The Tiny Tyrant’s Tax Evasion.

Via Twitter.

The people of Briarcliff Manor, NY, are rather upset with the Tiny Tyrant, and for very good reason. Turns out, Trump doesn’t want to pay his taxes. Alright, everyone who’s surprise, raise your hand. Not wanting to pay taxes is no great shock, there’s a reason people want to see those tax returns; what is of interest is why Trump doesn’t want to pay the property tax on his golf course.

ABC News reports that the Trump organization has filed a legal challenge with Briarcliff Manor to knock $250,000 off the property tax bill for the Trump National Golf Club, Westchester. ABC News notes that the organization’s challenge is “who resent having to assume the burden of paying additional taxes to support town services and the local school district.”

Emphasis mine. I’m just gonna let that sit there and sink in. This is from the Major Moron who never shut up about “making America great again”.

And Gloria Fried, the receiver of taxes for Ossining, tells ABC that “it is very difficult when you see someone who has all these assets at his disposal who would rather pay lawyers to avoid his civic duty of paying taxes.”

I imagine that avoiding civic duties is a way of life for the Tiny Tyrant, and all the fucking idiots put him in the white house. If I thought they were capable of it, I’d say they ought to be absolutely mortified.

Via Raw Story.

When Words Come Back To Bite Your Ass.

In this photo taken April 21, 2010, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, speaks about financial reform at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. In a letter circulated by Hatch Thursday, March 3, 2011. CREDIT: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak.

With all the secrecy and other slimy moves in the ramming through of the Fuck You Care Plan, an interesting op-ed has surfaced, from Orrin Hatch. It certainly highlights the ongoing hypocrisy of rethuglicans, and why you can never trust anything they might say, and certainly not what they might do.

In short, in less than a week, Senate Republicans are considering ramming through a major piece of legislation that the public has not seen and will not be able to respond to, and they’re using a method specifically designed to circumvent any mechanism the Constitution allows the Senate’s minority party to stop it.

But don’t take it from me: Take it from Republican Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who agitated fiercely against the Senate Democrats’ rumored plan to pass Obamacare through reconciliation in 2010.

“This use of reconciliation to jam through this legislation, against the will of the American people, would be unprecedented in scope,” Hatch wrote in a 2010 Washington Post op-ed titled “Reconciliation on health care would be an assault to the democratic process.” “And the havoc wrought would threaten our system of checks and balances, corrode the legislative process, degrade our system of government and damage the prospects of bipartisanship.”

In the op-ed, Hatch details exactly how reconciliation allows a majority party to abuse parliamentary power, and why it’s inappropriate for health care. “It sharply limits debate and amendments to a mere 20 hours and would allow passage with only 51 votes (as opposed to the 60 needed to overcome a procedural hurdle),” he wrote. “But the Constitution intends the opposite process, especially for a bill that would affect one-sixth of the American economy.”

Now, of course, Hatch is all for the terrible process, and defends the secrecy on the basis it won’t give democrats a chance to criticise, because as we all now know, criticism is just the worst thing ever.

According to Hatch, holding public hearings on Senate Republicans’ Obamacare replacement plan would be useless, because those hearings would only give Democrats opportunity for criticism.

“We have zero cooperation from the Democrats,” he told reporters. “So getting it in public gives them a chance to get up and scream.”

When it was Obamacare on the table, Hatch was a staunch proponent of bipartisanship, arguing in an open letter to Obama that “our nation expects us to solve this challenge in an open, honest and bipartisan manner.” He added that “the American people deserve an open and vigorous dialogue on this critical legislation and the use of this process would be a clear signal that Washington continues to ignore their voices.”

Think Progress has the full embarrassing story. Well, it would be embarrassing to anyone except a rethuglican.

Media, Oh Media, Wherefore Art Thou?

CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci.

The Senate secrecy over the Fuck You Care Plan is working, and like a dream. It’s not being covered, anywhere, by anyone. Granted, there’s not a whole lot of story there, but media has no business ignoring it to the point that it seems it’s not a reality. If anything, media should be pounding on this, hard. If there’s a case of the death of democracy, it’s right there.

The informal July 4 deadline Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has set for Senate Republicans to pass a health care bill that could strip coverage from 23 million Americans is rapidly approaching — but you wouldn’t know it from looking at the front page of major newspapers across the country on Monday.

National outlets like the New York Times and Washington Post featured no front-page coverage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), also known as Trumpcare, which is being secretly written by an all-male group of senators. The lack of attention being paid to the bill indicates McConnell’s strategy of avoiding publicity by drafting the bill behind closed doors, holding no hearings, and unveiling the bill’s text at the last possible minute is paying dividends.

[…]

People who consume their news online also didn’t see any coverage on major outlets’ homepages Monday morning.

