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As Vice President Pence QUIETLY CATNAPPED through the State of the Union Address on Feb. 5, Donald Trump declared, “We will never be a socialist country.”

Fast forward to May 13 (that’s the day before yesterday and barely three months after that SOTU declaration.

Trump ramps up his trade war with China, imposing new tariffs on Chinese imports that he claims will bring money into the U.S. treasury when, in fact, the proposed tariffs only mean that U.S. consumers will be paying more for goods from China.

You see, that’s the way tariffs work. It’s the buyer (American citizens) who will be paying the tariffs, not China. Trump doesn’t seem to be able to grasp that.

China retaliated by announced its own new tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. goods, including $19.6 billion in agricultural exports to China in 2017, more than 14 percent of total U.S. agricultural exports.

No problem, Trump says. He’ll just push through a new RELIEF PACKAGE for farmers to the tune of about $15 billion.

That’s in addition to the $12 billion in farm aid Trump provided last year following China’s retaliatory tariffs.

And speaking of China, China was America’s biggest creditor for 2017, holding some $1.15 TRILLION in U.S, debt, down slightly from $1.3 TRILLION in 2013.

So, the U.S. will now borrow even more money from China to pay our own soybean farmers not to sell soybeans to China? Is that about it?

But wait! Let’s go back to that SOTU declaration. Wouldn’t ensuring farmers won’t go under in the wake of failure of capitalism (brought on, of course, by Trump’s trade war) be pretty much the very definition of socialism?

Of course, Republicans have repudiated socialism by voting repeatedly over the past two decades to increase their salaries while voting against raising the minimum wage 14 times. (In the interest of accuracy, it should be noted that congressional pay raises are automatic unless members vote specifically to refuse increases—not that they’re prone to do that with any regularity.)

Senate Republicans have already expressed their trepidation over the tariffs and the trade war but if they had the courage of their convictions, all they need do is pass a bill to halt Trump’s petulant trade war. And with the Democrats who would join them in a bipartisan effort, they’d certainly have enough votes to override a veto.

But they don’t and they won’t.

Where, for example is Lindsey Graham, the Republican senator from South Carolina? According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, long-time ally of the Republican Party, South Carolina will be the THIRD-HARDEST HIT state by the trade war with nearly 600,000 jobs and $30 billion in goods tied directly to trade.

Yet Graham is strangely silent on all matters related to the tariffs but has advised Trump staffers to ignore Senate Intelligence Committee subpoenas.

And then there’s Louisiana, the fifth most adversely-impacted state, with 16.5 percent of its exports headed for China.

So, where are John Kennedy and Bill Cassidy? For that matter, where are Reps. Steve Scalise, Clay “The Cajun Mouth” Higgins, Mike Johnson, Garret Graves and (especially) gubernatorial candidate Ralph Abraham, who just happens to represent the very part of Louisiana hardest-hit by agricultural export tariffs?

Speaking of Abraham, Lamar White, publisher of BAYOU BRIEF, had a revealing story last week about how farmer-doctor-congressman Abraham and his family have raked in $2.6 million in government farm subsidies from 1995 to 2017. Farmer-doctor-Congressman Abraham personally received $68,000, and the Ralph and Diane Farm Partnership (that’s farmer-doctor-congressman Ralph Abraham and his wife) received an additional $514,000. His son-in-law, Dustin Morris, raked in a little more than $975,000 while his wife Ashley Abraham Morris, farmer-doctor-congressman Abraham’s daughter, pulled in an additional $592,000 over the same period.

And oh, farmer-doctor-congressman Abraham also just happens to be a member of the House Agriculture Committee.

