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Topic Summary

Posted by: Surly1
« on: October 22, 2019, 08:24:38 am »

The Forgotten Christian Terror Cult That Presaged Trump’s Memes
How a right-wing conspiracy blossomed in the pre-internet age




Last Christmas, I found myself alone, stoned, and poolside at the Trump National Doral Miami wearing a “Fake News” T-shirt under a fluffy white Trump robe. Before the noon checkout, I’d gone to catch some rays and take a video of myself reading a passage about Mike Flynn from a galley of my book. 

I’d done a lot of reporting on Flynn’s career. In 2012, then a lieutenant general, Flynn was appointed by President Obama to run the Defense Intelligence Agency, but he was unceremoniously fired after two years of tumult and politicking in uniform. He would go on to secretly lobby for Turkey and spout conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton’s health, as well as an imagined pedophilia ring in a Washington pizza parlor. This post-Army fall was fascinating to me because Flynn was a true military believer, a throwback to another era, Colonel Kurtz come home. People I respected in the Army respected him. My CIA friends did not seem to share this respect. He thought differently than most Army general officers I knew. 

Flynn’s tenure in the Trump administration was even briefer: He was ousted as national security advisor after just 24 days over pre-election Russia contacts and his foreign lobbying, which also led him to plead guilty to a federal count of lying to investigators. Since then, the main public support he’d garnered was from his family and the QAnon people, who exist in that liminal internet space called the chans and believe a “storm” is coming in which President Trump will bust an international pedophilia ring of Democrats, globalists, and satanists. In these apocalyptic fantasies, Flynn was a good Christian warrior working to bring the deep state cabal down from inside: Some even theorized that Flynn was Q, the anonymous author of the online posts that delineated this alleged global conspiracy. As I pondered the man’s legacy that holiday morning, a single lizard emerged from a crack in the wall, slinked to the hot tub, and swam three laps. 

For me, that was a clear sign it was time to go. Doug Laux—the ex-spy I’d spent two consecutive Christmases with, staying in properties owned by the president—and I collected our rental, a red convertible Camaro, from the Venezuelan valet and rolled out, bound for South Beach. Just outside the property a woman stood, wearing a yellow reflective vest, holding a sign that said “Who is Q/I know/Do you?” As we drove past, I shouted the initials “WWG1WGA”—short for ”Where we go one we go all,” a Q tagline—from the convertible. She looked confused by the reference. I wondered who was paying her to stand there and hold the sign.

Those who talk don’t know. Those who know don’t talk. The information wars continue apace. Earlier this month, the Trump Doral hosted the “American Priority Conference.” One panel called “Is America in a Great Awakening?” seemed like a dog-whistle to followers of what I’ve come to think of as “the QAnon psychological operation.” Before the shitshow in Syria and Trump’s grade-school notes to foreign leaders and impeachment intrigues took over the conversation, Twitter was abuzz over a snuff video shown in a side room of the Doral conference: It featured the president entering a “Church of Fake News” to beat, shoot, and stab Trump’s most-hated media members to death.

That Christmas night, at a South Beach hotel, Doug and I watched cable news. Trump had made a surprise visit to Iraq. In a commercial break between the talking heads, The 700 Club advertised a prayer line. I dialed the number. After several minutes of listening to recordings of Pat Robertson and his son asking for money, I was connected with a Filipino-accented 700 Club prayer representative. She asked for my prayer request. I thought I knew the men who needed the most prayers: the brave Navy SEALs protecting Trump in Iraq right now. The prayer she said for them was worth the wait, fierce and fiery, calling doom on the enemies of God, the president, and the SEALs. America had entered a golden age of magical thinking. It was no longer just the fringe awaiting apocalyptic scenarios. An entire political entertainment system that feasted on the next day’s hope for a deus ex machina now did eschatology as well. Not long after, I’d discover the story of The Covenant, the Sword, and the Arm of the Lord, a 1980s Christian terrorist cult, and realize they had anticipated this very moment. 


Say what you will about doomsday cults; zealots know how to pick killer real estate. The self-castrating Heaven’s Gate members who wore Nikes to commit suicide and travel to a spaceship behind the Hale Bopp comet did so from a California mansion near Encinitas. Well before Joanna and Chip Gaines made Waco, Texas, into a mecca of Shiplap and rusted tin, David Koresh’s Branch Davidians built and lost their own fixer-upper cult compound—Mount Carmel—just outside of town. The Manson family lived for a time at the Spahn Ranch, a Southern California stand-in landscape for western films and television shows. 

These were my thoughts last month, driving northeast from my home in Fayetteville, Arkansas, to check an old cult compound. 

In the late 1970s, a group un-ironically calling itself the CSA—which was easier to embroider on hats than The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord—purchased 224 acres of Arkansas-Missouri borderland in the lakes of the Ozarks region from the Campus Crusade for Christ. There, they established a separatist commune called Zarephath-Horeb to stockpile food and practice self-sufficiency while awaiting the tribulations. On the way to find Zarephath, I’d pulled off about halfway in Harrison, Arkansas—which had gone from having four white-power billboards to one in 2017—for a cathartic **** in a Hobby Lobby restroom. 

The story I was driving toward hit a little too close to home. My paternal great-grandfather hailed from Cassville, Missouri; we still have kin there. My mother’s side of the family are Mormons. The Mormons in Missouri have their own dark history, having settled in Jackson County in the 1830s after Joseph Smith declared it to be his followers’ Zion. The residents of Jackson County had other ideas; attacks followed, and Smith’s followers and a Mormon paramilitary sect calling themselves the Danites carried out a terror campaign of reprisals in the “Mormon Missouri War,” leading Governor Lilburn Boggs to sign Missouri Executive Order 44, known as the “extermination order,” on October 27, 1838, to rid the state of the Mormons and the problems they brought. 

The Christian terror cult I was chasing was four hours away from the Mormons’ last Missouri stand, but I was glad my bowels were empty as I continued twisting on mountain roads, saw-toothing around Bull Shoals Lake, near the old CSA border compound. 

James Ellison, a Church of Christ minister, founded the CSA as a Christian commune with seven other families in nearby Elijah, Missouri, in 1971. The group grew in fits and starts, and Ellison bought the compound on the Bull Shoals lakefront in ’76. They lived an insular, severe life there. Smoking and drinking were forbidden; everybody worked, gave their personal possessions up to the commune, and listened to Ellison’s increasingly conspiratorial sermons about America’s imminent decline. In 1978, Ellison told his flock that the apocalypse was coming on August 12. To prepare for the inevitable decline that would attend the end of the world, the group stockpiled $52,000 in arms and ammunition, appointed a “defense minister,” and began to study military tactics.

When August 12 passed without the foretold tribulations, some of Ellison’s original flock left the fold, and he took a job on a crew building nuclear missile silos in Missouri, while other men in the group earned money as hired hands or logging cedar, with all money earned consecrated toward the group’s goals. It got weird, fast. “Members of the CSA are tied by a non-traditional religion which includes faith healing, speaking in tongues, and a prophecy which says that society will soon collapse in turmoil,” a 1982 internal FBI report stated:

In preparation for this, the group stockpiles food and weapons and trains themselves in military and survival procedures…taught are firearms and marksmanship, rappelling, foraging for food, **** of such obstacles as punji sticks and barbed wire to detour looters [sic], urban warfare, military field craft, national forest survival, home defense, Christian martial arts, Christian military truths, nuclear survival and tax protesting.

“By 1980, we had grown to about sixty members, including children,” wrote Kerry Noble, a Texas-born spiritual seeker who became the CSA’s second-in-command and public face. Noble helped further radicalize the community when he began to play them tapes by John Todd, a Dallas-based hellfire preacher who claimed to be a defector from the “Grand-Druid Council of 13,” the innermost circle of the evil hidden hand of the world—the Illuminati, who sought to enslave humanity with the aid of demonic forces and the Trilateral Commission. 

Todd claimed that the Robert Redford movie Three Days of the Condor was more real than anyone knew: The codebook that Redford’s CIA character discovers was in fact Ayn Rand’s 1950s doorstop Atlas Shrugged, which, Todd argued, was a blueprint for the takeover plan of the Illuminati. Rand’s hero, John Galt, was really a stand in for the Philippe Rothschild, whom Todd asserted was the leader of the cabal. (Ellison, too, had returned from his missile-building to the compound with tapes of sermons—there were no email threads or Twitter accounts to spread ideas then—from the nearby Church of Israel, which promulgated Christian Identity, a racist theology that held whites to be the real chosen tribe of Israel and Jews to be the spawn of Satan.)

In December 1979, the group entrusted its military training to a refugee from the Southern California rock-and-roll scene named Randall Rader, who adopted the title of General. “Rader had no formal military training, but he owned several military fieldcraft books,” Noble wrote later. Noble was in charge of a “Home Guard,” a paramilitary unit that he described as “a man fifteen years older than me that has an artificial leg... an epileptic, retarded man; two half-blind, fat young men; and two men who could care less about the military than I do.” 

They began paramilitary training; some footage of the “Endtime Overcomer Survival Training School” remains available in a documentary on YouTube. In it, a CSA instructor explains to a row of eight adolescent long-haired girls standing in formation, rifles slung on their shoulders, why they’re there. “It is our duty as Christians, as Americans, to learn how to survive,” he tells his “cadets.” He is wearing tinted aviator glasses below a low-slung field cap and tanker goggles—just in case. There’s a dusting of snow on the ground. “We’re here to learn how to survive what’s coming on the earth, so we can better serve God’s people for His name’s sake.” 

The teens, wearing green fatigues and combat boots, listen intently. On one, a sheathed army surplus combat knife hangs from a leather harness slung over a Wehrmacht field jacket. “Part of how we’ll survive this thing is proper weapon technique,” the CSA man says, before leading girls who do not appear old enough to drive through live fire drills. The lesson ends with a benediction: “Thank you Jesus. Lord, just teach us your ways of war, teach us how to love and how to hate, bless us Jesus and keep us safe.” As they move through the compound, a hand-painted sign above the CSA man’s shoulder becomes visible: It reads US Embassy Tehran. That footage was shot in 1980, shortly after Ellison had prophesied apocalypse. When it didn’t come, the members that stayed on sunk deeper into preparations for the battle against the Illuminati.

Then the polygamy started. Michael Haddigan, a reporter for the Arkansas Gazettein the 1980s, told me a story over the phone: Ellison gathered all the community elders and explained that the Lord had told him, in a dream, that he was to sleep with everyone on the compound, including their wives. This upset some elders. The next day, Ellison gathered them back together and explained that the Lord had told him, in a dream, that he was to sleep with everyone on the compound except for their wives. 

That did not go over well with Ellison’s wife, Ollie, who’d grown alarmed at her husband’s shift over the course of their marriage. She’d fallen in love with Jim, the charismatic Texas preacher, a man slightly older than her who was once kind to her, when she was a single mother raising a daughter with Down syndrome.  

This other Jim made her uneasy; this “King of the Ozarks,” wholeheartedly embracing the neo-Nazi Christian Identity lifestyle. She thought her husband would keep her safe; instead, he was making alliances with the Idaho- and Washington-based Brüder schweigen of “The Order,” a neo-Nazi revolutionary group founded by a Mormon survivalist named Robert Jay Matthews. The CSA began offering sanctuary and training space to Order members, who funded their revolution with a string of robberies that kicked off in a Spokane sex-shop heist and evolved into bank jobs. Ollie had reason to worry. Ellison and his flock—he’d recruited young psychic casualties of the 1970s, damaged people trying to start over—were beginning to fracture over the polygamy, and the danger was real.