Trumpcare has also been a blip on the TV news radar. According to an analysis by Media Matters looking at coverage from June 1 through June 14, the bill has received scant mention on broadcast and cable news, with Republican secrecy surrounding the bill barely even being mentioned.

There’s a reason Republicans want to Trumpcare on the down low — even Fox News is unable to spin the unpopularity of the bill, which is essentially a tax cut for the rich masquerading as health care reform.

[…]

Progressive senators are trying to make the media take notice. On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) sent a letter to Republican committee chairs with jurisdiction over Trumpcare requesting that they “schedule hearings to discuss, debate and hear testimony about the health care bill you are currently drafting in secret.”

The letter, which goes on to list each of the 31 rooms where a hearing could be held, says the millions of American who would be negatively impacted by Trumpcare “deserve an open and public debate over the bill.”

“The American Health Care Act would fundamentally redefine health care in our country,” it concludes. “To draft it behind closed doors and pass it without even one hearing is nothing short of legislative malpractice and a repudiation of all the Senate stands for.”

So…how about it, media? Can we get a little bit of outrage over this travesty? A little bit of attention? Think Progress has the full story, along with many images showing the complete lack of coverage.

The Incompetency Path To Autocracy.

Slate has an interview with Masha Gessen on the current state of affairs:

[… ] You wrote a piece for the Times called “Trump’s Incompetence Won’t Save Our Democracy.” I think the common answer from many Trump opponents is that his incompetence has been the real saving grace. Why do you disagree?

I think that incompetence is actually an integral part of autocracy taking hold. Basically, what we mean when we say that he is incompetent, in large part, is that he doesn’t understand the way American government functions. But because he’s wielding power, he’s reshaping government very quickly to fit his idea of how government should function, and that is autocracy. His incompetence is actually an integral part of the damage that he’s doing by turning something like a democracy into something like an autocracy.

That may be true, but wouldn’t autocracy function better if he was competent enough to actually staff his administration with cronies and pass laws that would entrench his power?

I guess it depends on what your ultimate fear is. If your ultimate fear is that he will pass legislation that will do terrible things, then you’re right. My ultimate fear is different. My ultimate fear is that he is destroying the structure and culture of American government.

That’s my fear too, aside from nuclear war.

But you don’t do this legislatively. The thing is, if you pass this terrible legislation, that’s reversible because the mechanism is transparent, the mechanism of damage, and then in the post-Trump era you reverse it by passing a different piece of legislation. That’s great. When he destroys things by eviscerating institutions, by changing the way that they actually function, that’s a much more difficult thing to reverse in a post-Trump era. The fact that they haven’t been able to fill positions is actually part of what I’m talking about in terms of the way that government is breaking up into discrete, opaque parts.

The State Department, which I happen to know more about than other agencies, which isn’t a whole lot, but the State Department is basically missing that entire layer of political appointees who would normally ensure that there’s communication between the top and the career staffers who do most of the on-the-ground work. With that layer gone, they are all sort of functioning in a kind of airless space. If they still have money that they’re supposed to spend on programs that are still sort of maybe valid, then they will, but they’re not sure that that’s what they’re supposed to be doing, and they have no one to talk to about it, which is not to say that they’re making terrible decisions. They’re possibly, in fact probably making the best possible decisions under the circumstances, but they’re making those decisions out of the public eye. Restoring that system of accountability, which wasn’t that great in the first place, is much more difficult than reversing legislation.

The full interview is at Slate, and well worth reading. I’d say Ms. Gessen’s take on the incompetency factor takes on a new urgency, because this is the new strategy of the GOP, protecting and defending Trump from all accountability and accusation, “he didn’t know better” and “he’s not competent in politics”.  Think Progress has the full story on the new double speak of the incompetency defense.

Event Planner In Charge of Federal Housing.

Lynne Patton (YouTube).

An event planner with no political experience whatsoever, and a trail of bogus degrees has been placed in charge of federal housing programs in NYC. Ms. Patton was one of the people running Eric Trump’s fraudulent charity. So you can see why the Tiny Tyrant chose her: a liar, happily corrupt, with experience in committing fraud.

Donald Trump has named an event planner with no relevant experience and a sketchy resume to oversee federal housing programs in New York City.

Lynne Patton, who arranged Eric Trump’s wedding and tournaments at the president’s golf courses, was appointed Wednesday to lead the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Region II, which includes New York and New Jersey, reported the New York Daily News.

Patton will oversee the distribution of billions of dollars in taxpayer money to public housing authorities, as well as tens of thousands of rental vouchers and block grants to fund housing inspections and programs for senior citizens.

She has no housing experience, and Patton has claimed degrees she did not earn.

