Donald Trump

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Pulling out the Old Playbook

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 15/08/2020 - 12:11am in

In an interview with Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo, Trump came out and said it: he wants to starve the United States Postal Service to destroy mail-in voting. Claiming that mail-in voting favors Democrats, he said: “Now they need that money in order to make the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots... Now, if we don’t make a deal, that means they don’t get the money. That means they can’t have universal mail-in voting, they just can’t have it.” Continue reading

The post Pulling out the Old Playbook appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

Trump Tipped To Announce New VP Hulk Hogan To Help Fight Kamala

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 13/08/2020 - 8:15am in

donald-trump-hulk-hogan

Rumours are swirling around Washington this week that American President Donald Trump will replace his Vice-President Mike Pence, with former Wrestler Hulk Hogan in an effort to counter his rival, Joe Biden’s announcement that he will run with Kamala.

”When the Donald found out that Biden had picked Kamala he was rather upset that his dear friend Vince McMahon would allow one of his wrestlers to run against him,” said a White house Insider. ”We tried to tell him that the Democrats were going with Kamala Harris and not the deceased wrestler Kamala but, President Trump is hard to talk to when he’s in one of his moods.”

”So, here we are Pence is out and Hulk Hogan is in.”

When reached for comment on his new role as Vice-President an highly animated Hulk Hogan said: ”Well you know Brother, when my boy the Donald reached out to tag me in to this battle I didn’t hesitate.”

”Whether I take on Kamala in Washington, Madison Square Garden or Uganda there will be only one winner.”‘

”What you going to do Kamala and Biden when Hulk Hogan and the WWE hall of famer the Donald come running after you.”

The American Presidential elections will be held later this year in November.

Mark Williamson

@MWChatShow

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The Pandemic, the Post Office, and Another Trump Attack on Democracy

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 13/08/2020 - 2:31am in

As the pandemic rages throughout the country, voting by mail has become a particularly appealing option. But a big turnout is Donald Trump’s electoral enemy, so his administration has launched an attack on the US Postal Service — making it a central player in the preservation of American democracy. Continue reading

The post The Pandemic, the Post Office, and Another Trump Attack on Democracy appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

Kamala Harris Steps Up

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 13/08/2020 - 1:49am in

Kamala Harris is perceived as solidly in the moderate wing of the Democratic Party. A former DA, she can battle the GOP on issues of law and order. Harris is the first Democratic nominee for the top of the ticket who has ever hailed from California, and one of the first from the far West. The right took aim at her selection immediately. In other news, Russia and Ukraine are back on the top of the president's topic list. Continue reading

The post Kamala Harris Steps Up appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

Starmer Returning Labour to Blairite Corporatism, Cronyism and Corruption

On Monday Mike put up a piece commenting on a report in the Groan that after corporate donations to the Labour party had almost dried up under Corbyn’s leadership, the fat cat rich were once again giving their cash to the party. This was welcomed by former Blairite fundraiser, Lord Michael Levy, who declared that it was important that the party should be funded by people, who believe in the cause.

As Mike and the various peeps he cites from Twitter, like Jackie Walker, Tory Fibs, Ian Byrne MP, Kam Sandhu and James Foster point out, Corbyn’s leadership proved that big money donations weren’t needed. The party was funded by its members’ subscriptions and it became the biggest socialist party in Europe. And it was in the black. This is an achievement to be proud of. Now all this is imperilled, as Mike points out. The party is haemorrhaging members at the rate of 2,000 a day. Corbyn’s party was about the people, but the influx of the corporate donors threatens this. Mike asks the obvious question of whether they’re doing this because they ‘believe in the cause’ or whether they’re seeking to influence party policy.

He concludes:

It also indicates that “big money” wants to support Starmer’s appeasement of those staffers who are accused of sabotaging the Corbyn project, of racism, misogyny and in some cases anti-Semitism. Because it makes Corbyn look bad without actually proving anything either way?
This is a very bad look for Starmer’s new New Labour.
We already have evidence that indicates around 2,000 people are leaving the party every week.
This may multiply that outward flood into a deluge.

