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.

So Much for the “Investigation”.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., arrives for a closed-door GOP strategy session on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 4, 2017. CREDIT: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., arrives for a closed-door GOP strategy session on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 4, 2017. CREDIT: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite.

We are so far beyond a farce now, I’m out of words. It’s quite clear that any “investigation” into the corruption of the regime is not going to happen. Yes, Nunes has stepped down. Yes, the idiot is going to be “investigated”. None of that fucking matters in the least, because …

Nunes, who is the chairman of the committee, said that he will retain his post but will hand leadership of the investigation over to Reps. Mike Conaway (R-TX), Trey Gowdy (R-SC), and Tom Rooney (R-FL).

Did anyone bother to think that perhaps having all rethugs in charge might not be the best idea? Also, who the hell thought it was okay for a compromised person to select those who would investigate? Everywhere you look, corruption.

Nunes designated Conaway as his lead successor, with Gowdy and Rooney as deputies. Conaway, like Nunes, is a Trump loyalist — one who was a member of the very campaign he will now be in charge of investigating. Conaway was a member of Trump’s Agriculture Advisory Committee, which Trump announced in August 2016.

The perfect person to put in charge of a corruption investigation, right? No problem there, no sirree. Jesus Tap Dancing Christ in a sidecar, there isn’t even going to be a pretense of objectivity here. What investigation? “Oh, hey, we looked, it’s all cool, the Tiny Tyrant is grate, grate, grate!” [Yes, that was on purpose.]

In January, Conaway gave his view on the Russian election hacking to The Dallas Morning News — and compared it to Mexican entertainers campaigning for Hillary Clinton.

“Harry Reid and the Democrats brought in Mexican soap opera stars, singers and entertainers who had immense influence in those communities into Las Vegas, to entertain, get out the vote and so forth,” Conaway told the local paper. “Those are foreign actors, foreign people, influencing the vote in Nevada. You don’t hear the Democrats screaming and saying one word about that.”

He then told the paper he considered it on par with the Russian election hacking. “It’s foreign influence. If we’re worried about foreign influence, let’s have the whole story,” he said.

Now, Conaway will be in charge of the investigation.

I’m sure we all know what the result will be. Jesus Fuck.

Think Progress has the full story.

Tin Cap Time.

1477417057308

The Heartland Institute recently had their “Fuck the Planet!” conference, attended by the Mercers, and all those others who have some sort of vested interest in killing off everyone and everything. I guess they’ll bug out to Mars with Musk when life becomes unsustainable.

The atmosphere was buoyant at a conference held by the conservative Heartland Institute last week at a downtown Washington hotel, where speakers denounced climate science as rigged and jubilantly touted deep cuts President Trump is seeking to make to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Front and center during the two-day gathering were New York hedge fund executive Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah Mercer, Republican mega-donors who with their former political adviser Stephen K. Bannon helped finance an alternative media ecosystem that amplified Trump’s populist themes during last year’s campaign.

The Mercers’ attendance at the two-day Heartland conference offered a telling sign of the low-profile family’s priorities: With Trump in office, the influential financiers appear intent on putting muscle behind the fight to roll back environmental regulations, a central focus of the new administration.

The Washington Post has a full run down on the conference.

I’ll just focus here on the batshit element of such conferences, this time, embodied by ever loony Lord Christopher Monckton:

Raw Story has a rundown of his 5 main points, so click on over if you prefer to read.

The Fuck You Fuck You Fuck You Care Plan. UPDATED.

The Message to Women Everywhere.

The Message to Women Everywhere.

As most everyone now knows, the bill was withdrawn before a vote. Yes, be happy. That said, go ahead and read all the following, and remember. Remember just what they wanted to do, and still want to do. We cannot afford to forget.

 
This post brought to you with a leaden heart sinking in a simultaneous sea of fury and despair. It’s going to be a roundup, because I just can’t. I can’t.

Trump budget boss: If you want insurance to cover maternity care, lobby your state legislature. Trumpcare: Giving you the freedom to purchase health insurance that covers nothing.

On Thursday, President Trump and the House Freedom Caucus tentatively worked out a deal: Trump would agree to remove mandatory coverage of “essential services” from his health care bill in order to win the far-right caucus’ support for it.

Essential services include maternity and newborn care, pediatric care, emergency services, substance abuse treatment, and prescription drug coverage. Under the Affordable Care Act, every health insurance plan sold in the US must cover them.

White House says maternity care won’t be more expensive for women —if they’re on a family plan: A story of male priorities on women’s health care, in two acts.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters on Thursday that women wouldn’t have to worry about paying more for maternity care under Trumpcare, as long as they’re on a family plan.

