Republicans Enact a Rule to Punish and Fire Civil Servants

Republicans are renowned for condemning regulations and rules as federal government tyranny because they protect the population from the GOP’s corporate and religious supporters. However, they have little issue making rules that allow their supporters to tyrannize the rest of the citizenry.

House Republicans took a little constituent heat last week when, while making rules to benefit the GOP, they tried to abolish the independent congressional ethics office; an office dirty Donald Trump claimed was “unfair to Republicans.” It was a revealing statement and is reminiscent of every career criminal in history saying the police, the courts, and prisons are unfair to criminals; but that is another story.

While they were rolling back the effort to protect and defend unethical Republican lawmakers, they were making other rules that will have a significant impact across the government. And, it is noteworthy that none of the Republican rules was created to help even one American private citizen. In fact, one rule was enacted to tyrannize individual American workers.

One of the “new rules” in the Republican-dominated Congress expands Republicans’ power to terrorize individual federal employees who run afoul of the Koch and religious right agenda. In resurrecting a rule first introduced in 1876, Republicans granted themselves unchallenged authority to target and force private American citizens to Capitol Hill to be “interrogated” by Republicans in the House. That obscure rule also allows Congress to slash the pay of any government worker, or eliminate a program that doesn’t fit the Koch or religious right agenda.

The so-called “Holman rule” was first proposed in 1876 by a House representative that stayed in play until 1983. That was the year when a Democratic-controlled House put an end to the Holman rule for the obvious reason; it gives far too much power to an individual or party to either tyrannize federal employees or unilaterally do away with entire programs they happen to despise or disagree with.

The new iteration of the Holman rule was reinstated by a House Republican, Morgan Griffith (R-VA), who is also a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus (teabagger). Griffith championed the “arcane provision” as a tool to allow either an individual legislator or a group of lawmakers to make targeted cuts to the federal workforce depending on who may have disagreed openly with Republicans.

The 2017 version gives any lawmaker the power to insert an amendment to any appropriations bills that allows them, by virtue of Republican whim, to unilaterally fire any federal employee or cut their pay down to $1 dollar; depending on how vengeful the individual lawmaker or group happens to feel on a given day.

Democrats in the House, particularly those representing districts with large numbers of federal employees, said the rule was reinstated for malicious reasons. For example, Representative Gerry Connolly (D-VA) said that Republicans revived the rule solely to “undermine civil service employee protections by stripping away necessary [workplace and employment] safeguards.

Connolly rightly labeled the measure “the Armageddon Rule,” and revealed the real reason Republicans unilaterally revived a rule for their campaign donors’ benefit. Mr. Connolly stated the obvious that it’s “a backdoor way for Republicans to dismantle the federal workforce.” One would add that it is also a backdoor way to eviscerate federal workplace protections the Holman rule supersedes.

The national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, J. David Cox Sr., condemned the Republicans’ move saying:

The so-called Holman Rule undermines civil service protections for the millions of working people who process our Social Security checks, safeguard our borders, support our military, research cures for deadly diseases, and carry out programs and services that are vital to our nation. Reviving this rule means lawmakers will be able to cut the pay and jobs of individual workers or groups of workers without getting input from the agencies where these employees work.”

Democrats also said they feared the rule gives Republicans the tools to root out individual federal workers who hold views or perform work that is not favored by the Trump, the Kochs or the religious right. Remember that a couple of weeks ago Trump’s transition team demanded the names of any Department of Energy employee who worked on the Paris climate accord. Trump’s people also wanted the names of individual State Department employees who worked on gender equality or proposals to advance women’s right around the world.

Representative Connolly actually got around to citing precisely what the teabagger-incited Holman resurrection is meant to achieve for the Koch brothers and their partners in government ownership, the religious right. He said:

The Republican Rules package provides them with the surgical tools necessary to reach into the inner workings of the federal government and cut away each part and employee that runs afoul of their ideological agenda. This, coupled with the President-elect’s proposed federal hiring freeze and the nomination of individuals to head agencies they openly oppose, could be devastating to the critical mission of the federal government.”

It is important to note, for the ten-thousandth time, that “devastating the mission of the federal government” is now, and has always been, the overarching goal of the Koch brothers. That religious Republicans can reach in and “cut away” employees that dare “run afoul of their ‘religious’ agenda” is a value-added bonus and yet another religious threat to Americans’ freedoms. What the new rule means is that no civil servant’s job is secure unless they agree with the current majority in Congress, the religious right, the Koch brothers and the tyrant Trump’s nasty agenda.

This “new rule” for Republicans serves a purpose that is beyond what they need to slash government to death. Since they control all three branches and have Trump appointing department heads with a view toward destroying them, this particular rule is meant to terrorize and intimidate civil servants who may disagree with a Republican or religious agenda. That any individual lawmaker can drag a private citizen before Congress to be interrogated like a common criminal is beyond tyranny. That they can summarily fire a civil servant on a whim, or cut their pay to $1 is more than tyranny; it is forcing them to work under duress or what normal people call blackmail.

White House Condemns Israel For Lying To Secure $38 Billion In Military Aid

 

It’s probably the case that every American has experienced someone who claims to be a close friend, smiles and shakes your hand warmly as they await a generous gift. However, once the gift is secured, that so-called close friend turns around and betrays their so-called friend’s trust. That scenario played out over the past two weeks when, after securing a generous $38 billion in military aid, Israel betrayed its “friendship” with America and violated an agreement by doing the opposite of what it pledged not to do less than two weeks ago.

This week the Obama Administration condemned the Israeli government for its plan to create a new Israeli settlement on the West Bank. The announced plan came less than three weeks after America signed off on a very lucrative military aid package to its “good friend” Israel. In an unusually, but warranted, harsh statement, the State Department officially and “strongly condemned” Israel’s expansion plan claiming it violated the Jewish state’s pledge not to construct new settlements. The move also “ran counter to long-term security interests Israel” said it sought to protect the military aid package’s delivery. Apparently, Israel’s word was only good until it was guaranteed that America would deliver the $38 billion in military aid.

