Category: Trump

Senator Isakson and the Kidnapped Refugee Children

In a separate post, IndieDems publishes Senator Johnny Isakson’s reply to our criticism of Trump’s implementation of the “zero tolerance” policy regarding immigrant asylum seekers and illegal border crossers, resulting in the separation of thousands of children from their parents and their detention in inhumane and un-Christian circumstances.

We applaud Isakson’s recognition of the wrongfulness of separating children from their parents and his efforts to end it. The bill Senate Bill 3093 (S.3093) he is co-sponsoring—Senator Elizabeth Warren is one of nine Democratic co-sponsors—is a step in the right direction toward a more on long-term solution to the immigration imbroglio.

But there are many lose ends that Senator Isakson needs to continue to address to bring to an end this shameful episode in American history:

Time frame. The Senate bill is making its laborious way through the Congressional process. It will take weeks, if not months, before it passes the Senate. And then it must get House approval, And President Trump must then sign it into law.

The imprisoned children are suffering trauma and emotional distress every single minute they remain in custody.

Senator Isakson needs to be more pro-active in expediting the process. The children’s release needs to be separated from the longer-term issues and brought to a quick solution. Whatever funds are needed to accomplish that task should be immediately appropriated.

The Trump Administration’s obfuscation of the numbers issue. There is still no authoritative statistics on: the number of children detained, where they are being held, what contact they are having with their parents, how many have been reunited, the timetable for the reuniting of those that remain in custody.

The deliberate confusion—or just gross incompetence—gives the Big Lie to claims that the reunification process is proceeding expeditiously. Activists who have managed to make contact with some children or parents report Trump officials are lying about the ability of children to contact their parents and the rate of reunification.

Senator Isakson needs to take the lead in resolving the numbers issue. He should use his office as a U.S. Senator to find out what agency is keeping the statistics up to date. He should demand a daily accounting of what is going on regarding the children—and make the findings public.

Trump and Sessions’ sick, slick game regarding detention. They claim that a new court ruling ordering that separated children be promptly reunited with their parents amounts to a green light for federal officials to detain them — together. A decades-old court accord, known as the Flores ruling, requires immigrant children be released from custody “without unnecessary delay,” and that when they are held, it be in state-licensed day-care facilities.

The Trump administration now insists that if the new ruling requires the government to reunify and keep families together, then the government will keep the families in detention pending the outcome of their immigration or asylum cases, which typically take months or years to resolve.

But there is no legal requirement that migrant parents be detained while their cases are resolved, and previous administrations used alternative, effective means of ensuring that immigrants who are released pending the adjudication of their cases show up for their court hearings — they include electronic ankle bracelets; telephonic contacts with voice-recognition technology; and mobile phone app check-ins. These methods worked.

A Washington Post editorial summed it up: “That’s a neat bit of lawyerly jujitsu. It attempts to turn a federal judge’s reunification ruling last week…into a rationale for extending the current administration’s cruel crusade against migrant families. As a legal matter, it’s also unsupportable…antithetical to American values, offensive to the law and an affront to decency.”

Other matters Isakson should demand answers to: Are the legal rights of the parents being protected and respected? Do they have adequate legal representation?  How is it to be paid for? What about the parents who have already left the United States? What are the procedures to reunite them with their children?

Recent media reports state that even parents who have the clearance to reunite with their children face massive transportation costs to make the connection. Senator Isakson should take the lead in appropriating funds to meet these travel costs. They would be tiny fraction of the recently passed Agricultural Subsidy bill for rich farmers that Isakson championed and loudly praises.

The potentially horrendous future of some of the children. People knowledgeable about what can happen to children once they are in the clutches of the “authorities” tell us there is no guarantee that all the kidnapped children will ever be returned to their families. Some of them, for example may end up being legally and permanently separated from their parents and placed in the U.S. foster care system. They will then be treated like any child in that system. The parents, at a minimum, would face a long and costly legal battle to get them returned. And, of course, virtually none of the parents who fled their home countries have the money for such a battle.

