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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.

Standing loudly for Equality, Liberty, and Unity

This past weekend we witnessed yet another horrific and cowardly attack on a house of worship, this time at the Chabad of Poway Synagogue. It comes painfully on the heels of mass bombings in Sri Lankan churches, an attack on a mosque in New Zealand, and a series of arson attacks on African American churches in Louisiana. The Poway shooting is another tragic addition to a growing list of violence targeting people in their places of worship across America and the world.

 

These aren’t just acts of violence; they are attacks on one of the most fundamental liberties for humankind, one that our Founders codified in the Constitution: the right to believe and worship freely. But that inalienable right – one that deserves our persistent defense – is too often attacked by those filled with hate.

 

Theirs is an ideology of division, anger and fear. Ours must be one of unity, love, and mutual respect.

 

But when Americans look for leadership, comfort and reassurance in the face of senseless violence targeting houses of worship, they don’t find an appeal to unity. It’s not that the president doesn’t offer condolences or loose condemnations. But what little consolation he offers is usually rote and contradicted in principle within days. Even as he denounces violence from one side of his mouth, from the other he excuses the voices of hate and division and sometimes even amplifies them directly.

 

The ultimate result is a feeling of empowerment amongst those who believe that they are fighting a war for their hateful ideology, and a belief that their violence will be welcomed. That is the power and danger of complacency in the face of terror.

 

That’s why we must not be complacent. We, as a nation and as a people, must stand openly and loudly for equality, liberty, and unity. We must prove that America will never accept bigotry and religious intolerance, and that we will confront it with a united front. Together, our voice is even stronger than any president’s. We must use it to redouble our commitment to the liberty of all people, and the acceptance of all faiths.

He’s running…from accountability

Only hours into his first term, Donald Trump filed for reelection. Only a year in, he started holding rallies. You’d be excused for thinking that the president likes running for office a whole lot more than he likes working for us.

 

Even though we’ve known his intentions for a long time, this week has proven something we’ve long said: he’s running. No, we don’t mean for office. He’s running away.

 

Away from the scandals swarming his administration…away from Congressional oversight and investigations…away from accountability.

 

It’s up to us to make sure the president is held accountable to the law and to the American people. Will you help us make sure he can’t run away from responsibility?

 

Just this week, as Americans paid their taxes, the president took extraordinary measures to avoid showing his own taxes. His Treasury Secretary flagrantly violated the law by refusing to give tax documents to Congress. His press secretary insulted Congress’ intelligence to argue they shouldn’t see the documents. And the president threatened to sue his own accountants if they complied with Congress’ lawful request.

 

On Thursday, the American people will finally get to read for themselves some of Special Counsel Mueller’s findings. But rather than welcome the transparency of a document which Trump insists “totally exonerates” him, he’s calling career law enforcement officers treasonous and demanding his own investigations.

 

Lies, slander, and fear. That’s how Trump hopes to run away from accountability, and towards another 4 years in power. We can’t let that happen.

 

His campaign has already announced that they raised $30 million this year. While they’ve spent only a fraction of it so far, they’ve made sure that $168,000 of it has gone to his own businesses, supplementing the hundreds of thousands that have been funneled through ‘consultants’ to line his own pockets. The grift will continue unless we demand better.

 

There will be more money, more lies, and more running in the year and a half to come. So, we have to be ready to hold fast and stand up for accountability.

Fear 2020

Kirstjen Nielsen is out.

 

Nielsen, Trump’s second choice to lead the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), was reportedly not harsh enough on immigrants in the President’s eyes.

 

While she went along with and covered for policies that caged toddlers, separating them from their parents sometimes indefinitely to deter border crossings, she stopped short of outright law-breaking… and for that, she faced Trump’s wrath and the end of her tenure.

 

Last week, the President also withdrew his nominee for ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) director. In both cases, the president wants to “upgrade” to people who take a harsher approach to immigrants and asylum seekers – who he again referred to as ‘animals’ – even if it means breaking the law for him.

 

Events this week forewarn an increasingly anti-immigrant, fear-driven campaign by President Trump as he runs for reelection in 2020. More “national emergencies” and manufactured crises.

 

While we certainly need to secure our borders and improve our immigration system, that’s not what the president is doing. Instead it’s all theater, pretending to solve problems by playing not to American values, but instead to fear and resentment.

