Bishops Advise Republicans and Parents to Reject Trans Children

There is relatively solid proof now that all of the Republican negative ranting and raving about transgender people is driven by the historical bane of human decency, freedom and equality – religion.

First, when this column cites a religion as “fanatical, radical, or extremist,” particularly Christian denominations, it is not using a “broad stroke to portray” all Christians as fanatical, radical, extremist or bad. The same is true regarding criticism of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) or the Vatican or the Pope or any of that ridiculously rich syndicate’s bizarre dogmata; it is never about “all Catholics.

There are myriad reasons to attack many members of the clergy and none deserve more than the USCCB; if for no other reason than they implanted the “religious liberty” idea in the evangelical Republican lexicon. That American group of Catholic bishops are guilty of a world of offenses against women particularly, but also against members of the LGBTQ community.

At issue is an “open letter” issued by the USCCB, with many other religious leaders as signatories, “rejecting the legitimacy of transgender identity.” The theme of the letter on families is that parents have to “reject their transgender children” because god, bible, and social conservative (church) norms.

The open letter, “Created Male and Female” asserts that “transgender” is a “false idea that goes against reason;” and it is a “deeply troubling notion that a man can be or become a woman or vice versa.”  It was once a false idea and deeply troubling to “the Church” that the Earth orbited the Sun, but the Church still exists although it imprisoned and killed a few heretics for spreading a false and deeply troubling idea — heliocentrism.

The bishops failed to provide a link to any empirical data as to why transgender identity is a false idea or deeply troubling; just that a parent’s job is rejecting their child if they identify as transgender. The bishops attempted to validate their position by claiming ”transgender children are ‘harmed’ when they are affirmed in their identities,” but no-one with a pulse believes these former priests have any regard for children being “harmed.

One particularly offensive section of the letter states:

“Children especially are harmed when they are told that they can “change” their sex. Parents deserve better guidance on these important decisions, and we urge our medical institutions to honor the basic medical principle of “first, do no harm.” Gender ideology harms individuals and societies by sowing confusion and self-doubt. The state itself has a compelling interest, therefore, in maintaining policies that uphold the scientific fact of human biology and supporting the social institutions and norms that surround it.

There is so much inherently wrong, and revealing, in that section of the letter that it boggles the mind until one remembers who issued the ‘open letter’ in the first place and who the signatories are; a bunch of religious fanatics controlling the Republican social agenda. Republicans have hewed closely, and dutifully followed, the real meaning of the USCCB’s theocratic dictate:

The state has a compelling interest to maintain [church] policies and support the social [church] institutions and [church] norms that surround it.

Now, this holy edict that children especially are “harmed” if their transgender identity is affirmed is pure bovine excrement. According to several studies’ results, “the way parents respond to their child’s gender identity can have drastic consequences for their mental health.”

Parents that heed the USCCB’s advice and “reject their children for being transgender significantly increases depression and suicidal thinking.”  Conversely, one of the single most effective  “buffers against those negative consequences” is affirming the child’s identity, “allowing them to be as happy and healthy as their peers.”  What these bishops are advising is exactly what “sows self-doubt and confusion and can be remarkably damaging;” including causing depression and suicide.

The bishops also used a favorite religious right claim that the faithful who condemn transgenders are the “true victims.” They claim:

The movement to respect transgender people is ‘deeply troubling’ and compels people to either go against ‘reason’ or face ridicule, marginalization and other forms of retaliation.”

If the bishops contend that calling a dirty bigot a dirty bigot is “deeply troubling,” then they are no different than the dirty bigots in Trump’s Alt-right Nazi movement.  What the bishops never mention is the hate, “retaliation,” and discrimination that transgender people suffer in “employment, housing, health care, education, the justice system, and public accommodations.

Something that should raise red flags, even for people unsure about what “transgender” means, is this bizarre concept that a bunch of old white guys decked out in Goth-gear and claiming to be celibate get an opinion on parenting when they have never “had” children. Oh it is true that a terrifying number of those “holy men” have “had” plenty of children, but not in the sense that normal, decent or real “god-fearing” human beings ‘have’ children.  These are the same control-freaks who claim to have profound and godly expertise in women’s reproductive science as well as OB/GYN bona fides that Republicans use to control women’s reproductive rights.

What is particularly dangerous about this USCCB “open letter” is that Republicans will seize on it as overwhelming proof that restricting transgender people’s equal rights is justified. Remember, both houses of Congress summoned the same male religious leaders to give expert testimony to restrict women’s access to contraceptives. To think they won’t reference this letter as justification for denying transgenders’ rights is the height of naïveté; the letter tells Republicans that “the state has a compelling interest to maintain church policies and support church institutions and church norms that surround it.” The only group Republicans are more obedient to than the Koch brothers is the religious right and all it entails – particularly the USCCB.

It is one thing for the bishops, priests, reverends and ministers who signed on to the USCCB letter to control Republicans and their radical evangelical supporters; stupid people are easily manipulated. But they have no right to insert their perverted opinions on child-rearing into any family; especially when there is legitimate research demonstrating that the quickest way to harm transgender children, or adults for that matter, is to follow the bishops’ teachings.

It is noteworthy that there are a significant number of religious leaders, including Catholics and Baptists, who are strong advocates on behalf of transgender people; they at least act like “real Christians” and real “followers of Christ.” They are also not enamored with the USCCB for using religious dogma to put children at risk of depression and suicide; something the bishops apparently don’t regard as important. In fact, according to one of the signatories representing the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission;  “trans people are responsible for their own suffering for rejecting God.” As Zack Ford over at ThinkProgress noted, it is a sentiment the USCCB letter strongly implies.

This “parenting” letter from a bunch of old “celibate” white guys is further proof that the force behind most GOP attacks on Americans’ equal rights is driven by religion. That might be acceptable in theocratic regimes such as Iran and Saudi Arabia, but it is an atrocity in America. Not because they are attempting to control the people, that is what religion does. The real atrocity is that Republicans are dutifully following their edicts to the letter.

If that is unbelievable, think back to the GOP’s claims during North Carolina’s “trans toilet” controversy and then note the USCCB’s letter demanding enactment of “policies that uphold the truth of a person’s sexual identity as male or female, and the privacy and safety of all.”

It is true these bishops are hateful religious leaders to even suggest that parents should reject trans kids, but they represent a controlling religious syndicate that would not exist without using hate to control their sycophants – like the Republican movement. That they would endanger children by fundamentally saying they are “deeply troubling and false” as if they don’t exist is par for the course and something Republicans will repeat ad nauseam.

Image: Patheos

U.N. Poverty Inspector Appalled At Conditions in Trump’s America

Over the course of the past few years there was little reporting on the numerous times the United Nations has condemned the one-time “shining city on a hill” that is America. Although Americans believe they live in a veritable Utopia of prosperity and happiness, the U.N., and many of its various committees on poverty, human and civil rights, and democracy has regularly condemned the richest nation on the planet for its treatment of its own citizenry who are either subject to slave-wage conditions, homelessness, or dire poverty. And it is noteworthy that the target of their criticism is either specifically Republicans or their policies.

