Speaking just like an American Republican, the Communist Chinese-appointed leader of Hong Kong, Leung Chun-ying, said last week that if the state granted democratic rights to its poor and working class, they could dominate elections and choose leaders who would meet their needs.

If Hong Kong’s 99 percenters picked their leaders, Mr. Leung said, “Then you would end up with that kind of politics and policies.”  To ensure politics and policies favoring Hong Kong’s one percent, Mr. Leung insists that a committee appointed in Beijing approve all candidates to succeed him.  

Mr. Leung fears rule by the majority – just as U.S. Republicans do. It’s the reason the GOP has launched a massive voter suppression campaign across the country. Republicans believe in rule by and for the one percent. To accomplish that, they must do what Mr. Leung and the Chinese Communist party did: foil democracy. That’s the GOP goal when it subverts America’s precious one person-one vote equality. Every American who holds democracy dear must do whatever it takes to defy GOP attempts to deny them access to the ballot next week.  

Protesters demanding democracy in Hong Kong have thronged streets and faced down baton-wielding police for three weeks. Mr. Leung’s anti-democracy remarks further inflamed the demonstrators who live in a state with among the highest income inequality in the world. Mr. Leung said he could not allow the state’s majority – workers and the poor – to choose nominees because then those candidates would address the demands of the majority.

“If it’s entirely a numbers game and numeric representation,” Mr. Leung said, “then obviously you (candidates) would be talking to half of the people of Hong Kong who earn less than $1,800 a month.” 

That is exactly who Republicans don’t want to talk to – America’s middle class and working poor. The GOP presidential candidate, quarter-billionaire Mitt Romney, said that it was his “job not to worry about those people” who are elderly or too poor to pay federal income taxes. To make sure Republicans can focus on the rich and forget the rest, they’ve passed a multitude of laws to stop the working poor, seniors, people of color, women and students from voting. The intent is to prevent them from choosing who will run the government that, in a democracy, is supposed to represent them.

The Brennan Center for Justice calculated that if all the suppression laws passed by nearly two dozen states in the past five years took effect, 5 million citizens would confront new obstacles to exercising their right to vote. The laws would likely deny suffrage altogether to some citizens, such as those lacking birth certificates because they were born at home.

In addition to demanding specific ID, some states restricted early voting, ended same-day registration, purged voter rolls, and failed to process tens of thousands of registration forms collected by groups encouraging low-income and minority citizens to vote. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the NAACP and other voting rights groups challenged these schemes in court.

In recent weeks, the U.S. Supreme Court, dominated by Republicans, issued preliminary rulings approving voter suppression in three states for the Nov. 4 balloting.

In a fourth, Wisconsin, the court temporarily barred the voter ID mandate. The Supremes will hear the case later and may allow the state to demand specific identification. That would be ID requirements that Federal Judge Lynn Adelman determined could disenfranchise 300,000 Wisconsin voters, particularly poor and minority citizens, because they lack the requisite documents.

Judge Adelman, who ruled the law unconstitutional, concluded that in Wisconsin, there were no cases of the in-person voter fraud that Republicans claim the law is intended to prevent.

Texas was among the three states that Republicans on the Supreme Court granted permission to begin demanding specific voter identification. The court ignored the fact that Texas passed the law within hours after the Republican Supremes gutted the Voting Rights Act.

The court ignored the fact that the trial judge in that case, Nelva Gonzales Ramos, calculated that it could disenfranchise 600,000 voters, particularly black and Hispanic Texans. These are citizens who don’t have a gun permit or driver’s license allowed as voter identification by the law, but who do possess other ID, such as student cards, forbidden by the law.

The court ignored the fact that Judge Ramos found only two cases of in-person voter fraud out of 20 million ballots cast in Texas over 10 years.

Consider what red, white and blue-wearing, flag-waving, democracy-praising Republicans have said about their voter suppression campaigns.

Georgia state Rep. Fran Millar complained about a decision to allow Sunday voting in a location near a mall that, as he described it, “is dominated by African American shoppers and it is near several large African American mega churches such as New Birth Missionary Baptist.”

When accused of racism, he said, “I would prefer more educated voters than a greater increase in the number of voters.”

In other words, he only wants some people to vote, not all people.

That’s not democracy.

In Ohio, where Republicans tried to allow GOP-dominated counties to add hours for early voting but deny it in Democratic areas, Doug Priesse, the chairman of the Republican Party in Franklin County, where Columbus is located, said it was fine to make voting more difficult for black citizens:

“I guess I really feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban – read African-American – voter-turnout machine.”

That’s not democracy.

In Pennsylvania, the Republican House Majority Leader Mike Turzai shepherded voter ID through the legislature in 2012, then announced  to a GOP gathering: "Voter ID, which is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania: done." In other words, the law would stop voting by the working poor, minorities, student and others who tend to vote for Democrats.

That’s not democracy.

The ACLU got an injunction to stop the Pennsylvania ID law. President Obama won the state. And the state Supreme Court later ruled the law unconstitutional.

The rich are represented in government, and as a result, highly profitable oil companies get tax breaks. Wall Street gets bailouts. And one percenters get tax deductions for yachts. By contrast, no one bailed out underwater homeowners. Twenty-four states refused to expand Medicaid to millions of working poor citizens. And the federal minimum wage hasn’t been raised in five years.

In a democracy, there’s nothing more important to securing representation in government than the vote.  Don’t let Republicans take it from you.


Photo by Stephen Melkisethian on Flickr, taken Feb. 8 at Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C. during a Moral Monday Movement rally.

The civet cat lives in the jungles of Indonesia. It enjoys eating coffee berries. However, the civet cat’s stomach is incapable of digesting them. The beans are subsequently excreted in the feces of the animal. Treated and “flavored” by the civet cat’s anal glands, the beans are highly prized by coffee aficionados, selling for 600 dollars a pound.

Picking through the political feces that are the comments sections on Right-wing propaganda websites such as The Blaze is not as lucrative. But, the process is very important for what it reveals about the worldview and ideology of movement conservatism.

Research in sociology, political science, and psychology has revealed that those with“conservative” political personality types see the world in binary and simplistic terms, are intolerant of ambiguity, more afraid of social change, highly deferent to authority, and have brains that are more highly attuned to feelings of fear and threat.

Conservative authoritarians are also much more likely to be racist, prejudiced, and xenophobic.

The Right-wing media machine is typified by “epistemic closure”. The self-reinforcing (and fictitious) narratives of the Right-wing media, when combined with selective information processing and cognitive bias by conservatives, has created an alternate world—one that is immune from the standards and facts that govern empirical reality.

