Republicans’ Focus Is Tax Cuts for the Rich, Not Gun Violence

In a scene right out of Groundhog Day, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan did exactly the same thing Republicans always do after mass shootings and domestic terror attacks committed by white guys; ignore the issue and change the subject.

Apparently, since Ryan offered up the typical Republican “thoughts and prayers” solution to a horrific terror attack that claimed 59 lives and injured 500-plus other Americans enjoying an outdoor concert on Monday, he had enough “gun talk” by Tuesday morning. If there is any question as to why nothing will be done to put a stop to these annual “pray for the dead” events, Ryan blowing off reporters’ queries about addressing gun violence should clarify why Americans will see more of guns involved in domestic terror attacks.

During a news conference Tuesday, when asked about Republican plans to forge ahead on an NRA bill to make killing Americans easier for the shooters to escape undetected, Ryan said he was focusing on tax cuts for corporations and the richest Americans. Ryan is more focused on helping the 400 richest families in America get richer, than the nearly 600 Americans impacted by the terrorist organization Republicans are closely aligned with and indebted to; the NRA.

Specifically, Ryan was asked if House Republicans were intent on passing a piece of NRA legislation making silencers legal in light of the deadliest mass shooting in American history. Ryan wouldn’t respond to the question because he can’t be bothered talking about gun violence when he had an opportunity to boast that Republicans are focusing on the need for corporate tax cuts; the only issue worthy of his time.

Ryan said he doesn’t know when the “Sportsmen Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act” (SHARE Act), the NRA’s bill to legalize silencers, will be next scheduled for a vote, because “right now we’re focused on passing our budget.

Ryan is lying. This week’s House Republican focus was interfering with women’s reproductive rights and voting to legalize silencers; at least until their handiwork allowed a madman to rain down death on innocent Americans in Las Vegas. Republicans did pass an extremist evangelical bill because next to tax cuts for corporations and the rich, nothing consumes Republicans more than controlling women.

After Ryan changed the subject from guns to the budget, he told the gathered reporters, with a “chuckle” no less;

“By the way, we’re bringing up our budget this week – I don’t know if you knew that. The reason we’re bring up our budget this week is because we want to pass tax reform, because we think that’s one of the most important things we can do to improve people’s lives. That is our present focus and the Sportsmen’s Bill is not scheduled.

For once, the reporters were not so easily put-off and they pressed Ryan asking if he “regrets passing legislation that President Trump signed” making it easier for mentally ill people to buy guns. Ryan “guffawed” and ignored the question by calling on a different reporter who asked a related gun safety related question. Defeated, Ryan answered by framing Republicans rolling back restrictions on “people with mental illness buying guns as about protecting people’s rights.”

Ryan couldn’t leave it at that and had to lie some more by feigning concern for mental health reform; something he said “is a critical ingredient to making sure we can try to prevent mass shootings.” He’s as big a liar as his standard bearer in the White House.

Ryan and his Republican cohort have perpetually supported healthcare and budget proposals that gut the “largest payer of mental health services in the country – Medicaid.” It is also noteworthy that Ryan has been a staunch proponent of eliminating the requirement that Medicaid covers mental health services. All of these “cuts” Ryan supports are for the sole purpose of funding greater tax cuts for the rich and corporations; the only thing, besides attacking women’s rights, that Republicans, as a movement, care about.

It’s painfully obvious that Republicans don’t want to talk about gun violence, or their part in advancing the National Rifle Association’s crusade to eliminate all gun safety regulations no matter what the people want or how many innocent lives are lost. Caring for Americans has not been a priority for Republicans for a couple of decades, at least, because all of their focus is on making a few hundred wealthy families richer except when they take time to attack women and help their NRA co-conspirators put more guns on the streets and in the hands of lunatics.

GOP Leaders Reverse Course on President Obama’s DACA

Regardless of what Republicans said and how much they bemoaned and criticized President Barack Obama’s agenda and policies, they know he was fundamentally right nearly all the time because he governed from a centrist position and always for the benefit of the people; it is why he easily won two consecutive presidential elections. Interestingly, Republican leaders are now supporting an Obama immigration policy they screamed like banshees was an atrocity, and an abuse of his executive power, and they are using Obama’s reasoning to convince their racist hero Trump to preserve the immigration executive order protecting the so-called “Dreamers.”

Americans have been hearing that Trump is on the verge of canceling President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA allows “undocumented” immigrants who were brought to America as children avoid deportation and acquire work permits. A move by Trump to end DACA will not go over well with the public, or the business community, and now it is not going over well with leading Republicans. Most Americans believe that undocumented children who were hauled over the border by their parents through no fault of their own and have no legal or criminal issues in their records should be shown compassion and allowed to stay, work and thrive in America.

