Inherent Cruelty Drives Sessions’ Reefer Madness Obsession

Any American who still believes Republicans are not inherently cruel after the past 12 months is either brain dead or a savage. In case anyone needs an example of just how fiendish Republicans are according to their political nature, Trump’s lying attorney general is the poster child for what any decent person considers unusually cruel.

Sessions more than meets the definition of cruel because he is not only the kind of sub-human that “willfully causes pain or suffering to others and feels no concern about it,” he embraces it with religious fervor as his personal cause célèbre. British authorGeorge Eliot once explained that for people like Sessions and his Republican cohorts, cruelty for the sake of being cruel is its own reward and motivation. He said:

Cruelty requires no motive outside itself; it only requires opportunity.”

As attorney general, Sessions has a stellar opportunity to exercise a particularly nasty form of cruelty; cause pain and suffering to other American citizens for no apparent reason other than causing pain and suffering.

It is true that Republicans are cruel in taking healthcare, food and housing from the poor, the elderly and children, but at least they attempt to justify that barbarism with fake regard for the national debt and deficit. Of course, that justification is sheer bunk and does not excuse the Republicans’ cruelty, but they are being cruel for a reason; an expectation of recompense from their wealthy donors.

However, this Jeff Sessions character is a different breed of cruel and barbaric. He is on an obsessive religious crusade to punish Americans suffering myriad infirmities, deadly diseases, injuries and disabilities because he is in a position of authority. Sessions intends to punish sick Americans for no other reason than satisfying his unhealthy obsession by restricting access to a medicine that provides relief to millions of suffering Americans.

Even though there is no profit to him in advancing the “reefer madness” crusade, there are Republican donors in big pharma and the private prison industry that see dollar signs if Sessions succeeds in shutting down legalized medicinal and recreational cannabis in the states. Nevertheless, even that motivation appears to play little role in Sessions’ personal religious crusade against weed.

Sessions has had an unhealthy obsession about marijuana for ages and last week he turned that obsession into a seriously cruel action. As expected, Sessions rescinded the “Cole Memo” that protected states with legal cannabis and sent warning letters with “factual errors to the leaders of four states with legal cannabis markets.” He also asked Congress to give him permission to act on his obsession to prosecute medical marijuana companies because they provide relief for suffering Americans.

That Sessions again asked Congress for permission to pursue legal cannabis sales is further proof he suffers an honest-to-dog religious fanaticism about reefer. He even told Congress that legal weed is responsible for what he said was “the current historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime.”

The DOJ must be in a position to use all laws available to combat  drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers who threaten American lives.”

Sessions was referring to states that have legal and regulated medicinal and recreational cannabis that have no connection to “drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers.”  Legal cannabis also has no connection to “the current historic [opioid] drug epidemic” much less “a potential long-term uptick in violent crime.” This lying freak of nature Sessions is obsessed to a level that precludes him from serving in any government capacity, much less as attorney general.

Sessions has already spent no small amount of time this year pressuring Congress not to reauthorize the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment that prohibits the federal government from interfering with states that decriminalized medicinal or recreational pot use. The House told Sessions no, and for good measure Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced a Senate amendment identical to the House version that easily passed over Sessions’ objections. Congress does not believe Sessions is in line with the will of the people or medical science of the past 40 years or so; he certainly has no compassion for the suffering of others.

These actions are not new for the reefer-obsessed Sessions. If he would exercise a fraction of regard for Americans’ civil and voting rights as he does people using a medicine he does not like, then he may not be a complete waste of oxygen. It is not just that Sessions lusts to restrict Americans from gaining relief from cannabis, he wants to eliminate what is being reported everywhere as “an effective tool for opioid users to break addiction cycles.”

This is particularly telling after Trump made a big deal about addressing the opioid crisis and epidemic, and after a House Democrat schooled and scolded Sessions for spreading lies about cannabis. He still maintains that the weed has no medicinal value for anything despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. In fact, in a speech at the Heritage Foundation recently he blamed the opioid crisis and epidemic on states that legalized medicinal or recreational cannabis use.

Sessions is as big a liar as he is a racist religious fanatic and he is stuck in a long-gone era when another maniac created “reefer madness” to scare the life out of Americans.  Sessions actually told a group that his plan to strike down state cannabis laws is by utilizing more “reefer madness” propaganda; what he calls “education.” He told the group:

I do believe … that the public is not properly educated on some of the issues related to marijuana.”

Sessions does not have any “issues related to marijuana” to educate the public with; he has 1936-era government created “Reefer Madness” propaganda, but there are no issues to support Sessions’ religious belief that cannabis has no medicinal properties or value whatsoever. If Sessions is a predictably deceitful liar, and he is nothing if not a predictably deceitful liar, he will repeat what he said at the Heritage Foundation and launch a taxpayer-funded campaign blaming the opioid epidemic on states with legal cannabis.

Seriously, even as study after study after state-level data demonstrates that cannabis is an effective means of reducing opioid use, Sessions blames the epidemic on reefer. Sessions has no excuse for not knowing cannabis is effective in reducing opioid use because in late October House Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN) informed him about the data and benefits of cannabis. Mr. Cohen told Sessions:

“Twenty-eight states or 29 states and the District of Columbia have legalized it [marijuana] for medical purposes; eight states and the District of Columbia for recreational purposes. In states where they’ve got medical marijuana, they have 25 percent less opioid use. It gives people a way to relieve pain without using opioids, which inevitably leads to death and crime. So I’d hope you’d take a look at that.”

Sessions promised Representative Cohen under oath in the House that:

“I will take a look at it. We will be looking at some rigorous analysis of the marijuana usage and how it plays out. I am not as optimistic as you.”

Sessions did not look at anything or he would not launch his fanatical religious crusade to stop Americans from using cannabis as medicine or for recreation. The research about the benefits of cannabis for a rash of ailments is beyond dispute and easily accessible to everyone. If Sessions really wants to “properly educate the public on some of the issues related to marijuana,” he can send them over to the NIH’s federal government website page titled “Cancer and Cannabis,” or refer them to a fairly technical medical study describing in great detail exactly how the THC in cannabis kills cancer cells.

Sessions has what appears to be a certifiable obsessive disorder about cannabis that no amount of empirical data or pathological proof will alter whatsoever. If Sessions were not certifiably batshit about weed, he would believe the mounds of research disproving his unfounded faith. However, losing his faith about cannabis would impact his intrinsic need to willfully cause pain and suffering to others by eliminating their access to a safe medicine.

Look, there is no reason for Sessions to pursue the states that decriminalized weed except to punish the people who get relief from cannabis. Medicinal or recreational cannabis does not cost the government any money and in fact is a revenue-generatingbit of commerce for states. That revenue stream is helping fund law enforcement, drug treatment programs, education and other social programs. Legalization has also eliminated the need for anything resembling “black market transactions.

