By Wayne Besen
In the African nation of Zambia, a gay couple was sentenced to 15 years in prison for consensual sex. The U.S. Ambassador, Daniel Foote, condemned the barbaric sentence as “horrifying”.
Unfortunately, American Christian extremists infiltrated Zambia many years ago peddling a hateful version of Pat Robertson so-called Christianity. Like the paternalistic, bigoted Christian colonialists they truly are, these malicious missionary thugs imported their homophobic hang-ups, which demonized and continue to terrorize the local LGBT population, and no doubt other groups who don’t share their backward beliefs.
Thankfully Ambassador Foote stood up to these zealots and spoke out against the abuse of this gay couple. What he represents is the best of American foreign policy and why, at our finest, we are lighthouse for liberty the world over.
It seems, however, that there was more to the story. Not only is Zambia morally bankrupt and run by fake Christians, it also may be financially corrupt. This is a country that sucks up $500 million annually in American aid. Ambassador Foote essentially accused the government of misappropriating millions in funds saying, Zambia “wants foreign diplomats to be compliant, with open pocketbooks and closed mouths.”
According to The New York Times, the ambassador wrote, he had found it very difficult to get an audience with the president and said, “Both the American taxpayers, and Zambian citizens, deserve a privileged, two-way partnership, not a one-way donation that works out to $200 million per meeting with the head of state.”
Zambia’s president, Edgar Lungu, was predictably apoplectic saying, We want Ambassador Foote, “gone.” Lungu told Sky News: “If that is how you are going to bring your aid, then I’m afraid the West can leave us alone in our poverty. And we’ll continue scrounging and struggling.”
Hmm, sounds good to me. I’m sure they could use some of that money for education and job training in Detroit or Baltimore. Or, to combat crystal meth addiction in West Virginia or Ohio.
By the way, President Trump appointed Foote ambassador to Zambia in November 2017. So, you think that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would have his back, both protecting American values and taxpayer money. But instead, Pompeo pulled out the rug and stabbed Foote in the back.
In a statement, the Department of State said that it was dismayed the ambassador was “no longer tenable.” The department said that President Lungu’s remarks were “the equivalent of a declaration that the ambassador is persona non grata.”
If this sounds familiar, it is reminiscent of the dismissal of Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, who tried to stop corruption in Ukraine, before she was stymied by Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump’s so-called drug deal to extort dirt on Joe Biden.
Republicans defend Trump by laughably saying he illegally withheld aid to Ukraine only because he was obsessed with stopping corruption. If that’s the case, then why is the Trump Administration dismissing Foote from his post for his role in fighting corruption in Zambia?
The New York Times writes, a recent report by the Environmental Investigation Agency, an international organization that investigates environmental crime and abuse, described the Zambian president, his daughter and two ministers as central figures in a “cartel” that traffics mukula rosewood trees. It said that the trees were on the verge of commercial extinction.
Notice the similarities? An Ambassador in Ukraine fired for trying to stop a drug deal. An Ambassador in Zambia fired for taking on a cartel. But Trump tells us he is concerned about stopping corruption.
The Times reports Ambassador Foote had spoken out about the sleaze in Zambia before. The popular musician Fumba Chama, who repeatedly criticized government corruption in songs said, “Foote’s voice is powerful. He had exposed their hypocrisy and corruption.”
The episode in Zambia once again shows that the Mike Pompeo has no loyalty and undercuts the best diplomats at State. It highlights the administration’s ongoing love affair with shifty tyrants, political pirates, as well as hostility to human rights.
Ambassador Foote represents the best of America. Unfortunately, he was working for the worst president and Secretary of State in American history. They are a disgrace to our flag and a stain on our country’s international reputation. Trump has essentially put out a giant, neon flashing sign to corrupt dictators across that globe that reads: America is open for shady business.
I’d like to see the Democratic presidential hopefuls declare that if they are elected, Ambassador Foote will have his position immediately restored and if Zambia has a problem with it, we can find better use for $500 million of taxpayer’s money than allegedly lines the pockets of the fake Christian President Lungu and his crooked associates.
Finally, we need to finally stop American right wing Christians from poisoning minds across the globe with Bible-based bigotry. Th ey aren’t pushing spirituality, but instead are inciting people to hate and violence. The toxic presence of organizations like The Family, which runs the National Prayer Breakfast, as well as the World Congress of Families, has even created a shadow foreign policy that puts us all in danger.
