TBR News June 19, 2020

Jun 19 2020

The Voice of the White House
Washington, D.C. June 19, 2020: Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.
When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.
I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.
He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.
He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.
It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the
election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not
the place to discuss it
Comment for June 19, 2020: “The reason Trump is so much against mail-in ballots for the forthcoming presidential election is that we know he has paid off a firm to control the voting machines and if mail is used, his program is worthless. He is frantic to get reelected and will do anything short of murder to accomplish this. Remember me saying this.”

Trump Approval Rating

June 11-13
Abacus Data
Approve Disapprove
38%     54%

The Table of Contents
Will mutations soon make the coronavirus less harmful?
• There are no heroes in the John Bolton v Donald Trump story
Trump says mail-in voting is top threat to his re-election, Politico reports
• As States Struggle With Vote-by-Mail, “Many Thousands, If Not Millions” of Ballots Could Go Uncounted in November
• The New Christian National Socialist Manifesto
• The Encyclopedia of American Loons

Will mutations soon make the coronavirus less harmful?
The new wave of infections in China seems to be associated with a mutation of the
coronavirus — but there’s no need to panic. SARS-CoV-2 might mutate so it causes a
form of rhinitis — often known as the sniffles.
June 17, 2020
by Alexander Freund
One thing making the development of an effective vaccine or drug against the novel coronavirus so difficult is the fact that a virus constantly changes over time. Some six months into the pandemic, researchers worldwide have already registered 100 different variants of SARS-CoV-2.
This is a normal development because the genetic material of viruses gradually mutates, creating new subtypes. These mutations can also change the characteristics of a virus, causing the original virus to either weaken or become more aggressive.
These different variants also explain why a virus can trigger infection waves of varying severity in different regions of the world, and why infections can also progress very differently in different people.
Fear of second wave in China
China, the country where the pandemic originated, had largely brought the spread of SARS-CoV-2 under control by imposing strict restrictions on movement. In recent weeks, infections had been found almost exclusively in people returning from abroad.
Now, however, new infections have again been reported in some Chinese provinces, and this time the infections have obviously taken place in China.
Initial tests have also shown that a new variant of the virus is now apparently circulating in China. The SARS-CoV-2 currently being found in Beijing differs slightly from the strain that previously afflicted China, Zeng Guang, an epidemiologist at the Chinese Health Bureau, told the Global Times newspaper. The results are now to be compared with analyses from other countries to trace the lineage of the virus.
A new source of transmission?
The current trail of virus infection has led Chinese health authorities to cutting boards in Beijing’s Xinfadi wholesale market on which imported salmon had been processed. It is still unclear where the salmon came from, as China imports the fish from several countries, including Norway, Chile, Australia, Canada and the Faroe Islands.
It is very surprising that salmon is now being thought responsible for the transmission of the coronavirus to humans because the risk of infection is highest from certain mammals. These include camels, horses, sheep, rabbits, martens, ferrets and cats. In contrast, fish, reptiles, amphibians and birds have been shown by many studiesto be unlikely vectors of infection. What is decisive here is the structure of the ACE2 enzyme in the host animal, because the coronavirus has to dock into this enzyme in order to enter a body cell.
As a precautionary measure, the Xinfadi market was closed this past weekend. Around 10,000 dealers and employees at the market are now to be tested for SARS-CoV-2 as quickly as possible.
In addition, several apartment blocks in the south of Beijing were sealed off, and nine schools and kindergartens were closed. The planned opening of primary schools in Beijing has been postponed, and sports events and group trips to other provinces have all been canceled.
How do mutations occur?
To multiply, viruses use a host cell. When viruses infect such a host cell, they insert their genetic information into it. As a result, the body cells reproduce millions of copies of the virus. However, in each of these reproductions, small copying errors occur. Each of these errors also changes the genetic code of the virus — it mutates.
It has not yet been clarified beyond doubt where and how the novel coronavirus first appeared in humans. So far, researchers have assumed that the first mutations spread in Wuhan, China. The protein with which the virus docks to the cells probably mutated in a host animal, possibly a bat, a pangolin or a tanuki. This mutation allowed the virus to be transmitted to human cells.
Normally, the human body is capable of protecting itself against such viruses. It produces antibodies that defend it against viral attacks and make it immune.
However, if the virus has already mutated and the antibodies formed are programmed to an older version of it, then these antibodies are much less effective.
This is the reason we regularly get colds and sniffles: Although our body has already produced antibodies against the last virus, it has not yet come up with new antibodies to fight the newly mutated one.
Are mutations dangerous?
There is much to suggest that the new wave of infections in China is being caused by a new mutation because this time the symptoms develop more slowly.
However, there is no reason to panic, because a mutation does not necessarily make a virus more dangerous. In fact, some mutations can significantly weaken it.
Christian Drosten, a leading German virologist from the Charite hospital in Berlin, also sees any mutation of the novel coronavirus in quite a positive light. He believes it could enable the virus to “replicate even better in the nose and also be transmitted more effectively,” Drosten says, pointing to recent studies.
A mutation that primarily affects the nasal area could enable the virus to multiply better, something which “leads to virus epidemics actually becoming more harmless over time,” said Drosten in his podcast with the German public broadcaster NDR.
Although virus could continue to infect the mucous membranes in the lungs, Drosten said, this would result in people feeling much sicker than with a cold, so they would end up staying at home and thus avoid passing it on further. This would mean that the virus could no longer spread so well, he said.
Mutated into oblivion
Mutations can even lead to a virus becoming so weak that it eventually disappears completely. This was the case, for example, with the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus.
Starting in November 2002, the first SARS pandemic spread from southern China to almost all continents within a few weeks. As the first pandemic of the 21st century, it aroused great fears among the global population. However, SARS ended up claiming only 774 lives worldwide within six months.
By the summer of 2003, the number of newly infected persons worldwide was declining continuously, and in May 2004, the World Health Organization already declared this first SARS pandemic to be over.