While touring the globe to investigate extreme poverty, a United Nations official said on Thursday that areas of Alabama are “suffering the most dire sewage disposal crisis of any place he has visited in a developed country”. Philip Alston is the U.N.’s Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights who said after a visit to Alabama that:

It’s very uncommon in the First World. This is not a sight that one normally sees. I’d have to say that I haven’t seen this.

It is noteworthy to mention that the U.N. regards clean water and sewage a basic human right in any country, much less a “developed First World nation,” so this latest shameful revelation will contribute to the UN’s prior criticism of America’s disregard and mistreatment of its own citizens.

The area Mr. Alston was visiting was Alabama’s “Black Belt;” so named for its rich soil.  The Special Rapporteur witnessed an entire community where “raw sewage flows from homes through exposed pipes into open trenches and pits.” He also saw the water supply pipes with holes running “through the fetid area.”

The U.N. official went to Alabama specifically to see for himself how the wealthiest nation on Earth treats its poorest areas with a gross “lack of access to basic services that have plagued poor, mostly African American residents for generations.” Mr. Alston was also concerned about the poor’s struggles to enjoy even basic civil rights that America used to champion around the world.

The Special Rapporteur and his team are in the midst of a 15-day tour of the U.S. to gather information for a scheduled report on poverty and human rights abuses in America to be released next Spring. Mr. Alston took the time to speak with local residents and he told one resident that experiences “raw sewage bubbling up into his backyard” in an area where “residents often fall ill with ailments like E. Coli and hookworm” that is an atrocity to have to live in those conditions. Those conditions also included “unreliable electricity service” to accompany unreliable access to “clean drinking water that has not been tainted by raw sewage;” it is what the U.N. official said represents a “dereliction of duty.”

Mr. Alston made it clear that the U.N. is aware that the poor are living in subhuman conditions due to “the unwillingness of the government to help people with no access to basic services like reliable electricity, clean water and sewage management.” Alston said the purpose of his tour wasn’t to look for reasons to criticize America:

The hope is that we’ll bring attention to [these problems], just like we bring attention to people who are being tortured. 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, which include power, water and sewage service. But if the government says, ‘oh no, we’re not going to do it,’ and leaves you to install very expensive septic tanks, that’s not how it should work.”

The sad fact of life is that is exactly how it is going to work going forward with Republicans and their corporate thugs running the government. There is a reason Republicans are handing over the wealth of the nation to the wealthy and corporations that goes beyond making them richer; they want to “shrink” the government to eliminate whatever services it provides to the people.

It is precisely what the trickle down effort in Kansas intended, and achieved, and it is why Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Kansas Governor Sam Brownback “it’s what we want to do in Washington” when we control the government. And it is why Republicans are willing to keep Trump in the White House; to aid in “dismantling the administrative state;” or what regular people call “the government.” If there is no government, then there are no provisions or protections for the people. That is one of the main goals of Republicans and their money-machine the Koch brothers in “shrinking government;” get it to a size Republicans can “drown in a bathtub.” The impending  Republican tax giveaway to the rich is only the beginning.

Remember, besides adding trillions to the deficit and raising taxes on the poor and middle class, the GOP tax plan, coupled with the Heritage Foundation’s “skinny budget,” drastically slashes spending on every segment of government except the military industrial complex and “the Church.” It does not matter one iota what the United Nations says about “how it (government) should work” or its “obligation to provide the people with the essentials of life.

With a rubber stamp in the White House, Republicans are intent on starving the government to death to enrich the wealthy and corporations and the people be god-damned to Hell. For dog’s sake, if Republicans are taking away healthcare from children, seniors and the poor, there is no way they are going to meet their obligations and give people access to the “essentials of life” like clean water, adequate sewage management, or reliable electrical service.

It is worth noting that in past opinion pieces one thought Republicans would be humiliated, and Congress shamed, into taking action to correct the inequities plaguing America, but the opposite has proven true. The conditions will only get worse and it is not a coincidence that as Republicans gained greater control over the government and spending, the criticism from the United Nations human and civil rights watchdog(s) have increased in frequency and severity.

The UN report in the Spring will get exactly the same coverage from the main stream media as the other reports and condemnations against American civil and human rights abuses against its own citizens; little to none. And Republicans will react precisely as they have in the past and ramp up their Draconian efforts against their poorest constituents to further dirty Donald’s pledge to make America great –  for the filthy rich and their predatory corporations. And sadly, most of the same people who put Republicans in charge of dismantling the government will continue voting for them religiously because god, guns and fetuses.

Image: csheets.al.com

Trump Voters Are Not Allowed to Complain About the GOP Tax Plan

It is a normal human characteristic to have empathy when someone suffers due to circumstances beyond their control, but it is difficult to even care about a person who deliberately places themselves in a bad situation. Right now a fairly significant majority of Americans find themselves in what they know is bound to be a really bad situation that is only going to get worse. But the Trump and Republican voters who are weeping and gnashing their teeth have no one to blame but themselves. That being the case, they need to stop crying and embrace the horrors they gleefully subjected themselves and the rest of the population to – a Republican government.

The other day the Washington Post published an article about Republican voters in predominately Trump strongholds who were bemoaning the current Republican-controlled government and were specifically feeling betrayed over the GOP tax reform legislation. Sane people in America are outraged that these moronic Republican voters are crying about the rich and corporations getting very significant tax cuts while they are going to get nothing and likely will see a tax hike; never-mind everything else Republicans will take away to enrich the wealthy and corporations.

These idiots vote, consistently, for Republicans who have always advocated and pushed for tax cuts for the rich and corporations at the expense of the people. Republican voters don’t get to complain because they have not been “betrayed;” they are getting precisely what they reliably vote for every two years. That includes the dirty bigots who actually believed Trump was just like them; an “average hardworking” man who understands, and pledged to help, their plight. Of course their “plight” is having to live in a nation that allows equal rights for people of color, women, gays, and non-Christians. Trump supporters were not concerned about anything “economics” or taxes when they voted last year; they were afraid of Muslims, Mexicans, gays and women.

One Trump voter said he thought he had a president who understood the plight of the average worker. It will always be a mystery how a sane human being believes a man who flies in his own jet airliner to his own golf courses could understand “the average worker,” but Trump did fool a lot of people; including some Democrats “worried  sick about Hillary Clinton’s Goldman-Sachs speech.” The dumbfounded Trump supporter admitted that he still held out hope to see some personal benefit from the tax package, but he said reporting shows “too much about how the wealthy will ultimately benefit.”

