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'Project Blitz’: Here's the new plan Christian nationalists have to seize even more power

December 16, 2018 in Blogs

By Paul Rosenberg, Salon

Christian nationalism is the most important and most overlooked factor behind Donald Trump’s presidency.

In the 2016 election, Trump got 81 percent support from white evangelical Christians, and a study by Clemson sociologist Andrew Whitehead and two colleagues (Salon story here) found that “the ‘religious vote’ for Trump was primarily the result of Christian nationalism,” an Old Testament-based worldview fusing Christian and American identities that “can be unmoored from traditional moral import emphasizing only its notions of exclusion and apocalyptic war and conquest.”

This article first appeared in Salon. The targeting of good Samaritans for deportation, or blaming a refugee family for their seven-year-old daughter’s death in Border Patrol custody are features, not bugs, of the Christian nationalist worldview. Never mind what Matthew 25:35 says: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.”

This week, new exit-poll data from this year’s midterm elections re-emphasized how much the Trump-led GOP depends on evangelical voters, as opposed to the much more discussed “white working class.” Among white non-evangelicals, non-college-educated men voted for Republicans, 53 to 44 percent, while women voted Democratic by 57 to 41 percent. But among white evangelicals there was virtually no difference between college and non-college voters in their GOP support: 78 percent among men for both groups, and 73 and 71 percent, respectively, for women.

All this amounts to a flashing red light warning that Christian nationalism is the most important and most overlooked factor behind Donald Trump’s presidency and the political power of the GOP generally. But it’s not just a passive or latent force, as Trump’s border cruelty suggests.

Last April, I followed up Frederick Clarkson’s report at Religion Dispatches about a major Christian nationalist initiative called “Project Blitz,” intended to pass a wide range of discriminatory laws through state legislatures, from the seemingly innocuous to the blatantly discriminatory. It was based on his discovery of a 116-page evangelical playbook for the 2017-8 legislative cycle. Now Clarkson’s has uncovered their playbook …read more


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Buckle up: Trump expected to hold more rallies as Mick Mulvaney becomes chief of staff

December 16, 2018 in Blogs

By Hunter, Daily Kos

Mulvaney is “unlikely to attempt to reform the president’s habits of spending much of his time watching television and tweeting,” Politico reports.

Now that Trump budget director Mick Mulvaney has become Donald Trump's next sacrificial chief of staff, a job he wanted very very badly to get, according to Politico, the obvious question is whether Mulvaney will run afoul of Trump's ego in the manner that former chiefs Reince Priebus and John Kelly so quickly did. Will he attempt to rein in Trump's worst impulses? Will he try his best to pressure Trump into not wasting his days away watching Fox & Friends or shouting at clouds? Will he try to limit the number of weird Trump friends and family members who can call him up or waltz into the Oval Office and suggest, to Donald, yet another new grift or bizarre rewrite of the nation's governing policies?

The answer appears to be no, no, and definitely absolutely no. According to Politico's sources, Mulvaney's plan is instead to oblige Trump's need for constant attention by sending him out onto one long, unending road trip of shouting hell.

White House aides say he is unlikely to attempt to reform the president’s habits of spending much of his time watching television and tweeting, or to curtail the influence of Trump’s daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, on the policymaking process.

Instead, Mulvaney is expected to get Trump on the road as much as possible heading into his reelection campaign, capitalizing on the president’s love of campaign rallies while trying to sprinkle into the events as much policy talk on taxes and regulation as he can.

Willingly inflicting more Donald Trump on the nation at this point is something close to a war crime, but Mulvaney has long been one of the more eager, cough, obligers of the Trumpian ego.

For the record, the odds of this rapidly descending into chaos are extremely high. Granted, John Kelly has hardly been doing a damn thing of late (previous reporting suggested that, after too many battles with Trump, Kelly began to largely phone in his job, …read more


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Paul Ryan was a key enabler of Trump's anti-immigration policies — now he wants an exception for his own homeland

December 16, 2018 in Blogs

By Julia Conley, Common Dreams

Under the proposal, thousands of unused visas would go to Irish nationals.

After spending much of the past two years enabling President Donald Trump's hard-line immigration policy and blocking the House from voting on bipartisan legislation to protect young immigrants, outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) is showing recent enthusiasm for welcoming a select group of immigrants—not the thousands of Central Americans who are in a camp in Tijuana, Mexico, waiting to seek asylum in the U.S., but people from his family's own homeland.

Ryan pushed through a bill that passed in the House late last month, giving thousands of E-3 work visas to Irish nationals. The bill is expected to pass in the Senate this week.

