Donald Trump Pledges to Pardon Dinesh D’Souza

In today’s Corruption Watch News, I bring you this:

Dinesh D’Souza pleaded guilty to making illegal campaign contributions. Now Trump will pardon him.

Reaction has been swift and severe, as it should be.

Former Director of the Office of Government Ethics Walter Shaub thinks the pardon might be a signal to Trump’s former associates now under indictment.

Law professor Joyce Alene agrees:

At the time, D’Souza admitted he committed the crime, saying

I knew that causing a campaign contribution to be made in the name of another was wrong and something the law forbids. I deeply regret my conduct.

He asked two other people to make contributions to the U.S. Senate campaign of Wendy Long which he promised to reimburse. He admitted he reimbursed those individuals.

D’Souza identifies as an evangelical and he is fiercely pro-Trump. Although he has been losing his luster as an evangelical intellectual since 2010, he is admired in pro-Trump circles.

Recently, he has become known for his incendiary remarks and fractured history. D’Souza has sparred with historian Kevin Kruse over political history (Kruse for the win). He supported Roy Moore for Senate and generally comes across as a bomb thrower.

Pro-Putin

D’Souza is also pro-Putin. He once tweeted his admiration of the Russian strongman.

D’Souza didn’t like my post about it so he did what any Trump supporter would do, he made fun of me and doubled down.

Great Victory?

Even though D’Souza admitted breaking campaign finance laws, he is celebrating as if he was the victim of a false accusation.

For some reason, Christians are celebrating this pardon. I understand we are all guilty of various things and in Christ, we are pardoned but our rejoicing isn’t to be gloating over others. The prosecutors did their jobs and the precious rule of law that Republicans go on about has been set aside. I agree with the first tweeter above, this appears to be an abuse of power and if Karma is indeed a bitch, there may be a day of reckoning in November.

Trump Really Thought it Through

There are no words to describe the lunacy of how Trump decided to pardon D’Souza.

Just How Divided Is the Republican Party?

Everybody knows how divided the GOP is but these two tweets within inches of each other in my Twitter feed depict the situation.
First, Sen. Jeff Flake:


Then, as if on cue to illustrate Flake’s assertion, enter Dinesh D’Souza:


These are two people who would agree about many things related to policy but are worlds apart on character. All that goes with Trumpism has served to split the GOP in ways the Dems could only hope to do. The witches brew of Christian nationalism and nativism is a political religion which has led so many people to call evil good and good evil. The destruction has come from within.
For GOP readers on the fence due to life issues and tax cuts, let me point you to the reality that the current administration is supporting pro-death policies in Yemen, and the middle class tax cuts become tax hikes after a few years. Big families will be negatively effected more than smaller families (pro-family?). The tax cuts benefit wealthier Americans with minimal relief for most middle class people. About 10% of middle class taxpayers will never see a tax cut due to the way the legislation is structured. Many Trump voters who supported him because he promised relief for the middle class will actually pay more while he gets a big tax cut.
D’Souza wants to stick it to media. At the end of the day, what’s the good of that? He may feel better somehow, but how does that help ordinary working people? Here’s hoping some principled people rise up in positions of power who seek the common good, not just for their tribe.

House Vote to Create Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, August 2, 1983

On the urgent issue of civil rights, Senator Goldwater represents a philosophy that is morally indefensible and politically and socially suicidal.
-Martin Luther King, Jr. on the nomination of Barry Goldwater as GOP candidate for president.
 
Over the weekend, far right conservative filmmaker and pundit Dinesh D’Souza inflamed Twitter by claiming that Rep. John Lewis (“John Lewis is not a “legend”–he was a minor player in the civil rights movement who became a nasty, bitter old man”) and Rosa Parks (“So Rosa Parks wouldn’t sit in the back of the bus–that’s all she did, so what’s the big fuss?”)  were minor civil rights figures. The response was appropriately swift and severe.


