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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 76,318

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White Christian nationalism threatens U.S. democracy

Column: White Christian nationalism threatens U.S. democracy

SEPTEMBER 15, 2023 4:01 AM

You may be among the 35% of Americans who have never heard the term “white Christian nationalism.” But of those citizens who are knowledgeable of the concept, it carries a decidedly negative view. The belief is becoming more and more important to understand as cultural diversity, racism, immigration issues, political divisiveness and political candidate pandering is before us.

What is white Christian nationalism? Generally – according to the Southern Poverty Law Center – it “refers to a political ideology and identity that fuses white supremacy, Christianity and American nationalism, and whose proponents claim that the United States is a `Christian Nation.’”

Research conducted by the non-partisan Public Religion Research Institute with the nonpartisan Brookings Institution as well as a poll sponsored by Southern Poverty Law Center/Tulchin have the same conclusion: The white Christian nationalism movement is a growing threat to America’s democracy.


The PRRI/BI research notes five core attitudes are often associated with Christian nationalist beliefs: anti-Black, anti-Semitic (Jewish), anti-Muslim, anti-immigration and patriarchal adherence of traditional gender roles (for example, the husband is head of the household).” ....................(more)


Florida Man Shot by Police While Celebrating Ron DeSantis' New Gun Law

AFlorida man who fired a rifle to celebrate the state's new open carry laws before promptly being shot by a police officer has finally been arrested following a two-month stint in hospital.

Christian Labaut, 37, was shot by police on July 7 after he fired a gun into the air. A law enforcement officer shot him when he refused to comply with officers and began running away from them. He was arrested on September 15 following his recovery.

According to the arrest report seen by the Miami Herald, law enforcement traveled to an Upper East Side apartment complex near the 7800 block of Northeast 10th Avenue, Miami, where they found a Labaut wearing body armor and wielding a gun. Witnesses reportedly told officers that Labaut announced he was celebrating the new law and firing a string of bullets into the air. ................(more)


Arctic Lakes Are Carbon Banks. What Happens When They Heat Up?

Arctic Lakes Are Carbon Banks. What Happens When They Heat Up?
Scientists are rushing to understand the dangers before it’s too late.


(Mother Jones) A family of muskox rumbles along craggy hilltops overlooking the small parade of humans crossing the West Greenland tundra. Ecologist Václava Hazuková, in the lead, sets a brisk pace as we bushwhack through knee-high willow and birch. Leaning forward under an equipment-filled pack nearly half her size, she high-steps over “pillows and mattresses”—hummocks of plants interspersed with troughs of rain-soaked permafrost. The twin blades of a kayak paddle protrude from Hazuková’s pack, pointing to our destination: Lake SS85, a small, clover-shaped lake some two hours away.

Lake SS85 is one of hundreds of lakes dotting this 90-mile-wide fringe of land between the towering Greenland Ice Sheet and the Labrador Sea. For centuries, 85 and its aquatic neighbors have been ice-covered most of the year. But as the climate has warmed, high-latitude lakes—from the northern United States and Canada to Scandinavia and Siberia—have started to thaw, on average, a week earlier and freeze 11 days later than they did a century ago, according to Sapna Sharma, a biologist at York University in Toronto. The rate of ice loss has sextupled over the past 25 years. Northern lake temperatures are rising more than twice as fast as the global lake average, Sharma says. And nowhere is the climate changing faster than in the Arctic.


One of scientists’ key questions is how rising temperatures, shrinking ice seasons, and the increasing precipitation projected for many parts of the Arctic might affect lakes’ carbon cycles. Put simply, this cycle describes the actions of aquatic microbes that break down organic material—exhaling carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases—and phytoplankton that take up carbon dioxide to build their skeletons—releasing oxygen. Lakes that breathe out more carbon dioxide than they take in are net carbon sources, while those that on balance remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere are sinks.


“We are trying to understand the carbon budget in the Arctic,” says Hazuková. The stakes are high: That ledger of sinks and sources informs the models that scientists use to project the Earth’s future climate. Currently, however, the estimate “pretty much only focuses on soils and vegetation,” she says. “Freshwaters are just not included at all.” .............(more)


'Rupert Murdoch is a symptom': Fox's future politics look the same as past

(Guardian UK) The abrupt uncoupling of the Republican kingmaker Rupert Murdoch from his Fox News empire may have represented a ground shift in the media landscape in the US, but politically at least, very little is likely to change, analysts say.

That could be good news for those on the right of the Republican party, who can expect the network to head into the 2024 presidential election – even without its long-time figurehead – continuing to amplify the worst of the political bias and disinformation upon which it made its name.

