to his advantage.

Early on in Trump’s tenure a few pundits and some relatively intelligent people said it would be helpful if Americans would just ignore Trump’s Twitter tirades and not give the petulant little child the attention he craves.  Finally, one of those “smart guys” made an easy to understand graphic titled “A Taxonomy of Trump Tweets” explaining how Trump uses Twitter to his advantage and how the media is complicit in giving Trump the messaging advantage.

The “smart guy” is a real academic who has spent years explaining exactly how a tyrannical maniac like Trump could easily garner support in America among a certain group of people. They are the kind of people who need a strong daddy figure to tell them how, what, and when to think, and who to turn to for the solution to all their perceived ills.

George Lakoff was describing a “Trump-like” personage ages ago and he has once again taken the time to inform Americans, especially those in mainstream media and active on social media, how they are complicit in helping Trump’s strategy by repeating his messages.

Mr. Lakoff knows of what he speaks as an acclaimed Professor of cognitive science and linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley. He recently put his expertise to work outlining the “four ways that the president Trump uses his tweets to control the news cycle.” Lakoff took to Trump’s favorite media outlet, Twitter, to inform journalists and social media devotees how “Trump uses social media as a weapon to control the news cycle. It works like a charm. His tweets are tactical rather than substantive. They mostly fall into one of four categories.”

The categories begin with “preemptive framing;” such as promoting the idea that the “hacking of the DNC” was the DNC’s fault and that Hillary Clinton “lost by a wide margin.” Both claims are false, but with valuable assistance from the media and Democrats “retweeting” Trump’s lies, he was wildly successful “framing and promoting an idea” with no basis in fact. Both of those ideas still resonate with his base of support because “real media” types kept his false assertions in the news for months.

Trump has survived thus far using another strategy, “diversion,” to shift attention away from his corruption and incompetence as well as his Russia problems. It is a tactic he was busy using throughout the 2016 campaign continuing to the present. Mr. Lakoff referred to Trump attacking a Hollywood icon, Meryl Streep, in a tweet two weeks prior to his poorly attended inauguration to enrage Americans and shift their attention away from the reporting on his personal conflicts of interest and his administration’s Russia-collusion problems.

A related scheme, “deflection” has been a mainstay of Trump’s Twitter strategy and an integral part of his administration’s messaging, especially when dealing with any unflattering or factual media reporting. A perfect example is what Lakoff noted was “attacking the messenger” to reframe a story to benefit Trump. By attacking the media as “fake news” Trump not only “erodes public trust,”  he “establishes Trump as the only source of truth and facts.” Trump began calling any media outlet that reported truthfully “fake news” early in his campaign and it was so successful he has had no reason to stop now.

The last category is what Mr. Lakoff calls the “trial balloon” to test the media and public’s reaction to an idea; such as his public flirtation with starting a new nuclear arms race or an actual American nuclear first strike. In fact, Mr. Lakoff noted that Trump’s “big nuclear” button tweet was another “trial balloon which Trump deployed spectacularly.”

Professors Lakoff explained on Twitter that:

Each tweet gets his message retweeted so he dominates social media. Reporters, social media influencers, and many others fall for it hook, line, and sinker. Every time…They may think they’re negating or undermining him, but that’s not how human brains work. As a cognitive scientist, I can tell you: Repeating his messages only helps him.”

Lakoff explained that repeating his tweets are helping “embed Trump’s message into the brains of millions of people, increase his credibility with his base,” and focus all attention on Trump as if “he is the most important thing in the world.”

As this author has preached since last November, Trump’s Twitter activity needs to be completely ignored. Or at least as Professor Lakoff suggested; “take a different approach to Trump’s social media antics” and “put them in a quiet corner of the newspaper like a throwaway item at the end of the newscast.

Professor Lakoff said one thing that cannot be overstated. Instead of being captivated by Trump’s social media activity, Americans should be “keeping a steely focus on what actually matters.”

Honest to dog, it is a travesty that many Americans are still unaware that their government is being dismantled, Republicans are transferring the Treasury and wealth of the nation to the richest one-percent, and religious Republicans are in the midst of a monumental assault on women and gays. It is not that these stories are being neglected; it is that too many Americans are focused on the latest tweet from what Lakoff said is “this disgraceful man” who dominates the media.

At this point, no media outlet or journalist has to use Trump’s “Twitter” outrages to portray him as “childish or deranged,” and the same is true of social media devotees. Of course Trump is a screaming lunatic, but spreading his insanity across social media is not “negating or undermining him.” It just emboldens him and makes him appear to be the most important thing on Earth. It also feeds his narcissistic need to dominate social media and the current news cycle; it is why he never fails to unleash something bizarre at the beginning of every weekend to keep his name in the news.

Mr. Lakoff makes many good points, but none better than “we must stop letting Trump control the media — and Americans’ minds.” While Trump dominates every stinking new cycle because the media is laser focused on his twitter activity, Republicans are raping and pillaging the nation and the government with little to no public outrage or media coverage. What is particularly appalling is that while Americans, and the media, are enthralled with Trump’s latest Twitter activity, Republicans are viciously attacking women’s rights for the evangelical fanatics in league with the Vatican.

It has now been nearly two years since Trump became “a thing” of interest for the media and they have made him the most important story on Earth based on “tweets.” It is damned high time for journalists, the media at large, and “social media influencers” to grow up, focus on how Republicans and religion are destroying America and for dog’s sake stop helping Trump win the media war.

