Category: Republicans

Video Watch Party Spotlights Abuses at GA Immigration Detention Center

Event: Carolyn Hadaway’s Monthly Video Watch Party

  • Date: Thursday, May 24
  • Time: 6:30pm – 9:00pm
  • Place: Private home near the intersection of Canton Hwy and Jamerson Rd/Shallowford Rd.; Woodstock, GA 30188. Close to Cherokee – Cobb County border.

Topic: Immigration. Special guest speaker is JoAnn Weiss, Chair, Board of Directors, El Refugio, a hospitality house located in Lumpkin, GA, providing assistance to the families of inmates of the next-door Stewart Detention Center, one of the United States’ largest detention centers for suspected illegal immigrants, run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

  • Ms. Weiss will discuss the growth of the immigration detention system since 1996 (especially since 9/11/2001) and the role of prisons for profit. She will examine the violation of civil and human rights at the Stewart facility and the work of El Refugio in running its hospitality house.

POC: Carolyn Hadaway, 678-687-7753chadaway.volun@gmail.com

Note from IndieDems proprietor, Tom Barksdale:

Lumpkin is “just up the road” from my hometown in Southwest Georgia, and even closer to the Jimmy Carter homestead in Plains. The El Refugio web page provoked a flood of personal memories by stating that “Partners from Koinonia Farm (www.koinoniapartners.org) offer hospitality for family members needing a place to stay overnight during the week.”

Koinonia Farm was born the same year I was, in 1942. It’s mission statement says “We are Christians called to live together in intentional community sharing a life of prayer, work, study, service and fellowship. We seek to embody peacemaking, sustainability, and radical sharing. While honoring people of all backgrounds and faiths, we strive to demonstrate the way of Jesus as an alternative to materialism, militarism and racism.”

Meaning: Koinonia Farm was an interracial haven smack in the middle of segregated Georgia during the darkest days of segregation and on through the Civil Rights struggles of the 1950s-60s. Its inhabitants paid a heavy price of having to endure the isolation, intimidation, and violence all too common in that era.

Koinonia communal living did not include schools, and “home schooling” did not exist even as a concept. Koinoia’s children had to attend the local, segregated schools, where living together on a farm with black people pegged them as stranger than space aliens. To most of the locals, they were literally Comminists, a term I heard leveled at Koinonia whenever the topic came up. The children endured unspeakable acts of mental and physical harassment.

In 21015, former AJC journalist Jim Auchmutey wrote a book centered on the experience of one of those students: The Class of ’65: A Student, a Divided Town, and the Long Road to Forgiveness. It’s on Amazon with a five-star review. You want to read this book. Amazon sums it up well:

Being a student at Americus High School was the worst experience of Greg Wittkamper’s life. Greg came from a nearby Christian commune, Koinonia, whose members devoutly and publicly supported racial equality. When he refused to insult and attack his school’s first black students in 1964, Greg was mistreated as badly as they were: harassed and bullied and beaten. In the summer after his senior year, as racial strife in Americus—and the nation—reached its peak, Greg left Georgia.

Forty-one years later, a dozen former classmates wrote letters to Greg, asking his forgiveness and inviting him to return for a class reunion. Their words opened a vein of painful memory and unresolved emotion, and set him on a journey that would prove healing and saddening.

The Class of ’65 is more than a heartbreaking story from the segregated South. It is also about four of Greg’s classmates…who came to reconsider the attitudes they grew up with…

I have said to myself many times that the Trump era has left me feeling as if 60 years of presumed progress in America’s racial relations has been erased, and I have been transported in time back to the days when the “N” word was common currency, violence against minorities was normal, and anyone practicing equality for blacks, like Greg Wittkamper, had to be a Communist, not a “real” American. And you could become governor of Georgia by wielding an ax handle as a symbol of your noble resistance to segregation.

Johnny Isakson, David Perdue, Karen Handel, and Barry Loudermilk don’t need an ax handle to symbolize their warped views. They’ve got Donald Trump in the White House.

Georgia Republicans Firmly in Ranks of Tut-tut Republicans

Headline: Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) blasts White House aide’s McCain remark as ‘pretty disgusting thing to say’

IndieDems Comment:

The more despicable the Trumpists become, the more Republicans like Graham, Johnny Isakson, David Perdue, Barry Loudermilk, and Karen Handel fall all over themselves to plant another kiss on Trump’s behind. Just imagine: Graham his Republican colleagues criticize him for refusing to fire the aide or to issue an apology–and Trump does not fire the aide or apologize.

  • At one time, if someone had called Graham a sissy, I would have come to his defense. No more. His track record shows the term simply defines him.

The fact that Senator Graham’s anodyne response to WH staffer Sadler’s despicable remark represents the epitome of Republican criticism, demonstrates beyond the shadow of a doubt what a morally and intellectually corrupt, burnt-out case the Republican Party has become.

