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.

White House preacher heavily influenced Trump’s decision to tear families apart

There is a damn good reason the Constitution’s Framers and Founding Fathers went to great lengths to prevent what they knew was an ever-present threat of religious fanatics taking over the U.S. government. Since even before Trump’s poorly attended inauguration, Americans have been witnessing the greatest representation of the theocratic threat the Founders’ attempted to prevent because Trump has loving embraced radical Christian extremists and has given them authority over a broad range of issues related to domestic policy.

In the continuing saga of America’s transformation into an inherently barbaric theocracy, there was the revelation that the bastardized Christian fascists running the government played a pivotal role in directing Trump’s barbarous family separation policy. Although it is true there has been a tepid backlash to Trump’s brutal immigration policy by some Christian groups, the evangelical zealot running Trump’s White House Bible Study group has been, and still is, directing Trump’s administration according to his interpretation of the Christian bible, not the U.S. Constitution.

It looks very likely that J. Beauregard Sessions’ idea to use his Christian bible as justification for Trump’s policy of ripping children from their parents came by way of a theological edict from Trump’s White House Bible Study (WHBS) preacher. The evangelical cretin named Ralph Drollinger runs Capitol Ministries as well as an evangelical indoctrination program for the White House, Congress, and Trump’s Cabinet members. It is noteworthy that as reported by ThinkProgress, a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request noted that taxpayers are paying for “significant staff time and resources (invested) in coordinating Christian bible studies every week,” with an inordinate amount of involvement by Trump’s DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen who vehemently defended Trump’s family separation policy.

As reported by Andrew L. Seidel, the day prior to Sessions using the bible to defend Trump’s cruel child kidnapping crusade, preacher Drollinger’s bible lesson centered around “The Importance of Parenting and the Course of the Nation,” beginning with need to force “obedience to a nation’s laws” with the same cruel abuse as a good god-fearing parent.  The lesson included scriptural citations of Proverbs 28:4 and Romans 13:32 – the latter being the passage Sessions used to justify the tearing children from their parents. In fact, it is almost certain that Sessions jotted down some notes from Drollinger’s lesson verbatim because as the White House preacher has often boasted:

Jeff Sessions [will] go out the same day I teach him something and he’ll do it on camera. And I just think, man, these guys are faithful, available, and teachable.”

Obviously, because he has no expertise in anything of value to the people or the government, preacher Drollinger considers that his job does not entail advising or influencing Trump’s policies, it is manipulating them; and no members of Trump’s cabal are more easily manipulated thanSessions and aspiring preacher Mike Pence.

According to documents in the FOIA request, Drollinger provided the Trump cabal with the exact rationale supporting separating families using the same theological arguments “espoused in his previous Bible study entitled “What the Bible Says About Our Illegal Immigration Problem.” When Sessions was railed on for using the Christian bible to justify ripping families apart, Drollinger rushed to his defense with bible in hand. Drollinger defended Sessions with a “theological explanation of the child separation policy” from 2016 on the Capitol Ministries homepage. The “follower of Jesus” explained that there is “zero tolerance” for anything untoward or illegal in Trump’s America and losing ones children is an apropos price to pay for lawbreakers. Drollnger said:

It follows that when someone breaks the law of the land that they should anticipate that one of the consequences of their illegal behavior will be separation from their children.”

Like Sessions, Drollinger’s defense includes citing scripture about everyone following the law of the land, unless they are religious Republicans serving in Trump’s criminal organization. However, if they are refugees of color and seek asylum from abuse, Drollinger says god’s word justifies punishing the children of undocumented immigrants he insists “must suffer all the consequences of breaking the law.” Drollinger writes:

It is not overreaching to reason from this passage [Romans 13:1-7] that immigration laws, like all of a nation’s laws, should stem from a desire to protect the nation and its citizenry. That protection should deter a myriad of intrusions by illegals. God intends for Governments to bear the sword relative to enacting justice. They are to be an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. This means Government is sanctioned, bound, and responsible to punish those who break the law … including illegal immigration.”

However, Drollinger offers no mention of government vengeance for violating the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, Take Care Clause, or anti-nepotism laws committed by Trump, or several instances of Trump’s mendacious Cabinet members committing perjury under oath.

It is an atrocity that an evangelical maniac in the White House is “manipulating” the Trump administration to action despite a constitutional prohibition on religion influencing the government. If Democrats, the media, and American people were not so terrified of offending the “faithful,” the nation would not be facing a clear and present danger of a theocratic coup d’état. Moreover, although it is true there are some Christian groups opposed to Trump’s barbaric “zero tolerance” immigration policy, it is likely there are no small number of Trump’s evangelical acolytes clinging to the concept that their archaic bible does support tearing families apart – because they are the wrong color. This particular immigration issue is not about enforcing the law of the land. If that were the case Sessions, Pence, Trump, and several other Cabinet members would be sitting in a federal penitentiary. They did, in fact, violate 18 U.S. Code § 1621 that succinctly details the federal punishment for committing perjury under a “swear to god” oath.

No doubt there is plenty of blame to go around for Trump’s nasty “zero tolerance” immigration policy, and it is not unbelievable that Stephen Miller had a hand in convincing Trump that cruelty towards Hispanic children is a policy to be proud of implementing. However, a fair share of the blame lies at the feet of preacher Drollinger who has spent the past two years inculcating biblical inhumanity into the Trump cabal and defending the practice as “godly;” as if America is already an evangelical theocracy. Tragically, because far too many Americans still fail to see the impending doom of an extremist religious regime running the government, that dreaded theocracy is manipulating the most powerful office in the land; and all the while the people are mesmerized by Trump’s tweets and how often he hits the links at Mar-a-Lago.

