DeVos Has a Plan To Force Taxpayers to Fund Religious Schools

For many Americans hearing incompetent Education Secretary and  evangelical extremist Betsy DeVos’ name is tantamount to having their eyeballs gouged out with a rusted salad fork. For Americans concerned about educating the next generation to live and compete in the 21st Century, DeVos represents a clear and present danger to the nation as it has existed since its inception.

It is no secret that DeVos hates the public school system for a variety of reasons, but chief among them is that they are not taxpayer funded evangelical madrassas and they do not yet exist to enrich her wealthy cohorts in the corporate private and religious school movement. In fact, DeVos was disappointed to learn that because the federal government does not contribute nearly as much education funding to states as she believed, she is unable to impose her evangelical agenda on states’ public schools as Education Secretary. Now she has a solution to complete her task of using taxpayer money to propagandize American children in America’s bastardized version of Christianity.

For a reminder, DeVos clearly stated that her goal in running Trump’s Education Department is shaping the culture “to advance god’s kingdom.” And she fully intends to force American taxpayers to fund her effort as part of a larger Christian Dominionist movement to restore Judeo-Christian values under the Constitution by 2020. While Americans have been ignoring the warnings and real threat out of fear of offending “the faithful,” theocrats have been systematically setting the stage to reach their 2020 target date and DeVos’ actions are a crucial part of the plan.

DeVos’ effort entails redefining corporate charter and private religious schools as “public” to legally funnel taxpayer dollars away from “non-religious” and “non-profit” public schools directly to her friends in the religious and charter school movement. DeVos exposed her devious machination during a meeting of 50 teachers of the year during her response to concerns that her anti-public school agenda is already damaging public schools.

DeVos revealed her “plan” during a private visit when she asked the country’s “top teachers” to describe the obstacles they face in doing their jobs. At least one of the teachers had the courage to speak the truth and he told the public school enemy that many of her policies are damaging public education. In particular, Oklahoma’s teacher of the year, Jon Hazell, questioned her unconstitutional policy of using “taxpayer money meant for public education to fund private, mostly religious schools.” Mr. Hazell said:

We have a problem where public money is siphoned off from the public schools and given to children who are going to [corporate] charter and private [religious] schools.”

Mr. Hazell said DeVos’ immediate response was shocking. She told the gathered public school teachers that her intent was to redefine “what education is and declare all of it ‘public’ education.” The reason is clearly to legally fund religious, private and corporate charter schools, all for profit, with money stolen from public schools.

Another “teacher of the year” from Pennsylvania, Michael Soskil Sr., confirmed Mr. Hazell’s account of the exchange and like Mr. Hazell, he was stunned saying:

“One of the things that was so stark and memorable in that exchange was . . . SecretaryDeVos trying to redefine what the word ‘public’ is. It was almost like Orwellian double-speak to me.”

Most Americans are aware that DeVos is more of a “know-nothing” than her boss Trump, particularly about the public education system, and that she is a filthy rich member of the upper echelon of the richest one-percent. But she is also a raving evangelical theocrat desperate to eviscerate the public school system to fund private, for-profit, religious schools. The only reasonable assessment of DeVos is that she is a “radical Christian extremist intent on using America’s public school system to ‘advance god’s kingdom;” and she is on a mission to force American taxpayers to fund her theocratic crusade.

One of the reasons DeVos is so enamored with private religious and charter schools is she relishes using taxpayer dollars to discriminate against gays, the disabled and women according to “the sensibilities” of the conservative Christian movement. In fact, DeVos is very upset that there is no federal taxpayer money to fund private religious and charter schools. so her plan is making them “public” to rob taxpayer dollars.

When DeVos was queried about her intent to spend taxpayer dollars on evangelical madrassas, an intent that is patently unconstitutional, she said:

There are not enough philanthropic dollars in America to fund what is currently the [theocratic] need in education…[versus] what is currently being spent every year on education in this country…Our desire is to confront the culture in ways that will continue to advance God’s Kingdom.”

DeVos has made no secret that, in her evangelical mind, the pressing need in the public schools system is more Christianity, more god, more prayer and more archaic mythology disguised as science. And since filthy rich evangelicals like her are unwilling to pay tuition for idiot parents that demand religious indoctrination for their offspring, DeVos is more than willing to “destroy public education and use public school funds to advance her dreams of a Christian theocracy.”

There are already many Republican controlled states that are funneling money meant for public schools to private religious and charter schools that are for-profit. And although it is patently unconstitutional, the religious Republicans want to use all federal education money to inculcate American children according to their evangelical form of Christianity.

DeVos, like all of Trump’s people, took a “so help me god” oath of office and swore to her god that she would “support and defend the Constitution of the United States … without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me god.”

Instead, DeVos is purposely defying the document she swore to uphold and defend by going to extreme measures to force Americans to pay for “advancing god’s kingdom” in the “public schools.

This idea of using the federal government to extract money from taxpayers to “continue advancing god’s kingdom” is an abomination, and in no small measure the blame is on the media and Democrats who are still terrified of even mentioning that DeVos’ “school choice” nonsense, or attacks on women’s reproductive rights, or blatant discrimination against the LGBTQ community are borne of theocrats pushing their religion on the population as if it is the law of the land.

At this juncture it is apparent that the Dominionist movement attempting to create a theocratic government is perilously close to reaching fruition by the movement’s 2020 target date. And it is worth noting that once the theocrats have succeeded, Americans will lose the right to criticize the unconstitutional use of taxpayer money to advance the kingdom of god.

Death penalty for drug dealers when there is one for gun dealers

Throughout history religion and tyrannical dictators have experimented with various means of controlling human nature with varying degrees of failure. There are universal truths regarding the way humanity has behaved down through the ages which is why that behavior is attributed to “human nature,” and it is why even the most strident religion is incapable of reversing or retarding human behavior. There are just some actions, especially those borne of emotions, that are impossible to regulate no matter the deterrent or reward system to promote what society regards as acceptable behavior.

Although it is inherently evil for one group, or one individual, to attempt to control anyone, there is no doubt that civilized societies need some kind of deterrent or reward system to contain dangerous human behavior to protect people. Human traits like greed, religious passion, and unrestrained anger are the underpinning of all manner of “crimes against society” making punitive measures a necessary element of any cultural construct. As antiquity has shown, despite severe punishment for many bad behaviors, human nature can never be completely controlled or deterred. If that were the case there would be no crime and the entirety of humankind would serve the most severe religion under pain of “holygruesome methods of execution.

In another instance of the Trump administration enacting policies that are historical failures, the Reagan-era “just say no” drug policy is being value-added with a call to “just kill drug dealers.” The death penalty for dealing drugs is allegedly Trump and Sessions’ primary tool of choice to address the legal prescription drug (opioid) epidemic.

That “just kill them” plan typifies stupid and blood-lust, and it is likely a result of Trump’s adoration of Philippines’ murderous president Rodrigo Duterte. Duterte is notorious for his boasts of personally committing extra-judicial executions for suspected drug dealers. Those boasts excited and incited Trump to tell Duterte what a great job he’s doing by killing citizens he suspects of dealing or using drugs. Still, despite the thousands of executions, drug users and dealers are thriving in the Philippines.

