The Religious Liberty Executive Order.

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

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

Here comes the Christian Oppression™. Unlike the Spanish Inquisition, the Christian Oppression of everyone they don’t like is always to be expected. The religious reich pushed hard for this, and of course, the Tiny Tyrant is going to grant their wish, always willing to pander to religious extremists. Thankfully, there are a good many sensible theists who are very opposed to this EO, who not only think it’s unnecessary, but would be violating the constitution. Unfortunately, violating the constitution is something Donny seems to revel in. Here’s hoping this mechanism for promoting vile bigotry, hate, and cruel oppression will be successfully challenged and kicked to the gutter, where it belongs.

News broke Tuesday afternoon that president Donald Trump is preparing an executive order on “religious liberty” that is expected to offer exemptions for people who claim religious objections to same-sex marriage, abortion, transgender identity, and premarital sex.

There’s just one catch: many faith leaders already oppose it.

According to POLITICO, Trump administration officials are planning to unveil the new order on Thursday to coincide with the National Day of Prayer. Details of the order are still under wraps, but the text is reportedly similar to an alleged draft leaked to The Nation on February 1. That draft purported to require government agencies to grant sweeping religious exemptions to people and organizations that reject same-sex marriage and other things on religious grounds — regardless of whether faith-fueled disagreement is “compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief.”

At the time, conservative-leaning faith groups such as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops urged Trump to sign the draft order, saying it was a “positive step toward allowing all Americans to be able to practice their faith without severe penalties from the federal government.” Russell Moore, head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s political arm, also encouraged the president to sign on.

But religious freedom experts and other faith leaders were quick to raise questions about whether its provisions were lawful. Rabbi David Saperstein, who recently ended his tenure as U.S. religious freedom ambassador for the State Department, told members of Congress in February he believes the proposed order poses “significant constitutional problems.”

“I think it raises very serious equal protection issues,” he said, noting that the leaked draft could allow government contractors the ability to refuse services based on their religious beliefs.

Saperstein’s concern was echoed by a chorus of clergy two weeks later, when a full-page ad decrying the draft appeared in the pages of POLITICO. The ad, which was signed by more than 1,300 faith leaders, blasted the order for “enshrining one [conservative] religious perspective” above others.

“Although it purports to strengthen religious freedom, what this order would actually do is misuse this freedom, turning it into a weapon to discriminate against broad swaths of our nation, including LGBTQ people, women, and children in foster care,” it read. “We urge you to turn away from all proposals that would abuse religious freedom, including any executive orders on this issue that are currently under consideration.”

Think Progress has the full story.

Contraceptives? Oh, No, They Don’t Work.

In this March 21, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump, followed by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, leaves Capitol Hill Washington after rallying support for the Republican health care overhaul with GOP lawmakers. CREDIT: AP/J. Scott Applewhite.

Here’s one for the How Much Can We Fuck Women Up files. Teresa Manning has been tapped to be Deputy Assistant Secretary for Population Affairs in the Department of Health and Human Services. She’ll be responsible for administering federal Title X family planning funds. The problem? Not only is Ms. Manning rabidly anti-choice, she’s a contraception denier. She doesn’t think anyone needs contraception. I really didn’t think anything else today could make my bad mood worse, was I ever wrong.

Manning is currently listed as deputy assistant secretary for the office in the HHS staff directory.

Manning has worked for the National Right to Life Committee and Family Research Council. She has a long history of making inaccurate statements about contraception, like saying that it doesn’t work, and falsely claimed there was a link between breast cancer and abortion, according to Mic.

In 2001, when Manning worked for the Family Research Council, which has fiercely opposed LGBTQ rights, she said that it was “immoral” and “medically irresponsible” to ensure that women can buy emergency contraceptives over the counter.

Part of Manning’s role is to administer $286 million in federal Title X family planning funds, which benefit low-income populations. Title X is a competitive federal grant program that provides family planning and other health services to an estimated four million low-income uninsured and underinsured people each year. Providers have to demonstrate a capacity to meet needs in community before receiving funds.