  • Just to mention three of the multitude of bellwethers that showed Republicans they were headed for the sewer: nominating for president someone who bragged about sexually assaulting women, approved calling his own daughter a “piece of a–,” and mocked a handicapped person.

The more that Republicans like Isakson, Perdue, Loudermilk, and Handel rally behind Trump as he intensifies his assaults on the moral fabric of American, the more one has to ask: are we witnessing the consequences of where all that Russian money that has been flowing into Republican coffers went?

It’s abundantly clear: Isakson, Perdue, Loudermilk, and Handel will remain Trump’s faithful lapdogs until he destroys America. Pigs will fly before they exercise any oversight of the Trump Executive Branch.

And Graham, once a critic of Trump, became more and more one of his lap dogs the more Trump engaged in lies, insults, and slander. Isn’t it likely that Trump is ensuring Graham’s fealty by dangling an important office in his face, like a cabinet position? Given the rate of turnover, an opening is always a possibility.

Nikki Haley has already sold her soul to the Trump devil to burnish her foreign policy credentials at the U.N. Why should Graham be any different?

Southern Baptists Discover–Gasp!–Misogyny in Their Ranks

On May 7, conservative columnist and  former GW Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson, a vociferous critic of Donald Trump and the phony “conservatives” who support him, wrote an article “Evangelicals are having their own #MeToo moment.” An excerpt:

Paige Patterson — head of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and icon of conservative Baptist belief — is being called out for a story he told in 2000. An abused woman had come to him for counseling. Patterson recommended prayer. Later, the woman returned with two black eyes. In Patterson’s telling: “She said, ‘I hope you’re happy.’ And I said, ‘Yes . . . I’m very happy,’ ” because the woman’s husband had heard her prayers and come to church the next day.

Gerson went on to point out a number of prominent Baptists had risen in criticism. [‘We are shocked’: Thousands of Southern Baptist women denounce leader’s ‘objectifying’ comments, advice to abused women]

Here is IndieDems comment:

My, my. Over 2000 years after Christ treated his female followers with dignity and respect, followed by the Apostle Paul (allegedly) telling women Jesus wanted them to keep quiet in church and to obey their husbands; followed by the Catholic Church’s declaring women unworthy to be priests, much less hold any higher rank; 18 months after evangelical females–and about 52 percent of all white women–voted for a serial adulterer who had admitted to sexually assaulting women, called women bimbos in his tweets, and approved of someone calling his daughter a “piece of a–“; after all this, Michael Gerson and Southern Baptist Women are shocked, shocked–again–to discover there is misogyny going on in their ranks.

Not because the womenhad an epiphany about the phony baloney balderdash they have been listening to, but because some Baptist preacher finally made a statement that even evangelicals couldn’t stomach.

Real life again presents an incident that, if presented in a Saturday Night Live skit, would have unleashed a torrent of criticism that SNL had gone too far in tarnishing the wonderful, God-fearing evangelical community, the sole preserver of the true faith and morals in our sinful society.

It’s all too rich for words. A piece of advice to Gerson and the female evangelicals: try to see the light and see Patterson, not as an aberration, but as the exemplar of evangelical preachers. Then do what other Americans are doing in droves: abandon organized religion for being the hollow, hypocritical shell it really is.

A Message for Johnny Isakson, David Perdue, Barry Loudermilk, and Karen Handel

Now, calm down and try to understand this. That does not mean abandoning the teachings of Jesus or the 10 Commandments. It just means abandoning the false prophets who’ve already abandoned both but disguised it with demagoguery about how all you need to do is oppose abortion and gay rights and you are guaranteed entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven. That ain’t what Jesus was all about, my friends.

Trump National Security Adviser Applies Iraq War Justification to Iran

President Trump’s National Security Adviser, John Bolton, this week wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post justifying Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear accord, despite its continued support by our principle European  allies, as well as co-signers Russia and China.  IndieDems comment:

The notable features of Bolton’s polemic: 1) It repeats exactly the justification George W. Bush and his Boltonesque advisers gave for launching the Iraq war 2) beneath the bombast and braggadocio, it is a hollow nothing, offering no specific facts, no specific policies, no specific plan of action to obtain its deluded goals

Even for the mind-blowing Trumplandia, it staggers the human mind that with the United States still facing each day the disastrous consequences of the Bush/Bolton Iraq war, Trump and Bolton are repeating the same flawed reasoning, warped judgment, and Neocon unhinged predictions to set us on the road to war with Iran.
Remember? Bush and his Bolton Neocons assured us that if we went to war with Iraq and overthrew Saddam Hussein, peace and democracy would envelop the Middle East, and the new, democratic Muslim regimes would join us in permanently guaranteeing Israel’s security. Word for word, Bolton repeats the argument.

