What does Our Lady of Fátima have to do with Russia and Ukraine?
article by Jane Sloan Peters on March 15, 2022
It turns out moving your thumb along a decade of rosary beads feels a lot like scrolling through a news feed. I have discovered this as I reach more and more for my rosary these days, amid the flood of horrific images and stories of Russia’s onslaught in Ukraine—most recently, the bombing of a maternity hospital in Mariupol.
Each day’s news brings fresh feelings of incredulity, anger and helplessness that gnaw at me long after I set down my phone and tend to my two young sons. I have found that praying the rosary gives somewhere for my anxiety to spill over. Even if I can’t focus on the mysteries, the act of running my thumb and forefinger from one cool, jade bead to another channels my ruminations. The repetitive prayers have sometimes felt like mindless chatter—but amid current events, the simplicity and predictability of the rosary is soothing.
I have also been reminded these days of the rosary’s connection to Russia. On March 15, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis, heeding a request from the Catholic bishops of Ukraine, will consecrate Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary during a penance service on Friday, March 25. Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner, will carry out the same act in Fátima on the same day.
This will be but one moment in a centuries-long history of association between the rosary and prayer for the conversion of Russia.
In some ways, devotion to the rosary and the Immaculate Heart feels like part of a bygone era—something from the childhood memories of my grandparents. But the Ukrainian bishops’ message suggests to me that it is a good time to return to the story of Fátima and to think about how Mary’s message might lead us back to the rosary today, to pray for peace and the conversion of Russia, and to cope with the magnitude of human suffering that constantly invades our news and social media feeds.
What is the story of Our Lady of Fátima?
Our Lady of Fátima is one of several 20th-century Marian apparitions the Vatican has deemed authentic. In 1917, Mary made six appearances to child shepherds in Fátima, Portugal, which inspired a global surge in devotion to Our Lady of the Rosary. Mary asked 9-year-old Lucia dos Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto, ages 8 and 6, to pray the rosary daily for world peace and the end of World War I.
On Oct. 13, 1917, the occasion of Mary’s sixth appearance in Fátima, the children and tens of thousands of people gathered with them witnessed a miraculous transformation of the sun, an event sometimes referred to as “the day the sun danced.” Francisco and Jacinta died several years later because of the 1918–19 influenza pandemic. Lucia lived as a religious sister until the age of 97 and received further visions—among these was a specific request to pray for Russia’s conversion.
What does Fátima have to do with Russia?
Asking Mary’s intercession for the conversion of Russia has been a recurrent priority of the church in the last 100 years. At Fátima, Mary asked that Russia be consecrated to her Immaculate Heart. In 1929, she renewed her request in an appearance to Lucia, who was then preparing for life as a religious sister.
On Oct. 13, 1942, in the thick of the Second World War, Pope Pius XII consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Ten years later, during the Cold War, he specifically consecrated the Russian people to her Immaculate Heart, in the hopes Mary would intercede in bringing about “a true peace, fraternal concord, and the freedom due to all people.” Pope Paul VI renewed this consecration during the Second Vatican Council.
Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis have made similar pronouncements. On the 96th anniversary of the apparition at Fátima, in 2013, Francis concluded his homily marking the anniversary of the miracle at Fátima with an act of entrustment to Our Lady of Fátima. Earlier that year, two months after he was elected pope, Pope Francis requested the patriarch of Lisbon consecrate his entire pontificate to Our Lady of Fátima.
But why was the message of Fátima especially concerned with the conversion of Russia, and why has the church taken this so seriously? One factor is the rise of the Communist Party in Russia, and in particular, Joseph Stalin’s brutal reign, during which millions were imprisoned or executed. Another is the Cold War and the nuclear arms race, the reverberations of which are felt in the tensions today between Vladimir Putin and the West. Finally, the denial of God—an integral part of communist philosophy—deprived people of access to the transcendent, suppressed the freedom to worship and undermined the Christian vision of human dignity.
One might rightly object that far more countries than Russia needed our prayers in the 20th century. And yet at Fátima, Mary asked the world to pray the rosary explicitly for this cause.
What is Mary’s “Immaculate Heart”?
In a homily at Fátima in 1982, John Paul II remarked that consecration to Mary’s Immaculate Heart means drawing near to Christ and accepting the help of Mary “by having recourse to her motherly heart, which beneath the cross was opened to love for every human being, for the whole world.”
The classic image of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a heart encircled by white roses, crowned with a flame, and pierced by a sword, which is an allusion to Simeon’s message to Mary (Lk 2:35). Hers is a heart aflame with love for the Lord, the heart of a mother, the heart to which Christ entrusted the whole world when he spoke to the apostle John from the cross, “Son, behold your mother” (Jn 19:27).
Most poignantly, Mary’s deep love is joined with profound sorrow, since she witnessed the suffering and death of her only son. The Immaculate Heart teaches us that true love is not indifferent; rather, love makes us capable of true sorrow, of suffering when others suffer. And in the rosary—especially in the Sorrowful Mysteries—we pray alongside Mary’s incredulity, anger and helplessness as she witnessed the passion of her son. The story of Fátima speaks to our times then because we can take the present horrors in Ukraine, and the suffering we have witnessed in the world over the past century, and place them in Mary’s hands at the foot of Christ’s cross, where all suffering is transformed by Christ’s work of redemption.
Why would Mary ask three Portuguese children to deliver to the world a message about Russia? Why am I compelled to pray the rosary for the people of Ukraine and, bewilderingly, also for the Russian aggressors? This is, I suppose, where fear and helplessness meet the mystery of prayer.
I pick up my son John from preschool and smile as I greet him, trying to put the day’s news out of my mind. I ask him about his day. They had dance class, he reports. Somehow his simple chatter makes my heart break—this image of John marching and leaping now lives in my head alongside images of the Perebeinis family lying on a road in Kyiv. What kind of world will my son know?
At home, we are greeted by a messy kitchen and a fussy baby. I ask John if he’d like to play with his sensory bin—a plastic tub full of dried chickpeas where he loves driving his dump trucks. It’s a great way for him to release stress from the day, and it will keep him busy for at least a half an hour. As I head to the kitchen sink to wash the dishes, I turn and see John, already immersed in play. He is picking up handfuls of the chickpeas and letting them slide slowly through his fingers, watching closely as they fall back into the bin one by one. They remind me of the rosary beads that I hold—as I pour out my anxieties and place my trust in Mary’s intercession.
This has been a cause of concern for many as Fatima specifically declared that if it is not done, Russia would, “… spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, and various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.”
The recent video of a speech by Putin about the Ukraine War has sparked global concern.
The war in the Ukraine should never have been escalated by the intentional involvement by N.A.T.O.
Our true and only hope is for all people who dwell both inside and outside of Russia and N.A.T.O. countries to demand immediate peace negotiations with Russia to end sanctions as well as the war in Ukraine. Let Ukraine cede some territory and Russia pay reparations in the form of resources.
It would seem that we are witnessing within the U.S.A. a divide between two separate perceptions of reality. The majority of the people are actually not split but within the mainstream which believes in the still traditional concepts of equal rights and stable government. The minority who believe otherwise; have actually convinced themselves that they are the true majority. That they actually represent normal thinking and a way of living that embraces fascism, violence and fear. Having an actual shared reality is essential to establish any relationship. The schism that presently exists within the population of the United States must not be permitted to grow. The only way to stop this is to end those responsible for the “alternative media” which has taken advantage of “free Speech” laws in order to spread outright lies. Lies which have no basis in reality (QANON is a perfect example along with stolen election and voter fraud, replacement theory and other outright lies). The latest scam seems to be the encouragement of a bizarre belief that labels itself “White Christian Nationalism” within the U.S.A. The fact that they label themselves Christian is completely the opposite of the belief’s that they publicly espouse. This is why We call them “White Supremacist Anti-Christ Nationalists”. They are trying to impose their warped reality upon the majority of us who see it as they sham it is and do not have any desire to be part of it.
Read more about it HERE . Another great article is available HERE or below.
An ‘imposter Christianity’ is threatening American democracy
(CNN)Three men, eyes closed and heads bowed, pray before a rough-hewn wooden cross. Another man wraps his arms around a massive Bible pressed against his chest like a shield. All throughout the crowd, people wave “Jesus Saves” banners and pump their fists toward the sky.
At first glance, these snapshots look like scenes from an outdoor church rally. But this event wasn’t a revival; it was what some call a Christian revolt. These were photos of people who stormed the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, during an attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
The insurrection marked the first time many Americans realized the US is facing a burgeoning White Christian nationalist movement. This movement uses Christian language to cloak sexism and hostility to Black people and non-White immigrants in its quest to create a White Christian America.
A report from a team of clergy, scholars and advocates — sponsored by two groups that advocate for the separation of church and state — concluded that this ideology was used to “bolster, justify and intensify” the attack on the US Capitol.
Much of the House January 6 committee’s focus so far has been on right-wing extremist groups. But there are plenty of other Americans who have adopted teachings of the White Christian nationalists who stormed the Capitol — often without knowing it, scholars, historians, sociologists and clergy say.
“These ideas are so widespread that any individual pastor or Christian leader who tries to turn the tide and say, ‘Let’s look again at Jesus and scripture,’ are going to be tossed aside,” she says.
The ideas are also insidious because many sound like expressions of Christian piety or harmless references to US history. But White Christian nationalists interpret these ideas in ways that are potentially violent and heretical. Their movement is not only anti-democratic, it contradicts the life and teachings of Jesus, some clergy, scholars and historians say.
Here are three key beliefs often tied to White Christian nationalism.
A belief that the US was founded as a Christian nation
One of the banners spotted at the January 6 insurrection was a replica of the American flag with the caption, “Jesus is My Savior, Trump is My President.”
Erasing the line separating piety from politics is a key characteristic of White Christian nationalism. Many want to reduce or erase the separation of church and state, say those who study the movement.
One of the most popular beliefs among White Christian nationalists is that the US was founded as a Christian nation; the Founding Fathers were all orthodox, evangelical Christians; and God has chosen the US for a special role in history.
These beliefs are growing among Christians, according to a survey last year by the Barna Group, a company that conducts surveys about faith and culture for communities of faith and nonprofits. The group found that an “increasing number of American Christians believe strongly” that the US is a Christian nation, has not oppressed minorities, and has been chosen by God to lead the world.
“It’s a half truth, a mythological version of American history,” Gorski says.
Some Founding Fathers did view the founding of the nation through a Biblical lens, Gorski says. (Every state constitution contains a reference to God or the divine.)