Faith is a belief in that which cannot be proven by ordinary means; the Right-wing media is the temple at which movement conservatives fanatically pray and worship. The media elites and politicians of the American right speak in tongues to their congregation. To outsiders, this speech is gibberish and madness. For the Right-wing faithful, such acts are divine and prophetic.

Conservatives’ political personality traits, media, and a predisposition towards both implicit and explicit bias animus towards non-whites is crystallized in their response to the killing of Michael Brown and other unarmed black people such as Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, and Jordan Davis.

The American Right-wing’s defense of those who kill black people ranges from a barbaric and instinctive impulse towards homicidal ideation (as seen by those who defend Darren Wilson and have donated money to him as a form of bounty or prize for the new age lynching of Michael Brown) to a more mundane and quotidian belief that black people are a race of criminals, and it is best for “public safety” that the police and other representatives of the state treat African-Americans in a prejudicial and unfair way.

This continuum of behavior is an example of white racist paranoiac thinking.

White racist paranoiac thinking is dangerous and noxious because it devalues the lives of black and brown people, legitimates violence and cruelty by whites against non-whites, and twists the ethics, reasoning, thought processes, and morality of white folks in order to support unconscionable deeds.

The Right-wing (and mainstream) media have provided many notable examples of white racist paranoiac thinking (and of course acknowledging how the race-crime frame dominates the American news media writ large on a day-to-day basis).

Several decades ago, the videotaped beating of Rodney King was twisted and distorted by the White Gaze so that the victim was somehow a threat to the many police officers who savaged him.

When Trayvon Martin was killed by George Zimmerman, white racist paranoiacs and their allies spun a story where Martin was somehow “armed” with iced tea and the sidewalk: this was a provocation for the hunter Zimmerman to stalk and kill his prey Trayvon.

The thug cop Darren Wilson is made into a victim by white racial paranoia as the “giant” Michael Brown was “armed” with his “big, black, scary self” and despite multiple witness accounts that he had surrendered, and was not a threat after being repeatedly shot, somehow Wilson was “in fear for his life” and within his rights to shoot Brown in the head and face as a type of street vigilante by cop coup de grace.

These are examples of an aggregate process in American society. It is rare that one news item or editorial offers a self-contained example of white racist paranoiac thinking as a process of motivated reasoning and subsequent distorting of the facts.

In that regard, The Blaze's recent piece "New Claims Made by Grand Jury Witness Who Says He Saw Shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson From Start to Finish", is an ideal typical case.

The beginning of The Blaze's story presents some of the recent facts and “revelations” from a “black witness” to the encounter between Wilson and Brown (as likely leaked by the Ferguson prosecutor’s office):

An Ohio resident has reportedly revealed new details to the grand jury currently weighing a case against Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. The unidentified witness claims to have seen the Brown shooting from start to finish.

In an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the eyewitness recalled four key details

• After an initial scuffle in the car, the officer did not fire until Brown turned back toward him.
• Brown put his arms out to his sides but never raised his hands high.
• Brown staggered toward Wilson despite commands to stop.
• The two were about 20 to 25 feet apart when the last shots were fired.

The man’s account differs some with other Ferguson residents who have claimed that Brown’s hands were up in the air when he was shot and that he was running away from the officer the entire time.

Here, the framing is highly sympathetic--as is expected from a Right-wing muckraking site such as The Blaze--towards Darren Wilson.

The Blaze's story concludes with the conclusion by the “new” witness that:

After going over the entire incident in his head, the witness said he believes that Wilson is guilty of murder. "It went from zero to 100 like that, in the blink of an eye… What transpired to us, in my eyesight, was murder. Down outright murder,” he added.

The comments on "New Claims Made by Grand Jury Witness Who Says He Saw Shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson From Start to Finish" are very revealing: they show how white racial paranoiac thinking, as well as the cognitive and political personality traits of conservatives, combine to selectively filter information…a process amplified by the interplay of race, crime, and racial animus in the case of the Ferguson incident.

Here, the witness’s conclusion that Wilson murdered Michael Brown is utterly discounted and ignored, while the leading “facts” are unequivocally embraced to fit a prior belief.

Some examples:

1. What transpired was Officer Wilson stopping a threat that was an obvious danger to him. The public needs to know of Force Science and the dynamics of a violent, rapid encounter such as this. Everything factual stated by this “black” witness completely exonerates Officer Wilson. Brown physically fought Wilson & a shot was fired inside the police car. Brown ran. Wilson ordered Brown to stop. Brown physically came at Wilson a second time. Wilson discharged his firearm to stop Brown’s threat. Brown, despite an apparent gunshot wound, continued his threatening actions towards Wilson. Wilson fired again to stop Brown’s threat until, in fact Brown was stopped.

After going over the entire incident in his head, the witness said he believes that Wilson is guilty of murder. “It went from zero to 100 like that, in the blink of an eye. … What transpired to us, in my eyesight, was murder. Down outright murder,” he added.


2. I agree with your assessment 100%, however, after reading many responses, I believe some clarification is in order.

Body language is critical in this case. As Brown had already proven that he was quite capable of overpowering Officer Wilson, near instantaneous assessment of his every movement is a matter of life or death. any have interpreted hands out as being the same as hands up. There is a huge difference in the expressed body language when all factors are taken into consideration. Arms out to the side with the palms forward is anything but a submissive posture. Couple that posture with approaching, and refusing to comply when told to stop should be considered as extremely aggressive.

Doubters can deny it if they want, but look at Hollywood… Film is edited down to the slightest facial tick as the tiniest misplaced gesture at a crucial moment changes the entire storyline of the movie.

Simply, if you submit, you stand still with your hands up. To approach with hands to the side and out is a classical aggressive approach of someone that intends to overpower… It is the fighting posture of a wrestler.

Officer Wilson, commanding the perpetrator to stop was right to stop the approach of Michael Brown… especially when there was a second possible threat withe the presence of his friend.

3. exactly. First off, the store incident was enough and it brings the fact the Brown was being defiant from the onset leaving the store. Then defiant more in the police car. Otherwise, why and how did a shot go off inside of the police car. I do not see any police officer shooting up the inside of his car for no reason. Then Brown turning around walking towards Wilson with that “whatchya gonna do” gesture after Wilson told him to stop Everyone knows what that gesture is with a pimp stride in it. That showed further defiance. I do not see how it can be called “murder” from the sounds of what this witness side.  

4. By the way, shooting a fleeing felon is also allowed, and is not murder. Even if he was shot in the back of the head while he was running away, still justified.

