We have all bore witness to the disaster that is iphone and Twitter. This is why it is so vital that the global public boycott iphone and Twitter.
Apple follows the path that the majority of major corporations follow these days, not profit but never enough profit. Despite the fact that many major corporations earn billions in profit each quarter; they yet cry belt-tightening and attempt to make the public feel empathy for them as if they were also suffering hard times. They increase fees and downgrade services and quality of goods. They sing that “less means more mantra” by charging slightly higher prices for less product or go out of their way to downgrade the substance of goods with inferior substitutes that ensure it will be replaced sooner. There is no such thing as a 40 year warranty anymore. You are lucky if it works 2 years. Just look at how Microsoft has even stopped offering support for the earlier – superior versions – of Windows. The iphone has actually resulted to Modern Slavery. They will tell you lies and get people to con you into thinking that somehow these people are less than human and everybody should be pleased that Apple is providing them a lower cost product by employing slave labour. This is always a lie because profit will always go to them and rarely to any consumer. Read more HERE or below.
Advanced-Connectek has made unglamorous but critical computer components for Apple for more than a decade. For two of those years, it operated a factory inside an industrial park on the edge of the deserts of Xinjiang, a region of western China populated by a predominantly Muslim group known as Uyghurs. The industrial park is surrounded by walls and fences with only one way in or out.
And next to the park was a large compound identified by a satellite imagery researcher as a detention center where the factory workers lived. The researcher, Nathan Ruser, from an Australian think tank, said “almost no other factories in Xinjiang have these characteristics except for industrial parks where there is detainee labor.”
The Information and human rights groups have found seven companies supplying device components, coatings and assembly services to Apple that are linked to alleged forced labor involving Uyghurs and other oppressed minorities in China. At least five of those companies received thousands of Uyghur and other minority workers at specific factory sites or subsidiaries that did work for Apple, the investigation found […]
The Information’s findings, which human rights groups Tech Transparency Project and China Labor Watch aided and independently analyzed, show that Xinjiang’s role in the supply chain for technology brands is bigger than was previously known.
“The new evidence further demonstrates how Apple’s supply chain in China is directly implicated in the ongoing human rights abuses against ethnic minorities from Xinjiang,” said Katie Paul, director of Tech Transparency Project, a research initiative of the watchdog group Campaign for Accountability.
The same suppliers also produce components for Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook.
Ironically, much of the evidence comes from photos and videos provided by local government officials in their efforts to show Beijing that they are playing their part in these programs.
While the Chinese government claims that they are simply offering optional work to citizens in areas of poverty, human rights commentators say that this isn’t the case.
“All state-sponsored labor recruitment programs in Xinjiang must be understood as compulsory labor because no minority citizen in the region has the ability to refuse to participate in the programs,” said Laura Murphy, a professor of human rights and contemporary slavery at Sheffield Hallam University.
It’s reported that anyone refusing to participate is instead jailed.
Apple said in response that it actively looks for evidence of forced labor as part of its regular supplier inspections, but has not found any. Human rights groups say that this is because Apple relies significantly on interviews with workers, who are unable to speak freely.
Claims of forced labor in Apple’s supply chain surface regularly, with the company investigating and generally choosing to quietly sever ties rather than issue statements.
Protests break out at Covid-hit iPhone factory in China
Social media videos showed large crowds clashing with hazmat-suited officials amid rising worker discontent at the Foxconn plant
Hundreds of workers joined protests at Foxconn‘s huge iPhone plant in China, with some men smashing surveillance cameras and windows, footage uploaded on social media showed.
The rare scenes of open dissent in China mark an escalation of unrest at the factory in Zhengzhou city that has come to symbolise a dangerous buildup in frustration with the country’s ultra-harsh Covid rules as well as inept handling of the situation by the world’s largest contract manufacturer.
The trigger for the protests, which began early on Wednesday, appeared to be a plan to delay bonus payments, many of the demonstrators said on livestream feeds. The videos could not be immediately verified by Reuters.
“Give us our pay!” chanted workers who were surrounded by people in full hazmat suits, some carrying batons, according to footage from one video. Other footage showed teargas being deployed and workers taking down quarantine barriers. Some workers had complained they were forced to share dormitories with colleagues who had tested positive for Covid-19.
Foxconn said in a statement it had fulfilled its payment contracts and that reports of infected staff living on campus with new recruits were untrue.
“Regarding any violence, the company will continue to communicate with employees and the government to prevent similar incidents from happening again,” the company added.
A source familiar with the situation in Zhengzhou said production at the plant was unaffected by the worker unrest and output remained normal.