Bolton cites not one iota of evidence to back up his central claim that Iran is violating the nuclear agreement; he offers no specific plan of action for the U.S. to now prevent Iran from resuming its nuclear weapons program, short of all-out war. He does not remotely address how the U.S. is to accomplish its Herculean ambitions without the support of our principle allies–or with their opposition, given our contemptuous treatment of them.

And his long-proven-false Neocon canard that Israel is the linchpin of our Middle East policy? Bolton obviously has the genie on hand to work his magic, followed by carpet rides leaving Jerusalem every hour.

John Bolton: The Foreign Policy Clone of Rudolf Giuliani

President Trump’s National Security Adviser, John Bolton, recently wrote an op-ed praising Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear accord. Comments on the article included:

  • This article is so wrong I don’t know where to start. So I won’t”
  • “…because your hatred of Iran and your desire for war, you don’t care that Iran was upholding its end of the bargain”
  • It’s too bad this…kook is anywhere near national security. He’s a xenophobic, Muslim-hating, climate denying loudmouth who sells patently absurd and paranoid b.s. to anybody willing to listen.”

To which IndieDems replied:

Shame on all you naysayers, doubting the judgment of Trump and Bolton. I have no doubt that Trump will show the same intelligence and judgment dealing with Iran that he demonstrated in dealing with the Stormy Daniels imbroglio. He doesn’t even need to repeat his brilliant move of bringing Giuliani on board and turning him lose to do TV interviews. He’s already got Giuliani’s foreign policy twin: John Bolton! Bolton unquestionably has the same mental acumen and verbal skills as Giuliani. Maybe even better. Aren’t we lucky to have a President who can call on such geniuses to advise him!

The same President who proved his mettle with his decisive response to Russia’s being caught red-handed interfering in American elections. In fact, has the insight to see that Vladimir Putin, far from being a murderous thug, is a great man worthy of great praise.

And never forget: Bush is the Republican ideal of a President, faithfully executing the Republican policies of Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Orrin Hatch, Nikki Haley, et.al. 80 to 90 percent of Republicans support their Republican President and the Republican agenda he is so faithfully implementing.

Republicans just love a President who brags about sexually assaulting women, supports calling his own daughter a piece of a–,” uses ethnic and religious slurs, mocks the handicapped, advocates torture, and calls African countries “s–tholes,” to name a few of the things Republicans hold so dear.

Including Johnny Isakson, David Perdue, Barry Loudermilk, and Karen Handel.

The Plank in the Media’s Eyes that They Ignore

The media are in full throttle reporting the fallout from Michelle Wolf’s acerbic and occasionally vulgar comedic monologue at Saturday’s White House correspondents’ dinner. They are paying particular attention to Wolf’s comments on White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders—while largely ignoring Wolf’s sharp rebuke of the media, when she said:

“You guys are obsessed with Trump. Did you use to date him? Because you pretend like you hate him, but I think you love him. I think what no one in this room wants to admit is that Trump has helped all of you. He couldn’t sell steaks or vodka or water or college or ties or Eric. But he has helped you. He’s helped you sell your papers and your books and your TV. You helped create this monster, and now you’re profiting off of him. And if you’re going to profit off of Trump, you should at least give him some money, because he doesn’t have any.”

Wolf highlighted what the media studiously ignore: the way the media are benefiting from Trump because he fuels the controversy on which they feed. To keep the benefits coming, the media–especially their talking heads TV component–are engaging in self-censorship regarding Trump’s caustic, hateful, racist, sexist rhetoric.

The media, in their willful blindness, are once more giving Trump a get-out-of-jail pass by failing to energetically highlight Trump’s own words that make him, and his Republican lackeys, to be far worse than Wolf by a country mile. I’m talking about Trump’s words that:

  • Bragged about sexually assaulting women
  • Called a Miss Universe “Miss Piggy”
  • Approved Howard Stern’s calling Ivanka “a piece of ass”
  • Demeaned the military service of John McCain
  • Mocked a handicapped person
  • Called African countries and Haiti “shitholes”
  • Said good words about neo-fascists marching in a Nazi-like parade in Charlottesville
  • Made numerous disparaging remarks about Rosie O’Donnell’s physical appearance
  • Labeled Megan Kelly a bimbo after she called out Trump for his Rosie remarks
  • Accused Obama of engaging in a criminal conspiracy to hide his real birthplace
  • Lied about undocumented immigrants being mostly rapists and criminals

I thought that every TV commentator talking about Wolf’s speech would raise as many of Trump’s vile and despicable remarks as time allowed–better yet, have them displayed on the screen–to show that whatever Wolf’s words, they paled into insignificance compared to Trump’s. Instead, Trump’s words have been virtually ignored.

