Who is funding the U.S. secessionist movements

9348031848_222ae13657_zCalifornia and Texas both have secessionist movements with the goal of breaking away from the United States and setting up independent nations.  California’s rebels would seem to be from the left.  The Texans would seem to be from the right.  But the unlikely breakaways of these formerly independent republics have a common funder:  RUSSIA.

The leader of “Calexit” and its organization Yes California even lives in Russia!

So says the article excerpted and linked after the break. [Read more…]

Nationalism joins Islam as reasons for Christian persecution

ARUNPATHAK5Open Door, an organization that monitors Christian persecution, has released its annual report for 2016, which it calls “the worst year yet” for violence against Christians.

The biggest part of the persecution is still committed in the name of Islam.  No longer just a matter of the Middle East, Islamic persecution has risen dramatically in Africa.

As nationalism re-emerges worldwide, ethnic nationalism has become an excuse to persecute Christians.  This is happening especially in Asia, including India, Bhutan, and Laos.

See highlights of the report and a link to an article about the report after the jump. [Read more…]

Fear of the working class

616px-AlfredPalmerRamagosaThe editor of a liberal website has written about a plumber he had called to fix his drain.  The plumber acted professionally and did the job.  But he spoke with a Southern accent!  He didn’t seem upset about the election!  He might even have voted for Trump!  The editor described his fear at having a possible Trump voter in his home.

All this fear talk about Trump has me confused.  I can see a generalized fear about the future of the country, but this is far more visceral.  Gay people say how afraid they are–but Trump is all for gay marriage, transgender rights, and the LGBT cause!   Jews are afraid–but Trump’s son-in-law and main advisor is an Orthodox Jew, he has appointed a hard-core Zionist to be ambassador to Israel, and his foreign policy is going to be far more pro-Israel than Obama’s.

These irrational fears seem to be phobias.  Reynolds, who reported the plumber story and a number of similar examples in a USA Today article excerpted after the jump, calls it oikophobia, fear of one’s countrymen.  C. R. Wiley, whose post alerted me to this article and whose comments are worth reading in themselves, says it is androphobia, the fear of masculine men.

Those syndromes may be factors, but I see this problem as a pathological form of classism–bigotry against people of a lower social class than yourself.  Classism used to be a taboo like racism, with which it has lots of similarities, but no more.

The working class used to be the base of the American left and the Democratic party.  Ironically, this phobia or classism of today’s liberals against the working class was arguably what elected Donald Trump, as Democrats wrote off industrial states like Wisconsin in order to pursue millennials, techies, and other cool people.

The left has come a long way from “workers of the world unite!” to the fear of plumbers.  At least there is little danger today of a Communist revolution.  Today’s left has become far too bourgeois. [Read more…]

Obama commutes Pvt. Manning’s sentence for leaking military secrets

Bradley_Manning_US_ArmyIn one of his last official acts, President Obama used his Constitutional power to grant pardons to commute the sentence of Pvt. Bradley Manning, who leaked thousands of military and diplomatic secrets during the Iraq War.  Manning, who has served 7 years of a 35 year sentence at the military prison in Leavenworth, Kansas, now goes by the name of  “Chelsea” and has been seeking government-funded gender-reassignment surgery.

Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks who is holed up in the Ecuadoran embassy in London,  has said  that if Obama commutes Manning, he would agree to extradition in the United States to face charges of publishing classified material.  (That would presumably be better than extradition to Sweden to face charges of rape and sexual assault.)  Manning’s revelations helped bring Wikileaks to prominence.

[Read more…]

Who will pray at Trump’s inauguration

Defense.gov_photo_essay_090111-F-3961R-041The six religious leaders  who will offer prayers at Donald Trump’s inauguration have been announced.

They include three Pentecostals:  Paula White, Bishop Wayne T. Jackson, and Samuel Rodriguez.  White and Jackson, a black megachurch pastor, are prominent preachers of the “prosperity Gospel.’  (See our earlier post on White.)  Rodriguez is a Hispanic Assemblies of God minister also preaches a perhaps less extreme version of  the prosperity gospel.

The others are Franklin Graham, whose father Billy now in frail health has been a fixture at presidential inaugurations of all parties; New York catholic Archbishop Timothy Dolan; and Marvin Hier, a prominent Jewish rabbi.

There are no mainline Protestants.  Graham is the only classical evangelical.  No Lutherans, of course.

In the story excerpted after the jump, I was struck by the writer’s point about why prosperity gospelers are so attracted to Trump, and vice-versa.  Bishop White says flatly that Trump’s wealth is a sign that he is “blessed by God.”  “Not surprisingly,” says the writer, “Donald Trump is drawn to those preachers who say that one’s wealth is a sign of God’s approval.” [Read more…]

Trump vows trade deal with UK

UK Prime Minister Theresa May

UK Prime Minister Theresa May

In an interview with the London Times [subscription required], Donald Trump promised a quick trade deal with the UK, thus helping its Brexit transition.  (British prime minister Theresa May and other Brexit supporters were delighted at the news.)

He also gave other indications of what his new foreign policy would be like:  He said he supported NATO, though he considered it “obsolete,” saying only five NATO members are paying their dues.  He also said he might suspend sanctions against Russia in exchange for a nuclear arms cut.

The EU is alarmed because it had been planning to punish the UK economically for pulling out of the union.  Furthermore, if Trump is going to reward UK for breaking away from the European Union, will that encourage other member nations to do the same? Trump’s NATO talk also has Europe worried that they may have to go it alone militarily without the US.

If a free trade pact with the UK were to be extended to other countries that break away from the EU, that could create a new bloc of nations, dominated by the US.  Or maybe Trump’s deal could be extended to other English-speaking countries, such as Canada and Australia.  Throw in India, with its vast population and emerging wealth, as an alternative to China.

Whatever happens, Trump is going to remake American foreign policy, for better or worse (or some of both). [Read more…]