Wednesday, October 18, 2017
I typically disagree with almost everything columnist Ross Douthat says and believes, not the least because he sees religion, especially "conservative" Christianity, as a positive good, whereas I see it as a net evil. Much of the success of the Republican Party has been because of playing upon the hatred and bigotry that I see as being synonymous with right wing Christianity in America. While Douthat still hasn't woken up to the reality of the negative effects of religion, he seems to have woken up to the evils of today's Republican Party under Der Trumpenführer:
Thirteen years ago, in the midst of a different Republican administration, the liberal book of the moment was Thomas Frank’s “What’s the Matter With Kansas?” In answering his title’s question, Frank argued that hardworking heartland Americans were being duped by a Republican Party that whipped up culture-war frenzy to disguise its plutocratic aims. Middle-class and working-class Republican voters, he insisted, were voting against their own economic self-interest and getting worse than nothing in return.
Trump has essentially become the Frankian caricature in full, draping the rhetoric of populism over an agenda that so far offers little or nothing to the middle class, making appeals to the religious right that are notable in their cynicism, and rallying his base through culture-war controversies distinguished mostly by their ginned-up phoniness.
What’s the matter with the Republican Party? Many things, but right now above all this: Far too many Trump supporters, far too many conservatives, have seen the then-inaccurate caricature that Frank painted 13 years ago brought to blaring, Technicolor life by Trump — and they’ve decided to become part of the caricature themselves, become exactly what their enemies and critics said they were, become a movement of plutocrats and grievance-mongers with an ever-weaker understanding of the common good.
Sadly, many Republicans refuse to recognize that the betrayed America's core values when they voted for the Donald Trump/Mike Pence ticket almost a year ago. Honesty, decency, a respect for the rule of law and the rights of all citizens were thrown on the trash heap by Trump supporters. The ravings of a malignant narcissist via Twitter are now a daily occurrence. Meanwhile, Pence is pushing a theocratic agenda that exalts the rights of Christian extremists while denigrating the rights of religious freedom for everyone else. Ignorance is embraced, science and objective fact are rejected, and America no longer is respected and looked up to by the rest of the world. Traveling in the United Kingdom, the husband and I experienced just how low America has fallen with an unfit madman in the White House. A few Republicans are speaking out and belatedly resisting the ugliness that is Trumpism. John McCain, who admittedly has made his share of mistakes over the years, including picking the idiot of Wasilla, Sarah Palin as his VP running mate, is one such Republican. As the Washington Post reports McCain and other true patriots are forming alliances to resist the evil that is the Trump/Pence regime. Here are story highlights:
John McCain and Joe Biden have been on opposite sides of many crucial national security debates over the past 30 years.
From Iraq to Afghanistan to Syria, the Arizona Republican and the Delaware Democrat clashed over the scope of the American military mission and the efficacy of reaching for diplomatic resolutions for these war-torn nations. They maintained a genuine friendship through 22 years of service together in the Senate and then Biden’s eight years as vice president. Yet theirs was a fierce, principled rivalry.
On Monday night, in the cradle of liberty, those disputes disappeared as Biden presented the Liberty Medal to McCain at the National Constitution Center, a nonprofit organization that touts bipartisanship and sits across the street from Independence Hall.
Another reality has also brought them together:
PresidentTrump, whose global outlook has helped crystallize just how closely aligned these two elder statesmen really are.
“We believed in our country, and in our country’s indispensability to international peace and stability and to the progress of humanity,” McCain said, growing unusually emotional at times during the address.
McCain pivoted into a full-frontal attack on those who “refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain ‘the last, best hope of earth’ for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism.” He did not mention Trump by name, but the implication was clear, and it brought a standing ovation from a crowd that included Democratic and Republican members of Congress from the region.
Now, McCain and Biden are on the same side, battling the isolationism that Trump has avowed and that has been most clearly articulated by his onetime chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon.