Reuters has previously reported that Foxconn aimed to resume full production at the Zhengzhou iPhone plant by the second half of November.
While the latest unrest has added “uncertainties” to the target, the source said the company was still working hard to hit it, adding that “only a portion” of the new recruits took part in the unrest.
A second source familiar with the matter, however, said Foxconn was unlikely to hit the target, pointing to disruptions triggered by the unrest, particularly affecting new recruits who were hired to bridge the gap in the workforce.
“Originally, we were trying to see if the new recruits could go online by the end of November. But with the unrest, it’s certain that we can’t resume normal production by the month-end.”
Discontent over strict quarantine rules, the company’s inability to stamp out outbreaks and poor conditions including shortages of food had caused workers to flee the factory campus since the Apple supplier imposed a so-called closed-loop system at the world’s biggest iPhone plant in late October.
Under closed-loop operations, staff live and work on site, isolated from the wider world.
Former workers have estimated that thousands fled the factory campus. Before the unrest, the Zhengzhou plant employed about 200,000 people. To retain staff and lure more workers Foxconn has had to offer bonuses and higher salaries.
Local authorities also stepped in to help, with some urging retired soldiers and government workers to take on stints, according to local media reports.
The first source said that the eagerness of local authorities to recruit workers may have played a role in causing “miscommunication” with the new hires on issues including allowance and accommodation.
The Zhengzhou government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In the videos, workers vented about how they were never sure if they would get meals while in quarantine or over inadequate curbs to contain an outbreak.
“Foxconn never treats humans as humans,” said one person.
Apple did not respond to requests for comment.
“It’s now evident that closed-loop production in Foxconn only helps in preventing Covid from spreading to the city, but does nothing (if not make it even worse) for the workers in the factory,” Aiden Chau of China Labour Bulletin, a Hong Kong-based advocacy group, said in an email.
As of Wednesday afternoon, most of the footage on Kuaishou, a social media platform where Reuters reviewed many of the videos, had been taken down. Kuaishou did not respond to a request for comment.
The protest images come at a time when investors are concerned about escalating global supply-chain issues, due in part to China’s zero-Covid policies that aim to stamp out every outbreak.
The curbs and discontent have hit production. Reuters reported last week that iPhone output at the Zhengzhou factory could slump by as much as 30% in November due to Covid restrictions.
Foxconn is Apple’s biggest iPhone maker, accounting for 70% of iPhone shipments globally. It makes most of the phones at the Zhengzhou plant, though it has other smaller production sites in India and southern China.
Shares of Foxconn, formally called Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, have slipped 2% since the unrest emerged in late October.
Cellular phone addiction
Twitter seems to be following an entirely different model whereby it wants to drive away advertisers through it’s new policy of Hate Speech, Disinformation and Bizarre Conspiracy Theories cloaked as “Free Speech”. As if the General Public were stupid enough to not understand that these things cause serious harm to individuals as well as to the General Public. Hate Speech is never Free Speech. Disinformation is never Free Speech. Read more HERE or below.
The death of Twitter has dragged on too long. Please, Elon, put us out of our misery
We all said goodbye at the restaurant only to find we were walking in the same direction, unsure of what to say
That’s it, time to pull the plug. Enough is enough.
We’ve been more than patient with Elon Musk, weathering the constant cringe posts and the crypto memes, the randomly generated child names and the Mars colony dystopianism – and that’s before you even get into the basic culture-destroying billionaire stuff.
But I draw the line at the pathetic attempts to keep Twitter, an app that should probably just disappear, alive.
In a few short weeks the billionaire has made an already bad app even more torturous, not in its user experience but in the fresh agony of having to be kept abreast of the most intimate details of one of the biggest dipshits around.
Something must be done, even if I’m not confident about our chances.Elon has the kind of material wealth usually reserved for comic book villains or guys who own genies. If challenged, he probably has a satellite that could turn me into a ham sandwich, or a button that puts every Tesla on the road into assassin mode.
I’m willing to fight, and if I end up as nothing but gunk in an electric car’s tyre treads to make it happen, then so be it.
The death of Twitter has dragged on too long. Two weeks on from the platform reportedly flirting with collapse, thanks to some all-time mismanagement following Elon’s ascension to chief executive, we’re sleeping through an uneasy peace. Mass employee lay-offs and walk-outs, knuckleheaded attempts at raising a “hardcore” movement of company loyalists, an increasingly conspicuous misunderstanding of the work coders do. But for the average user nothing’s actually changed. It seems unlikely now if anything ever will.
If you were on Twitter in recent weeks, you might have found it hard not to be drawn into the mania of its impending “collapse”.