Of course, Sessions is getting push-back from Republicans and Democrats alike, especially from the states. However, the issue is much more than about states’ rights or the will of the people or the benefit to state budgets with regulated cannabis sales. Although those are all valid reasons to rail against Sessions’ religious crusade against cannabis, there is the issue of him openly campaigning to deliberately inflict pain and suffering on the people he is supposed to protect.

Sessions deserves to be figuratively crucified as a cruel savage for making moves to “willfully cause pain and suffering to others without an ounce of remorse.” One would call Sessions a savage beast, but there are no “beasts” in the animal kingdom that inflict pain and suffering for the sake of inflicting pain and suffering; that is unique to human beings and wholly embraced by Jeff Sessions because he is a uniquely cruel Republican.

Image: Cannabis Culture

Betsy DeVos Punishes Students Defrauded By For-Profit Schools

In another signal that corporations and businesses in Trump’s America are going to be allowed to rape and pillage without restrictions, and in many cases with government assistance, a report by an Education Department inspector general reveals that committing fraud is an accepted and worthwhile endeavor in the for-profit education business.

On Monday past, an inspector general reported that with a for-profit education crusader, Betsy DeVos, and a for-profit “fraudulent college” operator, Donald Trump running the government,  the process of “canceling student loan debt of the people who have been systematically defrauded by for-profit schools” has come to a screeching halt.

DeVos will not implement rules that aided defrauded students by speeding up the debt cancellation process to stop interest from accruing and destroying students and their family’s credit. DeVos claims she can’t help students because she is still looking for a means of “redoing” the debt cancellation  process that still lets failed and cheating for-profit schools off the hook. Under DeVos, none of the defrauded students have had their debt canceled despite tens-of –thousands of legitimate claims for relief.

Spending 10 months “seeking a means of redoing” the debt-cancelation process is code for DeVos intent to do nothing to help Americans cheated by the people she champions as education’s salvation; for profit schools. DeVos said canceling the debts creates a cost to taxpayers she claims shouldn’t be responsible for helping students cheated by for profit schools. The concept of holding the for-profit schools responsible for “breaking the law” and defrauding “hundreds-of-thousands” of students is simply out of the question. This is Trump’s America now and the people who were defrauded by for-profit schools have to be penalized and pay the price for being defrauded; the for-profit schools get to keep their very substantial profits.

DeVos has gone beyond just foregoing an Obama-era rule to aid a specific group of students cheated by “Corinthian Colleges,” a for-profit outfit that finally collapsed in 2015 after several federal and state investigations into the widespread fraud that touched an untold number of students. There are other “failed schools” guilty of defrauding students that, combined with the Corinthian organization, cheated “hundreds-of-thousands of students” who are left with rapidly accruing interest and loan fees damaging their credit, according to the Education Department inspector general.

In fact, because of DeVos’ inaction,  the defrauded students and their families will “ultimately owe more on a denied discharge than if they had not asked for cancellation and simply continued making payments” for a worthless education, the inspector said. The big problem for the defrauded students is that because their “education” is for all intents and purposes worthless, their job prospects are non-existent making outrageous loan payments  nearly impossible. It is why the “cancelation process” was put in place to begin with and it is also why many states have been pushing the DeVos-Trump education syndicate to cancel the loans.

Attorneys general from several states are attempting to pressure DeVos to help the defrauded students they rightly say “cannot afford to repay often-large amounts because the ‘for-profit’ schools DeVos champions either didn’t  provide adequate training much less an education or a diploma.” The inspector general also reported finding nothing in the DeVos Education Department resembling an “information system” and complained that he was forced to “manually retrieve claims data.” That is a change from the previous administration’s efforts to help students cheated by for-profit schools.

During the Obama Administration the Education Department received 46,274 claims for “discharging defrauded students’ loans” and had approved 27,986 in a six month period. Since Trump’s poorly-attended inauguration, out of 25,991 applications, DeVos made sure none were discharged. The Inspector General reported that the entire debt cancellation process, no matter over death, fraud or disability, was brought to a halt.

The senior Democrat on the senate education committee, Senator Patty Murray (WA) said:

Hundreds of thousands of students were defrauded and cheated by predatory colleges that broke the law, but today’s report confirms Secretary DeVos tried to shirk her responsibility to these students and shut down the borrower-defense program, leaving them with nowhere to turn.”

This atrocity, and it is an atrocity, is a trend in the current administration that is not completely down to Trump or DeVos, although they are ultimately responsible for this particular abomination. Republicans as a party have demonstrated that they will go to great lengths to give special treatment to big, small and corporate businesses at the expense of the people whether it is eliminating regulations or failing to enforce rules that protect the people, or fund corporate tax cuts with tax hikes on the poor.

There is an easy solution to this particular issue but Republicans, Trump, or DeVos will never even consider putting the burden students are facing on the “predatory, for-profit colleges that broke the law by defrauding and cheating students.” And it is not necessarily that DeVos is “shirking her responsibility to cheated students;” she doesn’t consider the students her responsibility. She is responsible to the church, misogynists, bigots and corporations and if they defraud students the students have to be penalized again.

DeVos has shown throughout her time as the most unqualified member of team Trump that her responsibility is to anti-women men’s groups, anti-LGBTQ religious fanatics, for-profit evangelical madrassas and church-chartered schools; and of course predatory for-profit colleges. If that wasn’t the case she would at the least allow the existing process to cancel the defrauded students’ debts as it was intended; but that would not punish the students.

DeVos’ lack of action does send a powerful message to for-profit schools, corporations, and businesses in general that in Trump’s America they are free to defraud, damage and cheat Americans with impunity; punishment is reserved for the victims as is the typical Republican way.  In DeVos’ case, punishing defrauded students appears to be an integral part of her intent of using the Education Department to “advance the kingdom of god.”

Evangelical Attack On Women’s Rights Hidden In GOP Tax Reform

Religious Republicans made another sneak attack on American women’s right to self-determination last week and there was barely a whimper; which is the reason the attack was done through subterfuge. And besides a lack of outrage,  there was a lack of media reporting that Republicans are embracing a Vatican dictate as the official stance of the GOP in the war on women. Based on the machinations Republicans are using to eliminate women’s reproductive rights, including the right to use contraceptives, they certainly know their agenda is highly unpopular; it is precisely why they ensconced a “personhood” provision deep in the 429-page Republican House’s tax reform legislation.

Despite several Varied states rejecting the bizarre, and frankly absurd, idea of “personhood,” as a legal provision and as a concept, Republicans are pushing the issue as a means of completely controlling women’s reproductive lives. For the second time in Trump and preacher Pence’s burgeoning theocracy, the federal government is officially  designating “personhood” status to a “eukaryotic cell formed by a fertilization event between a male (spermatozoa) and female (ookyte) gamete;” it is the result of the “moment of conception” Republicans consider sacrosanct.