The sketchy and self-serving agenda of these insurgent Christian groups is often at odds with official American interests and values. They are incompatible with our creed and credibility. Moving forward, these moral perverts and purveyors of hate ought to be denied visas when their rhetoric endangers the liberty or lives of local populations, including LGBT people, like the ones targeted and terrorized in Zambia.Read More »
By Wayne Besen
Hallelujah and praise the Lord. An evangelical publication finally found its moral compass and stopped bowing down to the golden calf with the golden toilet seat. Christianity Today, the magazine founded by the late Billy Graham, wrote a scathing editorial titled “Trump should be removed from office.”
The editorial was devastating. It said that Trump’s actions in Ukraine were “profoundly immoral” and that he is “a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused.”
It deftly brushed off evangelical Trump supporters by saying, “none of the president’s positives can balance the moral and political danger we face under a leader of such grossly immoral character.”
The magazine’s editorial staff wrote, “to use an old cliché, it’s time to call a spade a spade, to say that no matter how many hands we win in this political poker game, we are playing with a stacked deck of gross immorality and ethical incompetence.”
I’m just scratching the surface. You’ll have to read the entire editorial for yourself to capture how unforgiving and brutal it was. It’s clear that this moment represents the opening of a potential seismic fault in the Cult of Trump. Christianity Today was the first to put down the Kool Aid to tell the truth. Will others follow?
This does not bode well for Trump. Fifty-one years ago, Lyndon Johnson knew his position on the Vietnam War was toast after CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite delivered a scathing on-air editorial. When the broadcast ended, LBJ famously said, “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America.” A few weeks after Cronkite’s remarks, Johnson announced that he would not seek re-election.
We might one day look back and say, when Trump lost Christianity Today, he lost middle-of-the-road evangelicals, his Teflon wore off and the dude he shot at on Fifth Avenue, pulled out a gun and shot back.
I can understand your skepticism. More than eighty-percent of white evangelical Christians voted for Donald Trump and remain his fervent base. And, it’s true that most people in this demographic are so in the tank that they would vote for Trump over Jesus Christ. This was evident during the impeachment hearings when Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) actually compared Trump’s alleged persecution and fate to that of Jesus Christ.
But you have to remember how vulnerable Trump actually is. He overwhelmingly lost the popular vote by three million. Of the more than 120 million votes cast in the 2016 election, 107,000 votes in three states decided the outcome. Even if a mere five or ten percent of evangelicals find the strength to choose their morality over this monster, it could be enough to destroy Trump’s chances at reelection.
You have to assume that many evangelicals quietly share the concerns so eloquently expressed by Christianity Today. They were too scared, however, to voice their opinions. It’s difficult to oppose this vicious and vindictive president who attacks his foes. It’s not easy to disagree with the tribe and face losing friends or even banishment from your social circle. But, the courage displayed by this magazine offers fresh cover and may embolden others to speak out and vote against the moral heathen and ethical harlot that stains the Oval Office.
Most importantly, Christianity today makes a compelling case. The magazine powerfully and persuasively writes, “to the many evangelicals who continue to support Mr. Trump in spite of his blackened moral record, we might say this: Remember who you are and whom you serve. Consider how your justification of Mr. Trump influences your witness to your Lord and Savior.” The editors go onto write, “Consider what an unbelieving world will say if you continue to brush off Mr. Trump’s immoral words and behavior in the cause of political expediency. If we don’t reverse course now, will anyone take anything we say about justice and righteousness with any seriousness for decades to come?”
This is true. I’m an LGBT activist. My response to evangelicals when they condemn gay marriage is, “ha, ha ha.” You pathetic phonies and hypocrites support a president who is on his third wife, pays off porn stars, has lied more than 15,000 times, brags about sexually assaulting women and tried to strip millions of Americans of their healthcare. Even worse, you got behind Judge Roy Moore for U.S. Senate in Alabama, who allegedly cruised a local mall looking for teenage girls to date. Yet, you frauds have the nerve to comment on our marriages? I would say, “go to Hell,” but it looks like you won’t need my help to get there.
Consider this: Trump has the most right wing religious administration in history. Trump has elevated Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo, Rick Perry, Ben Carson, Betsy DeVos and many others, to what ends? The great paradox is that these religious zealots have produced the most dishonest, craven, mean-spirited, corrupt and least respected administration in our nation’s history. They are a joke and an affront to real Christians like Jimmy Carter, Bishop Gene Robinson or Rev. William Barber. They think they won, but ironically they’ve lost, because they have become the epitome of the world they supposedly disdain.
