Churches are fuming over being taxed by Republicans and Trump

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Religious Republican states inform women abortion can be reversed

In the religious war against women being waged by Republicans in Congress and state legislatures, there are unlimited absurdities and atrocities in the crusade to deny women their constitutional human right to self-determination regarding their reproductive health. Republicans believe their constitutional right as theocratic legislators is controlling women’s reproductive health and a piece in the Huffington Post reveals just how maniacally driven religious Republicans are in their crusade to control American women.

It is a sad state of affairs, but too few media outlets are apprising women about the unrelenting attacks on their reproductive rights because the media is as terrified of inciting evangelical rage as Democrats. They still believe there is a federal statute forbidding alerting Americans that Republicans are legislating according to a bastardized form of evangelicalism unique to the American religious right. And that religious legislation is most rampant where  women’s medical and health rights are concerned.

Most folks who have undergone a medical procedure have signed a consent form and been adequately educated about the risks and their options by a physician. Every state has their own version of what information the state deems is necessary for the patient to be adequately “informed” before giving their consent for a medical procedure. This is particularly true with regard to a relatively simple and routinely safe procedure unique to women intent on terminating an unplanned pregnancy. Suffice it to say that some dyed-in-the-wool evangelical red states include phony information that is simply not supported by any medical or scientific research; their goal is to prevent women from making an informed decision when they can make a Vatican-approved decision instead.

Informed consent based on fake science, first or second-person anecdotes, or a theocrat’s notion that “seems to make sense” is not informed. However, in three statespart of advising a woman seeking an abortion is “informing” them that if they “act urgently” they can “reverse an abortion.”

This unscientific “idea” is a real “thing” only in that there is a real organization, the “Abortion Pill Reversal” (APR) worldwide network, pushing the idea. The “idea” is actually just another religious “crisis pregnancy center” deception with only one reason for existing: to frighten, cajole, and dissuade women from terminating a pregnancy.

This APR “idea” was first introduced about six years ago under the guise of a “case study” that is as far removed from any kind of real science as some of the other dimwitted assertions from evangelical conservatives. In fact, the concept of reversing an abortion is so fantastical that one believed it had been promptly sent to the dustbin about six years ago when it was first introduced. Instead, it was embraced by evangelicals and the Catholic personhood movement and written into legislation in a few red states.

Seriously, the idea of “reversing an abortion” ranks up there with other debunked assertions such as homosexuality causes hurricanes and earthquakes; more guns on the streets mean fewer shootings; college turns Christians into gays; and abortion causes breast cancer, infertility, and severe lifelong psychological damage from making a decision evangelicals oppose.

The issue here is not necessarily another deceitful machination to manipulate women into toeing the Vatican line on reproduction, although it is an issue posing monumental threats to women’s rights. No, the matter is that religious Republicans are actually passing laws targeting women’s reproductive rights based on nothing more than “an idea” some evangelical cretin conjured up to control women. Some real scientists generously labeled the abortion reversal plan “an experiment;” but it is far less than any real scientific experiment.

The insanely ridiculous notion is courtesy of APR  founder Dr. George Delgado who published what he declared was a “small case series” in the Annals of Pharmacology back in 2012. In that poor excuse for a study Delgado claimed that he found a way to reverse “medication abortion” in 4 out of the six women he said participated by giving them an injection of the hormone progesterone; a seventh woman bailed on Delgado’s study.

The women were allegedly administered the progesterone after taking a dose of “mifepristone,” the first of two drugs necessary for a medication abortion. According to Delgado, “giving women extra progesterone – a hormone that helps support pregnancy – will ‘outnumber’ and ‘outcompete’ the ‘misoprostol’ [first pill] and keep it from working.”

Delgado also said that since a higher concentration of one hormone “will tend to win the battle at the receptor, it just makes sense” that progesterone can block the effects of mifepristone and reverse an abortion.

In August 2017, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) had to release a real science and fact-based statement warning that “Facts Are Important” and that “Medication Abortion Reversal Is Not Supported by Science.” The gist of the ACOG statement is that real OB/GYNs do not support prescribing progesterone to stop an abortion because it is “not based on science and does not meet any clinical standards.” ACOG also assailed Republican states for “unfounded legislative mandates [that] represent dangerous political interference and compromise patient care and safety.”

Another OB-GYN, the director of Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health, Dr. Daniel Grossman said:

It’s one thing to exaggerate the risks of abortion, but it’s far more concerning when a state codifies into law a medical treatment that is completely unproven. We should all be concerned when our government forces doctors to recommend an experimental therapy — without making it clear that it’s experimental.” (author bold)

As one might expect, any suggestion that a fake anti-abortion treatment is unscientific enraged the Catholic personhood movement and drove them to lash out at what they deemed is a “hostile media” for reporting that Delgado’s “idea” is unscientific and unproven. At the time, the Catholics were furious that several media outlets’ reporting convinced legislators in two or three states to reconsider “forcing doctors” to counsel their patients with junk science; the abortion reversal information was not included in those states’ informed consent laws.

Learning that three Republican controlled states actually included this APR gibberish and forcing doctors who know better to recommend a treatment based on an unscientific and untested “idea” was somewhat surprising. It is almost unbelievable that this “abortion reversal” nonsense is still a thing, but then every religious Republican attempt to deny women their equal rights is scientifically unproven and patently absurd. Whether it entails claims that abortion causes cancer, a single-celled zygote is a person, or a fetus feels pain before there is any neurological structure in place to feel anything, the anti-women’s choice movement is the epitome of deceitful.

It is not clear if Republican legislators truly believe the level of lunacy they are basing their anti-women’s religious legislation on, or if they want to believe the non-science supports their crusade to control women’s lives. But whatever their particular religious dysfunction, they never take into account the health and well-being of the woman. The so-called six-person APR “case study” never even considered how the “treatment” would affect the woman’s health, or what might happen to the fetus if it survives. It is something that a real scientific study would have explored extensively prior to beginning the study.

One can argue that without any documentation other than an anecdotal “study” void of any data, that so-called abortion reversal therapy is not even experimental in a scientific sense. It may seem to make biological sense to an ignoramus abortion opponent like Delgado and his personhood devotees, but it is nothing remotely resembling anything “scientific;” which explains why religious Republicans in three states are forcing doctors to inform patients about some idea.

It isn’t unexpected the religious right and Vatican defends these anti-women charlatans; they exist to control women. However, Republicans, and any idiotic Democrat, who supports misleading women using fear or fake “science” is beyond despicable – they are supporting religious extremism targeting American women. But by dog, because this is a religious patriarchy the religious Republicans and their anti-women evangelicals continually get a free pass; because they are using religion to control women.