The CSA land on Bull Shoals Lake became a meeting and training ground for white supremacists from all around the United States. A flyer for the CSA National Convocation—held October 8-10, 1982, in Pontiac, Missouri—promised free admission to listen to three guest speakers. The first was Jack Mohr, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and former prisoner of war in Korea who ran his own Christian Identity paramilitary group, recruiting through his publication The Christian Patriot Crusader. There was “Pastor Bob” Miles, a one time grand dragon in the Michigan Ku Klux Klan, who’d been arrested and tried for plotting to bomb school buses and stop integration. Finally, there was Richard Butler, an aeronautical engineer from Los Angeles who’d joined an American fascist organization called the Silver Shirts before Pearl Harbor, then founded the Aryan Nations during Vietnam in a northern Idaho compound. 

The disparate white supremacist cells were attempting to merge into a body—a National CSA Confederacy—and like any good conference, pre-registration was required. “Only White, Patriotic, Serious CHRISTIANS need apply,” the flyer insisted, promising classes on weapons, the income tax, nuclear survival, the betrayal of America, natural childbirth, food storage, and the Jews. Rappelling was also an option.           

In June 1984, Richard Wayne Snell, a free-ranging white militant who operated out of the CSA compound and an Oklahoma safehaven called Elohim City, killed a pawn-shop owner he thought was Jewish in a robbery; in the getaway, he killed an Arkansas state trooper he knew was black. At the funeral for the trooper, Louis Bryant, Governor Bill Clinton announced that investigating extremist groups was among his top priorities.

Things went south for the movement quickly. The Order’s founder, Robert Jason Matthews, was killed on December 8, 1984, following a standoff with the FBI at his Washington state home, in which he donned a gas mask and fired 1,000 rounds at federal agents, including some in a circling helicopter. The confrontation the CSA cultists were waiting for was nigh, and by this time they’d acquired 30 gallons of potassium cyanide for the armory.   

Federal officials in Little Rock called FBI headquarters for help with their bubba problem; this activated a newly formed paramilitary cell within the FBI called the Hostage Rescue Team, whose name only hinted at their real function: counterterrorism. These were the FBI’s elite shooters modeled on the Army’s Delta Force, who’d gone operational in late 1983 after Operation Equus Red—a capstone nuclear terrorism scenario in New Mexico in which Hostage Rescue Team operators assaulted a safehouse to recover a mock weapon of mass destruction. 

This, now, was the real thing.

The Hostage Rescue Team guys deployed to the Ozarks, posing as white-collar types on a corporate fishing retreat when checking into hotels and lodges from Branson, Missouri, to Mountain Home, Arkansas; they discreetly suited up like commandos and set into concealed positions around The Covenant, the Sword, and the Arm of the Lord property. On April 20, 1985—Adolf Hitler’s birthday, a feast day for white supremacists—“the FBI and ATF, assisted by the Missouri and Arkansas State police, surrounded the compound and began negotiations with Ellison,” the FBI’s report states.

Remarkably, the standoff ended peacefully. Demonstrating that they had overwhelming numbers and overwhelming firepower, FBI agents opened a dialogue with Ellison; behind the scenes, Ollie Ellison convinced her husband that it was God’s will they surrender. Asa Hutchinson, an up-and-coming Arkansas politician, at that time the youngest serving United States attorney, threw on an FBI raid jacket to go in and finalize the surrender deal. Ellison and the order members with active warrants—for membership in “the ORDER, a secret terrorist organization that has close ties to both the CSA and Aryan Nations,” the FBI reported—went quietly. 

The agents recovered stolen vehicles, 155 Krugerrands, $800 in U.S. currency, “numerous gold and silver coins,” a rocket for a light anti-tank weapon, two computers, CB radios, records, knives, 94 long guns, 30 handguns, 35 machine guns and sawed off shotguns, a heavy machine gun, two land mines, 25 improvised booby traps, 40 makeshift grenades, blasting caps, detonation cord, dynamite sticks, blocks of C-4 explosives, flares, smoke grenades, and “several hundred thousand rounds” of ammunition. Ellison and Noble and several others at the compound went on to prison. Federal law enforcement would not have such a smooth time with later sieges, such as the one on Koresh’s Branch Davidians in Waco, which ended in a fiery death for 76 disciples on April 19, 1993, a day short of the CSA siege’s anniversary; on that same day in 1995, the state of Arkansas executed Richard Wayne Snell by lethal injection, and a Christian Identity adherent and Army veteran and Special Forces washout with a Bronze Star for valor from the first Gulf War named Timothy McVeigh detonated a truck bomb in front of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City. The CSA first discussed bombing the building in 1983. 


It was harder than I expected to find the compound; that was part of the original charm, I supposed. I finally located it with the help of a postal worker, whose kin had moved the family graveyard to higher ground when they dammed and flooded the valley to create Bull Shoals Lake in the early 1950s. The CSA’s old property had been subdivided and sold since the siege, and the owner of one parcel let me walk around as he mowed the lawn. Two outbuildings, carefully hewn beam-and-stone structures—the masonry was excellent—remained, but the structures had fallen into disrepair. Still, the firing positions were there, horizontal notches carved into the boarded-up windows and doors. As chiggers bit my legs, leaving small wounds that would linger for weeks, the infantryman in me imagined what a last stand here would’ve looked like; the human in me is grateful it didn’t go that way then.

Ellison was tried in July of 1985 on federal weapons and racketeering charges. The indictment was full of real criminal allegations arising from the CSA’s fantasy war against the “ZOG,” or Zionist Occupied Government; these included arson attacks on a Springfield, Missouri, church known to be gay-friendly and a Jewish community center in Bloomington, Indiana. Convicted and facing 20 years in prison, Ellison flipped for the feds and got out in six. He currently lives free, wheelchair-bound and elderly, in Elohim City, that Oklahoma white supremacist enclave once preferred by Richard Wayne Snell. 

I couldn’t help but see the similarities between Ellison’s situation and ours. Anyone paying attention to the news cycle knows we live in a time of tech- and Trump-driven magical thinking, often ignoring the truth of what’s right in front of us to focus on whatever bullshit baits our social network’s attention that day. The human attention span is finite, easily drawn to scandal, and already prone to suspecting darkness as an explanation for our broken political system. Hucksters, seeding narratives that are simple, neat, and wrong, exist on every frequency of the political spectrum, if not equally so.  

Yet for me, of all those proffering a seer-stone to secret knowledge today, Q is the most interesting. Most of the media labels it a conspiracy theory, but that doesn’t quite cut it for me. It is too intentionally dismissive and ignores the tangible, real-world effect of Q. From its start, I watched as an anonymous poster on the chans created a digital guerrilla army. Just as The Covenant, the Sword, and the Arm of the Lord stockpiled guns and ammo, the Q folks stockpile rare Pepes, dank memes and elaborate link-analysis charts for when the cause needs them. If Illuminati and Christian Identity sermon tapes were enough to radicalize the clustered CSA flock in the 1980s—imbuing their day-to-day life struggles with divine meaning—what could a similar Manichean narrative do today when unleashed in a carefully calibrated cyber campaign? How long could such a narrative survive? How many people could it radicalize?

I’ve tried to ask Mike Flynn, the Q hero and information-operations expert, but he’s kept ducking my attempts to get in touch. I would ask Q, but 8chan is still down. Maybe I should reach out to the National Security Council; Flynn is gone, but his protege, Matt Pottinger, was just promoted to second in command. 

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 12, 2019, 10:58:36 pm »

Agelbert CELEBRATION: The Christian dam resisting Trump impeachment just BROKE!




By Neil Steinberg  Oct 10, 2019, 12:56pm CDT

Quote
“If you are followers of Jesus, you can’t ignore what Jesus said,” said Rev. Jim Wallis, who was educated in Deerfield and returns to the area for appearances this weekend.



Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 09, 2019, 12:26:53 pm »

Quote
Tue Oct 8, 2019, 01:49 PM
Star Member brooklynite (54,833 posts)


U.S.'s Biggest 😈 Christian Charity 😉  Reportedly Channeled $56.1 Million To Purported  ☠️ Hate Groups
Source: Newsweek

The nation's eighth-largest nonprofit donated $56.1 million to a series of organizations identified as hate groups from 2015 to 2017, according to a report from Sludge.

National Christian Foundation, which identifies itself as the largest Christian grant maker and one of the largest donor-advised funds in the nation, has served as a vehicle for individuals trying to anonymously send money.

Donor-advised funds allow individuals sending the tax deductible contributions to remain anonymous from the IRS and instruct where they want the payments to be sent. For those donating via NCF, this meant sending money to 23 organizations that the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled hate groups. Most of the hate organizations that received money from the NCF opposed LGBT rights. The report also found that the NCF donated to anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant organizations.

Organizations receiving the most funds from NCF included the Alliance Defending Freedom, which has advocated for sterilizing transgender individuals, and the Family Research Council, which has advocated conversion therapy. Members of the Family Research Council including Tony Perkins, the organization's president, have sought to link pedophilia and homosexuality.

Read more: https://www.newsweek.com/biggest-christian-charity-funding-hate-groups-1370055

https://www.democraticunderground.com/10142378382

Agelbert NOTE: The 🦕🦖 Koch Hydrocarbon Hellspawn Fascist family of donor front groups are in this hate funding operation by these "Christians" (SEE: Orwell) up to their corrupt eyeballs.

The National Christian Foundation is more appropriately titiled the National Golden Calf Foundation.

This is still another reason to bankrupt polluters; they pollute our minds as well as the planet with their Government Welfare Queen "subsidy" HANDOUTS. NONE of these hate groups would be able to DO what they DO without profit over people and planet fossil fuel money!




Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 07, 2019, 09:04:26 pm »

Quote

Right Wing Watch

@RightWingWatch
Pat Robertson is "appalled" by Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria: "The President of the United States is in great danger of losing the mandate of Heaven if he permits this to happen."


Agelbert NOTE: "Mandate of Heaven" is Pseudo-Christian "Fundamentalist" CODE SPEECH for: You keep worshipping our God Mammon through war profiteering murder and mayhem or you will be demonified PRONTO.

Like I said before, the End Times Biblical Teaching is just the CANARD CON that these pseudo-Christian bastards will drop when their M.I.C. stock porfolios are threatened. For these "Fundamentalist Pastors" , it has ALWAYS been about DA MONEY.


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 06, 2019, 07:23:35 pm »

The saddest, sickest thing you’ll read today

By Jack Cluth  10.06.19


Quote
Jared Polis
@jaredpolis
   
Deep down, we all suspected that this is the dark reality we are now in: — Jared Polis (@jaredpolis) October 4, 2019



34.8K
1:12 AM - Oct 4, 2019
Twitter Ads info and privacy
10.6K people are talking about this

There’s no shame in being wrong. We all screw up from time to time. That said, there’s no mistake so big, traumatic, and/or overwhelming that there aren’t lessons to be learned from it. You just have to be open to learning. We’re human, we make mistakes. It’s what we do. What you do with the knowledge that you messed up is the most important part of the equation.

Sadly, there are far too many Americans like the misguided soul in the tweet above. The “I’ve attached my entire worldview to this man (Donald Trump, of course) and I am going down with the ship” schtick is about as sad and ignorant as it’s possible for a biped to be. The willingness to base your entire worldview on the lies, dishonesty, and megalomania of one wannabe tyrant is sad and distressing enough. It’s the refusal to even consider that he might be wrong which is truly awful. Rather than admit he fell for the propaganda and allowed himself to be misled, this poor, misguided Patriot is going to ride his 👹 horse until it collapses and dies underneath him.

