Posts Tagged ‘bigotry’

Bloomberg Editors: Keeping Trump’s Trust Is the Key to Reviving Diplomacy

April 14, 2018

Editorial
Bloomberg

CIA Director Mike Pompeo has at least one big advantage over the previous secretary of state.
Yes, but Trump likes him.

 Photographer: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images

If it’s true that proximity to President Donald Trump is the key to effective policy-making in his administration, then Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo stands a good chance to succeed — whatever the merit of his policies. That’s as it should be. To think otherwise is to misunderstand the role of the Secretary of State.

The job of this office-holder, fourth in the line of presidential succession, is to uphold the Constitution, execute the lawful policies of the president, and strengthen the effectiveness of the department he or she leads.

In short, as much as Trump’s critics may wish it to be, Pompeo’s job is not to restrain the president, but to let Trump be Trump — and thereby respect the voters who elected him. The job of the Senate is to decide whether Pompeo has the competence and character to do so — or instead deserves to join the fewer than 2 percent of all cabinet nominees since 1789 whom it has rejected.

Unlike Rex Tillerson before him, Pompeo clearly enjoys Trump’s trust. And the two of them are much closer on policy issues, including how to approach North Korea, Iran and the Paris accord on climate change. When Pompeo speaks, U.S. allies and adversaries alike can be relatively sure he represents Trump’s views.

As a lawyer, a businessman, U.S. representative and now director of the CIA, Pompeo has demonstrated his competence. During his confirmation hearing, he pledged to respect congressional oversight, fill empty State Department positions, shepherd its budget and restore the department’s “swagger.”

Both Republican and Democratic senators have been right to ask whether Pompeo would be willing to “stand up” to the president. They’ve also been right to raise questions about Pompeo’s troubling past remarks attacking Muslims and the legalization of same-sex marriages. The job of representing American values to the world — not least human rights, which Pompeo promised to champion — leaves no room for intolerance, bigotry and discrimination. In that and other respects, character is as important as competence.

That said, the greatest foreign policy challenges facing the U.S. — in North Korea, Iran, Syria, Russia and China — will demand robust and sustained diplomacy as a first resort. That is all but impossible when a president feels he can’t rely on his diplomats. For better and worse, Trump frequently changes his mind, most recently on whether the U.S. should be in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Could more such positive shifts — say, on the Paris accord — be in the offing? The odds will be better if the president is working with a team he trusts.

To contact the senior editor responsible for Bloomberg View’s editorials: David Shipley at davidshipley@bloomberg.net .

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-04-13/mike-pompeo-could-be-an-effective-secretary-of-state

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The University of Denial — Aggressive suppression of the truth is a central feature of American higher education

March 24, 2018
The University of Denial
PHOTO: CHAD CROWE

By  Amy L. Wax
The Wall Street Journal

March 22, 2018 7:08 p.m. ET

‘Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away,” observed― Philip K. Dick in “I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon.”

Somewhere deep in a file drawer, or on a computer server humming away in a basement, are thousands upon thousands of numbers, with names and identities attached. They’re called grades. They represent an objective reality, which exists independent of what people want reality to be. They sit silently, completely indifferent to indignation, angry petitions, irritable gestures, teachers’ removal from classrooms—all the furor and clamor of institutional politics.

Those numbers are now solely within the control of the individual students who earn them and the educational institutions that generate them—powerful entities ruled by bureaucracies that serve as gatekeepers to privileged positions in our society. They are jealously guarded, protected by cloaks of confidentiality and secrecy. But they are what they are. Hiding facts is not the same as changing them.

Of course the numbers can be ignored. When it comes to grades—which measure students’ knowledge, proficiency and achievement—we can declare they don’t matter and that complete nondisclosure is therefore a wise course.

