Donald Trump correct — Lyndon Johnson passed legislation limiting political activity of churches

Jul 26, 2016

By C. Eugene Emery Jr.

In his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, presidential candidate Donald Trump singled out “the evangelical and religious community” for their assistance in getting him nominated.

“They have much to contribute to our politics, yet our laws prevent you from speaking your minds from your own pulpits,” he said.

“An amendment, pushed by Lyndon Johnson many years ago, threatens religious institutions with a loss of their tax-exempt status if they openly advocate their political views. Their voice has been taken away,” Trump said. “I am going to work very hard to repeal that language and to protect free speech for all Americans.”

We were curious about the issue and whether an amendment — constitutional or otherwise — prevents the practice for religious institutions.

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71 comments on “Donald Trump correct — Lyndon Johnson passed legislation limiting political activity of churches

  • If they want their voices heard, they can pay taxes. Isn’t Trump the one who said that “illegals are stealing our resources by not paying their fair share”? The separation of church and state is only actually taken seriously from one side because I have yet to experience a church or even a congregation that does not have a political agenda and a political voice. Has this amendment ever actually been enforced? Has a church ever had to pay taxes?

    BTW, if these places want to truly be “saviors” they should step up and volunteer to pay their share. They would be helping their fellow man and giving unto caesar and all that hokey bullshit that they espouse to be doing. A big big chunk of the deficit could be offset and they’d be policing their own back yards because all of the fraudulent ministries might go away.

    I had this discussion with a “Reverend” at my lunch table (he was a substitute teacher) and he detailed how his mother and wife worked at his church and their salary was tax free, he bought his house through his ministry…. tax free…. his cars? you guessed it…. When I huffed and puffed about it, he agreed with me and said he’d be glad to pay taxes because his “was the real religion” and his “god would provide”…. So fucking step up. But, like me and you and everyone else, there is no way NO WAY he’d pay more than he’d been mandated to pay. I agreed with him on that one.

    Trump wants some support from a previously untapped voter block? Te;ll him to come out on the other side of this, like his demeanor thus far says he would.

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  • I’m torn by this issue. On the one hand, I see an untapped resource of funds for local and federal revenue. And not just the perks for the clergy, either. Televangelism is a multi-million-dollar industry. It would give me great satisfaction to see those guys have to give up a ‘cut’ of their god money.

    On the other hand, it would be a huge voting bloc wielding a frightening amount of political power. Our current version of the American Taliban would pale in comparison.

    As always, be careful what you wish for.

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  • Vicki

    frightening amount of political power

    I think they already have that amount of power. If the IRS hammer comes down on them and in return they can be upfront about their political maneuvering would anything really be different? I suspect that they are wheeling and dealing behind the scenes already.

    It’s annoying when there are two threads on the same topic going and there will be two different sets of comments on the same topic. ugh.

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  • It’s annoying when there are two threads on the same topic going and
    there will be two different sets of comments on the same topic. ugh.

    Since my replies are always general, I’ve given up trying to get one of R. Dawkins’ books. So I’ll just stick to this thread.

    Yes, I agree they are wheeling and dealing behind the scenes, but imagine the pull they would have with their congregations if we let go of the tethers.

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  • M27Holts

    It’s not the same. Winning one is very satisfying. The copy I won is in front of me on my bookshelf gleaming and sparkling brightly, snuggled in amongst the other books by RD that I actually did pay for.

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  • **so I am an atheist but I also believe in our Constitution and I think it’s fine if churches get involved in political activity. Lyndon Johnson was not a founding father who gave him the right to meddle with our Constitution…I’m a fan of Dawkins but I have to say as a Brit you should stay out our political process. Dont be like Obama

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  • Molle Laday #8
    Jul 27, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    **so I am an atheist but I also believe in our Constitution and I think it’s fine if churches get involved in political activity.

    This is contradicting yourself!
    Either you accept the secular nature of the US constitution which separates church and state, or you think it’s fine for churches to engage in politics and reject the constitution!

    @OP – “An amendment, pushed by Lyndon Johnson many years ago, threatens religious institutions with a loss of their tax-exempt status if they openly advocate their political views.

    Lyndon Johnson was not a founding father who gave him the right to meddle with our Constitution

    He did not “meddle” with the constitution. He upheld the principles OF the constitution. – Namely that churches’ tax exempt status, is dependent on their separation from state government.

    If they want to campaign like commercial organisations, rather than philosophise as charitable religious bodies, then they should pay tax as commercial organisations.

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  • @M27Holtz

    Why not just order one over the internet?

    What Laurie said.

    It isn’t the book per se, it’s the recognition for a thoughtful post. I have a couple of his books, and on average, order one or two books per week. They’re stacked and/or laying around everywhere. I should probably invest in an electronic book reader.

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  • Perhaps one way to bring about the demise of the racket religion, is to deprive them of tax exemption; bang goes the greater part of their motivation!

    Trump is a vote junkie; he’ll suck up to or go down on anyone to get his box ticked.

    If bad hair day boy gets elected, I’d love to be a fly on the wall when he meets the UKs Foreign Secretary, the bombastic blonde brexiteer, Boris Johnson; perhaps the latter could recommend a hair dresser to the former.

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  • Yes, Bonnie,
    but the churches do not abide the rule. They openly flout it. Literally standing on the pulpit and telling the flock exactly what where when why and how to vote. It is absolutely ridiculous.

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  • I am a registered Republican, Veteran, Retired Science Teacher and an Atheist. I am aware I don’t fit the mold. I also support Trump. I often hear leading Science personalities (Such as Richard, Michio Kaku, Neil De Grase Tyson) lump the Evangelical Christians in with Republicans. Trump is trying to garner the Christian Right Wing vote. He has a strong following with the Military, VFW, and NRA. I agree with you guys that the churches need to pay taxes. Big religion is very dirty. The Televangelists are 90% dirty. Large Mega Churches are really business centers. Many Christian schools are teaching that the Earth is 6,000 years old!. The Christian Church and all big religion should be under attack. Any church that brings in a million dollars in any form should pay tax. They should not just pay income tax, but property tax as well. Atheists and Agnostics are under attack.

    Take it easy on Republicans I am an Atheist. You guys are right about the churches. The Republican Party is dead wrong about the church and gun control. I have met other non holy roller Republicans as well. Don’t throw me out of the boat because I am not a Liberal.