There were reports that Twitter’s public servers could be down within the day. A grim panic set in. Many users hurriedly shared contact details and alternative platforms “in case this all disappears”. Others had gushing stories of genuine friendships and connections they never would have made otherwise. It was like if everybody on board the Titanic had a PayPal account and a podcast nobody listened to.
But then, nothing happened. We all said goodbye at the restaurant only to find we were walking in the same direction, unsure of what to say now that we have said it all.
How do you come back from this? How can we return from the fiery end to the dull, interminable middle, made even worse now because we now have to hang out with a guy with hair plugs and millions of freshly invigorated fans who all give off the curious vibe of “virgin dad”.
The wise will have used this opportunity to assess how healthy their relationship with Twitter is. Every habitual Twitter user has come close to biting their tongue clean off at least once after receiving a Twitter anniversary notification reminding them just how many years it’s been since they began their descent, but many of us haven’t enjoyed such a pure shock to the system as this near-miss gave us.
Most of us will just beat on, of course, backs against the current, borne ceaselessly into the cringe. And distressingly, if the last two weeks are anything to go by, the cringe will probably survive as long as we do.
Our only hope is that Elon truly kills off the website, really puts a stake through its heart, either through acute incompetence or immediate malice. Let the great beast bleed out quickly or nuke it out of existence, annihilate it between two colliding freight trains, I don’t care. He’s free to pick through the remains if he wants and package up what still works – a platform for the Chinese government to post insane amounts of pornography.
He’s the only one who can do it, and unless he accepts the truth he’ll never win. He can have his goons shoot us from cannons, but he will never kill the lameness inside of himself. That will continue long after this, all of us, are gone.
Although Twitter used to be regarded as the “Public Town Square” it was therefore a common-sense platform. Common-sense has always meant the greater good – essentially diametrically opposed to the very existence of Billionaires -. This means that the greater needs of the public would naturally take precedence above special interests of corporations, dictators and hate groups in general.
There is a theory that this is really the only reason that EVIL Elon Musk “Lord Of The Goofs”, purchased Twitter. He has made the sacrifice of his currency hoarding in order to protect his Class.
So it is now time to BOYCOTT TWITTER.
If you continue to use Twitter then you are supporting Twitter.
If you continue to use Twitter than you are a “Stupid Goof”.
Only Goofs use Twitter.
Let that sink in.
JUST FOR FUN
I had to insert this comic video of Evil Elon’s Buddy Donald J. Trump
It is hard to resist laughing at the Buffoon who seems to be – based on Evil Elon’s actions – his friend. Donald J. Trump
There are many images of hypnosis throughout history that present it as an amusing, trivial matter. How many of us have laughed along with an audience witnessing a parlour trick where some stage hypnotist makes a person act like an animal or a fool? The sad reality is that hypnosis is very real, very dangerous and has caused significant damage to victims lives because it is permanent. A victim of post-hypnotic suggestion has had their brain hacked (tricked) into believing that the successful post-hypnotic suggestion is an event that actually occurred in the victims life. Since this is not a fact, there are no actual real memories in the life of the victim to support this event; so their brain creates false memories in order to support this new event. To the victim, this is all very real. They are brought out of the hypnotic trance only to have a revelation that an event -they were unaware of prior to the hypnosis- has happened to them. Since the brain has had to create false memories to support the event, these will come flooding in along with the real emotions attached to them. It is impossible for the victim to be able to tell the difference between the actual, real memories that were there before the event and the fake memories created and filed by their brain along with their real memories. This is why hypnosis causes permanent damage. It has nothing to do directly with memory, which is why it is sadly impossible to go back later using hypnosis to correct any damage caused by the false memories generated through the post-hypnotic suggestion.
Within the human mind it is impossible to separate memories from emotion. Oftentimes, an event or a smell or a sound can trigger a memory and emotions along with it. These emotions will generally be determined by the event, so a happy event will cause happy emotions and a sad or scary event will provoke corresponding emotions. This is why hypnotic attacks can be so dangerous. It is impossible to know for sure how many false memories will be generated by a brain that has been victimized as a result of a successful post hypnotic suggestion. If the event is a somewhat harmless one, such as driving a stagecoach in the 1740’s, then the victim will believe that they have had a “past life memory”. Suddenly they will be assured that they must have been a stagecoach driver. Seems harmless enough, but it is still damage because the event itself never happened, it is just the hypnotist tricking the victims brain into recording an event and supporting it with false memories. When the hypnosis is staged in order to plant a horrific event… this causes destruction to the victims life.
