Trump’s latest attack on the Constitution portends his intent to “rule” as dictator

The United States Constitution is not the sort of document that contains reiterations of the same “rule of law” for obvious reasons, mostly centering on the fact that there is not much room for interpretation of easy to understand “commands.” There is, however, one “command” that is referenced verbatim in separate Amendments to the Constitution because it is a foundational protection against tyranny – like many other aspects of the Constitution and the rule of law,

Trump revealed on Sunday, and doubled down on Monday, that he is no fan of the aforementioned Constitutional “clauses.” It is likely because they provide longstanding legal protections from tyranny as well as prevent an aspiring dictator like Trump from ruling like the various dictators, past and present, that he is so enamored with and desperate to emulate.

The Constitution’s Framers and Founding Fathers were well aware that without the concept of “due process of law” enshrined in the Constitution, and the nation’s consciousness, America would rapidly devolve into a dictatorship. Trump’s outrageous set of “tweets” decrying “due process of the law” for immigrants alleged to be guilty of a misdemeanor, “improper entry,” is the latest revelation that not only does he have no respect for the Constitution; his greatest aspiration is to rule as dictator according to his law.

If these were normal times, the head of the Executive Department “explicitly” advocating depriving people of their due-process rights would be grounds for congressional leaders to issue a sternly worded censure, if not articles of impeachment. Trump claims that anyone suspected of “improper entry,” a civil matter and a misdemeanor, is an “invader” and must immediately be deported without a civil trial or appearance before a judge – even if they are legally seeking asylum or are young children.

Trump said via his forum of choice for issuing domestic policy edicts and setting foreign policy:

We cannot allow all of these people to invade our Country. When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came. Our system is a mockery to good immigration policy and Law and Order. Most children come without parents.”

Setting aside Trump’s daily practice of attacking the nation’s laws, this is not the first time he has entertained the idea of suspending “due process” protections for the “kind” of people he and his supporters claim are “invading and infesting “ America. Remember, one of Trump’s fiercest supporters who was in the running to lead the Department of Homeland Security, David Clark, promoted the idea that Trump could just suspend the Constitution and imprison a million or so Muslim Americans indefinitely without due process of the law. Now Trump is proposing a similar idea as a means of dealing with those other Brown people he and his supporters claim are not allowed in their white America.

Due process is the cornerstone of any civilized society regardless of how stringent a nation’s law and order policies are. Without due process of law, the result is abject tyranny, not unlike the conditions in countries ruled by Trump’s favorite dictators. There is a good reason Trump praises tyrants renowned for extrajudicial killings and indefinite detentions; his greatest ambition is to rule as a dictator beholden to no law, no judicial system, and no legislative body.

The Founding Fathers took great care to protect America from tyranny with the Bill of Rights, particularly the Fifth Amendment. That protection was reiterated 75 years later when the States ratified the 14th Amendment. As “due process” is explained by Cornell Law School:

These words [due process] have as their central promise an assurance that all levels of American government must operate within the law and provide fair procedures. The Constitution states only one command twice. The Fifth Amendmentsays to the federal government that no one shall be ‘deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.’ The Fourteenth Amendment uses the same eleven words, called the Due Process Clause, to describe a legal obligation of all states.” (author bold)

It is now glaringly apparent that to Trump the idea of a “legal obligation” to follow the laws of the land is anathema to his dream of ruling America as dictator. He has openly disparaged the nation’s founding document, the one he swore a “so help me god” oath to support, defend and uphold, and has regularly attacked the federal judiciaryfor ruling according to the Constitution and not the dictates of Führer Trump.

Trump is now asserting that in his America, and this is his America, the rule of law is a barrier he is not going to tolerate, especially if he is flagrantly attacking the concept of due process of law. As conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin noted in the Washington Post, Trump’s latest outrageous assertion about immigrants is “the language of totalitarianism, [and] rule without civil rights.  It’s the language of racist regimes …. It is distinctly un-American.”

Of course it is “distinctly un-American.”  What else can anyone expect from Trump? He has been the picture of “distinctly un-American” since before his poorly attended inauguration. Throughout the entire lurch toward Trump ruling as dictator, Republicans have been complicit in his attacks on Americans, people of color, America’s staunchest allies and the United States Constitution through their continued silence and fear of confronting the un-American fascist.

It is still a mystery why Republicans are terrified of a legitimate threat to America and continue supporting Trump’s assault on the nation. It leaves one to conclude that Republicans are as un-American as their fascist standard bearer or they would have already taken the necessary steps to remove what they know is a clear and present danger to the U.S. Constitution and America as a representative democracy.

Only dictators claim they are above the law

If there is one obvious prevailing trait of America’s government with a corrupt celebrity at its head, it is that nearly all leaders of the various federal agencies and departments are religiously opposed to fulfilling the duties of the agencies they lead. This is true of every department in Trump’s industry- and evangelical-heavy administration, including the criminal running the Executive Branch of government.

Like the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has no interest in protecting the environment, or the head of the Education Department has no interest in supporting public education, the head of the Executive Branch, dirty Don Trump, has no interest in “executing the laws” of the United States; the primary duty of the Executive Branch. In fact, as with everything Trump, he has gone far beyond just not executing the laws of the land, he claims that he is exempt from the laws and is not afraid to make it public knowledge.

During the 2016 presidential election, Trump claimed he could “shoot somebody in the face” and still maintain the support of his racist and religious acolytes. Some people likely believed Trump was boasting about his popularity among his zealot supporters, but based on his actions since even before his poorly attended inauguration, and a recently revealed White House “memo”  to the Special Prosecutor Robert S. Mueller, Trump was informing the American people that the nation’s laws simply do not apply to him. It has been an ongoing theme of Trump’s criminal tenure in the Oval Office and now his White House legal team all but claimed Trump decides what justice entails.