Image: Eclectoblog

There Is Only One Solution To America’s Mass Shooting Epidemic

By all accounts, the past week in 21st Century America was as normal as the Sun appearing to rise in the East and set in the West. Seriously, there was the run-of-the-mill news that Russians interfered in the 2016 election on behalf of Trump, Trump told a rash of lies, and then some high school students and their teachers were massacred in their school by a Trump supporter with easy access to several battlefield weapons.

As if to punctuate just how normal the week with another mass shooting really was, no small number of Republicans predictably responding with calls for thoughts and supplication to their god (prayers) to comfort the shooting victims and their families, and to blame people with mental health issues for another mass shooting and gun massacre; even though mental health is not the culprit.

The prayers and calls to address mental health will barely lasted another week, if that, and then it is back to awaiting the next mass shooting, the next batch of Republican calls to prayer, and of course the next round of calls to address mental illness. Oh, and to make the week of a mass shooting particularly normal, Republicans were perfectly normal in never addressing guns and it brings up a couple of issues Americans who are sick and tired of the “normal” never address.

First, it is high time for sane human beings to stop blaming and attacking the National Rifle Association for a very fundamental reason; the national gun lobby does not have the ability to pass or obstruct any kind of gun safety legislation. Everyone is aware that the NRA campaigns for Republicans, and they give those Republicans campaign donations, and they keep a gun-zealot “report card” to use against Republicans who would dare to oppose the NRA agenda.

But the truth is that the National Rifle Association is not an elected representative and does not get to cast one vote in the House or Senate for or against gun safety legislation any more than the Koch brothers get to cast even one vote for tax cuts or legislation ending environmental regulations. Those votes are the sole responsibility of Republicans.

At this point, it is important to remind gun safety advocates that the only Americans with the ability to address gun violence and pass sane gun safety regulations at the national level are Republicans in Congress; Democrats have mostly supported basic gun safety regulations. To be fair, Republicans are only able to protect the NRA and gun fanatics because they continue winning elections and it raises another issue that defies logic. If there is such overwhelming support for the most basic gun safety regulations, then why in dog’s name do those same Americans continue voting for Republicans who are religiously opposed to regulating guns?

Studies show that over 90 percent of the population supports a universal background check to purchase firearms, and nearly 70 percent support a ban on battlefield assault weapons like those used in the past three mass shootings. And yet a fair majority of those same people vote for Republicans even as they pander to the gun lobby at the same level they pander to evangelical fanatics.

It is true that the only means of addressing gun violence in America is evicting Republicans from Congress and state legislatures because they always vehemently oppose and block gun laws and regulations. However, they would not be blocking what most Americans apparently want, sane gun safety measures, if those same Americans were not voting to keep them in power. Any effort to address the gun violence in this country begins and ends with getting religious fanatics and bigots to stop sending Republicans to Washington to continue the gun proliferation crusade only they can stop.

The latest massacre has also brought out the typical response from gun safety advocates that will eventually fade from the population’s memory. A rash of petitions, a campaign to “call your congressional representatives” and demand action, and appeals for money to fight the National Rifle Association are the big thing immediately after every typical gun massacre and the Florida massacre is no different. Those responses, although well-meaning, have proven to be every stinking bit as ineffective as the Republican calls for “thoughts and prayers” for the victims and their families.

This latest massacre has brought something new in that the student survivors are calling for mass protests, marches, sit-ins and student walkouts that may make the people feel like they are doing something constructive. But like thoughts and prayers, petitions, and donation requests, they will not influence even one Republican to support sane gun safety legislation. At best, the only real hope going forward is that voters, particularly half-sane Republican voters, will get the message that their political party is solely responsible for the NRA’s success at putting more guns, especially assault weapons, on American streets and in American schools. The only way to shut down the NRA, and begin bringing some sanity to the gun debate, is getting Republicans out of Congress and state legislatures.

Republicans are as terrified of inflaming their gun zealot base as they are the NRA or there would have been action on reducing gun violence immediately after any one of the “normal” mass shootings plaguing America. The only possibility of actually addressing gun violence and the gun proliferation crusade is evicting Republicans from power because every other approach has proven futile. That was made perfectly clear this week in Florida.

Despite their state making national headlines for another mass shooting with an assault weapon, Florida’s Republican controlled legislature rejected an attempt at banning assault rifles like the one used in the most recent massacre. With the massacre less than a week old and with survivors of the massacre present in the legislative chamber, Republicans put a quick end to any effort to ban assault weapons in Florida. Notice it was Republicans, not the NRA and not Trump, who voted against the assault weapon ban in the same manner it was Republicans and nasty right-wing maniacs who launched a smear campaign against the mass shooting survivors. However, Trump’s son did, in fact, join in the smear campaign even while it is reported he is advising dirty Don Sr. on gun policy.

Look, there should not be a need for a giant concerted effort to address the gun violence plaguing America, but since there is a pressing need it is imperative to make that effort effective; and it begins and ends with getting Republicans out of power. Even criticizing Trump, although satisfying, will not impress on Republicans in Congress and state legislatures that Americans want sane gun safety laws to protect American citizens. If the head of the Executive Branch could wave a magic wand and ban assault weapons or enact universal background checks for gun purchases, President Barack Obama would have taken action and solved the issue years ago. It is only Republicans in Congress and state legislatures who are blocking an effort to address gun violence and since they have demonstrated that they will never take action then they have to be sent packing.

If the current movement continues gaining momentum, then it is crucial that the effort targets the only people who can actually address this pressing issue – Republicans. Of course the NRA is a vile organization, but it is not capable of casting one vote against sane gun safety laws in the House or Senate, only Republicans are. Americans are not really serious about addressing the epidemic of gun massacres unless they make Republicans the focus of any concerted effort and evict them from power with extreme prejudice; if that effort fails there will be no change whatsoever.

Koch Republicans Inch Closer Towards Replacing the Constitution

In a nation governed by a supreme law of the land, a “law” every politician recites a “so help me god” oath to support and defend, it is a sad state that the political party running the government rejects that “supreme law” out of hand. Even worse, since Trump’s poorly attended inauguration, more Republicans are coming out against the U.S. Constitution with no outrage among the population. The party’s standard bearer, dirty Don Trump, boldly claimed the “supreme law” is bad for Americans and “archaic” to set the stage for Republicans to create a new modern law of the land. As of late, an increasing number of Republicans claim their truly archaic religious rule book, or some bastardized interpretation of it, supersedes the law of the land; anything in the Constitution stating otherwise is “unconstitutional.”

It is unfortunate, but the number of politicians dreaming of abolishing the U.S. Constitution for a new set of “god-bestowed” laws includes the entirety of the Republican Party; the Koch brothers have been greatly increasing their already very substantial funding for the campaign to “rebirth the Constitution.” This movement has been in the works for a long time, and of course the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has been instrumental in the crusade to transform the current Constitution into a document amenable to the demands of the libertarian Kochs and Christian Dominionists. The movement became mainstream in GOP circles when the RNC included an entire section devoted to creating a new evangelical and Koch-friendly constitution in its official 2016 platform.

