It’s Time For Media and Liberals to Stop Helping Trump Win

It is curious that a fair number of Americans claim to detest Donald Trump like plague, and yet they are at the forefront of promoting him and his agenda due to their obsession with his social media activities. By now everyone on the planet knows Trump is an incompetent fool and a mentally unstable narcissist, so it is mind boggling that so many allegedly “smart” people hang on his every social media action and then share his message with the world. It is something he depends and thrives on and uses to his advantage.

Early on in Trump’s tenure a few pundits and some relatively intelligent people said it would be helpful if Americans would just ignore Trump’s Twitter tirades and not give the petulant little child the attention he craves.  Finally, one of those “smart guys” made an easy to understand graphic titled “A Taxonomy of Trump Tweets” explaining how Trump uses Twitter to his advantage and how the media is complicit in giving Trump the messaging advantage.

The “smart guy” is a real academic who has spent years explaining exactly how a tyrannical maniac like Trump could easily garner support in America among a certain group of people. They are the kind of people who need a strong daddy figure to tell them how, what, and when to think, and who to turn to for the solution to all their perceived ills.

George Lakoff was describing a “Trump-like” personage ages ago and he has once again taken the time to inform Americans, especially those in mainstream media and active on social media, how they are complicit in helping Trump’s strategy by repeating his messages.

Mr. Lakoff knows of what he speaks as an acclaimed Professor of cognitive science and linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley. He recently put his expertise to work outlining the “four ways that the president Trump uses his tweets to control the news cycle.” Lakoff took to Trump’s favorite media outlet, Twitter, to inform journalists and social media devotees how “Trump uses social media as a weapon to control the news cycle. It works like a charm. His tweets are tactical rather than substantive. They mostly fall into one of four categories.”

The categories begin with “preemptive framing;” such as promoting the idea that the “hacking of the DNC” was the DNC’s fault and that Hillary Clinton “lost by a wide margin.” Both claims are false, but with valuable assistance from the media and Democrats “retweeting” Trump’s lies, he was wildly successful “framing and promoting an idea” with no basis in fact. Both of those ideas still resonate with his base of support because “real media” types kept his false assertions in the news for months.

Trump has survived thus far using another strategy, “diversion,” to shift attention away from his corruption and incompetence as well as his Russia problems. It is a tactic he was busy using throughout the 2016 campaign continuing to the present. Mr. Lakoff referred to Trump attacking a Hollywood icon, Meryl Streep, in a tweet two weeks prior to his poorly attended inauguration to enrage Americans and shift their attention away from the reporting on his personal conflicts of interest and his administration’s Russia-collusion problems.

A related scheme, “deflection” has been a mainstay of Trump’s Twitter strategy and an integral part of his administration’s messaging, especially when dealing with any unflattering or factual media reporting. A perfect example is what Lakoff noted was “attacking the messenger” to reframe a story to benefit Trump. By attacking the media as “fake news” Trump not only “erodes public trust,”  he “establishes Trump as the only source of truth and facts.” Trump began calling any media outlet that reported truthfully “fake news” early in his campaign and it was so successful he has had no reason to stop now.

The last category is what Mr. Lakoff calls the “trial balloon” to test the media and public’s reaction to an idea; such as his public flirtation with starting a new nuclear arms race or an actual American nuclear first strike. In fact, Mr. Lakoff noted that Trump’s “big nuclear” button tweet was another “trial balloon which Trump deployed spectacularly.”

Professors Lakoff explained on Twitter that:

Each tweet gets his message retweeted so he dominates social media. Reporters, social media influencers, and many others fall for it hook, line, and sinker. Every time…They may think they’re negating or undermining him, but that’s not how human brains work. As a cognitive scientist, I can tell you: Repeating his messages only helps him.”

Lakoff explained that repeating his tweets are helping “embed Trump’s message into the brains of millions of people, increase his credibility with his base,” and focus all attention on Trump as if “he is the most important thing in the world.”

As this author has preached since last November, Trump’s Twitter activity needs to be completely ignored. Or at least as Professor Lakoff suggested; “take a different approach to Trump’s social media antics” and “put them in a quiet corner of the newspaper like a throwaway item at the end of the newscast.

Professor Lakoff said one thing that cannot be overstated. Instead of being captivated by Trump’s social media activity, Americans should be “keeping a steely focus on what actually matters.”

Honest to dog, it is a travesty that many Americans are still unaware that their government is being dismantled, Republicans are transferring the Treasury and wealth of the nation to the richest one-percent, and religious Republicans are in the midst of a monumental assault on women and gays. It is not that these stories are being neglected; it is that too many Americans are focused on the latest tweet from what Lakoff said is “this disgraceful man” who dominates the media.

At this point, no media outlet or journalist has to use Trump’s “Twitter” outrages to portray him as “childish or deranged,” and the same is true of social media devotees. Of course Trump is a screaming lunatic, but spreading his insanity across social media is not “negating or undermining him.” It just emboldens him and makes him appear to be the most important thing on Earth. It also feeds his narcissistic need to dominate social media and the current news cycle; it is why he never fails to unleash something bizarre at the beginning of every weekend to keep his name in the news.

Mr. Lakoff makes many good points, but none better than “we must stop letting Trump control the media — and Americans’ minds.” While Trump dominates every stinking new cycle because the media is laser focused on his twitter activity, Republicans are raping and pillaging the nation and the government with little to no public outrage or media coverage. What is particularly appalling is that while Americans, and the media, are enthralled with Trump’s latest Twitter activity, Republicans are viciously attacking women’s rights for the evangelical fanatics in league with the Vatican.

It has now been nearly two years since Trump became “a thing” of interest for the media and they have made him the most important story on Earth based on “tweets.” It is damned high time for journalists, the media at large, and “social media influencers” to grow up, focus on how Republicans and religion are destroying America and for dog’s sake stop helping Trump win the media war.

White House Official and DHS Debunk Trump’s Voter Fraud Lies

If deceitful Don Trump had even a modicum of shame, the news of yet another of his lies being debunked by his own White House would send the mendacious miscreant into hiding; but Trump has no shame any more than he has an honest bone in his corrupt body. After months of Trump’s tired claim that he was a victim of “massive voter fraud” in the 2016 election, Trump’s lie was put to rest by Trump’s  White House “announcement” that Trump’s “controversial voter fraud commission” failed to “uncover any findings of voter fraud in the 2016 general election.” The announcement comes a few days after Trump’s announcement disbanding the ridiculous “commission.”

Since Trump’s pathological narcissism prevented him from accepting that he lost the 2016 popular vote by about 2.8 million votes to Hillary Clinton, he claimed there was “massive voter fraud” in numbers exceeding about 2.8 million votes. So he tasked preacher Pence and Kris Kobach with convening a “commission” to ferret out “vulnerabilities in voting systems” that lead to the massive voter fraud Trump complained about. Trump even claimed that the commission had actually uncovered “substantial” voter fraud findings that were going to be handed to the Department of Homeland Security for further investigation and prosecution.