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  • Darrell why remain loyal to the Republican party when you’re a level headed retired science teacher and an Atheist and don’t agree with that party’s views on gun control either? Anti-science, Atheism and guns are three main policies of that party. The only reason I can think of that you would remain affiliated with them is that you must be part of the 1%. Otherwise, why? Forgive me but I just don’t get it.

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  • 18
    Pinball1970 says:


    You name is a mouthful Darrell

    Your comment is interesting because I would like to know what makes a republican a republican if it is not right wing, Christian influenced values

    If you are an atheist I assume you have no objection to gay marriage?

    What is it about the democrats and liberalism you do not like?

    On this side of the pond guns and jesus means you are a republican.

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  • Darrell,

    Please do give us more. What you have said does not compute in my poor head. Presumably you don’t like the government taxing you and investing it in society in the way that they do. You see it as inefficient or intrusive? What of societal unfairness? Do people mostly get what they deserve in the US? You worked hard so others can too?

    I’m genuinely interested. Don’t let me put words in your mouth here.

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  • Pamela

    Democrats are often Anti-American, weak on National Defense, and very super Liberal. Many school teachers are liberal flag burners. I served 21 years in the US Army and I am a Combat Veteran as well. . I am balanced in thought. Clinton is a loose canon. She caused the deaths of several Americans by not acting and may have compromised our State Department with her unsecure Email. Trump is crazy, I know, but the lesser of two evils. He gets a lot of things wrong. I am Republican, I am not stupid. I will side with Industry and Nationalism over food stamps and Socialism. I wish Paul Ryan was running. Politics are much like religion-very dirty. You guys get on here and think because I am a Patriot that I am stupid. If you are a Democrat can you be a real Patriot? In the old days that was not true. Roosevelt, Truman, and Kennedy were very central on their views. Republicans are not all Anti-Science. Many are bible thumping idiots like Bush.

    If you look at what I said I am on your side against the churches. The Idea that all the churches will vote Republican is dead wrong 55-45 maybe. Catholics will vote Democrat. The Black churches will vote 99% Blue as well. Evangelicals will vote Red mostly.

    I am not a monster. Just a tough old guy with a brain. I figured out there is no God. I also figured out Clinton is more evil than Trump. I think right now Clinton will win. Unless she does something real dumb. Every time Trump talks he gets 1,000 followers and 1,500 enemies. A lot of people will sit out the election. I think that favors her. The community organizers will load up the bus and they will vote mostly Blue.

    Anyway I think Richard Dawkins has started a small fire with his book “The God Delusion”. I am a fan and think we need to take our Science classrooms away from “Common Core.” Which is largely a liberal idea of dumbing down kids.

    The churches should stay out of politics. Black churches by the way are just as polarizing toward the left.

    If there was a 3rd Party that was more “Common Sense’ I would join it. Our 3rd parties now are a joke.

    I agree to disagree. This election will be ugly. I plan on watching a lot of football in the mean time.

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  • DS @21
    “Patriot” is mainly a word that Americans use, we in England have “Royalists” – Both words conjure up images of a more violent Past – Americans gunning down red-coats and Cavaliers running-through round-heads.
    Aye, and Football is Association football – you must be referring to American Rules Football or “Gridiron” – The ball is handled far more than kicked, so like Rugby Football it’s strangely misnamed. And on Topic, I’d would rather vote for the corpse of Josef Stalin than Trump, hypothetically speaking of course!

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  • Dan, please note the stunningly accurate picture Haidt has painted here…. Loyalty (imagined or actual) in the highest degree.


    What if you love your country so much that you just feel you have to correct its mistakes? Isn’t that what you do for loved ones? Isn’t a “lack of patriotism” just a get out for not arguing the issues raised?

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  • Darrell Stanley #21
    Jul 28, 2016 at 4:07 am

    If there was a 3rd Party that was more “Common Sense’ I would join it. Our 3rd parties now are a joke.

    The US problem, is that if you had an honest third party which was not a joke, it would probably lack campaign funding from the corrupt system of stooges for the wealthy and large corporations, and the media strawman image of it would be a joke which too many Americans would be happy to believe!

    In a country with a large percentage of global warming and evolution deniers, it is hardly surprising that enough are easily deceived into shooting themselves in the foot on issues like healthcare.

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  • Darrell Stanley #21
    Jul 28, 2016 at 4:07 am

    I am balanced in thought. Clinton is a loose canon. She caused the deaths of several Americans by not acting and may have compromised our State Department with her unsecure Email. Trump is crazy, I know, but the lesser of two evils….. I also figured out Clinton is more evil than Trump.

    Other than the bit about Trump I’d consider what you posted to be about as unbalanced in thought as it’s possible to be. Clinton is not particularly likeable and something other than pant suits might be a good idea once in a while but evil? Seriously? She’s spent much of her lifetime working for women’s and children’s rights and health care. She’s also about the polar opposite of loose cannon. Cautious, by the book, maybe overly so.

    As for Benghazi which is what I assume you are referring to, security wasn’t her personal responsibility as Secretary of State and nor was any military response to the attack. No one could have prevented Stevens’ death short of there already being a battalion stationed at this remote outpost. The same Republicans who wasted 20 million dollars on hearings trying desperately to make political capital out of Benghazi were also the ones who kept reducing the Diplomatic security budget for years.

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  • Arkrid Sandwich #27
    Jul 28, 2016 at 9:11 am

    The same Republicans who wasted 20 million dollars on hearings trying desperately to make political capital out of Benghazi were also the ones who kept reducing the Diplomatic security budget for years.

    Darrell from his comment, is no fan of Bush, but while we are discussing military budgets, the $4 to $6 trillion of US taxpayers’ money, Bush wasted on creating the chaos and aftermath of the Afghan and Iraq wars, makes all other costs and budgets pale into insignificance. – Especially as much of this money was borrowed, incurs interest charges, and is yet to be repaid!

    Bilmes focuses as well on the costs of borrowing money to pay for the wars. “The U.S. has already borrowed some $2 trillion to finance the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and the associated defense build-up — a major component of the $9 trillion U.S. debt accrued since 2001,” she writes. Any accounting of other macroeconomic costs associated with the wars, such as the impact of higher oil prices on aggregate demand, would easily bring the total to $6 trillion.

