Oh Good, A War Room. That’s Sure To Help.

Trump speaks to U.S. troops at Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily, Italy, on May 27. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters).

A war room. Why? All the scandals engulfing the Tiny Tyrant, of course. The mere fact that the Tiny Tyrant feels this is a situation of war lends credence to the malignant reality reaching out with a stranglehold on us all. This is a siege mentality overlaid on an already highly unstable and paranoid mindset.

President Trump and his advisers, seeking to contain the escalating Russia crisis that threatens to consume his presidency, are considering a retooling of his senior staff and the creation of a “war room” within the White House, according to several aides and outside Trump allies.

Following Trump’s return to Washington on Saturday night from a nine-day foreign trip that provided a bit of a respite from the controversy back home, the White House plans to far more aggressively combat the cascading revelations about contacts between Trump associates, including Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, and Russia.

White House officials are also trying to find ways to revive Trump’s stalled policy agenda in Congress and to more broadly overhaul the way the White House communicates with the public.

That includes proposals for more travel and campaign-style rallies throughout the country so that Trump can speak directly to his supporters, as well as changes in the pace and nature of press briefings, likely including a diminished role for embattled White House press secretary Sean Spicer.

Oh right, a “return” to campaigning. A good portion of Trumpholes have now figured out that supporting him is akin to having your hands filled with a steaming pile of shit, so I don’t imagine the campaign rally trail will be quite so happy this time around. This also means that Trump will once again be preaching and hollering hate everywhere, in an attempt to provide a salve for bruised egos everywhere, a place for people to lay blame. Like last time, I also expect there will be another spike in hate fueled violence, on top of the one which is still ongoing.

It would be truly great if every person in uStates could figure out that campaigning is not the same as presidenting, and it has been made more than obvious which one Trump can manage, and which one he clearly cannot manage.

While much remained fluid Saturday, the beefed-up operation could include the return of some of Trump’s more combative campaign aides, including former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who was fired nearly a year ago, and former deputy campaign manager David N. Bossie, who made his name in politics by investigating Bill and Hillary Clinton for two decades. Both of them have already been part of ongoing discussions about how to build a “war room,” which have been led in part by chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon.

[…]

“Go to the mattresses,” a line from “The Godfather” film about turning to tough mercenaries during troubled times, has circulated among Trump’s friends, according to two people close to the “war room” discussions.

Well, how … apt.

Meanwhile, White House counsel Donald McGahn is mulling expanding his office, and an outside legal team led by Marc E. Kasowitz is readying to meet with Trump and guide him, including on whether he should continue to comment on the Russia probes on Twitter.

Kushner has played an active role in the effort to rethink and rearrange the communications team, improve the White House’s surrogate operation, and develop an internal group to combat the influx of negative stories and revelations over the FBI’s Russia probe, said someone with knowledge of the coming changes.

“The bottom line is they need fresh legs; they need more legs,” said Barry Bennett, who served as a political adviser to Trump during the general election. “They’re in full-scale war, and they’re thinly staffed.”

[…]

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the deputy White House press secretary, is being considered as a replacement behind the lectern and is likely to appear on camera more often in coming weeks. White House aides have also talked about having a rotating cast of staff brief the media, a group that could include officials such as national security adviser H.R. McMaster. Having several aides share the briefing responsibilities could help prevent Trump — who has a notoriously short attention span — from growing bored or angry with any one staffer.

Shuffle, move, scoot, change, whatever the fuck. The key words in the above would be: 1) Trump 2) short attention span 3) bored 4) angry. The problem? Trump. The solution? Get rid of Trump.

Aides and allies of Trump say they have come to the realization that unflattering stories about Russia will be part of the daily conversation for the foreseeable future and acknowledge that the White House has been ill-equipped to handle them.

Christopher Ruddy, a longtime Trump friend, said the White House has been caught flat-footed on many of the Russia stories.