Some Americans might recall from 8th grade Health Class that the human “eukaryotic cell” is known as a “zygote;” the single-celled organism Republicans are crusading to grant full citizenship and constitutional rights to as a means of creating a nation of women relegated to the 18th Century Hell of being perpetual birth machines or celibate.

As anyone with a pea-brain understands, Republicans indebted to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), evangelical fanatics, and the anti-women personhood movement  inserted the provision giving “personhood” rights to a fetus from the moment of conception as a prelude to banning abortion and birth control.

The provision seems harmless enough to an idiot, but it is the second time the federal government stated that the “moment of conception” (zygote) has the same rights as real living, and breathing, human beings. Even the evangelicals’ god of the bible said more than once that there is no “living being” until the fetus is out of the womb and breathing under its own power, but that “immutable word of god” doesn’t help evangelicals control women so they ignore it as if it came from Satan the Devil.

Republicans want to allow expectant parents to start putting away money into “tax-sheltered” savings accounts for college and private religious school tuition for the “child in utero.” If that is the case, then the next logical step is assigning the zygote, embryo, or fetus a Social Security number like any other living human being with their name on a tax or savings account. This atrocity is as serious as the Department of Health and Human Services “Mission Statement” providing full protections to “all Americans through every stage of life beginning at the moment of conception.

If anyone is dense enough to doubt that this sneak attack is not specifically for the benefit of the Vatican, personhood movement and anti-women’s rights evangelical groups, the statement by the president of the March for Life organization should dispel any doubt. Jeanne Mancini said:

A child in the womb is just as human as you or I yet, until now, the U.S. tax code has failed to acknowledge the unborn child [fetus, zygote]  — all while granting tax breaks for those seeking an abortion under the pretense of healthcare. The proposed tax plan is a huge leap forward for an antiquated tax code, and we hope this is the first step in expanding the child tax credit to include unborn children [fetuses] as well.”

Think about the absurdity of Mancini’s statement and consider that the so-called right to life cabal, with religious Republican assistance, wants to give tax-sheltered savings accounts and taxpayer-funded “child tax credits” to zygotes, embryos, and fetuses. Not because they care anything about life, but because they care about controlling women; a concern Republicans are happy to accommodate.

No doubt House Republicans will offer a tax credit for zygotes if it will further set in stone that the federal government of the most technologically advanced nation on Earth considers a zygote, embryo, or fetus a living breathing human being.

March for Life’s president of its political arm, Tom McClusky, said he was surprised Republicans were stealthy enough to sneak “personhood” language into tax reform language about college and private religious school savings plans. He said:

We’re thrilled about it, but it wasn’t something that we were specifically calling for. We’ll fight to make sure it stays in there.

The evangelicals and personhood movement will face opposition from women’s reproductive rights advocates such as NARAL, Pro-Choice America. A spokeswoman for the group said something they’ve said often since the Trump and preacher Pence administration began.

The GOP’s relentless obsession with advancing its dangerous anti-choice ideology knows no boundaries and no common sense. Inserting ‘personhood’ language into their tax bill is just the latest example of how they’re trying to turn back the clock on this country.”

And Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO) said:

This is a back-door attempt to establish personhood from the moment of conception. What’s next, giving a Social Security number to a zygote?”

The devious Republican maneuver to establish “personhood” on a zygote eliminates Coverdell Education Savings Accounts that allow families to put aside up to $2,000 for college savings accounts for living breathing children. Instead, religious Republicans are expanding 529 savings accounts for in utero beings to cover up to $10,000 per year for private and religious school costs.

The pro-choice movement is rightly concerned that bestowing personhood on a zygote is a “back-door” attempt to abolish Roe v. Wade, but they should be just as worried that contraception is next on the chopping block; it is right there in the 1968 papal encyclical Humanae Vitae.

That same document that prohibits abortions also prohibits any form of birth control that is “artificial;” only the “rhythm method” is considered “natural” and Vatican approved. By declaring a zygote, or the “moment of conception,” a living breathing human being, Republicans are setting the stage to ban contraception because it prevents fertilization and is tantamount to abortion.

Remember, the idea of preventing the formation of a zygote, which is how contraceptives work on a very basic level, is what the Vatican considers abortion. That was the premise Hobby Lobby’s owners proffered when they went before the United States Supreme Court to argue that no matter what human biology or medical science says, birth control is abortion. Although the Justices acknowledged the veracity of medical science and biology, they ruled that if Hobby Lobby’s evangelical owners deeply held religious belief says birth control is abortion, then birth control is abortion. It is why Hobby Lobby won its case and why women’s advocates, and opinion column writers, went ballistic warning it was the first step in banning women’s choice completely.

If anyone doesn’t believe that is the Republicans’ goal, just last week in Wisconsin Democrats attempted to add an amendment to another state-level Republican assault on women’s reproductive rights. That amendment simply called on Republicans to ensure that the evangelical attack would not prohibit women from using contraceptives; Republicans rejected the amendment out of hand. Remember, according to the Vatican, all contraceptives are regarded as “artificial” forms of birth control and are banned. For dog’s sake, even the Muslim religion doesn’t ban any “artificial” form of birth control; they do not want the religion’s adherents mired in poverty as a result more children than a family can support.

It is curious that women, and the men who claim to care about them, are not in the streets demanding an immediate halt to these religious Republican attacks on women’s rights. Nearly every two weeks there is a new attacks on women’s reproductive rights and except for a few advocacy groups complaining about “Republicans’ obsession” with women’s reproductive rights, there is relative silence. If pro-choice groups, and Democrats, would cite the real source of this war on women, male-dominated religion, it is likely the people would react. But no-one is willing to tell the people that their wives, sisters, mothers and daughters are under an assault from an extremist religious sect; and it is not Islam.

Women have a bleak future in store when Republicans finally win the war on women, and at this point it appears they are winning. America is still a vicious patriarchal society and the easiest way for Republican men to keep women out of politics, out of the workforce, and without a voice is keeping them in a perpetual state of childbirth. That is what will happen when Republicans succeed in eliminating women’s right to self-determination and at the rate this administration is going, it will be sooner than later and it happened while the people were laser focused on Trump’s tweets and not a bloodless coup d’état by evangelicals serving the needs of the Vatican.

Image: Eclectablog

John McCain Says It’s Time To Defeat Everything Trump

There are a few Republicans alive who have a sense of the terror represented by Trump and his dirty minions, but they seldom let loose with how they really feel about the danger he represents to America at home and around the world. There was a fair amount of attention given to Senators Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Bob Corker (R-TN) a couple of weeks ago when they expressed the sentiments of a growing number of Americans sick to death of Trump. There was also plenty of condemnation for waiting until they didn’t have to worry about Trump’s base throwing them out of office in next year’s midterm elections to talk like they were good Americans, but that doesn’t apply to Senator John McCain.