Like D’Souza, his supporters cast Democrats as the party of racism since Democrats in the South were opposed, in large measure, to the 13-15th Amendments.
Today, D’Souza continues to defy the facts about race and political party:


D’Souza’s formulations fail to take into account the factors which have made African-American support for the Democrat party so strong. These are not hard. Goldwater as a GOP presidential candidate opposed civil rights legislation. When Democrats were moving toward civil rights, high profile conservative Democrats in the South switched to the GOP (e.g., Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms) and championed segregationist policies. Even though Ronald Reagan signed MKL Day into law, nearly half of GOP members opposed the day, whereas 95% of Dems supported it.
MLK vote in House
It would be easy to go on and on to provide reasons why African-Americans provide a voting bloc for Democrats. Trump received 8% of the African-American vote in the last election. This was a two point improvement over Romney in 2012 but should indicate to any reasonable observer that the vast majority of African-American voters don’t like what the GOP is doing and saying now.  What happened pre-Harry Truman is interesting historically speaking but it doesn’t have much of an impact on what is going on now.

Dinesh D'Souza: Putin Loves Russia and Fights for Its Interests

Yesterday, Christian right film maker Dinesh D’Souza (Hillary’s America) tweeted:


The alt-right is also alt-reality and alt-morality.
Make sure you read the responses to D’Souza’s tweet. D’Souza is supposed to be the celebrity public intellectual but these commenters are taking him to school. In addition to oppressing his political opponents, Putin and his government have recently cracked down on religious liberty and evangelizing in Russia.
Christian right political types in the US cry big tears about religious liberty but praise Putin’s leadership in a nation where religious liberty is truly under attack.
Human Rights Foundation chair and former chess world champion Gary Kasparov tweeted in reply:


Trump’s supporters in the Christian right may someday wonder how they were duped so badly. I hope they aren’t wondering this after a Trump administration deals away American interests to a Russian dictator. Rather I hope it comes later after Trump and Clinton lose in a history making electoral college win for a third party candidate.
Perhaps I am alt-reality too. But at least my conscience is clear.
UPDATE: Mr. D’Souza goes full Trump and makes fun of my name. Classy argumentation.


To Gary Kasparov, D’Souza concedes:


If defending America’s interests looks like Putin, then no, we couldn’t use such a president.

Dinesh D’Souza Indicted for Arranging Excessive Campaign Donations; Did Wendy Long Benefit?

Coming from the Religion News Service:

Conservative pundit and former King’s College president Dinesh D’Souza has been indicted for arranging donations to a Senate candidate that exceed the limits of the law. According to a press release from the District Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York, D’Souza also provided false information to the FEC.

The indictment doesn’t name the Senator but it seems likely that it was Republican Wendy Long who challenged New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in 2012. New York elections records show D’Souza donated to Long’s campaign in 2012.  He is accused of reimbursing others who also donated.

Talking Points Memo breaks it all down; has a statement from D’Souza’s attorney.

Daily Beast: The Rise and Fall of Dinesh D’Souza

David Sessions briefly chronicles Dinesh D’Souza’s rise and recent fall within conservative circles this morning at the Daily Beast. At this point, it is hard to tell whether or not the title of the article is wishful thinking. After watching the conservative response to David Barton’s disgrace over The Jefferson Lies, I am not so sure that D’Souza is done among the conservatives and the religious right.

Even so, Sessions points us to this 2010 Weekly Standard article about D’Souza’s book on Obama’s “rage”:

On the evidence of his new book, we can’t be sure if Dinesh D’Souza is a hysteric or a cynic. Newt Gingrich, for his part, thinks D’Souza is a visionary, and he’s been praising the visionary and his book with the patented Gingrichian intensity. D’Souza is the possessor of a “stunning insight,” Gingrich said recently, in an interview with National Review Online’s Robert Costa. This insight is “the most profound insight I have read in the last six years about Barack Obama,” Gingrich continued, while poor Costa looked for a table to duck under. “Only if you understand Kenyan, anticolonial behavior can you piece together [Obama’s actions]. That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior.”