Manning would have a role in setting national policy on issues of family planning and contraception and advises the secretary and assistant secretary for the department on a “wide range of reproductive health issues,” according to the HHS website.

[…]

Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, released a statement on the appointment.

“It is a cruel irony to appoint an opponent of birth control to oversee the nation’s only federal program dedicated to family planning,” Laguens stated. “We are at the lowest rate of unintended pregnancy in 30 years and a historic low for teen pregnancy because of access to birth control. Someone who promotes myths about birth control and reproductive care should not be in charge of the office that is responsible for family planning at HHS.”

Think Progress has the full bad news.

A Legion of Dictator Superheroes and A Good Shutdown!

Spider-Gwen.

Today’s round-up of awful. More people are bringing up the Tiny Tyrant’s mental state, and it’s not any sort of shady speculation, this is not something we can afford to ignore, and I’m past tired of all the left-sided prim of “you can’t do that, it’s not nice.” It’s not nice, or healthy to have an unstable wannabe tyrant in charge of the country, with access to military and nuclear weapons, either. Trump’s narcissism is bad enough, but his continued disconnected rambling, temper flare-ups, and decision making based on whims in increasing, and it continues to be clear that exactly no one has a leash on the Tiny Tyrant. Trump admires Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’ for fuck’s sake. Wake up.

Howard Fineman said President Donald Trump seems to be under the impression that he can meet with the world’s worst dictators and “cut a deal” with them like it was a business transaction.

On a day when Trump said he would be “honored” to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un –and a day after he extended an invitation to Philippines strongman Rodrigo Duterte to visit the White House — Fineman said that Trump thinks dealing with dictators is like making a real estate deal.

“Donald Trump is analogizing world affairs to a real estate deal in New York,” Fineman explained. “He’s trying to get everybody in the room, however much he dislikes them, however much it’s like the unions he didn’t like or politics he had to donate to or whatever, and he’s creating in his own mind a legion of dictator superheroes of some kind because he thinks it’s a jungle out there.”

“He was put off by what he regarded as Barack Obama’s overweening idealism and he’s going to go in just the opposite direction and he will literally go to every bad actor in the world,” Fineman continued. “He thinks he’s creating — will get all the bad guys in the room at the same time and somehow cut a deal. I think that’s his mentality.”

Fineman has a very good point here. That point is validated by the fact that Trump is up to his neck in a lucrative deal with Duterte in the Phillipines, so why wouldn’t Trump view everything in terms of business which is good for him? He has no interest in what is good for America, let alone the rest of the world. I don’t think Trump is even capable of understanding the world as a connected, cohesive whole. He only sees one bit at a time, and primarily those bits which can make him money. Full Story Here.

Politico has an in-depth look at the interviews, and the sheer amount of WTFuckery involved:

President Donald Trump questioned why the Civil War— which erupted 150 years ago over slavery — needed to happen. He said he would be “honored” to meet with Kim Jong-Un, the violent North Korean dictator who is developing nuclear missiles and oppresses his people, under the “right circumstances.”

The president floated, and backed away from, a tax on gasoline. Trump said he was “looking at” breaking up the big banks, sending the stock market sliding. He seemed to praise Philippines strongman President Rodrigo Duterte for his high approval ratings. He promised changes to the Republican health care bill, though he has seemed unsure what was in the legislation, even as his advisers whipped votes for it.

And Monday still had nine hours to go.

“It seems to be among the most bizarre recent 24 hours in American presidential history,” said Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian. “It was all just surreal disarray and a confused mental state from the president.”

The interviews — published by Bloomberg, Face the Nation and the SiriusXM radio network — seemed timed to the president’s 100-day mark but contained a dizzying amount of news, even for a president who often makes news in stream-of-consciousness comments. Trump’s advisers have at times tried to curb his media appearances, worried he will step on his message. “They were not helpful to us,” one senior administration official said. “There was no point to do all of them.”

