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Principles to Fight Corruption

Why do we talk so much about principles and values? Because without them, our country is adrift, with no clear direction and no greater purpose. But also because principle is the natural enemy of the corrupt.

Just look at the reaction to Republican Congressman Justin Amash’s weekend statement that the President has committed impeachable offenses, and that our democracy demands we hold our leaders accountable to the law and Constitution.



It was a bold statement, one that party leadership decried as a betrayal, and which inspired a rage filled twitter tirade from the president. He even got a primary opponent because of it.

Principled stands always inspire anger, because they strike fear in the hearts of the corrupt and unprincipled. That’s why it’s our duty to stand up in defense of principles.

Congressman Amash is the first in his party to confront and acknowledge the truth about the president’s corrupt behavior both on the campaign and in the Oval Office. If we don’t keep up the pressure, he could be the last.

The President is fighting hard to keep Congress and the American people from learning the whole truth. And many of his enablers in Congress are too scared to speak up. They will only take a stand if we prove to them that principles mean more to the American people than parties.

That’s why I’m asking you to do three things today to demand Congress stand up for American values and the Constitution.

1: Send your representatives an email, telling them that you expect them to put their party aside to defend Congress’ independent powers.

2: If you use social media, help share Congressman Amash’s statement.

3. Help Stand Up Republic build a stronger, broader coalition of Americans who put principle over party.

Congress has been giving away its power and responsibilities for years, and we’re paying the price for it now. But in America, the people have the power to steer their government. So real change begins here, with us. Will you stand up with us?

The Honest Ads Act

Congress just introduced the Honest Ads Act, a bipartisan bill to prevent foreign election interference and bring more transparency to online political advertisements. This bill is a powerful preliminary move to protect our American democracy from foreign interference and money.   

Right now, the FCC regulations and guidelines that apply to political television and radio advertisements do not apply to ads on the internet. The Honest Ads Act calls for transparency for online and social media ads similar to those regulations already imposed by the FCC.

This is a crucial first step in addressing key problems with political advertisements online. As we saw in the 2016 elections, social media played a critical role in driving narratives and influencing public perception of the candidates. Had the Honest Ads Act already been enacted in 2016, the Kremlin wouldn’t have been able to disguise their targeted political ads as grassroots dissent.

This, by no means is an all-encompassing solution, it does not address the negative social media posts that were integral in the Kremlin’s disinformation campaign, but it is one way we can address the disinformation attacks that were carried out in 2016.

This much-needed reform addresses key online ad loopholes that have allowed bad actors to sow discord in our country through social media. The Honest Ads Act holds major platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Google accountable for collecting and publishing information about ad purchasers. It requires that anyone spending over $500 on ad space makes the ad public and discloses sponsors. Unlike most new regulation efforts, many technology companies have expressed their support for reforms like the Honest Ads Act.

115 current and former public officials signed a bipartisan letter encouraging Congress to pass the Honest Ads Act for the sake of free and fair elections.

As the Honest Ads Act is debated in Congress and the 2020 election rapidly approaches, we must keep pushing our representatives to protect our democratic institutions and secure our elections.

The Honest Ads Acts was introduced in the Senate (S.1356) by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Mark Warner (D-VA) and in the House (H.R. 2592) by Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA-06) with 13 original Republican cosponsors.

This is an essential issue that already has widespread bipartisan support. Let’s keep that momentum going by:

1. Calling your representative. Urge them to support the Honest Ads Act and protect our elections from foreign interference.

2. Reading the Honest Ads Act.  The better you know what the bill actually says, the better you can defend it. Read the House and Senate bills for yourself.

3. Joining your local SUR chapter. Our state chapters regularly schedule visits with representatives at their state offices. Join the team to fight for the Honest Ads Act face-to-face.

America is Up to the Task

Americans are tired. Tired of the tweets, tired of the scandals, tired of watching our Constitution be ignored and the rule of law dragged through the mud. Most of all, they are tired of talking about any of it.

It seems, especially in a never-ending, 24-hour news cycle that America is spiraling downward, digging a hole out of which it would be seemingly impossible to ever climb. There is no denying that we face serious challenges, but through adversity comes strength; no one knows that better than those who came before us.