Obviously Mr. McCain is no fan of Donald Trump and he made that perfectly clear in a speech on Monday night at the Brigade of Midshipmen at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis Maryland. In fact, Mr. McCain is rightfully concerned, and blatantly unhappy, about the state of the Union with a “crackpot nativist” being allowed to live in the White House. In what was termed as “apparent veiled swipes” at Trump, McCain certainly didn’t hold back from saying exactly what is plaguing the current “political environment” in America.

Anyone in their right mind would argue that the Arizona Senator was doing more than making “veiled swipes” at Trump, but if that works for some journalists, that’s their interpretation. However, it is impossible to even pretend that McCain wasn’t deliberately targeting Trump in his speech, and just because he didn’t utter the fascist’s name, there is no misinterpreting that he believes Trump is a clear and present danger to America at home and around the world. So much of a threat according to McCain, that he warned the midshipmen that “it’s time to wake up.

Senator McCain said:

We have to fight against the propaganda and crackpot conspiracy theories. We have to fight isolationism, protectionism and nativism. We have to defeat those who would worsen our divisions. We have to remind our sons and daughters that we became the most powerful nation on Earth by tearing down walls,  not building them.

The focus of the Senate’s Armed Services Committee Chairman’s speech was “serving the country” and  “leadership,” so it made perfect sense he attacked what most Americans, including military leadership, consider a gross lack of leadership represented by Donald Trump. He continued on a theme he used in a speech earlier this month in Philadelphia where he criticized “the administration” and its “half-baked spurious nationalism;” especially the so-called “America First” mantra Trump uses to rile his devotees. Of particular note, Mr. McCain used the occasion to “detail the lessons America learned from the rise of fascism and World War II” and Trump’s repudiation of America’s place in the world as a leader. Mr. McCain said:

“We are asleep to the necessity of our leadership, and to the opportunities and real dangers of this world. We are asleep in our echo chambers, where views are always affirmed and information that contradicts them is always fake. Our failure to remain engaged in Europe and enforce the hard-won peace of 1918 had made that clear. There could be no more isolationism, no more tired resignation – no more ‘America First.’”

It is highly likely that Senator McCain is well in tune with the military’s mindset and had little qualms defaming Trump without using his despicable name; Trump is not popular with America’s military officers. According to a survey by the Military Times just released last week, a majority of military officers “have an unfavorable opinion of the Commander in Chief.” The poll’s results show that 53 percent of the respondents “hold an unfavorable opinion” of Trump and about 31 percent “view him favorably.” It is almost incomprehensible, but sixteen percent of military officers were fairly “neutral on the matter.

Trump does a little better among enlisted soldiers with a pathetic 47 percent viewing him favorably and 37 percent holding an “unfavorable” opinion of the commander in chief. It is telling that less than half of enlisted personnel have a favorable opinion of Trump and a majority of officers have an unfavorable opinion.

It isn’t clear if the survey was conducted before Trump attacked the Gold Star family of Sgt. La David Johnson and Representative Frederica Wilson (D-FL) for taking up their cause. It is certain that both enlisted personnel and officers were offended at the lack of leadership, and common human decency, in the way Trump treated Mrs. Johnson and Ms. Wilson. It is also likely that soldiers, whether officers or enlisted personnel, would have had much harsher comments for Trump than Senator McCain could utter in a public forum.

Everything McCain said about Trump, and it was all about Trump, was accurate to a fault. And although he could have been even more blunt, he definitely made his feelings, and the feelings of a majority of Americans, about Trump perfectly clear. No matter the details of what Senator McCain said about contrary opinions “always being fake,” “crackpot conspiracy theories,” or having to fight “nativism and protectionism,” the most prescient point he made was that  “It’s time to wake up to defeat those who would worsen our divisions;” it should be considered a clarion call to action from a real American war hero who sees the clear and present danger living in the White House.

The Wrong Republicans Are Attacking Trump

Trump thrives on attention, but on Tuesday he likely wilted a little after being “viciously” assailed by not one, but two Senate Republicans with nothing to lose and an opportunity to at least say the right things about Trump. No matter how one assesses the damning indictments of Trump by Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ), it was refreshing to see they are not completely unpatriotic traitors to America like the preponderance of Republicans in Congress. Let’s face it, any Republican still supporting Trump after seven months of sheer terror and disaster is not concerned about America’s standing in the world or the clear and present danger to the nation Trump represents; Messrs. Flake and Corker certainly appear concerned and they didn’t hold back from showing their disregard for their Party’s tyrant in the White House.

Unlike a real standup Republican, Senator John McCain, both Flake and Corker are out of the Senate after 2018; Mr. McCain will be around to defame Trump for a few years and he has appropriately ratcheted up his criticism. However, both soon-departing Republicans leveled some serious charges of their own against Trump that no small numbers of pundits, including conservative pundits, and journalists have made since before Trump’s poorly-attending inauguration.

What is different about Mr. Flake’s harsh attack on Trump was he did it in an impassioned speech on the floor of the Senate and in the company of his GOP colleagues; he did not fail to impugn the patriotism of his fellow Republicans. Senator Flake quoted a former Republican president, Theodore Roosevelt, in a blatant slight against the GOP’s cowardice in protecting Trump. He said:

That there must be no criticism of the president or that we are to stand by a president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.

It is also “treasonable” to the United States because Republicans knew during the presidential campaign that Trump was colluding with a hostile foreign power and only spoke of Trump “being paid by Putin ” when they thought no-one was listening. Add to that acquiescence to what many regard as an act of treason, all Republicans heard Trump’s appeal to Russian spies to help him during the election and they said nothing except “we support Trump.”

While Mr. Flake spent a fair amount of his speech railing on Trump as a liar and a flagrantly divisive piece of work, he did concur with Senator Corker that Trump is decimating America’s standing around the world and threatening the global stability America historically attempts to maintain. Flake said that he was obliged to be critical of Trump.

As a matter and duty of conscience, the notion that one should stay silent …  as the norms and values that keep America strong are undermined and as the alliances and agreements that ensure the stability of the entire world are routinely threatened by the level of thought that goes into 140 characters … is profoundly misguided.”

Senator Corker, while stopping short of openly admitting that he, like the rest of the world, thinks Trump is a threat to America’s national security, warned that there is a risk that Trump will start a world war. When pressed by an interviewer, Mr. Corker “refused to rule out that the President of the United States Trump poses a threat to national security.”  Corker said in response to another prompt to come clean about Trump being a threat to America:

I think there are people around him that work in an effort to contain him” referring to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. But he did appear to accept the premise of the question of Trump’s threat to national security saying he worries that “Trump’s recklessness could lead us into a world war.” He explained:

“I do think when you have the kind of issues we’re dealing with in North Korea, where we have a very unstable leader there, when you send out tweets into the region to raise tensions, when you kneecap — which is what he’s done, publicly — when you kneecap your secretary of state, whose diplomacy, you have to depend on to bring China to the table, to do the things that need to be done, when you kneecap that effort, you move our country into a binary choice that could lead us into a world war.”