Of course then, like now, many Americans claim a Republican platform is just a “guideline,” or wish-list of their Utopian vision of more perfect GOP Union. But they are well beyond a “guideline” and well on their way towards “replacing” the U.S. Constitution. Like Americans’ apathy at the creeping theocracy threatening their way of life,  there is little to no outrage or abject fear in the population at the demise of the document that informs this nation.

There is a concerted, and very well-funded, crusade among Republican-controlled states to be proactive in anticipating the addition of 5 states to successfully call for a constitutional convention. The requirement to convene a constitutional convention is 34 states and exactly a year ago Wyoming became the 29th state to pass a resolution “requesting a convention of the states”  to rewrite the law of the land.

There was little-to-no reporting about two weeks ago that another Republican state joined the others in passing an initiative to convene a constitutional convention to conform to the Koch brothers’ vision of America. In Iowa, the Senate passed “Joint Resolution 8” calling for a convention of the states to impose the Koch-libertarian-evangelical created Constitution on the American people.

This action is not by a rogue state or outlier by any stretch and if Republicans gain control of four or five more states, they will invoke Article 5 of the current Constitution and begin dismantling the administrative state (government). And because they intend to create a new constitution, they will enshrine protections to ensure the federal government will never return.

Iowa Republicans claim their intent is imposing “fiscal restraints” to limit federal government spending to only what Republicans want, and severely limit the authority and the jurisdiction of the federal judiciary and Congress. This is a common theme among the states’ “initiatives,” but as Bill Meyers noted, when Republicans states are the sole participants in “amending” the Constitution, they will not limit their efforts to one item and a “runaway convention” will be a certainty.

If Americans were aware of what the Kochs and evangelicals really intend for the new law of the land, they may wake up and revolt. But the population as a whole is inherently ignorant or we would not be on the brink of a new America and a two-bit corrupt celebrity would not be in the White House.

Of course the Kochs and evangelicals intend to have a federal government, but only to tax the people just enough to pay for an army, a federal police force, and the church. If any American doesn’t believe it, consider that “fiscal responsibility” is code for the Republicans’ long sought-after “balanced budget amendment.” Republicans will mandate a budget that cannot exceed tax revenue, and according to the earliest reporting on the recent and drastic revenue shortfall due to the Heritage Foundation’s tax reform, there will not even be enough budget to fund the military or federal police; of course “the church” funding has not been affected. Any part of government unrelated to waging wars or religion will have to be eliminated for lack of revenue according to the Koch’s libertarian agenda.

What may be worse is the insertion of what Republicans denote as “god” rights and laws. An excerpt from the 2016 RNC platform clearly portends an end to equal rights, religious freedom and signals the imposition of an evangelical theocracy as the law of the land. It says that the new “rebirthed” Constitution will guarantee:

That God bestows certain inalienable rights on every individual; that government exists first and foremost to protect those inalienable [god] rights; that man-made law must be consistent with God-given, natural rights; and that if God-given rights come in conflict with government, court, or human-granted rightsGod-given, natural, rights always prevail.” (author bold)

It doesn’t take a genius to notice the number of “god” references or that, as evangelical fanatics scream mercilessly, that “god” prevails over everything. What that means for a new America is that all laws will have to conform with “god” law and the concept of church-State separation will cease to exist. Republicans and evangelical leaders have claimed loudly that god created America and he is the law of the land and that absurd notion will be the new law of the land’s overriding theme. Those radical  evangelicals directing Republicans will not pass up a chance to make the Bible the constitution and America a Christian nation.

As Mr. Moyers points out, since Republicans states will convene the constitutional convention, they will have the right to set the rules and the agenda. That includes creating a new ratification process by reducing the number of states needed to approve the new Constitution and removing Congress from the approval process altogether. Republicans can, and will, reserve participation to Republican leaders and their corporate and evangelical advisors, and there is nothing any Supreme Court, U.S. Congress, or masses of people can do to stop them. In fact, there is even talk of the new Constitution allowing states to nullify any past, present or future Supreme Court ruling that the evangelical right or Republicans don’t consider valid or “god” approved. It would not be a shock if they just disband the federal judiciary and adhere to the Oathkeepers’ mentality and make the Constitutional sheriff the sole criminal justice system and arbiter of the law of the land.

Republicans are serious about transforming America and the Koch brothers and a few oligarchs provide unlimited funds, much of it dark money, to accomplish the dirty deed. Evangelicals do their part by supplying voters, and Trump created a perfect conduit for corporate money to influence elections through tax deductible church SuperPACs.

It is stunning that this truly existential threat to Americans’ way of life, and their nation as it has prospered for over 230 years, has progressed this far to actually become a terrifying reality. It is not pleasant to contemplate, but America’s days as a nation other country’s citizens admired are over. Sadly this pitiful country is only five Republican states away from officially being over as the Founding Fathers created it. Because without the current U.S. Constitution there is no United States of America. This like everything else happening to Americans was in the works long before Trump, but he has done his part by declaring the Constitution is “bad for America” to make the Kochs, evangelicals, and Republicans heroes for crusading to replace it.

Spending Bill Exposes Trump-Republican Hypocrisy and Contempt

As if Democrats lacked a growing number of memes and issues to win more than one safe congressional seat in the upcoming midterms, Republicans provided a stellar example of real conservatives’ priorities that should give even staunch Trump supporters reason to pause.

If there was only one overriding narrative throughout President Barack Obama’s eight-year tenure in the White House, it was that Republicans opposed spending even a penny on domestic programs nearly as much as they vehemently rejected adding even a penny to the deficit. Of course all that changed when a white bald guy moved in the White House. Republicans have exposed their single-most damning trait this past week and if Democrats fail to seize on it they are morons.

Although there has been a steady effort by Trump to defund and dismantle nearly every federal agency in the name of saving revenue and reducing debts, Republicans and Trump put an end to the idea that conservatives are concerned about debt and deficits; exactly like they did during the Reagan and W. Bush administrations. There are still no small number of congressional Republicans who are violently opposed to increasing the debt and deficits, unless it involves enriching corporations and the already wealthy.

Throughout the crusade to pass tax reform for the rich and corporations, some Democrats and plenty of pundits wondered what happened to the Republican deficit hawks that held the country’s economy hostage during the Obama Administration over raising the debt limit or deficit spending. It was well-reported, and admitted by Republicans, that the tax reform legislation they rushed through Congress would significantly increase the deficit. It was also well-reported that the primary beneficiaries of close to 90 percent of the deficit-raising tax cuts were the very rich and their corporations. That GOP legislation passed easily because giving the rich more wealth, despite adding trillions to the deficit, is just what Republicans do as a matter of course.