One of the great things about being human is that all of us are possessed of free will. We have the freedom to make our own choices…and mistakes. Most of us manage to see our mistakes as opportunities to learn, grow, and improve. This poor dimwit can’t acknowledge the possibility that he chose the wrong horse. Instead, he’s “going down with the ship.” How terribly and unnecessarily sad and pointless. What’s he going to do when his horse goes to ground…live off the grid and plot violent revolution? Good luck with that one, eh?

https://whatwouldjackdo.org/2019/10/06/the-saddest-sickest-thing-youll-read-today/

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 06, 2019, 06:49:22 pm »

Yeah, it’s a very good thing you’re not a Christian….


By Jack Cluth    09.01.19   
Quote
Jesus fed thousands on a hillside, because they were hungry.
He said to give one of your coats to someone who had none.
He gave free healthcare wherever he went.
His community shared everything they had.
It's a good thing you're not a Christian… pic.twitter.com/KPbjFBUUVy
— John Pavlovitz (@johnpavlovitz) August 26, 2019

When will right-of-center Americans learn that labeling something you don’t like as “SOCIALISM!!!” only displays your complete and utter ignorance of what socialism actually is? Or perhaps these folks enjoy exposing themselves as moral and intellectual midgets unable to carry on a debate without resorting to labeling and shouting?

Many Conservative Americans, 😈 Nikki Haley among them, profess to be followers of Jesus Christ, who, to coin a phrase, was the ultimate socialist.

He didn’t preach rugged individualism as the path to salvation and admission to Heaven.

He didn’t believe that a dog-eat-dog, I-got-mine-you-can-damned-well-get-your-own social and economic system was the only correct way to live.

Yet how many of those self-professed Christians are convinced that virtually any expression of compassion or consideration for the common good is “SOCIALISM!!!”

Here’s a remedial lesson in living for those who missed the Sunday School lessons: compassion isn’t weakness and caring for others isn’t “SOCIALISM!!!

Oh, and you might try learning about what socialism actually is before you beginning screaming “SOCIALISM!!!” Chances are good you’ll be surprised by what the word and the concept actually mean.

Things like “community” and “compassion” are actually things humanity would perish without…or can you even see that far outside your own narrow interests?

https://whatwouldjackdo.org/2019/09/01/yeah-its-a-very-good-thing-youre-not-a-christian/
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 06, 2019, 03:21:31 pm »


When Christian love and charity is indistinguishable from greed, evil, and faithlessness 😱

By Jack Cluth    10.05.19   


[T]o the Christian Right, an impeachment inquiry on the part of House Democrats amounts to an attempted coup d’etat. Trump, regardless of his blatant corruption, is still quite popular among far-right Christian fundamentalists — who have been rushing to his defense and sounding very melodramatic in the process.


//
Call me naive (you wouldn’t be the first), but I’d never have suspected so many millions of my fellow citizens could be so easily duped into believing Donald Trump was anointed by a loving, righteous God to lead America. Then again, to quote the noted philosopher Forrest Gump, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

While I hesitate to stoop to calling others “stupid,” sometimes things are so blindingly obvious and undeniable you simply have to call it as you see it.

Nice work, America. You broke it, you bought it.

https://whatwouldjackdo.org/2019/10/05/when-christian-love-and-charity-is-indistinguishable-from-greed-evil-and-faithlessness/

For fundamemtalists, it's about judges, Israel, and the "end times" heralding Jesus' final return. Little do they know that were Jesus to actually return and rule, he would be less than pleased with their doings.

As long as white Baptists are doing well, it's all good in their world. these are the "comfortable" I would like noting more than to afflict.




Just love me some pharisees.

🤔
Surly, that belief among secular liberals that the irrational support of Trump is all about the End Times for "Fundamentalists" is a mendacity laced canard carefully cultivated by the 😈 pseudo-Christians themselves. It is clever buck passing 😈 pharisaic sophistry, nothing more. It is a pious guise to cover the truth that the support for Trump is all about Mammon Worship.

I as a Christian, and a pretty Fundamentalist, walk the talk Christian at that, urge you solemnly not to believe their pious "End Times" justifies 👹 WHATEVAH for "Christians" and Trump. As the article I posted makes clear, it is not possible to be a Christian, no matter how Fundamentalist, and consciously discard the most basic LAWS ORDERED by Jesus Christ HIMSELF in the New Testament.

The third Temple and ALL THAT excuses NOBODY who calls themselves a Christian, Fundamentalist or otherwise, if they willfully embrace the Sinfully Damning REJECTION of Christ's Commands through full throated Mammon worship. Christians who embrace 100% ANTI-Christian behavior just because Trump moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem do NOT earn a "Get-Out-of-Hell-Free" Card. The "Christian" leaders pushing this blasphemy are deluded. These 😈 reprobate leaders are under what the Bible calls STRONG DELUSION (explained below).       

After the following graphic of Trumper Republican types, the following quote explains, from the true Christian Bible based perpective, what is going on with these pseudo-Christian pharisees:


And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
That they all might be damned who believed not the truth,
but had pleasure in unrighteousness. -- 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 King James Version (KJV)

God has tolds us all what we must do to be saved. God has, throughout the ages, sent messengers to tell us, in no uncertain terms, what is right and what is the path to perdition.

Mammon Worshipping Human society kills these messengers who cut right through the clever lies and self-serving pharisee sophistry, but God continues to shred any and all cheap excuses for evil behavior, in all its forms.

Posted by: Surly1
« on: October 06, 2019, 09:32:30 am »


[size=124pt]When Christian love and charity is indistinguishable from greed, evil, and faithlessness 😱[/size]

By Jack Cluth    10.05.19   


[T]o the Christian Right, an impeachment inquiry on the part of House Democrats amounts to an attempted coup d’etat. Trump, regardless of his blatant corruption, is still quite popular among far-right Christian fundamentalists — who have been rushing to his defense and sounding very melodramatic in the process.


//
Call me naive (you wouldn’t be the first), but I’d never have suspected so many millions of my fellow citizens could be so easily duped into believing Donald Trump was anointed by a loving, righteous God to lead America. Then again, to quote the noted philosopher Forrest Gump, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

While I hesitate to stoop to calling others “stupid,” sometimes things are so blindingly obvious and undeniable you simply have to call it as you see it.

Nice work, America. You broke it, you bought [/img]

https://whatwouldjackdo.org/2019/10/05/when-christian-love-and-charity-is-indistinguishable-from-greed-evil-and-faithlessness/

For fundamemtalists, it's about judges, Israel, and the "end times" heralding Jesus' final return. Little do they know that were Jesus to actually return and rule, he would be less than pleased with their doings.

As long as white Baptists are doing well, it's all good in their world. these are the "comfortable" I would like noting more than to afflict.









Just love me some pharisees.
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 05, 2019, 11:16:21 pm »


When Christian love and charity is indistinguishable from greed, evil, and faithlessness 😱

By Jack Cluth    10.05.19   

Quote
I don’t think God would be blessing an immoral man who lies, cheats, and belittles others. At least not according to the Bible. I don’t think God is on a “side”.

— Jana Hyde (@janahyde1) October 1, 2019


[T]o the Christian Right, an impeachment inquiry on the part of House Democrats amounts to an attempted coup d’etat. Trump, regardless of his blatant corruption, is still quite popular among far-right Christian fundamentalists — who have been rushing to his defense and sounding very melodramatic in the process. The fact that Trump, during a July 25 phone conversation, tried to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden is irrelevant to Trump’s  Christian Right supporters. And no matter how much information comes out about Trump’s July 25 conversation with Zelensky, they are unwavering in that support.

It’s good to know that  Evangelical Christians are concerned about upholding the teachings of Jesus Christ and helping to bring sinners around to seeing the importance of living a Christ-like life. Right?? Except who could have known that ol’ J.C. was a lying, philandering, immature, inept sociopath concerned only with his own self-interest and self-aggrandizement? Who could have foreseen that earthly representatives of the Kingdom of God would hitch their wagon to a man whose primary (and only) allegiance is to the advancement of his greed, avarice, and political power?



And when did Evangelicals decide to put the “fun” in “fundamentalist?” When did they become so thoroughly judgmental, intolerant, and self-absorbed that they lost their way…and their faith? Prominent Evangelicals like Robert Jeffress, Franklin Graham, Tony Perkins, and so many others have become complicit in the greed, corruption, dishonesty, homophobia, and [insert unChristian behavior here] which are the hallmarks of Donald Trump’s Reign of Error ©. These folks are as much about living Christ-like lives as I am the Queen of Sweden; they’re more closely aligned with the philosophy and calculated hypocrisy of the Pharisees.

The mind fairly boggles at people who can blithely prattle on about Democrats being “evil” when real, impactful evil is committed by the TrumpAdministration EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. How can self-professed “good” Christians ignore the immorality, venality, and criminality which characterize virtually every action of this 🦀 President…and then moan about the evil, Satanic nature of Democrats?

It’s astonishing how willfully blind so much of Trump’s base is to his faithlessness and immorality. That Evangelicals can willingly and openly stand so firmly behind him seems like nothing if not a massive case of Stockholm Syndrome (or just plain ol’ hypocrisy). If a Christian can be judged by their actions and how they treat others (the only true yardstick of faith), how can any rational, committed follower of Jesus Christ find Trump to be anything but a monster of the first order? That’s the stuff of cults, don’tchathink??

Call me naive (you wouldn’t be the first), but I’d never have suspected so many millions of my fellow citizens could be so easily duped into believing Donald Trump was anointed by a loving, righteous God to lead America. Then again, to quote the noted philosopher Forrest Gump, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

While I hesitate to stoop to calling others “stupid,” sometimes things are so blindingly obvious and undeniable you simply have to call it as you see it.

Nice work, America. You broke it, you bought it

https://whatwouldjackdo.org/2019/10/05/when-christian-love-and-charity-is-indistinguishable-from-greed-evil-and-faithlessness/
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 15, 2019, 02:44:11 pm »

10 Things About Patriotism
91,883 views•Published on Sep 26, 2017


Mrs. Betty Bowers, America's Best Christian
93.3K subscribers

Featuring Deven Green. Written by Andrew Bradley.

Category Comedy TRUTH!
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 15, 2019, 02:38:43 pm »

Here is the root of the suicidal trajectory of Homo sap. I continue to believe that, as soon as the vice of selfishness is institutionalized as a "virtue", it is all destructive downhill thereafter. That is precisely what the Evangelical "Christians" of the USA have done, as this video makes crystal clear. U-tube puts it into the "comedy" category. I classify it as TRUTH.

   
Evangelicals Breaking Up with Jesus
288,114 views•Published on Apr 24, 2019


Mrs. Betty Bowers, America's Best Christian
93.3K subscribers

Please support Betty at: https://www.patreon.com/MrsBettyBowers
Category Comedy

"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification 😇 😉 for selfishness." - John Kenneth Galbraith
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: July 15, 2019, 11:11:35 pm »


Pompeo’s ‘Inalienable Rights Commission’ – A 😈 Conservative Christian Assault on Human Rights?

July 15, 2019

The newly-announced State Department "commission on inalienable rights" is a Trojan Horse for the long-planned Conservative Christian attack on human rights.


https://therealnews.com/stories/pompeos-inalienable-rights-commission-a-conservative-christian-assault-on-human-rights

Agelbert NOTE: Absolutely everything about "Conservative Christian" beliefs and behavior is a total inversion of Christ's teachings. They want to destroy, not conserve, human rights for the masses and pollute the environment for corporate profit. IOW their title is 100% Orwellian. They are enemies of God.
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: April 29, 2019, 11:43:32 am »


What Are the Origins of the Olympic Torch Relay?