“Because they did not believe there’s anything to it, they’re playing catch-up to get their side of the story out,” Ruddy said.

Oh, fucking bullshit! Bullshit. This didn’t take anyone by surprise, they just assumed he’d get away with it, like he has before.

Being outside of Washington among his supporters, particularly in a state he won last year, energizes Trump and provides a way for him to communicate without the filter of the media, his advisers say.

“The conventional ways of communicating are not working for them,” one adviser said, adding that Trump should consider Facebook Live sessions and get out on the road “as frequently as possible.”

“They have to get the campaign brand back,” the adviser said.

Oh yes, the brand. All you need is hate and the brand. Intelligence, compassion, competency? Nah, who the hell needs those things?

“I hope he’ll travel more and do these rallies once a week,” Bennett said. “You get to say whatever you want to say, and you don’t have to take questions.”

You know what would be great? If lots and lots and lots of people showed up at said rallies, and refused to stay quiet and listen, and yelled out all their questions about just how he’s fucking everyone and everything over, and why does he hate America so damn much.

There’s much, much more at The Washington Post.

Speaking of the Trudget: Poverty Is A State of Mind.

Ben Carson. Getty Images.

I just got a post up about The Trudget and Rethuglican “compassion”, and then I see this little gem from Ben Carson, who seems to think that poverty is a state of mind, rather than a very concrete situation of having no money and no resources. When it comes to Carson, Fucking Idiot is not enough of a descriptor.

During an interview with Sirius XM radio on Tuesday, Mr Carson suggested people are poor because they learned the “wrong mindset” from their parents.

The retired neurosurgeon oversees a department that manages housing for the country’s low-income population.

His comments quickly drew sharp criticism on social media.

“I think poverty to a large extent is also a state of mind,” he said in an interview that aired on Wednesday.

“You take somebody that has the right mindset, you can take everything from them and put them on the street, and I guarantee in a little while they’ll be right back up there.

“And you take somebody with the wrong mindset, you can give them everything in the world, they’ll work their way right back down to the bottom.”

Has someone been giving poverty-ridden peoples ‘everything in the world’? I haven’t heard anything to that effect. Most people who find themselves in poverty simply want the basics, along with opportunities to get out of perpetual poverty. Unfortunately, Amerikkka is set up to keep poor people poor, and keep the filthy rich sucking the marrow out of everyone else’s bones.

Ben Carson, there simply is not enough Fuck in the universe for you.

BBC News has the full story, along with some choice responses which were tweeted.

The Dept. of Just Us: Cease and Desist!

Volunteer lawyers wait at the international arrival area for travelers detained at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago on Friday, March 10, 2017. (AP Photo / Charles Rex Arbogast).

The Department of Justice is now insisting that lawyers helping immigrants shut down, and stop offering their services, because helping people, well, that’s a bad thing to do. This all hangs on a technicality, but one which is being exploited by the DOJ to remove legal help which is already scant on the ground for immigration matters. Immigrants do not have the right to legal representation here, which means that legal teams reaching out and offering help are doing it on their own time and dime. This is a devastating attack, yet another one which undermines one of those supposedly great pillars of America. It’s also outright white nationalism.

While the country has been fixated on President Trump’s firings, leaks and outbursts involving the Department of Justice, that agency has itself been stealthily attacking our democracy by telling good lawyers to stop representing people. Four weeks ago, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP)—a respected nonprofit in Seattle that represents immigrants in deportation proceedings—received a “cease and desist” letter from the DOJ threatening disciplinary action. The letter demanded that NWIRP drop representation of its clients and close down its asylum advisory program. The reason: a technicality, perversely applied. NWIRP is accused of breaking a rule that was put in place to protect people from lawyers or “notarios” who take their money and then drop their case.

