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.

“The Germans Are Bad, Very Bad.”

U.S. President Donald Trump looks up during a meeting about healthcare at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 13, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque.

Oh, the Tiny Tyrant, Fucking Idiot in Chief, is busy spewing stupid all over Europe, and making enemies out of everyone. In this particular instance, the focus is on how absolutely evil Germans are, because cars. Yep.  Oh my, someone else is better than Grate Amerikkka™ at something, they must be squashed!

Donald Trump is ready to fight Germany in an auto battle according to Germany’s Der Spiegel.

Trump got a chilly reception at the NATO summit in Belgium after attacking fellow members. But he was caught pledging a battle with German automakers as part of his anger with “back dues” he feels the country owes to NATO. As CNN’s Jake Tapper noted Thursday, “Trump seems to think it’s like a country club.”

In a discussion about the country’s trade surplus, Trump said. “The Germans are evil, very evil.”

“Look at the millions of cars they sell in the US, and we’ll stop that,” sources told Der Spiegel.

According to the report, EU Commissioner Jean-Claude Juncker took up for Germany explaining that “free trade is good for all.”

According to a report from the “Süddeutsche Zeitung,” the EU allies were horrified by the willingness of the Americans to view global trade with such a lack of awareness. Trump’s economic consultant Gary Cohn was said to have chided German auto trade during a discussion between the US and Germany and the USA and Belgium. Trump had previously attacked them during another conversation.

Via Raw Story.

The Fiscal Interests of the Unborn.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney (R) listens as U.S. President Donald Trump meets with members of the Republican Study Committee at the White House in Washington, U.S. March 17, 2017.

In a stunning display of republican “compassion”, Mick Mulvaney defended the $3.6 trillion cuts to domestic programs in the tragic Trudget. Rather than address all those who desperately need assistance to simply put food on their table; people who already face a tangle of red tape to get the slimmest of benefits, Mulvaney waxed dispassionate about the fiscal rights of the non-existent. It’s great, just fabulous, to take food away from living children, because of Mulvaney’s grandchildren, who are at this point, non-existent. But hey, the potentiality of grandchildren, well, that’s important! Much more important than poor children, who barely have enough food to keep them alive.

It should not need to be pointed out that food which allows for subsistence is a terrible thing when it comes to children. Children who are not eating enough have an awful time trying to concentrate, they do poorly in school, and aren’t very active physically, because that takes energy, and when you don’t have enough fuel, well, you get the picture. The domestic programs in place can barely manage to get enough food to families, it’s not as if it’s a massive bounty. There is a massive, horrible problem in America when it comes to hungry children. That problem keeps getting buried, stuffed in the back of closet, and given the Trudget, it seems as though republicans think it’s okay if they just get on with starving, as those hungry children are not important at all when weighed against the non-existent.

During a hearing about the $3.6 trillion in cuts to domestic programs included in President Trump’s proposed budget, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney made a case that the fiscal interests of the unborn should take precedence over the lives of present-day Americans — or at least those who rely on food stamps to eat or public schools to educate their children.

During a hearing on Wednesday, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) grilled Mulvaney about the budget’s 25 percent cut to food assistance for the poorest Americans.

“Mr. Mulvaney, at least 20 percent of people eligible for SNAP don’t even receive SNAP because of stigma and other reasons,” she said. “So there are more people who need SNAP benefits… And you have a 13 percent cut in the Department of Education. The most vulnerable kids who need — ”

Mulvaney cut her off and made an impassioned case that people like Lee aren’t sufficiently concerned about his “unborn grandchildren.” He said:

What about the standard of living for my grandchildren who aren’t here yet? Who will end up inheriting $30 trillion in debt? Fifty trillion dollars in debt? A hundred trillion dollars? What about their standard — who’s going to pay the bill, Congressman? That’s what this is all about. That’s what this new perspective is. Who is going to pay for all the stuff you just mentioned? Us? Or somebody else? And I suggest to you if it’s important enough to pay, to have, then we need to be paying for it. Because right now, my unborn grandchildren are paying for it, and I think that is morally bankrupt.

And there you have it, the rethuglican rationale in all its ugliness – the non-existent are paying, and that’s bad, really super-evil! I had no idea the non-existent had pockets to pick.

Think Progress has the full story.

Minnesota: “I have an eternal perspective…”

Screengrab.

Meet Minnesota Rep. Abigail Whelan, a nasty bit of work from every reality-based perspective. Ms. Whelan is a truly fine example of an asshole Christian, filled to the brim with sanctimonious hate. She hates women, and demonstrates that with anti-choice legislation. She hates transgender people, demonstrating that with anti-transgender legislation. And so on. She is, however, very pro-money, and making sure that people have a nice way to tuck all that lovely money away. She recently voted against an amendment to close loopholes for offshore tax havens. Goodness knows, hypocritical corruption must be protected, and well, why talk about that when we can talk about an eternal perspective and joy in Jesus?

Minnesota Rep. Abigail Whelan, a second-term House legislator from suburban Ramsey, was responding to a question from Democratic Rep. Paul Thissen early Wednesday morning about whether she thinks “benefiting people who are hiding money in Liberia is worth raising taxes on your own constituents.”

Whelan ignored the question and instead sounded off about her religion.

“It might be because it’s late and I’m really tired, but I’m going to take this opportunity to share with the body something I have been grappling with over the past several months, and that is, the games that we play here,” she began, leaving the tax haven discussion in the dust. “I just want you to know, Representative Thissen and the [Democratic] caucus — I forgive you, it is okay, because I have an eternal perspective about this.”

