Michele Bachmann, Pastor to United Nations.

Screengrab.

The Jefferson Gathering, a group of fanatical, conservative christians who have a lock on a good portion of Congress, have decided in their compleat lack of wisdom to “appoint” Michele Bachmann as the new pastor to The United Nations. I imagine this is basically more the ‘aimed prayer’ crap they have going now, or at least I hope so. I can’t imagine Ms. Bachmann being welcomed with open arms by the UN, especially in light of her feelings about that organisation.

The Jefferson Gathering, a project of right-wing pastor Jim Garlow’s Skyline Church through which Pastor Dan Cummings regularly preaches to members of Congress in an effort to drive Satan out of the Capitol.

Last weekend, Garlow announced to his congregation that Skyline will be expanding its prayer efforts to the United Nations with a ministry that will be led by former Rep. Michele Bachmann.

“What if you wanted to disciple all nations and you wanted to reach the whole world?” Garlow asked during his Sunday service. “So God did you a favor, he simply arranged so all the world came to one place at one time so you could reach them all at once. What would you call it? You’d call it the United Nations and that would be the most economical way that you could possible reach the leaders.”

Yabbut y’all think the UN is evil, but you’re gonna go with goddidit?

After discussing the assistance he had received in establishing this ministry from the Religious Right group C-Fam and revealing that Fox News reporter Jon Decker will be working pro bono as its communications director, Garlow proudly introduced “Skyline’s new pastor to the United Nations, Michele Bachmann.”

Bachmann was thrilled by her new mission and told the congregation that this “audacious step” was needed now more than ever.

I rather doubt this is limelight enough for Ms. Bachmann, but I’m sure she’ll maneuver it into something better, perhaps a spot at Fox.

“I don’t know a darker, more deceived place on earth than the U.N.,” she said. “Because as we saw at the Tower of Babel, that’s probably the last time when we saw all the nations of the earth come together in a moment of deception … Their goal has been from the very beginning, the creation of a one-world order; but not a one-world order under the umbrella of the Holy Spirit, a man’s attempt at a one-world order that only brings about chaos, confusion, deception, delusion, pain. And that’s where, rather than cursing the darkness, Skyline Church is about to light a candle.”

Ummmm, did I miss something? “As we saw at the Tower of Babel”? No, no one saw such a thing, for good reason, too. Oh, the spectre of the ecumenical church again! Gad, that was the big bogeyman back in my Jesus Freak days, and that was a long time back. I often wonder how these assholes tread such a fine mental line – they must be all enthusiastic about the apocalypse nonsense, and try to help Jehovah pull that one off, while at the same time, they want to be seen as the only people holding back Jehovah’s will in regard to the terrible apocalypse. Lots of chaos, confusion, deception, and delusion there, to be sure. It will be interesting to see if Ms. Bachmann reaches a point where she thinks it is her right to barge into a UN session and start preaching.

RWW has the story, and video.

Unnecessary Swearing.

Jim Bakker, the disgraced former televangelist who reinvented himself as an End Times prepper pitchman following his time in prison, was among the dozens of evangelical leaders who were brought to the White House recently to meet with members of President Trump’s administration.

Bakker revealed on his program today that he and his wife Lori were in the White House on the day that Anthony Scaramucci was fired from his short stint as White House communications director, noting that it was not a coincidence that Scaramucci was let go at the moment when George O. Wood, who heads the General Council of the Assemblies of God, spoke out against “unnecessary swearing” during a meeting with White House staff.

Not a coincidence. Right. In any other facet of life, magical thinking is a symptom which notes that your mental health may be in decline. But not in religion, oh no. That gets a free pass. I’m damn tired of it, too. There isn’t one small thing these assholes won’t manage to hook up to their mythical psychopath.

According to the Bakkers, Trump is eager to hear from right-wing Christian leaders and hopes to use them to spread his message to their audiences.

“The president has asked for the pastors, the leaders of Christianity, to come and advise them,” Baker said, as Lori explained that “the reason for the meeting was so that he can get the group of Christian leaders that have a platform to share the truth of what’s really going on that you don’t get to hear in the media.”

