Category: Trump

Kavanaugh Mess Makes Clear: GOP a Bastion of Sexism & Misogyny

The fallout from the Kavanaugh nomination has starkly confirmed what we already knew to be the truth: the Republican Party has become the last bastion of sexism and misogyny in the United States. No executive in a Fortune 500 company—and certainly, not a Hollywood studio—would dare display the brazen sexist mentality we see daily among Republican leaders.

The arrogant, sneering, and insulting treatment of Dr. Ford by Republican Senators on the Judiciary Committee displays a culture that exists in some time-warp vacuum, as if the #MeToo movement, and the reasons for its creation, have never existed. Read more.

But not a surprise. These are the same Republicans who proudly elected and slavishly worship a President who bragged about sexually assaulting women, calls women bimbos and dogs, endorsed—along with his Party—a child molester to be a United States Senator, uses prostitutes, commits adultery with abandon, faces multiple charges of sexual harassment, and lies his head off. Plus, locks up thousands of children to make a political point.

We are reminded every day that the Republican Party is a morally and intellectually corrupt burnt-out case, long overdue to be placed on the ash heap of history. Oops. The dung hill of history.

Today’s Republicans & 1960s Segregationists: Peas in a Pod

As a native Southerner, I’m sensitive to signs that current politics is mimicking the period of segregation and Jim Crow laws. I started noting three years ago that the rise of Donald Trump and his Republicans seem to have taken us back 60 years in time, to the days before the Civil Rights victories of the 1960s.

What has really riveted me is the similarity between so many of Trump’s followers and the supposedly “moderate” white Southerners back then. Most white Southerners who preached the gospel of “segregation today, segregation, tomorrow, segregation forever” would have recoiled at being labeled racists. Segregation, they would say, was a perfectly legitimate institution, one that served the interests of both blacks and white.

And those white Southerners declared they were appalled at the violence being wrought in the name of segregation. “Why,” they would say, “I have nothing to do with the killings, the lynchings, the bombings, the beatings. I condemn those acts being committed by extremists like the Ku Klux Klan, the White Citizens Councils, the crazies. I’m just for segregation. I don’t condone violence.”

This mentality lives again in the hearts and souls of Trumpist Republicans. I call them the tut-tut Trumpists. Trump says or does some despicable thing—like bragging about sexually assaulting women, using racist slurs, kidnapping thousands of children, calling foreign countries shitholes and a female a dog, praising neo-fascist marchers in Charlottesville—and Republicans, say, tut-tut, he shouldn’t have said or done that—and go right on supporting him.

Paul Ryan is the champion practitioner of this hypocrisy. Accompanied by Georgia Republicans and, apparently, a goodly proportion of the pastors of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Thanks to the Southern Poverty Law Citizen, I have been reminded of a voice that expressed these thought with much more insight and eloquence than I can muster, during the height of the Civil Rights struggle. His name was Eugene Patterson, then the Executive Editor of the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, where he wrote a signed newspaper editorial every day for eight years. He and the AJC editor and publisher, Ralph McGill, were two of the loudest denouncers of segregation and Jim Crow at a time such views could get you killed. (See “The South and the Southerner,” by Ralph McGill, foreword by Eugene Patterson; and “Ralph McGill, Reporter,” by Harold H. Martin.)

In 1963, a bomb went off in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, a hub of civil rights activism, killing three 14 year-old black female children and one 11 year-old. Patterson wrote a classic commentary exposing without mercy the complicity of all pro-segregation white Southerners in this horrific crime.  On the anniversary of the bombing, the SPLC re-issued Patterson’s words, noting “they could almost apply to the circumstances we find ourselves in today.” My only footnote: strike the word “almost.”

–Tom Barksdale 9/17/18

‘A Flower for the Graves’

By Eugene Patterson – September 16, 1963

A Negro mother wept in the street Sunday morning in front of a Baptist Church in Birmingham. In her hand she held a shoe, one shoe, from the foot of her dead child. We hold that shoe with her.