There are no heroes in the John Bolton v Donald Trump story
Neither Bolton nor Trump provided a blueprint for US foreign policy – and now the Republican party is out of ideas
June 18, 2020
by Andrew Gawthorpe
The Guardian
John Bolton’s memoir of his time in the Trump administration tells us many things that we already know. The president understands very little about how the world works, treats his office as an extension of his personal and family interests, and is obsequious to foreign dictators.
According to Bolton’s new book, Donald Trump asked China to increase purchases of American farm products not to help US voters, but to bolster his own re-election chances. He is so enamored of foreign dictators that he praised Xi Jinping for China’s mass imprisonment of Muslim Uighurs. Bolton also claims he publicly defended Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after Jamal Khashoggi’s killing, because he wanted to create a distraction from unfavorable news coverage of his daughter Ivanka.
To any objective observer, this subordination of American foreign policy to the immediate political needs of one man has been a disaster, shredding Washington’s credibility and goodwill around the world. Bolton, likewise, seems to have found it intolerable. But this is a disaster in which his own vision is implicated, and from which it is unlikely to recover. Only the sheer vacuity of Republican foreign policy enabled Trump to persuade so much of the party’s base to embrace his own selfish, incoherent leadership.
There are no heroes in this story. Bolton is a figure with dangerous views who failed to reveal what he knew about Trump during the impeachment trial earlier this year, when it might have mattered. But the split between Trump and Bolton – and the two brands of nationalism they represent – also tells us something about the hollowness of today’s Republican party as a governing force. Neither the unreconstructed hawkishness of Bolton nor the intellectual vacuum of Trumpism provide a blueprint for American foreign policy, and the party has run out of other ideas.
Bolton’s nationalism consists of a fierce skepticism of diplomacy, at least when not combined with threats of force, and a willingness for America to act unilaterally to get its way. Although he has always been more in favor of what is euphemistically called “regime change” than most elected Republicans, his aggressive rhetoric, scapegoating of foreigners, and dismissal of constraints on American action overseas is embraced by his party’s mainstream – including rising figures such as Senators Josh Hawley and Tom Cotton.
During his capture of the Republican party, Trump synthesized his own version of nationalism. He combined Bolton’s aggressive flag-waving with a conviction that foreign wars were an elite indulgence which harmed lower-income and lesser-educated white voters, the chief audience for Trump’s nationalist vision.
But an even stronger component of Trumpian nationalism is the president’s belief that his own interests are identical to those of the US. To his supporters, he personally embodies American interests, allowing him to perform dizzying policy U-turns according to the needs of the moment. Trump ultimately has no use for ideologues, whose firm beliefs get in the way of his desire to bend every institution and relationship to his own personal ends.
For a long time, conservative foreign policy has been based not on ideas but on what Lionel Trilling famously called “irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas”. Foremost among these gestures has been a knee-jerk opposition to multilateral cooperation and constructive diplomacy, even as the world has become more globalized and power has diffused away from the United States. Republicans are keen to rip up the solutions to hard problems offered by others without being able to offer any of their own – just as they did by destroying the Iran nuclear deal without offering any alternative way of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
As a result, the party has been left without any credible vision of America’s place in the world. Such a hollow shell was easy prey for a corrupt, immoral demagogue. The party and the country have been left in the hands of a president who does not try to advance the country’s interests, or even to seriously understand what those interests are separate from his own re-election campaign.
But simply getting rid of Trump won’t solve the problem, which is rooted in the Republican party’s dismissal of both the facts of the modern, globalized world and the responsibilities of governance. Bolton might know where Finland is, but in his own way he is just as detached from reality as the president. And in the silence he shared with so many Republican colleagues during the impeachment trial, he has also shown how little he regards the safety, institutions and values of the nation.
Whatever their differences, Bolton and Trump ultimately have a lot more in common than they seem to think. They represent two faces of a Republican party which has completely lost any right to the public’s trust in its handling of American government, at home or abroad. It is hard to see at this point how it could ever win it back.
Andrew Gawthorpe is a historian of the United States at Leiden University

Trump says mail-in voting is top threat to his re-election, Politico reports
June 19, 2020
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said expanded mail-in voting could cost him re-election in November, according to a Politico interview published on Friday, as states continue to press for absentee balloting amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Trump and his fellow Republicans have said voting by mail invites tampering, although numerous studies have found little evidence of widespread voter fraud connected to mail-in balloting, and have filed lawsuits and threatened to withhold federal funding over the issue.
“My biggest risk is that we don’t win lawsuits,” Trump told Politico in the interview, conducted on Thursday. “If we don’t win those lawsuits … I think it puts the election at risk.”
The coronavirus outbreak, which has killed more than 118,000 Americans and led to fears of a second wave of infections in the autumn, has pushed a number states to expand mail-in voting. Some parts of the country have seen a recent spike in cases.
Long lines in Georgia’s nominating contest last week following other voting problems in several other states in recent weeks also have raised concerns about potential voting problems in November’s presidential contest.
Meanwhile, lawsuits over mail-in voting have been filed in several states, including California, Texas and Arizona.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll in April showed most Americans, including a majority of Republicans, want the government to require mail-in ballots for the Nov. 3 presidential election if the coronavirus outbreak continues to be a threat.
In March, as Congress wrestled with coronavirus economic relief and Democrats pushed to expand access to voting, including mail-in balloting, Trump told Fox News: “If you ever agreed to it you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”
Asked if he would accept the results of the election no matter the outcome, Trump told Politico that was a question “you can never answer.”
He told Fox News last week he would “go on and do other things” if he did not win a second term.
Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Paul Simao