Trump and Sessions should be in prison according to their bible

It is almost certain, at least to this author, that there are no greater hypocrites and liars in America than Republicans claiming Christianity as the one overriding force informing their actions and their lives. It was no surprise to learn upon returning from a wilderness hiatus that a man who regularly touts his Christian bona fides had no qualms gleefully announcing the Trump administration’s intent to continue ripping children from their families according to his decision to use the Christian bible to justify violating the number one rule of the “family values” cult – breaking families apart.

First, it was a prime example of Republican hypocrisy for an administration representing the evangelical Party of “family values” to take pleasure in separating families as a deterrent in Trump’s campaign to make America whiter. That is the overriding goal of the xenophobes, white supremacists, and nationalists propping up the corrupt dictator in the Oval Office.

It was also telling that part and parcel of J. Beauregard Sessions’ recent claims centering around the idea that mostly Brown women facing abuse have no right to appeal to America for sanctuary, and a little humanity. It reveals that Sessions is as true a representation of a patriarchal Christian male as most people will ever see in public during their lifetime. An abused woman seeking asylum to avoid being tortured by a man is obviously an atrocity to Sessions; it is a mindset likely based on the biblical commandment that women must subject themselves to whatever “a man” forces on them.

Now, as no small number of pundits, including Christians,  have noted; there is nothing whatsoever in the Christian bible supporting “ripping families” apart, or throwing thousands of young children, including infants, into concentration camps. There are Old Testament passages where the Israelites’ god ordered his people to rip women’s stomachs open and kill the fetuses, but there is nothing authorizing tearing what are surely Christian families apart because they are not white and speak a language other than English.

However, as Beauregard Sessions did rightly claim, his Christian bible does indeed command the religion’s adherents to obey the government authorities and submit to the law of the land; but it is noteworthy that the law of the land does not advocate or support the malice being displayed by Trump’s administration towards immigrants. Furthermore, the Constitution does not support using the Christian Bible to justify any law or any government action, much less the barbarism of separating children from their parents. Parents, by the way, who are only being charged with a misdemeanor for “improper entry” and may face up to six months in jail – apparently even if they are adhering to the law in seeking asylum as political or abused refugees.

Setting aside Beauregard Session’s savagery and inherent Republican brutality for a minute, it was bad enough that he cited his Christian bible as justification for abusing children, but his use of that particular scripture about obeying the law of the land was beyond hypocritical.

It is true that the bible passage Sessions cited does command Christians to obey the government authorities and adhere faithfully to the laws of the land, but if Sessions was not a raging evangelical hypocrite he would have already turned himself in to federal law enforcement authorities for immediate prosecution. He did, in fact, deliberately, and with malice aforethought, commit perjury under a “so help me god” oath before the United States Senate – at least twice.

Sessions made a big deal about everyone having to abide by the law in responding to other Christians’ condemning the Trump callousness against families and children. Sessions said:

“Many of the criticisms raised in recent days are not fair or logical and some are contrary to law. Persons who violate the law of our nation are subject to prosecution. I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the law of the government because god has ordained them for the purpose of order.”

Over the weekend, that Trump administration devotion to “law and order” was parroted, sans scriptural justification, by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during an appearance in New Orleans. Ms. Nielsen told the National Sheriffs’ Association:

Illegal actions have and must have consequences. No more free passes, no more get out of jail free cards.”

Of course there is no god ordaining any government leaders of any nation, but the idea that Sessions insists that “persons who violate the law of our nation are subject to prosecution” is patently hypocritical.

Sessions, and at least four other Trump cabinet nominees violated 18 U.S. Code § 1621 during their Senate confirmation hearings by committing perjury under a “so help me god” oath. And it is noteworthy that four of those nominees are self-confessed devout Christians who, like their criminal leader Trump, violate Number Nine of the BIG Ten Commandments regularly and with impunity.

If Sessions assertion about prosecuting federal law violations was sincere, Trump would be facing prosecution for violating the Emoluments Clause, the Constitution’s “take care” clause, the U.S. Code’s anti-nepotism law and for violating his own “so help me god” oath to support and defend the Constitution during his poorly-attended inauguration. It is highly likely that Trump has violated myriad other laws that, according to evangelical malcontents Sessions and Trump’s press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, make him “subject to prosecution to the fullest extent of the nation’s laws.”

Of course the lying Attorney General Sessions is never going to consider subjecting the lyin’ kings Trump and ‘preacher’ Pence, or any of Trump’s filthy lying Cabinet membersto prosecution to the fullest extent of the nation’s laws;” they are white Republicans and claim Christianity as their reason for living.

It was curious there was such an outrage over Sessions using his Christian bible as justification for tearing children from their mothers arms, and in one reported case from the infant’s mother’s breast. Religious right acolytes, and many Republicans, have used their Christian bible to justify slavery, racism, rape, starving the poor, pedophilia, persecuting the LGBTQ community, and subjecting women to the will of other religious Republicans.

No-one in their right mind should be surprised Sessions used his bible to justify tearing non-white immigrant families apart any more than they should be offended at the typically inherent evangelical Republican cruelty. Sadly, it is exactly the kind of cruelty documented in the Christian bible and at the rate Republicans are crusading to make the Christian bible the law of the land, Americans should be terrified if they weren’t so laser focused on Trump’s latest “tweets” or how often he goes golfing.