But many did not. And virtually none of them could be classified as evangelical Christians. They were a collection of atheists, Unitarians, Deists, and liberal Protestants and other denominations.
The Constitution also says nothing about God, the Bible or the Ten Commandments, Gorski says. And saying the US was founded as a Christian nation ignores the fact that much of its initial wealth was derived from slave labor and land stolen from Native Americans, he says.
For evidence that the United States was founded as a secular nation, look no further than the 1797 Treaty of Tripoli, an agreement the US negotiated with a country in present-day Libya to end the practice of pirates attacking American ships. It was ratified unanimously by a Senate still half-filled with signers of the Constitution and declared, “the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on Christian religion.”
Does this mean that any White Christian who salutes the flag and says they love their country is a Christian nationalist? No, not at all, historians say. A White Christian who says they love America and its values and institutions is not the same thing as a White Christian nationalist, scholars say.
Gorski also notes that many devout Black Americans have exhibited a form of patriotism that does not degenerate into Christian nationalism.
Gorski points to examples of the 19th century abolitionist, Frederick Douglass, and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Both were devout Christians who expressed admiration for America and its founding documents. But their patriotism also meant that “they challenged the nation to live up to its highest principles, to become a place of freedom, equality, justice and inclusion,” he says.
The patriotism of White Christian nationalists, on the other hand, is a form of racial tribalism, Gorski says.
“It’s a ‘My tribe. ‘We [White people] were here first. This is our country, and we don’t like people who are trying to change it or people who are different’ form of nationalism,” Gorski says.
A belief in a ‘Warrior Christ’
Videos from the January 6 attack show a chaotic, tear-gas-soaked scene at the Capitol that looked more like a medieval battle. Insurrectionists punched police officers, used flagpoles as spears and smashed officers’ faces against doors while a mob chanted, “Fight for Trump!” The attack left five people dead and nearly 140 law enforcement officers injured.
The incongruity of people carrying “Jesus Saves” signs while joining a mob whose members are pummeling police officers leads to an obvious question: How can White Christian nationalists who claim to follow Jesus, the “Prince of Peace” who renounced violence in the Gospels, support a violent insurrection?
That’s because they follow a different Jesus than the one depicted in the Gospels, says Du Mez, who is also a professor of history and gender studies at Calvin University — a Christian school — in Michigan. They follow the Jesus depicted in the Book of Revelation, the warrior with eyes like “flames of fire” and “a robe dipped in blood” who led the armies of heaven on white horses in a final, triumphant battle against the forces of the antichrist.
White Christian nationalists have refashioned Jesus into a kick-butt savior who is willing to smite enemies to restore America to a Christian nation by force, if necessary, Du Mez and others say.
While warlike language like putting on “the full armor of God” has long been common in Christian sermons and hymns, it has largely been interpreted as metaphorical. But many White Christian nationalists take that language literally.
That was clear on January 6. Some insurrectionists wore caps emblazoned with “God, Guns, Trump” and chanted that the blood of Jesus was washing Congress clean. One wrote “In God We Trust” on a set of gallows erected at the Capitol.
“They want the warrior Christ who wields a bloody sword and defeats his enemies,” says Du Mez. “They want to battle with that Jesus. That Jesus brings peace, but only after he slays his enemies.”
And that Jesus sanctions the use of righteous violence if a government opposes God, she says.
“If you deem somebody in power to be working against the goals of a Christian America, then you should not submit to that authority and you should displace that authority,” she says. “Because the stakes are so high, the ends justify the means.”
That ends-justify-the means approach is a key part of White Christian nationalism, says Du Mez. It’s why so many rallied behind former President Trump on January 6. She says he embodies a “militant White masculinity” that condones callous displays of power and appeals to Christian nationalists.
But with few exceptions, White Christian nationalists do not accept this “militant masculinity” when exhibited by Black, Middle Eastern and Latino men, Du Mez writes in “Jesus and John Wayne.” Aggression by people of color “is seen as a threat to the stability of home and nation,” she writes.
Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson echoed this double standard last year when he said on a radio talk show that he never really felt threatened by the mostly White mob that stormed the Capitol on January 6.
“Now, had … President Trump won the election and those were tens of thousands of Black Lives Matter and Antifa protesters, I might have been a little concerned,” Johnson said.
Johnson later elaborated, saying “there was nothing racial about my comments– nothing whatsoever.”
This embrace of a warrior Christ has shaped some White evangelicals’ attitudes on issues ranging from political violence to gun safety laws.
Samuel Perry, co-author of “Taking America Back for God: Christian Nationalism in the United States,” wrote in a recent essay that among Americans surveyed who believe “The federal government should declare the United States a Christian nation,” over two-thirds rejected the idea that the federal government should enact stricter gun laws.”
“The more you line up with Christian nationalism, the less likely you are to support gun control,” wrote Perry. “Guns are practically an element of worship in the church of white Christian nationalism.”
A belief there’s such a person as a ‘real American’
In the 2008 presidential election, vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin introduced a new term to the political discourse. She talked about “the real America” and the “pro-America areas of this great nation.” Since then, many conservative political candidates have used the term “real Americans” to draw contrasts between their supporters and their opposition.
Such language has been co-opted into a worldview held by many White Christian nationalists: The nation is divided between “real Americans” and other citizens who don’t deserve the same rights, experts on White Christian nationalism say.
Gorski, author of “The Flag and the Cross,” says he found in his research a strong correlation between White Christian nationalism and support for gerrymandering—an electoral process where politicians manipulate district lines to favor one party or, some critics say, race over another. He found similar support among White Christian nationalists for the Electoral College, which gives disproportionate political power to many rural, largely White areas of the country.
When White Christian nationalists claim an election was stolen, they are reflecting the belief that some votes don’t count, he says.
“It’s the idea that we are the people, and our vote should count, and you’re not the people, and… you don’t really deserve to have a voice,” Gorski says. “It doesn’t matter what the voting machines say, because we know that all real Americans voted for Donald Trump.”
Why White Christian nationalism is a threat to democracy
Those who want the US to become a Christian nation face a huge obstacle: Most Americans don’t subscribe to their vision of America.
The mainstreaming of White Christian nationalism comes as a growing number of Americans are rejecting organized religion. For the first time in the US last year, membership in communities of worship fell below 50%. Belief in God is at an all-time low, according to a recent Gallup poll.
Add to that the country’s growing racial and religious diversity. People who identify as White alone declined for the first time since the census began in 1790, and the majority of Americans under 18 are now people of color.
On the surface, White Christian nationalism should not be on the ascent in America.
So White Christian nationalists look for salvation from two sources.
One is the emboldened conservative majority on the US Supreme Court, where recent decisions overturning Roe vs. Wade and protecting school prayer offer them hope.
Not all Christians who support the high court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade and its school prayer decision are White nationalists. For example, plenty of Roman Catholics of all races support racial justice yet also backed the overturning of Roe.
But White Christian nationalists are inspired by those decisions because one of their central goals is to erase the separation of church and state in the US.
A recent study concluded that five of the justices on the Supreme Court are the “most pro-religion since at least World War II,” and that the six conservative justices are “all Christian, mostly Catholic,” and “religiously devout.”
While some Americans fear the dangers of one-party rule, others like Pamela Paul, a columnist, warn of the Supreme Court instituting one-religion rule.
Gorski, the historian, says White Christian nationalism represents a grave threat to democracy because it defines “we the people” in a way that excludes many Americans.
“The United States cannot be both a truly multiracial democracy — a people of people and a nation of nations — and a white Christian nation at the same time,” Gorski wrote in “The Flag and the Cross.” “This is why white Christian nationalism has become a serious threat to American democracy, perhaps the most serious threat it now faces.”
The other source of hope for White Christian nationalists is a former occupant of the White House. Their devotion to him is illustrated by one of most striking images from the January 6 insurrection: A sign depicting a Nordic-looking Jesus wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat.
If Trump returns to the presidency, some White Christian nationalists may interpret his political resurrection as divine intervention. His support among White evangelicals increased from 2016 to 2020.
And what the men carrying wooden crosses among the Capitol mob couldn’t achieve on January 6, they might yet accomplish in 2024.
Let’s start with a game called “America or Jesus?”
You guess which one — America or Jesus — goes in the blank in the quotations below.
“______ is the world’s best last hope.”
“_______ is the Savior of the world.”
“The only way for us to live up to the promise of _______ is to give _____ our all and to give it for all of us.”
“We must keep ______ first in our hearts.”
“_______ is the light and glory among the nations.”
If you guessed “America” every time, you are correct. (You can find the names of the people responsible for each quotation at the bottom of this post.)
Is it possible that we have conflated our country and our faith?
Ever since the January 6th “Stop the Steal” rally led to an angry and violent mob attacking the Capitol, the phrase “Christian nationalism” has become ubiquitous. The Christian symbols, music, and themes present at the rally mixed with the quest for state power to bring the “God and Country” political philosophy to the attention of many Americans for the first time.
With that introduction, it’s no surprise that Christian nationalism has gotten a bad reputation… even if most people can’t define it. Are Christian nationalists simply Christians who love their country? (Hint: No.)
How do you know if you’ve fallen for Christian nationalism?
With a hat tip toward Jeff Foxworthy, let’s try to have some fun identifying Christian nationalism before discussing how it differs from patriotism.
You might be a Christian nationalist if…
You think America’s founders were evangelical Christians.
There is a lot of misinformation surrounding the faith of America’s founders. While some, like Washington, were more cautious in their public statements, others (like Adams, Jefferson, and Franklin) denied the Trinity, biblical inspiration, and the supernatural.
This isn’t to say they weren’t religious. With few exceptions, the founders believed in a God who ruled the world and sometimes answered prayers. However, it’s unfair to force them into modern categories. For instance, none of the founders would have talked about a personal relationship with God through Jesus.
It’s dangerous to try to ascertain the religious beliefs of another person, especially those who lived more than 200 years ago. But based on their available public statements, it is clear that the founding fathers rejected significant parts of orthodox Christianity and wouldn’t be qualified to be leaders in most Christian churches today.
You want your church to fly an American flag in the sanctuary.
Thought experiment: Imagine you’re visiting China and you attend a worship service. In the sanctuary, there is a Chinese flag and, during the service, they pledge allegiance to that flag and sing national songs — their version of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, for instance.
How are you doing?
My guess is that if you’re going along with it at all, you’re doing so reluctantly. And that’s how at least some people from other nations feel when they attend services at our churches in the United States that expect them to pledge allegiance to our flag.