As States Struggle With Vote-by-Mail, “Many Thousands, If Not Millions” of Ballots Could Go Uncounted in November
June 18, 2020
by Richard Salame
The Intercept
Maria Fallon Romo grew up in a family that talked politics at the dinner table. At 53, the North Dakota special education teacher has been an active voter for about 30 years and, until recently, had never experienced a problem casting her ballot. In 2018, she decided to cast a mail-in ballot for the first time, thinking it would be more convenient than her usual in-person vote.
Two years later, Romo learned that her 2018 vote never counted. An election official with no formal criteria to follow decided that Romo’s signature on her absentee ballot envelope didn’t line up with the signature on her absentee ballot application form — and her vote was rejected. “It was very shocking and very disheartening,” she told The Intercept and Type Investigations. “Just like a lot of other Americans, I think when I vote that my vote counts.”
Romo has lived with multiple sclerosis for over 20 years, which can make it difficult for her to write neatly and consistently. North Dakota, like many states, does not require special training on signature matching or instruct officials to consider disability, age, language proficiency, or any number of other factors that could make a person’s signature look different under different circumstances. By law, officials didn’t even have to tell Romo that her vote was rejected. For North Dakota’s June primary, she said, she has saved a screenshot of her signature on her ballot request form, joking that she can practice matching it exactly on her ballot.
This year, as politicians, voting rights advocates, and elections experts call for a sharp increase in the use of mail-in ballots to prevent the spread of Covid-19, many more voters could find, like Romo, that their votes don’t count. That’s because significantly expanding vote-by-mail also expands the universe of ballots that get scrutinized by officials, and past experience shows that more scrutiny means more ballots get discarded, sometimes for good reason but sometimes by mistake.
“Just by the sheer volume — and just assuming there’s a constant error rate — we’re going to get a significant increase in just the number, the absolute number of rejections,” said University of Florida political scientist Michael McDonald, who specializes in U.S. elections. “There are going to be many thousands, if not millions, of people who are going to be having problems with their mail ballots.”
Inconsistent signature matching rules are just one risk that accompanies voting by mail in the United States. Unlike regular ballots cast at a polling location, ballots cast by mail are inspected before being counted. They can be rejected by election officials for a number of reasons: lateness, errors on the attached form, lack of signature, and a lack of witnesses, among others. Voters who might otherwise have asked a poll worker for help might make mistakes on the ballot they fill out at home, causing their vote not to count.
According to a new calculation by The Intercept and Type Investigations, over 950,000 votes were rejected by officials in the last presidential election, based on data released by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. This includes more than 300,000 domestic mail-in ballots and more than 600,000 provisional ballots cast at the polls. The risk of rejection varies widely by state. In the 2016 election, the mail-in ballot rejection rate in Georgia was roughly 30 times higher than the mail-in rejection rate in Wisconsin. This figure includes both domestic absentee ballots and ballots from military personnel and citizens abroad.
The five states that currently hold all-mail elections — Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah, and Washington — didn’t count between 0.7 and 0.9 percent of mail-in ballots received. New York, on the other hand, which received far fewer mail-in ballots relative to its voter turnout, didn’t count ballots it received at a rate up to almost eight times higher than those other states.
Some of the most populous states in the country also had the highest ratio of rejected ballots compared to the size of their voting population, the analysis by The Intercept and Type Investigations of rejected ballots in 2016 across all relevant ballot types — provisional, absentee, and overseas military and civilian — found. A recent lawsuit in New York, where 2016 vote-by-mail ballots were rejected at nearly five times the median rate for the country as a whole, shows some of the pitfalls that may await.
The hurdles that accompany vote-by-mail logistics are not insurmountable. The states that vote entirely by mail have carried out elections for years without major problems. Research shows that states where vote-by-mail has expanded have seen a modest increase in voter turnout, and voting rights advocates are unanimous about the benefits of giving voters more options to cast their ballot.
But with potentially millions voting by mail for the first time, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic, jurisdictions accustomed to a trickle of mail-in ballots will get a flood. Over half of U.S. states received fewer than 10 percent of their 2018 votes by mail, including populous states like New York and Texas, according to an analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice. Several of the country’s largest jurisdictions will be among the many trying to quickly scale up their vote-by-mail infrastructure to emulate systems that took other states, like Washington, years or even decades to create. Voters who don’t receive absentee ballots in time — like many in Georgia last week — may still show up in person, meaning that the existing in-person infrastructure cannot be abandoned or aggressively consolidated. As the New York Times pointed out, administrators will, in essence, have to conduct two simultaneous elections.
Reducing the risk of valid votes being thrown out will require heroic efforts on the part of election administrators, who will be tasked with reviewing far more votes than ever before. Already, teams of experts and advocates have formed to safeguard the process, but they will need to work quickly, and receive political support, to be successful.
Denise Roberts headed to her Tioga County, New York, polling place early on November 8, 2016, to avoid the lines. But her name wasn’t listed in the poll book. It didn’t make sense, she recalled in an interview with The Intercept and Type Investigations. She had moved to the area several years ago and voted at the same fire station just 12 months before. She even had a paper card from the county Board of Elections confirming that she was registered at her current address.
The poll workers told Roberts that her registration was inactive, and she would have to vote using an affidavit ballot, known in other states as a provisional ballot. Rather than being counted automatically, the ballot would, like Romo’s, be scrutinized after Election Day by elections officials, who would determine whether her vote was legitimate.
Roberts wondered if the fact that she was a black woman in a 95 percent white, rural county had come into play. “It was humiliating,” she said. “I didn’t believe what had just happened.” Then the same thing happened to Roberts’s daughter-in-law Angela, who lived with her. Despite being properly registered at the address where they lived, the Robertses had no confidence that their affidavit ballots would be counted. Their suspicions were correct.
The Robertses were later deposed in a voting rights lawsuit that John Powers of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, who represented the plaintiffs, called a “canary in the coal mine” for efforts to expand vote-by-mail in the 2020 election. It revolved around the state’s practice of moving people from an “active” registration list to an “inactive” registration list if certain trigger events occurred. One of those events, crucially, is the return of a single piece of election mail as undeliverable.
At the time, the names of “inactive” registrants in New York weren’t sent to the polling place, and these voters were required to cast provisional ballots. This year, they will be provided to poll workers, per a federal court order, but they will still be required to vote provisionally. That means their votes can be rejected due to errors on the ballot or, occasionally, for no clear reason whatsoever. That was the case with the Robertses, whom officials ultimately admitted had been wrongly disenfranchised due to administrative error. The state’s apology was little comfort for Denise Roberts. “I never expected to experience that my voting rights would be taken away by somebody making a decision,” she said.
Marc Meredith, a University of Pennsylvania political scientist who was an expert witness in the case, calculated at the time that New York had a higher rate of rejected provisional ballots compared to the total number of votes than any other state in the U.S. In addition to tens of thousands of people who relocated within the state, in 2016 roughly 45,000 people cast provisional ballots with their registered addresses, suggesting that they had very likely been improperly deemed “inactive” by the state. Tens of thousands of erroneously deactivated voters were thus funneled into an administrative process in which their votes had a good chance of being discarded. In the 2016 general election, only about 51 percent of the provisional ballots cast in New York were ultimately counted.
Relying on undeliverable mail as a way to maintain accurate address lists can be highly problematic. “We have uncovered, over the course of time, significant issues with the consistency of the information that we get from the post office vis-à-vis who’s at this location and who is not at the location,” testified New York City Board of Elections Executive Director Michael Ryan, the top election official in the city. He told lawyers in the case that quotidian problems can have disastrous results, especially in urban areas: If the center lock is broken in the bank of mailboxes of a large apartment building, for instance, the postal worker won’t be able to leave the mail there, causing everyone in the building to become “inactive” unless they go to the post office in person to collect their mail within 14 days.
“Quite frankly, it has caused us to have little faith in the overall reliability of the quality of information that we get from the post office,” Ryan said, adding that the moves to inactive status disproportionately affect people who live in multiunit buildings. Ryan complained that to avoid this “unintended consequence” of New York’s registration laws, he tries not to send mailings unless they are critical. Missing virtually any piece of mail — even a letter confirming a voter has been moved back to “active” status — can cause a voter to be kicked off the “active” list if the post office cannot deliver it. In her opinion, Judge Alison Nathan found “the central proxy that the State uses to determine whether a voter has moved has serious problems with its reliability.”
New York’s mail delivery problems bode poorly for the state’s ability to ramp up vote-by-mail in time for the November election, experts said. Some voters won’t receive mail-in ballots to which they are entitled, and other ballots will likely end up in the wrong voters’ hands.