Whether it is violating campaign finance laws, flouting the U.S. Code prohibiting hiring family members, taking bribes from foreign governmentsobstructing justiceprofitingoff his position as White House resident, or colluding with foreign spies against the interests of the United States; Trump has shown that he regards laws as applicable to his alleged enemies, but not himself or members of his criminal enterprise.

It is worth noting that Trump’s criminal syndicate now includes the preponderance of the Republican Party that refuses to provide oversight or control the organized crime syndicate occupying the White House. That includes no small number of Republican senators and House representatives who violated 18 U.S. Code § 4 by not immediately reporting what they knew from personal experience was Trump attempting to obstruct justice. They did confirm that Trump pressured them to end their investigation. Although obstructing justice is a crime, it is one that Trump claims does not apply to him because he is the head of the Executive Branch tasked by the U.S. Constitution with “executing the laws of the land.”

At this point it is probably true that a fair number of Americans have at least heard about a “confidential memo” sent by the White House legal team informing Robert S. Mueller III that because he is the head of the Executive Branch, Trump is exempt from obstruction of justice laws. This is, as no small number of legal experts and pundits alike have asserted, a damned “ludicrous” claim. Particularly because Richard M. Nixon and William Jefferson Clinton each faced removal from the White House for “obstruction of justice.”

It is worth noting that there is probably no government office with more opportunities to obstruct justice than the presidency and it is almost certainly why the United States Congress was given Constitutional authority to ensure that the Executive Branch abides by the laws of the land.

Sadly today, the Republicans running Congress not only refuse to do their due diligence and their jobs, such as providing the oversight to the White House, they are actively obstructing justice by covering for the criminals and worse – they have acted contrary to their “law and order” bona fides by viciously attacking the Justice Department and federal law enforcement agencies that are doing their jobs.

The gist of the White House “memo” to Mr. Mueller’s team is that because he is head of the Executive Branch, the one Branch solely responsible for executing the law of the land:  “Trump can’t obstruct justice because as president [head of the Executive Branch] he has authority to end an investigation of himself.”

Representative Ted Lieu summed up the consensus of legal experts aware of the insanity entailed in the memo saying:

The confidential memo from attorneys for @realDonaldTrump is, to use a legal term, ludicrous. Under their view, @POTUS could shoot a federal employee on 5th Ave and still not be able to be indicted, or even subpoenaed.”

The mindset revealed in the White House memo is more than a claim Trump is exempt from the law; it is a statement that he is the law because he can “end an investigation of himself.” It is tantamount to claiming he can unilaterally invalidate any law of the land if it is applied to him or his crime family. It is likely why the “memo” contained a stunning admission by a Trump lawyer, Jay Sekulow, that Trump did more than weigh in on his son’s mendacious letter about the so-called “Trump Tower meeting with Russian nationals. According Trump’s lawyer, Trump “dictated” the letter his son provided in response to an article in the New York Times denying any collusion with the Russians. Despite several official White House denials that Trump had no involvement in crafting the letter, the White House legal team wrote to Mr. Mueller:

“You have received all of the notes, communications and testimony indicating that the President [Trump] dictated a response to the New York Times article on behalf of his son, Donald Trump, Jr.”

This admission is important for no other reason than, as documented by CNN, Trump’s administration lied profusely that Trump had nothing whatsoever to do with “the letter.”  As David Corn noted over at Mother Jones; Donald Jr.’s account in closed-door testimony before the United States Congress was a dirty lie. And Mr. Corn remarked that “it’s a crime to lie to Congress.”

But that is not the case in Trump’s administration as evidenced by at least five of his Cabinet nominees lying under “so help my god” oath during their Senate confirmation hearings with complete impunity. Trump’s liar’s club includes aspiring preacher-pope Mike Pence. Remember, Pence blatantly lied that he only learned of Michael Flynn’s ties to Russia and Turkey several months after Congressional Democrats had sent him a letter informing him that Flynn had close ties to Russia and Turkey.

The whole point of this little screed is to reiterate that America is being run by an honest-to-dog criminal enterprise with no regard for the law; the law that in Trump’s corrupt mind cannot apply to him. It is likely that Trump has labored under that concept his entire life. Whether it was him or his rich daddy obstructing justice with payments (donations) to politicians to ignore dumb Donnie’s real estate malfeasance, or being on the receiving end of a $500 billion Chinese investment (bribe), Trump has ignored the law of the land that every other American is beholden to follow under pain of prosecution.

As noted above, Republicans in Congress are complicit in Trump’s criminal syndicate because they are willingly colluding with the “Don” to obstruct justice, as well as question the legitimacy of America’s federal law enforcement and undermine federal investigative agencies.

America cannot survive a United States Congress that appears more than willing to aid and abet a known criminal occupying the White House. And yes, Trump is a criminal who has already violated no small number of laws, including lying by swearing on a stack of two Christian bibles to “faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States … and preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. So help me god.”

Trump’s flagrant disregard for the law, including openly asserting he is above the law, is a portent that America is perilously close to being run by an authoritarian dictator; a tragedy that would not be possible without the willing participation of the party of law and order – the GOP. In fact, Trump’s claim that he is immune from the law is the clearest sign yet that his goal is ruling as a dictatorial tyrant.

