What if Trump Told the Truth?

First published on: http://crooksandliars.com/2017/06/what-if-trump-told-truth

The following is taken from Trump’s national security speech he gave to Congress in February of this year. It is what I imagine we would hear if he gave that speech today and miraculously told the truth. These are Trump’s actual words. Changes I’ve made to update events and state truths will be in bold.

TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES:

Tonight, as we attempt to ignore that this month is LGBTQ Pride month, we are reminded of our Nation’s path toward civil rights and the work that still remains to dismantle that path. Recent threats targeting African Americans by leaving nooses at the Museum of African American History and Culture and the murder of 23-year-old Richard W. Collins, III , a 2nd lieutenant in the US Army, as well as the recent Portland, Oregon murders of two young men who attempted to defend a pair of Radical Islamic Extremist young girls, remind us that while we may be a Nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in eliminating these potential terrorist threats from people of color and the dangers they pose to our European heritage.

Each American generation passes the torch of truth, liberty and justice – in an unbroken chain all the way down until now.

That torch is now in my hands. And I will use it to light the world on fire! I am here tonight to deliver a message of divisiveness and self-interest, and it is a message deeply delivered from my heart.

A new chapter of American racism, sexism and bullying is now beginning.

A new national white pride is sweeping across our Nation!

What we are witnessing today is the Renewal of the American Spirit of anti-immigrant, non-white and non-Christian hatred.

Our allies will find that America is once again ready to isolate itself from the world and other cultures that are full of drug dealers and rapists.

In 9 years, the United States will celebrate the 250th anniversary of our founding – 250 years since the day we declared our independence.

It will be one of the great milestones in the history of the world.

But what will America look like as we reach our 250th year? What kind of country will we leave for our children?

I will not allow the so-called greatness of recent decades past to define the course of our future.

For far too long, I have watched our upper classes shrink as we’ve forced them to pay higher taxes, forced them to provide healthcare for their employees and demanded that they provide equal pay for equal work.

We’ve financed and built one global project after another, but ignored the fates of our rich, white children in Beverly Hills, The Hamptons and in Trump Tower—and so many other places throughout our land.

We’ve defended the borders of our nation, while working to bring Dreamers and their families into the open, for anyone to become an American—and for minorities to be able to enroll in colleges at a now unprecedented rate.

No more. No more.

In 2016, the earth shifted beneath our feet. The rebellion started as a quiet protest, spoken by white families of all classes—families who just wanted a privileged shot for their children, and a biased hearing for their concerns.

But then the quiet voices became a loud chorus—as thousands of white nationalistic citizens now spoke out together, from cities small and large, all across our country.

Finally, the chorus became an earthquake—and the white nationalists, white separatists, anti-Semitics, immigrant haters, Islamophobes, homophobes and misogynists turned out by the tens of millions, and they were all united by one very simple, but crucial demand, that America must put its white citizens first—because then and only then, can we truly MAKE AMERICA WHITE AGAIN!

To protect our citizens, I have directed the Department of Justice to form a Task Force of green shirts to round up and deport any persons with skin darker than my own.

I have further ordered the Department of Homeland Security and Justice, along with the Department of State and the Director of National Intelligence, to coordinate an aggressive strategy to dismantle the investigations into police brutality and violations of civil rights.

At the same time, my Administration has answered the pleas of the racist Americans for immigration enforcement and border security. By finally arresting immigrant parents as they try to pick their children up at school we will raise food costs, help the private prison industry make billions off of taxpayer dollars, and make our communities less safe for everyone. We want white Americans to succeed—but that can’t happen in an environment with people of color. We must restore white, Judeo-Christian values, and the rule of intolerance to our borders.

For that reason, we will soon begin the construction of a great wall along our southern border. It will be started later rather than sooner, and when finished, Mexico will never pay for it. You will.

Our obligation is to serve, protect and defend the white, rich people of the United States. We are also taking strong measures to protect our Nation from feminism and women’s so-called rights.

With the help of the Christian right, we have eliminated healthcare for women around the world to help ensure that women remain barefoot and pregnant throughout their lives.