Media doesn’t need to report this fucking nonsense, you all never shut the fuck up.

Lori noted that the members of the meeting they attended were able to write a letter to Trump that was hand delivered to him by his primary spiritual adviser, Paula White, and they were told by White House staff how much receiving letters means to the president.

“People think that their letters aren’t going to get to the president,” she said. “Well, guess what? They get to this president … so leaders need to say thank you.”

Actually, the letters got to Minister Money Grubber. I have no doubt they did make it to Donny, though, where he could pore over the praise and use it as a balm for that massive ego.

Bakker said that pastors and Christian leaders must send letters of support to Trump, who “will read every word of it because he’s looking for the pulse of what God is doing in our country.”

Well, no, that’s not what the Tiny Tyrant is looking for, Jim. He’s looking for food for that endless black hole of an ego. Food which you relentless assholes never tire of shoveling into the maw.

Via RWW.

“It’s just like God…”

Jehovah’s Golden Boy.

All the religious reich has gotten together and are defending Kushner, why he could not possible have colluded in anything, no sir! Some of the um, reasoning is seriously ridiculous.

I can’t help but admire Jared and Ivanka. The two of them have put their lives entirely on hold in order to pursue the good of their nation, and I have found them to be particularly interested in our concerns as evangelical Christians. It’s just like God to use a young Jewish couple to help Christians in the United States defend their rights, and secure their religious freedom for now, and for subsequent generations. – David Jeremiah.

Oh, so that’s just like Jehovah, is it? Yet another idiot who doesn’t seemed to have read the bible much. There’s more dangerous idiocy to behold over at Right Wing Watch, and if you feel like being scared silly by what’s happening in wingnut land, aka America, take a look at their front page.

So That’s Why Prayer Doesn’t Work.

Once again, noise is being made about prayer. The right kind of prayer, prayed by the right kind of christians.

Ralph Drollinger, the minister who leads regular prayer and Bible study meetings with members of President Trump’s cabinet and members of Congress, says in his written Bible study guide for this month, “Do not be deceived by syncretistic, ‘prayer breakfasts:’ God only hears the prayers of leaders and citizens who are upright, who live righteously through faith in Jesus Christ.”

Drollinger’s claim is reminiscent of a notorious 1980 declaration by the then-head of the Southern Baptist Convention Bailey Smith, who told a Religious Right political gathering that it was “interesting” to him that political gatherings would “have a Protestant to pray and a Catholic to pray and then you have a Jew to pray.” Added Smith, “With all due respect to those dear people, my friend, God almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew. For how in the world can God hear the prayer of a man who says that Jesus Christ is not the true Messiah?”

I remember that nonsense from 1980, because as the statement spread, Reagan was expected to make an impromptu ruling on it, by issuing his opinion on whether or not prayers by Jews were heard by Jehovah. Ronnie went with yes, they were heard.

Getting back to Drollinger’s current statement:

Scripture is clear; those who are at enmity with Him—who passively or actively reject the Son of God—their prayers are worthless and go unheard. And the State suffers for want of His blessing. The righteous leader is a man of potent prayer.

Obviously, there aren’t many christians who are righteous enough, because there’s zero evidence of any kind that prayer works. Of course, I’m sure it would help if the entity you directed your prayers to existed.

CBN reported in April that Drollinger started working during the transition to set up White House Bible studies, noting that “sponsors include Vice President Pence; Secretaries Betsy DeVos, Ben Carson, Sonny Perdue, Rick Perry, Tom Price and Jeff Sessions; EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and CIA Director Mike Pompeo.” Drollinger’s most recent Bible study guide lists more than 50 members of Congress as sponsors, along with Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and Arkansas Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin.

I suppose it’s good to know who the seriously venomous ones are, but this is hardly news. It does show just how deep the infection runs, and how far we are on the road to utter ruin.

Drollinger’s comments about prayer were part of a discussion of separation of church and state. He says that while the Bible supports institutional separation—no state Church—it does not support “influential” separation. This month’s Bible study is all about the church’s obligation to develop righteous governmental leaders. He is dismissive of Christian groups that focus on lobbying for specific policies, rather than winning politicians’ souls or replacing them with people who are “strong in Christ Public Servants.”