The Olympic Games are widely seen as a way to unite the world, but one popular Olympic tradition, the torch relay, originated in a much more divisive time and place. Despite widespread belief that the relay was part of the original Olympics in Ancient Greece, the modern Olympic torch relay actually originated in Nazi Germany, at the 1936 Games in Berlin. Joseph Goebbels , the propaganda minister for 👹 Adolf Hitler, saw an opportunity to popularize the myth of "Aryan" superiority by promoting the idea that Nazi Germany was the natural inheritor of classical Greek civilization. Thus the relay was born, with the runners making their way from Olympia, Greece, to Berlin, to light the Olympic cauldron. Foreshadowing the conflict to come, the torches were made by Krupp, a firm that built the machine guns later used by German soldiers during World War II. Onlookers along the torch route through Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Austria, and Czechoslovakia were expected to shout, "Heil, Hitler," as the runners passed. In reverse, the torch route was not dissimilar from the path that Hitler's invading troops would take through Europe at the start of World War II, just three years later.

There is one silver (or is it gold?) lining, though: When the Olympics were held again -- not for 12 years because of World War II -- they were in London, and the torch relay became known as a symbol of peace, which is how it remains today.

Looking back 🧐 at the 1936 Olympics:

► The 1936 Berlin Games were the first sporting event ever televised, but they could only be seen in Berlin and Potsdam, Germany.

American sprinter Jesse Owens won four gold medals at the 1936 Games, angering Adolf Hitler, who had wanted to ban African-American and Jewish athletes from competing.

► The youngest gold medalist in Summer Olympics history was Marjorie Gestring , who was 13 when she placed first in springboard diving at the 1936 Games while representing the United States.

https://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-the-origins-of-the-olympic-torch-relay.htm

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: April 17, 2019, 09:45:09 pm »

Did Bernie Sanders Just Win Over Fox News Viewers?
16,614 views


Thom Hartmann Program

Published on Apr 16, 2019

Bernie Sanders may have just got a room full of Fox News viewers to not only cheer for medicare for all and Universal Healthcare but he did it, using progressive talking points.

Bernie Sanders appeared on Fox News for a Town Hall, where the Senator and 2020 Presidential hopeful was able to get more than half the audience to applaud socialized healthcare?

Did Bernie out Fox Fox News? 

Could this be proof that progressive politics works and stands a great chance against Trump?

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Category News & Politics
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 01, 2019, 08:38:43 pm »

Eddie said:

Quote
In a close election we know the Republicans, with their strong positions at the state level in places like Florida (and Texas and many other states) have the means to steal an election. It's not like it'd even be the first time. Trump would be guaranteed to do every possible dirty trick to stay in the White House. That's a given.

The election needs to be a clear win for any Democrat.....unfortunately, it's shaping up to be the other thing. If the fascists do take over, there will be plenty of blame to go around. The Democrats are their own worst enemies.

Exactly how many white people will vote for a candidate who believes in reparations for 4th and 5th generation descendants of former slaves and native Americans? Besides you and AG, I mean?

Answer....not nearly enough to elect any socialist clown who has the bad judgment to keep talking that crap.



Well, aside from the Eddie required ad hom towards anybody with the temerity call themselves "socialist" (i.e. "clown"), which you always seem so very inclined to engage in over, and over and over again , sprinkled with the the most extreme hyperbole you can think of (i.e. demonize said "socialist" as the banner carrier for reparations no red blooded WHITE AMERICAN would stand for - never mind the Courts and Congress and so on), does that mean you won't vote for Senator Sanders of Vermont?

You did say you would vote for him. 👍 ;D I'm counting on you to get your CAPITALIST ass to the voting booth in 2020 and vote for that Democratic Socialist (if he is the Dumocraric Party Candidate, of course. Otherwise, please stay home  :laugh:).

I don't know his stand on reparations and frankly I do not give a damn. The (mostly  WHITE ) people of this country give a damn about stopping, AND REVERSING, the rampant CAPITALIST TRASHING of the economy and the environment on behalf of everybody that is in the top 10 percent or so. The vast majority of the blacks and browns like me have the same excellent attitude   8)

I think (and up until today, I thought that you did too) that Sanders has the credibility and gravitas to do the right SOCIALIST thing as President of the United States. That's what you said and I agree.


I don't have much of a problem with Bernie. I didn't say any thing ad hom either. Bernie is a decent man, I believe,one of principle, which is very rare inany politician of any party.

However, I don't think I could vote for Bernie if he endorsed reparations, as AOC and Kamala Harris and even Elizabeth Warren (I believe, if I'm not mistaken) have now brought in to the discussion of what should be the Democratic Party planks. Bernie did cave fast when the SJW's came after him for not letting women run his 2016 campaign. He has the problem now of not being left enough, compared to the SJW's in his own movement.

The reparations idea is a clear ploy to (a) make the SJW's happy and (b) get out the black vote. I do expect most blacks would vote for anybody who promised them free money. That's why it's a deal breaker for me. It's just pandering. More populism.

To me, a left leaning candidate who promises to give any ethnic group something for nothing is just playing at being a Hugo Chavez. The poor Indios in Venezuela who went for his free sh it pitch just got the shaft. You want to know where Venezuela went off the rails? In 1976, when they nationalized the oil.  It's been downhill ever since.

The super-rich corporate cronies in the Republican party who run this country are indeed a vile lot. But to assume the new people trying to assume leadership on the left are going to somehow make things better is probably just a pipe dream. We need to beat our nukes into plowhares, but we're just building more nukes and zillion buck airplanes and who knows what else. Using borrowed money that is demonstrably unpayable debt.

My whole point in commenting at all was just to say that the average dumbass American (of which there are too many) will run straight to Trump when they hear about the promises these stupid females are coming up with, and whatever chance we might have of electing any non-fascist will be almost zero.

If only the left could let go of all the SJW mania and all the promises to the blacks, browns, gays and gender-conflicted snowflakes, and just come up with a REASONABLE platform with one or two good promises (like universal healthcare) and not split apart over silly sh it, then maybe I could quit reading about whatever  new atrocity Trump is giving us every day.

But please ignore my real point, ad hom racist that I am. How could I possible know anything?

 H. L Mencken and Ambrose Bierce saw this coming a hundred years ago.

Now you are attacking Hugo Chavez too? Everything you just Ad hominemed about Venezuela is false (watch the Empire files video posted earlier and learn the truth or just keep believing the CIA CAPITALIST LIES. I mean, how many CIA backed coups does it take for Agelbert to finally accept that Socialism has "failed?" 😈). As soon as the Texas Fossil Fuelers couldn't control Venezuela's oil, Venezuela was PUSHED  "off the rails" by consistent and continuous economic attacks by GUESS WHO?   

And NOBODY is promising "free money". That's just more Republican CAPITALIST disingenuous propaganda that you are quite skilled at carrying around like a badge of honor. Universal Basic Income provides FREEDOM from Capitalist employer Captive market Tyranny. You can claim otherwise all you want 👎. I know better. What is REALLY FREE MONEY is the welfare queen subsidies for the Fossil Fuel Fascists 🦕🦖 that you never seem to remember have been FREE-RIDING on the taxpayer dime for about a century.  How convenient. ALL the social programs proposed from free education to dental included healthcare to UBI do not amount to a HILL OF BEANS compared with what your precious Texan Oil WELFARE QUEENS have taken from we-the people.

The super rich are not just a "vile lot"; they are PARASITES. They are LAZY. They are FREE RIDERS. They are WELFARE QUEENS. They are CRIMINALS. They are CROOKS. We are ALL DEAD if they are not stopped. I really do not believe you understand that.

I have no idea what you mean by the ad hom about the "left not letting go" of what you consider "silly" this and that. All the identity politics WEDGE ISSUES were thought up by REPUBLICANS to deliberately, and underhandedly, demonize Democrats.

This whole "Left", "Right" political framing thing has always been bullshit, as far as I'm concerned. You are either for justice, equality and a better human society, free of exploitation and war, or you are full of ethically challenged CAPITALIST BULLSHIT.

Using pejorative labels like "clown" to describe a Socialist or "pipe dream" to descrbe a Socialist program is ad hominem, period. When I attack CAPITALISM, I give reasons, not verbal sniping. You may disagree with what I say, but you have no right whatsover to do so without calm and reasonable logic and facts.

You fly off the handle way to easily. I don't want discourse with you if I can possibly avoid it. You have already unjustly and viciously branded me as a "Trailer Park Jesus" and a "loser". I do not understand why you want to reply to any posts by a "whacko loser" like myself. Do you enjoy communicating with people you have no respect for? I certainly don't. Take a deep breath and go argue with somebody that isn't such a "leftist loser".

I'm glad you have no problem with Bernie. I hope you vote for him for POTUS.

I get that you labor under the CAPITALIST belief that all things Socialist are "stuff and nonsense". I disagree. You believe in your heart that you know what you are talking about. I don't, so let's leave it at that.

Get off my back, Eddie.
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 01, 2019, 02:07:20 pm »

Eddie said:

Quote
In a close election we know the Republicans, with their strong positions at the state level in places like Florida (and Texas and many other states) have the means to steal an election. It's not like it'd even be the first time. Trump would be guaranteed to do every possible dirty trick to stay in the White House. That's a given.

The election needs to be a clear win for any Democrat.....unfortunately, it's shaping up to be the other thing. If the fascists do take over, there will be plenty of blame to go around. The Democrats are their own worst enemies.

Exactly how many white people will vote for a candidate who believes in reparations for 4th and 5th generation descendants of former slaves and native Americans? Besides you and AG, I mean?

Answer....not nearly enough to elect any socialist clown who has the bad judgment to keep talking that crap.



Well, aside from the Eddie required ad hom towards anybody with the temerity call themselves "socialist" (i.e. "clown"), which you always seem so very inclined to engage in over, and over and over again , sprinkled with the the most extreme hyperbole you can think of (i.e. demonize said "socialist" as the banner carrier for reparations no red blooded WHITE AMERICAN would stand for - never mind the Courts and Congress and so on), does that mean you won't vote for Senator Sanders of Vermont?

You did say you would vote for him. 👍 ;D I'm counting on you to get your CAPITALIST ass to the voting booth in 2020 and vote for that Democratic Socialist (if he is the Dumocraric Party Candidate, of course. Otherwise, please stay home  :laugh:).

I don't know his stand on reparations and frankly I do not give a damn. The (mostly  WHITE ) people of this country give a damn about stopping, AND REVERSING, the rampant CAPITALIST TRASHING of the economy and the environment on behalf of everybody that is in the top 10 percent or so. The vast majority of the blacks and browns like me have the same excellent attitude   8)

I think (and up until today, I thought that you did too) that Sanders has the credibility and gravitas to do the right SOCIALIST thing as President of the United States. That's what you said and I agree.
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 01, 2019, 02:03:20 pm »



I read this the other day (a comment on ZH, of all places!). It basically explains why the thinking of the average CAPITALIST in the USA, though oh, so very "reasonable", is our doom.

Quote
Satan is reasonable.

He starts with the assumption that we're worthless and unworthy and he's right. He also hates the fact that in spite of this we've been placed in a position superior to him.

So it's entirely reasonable that he hates us.

Everything he does is reasonable.

Reasonable people might even come to the conclusion that killing a vast majority of the earths population is good for them.

That's a reasonable assumption.

Reason is not going to free you; it will enslave you.

Mostly because there has to be a higher purpose to life, because if there is not, then your reason is different from another person's reason and the only reconciliation likely to occur is one of you going away.

That's entirely reasonable.

Live and let live is a strategy which fails right when it's needed most.

It's not reasonable to refuse to fight, it's more reasonable to simply scheme and plot and destroy your enemy from behind the scenes it's less dangerous that way.

This, as absurd as it sounds, perfectly describes our world today. Reason was there through the entire thing.