The exchange came as a reporter pressed Spicer on reports that the GOP is considering repealing Obamacare’s 10 essential health benefits mandate — a requirement that all insurance plans cover services such as hospitalizations, prescriptions, preventative care, and pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care.

Spicer called the furor over these benefits a “philosophical discussion,” and argued that repealing them was a way to bring premiums down.

The White House may have skirted federal law to try and save its failing health care bill: Several official Twitter accounts lobbied Congress in support of the AHCA bill.

On Thursday morning, as the Trump administration frantically tried to save its deeply unpopular Affordable Care Act replacement bill, White House social media director Dan Scavino Jr. tweeted out a message to Trump’s dwindling pool of supporters urging them to call their congressperson in support of the American Health Care Act.

Hours later, similarly worded tweets were sent from the official @POTUS account and Donald Trump’s personal account.

But as some people were quick to note, directly lobbying Congress in support of (or opposition to) a bill using federal dollars—including White House staff who earn federal salaries—is strictly forbidden under 18 U.S.C. § 1913.

The Trump White House seems confused about how pregnancy works: Let me teach you about the birds and the bees.

The House is expected to vote Friday on a bill that, if a faction of the most conservative House Republicans gets its way, will eliminate the requirement that insurance plans cover certain essential health benefits. These benefits include maternity care, a fact that the Trump White House views as an opportunity to pit men against women.

It’s a common joke among the Affordable Care Act’s opponents. Why should a man pay for women’s health care? Hilarious!

At least with respect to maternity care, however, there’s a very simple answer to this question. Because of the unusual nature of pregnancy, either everyone must pay for pregnancy coverage, or no one will have pregnancy coverage.

The reason why is a problem known as “adverse selection.”

In last ditch effort for votes, Trump says goal of Trumpcare is to end Planned Parenthood: Trump quite literally plays politics with women’s health.

A photo of the House Freedom Caucus and Mike Pence went viral on Thursday, and for good reason — it showed that in a discussion over the future of women’s health insurance plans, the only people in the room were white men.

In a bid to get the far-right Freedom Caucus on board, President Trump and GOP leadership (again, all men) offered to repeal Obamacare’s Essential Health Benefits provision, which mandates that health insurers offer coverage for basic care like hospitalizations, prescriptions, and notably for women, pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care.

According to reports, however, the Freedom Caucus still doesn’t think the bill goes far enough. And on Friday, Trump took to Twitter to levy one more threat at its members, dangling women’s health coverage in front of them as bait:


The irony is that the Freedom Caucus, which is very pro-life and against Planned Parenthood, allows P.P. to continue if they stop this plan!

There’s many ways in which Trumpcare would disproportionately affect women. It would price abortion care out of reach for many women, even some on employee-sponsored plans. It would roll back Medicaid and charge seniors more for health insurance, hurting two populations that are predominately female. With the new revisions, it will roll back maternity coverage.

And, as Trump alludes to, it would federally defund Planned Parenthood —which in practice, actually means preventing low-income and rural women and men who depend on Planned Parenthood for cancer screenings, STD testing, and birth control consultations. In 105 counties, Planned Parenthood is the only birth control clinic. Annually, 2.5 million women and men seek care at Planned Parenthood clinics.

Trump knows this.

Do the Scandals Matter? Not to Trumpholes.

170322_scandals-1

Click for full size.

A poll done by Morning Consult and Politico shows that the constant quake of scandals simply don’t matter much to Trumpholes. If anything, it solidifies their faithfulness to the Tiny Tyrant. That’s a prime marker of how fascism operates, and it emphasises, starkly, just how much The Resistance and all manner of activism simply cannot stop, or slow down at all.

The full story is here.

Bad News for Women, a la Trump.

Austin Ruse speaks at 2015 conference on sexual orientation and gender identity in international law.

Austin Ruse speaks at 2015 conference on sexual orientation and gender identity in international law.

The Trump administration this week named representatives from two intensely anti-choice and anti-LGBTQ groups, C-Fam and the Heritage Foundation, to be part of the official U.S. delegation to the session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, which began on Monday and runs until March 24.

The State Department’s press release announcing the delegation calls the session “the most important annual meeting on women’s issues at the United Nations.” But just last week, in an email titled “Seven Days to War…Meet the Enemy, Learn Their Names,” C-Fam called it “one of the most dangerous meetings of the year.” On Monday morning, C-Fam sent out an email calling the session an “assault on life and family” and begging for money, portraying themselves as a “small and relatively weak” organization pitted against the “rich and powerful” forces such as the U.N. human rights office; now they are part of the official U.S. delegation.

C-Fam, formerly the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, and its leader Austin Ruse are so committed to enshrining “traditional” ideologies about gender, marriage and family in international law that they have teamed up with many of the world’s most repressive regimes to carry out their fight at the U.N. The Heritage Foundation is at the heart of a massive Religious Right coalition pushing to give business owners a broad legal right to discriminate against LGBT people and families as well as single parents based on their holding traditional religious views about gender, marriage and family.