Her LinkedIn profile claims a law degree from Quinnipiac University, although the school’s registrar said Patton attended for two semesters but did not graduate.

She also listed Yale University on the social media profile, but HUD officials were unsure why.

[…]

Patton defended HUD Secretary Ben Carson last month, after he said poverty was a state of mind, and praised White House budget director Mick Mulvaney for saying the Trump administration would “measure compassion” by the number of people who were removed from government assistance programs.

If you are in NYC, and had hopes of help in this direction, you might want to start looking elsewhere. Via Raw Story.

Another Bad Bush.

John K. Bush, one of Trump’s federal judicial nominees, found himself in the position of having defend previous blog posts, which cited heavily from WorldNetDaily, the batshit christian conservative’s “news” source. Bush is a profound birther, and rabidly anti-choice. In spite of all this, he will most likely end up confirmed, unless some rethuglicans root around and find both a brain and a conscience.

Given Bush’s prolific history as a political blogger, those opinions were on full display during his confirmation hearing on Wednesday.

Birtherism came up after Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) noted a blog post where Bush relied heavily on World Net Daily, a conservative site famous for touting conspiracy theories such as the birther libel against President Obama. In the post — which bears the grammatically-dubious title “‘Brother’s Keeper’ — As In, Keep That Anti-Obama Reporter In Jail!”  — Bush touted a World Net Daily story claiming that one of the publication’s reporters was being held by immigration officials in Kenya after the reporter went there to investigate Obama’s Kenyan half-brother.

[…]

In any event, Bush felt that he needed to distance himself from the birther website he once cited, telling Franken that “I was certainly not intending to endorse any views of another group, as far as birtherism goes,” when he wrote this particular blog post.

Questionable citations aside, many of Bush’s other blog posts stated much more directly how the judicial nominee views the world. In one post in particular, for example, Bush claimed that “the two greatest tragedies in our country” are “slavery and abortion.”

After Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) asked Bush if he still held this view, Bush attempted to paint his views on Roe v. Wade as relatively innocuous. “I believe that [Roe] is a tragedy,” he said, “in the sense that it divided our country.”

Later in the hearing, however, Bush revealed that he either does not believe that all divisive decisions are tragic, or that he has a very poor command of American history.

“Wouldn’t you characterize Brown v. Board of Education,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) asked Bush, as “a case that divided our country?” In response, Bush first pled ignorance, then gave an historically-inaccurate answer.

“I wasn’t alive at the time of Brown,” Bush said. “But I don’t think it did.”

Well. There’s a heaping dose of flaming stupid. I didn’t exist at the time of Brown either, but I’m certainly aware of it, and aware of the massive divisiveness it caused, ripples of which abound to this day. You would have to be somewhere in the realm of complete dedication to ignorance to claim unawareness in this regard, especially if your career in life is that of a fucking judge. Fucking Idiot does not even begin to cover this.

In fairness, Bush’s ignorance of American civil rights history, while certainly not an optimal trait in a judge, might not prevent him from performing the core responsibilities of an appellate jurist. Typically, judges spend far more time parsing statutory language and consulting legal precedents than they do digging into political history.

But Bush is not like most people named to the federal bench. In a 2009 panel hosted by the conservative Federalist Society — an organization which has played a major role in selecting Trump’s judicial nominees — Bush aligned himself with originalism, the belief that the only valid way to interpret the Constitution is to apply its text in the way those words were originally understood at the time they were drafted.

Whatever the virtues or demerits of originalism as an interpretive method, it only works if the judges applying it have a deep command of history and the skills necessary to sort good historical arguments from bad ones. After all, how can someone figure out the original meaning of a text if they don’t understand the historical and political context that brought that text into being?

The fact that Bush knows so little about one of the most famous judicial decisions in American history does not suggest that he is up to this task.

I’d say that’s quite the understatement. The reality? Bush is yet another toady who will do whatever the Tiny Tyrant wants, regardless of law.

Think Progress has the full story.  * RWW watch also has this, along with video of the questioning by Franken.

196 Members of Congress: Suing Trump.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, left, and White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner listen as President Donald Trump speaks during a Cabinet meeting, Monday, June 12, 2017, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington. CREDIT: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik.

The lawsuits against the Tiny Tyrant are piling up, and a good part of congress has decided to join in, this time dealing with the emoluments clause, which has been utterly shredded by the Tiny Tyrant, who seems to think this whole presidenting thing is just like his many sleazy real estate cons. He’s not entirely wrong about that, but he hasn’t even so much as made an effort at appearances. Unfortunately, this particular lawsuit will only deal with forcing the Tiny Tyrant to abide by the constitution. If successful though, it may provide the means of exposing the so-called business empire, so people can finally have a peek inside and see what’s truly there, and what isn’t.