It would be an unspeakable shock to the conscience for the U.S. Government to kidnap children from a parent because the parent was arrested for a misdemeanor; keep those children in inhumane conditions for months or years; and then use the full majesty of government to find a legal excuse for keeping some of those children from being returned to their parents, family, or legal guardian.

Senator Isakson should take the lead in preventing this Big Brother future from happening. I presume his Chief of Staff, Joan Kirchner Karr; and his Homeland Security and Immigration Legislative Assistant, Michael Black,  are already working overtime dealing with the above issues. IndieDems will closely monitor Isakson, Karr, and Black’s actions to make sure all kidnapped children are returned safely to their families. Any American who failes to use the full power of their office to expedite that solution would reveal themselves as totally lacking a moral conscience.

That reputation would follow them all the days of their lives.

Senator Isakson’s Reply on Child Immigrant Crisis

IndieDems has roundly criticized Republicans for creating out of whole cloth a crisis involving the kidnapping of thousands of  immigrant children ,imprisoning them in wire cages, and moving many of them around the country in the dead of night, with no mechanism in place to reunite them with their parents.

This inhumane, un-American, and un-Christian action was loudly condemned, forcing President to sign an executive order that technically put an an to further separations. But thousands remain in custody, and confusion and chaos blocks speedy resolution.

We publish below Senator Johnny Isakson’s reply to our criticism of his role.

Thank you for contacting me regarding immigration and children. I appreciate hearing from you and am grateful for the opportunity to respond.

Our country is a nation of immigrants, and it is my belief that those who seek to come to this country through lawful channels to share in the pursuit of the American dream should be welcomed. However, I have always drawn a clear distinction between legal and illegal immigration. Illegal immigration places a great strain on our institutions and in turn burdens the American taxpayer. For this reason, I believe immigration reform is one of the most significant domestic issues facing our nation today.

On May 7, 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the U.S. Department of Justice would prosecute every person who illegally crosses into the United States along the Southwest border. As a result, when adults with children illegally enter the United States, authorities would detain the adult pending a hearing on their immigration status. Meanwhile, the child would be placed into the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement, which coordinates and implements the care and placement of the children as appropriate. This distinction is due in part to a court order that prohibits minors from being detained for more than 20 days in immigration cases, meaning that in most cases children cannot stay with their parents if the parents are being held pending an asylum hearing. Earlier this year, I supported an immigration proposal offered by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) that would have overturned this court order, in addition to providing funding for border security and a path to citizenship for those eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

While I firmly stand behind enforcing our laws and protecting our borders, I believe Congress and the administration should work to keep families together whenever possible. I am also a cosponsor of S.3093 (Senate Bill 3093), the Keeping Families Together and Enforce the Law Act, introduced on June 20, 2018 by Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC). (IndieDems note: the bill is co-sponsored by 6 Democrats, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren). This bill would end separation of families at the border, allow families to be processed together, and require fair and humane treatment while awaiting immigration processing. Additionally, the legislation provides additional funding for family residential centers, sets mandatory standards for care, and authorizes 225 new immigration judges to expedite proceedings for children and families who are apprehended at the border.

Following the introduction of S.3093, President Trump issued an executive order to end the separation of families in the course of enforcing immigration laws. However, legislation is still needed to address the 20-day limit on keeping families together. I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Senate to secure our borders and advocate for immigration policies that strengthen our nation and benefit the people of Georgia.

Thank you again for contacting me. If I can be of any assistance to you in the future, please do not hesitate to call upon me.

Sincerely,
Johnny Isakson
United States Senator

The Republican/Segregationist Analogy Gains Steam

Two separate columnists today in the Washington Post and the New York Times used a famous quote from Martin Luther King in their discussion about the Sarah Sanders-Red Hen incident and the question of confronting individual Trumpists in public:

“I have reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block toward freedom is not the White citizen’s councilor or the Klu Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to order than justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension, to a positive peace, which is the presence of justice; who constantly says, ‘I agree with you with the goals that you seek, but can’t agree with your methods of direct action.” — the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., “Letter From Birmingham Jail,” 1963

My comment:

As a native Southerner, I deliver kudos to Ms. Attiah and Mr.  Sugrue for stating the analogy between Trumpism and segregation, between the Trump Republican base and the white bigot segregationists and their Jim Crow laws. I have noted the mirror imaging from the day Trump announced his presidential bid, and it has gained force every day since.