Theocracy Alert: LGBT students forced to read bible as punishment

No doubt human beings read the Christian bible for various reasons whether it is to learn how to live according to Stone and Bronze Age sensibilities in the 21st Century, or to verify that America’s bastardized version of the faith is founded on fantastical lies, or for academic studies into archaic mythology and superstition. For some people it is probable that reading the Christian bible is sheer torture, and it may explain why an Oregon school forced LGBTQ students to read Christian bible scriptures as punishment.

First, although America officially began lurching towards becoming an evangelical theocracy shortly before Trump’s poorly attended inauguration, it is still patently unconstitutional to insert any religion into public education – regardless what “preacher” Pence or Education Secretary and evangelical extremist Betsy DeVos believe. It almost certainly occurs often but is hardly reported for a couple of reasons. Either because victims are terrified of the theocrats, or because there are far too many evangelical extremists in power who regularly flout the U.S. Constitution by inserting and promoting some form of the Christian religion in public schools they refuse to accept or believe that their Christian bible is not the Constitution and ultimate law of the land and they will inflict damage on anyone claiming otherwise.

It is noteworthy that the evangelical extremists who reject the Constitution as heretical also believe that the Constitution imparts religious liberty authorizing evangelicals to single out women and members of the LGBTQ community for “special treatment” regardless of equal rights laws or federal protections against discrimination. Of course it is abominable and contrary to the Constitution to discriminate against any American, but to discriminate against gay students and then use the Christian bible for punishment in the public schools would be criminal if America wasn’t creeping towards theocracy.

In a rural region about 200 miles from Portland Oregon the North Bend School District is facing what are being termed “serious discrimination” charges for “forcing at least one LGBTQ student to read the Christian bible as punishment.” The discrimination aspect entails allegations that the district singles out LGBT students for  “separate or different rules of behavior, sanctions, or other treatment;” such as a school administrator “forcing LGBT students to read the Christian bible while they were being disciplined.

Of course the district, and likely the culprits, summarily denied the allegations because like all common criminal they knew they were violating more than a few rules. However, it seems certain that at some juncture someone in authority actually scanned the Old Testament and read “Number Nine” of the BIG Ten Commandments prohibiting lying under pain of death. Possibly then the theocrat using their bible for punishment realized they were courting death according to Old Testament rules if they continued lying. The administrator in question, although not contrite, confessed to the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) investigators that the allegations were indeed true. It also was revealed that another teacher was reported as equating same-sex marriage to marrying a dog — during taxpayer-funded public school lessons.

Part of the Oregon Department of Education investigation is whether the “forced Bible reading violated the student’s First Amendment rights, including the Establishment Clause which recognizes the separation of church and state.” Obviously, any introduction of religion in public school violates the Constitution, so there is no question that punishment by bible is a serious violation; obviously forcing any student to read it is violating the students’ rights.

The ODE letter to North Bend School District Superintendent Bill Yester said in part:

There is substantial evidence to support the allegation that the district subjected LGBTQ students to separate or different rules of behavior, sanctions, or other treatment… The department finds that discrimination on the basis of sex and sexual orientation may have occurred.”

Coos Bay World provided excerpts from a “detailed account” of the three primary allegations lodged against the district.

Under the matter of “using the bible as punishment,” the ODE noted that:

The District allegedly treated students differently on the basis of sex and sexual orientation when imposing discipline.”

The district also “failed to respond to sexual harassment complaints when those complaints were made by LGBTQ students.”

And finally, “District  failed to take appropriate action to remedy a hostile environment after complaints had been made by LGBTQ students alleging that students and district staff had sexually harassed other students.” (author bold)

This incident should raise myriad red flags and incite outrage about the increasing imposition of religion occurring at the state and federal level, but it has not. It is likely increasing because at one time only an evangelical extremist would disagree that using the Bible for anything in the public schools violates the First Amendment; now the minority die-hard evangelical extremists run the government as an extension of their version of “the Church” in a burgeoning evangelical theocracy.

Under Supreme Court interpretations of the Constitution’s Establishment Clause, educators cannot use the Bible as a moral authority in public schools because it is an “establishment of religion” that violates the separation between church and state. The concept of separating church and state, although enshrined in the First Amendment of the Constitution is an abomination and “unconstitutional” according most religious right fanatics, including Mike “preacher” Pence and J. Beauregard Sessions.

The ODE’s letter to the District also noted that one school counselor the students appealed to for assistance faced retaliation from the district officials after he began advocating for LGBTQ students. The counselor said:

These students have required quite a bit of support, but luckily they have some good family and friends. A lot of students who have been involved didn’t come forward or remained anonymous so it’s two main students who spearheaded the appeal. They had the courage to do this.”

No-one should be surprised at this latest imposition of religion in the public school system, or that LGBTQ students have been singled out and “openly discriminated against and forced to read the Christian bible” both as a form of punishment and to “demean LGBTQ students.” There is a crusade at the federal level to force evangelical teaching on public school students as the be all, end all “national moral authority,” as well as to inculcate America’s youth into the superstitious worldview of bigots according to a religion.

Another aspect of this atrocity in a secular nation is that, save a few local and regional media outlets, this all-too-common story has been woefully under-reported, if reported at all. That dearth of reporting is part and parcel of why evangelical extremists, religious right activists, and Republicans nationwide continue flouting the Constitution with veritable impunity. Sadly, although they only make up a minority of the population, the evangelical theocrats now co-own the federal government with the Kochs and corporations and if Republicans are not thrown out of power quickly, this particular incident is going to be a regular occurrence. And if the Christian Dominionists achieve their goal, it will not be unconstitutional, it will be the law of the land and reporting it as discrimination will be a crime.