White House officials said privately there was no broader strategy behind the interviews. GOP strategists and Capitol Hill aides were puzzled by it all. “I have no idea what they view as a successful media hit,” said one senior GOP consultant with close ties to the administration. “He just seemed to go crazy today,” a senior GOP aide said.

Full Story Here.

And if all that isn’t worrying enough, the Fucking Idiot wants a shutdown, so he can change the rules of democracy. Wheeeeeee, you havin’ fun yet?

President Trump on Tuesday called for a “good shutdown” in September to fix the “mess” in government.

He also expressed frustration that legislation needs 60 votes in the Senate because of the filibuster, saying it would be necessary to elect more Republicans or “change the rules.”

“The reason for the plan negotiated between the Republicans and Democrats is that we need 60 votes in the Senate which are not there! We … either elect more Republican Senators in 2018 or change the rules now to 51%. Our country needs a good “shutdown” in September to fix mess!” he wrote in a series of tweets.

Full Story and Tweets Here.

“At the end of the day, this is Donald Trump, and we don’t want to work with him.”

“At the end of the day, this is Donald Trump, and we don’t want to work with him,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego. | AP Photo.

My, my, look at that, some democrats have discovered their spine. Let’s hope this is resolve, not just pointless rhetoric. I will grant that like the rest of us, they were in shock and floundering around a bit, but it’s past time they came to a conclusion, a decision, and a plan of action. We the people have been very busy already, look at all the marches, the participation at town halls, the letter writing campaigns, petitions, and so on. And all that was done while we were still suffering shock. I suppose late is better than never.

Democrats couldn’t be less interested in the whole Jared Kushner vs. Steve Bannon drama, and they have given up on the idea that President Donald Trump’s son-in-law will push him to work across the aisle on tax reform or anything else.

The crisis of confidence they felt after Trump’s shocking win has faded and his record-low poll numbers have killed any incentive in their minds to suck it up and compromise with him.

“There is zero chance of any of this working out that way, and it doesn’t matter who you’re changing,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), who notes that many of his colleagues who once decried his absolute opposition to Trump now agree with him. “At the end of the day,” he added, “this is Donald Trump, and we don’t want to work with him.”

As far as Democrats are concerned, the idea of a moderate, post-partisan staff rising to guide Trump into building bridges with them — even for the sake of building actual bridges as part of infrastructure investments Trump talks about and they agree are needed — has now entered the realm of complete fantasy.

“This notion of the battle between Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon and who prevails is irrelevant in many ways to the policies,” said Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), one of the chairs of the House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, about the discord among Trump’s most senior advisers. “What Democrats are responding to is the substance of the policies: It doesn’t matter who wins the internal battles in the White House.”

[…]

“Initially, people didn’t have a full appreciation of how he would conduct himself,” said Cicilline. “They thought, ‘He won, he wasn’t our choice, but he is our president.’ What I’m hearing from my constituents, even some who’ve been more ambivalent, [is] it’s really important to stand up and resist and try to mitigate the damage that he’s likely to cause.”

Cicilline said that’s reverberated among the other Democrats on the Hill he’s in touch with.

“People are really conflicted, because they want government to work, and they know that’s when we can produce good results, but I think that they’re beginning to lose confidence that this administration and this president are interested in getting things done.”

[…]

“Chameleons reflect the color that they’re on,” said Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association. “He can reflect what is the hot flavor of the moment, but the reality is that this administration has got to go a long way to indicate that it’s really willing to work with people.”

Politico has the full story.

The Problem With “I Thought It Would Be Easier”.

President Donald Trump honks the horn of an 18-wheeler truck while meeting with truckers and CEOs regarding healthcare on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, March 23, 2017. CREDIT: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik.

Pretty much everyone has had something to say about the whole “I thought presidenting would be easier!” comment, most of it snarky in nature, and rightly so. One thing the Tiny Tyrant can be counted on for is to continually remind everyone he’s a fucking idiot. Now, I’m sure he thought he was driving home just how difficult a job it is, therefor people should give him a break and all that. It may not have been such a brazen line of bullshit if he had actually been working the last few months. That’s not the case, however. The Tiny Tyrant has spent less time working at the job than anyone else, full stop. When you are not actually working, you don’t get to moan and whine about how gosh darn hard it is.