By the way, the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, was actually a Republican. Did you know that Pence? Ryan? I just read that, and now I’m educating all of you losers. You’re welcome.

Another Republican President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, initiated the last truly great national infrastructure program—the building of the interstate highway system. The time has come for a new program of national rebuilding where everything is built by private companies that donated to my campaign. All buildings, bridges and highways will have TRUMP written on them in gold.

This effort will be guided by two core principles: Buy TRUMP and sell TRUMP.

Free nations are the best vehicle for sabotaging and suppressing the will of the people—and I don’t respect the rights of any nation. My job is not to represent the world. My job is to represent myself, my family and my pay for play donors.

America is willing to find new friends, and to forge new partnerships, where my interests align. I want money and power, not harmony and stability.

Currently, when we order our Trump products be made by foreign workers in foreign countries, we can’t get our permits approved fast enough. This is hurting our ability as Trump’s to make millions more that would allow us to buy our fifth plane and tenth house. This hurts Americans who could be hired to fly those planes and clean those houses.

Thankfully, since I became President, at our meeting with China, I asked them, “How can my daughter get her permits passed?” They said, “Don’t label us currency manipulators.” So, I didn’t, and three days later, Ivanka got her permits!

They weren’t even asking for anything else, but just to be nice, I gave them top secret intelligence like I did with the Russians.

Tonight, I am also calling on this Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare with reforms that deny choice, decrease access, increase costs, and at the same time, provide little to no actual healthcare.

Mandating every American to buy government-approved health insurance as we do with home and car insurance, was never the right solution for America. The way to make health insurance companies and their CEOs more money is to increase the cost of health insurance, and that is what we will do.

Obamacare premiums nationwide will increase by double and triple digits because of my direct manipulation to make it fail. We know that all those promises have been broken thanks to my interference.

Here are the guiding principles that should guide the Congress as we move to create a better healthcare system:

First, we should tell Americans with pre-exiting conditions that they will be covered though they won’t.

Secondly, we should make Americans purchase their own coverage, through the use of tax credits and expanded Health Savings Accounts—without letting them know that they cannot afford these programs and that they only benefit the wealthy.

Thirdly, we should give our great state governors the resources and flexibility they need with Medicaid to screw over their poor constituents. That way, they take the blame when we kill Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.

In fact, our children will grow up in a Nation of miracles. But to achieve this future, we must enrich ourselves.

Education is the next big money maker of our time!

I am calling upon members of both parties to pass the education bill that funds school choice for white Christian youth. These families should be able to be free to self-segregate so they don’t have to learn about other cultures and yet still have the taxpayers pay for it. And private companies should be free to exploit this system at the cost of American children’s education.

Since my election, the stock market has become volatile and our neighbors are heading to war thanks to my insatiable need to tweet late at night. We’ve cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars by causing investigations into my relationship with Russia, into mine and my children’s blatant violations of the Emoluments Clause and my many lies.

Oh, so many lies.

We have begun to fill the swamp of government corruption by imposing a 5-year ban on lobbying by executive branch officials—and then issuing waivers to all of my staff.

We have cleared the way for the construction of the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines so I can make tons of money from my investments in them—and I’ve issued a new directive that American pipelines continue to be made of Chinese steel even though I promised they would be made of American steel.

We have withdrawn the United States from the Paris Climate Accord because France’s President Macron made me feel inadequate about the size and strength of my hands.

Hopefully, the 250th year for America will see a world that has more TRUMP signs and more money and power for me.

When I have all of this, I will have made America greater than ever before. For all of my family.

This is my vision. This is my mission.

But I can only get there with your degradation and acquiescence.

We will be one people, with one destiny.

We will all bleed the same blood.

We will all salute the same flag.

And we will all be made by the same Christian God.

And when I fulfill this vision, when we celebrate our 250 years of glorious freedom, Americans will look back on tonight as when this new chapter of Trump/Russia began.

The time for thinking is over. The times for fighting has begun.

From now on, America will be empowered by Russia, not by the free and the brave—inspired by me and guided by my vision.

I am ordering citizens to embrace this Renewal of the TRUMP Spirit. I am demanding members of Congress to stay the hell out of my way.