In fact, the business sector employing roughly 800,000 people authorized to work through DACA are opposed to Trump ending DACA, and it is most likely that they are putting pressure on “business friendly” Republicans to rein in Trump’s threat to end the program. On Friday, the business sector pressure to save DACA apparently inspired two “prominent Republican” legislators to publicly appeal to Trump to allow Congress to come up with a long-term resolution to DACA instead of canceling it unconditionally.

One of the prominent Republicans was House Speaker Paul Ryan who, after criticizing President Obama for initiating the program, actually used President Obama’s exact reasoning for creating it in the first place. Ryan said regarding Trump’s threat to eliminate DACA and deport at least 800,000 people:

“I don’t think he should do that. This is something Congress has to fix. President Obama did not have the authority to do what he did. Having said all that there are people who are in limbo. These are kids who know no other country, who were brought here by their parents and don’t know another home. So I really do believe there needs to be a legislative solution, that’s one we’re working on, and I think we want to give people piece of mind. I think the president Trump ‘mentioned’ a humane solution to this problem, and I think that’s something we in Congress are working on and need to deliver on.”

Now, if Ryan really believes his own sophistry about DACA being something Congress has to fix, then why did Republicans in Congress throw a fit when President Obama appealed to them to “do something” to fix the problem? And why did they work tirelessly to defeat “the Dream Act” that would have eliminated any need for a Presidential executive order? For dog’s sake, President Obama’s executive order creating DACA was in June 2012 and Republicans have had over five years to “do something to fix” it with a permanent solution; including re-introducing and passing the Dream Act.

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) reiterated Ryan’s appeal to Trump, and used President Obama’s reasoning for “providing a workable path forward for the ‘Dreamer’ population.” Hatch said in a statement:

“I’ve urged the president Trump not to rescind DACA, an action that would further complicate a system in serious need of a ‘permanent legislative solution.’ Like the president Trump, I’ve long advocated for tougher enforcement of our existing immigration laws. But we also need a workable, permanent solution for individuals who entered our country unlawfully as children through no fault of their own and who have built their lives here. And that solution must come from Congress. Over the coming months, I’ll be working closely with my colleagues in Congress to pass meaningful immigration reform … that will provide a workable path forward for the Dreamer population, and ensure that employers have access to the high-skilled workers they need to succeed.”

The same question that Paul Ryan must be compelled to answer applies to Orrin Hatch; why did Republicans in Congress vote against the Dream Act on at least three separate occasions over several years? Nothing changed for the undocumented immigrants who were brought here as children “through no fault of their own, are in limbo, know no other country, and don’t know another home.”

It is noteworthy that Hatch was a co-sponsor of the bill’s first iteration in 2001, and that five Democrats joined Republicans in voting against the last version in 2011. But the point is that if it is so important to Republicans now for Trump to allow Congress to pass a version of the Dream Act as a permanent solution to DACA, it is glaringly apparent that the only reason Republicans opposed it when President Obama appealed to their compassionate side was because it was President Obama.

It was also reported that Tennessee’s Republican Attorney General, Herbert H. Slavery III, had signed on to an “ultimatumletter with nine other GOP attorneys general and one Republican governor warning Trump that if he failed to kill DACA by September 5, they would “sue to block it in court.” However, yesterday, Friday, Slatery “publicly withdrew his demand” and urged Trump to not only keep DACA in place, but to work with Congress to protect young undocumented immigrants.

In a letter to Tennessee’s two Republican senators, Slatery wrote, in part:

Many of the DACA recipients, some of whose records I reviewed, have outstanding accomplishments and laudable ambitions, which if achieved, will be of great benefit and service to our country. They have an appreciation for the opportunities afforded them by our country. There is a human element to this …  that is not lost on me and should not be ignored.”

It is nearly impossible to imagine Republicans have had a change of heart, and are serious about “the human element” in seeking a permanent fix for Dreamers; these are Republicans and they are bereft of compassion as a matter of course. It is more likely they were pressed by the business sector to publicly appeal to Trump to let them resolve the issue for the sake of profits, not compassion. They had several stellar opportunities over the course of several years to pass the Dream Act and avoid this DACA controversy altogether, particularly in 2011 when Barack Obama appealed to something they never display for the people, but have in abundance for their business special interests – compassion.