As you can see from the wiki links, neither C-Fam or the Heritage Foundation are “small, relatively weak” organizations. They are both powerful, and they both have unfettered access to the Trump Regime, whereas previous administrations restrained them somewhat. The rise of the Religious Reich has been ongoing, but now is the time for alarm, because the current regime has no problem at all with crushing tank of Christian oppression running ramshod over everyone and everything they don’t like, and that’s a considerable list. The mere fact they have been designated representatives to such an important session is not good news. These people are anything but interested in the status of women and girls, outside of a determination to make sure all women and girls are ground well into the dirt, under the boot of patriarchy.

Trump’s massive expansion of the global gag rule already made it clear that his administration was willing to target some of the world’s most vulnerable people in order to meet the demands of his Religious Right base. Ruse recently complained about efforts by other nations and nonprofits to mitigate the harm of Trump’s policy on public health efforts in poor countries. The official appointments of C-Fam and Heritage effectively remove any lingering doubts about the Trump administration’s abandonment of what has been important U.S. advocacy for reproductive health and LGBTQ human rights around the world.

OutRight Action International, a human rights group active at the U.N., decried the appointments. Fundamentalist notions about how women and girls should behave should never be the basis of advising or negotiating US foreign policy,” said Executive Director Jessica Stern in a statement. She also called it “a bad sign that two organizations that have tried to delegitimize the United Nations and human rights internationally now sit on the official US delegation.” Stern held out hope that even in the face of these appointments, the U.S. might be willing to support Commission on the Status of Women conclusions condemning discrimination.

Oh, I wouldn’t be holding my breath on that last. We are in dark days here, the Gilded age is back, and women don’t hold much of a place, as far as being considered full human beings, who are, in every way, the equal of men.

The delegation will be led by anti-choice U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley and her deputy Michele Sison. Joining them as Public Delegates will be Lisa Correnti, C-Fam’s executive vice president, and Grace Melton, Heritage Foundation associate for social issues at the U.N.

When it comes to social issues in regard to women, it’s quite plain where the Religious Reich is concerned: women belong under the thumb of a man, must be virginal until placed under said thumb, no, no contraception, absolutely no choice, because no autonomy, and certainly none of that queer business!

Via RWW.

Aaaaand, We Are Back to Reefer Madness.

The famous ending

The famous ending

Oh, the regressive idiocy never ends. The manufactured war on drugs has caused an untold amount of misery, primarily in the form of people being tossed into a prison without a glance, or worse, shot to death by those oh so valiant drug hunting cops. (Deep sarcasm, in case you’re hard of sarcasm.) Jeff Sessions, bigot extraordinaire, and asshole ignoramus has decided we need to go straight back to the days of Tell Your Children. Yes, lies, oh lies are wonderful! And just when we, as a society, were finally making some progress on the whole weed front. A nice smoke now and then goes a long way with my pain issues, but as I’m a pain patient, I’m under the federal thumb, and am routinely drug tested as a requirement to receiving scrips for mild pain meds. There may have been a shot at medical weed, but not any more. Fuck Sessions, and fuck the so-called war on drugs. Mano Singham has an excellent post up which tangentially addresses that manufactured mess. In that post, he quotes a bit from John Ehrlichman:

“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people,” former Nixon domestic policy chief John Ehrlichman told Harper’s writer Dan Baum for the April cover story published Tuesday.

“You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin. And then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities,” Ehrlichman said. “We could arrest their leaders. raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

And that’s the truth, right there. This shit has been going on all my life, and all it has done is fuel the prison complex, enable murderous cops, and cost taxpayers an obscene amount of money. There is no “war on drugs”. You’ll note that it’s never one, or even two specific drugs that remain a constant in this war, because that doesn’t keep the money pouring in to militarize cops even more. No, there’s always a new, terrifying “epidemic”, oh my yes! When I was a sophomore in high school, it moved from weed to speed. I still remember the stupid anti-drug comics which were handed out. They had as much value as a Chick tract. It’s just fucking propaganda, the same old propaganda. This is what they looked like:

14-15

Freedom Road. Full comic here.

Actually, it’s this specific image I remember, the rest not so much:

02

Anyroad, as most people will have noticed, it’s always a “new” drug “crisis”, weed, heroin, speed, coke, crack, meth, and on and on. Right now, we’re doing the prescription opiates “crisis”. You’ll also have noted, I’m sure, that none of these so-called crises are ever actually dealt with before moving on to the next exciting drug to titillate the masses and incite fear. And here we go the fuck again, back to weed.

