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Profile Information

Name: Don
Gender: Male
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Home country: USA
Current location: Greenfield, MA
Member since: Sat Sep 1, 2012, 03:28 PM
Number of posts: 44,338

About Me

Since 1995, a year after I was forced into a very early retirement due to Multiple Sclerosis, I have owned and operated a daily newsgathering service out of my home, for a clientele comprised of TV newscasters, Op-Ed columnists, book authors, a national wire-service and some online publications. I post many of the news articles I gather, here on DU. I also post news articles and Op-Eds written/reported/authored by my list of subscribers/clientele.

Journal Archives

Blame Evangelicals for the Decline in Christian Faith

Polls show that in a classic example of religion gone wrong, evangelicals and their slavish to devotion to right wingers are the chief cause of the decline of religious belief.

06.16.18 9:37 PM ET


A recent poll conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute placed white evangelical approval of President Trump at 75 percent, a level of adulation higher than when he was elected. Anyone who doesn’t see a moral conundrum in that figure can stop reading. But it speaks volumes about why Americans, especially young Americans, are in increasing numbers joining the “nones,” a category coined by pollsters to single out people who have no religious affiliation, who say that religion is not very important in their lives, and who, while they may believe in some sort of spiritual power, reject the idea of God described in the Bible.

Trends are unmistakable. According to polls conducted by the Pew Foundation, 23 percent of Generation X Americans (born between 1965-1980) claim no religious affiliation. That number rises to 34 percent of older millennials (born between 1981-1989), and to 36 percent of younger millennials (born between 1990 and 1996). Although the retreat from traditional forms of Christianity has long been apparent in western European countries, the pattern of a declining attachment to religion in the young is unprecedented in American history. Until the last decades of the 20th century, they fell in line with the denominational attachments of their parents.

What has happened? One opinion attributes the growing religious indifference of young people to scientific knowledge that has made a creator of natural phenomena irrelevant. God didn’t design the evolution of species or arrange for the big bang. Yet American universities sanctified Darwinian biology for many decades along with the demystifying explanatory powers of physics loosening the ties of young Americans to their traditional faiths. True, there is a correlation between higher education and religious skepticism. However, even after most colleges and universities had broken ties with the religious denominations that had founded them and ended compulsory chapel, pollsters in the post World War II years had no need for the category “none” in recording the religious beliefs of college students. Theologians, Reinhold Niebuhr and Paul Tillich among them, attracted large audiences on college campuses and wrote best sellers used in college courses.

What is new and epitomizes what’s gone wrong with American religion is the moral bankruptcy of the single largest group of American Protestants, white evangelicals. A moral pecking order seems to have been turned on its head. In August 2017, President Trump had to dissolve two of his business advisory councils, composed of people not normally regarded as obsessed with ethical reflection, because of a massive defection of CEO’s. They emerged as moral giants compared to the members of his Council of Evangelical Advisors who remained steadfast in their loyalty to the president.

It was already hard enough to keep a straight face when James Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, claimed on the eve of the 2016 election that Trump was “tender to things of the spirit.” Dobson’s endorsement dismissed the candidate’s taped remarks demeaning women as past history. Trump was a changed man, and his sins washed away.


Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas): 'Unacceptable' to use kids as a deterrent policy


Rudy Giuliani differs with Donald Trump on IG report: 'I don't think it exonerates him'

Source: ABC News

Jun 16, 2018, 11:41 PM ET

President Donald Trump declared on Thursday that the inspector general's report into Hillary Clinton's email investigation "totally exonerates" him in the Russia investigation, but his lawyer Rudy Giuliani doesn't agree.

"Well I don't think it exonerates him," Giuliani told ABC News in a phone interview Saturday.

"In some respects, it dramatically supports his position ... that the people who conducted the Hillary probe who were extreme partisan for Hillary and against Trump."

Giuliani has called for the suspension of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, until the inspector general completes a report on his investigation.

Read more: https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/rudy-giuliani-differs-donald-trump-ig-report-exonerates/story?id=55951745

Trump knocks Schumer, touts North Korea summit in early morning tweet

Source: The Hill

BY BRETT SAMUELS - 06/17/18 08:24 AM EDT

President Trump on Sunday hit back at criticism from Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who has argued Trump received little in return from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in exchange for significant concessions.