Image: Patheos

Billy Graham On Display in the Capitol Is a National Disgrace

One of the primary reasons Americans are fundamentally unaware that their nation and their freedoms are being whittled away by theocrats posing as Republicans is because of sheer cowardice. Mainstream media, Democrats, various pundits, and most commentators are absolutely terrified of attributing Republican atrocities like attacks on women, gays, contraception, Jews and other religions, and the Constitution’s equal rights provisions to one religion. Specifically it is the religion comprised of the cults adhering to the bastardized form of Christianity that falls under the umbrella term “evangelicals.”

Now there is another purely Republican religious atrocity being unchallenged and although it does not necessarily inflict harm in typical religious Republican fashion, it epitomizes just how deep theocracy is entrenched in government.

This particular little screed is over the lack of outrage at an honored privilege being bestowed, at taxpayer expense, on a private citizen simply because he was a Christian preacher. Billy Graham has spent decades adversely influencing at least two generations of Americans while not providing any contribution or service whatsoever to the nation. Still, House Speaker Paul  Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are honoring Graham for his “distinguished service to the nation.”

Graham died last week so Ryan and McConnell sent a letter to Graham’s evangelical extremist son for permission to honor his dead father in the Capitol Rotunda. McConnell and Ryan’s letter said:

“Congress joins the American people in expressing our sincerest condolences to you on the passing of the Rev. Billy Graham.

In recognition of Rev. Graham’s long and distinguished serve to the nation, it is our intention to ask the House of Representatives and the Senate to permit that his remains lie in honor in Rotunda of the Capitol.

With your approval, we will move forward with these arrangements, so that Americans have this opportunity to pay their respects to Rev. Graham before he is laid to rest.”

Graham will be only the fourth private citizen to “lie in honor” in recognition of his “contributions to the nation.” However, even Paul Ryan failed to identify any of Graham’s  “contributions to the nation” in an official Speaker of the House “press release“ announcing the atrocious waste of taxpayer money; no matter the amount.  The three other ‘honorees’ were private citizens who actually contributed to the nation either defending the Capital with their lives, or in Rosa Parks case, making a stand for civil rights the Constitution guaranteed to all Americans. Where the two Capital police officers and Ms. Parks contributed a service the nation that benefits all Americans,  Graham contributed to his Baptist religion; and his own incredibly substantial bank account.

Now, in all fairness there is something Graham has contributed to the nation, but it cannot possibly be regarded as anything other than horrific and contrary to the U.S. Constitution. For all intents and purposes, Graham is the dirty bastard who spawned the religious right movement, myriad charlatans posing as televangelists, and the bigoted evangelical extremist movement decimating America today. He also spawned that piece of work Franklin Graham who spreads hate the way mythological Jesus Christ is rumored to have spread love. It would be unfair to equate Graham’s hateful son with old Billy’s legacy, but old Billy was in no universe contributing anything resembling distinguished service to the nation. He was an enemy of the nation in most respects.

There are myriad reasons Congress is dead wrong in honoring a cretin like Graham, but none more so than he is responsible for the U.S. Congress violating the U.S. Constitution’s 1st Amendment. It was Graham who, in 1952, convinced Congress to “pass legislation establishing religion” and a nationwide religious practice by federal government fiat. Graham insisted that despite the 1st Amendment’s prohibition on Congress legislating religion, he wanted a federal law mandating that the president of the United States “declares an annual National Day of Prayer to see the leaders of our country kneeling before almighty God in prayer.” (author bold)

That one piece of legislation set in motion all manner of religious atrocities that have only increased to the point that theocrats following in Graham’s footsteps are not only fleecing millions of Americans, they are firmly ensconced in running the government. That is just one reason Ryan and McConnell giving a place of honor to an unAmerican preacher is an abomination; particularly in a secular democracy informed by a Constitution without any mention of god, Jesus, Baptists, Christians, bible, prayer, evangelists or revivals.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter to Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell protesting the Republicans’ decision to honor a Baptist preacher. They wrote:

The fact is that Graham lived his life in service to his evangelical Christian religion, and the bible that he believed was an infallible reference manual. He placed the bible far above the Constitution. He was known as a soul-winner and lauded as a “Christian superstar preacher.” What influence he had on this country and its government was purely religious, not civic in nature, and that religious influence was uniformly regressive. While it would be appropriate for evangelical Christian institutions to honor him in this manner, it is not appropriate for Congress and our federal government to do so.

Billy Graham believed fervently in Christianity and people listened to him. But that is not worthy of praise or a spot in the U.S. Capitol, however temporary. Graham in his own way sought to undo the only sure way to guarantee freedom of religion: a government free from religion. Graham is on the wrong side of history. You will be, too, if you authorize this unearned honor.”

Of course the Republicans ignored the concerns of FFRF like they ignore the U.S. Constitution because they are an integral part of the conspiracy to “undo the only sure way to guarantee freedom of religion.” If that were not the case, then Republicans would have never considered, not for any Planck-time, allowing a preacher to lie in a place of honor reserved for Americans who actually contributed to the general good of the nation; especially when that preacher has inflicted a world of damage on the nation.

A Dictator In the White House Is A Constitutional Crisis

When the nation’s Founding Fathers and Constitution’s framers considered how the new republic would be governed, they were well aware of the inherent dangers of a government’s authority resting in one man. Of course it is why they created a government with three separate but equal branches as a means of checks and balances – to prevent what they were subjected to under an English monarchy. That system of government worked fairly well for 240-plus years because the Legislative and Judicial  branches understood the concept of separate but equal and exercised their constitutionally-mandated oversight of the only branch most likely to become authoritarian and its head a dictator.