Every one of us in the white South holds that small shoe in his hand.

It is too late to blame the sick criminals who handled the dynamite. The FBI and the police can deal with that kind. The charge against them is simple. They killed four children.

Only we can trace the truth, Southerner – you and I. We broke those children’s bodies.

We watched the stage set without staying it. We listened to the prologue unbestirred. We saw the curtain opening with disinterest. We have heard the play.

We – who go on electing politicians who heat the kettles of hate.

We – who raise no hand to silence the mean and little men who have their nigger jokes.

We – who stand aside in imagined rectitude and let the mad dogs that run in every society slide their leashes from our hand, and spring.

We – the heirs of a proud South, who protest its worth and demand it recognition – we are the ones who have ducked the difficult, skirted the uncomfortable, caviled at the challenge, resented the necessary, rationalized the unacceptable, and created the day surely when these children would die.

This is no time to load our anguish onto the murderous scapegoat who set the cap in dynamite of our own manufacture.

He didn’t know any better.

Somewhere in the dim and fevered recess of an evil mind he feels right now that he has been a hero. He is only guilty of murder. He thinks he has pleased us.

We of the white South who know better are the ones who must take a harsher judgment.

We, who know better, created a climate for child-killing by those who don’t.

We hold that shoe in our hand, Southerner. Let us see it straight, and look at the blood on it. Let us compare it with the unworthy speeches of Southern public men who have traduced the Negro; match it with the spectacle of shrilling children whose parents and teachers turned them free to spit epithets at small huddles of Negro school children for a week before this Sunday in Birmingham; hold up the shoe and look beyond it to the state house in Montgomery where the official attitudes of Alabama have been spoken in heat and anger.

Let us not lay the blame on some brutal fool who didn’t know any better.

We know better. We created the day. We bear the judgment. May God have mercy on the poor South that has so been led. May what has happened hasten the day when the good South, which does live and has great being, will rise to this challenge of racial understanding and common humanity, and in the full power of its unasserted courage, assert itself.

The Sunday school play at Birmingham is ended. With a weeping Negro mother, we stand in the bitter smoke and hold a shoe. If our South is ever to be what we wish it to be, we will plant a flower of nobler resolve for the South now upon these four small graves that we dug.

Trump Trying to Destroy Government Experts on Russian Organized Crime

The Urgent Question of Trump and Money Laundering

  • By David Leonhardt- New York Times, September 9th, 2018

(Excerpt) The latest reason to be suspicious is Trump’s attacks on a formerly obscure Justice Department official named Bruce Ohr. Trump has repeatedly criticized Ohr and called for him to be fired. Ohr’s sin is that he appears to have been marginally involved in inquiries into Trump’s Russian links. But Ohr fits a larger pattern. In his highly respected three-decade career in law enforcement, he has specialized in going after Russian organized crime.

IndieDems Comment:
  • The article presents the evidence that Putin’s leverage over Trump could be “the scandal that’s been staring us in the face all along: Illicit financial dealings — money laundering — between Trump’s business and Russia.” Trump seems to be trying to rid the government of experts in Russian organized crime.
  • An earlier analysis by Natasha Bertrand in The Atlantic  expanded on the same theme.

Trump’s attack on Ohr takes his lying demagoguery into a whole new dimension of using the power of the presidency to destroy an innocent person’s life. Trump lumped Ohr along with senior intelligence officials as someone whose security clearances might be withdrawn. The withdrawal of clearances from former officials like CIA Director John Brennan will have little direct impact on their lives.

The withdrawal of clearances from a serving federal employee like Ohr would destroy his career.

This is the level of depravity inflicted on America by the likes of Republicans like Senators Johnny Isakson and David Perdue and Representatives like Karen Handel and Barry Loudermilk.

And their staffs.

