If You Thought Citizens United Was A Travesty…

Wait until you get a look at the full impact of the “tax reform” embraced by a Senate filled with servants of Big Money and the rabid, white nationalist GOP base.

Among the many unconscionable deals cut in order to round up the necessary 50 votes was a gift to the Christian far right that I’d suggest filing under “be careful what you wish for.”

According to a guest column in that noted leftwing publication Religion News Service (that’s sarcasm, for those of you who might be literal-minded), the tax bill’s repeal of the Johnson Amendment–a repeal much desired by Trump-supporting fundamentalist churches–will inevitably lead to government regulation of churches.

Partisan politics do not belong in church pulpits or in nonprofit offices. This isn’t just common sense, but part of the tax code. The Johnson Amendment says that 501(c)(3) nonprofits, including churches, cannot endorse or oppose political candidates.

The tax bill initially passed by the House exempted churches from the amendment, but at the last minute, the measure was amended to exempt all 501 C3 organizations. According to the Religion News Service analysis, this will not only cost taxpayers billions of dollars, it will end up “dragging nonprofits away from their charitable missions and into the undrained, partisan swamp.”

It is telling that every major nonprofit coalition has lobbied against repeal. More than  4,500 nonprofits have signed a letter to Congress asking that the rule be protected.

As the article points out, tax exemption is a privilege, not a right–if churches want to engage in political activities, they are free to do so now; they need only relinquish their tax exemption. After all, political donations shouldn’t be “laundered” through religious or nonprofit organizations; preventing that was precisely the reason for the Amendment in the first place. But these churches want to eat their cake and have it, too.

The havoc that would be wrought by repealing the Johnson Amendment would make Citizens United look like the golden age of American democracy. Permitting tax-exempt churches to engage in partisan politicking would throw untold millions — even billions is no exaggeration — of dark money into U.S. elections. Right now, all 501(c)(3) organizations except churches and church-related charities file annual tax returns, the detailed Form 990, with the IRS. Every penny donated and every penny spent is tracked. But churches file nothing. They are exempt. They are financial and informational black holes.

So if the Johnson Amendment is repealed, any megadonor could write the nearest megachurch a check of any size and take the tax write-off. The pastor gets the check, takes his cut — a tithe, so to speak — and spends the rest on politicking. Churches would become super-PACs. All in the name of religious freedom.

Only the most naive policymakers and proponents of repeal could possibly believe that this situation would be allowed to continue unabated.

Trump, Ryan and other opponents of the rule are shortsighted, especially if religious freedom is the true goal. Imagine for a moment that they get everything they want. Churches become unregulated, unaccountable, opaque super-PACs. Regular PACs start reorganizing as churches because their donors have suddenly found tax-deductible Jesus and fled.

This scenario is unsustainable if our democracy is to survive. At some point, the government will be forced to regulate churches: financial disclosures, donor disclosures (including even regular parishioners and tithe-givers), IRS filings, FEC filings — the regulatory list will be long and onerous. Churches will get money, power — and invasive government regulation to match….

A vote against the Johnson Amendment is a vote for church regulation. Surely that’s not something the party that has proclaimed itself the champion of religious liberty intended. But that’s what happens when a reality TV show host dictates tax policy as a way to thank his zealous supporters. The law governing churches’ involvement in politics might change, but the law of unintended consequences will not.

We aren’t just living in an age of corruption–we’re living in an age of idiocy.


  1. Brilliant! When the church is accepted as a political agent I can give to that political organization and also get a tax exemption. Oh glory! But what I lose is this: the Church as an independent voice. It will now become so totally enmeshed in the world that it’s prophetic witness is only that of this or that particular political party, espousing this or that take on an issue of the day. Church and State intertwine and the Church is diminished, reduced to becoming just another PAC.

  2. For my comments today, I am going to borrow some quotes from Emile Zola, 1840-1902. I don’t believe he will mind but would agree that they fit this blog and the current “deconstruction” of democracy and America.

    “Civilization will not attain its perfection until the last stone from the last church falls on the last priest.”

    “Ah, what a cesspool of folly and foolishness, what preposterous fantasies, what corrupt police tactics, what inquisitorial, tyrannical practices! What petty whims of a few higher-ups trampling the nation under their boots, ramming down their throats the people’s cries for truth and justice, with the travesty of state security as a pretext.”