The same man also doubted that corporations would invest their tax windfall in their businesses by hiring more workers or raising wages; he said they “are not in a caring mode.” Indeed, several of America’s largest corporations have already made it crystal clear they are not, in any universe, ever going to do anything with a tax windfall except keep it for themselves.

Many of those interviewed in Michigan said the tax plan seems “deliberately aimed at further dividing the wealthy from everyone else.” One thirty-year-old man said:

They’re not looking out for the middle class. The separation between the middle class and the upper class, it’s growing, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence. . . . It’s easier to control people when they’re under your thumb.”

WaPo also reported that two traveling businessmen who are both longtime Republicans said they do not expect to benefit from the Republican tax cuts. They are cognizant of trickle down history and are certain, like any conscious American, that the tax cuts for corporations will never trickle down to them; and yet they are still Republican voters. When asked if Republican members of Congress or Trump cares about them, both of the business men just scoffed. It is noteworthy that the two men were from different areas of the country and were business travelers, so they were likely upper middle class income earners and still understand the tax reform legislation won’t help them; but they will still go vote for Republicans in the next election.

A 49-year-old auto industry worker and dyed-in-the-wool Republican who wrote in Ted Cruz for president said he does not expect to benefit under the Republican tax cut proposal. Like millions of other Americans, Ron Stephens is certain that any gains he might make with a nominally lower tax rate will be wiped out by losing other deductions that he usually takes. What is curious is whether or not that auto worker believes a Republican tax reform bill would be one iota different if Ted Cruz was president. It wouldn’t matter who is in the White House; Republicans have always pushed tax cuts for the rich and their base knows it. They don’t get to bitch and moan now that their champions are delivering on what they have been promising to do for decades when they control the entire government.

What is stunning, really, is that any American would think a Republican would ever do anything to help any people who aren’t filthy rich; especially the Republican base that is not in the upper echelon of income earners. It has, after all, been Republicans who consistently cry for more tax cuts for the rich and corporations and consistently gain seats in Congress and state legislatures. And they promise that the rich will let some of their wealth trickle down to the peasantry, and that corporations will create millions of high-paying jobs and raise wages for their current employees. Even the GOP base knows that will never happen and recent polling shows that is the case.

In a recent Quinnipiac survey conducted in November, 61 percent of Americans say the GOP tax reform plan mainly benefits the wealthy. Over half the people do not believe for a minute slashing corporate taxes will produce even one new job, and about half think it is a bad idea to cut corporate taxes at all. As the assistant director of the Quinnipiac organization, Tim Malloy noted;

The sentiment among Americans: the GOP tax plan is a great idea, if you are rich. Otherwise, you’re out of luck.”

The poll found that “less than 1 in 6 Americans expect their taxes to be reduced, while more than twice that many expect their taxes to go up.” Even among Republican voters, only a third expect to see any kind of tax reduction. It makes sense, then, that an October CBS News poll revealed that a tad over 70 percent of Americans “didn’t even think the tax bill should be a priority.” It is odd that the percentage is so high; especially after Trump and Republicans campaigned heavily on tax reform as their “highest priority.”

These Trump and Republican voters complaining is simply sickening. They knew what they were supporting and they really wanted to make America great again. This demonstrates two damning traits of both Trump and Republican voters; they are either stupider than anyone ever thought possible, or they are racists, bigoted, and religious or they would never have voted for Trump or any Republican. They are simpletons who cling to their bibles, guns, and Aryan-sensibilities with such ferocity they apparently didn’t hear Trump and Republicans pledge to do a major tax reform with particular attention to the needs of the rich and their corporations. The rest of the people who didn’t elect Republicans either heard the typical conservative message loud and clear or are cognizant that Republicans exist to enrich the wealthy and corporations; and always at the “average working” American’s expense.

The real abomination is that those same Trump and Republican voters complaining about their lot in life have put the great majority of Americans in the same bad situation they find themselves in. They are guilty as Hell of creating a Republican Congress and putting a lying crook in the White House to give the rich and corporations more wealth. It is telling that these crybabies don’t feel ashamed that they’ve unleashed a world of despair on the nation, and then have the temerity to cry about being “betrayed.”

The Americans who voted for Trump or a Republican have no right to ever complain because they were not betrayed and they are not being treated unfairly; they are being treated to precisely what they desperately wanted  and voted for last November – a Republican-controlled government. They can stop bitching and be the “real Americans” they claim to be and take the economic raping their hate-driven ignorance forced on everyone else except the rich.

 

Religious Leaders Arrested For Protesting Republicans’ Tax Bill

In a new low, even in Trump’s America, a group of faith leaders representing every major religion showed up at the Senate to protest the Republican tax reform legislation and for all their godly effort they were detained, handcuffed, and arrested – while they were praying.

It isn’t often that organized religious leaders join forces in opposition to Republicans, but in another sign the GOP’s tax reform giveaway to corporations and the ultra-wealthy is highly unpopular, another group of “faith leaders” joined a chorus of criticism against the Republicans. One thing that is universal in the great majority of religions is the idea of protecting the poor and the vulnerable, it was a major theme of Jesus Christ’s teaching and something ‘religious” Republicans vehemently oppose as un-American.

On Thursday, a group “faith advocates” gathered to protest the GOP legislation at the Hart Senate building. The head of a Christian social justice group “Sojourners,” Jim Wallis was joined by Barbara Williams Skinner of the National African American Clergy Network and a large group of clergy to pray and condemn “unjust rulers” using religious ideology right from the scriptures. The theme of the criticism was that the “bill is an assault on the poor and vulnerable” the multi-denominational clergy “are sworn to protect.”

Mr. Wallis actually quoted a passage from the GOP’s favorite part of the Christian bible, the Old Testament, that fairly describes what Republicans are attempting to do to the American people who aren’t corporations or members of the one percent. Wallis recited Isaiah 10:1 saying:

Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people.”

Police waited until after several other members of the clergy spoke out against the tax bill and then “detained, handcuffed, and escorted them away while they prayed.”  So much for the GOP’s high regard for “religious freedom.”

The previous day a group of “more than 2,400 faith leaders” representing Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, Buddhist and many other “faith traditions” signed a letter to Republican leaders in the Senate slamming the bill as “unjust.” In fact, the “clergy” listed several issues they opposed with special emphasis on how it was created to “disproportionately benefit the wealthy,’ explode the deficit and increase the number of uninsured Americans by millions.” The letter read, in part:

As people of faith, we view decisions about tax policy and the federal budget as moral decisions. Simply put, this proposed legislation is fundamentally unjust. If it becomes law, it will result in harmful consequences for those most needing support so as to benefit high-income earners and big corporations.”

Several high-profile religious organizations, including the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and surprisingly, even the president of the National Association of Evangelicals joined the CEO of Catholic Charities USA and Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church to condemn the cruel bill. The National Council of Churches summed up briefly why a majority of Americans, whether they are religious or not, oppose the GOP’s tax reform bill:

The tax bills currently before the US Congress are designed to make the rich richer and the poor poorer; and add $1.5 trillion to the national debt. These tax plans cannot be biblically defended.”

