Author Archives: William W. Starr

The Nashville Statement

Bigotry resides not merely in the hearts and minds of neo-Nazis and white supremacists and their endorsers but also apparently inside a large clump of evangelical so-called Christians.

Earlier in the week a group of some 150 white self-described conservative people signed an agreement known as the Nashville Statement which is nothing more than a blatant commitment to intolerance to lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people. The statement suggests that anyone who might be an L.B.G.T. person is immoral, that only heterosexuality is a permissible way of life and anyone else is “disordered.”

The signers include some well-known evangelicals, wackos, right-wing bigots, editors at conservative publications and a host of hangers-on. Many of them — all? — are supporters of Donald Trump, and therein lies the suspicion that this statement is not so much a statement of Christian principles but one with a political focus.

Consider: these signees condemn anyone not heterosexual as immoral. Yet they blindly ignore Donald Trump’s behavior. Cheating. (He committed adultery at least twice.) Lying. (Every time his mouth opens.) And what of his comments about grabbing women. Surely they are at least immoral and grossly sexist. And his demeaning of those of other races and nationalities? Where’s the Christian response to that? Where’s the outrage? Where’s the “Statement.”?

And where in the name of Christianity to we find that Christ rejects anyone because of sexuality? We are all sinners. Christ even accepts Donald Trump, though if would be nice if those alleged “Christian” signees noticed that Trump said a while back that he has never asked God for forgiveness. And what in Trump’s life bears the least witness to a moral, Christian sensibility in either his personal or professional life? Ever?

The Nashville Statement smells. It deserves the denunciation that most people are giving it. It is wrong, wrong-headed, hurtful and positively an anti-Christian document that should shame its signees. We are all better than that, or should be.

Courage-less

Another rat left the festering sewer that is Donald Trump’s White House today. This time is was Steve Bannon whose departure will not be bemoaned, mostly because it still leaves the chief architect of division and disgust in office.

And how long will Trump’s uncontrolled incompetence, stupidity, cowardice and mental impairment continue to roil America? The answer, sadly, seems to be until a few people in the Republican Party decide to put their country before their party. And that prospect seems dim indeed. Republicans are choosing to condemn Trump’s words and activities without naming him, but they clearly have no intention of taking the kinds of actions that are required to push Trump out of office.

In other words, there are no profiles in courage to be seen anywhere in today’s GOP. The Republicans will do anything to hang on to their offices, and they are frightened that acting on Trump will cost them political office. It might. Of course, it would be the right thing to do for America, but as we say, courage is in short supply these days, even as the White House becomes more and more mired in scandal and immorality.

Exposing Bigotry….

While political leaders on all sides strongly condemned the violence and racist thugs who promoted it in Charlottesville, VA., the President of the United States did not join in. Even 24 hours after the event, he could not; instead journalists got an email from an unnamed White House spokesman saying what Trump did not.

Is that because President Donald Trump is stupid, because he’s a racist himself, or perhaps just doesn’t want to offend his base voters: white racists? You can come up with your own answer of course, but there’s a long record of evidence that suggests our President is at heart a racist bigot.

Consider: He regularly condemns Hispanics and Muslims, whether terrorists or law-abiding citizens. He refuses to speak up against whites who commit racist crimes (including all of the police shootings of blacks you can recall). He denounces terrorists only when they are a minority and never when they are victims. There were displays of anti-Semitism at many of his political rallies in 2016. There are many, many more going back through his career including, when he was much younger, pleading no contest to an investigation into his refusal to rent apartments to African Americans.

Donald Trump may not be a racist bigot, but it can be argued quite clearly that his words and actions show that he is. That’s why the Nazis and bigots at the Charlottesville rally spoke so highly of Trump, finding it easy to adapt his political slogan with their vow to “take back America” for white people.

The people at that rally were thugs, among the lowest of our society. Why would anyone — why would President Trump — suggest in any way that the violence opposing their actions is some sort of moral equivalency? It most assuredly is not, and for President Trump to protest violence “on many sides” is crude, insensitive and false in very way.

Donald Trump remains a moral and ethical disgrace to the high office he holds.

Return of Judas

President Trump declared — in another of his addled tweets — that he no longer wants to allow transgenders to serve in the U.S. military. What a cruel, ugly, politically cynical act. And oh-so typical for this morally corrupt man.

The President said he reached this conclusion after conferring with generals and military experts, though he has provided the names of no one, including his own Secretary of Defense, who is said to have been blindsided by the tweets. No, this was Donald Trump’s decision, made with the sole intent of appeasing his radical conservative base.

That base, in this instance, includes a number of groups who call themselves Christian but who joyfully practice a nasty discrimination against people of other races and sexual identities. They are among those who voted for Trump in 2016 and who must now be coddled since the President has shown no interest in pushing for a health care bill to replace Obamacare that those same groups consider “must” legislation.