Nearly 200 Democratic lawmakers will file suit against President Donald Trump on Wednesday, alleging that he is violating the Constitution’s foreign emoluments clause by accepting payments from foreign governments through his businesses while president.

The plaintiffs include 30 Senators and 166 members of the House of Representatives — but a source familiar with the lawsuit said more lawmakers could join an amended complaint later if they wished. The case will be lead by the nonprofit Constitutional Accountability Center.

The lawsuit — and the sheer number of members of Congress participating — reflects the deep frustration of Democratic lawmakers with the leeway the White House has been given by the Republican majority in Congress.

Traditionally, Congress is taxed with oversight and accountability of the executive branch, which they carry out through hearings and other means. But the way Congress is set up gives extraordinary control to the majority party — and the Republicans in charge of the oversight committees have refused to investigate Trump, a Republican president, on issues involving his business activities.

Hamstrung by more traditional oversight means, and already shut out of any sort of working relationship with the president, Democratic lawmakers have now turned to the courts to try to force Trump to comply with the Constitution.

[…]

They also serve another purpose: As part of their discovery process, it is likely that the plaintiffs will ask for Trump’s tax returns.

From foreign profits to foreign debt, Trump has been unprecedentedly opaque about his finances for an American president. His tax returns pose the best chance at clearing up lingering questions over conflicts of interest and whether his decisions as president stand to benefit his pockets as a citizen.

But Trump has thus far refused all calls to make his tax returns public — meaning that these lawsuits may pose the public’s best chance at finally getting a look at exactly what the president’s business empire really looks like.

Think Progress has the full story.

Valley Fever and No Healthcare.

Dust storms spike with Valley fever cases. The largest number of dust storms from 1988 to 2011 are concentrated in the SW states reporting the highest numbers of fever cases.

The infection rate of Valley Fever in the Southwest United States has gone up a stunning 800 percent from 2000 to 2011, as dust storms have more than doubled.

New research directly links the rise in Valley Fever to the rise in dust storms, which in turn is driven by climate change. Valley Fever, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls “a fungal lung infection that can be devastating,” is caused by inhaling soil-dwelling fungus. When the soil dries out and turns to dust, the wind can make the fungus airborne.

“Dust storms are found to better correlated with the disease than any other known controlling factor,“ a new study led by NOAA scientists concluded.

[…]

But the biggest concern about modern Dust-Bowlification is the tremendous challenge of “feeding some 9 billion people by mid-century in the face of a rapidly worsening climate.” This is why climate action is so urgent and vital.

This all goes along nicely with the rethuglican agenda of making sure a whole lot of people will die from a lack of good nutrition and healthcare. Until the day comes along they are personally threatened, there won’t be minds changing. Unfortunately, money makes a very nice cushion against what always hits the poorer people first. Speaking of the Fuck You Care Plan, the secrecy continues:

Senate Republicans plan to send their health care bill to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) for analysis but don’t yet have a plan to release a draft of the bill for public scrutiny, according to Axios.

“We aren’t stupid,” an aide to a Senate Republican told Axios.

It’s perhaps understandable that Senate Republicans would want to shine as little light as possible on an unpopular bill that could cause millions of people to lose their health insurance.

The Senate is reportedly putting the final touches on a health care bill that looks very similar to the so-called American Health Care Act (AHCA) passed by the House. According to the CBO, the House version would cost 23 million Americans their health insurance while dramatically increasing costs for older Americans and people with pre-existing conditions, in part because of the bill’s $834 billion cut to Medicaid over the next decade.

[…]

“We have no idea what’s being proposed,” McCaskill said, addressing chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT). “There’s a group of guys in a back room somewhere that are making these decisions… Listen, this is hard to take.”

“You couldn’t have a more partisan exercise than what you’re engaged in right now,” she continued. “We’re not even gonna have a hearing on a bill that impacts one-sixth of our economy. We’re not going to have an opportunity to offer a single amendment. It is all being done with an eye to try to get it by with 50 votes and the vice president.”

[…]

McCaskill went on to blast McConnell for his hypocrisy. Before the 2014 election that returned control of the Senate to Republicans, McConnell “pledged to send bills through committees, even if it might upset members of his own conference,” as The Hill reported in May of that year. But last week, McConnell gave the health care bill “fast track” status, meaning it can skip the committee process altogether.

Republican hypocrisy was also evidence during the House process. Before the 2010 election that returned control of the House to Republicans, House Republican leaders unveiled their “Pledge to America.” The pledge contained a “Read the Bill” promise vowing, “We will ensure that bills are debated and discussed in the public square by publishing the text online for at least three days before coming up for a vote in the House of Representatives.” But a number of House Republicans admitted to not even reading the AHCA before they cast a vote for it.