So past life memories, rapes, alien abductions, participation in some secret Satanic ritual or even something as simply as having witnessed a grisly murder, are typical results of a hypnotic attack. These bad events create bad memories which cause the victim to suffer from real emotions that are attached to these false memories. This can result in reoccurring nightmares or even a full mental breakdown of the victim. Read more here or below.
False memory syndrome: A review and emerging issues, following a clinical report
Author links open overlay panel G.SantosV.Costa Hospital Magalhães Lemos, Psiquiatria, Porto, Portugal
False Memory Syndrome (FMS) is caused by memories of a traumatic episode, most commonly childhood sexual abuse, which are objectively false, but in which the person strongly believes. These pseudomemories usually arise in the context of adult psychotherapy and are often quite vivid and emotionally charged. FMS is rare and sometimes could be confused with psychotic disorder and malingering. The infrequency with which it is encountered makes this syndrome a diagnostic challenge. Failure to diagnose can lead to significant morbidity.
We studied a 26-year-old female with no prior Psychiatric history who started to recall vivid memories of sexual abuse perpetrated by her father, following few sessions of clinical hypnosis. She presented a low mood, disorganized behaviour and aggressivity towards her father when she was admitted to our ward. After a normal CT brain scan and lab tests and a meticulous clinical history, the clinical diagnosis was made. She was successfully managed with supportive psychotherapy combined with mood stabilizer medications.
This case illustrates the unknown field between memory and confabulation and the value of a complete history. Physicians should be alert and keep an open mind about this iatrogenic disorder. Research is needed on the identification of memory mechanisms, specific situations and personality factors involved in this syndrome.
False memories and false confessions: the psychology of imagined crimes
Julia Shaw uses science to prove that some memories are false. Now she’s tackling criminal-justice failures
In February 2016, Julia Shaw received a call from a lawyer regarding a criminal case. It involved two sisters who, in 2015, had given the police vivid descriptions of being sexually abused by a close female relative. They alleged that the abuse had taken place between 1975 and 1976. The lawyer, who was representing the defendant, wanted Shaw’s input as an expert witness.
Shaw, a criminal psychologist at the London South Bank University, was struck by how unusual the scenario was. “Usually, in cases of sexual abuse, the father is the accused,” she says. “In this case, it was a girl.” At the time of the alleged abuse, the sisters had been around four and seven years old, and the relative was between ten and 12.
As she leafed through the interview transcripts, Shaw noted the older sister’s language. “She kept saying, ‘My childhood was rough and I buried so much. I think it was my coping mechanism, I must have just blocked it.’ These are things that point to an assumption of repression. This is the idea that if something bad happens, you can hide it in a corner of your brain,” she says.
The older sister also told police that her recollection was unearthed suddenly by a photograph that her relative had posted on Facebook, triggering memories of a few instances when they were repeatedly made to perform sexual acts in an upstairs room of the family home. The younger sister told police that she couldn’t remember most of what had occurred, but agreed with her sibling’s version of events. To Shaw, this indicated social contagion: when testimonies are tainted, or even formed, by others’ accounts of what happened. “The transcript also gave the impression that the [first] complainant was at times also comfortable with guessing memory details, saying, for example, ‘I can’t remember, I just had this really weird feeling that she used to make us do stuff to each other,'” Shaw recounts.
Taking into account the claims of repressed memory, the 40 years that elapsed between the alleged crime and the accusation, and the memory sharing between the two sisters, Shaw could reach only one conclusion: although the two sisters were probably convinced of the veracity of their allegations, their accounts weren’t reliable. “I don’t try to figure out if a person is guilty or innocent,” Shaw says. “It’s about whether the memory is reliable or not.”
The case was eventually dropped due to new evidence that the defendant provided in court. Now, the defendant is trying to put the ordeal behind her. “I like being the person to say, ‘actually, this is bad evidence,’ if it is,” Shaw says. “That’s something you can’t do if you don’t know the science.”
As a researcher, Shaw studies how false memories arise in the brain and applies it to the criminal-justice system. Contrary to what many believe, human memories are malleable, open to suggestion and often unintentionally false. “False memories are everywhere,” she says. “In everyday situations we don’t really notice or care that they’re happening. We call them mistakes, or say we misremember things.” In the criminal-justice system, however, they can have grave consequences.
“False memories are everywhere. In everyday situations we don’t really notice or care that they’re happening. We call them mistakes, or say we misremember things.” Julia Shaw, criminal psychologist
When Shaw works on cases she systematically looks for red flags. Cues such as age are important. For instance, before we reach the age of three, our brains cannot form memories that last into adulthood, meaning that claimed recollections from that period are suspect.