Here’s a RUNDOWN of members of congress who received at least $100,000 in farm subsidies:

Senate or House Agriculture Committee members:

  • Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa: $322,000;
  • Republican Rep. Vicky Hartzier of Missouri: $972,000;
  • Republican Rep. Doug LaMalfa of California: $1.8 million (33 percent of $5.3 million paid to family);
  • Republican Rep. Frank Lucas of Ohio: $105,000;

Non-committee members:

  • Republican former Rep. Stephen Fincher of Tennessee: $3.7 million;
  • Republican Rep. Deb Fischer of Nebraska: $381,000
  • Republican Rep. Sam Graves of Missouri: $143,000;
  • Republican Rep. Devin Nunes of California (one of Trump’s most vocal cheerleaders): $244,000 (25 percent of Sunset View Farms which received $748,000);
  • Republican former Rep. Marlin Stutzman of Indiana: $220,000;
  • Democrat Sen. Jon Tester of Montana: $330,000;
  • Democrat former Rep. Gwen Graham of Florida: $238,000;
  • Republican Mac Thornberry of Texas: $160,000;

With 11 of 13—counting Abraham—being Republican, perhaps the Grand Old Party isn’t as militantly anti-socialist as it purports to be—unless, of course, it can blame socialism for programs to aid the poor. That’s a different matter altogether.

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If Louisiana’s working citizens—particularly those struggling to pay rent, put food on the table, pay for their children’s educational needs, clothe their families, buy gasoline and pay insurance premiums—are paying attention, they will soon know who their legislators represent—the aforementioned working people or the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

State Sen. Troy Carter (D-New Orleans) cartert@legis.la.gov has introduced SB 155, backed by Gov. Edwards, to raise the state’s stagnant minimum wage from an incentive-choking $7.25 to $9.00, effective July 1, 2020. If approved, it would go to voters in the form of a constitutional amendment.

It’s time. In fact, it’s way past time.

The same goes for the long overdue equal pay for women legislation. Louisiana currently pays women about 60 percent of what men earn for the same job. That’s unthinkable.

Equally unfathomable is that similar bills have failed to gain traction in past legislative sessions.

Gov. Edwards is on record as supporting both measures.

Women are not second-class citizens and should not be treated as such.

HB 289 by Rep. Barbara Norton (D-Shreveport) nortonb@legis.la.gov provides equal pay for women and HB 63 by Rep Joseph Bouie, Jr. (D-New Orleans) bouiej@legis.la.gov would require any contractor who enters into a contract with a public entity to comply with the Equal Pay for Women Act. Both bills are pending before the House Labor and Industrial Relations Committee.

That committee membership is weighted 9-6 in favor of Republicans. Members include Reps. Patrick Jefferson, Chair (D-Homer) jeffersonpo@legis.la.gov, Kenny Cox (D-Natchitoches) coxk@legis.la.gov, Royce Duplessis (D-New Orleans) duplessisr@legis.la.gov, Ted James (D-Baton Rouge) james.ted@legis.la.gov, Ed Larvadain, III (D-Alexandria) hse026@legis.la.gov, Vincent J. Pierre (D-Lafayette)  pierrev@legis.la.gov, Blake Miguez, Vice Chair, (R-Erath) miguezb@legis.la.gov, Beryl Amedee (R-Houma) amedeeb@legis.la.gov, Larry Bagley (R-Stonewall) bagleyl@legis.la.gov, Raymond Crews (R-Bossier City) crewsr@legis.la.gov, Reid Falconer (R-Mandeville) falconerr@legis.la.gov, Dodie Horton (R-Haughton) hortond@legis.la.gov, Jack McFarland (R-Jonesboro)  mcfarlandj@legis.la.gov, Alan Seabaugh (R-Shreveport) seabaugha@legis.la.gov, and Scott Simon (R-Abita Springs)  simons@legis.la.gov.

The federal minimum wage hasn’t been adjusted for a decade and anyone who thinks even a single person with no dependents can survive on $7.25 per hour is woefully out of touch with reality.

Anyone who believes that is spending far too much time on the golf course.

Anyone who believes that, you can bet, has never had to do so.