    Bilmes is witheringly critical of both the total costs and the way those costs were budgeted, claiming that they will have a dangerous impact on national security. “Assuming this pattern continues,” she concludes, “there will be a much smaller amount of an already-shrinking defense budget available for core military functions.”

    The Bush administration’s initial estimates were that the war would cost between $50 billion and $60 billion, and fancifully thought this could be recouped from seizing Iraqi oil!
    Remember Bush fired Larry Lindsey because he said the war might cost $100 billion!

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  • Just a quick thought:
    Many people in the US register into a party because it is the “party of their area”. What i mean is that if you live in __________ you register ________________. If you do the opposite, you can’t get hired. you can’t get permits for home improvements….etc…

    I’d also like to quickly go on record as letting everyone (especially Darrell) know that I do not ever think that people are “stupid” or “idiots” because they take an opposite stance. They can clearly demonstrate that they are not thinking clearly (a la Ken Ham). They can clearly demonstrate that they are being duplicitous (a la Ken Ham). They can be “wrong” on purpose for their own profit (a la Ken Ham)…. But, just because we come to different conclusions does not mean we are enemies.

    Darrell, we are a product of our experiences and our opinions and preferences are molded by our lives. I think you are an excellent thinker and have expressed yourself perfectly. We disagree on something, however, that in no way means we can’t get along and be kind to each other.

    In my opinion, that last part is why i am against Mr. Trump. He’s a schoolyard bully and in my experience schoolyard bullies always run into someone bigger and badder and smarter and they get their asses kicked. What if that occurs while he’s in office?

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  • I actually knew some guys from the military that served in the Fort Myer area and a another guy that served in the White House. I knew another guy that was aviation on Marine One. All of those guys liked Bill and hated her. She was openly mean and Anti-Military. Any doubts about Hillary and Benghazi? The money and prep where not the main issue. Those people were abandoned. By Hillary, and the CIA. They might have been killed anyway. But I think if Ronald Reagan was in office there would have been a AC-130 Specter Gunship over head.
    Hillarys’ canon is no not really loaded. She is a loose canon behind the scenes. She tried to get Marine One to turn back to get her sunglasses she left at the WH.. She dropped F bombs on the pilot for his refusal. She shut doors on people. Her favorite word is fuck. She is very mean and rude. I know she is a supporter of welfare and food stamps. I would have lost my security clearance and been arrested if I did what she did with Secret documents. Most of you guys that have never been in a combat unit or served in the military don’t really know what I am talking about..You make a mistake and people die. Have you seen 13 Hours?

    I played American Football. I played Rugby 3 years. In Rugby I was a Prop and Wing Forward mostly. I also coached Football in the Little League and Middle School. We ran the no huddle spread offense. I did not allow the prayer thing with my kids I was the Head coach of two schools in different states. I had the 7th and 8th grade teams with 3-4 other coaches on my staff. (NM and AZ). I was a closet Atheist at the time. I wanted to keep my job. We did a moment of silence for a minute.

    Richard is right about how an Atheist in the US is regarded. I now tell people I am Agnostic. Many people have more regard for a Pedaphile.

    The US Election is a mess. I wish we had another choice.

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  • @ Darrell – I applaud you for the courage of your convictions. Welcome. Stay a while.

    @crooked – I agree, particularly your last two paragraphs.

    Darrell, if anecdotal accounts (those of you and your friends, who I’m sure you believe) actually counted then the DNC being held this week, filled with stories of HRC’s personal kindness and generosity (much less her unquestionable political qualifications) would convince you she’s not the monster you’re making her out to be. And also that (from last week’s RNC) Trump actually loves immigrants and women as something other than future ex wives. But anecdotal accounts are just what they are: anecdotes. By their very nature and definition they are stories. And we all know that stories always contain elements of fiction. Look at the facts instead. For grins let’s talk about tax returns. These are very revealing in the US of A. You’d think a wealthy businessman like Trump who says he donates yuuuuge amounts to charity would look forward to sharing with the country just how charitable he really is. Bill and Hillary Clinton paid an overall federal tax rate of 31.6 percent between 2007 and 2014, their returns showed. In 2014, they donated almost 11 percent of their income to charity. This is contrasted by 2012 GOP nominee, Mitt Romney, who, like Trump now, resisted putting out his 2011 tax return until the September just before the election, after being pressed for months about doing so. The documents showed he paid an effective tax rate of 14.1 percent, far lower than the average person, and far less than Clinton.

    A reason the topic of tax returns is even more topical than usual is the recent Wikileaks release of emails and the fact that it was almost certainly the work of Russia. Does Trump have any ties to Russia, financial or otherwise? Perhaps. Perhaps not. His returns would certainly reveal that fact and put that to rest very quickly. A pundit recently said about his foreign financial ties, “how much in debt would we be to other countries? This is about the security of the United States. We have the right to make sure he’s not in debt to other countries.” Think of what’s gone on just this week and connect the dotted lines. The question is who his investors are, and whether there are any in China or Russia that are affecting his personal income. Michael Bloomberg, a far more successful businessman than Trump had this to say last night: “Trump says he wants to run the nation like he’s run his business. God help us.” A statement like this has far more gravitas coming from someone like Bloomberg. A well informed electorate is nothing but a good thing.

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  • Steven007 #31
    Jul 28, 2016 at 11:08 am

    Michael Bloomberg, a far more successful businessman than Trump had this to say last night: “Trump says he wants to run the nation like he’s run his business. God help us.”

    It seems voters do not pay much attention to track records!
    A corporation is a separate legal entity from its shareholders, other owners, board of directors, and CEO. Since it is a separate entity, the corporation files bankruptcy under its own name.
    In Chapter 11 bankruptcies, the owners’ personal assets are not at risk. The owners’ credit history remains intact.

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  • Hopefully Drumpf has signed his campaign’s death warrant now anyway. Asking a foreign nation, and not a particularly friendly one at that, to hack an elected White House official’s email server might prove to be a step too far for even die hard Drumpf supporters. I’ve been reading the legal opinions on it and although it seems it’s not actually treason it could well have been a criminal offense under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. He’s not going to get indicted but it will surely haunt him for the rest of the campaign. I can’t imagine many people would trust someone with the nuclear strike codes who thinks that it’s ok for Russia to hack into the USA’s confidential information.