It is not clear on what official grounds Sessions and Trump are basing their decision to execute drug dealers, but if it is as a deterrent, it  has shown to be a monumental failure around the globe and domestically. In some extremely harsh nations the death penalty has not stopped the use or trade of ‘illicit’ drugs, so expecting it to stop the use and trade of legal prescription drugs is folly. Let’s get one thing clear right now; the death penalty is not going to do anything to address a public health issue like the  “opioid epidemic;” the stated reason Sessions and Trump want the death penalty. For dog’s sake, many American states have the death penalty for homicide and execute convicts regularly, and yet those states still have homicides like states lacking capital punishment.

The threat of death is not going to change human nature whether it is a greedy off-the-books gun dealer selling legal battlefield weapons, a desperate addict, or greedy drug dealer selling legal prescription pain killers like opioids. There is another inconvenient truth that neither Sessions nor Trump comprehend; drug dealing in America is not a capital crime at the federal or state level. Of the 41 federal laws calling for the death penalty, only two have a direct connection to drugs and both require the commission of murder to earn the death penalty.

One is under 18 U.S. Code § 924 calling for the death penalty for “Murder committed by the use of a firearm during a crime of violence or a drug-trafficking crime.” And 18 U.S. Code § 36 includes capital punishment for “Murder committed during a drug-related drive-by shooting.” (author bold)

In both “drug-related” cases a murder has to have been committed in order to qualify for the death penalty. And that little fact is noteworthy because the Supreme Court has ruled that “the death penalty is unconstitutional for crimes against individuals in which no one is killed.” That opinion put to rest a 1994 “drug kingpin” idea calling for the death penalty for crime bosses connected to criminal enterprises dealing in large quantities of illicit drugs, even if no-one was killed.

Sessions announcing the death penalty for drug dealers as an means of dealing with what experts say is a bonafide public-health issue, besides not fixing the problem; “is proven unwise, costly, ineffective and often counterproductive.” Experts and half-sane human beings comprehend that it also does nothing to address the real problem plaguing America; the epidemic of legal prescription drug addiction. As the co-director of the Opioid Policy Research Collaborative at Brandeis University, Dr. Andrew Kolodny said:

We can’t execute our way out of this epidemic. The reality is, most people who are selling drugs are suffering from opioid addiction, and they sell drugs to support their own habit.”

Dr. Guohua Li is professor of epidemiology and anesthesiology at Columbia University and he concurred with Dr. Kolodny:

When I start hearing about the death penalty, it just seems to me we’re going in the wrong direction.

Criminal justice can play a complementary role in addressing the opioid crisis, but relying on criminal justice system to address public health problems has proven unwise, costly, ineffective and often counterproductive.”

A recent Pew Charitable Trust study released just two weeks ago supports both experts’ arguments; and it reveals that harsher penalties for drug dealers or addicts will not fix the problem. The study revealed that:

Harsher penal sanctions had no measurable impact on drug use, drug overdose deaths, and drug arrests. The data reinforce a large body of prior research that cast doubt on the theory that stiffer prison terms deter drug misuse, distribution, and other drug-law violations. The evidence strongly suggests that policymakers should pursue alternative strategies that research shows work better and cost less.”

If Sessions and Trump need to see some capital punishment to try addressing Americans dying unnecessarily, they should call for the death penalty for gun dealers. Particularly those “off-the-book” types who sell assault weapons that exist for one reason and one reason only; to assault and kill human beings.  AR15s and AK47s were not created to assault ducks, pheasant, rabbits, deer, baby seals, bear cubs or any other alleged game animal; they exist to assault and kill human beings. But no-one is suggesting the death penalty for gun dealers because they are selling as legal a product as any dealer or addict selling FDA-approved prescription drugs containing opioids. Opioids, by the way, that have been studied and developed to serve a useful medical purpose; relieving pain and suffering.

The idea of executing people over a public health issue like an epidemic is barbaric, but so is Trump and his Old Testament, mean-god acolyte Jeff Sessions. However, barbaric or not, it is a fairly good sign that there will be no legitimate policies enacted to address an epidemic the medical profession and big pharmaceutical companies are culpable of creating and perpetuating.

Remember, whether Sessions or Trump admit or like it or not, addiction is a human medical affliction that is not going to be deterred with the threat of death any more than capital punishment deters the greed driving “big” drug dealers; or the administration traitors adhering to a hostile foreign power undermining America’s democracy. Treason, by the way, is one of the 41 federal capital crimes that DOES NOT require an unwarranted death (murder) to impose the death penalty.

Trump was enamored with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s boasts that he personally “executed” people “suspected” of being involved with drugs and he wants to show Duterte that he too is a tough guy. Something Trump and Sessions may not be aware of is that there are 33 foreign nations with the death penalty for trafficking (smuggling) illicit drugs, but “very, very few” actually impose the penalty because it is ineffective. And it is noteworthy that each one of those 33 foreign nations all have one thing in common, even the very, very few that are actually killing drug dealers and users; they still have plenty of people selling, smuggling and using “illicit drugs.”

No matter how harsh laws are, they will never alter human nature and the people selling legal prescription drugs to sate their greed or an addiction are behaving like humans. Threatening to kill the people selling drugs is not going to solve “a medical condition or an addiction epidemic,” it just won’t now or ever.

It is now more apparent than ever that Trump or Sessions have no will or intent to solve a legitimate public health issue, but if they really want to kill purveyors of death and destruction, they can call for the death penalty for gun dealers.

In Secret Deal Trump Allowed ISIS Fighters Safe Passage Out of Raqqa

When the Islamic State was allegedly purged from the self-professed caliphate’s de facto capital Raqqa, it was really big news and celebrated as a hard-fought victory for Syria and the American-led Western coalition. In fact Trump claimed ISIS “gave up” because he is the president.  But according to a seriously “deep report” by the BBC, that so-called victory was Raqqa’s “dirty secret” as well as flagrantly “fake news”  to conceal the truth that Trump’s America was complicit in protecting ISIS fighters as they escaped unharmed; all the while threatening citizens they would be back stronger than ever.

Trump likes to talk like he’s a real badass, but as the world has witnessed, he’s all talk; bloviate bullies typically are. It is why he threatens North Korea’s version of Trump with annihilation at home and then wonders if everybody can’t just get along when he’s in Asia. Now it is crystal clear Trump is all talk about his favorite bad guys in ISIS. It leads one to wonder why the media, Republicans and Trump’s moronic followers are not demanding answers; especially when America and the rest of the world is threatened.

Most Americans likely remember that during the campaign, and even after his poorly-attended inauguration, Trump pledged to exterminate the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, IS, Daesh) including killing their friends and families. However, according to “the secret pact” between ISIS, Syrian Defense Forces (SDF) and the American-led coalition; ISIS fighters in the caliphate’s capital were allowed to depart unmolested including being given protection and an escort to ensure free passage to wherever they intended to regroup and plan their return.