And, he writes, public officials have a special obligation to make sure the nation has “God-fearing righteous judges,” not ones who support abortion or “make up rights for the unrighteous”:

It is only through righteous lawmakers and law enforcers that a society can have any semblance of justiceJustice stems from righteous, God-fearing individuals who are grown into such by the discipleship priorities of the Church in a composite nation of co-abiding Institutions of Church and State.

There we have it. We must not have judges who abide by the law, no. We must have asshole christians who assume they have the right to rule over everyone else. What if someone’s god is Odin? How about Isis? Or Hekate? Or Tiamat? Or, or, or. All much older gods than Jehovah, and going by the stories, considerably more powerful. Do we get to have an all gods cage match?

Once a righteous person is in power, he says, they have the obligation to hire only righteous employees, and not to “compromise biblical absolutes in his policies or interactions with others.”

And to place all others into convenient slavery, I’d bet.

This past April, Brendan O’Connor at Fusion published an in-depth look at Drollinger and his Capitol Ministries. O’Connor reported that Drollinger had proclaimed Catholicism to be “the world’s largest false religion” and “that female legislators who continue working after having children are sinners, and that homosexuality is an ‘abomination.’” A bit more:

He has also written that social welfare programs are un-Christian. “It is safe to say that God is a Capitalist,” Drollinger once wrote, “not a Communist.” 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.” …

Drollinger also argues that climate change is impossible because God promised after The Flood never to do anything like that again. Drollinger preaches against “radical environmentalism” and that to believe that human activity could have devastating impact on the environment is not just mistaken, but the result of godless pride: “To think that man can alter the earth’s ecosystem—when God remains omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent in the current affairs of mankind—is to more than subtly espouse an ultra-hubristic, secular worldview relative to the supremacy and importance of man,” Drollinger wrote recently. “It follows that we can all rest assured and wholly rely on God’s aforementioned promises pertaining to His ability and willingness to sustain our world’s ecosystem.”

No, that’s not what Jehovah promised. He promised to not have a temper tantrum and kill off most the world’s population by flood. Naturally, that didn’t stop him drowning mass amounts of people, you just need to flip right into Exodus for that one. That “promise” didn’t have jack shit to do with climate in any way, shape, or form, and also ignores that Jehovah’s “promises” aren’t worth spit in a storm. What happened to that bit about “being good stewards of the earth”? As for altering the various ecosystems on the earth, yes, we’ve been busy doing that since we showed up and started doing all the smart ape stuff. Right now, my state is suffering a severe drought. You’d have to be damn stupid to not notice such things, and how radical and rapid such changes have been. Now, it likely won’t be all that long before Drollinger drops dead, so he won’t be here to see the very worst effects of climate change. What we are seeing now is already very bad, but it’s nothing compared to what it will be in a comparatively short time span. So, there’s zero thought towards future generations, in spite of all that supposed hatred of abortion. Once again, that points to the truth of that matter: it is never about future generations, it is never about children, real or potential. It’s about stomping all over women. Christians just can’t stand the idea of women not being firmly under a thumb.

Make no mistake here: it is righteousness that exalts a nation! Therefore the priority of evangelism is the key to a great nation more so than anything else! You need to get this through your head my friends: Evangelism is the germination of righteousness! We need today to convert Public Servants who are lost without Christ!

Oh, I’m making no mistake. I recognize assholes with a vast need for power so they can hurt others. It’s a pity and a shame there are so many of them in what passes for government.

The complete article is at Right Wing Watch, and it’s damn depressing as well as infuriating.

The Death of Medicaid.

Al Franken at The BookExpo2017 in New York City, 6/1/17. CREDIT: Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx.

Getting back to the Fuck You Care Plan, which gets worse at every small reveal. The denials over medicaid come in fast and furious, from evasive denials to outright lies, but the bottom line is quite simple: money will go into select filthy rich pockets; medicaid will be dead in few short years.