The same is true for other states unaccustomed to regularly interacting with voters that way, said Charles Stewart III, an elections expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “The vote-by-mail states are doing a lot of mail business with their voters; they’re sending a ballot every election, they’re sending voter information guides every election, they’re interacting with their votes a lot by mail. And one consequence of that is that their voter rolls are very clean,” he said. “Whereas the purpose of the voter roll in New York is not to do a lot of mail transactions with voters, that’s not why it was constructed. And so you’re suddenly putting a burden on the voter list that it wasn’t designed to bear.”
Mail-in and provisional ballots can be rejected for legitimate reasons, such as a would-be voter lacking eligibility. They can also be rejected for more contentious reasons, many of which involve human error: failing to sign the ballot, failing to have a witness where required, or making a mistake on the form that goes alongside the ballot.
The most common reason in 2016 was the one that invalidated Maria Fallon Romo’s ballot: a perceived mismatch in the signature between the ballot and the voter registration, according to a report by the Election Assistance Commission. In many states, the criteria used to reject those ballots are poorly defined and left to the discretion of untrained election workers.
It is a fraught effort: Signatures can vary depending on age, health, disability, writing utensil, and even noise and stress levels. Though signature matching helps election officials confirm the identity of someone casting a ballot from home, rather than from a polling place, election experts said the effectiveness — and accuracy — of signature checks vary widely by state. Some states, like Colorado, have detailed guidance on how to examine a voter’s signature, based on scientific principles of forensic document examination. Other states do not. Research has shown that laypeople are three and a half times more likely than trained forensic document examiners to incorrectly identify signatures as nonmatching. Laypeople are also more likely to reject authentic signatures than to make the opposite error and accept forged signatures.
Research has also shown that voters of color and language-minority voters are more likely to have their mail-in ballots rejected by elections officials. Voters whose native language uses non-Latin characters display greater signature variability, which officials might interpret as attempted forgery. Voters of color might also have less information about how to cast a valid ballot; a 2014 study found that election officials were less likely to answer Latinx voters’ questions compared to white voters’ questions.
In recent years, the lax standards around signature matching have been subject to repeated legal challenges. In 2019, the 11th Circuit Court lambasted Florida’s signature-matching law on the grounds that it subjected vote-by-mail and provisional voters to “the risk of disenfranchisement.” The state lacked uniform standards for what counted as a signature match and didn’t require any training or qualifications for ballot inspectors. By allowing each county to apply its own procedures, the court’s majority wrote, Florida is “virtually guaranteeing a crazy quilt of enforcement.” Florida has since enacted legislation requiring formal signature-matching training for elections supervisors as part of a reform package.
Florida has an appeal process to defend against unfairly discarded ballots, but notifications for rejected ballots come far too late to take part in it. The problem can affect even sophisticated voters like former Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., whose ballot was rejected and who didn’t get a chance to appeal. The court therefore found the appeals process to be “illusory” in some circumstances.
Experts say that’s why it’s better to count votes the first time around. “People aren’t going to go back after an election to fight for their ballot to count given everything they have going on in their lives and given the fact that the election was already decided,” Powers said. “They have too much on their plate to play election lawyer and track this down when it seems like an academic exercise.”
The National Vote at Home Institute, an organization that advocates for policy changes to make it easier to vote by mail, encourages all states to adopt modern, flexible, and voter-friendly appeals processes.
“There are risks on both sides here,” said Stewart, the elections expert at MIT. “I think the right way to think about this is to think about the risks on both sides and to try to mitigate both the health risks of voting in person and to mitigate the risks of having ballots rejected.”
In March, as deaths from the Covid-19 pandemic began to mount, election officials and advocates gathered by phone to plot a solution. Clearly, many thousands of people would not want to vote in person in upcoming primaries or in November’s general election, but most states weren’t ready for a huge surge in vote-by-mail. For Amber McReynolds, CEO of the National Vote at Home Institute, this is a critical moment. Her group has developed a plan calling for centralized or regionalized mail operations, tighter coordination with the post office, and improved signature verification processes.
Election officials are working quickly, she said: “They’re trying to find solutions to very difficult problems. [But] in many ways, they have one hand tied behind their back because of outdated laws and policies.”
Expanding vote-by-mail is popular among voters from both parties, and both Republican and Democratic governors and secretaries of state have mailed millions of voters absentee ballot applications, allowing them to apply to vote by mail in the primaries. It would not only reduce the risk of disease transmission between voters, but it could also help protect poll workers, 56 percent of whom were older than 60 in the 2016 election, according to a survey of over half of poll workers nationwide, and many of whom interact with hundreds of people on Election Day. Apparent elections-related transmission of the virus has been observed in Wisconsin and Florida after they held in-person elections this spring.
Many states are already planning for a large vote-by-mail component in November and the first half of 2020 has seen a flurry of legislative activity around the moves. In some states, voters need a valid excuse for voting by mail, though in some cases the requirement is being waived in light of the pandemic. (Seven Republican-led states have expanded no-excuse vote-by-mail for elderly voters only, a demographic that often favors Republicans.) But, the charge for a massive increase in voting by mail isn’t being led by lawmakers themselves, McReynolds said. “Voters are choosing in exponential numbers to sign up to get a ballot at home this year,” she said. Officials need to be prepared.
Kim Wyman, Washington’s Republican secretary of state, and her elections director have spoken with top election officials from all 50 states and Puerto Rico in order to share lessons from Washington’s successful all-mail elections. The Center for Tech and Civic Life, Center for Civic Design, Brennan Center, National Vote at Home Institute, and other nongovernmental organizations drew up detailed road maps for election administrators to scale up vote-by-mail in their states. Academics from Stanford and MIT launched a joint project to identify and disseminate best practices. And task forces of experts and political functionaries are putting forward plans, hosting webinars, and convening conference calls.
Many of the plans involve reducing existing barriers to voting by mail, such as the demand that voters have an excuse or allowing Covid-19-related excuses and removing the requirements in some states for a witness or notary to sign the ballot. Experts are also calling for less error-prone signature-matching procedures, improved appeal processes, expanded ballot return options, prepaid return postage, and acceptance of ballots postmarked by Election Day. Administrators may be able to implement some of these fixes without changes to state law and within existing budgets, but others may require legislative action, and the apportionment of additional funds.
In April, the Brennan Center for Justice recommended that Congress allocate “at least $4 billion to ensure all elections between now and November are free, fair, safe, and secure.” In March, the center had estimated that prepaid postage alone would cost roughly $500 million. There is scant indication that the Republican-controlled Senate will appropriate anywhere near the amount being requested by Democrats. And if Congress does appropriate that money, the National Vote at Home Institute’s McReynolds is doubtful that it could even be used to fund expanded capacity. State and county budgets have been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, she said, and in many cases they will need federal relief just to implement the election plans they developed pre-coronavirus, to say nothing of expanding their existing infrastructure.
If and when states receive the money, the supply chain will need to be activated: Companies that print bulk mail for existing vote-by-mail states like Colorado have said they will need financial commitments months in advance of November in order to expand their production capacity. A machine to automatically insert ballots into envelopes can cost up to $1 million, for instance, and vendors won’t purchase extras without guarantees that states will contract them to produce bulk mail. Vendors and officials will need to design and deploy systems to track, monitor, and sort the massive volumes of paper. “This three-month period, we’re really in a critical time,” said McReynolds.
There is also the question of whether the underfunded and overworked U.S. Postal Service can handle millions of additional pieces of election mail without errors; though it is not clear yet whether mail services or election administrators were responsible, there were problems this spring when people who requested mail-in ballots in Georgia and several other states did not receive them in time. In Wisconsin, for instance, boxes full of undelivered absentee ballots were discovered after the election, potentially thousands of voters did not receive their ballots in time to vote, and other ballots were mailed but never postmarked, thus potentially becoming invalid.
In an email, a spokesperson for the U.S. Postal services told The Intercept and Type Investigations that the agency will be ready in November. “The U.S. Mail serves as a secure, efficient and effective means for citizens and campaigns to participate in the electoral process, and the Postal Service is committed to delivering Election Mail in a timely manner,” she wrote. Knowing that Covid-19 will prompt more people to vote by mail, she added, “we are conducting … outreach with state and local election officials and Secretaries of State so that they can make informed decisions and educate the public about what they can expect when using the mail to vote.”
This fall will be a stress test of the U.S. election system, as administrators working with decimated budgets attempt to handle a massive increase in voting by mail while maintaining in-person voting options. With many state legislatures prohibiting officials from processing absentee ballots before Election Day, delays in generating results are likely. There is concern that irregularities and delays could undermine public confidence in the outcome of the election, a problem made worse by Trumpian allegations of widespread fraud.
Throwing out too many ballots may be just as dangerous as throwing out too few, experts said. As Marc Meredith noted in the New York lawsuit, “Making potential voters less certain that their ballots will count makes it less likely that they will vote.”