Kevin Drum over at Mother Jones wondered why there was little attention given or a demand for answers from Trump about a confirmed BBC comprehensive report on the “secret deal” America participated in to aid ISIS fighters to escape unharmed with their substantial arsenal. They certainly did not suffer what Trump and his Defense Secretary pledged was complete annihilation. Aiding ISIS fighters’ exodus to new territory is contrary to Trump’s claim throughout the presidential campaign and something Jim Mattis promised in May. Besides promising that “no fighter would ever escape annihilation,” Defense Secretary Mattis said:

Our intention is that the foreign fighters do not survive the fight to return home to north Africa, to Europe, to America, to Asia, to Africa. We are not going to allow them to do so.”

Not only did America “allow them to do so,” a few hundred ISIS fighters, a few thousand ISIS fighters’ families, ISIS leaders, and their heavy weapons were allowed to leave Raqqa. And they were allowed to leave with America’s blessing including being lovingly shepherded to safe havens; coalition warplanes and drones observed and escorted the dreaded ISIS fighters and tons of weapons to safety.

The first big lie was that only a “few dozen” ISIS fighters were given safe passage to preserve the lives of Iraqi, Kurdish and SDF fighters in a battle for the city. However, American and British observers on the ground said the exit convoy was six to seven kilometers (3.5 to 4.5 miles) long and included almost 50 trucks, 13 buses and more than 100 of the Islamic State’s own vehicles. And despite the claim that it was just a couple dozen ISIS fighters carrying “only” their personal weapons, there were “at least 10 trucks loaded with heavy weapons and ammunition.” So much ammunition, in fact, that drivers pointed out one truck that had to be scrapped because “Its axle was broken because of the weight of the ammo.

As the BBC noted, the American-led coalition’s secret plan was not an evacuation of the dreaded ISIS, it was a coalition-assisted exodus of the Islamic State fighters replete with their weapons to relocate, regroup and plan the caliphate’s return. Unfortunately, those “local” ISIS fighters and their weapons were allowed to relocate to Turkey, Kurdistan, and within Syria where they can kill more innocents and coalition forces with special attention to Americans. The ISIS fighters were livid at America for bombing them into an agreement to leave their de facto capital to take their extremism across the region.

After the BBC investigation was made public, the “coalition” had no choice but to admit that it did play an important role in the deal that was “alleged” to be all about the Syrian Defense Force. A spokesman for the American-led coalition, “Operation Inherent Resolve,” said they “didn’t want anyone to leave” because total annihilation was the big plan. But the “secret plan” America approved was allowing a few hundred “IS fighters” and about 3,500 of their family members to leave Raqqa with escorts. Colonel Dillon said:

This goes to the heart of our strategy, ‘by, with and through’ local leaders on the ground. It comes down to Syrians – they are the ones fighting and dying, they get to make the decisions regarding operations.”

The issue now is that those same Syrians, and Turks, Iraqis, Kurds, and Americans will be fighting and dying again when the ISIS fighters regroup and return as they pledged as they were leaving Raqqa. The BBC report noted that the Syrians did not want the “coalition covered retreat” to appear like an escape to victory for ISIS or to give the appearance that any foreign fighters escaped. But foreign fighters from France, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Yemen,  Saudi Arabia, China, Tunisia and Egypt didn’t even have to pretend to escape: they were allowed to leave and take their extremist ideology, and their heavy weapon cache with them. And they were allowed to leave with assistance from Americans so concerned with their safe exodus that American warplanes dropped flairs to light the four-mile long convoy’s way through the desert during the night.

It is noteworthy to mention that the ISIS fighters who were allowed to escape Raqqa are the same Baathist fighters who were chased out of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq to form the Islamic State in the first place. Now, with America’s involvement again, those fighters were allowed to escape and take their weapons with them. It is a question that demands an answer that has not been posed to Trump and it is a mystery why that is the case. The BBC report was published last week and there is no outcry from anyone demanding to know why the so-called “commander in chief,” Trump, had to have known about and signed off on the deal.

It is difficult to imagine how this “secret pact” is any kind of good news for anyone other than ISIS and the military industrial complex. It is obvious now that Trump does not want ISIS “annihilated” because he needs to keep Americans terrified as much as he needs distractions. Keeping ISIS intact also gives Trump talking points in support of his anti-Muslim agenda the next time there is an ISIS-affiliated terror attack.

Regardless of Trump’s ulterior motives, allowing “hundreds of ISIS fighters with tons of heavy armaments” to escape into friendlier territory in Syria, and find safe havens in Turkey and Kurdistan is contrary to his campaign pledge. Keeping ISIS alive to continue threatening the region also keeps American warplanes in the air and troops on the battlefield, but worst of all Raqqa’s dirty secret allows “foreign ISIS fighters” to take their bomb-making expertise, battlefield experience and extremist threat to their home countries and beyond.

The media needs to demand answers from Trump, and badger Congress mercilessly as to why they are not conducting another investigation into Trump’s administration. The people deserve to know why America aided and abetted a terrorist organization’s fighters migrate to safety to regroup and plan its return.

Image: AMNNews

Trump Isn’t Serious About Opioids If He Won’t Legalize Marijuana

Trump’s dog and pony show declaration that the opioid epidemic is a public health emergency worthy of the government’s full resolve, is nothing short of laughable. It’s laughable because Trump is all talk or he would have demanded that Congress appropriate whatever funding necessary to tackle the problem.

It is unfortunate that Trump and his attorney general are so religiously opposed to an existing means of significantly reducing opioid deaths, opioid hospitalizations, opioid use, and fewer opioid-related drug treatment admissions. The good news is that although legalized cannabis will not “cure” or “solve” the opioid epidemic on its own, it will not cost the government a stinking penny and there are reams of data and current empirical evidence proving that legal weed is doing more to stem the opioid crisis than just making a White House announcement. To make matters that much worse, Trump’s attorney general is threatening to “crack down” on cannabis legalization whether it is for medicinal or recreational use.

According to data published in 2014 in JAMA Internal Medicine, “changes in the legal status of cannabis is closely associated with significant reductions in opioid related mortality.” The data show that no matter which state, medical cannabis regulation has contributed to “year-over-year” declines in overall opioid-related deaths; it also is responsible for a decline in heroin overdose fatalities.

In what are called “medicalization states,” the data show that within one year opioid deaths decreased by 20 percent compared to “non-medicalized” states; by the sixth year deaths declined by 33 percent. That data agrees with several other studies linking establishment of both medicinal marijuana dispensaries and “adult use retailers” with reductions in opioid fatalities; including a sharp decrease in traffic fatalities involving drivers testing positive for opioids.

In a more recent 2017 study in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, “cannabis medicalization” helped reduce opioid-related hospitalizations.   The study revealed that in states with legal medical marijuana, there was a 23 percent “drop in hospitalizations due to opioid dependence and a 13 percent decline in hospitalizations due to opioid overdose.” According to the study, “medical marijuana policies [are] significantly associated with reduced opioid pain reliever-related hospitalizations.”

