Trump Panders To Religion And Churches…

Trump, pandering to religious conservatives plans to sign an executive order relaxing restrictions on churches being able to be involved in politics without losing their tax exempt status.  A move that weakens the separation of church and state that has been a hallmark of our democracy since it infancy.

Churches serve the purposes of like-minded faith advocates to gather and hear religious philosophy and sermons. They have absolutely no business participating in the secular business of governing. When the United States of America starts down that ill-advised and dangerous path we will become no different from any other state that allow religion to influence their actions. Think Radicalized Islam for starters.

As an aside, churches should not enjoy tax exempt status in the first place. But that’s a discussion for another post perhaps.

From The New York Times.

WASHINGTON – President Trump plans to mark National Day of Prayer on Thursday by issuing an executive order that makes it easier for churches and other religious groups to actively participate in politics without risking their tax-exempt status, several administration officials said.

Taking action as he hosts conservative religious leaders Thursday morning, Mr. Trump’s executive order would attempt to overcome a provision in the federal tax code that prohibits religious organizations like churches from directly opposing or supporting political candidates.

The move is likely to be hailed by some faith leaders, who have long complained that the law stifles their freedom of expression. But the order falls short of a more sweeping effort to protect religious liberties that has been pushed by conservative religious leaders since Mr. Trump’s election.

Many clergy members say they do not want to endorse political candidates from the pulpit because it could split their congregations and distract from their religious messages. This appears to be the case even among evangelicals, although it is Mr. Trump’s conservative evangelical advisers who encouraged him to address the issue.

It was unclear Wednesday whether Mr. Trump also planned to issue a separate order that would exempt some religious organizations like churches from Obama-era regulations requiring protections for gay men, lesbians and others.

A coalition of evangelicals, Roman Catholics, Mormons and Orthodox Jews has been eagerly awaiting a so-called religious liberty order, which they also hope will exempt religious entities from providing their employees with coverage for contraception in their health care plans.

Several conservative religious leaders said they expected Mr. Trump to issue such an order.

Perhaps Mr. Trump will explain how and why his support for religious entities becoming active in politics, as well as discriminating against LGBT individuals, is any different from Muslim nations that embrace the same.

The NYT article continues BELOW THE FOLD.

 

Trump Administration Considered Restricting Press Freedoms…

Be concerned, very concerned.

Our current POTUS has no compunction attempting to limit the constitutional rights of the free and independent press that calls him out on his misinformation and or out right  lies.  By his own words he has confirmed this.

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said the Trump administration has “looked at” changes to libel laws that would curtail press freedoms, but said “whether that goes anywhere is a different story.”

President Trump frequently slams the press for its coverage of him and in March suggested changing libel laws.

Libel is when defamatory statements about someone are published. But the American press enjoys some protection from lawsuits claiming libel because of the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech rights.

When Priebus was asked by ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl if the president would really want to pursue a change in libel laws, the White House chief of staff said it’s been considered.

“I think it’s something that we’ve looked at,” Priebus told Karl in an exclusive interview on “This Week” Sunday. “How that gets executed or whether that goes anywhere is a different story.”

Priebus said the media needs “to be more responsible with how they report the news.”

He also addressed another First Amendment issue on flag burning. Priebus hinted that the Trump administration may look at punishing flag burners, as Trump suggested in a tweet during the transition.

Article with his “presidential” tweets HERE.

Trump’s Learning Curve, and, Opportunity…

The Atlantic has an excellent article on just why Trump may be the guy to ultimately explain the immense complexities the President of the United States faces daily. Explaining that domestic and international issues facing the nation are indeed not as simple or easily fixed as he said they would be on the campaign trail.

Trump is arguably the most ill-informed and ill-equipped person to ever assume the executive reins of our government.  He is very much like the average American who is too busy earning a living and raising a family to delve into the complexities of governing an expansive nation of almost 350 millions souls. He promised much and said it would be easy, he is finding out it is very hard and complicated. His learning curve is steep and the climb hard.

As pointed out in detail in The Atlantic  this is the very reason why Trump as he goes through his on the job training has an opportunity to take his supporters with him. Explaining just how complicated things really are.

Here’s an excerpt from the article followed by a link to the rest.

Let the betting pools begin: What will be the next policy issue that Donald Trump suddenly discovers is way more complicated than “anyone” ever imagined?

Already, the aggressively policy-ignorant president has marveled that dealing with touchy issues such as North Korea, China, the Ex-Im bank, Syria, and health care, requires more than trash talk and an itchy Twitter finger. And, while he has yet to break the bad news to the dying coal towns that backed him, Trump has been meeting with energy execs, some of whom have had to gently explain that, when it comes to saving the industry, there’s not all that much he can do. Because—altogether now!—it’s complicated.

As it turns out, no matter how much reality TV experience one brings to the table, one cannot simply snap one’s fingers and instantly solve the nation’s most vexing problems.

Who knew?

It’s hard not to be unnerved by the level of on-the-job training Trump requires. (N.B.: For the exceedingly anxious, Amazon offers a cornucopia of in-case-of-apocalypse survival packs.) It’s even harder to resist sneering at his ongoing voyage of presidential discovery. Just think of the unholy abuse Trump himself would be heaping on any other politician so glaringly out of his depth. Brutal.

That said, what if some good could come from Trump’s cluelessness? What if, as he slammed head first into the real-world complexity of the problems he so blithely vowed to fix, he tried to bring his voters along with him in his education—at least part of the way?

The idea sounds crazy, I know. Having based his entire candidacy on promising the scared, alienated, fed-up (white) masses that he could easily make them winners again, Trump may seem an unlikely choice to now explain that things are not as simple as he (or they) initially believed. (For instance, China cannot simply jerk North Korea into line like a naughty puppy.)

But it’s precisely because of his anti-establishment, know-nothing persona that Trump may well be uniquely suited to the delivering such lessons of politics and government.

While the political class likes to mock Trump’s policy and governing ignorance, it’s not as though he’s more ill-informed than the average American. Indeed, his bashing of pointy-headed elites, wonks, and the entire notion of expertise was key to his appeal.

Voters don’t like to be talked down to (especially those already feeling disrespected). Many, many Americans were put off by President Obama’s cerebral, too-cool-for-school manner. It made him seem remote, unrelatable, patronizing. Similarly, precious few hearts raced when Hillary Clinton babbled on about detailed policy plans in that wonky, pedantic way of hers. (Uppity woman!)

This goes beyond partisan sorting. Recall how well the wonkier GOP candidates fared on the presidential trail last year. (Poor Jeb!) Or look at Paul Ryan. The more the House speaker labors to explain the nuances of health care reform or tax reform or budget negotiations, the less that even his own conference wants to hear from him. As Senator Tom Cotton snarked after Ryan tried to sell Republicans in the upper-chamber on a complex border-adjustment tax: “Some ideas are so stupid only an intellectual could believe them.”

In politics, it does not pay to come across as a smarty pants.

SOURCE for more.