The problem is that students, including law students, go out into the real world. They are hired, paid and expected to perform, and their actions have real consequences for others. Whether we like it or not, grades help predict future performance. Some social actors acknowledge this, implicitly or overtly. As a law professor, I observe, for example, that federal judges unapologetically select clerks based on academic record and rank, and that elite law firms are also highly grade-conscious.

Another reason measures of academic performance are hard to ignore is that students often expect equality of results and—especially in our identity-conscious world—issue loud demands for equality in group outcomes. When that doesn’t happen, frustration and disappointment ensue, followed by charges of racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination.

Those accusations are bound to provoke concern from the accused, especially those who deny that bigotry is the chief cause of certain inequalities by pointing to possible alternatives—including group disparities in qualifications, skills, performance or life choices. Keeping key documentation about the sources of disparities out of view does not prevent people from discussing them and their consequences. They are a regular topic of conversation behind closed doors, in offices and hallways, around kitchen tables, in living rooms and in private correspondence.

But what everyone currently understands, and recent events reinforce, is that these conversations may not take place publicly or even be acknowledged openly. My students know that. So do working lawyers and judges, and everyone else trying to run institutions, decide cases, serve clients, and make a buck. So do employers and other citizens, including many people, young and old, from around the country who have deluged me with letters, phone calls, and emails setting out forthright, common-sense observations, such as this one: “The facts about the comparative performance of the different groups on [for example] the bar, medical boards, SATs, MCATs, LSATs etc. are well-established. Viewing these facts as offensive will not make them go away.”

The mindset that values openness understands that the truth can be inconvenient and uncomfortable, doesn’t always respect our wishes, and sometimes hurts. Good feelings and reality don’t always mix. But there is a price to be paid for putting the quest for psychological comfort over openness on matters central to how our society is organized. While some people benefit from the favored view, others lose out. People accused of bigotry and discrimination—claims that are more pervasive than ever—are understandably unhappy about being deprived of the ability to defend themselves by pointing to alternative reasons for group differences. Hoarding and hiding information relevant to such differences, which amounts to predetermining a verdict of “guilty as charged,” violates basic principles of fair play and gives rise to justified resentment.

Universities, like other institutions, scheme relentlessly to keep such facts from view. Yet although the culture war is now tilted against those accused of discrimination, politics persists, and frustration tells at the ballot box. The deeper price is that people come to believe that truth yields to power, and that political pressure should be brought to bear to avoid inconvenient realities.

Some in this camp claim benign motives. They seek to safeguard the feelings of those who might be distressed by public knowledge. One can argue about when, how and in what form the disclosure will best balance personal privacy and our society’s need to know. But when facts are concealed, they do not change. They have consequences whether or not we are prepared to face them.

That belief that political force determines objective reality has characterized totalitarian regimes world-wide and throughout history—regimes that are responsible for untold amounts of human misery. That mindset is dangerously inconsistent with the kind of free society Americans have painstakingly built and defended over many centuries, at the cost of blood and treasure. Perhaps we no longer want such a society. But we relinquish it at our peril.

Ms. Wax is the Robert Mundheim Professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-university-of-denial-1521760098

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We just recently became interested on Aristotle’s “Metaphysics” after a professor we know said, “His is the inconvenient truth. Three hundred years before Christ, Aristotle believed he proved the existence of God using logic from his teacher Plato. College students today don’t want to think — even though they cast out religion. Therefore, Aristotle is usually overlooked these days….”

Can’t make truth, ideas or monuments go away by refusing to accept them!

Opinion: Think it can’t get worse than Donald Trump? Think again

November 8, 2017

Donald Trump’s election win a year ago was a watershed moment. It showed an utterly incompetent politician can become president by appealing to voters’ base instincts. But he could be just a harbinger of things to come.

Donald Trump on election night (Getty Images/C. Somodevilla)

Even after saying and typing the words President Donald Trump hundreds or even thousands of times since his stunning presidential election victory one year ago, it still feels awkward. And that’s the way it should be. Because it still is hard to stomach that a rabble-rouser like Trump, with a penchant for routinely speaking falsehoods and no political experience, could win the presidency in the most powerful country in the world through a campaign based on bigotry, misogyny and fear-mongering.