Marijuana users and heroin addicts are basically the same, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Wednesday in Richmond, Virginia.

“I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana — so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful,” said Sessions. He went on to call for a revival of hardline ’80s- and ‘90s-style “educating people and telling them the terrible truth about drugs.”

“Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life,” Sessions said.

For someone on a bar stool arguing with his friends, this would be a stupid but harmless “hot take.” But for the top law enforcement official in a nation of 320 million people, it’s a malicious string of lies intended to justify dangerous policies.

Sessions’ mockery of the idea that marijuana could help people struggling with opiate addiction is especially frustrating to Steve Miller, who retired as a sergeant after 18 years on a suburban Detroit police force and now works as a private investigator at a lawfirm specializing in medical marijuana cases.

“He’s out of reality in that statement. Marijuana has proven to be very beneficial medically for people. And there are studies coming out now showing it is helping people get off their opiate and heroin addictions, and showing it helps kick alcohol addiction as well,” Miller, one of many law enforcement professionals who advocates to end marijuana prohibition, told ThinkProgress. “I don’t know where his medical training comes from that he makes these statements.”

Oh well, that one’s easy, Sessions doesn’t have any medical training. He doesn’t have as much training as your average dog. Sessions is dragging out one of the oldest, most incorrect of all drug propagandism: “it’s just as bad as heroin!!111!!!” There is no reason for this bullshit to be waved about again, especially not by a suspect attorney general. As pointed out in Mano Singham’s post, this is to largely fuel the prison industrial complex. How else can you legally enslave people and get your labor done for free? This is absolutely intolerable, and people should not put up with it for one second. Unfortunately, I’ve had many years in which to watch people fall for this utter bullshit time and time again. It’s time to wake up.

Think Progress has the full story.

The Response to Open White Supremacy.

Tucker Viemeister.

Tucker Viemeister.

Well, the response to Rep. Steve King’s open embrace of white supremacy has been, as Mrs. Slocombe would say, weak as water, weak as water!

In his Monday press briefing, Sean Spicer told a reporter who asked about Trump’s reaction to the tweet that he would have to check with the president to see what he thought. On Tuesday, Spicer clarified: “This is not a point of view he shares,” he said. That has been the White House’s only response.

Wow. There’s a bloodless response if there ever was one. Basically, a compleat non-response. The Tiny Tyrant doesn’t share that point of view, no, but all his actions speak to just how much he does share that view.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI), initially responded to King’s comments through a spokesperson, who said “the speaker clearly disagrees and believes America’s long history of inclusiveness is one of its greatest strengths.”

Over 24 hours after King’s words hit Twitter, Ryan directly responded in a Fox interview, saying that he disagreed with King but that “I would like to think — and I haven’t spoken to Steve about this — I would like to think he misspoke, and it wasn’t meant the way it sounds, and I hope he’s clarified that.”

Oh, King misspoke. Right. I think it’s pretty damn clear that King did no such thing. He has held these views for decades, and he now feels supported enough to come right out with them, and stand by them without the slightest hint of apology. The apologetics have already started, with Nazis everywhere trying to somehow soften King’s words, and that no, his views aren’t really that stark, just y’know, he’s concerned and stuff.

For fuck’s sake, this wide open, blatant Nazism. We’re standing in it, folks, and it’s rising higher as you read. If you’re one of those people keeping their head down, ignoring everything, you’re going to drown in it first. Get that head up, open your eyes, pay attention, and get involved in The Resistance. This is seriously, horribly bad.

Via Think Progress.

Rewriting the Constitution.

Photo Credit: Kim Davies / Flickr.

Photo Credit: Kim Davies / Flickr.

Imagine if the U.S. Constitution barred the EPA and Department of Education from existing. All union protections are dead, there are no more federal workplace safety standards, and even child-labor laws are struck down, along with a national minimum wage.

Imagine that the Constitution makes it illegal for the federal government to protect you from big polluters, big banks and even big food and pharma—all are free to rip you off or poison you all they want, and your only remedy is in state courts and legislatures, because the Constitution prevents Congress from doing anything about any of it. The federal government can’t even enforce voting or civil rights laws.

To add injury to insult, the federal government has to shut down Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, because all of these programs (along with food stamps, housing supports and any programs that help the middle class, the less fortunate or disabled) are “beyond the reach” of what the federal government can do.

A few years ago, it would have been a thought experiment; now it’s nearly reality. Billionaires and the groups they fund are working to rewrite our Constitution to provide corprations and the rich with more and more protections and benefits, and chop away at anything smelling of “socialism” like Social Security or child labor laws.

The fact is that they’re just a few states away from meeting their goal, and have already held dress rehearsals in Washington D.C.—with representatives from all 50 states—for a Constitutional Convention that would change America forever.