Think Progress has the full stories: Valley Fever and What Healthcare?

Sunday Facepalm.

Yesterday, I posted about The Tiny Evangelical Tyrant, and that’s a serious problem.  Today, we visit some of the Religious Reich who fervently back the Tiny Tyrant. It is so very easy to roll the eyes over what seems to be, and is, such irrationality, and it’s okay to have the eyerolls and facepalms. After that, though, there’s a need to realize how serious these people are, and what they want to do. The longer the Tiny Tyrant stays in office, the more he’ll give them what they want, and what they want is damn scary. These people never shut up about how awful Islam is, sharia this, sharia that, sharia everything, and so on. What they want, however, is no different. They talk of demons and witchcraft. They talk of the slightest shake of the head against authoritarianism. They talk of degeneracy, of a woeful lack of modesty, looking at women, of course. They decry all the harlotry of the modern age.

The Religious Reich thinks this is time for the crusades again, literally. They are screaming and praying for blood, in an orgy of self righteous lust. They think only in terms of enemies. They wouldn’t have a problem with reinstating an Inquisition, or witch trials. They don’t see that type of thing as bad, and yes, they do believe in witchcraft. So do their congregations. This is what they’d like as the law of the land, along with belief in their psychopathic Jehovah to be the rule of the day everywhere, in schools and the public square. And yes, I know, there’s a tendency to dismiss it all as simply too fantastic to actually happen, but we’re half way there already. Most women are already all too aware of that. Same goes for most of the queer community, as well.

So, take a little delight in the silly, but remember that the Religious Reich is deadly serious about all this, and we must stand as a great wall of resistance and open opposition to their idea of America.

Lance Wallnau is indulging in imprecatory prayer.

“I pray that the words they have spoken even turn back upon them,” he continued, “and that you will cause everyone who dishonors the office of the president, who disrespects the authority of this government, who mocks the president—who is, in effect, mocking you, Lord—I pray now that you are going to turn upon those that are ministering a spirit of strife and contention and dishonor and disrespect and sowing rebellion and witchcraft in the nation, I pray that you cast them out of their position!”

“Those people that are falsely prophesying impeachment, falsely prophesying the destruction of this administration, it’s time this stopped!” Wallnau ranted. “Deliver us from evil.”

Wallnau said that this “warfare prayer” must spread across the nation because “when you’re nervous and worried about the president of America, go on the offense. Just don’t pray for peace; kick that demon! Bam!”

Goodness, I do believe he’s talking about all of us Resistance types. Of course, we’re small potatoes. Wallnau would like that ugly god of his to curse all media outside Fox and christian channels. Fortunately for us, Jehovah/Yahweh/El Shaddai/Adonai doesn’t seem to be the most motivated entity. I guess all that energy expended on tantrums, genocide, wars, murders, rapes, and so on, detailed in the old testament, must have really tuckered him out. Unfortunately, that won’t stop those who adore that mythical psychopath from trying to do “his will”.

Via RWW.

David Whitney, a very nasty piece of work coated in the slime of deep bigotry, has been preaching the evil of … Ariana Grande. Yep.

“Everything she stands for is quite eye opening,” Whitney said. “She is an open advocate for sodomy. She frequently speaks of her interaction with demons. That’s right, demons. She was raised, actually, in a Christian household but now clearly rejects everything that Christianity stands for and she states that she did so for a particular reason—because her brother is a sodomite and so, Christianity she threw out lock, stock and barrel for that reason. She has embraced not only sodomy, but a satanic cult religion … that is called Kabbalah, it is a Jewish cult belief system that is the opposite, in a sense, of our Christian faith.”

No one is as obsessed with sex as much as religious fanatics. They never shut up about it, and they cannot stand the idea of anyone, anywhere having any type of sex they don’t approve of, which is pretty much all of it. As for the whole Kabbalah business, I have no idea, but this goes back to yesterday’s post, and the insistence of christian thought that they are being horribly persecuted if other people believe differently than they do.

“It appears this Ariana is like the Pied Piper of Hamelin, leading a whole generation of young people, and indeed some very young people, to a very dangerous place,” he said, adding that Grande is “indeed a dangerous woman.”

Yeah, yeah, sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll. We’ve heard this nonsense before. Pretty sure this particular type of idiocy has been heard since the second generation of humans. What was the particular plaint in 200 BCE? In the 10th century? And so on. Every generation of young people are always immersed in the most dangerous of behaviours, and that music, whatever it was or is, is very, very bad!

“What is not surprising,” he continued, “is that she is wildly successful, famous and rich because people who make a pact with the devil and sell themselves to Satan, he often rewards them with riches and fame and power.”