Quick: when was the last time you heard Anderson Cooper, Chuck Todd, or Lester Holt mention any of Trump’s words listed above?

Why do the media engage in this self-censorship?

See also: Shut up about Michelle Wolf if you’ve been silent on Trump’s offenses

Republicans’ Reaction to Comedian’s Words Highlights Their Hypocrisy

The annual White House correspondents’ dinner this year, on April 28, invited comedian Michelle Wolf to deliver the evening’s comedic address. Her admittedly acerbic and occasionally vulgar remarks, especially those about the Trump Administration and White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, elicited sharply different responses from some audiences. Here’s IndieDems view:

it’s a measure of the extent to which Trump and his Republicans have prostituted and vulgarized our politics that satirical remarks by a professional comedian about Sarah Sanders have ignited such a firestorm of self-righteous criticism by Trump and his Republican–the same people who had no problem when Trump:

  • Bragged about sexually assaulting women
  • Called a Miss Universe “Miss Piggy”
  • Approved Howard Stern’s calling Ivanka “a piece of ass”
  • Demeaned the military service of John McCain
  • Mocked a handicapped person
  • Called African countries and Haiti “shitholes”
  • Said good words about neo-fascists marching in a Nazi-like parade in Charlottesville
  • Made numerous disparaging remarks about Rosie O’Donnell’s physical appearance
  • Labeled Megan Kelly a bimbo after she called out Trump for his Rosie remarks
  • Accused Obama of engaging in a criminal conspiracy to hide his real birthplace
  • Lied about undocumented immigrants being mostly rapists and criminals

In fact, Trump and his Republicans have told so many lies, they have made lying a Republican/conservative way of life.

These people who have spent three years marching with their President as he has taken American culture day by day into the sewer of vulgarity, crudeness, and hate, now rise to denounce the professional comedian Michelle Wolf for doing what she is paid to do: deliver a handful of comparatively mild satirical remarks. This exercise in pure hypocrisy proves the Republicans do not get it and never will. They must be destroyed in order to save our Republic.


Columnist Jonathan Capehart sums it up: Shut up about Michelle Wolf if you’ve been silent on Trump’s offenses

“The criticism of Wolf by Republicans, the press and the public was inevitable. Comes with the job, and some of it I agree with. What makes it galling is that those screaming the loudest about Wolf are mute when it comes to Trump. The former is a comedian hired to tell jokes at a dinner where jokes are traditionally told. The latter is the president of the United States. His words, even the jokes, carry weight. They have real consequences and affect real lives. But we’ve become so used to the garbage that sloshes from his Twitter feed and his presidency that we have grown numb to how it sluices over our collective national psyche.”


Georgia Republicans Continue Assault on Decency

Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker today published a column Decent society is unraveling right in front of us.”  Her most immediate motivation came from the incident involving members of the Syracuse University chapter of the Theta Tau fraternity, who simulated a sexual assault on a disabled student during an initiation ceremony. But Ms. Parker views the “fraternity gone bad” as “a symptom of a larger cultural disruption”—the waning regard for simple decency in American life.  The incident, she says, should horrify anyone with an ounce of decency, “assuming people still recall what decency is.”

Ms. Parker does not mention the Republican Party or Donald Trump, but her words describing an absence of decency leap from the page as explicit descriptions of Trump and his Republican minions:

  • “appalling and disgusting on many intersecting grounds””
  • “these overcast days of indecency, cruelty and behavior bereft of empathy”
  • “a fresh episode in what should be understood as a gradual unraveling of decent society.”

Remember Trump’s mocking of a handicapped person in a campaign speech?

Ms. Parker most telling words are these: “Permissiveness in the guise of non-judgment has aided in the triumph of selfish expression predicted by cultural historian Christopher Lasch in his 1979 book, ‘The Culture of Narcissism.’ ”

“Somewhere in his imagination, he may have envisioned a future president who would act out his infantile impulses on the world stage when he wrote that ‘the logic of individualism’ would be carried to ‘the extreme of a war of all against all, the pursuit of happiness to the dead end of a narcissistic preoccupation with the self.’ ”

What better description of Donald Trump has ever been written? Two companion pieces in today’s Post elaborate on the theme:

Helaine Olen: The Ronny Jackson mess perfectly sums up the Trump presidency

Trump can blame Democrats all he likes, but his nominee problems start with him

Since the dawn of the age of Trump-as-president nearly three years ago, IndieDems has pointed out that he and his Republican followers are creating an America bereft of decency. Trump’s allies include most particularly Georgia’s own Johnny Isakson, David Perdue, Barry Loudermilk, and Karen Handel.