Believe in me.

Believe in me.

And believe, once more, in me.

Thank you, God bless me, and God bless Putin.

 

The Anti-Immigrant Hate Groups Behind Trump’s Commission on Election Integrity

First published on: http://crooksandliars.com/2017/06/anti-immigrant-hate-groups-behind-trump-s

NOTE: No links to hate groups will be given in this article.

Trump is once again threatening to get to the bottom of his claim that the 2016 Election was adrift in voter fraud. A curious accusation considering he was declared the winner, but then that is Trump’s character: make up an issue for his supporters to blame their problems on so that they won’t hold his administration accountable. On May 11, 2017, with what has become the Republicans’ preferred method of enacting laws, he signed yet another executive order titled The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. With this order, he has appointed Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State, to investigate voter fraud in every state of the union.

The appointment of Kobach is a strategic move on the part of both the Republican party and the Trump administration. They have no intention of investigating disenfranchisement of voters but instead are hunting for undocumented persons, felons and those who may be registered in more than one state. Kobach is the creator of the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program (Crosscheck) which to date has identified more than 7 million voters that according to Kobach could potentially be committing voter fraud. Of those 7 million, 4 voters were charged with voter fraud but none were convicted.

Crosscheck claims to use full names, date of birth and the last four numbers of voter’s social security numbers to create their list of ne’er do well voters. But some of the 30 states that have utilized the program have complained that the data is faulty and unreliable. Oregon has even stopped using the program for this reason.

An investigation done by Greg Palast for Rolling Stone found that in Michigan, Arizona and North Carolina the number of voters not allowed to vote because of Crosscheck’s purge was far greater than the number of votes Trump beat Clinton by. In other words, it is highly probable that Clinton would have won those states had Crosscheck not been used by the Republican party in those states. Collectively, 1.1 million voters were purged from the voter rolls during the 2016 Election, yet not a single person has been charged with voter fraud.

Further expert analysis of the data by Mark Swedlund, who lists Ebay and American Express as clients, showed that “the outcome is discriminating against minorities,” and that:

  1. ¼ of matches lacked the middle name match
  2. designations such as Jr. and Sr. were ignored when compiling the list
  3. social security numbers and birth dates did not always match
  4. African American, Latino and Asian names were found on the list in higher percentages
  5. Hispanics had 1 in 6 chances, Blacks had 1 in 9 while Asians had 1 in 7 chances of being on the list

But Kobach claims that Crosscheck is about securing our voting systems and not about racism. We are to believe that it just so happens that minorities, who tend to vote for Democrats, are purged at a much higher percentage than their fellow white voters or Republican voters. He wants us to believe that undocumented persons are willing to risk being discovered and deported just so they can cast a vote. That somehow, minorities are more likely to commit the felony of voter fraud than whites. That people are willing to drive from state to state just to cast more than one vote when few people bother to vote in the first place.

Much like Betsy DeVos’ school choice movement, Kobach’s voter fraud claim is made up right wing propaganda at its best. Kobach has a long history of making money off of stirring anti-immigrant fears and is supported in large part by a web of anti-immigrant hate groups. These groups have weaseled their way into Republican politics, the White House and the congress claiming that they have a major base of public support when, as you will see, they are actually only funded by a handful of supporters. These made up causes swear to be grassroots movements, when in fact they are the result of a few wealthy racists pushing their agendas. It has been said that in Washington D.C., movements like school choice and anti-immigrant fears are referred to as “astroturf” and not “grassroots” movements due to their fauxness.

Faux or not, their impact is real.

Kobach’s History of Immigrant Hate

After graduating Yale law school, Kobach became a White House fellow during the Bush administration and worked in the Justice department under Attorney General John Ashcroft. Kobach was instrumental in creating the Muslim registry after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Since then, he’s been on an anti-immigrant binge.

Kobach discovered that there was money to be made in ramping up unjustified fears of immigrants, specifically Hispanic immigrants. He zeroed in on small towns across the country that had large Hispanic immigrant populations. These towns tended to have agricultural or meat packing companies such as Tyson Foods that hired undocumented workers because they could find few Americans willing to do the back-breaking work. Kobach would then contact the town’s representatives and offer to write anti-immigrant legislation for them. At the same time, anti-immigrant hate groups went to work holding rallies and such to misinform the citizens of the dangers of their “boogeyman” immigrant neighbors.