However, when Republicans acquiesced to a little domestic spending to give the military industrial complex more wealth and children healthcare, the fiscal hawks went ballistic. Democrats should not forget the tantrums of members of the House Freedom Caucus (teabaggers) or the so-called deficit hawks in the Senate as they campaign in the midterms.

By all accounts, save the gigantic increase in military spending and the gigantic void in addressing the fate of the so-called Dreamers, it appears the budget deal is about as good as Republicans will ever give. But even with an unwarranted amount of money for the military industrial complex (MIC), 67 Republican members of the House screamed bloody murder over the deficit after they just heaped trillions on the deficit on behalf of the rich.

In fact, more than deficit spending on domestic programs, members of the “Tea-Party-aligned Freedom Caucus left a closed-door meeting because the deal included raising the debt limit.” The Republicans swore they would vote against the deal because “the spending deal is disgusting and reckless,” and “hiking the debt limit is giving fiscal hawks heartburn.”

It is prescient to mention that it was Trump’s Treasury Department and the Republican Congressional Budget Office that called for raising the debt limit quickly because of the immediate revenue shortfall due to the just enacted Republican tax reform. It is the same tax reform that the same Republican deficit hawks voted for about a month ago, and it is a fact Democrats should not let voters forget going forward. Monumental deficits to enrich corporations and the wealthy are awesome, but a minor increase for the military and domestic social programs is “disgusting and reckless.”

The rank hypocrisy of so-called deficit hawks is beyond stunning and Democrats should beat that horse to death and then thrash it mercilessly leading up to the midterms. Republicans cheerfully voted to add trillions to the deficit for their wealthy donors’ enrichment, but considered it a personal affront to increase domestic and defense spending because it adds about three-hundred-billion to the deficit.

There was plenty of consternation and gnashing of teeth by the Freedom Caucus (teabaggers), but one in particular, Representative Mo Brooks (R-AL), fairly epitomized the GOP hypocrisy and fealty to the rich. Brooks told reporters that the spending bill was “a debt junkie’s dream and that I’m not only a no. I’m a Hell no.” Brooks continued exposing his party’s major flaw saying:

All I know is that unfortunately those who vote for this bill are betraying our country’s future and they are selling out our kids and our grandkids. I am baffled why the Republican Party has turned into such a big spending party. It is one thing to spend money; it is another thing to spend money you don’t have. No American family can operate that way; no American business can operate that way, and it is folly to believe that the United States of America can operate that way.”

Another “real conservative,” Representative Justin Amash called on the American people to speak out against spending on defense and domestic programs. He tweeted,  “I urge every American to speak out against this fiscal insanity.”

It is curious that Messrs. Amash and Brooks aren’t gagging on their own hypocrisy after voting for “fiscal insanity” to benefit the already wealthy and create a dangerous revenue shortfall in the process. Brooks is right, no family or business spends money they don’t have. If they want to spend more money than they have they simply bring in more revenue. Republicans are spending trillions on the rich and corporations and blowing up the deficit  they will never be capable of paying down because they drastically slashed the government’s only revenue source. It is, no matter how one assesses it, “fiscal insanity” and flagrant hypocrisy. At least on Republican Senator called out his party’s hypocrisy. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) said:

If you were against President Obama’s deficits, and now you’re for the Republican deficits, isn’t that the very definition of hypocrisy? I can’t in all good honesty, in all good faith, just look the other way because my party is now complicit in the deficits. I ran for office because I was very critical of President Obama’s trillion-dollar deficits. Now we have Republicans hand in hand with Democrats offering us trillion-dollar deficits. I can’t in all honesty look the other way.” (Author bold)

Now, it would be perfect if anything Senator Paul said had even a modicum of validity, and it was awfully big of the libertarian to call out his Republican cohort’s blatant hypocrisy. Except that it was awfully hypocritical of Rand Paul to criticize his fellow Republicans for piling money on the deficit when he stood on the Senate floor and called on those same Senate Republicans to vote for tax reform legislation they all knew was offering a  multi-trillion-dollar deficit increase. It is not entirely clear what kind of pejorative best fits a cretin like Rand Paul, but his hypocrisy in criticizing his hypocritical Republican cohort is something special indeed.

Democrats should make note of why the 67 House Republicans voted against the spending bill; because it contains $320 billion in deficit spending on defense and domestic programs. They opposed spending on disaster relief, children’s healthcare, the opioid crisis and the military because of the deficit, but had no issue voting for $2.4 trillion in deficit spending to enrich the wealthy and corporations. They are beyond hypocritical, they are contemptible.

Every House seat is on the ballot in the midterms and every Democratic candidate has been handed yet another piece of ammunition to use against Republicans. They don’t even have to shine a light on the 67  Republicans’ hypocrisy, although it is glaringly obvious. They can just remind voters that Republicans just blew up the deficit to serve the rich and corporations while opposing any means of helping the people because of the deficit.

America Is On Pace To Eclipse the Kansas Trickle Down Disaster

Republicans are not renowned for being truthful, or following through on their promises. In fact, it is safe to say that they lie and break solemn pledges at about the same rate normal human beings visit a toilet in a typical day; but at least one Republican broke that pattern and has kept his word.

At issue was the devastation Republicans wrought on Kansas’ economy and government during Sam “fetus” Brownback’s trickle down disaster that no sane politician would openly support or ever promise to repeat. But instead of pledging to avoid the “destroy Kansas” government and economy model, one high-ranking Republican promised a repeat at the national level when Republicans controlled Washington.

When then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell promised then-Kansas Governor Sam Brownback that Republicans would enact Kansas-style tax cuts for the rich and corporations, he fully intended to follow through on his pledge. It is particularly telling that when McConnell made his pledge, Kansas was already dying economically due to trickle down tax cuts, was hemorrhaging revenue, and smack in the midst credit downgrades.

McConnell’s pledge, and congressional Republicans subsequent tax reform, is not a case of what Albert Einstein called insanity; “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result;” there has always only been one result and expectation from the trickle down scam – abject failure and the rich getting richer. It is precisely the result Republicans, and probably dunce Don Trump, fully expect to see reach fruition like the one they saw during the Reagan and W. Bush administrations. They witnessed it again in Kansas over the past five years and still imposed it on America.

There is a handy timeline of the Kansas’ trickle down experiment courtesy of the Center for America Progress here with comparisons to what Republicans just rushed through Congress to enrich corporations and the rich under the guise of giving their hero Trump “victory.” They gave Trump some massive tax relief as well, but they sold it as a win for baldy.

Republicans knew their tax reform was another failure waiting to happen and in fact, that failure is an integral part of their crusade to dismantle the administrative state; or shrink the government to a size that can be drowned in a bathtub. “Cutting government down to size” was part and parcel of Kansas Republicans’ tax cuts for the rich and corporations and they did as significant damage to the state government as they did the state’s economy. That damage does not portend anything good for the economy nationally and the Congressional Budget Office issued a warning that comes from deliberately slashing the government’s only revenue source.