Read More:

Georgia Republicans Comfortable with Colleagues’ Racist Speak
Georgia Republicans Follow Trump into the Sewer
Georgia Republicans’ Separation from Basic American Values
Georgia Republicans Welcome Dr. Strangelove as National Security Chief
The Known Facts about the Crime and Malfeasance in Trumpgate
Republican Family Values in Full Flower
How Does David Perdue Betray America? Let Us Count the Ways…
     (You can substitute any Georgia Republican’s name for Perdue’s)

Letter to U.S. Clerics with Questions on Trump They Refuse to Answer

In December, I sent the letter below to several American religious leaders, quoting the growing chorus of religious and conservative voices speaking out in alarm about the danger to Christianity posed by a passive attitude toward the immorality, corruption, and sordidness of the Trump Administration and asking the recipients to offer their own comments. I gave them the chance to respond before the letter was published on this blog, so they would in no way feel blindsided.   
So far, I have heard from only one addressee, Senior Pastor Bryant Wright of the Johnson Street Baptist Church in Marietta. His reply consisted of a link to one of his sermons, “Looking for a Savior in a President” (11.06.16), available at http://rightfromtheheart.org/sermon-series/hot-topics/?id=11073,  
Technical problems with this blog forced a delay in posting the letter. I publish it in its original form, although the issues it raises have become even more acute as Trump’s Republican Administration has sunk further and further into the gutter—with no concerted response from our major religious denominations, as far as I have been able to discover.

__________________________________________________________________________

IndieDems.com
Tom Barksdale, proprietor
(Street Address Redacted)
Woodstock, GA 30189
“You don’t save Christianity by betraying its message.”
-David Brooks, dean of conservative columnists, New York Times, 12/7/17

 

LETTER TO:

Dr. Johnny Hunt
First Baptist Church of Woodstock
11905 Highway 92
Woodstock, GA 30188
Dr. Michael Lewis
Roswell Street Baptist Church
774 Roswell St.
Marietta, GA 30060
Dr. Russell Moore
President, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
Southern Baptist Convention
901 Commerce Street
Nashville, TN 37203

 

