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Thread: US Politics Thread, 2.0

  1. #19661
    Keckers's Avatar
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    Capitalism is the private ownership of the means of production. It doesn't need free markets, it doesn't need fairness, it doesn't need equal opportunity. All it needs is the ability for private entities to accumulate capital within a broadly agreed market framework to set prices. The fairy tale of the free market is a rhetorical device used by Adam Smith in the Wealth of Nations to justify the requirement of impartial government regulation of markets.

    Your description of corpooligarchy is capitalism by any meaningful observation. Political influence is part of the very essence of capital accumulation, otherwise where does it obtain its value except during the process of exchange?

    What you want is democratic oversight of high finance to prevent the corpo-oligarchy, that excludes the primacy of the private interests who have already accumulated capital.
    Look, the wages you withheld from the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of Hosts. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves for slaughter.

  2. #19662
    August's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hel OWeen View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by August View Post
    Not giving birth does hurt the community as declining birth rates will fuck the economy hard. In this interconnected world, every single thing you do has an effect on the community. RIP.
    Only in a capitalist world.

    1) In this day and age of climate change anyone still deciding to have kids must really hate them. They will suffer a very miserable life. And the resource wars haven't even begun.
    2) The world is better of with especially fewer of us resource-consuming westerners.

    Alas, the westerners have the best chance of developing technology to survive global warming so having them collapse probably wouldn’t be good for humanity overall.

  3. #19663
    Movember '12 Best Facial Hair Movember 2012Donor Lallante's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keckers View Post
    Capitalism is the private ownership of the means of production. It doesn't need free markets, it doesn't need fairness, it doesn't need equal opportunity. All it needs is the ability for private entities to accumulate capital within a broadly agreed market framework to set prices. The fairy tale of the free market is a rhetorical device used by Adam Smith in the Wealth of Nations to justify the requirement of impartial government regulation of markets.

    Your description of corpooligarchy is capitalism by any meaningful observation. Political influence is part of the very essence of capital accumulation, otherwise where does it obtain its value except during the process of exchange?

    What you want is democratic oversight of high finance to prevent the corpo-oligarchy, that excludes the primacy of the private interests who have already accumulated capital.
    "If I get to define our current economic system, I'll define it reductivistly, and then look, its bad! Told you so!"

  4. #19664
    Keckers's Avatar
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    Whereas you'll define it reductively and then look, it's good! Told you so!

    I'd love for you to be right, but the environment is fucked and the system cannot be reformed. I couldn't in good conscience raise a child with >2 degrees warming on the horizon.

    Last edited by Keckers; May 12 2022 at 04:20:22 PM.
    Look, the wages you withheld from the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of Hosts. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves for slaughter.

  5. #19665

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hel OWeen View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by August View Post
    Not giving birth does hurt the community as declining birth rates will fuck the economy hard. In this interconnected world, every single thing you do has an effect on the community. RIP.
    Only in a capitalist world.

    1) In this day and age of climate change anyone still deciding to have kids must really hate them. They will suffer a very miserable life. And the resource wars haven't even begun.
    2) The world is better of with especially fewer of us resource-consuming westerners.
    Resource wars have already started. See famine and warlords in Africa, see China's foreign policy. As to point 2 i'm in the camp of the neo-malthusians (Thomas Homer Dixon) every life lost could have been a new 'Einstein'. And no i am not against abortion as i don't drive the argument to extremes.

    What we need to do is get over the huge demographic bump we are currently in, the future human growth is actually declining. The next 60-80 years are crucial with risk of environmental system collapse. Bar a global nuclear war the planet will be fine but humanity has a clear immediate risk of going extinct or with luck to below 1 billion or far less with just pockets of humanity like it was 15000 bce.

    Here is a swede to explain:



    If you dont want to watch 57 minutes google shorter versions of Hans Rosling.

    e:
    Before the rabble rabble starts the subject was birth rate and total amount of humans.
    Last edited by Sacul; May 12 2022 at 04:58:01 PM.
    Schopenhauer:

    All truth passes through three stages.
    First, it is ridiculed.
    Second, it is violently opposed.
    Third, it is accepted as being self-evident..