 

Fear-mongering will continue until we all stand up and reject such divisive, hateful political tactics. That’s why Stand Up Republic is committed to fighting back, and we call on you to join us as we defend and promote the value of a diverse American culture and society.

 

This fight is not going away. In the coming election, the voices of hate and anger will only get louder. So we must work every day in pursuit of that more perfect union, where one’s value is not determined by their background or skin color.

 

E Pluribus Unum. 

We need to fight for the truth

After nearly two years, the special counsel has completed its investigation, leaving behind a trail of criminal convictions, related investigations, and one as-yet unpublished report. Attorney General Barr has also provided his interpretation of the findings to Congress, most notably declaring that Mueller’s work did not prove any crime by the president. What else Mueller may have discovered, however, remains a mystery to everyone but DoJ officials hand picked by the president.

 

We the people need to hear the full truth, in Mr. Mueller’s own words. Will you add your name to the list of those demanding a public release of the Mueller report?

 

Already we know that agents from Moscow approached several different members of the Trump campaign. Rather than report their efforts to undermine our democracy, Trump campaign officials, including his own son and son in law, took their meetings and hid their efforts. Trump’s campaign chairman even shared sensitive campaign polling data with a Kremlin agent.

 

Maybe that doesn’t violate the law. But it’s certainly unacceptable behavior from anyone who wants to lead our nation. What other details have we not been allowed to see? Did Trump himself know we were under attack and do nothing to stop it? Or was he a hapless enabler, clueless to obvious and overt efforts by foreign agents to subvert our elections?

 

We can’t know, and we can’t hold our leaders accountable, until we see Mueller’s findings for ourselves.

 

Most likely Trump was fully aware of the Kremlin’s attacks, but too interested in reaping the financial and electoral benefits to stand up in defense of our country. We cannot hold the president accountable – for better or for worse – without the facts.

 

AG Barr must provide the details of Mueller’s findings to the American people, and Congress must do its duty to ensure that a full and faithful accounting of the investigation is available for everyone to read for themselves.

SUR’s statement on the end of the Mueller investigation

After nearly two years of investigations, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report has been submitted to Attorney General William Barr, who has provided his summary of the principal findings. We are thankful that this important investigation was able to proceed to completion, that it was led by a man of integrity and independence such as Mr. Mueller, and faithfully executed by a team of respected professional investigators. America owes the special counsel team our sincere thanks.

 

We are also relieved that after numerous indictments, plea deals and interviews, the available evidence does not prove that the president was involved in a criminal conspiracy to help Russia attack our 2016 elections. That is a low bar for a president, but one that is nevertheless reassuring to have met.

 

But while these findings do not prove a crime, the publicly known results of the Mueller investigation prove a dangerous pattern of ethical, financial and political malfeasance by the president, his business associates, and his campaign. Mueller’s findings, as proven through indictments of Trump associates and Russian agents, paint a disturbing picture of a large-scale attack on our democracy, and a host of bad actors who, at best, stayed silent as those efforts progressed.

 

We already know, for example, that George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort, Don Jr., Jared Kushner, Michael Flynn, and others all sought out and took meetings with Russian agents. In the case of Don Jr and the Trump Tower meeting, that meeting was an explicit effort to receive foreign intelligence on a political opponent.

 

At every step of the way, Trump and his campaign played fast and loose with campaign laws, hiding the multiple attempts by Kremlin agents to illegally assist from federal authorities and then lying to hide those efforts from the American people. That pattern of behavior is precisely what spurred Stand Up Republic to first call for an independent investigation.

 

Now that the criminal question has been investigated and – absent further revelations – resolved, it is time for America to consider the political questions which have been raised since Trump first implored Russia to hack his opponent. Namely, what personal responsibility does the president have for his campaign’s efforts to conceal ongoing attempts by the Kremlin to intervene in American politics. Even if that behavior is not criminal, it certainly fails to meet the standards we should hold for any elected leader.

 

To ensure the American people can reach a fully informed conclusion on Trump’s behavior and his refusal to act in the best interest of our democracy, we must be able to read Mueller’s full report, excepting any information not permitted to be released under the law. That transparency is essential in empowering the American people to hold our president accountable politically, and to ensure that we are free to promote leaders who serve the public will and national interest.

 

Without a full, public accounting, we won’t be equipped civically to secure our country from any such attack in the future. Whether that means tightening campaign laws which Trump associates skirted, or simply holding bad actors to account, we cannot begin to tackle these risks to democracy without first knowing the whole truth behind the attacks on our elections.