But while it is important to resist the natural tendency to normalize the Trump presidency, it is equally important to fully accept the fact, as difficult as this may be, that Donald Trump did win the election and Hillary Clinton lost it. It is crucial to own up to that reality and not blame Russian meddling, actions by former FBI Director James Comey or other real or imagined interferences for Hillary Clinton’s defeat and Trump’s win. To look for scapegoats and employ a whataboutism-strategy, a Trump specialty, may be understandable to cushion the hard reality of what happened on November 8, 2016, but it would be counterproductive for trying to prevent a repeat.

A disenfranchised electorate

A key element in Trump’s campaign was his insistence that the country was in bad shape and his promise that he would “Make America Great Again.” This was a daringly negative theme to run a presidential campaign on, especially because Trump repeatedly described, often erroneously, how bad things were in the country. And of course he almost always blamed others, like immigrants or Muslims, for the country’s problems.

Michael KniggeMichael Knigge is DW’s correspondent in Washington

But his negative description of the status quo in the country resonated with many voters because it rang true. That Trump hit a nerve with his depiction of the US as a country on a downward spiral is underscored by the fact that Bernie Sanders, a self-described socialist from the small state of Vermont, was able to win 23 states against Hillary Clinton on a campaign based solely on individual donations. While Sanders is certainly not comparable in style and substance and seriousness, he addressed many of the same issues as Trump that plague ordinary Americans, from income inequality to an aging and often decrepit American infrastructure.

But the core point both Trump and Sanders made repeatedly was that when it comes to the political game being played in Washington, the cards are stacked against ordinary Americans. And the sentiment that political and business elites are looking out only for themselves, while many Americans have a hard time making ends meet, resonated with voters a year ago. And it still does today.

The populist appeal

It should not be a surprise when, according to a survey from the US Federal Reserve from last year, 44 percent of Americans said they do not have enough money to cover a $400 (€345) emergency expense. It should not be a surprise when, on an average day, 32 Americans are killed by guns. It should not be a surprise when 64,000 Americans were killed in 2016 by an opioid epidemic that has been ravaging the country for years — a crisis politicians seem incapable or unwilling or address, like many other very basic issues.

Trump sensed and ruthlessly exploited the widespread feeling of an American malaise and positioned himself, boasting his supposed business acumen, as the sole candidate not beholden to party politics capable of improving people’s lives. His basic claim to make America “win again” was not only outlandish, he also had no plan or intention to do it.

Still, it is not unlikely that he would win again if another election were held today, or that he could win a second term in 2020. Never mind that nine months into office he has not been able to pass a single major legislative initiative, never mind that his administration is scandal-ridden like no other in recent memory, never mind that he has not improved Americans’ lives.

That he is able to get away with all of that shows that there is no credible alternative, not in the Republican Party, which Trump hijacked and is increasingly turning into his own, and more importantly in the Democratic Party, which is deeply divided about its future course. It also shows the desperation and anger many Americans feel that they cast their lot with someone who operates so far outside the country’s political norms.

A darker alternative

Having said all that, we may in fact be lucky we are stuck with Trump. Sure, during Trump’s disastrous first nine months he has already wreaked havoc on many issues, from environmental policy to international relations. But on many major matters, from the botched travel ban to the failed Obamacare repeal, Trump is running a chaotic and deeply dysfunctional administration.