5. Not just the dynamics of the first violent encounter, but the officer had his eye socket shattered, his bell was probably rang pretty badly from the impact, and his weapon had discharged during the struggle. He was most likely trying to recover from all this during the ensuing encounter. I wonder if anyone has addressed how this might have affected his eyesight or perception. If there were any adverse affects they were the responsibility of the deceased. We can only work with the tools we have. Any benefit of the doubt I will give to the officer.

6. Trying to follow this article is confusing to a rational person. As I read the “witness” account, it sure sounds like a case of self-defense to me. Then the article ends with the witness saying it was clearly murder to him. If it went from zero to 100 for the witness, think how fast it was going for officer Wilson. Also, if Wilson fired the first shot (or was it a shot fired in a struggle for the gun in the car?), why would he holster his weapon and then unholster it when the Gentle Giant turned to him and would not follow repeated commands to stop? Only because the officer felt his life was in danger from an out-of-control thug who refused to stop his attack / aggression towards the officer. But to the Black Klan (BK), what matters is it was a white officer and a black thug. If there was a video and audio making it perfectly clear Wilson was a victim of Big Mike, there would be denial from the BK.

These comments, selected from several hundred that are similar in tone and reasoning, exemplify the power of disinformation and propaganda, authoritarianism, white victimology, homicidal ideation, an embrace of the culture of cruelty, as well overt and covert racism that are common to movement conservatism in the Age of Obama.

As such, they are not a surprise.

What is important is that the deranged thinking of movement conservatives is not isolated to excuse-making and racial paranoia as a means of legitimating the killing of unarmed black and brown people by police and other white identified authorities. Rather, it envelops other matters of public concern that include the environment, economy, health care, tax policy, civil liberties, reproductive rights, international affairs, and other issues.

Extreme partisanship, polarization, and the alternate reality that has been created by the Right-wing media machine are on full display in how the White Right has responded to the killing of Michael Brown by Darren Wilson. Unfortunately, the bundle of attitudes, beliefs, and values that are central to white racist paranoiac thinking are also a threat to the common good more generally.

As with Michael Brown, the killing of a black person at least every 28 hours in the United States by police (and other white identified authorities) is an issue of race, crime, class, and justice. It is also a basic and fundamental human rights issue.

The culture and forces of cruelty, white victimology, and racism that defend and celebrate such acts of civic evil are the same elements which have broken America’s systems of government, and thus created a crisis of legitimacy in the country’s civic culture.

I have written extensively about the killing of Michael Brown by Darren Wilson; I will continue to do so in the future. Why?

In truth-telling about the killing of Michael Brown by Darren Wilson, we are exposing the reality of a society in which our civil liberties, freedoms, and basic rights to life, liberty, safety, and security are under threat.

Michael Brown’s body lay in the street as an act of racial terrorism by the Ferguson police against the African-American community.

His body was also a living, and now dead, symbol of a civic culture that is under threat by white supremacy, the culture of cruelty, and a strain of movement conservatism which wants to kill “the useless eaters” by using white racial animus and paranoiac thinking to destroy any hope that there will be a just and equitable society on both sides of the color line, as well as across divides of class and wealth.

The inevitable exoneration of Darren Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown is intended to send a message that “all hope is lost”. The question becomes, how will a “we the people” democracy respond to such callous indifference towards the lives of its black and brown citizens?

The trickles and leaks of information from the grand jury investigating the killing of the unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by the white police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri have turned into a flood.

This "new" information suggests that Darren Wilson will not be held accountable for shooting an unarmed person multiple times in broad daylight. It was already a fait accompli that Darren Wilson would not be arrested for the killing of an unarmed black person: any other outcome would be outside of America's long tradition of extra judicially murdering black and brown people.

The news media is also complicit with framing and circulating the leaked information in such a way as to exonerate Darren Wilson.

For example, the Washington Post has presented a one sided, rumor filled, and carefully framed story about Brown's autopsy as representing definitive fact--as opposed to information leaked by Wilson's defenders and a corrupt prosecutor's office.

Ultimately, what is the needlessly complex theater surrounding the death of Michael Brown at the hands of Darren Wilson can be crystallized down to one essential truth. Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown for the "crime" of being black and walking in the street.

This is not a new crime in the United States. Under the white racial terrorist regime of Jim and Jane Crow, black people were bullied and murdered for violating similar rules.

The present day version of this "crime" in the Age of Obama is demonstrated by Wilson's harassment of Michael Brown for "obstructing traffic".

Several decades ago, what is a very recent past in the highly polarized and racially segregated community of Ferguson and its surrounding area, this crime of violating white public space was known as "bumptious contact".

For this crime, black people could be arrested, beaten, and even killed for being on the sidewalk near a white person. Bumptious contact was part of a racist legal regime that included other crimes, both formal and informal, such as "reckless eyeballing", not yielding to white people at four way intersections, and asking to be paid a previously agreed upon price for one's labor.

This old fashioned racism of Jim and Jane Crow that lives in the present is circulating in one of the common defenses given for Darren Wilson's killing ways.

In the twisted imaginations of the white racist defenders of Darren Wilson, Michael Brown would not have been killed if he obeyed the following edicts when confronted by White authority. In online comment sections and other social media, Wilson’s homicidal ideation filled defenders have repeatedly suggested that:

all the boy had to do was to be polite. it will happen again- cos thugs arent polite”

The racial semiotics of this statement is not complicated. "Thug" is a contemporary and more polite version of the ugly word "nigger". "Boy" is a statement of racial humiliation and white supremacy that attempts to infantilize, emasculate, and rob black men of their dignity and rights.

"Polite" is a word rich with history and racial meaning.

The White Gaze deems that black people must and should always be submissive and defer to white authority.

Historically, the racial state and white authority are corrupt, and thus not worth respect or legitimacy by people of color--or ethically and morally grounded white folks.

However, when white racial logic evokes "politeness" in its discussion of black comportment and behavior there is an implied threat of violence. The impolite black body is to be policed, punished, trained, violated, and tortured--the whip, the lynching tree, the slave patroller, and the police have/do serve that purpose in America.

Black folks are victims of a cruel paradox in their submission to white authority, for even when they are "polite" and "respectful", black people are still subjected to violence and murder. The White Gaze is the ultimate arbiter of black submission. Consequently, it changes that criterion to satisfy White Power, White authority, and racial paranoiac thinking to fit the mercurial mood(s) of a given white person.

From slavery and Jim Crow to the era of Stand Your Ground, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, and Michael Brown, white supremacy and the color line are maintained by codes and rules that are both formal (the law) and informal ("common sense" and "acceptable" behavior).