She also investigates who the accuser was with when they recalled the memory, what questions they were asked and whether in other circumstances, such as therapy, somebody could feasibly have planted the seed of a memory that took root in their minds.
Finally, Shaw looks for claims that the memory resurfaced suddenly, out of the blue, which can point to repressed memories. It’s a discredited Freudian concept that supports the premise that dredging up supposedly forgotten memories can explain a person’s psychological and emotional turmoil, but scientifically, it’s unsubstantiated.
Understanding the ramifications of memory-gone-wrong drives Shaw. She believes that a limited awareness of memory research in therapy, policing and law is contributing to systemic failures, and is training the German police on improving interrogation methods. She wants to eradicate the misconceptions about memory. “We’ve done things that people in policing or law don’t understand,” she says. “An academic journal has ten people reading it. We’re doing this to have an impact.”
Allegations of sex abuse and satanic rituals hit the McMartin Preschool in Manhattan Beach, California, involving Peggy McMartin Buckey. Accusations by a mother that her child had been sodomised snowballed into an investigation, with allegations from hundreds of pupils. In 1990, these convictions were overturned as it was judged that therapists had unintentionally implanted false memories in the preschoolers’ minds
In 1989, Eileen Franklin-Lipsker, a woman living in Canoga Park, Los Angeles, was gazing at her young daughter, Jessica, when a series of disturbing memories rushed into her mind. In them, she witnessed her father, George Franklin, raping her eight-year-old friend Susan Nason in the back of his van, then crushing her skull with a rock. Nason had been missing since 1969: her body was discovered three months later in the woods outside Foster City, California, where she’d lived. But the murderer was never found. Disturbed by these memories, Franklin-Lipsker called the police. She told detectives on November 25, 1989, that 20 years earlier, her father ditched Nason’s body beneath a mattress in the woods and threatened to kill her if she told anyone. She claimed that she’d repressed the shocking memory for two decades. Her recollection became the basis of an indictment against George Franklin, resulting in his trial.
In late 1990, when the trial was under way, Elizabeth Loftus, a cognitive psychologist at the University of California, Irvine, received a telephone call from Franklin’s attorney, Doug Horngrad. He wanted her as an expert witness for the defence. Loftus had been studying memory for more than 20 years and had testified in several previous criminal cases. “What was puzzling to me was that [Franklin-Lipsker] kept changing her testimony,” Loftus recalls. “She had maybe five or six different versions of how her memory came back.” To Loftus, that signalled distorted or even fabricated memories.
In court on November 20, 1990, Loftus spent two hours explaining to the jury that memories are suggestible, and that Franklin-Lipsker’s might not be as reliable as it seemed. Nevertheless, Franklin was convicted of Nason’s murder later that month. “I was shocked at the conviction,” Loftus says.
Five years later the courts agreed with Loftus. Franklin-Lipsker’s sibling, Janice, testified that her sister had recovered the memories during hypnotherapy sessions that she had been attending to alleviate the depression she had suffered from since her teens. During those sessions, Franklin-Lipsker learned that her symptoms could indicate post-traumatic stress disorder, and was encouraged to recall the trigger. That, according to Loftus, originated the false memory. Hypnosis is considered an unreliable source by US and UK courts, so made her accounts inadmissible. Since Franklin’s imprisonment rested on his daughter’s eyewitness account, the judge overturned his conviction and he was freed.
CASE STUDY ONE
1984-1990: McMartin Preschool trial: Allegations of sex abuse and satanic rituals hit the McMartin Preschool in Manhattan Beach, California, involving Peggy McMartin Buckey. Accusations by a mother that her child had been sodomised snowballed into an investigation, with allegations from hundreds of pupils. In 1990, these convictions were overturned as it was judged that therapists had unintentionally implanted false memories in the preschoolers’ minds.
Loftus’s involvement in the case spurred her to pioneer research into false memory. In the 80s and 90s, she’d become intrigued by an upsurge in allegations of sexual abuse. The idea of repressed-memory theory was gaining traction at the time in alternative practices such as hypnotherapy and psychotherapy. Patients were encouraged to embrace visualising techniques, hypnotism and their imaginations to access repressed memories, which were usually pinpointed as violent sexual and physical abuse during childhood. “You began to see hundreds of people coming forward, saying that they had recovered repressed memories of massive brutalisation that they’d been completely unaware of,” Loftus says. “I saw that something really big was going on here. It seemed that richly detailed whole memories were being planted into the minds of ordinary people [in therapy].”