The New Christian National Socialist Manifesto
by Oral Shockley, DD
The New Christian Journal
To Our Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Greetings!
It is with glowing pride that we contemplate the growing control and spiritual influence of True Christians in establishing strict control of the American political and educational realms. America was founded in 1620 by Religious Dissenters, True Christians, who fled from secular persecutions in England. They set up a religious community in Plymouth Bay and flourished greatly. But in subsequent years, America drifted away from her True Christian origins and became a nest of Secularism. Americans have turned away from the One True God to worship Mammon and materialism! Self-indulgence has replaced self-discipline and the cell phone has replaced Our Lord Jesus Christ in daily importance! But rejoice in your hearts because the True Disciples of Christ have organized to save America from Secular Humanism and hedonism and we are now at the very gates of the True Kingdom of Heaven on earth! The True Disciples have begun their Sacred Mission by gaining virtual control over the Republican Party in almost every state in the Union, have elected a President of our One True Faith, have filled the halls of Congress with Representatives of both the people and Christ the Lord! We are well on our way to reestablish the True Christian nation, under God Almighty, that was founded in 1620.
The Politics of God
Now, with the advent of a True Christian as a second-term President of the United States, we Christians stand closer now to establishing a truly Christian-based government in this country since 1620!
By faith and determination, we have placed many of our people into the ranks of the Republican Party; have organized local elections to put our members on vital school boards where they can, and have, successfully supplanted the false Darwinism with the Divinely Inspired Biblical Creationism. We have elected members to serve in Congress who are sensitive to our needs and wishes but we need far more in order to establish a firm majority.
Since 2001 dozens of True Christians, by Presidential order have been placed in key positions within the Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Drug Administration and on commissions and advisory committees where they have made serious progress. Three years later God-sent Bush Administration has established one of the most righteous sexual health agendas in the Western world.
As one example of the growing power of the Lord in American politics, the Texas Republican Party Platform for 2002, called for rescinding United States membership in the United Nations and removing the United Nations from US soil. Pat Robertson, in his book, “The Millennium”, depicts the United Nations as a Satanic plot to take control of the world. And in the LaHaye “Left Behind” books, we can see that the United Nations is firmly in the hands of the anti-Christ!
Herewith we present our Watchwords and our Credo to you for your guide and inspiration.
1.Rule the world for God!
2.Give the impression that you are there to work for the Republican party, not push an ideology.
3.Hide your strength.
4.Don’t flaunt your Christianity.
Our Credo is:
Jesus Christ is Lord in all aspects of life, including civil government.
Jesus Christ is, therefore, the Ruler of Nations, and should be explicitly confessed as such in any constitutional documents. The civil ruler is to be a servant of God, he derives his authority from God and he is duty-bound to govern according to the expressed will of God.
The civil government of our nation, its laws, institutions, and practices must therefore be conformed to the principles of Biblical law as revealed in the Old and New Testaments.
In confronting Secular Humanists and Satanists, we must realize that it is vital to stress the following Proclaimed Truths:
1. The unique divine inspiration of all the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments as originally given, so that they are infallible and uniquely authoritative and free from error of any sort, in all matters with which they deal, scientific and historical as well as moral and theological.
2. Special creation of the existing space-time universe and all its basic systems and kinds of organisms in the six literal days of the creation week.
3. The full historicity and perspicuity of the biblical record of primeval history, including the literal existence of Adam and Eve as the progenitors of all people, the literal fall and resultant divine curse of the creation, and worldwide cataclysmic deluge and the origin of nations and languages at the Tower of Babel.
Brother Pat Robertson said in 1992,
“We want…as soon as possible to see a majority of the Republican Party in the hands of pro-family Christians…”
Ralph Reed said in 2001,
“You’re no longer throwing rocks at the building; you’re in the building.”
Once dismissed as a small regional movement, Christian conservatives have become a staple of politics nearly everywhere. Christian conservatives now hold a majority of seats in 36% of all Republican Party state committees (or 18 of 50 states), plus large minorities in 81% of the rest, double their strength from a decade before.
Active Christian Conservatives who are obedient to Almighty God and his Commandments in the United States Senate are:
Bill Frist, TN, Mitch McConnell, KY, Rick Santorum, PA, Bob Bennet, UT, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, TX, Jon Kyle, AZ, George Allen, VA, Richard Shelby, AL, Zell Miller, GA, Sam Brownback, KS, Sen. Lindsey Graham, SC
These True Christians deserve our heartfelt thanks and our continued support, both fiscal and personal.
The twin surges of Christians into GOP ranks in the early 1980s and early 1990s have begun to bear fruit, as naïve, idealistic recruits have transformed into highly proficient operatives and leaders, building organizations, winning leadership positions, fighting onto platform committees, and electing many of our own to public offices at all levels of American governance.
Christians need to take leadership positions. Since Republican Party officers control the membership and our legislative bodies, it is very important that mature Christians have a majority of leadership positions whenever possible, God willing.
One of our brilliantly successful tactics in gaining control of Republican organizations is to tie up the meetings for hours until people left. Then we appointed ourselves leaders and make key decisions. Once we took over the local leadership throughout our target State, we can then control the state party apparatus. Once we have a target state under Christian control, we can then use the same tactics in other states until we build a solid Christian foundation that can control any election, state or national.
The strategy of the coming Christian Based Republican Party is simple.
First, enact a permanent tax cut which will eliminate $6 trillion in revenue over the next 20 years. This will in effect starve the federal government so it will be unable to fund many liberal and essentially anti-Christian governmental functions instituted since the Communist-inspired New Deal.
Second, fill the liberal and secular federal judiciary with Christian advocates whose judicial philosophy will reverse the disastrous trends on civil rights, environmental protections, religious liberty, reproductive rights and privacy and so much more.
Third, mandate the teaching of Divine Creationism in all public and private schools and remove from all school curriculums the Secular Humanist false theories of Darwin and others.
Fourth, revise the Federal Constitution so that it better reflects Divine Will and strips away false secularism entirely.
A Constitution that conforms to Biblical Law will rely on the Ten Commandments of the Old Testament as its guiding source. Therefore, the Ten Commandments hold a special meaning. The New Christian lawmakers are going to pass legislation in various state legislatures that will mandate government posting of the Ten Commandments in all public buildings.
Rev. Joseph Morecraft is pastor of the Reconstructionist Chalcedon Presbyterian Church in Marietta, Georgia and he states his belief in the persecution of nonbelievers and those who are insufficiently orthodox is crystal clear. Reverend Morecraft describes democracy as “mob rule,” and states that the purpose of “civil government” is to “terrorize evil doers. . . to be an avenger!” and “To bring down the wrath of God to bear on all those who practice evil!”
“And how do you terrorize an evil doer?” he asks. “You enforce Biblical law!” The purpose of government is “to protect the church of Jesus Christ,” and, “Nobody has the right to worship on this planet any other God than Jehovah. And therefore the state does not have the responsibility to defend anybody’s pseudo-right to worship an idol!” “There is no such thing” as religious pluralism, he declared. Further, “There has never been such a condition in the history of mankind. There is no such place now. There never will be.”
“When God brings Noah through the flood to a new earth, He re-establishes the Dominion Mandate but now delegates to man the responsibility for governing other men in order to protect human life. He does this by instituting capital punishment – the backbone of civil government.” U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia
Now let us begin with some realistic soul-searching. Let us define the purposes and directions of our ranks for, although we may see the same Enlightenment in different ways, in the end, we are all True Christians.
A definition of the True Christian membership:
The implementation of Biblical Law is central to the mission of building the Kingdom of God on earth. The way to get to Biblical Law is through politics. Therefore, God’s law as manifested in the Bible should govern. References to the Ten Commandments are more than symbolic. It reflects a belief that the Bible, not the Constitution, represents the final legal authority.
1) The federal government should recede into the background through massive tax cuts. This concept, heartily embraced by President Bush, has more than one benefit. As money available for corrupting so-called “entitlements” dries up, there will not be funding for welfare leeches, birth control programs, support for the army of illegal aliens now flooding out country and the notorious Social Security give-aways.
2) Churches should be mandated to take over responsibility for welfare and education by Faith-based initiatives and school vouchers. By these means, True Christians can establish a firm control over the education of American youth. We can, and will, instill Christian Values in our youth and by this means insure a growing body of young Christians, ready, willing and able to assume leadership positions in a Christian United States.
3) Capitalism is the sole reason that America is now the greatest nation on earth and the Christian Community firmly believes that this engine of national success and power should be freed of current regulations that harmfully restrict America’s major corporations in achieving their maximum growth potential. We are therefore opposed to so-called “environmental” rules and regulations, restrictive and repressive work safety regulations, involvement by the Federal government in civil rights matters. We must first and foremost introduce and secure legislation to halt devastating personal injury lawsuits against Corporate America.
4) The U.S. Constitution should conform to Biblical Law.
The Constitution Restoration Act of 2004, introduced into both houses of Congress on February 11, 2004, includes the acknowledgment of God as the sovereign source of law by an official in his capacity of executing his office. This is another firm and ascending step in the establishment of a true Christian society in America.
Among the sponsors of the bill are Rep. Robert Aderholt AL, Rep. Michael Pence IN, Sen. Richard Shelby, AL,Sen. Zell Miller, GA, Sen. Sam Brownback, KS, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, SC.
