House Bill Will Make Churches Dark Money Super PACs

 

Republicans made a sneaky move on Thursday to give their religious right devotees a long sought after gift that further erodes the Separation of Church and State as well as provide the ultimate dark money cover for Republicans’ corporate donors. It is another monumental gift to special interests and the wealthy; a religious super PAC completely immune to the IRS and FEC auditor’s prying eyes.

As is their wont, House Republicans passed what’s been labeled a “megabus” spending bill on Thursday that is better labeled reverse Robin Hood legislation; it takes from the poor and infirm and gives to the rich. For the evangelical right, the Republican bill is two-fold gift in allowing churches to receive and funnel “unlimited dark money to Republican campaigns” as well as to campaign from the pulpit free of IRS interference. According to the tax code, “tax exempt “charitable” non-profits are forbidden from inserting themselves into campaigns, and currently that prohibition stands for all non-profits including those representing religion.

The House spending bill includes a world of hurt for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and food stamp recipients with significant cuts to help pay for tax cuts for billionaires. But tucked away in the spending bill is a rider with a provision making it nearly impossible for the Internal Revenue Service to enforce the “Johnson Amendment.” The “rider” stops funding attempts by the IRS Republicans, and Trump, claim are unfair attempts to “penalize churches that violate tax law by engaging in explicit political action.”

The new provision states that if there are any funds needed to enforce the Johnson Amendment on lawbreaking evangelical churches, it will “require IRS agents to notify two congressional committees, endure a 90-day waiting period, and then obtain an executive sign-off from the IRS commissioner.” It is noteworthy that this is a “special gift” to churches because all other tax-exempt charitable nonprofits that are not faith based will still be subject to enforcement of the law.

Besides opening up worshippers to suffering weekly campaigning from the pulpit for Republican candidates, this is simply another despicable Republican attempt to deregulate campaign finance laws to aid Republicans. Ironically, destroying the Johnson Amendment is “deeply unpopular among people of faith;” evangelical clergy love the idea. In fact, most religious Americans don’t want politics preached from the pulpit,  and “not a single major denomination” likes the idea of neutering the Johnson Amendment.

That “Johnson Amendment” is hated by the religious right as if it was from Satan because it is part of the tax code that prohibits churches from openly endorsing and campaigning for Republicans from the pulpit. The amendment is founded on the Constitution’s framers’ intent to keep church and state separate; it is a concept that Republicans like Jeff Sessions says is “unconstitutional and unhistorical.

However, this crusade to neuter the Johnson Amendment is almost certainly a Republican ploy to open the floodgates of dark money. There are exceedingly stringent rules prohibiting the IRS from auditing churches and according to the IRS, it is also extremely rare that a church is investigated for violating the Johnson Amendment, much less losing their tax-exemption.

A former IRS attorney and current LSU law school professor, Philip Hackney, told ThinkProgress the IRS typically goes to extreme lengths to avoid enforcing the Johnson Amendment. It is almost a mortal sin in America to even utter an unkind word about religion, so naturally daring to take away a church’s free taxpayer money is tantamount to a sin against the evangelical god. Mr. Hackney said:

There have been very few organizations that have lost their exemption. The typical answer was to slap people on the wrist. There’s a real problem when the answer is ‘you lose exemption’ — the IRS would look for any way it could get around making that choice.

According to the Center for Inquiry’s legal director, Nick Little, the Republican ploy is another “double benefit” for places of worship and Republicans. Mr. Little said:

“You could have unlimited dark money flowing to a campaign [from churches] if this gets passed, and there is nothing the IRS could do about it. They would be getting a double benefit.”

Democrats did attempt to remove the “dark money” provision from the spending bill during debate at the sub-committee level, at the full committee level, and on the floor of the House. But Republicans care more concerned about deregulating campaign finance laws and getting free weekly pulpit campaign time than preserving the Constitution’s Separation and Establishment Clauses in the First Amendment.

The Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America, Larry T. Decker said:

Members of Congress had ample opportunities to strike [the provision] from this bill; when it was debated at the sub-committee level, at the full committee level, when Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz offered an amendment to cut it from the bill, and when it was on the floor of the House of Representatives. At every point, Congress failed to stand up for a law which has helped maintain the separation of church and state for more than 63 years.”

Like everything Republicans do, sneaking a measure in a spending bill to advance the religious rights’ crusade against the Constitution’s Separation of church and state, and giving ultimate cover for dark money to aid Republicans is highly unpopular. It is also a despicable attack on democracy. The religious right sees it as a sure-fire guarantee to continue electing Republicans without IRS interference, and help funnel dark money for those Republicans unimpeded and out of the Federal Elections Commission’s prying eyes.

For Americans who are not evangelical fanatics, it is another blatant Republican attack on the U.S. Constitution that is beginning to appear as important to Republicans as it to their standard bearer dirty Don Trump. For dark money purveyors like the Koch brothers and Karl Rove, the Republican move is tantamount to abolishing the FEC because with no way to “follow the money” from the Kochs to the churches to Republican candidates, this atrocity fairly decimates what remains of America’s fragile representative democracy; just like the Kochs and Republicans have planned for decades.

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.

Misogynist Betsy DeVos To Use Title IX For Republicans’ War On Women

The religious Republican war on women was, although relentless, somewhat diminished during President Barack Obama’s 8-year tenure in the White House, but that firewall came to a screeching halt on January 21, 2017. It is an understatement to say Donald Trump is a misogynist of the first order, but no more so than the evangelicals he installed in his Cabinet.

Two of Trump’s evangelical department heads are mounting an attack on women in the form of assisting perpetrators of sexual assault to rape with impunity. In fact, it was announced recently that Trump’s unqualified evangelical Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is poised to do as she promised and roll back Title IX protections to better conform to what evangelical men believe is right and proper; free reign over women.