Last week, NWIRP filed a lawsuit to defend itself against the DoJ’s order. What’s at stake extends far beyond NWIRP and the 5,000 people it serves every year. The outcome of this legal battle will profoundly impact access to legal representation for the tens of thousands of immigrants who apply for asylum in the United States every year and the hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants whose cases are currently in front of an immigration judge.

Before I explain more, let’s step back for the context: You have no right to counsel in immigration proceedings. If you are not a citizen—or if the government merely alleges you aren’t—you can be taken from your home, jailed, and permanently deported without ever seeing a lawyer. This is perfectly legal. It happened to more than a million people under the Obama administration, which vastly expanded the machinery of deportation. (If you want this to be an “Obama was good, Trump is bad” story, sorry to disappoint.)

[…]

When lawyers rushed to airports this winter to protect our friends, our neighbors, and our Constitution, people cheered. The Trump administration took offense, and now those lawyers are in their cross hairs. The president is taking a sledgehammer to the pillars of our government: the FBI, the Justice Department, the federal courts. America, we are under attack.

The full story is here.

South Fucking Dakota.

Terry LaFleur, Argus Leader.

Terry LaFleur, Argus Leader.

South Dakota, always to be counted upon when it comes to being draconian, stupid, and embarrassing. In this case, the cringe-inducing embarrassment is brought to you by one Terry LaFleur, who isn’t the least bit interested in the state where he has decided to run for governor.

More than 1,500 miles from Mexico, a South Dakota man has launched an effort to crowdsource funding to build President Donald Trump’s border wall.

Terry LaFleur, of Sioux Falls, said he’s frustrated by gridlock in Congress and the lack of action among Republicans in passing a tax to pay for the wall.

So he’s taking the issue to the people.

“It’s every American’s responsibility to make sure our sovereignty is unviolated,” LaFleur said. “He needs our help. He absolutely has to have our help to get it done.”

No, dipshit, the Tiny Tyrant does not need our help. He needs that cheap, gold-plated ass of his kicked to the damn curb. What a fucking joke, having the nerve to talk about sovereignty, with a sovereign nation right there under your nose, one you asshole white men make sure to screw over as often as possible. (sDakota is home to Pine Ridge Rez.)

LaFleur, who is running as a non-establishment Republican for South Dakota governor, said Monday that it is imperative that U.S. citizens raise money to help construct the wall in order to prevent illegal immigration.

He filed paperwork with the secretary of state’s office earlier this month to incorporate a nonprofit charity and said he is prepared to accept donations.

None had been received through the first week of publicizing the campaign.

Five members on the group’s board of trustees will oversee the fundraising efforts and ensure that funds sent to the group only benefit the wall’s construction.

Uh huh. Given how many sDakota citizens are busy being screwed over by Trump right now, I don’t think you’re gonna be raising a whole lot of money, given more important things, like fighting Keystone XL.

Libby Skarin, policy director of the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota, condemned Trump’s proposal to build a wall and said local officials would be better off focusing on South Dakota priorities.

“Rather than focusing on policies that undermine civil liberties and fracture border communities hundreds of miles away,” Skarin said, “we would encourage all South Dakota politicians to craft policies that strengthen civil rights and civil liberties for all who call this state home.”

Libby Skarin has it right. LaFleur is a fucking idiot in a field of idiots. There are no democrats running for governor, and the current democratic governor cannot run again because of term limits. At least the others haven’t come up with level of utter shite. Yet.

Full story at the Argus Leader. Raw Story also has it.

15 Million Dollars.

Chemical warfare, Turtle Island, Oceti Sakowin Camp, November, 2016. © C. Ford, all rights reserved.

New York Daily News writer Shaun King obtained audio where Energy Transfer Partners freely admitted that they worked closely with the Sheriff’s Association, and wow, did they ever. They became one and the same.

Water protectors who lived at camp can attest to ETP and law enforcement’s collusion and fraternization, but the record speaks for itself.