The Florida Legislature should listen to voters, not undermine their electoral reforms

Last year, Floridians overwhelmingly voted to restore voting rights for many ex-felons (except for the most violent offenders) after they had served their time, including probation. Amendment 4 passed with 65 percent of the vote but now Florida’s Republican-controlled legislature is trying to prevent the measure from going into effect as intended.  

 

NBC News reported this week that, Florida’s House Criminal Justice Subcommittee, “passed a measure that would require felons to pay back all court fees and fines — even if they are slowly paying those costs back in a court-approved payment plan, for instance — before they can register to vote.” The proposal would directly undermine the will of Floridian voters and create, in essence, a modern-day reimagined poll tax to disenfranchise the very people that were supposed to get their vote back. That’s wrong.

 

The people have spoken and Florida’s legislature should abide by the wishes of the electorate, rather than seeking underhanded means to ignore their will.

 

Electoral reform has been a priority issue for Stand Up Republic since our founding. We believe strongly in making it easier for Americans to register and exercise their right to vote. –Read more about our Electoral Reform Agenda here.— There are many reforms that need to be made at the state and national level to make our democracy healthier and stronger. If Florida’s voters want to restore voting rights to former felons who have paid their debt to society, the legislature shouldn’t stand in the way of that.

The president’s words have power, so we must lift our voices even higher

We expect our president to be hard at work, even on weekends. So when Trump spends his weekend tweeting support for islamophobic TV hosts, hate for an American hero, and insane conspiracy theories, we can only assume that he thinks that’s the most important work of the nation.

 

It’s easy to crack jokes when you see such unhinged rants unfolding in real time. But this isn’t some 2-bit reality TV host anymore, this is the President of the most powerful nation on Earth. When he spreads hate and conspiracy, the world listens. Worse yet, potentially violent people who share that hateful or conspiratorial vision, feel comfort and community from his words.

 

And he isn’t alone. Sadly, there’s an entire ecosystem built around amplifying, and even influencing, Trump’s dangerous rhetoric. Trump shares messages from the man who invented the pizzagate conspiracy which ended with one devotee shooting up a restaurant. He calls the media enemies of the people, even as several journalists in the US and across the globe are murdered for searching for the truth.

 

And just days after a murderous, bigoted, white nationalist murdered more than 50 Muslims as they prayed in New Zealand, he demanded the return of a Fox News personality who equated hijabs – a constitutionally protected act of faith – with hatred of America and the constitution.

 

Trump isn’t responsible for bigotry, hatred, or even heinous acts of violence like that in Christchurch. But his words – both those said and unsaid – give succor to those who wish violence upon those who look, talk, act, or worship differently from them. He makes room for white nationalism and xenophobia by defending their defenders and performing only the minimum, unenthusiastic condemnation.

 

He sends his spokespeople out to tell the world he condemns violence and hate, while he himself issues public defenses of those who stoke – and in the case of Charlottesville – perpetrate such heinous acts. It is the definition of speaking out of both sides of his mouth, and it gives hope not to victims of such violence, but to those who cheer it on, and who may one day commit it themselves.

 

But there is some good news. If the careless, hateful, and deceitful rhetoric so regularly spouted by the president, the far right, and his enablers on TV has this kind of power, our words have the power to fight back. The president has a platform we can’t match – the bully pulpit spreads his every word far and wide. But the strength of our words springs from two sources he could never hope to match: our honesty and our numbers.

 

We don’t have to shout, so long as we all speak together, calmly, clearly and passionately, to declare that America is a nation who embraces all people, and that hate has no home between our shores.

 

It’s remarkable to think that we are in a place where we the people must speak over our president, making sure that ours are the words people hear, rather than the steady stream of vitriol and lies emanating from the president’s twitter feed and TV surrogates. But if we want to stand up for the principles which ought to define our nation, that’s precisely what we must do.

 

As a supporter of Stand Up Republic, your voice is already part of that countermessage. We’re working daily to reinforce America’s commitment to liberty, equality, and truth, and to make sure the world knows that we are a nation that respects all life and denounces hate in its many forms.

 

The president has long been seen as a symbol of America. But in this case, he does not define us. We must define ourselves for all to see. We can only do that by standing up for the principles which we hold dear.