As 2018 began with new “Kansas-style” trickle down tax cuts for the rich and corporations, it is likely that McConnell et al were prepared for the news that the nation was rapidly heading for economic trouble. They all knew precisely what happened in Kansas due to tax cuts, although even Kansas’ woes did not begin within the first month of the ill-advised, and unpopular, tax reform. That current national trouble is the government facing a looming debt limit crisis much earlier than even Republicans imagined, and the near-desperation need to borrow a cool $1 trillion to keep the government operating and to meet the country’s debt obligations. The reason given for the dire warnings is the Republican trickle down tax reform driving the revenue shortfall.

It is noteworthy that the CBO’s warning about raising the debt limit earlier than expected, as well as the need to borrow $1 trillion, is after Republicans changed the way the CBO “scores” the cost of legislation to give the illusion that “trickle down” scams are good for the economy.  That trickle down friendly scoring informed the CBO that despite Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin  “exhausting extraordinary measures,”the debt limit will have to be increased in early March instead of late April.

The CBO was not hesitant in explaining that the reason for the change was due to the GOP tax cuts that began about a month ago. The CBO stated the obvious that those cuts translated exactly into what they were created to deliver; much less revenue to run the federal government. Early CBO estimates that the federal government would experience a $10 to $15 billion drop in revenue each month going forward was very generous according to “dynamic scoring.”  In fact, that estimate was extremely low because the CBO just reported that the federal government ran a deficit of $23 billion last month – the first month “trickle down” went into effect. It also demonstrates how fallacious trickle down “dynamic scoring” really is and why Republicans were desperate to use it.

It is difficult to imagine anyone with half a brain, much less so-called “business experts,” deliberately cutting their income source as a means of reducing debt, but that is precisely what Treasury Secretary Mnuchin promised would happen. However, the CBO and Treasury calls for borrowing $1 trillion after borrowing an additional $441 billion in “privately held debt” to keep a functioning government belies any claim the GOP tax reform was ever about reducing the deficit. Remember, Mnuchin promised the tax cuts will provide $1 trillion in deficit reduction in about 10 years.

All of these warnings from the Treasury and Congressional Budget Office about“needing to borrow” are occurring exactly a month into the GOP’s Kansas-style tax reform disaster. It is telling about how horrible of a mess Republicans have created at the national level when as disastrous as Kansas Republicans’ actions were, it took a couple of years before the economic shit hit the fan. In fact, in a warning message to Republicans in Congress, a Kansas Republican Senator, Dinah Sykes said that in the five years following her party’s ill-advised trickle down experiment:

Kansas experienced nine rounds of budget cuts, stress on state agencies and the inability to effectively provide the core functions of government for our citizens.”

Ms. Sykes failed to explain to Republicans in Congress that Kansas also suffered multiple credit downgrades from both major credit agencies with each citing the state’s lack of revenue as a result of trickle down tax cuts. That lack of revenue created a world of hurt for Kansas and its residents, and for a rough idea what kind of economic Hell Republicans have unleashed on Americans, a few of the Kansas atrocities are cited herehere, and here.

It is noteworthy that adding massive sums to the deficit serves another Republican purpose; justify massive cuts to Social Security even though the Social Security Trust is a self-sufficient entity and doesn’t technically add to the deficit.

The truth is Republicans could not care less about the deficit or they would not have passed tax reform the Tax Policy Center said would reduce revenue by at least $2.5 trillion  and substantially increase the deficit over ten years due to lost revenue. Remember that Trump’s Treasury Secretary promised that if all goes according to trickle down’s fantasy numbers, those tax cuts will reduce the deficit by about $1 trillion in ten years — in spite of adding trillions according to the CBO. It does not take a mathematician to comprehend there is at least a trillion dollar discrepancy in the GOP’s numbers, but they obviously aren’t concerned and why should they be? Brownback easily won re-election and Republicans kept control of the Kansas state legislature even while the state and its people were being raped and pillaged because Brownback brought out “the fetus” and the evangelical vote.

National Republicans have an easy-to-follow model in Kansas and Brownback because no matter what level of economic disaster they impose on Americans, or how much of the government they gift to corporations, or how many social programs they decimate to “reduce the deficit,”  all they have to do to maintain power is hoist an image of a fetus or an immigrant and the majority of Americans will reelect them out of abject fear. It worked in Kansas for six torturous years and Republicans knew it would work in 2016, which is why they control all three branches of the government they are crusading to demolish.

The State of the Union is Critical

No matter which side of the political spectrum any American resides, it is nearly impossible to claim America is in anything but a state of decline as a representative secular democracy. The nation’s state of decline is no accident for myriad reasons, but none more apparent than the population allowing a bloodless coup d’état to unfold right before their eyes with hardly a whimper of opposition. At this juncture, the problem is not just a corrupt tyrant occupying the nation’s highest office; it is an entire political party aiding and abetting a crooked celebrity and lawless fascist’s assault on America and the rule of law.

It is not entirely clear to this author, at least not yet, why so many Americans are ignorant about the extent of damage one fascist and his anti-American conservative cabal have already wrought on this nation. It cannot possibly be because more people are still mesmerized by the Trump’s social media activity than care about America’s survival as a democracy, or believe the Oval Office fascist’s claim that the free  press is fake news and the enemy of the people. The majority of Americans still trust the free press as honest and legitimate.

This curious state of the people is particularly mind boggling because most Americans are well-aware that anything Trump says is a dirty filthy lie and that everything congressional Republicans are doing is highly unpopular and deliberately devastating for the people and the nation. That millions of Americans are not rioting in the streets is evidence that if the nation was a person admitted to a hospital, it would be listed in critical condition with little hope of surviving; particularly after the unrelenting mortal wounds Republicans and Trump have, and still are, inflicting on it.

Just the newest reporting that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) assistant director is fleeing out of fear of Republicans and Trump, or that Trump blatantly violated the United States Constitution again  should have the nation reeling and rioting, but it is not.  Maybe Americans are unaware that by not imposing the congressional sanctions on Russia, Trump again violated Article 2 Section 3 of the Constitution. It is at least the second time he has violated that section of the Constitution and yet Republicans continue protecting the criminal conspirator despite he is flouting their legally-passed legislation.

That the Republican-controlled Congress is rejecting its duty of oversight in holding a flagrant criminal to account for violating the Constitution is, in and of itself, a sure sign that the rule of law is non-existent. Add to that horrific collusion with a criminal tyrant, Republicans are, and have been, in a war with the nation’s highest law enforcement agency for doing its due diligence. For dog’s sake, Republicans are part of Trump’s crusade against the legally-appointed Special Prosecutor because he is investigating what most Americans consider treason and obstruction of justice. The latest outrage is Trump considering calling on the nation’s attorney general to prosecute the Special Prosecutor for doing his job; it is likely corrupt Republicans are deeply involved in Trump’s attempt to criminalize the job of Special Prosecutor.