    “If you shut up truth and bury it under the ground, it will grow, and gather to itself such explosive power that the day it bursts through t will blow up everything in its way.”

    Emile Zola’s words describe our disastrous political condition in this country today. That last quote, to me, means that if we do not stop Trump and this Fascist Congress, that “truth” which will “blow up everything in its way” refers to the nuclear war they are pushing for.

    “We aren’t just living in an age of corruption–we’re living in an age of idiocy.”

    “Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.” Are these days the Y2K fears of world destruction so feared by so many, arriving late on the scene?

  3. The repeal of the Johnson Amendment is not the only gift to Evangelicals in the tax bill. It also contains a “Personhood” clause, granting personhood to fetuses. This concept could not win when it was presented even to the people of Mississippi as an amendment to their state constitution. The ramifications of this gem are many, but may include the outlawing of birth control pills and the criminalization of abortion. How this is related to tax policy is beyond comprehension.

  4. From a recent article in the Hill:

    “There are just under 11,000 active lobbyists in the nation’s capital, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), and more than half of them – 6,243 – have reported working on taxes this year, according to the report, which relies on CRP data.”

    Both political parties are owned and controlled by the Donor Class who funded the lobbyists working on tax reform.

    Therefore, the tax scheme just approved was a product of corporate America, the US Chamber, etc.

    Wall Street won big under Obama with over $14 trillion flowing from the Treasury into banks and the market. I guess that wasn’t enough for the greedy bastards.

    Our Kleptocracy is official. So is our Kakistocracy. It doesn’t matter if their lapel pins have D or R on them because this is class warfare and neither party represents the working class.

    Next, they’ll be coming for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Maybe even eliminate the Department of Education.

    What cracks me up is the only media entity (Russia Today) pointing this truth out was just told to register as a “foreign agent”.

    We live in a country where propaganda is “truth” while the truth is called propaganda.

  5. This tax bill is going to speed up the citizen revolt that has been percolating within the general public. When die-hard conservative middle class members recognize that they were duped by their members of Congress they will be very angry.

  6. I think the key to Sheila’s effort today is “to be careful what you wish for.” When religion becomes just another temple of greed and thus loses its core mission of belief in a higher power and conduct to match, it will be the church as well as the rest of us who ultimately suffer, though for different reasons (the church will lose its spiritual identity and we will lose our democracy via infiltration of PACs and accelerating corporate takeover).

    I have had a personal experience in coming to know what happens when the church and politics become intertwined. Thus the Scandinavian countries are overwhelmingly Lutheran. I was in Stockholm talking to a Swedish lawyer in 1975 and learned from him that Swedes paid a “church tax.” I knew that the “state church” was Lutheran, and asked him what church he belonged to. He answered that he was a member of the “state church.” I then said “That’s Lutheran, isn’t it?” He hesitated, and then said “Yes, I believe so.”

    I also learned during that trip that the Swedes (at that time) had no Bureau of Vital Statistics, that the church kept birth and death records on behalf of the state (probably to justify the “church tax”). That experience was an eye-opener for me. This lawyer didn’t know what he believed; religion had become a pro forma matter. The church was irrelevant and his membership a mere secular experience. I now know that attendance in Swedish “state churches” is at eight percent per a visiting Swedish clergyman, and that those attending are “old people and children.” Such is our fate unless we boldly and loudly resist attempts to mix church and state. Mixing preferred status to religion with Big Money seeking deductions will result in the loss of both church and state, and this feature of the so-called tax reform monstrosity must have Thomas Jefferson and James Madison revolving in their graves at one million RPM. Expect litigation.

  7. I recently finished a 50 year career in the ministry with The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ.) I opposed several wars and preached and worked for the poor in various communities. People knew and know I was for women’s rights, LBGT rights and better justice in this country. We were salient voices verses nuclear proliferation. Our churches were bellwethers for liberal causes.It costed us dearly in the “church growth” sectors. To take away our rights to be active in social causes would be a travesty. Our care for people in the midst of tragedy (hurricanes, earthquakes and war) were constant. In the midst of drenching floods our the varied support of liberal churches was also constant. So, if the state starts to tax churches, maybe the government ought to do some of the things we have been doing instead of investing so loosely in the military industrial complex.

  8. There is more truth in how Pence identifies himself than first meets the eye. He says that he is a Christian first, a Conservative second, and a Republican third. He does not see himself as an American! When they tell you who they are… believe them.