New “Deep Throat” Deserves Praise, Not Condemnation

On September 5, The New York Times took the unprecedented step of publishing an anonymous op-ed,  “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration,” with this explanation:

The Times is taking the rare step of publishing an anonymous Op-Ed essay. We have done so at the request of the author, a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose job would be jeopardized by its disclosure. We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers. We invite you to submit a question about the essay or our vetting process here.

The op-ed delivers a scathing report on the dysfunction and incompetence of the Administration and the malignant character of Donald Trump.  Incredibly, many commentators have condemned the senior official’s act. Their main line of attack is to declare the writer should go public and take on Trump head-on.

What self-righteous hypocrisy the critics of the op-ed writer are displaying. How noble to sit somewhere gainfully employed and urge someone else to be willing to lose his job and incur mountains of legal fees and months or year of being caught up in lawsuits, so they can gain meet the critics’ definition of nobility.

What would happen if all the dissenters inside the Trump Administration staged an open rebellion and resigned? The critics ignore the near certainty that the spineless GOP Congress would do nothing about it. The Congressional Republicans would rally behind Trump, and he would still be President—but utter chaos would then engulf the highest levels of our government.

Cable news would be swamped with coverage of every detail. The government’s ability to do business would be paralyzed. And the international reputation of the United States would be destroyed for generations.

I hope none are so naive to believe the 25th Amendment, right now, is a solution. Neither Mike Pence nor the Cabinet have the will or the guts to try to oust Trump, no matter what the revelations of a rebellious senior staff. And a “yea” vote by both houses of Congress? Pigs will fly first.

The op-ed writer and his allies have looked brutal reality in the face—and made the only rational choice.

Resisting inside the WH is the only option.

Here is IndieDems suggestion that might cause the leaker’s critics to come down from their self-righteous ivory tower: “pray, sir or madam, what proportion of your salary are you willing to pledge to donate to the legal defense fund of a Trump senior adviser who resigns—or is fired—and tells all?”

Kavanaugh Sinks Deeper into Trumpists’ Swamp

News item:
Hours before Kavanaugh nomination hearings, Bush lawyer releases 42,000 pages of documents to Judiciary Committee

IndieDems Comment

The Republicans’ sudden release on Labor Day of 42,000 pages of Kavanaugh-related documents has shown in bold relief the inherent fatal flaw in Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh is part and parcel of the corrupt, malignant culture that Trump and the Trumpists have inflicted on America. He will join just about every Republican United States Senator and United Sates Representative and become just one more Trump lackey and mouthpiece.

The Republicans who brought us Trump—and Flynn, Manafort, Gates, Papadopoulos, Cohen, Patten, etc., etc.—are the same people who have brought us Brett Kavanaugh. They loudly proclaim they selected him because he thinks like they do. Judge Kavanaugh proclaims that, in fact, he thinks like the Trumpists. Those facts, alone, should disqualify him from being a Supreme Court justice.

Does that go too far? Now, we have the flagrant political grandstanding of the release of the documents on a holiday, the day before Kavanaugh’s hearings begin in the Senate. If Judge Kavanaugh is not a cog in the Trumpists’ corrupt machine; if he is really a man of honor and integrity; he has a clear course of action: he should call for a postponement of his hearing until Senators and the public have a chance to read the documents and reach a conclusion of what they show about Brett Kavanaugh.

If Kavanaugh plays innocent and goes along with this violation of proper procedures, he will show he is, in fact, a Trump puppet.

What was already mind-blowing about the devastation Trump and his Republicans have brought us is this: even as juries find one after another Republican guilty of criminal offenses, or Republicans confess to criminal wrongdoing, or a Republican is fired or forced to resign because of corruption, or the headlines report more corruption by Republicans still in office; even as all this takes place right in front of our eyes—a brand new Trump appointee to office, Brett Kavanaugh, is about to go sailing through to confirmation as a Supreme Court Justice, and we will be stuck with him for 30-40 years. The people who accept lying and racism as a way of life will put one of their own on the Supreme Court.