The Sheriffs’ Association has a $3.46 million dollar budget, according to tax forms. Some of this funding comes from corporate sources, like TigerSwan. TigerSwan maintains offices in Iraq and Afghanistan. TigerSwan’s CEO is a former adviser to the multinational private security firm, Blackwater. Blackwater was founded by Erik Prince, a Trump campaign donor and the brother of Betsy DeVos, the U.S. Secretary of Education. Besides funding the Sheriff’s Association, TigerSwan is in charge of Dakota Access intelligence and supervising overall security for the company. Tigerswan works for Dakota Access, while funding and partnering with the Sheriffs’ Association.

The Sheriff’s Association purchased military gear from the U.S. Department’s Defense Logistics Agency thanks to the Defense Department’s 1033 program. Think corporate welfare for the defense industry.

Wait, there’s more. Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren offered to reimburse North Dakota and Morton County for costs due to defending the Dakota Access Pipeline.

So why are U.S. taxpayers forking over $15 million dollars to North Dakota?

Despite the fossil fuel industry’s wishes, America is not an oil company with an army. We should not be bankrolling our own oppression.

Incidentally, the Dakota Access Pipeline is not even operational yet, and it’s already sprung a leak in South Dakota, just southwest of the Lake Traverse Reservation. End this foolishness.

Ruth Hopkins at Indian Country Today has the full story.

Those Primitive Indians Just Don’t Understand, No.

Obama Legacy; Bears Ears National Monument.

The Fight for Bears Ears has been going on for a very long time; people have been happy with Pres. Obama’s protective national monument status. Now the GOP is arguing that us dumb Indians, gosh, we just don’t understand. If places are declared national monuments, it will seriously impact our primitive lives, and we wouldn’t be able to do native stuff, like gather firewood, so um, just give us the land, and everything will be great! There really isn’t deep enough mockery for these arrogant colonialists.

Speaking alongside Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke about the Trump administration’s order to review — and potentially shrink or eliminate — nearly 30 national monuments, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said Native Americans were “manipulated” into their support for the 1.35 million acre Bears Ears National Monument southeastern Utah.

“The Indians, they don’t fully understand that a lot of the things that they currently take for granted on those lands, they won’t be able to do if it’s made clearly into a monument or a wilderness,” Hatch said on Sunday. “Once you put a monument there, you do restrict a lot of things that could be done, and that includes use of the land… Just take my word for it.”

Oh, right. We should just take the word of a white man. Gosh, that’s worked so well in the past.

Hatch’s dismissal of native voices is not only condescending, it is incredibly inaccurate in the case of Bears Ears. Protections for Bears Ears were nearly 80 years in the making. Most recently, the Bears Ears Intertribal Coalition, which brought together five tribal nations, pushed for the protection of the Bears Ears region. After the group received no substantial response from the Utah Congressional delegation about protecting the area, the group opted to propose that President Barack Obama should create a national monument, which he did in December 2016.

[…]

But variations of Hatch’s argument have been routinely made by critics of the national monuments — namely, Republican politicians in Utah. Gov. Gary Herbert (R) has long purported that a national monument would get rid of critical tribal activities, such as firewood gathering. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) similarly stoked fears that the federal government would seize native American land for the monument. Utah state legislator Mike Noel (R), who is looking to join the Trump administration, launched an investigation into the tribal support of a Bears Ears National Monument, calling it a “charade.”

These accusations are part of a continued misinformation campaign targeting tribal members that started during the lead-up to the monument designation. In the summer of 2016, flyers meant to antagonize local Navajo were found posted around towns adjacent to the now national monument. One of the flyers impersonated an Interior Department press release that claimed the government would be taking over four million acres of Navajo reservation land. Others suggested the national monument would ban firewood gathering and Native American access.

Think Progress has the full story.

The Republican Right and Russia: More Than Allies.