    There has been for decades an Evangelical agenda for control of the country and to turn it into a Christian theocracy. Once in a private talk with a local leading Evangelical he told me that it was OK for his fellow Christians to lie, cheat or steal or anything else in order to bring the United States to his religion. This from a college educated man of local importance.

    Back in the thirties, many Jews in Europe and elsewhere told themselves, “It will never come to that.” This is our 1930s. Will we delude ourselves, or will we stand against those who have taken over control of the country and are now legalizing the destruction of democracy?

  9. Trump and Ryan et al are WORLD CLASS FOOLS. The Jews in Nazi Germany were less than 1% of the population and you’re going to pull the same stunt on 40%? You really have to be NUTS to do that.

    There’s more than one way to interpret Zola’s words: “If you shut up truth and bury it under the ground, it will grow, and gather to itself such explosive power that the day it bursts through it will blow up everything in its way.” That also speaks to UNAVOIDABLE DOMESTIC
    REVOLUTION which will hurt America as would a nuclear exchange as JoAnn has pointed out. Maybe even more.

    They’re a bunch of losers not winners. The big question is: Will we wake-up in time to see that out NIGHTMARE is real? So far it looks like we’re not going to do what’s necessary. Sleep is too comfortable.

  10. In the big picture what we are witnessing is the complete unfettering of capitalism which will destroy democracy. Polanyi in the “Great Transformation” (see NY Review) argued that the backlash historically has been fascism.

  11. WOW! Lots of passion in today’s blog responses. Here’s some more:

    Evangelical churches are fundamentally out for themselves as a “non-profit” entity. They’ve completely ignored their fundamental reason for existing at all. By stepping off the pulpit and into the cesspool known as “conservative” politics, they broke all the rules of Christianity. Not surprising, therefore, the Republicans have embraced them like long-lost brothers and sister. Anything to keep getting elected and making more money for their donors, you know…

    As the United States hurls itself back to the 14th century, politically, that quaint piece of paper in the hermetically sealed case in Washington, will probably be replaced by some motel version of the bible. Sickening. We were once the land of freedom of and from religious dogma. Now, we are selling out to a group of pathetic losers who can’t think past their own self-righteousness and self-serving idealism.

    We are breaking the fundamental rules as a society by giving in to some ancient philosophy and casting it as real when there isn’t a shred of hard evidence that supports it. This goes for virtually every “spirit”-based religion. I have friends who are ministers of true faith, but they are aghast at mixing politics with their pulpit. They think it is a travesty to let the slime of politics sully their cherished beliefs. Not so with evangelicals. They, like their Republican lackeys like Mike Pence, want it all. It’s about power and profit, you see.


  12. Those Bible thumpers who have been charging that Christianity is under attack: maybe it should be.

  13. I’m reminded of an old slapstick comedy routine which I observed as a kid, when the circus came to town. During their act, one of the clowns held what was supposed to be a “ticking time bomb”in his hand. It gotta a lot of laughs.

    Now we have a REAL LIFE CLOWN and many are still laughing here in America. That’s surely not the case world-wide. Even the ultra-conservatives in power in England do not find Donald Trump very funny. They don’t even want him to step foot in their country.

    farce (fars) n. [Fr.<farcire, to stuff] l. a n exaggerated comedy based on broadly humorous situations 2. an absurd or ridiculous action, pretense, etc.—far-ci-cal (far'si kel) adj.
    ~Webster's New World Dictionary

    If you have something to say, now's the time to say it. Don't forget World War I when free speech was limited. The limitation of FREE SPEECH and a newly framed ANTI-SEDITION ACT must surely be on the Trump/Bannon THINGS TO DO LIST.

    By the way, has Mike Pence disappeared.

  14. the united states of corruption,bless thee with thy graft….he who so much as cast the first dollar may he gain the gates of heaven and fathers foregiveness,,republiconist,1:1

  15. The governing class needs a crash course in John Adams, Tom Paine, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Robert Ingersoll, et al. God is not mentioned in the Constitution, nor in Virginia’s Constitution. Our revolution was secular, but the battle against superstition is forever with us. Reason, not religion, inspired our Founding Fathers. A creation museum and a bible museum now exist in our midst, perpetuating superstition. Indeed, a return to the thoughtful power of our Fathers is needed.