These towns passed laws written or co-authored by Kobach that fined businesses for hiring undocumented workers, fined landlords for renting without checking their clients’ immigration status, forced school officials to check the citizenship of students and so on. Each and every time, the laws were challenged in court by the ACLU. Kobach would then offer his services as a defense attorney. Not only were these towns losing millions in settlement costs, they were having to then pay Kobach to defend them in court. A win-win for Kobach.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and Think Progress, these small towns were forced to spend over $6.6 million as of 2011 defending Kobach’s unconstitutional anti-immigrant laws. Most were overturned and citizens were then forced to pay for the legal bills and Kobach’s defense fees by increasing their property taxes. Towns like Albertville, AL, Freemont, NE, Valley Park, MO, Hazleton, PA, Farmers Branch, TX, Riverside, NJ and Prince William County, VA were used by Kobach and his anti-immigrant hate groups as test runs to see if they could get such legislation passed. Where they failed, they learned and reorganized.

Anti-Immigrant Hate Groups

The father of the anti-immigrant movement is John Tanton, a retired ophthalmologist. The SPLC has identified at least 13 groups that he is either the founder of or has funded. Most have intentionally innocuous names like Project USA or U.S., Inc., and all claim to be concerned about either national security, voter integrity or overpopulation. They profess to support immigration as long as it’s controlled. Above all, they deny their racist motivations and attack anyone who might even suggest such ulterior motives. The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), founded by Tanton, is currently suing the SPLC for saying it is a racist hate group. But one only has to pull the curtain ever so slightly back to find the racist basis of these organizations and of Tanton himself.

In 2008, the SPLC wrote a comprehensive report on Tanton’s writings that were housed at the University of Michigan’s Bentley Historical Library. Contrary to his claims, the SPLC found he regularly “corresponded and sought out relationships with Holocaust deniers, former Klan Lawyers and leading white nationalists.”

In those letters, he discussed topics such as how to make it a law to sterilize women who were having children out of wedlock, how America is losing its European heritage (white) because of immigrants and his belief that Latinos were unable to govern or run advanced societies. He urged FAIR to follow the anti-Semitic teachings of John B. Trevor and supported a limit on immigration from non-white populations. He maintained contact with Jared Taylor, a white nationalist and founder of American Renaissance and endorsed Peter Brimelow of the VDARE website that promotes writers of anti-anything not white. The papers also showed Tanton has corresponded with the leaders of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC), a more gentile version of the KKK. Letters were found between Tanton and CofCC leader Virginia Abernathy, who described herself as a white separatist and Sam Francis, editor of CofCC’s newsletter The Citizens InformerCofCC opposes all things non-white and influenced Dylaan Roof to murder 9 innocent church parishioners in South Carolina because they were black.

And just when you think it couldn’t get any worse, the SPLC discovered memos Tanton wrote in 1986 that were meant for his colleague’s eyes only. In the memos, Tanton fretted about Latino birth rates being too high and wondered if the white race would hand over control of the U.S. because as he stated, “Latino’s are simply more fertile.” He suggested that the American government would be overtaken by Latinos and pondered about them bringing their “tradition of mordida (bribes).”

The memo’s racist rants are being made by the Trump administration and Republican politicians today. Tanton’s talking points specifically addressed how to make their racist opinions more palatable for politicians and quoted many of the nation’s leading racist writers. Tanton even demanded that English be the sole language of the land; Rep. Steve King (R-IA) recently introduced such a bill. Trump’s tactic of pitting Blacks against Hispanics for jobs can be found in this memo as well.

Funding Behind Anti-Immigrant Groups

In order to create the idea that this anti-immigrant movement is a grassroots movement, Tanton and other leaders have been fudging their membership numbers. The SPLC discovered some of their tax filings that showed their membership to be about half of what they claim. Instead, the majority of funding comes from a handful of very wealthy foundations.