Trump made it abundantly clear, even before his poorly attended inauguration, that he was not interested in following the rule of law or the Constitution; he did complain early on that the Constitution was “bad for America” because it prevented him or his criminal cohorts from ruling unilaterally and unchecked. That complaint by the head of the Executive Branch was a portent of what transpired recently when Trump refused to execute an act of Congress because it involved punishing the hostile foreign nation that granted him access to a place he should be banned from visiting, much less occupying.

If any American is still confused whether or not dirty Don Trump exists to serve the interests of Russia and Vladimir Putin, his refusal to impose sanctions as mandated by a ridiculously overwhelming majority of the United States Congress should enlighten them. If not, they are either idiots, dirty racists, or evangelical fanatics supporting the authoritarian in the White House.

There have been insinuations over the past year that a few of Trump’s actionspresented the government with an honest-to-dog Constitutional crisis, but they pale in comparison to Trump’s refusal to do what his overseers, the United States Congress, mandated was his Constitutional duty; execute the will of Congress.

This particular incident, violating Article 2, Section 3 of the Constitution (take care clause) represents two separate “constitutional crises.” Not only did Trump thumb his nose at an act of Congress, that very same Congress is thumbing its nose at the Constitution by not exercising its oversight of the executive branch. As this column noted the other day, America as a representative democracy is in a critical state because both Trump and Republicans in Congress refuse to adhere to the rule of law or govern according to the Constitution they all swore a “so help me god” oath to support and defend.

Instead of announcing he is a dictator and is going to violate the law to protect his Russian facilitators, Trump’s State Department issued an announcement with a genuine bovine excrement excuse for not adhering to the United States Constitution:

Today, we have informed Congress that this legislation and its implementation are deterring Russian defense sales. Since the enactment of the . . . legislation, we estimate that foreign governments have abandoned planned or announced purchases of several billion dollars in Russian defense acquisitions.”

It is a striking assertion, but a Trump state department representative actually saidthere was no need for sanctions “because the legislation is serving as a deterrent.”

So, the just the idea of sanctions “deterred” Russia from interfering in elections? Even for a Trump statement, this is a mind numbing assertion.  In no universe are sanctions ever meant as a deterrent; these particular sanctions were passed specifically to punish the Ruskies for helping Trump and Republicans in the 2016 elections as the nearly unanimous legislation Trump signed explains.

As the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY) stated directly after the State Department announcement:

The State Department claims that the mere threat of sanctions will deter Russia’s aggressive behavior. How do you deter an attack that happened two years ago, and another that’s already underway? It just doesn’t make sense. I’m fed up waiting for this administration to protect our country and our elections.”

The legislation’s title, “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act,” states that its explicit purpose is “to counter aggression by … the Russian Federation and for other purposes.” The legislation’s word choice, to “counter” cannot possibly be misconstrued as “to deter” something; especially something that occurred well over a year-and-a-half ago. Add to that the legislation “was widely billed by Republicans as a response to Russian interference in the 2016 election.” Even idiot Republicans comprehend there is no such thing as “deterring” a long-past event.

Still, no matter that Trump is lying about the purpose of the unanimous vote in Congress, or that the vote is working to “deter” Russian interference, there is the constitutional crisis of the “dictator” willfully refusing to follow the will of Congress.

Another issue it that there is no “success” in deterring Russian interference in America’s electoral process according to the Trump administration. In fact, mere hours prior to Trump’s State Department alerting Congress that the head of the executive branch is violating the Constitution, Trump’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director issued his own statement warning that Russia was continuing to intervene in the 2018 midterms. CIA chief Mike Pompeo said:

I haven’t seen a significant decrease in their [Russian] activity. I have every expectation that they will continue to try and do that, but I’m confident that America will be able to have a free and fair election, [and] that we will push back in a way that is sufficiently robust that the impact they have on our election won’t be great.”

There was no explanation from Pompeo for his “confidence”  that America will have a free and fair election when he is equally as confident that Russia is continuing to interfere in American elections. Still, despite Pompeo destroying Trump’s excuse for not imposing sanctions according to a near-unanimous vote by both houses of Congress, it does not address a lawless White House occupant refusing to follow the will of Congress, and by extension the will of the people.

Republicans being the criminal conspirators and beneficiaries of Russian electoral assistance they are likely knew Trump had no intention of adhering to the Constitution by executing Congress’ sanctions. Trump said the sanctions were “seriously flawed” and claimed he only signed them to avoid having his veto overridden; as if he could have ever vetoed a “veto-proof” 98-2 vote in the United States Senate and 419-3 in the House. Even if Trump refused to sign the legislation, it would have went into effect according to the law of the land.

Trump still claims it is doubtful that Russia ever interfered in the 2016 election despite 17 different American intelligence agencies contrary claims; including his hand-picked CIA director. It is glaringly apparent this particularly deliberate constitutional crisis is solely because Trump is not going to bite the Russian hand that gave him access to the White House; and congressional Republicans are not going to punish Trump because they received Russian election assistance in 2016 and will again in 2018.

It is obvious that Republicans in Congress are not going to hold Trump accountable for what is certainly a constitutional crisis. They simply accept that their party’s standard bearer is not going to adhere to the law of the land any more than they are going to exercise their Constitutional duty to exercise oversight on a lying corrupt dictator; they are too busy harassing a Special Prosecutor and investigating American intelligence agencies so Trump can continue shielding Putin from sanctions.

America as a representative democracy under the rule of law is doomed because the U.S. Congress is allowing the head of the Executive Branch to openly defy the will of Congress and violate the U.S. Constitution in the process. Trump not “taking care” to execute legislation by Congress is, no matter how one parses it, the action of a dictator, autocrat, despot, tyrant  or whatever moniker applies to a lawless cretin like Trump. Tragically, now Trump knows Congress will never hold him responsible for violating the law of the land and that should terrify the life out of every American – including Republicans in Congress.