As a professional partisan with a Ph.D., Newt Gingrich will take anything seriously if it suits his immediate purpose and has the necessary intellectual pretensions (whatever happened to the Tofflers anyway?). D’Souza’s thesis, with its exoticism (Kenya) and its scholarly tags (anticolonial behavior), looks tailor-made for the former speaker. The insight with which D’Souza has stunned him is purely abstract and syllogistic: (1) Barack Obama really admired his father, Barack Obama Sr., and wanted to be like him; (2) Obama Sr. grew up in Kenya and became an anticolonial agitator; therefore (3) Obama Jr. wants to be an anticolonial agitator, too, and since he’s simultaneously president of the United States, he gets to be anticolonial in a very big way and drag us along with him.

Note the date – 2010 – D’Souza took that conservative licking and kept on ticking, now out with a wildly successful documentary based on the book panned by the Weekly Standard. Disgraced conservative commentators are like cats – fluid with nine lives. Even with the latest scandal (being engaged while still married) and his utterly implausible excuse (“I didn’t know it was wrong”), he will probably land on his feet and live to conspire another day.

Sessions ends his piece with a similar realization:

But D’Souza’s excommunication isn’t likely to keep him down. Obama’s America is already the second most successful political documentary ever. D’Souza long ago cast his lot with political entertainment, and at the right-wing box office, a lack of scholarly qualifications may be the best qualification he could have.

And here we have a core evangelical problem stated well – poor scholarship will get you farther than good scholarship. It is a maddening fact that the right wing thought leaders elevate “experts” who cleverly peddle politically useful untruths over nuanced arguments made with documentation and reflection. The masses trust the AFAs, and FRCs of the world. Then when those “experts” are caught up short, there is massive private and internal pressure to prop up the experts, no matter how much evidence exists demonstrating their errors.

Sadly, I think Sessions is correct and while D’Souza may see some bumps in the road, my guess is that many religious right leaders will choose pragmatics over principle.

 

Dinesh D’Souza’s Ethical Lacuna – UPDATED

UPDATE: Not really a surprise – D’Souza resigns as president of King’s College.

UPDATE 2: Apparently, D’Souza’s current fiancee’ is/was also married as of April, 2012. If you want some more irony, check out her blog at Smart Girl Politics – Give a Guy Enough Rope and He’ll Hang Himself.

More information about Mrs. Odie Joseph…

Here she complains about the effects of divorce.

I think this is the last thing for awhile. The lovely young lady would be Mrs. Denise Odie Joseph, D’Souza’s fiancee, on her blog asking the musical question…

………….

This isn’t good.

World Magazine reported Tuesday (see link above) that King’s College president Dinesh D’Souza is or was engaged to a woman while still married to his wife. D’Souza who has been a vocal critic of gay marriage has been estranged from his wife for a couple of years according to the World report.

Normally, I would not say much about personal issues but I am very interested to see how evangelical leaders handle this. D’Souza has a very high profile among evangelicals and conservatives as the president of King’s College. His opposition to gay marriage and conservatism on social issues makes his reasoning on his own situation noteworthy. And on that point, consider what he told Fox News yesterday about his relationship with Ms. Denise Joseph:

I sought out advice about whether it is legal to be engaged prior to being divorced and I was informed that it is. Denise and I were trying to do the right thing. I had no idea that it is considered wrong in Christian circles to be engaged prior to being divorced, even though in a state of separation and in divorce proceedings.  Obviously I would not have introduced Denise as my fiancé at a Christian apologetics conference if I had thought or known I was doing something wrong. But as a result of all this, and to avoid even the appearance of impropriety, Denise and I have decided to suspend our engagement.

Consider now that this Bill Clintonesque reasoning comes from the president of an evangelical college. He didn’t know it was wrong? This lacuna in his understanding, if indeed he is sincere, is as disturbing as anything else being reported on this story. I am certainly not inclined to give much weigh to his reasoning on other matters.

Please don’t get me wrong. I am not D’Souza’s judge. But evangelicals are often so quick to judge others while excusing themselves. And then as a group, evangelicals wonder why those outside the fold are skeptical and dismiss our judgments.