Throughout our history America has confronted challenges to our liberty and democracy: slavery, disenfranchisement, wars against murderous tyrants…the list goes on. Every time we have faced these challenges head-on, we have emerged stronger for the fight.

We can do so again now, if we recommit ourselves to the American cause. We cannot become complacent, we cannot become fatigued. There are still those who want to divide and weaken us, both here at home and in hostile foreign governments. We are stronger than those forces, so long as we do not allow them to divide us, but rather, confront them together, more unified than ever before.

The United States of America has always faced the longest odds and we have always been up to the task. It’s time for us to stand up again, putting partisan differences aside in order to leave our democracy stronger than we found it.

We will only succeed if we stand up together.

Welcome our Latest Intern, Elizabeth Broderick

As someone who has followed Stand Up Republic’s work since its founding, I’m honored by the opportunity to be a small part of this team for the summer.I hail from Fullerton, California, about twenty minutes north of Disneyland and forty-five minutes (read: five hours with traffic) southeast of Los Angeles. I currently study American Studies at Brigham Young University with an emphasis on constitutional history and systems, particularly the First Amendment. I also enjoy studying worldwide religions and correlating religious freedoms. I plan to pursue a career in constitutional analysis and political writing, most likely working through issue-based nonprofits.   When I’m not geeking out over all things political or historical, I love to tour DC art museums and hit up musical theater or classical music events. The arts have enveloped and defined so much of my non-academic life. If you happen to visit DC this summer and see someone gaping at the gorgeous marble architecture while rattling off a bunch of random facts, that’s probably me. I also get daily updates on my mini Australian Shepherd, Sunny. That’s how much I want to be here, y’all—I left that fluffy dog at home with my family in South Jordan, Utah!   I wanted to work at Stand Up Republic because I appreciate its moral clarity in a time of never-ending chaotic national news cycles. I believe in American exceptionalism, conditional upon our integrity to the founding principles and freedoms that make it exceptional in the first place. Stand Up Republic champions these constitutional principles across partisan divides, which, while always needed, is especially needed now. Watching corruption go unchecked at the highest levels of government and simultaneously having a President casually dismiss the importance of constitutional norms such as free press, freedom of religion or expression, or the role of checks and balances in a free democratic system, among others, is heartbreaking to watch from the sidelines.   In spite of it all, I firmly believe that there is always hope, no matter how bad things get. In this country, we are not victims of irreversible fortunes. We can unite, we can act, and through persistence we can overcome our national challenges. I’m excited for this unique opportunity to not just react to news cycles, but rather take tangible, organized action. One of my favorite quotes of all time is from Edmund Burke, “All that is required for the triumph of evil is that good [wo]men do nothing.” I hope that I can make a difference by ‘doing something’ this summer as Stand Up Republic continues to publish information and organize events that encourage America’s elected officials and citizenry to stand up for liberty, equality, and truth.

Jerid Miller: Trump’s lack of Hoosier Values

As Hoosiers, we pride ourselves on having a deep-rooted set of values: honesty, integrity, respect and humility are integral to our worldview.  

When we are at our best all of those values and virtues are put into practice in service of our families, our communities and our institutions and provide the kind of moral leadership and structure that a just society requires.  Which is why it is so stunning, as a Hoosier, to watch as our values are assaulted, undermined and eroded by the Trump administration on a daily basis.

 

What is even more stunning is the near complete silence from Indiana’s congressional delegation in light of the Mueller report’s revelations. Our elected officials are supposed to represent and advocate for the values of Hoosiers and yet in the face of unprecedented mockery of midwestern values we hear little to nothing from our delegation.

 

With the release of the Mueller report we received confirmation of ethical rot plaguing the Trump campaign and ensuing administration. In its pages, which all should read, you will find little in the way of Hoosier values. You won’t read about courageous and patriotic choices in the face of intrusion and meddling by a foreign adversary. You won’t find a president who respects the rule of law, nor any evidence of integrity or honesty in the face of lawful investigations. Neither will you find examples of his depth of honor, humility, or fortitude.