At issue for DeVos is “repealing and replacing” Title IX protections to make it more difficult for victims of rape get a semblance of justice on college campuses. Even before DeVos took aim at Title IX, a “leaked” Department of Justice (DOJ) memo issued exactly six days after evangelical misogynist Jeff Sessions was sworn in as attorney general sought to change policy to favor male sexual abusers.

The DOJ memo’s authors “expressed concern” over the inequities faced by male students accused of sexual assault; one particular “policy shift” should please every misogynist alive and women should be absolutely terrified. The disconcerting recommended changes is that going forward during rape and sexual assault cases:

Every complainant’s sexual history may be introduced at the hearing. Currently, questions about the complainant’s (victim’s) sexual history with anyone other than the accused perpetrator are not permitted.”

That memo by Sessions is old-school misogyny when no matter the circumstances, it was always a woman’s fault that she was raped and men were always victims. The DOJ memo to the Education Department states its purpose is to rectify Title IX’s “disparate and unfair treatment and impact on male students accused of sexual assault.” That so-called “disparate and unfair treatment of male students is an oft-cited complaint of men’s groups renowned for harassing rape victims; the same groups DeVos appealed to for guidance and direction in her effort to “repeal and replace” Title IX’s protection for women.

It is noteworthy, but typical of this administration, that the DOJ’s policy shift violates every state’s rape shield law going back to the 1970s. Those laws were enacted specifically to prevent a male defendant’s attorney from airing a rape victim’s entire sexual history to portray her as a “slut” that deserved what she got. The DOJ’s recommendation also violates the federal version of a rape shield law known as the Violence Against Women Act (1994). The DOJ memo’s purpose is clear: shame rape survivors or shut them up to protect male assailants.

The concept of protecting men accused of sexual assault is most likely high on DeVos’s to-do list in unilaterally “repealing and replacing” Title IX to conform to an evangelical misogynist’s worldview. She has complained, often bitterly, that Obama-era directives gave the Civil Rights office at the education department intrusive and overreaching authority; likely because it enforces civil rights and women’s protections on college campuses.

DeVos gave an indication of how she will “replace” Title IX civil right protections early in her tenure when she met first with anti-LGBTQ activists for advice and recommendations. A month later she reached out and met with several “men’s rights groups” that harass rape survivors for advice on how best to change Title IX to stop them from being treated unfairly when they were accused of sexual violence. That “advice” is likely why DeVos says she wants to “rescind Title IX protections for women survivors of sexual assault.

During a speech Thursday at George Mason University’s Law School, DeVos proudly announced that “the era of rule by letter is over.” The “letter” reference is to a “Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) that was an Obama-era directive focusing on “how sexual harassment creates a hostile educational environment” that was officially part of “the 2011 Title IX Guidance.” According to the directive, for the purpose of a Department of Education (DOE) investigation, “one single instance of sexual violence is sufficient to qualify as creating a hostile sexual environment” that warranted an investigation.

DeVos laid out three reasons she is “repealing and replacing” sections of Title IX and they obviously came directly from the “counsel and advice” the men’s rights groups offered when DeVos “reached out” for their direction and guidance. She said that going forward “The accused must know that guilt is not predetermined;” school administrators can no longer be judge, jury and executioner when determining “whether or not” sexual abuse “really happened.” And she intends on putting the brakes on the “Office for Civil Rights” division practice of what she claimed was “terrifying schools and overreaching.”

Although DeVos has not yet issued her “repeal and replacement” of Title IX, it is almost certain to be as great a gift to misogynists as it will be a vile curse against women; particularly those who are victims of sexual harassment and rape. Coupled with the Sessions’ DOJ memo reversing course on “rape shield laws” and the Violence Against Women Act, and DeVos’ stated reasons for abolishing sexual abuse protections for women, her “replacement” will be devastating for women.

It is probably true that some Americans feared a Trump administration would wage a ferocious war on women, and not solely because there is no longer a woman’s rights advocate in the Oval Office. For dog’s sake, Trump is a serial misogynist and an admitted “pussy-grabbing” sexual predator, and his appointment of evangelicals with a misogynist bent to run the Education and Justice Departments almost ensured that misogyny would be rewarded and women would be in serious trouble.

DeVos’ announcement and the leaked Sessions’ memo nearly guarantee that the religious Republican war on women is escalating into a full-scale assault on women. Sadly, President Obama isn’t around to stop the dirty misogynists. This is not going to turn out well for whatever progress women have made over decades of struggle and as usual it is all down to religious Republicans’ who revel in waging war on women.

Koch-Republicans Unleash Attack on Labor in Time for Labor Day

One might think there is some sort of irony in the news that Republicans and their Koch-funded belief tanks are attacking America’s labor force on the federal Labor Day holiday, but with an anti-labor government, it isn’t ironic, it is expected. If Republicans had any scruples, they would make themselves scarce today and avoid public celebrations of Labor Day like plague, but since they don’t have any scruples, they will likely show their greedy faces and offer worthless platitudes to the American worker.

Labor Day was created to acknowledge the organized labor movement (unions) and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It is allegedly meant to be a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

However, now that Republicans and the Koch brothers control the government, workers are facing some seriously barbaric assaults on any and everything to do with labor. Republicans and the Kochs have been on a tear to demolish workers’ rights and wages for nigh onto two decades. But now they have the means and authority to send the American workforce back to the early 20th Century. To achieve that important Koch goal, they recently announced a vicious assault on organized labor to accompany their attack on workers’ rights – including the right to a living wage.

According to several reports, as expected, a Koch-funded and ALEC-affiliated network of 67 conservative ‘belief’ tanks with activists in all 50 states announced a “breakthrough campaign” devised to “strike a mortal blow against the American left.” And they will commence their attack by “defunding and defanging” organized labor as an important first step “towards ensuring the permanent collapse of progressive politics;” and any labor protections for American workers.