Imagine. A Trump disciple and mouthpiece shaping our laws for decades to come. Joseph McCarthy, Richard Nixon, and Spiro Agnew will get their ultimate revenge.

Trump reinforced the lawlessness of his administration and the need to examine carefully Kavanaugh’s nomination with a tweet published the day before the hearings were to begin:

“Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department,” he said on Twitter. “Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff……”

A President of the United States has delivered an unambiguous call for politics to trump the law.  This is the mentality of the President who nominated Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, because Kavanaugh represents the Trumpist viewpoint.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh needs to speak to this matter when he first open his mouth before the United States Senate. If he doesn’t, the first Senatorial question should.

McCain Affair Sends GA Republicans Beyond the Pale with Trump

Donald Trump’s despicable actions regarding John McCain following his death, and the acquiescence of Georgia Republican Congressional delegations in Trump’s actions–Senator Isakson excepted–leaves them nakedly exposed as utterly lacking any integrity, honor, or moral conscience. They crossed a Rubicon that strips the rest of us of any requirement to show them one iota of respect.

Since Donald Trump became President, IndieDems has chronicled the willingness of Georgia’s Republican officeholders to act as his most slavish lapdog lackeys. Our United States Senators and Representatives, and their staffs, are proud members of a Republican Congress dominated by political hacks, moral cretins, and spineless cowards eager to act as Trump’s enablers and legitimizers at all costs.

So what’s new after the McCain affair?  Before we go there, let’s specify whom we are talking about:

  • Senator Johnny Isakson and his Chief of Staff Joan Karr and Immigration Legislative Assistant Michael Black.
  • Senator David Perdue and his COS Derrick Dickey and Immigration LA Drew Robinson
  • Rep. Karen Handel and her COS Muffy Day and Immigration LA Elisabeth Conklin
  • Rep. Barry Loudermilk and his COS Rob Adkerson and Homeland Security LA Susannah Johnston

Trump has given these subalterns some semblance of credibility by saying all his woes are due to fake news, witch hunts, and a conspiracy against him by respected institutions, like the FBI and Justice Department. The transparent nonsense of all this, of course, is evident to anyone with an IQ above 70. Nonetheless, it gave people like those Georgia Republicans straws to grasp.

The McCain imbroglio did away even with the straws. No witch hunt caused Trump to refuse to issue an official statement noting McCain’s death and praising him for his services to America. Fake news did not force Trump to lower the White House flag for only a brief time before returning it to full staff. Conspirators did not make him three times in one day ignore reporters’ questions about McCain shouted to him as they attended official White House ceremonies.

And it took a strong protest by the American Legion and a rising chorus of complaints from the public, his own staff, and elected officials, including some Republicans, to get Trump to finally grudgingly issue some tepid words of praise for McCain.

Of the Republicans named above, only Senator Isakson rose publicly to praise McCain and rebuke those who were degrading him. But Isakson’s distaste over the treatment of a revered American hero only served to highlight his moral turpitude in remaining unwavering in his overall support for Trump.

Can Georgia Republicans truly be so self-deluded that they can witness Trump and his sorry band of anti-McCain Republicans stand alone in showing disrespect for McCain–while prominent voices and ordinary people around the world rise to sing his praise–and still not see Trump for the corrupt, moral cretin that he is?

The McCain episode laid bare the mean, vindictive, petty, narcissistic, immoral character that defines Trump’s innate soul. And it proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that those words also describe the hearts and souls of the Georgia Republicans named above. They have abandoned any claim to respect.


McCain Imbroglio Reveals Extremism, Isolation of Trump & Republicans

McCain Imbroglio Reveals Extremism, Isolation of Trump & Republicans

Nothing has more graphically revealed the startling separation of the Republican Party from mainstream America than the Trump-created imbroglio over honoring John McCain. McCain’s death unleashed a universal chorus of praise and more praise for McCain’s life, his principles, his courage, his status as just about the best role model for a politician we have seen in the current era.