It should be obvious that everything both Corker and Flake are saying is true and common knowledge to most Americans, but it is likely too little too late. There is absolutely nothing two United States senators can do about Trump except talk. Only Republicans in the House have any authority to begin any serious proceedings against Trump and it is increasingly curious why they are not inclined to act. After all, they have Pence waiting in the wings to rubber stamp every policy near and dear to cruel Republicans’ hearts, so it must be something else; maybe that no small number of congressional Republicans received aid from Russia.

 There is also the issue of these two Senators’ leaving office. At the same time they have nothing to lose by assailing Trump as a liar and a threat to America, leaving the Senate also diminishes the impact of their criticism. However, it was crucially important that Mr. Corker warned of the risk of Trump starting a world war, and that Mr. Flake unloaded on Trump in front of his Republican Senate colleagues.

It is noteworthy that everything both Corker and Flake said is a reiteration of what an increasing number of pundits, including conservative pundits, have been saying about Trump. It may aid in garnering support among other Republicans, especially in the House, to take action against a clear and present danger to America’s national security, it’s struggling democracy, as well as peace in the world.

Unfortunately, Republicans are too cowardly to address a real threat to America. Their cowardice makes the two Republican Senators attack on Trump good entertainment value as well as an irritant to Trump, but until the rest of the Party ends their “unpatriotic and servile” devotion to a gross failure like Trump, they are all “committing a morally treasonable offense against the American people.”

Putin Warns Americans To Stop Disrespecting Trump

In case there were any doubts about Trump’s close relationship with Russia’s president, Putin’s recent directive to Americans to stop disrespecting Trump should clear up any misconceptions. It is not entirely clear if there is a concerted effort among Trump’s supporters and the Russians to stop criticism of the moron in the White House, but by joining the chorus of evangelicals and conservative pundits condemning criticism of Trump, it appears to be the case. It also is a sign that this administration is serious about crushing dissent. That a hostile foreign leader is joining Trump’s tyrannical effort should put to rest any doubt that Putin is still supporting the man he put in the White House.

As reported by the Russian news agency Tass, Trump’s love interest Vladimir Putin told American citizens to “stop disrespectingPresident Donald Trump. Then the dirty Rusky insulted Americans by claiming the only reason the people are exercising their constitutional right of free speech and criticizing Trump is because of the United States has a “poor political system.” Putin, like Trump, doesn’t like democracy or America’s constitutionally guaranteed freedoms.

Putin was speaking at the Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi, and took some time to deny that Russia interfered in last year’s presidential elections. While he was at it, Putin defended his “political ally” from what he claimed was “unfair criticism.” Putin lied and said Trump “won honestly” and that Trump and his devotees are “behaving legitimately” in response to the current climate in America.

Putin said:

Inside the country, disrespect is shown for him. This is a regrettable negative component of the U.S. political system. One can’t show disrespect, even not for him personally but for those people who voted for him.”

Maybe in Putin’s dictatorial Russia no-one is allowed to criticize the ruler, or his supporters, but America is not yet under a dictatorship; although Trump is making a serious effort to make it one.

Putin also spent time defending Trump’s “controversial approach” to running the country. According to Putin, Trump’s “unpredictable decisions” are the only “reasonable response” to “great domestic resistance,” especially from the media. Putin argues that “resistance” is preventing Trump from doing what he wants without resistance. In America, and around the world, that “resistance” is part and parcel of what it means to live in a free democratic society and the primary reason Putin is calling for Americans to shut up and conform. He, like Trump, cannot countenance a free democratic society and they damn sure can’t comport a free press.

Putin’s assertions are precisely the same arguments Trump proffers in his never-ending attacks on the press. Trump claims the media is busy promoting an “overtly negative portrayal of his administration” instead of praising his every dictatorial move. No, the media reports the truth about his “overtly negative administration” and that is exactly why Trump and Putin claim America is governed under a “poor political system.” Remember, Trump made no secret he is not a fan or devotee of the United States Constitution he claimed is bad for Americans because it prohibits him from ruling like Putin; at least for the time being.

According to Putin, there is nothing negative about the way Trump is attempting to rule and not only does he not deserve criticism, he is too smart to need any advice; except from Putin of course. Putin said:

The president of the United States does not need any advice because one has to possess certain talent and go through this trial to be elected, even without having the experience of such big administrative work.”

No doubt Putin supports Trump’s effort to dismantle America’s government and sever long-standing relationships around the world; that was, after all, the motive behind installing Trump in the White House. It was no coincidence that Putin “authorized” Russia’s official news agency to report the pro-Trump “segment” of his speech; he was sending Americans a message to end any dissent and send an “I got your back” message to his BFF Trump..

The implications of Putin’s remark is that a free democratic society is bad, and that constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of expression, speech and the press represent a “poor political system.” It is precisely what Trump has been preaching and implies that despite what Putin or Trump claim, transforming America into a Russian-like dictatorship was part and parcel of Putin’s interference in the last election.

There is no doubt Putin’s remarks will be hailed by Trump and his dirty supporters. Trump’s latest love interest, Alabama bigot Roy Moore is so enamored with Putin that he recently told the Guardian that “Maybe Putin is right. Maybe he is more akin to me than I thought.”  

 Trump’s friend, ally and advisor Rudy Giuliani gushes about Putin and it explains why he loves Trump. Giuliani said:

 “Putin decides what he wants to do, and he does it half a day.”

 As Jeremy W. Peters opined a couple of months ago, the reason conservatives love and respect Putin as much as they do Trump is because, “ he personifies the qualities and attitudes that conservatives have desired in a president: respect for traditional Christian values, a swelling nationalist pride, and an aggressive posture toward foreign adversaries.”

 Now one of America’s foreign adversaries is issuing directives to Americans to stop disrespecting a man fully intent on ruling America like Putin rules Russia; especially after Putin went to great lengths to install Trump in the White House. Americans should be acutely offended that after installing a Russian sympathizer in the White House, Putin is now telling Americans to sit down and shut up. If they aren’t infuriated it is either because they are a Trump acolyte or a Russian sympathizer like a growing number of conservatives.

Image: Slate

California Bill Bans Employers From Firing Women Who Use Birth Control

Trump’s election was wildly celebrated by evangelical fanatics across the nation, and that cheering was certainly related to their potent new weapon in the Republican war on women. Having an anti-women’s rights and misogynist in the Oval Office is a serious threat to women at the federal level, but possibly more so at the state level. Women who are unfortunate enough to live in GOP controlled states are in serious trouble because with an anti-women’s rights administration appointing an anti-women’s rights religious attorney general, it is  certain the DOJ will always support anti-women legislation. Women who live in solidly red states are in the deepest  trouble, but only if they object to religious Republicans aiding evangelicals’ efforts to control their reproductive health choices.