With health care failing, Trump went for the lowest he could aim: the few thousand transgenders men and women who have given their lives to military service for their cow try. By the ay, in case you’ve forgotten, Donald Trump never served in the armed forces. He claimed a fake injury to dodge the military. Of course, on the bright side, the United States was unquestionably safer with Donnie Trump not in the service.

And why exactly is this about-face so ugly? Back during his campaign, Trump vowed on more than one occasion to look after the rights of the LGBT community, calling for them to support his campaign because he had their back. And then came his tweet yesterday, his betrayal, his act of a pathetic Judas.

It Just Gets Worse

So now we know for sure: the Trump campaign eagerly pursued help from the Russians to defeat Hillary Clinton. We know this because of emails from Donald Trump’s dim bulb son (like father, like son) who rushed to accept an offer by a hostile foreign government to interfere in our election. That is stunning and disgraceful and may potentially — if we are fortunate — bring about the demise of this administration sooner rather than later.

Does it amount to criminal collusion, a conspiracy, or treason? We’ll have to await the judgment of the congressional and FBI investigations before final conclusions can be made. But the evidence so far tells us very clearly that the smoke from all the Trump-Russia issues has been traced back to a fire.

We know positively now that Donald Trump and his family and his aides have lied, repeatedly, about whether there have been connections between the campaign and the Russians. We know that there is a clear and established pattern of lies, and that the President of the United States and his family can no longer be trusted or believed. As if they ever could.

Read over that again. The President is a proven liar, now seemingly incapable of knowing much less relating the simplest of truths. He is a man of stunted intelligence, bereft of ethics and morality whose rank egotism and abysmal leadership skills are demeaning and imperiling the nation he misgoverns. And we are discovering that his family members and aides, with all their naivete, incompetence and foolishness, are scarcely better.

Contemptuous and Uncaring

What kind of America are we coming to when the large majority of members of one of our two major political parties is so contemptuous and uncaring about the health of millions of their fellow men and women? It staggers the mind and — regrettably — raises questions about the humanity of many of the Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate.

We know the House of Representatives last month approved a health care bill that was so terrible even President Trump recanted his original praise and decided to label it “mean.” Now we know the Senate has created its own version of that terrible bill which, in its way, is equally awful if not somehow even worse. This amounts to a national disgrace.

The Senate proposal would in a few years eliminate much of the money that funds the nation’s Medicaid program that serves tens of millions of Americans including people of modest means as well as our poorest and least healthy citizens. And to do this, it would take the money saved by this shameful action and use to to cut the taxes paid by America’s richest people. Yep, take from the poor and give to the rich. Robin Hood must be turning over.

More to the point: how can this possibly be justified by a tiny, privileged and financially secure group of Republicans (96% white and male, by the way) who hold sway over an entire nation’s health care? And if you have any questions about what’s the aim of this proposal, consider that the other big beneficiaries are health insurance companies, also overseen by a cadre of white males (numbering somewhere over 96%).

So, to sum up quickly: the least able men and women and children in our society will be stripped of their health care funding to provide tax breaks for rich people and insurance companies.

To repeat: how can this be justified by the Republican Party? It is inhumane, it is mean, it is appallingly inconsiderate, and it may well cause the deaths of millions of Americans prematurely.

Please write your congressmen and women very, very soon and tell them to oppose any such measure on the grounds that it is simply and terribly wrong. Tell your friends, speak up, make noise, and do it quickly before it is too late for America.

A Quick End to Unity?

Well, the admittedly far-fetched notion of political unity apparently didn’t last even 24 hours for President Trump. He had barely finished his decent call for national togetherness when he launched a series of twitter feeds in which he reminded us of what a small-minded man he is.

In his tweets — the basis of which was to proclaim his victimhood in the on-going and deepening Russian collusion investigation — the President once again called out “crooked Hillary,” a continuation of the baseless slur he directed at his Democratic opponent in the 2016 election campaign.

He did this in the quick wake of the Democrats Versus Republicans baseball game, which generated at least a few hours of relief from rank partisanship in the Congress. Of course, leadership usually falls from the top, but in this instance the basest lies at the top. We apparently can expect no “unifying” follow-ups from Mr. Trump.

Only yesterday I was expressing hope, hope that the shooting of Congressman Steve Sclalise would produce something — anything — that might temper the tone of our politics. But with the President showing so quickly his disdain for any kind of reconciliation, there is no reason to expect there will be any meaningful changes.

So, full steam ahead, sad to say; rancor, partisanship and all their nasty companions are on the way back. Thank you Mr. President.

Hope and Hope

Can adversity come from tragedy? Can peace follow violence? Can logic somehow flow from the most insane of behaviors? In the wake the shooting of a congressman and five others in the Virginia suburbs of D.C., perhaps we’ll have an opportunity to find out. Fingers are crossed.