See: https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2020/08/09/is-keir-starmer-re-installing-corruption-into-the-labour-party-with-the-wealth-of-private-donors/

There’s no question about any of this, and the return of Michael Levy as fundraiser says much, all of it negative. Blair met Levy at a meeting at the Israeli embassy, and Levy was instrumental in getting Blair’s office funding from pro-Zionist Jewish businessmen. This allowed Blair to be independent of union funding, and so pursue his modernisation agenda of turning Labour into the Tory party mark 2. It was also a major factor in the creation of viciously persecutory pro-Israeli establishment within the Labour party that has seen critics of Israel’s barbarous maltreatment and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians smeared and purged as anti-Semites simply for reasoned criticism of a racist, colonialist state.

As for these donors wanting to influence party policy, of course they do. New Labour was corporatist through and through. In return for donations from big business, the corporations were allowed to influence government decisions at every level, with senior management advising and serving in government boards and departments. This is extensively described by George Monbiot in his book, Captive State, and by the satirists and impressionists Rory Bremner, John Bird and John Fortune in their book, You Are Here. These were the same corporations that donated to the Tories, and Blair’s Labour was also sponsored and hosted the same think tanks that advised them.

As the peeps from Twitter have pointed out, it was government for the few, not the many.

As a result, Blair’s Labour party became a byword for sleaze and corruption, far in excess of John Major’s government, which had also been notorious for this. And it is utterly disgraceful, but deeply symptomatic, of the Guardian to try to present the return of private corporations in such a positive light. As for Lord Levy’s words, the corporate donors don’t believe in the cause. Or if they do, it’s simply the Blair project of giving them more power. The Labour party was not founded for them. It was founded as a coalition of trade unions and socialist groups and societies to represent ordinary people – the labouring poor. And their interests were not being served by the other parties. The Tories represented the interest of the Anglican aristocracy, while the Liberals were definitely middle class. More democratic, certainly, than the Tories  – the first working class members of parliament were the ‘Lib-Labs’, trade unionists who entered parliament as members of the Liberals, but ultimately committed to free trade and business at the expense of working class interests.

And corporativism is actively harming democracy, both here and in America. A report by Harvard University a few years ago concluded that the USA was no longer a functioning democracy but a corporate plutocracy because of the corporate funding of parties and political candidates. And even some Republicans are fed up with it. One Republican businessman in California wanted to have a law passed that would force politicos to wear the names of the corporations that had sponsored them on their jackets, like sportsmen. The left-wing surge in the Democrat party was also at the beginning very much a revolt against the corporate corruption represented and led by the Clintons.

But Trump is now in the White House, representing the cesspool of corporate politics over the other side of the Pond. And the Blairites have had their way, toppled Corbyn, sabotaged Labour’s elections and are back to reinstalling the corporations they admire at the centre of government.

Which means more privatisation, including that of the NHS, frozen wages, attacks on the welfare state and the privatisation of the NHS. It means mass starvation and more grinding poverty. 

But never mind: the corporations will be in power, exploiting welfare to work schemes, and Israel won’t have to worry about any more pesky criticism about its crimes against the Palestinians.

 

Christian Nationalists and Christian Zionists March Lockstep to Secure Another Four Years for Trump

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 12/08/2020 - 3:21am in

Two thousand years ago, Jesus taught an oppressed, occupied people the ways of mercy and nonviolent resistance. In the intervening centuries, some strains of Christianity have transformed themselves from these humble roots into dominant, imperial forces.

Their “Christian” voices speak the language of the Bible, but their ideologies have little to do with the Bible’s message. Their followers – knowingly or unknowingly – encourage authoritarianism and racism with a stamp of approval from God.

These groups – Christian Nationalists and their cousins, Christian Zionists – have made their way into the halls of power, and may be the key to another four-year term for arguably the most catastrophic president in history.

 

The ideologies

Nationalism, according to the Oxford Dictionary and “Political Ideologies,” is “identification with one’s own nation and support for its interests, especially to the exclusion or detriment of the interests of other nations,” which “aims to build and maintain a single national identity.”