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  • Phil 24

    Duly noted! But as I have not read Haidt and do not yet know what his conception of Loyalty really is, I am not yet prepared to say that “loyalty” is a primary element, rather than a symptom of something much more complex and even more primary, a symptom of something enormously complex, multi-rooted. (Not everything is complex, however; is plain old stupidity one of his foundations?) I am sure that this kind of concrete and crude thinking is associated with unconscious dynamics, with unresolved trauma. —A twisted search for approval by an abstract replacement of the father? God knows. There is a biological component as well, I am sure. Yes, this is excessive loyalty. But that gives rise to other questions. I agree with you more often than I don’t; has Haidt made a valuable contribution to the study of this sort of pathology? I am prepared to read him now if you think it is worthwhile.

    I have a friend who is loyal in the same way. Nothing will divert him. He is a die-hard Republican. It almost seems, Phil, that aliens had abducted him and tampered with his brain! He is completely loyal! Maybe Loyalty really is a final and irreducible element. Hard to make a case for that, however. (And I could be misrepresenting Haidt. He might not be suggesting that such feelings as loyalty are “final, primary,” or “irreducible.”)

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  • Dan #34
    Jul 28, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    I have a friend who is loyal in the same way. Nothing will divert him. He is a die-hard Republican. It almost seems, Phil, that aliens had abducted him and tampered with his brain! He is completely loyal! Maybe Loyalty really is a final and irreducible element.

    There is a similar situation with the loony left in the UK.

    The Corbynites accuse the 170 MPs who passed the vote of no confidence in their “messianic, democratically chosen one”, of “betrayal and disloyalty, for pointing out that he is useless and regularly shooting his own team in the foot on major issues (which they are too stupid to understand).
    (Admittedly the claim to be “democratic” is a bit dubious, given that his majority was substantially derived from drafting in a newly approved herd-vote from the fringes, on a very reduced membership subscription at a fraction of the regular rate paid by long-standing mainstream members.)

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  • Darrell 21

    I do not know you, sir, and did not call you a monster. It would take a lot to get me to call someone a monster for expressing his or her views on this site. I did want to make the point that being an atheist (which is a fine thing; don’t get me wrong) does not make you or anyone exempt from criticism or reproach when it comes to one’s positions on other matters, such as one’s politics. Your atheism is your atheism. Congrats. But why are you a Trump supporter? Here is a list of what the Koch brothers want. This was David Koch’s platform in 1980 (below), and there is no evidence that he and his brother have changed one bit. (They love Mike Pence, and they, along with others, are contributing enormous sums of money to the Republicans and are calling the shots. Is this the America you want? There has been an unprecedented assault, with the help of the Koch brothers, on public workers, there has been support of extremist candidates, ALEC’s suppression of of voter turnout (with the Koch brothers’ fingerprints all over it), a 45 million dollar effort to buy control of Congress…) Here, look at this, and then vote against crooked Hillary.

    Let’s take our country back! And let’s keep Citizens United! And let’s overturn Roe versus Wade. Let’s have more religious freedom (discrimination!!) and teach creationism in the science classrooms.

    And let me quote myself: “Trump is not for the working man (and there is no evidence that he is): he is out for himself and to exploit and pollute. He doesn’t believe in climate change, you know, led the birther movement (!!), created a scam “university”, was a slumlord, is a demagogue and a liar, a free market capitalist, a thin-skinned bully unfit to be president, and an a narcissistic asshole, a big fat nothing.”

    The Koch brothers love Trump’s likely VP choice. And they are the republican party. Here is their agenda, here is why we need a democrat.

    From the (former) Sanders campaign:

    What Do the Koch Brothers Want?

    As a result of the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, billionaires and large corporations can now spend an unlimited amount of money to influence the political process.

    Perhaps, the biggest winners of Citizens United are Charles and David Koch, owners of the second-largest privately run business in America Koch Industries.

    Among other things, the Koch brothers own oil refineries in Texas, Alaska, and Minnesota and control some 4,000 miles of pipeline.

    According to Forbes Magazine, the Koch brothers are now worth $80 billion, and have increased their wealth by $12 billion since last year alone.

    For the Koch brothers, $80 billion in wealth, apparently, is not good enough. Owning the second largest private company in America is, apparently, not good enough. It doesn’t appear that they will be satisfied until they are able to control the entire political process.

    It is well known that the Koch brothers have provided the major source of funding to the Tea Party and want to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

    In other words, the agenda of the Koch brothers is not only to defund Obamacare. The agenda of the Koch brothers is to repeal every major piece of legislation that has been signed into law over the past 80 years that has protected the middle class, the elderly, the children, the sick, and the most vulnerable in this country.

    It is clear that the Koch brothers and other right wing billionaires are calling the shots and are pulling the strings of the Republican Party.

    What else do the Koch brothers want?

    Here are just a few excerpts of the Libertarian Party platform that David Koch ran on in 1980. [He has not changed one bit.]

    “We urge the repeal of federal campaign finance laws, and the immediate abolition of the despotic Federal Election Commission.”

    “We favor the abolition of Medicare and Medicaid programs.”

    “We oppose any compulsory insurance or tax-supported plan to provide health services, including those which finance abortion services.”

    “We also favor the deregulation of the medical insurance industry.”

    “We favor the repeal of the fraudulent, virtually bankrupt, and increasingly oppressive Social Security system. Pending that repeal, participation in Social Security should be made voluntary.”

    “We propose the abolition of the governmental Postal Service. The present system, in addition to being inefficient, encourages governmental surveillance of private correspondence. Pending abolition, we call for an end to the monopoly system and for allowing free competition in all aspects of postal service.”

    “We oppose all personal and corporate income taxation, including capital gains taxes.”

    “We support the eventual repeal of all taxation.”

    “As an interim measure, all criminal and civil sanctions against tax evasion should be terminated immediately.”

    “We support repeal of all law which impede the ability of any person to find employment, such as minimum wage laws.”

    “We advocate the complete separation of education and State. Government schools lead to the indoctrination of children and interfere with the free choice of individuals. Government ownership, operation, regulation, and subsidy of schools and colleges should be ended.”

