May 18, 2023

Posted by orrinj at 7:13 PM


Israel: Nationalists march through Jerusalem (DW 5/18/23)

The Times of Israel reported that apart from "racist chants and scuffles with Palestinian residents," the event went ahead without any major incidents.

Posted by orrinj at 7:06 PM


GOP witnesses undermined Jan. 6 cases with conspiracy theories, FBI says ( Ken Dilanian and Ryan J. Reilly, 5/18/23, NBC News)

Two of the three self-proclaimed FBI whistleblowers who testified before a House subcommittee on Thursday had their security clearances revoked because their conduct on Jan. 6 cases brought into question their allegiance to the United States, a bureau official wrote in a letter to members of Congress this week.

A third FBI employee, a special agent who did not testify before the committee, had his security clearance revoked because he was on the restricted grounds of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 but lied about his conduct, FBI Acting Assistant Director Christopher Dunham wrote in a letter to Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, which was obtained by NBC News.

Posted by orrinj at 6:50 PM


White nationalism is racism (Brian Lyman, 5/16/23, ALABAMA REFLECTOR)

Last Monday, WBHM published an interview with U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville about his holds on military promotions. Tuberville is blocking the promotions because of a Pentagon policy on abortion, a move that even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell thinks a bit much. 

In the middle of a rambling answer to a question about what message his stand sends to foreign adversaries, Tuberville brought up white nationalism. 

"The Democrats are attacking our military, saying we need to get out the white extremists, the white nationalists, people that don't believe in our agenda, as Joe Biden's agenda," he said. "They're destroying it. This year, we will not reach any recruiting goals in the military. So, if we want to talk about -- looking weak -- that's where we're going to look weak."

If you read this as Tuberville saying that kicking racists out of the military is a sign of weakness, you're not alone.

When interviewer Richard Banks asked Tuberville if he believes white nationalists should be allowed to enlist, Tuberville said "They call them that. I call them Americans." 

Posted by orrinj at 2:34 PM


Israel's Internal Divisions Are its Mortal Enemy Now: The rightwing government's assaults on the judiciary will dissolve the glue uniting the country (AKIVA MALAMET, MAY 18, 2023, The UnPopulist)

As Abraham Lincoln pointed out quoting the Bible, a house divided against itself cannot stand. Israel, which recently celebrated its 75th anniversary, may be buckling from within. With the peace agreements that Israel recently signed with many of its former enemies in the region, the greatest threat to Israel's existence no longer comes from outside the country but from rising political divisions within. This was already the case before the new rightwing government proposed radical judicial reform. But if it goes forward, Israel will have a hard time balancing competing constituencies and values and could well come apart.

To outside observers, Israel has the appearance of social unity given the overwhelming domestic consensus that Israel should be a Jewish country. But that consensus obscures deep divisions and tribalism. There is of course the longstanding rift between Israel's Jewish and non-Jewish population (such Muslim Arab-Israelis but also Christians). But there are other fault lines too based on ethnicity, attitudes toward Judaism, and politics. Western Ashkenazi Jews, Eastern Sephardi/Mizrahi, and Ethiopian Jews are in tension with each other. Jews of color, whether of Middle Eastern or African origin, confront discrimination and have their own set of complaints. Less observant as well as Reform and other progressive Jews often bitterly resent the Orthodox, particularly ultra-Orthodox Haredim, because (unlike their Religious Zionist counterparts) they control Israeli religious institutions, are too dependent on public assistance, and won't serve in the military. Conversely, many Orthodox Jews dislike the cultural progressivism of the less observant. And then there are the intense divides between Israel's right, left, and center.

Posted by orrinj at 2:30 PM


What is Christian nationalism, anyway? (Bob Smietana, 5/17/23, RNS)

Perry and Whitehead have defined Christian nationalism this way: "a cultural framework that blurs distinctions between Christian identity and American identity, viewing the two as closely related and seeking to enhance and preserve their union."