The tax bills cannot be “fiscally defended” either; but that isn’t stopping the Republican march towards transferring the treasury to corporations and the wealthy and burden the poor and middle class in the process. It is noteworthy to remind the clergy that their bible has no place in whether a tax plan can be defended; that theocratic remark ruined whatever positive “optics” the group hoped to shine on their worthy effort.

Now, although the faith leaders coming together to oppose this tax reform abomination is a kind gesture, as was the same group’s opposition to Trump’s immigration ban, repeal of DACA, and attempt at ending the Affordable Care Act, it is only a gesture and the religious leaders know it. The question a majority of those leaders have to answer before they will be taken seriously is why do they predominately support Republicans when they are well aware this particular “unjust” tax plan is the same as every other “unjust” Republican tax plan.

Without the reliable religious vote, Republicans would not control the House or the Senate or a growing majority of state legislatures. The only one reason the faithful support Republicans is because they pander to every faith and denomination that opposes women’s right to make their own reproductive choices. A fair number of the religious leaders condemning the Republican tax scam were also instrumental in aiding those same Republicans attack women’s rights over using birth control.

It is quite troublesome for a secular humanist to give much credence to some of these religious leaders because most of them know their efforts helped give Republicans control of Congress; all in a religious crusade to control women because doing so is “biblically defensible.” However, it is refreshing  to see Republicans being assailed by their staunchest supporters for a change; not that it matters to Republicans who no doubt had some input in having the protestors arrested while they were praying for the wrong issue.

Mueller Sets Russia Investigation Sights On Republican Congressman

It was bound to happen sooner rather than later, but now there are reports that Special Counsel Robert Mueller III is expanding the Russia investigation to include a Republican congressman allied with Trump, Michael Flynn and the Russians. It appears to be the first time the Russia investigation has went outside of Trump’s immediate circle and it doesn’t bode well for Russian sympathizer Dana Rohrabacher. Rohrabacher is a House Republican the Federal Bureau of Investigation took the time to warn that he was being recruited by Russian spies. It is highly likely the FBI’s warning was too late according to Rohrabacher’s long-standing love affair with Vladimir Putin and Russia.

Rohrabacher has made no secret he is enamored with the Russians, or that he was Hell-bent and duty bound to have sanctions against the Russians lifted. However, Mueller is looking carefully at Rohrabacher because of meetings he had with disgraced Michael Flynn and high-level Russian officials in Moscow last year during the presidential campaign.

According to a report by NBC, Mr. Mueller’s team is investigating a meeting between Trump’s treasonous and former national security adviser Michael Flynn and Representative Rohrabacher who is renowned for expressing pro-Putin views on a number of America’s policies, but especially policies regarding sanctions on Moscow.

Mueller’s team is reportedly looking at emails sent from Flynn’s lobbying group to Rohrabacher thanking the congressman for his role in the meeting. One of the meetings between Flynn and Rohrabacher occurred in Washington in September of last year while Flynn was an advisor to Trump’s campaign. That particular meeting was organized by Flynn’s lobbying group and attended by Flynn’s son and two of Flynn’s business partners. No source was willing to confirm whether Rohrabacher and Flynn discussed American policy towards Russia during the September meeting, but it doesn’t take a genius to intuit that it was likely the primary reason for arranging the meeting.

About a month ago an article in the Wall Street Journal reported that Rohrabacher offered Trump a “sweet deal” to protect WikiLeaks creator Julian Assange from “legal peril” regarding his connection to the Russians and their attack on American democracy. Apparently Rohrabacher had a plan devised to help Russia and Trump involving Assange who would contradict 17 American intelligence agencies’ proof that Russia was the source of hacked emails that WikiLeaks used to damage Hillary Clinton.

According to a July story in The Atlantic about Rohrabacher’s trip to Moscow:

“Rohrabacher’s 2016 Moscow meeting has been revisited in recent days because of the document’s connection to the anti-Magnitsky campaign that formed part of the Trump Tower meeting. Last week, Donald Trump Jr. acknowledged that he met with Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian attorney he believed was prepared to hand him compromising information on Hillary Clinton as part of a broader Russian government effort to help his father’s candidacy. During the meeting, Trump Jr. said that Veselnitskaya was focused on repeal of the Magnitsky Act.

Rohrabacher has not been shy about pushing for “better relations with Moscow” like Trump, and his trip to Russia to was to meet with Putin officials about how to successfully overturn the Magnitsky Act the Russians despise like the plague.

The Magnitsky Act (2012) froze assets of Russian investigators and prosecutors and it is no surprise that Rohrabacher traveled to Russia to meet with  and assist the prosecutors and investigators under sanction by the United States. In fact, the Russians handed Rohrabacher a document marked “confidential” at the top that was chock full of accusations against Sergei Magnitsky, the Russian lawyer who died in prison in 2009 and Bill Browder, the Hermitage Capital CEO Magnitsky worked and was a driving force behind the Magnitsky Act legislation.

According to a report in the Financial Times, the person who handed Rohrabacher the “confidential document” in Moscow was the top aide to Russia’s prosecutor general with whom the lawyer in the now infamous Trump Tower meeting with Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort is close to. It explains why Trump Junior, Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner were excited to meet with her for information to help Trump’s campaign.

The lawyer,  Natalia Veselnitskaya, is the Russian Trump Jr. expected to hand over compromising material on Hillary Clinton as “part of Russia’s effort to elect Trump.” Trump Jr. “claimed” that Veselnitskaya was only there to get assurances that Trump would repeal the Magnitsky Act in return for Russia’s assistance. Junior’s assertion, coupled with the confirmed reports that the Russians handed confidential documents in Moscow about repealing the Magnitsky Act, now put Rohrabacher in a very perilous position.

It is worth noting that congressional Republicans were aware of Rohrabacher’s intimate relationship with the Russians during the presidential campaign. Barely a month before Trump secured the Republican nomination, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told colleagues, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, that There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.” Ryan attempted to play off McCarthy’s comment as “a joke,” but it is clear now that his remark was not a joke and likely as true a statement as saying the Sun will rise in the East.

Although this is good news that Mr. Mueller is going beyond Trump’s inner circle like one expected from a comprehensive investigation, it is still too early to celebrate the end of another pro-Putin Republican. However, what it reveals is that despite what Trump said today, that Putin told him he definitely wasn’t involved in tilting the election for Trump, a claim Putin denies ever saying, there is a mountain of evidence proving otherwise. One can only hope that Mr. Mueller is allowed to complete his investigation without interference from Trump because if  he follows every alleged connection between the Russians and Trump, there is a very real possibility that he will end up investigating more congressional Republicans than avowed Russian sympathizer Dana Rohrabacher.

