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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

DOJ Issues Religious License To Discriminate Against Women and Gays

The corrupt and radical religious cesspool known as the Trump-Pence administration ushered America one step closer to an extremist evangelical theocracy and assaulted the secular U.S. Constitution and federal laws in the process on Friday. The good news for evangelical fascists panting to punish Americans who fail to hew to the religious right’s nasty worldview came courtesy of Trump’s racist attorney general, Jeff “sermonizer” Sessions.

As a man who claims the religious “separation clause” in the U.S. Constitution’s is patently unconstitutional and unhistorical, Sessions laid down the evangelical law that going forward, no government employee, agency, or contractor has to adhere to anti-discrimination laws or the 14th Amendment if they claim doing so offends their religious beliefs.

This ultimate “license to discriminate” has been pushed in red religious Republican states since 2010, but prior to the last election there was a firewall at the federal level protecting equal rights. And no, the firewall was not the U.S. Constitution or federal anti-discrimination laws; they still exist but religious Republicans ignore them. The firewall was an administration that hewed closely to the Constitution replete with a Justice Department defending all Americans’ right to protections outlined in the 14th Amendment. It should be obvious by now that the Trump administration players have as much respect for the Constitution as they do veracity, or tolerance for Americans unwilling to subject themselves to radical evangelicals’ nasty form of “Christianity.”

According to the Trump administration’s latest theocratic edict, all it takes is a claim of “violating religious freedom” to “override any anti-discrimination protection for LGBT people, women, and many, many other Americans.” In fact, as the Associated Press noted:

The guidelines are so sweeping that experts on religious liberty are calling them a legal powder-keg that could prompt wide-ranging lawsuits against the government.”

The reality is that with a theocratic administration, Justice Department, Congress and Supreme Court, those “wide-ranging” lawsuits will be shut down with extreme prejudice. The DOJ under Sessions and Trump has already inserted itself into employment lawsuits on behalf of radical evangelicals who claim their religious liberty makes them immune to the Constitution’s equal rights provisions, employment laws, and anti-discrimination laws.

The humanitarian folks over at LGBT Weekly performed a preliminary analysis of this newest Trump-Pence theocratic assault on Americans and although they focused on the LGBTQ community and women, every demographic and American citizen are at risk. After all, the concept behind an overarching evangelical “license to discriminate” is providing radicalized Christians uncontested federal government authority to punish any American they believe violates their “religious freedom.”

Just a sampling of the horrors of the latest evangelical edict may provide a preview of what American citizens can expect with a federally-enforced “license to discriminate” declaration from Trump’s justice department. For example:

A Social Security Administration employee could refuse to accept or process spousal or survivor benefits paperwork for a surviving same-sex spouse. Government contractors will no longer be legally bound to  provide emergency services to unmarried women or members of the LGBT community because the risk of losing federal, state or city contracts no longer exists.

Organizations that receive federal tax dollars, like every church in America, that was at one time prohibited from demanding that all of their employees adhere to the tenets of the organization’s religion could now legally discriminate against LGBTQ, single women, and the non-religious by not providing employment benefits or employment.

Any agency, including churches and tax-exempt non-profits that receive federal aid in any form, and even those organizations’ individual staff members could refuse services for LGBTQ children in crisis. And they now have something they have fought tooth and nail to see implemented; unilateral authority stop  “placing adoptive or foster children with a same-sex couple or transgender couple;” or non-Christians and people of color if they claim doing so offends their religious sensibilities.

Women will face as much discrimination as LGBTQ people and that is part and parcel of the evangelical edict. The religious right Republicans have attempted to pass legislation forcing women to reveal if they use contraception, and organizations that receive federal funding have, in fact, attempted to require women, not men, to sign employment documents pledging to adhere to the organization’s owners religious standards on pain of employment termination.

This new theocratic edict will affect more than just “federal” agencies and contractors. There are very, very few state and local entities serving the public that do not receive federal funds whether they are public utilities,  public schools, police and fire departments, churches, hospitals and clinics, and emergency service providers. And it is noteworthy that this theocratic expansion of “conscience laws” now has the full weight and authority of the federal government based on religion. This is the new “religious liberty” radical evangelicals have lusted for and if any American thinks they are immune because they aren’t gay, aren’t women, or aren’t people of color, they are phenomenally stupid.

Of course the Trump administration’s latest theocratic edict elicited outrage from advocates for equal rights, but it is probably far too little far too late.

The president and CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) commented thus:

Today’s guidance by Jeff Sessions proves this [theocratic] Administration will do anything possible to categorize LGBTQ Americans as second-class citizens who are not equal under the law. Freedom of religion does not give people the right to impose their beliefs on others, to harm others, or to discriminate. Nothing could be more un-American and unholy than using religion to justify harm and discrimination to others.”

The president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Chad Griffin said:

Today the Trump-Pence administration launched an all-out assault on LGBTQ people, women, and other minority communities by unleashing a sweeping license to discriminate. This blatant attempt to further Donald Trump’s cynical and hateful [theocratic] agenda will enable systematic, government-wide discrimination that will have a devastating impact on LGBTQ people and their families. Donald Trump and Mike Pence have proven they will stop at nothing to target the LGBTQ community and drag our nation backwards.

It is noteworthy to remind the naysayers that religious freedom in 21st Century America is the freedom to impose the radical evangelical worldview on all Americans and punish those unwilling to comply with the bastardized version of Christianity. And yes, it is bastardized because the religion’s namesake, Jesus Christ, preached against everything the religious right stands for and promotes.