The outfit taking the lead in assaulting the labor force is the State Policy Network (SPN). SPN is a national conservative organization closely tied to the Kochs, Americans for Prosperity, and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). It consists of 67 different “non-profit foundations” in the states with a mission, in its own words, to be “idea factories” for state-based conservative policies. However, they are “idea factories” pushing the Koch and GOP’s national anti-government policies to “innocent sounding state foundations” that pretend they came up with ideas of their own accord. The Center for Media and Democracy’s ‘Source Watch’ reported:

“In the states, SPN groups increasingly peddle cookie-cutter ‘studies’ to back the cookie-cutter ALEC agenda, spinning that agenda as indigenous to the state and giving it the aura of academic legitimacy. Many SPN groups have been accused of lobbying in their states in violation of IRS rules for non-profit ‘charitable’ organizations.”

The big push to abolish union labor will be spearheaded with a monumental attempt at passing right to work prohibitions in all 50 states, and theright to workcrusade will sound appealing to the stupid people who dependably elect Republicans. However, besides lowering wages, the goal is to destroy unions, and with no unions the concept of prevailing wage” will vanish. Oh there will no doubt be a “prevailing wage,” but instead of a living wage that lifts other workers’ pay, it will do the opposite and bring all wages down in line with whatever Republicans and Kochs decide is best for corporate profits.

No American should think this is an isolated attack on labor. In Missouri this past week the minimum wage workforce in cities that raised the minimum to $10 per hour saw their hourly rate slashed to $7.70 as dictated by the state’s Republican legislature and governor. Not to be outdone, wealthy business failure Trump cut a raise for federal workers.

Republicans in Congress have done their best to keep wages low by refusing to entertain a federal minimum wage hike, and some have called for abolishing the minimum altogether and allow corporations to set the minimum wage. A couple of years ago, House Republicans attempted to pass legislation eliminating overtime pay, and in Wisconsin, Republicans eliminated weekends to allow employers to work their employees without a day off to rest.

In fact, when Republicans get rolling, they will eliminate every worker benefit and labor protection going back to the New Deal. Without unions, living wages, benefits, and worker protections would have never been enacted; the Koch crusade to “defund and defang” unions is a critical step in taking America’s labor back to dire workplace conditions prior to the New Deal.

It isn’t clear if the Kochs, ALEC, Americans for Prosperity, and the State Policy Network believe that destroying unions and cutting wages to poverty level is going to make people stupid like the typical Republican voter, but that appears to be their strategy. Of course their goal, if accomplished, might deprive the left of support from organized labor, but it doesn’t seem reasonable that driving more of the population into poverty is going to endear them to vote for Republicans and against their own best self-interests. However, although Americans have demonstrated they are a productive workforce, they definitely aren’t the wisest voters. If  they had any sense of self-preservation they would not continue electing Republicans to cut their  wages, eliminate their weekends off and overtime pay, and eliminate their ability and right to collectively bargain with corporations for a living wage.

Workers should enjoy this Labor Day, and reflect on why they have lunch breaks, bathroom privileges, overtime pay, industrial accident coverage, weekends off, and a forty-hour work week; it is because of unions. It is difficult to know if there will be any reason to celebrate Labor Day next year. If the Koch brothers, ALEC, Republicans, and the State Policy Network have their way, the first Monday in September will be just another day Americans have to work for slave wages and without any workplace protections; it is exactly what the labor force has to look forward to with the Kochs and Republicans running the government.

Virginia GOP Says Dem. Opposing Racism Is a “Christian-hating bigot”

It is stunning, really, that the state with a motto “Virginia is for lovers” has been the scene of a world of hatred lately. Of course the hate-fest in Charlottesville was attended by a fair number of white supremacists from out of state, and no doubt the haters were all Trump supporters as well as Republicans; but there is something else about Virginia’s Republicans that reveal they emanate hatred. In fact, Virginia Republicans are some downright nasty characters and this week, for the second time in six years, the official Republican Party of Virginia (RVP) has distinguished itself as a horrific example of shameless hatred..

As a secular humanist, one has very little f*ck to give about what the faithful do as long as they are harmless and doing it with themselves. In fact, if the bastardized Christians in the Republican ranks and religious right would hew close to the Jesus teaching of brotherly love, charity and acceptance, they may not be perceived as religious haters on a crusade to control the nation.

When a Virginia Democrat who served in Congress, former Rep. Tom Perriello, called out his “fellow Christians” on Twitter for “ignoring the issue of white supremacy while cloaking themselves in the mantle of their faith,” the Virginia GOP reacted like the haters they are. The Virginia GOP said that because Perriello had the temerity to speak out against white supremacists, he was “a Christian-hating bigot.”

It is a fairly hateful, and odd, thing for so-called religious Republicans to say; particularly because Mr. Perriello was expressing his opinion  from an explicitly Christian perspective against white supremacy.  It is curious that the Virginia GOP, a group that knows Perriello well, would label him a “Christian-hating bigot” when they know he has served as a consultant to the evangelical National Council of Churches of Christ and aided in starting several evangelical faith-based advocacy organizations. Obviously he can in no normal universe be regarded as a “Christian hater.”

Mr. Perriello launched a series of three “Tweets” in response to the violence in Charlottesville at the hands of Donald J. Trump’s white supremacist and Nazi devotees. Perriello appealed to religious right leaders who have not spoken out against white supremacists and called on them to “at least” acknowledge that “racism and white supremacy are a Christian problem.” It is a problem Perriello acknowledges and felt he had to call out the white religious right who are certainly Republicans. He said via Twitter:

White evangelical leaders [whose] whiteness is the golden calf you choose to worship and idolize, is blasphemy of God’s word,”

Any white pastor or priest not preaching this weekend on white supremacy as blaspheming the image of God is another is part of the problem.

 If you have a white pastor/priest who doesn’t preach on white supremacy as blasphemy against image of God in another, please say something.”