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.

Putin Warns Americans To Stop Disrespecting Trump

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

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

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

Putin said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image: Slate

Vatican Edict In Trump’s HHS Portends Extreme Danger for Women

When the right-wing screams they want to take their country back to a dark era when women were relegated to third class status, they likely didn’t count on going back to the 14th Century. That was smack in the middle of the seriously dark era when the Catholic Church virtually ruled the world by controlling nearly all of western civilization by imposing its theocratic will on leaders of most nations.

Now, the Catholic Church is influencing America’s leaders according to an abominable three words in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) draft mission statement. Although it defies science, the Christian bible, the Catholic and evangelical right’s almighty god and just plain common sense, Trump’s evangelical cabal inserted a purely religious edict as government policy to sate the religious right and United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). They are the two extremely dangerous groups that vehemently oppose a woman’s right to make any decisions about their reproductive health and lives. This is really that serious and a sign of terrible imposition of religion by government fiat.

Some Americans know there was a Republican war on women but it was really always “religious” war on women. Now that war is being conducted by Trump’s federal theocrats who inserted a Vatican phrase into the HHS mission statement lifted right out of the 1968 Papal encyclical on life –  Humanae Vitae subtitled “On the Regulation of Birth.”

During previous administrations, the HHS mission statement was:

HHS accomplishes its mission through programs and initiatives that cover a wide spectrum of activities, serving Americans at every stage of life.”

 Now, with an administration hewing close to the standard Catholic discriminatory religious orthodoxy on women’s health and personal life decisions, the HHS mission statement says:

HHS accomplishes its mission through programs and initiatives that cover a wide spectrum of activities, serving and protecting Americans at every stage of life, beginning at conception.”

Those three words, “beginning at conception,” are the sole basis for the Vatican’s unholy and unscriptural opposition to “any form of ‘unnatural’ or ‘artificial’ birth control.” It is noteworthy that the only form of ‘natural’ birth control that literally guarantees “birth control” is celibacy.

Some Americans are aware that under the Affordable Care Act birth control was required to be covered with no co-pay as a preventive health service for women and their families. It was an attempt to correct the bias against women in the insurance industry as well as provide Americans with valuable assistance in family planning. That “assistance” was too much for Republicans indebted to the radical evangelical cult that exists to control and dominate women. So Trump jumped at chance to repay the patriarchs in the religious right and scrapped the contraception mandate in a blatant religious attack on American women.

The new theocratic ruling will impact the millions of women who now receive contraceptives at no cost under the “former” provision and it was a ruling the evangelical fanatics and USCCB wanted to eliminate. The idea of women getting or using contraceptives at all is an abomination to the Vatican, so in conjunction with the religious right they tasked Republicans to oppose the mandate and Trump made it go away.

The new rules allow all manner of employers, including nonprofits, private companies, and publicly traded corporations to join radical evangelicals like Hobby Lobby’s owners and ban contraceptives in health insurance plans based on a “sincerely held religious or moral objection;” an objection founded on the Vatican’s 1968 “encyclical on life.”

Tragically, now that the evangelical extremist sect got the basis for the Vatican’s edict on life inserted into the federal Health Department’s mission statement, the stage is set for the personhood movement to abolish, not just restrict,  any form of ”unnatural or artificial birth control,” fertility treatments, abortion, or anything to do with stem cell research; all forbidden in the 1968 Roman Catholic encyclical on life and founded on the religious fantasy that “life begins at conception.”

The idea that life begins at conception is a Catholic construct with absolutely no scriptural, biological, or medical science basis whatsoever. In fact it contradicts what the Christian bible’s almighty god said several times about when life begins. As a reminder, according to the “immutable and unerring word of god” of the Christian bible; there is no life, or “living being,” until a fetus leaves the womb and draws “the breath of life.” No zygote, embryo or fetus can possible draw “the breath of life;” but that inconvenient truth doesn’t fit the Vatican, and now bastardized American Christians, plan to control women’s reproductive lives.

Of course the evangelical fanatics and Vatican control freaks know exactly what their god said regarding living beings, but they cannot control women’s reproductive health choices unless a single-celled zygote is a person; that is exactly what the Catholic ‘personhood’ movement claims. Now the United States federal government claims it as official policy.

It was that “life begins at conception” absurdity that Hobby Lobby used to convince the conservatives on the Supreme Court that birth control pills are “abortifacients.” For the uninformed, an abortifacient is a drug used to induce an abortion or cause a miscarriage after a sperm cell fertilizes an ovum; the definition of “ the moment of conception.”

Hobby Lobby, following the Vatican’s encyclical on life, claimed that using birth control prevents conception and is therefore abortion. Of course the conservatives on the High Court conceded that using contraceptives is not “an abortion,” but because it was contrary to Hobby Lobby owners’ “sincerely held religious or moral objections,” the Court acquiesced to the Vatican edict and ruled in Hobby Lobby’s favor.

It is likely that many Americans, including religious Americans and women, have no concept of the danger inherent in an extremist religious edict such as “life begins at conception;” it will have a deleterious impact on women and men. Remember, according to the Vatican edict, any unnatural form of birth control is strictly verboten on pain of everlasting torment in Hellfire; because birth control prevents “conception” the clergy claims is tantamount to murder. That means birth control pills, IUDs, diaphragms, tubal ligations, hysterectomies, vasectomies, condoms and any other “unnatural or artificial” form of birth control are abortion; because they all prevent “conception.”