Well, no. It has to do with talent, first and foremost, a little luck, and a fucktonne of hard work. I have no idea what Lucifer is up to these days, but he doesn’t seem to do much either. Perhaps he and Jehovah/Yahweh/El Shaddai/Adonai are busy playing poker or something.

“This dangerous woman is promoting every form of immorality and indeed she is promoting satanism by her music and by her lyrics and by her gyrations,” Whitney said.

Oooh, evil gyrations! I don’t know how old Whitney is, but he sounds like he’s about 200 years old. And promoting love and acceptance! Oh, yes, you don’t get more satanist than that. FFS.

“So while we can measure accurately the damage that the suicide bomber accomplished—we can count the body bags, we can read the list of those in the hospital recovering from their injuries that the suicide bomber caused—it is far more difficult to measure the damage done by this dangerous woman. Exactly how many souls has she led down the path of destruction?”

And there we have it. Religious fanatics, even those on the enemy side, well, they’re just doing what they think is right. A woman singing and dancing? There’s an evil which must be stomped on immediately!

Via RWW.

The Tiny Evangelical Tyrant.

Donald Trump in Cleveland prayer huddle -- (YouTube screen grab)

Donald Trump in Cleveland prayer huddle — (YouTube screen grab).

While the Tiny Tyrant is embroiled in scandals, and the senate is busy doing all manner of evil and nefarious things while people are distracted, Donny found himself in need of people willing to shovel endless amounts of praise into the black void of his ego. He found them in the Road to Majority, an annual evangelical meet up.

While millions of Americans spent Thursday glued to television coverage of former FBI director James Comey’s testimony, Donald Trump took time to bask in the adulation of Religious Right activists who gathered in D.C. for Road to Majority, the annual conference hosted by Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition.

Amid these conservative Christians, Trump didn’t need to worry about hearing a discouraging word or being challenged about his habitual lying. “We love him because he is our friend,” said Reed. Trump returned the sentiment, saying, “You didn’t let me down and I will never, ever let you down, you know that.”

And he hasn’t. About the only group Trump hasn’t screwed into the ground is the Religious Reich. As will be made clear as we go on, this is the reason I have no use for the ‘president Pence would be worse!’ excuse to keep Trump in place. No, he wouldn’t be. He’d be the same as far as all the christian crap is concerned. These hateful zealots are Donny’s über faithful, the core of his cult which has actual power.

Reed and Trump both cited the overwhelming support Trump received from white evangelical voters. Trump recalled that he had appeared at the conference last year asking for their support and prayers, and “boy did you deliver.” Reed praised Trump for focusing “like a laser beam” on winning evangelical support “and that’s why he’s the president of the United States today.”

Trump touted his accomplishments: the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, filling the Cabinet with people who “share our values,” withdrawal from the Paris climate accord and his proposed “historic” tax cut. And, of course, he bragged about having signed an executive order “to protect religious liberty in America” and to “stop the Johnson Amendment from interfering with your First Amendment rights.” Perhaps in a nod to those Religious Right activists who were disappointed that his order did not include sweeping exemptions for LGBT discrimination in the name of religion, Trump assured the audience, “Believe me, we’re not finished yet.”

And there you have it. Not finished yet, not by a long shot, and unless this catastrophe masquerading as a human being is ousted, the theocracy will continue marching in, with brutal oppression for everyone.

Trump cited the Bible, reading from a verse in Isaiah, as well as more vaguely stating:

[A]s the Bible tells us, we know that the truth will prevail, that God’s glorious wisdom will shine through, and that the good and decent people of this country will get the change they voted for and that they so richly deserve.

That’s pro forma for Trump, a bunch of shit wrapped in shiny gold foil, but if there’s one thing the Religious Reich is good at, it’s reading into things, deciding “ooh, he meant ____” and then applying pressure for whatever filled the blank.

Trump seemingly, but vaguely, endorsed Christian-nation activists’ goal of returning official prayer and religious instruction into the nation’s schools, saying schools “should not be a place that drive out faith and religion, but that should welcome faith and religion with wide-open beautiful arms.”

Oh goody, shades of Bush Jr with his faith based initiatives and abstinence only crap. This promises to be worse.

Trump also endorsed Religious Right fearmongering about the religious freedom of conservative Christians being under attack in America, saying “It is time to put a stop to the attacks on religion.” He promised, “As long as I’m president, no one is going to stop you from practicing your faith or preaching what is in your heart.”

I am beyond sick to death of this shit. No one stops anyone from practicing your faith (as long as you’re christian, or profess to be) or standing on a street corner screaming yourself hoarse. I don’t care what religion you might be, however, I appreciate it if you keep it in your pocket. I can handle my own affairs, thanks. You aren’t being fucking crucified if someone isn’t interested in your brand of psychopathic salvation, and you aren’t being oppressed if there are people who believe differently from yourself. It’s a free market – a marketplace of ideas, yeah? If people find what you’re selling to be nasty, stale, cruel, and stupid, time to change your product, not insist that everyone else get shut down, so shut the fuck up already.