LABI President Stephen Waguespack, a alumnus of the Bobby Jindal administration, will throw all his organization’s resources into an all-out effort to defeat Carter’s bill just as he has with past efforts to raise the minimum wage.

Waguespack can afford to do so, too, because he’s being paid a comfortable six-figure salary to represent the interests of big business over those of working stiffs.

His condescending comment about a minimum wage being being a “one size fits all” approach is both arrogant and deliberately misleading.

Waguespack will be in the State Capitol corridors every day. Legislators are forbidden from accepting campaign contributions from any of the four LABI political action committees, but they know if they vote the way he wants, those contributions will flow in once the legislative session adjourns.

In the meantime, nothing prevents him from wining and dining key members of the legislature. Key members like, say, certain members (read: Republican) members of the Senate Labor & Industrial Relations Committee, which will decide whether or not Carter’s bill moves forward to the floors of the House and Senate.

That committee is chaired by Sen. Neil Riser (R-Columbia), risern@legis.la.gov

Riser should (but likely won’t) be all-in on raising the minimum wage. After all, it was he who tried to slip that amendment onto a rather benign bill back in 2014 that would’ve given then-State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson a healthy six-figure increase in his yearly retirement.

Carter is vice-chair and he should have allies in Sens. Regina Barrow (D-Baton Rouge) barrowr@legis.la.gov, Wesley T. Bishop (D-New Orleans) bishopw@legis.la.gov and Jean-Paul J. Morrell (D-New Orleans) morrelljp@legis.la.gov.

Republicans on the committee include, besides Riser, include Sens. Ronnie Johns (R-Lake Charles) johnsr@legis.la.gov and Barrow Peacock (R-Bossier City) peacockb@legis.la.gov

Other southern states that have held the line at $7.25 include Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

Arkansas has already raised its minimum wage to $11. Shoot, even West Virginia has a state minimum wage of $8.75.

Altogether, 26 other states have a minimum wage higher than Louisiana and 19 of those are already at $9 or above.

The U.S. has an income disparity that should be embarrassing—and it’s only getting wider. The haves keep getting richer and the have-nots keep sinking in poverty and the Stephen Waguespacks of the world couldn’t care less as long as they can keep corporate board members fat and happy.

And many legislators couldn’t care less as long as they can keep the campaign contributions coming in.

So, fight back. The average worker can’t take time off to go to the Capitol to lobby legislators. Stephen Waguespack can because that’s precisely what he’s paid to do. It’s an uneven playing field.

But you can contact your legislator—early and often—and let him/her know that this is an election year and you have a lethal weapon—the ballot.

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Watching former Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s testimony before the House Oversight and Reform Committee, it was impossible to ignore the grandstanding by Democrats out for blood and Republicans just as determined to protect the damaged goods personified in Donald Trump.

But it was the brief appearance of 3rd District U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins that provided a brief moment of unintended comedy.

During his five minutes in attempting to defend Trump from Cohen’s bombshell charges, Higgins managed to allude to “the many arrests” he had made in his law enforcement career.

Following is an excerpt from a chapter on Higgins included in my manuscript for Louisiana’s Rogue Sheriffs: A Culture of Corruption, a book about corrupt sheriffs and law enforcement officers of Louisiana that puts that law enforcement record in perspective:

If ever there was a living caricature of the Barney Fife character from the old Andy Griffith Show, it would have to be Clay Higgins, aka the self-anointed “Cajun John Wayne,” a Dirty Harry wannabe.

Originally a patrolman and a member of the Opelousas Police Department’s SWAT team, Higgins, a former used car salesman, resigned from the OPD on May 18, 2007, in lieu of accepting disciplinary action from Police Chief Perry Gallow.

“Pfc. Clay Higgins used unnecessary force on a subject during the execution of a warrant and later gave false statements during an internal investigation. Although he later recanted his story and admitted to striking a suspect in handcuffs and later releasing him …” read the minutes of the Opelousas Police Department’s Discipline Review Board concerning the March 14, 2007, incident.