[…]

On April 9, 1944, at the height of the war against fascist Germany and Japan, the New York Times published an op-ed by Vice President Henry Wallace discussing explicitly the issue of very wealthy people setting out to take over our government.

Wallace spoke directly to the danger of multimillionaire and corporate power, defining right-wing industrialists as people “who in case of conflict put money and power ahead of human beings.” He added that “in their search for money and power [they] are ruthless and deceitful. … They… follow power and the dollar wherever they may lead.”

In his strongest indictment of that day’s equivalent of today’s billionaire class, Wallace wrote, “They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.”

As Wallace’s president, Franklin D. Roosevelt said when accepting his party’s re-nomination in 1936 in Philadelphia, “out of this modern civilization, economic royalists [have] carved new dynasties…. It was natural and perhaps human that the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction.”

We stand at the same crossroads Roosevelt and Wallace confronted during the Great Depression and World War II, only this time the Supreme Court (in 1976 with Buckley, 1978 in Bellotti and in 2010 with Citizens United) has given American billionaires the power to spend virtually unlimited amounts of money to own politicians and demand behavior from them so outrageous that they’d even lie on live TV and deny science itself.

The billionaire right’s behavior today eerily parallels the day in 1936 when Roosevelt said, “In vain they seek to hide behind the flag and the Constitution. In their blindness they forget what the flag and the Constitution stand for.”

President Roosevelt and Vice President Wallace’s warnings have come full circle. It’s critical that we call out these economic royalists for what they’re doing, and not let them and their minions rewrite our Constitution.

Thom Hartmann’s full article is at AlterNet, and very scary reading, but it’s important reading. Highly Recommended.

Call It What It Is, Class Warfare.

Pyramid_of_Capitalist_System

Wikimedia. Click for full size.

Steve Rosenfeld has a good article up at Raw Story, about the insidiousness of the new, so-called healthcare plan. Definitely recommended, just a bit here:

It’s important to note what Republicans are not talking about. While their messaging is emphasizing premium increases under Obamacare and how the program’s insurance exchanges are suffering from lack of competition, the GOP is not discussing who is making undue profits in American health care. Nor are they discussing the simplest reform that would address the maladies they cite, allowing Obamacare states to create interstate pools where risk and costs could be shared among greater numbers of people and insurers.

While the politics of the Obamacare repeal effort are only beginning, what’s clear is its GOP sponsors are tinkering with the rules governing one-sixth of the economy in a manner that appears to be a giant transfer of wealth upward. These Republicans can talk about “free markets” and “individual choice” all they like, but there’s a better phrase for it: class warfare.

Republicans are poised to unleash a wave of health insecurity and economic hardship on poor, working- and middle-class Americans, as well as on the nation’s system of medical providers, public health institutions and social safety nets. On social insurance listservs and discussion forums Wednesday, there was a debate about what to call the GOP bill: The Deplorable Care Act? The Unaffordable Care Act? Trumpcare? The I Don’t Care Act? No matter what one chooses, this is class warfare and it will be painful.

If you aren’t rich, you’re going to find yourself getting poorer, and constantly caught between a rock and a hard place, none of which concerns the Regime in the least. All that matters to them is that the rich get richer, and the most basic of rights be reassigned to privileges available only to those who can pay for them. Go have a read!

The Dynamics of the Regime.

President Donald Trump greets visitors touring the White House in Washington, Tuesday, March 7, 2017. CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci.

President Donald Trump greets visitors touring the White House in Washington, Tuesday, March 7, 2017. CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci.

The Trump administration’s agenda has started to solidify a month and a half after his inauguration. ThinkProgress checked in with scholars on authoritarianism to see how that agenda it’s taking shape. For people who have devoted their lives to studying anti-democratic movements, recent White House actions are more disturbing than ever.

[…] Trump’s language has spread not just to the media, but to supporters in politics. Take a recent tweet from Rep. Steve King (R-IA) where he claimed leakers needed to be ‘purged’:

@RealDonaldTrump needs to purge Leftists from executive branch before disloyal, illegal & treasonist acts sink us.

Cas Mudde, an associate professor at the University of Georgia, and author of Populism, A Very Short Introduction: This is a great example of how the U.S. far right has become emboldened and more visible. Steve King has been a radical right voice in the U.S. House of Representatives for years and years. He started normalizing radical right politicians from Europe years ago, with Louis Gohmert and Michele Bachmann, meeting, among others, with [Dutch right-wing nationalist] Geert Wilders in 2015 and 2016, with [French right-wing nationalist] Marine Le Pen in 2016 and 2017, and with [German right-wing nationalist] Frauke Petry in 2016.