Perriello’s entreaty to his fellow white evangelicals, and their clergy, to “please say something” about the white supremacy and racism permeating the South was a bridge too far for the religious fanatics in the Virginia GOP.  Their response was pure Trump and doubled down on Virginia Republican hatred. The Republican Party of Virginia “tweeted:”

Let’s not mince words: you are a Christian-hating bigot We were better off when you were out of the country. #LeftWingBigot

Now, Mr. Perriello’s call to speak out against white supremacy, from his devout Christian worldview, was not an outlier by any means; not now and not historically. After Charlottesville, there were myriad denominations’ leaders speaking out against white supremacy and racism; even some of Republicans’ most fanatical evangelical leaders including Trump’s personal spiritual advisor.

In fact, as noted by Alison R. Parker at ShareBlue, “opposition to white supremacy has long been a bedrock principle for many people of Christian faith; including America’s 19th Century abolitionist movement.” Ms. Parker quoted Christianity Today noting:

Not that all abolitionists were orthodox Christians, though a large proportion were. But even those who had left the church drew on unmistakably Christian premises, especially on one crucial point: slavery was sin. Sin could not be solved by political compromise or sociological reform, abolitionists maintained. It required repentance; otherwise America would be punished by God.”

Now, ignore that weary nonsense about god punishing America. No sane human being believes that now in the 21st Century, and it is likely that few believed it in the 19th Century either. However, the bit about opposition to slavery, white supremacy and racism being  “unmistakably Christian premises” could not be more true if uttered by mythological Jesus himself.

It isn’t clear if some right wing evangelical leader put the Virginia GOP up to the seriously nasty retort to former Representative Perriello, or if they came up with it of their own accord. It is quite likely that Perriello’s message hit home with the religious Republicans ensconced in the Virginia GOP leadership and instead of actually addressing the substance of his call to action against white supremacy, they acted like Trump and attacked what appears to be a ‘real Christian’ appealing to white evangelicals to “please say something” about white supremacy.

In the same manner the preponderance of Republicans are not screaming out against Trump’s, and their racist white supremacist supporters, white evangelical clergy are staying predictably silent. Neither Republicans nor bastardized Christians are going to criticize what is almost certainly the GOP’s most reliable voting base. But they are quick to loudly criticize a religious Democrat for opposing white supremacy.

h/t AlisonRParker

In February Republican Said Running Down Protestors Was Common Sense

 

So, after a neo-Nazi drove into a crowd of Americans protesting against racists and fascists killing one and injuring 19 others, Republicans have come out calling it an act of white supremacist terrorism. Many Republicans even lashed out at the Nazi in the Oval Office because he refused to condemn his base and instead blamed “many sides” for bigotry and hate-driven mayem. That’s awfully generous of the GOP and although it appears everyone should afford them some small measure of deference for condemning the fascist they have moved the proverbial heaven and the real Earth to protect; they cannot possibly be taken seriously.

First, where was the GOP criticism of Trump when he ignored a terror attack on a Minnesota mosque last week, or when a white man drove his car into an English mosque? One can’t help but believe if the young woman who was murdered by one of Trump’s Nazis on Saturday was not white, there may have been no comments at all; especially for using a motor vehicle to “run down protestors.”

This is particularly true among Republican states where legislation was introduced to allow motorists to “run down protestors” with impunity; including legal immunity from any civil action. What happened in Charlottesville on Saturday is certainly down to Donald Trump’s loving embrace of the white supremacist movement, but Republicans bear a major share of the blame for never harshly condemning their party’s attempt to legalize opposing a protest with a motor vehicle.

Of course none of the Republicans who condemned Trump’s refusal to call out his Nazi base (they never condemned his affiliation with Nazis) have openly advocated for allowing their supporters to “run down protestors with cars,” but they also haven’t condemned members of their own party who have “tacitly advocated running down protestors with cars.” It has been a hot topic for discussion among conservatives who detest the idea of free speech, peaceable assembly, or freedom or expression if it is in opposition to conservatives’ agenda.

As Matthew Chapman noted over at Share Blue, during the demonstrations by Native Americans opposing Trump for supporting for the Dakota Access Pipeline, an avowed Republican “tweeted, and then deleted, ‘I wonder how many #NativeNationsRise #NoDAPL protestors I could run over before I got arrested.’” That bit of fascism was courtesy of Daily Caller editor Katie Frates and was not an isolated display of Republican opposition to dissenting voices. And it is particularly noteworthy that all of this fascist targeting constitutionally-guaranteed peaceful protests began directly after Trump’s inauguration and the truly monumental, and peaceable, nationwide women’s protest against the fascist in the White House.

Of course a Trump-supporting Nazi would run down peaceful protestors, it is what Republicans have been attempting to legalize since Trump has been in the White House. Earlier in the year the North Carolina House introduced two separate bills targeting peaceful protestors on two counts. First, one of the GOP bills would declare protestors guilty of a newly-created crime, “economic terrorism” and allow authorities to “seize all real and personal property associated with protest.”  The second bill stripped peaceful protestors of the right to file a civil lawsuit against any driver who drove into them under the guise of protecting the protestors. The second Republican bill was a late March, 2017 response to protests that occurred last fall in Charlotte – before Trump was elected.

Republicans introduced similar bills to North Carolina’s in Tennessee and North Dakota. Both Republican bills “banned peaceful protestors who were ‘run over’ by angry drivers from suing their motorized assailants.” The Tennessee legislation targeted anyone “participating in a protest or demonstration” that a driver believes is “blocking traffic in a public right-of-way.” Republicans called the bill “common sense legislation to protect everyone’s right to peacefully protest.”

The Republican bill in North Dakota, House Bill 1203, was sponsored by state Representative Keith Kempenich who owns a trucking company. Kempenich’s bill was offered specifically to protect drivers who injure or kill protestors on a public road or highway. Kempenich denied his proposal was to prevent protests against the hotly-contested Dakota Access Pipeline, even though he wants it built for the economic benefit it will bring; he just wants to “see it done right” without interference or opposition from protestors.