Now that America is in the clutches of a cabal of radical religious extremists, every nightmarish scenario possible is just another executive order away from becoming reality. It is worth remembering that the religious right was not always opposed to abortion or contraception. They embraced the issue as their own after they lost the right to impose school segregation in the South on counsel and advice from the United States Conference of Bishops (USCCB). The religious right needed an emotional cause célèbre to garner electoral support for Republicans and the USCCB gave them one straight from the Vatican – “life begins at conception.”

To be perfectly clear, and head off criticism, this is not condemning Catholics any more than it is condemning Christians; just those extremists, organizations, and clergy forcing their dangerous pseudo religious dogmata on all Americans. It is almost certain that most Catholics and Christians would be appalled if they understood the danger of theocratic edicts like “life begins at conception” as a federal government policy.

As an aside, it is odd that a very high percentage of Catholic women have used birth control and it leads one to wonder if making it harder to acquire contraception in America is driving this bizarre fantasy that life begins at conception. According to the Catholic god’s immutable and unerring word, life begins when a fetus exits the womb and draws “the breath of life.”

The only thing that begins at conception is a diploid cell (zygote) resulting from the fusion of two haploid gametes; a sperm and an ovum. It is a basic biological fact that the Vatican, evangelical fanatics and Republicans refuse to grasp even though their god explained it so a three-month-old Rottweiler could understand it. Now America is in the grip of these religious maniacs, and it appears women are in the grip of the Vatican’s 1968 Humanae Vitae; a document well-suited for the 14h Century the Trump administration and evangelical right are imposing in 21st Century America.

Image: CNS/Bob Roller

Strip Tax Exemption From Churches – Not the N.F.L.

Apparently the petulant brat in the White House is butt-hurt that he has been unable to bully the National Football League’s team owners in his fabricated outrage over athletes exercising their constitutional rights. To further rile up his base, Trump came up with some “fake news” that brings up a point of contention, and a cost of hundreds-of-millions of dollars, among many American taxpayers; churches’ tax exempt status.

After scheduling a propaganda plot with his evangelical buddy Mike Pence, Trump took to Twitter to ramp up his base’s animosity toward the N.F.L. to portray the wildly popular sports league as unpatriotic “takers.”

Trump said Congress should eliminate a law that allowed the N.F.L. central office to avoid paying taxes as a nonprofit entity. It is important to note that “only the central office” was tax exempt, like every church in America has been for far too long. The teams, players, and team owners all pay taxes and Trump knows it.

Another bit of news Trump is aware of is that the N.F.L. “voluntarilygave up its tax exemption in 2015; there is nothing Congress can do to eliminate the N.F.L.’s tax exemption they no longer have. Trump is guilty of fabricating “fake news” that he projects on every news outlet on Earth that fails to praise him as a Republican demigod.

It is important to note that the N.F.L. central office’s tax exempt status didn’t bother Trump when he was trying, and failing, to buy an N.F.L. team in 2014. As an aside, many pundits assert that Trump’s current attacks on the league are, besides a distraction from his glaring incompetence, retribution because the league didn’t accept his bid to buy the Buffalo Bills because it was considerably lower than billionaire Terry Pegula’s.

On the only media outlet that Trump has a semblance of control over, his Twitter account, he tweeted:

Why is the NFL getting massive tax breaks while at the same time disrespecting our Anthem, Flag and Country?” Change tax law!

Ignoring the fact that the N.F.L. is not getting any “massive tax breaks,” there is more “fake news” from Trump that the 32 teams that make up the “league” are disrespecting “our anthem, flag and country.” Neither the “league” nor any one of the 32 teams are disrespecting a song, a flag or America any more than the players exercising their First Amendment rights are. The players are protesting racial injustice and they are paying taxes; something no-one knows if Trump is doing because he is too corrupt to release his tax returns. Everyone knows churches are not paying taxes.

One would support eliminating the N.F.L. central office’s tax exempt status if it still existed on one condition; first strip the tax exempt status from every church in America and do it with extreme prejudice.

According to the last time an organization “estimated” how much church tax exemption is costing American tax payers, that free welfare amounted to about $8.5 billion annually in 2013.  It is noteworthy that the $8.5 billion does not include tens-of-millions in “faith based” initiative money or the double-dipping members of the clergy enjoy on what little they claim on their personal income tax returns. Added in those number are religious organizations exemption from paying sales tax, property tax, federal, state, and local income tax, or investment taxes.

Trump’s claim the N.F.L. Is disrespecting “our country” applies “bigly” to evangelical and Catholic Church organizations. According to their namesake Jesus Christ, and  “their” almighty god’s immutable words, Christians are commanded to pay taxes as well as obey the government on pain of everlasting damnation in eternal Hellfire.

Instead, primarily evangelicals and Catholics regularly violate federal and state laws they claim don’t comport with their “religious beliefs;” even though those “deeply held beliefs” are not part nor parcel of either faith. Those groups also disrespect the United States Constitution by denying other Americans their constitutional equal rights or freedom from religious imposition. It is a monumental form of “disrespect” to other Americans and the Constitution to violate their equal rights and still take the “violated people’s” tax dollars in the form of a tax exemption.

There are many people who have asked for years; “Why are churches getting massive tax breaks while disrespecting the Constitution, other Americans’ freedoms and the secular nation the Founding Fathers provided? Change tax law!”

Trump doesn’t come up with great ideas often. For dog’s sake, he never comes up with even good ideas until now. It is an excellent idea, and time, to “change tax law.” However,  before even considering the N.F.L.’s non-existent tax issue, it is damned high time for Congress to strip tax exemption from every church in the land and save taxpayers what is certainly well over $100 billion annually.