While the meetings were public, King seemed aware he was part of a fringe within the GOP that supported these parties. Now, as one can see in this tweet, King clearly feels Trump is on the same page. Like David Duke and other long-standing U.S. far right activists and politicians, they believe their time is now, and they call upon Trump to do what they have only dreamed off in the past decades. It again shows that Trump is not “alien” to the GOP. Not only does the majority of the GOP base support him, and most of his “controversial” policies, but many GOP members of Congress, particularly in the House, were always closer to him than to Paul Ryan or Mitch McConnell.

This goes for all the Religious Reich, right wing pundits, and far right conspiracy theorists, too. They finally have the audience they have craved, with a power to back it up. There might be a minor disagreement here or there, but they will continue to back the Regime in order to get things they have dreamed about for decades.

Berman: It’s one thing to say leakers are bad or government employees shouldn’t be leaking classified information, but these kinds of terms or concepts — purging, enemies — are very dangerous. Again it’s a sign of no longer seeing yourself as a national community engaged with fellow citizens, but in a zero sum struggle going on here — and people opposed to you are not just different politically but enemies. It makes democracy impossible to function and a social consensus impossible to achieve.

Trump’s power is in his rhetoric — and not just policy — which is incredibly divisive. He’s creating problems, and the rhetoric itself makes it impossible to do what democracy requires: compromise and consensus.

Ben Ghiat: The tone of King’s Tweet — get them before they can wreck us — conveys this cornered feeling — and what might transpire.

Trump’s policies are messages aimed at the people of the United States. They say what kind of country, society, and culture his administration wants.

This one sentence ^ is one that apologists for Trump supporters need to take on board, stat. Most Trump supporters are not dismayed, they are happy with the way things are going. They are filled with bile and rage, bloated with a sense of entitlement, and they want other people to suffer.

Berman: The revised ban … claims to be something that keeps terrorists out of the U.S., even though there is empirically no evidence that it does that. But it speaks to his base and says, “Look, I did what I promised.”

[On undocumented immigrants] Trump is saying, “I’m enforcing the law.” Which is technically true, but he’s doing it in a way that is speaking to his base and breaking up families, which is very, very cruel. He’s doubling down, and it’s very attractive to a lot of people. It’s very powerful for lots of people who think politicians make promises they don’t keep.

Yes. Yes, it is. Anyone who takes 10 minutes here or there to read comments following the slightest criticism of the Regime will see just how much Trump supporters are in love with this.

I think what’s most worrying to me is the divisiveness that Trump is using to whip up his base and solidify support among true believers. He’s not winning anybody on the other side, and this is really problematic. Rolling back Obamacare is bad and banning people is a bad thing. It’s not entirely different from what we expected from other conservatives, but it’s really proven to be way, way, way different than with other candidates. And way more dangerous for democracy is this rhetoric, alternative facts, and inability to reach compromises with the other side of aisle. It’s truly pernicious, and what he’s managed in a couple months is really frightening.

Ben Ghiat: The separation of families and the further empowerment of ICE are unnecessary, cruel, and intimidating — and that is exactly their point. Causing human suffering and demoralization was built into this administration and emphasized in Trump’s dark inaugural address. They also show allies their commitment to the agenda of state racism. I see the setting up of immigrants as targets to be deported as part of a racist population management scheme which has [Chief Strategist Steve] Bannon as its mastermind, but plenty of help from the GOP.

We really aren’t all that far from concentration camps. A lot of people on the left insist this is hyperbole, no, it wouldn’t ever get that bad, checks and balances, all that. Well, all that hasn’t worked at all so far, has it? A lot people on the left said it could never reach the point it has, insisting on their rose-coloured glasses. “It won’t come to that.” It has come to that, and it’s going to get worse.

Mudde: As should have been clear to anyone watching President Trump’s joint session speech, he hasn’t changed. Yes, he read a speech from the teleprompter without going on rants, but every time he talked about the need to come together and not divide the nation, he pointed his hand in the direction of the Democrats. Moreover, despite the pandering to congressional Republicans — in terms of deregulation and overturning Obama legislation, particularly Obamacare — let there be no mistake that this was a Bannon-[Stephen] Miller speech.

The only topic of discussion after the speech, at least for liberals, should have been VOICE, i.e. the new federal program for Victims of Immigrant Crime Enforcement that he announced. This is an incredible example of nativist politics, distinguishing victims not on the basis of the crime or damage they have suffered, but the ethnicity/legal status of the perpetrator. It obviously serves the purpose to identify “immigrants” — not just undocumented ones — with crime and crime with immigrants.

The fact that self-appointed liberal spokesmen like Van Jones and Bill Maher hailed this speech for its presidentialism shows just how shallow and self-centered their opposition is. He didn’t go after “us,” so it was a good speech. In other words, for me, the main story of the last week was not anything Trump did, but the deep desire among conservatives and liberals to normalize Trump.