Nothing To See – Roy Moore’s Pedophilia is Bible Approved

There are some acts that most civilized human beings consider beyond abnormal and one particularly obscene and heinous act is an when an adult male sexually abuses a child; unless they are an evangelical fundamentalist from Alabama. A state where political support for pedophiles is justified according to the Christian bible.

After revelations that Roy Moore sexually abused young girls, the alleged super-Christian doing his god’s will by attacking women and members of the LGBTQ community won praise from Alabama Republicans for modeling his pedophilia on biblical characters. Although it is true some Republicans in Congress were less than enthused that another one of their own is as immoral as their hero in the White House when it comes to sexually abusing women, Moore garnered enthusiastic support from his evangelical Republican home-boys back in Alabama.

Apparently, the thought of a 32 year-old Christian man forcing a 14-year old girl’s hand down his pants is not only acceptable in Alabama, it is a holy act that produced icons of the Christian faith such as John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. Seriously, no wildly imaginative science fiction writer could make this up. The wild fiction is not that an alleged uber-Christian is a pedophile, but that his actions are considered bible approved. These are some seriously sick, twisted individuals and they are running the government.

Alabama’s Republican State Auditor, a vile individual named Jim Ziegler, ardently defended Senate candidate Roy Moore’s sexual abuse of a 14-year old girl and sexual pursuit of at least four other Alabama teens. Ziegler “justified the GOP Senate candidate’s deplorable behavior” by citing examples from the Christian bible and offering proof that they produce good results.

What Ziegler is defending with his bible is what normal human beings consider sexual abuse and pedophilia. It is noteworthy that Ziegler never denied Moore’s guilt and why should he? According to Ziegler, Moore didn’t have sexual intercourse with the 14-year old girl;  he is only accused of  “kissing her, undressing her, touching her over her bra and underpants, and guiding her hand to touch him over his underwear.” Ziegler said:

There is nothing to see here. The allegations are that a man in his early 30s dated teenage girls. Even the Washington Post report says that he never had sexual intercourse with any of the girls.”

Then Ziegler cited scriptural evidence that Moore’s criminal behavior was “nothing to see” and certainly nothing any respectable Christian fundamentalist would ever consider wrong, immoral, or criminal. He claimed, in fact, that Moore’s pedophilia was practiced in the bible as a means of producing some relatively famous Christians. He continued defending Moore saying:

He’s clean as a hound’s tooth. Take the bible. Zachariah and Elizabeth for instance. Zachariah was extremely old to marry Elizabeth and they became parents of John the Baptist.

 Also take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus. There’s just nothing immoral or illegal here.”

Although Ziegler stopped short of saying Moore’s pedophilia was a  holy attribute to be admired because Jesus and John the Baptist, he did the next best thing. Not that it will impact Moore’s assured victory on Tuesday, it appears that like Trump boasting about grabbing women by the vulva (pussy), Alabama voters will overlook sexual abuse and pedophilia if one of their champions promises to continue waging religious war against women and gays.

One Republican county party chairman, Riley Seibenhener, said that “Mr. Moore was not guilty of ‘forcible rape,’” and that “I know that 14-year-olds don’t make good decisions.”

Another party chairman from Bibb  county, Jerry Pow, said he would continue to support Moore:

Even if the candidate had committed a sex crime. I would vote for Judge Moore because I wouldn’t want to vote for Doug [Moore’s opponent]. I’m not saying I support what he did.

Notice that like the Republican state auditor, Mr. Pow does not deny Moore’s guilt, just that he doesn’t support sexual abuse and pedophilia. He will support Moore no matter what he did, but he didn’t say whether he would change his mind and support pedophilia and sexual abuse because it was scriptural.

It is noteworthy that citing the Christian bible to support sexual abuse is highly selective, and blatantly hypocritical. Republicans, particularly Alabama Republicans, are vehemently opposed to legal and medically safe abortions, and yet right there in the same bible that apparently condones pedophilia, the “loving” Christian god commands his followers to “rip open pregnant women’s wombs;” and he commands it more than once.

One never hears an anti-choice Republican cite the bible when they attempt to ban women from legally terminating a pregnancy because there is no biblical justification for opposing a woman’s right to choose, but it is all “Jesus and John the Baptist” when one of their own sexually abuses a 14-year-old girl and who really knows how many others; only four have come forward.

What these dirty Republicans do know is that it doesn’t matter how badly a candidate acts, including being accused of sexual abuse of minors; the voters will still support them. However, citing their alleged holy bible as a precedent, and justification, to defend one of their most ardent fundamentalist Christian crusader’s pedophilia is beyond the pale. No doubt Alabama evangelicals will flock to the polls to vote for Moore despite being accused of sexual abuse by at least four minor girls simply because it cannot possibly be a crime if it produced a couple of highly-regarded and popular paragons of the Christian religion.

This absurdity founded on the bible is an incredibly dangerous portent of what American women and girls have to look forward to now that the religious right controls all three branches of government. The idea that there are any justifications for an adult male sexually abusing a woman is an atrocity, but it is already gaining acceptance in Trump’s administration. Remember, it was just recently that Education Secretary held closed-door counseling meetings with anti-feminist male groups and then made sexual abuse on college campuses the woman’s fault and rolled back protections because the men’s groups complained they were treated unfairly.

That Moore garnered immediate support after being accused, by four women, of sexual abuse is just more proof that there is an ongoing Republican war on women founded on religion. Whether it is forcing women to be perpetual birth machines, or making them culpable for being raped, or using the Christian bible to justify sexual abuse of a minor, women are being assaulted by Republicans and their fundamentalist base will continue supporting them because Jesus and John the Baptist.

Virginia’s Chief Homophobe Defeated By Transgender Heavy Metal Singer

At a juncture in American history when the concept of good news seems fantastical, there was a bit of encouraging news upon waking Wednesday morning. Most of the bad news over the past several months was not necessarily that the Trump administration still exists, it has been the raging religious attacks on women, LGBTQ people, and non-Christians that Trump plays a pivotal role in executing.

One of the nation’s worst religious right bigots after Mike Pence and Jeff Sessions, a nasty piece of work named Robert Marshall, expected to win another stint as a delegate to Virginia’s legislature so he could continue to intimidate and discriminate against women, the LGBTQ community, and anyone unwilling to toe the evangelical line. In a glorious win for the “good people” of Virginia, Marshall was not victorious. Instead, justice prevailed and he was soundly defeated by a Virginia resident who represents everything Marshall hates and has spent his political career tormenting – LGBTQ people.

Danica Roem is a former journalist and now the first openly transgender elected to a state legislature in America after she defeated “bigot Bob” Marshall.  She is also a singer in a “melodicheavy metal band that was almost certainly an extra irritant to Marshall’s “holier-than-thou” sensibilities.  Regardless what the defeat meant to Marshall, Ms. Roem’s victory was historic as a transgender woman; defeating a raging religious right homophobe and “real conservative” was “extra sweet.”