For American officials, the problem is that Israel is establishing a string of settlements which the Obama Administration, and any reasonable person, understands is an effort to “effectively divide the West Bank and make the possibility of a viable Palestinian state more remote,” if not impossible. In fact, the State Department said this latest settlement is “deep in the West Bank, far closer to Jordan than to Israel.”

The announcement was a particularly offensive slap in America’s face because President Obama had just met with Israeli Prime Minister and Republican Party operative Benjamin Netanyahu during a United Nations meeting. It was a meeting where the President expressed his deep concerns about Israel’s continuing settlement construction because they undermine any possibility of a peaceful resolution to the long-simmering conflict; a conflict that could be solved if Israel would concede that the Palestinian people have every right to exactly what America provided Israel; a homeland. It is said that the announcement infuriated President Obama after signing off on the $38 billion amid assurances from Netanyahu that Israel really sought peace and supported the storied two state solution

In a statement, the deputy spokesman for the State Department, Mark Toner said,

“It is disheartening that while Israel and the world mourned the passing of President Shimon Peres, and leaders from the U.S. and other nations prepared to honor one of the great champions of peace, plans were advanced that would seriously undermine the prospects for a two-state solution that he so passionately supported.”

Experts claim that the Administration’s harsh words signal rekindled speculation that the President might “lay down guidelines for a proposed peace agreement” between Israel and the Palestinians before his tenure in office is over; “either in a speech or, less likely, by backing a resolution at the United Nations Security Council.” According to a former Obama Administration special envoy for an Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiated settlement, Martin S. Indulging,

“The administration has been escalating its rhetoric in opposition to West Bank settlement activity for more than a year. The government of Israel doesn’t seem to be listening. At a certain point, the administration may well decide that there needs to be consequences for what it now sees as an effort to close off the two-state solution.”

Despite the outward talk from Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu that the Jewish state is deeply interested in a two-state solution and peace with Palestinians who are cordoned off on an American-styled Indian reservation, the Republican operative has no intent on seeking peace. It isn’t surprising either because according to the official Republican Party platform, any idea of ever supporting a two state solution and peace in the region was rejected. However, there was no rejection or opposition to handing Israel a whopping $38 billion in military aid that Israel will use against sequestered Palestinians.

This Obama Administration’s condemnation of yet another Israeli plan to prohibit a two-state solution was not only well-warranted, it was long overdue. It was particularly necessary since President Obama had just met with Netanyahu privately and raised concerns about Israeli’s continued settlement construction and that the President and peace-loving people regard as its “corrosive effect on the peace process” that Netanyahu assured the President was not an issue; at least until he secured a lucrative $38 billion military gift from Americans. It was, no matter how one assesses it, a betrayal by “a friend;” or as the Obama Administration labeled it, they were misled.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest commented about being misled,

“We did receive public assurances from the Israeli government that contradict this announcement. I guess when we’re talking about how good friends treat one another, that’s a source of serious concern as well.”

After eight years of betrayal, maybe the real concern should be that Israel is only America’s “good friend” as long as it continues receiving billions in military aid. It is a practice that has to stop until Israel agrees to seriously seek peace and provide Palestinians with a homeland without conditions exactly like America provided for Israel and with no expectation of remuneration because that is what “real good friends” are prone to do.

This article originally posted October 18

Threat of Treason Charges Already Looming Over Trump Presidency

 

 

One of the most laughable claims throughout the past year-and-a-half’s brutal presidential campaign was dirty Donald Trump’s claim that his intent in running was to “make America great again.” It was an absurd campaign slogan because not only was America already “great” because a fascist like Trump was never allowed to get close to the halls of power, but because Donald Trump exists to promote his own greatness; the bankruptcy king has never had any interest in American greatness. Donald Trump has been accused, and rightly so, of being a bully, a corrupt business operator, a swindler, a brutish thug, a pathological liar, and a devotee of both Vladimir Putin and Adolf Hitler.

Now, a former assistant Secretary of State has strongly intimated that Donald Trump is on a direct path to be charged with treason, making him an official honest-to-dog traitor to America.

In an opinion column for the Boston Globe, former assistant Secretary of State and international human rights expert John Shattuck posited that “a specter of treason hovers over Donald Trump.” According to Mr. Shattuck, if Trump does not “welcome a thorough investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election,” it raises serious questions that make him defenseless against “charges of treason.” Mr. Shattuck wrote,

A specter of treason hovers over Donald Trump. He has brought it on himself by dismissing a bipartisan call for an investigation of Russia’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee as a ‘ridiculous’ political attack on the legitimacy of his election as president.”

What Trump says is ridiculous is what seventeen separate American intelligence agencies unanimously concluded was Russia waging cyber warfare against the United States to impact the presidential election. In fact, the lead agency, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), concluded that Vladimir Putin intended to influence the election in favor of his hand-puppet Trump. Like many political commenters have, Shattuck reminded readers that after the election, the current director of the National Security Agency and commander of the United States Cyber Command, Admiral Michael Rogers stated,

This [Russian espionage] was not something that was done casually, this was not something that was done by chance. This was not a target that was selected purely arbitrarily. This was a conscious effort by a nation state to attempt to achieve a specific effect.”

Late last week, an American senior intelligence official revealed that there is substantial evidence that Trump’s co-conspirator Vladimir Putin personally authorized and directed the attack on America; something Trump blows off as “ridiculous.” Shattuck asks why Trump is publicly rejecting the seventeen intelligence agency assessments and particularly; why he is criticizing “the bipartisan proposal for a congressional investigation?” An honest and patriotic American would exhibit the strongest possible interest in leading a concerted national effort against a hostile foreign power’s attack on the core of American democracy, but despicable Don is no more patriotic to America than he is honest.