 

Rather, page after page, you will find emails, testimony, and proof of the exact opposite. But judging by the silence of our congressional delegation none of that seems to matter. The sole standard for maintaining fitness to serve in the office of the presidency seems to be reduced to mere criminality. If you haven’t been indicted, you are apparently fit to continue as president.

 

The problem with that, and this should go without saying, is that there is a universe of depravity in the space between what is legal and what is criminal. One can avoid committing crimes while still engaging in morally criminal conduct. What about the crimes the president has committed against human decency, our democratic ideals and our American values?

 

Our congressional leaders seem to have lost their ability to separate policy from principle. You can support policies and goals put forth by the administration and at the same time oppose the president when he and his administration attack the rule of law and make a mockery of the system of government and Constitution we hold so dear.

 

The president and his enablers have created a false choice. They push a false narrative that says, only this president, with his anti-democratic impulses and anti-American values, can deliver the policies and goals of his party. This has created the illusion for many people that only Trump can accomplish their goals, even as he openly mocks and degrades our democratic values.

 

Our congressional representatives are patriots who have dedicated themselves to serving our state and our country. But somehow many of them have been convinced that there is too steep a cost to be paid for standing up against the current administration’s depravity.  But the cost to Indiana families, our communities and our country will be far greater and long lasting than any political price they will pay for demonstrating the moral leadership that is required.

 

What the Mueller report and a host of other episodes have revealed is that our laws are not adequate enough to contain a president with no moral fiber and no regard for the rule of law.  The antidote to this poison is moral leadership, and we need to call on the Indiana Congressional delegation to display that, now more than ever.

  Jerid Miller is the State Leader for Stand Up Republic-Indiana. To volunteer in your state click here

Pierre says goodbye to SUR

Farewell Stand Up Republic.

In my time at Stand Up Republic, I have had the honor of working with a group of compassionate, moral people, centered in their belief in the United States of America.

In our era, we face many struggles. From the rising tide of extremism to the endless current of the international drug trade, from the epidemics that threaten lives across America and the globe to the leaders who sow chaos to reap their political harvest, from the encroaching seas to the ever-growing wrath of nature, from the rise of automation to the monopolization of data, we have no deficit of crises to face.

I have been reassured every day since I came to SUR, as I walk in, and I see good people trying to solve a crisis facing the world. If people like these exist, I have unending hope in the ability of our nation to not only survive the crucible of the coming years, but to emerge stronger, wiser, and better for it.

In 2017, I graduated from high school, entering the world right as we turned the page. I have confidence that the next era of America will not be one of darkness. I have confidence because we will have the chance to see that it isn’t. You will be able to act and make a change to see America unvanquished by the storms of time.

Remember this, and remember, we all have a part to play. I will always remember my time with Stand Up Republic.

Signing off, Pierre Saint-Perez

Trump’s Culture of Lies

A lie, it is said, can travel half-way around the world before the truth can get its boots on. That theory seems to be a central tenet of the Trump administration’s strategy for covering up it’s corrupt actions.

For a president who has now told more than 10,000 lies to the American people, this disdain for honesty and integrity is sadly to be expected. But the fish rots from the head, and Trump’s leadership has infected his entire administration with dishonesty.

Look no further than Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s recently released letter telling Attorney General Barr that he had fundamentally misrepresented his findings to Congress and the American people.

In an administration that’s default position is to deceive, deny and distract, the truth can only be extracted at a heavy price. We saw this again during Barr’s testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Special Counsel Mueller’s report. During the 5 hour hearing today, Barr deflected Senators’ questions about obstruction of justice, using legalese to flip questions around or avoid them altogether.

We can’t stand by and watch as the presidency sinks lower and lower into the depths of depraved, self-absorbed dishonesty. We have to hold this administration to the highest standards, not allow them to drag our government down to their level.

These are extraordinary times, where honesty and integrity are under attack by foreign adversaries and our own president. We’re worn out by the constant litany of misrepresentations, distractions, and flagrant falsehoods. We’ve heard so many lies we can’t keep track. But we have to fight on, we have to dig, we have to demand better. The truth, it’s said, will set you free. American liberty has always been predicated on it, and preserving one means protecting the other.