“For the time, the notion was hugely controversial”, Shaw says. “It was absolutely shocking. Loftus was accused of silencing victims and was verbally attacked. I also get attacked when I speak out against repressed-memory therapies. But people like Elizabeth [Loftus] and I are concerned that this has the potential to really damage lives.”
In 1995 – the year Franklin’s case ended – Loftus tested out her theory experimentally. Working with graduate student Jacqueline Pickrell, she recruited 24 participants and gave each of them booklets containing details of four experiences they’d had between the ages of four and six. Researchers contacted each participant’s parents for details of three true stories.
The fourth story, however, was false: it involved an imaginary incident where the subject got lost in a shopping centre as a child, was rescued by a stranger and returned to their parents. To make it believable, Loftus asked the participants’ parents for details that could have been true – such as the name of a local shopping centre that actually existed when the participants were young. They were asked to think about the four memories and write down as many details as they recalled. When interviewed about their recollections, some began to share how they’d felt, and even what their rescuer was wearing – despite the fact that it was all untrue. “It was groundbreaking, because it showed that we can implant false memories of entire experiences. That’s something we hadn’t done before in the lab,” says Shaw.
CASE STUDY TWO
1984 – Joseph Pacely: In 1984, police arrested a man named Joseph Pacely in California because he matched the description of a suspect who’d broken into a woman’s home and tried to rape her, but fled when others in the house were woken by the noise. The woman, known as Mrs M, identified Pacely from a line-up. But testifying on his behalf, cognitive psychologist and memory expert Elizabeth Loftus explained that cross-race misidentification is common (the accuser was Mexican), and that stress distorts memory. Pacely was acquitted, due to Loftus’s evidence.
Ultimately, a quarter of the participants in Loftus’s study developed a detailed false memory. “The key is suggestibility. Often, false memories develop because there’s exposure to external suggestive information,” Loftus says. “Or, people can suggest things to themselves – autosuggestion. People draw inferences about what might have happened. Those solidify and act like false memories.”
“A lot of people were studying memory errors at the time, but they weren’t making it useful,” says Shaw. “Elizabeth structured it in a way that people could take it into a courtroom.”
In 1984, police arrested a man named Joseph Pacely in California because he matched the description of a suspect who’d broken into a woman’s home and tried to rape her, but fled when others in the house were woken by the noise. The woman, known as Mrs M, identified Pacely from a line-up. But testifying on his behalf, cognitive psychologist and memory expert Elizabeth Loftus explained that cross-race misidentification is common (the accuser was Mexican), and that stress distorts memory. Pacely was acquitted, due to Loftus’s evidence.
One morning in February 2016, Shaw sat crossed-legged in the swivel chair at her desk, in the department of Law and Social Sciences at London South Bank University, where she is a senior lecturer in criminology. A petite 30-year-old, Shaw talks eagerly about her work, in a flurry of words punctuated by the occasional impatient flick of her long blonde hair over a shoulder. Her interest in memory science took hold in her teens, when she began to research her family history. Half-German, half-Canadian, Shaw was born in Cologne, Germany, and spent most of her youth moving between her birthplace, the German city of Bonn, and Vancouver, Canada. “I grew up in a family where some people had difficulty monitoring reality and struggled with mental-health issues. I knew from an early age that reality could be dramatically different for people,” she says. Shaw is the first in her family to finish a degree: in 2004, she started studying psychology at the Vancouver campus of Simon Fraser University (SFU). “I didn’t know exactly what I was there for. I just knew that some of my family had alternate realities. I wanted to understand that.”
Shaw has idolised Elizabeth Loftus since her university days. “There aren’t that many women at the top of our field. When I started studying psychology, she was one of the most important,” she says. Her interests were influenced by Loftus’s memory-implantation studies. In 2009, while moving from SFU to the University of British Columbia to conduct her PhD, Shaw became increasingly fascinated by the impact that false memories could have in criminal scenarios.
The idea that memory science can help with police questioning is based on evidence that’s been growing since the late 80s. “Studies show that the subtle ways a question is pitched can affect what a witness reports. The feedback you give to a witness can modify how confident they are in their memories, and can shape those recollections,” says Kimberly Wade, a psychologist at the University of Warwick who carries out false-memory research. Ultimately, poor interrogation methods can lead to mistaken eyewitness accounts, baseless accusations and even false confessions. “Why do people confess to things they never did? I think the most fascinating examples aren’t because of torture or because they felt like they had to, but because they actually think they did it,” Shaw says.