  6. #19666
    Alistair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keckers View Post
    Whereas you'll define it reductively and then look, it's good! Told you so!

    I'd love for you to be right, but the environment is fucked and the system cannot be reformed. I couldn't in good conscience raise a child with >2 degrees warming on the horizon.

    Sounds like we're fucked.

    And that there is absolutely nothing an individual can do to stop it at this point. Past the tipping point by quite a bit, right. Governments and Billionaires the opposition.

    When that's the case, you know what many/most/some people will do?

    Stop caring (if they ever cared to start with), and only worry about themselves in the here and now.

    Shame, guess we really are in fact fucked. Maybe it's a good idea not to have kids. I didn't either. But no worries, plenty of other folks will fill the gap.
    Last edited by Alistair; May 12 2022 at 05:27:06 PM.


  7. #19667
    Movember 2011Movember 2012 Nordstern's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keckers View Post
    I couldn't in good conscience raise a child with >2 degrees warming on the horizon.
    No worries. There are plenty of people in bad conscience willing to raise multiple children with >4 degrees warming on the horizon.
    "Holy shit, I ask you to stop being autistic and you debate what autistic is." - spasm
    Quote Originally Posted by Larkonis Trassler View Post
    WTF I hate white people now...
    Johns Hopkins CSSE COVID-19 Dashboard (updated link)

  8. #19668
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  9. #19669
    Lachesis VII's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sacul View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Hel OWeen View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by August View Post
    Not giving birth does hurt the community as declining birth rates will fuck the economy hard. In this interconnected world, every single thing you do has an effect on the community. RIP.
    Only in a capitalist world.

    1) In this day and age of climate change anyone still deciding to have kids must really hate them. They will suffer a very miserable life. And the resource wars haven't even begun.
    2) The world is better of with especially fewer of us resource-consuming westerners.
    Resource wars have already started. See famine and warlords in Africa, see China's foreign policy. As to point 2 i'm in the camp of the neo-malthusians (Thomas Homer Dixon) every life lost could have been a new 'Einstein'. And no i am not against abortion as i don't drive the argument to extremes.

    What we need to do is get over the huge demographic bump we are currently in, the future human growth is actually declining. The next 60-80 years are crucial with risk of environmental system collapse. Bar a global nuclear war the planet will be fine but humanity has a clear immediate risk of going extinct or with luck to below 1 billion or far less with just pockets of humanity like it was 15000 bce.

    Here is a swede to explain:



    If you dont want to watch 57 minutes google shorter versions of Hans Rosling.

    e:
    Before the rabble rabble starts the subject was birth rate and total amount of humans.

    So she'd gone out to the chair and sat in it with Wilf in the Wheelie Boy, and he'd started to explain what he called the jackpot.

    And first of all that it was no one thing. That it was multicausal, with no particular beginning and no end. More a climate than an event, so not the way apocalypse stories liked to have a big event, after which everybody ran around with guns, looking like Burton and his posse, or else were eaten alive by something caused by the big event. Not like that.

    It was androgenic, he said, and she knew from Ciencia Loca and National Geographic that that meant because of people. Not that they'd known what they were doing, had meant to make problems, but they'd caused it anyway. And in fact the actual climate, the weather, caused by there being too much carbon, had been the driver for a lot of other things. How that got worse and never better, and was just expected to, ongoing,. Because people in the past, clueless as to how that worked, had fucked it all up, then not been able to get it together to do anything about it, even after they knew, and now it was too late.

    So now, in her day, he said, they were headed into androgenic, systemic, multiplex, seriously bad shit, like she sort of already knew, figured everybody did, except for people who still said it wasn't happening, and those people were mostly expecting the Second Coming anyway. She'd looked across the silver lawn, that Leon had cut with a push-mower whose cast-iron frame was held together with actual bailing wire, to where moon shadows lay, past stunted boxwoods and the stump of a concrete birdbath they'd pretended was a dragon's castle, while Wilf told her it killed 80 percent of every last person alive, over about forty years.