“They’re going to continue the same business formula, which is whipping up hysteria around manufactured crises, they’ll continue to foster outrage and division, and gin up support for conservative causes. I don’t see any of that changing dramatically anytime soon,” said Victor Pickard, professor of media policy and political economy at University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg school for communication.

“Looking at the big picture, with Rupert Murdoch stepping down, don’t expect change. I agree that he was a politico, a very influential political figure in his own right, and certainly he had personal relationships that might not continue with Lachlan [Murdoch’s son, the Fox Corp chief executive].

“But the actions of Fox News are going to be primarily dictated by economic concerns and maximizing shareholder value, and they’re doing quite well at the moment. They’re still the most watched cable news network, they’re incredibly profitable. So I don’t think they’re going to mess with their formula.” ..............(more)


How Texas became the new "homebase" for white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups

(Salon) Texas has seen a sudden surge in extremist activity within the past three years, with white supremacist and anti-LGBTQ+ groups making the Lone Star state its base of operations.

According to a new report by the Anti-Defamation League, there has been an 89% increase in antisemitic incidents in Texas from January 2021 to May of this year. Along with six identified terrorist plots and 28 occurrences of extremist events like training sessions and rallies, Texas also saw an increase in the frequency of propaganda distribution.

"Texas has a long history of white nationalist activity and for many years has had a very active presence of white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups in the state, but the report's findings really do paint a very troubling picture of the current situation," Stephen Piggott, who studies right-wing extremism as a program analyst with the Western States Center, a civil rights group, told Salon.

"Texas is the homebase for a number of really active white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups, such as the Patriot Front and the Aryan Freedom Network." .............(more)


America's Worst Judge Declares War on Drag

(Slate) U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk is a proud Christian nationalist who flatly refuses to apply binding Supreme Court precedent when it conflicts with his extremist far-right beliefs. It is therefore no surprise that Kacsmaryk, a Donald Trump appointee, handed down a decision on Thursday refusing to protect Texas college students’ right to host a drag show. In a break with other (conservative) courts, Kacsmaryk found that drag is likely not protected expression under the First Amendment, but rather “vulgar and lewd” “sexualized conduct” that may be outlawed to protect “the sexual exploitation and abuse of children.” In short, he concluded that drag fails to convey a message, while explaining all the reasons why he’s offended by the message it conveys.

From almost any other judge, the ruling in Spectrum WT v. Wendler would be a shocking rejection of basic free speech principles; from Kacsmaryk, it’s par for the course. This is, after all, the judge who sought to ban medication abortion nationwide, restricted minors’ access to birth control, seize control over border policy to exclude asylum-seekers, and flouted recent precedent protecting LGBTQ+ equality. He is also poised to bankrupt Planned Parenthood by compelling them to pay a $1.8 billion penalty on truly ludicrous grounds. And he is not the only Trump-appointed judge substituting his reactionary beliefs for legal analysis. We have reached a point where these lawless decisions are not only predictable but inevitable, and they show no sign of stopping: Their authors are still just settling into a decadeslong service in the federal judiciary.

The controversy in Spectrum WT v. Wendler began last spring when Spectrum, an LGBTQ+ student group, planned a drag show on campus at West Texas A&M University. They arranged the event to raise money for the Trevor Project, which combats LGBTQ+ youth suicide. The school’s president, Walter Wendler, promptly banned the show, decrying drag as “derisive, divisive and demoralizing misogyny.” He compared it to “blackface” and said it constitutes discrimination and harassment against “womanhood.” In light of Wendler’s ban, Spectrum held the show off campus but filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction protecting their right to hold a future drag show at the school. It should have been a slam-dunk case: Judges in Florida, Montana, Tennessee, and Utah—who range from moderate to very conservative—have recently blocked drag bans on First Amendment grounds. The Supreme Court has long prohibited restrictions on “expressive conduct,” including not only live performances but also actions like flag burning; it applies especially stringent scrutiny to any regulation that targets expression because of its content and viewpoint. ..................(more)


Michigan attorney general says fake GOP electors she charged are 'brainwashed'


Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said at a recent event with liberal activists that the fake Republican electors from 2020 that she charged were “brainwashed” to keep former President Donald Trump in power, and touted that their cases will get juries from a “very Democratic-leaning county,” according to a recording obtained by CNN.

Nessel, an Democrat, made the comments at a virtual event Monday that was hosted and promoted by liberal groups to discuss “messaging” around the 2020 election cases involving Trump and his allies. Back in July, Nessel’s office filed the first-of-their-kind criminal charges against the fake electors in Michigan.