Senior Pastor Bryant Wright
Johnson Ferry Baptist Church
955 Johnson Ferry Rd.
Marietta, GA 30068
 Attn: J. Herbert Nelson, II
Office of the General Assembly:Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
100 Witherspoon Street
Louisville, KY  40202-1396
Bishop Michael Curry
The Episcopal Church
815 Second Ave
New York, NY 10017
Dear (Pastor Johnny) (Dr. Lewis)(Dr. Moore)(Pastor Wright)(Reverend Nelson)(Bishop Curry):
I am writing to ask your opinion of recent acts that I consider a travesty against the Christian faith committed by President Donald Trump and some who defend him in the name of Christ. Recent Tweets and public statements by President Donald Trump have, by any rational, objective analysis, crossed the line into expressions of outright racism and bigotry. He is also reliably reported to have, in private, distanced himself from expressions of remorse and apologies he was forced to make in response to public outrage over some of his previously expressed lies and hateful words.
I am writing because I believe that the silence of our major Christian denominations and churches in the face of Trump’s travesties constitutes a betrayal of the Christian message.
Trump on November 29 retweeted a series of inflammatory Islamophobic videos originally posted by a British far-right activist known for his extreme anti-Islamic views. The videos purportedly showed violence being committed by Muslims. The commentary on one of the videos, claiming it sowed a Muslim attacking a Dutch citizen, was patently false. It had already been proven the attacker was a Dutch citizen. The accuracy and circumstances of the other two videos are unknown. In short, the videos’ flagrant Islamophobias is unquestioned.
On November 27, Trump during White House ceremony to honor Navajo veterans of World War II resurfaced his derogatory reference to Senator Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas,” without explicitly using her name. His words: “Although we have a representative in Congress who, they say, was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas.” The use of the racial slur was widely condemned, including by Russell Begaye, the president of the Navajo Nation, who called the president’s mention of Pocahontas “derogatory” and “disrespectful to Indian nations.”
Trump’s previous nadir in his expressing an explicitly racist outlook occurred in August in his response to neo-fascist demonstrations held in Charlottesville, VA. Trump public played down the racist and anti-Semitic views of the white supremacists who held a proto-Nazi torch light parade that included chants of “Jews will not replace us.” He drew an apparent moral equivalency between neo-Nazi marchers and anti-racist protesters, declaring that there were “fine people” on both sides, and he blamed the news media instead for stoking racial divisions.
Trump’s remarks were roundly condemned, even by many Republican leaders and, reportedly, in private by members of his Administration. American Jews reacted strongly: “Four coalitions of rabbis, hailing from different strains of American Judaism, publicly spurned Mr. Trump, denouncing him in unusually pointed language, and pre-emptively announcing that they would not participate in any conference call before the Jewish holidays…” (See “Rabbis Protest Trump’s Comments by Boycotting Conference Call”)
It is the above explicitly racist comments by Trump which sparked this letter. But in the background are the plethora of words Trump has spoken in the two and one-half years since he has announced his candidacy for president that prove him to be, undeniably, a serial liar, racist, bigot, misogynist, nativist, demagogue, xenophobe, and bully. For almost a year, Trump and the Republican Party have waged a war against America’s basic moral and democratic values and against common human decency. The few Republican leaders who have dissented have paid by having their political careers ended.
The Republicans’ descent into a moral sewer has reached its current nadir (although most likely not its last) with their endorsement of sex predator Roy Moore for United States Senator. I cite below one of the Republicans for whom this goes too far. My own response is: if you support this despicable cretin, may God have mercy on your immortal soul.
Even more chilling is the defense offered by many average Americans for sticking with Trump despite his in-your-face trampling of the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule. Yes, they say, I know all about what Trump is doing. “I just don’t care. He speaks for me.” According to a recent poll, 72 percent of evangelicals now say that “an elected official who commits an immoral act in their personal life can still behave ethically and fulfill their duties in their public and professional life,..”
Conservative and Christian Voices Condemn Trump & Trumpists
(All words in red or bold face are “emphasis added”)
Lest I somehow be accused of bias, let me quote from some of Trump’s conservative and evangelical critics, who have already made the case against him much more eloquently and forcefully than anything I could add.
David Brooks, dean of America’s traditional conservative columnists, recently delivered a forceful indictment that is riveting in its recognition that Trump’s assault on America’s basic moral and democratic values is an assault on Christianity itself:
  • “…First, (Trump) asked the Republican Party to swallow the idea of a narcissistic sexual harasser and a routine liar as its party leader. Then he asked the party to accept his comprehensive ignorance and his politics of racial division. Now he asks the party to give up its reputation for fiscal conservatism. At the same time he asks the party to become the party of Roy Moore, the party of bigotry, alleged sexual harassment and child assault.”
  • “…Trump…is defined by shamelessness, and so there is no bottom. And apparently there is no end to what regular Republicans are willing to give him.”
  • “You don’t help your cause by wrapping your arms around an alleged sexual predator and a patriarchic bigot. You don’t help your cause by putting the pursuit of power above character, by worshiping at the feet of some loutish man or another, by claiming the ends justify any means. You don’t successfully rationalize your own tawdriness by claiming your opponents are satanic.”
  • “You don’t save Christianity by betraying its message.”
  • “ ‘What shall it profit a man,” Jesus asked, “ ‘if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his own soul?’ The current Republican Party seems to not understand that question…The rot afflicting the G.O.P. is comprehensive — moral, intellectual, political and reputational.”
Michael Gerson, former GW Bush speechwriter & a Washington Post columnist, after his exhaustive review of Russiagate:
  • “In all of this, there is a spectacular accumulation of lies. Lies on disclosure forms. Lies at confirmation hearings. Lies on Twitter. Lies in the White House briefing room. Lies to the FBI. Self-protective lies by the attorney general. Blocking and tackling lies by Vice President Pence.”
  • “This is, with a few exceptions, a group of people for whom truth, political honor, ethics and integrity mean nothing.”
  • “We are witnessing what happens when right-wing politics becomes untethered from morality and religion.”
  • “What does public life look like without the constraining internal force of character — without the firm ethical commitments often (though not exclusively) rooted in faith?
    • It looks like a presidential campaign unable to determine right from wrong and loyalty from disloyalty.
    • It looks like an administration engaged in a daily assault on truth and convinced that might makes right.
    • It looks like the residual scum left from retreating political principle — the worship of money, power and self-promoted fame. The Trumpian trinity.”
Gerson returned to the fray after Trump’s vociferous denunciation of NFL players who kneeled during opening ceremonies of football games to protest the mistreatment of African-Americans, under the headline America has a racial demagogue for a president:
“(Trump’s) ignorance is matched by malice. Trump must know that rallying his white base against young African American protesters is feeding racial tension and providing permission for bigotry. He is essentially accusing these athletes of disloyalty, just as he accused Mexicans of being rapists and Muslims of being threats. This is a pattern and habit of division by race, ethnicity and religion.”
Jim Wallis, president and founder of Sojourners, wrote on November 17:
  • “President Trump is an ultimate and consummate worshiper of money, sex and power. American Christians have not really reckoned with the climate he has created in our country and the spiritual obligation we have to repair it. As a result, the soul of our nation and the integrity of the Christian faith are at risk.