According to a just-published research paper by an economics professor at the University of Georgia, the opening of medical cannabis dispensaries is “correlated with an immediate decrease in narcotic-related admissions to drug treatment facilities.” Specifically,  “dispensary openings experience a 20 percentage point decrease in painkiller treatment admissions over the first two years of dispensary operations.” And according to a Castlight Health study published in 2016 following of over one-million subjects, access to medical cannabis was associated with “far lower prevalence of opioid abuse and doctor shopping.”

In what should be considered the best evidence that marijuana legalization, whether for recreation or medicinal use, as an immediate aid in the fight against the opioid crisis, in states where marijuana is legal patients us “far fewer prescription drugs than do those in jurisdictions where cannabis use remains prohibited.” In fact, two recent studies published in the journal Health Affairs reported that, “passing medical cannabis regulation resulted in a significant drop in Medicare and Medicaid-related prescription drug spending.”

In a 2017 study by the University of New Mexico, researchers reported that “state registrants” often greatly reduced and even eliminated prescription drug intake over time as opposed to non-registrants with similar medical conditions who maintained  and had to increase their opioid use.

An Illinois study assessing state-qualified patients concluded that many subject used cannabis “intentionally to taper off prescription medications.” A similar  2017 analysis of Canadian-registered cannabis patients reported that most subjects self-reported substituting marijuana for prescription drugs, particularly opioids. And in a separate review of over 1,500 New England state-qualified patients, researchers reported that  patients typically used medical cannabis as a replacement for opioids. That is noteworthy because unlike opioids, marijuana is not physically addictive.

If Trump was serious about addressing the so-called “opioid epidemic” and serious in saying it warrants the government’s full resolve, he would embrace any means of actually addressing the issue. The issue is not new and in great part the work of the pharmaceutical industry; the same industry waging a war against cannabis legalization, even for medicinal purposes. Let’s face it, the drug companies do not want the issue to go away and they certainly don’t want people having a relatively “free” prophylactic against an addictive drug big pharma is getting rich off of. The idea that grandma can grow a weed in the backyard that prevents her from buying prescription pain killers is not one the pharmaceutical companies will countenance.

Is cannabis a miracle drug? Of course not, there is no such thing. However, it has been used “medicinally” for 10,000 years as a remedy for everything from inflammation to infection to memory loss to nervous disorders to being a stunningly effective cure for some forms of cancer. One of the primary reasons it is still illegal is because anyone with some dirt, a seed, and a little water can grow their own “medicine” depriving big pharma from making money.

It is also noteworthy to mention that because Congress or Trump are not screaming for appropriations to help combat the “epidemic,” likely to save money to pay for tax cuts for the rich, decriminalizing reefer will cost the federal or state governments nothing whatsoever. And as the states that have decriminalized the weed have demonstrated, regulating the sales and dispensation of cannabis is an incredible source of revenue for law enforcement, drug treatment, healthcare and education.

Like reducing opioid deaths, marijuana legalization will not end not the epidemic by any means and to claim it would is wrong. However, the substantial reduction in deaths, addiction, traffic deaths and hospitalizations is very significant and is already doing monumentally more than just making meaningless pronouncements or throwing people in jail.

Marijuana isn’t for everyone, that is a fact. But for at least thirty years the “weed” has been studied extensively and demonstrated to be effective at reducing what Trump claims is a national emergency. Instead of making ineffective pronouncements, Trump and his Republican Congress could easily decriminalize weed nationwide and actually see results within a year according to the empirical data that has been so widely available it is curious the medical community is not screaming for legalization. But apparently like Trump, Sessions and Republicans in Congress, even the medical community is opposed to cutting into the pharmaceutical and private prison industry profits.

Trump Orders “Back Door Draft” for America’s Next Big Wars

Although Trump enjoys signing executive orders as a photo opportunity to promote himself, the order he signed on Friday past was not promoted as one of them. That particular order, amending a George W. Bush executive order issued shortly after the terror attacks on 9/11, is a horrible portent that as predicted by many pundits, Trump intends on involving America in some new wars.

Reauthorizing Bush’s executive order 13223 would be a cause for concern in light of no “current national security threats” or “national emergencies,” but Trump “amended” Bush’s original order and literally gave himself the power to “recall any American who has ever served in the military.” As a few Veterans noted, it is a “back door draft” in preparation for more wars, big wars.

The full text of Bush’s original executive order can be read here. Bush suspended “certain laws relating to promotion, involuntary retirement, and separation of commissioned officers.” But at least Bush’s action was predicated on the clear and present danger to Americans from terror groups; Bush claimed they were a national emergency and monumental threat to national security. It was really to prepare America for his next “big wars” in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In Trump’s “amendedversion, he unilaterally authorizes the Secretary of Defense and the heads of all branches of the military to call up service members who still have time left on their “enlistment contracts” which is no different from Bush’s order. However, Trump also “invoked” U.S. Code Title 10 §§ 688 and 690 that gave him authority to suspend those “laws” regarding any retired members of the military so he can order them to report for muster and be ready to go to war.

Every service member is required to be “available for service” after their “active duty” time is over; it is called “Individual Ready Reserves” or IRR. This author’s son was called up after serving in Iraq and being mustered out of the Army. For example, if a soldier enlisted for 4 years, they are still “under contract” for an additional 4 years after leaving the military. Add to that horror, the military can call up an inactive soldier at the end of that 4 year inactive period and then use a mechanism called “stop loss” to keep a service member in the field for as long as the military sees fit. Many Iraq Veterans were called up under IRR and then kept “in country” for 18 months at a stretch.

As noted here a couple of days ago, there have been plenty of rumors that Trump was planning ‘something” big happening in October or November with respect to a war Iran. And after Trump’s absurd, unwarranted, and unilateral action decertifying Iran’s compliance with the nuclear agreement with the P5+1 nations, it appears that coupled with threats against North Korea, there are at least of couple of big wars in America’s very near future. Trump’s advisor Steve Bannon spent some time early in Trump’s tenure predicting new Middle East and South China Sea wars sooner rather than never. This intent to make wars was in the planning before Trump’s poorly attended inauguration.

Many outlets are reporting that Trump’s executive order is to fill a need for experienced pilots in the Air Force, but they apparently didn’t read the entirety of Trump’s order to see he extended the “back door draft” to apply to all branches of the military. None of this is unexpected, at least not to any sane American watching Trump’s belligerent rhetoric looking for a reason to take America to new wars. If no-one believed the punditry warning there were wars in the near future, they should have at least taken note that Trump was giddy in predicting there was a “storm” coming just a couple of weeks ago.

In early October at the White House prior to a dinner event with military leaders, Trump told reporters the event was:

The calm before the storm. The calm before the storm. We have the world’s great military people in this room, I will tell you that.”

No small number of people are now suggesting that instituting a “back door draft” is in preparation for “the storm” Trump casually mentioned to reporters. When reporters pressed Trump for details asking if “the storm” is “from Iran? From ISIS? Or what,” he answered “You’ll find out.”