Among the actions that had been recommended by the review board:

  • Demotion from Patrolman First Class to Patrolman;
  • Reassignment to a patrol shift for more direct supervision and training;
  • Immediate removal from the SWAT Team;
  • 160 hours suspension from duty without pay.

Rather than be subjected to the disciplinary action, Higgins turned in his equipment and resigned, although his version of events varies somewhat with the official account.

The incident in question occurred, he said, when he and fellow SWAT Team members were guarding the perimeter of a drug bust and a car breached the perimeter. The driver claimed to have cash in the suspected drug house and wanted to retrieve it, according to Higgins. The man was detained and handcuffed, Higgins claimed, and threatened the officers and Higgins slapped a cigarette out of the man’s mouth.

The man, who was subsequently released, filed a complaint and Higgins admittedly lied about slapping the man but later confessed to slapping him. While awaiting a determination of his punishment, he said he jokingly referred to Gallow as a peacock. “I decided right then, on that day, that my career was over at OPD—that I would never, ever recover from this peacock thing. He was infuriated by it. So, because of that I went into the chief’s office the following week and I turned in my badge and my gear and I resigned.”

That’s not the way it happened, according to Captain Craig Thomas, who headed up Internal Affairs for the OPD. He said Higgins lied in saying that the driver of the vehicle, Andre Richard, committed a battery upon Higgins and that Higgins only came forward to tell the truth after learning that Sergeant Bill Ortego did not go along with the story told by Higgins and another officer. Ortego said that he, Higgins and a third officer were standing outside the home where the warrant was being executed when a young black man pulled up in a red vehicle, got out and approached the three officers, but did not breach a perimeter as claimed by Higgins because “there was no perimeter set up for Richard to see,” Thomas said. “He was parked in the street.”

When Higgins walked to the driver’s side of the vehicle and started looking in the car through the open door, Richard attempted to close the door while Higgins was still standing in the doorway, at which time Higgins and the second officer threw Richard to the ground, Ortego wrote in his statement. Ortego made it clear that the driver had not placed his hands on Higgins before trying to close his car door.

Once the man was on the ground, Higgins asked for handcuffs and when the cuffs were on, Higgins grabbed him by the hair and told him to contact his lawyer, Ortego said, adding that the two officers began searching Richard’s vehicle, which they did not have permission to do, and noted that Ortego himself and Lieutenant Craig Leblanc, who was also present, helped the man off the ground, at which time Richard told Higgins, “It’s all right, everybody got to die someday.” Higgins took it as an implied threat and it really pissed Higgins off, prompting him to remove the cuffs and push the man onto the car, then put his hand around his neck before slapping him in the face and telling him to leave, according to Ortego’s statement. Higgins then pulled the cigarette out of Richard’s mouth and pushed him toward his vehicle, Ortego said.

Following his departure from the OPD, Higgins next showed up as a public information officer for the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office. His career there took an even more bizarre turn and established him as something of a pseudo folk hero in what he perceived as the mold of some kind of super cop, or better yet, the reincarnation of John Wayne himself. But his blatant—and oddly comical—self-parody bathed him more in the light of Deputy Fife than the Duke.

While employed by the SLP Sheriff’s Office, Higgins took it upon himself to make a series of macho videos of himself in full battle garb and armed to the teeth. With a full contingent of law enforcement personnel, armaments and a police dog standing alertly in the background, Higgins embarked on a rant against thugs, gang members, and assorted criminals, promising them there was no safe haven for them as long as he was on the job.

The videos gained him instant notoriety on YouTube, garnering thousands of hits. That only encouraged Higgins to branch out and to begin offering commemorative cups, caps and T-shirts to an adoring public. Soon, he was appearing as a paid guest on talk shows, giving paid speeches and doing paid advertisements, all of which naturally, in today’s media-dominated society, morphed into a TV reality show. Saying he had his reasons for preferring payment in cash, he charged $1500 for a television production, a thousand dollars for a radio production and one hundred fifty dollars an hour in travel time and another thousand for a photo session.