In his first nine months in office, Trump has withdrawn the United States from a Pacific Rim trade deal, the Paris climate accords and a cultural organization at the United Nations, while also signaling opposition to the Iran nuclear deal and new sanctions against Moscow.
[O]verall they reveal Trump’s broad intention to live up to his “America First” presidential campaign of 2016 — a repudiation of all that McCain and Biden have pressed for 40 years.
The speech prompted the
president[Trump] to issue an immediate threat: “People have to be careful because at some point, I fight back,” Trump said in an interview Tuesday with WMAL, a D.C. radio station.
McCain wiped away tears as Biden spoke of his son’s adoration for the Arizona senator, a symbolic forging of their alliance. They will, for now, set aside their old disputes on how to engage the world and instead take up a mutual fight against those who want to withdraw from global leadership.
Yes, you noted correctly that I will not give Trump the title of president. He's NOT my president and is the antithesis of what a president - or any decent human being - should be. Kudos to McCain and Biden.Biden read from an old McCain speech to sum up the new approach, saying that the United States should always be an “international beacon of liberty and a defender of the dignity of all human beings, and the right to freedom and justice.” “That’s what it’s always been for four decades,” Biden said.
A column in the New York Times hits a home run in my view when it comes to looking at the rank dishonesty and moral bankruptcy of today's Republican Party. There was a time when the Republican Party prided itself on honesty, education, respect for science and honorable behavior. That was the Republican Party of my grandparents and parents and even my days as a GOP committee member. Now, neither I nor my ancestors simply would recognize today's Republican Party compared to what it once was. What happened? As I have noted many times before, the defining change in the GOP took place when the evangelical Christians - the Christofascists, if you will - hijacked the party base. Numerous studies have found that the Christofascists lie with abandon and take the view that anything that furthers their theocratic agenda is justified, including lying constantly and deliberately.
Now, that mentality permeates the Republican Party. Donald Trump and Mike Pence personify this deliberate dishonesty. Sadly, many other Republicans, including Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan have also embraced outright lying and dishonesty. But the dishonesty is not limited to the Republican Party at the national level. In the current Virginia election campaigns, all three of the Republican statewide candidates are lying and know full well that they are lying. Ed Gillespie whines about the cost of Confederate monument that will cut funds for public education, but totally ignores his proposed tax cuts that would leave Virginia with a 1.4 billion budget deficit which would be catastrophic to public education funding. As long as the wealthy get a huge tax cut, trashing public education is perfectly fine with Gillespie. GOP Attorney General candidate John Adams is no better than Gillespie. It recent ads, Adams whines that Democrat Mark Herring is lying about him even though Herrings ads about Adams' shady clients is 100% accurate. The same dishonesty plagues GOP Lt. Governor candidate Jill Vogel. Like the leaders of Christofascist "family values" organizations, nowadays, if a Republican's lips are moving, the safest assumption is that they are lying. Here are column highlights:
According to a new CBS News poll, almost 60 percent of the American public believes that the current Republican tax plan favors the wealthy. Some people see this number as a sign that the plan is in trouble; I see it as a sign that Republican lies are working far better than they deserve to.For the plan does indeed favor the wealthy — overwhelmingly, undeniably. It’s shocking that as many as 40 percent of Americans don’t realize this.
It’s not difficult to see how the plan is tilted toward the very top. The main elements of the plan are a cut in top individual tax rates; a cut in corporate taxes; an end to the estate tax; and the creation of a big new loophole that will allow wealthy individuals to pretend that they are small businesses, and get a preferential tax rate. All of these overwhelmingly benefit the wealthy, mainly the top 1 percent.
There are also some measures affecting middle-class families, but they’re relatively small change — and some of them would actually raise taxes. Over all, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that by 2027 almost 80 percent of the gains from the plan would go to the top 1 percent, just 12 percent of the gains to the middle 60 percent of Americans — and that more than a quarter of middle-class families would actually see their taxes go up.
The questions we should be asking instead are why Republicans are pushing this so hard, and how they can hope to get away with it.