When Darren Wilson is not indicted for the murder of Michael Brown, Ferguson will burn. The strategic leaks of information by the prosecutor's office are a way of turning Wilson into a victim and Brown into a "thug", the instigator of his own suicide by cop.

Per routine, the mainstream news media will frame the righteous anger at a broken and corrupt system as one more episode of black irrationality from a people who collectively do not respect "the rule of law" and "the system".

The exoneration of Darren Wilson, a white man who killed an unarmed black person without proper cause, is an old American habit. The black community of Ferguson's reaction to his being allowed to walk free, financially enriched via paid for bounties from his supporters, and without negative consequences, are the sum total of many violations, both small and large.

The present is not an orphan. It has parents. The killing of a black teenager Michael Brown without negative consequences by the white police officer Darren Wilson is part of America's long dysfunctional family legacy across the color line.

Crossposted from Tikkun Daily by Warren Blumenfeld

Over 60,000 people in New York's Central Park and millions more around our planet were treated to the eclectic sounds of world-class performers at the third Global Citizens Festival on Saturday, September 27. Performers included Jay Z, Beyoncé, Carrie Underwood, The Roots, Tiesto, No Doubt, Sting, and Alicia Keys.

The organization Global Citizen, whose goal is to eliminate extreme poverty worldwide by 2030, sponsored the event to shed light on poverty, which continues to affect an estimated 1.2 billion people, and to empower individuals and the world community to take concrete actions to end this scourge. Specifically, Global Citizen urges people to contact world leaders to focus on issues of providing vaccines, education, and sanitation to all the world's citizens.

Internationally, more people have mobile phones than have clean potable water and sanitation facilities. An estimated 3.4 million people die each year of diseases caused by lack of access to clean water and adequate sanitation infrastructures. This shortage kills people around the world every four hours. This lack of clean water and vaccinations significantly lowers a person's chances for quality education, keeping them in extreme poverty. The vicious cycle continues.

Part of the Global Citizen Manifesto reads:

"I believe that 1 BILLION PEOPLE continuing to live extreme poverty is an affront to our COMMON HUMANITY AND DIGNITY. That it is unfair, unjust and unnecessary."

These words, "unfair," "unjust," and "unnecessary" have particular resonance for me as I learned that U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes recently refused to prevent city officials in Detroit, Michigan from shutting off water to customers who cannot afford to pay the skyrocketing costs of services, which have increased rapidly since the city filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy last year. Monthly charges for water and sewer services in Detroit average $70.67 per household. In his ruling, Rhodes asserted that people do not have a fundamental right to water services. Since the shutoffs over the summer, thousands of protesters have taken to the streets.

In the wealthy suburbs circling Detroit, though, residents fill their enormous residential and country club swimming pools and artificial lakes around their pristine golf courses, as people in the inner city desperately lack water for drinking or bathing. And the tremendous income gaps ever expand within the U.S. and internationally.


While city officials have negotiated long-term payment schedules for some customersthey rated "delinquent" on past payments, a number of residents, often through no fault of their own, simply do not have the funds necessary to pay for water. They regularly have to choose between putting food on the table for their children or paying for clean water. No one should have to make this choice!


By shutting off the valves, city officials have consigned residents to increased rates of disease, dehydration, and lowered chances of escaping poverty. When children and adults are deprived of the basics to sustain life, their health suffers, which greatly impacts their educational and overall life opportunities.


Our nation must redirect its priorities directly to serve its people through infrastructure improvements so cities like Detroit do not have to solve these problems in isolation resulting in forced terminations of clean and potable water. President Obama has urged Congress since he entered office to release the funding to upgrade our crumbling sewer systems, roads, bridges, and power grids, which as they currently exist, have put our nation at increased risk. Unfortunately, Congress seems unwilling to get to work, which stands in stark contrast to the vast number of our residents who live below the poverty line, and who often work multiple jobs, yet still barely getting by.

I personally abide by the entire Global Citizen Manifesto, especially this section:

"THE WORLD'S POOR ARE LEADING THIS PROGRESS FOR THEMSELVES, but they can't finish the job without the rest of us. I am committed to changing the systems and policies that keep people poor."

We all can and must end this worldwide unfair, unjust, and unnecessary travesty of extreme poverty. This reminds me of a TV commercial I watched last night for pistachios when Steven Colbert, seated beside an American Bald Eagle perched above, declares: "The pistachio: it's just like our politics. When the two sides are divided, that's when the nuts come out!"

On issues of poverty and for the sake of humanity, we all must work on the same side.

Dr. Warren J. Blumenfeld is author of Warren's Words: Smart Commentary on Social Justice (Purple Press); editor of Homophobia: How We All Pay the Price (Beacon Press), co-editor of Readings for Diversity and Social Justice (Routledge) and Investigating Christian Privilege and Religious Oppression in the United States (Sense), and co-author of Looking at Gay and Lesbian Life (Beacon Press).

To read more pieces like this, sign up for Tikkun Daily’s free newsletter, sign up for Tikkun Magazine emails  or visit us online. You can also like Tikkun on Facebook  and follow us on Twitter.

Income inequality is killing the economy. Retailers, bankers and Democrats agree on that. Really.

It’s only Republicans who continue to insist that income inequality is great, so no one, least of all them, should make any effort to constrict the abyss between America’s struggling 99 percent and Americans who indulge themselves in $475,000 bottles of House of Creed Bespoke perfume.

Now that Wall Street and Main Street have endorsed Democratic economic principals to reduce inequality for the sake of the economy, voting Nov. 4 is easy. Vote Democrat. That’s the party both bankers and retailers say has the solution to economic revival. 

Admittedly, this is all a little hard to believe after Republicans have diligently depicted themselves as business and bank huggers for so long.

Turns out, though, that’s a sad, one-sided relationship. Bankers and retailers aren’t returning the love when it comes to economic policy. They’ve recognized the enemy to their bottom lines, and it is the rising costs and stagnant wages borne by workers since the dawn of the recession.

And both bankers and retailers want action. They want incomes, consumer confidence and purchases all to rise, triggering business profits to do the same. They’ve discovered that extra personal jets, mega yachts and $475,000 perfume purchased by the 1 percent have failed to stimulate the economy.

What’s essential to revival is more buying by the hulking mass of everybody else. That’s what Wall Street firms have said in recent reports. And that’s what the Center for American Progress, a think tank that supports middle-out economics, found in an analysis of the financial statements of 65 of the nation’s top retailers.