The Washington Post reports on the Republican infatuation with Russia, and it looks like there’s a blossoming of true love happening there. Conservatives are looking at Russia, and Putin, and seeing their dream of America. It’s one hell of a 180 from when I was growing up in the 1960s, when being like Russia was the American Nightmare™. Given the new love affair, it’s hard to see that the so-called investigation into the many tentacles of collusion is going to go anywhere.

Growing up in the 1980s, Brian Brown was taught to think of the communist Soviet Union as a dark and evil place.

But Brown, a leading opponent of same-sex marriage, said that in the past few years he has started meeting Russians at conferences on family issues and finding many kindred spirits.

Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, has visited Moscow four times in four years, including a 2013 trip during which he testified before the Duma as Russia adopted a series of anti-gay laws.

“What I realized was that there was a great change happening in the former Soviet Union,” he said. “There was a real push to re-instill Christian values in the public square.”

A significant shift has been underway in recent years across the Republican right.

On issues including gun rights, terrorism and same-sex marriage, many leading advocates on the right who grew frustrated with their country’s leftward tilt under President Barack Obama have forged ties with well-connected Russians and come to see that country’s authoritarian leader, Vladimir Putin, as a potential ally.

The attitude adjustment among many conservative activists helps explain one of the most curious aspects of the 2016 presidential race: a softening among many conservatives of their historically hard-line views of Russia. To the alarm of some in the GOP’s national security establishment, support in the party base for then-candidate Donald Trump did not wane even after he rejected the tough tone of 2012 nominee Mitt Romney, who called Russia America’s No. 1 foe, and repeatedly praised Putin.

[…]

“Is it possible that these are just well-meaning people who are reaching out to Americans with shared interests? It is possible,” said Steven L. Hall, who retired from the CIA in 2015 after managing Russia operations for 30 years. “Is it likely? I don’t think it’s likely at all. . . . My assessment is that it’s definitely part of something bigger.”

Interactions between Russians and American conservatives appeared to gain momentum as Obama prepared to run for a second term.

At the time, many in the GOP warned that Obama had failed to counter the national security threat posted by Putin’s aggression.

But, deep in the party base, change was brewing.

[…]

“There has been a change in the views of hard-core conservatives toward Russia,” a participant, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), said in an interview. “Conservative Republicans like myself hated communism during the Cold War. But Russia is no longer the Soviet Union.”

And there’s are bottom line: conservative assholes of all stripes can tell themselves that the love affair with Russia is dandy and okay because no longer the Soviet Union. Everything is great now, and Putin is a wonderful tyrant, we need one of those too! The Tiny Tyrant is not in Putin’s league, to be sure, but it’s clear enough that he wants to be. Trump has long demonstrated a taste for authoritarian despots, and that brings us around to the troubling business of Trump and Duterte. The Tiny Tyrant thinks Duterte is great, and really admires his mass slaughter parading under the ‘war on drugs’ banner.

Duterte is an evil person, the very definition of amoral, but the Tiny Tyrant wants to be best buddies with him because North Korea. There’s been no noise out of the white house condemning the mass amount of violations, but Priebus did have this to say:

“If we don’t have all of our folks together — whether they’re good folks, bad folks, people we wish would do better in their country, doesn’t matter, we’ve got to be on the same page” on North Korea, Priebus said.

Ah. So now the bad guys are okay. Right. I’m sure all manner of Filipino people will be fine with that one, because gosh, two maniacs getting together to gang up on a third one, well, nothing bad can happen there, right?

How the Republican right found allies in Russia.

White House defends Trump invitation to Duterte despite human rights violations.

Oh, and there’s right interesting information here: Why did Trump invite a murderous autocrat to the White House? Follow the money. A towering conflict of interest.

Yeah, That Will Make Us Great.

Ahhh, the oh fucks are piling up again, a brief roundup…

Reveal News reported Friday that Trump plans to cut $60 million from the Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs, which fights child labor, human trafficking and slavery around the world.