The Globe article gave four reasons Trump is trying desperately to portray the intelligence community as incompetent, politically-motivated, corrupt and untrustworthy, but only one stands out as the most credible in a conspiracy to commit and then cover up treason. Shattuck writes that Trump “may be seeking to cover up evidence of involvement or prior knowledge by members of his campaign team or himself in the Russian cyberattack.”

One would argue that Trump IS seeking to keep his and his team’s collusion with the Russians out of the public eye; an act that makes him guilty of treason and misprision of treason. As a reminder, any American guilty of “misprision of treasonaccording to 18 U.S. Code § 2382 is a person “having knowledge of the commission of any treason [who] conceals and does not disclose.” Treason, according to the US Code and the United States Constitution is committed by a person “owing allegiance to the United States who . . . adheres to their enemies, giving them aid or comfort.”

It doesn’t take a very bright mind to conclude that by denigrating or trying to prevent an investigation of the Russian attack on America, dastardly Donnie is giving aid and comfort to an enemy of the United States. It is a crime that is greatly enhanced if Trump’s bullying of the intelligence community and criticism of a congressional investigation are ploys to cover up his own, or his staff’s involvement in or prior knowledge of the attack.

There is more than sufficient evidence that Trump and his inner circle have had close ties to Putin and the Kremlin prior to, during, and after the Russian attack on America. Whether it was Trump and Putin operative Paul Manafort, National Security Advisor designate Michael Flynn palling around with Putin and appearing as a commentator for Russian state television, or Trump’s son boasting that “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets, we see a lot of money pouring in from Russia;” there is a definite close connection between Putin and “the Trump.”

In fact, after the election, the Russians knew Americans would stay rolled over even after being attacked and boasted that yes; there were communications between the Kremlin and the Trump. Two days after the election the Russian deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabokov, was quoted by the New York Times and Washington Post saying, “there were contacts” between Moscow and the Trump campaign during the election campaign, and that members of the campaign staff “were staying in touch with Russian representatives” after the election.

Of course one doesn’t need a Senate Select Committee to connect the Trump-Russia dots, or to comprehend that in nominating a close friend of Putin and director of a Russian oil company as secretary of state, dirty Donald is giving aid and comfort to the enemy; the Constitution’s definition of treason.

There is little doubt, at least in this author’s mind, that Donald Trump is going to move the proverbial “Heaven and Earth” to obstruct any investigation whether it is from Congress or not. Forget the idea of the Department of Justice investigating Trump; that federal agency is under the aegis of the executive branch and vulnerable to a Trump tantrum.

The only hope for a defense of America is that Republicans in the Senate, and possibly some in the “alt-right House, will put patriotism before party and take appropriate action in the face of an attack on America. If they fail to investigate the Trump Russia connection as vigorously as they have investigated the Democrats they targeted, then they are not only un-American, it likely means they have “knowledge of the commission of any treason” and by “not disclosing” the extent of the attack are, by legal definition, themselves guilty of misprision of treason.

Trump Punked Willard Romney Into Humiliating Himself

 

It isn’t often one gets an opportunity to acknowledge that yes, there are one or two Republicans who are capable of speaking the truth, if only once. This is particularly noteworthy of an acknowledgment when a pathological liar, a master of mendacity, departs from uttering perpetual prevarications; in this case it is 2012’s “lyin’ king” Willard M. Romney.

The horrible thing about any psychosis, is that the result of drifting too far afield from an intrinsic and deeply ingrained pathology will likely lead one to humiliate themselves, and good old “mendacity Mitt” did so in full view of the mainstream media and the American people. It was really a sight to behold, Willard Romney humiliating himself, but particularly because he was punked and incited to national public self-shame by a con man Willard knew damn well was vindictive and nasty.

During the presidential campaign, Romney made a name for himself, and actually stopped lying for a couple of minutes, by giving speeches absolutely disparaging Donald Trump’s character and unleashing scathing critiques of every last thing dirty Don ever uttered. That’s why it was stunning that Romney was desperately seeking, and publicly supplicating Trump for the nomination as the next all-important position of secretary of state.

Maybe because Willard isn’t one of Vladimir Putin’s allies and two decade-long confidante, or possibly because he can’t give “old Vlad” a super-duper discount on Exxon oil after lifting sanctions for Russian aggression, but by now everyone knows that despite a serious public ass-kissing over two or three weeks, deceitful Don dumped Willard for an oil man. It is infinitely more likely that Trump never really considered Romney for anything and instead played on his lack of integrity  and lust for relevance just long enough to let him humiliate himself for ever daring to criticize tyrant Trump.

A few of the remarks Willard had about Trump during the campaign reveal that not only is he capable of telling the truth, he fundamentally reiterated every legitimate fear and criticism the rest of decent humanity has for Trump.

On the economy Willard said, “If Trump’s plans were ever implemented, the country would sink into a prolonged recession. Donald Trump has offered very few specific economic plans, what little he has said is enough to know that he would be very bad for American workers and for American families.”

On Trump’s character and temperament, Romney was spot on in saying, “Donald Trump lacks the temperament of be[ing] president. This is an individual who mocked a disabled reporter, who attributed a reporter’s questions to her menstrual cycle, who mocked a brilliant rival who happened to be a woman due to her appearance, who bragged about his marital affairs, and who laces his public speeches with vulgarity.

Dishonesty is Trump’s hallmark. His is not the temperament of a stable, thoughtful leader. His imagination must not be married to real power. Trump’s personal qualities, the bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third grade theatrics… We have long referred to him as ‘The Donald.’ He is the only person in America to whom we have added an article before his name. It wasn’t because he had attributes we admired.”