The United States flag is a powerful symbol of national pride and unity. It represents a country most Americans love and many have died for. And that’s the very reason it’s unwise and unchristian to place one in a church’s sanctuary. Jesus’s church is a worldwide community made up of people from every tongue, tribe, and nation. No country has a privileged position in God’s eyes. Our churches should be welcoming to all people, including America’s geopolitical foes.
You think America is God’s chosen nation.
Israel was God’s chosen nation (Exodus 19:6), but, in Jesus, his church now has that special status (1 Peter 2:9). If God is on the side of Americans, who is on the side of the Iraqis, Iranians, Russians, and Chinese? When pastors and political leaders swap out “Israel” for “America” in their prayers, they are playing a dangerous game. God no longer has a chosen nation. He has a chosen people comprising every nation.
You call yourself an evangelical, but you don’t go to church.
Ryan Burge says that 27 percent of self-identified white evangelicals don’t attend church. To this group, the term “evangelical” isn’t describing their Christian convictions but their political convictions. If you think of yourself as an evangelical but don’t gather with God’s people to worship him, the word “evangelical” doesn’t mean what it used to.
You think it’s wrong to criticize America.
Because Christian nationalists fuse faith and country, they believe criticizing America for its past sins is tantamount to criticizing God.
You think government zoning laws should allow churches to be built, but not mosques.
Religious freedom is for all Americans of all faiths.
You want mandatory Christian prayers in public schools.
According to rights granted in the First Amendment, Christianity should not be discriminated against, but neither should it be privileged over other religions in the public square.
You think immigrants aren’t as good of Americans as those who were born in the country.
All forms of nationalism demonize outsiders. Jesus commands Christians to do the opposite.
You think spiritual revival will be ushered in by a new president.
Woodrow Wilson described American soldiers in WWI as bringing about “the only thing that is worth living for, the spiritual purpose of redemption that rests in the heart of mankind.”
Ronald Reagan called the United States the “shining city on a hill,” borrowing the phrase from Jesus — except, of course, the president replaced the church with America.
The kingdom of God only arrives through King Jesus.
You believe the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are divinely inspired.
Ted Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, said, “The Framers were seeking divine revelation from God, that’s why the Declaration and the Constitution have lasted over 230 years because they were a divine revelation from God.”
To call America’s founding documents “divine revelation from God” diminishes the Bible.
How are patriotism and Christian nationalism different?
While full-fledged Christian nationalism is a distortion of Christianity, patriotism is an appropriate love that Christians, along with their fellow citizens, have toward their country.
Patriotism is a love for one’s home country, but it does not elevate that country over others. As C. S. Lewis said, patriotic love for country isn’t aggressive. It does not dominate others or demand uniformity. Instead, patriotism includes a sense of camaraderie with other Americans and leads us to cheer and chant for the USA in the Olympics and then wish the best for everyone, win or lose.
Patriotic Christians recognize they are citizens of heaven first and citizens of America second (Philippians 3:20). They know they have far more in common with Christians of other nationalities and ethnicities than non-Christians from their own neighborhood.
It is because of their love for their country and their desire to see it grow and improve that patriotic Christians are willing to examine America’s past and be honest about our national sins and failures.
At its heart, nationalism puts love for country above Jesus. Patriotic Christians love Jesus more than their country.
It’s time to ask yourself: Have you fallen for Christian nationalism? Have you ever been tempted to view yourself as an American first and a Christian second? (If so, you’re not alone, and it’s not too late to change course.)
Check out our recent interview with John Fea. You’ll hear more on this topic as he shares insights from his book, “Was America Founded as a Christian Nation?” We believe you’ll be challenged and motivated to choose the truth Jesus offers over political tribalism.
Ultimately the greatest evil posed by all Nationalism is the “Postage Stamp” mentality that it breeds. Creating within the minds of it’s supporters that somehow, they reside upon an unalterable “Postage Stamp” that is actually separate from the world itself. Read this article about Nationalism HERE or below.
Could climate change fuel the rise of right-wing nationalism?
Published: September 25, 2019 8.12am
Two trends have defined the past decade and both have been on display at this year’s session of the United Nations General Assembly.
Indeed, the first four speeches of the United Nations general debate were given by Brazilian right-wing populist Jair Bolsonaro, Trump, Egyptian dictator Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and far-right Turkish President Recep Erdogan.
These two trends are rarely discussed together. When they are, their correlation is sometimes viewed as an unfortunate coincidence, since many nationalist politicians actively obstruct climate change solutions.
However, our new research suggests that these two trends may be closely related, and not in the way you might think. The effects of climate change – and the way it makes societies feel threatened – may be one of the elements fueling the rise of right-wing nationalism.
How climate shapes culture
To understand how climate shapes culture, it’s important to step away from current events and consider the way the climate has influenced societies throughout human history.
Cultures can vary in what’s called their “tightness” – the strictness or flexibility of their rules and traditions, and the severity of their punishments for rule breakers.
The Fellahin people of Egypt, for example, were one of the tightest cultures that we analyzed. For centuries, they’ve enforced strict gender norms and strong expectations for how children should be raised.
When cultures feel threatened – whether by war, disease or economic upheaval – they tend to become tighter.
But ecological threats can be just as strongly connected to tightening.
In one analysis, we showed that rates of famine and land scarcity predicted cultural tightness in historical societies. The Fellahin people have faced a constant threat of flooding, and have endured frequent earthquakes, sand storms and rockslides.
Centuries of climate catastrophe can also predict differences in the cultural tightness in societies today. In another study we found that nations that have endured the highest rates of drought, food scarcity, natural disaster and climate instability have the tightest cultures today.
Even within the U.S., the states most vulnerable to climate disasters have the tightest cultures. A 2014 study found that states like Texas, Oklahoma and Alabama – which have the highest criminal execution rates and corporal punishment rates in schools – also have the highest historical rates of natural disasters such as tornadoes, floods and hurricanes.
Evolutionary analyses suggest that cultural tightness can be functional – even necessary – in the face of climate disaster. It can make people more cooperative, and more likely to follow protocols, like rationing, during a drought.
But our latest studies examined a darker side of cultural tightness. We wanted to know whether tightness also made people less tolerant of minority religions, ethnicities or sexual orientation. In other words, we explored whether prejudice thrives in tighter societies.
This dynamic would have serious consequences for our understanding of geopolitical events. If climate anomalies such as hurricanes and forest fires have a “tightening” effect on cultures – and these catastrophes are happening more frequently – it might be driving more people toward politicians who espouse xenophobic, homophobic or racist rhetoric.
Environmental threat and prejudice
To test these ideas, we brought together a group of 19 researchers from eight different nations. With expertise in economics, psychology and anthropology, our team was well-suited to study the effect of environmental threats and culture on prejudice and political nationalism.
We ended up studying 86 historical societies, 25 modern nations and the 50 U.S. states, analyzing data on more than 3 million people.
The results were strikingly consistent across these populations. The cultures most vulnerable to climate threats had the strictest cultural norms, and the highest levels of prejudice against minorities. For example, in American states with histories of climate threat and cultural tightness, white respondents reported the highest levels of aversion to marrying someone who was black, Asian or Hispanic. Turkey and South Korea had the tightest cultures, and also showed the most aversion to living near someone who was a different ethnicity, sexuality or religion.
We next tested whether we could cultivate these social and political attitudes in a laboratory setting. We recruited 1,000 people from around the world. We had some write about a threatening event in their environment, including – but not restricted to – climate. Others wrote about a threatening event in their personal life. The final group wrote about what they had for breakfast.
Subjects who wrote about a threatening event in their environment reported the highest support for stricter societal rules and regulations. These same people also reported the most prejudice toward ethnic minorities. This study showed that even brief reminders of an ecological threat could have an effect on people’s political leanings and make them less tolerant.
Finally, we explored how these issues tied into modern elections. We recruited American and French individuals during their respective countries’ most recent presidential elections.
We found that voters who felt the most threatened were most likely to support harsher punishments for rule-breakers, more adherence to traditional norms and expressed the highest levels of prejudice. Voters who felt threatened were also most likely to vote for Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen, each of whom ran on law-and-order, anti-immigration platforms.
One feeds the other
According to just about every estimate, climate change will only worsen. Without serious and immediate reform, temperatures and sea levels will continue to rise, along with the risk of destabilizing climatic events.
The natural perils of climate change are evident to many people already. But our research underscores a less visible geopolitical peril. As climate change increases the level of environmental threat, cultures around the world may become tighter, and the exclusionary rhetoric of far-right nationalist politicians may sound more and more appealing.
Since far-right nationalists are notorious for ignoring climate change, the rise of these politicians may also exacerbate the effects of environmental threat. This may create a vicious cycle, in which the threat of climate disaster and far-right nationalism encourage one another over time.
In this way, bipartisan action on climate change may not just be necessary to save the environment. It may also be an important way to ensure values like free speech and tolerance are preserved in countries and cultures around the world.
We are the majority and in order to prevent a Civil War in the United States of America that will result in a minimum of 60 Million dead, We must de-platform these Christian Nationalists and their “alternative media” in every expression.
It does not take long to realize that the Republican Party in the United States of America, in it’s present incarnation as a Trump Cult is completely deranged; QANON being actively embraced within the ranks of Republicans. It has nothing to offer the majority of U.S. citizens; who are the working poor. Instead it is intent upon forcing “election fraud” big lies, white supremacy and a newly manifested bizarre, “Taliban-style Christan-Fascism” upon the world. A country without any environmental laws, absolute privatization, public witch-burning (no joke), book burnings, no social safety nets for the poor, no non-white migrants and actively encouraging more mass-shootings! A wild west for deranged Billionaires to play. A party that has abused “Gerrymandering” solely because it is so unpopular with average Americans that hasn’t a chance of victory, unless it can mass-disenfranchise voters.
To the rest of the World who are observing this we have to ask ourselves, “Are Americans stupid?” Read all about it Here or below.
A Withering Indictment of the Entire GOP
Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony was damning. If anyone was surprised, they shouldn’t have been.By Peter Wehner
The portrait painted yesterday at the January 6 hearing by Cassidy Hutchinson, a top aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, wasn’t simply of a criminal president, but of a seditious madman.
Even Republican members of Congress who have long supported Donald Trump told reporters, anonymously, that Hutchinson’s testimony was “worse than they imagined.” They were “stunned” and “left speechless.”
If they were, they shouldn’t have been.