Commission co-chair, voter fraud fanatic, and current Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach joined Trump in lying about the “evidence” and told Breitbart News last week that the commission’s significant findings were being “handed off” to the Department of Homeland Security because “Democrats were becoming uncomfortable with how much [evidence] Republicans had discovered thus far.” Like Trump, Kobach is a dirty liar because the official word from the White House was that there are zero findings so the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would be receiving zero records, findings, or data.

Kobach was not finished lying and said that despite Trump abolishing “the commission,” as a state official from Kansas he was too important to be ignored and would be in the middle of the federal effort to stop “massive voter fraud.” Kobach said he would be:

“Working closely with the White House and DHS to ensure the investigations continue. What’s happening is a tactical shift where the mission of the commission is being handed off to Homeland Security without the stonewalling by Democrats. They have absolutely no interest in stopping voter fraud. It’s truly extraordinary that one party in our system has made clear that they don’t care. Some people on the left were getting uncomfortable about how much we were finding out.”

Kobach must be maneuvering for a top spot among Trump’s liar’s club elite, because everything he said regarding “the commission” is a lie; and the Department of Homeland Security called him out. A DHS spokesperson put it bluntly:

Mr. Kobach is not advising DHS in a formal or informal manner. Of course, if an issue were to arise, we would work with him in his official capacity as the Kansas secretary of state as we do with any secretary of state and other state and local officials.”

The White House “officially” contradicting Trump and Kobach came in the form of a “sworn court declaration” by Donald J. Trump’s director of White House Information Technology, Charles Herndon.

Mr. Herndon said no matter what Kobach claimed, there would be “no Commission records or data transferred to the DHS or another agency” because the commission had no findings to “hand off.”  He did say that whatever “data” the “Commission” possessed would be given to “NARA [the National Archives and Records Administration] in accordance with federal law.” Otherwise the White House will destroy any state voter data pending a lawsuit against the “Commission” by a member of the “commission.”

This news that the commission found zero evidence of voter fraud is no revelation, but it does expose another Trump lie; that he disbanded the commission to save taxpayer dollars in legal fights with the states. It is not clear if Trump’s commission actually intended to take 44 Republican and Democratic states to court and attempt to force them to violate constitutional privacy laws or not. However, even Trump’s lawyers and Department of Justice had to fathom the folly of such an absurd scenario.

Besides finding zero evidence of any voter fraud, it is possible that “the commission” may have had to reveal the one legitimate “vulnerability in the voting systems” that Kris Kobach and Mike Pence embrace because it suppresses votes. Both of “the commission” co-chairs support Kobach’s “Interstate Crosscheck Program” that was devised specifically to create the appearance of “duplicate voter registrations” in the millions.

In fact, using the “Crosscheck” data of a person’s name and year of birth, the Washington Post discovered that in the 2016 general election:

Mike Pence registered to vote eight times and cast seven ballots across six states in the November 2016 election.”

It appears that Trump’s Voter Integrity Commission co-chair and vice president committed vote fraud several times in the last election and escaped detection or prosecution.  But all that really happened was that eight different men named Mike Pence born the same year as Trump’s Pence registered to vote in 2016, and seven of them went to the polls and cast a ballot. It is highly likely that neither Kobach nor Pence want any media reporting that their “Crosscheck” system is just a deceitful means of suppressing votes.

Despite report after study proving that “suspected vote fraud” was at most about 0.0000002 percent in the 2016 election, Trump and Republicans maintain it is a massive problem. That minute percentage squares with another humongous comprehensive study published in 2015 and ignored by Republicans nationwide. The study found that from 2000 to 2014 out of 1.2 billion votes cast in every federal, state, city, municipal and county election for every elected office in America, there were exactly 31 “officially suspected” cases of voter fraud. That amount of  “suspected fraud” is not “massive;” it is 0.0000000026 percent and yet since 2008 Republicans have used every voter suppression tactic under the Sun based on their assertion of “massive” voter fraud destroying democracy.

There is massive voter fraud but it is at the hands of lying Republicans with valuable assistance from the Koch brothers’ legislative arm, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). There have been never-ending attacks on voting rights by Republicans nationwide and their typical ploy is founded on some devious ALEC-created legislation that only stops people of color and the poor from voting because they do not support Republicans.

The White House actually admitting that the real reason Trump had to disband his vaunted voter integrity clown show was because there were zero findings of voter fraud should have sent the lying Trump and Kobach into hiding. Despite the White House and Department of Homeland Security debunked Trump’s and Kobach’s lies about voter fraud, the Republicans will ramp up their attacks on voting rights in the upcoming midterm elections. Now that Republicans understand they can lie profusely and face no repercussions, Americans can expect a monumental Republican crusade to implement Pence and Kobach’s beloved “Crosscheck” system nationwide; not to stop voter fraud, but to aid the fascist Trump put the final nail in American democracy’s coffin.

Trump’s America Is In Thrall of Special Interests

Donald Trump’s crusade to neuter federal regulatory agencies by appointing nominees with monumental conflicts of interest, and in many cases outright animus for whichever agency they eventually run continues unabated. It is a sad commentary, but it appears there are no federal agencies remaining to protect the American people from predatory special interests because they are run by predatory special interests. It is unclear if it was the kind of change Trump and Republican supporters really wanted, but regardless their intent, it is a travesty that malcontent racists, bigots, and religious fanatics have put all Americans at the mercy of predacious special interests.

As has been the case for the past year, the newest head of an important federal regulatory agency spent three decades waging war on the agency he is now leading. Obviously, Trump is too much of a lazy ignoramus and too disinterested in governing to have sought out a confirmed enemy of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), so it almost certainly fell to the Heritage Foundation to find the perfect energy industry surrogate to run the agency responsible for regulating the energy industry.

The newly sworn-in head of FERC, Kevin McIntyre, was a partner in a “prominent” Washington, D.C. law firm with close ties to the energy companies that are now under his regulatory purview. The law firm also represented Trump during the 2016 campaign.

As ThinkProgress reported, the energy industry advocate had close “ties to energy companies that fall under the FERC jurisdiction that were so numerous and ran so deep that his swearing-in as chairman of the agency was delayed to give him more time to ‘officially’ sever his close attorney-client relationships.”

This is the first time in nearly 30 years that a nominee went directly from representing the energy industry to running the agency responsible for regulating the energy industry. Moreover, in Kevin McIntyre’s case, those so-called “former” energy industry clients are “numerous and powerful” entities.

According the financial disclosure McIntyre submitted to the Office of Government Ethics, during the past two years the Trump-appointed FERC chairman represented several different “energy and utility companies” that have cases currently before the FERC. Those former clients include energy industry giants American Electrical Power Corp. (AEP) and Enable Mainstream Partners LP.