Here, for example, is what Morgan Stanley economists had to say last month in their report Inequality and Consumption:

“So, despite the roughly $25 trillion increase in wealth since the recovery from the financial crisis began, consumer spending remains anemic. Top income earners have benefited from wealth increases but middle and low income consumers continue to face structural liquidity constraints and unimpressive wage growth. To lift all boats, further increases in residential wealth and accelerating wage growth are needed.”

In other words, the prescription to cure consumer spending anemia is raises for workers. Remember, it is Republicans who have blocked raising the federal minimum wage from its poverty-level $7.25 an hour, with some party darlings, such as Michele Bachmann, a former candidate for the GOP presidential nomination, contending that the minimum wage should be abolished because no wage is too low.

Then there’s the August report from rating agency Standard & Poor’s titled: How Increasing Income Inequality Is Dampening U.S. Economic Growth, And Possible Ways To Change The Tide. It says:

“The challenge now is to find a path toward more sustainable growth, an essential part of which, in our view, is pulling more Americans out of poverty and bolstering the purchasing power of the middle class. A rising tide lifts all boats…but a lifeboat carrying a few, surrounded by many treading water, risks capsizing.”

Apparently, Wall Street economists love boat metaphors.

To haul the many out of the water and into a more stable economic ship, S&P suggests this:

“That said, some degree of rebalancing – along with spending in the areas of education, health care, and infrastructure, for example – could help bring under control an income gap that, at its current level, threatens the stability of an economy still struggling to recover.”

Remember, it is Republicans across the country that have cut spending on education and refused to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

It is Republicans in Congress who have repeatedly stomped on attempts by Democrats to stimulate the economy by spending on desperately needed repairs to infrastructure – that is facilities such as roads, bridges, public buildings and sewers. Numerous economists have pointed out that the cost of borrowing for these job-creating projects is so low right now that the loans are virtually free.

Wall Street and Main Street have had their disputes since the Great Recession. But they agree that for the good of the country’s economy, incomes must rise for the majority. In a report issued earlier this month, the Center for American Progress (CAP) documented retailers’ belief that stagnant wages are damaging business. It’s called Retailer Revelations: Why America’s Struggling Middle Class has Businesses Scared.

CAP tabulated the risks to business stability that the nation’s top retailers reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission. CAP found that 88 percent said weak consumer spending imperils stock prices, and 68 percent said consumers’ flat or falling incomes threaten business profits.

The CAP report lists large retailer (Kohl’s and Sears) after large retailer (Best Buy and J.C. Penney) suffering faltering sales. It quotes Container Store CEO Kip Tindell saying, “Consistent with so many of our fellow retailers, we are experiencing a retail funk.”

CAP explains the funk, “The fortunes of the retail sector and the middle class are inherently linked – when family incomes fail to rise, when the cost of living increases, or when workers cannot find jobs, retailers’ sales decline.”

Some retailers have taken action themselves. Earlier this year, for example, Gap Inc. and IKEA announced plans to raise their workers’ wages to at least $10 an hour. Costco increased wages by $1.50 an hour during the recession, so workers start at $11.50 an hour.

CEO Craig Jelinek explained: “I just think people need to make a living wage with health benefits. It also puts more money back into the economy and creates a healthier country. It’s really that simple.” Costco’s stock prices have tripled since 2009.

Still, not every retailer is going to raise wages voluntarily. The world’s largest, Walmart, for example, just cut its workers’ health benefits. That’s where government steps in. For the good of struggling Americans and the ailing economy, government can order employers to pay a living wage. To create jobs and stimulate the economy, government can invest in infrastructure. As during the Great Depression, a government of the people, by the people, for the people can act for the benefit of the majority of the people.

Republicans oppose that. They prefer the failed trickle-down economics that sunk the middle class. So on Nov. 4, vote to ship them home.  Retailers, bankers and workers across America will thank you.




One out of four people has a "mental illness." You hear the statistic all the time. People who were once "nervous" or "high strung" now have "general anxiety disorder." People who have the "blues" from real life issues like job, relationship and family problems now have "major depressive disorder." People who are "up and down," again from real life issues, are now "bipolar." Adults who can't focus on the work at hand, either because they didn't get enough sleep or because the work at hand is boring--hello?--have adult ADHD. All need to be on drugs indefinitely, perhaps for the rest of their life. And notably, all suffer from diseases that are medical "judgment calls" that can't be verified on blood or other diagnostic tests. Ka-ching.


Less than thirty years ago, depression was not considered a lifelong illness but a self-limiting condition that would "go away." Before SSRI antidepressants like Prozac, anxiety was a transient condition requiring a tranquillizer as needed. Key words "as needed." Once SSRIs became available, anxiety became a chronic condition requiring chronic medication. Suddenly people who had anxious moments were treated for moments they were fine with drugs that changed their entire blood chemistry and were very difficult to quit. Some of the drugs actually made people worse as the high rate of suicide among soldiers on drugs who have never deployed attests.


And there are other examples of the "enlarging" of mental illness diagnoses. Once, only children had ADHD but now adults can join the club. Once only adults had depression and schizophrenia; now Big Pharma markets the conditions in children. What?


There are several sociological factors behind the "psychiatrizing" of America.  Direct-to-consumer advertising works and doesn't just convince people they are "depressed," it convinces them they have GERD, insomnia and restless legs. Some postulate the ghastly list of risks with drug ads---coma, death, trouble swallowing--perversely "sell" the drug in the way images of skulls and the word "death" were said to sell consumer products in the advertising expose Hidden Persuaders. Also, commensurate with the idea of "lifestyle" medications, many who feel OK or fine right now think they could or should feel better. Even grief, from the death of a loved one, is now a treatable psychiatric disease. Why should you feel bad just because your spouse died? Go on, be happy.


But the main engine behind growing "mental illness" is Big Pharma and Wall Street. Under the pretense of better care, Big Pharma has aggregated and sometimes co-opted patients into lobbying groups for high-priced drugs. While the groups say they fight the "stigma" of mental illness, they spend their time fighting lawmakers and insurers for payment of high-priced drugs. "When insurers balk at reimbursing patients for new prescription medications," says the Los Angeles Times, these groups "typically swing into action, rallying sufferers to appear before public and consumer panels [and] contact lawmakers."


How much are the drugs in question? One hundred middle dose pills of the depression drug Abilify can cost $1,644 and Invega, a drug used for bipolar conditions, $1,789. That is more than most people's rent or mortgage payment.