Particularly every time I see a poll reporting 90 percent of Republicans avidly support Trump, I am reminded of the days when an overwhelming majority of Southerners avidly supported segregation as a perfectly acceptable way of life, no matter how many murders, beatings, lynchings, or bombings they encountered. They loved to listen to demagogic speeches full of hatred, venom, and insults–particularly if blacks were the targets. Racist jokes were the order of the day. Saying “Martin Luther Koon” would get you a belly laugh. The attitude toward blacks was summed up as “a ‘N’ word in every woodpile.”

Today, we have Trump’s ravings about an immigrant in every wood pile, and virtually every tweet is full of lies, insults, venom, and divisive words. And the Republicans eat it up, no less than the segregationists cheering on the KKK. But not even the most rabid segregationist thought they could kidnaps children out of the arms of their parents and ship them wily-nilly in the dead of night throughout the country, without remorse. It took the Nazis to do that.

Time to Highlight GOP Staffers Complicity In Crimes against Humanity

It’s Tuesday, June 26. We are approaching the three month anniversary  of the Trump “No Tolerance” policy that led to the cruel and inhumane separation of thousands of refugee children from their parents and placing them in legal limbo with no procedures in place  to reunite them with their parents.

Despite widespread outrage over the depraved  treatment of innocent children, every news report continues to state that the Republicans are continuing their inhumane treatment of the children. Senators and Representatives who finally were able to visit some of the detention facilities under highly restrictive conditions report traumatized and crying children are being kept in wire cages and sleeping on the floor. There is no letup of the type of treatment meted out by Republicans that the medical profession states un-categorically will result in permanent harm to the children.

I  presume all decent Americans have  complained to their U.S. Senators and Representatives about the treatment of the children.  If you telephoned, you probably got some young staffer (intern?) who promised to pass your message on to their boss.

It’s time to start holding our Congressional staffers responsible for their complicity in the Trump Republican Administration’s crimes against humanity.

I have in recent days made it a point to include in tweets about the children the names of Congressional staffers working for Senators Isakson and Perdue and Representatives Barry Loudermilk and Karen Handel, as representatives of Metro Atlanta’s Republican Congressional delegation. I have included the words in follow-up email messages to their offices.

I do not believe this will change the minds of the staffers or their bosses. They have established beyond the shadow of a doubt they are content to be nothing but obsequious lackeys of Donald Trump. But we need to start establishing a public record of the individuals involved in these heinous acts and the flagrant racism that underlies the acts.

Below is a compilation of my words. I hope you will use them in social media and in your own contacts with the Congressional offices.

General

#GOPstaffers Do all you Congressional staffers realize you are mimicking the German bureaucrats who enabled the Nazi persecution of the Jews? Presume you flunkies mean to use the classic Nazi defense: I was only a cog in the machine and was only following orders. Like ICE.

The flood of reports of children being moved throughout the country in the dead of night, beyond the reach of any legal oversight, proves conclusively the United States Government is committing crimes against humanity. All those complicit will face a day of reckoning for their participation in acts that shock the conscience. I use those words in their literal meaning. I trust Republicans know the context.

Office of Senator David Perdue

Derrick Dickey, COS for Senator Perdue (R-GA): Republicans’ unvarnished racism shown in Trump lies about illegal immigrants’ crime and their numbers, calling Sen. Warren Pocahontas, using “infest,” M. Huckabee photo comparing Pelosi’s staff to MS-13 gang members. What’s your opinion?