It is possible that for some Americans churches provide a service of sorts, but they don’t deserve tax exemption for doing what their “holy books” command. School teachers, firefighters, military personnel, police officers, librarians, dog catchers and many, many other Americans pay taxes and they all actually provide crucial services to all Americans. For Trump to demand the N.F.L. lose a tax exemption it  forfeited voluntarily two years ago while not focusing on the unwarranted, and wildly expensive, church tax exemption is not only hypocritical, it is further proof that Trump is a punk-ass hypocrite looking for a reason to rile up his base and distract America from his criminal enterprise in the White House.

 

Trump Administration Says No Free Speech Rights in the Workplace 

 

With a fair number of Americans’ attention focused on Trump’s attack on professional athletes, primarily African American athletes, for exercising their Constitutional right to protest police violence, they may have missed a terrifying, and telling, statement from the Trump administration. According to Trump’s Treasury Secretary, Americans do not have First Amendment rights in the workplace. The possible repercussions of this mind-numbing proclamation are nothing short of horrifying, and if any American thinks this kind of prohibition will end in professional sports, they have no clue how fascism starts or that once put in place, no employee will be safe.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was defending Trump’s assaults on professional athletes’ free speech on CNN when he explained where the administration is going with the issue and exactly what the administration thinks of the Constitution. Trump’s interpretation of the Constitution, and the First Amendment, is that “NFL players only have a right to free speech off the field.”

Apparently, after Trump’s nasty comments about American citizens exercising their First Amendment rights elicited a fair amount of outrage from decent Americans, Mnuchin had to explain where Trump intends to take this atrocity. He said:

The NFL has all different types of rules: you can’t have stickers on your helmet, you have to have your uniforms tucked in. What the president is saying — and I think the owners should meet and they should vote on a rule — this is about respect for our military, this is about respect for our first responders. This is not about Republicans or Democrats. Players have the right for free speech off the field. On the field, this is about respect for lots of people. And I don’t understand why there’s rules that when the Dallas Cowboys wanted to put stickers on their helmet out of respect for people there, they couldn’t do it, but now the NFL is saying people should be able to decide what they want to do and disrespect the United States flag.

Mnuchin is a liar; probably a requirement to serve under Trump. Because he knows, and those athletes have made it abundantly clear that “taking a knee” is protesting racial injustice; they are not disrespecting the military, first responders, Trump, any flag or any song. After Sunday’s display of solidarity and the weekend criticism against Trump’s attacks on athletes, now they are protesting against the fascist Trump.

These revelations by Mnuchin are the latest in a series of Trump’s attacks on the First Amendment and it informs that limiting free speech for private citizens is high on the Trump administration’s agenda. It has barely been two weeks since Trump’s press secretary called for CNN host Jemele Hill to be fired because she uttered a glaringly obvious truth in a “tweet;”  that Trump is a white supremacist. That alarming call for Ms. Hill’s firing proves Trump’s fascist assault on free speech is not reserved for professional athletes. Trump approves of free speech, and the First Amendment, but only when it agrees with, or praises, him.

The latest assault on the First Amendment is continuation of First attacks that began directly after Trump’s poorly attended inauguration. Eight days after that inauguration Trump acolytes Stephen Bannon and Kellyanne Conway said that “commentators should shut their mouths,” and that they “should be fired” if they made less than positive remarks about Trump.

In April, then-chief of staff Reince Priebus said Trump is “probably going to look at arresting or stripping the citizenship” from people the administration doesn’t think should be allowed to exercise their First Amendment rights.

In May, Trump’s Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, was fascinated that Saudi Arabia prohibited its citizens’ free expression and speech and he thought it was a better policy  because it kept dissenting voices, and protestors, silent. It is where Trump wants to take America.

All of these attacks on the First  Amendment began during Trump’s campaign when he called for the arrest of Americans protesting against his candidacy. Perhaps now is the time the people blowing off warnings that Trump was going to assault the Constitution if he was allowed anywhere near the White House should apologize for being stupid.

Trump signaled throughout the campaign exactly what he thought of the First Amendment and now his administration is not only assaulting it, they are restricting where and when it can be exercised.

There are no prohibitions on First Amendment rights in the Constitution, and it is noteworthy that the Supreme Court has even ruled that burning an American flag, although an idiotic form of free expression, is protected by the First Amendment. According to Trump, and now Mnuchin, the High Court is wrong and free expression does not apply at a person’s place of employment; this is how fascism begins.

The implications of a prohibiting Americans to exercise their constitutional rights in the workplace are terrifying. The risk to employees of the fanatical religious right under this “no rights in the  workplace” idea is epic, and particularly so since religious Republicans have attempted to violate Americans’ constitutional rights of privacy and freedom from religious imposition for quite some time.

Under this fascist idea that First Amendment rights are null and void in the workplace, women refusing to sign over their medical records and reproductive history can be fired because their constitutional rights to privacy will not apply in the workplace. Public school teachers refusing to teach the Christian bible and lead evangelical-approved prayers could be summarily fired because the “speech and religious freedoms” enshrined in the First Amendment would not apply on the job.

Now the Trump administration openly says free speech is restricted in the workplace, and plenty of Republicans have attempted to restrict dissenting speech in the public square; some going so far as embracing the idea of running over protestors. This latest development is, although frightening on its face, a signal from the Trump administration that the assault on professional athletes is a prelude to the assault on the general public. Regardless how far the Trump administration plans to take this fascist idea, Americans should be appalled that Trump’s administration is saying out loud that their constitutional rights do not apply in the workplace and there is no telling how long before the restrictions apply in the public square.