Bear in mind that there is essentially no popular constituency demanding tax cuts for the rich. By a large margin, the general public wants to see taxes on corporations and the wealthy go up, not down; even Republicans are divided, with only a modest margin in favor of cuts.
Yet tax cuts for the rich are the overriding objective of the modern G.O.P. They were the principal motivation for the attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, since that would also mean repealing the high-income taxes that pay for it; from Republicans’ point of view, depriving millions of health care was just a minor side benefit. And now tax cuts for the wealthy are pretty much the only thing left on the G.O.P.’s legislative agenda.
In fact, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the hope for tax cuts is the main thing keeping congressional Republicans in line behind Donald Trump. They know he’s unfit for office, and many worry about his mental stability. But they’ll back him as long as they think he might get those tax cuts through.
So what’s behind this priority? Follow the money. Big donors are furious at missing out on the $700 billion in tax cuts that were supposed to come out of Obamacare repeal. If they don’t get big bucks out of tax “reform,” they might close their pocketbooks for the 2018 midterm elections.
[H]ow can an administration that pretends to be populist, to stand up for ordinary (white) working people, sell such elitist policies?
The answer is a strategy based entirely on lies. And I mean entirely: The Trump administration and its allies are lying about every aspect of their tax plan.
I’m not talking about dubious interpretations of evidence or misleading presentation of the facts — the kind of thing the Bush administration used to specialize in. I’m talking about flat-out, easily refuted lies, like the claim that America has the world’s highest taxes (among rich countries, we have close to the lowest), or the claim that estate taxes are a huge burden on small business (almost no small businesses pay any estate tax).
[C]an they really get away with this? A lot depends on how the news media handles it. If an administration spokesperson declares that up is down, will news reports simply say “so-and-so says up is down, but Democrats disagree,” or will they also report that up is not, in fact, down? I wish I were confident about the answer to that question.
One thing we know for sure, however, is that a great majority of Republican politicians know perfectly well that their party is lying about its tax plan — and every even halfway competent economist aligned with the party definitely understands what’s going on.
What this means is that everyone who goes along with this plan, or even remains silent in the face of the campaign of mass dissimulation, is complicit — is in effect an accomplice to the most dishonest political selling job in American history.
Do not fall for Republican lies at either the national level. Instead, send a loud message to the GOP. Get out and vote a straigh Democrat ticket on November 7, 2017 - Ralph Northam for Governor, Mark Herring for Attorney General, and Justin Fairfax for Lt. Governor. Then follow through and vote Democrat in the 2018 mid-term federal elections.
Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Admittedly, living with Donald Trump, a/k/a Der Trumpenführer, in the White House has caused many Americans to feel as if they are living with a never ending case of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. When in recent decades has one had to worry that the next morning might find them facing a nuclear war started by a petulant, malignant narcissist with the nuclear codes? In my pre-teen years, the threat of a Russian launch nuclear war was a constant, but now the occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue could be the culprit. Because of this non-stop drum beat of stress, some would like to see Trump either, resign, be impeached, or removed pursuant to the 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The down side of that eventuality is that America could be faced with Mike Pence as president. While perhaps not as totally batshit crazy and unstable as Trump, Pence poses a whole different set of dangers to the nation and constitutional government. A very lengthy piece in the New Yorker looks at the dangers a President Pence would pose, especially given his off the charts religious extremism. In his own way, Pence is just as insane as Trump (here in Virginia, John Adams, the GOP attorney general candidate is a would be Mike Pence clone). Here are lengthy article excerpts which underscore that Pence denies the theory of evolution, denies climate change, is in bed with the Koch brothers, and would inflict his extreme religious beliefs on all Americans:
On September 14th, the right-wing pundit Ann Coulter, who last year published a book titled “In Trump We Trust,” expressed what a growing number of Americans, including conservatives, have been feeling since the 2016 election. . . . She soon added, “If we’re not getting a wall, I’d prefer President Pence.”After Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea, Gail Collins, the Times columnist, praised Vice-President Mike Pence as someone who at least “seems less likely to get the planet blown up.” This summer, an opinion column by Dana Milbank, of the Washington Post, appeared under the headline “ ‘President Pence’ is Sounding Better and Better.”