Although not giving conservatives legal authority to run over protestors, an Indiana bill directed law enforcement to us ‘any means necessary’ to put a stop to protests. The Republican sponsor, State Senator Tim Jones claimed protestors are a “lethal menace” because they are guilty of “preventing first responders from reaching people in time.” As is typically the case with lying Republicans, Mr. Jones was unable to cite even one example of such an incident ever happening.

It’s unclear if the Nazi who rammed a car into peaceful protestors and killed a young woman and injured several others was aware of the GOP’s crusade to decriminalize running down peaceful protestors or not. But whether he did or not at the time of his Nazi rampage, his defense team surely will explain to the jury that he was only acting according to legislation being proposed in several Republican states.

Republicans were right to condemn Trump for not specifically calling out his Nazi supporters’ acts of violence driven by hatred and bigotry, but they cannot possibly feign disgust that one of Trump’s acolytes rammed a car into a crown of innocent protestors; especially after spending months “demonizing and denying the rights of protestors” and making serious attempts to legalize running them down with cars.

Talk Is Cheap Like The Republicans Who Criticize Trump

Most adults, and likely many children, have heard the term “actions speak louder than words.” There are several variations on that term including “talk is cheap” and even the bible notes that “faith without ‘works’ is dead.” The meaning is clear, even to morons. Someone can talk themselves blue in the face, but until their behavior coincides with what they’re saying, no-one should believe them.

There have been signs as of late that Republicans may not be as enamored with their champion Trump as he wants to believe and there have even been some Republicans offering tepid criticism of the White House occupant. And yet they still support everything the Trump does whether out of devotion to party unity or just fear of Trump. Oh, plenty of pundits claim Republicans are no longer afraid of him, but that doesn’t square with Republicans’ actions.

Over the weekend and continuing this week, there has been a fair amount of attention given to several op-eds written by Arizona Senator Jeff Flake (R) to promote a book he wrote. One of the op-eds in Politico was at once a stunning revelation by Flake that Republicans know they created the conditions that allowed Trump to gain access to the White House, and that the Party is in complete denial about the danger to the Party and country they’re responsible for by embracing Trump.

Of course nothing Flake wrote is a revelation; anyone can go back over the past 12 months and do a web browser search and find at least a thousand opinion pieces describing everything Flake confessed to being responsible for; this author has written several. However, the question that Flake didn’t answer is why he is just now confessing that his Party is in denial over the danger Trump poses to the nation. Flake also didn’t explain why he is just talking about the Trump disaster and not doing anything other than talk.

It was refreshing to see Flake assign blame for Trump’s rise to his party, but what most Americans really want to see is Flake, or any other Republican, actually do something; actions speak louder than words even if the words are “heartfelt” mea culpas and attempts at conciliation.

Of course there are a couple of possible explanations to the “why complain now” question; the most likely being abject fear of being associated too closely to the disaster in the Oval Office. Or, just as likely, Flake doesn’t want to be upstaged by Arizona’s senior Republican Senator John McCain who let his actions do the talking last week when he repaid Trump for demeaning his military service with a giant “f*ck you” no vote on the Republican healthcare repeal.

It is worth spending five minutes or so to read Flake’s confession to setting up the landscape for Trump’s ascendancy to the White House. He admits that his Republican Party began cultivating the land for Trump very early in President Barack Obama’s first couple of months in office. He also confessed that it was “we conservatives [who] mocked Barack Obama’s failure to deliver on his pledge to change the tone in Washington even as we worked to assist with that failure.” He also made a point of explaining how Republicans aided Trump’s future campaign by helping liars attack President Obama to portray him as an illegitimate President. Flake wrote:

“It was we conservatives who were largely silent when the most egregious and sustained attacks on Obama’s legitimacy were leveled by marginal figures who would later be embraced and legitimized by far too many of us.” (author bold)

Of course he is referring to Trump as that “marginal figure” as the illegitimate man they embraced and now support unanimously. That brings up the question millions of Americans have been asking for several months; what are Republicans going to do about that “marginal figure” leading the Republican Party and Americans to their death.

Here’s the thing, although not as forthcoming as Mr. Flake, there have been several Republicans in Congress who have criticized, questioned, and complained about the Trump and yet they are offering nothing but support and protection for the man who has no use for the U.S. Constitution or the United States Congress for that matter. In fact, it was Flake who said: “We created him and now we’re rationalizing him. When will it stop?” That is the question the majority of Americans want answered and they want it answered with actions, not cheap words; something Flake and his Republican cohort is ill-inclined to do.

For all his complaints about Trump, and bemoaning that the Republicans are in denial over the danger to the nation he poses, Flake has been a solid supporter of the “aberration in the Oval Office.” In fact, Flake has voted with Trump 95.6 percent of the time and that record demolishes his complaints about Trump or his recognition that his party is in denial and wondering “when will it stop.” Flake may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he damn sure knows it will only stop when Republicans stop sucking up to a disaster to the nation and an existential threat to the Republican Party.

To belabor the point that Flake knows when and how to stop the “erratic executive branch of government,” he used more “cheap talk” to answer his own question about “when will it stop.” He wrote:

Under our Constitution, there simply are not that many people who are in a position to do something about an executive branch in chaos. As the first branch of government (Article I), the Congress was designed expressly to assert itself at just such moments. It is what we talk about when we talk about ‘checks and balances.’ Too often, we observe the unfolding drama along with the rest of the country, passively, all but saying, ‘Someone should do something!’ without seeming to realize that that someone is us. And so, that unnerving silence in the face of an erratic executive branch is an abdication, and those in positions of leadership bear particular responsibility.(author bold)

So there it is and it is not this progressive secular humanist’s “words” but the words that every last Republican in Congress knows is the truth. No-one in America can rein in or put a stop to Trump except congressional Republicans who control both houses of Congress. Let’s face it, if Democrats controlled Congress Trump would be facing impeachment proceedings for a variety of federal crimes as well as crimes against the Constitution. But Democrats do not control Congress, Republicans do. And until Republicans start taking action and stop making excuses, or being silent, about “their mess” in the White House, it is no longer a matter of Republicans being in denial; they are complicit and now “culpable” for whatever harm Trump inflicts on the nation.