President Donald Trump told Reuters on Thursday that, as he reaches the 100 day mark of his presidency, he’s been surprised by just how difficult running the country actually is.

“I loved my previous life. I had so many things going,” Trump said. “This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.”

I’m sure people would be incredibly gracious if you disappeared back into your previous life. Problem with that one is, you never left it. The one thing you have managed to do as Unpresident is to make sure you and yours have cashed in, milking that government cow for all it is worth.

…Yet despite Trump’s frequent laments about the difficulty of his job, indications point to him spending far less time and effort on it than his predecessors.

Trump, who slammed Obama for golfing during his presidency, has spent 19 days at the golf course since becoming president. That’s a double digit lead over Trump’s three immediate predecessors (and at this point in their presidencies, neither Obama nor Bush had golfed at all).

Trump has also spent half of the weekends he’s been president at his resort at Mar A Lago — sometimes leaving for the weekend as early as Thursday afternoon. Each trip reportedly costs taxpayers over $3 million.

Even when he’s in D.C., reports indicate that Trump has taken a less hands-on approach to the presidency. Unlike previous presidents, who styled themselves as “deciders,” Trump’s aides have reportedly learned to just decide on the best course of action on their own and present that to the president — because presenting too many competing actions doesn’t work for him. Trump continues to watch hours of cable news.

When offered intelligence briefings prior to his inauguration, Trump only attended around one per week, instead of the proffered seven. And even then, intelligence analysts were instructed to pare nuance out of their reports and get them down to one page, if possible. That’s far less information than presidents traditionally receive — and is about a quarter of the information President Obama consumed.

Think Progress has the full story.

Yeah, That Will Make Us Great.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Full story here.

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

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

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

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

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

Full story here.

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

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

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

[…]

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

Full story here.

Sham and Stupidity.

We’ll start with the whole healthcare snarl, and the ongoing attempts at passing the Fuck You Care Plan. There are many obstacles to that vaunted repeal ‘n’ replace, a good many of them republicans, who are smart enough to realize that if they push for a repeal, their careers will be over. Easy enough to call just what will win in that scenario. Turns out, most politicians don’t, and didn’t want to do the repeal business, in spite of talking nonstop about it. A good many of them made noises about it, in order to secure elections, but they’d be happier if it all just faded away at this point. Byron York at The Washington Examiner has the full rundown.

Now, with a president who would sign an Obamacare repeal, there’s no way Republicans could get as many votes as last year.

“A pure repeal would get less than 200 votes,” said the second member quoted above. “It really is one of the biggest political shams in history — many of these members would not have been elected without promising repeal, and now they are wilting. Some are even complaining that [the Rep. Tom MacArthur amendment] pushes the bill too far right — even though is it far short of a full repeal.”

When repeal first failed last month, a number of commentators blamed the conservative House Freedom Caucus. In the days since, caucus members have made the case, convincingly, that they have shown an enormous amount of flexibility in trying to reach agreement with the Tuesday Group, made up of House GOP centrists.

Now, the centrists — a number of Republicans refer to them as “the mods,” for moderates — appear to be moving the goalposts, even as the conservatives offer concessions. Conservatives suspect the centrists were perfectly happy for conservatives to take the blame for killing the first bill, but now are showing their true colors by rejecting compromise on the second version. Whatever the circumstances, they don’t want to vote to repeal Obamacare.

The reason is fear. When the lawmaker said colleagues don’t want repeal “because of their district,” that was another way of saying the members are all representatives, and the voters they represent don’t want repeal. From The Hill on Thursday afternoon: “Many vulnerable Republicans are running scared. One moderate Republican was overheard in a House cafeteria this week telling an aide: ‘If I vote for this healthcare bill, it will be the end of my career.'”