It also prompted swift action on the part of St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz. After Higgins’s forced resignation, Guidroz said, “Clay Higgins formed a personal business venture to raise money by selling mugs, T-shirts and other trinkets using department badge and uniform.” Explaining that using the sheriff’s office to promote his businesses was against departmental policy, Guidroz said, “I reined Higgins in.” He said that Higgins needed to take his own advice to not be disrespectful and to “follow the law.” Guidroz said he never authorized Higgins to appear on mugs, T-shirts or any other paraphernalia.

The personal business to which Guidroz referred, Captain Higgins Gear Company, LLC, was incorporated on October 15, 2015.

Guidroz related an incident in which Higgins requested extra body armor and an AR-15. He also asked to take the sheriff’s department decals off his car because, Higgins said, “My wife is home alone a lot and I don’t want them (those he had targeted in his videos) to see that I’m a policeman living in this area with the decals on my car.”

Guidroz said he told Higgins, “No, and I’ll tell you why: You put a target on fifty-five other deputies in this parish that have marked units. By calling these guys (gang members) out on the street, claiming to be a bad-ass, you put that target on them. Why should I grant you that request to unmark your car?”

As his supersized ego continued to grow, so, too, did his dream of a TV reality show in which he would out-Seagal actor Steven Seagal who at one time had his own TV reality cop show in which he did ride-alongs with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Department. Higgins, expanding on that theme, actually envisioned himself popping in on various police department SWAT teams around the country and inviting himself to raids where he would personally arrest perps and then exact confessions from them during on-camera interrogations. Left unexplained was just how he intended to convince local police departments to allow him to swoop in and claim the glory after what may have been months of investigation and surveillance on their part.

Only after he left the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office was it learned that Higgins had not paid federal income taxes for several years, and his salary there was being garnished by the IRS. Moreover, it was also learned belatedly that Higgins was being sued by one of his ex-wives for one hundred thousand dollars after falling behind on child support payments a decade earlier.

Higgins, who denied an accusation by another ex-wife (not the one who sued him for child support) that he put a gun to her head during an argument in 1991, landed on his feet, this time as a reserve deputy for Lafayette City Marshal Brian Pope who was himself indicted by a grand jury in August of 2016.

Meanwhile, Higgins was seeking the seat previously held by Rep. Charles Boustany who ran and lost in his race for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the retiring David Vitter. Higgins, running as an unabashed supporter of Donald Trump, was pitted in the runoff against Scott Angelle, a member of the Louisiana Public Service Commission who finished third in a four-man race for Louisiana Governor in 2015. In the November primary, Angelle led with 29 percent of the vote to Higgins’s 26 percent. But in the December 10 runoff, Higgins, with 77,671 votes (56 percent), swamped Angelle, who pulled but 60,762 (44 percent). After having lost two major races within a year’s time, Angelle was likely through running for elective office though Trump later hired him to head up the federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

Days before his runoff victory, Higgins was taped by ex-wife Rosemary Rothkamm-Hambrice as they discussed his delinquent child support payments. “…I really don’t know how much we should talk about this on the phone,” Higgins said. “I’m just learning really about campaign laws but there’s going to be a lot of money floating around…”

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When I was a boy, my grandfather kept feed for his livestock in what we referred to as the corn crib in our barn. Naturally, rats, attracted to the grain, were a major problem.

One day, I moved a 55-gallon metal barrel into the crib. I put a couple of handsful of grain in the bottom of the barrel and propped a wooden plank outside the barrel against the open top. That night, about half-a-dozen not-so-smart rats climbed up the board and jumped into the barrel to get the grain. Too late they found they couldn’t get out.

I killed the rats and repeated the process each night, thereby eliminating quite a large number of the vermin because they too dumb to comprehend the peril of leaping before then looked.