  16. Let’s be honest. What we’re dealing with are a group of “high class” criminals. I know that’s an oxymoron.

    There is only one way you can compete with them and win. As a matter of fact, I’ve won at least 2/3rds of the time. I learned the ART as General Counsel for the master, B.R. “Black Bart” McLendon, know as the meanest, toughest man in Texas.

    It’s to grab them by the balls:
    to have complete control over someone, so that they have to do what you want
    Synonyms and related words
    To limit someone’s freedom to act:limit, tie down, control…
    ~Macmillan Dictionary

    In other words, if we can’t or won’t grab Charles Koch “by the balls,” then I would suggest we all [at least those of us who are in our 80’s or 90’s] save our strength for something more productive.

  17. Speaking of taxes from article in Russia Today from 30 Aug, 2016: The European Commission ruled on Tuesday that “selective treatment” by Ireland allowed Apple to pay a tax rate of one percent on EU profits in 2003 down to 0.005 percent in 2014. The US company has been ordered to pay up to €13 billion to cover the unpaid tax.

    “Member States cannot give tax benefits to selected companies – this is illegal under EU state aid rules. The Commission’s investigation concluded that Ireland granted illegal tax benefits to Apple, which enabled it to pay substantially less tax than other businesses over many years. In fact, this selective treatment allowed Apple to pay an effective corporate tax rate of one percent on its European profits in 2003 down to 0.005 percent in 2014,” said EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager EU in a press release before her speech.

    Apple was attributing its profits to a “head office” in Cork that had no employees, premises or any economic activity, and paid almost no tax, said Vestager.
    What a novel idea (satire) by the EU that big corporations should pay their fair share of taxes!!!!
    Further from Russia Today December 2, 2017: ‘Pay your tax!’: Activists target Apple stores across France over EU taxation row. In August last year, the European Commission concluded the Irish government provided the US company with “selective treatment,” enabling Apple to pay “substantially less tax than other businesses.” The tax arrangements there effectively allowed Apple to record its sales in Ireland, rather than in countries where Apple products were actually sold. As a result, Dublin was ordered to recover the multi-billion penalty by January 2017.
    Here in the USA we do not protest these corporate schemes to evade taxes, we line up at the stores like sheep to buy the products. I can see it now Churches, etc., with corporate logos adorning the holy statues. NASCAR Jesus.

  18. Monotonous,

    “I can see it now Churches, etc., with corporate logos adorning the holy statues. NASCAR Jesus.”

    Many churches have been replacing the STARS in the American Flag “old glory” for at least 30 years with a CROSS. What’s new? I’m sure all of you have have seen the FLAG flying in front of many PROTESTANT churches.

    I first saw it on a prime billboard facing Stemmon’s Expressway in Dallas sometime in the 80’s. The idea probably started in Dallas. Let’s give credit where it is due. Those Texans are something else.

    We’re not observing the BEGINNING OF THE END or the END OF THE BEGINNING to quote Winston Churchill. It’s more like the END [of democracy]. It’s taken about fifty years of the Republican Party continually taking two steps forward and one backward. It’s been relentless [not letting up, persistent] with the Democratic Party helping out by keeping their mouth shut as the process moved on.

  19. Marv; due to Emile Zola’s time on this earth, I’m sure he WAS referring to your “UNAVOIDABLE DOMESTIC REVOLUTION” Our unavoidable domestic revolution (it deserves no capitalization) quickly fizzled after what appeared to be a real Revolution of the People. We haven’t had a good demonstration, protest march or anti-Trump rally for quite awhile; or is the media afraid to report on them? There is always the possibility in this country that, if there was no blood, there is no public interest.

    The issues in today’s blog will see little resistance till it actually begins to happen;and then, primarily only if the Republicans who suddenly become aware they are screwed with the rest of us decide to act against their Bible thumping leaders. We are no longer protected by the 1st Amendment, the Glass-Steagall Act or the Dodd-Frank Act and voting Republicans out is an iffy situation…voting itself is an iffy situation. Yes; this is worse than Citizens United but was funded by Citizens United an is our reality due to their bought and paid for current neo-Nazi, White Nationalist, KKK administration. That old post-Civil War quote, “Save your Confederate money boys, the South’s gonna rise again!” is becoming true.

  20. JoAnn,

    My intent was not to minimize your interpretation of Zola’s quote. Trump/Bannon are not above starting a nuclear confrontation. Their NARCISSISM has no boundaries.