And now imagine a future candidate who shared Trump’s rabble-rousing instincts, but was not as impulsive and nor as chaotic, and could actually execute his pernicious agenda. If both major parties don’t wake up to fulfill the basic functions expected from elected officials — namely to provide core government services  we could find out sooner than we think.     

http://www.dw.com/en/opinion-think-it-cant-get-worse-than-donald-trump-think-again/a-41286351

Top US general condemns racism after Charlottesville violence

August 17, 2017

AFP

© POOL/AFP | General Joseph Dunford joined top military figures who have spoken out against the violence in Charlottesville

BEIJING (AFP) – The United States’ top general condemned “racism and bigotry” on Thursday, joining other military leaders in their denunciation of deadly violence in Charlottesville.

The military usually stays out of the political fray, but it has been keen to distance itself from the weekend’s neo-Nazi demonstrations because some demonstrators were sporting US military clothes or insignia.

“I can absolutely and unambiguously tell you that there’s no place for racism and bigotry in the US military or in the United States as a whole,” General Joe Dunford, the chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, told reporters during a visit to Beijing.

He added that military leaders “were speaking directly to the force and to the American people… to make it clear that that kind of racism and bigotry is not going to stand inside the force… and to remind (the American people) of the values for which we stand in the US military which are reflective of what I believe to be the values of the United States.”

The statement contrasts with remarks from President Donald Trump, who said there was “blame on both sides” after a white supremacist rally ended with a suspected Nazi sympathiser ploughing his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, leaving one woman dead and 19 others injured.

“What about the alt-left that came charging… at the, as you say, the alt-right?” the president asked on Tuesday. “Do they have any semblance of guilt?”

The heads of the Army, Navy and Air Force, as well as Pentagon chief Jim Mattis, have responded to the incident in recent days.

Admiral John Richardson, who leads the Navy, called the events in Charlottesville “shameful.”

“The Navy will forever stand against intolerance and hatred,” he said in a statement Saturday.

Why are Nazis In America?

August 14, 2017

The ‘Last Week Tonight’ host didn’t hold back Sunday night.

By

This weekend, the nation was fixated on the horrifying display of hate in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a group of neo-Nazis held court armed with tiki torches, military cosplay, guns, clubs, and an outrageous sense of entitlement.

These preppy fascists were said to have congregated on the University of Virginia campus to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, but really, most of these whiny brats couldn’t tell you the first thing about the Confederate general. They came to instigate outrage, and violence. And when all was said and done, a suspected white nationalist was arrested for allegedly plowing his Dodge Challenger into a crowd of anti-racist protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring at least another 19 people.

“It was truly a weekend of horrifying images. We saw Nazi flags and marchers carrying torches—tiki torches, by the way, because nothing says ‘white nationalist’ like faux Polynesian kitsch,” said John Oliver.

The Last Week Tonight host opened his program Sunday evening by addressing the events in Charlottesville—including President Donald Trump’s rambling, insufficient reaction to the tragedy, with the commander-in-chief refusing to denounce white nationalists, slipping in President Barack Obama’s name, imploring Americans to “cherish our history” (see: Robert E. Lee’s statue), and condemning hate “on many sides.”

“We condemn, in the strongest possible terms, this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence—on many sides. On many sides,” declared Trump from his Bedminster golf club.

“Wait… on many sides?!” exclaimed Oliver. “This was a white nationalist rally—you have to call that out by name. There aren’t many instances in modern American politics where you can honestly think, ‘That guy really should have mentioned the Nazis,’ but this is emphatically one of them. It’s like a reverse Godwin’s Law: if you fail to mention Nazism, you lose the argument.”

And, after “having made a wild false equivalence between Nazis and people who oppose Nazis,” Trump attempted to clear his own name, saying, “It’s been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. It’s been going on for a long, long time.”

But this rally did have plenty to do with Donald Trump—according to the white nationalists who participated in it. In addition to white nationalists chanting things like “Heil Trump,” David Duke, a former imperial wizard of the Ku Klux Klan (whose presidential endorsement candidate Trump famously refused to disavow for several days), was interviewed in Charlottesville by a reporter.

“We are determined to take our country back. We’re going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believe in, that’s why we voted for Donald Trump,” said Duke.