Even among the more rabid contingent, King and Gohmert, et al., there’s an admission it most likely won’t happen. The Washington Examiner has the full story.

Moving on to another admission, about that stupid, fucking wall: “we know it’s dumb.”

The fact that few Republicans in the Capitol backed Trump’s strategy for the wall only strengthened Democrats’ resolve.

“Republicans in Congress don’t want the wall. And that is the most under-reported aspect of this whole skirmish,” said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii). “Republicans in the leadership of both chambers actually hate that idea. They know it’s dumb.”

[…]

“The wall is broadly unpopular in the public. People would rather spend money on other priorities. And there’s unified Democratic opposition,” added Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). “None of that changes in September.”

Politico has the full story.

One thing is more than clear: all the grass roots movements, all the protests, all the people demanding town halls, and showing up with questions? It’s working. Even the rethugs have gotten the message that in the current political climate, if you decide to ignore your constituents, your career isn’t going to flourish. Vive La Résistance!

Where Are The Jobs? Abroad.

Signs from Trump rally’s and from protests of Trump’s visit to Carrier Factory; CREDIT: Diana Ofosu.

Oh, all that talk of jobs. Of making America ‘great’. The supposed reason so many people voted for the Tiny Tyrant. It’s a right pity it was only talk, one huge lump of bullshit, which too many people were eager to eat. Think Progress has an in-depth look at the job bleed out. Recommended reading.

Jobs are still leaving the country

 

This is the very kind of job loss Trump repeatedly promised—on the campaign trail and from the Oval Office—would come to a full stop under his watch. “We’re just shipping company after company after company is leaving the country and leaving jobs behind. And I’m going to get it stopped,” he promised in early 2016.

“Believe me. Nobody’s leaving,” he said later in the year.

Not only would he stop the losses, he claimed, but he pledged to act immediately. “We are going to stop it day one,” he said. “A Trump administration will stop the jobs from leaving America… Promise.”

But so far, that promise is going unfulfilled. Haines and Vanacker aren’t the only ones waiting to see if their president will intervene to save their jobs.

Since Trump was sworn in on January 20, at least 11,934 American jobs have either been moved abroad or are in the process of leaving the country, according to Department of Labor data analyzed by Think Progress.

The 11,934 figure is gleaned from the DOL’s Trade Adjustment Assistance program and offers the best, most accurate baseline, though the actual number is almost certainly much higher. There is no accurate, complete dataset that tracks how many Americans are losing their jobs because they get shifted overseas. “Nobody has really been able to count the number of workers that have been affected by offshoring,” said Dan Marschall, director of the Working for America Institute at the AFL-CIO.

The lost jobs span geography and industry. Workers have been laid off from Maine to Florida, from Arizona to Wisconsin. While plenty are in industrial manufacturing, a range of other industries are represented: medicine, technology, even finance.

Think Progress has the full story, recommended reading.

And, as us reasonable people pointed out, time and time again, all those jobs good ol’ Americans refuse to do? They aren’t getting done.

Oh My, Randy Has A Cry.

Oh my. Prepare yourself for a treacly glurge overdose, because Rep. Randy Weber has one comin’ your way, all choked up and laced with tears, as well as a slight rewording of The Lord’s Prayer.

Modifying the Lord’s Prayer to declare that “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth here in the halls of Congress,” Weber confessed the “sins our nation has been so emboldened to embark upon” and pleaded with God to forgive us.

“We have endeavored to try and kick your word out of public schools,” Weber said. “Father, we have endeavored to take the Bible out of classrooms, the Ten Commandments off the walls. Oh, Lord, forgive us. Father, we think we’re so smart, we have replaced your word and your precepts with drug-sniffing dogs, with metal detectors, with uniformed police officers in our schools. Oh, Lord, forgive us.”

Perhaps if you assholes were smart enough to legalize some drugs, and get serious about gun control, but yeah, real world solutions, those things aren’t good at all, no.