In fact, as proof many Republicans are guilty of violating the law to protect a fascist criminal, consider that Trump approached more than a couple of congressional Republicans to pressure them to obstruct justice by dropping congressional investigations into his administration’s collusion with a hostile foreign power. Pressing members of congressional investigations to stop is obstructing justice and an actual felony. According to 18 U.S. Code § 4 – Misprision of Felony:

Whoever, having knowledge of the actual commission of a felony conceals and does not as soon as possible make known the same to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.”

It is noteworthy that no Republican made known to anyone in authority that Trump pressed them to drop an investigation into his administration any more than any Republican reported their suspicions that Trump “was being paid by Putin.”  If not for the “free press” Trump wants eliminated, Americans would be unaware that their elected Republican representatives willfully violated the law to protect a criminal because he is a Republican.

Of course there are more Trump abominations against the people of the United States than just flouting the rule of law and violating the “so help me god” oath he took to live in the White House. And regardless he is handing over the American people’s public land to corporations, many of them foreign, or creating the ultimate dark money PACsby giving churches freedom to campaign, or handing over social control of the population to evangelicals, his biggest crime is complete and utter disregard for the law of the land.

America might survive Trump and Republicans handing over the wealth of the nation to a few wealthy families and corporations; the people will surely suffer, the but nation will still exist. The agriculture industry might even stay afloat despite Trump’s ineptitude in international trade and his xenophobic excuse of an immigration policy. Women may not fare as well as equal citizens in the evangelical theocracy Trump and Republicans are creating, but they will likely be allowed to stay alive as birth machines. In fact, there will likely be an America despite Trump and Republicans, but it will be “America” in name only unless Trump decides to change the name.

It is easy to assign blame for America’s demise on Trump; he is the most visible villain and chief criminal. But without Republicans in Congress protecting the criminal he would likely be gone by now. The sad truth is that a fair majority of the American people are wholly responsible for America’s critical condition.

Remember, Putin may have helped Trump and congressional Republicans, in fact he did help Trump and congressional Republicans; but it was angry religious and racist Americans who voted for Trump and gave the criminal Republicans control of Congress. Now they are dismantling the government, creating a theocracy, and spending an inordinate amount of time and taxpayer dollars protecting a criminal in the White House;  including attacking the nation’s highest law enforcement agencies.

With a Republican-run Congress willfully violating the rule of law by not holding a treasonous fascist accountable for his crimes, and a fascist liar who openly denies the rule of law applies to him, the state of the Union is critical. America only survived for 242 years because it was effectively governed according to the rule of law in the U.S. Constitution; something Republicans and Trump now openly reject as a burden to their corruption and fascism.

To Celebrate Roe v Wade Senate GOP Plans A Religious Attack On Women

While many Americans are either mesmerized over another wealthy celebrity entertainer contemplating a run for the presidency, or the current White House occupant’s racist pejoratives aimed at other countries’ citizens, the Senate is poised to attack women on behalf of the Vatican and evangelical personhood movement.

Of course another religious attack on women is the new normal since America was taken over by evangelical theocrats at the highest levels of government, but it doesn’t mean the media or the resistance should keep silent over another assault on 51 percent of the population. What it does mean is that the so-called “resistance” had better start confronting these evangelical machinations head on before Republicans deal a deathblow to women’s constitutional right to self-determination; a right religious Republicans are crusading to eliminate. And that deathblow starts with controlling women’s reproductive choices with theocratic legislation with no basis in reality – like “The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

It is noteworthy to state right away that this piece of legislation is based on a seriously bastardized and heretical interpretation of the Christian religion. It is, however, part and parcel of the Catholic faith founded on a 1968 Papal encyclical, but it is not “scriptural” to evangelicals by any stretch of the imagination. Evangelicals and Republicans embrace the Catholic  personhood movement’s biblical heresy because it originated in the mind of a powerful male tyrant who devised a simple means of controlling his Catholic adherents around the world. Religious Republicans and their evangelical masters are using “the fetus” in hopes of controlling American women and keeping them “in their place” as birth machines like god and the male clergy intended.

According to reports from women’s rights activists, while the public is waiting for Trump’s next Twitter tirade Senate Republicans are preparing to vote on a 20-week abortion ban next week. It looks as if the vote is going to be on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade as a nod to the fanatical personhood movement that the GOP is  repaying loyal evangelical voters by using religion to control women with a ban on their right to self-determination. Trump promised his extremist religious disciples that he would sign the Vatican-inspired ban when it reaches his desk.

The Republican dominated House already passed a 20-week ban based on radical Christian claims that a 20-week fetus is a child that feels pain. It is noteworthy to mention that the age of fetal viability is pegged at 28 weeks” when pathology shows there is enough  neurological development in a fetus to breathe oxygen and start feeling anything, even though at 28 weeks the survival rate is at about 50 percent.

The religious Republican ban is founded on the stunningly absurd notion that at 20 weeks of gestation a fetus has full neurological development more than sufficient to feel pain. The reality is that at 20 weeks there are no neurological structures in place for that organism to feel anything according to a clinical professor and OB-GYN at Stanford University. Jennifer Conti is also a fellow with Physicians for Reproductive Health and she said:

Twenty weeks is just an arbitrary limit set in place by [religious Republican] politicians that has no medical or scientific backing. There’s actually conclusive evidence that shows that the neurologic structures in a fetus aren’t complete and working until much further along in pregnancy, we think the third trimester.”

Ms. Conti is right, of course, and the scientific medical community concur that the neurological structures are “probably in place at about 28-29 weeks,” not 20 weeks. In fact, according to a comprehensive review reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, “the structures needed for fetuses to feel [anything] only begin to develop between 23 and 30 weeks of gestation.” That biological fact was verified by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists who reported that “premature babies cannot feel anything [much less pain] until 29 or 30 weeks.

For the ignoramus zealots among the evangelical sect, a “premature” baby is one that has left the mother’s womb and breathes oxygen; what the evangelical god of the bible calls “a living being.” It is not a zygote, not an embryo or a fetus that the anti-choice morons claim are “children” that feel pain. The point is that If a living, oxygen-breathing “premature baby”  cannot feel anything until 29 or 30 weeks, then it is biologically impossible for a 20-week old fetus to be “pain capable.

It is questionable whether the Senate version of the 20-week ban will pass due to requiring a supermajority vote (60) to advance to Trump’s desk, but that is not a completely unwanted result for the religious Republican movement. In fact, it is likely that anti-women’s rights groups, evangelical fanatics, Republicans, the Vatican, U.S. Catholic Bishops, the personhood movement, and all Christofascists want to see the ban fail for an obvious reason; to use the legislation’s defeat during an election year to focus attention on every candidates’s position on women’s reproductive rights.