Flake is not the first Republican to express “concern” over Trump, but he is the first to actually take responsibility for his Party’s machinations that both allowed him to gain a foothold in the Party and then start decimating the nation by embracing him as “legitimate.”

It’s possible that Flake recognizes the accolades John McCain earned for standing up to Trump to shut down the Senate healthcare effort for now, or is terrified of being caught sucking on Trump when the world eventually comes crashing down on him. But what he has to comprehend is that most Americans will never read his book or his publisher’s “promotional” op-eds confessing he, and his party, are responsible for the Trump disaster.

What most Americans do know is that no matter how much Flake and several other Republicans bemoan an idiot in the White House, there are very, very few of them willing to let their actions do the talking. Until then, Flake is simply another con man saying what he thinks people want to hear so they will buy his book and maybe not blame him for sucking up to Trump.

It’s Not Just Trump – The Entire Republican Party Is Morally Rotten

 

It is a sure sign one is encountering a “low information” voter when an American places the blame for all of the nation’s ills and woes on one individual in government; typically the occupant of the White House. There is a good reason there are so many uninformed Americans and it’s down to the overwhelming number of citizens who are “seemingly” dumber than dirt regarding their government.

A recent study found that an overwhelming majority of Americans cannot name the three branches of government (75%), and worse yet a sick number (64%) couldn’t name even one branch if their ignorant lives depended on it. It is a sad revelation to this author that within those statistics must be a fairly significant number of ‘left-leaning’ Americans who blame all of the atrocities coming out of Washington on Trump.

No sane human being would consider arguing that the criminal in the White House doesn’t deserve all of the criticism that’s being heaped on him, and although it is satisfying to unleash a torrent of expletives at or about Trump, he is not the primary problem plaguing the nation. That distinction goes to the entire Republican Party and includes Republican politicians serving in all branches of government in every state, federal and regional office.

Last week Washington Post conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin paraphrased fellow conservative columnist David Brooks writing for the New York Times to bolster her, and this author’s, assertion that of course Trump is corrupt, but the real problem is the “moral rot” endemic to the Republican movement and all its iterations. According to Brooks:

It takes generations to hammer ethical considerations out of a [party’s] mind and to replace them entirely with the ruthless logic of winning and losing.  Beyond partisanship the GOP evidences no attachment to any external moral truth or ethical code.”

Republicans demonstrated that lack of attachment to truth and ethics on the first day of the 2017 legislative session when they attempted to gut the independent ethics committee and eliminate any chance they would be caught cheating. Trump had no part in that piece of work and stunningly criticized Republicans into pulling back from giving themselves free rein to commit all manner of corruption. It is true that Trump is without ethics and lusts to singlehandedly eliminate any and all ethics investigation into his corrupt administration, but it was congressional Republicans who actually attempted the immoral action.

In fact, every abomination being proposed as legislation taking everything from the American people, and every last executive order signed by Trump eliminating regulatory oversight is the handiwork of the Republican establishment under direction of the Koch brothers and their myriad libertarian and evangelical belief tanks.

Remember too, that it is the Heritage Foundation’s Mike Pence who is setting and executing the administration’s domestic and foreign policy, not dumb Don. Trump is not nearly smart or engaged enough to have had at the ready a mountain of executive orders and reforms that are coming out of conservative Washington; those orders and reforms were set in stone by the GOP and their corporate backers ages ago. Whether it is the crusade to “dismantle the administrative state” (government) or transfer all of America’s wealth directly to the richest Americans and their corporations, or impose evangelical edicts on the people; everything coming from the “Trump administration” originated within the GOP establishment long before he came on the scene.

Of course Trump supports transferring the wealth of the nation to his “taker” class by eliminating government and regulations, but he isn’t nearly smart or engaged enough to know, or care, how to go about it. Republicans and their backers have had those plans set in stone for going on four decades; since the Reagan era. A fairly comprehensive list of their goals can be found here and they comport with every unpopular policy and agenda the Republicans in Congress and state legislatures are attempting to ram down the people’s throats today.

The recent circus surrounding the GOP’s attempt to eliminate 20 to 30 million Americans’ healthcare is a prime example of how perverse and rotten to the core the Republican Party is and how little Trump is involved in the legislative or decision-making process.

Trump is a pathological narcissist who desperately needs some kind of “legislative accomplishment” to boast about and nothing seems to turn his crank more than the thought of repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It is no revelation to any American that Trump had no idea what any of the repeal and replace bills consisted of any more than the majority of Republicans in the House and Senate who voted for them. Trump’s ire with Republicans has nothing to do with what was, or was not, in any of the repeal attempts; it is simply that he didn’t have anything to sign and brag about.

If Republicans wanted to sate the Trump’s need for a healthcare bill to sign, they could have printed out the entirety of the Affordable Care Act and put Trump’s name on it. He would have signed it, held a nationally televised news conference in the Rose Garden and hailed it as the greatest legislation ever enacted in America’s 239 year existence. But giving their president a “victory” to celebrate wasn’t the GOP’s intent; they wanted to take healthcare away from tens-of-millions of Americans to give their donors massive tax cuts. And maybe more importantly, they wanted to begin fulfilling the Koch brothers’ crusade to “dismantle the administrative state.”

Nobody in their right mind thinks Trump is anything other than a tiny-handed, know-nothing bloviate and nasty narcissist who deserves all of the criticism he’s getting. But he does not run the Republican Congress, he is not writing Republican legislation or his own executive orders and is he is definitely not in charge of domestic policy; he willingly “gifted” that responsibility to Mike Pence. Pence is a Koch brother establishment Republican driving every last abomination plaguing the nation whether it is banning transgender soldiers from serving in the military or passing legislation allowing the fossil fuel industry to dump toxic waste into Americans’ water supply.