According to Hutchinson, the president of the United States knew that his supporters attending the January 6 rally near the White House were armed—and he still wanted security removed from the area and the crowd to march to the Capitol. “I overheard the president say something to the effect of ‘I don’t f-ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the f-ing mags [magnetometers] away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here,’” Hutchinson said. Not long after that, Trump told the crowd that stormed the Capitol, “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”
Hutchinson also said she heard a conversation between White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and Meadows: “I remember Pat saying something to the effect of ‘Mark, we need to do something more. They’re literally calling for the vice president to be f-ing hung.’ And Mark had responded something to the effect of ‘You heard him, Pat; he thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn’t think they’re doing anything wrong.’” Shortly after that, Trump tweeted, “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country and our Constitution.”
Hutchinson also said that Trump shattered a porcelain plate after learning that then–Attorney General Bill Barr said he’d found no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election; on other occasions, Trump flipped tablecloths “to let all the contents at the table go onto the floor and likely break or go everywhere.” And at the end of the hearing, Representative Liz Cheney raised the prospect of witness tampering, quoting from witnesses who had been the targets of Mafia-style intimidation tactics.
This new account of what Trump did leading up to, on, and after January 6 was shocking, yet not surprising. His behavior did not amount to an abrupt about-face by an otherwise honorable man, but was the last link in an almost unfathomably long chain of events—vicious, merciless words and unscrupulous, unethical acts that were said and done, many in public view, in ways that were impossible to deny. All of the signs of Trump’s corruption and disordered personality were obvious for years.
Perhaps the case against Trump presented by the January 6 committee and previous Trump loyalists—by now so overwhelming as to be unquestionable—will cause some members of Congress, academics, and “public intellectuals” in the right-wing infrastructure to distance themselves from Trump. Of course, until now Trump has crossed no ethical line, has shattered no norm that caused them to say “Enough!” Instead we’ve heard whataboutism and strained-to-the-breaking-point excuses.
However this plays out, this needs to be said: For the past half-dozen years, the Republican Party and the American right—with a very few honorable exceptions— stood with Trump, defended him, and attacked his critics. Some went silent in the face of his indecency and lawlessness; many others gleefully promulgated his lies and conspiracy theories. Together they attempted to annihilate truth on his behalf, in his name, for their party, to seize and to hold power.
Some comfort themselves by saying that they went along for the ride so they could promote their policy agenda. Others were afraid to speak up. Still others did it for ratings and money. Some Trump supporters were true believers. Some rationalized their deal with the (figurative) devil; others were more transparent and more cynical.
Every Trump supporter has his story to tell, his defense to offer, his reasons why he did what he did. Massive cognitive dissonance—in this case individuals and a political party that have historically championed law and order, “traditional values,” high ethical ideals, moral leadership in political leaders, and a healthy civic and political culture defending at every turn a person who was indecent, cruel, vindictive, demagogic, unstable, and ultimately deranged—can produce some very creative justifications.
No matter; the die is cast when it comes to the Trump presidency and those who made it possible. The events of January 6 were, in their own twisted way, a fitting denouement for the Trump presidency. It was so obvious, for so long, that this wouldn’t end well. Trump was the primary architect of the attack on the citadel of American democracy. But he had a lot of help along the way.
Hutchinson’s testimony was a withering indictment of America’s 45th president. But it was also, if less directly, an indictment of his party, his supporters, his acolytes, those who went silent and those who spoke up on his behalf. He and they are ever twinned.
Here is yet another article about the impending imprisonment of Donald J. Trump. From the New York Intelligencer
On Tuesday, Cassidy Hutchinson provided some of the most damning public testimony yet in the public hearings by the House committee investigating January 6. Speaking clearly, deliberately, and thoughtfully, the former aide to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows provided a riveting and legitimately disturbing account of Donald Trump’s conduct before and during the attack on the Capitol. She appeared to provide the facts as she knew them, without needless speculation. And she seemed to take pains to specify precisely what she knew, how she knew it, and, as importantly, what she did not know. On its face, it was about as credible a performance as any witness can provide.
Hutchinson’s testimony also added distinct pieces of evidentiary support for what committee Vice-Chair Liz Cheney described during the first public hearing in June as a “sophisticated seven-part plan to overturn the 2020 election and prevent the transition of presidential power.” The committee’s members have made no secret of the fact that they believe that these are appropriate lines of inquiry for a criminal investigation that they would like to see the Justice Department undertake (assuming that it is not already doing so) and that Trump’s conduct could warrant criminal charges. Hutchinson’s testimony in particular advanced the theory that Trump intended for the violence at the Capitol to occur, though not as conclusively as some of the initial reactions from legal observers suggested.
Tuesday’s hearing focused largely on two specific elements of the supposed seven-part plan: first, Trump’s solicitation of a mob to intimidate Congress and Vice-President Mike Pence to overturn the results; and second, Trump’s failure to intervene to stop the violence as he watched it unfold from the White House over several hours. Among other things, Hutchinson testified about some of the warnings about potential violence that the White House received in the run-up to the siege of the Capitol, including that she heard Rudy Giuliani refer to the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers. She discussed being present as Trump prepared to take the stage for his speech on January 6 and his insistence that security officials allow armed supporters to attend. “I don’t fucking care that they have weapons,” she heard him say. “They’re not here to hurt me.” She also described hearing about how Trump lunged at a member of his own Secret Service protection when they refused to take him to the Capitol after his speech — an appearance that could have inflamed matters even further. And she recounted hearing Meadows talk with White House counsel Pat Cipollone amid the chaos in the West Wing that afternoon about how Trump “doesn’t think they’re doing anything wrong.” Finally, she quoted Meadows telling Cipollone after meeting with Trump that the president spoke approvingly of the mob’s chants to “hang Mike Pence,” saying of Trump, “He thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn’t think they’re doing anything wrong.”
Put simply, all of this testimony seemed to suggest that Trump intended for the violence to unfold that day as part of an effort to intimidate Congress and pressure Pence to throw the election to him. On this theory, some criminal charges that might apply include obstruction of an official government proceeding (the congressional certification of Biden’s election) and conspiracy to defraud the government. The committee itself successfully invoked those two charges before a federal judge in California in its effort to obtain documents from Trump lawyer John Eastman, and the judge ruled that it was “more likely than not” that Eastman and Trump conspired to break the law based on the information presented to him. Prosecutors might also consider, at least in theory, charges concerning incitement of insurrection or seditious conspiracy — the latter of which has been brought by the Justice Department against members of the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers. These charges have different legal elements and political overtones, but to varying degrees, they might fit the basic version of events that Hutchinson laid out.
From a potential defense perspective, the account was not without its wrinkles. I was most intrigued by Hutchinson’s account of Trump pressuring the Secret Service to allow people who were armed to attend his rally. “I don’t even care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me,” she quoted him saying backstage before speaking to the crowd. “Take the effing mags away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here. Let the people in. Take the effing mags away.” But even Hutchinson seemed to think that Trump’s interest at that moment may simply have been in increasing the size of the crowd (a longtime preoccupation of his), at one point describing this as “likely the primary reason” for his anger. If that were all that was happening, that would make Trump an extremely reckless narcissist, but the implication — which hung in the air but that no one quite articulated or grappled with head on — was that Trump deliberately wanted armed attendees in the crowd so that they would end up at the Capitol in order to participate in an armed siege outside (and potentially even inside) the building. There is a significant difference between these two scenarios, both legally and practically, and reasonable observers could fairly disagree about how strong an inference on this point should be drawn from Trump’s comment that “[t]hey can march to the Capitol.”
It was also telling that Cheney did not simply ask Hutchinson straight out if she believed that Trump wanted to let in armed attendees specifically so that they would participate in a large armed siege of the Capitol. This was a conspicuous omission in a line of questioning that would have benefited from clearer punctuation — reflecting, perhaps, a deliberate decision not to have Hutchinson straightforwardly weigh in on the implication that hangs very heavily (perhaps too heavily) on Trump’s comment that the attendees “can march to the Capitol from here.” Hutchinson may not have agreed or may herself be uncertain, and she may already have expressed as much to investigators in her earlier testimony.
The fact that Trump did nothing to stop the violence as it unfolded, perhaps hoping that it would succeed in intimidating Pence, is also stark circumstantial evidence that he intended it to occur in the first place, but here too, you can make out the beginnings of a defense if you zoom out a bit. So far as I can tell, the committee has produced no significant evidence — at least not yet, and of course there are more hearings to come — that Trump intervened to prevent some sort of critical law-enforcement response as the Capitol was attacked, that he was presented with any sort of plan for a crucial law-enforcement action that he rejected that afternoon, or, in the days and weeks leading up to January 6, that he did anything to prevent any of the relevant federal agencies or Cabinet officials from properly preparing for the day’s events (otherwise known as competently doing their jobs). If you were investigating someone for deliberately planning or cultivating a riot but that person also happened to supervise the people in charge of security, these are things you would presumably hope to run down.
As for whether there is “enough” to charge Trump — the question that observers have debated after each of the committee’s hearings this month — there is no need for viewers to make that judgment now. Indeed there is a real risk, as I have mostly done here, in reacting to immediate, incremental pieces of information in isolation (however captivating they may be) when they form part of a larger body of information gathered by the committee that is still coming into public view and that is so sprawling and complex that it can be challenging to process in real time. There is also a very real structural limitation of the hearing, which is that it has the visual trappings of a trial — with live testimony, snippets of depositions, audio and video exhibits, and visual aids — but there is no defense, so as I noted recently, we need to be mindful of context, potential counterevidence, and rebuttals that we might not be seeing. Already, for instance, Secret Service agents have reportedly disputed Hutchinson’s account of being told that Trump assaulted his own security inside a vehicle after the speech. This is not so much a problem for the credibility of Hutchinson, who specified in detail exactly how and from whom she heard this information secondhand, but it reflects the potential vulnerabilities of an effort to construct an accurate and comprehensive factual account from people who have differing levels of personal knowledge and may not have been percipient witnesses to all of the relevant events.
In a way, the framing of the question is also not fair to the committee. One of their clear objectives is to influence electoral politics, but to the extent they are legitimately grappling with the potential criminal implications of the conduct that they are investigating, the committee’s members have correctly noted that all they can really do is lay out information and evidence that might seriously inform the Justice Department’s work and thinking about investigating and perhaps charging Trump and other significant figures in his orbit.