If the measure fails in the Senate, Americans can expect a very heavy dose of attacks by religious Republicans on any candidate who either voted against, or would have voted against, a theocratic fetus law. And that opposition would be heavily promoted as Democrats who “willfully refuse to protect the voiceless, the vulnerable, the marginalized children who science has proven can feel pain.”

As noted above, fetuses are “not children” and they are not living beings according to the evangelical Christian’s god of the bible. And, science has proven that a fetus at 20 weeks has no neurological structure to feel anything. Still, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said there are marginalized children in mothers’ wombs who are in pain and only Republicans can save them. Republicans will beat that dead horse mercilessly in the leadup to the 2018 midterms and the “resistance” will do what they typically do when confronted with “the fetus” by lying Republican theocrats, lose elections.

Republicans have had incredible electoral success with the fetus over the years and it was an important part in Trump garnering support from the evangelical extremists that make up the majority of his base. Besides bringing about the End Times, the religious right flocked to Trump on his pledge to put an end to women’s reproductive freedoms; and for the personhood evangelicals that means abolishing birth control according to the 1969 Papal document that bans abortion, the Humanae Vitae.

This ridiculous fetal pain nonsense has failed in the past but now that evangelicals co-own and co-control the federal government, their assault on women represents a clear and present danger.

Remember, one of the first acts of the evangelicals running the federal government was designating a eukaryotic cell (zygote) as a living human being worthy of federal government protection. Republicans followed suit in the House version of tax reform giving zygotes, embryos, and the fetus federal personhood status for the sake of evading taxation. Theocratic Republicans are setting a precedent to ban all forms of what the Vatican calls “artificial birth control” and every attack on women’s reproductive rights is setting up that ban; and all without the Catholic Pope ever having to utter one edict.

If there is a real “resistance” movement, they have been extraordinarily silent on the not-so-stealthy and sustained attack on women over the course of the past year. A monumental part of the problem is that no organization, or Democrat for that matter, is willing to cite the only source of these unrelenting attacks on women. Believe it or not, there are no laws forbidding anyone from condemning the Republican attacks on women as borne of religion. Oh some people will claim that mentioning religion will kill the message or alienate the faithful, but that kind of mindset is precisely what the religious right, Republicans indebted to the religious right, the religious right clergy, and the anti-women’s movement is counting on. They know that everyone in America is too terrified to say out loud that religion is the only basis for the misogyny and patriarchal attacks on American women and it is why they continue unabated.

Image: Eclectablog

Republicans Set The Stage To Dismantle the Federal Government

It has taken decades, but it appears that anti-government crusader Grover Norquist’s dream of cutting the government down to a size he can drown in a bathtub is on the verge of becoming reality. No doubt 2018 will go down as a watershed year for Republicans who finally have the authority to at least begin achieving one of the conservative movement’s raison d’être.

It has been the Republican Party’s wet dream to “devolve government to the local level” since FDR and the 1930’s New Deal and they took a giant step towards that goal with a massive gift to corporations and the wealthy who own them. In case there is any confusion, “devolve government to the local level” means abolishing the federal government in its entirety – including all agencies, acts of Congress, departments and programs created for “the general welfare” of the people.

Many Americans are either too stupid or have not been paying attention to the ulterior motive behind the GOP’s “monumental tax scam;” it goes beyond forcing the majority of population to fund corporate and religious entitlements or transferring the U.S. treasury to the oligarchs funding the Republican movement. Although those are crucial to the Republicans’ and Trump’s plan to make America great for the wealthy, they are not the only goal.

The larger goal is what Trump’s chief advisor Steve Bannon described as “deconstructing the administrative state.” Since Trump, the Kochs, and congressional Republicans are prohibited from issuing an edict abolishing all federal agencies, acts, departments and established laws, they will “defund the administrative state” instead.

Republicans will still collect taxes from working class Americans, but instead of funding federal agencies that serve the people, they will give those tax dollars to corporations and religious groups in the form of entitlements. When tax revenue stops covering entitlements for the rich and the religious, Republicans will “defund the administrative state” with extreme prejudice; that will be a major Republican goal in 2018.

Bloomberg reported yesterday that former Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said that Trump and congressional Republicans’ decision to add significant debt in the form of tax cuts for the rich is leaving the country broke. Mr. Lew said in a Bloomberg Radio interview that:

It’s a ticking time bomb in terms of the debt. You cannot run a fiscal policy by spending trillions of dollars you don’t have at a time that the economy is doing well.”

Mr. Lew thinks that because Republicans created tax reform for the rich and corporations without Democrats’ input, it will be difficult for “the administration” to convince Republicans to fund any “basic functions of government.” For dog’s sake, Mr. Lew is smart enough to know “the administration” could not possibly care less about “a functioning government, deficit or debt, or whether children get thrown off healthcare;” Trump cares about Trump.

It isn’t clear which “administration” Mr. Lew was referring, but it was not Trump or any of his conservative cronies.  It is no secret that Republicans pledged to the Koch brothers two years ago that when they controlled Washington they would “go after the federal government, all of it,” and “the administration” has done its part to begin the purge. At least Lew has been paying attention to congressional Republicans’ own statements about where they intend to start deconstructing the government and who they intend to hurt in the process. He said:

The next shoe to drop is going to be an attack on the most vulnerable in our society. How are we going to pay for the deficit caused by the tax cut? We are going to see proposals to cut health insurance for poor people, to take basic food support away from poor people, to attack Medicare and Social Security. One could not have made up a more cynical strategy.”

The strategy was “made up” at least a couple of decades ago and of course, it is “cynical” by design. It is a conservative strategy that involves abolishing every last element of the New Deal and any federal program since leading up to today. The tax reform is vicious in enriching the already wealthy, but it is the permanent corporate tax cuts that will be the end of “basic government functions.” Remember, the corporate tax cuts are forever and they will allow a greater number of the biggest corporations in America to avoid paying taxes forever — by design.

John Cassady at the New Yorker fairly summed up what is going to happen. After noting the “tax reform” is already going to bring in much less revenue, he concurred with other experts that it is not only “unworkable,” it has already “launched an avalanche of new loopholes to exploit.” He explained:

What isn’t yet fully appreciated is how porous and potentially unstable the rest of the tax code will be. With a corporate rate of just 20 percent, and a big new break for proprietors of unincorporated businesses and certain types of partnerships, the new code will contain enormous incentives for tax-driven restructurings, creative accounting, and outright fraud.”

Mr. Cassady said “these contortions” are designed to undercut federal revenues, which he acknowledges many Republicans welcome as an easy means of shrinking the federal government.

