Friday, August 7, 2020

Playing the God Card

 

The other day Mr. Trump dropped his God Card, accusing Mr. Biden of not loving God enough. Mr. Trump would have his faithful followers believe he spoke God’s words through his own lips.

I call it another example of Divine Propaganda — using "God authority" to bolster one’s otherwise earthly political agenda.

Since college I’ve been interested in trying to understand how propaganda works. I remember Father Coughlin, the founding priest of the National Shrine of the Little Flower church, located in Royal Oak, MI, off Woodward Ave near Detroit, was one of the propagandists we studied along with Gov. Huey Long and Joseph Goebbels.

Why do people accept without questioning and asking for some sort of fact/proof? 

I guess it may be that their internal “B.S. identifiers” are turned off when it comes to their religious beliefs. When “God” is connected, the statement in question becomes synonymous with “the Word of God”, becoming fact because it comes from God Himself. It’s unquestionable because it’s from “God's Lips”, not from mere mortals. We know because the minister, in this case God’s servant on earth, Mr. Trump, said so.

I’ve been looking deeper into what I have come to call, Divine Propaganda, because Trump seems to be a master at it. For example, several friends, although highly educated, are Religious Right Trump supporters. 

Also, perhaps some of my interest originates from our childhood exposure to evangelical ministers like Dallas Billington, Rex Humbart and Ernest Angley, the early TV evangelists.

Today’s Christian Right Evangelicals appear to be following a path blazed by those Akron-based pioneers.

These three quotes from, Church of The Donald, Ruth Graham, politico.com, May/June 2018, opened one door to help me understand how “Christians” accept Donald Trump:

“Evangelicals, going back to the time of the Scopes trial, have always been sensitive to being seen as pariahs,” Mark Ward says. “You can get a lot of credibility with evangelicals if you simply make them feel like they matter, if you appear on their TV shows and send your administration to appear on their TV shows.”

"In a fundamental way, TV people are Trump’s people. “Trump appreciates people who can communicate in an attention-grabbing way,” says Wear, author of the 2017 book Reclaiming Hope: Lessons Learned in the Obama White House About the Future of Faith in America. “I don’t think Trump would be drawn to a preacher who breaks down five chapters of Ephesians and lays out the Greek and Aramaic.”

"But viewers still appear to be loyal, and those viewers aren’t who you might think. Both TBN and CBN say their audiences are split almost evenly between Democrats and Republicans. This can likely be chalked up to another fact that might surprise people outside the evangelical bubble: their audiences’ racial diversity. Charismatic and Pentecostal preaching, and the related health-and-wealth “prosperity gospel,” are strong traditions within the black community. Popular black pastors including Creflo Dollar, Tony Evans and TD Jakes have all preached regularly over the years on TBN, Daystar, and other Christian networks. Paula White is the pastor of a largely black church. And CBN’s roster of reporters, hosts and regular guests is arguably more racially diverse than those of many cable news networks."

A few more quotes:

"Trump has always had a particular genius for circumventing normal channels, and he seems to understand the power of Christian television as a medium for directly reaching an important and particularly loyal segment of his base. When Pat Robertson interviewed him last summer, in a period in which Trump had granted no other non-Fox interviews for months, the president put it succinctly. “As long as my people understand,” he told Robertson. “That’s why I do interviews with you. You have a tremendous audience. You have people that I love.”

"For white evangelicals, who voted for Trump overwhelmingly and still approve of his job performance, the approach seems to be working. The networks continually polish Trump’s reputation, and perhaps more importantly, he’s talking to them. “Evangelicals, going back to the time of the Scopes trial, have always been sensitive to being seen as pariahs,” Mark Ward says. “You can get a lot of credibility with evangelicals if you simply make them feel like they matter, if you appear on their TV shows and send your administration to appear on their TV shows.”

"But viewers still appear to be loyal, and those viewers aren’t who you might think. Both TBN and CBN say their audiences are split almost evenly between Democrats and Republicans. This can likely be chalked up to another fact that might surprise people outside the evangelical bubble: their audiences’ racial diversity. Charismatic and Pentecostal preaching, and the related health-and-wealth “prosperity gospel,” are strong traditions within the black community. Popular black pastors including Creflo Dollar, Tony Evans and TD Jakes have all preached regularly over the years on TBN, Daystar, and other Christian networks. Paula White is the pastor of a largely black church. And CBN’s roster of reporters, hosts and regular guests is arguably more racially diverse than those of many cable news networks."