As an aside, another transgender won a first-ever city council seat in Minneapolis; it informs that Americans are rejecting bigotry driven by religion and actually voting for a candidate based on their policies and qualifications, not on who they hate according to their religion.  Andrea Johnson was the “first ever” African American transgender woman to win an election in America.

Roem likely captured some national attention not so much because she is the first state-level transgender to win an election, but because she defeated an avowed malcontent Catholic that wears his religious bigotry proudly and refers to himself as “chief homophobe.”  Obviously in the 21st Century Virginia voters were no longer impressed that their representative was a religious bigot.

Marshall is so much more than just a nasty bigot; he is as religiously vicious an anti-women’s choice Catholic as the author of the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae. Marshall is one of those personhood freaks that, besides claiming contraceptives are abortion and a mortal sin, invents fantasy science as a means to control women. A few years ago he confidently asserted that abortion causes birth defects in subsequent pregnancies. He also made an attempt at fear-mongering and warned that repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell would reinstate the draft and force the unwilling to serve.

He preached  that “X-rated videos were a public health hazard” and authored an amendment to the state’s constitution banning same-sex marriage. His pride and joy, however, and a tool he should not have used in the campaign, was his legislation banning transgender people from using the correct restroom. Although his bill perished in committee, he embraced the “chief homophobe” role throughout the campaign as a badge of honor.

Marshall spent time during the campaign claiming that Ms. Roem’s identity was “against the laws of nature and nature’s god.” To belabor the point, Marshall always referred to “Ms. Roem” using a male pronoun to prove to voters that he’s right with “nature’s god.”  Marshall refused to debate Roem and instead resorted to typical Republican mudslinging and ugliness over Ms. Roem’s performance in an old music video. Apparently if X-rated videos are a “public health hazard,” then a heavy metal music video Ms. Roem sang in was  “lewd” according to Marshall.

Marshall and his supporters also produced disgusting hate campaign adsdisparaging Ms. Roem’s transgender identity.” It’s a tactic that likely backfired after the level of hate Virginians recently witnessed in Charlottesville.

In response to the attacks on her gender, Ms. Roem explained why Marshall had to resort to the only thing he knows; hate and bigotry borne of religion. She said: “This is what happens when he can’t defeat me [on] the core quality-of-life issues facing the people of the 13th District . . .”

 As it turns out, Ms. Roem had no difficulty convincing voters that Marshall is so consumed with hate inspired by his devotion to “nature’s god” that he had been woefully negligent to the needs of his constituents and their concerns about roads, education, equality and jobs.

After her victory, Ms. Roem said:

Discrimination is a disqualifier This is about the people of the 13th District disregarding fear tactics, disregarding phobias . . . where we celebrate you because of who you are, not despite it.”

In Ms. Roem’s case, the voters supporter her because she pledged to work towards alleviating their concerns over jobs, education and transportation. Her victory was a win for the LGBTQ community for sure, but it is also a telling sign that campaigning on hate, although the only thing Marshall knows, is not what voters are interested in.

Roem’s victory is also a signal that the evangelical hate groups are not representative of the entire population. It is true they run the government, something Trump has allowed with his blessings, but the people are growing weary of their tax dollars going to torture other Americans because of whom they love, what gender they identity with, or whether a woman chooses to give birth or not. It is an encouraging sign that despite the vocal minority making up the Republicans’ base, all Americans are not hateful bigots; fortunately Virginia residents will not have to put up with the self-proclaimed “chief homophobe” any longer.

Bob Marshall is not a nice man and the level of hate he dished out daily informs that he is not any kind of “real Christian.” This author has had a personal interest in seeing Marshall thrown out of office and the public’s consciousness for eight years. Marshall took exception to an op-Ed newspaper column condemning his attacks on gays and women and made a written response that was very personal and unrelated to the theme of the admittedly incendiary hit piece. That it was a transgender woman who defeated the dirty bigot is sweet justice indeed.

It is a travesty that the 13th District voters gave Marshall 26 years in the legislature to spread hate and bigotry, but it is heartening to learn that the voters finally became decent citizens and rejected his hate. It cannot be overstated that for the LGBTQ community, beleaguered women in Virginia, and decent Americans everywhere there is justice that a person representing everything Marshall hates was the candidate to send him packing. Maybe there is hope for America after all.

Image: Patheos

God and Prayers Will Not Prevent More Gun Massacres

Most Americans are familiar with the term talk is cheap, and after another regular occurrence in America, they should be aware that Republicans talking about prayer isn’t just cheap, it’s utterly worthless; and that is precisely what it is meant to be.

It was interesting to see, yet again, that after the mass shooting at a Baptist church in Texas, a comedienne was raked over the coals for “talking politics” in the aftermath of a massacre. Apparently, Chelsea Handler should have followed Republicans’ lead and talked about prayer as if it is going to have any impact on stopping these uniquely American events. After several mass shootings every year and every Republican alive offering prayers for the victims, one can say without hesitation that prayers are not and will not stop senseless gun massacres; only politics will. Even Republicans’ base comprehends that flagrant truth.

Ms. Handler was assailed for writing:

Innocent people go to church on Sunday to honor their God, and while doing so, get shot and killed. What country? America. Why? Republicans.”

Like plenty of other Americans, this wasn’t Ms. Handler’s first attack on Republicans over their rejection of gun safety measures, but to be criticized for calling out the real source of the problem is, in part, why these senseless massacres will continue unabated and result in more calls for “praying” from Republicans who are complicit in the proliferation of guns in the population. The gist of the criticism Handler received is as common as American mass shootings:

The bodies aren’t even cold yet and you are politicizing them. You really have a dark heart.”

That particular comment had to have come from a Republican and likely a gun-toting evangelical to boot. Handler wasn’t politicizing the “cold bodies;” she was rightly politicizing the massacre and putting the onus for the event on the politicians responsible – NRA-funded Republicans. They are the first to offer “prayers for the victims” because that is all they will do to protect the NRA. They bear the responsibility for creating a society that allows a former bible studies teacher to don “combat gear” and acquire an assault rifle in what will never be a civilized society as long as Republicans exist to serve the NRA.

What Ms. Handler knows, like even half-sane Americans, is that only Republicans can prevent more “cold bodies” as well as more worthless offerings of “prayers for the victims” that serve no purpose whatsoever. Let’s face it, if “prayers for the victims” were ever going to solve the regular gun massacres in America, the last mass shooting would have been in Sandy Hook; there were nationwide prayers, and calls for prayers for the victims after 20 children and six adults were slaughtered by a white guy with an assault weapon, but those prayers didn’t prevent any more. And, one adds that “praying for the victims” after they are slaughtered is not going to bring them back to their families.