White House Official and DHS Debunk Trump’s Voter Fraud Lies

If deceitful Don Trump had even a modicum of shame, the news of yet another of his lies being debunked by his own White House would send the mendacious miscreant into hiding; but Trump has no shame any more than he has an honest bone in his corrupt body. After months of Trump’s tired claim that he was a victim of “massive voter fraud” in the 2016 election, Trump’s lie was put to rest by Trump’s  White House “announcement” that Trump’s “controversial voter fraud commission” failed to “uncover any findings of voter fraud in the 2016 general election.” The announcement comes a few days after Trump’s announcement disbanding the ridiculous “commission.”

Since Trump’s pathological narcissism prevented him from accepting that he lost the 2016 popular vote by about 2.8 million votes to Hillary Clinton, he claimed there was “massive voter fraud” in numbers exceeding about 2.8 million votes. So he tasked preacher Pence and Kris Kobach with convening a “commission” to ferret out “vulnerabilities in voting systems” that lead to the massive voter fraud Trump complained about. Trump even claimed that the commission had actually uncovered “substantial” voter fraud findings that were going to be handed to the Department of Homeland Security for further investigation and prosecution.

Commission co-chair, voter fraud fanatic, and current Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach joined Trump in lying about the “evidence” and told Breitbart News last week that the commission’s significant findings were being “handed off” to the Department of Homeland Security because “Democrats were becoming uncomfortable with how much [evidence] Republicans had discovered thus far.” Like Trump, Kobach is a dirty liar because the official word from the White House was that there are zero findings so the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would be receiving zero records, findings, or data.

Kobach was not finished lying and said that despite Trump abolishing “the commission,” as a state official from Kansas he was too important to be ignored and would be in the middle of the federal effort to stop “massive voter fraud.” Kobach said he would be:

“Working closely with the White House and DHS to ensure the investigations continue. What’s happening is a tactical shift where the mission of the commission is being handed off to Homeland Security without the stonewalling by Democrats. They have absolutely no interest in stopping voter fraud. It’s truly extraordinary that one party in our system has made clear that they don’t care. Some people on the left were getting uncomfortable about how much we were finding out.”

Kobach must be maneuvering for a top spot among Trump’s liar’s club elite, because everything he said regarding “the commission” is a lie; and the Department of Homeland Security called him out. A DHS spokesperson put it bluntly:

Mr. Kobach is not advising DHS in a formal or informal manner. Of course, if an issue were to arise, we would work with him in his official capacity as the Kansas secretary of state as we do with any secretary of state and other state and local officials.”

The White House “officially” contradicting Trump and Kobach came in the form of a “sworn court declaration” by Donald J. Trump’s director of White House Information Technology, Charles Herndon.

Mr. Herndon said no matter what Kobach claimed, there would be “no Commission records or data transferred to the DHS or another agency” because the commission had no findings to “hand off.”  He did say that whatever “data” the “Commission” possessed would be given to “NARA [the National Archives and Records Administration] in accordance with federal law.” Otherwise the White House will destroy any state voter data pending a lawsuit against the “Commission” by a member of the “commission.”

This news that the commission found zero evidence of voter fraud is no revelation, but it does expose another Trump lie; that he disbanded the commission to save taxpayer dollars in legal fights with the states. It is not clear if Trump’s commission actually intended to take 44 Republican and Democratic states to court and attempt to force them to violate constitutional privacy laws or not. However, even Trump’s lawyers and Department of Justice had to fathom the folly of such an absurd scenario.

Besides finding zero evidence of any voter fraud, it is possible that “the commission” may have had to reveal the one legitimate “vulnerability in the voting systems” that Kris Kobach and Mike Pence embrace because it suppresses votes. Both of “the commission” co-chairs support Kobach’s “Interstate Crosscheck Program” that was devised specifically to create the appearance of “duplicate voter registrations” in the millions.

In fact, using the “Crosscheck” data of a person’s name and year of birth, the Washington Post discovered that in the 2016 general election:

Mike Pence registered to vote eight times and cast seven ballots across six states in the November 2016 election.”

It appears that Trump’s Voter Integrity Commission co-chair and vice president committed vote fraud several times in the last election and escaped detection or prosecution.  But all that really happened was that eight different men named Mike Pence born the same year as Trump’s Pence registered to vote in 2016, and seven of them went to the polls and cast a ballot. It is highly likely that neither Kobach nor Pence want any media reporting that their “Crosscheck” system is just a deceitful means of suppressing votes.

Despite report after study proving that “suspected vote fraud” was at most about 0.0000002 percent in the 2016 election, Trump and Republicans maintain it is a massive problem. That minute percentage squares with another humongous comprehensive study published in 2015 and ignored by Republicans nationwide. The study found that from 2000 to 2014 out of 1.2 billion votes cast in every federal, state, city, municipal and county election for every elected office in America, there were exactly 31 “officially suspected” cases of voter fraud. That amount of  “suspected fraud” is not “massive;” it is 0.0000000026 percent and yet since 2008 Republicans have used every voter suppression tactic under the Sun based on their assertion of “massive” voter fraud destroying democracy.

There is massive voter fraud but it is at the hands of lying Republicans with valuable assistance from the Koch brothers’ legislative arm, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). There have been never-ending attacks on voting rights by Republicans nationwide and their typical ploy is founded on some devious ALEC-created legislation that only stops people of color and the poor from voting because they do not support Republicans.

The White House actually admitting that the real reason Trump had to disband his vaunted voter integrity clown show was because there were zero findings of voter fraud should have sent the lying Trump and Kobach into hiding. Despite the White House and Department of Homeland Security debunked Trump’s and Kobach’s lies about voter fraud, the Republicans will ramp up their attacks on voting rights in the upcoming midterm elections. Now that Republicans understand they can lie profusely and face no repercussions, Americans can expect a monumental Republican crusade to implement Pence and Kobach’s beloved “Crosscheck” system nationwide; not to stop voter fraud, but to aid the fascist Trump put the final nail in American democracy’s coffin.