The bill would in fact massively cut Medicaid, threatening to completely phase out the program as we currently know it. The legislation would roll back Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, starting in four short years. It would also make deeper cuts to Medicaid by placing “per capita caps” on the program such that states will receive only a set amount of money for each recipient, no matter how much their care actually costs.

Andy Slavitt, who ran Medicaid in the Obama administration, said on Twitter that “the main event in the Senate bill is the destruction of Medicaid,” characterizing it as “far, far worse than even the House bill.” And the House bill, as scored by the Congressional Budget Office, would leave 23 million more people without coverage.

But Trump administration officials presented alternative facts on Sunday.

Full story here.

Monday morning on MSNBC, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) countered Roy’s argument. He noted that the tax cuts that Trumpcare would deliver to the richest 400 taxpayers would pay for 750,000 people to be on Medicaid. Franken didn’t rely on a single study but cited the more comprehensive analysis of recent research on Medicaid published in NEJM. These researchers found that for every 750,000 people who lose Medicaid coverage, 1,000 to 2,000 people would die.

Franken actually understates the case. The NEJM cited a recent study estimating that Medicaid expansion has saved one life for every 239 to 319 people covered. That means enrolling 750,000 people in Medicaid could actually save 2,300 to 3,100 lives.

Full story here.

Pence’s Pandering.

Yesterday was Focus on the Family’s 40th anniversary. I remember 1977 well enough, and I remember the low stirrings of this evil beast of christianity. Back then, no one took this sort of nonsense seriously; Wildmon was ranting about decadent television shows, which had little more effect than to boost ratings for said shows. The anti-abortion groups were just starting up, and most of the fanatical groups were focusing on that during the remains of the ’70s. They didn’t start getting serious traction until the mid ’80s.

Before Pence took the stage, Focus on the Family president Jim Daly announced that the group would donate an ultrasound machine to a crisis pregnancy center in Indiana in the vice president’s honor.

Pence began his speech by delivering greetings from Trump, “a good friend of mine, who’s a leader, who’s a believer, who’s a tireless defender of the values that will make America great again,” and praising firebrand Focus on the Family founder James Dobson as a “friend” and a “mentor.”

“I promise you, Focus on the Family, you have an unwavering ally in President Donald Trump,” he said.

This is why I wish people wouldn’t keep nattering on about how Pence would be so much worse than Trump as far as the presidency is concerned. Trump is beginning to lose support even among his faithful, he cannot afford to alienate those christians who would like a theocracy. They are, unfortunately, a powerful base, one most moderate christians won’t oppose for one reason or another. So far, Trump has gone out of his way to give these fanatics what they want.

Pence assured the group that Trump would stand beside them in defense of “those who are persecuted for their faith, no matter the country they call home or the creed they profess,”

Um, I, uh, no. No, that’s not what’s happening, not at all. The Tiny Tyrant is busy persecuting the hell out of a whole lot of theists.

“President Trump has stood without apology for the most vulnerable in our society, the aged, the disabled, the infirm and the unborn,”

:Snort: Yeah, right. The ‘unborn’ aren’t people. I’m aged, and while I don’t consider myself disabled, I do have specific health problems which impact my quality of life. Whatever side Trump is on, it’s certainly not mine, and it’s not anyone else’s, either, unless you count billionaire’s row. Stripping people of healthcare and safety nets? That’s not care, of any kind. The only thing Trump stands for is his own pockets.

But Pence saved his most impassioned praise for Trump’s opposition to abortion rights, telling the audience that Trump “stands without apology for the sanctity of human life.” He cited the confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, the reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy, also known as the global gag rule, the elimination of U.S. support for the UN Population Fund, and the passage of a law allowing states to pull funding from Planned Parenthood.

“And this summer, when we repeal and replace Obamacare, we’re going to defund Planned Parenthood once and for all,” he promised.

Oh, there’s the wet dream of all those fundies: no more Planned Parenthood. Today would be a good day for donations. There’s video of the whole mess at RWW.

Standing With Russia, Against …

The Obscene Kiss, an illustration of witches kissing the Devil’s anus from Francesco Maria Guazzo’s Compendium Maleficarum (1608).