Most of Tanton’s hate group money comes from The Colcom Foundation. It was created by Cordelia Scaife May who inherited her wealth from the Mellon family of the Mellon Bank in Pennsylvania. Cordelia was a fan of eugenics, the science of controlling the breading of humans. Today, most Americans associate eugenics with Nazi Dr. Mengele and falsely assume that it died with the Third Reich. Cordelia was concerned that third-world immigrants would take over the U.S. and donated huge sums of cash to a variety of hate groups. Her family continues to run the foundation and has added the Scaife Family Foundation, the Sarah Scaife Foundation, the Allegheny Foundation and the Carthage Foundation. All of these organizations fund Tanton’s web of anti-immigrant groups. To date they have given him over $100 million in donations.

Other million dollar donors that make up the majority of Tanton’s groups include the Sydney A. Swensrud Foundation founded by the former chairman of Gulf Oil Corporation, the F.M. Kirby Foundation who started Woolworths Company, organizational design theorist Jay Galbraith’s Galbraith Foundation and the W.H. Donner Foundation created by William Donner, founder of Union Steel.

How Tanton’s Groups Support Kobach

In 2004, Kobach became a member of FAIR and its legal counterpart, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) as its counsel. Both of these groups were founded by John Tanton and he is directly involved in their daily functions as can be seen in the internal memos discovered by the SPLC. When Kobach ran for Congress in 2004, a political action committee run by Tanton’s wife, US Immigration PAC, donated $10,000 to his campaign. According to the FEC, donors to the US Immigration Reform PAC are a who’s who of top anti-immigrant, eugenicists and white nationalists such as Tanton himself, Cordelia May and Elizabeth Van Staaveren (Oregonians for Immigration Reform and writer of anti-immigrant blogs). The PAC gives to other fanatical anti-immigrant writers and candidates such as Tom Tancredo, former Colorado representative well known for his racist and anti-immigrant rants, (Tancredo’s successor of anti-immigrant rhetoric in the House of Representatives Steve King (R-IA)) and Peter Grimm, an anti-immigrant conspiracy theorist writer.

Further investigation into Kobach’s failed 2004 congressional run found that Cordelia May donated $4,000 directly to his campaign. Other donors with ties to the anti-immigrant movement included:

  1. Steve Poisner – founder of CA Charter School Association and one time CA gubernatorial candidate.
  2. Tom Tancredo
  3. Doyle and Brenda Mannschreck – Kobach’s in-laws who hired Kobach to sue Nebraska’s Board of Regents for allowing undocumented aliens to use in-state tuition pricing when attending universities.
  4. Eagle Forum PAC – created by Phyllis Schlafly, extreme far right group that opposes all immigration and supports English only laws.


Kansas records for Kobach’s secretary of state races show contributions from leaders of these immigration hate groups founded and funded by John Tanton:

  1. Alfred Doyle – FAIR Board of Advisors
  2. Curtin Winsor – FAIR Board of Advisors
  3. Barnaby Zall – FAIR attorney, US Immigration Reform PAC treasurer and Pro English member
  4. Catherine Engelbrecht – founder of True the Vote that trains far right-wing supporters to stand outside voting polls to find undocumented immigrants voting.
  5. Danielle A. Cutrona – Jeff Sessions’ former chief counsel and Trump transition team member on immigration.
  6. Dino Joseph Druni – FAIR Board of Advisors
  7. Donald Barnett – Fellow at Center for Immigration Studies
  8. Donald Collins – Ex-Chair of FAIR, writer for VDARE
  9. Eagle Forum PAC – anti-immigration and English only supporters
  10. Garrett R. Roe – attorney for Immigration Reform Law Institute
  11. Gary Wagner – anti-immigration blog writer
  12. Henry Buhl – ex-VP of FAIR and founder of Coalition for a Secure Driver’s License
  13. Howard Foster – attorney who writes articles supporting anti-immigration
  14. Isabel Lyman – writer of “The Victims of Illegal Immigration” published by John Tanton’s The Social Contract Press
  15. John Rohe – VP of Colcom Foundation, a member of Tanton’s U.S., Inc. and John Tanton biographer.
  16. Joseph Guzzardi – FAIR Board of Advisors
  17. K.C. McAlpin – president of U.S., Inc., Pro English, ex-director of FAIR and FAIR Board of Advisors.
  18. Lindsey Lyons – former mayor of Albertville, Alabama who helped Kobach pass anti-immigrant laws.
  19. Michael Hethmon – Immigration Reform Law Institute counsel
  20. Michael McLaughlin – spokesman for Utahns for Immigration Reform and Enforcement
  21. Norbert Bikales – husband of Gerda Bikales, Pro English Board of Emieritus and Holocaust survivor
  22. Paul Nachmann – FAIR Board of Advisors
  23. Team America PAC – Tom Tancredo PAC
  24. Robert Vandervoort – ex director of Pro English
  25. US Immigration and Reform PAC – donations come from immigrant hate groups and their supporters.
  26. William A Fields – Center for Immigration Studies and FAIR advisor
  27. Brian Bilbray – former CA representative that thinks he lost election because of undocumented workers voting; lobbied for FAIR.