The patient front groups include the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, which gets half its funding from Pharma according to the Los Angeles Times and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), which received $23 million in just two years from Pharma, according to the Wall Street Journal. In the 1990's, Eli Lilly was NAMI's biggest donor, reported Mother Jones. Related groups have embedded themselves on college campuses where they conduct high-budget campaigns and marches to help students avoid "stigma" and get on drugs. Right.


Earlier this year, NAMI was successful in defeating a White House proposal to limit Medicare coverage of Wellbutrin, Paxil, Prozac, Abilify, Seroquel and other expensive drug classes. "The proposal undermines a key protection for some of the sickest, most vulnerable Medicare beneficiaries,” said Andrew Sperling, a NAMI lobbyist using the image of elderly victims to give Pharma billions of our taxpayer dollars.


Recently, NAMI tried to "raise awareness" about mental illness within faith communities. Now NAMI has turned its eye to the rock world. "To help raise awareness about mental health" the New York City NAMI has enlisted five New York bands and the advertising giant JWT New York, reports the New York Times to "help combat mental illness."


Many top musicians have killed themselves, notes the Times, forgetting that most were philosophically against using music and slick ad agencies to sell products and enrich Wall Street.


"When you look at social change, people that really participate and get social change movements going are young people, and they really need to be involved to change the landscape about mental illness stigma," said Wendy Brennan, executive director of the New York City Metro chapter of NAMI. You'd think NAMI were working for some grassroots, social cause. But a woman I interviewed who wants to remain anonymous for medical privacy says she was told by the Chicago NAMI they could not help her with a borderline condition because there was no "drug" for it.





White supremacy structures how the news media frames and reports events in the United States (and elsewhere). There are so many examples of this fact that the difficulty is not one of finding them, rather, the challenge involves which examples of white racial framing to discuss and detail.

Saturday's riot by white college students at Keene State College's annual Pumpkinfest is a priceless example of white privilege and white racism as a type of social practice and habit.

It was high comedy. Twitter had great fun with mocking and calling out the foolishness of the white pumpkin rioters.

It was also deadly serious. Fires were set, cars destroyed, bottles and other dangerous objects were thrown at random people, and the police were attacked by the white students at Keene's pumpkin festival.

In a stark and clear manner, white privilege and white supremacy color how the obnoxious and violent behavior of the white rioters at Pumpkinfest is described by the media.

Black folks who are protesting with righteous rage and anger in response to the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson have been called "thugs", "animals", and cited by the Right-wing media as examples of the "bad culture" and "cultural pathologies" supposedly common to the African-American community.

Privileged white college students who riot at a pumpkin festival are "spirited partiers", "unruly", or "rowdy".

Right-wing propaganda sites such as the Drudge Report pander black beast rapist negrophobia to their racist audience with grotesque images of "black crime" and "black criminality" as a standard theme. By contrast, the violent behavior of white college students is met with relative silence save for a description of the events in Keene, New Hampshire as "extreme partying".

And of course, the race of the rioting students is not mentioned by Drudge and/or the mainstream news media because Whiteness has no stigma or connection to criminality and violence as seen through the White Gaze.

The racial innocence of Whiteness is one of America's greatest lies as white folks, here demonstrated by acts such as racial genocide against First Nations peoples and racial pogroms against blacks, are the most violent and destructive group of people in the history of the United States.

White college students riot over pumpkins, but are mute and show no equivalent expenditure of upsetness or energy over the murder of Michael Brown and the many other black and brown people killed by the police and white identified vigilantes every 28 hours in the United States.

Hmm...I wonder why?

As a gay African-American, I've heard the argument about how "you can't compare the gay civil rights movement to the African-American civil rights movement" more times than I care to count.

The constant so-called moral outrage of some African-American heterosexuals when the topic is mentioned has gotten me to the point where my mind automatically tunes out the monotonous drones of how supposed sinful homosexuals are "high jacking" the civil rights movement or how gays "can't compare their sin with black skin."

As such, I almost missed the epiphany which occurred over two weeks ago.

I was vaguely scanning comments on a conservative site by an anonymous African-American female as she went on and on about how gays were never subjected to slavery, segregation or declared three fifths a person. While the logical side of my mind was gathering up the customary argument of how wrong it was for disadvantaged people of any stripe to play the "Oppression Olympics," the emotional side of my mind struck immediately.

"This is the most ignorant crap I've ever heard," I thought. "Just where in the hell does she think gay black people were during slavery and segregation? On a spaceship orbiting the Earth? "

I was instantly struck by oddity of what I had thought. Not that my outrage wasn't coming from a place of truth, mind you, but how the simple fact never entered my mind that yes, gay people were subjected to slavery, segregation and racism because of our skin. Just as LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people of color exist now, we existed back then. Then it suddenly struck me again that I've never recalled any acknowledgement of this fact during the myriad of discussions, I've read, listened to or seen regarding comparisons between the gay and civil rights movements.

And why is that?

There have been numerous debates, articles, columns, movies and documentaries about how the legacy of racism has had a negative effect on so many aspects of African-American community, from our families to the way we interact with each other. It stands to reason that the legacy of racism didn't leave LGBT people of color unscathed. But information about what LGBT people of color did during those awful times in our history or what effect it has had on us is practically nonexistent.

It is a subject hardly ever mentioned. No one talks about it in the black community and that includes leaders, intellectuals, journalists, authors or any other person with some type of platform.

And this leaves me feeling as if the events of black history, which are supposed to be a part of my heritage, are nothing more than hand-me-downs donated to me out of charity because there are very few, if any, events which are specific to me as an LGBT person of color.

Or at least that's what I am led to believe by the black community at large.

 It's all part and parcel of being an LGBT person of color. Generally in both the LGBT and African-American communities, LGBT people of color tend to always find ourselves in the background while someone else is doing the talking and planning. Apparently we are only good enough as faces but without voices or opinions regarding strategies or leadership. And our issues are not considered important, but examples of "identity politics" gone too far.

It is slowly (and I mean very slowly) changing in the LGBT community, but it is in the black community where LGBT people of color run up against a massive brick wall. There is a pattern of erasure which strips our presence from the majority of black history. And this pattern of erasure bleeds into day-to-day treatment and interactions. Personal biases and prejudices prevent us from being considered as genuine members of the black community and many heterosexual African-Americans conveniently ignore issues and concerns indigenous to us as LGBT people.

When African-American civic organizations talk about "the state of Black America," we are omitted. We are talked about as examples of how tolerant the black community is becoming rather than conversed with as African-Americans who just happen to be gay but with a genuine stake in the survival of the community. In the rare moment that we are able to interact with other members of the black community in discussions about our lives, we barely get a word in edgewise while they seem to always monopolize the conversation.