Yes, it is true; Willard Romney was truthful in his assessment of Donald Trump, and it was likely his heartfelt belief that Trump epitomizes all those bad things and much more. But everything changed after the election and Willard was overcome with mendacity and reverted to his pathology in praising “the Donald” to high heaven. Of course everything Willard said in elevating Trump to a place reserved for gods was a lie, but like “lying for the lord,” there was a high-level administration reward if Willard worshipped Trump sufficiently and performed public acts of veneration.

It wasn’t enough for Romney to revert to his predilection to lying in crediting terrible Trump for having an endearing message of inclusion for all Americans. He had high praise for Trump’s ability to conduct his transition effectively, including carefully choosing “solid, effective, capable people” to run the country. In spite of absolutely railing on “dumb Donnie” for months as a “phony” and a “fraud” whose “promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University,” Willard licked the soles of Trump’s shoes clean and declared that “President-elect Trump is the very man who can lead us to a better future.”

It is inconceivable that Trump didn’t con Romney into making an ass of himself by contradicting everything he said about the moron prior to the election, and elevated the fascist as some kind of messianic gift to America and will “lead us to a better future.” Many pundits commented that during a photo opportunity while Trump and Romney broke bread, while the Donald was grinning ear-to-ear, humiliated Willard could barely manage a “grimace” in lieu of a smile for the cameras.

The publisher of Political Wire, Taegan Goddard, commented on the image of Trump and Willard over dinner and a heaping helping of humiliation: “Donald Trump looks like a cat that caught a mouse and is now batting it around with its paws until it dies, Romney is the mouse.”

Willard Romney will survive being punked by a notorious con man, but one wonders if he will ever live down being publicly humiliated because he just couldn’t resist lying with praise for a “phony and a fraud;” something this author is convinced was Trump’s only intent in even talking to his biggest Republican critic.

Nate Silver is Right – Democrats Are Lying To Themselves

 

It’s probably the case that every human being has experienced recurring nightmares and for some political observers this election is shaping up to be yet another disaster, for Democrats. One might think all Americans were aware that polling and election outcome predictions are not reliable, especially after the past two or three election cycles where Democrats were crushed in congressional and state-level races even after outrageous reporting that Republican governors, legislators and state representatives were destroyed by this or that Democrat leading up to voting day. This nightmare scenario is raising its ugly head and it appears that only Nate Silver is aware that Democrats are lying to themselves if they think Donald Trump can’t defeat Hillary Clinton.

Democrats know Nate Silver and yet it appears they have little regard for an “ominous warning” he recently issued:

There’s still a lot of denial among Democrats about how tight the race has become, despite evidence from high-quality polls.”

One of the big problems, and it is huge, is that although many voters claim they don’t support Trump and are highly-unlikely to vote for him in public, when queried anonymously, they do support the television celebrity and will be ticking a box with his name next to it in November. But, one might say, the polls show Hillary crushing Trump and pundits keep claiming the Republican Party is all but destroyed. However, according to experts like Thomas Edsall, some Trump voters are lying to the pollsters. In a prescient, but ignored op-ed a couple of months back, Mr. Edsall asked, “How Many People Support Trump but Don’t Want to Admit It?” The answer is probably a lot, and a lot means a Clinton win is not nearly as likely as Democrats want to believe.

There is something known amongst pollsters as “social desirability bias; the desire of respondents to avoid embarrassment.” Some voters refuse to tell a live interviewer that they support a candidate like Trump because he is offensive and outrageous. But like most establishment Republicans publicly rejecting Trump and claiming to support Hillary Clinton, once they’re in the privacy of the voting booth on November 8, they will, without hesitation, cast their secret ballot for every Republican up and down the ballot; including the Republican candidate for president.

According to real experts, in matchups between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, Trump does much better in polls that are conducted online where a respondent, in the privacy of their computer screen, can tick a box next to Trump’s name sans embarrassment. In fact, it is a completely different story when they are faced with responding to a human being’s voice in person-to-person polls by landline and cellphone surveys.

To make the point clearer, Real Clear Politics aggregated 10 separate telephone polls giving Hillary Clinton a respectable nine point national advantage over Trump. However, the combined results of two online surveys conducted by YouGov and Morning Consult, Clinton’s lead fell to only four points. It’s why Nate Silver is right in saying Democrats are in denial if they think Donald Trump can’t win in November.

To re-emphasize the point, Nate Silver ran a national presidential poll about two weeks ago and to say the results are shocking is an understatement. In telephone calls where a live person asks a respondent to “disclose their preference to a living person,” Hillary Clinton polls at a very strong 86 percent. However, in Silver’s online and “robo” polls conducted over the Internet and in private, Clinton polls a whopping 15 percent lower, coming in at only 71 percent.

Where Democrats and liberal pundits alike have to start being honest is admitting that no matter how offensive and dangerous Donald Trump may be, and he certainly is both, he is the Republican Party standard bearer. That he is a racist, bigot, misogynist and inept at everything just endears him a bit more to the preponderance of ignorant Americans who will flock to the polls to vote for a celebrity they’ve watched on their televisions.

Americans are also memory challenged besides ignorant and all of the offensive and hateful remarks by Trump, even targeting Veterans and women, are already long-forgotten by many prospective voters. Remember, that even after shutting down the government six months before the 2014 midterms, Republicans who pundits claimed were finished easily won their races.

Democrats can never assume the voters are dependable according to their responses in polls and surveys, but they can, and damn well should assume that when they hit the voting booth in November the preponderance of racists, religious, and bigoted Republicans and their independent or first-time voting brethren will pull the lever or tick the box for the Republican. That his name is Donald Trump is of no consequence; he will have an “R” beside his name and he promised to protect their Christian heritage and make America great again. It is meaningless to informed Americans, but it cements the deal for conservatives.