Pence, who has dutifully stood by the President, mustering a devotional gaze rarely seen since the days of Nancy Reagan, serves as a daily reminder that the Constitution offers an alternative to Trump. The worse the President looks, the more desirable his understudy seems. The more Trump is mired in scandal, the more likely Pence’s elevation to the Oval Office becomes, unless he ends up legally entangled as well.
If the job is a gamble for Pence, he himself is something of a gamble for the country. During the tumultuous 2016 Presidential campaign, relatively little attention was paid to how Pence was chosen, or to his political record. And, with all the infighting in the new Administration, few have focussed on Pence’s power within the White House. Newt Gingrich told me recently that the three people with the most policy influence in the Administration are Trump, Chief of Staff John Kelly, and Pence.
Trump and Pence are misaligned politically, too. Trump campaigned as an unorthodox outsider, but Pence is a doctrinaire ideologue. Kellyanne Conway, the White House counsellor, who became a pollster for Pence in 2009, describes him as “a full-spectrum conservative” on social, moral, economic, and defense issues.
Pence has taken care to appear extraordinarily loyal to Trump, so much so that Joel K. Goldstein, a historian and an expert on Vice-Presidents who teaches law at St. Louis University, refers to him as the “Sycophant-in-Chief.”
This summer, I visited Pence’s home town of Columbus, Indiana. Harry McCawley, a retired editor at the Republic, the local newspaper, told me, “Mike Pence wanted to be President practically since he popped out of the womb.” Pence exudes a low-key humility, but, McCawley told me, “he’s very ambitious, even calculating, about the steps he’ll take toward that goal.”
Columbus, which has a population of forty-five thousand, was dominated by a major engine manufacturer, Cummins, and escaped the economic woes that afflicted many other parts of the region. But McCawley, the newspaper editor, told me that, while Pence was growing up, Columbus, “like many Indiana communities, still had vestiges of the Ku Klux Klan.” The group had ruled the state’s government in the twenties, and then gone underground. In Columbus, landlords refused to rent or sell homes to African-Americans until Cummins’s owners demanded that they do so.
Mike Pence attended Hanover College, a liberal-arts school in southeast Indiana. On a visit home, he told his father that he was thinking of either joining the priesthood or attending law school. His father suggested he start with law; he could always join the priesthood later. Shortly thereafter, to his family’s surprise, Pence became an evangelical Christian. His mother said that “college gave him a different viewpoint.” The story Pence tells is that he was in a fraternity, and when he admired another member’s gold cross he was told, “You have to wear it in your heart before you wear it around your neck.” Soon afterward, Pence has said, he attended a Christian music festival in Kentucky and “gave my life to Jesus.”
His conversion was part of a larger movement. In 1979, during Pence’s junior year in college, Jerry Falwell founded the Moral Majority, to mobilize Christian voters as a political force. . . . The Moral Majority’s co-founder, Paul Weyrich, a Midwestern Catholic, established numerous institutions of the conservative movement . . . Weyrich condemned homosexuality, feminism, abortion, and government-imposed racial integration, and he partnered with some controversial figures, including Laszlo Pasztor, a former member of a pro-Nazi party in Hungary. When Weyrich died, in 2008, Pence praised him as a “friend and mentor” and a “founding father of the modern conservative movement,” from whom he had “benefitted immeasurably.”
While in law school, at Indiana University, Pence met and married Karen Batten, a schoolteacher whom he had noticed playing guitar in a church service. . . . Pence’s friends have called Karen his “prayer warrior.” . . . Pence also began observing what’s known as the Billy Graham rule, meaning that he never dined alone with another woman, or attended an event in mixed company where alcohol was served unless his wife was present. Critics have argued that this approach reduces women to sexual temptresses and precludes men from working with women on an equal basis. A Trump campaign official said that he found the Pences’ dynamic “a little creepy.”