    If they fail to CORNER THE JEWS WHICH THEY ARE ATTEMPTING TO DO IN THEIR DEALINGS WITH NETANYAHU, they could well resort to starting a war to maintain physical control as well as stifle free speech.

    Could you ever imagine the anti-Semite BANNON being the featured speaker at the Zionist Convention a few weeks ago? I wasn’t surprised. No one else should be.


    Why, with all our problems both here and abroad concerning the Middle East, would Donald Trump [Bannon] consider recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel? Even Secretary of State Rex Tillison has refused to take that step.

    I can only think of one. Trump started his run for the presidency with anti-Semitism and also ended it on that note. Do you blame him. He needs a pogram against the American Jews to REDIRECT the world-wide hatred directed at him, especially from the African-American community. As the old saying goes, “There’s always the Jews.”

    By the way, this same maneuver was attempted in the late 80’s in Dallas and the early 90’s in Jacksonville. Both attempts ended in FAILURE. Those two, extremely dangerous, idiots are not even aware of the fact.

    Donald Trump and Steve Bannon are a team of losers. There is no mistake about that. They keep confirming it.

    The following is an excerpt from “The Myth of the State” by Ernst Cassirer, the famed political scientist, who fled Nazi Germany in the late 30’s:

    “It is beyond the power of philosophy to destroy the political myths. A myth is in a sense invulnerable. It is impervious to rational arguments; it cannot be refuted by syllogisms. But philosophy can do us another important service. It can make us understand the adversary.

    In order to fight an enemy you must know him. That is one of the first principles of a sound strategy. To know him means not only to know his defects and weaknesses; it means to know his strength. All of us have been liable to underrate this strength. When we first heard of the political myths we found them so absurd and incongruous, so fantastic and ludicrous that we could hardly be prevailed upon to take them seriously. By now it has become clear to all of us that this was a great mistake. We should not commit the same error a second time. We should carefully study the ORIGIN, the STRUCTURE, the METHODS, and the TECHNIQUE of the political myths. We should see the adversary FACE to FACE in order to know how to combat him.” p. 373

    I strongly suggest adding this to your anti-Nazi playbook.

  22. Jo Ann, I read Zola’s novel Germinal back in my college days in the early 1970’s. Germinal was written between April 1884 and January 1885. Briefly, the central character Étienne a French coal miner embraces socialist principles. Working and living conditions continue to worsen throughout the novel; eventually, pushed to breaking point, the miners decide to strike.

    Pushed beyond their limits the miners riot. The rioters are eventually confronted by police and the army that repress the revolt in a violent and unforgettable episode. This is the pattern that also played out here the USA with the Organs of State Security always protecting the interests of the 1%. Socialism has been demonized here in the USA to the point, it is like George Carlin’s famous Seven dirty words.

    Jo Ann, you also said > There is always the possibility in this country that, if there was no blood, there is no public interest. The McMega-Media does it best to tamp down anti-corporate protests or movements, such as the Native American protests of the Keystone Pipeline. As a Bernie Bot I was enraged that, Bernie’s big rallies were hardly covered by the Press. However, the Corporatist Trumpet was covered not stop, every time the Trumpet broke wind out of his mouth he was covered by our McMega-Media.

    Our way around the Corporate Media propaganda was the Internet, but that is also under attack by the Trumpet’s Media Puppet who is in charge of the FCC chair Ajit Pai’s plans to repeal net neutrality.

  23. When I moved to Germany in 07 and Switzerland in 2012, one question on the registration form was, religion. If you answered you were a Christian or Jew or Muslim, you got a 10% income tax liability. There are forums for new residents that warn of this because when you get your first paycheck, the 10% was automatic deducted whether you found a church or attended or not. This is still the case today.

    I have been looking for Pence to show up all week too. Just where is he? I cannot type appropriate words about this disastrous tax bill. I am just furious that it passed! WTF? Pitch forks are coming!

  24. JoAnn,

    “Marv….Our unavoidable domestic revolution (it deserves no capitalization) quickly fizzled after what appeared to be a real Revolution of the People. We haven’t had a good demonstration, protest march or anti-Trump rally for quite awhile; or is the media afraid to report on them? There is always the possibility in this country that, if there was no blood, there is no public interest.”

    We ALL don’t see the world from the same spot. Where you see failure, I might see success. It’s not all about IQ.