“I’ve gotta say, David Duke and the Nazis really seem to like Donald Trump, which is weird because Nazis are a lot like cats: If they like you, it’s probably because you’re feeding them,” said Oliver, adding, “And that kind of connection there is something that anyone in their right mind would want to immediately and repeatedly disavow, and it’s not like Trump wasn’t given the opportunity.”

Yes, Trump was repeatedly asked to condemn the white nationalists in Charlottesville, many of whom took to the streets in his honor, as he exited his Bedminster press conference. “How do you respond to white nationalists who say they’re participating in Charlottesville because they support you?” one reporter asked. “Do you want the support of these white nationalist groups who say they support you, Mr. President?”

The questions fell on deaf ears.

“Here’s the problem with that: A non-answer in a moment like this is an answer,” said Oliver. “And look, don’t take that just from me. White nationalists seemed pretty clear about the message Trump had sent to them with his response.”

Indeed, neo-Nazi site The Daily Stormer ran a piece on Saturday praising President Trump’s vague speech. “Trump comments were good… He said he loves us all. Also refused to answer a question about white nationalists supporting him. No condemnation at all. When asked to condemn, he just walked out of the room. Really, really good. God bless him,” they wrote.

“And look, maybe Trump will eventually take a second swing at personally condemning the white nationalists. Maybe he has since we’ve taped this show. But even if he does, it’ll be too late. Because his first response is who he is. And the truly infuriating thing is how predictable this was,” offered Oliver.

“It simply doesn’t get easier than disavowing Nazis. It’s as much of a presidential gimme as pardoning a fucking turkey. It is almost impossible to screw it up. But that’s exactly what happened,” the comedian continued. “So there is clearly no point waiting for leadership from our president in moments like this, because it is just not coming, which means we will have to look to one another, because incredibly, in a country where previous presidents have actually had to defeat Nazis, we now have one who cannot even be bothered to fucking condemn them.”

http://www.thedailybeast.com/john-oliver-accuses-trump-of-feeding-the-charlottesville-nazis

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‘Why are these Nazis able to come into our city?’ Charlottesville left in shock after day of violence

At the scene where a suspected far-right extremist mowed down anti-fascist protesters in Charlottesville, local resident Anna Quillom spent Sunday laying dozens of carnations along the street.

“I grew up here but this doesn’t feel like my home anymore. The lid’s come off it,” said Miss Quillom, 36, who runs wine tours in the historic college town. Welling up with tears, she added: “It was the best place in the world, inclusive, everyone cares about each other. Why are these Nazis able to come into our city?”

Nearby, at a makeshift memorial, a sign read “No Place For Hate!” A red shoe, lost by one of the victims, had been stuffed with roses.

 A mourner lays flowers at a makeshift memorial at the scene of where a car plowed into counter-protesters in Charlottesville
 A mourner lays flowers at a makeshift memorial at the scene of where a car plowed into counter-protesters in Charlottesville CREDIT: JUSTIN IDE/REUTERS

Charlottesville, a town of 47,000 with a university very much at its heart, was shattered by Saturday’s events when hundreds of racist extremists descended and violence erupted.

In the high street, dotted with book and antique shops, people appeared stunned….

Read the rest:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/08/13/nazis-able-come-city-charlottesville-left-shock-day-violence/

Donald Trump’s Charlottesville Comments Draw the Attention of Cartoonists

August 13, 2017

Image may contain: one or more people and closeup

BY HAGAY HACOHEN, SHOSHANA KRANISH
The Jerusalem Post
 AUGUST 13, 2017 07:58

 

After violent clashes in Charlottesville in which one woman died, US president denounced violence ‘on many sides.’

US President Donald Trump holds a rally with supporters in an arena in Youngstown, Ohio, US July 2

US President Donald Trump holds a rally with supporters in an arena in Youngstown, Ohio, US July 25, 2017. (photo credit:REUTERS)

In a televised announcement, Trump told reporters that he condemned the “hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.” Trump’s decision not to specifically condemn the white supremacy rally where the violence occurred has earned him scorn.