In a 2008 speech, Pence described himself as “part of what we called the seed corn Heritage Foundation was spreading around the country in the state think-tank movement.” It isn’t fully clear whose money was behind the Indiana Policy Review Foundation, because think tanks, as nonprofits, don’t have to disclose their donors. But the early funders of the Heritage Foundation included some Fortune 500 companies, in fields such as oil, chemicals, and tobacco, that opposed health, safety, and environmental regulations.
Even as Pence argued for less government interference in business, he pushed for policies that intruded on people’s private lives. In the early nineties, he joined the board of the Indiana Family Institute, a far-right group that supported the criminalization of abortion and campaigned against equal rights for homosexuals. And, while Pence ran the Indiana Policy Review Foundation, it published an essay arguing that unmarried women should be denied access to birth control. . . . Vi Simpson, the former Democratic minority leader of the Indiana State Senate . . . believes that Pence wants to reverse women’s economic and political advances. “He’s on a mission,” she said.
In 2000, when a Republican congressman in northern Indiana vacated his seat, Pence ran as the Party favorite, on a platform that included a promise to oppose “any effort to recognize homosexuals as a discrete and insular minority entitled to the protection of anti-discrimination laws.” He won, by a twelve-point margin.
Michael Leppert, a Democratic lobbyist in Indiana, saw Pence differently. “His politics were always way outside the mainstream,” Leppert said. “He just does it with a smile on his face instead of a snarl.” Pence served twelve years in Congress, but never authored a single successful bill. His sights, according to Leppert, were always “on the national ticket.”
“He was as far right as you could go without falling off the earth,” Mike Lofgren, a former Republican congressional staff member, who has become a Trump critic, told me. “But he never really put a foot wrong politically. Beneath the Bible-thumping earnestness was a calculating and ambitious pol.”
Pence became best known for fiercely opposing abortion. He backed “personhood” legislation that would ban it under all circumstances, including rape and incest, unless a woman’s life was at stake. He sponsored an unsuccessful amendment to the Affordable Care Act that would have made it legal for government-funded hospitals to turn away a dying woman who needed an abortion. (Later, as governor of Indiana, he signed a bill barring women from aborting a physically abnormal fetus; the bill also required fetal burial or cremation, including after a miscarriage. A federal judge recently found the law unconstitutional.)
Pence, who had called global warming “a myth” created by environmentalists in their “latest Chicken Little attempt to raise taxes,” took up the Kochs’ cause. He not only signed their pledge but urged others to do so as well. He gave speeches denouncing the cap-and-trade bill—which passed the House but got held up in the Senate—as a “declaration of war on the Midwest.” His language echoed that of the Koch groups. . . . the pledge marked a pivotal turn in the climate-change debate, cementing Republican opposition to addressing the environmental crisis.
Peterson said that the Checks & Balances Project hadn’t detected “much money going from the Kochs to Pence before he promoted the ‘No Climate Tax’ pledge.” Afterward, “he was the Kochs’ guy, and they’ve been showering him with money ever since.” Peterson went on, “He could see a pathway to the Presidency with them behind him.”
[I]n 2012, after mulling over his national prospects, Pence ran instead for governor of Indiana. “The conventional wisdom is that he ran for governor so he could check that box, get some executive experience, and then run for President,” Downs said. Pence won the governor’s race, but with only forty-nine per cent of the vote. “He was scary to the center,” Bill Oesterle, a co-founder of Angie’s List, an Indiana company that collates user reviews of local contractors, said.
Pence’s tenure as governor nearly destroyed his political career. He had promised Oesterle and other members of the state’s Republican business establishment that he would continue in the path of his predecessor, Mitch Daniels, a well-liked fiscal conservative who had called for a “truce” on divisive social issues. “Pence was very accommodating,” Oesterle said. But after he was elected he began taking controversial far-right stands that, critics believed, were geared more toward building his national profile than toward serving Indiana voters.