And in a line recycled from his speech at Liberty University last month, Trump said, “In America we don’t worship government, we worship God.”

And, I repeat, In America, we don’t all worship “god”.  Sure as shit, theists certainly don’t all worship the same “god”. Christians don’t worship the same fucking “god”, for fuck’s sake. First, catch your god. Then define it.

Trump trashed Democrats as “obstructionists” and urged the activists to give him bigger Republican majorities in the House and Senate in the 2018 elections.

There’s something which needs to be fought, tooth and nail.

Reed had kicked off the luncheon by bragging about conservative electoral victories since his coalition was formed in 2010, and mocking mainstream media predictions about the Religious Right’s demise. Among the speakers who preceded Trump were Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Senator Ted Cruz.

Paxton bragged about how many times Texas had sued the federal government during his tenure. Among the cases he cited was a challenge to federal Department of Education rules on transgender students’ access to bathrooms; he said the state’s legal challenge to the Obama administration rules had delayed their implementation until the Trump administration dropped them. Paxton said that if Hillary Clinton had been elected and was able to name a Supreme Court justice to replace the late Antonin Scalia, “we were likely going to be in a post-constitutional America.” That didn’t happen, he said, thanks to the prayers and political work of Christian conservatives, “Praise God.”

We all know that prayer is utterly useless, but the Religious Reich will work harder than ever on the political front, and that has to be met with an overwhelming wall of resistance. I know I’m feeling burnt out, burnt crispy, but we cannot afford to stop, we cannot afford to stop countering this evil everywhere.

…Perdue praised Trump for doing what he said he’d do on the Supreme Court, regulation, and immigration and praised his trip to the Middle East. “Look, this president is nobody’s choir boy, right?” said Perdue to chuckles from the audience, “But he is a man of action.”

“No choir boy.” They know exactly what the Tiny Tyrant is, and they are perfectly okay with that, because he’s the instrument by which they think they can bring about the Theocalypse™. This is their one chance to see that hatred and evil win. This is a fight we cannot afford to lose.

Full story at RWW.

The Invocation of Senate Rule 14.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, accompanied by Senate Republican leaders, speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill. CREDIT: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais.

While all eyes are on Comey right now, the ever oily ophidian Mitch McConnell is busy making sure that millions upon millions of American citizens will be thoroughly deprived of healthcare. This is the perfect time for sly and sleazy tricks, with all the scandals breaking like so many rotten eggs; and it is summertime, with all its enticing distractions, offering respite from the constant anxieties of American life. It would be so much easier, and nicer, to go off on my new bicycle for a rideabout, than to report on yet more of the machinations of the regime.

Senate Speaker Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he is striving to get a vote on the Republican health care bill by July 4, before Congress leaves for August recess. As ludicrous as this deadline seems, the Senate could pull it off — but it will be done without much public scrutiny.

Sen. McConnell implemented Senate “Rule 14” Wednesday to fast-track the GOP House health bill. This rule allows the Senate to skip the committee process (goodbye full senate committee debate) and instead “fast-tracks” the bill by moving it on the senate calendar so it can be brought to a vote.

Republicans need to pass a health care bill immediately. And they need to pass a bill that reconciles the needs of both the House and Senate, by September 30th in order to use reconciliation. Reconciliation is a 1974 act that expedites the senate’s consideration of bills that pertain to the budget. While Washington watches James Comey testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senate Republicans leaders and the health care working group will still be meeting for a working luncheon to continue negotiations.

[…]

During a Senate Finance Committee hearing on the Health and Human Services 2018 budget request on Thursday, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) vocalized her frustration with the senate leader invoking rule 14. She asked the chairman, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), if there is going to be a public hearing on the Senate’s secret health bill. A befuddled Hatch said he did not know. “But we have no idea what’s being proposed,” McCaskill exclaimed.

McCaskill makes a valid point. Georgetown University congressional expert Josh Huder says what’s truly remarkable is the Senate will replicate what the House did: push this bill forward with little transparency.

It’s not transparent, but it’s a good way to get health care legislation passed. The Senate is using reconciliation to get this done, which prevents a Democrat filibuster. “This bill will not get 60 votes anywhere. If you want to the bill to pass, this is the only way to do it,” said Huder.

Think Progress has the full story.

Trump Morality.

CREDIT: Eric Trump steps off Air Force One as he arrives Sunday, April 16, 2017, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. President Donald Trump and family are returning from his Mar-a-Largo resort in Florida. CREDIT: AP Photo/Alex Brandon.