"TBN in particular has quietly become a major player, in part by capitalizing on the switch to digital TV two decades ago. When the Federal Communications Commission declared in 1996 that all television stations had to convert to digital broadcasting within a decade, the network’s founders, Paul and Jan Crouch, snapped up many local Christian stations that couldn’t afford the conversion. As a result, TBN is now the third-largest television group in the country, with access to 100 million households and more local television stations to its name than Fox or the three major networks. Its largest rival, Texas-based Daystar, also claims access to 100 million households, and carries many of the same programs. (CBN is no longer technically a network but a production company with a series of syndicated programs that air on stations owned by others, including TBN.)"

"Reliable data on the sector are hard to come by, but a 2005 survey by an evangelical pollster found that 45 percent of American adults watched Christian television on a monthly basis, just as many as in 1992. “It’s one of these stories that has just gone completely under the radar,” Ward says. “Even though it doesn’t have the same profile it had, it’s still a very decisive arbiter of the evangelical subculture.”

"But in the past two years, largely out of view of the coastal media and the Washington establishment, a transformation has taken place. As Christian networks have become more comfortable with politics, the Trump administration has turned them into a new pipeline for its message. Trump has forged a particularly tight marriage of convenience with Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network, which since early in the 2016 campaign has offered consistent friendly coverage and been granted remarkable access in return. Trump personally has appeared 11 times on CBN since his campaign began; in 2017 alone, he gave more interviews to CBN than to CNN, ABC or CBS. Trump’s Cabinet members, staffers and surrogates also appear regularly. TBN has embraced politics more gingerly—it is still not a news-gathering organization—but Trump has made inroads there, too, starting with his kickoff interview on “Huckabee.”


Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Withdrawing Consent

Photo Credit:  Sipa USA via AP, Portland 'Wall of Moms' Protect Demonstrators,
PEOPLE.com, Alex Milan Tracy

Today, I choose optimism as my guiding light when contemplating this coming election this November.

Why? 

Because we may soon be witnessing the death throes of the American oligarchy — government controlled by a few ultra-wealthy people, banks-too-big-to-fail, monopolistic corporations, and other “special interests” — as well as unrestrained American imperialism. That oligarchy, in one form or another, has run the United States since birth. Further, over the past 100 years, it certainly has driven the United States, at full speed, off the highway and over a cliff toward certain self-destruction.

Yes, Mr. Trump is flailing about, trying to distract media attention from his failures, grifts and felonious crimes; disenfranchising democrat-leaning voters; undoing our miserly economic and health safety nets; and disappearing our functioning federal government. The benefits of his “administration” have vastly accrued to the wealthy elite and corporations. The rest of us, the overwhelming majority of Americans, not so much.

Still, the signs are unmistakable — the Black Lives Matter Movement, the citizens of Portland; the state governors’ refusal to kowtow to threats of StormTrumpers; and the U.S. military’s steadfastness, honoring their oath, “to support and defend the Constitution”. 

Americans are waking to the certain knowledge that, indeed, they can withdraw their consent to be governed by the whims of the oligarchy, the ultra-wealthy elite, the corporations.

It is possible to have our American Dream and live it, too.

Trump: Tinpot Dictator? (w/ Noam Chomsky)
Aug 3, 2020



Is there a move towards fascism in the US? The Democrats are split, but it is the Republicans have gone way off the spectrum toward neo-fascism. Professor Noam Chomsky explains why...

Monday, July 27, 2020

Big Data Power Lying


Perhaps you’ve seen the Trump re-election commercial featuring an older lady calling 911 while a bad man is breaking into her home. She is frantically calling 911 only to be told to leave a message. Someone will call her back the recorded message says, just as the bad guy apparently grabs her and she drops the phone. Next, an announcer declares: "you won't be safe in Joe Biden's America".

This ad sparked something in my mind from the Trump 2016 campaign. Please see: https://downriverusa.blogspot.com/2017/02/about-that-big-data-stuff.html.