In an interview, Perry contrasted that view with "civil religion"-- when the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. invoked the promises of the Declaration of Independence or President Barack Obama led a grieving congregation in singing "Amazing Grace." These moments combined spiritual ideas and political moments.

Christian nationalism, Perry said, is more about who should be in charge.

"The difference between Christian nationalism and civil religion is Christian nationalism says this country was founded by our people for a people like us and it should stay that way," said Perry.

It's why you can't be both Christian, which is universalist, and Nationalist, which is particular. 

ReAwaken America Tour Fuses Trumpism and Christian Nationalism (NOACH PHILLIPS, 5/15/23, Moment)

If you've heard of the ReAwaken America Tour, it is probably in the context of two of its most explicitly antisemitic participants, Scott McKay and Charlie Ward, being slated to share the stage with Eric Trump at his father's Doral Resort in Miami this weekend. [...]

But McKay and Ward are just the tip of the iceberg of conspiracy thinking, extremism and antisemitism at ReAwaken America events, where more than a hundred speakers affiliated with Q-Anon, election denial, vaccine denial, Christian nationalism, the January 6 insurrection, and Trump's presidential administration and businesses take the stage in a blur of 15-minute segments. The tour stops, also called conferences, are equal parts tent-revival, political conference and fever-dream. Since 2021, there have been at least 21 ReAwaken events in more than 15 states. Usually, the events are held at mega-churches to sold out audiences that reach into the thousands. Tickets cost about $250. This weekend is the first time the rally has been held at a Trump property, and another is scheduled for August at Trump's Las Vegas hotel. Friday's lineup includes the pledge of allegiance led by retired general and disgraced former national security advisor Michael Flynn, exposés of medical fraud by disgraced doctor and vaccine denier Christiane Northrup, evening baptisms on the patio, and more than fifty other speakers and performances.

"Each ReAwaken America Tour is a toxic extremist, radical and harmful blend of baptisms, praise music, election denial and QAnon misinformation--things that do not belong together--all presented to an audience of thousands in Jesus's hijacked name," Rev. Nathan Empsell, executive director of Faithful America, said during a press conference Friday afternoon. "The antisemitism, hatred, election denial, and outright embrace of political violence found at Trump Doral has no place in Miami, no place in Florida, no place in America, and no place in Christianity."

The Ringmaster

At the heart of the ReAwaken America tour--its founder, spokesman, and master of ceremonies--is Clay Clark. In fact, the tour's full name is "Clay Clark's ReAwaken America Tour" in a style reminiscent of Buffalo Bill or Barnum and Bailey, a parallel heightened by his manner of calling speakers on stage as if he's MCing a monster truck rally.

Clark, a 42-year-old Tulsa-based entrepreneur and business coach who was asked to leave the pentecostal Oral Roberts University after a parody rap song he produced mocking the school's president went viral. In 2020, when his media production company's projects declined due to COVID-19, he sued the city of Tulsa over its mask mandates. According to Sam Kestenbaum of Rolling Stone, it was during that time that "a network of pandemic defiers--churches refusing to close, alt-health physicians hawking treatments, politicians grandstanding about the incursions on personal liberties--was coalescing. Depictions of the pandemic as part of a scam to control the population swirled about and Clark seized the idea that the official narrative about the virus was not to be believed."

Rather, what Clark purportedly does believe is that the COVID-19 vaccine is a bioweapon containing "luciferase," which he says Bill Gates created by combining cryptocurrency technology with Jeffrey Epstein's DNA to create a new species of human. (Luciferase is actually a naturally occurring enzyme involved in bioluminescence.) All of this, Clark and his ilk contend, is in service to "the Great Reset," a real initiative by the World Economic Forum (WEF) to reshape global fiscal policy in the wake of the pandemic but seen by conspiracy theorists as a nefarious plot to take over the world through 5G, artificial intelligence, weather modification, Black Lives Matter, and virtually every other right-wing boogeyman.