    And hearing that, she wondered if it could mean anything, really, when somebody told you something like that. When it was his past and your future.

    What had they done, she'd asked him, her first question since he'd started, with all the bodies?

    The usual things, he'd said, because it was never all at once. . . .

    It hurt him to talk about it, she felt, but she guessed he didn't know how much, or how. She could tell he didn't unpack this, much, or maybe ever. He said that people like Ash made their whole lives about it. Dressed in black and marked themselves, but for them it was more about other species, the other great dying, than the 80 percent.

    No comets crashing, nothing you could really call a nuclear war. Just everything else, tangled in the changing climate: droughts, water shortages, crop failures, honeybees gone like they almost were now, collapse of other keystone species, every last alpha predator gone, antibiotics doing less than they already did, diseases that were never quite the one big pandemic but big enough to be historical events in themselves. And all of it around people: how people were, ho many of them there were, how they'd changed things just by being there.

    The shadows on the lawn were black holes, bottomless, or like velvet had been spread, perfectly flat. . . .

    None of that, he said, had necessarily been as bad for the very rich people. The richest had gotten richer, there being fewer to own whatever there was. Constant crisis had provided constant opportunity. That was where his world had come from, he said. At the deepest point of everything going to shit, population radically reduced, the survivors saw less carbon being dumped into the system, with what was still being produced being eaten by these towers they'd built. . . . And seeing that, for them, the survivors, was like seeing the bullet dodged.

    "The bullet was the eighty percent, who died?"

    And he just nodded, on the Wheelie's screen, and went on, about how London, long since the natural home of everyone who owned the world but didn't live in China, rose first, never entirely having fallen.
    Gibson, The Peripheral, 319–22.
    Last edited by Lachesis VII; May 12 2022 at 09:39:48 PM.

  10. #19670
    Lief Siddhe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by August View Post
    Screening tests on babies to determine fitness for society. Gattaca was too early.
    Here in Croatia these past few days is a big hubbub regarding a pregnant woman in late pregnancy whose child has brain tumors and would have a very nasty short life if born. She wants to abort, lotsa doctors here refuse to do it, sparking a "right to abort" protests and lotsa discussion on the nuances of the whole issue, so yeah.

  11. #19671

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lief Siddhe View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by August View Post
    Screening tests on babies to determine fitness for society. Gattaca was too early.
    Here in Croatia these past few days is a big hubbub regarding a pregnant woman in late pregnancy whose child has brain tumors and would have a very nasty short life if born. She wants to abort, lotsa doctors here refuse to do it, sparking a "right to abort" protests and lotsa discussion on the nuances of the whole issue, so yeah.
    2022 medicine, 1810 mindset i guess.
    Schopenhauer:

    All truth passes through three stages.
    First, it is ridiculed.
    Second, it is violently opposed.
    Third, it is accepted as being self-evident..

  12. #19672
    Movember 2011Movember 2012 Nordstern's Avatar
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    I wasn't sure whether this article belonged here or one of the Russia threads. Since it talks mainly about Americans, I'll put it here.

    https://www.npr.org/2022/05/10/10967...rican-converts

    When Sarah Riccardi-Swartz moved from New York City to a small Appalachian town in West Virginia in the fall of 2017, she was searching for an answer to a puzzling question. Why had a group of conservative American Christians converted to Russian Orthodoxy?

    "It's typically an immigrant faith, so I was really interested in that experience and why it spoke to converts," said Riccardi-Swartz, a postdoctoral fellow in the Recovering Truth project at Arizona State University.

    Riccardi-Swartz's study focused on a community of mostly former evangelical Christians and Catholics who had joined the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR). The West Virginia location, in addition to having a church parish, was also home to the largest English-speaking Russian Orthodox monastery in the world.

    Over a year of doing research, Riccardi-Swartz learned that many of these converts had grown disillusioned with social and demographic change in the United States. In ROCOR, they felt they had found a church that has remained the same, regardless of place, time and politics. But Riccardi-Swartz also found strong strains of nativism, white nationalism and pro-authoritarianism, evidenced by strong admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
    Putin as "king-like figure"

    "For many of them, Putin becomes this sort of king-like figure in their narratives," she said. "They see themselves as oppressed by democracy because democracy is really diversity. And they look to Putin because democracy isn't really, as we see right now, an option [in Russia]."