As a legal advocate for the energy industry for decades, it is not out of the ordinary for a partner in a “prominent” law firm fighting regulatory agencies to represent giant corporate interests. However, both of those energy giants McIntyre representedagainst the FERC have important “cases under consideration” by the same FERC he now heads as chair. In normal times, McIntyre’s nomination would have raised ‘conflict of interest’ red flags and engendered major opposition from every direction, but these are far from normal times because America is in thrall of special interests.

For a perfect example of why an energy industry advocate running a federal agency tasked with “regulating” a former client is sheer madness, consider two cases involving McIntyre’s “former” client AEP.

Several of AEP’s subsidiaries are accused of generating profits exceeding the rate rules set by the FERC, a case that Mr. McIntyre likely was at least aware of as a member of the legal team representing the energy giant. Similarly, another AEP subsidiary filed a complaint with the FERC accusing an electrical grid operator of unfair treatment. There are only two options to settle both of the cited cases involving McIntyre’s “former” client AEP; including one that seems unrealistic at best.

With a former corporate energy industry lawyer leading FERC, it does not appear likely that AEP will choose the option to reach an equitable settlement each side can live with. If AEP just refuses to reach an equitable deal and opts for option two, then their former legal advocate and now head of FERC will settle the issue for them with his majority Republican “commission.” One cannot imagine energy giant AEP having any interest in a deal that is fair to both sides with their former legal advocate as adjudicator.

McIntyre is just one in a long list of Trump appointees with strong corporate ties and just as strong conflicts of interest. By now a couple of Americans may realize that a significant number of Trump’s appointees hold radical views about the agencies they run whether they represent a corporate or religious special interest. As noted by Mark Hand, Trump’s corporate and special interest radicals “hold views that are much more extreme than policy positions espoused by officials in previous presidencies.”

That is very bad news for Americans who have all but lost what little protection they had prior to special interests running the government. In McIntyre’s case, there is no better example of a special interest advocate running a federal regulatory agency — like nearly all of Trump’s administration.

Mr. McIntyre admitted to reporters that the past thirty years of his career have been solely dedicated to defending the energy industry from the FERC, but he also claimed that he could stay neutral – under certain conditions.

McIntyre pledged in an ethics letter that he would not “participate personally and substantially in any particular manner involving specific parties” with ties to his former law firm; unless he obtains a waiver from one of the ethics officials at the agency he leads. He also claimed that he would not be a participant in any case that involves a former client; unless he receives prior authorization from an official at the agency he runs as Chairman.

It is now clear that there was a definite plan to fill top positions at regulatory agencies that had nothing to do with protecting the people. Trump has put a rash of corporate lawyers and special interest lobbyists to regulate the special interests they recently lobbied or advocated for in court and they have already started adversely impacting the people.

Obviously, Trump and Republicans comprehend that it is no easy task to abolish regulatory agencies and departments, but they are doing the next best thing by either starving them of funding or putting people in charge who have no interest in enforcing any regulations that protect the people. At this point it is difficult to tell if there are any federal agencies not being run by either the special interests they are supposed to regulate or long-time enemies of the agency they run; like Scott Pruitt at the EPA or Betsy DeVos at the Education Department.

It is no exaggeration to claim that the great majority of the federal government is now being run by corporate and religious special interests controlled and funded by a few Republican donors and oligarchs. The depressing aspect of this horror story is that this is the new “normal” and apparently it is no big deal that another corporate surrogate is running an important federal regulatory agency. Americans will soon learn that they now live under a government in thrall of special interests with no regard for the general welfare of the United States as a nation or the people. This nation’s government is the definition of a corporate fascist state and instead of a power-grab or coup d’état, all it took was a system that allows stupid, racist, and religious people to vote.

Inherent Cruelty Drives Sessions’ Reefer Madness Obsession

Any American who still believes Republicans are not inherently cruel after the past 12 months is either brain dead or a savage. In case anyone needs an example of just how fiendish Republicans are according to their political nature, Trump’s lying attorney general is the poster child for what any decent person considers unusually cruel.

Sessions more than meets the definition of cruel because he is not only the kind of sub-human that “willfully causes pain or suffering to others and feels no concern about it,” he embraces it with religious fervor as his personal cause célèbre. British authorGeorge Eliot once explained that for people like Sessions and his Republican cohorts, cruelty for the sake of being cruel is its own reward and motivation. He said:

Cruelty requires no motive outside itself; it only requires opportunity.”

As attorney general, Sessions has a stellar opportunity to exercise a particularly nasty form of cruelty; cause pain and suffering to other American citizens for no apparent reason other than causing pain and suffering.

It is true that Republicans are cruel in taking healthcare, food and housing from the poor, the elderly and children, but at least they attempt to justify that barbarism with fake regard for the national debt and deficit. Of course, that justification is sheer bunk and does not excuse the Republicans’ cruelty, but they are being cruel for a reason; an expectation of recompense from their wealthy donors.

However, this Jeff Sessions character is a different breed of cruel and barbaric. He is on an obsessive religious crusade to punish Americans suffering myriad infirmities, deadly diseases, injuries and disabilities because he is in a position of authority. Sessions intends to punish sick Americans for no other reason than satisfying his unhealthy obsession by restricting access to a medicine that provides relief to millions of suffering Americans.

Even though there is no profit to him in advancing the “reefer madness” crusade, there are Republican donors in big pharma and the private prison industry that see dollar signs if Sessions succeeds in shutting down legalized medicinal and recreational cannabis in the states. Nevertheless, even that motivation appears to play little role in Sessions’ personal religious crusade against weed.

Sessions has had an unhealthy obsession about marijuana for ages and last week he turned that obsession into a seriously cruel action. As expected, Sessions rescinded the “Cole Memo” that protected states with legal cannabis and sent warning letters with “factual errors to the leaders of four states with legal cannabis markets.” He also asked Congress to give him permission to act on his obsession to prosecute medical marijuana companies because they provide relief for suffering Americans.

That Sessions again asked Congress for permission to pursue legal cannabis sales is further proof he suffers an honest-to-dog religious fanaticism about reefer. He even told Congress that legal weed is responsible for what he said was “the current historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime.”

The DOJ must be in a position to use all laws available to combat  drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers who threaten American lives.”

Sessions was referring to states that have legal and regulated medicinal and recreational cannabis that have no connection to “drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers.”  Legal cannabis also has no connection to “the current historic [opioid] drug epidemic” much less “a potential long-term uptick in violent crime.” This lying freak of nature Sessions is obsessed to a level that precludes him from serving in any government capacity, much less as attorney general.