Christian Nationalism, then, promotes the interests (and perhaps, doctrines) of a particular strain of Christians, and aims to build a single Christian national identity – to the exclusion of the interests of other Christian groups in the nation and the interests of other nations.

Christians Against Christian Nationalism, a broad coalition of faith groups, adds:

Christian Nationalism demands Christianity be privileged by the State and implies that to be a good American, one must be Christian. It often overlaps with and provides cover for white supremacy and racial subjugation.

Christian Zionism is a Christian movement that similarly promotes the interests of certain types of Jews in Israel, aiming to support them as they build a single, privileged Jewish national identity – to the exclusion of the interests of other groups in Israel and the interests of other nations.

Christians United for Israel

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. speaks at the Christians United for Israel Washington Summit, July 23, 2013. Charles Dharapak | AP

Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA), an international movement seeking a just peace for Palestinians, opposes Christian Zionism. Jonathan Brenneman, the communications coordinator for FOSNA, described Christian Zionism to MintPress as:

An ideology which uses Christianity in the name of hate. Their mission is to increase their “Christian” influence on U.S. policy…upholding U.S. and Christian supremacy in its support of Israel’s worst practices.”

Christian Zionists see themselves as the only people who understand God’s plan, and they have the duty to implement it at any cost.”

Sounds crazy? These groups are not fringe. They are plentiful and powerful, to the point that they may have won Trump the election in 2016, and may do so again in 2020.

As Pew Research reported in March 2020, half of Americans hold the Christian Nationalist belief that the Bible should have a “great deal” or “some” influence over U.S. laws (though they might not label it as such). Some 28 percent believe that “if and when the Bible conflicts with the will of the American people, the Bible should have more influence on the laws of the land.”

In addition, roughly 70 million Americans profess the Christian Zionist beliefs that “God’s promise to Abraham and his descendants was for all time,” and that the creation of modern Israel is a fulfillment of prophecy leading to the return of Jesus Christ.

 

MAGA and Israel

As the U.S. has become more diverse and secular, the relative numbers of Christians – especially white Christians –  has been declining. White Christians have “lost their perceived standing as the country’s decision-makers amid their declining status,” driving many to Christian Nationalism as a path back to power.

Many of these Christian Nationalists heard in Candidate Trump’s MAGA slogan a promise to return America to its former greatness – the good old days when we “didn’t need no welfare state, everybody pulled his weight.”

Trump also promised to move the American Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, pull out of the treaty with Iran, and support Israeli settlements on Palestinian land – all wildly popular with Christian Zionists.

Some 80 percent of evangelicals voted for Trump – either to save America or to usher in the second coming of Christ.

 

The awkward issue of (Trump’s) sin

Trump’s evangelical fan club had a dilemma on its hands as his skeletons kept tumbling out of the closet. He was a hot mess, but they needed him.

In a piece for Salon, Paul Rosenberg goes so far as to suggest that a righteous candidate would have been a bad idea, writing that “When push comes to shove, the more vicious the leader, the better. The moral restraints of the deeply pious are the last thing you want for the job.”

Every day brought a new crisis – and a new rationalization: “Only God knows what is in Trump’s heart.” “Democrats have baggage too.” “He is the spirit of Cyrus.” “We’re all sinners.”

Under the new, Trump-inspired Christianity, some leaders portrayed him as “God’s choice,” and instructed followers to stand with him no matter what. Robert Jeffress, the pastor of the oldest megachurch in the U.S., demonstrated this just before the 2016 election when he quite literally contradicted the words of Jesus in defense of Trump:

I don’t want some meek and mild leader or somebody who’s going to turn the other cheek. I’ve said I want the meanest, toughest SOB I can find to protect this nation.”

 

From Bible to policy

The Trump campaign, and then administration, has always included a large number of evangelical leaders – including Christian Zionists. They were not there only to pray, but according to Trump advisor Mike Evans, to have “a seat at the table.” Christian Zionists in Trump’s inner circle use their access to present their interpretation of scripture as potential foreign policy. And Apparently Trump listens.