Ryan’s Christian Sharia Is Standard Republican Biblical Policy

Over the past decade or so, despite knowing nothing about the Muslim religion or their own religion for that matter, much less the U.S.  Constitution, the religious right and conservative movement has been on a foolish crusade to prevent some fantasy character from imposing Sharia Law on American citizens.

If the anti-Sharia Law idiots, all who are evangelical idiots, had ever read a word in that Christian bible they clutch to their bosom as they vote for Republicans, they would realize that Republicans in Congress and state legislatures have been and still are attempting to legislate according to their Christian version of Sharia Law.

Although it is not a “legitimate law” as such, when House Speaker Paul Ryan imposed a “modesty code” on any woman in or around his office or the floor of the House, he is following an edict in the Christian bible. Now, it is particularly noteworthy that Ryan did not invent the House’s “modesty code” for women, it “has been around in some form for centuries.”

However, the actual dress code for the House of Representatives is a real rule, but it is particularly vague and only states that women must wear “appropriate attire.” It is the evangelical Paul Ryan who used “a vague dress code” for women as a means of controlling them like his Christian bible and American patriarchy dictates. And that really gets to the point of this little screed; Republicans are imposing Christian Sharia Law on women and it is not just enforcing a modesty dress code. But there is no outcry from evangelicals who are just vulnerable as non-believers.

As remarked in the National Review, sleeves, or lack thereof, on women on the floor of the House was not necessarily considered “appropriate.” Ryan didn’t invent the “sleeve statute.” It wasn’t really approriate until former First Lady Michelle Obama wore a sleeveless dress during real President Barack Obama’s first address to the joint session of Congress. There may have even been some “shock” among the faithful conservatives, but everything the Obama’s did was “shocking” to the right.

After that “momentous breach” of one of the Christian Congress’ implied “modesty laws,” one that the patriarchal males enacted in the past, wearing “summer-compatible” attire became more widespread, and more widely accepted, in the House of Representatives. But then the theocrats took over the government on January 1, 2017.

Just because a century ago religious righteous men implemented an absurd “modesty code” for women in or around the House of Representatives, there is no excuse for Paul Ryan to start enforcing  his religious (Quiverfull)  version of that preposterous “modesty policy” now. And it is definitely a policy that is lifted straight out of Christian bible scriptures.

To demonstrate how entrenched patriarchal religion is in conservative circles, women felt they had to justify that what they were wearing is due to the stifling hot weather. It is offensive that any woman would have to defend their attire in a fair and equal society with a deliberately secular Constitution. Of course no Republican will ever admit that a “modesty code” for women is justified because it is in the Christian bible because they would incur a great deal of pushback from Americans. It is safe to say that the great majority of Americans don’t want any religious laws forced on them, whether from Sharia or Judea by force of the government regardless of some so-called “legitimate” justification that “it’s a longstanding rule.”

There is no justification for a great deal of Republican policies based on ancient Jewish and Christian scriptures that Republican males are using to subvert women’s rights and control them in more ways than just control what they wear at the Capitol.

For example, Republican men in the Senate have regularly “silenced” women in the Senate as of late such as Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and most recently Kamala Harris (D-CA); just because it is written in the scriptures. It is likely that Senators Warren and Harris are victims of the bible’s edict in 1 Timothy 2:11-12 that says:

Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.

And in Titus 2:3-5, women are told that the only way to avoid blaspheming the word of god is to accept being admonished to “be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, and obedient;” because no woman can ever be equal to a man, any man. It is admonishment that Republicans in Congress and state legislatures have clung to, and attempted to enforce, since the nation’s beginning; even though it violates the nation’s founding document.

The GOP’s imposition of Christian Sharia goes far beyond just forcing women to be silent and dressed in accordance with the bible-Ryan’s “modesty clause.”  Many Americans act befuddled as to why Republican men are insistent that they, as religious Republican men, think they have a right to dictate rules concerning a woman’s body in a nation with a Constitution ensuring equal rights for all citizens, regardless their gender. Of course there is no constitutional law forcing women to cede control of their bodies to men, but by dog there is one in the Christian bible; the “rule book” Republican men use to control women. In 1 Corinthians 7:4, the “cherry-picked” passage driving the religious Republican’s belief that men have authority to control a woman’s body says:

“The wife does not exercise authority over her own body, but her husband does.”

That biblical edict coupled with those demanding that women are obedient to men, silent around men, and dress modestly according to men’s laws make it is impossible to argue that Republicans are not imposing Christian Sharia on American women.

There is a reason House Speaker Ryan began enforcing “his version” of a vague “appropriate attire” rule and it is not because he is phobic over women’s toes or biceps; it has everything to do with impressing his religious base and reminding American women they are subject to “a man’s” will according to the Christian bible.