As for what the department is up to under Attorney General Merrick Garland, that remains about as opaque as ever. Last week, prosecutors seized Eastman’s phone and devices belonging to Jeffrey Clark, the former Trump Justice Department official, during a raid on his home. This suggests, as they say, an intensifying inquiry — but exactly how far along and how expansive that work is remains to be seen. Indeed, on the same day that Hutchinson testified, the New York Times suggested that those investigative developments may have grown out of the department’s interest in the “alternate” (or “fake”) electors scheme. (A separate story specified that “it remains unknown if prosecutors are looking directly at Mr. Trump’s own involvement in subverting the election or inspiring the mob that wreaked havoc at the Capitol.”) That is a worthy undertaking, but it is also just one of many things that the department could and should have been aggressively investigating well over a year ago as part of a concerted criminal investigation into the conduct of Trump and those closest to him. Judging from the results so far, the investigators on the committee have done their jobs exceptionally well. The verdict is still out on their counterparts in the Justice Department.
You are running out of time to effectively organize and implement the 5 MILLION STRONG MARCH ON MAR-A-LAGO TO DEFEND DEMOCRACY RALLY.
Will the actual majority of U.S. citizens invade Mar-A-Lago, capture Donald J. Trump and rend him limb from limb, using only their bare hands? Only time will tell, which they are quickly running out of.
In Canada, the majority of the people are actually the working poor. They live paycheque to paycheque and do not have thousands in investments and emergency accounts. The official definition of poverty in Canada was at one time, “an inability to pay one month accommodation with one week’s wages.” Do you know many people who can pay for one month of rent with one week’s wages?
The average rent in Toronto today is between $980.00 to $1225.00 for a bachelor(studio) apt. A room in a Hostel is $769.00 to $961.00 per month. The average Canada Pension is $619.75 per month and the average Old Age Security is $648.67 per month. So unless you also have had a good job with additional private pension; the average senior must survive on $1268.42 per month (total income). The amount currently permitted for total rent in 2022 for people on disability is according to the Ontario Disability Support Program is $497.00 per month ( less than the cost of a room at a hostel.) The average waiting list to receive a unit in subsidized housing is between 7 to 10 years.
Is it any wonder that Canada has a homeless crises?
An April report from listings website Rentals.ca found the median asking rent in Ontario was $1,995 per month, a 10.8 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2021. The median asking price for a one-bedroom apartment in the province was $1,813. For a two-bedroom, it was $2,263. (According to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the average rent in Ontario communities with populations greater than 10,000 was $1,387 as of October 2021.)
The median after-tax income for families and unattached individuals in Ontario was $70,100 in 2020 (an average of $5,841 per month), according to Statistics Canada.
The Thread: Housing Affordability
In it’s premiere episode, The Thread with Nam Kiwanuka explores the issue of housing affordability. With the help of artificial intelligence data, Nam explores how the housing crisis is impacting Ontarians and speaks to those with solutions.
In Ontario, units built before 2018 are subject to rent control, which means that landlords can raise rent by only a set amount each year during a lease. That amount is typically between 0.5 and 3 per cent. However, landlords can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for permission to make above-guideline increases to recover the costs of repairs or renovations. “I don’t think that’s a problem in terms of improving the livability of units,” Lewis says, but he warns that some property owners, as a means of increasing profits, may undertake cosmetic repairs that don’t directly benefit tenants.
Scott Leon, a housing researcher with Toronto’s Wellesley Institute (a non-profit health and equity think tank), says applications for AGIs in Toronto increased from about 100 in 2012, to 250 in 2018, when he last ran the numbers. AGIs tend to affect older rental buildings, he says, noting many of these towers do require renovations and retrofits: “We do want to keep these buildings in good condition. But there’s also this huge priority to preserve the relatively affordable rents.”
Ontario also has vacancy decontrol, meaning landlords can raise rents by any amount on unoccupied units. Lewis says that, because of this “loophole,” landlords make more money when they “push out” people paying lower rents — who are often low-income, working class, and racialized — in order to attract tenants who will pay more. Leon agrees, saying vacancy decontrol creates a “perverse incentive.”
According to Leon’s research, housing became less affordable in the GTA between 1991 and 2016, with the percentage of households with unaffordable housing costs increasing from 23 per cent to 29 per cent, or 300,000 additional households that couldn’t afford housing costs.
In 2016, one in four households in the lowest income group Leon looked at (in which the median income was $25,000) had affordable housing. In the next-highest bracket, in which the median income was $50,000, half of households could afford their housing costs. The rate of affordable housing was lower for racialized people, younger households, women-led households, and renters.
The national affordability standard is housing that — including hydro, water, repairs, and property taxes — costs no more than 30 per cent of household income.
What is affordable housing?
A short explainer on the different ways affordable housing is defined in Ontario, including subsidized housing, and rent-geared-to income.
“All these things taken together really highlight the holes in Ontario’s protections of renters and their tenancy security,” Leon says. “I think it’s crucial to think about how these holes were designed purposefully, since the 1990s. They’re not accidents. Choices were made, and these are the results.”
What the experts say
Leon calls rent control one of the “bulwarks that actually provide security for tenants to be able to stay in their homes.” The Ontario government has said that removing rent control encouraged new building, citing 11,000 rental housing starts in 2020. One argument some make against rent control is that it negatively affects the supply of rental units and incentivizes developers toward more profitable condo building. Leon says that the profitability of condos is more of a factor than rent control and points to a report by a non-profit tenants’-rights group, Federation of Metro Tenants Associations, which argues that, in Ontario, removing rent control has historically not increased the supply of rental housing.
Lewis says that, while the housing supply may be growing, it’s important that housing be affordable. Rent control should apply to all buildings, not just old ones, he says. That would give renters “some form of predictability in terms of how much their rents are going to increase so they can plan ahead.” But, he adds, “we have to make sure that, when we have rent-control policies, they’re complemented by other policies and initiatives to help build more affordable housing.”
For example, some new buildings contain a certain percentage of units that are designated as affordable for a fixed term. Lewis suggests that policy makers ensure these units are designated affordable in perpetuity.
Leon says rent and vacancy-control measures decrease incentives to push renters out and could be bolstered by policies compensating tenants for no-fault evictions (when a tenant has not violated their lease), demovictions (when a unit is demolished), and renovictions (when a tenant is asked to leave during a renovation).
“There are ways of having a softer vacancy-control policy,” Leon says. For instance, rent increases between tenants could be limited but set at a higher rate than increases on existing leases.
“Beyond these things, addressing the problem more substantively really would require a huge build-out of affordable and social housing,” Leon says, adding that policy options such as grants or loans from the federal government to renovate buildings while preserving affordability could help limit the negative impacts of AGIs. He also says that public entities or non-profits could buy and renovate older buildings, preserving rents in a way real-estate investment companies wouldn’t.
What the four major parties say
TVO.org asked the four major parties to answer written questions about whether they think rent control and vacancy control would affect housing affordability, whether they have policy proposals regarding above-guideline increases and renovictions, and how they plan to increase the supply of affordable housing. Here’s how their spokespeople responded:
Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario
“We made changes to stimulate the construction of new rental housing, and our approach is working. In 2020, the year after our government’s housing supply action plan was released, Ontario had over 11,000 rental starts. Last year rental housing starts were the highest in 30 years.
“[The previous government] presided over runaway home and rent prices, and when they had the opportunity to support building more homes faster they voted no.
“While Doug Ford and our Ontario PC team said yes to historic supports for renters, including stronger tenant protections from bad faith evictions including renovictions, and over $3 billion in funding to help sustain, repair, and grow community housing and address homelessness in Ontario, Andrea Horwath and the NDP also said no.”
Ontario New Democratic Party
“Last year, Ontario NDP MPPs introduced a bill, the Rent Stabilization Act, that would set limits on how much the price of a rental unit can be raised between tenants. An NDP government would reintroduce the bill and make sure there are no more massive price hikes on empty rental units. This would help renters find suitable and affordable homes, and remove incentives for bad actors to renovict, or otherwise pressure tenants to leave their homes so they can jack up the rent for the next tenant.
“To make sure tenant rights are upheld, the NDP will fix the Landlord and Tenant Board and restore the right to in-person hearings.
“We will stop unfair ‘renovictions’ and bad faith ‘landlord’s own use’ evictions. We’ll crack down on landlords who exploit loopholes in the law to seek evictions or unfair, above guideline rent increases for repairs or renovations that aren’t needed, or those who evict tenants by pretending they or a family member needs the unit.
“The Ontario NDP will invest in increasing the supply of affordable rental housing. We’ll establish a new public agency, Housing Ontario, to finance and build 250,000 new affordable and non-market rental homes. Housing Ontario would ensure an adequate supply of rental homes meeting the needs of low-to-moderate income households at all stages of life, from couples to young families to seniors. These homes will be operated by public, non-profit or co-op housing providers, and permanently protected from the speculation and financialization of the private market.
“The NDP will also extend the life of 260,000 affordable homes and provide 311,000 tenant households direct financial support to help pay the rent.”
Ontario Liberal Party
“An Ontario Liberal government will bring back rent control to all homes across Ontario and ensure all renters have smaller, more predictable increases.
“We are doubling the pace of home building, working towards a goal of 1.5 million new homes over 10 years. As part of this commitment, we will build at least 138,000 new deeply affordable homes – including much-needed supportive housing and homes for Indigenous peoples. Specific steps include making it easier to extend secondary or laneway suites, introducing a “use it or lose it” tax on developers sitting on development-ready homes, and taxing homes that are sitting empty. Additions to existing rental buildings can be a cost-effective way to create new homes, so we’ll make it easier to do so by providing as-of-right zoning status at sites where there is already purpose-built rental housing.
“We’ll provide renters with a path to ownership and create a legal framework that protects renters to opt into rent-to-own agreements. We’ll work with municipalities to enhance safety and ensure both tenants and neighbours can hold landlords accountable for the safe operation of bedroom rentals. We’ll also reduce delays in landlord-tenant dispute resolutions – including ensuring homes are kept in a state of good repair and enforcing larger fines for persistently negligent landlords.
“These measures — taken together — will ensure that tenants have more predictable, accountable and affordable rental agreements where their rights are protected.”
Green Party of Ontario
“We will reinstate rent controls on all units to regulate rental increases year-to-year and implement vacancy control to limit rent increases between tenancies.
“But vacancy controls alone will not solve the housing crisis. It has to be accompanied with significant investments in new, affordable supply, expanded zoning, and a YIMBY approach to development [YIMBY, or ‘yes, in my backyard’ refers to an acceptance of building in one’s neighbourhood].