Sessions has already spent no small amount of time this year pressuring Congress not to reauthorize the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment that prohibits the federal government from interfering with states that decriminalized medicinal or recreational pot use. The House told Sessions no, and for good measure Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced a Senate amendment identical to the House version that easily passed over Sessions’ objections. Congress does not believe Sessions is in line with the will of the people or medical science of the past 40 years or so; he certainly has no compassion for the suffering of others.

These actions are not new for the reefer-obsessed Sessions. If he would exercise a fraction of regard for Americans’ civil and voting rights as he does people using a medicine he does not like, then he may not be a complete waste of oxygen. It is not just that Sessions lusts to restrict Americans from gaining relief from cannabis, he wants to eliminate what is being reported everywhere as “an effective tool for opioid users to break addiction cycles.”

This is particularly telling after Trump made a big deal about addressing the opioid crisis and epidemic, and after a House Democrat schooled and scolded Sessions for spreading lies about cannabis. He still maintains that the weed has no medicinal value for anything despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. In fact, in a speech at the Heritage Foundation recently he blamed the opioid crisis and epidemic on states that legalized medicinal or recreational cannabis use.

Sessions is as big a liar as he is a racist religious fanatic and he is stuck in a long-gone era when another maniac created “reefer madness” to scare the life out of Americans.  Sessions actually told a group that his plan to strike down state cannabis laws is by utilizing more “reefer madness” propaganda; what he calls “education.” He told the group:

I do believe … that the public is not properly educated on some of the issues related to marijuana.”

Sessions does not have any “issues related to marijuana” to educate the public with; he has 1936-era government created “Reefer Madness” propaganda, but there are no issues to support Sessions’ religious belief that cannabis has no medicinal properties or value whatsoever. If Sessions is a predictably deceitful liar, and he is nothing if not a predictably deceitful liar, he will repeat what he said at the Heritage Foundation and launch a taxpayer-funded campaign blaming the opioid epidemic on states with legal cannabis.

Seriously, even as study after study after state-level data demonstrates that cannabis is an effective means of reducing opioid use, Sessions blames the epidemic on reefer. Sessions has no excuse for not knowing cannabis is effective in reducing opioid use because in late October House Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN) informed him about the data and benefits of cannabis. Mr. Cohen told Sessions:

“Twenty-eight states or 29 states and the District of Columbia have legalized it [marijuana] for medical purposes; eight states and the District of Columbia for recreational purposes. In states where they’ve got medical marijuana, they have 25 percent less opioid use. It gives people a way to relieve pain without using opioids, which inevitably leads to death and crime. So I’d hope you’d take a look at that.”

Sessions promised Representative Cohen under oath in the House that:

“I will take a look at it. We will be looking at some rigorous analysis of the marijuana usage and how it plays out. I am not as optimistic as you.”

Sessions did not look at anything or he would not launch his fanatical religious crusade to stop Americans from using cannabis as medicine or for recreation. The research about the benefits of cannabis for a rash of ailments is beyond dispute and easily accessible to everyone. If Sessions really wants to “properly educate the public on some of the issues related to marijuana,” he can send them over to the NIH’s federal government website page titled “Cancer and Cannabis,” or refer them to a fairly technical medical study describing in great detail exactly how the THC in cannabis kills cancer cells.

Sessions has what appears to be a certifiable obsessive disorder about cannabis that no amount of empirical data or pathological proof will alter whatsoever. If Sessions were not certifiably batshit about weed, he would believe the mounds of research disproving his unfounded faith. However, losing his faith about cannabis would impact his intrinsic need to willfully cause pain and suffering to others by eliminating their access to a safe medicine.

Look, there is no reason for Sessions to pursue the states that decriminalized weed except to punish the people who get relief from cannabis. Medicinal or recreational cannabis does not cost the government any money and in fact is a revenue-generatingbit of commerce for states. That revenue stream is helping fund law enforcement, drug treatment programs, education and other social programs. Legalization has also eliminated the need for anything resembling “black market transactions.

Of course, Sessions is getting push-back from Republicans and Democrats alike, especially from the states. However, the issue is much more than about states’ rights or the will of the people or the benefit to state budgets with regulated cannabis sales. Although those are all valid reasons to rail against Sessions’ religious crusade against cannabis, there is the issue of him openly campaigning to deliberately inflict pain and suffering on the people he is supposed to protect.

Sessions deserves to be figuratively crucified as a cruel savage for making moves to “willfully cause pain and suffering to others without an ounce of remorse.” One would call Sessions a savage beast, but there are no “beasts” in the animal kingdom that inflict pain and suffering for the sake of inflicting pain and suffering; that is unique to human beings and wholly embraced by Jeff Sessions because he is a uniquely cruel Republican.

Image: Cannabis Culture

Under Trump America Goes From World Leader to Banana Republic 

On Christmas eve conservative pundit William “Bill” Kristol made it clear that in its current iteration, the Republican Party he identifies with has become a cult of personality worthy of a banana republic. Kristol didn’t mention Trump by name, but he almost certainly was projecting his abhorrence of Trump on the entire GOP; a surprising development for a dyed-in-the-wool conservative but an apt projection all the same.

It is true the Republican Party is taking the country back to the 1920’s long before America became a global leader and was hardly a world super power, but even during the Great Depression when the filthy rich became incredibly wealthier, America was hardly considered a banana republic. All that changed less than a century later.

Whatever leadership role America enjoyed prior to Trump’s poorly attended inauguration is now just a memory despite what Trump claims. World leaders are well aware that although America has military might, and is a rapidly waning economic force, its influence globally is second-rate at best; in many areas it is nothing more than an irritating spectator.

Instead of leading on addressing climate change, America under Trump is watching China “assume the leadership mantle,” and subsequently the economic prosperity that will accompany it. And as the Los Angeles Times noted, “Russia has taken over Syrian peace negotiations that Moscow officials only allowed America to attend as observers.”

Members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) look to Germany and France for leadership since Trump has isolated America from even its allies and trading partners. And speaking of international trade, America is now a global trade outlier and any number of American industries are living proof that Trump’s big mouth and isolationism kills American businesses.

This is an issue because Trump gave his assessment of America’s place on the global stage during a speech last week that is as far from reality as the Earth is from the edge of the observable universe. (Roughly 46.6 billion light years)

Trump claims that since January there has been a never-before-seen “broadening of U.S. influence throughout the world.” It is an odd assertion even for a buffoon like Trump; particularly since his executive actions since January are the sole force behind America ceding its global leadership role.

That is the consensus opinion of international leaders, diplomats, and foreign policy experts who contend that Trump is guilty of “reducing U.S. influence or altering it in ways that are less constructive on a broad range of policy issues.” In fact, what those leaders and critics actually say is that “Trump has taken positions that disqualify the United States from the debate or rendered it irrelevant on that ‘broad range of policy issues.’”