In Clark's view, the bad guys include WEF head Klaus Schwab and his "high priest," Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari. Clark's website points out (in capital letters) that Harari is "Openly Gay" and "Does Not Eat Meat," and that the biblical Yuval was a descendent of Cain--all indications that Harari is, or may be, the antichrist. Billionaire George Soros, who has been active at the WEF, also features prominently on team "Great Reset" on the website along with Bill Gates, Barack Obama, and many others.

Met one Nationalist you've met them all. 
Posted by orrinj at 7:28 AM


Exclusive: New evidence in special counsel probe may undercut Trump's claim documents he took were automatically declassified (Jamie Gangel, Zachary Cohen, Evan Perez and Paula Reid, 5/18/23, CNN)

The National Archives has informed former President Donald Trump that it is set to hand over to special counsel Jack Smith 16 records that show Trump and his top advisers had knowledge of the correct declassification process while he was president, according to multiple sources.

In a May 16 letter obtained by CNN, acting Archivist Debra Steidel Wall writes to Trump, "The 16 records in question all reflect communications involving close presidential advisers, some of them directed to you personally, concerning whether, why, and how you should declassify certain classified records."

The 16 presidential records, which were subpoenaed earlier this year, may provide critical evidence establishing the former president's awareness of the declassification process, a key part of the criminal investigation into Trump's mishandling of classified documents.

Posted by orrinj at 7:00 AM


Sovereignty Considered: What is sovereignty, how does sovereignty impact a free nation's outlook on foreign affairs, and why does federalism provide a unique safeguard to America's ideal of sovereignty? (JUSTIN STAPLEY, MAY 17, 2023, Self-Evident)

One of the things that confronts a nation built upon the idea of popular sovereignty is that once such a notion is embraced, it must be conceded that all people everywhere are sovereign. This reality necessarily directs how and why a free nation interacts with the other nations of the world. Specifically, war becomes a question of much more than basic national interest. The ideas of conquest, domination, and unprovoked attack are illegitimate when considering the reality of the sovereignty of foreign peoples. But at the same time, the ideals of popular sovereignty can compel a free nation to wage war in the interest of its universal principles.

Because people are sovereign, a nation or its government cannot itself claim sovereignty if it has subverted the sovereignty of its own people. When it comes to the moral question of a free nation going to war with another nation, the question isn't whether or not to "violate" another nation's sovereignty but whether that nation's government has violated its own people's sovereignty and/or has encroached the sovereignty of another nation.

For example, I would consider America's war in the Philippines at the turn of the century an unjust war because while we defeated the Spanish imperialists, we took their place as imperialists rather than establishing self-determination. On the flip side, I believe we should stand militarily by Ukraine because Russia has attacked their sovereignty and self-determination and indeed rejects that the Ukrainian people even have sovereignty or deserve self-determination.

But the decision to engage in a military campaign and interfere with a country's internal affairs is a complex consideration. While I would assert that defending sovereign nations from external aggression is nearly always in the interest of stability and the ideals of free nations (though the how is a matter of considered prudence), military intercession in every circumstance where popular sovereignty is violated through internal oppression is imprudent and could destabilize existing free nations and bring whole regions, and even the world, into conflict.

I believe that America, as the world's first modern republic and pre-eminent classically liberal society, is a city on a hill and has a duty to defend and secure the sovereignty of others where we can. The longest stretches of peace in modern history have resulted from free nations asserting the importance of popular sovereignty in the international realm and demonstrating the resolve to defend their principles through the contest of arms. But there must be limiting principles.

I would assert four basic requirements for a free nation to engage in a war to defend the sovereignty of another people from internal oppression: first, we can observe a full thwarting of popular sovereignty by a nation's government or a complete collapse of government into anarchy, second, the people in question have organized against their government and made overtures for assistance in their struggle, third, the people in question are unable to fully thwart the forces arraigned against them or escape cycles of anarchy pursuant to the collapse of their government without outside assistance, and fourth, our involvement would not precipitate a widening sphere of conflict or trigger regional and/or global war.

The rest follows.