Just as I thought.

Surprise! Cambridge Analytica is not dead after all. No, the undead former Cambridge Analytica employees are now back from the grave, living in the Trump re-election campaign, reprising their previously successful strategy, once again sowing Trumpian lies and fear mongering, trying to pump fresh blood into the Trump/Republican campaign, using “Big Data” lying techniques.

Certainly, Trump believers are ripe and more than willing to be won over by these misinformation and outright fabrication tactics.

But will those social media, micro-targeted voters be won over by the fear mongering, lying too? Or will Americans put aside the lies and their own fears, put two and two together, and realize who is trying to snooker them once again?

I guess we will see come November.

Here are the facts:
"Facts First: Biden has not proposed anything that could result in 911 calls no longer being answered. He has repeatedly and explicitly opposed the idea of "defunding the police," and he has proposed a $300 million increase in federal funding for community policing. Biden has not specifically weighed in on a proposal for a 50% cut to Seattle's police budget, which the ad insinuates he supports."

"The words "you won't be safe in Joe Biden's America" come on screen as the intruder confronts the woman. The phone falls to the ground."

About those "Big Data" zombies on the Trump reelection staff:
"Trump’s campaign strategists linked to a company hoovering up data on religious people..."

and

"But in an earlier phone conversation, in July, Moura channelled Nix in describing the power of personality-based targeting. When asked to give an example of such targeting, Moura suggested pro-gun communication. A traditional person could be targeted with messages about a grandfather teaching subsequent generations to hunt, while a more neurotic type would respond to messages highlighting the threat of a break-in, he said. Nix gave the exact same scenario four minutes into his 2016 presentation."


Thursday, July 23, 2020

Leaf Blowers, Hockey Sticks, Moms & Dads

Day 54 in Portland. Photo Credit: Jon Cover, Screen Grab, see below.
Thousands of American citizens protesting Trump/Republican SS Goons, singing, “Hands Up Please Don’t Shoot Me”, that was the reality seen throughout the world the other day from Portland, Oregon, USA.

Later, “Dads with leaf blowers” tried to keep tear gas away from the moms and Black Lives Matter protesters, while others with hockey sticks tried to bat the tear gas canisters away from the protesters.

This is how Americans -U.S. citizens - defend their right to peaceful protest from Trump/Republican tyranny.

They are the real heroes defending the Constitution of the United States.

Portland Protest Day 54 - Walls of Dads (orange) joins moms & leaf blowers, Highlights (Part 1)
Jon Cover, 20 July 2020

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Hero "Man of Steel" Chris David

Chris David, the Navy Vet, Portland Man of Steel. Photo credit: AP.
Heroes are a rare breed. They somehow find the courage within to do the possible while others shake with fear.

Chris David (53), the Naval Academy graduate and Navy vet, who stool his ground while the Trump/Republican SS beat him with their batons and pepper/tear gassed him point blank, is such a hero.

Many dubbed him, the "Man of Steel" for what he endured this past weekend. But Mr. David is not a cartoon character Super Man. No, he is the real thing. An American Hero.

Here's the story....

Portland protester describes beating by federal officers, Zane Sparling, Potland Tribune, 19 July 2020.

"Portland protester describes beating by federal officers..."

"He sat down on a park bench, before being pulled back from the flashpoint by a street medic, going by the name Tav, who treated David and ensured that he was taken by an ambulance to the hospital."

"David says he has two fractures in his hand and, while it's currently in a splint, he is expecting to need surgery later this week."

"After a flurry of attention, David is hoping life will return to normal soon. While he never did speak with the camouflaged feds, he said he hopes they hear his message:

"That oath of office is essentially swearing loyalty to the Constitution of the United States, and what they're doing is not constitutional anymore."




Monday, July 20, 2020

Hero Moms



This morning I thought all was lost. I thought that the Trump/Republican SS troops would soon be rounding up all protesters... Democrats... anyone who dared to disagree with Mr. Trump.

This evening I have hope because a group of Portland Mighty Moms have joined arms. They are standing in front of the protesters, facing down the Trump/Republican SS goons.

These women are Heroes.. Heroes all.

Here is the story:
Wall of Moms Face Off Against Trump's Tear Gas , jqjacobs,dailykos.com, 20 July 2020.