Look you phony Christians, your religion’s namesake, Jesus Christ, specifically commanded you to go in your house, in a closet, and pray in private. For dog’s sake, if Jesus Christ condemned fake Christians for praying in public to put on a “showy display,” then he certainly condemns going on television or releasing “official” statements or issuing “Tweets” as a “showy display” of your fake “prayers for the victims.” The only thing Republicans are praying for, especially after another gun massacre, is a continued flow of campaign money from the National Rifle Association for not taking a political stance to protect the people they claim to be praying for.

It is noteworthy to mention, while “the bodies are barely cold,” that there is a completely different response from Trump and his Republican facilitators when a terror attack is committed by a non-white suspect. Three white guys within a month commit a mass shooting and it’s all about “praying for the victims.” And yet one Muslim kills several pedestrians in New York and there are immediate calls for harsh action to prevent any more senseless killings.

There have been no Republican calls for action on gun violence or the proliferation of assault weapons in the population no matter how many victims or how many times they issue “calls for prayer for the victims” to “stop the evil.” Curiously, there were even calls for more religion in America after Las Vegas becauseAmerica needs god, not gun control;” as if the innocent Texas victims were not in “their god’s house” sincerely “praying to their god” when they were killed with an assault rifle.

America does need gun control and Americans have to start politicizing the bodies ad nauseam; and they damn sure need to make it painful. Because several times a year Republicans call for and offer prayers for the victims of gun violence and nothing changes because the NRA doesn’t want it to. Don’t believe it?

Immediately after the Sutherland Springs massacre Texas attorney general Ken Paxton called for more people to buy and carry guns to church and for more liberal open carry laws. It is noteworthy that in 2014 the NRA proudly announced that its 5-million nationwide members were endorsing Ken Paxton in his campaign to be Texas’ attorney general.  It should be no surprise that Paxton was quick to offer his “prayers for the victims” just prior to calling for more guns in church and looser open carry laws.

Texas’ governor also got in on the “god and prayers” for the victims as if that is going to prevent more mass shootings. Gregg Abbott said what Texans need is more god.

Texans were asking for god’s comfort, for god’s guidance, and for god’s healing for all those who suffered.”

Abbott, like his NRA-funded attorney general just called for a temporary “no-cost license to carry” and in June signed every pro-NRA gun legislation he could get his hands on. And like Ken Paxton, Abbott garnered a coveted NRA endorsement during his campaign for governor that included “all 5-million nationwide NRA members” support to govern Texas and promote more firearms in the population; including assault weapons like the one that slaughtered 26 innocent Texans worshipping and praying to their god for comfort, guidance and healing. If Abbott cared about his constituents, he would stand up to the NRA instead of sitting there signing legislation putting more guns on Texas’ streets.

Exactly as happened after Sandy Hook, Orlando, Charleston, Las Vegas, and countless other mass shootings, Republicans will spend a day or two criticizing what they call  “politicizing the tragedy” even as they continue to offer meaningless “prayers for the victims” and more calls for “god.” Even though god or prayers have proven impotent to stop these preventable massacres, the only people who can help stop the madness continue praying and saying “more god.”

There will be more calls for some sane gun safety measures that an overwhelming majority of Americans ardently support, and the NRA will watch its industry sell more guns, likely more assault rifles. And those victims’ families will grieve and mourn the senseless gun violence that claimed their loved ones without wondering why their god is not listening to all the Republicans’ prayers. The insanity of this abominable and regular situation is that as absurd as it seems, every one of the victims’ families will likely rush to the ballot box to vote for Republicans, the NRA and more of their useless prayers.

NRA and GOP Share Responsibility for the Las Vegas Terror Attack

As Americans go through the annual, and often bi-annual, uniquely American national day of prayers and thoughts for slain gun victims and their families, there is less attention from Republicans about the terrorist than normal because he was white. There is, however, some small controversy about whether a gunman killing 59 and wounding over 500 other Americans was really a domestic terror attack as if it makes any difference to the slain, the survivors, and their families. The regular offer of useless prayers from Republicans and gun zealots likely rings hollow to the survivors and their families after conspiring to put more assault weapons into the hands of madmen.

Apparently law enforcement is still determining if the Las Vegas attack was terrorism or just some disgruntled old white guy with a battlefield arsenal in tow; based on witness accounts of the attack, each and every one of the 22-plus thousand concert attendees on Sunday night were terrified beyond belief. And, if law enforcement is looking for extremist groups to connect with the shooter to make it a conspiracy necessary for a “domestic terror” designation, both the National Rife Association and Republican Party have offices in Washington.

Those two groups are solely responsible for the proliferation of firearms in the population by inciting terror to drive the public to arm themselves out of an irrational fear and belief that carrying firearms will keep them safe. Firearms, whether hand guns or battlefield assault weapons, are not for protection or defense; they are offensive weapons.

It is little wonder Republicans are making statements offering prayers, and it is likely they are praying the public will ignore their culpability in what was definitely a terror attack; the gunman wasn’t using easily-obtainable battlefield weapons to spread peace and joy. Although it’s true that the NRA doesn’t “always” write legislation to arm the population for war against other Americans, they do pay Republicans to pass their “model legislation” and threaten electoral death if they fail to toe the NRA line.

Since January, Republicans, including Trump, have toed the gun-fanatics’ line and were poised to vote on another one of the NRA’s long-wished-for legislative dreams – making “noise suppression” devices (silencers) legal. However, concerned that their culpability in the most recent terror attack will be further exposed, Republicans once again put off the vote; at least for the time being.

Apparently Republicans are concerned that legalizing silencers might bring undue attention to their part in helping maniacs kill other Americans easier. This “silencer” bill was put on hold before and the NRA was irritated because they claimed the restrictions on silencers is costly and unnecessary. Of course they don’t explain why the restriction is costly, but they don’t have to; Republicans do their bidding without question.

Republicans were gung-ho to pass the “silencer” legislation at about the same time a gunman opened fire on a congressional softball practice injuring Republican Representative Steve Scalise (R-LA) and two police officers. It is worth remarking that if the shooter’s weapon was equipped with “noise suppression,” the body count could have been horrific and the madman may have walked away undetected. Still, Republicans knew they couldn’t possibly be seen passing legislation making it easier to kill and escape without bringing undue attention to their insane devotion to their funders at the NRA.

Republicans have another gun-proliferation measure in the works because it has been a major goal of the NRA for a long time; it is doubtful that this atrocity will be put on hold. The Republican legislation allows people the NRA has terrified to legally carry concealed weapons in “all jurisdictions” nationwide; even in states where concealed carry is banned. What that means is gun safety measures in states with prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons will be null and void if a person comes from a state that allows concealed carry without restriction. It is another “exception” to the Republican rule that “states’ rights” always supersede federal laws.

Trump was given undue credit for not “politicizing” the “tragedy” in his remarks yesterday and there are two good reasons he couldn’t possibly mention the  gun proliferation threat to Americans’ lives; the NRA would destroy him and he is responsible for putting more guns in the hands of Americans who should never be allowed near a firearm.