“The shortfall in tax revenues could be enormous. That is what Republicans want to happen. There are some in the Party who would like to see the tax base decimated, the I.R.S. crippled, and the federal government forced to slash spending on domestic programs, particularly entitlement programs. Nevertheless, for anybody who believes in a properly functioning government, a rational, clearly defined tax system is essential. The Republican reform doesn’t meet that standard.”

As one or two Americans might be aware, the concept of a “properly functioning government” is anathema to Republicans. Their idea of a functioning government is one that takes assets from the masses to fund “the security state,  the religious state, the military state, and  the corporate state.”

As this author has noted for a few years now, if any American wants a preview of how this “dismantling of the administrative state” plays out and the deleterious effects it will have on the people they can look at what happened in Kansas. Republicans gave massive tax gifts to the rich and corporations and raped the state government in the process by design.  In fact, one Kansas Republican appealed to congressional Republicans barely two months ago and warned them to avoid Kansas’ tax cut disaster. However, true to his word to Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, Mitch McConnell and Republicans are “doing the exact same thing to the federal government” that Brownback did to Kansas because they control Washington.

It is an unpleasant fact that most Americans have no awareness that their government is under assault from the people they elected to “govern” on their behalf.  It is a bigger travesty that many Americans are unaware exactly what their federal government does; Americans are inherently ignorant. But they will get a clue when their workplace protections, safe transportation, clean air and water standards, safe medicine, equal rights protections, education, healthcare, and national parks are abolished under the guise of reducing the deficit to pay for corporate tax cuts. It is what Republicans are celebrating will be a very Happy New Year.

GOP Education Bill Gives Religious Bigots License To Discriminate

Republicans have had a field day with a rubber stamp in the White House, and besides handing the treasury to the rich and corporations, they have handed social and domestic policy over to bigots under the guise of protecting religious liberty. And it is noteworthy that they have acted stealthily while the happy fascist in the Oval keeps the people mesmerized with social media distractions.

Last week House Republicans introduced a “massive” 542-page “higher education” bill that gives bigots steeped in evangelical fundamentalism a free pass to discriminate if they do so according to their deeply-held religious beliefs and part of their religious practices. The bill, H.R. 4508, authored by Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC), contains a pair of provisions that “enables discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity” without saying it is legal to violate the 14th Amendment on religious grounds. By not specifically mentioning sexual orientation or gender identity the Republicans left room for religious fanatics to discriminate against any group they choose.

The inaptly named bill, “Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education” Reform (PROSPER Act) gives the impression that Trump’s America creates opportunities for Americans, but like nearly everything else in Trump’s America, it is a gift to evangelical bigots. Don’t believe it? In a section titled “Campus Access for Religious Groups” a provision guarantees that students can be discriminated against if the bigotry is founded on “religious beliefs or religious standards of conduct.

The offending provision states:

None of the funds made available under the Act may be provided to any public institution of higher education that denies to a religious student or organization any right, benefit or privilege afforded to other students or organization because of their religious beliefs, practices, speech, membership standards or standards of conduct of the religious student or organization.”

What that really means is any person or any group can discriminate against anyone based on a deeply-held religious belief and their religion’s standard practices without repercussions from the “place of higher learning” or state policy forbidding discrimination; it obviously neuters the 14th Amendment to sate religious bigots.

It is yet another Republican religious license to discriminate that taxpayers and tuition-paying students will have to fund and like it; it is how theocratic governments operate and Americans better get used to it.

Prior to this GOP theocratic legislation, the only way to prevent blatant discrimination was by withholding funding from institutions of learning, or by denying religious organizations campus funding for violating nondiscrimination policies they are obliged to uphold as recipients of free money. That concept is unacceptable to religious Republicans and their radical evangelical supporters. So they inserted language allowing the free flow of campus funding to evangelical bigots so they can discriminate against whatever kind of person they regard are “undesirable.”

Apparently there have been institutions of higher learning and governments that have withheld funding for groups that reject LGBTQ students’ membership or participation because “those kind of people violate the religious tenets of the group.” Despite non-discrimination policies at higher-learning institutions and the state and the federal government, the religious groups expect to be funded like every other campus organization that adheres to the U.S. Constitution and campus non-discrimination policies. With this hideous abomination of a bill, Republicans are ensuring that taxpayers and tuition-paying students will have to support bigoted religious groups whether they like it or whether it violates their humanitarian beliefs that discrimination is vile and unconstitutional.

Another section of the “PROSPER Act” protects universities that encourage and enact blatantly discriminatory policies with language virtually mirroring the religious Republicans “First Amendment Defense Act.” That “Act” is a federal Republican license to violate the 14th Amendment with impunity by protecting any businesses and organizations that refuses to serve LGBTQ people; it is the religious bigots’ version of the former Confederacy’s “whites only” laws and religious Republicans love it.  That provision states:

No government entity shall take any adverse action against an institution of higher education that receives funding under title IV, if such adverse action… has the effect of prohibiting or penalizing the institution for acts or omissions by the institution that are in furtherance of its religious mission or are related to the religious affiliation of the institution.”

Some of what religious Republicans call adverse actions to prevent discrimination are:

Denial or threat of denial of funding, including grants, scholarships, or loans; denial or threat of denial to access to facilities or programs; withholding or threat to withhold licenses, permits, certifications, accreditation’s, contracts, tax-exempt status or exemptions; or any other penalty or denial, or threat of such other penalty or denial of an otherwise available benefit.

The two provisions combined mean that institutions of higher learning cannot legally enforce their own non-discrimination policies, and states cannot enforce state or federal discrimination laws on offending schools. This hate-policy is typical of Virginia Foxx who said in 2015 after the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality that it was a threat to the rights of religious bigots and their organizations. She pledged at the time to “do everything in my power to defend these rights;” she followed through with a religious license to discriminate tucked into an education bill.

These religious impositions legalizing discrimination are a growing trend now that the religious right co-owns the federal government. And as the folks over at the Human Rights Campaign noted, this particular “higher education bill is rife with other troubling aspects that should concern both LGBTQ students and all other students.” It is a continuation of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ effort to dismantle protections for victims of campus sexual assault targeting women and endemic in her crusade to use the Department of Education to “advance the kingdom of god.”

Since Trump’s poorly-attended inauguration there have been nonstop attacks on the rights of Americans, primarily women and members of the gay community, founded on evangelical fundamentalism. And those attacks are always justified as promoting religious freedoms despite they violate the U.S. Constitution; something that should horrify any American who still thinks they live in a free democratic society. Americans’ equal rights are being whittled away by religious Republicans and it is a tragedy that there is absolutely nothing any American can, or is willing to, do to stop the rush towards theocracy. For dog’s sake, most Americans are too afraid to even whisper that all of the Republican attacks on equality are founded on America’s bastardized version of Christianity and it’s exactly why the religious right is running the government.