    She recently published a book based on her research that's titled Between Heaven and Russia: Religious Conversion and Political Apostasy in Appalachia.

    The case study that Riccardi-Swartz provides adds detail and color to a trend that a handful of historians and journalists have documented for nearly a decade. In publications mostly targeted toward an Orthodox Christian audience, they have raised the alarm about a growing nativist element within the church. Despite Orthodoxy's relatively small imprint in the U.S., they warn that, unchecked, these adherents could fundamentally alter the faith tradition in the United States. They also warn that these individuals are evangelizing hate in the name of Orthodoxy in ways that could attract more who share those views.

    "It's an immigrant faith. It's now being sort of colonized by these converts in many respects," said Riccardi-Swartz. "They're vocal in their parishes. They're vocal online. They're very digitally savvy and very connected to other far-right actors in the United States and across the globe. And that's really changing the faith."
    Orthodoxy's changing footprint in America

    Despite centuries of presence in North America, starting in what we now know as Alaska, the Orthodox church in the U.S. is still relatively small. Alexei Krindatch, a sociologist of religion who focuses on Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches in the U.S., estimates that active adherents make up about 0.4% of the population. Within that, nearly two dozen branches are divided between what's known as Eastern Orthodoxy and Oriental Orthodoxy. They include Greek, Coptic, Ethiopian, Armenian and more.

    Eastern Orthodox churches, which include ROCOR, flourished in the U.S. starting at the turn of the 20th century, when migrants flocked to major industrial hubs like New York, Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland for jobs. Over time, these churches concentrated in the Northeast and West Coast. But more recently, the size and location of Eastern Orthodox churches in the U.S. has changed. According to Krindatch, who conducts censuses of Orthodoxy in the U.S., parishes declined in size between 2010 and 2020.

    "This is in line with American mainline religion, [where] everyone is shrinking in size except nondenominational churches," Krindatch said. But ROCOR, which Krindatch estimated in 2020 to have roughly 24,000 adherents, experienced a striking shift. While the number of ROCOR adherents declined by 14%, Krindatch found that the number of parishes grew by 15%.

    "So what it means [is], we have more parishes, but which are smaller in size. And if you look at the geography, those parishes were planted not in traditional lands of Orthodoxy," said Krindatch. The growth occurred in less populated areas of the Upper Midwest and Southern states, places with fewer direct links to Russia.

    "So for me, those are a bunch of new ROCOR communities which are founded by convert clergy or by convert members," Krindatch said.

    Aram Sarkisian, a postdoctoral teaching fellow at Northwestern University's Department of History, said this new growth from converts has helped some branches of Orthodoxy offset a decline in multigenerational families in the church. Sarkisian said these converts often find their way to Orthodoxy because they seek a haven for what they consider to be the most important cultural issues of the day.

    "They're drawn to what they believe to be conservative views on things like LGBTQ rights, gender equality. Abortion is a really big issue for these folks, the culture wars issues, really," Sarkisian said. "And so they leave other faith traditions that they don't believe to be as stringent about those issues anymore."

    Sarkisian said he began to see white nationalist and nativist views surface within Orthodox spaces online just around the time that these shifts began taking place.

    "I first started noticing this around 2010, 2011 on Orthodox blogs, where I started to see language and rhetoric that was subtly racist and was subtly engaging in what we would now know as the alt-right," Sarkisian said. "They bring it with them into the church because they see Orthodoxy as amenable to these goals, to these viewpoints."
    Orthodoxy and the Unite the Right rally

    Perhaps the most well known among Orthodox converts who worked within alt-right circles was Matthew Heimbach. He had established the Traditionalist Worker Party, which helped organize a deadly gathering of neo-Nazis and white nationalists at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017. But years before that, Heimbach's activities had already created waves within some Orthodox circles.