“In addition to establishing a clear system for above-guideline rent increases that governs which renovations are necessary and can qualify for an increase in rent, we will strengthen rules and penalties for renovictions and bad faith evictions to keep apartments affordable.
“We will further protect tenants by updating and strengthening sections of the Residential Tenancies Act that deal with the state of repair for multi-unit buildings to ensure tenants have homes that are safe.
“We will build 182,000 new permanently affordable community housing rental homes over the next decade, including 60,000 permanent supportive homes, so everyone has an affordable place to call home. We will also renew 260,000 community housing rental homes over the next decade, in partnership with the federal government, under the National Housing Strategy.
“Importantly, we will ensure that new affordable housing stock is accessible.”
Let us not leave out The Canada Communist Party.
The Communist Party of Canada (Ontario) calls on the Ontario Government to immediately cancel rent payments for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. The emerging health and economic crises are compounding the already dire housing emergency in Ontario. It is long overdue that the right to housing was recognized by the actions of governments. The Communist Party stands in solidarity with tenants and tenants’ rights organizations calling to cancel rents and organizing rent strikes on April 1st and beyond.
The one million Canadians who applied for Employment Insurance (EI) last week and the millions of others who have seen reduced hours and incomes due to the escalating crisis are either unable to pay April’s rent, or are having to choose between paying landlords and keeping small sums for food and other emergency uses. A deferment of rents will only mean that massive and unpayable housing bills will become due in a few months’ time. The burden of the crisis cannot be put on the shoulders of working people with the least ability to pay.
The Ford government’s ban on evictions does not go far enough as Ontarians face these stark choices without any financial relief for tenants. While the Federal government and the big banks have announced inadequate mortgage deferrals that will ensure bank profits, there have been no proposals at all for tenants. Federal financial supports are still weeks away and won’t help those paying current extortionist rents. Ontario rental rates are the highest in Canada, while Toronto has the highest rent of any city at more than $2,300 for an average one-bedroom.
Ontario has seen a sharp rise in homelessness throughout the last decade. Cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in shelter residents which threaten a health disaster of outbreaks inside cities’ shelter systems. These shelters have been chronically overcrowded for years and have been pushed further past the breaking point due to the pandemic. Indoor public spaces have been shuttered for health reasons and homeless people have even fewer supports than usual. It has never been as clear that housing is a health issue.
The housing emergency did not begin with the current crisis. It has been steadily escalating for years thanks to capitalism’s reliance on the real estate bubble, the unbridled greed of developers and landlords, and government collusion.
In January, the city of Ottawa declared a “housing emergency”. Ottawa’s waitlist for affordable housing has grown to 12,000 people, an increase of 14.8 per cent since 2017. The housing emergency is Ontario-wide. In Toronto, more than 102,000 households were on the active wait list for subsidized housing in 2019. According to this year’s Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association’s study, 42 per cent of renters spendmore than 30 per cent of their monthly income on rent and utilities; and 21 per cent spend more than 50 per cent. Overcrowding is also a growing issue with 20 per cent of rental households in Brampton living in overcrowded conditions. The housing crisis is a stark example of how an extremely profitable industry can totally fail in meeting the needs of working people.
The Ford government has implemented regressive reforms that will make living standards and conditions worse for millions in the province. After promising no changes to rent control during the election, the government then brought in legislation which ends rent control for all new rental units as part of its “Housing Supply Action Plan”. The sky’s the limit for rent increases on these units, and it will contribute to raising rents across the board. Ford’s continued commitment to the profiteers of the housing crisis is evident in the fact that condo construction continues in Ontario as “an essential service” during the pandemic.
The Communist Party of Canada (Ontario) continues to demand a comprehensive provincial social housing program that treats housing as a public utility and delivers it according to need. Developing and implementing an emergency plan to build 200,000 new, publicly owned, social housing units as well as upgrading and retrofitting existing units would be a real start to addressing the housing crisis.
We need legislation that will close rent control loopholes (such as “renovictions” and the lack of control on new units) and bring in rent rollbacks for all renters in Ontario so that no one is compelled to pay more than 20% of household income for rent. Furthermore, we need get rid of “vacancy decontrol”, which allows landlords to massively increasing rents when a tenant moves out. Landlords are already speculating that after the crisis ends there will be a large turnover of tenants due to job losses and that they will be able to raise rents dramatically.
We demand guaranteed funding for sufficient and safe emergency shelters to meet the needs of the more than 12,000 people who are homeless each night. Women’s shelters need to be expanded immediately as domestic violence becomes more dangerous as families are forced to remain under the same roof and since economic crises lead to more violence.
Action must be taken now to save lives during the pandemic. Most immediately, rent payments need to be canceled for the duration of the crisis. Many tenants cannot afford to pay now and many more will be unable to pay in May. Safe housing must be immediately found or requisitioned for the homeless. The province has expropriation powers and there is enough housing in the province, whether in hotels or in apartments owned by airbnb landlords and owners of speculation properties.
Housing is a right and not a commodity for the few to own and use to extract profits from the many.
There are many in Canada who are demanding that the government meet the cost of fuel, rent and food increases by raising the Old Age Pension and the Old Age Security as well as increasing to realistic amounts the payments to actually support recipients of Ontario Disability Support Program. Thus far, the government ignores them just as it ignores the increasing ranks of the homeless. It forbids squatting and tears down Shanty Towns. Many believe that the rising costs, especially for Shelter, make the $15.00/hour minimum wage unrealistic.
Too many people seem to be losing track of what is important in this world, which is to promote peace and not war. We all know that all currency is actually worthless, yet so many projects such as Desalinization Plants, affordable mass housing, free Healthcare and education and mass public transportation works (to name a few) have governments claiming they cannot afford it! They can certainly afford to directly and indirectly support Warfare with Hundreds of Billions of dollars! Always the Imperialists Powers have ignored the people who elected them (the majority of which is the working poor). We know that all across the West there are many in government (including their families) who own stock in companies that directly profit from war. War is destructive to the Environment and Nuclear Escalation is paramount to mass-murder.
It is time to approach Russia with a tenable agreement to peace that will end the Ukraine Proxy War, not escalate it. This means ending sanctions, agreement to secede at least one Ukrainian Territory to Russia (whichever has the largest number of ethnic Russians) and dare We say Free Trade between Russia and the West? Yes renumerations will be due to be paid by Russia which could take the form of resources such as Natural Gas and Oil. It is foolish to paint all Russians as villains for they (like almost all other citizens who are mostly working poor) only want to live their autonomous lives in Peace and comfort. PEACE being the key word. Do not continue to permit those “War Mongers -Profit Mongers” to continue to beat the drums of war in order to stir up the simple masses into a frenzy. Russia has always served as a necessary bulwark against the West, even though it has foolishly abandoned Communism.
It was foolhardy for Zelensky to abandon all prospects of peace through his obsession with N.A.T.O. just as it was for him to be elected to begin with and for the people to be apathetic and not protest against his madness. Now is the time for all peoples in both N.A.T.O. as well as Non-N.A.T.O. countries to protest on the streets demanding Peace. Let these governments (including Ukraine) know that continued escalation cannot be tolerated.
The two-party system within the U.S.A. combined with the history of rabid anti-communist laws is far from ideal, but it appears that things are only going to get much worse. The primary cause of this stems from a lack of law enforcement both legally and civilly with regards to honesty in the media as it applies to written word, spoken word, Television and the Internet. Many have commented about how the News Services were viewed as a trusted source for decades. There was a belief that if you printed or stated false claims, you would be punished. This is glaring obviously no longer the case. The rise of what is termed “Alternative Right-wing media” is responsible for this. Why and how their hosts are not being forced to prove their outrageous claims as well as their ability to avoid libel and other civil litigation is a mystery. They not only have undermined the very electoral system, Healthcare, education and trust but all manner of news reporting. They should never have allowed to use “free speech” and “political prosecution” cries to not be held to account for spreading outright lies. This has caused permanent damage to the U.S.A. and must be guarded against in other countries.
Publicly you will witness many disparage the Russian Media at present for doing precisely what the “Alt-Right” media is doing in the U.S.A.
The Far-Right Is Flocking To These Alternate Social Media Apps — Not All Of Them Are Thrilled
Covering breaking news and tech policy stories at Forbes Jan/14/21
After being purged from Facebook and Twitter, Trump supporters and far-right groups are turning to smaller platforms that either promise to be bastions of free speech or operate with limited policing, and while some of these platforms have embraced the newcomers, others are stepping up their moderation efforts. Read Here or below.
Traffic has surged on Gab, a right-wing alternative to Twitter, mostly from new members who are Trump supporters, believers of the QAnon conspiracy theory and other right-wing extremists.
The platform, which has been joined by several prominent right-wing extremist figures, said Wednesday it has had 1.7 million signups and clocked 52 million page views in the past week.
While Gab’s claims have not been independently verified, publicly available data from web analytics firm Alexa and Google Trends show a significant spike in interest in the platform in the past month.
Downloads of the app for Rumble, a conservative alternative to YouTube that’s supported by pundits and Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), doubled in the last week, according toAxios.
Social media platform MeWe — which presents itself as an alternative to Facebook without targeted ads — was an unexpected beneficiary of the online migration in the past week, with the company’s app becoming the fifth most most popular free app on Apple’s App Store and Google Play on Monday.
While MeWe seems happy about the influx of new users, its CEO Mark Weinstein toldFortune that the platform will be “more vigilant” in moderating content and does not want to become an “anything goes” app.
Downloads of messaging app Telegram — already popular is Russia, Eastern Europe and parts of Asia — spiked last week and it has risen to No. 2 in the list of most downloaded free apps on Apple’s App Store since Monday.
The messaging app, which recently surpassed 500 million active users, has cracked down on public channels belonging to QAnon supporters and right-wing militias threatening further violence in Washington, D.C.
The Guardianreported Thursday that members of a militia group that participated in the occupation of the Capitol last week used the walkie-talkie app Zello to coordinate the attack. One female militia member reportedly offered play-by-play updates to other members who were watching the events unfold offsite. Zello acknowledged its platform was “misused by some individuals” who stormed the Capitol and said it has moved to ban all militia-related channels, deleting more than 2,000 hours after the report was published.