“The preliminary budget of President Donald Trump’s administration would eliminate $60 million in grants from the bureau’s budget, calling them ‘largely noncompetitive and unproven,’” wrote Reveal News’ Jennifer Gollan. “It suggested that the agency instead focus its efforts ‘on ensuring that U.S. trade agreements are fair for American workers.’”

The cuts would cripple the government’s ability to monitor child exploitation around the world and potentially interfere with tenets of 13 separate trade agreements. Furthermore, the measures would ultimately have the opposite effect of what the president intends. By allowing other countries to exploit child workers and other laborers, U.S. workers will be put at a disadvantage for using fair labor practices.

Full story here. Exploiting children, that’s sure to make Amerikkka Great Again, right?

Moving on to Health and Human Services, the Tiny Tyrant has appointed a vicious anti-choice activist. Well, as we all know, women don’t count for shit, so this certainly won’t downgrade that greatness, right?

President Donald Trump has tapped a well-known anti-abortion activist, Charmaine Yoest, for the position of assistant secretary of public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Yoest is a senior fellow at American Values, a conservative group that says it opposes a “culture of death,” and the former president of Americans United for Life. AUL’s work has been key to moving anti-abortion bills forward on the state level, since it claims to have offered state lawmakers 32 different kinds of anti-abortion model legislation, according to its website.

Full story here.

And because destruction in pursuit of oil will certainly make everything great again, fuck the land, fuck the oceans, fuck the arctic, and there’s no climate change, either!

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Friday that seeks to increase offshore oil drilling in federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico, the Arctic Ocean, and the Atlantic Ocean. The order leaves out the Pacific Ocean and Eastern Gulf regions.

During the signing ceremony on Friday, Trump emphasized that the order will open the Arctic for drilling.

“It reverses the previous administration’s Arctic leasing ban,” the president said. “So hear that: It reverses the previous administration’s Arctic leasing ban, and directs Secretary Zinke to allow responsible development of offshore areas that will bring revenue to our Treasury and jobs to our workers.”

President Barack Obama protected 98 percent of the Arctic Ocean from oil leasing in December 2016, under Section 12(a) of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. The new order directs all areas protected as of July 2008 to be preserved, but anything else — including broad swaths of the Atlantic and Arctic — has been reopened.

Full story here.

The Tiny Tyrant spoke to the NRA, pledging his undying love and sucking up so damn hard, I’m amazed he didn’t swallow himself. Odd how weapons weren’t allowed at his little suck up session. Of course, what Amerikkka really needs to make it great are more guns, more, more, more! They are now sacred. Yep. There’s one lobby that will get whatever the fuck it wants. Way to drain the swamp there.  :Spits:

Trump pledged his allegiance to the powerful National Rifle Association, the country’s leading gun-rights advocacy group, at a convention attended by thousands. Elected in part on a law-and-order platform, Trump was the first sitting president to address the NRA since fellow Republican Ronald Reagan in 1983.

“As your president, I will never, ever infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear arms,” Trump told thousands of people attending the NRA’s annual convention in Atlanta, Georgia.

[…]

“You have a true friend and champion in the White House,” he said. “We want to assure you of the sacred right of self defense for all of our citizens.”

Full story here.

#Hints You Are In Hell.

The U.S. Forest Service is not happy. They have very good reason for that, too. Some reading on the destruction to come:

Trump to sign executive order putting two decades of national monuments in jeopardy.

Trump’s order on national monuments decried as corporate ‘give-away’.

Via Raw Story.

Ruth Hopkins Sums Up.

Putting Oil CEO Kelcy Warren on a Parks & Wildlife Board is ludicrous. Its like giving Darth Vader a spot on the Jedi Council.”

Yep. Who better to be a steward of wild spaces? Think Progress has the full story.

Climate Change, Now A Witch Hunt!

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has come to Exxon’s defense — again. AP Photo/Eric Gay, File.

Climate change, why it’s a witch hunt, it is, for real and true! What this is actually about is protecting Exxon, with republicans going full court testerical over the issue, claiming the usual excuse, freeze peach.