The Promulgation of the Faith by our President
Trump has stated firmly and clearly that he believes God is involved in world events and that he and America have a “divinely guided mission.”
In the Bush White House, attendance at Bible study is strongly mandated and supervised. White House staff members are lovingly encouraged to attend these meetings, organized by Karl Rove and while attendance is not compulsory, staffers are reminded that a lack of interest in Christian Doctrine and Practice is important for continuing employment. Attendance is also requested of currently non-Christians and Mr. Rove has stated that anyone can become a Christian if he wishes; all it takes is the discovery of God’s Perfect Love through Christ.
With the help of evangelical speechwriter Michael Gerson, Bush fills his speeches with code words directed at Christian conservatives. In this year’s State of the Union address, Bush mentioned the “wonder-working power” of the American people, an allusion to an evangelical Christian song whose lyrics cite the “power, wonder-working power, in the blood of the Lamb” — i.e., Jesus.
George W. Bush, to his eternal glory, has brought forth many concepts that advance our Holy Cause. He has nominated many Christian judges who will give the law a, pro-Christian bent. He has put forward, school-prayer guidelines issued by the Department of Education, faith-based initiatives and his personal directives to virtually every federal agency, has wonderfully increased both the presence and the potency of religion in American government.
The Council on National Policy:
The Council for National Policy, which was co-founded by former Moral Majority head LaHaye, has included: John Ashcroft, Ed Meese, Ralph Reed, the editor of The National Review, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Grover Norquist and Oliver North.
The CNP has rendered yeoman service in assisting Christian conservatives take control of the Republican state party organizations in Southern and Midwestern states. It has assisted in spreading the word about the infamous ‘Clinton Chronicles’ videotapes that linked the president to a host of crimes in Arkansas, and was a determinant factor in bringing about the impeachment of Clinton.
The CNP, after much soul-searching, determined on George W. Bush as their candidate for President as early as 1999. George Bush had little or nothing to do with the decision to run for the Presidency. He was put in place by a coalition of the Religious Right, the ultra-conservative wing of the Republican Party and a group of wealthy, conservative businessmen. Claims of deliberate voter fraud in Florida, where his brother, Jeb, controlled the Republican party machinery and local enforcement agencies are entirely true but it has been felt that it was necessary to put in a man who would be loyal to true Christian principals and who would certainly assist in propagating the Evangelical doctrines as the true basis for a renewed American theocracy.
Speaking before the CNP, George Bush promised to appoint only anti-abortion-rights judges to the Supreme Court, or he stuck to his campaign ‘strict constructionist’ phrase and took a very firm stand against the proliferation of homosexuals and lesbians. The President, through the guidance of the CNP is fully supporting an amendment that can effectively severely limit public access to birth control, abortion, and any form of non-procreative sex.
Critics exist but we will silence them
The Republican National Committee is now very effectively securing the support of the Federal Election Commission to issue new rules that will effectively silence deviant groups that have dared to communicate with the public in ways critical of President Bush or Conservative and Christian members of Congress. Happily, these labors in the vineyard of the Lord are bearing fruit. Under the President’s firm guidance, the FEC has just proposed rules that would do exactly that. Any kind of non-profit — conservative, progressive, labor, religious, secular, social service, charitable, educational, civic participation, issue-oriented, large, and small — will be affected by these rules. No longer will secular humanists, so-called liberals, sexual perverts and non-Christians be able to confuse, obfuscate and confound our President and our Christian legislators in the prosecution of the establishment of a truly Christian Nation, under God.
On March 4, 2004, the FEC voted 5-1 to consider new rules that would have the effect of redefining many nonprofit groups as political committees, thereby forcing these groups to meet vastly more stringent financial and reporting requirements or to forego many of the advocacy and civic engagement activities at the core of their missions. By merely expressing an opinion about an officeholder’s policies a nonprofit group could turn overnight into a federally regulated political committee with crippling fund-raising restrictions. Then these divisive voices will fall silent and we need to hear their lies and obfuscations no longer.
Under the leadership of President Trump and a Republican and increasingly Christianized Congress, we are more than pleased to see that faith-based organizations will have new access to tax funds in excess of $40 billion dollars.
But note that in spite of the Administration’s efforts, the Senate wrongfully has refused to overturn decades of anti-discrimination laws that prevent federal funds to go to charities that that discriminate in hiring. In defiance of the Senate bill passed in 2003, the President has been disbursing funds to charities that openly proselytize for the Christian Cause and are firm in policies of not hiring gays, illegal aliens, Jews, Muslims or other alien groups.
The White House firmly by-passed Congress’s legislative functions in the year 2002. At the President’s direction, the Department of Health and Human Resources set up a Compassion Capital fund of $30 million that allocated funds released by Congress for a different purpose.
Roe V. Wade
In order to eliminate this gross aberration, the Bush Administration has named a fetus a human being, thus flouting Roe v. Wade and the authority of the courts.
Just twenty-two days after taking office, Bush re-imposed restrictions known as the “Global Gag Rule.” This policy restricts foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive U.S. family planning funds from using their own, non-U.S. funds to provide legal abortion services, lobby their own governments for abortion law reform, or even provide accurate medical counseling or referrals regarding abortion.
Bush has chosen pro-Christian and anti-choice extremists for key positions such as Attorney General and Secretary of Health and Human Services. His administration has named a fetus a ‘human being’ preparing the way to argue that abortion is murder. And Bush’s nominees to the federal courts are consistently anti-choice
Gun Control
The Christian Right absolutely opposes any form of gun control. The House of Representatives, now dominated by the Religious Right, passed a bill that immunizes gun makers and sellers from liability. On March 2, 2004, because of the actions of organized secular humanists, the Senate rejected the bill.
The ten-year ban on assault weapons expires in September, 2004. The House Majority Leader, Tom DeLay, who decides what bills will and won’t come up for a vote, has announced that a vote to continue the ban on assault weapons will not come up for a vote, so Tom DeLay will have decided that assault weapons will become available once again.
President Trump opposes ballistics finger printing, “because it would interfere with a gun owner’s privacy.”
The Conversion of the Muslims to Christianity.
With the active and even enthusiastic support of our President, Christians are now aiming at a great conversion of the Muslim population of Iraq. Once closed to our workers, now, Iraq lies at our feet and because we will be protected by the armed might of the United States, we can do the Lord’s work in safety.
Franklin Graham, founder of Samaritan’s Purse said in an interview with Beliefnet.com,
“I believe as we work, God will always give us opportunities to tell others about his Son….We are there to reach out to love them and to save them, and as a Christian I do this in the name of Jesus Christ.”
About the International Mission Board, the missionary arm of the Southern Baptists:
Organizing in secrecy, and emphasizing their humanitarian aid work, Christian groups are pouring into conquered Iraq , which is 97 per cent Muslim, bearing Arabic Bibles, videos and religious tracts designed to “save” Muslims from their “false” religion. The International Mission Board, the missionary arm of the Southern Baptists, is one of those leading the charge. John Brady, the IMB’s head for the Middle East and North Africa, this month appealed to the 16 million members of his church, the largest Protestant denomination in America. “Southern Baptists have prayed for years that Iraq would somehow be opened to the gospel,” his appeal began. That “open door” for Christians may soon close. “Southern Baptists must understand that there is a war for souls under way in Iraq,” his bulletin added, listing Islamic leaders and “pseudo-Christian” groups also flooding Iraq as his chief rivals.
Although proselytizing is usually forbidden, most countries in the region are eager to have Western religious groups running hospitals and clinics, and working on economic development and education. Some long-established missionary groups in the Middle East have come to terms with this by focusing their work on serving the social needs of the local population, and hoping that they might draw Muslims to Christianity more indirectly, through example.
But other missionaries, including many evangelicals, say it is part of their faith as Christians to try to spread the gospel.
Sometimes, these efforts have led to friction not only with Muslims, but also with other Christian missionary groups, which fear that such efforts put them in danger and their work in jeopardy.
We view with anticipation the projected “Americanization” of the Middle East. Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries are slated for our “American Freedom” projects and if we are successful in Christianizing Iraq, soon enough we will have even wider horizons in which to plant the seeds of Christianity throughout an area that by rights is a Christian domain.
An Expanded Israel
Certain events have to occur for Falwell’s version of prophecy to be fulfilled. As quoted by a fellow Christian pilgrim in Prophecy and Politics, a book by Grace Halsell who participated in two Falwell-led pilgrimages to Israel in 1983 and 1985,
“The Jews must own all of the land promised by God before Christ can return. The Arabs have to leave this land because this land belongs only to the Jews. God gave all of this land to the Jews.” (p.87)
Ed MacAteer, one of the founders of the Moral Majority has spoken of his beliefs.
“I believe that we are seeing prophecy unfold so rapidly and dramatically and wonderfully and, without exaggerating, makes me breathless. Every grain of sand between the Dead Sea, the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea belongs to the Jew. every bit of it.”
The Fate of the Jews
The Reverend Tim LaHaye describes the fate of the Jews in the book Left Behind.
“The final battle in the history of the future will be fought on this ancient battleground in Northern Israel called Armageddon. And the Jews? Well two-thirds of them will be wiped out by now and the survivors will accept Jesus at last.”
Settlements in West Bank and Gaza: Key to Fulfilling Prophecy
Falwell made his first trip to Israel in 1978 with an invitation from Prime Minister Menachim Begin. This began a strong relationship between the Likud Party, the hawkish party of Israel, and the Religious Right in the United States. Falwell has led many groups of Christian Zionists on pilgrimages to Israel, and the Religious Right has been subsidizing settlements ever since.