Women in California are a governor’s signature away from receiving a lifeline in the form of legislation that forbids religious employers from forcing women to sign religious “statements of faith” or “codes of conduct” in order to keep their employment. The legislation also prohibits employers from retaliating against a [female] worker for making reproductive health decisions contrary to religious employers’ objects to. The truth is that the religious fanatics generally object to women making any reproductive health decisions that prevent them from becoming perpetual birth machines.

The legislation, AB 569 (Discrimination: Reproductive Health), was introduced by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) who said religious employers have been regularly discriminating against female workers’ based on their reproductive health-care decisions in California. The legislation was sponsored by NARAL, Pro-Choice California, and California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, and sixteen faith-based groups signed a letter supporting the anti-discrimination legislation.

The legislation simply “protects workers from discrimination or retaliation for using any medications, medical service, or device related to reproductive health.” The legislation is particularly necessary now because a few months ago Trump signed an executive order  greatly “expanding religious imposition” authority while surrounded by that misogynistic group of Catholic nuns still furious that the Affordable Care Act contained contraception coverage; coverage they still assert is a violation of their religious freedom to control women’s reproductive health.

The bill’s sponsor said the legislation was necessary to stop religious employers from “infringing on a woman’s right to make personal decisions about birth control and pregnancy.” Religious employers, and not just “church-affiliated” organizations, are not shy about their intent to control women’s reproductive choices.

It is important to remember that the private company Hobby Lobby is not a “religious organization” or “church-affiliated.” And yet they convinced the conservative wing of the Supreme Court that contraceptives, including birth control pills, are “abortifacients” and tantamount to having an abortion. The Court’s “religious imposition” ruling was founded on Hobby Lobby’s owners’ “religious belief” that contraceptives are abortions, and since that was “their heartfelt religious belief,” they won the legal right to deny women’s access to contraceptives.

Ms. Gonzalez Fletcher wasn’t stretching the truth when she said religious employers discriminate against women’s healthcare decision. For example, a San Diego Christian College required a financial aid specialist to sign a document pledging to not to have premarital sex, and then fired her for “becoming pregnant” and using her “pledge” as proof she violated the employer’s religious code. In liberal San Francisco the Archbishop attempted to force teachers to sign a “code of conduct” pledging they would refrain from using birth control or attempting to conceive by artificial insemination; fortunately for female teachers in San Francisco the attempt failed, but the attempt should have incited a massive outrage. Instead, California Democrats had to pass legislation making those attempts illegal.

The bill’s sponsor said in a statement:

Women in this country have been fired for getting pregnant while unmarried, for using in-vitro fertilization and for other personal reasons related to their own reproductive health. No woman should ever lose a job for exercising her right to decide when, how, or whether to have a family.”

Sadly, the minority religious fanatics running the United States vehemently disagree with the legislation and one of the bill’s primary opponents is a revolting religious outfit, the California Family Council; It is the policy arm of the Family Research Council and its president was livid that pro-life employers may be prohibited from literally forcing their religious beliefs down their employees throats. Seriously, the California Family Council president, Jonathan Keller said:

“Every organization that promotes a pro-life message must be able to require its employees to practice what they [the employers] preach. It is unconscionable for any politician to attempt to abridge this sacrosanct religious liberty by inserting themselves into the employee-employer relationship.”

Keller, like his dirty theocratic ilk, firmly believes that evangelicals’ “sacrosanct religious liberty” includes controlling women by way of controlling their reproductive health. That bizarro-world version of “religious liberty” is fervently embraced by Catholic organizations and they present a monumental threat to women’s ‘personal liberty” to decide when, how, and if they give birth.

Over the last few years Catholic organizations have been buying up hospitals, clinics, medical networks, and physicians groups  and demanding absolute fealty to the Catholic Hospitals Association rules and regulations regarding women’s reproductive health choices. After coming under Catholic ownership, those physicians, hospitals, clinics etc. are required to abide by the United. States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (ERDs). The Vatican-inspired ERDs strictly forbid abortions, even in the case of rape or incest,  and forbid access to contraceptives, sterilization procedures, in vitro fertilization or the use of sperm or egg donors.

If California Governor Jerry Brown signs AB-569, women will have a measure of protection from religious employers who believe infringing on a woman’s right to make personal reproductive decisions is just part of their “sacrosanct religious liberty.”

This dirty religious imposition situation is not going to get any better for women  and California women may want to put any wild celebrations on hold. No doubt if Governor Brown signs AB-569 there will be a flurry of church-funded lawsuits to protect employers’ right to impose their religion on their employees to control their reproductive lives. What should give every American pause is that in 21st Century America a state legislature has to pass legislation banning employers from attempting to control a woman’s reproductive life. It should also leave Americans asking what kind of leaders advocate allowing a fanatical religious sect to control women under the aegis of the federal government that is not the Taliban.

h/t Rewire

Did Trump Betray His Base By Signing Resolution Condemning Hate?

 

It was lightly reported in the media that most Republicans in Congress joined Democrats on Monday past to “deliver a notable rebuke to President Trump” over his warm embrace of fascists and white supremacists. Both houses of the  legislature fairly dared Trump to condemn his fascist acolytes for “the violence and domestic terrorist attack” that occurred last month around a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. Trump finally signed the “joint resolution” yesterday condemning his most reliable supporters as domestic terrorists, but if any American believes for a nano-second that Trump will follow through on any of the “recommendations” Congress strongly urged of him, they are foolish lunatics. Trump loves his fascist supporters because they are white supremacists and they are safe under his administration.

For over a year Trump has put Republicans in the unenviable position of having to suffer his untoward remarks while carefully weighing how much damage they will do to their own careers if they rebuke their  Party’s standard bearer. Even though it’s safe to say many Republicans agree with every word Trump utters, at least most of them have enough self-restraint to keep their true bigoted opinions and racism close to the vest.

After Trump sided with white supremacists and Nazis after they killed a woman and injured dozens for opposing Nazi fascists in Charlottesville Virginia, Republicans refused to sanction  or censure Trump; he is a fellow Republican after all.  All they could bring themselves to do publicly was offer tepid disgust over Trump’s affinity with racists and fascists and his accusation that Americans protesting against hate and fascism are “really bad.”

The resolution Trump signed late Thursday passed with a unanimous vote in the House and a solid majority of the Senate. It had to have stung Trump that Congress actually passed a “joint resolution calling the Charlottesville protest a domestic terror attack” he had to sign to make it official.  This particular joint resolution was rare because Democrats and Republicans structured it specifically to require Trump’s signature to pass. In fact, one of the measure’s sponsors, Senator Tim Kaine explained why he was pleased the bipartisan measure passed so easily. He said:

I think it’s great for [Democrats and Republicans] to be able to make a moral call that white supremacy’s not acceptable, and I want the president to have to sign it. We wouldn’t have had to add in that point had he not demonstrated this moral equivocation at the time, but I think it would be a really good thing.