Satanists! Who else? Rick Wiles is on a tear over it all:

“I believe the deep state, at it’s core, is satanic,” Wiles said. “It is Luciferian. They, that synagogue of Satan dark state, in 1917, overthrew the Russian government … The Russian people were trapped in communism, atheistic God-hating communism for 70 plus years; the Russians finally cast it off and came out from under this communist oppression. I believe the deep state is furious with them that they dared to overthrow their God-hating atheism, their Satanism.”

Sigh. I get very tired of repeating this, but atheism and satanism, not the same thing. Atheists don’t believe in any gods. Satanists are Christians as far as their mythology goes, Lucifer/Satan/Devil/Whatever is part and parcel of the christian mythos. Jehovah and Jesus and the rest of the cast don’t matter much without the foil of Lucifer. As for the deep state stuff, some evidence please.

“The people in control of America today are Satanists,” he continued. “What do they defend? Baby killing. Selling baby parts. Homosexuality. Pedophilia. They celebrate it.”

An embryo is not a baby. No one is selling baby parts. Or adult parts. Nothing at all wrong with homosexuality. And then, the big ol’ chestnut of christian fanatics – pedophilia! I’d like to know why, as much as they love to bring it up, they never address the mass amounts of rape and sexual assault committed against children by christians. Work on that one, Mr. Wiles.

Wiles went on to praise and defend Russia’s strict anti-LGBTQ laws, declaring that “as a Christian, I stand with the Russian people in their defense of morality and I condemn the dark state that is in control of the United States and Europe and Canada and Australia and New Zealand; it is a Luciferian, demonic Satanic empire that is against God, hates God.”

As it would seem the Luciferian Demonic Satanic Empire is firmly on the social justice side, it doesn’t appear to be terribly powerful, looking at what’s happening in the world at the current time. Interesting how Wiles carefully picks out all those places dominated by white people as being under attack, which is not at all subtle in its appeal to bigotry.

After asserting that he feels “more threatened and afraid of the CIA” than of the Russians, Wiles again insisted that “Luciferian, devil worshiping” forces within the “deep state” are working to foment a war in order to punish Russia “for breaking free of that communist tyranny that that satanic group had put on Russia.”

Some days, I just can’t get over how very much some things have changed. I can’t imagine anyone having the spine to say this sort of thing in the 1960s or  1970s.

Wiles was also outraged that some Christians are “condemning Russia for being an anti-Christian nation that persecuted Christians” simply because it had banned the Jehovah’s Witnesses and seized the group’s churches.

“You know what the Russians did?” Wiles asked. “They banned the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Kicked them out of the country. Well, congratulations! I’m glad you did it. I wish we could do it. I wish we could get rid of all the cults in this country. We’d be better off for it.”

Yes, I have no doubt many christians would just love that sort of power, and it would be damned scary if they had it, to say the least. They are working towards that, and Trump is working at giving them what they want. As for cults, it would be really nice to stick a muzzle on christianity.

Via RWW, one and two.

On the other side of the aisle, Sam Rohrer is all about the antichrist:

“Lawlessness is what the devil, Satan, is attempting to create,” Rohrer said, explaining that the “enemies of Christ”—by which he meant globalists, Islam, and the cultural “establishment”—are “all working together” because “they hate God, they hate the Constitution, they despise Jesus Christ, they want to destroy Israel and the United States and they are using chaos and division as their way of creating the circumstances … out of which will come the Antichrist.”

“These things that we’re seeing are preparatory for the emerging of the Antichrist,” he said. “We have to understand that what we are seeing has been foretold, it is exactly what the Bible is talking about will happen, is happening and we need to, as God’s people, be taking advantage of this time and pointing people to Jesus Christ, understanding the Battle of the Ages is unfolding before our very eyes.”

Hate crimes have spiked under Trump, and they keep escalating. Crimes committed by people who describe themselves as god lovin’, constitution lovin’, Jesus lovin’ christian patriots. I think Rohrer and company have this whole antichrist thing backwards, to say the least.