The president was referring to remarks Schumer gave on the Senate floor last week after Trump's summit with Kim in Singapore.

"The summit was much more show than substance — what the Texans call 'all cattle, no hat,' " Schumer said, mixing up the common expression.

Trump has spent the days since his summit with Kim repeatedly heaping praise on the North Korean strongman and touting the results of their meeting.

Read more: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/392657-trump-knocks-schumer-touts-north-korea-summit-in-early-morning-tweet

North Korea sought out Jared Kushner to set up secret back channel communications with WH: report

Source: RawStory

North Korea sought out Jared Kushner to set up secret back channel communications with White House: report

17 JUN 2018 AT 08:22 ET

An American financier approached President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and attempted to help set up a secret back channel link between North Korea and the White House last year, the New York Times is reporting.

According to the report, businessman Gabriel Schulze contacted the Trump administration last summer, claiming that a senior North Korean official wanted to speak with Trump senior adviser Kushner about setting up a meeting between the president and North Korea President Kim Jong-un.

The report states that Kushner may have avoided then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and sought out then-CIA director Mike Pompeo — who is now the Secretary of State.

Asked about the report, the White House refused to comment about the connection between Schulze and Kushner who is under scrutiny over his business dealings.


Read more: https://www.rawstory.com/2018/06/north-korea-sought-jared-kushner-set-secret-back-channel-communications-white-house-report/

You can read the whole report here.

More Evidence of the Critical Failure of the IG Report - By Josh Marshall

June 16, 2018 3:52 pm

Yesterday I posted this lengthy post about a critical shortcoming in the 2016 election IG Report. Despite specifically being to requested to address the issue, Inspector General Horowitz basically ignored lots of evidence about bias against Secretary Clinton. Indeed, he didn’t so much ignore evidence as ignore the question itself, specifically about anti-Clinton sentiment in the FBI’s New York field office and specifically whether the fear of leaks out of that office was the driver of the October 28th Comey letter which clearly damaged Clinton significantly in the final days of the campaign. It turns out that I simply missed some of the clearest evidence for that anti-Clinton bias in the report itself.

Before looking at that, let’s address another point. The IG Report is in a sense of a masterpiece bureaucratic document. If the effort were to hide evidence of bias out of the New York field office it does a poor job. It simply draws no inferences from that evidence. So, for instance, much of the report is framed around examining whether pretty good evidence of hostility toward candidate Trump (though by no means only Trump) affected the actions of lead agent Peter Strzok. But whether the abundant evidence of bias and actions by those hostile to candidate Clinton had an effect is just passed over.

I have not read the entire 500+ page document. My comments were based on reading significant portions of it and reading reporting about the portions I had not read myself. It turns out that meant I missed even more striking evidence of what I was talking about in last night’s post. (Let me credit the sleuthing by the lawyer who goes by “NYCSouthpaw” on Twitter for alerting me to this.) This comes from the Inspector General’s interview with former AG Loretta Lynch. She is discussing a meeting with James Comey on October 31st, 2016, three days after Comey had sent his letter to Capitol Hill.

Comey’s description of this meeting focused on Lynch bucking him up, saying that the information would have leaked anyway and that that would have been worse. Her description is much more extensive and focuses on Comey’s own views of the New York field office (emphasis added) …

Now, I knew that the laptop had been handled in a case out of New York. And so I said, you know, we have to talk about the New York office…and the concern that both you and I have expressed about leaks in the past. And I said, do you think that this was the right way to deal with the issue, the concern about leaks?… He didn’t have much of a response. But we were having a conversation…. And I said, you know, I’ve talked, you and I have talked about that before…. [McCabe] and I have talked about them before….


NYT: Clashes Within Trump Admin Ensue As Border Separation Policy Draws Ire

By Summer Concepcion | June 16, 2018 4:15 pm

The Trump administration is privately having “considerable unease” amid mounting public furor over their policy of separating migrant parents from children at the U.S.-Mexico border, according to a New York Times report Saturday.

Despite his tough rhetoric on immigration, NYT reports that President Donald Trump himself has “professed objections” to his own administration’s policy that he’s proceeded to falsely blame Democrats for.