We must remember this truth: No matter our color, creed, religion or political party, we are ALL AMERICANS FIRST.

John Cole, a Pennsylvania-based editorial cartoonist, tweeted four drawings. One depicted a man wearing a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat – a hallmark of Trump’s campaign and presidency – with a Hitler-esque mustache, standing in front of an American flag while performing a Nazi salute. Another showed Trump standing in front of a crowd of KKK members and other assumed white supremacists, with his arms opened to a Black couple, encouraging them to join him. One of the cartoons was a play on the film The Producers, in which a Jewish accountant helps produce a play about the ‘happy home life of Hitler.’

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

I’ve drawn a few cartoons about @POTUS‘ normalization of white nationalism/neo-nazism. Here are a few. 

Trump’s statement that ”we are all Americans” drew criticism from many people.

The original rally, called ”Unite the Right,” was headlined by prominent white nationalists and neo-Nazis, including Richard Spencer and Jason Kessler. The organizers called the protest against what they saw was an infringement on the rights of white Americans, and a perceived special treatment of people of color and immigrants. The organizers also made explicit their support of the confederacy movement, a modern reincarnation of the original Confederacy.

The Confederacy was a union of slave-holding states that sought to secede from the United States, which led to the American Civil War.

Virginia was an important state in the Confederacy and throughout the South, the memory of the Civil War is a complex issue that deals with states’ rights, racial relations, and politics.

One of the more famous cartoons associated with the alt-right and the neo-Nazi movement during Trump’s campaign was Pepe the Frog, who reportedly made a few appearances at this weekend’s rally.

An alt-right protestor holds a sign depicting Pepe the Frog

An alt-right protestor holds a sign depicting Pepe the Frog
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Northern Ireland’s DUP: A controversial partner for British PM May

June 26, 2017

AFP

© AFP / by Douglas DALBY | Arlene Foster, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, is in alliance talks with embattled British Prime Minister Theresa May

BELFAST (AFP) – Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, which struck a deal with the Conservatives on Monday aimed at keeping British Prime Minister Theresa May in power, has caused alarm in some circles over its incendiary views and virulent past.The self-styled “Christian fundamentalist” party has softened its fiery anti-Catholicism and other harsh stances over the years — it no longer calls for padlocking children’s playgrounds and closing cafes and bars on Sundays.

But the party that in 1977 launched the “Save Ulster (Northern Ireland) from Sodomy” campaign still holds tight to what critics call its puritanical views, particularly on social issues such as abortion and sexual equality.

And its negotiations with May’s government had prompted warnings in the Republic of Ireland of a disrupted balance of power in Belfast that could in turn upset a delicate peace struck after decades of sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland known as the Troubles.

In mainland Britain, protests have erupted over the DUPs opposition to gay marriage and abortion, as well as many senior members’ support for teaching creationism, and a history of links to paramilitaries who fought Catholic nationalists during the Troubles.

The DUP has blocked same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland’s assembly five times in recent years, with senior members threatening to leave the party if it ever votes in favour.

“Peter will not marry Paul in Northern Ireland,” senior party member Jim Wells said earlier this year.

– ‘Anti-Irish bigotry’ –

Some senior DUP members — many of whom belong to the right-wing, avowedly anti-Catholic Orange Order — even advocate the literal biblical teaching of creationism in every school at the expense of evolution.

Jon Tonge, a professor of history at Liverpool University who has written extensively about the DUP, has said that while the party has become less dogmatic, it certainly cannot be described as pluralist.

In his 2014 book “The DUP: From Protest To Power”, Tonge found that 54 percent of party supporters “would mind a lot” if someone from their family married a person of another religion and 58.4 percent would not want their child to go to a non-Protestant school.