This is a serious issue because no matter what horrors Republicans are in the process of unleashing on Americans, Trump represents an existential threat because besides the insanity of isolationism in a truly global era, America under Trump is dangerously unreliable and untrustworthy to the rest of the world.

In India, a nation Trump has not attacked yet, the leaders are like most sane human beings concerned about ‘Trump’s unpredictability” and doubt that he can be trusted “as a reliable partner;” especially with his rush towards isolationism. Manoj Joshi is a scholar at a New Delhi think tank, Observer Research Foundation, who fairly summed up what the rest of the planet knows about Trump.

The president Trump can and does turn things inside out. So the chances that the U.S. works along a coherent and credible national security strategy are not very high.

Nicholas Burns, a long-serving senior diplomat under both Republican and Democratic administrations said Trump’s strategy, or lack thereof, “has left the U.S. ineffective.” Mr. Burns continued by remarking on an issue many critics have warned about to no avail; a weak and aimless Department of State.

“Trump needs a strong State Department to implement its strategy. Instead, State and the Foreign Service are being weakened and often sidelined. Trump’s policy of the last 12 months is a radical departure from every president since WWII. Trump is weak on NATO, Russia, trade, climate, diplomacy. The U.S. is declining as a global leader.”

What seems to be the final straw for nearly the entire world of nations was Trump’s gift to Benjamin Netanyahu that eliminates any opportunity for a “two-state” solution. The only people Trump “delighted” by formally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital were many Israelis.  Trump incited rage in the Muslim world, wiped out decades of “international consensus” on a peaceful Palestine-Israeli resolution, and incurred the wrath of “an overwhelming majority of the U.N. General Assembly.

As most of the world understands, Trump unilaterally eliminated America as “an honest broker in mediating peace by clearly siding with Israel.” As many world leaders have noted, “From now on it is out of the question for a biased United States to be a mediator between Israel and Palestine; that period is over.”

A former U.S. ambassador to both Israel and Egypt under Presidents Clinton and Bush, Daniel Kurtzer, said  that any peaceful resolution in the Middle East  “won’t be from American policy. Trump took America out of the peace process for the foreseeable future.”

There is probably a detailed list of the myriad ways Trump single-handedly diminished American influence globally, but the real horror is that he accomplished that feat in less than a year. America is going to be in trouble going forward just on the basis of Trump’s isolationism and withdrawal from trade agreements and never-ending threats against our allies and United Nations member nations for daring to disagree with Trump. Add to that prospect the Republican Congress’ well-laid plans to wipe out the government and create an impoverished population; it is no longer a question of “if” America is a banana republic, but when the entire world recognizes what it is and turns against it.

Image: Matt Rotman

Trump’s Betrayal Cost Steelworkers Their Jobs

The reports of Trump supporters struggling to realize they were really duped by a second-rate two-bit con man because he was on television continues unabated.

It is getting more difficult by the day, even for a lifelong avowed secular humanist to have a modicum of empathy for “betrayed and lied to” Trump supporters.  Their stupidity, evangelical fanaticism and racism has and will continue adversely affecting all Americans for a couple of decades at least – just think permanent corporate tax cuts.

The latest group to comprehend that they were lied to are steelworkers who are not looking forward to a very happy holiday season because they are looking for their impending layoff notices. And it is noteworthy that those layoffs will likely be permanent because last April Trump said America has no issues with China over its trade or currency policies. Remember, a pillar of Trump’s tough-guy campaign persona was clamping down on trade with China; he was not going to “let them keep raping America.” Instead, as a Merry Christmas to steelworkers, Trump’s ineptitude and China course reversal contributed to the steelworkers losing their jobs.

The New York Times reported that a “sprawling steel mill” on the outskirts of Philadelphia will lay off 150 of the plant’s 207 workers.  The job losses are considered “severe” in that  “they go so deep that even workers with decades of experience will be cast out.” It is a trend that is not going to change anytime soon.

This was a terrible assault to the senses of the workers after they celebrated Trump’s election last year and relished their part in helping him “making America great” and resurrecting America’s manufacturing sector. His campaign promise to create “a new dawn for the American steel industry with a strong ‘buy America’ agenda never happened. Trump promised to protect factories “from unfair imports” and made special pledges to  “revive the American steel industry” with what he touted was his world-renowned trade expertise and negotiating skills. Instead he made the issue worse.

Trump has done nothing to help the steel industry and in fact indicated early after his poorly-attended inauguration that loyalty to his friendly Russian oligarchs supersedes any effort to protect American jobs or manufacturers. Add to that betrayal, Trump’s big mouth and incompetence in international trade has put more than one sector of American industry in the exact opposite position he promised – at a distinct disadvantage in global trade.

Even though he has done nothing to help American industry, foreign steel makers rushed to get foreign steel into America in case Trump actually did anything. According to the American Iron and Steel Institute, there was a 20 percent increase in imported steel in the first 10 months of Trump’s tenure than in the same period last year. That is a direct result of Trump running his big mouth that he would stop steel imports with high tariffs and demonstrates the fallacy of his so-called business acumen and negotiation skills to put “America first.”

The only thing Trump accomplished was producing the same results as pulling out of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and threatening to “renegotiate” NAFTA. Just the “threats of reneging on the NAFTA trade pact sent Mexico to implement its ‘Plan B’ trade strategy.” A strategy that is leaving American farmers struggling to survive and drove America’s favored trading partners to forge new and more prosperous economic alliances that America is no part of with Trump. America’s agriculture industry is the big loser and America is further isolated from the rest of the world.

In fact, just pulling out of the TPP back in January prompted the president of the United Steelworkers International Union to express an industry-wide fear of exactly what is happening today; steel workers losing their jobs. Leo W. Gerard said after Trump’s ill-advised exit from TPP:

It’s frustrating because of the impact it’s having on the [steel] industry. It’s creating a crisis that’s being exacerbated.”

For the steelworkers losing their jobs in Pennsylvania, the crisis prompted one single mother at the plant for over 22 years to tell her children:

Christmas is going to be kind of scarce, because Mommy’s going to lose her job.”

Because of Trump, the surge of imported steel hurt American steel makers who were already struggling to compete against cheaper Chinese steel. When the ArcelorMittal Philadelphia plant announced the layoffs it blamed cheap imports, as well as the low demand for American steel, on the job cuts.

It is noteworthy too that Trump did not do the industry any favors and broke another pledge that hurt the steel industry he swore to revive by allowing TransCanada to use “foreign steel” in its Keystone XL pipeline. Instead of following through on a line in the sand that TransCanada would be forced to use “American-made steel exclusively or we’re not building one,” Trump gave TransCanada a pass because one of his Russian oligarchfriends” is heavily invested in manufacturing cheaper foreign steel TransCanada wanted to use. The Russian oligarch didn’t have to do much heavy lobbying for his BFF Trump to exempt TransCanada from the “buy American” pledge and give his blessing for them to use all the foreign steel they wanted; American steelworkers and the industry they work in be damned.