Due to Trump’s misgivings, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has “clashed privately” with Trump over the policy, causing “furious lectures” from the President that have “pushed her to the brink of resignation.”

Additionally, Trump senior policy adviser Stephen Miller hasn’t backed down from the administration’s controversial “zero tolerance” policy.

“No nation can have the policy that whole classes of people are immune from immigration law or enforcement,” Miller told NYT during an interview in his West Wing office this week. “It was a simple decision by the administration to have a zero tolerance policy for illegal entry, period. The message is that no one is exempt from immigration law.”


Congress may snub Trump on wall, risking shutdown

Senate Republicans privately acknowledge that they’re unlikely to pass a funding bill that will satisfy the president.


The first clues over whether President Donald Trump will risk a shutdown fight this fall over his border wall will come Monday in a private meeting with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito.

Trump is increasingly frustrated with Congress’ failure to fund the wall — his No. 1 campaign promise — and has threatened a shutdown in September if he doesn’t get his way. But the West Virginia Republican, who chairs the Homeland Security spending panel, may have some tough news to deliver.

Though Trump wants as much wall money he can squeeze out of Congress, Capito needs to get 60 votes in the Senate, and there’s no way Democrats will go along with a major budget boost. She‘s also got to cut a deal with Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), the ranking member of the panel whom Trump loathes for helping to derail Ronny Jackson’s nomination to be secretary of veterans affairs.

“We want to have a bipartisan bill. I’m very committed to border wall funding in the request of the president. I want to be supportive of that,” Capito said in an interview. “Both sides, I think, are committed to working the process. And that means compromise.”


Manafort checks into VIP section at Virginia jail where Chris Brown, Michael Vick also did time

By Tom Jackman
June 16 at 6:42 PM

The Northern Neck Regional Jail, where Paul Manafort will spend at least the next three months while awaiting trial, has the outward appearance of being a small local jail holding street thugs and assorted misdemeanants.

But it also houses federal prisoners awaiting trial — including a member of the Taliban and a feared Colombian drug lord. It held NFL star Michael Vick and musician Chris Brown, too.

The jail is notable for another reason — four inmates have died there since 2011. In one of those deaths, a 32-year-old female inmate who suffered a stroke in 2016 was denied medical care for more than 10 hours and was declared brain dead later that night. The woman’s family sued six jail officials for wrongful death, also alleging that the jail tried to cover up its actions. In November, the defendants paid the woman’s two juvenile daughters a $375,000 settlement, court records show.

Manafort, 69, has been indicted on charges in what prosecutors say was a broad conspiracy to launder more than $30 million over a decade of undisclosed lobbying for a pro-Russian former politician and party in Ukraine.


Most Americans say it's too early to judge Singapore summit's success; poll shows big partisan diffs

Source: The Washington Post

Most Americans say it’s too early to judge Singapore summit’s success; poll shows big partisan differences

By Dan Balz
Chief correspondent
June 17 at 12:01 AM

In the aftermath of his meeting with Kim Jong Un, President Trump declared that North Korea is no longer a nuclear threat. Americans have a more measured view, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll. But their impressions of what happened in Singapore are nonetheless more positive than pre-summit attitudes earlier in the spring.


Americans aren’t ready to agree, according to the Post-ABC poll. A majority of 55 percent says it is too early to tell whether the summit was a success for the United States and an almost identical majority (56 percent) says it was too early to tell whether it was a success for North Korea.

About 1 in 5 (21 percent) say it was a success for the United States, and nearly 3 in 10 (29 percent) say it was a success for North Korea. And 16 percent say it was not a success for the United States, and a mere 5 percent say it wasn’t a success for the North Koreans. The net positive margin on what the summit means for North Korea extends across partisan lines.

The Post-ABC poll was conducted Wednesday through Friday among a random national sample of 495 adults reached on landlines and cellphones. Overall results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 5.5 percentage points.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/most-americans-say-its-too-early-to-judge-singapore-summits-success-poll-shows-big-partisan-differences/2018/06/16/d55476b0-71a3-11e8-bd50-b80389a4e569_story.html

[Read full poll results]
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