So it was a surprise to many political commentators in 2005 when the party agreed to enter a power-sharing arrangement with its bitter enemy Sinn Fein, once the political mouthpiece of the Irish Republican Army, which fought an armed campaign for Irish unity over three decades.

Although the Belfast assembly appeared to operate with reasonable cordiality for much of a decade, it collapsed spectacularly in January over DUP leader Arlene Foster’s involvement in a botched renewable heating scheme.

The clash led Sinn Fein to warn of a breakdown in trust, charging the DUP with “arrogance and a lack of respect” for minorities, particularly Irish nationalists.

“It is disappointing that the deep and overlapping anti-Irish and anti-Catholic bigotry of so many DUP-supporting unionists appears to still play a significant role in Northern life and politics,” Andy Pollak, former director of the Centre for Cross-Border Studies, said at the time.

Foster has condemned political violence, but her party has long been criticised for sharing platforms with paramilitaries and for an apparent willingness to endorse armed resistance against perceived attempts to “sell out Ulster”.

While the DUP promised to vote in favour of legislation linked to Brexit, it could prove a difficult partner during the negotiations.

The party campaigned for Brexit in last year’s referendum but is faced with growing concern in Northern Ireland about the prospect of checks being reimposed the border with the Irish Republic — a reminder of the bad old days of the Troubles.

In pro-EU circles, that has led some to hope that Foster could moderate May’s stance on Brexit.

“The Democratic Unionists have chosen to prop up a government that remains intent on a hard and destructive Brexit,” James McGrory, head of the Open Britain campaign, said on Monday.

“It is crucial that they do not betray the voters by going back on their manifesto promises and caving in to ministers’ obsession with an extreme and chaotic exit from the EU.

by Douglas DALBY
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Trump condemns ‘horrible’ anti-Semitism — “We have to fight bigotry, intolerance and hatred in all of its very ugly forms,” Trump said.

February 21, 2017

BBC News

US President Donald Trump (R) gives the thumb-up while visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington

US President Donald Trump with his nominee to be the Secretary of Housing and Human Development (HUD) Dr. Ben Carson, his wife Lacena “Candy” Carson and others toured the African-American museum in Washington, DC on Tuesday, February 21, 2017.  Photo credit REUTERS

US President Donald Trump has condemned dozens of violent threats made against US Jewish community centres in the past few weeks.

“We have to fight bigotry, intolerance and hatred in all of its very ugly forms,” he said while visiting an African-American museum in Washington.

“The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centres are horrible and painful”, he said.

The FBI opened an investigation on Monday following more threats.

“I will tell you that anti-Semitism is horrible and it’s going to stop and it has to stop,” Mr Trump said in an interview with NBC earlier on Tuesday.

Last week, 27 Jewish community centres in at least 17 US states reported receiving hoax bomb threats. On Monday 11 more were made across the country.

No bombs were found at any locations, and normal services resumed following building evacuations.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39011090

 

Kerry warns OSCE of rise in ‘authoritarian populism’

December 8, 2016

AFP

© AFP/File | US Secretary of State John Kerry is on his European farewell tour, six weeks before Barack Obama’s administration hands over to Donald Trump on January 20

HAMBURG (AFP) – US Secretary of State John Kerry warned Thursday of “the danger of authoritarian populism” sweeping many Western democracies and cautioned against backsliding on basic freedoms.

“Every chip away at the fundamentals of freedom is actually an ugly building block in the road to tyranny,” he told a meeting in Germany of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

“And the fact is that we all need to beware of the danger of authoritarian populism,” he told the 57-member forum.

Kerry was speaking at an OSCE meeting focused on rising east-west tensions since Russia’s intervention in Ukraine, but also on a rise in populist and far-right movements across Europe, a spike in refugee flows from the Arab world, and Western concern about growing authoritarianism in Turkey.

