Archive for the 'politics' Category

17
Jun
17

Not Quite The Last Trump

The Australian prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has been recorded mimicking Donald Trump and joking about his poll numbers, his attacks on fake news and his alleged links to Russia.

Leaked video and audio of Turnbull’s off-the-record speech – which was also self-deprecating about his own poor opinion poll ratings – shows him impersonating the US president’s unique oratorical style.

In his speech to the Canberra press gallery’s Midwinter Ball, the Australian equivalent of the White House correspondents’ dinner, Turnbull says: “The Donald and I, we are winning and winning in the polls. We are winning so much, we are winning, we are winning like we have never won before. We are winning in the polls. We are, we are. Not the fake polls. Not the fake polls. They’re the ones we’re not winning in.

“We’re winning in the real polls.

“You know, the online polls. They are so easy to win. I know that. Did you know that? I kind of know that. They are so easy to win. I have this Russian guy.

“Believe me it’s true, it’s true.”

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jun/15/malcolm-turnbull-mimicks-donald-trump-in-humorous-speech-to-press-ball

15
Jun
17

A Flawed Historical Viewpoint.

The state of the western political world today:

 

  1. USA and Donald Trump (does any more need to be said?)
  2. Britain: Brexit, Theresa May and a hung Parliament.
  3. In Australia, partisan politics continues to cripple a government that often seems to have more policy disagreements within its own ranks than it has with the official opposition party.
  4. France: power to be in the hands of a new, untested, quickly cobbled together party based on the charisma of a young leader. Can such a party provide longstanding stable government?
  5. German elections in September… what surprises could that bring?

 

Some religious commentators are attributing the increasing instabilities in the “Western World” to a departure from our historical Judeo-Christian foundations; but I find their view of history is seriously flawed.

What kind of “Judeo-Christian” foundation was “Western democracy” ever built upon? Has there ever (REALLY) been an all-encompassing embracing of Jesus or His gospel?

 

Over over centuries there was a lot of religious superstition, theological rhetoric, and political USE of the Church as a tool of government.

And while there may have been individual pockets of society that at times have shown authentic devotion to God, has there ever been a GENUINE widespread, long-lasting commitment to Jesus and His Kingdom that could result in a claimed blessing of “the West” over past centuries – blessings that are now allegedly being forfeited?

 

If anything, it seems to me that during the period AFTER the claimed abandonment of Judeo-Christian ideals, the west experienced its most peaceful and prosperous period: that is post WWII.

Of course there were ongoing problems, but arguably, things had never previously been better for the average person in the west as the world got back to its feet after the death and destruction of the Second World War.

It’s mostly in the last decade or two (significantly post 9/11) that perceived threats have led to growing fear that blessings (our comforts, safety and wealth) will be forfeited due to a casting aside of Judeo-Christian” ideals. (Proffered evidence of this casting aside can date back a century or two. One case I’ve seen points way back to the French Revolution* as an example!).

Those fears of loss at the heart of the argument seem mostly founded on a fear of others – those “not of the west” . A fear that others coming into our nations will disrupt and compromise our “western values” – values that to a great part are not necessarily Kingdom values anyway.

 

Apart from the current issue of promoting a fear-based ideology, the fictionalising of history projects the cause of perceived problems onto society at large, putting the blame on “THEM” and THEIR (society’s) relationship to God; shifting the focus away from the personal and our own relationships with God and the unbelieving society we live among.

 

 

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example here

 

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08
Jun
17

Trump, Qatar, Russia and Possible Saudi Subterfuge.

I found the combination of the two articles below raises interesting questions.

In particular the suggestion in the first article that Russian hackers may have been paid by Saudi Arabia or the UAE to ignite the Qatar situation. (Saudi Arabia, birth place of Islam and source, financer and major propagator of Wahhabism,  the extreme form of Sunni Islam that led to ISIS, Al Qaeda and similar groups*).

And then Trump takes credit for the situation…

 

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Russian hackers to blame for sparking Qatar crisis, FBI inquiry finds.

An investigation by the FBI has concluded that Russian hackers were responsible for sending out fake messages from the Qatari government, sparking the Gulf’s biggest diplomatic crisis in decades.

It is believed that the Russian government was not involved in the hacks; instead, freelance hackers were paid to undertake the work on behalf of some other state or individual. Some observers have claimed privately that Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates may have commissioned the hackers.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/07/russian-hackers-qatar-crisis-fbi-inquiry-saudi-arabia-uae

Trump Takes Credit for Saudi Move Against Qatar, a U.S. Military Partner.

President Trump thrust himself into a bitter Persian Gulf dispute on Tuesday, taking credit for Saudi Arabia’s move to isolate its smaller neighbor, Qatar,

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/06/world/middleeast/trump-qatar-saudi-arabia.html?_r=0

 

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*

(Wahhabi mission, or Dawah Wahhabiyya, is to spread purified Islam through the world, both Muslim and non-Muslim. Tens of billions of dollars have been spent by the Saudi government and charities on mosques, schools, education materials, scholarships, throughout the world to promote Islam and the Wahhabi interpretation of it.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wahhabism )

 

(Wahhabism to ISIS: how Saudi Arabia exported the main source of global terrorism.