Derrick Dickey, COS for Senator Perdue (R-GA): Do you truly have no shame about supporting the kidnapping of children and placing them in legal limbo with no plans for reuniting with their parents? Did you lose a moral conscience, or did you never have one? #GOPstaffers

The U. S. Government’s treatment of the kidnapped children plainly constitutes crimes against humanity. All Republican Congressional staffers should be linked by name to these acts that shock the conscience. I list Derrick Dickey, COS for Senator Perdue (R-GA). #GOPstaffers

Drew Robinson, Immigration aide for Sen. Perdue: Republicans’ unvarnished racism shown in Trump lies about illegal immigrants’ crime and their numbers, calling Sen. Warren Pocahontas, using “infest,” M. Huckabee photo comparing Pelosi’s staff to MS-13 gang members. What’s your opinion?

Drew Robinson, Immigration aide for Senator Perdue (R-GA): Do truly have no shame about supporting the kidnapping of children and placing them in legal limbo with no plans for reuniting with their parents? Did you lose a moral conscience, or did you never have one? #GOPstaffers

The U. S. Government’s treatment of the kidnapped children plainly constitutes crimes against humanity. All Republican Congressional staffers should be linked by name to these acts that shock the conscience. I list Drew Robinson, Immigration aide to Sen. Perdue (R-GA). #GOPstaffers

Dear Drew Robinson, Immigration aide to Sen. Perdue (R-GA): Governors refuse National Guard participation and airline CEOs refuse use of their planes in the GOP-sponsored child abuse of refugee children. Why do you and your boss remain complicit in keeping them kidnapped?

Office of Representative Barry Loudermilk

Note to Rep. Loudermilk’s (R-GA) COS Rob Adkerson and Homeland Security aide Susannah Johnston: your names bear the stain of being complicit in the inhumane kidnapping of innocent children. The stain will magnify if you fail to act to reunite those children with their parents.

Rob Adkerson, COS for GA Rep. Loudermilk: Republicans’ unvarnished racism shown in Trump lies about illegal immigrants’ crime and their numbers, calling Sen. Warren Pocahontas, using “infest,” M. Huckabee photo comparing Pelosi’s staff to MS-13 gang members. What’s your opinion?

The U. S. Government’s treatment of the kidnapped children plainly constitutes crimes against humanity. All Republican Congressional staffers should be linked by name to these acts that shock the conscience. I list Rob Adkerson, COS for Rep. Loudermilk. (R-GA). #GOPstaffers

Rob Adkerson, COS for Rep. Loudermilk (R-GA): Do you truly have no shame about supporting the kidnapping of children and placing them in legal limbo with no plans for reuniting with their parents? Did you lose a moral conscience, or did you never have one? #GOPstaffers

Susannah Johnston, staffer for GA Rep. Loudermilk: Republicans’ unvarnished racism shown in Trump lies about illegal immigrants’ crime and their numbers, calling Sen. Warren Pocahontas, using “infest,” M. Huckabee photo comparing Pelosi’s staff to MS-13 gang members. What’s your opinion?

Susannah Johnston, Immigration aide for Rep. Loudermilk (R-GA): Do you truly have no shame about supporting the kidnapping of children and placing them in legal limbo with no plans for reuniting with their parents? Did you lose a moral conscience, or did you never have one? #GOPstaffers

The U. S. Government’s treatment of the kidnapped children plainly constitutes crimes against humanity. All Republican Congressional staffers should be linked by name to these acts that shock the conscience. I list Susannah Johnston, Immigration aide for Rep. Loudermilk. (R-GA). #GOPstaffers

#GOPstaffers To Susannah Johnston, Immigration aide to GA Rep. Loudermilk: What messages did you send to DHS and HHS demanding to know: how many refugee children have been seized, their contact with their parents, how many reunified, what procedures are in place to reunite them all.

Dear Susannah Johnston, Immigration aide to Rep. Loudermilk (R-GA): Governors refuse National Guard participation and airline CEOs refuse use of their planes in the GOP-sponsored child abuse of refugee children. Why do you and your boss remain complicit in keeping them kidnapped?

Office of Senator Johnny Isakson

Note to Senator Isakson’s (R-GA) COS Joan Kirchner Karr and Homeland Security aide Michael Black: your names bear the stain of being complicit in the inhumane kidnapping of innocent children. The stain will magnify if you fail to act to reunite those children with their parents.