Agelbert NOTE: Reasonable behavior, though often quite rational, is economically, environmentally and socially destructive when it eschews ethical constraints.

It is reasonable, when your unethical=CAPITALIST GOAL is Profit Over People and Planet, to pretend that ethical behavior is for the "weak willed".

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 01, 2019, 12:42:48 pm »


Specter of Fascism: Cohen Says Trump Won’t Leave Peacefully in 2020

Oh, he'll fuc king leave, one way or another. If there is a preponderance of evidence, he'll negotiate a soft landing. The will make leaving irresistable, and he will be too greedy to resist. If not, history provides guidance:



//
CARMEN RUSSELL-SLUCHANSKY: Yeah, I mean, I like what you said, actually, about the financialization, particularly. Because I mean, honestly, I think if people saw bankers go to jail under Obama for the ’07-’08 crash, we don’t have Trump, because they don’t feel so desperate. But when you see who he brought in, and the fact that–like Lawrence Summers, and even Eric Holder–I mean, Eric Holder’s great in so many ways. But you know, he came from New York, and he went back to a Wall Street firm, and is making I think $2.5 million, or something like that. And you know, nobody went to jail. I mean, you have to, have to wonder, like, how–well, you don’t have to wonder. People see this. And so they throw a Hail Mary. And that’s partially how we end up where we’re at.

PAUL JAY: And if you don’t see Bush and Cheney go to jail for launching an illegal war that kills a million people–like, if you can do that and not be accountable, what can’t you get away for? Get away with, sorry. Jacqueline, final word.

JACQUELINE LUQMAN: Yeah. And I have to add Elliott Abrams. If he doesn’t go to–if he not only doesn’t go to prison, but he also gets another job in another administration, what else are people supposed to think, like Dr. Giroux said, in a country where politics follows culture, and our culture is so bereft of actual real, clear understanding of justice and equality?


This is yet another reference that I have read to the phenomenon that pins the rise of Trump to Obama's failure to bring the banksters to justice, one of the most significant failures of his presidency. It makes sense; the sense of a two-tiered system of money and justice, driven home hard, leading to the sense of, "I'm going to voite to bring the whole goddam thing down."

As you know, I really enjoy things like this, but for the many truths in there, it's a lot of pipe dreams and happy talk until the Ds put together a campaign, a candidate and a strategy and put together the volunteers for the miserable, thankless slog known as the ground game. Because 2020 the Ds will be up against not only the Rs but their major donors, the banksters, the extractive industries, and the Russians. I assume nothing.

Just my two cents.


Well said. 
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: February 28, 2019, 08:18:59 pm »


Specter of Fascism: Cohen Says Trump Won’t Leave Peacefully in 2020

February 27, 2019

Hearings reveal deepening systemic corruption, further degeneration of GOP, progressive members standout in questioning – Jacqueline Luqman, Henry Giroux and Carmen Russell-Sluchansky join Paul Jay


Story Transcript

PAUL JAY: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Paul Jay.

Well, Michael Cohen finally made his long-awaited appearance before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. And while there’s a ton to dig into in terms of his accusations against Donald Trump, who–I guess everyone has heard by now–he said he is a racist, a conman, and a cheat. But perhaps the most explosive thing that Cohen said came at the very end, when he said about a man, Trump, that he’s worked with for over 10 years, in a statement that was vetted by his lawyers, he said–at some point he was asked about that. He says that if Donald Trump loses the election in 2020–Well, here’s what he said.

MICHAEL COHEN: Given my experience working for Mr. Trump, I fear that if he loses the election in 2020 that there will not be a peaceful transition of power.

PAUL JAY: That’s essentially saying that if he loses the election there will be a coup. There will be another declaration of national emergency. I’ve been saying on The Real News for quite some time that I’m very concerned with the agenda of this administration to go after Iran, especially in the midst of all this domestic chaos; of the possibilities of some kind of staged attack on the United States in some way or another to help justify some kind of aggression against Iran. He’s surrounded by John Bolton and Pompeo and people like that who don’t seem to believe that, certainly, international law matters. And one wonders whether they think American law matters.

So we’re going to start with that statement that Trump may not give up power if he loses the election. And then we’re going to dig into more of what was said during the hearings. So now joining us to discuss Cohen’s testimony and such, first of all, is Dr. Henry Giroux. Henry teaches at the McMaster University, where he’s the Chair of Scholarship and Public Interest in the Department of English and Cultural Studies. Also joining us is Jacqueline Luqman. She’s the editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, and often hosts on The Real News Network. And Carmen Russell-Sluchansky. He’s a journalist based in Washington, D.C., who’s appeared–his work has appeared on NBC, PBS, ABC, BBC, and such. Thanks for joining us.

HENRY GIROUX: It’s a pleasure.

CARMEN RUSSELL-SLUCHANSKY: Thanks for having me.

PAUL JAY: So, Jacqueline, let me start with you. When you heard those words, what goes through your mind?

JACQUELINE LUQMAN: Actually, that’s not the first time I’ve heard that, in regard to this administration. I can’t remember who else said something like that. I can’t remember if it was Trump tweeted something like that, or a member of his cabinet, probably his son-in-law, who said something like that, that Trump supporters would not go away peacefully if Trump did not win the next election. And when you look at the kind of people who are aligned with Trump, who he’s aligned himself with, like you said, Paul, John Bolton and Mike Pompeo; Elliott Abrams and Steve Bannon. People think Steve Bannon went away, and he’s not involved in the administration anymore just because he’s not in the White House. That’s–that couldn’t be farther from the truth. It’s not a surprise and it’s not shocking that this is a possibility. And I actually think it’s a reality. And these are not peaceful people. They didn’t rise to the White House using peaceful and fair tactics. And I don’t put it past them that they would resort to actual violence to keep it.

PAUL JAY: So, Henry, what do you think? What has Cohen got in mind? As I say, this is a guy who knows Trump for years, and his lawyers vetted the statements.

HENRY GIROUX: I think that what we’re hearing here and what we need to be concerned with is the fact that Trump is, in a sense, working right out of the playbook of a kind of updated fascist politics. I mean, his language is about the language of brutality, it’s the language of violence, language of fear. And he’s been doing this for a long time. Even before the election, I mean, there was some talk on the part of Trump and others about how he wasn’t sure what exactly was going to happen if she actually won the election. So I think that if you understand that comment as a way of both baiting his base, and at the same time making it clear that this is a guy who really trades in the notion of lawlessness and the notion of violence. And it’s very serious, and I think you need to take it seriously.

PAUL JAY: Carmen?

CARMEN RUSSELL-SLUCHANSKY: Yeah, I’ll follow up on what both of them said. I mean, we’ve been hearing these concerns since the election in 2016. I mean, maybe you remember, like, a lot of people were very concerned about what would happen if Hillary Clinton had, you know, if he had won the popular vote and Hillary Clinton had won the Electoral College. It ended up being different. But you know, people were really concerned. But then we found out that, first of all, Donald Trump didn’t expect to win the election, probably, or maybe, and that he was planning on starting this thing called Trump TV. Would he himself be out there starting a revolution? Probably not. I think he’s too lazy for that. But he would certainly be riling up supporters to think that 2020 was stolen, just as he did in 2016. And that’s–I mean, I think all the evidence points to that, for sure.

PAUL JAY: I mean, one of the things that Cohen said today is that Trump never expected to win. This was all a marketing ploy to build up the Trump brand. As he started get moving–once he wins the nomination, takes on Pence, which gives him a deal with the Koch brothers, who in the beginning wanted nothing to do with him. But Pence is a Koch brother guy, and now he’s got Pompeo, which is a completely Koch brother creation. But once he becomes president, he becomes a vehicle for so many different political forces. Evangelicals see him as a vessel. The neocons now see him as a vessel. And everything feeds into his megalomania. And so it is a convergence of this guy’s personal, as I say, megalomania, and some much more sophisticated political interests, in the context of a very degenerating, overall, political system, so that–you know, this corruption of Trump is just a tip of the iceberg of pervasive systemic corruption throughout the whole system. Henry.

HENRY GIROUX: Oh, absolutely. I mean, I think that comment is right on target. I mean, I think that–you know, some of the stuff that we’re hearing today is not uninteresting, but as a number of people have pointed out, as I think Carmen pointed out, I mean, this is well known. So I think the real question here is how do you understand this corruption as something that’s so endemic to the politics that we find in the United States, that Trump is simply symbolic of it? And while Trump’s corruption is unadulterated and unapologetic, at the same time you really have to look at the larger systemic issues at work here. The convergence of money and politics, a neocapitalist system that absolutely, in a way, commodifies everything the only value that matters are exchange values, the notion that social responsibility is a burden rather than something that actually is endemic to a democracy.

The fact that this guy endlessly–if you really want to talk about corruption, I mean, this guy is basically endangering the planet. He’s changing the lives of young people with the rollbacks that he’s done with respect to environmental rules, with worker protection rules. That’s where the corruption really lies. I mean, let’s talk about the toll that’s taking place in terms of both democracy and the toll it’s taking place in terms of the planet; the toll that’s taking place in terms of human life. That’s real corruption, because it’s death-dealing.

PAUL JAY: Jacqueline?

JACQUELINE LUQMAN: I cannot disagree with anything that was said. I remember during the campaign, at one of Trump’s rallies where he’s speaking in front of a group of people, and there’s some protesters there, most of whom were black people. And he said to the crowd “You know, back in the day we would have them taken out on a stretcher.” People were shocked that the crowd actually cheered. But a lot of us were not, because we understood that Trump is really good at tapping into the most base instincts of the worst kind of people. He knows how to read it all, and he knows how to say what they want to hear to get him riled up. And he is the kind of person who wasn’t politically savvy, like you all said, wasn’t expected to win. Didn’t even expect to win himself. But he was the perfect front man to provide the popular frenzy, to whip up this popular frenzy among the group of people that this very sophisticated cabal needed to produce the outcome we’re seeing right now.

So this is a much bigger issue than Trump being corrupt, or mean, or racist. Those are bad things, but this is about a larger system that he’s just the front man of that’s been brewing for a long time.

PAUL JAY: And I think it’s something specific about the overtness of the Republican Party and Trump, and the GOP has really degenerated. Any voices–certainly in the Republican primary there were many who were very critical of Trump, but the elected, both in the House and the Senate, Republican Party has actually realized that this overt, naked, reactionary, fascistic message works for enough people to get elected. And without reservation, now. And we saw this in the Kavanaugh hearings. When Kavanaugh was was being grilled I came away saying “Wow, this guy’s toast.” And then I look at the polling the next day, and the Republicans actually did very well in the polling. People thought they were being insulting to Kavanaugh. And now they’re doing the same thing. They’ve learnt that the character assassination of Cohen, regardless of anything else that’s said, will play with enough people here. Here’s a sample of that character assassination of Cohen.

JIM JORDAN: Here’s the point. The Chairman just gave you a 30 minute opening statement, and you have a history of lying over, and over, and over again. And frankly, don’t take my word for it. Take what the court said. Take what the Southern District of New York said. Cohen did crimes that were marked by a pattern of deception and that permeated his professional life. These crimes were distinct in their harms, but bear a common set of circumstances. They involved deception and were each–each–motivated by personal greed and ambition. A pattern of deception for personal greed and ambition. And you just got 30 minutes of an opening statement where you trash the President of the United States of America. Mr. Cohen, how long did–how long did you work for Donald Trump?

MICHAEL COHEN: Approximately a decade.

JIM JORDAN: Ten years?

MICHAEL COHEN: That’s correct.

JIM JORDAN: And you said all these bad things about the President there in that last 30 minutes. And yet you worked for him for 10 years.