A Colorado-based group called Christian Friends of Israeli Communities – communities translates as settlements in the West Bank and Gaza – runs an adopt-a-settlement program. According to the director of its Jerusalem office, one-third of the 145 settlements receive funds from Christians.
The late Grace Halsell’s book, Prophecy and Politics, is no longer in print, but can be found in some libraries. It was published in 1986 by Lawrence Hill and Co. Halsell was an author and journalist who worked in the Johnson White House. She grew up in rural Texas in a fervently fundamentalist Christian culture. Halsell attended two pilgrimages organized by the Reverend Jerry Falwell — one in 1983 attended by 630 pilgrims, and a second in 1985 attended by 850 pilgrims. She also attended the First Christian Zionist Congress in 1985. One resolution at that Congress called for all Jews living outside Israel to move to Israel.
The Christians also urged Israel to annex that portion of occupied Palestine called the West Bank, with its near one million Palestinian inhabitants. An Israeli Jew, seated in the audience, rose to suggest that perhaps the language might be modified. He pointed out that an Israeli poll showed that one-third of the Israelis would be willing to trade territory seized in 1967 for peace with the Palestinians.
“We don’t care what the Israelis vote!” declared van der Hoeven [spokesman for the International Christian Embassy]. We care what God says! And God gave that land to the Jews!” After his impassioned outburst, the Christians by a nearly unanimous show of hands passed the resolution. (p.133)
Halsell interviewed Charles Fischbein, executive director of the Jewish National Fund, who described his work with the American Christian Trust headed by Mrs. Bobi Hromas, wife of a top official with a West Coast defense contractor:
“The trust enjoys 501(c)(3) status and receives funds from private individuals, estates and large evangelical-fundamentalist organizations… The Trust in turn gives this money to Israel, expressly for Jewish settlements in the West Bank… Mrs Hromas told me the Trust planned to raise a hundred million dollars to purchase land for Jewish settlements in the West Bank, the present target area being in the Palestinian town of Hebron… This I was told would help fulfill biblical prophesy. (p,170-171)
House Majority leader, Tom DeLay, is a strong supporter of Israeli expansion as fulfillment of Biblical Prophecy. When President Bush began to propose a road map for peace in the Middle East that would lead to a two-state solution, DeLay was speaking to members of the Israeli Parliament saying, “Israel is not the problem. Israel is the solution.” (Meaning the settlements are not the problem. They are the solution.)
Gays and the Christian Community
Jerry Falwell:
“[T]hese perverted homosexuals…absolutely hate everything that you and I and most decent, God-fearing citizens stand for…Make no mistake. These deviants seek no less than total control and influence in society, politics, our schools and in our exercise of free speech and religious freedom….If we do not act now, homosexuals will own America!” 1999
Lou Sheldon, founder of the Traditional Values Coalition:
“Our little children are being targeted by the homosexuals and liberals who are pushing for this legislation,” wrote Sheldon. “They want our preschool children…. They want our kindergarten children….They want our grade school children….They want our middle school and high school children….To be brainwashed to think that homosexuality is the moral equivalent of heterosexuality. We can’t let that happen.”
Dr. James Kennedy, Senior Minister of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale and the president of Coral Ridge Ministries, calls for a constitutional “Firewall” to protect the nation from counterfeit marriage.
From the Baptist Press:
“I see this becoming probably the largest domestic issue that will be addressed in this election cycle — if the economy continues to improve,” Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, told Baptist Press. Conservatives are pushing for a constitutional amendment protecting the traditional definition of marriage, and one such effort — the Federal Marriage Amendment — already has some 100 cosponsors in the House of Representatives. If passed, it would trump the Massachusetts ruling as well as any other such ruling by a court. To become law it would require passage by two-thirds of the House and Senate and three-quarters of the states.”
From Donald Wildmon of the American Family Association:
“The sacred institution of marriage is under attack. There are those who want to redefine marriage to include two men, or two women, or a group of any size or mix of sexes: One man and four women, one woman and two men, etc. If they fail to secure legal protection classifying these arrangements as ‘marriage,’ they want to include all these mixtures under the definition of ‘civil union,’ giving them identical standing with the marriage of one man and one woman.
They have gained the support of the national media and many politicians. Their efforts are intended to force, by law, 97% of Americans to bow down to the desires of the approximately 3% who are homosexuals.”
From the Concerned Women for America’s Janet LaRue:
“These are the court jesters of the century. The Massachusetts Legislature should summon the moral courage to impeach the majority for their abuse of power and distortion of the state constitution.”
President of Family Research Council, Tony Perkins:
“This is THE wake-up call for both the American public and our elected officials. If we do not amend the Massachusetts State Constitution so that it explicitly protects marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and if we do not amend the U.S. Constitution with a federal marriage amendment that will protect marriage on the federal level, we will lose marriage in this nation.”
Anti-Gay Politics and the Religious Right
Sen. Trent Lott has equated gays with alcoholics and kleptomaniacs, but it has long been a central tenet of True Christian Right groups that homosexuals are diseased, and can be cured with a combination of religious indoctrination and psychological counseling. Reparative therapy as practiced by a variety of ex-gay ministries includes a large dose of gender stereotyping: men are encouraged to play football or learn auto mechanics, women to wear dresses and makeup. John Paulk and his wife Anne are the current “poster children” of the “ex-gay” movement, appearing on the cover of Newsweek; in 1993 John Paulk told the Wall Street Journal that “To say that we’ve arrived at this place of total heterosexuality – that we’re totally healed – is misleading.”
Politically, Religious Right groups use the disease or addiction model to assert that civil rights protections should not be afforded to gays and lesbians. According to this “logic,” public policy that treats gays with equality and dignity actually inhibits individuals from seeking to be “cured.” In Maine earlier this year, “ex-gays” were featured in one of the television commercials run by Religious Right groups during the successful campaign to overturn a statewide anti-discrimination law.
The recent ads also attempt to equate homosexuality with AIDS and other diseases; one of the recent ads was titled, “From Innocence to AIDS,” cleverly alluding to Religious Right myths about gay recruitment of children and promoting Religious Right efforts to portray homosexuality as a “death-style.” Typical of such rhetoric was a recent Chuck Colson article about Billy, a doll being marketed in the gay community. Colson suggested that all Billy dolls should come with a plastic coffin, asserting that most gays are “men whose lives are tragically marked by disease, addition, misery, and early death.”
Misrepresenting ideology as science is a favored tactic. Paul Cameron is a virulently anti-gay “researcher” whose methods led to his being ousted from the American Psychological Association. Although Cameron has been thoroughly discredited, his “research” continues to be a favored source of ammunition for the Religious Right. William Bennett, Chuck Colson, and others continue to repeat Cameron’s conclusion that the life expectancy for gay men is 43 years, a statistic based on his reading of obituaries in gay newspapers. (Cameron’s statistic was effectively demolished in online magazine Slate) Bennett’s trumpeting of this statistic last year on ABC’s This Week and in the Weekly Standard was picked up by National Review and continues to circulate as the kind of “truth” that the Religious Right wants to tell America.
The Death Penalty for Homosexuality
Among those of us who embrace “reconstructionism,” which advocates imposing a radically fundamentalist interpretation of “Biblical law” onto American society are many outspoken advocates of the Christian America concept. On the September 4, 1998 Armstrong Williams talk show, Colorado talk-radio personality Bob Enyard called for the death penalty for gays and adulterers. Last year, a Christian radio talk-show host in Costa Mesa, California said, “Lesbian love, sodomy are viewed by God as being detestable and abominable. Civil magistrates are to put people to death who practice these things.” The announcer urged listeners to contact legislators and ask that they enact capital punishment for homosexuality. The station manager called the program “an honest dialogue concerning Christian beliefs.” Congressional candidate Randall Terry, former head of Operation Rescue, extends this view of “Biblical law” to include a removal of all homosexuals from positions of influence in American society with especial reference to the American education system at all levels. This even extends to suspected perverts as well as brazen practitioners of perversions
In addition, the battle cry against “special rights” was the centerpiece of opposition to a federal anti-discrimination bill, the Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA), which was defeated by one vote in the U.S. Senate in 1996. More recently “no special rights” was the core message of the Religious Right’s campaign to overturn President Clinton’s executive order banning discrimination against gays in the federal workplace. Carmen Pate of Concerned Women for America said the executive order was “not about equality under the law, but about special privileges.” In the last instance, the rhetoric was so plainly and patently untrue that a sufficient number of Republican members of Congress voted in favor of equality on the job and the executive order was allowed to stand.
Our Church has launched many attacks on corporations that offer domestic partner benefits and make it very clear that our leaders’ anti-gay ideology will not permit any special treatment or recognition of their gay employees. A few years ago, American Airlines was attacked for its gay-acceptance policy in hiring and for its support of gay community organizations. A host of Religious Right leaders, including D. James Kennedy, Gary Bauer, James Dobson (Focus on the Family), Beverly LaHaye (Concerned Women for America), Don Wildmon (American Family Association), and Richard Land (Southern Baptists) signed an open letter, printed as a newspaper ad, attacking American Airlines. American Airlines officials met with Christian Community leaders but rejected demands that they discontinue marketing to the gay community. This is a battle to which we will certainly return and we now plan to extend our efforts to other large American corporations. We are planning to promulgate a nation-wide boycott against any such corporation that either hires homosexuals or supports the so called “Special Interest” programs cleverly designed to introduce gays into normal society by making them acceptable to the gullible and uninformed.
A Prayer for our Members: Oh Lord, we beseech Thee to bless our God-Instructed President that he may smite the unbelievers of the Muslims, correct the errors of thought in our people and bring again the reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ upon this earth!