    In 2014, he was excommunicated from the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America shortly after he had been accepted into it. During his brief time there, Heimbach's activities with other Orthodox converts on a college campus in Indiana drew scrutiny. In explaining the decision to cut Heimbach off from the church, the priest who had brought him into the church explained, "I did not understand at that time that he held nationalistic, segregationist views." Heimbach went on to join another branch of Orthodoxy.

    "And then after that all happened, basically, the bishops said, 'OK, it's all done. There is nothing to talk about anymore and nothing here to see,' " said Inga Leonova, the founder and editor of The Wheel, a journal on Orthodoxy and culture.

    Leonova, a member of the Orthodox Church in America, said she began following the trend of extremists joining Orthodoxy when she became aware of Heimbach's campus activities. When she writes about the topic, she said she receives threats from within the Orthodox community. Still, she has felt that silence on the issue has caused greater harm. In the wake of the Unite the Right rally, she said that bishops across Orthodox jurisdictions ignored calls to condemn the event and the rise of extremist ideologies in the church.

    "I think that there must be a presence of a certain amount of aloofness and the lack of desire to engage with these topics because there is an Orthodox story that Orthodoxy and politics don't mix," she said.

    But Leonova said this is fiction. An Orthodox Church in America priest from Ohio was briefly suspended after he was seen in a video wearing his cassock on Capitol grounds on Jan. 6, 2021, after he attended the Stop the Steal rally in Washington, D.C. And Leonova said other clergy members, themselves American converts to the faith, have signaled their political viewpoints on their social media pages and personal blogs.

    "There is a significant number of clergy whose social media profiles sport Confederate flags and support of the Southern cause," she said.
    ROCOR's media-makers

    Those who have followed the influx of extremists into American Orthodoxy agree that those individuals are fringe within the church and are mostly concentrated in newly founded ROCOR parishes. But they also warn that it would be foolish to ignore them. Of particular concern are the ways in which these individuals are networking with outside extremist groups and broadcasting their ideologies in the name of Orthodoxy.

    "I do actually think it's growing," said George Demacopoulos, a professor and the director of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center at Fordham University. "I don't think these people are necessarily changing the minds of people already in the church, but I do think they are bringing others culturally or politically like them into the church."

    In a viral social media clip pulled from a far-right internet talk show on the eve of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, former Republican U.S. Senate candidate Lauren Witzke of Delaware praised Russia as a "Christian nationalist nation." Witzke is studying to convert to ROCOR.

    "I identify more with Russian — with Putin's Christian values — than I do with Joe Biden," Witzke said in the video. She declined to speak with NPR for this story.

    Sarkisian said Witzke's view typifies those of far-right converts to ROCOR, who have been receptive to Kremlin propaganda portraying Putin as a pious defender of Orthodoxy and traditional values. He said Putin also represents to them an appealing style of authoritarian leadership that challenges pluralism and liberal democracy in the United States.

    "They are anti-democratic by nature," Sarkisian said. "They are a part of these larger networks on the American far right, like Nicholas Fuentes and his America Firsters. They connect into these nodes that are challenging the very fabric of American democracy."

    Witzke, a MAGA supporter who ran on an anti-immigration platform in 2020, has appeared on Orthodox podcasts, where she has identified herself as aligned with the white nationalist America First movement. She also, at one time, seemed to support QAnon conspiracy theories but has since renounced QAnon. The media ecosystem she has participated in, a network of American converts to ROCOR who produce podcasts and live video chats online, presents a highly politicized interpretation of Orthodoxy to the world and one that many believe offers a distorted view of the church.

    "This is how people are finding Orthodoxy now. They're finding Orthodoxy through these YouTube shows. They're finding it through these podcasts. They're finding it through these blogs," said Sarkisian. "They're being radicalized by these folks on the internet, and that's really dangerous."

    The channels revolve around themes of antisemitism, contempt for women's and LGBTQ rights, xenophobia and support of white nationalists, including some who've been convicted of violent hate crimes. At times, clergy within ROCOR and other Orthodox branches have joined these online discussions, which may lend the appearance of sanctioning those views.