Joan Karr, COS to GA Sen. Isakson (R-Trump): On the same day, Mike  Huckabee tweets photo comparing Pelosi’s campaign staff to MS-13 gang members. Trump calls Sen. Warren “Pocahontas,” lies abut illegal immigrants’ crime and their numbers at the border. Any comment on this GOP racism?

Joan Kirchner Karr, COS for Senator Isakson (R-GA): Do you truly have no shame about supporting the kidnapping of children and placing them in legal limbo with no plans for reuniting with their parents? Did you lose a moral conscience, or did you never have one? #GOPstaffers

The U. S. Government’s treatment of the kidnapped children plainly constitutes crimes against humanity. All Republican Congressional staffers should be linked by name to these acts that shock the conscience. I add Joan Kirchner Karr, COS for Senator Isakson (R-GA). #GOPstaffers

The U. S. Government’s treatment of the kidnapped children plainly constitutes crimes against humanity. All Republican Congressional staffers should be linked by name to these acts that shock the conscience. I list Michael Black, Immigration aide for Senator Isakson (R-GA). #GOPstaffers

Michael Black, Immigration aide for Senator Isakson (R-GA): Do you truly have no shame about supporting the kidnapping of children and placing them in legal limbo with no plans for reuniting with their parents? Did you lose a moral conscience, or did you never have one? #GOPstaffers

Dear Michael Black, Immigration aide to Sen. Isakson (R-GA): Governors refuse National Guard participation and airline CEOs refuse use of their planes in the GOP-sponsored child abuse of refugee children. Why do you and your boss remain complicit in keeping them kidnapped?

A Message to the Senators and Representatives

The following tweets sent separately to Senators Isakson and Perdue and to Representatives Loudermilk and Handel:

“You know that Trump lies about the number of immigrants entering the U.S. and the extent of their crimes. What scum tells Big Lies to justify keeping innocent children in brutal detention? You have lost any claim to be a Christian.”

“Every headline and TV news report screams ‘chaos and confusion’ in reuniting refugee children with parents. You do nothing. When did you acquire this Nazi mentality toward brutality inflicted on children?

Trump and Republicans Cross Over into Outright Racism

Trump over the weekend removed any doubt that racism that is the true guiding force of the Republican anti-American and anti-Christian policies that imprisons thousands of refugee children in wire cages and leaves them there in legal limbo. He did so by telling whopping lies about immigrants’ crime, their numbers, the cost they impose on the United States, and again referred to Senator Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas.” He doubled down by employing flagrantly race-baiting language, saying that immigrants come to “infest” America and to “breed” while here.

Trump went even further and trampled the Constitution underfoot by declaring that illegal immigrants should immediately be deported without trial or an appearance before a judge. Lawyers quickly pointed out this would violate the explicit words of the Constitution.

The Reverend Michael Huckabee, prominent Republican and the father of press secretary Sarah Sanders, reinforced the Republican racist message by releasing a photo of MSD-13 gang members and labeling them Nancy Pelosi’s campaign staff.

Wow. That’s as funny as Sarah Huckabee Sanders looking the American people in the eye about five times a week and lying to them. I’ve said for some time, Sarah proves the apple does not fall far from the tree.

Read more from true conservatives:
Republicans have bought into Trump’s racist bilge
Trump sends us down a rabbit hole of white supremacy
Other Voices:
Loyalty to Trump demands a lack of character

Sarah Sanders Gets Booted Out of a Restaurant

Incredibly some commentators are depicting the denial of service to Sarah Huckabee Sanders as a partisan political act.

What a bunch of absolute bullcrud to depict Sanders’ booting as caused by partisan politics and ideological divisions. It is the act of normal, decent Americans fed up with the now proven fact that The Trump Administration is the most immoral, corrupt, and incompetent administration in the history of the Republic. Sanders, Trump and Republicans are waging a war on every basic moral and democratic value America stands for–and on common human decency.

I am one of those who despise the Trumpists with a passion. Not one single reason I have cited to justify my position has anything to do with partisan politics or ideological leanings. Not a single one.