What the Trump Commission on Voter Integrity is Really About

Members of John Tanton’s hate groups now dominate the Trump administration. As a Vice News article by Tess Owens points out, attorney general Jeff Sessions is a supporter of FAIR and has even been presented awards by the group for his aggressive anti-immigrant legislation. Kellyanne Conway owns Polling Company, Inc. and has done a variety of work for Tanton’s various groups.

Not to be left out, Stephen Miller, friend and classmate of Richard Spencer of alt-right fame, is reported to have close relationships with FAIR members. Julie Kirchner, former executive director at FAIR, was appointed by Trump as chief of staff at US Customs and Border Protection without having any experience in law enforcement or the government’s immigration system itself. Then there’s Representative Lou Barletta, the former Hazleton, PA mayor who worked with Kobach on that anti-immigrant law and was a member of the Trump transition team. Barletta is also a FAIR advisor as well.

Even the disgraced former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, has ties to anti-immigrant hate groups. SPLC reported that he was an advisor for ACT for America, an anti-Islamic group. Trump’s CIA director, Mike Pompeo, has spoken at two of their conventions.

John Tanton’s creation of this web of immigrant hate groups is not illegal. After all, Trump has yet to kill the 1st Amendment of the Constitution. People are free to join and support these groups, and Kobach has not committed any crimes by accepting their financial support or by representing them.

However, Americans need to be educated on who and what is actually behind this anti-immigration movement. The Trump administration would like the country to think this is a grassroots movement, that millions of Americans are behind this effort. As one can clearly see, this so-called movement is simply a well-organized and purposefully connected bunch of hate mongering racists that are creating a fear based following on little evidence so that they can profit financially and gain power.

Study after study has proven that there is no measurable voter fraud being perpetrated by undocumented workers in this country. Even Crosscheck has proven that with not a single conviction. Yet there is plenty of mounting evidence to suggest that Crosscheck and Kobach are actually engaged in violating voters’ rights and denying them the right to representation which is a crime, a felony in fact. Without attorney’s or Democrats willing to fight these groups and their supporters within this administration, expect this blatant disregard and outright violation of voter rights to continue.

Incidentally, Crosscheck is paid for by taxpayer dollars. Citizens are literally paying taxes that are then used to pay for a program that will eventually deny them their right to vote. How is it that one party is allowed to implement a program designed to identify and eliminate the other party’s voters? More importantly, how is that the Democrats ever expect to win another election if they don’t address this issue?

 

Dear Paul Ryan, Save Your Prayers

First published on: http://crooksandliars.com/2017/06/dear-paul-ryan-save-your-prayers

No Democrat, Republican or Independent in their sane mind thinks that yesterday’s shooting in Washington D.C. that left five injured including Representative Steve Scalise was justified. Using violence to argue your point effectively makes that point moot. No one can hear you when you have a gun in your hand. They cannot even see you, the gun is the sole focus. That shooter’s concerns, his anguish over the direction this country is going in, died along with him. His atrocious actions are all we heard, all we saw and all we will remember of him.