Image: Evan Vucci/Associated Press

U.N. blasts Trump for abusing families, children and the poor

No doubt there are very few foreigners who have a favorable opinion of the criminal occupying the Oval Office, and it is fairly safe to say entire nations see Trump as a global detriment. It is difficult to imagine how foreign peoples and nations regard the danger he poses to the people in America. However, the global family of nations, the United Nations, just released a rash of seriously harsh criticism specifically  targeting Trump for his human rights abuses against the poor, families and children; specifically immigrant children. It is a sad state of affairs for America, and if Republicans who claim to exist for “the family” had a modicum of conscience or morality, they would crawl under the nearest rock in shame or throw the bum in the Oval out of office. But since they lack any sense of conscience, or an ounce of  humanity, they likely disregard global criticism against their disgusting “feed the rich” agenda or their disgusting standard bearer Trump.

The latest United Nations round of condemnations against America for human rights abuses is not the first, and no doubt there will be many more with Trump and Republicans, including their “family values” religious right cohort, running the government and no small number of states.  In the recent past the United Nation Council on Human Rights has lambasted America for criminalizing povertyhomelessness, and peaceful protests,  failing to provide clean waterattacking the media, and doing nothing to halt law enforcement abuses based on racial animus. The latest condemnations, yes, there are two separate instances, specifically target Trump over his blatant disregard for the welfare of children, families and his tax reform favoring the filthy rich and corporations at the expense of the poor.

One of the U.N.’s condemnations was fully expected after the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty said he was “appalled at the conditions” Americans were living in; especially in the richest nation on the planet. He said at the time that,  “There is a human right for people to live decently, and that means the government has an obligation to provide people with the essentials of life.” That comment came after the U.N.’s tour of America’s rural South where said “he had never seen sewage problems like it in the developed world.”  That was in December, 2017. Now Philip Aston, who visited slums around the globe is laying the blame at Trump’s feet with particular attention to his hateful agenda and devotion to the filthy rich and corporations. Mr. Aston said,

The policies pursued over the past year seem deliberately designed to remove basic protections from the poorest, punish those who are not in employment and make even basic health care into a privilege to be earned, rather than a right of citizenship. The government should think harder about how to help those in need rather than punishing the poor.”

Aston also was not spare in his condemnation of Trump’s tax reform that he rightly noted was created specifically to provide “financial windfalls to the rich and large corporations, and lead to even more inequality and poverty.”

The second U.N. condemnation against Trump was included in a press briefingcriticizing Egypt and America’s human rights violations. The United Nations had nothing good to say about Trump’s abuse of immigrant children or his apparent glee at tearing immigrant families apart.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ravina Shamdasani, wrote that the global Human Rights watchdog is:

Deeply concerned that the zero tolerance policy recently put in place along the US southern border has led to people being subjected to criminal prosecution and having their children – including extremely young children – taken away from them as a result.

The practice of separating families amounts to arbitrary and unlawful interference in family life, and is a serious violation of the rights of the child. While the rights of children are generally held in high regard in the US, it is the only country in the world not to have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. We encourage it to accede to the Convention and to fully respect the rights of all children.”

The use of immigration detention and family separation as a deterrent runs counter to human rights standards and principles. The child’s best interest should always come first, including over migration management objectives or other administrative concerns. It is therefore of great concern that in the US migration control appears to have been prioritised over the effective care and protection of migrant children.

Children should never be detained for reasons related to their own or their parents’ migration status. Detention is never in the best interests of the child and always constitutes a child rights violation.”(author bold)

What Ms. Shamdasani did not mention was that Trump recently claimed openly that immigrant children, “including extremely young children,” have no rights because “they are not innocent;” they are future criminals. And Trump made those comments the same day his beloved Border Patrol was accused of sexually and physically abusingchild detainees. To make matters worse, last week Trump “quietly” cut legal aid for migrant children separated from their parents and families. That includes families and children legally living in the United States that are being torn apart by deportation proceedings with no legal representation.

Trump has no regard whatsoever for children despite his claim that he was driven to launch a rash of missiles at an abandoned Russian airfield in Syria “because of the children.” Trump does not care about children, whether they are American citizens, documented immigrants, or refugees seeking relief from abuses in the countries they fled. It is an abomination that many of those fleeing human rights abuses, including very young children, are facing abuses in America because there is an abusive tyrant in the White House; something the United Nations Human Rights Commission condemned harshly.

Americans who aren’t humiliated by yet another condemnation by the global human rights watchdog are either vicious Trump supporters or inhumane Republicans; the only people supporting human rights abuses by government fiat under direction from that barbaric racist Trump.

Trump’s Shutdown Threat Reveals the Depth of His Contempt for the People

It is nearly impossible to believe that there are very many Americans remaining who fail to see the abject disaster of allowing a fake wrestling and reality show personality inside the White House. Of course Trump has supporters, but one seriously wants to believe the data that white supremacists {racists} and evangelical extremists (religious right) still represent a minority of the population; it is difficult to quantify the “stupid” contingent that do not fall into either of those categories, but it has to be under 50 percent of the population. After Trump’s outrageous statement last weekend, it is nearly impossible to believe anyone fails to see Trump as dangerously disastrous.

There was an interesting op-Ed in the Washington Post asking, “Does Trump operate out of any conception of what’s in the public interest?”

It is an easy to answer query, and it is a question that applies equally to the Republican Party; the GOP exists solely to advance the interests of the rich and the religious with no regard for “the public interest.”

Trump’s statement that he is looking ahead to September to “close down America” if Congress doesn’t bend to his will certainly insinuates that no, Trump has no “interest” in what is good for America or the people. It is not, as the WaPo piece suggests, that Trump is “incapable” of considering the good of the people or the country; he just has no regard for anyone but himself.

No doubt Trump was serious in threatening to “close down the country” if his Republican underlings in Congress fail to provide funding to build a Berlin Wall-type barrier along America’s Southern border. In fact, it is not a stretch to assume that Trump would in fact “close down America” if he was able, but it is not within his purview according to the document he dismisses as “archaic” and not applicable to him or his administration.