At first, Pence highlighted fiscal conservatism. In 2013, he proposed cutting the state income tax. . . . Eventually, the legislature went along with what Pence often describes as “the largest income-tax cut in the state’s history,” even though Indiana already had one of the lowest income taxes in the country, and had cut it only once before.
In the spring of 2015, Pence signed a bill called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which he presented as innocuous. “He said it protected religious freedom, and who’s against that?” Oesterle recalled. But then a photograph of the closed signing session surfaced. It showed Pence surrounded by monks and nuns, along with three of the most virulently anti-gay activists in the state. The image went viral. Indiana residents began examining the law more closely, and discovered that it essentially legalized discrimination against homosexuals by businesses in the state.
The outcry over the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was enormous. Gay-rights groups condemned the bill and urged boycotts of the state. Pete Buttigieg, the young gay mayor of South Bend, who is a rising figure in the Democratic Party, told me that he tried to talk to Pence about the legislation, which he felt would cause major economic damage to Indiana. “But he got this look in his eye,” Buttigieg recalled. “He just inhabits a different reality. It’s very difficult for him to lay aside the social agenda. He’s a zealot.”
In an effort to quell criticism, Pence consented, against the advice of his staff, to be interviewed by George Stephanopoulos on his Sunday-morning show on ABC. Stephanopoulos asked him five times if it was now legal in Indiana for businesses to discriminate against homosexuals, and each time Pence was evasive. Pence also sidestepped when Stephanopoulos asked him if he personally supported discrimination against gays. “What killed him was his unwillingness to take a clear position,” Oesterle said.
Alarmed business executives from many of the state’s most prominent companies, including Cummins, Eli Lilly, Salesforce, and Anthem, joined civic leaders in expressing disapproval. Companies began cancelling conventions, and threatening to reverse plans to expand in the state. The Indiana business community foresaw millions of dollars in losses. When the N.C.A.A., which is based in Indianapolis, declared its opposition to the legislation, the pressure became intolerable. Even the Republican establishment turned on Pence. A headline in the Star, published the Tuesday after the Stephanopoulos interview, demanded, “fix this now.”
Within days, the legislature had pushed through a less discriminatory version of the bill, and Pence signed it, before hastily leaving town for the weekend. . . . the owner of the Indianapolis Business Journal, who is a Republican but not a hard-line social conservative, said, “It just exploded in his face. His polls were terrible. I bet he’d never get elected again in Indiana. But he went from being a likely loser as an incumbent governor to Vice-President of the United States. We’re still reeling!”
Clere, a Christian who opposes abortion, told me that he now finds Pence’s piety hypocritical. “He says he’s ‘pro-life,’ ” Clere said. “But people were dying.” When Clere was asked whom he would rather have as President—Trump or Pence—he replied, “I’d take Trump every day of the week, and twice on Sunday.” . . . . He talks all this God stuff, but he’s biased. He hates Muslims, he hates gay people, and he hates minorities. He didn’t want to be the first white man in Indiana to pardon an innocent black man.”
Paul Manafort, who was Trump’s campaign chairman at that point, arranged for Trump to meet Pence, and urged Trump to pick him. Pence was seen as a bridge to Christian conservatives, an asset in the Midwest, and a connection to the powerful Koch network.
Trump began to appoint an extraordinary number of officials with ties to the Kochs and to Pence, especially in positions that affected Koch Industries financially, such as those dealing with regulatory, environmental, and fiscal policy. Short, who a few months earlier had tried to enlist the Kochs to stop Trump, joined the White House as its director of legislative affairs. Scott Pruitt, the militantly anti-regulatory attorney general of Oklahoma, who had been heavily supported by the Kochs, was appointed director of the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt, in turn, placed Patrick Traylor, a lawyer for Koch Industries and other fossil-fuel companies, in charge of the E.P.A.’s enforcement of key anti-pollution laws.