 

This article was originally set for publication Sept. 15, 2016

Trump’s Sexual Assault Talk Epitomizes Why Rape Culture Thrives

 

One of the benefits of a nation that welcomes people from around the world is that there are many diverse cultures that make up what it means to be an American. It is a sad fact of life, though, that there is one specifically prevalent culture in America that targets one major demographic and because Donald J. Trump is the Republican candidate for the presidency, rape culture is now front and center if the media would make it a national issue.

In its most basic form described by a very simple definition, “rape culture is the normalization of sexual assault in a society.” Another definition is “a culture in which rape and other sexual violence (usually against women) are common and in which prevalent attitudes, norms, practices, and media condone, normalize, excuse, or encourage sexualized violence.”

That definition fairly explains all of the horrendous “rape apologists” rushing to defend or excuse the sexist Republican candidate for president. And it describes the American social norm perpetuating the idea that women are sexual objects, and that sexual objectification is simply a fact of life; so there is nothing “wrong” with Donald Trump’s behavior, or nasty “rape” talk. It is talk that perpetuates rape culture primarily because when it occurs no-one challenges the attitude the Trump-types exude when talking about women.

Trump’s talk was not locker room chatter, not in any typical locker room, and not the kind of talk normal locker room men would comport or allow to go unpunished. However, it is the kind of talk prevalent among a certain class of males; males that feel entitled due to wealth, family name, power, connections or celebrity. Remember, it wasn’t just Trump’s claim that he could “move on” or “grab” the genitals of any woman he wanted and do anything his perverted mind dreamed up, it was his justification that because he is rich, a “star” celebrity, and powerful that he and his class are entitled to “the right” to sexually assault women. It is not unlike the reasoning television celebrity Bill Cosby used to explain away his years of sexually assaulting young women. And in Donald Trump’s case it excused his assaults on his wives, strangers on airplanes, beauty pageant workers and women sitting in bars.

The truth is that if men like Trump were challenged, or beaten to within an inch of their perverted lives, when they boast about their sexual predation bona fides, that culture may cease being an attractive option for men like Trump. When Trump boasted to Billy Bush about his unwanted advances on unsuspecting women, Bush should have at least feigned outrage and besmirched Trump’s character and told him what a real man would do if Trump acted like an animal around a woman. Instead, he laughed in apparent agreement and encouragement leading one to wonder if he didn’t “high five” Trump for his “achievement;” he certainly wasn’t appalled like any decent human being.

The rape culture is perpetuated in many ways, but none more so than the “rape apologists” rushing to defend the perpetrators whether they are rich celebrities like Donald Trump, high school football stars carrying around an unconscious rape victim, rock celebrities or television stars. Of course there was no shortage of Trump defenders who excused his lewd description about how he commits sexual assaults according to the Justice Department definition.

It is exactly that kind of defense by his supporters and campaign surrogates using “creative excuses that normalize and minimize sexual assaults” That perpetuate and normalize rape culture. And it doesn’t matter who is guilty whether it is Donald Trump or any other male sexual predator. A despicable example was the co-chair of Trump’s New York campaign, Carl Paladino, who excused Trump’s remarks about sexually assaulting women as “something all men do, at least all normal men.” And according to rape culture, if it is “something that all normal men do” then it must be permissible in society and women who object must be sick, or at least they don’t really comprehend what “legitimate rape” entails. Yes, just uttering the words “legitimate rapeperpetuates America’s rape culture that sexual predators like Donald Trump thrive in.

There has always been a culture promoting rape in America simply because the nation is and always has been dominated by patriarchs that believe their “biblical superiorityover women excuses all manner of misogyny whether it is sexual assault, controlling women’s bodies, underpaying them, slut-shaming for using birth control or daring to come forward to unconcerned, mostly male, law enforcement to report a sexual assault.

In fact, another thing that makes rape culture “self-perpetuating” is that assaulted women are terrified to come forward and report their rapists out of fear of not being taken seriously or having “their characters ripped apart.” It is why so many victims stay silent to avoid having their motives questioned like Trump’s accusers or to avoid being accused of “asking for it.” As Laurel Raymond at Think Progress put it, “If we are to learn anything from Trump’s masterclass in rape culture, it’s that none of us [women] should keep quiet.”

If nothing else comes out of the revelation that Donald Trump is, by definition, a sexual predator and guilty of sexual assault according to his own words, it is possible that more Americans will become aware of rape culture and who is perpetuating it. It is true there are Republicans condemning Trump’s “remarks,” but one has to add that they are all the same Republicans guilty of perpetuating rape culture whether by slut-shaming contraception advocates or questioning the validity of a rape. It is something only a Republican still supporting Donald Trump is guilty of and as some people have noted are also guilty of wishing they were in Trump’s situation so they too could “move hard” on any woman with impunity because they are rich, famous or powerful.

Image: Gage Skidmore

Washington Post Offers Brilliant and Reasoned Endorsement of Hillary Clinton

Anyone familiar with a newspaper editorial board’s process of deciding which candidate to endorse for any office in any election will confess it can be a lengthy and sometimes contentious task. Two weeks ago when the New York Times editorial board endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, anyone with a pulse could see the board did its due diligence and put forward a well-researched and well-conceived rationale for endorsing Clinton. Late this week, the Washington Post weighed in on the presidential election and officially endorsed Hillary Clinton and gave what is arguably the most well thought-out and clearly reasoned endorsement of any candidate in recent memory.

Although the Post methodically laid out its reasons for endorsing Ms. Clinton, the editorial’s first paragraph really said everything any of their readers needed to know about Clinton as a superior choice over not just Donald Trump, but any candidate from any party.

There is a well-qualified, well-prepared candidate on the ballot. Hillary Clinton has the potential to be an excellent president of the United States, and we endorse her without hesitation.”