“Father, we have trampled on your holy institution of holy matrimony and tried to rewrite what it is and we’ve called it an alternate lifestyle,” Weber continued, his voice cracking. “Father, oh Father, please forgive us.”

:Sputters tea all over: Excuse me? Have you read the fucking bible? At all? Holy institution of holy matrimony my decidedly unsainted ass. This is barely dipping into the subject. There was a tremendous amount of fucking around in the bible, of all sorts.

“Lord, we have gone to killing the most innocent amongst us,” he wept. “Your servant Moses warned in Deuteronomy 19 for us to choose life so that we and all our descendants might live. Father, we’re killing our descendants and we’re calling it a choice. Oh, God in heaven, forgive us, please.”

Oh please. No one is killing your descendants, you silly asspimple. Whether or not I have descendants, and how many is none of your business. Once again, do you ever read the bible? Ever? In between public praying performances, perhaps? You should. I’ll help you out. I can help you out with Deuteronomy, too. You’ll have to pardon me if I simply raise an eyebrow over the thought of following the sociopath’s rule book. No thanks.

Via RWW.

Healthcare: A Congressional Exemption.

© nicolasjoseschirado, fotalia.

Rethuglicans are still hard at work, trying to figure out how to repeal the ACA, without working overly hard on the whole ‘replacement’ aspect. The more egregious parts of the repeal ‘n’ replace have kept some conservatives from getting on board, but Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) has come up with a cunning plan: we’ll exempt members of congress and their families! Now we can screw over all those peons and stay safe, yay! Disgusting asshole.

A new amendment to the Republican ObamaCare replacement bill exempts members of Congress and their staff from its effects.

The new changes to the bill would allow states to apply for waivers to repeal key ObamaCare provisions, such as the protection against people with pre-existing conditions being charged more and the requirement that insurers cover a range of health services, like prescription drugs and mental health.

The GOP amendment exempts members of Congress and their staffs to ensure that they will still be protected by those ObamaCare provisions.

The exemption was flagged by health law professor Tim Jost.

Democrats quickly jumped on the development, arguing that Republicans are willing to take away protections for the general public, but not themselves.

“The best evidence yet that the new GOP repeal plan is a disaster for people’s health care is that the GOP exempted Members of Congress from living under it,” said Leslie Dach, director of the Protect Our Care Campaign, one of the main groups fighting repeal.

The amendment is helping to woo some conservatives, who argue that the ObamaCare regulations are driving up premium costs, and note that high-risk pools would be able to fill the gap.

Via The Hill.

The Weekly White House Bible Study.

Photo via AP.

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

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

[…]

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

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

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

[…]

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

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

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

You Can Get An Ignorant Unpresident To Do Anything.

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.

John Harwood at CNBC has an enlightening interview with Mick Mulvaney, the person who is going to decide just how many programs and people can be screwed over by the regime.

MULVANEY: I’ll tell how I wrote it. And then you can decide for yourself. We looked at the speeches to try and figure out where he wanted to spend more money. And then we also had instructions not to add to the deficit. I laid to him the options that Mick Mulvaney would put on a piece of paper. And he looked at one and said, “What is that?” And I said, “Well, that’s a change to part of Social Security.” He said, “No. No.” He said, “I told people I wouldn’t change that when I ran. And I’m not going to change that. Take that off the list.” So I get a chance to be Mick Mulvaney. I get a chance to have those same principles. And I give ’em to the president, and he makes the final decisions.

HARWOOD: He over and over went to West Virginia, went to rural parts of Kentucky and Ohio, said, “I’m going to take care of you guys.” He didn’t say, “I’m going to get rid of the Appalachian Regional Commission.”

MULVANEY: Yeah, and my guess is he probably didn’t know what the Appalachian Regional Commission did. I was able to convince him, “Mr. President, this is not an efficient use of the taxpayer dollars. This is not the best way to help the people in West Virginia.” He goes, “Okay, that’s great. Is there a way to get those folks the money in a more efficient way?” And the answer is yes. And that’s what’s we’re going focus on doing.