Who is Sarah Huckabee Sanders? She is a person who looks the American people in the eye almost daily and lies to us. She tells lies of her own or she repeats Trump’s lies. The assembled newspeople point out her lies and she scoffs and keeps on lying. Sanders actually has fun lying. She has a sick grin on her face as she knowingly tells another lie. She knows as well as you and I do that Trump is a congenital liar. She does not care.


The restaurant owner explains her action: “And she knew — she believed — that Sarah Huckabee Sanders worked in the service of an “inhumane and unethical” administration. That she publicly defended the president’s cruelest policies, and that that could not stand.”


Sarah Sanders has remained a gushing supporter of an Administration that has exhibited utmost cruelty, depravity, and meaness in separating children from their parents and inflicting unspeakable trauma on them that will warp their lives forever–with no procedures in place to reunite them with their parents. Her support for this depraved madness, alone, fully justifies her being shunned by normal, decent Americans.

Trump in recent days has crossed over into outright racism by saying immigrants come to “infest” us, telling flagrant lies about immigrant crime and numbers, and once more calling Senator Warren “Pocahontas.” Sanders’ father just published a photo of MS-13 gang members and labeled them Nancy Pelosi’s staffers. Sanders remains an admirer of Trump and Dad.

Shunning these overt racist bigots is a noble act.

New Definition of Republican: Supporter of Mass Child Abuse

News reports: Polls consistently show at least 55 percent of Republican voters support the policy of President Donald Trump of prosecuting parents immediately even if it means separating them from their children and putting the children in detention.

News Reports, almost two months after Trump Administration announced its “no tolerance” policy that produced the child imprisonment:

Congresswoman tells of ‘heart-wrenching’ images of children crying alone in cells
June 25:Separated immigrant kids are scattered across the country
“The children taken from their parents now live and wait in unfamiliar places: big American suburban houses where no one speaks their language; a locked shelter on a dusty road; a converted Walmart where they must stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance in English daily.”
June 24: Sen. Warren visits detention center, says no children being returned to parents there
June 22:  Audio of sobbing children plays on House floor
June 10: Lawmaker blasts Trump policy after visiting detained immigrants

 

Letter to Rev. Bryant Wright, Chief Pastor, Johnson Ferry Baptist Church

June 20, 2018
IndieDems.com
Tom Barksdale, proprietor
1025 Rose Creek Dr. – Suite 620
Woodstock, GA 30189

Gut-wrenching’ recording captures sounds of crying children separated from parents at the border

 Senior Pastor Bryant Wright
Johnson Ferry Baptist Church
955 Johnson Ferry Rd.
Marietta, GA 30068 

Dear Chief Pastor Wright,

In December, I sent you and several other leading American religious leaders a letter pointing out 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. I highlighted the words of leading conservative spokesman David Brooks: “You can’t save Christianity by betraying its message.”

I asked for comments. Your only response was an email with a link to one of your sermons about how the second coming of Christ was the only solution to all our problems.

Since December, Trump’s words and deeds, and even those of some Christian leaders, have exponentially magnified the threat to American Christianity posed by “Christians” who either actively support Trump or remain silent in the face of his assault on the basic values of Jesus Christ, of democracy, and of common human decency.

An even more appalling and direct attack on Christian principles has emerged in recent days by the Trump Administration’s separation of children from parents accused of illegally crossing the U.S. border and the inhumane mass incarceration of the children in detention camps.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions compounded the anti-Christian inhumanity by citing the same Bible passages once used to defend slavery to defend separating immigrant families. As a native Southerner, his words were like a blow to my solar plexus. I have been saying for some time that the Trumpists’ racism, sexism, and xenophobia made it seem as if the last 60 years had disappeared and we were back to the time when you could lynch a black person on Saturday and attend church on Sunday and be reassured that your soul was guaranteed eternal salvation.

Or murder civil rights workers, spit in the face of black school children desegregating a school, bomb a black church, or beat senseless peaceful demonstrators on a bridge in Selma—and still be a good Christian, according to your Baptist pastor.

Sessions’ words sparked a revolting feeling of déjà vu all over again, of a return to the worst days of the Civil Rights struggle.