In February Trump signed a bill revoking Obama-era gun checks for mental illness. Signing the bill earned high praise from the NRA leading the gun-sales organization to issue a celebratory statement praising Trump as gun owners’ messiah. NRA-ILA executive director, Chris Cox said that Trump signing the “let lunatics have guns” legislation “marks a new era for gun owners, as we now have a president who respects and supports our arms.

The NRA has been terrorizing the public to believe if every man, woman, and child is not armed at all times, their lives are in peril. And it is not enough for every person to have a gun; even convicted felons, terrorists who are banned from flying, and people with mental disorders should be well-armed according to the NRA and Republicans in Congress. Now the terrorist conspirators want all Americans to carry firearms with high-capacity magazines and silencers, and they have to be allowed to carry them in schools, in church, while shopping, and at youth sporting events. Republicans draw the line at allowing 2nd Amendment rights in the Capital and the White House though because they know there are too many guns in the population.

The horror in Las Vegas was a domestic terror attack. Republicans and the NRA may not have fired the shots and terrified over 20,000 peaceful concert goers, but they are responsible for making it easy for the lunatic to gain access to enough battlefield weapons to kill 58 Americans and injure over 500 others. It doesn’t matter what the shooter’s motivation was and it doesn’t matter what his politics or religion were; he used battlefield firearms to commit mass murder.

Sadly, nothing will come from this terror attack except platitudes and offers of prayers from the same Republicans that made the massacre possible. It is tempting to place all the blame on the National Rifle Association because they have contributed more than anyone to the proliferation of guns, perpetuating these annual national day of prayer for victims of gun violence. But the NRA doesn’t get to vote in Congress; they only pay for those votes. That makes them co-conspirators with Republicans who are ultimately responsible for the increase in domestic terror attacks committed with guns.

One would think that because there was a conspiracy to instill terror in the population for the express purpose of selling weapons of war to lunatics committing acts of terror, law enforcement should have an easy task prosecuting this latest attack as what it was; a domestic terror attack aided by the NRA, Republicans in Congress, and the madman in the White House.

Image: Bloomberg

In February Republican Said Running Down Protestors Was Common Sense

 

So, after a neo-Nazi drove into a crowd of Americans protesting against racists and fascists killing one and injuring 19 others, Republicans have come out calling it an act of white supremacist terrorism. Many Republicans even lashed out at the Nazi in the Oval Office because he refused to condemn his base and instead blamed “many sides” for bigotry and hate-driven mayem. That’s awfully generous of the GOP and although it appears everyone should afford them some small measure of deference for condemning the fascist they have moved the proverbial heaven and the real Earth to protect; they cannot possibly be taken seriously.

First, where was the GOP criticism of Trump when he ignored a terror attack on a Minnesota mosque last week, or when a white man drove his car into an English mosque? One can’t help but believe if the young woman who was murdered by one of Trump’s Nazis on Saturday was not white, there may have been no comments at all; especially for using a motor vehicle to “run down protestors.”

This is particularly true among Republican states where legislation was introduced to allow motorists to “run down protestors” with impunity; including legal immunity from any civil action. What happened in Charlottesville on Saturday is certainly down to Donald Trump’s loving embrace of the white supremacist movement, but Republicans bear a major share of the blame for never harshly condemning their party’s attempt to legalize opposing a protest with a motor vehicle.

Of course none of the Republicans who condemned Trump’s refusal to call out his Nazi base (they never condemned his affiliation with Nazis) have openly advocated for allowing their supporters to “run down protestors with cars,” but they also haven’t condemned members of their own party who have “tacitly advocated running down protestors with cars.” It has been a hot topic for discussion among conservatives who detest the idea of free speech, peaceable assembly, or freedom or expression if it is in opposition to conservatives’ agenda.

As Matthew Chapman noted over at Share Blue, during the demonstrations by Native Americans opposing Trump for supporting for the Dakota Access Pipeline, an avowed Republican “tweeted, and then deleted, ‘I wonder how many #NativeNationsRise #NoDAPL protestors I could run over before I got arrested.’” That bit of fascism was courtesy of Daily Caller editor Katie Frates and was not an isolated display of Republican opposition to dissenting voices. And it is particularly noteworthy that all of this fascist targeting constitutionally-guaranteed peaceful protests began directly after Trump’s inauguration and the truly monumental, and peaceable, nationwide women’s protest against the fascist in the White House.

Of course a Trump-supporting Nazi would run down peaceful protestors, it is what Republicans have been attempting to legalize since Trump has been in the White House. Earlier in the year the North Carolina House introduced two separate bills targeting peaceful protestors on two counts. First, one of the GOP bills would declare protestors guilty of a newly-created crime, “economic terrorism” and allow authorities to “seize all real and personal property associated with protest.”  The second bill stripped peaceful protestors of the right to file a civil lawsuit against any driver who drove into them under the guise of protecting the protestors. The second Republican bill was a late March, 2017 response to protests that occurred last fall in Charlotte – before Trump was elected.

Republicans introduced similar bills to North Carolina’s in Tennessee and North Dakota. Both Republican bills “banned peaceful protestors who were ‘run over’ by angry drivers from suing their motorized assailants.” The Tennessee legislation targeted anyone “participating in a protest or demonstration” that a driver believes is “blocking traffic in a public right-of-way.” Republicans called the bill “common sense legislation to protect everyone’s right to peacefully protest.”

The Republican bill in North Dakota, House Bill 1203, was sponsored by state Representative Keith Kempenich who owns a trucking company. Kempenich’s bill was offered specifically to protect drivers who injure or kill protestors on a public road or highway. Kempenich denied his proposal was to prevent protests against the hotly-contested Dakota Access Pipeline, even though he wants it built for the economic benefit it will bring; he just wants to “see it done right” without interference or opposition from protestors.

Although not giving conservatives legal authority to run over protestors, an Indiana bill directed law enforcement to us ‘any means necessary’ to put a stop to protests. The Republican sponsor, State Senator Tim Jones claimed protestors are a “lethal menace” because they are guilty of “preventing first responders from reaching people in time.” As is typically the case with lying Republicans, Mr. Jones was unable to cite even one example of such an incident ever happening.

It’s unclear if the Nazi who rammed a car into peaceful protestors and killed a young woman and injured several others was aware of the GOP’s crusade to decriminalize running down peaceful protestors or not. But whether he did or not at the time of his Nazi rampage, his defense team surely will explain to the jury that he was only acting according to legislation being proposed in several Republican states.

Republicans were right to condemn Trump for not specifically calling out his Nazi supporters’ acts of violence driven by hatred and bigotry, but they cannot possibly feign disgust that one of Trump’s acolytes rammed a car into a crown of innocent protestors; especially after spending months “demonizing and denying the rights of protestors” and making serious attempts to legalize running them down with cars.