    The Revolution of the People you were talking about never had a chance. It was created by a group of known anti-Semites in Canada who directed the movement toward FINANCIAL CAPITALISTS, generally interpreted as the Jews. What about the INDUSTRIAL CAPITALISTS like the Koch Brothers. They weren’t included. Thus, the movement had no chance for success.

    Adolph Hitler was backed by industrial capitalists like the Koch Brothers. He directed his hatred toward the financial capitalists where the Jewish representation was strongest. It allowed for his movement to be called the National Socialists [directed only against financial capitalists]. By doing this he kept on the good side of the industrial capitalists like Farben and others who supported him financially.

    One reason I didn’t join the movement, was that it never had a chance. Another is that I’m not about mass movements, as I mentioned before they can be devastating even if they are politically successful.

  25. Love the Zola quotes, though the first one about priests cannot be verified. Here’s more from Zola’s famous letter, J’accuse!

    It is a crime that those people who wish to see a generous France take her place as leader of all the free and just nations are being accused of fomenting turmoil in the country, denounced by the very plotters who are conniving so shamelessly to foist this miscarriage of justice on the entire world. It is a crime to lie to the public, to twist public opinion to insane lengths in the service of the vilest death-dealing machinations. It is a crime to poison the minds of the meek and the humble, to stoke the passions of reactionism and intolerance, by appealing to that odious anti-Semitism that, unchecked, will destroy the freedom-loving France of the Rights of Man. It is a crime to exploit patriotism in the service of hatred, and it is, finally, a crime to ensconce the sword as the modern god, whereas all science is toiling to achieve the coming era of truth and justice.
    Truth and justice, so ardently longed for! How terrible it is to see them trampled, unrecognized and ignored!
    Emile Zola (J’accuse!, 1898)

  26. Gerald,

    Trump,Pence, Bannon can’t beat Sheila Kennedy’s Blog. As I said many months ago, Donald Trump is Santa Claus.

    I decorated both of my Christmas trees early this year.

  27. “It is a crime to exploit patriotism in the service of hatred, and it is, finally, a crime to ensconce the sword as the modern god, whereas all science is toiling to achieve the coming era of truth and justice.
    Truth and justice, so ardently longed for! How terrible it is to see them trampled, unrecognized and ignored!”

    Steve Fox; thank you for the Zola quotes from “J’accuse!”, those above are blatantly relevant today as no other time in our history. Turner Classic Movies was showing “The Life of Emile Zola” this morning; what a sad loss of his life, he had so much more to say. He fascinates me so I Googled Emile Zola quotes; the ones I used were from a list of 30 his quotes. His unending determination to clear Dreyfus is unparalleled; one man against an entire country to clear the name of one innocent man…and we must suffer the dregs of Trump and his minions as they try to silence all but his chosen few of all journalists.

  28. “We aren’t just living in an age of corruption–we’re living in an age of idiocy.”

    Meanwhile, while we are firmly ensconced in this age of idiocy many of our competitors around the world are not. Vladimir Putin for one, and there are others, is rubbing his hands together and smacking his lips watching our whole sociopolitical system implode in two all these disparate groups that will not talk to one another will not try to reach common ground will not do anything outside of their very narrow scope of thinking. They’re going to eat us alive and they already are. Putin is already actively pursuing a reorientation of the world order that negates the west and the United States in particular and replaces it with another that has at its heart a greater Russia that will dominate, as the famed creator of geopolitical thought, Karl Haushofer termed as the “Heartland”. As the old expression goes, “he who dominates the heartland dominates the world”. While Haushofer’s century and a half old axiom may seem out of date Putin believes it or, at least, something like it.

    So as we rip ourselves to shreds the all this disparate factionalism the rest of the world moves on and with Trump adding to it by canceling collaborative agreements with the United Nations and other geopolitical alliances we are, in essence, cutting our collective throats is a world power. The handle that we’ve had on world events that is kept us all from having another global war and worldwide economic collapse with the United States being the focal point is being removed and with it our influence on events will go right down the drain.

    So as we squabble back and forth over the separation of church and state and the myriad of other issues that are real and those are also fabricated we are putting our nation in ourselves in grave danger. Our way of life as we have known it could be drastically affected by a realignment of the geopolitical equilibrium, especially when this country has its hands nowhere near the tiller and is over time further marginalized by an evolving, likely malevolent, pseudo-world order that is destined to collapse into a global free for all with all the horrible things that will go along with that.