So, Carmen, it’s an interesting thing. On the one hand, if the guy is so horrible, Cohen, why wouldn’t he have worked for the guy for 10 years? I mean, you can’t be horrible–and the other. But but the main implication throughout this testimony is that Cohen wants a book deal, he wants a movie deal, and he wants a lighter sentence, so he’ll say anything. What did you think of that? Is there truth to that?

CARMEN RUSSELL-SLUCHANSKY: Reasoning coming from Republicans, many of whom who, you know, disavowed Trump early on, but then figured out, like you were talking about, it’s like he’s their guy because they’re getting what they wanted. They can, you know, grab–you know, it’s a smash and grab job while he’s there. So they’re enjoying it while it lasts. I mean, to think that’s like–well, why are you working with Trump when he’s such a bad guy, when they’re doing the same thing. I mean, the names that they’ve called him. So I mean, that’s hypocritical to begin with.

But secondly, I mean, this is a guy, like–they talked about how, they’re asking him, it was like, “Well, you lied to Congress before. Why can we trust you now?” It’s because he lied to Congress, was caught, was indicted, and now has investigators watching everything he says. We can actually feel pretty confident that he’s not lying now. You know, he doesn’t want–I mean, there could be a new indictment for lying to Congress again. It would definitely lose any possibility of reducing his sentence, and that kind of thing. So I mean, I think we can take it–we can take a lot of what he said today at face value, for sure.

PAUL JAY: Yeah, I thought there was an interesting point, this is Clip 5, where he says to the Republicans, you know, you’re accusing me of having protected him, and now I’m not. And and here’s, here’s what Cohen says to them.

MICHAEL COHEN: It’s that sort of behavior that I’m responsible for. I’m responsible for your silliness, because I did the same thing that you’re doing now for 10 years. I protected Mr. Trump for 10 years.

PAUL JAY: I thought that was a rather poignant moment, because that is what almost the entire, or at least elected representatives of the Republican Party are doing. They know very well that Cohen’s accusations on the whole are true. The fraud with the Deutsche Bank where he falsifies his bank records. They know that they probably have–I was watching Fox, and the judge whose last name I always screw up–Napolitano. To the chagrin of the Fox host, Napolitano says they may have Trump on two critical issues: the campaign finance violations where the payment to Stormy Daniels is made under clearly Trump’s direction, because even Giuliani has acknowledged that this was done; and two, the bank fraud, lying about his financial statements to Deutsche Bank. And these are both being investigated by the prosecutor’s office in the Southern District of New York, which cannot be stopped even if the Mueller investigation is closed down or doesn’t go public. And there are some rumors today that they may not even release the Muller investigation.

So the Republicans know that this stuff is there. And I was a little surprised, I guess, that only one Republican of the whole place, I think a guy from Michigan, tried to distance himself a little bit from all of this scandal. The others are just all in that you have to defend Trump at all costs, or you’ll lose–or Trump’s machine will primary you. And you’ll lose your position. Henry.

HENRY GIROUX: The other side of this is that the kind of criticisms that are being made of Cohen, about his character and whether he’s lying, I mean, if you look at this within the larger context, this is the same argument that Trump uses. And that is that loyalty becomes code for absolutely covering up the most corrupt political economic and social practices that exist. It’s sort of like being in the mafia. You know, I mean, what’s the crime here? The crime here, that he’s worked for somebody, and actually now has begun to tell the truth about what happened, and they’re claiming that somehow because he worked for him he should have been loyal and he couldn’t possibly tell the truth.

I mean I think the other side of this, again, is this is something that needs to be addressed, and that is the degree to which there is a certain element of which the political collapses into the personal. You know, we don’t talk about larger systemic issues, we talk about character. I mean, we don’t talk about whether or not Trump is actually corrupt. We talk about whether or not Cohen’s character is somehow at risk because he worked for this guy for so long. I mean, it’s a politics of deflection, and it’s a politics that, in a sense, so narrows the purview of what’s being said that it becomes impossible to separate the personal from the political; that being that there are larger issues at work of which Cohen, in some way, is being quite truthful, because I think, as Carmen just said, he has nothing to lose.

PAUL JAY: Yeah. I mean, I thought the Republican grilling of Cohen was so contradictory because part of what emerges is yes, Cohen’s a very corrupt character. And his use, “I made mistakes.” Mistakes. These aren’t mistakes. This is sinking into the depths of corruption. But that’s why Trump hired him, because he had a guy who was so willing to sink in the depths of corruption.

HENRY GIROUX: But unlike the Republicans–I mean, this is a party which is so extremist–I mean, it’s been turned over to extremists. I mean, when you talk about the Republicans, you know, you couldn’t believe that they’re putting up with this. These are Vichy Republicans. I mean, this is the most extremist Republican Party we have seen since the Civil War.

PAUL JAY: And for younger people, what you mean by Vichy Republicans, you’re talking about the sections of the French elites that went along and became, essentially, collaborators with the Nazis.

HENRY GIROUX: Absolutely.

PAUL JAY: You’re saying these are people–essentially they realize this is a fascisization, and they’re signing on.

I thought there was an interesting moment, a few moments, where some of these new progressive members of the House–and one of them isn’t that new, but he’s relatively new–I thought did a much better job than most of the other Democrats did, being quite specific. Here’s Ro Khanna, which is probably the strongest framing of the one of the criminal acts that Trump can be charged with. So here’s that.

RO KHANNA: I just want the American public to understand the explosive nature of your testimony in this document. Are you telling us, Mr. Cohen, that the President directed transactions in conspiracy with Allen Weisselberg, and his son Donald Trump Jr, as part of a criminal–part of a criminal conspiracy of financial fraud. Is that your testimony today?

MICHAEL COHEN: Yes.

PAUL JAY: So I mean, on the face of it this stuff is kind of obvious. And the degeneration of American politics is such that you’re going to have a he said-she said balancing act in most of the corporate media. And you know, it’s kind of not going to matter, in many ways. We’ll see as this process develops how much deeper. But, Jacqueline, do facts still matter in this discourse?

JACQUELINE LUQMAN: Yes, facts do matter. But I think I need to to make it clear that there is an issue with–maybe I don’t want to call it his character, Cohen’s character, because almost everyone in that chamber, with the exception of the newer members–who I guess haven’t had time to be corrupt yet, and we hope they never get there–most of the people in that chamber are corrupt. So it is hypocritical for especially these Republicans who are giving cover to this to this particular president calling out the character of Cohen, who is a liar. OK, he is.

But my issue with Cohen is that he is part of the reason we even have Trump as president. Because all of this that he knew, he didn’t say anything about it before the election. He was only compelled to talk about it when the investigation started. So I mean, there is some validity to asking him, well, gee, you’re coming out saying this stuff now. Why should we trust you? But because we already knew a lot of what Cohen said actually happened–we already knew about Stormy Daniels. We already knew, we actually knew that WikiLeaks was releasing the cache of emails every week or so because WikiLeaks actually announced on Twitter that they were doing it. Nobody called Assange, and he didn’t tell anybody “Hey, I’m releasing some emails.” They actually tweeted “We’re releasing a cache of emails next week. Wait for it.”

PAUL JAY: But it might establish a direct connection between Stone and Assange if the story is true.

JACQUELINE LUQMAN: And see, that’s the thing. I don’t believe the story is true. Because if you’re in the Ecuadorian Embassy, and you’re under all of this scrutiny, how are all of the intelligence agencies not recording your phone calls? I just–my jury is still way out [crosstalk].

PAUL JAY: One assumes they are.

JACQUELINE LUQMAN: And I’m sorry, I need proof of that. And you can’t just come into a congressional hearing and say “So-and-so picked up a phone and called so-and-so, and that’s my proof.”

PAUL JAY: Right. Well, let me get back to Henry’s point-

JACQUELINE LUQMAN: I don’t think that’s good enough for court. That’s not good enough for me.

PAUL JAY: OK. Let me–just to pick up on something you just said, Jacqueline and Henry. It can’t be underestimated that this is all in the context of a generalized legal corruption which is called the way campaign financing takes place. I mean, you can have gobs of money thrown at candidates. They can write legislation that’s directly in your favor, and you’ll get more campaign contributions. And it’s not called corruption, because it’s called legal. Because the same people that make the laws are getting the money. Carmen, go ahead.

CARMEN RUSSELL-SLUCHANSKY: Yeah, because I want to respond to that. I mean–because you’re absolutely right. You know, campaign finance is often very corrupt. But even then, it can be legal and still corrupt on the face of it when most people would look at it. So it’s amazing to me that we’re still in this hearing and we’re still seeing that it’s possible that they did something illegal. Which is almost hard to do, I think. Because like you said, you know, you can legally give lots of money; you know, super PACs, PACs. There’s so many ways of getting around this fury of campaign finance law that it almost doesn’t matter anymore. And yet, still, still it seems like he’s, you know, Michael Cohen is providing evidence of illegality, of an illegal action, which was, of course, the checks to Stephanie Clifford; you know, aka Stormy Daniels.

If I could also just throw one more thing out there, I want to push back on Jacqueline just a little bit, because I did work on the hill. There are a lot of great–you know, there are a lot of great legislators there. You do have to wonder how so many of them become rich while they’re in office. You know, I did know a number of good progressives who had been there for a long time. And I do–I mean, I’m really heartened, like you said, by these new progresives. Because, you know, it would have been–usually the OGR, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that this hearing was held in, is, you know, for a lot of grandstanding. But you know, you watch, like, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s, you know, I mean, real interrogation, she was going for facts.

PAUL JAY: Let’s take a look at that.

ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: According to an August 24–August 21, 2016 report by the Washington Post, while the President claimed in financial disclosure forms that Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida was worth more than $50 million, he had reported otherwise to local tax authorities that the course was worth “No more than $5 million.” Mr. Cohen, do you know whether this specific report is accurate?

MICHAEL COHEN: It’s identical to what he did at Trump National Golf Club at Briarcliff Manor.

ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: To your knowledge, was the President interested in reducing his local real estate bills? Tax bills?

MICHAEL COHEN: Yes.

ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: And how did he do that?

MICHAEL COHEN: What you do is you deflate the value of the asset, and then you put in a request to the tax department for a deduction.

ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: Thank you.

PAUL JAY: A couple of points, here. One thing was missing today, which was anything that proved, one, any kind of collaboration between Trump and Russia in terms of the interference in the elections. There was absolutely nothing added to that picture whatsoever. In fact, he, you know, it suggests that there wasn’t anything. There was no evidence of who actually hacked WikiLeaks here. It continues just to be assumed it was Russia because American intelligence agencies says it was. But I don’t think, at least in terms of what we know in the public domain information that we actually know that yet. But set that aside. Wasserman-Schultz, who desperately tried to get Cohen to implicate Trump in a collaboration with the Russians, because she’s the one that was exposed as undermining the Bernie Sanders campaign when the WikiLeaks–when the DNC hacking takes place, or whistleblowing, whichever, then gets released. So I thought that was important.

And we’re kind of running out of time here, so just to end with a big picture question, or I’m going to make a comment and ask you guys to respond. You know, it’s not enough just to look at campaign financing. It’s not enough to look at corruption at the level of politicians. The big picture is the state of the militarization of the U.S. economy, and the state of the financialization of the U.S. economy. And between Wall Street and the military industrial–and many people add congressional–complex, the level and depth of systemic corruption. I mean, how many big bankers go to jail after outright fraud in the ’07-’08 crash? Is it any surprise that it’s, first of all, somebody from New York who ends up being–you know, Trump ends up being president, given the corruption surrounding finance in New York? But it’s the whole economic basis of that corruption that we need to talk more about. And you’ll sure never hear that on corporate media.