Trump’s signing, and amending, Bush’s executive order extended the “state of emergency” America faced in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks on 9/11, even though there is no hint that America is in a state of emergency,  is a very bad sign. If Trump is giving himself the authority to “recall into service any retired member of the Regular Army, Regular Navy, Regular Air Force, or Regular Marine Corp” it is fairly certain he intends on forcing America into a state of emergency to wage more wars.

This particular order can, and should, be interpreted as Trump planning to go to war and guaranteeing that no military personnel who have fulfilled their commitment, or intend on retiring, can leave the service. This order is unlike Bush’s that only forced an “extension” on service members already on active duty when America was attacked on 9/11. Trump has given himself the authority to recall to active duty any American who has ever served in the military, not just retired Air Force pilots as too many outlets have reported.

Photo illustration: Ivylise Simones

Trump Thanked Putin For Cutting America’s Diplomatic Corps

While many Americans are rightfully concerned that Trump is playing to a big-time wrestling script with thermonuclear war as possible result, the reality show character’s close relationship with Vladimir Putin is not commanding much news coverage. However, yesterday while some Americans were considering building bomb shelters in their backyards, Trump showed that he still embraces Russia and continues rejecting America and more importantly, its diplomats.

No doubt Trump has yearned for a reason to thank Putin for his valuable (campaign) support over the last year-and-a-half, but that would just further implicate his complicity in Russia’s attack on democracy. Still, Trump found a way to express his gratitude to Putin and “stab American diplomats in the back” in the process; because diplomats prevent wars.

When Trump was asked what his thoughts were on Putin expelling about 775 diplomats from Russia as retaliation for new congressionally-mandated sanctions, he seized the occasion to express how “very thankful” he was that Putin expelled hundreds of American diplomats from Russia. He even explained why he was grateful.

Trump said:

I want to thank him [Putin] because we’re trying to cut down our [State Department] payroll, and as far as I’m concerned I’m very thankful that he let go a large number of people because now we have a smaller payroll. There’s no real reason for them to go back. I greatly appreciate the fact that we’ve been able to cut our payroll of the United States. We’re going to save a lot of money.”

No sane person thinks Trump was being facetious in offering his gratitude to Putin; no small number of diplomats and foreign policy experts have bemoaned loudly that Trump’s refusal to even partially staff the State Department is a gargantuan disaster waiting to happen. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is rabid about cutting down on diplomats, and the idea that Trump wants a non-functioning State Department has nothing to do with “saving a lot of money.” He is more than willing to spend a “lot more money” on bombs and bullets in one fiscal year than it costs to run the State Department for a decade.  Trump and his key alt-right advisors ardently believe that the best way to conduct foreign policy with any country is not diplomacy; they love threats, belligerence, bullying and war. It is the worldview Trump has demonstrated over the past few days in the grandest fashion imaginable.

There have been several reports that the State Department is woefully understaffed with no plans, or intent whatsoever, to fill those positions. And they are crucial positions around the world that do not include janitorial or kitchen help jobs. This danger is not all down to Trump, but it is likely he directed Secretary of State Tillerson not to bother himself with putting up nominees for “low priority” positions such as assistant secretary for diplomatic security. Some Americans may recall that Republicans consider diplomatic security at the bottom of their low-priority concerns to explain why the diplomatic outpost in Benghazi lacked adequate security and protection.

As many former diplomats and foreign policy experts have noted, there is much “more than an ineffectual State Department here, there is real danger.” The real danger is when, not if, something in the world goes terribly wrong like when a poor manager and inexperienced malcontent issues biblically-inspired threats of “fire and fury like the world has never seen.” Every administration faces crises throughout their tenure, and everything falling on Trump stems from the rest of the world’s perception that he is a sap and those foreign policy crises are only going to increase in number and frequency. As noted in the Washington Post, America’s foes feel emboldened with an incompetent in the White House.

They also state the peril of Trump endangering national security by not filling important diplomatic positions; or worse, thanking a hostile foreigner for “cutting down our [diplomatic] payroll and letting a lot of people go.”

It is frightening to imagine what happens when “a crisis erupts in an area of the world that Tillerson hasn’t bothered to staff,” or another attack on an embassy occurs when Tillerson has not bothered to put up a nominee for assistant secretary for diplomatic security? “Tillerson and the president Trump will be in deep trouble.

Remember too that Trump claimed filling his administration with billionaires with exemplary business backgrounds would ensure that his government will have better management and only the very best people will be employed. “Instead they cannot perform the most basic management task of an administration — picking personnel.”

A career foreign service officer who served as an ambassador to Poland in the Clinton Administration and on the National Security Council under Bush really put Trump’s idiocy and third-rate management skills under a spotlight with two simple rhetorical questions. Dan Fried asked:

Under what theory of management is there not an assistant secretary for Europe or Asia?”  And, “How do you make an administration effective when your institutions are weak?

Trump believes his administration is effective because he controls one powerful institution; the United States military and its robust nuclear arsenal. It is likely why he said the hundreds of diplomats “Putin let go to cut America’s State Department payroll” are not going back. It is also highly likely that since Secretary of State Tillerson is BFFs with Putin, Trump believes diplomats are unnecessary; Putin will help Tillerson run the State Department and probably help him cut the diplomatic payroll even more.

It is particularly prescient right now that Trump is demonstrating what he thinks of diplomats or seeking a diplomatic solution to end his nuclear pissing match with the North Korea’s version of Donald J. Trump. One thing is crystal clear after Trump’s showy display of gratitude for some Rusky budget cutting assistance; Trump is too enamored and thankful to ever get into a pissing match with Vladimir Putin.

Trump’s Tyranny To Fix Elections Faces Increasing Opposition

 

Some Americans may recall that after the horrific slaughter at Sandy Hook Elementary School when President Obama called for common sense gun safety measures,  Republicans were berserk with rage. One of the common cries was that if Americans registered their firearms, the federal government would have their personal information and “who knows what horrors” the federal government would inflict on the good folks and their guns. Suffice it to say that Republicans vehemently oppose the federal government having any more “reach” or information about the citizens and their personal affairs and private information.

Now it is a different story, and it is not because Republicans suddenly believe Americans’ guns should be registered. It is because there is an authoritarian megalomaniac in the White House and an anti-democracy cabal ensconced deep within the Republican Party and racist conservative movement.

Because white trash Trump cannot accept that he lost the popular vote by substantial numbers, he convened a special election commission to ferret out the non-existent massive voter fraud he claims cost him the people’s overwhelming support. Trump’s stated reason for a special commission on election integrity is allegedly “to promote fair and honest federal elections.” Pay no mind that Trump’s Russian masters succeeded at denying Americans a “fair and honest federal election” in 2016; he won.

Trump tapped Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) as his vote-suppression enforcer. Kobach is renowned for lying and claiming massive voter fraud exists going back to 2008, but he has yet to find any in Kansas. So he is going national as a ruse to compile the voting records and personal data from every registered voter in all 50 states for the Trump administration to use in the next election.