Citing Exxon Mobil’s right to “free speech,” 11 state attorneys general — all Republicans — filed in court this week to stop an investigation into the oil and gas giant’s decades-long history of climate denial.

The attorneys general — from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin — filed a brief to support Exxon’s request to stop the so-called “Exxon Knew” investigation, arguing that there is a “public policy debate” over climate change and that the investigation is an “unconstitutional abuse” of power.

“The Constitution was written to protect citizens from government witch-hunts such as this one, where officials use their authority and the threat of criminal prosecution to try and suppress speech on a viewpoint they disagree with,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement.

This isn’t the first time Texas has intervened in the investigation on behalf of the state’s largest company. Paxton and his counterpart from Arkansas filed on behalf of Exxon in May of last year when it challenged a Virgin Islands subpoena. Paxton has said the investigations are “ridiculous.”

Think Progress has the full story.

Also see:

The Earth just passed another carbon threshold.

Climate change will fuel terrorism, report warns.

Dow Chemical gave $1 million to Trump’s inauguration, now wants pesticide risk study buried.

The Weekly White House Bible Study.

Photo via AP.

Evangelism everywhere, promoting a theocracy, with a firm footing in the white house.

…The schedule does not list who attended that session, but Ralph Drollinger, a right-wing pastor with a long history of ties to Perry and other Trump Administration officials, claims on his web site to be running weekly Bible sessions specially for the Trump Cabinet. He has praised the new administration for its power to “change the course of America in ways that are biblical.”

[…]

In a January radio interview, Drollinger praised then-senator Jeff Sessions, who “hungers and thirsts for the Scripture,” for his performance during his confirmation hearing, when he provided a Biblical justification for his draconian views on immigration. “I’ve had the distinct honor of teaching him on this subject, and many others,” Drollinger said. “There’s nothing more exciting, when you’re a Bible teacher, to see one of the guys you’re working with—to see him or her articulate something you’ve taught them when they’re under the gun.”

Vice President Mike Pence, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, nominee for Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, HHS Secretary Tom Price, and Scott Pruitt, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, have all sponsored the Capitol Ministries Cabinet Bible study, according to literature put out by Capitol Ministries.

The Cabinet Bible study is the just newest piece of what Drollinger has described as a “para-church ministry” with a “target audience” of political members. In a September 2015 interview, Drollinger described his mission as creating a “factory” to mass-produce politicians like Michele Bachmann, who is on the Capitol Ministries board. “She thinks Biblically,” Drollinger said. “She doesn’t need a whole lot of time to figure out how to vote because she sees the world through a scriptural lens. We need more men and women like her in office.”

[…]

For an outside group to hold an event in a Congressional building, they must be sponsored by a senator or representative; dozens of Members of Congress sponsored Drollinger’s group, including Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo, Tom Price, and Sessions while they were all still on Capitol Hill. Rep. Mike Conaway, who recently took over the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election from Devin Nunes, is also a Capitol Ministries sponsor.

Now, Capitol Ministries holds three separate Bible Studies each week which it describes in its literature: one for Cabinet members (“7:00 am Wednesdays Mornings. Location Undisclosed. Light Refreshments Served.”); one for the Senate (“8:00 am Tuesdays, Rotating Offices of Senators. Hot Breakfast Served.”); and one for members of the House (“Capitol H324: Monday or Tuesday Evenings after First Votes Back. Dinner Served.”) In an interview in January, Drollinger described the House study as feeling like a truck stop and the Senate study feeling like a country club.

Everything in the article is highly disturbing and frightening. Recommended Reading. Fusion has the full story.

Oh Great, Another Slogan: Buy American, Hire American.