Here’s the thing, even though Trump signed the resolution, he still demonstrates “moral equivocation” by repeating his claim that inspired the bipartisan joint resolution in the first place.  Trump signed the measure just a few hours after comparing his most ardent supporters that Congress labeled “hate groups that espouse racism, extremism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and White supremacy” as “domestic terrorists” to the counter-protestors in Charlottesville.

If Trump was sincere, he would never have repeated the comments that counter-protestors were “just as bad” as the fascists they were protesting against. It is very telling that Trump doubled down on his vile comments that inspired Congress to pass the joint resolution in the first place; he is still solidly behind his fascist base.

The resolution called on Trump to not only speak out against his devotees and condemn them as domestic terrorists and hate groups, it “urged” the administration to “use all resources available to the President Trump and the President’s Trump’s Cabinet to address the growing prevalence of those hate groups in the United States.”

Congress also brought pressure to bear on Trump’s racist attorney general calling on Sessions to “investigate acts of violence or domestic terrorism perpetrated by white supremacists.” In fact, it called on Sessions to direct the Department of Justice to work closely with the Department of Homeland Security to:

Investigate thoroughly all acts of violence,  intimidation, and domestic terrorism by White supremacists, White nationalists, neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, and associated groups in order to determine if any criminal laws have been violated and to prevent those groups from fomenting and facilitating additional violence.”

Prior to signing the resolution, Trump told reporters:

“I think especially in light of the advent of antifa, if you look at what’s going on there, you know, you have some pretty bad dudes on the other side also. A lot of people are saying — in fact a lot of people have actually written —  ‘Gee, Trump might have a point.’  I said, you got some very bad people on the other side also, which is true.”

No, Trump doesn’t have a point no matter how many times he attempts to equate Americans opposing fascism as “very bad people.” Trump is a punk-ass fascist for attempting to demonize the counter protestors opposed to fascists the bipartisan “joint resolution” never mentioned; except to honor the memory of slain anti-fascist protestor Heather Heyer and the first responders who perished while monitoring the Nazi fascists.

As an aside, and a little historical reminder for dumb Donnie, the advent of the anti-fascist movement goes back to at least World War II when the entirety of the American people banded together and went to war to defeat the same fascists Trump’s supporters are emulating. It is likely why the congressional resolution included no criticism whatsoever of the counter-protestors; even Republicans comprehend that people who oppose fascism, including Trump’s fascism, are not “very bad  people.”

In normal times, standing in opposition to an historical American enemy, the fascists, would be rewarded. Instead, Trump uses a pejorative made up by his Nazi fascist supporters, “antifa” when referring to patriots who oppose him and his fascist sycophants. No doubt most Americans identify as ‘anti-fascists” and if they don’t they are likely Nazi racists.

Even though he signed the joint resolution, no-one should hold their breath waiting for him to “use all resources available to address the growing prevalence of those hate groups in the United States.” And it is likely that few people expect Jeff Sessions to work with Homeland Security to “investigate acts of violence or domestic terrorism perpetrated by white supremacists.

Remember, one of Trump’s first acts was instructing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to stop investigating domestic terrorism associated with “white supremacist and militia” groups. It is one thing to sign a meaningless joint resolution, but it is contrary to Trump’s worldview to take action against his most valued supporters; particularly after they made a big deal expressing their undying gratitude for his action neutering the FBI and Homeland Security’s investigative power that gave the alt-right (Nazi) fascists what they desired most; “space to destroy.

Trump’s attempt to equate violent fascists and hate groups with patriots opposed to fascists and hate groups was no mistake, and the timing of his comments hours before signing the resolution was no coincidence. He sent a signal to his fascist supporters that he will use his White House platform and authority to portray “his” opposition as the real bad guys; it is a tried-and-true Nazi propaganda technique.

After his remarks defining Americans protesting fascism as “some pretty bad dudes” just hours before signing Congress’ joint resolution, it is possible that there is some kind of White House announcement in the works. Likely to sate his fascist zealots,  Trump will issue an executive order instructing the FBI, Department of Justice, and Homeland Security to target the people who oppose fascism mirroring the language in the Congress’ joint resolution; it is precisely what Americans should expect from the petty fascist in the White House.

 

Under Obama Middle Class Income Reached Highest Level Ever In 2016

It should be no great revelation to any American that the racist Donald Trump has a fixation with attempting to undo everything President Obama accomplished during his 8-year tenure in the White House. Instead, all he has accomplished is shining a spotlight on everything good and right Barack Obama did for all Americans. Whether it was providing access to healthcare for tens-of-millions of Americans, protecting the environment, defending the people from corporate and economic malfeasance, or extending civil and equal rights to all the people, President Obama’s record of serving the people cannot be “erased;” not by congressional repeal efforts or executive orders.

Now there is another major accomplishment that Trump has to grieve over and since it is now part of  a federal government agency’s permanent record, there is no way the Oval Office con man can take credit for something his superior predecessor accomplished or “executive order” it out of existence.

According to the constitutionally-mandated U.S. Census Bureau,  a report details that in 2016 middle class income rose to its “highest level ever.” It is a statistic and accomplishment that dirty Don Trump can never take credit for or erase by virtue of an executive order. That wasn’t the only good news in the Census, but it is a remarkable achievement considering that President Obama inherited a Republican-created economic disaster and subsequent recession that resulted in nearly 8 million jobs lost due to Republican economic incompetence.

Today, the national unemployment rate is hovering around 4.4 percent (in August) which is approximately what it was prior to the Bush-Republican-created financial crisis and Great Recession. In July, enough jobs were generated to officially restore “national employment to where it stood in 2007” before the Republican recession started. Trump gets no credit for that employment achievement because in the same manner President Obama inherited an economic disaster put in place by the Bush administration the previous year, Trump inherited President Obama’s economic growth that is still ongoing.

According to the Census Bureau’s report on “Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States, 2016,” median household income rose to $59,039 in 2016. That is a 3.2 percent increase from the previous year (2015) and the “second consecutive year of healthy income gains” for working people. What that means is it took 8 long years to correct the previous 8 years of the Bush-Republican economic mess and it was despite a wall of Republican opposition against any and every thing President Obama attempted.

President Obama’s income and employment gains back to pre-recession levels are not the only good news. The national poverty rate also fell to about the same level it was in 2007 prior to the Republican financial crisis and Great Recession that continued to hurt the workforce for several years after the recession’s damage was done.

The 2016 data accompanied another census report revealing that “the rate of Americans lacking health insurance was at its lowest ever in 2016.” Of course that is due in great part to President Obama’s healthcare reform law, but it also strongly implies that the American people overall “were actually in a position of increasing financial strength;” higher incomes and all.  And all of these Obama-era income gains and economic growth were occurring at the same time the main stream media and conservative punditry were errantly reporting that Trump “tapped into the population’s anger about the economy” giving him a victory in November.