One can only imagine what the corrupt and criminal Trump intends to do with voting and personal data of over 230 million eligible American voters. It is noteworthy that Kobach and Trump have both made universally-debunked claims that large numbers of undocumented immigrants voted in the 2016 U.S. elections.

Kobach is so enthusiastic to burrow into nearly a quarter-of-a-billion Americans’ personal and private business that he sent out a letter to all 50 states “requesting voters’ names, addresses, their birthdays, party affiliation, military status, felony convictions, the last four digits of their Social Security numbers, and their voting history dating back ten years, to 2006.” This federal intrusion into states’ business, and Americans’ private lives, is the result of a Trump executive order.

It is noteworthy that no Republican has screamed out “tyranny or executive overreach” into Americans’ private lives and it would be curious if Republicans were not accomplished hypocrites. During President Obama’s 8-year tenure, a common Republican complaint was that his executive orders were criminal and that asking Congress to “consider” legislation requiring firearm registration was patently unconstitutional, tantamount to fascism, and a tyrannical federal governments’ intrusion into gun owners’ private lives and information.

If Kobach and Trump want a comprehensive study of voting fraud in “federal elections,” they could save the nation and all 50 states a fair amount of money if they were serious about their bovine excrement “voter fraud” claims. There is a well-documented and impressive study of all 1.1 billion votes cast in every federal, state, and municipal election for every political office dating back to the 2000 presidential election. That exhaustive study found that there were exactly 31 “credible cases” of voting anomalies across the nation over a 14 year period.

As of yesterday, Friday, there were 24 states that told the Trump they were not, in fact, handing over sensitive voter information to the federal government; especially with an anti-democracy administration with a tyrant in the White House.

For example, Virginia Governor Terry McCauliffe (D) issued a statement saying that he had “no intention” of fulfilling Trump’s demand. Mr. McCauliffe defended Virginia’s “voting fairness” and election integrity, and he rightly said Trump’s commission is “based on the false notion of widespread voter fraud in the last election.” He also stated the obvious that there is likely an ulterior motive to Trump’s election integrity commission.

At best this commission was set up as a pretext to validate Donald Trump’s alternative election facts, and at worst is a tool to commit large-scale voter suppression.

California’s Secretary of State, Alex Padilla (D), also responded to Kobach saying:

I will not provide sensitive voter information to a commission that has already inaccurately passed judgment that millions of Californians ‘voted illegally’ in the last election.

California’s participation would only serve to legitimize the false and already debunked claims of massive voter fraud made by the President, Vice President, and [Kansas Secretary of State Kris] Kobach.”

Kentucky’s Secretary of State, Alison Lundergan Grimes (D), said that she does not intend to acquiesce to Trump and Kobach’s “request” for a massive release of voters’ personal data. She said:

The president created his election commission based on the false notion that ‘voter fraud’ is a widespread issue — it is not. I do not intend to release Kentuckians’ sensitive personal data to the federal government.” 

Mississippi’s Republican Secretary of State, Delbert Hosemann, was a tad more abrupt in relating that, like a growing number of state election officials, he definitely will not be turning over any sensitive personal information whatsoever to the panel. Mr. Hoseman promptly told the members of Trump’s “voter fraud commission” to “go jump in the Gulf of Mexico.”

Pennsylvania’s Democratic Governor, Tom Wolf, said he was joining the other state officials and that: “We will not participate in this systematic effort to suppress the vote.”

To demonstrate how intrusive the Trump’s commission if behaving, even a member of the commission said her state was not going to comply. The president of the National Association of Secretaries of State, Connie Lawson (R) said:

Indiana law doesn’t permit the Secretary of State to provide the personal information requested by Secretary Kobach. Under Indiana public records laws, certain voter info is available to the public, the media and any other person who requested the information for non-commercial purposes. The information publicly available is name, address and congressional district assignment.”

Nellie Gorbea (D) is Rhode Island’s Secretary of State and she was pointed in her criticism of the commission and particularly Kobach as chief vote suppressor. She said Kobach was wholly “unfit to lead the commission, given his record of strict voting laws as well as a ‘recent court fine for failing to produce documents related to a lawsuit over voting laws.’ It is deeply troubling that he has been given oversight of this commission by the president.”

Kobach has been a staunch ALEC-Heritage Foundation advocate for enacting strict voter suppression laws he says are necessary to combat the “massive voter” fraud he has been unable to find. Democracy advocates rightly charge that the voting laws ALEC and Heritage demand are specifically devised “to hinder access to the polls primarily for elderly and minority voters.”

Many officials have questions about “the commission’s discretion obtaining the confidential documents.”  Those “questions” are code for they don’t trust the Trump administration whatsoever. One official spoke for the state of Wisconsin and said:

State statutes permit the [Wisconsin commission] to share confidential information in limited circumstances with law enforcement agencies or agencies of other states. The Presidential Commission does not qualify under either of these categories.

There is no doubt that this so-called “commission” is not about rooting out and preventing the nearly non-existent vote fraud Trump claims cost him the popular vote victory. The statistics showing there is no such thing as even minor vote fraud are readily available to anyone, and Trump’s and Republicans’ claim that there is any voter fraud has been widely debunked for a decade.

Look, Trump is corrupt, and criminally-corrupt to boot; so there is every expectation his real reason for wanting the private data and voting information for 230 million Americans has nothing to do with “election integrity” and everything to do with voter suppression and intimidation – exactly what one expects from an authoritarian regime.

Conservative Pundit Says Trump Could Cost the GOP a Generation of Voters

 

It would not be an error to say that Donald Trump is not turning out to be the “god-sent” messiah a fair number of Republicans expected him to be. It was actually reasonable for conservatives to expect great things for the Republican movement with a tiny-handed rubber-stamp idiot in the White House and a GOP-controlled Congress. But by now even Republicans understand, at least in private, that they are in a life-and-death struggle dealing with an aspiring tyrant who has no idea what it takes to be an effective administrator, much less president of the United States.

There have been a few conservative pundits who recognize that Trump is a disaster, incompetent, lacks morals, and is a pathological liar. They also comprehend that between Republicans’ inability to reach a consensus among themselves on legislative governance, and their struggle to keep their distance from Trump while avoiding blowback from his base, “a Republican reckoning is on the horizon.”

That “reckoning” is the assessment of conservative pundit Erick Erickson who took to his pen to write a chilling prophecy for the Republican Party’s future; a future he says is in dire jeopardy with Trump in the White House. In fact, devout Republican Erickson warned that Trump is leading the GOP into a “generational wipeout.” It is noteworthy to mention that Erickson was not an early adopter of Trump as president, because as he elucidates in his commentary, he believed Trump “would be deeply destructive to the national fabric and to the conservative ideas” Erickson supports. Thus his warning that “a Republican reckoning is on the horizon” because Trump is in the White House.