    I’d never in my wildest dreams thought that such a perfect storm loaded with such horrible ingredients pushed along by greedy individuals that place their own welfare over that of their country with totally compromise political figure’s doing their bidding instead of that of the people that they serve would bring this country to the brink of collapse and disintegration but they have. As we withdraw from the world bit by bit that vacuum is going to be filled by those that don’t care diddly squat for what’s good for the American people and the American nation. We are in grave risk and that risk grows more acute each and every day given who is leading this country powered by a highly vocal minority that keeps the majority of Americans at bay that are politically fractured and quite frankly flabbergasted by the position that they find themselves in.

    We are living in highly abnormal times and if we do not stop this Trump induced slide our entire way of life will be at risk since we will no longer be the masters of our own destiny. That job will be taken up by others that will very likely go to great lengths to ensure that the power that this nation has brought to bear as a force for good and for stability, however flawed at times, will be thoroughly emasculated and we will be at the mercy of those that see us as the only real impediment to their grand designs on being the rulers of the world. Without American influence and that of our Allies that share our values the balance of this century will be fraught with even greater upheavals, wars, and other disasters. In such an environment we will not have any degree of leverage in the global arena as we do now. It will have passed this country, what there will be left of it, by due to our cultural suicide that we have not been smart enough to avoid.

    What a way to end things.

  29. Tom; unless Robert Mueller can work a miracle to remove Trump from office, due to the determined inaction by Congress we have more than a year of Trump and his Tweets and mentally unbalanced antics. And no guarantee that the November 2018 elections will change things. There is also the increasing question of how much can we rely on once staunch allies Trump has alienated to the point there is speculation the UK will uninvite him…IF the invitation has ever been officially offered. One Facebook post stated Prince Harry does NOT want Trump at his upcoming wedding; highly believable he doesn’t want a racist at his marriage to a beautiful biracial woman…or to any woman for that matter.

  30. Tom – I wish you were wrong but I fear you are right. Most great civilizations did not fall from without but from within (see the Greek city-state wars that ended Athenian democracy after only 169 years and made the Greeks easy prey for Roman legions). We were already falling from within (if slowly) since Reagan due to the colossal and under-regulated greed of a few sectors of our economy and forty years of wage inequality, but Trump has accelerated the slide and, as I often write, our democracy is at stake.
    Yes, we have the strongest military in the world, but so what? Just what is that military protecting? A righteous America truly spreading democracy or oil wells, cheap labor sites and other “spheres of interest and influence” of the propertied class? And who is paying for the protection of the assets both foreign and domestic with their taxes and deficits? It is not the propertied class as demonstrated by the bill passed in the Senate at 2 A.M. today. We the unpropertied are privileged to be paying for protection of the assets of the propertied class but are denied a share of the profits. I could cite example after example but will not do so due to constraints of time and space. Suffice it to say in summary that we the people have work to do if we are to save our democracy and not become another Athens by default.

  31. I think the Citizen’s United was an excellent decision and a mark of pride for Indiana as Mr. Bopp carried the ball. I’m not worried about doing away with LBJ and most of his works, to include his fly by night amendment. I even like the idea that “Donald J. Trump

    Tainted (no, very dishonest?) FBI “agent’s role in Clinton probe under review.” Led Clinton Email probe. @foxandfriends Clinton money going to wife of another FBI agent in charge.” reaches 43,000,000 people without being edited by limp wrist lying jerks of journalism.

  32. Gerald and Tom,

    If there are any ANSWERS to our dilemma, they won’t come from the past. However, any answers will require UNDERSTANDING our past at the deepest level of OLIGARCHIC control. Until we face up to that difficult task, any attempts to change the suicidal course that America is traveling will be FUTILE.

  33. Just came across a Floyd Abrams article in the 10/17/17 WSJ discussing why Citizens United..a Disaster that wasn’t. I recommend it to your amen corner. I presume after chasing Thunderstorms you came to be OK with Steyer donating $90,000,000 in the 2015-2016 election cycle? Maybe the thugs of SEIU at $23,000,000 would be better for your snoozing? Somehow the poor Laborer’s Union managed $21,000,000 while the skilled trade Carpenters came up with but $19,000,000…about the same as Soros, George….All of these donated to your cause? I’m sure the NEA at $24,000,000 did…..OH, and could you add a “like” button as some of your contributors make sense.

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