Several experts who follow extremist movements have cautioned that banning them from mainstream platforms may not stop them and could drive them further underground. Of particular concern is the embrace of messaging apps like Signal and Telegram, which allow users to encrypt their communications (Signal does this by default) making it impossible for law enforcement and intelligence agencies to monitor them. Harry Fernandez, a director at Change the Terms, a nonprofit tracking online hate speech recently toldForbes “it’s dangerous that they don’t appear to have any infrastructure in place to police these platforms.” For most of the 2010s, the terror group Islamic State used Telegram as an effective recruitment and propaganda tool for its wars in Iraq and Syria. The jump in use of Signal and Telegram over the past week has also been driven by a backlash against Facebook-owned WhatsApp, which updated its privacy policies this month to allow it to share more data with its parent company.
So it seems that the lack of accountability for their deliberate misinformation which they claim is “free speech” cannot be a political right when it is harmful and not possible to prove because it is lies. This erosion has now lead to the Republican Party within the U.S.A. to be actively engaged in ending democracy. Read Here or below.
Republicans Will Enter 2021 With Control Over Most States’ Governments. Here’s Why That Matters For Redistricting.
Republicans are unlikely to hold onto the presidency or retake a majority of U.S. House seats, but the party still scored a low-profile yet crucial win this week: It held control of most states’ legislative bodies and governors’ offices, giving Republicans outsized power when state lawmakers begin carving new congressional districts next year.
In 22 states, Republicans will hold unified control over the governor’s office and both houses of the legislature, giving the party wide political latitude — including in states like Florida and Georgia where Democrats hoped to take a legislative majority.
Republicans flipped the governor’s mansion in Montana and both legislative bodies in New Hampshire on Tuesday, granting the party unified control in two new states.
Democrats will only hold both the legislature and governor in 15 states, and while the party did not lose any of those states, its hopes of flipping legislatures and forming unified governments in North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Minnesota went unrealized.
Eleven states will have divided governments in 2021, unchanged from this year: Democratic governors will need to work with Republican legislators in eight states, and Republican governors will contend with Democratic lawmakers in three.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
In Arizona and Alaska, the Associated Press has not declared enough races to make the composition of state government clear. Democrats hope to balance out Arizona’s Republican governor by taking control of the state legislature, and Republicans are aiming to reestablish unified control in Alaska by replacing a handful of moderate Republicans in the state House of Representatives who are caucusing with Democrats.
State legislative races are usually low-intensity affairs: The issues at play are highly localized, media attention is scant, high-value donations are few and far between, and many incumbents don’t even face serious challenges when they run for reelection. But these elections took on special meaning this year, as both parties prepare for a redistricting process that kicks off next year. Each state has a slightly different system for redrawing U.S. House districts following the decennial census, but almost every state gives legislators the power to draw these maps. The party in control of the process can deliberately try to form “gerrymandered” districts to maximize their political advantage, a strategy Democrats accuse Republicans of using after the 2010 census, though judges occasionally pushed back on some egregiously biased maps. With Republicans poised to hold onto this power next year, Democrats will need to contend with House districts drawn by the other party for at least another decade.
Beyond redistricting, state lawmakers also have broad control over policy. Some observers believe conservative state legislatures may try to pass severe abortion restrictions, cueing up legal battles that could end with parts of Roe v. Wade being relitigated by the Supreme Court. Also, the 11 states with divided governments will probably contend with partisan gridlock. This year alone, Wisconsin’s Republican legislators launched a legal battle to strike down Covid-19 restrictions placed by the state’s Democratic governor, and Massachusetts missed its deadline to pass a 2021 budget due to negotiations between the state’s Republican governor and overwhelmingly Democratic lawmakers.
States enacted 34 laws this year that add hurdles to the voting process — more than any other year for at least a decade, according to new data released by Brennan Center for Justice.
Why it matters: The surge in mostly Republican voting bills across 19 states follows former President Trump’s unfounded claims of election fraud and the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The report found that more than one-third of all restrictive voting laws in the U.S. enacted over the past decade were passed in 2021.
What we’re watching: This trend is on track to continue. In four states, at least 13 bills restricting voting access that are being watched by the Brennan Center have been pre-filed for the next legislative session, and 88 bills introduced this year will carry over.
Meanwhile, legislators in five states have pre-filed bills launching or allowing partisan audits of the 2020 election or future elections. That followsefforts to conduct these reviews in multiple states this year — most notably in Arizona.
The center highlighted 11 states — Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin — as having efforts underway that are most concerning to ballot access.
The big picture: State-level elections next year — including for governor, secretary of state and legislatures — could have a major impact on future voting rules.
State legislatures in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin passed restrictive voting bills that were ultimately vetoed by the states’ governors. All three governors are up for re-election next year.
Go deeper: Of the 34 new laws enacted this year, seven would shorten the time voters have to apply for a mail ballot. There was increased use of mail-in ballots during the pandemic.
Some of the laws allow officials to remove a voter from a list to automatically receive mail-in ballots if they do not cast at least one mail-in vote over four years.
Others impose stricter voter ID requirements at the polls or stricter signature requirements to cast a mail ballot.
Three states enacted laws that would reduce the locations or hours that polling places are open.
Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to reflect that more than one-third of all restrictive voting laws in the U.S. enacted over the past decade were passed in 2021, not 2020.
American should begin to organize Legal Collectives to begin lawsuits to first personally sue the individuals for spreading lies ( you cannot prove a lie in court) as well as their individual platforms. Fighting for voter rights the same way is the only way to protect democracy. Not to mention freaks like Governor Ron DeSantis.
These people always fold under questioning in court (like Majory Taylor Greene) relying on perjury or taking the 5th.
To examine the situation in Ukraine at present, it is a good idea to explore the region’s history and the trigger of this present conflict. The history of the Ukraine region itself is easily available online. The trigger of the conflict is also no secret, it relates directly to the animosity between N.A.T.O. and Russia. Most would agree that it was a mistake for Russia to invade Ukraine; most should also agree that it was a mistake for Zelensky to openly admire N.A.T.O. and to seek Ukrainian membership within it. It is this public application to N.A.T.O. (stated by all at the time as being an impossible dream) that was the trigger that caused Putin to suffer a “break-down” and launch the invasion.
There are many absurd theories about why the Russian invasion has opted to choose the letter “Z” as it’s brand, most of them being cryptic and absurd. Simple is always the best, so “Z” stands for Zelensky. It was Zelensky who declared war against Russia when he openly expressed love of N.A.T.O. and then applied for Ukrainian membership. Why? Why would Zelensky think that Ukraine would be accepted and that membership would benefit the Ukrainian people? Only Zelensky knows the answer to this question.
Let’s theorize that as an actor and former comedian, Zelensky was quite simply ignorant of the actual history of both Russia and N.A.T.O. He was blinded by his own ego – just as surely as Putin was when he launched the invasion-. Did Zelensky imagine a Hollywood movie about his life, “starring Tom Cruise as Volodymyr Zelensky”? If the Ukraine had publicly declared itself a Neutral Country, there would never have been any invasion. If the people of Ukraine, who do not stand to gain any benefits from membership in N.A.T.O., had protested against N.A.T.O. and Zelensky, there would never have been any invasion.
The situation within Ukraine is dire, precisely because N.A.T.O. views is solely as a means to engage in a proxy war against Russia. N.A.T.O. loves proxy wars. History shows that proxy wars never work. Korean War, Vietnam War, Angola and Afghanistan provide proof. If N.A.T.O. had decided to mind it’s own business and not interfere within a foreign nation that was a non-member; there would not be the current carnage resulting in a devastating loss of human life, infrastructure and absurd unnecessary costs being born by N.A.T.O. member citizens. Please read more about this Ukraine conflict Here or below.
The war between Russia and Ukraine, now well into its third week, is rapidly and dangerously spiraling out of control, with both sides invoking “World War III” and the prospect of nuclear war.
History teaches that wars are often initiated without the combatants understanding where they lead. Now, under conditions in which both sides are taking major military losses, the military logic of escalation begins to take on a dangerous life of its own.
The Russian government of Vladimir Putin finds itself waging a war against NATO in all but name, with Ukraine as the battlefield. It is responding by ever more directly targeting NATO itself.
On Sunday, a Russian missile strike leveled a military training base just 15 miles from the border with Poland, a NATO ally. The base had been used by NATO personnel to train Ukrainian forces and had previously hosted international NATO drills. On the same day, the US State Department confirmed that an American journalist, Brent Renaud, had been killed in Irpin, outside the capitol of Kiev. The head of Kiev’s regional police claimed he was shot by Russian forces.
The strike on the military base came one day after Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov threatened to target NATO arms convoys. “We warned the United States that pumping Ukraine with weapons from a number of countries orchestrated by them is not just a dangerous move,” he said, “but an action that turns the corresponding convoys into legitimate targets.”
The Putin government, under threat from NATO’s relentless expansion, had expected that it could bring pressure upon Washington to negotiate a security agreement that would stop the increasingly open incorporation of Ukraine into the anti-Russia offensive alliance. Confronted with the Biden administration’s belligerent refusal to guarantee Ukraine’s non-NATO status and the escalation of attacks on the predominantly Russian-speaking population in eastern Ukraine, Putin ordered the offensive. The Putin regime clearly underestimated the extent of Ukraine’s NATO-backed preparation for war, and the invasion has proved to be a disastrous miscalculation. The Kremlin is now seeking to offset initial setbacks by escalating the scale of its military operations.
As the conflict develops, the US and NATO are involving themselves ever more directly in the proxy war against Russia. The imperialist powers provoked the conflict with the idea that they could bog down Russia in an Afghanistan-like conflict, using the fact that Ukraine is not officially part of NATO to pursue the war without provoking a direct conflict between Russia and NATO.
However, as the war has developed, the fiction that NATO is not directly involved is increasingly impossible to maintain. Over 20 countries, including most members of NATO, have poured missiles, anti-aircraft systems, aircraft, vehicles and other weapons into Ukraine. The United States, having transferred over $350 million in weapons to Ukraine in the span of just two weeks, authorized another $200 million in military equipment over the weekend.
Ukraine reports that 20,000 foreign fighters have joined to fight on its side against Russia, while Voice of America reported that 3,000 Americans had volunteered to travel to Ukraine.
In response to the Russian strike, the United States said that it would shift its missile defense systems further east, with the Pentagon announcing the deployment of two additional Patriot missile batteries in Poland.
In the US media, there is an atmosphere of absolute war hysteria, with demands for further escalation made without the slightest concern for the consequences. The prospect of a nuclear third world war, for decades viewed as a civilization-ending cataclysm, is now debated on the Sunday talk shows.