Mike Evans Donald Trump

Evangelical Trump advisor Mike Evans, left, poses with the President. Photo | White House

Evans has been part of that inner circle. He was in on private briefings with the president before the unveiling of the so-called Deal of the Century – Trump’s “peace plan” for Israel and Palestine, which heavily favors Israel. “Israel just got kissed by God,” Evans said of the plan. “I am not referring to Donald Trump as God, but I am saying he has Divine inspiration.”

Trump’s actions on behalf of Israel, which are often reckless and violations of international law and human rights, are understood as obedience to Genesis 12:3, “I will bless those who bless you [Abraham], and whoever curses you I will curse.”

 

Meet CUFI

The most powerful guest at the table has to be CUFI – Christians United For Israel – an organization boasting eight million members, and the quintessential mechanism of Christian Zionism.

At the CUFI’s helm is John Hagee, who teaches as fact his dispensationalist interpretation of the situation in Israel and Palestine. As Hagee puts it, “Israel exists because of a covenant God made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob 3,500 years ago – and that covenant still stands,” and “From a biblical, historical, and legal perspective, Israel owns, and does not occupy, the Holy Land. And one can not be an occupier on land it owns.” (The global community almost unanimously disagrees with the second statement, based on international law.)

Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo themselves self-identify as Christian Zionists and Pence has even visited Israel on CUFI’s dime. Both have spoken at CUFI’s annual summit. At least three other high-level members of the Trump administration attended as well.

The organization is effective. The Hill listed at least five congressional seats and one governor that CUFI helped flip from blue to red in 2018. Their millions of members are ready to “show up at the polls and cast their ballot for the candidate that is best for the Jewish state.”

How? According to Sandy Hagee Parker of the CUFI Action Fund, “With approximately 50 events nationally per month, CUFI’s field staff is in constant education mode…”

“CUFI members don’t see Israel as a political issue, but as an exercise in their faith – and that will never change,” Hagee Parker boasts.

CUFI members can be mobilized as needed to support legislative action, visit a Congress member, attend a town hall meeting – whatever is needed to keep the agenda moving forward. Bottom line, in John Hagee’s own words:

We’re not another paper-shuffling, hand-clapping group of Christians…We are 4.5 million people who are organized in every state, every city, every voting district.”

 

War with Iran

Iran is public enemy number one to Christian Zionists, who believe that the end times must be preceded by war and bloodshed. Iran is more than just a geopolitical enemy – it is, as religious historian Diana Butler Bass explains, “sort of a prophetic dog whistle to evangelicals…they’re eager for Christ to return and they think that this war with Iran and Israel has to happen for their larger hope to pass.”

And so John Hagee – a pastor, mind you – has repeatedly called for Iran to be hit with a “maximum pressure campaign,” including at one point a preemptive strike.

Mike Pence, John Hagee

Vice President Pence, left, greets Hagee at CUFI’s annual summit, July 8, 2019, in Washington. Patrick Semansky | AP

In 2017, Christian Zionists pestered Trump to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. According to the Christians United For Israel website:

CUFI has made moving the embassy to Jerusalem a central focus of its 2017 agenda…Pastor John Hagee, has used White House audiences with Pres. Trump and Vice Pres. Mike Pence to urge them to move the embassy.

Days before Pres. Trump’s inauguration, the CUFI Action Fund held a Washington fly-in during which more than 260 leaders representing 49 states urged that the embassy be moved. And CUFI members have sent more than 137,000 emails to the White House in support of moving the embassy to Jerusalem.

The embassy move took place in May 2018 amid peaceful protests that resulted in dozens of Palestinian deaths by Israeli sniper fire.

 

The only side of the story?

Just 40 percent of Jews living in Israel believe that God gave them the land; meanwhile, 82 percent of white American evangelicals believe it. How is that possible?

Brenneman explained that because there is no visible counter-argument against the damaging narrative of Christian Zionism, “Most people don’t even realize that they hold a Christian Zionist perspective.”