She forgives them? For what, having the spine to question the hypocritical corruption she supports? This is a very good example of just why Christians should be barred from holding office, they constantly use their particular religious belief as both a distraction and a cudgel to beat other people with, all the while indulging in the worst sort of behaviour.

Whelan went on to make a case that happiness is not to be found in good public policy, but rather in the eternal love of Jesus.

Aaaaand there it is, that high and mighty Christian “Fuck you, oh, by the way, have you heard about Jesus Juice? It will fix everything!”

“I have an eternal perspective and I want to share that with you and the people listening at home that at the end of the day, when we try to reach an agreement with divided government we win some, we lose some, nobody is really happy, but you know what, happiness and circumstances — not what it’s about,” she continued. “There is actual joy to be found in Jesus Christ, Jesus loves you all. If you would like to get to know him, you’re listening at home, here in this room, please email, call me, would love to talk to you about Jesus, he is the hope of this state and this country.”

I’d like to know why you can’t shut the fuck up about your idiotic mythos, and why you support loopholes in tax havens for filthy rich assholes fucking everyone over. Can you imagine a representative of a different religion popping off like this? There would be howls of outrage, calls for them to resign, and all manner of puffed up pissiness about them “shoving their religion down our throats.” Have that one all pictured? Good. Now, close your eyes, and imagine the impossible: an atheist representative deciding to lecture people on the improbability of gods, rather than loopholed tax havens. Yeah.

Asshole Christians, one of the most obnoxious of specimens, allowed to get away with anything and everything.

Even though she didn’t address the issue when Thissen posed the question to her, Whelan did take a stance on it. She later voted against the amendment to close offshore tax loopholes. Not a single Republican voted for it, and the amendment was defeated in a party-line vote.

You can read more about Ms. Whelan’s abominable track record, and watch a video of the Jesus Juice speech at Think Progress.

The Disappearing Data Project.

Since President Donald Trump took office in January, thousands of government records that were previously public have gone offline—from a massive database of records on animal welfare at the Department of Agriculture to climate change data across the government.

The move has confirmed some of the worst fears of scientists who raced to back up government data on climate change ahead of Trump’s inauguration. Those efforts have archived terabytes worth of data on private servers. But government records on everything from labor violations to animal welfare are still at risk of being taken offline or destroyed altogether.

That’s why ThinkProgress is launching Disappearing Data, a project to recover government data that’s been taken offline.

[…]

To do that, we’ll need your help. If you notice that government data has gone offline, email ThinkProgress reporter Joshua Eaton at jeaton@thinkprogress.org.

Full details at Think Progress.

A $2 Trillion Error and More…

CREDIT: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais.

The math in crafting the budget was seemingly too difficult for an administration embroiled in scandal. President Donald Trump promised that he would balance the budget for the first time in over a decade and he would do it without cutting spending for defense or Social Security. The numbers were flawed, however.

According to New York Magazine, Trump’s budget assumes a $2 trillion increase in revenue through economic growth that can’t be verified or supported by any estimations by anyone, anywhere. Even the Trump administration’s supposed economic growth wouldn’t pay for the $2 trillion error. Previously, Trump claimed his cuts would be paid for by the growth expected to come in, as a result of his tax breaks. The plan is akin to a credit card that has an interest rate that pays off your card as you spend money on it. The administration has double counted the growth.

Via Raw Story.

This whole mess is turning out to be worse than the Fuck You Healthcare Plan. Apparently, our Tiny Tyrant is not in the least disturbed by numbers which simply do not work. It will be great, yes, of course it will, because it has ‘greatness’ on the label, see, and if you have branding, you don’t have to care about anything else. Might be best if everyone prepares for bankruptcy. There’s a great deal to be disturbed about, so here’s the Oh Fuck Roundup:

Congressional Republicans balk at the arrival of Trump’s cruel budget: Not everyone’s on board; in fact, plenty aren’t.

Trump’s budget sacrifices diplomacy for bigger guns: The State Department would see massive cuts, while the Defense Department would get its budget padded further.

Here’s where the White House got its insane growth projections: Trump’s budget sets a wildly implausible growth target and then seeks to achieve it by cutting food stamps and disability benefits.

Student loan borrowers should brace themselves for Trump’s budget: The news is particularly grim for graduate students.

The outrageous assumptions hiding a $6 trillion hole in Trump’s budget: The budget is so detached from reality, it’s created its own theory of economic growth.

Trump’s budget would destroy the health coverage of at least 14 million poor people: The budget blueprint embraces Trumpcare’s massive cuts to Medicaid — and then cuts the program even more.

Trump’s ‘welfare reform’ will destroy the program: Welfare fails to help families in poverty. Trump would make it much worse.

Asshole Mulvaney’s Take.

That’s enough bad news, ennit?

Caitiff.

Ret. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn (Photo: Defense Intelligence Agency).

It will be a surprise to exactly no one that Flynn has decided to go full court coward, a common trait in military persons who try to go political. That Flynn plans to invoke the 5th, that’s hardly a shocker.  Flynn has also stated he will not comply with a documents subpoena. Golly, wouldn’t it be grand if us regular folks could get away with that sort of thing? I rather doubt Flynn will be locked up until he decides to comply.

Former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn plans to ignore the subpoena issued by the Senate Intelligence Committee and will cite his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.

According to an Associated Press report, Flynn plans to officially invoke the Fifth Amendment sometime on Monday.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) said last week that Flynn had not yet complied with the Senate’s subpoena, and added that he didn’t expect Flynn to agree to testify under oath.

Flynn asked for immunity from the Senate in exchange for testifying, but so far the Senate has been unwilling to grant his request.

Raw Story has the full article.