    “We condemn compulsory education laws … and we call for the immediate repeal of such laws.”

    “We support the repeal of all taxes on the income or property of private schools, whether profit or non-profit.”

    “We support the abolition of the Environmental Protection Agency.”

    “We support abolition of the Department of Energy.”

    “We call for the dissolution of all government agencies concerned with transportation, including the Department of Transportation.”

    “We demand the return of America’s railroad system to private ownership. We call for the privatization of the public roads and national highway system.”

    “We specifically oppose laws requiring an individual to buy or use so-called “self-protection” equipment such as safety belts, air bags, or crash helmets.”

    “We advocate the abolition of the Federal Aviation Administration.”

    “We advocate the abolition of the Food and Drug Administration.”

    “We support an end to all subsidies for child-bearing built into our present laws, including all welfare plans and the provision of tax-supported services for children.”

    “We oppose all government welfare, relief projects, and ‘aid to the poor’ programs. All these government programs are privacy-invading, paternalistic, demeaning, and inefficient. The proper source of help for such persons is the voluntary efforts of private groups and individuals.”

    “We call for the privatization of the inland waterways, and of the distribution system that brings water to industry, agriculture and households.”

    “We call for the repeal of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.”

    “We call for the abolition of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.”

    “We support the repeal of all state usury laws.”

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  • Dan #36
    Jul 28, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    Koch brothers – “We support the abolition/repeal of . . . . . . .

    It sounds like their idealised business world, would operate just like the historical pirates of the Caribbean!

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  • It sounds like a recipe for the scariest dystopia I’ve ever heard of. I’m heading for the Canadian border where I’ll throw myself at the mercy of the border patrol.

    On the other hand, when this dystopia is firmly established, what’s stopping me from accumulating an arsenal of my own and robbing the Koch brothers blind? That’s the disconnect with people who want dystopias to come true. They always think it will be themselves who come out on top. That’s not how it works in third world tribal models though. In that model men have high death rates from fighting and women are at risk of kidnapping and rape. Those Koch brothers should be careful what they wish for.

    Who’s with me??!!

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  • Alan # 36

    That’s true, Alan.

    Alan, what is your opinion of Jonathan Haidt? He wrote a book called The Righteous Mind. Are you familiar with it? I’d be interested to know what your opinion is of his Moral Foundations theory is. (Phil R. likes him so he can’t be too bad.)

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  • Dan there are at least two other psychologists with theories that pretty much agree with Haidt. I have read one and been told about the other. I can remember neither of their names. I took to Haidt for two reasons. One, I loved how his Elephant and Rider metaphor for the condition of being human felt exactly right and made evolutionary sense and two, his categories of moral “aesthetics” were less smart alec and allowed people to report reliably their feelings without the dubious interpretation of the researcher. Truth was though they were pretty mutually supportive.

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  • Dan #39
    Jul 28, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    Alan, what is your opinion of Jonathan Haidt?

    I have not encountered his work.

    He wrote a book called The Righteous Mind. Are you familiar with it?

    Sorry – No.

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  • Did you see that clip of Trump being interviewed by Stephanopolos?

    *sac•ri•fice [ˈsakrəˌfīs/]
    1. 1.
    an act of slaughtering an animal or person or surrendering a possession as an offering to God or to a divine or supernatural figure.
    1. 1.
    offer or kill as a religious sacrifice.**

    George Stephanopoulos:

    “What sacrifices have you made for your country?”


    “I think I’ve made a lot of sacrifices. I work very hard. I’ve created thousands of jobs…”


    “Those are sacrifices?”


    “Oh sure those are sacrifices.”

    How does any thinking human believe that this man is a leader of a country? He’s not smart; he’s opportunistic. He was born with a “terrific” silver spoon. He’s not even successful as a leader of a business. Sarah Silverman said it best when describing the differences in the primaries:

    Silverman said that the Democratic primary had been “exemplary, no talk about how big people’s hands are or whether they go to the bathroom, that’s stuff for third graders — like major arrested development stuff. That’s ‘I’m still emotionally four and I’m still calling people names from my gold encrusted sandbox because I was given money instead of human touch or coping skills.”

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  • Steven007

    Trump’s response just shows what an absolute arrogant ass he really is. Why couldn’t he just express sadness at what this poor couple has gone through? What does religion have to do with anything when people have experienced the death of a son? They were so brave to get up on that stage and show their grief. He said that she may have not been allowed to speak…repulsive. I watched that and thought that she was giving it all she could to keep it together and not break down crying.

    His disgusting slippery evasion of the fact that he really has no way to relate to these sad people is glaringly apparent. Why couldn’t he do the right thing and start right off acknowledging their intense pain? I don’t think he’s capable of empathy. I think Trump is an outright psychopath. Yes, I really think so. There’s something really wrong with this guy, something really off. So off that I don’t think that a life of absolute privilege as a spoiled rich kid can explain. He’s a scary selfish snake.

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  • Laurie (and Steven007):

    Yes, I saw that interview. Pathetic.

    Doesn’t Tim Kaine seem like a nice guy? He’s so real. And very accomplished.

    Hillary was taking some questions in Ohio. She was excellent. I know she’s a hawk and all that, but I think she’s terrific. I really think that all these attacks and accusations, which started back in Arkansas, have a lot to do with sexism.

    Most people would have just quit. Hell, I get depressed if someone doesn’t reply to a comment. She’s a very strong woman, and I like her. I don’t care what anyone says. (And I am a good judge of character—which is why I chose Steven007 to be your VP when you make your run for Prez. Steven, Laurie can fill you in on that.)


    Chief of Staff

    Fascinating and nice man

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  • Olgun
    Very interesting article, also very disturbing. Frightening quote from that article:

    “Indeed, anger may be the operative emotion behind Trump’s high extroversion as well as his low agreeableness. Anger can fuel malice, but it can also motivate social dominance, stoking a desire to win the adoration of others. Combined with a considerable gift for humor (which may also be aggressive), anger lies at the heart of Trump’s charisma. And anger permeates his political rhetoric.”

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  • Laurie, please (if you’d be so kind) look at my latest comment in response to your Waaaaa!!! I don’t want you to think that I am not a man of reason. There was no contradiction.