Like all extremist ideologies, it is built upon ignorance and insularity to perpetuate a warped perspective about Palestinians and what is happening in Palestine…

People passively hold these views because they are shielded from seeing devastating humanitarian and environmental consequences of their beliefs.

Christian Zionism [presents a binary construct in which] Israelis are good and barbaric Palestinians are bad, [and] places good “Western” Israelis against evil “Eastern” Muslims.”

 

The concealed truth

While mainstream media will never give a completely accurate picture of world events, it does manage to contradict Trump on a regular basis. He deals with these inconvenient truths by delegitimizing them as “fake news” and, as Kellyanne Conway famously gave us, the phrase “alternative facts.” His flock follows suit.

In the arena of accurate news on Israel and Palestine, many sources committed to rigorous reporting and educating are routinely denounced as “anti-Semitic” for daring to show Israel’s human rights abuses against Palestinians. Most Americans are thus not exposed to the truth about the injustice that Christian Zionism is inflicting on Palestinians through its support of Israel.

 

What about 2020?

As determined as progressives are to make Trump a one-term president, evangelicals and conservatives are resolute about winning him four more years. They are also well-organized and well-funded.

Data analysts are scouring statistics nationwide, looking for new conservative voters to register and recruit. Thousands of conservative, and also often evangelical radio stations, sing Trump’s praises; tens of millions of churchgoers are faithful to him.

Mike Evans, a Trump advisor, pointed out that the evangelical bloc “gave” Trump the presidency because of his pro-life stance and his support for Israel – and that same group has the power to “fire” him if he does not continue to toe the line. The current test will be if Trump endorses Israel’s planned annexation of parts of the Palestinian West Bank, a move deemed illegal under international law.

When asked about Trump’s re-election prospects, Evans explains how pro-Israel policy translates into votes:

I have 68 million Facebook followers. When the president blesses Israel, they feel strongly that God is going to bless us – He won’t get 90 percent; he will get 100 percent of this base.”

In fact, according to a 2019 Public Religion Research Institute poll of Trump supporters, 31 percent of white evangelicals said there is essentially nothing he could do that would lose their vote.

Stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody”? Apparently he can do no wrong.

Feature photo | Attendee sing worship songs during a President Donald Trump campaign event courting devout conservatives by combining praise, prayer and patriotism, July 23, 2020, in Alpharetta, Ga. John Amis | AP

Kathryn Shihadah writes for MintPress News and If Americans Knew. She speaks regularly about the injustice and demonization Palestinians face at the hands of Israel with complicity from the United States, especially to Christian audiences. Kathryn has lived in the Middle East for ten years and has traveled extensively. She blogs at PalestineHome.org.

The post Christian Nationalists and Christian Zionists March Lockstep to Secure Another Four Years for Trump appeared first on MintPress News.

Carved in Stone? Trump’s Big Plans

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 11/08/2020 - 11:10pm in

The most striking news of the day was not that Trump has suggested he wants his image on Mt. Rushmore but rather that such an outrageous statement has garnered so little attention. That says something about his presidency. Continue reading

The post Carved in Stone? Trump’s Big Plans appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

Introducing Electionland 2020

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 11/08/2020 - 7:36am in

This article is part of Electionland, ProPublica’s collaborative reporting project covering problems that prevent eligible voters from casting their ballots during the 2020 elections.  Continue reading

The post Introducing Electionland 2020 appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

Political, not Partisan: Covering the 2020 Elections as a Climate Story

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 11/08/2020 - 5:13am in

Climate change is political insofar as strong policies are necessary to answer its challenges. That’s a plain fact of governance, not partisan opinion. Yet, for too long, journalism has tended to view climate policy through the lens of horse race politics: One candidate favors action. The other doesn’t. Who will prevail? This tendency has to go. Continue reading

The post Political, not Partisan: Covering the 2020 Elections as a Climate Story appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

Trump to the Rescue

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 10/08/2020 - 12:38am in

Trump has framed himself as a hero, saving Americans when Congress would not. And Republicans can frame the inevitable legal pushback on his relief bill as Democratic hostility to ordinary people. Continue reading

The post Trump to the Rescue appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

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