Via RWW.

It’s Not About Sex. It’s Not About Sex. It’s Not About Sex.

Pride Leadership Award
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Damita Zweiback presents a Department of Defense Pride Military Leadership Award to Army Maj. Gen. Tammy S. Smith, deputy commanding general for sustainment of the Eighth Army, during an award ceremony marking LGBT Pride Month at the Pentagon, June 12, 2017. Army photo by Zane Ecklund.

Christians, some of the most willfully obtuse assholes on the planet, dedicated to obscurantism. One Jerry Boykin, executive vice-president of the Family Research Council, is terribly upset over the cowardice of the Regime, characterised by the Pentagon’s annual LGBT Pride Event.

“This is a social experimentation, and it has so demoralized our military,” Boykin said. “And it’s not just gay pride day, it’s women in the infantry, it’s a variety of things that were part of the Obama administration’s agenda.”

Boykin said that he had “great expectations” that the new administration would be “stopping this kind of stuff,” but was disappointed.

No, it’s not a social experiment. It’s acknowledging and accepting people for who they are, recognizing that they are indeed full humans, who have all those nifty human rights. As for “stopping this kind of stuff”, at least the people in the Pentagon had the integrity to continue inclusiveness and recognition.

“They may be otherwise very courageous people, but when it comes to this issue they have shown no ounce of courage whatsoever, and they’re better people than that,” he said of Trump-appointed Pentagon officials. “It is time to take this on and say, ‘We are not going to celebrate how people have sex.’”

It’s not about sex. It’s not about sex. It’s not about sex. It’s not about sex. It’s not about sex. It’s not about sex. It’s not about sex. It’s not about sex. It’s not about sex. It’s not about sex. What in the Fuck is wrong with christians, that they simply cannot stop obsessing about and over sex? No one wants your disgusting, judgmental noses all up in their sex lives, and no one is interested in regaling you with sex stories. Maybe that’s the problem, I don’t know. Christians of all stripes are one the leading consumers of porn, when in the hell are you all going to get enough, and leave the rest of us alone?

Boykin went on to say that he is “saddened” that Defense Secretary James Mattis “doesn’t see” that “the biggest thing that has happened to our military” is not sequestration budget cuts but instead is “these social experiments where our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, coastguardsmen have essentially been told by the actions of the administration that your primary mission really isn’t as important as a social agenda, and therefore I will put you into combat, I will put you in harm’s way, but what I’m really concerned about is whether we allow women to serve in the infantry, whether we celebrate how people have sex. That is insane as far as I am concerned.”

Your obsession with sex and toxic misogyny are right on the border of questionable sanity as far as I’m concerned. How about you get that looked at? And shut the fuck up while you’re at it.

Via RWW.

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.

The Abortion Conundrum.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., flanked by Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., left, and Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, speaks at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, June 6, 2017. CREDIT: AP/J. Scott Applewhite.

The rethugs have painted themselves into a corner in their effort to deny healthcare to American citizens. They want anti-abortion language and rule in the Fuck You Bill, but if they include it, that might just derail their evil scheme. If they don’t include it, the theocrats will be upset and oppose it. Oh, a villain’s work is never done. Interestingly, they’ve managed to place themselves in a position of being foiled no matter the direction. I’d like to think this is good news, as far as killing off this sinister legislation, but I’m sure it won’t stop them for long.

The Senate parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, who interprets Senate rules, told Republicans that a provision that stops people from using refundable tax credits for private insurance covering abortion may not be allowed, according to the Hill.

Republicans decided to push this legislation through using budget reconciliation, so they wouldn’t need any Democratic votes, but anti-abortion language does not fall under budgetary changes. This means they would be in violation of the Byrd Rule, which says that a bill’s language can’t be more about policy matters than how much money is being spent.

But if Republicans fail to include the language, influential anti-choice groups will oppose the repeal-and-replace bill they’ve worked months on and spent the majority of the Obama administration vowing to pass. Anti-choice groups, such as the Susan B Anthony List and Family Research Council, have pressured Senators to include prohibitions on abortion coverage and funding of Planned Parenthood in the health care bill, or they will oppose it. Some Republican Senate leaders similarly say that the bill can’t stray too far from the caucus’ stance on abortion, according to Politico.