The shooting has generated an uncommon expression of unity from a politically bitterly divided Congress. Democrats ands Republicans alike have offered statements proclaiming their desire to stand together for a change. Even President Trump, not a man who has emphasized much resembling unity in his public and private statements, has spoken quietly and with some feeling about the need to this nation to come together. That’s all good. But tomorrow, or next week, or next month, can there be any assurance the moment of good feelings can persist into the future?

I wish I knew. Perhaps the tone of some of the incendiary comments generated by our political divisions can lighten a bit. Maybe it will be possible for adversaries in Congress who have spoken harshly to lower the temperature? Can we really expect anything meaningful for our public discourse to come from these words of healing offered by representatives of both parties?

I would like to be more optimistic. I would truly want to believe that Democrats and Republicans might at least consider putting people ahead of their personal politics. That they might purposefully examine truths about government to determine the best paths for Americans of all cultures and beliefs. That they would reject the extremists — especially those who masquerade as fact-tellers — whose voices distort and pervert and who play to the basest of instincts.

I’m talking, of course, about not just the murderers like the gunman in Virginia but of those who take to social media to expound hatred and violence, and certainly those who use their links to some mainstream news-disseminating organizations to espouse untruths and to label political adversaries in the lowest of terms.

President Trump could lend a calming, sensible voice to this mission if he would. Instead of the fourth-grade brevity of tweets, he could actually speak out to support a continuing unity of purpose for all Americans, whether Democrat or Republican or in-between. He could even behave in ways that would promote a growing sense of togetherness for troubled nation he oversees.

I’m not optimistic. But I do have hope. Lots and lots of hope.

The Trump Tapes, Vol 1

Excerpts from The Trump Tapes, released here for the first time:

Undated, April 2017:
White House offices…..

President Trump: Director Comey, I want loyalty. I need loyalty. I need it like a dog needs fleas. Bigly. Can you do that for me?

Director Comey: Silence.

President Trump: Okay, then let’s stop that Russia investigation. We both know Mike Pence had nothing to do with it, don’t we?

Director Comey: Yes sir, we know Vice President Pence had nothing to do with it.

President Trump: Good. Good. Then there’s no reason to continue the investigation. Besides, Mike Flynn is a good guy and so is Jared. I’m not to sure about Eric. Sad. (Muffled words) Here, have a slice of pizza. I’ve got an extra fork.

Director Comey: Thank you, Mr. President, but I don’t care for anything to eat.

President Trump: That’s alright. How about some borscht? Er, uh, I mean, maybe a taco?

Director Comey: No sir.

President Trump: You’re doing a great job. Really really great. Better than ever. Would you like a baseball cap? (Turns to face a side door, which is open) Jared, shut that door. How many times do I have to tell you? And take Jeff with you. I’m having a private conversation about some important things.

Director Comey: Is there anything else sir?

President Trump: You’re a big guy, you know? A lot of people know I’m a big guy too, won the election. The fake news media said I could never win but I did. And I won the electoral college. Big, really big.

(Sound of door closing, then re-opening just a teeny bit)

So we’re agreed. the investigation is over and I am not part of it, right?

Director Comey: Mr. President, we do not have you as part of an open investigation.

President Trump: Well that’s great. Really great. I hope you’ll tell everyone that. Some people don’t believe that. So sad. Thanks for coming over. Let’s play some golf sometime. I’m free on weekends and most afternoons during the week.

Director Comey: Thank you sir. (Leaves)

President Trump (speaking to the side door): You hear that Jared and Jeff? No more investigation. The cloud is lifted. Let’s go play golf.

(End of Excerpt)

Poor Trumpie….

Poor Trumpie. He’s the victim of a “witch hunt” and has been treated more unfairly than any other po.itician. What a baby. Except that babies can grow up and learn; Trumpie’s growth has been stunted if not ossified as he quickly becomes the oldest 70-year-old man on the planet.

But about that witch hunt. This is merely another reflection of Trumpie’s ignorance of American history, which is huuuuuge. Remember how he thinks Frederick Douglass is still alive? How he wonders why no one knows what caused the Civil War?

Now he’s saying no politician has ever been treated more unfairly. “Really?” said Hillary Clinton.

Well, let’s start with Trumpie’s two favorite Presidents, Lincoln and Jackson, he is so totally wrong. Lincoln, you might recall (be sure to tell Trumpie) was assassinated. That’s pretty unfair, wouldn’t you say? But both he and Andrew Jackson were vilified in the press of the day to an extent unthinkable today. Jackson was flat-out called a whore. And those Presidents are hardly alone. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were victims of genuine calumny, and in fact, so has almost every President in our history. Can you recall Richard Nixon? Of course, Nixon earned much of that, just like Trumpie.

Trumpie’s alleged victimization is nothing more than an on-going part of his character. As a baby, he cries aloud whenever he doesn’t get his way. Of course there’s this, too: a baby wets himself regularly, and so does the incontinent President.

But let’s not stoop to his little level. Instead let us all focus on the truths: that this person is morally, temperamentally and intellectually unqualified for the position he holds. He is a disgrace, and the sooner he is gone the better for America.