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  • Dan
    Saw it. Responded. 🙂

    But Dan, I’m worried about Kaine. He makes much noise about his objection to abortion. He supports the Hyde amendment. This is unacceptable. I want to believe that he’s just trying to draw in the conservative voters for Hillary and that he doesn’t mean it but if someone says something about such an important issue, you know we have to believe him. She won’t lose my vote over this. I mean, it’s now between Hillary and her right to life VP vs a complete psychopath and his deluded fundamentalist VP, so you know, I’m going with Hillary all the way.

    Article on about the messed up view of Kaine re: abortion and the Hyde amendment.

    From the Slate article:

    “It’s wonderful that Kaine would never personally terminate a pregnancy, since he cannot get pregnant and will never have to make that decision. But when a politician’s personal beliefs bleed into his positions and legislative decisions, they are no longer personal nor beliefs. They are political actions that affect constituents’ lives and livelihoods.”

    He’s making me very nervous and I’m not able to fully trust him.

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  • Laurie,

    If you can’t trust Kaine than trust Hillary (and me) on Kaine. He’s a good man. I can sense it.

    Kaine doesn’t ever talk about his objection to abortion. He, like McGovern before him, occasionally mentions that he is personally opposed to abortion; but he supports choice. He is held in high regard by Planned Parenthood, and its president. Let me look into this Hyde Amendment issue. [looking into it. Wait.]

    Okay, I’m back. I guess he did support it, but he is now against it. He changed his mind. He has evolved on this issue, as Cecile Richards said. Maybe the author of the Slate article (Ms Cauterucci) is one of these anti-Hillary independents. She’s probably voting for Klein – which is a vote for Trump. There are a lot of them out there. I’m sick of these insipid, unencumbered independents who think they are more discerning than everyone else. They really piss me off.

    The Hyde Amendment will be repealed.

    Here. Read this.

    Some supporters of abortion rights have been uneasy about Kaine’s stance, which he has described as personally opposed to abortion and attributes to his Catholic faith. As Virginia governor, Kaine earned a “mixed choice” rating. Still, major pro-choice groups have vouched for him as veep, pointing out Kaine’s more recent solid record in favor of abortion rights as a senator.

    “Hillary Clinton is the strongest presidential candidate we’ve seen on reproductive health care in our history and long held the position that we need to repeal the Hyde Amendment,” said NARAL president Ilyse Hogue in a statement to NBC News. “We’re confident that in Tim Kaine she’s chosen a running mate who will help her accomplish her objective of ensuring access to affordable comprehensive health care for women regardless of income.”

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  • I am sitting here and repeatedly dismayed at how Mr Trump seems to mishandle and react badly to situation after situation. Every single chance he gets to bail himself out of the awful light he has bathed himself in, he takes to deepen the shithole he is mired in. Imagine that this sack of shit was your coworker…. All day, every day people approach him and he non-stop snaps vitriol and venom. How long would he be employed?

    Now, think of Mrs Clinton. She is constantly trying to endear herself to someone…. anyone…. trying too hard… pathetically pandering and in the end spouting what to my ears ring as lies all day, every day. Imagine that this sack of shit was your coworker. All day, every day people approach her and she non-stop back stabs and immediately spreads rumors and lies. How long would she be employed?

    This election is kind of like trying to decide which STD you’d like to contract. ” OK, sir/ma’am would you like it to burn (trump) or itch (clinton)…”

    There should be a button in the voting booth that has the picture of a toilet on it. If enough people press the button, we flush all the candidates like the pieces of shit that they are and begin again.

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  • Laurie 48

    The article does try to soften the blow in places but over all, it is scary. Did you think it was accurate enough?

    The article also puts Hillary as the most honest. Does that ring true?

    Research shows that people low in agreeableness are typically viewed as untrustworthy. Dishonesty and deceit brought down Nixon and damaged the institution of the presidency. It is generally believed today that all politicians lie, or at least dissemble, but Trump appears extreme in this regard. Assessing the truthfulness of the 2016 candidates’ campaign statements, PolitiFact recently calculated that only 2 percent of the claims made by Trump are true, 7 percent are mostly true, 15 percent are half true, 15 percent are mostly false, 42 percent are false, and 18 percent are “pants on fire.” Adding up the last three numbers (from mostly false to flagrantly so), Trump scores 75 percent. The corresponding figures for Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton, respectively, are 66, 32, 31, and 29 percent.

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  • This election is kind of like trying to decide which STD you’d like to

    More cynical than I expected from you crooked – I wasn’t expecting that. I am not a “natural” HRC fan. Back in 2008 I really liked Jon Huntsman (very reasonable, moderate republican. Sample quote: “To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.”) but he got no traction of course because he wasn’t hateful enough for the angry, fearful republican base. Then (for me) it was between HRC and Obama. I liked Obama over HRC because of her republican sympathetic hawkishness. I’ve always believed this was overcompensation given her sex; an appeal to her toughness (LaurieB, opinion?). But now it’s different. Drumpf is such a faux mega rich actual low rent clown, uber narcissist monster that for me the choice is very easy indeed. HRC is not optimal but Drumpf is SO suboptimal as to render the comparison moot. And Pence is no prize either; he’s already pandering to the base with talk of repealing Roe v. Wade. So yeah, for you it’s which STD to choose. For me it’s choosing between an STD and a stubbed toe. I’ll take the temporary pain over the gift that keeps on giving.

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  • Olgun

    Did you think it was accurate enough?

    I thought it was remarkably accurate. I have no criticism of anything they said about Trump. I think narcissist is what we have to go with because I have no real proof that the guy is a psychopath so we’ll take the conservative diagnosis for now.

    The article also puts Hillary as the most honest. Does that ring true?

    There’s no way I’d come out with declarations of Hillary’s honesty. She’s been caught in real lies or let’s say substantial exaggerations in the past. I’d be surprised if any politician is honest. I just don’t expect it anymore. I’ve lowered the bar so far it’s resting on the ground at this point.

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  • Steven007

    hawkishness. I’ve always believed this was overcompensation given her sex; an appeal to her toughness

    She may be hawkish, and let’s not say women can’t be that because it’s possible that she really couldn’t wait to pulverize Saddam, but on the other hand, there’s no way she’d be elected if voters were doubtful that she would be passive in an international kerfuffle. I can’t know the truth of how she is balancing this but if I were running for high office, a female, I would never let any weakness show. I think she had this mapped out way in advance and what if that Iraq war vote was her way of documenting her ability to be tough on the international stage? Her experience as Sec of State serves her well in this way too. She has ruled out any criticism of her being a mamby pamby homebody who just wants to sit around talking about hurt feelings.