Noel McKay, left, a program manager and Karen Latina, right, a biotech consultant, hold up signs during a Tech Stands Up rally on Pi Day, Tuesday, March 14, 2017, outside City Hall in Palo Alto, Calif. Subcontracted tech service workers and direct tech employees rallied together to call on their companies and CEOs to stand with their workers against injustice and hate. CREDIT: AP Photo/Eric Risberg.

As a conservative columnist recently pointed out, the Tiny Tyrant is acting the full lame duck by concentrating on Executive Orders very early on. This is usually not seen until much later, usually when congress is busy blocking a president. The Tiny Tyrant has also turned to “foreign policy” in attempt to overshadow investigations and come across as doing something. The latest EO was announced in Wisconsin, at the expense of the Paris Climate Accord meeting. Now we have “Buy American, Hire American”, which, as Jake Tapper pointed out, is the height of hypocrisy when it comes to Trump’s own business dealings, which depend greatly on immigrant workers and the H-1B visa program. Of course, I’m sure he’ll declare all his little cash cows to be exempt. Contrary to the Tiny Tyrant’s constant vow of jobs and greatness and all that other crap, every move he has made so far is damn near custom-tailored to crash the economy, and this move will accelerate that considerably, if congress can be swayed to enforce it. Whether or not that will happen remains to be seen.

The “Buy American, Hire American” executive order emphasizes enforcement of “Buy American laws” that will encourage government agencies and Americans to buy and hire American. The main thrust of the order calls on cabinet secretaries to implement administrative changes and produce reports that identify potential abuses of the H-1B visa program, which awarded 85,000 work visas this year to foreign knowledge workers through a lottery system, and look for ways the government can only award contracts to American business owners.

Regarding immigration, the order doesn’t address the administration’s main criticisms of the H-1B program, such as exploitatively low pay and replacing the lottery system to guarantee recipients are the best candidates for the positions. It also carries little weight on its own.

“It doesn’t do anything,” said William Stock, president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) in Philadelphia. That’s because the changes Trump campaigned on need to be approved by Congress.

[…]

The policy proposal sent a chill through the tech industry, which heavily depends on H-1B workers to fill out full-time and contract positions. That tension intensified earlier this year, after Trump signed his first executive order restricting entry of immigrants from or traveling from several Muslim-majority countries and companies such as Google required resident employees abroad to immediately return to the U.S.

The White House’s tenuous relationship with Silicon Valley was strained further as Trump’s policies homed in on issues central to the tech industry’s ethos and economic health. And with cracking down on H-1B visas in his sights, there’s concern Trump could hurt the economy he’s trying to help.

 […]

Besides a potential congressional hurdle, there could still be economic consequences to Trump’s desired changes, especially when it comes to funding existing programs and trade.

For example, further restricting H-1B visas could actually result in taking jobs away from American workers by encouraging companies to relocate, Stock said. That would create more jobs in places like Ireland, India (which is currently the biggest recipient of H-1B visas), China, and countries in South America, where there are growing IT workforces.

“If the workers can’t come here, then companies are going to have to go where the workforce is,” Stock said. “The unintended consequences are going to outweigh what he was trying to achieve.”

[…]

Restricting H-1B visas or prioritizing American businesses also doesn’t replace jobs lost due to the collapse of manufacturing or mining industries.

Dan Ikenson, the director for trade policy at the Cato Institute a libertarian think tank in Washington, D.C., said the order looks tough, especially when it comes to government contract spending. But he worried that Trump’s emphasis on only awarding government contracts to American companies could mean that taxpayers lose out. From a free market perspective, Ikenson said, there should be as many foreign companies as possible bidding for government contracts.

“You need the competition,” Ikenson said, arguing that only contracting with American businesses could result in overspending. “We shouldn’t just assume that it’s good for America if Americans transact with other Americans.”

That economic stance is why Trump’s immigration policies have garnered criticism from economists across the political spectrum.

“We need smart foreign workers to come here and share their ideas,” Ikenson said. “Immigrants are 50 percent more likely than Americans to start new businesses.”

Think Progress has the full story.