Mr. Erickson related the two primary issues he has with a Trump presidency, and it is noteworthy that they are the exact same issues he preached during the presidential campaign. Besides being destructive to the nation and conservatism as a Republican ideology, he “strongly believes that Trump lacks moral character.” Except for Trump’s racist supporters, there are very few Americans who would disagree about Trump’s lack of morals, or character, or compassion, or patriotism, or awareness of just how incompetent he really is – see Dunning-Kruger effect. Trump exists to elevate Trump and enrich his portfolio; nothing else matters and it is becoming increasingly clear to everyone but the clinically insane. Obviously Erickson is not clinically insane and he can see the “generational” damage Trump is wreaking on the GOP as an establishment and viable political party.

Erickson states the obvious according to polls that voters are increasingly dissatisfied with the Republicans’ inability to govern, and he asserts that part of the issue is that congressional Republicans have found themselves in between the proverbial “rock and a hard place” with Trump in the White House.

Mr. Erickson is right, of course. Increasingly, the Republicans who are still ardently supporting Trump find themselves rightly being accused of neglecting their sworn duty to hold the corrupt con man accountable for the myriad conflicts of interest and what increasingly looks like treason against the United States of America.

However, if Republicans do put patriotism and country before party loyalty, Trump’s mean-spirited base will attack them mercilessly as betrayers of the faith and do what Trump has suggested on more than one occasion; recruit and run primary candidates against them. It is highly likely that their fear of a primary challenge is the force prohibiting most Republicans from doing the right thing and fleeing Trump’s treason and corruption. It is a curious position to take because Republicans are assured that they have a second-string rubber stamp waiting to fill in for Trump if he is evicted from office.

Apparently, Erickson is just as concerned about Trump’s “lack of moral character” setting a horrible example for his fellow people of faith as he is his children seeing an ignorant lying savage as president. Erickson must be more religious than once thought because he claims to have had plenty of serious discussions with his Christian brethren throughout the presidential campaign about the danger of supporting a sinner like Trump. He relates telling people of faith during the campaign that “if god wanted Trump in the White House, he would not need Christians to dirty themselves to make it happen.”

As a secular humanist, one feels a sense of duty to remind the faithful that their mythological god had nothing whatsoever to do with Trump being in the White House. That atrocious credit belongs to Russia, James Comey’s ill-timed revelation that there was nothing in a “new” email inquiry, emoprogs, and Republican voter purges. The biblical god did not get to cast one vote for Trump.

Still, Erickson argued with Trump’s evangelical Christian supporters who told him “whether we liked Trump or not, we needed him to save the Supreme Court.” His response was that “four years of Clinton appointing judges, while awful, would be nothing compared to ‘a generational wipeout of the GOP;’” thus Erickson’s prophecy that “a Republican reckoning is on the horizon.”

Erickson also made an important statement that Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman made a few months ago about people getting to close to Trump, whether in political support or in his corrupt administration, can never come away without compromising their character. As the bastardized interpretation of a verse in the Old Testament says;  “you are the company you keep.” No matter how gullible Americans can be, they are just savvy enough to conclude that every foolish Republican still fervidly supporting Trump is just as corrupt, greedy, incompetent, and mean-spirited as he is.

Mr. Erickson said that it is becoming clearer every day that Trump has the potential to cause more damage to the Republican Party and compared him, wrongly, to President Obama and Democrats. He did, though, see a major distinction between Democrats’ electoral setbacks during the Obama Administration and what will drive the “day of reckoning for Republicans.” He said that while  “President Obama is deeply respected and liked by a majority of the voters,” Donald Trump is “increasingly disliked, and the Republicans who enable him are increasingly distrusted.”

It is a stunning admission, but Erickson said the majority of Americans can be forgiven for thinking the GOP has lost is collective mind; especially because Trump’s supporters in Congress and his base “cheer on his every inane statement, delusion, lie and bad act.” The result, according to a staunch conservative and faithful Republican, is that the Republican movement may lose an entire generation of voters through a combination of the sheer incompetence of Trump and a party rank-and-file with no ability to control or distance itself from its dangerously idiotic leader.

While Erick Erickson’s prophecy may come true, and he makes several fine points, it seems as though he underestimates just how much alike Donald Trump and the GOP faithful are ideologically and as a political movement. If that wasn’t the case, Trump wouldn’t be in the White House, Congress wouldn’t be in Republican hands, and America would be going forward, not reverting back to 1920.

America Is In a Constitutional Crisis And Its Democracy Is In Jeopardy

 

If Americans are paying attention, and they certainly should be, to the state of their government it is jarringly apparent that in Trump’s administration the criminals are running the justice system. It only makes sense because a pack of criminals are running the White House and there is every reason to believe a fair number of criminals are running both houses of Congress. No matter how one appraises the current and rapidly developing decline of American democracy, Trump is responsible for throwing the nation into a constructional crisis.

Were that not the case, that America’s government is compromised on various accounts, Trump would not have terminated Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James B. Comey to stop the investigation into the Trump-Russian attack on America’s democracy. As noted in a New York Times opinion piece:

It’s now clear that Trump’s Justice Department has no independence. Both Sessions, and Sessions’ deputy, Rod Rosenstein, are acting like Trump enforcers. And now the F.B.I. is compromised [or is going to be compromised] as well.”

A conservative columnist at the Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin, explained why Trump firing Mr. Comey is not only a reason for a very robust and thorough independent investigation, but why Trump can be impeached. Ms. Rubin wrote:

Using one law enforcement body (or set of individuals) to stop another from investigating presidential wrongdoing was the nub of Watergate and the ensuing impeachment proceedings. We do not know whether that is what is at issue here, but Congress has no alternative but to determine why the president acted and why he acted now. That should entail questioning under oath of any persons aware of or involved in the firing process and ultimately an accounting by the president of his own actions.”

It is important to recall that Trump praised Comey just prior to the election and has kept him at his post without issue for nearly four months since his inauguration. According to several reports, what appeared to set Trump off first was Comey’s Senate testimony that he was “mildly nauseous” at the thought of swaying the election to Trump. There are also plenty of credible reports that Mr. Comey was fired for requesting more funding from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to more effectively conduct the investigation into collusion between the Trump cabal and Russia.

It is noteworthy that Rosenstein is in charge of the Trump-Russia investigation at the DOJ because Jeff Sessions was “pressured” to recuse himself over his own undisclosed contact with the Russians during Trump’s campaign; a fact he lied about under oath during his Senate confirmation hearing. That act of perjury is the reason he should be prosecuted and sent to federal prison for five years instead of colluding with Trump to stop the FBI’s investigation.

The question, then, is why did Sessions as Attorney General appeal to Trump to fire Comey for investigating Russian collusion when he is out of the loop on Russian grounds? The White House public statement announcing Comey’s termination plainly puts Sessions in the center of the criminal endeavor. It said, in part:

President Trump acted on the clear recommendations of both Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Any sane person can’t possibly believe that Comey’s termination had anything whatsoever to do with the FBI’s handling of the bogus Clinton email affair. One cannot possibly believe it was anything other than Trump’s despotic attempt to put a criminal conspirator in charge of the FBI’s investigation who will join the thugs in the Justice Department, obey Trump’s dictates, and halt the investigation.