Remember, when Republicans took over the entire government, the religious right became co-owners with the Koch brothers; something Donald Trump duly acknowledged by selecting cabinet nominees who are predominately hard-right evangelical fundamentalists and theocrats. Now that the religious right controls domestic policy, and they do control domestic policy, Americans can look forward to a very healthy dose of Christian Sharia and they had better learn immediately that it is going to be much worse than trying to avoid an encounter with religious  Republicans’ modesty police.

Image: Gage Skidmore/Patheos

Republicans Want To Tax 177 Million Americans’ Healthcare

 

Despite their stated hatred of taxation on general principles, Republicans always find a means of raising taxes on the poor and middle class. And they always find some absurd justification for doing so that typically translates into funding tax cuts for the rich and corporations according to their trickle down economic scam.

Based on the past 8 years, it has become glaringly evident that Republicans also detest the idea of all Americans having access to healthcare, so they are conniving to punish Americans who do have healthcare through their employer by taxing them for having a job with a healthcare benefit. As if the Republican healthcare replacement plan wasn’t detrimental and unpopular enough, Senate Republicans are embracing a Paul Ryan idea to raise taxes on the poor and middle class for having healthcare benefits as part of their employment compensation package.

Most Americans likely couldn’t imagine how Republicans could possibly punish more than the estimated 23 to 24 million Americans who would lose access to medical care under their “Obamacare” replacement plan, but Republicans found a means of punishing over half the American population; tax the over 177-million Americans who have health plans through their employer. Such an obscene idea was offered in the House version of the “Obamacare” replacement, but for some reason it wasn’t adopted. However, Ryan’s draconian plan is gaining traction in the GOP-controlled Senate and is being considered by a growing number of Republicans.

According to Republican senators’ aides, there are already a number of GOP Senators open to Ryan’s idea of taxing 177 million Americans’ healthcare, including teabagger and Mormon from Utah Senator Mike Lee. Thus far there is no consensus on whether such a draconian measure would ultimately be included in the Senate Republicans’ draft bill of a healthcare replacement plan, but they are considering writing it into the plan during their next week-long paid congressional vacation.

According to the Ayn Rand acolyte Paul Ryan, taxing an additional 177 million Americans because they have healthcare plans through their employer is only fair because the current tax code is unfair. It is curious that Republicans love the idea of institutionalized discrimination founded on religious dogmata, but where employer’s health plans are concerned, Ryan insists Republicans’ duty is to “stop  discrimination in the tax code” against people who “want to buy healthcare in the open market of their own choosing.”

His assertion is that favoring people who get healthcare insurance through their work, even though they pay for it, is cheating the people who want to go buy a healthcare insurance “plan of their choosing.”  It sounds as if Ryan’s plan has an ulterior motive of killing the idea of employer healthcare plans so all American have to seek out private insurance plans that are significantly more expensive than a “group” type policy.

What Ryan or his Republican barbarians won’t tell their stupid constituents is that the argument that employer plans aren’t fair for private buyers is precisely what the Affordable Care Act’s healthcare exchanges provided all Americans; the ability to buy the healthcare plan “of their choosing” as a member of a large group with smaller premiums.

Republicans can no longer claim they are averse to taxation, or give any kind of shit that all Americans have access to medical care. They like the idea of raising taxes on 177 million people because they have health care, even though employees and their employers alike are already paying for premiums, co-pays and other substantial out-of-pocket expenses. And, they are already being taxed on those benefits as part of their employment compensation package. There are also strong rumors that in the Trump-Republican tax reform plan, deducting the expense of healthcare is going to be abolished resulting in yet another tax hike on the middle class – because they have healthcare insurance.

It seems there is no end to the ways Republicans intend on punishing Americans to provide more tax cuts for the rich. It is bad enough they celebrated openly and reveled in the prospect of taking healthcare away from 23 to 24 million Americans to partially fund tax cuts for the rich. Now they want to punish 177 million more Americans by taxing them simply because they have healthcare that wasn’t purchased individually in the private healthcare marketplace.

No human being can say Republicans aren’t evil for evil’s sake, or are not going to be content until they take everything away from the poor and middle class to sate the greed of the richest one-percent; because that is the only reason they want to tax 177 million Americans for having healthcare, or stripping medical care from 23 million poor Americans. All told, this latest revelation means that Republicans are content, and likely pleased with themselves, at the prospect of punishing over two-thirds of the American population just to reward approximately 400 uber-wealthy families with more tax cuts.