The Encyclopedia of American Loons

Greg Lawton

Greg Lawton is the founder of Blue Heron Academy of Healing Arts and Sciences, where you can exchange your money for help to “change not only your career but also your lifestyle and that of others, through a variety of programs in medical massage therapy, holistic health care, acupuncture, personal training, nutrition, and herbal medicine.” They even offer things like Holistic Health Practitioner Certification Programs, where you “learn the philosophy and methods of contemporary Asian medicine, as well as, acupressure, shiatsu, tuina, and Asian bodywork.” That is, the kind of certificate you should be willing to pay to get rid of if you were ever saddled with it; apparently it’s a “fast-track state licensed educational program” (Blue Heron Academy is licensed by the Michigan Office of Secondary Education), but “state licensed” does not mean “accredited”. One of Blue Heron’s programs promises you a certificate as a phlebotomy technician, which does not require certification in most US states (they don’t mention whether the certification is issued by an agency accepted by the four states that do require certification).
Lawton himself “is a graduate of the four year naprapathic medicine program at the National College of Naprapathic Medicine and a licensed Naprapath in Illinois [one of two states that licenses them].” Naprapthy is quackery. He is also “nationally board certified in Chiropractic, Radiology, Acupuncture (Diplomat), and Physical Therapy.” Indeed, Lawton has also “trained in Aikido, Judo, Kenpo, Tai Chi Chuan, Pa Kua, Hsing Yi, Hap Do Sool, and Shorin Ryu,” which certainly boosts his orientalist credentials.
If you ever encounter Lawton outside of the context of his Academy, it will probably be through one of his many books, leaflets and similar promoting an impressive range of pseudoscience and bullshit, from hydrotherapy to naturopathy.
Diagnosis: Bullshit. Methinks anyone with an illness ought to avoid Lawton as she or he would avoid a charlatan trying to sell them snake oil and Hulda Clark devices.

Greg Laurie

Greg Laurie is senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, a megachurch, and Harvest Church in Kapalua, Hawaii, and Orange County. He is also on the board of directors for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, chaplain for the Newport Beach Police Department, member of Teen Mania Ministries’ Battle Cry Coalition, and Honorary Chairman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force in 2013. Indeed, the Trump itself selected Laurie as one the evangelical church leaders for the National Prayer Service hosted at the Washington National Cathedral following the 2017 Inauguration. He has also written some 70 books (yeah, like so many of these people it’s rather blatantly obvious that not much thought goes into those books, but that’s not the point, of course – and Laurie is no theologian; his response to the problem of evil would easily fail any Intro to Philosophy class). Moreover, Laurie has a TV program GregLaurie.tv on the Trinity Broadcasting Network and is guest commentator at Worldnetdaily. A versatile and influential guy, in other words.
A recurring theme for Laurie is warning us about the upcoming end times, as for instance when he wondered whether 9/11, hurricane Katrina and the 2004 tsunami were “reminders to us that Jesus Christ is coming back soon?” He also pointed out that “[a]ccording to the U.S. Geological Society … for the past 50 years, every decade has increased in the number of earthquakes recorded.” That would be the U.S. Geological Survey. They say the opposite of what Laurie claims they say. Facts, honesty and accuracy don’t sit well with prophecy.
Another recurring theme is the use of prayers to achieve things. On each occasion Laurie seems confident that prayers will work this time.
A third – and perhaps the most popular – theme is delusions about being persecuted. In his column “The ugly results of banning God from the culture” (suggesting, of course, that God is banned in the US) he complains about the fact that people can disagree with him and even challenge on matters related to religion, which apparently shows how persecuted he is. Then he predictably warns us that God will punish America if we don’t fall into line.
Laurie is also a creationist, who likes to assert things like “The Bible is proven true by Archeology” or “The Bible is confirmed through science”. According to Laurie, who appears to be seriously inspired by Ray Comfort, “[t]o say that all of the beauties of God’s creation came about randomly is ridiculous. The person who believes in the theory of evolution makes a choice to believe it.” The theory of evolution sort of says the exact opposite of nature being the result of random processes, but Laurie has no time or interest in actually understanding even the crudest basics of the view he wants to criticize (he actually uses the “tornado in the junkyard” characterization). He rather wants to speculate about why they make that choice, and it is “because the lifestyle they want to live has no place for God,” of course. Really, those who believe in evolution actually knows that it is false; they just want to escape judgment.
Diagnosis: Idiot, but he weighs up for his lack of insight with zeal and a corresponding lack of care for truth and accuracy. This guy is also seriously powerful and influential, making his hatred for truth, reason, dignity and civilization all the more frightening.

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