“More efficient.” In the current regime, that equals nothing at all.

HARWOOD: How cognizant is he of the fact that many of the people who supported him would be hurt by cuts that you proposed in the budget?

MULVANEY: The president is certainly conscious of the people who voted for him, right. But he cares about more than just the Trump voters. So when you say you know, people that voted for him are hurt, that’s not the issue. He wants to know, “Are the folks in Appalachia, are the coal miners in West Virginia going to be better off under my presidency whether or not they voted for me?” He doesn’t care if they voted for him. I think what the president will tell you is, “The best thing I can do for those folks, whether or not they voted for me, is to figure out a way to get 3.5 percent economic growth.”

Well, there was a lot of Newspeak, translating to “nope, no one gives a shit about them, because hey, they aren’t the issue!”

HARWOOD: I’ve had interviews with Republicans from Paul Ryan to John Thune who have been making the case that, “We are going to persuade the president that we have to do something about entitlements.” How are you going to manage that?

MULVANEY: We’re working on it right now. He went through the list and said, “No, that’s Social Security. That violates my promise. Take that off. That’s Medicare. That violates my promise. Take that off.”

HARWOOD: Is Social Security Disability on that list?

MULVANEY: I don’t think we’ve settled yet. But I continue to look forward to talking to the president about ways to fix that program. Because that is one of the fastest growing programs that we have. It’s become effectively a long-term unemployment, permanent unemployment program.

Oh look, about the last social safety net, going to be shredded. There’s much more at CNBC, along with the requisite “oh hey, we all golf together, we’re great cronies, everyone is happy, happy, happy, no KAOS* regime at all, nope!

*My current image of the U.S. “Government”:

Conrad Siegfried, Head of KAOS, Get Smart.

Bannon and the Fine Mercer Hand.

The substantive impact of Steve Bannon’s exit from the NSC on foreign policy remains to be seen. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters.

The substantive impact of Steve Bannon’s exit from the NSC on foreign policy remains to be seen. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters.

Rumours and leaks have been swirling about in the chaos which marks the Regime. The official line is that Bannon had nary a thought about resigning in a huff, however, sources inside the chaotic mess say Bannon was prepared to walk, but held back due to Rebekah Mercer’s counsel, which sounds quite ominous, telling Bannon that this is a long-term play. Going by what we know of Bannon’s playbook, I imagine we’d all be relieved if Bannon had walked.

The man credited with honing Donald Trump’s populist message and guiding him into the White House has grown frustrated amid continued infighting in the West Wing, so much so that in recent weeks a top donor had to convince him to stay in his position.

Five people, including a senior administration official and several sources close to the president, tell POLITICO that Bannon, one of Trump’s closest advisers, has clashed with the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who’s taken on an increasingly prominent portfolio in the West Wing. Bannon has complained that Kushner and his allies are trying to undermine his populist approach, the sources said.

Republican mega-donor Rebekah Mercer, a longtime Bannon confidante who became a prominent Trump supporter during the campaign, urged Bannon not to resign. “Rebekah Mercer prevailed upon him to stay,” said one person familiar with the situation.

Another person familiar with the situation, a GOP operative who talks to Mercer, said: “Bekah tried to convince him that this is a long-term play.”

[…]

The White House said that Bannon had not taken any steps to leave, and Bannon told POLITICO that any suggestion he threatened to resign was “total nonsense.”

[…]

The “big fight is between nationalists and the West Wing Democrats,” said a person familiar with Bannon’s thinking.

“You have these New York interlocutors who are just not political and who want to think that they’re above the way Washington thinks, but if anybody is allied on delivering on things that Trump ran on, it’s Bannon and Reince and the vice president,” said the Republican who has spoken to Bannon recently.

So, we have President Bannon, who is busy having a hissy fit, and President Kushner, who is responsible for all the shit, and Daughter First Lady, who is doing who knows what the fuck, and I imagine Unpresident Trump is busy abusing taxpayer money and golfing again. What a fucking joke.

Politico has the full story.