“In too many places … in the OSCE region, we have seen in recent days a rise of authoritarian thinking, accompanied by backsliding on human rights, on restrictions on independent media, a spike in acts of intolerance and hate crimes,” Kerry said.

Addressing the meeting of foreign ministers in the northern port city of Hamburg, he bemoaned a “troubling shift away from democratic principles, away from openness, away from freedom”.

Listing other ills, he spoke of “growing corruption… increasing authoritarianism, moves by certain leaders to change constitutions in an effort to consolidate power, false news being spread through new platforms of the media, torture being actually advocated in certain quarters”.

“These developments are, simply put, a direct assault on the founding principles of the OSCE,” he said. “Bigotry, repression and the silencing of dissent cannot become the new normal for any of us.”

Kerry had earlier met civil society activists from Azerbaijan, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Ukraine.

According to the State Department, Kerry insisted that Washington would keep speaking out about “the shrinking space” for civil society activism caused by restrictive laws such as labelling groups “foreign agents” and through the misuse of broad anti-extremism laws.

Kerry is on his European farewell tour, six weeks before Barack Obama’s administration hands over to Donald Trump on January 20.

Speaking on Monday in Berlin, Kerry had warned that “anxieties” were sweeping Western democracies, alluding to the US election, Brexit, Sunday’s Italian referendum that cost Prime Minister Matteo Renzi his job, and the Austrian presidential vote where a far-right candidate came a strong second.

In his Hamburg address, Kerry said that “a free press, religious liberty, political openness, transparency in governance, a flourishing civil society — these are the signs of a confident and thriving nation.”

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Religious leaders slam Clinton campaign over emails– “Podesta’s refusal to raise any objection makes him equally party to this bigotry. It is inexcusable. It is shameful. It is un-American.”

October 14, 2016

U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton laughs as she takes the stage at a campaign rally in Raleigh, North Carolina. CREDIT BRYAN SNYDER, REUTERS

Updated 4:50 PM ET, Thu October 13, 2016

Washington (CNN) Catholic and evangelical groups slammed Hillary Clinton’s campaign in a statement Thursday over comments revealed in the WikiLeaks emails hack between two high-level campaign officials.

Dozens of religious leaders who signed the statement expressed their “outrage at the demeaning and troubling rhetoric used by those within Secretary Clinton’s campaign.”
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The statement is referring to a 2011 email between campaign chairman John Podesta, whose email was hacked, and communications director Jennifer Palmieri and John Halpin, a senior fellow at the liberal think tank Center for American Progress.
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Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta speaks to members of the media outside Clinton's home in Washington. on Oct. 5.
Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. AP photo
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In the email, Halpin wrote that 21st Century Fox Chairman Rupert Murdoch and NewsCorp Chairman Robert Thomson, who are both Catholic, are attracted to the faith because of “systemic thought and severely backward gender relations.”
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Palmieri responded: “I imagine they think it is the most socially acceptable, politically conservative religion — their rich friends wouldn’t understand if they became evangelical.”
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Jennifer Palmieri

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The religious leaders said in the statement, “Podesta’s refusal to raise any objection makes him equally party to this bigotry. It is inexcusable. It is shameful. It is un-American.”
WikiLeaks has not released all of Podesta’s hacked emails and CNN has not been able to verify that they are his, so it’s unclear if he raised any objection.
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Palmieri — who is Catholic, according to campaign spokesman Brian Fallon — told reporters Wednesday that she “didn’t recognize (the email) but moreover … we are not going to fact check each of the emails that were stolen, hacked by Russian lead efforts in an effort to hurt our campaign.”
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The statement ends with the leaders asking that Clinton immediately apologize for the comments of her aides.
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“The WikiLeaks emails reveal a contempt for all traditional Christians, and we are — Catholic and Evangelical — united in our outrage and united in our call for Mrs. Clinton to immediately apologize for the Christophobic behavior of her associates,” the statement said.
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