In 2015, Shaw set out to discover if she could implant detailed memories of committing a crime in people’s minds, as a proxy for understanding how real-world false confessions arise. To do that, she used an updated version of Loftus’s shopping-centre experiment. With her former PhD adviser Stephen Porter, a forensic psychologist at the University of British Columbia, Shaw recruited 60 student participants, splitting them into two groups. The first was told they’d experienced an event as teenagers, such as an injury, a dog attack, or losing a large sum of money. The second was told they’d committed a crime, such as assault or theft, as teenagers. To make the memories more convincing, Shaw wove in autobiographical information from the participants’ parents – such as where they were living, and the name of a friend that the participant had at the age they’d supposedly committed the crime.
After the initial meeting, none of the participants could recall the false memory. But every night for three weeks, they were encouraged to spend a few minutes visualising the event. Adding some social manipulation, Shaw told them most people can recall memories, but only if they try hard enough.
Shaw recalls the moment she realised her experiment was working. An important cue that a false memory is taking hold is the richness of the reported detail: “I had a participant who was doing my guided imagery exercise; it seems so trivial but she said, ‘Blue sky, I see a blue sky.’ It showed that she was buying into the idea of actually experiencing this event and was accessing a memory, as opposed to her imagination. Those were the kinds of details that ended up being the foundation for the event itself.”
The combination – a seemingly incontrovertible story backed up by real autobiographical details, visualisation and performance pressure – resulted in 70 per cent of participants generating a rich false memory of the event. Previous implantation studies had rates of 35 per cent. Unexpectedly, participants were as receptive to the false memories of committing crimes as they were to the emotional ones, Shaw says, despite the assumption that people would find it harder to believe they’d acted criminally in the past.
Shaw uses the study as proof of memory’s fallibility. “I always go through the study when I talk to police,” she says. “They see themselves in that scenario and think ‘this could be me, implanting false memories in a witness or a suspect.'”
Shaw, who is fluent in German, works mostly with German police and military forces. With the police, she typically trains senior police officers, who in turn pass on what they’ve learned to their subordinates at police stations across the country. In November 2016, she lectured an auditorium of 220 police officers in the Police Academy of Lower Saxony in Nienburg, Germany. As always, she started with a grounding of memory science to explain how memories fail. “It’s really important to tell them not just what to do, but why. I think having that knowledge makes police much better at their jobs,” Shaw says. Then she shared practical tools to help them avoid the development of false memories during criminal cases: get your witness statements early, she told them, so memories don’t get muddied by time; keep people’s accounts of an event separate so they don’t influence each other; avoid leading questions during interrogations.
Shaw also stressed the importance of filming witness and suspect interviews, which isn’t widely practiced in Germany. “It improves the outcome because police officers are more cautious about how they ask questions,” she explains. It also creates an independent record so that if there are suspicions of a false memory, the police’s interrogation methods can be scrutinised, she says.
CASE STUDY THREE
1990 – Holly Ramona: During therapy sessions she undertook in 1990, a 19-year-old Californian girl named Holly Ramona began to recall being abused by her father. Her memories were aided by doses of sodium amytal – so-called “truth serum” – known to make people believe they’re recalling real events. Her father successfully sued the therapists for negligence in 1994, and was the first case to find therapists guilty of implanting false memories.
After the lecture, Shaw received a rare confirmation that her lessons are beginning to take hold. A police officer approached her and said that, back at her station, she would now set up mandatory videotaping for witness statements.
Of her work with the military, she says these ideas can be a tougher sell. “There are always one or two people, usually older men, who will just come at me with anecdotes such as ‘I remember being born,’ or ‘I have memories of my childhood, so this proves you wrong.’ I say to them, ‘your anecdote doesn’t really battle my science,'” Shaw teaches the German military’s intelligence officers biannually: her focus is helping officers understand the flaws in their own memory so they can gather more reliable intelligence. “I teach them that you can be highly confident in things that are wrong. So you need to be careful. You’re making security decisions based on information that you can’t write down while you’re gathering intelligence.”
She’s also campaigning against the military’s tendency towards debriefings. In conflict situations, everyone will come back and they’ll immediately debrief,” Shaw says. “But a big briefing error is to all share your memories, because then they all become one. You lose all the nuances.”
Recently, Shaw was informed by her trainees that the military is ditching the joint debriefing habit in favour of officers independently recording their memories right after they’ve been in the field. “I also found out that my book was a Christmas present for those I work with on the base,” she laughs.
During therapy sessions she undertook in 1990, a 19-year-old Californian girl named Holly Ramona began to recall being abused by her father. Her memories were aided by doses of sodium amytal – so-called “truth serum” – known to make people believe they’re recalling real events. Her father successfully sued the therapists for negligence in 1994, and was the first case to find therapists guilty of implanting false memories.