Pushing white #Irish immigrants through, while detaining hundreds of people at America’s border with Mexico? The hypocrisy of this administration is shameful. ⁦@irishstand

Ryan pushes for thousands of Irish visas before leaving office – POLITICO

— Caroline B. Heafey (@_cheafey) December 15, 2018

Next time the right bitches about “identity politics”, remind them of the time that the outgoing GOP Speaker of the House pushed for thousands of Irish visas because his family came from Ireland. #sundaymorning

— Holly Figueroa O'Reilly (@AynRandPaulRyan) December 16, 2018

In his last weeks in power, Ryan is supporting the legislation while the Trump administration is turning away hundreds of asylum seekers from countries including Guatemala and Honduras per day and deporting the U.S.-based family sponsors of unaccompanied migrant children. The House Speaker also blocked representatives from voting on a bill to protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, many of whom have lived, gone to school, and worked in the U.S. for years.

E-3 visas are currently available only to Australians with certain occupations, but under the proposal, thousands of unused visas would go to Irish nationals.

As Politico reported, Ryan's own ancestors came to the U.S. in the 1850s, fleeing the potato famine there. The House Speaker reportedly hopes to be appointed as U.S. ambassador to Ireland.

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The Supreme Court ruling that should keep Trump up at night

December 16, 2018 in Blogs

By Rebecca Pilar Buckwalter Poza, Daily Kos

The potential for reversal is real.

Terance Martez Gamble was convicted of second-degree robbery, a felony, in 2008. As a result, he was barred under both state and federal law from possessing a firearm. Nevertheless, he was caught with a gun during a traffic stop in 2015. He was successfully prosecuted for that offense—first by Alabama and then by the federal government. The state conviction earned him just a year in prison, which he completed in May 2017, while the federal conviction resulted in a sentence almost four times as long. As a result, Gamble isn’t due to be released from prison until February 2020.

Gamble’s contesting that outcome: He argued from the outset that the federal prosecution violated the Constitution’s double jeopardy clause, which resides in the Fifth Amendment. “No person shall … be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb“ means that the state and federal government shouldn’t be able to prosecute him for the exact same offense, Gamble argues. On its face, it seems clear enough. But double jeopardy precedent is more complicated than that.

For more than a century, since the 1850s, the Supreme Court has maintained that “separate sovereigns” are each entitled to exercise their own jurisdiction. That means a prosecution by one sovereign—the federal government, the military, states, and tribes—doesn’t bar subsequent prosecution by another sovereign. Separate sovereign doctrine was thoroughly reaffirmed in a pair of 1959 cases, one in which a state conviction preceded a federal conviction for the same conduct and a second in which the federal conviction preceded the state conviction.

The bar for overturning Supreme Court precedent is high. It would be, to put it lightly, unusual for the justices to throw out 170 years of precedent, especially precedent that so fundamentally affects how the criminal justice system operates, just as the court observed in 1959. It’d also be a massive abrogation of states’ rights and, specifically, police powers—on some views—to make it the case that federal prosecution could pre-empt state prosecution. At a minimum, it would radically change the balance of power between state and federal government in criminal justice.

Unsurprisingly, a group of 36 …read more


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Robert Reich: Here's how to hold corporations accountable

December 16, 2018 in Blogs

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog

Large corporations have a duty not just to their shareholders, but also to their employees, customers, and community.

Charles E. Wilson, the CEO of General Motors in the middle part of the last century, reputedly once said that “what was good for our country was good for General Motors, and vice versa.”

The idea was that large corporations had a duty not just to their shareholders, but also to their employees, customers, and community. What was good for all of these stakeholders was inseparable from what was good for large corporations like GM.

But in the 1980’s, this shifted. The only goal of large corporations goal became maximizing profits and returns for shareholders.

Corporate profits are now a higher share of the economy than they were for most of the past century, and workers’ share of the total economy is the lowest. 

Corporations are now amassing huge control over our economy and fueling widening economic inequality. 

Workers must have more power.

Elizabeth Warren’s proposal, the Accountable Capitalism Act, is a good start at remaking the economic system so it works for all of us.

It recognizes that large corporations, with revenues of $1 billion or more, are so big and powerful they should be held to a higher standard of conduct – chartered by the federal government to serve all their stakeholders, not just their shareholders.

Under Warren’s proposal, workers would elect at least 40 percent of big corporations’ boards of directors. These corporations wouldn’t be able to make political contributions without the approval of 75 percent of their directors and shareholders. And their legal right to exist could be revoked if they engaged in repeated and egregious lawbreaking.

Effective action to hold corporations accountable needs to be federal because the states, left to their own devices, have to compete with one another for businesses to locate in their states.  This has led to a race to the bottom for corporate cash.  Two-thirds of big corporations in America are now officially headquartered in Delaware, because Delaware’s corporate laws are weakest.

This would be a huge change, bringing into better balance the voices of American workers with the …read more