So one by one, you guys can add to your kind of final statements here. Henry, you go first.

HENRY GIROUX: Let me say something. Look, you have an economic crisis in the United States marked by massive inequality, the corruption of politics with big money, and so forth and so on. But I’m going to disagree with you on one thing, and that is the economic crisis has not been matched by a crisis of ideas. And one of the reasons is we never talk about the formative cultures that are necessary in a democracy to create, form citizens who can address these issues. Because you not only have an economic crisis, you have a crisis of civic culture. You have a crisis of civic literacy.You have a crisis of civic justice.

So it seems to me we have to ask ourselves, you know, what happens when all of a sudden the culture collapses because all the public spheres that matter are under siege? Where they’re being privatized, where they’re being contracted out, or whether they’re simply being destroyed? What happens when you have a press that’s called the enemy of the American people? What happens when the journalists get killed, and all of a sudden you have a president of the United States supporting a dictator who actually is responsible for the crime?

So we have to really include something about a larger cultural issue here that speaks, it seems to me, very importantly to the fact that politics follows culture. If people don’t have a collective understanding of what’s going on, then they can’t really address the problem to change it. That needs to be addressed. This is not just simply an economic issue. It’s also an educational one.

PAUL JAY: I’m not sure we disagree on that, because part of this is the destruction of the public school system. And you can’t get such a large section of the American people falling for such obvious BS if you have–without such a terrible level of education and understanding. I mean, it’s no accident that Trump is strongest in rural America, where honestly, education is at its worst. Carmen, final comment from you.

CARMEN RUSSELL-SLUCHANSKY: Yeah, I mean, I like what you said, actually, about the financialization, particularly. Because I mean, honestly, I think if people saw bankers go to jail under Obama for the ’07-’08 crash, we don’t have Trump, because they don’t feel so desperate. But when you see who he brought in, and the fact that–like Lawrence Summers, and even Eric Holder–I mean, Eric Holder’s great in so many ways. But you know, he came from New York, and he went back to a Wall Street firm, and is making I think $2.5 million, or something like that. And you know, nobody went to jail. I mean, you have to, have to wonder, like, how–well, you don’t have to wonder. People see this. And so they throw a Hail Mary. And that’s partially how we end up where we’re at.

PAUL JAY: And if you don’t see Bush and Cheney go to jail for launching an illegal war that kills a million people–like, if you can do that and not be accountable, what can’t you get away for? Get away with, sorry. Jacqueline, final word.

JACQUELINE LUQMAN: Yeah. And I have to add Elliott Abrams. If he doesn’t go to–if he not only doesn’t go to prison, but he also gets another job in another administration, what else are people supposed to think, like Dr. Giroux said, in a country where politics follows culture, and our culture is so bereft of actual real, clear understanding of justice and equality?

But I think one of the things that was most important that was done at the second part of the hearing that the new progressives did was to point out, especially Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s questions, was to point out how the wealthy elite get away with [hoarding] their finances. How they do it. The devaluation of their vast real estate stores. How they lie on their taxes. And then how they also weaponize different aspects of culture, which is I think something that Rashida Tlaib did when she pointed out the issue with the HUD executive being–honestly, she was used as a prop. But they exposed the tactics that the elites use to continue to perpetuate the system of corruption and gross inequality in this country. And I think they won the day in this hearing more than anybody else.

PAUL JAY: Yeah, I think it’s a very good, important note to end on. This movement to elect new progressives, and to have people like these four progressives that spoke on the committee to actually be on that committee, it’s a reflection of the strength of a growing movement that can’t be ignored. And so this isn’t all just a dark and horrible picture. There is, perhaps, especially in the leadup to 2020 election, there is a movement here that may make a kind of breakthrough that this system wasn’t built to deal with.

Anyway, thank you very much. And well I’m sure we’ll pick this conversation up again. Thanks for joining us. And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

https://therealnews.com/stories/specter-of-fascism-cohen-says-trump-wont-leave-peacefully-in-2020
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: December 10, 2018, 07:27:35 pm »


DEC 10, 2018 OPINION | TD ORIGINALS

The Heresy of White Christianity

By Chris Hedges

SNIPPET1:

There are, as Cornel West has pointed out, only two African-Americans who rose from dirt-poor poverty to the highest levels of American intellectual life—the writer Richard Wright and the radical theologian James H. Cone.

Cone, who died in April, grew up in segregated Bearden, Ark., the impoverished son of a woodcutter who had only a sixth-grade education. With an almost superhuman will, Cone clawed his way up from the Arkansas cotton fields to implode theological studies in the United States with his withering critique of the white supremacy and racism inherent within the white, liberal Christian church. His brilliance—he was a Greek scholar and wrote his doctoral dissertation on the Swiss theologian Karl Barth—enabled him to “turn the white man’s theology against him and make it speak for the liberation of black people.” God’s revelation in America, he understood, “was found among poor black people.” Privileged white Christianity and its theology were “heresy.” He was, until the end of his life, possessed by what the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr called “sublime madness.” His insights, he writes, “came to me as if revealed by the spirits of my ancestors long dead but now coming alive to haunt and torment the descendants of the whites who had killed them.”

“When it became clear to me that Jesus was not biologically white and that white scholars actually lied by not telling people who he really was, I stopped trusting anything they said,” he writes in his posthumous memoir, “Said I Wasn’t Gonna Tell Nobody: The Making of a Black Theologian,” published in October.

“White supremacy is America’s original sin and liberation is the Bible’s central message,” he writes in his book. “Any theology in America that fails to engage white supremacy and God’s liberation of black people from that evil is not Christian theology but a theology of the Antichrist.”

White supremacy “is the Antichrist in America because it has killed and crippled tens of millions of black bodies and minds in the modern world,” he writes. “It has also committed genocide against the indigenous people of this land. If that isn’t demonic, I don’t know what is … [and]i it is found in every aspect of American life, especially churches, seminaries, and theology.”


SNIPPET2:

There will come difficult moments in our own lives, moments when we are faced with an impulse, driven by fear or self-interest or simple expediency, to turn away at the sight of suffering and injustice. We will hear the cries of the oppressed and want to shut them out. We will count the cost to our careers, our reputations and perhaps our security, for to truly stand with the oppressed is to be treated like the oppressed. But a force greater than our own will compel us to kneel down and pick up the cross. The weight will cut into our shoulders. Our step will slow. Our breathing will become labored. We will be condemned by the powerful and ignored or reviled by the indifferent. But we will demand justice.

Full article: 

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-heresy-of-white-christianity/
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: November 11, 2018, 03:58:43 pm »


Quote
Bertram Gross (1912-1997) in "Friendly Fascism: The New Face of American Power warned us that fascism always has two looks.

One is paternal, benevolent, entertaining and kind.

The other is embodied in the executioner’s sadistic leer. Janus-like, fascism seeks to present itself to a captive public as a force for good and moral renewal. It promises protection against enemies real and invented.

But denounce its ideology, challenge its power, demand freedom from fascism’s iron grip, and you are mercilessly crushed. Gross knew that if the United States’ form of fascism, expressed through corporate tyranny, was able to effectively mask its true intentions behind its “friendly” face we would be stripped of power, shorn of our most cherished rights and impoverished. He has been proved correct. --- Chris Hedges




Posted by: AGelbert
« on: November 01, 2018, 07:27:24 pm »

Agelbert NOTE: Reposted from the Doomstead Diner

Peterson's grant wasn't denied because of political reasons;

Sorry, but I don't see any evidence that this is true. You don't even know the identities of the people who made the decision, unless you know them personally. It isn't public knowledge, to the best of my ability to investigate.

To assume that it  isn't political, just because "Julia Gualtieri — a spokesman for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada "  said so, is extremely naive and makes me think you don't know too much about academic bureaucracies. I'd like to see your proof. I know you're busy right now.

You might notice, I'm just demanding proof. I think you're wrong, but I'm prepared to eat some crow if you're right. Let's get to the truth.

I think the burden is on you and AG anybody else who wants to make this case on Peterson.  You are making claims that I think are misplaced. I want some evidence. Good evidence. So far that is not forthcoming from either of you.


I don't know any of the involved personally.  These grants are generally paneled. The panelists rated them poorly.

Peterson, with an axe to grind, says it was "political." Of course he did.

And the great swarm of Peterson fanbois rush in to nod furiously in bobbleheaded enthusiasm. Bottom line: the U said it wasn't political, Peterson says it was. And then the nazis held a bake sale to fund him.

Another case of "he said, she said." As I recall last time we had one of these you came down hard for the accused.

I was hoping not to get sucked into this Peterson bullshit, and to have to do a careful vivisection of his body of work, because frankly, I have a life. And I prefer to not drink from sewers. But for some reason I ascribe to weakness, RE has given Ashvin the run of the place to add nothing, contribute nothing but to make a case for his new Messiah. I'll take that s h i t up with RE when he's up to it, and I'll deal with Peterson's oeuvre when I have more time. Which i don't now.

Peterson is a Youtube star with a distinct following amount the angy, young, white, and otherwise without agency crowd. Very big with the incels, so they tell me.

Whenever someone's critique starts with, "radical left," that is a tell and they have given the game away. There is no radical left in this country except from the viewpoiint of the far edge of the reactionary right. Thus does a vile insect like Ashvin class anyone as "ideologue" anyone who does not sup uncritically at the table of Petersonism.

Peterson asserts that postmodern philosophers and sociologists since the 1960s[ have insinuated core tenets of Marxism and communism into academe. which is what you say when things aren't going your way and you can't get what you want.He echoes Kunstler's bleats of "cultural Maoists," which so thrill the Ayn Rand company sucks still hiding in the corners around here, but which offend people able to observe the world as it is and think. He says academe was infected with an influence of postmodernism thought that migrated from France to the US via Jacques Derrida and others. We also know how the French f u c k up everything. Order up some freedom fries with your pitcher of Blue Ribbon.

As a YouTube star, he offers up plenty for his fanbois to chew on. Conservative views on religion, trans issues, and on feminism. From what I have seen, much of what he says is incoherent and ambiguous. So his acolytes dismiss any criticism as mere misrepresentations of his views. See, if you don't agree, then clearly you don't understand. Or are an unmitigated ideologue.

The same f u c k i n g technique of manipulation we've seen in evidence here. Lather, rinse, repeat.



I will add one bit of advice that I will now take in regard to those, like Eddie and Ashvin, who have shown their true colors with some rather stomach turning insults directed at me.

Surly, you will recall the PM discourse I had with you some months back. You will recall my feelings about the base vulgarity of the discourse here on threads I was not even posting on, that had nothing to do with me or my POV.

I came back here now because I knew the Right Wing Propagandists were going to make a push here to help the Republican FASCISTS stay in power so that the full Fascist Trump "Paradise" can be ushered in. I came just to counter them as best I could. I knew it would get hot and heavy very quickly. These fuckers are hell bent (AND hellbound too!) to destroy this country long before Climate Change does. THAT has a LOT to do with why you see them so angry and so much in an arrogant huff about one of their pet High IQ "credentialed" Apologists.

They get the fact that Social Security and Medicare ELIMINATION, a stated Republican goal, is something they have to counter with lots of LIES and arm waving, doing everything they can to discredit anyone who has the temerity to call BULLSHIT on their claims that Trump et al and bought and paid assholes like Jordan Peterson aren't part of that empathy deficit disordered EVIL. They are all full of mendacious, puke inspired malice and aforethought S H I T. They cannot do anything but wallow in, defend and celebrate, their Right Wing Authoritarian, money loving, money chasing modus vivendi, no matter how damaging to the country AND/OR to the environment. They do not have the remotest idea of what logic and comon sense is. They cannot see beyond their bank accounts. These people are wells without water. They cannot be reasoned with.