Obviously, someone in the White House informed Trump that regardless of what the voices in his head tell him, America is not one of his bankrupt hotels, at least not yet; he cannot just unilaterally close down the government if his perceived employees in Congress fail to do his bidding. Trump almost certainly meant he would impose a “government shutdown” as demanded by his minders at Fox News to facilitate punishing the American people if he doesn’t get his vanity project and monument to America’s xenophobia and isolationism.

Since he would require assistance from Congress, Trump could not possibly make an outrageous threat without lying; including using alternative facts sourced directly from his juvenile mind. Seriously, it is difficult to recollect any time in American history that a “president” White House resident threatened to “close down the country” if he doesn’t get his way, but then again Americans never allowed a petulant racist bastard take up occupancy in the White House.

Trump was speaking to a group during a tax reform roundtable in Ohio and as usual he was in the process of attacking Democrats “during a riff about border security” and just offered up a typically Trump idea. He said Americans should begin thinking about “closing up the country” if he doesn’t get his way. He said:

They don’t want the wall, but we’re going to get the wall, even if we have to think about closing up the country for a while. We’re going to get the wall. We have no choice. We have absolutely no choice. And we’re going to get tremendous security in our country.”

To show he was serious Trump repeated the idea of closing down the nation and he naturally lied about what he claims is the existential threat to the nation without a Berlin-type wall. He reiterated just how far he is willing to go and how much misery and damage he can inflict on the American people to get his way and sate the white supremacists, xenophobes, and isolationists who demand a whites-only nation. He said:

And we may have to close up our country to get this straight, because we either have a country or we don’t. And you can’t allow people to pour into our country the way they’re doing. We come up again on Sept. 28 and if we don’t get border security, we’ll have no choice. We’ll close down the country.” (author bold)

Trump naturally lied about immigration to defend shutting down the government, and of course his mendacity entailed fear mongering about a massive increase in Hispanic immigrants threatening America as a nation and the white people as a race. One even wonders if very many Americans are aware of the Berlin Wall Trump envisions for America; particularly since a frighteningly inordinate number of people are unaware of the Holocaust.

The truth is that immigration has been on the decline for well over a decade, and two years ago a new trend was reported; more Mexicans are fleeing America than are entering. In fact, exactly a day prior to Trump’s threat to close the country amid his own dire warning that America’s “Southern border is under siege,” Trump’s administration released  statistics showing that undocumented immigration was in line with historical norms that represent a steady decline of Hispanic immigrants; not an invasion and certainly not a dangerous surge.

Although Trump has made immigrants a target for ages, he began ramping up his nasty rhetoric about an hour after watching a Fox and Friends segment reporting on an annual publicity stunt to bring attention to the refugee crisis in Central America; what Fox News convinced Trump was an invasion force consisting of “a small migrant army marching toward the United States.” There is a fair explanation of what the annual “human rights demonstration” entails here; only Trump and his advisory committee at Fox News could possibly conflate the “demonstration” with an invasion force.

One House Democrat, Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), echoed the sentiment of any sane American at the news that Trump threatened to “close down the country” if he doesn’t get his way. Ms. Jayapal said:

“[Trump] is absolutely out of his mind to think that is any kind of a reasonable solution for our economy or compassion or in line with our values. This President [Trump] has done everything he can every time he’s in trouble to turn around and try to turn it against immigrants, and it really deeply saddens me.”

Despite everything Trump says about immigrants, the real threat to Americans is the filthy lying racist living in the White House. The  one who appears ready and willing to burn down the country, or at least “shut it down,” until his employees in Congress hand over taxpayer dollars for Trump’s vanity wall.

It is likely that the same xenophobes who have supported him since his poorly attended inauguration, and his minders at Fox News, cheered his threat to “close America for a while” if he can’t get what he wants; no matter the damage to the nation’s economy and the people.

Despite what the WaPo op-ed proffered, there is not a question of whether Trump has any concern for the public interest, because he has none. The prescient question is how much damage will Republicans allow him to inflict on them if he doesn’t get what he wants.

Trump Personally Killed 40 Thousand Jobs and Cost the Economy Billions

As much as dirty Donald Trump epitomizes the “ugly American” and every negative connotation that unflattering title entails, he is the personification of a very significant number of the ugly Americans the rest of the world, and no small number of decent Americans, despise.

Trump and his ugly “America first” acolytes could not possibly care less what the rest of the world, or other Americans, think of the uncivilized cretins Trump represents, but that is not the case for the highly profitable American tourism industry. In fact, exactly as predicted shortly after Trump’s poorly attended inauguration, everything about Trump will be harmful to the economy and those predictions have proven accurate for many sectors of the economy. The tourism sector realized immediate economic harm.

Although much of Trump’s economic damage will not result in immediate job or business losses, that is not the case in the tourism industry. World travelers contemplating trips to America were immediately aware that Trump’s America, like Trump himself, will not be a very friendly place to visit and no-one in their right mind can blame them. Those travelers began shunning America before Trump was allowed to occupy the White House after hearing his foul mouth drone on for several months about America first.

Now, the industry is reporting that since Trump took office, as many, many experts predicted; “inbound travel dropped by 4 percent and tourist spending declined 3.3 percent.” Those percentages translate into losses of tens-of-thousands of American jobs and roughly $4.6 billion in tourism dollars spent in American communities. It is noteworthy that those tens of thousands of jobs lost do not reflect “downstream jobs” lost by people serving the 40,000-plus now-unemployed Americans, or the billions of dollars in lost wages and tourist spending driving local economies.