To make matters worse for the steelworkers duped once by a Trump con, his Commerce Department spokesman, James Rockas, said that Trump is “aware of the plight of American steelworkers and will continue working to halt unfair trade practices that harm our economy and kill American jobs.”

Trump has no regard for the plight of American workers and it is stunning that steelworkers are just now coming to that painful realization; but losing one’s livelihood does inform a new level of sober reflection. Trump has single-handedly hurt American workers in several industries with his ineptitude on trade, and the GOP tax reform Trump is championing is full of incentives for corporations to outsource more American manufacturing jobs to avoid paying what little corporate tax the new plan envisions.

Of course it is a shame that the steel workers Trump promised to protect are losing their jobs, but they should have known the con man was lying the minute he said he would work to help them. The president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, Scott Paul, heads up a trade group representing steelworkers and he summed up exactly what Trump’s campaign pledge to help save jobs and “revive the industry” was really all about.

The president [Trump] has been using the steelworkers as political props. The president’s [Trump’s] own words and lack of action have actually put the industry in a worse position than if he had done nothing at all.”

It cannot be overstated that no small number of pundits, commentators, Nobel prize-winning economists, and regular folks warned Trump supporters they were being double-crossed. It is something they can reflect on while they stand in line for unemployment benefits – if Trump and Republicans don’t eliminate them first.

Image: AFL-CIO

Feeling Betrayed America’s Small Farmers Are Suing Trump

Over the course of the past few months there have been an increasing number of complaints from Trump supporters that they are feeling betrayed by both Trump and Republicans. But Trump, in particular, is the target of what has been up until now slowly simmering outrage.

Even before the dirty crook was installed in the White House, people with cognitive abilities higher than fungi knew that Trump’s supporters would be the first to feel the effects of “making America great” for corporations and the filthy rich.  Although they are a fairly small demographic, American farmers have been the primary recipients of Trump’s trade, immigration, and deregulatory policies that are threatening their livelihoods and in many cases their family farms existence.

This past week, a small “farmers think tank” in Nebraska actually did what other Trump supporters have been unable to do and filed a lawsuit against Trump’s U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and its leader Sonny Perdue.

Like much of the despair among Trump supporters, the farmers are livid that two “Obama-era” rules specifically designed to protect the nation’s small farmers from giant corporations were eliminated to benefit four or five giant companies. It is no surprise that the farmers are now complaining that without the two “Obama-era” rules in place “we are [again] being exploited by giant corporate agriculture processing companies.”

The lawsuit was filed by the legal watchdog  Democracy Forward on behalf of the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) charging the USDA Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue “with arbitrary and capricious behavior” in rolling back the two rules. One of the rules would have made it easier for individual farmers to sue corporate giants for anti-competitive behavior. That particular rule was implemented after an eight-year “exhaustive investigation and negotiation” process by the Obama Administration specifically to aid tens-of-thousands of small family farms that were being systematically “ripped off” by big corporate agriculture.

The rules’ enactment took an eight year effort because of  “fierce resistance from big agriculture and its congressional allies that reject any kind of reform” that doesn’t enrich corporations. The main rule the corporations wanted eliminated simply made it easier for small farmers to sue for anti-competitive behavior that controlled prices and punished small farmers that dared complain they were being cheated.

In a move that shouldn’t surprise anyone, on same the day of Trump’s poorly-attended inauguration the White House announced it postponed the effective date of the new ag-rules by 60 days. Then it issued several other delays until October when USDA chief Perdue said there would be no more postponements because he just “arbitrarily” eliminated the rules. The USDA issued a statement saying “the agency’s action was consistent with President Trump’s Executive Order to reduce regulations.”

Instead of rules protecting about 200,000 small family farms, any legal disputes between the farmers and corporate agriculture will be adjudicated by an agency that works for large corporate agricultural processors to negotiate with brokers, fast-food and grocery chains. As noted by one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, what Trump’s USDA is doing is allowing corporations to police themselves; what poultry farmer Mike Weaver called “having the fox guard the henhouse.”

Another rule that defined which corporate actions are considered unfair, discriminatory or deceptive was also eliminated. Under the Trump USDA those disputes will be settled by the agency that works for the corporate agricultural processing operations. Obviously, the corporate-friendly agency will not find anything the corporate giants do to be “unfair, discriminatory or deceptive.”

Abolishing the rules to benefit 4 giant agricultural companies will have an adverse impact on “40,000 contract poultry farmers, 900,000 cattle ranchers, and 70,000 hog farmers in America’s heartland.” The group bringing the lawsuit said the current litigation “represents the tip of an iceberg of financial and emotional despair” being felt by America’s farmers. It is noteworthy that these are all “small, family-owned” farms who were fierce Trump supporters that are now so disillusioned that they had to file a lawsuit against their champion saying:

Where’s the support that you promised us? We voted for you because you were going to make things right, and it’s not happening.”

The despair among yet another segment of the agricultural community is a common refrain in Trump’s America. The ag community not only have not seen any support from their hero, they’ve seen only the negative consequences of electing a know-nothing imbecile who pandered to racists and nativists. Farmers across the nation  were already in dire straits due to Trump’s immigration policies that left many of their crops rotting in the fields because experienced field workers were too terrified of Trump’s immigration police to show up and harvest their crops.

An entirely different group of agricultural producers were sent into a panic when Trump pulled out of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) that gave American farmers an advantage over every country’s agricultural producers on the planet. Now those farmers are left out of other “agreements” between America’s former trading partners and will be at a distinct global disadvantage because of Trump.

American farmers are also left out of trade deals with NAFTA-affiliated nations; especially Mexico. Just Trump’s talk of “renegotiating NAFTA” sent Mexico to implement its  “Plan B” and rapidly negotiate much better trade agreements with several other nations. American farmers were not included in any of the trade agreements and like pulling out of the TPP, many farmers who were anticipating growth are now in distress and wonder if they can even survive in Trump’s America.

Joe Maxwell is the executive director of OCM and he says this revocation of the rules has “threatened America’s family farmer’s livelihood.” And a representative of the National Farmers’ Union concurred saying, “The fear in the countryside on this is palpable.”

The poultry farmer who serves as president of the Contract Poultry Growers of the Virginias, Mike Weaver, says he is one of the “very lucky few” who came to poultry farming after a career as a special agent for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; he is not dependent on his farm income to survive. However, Weaver pointed out that less than a quarter of his fellow small farmers enjoy the luxury of not depending on their farm income to survive.

Mr. Weaver said:

71 percent of small poultry farmers live beneath the poverty level. I’ve had guys in tears on the phone, telling me, ‘My farm has been in the family for five generations, and I’m about to lose it.’”