    Something else that crossed my mind weeks ago along these lines is that I think she is speaking in a lower register. I want to compare some of her earlier speeches with the current ones and see if this isn’t a gender compensation tactic that she’s making. Not sure. What do you think about that?

    Women are also instructed to minimize smiling. HRC does smile big for the crowds but when the conversation gets serious she wipes that smile right off her face, lowers her voice and takes an assertive posture. I’d be surprised if she didn’t have coaching for all of this.

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  • I will come at it a second way.

    Imagine that you are looking to get married to one of these sacks of shit.

    Would you prefer the billionaire who, despite his assets has women leaving him, even though they’d never actually have to see him? 5 children from 3 different women… bitter, hateful, bullying shit lord…. disgusting human being? Think about it. I marry trump and never have to work again, never have to even see him. Enjoy life on yachts and from penthouses…. and still I have to get away from him. He has never, ever made a decision that moved the needle in anyone’s direction but his own.

    Or, how about the “strong women” full out for “women’s rights” who failed to kick her scumbag of a husband to the curb for banging a piece of garbage intern and having the details of his cigar escapades become international common knowledge? tough talking no action loser who would say she’d back you and then promptly make a deal with your foe the second you weren’t looking? She has never, ever made a decision that moved the needle in anyone’s direction but her own.

    Neither one of them would make it in any of our work places, any of our relationships. you wouldn’t hire them, tolerate them, marry them, hell you wouldn’t last as friends with them. they are so far removed from what a normal human being experiences that they shouldn’t even be allowed to be considered governing normal human beings.

    I’d prefer a homeless person selected at random off of the street. At least they know how much lunch meat costs and is worth. As a matter of fact, you could replace every sitting politician this was and I am certain that the effect would benefit all of us normal human beings. race and religion would be less of an issue and these folks would look to solve problems in ways that do not shit all over good people.

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  • The reason why Sanders and others are considered more honest is because they haven’t been held under a microscope for forty years. I’m sick of people on TV, and all these journalists, raising the “trust issue.” She is honest enough, and she is, by far, the best we have.

    Everyone lies when they’re scared. I am not even sure it is morally wrong to do so. If you are continuously being attacked by enemies, a little lying is justified. She is a respectable and honorable woman and all of this crap about the trust issue is just sexism and stupidity, and above all, the product of an effort to derail her career that started years and years ago. One Republican, during the stupid Benghazi hearings, even admitted that that was what it was about. They are threatened by her. And why so many women hate her is beyond me. I suspect it’s envy to some extent. Whenever someone says they hate someone, you have to question that.

    And she’s still here and has survived the attacks, so nyaa nyaa nyaa.

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  • “Women are also instructed to minimize smiling.” #57

    I hard her speak to some Black Lives Matter people and I don’t think she knew she was being filmed. She was very serious, and impressive. No-nonsense approach, pragmatic.I heard that behind the camera she doesn’t smile all the time, is serious and focused. And what’s wrong with that? I don’t think she’s getting coached; I think she is being herself more. Her voice is no more deep than it’s ever been but I did notice that in Ohio yesterday she spoke very slowly and enunciated every syllable. That may have been deliberate, an experiment. Who knows. But it started to distract me a bit.

    Carter smiled too much. JFK hardly ever smiled in speeches or debates. I like when she smiles. I like when she’s serious. We need to make sure that Trump is not elected.

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  • Here’s the thing. All human beings (myself included) have the tendency to over look the flaws of a person they support (or at least mitigate and rationalize them) and to super size the flaws of a person that they do not support. It occurs in marriages, friendships, classrooms, teams, and politics.

    I have endured Trump supporters looking the other way while he absolutely embarrasses himself and, by proxy, them. I have watched people rush to minimize Clinton’s underwhelming abilities, to minimize her role in people dying, to defend her illegal activities in breaches of security.

    Both have made campaign promises that are absolute horse shit….. unattainable, undeliverable….simply rhetoric and hot air.

    Of the two, i am more comfortable with Clinton because Trump has not said a single thing of substance or intelligence regarding foreign policy or even domestic policy. He has not answered a single question with an actual answer to that question. Having said that, Clinton will have 4 years of status quo. Absolutely nothing will be accomplished.

    However, i want to make it crystal clear that my thinking so lowly of Trump correlates in no way to my thinking highly of Clinton. She is a career flim-flam artist and has lived her life and made her decisions solely to benefit herself, even when it killed other human beings and I just cannot endorse that.

    I do not hold these people in high esteem. i do not think that they are he best that America has to offer. i do not think that either will or would ever do anything to benefit me or society. They will shit on everyone that they need to and the hate will continue.

    Many many people seem to think that rome fell in a day. Not true, the roman empire fell over the course of decades; centuries, even. It started with abuse, in fighting, civil wars, corruption…. I think that we are currently looking at the fall of the American empire and it is at the hands of people who belittle you(and I) for not being patriotic when their idea of patriotism is us allowing them to smash our country into oblivion.

    We, with technology and resources could be embroiled in projects like establishing a system that diverts flood waters from the central part of the country and reroutes it to drought stricken areas. We could build structures in the mid west that minimize the number of tornados and harnesses the wind to power our country. We could invest in infrastructure that benefits US as a people and raises the quality of life across the board.

    Instead I have to endure Trump making fun of a handicapped person and telling people to fuck themselves. Clinton skating by on issues that would be cause for a jail sentence if perpetrated by any other person. I have to watch a group of human beings simply ask to “matter” and be denied that dignity. i have to watch another group of people beg for the common right to pee/poop where they are comfortable, only to be denied that dignity.

    So, i am sorry if this is negative, but the situation is as negative as I’ve seen. How about we do three things?
    First tax the churches.
    Second clean out every politicians “war chest” and re-election accounts.
    Third, apply this money to actually making America tolerable again for the majority of it’s citizens.