Trump is a piece of waste and deserves whatever pejoratives and condemnation the people can throw at him. However, it’s time to stop blaming him for what his party is doing just because he gets to live in the White House. It is true that Trump is morally corrupt, but he is only allowed to proceed with impunity because the Republicans he represents have spent generations eradicating any ethical considerations out of the party and abandoned any “attachment to any external moral truth or ethical code.”

Cruel Missouri Republicans Cut Minimum Wage By 23 Percent

 

Since Republicans have been in complete control of the federal government and a majority of the states, it has become increasingly simple for any imbecile to get a fairly accurate sense of why the conservative malcontents even exist. Obviously it has nothing whatsoever to do with governing to advance the general welfare of the United States of American or the people; they exist to serve the filthy rich, evangelical extremists, bigots, and two specific foreign nations. The problem with having a white trash punk occupying the White House and distracting the public with a daily clown show is that there are myriad Republican atrocities occurring at an ever-alarming rate across the country with little-to-no media coverage.

This week in Missouri, the “Show Me State,” Republicans showed Missouri residents and the rest of the nation precisely how savage the GOP is to the people in their never-ending crusade to take from the working-class to enrich the wealthy and businesses. As this author has stated over the past decade; there is nothing, absolutely nothing that Republicans have done for the general welfare of the people going back to the Reagan era. In fact, in keeping with their typical policy of taking everything imaginable from the population, Missouri Republicans took any hope of escaping poverty for already low-wage workers; just to show how barbaric they can be.

The GOP-controlled state legislature passed a law forbidding any municipality in the state from raising the minimum wage. It is a practice that state-level Republicans have been implementing regularly since the people’s movement to “raise the wage” began gaining support.  But Missouri is the “Show me State,” and to show the nation their cruel intentions they made matters that much worse; they cut the St. Louis area’s minimum wage by nearly 25 percent; from $10.00 an hour to $7.70.

What started this most recent Republican outrage is what typically incites Republicans to barbarism; someone did something that benefitted Americans and in this case it was a city’s assistance for low-wage workers in the St. Louis city limits. The state GOP passed a “preemption” law forbidding localities from helping their workforce climb out of poverty. Missouri’s Republican governor, Eric Greitens, said he will allow the law to go into effect to ban cities and counties statewide from raising the minimum wage one penny higher than the Republican approved minimum.

The downgrade will officially go into effect on August 28 and for poverty wage workers in St. Louis, their wages will be “pushed back down” to where state Republicans say they belong; from $10 to $7.70 per hour.

As is typically the case, Republicans claim that paying workers more than slave wages will kill jobs – a claim that has been debunked regularly. The state’s governor is too much of a coward to sign the bill into law and make it his own, so he is just letting it go into effect. Missouri’s Constitution only requires a governor’s signature if they intend to veto a piece of legislation. Still, those workers in St. Louis will remember who is responsible for cutting their wages over a regularly debunked Republican lie. The governor said Republicans had to cut existing wages by 23 percent in a couple of months to save jobs. Greitens said,  “the St. Louis minimum wage would kill jobs. And despite what you hear from liberals, it will take money out of people’s pockets.”

Greitens statement is contrary to the facts and he knows it, but he is a Republican and lying to enrich business is one of the primary reasons he is in politics; it is obviously not to help the people. Raising the minimum wage from “slave level” to just poverty level does not impact jobs negatively, but it does help the workers survive and that is abhorrent to Republicans.

According to one of myriad economists’ studies, a minimum wage increase in one area does not affect the level of employment in surrounding areas.  According to a research economist with the Center for Equitable Growth, Ben Zipperer; “At least at the county level, on average, we don’t see major spillover effects.”

One study conducted by U.C. Berkeley researchers revealed that even though the restaurant industry employs mostly low-wage workers, they found that among San Francisco restaurants, a 2004 wage hike from $6.75 to $8.50 had absolutely “no effect on employment growth.”

The city of St. Louis originally passed the small, incremental minimum wage hike two years ago, and business groups immediately filed suit to stop it. However, their efforts were temporarily thwarted when the case went to the Missouri Supreme Court where Justices ruled the St. Louis wage hike was lawful. Undeterred, Republicans rushed to defend business, passed the new state preemption law, and effectively rendered the Court’s ruling irrelevant. St. Louis workers will get a wage cut from $10 to $7.70 per hour and no other municipality in Missouri will ever raise the minimum wage again.

This nasty Republican and Koch brother idea of passing preemption laws has become wildly popular in GOP-controlled states, especially since more cities and counties have tried to help their workforces by doing what state and federal Republicans refuse to do on principle; raise the minimum wage. And since big business groups haven’t yet gained control over localities, they just pay Republican state legislators and governors to block them from the state capitol.

Right now, at least 17 (Republican) states have preemption laws banning localities from enacting minimum wage legislation, according to the National League of Cities. And it is noteworthy to mention that while raising the minimum wage is wildly popular among the population, Republican donors have been arguing vehemently against them with great success. And the business community has the Koch brothers money, and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) behind them creating all the “model preemption legislation” Republicans and big business need to keep workers poor earning wages at below poverty levels.

With the level of success the Koch-funded ALEC is having giving Republican state legislatures a means of keeping low-wage Americans in poverty, it is not a stretch to predict that Republicans in Congress will take the “preemption legislation” to heart, and ban the states from helping their citizens climb out of poverty.

Trump Imperils a Third of the Population’s Clean Drinking Water

By now only someone in a coma is unaware that Republicans will go to great lengths to sate the greed of the fossil fuel industry no matter how detrimental their actions are to human life. As most Americans learned by the sixth grade, the primary component in a human body is water; anywhere from 60 to 75 percent depending on a person’s age. That being the case, it is safe to assume most people comprehend that access to clean drinking water is more than a basic human right, it is fundamental to life. Obviously, not everyone agrees with fundamental biology or has any regard for human life; that is particularly true of America’s “pro-life” Republicans.