As no small number of pundits and commenters have opined, Trump’s action is “a premeditated and terrifying attack on the American system of government” and “ushers in a constitutional crisis.”

Here’s the thing, Trump, Sessions and Rosenstein can claim whatever lie they think the public will believe, but their claims are still lies. Yes, it’s true Americans can be incredibly dense and painfully so, but no-one is as stupid as Trump believes they are. Remember, as late as Monday, Trump took to his press outlet, Twitter, to call for the end of the FBI’s investigation into his administrations collusion with Russia. Trump tweeted:

The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer funded charade end?”

Within a day, Trump did what a criminal tyrant would do and attempted to put an end to the Trump-Russia collusion story unilaterally, with a little aid from the criminals leading the DOJ. Mr. Comey’s firing was not about emails, or that he wasn’t doing his job. He was terminated because he was doing his job without Trump’s direction and wanted to go deeper; that likely sealed his fate and prompted Trump to do what a tyrannical dictator would do – fire the man investigating him.

Trump was already livid that Comey publicly humiliated him when he summarily dismissed Trump’s paranoid claim that President Obama wire tapped him as “outside the realm of normal,” even “crazy.” Then Trump seethed that Comey told the Senate he “mildly” felt like throwing up at the idea his actions swayed the general election results. But what likely frightened the life out of Trump was Comey’s request for more funding for the Trump-Russia collusion investigation; a request that certainly means the investigation is not only widening but producing an abundance of evidence.

Now that it looks like Trump will find a sympathetic sycophant to do his bidding at the FBI and deliver the predetermined outcome Trump wants and close the investigation, Congress’ duty to democracy is to reassure the people that Trump is not above the law. That necessitates a robust independent investigation “completely free of Trump’s oversight” and without interference from Trump’s criminal conspirators at the Department of Justice. America’s democracy is in jeopardy and it is in a constitutional crisis, and save a few brave members of Congress it is increasingly apparent that Republicans have little interest in saving the Union from their hero in the White House or themselves.

Trump Budget Reveals How the Kochs Will Dismantle the Government

This author has warned, for at least six years, that if Republicans ever gained control of the entire government, that at the behest of their corporate masters the Koch brothers they would begin immediately dismantling the federal government. Trump’s number one counselor, fascist Stephen Bannon, said as much earlier this year when he bragged that the administration’s chief goal in appointing corporate billionaires, perjurers, and religious freaks to Trump’s cabinet, freaks and billionaires nominated by the teabagger-run Heritage Foundation, was to “dismantle the administrative state.” The administrative state is a not-so-subtle code for the United States government.

In Trump’s “proposed” budget for the next fiscal year, a so-called “skinny budget” the Heritage Foundation proposed a month ago, does exactly what the preponderance of Republicans indebted to the Koch brothers support; begin the dismantling of the federal government to satisfy a dream the Koch brothers championed over 30 years ago. Trump’s cohorts didn’t even attempt to hide the fact that the budget came directly from Heritage Foundation and the Kochs because they gave it the same exact name, the skinny budget, as the Heritage Foundation’s proposal last month.

The New York Times reported that Trump will unveil an even “skinnier” budget later in the spring that includes the Koch-Heritage plan to give massive tax cuts to the rich and corporations and dismantle even more of the administrative state. Phase two will assault Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and every other domestic social program serving the overwhelming majority of the population. However nasty the Republicans’ replacement for the Affordable Care Act appears, it is the world’s greatest socialist giveaway compared to what Trump will do to the government and the people it belongs to with the Koch-Heritage budget.

Although it is true the budget outlined this morning has to get past the Koch-Republican Congress, there is little doubt that except for drastic cuts to the Department of State, Koch-aligned Republicans will gleefully aid their funders in dismantling the government agencies that serve the people. Besides funneling tens-of-billions robbed from social programs, education, scientific research, and environmental protections to fund Trump’s “wars America has to start winning,” it will significantly reduce the “non-defense federal workforce” to rapidly kill tens-of-thousands of jobs.

According to the fascists running the executive branch, Trump and Bannon, the “skinny budget” “will reset the process of Washington policy making” from a policy of serving the “general welfare” of the people to a policy that serves the rich and their corporations exclusively, as well as the military industrial complex.

To demonstrate the Trump’s malice towards humanity, besides slashing the Environmental Protection Agency by over a third, there are drastic reductions to the “60-year-old State Department Food for Peace Program, which sends food to poor countries hit by war or natural disasters.” It makes sense that an administration promising to win more wars would take drastic measures against any program for peace, or diplomacy – that is the purpose of cutting the State Department budget. Just to show how petty the Trump-Heritage budget is, it completely eliminates the Department of Transportation’s Essential Air Service program because it subsidizes flights to rural airports. It is a signal to the country bumpkins who voted for Trump that his agenda never, never ever, not even once took their needs into consideration and instead takes as much as possible from the people.

For example, Trump is expected demand “a wide array of cuts to public education, to transportation programs like Amtrak and to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, including the complete elimination of the $3 billion Community Development Block Grant program, which funds popular programs like Meals on Wheels, housing assistance and other community assistance efforts.” It is a preview of what Trump means by “resetting the process of Washington policy making” that his chief strategist Bannon labeled “deconstructing the administrative state.

As expected, it is the cuts to the EPA that will impact Americans as detrimentally as the GOP’s draconian healthcare plan. And although thousands of Americans won’t die quickly for lack of affordable, or any, healthcare, Americans will die to enrich corporations. The NYT pointed out that as expected, the Koch-Heritage proposed cuts to the EPA “are a magnitude greater even than those envisioned by congressional Republicans, many of whom forcefully oppose the agency’s regulatory agenda.”

As an example, last year the Republican-controlled House spending subcommittee setting the EPA budget proposed reductions that still funded the agency at $8 billion. At the time, the Koch-Republicans in the House only cut $291 million from President Barack Obama’s last requested funding amount for the EPA; not anywhere near the $2.6 billion demanded by Trump. The EPA cuts are so drastic that Representative Ken Calvert (R-CA) said he never imagined having to cut the wildly-popular EPA “state grant programs that fund projects like restoring the Great Lakes and cleaning and redeveloping formerly contaminated industrial sites;” a cost that should be borne by the corporations responsible for the contamination like the lead still poisoning the water in and around Flint Michigan.

The NYT is patently wrong in claiming that both the current “skinny budget” and the “skinnier budget” to be unveiled later this Spring demonstrates the level of chaos, inexperience and staffing dysfunction in the Trump White House. Of course, the administration is all those things and so much more, but everything in the current and soon-to-be-released attack on government has been in the works for decades, more likely a generation or two going back to the New Deal. There is nothing chaotic or inexperienced in the Koch brothers’ vision of dismantling the government.

Some Senate Republicans have been critical of the Bannon-Trump proposal to slash funding for the State Department, but because they are so intricately tied, and heavily indebted, to the Koch brothers, there is little doubt they will revel in finally getting to do their part dismantling the federal government they have shown nothing but contempt for. But that makes sense for Republicans and their teabagger-conservatives who hate the government as much as they hate the American people and the U.S. Constitution.