The National Travel and Tourism Office reported the bad economic news that they and other groups dubbed the “Trump slump.” The report said that the unnecessary slump “translated to losses of tens of thousands of jobs and $4.6 billion in spending in 2017.”According to experts, “Trump’s travel ban proposals and his anti-immigration rhetoric, and heightened security measures have worsened the U.S.’s (sic) image in other countries.”

Tourism experts knew three months into Trump’s White House occupancy that there would be Hell to pay for Trump’s ugly American rhetoric and actions. In March, Tourism Economics president, Adam Sacks, said:

It doesn’t take very much uncertainty or antipathy to influence decisions away from a given travel destination. Ultimately, destinations and companies are in the business of building a brand and a message that is welcoming .… All the ‘America first’ rhetoric in various policy areas like trade, diplomacy and immigration is conveying the exact opposite.”

That was Mr. Sacks’ prediction in March;  in September he said:

It’s not a reach to say the rhetoric and policies of this administration are affecting sentiment around the world, creating antipathy toward the U.S. and affecting travel behavior.

To add insult to economic injury to America, because of one vile man’s mouth; “The U.S. slipped to No. 8 from No. 7 on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Countries list released on Tuesday.” That report “attributed the drop to Trump being more unpopular than any other state head or company CEO, and to the U.S. becoming more politically unstable and less progressive and trustworthy.” All because of one man and the malcontent racists, evangelicals, xenophobes and various bigots supporting him.

In what is sure to be a failure, the U.S. Trade Association intends on embarking on a “Visit U.S.” campaign they hope will “encourage international travelers to choose the U.S.” According to Johnathan Grella, the trade association executive vice president:

A very big portion of the coalition’s work is to promote more balanced rhetoric. We want to get to the place that the administration says we are closed for terrorism but open for business.”

Obviously, Mr. Grella has not spent any time listening to Trump or he would have realized the absurdity of expecting Trump or his administration ever being interested in, or capable of, presenting “more balanced rhetoric.” Trump and a significant percentage of the population are not only disinterested in “balanced rhetoric,” they oppose it like “the ugly Americans”  they are at a very fundamental level. Still, at least one major American city and tourist destination is being proactive in touting itself as “decidedly anti-Trump.

It is doubtful there will be a national campaign advertising that “This isn’t Trump’s America” or that “all international visitors are welcomed to visit America,” but that is precisely what Los Angeles is promoting.

Something the tourism industry might not consider is that the preponderance of prospective foreign travelers are not as concerned about running into Trump or terrorists as they are terrified of the fanatical gun zealots, radical evangelical extremists, racists, and xenophobes that support an ugly American like Trump. An equally disgusted number of prospective tourists have no interest in spending their hard-earned vacation money in a country that refuses to care for its own citizens and hates “foreigners.” And worse, foreign tourists are well aware it is dangerous to visit any nation with a government that empowers radical religious extremists to target several groups for discrimination based on their sex, gender identity, marital status, and sexual orientation.

Add to those disincentives to visit America, the concerted mindset among Trump supporters that anything not American, not English speaking, and not white is inherently evil and it should assure the tourism industry that their economic troubles are going to get much worse with or without Trump. The rest of the world is now fully cognizant that Trump’s “ugly American acolytes” make up a substantial percentage of the population and they are angry and they are not going away no matter what Trump does.

It is true that every administration can affect the economy and have an impact on international perceptions of America, but this Trump slump is a fairly new phenomenon for a couple of reasons. It was accurately predicted prior to Trump’s poorly attended inauguration, the downturn in tourism was immediate and sustained, and Trump has continued unabated terrifying and insulting the rest of the world. Of course the economic damage in lost tourism is down to Trump and his vile mouth, but it cannot be overstated that the rest of the world’s population understands that without a population rife with “ugly Americans,” Donald Trump would be promoting a new reality show, not America as a tourist destination to be avoided at all costs.

Fear of Trump Cost Tourism $2.7 Billion in Three Months

Donald Trump has not accomplished anything worthwhile during the eight months he’s been living in the White House, but he has pissed off the rest of the world and insulted America’s closest allies and trading partners. It is no surprise that foreign travelers, and their nation’s leaders, have suggested not traveling to American if for no other reason than the animus raging among Trump’s America for non-white, non-religious, and non-American human beings. Of course foreigners are as terrified of the gun culture in America as they are Trump’s aggressive customs and border brownshirts, but they are also not enamored with the idea of spending their vacation dollars in a nation with a nativist dotard looking for trouble.

Back in March during the “extreme vetting” threat from the Trump White House, tourism industry experts warned there would be a heavy price to pay when foreign vacationers, and business travelers, stopped coming to America. As it turns out, those “warnings” were understated according to new data released by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The new data represent just the first quarter of this year and the figures are where experts predicted they would be back in March when they worried about a “Trump slump” wreaking havoc on international travel to America. The Commerce Department data confirmed the industry’s fears and since Trump has only behaved worse since the first quarter, it is highly likely their worst fears have really yet to materialize. Whether it was embarrassing America by insulting our allies and trading partners, or terrifying the life out of the rest of the world with threats of nuclear war, there are fewer reasons for anyone to visit America today than there were in the first quarter.

According to a report in the New York Times:

New figures released by the U.S. Department of Commerce show a drop in international visitors to the United States by close to 700,000 in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the previous year. European countries were down 10.1 percent, and Mexico was off 7.1 percent in the quarter.”

It’s likely that Trump and his nativist supporters are saying good riddance – who needs international tourists? They probably wildly celebrated that there was a 7.1 percent drop in Mexican tourists coming to America. But those “Mexicans” are visiting tourists spending their hard-earned money in America; they are not immigrants. And combined with that 10.1 percent decline in international tourists, particularly those from Europe, they represent a significant loss in income for America’s tourism and hospitality businesses and the jobs they provide. Exactly as predicted back in March, analysts estimate that the “immediate decline in tourism represents a loss of $2.7 billion in spending” in America on products and services provided by American businesses employing American workers.