In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly “Explicitly recognized the fundamental human right to safe water and sanitation, and acknowledged that clean drinking water and sanitation are essential to the realization of all human rights.”

Republicans, led by the Koch brothers and Donald Trump, completely disagree with the U.N. General Assembly and are continuing the fossil fuel attack on Americans’ “fundamental human right” to clean water; an attack they began early in the new legislative year with a new heartless White House occupant. However, that “first strike” attack only affected areas in and around coal mining regions, so the Trump is expanding the attack on clean drinking water to affect a greater number of Americans; a little over one-in-three Americans.

In early February, Trump signed a law allowing the fossil fuel (primarily coal) industry to dump toxic waste and chemicals into Americans’ clean water supplies. This is in spite of Trump’s campaign pledge to his supporters that “Americans need crystal clear and clean drinking water.” As Jenifer Collins of Earthjustice said at the time:

It is shameful that one of the first bills President Trump signs into law is an attack on clean water protections for communities facing the harmful health and environmental impacts of coal mining operations like mountaintop removal mining. The President said Americans need ‘crystal clear and clean water.’ If he really meant that, he would have vetoed this legislation.”

Of course Trump didn’t mean it – he is a pathological liar. And he will say “I never promised to protect Americans’ crystal clear and clean drinking water, I just said they need it.” Apparently the Koch brothers’ fossil fuel industry needs the authority to pour toxic waste into “crystal clear and clean drinking water” without legal repercussions or punitive damages that Trump and Republicans were happy to provide.

Another advocate for Americans’ access to clean drinking water, Natalie Thompson, representing the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition said:

Voting to overturn the Stream Protection Rule in its entirety with no consideration for the health of our citizens and our ecosystems is completely irresponsible. The people in these coal communities will pay the price by being forced to purchase potable water that they cannot afford or by combating cancer, birth defects, and other invasions of human health by way of toxic water.”

As an aside for Ms. Thompson to ponder; If those people in those coal communities are unable to afford purchasing potable water, they aren’t going to be able to purchase healthcare insurance to battle cancer, birth defects or other human health issues. And, if they are that economically disadvantaged they will just have to die along with any Medicaid or Medicare coverage Trump and Republicans are eliminating to “sate the greed of the rich.”

Now, Trump and his fossil fuel industry EPA director, Scott Pruitt, are readying a vicious attack on the rest of the nation’s “crystal clear and clean water” that will affect a little over a third of the population’s “fundamental human right” to clean water.

Trump’s barbaric administration officially began repealing the “Clean Water Rule” late last week with a solemn pledge to completely “rescind and rewrite the regulation.” Trump’s fossil fuel employee Scott Pruitt will task industry lobbyists to “rewrite the regulation” to conform to the February law allowing the fossil fuel producers, manufacturers, and agribusiness  to legally dump toxic waste into about two million miles of rivers and streams and 20 million acres of wetlands.

To get an idea of how dastardly this Trump cabal really is, the “official repeal proposal” appeared on the same day EPA Administrator and ardent “pro-life” evangelical Scott Pruitt testified in front of the Senate Appropriations Committee that with a fossil fuel advocate like him at the helm, “the EPA would focus on its core mission of ‘protecting clean air and water’ for the American people.”

Pruitt said in a press statement:

We are taking significant action to return power to the states and provide regulatory certainty to our nation’s farmers and businesses. This is the first step in the two-step process to redefine ‘waters of the U.S.’ and we are committed to moving through this re-evaluation to quickly provide regulatory certainty, in a way that is thoughtful, transparent and collaborative with other agencies and the public.”

Republicans, and particularly the Koch brothers’ fossil fuel cohort, complained bitterly in 2015 when President Obama tasked the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers with following an order from the United States Supreme Court to designate “waters of the U.S” that required protection from toxic dumping; solely because they provide “crystal clear and clean drinking water” to over a third of the population.

In February, at about the same time he signed a law authorizing the fossil fuel industry to dump toxic waste into rivers and streams that provide clean water, Trump issued an executive order directing the EPA to “review and reconsider” the Clean Water Rule it previously devised in conjunction with the Army Corps of Engineers. Trump specifically ordered the EPA to give “special attention and consideration” to how the agency defined “navigable waters.” One can only imagine that “navigable waters” will be reserved for the oceans in and around the United States so the fossil fuel, manufacturing, chemical, and agricultural industry can dump toxic waste into the clean waters anywhere within the continental United States.

There really isn’t much to say about the party in power, or its corrupt leader, that is printable for polite company, but that it takes a special kind of evil to pass laws, issue executive orders and rescind protections just to “sate the greed of the fossil fuel industry.” It was beyond comprehension that Congress and Trump would enact a law allowing the fossil fuel industry to dump toxic waste in and around mining and oil operations, but endangering a third of the population’s “crystal clear and clean water” is beyond comprehension. Sadly, there is nothing whatsoever anyone can do to stop this vicious attack on a “fundamental human right,” but there are environmental groups pledging to continue the fight for “human rights.” The executive director of the Sierra Club, Michael Brune said in a statement:

“It goes without saying that the Trump administration doesn’t care about the environment, public health, or its duty to protect our most precious natural resources — and that is why it’s up to us, the American people, to hold them accountable. We will fight this and every other attempt by polluters and the Trump administration to destroy our water resources.”

The Trump administration is out to destroy, or steal, all of America’s resources for his and Republicans’ masters the Koch brothers, and the people can attempt to fight, and resist, their efforts, but they are impotent. That’s what happens when stupid Americans install a government committed to the general welfare of the rich, corporations and fossil fuel industry instead of the American people. First they came for your healthcare, then your schools, then your freedoms and now they’re coming for your most fundamental human right; “crystal clear and clean water.”