But ideas, thoughts, philosophies, ideologies are bigger than one person, and one person’s insane actions does not represent those concepts alone. One misguided fundamentalist Christian’s actions can no more speak for all Christians as can one suicide bomber claim to speak for all of Islam. The murderous actions of one Trump supporter cannot speak for the whole movement nor can the murderous actions we saw yesterday from a so-called liberal activist.

In times such as these, we seek guidance from our leaders. We require assurances from them that something will be done. Government’s top function is to keep its citizens safe if nothing else. Safe from violence, disease, famine. To ensure that we, as a people, can pursue “life, liberty and happiness” and that our elected representatives will defend these “unalienable rights.”

The guidance given by our leaders to citizens after yesterday’s shooting in D.C. was consistent with what we’ve heard for the last twenty, thirty years: pray. I don’t take this as good advice. It’s flippant, self-serving and degrading. It allows our leaders to shame us, to shame our outrage at their incompetence and ineptitude by invoking God’s name while allowing them to continue ignoring their sworn duties as elected officials.

To be clear, when Speaker Ryan addressed the Congress yesterday, he was not addressing the nation. He was addressing his fellow members of Congress. “An attack on one of us, is an attack on all of us.” He never mentioned those who died at the hands of another American, in yet another mass shooting on that very same day in San Francisco. Neither did Trump in his address to the nation.

Rarely, if ever do they mention the gun violence that Americans encounter from our own families and friends on a weekly basis. Unless that is, it occurs to one of their own or it is so egregious that they are forced to.

Still then, they say, “Pray.” Well I’m tired of praying. I’m tired of good thoughts and positive vibes. I’m tired of them invoking God’s name to just turn around and continue on the same self-serving path they’ve been on. Have they no shame? No honor? No dignity?

Words don’t matter. Deeds do.

Our elected officials might consider venturing outside of their bubble for a few hours, a few days and see why Americans are fed up with their lack of leadership. There, our elected leaders will discover that Americans are working fifty, sixty, eighty hours a week to make ends meet.

We have seen our homes repossessed and our savings drained every decade because politicians let their large donors engage in illegal banking and lending schemes, only to shrug their shoulders and claim that no one is responsible and therefore no one can be held accountable.

Congress would see how one family member’s illness can destroy generations because of a lack of affordable healthcare. They would hear how we are tired of seeing those that have rigged the system to their favor steal from us and pay no price. We are exhausted from listening to their political diatribes of how corporations cannot pay their fair share of taxes and benefits.

All the while, they are giving those millions, billions to politicians to rig the system. Millions and billions that could be used for benefits and taxes.

We are not blind. Americans see congressional leaders taking campaign contributions so that businesses may pollute our air, water and land. We are watching as Congress sells out our children’s education to the highest bidders. We see how they are gerrymandering the system so that one party is stronger than the other. We are aware that many of our minority brothers and sisters are being disenfranchised.

Even with everyone (save Trump) agreeing that our election was hacked — a blatantly aggressive act of war — our elected officials have taken to making a mockery of the investigation. There is no investigation. There is only wasted taxpayer dollars used to grandstand and pontificate for one’s political leanings while attacking the other. And what has been done? Nothing.

We are still voting with those same systems that cannot even be audited. It’s a f*cking joke. A f*cking shame when our elected leaders cannot even come together to defend us from a foreign adversary.

The government cannot and is not doing its job when it plays political chess with our life, liberty and happiness. It does not function as a democracy when elected leaders refuse to listen to their constituents by evading town halls, phone calls and letters simply because it does not agree with their political ideology. We cannot call our government a democracy when one political party holds secretive meetings regarding healthcare bills and refuses to allow debate.

Who do they serve, anyway?

Congress and the president would do well to remember that they work for us and not themselves. That this is a government by the people, for the people, not by the corporations, for the rich alone or for one party over another. That this is a democracy and not a business or autocracy. That corporations are not people and money is not the answer to everything. That we deserve and demand better representation for our taxation and a truly open government.

So, Speaker Ryan, keep your prayers to yourself as they’ve done Americans no good. God is not listening to you. Neither is America.