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  • @LaurieB re:

    I think she is speaking in a lower register…What do you think about

    Could be. I haven’t given it much though and to be honest, until the DNC I didn’t watch too much of the politicking on either side. I’ve read about it of course, daily, but I haven’t “listened”. Now I’m listening. And I love the debates (the real ones, coming up, not the embarrassingly crass Republican debates).

    @crooked – I hear you, I just don’t share your cynicism. I don’t “hate” HRC. I do hate Drumpf (as much as I can hate someone I’ve never met). Even from your description in your “second way” post, Drumpf comes off much worse to my ears. Regarding his 5 kids by 3 women (he sounds like an NFL player), I saw an interesting meme that said how would it look if HRC stood on stage with her 5 kids by 3 different men? The double standard most certainly exists.

    HRC’s stance in standing by her husband during his very public infidelity can be viewed differently by both men and women (both positive and negative). As for saying one thing and doing another, that’s politics like it or not and has been since time immemorial. She’s not perfect, or ideal, but in a two person race (and make no mistake, this is absolutely a two person race), it‘s still not even close for me.

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  • @crooked – I posted mine (#62) before reading your last one. It makes more sense now, thanks.


    Having said that, Clinton will have 4 years of status quo. Absolutely
    nothing will be accomplished.

    I’m not so sure. At a minimum, she will nominate 2-3 Supreme Court justices. This is very important as I’m sure you’ll agree. So status quo, with an asterisk perhaps. But we move backwards with Drumpf the clown, in pretty much any way. I’ll take status quo* over that and it sounds like you will too.

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  • Steven007,
    I am extremely distrustful of politicians. I did not think of the Supreme court issue and you are dead on correct about that. Trump is an absolute step backwards, agreed. it is a two person race, agreed.
    So, I guess, you (and I) want the STD that itches!

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  • Oh and, Steven007,
    I tell all my students that it degrades you to “hate”. Hate is the problem. A better way to let him and everyone else see that he is loathsome is to discontinue the conversation with/about him! The sooner this bullshit is over, the better.

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  • Obama is now stating publicly what is patently obvious!
    President Barack Obama has said Republican nominee Donald Trump is unfit to be president, and questioned why his party still supports the New York billionaire’s candidacy.

    “There has to come a point at which you say: ‘Enough’,” Mr Obama said.

    Mr Trump is under fire for attacking the parents of a dead US Muslim soldier after they criticised him.

    On Tuesday, he turned on two senior figures in his own party who have publicly criticised him.

    In an interview for the Washington Post, he refused to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senator John McCain, who are up for re-election in November.

    Mr Trump, who faces the Democrats’ Hillary Clinton in November’s presidential election, has also been condemned for backing the Russian annexation of Crimea.

    Mr Obama said he had had policy differences with previous Republican presidents and candidates – but added that he had never thought they could not function as president.

    A Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll suggested Mrs Clinton had extended her lead over Mr Trump to eight percentage points, from six points on Friday

    A federal judge who has been a target of Mr Trump’s repeated scorn denied a media request to release videos of the candidate testifying in a lawsuit about the now-defunct Trump University; Mr Trump’s lawyers had argued the videos would have been used to tarnish his campaign.

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  • Even senior Republican figures seem to have had enough of T-rump!
    Donald Trump has dismissed Barack Obama’s time in the White House as a “disaster” after the US president said he was not fit to succeed him.

    “He’s been weak, he’s been ineffective,” Republican candidate Mr Trump said of Mr Obama in a Fox News interview on Tuesday.

    Mr Obama has questioned why Mr Trump’s party hasn’t disowned him.

    Mr Trump has also turned on two senior figures in his own party who have publicly criticised him.

    In an interview for the Washington Post, he refused to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senator John McCain, who are up for re-election in November.

    Amid the feuding within Republican ranks, prominent party donor and fundraiser Meg Whitman has publicly endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton, saying Donald Trump’s “demagoguery” had undermined the national fabric.

    “To vote Republican out of party loyalty alone would be to endorse a candidacy that I believe has exploited anger, grievance, xenophobia and racial division,”

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  • @OP – In his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, presidential candidate Donald Trump singled out “the evangelical and religious community” for their assistance in getting him nominated.

    He clearly demonstrates the “faith-style” thought from delusional preconceptions, along with the usual Dunning-Kruger confidence of the “too ignorant to recognise their own ignorance”!

    An open letter signed by 50 Republican national security experts has warned that nominee Donald Trump “would be the most reckless president” in US history.

    The group, which includes the former CIA director Michael Hayden, said Mr Trump “lacks the character, values and experience” to be president.

    Many of the signatories had declined to sign a similar note in March.

    In response, Mr Trump said they were part of a “failed Washington elite” looking to hold on to power.

    The open letter comes after a number of high-profile Republicans stepped forward to disown the property tycoon.

    Mr Trump has broken with years of Republican foreign policy on a number of occasions.

    The Republican candidate has questioned whether the US should honour its commitments to Nato, endorsed the use of torture and suggested that South Korea and Japan should arm themselves with nuclear weapons.

    “He weakens US moral authority as the leader of the free world,” the letter read.

    He appears to lack basic knowledge about and belief in the US Constitution, US laws, and US institutions, including religious tolerance, freedom of the press, and an independent judiciary.”

    “None of us will vote for Donald Trump,” the letter states.

    In a statement, Mr Trump said the names on the letter were “the ones the American people should look to for answers on why the world is a mess”.

    “We thank them for coming forward so everyone in the country knows who deserves the blame for making the world such a dangerous place,” he continued.

    “They are nothing more than the failed Washington elite looking to hold on to their power and it’s time they are held accountable for their actions.”

    Also among those who signed the letter were John Negroponte, the first director of national intelligence and later deputy secretary of state; Robert Zoellick, who was also a former deputy secretary of state and former president of the World Bank; and two former secretaries of homeland security, Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff.

    Other Republicans not voting for Mr Trump

    Barbara Bush, former first lady
    Jeb Bush, former Florida governor, 2016 presidential candidate
    William Cohen, former secretary of defence
    Jeff Flake, Arizona senator
    Lindsey Graham, South Carolina senator, 2016 presidential candidate
    Larry Hogan, Maryland governor
    John Kasich, Ohio governor, 2016 presidential candidate
    Mark Kirk, Illinois senator
    Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor, 2012 Republican presidential nominee
    Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Florida congresswoman
    Ben Sasse, Nebraska senator

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