Although it is not easy to verify that Trump’s immigration ban, threats of a wall, animus towards non-Americans, extreme vetting, or his promise to “rough up” foreigners contributed to the $2.7 billion decline in tourism, there are results of another survey pinning the tourism decline on Trump. It is no coincidence that the new Commerce Department data tracks perfectly with the Trump-inspired decline in United States favorability around the world.

According to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in June, only 49 percent of people surveyed in 37 nations had a positive view of the United States. Contrast that figure with the 64 percent “positive view” at the end of President Obama’s term in office. It is glaringly obvious that the costly slump in tourism is all down to the repugnant piece of work in the Oval Office. Add to that comparison the fact that during the first quarter of 2013 after President Obama’s re-election, international tourism increased by 6.4 percent.

According to the president of Tourism Economics, Adam Sacks:

It’s not a reach to say the rhetoric and policies of this administration are affecting sentiment around the world, creating antipathy toward the U.S. and affecting travel behavior.”

The New York Times reported that according to the responses it received to a Facebook post on foreign travel to America, “European readers overwhelmingly cited the Trump administration and its policies as reasons for avoiding or canceling trips to the United States.”

One British respondent wrote:

We are British Muslims and live in London. We wanted to visit N.Y.C. this summer but decided against it simply because we felt we wouldn’t be welcome there and didn’t want to waste precious holiday time in case there was a problem at passport control at the airport.”

Other European respondents cited gun violence and their personal safety as reasons for avoiding America like plague, at least until they feel they aren’t risking their lives just to visit America. A Danish woman wrote:

I have always dreamed of visiting the US. But the rise of gun violence and political chaos has made me cancel all future travels to the U.S. until I can feel safe as a tourist.”

Various international travel experts confirmed that since January “the U.S. is falling behind” as an international tourism destination. That was the assertion by the president and chief executive of the U.S. Travel Association, Roger Dow, whose nonprofit organization promotes foreign travel to the United States. And according to a World Economic Forum report released in April, “the United States fell two spots in its rankings of the top 10 most popular countries for tourism in the world.”

All of these statistics were predicted due to Trump’s ascension to the White House and the latest reports only covered the first quarter of 2017, and the situation is only going to get worse for the industry. Tour operators such Intrepid Travel reported that to date, they experienced reported a 24 percent decrease compared to the same period last year. However, trips to Canada are up 40 percent so it is not an economic issue, it is a political, safety and social issue. As the regional director for Intrepid Travel noted, something has to change. Leigh Barnes wrote:

Given the current political and social climate, now is an especially important time for the travel industry to stand for open borders, inclusivity and the celebration of diversity.”

Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter what the travel industry does or says or stands for; the problem is the hate-based administration. The chance of Trump allowing open borders, inclusivity, and the celebration of diversity is less than zero. It is, after all, his and his vile supporters’ staunch opposition to diversity, inclusivity, and open borders that is killing the tourism industry.

If the predictions made in March are any indication, coupled with the first quarter statistics, it is likely that fear of Trump will certainly end up costing significantly more than the predicted $11 billion and 90,000 American jobs in his crusade to make America far too dangerous for foreign tourists to visit.

Federal Judge Blocks Texas Ban on Sanctuary Cities – For Now

Historically, a sanctuary is considered a sacred place, such as a shrine that can also serve as a place of safe haven. By extension and historically, the word “sanctuary” has typically been used for any place of safety, such as a church, a monastery, and even a city. Although Republicans regard cities controlled by Democrats as anything other than “sacred places,” or “shrines,” they are generally repulsed at the concept of a “sanctuary city” because they are typically Democratic leaning and offer safe haven to Brown people.

The reason Republicans, and particularly that racist Republican in the White House, despise the idea of the typically Democratically controlled sanctuary cities is because they “limit cooperation with the national government’s effort to enforce harsh immigration laws.”

Sanctuary city leaders are more concerned with reducing the fear of deportation and possible family break-up among undocumented immigrants so they will be more willing to report crimes and cooperate with local police instead of quaking in fear and hiding for their lives.

Trump hates sanctuary cities and has threatened to punish them for not showing him undying fealty by doing doubly duty as federal immigration police to hunt down and round up people they merely suspect are undocumented. It is exactly what convicted felon and now pardoned Joe Arpaio is guilty of doing. He was never convicted of racial profiling, but he is guilty according to several lawsuits or Maricopa County would not have paid out hundreds-of-millions to settle lawsuits against Arpaio.

Trump and his racist Attorney General Jeff Sessions have made serious threats against non-compliant leaders in sanctuary cities for not obeying his anti-Latino dictate. Thus far, Trump has not convinced Republicans in Congress to pass federal legislation banning sanctuary cities, but that did not stop Texas Republicans from taking matters in their own hands.

Texas’ Republican dominated legislature passed a ban on sanctuary cities in May, and since Governor Greg Abbott refuses to stand up for much of anything, especially the rule of law and Latinos in his state, he was proud to sign the bill into law. The law was due to be enacted on September 1, but all that “anti-Latino law” accomplished was incurring a major lawsuit to stop its implementation.

Since the lawsuit is still ongoing, a federal Judge issued a preliminary injunction blocking the ban on constitutionality grounds like no small number of recent Republican state laws.  It is noteworthy that the judge’s ruling is only temporary, but for now it prevents the savage law, Senate Bill 4 (S.B. 4), from going into effect tomorrow, Friday. The judge is allowing the lawsuit against the matter to go forward and reach a conclusion before issuing a final ruling.