“People talk a lot about, oh, why don’t you start flipping some of those people so that they can become witnesses against the remaining defendants, the worst-acting defendants?” Nessel said. “The problem is, these are people who have been brainwashed.” ...............(more)


Heat-related deaths in 2022 hit highest level on record in England

(Guardian UK) More than 4,500 people died in England in 2022 due to high temperatures, the largest figure on record, with the number of heat-related deaths increasing over recent years.

Between 1988 and 2022, almost 52,000 deaths associated with the hottest days were recorded in England, with a third of them occurring since 2016, data from the Office for National Statistics shows. During the same 35-year period analysed, more than 2,000 people died in Wales due to the warm temperatures.

The mortality risk increased across all regions in England when the temperatures exceeded 22C (71.6F), with London registering the highest rate. The mortality risk in the capital for temperatures over 29C was three times that recorded for temperatures considered optimal, which is between 9C and 22C.

2022 was the UK’s warmest year on record, registering for the first time a temperature above 40C and an annual average temperature of 10C. While temperatures have not broken that limit in 2023, the country experienced an unprecedented heatwave in September with seven days of 30C heat. .................(more)


Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference reflects vastly changed Michigan GOP

(Detroit Free Press) A swift kick to the crotch didn’t bring down the Michigan Republican Party, but it certainly didn’t help.

It was the second physical altercation at a GOP event this year and came at another closed-door meeting of the MRP’s state committee amid more warring factions, more secrecy and more disagreement about the party’s direction.

The state of the party — and how it continues to change — will be top of mind this weekend as Republicans gather for a slimmed-down and revamped Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference in what is seen as a major test for Kristina Karamo, the controversial party chair elected to the top post in February.


Conference registration peaked at close to 2,400 in 2015. Then, the party was at a high point. It supported Republicans who controlled the state House and Senate, along with the three biggest state offices: governor, attorney general and secretary of state. And, the brightest feather in its cap: It was heading into a 2016 election in which it would deliver Michigan to a Republican presidential candidate for the first time in decades.

The 2023 party is a shell of that one. It’s beleaguered by infighting, staff changes, lackluster fundraising, a leader who routinely takes unorthodox positions, former stars under criminal investigation and a hairy plot to seize the election for Trump that resulted in criminal charges for the party’s entire slate of would-be 2020 electors. .........(more)


Sexual abuse is a MAGA selling point

Allegations against Rudy Giuliani and Russell Brand show sexual abuse is a selling point for MAGA
The quickest way to be a hero to Donald Trump fanboys? Face multiple, credible sexual assault allegations

Senior Writer

(Salon) "Sometimes, it's who you most suspect." That's what a friend of mine texted to a group chat after the Sunday Times, the Times and Channel 4 Dispatches released a disturbing investigative report documenting rape and other sexual allegations against British comedian Russell Brand. The actor denies the allegations, but unsurprisingly, most of the public does not seem to believe his denials. In part, it's because the evidence against Brand is overwhelming: five separate accusers, digital documentation, and a litany of witnesses ready to corroborate how Brand's behavior was an "open secret in radio and TV production." In part, it's because being a skeeze was always central to Brand's persona. And in part, it's because there have been comments over the years, from celebrities like Katy Perry and Kristen Bell, about Brand's predatory behavior.

The Onion, as they often do, said it best, with the headline, "Nation Could Have Sworn Russell Brand Was Already Convicted Sex Offender."

And yet, like clockwork, the MAGA masses are rallying to Brand's side, treating these allegations like they are evidence that the "deep state" is trying to take Brand out for some vague reason.


Do any of these conspiracy theorists believe their own B.S.? I'm skeptical that any of these men actually mean a single word they say. They are, after all, arguing that Brand is such an all-powerful threat to the mysterious "They" that "They" organized a conspiracy of dozens of people — reporters, editors, fact-checkers, witnesses, and accusers — for the purpose of smearing an innocent man with allegations such as he "forced his penis down her throat" so hard she had to punch him to escape. That's a lot of work for the mighty "They" to take out one dude. Keeping that many conspirators quiet is nearly impossible. You'd think "They" would have simpler methods of dealing with people "They" want to get rid of.

Nah, the more likely explanation is that Brand's defenders believe he did it. They're just angry that anyone would deny a man his patriarchy-given right to rape as many high school girls as he pleases. After all, this is the same crowd that supports Donald Trump, a man whose history of sexual assault has been put beyond dispute both in a court of law and by his own infamous tape bragging about how he likes to "grab them by the pussy." History shows the quickest way to be a hero to the MAGA crowd is to be credibly accused of rape, ideally by a large number of women. ..............(more)


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