Donald Trump responded to the editorial with a tantrum and Tweeted, “I won’t be reading ET again!” Dude, it’s, CT, not ET, that’s the Stephen Spielberg alien. And I guess that gives the President more time to read Two Corinthians.
Don’t dismiss the importance of this editorial by Christianity Today. If even a few white evangelicals start remembering that they are actually Christians, Trump will get crucified in the 2020 election.Read More »
America will not be great as long as Donald Trump is President. The country is certainly greater, however, now that Donald Trump has been impeached. The Democrats upheld the dignity of the House of Representatives and protected the United States by stamping the “Scarlet I” on a profoundly corrupt and corrosive president. By extension, it soiled his party of lemmings and quislings that have brought American democracy to the brink of collapse.
This was the third impeachment of a president in 231 years and a win for the rule of law. But the victory came at a steep, depressing price. We had to witness the lawlessness and lunacy of the modern Republican Party on full display. The GOP poses an existential threat to our nation and promises to destabilize the entire world if it continues on its current trajectory.
It didn’t have to be this way.
After Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s crushing defeat to Barak Obama in 2012, the GOP performed an exhaustive “autopsy” to figure out the next steps for the party. The recommendations included passing immigration reform, making the GOP more inclusive for minorities, become LGBT friendly, no longer pandering to billionaires and a plea to leave the stifling conservative media echo chamber.
Instead of heeding this call, before changing demographics made the Republican Party obsolete, the GOP instead opted to declare war on democracy. In lieu of updating their retrograde platform, they decided to destabilize America and delegitimize institutions. They would act belligerent and in bad faith, while abandoning the bedrock idea of free and fair elections.
The GOP represents a shrinking slice of America and can only win by scaring their base into maximum turnout and illegitimately suppressing the votes of minorities. This began with extreme gerrymandering and outright voter suppression, including the purging of voter rolls and closing election sites in minority neighborhoods. It escalated into GOP legislatures in North Carolina and Wisconsin stripping newly elected Democratic governors of some of their power. And now, the mask is off, with the party not even pretending to care about democracy and bowing down at the altar of King Donald I. A deranged and damaged authoritarian they have deemed above the law.
Having thrown the 2012 autopsy in the trash, the GOP doubled down on angry evangelical voters from rural America and turned one of our two parties into a pathological white identity movement, fueled by grievances and conspiracy theories. These voters are kept in a constant state of fear and agitation through party media, such as FOX News, Rush Limbaugh and Breitbart. Sadly, the effect of this unAmerican strategy on America’s future was never considered.
The Republican Party’s toxic impact on American politics was evident in yesterday’s hearings. Trump was impeached because he demanded that Ukraine publicly announce an investigation of his political rival Joe Biden, to taint him prior to the upcoming presidential election. No normal political party would accept this attack on our country’s democracy.
Yet, the Republican Party not only tolerated it, they defended Trump’s behavior with glee, while bashing those who tried to hold him accountable. They cynically portrayed the Democrats attempt at checks and balances as a “coup” by those who hate Trump and the 63 million Americans that he represents. The use of dangerous and demagogic rhetoric was disgraceful and all but inviting a deranged gunman or militia to commit future acts of terrorism. But at least we will get their thoughts and prayers if such a nightmare scenario occurs.
The facts in the impeachment case were clear and unforgiving. So, GOP fabulists created an illogical fictional narrative to forgive the president’s unethical and illegal behavior. In doing so, they aided and abetted Russia, a geopolitical foe, undermined the fledgling democracy of Ukraine, sabotaged fair and free elections and disgraced the reputation of the U.S. in the eyes of the world. It was a shameless display of partisanship above patriotism in the service of power over principle.
We need two functioning political parties in this country. Historically, dangerous behavior isn’t limited to the right or left. So, you need the competing parties to serve as checks and balances. Unfortunately, the Republicans have checked out of the democratic experiment and often seem mentally unbalanced. If you disagree, please read Trump’s bizarre six-page screed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the eve of impeachment.
Modern Republicans peddle wacky conspiracy theories, parrot Russian propaganda and have replaced serious arguments with sarcasm and screaming. They have devolved into delusional and demagogic tribalism, where the team trumps the truth. Speaking of Trump and truth, as of Dec. 10, Trump had made 15,413 false or misleading claims, according to the Fact Checker’s database.
Ironically, the GOP is branded as the party of “family values” and the guardian of religion. Yet, they have thrown our nation into a dystopian partisan meat grinder in the service of defending the biggest liar in the history of the presidency. For a party that pretends to defend the family, what message does supporting Trump teach their children?