Friday, July 17, 2020

Trump/Republican Neo-US-SS in Action


Just in case you missed it, Mr. Trump's secret police - no one knows which department these people call home - U.S. Marshals Special Operations Group, Customs and Border Protection’s BORTAC (Border Patrol Tactical Unit), Homeland Security, or Department of Justice agents - have been out in force, without identity, driving unmarked civilian vehicles, arresting Black Lives Matter protesters off the streets of Portland Oregon. This has been going on for weeks, up to and including last night, when they arrested the peaceful protester in the Tweet below.

By way of historical comparison, these are the actions of the infamous Nazi SS. But back then they wore SS insignia. Today they wear no insignia on their camouflage uniforms.

Where was the person arrested in the Tweet (below) taken, Mr. Trump? To your concentration camp? Are the gas chambers your next step?

And, to the federal agents who obviously illegally "arrested" that American citizen, did you, too, swear to: "...support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same..."? If so, just exactly, when will you demonstrate courage enough to stop being an instrument of illegal authoritarianism and stop being a member of the Neo-US-SS?
Here's the story...

Secret Federal Police Deployed by Trump Snatch Protesters Off Portland Streets, Jake Johnson, Common Dreams, truthout.org, 17 July 2020.

"Oregon’s Democratic governor and other state lawmakers are demanding that President Donald Trump immediately remove all federal law enforcement officials from the streets of Portland after alarming video footage posted online late Thursday showed unidentified officers dressed in combat fatigues arresting Black Lives Matter protesters without explanation and throwing them into unmarked vehicles."

“This political theater from President Trump has nothing to do with public safety,” Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said in a statement. “The president is failing to lead this nation. Now he is deploying federal officers to patrol the streets of Portland in a blatant abuse of power by the federal government.”

“Trump is looking for a confrontation in Oregon in the hopes of winning political points in Ohio or Iowa.”

"Brown said she told Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf to “remove all federal officers from our streets” but he refused, claiming that Portland “has been under siege for 47 straight days by a violent mob.”

"Wolf’s response, said Brown, shows “he is on a mission to provoke confrontation for political purposes. He is putting both Oregonians and local law enforcement officers in harm’s way.”

“This, coming from the same President who used tear gas to clear out peaceful protesters in Washington, D.C. to engineer a photo opportunity,” she added.

"Oregon Public Broadcasting reported Thursday that “federal law enforcement officers have been using unmarked vehicles to drive around downtown Portland and detain protesters since at least July 14.”

“Personal accounts and multiple videos posted online show the officers driving up to people, detaining individuals with no explanation of why they are being arrested, and driving off,” OPB reported.

"In response to one such video, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) tweeted that “authoritarian governments, not democratic republics, send unmarked authorities after protesters.”

“These Trump/Barr tactics designed to eliminate any accountability are absolutely unacceptable in America, and must end,” Merkley added.

During protests over the weekend, a federal agent shot a 26-year-old peaceful demonstrator in the head with a munition, fracturing his skull.

“Federal forces shot an unarmed protester in the face,” Merkley tweeted Thursday. “These shadowy forces have been escalating, not preventing, violence. If Wolf is coming here to inflame the situation so Donald Trump can look like a tough guy, he should turn around and leave our city now.”

In response to the incident, Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley joined Oregon Reps. Earl Blumenauer and Suzanne Bonamici in demanding an full investigation and accountability for the officer who fired the munition.

“In recent weeks, the federal government has deployed to Portland a number of DOJ and DHS officers,” the lawmakers wrote. “This politically driven federal response is intolerable.”

*The (Nazi) SS, the Schutzstaffel, was the organization most responsible for the genocidal killing of an estimated 5.5 to 6 million Jews and millions of other victims during the Holocaust. Members of all of its branches committed war crimes and crimes against humanity during World War II (1939–45). The SS was also involved in commercial enterprises and exploited concentration camp inmates as slave labor. After Nazi Germany's defeat, the SS and the NSDAP were judged by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg to be criminal organizations. Ernst Kaltenbrunner, the highest-ranking surviving SS main department chief, was found guilty of crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg trials and hanged in 1946. Please go here for more...