The pattern continued among lower-level political appointees, including in Pence’s office, which was stocked with Koch alumni. Pence reportedly consulted with Charles Koch before hiring his speechwriter, Stephen Ford, who previously worked at Freedom Partners. . . . Senator Whitehouse, the Rhode Island Democrat, believes that the Kochs “will stick one hundred of their own people into the government—and Trump will never notice.”
On November 17th, after little vetting, Flynn was named Trump’s national-security adviser, one of the most sensitive posts in the U.S. government. There is no indication that Pence raised any objections about Flynn to Trump, even after Representative Elijah Cummings, the ranking member on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent Pence a letter warning him about Flynn’s questionable ethics . . . Pence soon delivered a series of misleading statements about Flynn.
Several law professors have argued that the Vice-President could be vulnerable to charges of obstructing justice, or “misprision of a felony,” for participating in a meeting about shutting down the federal investigation and then providing a false cover story to the public. . . . Laurence Tribe, a law professor at Harvard, tweeted, “The VP appears to me to be in what we lawyers have been known to call deep doo-doo.”
“Trump thinks Pence is great,” Bannon told me. But, according to a longtime associate, Trump also likes to “let Pence know who’s boss.” A staff member from Trump’s campaign recalls him mocking Pence’s religiosity. He said that, when people met with Trump after stopping by Pence’s office, Trump would ask them, “Did Mike make you pray?” Two sources also recalled Trump needling Pence about his views on abortion and homosexuality. During a meeting with a legal scholar, Trump belittled Pence’s determination to overturn Roe v. Wade. The legal scholar had said that, if the Supreme Court did so, many states would likely legalize abortion on their own. “You see?” Trump asked Pence. “You’ve wasted all this time and energy on it, and it’s not going to end abortion anyway.” When the conversation turned to gay rights, Trump motioned toward Pence and joked, “Don’t ask that guy—he wants to hang them all!”
There have been other evangelical Christians in the White House, including Carter and George W. Bush, but Pence’s fundamentalism exceeds theirs. In 2002, he declared that “educators around America must teach evolution not as fact but as theory,” alongside such theories as intelligent design . . .
Pence has been hosting a Bible-study group for Cabinet officers, led by an evangelical pastor named Ralph Drollinger. In 2004, Drollinger, whose organization, Capitol Ministries, specializes in proselytizing to elected officials, stirred protests from female legislators in California, where he was then preaching, after he wrote, “Women with children at home, who either serve in public office, or are employed on the outside, pursue a path that contradicts God’s revealed design for them. It is a sin.” Drollinger describes Catholicism as “a false religion,” calls homosexuality “a sin,” and believes that a wife must “submit” to her husband.
Harold Ickes, a longtime Democratic operative, argues that—putting aside the fear that Trump might start a nuclear war—“Democrats should hope Trump stays in office,” because he makes a better foil, and because Pence might work more effectively with Congress and be more successful at advancing the far right’s agenda.
Both Trump and Pence need to be removed from office. Both are a threat to a majority of Americans, not to mention the rest of the world.
Monday, October 16, 2017
|Ed Gillespie lies just like Trump|
In much of Virginia's so-called urban crescent which, if voters turnout on election day, can thankful out vote the ignorance embracing, reactionary rural areas of the state, Donald Trump, a/k/a Der Trumpenführer, is viewed as nothing less than toxic. For Ed "Enron Ed" Gillespie, the Republican gubernatorial candidate, this is a problem since the policies he is pushing make him largely a "mini me" version of Trump. All that is lacking is boasting about sexual harassment of women. Otherwise, the tax cuts, subtle but deliberate calls to racism and religious extremism are more or less a carbon copy of the ugliness that are Trump trade marks, with Gillespie revealing that he's just as big of liar as Trump. If Trump "lies like a rug" as alleged by the Democrat candidate, Ralph Northam, so does Gillespie. Of course, with his sleazy lobbying history, Gillespie has made it very clear that his interests do not lie with average Virginians and that he will lie for the highest bidder. The contrast with Northam, a former military doctor and pediatric neurologist is stark. A piece in the New York Times looks at how the revulsion toward Trump is impacting the 2017 Virginia elections. Here are highlights:
Ed Gillespie, the Republican nominee for Virginia governor, deployed just about every tactical evasion he had learned from a lifetime in politics as he dodged questions about President Trump.Mr. Trump has so overwhelmed a campaign waged by a pair of bland candidates lacking signature proposals that, much the same way he does across the Potomac, he has made himself and his incendiary style of politics the central issue.