Although IS is certainly an Islamic movement, it is neither typical nor mired in the distant past, because its roots are in Wahhabism, a form of Islam practised in Saudi Arabia that developed only in the 18th century. http://www.newstatesman.com/world-affairs/2014/11/wahhabism-isis-how-saudi-arabia-exported-main-source-global-terrorism )

06
Jun
17

The Radicalisation Environment

During the ongoing coverage of the weekend’s terror attack in London, I saw the end of an interview with Australian Labor Party politician, and “global counter-terrorism expert” Anne Aly, who, in 2015, was the “only Australian invited to the White House to speak at a countering-violent-extremism summit”.

 

A phrase she used caught my attention when she spoke of the conditions that led young Muslim men to turn to the kind of violent extremism displayed in the London attack and other terror events before it.

 

She spoke of a “radicalisation environment”, and from the short part of the interview I saw, I realised that the term could also be used to describe a very common kind of experience – where a community of likeminded people create an “environment” that reinforces particular views and a particular way of thinking. Contrary views are excluded, creating an echo-chamber of ideas where their adopted views are never seriously challenged.

In the “old” days – (my younger days) the term brainwashing was often used to describe a similar process, and it was conducted by groups that were often recognised as “cults” – which were comparatively benign in practice (relative to the Islamists of today), presenting no violent security threat to the community at large despite the personal and family costs that often resulted.

 

While the above mentioned “radicalisation environment” (or brainwashing) can create, reinforce and validate violent actions (as per the Islamists), that basic type of environment isn’t completely different to the experience of anyone who takes faith in God seriously. It is easy to isolate ourselves within groups of people of similar beliefs where the validity of those beliefs is not seriously challenged

The most significant difference is the nature of the God in whom we place our faith. How we think about God and what we believe about God will affect the way we act in response to Him. Simply stated; obedience to a violent god will produce violent followers and obedience to a loving God will produce loving followers.

 

A similar kind of “radicalisation environment” can be found in political groups, and partisan bias becomes so entrenched that the faults in one’s own “wing” of politics can become invisible, as can good aspects of the other political “wing”. Those within that “environment” can easily find themselves going with the flow, turning a blind eye to things they wouldn’t normally accept because it is part of the environment they entered and settled within. By identifying as “conservative” because the “conservative” wing of politics has certain views of morality that we see as scripturally endorsed, we can also be prone to aligning ourselves with some ideological stand points that under scrutiny contradict other parts of scripture.

 

Not only are religious and political thought affected by the insularity of “radicalisation environments”, the influence extends to embrace wider cultural norms; where our own culture is seen as the best, and others are seen as lacking, or aberrant in some way. In the past this has been displayed on the “mission field” where westernised cultural standards, such as dress codes and fashion styles were pressed upon communities as part of the “gospel” being presented.

But religion, politics and culture are never experienced in isolation from each other; and the wrong mix has the potential to become toxic, with national, cultural and political identities blending with religious identity. So our particular nation and culture, or our political views, (in our minds) become more favourable to God than other countries, cultures and political viewpoints. Our group is seen as His group. Our standards are seen as His standards. Our ways are seen as His ways.

 

That can give unwarranted justification to any group’s actions that in reality may be far outside of God’s agenda, and even contrary to it.

05
Jun
17

More on President Trump.

Trump’s response to London terror:
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/04/trump-berates-london-mayor-sadiq-khan-terror-attacks
Trump tweeted:

“Do you notice we are not having a gun debate right now? That’s because they used knives and a truck!”

Dear Mr Trump – you may not like to recognise the fact – but you regularly lose more Americans per year in the USA through (non-terrorist) mass shootings than the total number of terrorist casualties across the whole of the western world during the last decade.

02
Jun
17

The Last Trump: More From the White Evangelical’s Chosen One.

A misguided ideal (making America great again) gives 80+% of American white evangelicals a misguided saviour (President Trump)

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Trump aligns the USA with Syria and Nicaragua.

Amid growing fears that the US will soon join Nicaragua and Syria on the small list of countries refusing to back the climate accord, signed in 2015, Beijing and Brussels have been preparing to announce their intention to accelerate joint efforts to reduce global carbon emissions.

The expected decision from Trump – who once described climate change as a Chinese hoax – has appalled leaders in the EU and China, but there is a resolve to maintain the momentum behind the Paris agreement. EU sources said there was no evidence that any other countries would follow Washington’s lead.

Finnish prime minister Juha Sipila reacted to the reports that Trump intended to withdraw from the Paris agreement by saying that climate change won’t be reversed “by closing your eyes” – and calling the expected withdrawal “a big setback”.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/may/31/china-eu-climate-lead-paris-agreement

Pittsburgh fires back at Trump: we stand with Paris, not you

Trump said ‘I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris’ – but city’s mayor retorts: ‘We stand with the world and will follow the agreement’

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jun/01/pittsburgh-fires-back-trump-paris-agreement

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Trump breaks protocol telling world leaders to call him on personal cellphone

US president urged Mexican, French and Canadian leaders to contact him directly, bypassing the traditional secure phone lines

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/may/31/trump-breaks-protocol-telling-world-leaders-to-call-him-on-personal-cellphone

And this differs from using a personal email account in what way?

02
Jun
17

as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone

I see this as a continuation of what I wrote in my earlier post a hate-speech whirlwind, particularly with regard to the bible reference quoted in it.

1 Cor 5: “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside.”

 

Consider the content of the talk in this video. Compare and contrast its message with common Christian attitudes and behaviours towards others.
Does it concern you (even before listening to it) that the talk is given by a Muslim woman?

 

The Muslim on the Airplane: Amal Kassir

 

After taking some time to make the above mentioned comparison and contrast, consider how often commonly expressed and displayed Christian attitudes live up to the content of this scripture excerpt:

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.




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