[…]

David Christensen, vice president of government affairs at Family Research Council, a far-right conservative group, told the Hill, “If the Byrd Rule were to be an obstacle to ensuring the GOP replacement plan in the Senate does not subsidize abortion, that’s something that would be a serious problem for us and the pro-life community.”

Orrin Hatch said he believed that a bill without anti-choice language could possibly doom the bill. Republicans are looking for workarounds that could allow them to restrict abortion coverage and still make it through budget reconciliation.

Think Progress has the full story.

The Rising Tide of the Theocalypse.

Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. (YouTube).

Educational standards have hit a new low with the Tiny Tyrant and De Vos, and it looks like they are about to be delivered yet another blow. Does anyone think that Liberty ‘University’ is any sort of high standard when it comes to education? Outside of Trump, that is, who always finds a crowd of acolytes there.

Jerry L. Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University, will be part of a White House task force, an official from the White House told The Chronicle on Sunday.

The news is the first official comment from the White House on the topic since Mr. Falwell told The Chronicle in January that President Trump and others in his inner circle had asked him to head up a task force on reforming regulations related to higher education.

Even so, information on the task force’s role, membership, purview, and timing is still scant.

“We are working on a task force that Jerry Falwell will be involved with,” was all the official would say on the topic for now. He is someone who was authorized by the White House to speak on the subject but not be named.

[…]

Mr. Falwell said he and others at Liberty have also been developing position papers on various higher-education topics which he has shared with the White House and the U.S. Department of Education. At the White House, he said, he’s been sending the papers to Andrew Bremberg, who is an assistant to the president and director of the Domestic Policy Council, a White House agency that has under prior administrations exerted considerable influence on higher-education policy.

Let me guess: god, god, prayer, god, bible, god.

The full story is here.

“Praying about the absurd, vitriolic energy…savaging Donald Trump.”

Praying Hands (Betende Hände) by Albrecht Dürer.

Lance Wallnau is at it again, and I think the kindest thing one could say is that he is very confused. That’s the charitable interpretation, I have no doubt the reality is of a more sinister nature, given Wallnau’s dedication to obscurantism. This time around, he is touting the power of prayer, one of the most useless activities ever dreamed up.

“Prayer is working but I don’t think we often see the connection between our prayers and what’s happening,” Wallnau declared, marveling that he had just been at an intercessory prayer gathering in Georgia and now there has been “a breakthrough regarding our prayers in [the] exposing of the deep state” directly related to Georgia.

No, prayer doesn’t work. This is known as wishful thinking, and as we’ll see, this particular instance has the distinct odor of desperation about it. Sweaty, hanging on by the fingernails desperation.

Wallnau was referring to the arrest of Reality Leigh Winner:

“We were praying for the deep state to start to get exposed,” Wallnau said, “and indeed, in the state of Georgia, I’m so pleased to see where the first deep state arrest is happening.”

Confusion would be the kind explanation. It’s hard to say exactly how they view this situation, but the reality of it is very far away from this particular, er, viewpoint.

Wallnau said that they were also “praying about the absurd, vitriolic energy … with which the left has been savaging Donald Trump” and, as a result, Trump critics like Griffin and Maher now find themselves at the center of controversy.

Those “controversies” are pretty much yesterday’s news. Apologies were issued, one a notpology, and the other sincere. That said, Maher was not being disparaged over a criticism of the Tiny Tyrant, he said something extremely bigoted and offensive, had to do with People of Colour. Maher is always shoving his ass in his mouth over something, and he will most likely never cross a line that HBO won’t forgive. As for Griffin, in a thread elsewhere, I said that what irked me so was that she gave the Tiny Tyrant a sympathy card to play. That’s not helping. Anyroad, I don’t see how this could be the answer to a prayer. It’s not as if El Shaddai got off his arse and pinpointed tornadoes with unaccustomed accuracy at every single person on the planet who is engaged in daily criticism of the TCO (Trump Criminal Organization). Something like that would have been impressive. A couple of comedians who are known for crossing lines being smacked a bit? Sorry, but that’s pathetic.