This latest theocratic assault on America and its Constitution will affect more than just the LGBTQ community and women; although they will bear the brunt of the attacks first. Like previous state-level “license to discriminate laws,” anyone remotely connected to an organization or agency receiving federal taxpayer dollars, can refuse to provide a service or assistance to anyone they claim violates their deeply held religious beliefs, even if they aren’t religious or affiliated with a religion. Bigotry is now a religious faith in America so everyone is a target.

This is not, as was once apt to say, ‘the way theocratic tyranny begins.” Theocracy is here in 2017 in the form of a federally-enacted “license to discriminate” and is not simply an invitation to discriminate, it is a signal to the extremist evangelical right that their “religious freedom” now includes federal protection to flout the equal rights of all Americans and the U.S. Constitution.

Tragically, with radical evangelical extremists running all three branches of the federal government, no American is safe. And there is no longer any freedom from imposition of religion by government fiat; something the Founding Fathers and Constitution’s Framers thought was so important they included it in the First Amendment.

Image: Gage Skidmore

DeVos Embraces Anti-Gay Extremists At Education Department

 

It is probably true that normal people who are thrust into a high-level position requiring a specialized knowledge of a subject will gather as many preeminent experts in the field for advice as possible. That would be particularly true if the person in that high-level position has absolutely no experience in the field to avoid being a total and complete failure. Betsy DeVos, the filthy rich Republican contributor and avowed enemy of public education is not a normal person for myriad reasons, but primarily for her lack of even a rudimentary comprehension of the public education system she wants to transform into privatized evangelical madrassas. Besides her sworn intent to use public schools and public money to “advance god’s kingdom,” DeVos has refused, under oath no less, to commit to protect the civil rights of all Americans involved in the education system; whether students, teachers, administrators or college professors.

On Thursday last, a day before the Commission on Civil Rights announced it was initiating a comprehensive two-year investigation into the Trump administration, Betsy DeVos was convening a policy-planning meeting of the most radical religious right anti-LGBT extremist groups in the United States of America. If there were any lingering doubts as to why DeVos “refused repeatedly” to commit to protecting the Constitutional civil rights of anyone associated with education, especially students and teachers, DeVos huddling with notorious evangelical hate groups should clear up her “lack of commitment” to civil rights.

Two days prior to meeting with luminaries of evangelical hate such as Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council, DeVos held a “very private meeting” with a Missouri millionaire and renowned conspiracy theorist because he is openly committed to spending whatever it takes to aid DeVos in eliminating public education. And, it cannot possibly be overstated that besides contributing millions of dollars to Republican candidates, the only reason DeVos was nominated, and then confirmed, as Education Secretary is because she is committed to destroying America’s public education system.

First, DeVos deliberated with the Family Research Council, a bonafide hate group according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), because it and the extremist evangelical group Focus on the Family ardently promote hate-driven anti-gay propaganda more than they promote the Christian bible. FRC president, radical fake Christian Tony Perkins, spent no small amount of time, and donor money, lobbying against anti-bullying initiatives in schools, and the effort to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” He also claims that the LGBTQ community is “disgusting” and exists solely to “recruit children” into the lifestyle – especially in public schools with anti-bullying programs. Perkins, a real pile of feces, heavily promotes programs that abuse LGBTQ children under the guise of “gay conversion therapy,” and appeals to white supremacists for support. Perkins did spend someone else’s hard earned money to purchase the mailing list of white supremacist and Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.

Perkins, the president of a hate group and a truly hateful evangelical, claims that Americans that support LGBTQ rights are:

Very aggressive, they’re intolerant, they’re hateful, vile, they’re spiteful. …. To me, it is the height of hatred to be silent when we know there are individuals that are engaged in activity, behavior, and an agenda that will …destroy our nation.

This is the mindset that the evangelical freak-of-nature DeVos, Secretary of Education, is intent on installing as education policy “to advance the kingdom of god” in the education system. However, “education system” under DeVos’ plans is a monumental misnomer; she promotes for-profit private and religious schools that can hardly be considered “an education system.” It is  a religious indoctrination system,  not an education system.  It is why she held a private counseling session with “Missouri-based” millionaire and heavy Trump supporter Rex Sinquefield.

Sinquefield is a noted conspiracy theorists who “despises public schools” and regards himself, like DeVos, as a major “school reform expert and advocate.” Like everything related to conservative use of the word “reform,” in Sinquefield’s mind reform means eliminate.

According to Sinquefield, the American public education system was a Ku Klux Klan plot created specifically to hurt African American children and claims it’s what drives his “personal mission” to rescue education from those teachers; especially those teachers represented by unions. He also donates heavily to the extremist right-wing Show-Me Institute, a really right wing “belief tank.” The Show-Me outfit “creates studies” to assail the public education system and promote policies that use taxpayer money to subsidize private and religious schools for the very rich who want taxpayers to fund their kids religious indoctrination.

DeVos claims she believes that “Discrimination in any form is wrong,” and that she “doesn’t support discrimination in any form,” but of course she said that at the same time she repeatedly refused to commit to deny funding to schools that do discriminate. DeVos is a dirty liar; and not just because she committed perjury under oath before the Senate during her confirmation hearing. But because she does not believe discriminationin any form is wrong” or that she doesn’t “support discrimination in any form.”

Her invitation to the extremely discriminatory Family Research Council and Focus on the Family at the Federal Department of Education belies her filthy lie that she opposes discrimination. And, her private meeting with another anti-public education extremist with an eye toward aiding her destruction of public schools, and creation of nationwide evangelical madrassas, belies her filthy lie that she cares one iota about America, its children, or its Constitution.