The Biden administration’s extremely provocative actions are being denounced as insufficient by sections of both parties of the US political establishment.
Last week, 40 US Republican US Senators published a letter demanding that the Biden administration take possession of Polish MiG-29 aircraft and fly them from a US Air Force base in Germany into Ukraine, an action that the Biden administration said could provoke Russian retaliation against NATO.
Significant sections of both political parties are demanding that the United States military impose a no-fly zone over parts of Ukraine by shooting down Russian aircraft, which the White House has warned would lead to a third world war.
In addition to the military logic itself, the war hysteria is being utilized to drive everything else, aside from the weather, from media coverage. The COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to kill more than 1,200 people in the US every day, is completely ignored. Boundless hypocrisy is the norm. While denouncing Russian actions in breathless terms, the media on Sunday ignored the brutal mass execution of 81 people in Saudi Arabia, a close US ally.
The escalating war between the US-NATO and Russia over Ukraine is at the same time a war against the entire working class. With surging prices causing real wages to plummet, workers are simply told to grit their teeth in the name of defending “freedom”—that is, the right of Ukraine to join the NATO military alliance. “NATO Needs More Guns and Less Butter,” demanded a March 7 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, calling for Social Security and Medicare to be gutted.
In just a matter of weeks, the war has set the stage for a massive realignment of government expenditures around the world. Last week, the United States passed the largest military budget in history, while slashing remaining funding for the COVID-19 pandemic. Germany has utilized the crisis to triple its military budget.
The war will, in other words, become the occasion for a massive reduction of living standards for the working class, in which real wage declines caused by runaway inflation are accompanied by social austerity and court-mediated injunctions against strikes in the name of “national security.”
The consequences of the war will be even more disastrous for the working classes of the former Soviet Union, which face the prospect of total economic collapse, mass unemployment, and even mass hunger. Workers in Russia and Eastern Europe are confronting the full consequences of the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The claim that the restoration of capitalism would create prosperity and some kind of peaceful coexistence between Russia and world imperialism is being exposed as a fantasy.
War has a logic of its own. While Russia may have underestimated the response of NATO to the invasion, and NATO may have underestimated the response of Russia to its provocations, the working class cannot underestimate the danger of the crisis spiraling into a world war involving the use of nuclear weapons.
Whatever the developments in the short term, there is no way out of this crisis within the framework of capitalist politics. Only one force can stop the looming catastrophe: the international working class, united in a struggle against imperialism, militarism, the historically obsolete nation-state system, and the capitalist social order.
If only Zelensky had surrendered while he had the chance, this carnage could have been avoided.
“A Blockade to prevent any Nation from sending or receiving goods as a means of destabilizing the economy and the government, is an act of war.”
There is nothing cute or amusing about these Truck Convoy Blockades and occupation of cities by a small minority of citizens whose sole purpose is to sabotage living for the majority; an attempt to hold a country hostage to impose a view that is unpopular and impose a change that is unwelcome to the majority. These Truckers in Canada represent no more than 10% of the population. They must be acted upon immediately as their acts are a form of domestic terrorism. Permitting them 3 weeks of occupying the Capital City is shameful as the world knows they selected the Capital to do just that. The ‘Kid Gloves’ should have been removed by day 5 at most. It is time to round them up promptly, confiscate their vehicles and property and treat them so harshly that they will serve as an example themselves that will end any further action.
This “Trucker Convoy” was by no means an innocent, random event brought about by desperate, suffering, innocent people. Far from it. This was orchestrated through the same network of Trump worshipping, White Supremacist, QANON, Alternative Right-Wing minorities who travel between Canada and the United States frequently and feel entitled. The same character cast behind the Capital Attact in the U.S. on January 6TH.
Everybody who is familiar with Donald J. Trump is aware that he is selfish, greedy and a habitual liar. Did you know that Pathological lying, also known as mythomania and pseudologia fantastica, is the chronic behavior of compulsive or habitual lying. Unlike telling the occasional white lie to avoid hurting someone’s feelings or getting in trouble, a pathological liar seems to lie for no apparent reason. Habitual lying is a mental illness. Habitual liars believe that the lies that they tell are true. When they are caught, they stick to the lie. Delusion is also an indicator of Senile Dementia, which is a possibility considering Trump’s age. Delusions (or strongly held false beliefs) are a common symptom for a person with dementia. They can take the form of paranoia, which makes the person feel threatened, even if there is no or little reason to feel this way. Dementia can make a person suspicious of the people around them.
Donald J. Trump’s most famous lie is his claim that he won the 2020 election because he cannot and does not want to accept that he is a loser. This isn’t the only lie he has been caught at. He claims that he owns a “Magic Penthouse” that changes sizes from 10k square feet to 30k square feet. Read it here or below
Donald Trump Has Been Lying About The Size Of His Penthouse
During the presidential race, Donald Trump left the campaign trail to give Forbes a guided tour of his three-story Trump Tower penthouse—part of his decades-long crusade for a higher spot on our billionaire rankings. Gliding through his gilded home, he bragged that people have called his Manhattan aerie the “best apartment ever built” and emphasized its immense size (33,000 square feet) and value (at least $200 million). “I own the top three floors—the whole floor, times three!” He admitted to having once had a neighbor, pointing to a door on the 66th floor. “I leased that little section to Michael Jackson. I knew him better than anybody.”
Those comments were typical Trump: boastful and inaccurate. We recently dug up New York City records showing that he still shares those floors with a neighbor and has been exaggerating the size of his own place by a factor of three.
Records show Trump acquiring a 6,096-square-foot triplex apartment, occupying sections of floors 66 through 68, around the time Trump Tower opened in 1983. A decade later he expanded his penthouse, merging parts of two neighboring apartments into his home, according to the filings. The end result is 10,996 square feet of prime Manhattan real estate—a massive residence, no doubt, but much smaller than what Trump claims to own. No records filed with the city indicate that he has added or shed square footage in the years since.
Soon he will be lose yet again as he will be convicted for more lies.
Donald Trump Claimed Apartment Was Three Times Its Actual Size To Increase Value: NY AG
New York Attorney General Letitia James has accused former President Donald Trump of falsely claiming his luxury apartment was nearly three times its actual size in order to massively inflate its valuation.
The details involving the Trump Tower Triplex were unveiled by James during an update on the investigation into claims the Trump Organization fraudulently valued multiple assets to achieve economic benefits such as bigger bank loans.
In a statement, James gave an example of how Trump allegedly valued his triplex apartment at $327 million in 2015 and 2016 financial statements, based on claims it was 30,000 square feet in size. However, the actual size of Trump’s triplex apartment was 10,996 square feet.
In 2017, Trump’s financial statement changed the value of the property yet again, stating it was worth $116.8 million and for the first time revealing it was only 10,996.39 square feet in size.
As noted by James’ office, longtime Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg previously testified to them that the value of Trump’s apartment had been overstated by “give or take” $200 million.
James’ office also states that Trump himself publicly claimed his triplex apartment in Trump Tower was 30,000 square feet in size or larger, as evidenced in a 2017 article for Forbes magazine entitled “Donald Trump Has Been Lying About The Size Of His Penthouse.”
As noted by James’ office, longtime Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg previously testified to them that the value of Trump’s apartment had been overstated by “give or take” $200 million.
James’ office also states that Trump himself publicly claimed his triplex apartment in Trump Tower was 30,000 square feet in size or larger, as evidenced in a 2017 article for Forbes magazine entitled “Donald Trump Has Been Lying About The Size Of His Penthouse.”
The article questions whether the apartment was actually 30,000 square feet while citing public records. Forbes concludes that while the Manhattan property is a “massive residence,” it is “much smaller than what Trump claims to own.”
The Trump Organization is also accused of inflating the value of the 212-acre property Seven Springs in Westchester County in a similar way.
In 2004, the company valued the property, which it purchased in 1995, at $80 million. Three years later, it was valued at $200 million, with its reported value rising again to $291 million in 2012.
The $291 million valuation was mainly based on a proposed plan to build nine luxurious homes on the property worth a supposed $161 million of profit.
In 2016, an independent valuation concluded the estate was worth $56 million. After this, Trump changed his financial statement to hide what would have been an 80 percent drop in the properties’ valuation by moving the Seven Springs to a catch-all category where no asset was itemized.
In 2015, Trump is also alleged to have claimed the 40 Wall Street building was worth $735 million while trying to refinance a loan on the property. This is despite the Capitol One lender, which had performed its own valuation in November 2014, determining that 40 Wall Street was worth $257 million.
The details emerged as James announced her office had filed a motion for a court order enforcing testimonial subpoenas from Trump, as well as two of his children Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump.
James said each of the individuals was “directly involved in one or more transactions” under review by the investigation.
“For more than two years, the Trump Organization has used delay tactics and litigation in an attempt to thwart a legitimate investigation into its financial dealings,” James said.
“Thus far in our investigation, we have uncovered significant evidence that suggests Donald J. Trump and the Trump Organization falsely and fraudulently valued multiple assets and misrepresented those values to financial institutions for economic benefit.
“The Trumps must comply with our lawful subpoenas for documents and testimony because no one in this country can pick and choose if and how the law applies to them. We will not be deterred in our efforts to continue this investigation and ensure that no one is above the law.”
In a statement to Newsweek, a spokesperson for the Trump Organization said: “The only one misleading the public is Letitia James.
“She defrauded New Yorkers by basing her entire candidacy on a promise to get Trump at all costs without having seen a shred of evidence and in violation of every conceivable ethical rule. Three years later she is now faced with the stark reality that she has no case.
“So, in response to Trump suing her and filing multiple ethical complaints, and on the heels of her failed governor’s race, she has no choice but to mislead the public yet again by misrepresenting the facts and ignoring her own inflammatory comments. Her allegations are baseless and will be vigorously defended.”
Soon Donald J. Trump will be going to face a term of imprisonment that will be life at his age.
“Capitalism is not Democracy, the ultimate expression of Capitalism is Fascism.”
Not only within the U.S.A. is true democracy -if it actually exists on Earth- under threat. What the majority of the ‘Western Thinkers’ would select as a definition of Democracy is under threat. This is because it is no longer possible to maintain life on Earth as the majority would choose it to be unless a radical alteration of Socio-political and Psuedo-spiritual change occurs. So it would seem that a choice is being thrust upon the Human Collective to decide between the continued progress of Capitalism under Fascism or True Communism.
Let us focus on what Capitalism actually is. It is massive privatization supported through country internment and currency slavery. It is Plutocracy.