So, I will now take Gillum's advice when Trumo called him a liar. 

Gillum posted: “I heard @realDonaldTrump ran home to @FoxNews to lie about me. But as my grandmother told me—never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, but the pig likes it.”


😀
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 31, 2018, 10:54:52 pm »


OCT 30, 2018

Thom Hartmann: Trump and Fox News 😈 Have Blood on Their Hands

It’s already started. They’re messaging, texting, tweeting, and even calling into my radio/TV show. Breitbart is even bragging that they got it on CNN.

“This killing in Pittsburgh has nothing to do with Donald Trump. He’s not an anti-Semite; his daughter converted to Judaism and his grandkids are Jews! How can you blame him for the ‘mentally ill’ guy [a phrase used to describe terrorists only when they’re white]?”

But the shooter, by his own words—words that are almost entirely missing from most TV coverage—acted because of what both Trump and Newt Gingrich have said was the main election-year message of Trump and the entire Republican Party: Immigration by people of color.

As the terrorist himself posted on social media just a few hours before he walked into the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh with an AR-15, he was going to kill members of a congregation that supported the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS).

HIAS (whose slogan is “Welcome the stranger; Protect the refugee”) had designated October 19 and 20 of this year as the “National Refugee Shabbat”—and when they did so, the terrorist posted on a right-wing social media site, “Why hello there HIAS! You like to bring in hostile invaders to dwell among us? We appreciate the list of friends you have provided.”

Quote
HIAS was founded in New York in 1881 to help resettle Jewish refugees, but in recent years has moved many of its efforts toward other refugees, including people from Africa, the Americas, and people who practice Islam. As HIAS’s president, Mark Hetfield, told the New York Times, “We used to welcome refugees because they were Jewish. Today HIAS welcomes refugees because we are Jewish.” 👍

Dark skin and “Muslim” are triggers for bigots like the cowardly terrorist and his buddies on social media. In another post, presumably referencing HIAS, he wrote, “Open you [sic] Eyes! It’s the filthy evil jews [sic] Bringing the Filthy evil Muslims into the Country!!”

HIAS used to have a link on its website to the 270 congregations in 32 states that were participating in the work to bring refugees into the United States (and elsewhere), although that link now just points back to their homepage (perhaps because the event is over, or maybe because of the terrorist’s threat).

Noting the terrorist’s pointing out that link to the congregations, which included Tree of Life in Pittsburgh, the Times of Israel reported, “To mark the organization’s personal involvement, at the back of the hall, information on volunteer opportunities in the refugee and immigration committees of participating synagogues and HIAS materials were available for attendees to take home, including a bookmark with the words ‘My People Were Refugees Too.’”

Apparently this festered with the terrorist, because just a few hours before he walked past those brochures and started murdering people at Tree of Life, he posted to a right-wing social media site, “HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”

And in he went, guns blazing.

So, Trump and Gingrich and Fox are giving all-day, all-the-time coverage to a ragtag band of Central American refugees, mostly women and children, who are traveling together on foot for their own mutual safety, lying that there are Arab terrorists and evil gang members among them. This white American terrorist gets increasingly agitated by it all, freaked out that more people of color (or even Muslims!) might be coming to our border to legally apply to asylum, and decides it’s time to take out one of the groups associated with HIAS, who is helping refugees.

It’s a straight line—through Fox and right-wing hate radio—from Trump’s rhetoric about immigrants to the terrorist himself.

Certainly this terrorist had a history of hating Jews; he had repeatedly posted on one of his snowflake “safe places” for haters, “Kill all the Jews!” and “There is no MAGA as long as there is a kike infestation.”

But this wasn’t entirely an anti-Semitic attack, by the attacker’s own words.

A few days after another white terrorist (“history of mental illness,” said the media) with Trump and Fox graphics and slogans all over his van attempted the largest political assassination in U.S. history, we now have the single most lethal attack on Jews in this country’s history—in part because their synagogue supported helping immigrants coming into America.

And all of it being amped up, day after day, over and over again, by Trump.

This aspect of xenophobic immigrant-hating, along with the insanity of the U.S. allowing AR-15s and other weapons of war on our streets, must be discussed along with the horrors of anti-Semitism.

This is all one package brought to us by Trump, and it’s beginning to eerily resemble a previous insecure man with little hands, a single testicle, and a big mouth in the 1930s who warned his people about both immigrants and Jews.

We all know how well that turned out for Germany and the world.

This article was produced by the Independent Media Institute.

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/thom-hartmann-trump-and-fox-news-have-blood-on-their-hands/
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 31, 2018, 08:39:24 pm »

Trump's Love Affair With Violence in the Age of Fascist Nihilism

BY Henry A. Giroux, Truthout

PUBLISHED October 31, 2018

The ghosts of a fascist past have erupted into a new American nightmare as violence becomes the new normal under Trump. This administration has created a social order and political movement that views violence as a tool for social and racial cleansing and is pouring fuel on a fire that produces endless assaults on those considered vulnerable, disposable and worthy of extermination.



https://truthout.org/articles/trumps-love-affair-with-violence-in-the-age-of-fascist-nihilism/
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 31, 2018, 08:30:52 pm »

The Pittsburgh Massacre and Growing Fascism

October 29, 2018

TRNN’s Paul Jay joins Ben Norton for a Q&A on the Pittsburgh Massacre


https://therealnews.com/stories/the-pittsburgh-massacre-and-growing-fascism
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 31, 2018, 05:55:37 pm »

Jordan Peterson is BOUGHT AND PAID FOR by the Koch Brothers

Who is Jordan Peterson 😈, the ‘alt-right’ darling of YouTube?

Brenden Gallagher— Apr 30 at 2:00AM | Last updated Apr 30 at 8:45AM

SNIPPET:

If you hang around intellectuals or academics long enough, one of them will make the joke that they wish they were conservative because there is a lot more money in it. Jordan Peterson is living proof of that.

The Koch Brothers and the Heritage Foundation are eager to fund and promote the brightest minds conservatism has to offer. They intend to use the free market language of the right, there is a high demand for “intellectuals” who will defend conservative ideas, but there is a very low supply.

So if you’re wondering how 55-year-old Canadian psychology professor Jordan B. Peterson became an overnight sensation, going from obscure academic to international bestseller lauded in the New York Times 👹 as “most influential public intellectual in the Western world right now,” you don’t have to look much further than that old academic joke.

Jordan Peterson is famous because in the era of the resurgent alt-right, the loose collection of conservatives that align with white supremacists, there are few intellectuals willing to align themselves with the movement. The alt-right is in need of intellectuals to justify their fascist worldview, and Peterson has been ready.

Full article:

https://www.dailydot.com/layer8/jordan-peterson/

Agelbert NOTE: I repeat, Jordan Peterson is a stalking horse for FASCISM. He enthusiastically supports the Koch Brothers push to get Trump and his wreckng crew to eliminate Social Security and Medicare.

Ashvin, like Jordan Peterson, is also a Fascist Enabler, as well as a serial liar.


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 31, 2018, 02:56:52 pm »

Thom Hartmann mentioned something important about the Goebbels advice to Hitler the other day. He said the Big Lie thing was actually secondary to the sine qua non activity that Hitler HAD TO engage in to consolidate, and remain, in power. THAT was to CONSTANTLY keep the people off balance with frequent (i.e DAILY, if possible) gossip. blatant outrageous remarks or whatever. This mens rea methodolgy is (though Goebbels probably didn't know the term "cognitive dissonance") prevents the public or the media from questioning power grabs by the Dictator. IOW it results in a paralyzed public. Thom made it clear that Trump is following this Cognitive Dissonance producing playbook to the letter.


The USA is the world's largest and longest surviving Pyramid Sales Corporation.






Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 30, 2018, 02:27:51 pm »

My hometown football, team, the Steelers, have remade their logo in the wake of the shootings Saturday, with the Star of David substituting for the team's yellow star-like design. It's paired with the phrase "Stronger than Hate."

👍

Jews first mourn their dead.

Then, they methodically put aside any thoughts of anger in order to carefully and logically plan an appropriate response to a barbarian 🦀 stoking hate and terrorsim at their gate.

IOW, they deliberately do not get mad; they get a LOT MORE than "even". The Antinomian Heretics of Christianity (e.g. Falwell, Graham, megachurch greedballs, etc. et al) and other assorted bigots and white supremacist capitalists that support Trump better pray that their god Lucifer will provide a miracle to keep Trump 🦀 in office from now on. He 🦀 will not remain in office without one.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 30, 2018, 01:25:32 pm »

Trump Shut Programs to Counter Violent Extremism
The administration has hobbled the infrastructure designed to prevent atrocities like Pittsburgh.


SNIPPET:

When Trump supporters insist that he’s a steadfast foe of white supremacy, his critics often cite his history of ambivalent responses—or nonresponses—to anti-Semitism. But Trump’s words aren’t anomalous; he’s put his money where his mouth is.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.

PETER BEINART is a contributing editor at The Atlantic and an associate professor of journalism and political science at the City University of New York.

Of course. Trump is a Stochastic Terrorist. He WANTS WHITE SUPREMACIST TERRORISM. He STOKES HATE for the "other" 24/7. Anyone claiming otherwise is, like all those on the list you posted


AND Ilargi and Kunstler, etc. et al  (and some who post on this forum), a bigoted, racist, enabler of hate

October 29, 2018/42 Comments/in 2018 Mid-Term Election, Terrorism /by emptywheel

SNIPPET:

Trump’s effort to brand a group of refugees 1,000 miles from the border as a more urgent threat to the country than corruption or climate change or domestic gun violence — an effort which likely had a tie to both Cesar Sayoc’s terrorist attempt and Robert Bowers’ mass killing — is more of the same, an effort to claim that the most critical threats are foreign and anything he deems a threat is therefore un-American, also foreign.

Ultimately, the reason why the government won’t call last week’s attacks terrorism, however, is precisely the reason they should. Call them terror attacks, and the networks of support and enablers get investigated rather than just isolated men treated as lone wolves. Call them terror attacks, and we start to ask what responsibility Lou Dobbs or Steve King or Chris Farrell (or the people who vote for and fund them) — or Donald Trump — have for the attacks, in the same way we held Anwar al-Awlaki responsible for his role in the terrorist attacks that Scott Brown exploited to get elected.

Byman describes correctly how contentious this can be, because those espousing the same policies as terrorists don’t want to be associated with those terrorist acts.

[D]omestic terrorism often has a bigger political impact than jihadi violence. A foreign-based attack brings America together in the face of tragedy. But right-wing (and left-wing) violence is more likely to divide the country. Just this week, for example, 56-year-old Cesar Sayoc reportedly sent explosive packages to CNN, Democratic politicians, and others seen as “enemies” of Trump. Some right-wing voices immediately embraced conspiracy theories rather than recognizing his activities for what it was. Domestic terrorists poke at bigger political wounds than do jihadis, with at least some Americans sympathizing with their cause even as they reject their violent means.

In turn, observers often avoid the word “terrorism” because peaceful proponents of right-wing and left-wing causes don’t want to be lumped together, even by weak association, with terrorists. We can and should recognize that most political groups of all stripes abhor violence. Doing so—while also acknowledging that the groups and individuals who don’t belong in a separate category—will better enable the United States to isolate extremists and cut them off before the next tragedy.

Which is why this post bears the headline, “Trump refuses to keep this country safe from terrorism” rather than Trump fosters terrorism, even if I believe the latter to be the case.

Because until the time those willing to coddle Trump’s racism in the name of tribal loyalty are defeated politically, they will want to pitch questions about what to label Cesar Sayoc and Robert Bowers’ actions as an attack on themselves.

Full article:




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