What makes our memories so susceptible comes down to the way the brain stores information. That’s encapsulated by a concept called Fuzzy-trace theory, first described in the 90s by American psychologists Charles Brainerd and Valerie Reyna. The theory suggests that our brains lay down memories in two forms: gist and verbatim-memory traces. Gist traces record broad features of an event; verbatim traces store precise details. “The verbatim is exact, and the gist is general,” Shaw says. So, verbatim traces record a person’s eye colour and name, while the gist traces register how well you got on and whether you liked them.
Memory distortions arise because the brain stores and recalls these types of information independently, according to the theory. Since gist memories are also longer-lasting and more reliable over time than verbatim, that leads to memory cross-speak. Shaw explains in her book, The Memory Illusion: “When the gist traces are strong, they can encourage what are called phantom recollective experiences, which take the familiarity of the gist as a good cue for verbatim interpretations.”
CASE STUDY FOUR
2015 – Lucy X and Edward Heath: In August 2015, the UK police launched an investigation into the alleged paedophilia of deceased former UK prime minister Edward Heath (left). At the heart of this allegation was a woman, “Lucy X” who, investigating criminologist Rachel Hoskins has since discovered, underwent psychotherapy and hypnosis, which may have fuelled her allegations. In March 2017, police shut down the inquiry – which had cost more than £1 million in taxpayer’s money – reportedly due to insufficient evidence.
We don’t generally remember the verbatim pieces of a lot of things, according to Shaw, “so when we need to recall verbatim, it can lead to confabulation – assuming pieces that weren’t originally there. We embellish our gist memories.” These embellishments may come from other people’s accounts, our own imaginations or what we’re currently experiencing – all conniving to alter our sense of objective reality. “As a general rule, memory is a reconstructive thing,” says Deryn Strange, associate professor of cognitive psychology at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at The City University of New York. “So we are not able to play back any moment in our past and expect it to be an accurate record of what happened.”
In June 2016, Shaw crammed herself, two PhD students and four boxes into her Mini. They were returning to London from the headquarters of the British False Memory Society (BFMS) outside Birmingham. The organisation helps people who have been accused of crimes they claim they didn’t commit. The boxes Shaw was transporting contained the photocopies of thousands of carefully redacted files – call transcripts, court reports and psychiatric records – which describe the approximately 2,500 false memory cases the BFMS has amassed since 1993.
Shaw and Kevin Felstead, director of communications at BFMS, are using the dataset to identify how false memories form and evolve over time. Their survey has also revealed several features that allegations have in common: usually the accuser is known to the accused; the claims principally involve alleged sexual abuse; and most accusers are undergoing questionable therapy. “People seeking therapy are vulnerable, and they’re looking for answers,” Shaw says. “So if the therapist says ‘You must have repressed something,’ they say, ‘Let’s go find it.'”
Across the survey, the spectre of bad therapy looms large, usually represented by hypnotherapists and psychotherapists who embrace repressed-memory techniques. “There are still psychoanalytic schools saying repression is something we need to look for. So we’ve got universities teaching this nonsense to people,” Shaw says. The BFMS is slowly building up a therapy blacklist, so that professionals who turn up repeatedly can be identified. “I think, right now, we have a Wild West of therapeutic methods that are applied. Just like not everybody can call themselves a medical doctor, I don’t think anyone should be able to say they can help with mental health,” Shaw says.
Another facet to the problem is what Felstead calls the “post-Savile effect”. In 2012, revelations of sexual abuse experienced by hundreds of people by at the hands of Jimmy Savile raised the profile of sexual-abuse victims. “The criminal justice system has historically let down victims,” Felstead says. “Victims had terrible ordeals in those courtrooms. Nobody believed them, and they were ridiculed. Since Savile, it’s gone in the opposite direction.”
People who allege sexual abuse are frequently referred to as victims from the start. “Inquiries into historic sexual abuse also refer to people as survivors,” Shaw says. In 2016, London’s Metropolitan police force was criticised for adopting a policy stating that anyone who made a sexual-abuse allegation would be believed. “Referring to people as victims when you’re not sure victimisation has taken place has huge potential to influence the legal process,” Shaw says.
In Shaw’s opinion, there’s a third alternative for the criminal justice system. Besides truth and lies, there are also falsehoods masquerading as reality in people’s minds. She agrees with Elizabeth Loftus’s suggestions in 2008, that courts should adopt a new oath: “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, or whatever it is you think you remember?”
Emma Bryce is a science and environmental journalist. This is her first feature for WIRED. The Memory Illusion by Dr Julia Shaw is published by Random House Books, out now.
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.