  • “…Trump’s boastful treatment of women — including bragging in a video about grabbing their genitals — and his serial infidelity and adultery are clear evidence of his idolatrous worship of sex.
  • Alabama evangelicals expressing support for Senate candidate Roy Moore “may be the most damning testimony as to the politicized moral hypocrisy of white evangelicals…”
  • “Week after week, Trump reveals that his leadership is always and only about himself; not the people, the country or even his party — and certainly not about godliness.”
Kurt Bardella, a Republican and former spokesperson for Breitbart, the white supremacist group once led by Steve Bannon, announced on December 8, 2017 that he was quitting the Republican Party and joining the Democratic Party, after Trump traveled to Pensacola, FL., to deliver a rousing speech endorsing sex predator Roy Moore for U.S. Senator from Alabama.   In a scathing op-ed in USA Today, Bardella said:
  • “This is not a party I want to be associated with anymore”
  • He accused Trump and Bannon of “ignoring legitimate issues about race relations in America, environmental policy, gun reform and equality to instead pander to a lunatic fringe that subscribes to an ideology of hate and fear.”
  • “This is a party that constantly buries its head in the sand on climate change, racial profiling, guns, LGBTQ equality, income inequality, food insecurity, paid family leave and the treatment of women.”
  • “The embrace of Moore by the Republican Party’s top ‘leadership’ is all the proof you need to know that this is a party that no longer stands for anything.”
Peter Wehner, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center who served in the previous three Republican administrations, wrote in the New York Times on December 9, 2017: Why I Can No Longer Call Myself an Evangelical Republican.
  • “I’ve been a part of both (the Republican Party and evangelicalism) for my entire adult life. These days, though, in many important ways they are having harmful effects on our society.”
  • “Yet the support being given by many Republicans and white evangelicals to President Trump and now to Mr. Moore have caused me to rethink my identification with both groups.”
  • “I consider Mr. Trump’s Republican Party to be a threat to conservatism, and I have concluded that the term evangelical…has been so distorted that it is now undermining the Christian witness.”
  • “Where exactly is the bottom? And at what point do you pull back from associating yourself with a political party and a religious term you once took pride in but that are now doing harm to the things you treasure?”
Mr. Wehner goes on to quote three of his evangelical colleagues who say they will no longer use the term because, in the words of one, “the term is now so stained as to ruin my ability to be what evangelicalism was supposed to be.” He also quotes Bill Boyce, the head of the Princeton Evangelical Fellowship, a campus ministry for more than 80 years, explaining why the group changed its name to the Princeton Christian Fellowship. “We’re interested in being people who are defined by our faith and by our faith commitments and not by any sort of political agenda.”
William S. Brewbaker wrote from Tuscaloosa, AL on November 15: “As an evangelical Christian, an Alabamian and a Republican, I’m ashamed of Roy Moore and upset that so many people are determined to defend him against sexual assault allegations, no matter what. I’m even more bothered, however, by what Mr. Moore’s popularity says about the sorry state of evangelical Christianity.”
  • It is wrong to attack one’s critics…as “the forces of evil” and attribute their questions about serious allegations to “a spiritual battle.”
  • It is wrong to excuse one’s own moral failings while rushing to judgment over the sins of others…We are to love and forgive our enemies, as God has loved and forgiven us.
  • Brewbaker took issue with some evangelicals for “arrogantly identifying the success of a given party or political movement with the advancement of the Kingdom of God.”
Numerous other conservative voices recognized long ago what a threat Trump is to traditional conservative and Christian principles: George Will, Charles Krauthammer, William Kristol, Jennifer Rubin, to name a few.
More Trump Lies in Arrogant Violation of God’s Commandment
The Washington Post reported on November 14 that Trump had made 1,628 false or misleading claims in the 298 days of his presidency. The number included claims he had made numerous times. As of November 14, Trump in the previous 35 days had averaged an astonishing nine claims a day. (See also: When it comes to lying, Trump is in a class by himself; “Donald Trump is constantly lying”; “Trump’s lies: the definitive list”)
The Republicans’ Arrogant Trashing of Jesus’ Golden Rule
Please explain to me, (Reverend/Pastor/Bishop), where you find one iota of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” in a President who:
  • –Bragged about sexually assaulting women and called them bimbos
  • –Hired sex predator Roger Ailes as a chief adviser, after Ailes was forced out of Fox News
  • -Demeaned John McCain’s military service
  • –Mocked a physically handicapped person
  • –Impugned the integrity of a respected federal judge on the basis of his ethnic origin
  • –Belittled the mother of a martyred American-Muslim soldier
  • –Talks about Muslims the way Hitler talked about Jews
  • –Incited his followers to violence.
  • –Praises the thug Putin.
  • –Appointed an alt-right white nationalist extremist as his Presidential Counselor
  • –Advocated punitive measures against American citizens on the basis of their religion.
  • –Used profanity in public
  • –Accused Ted Cruz’s father of involvement in JFK’s assassination
  • –Refuses to pay the bills due small businesses who worked for him.
  • –Bilked innocent people of their money in a scam involving a phony university
Reverend Frank Graham on Trump
Despite all the above, Reverend Franklin Graham said in early December, 2017, that no president in his lifetime had taken such a “strong, outspoken stand for the Christian faith” than President Trump. After Trump’s election last year, Graham stated that Trump defeated Hillary by the “hand of God.”  
My Questions to You, (Reverend)(Pastor)(Bishop)
When did you and the (First Baptist Church of Woodstock)(Southern Baptist Convention)(Roswell Street Baptist Church)(Presbyterian Church U.S.A.)(Johnson Street Baptist Church)(The Episcopal Church) decide to throw overboard God’s Ten Commandments and Jesus’ Golden Rule? (Which you have done by remaining silent in the face of Trump and the Republicans wholesale defiance of both.)
When did you decide that the Bible’s words about abortion and homosexuality had completely replaced the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule as edicts to live by?
When did putative Christians decide that “I don’t care” is an acceptable response to explain their continued support for Trump?  Does God really accept this as a reason to live in defiance of His Commandments and the Golden Rule? Do you?
If you choose to defend your refusal to denounce Donald Trump and the Republican Party, please include specific words that refute or take issue with the specific words published by the Trump critics cited above, especially those printed in red. Please do the same for each of the bullet points in the sub-section, “The Republicans’ Arrogant Trashing of Jesus’ Golden Rule.”
Do you believe, (Pastor)(Reverend/Bishop), that the opinions of the religious voices (including yours, if it applies) that support Trump are worth more than the dissenting voices of Peter Wehner, William S. Brewbaker (and other evangelicals), Kurt Bardella, Michael Gerson, David Brooks, George Will, Charles Krauthammer, William Kristol, and Jennifer Rubin?
Here is my statement about Franklin Graham: “I believe that Reverend Frank Graham’s declaration that Trump has taken a stronger, more outspoken stand for the Christian faith than any other President in his lifetime is, itself, an act of blasphemy and a travesty of Jesus’ message.”
  • My question: Do you agree or disagree with my statement?
But above all, (Pastor Johnny)(Dr. Lewis)(Pastor Wright)(Dr. Moore)(Reverend Nelson)(Bishop Curry), please tell us how you talk to the children in your flock—or your own children and grandchildren—about having as a role model a President who approves of calling his own daughter a piece of ass?
I am sending you this message prior to its posting on my blog IndieDems.com in order to give you a chance to consider it and respond. If you wish to reply in advance of its posting, please send me a copy as an attachment to an email. I will publish it verbatim. Or, you can wait until it is posted on my blog, and click COMMENT to post your reply directly.
Sincerely,
/S/
Tom Barksdale
tbarksdl@aol.com