The Senate passage (87-12) Tuesday of the CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM BILL has put Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry in a metaphorically similar barrel and it’s going to be interesting to see if he can climb out or if he learns from it.

Landry, you see, has spent the duration of his term of office either attacking every initiative of Gov. John Bel Edwards or praising every action of his acknowledged hero, Donald Trump.

He has been especially critical of the governor’s Criminal Justice Reform Program designed to relieve the state of its dubious title as the world’s incarceration center. Until passage of the Criminal Justice Reform Program, Louisiana had the highest rate of incarceration in a nation that had the highest incarceration rate in the civilized world.

No one would try to say there wouldn’t be repeat offenders. That goes with any prison system anywhere but Landry was quick to jump into the fray back in August when he issued a blistering PRESS RELEASE and newspaper OP-EDS proclaiming to anyone who would listen that nearly 25 percent of inmates released under the program had reoffended.

In an especially self-righteous display of sanctimony designed to garner sympathy, he called upon Edwards to apologize to the victims.

A noble but, coming from Landry, a somewhat empty sentiment intended to curry favor while having little to do with any real concern for anyone other than his own political capital. Consider this remark in his press release:

“The governor’s reckless approach to empty our jails simply so he can take credit for a smaller prison population remains a threat to Louisiana citizens. It further highlights the need for truth in sentencing.”

Well, first of all, there was never any intent to “empty our jails.” That’s almost laughable, ranking right up there with some of Trump’s wildly exaggerated claims. As for “truth in sentencing,” I bring to the stand the innumerable investigative audits conducted by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office that were simply filed away somewhere with no action taken against those responsible for mismanagement, malfeasance and embezzlement.

A statewide elected official can let state taxpayers pay his fine for sexual harassment and move on with his life but let some kid from the ghetto get busted for an ounce of pot and all hell breaks loose. Authorities swoop down on him, hustle him off to jail where he is most probably raped as he awaits his trial and sentencing to hard time. How’s that for “truth in sentencing,” Jeff?

It must have kept Landry awake last night just knowing that his hero (Trump) and his nemesis (Edwards) actually worked together in coming up with the criminal justice reform bill, a bill favored by Trump and for which First Son-in-law Jared Kushner actually lobbied.

It must have also upset the folks over at The Hayride after their EDITORIAL last August in which they called for Republican supporters of the Edwards prison reforms “to step away quietly…”

Basically, this is what the criminal justice reform bill does:

  • Sends up to 4,000 prisoners home by increasing the amount of time inmates can cut off of their sentences due to good behavior.
  • Allow more male and female inmates to serve time in house arrest or halfway facilities instead of prison cells, with exceptions for high-risk inmates.
  • Require that prisoners be placed within 500 miles of family.
  • Outlaw shackling during child birth.
  • Mandate the provision of sanitary napkins and tampons to female inmates.
  • Reduce the mandatory penalty from life to 25 years for a third conviction of certain drug offenses, and from 25 to 15 years for a second conviction.
  • Prohibit the doubling up, or “stacking,” of mandatory sentences for certain gun and drug offenses.
  • Give judges more discretion in giving less than the mandatory minimum for certain low-level crimes.
  • Make the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act retroactive, which changed sentencing guidelines to treat offenses involving crack and powder cocaine equally. This could impact nearly 2,600 federal inmates.

The bill would only impact the 180,789 incarcerated in federal prisons, but many of the changes reflect reforms already implemented in many states.

It now goes back to the House, where it is expected to pass with equal ease.

At least one Louisiana politician remained true to his beliefs, however self-serving they may be.

U.S. Sen. JOHN KENNEDY was one of only 12 Republicans in the Senate and the only one from Louisiana to vote against the bill, calling it a “violation of American public safety. He sniffed last August that Edwards “calls it prison reform, I call it prison release.”

Never one to abandon a snippy sound bite if it gets him on camera, he repeated an eerily similar CLAIM last Friday: “This is not a criminal justice bill. It is a prisoner release bill.”