The disgraceful dishonesty during last night’s impeachment hearing hit a new low when Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) claimed that the Democrats were playing the race card by “screaming ‘kids in cages.’” In fact, kids were separated from their parents at the border and put in cages like wild animals. But, once again, Republicans expect their obsequious Ditto Heads to not trust their own eyes and ears, and instead take the fake words of false prophets like Rep. Chip Roy as the gospel.
For all their machismo, screaming and swagger, Republicans cower like sheep when Dear Leader Donald threatens them with a nasty Tweet. They act more like submissive members of the Politburo, than people of conscience who are members of a free Congress.
History will show that the Democrats upheld the rule of law, while the Republicans were lawless and don’t play by the rules. The current situation where one party has abandoned democracy is unsustainable. Republicans must be thoroughly defeated or the America that we know and love will cease to exist. Donald Trump is simply the tip of this ugly iceberg.Read More »
There is no such thing as a white nationalist. The media should stop repeating this fiction. There are only white supremacists. The term white nationalist is a slick public relations ploy invented to soften the image of Klansmen and neo-Nazis. The strategy is to grow their base of support by appealing to disaffected and angry white Americans, while disguising their true, nefarious intent by posing as patriots.
Many of the folks are scared and alienated and susceptible to seditious serpents that offer convenient scapegoats to explain away their personal failings. Why would any Democrat, liberal or member of the media aid and abet this effort by calling these fascists by their cynically crafted PR label? It’s utter madness to do their bidding in the false name of fairness.
Furthermore, the term white nationalist is inaccurate. It falsely asserts that this nation belongs exclusively to white people and everyone else is just visiting. The label also implies that this group loves this country and operates in the national interest. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Their behavior is not patriotic, it’s parasitic. They falsely wave our flag, while standing against everything it stands for. Real patriots believe in freedom, while this crowd supports fascism. We revere liberty, while they revel in lies. America is clearly a nation of diversity, while they peddle division. And America is about hope, while these subversive elements traffic in hate.
People of this ilk are always a threat. But they are especially dangerous and toxic when they infiltrate the Armed Services and don a military uniform. In a profoundly disturbing event, an Army unit, the 13th Airborne Corps glorified the Nazi commander and war criminal Joachim Peiper, on the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge.
According to The Washington Post, the Army unit posted a glamorous, colorized photo of Peiper alongside an intimate narrative depicting the Nazi writing in his diary. The image was allegedly created by an artist who celebrates Nazi propaganda online. The photo was also shared on the Facebook pages for the Defense Department and the Army’s 10th Mountain Division.
This was one of the biggest battles of World War II. It was Hitler’s last desperate attempt to stave off imminent defeat, brought on by D-Day. Had America lost the Battle of the Bulge, it could have turned the tide of the war. And if that occurred, those of us not slaughtered in a global holocaust would be speaking German today. But, maybe that’s the outcome these particular service members preferred.
Perhaps, most disturbing, Peiper ordered the massacre of 84 U.S. prisoners of war during the Battle of the Bulge. Think about that for a moment: We have people wearing the United States uniform, being trained to kill with the lethal weapons of war, who are celebrating the Nazi slaughter of American service members.
So, mainstream media, stop selling me the fiction that these creeps are white nationalists. People who care about the nation don’t rejoice about American POWs being gunned down in cold blood by a Nazi war criminal. The proper and accurate name is white supremacists.
To exacerbate matters, according to The Washington Post, during Saturday’s Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia, two U.S. Military Academy cadets and a Naval Academy midshipman allegedly flashed the “okay” hand signal that has been co-opted as an identification sign by Nazis.
We should stop playing footsie with extremism. There is absolutely no place in the military for these traitors. Their very existence in a diverse military is bad for unit cohesion and destructive for morale. And we should never have to question which side an American soldier is on. If they stand for evil, they cannot be trusted, nor counted upon to fight for the common good and uphold the Constitution.
When a recruit signs up for the Armed Services, the Pentagon should conduct thorough background checks, including on social media. White supremacists and Nazi traitors are a unique threat to national security because they infiltrate and try to destroy us from within. They are also potential future domestic terrorists. Why would we spend taxpayer dollars to train them how to kill?
White supremacists must be rooted out of the military now, before they can create havoc, undermine the rule of law and inflict violence on the very countrymen they have disingenuously vowed to protect. If the Pentagon spent as much time hunting down Nazis as they used to spend hunting down innocent LGBT people, our nation would be safer and stronger.Read More »