In similar fashion of the NYT’s endorsement, the Post did not focus on why Donald Trump is “dreadful” or why Clinton is the “lesser of two evils;” because it is not why the board endorsed her. However, like any thoughtful endorsement it did not shy away from why it believes, right or wrong, that some Americans dislike and distrust the former Secretary of State and U.S. Senator. The piece carefully explained how and why it believes Hillary could have handled the past 25 years of conservative attacks on her character better.

Interestingly, the endorsement did note what it called Clinton’s “genuine flaws, missteps and weaknesses;” of which one, a lack of charisma, the board considered an asset in America’s “angrily divided nation” where, if elected, she will have to govern and work with a political party “determined to thwart her.”

It is worth taking the 4 minutes to read the Post’s endorsement, but there was one specific point that stands out as justification for the opening paragraph about Clinton being “well-qualified and well-prepared” to be “an excellent president.”

In a few words with significant weight behind them, the Post said Hillary Clinton is “dogged, resilient, purposeful and smart. She does not let her feelings get in the way of the job at hand. She is well positioned to get something done,” and she will not be deterred from progress by a defeat no matter how brutal.

The Post specifically noted that instead of holding “some grudges” toward Republicans who “lambasted her husband in the most personal terms” during an impeachment fiasco, after winning election to the Senate in 2000 “colleagues in both parties found her to be businesslike, knowledgeable, intent on accomplishment, willing to work across the aisle and less focused than most on getting credit.”

On domestic issues, the Post remarked that “Ms. Clinton’s agenda is commendable, and parts may actually be achievable: immigration reform; increased investment in infrastructure, research and education, paid for by higher taxes on the wealthy; sounder family-leave policies; criminal-justice reform. In an era of slowing growth and growing income inequality, these all make sense, as do her support for curbing climate change and for regulating gun ownership.”

On all of those issues, the editorial board noted that Clinton may not please some farther-left Democrats or hard-right Republicans, but because this is a divided America and progress comes in excruciatingly painful incremental steps, her steady hand, knowledge, and intent on accomplishment by working across the aisle will achieve results; if only incrementally.

What was surprising, really, was the Post’s remark that “Ms. Clinton underlined her fitness for office in what was essentially the first major decision of her potential presidency: her choice of Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) as running mate.” The Post noted, rightly, that “Ms. Clinton selected a person of sound judgment, with executive and legislative experience and unquestionable capacity to serve as president if necessary.” It was an executive-level choice that demonstrated Clinton’s “seriousness of purpose and relentless commitment to achievements in the public interest” instead of making a choice based on exciting “this or that part of her base.”

The Post ended its endorsement with a point that did not have to be made and really did nothing to substantiate the worth of a major newspaper’s otherwise brilliant endorsement. It said, “We believe that Ms. Clinton will prove a worthy example to girls who celebrate the election of America’s first female president. We believe, too, that anyone who votes for her will be able to look back, four years from now, with pride in that decision.”

Anyone who supports or votes for Hillary Clinton should not do so based on her gender regardless the historical or role model value for girls or women. The only reason to support Clinton’s candidacy is because she is “well-qualified and well-prepared to be an excellent president;” the most important reason offered by the Washington Post editorial board.

 

h/t shoq

N.C. Gov. McCrory’s  Crusade To Continue Legalized Bigotry Without HB2

North Carolina’s religious governor, Pat McCrory, must think his state’s residents are imbeciles on myriad levels; they did, after all, elect him as governor. Apparently the governor is getting stressed about his gubernatorial re-election bid particularly after he and his Republican legislature reacted very badly to a Charlotte City Council ordinance; an ordinance “granting” constitutionally-protected equal rights to all North Carolina residents. It was, after all, that Charlotte ordinance that provoked religious Republicans to pass the hideous HB 2 that legalized discrimination against anyone in the state who isn’t white, male, and follower of the “right” religion.

Now, McCrory is proposing what would be a no-win deal for the LGBT community statewide in an attempt to curry favor with decent North Carolina voters and taxpayers who are aware the state is hemorrhaging jobs and revenue due to HB 2. Remember, since HB 2 passed and was signed into law, the NBA All-Star Game and several NCAA championship games relocated out of North Carolina to protect athletes from being subjected to religious Republican-sanctioned discrimination.

Along with the highly-profitable basketball events, the state lost a substantial number of major economic opportunities for the state’s residents and businesses. One conservative estimate in the immediate aftermath of the outrage is that the state has lost at a minimum $230 million as a result of HB 2. Add to that, McCrory raided the state’s emergency disaster relief fund for $500,000 to cover legal fees defending the unconstitutional HB2. It is little wonder McCrory is worried and desperate to save his job.

The governor’s plan is a solemn pledge to voters that he will reconvene the General Assembly before it officially meets again in January and overturn the law. Sounds promising; right? Except it’s not acceptable whatsoever due to one condition that maintains the status quo. Pat McCrory promises to “attempt” to convince the religious Republican legislature that passed HB2 to repeal the law if, and only if, the Charlotte City Council repeals the anti-discrimination ordinance that incited McCrory and his Republican cabal to start this truly sordid religious affair. The result will be no change and LGBT people, women, non-whites, and non-religious residents will still lack any protection from bigotry-driven discrimination they lack with HB2 in effect.

What McCrory is doing is a classic punk move to take pressure off himself during a heated campaign and put it on the Charlotte City Council responsible for passing the state’s only anti-discrimination ordinance. This is a nasty Republican gambit because McCrory is counting on the Charlotte City Council’s refusal to succumb to a no-win deal. If they don’t accept his bogus offer, he can tell voters that “I wanted to repeal the law, but the elected officials in Charlotte wouldn’t let me!

Here’s the thing, religious Republicans realize that the citizens are paying for the consequences of their and the governor’s actions, so it is on them to do the constitutionally-right thing and repeal the seriously discriminatory and unconstitutional law. The city of Charlotte’s leaders already did the “constitutionally-right thing” in protecting the LGBT community with the state’s only anti-discrimination ordinance.