I have been heartened, therefore, by the actions and resolutions taken at the recent annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Dallas. In particular, I saw the resolution on immigration as denoting a decisive separation of the SBC from the policies of Trump and the Republicans. My positive view has been reinforced by the media’s conclusion that the SBC has taken a significantly new tack.

The most striking article appeared in The Atlantic: “Southern Baptists Call Off the Culture War: America’s largest Protestant group moves to cut ties with the Republican Party and re-engage with mainstream culture.”

Even more heartening, Rev. Wright, were your retweets of the positive coverage of the results of the SBC convention, and your tweet expressing thanks to Franklin Graham for criticizing the separation policy and urging people to “contact your members of Congress and call on them to stop this abuse against families.” I hope you continue to raise your voice against this despicable mistreatment and traumatizing of children.

One paragraph in the Atlantic article struck me in a very personal way: “(Southern Baptists) appear to recognize that tethering themselves to Donald Trump—a thrice-married man who has bragged about committing adultery, lies with impunity, allegedly paid hush money to a porn star with whom he had an affair, and says he has never asked God for forgiveness—places the moral credibility of the Southern Baptist Convention at risk.”  My goodness. Almost as if the author is plagiarizing words from my letter to you!

But there is no room for complacency. Many evangelicals—probably including some of your flock—are willing to continue to support a policy explicitly contrary to the teachings of Jesus. Read: Why many white evangelicals are not protesting family separations on the U.S. border. I hope you are dedicated to setting such people straight, with as much fervor as they display in opposing abortion.

The Growing anti-Trump Chorus

You should be encouraged that other Christians have begun speaking out against the mistreatment of innocent children.

  • On June 14, the Migrants and Refugees Section at the Vatican tweeted a verse of Deuteronomy: “The Bible teaches that God ‘loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt’ (Deuteronomy 10:18-19).” Pope Francis twitter.com/Yt8i7b39VN.
  • “At a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on June 13, the nation’s Catholic leaders strongly condemned the administration’s immigration policies as immoral, with one bishop going so far as to suggest that Catholics who help carry out the Justice Department’s policies are violating their faith and perhaps should be denied Communion.”
  • On June 20, Pope Francis announced his support for the Bishops’ statement, putting himself on the record as opposing the Trump administration’s policy.
  • On June 19, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and 12 other Republican Senators sent a letter to US Attorney General Jeff Sessions calling for a halt to the practice of separating families at the border.
  • Four-star general warns Trump’s family separation policy echoes Nazis
  • And now, former First Lady Laura Bush has taken the unusual step of writing an op-ed column for the Washington Post, adding her voice to those denouncing this cruel and inhumane policy: “I live in a border state. I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.”

Read More: Conservative Religious Leaders Are Denouncing Trump Immigration Policies

Trump’s Continuing Sins: His Contempt for the 10 Commandments

Trump continues to live in virtual daily defiance of God’s Commandment not to bear false witness. According to the Washington Post’s documented inventory, as of June 1 Trump made 3,251 false or misleading claims in 495 days. See also:

Trump’s lies about the Russia probe devolve into absurdityTrump keeps incriminating himself with nonstop lies

Trump, of course, has a history of not only engaging in adultery, but publicizing it and bragging about it.

The Stormy Daniels affair has highlighted Trump’s sins. He lied to the American people, claiming the affair never happened, and reversed himself only when the evidence became overwhelming. He also lied publicly about not knowing about his lawyer’s payoff to Daniels to keep her quiet, and then had his new spokesman announce the truth that he had recompensed his lawyer for making the payment.

What a mind-numbing display of hypocrisy so-called Christians display when they turn a blind eye to Trump’s ever-present contempt for God’s laws while waving in our faces those words in the Bible that supposedly ban abortion and gay rights.

The Mormon Church took Christian hypocrisy to new heights recently by severing its ties to the Boy Scouts in an apparent response to the Scouts’ decision to include openly gay troop leaders—while remaining mute on the gross immorality and God-defying antics of Donald Trump. See my blog Break with Boy Scouts Takes Mormons to New Heights of Hypocrisy

The criminality, corruption, and malfeasance of the Trump Administration has expanded since my December letter.