That narrative is blatantly false and only imbeciles ever believed it was the case. The only thing Trump tapped into was roiling racism and religious bigotry by white people; what the experts call “social anxiety.” The Census report proves that people were working more and earning more, including Trump supporters. The people who voted for Trump did so because he promised get rid of Mexicans and Muslims and empower the religious right’s theocratic crusade; it’s what they considered necessary to “make America great.”

The good news in the Census report was that the 3.2 percent income increase extended to almost every demographic group; a major factor in making the median household income the highest on record.  The previous high mark was in 1999 at the end of the last Democratic President’s administration and similarly to President Obama, Bill Clinton spent 8 years reversing his Republican predecessor’s dismal economic record with sound economic policies Bush Republicans immediately reversed; not unlike Trump Republicans are doing now.

Despite that good economic news in the Census report, there is some seriously sobering news to neutralize it. Besides reversing, or attempting to reverse the Obama-era policies that increased Americans’ income, put more people to work, reduced poverty, and provided access to healthcare coverage for more Americans, Trump intends to double down on the typical economy-ravaging policies that caused the 2007-2008 financial crisis and Great Recession. In the upcoming tax-cutting and deregulation crusade Republicans and Trump promise, they will not be erasing President Barack Obama’s legacy or accomplishments, Trump will do like his Republican predecessors and erase the economic growth and leave a gigantic economic mess for another Democratic president to repair; it is the American way.

Rand Paul Beds Down With Organization Advocating Prison for Abortion

Republicans are being lured to do an anti-women’s choice organization’s bidding that includes advocating jail sentences for women who have an abortion. While the nation is mesmerized by a con man’s social media use and incompetence, the religious right is making unprecedented progress in the war on women while no-one is watching. Of course it is tempting to only monitor the criminal in the White House, but it is a distraction giving cover to religious anti-choice advocates and Republicans to pass legislation ending women’s reproductive rights and compelling them to become either birth machines or celibate.

It was reported that Rand Paul (R-KY) is pandering for donations for a personhood organization, the National Pro-Life Alliance, to give them more funding leverage to buy Republican support for Paul’s latest “fetal personhood” offering. The nasty religion-driven “non-profit” is making a major push to control women now because Trump signed a solemn pledge to support Paul’s “personhood legislation.” Trump also told the religious group that he supports a “federal” personhood bill, and they expect him to repay them for their ardent electoral support.

National Pro-Life Alliance recently sent out a letter supporting Paul’s “fetal personhood” bill bemoaning the fact that women who exercise their legal right to a medical procedure are not arrested, charged, prosecuted and sent to jail.

Rand Paul’s latestpersonhood” bill, “Life at Conception Act 2017” is short and says much more than it seems.

This bill declares that the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being at all stages of life, including the moment of fertilization, cloning, or other moment at which an individual comes into being.”

What the bill doesn’t say is that anything the religious right deems an “unnatural interference” with that “moment of fertilization” will be considered a crime. Paul did add a “provision” to make his bill palatable to more senators, but it means nothing if the bill is passed and signed into law. The provision states:

Nothing in this bill shall be construed to require the prosecution of any woman for the death of her unborn child, a prohibition on in vitro fertilization, or a prohibition on use of birth control or another means of preventing fertilization.”

If anyone believes the measures Paul inserted to make his anti-choice measure palatable are legitimate, they are stupider than dirt. Remember, once theses religious fanatics get their foot in the door, women’s right to choose their own reproductive health is finished. In the Hobby Lobby ruling, although the conservative Justices acknowledged that according to all known medical and biological science, birth control is not abortion, still ruled for Hobby Lobby. They claimed that because according to Hobby Lobby’s owners’ religious belief that birth control is abortion, then it must be abortion to them. It was that “religious belief” aspect that gave Hobby Lobby and the religious right another means of banning birth control because it is unnatural and interferes with “the moment of conception.”

Now, it is getting old having to remind these “Christ centered” personhood malcontents that according to their god in their Christian bible, there is no “living being” until the moment the fetus leaves the womb and draws breath. The result of “the moment of fertilization” is a single-celled organism called a “zygote.” It is not a living human being and deserves no more constitutional rights than an embryo or a fetus. It is noteworthy that Republicans, particularly the evangelical Republicans, are immensely concerned about protecting the rights of a non-living human being, but the second that fetus exits the womb and draws breath they have no use or regard for its well-being whatsoever.

These “Christ centered” personhood advocates could not care less what their holy book says, and despite that a zygote, embryo, or fetus is not a human being, they hew closely to a document created by a Catholic they believe should be enshrined as the law of the land in America. And it is terrifying that there are religious Republicans who share their conviction and now have the means to make it law.

Most Americans who have heard about the Catholic “Personhood Movement” are either completely clueless to its purpose or laugh it off as just another bizarro-world religious right worldview. Although they didn’t start the personhood crusade, the religious right embraced it whole-heartedly to keep the “faithful” electing Republicans who do the movement’s bidding. Prior to being convinced by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops that birth control and abortion were brilliant emotional appeals to sway evangelical voters for Republicans, the religious right was not anti-women’s choice.

The ultimate goal of the personhood movement is to force legislation that conforms to the 1968 papal encyclical on human life known as Humanae Vitae. The movement adheres to the “encyclical” thesis that all “unnatural” forms of birth control are sinful and that sexual relations are for the express purpose of producing offspring; but only in marriage.

That is a loose summary of Pope Paul VI’s instructions to the Catholic faithful that the personhood movement has adopted as its raison d’être. Now that the personhood movement has a White House occupant’s signature on a document supporting any personhood bill,  they see an opportunity to finally succeed.  With Trump, and Pence who supports jail for abortion, on board, and two Republican versions of “personhood” bills in the works in Congress, it looks very bad for women and their constitutional right to control their reproductive health.

There has been a methodical effort by the personhood movement, with valuable aid from religious Republicans, to create a strategy to eliminate any and all legal protections for abortions, and eventually any and all “unnatural” forms of birth control. Central to that effort is building a body of laws that define zygotes and fetuses as full U.S. citizens with the same legal and constitutional rights Republicans want reserved for white evangelicals.

Women have never been in as much peril of being controlled by the religious right regarding their reproductive rights as they are today. Since Republicans control all three branches of government, there is no firewall against something as absurd as personhood legislation or the real risk of women being imprisoned for choosing a legal medical procedure. It is true a personhood bill on its own will not technically overturn Roe v Wade, but the result will be exactly the same.

If women, or the men who love them, think the religious maniacs will stop at jailing women for having an abortion, it is worth reminding them that there are pro-life personhood zealots who support charging women for murder for choosing a legal medical procedure. No one should be shocked if Republicans “compromise” and settle for just jailing women who have an abortion.