The sheer amount of people intent on normalising Trump and the Regime is terrifying in and of itself. I understand the desire, the constant onslaught of corruption and evil is difficult to deal with. Heads get filled with anxiety and depression, shoulders hunched and knotted with the weight of stress. There comes a point where the desire to just sink into denial is overwhelmingly welcome. Regardless, we can’t afford ourselves the narcotic of normalisation, we must all stand, as firm and bright torches blazing in the dark, lighting the way we must go.

Full story at Think Progress.

Facts Be Damned. Oh, And Fuck Women.

White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon listens at right as President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the White House on January 31. CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci.

White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon listens at right as President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the White House on January 31. CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci.

One of the uglier aspects of the ‘new’ Muslim ban is a focus on ‘honor killings’, even though that’s not a massive problem here in uStates, but it’s a convenient thing to rail about when you’re attempting to incite a racial panic. Just how much the Regime does not care about victims of honor killings is highlighted by the fact that the Violence Against Women grants are going to be eliminated, even though roughly 1,500 women are murdered as a result of domestic violence per year. It should not be ignored that both Trump and Bannon have been accused of domestic violence. Nor should Trump’s attitude toward women in general, which is incredibly ugly. The reasoning behind the ban is nothing more than slimy white nationalism, and there isn’t all that much to cover the shit over, they simply don’t care. Well, that’s not quite fair. They do care about any possibility of having this ban legally overturned as well. As usual the problem does not just rest with the Regime’s legislation and executive orders. It also lies on the shoulders of all those Regime voters and supporters.

I am sick to death of people wringing their hands over these poor, poor Trumpians who start crying when the chickens come home to roost. No, I do not have sympathy for them, because they have none for anyone, they were firmly and flatly in favour of bigotry, hatred, and misogyny, and any of them who claim they weren’t, they are liars. Trump’s whole fucking campaign was nothing but a constant litany of bigotry, hatred, and misogyny, as well as a paen to the might of white, and a psalm sung to the filthy rich.

The whole excuse of “well, some of them just wanted to throw a brick at the establisment” is a fucking lie, too. One Big Lie. If those people truly wanted to buck the establishment, Trump would have been dumped and Sanders would have ended up in the white house, and we would be moving towards a properly socialized government. That would have been tossing a brick at the man. Voting for Trump? For fuck’s sake, how could you possibly get more establishment? The excuse of “they thought he was a good business man!” won’t wash either. Trump’s constant failures over the years were not a secret. His incompetency was out there for all to see, during the whole campaign. The regime voters chose to ignore it. The excuse of “oh hey jobs”? No, doesn’t wash either, because what all those white Trumpians meant by that was “stomp all over those brown peoples!”. They never have anything to say when you point out that they don’t want to work cleaning toilets and peoples’ houses.

No, no more fucking excuses. The assholes who voted in the regime who are now crying? They’re only crying because they weren’t supposed to get bitten on the arse. They wanted all those others to get fucked over. Anyroad, back to the fucked up, shit-caked ban…

President Trump’s second Muslim ban, signed on Monday, includes a provision directing the Department of Homeland Security to collect and make public “information regarding the number and types of gender-based violence against women, including so-called ‘honor killings,’ in the United States by foreign nationals.”

According to numbers from a Department of Justice-sponsored study conducted in 2014, there are less than 30 such “honor killings” in the country each year. The killings — which are “perceived by the perpetrator to be a way to restore honor to the family in the face of a perceived damage,” according to the report — are sometimes “motivated by a radical and dark interpretation of Islam,” as Fox News wrote in late 2015.

The inclusion of the “honor killings” provision in the new Muslim ban marks the second time in a week the Trump administration has outlined a plan to use federal resources “to whip up as much racial panic as possible,” as Matt Yglesias of Vox puts it. The first instance was Trump’s vow to create the Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement office, or VOICE, during his speech to Congress last week, even though immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans.

In a similar vein, the number of “honor killings” in the U.S. stands in stark contrast to the roughly 1,500 women who are murdered as a result of domestic violence in a given year. But according to numerous reports, Trump’s budget proposal will eliminate the Department of Justice’s Violence Against Women grants. Those grants had a $480 million budget last year and funded 25 grant programs helping domestic violence victims, according to Mother Jones. Trump and chief strategist Steve Bannon have both been accused of domestic assault.

[…]

But the “honor killing” provision is just the latest example of Trump trying to portray Islam in a violent light. Despite the fact that a person in America is much more likely to be killed by a right-wing extremist than a Muslim terrorist, the Trump administration has signaled it wants a federal counter-terrorism program to stop focusing on violent white supremacists and any other extremist groups not comprised of Muslims. And after the Department of Homeland Security released a report last month undermining the administration’s core rationale for the Muslim ban  — “citizenship is unlikely to be a reliable indicator of potential terrorist activity,” it found — the administration tried to downplay the report.