  • Former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was charged and pleaded guiltyin December 2017 to making false statements to the FBI.
  • Special Prosecutor Mueller has charged three other former Trump campaign officials with criminal conduct. This month, June 2018, additional charges were brought against one of them as well as one of his associates
  • An attorney associated with Trump pleaded guilty to lying to FBI investigators and was sentenced to 30 days in prison.
  • Environmental Protection Agency Chief Scott Pruitt has been revealed as a one-man band of pure, in-your-face corruption. See “A Running List of Scott Pruitt’s Corrupt Acts.” As of early June, there were at least a dozen ongoing investigations related to Pruitt by EPA’s Office of Inspector General, the Government Accountability Office, and congressional oversight committees. Read more.

Further reading:

The Known Facts about the Crime and Malfeasance in Trumpgate

The State of New York this week opened a new front in dealing with Trump’s corruption: N.Y. files suit against Trump, alleging his charity engaged in ‘illegal conduct’.

Trump’s Wanton Defiance of Jesus’ Golden Rule

You will recall, Pastor Wright, that these latest examples of moral decadence are a continuation of the acts Trump committed in the past, for which he has never apologized and for which you and other Christian leaders have never held him accountable. Trump’s more telling words and deeds are listed in the section of my original latter titled “The Republicans’ arrogant trashing of Jesus’ Golden Rule.”

________________________________________________________/
An American’s Opinion
From the Washington Post
Peter Daou‏Verified account @peterdaou 10h10 hours ago

TAKING INVENTORY OF “CHRISTIAN VALUES”: Back child molesters for the US Senate. Strip health coverage from sick children to enrich billionaires. Shrug at the slaughter of schoolchildren to appease the gun lobby. Steal immigrant babies and hold them hostage for political gain.
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Trump’s daily tweets continue to remind us that “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is a concept totally remote to Donald Trump.

Christian Leaders’ Feckless Tolerance of Trump Continues

The Southern Baptist Convention’s Crisis of Morality

Let’s hope the new leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention can overcome the considerable shortcomings of its own. The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary on May 30 fired its long-time President, Paige Patterson, for allegedly lying about and mishandling complaints of student rape. Here is my write-up: Leader’s Disgrace Deals Heavy Blow to Southern Baptists.

Three men have accused Paul Pressler, Patterson’s closest ally in bringing about the “conservative revolution” in the SBC, of years of sexual molestation.  Also, according to the Baptist Press, Frank S. Page, the former president and chief executive of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, resigned in March from the top role in the SBC because of a “morally inappropriate” relationship.

There’s more.

My Questions
  • How can anyone who calls themselves a Christian support a President who exhibits utter contempt for God’s Commandment and Jesus’ Golden Rule?
  • What Bible passages establish that the 10 Commandments can be abandoned in order to support a President who appoints Supreme Court justices who will rule against abortion?
  • What practical steps do you and other Baptist pastors intend to take to implement the spirit of the resolutions adopted at the SBC meeting? What will you ask your congregation to do?
  • Have you preached a sermon denouncing the horrendous Republican policy of separating immigrant children from their parents? If not, why not?
  • (Original version) Have you thought of asking your congregation to sign a petition demanding that President Trump abandon the family separation policy? Laura Bush’s op-ed in the Washington Post on June 17, it seems to me, would be an excellent reference to start a draft.
  • (Revised version) Have you thought of asking your congregation to sign a petition demanding that President Trump immediately mobilize the resources to return all the kidnapped children to their parents?
  • Why can’t America’s religious denominations denounce Trump’s lies and adultery as strongly as they denounce abortion and/or gay rights?
  • Why do so many Christians focus so relentlessly—in some cases, almost exclusively—on things Jesus Christ never said anything about—like abortion and gay rights—while virtually ignoring Jesus’ core message, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”?
  • Why do we almost never hear Christian clergy citing Jesus’ strong denunciation of the rich? Much less preaching a sermon based on those words?

I look forward to your answers.
Sincerely,
Tom Barksdale

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?

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.