What was Donald Trump’s reaction? He refused to release an official White House statement drafted by his own staff praising McCain’s service to his country. Instead, he issues a tweet expressing condolences to McCain’s family—a petty but in-your-face insult by any standard. He then proceeded to double-down on his campaign of petty vindictiveness by:

  • Raising the flag over the White House back to full staff while the rest of the country continued to observe the mourning period
  • Ignoring for three times on Monday shouted questions to him about McCain from reporters, invited into the WH for official events

This pettiness by a President of the United States continued throughout the day—even as Americans’ TV screens were filled with near non-stop coverage of McCain, the public accolades continued, and even some Republicans rose in the United States Congress to praise McCain.

A turning point apparently came when the American Legion issued a sternly worded statement calling on Trump to treat McCain with more reverence. According to media reports, Trump’s closest advisers’ also urged him to be more praiseworthy of McCain.

Late in the afternoon, Trump grudgingly relented enough to state at a dinner for visiting evangelicals: “Despite our differences on policy and politics, I respect Senator John McCain’s service to our country and, in his honor, have signed a proclamation to fly the flag of the United States at half-staff until the day of his interment.”

This anodyne utterance, of course, does not erase the fact that it took a firestorm of public opinion, including a strong rebuke from one of America’s premier veterans’ groups, to get the President of the United States to surrender his petty vendetta and issue some version of what should have been a standard statement on the death of a revered public figure.

Trump’s late and grudging act only served to reinforce what a debased moral character Trump possesses and the extent to which he has besmirched and degraded the Office of President. The Washington Post sums it up well:

“Shunned at two funerals (McCain and Barbara Bush) and one (royal) wedding so far, President Trump may be well on his way to becoming president non grata…Less than two years into first term, Trump has often come to occupy the role of pariah — both unwelcome and unwilling to perform the basic rituals and ceremonies of the presidency, from public displays of mourning to cultural ceremonies.”

The McClain imbroglio also highlights how the Republican Party, like Trump, is becoming increasingly isolated from mainstream America. The few Republicans who rose to praise McCain only highlight the fact that the overwhelming number remained mute or critical.  We ordinary Americans can only marvel (and recoil) at a political party whose members despise a man whom the rest of the country admires as one of the finest Americans ever. Republicans, like Trump, are blind to the gap.

In a few days, the McCain incident will die down, and Trump’s disgraceful and despicable actions regarding the Senator will not amount to a pitcher of warm spit in shaping Republican opinion of Trump.

About 90 percent of Republicans will continue to support this immoral, lying, adulterous, narcissistic, sexist, racist, slanderous, xenophobic, bullying thug as President of the United States.  (See “The Full-spectrum Corruption of Donald Trump” )

The rest of us can only look to the November elections and do our best to oust the corrupt and incompetent Trumpists.

Trump’s Craven Character Shown in His Pettiness Toward McCain

News story:

“Trump rejected plans for a White House statement praising McCain”

(Excerpt) “President Trump nixed issuing a statement that praised the heroism and life of Sen. John McCain, telling senior aides he preferred to issue a tweet before posting one Saturday night that did not include any kind words for the late Arizona Republican.”

IndieDems comment: We realize Republicans have abandoned any semblance of morality, decency, intelligence, or common sense in asserting their support for Trump. From the beginning, Republicans tossed Christianity itself aside and turned their backs on God’s 10 Commandments and Jesus’ Golden Rule in order to worship Trump.

Republicans today are to Trump what Germans were to Adolph Hitler. They state explicitly that they know all about Trump’s lying, adultery, and contempt for our basic democratic and moral values and common human decency. The Republicans tell us: they just do not care.

We now have had several weeks of sworn testimony in open court, guilty pleas, recordings, and revelations in books by his former associates that reinforce conclusions about Trump’s debased moral character. Some of Trump’s closest confidants and business associates have deserted him and are cooperating with law enforcement officials.