After Eric Trump spent some time with Sean Hannity, spitting bitterness and claiming that democrats aren’t even people to him, as he opined over the complete lack of morality these days (the fault of liberals, natch),  a report from Forbes has revealed an instance of what passes for morality in the Trump Klan.

On Tuesday, Forbes reported that Eric Trump has diverted more than $1 million donations to his kids-cancer charity to Trump golf courses. These costs were incurred during the Eric Trump Foundation’s annual golf fundraiser. But according to charity experts, “the listed expenses defy any reasonable cost justification for a one-day golf tournament.”

The golf fundraiser was marketed as an opportunity for donors to have nearly their entire gift go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, since the golf and other services were provided free of charge.

A former employee of the club, however, told Forbes that beginning in 2011, the charity was charged for the use of course and other services. Ian Gillule, membership and marketing director at Trump National Westchester, said the club began billing Eric Trump’s foundation after Donald Trump “had a cow.”

“I don’t care if it’s my son or not — everybody gets billed,” Donald Trump said, according to Gillule.

The payments by the charity to the Trump Organization for its one-day tournament were also confirmed by a former member of the Eric Trump Foundation board. And the payments increased dramatically over time — from $46,000 in 2011 to $322,000 in 2015.

Eric Trump appears to have gone to significant lengths to cover up these payments. Last year, he told Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold that none of the money actually went to the Trump Organization. Rather, Eric Trump insisted, the money was simply passed from the Trump Organization to “to cover the cost of outside vendors.”

In July, Eric Trump excoriated Fahrenthold for even suggesting otherwise:

Eric Trump also criticized The Post for a recent blog post — and recent Twitter messages by this reporter — about a payment made by the Eric Trump Foundation to one of Donald Trump’s golf courses.

“It’s disgusting. It is so disgusting what’s happening,” Eric Trump said. “I’m saving dying children. We do tremendous good for people. And you’re sitting there tearing us apart.”

“I save dying children! I do! There’s nothing wrong with profiting from that! This speaks to one of the worst things about the Trump Criminal Organization – the insistence that they are prime signifiers of morality; of being truly good and decent people. Ivana Jr. wants to profit by pretending to identify with working women. The elder sons slaughter animals for fun, are up to their necks in sleazy business, and now do whatever they must to protect their sire, lying and spreading bullshit by the fucktonne.

Think Progress has the full story.

Climate Accord: Trump To Pull Out.

“Montenegro Prime Minister Dusko Markovic, center right, after appearing to be pushed by Donald Trump, center.” CREDIT for caption/photo: AP/Matt Dunham.

There’s been a great deal of anxiety laden speculation over the Paris Climate Accord, as that represents our last, best hope. It seems it’s a last, best hope that the Tiny Tyrant wants no part of, and plans to withdraw from.  This is not yet formal, and the Tiny Tyrant is subject to doing rapid turnabouts on a whim, but he’s never been secretive about his scorn for the climate accord, or his desire to pull out. The damage he has already done here in uStates is tremendous, it won’t be long before we’re back to 1970s levels of pollution, with smog alerts and steeping in trash and toxicity once again. Naturally, this will lead to a much sicker populace, one which will not be able to take care of themselves, thanks to the Fuck You Care Plan. There’s one other country which is also adamantly against the climate accord. Bet you don’t need three guesses, either. It’s Russia.

President Donald Trump has privately told “confidants” he intends to leave the Paris accord on climate change, “according to three sources with direct knowledge,” Axios reported Saturday.

After persuading voters that America isn’t great anymore, Trump apparently intends to make sure of it — by having this country lead the effort to kill humanity’s last, best hope of avoiding catastrophic climate change.

Quitting a unanimous agreement by 190+ nations after a two-decade negotiating process would make us a rogue nation, a global pariah, like Vladimir Putin’s Russia. And, it could make Putin happy, as we’ll see.

While Trump tweeted out Saturday from Italy that “I will make my final decision on the Paris Accord next week,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters after the G7 meeting, “The whole discussion about climate has been difficult, or rather very unsatisfactory.” She added, “Here we have the situation that six members, or even seven if you want to add the EU, stand against one.”

Axios notes that “Although Trump made it clear during the campaign and in multiple conversations before his overseas trip that he favored withdrawal, he has been known to abruptly change his mind.” They add, however, top political appointees at EPA “were relieved” when Trump refused to join a consensus G7 statement reaffirming “their strong commitment” to the Paris accord.

While the White House’s attack on domestic climate action already undermines the global effort to avert climate catastrophe, we shouldn’t discount the importance of a U.S. withdrawal from Paris — especially if Trump teams with Russian President Vladimir Putin to undermine the whole global negotiating process.

Think Progress has the full story.