To some African-American heterosexuals, we are mere sidebars or addendums. We are objects they hurl Biblical scripture at to cover up their own religious shortcomings or soulless reservoirs of salacious gossip holding court in places like beauty parlors.

Supposedly righteous church ladies or upstanding church men smile in our faces but then hypocritically say rude things behind our backs because we seem "too butch" to be a "real woman" or "too swishy" to be a "real man." And while they do this, they are totally oblivious to the fact that we are hip to their behavior but will disguise our hurt as a show of respect.

Being an LGBT person is not considered an identity by some in the black community, but rather a condition placed upon you by an unfortunate occurrence or mishap. And for the benefit of those who know what I am talking about, no one "turned me out." I was born this way.

Some LGBT people of color condition ourselves to accept these roles and disrespect because we fear rejection and isolation. This behavior is often mistaken as a reason for the problem rather than a result.

The sad fact is that some in the black community at large simply refuse to see LGBT people of color in the same light as they would see each other. And the erasure of our voices and faces from black history is proof of this because it is an example of how they deny us our heritage and our place at the table on our own terms rather than the terms of their fearful and misguided perceptions.

And that simply has to change.

Crossposted from Tikkun Daily by David Harris-Gershon

On Saturday night, I looked out upon a standing-room-only audience, people fidgeting and giddy, barely able to conceal the significance of what was about to occur. I was on stage, the hall at Harvard University electric and buzzing, flanked by three distinguished professors – Judith Butler, Steven Cohen and Shaul Magid – the four of us representing various streams of Zionist, post-Zionist and anti-Zionist thought.

At first, I was awed by the company I had been asked to join, thinking, What on earth am I doing here? That thought was quickly replaced by another as the room erupted with boisterous cheers when a student organizer stepped to the microphone: this is a historic moment, a thought I Tweeted when the feeling came over me, a thought five days removed I still deeply believe.

So what occurred which was so historic? This: on Saturday night, a grassroots-led and student-driven movement called Open Hillel launched a three-day conference, determined to create what Jewish institutions have largely refused to permit: dynamic spaces where both Zionists and anti-Zionists can come together and discuss Israel as equals, with equally valuable perspectives as respected members of the American Jewish community.

The Open Hillel conference certainly succeeded in creating such spaces, where for three days rooms were packed to hear Jews and Palestinians discuss Israel openly and honestly. However, the conference also ended up creating something even more powerful than just spaces: a representative community of 350 committed, questioning Jews who demonstrated not just how out of step institutional Jewish organizations have become by exiling critical and post-Zionist voices, but how those organizations are going to have to change to remain viable, whether they like it or not.

Right now, these organizations are refusing to change, refusing to acknowledge that Jews who fervently critique Israel’s policies, who consider themselves post-Zionists or support BDS, are not anti-Semites, but valuable members in a growing segment of the American Jewish community. Hillel International is one such organization, and the one around which the Open Hillel movement is organized. Hillel is the world’s largest umbrella organization for Jewish life on college campuses, supporting over 550 student centers on campuses in North America and beyond. It purports to be a pluralistic organization, with a tent large enough to house every Jew and every perspective imaginable. Unfortunately, for Hillel, one’s Israel politics trumps its pluralistic ideals, for it has established Israel Guidelines which direct student centers to refuse partnership or cooperation with any student, speaker or organization which, among other things, apply a “double standard” to Israel, support BDS, or have post-Zionist political leanings.

It’s why students from Jewish Voice for Peace, which embraces both anti-Zionist and Zionist students who wish to dialogue openly about Israel, and happens to be the one of the fastest growing Jewish organizations in America, have been barred from Hillel. It’s why Jewish scholars have had book events cancelled at museums and Jewish musicians barred from JCC events. It’s why even someone like myself, a Jewish studies teacher and two-state Jew who supports Palestinians’ right to boycott Israel, has had book events cancelled on multiple occasions.

This isn’t new. For over 40 years, Jewish institutions have attempted to define one’s Jewishness and value to a community based solely on one’s Israel politics. In 1974, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) published The New Anti-Semitism, which attempted to redefine anti-Semitism as criticism of Israel rather than the vile hatred which has led to so many horrors visited upon my people, including the Holocaust, which took half of my family. The goal of this redefining was to shield Israel from critique by designating Israel as the “Jew among the nations,” conflating all Jews with the country and turning anti-Israel critiques into anti-Semitic sentiments.

What’s interesting is this: in 1974, supporting a two-state solution would have earned the charge of anti-Semitism and blacklisting. Today, the two-state solution is considered a dogma in the American Jewish community, with shifting politics propelling ‘new anti-Semitism’ proponents to smear those who empathize with Gaza, support Palestinian human rights or question Zionism as anti-Semitic.

But anyone who was at the Open Hillel conference knows that such charges are false. Indeed, this is precisely what Peter Beinart noted after speaking there on Sunday:

The young American Jews at Open Hillel who are flirting with anti-Zionism are not anti-Semites. (Although, of course, some anti-Zionists are). They are merely doing what young people always do: Challenging settled assumptions based on a different life experience. They don’t need the American Jewish establishment’s legitimization; that establishment is illegitimate to them. What they need, in the best Jewish tradition, is to be argued with.

But I’m not sure the American Jewish establishment knows how. For years, mainstream American Jewish groups have short-circuited discussions about Zionism by accusing its critics of anti-Semitism. They’ve grown so dependent on that rhetorical crutch that they rarely publicly grapple with how Zionism – a movement that privileges one ethnic and religious group – can be reconciled with the pledge in Israel’s declaration of independence to offer “complete equality of social and political rights irrespective of race, religion or sex.”

Indeed, many of those who were at the Open Hillel conference this past weekend are among the most committed Jews in America. And they bristle (as do I) when someone charges them with anti-Semitism for questioning institutional assumptions about Israel and Zionism. What’s different about what happened this past weekend, and what made it such a historic moment, is that student activists coalesced for the first time in memory to explicitly and directly challenge the American Jewish community from within, as opposed to from without.

These Jewish Americans, who represent significantly growing numbers, symbolically knocked on the door of institutional Jewish organizations and yelled, We are the Jewish community, and you will either embrace us or embrace a fear of dialogue – the least Jewish of things – and the shrinking numbers such a fear will bring.