Trump’s poll numbers in his Republican base remain unchanged. We know that there is no act that Trump could commit or words he could speak that will provoke serious Republican criticism, much less cause them to abandon him.

BUT–the rest of us must continue to record his depredations,   not in any hope of changing Republicans’ closed minds, but to remind ourselves of the necessity of driving these people from power.

We must speak out very loudly when Trump’s words or deeds take us to a new low in debased human behavior. And for certain, Trump’s refusal to have any words of praise for John McCain after his death, while voices from across the civilized word sing his praise,  is an act that shocks the conscience of any ordinary human being. Which obviously does not include Republicans.

No other act of Trump so decisively defines the difference between ordinary Americans and the Republican Party. No Republican can defend this act of crass, personal pettiness on the basis that it is a defense against a “witch hunt” or “fake news.” Trump’s refusal to say good words about McCain lays bear his debased moral character–and the extent to which Republicans share and revel in  that debasement.

Many months ago, this would have been the point at which to ask the famous question Joseph Welch posed to Joseph McCarthy, “at long last, Senator, do you have no sense of decency?” Except, the question has been asked hundreds of time over as Trump’s perfidy has unfolded–like, when he bragged about sexually assaulting women or mocked a handicapped person, or told another of his over 4,000 lies, etc., etc., etc.

We now have conclusive proof that Trump and the Republicans have no sense of decency and never will.

The voters of the United States must now say to them what Oliver Cromwell said to the Rump Parliament in 1653: “Ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government. . . . Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation. You were deputed here by the people to get grievances redressed, are yourselves become the greatest grievance. . . . Go, get you out! Make haste! . . . In the name of God, go!”

“The Full-spectrum Corruption of Donald Trump”

A life-long Republican writes the (for now) ultimate word on the depths of Donald Trump’s moral turpitude–and of his supporters.

“The Full-spectrum Corruption of Donald Trump”
 – by Peter Wehner. (@Peter_Wehner), a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, served in the previous three Republican administrations
  • For Republicans (and many “Christians“), honor and integrity are now passé. We saw it again last week when the president’s longtime lawyer Michael Cohen — standing in court before a judge, under oath — implicated Mr. Trump in criminal activity, while his former campaign chairman was convicted in another courtroom on financial fraud charges. Most Republicans in Congress were either silent or came to Mr. Trump’s defense, which is how this tiresome drama now plays itself out.
  • For many Republicans, this reality still hasn’t broken through…the moral indictment against Mr. Trump is obvious and overwhelming. Corruption has been evident in Mr. Trump’s private and public life, in how he has treated his wives, in his business dealings and scams, in his pathological lying and cruelty, in his bullying and shamelessness, in his conspiracy-mongering and appeals to the darkest impulses of Americans…Trump’s corruptions are ingrained.
  • The Republican Party’s as-yet unbreakable attachment to Mr. Trump is coming at quite a cost…the damage to the white Evangelical movement, which has for the most part enthusiastically rallied to Mr. Trump and as a result has been largely discredited.

Sen. Perdue Clinches Title of Dumbest Senator

Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) has called Donald Trump “America’s Winston Churchill.” On August 20 he tweeted @sendavidperdue a fawning accolade of Trump that clinches his position as our dumbest Senator.

“In my business career, I learned the tone at the top matters. @POTUS has demonstrated that he takes seriously his job to uphold & defend the Constitution of the United States. He’s fighting for all Americans.”

This, mind you, one day before Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to violating laws at Trump’s direction, and his former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was found guilty on eight counts of felony law violations.

I’m pleased to report that Perdue’s total flight from reality produced, by my count, over one hundred comments—only two of which expressed approval.

The frightening aspect of Perdue’s words, of course, is their demonstration of the almost total separation from reality—the Alternate Universe—in which Trump’s supporters exist. We can only hope that the Republicans’ growing success in slitting their own throats will help defeat them in the November elections.