Look, it is a struggle to feel much empathy for the small farmers because they supported Trump despite his campaign pledge to erase regulations to set corporations free, change immigration policy to keep Mexicans out, and abandon the trade agreements that benefitted American farmers. Farmers knew that implementing any one of those policies would be devastating to their livelihoods and yet they voted for him enthusiastically. Now they are attempting to sue Trump’s USDA with a brand new crop of Trump judges ready to repay their lifetime appointments with dismissals of any lawsuit against Trump with prejudice.

It seems like every week there is a new group of Trump supporters complaining that they were betrayed and lied to by their hero in spite of being warned that Trump was lying and would betray them. Now they are getting exactly what they deserve. The rest of the population knew Trump was a corporate-friendly Republican and he did tell the gullible exactly how he was going to rape and pillage them while he lied that he was looking out for their best interests. It is a travesty that all Americans have to suffer the stupidity that drove Trump’s ascendancy to the White House and it is impossible to have any compassion whatsoever for his supporters’ woes. Maybe if it is painful enough they will wise up, but no American should hold their breath; the stupid is just too powerful in America.

Betsy DeVos Punishes Students Defrauded By For-Profit Schools

In another signal that corporations and businesses in Trump’s America are going to be allowed to rape and pillage without restrictions, and in many cases with government assistance, a report by an Education Department inspector general reveals that committing fraud is an accepted and worthwhile endeavor in the for-profit education business.

On Monday past, an inspector general reported that with a for-profit education crusader, Betsy DeVos, and a for-profit “fraudulent college” operator, Donald Trump running the government,  the process of “canceling student loan debt of the people who have been systematically defrauded by for-profit schools” has come to a screeching halt.

DeVos will not implement rules that aided defrauded students by speeding up the debt cancellation process to stop interest from accruing and destroying students and their family’s credit. DeVos claims she can’t help students because she is still looking for a means of “redoing” the debt cancellation  process that still lets failed and cheating for-profit schools off the hook. Under DeVos, none of the defrauded students have had their debt canceled despite tens-of –thousands of legitimate claims for relief.

Spending 10 months “seeking a means of redoing” the debt-cancelation process is code for DeVos intent to do nothing to help Americans cheated by the people she champions as education’s salvation; for profit schools. DeVos said canceling the debts creates a cost to taxpayers she claims shouldn’t be responsible for helping students cheated by for profit schools. The concept of holding the for-profit schools responsible for “breaking the law” and defrauding “hundreds-of-thousands” of students is simply out of the question. This is Trump’s America now and the people who were defrauded by for-profit schools have to be penalized and pay the price for being defrauded; the for-profit schools get to keep their very substantial profits.

DeVos has gone beyond just foregoing an Obama-era rule to aid a specific group of students cheated by “Corinthian Colleges,” a for-profit outfit that finally collapsed in 2015 after several federal and state investigations into the widespread fraud that touched an untold number of students. There are other “failed schools” guilty of defrauding students that, combined with the Corinthian organization, cheated “hundreds-of-thousands of students” who are left with rapidly accruing interest and loan fees damaging their credit, according to the Education Department inspector general.

In fact, because of DeVos’ inaction,  the defrauded students and their families will “ultimately owe more on a denied discharge than if they had not asked for cancellation and simply continued making payments” for a worthless education, the inspector said. The big problem for the defrauded students is that because their “education” is for all intents and purposes worthless, their job prospects are non-existent making outrageous loan payments  nearly impossible. It is why the “cancelation process” was put in place to begin with and it is also why many states have been pushing the DeVos-Trump education syndicate to cancel the loans.

Attorneys general from several states are attempting to pressure DeVos to help the defrauded students they rightly say “cannot afford to repay often-large amounts because the ‘for-profit’ schools DeVos champions either didn’t  provide adequate training much less an education or a diploma.” The inspector general also reported finding nothing in the DeVos Education Department resembling an “information system” and complained that he was forced to “manually retrieve claims data.” That is a change from the previous administration’s efforts to help students cheated by for-profit schools.

During the Obama Administration the Education Department received 46,274 claims for “discharging defrauded students’ loans” and had approved 27,986 in a six month period. Since Trump’s poorly-attended inauguration, out of 25,991 applications, DeVos made sure none were discharged. The Inspector General reported that the entire debt cancellation process, no matter over death, fraud or disability, was brought to a halt.

The senior Democrat on the senate education committee, Senator Patty Murray (WA) said:

Hundreds of thousands of students were defrauded and cheated by predatory colleges that broke the law, but today’s report confirms Secretary DeVos tried to shirk her responsibility to these students and shut down the borrower-defense program, leaving them with nowhere to turn.”

This atrocity, and it is an atrocity, is a trend in the current administration that is not completely down to Trump or DeVos, although they are ultimately responsible for this particular abomination. Republicans as a party have demonstrated that they will go to great lengths to give special treatment to big, small and corporate businesses at the expense of the people whether it is eliminating regulations or failing to enforce rules that protect the people, or fund corporate tax cuts with tax hikes on the poor.

There is an easy solution to this particular issue but Republicans, Trump, or DeVos will never even consider putting the burden students are facing on the “predatory, for-profit colleges that broke the law by defrauding and cheating students.” And it is not necessarily that DeVos is “shirking her responsibility to cheated students;” she doesn’t consider the students her responsibility. She is responsible to the church, misogynists, bigots and corporations and if they defraud students the students have to be penalized again.

DeVos has shown throughout her time as the most unqualified member of team Trump that her responsibility is to anti-women men’s groups, anti-LGBTQ religious fanatics, for-profit evangelical madrassas and church-chartered schools; and of course predatory for-profit colleges. If that wasn’t the case she would at the least allow the existing process to cancel the defrauded students’ debts as it was intended; but that would not punish the students.

DeVos’ lack of action does send a powerful message to for-profit schools, corporations, and businesses in general that in Trump’s America they are free to defraud, damage and cheat Americans with impunity; punishment is reserved for the victims as is the typical Republican way.  In DeVos’ case, punishing defrauded students appears to be an integral part of her intent of using the Education Department to “advance the kingdom of god.”

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.

 

Don’t Blame Trump – Republicans Are Destroying America

There is a misconception among many Americans that the country is being rapidly dismantled from within and doled out to a few special interests because Donald Trump is in the White House. It is also erroneous to believe America is being radically transformed into something unrecognizable because a reality show host is setting domestic policy and a legislative agenda, and signing executive orders only his base believes are inspired by god. While it is true Trump is complicit in the impending and systematic  demise of America as it existed for 80 or so years, he is nothing more than a very convenient distraction, and a clueless rubber-stamp for the conservative movement’s evil machinations.