Even though the “injunction” is only temporary, it is a well-deserved legal blow to what experts claim is “one of the toughest state-issued immigration laws in the nation.” It is curious that only Republican states are encroaching on the federal government’s purview over immigration policy and enforcement, but Republicans are typically racist and fervently anti-immigration like Trump. Besides giving Texas Republicans a “poke in the eye,” the ruling “puts the brakes on a measure championed by Trump;” a measure S.B. 4’s critics have rightly labeled an “anti-Latino measure.”

The measure, S.B. 4, “prohibits cities and counties from adopting policies that limit immigration enforcement, allows police officers to question the immigration status of anyone they detain or arrest, and imposes fines, jail time and removal from elected office for any official who defies the ban.”  S.B. 4 also orders local officials to coordinate and cooperate with federal immigration detainer requests, which forces “foreign-born detainees to be transferred to federal custody after they are released from state or local custody” based on “a suspicion” they are undocumented.

The essence of S.B. 4 can be summed up as thus: do what anti-Latino Trump orders or face being arrested, fined, sent to prison, and removed from elected office. That summation did not sit well with a number of the Texas’ biggest cities, including Houston, Austin, San Antonio and Dallas. Those cities are controlled by Democrats who joined the lawsuit against Texas seeking to strike down the law. For now, the cities will have to settle for the preliminary injunction and await the conclusion of the lawsuit; a lawsuit that should be struck down unconditionally because S.B. 4 is unconstitutional.

The same U.S. District Court Judge, Orlando Garcia, that issued the injunction, ruled on another “undocumented immigrant” case in June. In that case, Judge Garcia ruled that “Bexar County Sheriff’s Office violated the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable search and seizure” when jailers detained a “suspected” undocumented immigrant for more than two months; and that detention was for two months after the man had a misdemeanor charge against him dismissed.

In that particular case, the victim’s lawyers challenged the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office’s “longstanding practice” of granting “immigration detainers.” Immigration detainers are routine requests from I.C.E. officials for local jails to hold detainees just “suspected of federal immigration violations;” even if their local charges have been dismissed or otherwise resolved. Immigration lawyers nationwide argue that such requests are often “flawed, haphazard and fall well below the legal standard of a warrant or judge’s order.” Remember, like now-pardoned Joe Arpaio’s confessed practice, the “longstanding practice” by local Texas police targets people only “suspected of federal immigration violations.

There is no telling how this particular lawsuit will conclude, but with a racist anti-immigration crusader  in the White House, and plenty of anti-immigrant Republican legislatures anxious to show their anti-Latino bona fides, it is highly likely there are more sanctuary city bans on the horizon. However for now, at least sanctuary cities in Texas can breathe a little easier that their leaders will not face fines, prison time, or be removed from office for showing something no Republican vaguely comprehends – compassion for other human beings.

Trump Sent a Dangerous Racist Message With Arpaio Pardon

Of all the people in America, it is likely there are very few as dirty and corrupt as Donald J. Trump; he is a legitimately bad human being. One of those “very few” is another man who believes he can make, enforce, and adjudicate his own laws, supersede all state and federal authority, ignore federal court orders, and has raging animus for people of color. Of course that person is Joe Arpaio and if anyone was surprised that his like-minded and lawless cohort Trump pardoned him they are bereft of a brain. Everybody and their brother knew the minute that Arpaio was convicted that Trump would surely keep him out of slam, and he did exactly that.

First, one thing has to be addressed, and cleared up immediately; Joe Arpaio was not convicted of a crime because he was “doing his job.” That is precisely what Trump said on Tuesday in Phoenix during yet another campaign rally, and he was sending a clear message to Hispanics and his racist base.

Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt of court. He blatantly flouted a federal court order to stop playing federal immigration officer and immigration judge by illegally detaining and imprisoning people that “he suspected” of being undocumented immigrants. One can say with the utmost confidence that there is no job in America that requires blowing off a federal court order, there just isn’t and yet that is precisely what Trump insinuated when he told his racist devotees in Phoenix that  “Sheriff Joe [was] convicted for doing his job?”

Arpaio’s criminal conviction actually had its beginnings over a decade ago stemming from a lawsuit against his sheriff’s office for “regularly violating the rights of Latinos.” Those regular violations included just stopping people based solely on their racial profile (people with brown skin), arresting and detaining them based on the sheriff’s suspicion they were in America illegally, and turning them over to immigration authorities; again based on the sheriff’s “suspicion” and their racial profile.

In 2011, a Federal District Court judge finally ordered Arpaio to cease, immediately, stopping people based on their skin color and detaining them based “solely on the sheriff’s suspicion” of their immigration status. The federal judge particularly noted that Arpaio was stopping and detaining citizens despite there was never even any suspicion they had violated any state law; they did, however, have brown skin.

Despite Arpaio’s sheriff’s office facing more lawsuits for illegally detaining American citizens and Latinos that were in the country legally, he continued the illegal practice because, like Don Trump, Arpaio believes he is a law unto himself. That being the case, and despite the federal judge’s order, Arpaio kept insisting that everything he was doing, including unconstitutional tactics, were legal according to his determination and that he would continue employing them.

That is what Arpaio was convicted for; having criminal contempt for a Federal District Court order and judge. It is worth reiterating for dumb Donnie Trump and his racist zealot following that Arpaio’s sheriff job description did not ever include flagrantly disobeying federal court orders.

One wonders if Trump didn’t get his racist idea of pressuring local police forces into deploying their officers to hunt down and round up Latinos “they suspect” are undocumented immigrants after learning that is what Arpaio was doing for years. Arpaio, as a county sheriff, knew he was not any part of the Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or Border Patrol, but that didn’t then and still doesn’t now, make any difference to him. He, like Trump, believes he is beholden to one set of laws and they are the ones he makes up in his head.