Why does this matter? From a political perspective it matters because, as Professor Steven Cohen said from the stage on Saturday night, American Jewish opinions on Israel deeply affect American policy, which in turn affect Israeli policy, something I have been trumpeting for years. From a communal perspective, it matters because the face of the American Jewish community is changing. Jewish institutions have demanded, for decades, that Israel be placed at the center of Jewish life, and at the center of one’s Jewish value to a community. Today, at a time in which Israel’s policies, from the continued occupation to settlement expansions, are generating increasing critiques from American Jews, Israel has become just that – the center of Jewish life for many. Only, not in the way the ADL envisioned in 1974. Instead, Israel is being placed at the center by those who do not support its misdeeds, and who demand a change for the sake of both Jewish Israelis and Palestinians.

Jewish institutions have gotten what they asked for: Israel as the communal fulcrum point. But the balance is shifting. And the Open Hillel conference signaled that such shifting isn’t just reactive, but coordinated and communal.

People are shifting together with intentionality.

David Harris-Gershon is author of the memoir What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife?, published recently by Oneworld Publications.

Follow him on Twitter @David_EHG.

Detailed in the new Twocare.org/Center Against Religious Extremism report U.S. Pro-Coup Evangelicals Ally With Putin Inner Circle, influential hard-right evangelical leaders - one who has openly called for a "military takeover" and "martial law" - have forged close ties with a Russian inner-circle leader considered by some to be Vladimir Putin's closest political ally. That American evangelical leader, Rick Joyner, is part of the New Apostolic Reformation movement which gave us Sarah Palin and helped create the Tea Party. Joyner has allied with former Undersecretary of Defense Lt. Gen. (Ret.) William "Jerry" Boykin, whose impressive list of positions has included command of U.S. Special Forces. Joyner's ties also include Lt. Col. (Ret.) Oliver North, of Iran-Contra fame - a man noted for his role in a secret operation that funneled profits from arms sale to Iraq to a covert operation to undermine the government of Nicaragua, and James Woolsey, former director of the CIA, whose claims on an alleged tie between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America helped propel the United States towards the disastrous invasion of Iraq. Here is the executive summary:
Executive Summary: Cutting against growing tensions between the United States and Russia, influential and politically well-connected, Tea Party-aligned American evangelical leaders - including one who has called for a "military takeover" - who hold dominionist or even theocratic political leanings and are tied to former high-level U.S. military and intelligence community members, have over the past decade allied with one of Russian president Vladimir Putin's closest political allies, Vladimir Yakunin. This investigation, by the Center Against Religious Extremism (CARE), demonstrates an extensive pattern tying evangelist Rick Joyner and his Oak Initiative political organizing front, and leaders affiliated with Joyner who have pledged their lives to implement biblical law in all sectors of society, to Vladimir Putin's inner-circle ally Vladimir Yakunin. Last year, a September 30, 2013 a call for a "military takeover" of the U.S. government and imposition of "martial law" from well-connected South Carolina evangelist Rick Joyner - who boasts close ties to former high-level U.S. military and intelligence community leaders, earned significant media coverage and also strong words from Military Religious Freedom Foundation founder and head Michael "Mikey" Weinstein, who estimated that a significant fraction of officers and NCOs might be sympathetic to such an exhortation, a form of "sedition" that crossed a "red line" according to Weinstein. MRFF defends the rights of U.S. armed forces members who have been victims of coercive evangelizing that, according to Weinstein's organization, is being inflicted mainly by dominionist "bible believing" Christian superior officers upon members of the military who are Christian but are deemed to hold incorrect versions of the faith (MRFF's work has been featured in numerous mainstream media venues including The Economist, Newsweek, and perhaps most thoroughly and vividly in journalist Jeff Sharlet's 2009 Harpers magazine story Jesus Killed Mohammed: The Crusade For a Christian Military.) Joyner's call for a "military takeover" and "martial law" did not lead major religious right "family values" (and ostensibly patriotic) organizations such as the Family Research Council (FRC), the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), or the American Family Association (AFA) to ostracize Joyner or distance themselves from his Oak Initiative organization. Rather, these groups signed onto a coalition that opposes Weinstein's MRFF and whose membership includes the Oak Initiative, whose president Rick Joyner in late 2013 stated, amidst substantial critical media scrutiny, that he "will stand by" his apparent call for a military coup. The Oak Initiative - whose board is dominated by apostles from the radical New Apostolic Reformation movement - boasts organizational ties both to the Republican Party and also to leaders who have helped create the anti-government American militia movement. Through its partnership with national hard-right, anti-gay groups such as FRC, ADF, and AFA, as well as Oak Initiative member Lt. General (Ret.) Jerry Boykin's role as Family Research Council Executive Vice President, Joyner's Oak Initiative has institutional links both to the elite group of hard-right, anti-LGBT rights billionaire evangelical funders associated with the annual event known as The Gathering, and to its parent organization The Fellowship (or "The Family"), which hosts the National Prayer Breakfast and whose longtime head Douglas Coe has expressed admiration for the ability of a small band of violent Bolshevik revolutionaries to take over Russia, in 1917. Joyner's Oak Initiative itself promotes a style of factually-challenged anti-government conspiracy theories that have been deployed, since the 1980s by far-right evangelical operatives with former military and intelligence backgrounds, to undermine confidence in the U.S. federal government and stoke anti-government fear and paranoia among millions of American citizens. Joyner has repeatedly claimed that the Obama Administration plans mass imprisonment of American citizens. But Joyner has also enthused over the coming of a Christian authoritarian regime that will seem "like totalitarianism" and will forcibly re-educate Americans. On September 16, 2014, Rick Joyner issued a "prophetic" statement that envisioned a massive state level revolt against the federal government led by militias which, speculated Joyner, might ally with U.S. county sheriffs. In Joyner's dream, that anti-government militia revolt led to violence and anarchy which, in turn, triggered the military takeover and imposition of martial law that Joyner had called for a year earlier, in October 2013. Behind Joyner's carefully calibrated "prophetic" forecasts lie an elaborate strategy and infrastructure application of Fourth Generation Warfare theory, by the American Christian right, in a nonlinear approach to delegitimizing and destabilizing the federal government - a strategy that relies both on force of arms (at the local level), infiltration, and sophisticated information warfare techniques. Joyner's dire predictions resemble those from Russian former KGB analyst Igor Panarin, whose forecasts of an impending breakup of the United States into six or more pieces have been promoted by the Putin regime. Since 2008, Panarin has repeatedly predicted the imminent breakup of the United States amidst economic chaos and societal decay. In 2012 Panarin announced,”There’s a 55-45% chance right now that disintegration will occur.”
read the rest of the Twocare.org Center Against Religious Extremism report, U.S. Pro-Coup Evangelicals Ally With Putin Inner Circle