“My contention is that when there is such sustained disrespect for authority,” he said, “especially authority that we are of the opinion that God has anointed, God has blessed, when you have that kind of obnoxiousness going on, you simply want to pray and say, ‘Lord, do something’ and I believe God has … I see that as a silencing of the left in these critics.”

Oh, if only that “god” of yours would do something about obnoxiousness, you’d have to say bye bye, wouldn’t you, Lance? Hell, he won’t even arrange for you to have a show on HBO, basic cable, or network television. Nope. Pray harder. Pray so much you don’t have time to get up off your knees. Pray so much you won’t have time to run your mouth.

“I believe this is really, in a strange way, an answer to prayer,” Wallnau said.

Oh, it’s strange alright, just not the way you believe.

Via RWW.

A list of 100 things liberals hate about America.

I mentioned this list of stupid by Michael Snyder the other day, and it does leave people with an itch to respond thoroughly, so, the big list of stupid. Feel free to expand or leave your own answers or peeves about any or all of it. As noted previously, the list is obviously, desperately padded, because Michael really couldn’t think of much more than 5 things, but “A list of 5 things liberals hate about America” isn’t terribly catchy. A good portion of this is going below the fold, because this is going to get long. Very long.

1.  The U.S. Constitution

I don’t hate the constitution. I don’t worship the damn thing, either. I do think it is superannuated, and in dire need of rewriting. A good deal of it was written with the interests of the ruling classes and slave owners in mind, and that shit needs to go. The nonsense about militias needs to go, as well, as it was to protect slave owners.

2. Liberty

Uh … I’m fine with liberty. No problem at all.

3. Freedom

Yeah, you know, don’t you, that liberty and freedom mean the same thing? Maybe I was wrong about that ‘five things’ business.

4. Success

No problem here, I court the fickle lady of success. I don’t want success at any cost, however, and my personal principles and ethics keep me on track. Sometimes, that’s a shame, because in so many cases, it would be so eeeeaaasy to take advantage of gullible right wingers.

5. Big Trucks

What are we talking here? Semis? They’re needed for transport, and while I wish there were better methods of transport, eh, not something I get all frothy about. Now, if we’re talking monster trucks and SUVs, yeah, I have a problem with them, as in most of them are not fucking needed by the jackasses driving them, they pollute and increase dependence on fossil fuels. Smart cars and bicycles for everyone!

6. Capitalism

I don’t like capitalism gone amok, like it has here in uStates. Most everything is more important than money. Don’t get me wrong, I like money, I keep chasing it, trying to convince I would give it a very good home. That said, the pursuit of money to the exclusion of all else is a formula for a rotting society, and that’s what we are seeing right now.

7. Free Markets

Oh, aarrggh, blecch. People who parrot ‘free market’ generally don’t have the slightest fucking idea of what they are talking about, witness all the witless libertarians tossing this about as if they were erudite. Tell you what, Michael, when you can prove, to my satisfaction, that you understand what free market means in the wider context of economics, we can talk.

8. Wealthy People

Okay, you almost have something here. I don’t hate any of them, but I’ll cop to despising and loathing. Filthy rich people tend to be plain filthy, in respect to ethics or principles. They freely indulge in their hatred of the masses, and they will fuck any and all over in the name of another thin dime to add to their pockets. Yes, there is the occasional filthy rich person who manages to hang onto things like sense and empathy, but they are a rare breed. Filthy rich people tend to all come to one end: their money leads them to an addiction to power.

9. Economic Prosperity

Oh, FFS, how many of these are we going to have? I’m pretty sure most people, including myself, enjoy economic prosperity. That said, you don’t get that when you’re busy funneling all available monies into the pockets of filthy rich people and corporations.

10. The Rule of Law

Oh, do I sense a lover of technicality here? Laws are fine. Well, most of them. Many of them are in dire need of revisiting and rewriting. Laws might be important, but justice is more important, every time.

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