Trump also pardoned the criminal Arpaio to send a message to his base that abusing the rights of Americans and immigrants based solely on the color of their skin, or a person’s suspicion about their immigration status is “just doing a job.” For Arpaio, that job entailed abusing prisoners as well as facing lawsuits over inmate deaths.

At least Trump faced a bit of rage from Americans who see his ugly, but legal, pardon for what it is meant to be: a “clear and ugly message to Hispanic Americans.” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton was rightfully irritated and wrote:

“Pardoning Joe Arpaio is a slap in the face to the people of Maricopa County. Sheriff Joe Arpaio targeted and terrorized Latino families because of the color of their skin. He was ordered by a federal judge to stop and he refused. He received a fair trial and a justifiable conviction, and there’s nothing the President Trump can do to change that awful legacy and the stain he had left on our community.”

It is a sad legacy that Trump is leaving the same stain on America; and why wouldn’t he? Trump and Arpaio are both old, fat, white guys who refuse to adhere to any law or convention their dysfunctional brain refuses to accept. They are also both racists who do, and will, make up, or break laws that conform to white supremacy. And that ugly awful pardon is to show his alliance Arpaio and the incredibly stupid people who actually believe that being criminally contempt of court was part of his job.

Image: Damon Winter/The New York Times

Trump Wants More Mexican Immigrants Working in His Winery

With the anti-Trump movement apparently gaining steam, it is likely that each participant hates a different quality of the man a minority of voters were happy to send to the White House. One thing is certain though, they all likely detest Trump for his blatant hypocrisy, filthy lies, megalomania, and of course his disregard for any American who isn’t rich, religious, male and white. A little over a week ago a story that should have been the lead on every outlet over a 24-hour cycle was virtually ignored and it featured Trump the hypocrite, Trump the liar, and Trump the American job-killer.

Barely a week after Trump lied and took credit for “forcing” an Indiana company to halt the planned “shipment” of American jobs to Mexico, one of his Virginia companies appealed to the Labor Department, in writing no less, for authorization to hire foreign workers. For as much as Trump boasted he and only he could stop Mexican workers from coming to America to take Americans’ jobs, it should have been front page news that he seeks to bring in workers from Mexico to take Americans’ jobs and like every stinking thing dirty Donald does it is to profit himself.

The company in question is Trump Vineyard Estates LLC that wants to ship in Mexican immigrants to earn $3 more per hour than minimum wage, and only work 40 hours a week; conditions that Republicans decry as monumental job killers only Democrats support. The company is “a registered trade name of Eric Trump” Wine Manufacturing LLC, and on its Labor Department appeal touted the business as not owned, not managed and not affiliated “with Donald J. Trump, the Trump Organization, or any of their affiliates.” However, that is not what the incoming liar-in-chief said during the presidential campaign and not what he entered on financial disclosures; he is a liar as well as a hypocrite.

Earlier this year megalomaniac Trump bragged about “his winery” at a campaign event where “bottles of his wine” were one of the featured attractions. In fact, in boasting about how fabulous Trump Wine is, he spoke of Trump Vineyard Estates LLC glowingly: “I own it 100 percent, no mortgage, no debt.” Also, in Trump’s May 2016 financial disclosure documents he listed himself as the president of the company and for the 2015 tax year he documented that the winery “earned” him $150,000 to $1.1 million. It should come as no surprise that some news outlets reported that devious Don gave the winery to his son Eric in 2012 which means that one or both Trumps are lying.

Trump’s son himself is culpable for conflict of interest charges “if” he is intimately involved with the winery because not only does he serve on daddy Don’s transition team, he is widely expected to play and important role in dad’s administration. Apparently hypocrisy runs deep among Trumps because sonny-boy Eric has spent no small amount of time lambasting the loss of good American jobs to those dirty foreigners; especially like the ones from Mexico he wants to “import” to work at Trumps’ winery. All told, Trumps have brought in a couple of thousand immigrants to work in their businesses. In fact, Trump companies applied to bring in 263 foreign workers after Trump launched his campaign where he railed mercilessly against the loss of U.S. jobs to those nasty foreign workers.

This little event, besides featuring Trump lies, egomania, hypocrisy and killing American jobs, is a monumental conflict of interest for all the Trumps. One federal ethics experts remarked that this is a “classic conflict of interest” when the president or his relatives own businesses and apply for foreign worker visas and are also running the government including the Labor Department with purview over whether or not to issue work visas allowing foreign labor to come in and take Americans’ jobs; something the Trump clan rails against as un-American.

According to a former White House ethics lawyer now with the Brookings Institute, Norm Eisen said:

This is a powerful example of why Donald Trump needs to make a definitive break, not just with his operational interests but his ownership interests, by appointing an independent trustee to liquidate all that.”

Mr. Eisen’s remark parrots the call by the Wall Street Journal for Trump to completely divest all of his business holdings around the world or he will be guilty of conflict of interest with every policy decision he makes or is a party to making.

It is a relatively simple endeavor to find instances of Trump’s lies, hypocrisy, conflicts of interest, and outright corruption, but usually not all in one place. No matter if the baby-daddy or younger Trump owns a winery business, they are lying hypocrites for decrying foreign labor while they are officially applying to bring in foreign labor to displace Americans’ jobs. Maybe now that Trump expects American taxpayers to fund his “beautiful” wall to keep those Mexican workers out, the deplorable mainstream media will see fit to inform those same taxpayers that while Trump wants them to pay to keep immigrant labor out of America, he and his boy are attempting to bring immigrant labor in to enrich Trump.