“The president asked for an intelligence assessment,” the a senior administration official told the Wall Street Journal. “This is not the intelligence assessment the president asked for.”

Right. An accurate assessment is provided, but the Tiny Tyrant doesn’t want that, and neither does shadow tyrant Bannon. They want shit shoveled onto a platter, and shaped into the form of whatever they asked for, providing them with a basis for the regime.

Think Progress has the full story.

Also see: The mass deportation of African immigrants that isn’t getting media attention. Nobody noticed.

iPhone or Healthcare? Healthcare or iPhone? Updated.

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The long-awaited “replacement” to ACA has been revealed, and oh, it’s not good. People have been reacting, to say the least, and rethugs are desperately trying to come up with a defense.

The Republican Party’s proposed Obamacare replacement plan is already facing a storm of criticism, and Republican lawmakers are scrambling to defend it on cable news networks.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) appeared on CNN Tuesday morning to explain why obtaining health care is a matter of personal responsibility for millions of Americans, and not an area that requires government intervention.

In particular, Chaffetz said that, under the new GOP plan, poor Americans would be forced to make wise financial decisions if they really wanted to have access to health care.

“You know what, Americans have choices, and they’ve got to make a choice,” he said. “And so maybe, rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and want to go spend hundreds of dollars on, maybe they should invest in their own health care.”

Oh, there’s that peculiar notion of rethuglican choice again. “Here you are, you have no choice at all, isn’t that great? Now, make the right choice!” A couple of hundred dollars is not going to get anyone very far when it comes to healthcare. Anyone who has ended up with an out of pocket doctor visit could tell you that. Any money left over is eaten alive by prescription meds. Once again, we see a fine example of the loathsome and utterly disconnected attitude rethugs have towards people, especially those with wallets on the thin side – you uppity poor people really shouldn’t have anything except the very basics, it’s not right you have more! You only get a nifty phone or internet access once you’ve hauled yourself up by your bootstraps and made a fortune. Let’s have a dose of reality here, a subject which republicans consistently fail in:

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average premium for an individual health care plan in the United States is just over $235 per month. Buying an iPhone 7 through a wireless carrier and paying for it in installments over a two-year period costs $27 per month.

In other words, forsaking an iPhone 7 will save Americans enough money to pay for roughly 11% of what it would cost to get health insurance.

I’m not wealthy, and I don’t have a smartphone of any kind, but that’s because I don’t like phones. I still think all people should have healthcare, I don’t give the tiniest of shits what kind of gear they may or may not have, because that’s not in the least bit relevant. It is the same old ugly republican line, though: if you don’t have something, it’s your fault. Oh look, you got something. Well, it’s because of that you can’t have anything else. The basic fuck you, while avoiding any responsibility for it.

The so-called replacement plan is a travesty, and that’s an understatement. I’m sure people expected it to be, but as usual, the news is worse than what we imagined. Think Progress has a break down of 6 very important points to the new “plan”. Click on over for the full details, which are appalling.

House Republicans released on Monday a plan to undo Obamacare that will likely leave millions more Americans uninsured.

After significant internal division about the path forward on Obamacare, lawmakers unveiled two bills that, taken together, would repeal and replace President Obama’s signature health care reform law. House committees are expected to hold votes on the bills as early as this week.

Here’s what you need to know about the legislation, and what it says about the House GOP’s plan for the future of health insurance in America:

It includes massive cuts to Medicaid, the program that provides coverage for millions of low-income Americans.

It defunds Planned Parenthood and eliminates abortion coverage.

It includes a big tax break for insurance companies that pay their CEOs more than $500,000 per year.

A significant portion of the bill is devoted to ensuring lottery winners don’t have access to Medicaid.

It could trigger a “death spiral” in the individual insurance market.

It will result in a lot fewer people having health insurance.

Via Raw Story and Think Progress.

UPDATE: Oh my, looks like the Tiny Tyrant is scrambling for something, anything, in the face of the overwhelming scorn for “Trumpcare”. This hasn’t stopped the appearance of Mr. Tweet, though, who started out with this:

Our wonderful new Healthcare Bill is now out for review and negotiation. ObamaCare is a complete and total disaster – is imploding fast!

Jesus. How can anyone be that fucking disconnected from reality and still be on the planet?

Also see: How would repealing the Affordable Care Act affect health care and jobs in your state?

 Across the country, 29.8 million people would lose their health insurance if the Affordable Care Act were repealed—more than doubling the number of people without health insurance. And 1.2 million jobs would be lost—not just in health care but across the board.