With the president rampaging through news cycles seemingly every day, the biggest question looming before Mr. Gillespie is whether it is worth the risk of trying to harness Mr. Trump’s total-eclipse-of-the-sun attention-getting skills to rouse conservative voters.
His campaign and the Republican Governor’s Association signaled to the White House at a meeting this spring that they preferred the reliable hand of Vice President Mike Pence, who campaigned with Mr. Gillespie on Saturday, over Mr. Trump in a state where the president is loathed in the vote-rich population centers but well-liked in many rural areas.
But trailing in every public poll, Mr. Gillespie is now engaged in a robust debate with his advisers about whether he should ask the president to stump with him, according to multiple Republican officials familiar with the conversations.
But the camp urging Mr. Gillespie to keep his distance from Mr. Trump counters that it would be malpractice to embrace a polarizing president who failed to win even 30 percent of the vote in Fairfax County, the most populous jurisdiction in the state and once a suburban battleground.
As they consider their options, Gillespie supporters have an object lesson: Mr. Trump’s ill-fated rally for Senator Luther Strange in Alabama, where he could not resist veering off-message. At that rally, Mr. Trump started his feud with the N.F.L. while offering a backhanded endorsement of Mr. Strange’s rival, Roy Moore.
Then there is the president’s calculation: Would he even want to risk attaching himself to a potential loser so soon after the Alabama race, in which he felt burned, according to White House officials. West Wing advisers say Mr. Trump is willing to record automated calls for Mr. Gillespie but is not clamoring to fire up Air Force One for the trip to Roanoke.
Yet whether Mr. Trump sets foot here or not, his success at motivating voters with culturally and racially tinged appeals has worn off on Mr. Gillespie. Once one of the loudest voices in his party for an inclusive message, Mr. Gillespie is now assailing Mr. Northam over the Democrat’s opposition to a state measure that would have banned “sanctuary cities” and targeting him for supporting the removal of the state’s many Confederate statues.
The Republican chafes at questions over whether he is adopting a Trumpian message and forgoing his own advice in 2006 that Republicans should resist the “siren song” of anti-immigration rhetoric, insisting he is running as “who I am and what I believe in.”
But his advertising reflects what he thinks will actually move the electorate: He is spending the bulk of his money on commercials focused on the statues, which make no mention of his view that the South was “on the wrong side of history,” and illegal immigrants. One of his immigration ads features amply tattooed Salvadoran prisoners meant to be members of the menacing gang MS-13, a target of the president’s.
After winning his primary partly on the strength of a heavily aired commercial in which he called the president “a narcissistic maniac,” Mr. Northam, who is running to succeed Virginia’s Democratic governor, Terry McAuliffe, used the first debate of the general election to call Mr. Trump a dangerous man who also “lies like a rug.”
But at the final debate last week, held in a pro-Trump enclave of Southwest Virginia, Mr. Northam, who will campaign here this week with former President Barack Obama, made no mention of Mr. Trump.
“It’s definitely a change in tone from the primary,” said Lowell Feld, a well-read liberal Virginia blogger, while conceding that “firing up your base while not turning off others is tricky.”
But, Mr. Feld added, “Trump doesn’t make anything easy.”
If you live in Virginia, make sure you register to vote - today is the last day to do so - and be sure to vote "No" to Trump and all that he stands for by voting for Ralph Northam for Governor, Mark Herring for Attorney General, and Justin Fairfax for Lt. Governor.