It’s a pity neither is running for governor. It would have been a darn interesting election from an entertainment perspective.

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In the rancid, distorted, bigoted world of Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions, human life begins at conception and ends at America’s southern border.

And I’m not so sure the same can’t be said of the ass clowns we refer to as our Louisiana Congressional delegation.

Another certainty is that Session’s quoting the Bible notwithstanding, neither man can lay legitimate claim to being a Christian. That right was forfeited the instant the decision was made that innocent children, some of them still breast-feeding, should be ripped from their mother’s arms and warehoused in an empty Walmart store in Brownsville, Texas.

Acquaintances have ridiculed me for previous comparisons of idiot Trump to Hitler. Those comparisons were never more valid than now. When is the last time you saw an American president:

  • Rip more than 1300 children from their families for no greater offense than seeking asylum?
  • Incorrectly cite a Bible verse as justification for doing so?
  • Express the desire to emulate China’s President Xi in becoming President for life?
  • Have his lackeys follow the example of North Korea’s Kim Jong-un’s lackeys by sitting at attention when Dear Leader speaks? (and before you try to tell me he was “just kidding,” save your breath. He wasn’t. He was dead serious.)
  • Call the media “America’s greatest enemy”? (Okay, that may not be Hitler, per se, but it’s pretty darn close to another mad man named Nixon.)

And while we’re on the subject, I wonder if anyone has bothered to check to see if these might be private prisons contracting to hold these kids—for a nice profit, of course.

Oh, and don’t even bother to invoke the names of Obama or Clinton. Obama had his flaws as any human does, but he never once pulled the stunts and uttered the nonsense Trump has and while he had some less than stellar appointments to his cabinet, not one of them was named Scott Pruitt or Mick Mulvaney or Ben Carson or Betsy Devos or Wilbur Ross (Ross is the Commerce Secretary who was head of the Bank of Cyprus, an acknowledged vehicle for massive Russian money laundering. No Russian collusion? You can do your own Google search). And Clinton is not, was not, and will never be President so don’t even try to bring her into the mix.

In other words, let’s keep the conversation about a man who:

  • Repeatedly declared bankruptcy but always came back—with other people’s money, much of it from the Deutsche Bank, another bank that plays ball with the Russians who have money to wash;
  • Has a bad habit of not paying his contractors;
  • Ran a bogus real estate college in Florida that bilked students out of millions while failing to deliver on its promises—a college that was under investigation by the Florida attorney general…until Trump made a generous contribution to her election campaign, and then the investigation was conveniently dropped;
  • A man who has no respect for women whatsoever (don’t take Stormy Daniels’ word for it; just listen to the Billy Bush tape);
  • A man who does everything in his power to discredit, insult, and humiliate his justice department, the FBI, the IRS, the media, Congress, and anyone else who dares criticize him;
  • A man who cannot, for the life of him, maintain any consistency in his positions on issues, positions which sometimes change hourly;
  • A man who steadfastly refuses to make public his income taxes (gee, what could he be afraid of?);
  • A man who uses his position to help his family and himself financially (just look at the way in which he gave the Chinese firm ZTE a big break on his tariffs just as his daughter got nine trademark approvals from the Chinese government.)

I could go on, but why bother? If you are a Trump devotee, you’re not going to change your mind if it were proven that he was a serial axe murderer. You would simply regurgitate his and Fox News’ favorite response: fake news.

So, I will just end by saying this: If you are going to run around spewing your mantra of family values—whether as a Republican candidate or as a supporter of said candidate—while looking the other way as children are torn from their families, then you, my friend, are a damned liar and a hypocrite.

That goes for John Neely Kennedy, Bill Cassidy, Garrett Graves, Clay Higgins, Steve Scalise, Mike Johnson, or Ralph Abraham.

You are lying cowards, one and all, if you can advocate family values on one hand and imprisonment of children on the other.

And you’re certainly no Christian.

 

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