The Charlotte City Council is already facing pressure from anti-LGBT businesses such as the North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association. The state’s hospitality industry is putting heat on the city council to take McCrory’s deal and eliminate the only protection the LGBT community has in the entire state. The N.C. Restaurant and Lodging Association represents businesses “with hundreds of thousands of employees” and they still want LGBT discrimination firmly in place sans HB2 to lure all the customers they’re losing back due to the NBA/NCAA exodus. The industry stated:

The hospitality industry has become collateral damage in a fight it did not start or ask for. Restaurant and lodging businesses and their employees are suffering the adverse impact of these policies though lost business and wages.

The North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association calls on Charlotte City Council to repeal ordinance #7056 immediately, [and] on Governor McCrory to convene a special session of the NC General Assembly, and on the NC House and Senate to repeal House Bill 2 in its entirety.” That way, discrimination remains legal in the state and McCrory and Republicans look reasonable to idiotic voters in the state who are probably unaware sanctioned discrimination is still the law of the state.

It is no mystery why, if all the adverse impacts, suffering and lost business and wages were the only thing on the “hospitality industry’s mind, they aren’t demanding that Governor McCrory immediately convene a special session of the NC General Assembly and order them to repeal House Bill 2 in its entirety; they heartily approve of religious Republican-sanctioned discrimination or they wouldn’t demand that the Charlotte City Council toe the bigots’ line and eliminate the only constitutional anti-discrimination ordinance in the state.

One hopes the Charlotte City Council rejects the “special deal” from McCrory and continues holding the line on equal rights for all North Carolina residents. It is noteworthy that the Charlotte City Council did not start, or ask for, the fight for equality and protections against discrimination; they simply adhered to the United States Constitution’s 14th Amendment that religious Republicans and Governor McCrory have no use for according to their nasty bent against the LGBT community, women, non-Aryans and non-Christians.

McCrory and his religious cronies in the state legislature started this fight against the Constitution’s 14th Amendment. If the governor is in a heated re-election bid over HB2 and the economic losses to the state, then he can bolster his decency credentials by demanding “his cohorts” in the General Assembly come to order and repeal HB2 completely. The “no-win deal” McCrory offered the Charlotte City Council is just that: a dastardly deal that perpetuates HB2 without the necessity of a bigoted law and one has to believe that the members of Charlotte’s City Council are savvy enough to comprehend exactly what McCrory is up to.

H/T Patheos

Media Ignores Legitimate Federal Rape Case Against Donald Trump

If Americans plagued with the task of observing and commenting on the state of American politics haven’t already figured it out, America’s mainstream media certainly detests strong intelligent women. If that were not the case, and it definitely is, the media would eschew the proliferation of phony Republican claims about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and start focusing on legitimate scandals involving their favorite “man of the year” Donald Trump. No, this isn’t about Trump’s illegal campaign contribution to a corrupt Florida attorney general,or his ties to Russian oligarchs, or his failure to pay income taxes; it is about the legitimate child rape case against an avowed misogynist the GOP felt comfortable nominating as their standard bearer seeking the White House.

As misogynists go, now that the American queen of misogyny, Phyllis Schlafly, is dead, Donald Trump surely ranks as America’s greatest and most visible woman hater and has the right to claim Schlafly’s crown. If the big-time wrestling and reality television celebrity wasn’t defaming women as “dogs, slobs and pigs,” he was attacking a Fox News journalist Megyn Kelly for asking him a question that Trump claimed was unprofessional because she was menstruating. Add to those anti-women credentials his attack on the appearance of another Republican candidate, Carly Fiorina, and Ted Cruz’s wife Heidi.

It is no surprise, then, that Trump is facing a very real, and very credible, federal lawsuit accusing the Republican nominee for president of raping a 13-year old girl during a party hosted by a billionaire and convicted pedophile, Jeffrey Epstein. Although this has been ongoing for some time, now more than ever the mainstream media should be delving into to case after a federal judge announced a pre-trial conference scheduled for September 9 was rescheduled for October 14th. The judge gave the plaintiff extra time to “legally” serve defendants Donald J. Trump and a man Trump said was a “really neat guy,” and convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein who was present during the “alleged” child sex abuse.

As a side note, even pretend journalists are encouraged to use the “alleged” because Trump is not yet convicted, but there is plenty of evidence pointing to Trump’s guilt; primarily from Trump himself. There is, however, a good reason to believe there is validity to the victims charge if for no other reason than there is an eye witness accounting of the brutal child rape of a 13-year old girl by the man the GOP establishment want sitting in the Oval Office to make America even more exceptionally Republican.

Eye witness account aside, there is the account of Epstein who was with Trump at the time of the “alleged” child rape. Epstein, a now-disgraced investment banker and “good buddy” of Trump’s, was previously accused of running a “sexual abuse ring” involving underage girls and providing them to high-powered clients and wealthy businessmen like Donald Trump. Epstein was successfully convicted of soliciting an underage girl for prostitution and served 13 months in prison after pleading guilty.

Even setting aside the two other allegations of “violent rape” against Trump, it is prescient to consider his decades worth of contempt for, and debasing comments about, women in general, but especially those he has worked with. The misogynist king takes great pride in his “longstanding and well-documented” record of objectifying the gender he decreedhave to be treated like shit.”

Trump’s contemptible record of abusing women is an important point in claiming this rape charge is completely believable; because according to American Psychological Association (APA), “men who objectify women are more likely to become perpetrators of sexual violence; just as one with a long history of overtly racist comments is more likely to commit a hate crime.” One would add that a child who enjoys torturing and killing animals is more likely than not to torture and kill human beings in later life with Jeffrey Dahmer being a prime example psychologists cite often.