It is noteworthy that no small number of political opinion writers predicted the Republicans would do precisely what they are currently doing when they owned the government; only to be mocked as fear and conspiracy mongers. It turns out those pundits and opinion writers were spot on and not because they were prophets, but because they saw what the Koch brothers and their ilk demanded from Republicans sworn to do their bidding.

Everything happening in Washington, from tax reform to privatization to theocratization to deconstructing the federal government is a decades-long dream of America’s conservative oligarchs and it doesn’t matter which Republican is in the White House; a Republican majority in Congress guaranteed the current dismantling of the nation. In fact, dirty Donald Trump is so insignificant to the deconstruction of America that it will not be surprising when Republicans throw Trump to the impeachment police the instant they realize his usefulness as a distraction is unnecessary or too costly.

It is beyond refute that everything Republicans are doing since Trump’s poorly attended inauguration have been in the works long before Trump came on the scene. It is why Mike ‘preacher’ Pence works closely with and depends on the Heritage Foundation to provide a framework for “his” domestic policy reforms. Heritage has been instrumental in providing Pence and Trump with a harsh budget and current tax reform for the rich, as well as nominating blatantly partisan federal judges. Add to those horrors the Heritage Foundation was instrumental in selecting Trump’s cabinet and agency heads who are determined to dismantle those agencies and departments before handing control of the government over to special interests.

Trump is a bungling imbecile on his best day, but he is also too lazy and too stupid to have done the necessary research into which cabinet nominees were best suited to do the theocratic, corporate, fossil fuel and financial sector’s bidding; and why should he? The Heritage Foundation and a couple of special interest groups already had a wish list prepared to serve the needs of the corporate, theocratic, fossil fuel and financial sectors with a view towards destroying them from within . As Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman noted, this assault on America “is not a story about Donald Trump, bad as he is. The rot pervades the whole Republican Party.”

That rot has existed for decades, by the way, and the tax giveaway to the rich and corporations is just the beginning of the end of the country as most Americans know it. And it is worth pointing out that within that “tax reform” legislation are extra gifts to the Koch brothers that begin taking apart social safety nets such as Medicaid and Medicare as well as public education. And there is a special gift to the evangelical movement that has nothing whatsoever to do with tax reform and everything to do with setting a federal legal precedent necessary to completely eliminate the concept of women’s reproductive rights.  It’s a plan that the great majority of Americans are completely unaware of and was contrived in the 1970’s while Donald Trump was “fighting his own Vietnam trying to avoid contracting sexually-transmitted diseases because women’s vaginas are landmines.

Everything happening to America right now, and will continue unabated until they finish, are long-sought-after conservative movement goals and have nothing to do with Trump. In fact, even if Trump is thrown out of office, there are any number of successors who will toe the Republican line and do exactly what the “movement” orders.

Most of the conservative movement’s orders will center around ending “pillars of the safety net” created in the 1930’s (New Deal) to aid and protect the American people from fascist corporate assaults. The “movement’” has attempted to dismantle, and eliminate, such programs as Social Security, unemployment insurance, minimum wage, Medicare and Medicaid, workplace safety standards with as much fanaticism as they have attacked clean water, air and safe medicine standards. Now that they have complete control of the government, all of those programs are being targeted along with myriad assaults on anything the rich and corporations believe is either a burden to their profits, or belong to them because it means more wealth. Look at anything this administration is doing and it is glaringly apparent its raison d’être is handing control of the nation over to a nasty un-American cabal of special interests.

Right now there is a world of warranted attention on the GOP’s tax giveaway to the rich and corporations, but it is all in vain. Although Trump will benefit as much as any other member of the wealthy elite, and despite his claim that the tax cuts will really hurt him, it is something Republicans planned no matter who was president, Republican or Democrat. Now they have a Republican rubber stamp and it doesn’t matter what the rubber stamp’s name is, the trickle down attack was always the plan.

In fact, three years ago while Kansas’ economy was dying due to Governor Sam Brownback’s trickle down tax cuts, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Brownback it was exactly what Republicans wanted to do in Washington when they controlled Congress and the White House. The only difference between Brownback’s tax cut disaster is the level of severity; Republicans included unrealistic cuts in the current federal “trickle down reform” that actually raise taxes on the poor. The results of the federal reforms will be significantly more severe than those that decimated Kansas, but they were created to serve the exact same purposes; enrich the wealthy, punish the poor, and shrink the government into oblivion by starving it of revenue.

Look, no matter how bad Trump is, and he is admittedly as bad as they come, he is not driving the Republicans’ assault on the nation and it is a monumental mistake to even pretend that’s the case. The blame for the attack on America and the government that has somewhat protected the citizens for over eighty years belongs to Republicans devoted to the libertarian Koch brothers. Everything Republicans are planning to do to the nation, from assaulting social programs to privatizing the government to wiping out any form of regulatory oversight make up the policy proposals and dream agenda of Charles Koch’s campaign for the vice presidency in 1980 as a libertarian. Suffice it to say, the Kochs demand the abolition of the entire federal government and anything remotely related to providing for the “general welfare of the people.” The Heritage Foundation and Republicans are of the same mind and it is why they provided Trump with the personnel to dismantle every federal agency and department from within.

It is noteworthy to remind anyone who thinks Trump is running domestic policy that he told prospective vice presidential candidates that in his administration they would run domestic and foreign policy giving Trump time to focus on being CEO of making America great. It is safe to say that Pence isn’t running domestic policy unilaterally. He is too focused on making America an evangelical theocracy to concern himself with tax reform, social program cuts, or government privatization; the Koch brothers and the Heritage Foundation are running domestic policy and Republicans in Congress are, and will continue, executing their agenda. Paul Ryan actually said now that Republicans are close to raping the people with “tax reform,” they will shift their focus to making Draconian spending cuts concurrently with the planned major cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, and supplemental nutrition programs.

Americans have no idea how much the nation is going to change, for the worse, now that Republicans control the country. Any program created since the New Deal that served the interests of the people, whether social programs, workplace protections, medical safety standards, financial regulations or environmental protections are going to be assaulted with a view towards abolishment. Everything Republicans in the states have lusted after, such as turning over National Parks, protected wilderness areas, national monuments and public land to corporations is already in the works.

Republicans have dreamed of privatizing the government and agencies like the U.S. Postal Service, public education including higher education, public transportation, the prison system, and public health agencies and they are all currently under assault. Tragically, there is nothing whatsoever anyone can do to stop them. It is worth noting that everything that Republicans and Trump want to do are highly unpopular and they know it; but they also know there is no-one with authority to stop them, including the electorate.

Anyone who believes getting Trump out of the White House will change the way Republicans are governing is a fool. The Republicans’ agenda has not changed in decades and now that they own the government, it doesn’t matter who lives in the White House. They will take America apart and give the wealth of the nation to the rich and corporations with or without Trump; they could not care less who signs the nation’s death warrant, so stop blaming Trump and focus on the existential danger to America; the Republican Party.