The Known Facts about the Crime and Malfeasance in Trumpgate

The New York Times today published a detailed look at the known facts about the crimes and acts of malfeasance already uncovered by Mueller and other investigations. The list further eviscerates any idea that Mueller’s probe is a witch hunt or that his investigation has reached a dead end by allegedly not proving “collusion”–a term that appears nowhere in the Justice Department directive establishing Mueller’s probe.

Excerpts:

  • (Mueller) has already provided an instructive guide to the swampy world of corporations, law firms and Washington lobbying shops,
  • The indictment of Paul Manafort lifted a rock on manipulation that’s usually hidden.
  • The lawyer who was found guilty of lying to Mueller’s team came from a major law firm that was among the beneficiaries of $4 million in largess that Manafort  distributed several years ago  in support of lobbying for Russian interests
  • The Obama State Department called a report issued by the law firm in support of that lobbying flawed and inappropriate
  • Mueller’s indictment also revealed that Manafort enlisted the help of the Democratic superlobbyist Tony Podesta and his firm, the Podesta Group
  • Three years ago…the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network fined the Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City $10 million for “willful and repeated violations of the Bank Secrecy Act”
  • One-fifth of the condos owned by Trump in the United States were sold to shell companies like those Manafort used…Since Trump won the Republican nomination, 70 percent of domestic real estate sales by his companies were to shell companies
  • A Times investigation found that this sort of behavior is business as usual for many big developers,
  • A shell company obscured the purchase of a lobbyist’s luxurious home by the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, when he was an Oklahoma state senator in 2003.
  • The recent attention to Mr. Trump’s “personal attorney” Michael Cohen illuminated another not uncommon practice of the business world…keeping people quiet.
  • A lawyer from another top law firm has been involved in attempts to squelch the story of Trump’s alleged fathering of a child out of wedlock
  • The same lawyer also worked to try to kill a New York Times report on women who accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault and, on behalf of the fraudulent blood-testing company Theranos, threatened to sue The Wall Street Journal to prevent a report that showed the company was a complete con.
“In the world of white-collar crime, business as usual has meant that the attorney-client privilege has often been a means to keep the law at bay…All this is an indictment of a criminal justice system that has fed the swamp in which Mr. Trump and his ilk thrive. “

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