As noted here, “Decades of abusive language [targeting women] does not make Trump a rapist, but it does show who the man is: a callous, mean-spirited misogynist who no sane person would leave alone with their daughter.” And, as acclaimed American poet Maya Angelou once said, “When someone shows you who they really are, believe them.”

Trump has revealed who he is and what he thinks of the fairer sex that makes the allegations he is a child rapist very believable. If the main stream media would take a second out of focusing on Hillary Clinton coughing, or slipping on icy stairs, or using email to give attention to a legitimate charge of child rape against the Republican nominee for president, perhaps his ardent supporters would pause and realize they are enamored with a dirty lying pedophile.

Why Don’t Liberals Call Out Feel the Bern’s Lies?

 

 

So, what’s the deal with American liberals? When a Republican lies, liberals can’t wait to call them pathological liars like they should. But when a Democrat running for president lies, liberals say it’s a mistake, it’s misconstrued, taken out-of-context or else the candidate bitches about the other side beating up on him. More to the point; during the last week Bernie Sanders lied more than once; including after ambushing Pope Francis in his hotel. But liberals won’t say he lied.

The lies started the day Bernie Sanders announced on MSNBC and repeated on ABC’s The View that he was invited to the Vatican for a conversation with the Pope. As a Vatican expert wrote; the Pope or the Vatican never invited Bernie Sanders to anything. His foreign policy adviser Jeffrey Sachs and his public relations friend used their connections to get Sanders an invitation to speak for at a school conference for ten minutes. He wasn’t invited to Vatican to speak with the Pope.

After hearing a week’s worth of news reports that Bernie was summoned to the Vatican to talk to the Pope, implying he would get a papal endorsement, the real Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi had to announce that “Senator Sanders was not invited by the pope, but by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.” Lombardi also said that the Pope would not be meeting with the candidate, Bernie Sanders because Francis doesn’t get involved in elections or politics and he was going to Greece.

So who continues lying when the Vatican and papal spokesman releases an official Vatican statement exposing a week-long lie? The Sanders’ campaign, that’s who. Instead of staying on the down-low and praying to god that people forget you just lied about the Pope, Sanders’ campaign punked the Pope; and then they lied some more.

According to the Sanders’ campaign, the night before he gave his speech at the school, the Pope sent a message that he changed his mind and wanted to have a meeting with him before he went to Greece. According to a gullible website that believed a Sanders’ acolyte who set up the speech at the school conference;

“While Sanders was having dinner later on Friday night, he learned that the pope would like to meet before leaving for Greece.”

This is despite the Pope announcing the day before he would not be meeting with Sanders. Because besides heading to Greece to talk about the refugees, he never gets involved with candidates during an election. In fact, sources at the real Vatican reportedly refused to return calls to Sanders’ campaign prior to his trip to Rome, and insiders closest to the Holy Father claimed the Pope didn’t want Sanders there at all. He didn’t want the distraction and he doesn’t get involved with candidates for office.

What the Pope wanted didn’t matter because Sanders and his foreign policy adviser Jeffrey Sachs wanted to make that pesky week-old lie go away; come hell or high water and at the expense of the Catholic pope.

The Politico story said “Bernie Sanders privately met with Pope Francis after all at the pontiff’s residence in Vatican City on Saturday morning before the pope left on a trip for Greece. The Democratic presidential candidate was joined by his wife Jane, advisor Jeffrey Sachs, Sachs’ wife, and Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo — who translated — for a roughly five-minute meeting before Pope Francis left for a trip to Greece. There were no photographs taken of the pope and Sanders together.”

Bernie Sanders knew damn well the story was a lie and he never refuted it because, hey, it made his other lies not lies; it’s what makes them pathological. And since no liberal will call him a liar nobody was going to contradict Bernie or dispute his telling of the “five minute meeting.” Good thing Pope Francis isn’t a liberal because he told a completely different version of the meeting that makes everything Bernie Sanders said a lie.

Since the Bern and crew were staying at the same hotel as the Pope and they knew about when he was leaving, something the Pope felt compelled to tell reporters, the Bern crew hung out in the lobby waiting for the Pope to descend for the ambush. According to the Pope, a man that isn’t known for lying and has no reason to;

This morning when I left, Sen. Sanders was there. … He knew I was leaving at that time. I had the kindness to greet him and his wife and another couple who were with them. When I came down, I greeted them, shook their hands and nothing more. This is good manners. It’s called good manners and not getting mixed up in politics. If anyone thinks that greeting someone means getting involved in politics, they should see a psychiatrist.”

It sounds like the poor pope was virtually ambushed in the lobby as he was leaving for Greece to pick up some refugees and bring them back to Rome. It also sounds like it was important to him to dispel the lie that he had a five minute sit-down meeting with Sanders. It is funny the Pope said “anyone that thinks that greeting someone means getting involved in politics should see a psychiatrist” because feeltheberns still think the pope is lying and that he is endorsing Bernie’s campaign.

The Bern’s fanatical followers are candidates for a psychiatric visit according to the pope; they claimed the Pope endorsed Sanders for president and there are official Bernie Sanders campaign posters all over the social media with pictures of the pope and a small child as if Francis is officially part of the campaign. It’s a lie, but hey, pathological liars can’t help themselves, right? At least that’s what liberals always say when they catch a Republican lying.

Does America have a law that says nobody can call out lies when they’re from the left? It’s an honest question because there’s been a solid week of Sanders lies that nobody calls lies. Know what’s a lie? Liberals calling themselves honest when they’re scared shitless to call out another liberal’s lies.

Bernie Sanders lied and the only guy on the planet with courage to say he lied is the pope. True, he didn’t call Bernie a liar in so many words, but he did take the time to do something no-one else would do; tell the world that Bernie’s version of the story wasn’t true. On the street “the story wasn’t true” means somebody lied.