    Some longtime ROCOR faithful have found these views bewildering, given the church's history. Lena Zezulin, whose parents were among the founding members of a parish in Long Island, N.Y., said that the community was always inclusive of non-Christian Russian immigrants living among it and proud of its immigrant roots.

    "We had Muslims in the community," she recalled. "My summer camp had Buddhists in the community. So those people were kind of lovingly absorbed into the group because they all came over [to the U.S.] together."

    She said that the congregation and clergy also welcomed her African American husband when they married roughly 40 years ago. But over time, their children started to encounter racism in the church. Zezulin said it tracked with the church's expansion to new regions of the U.S., where it was drawing new conservative converts. Zezulin said she believes tolerance for these views may explain why extremists with xenophobic and nativist views have been joining.

    "It's outrageous, given that we came here as refugees and were accepted," she said. "I think it's racism based."

    Russia's war in Ukraine

    In general, those who have raised concern about racism and extremists' participation within the church say the issue has largely been left to parish priests to address — or not to address. NPR reached out to Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary near Jordanville, N.Y., ROCOR's theological training institution, for comment on a number of questions, including how clergy are advised to handle the airing of antisemitic or nativist views by parishioners. Representatives declined to answer questions.

    Most recently, Russia's war in Ukraine has prompted painful reflection among some faithful. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, gave religious cover to the war. He claimed that the invasion of Ukraine is necessary to protect Orthodox Ukrainians from Western influence — namely, gay pride parades. Zezulin left her longtime ROCOR community and has started attending an Orthodox Church in America parish because her priest would not condemn the invasion.

    "You know, somebody just said we should stand and pray for both sides. Well, were the Brits supposed to pray for Hitler and Churchill at the same time?" she said.

    If anything, said Sarkisian, the war has exposed just how Putin has used the Russian Orthodox Church to further his country's influence.

    "It is definitely an arm of soft diplomacy, and ROCOR is a really important part of that," Sarkisian said. "Putin is really interested in the church for its purposes for amplifying a particular aspect of Russian history politically, religiously, culturally."
    tl;dr: People think Putin is the last hope for the white race.
    "Holy shit, I ask you to stop being autistic and you debate what autistic is." - spasm
    Quote Originally Posted by Larkonis Trassler View Post
    WTF I hate white people now...
    Johns Hopkins CSSE COVID-19 Dashboard (updated link)

  13. #19673
    Movember 2011Movember 2012 Nordstern's Avatar
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    We turn to Sally at the Newspaper Editorial Boards Are Mental desk:

    "Holy shit, I ask you to stop being autistic and you debate what autistic is." - spasm
    Quote Originally Posted by Larkonis Trassler View Post
    WTF I hate white people now...
    Johns Hopkins CSSE COVID-19 Dashboard (updated link)

  14. #19674
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    Atlantic, article from guess who Margaret Atwood
    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/ar...atwood/629833/

    And i remembered these ones, calling it at least a "cold civil war"
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/...cold-civil-war
    and an older one from Carl Bernstein
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/...mation-america


    Again this isn't going to end well and it will be worse/accelerated with Trump or a "trumpish" GOP president
    Does a population have informed consent when that population is not taught the inner workings of its monetary system, and then is drawn, all unknowing, into economic adventures?

  15. #19675
    Lachesis VII's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nordstern View Post
    I wasn't sure whether this article belonged here or one of the Russia threads. Since it talks mainly about Americans, I'll put it here.

    https://www.npr.org/2022/05/10/10967...rican-converts

    When Sarah Riccardi-Swartz moved from New York City to a small Appalachian town in West Virginia in the fall of 2017, she was searching for an answer to a puzzling question. Why had a group of conservative American Christians converted to Russian Orthodoxy?

    "It's typically an immigrant faith, so I was really interested in that experience and why it spoke to converts," said Riccardi-Swartz, a postdoctoral fellow in the Recovering Truth project at Arizona State University.

    Riccardi-Swartz's study focused on a community of mostly former evangelical Christians and Catholics who had joined the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR). The West Virginia location, in addition to having a church parish, was also home to the largest English-speaking Russian Orthodox monastery in the world.

    Over a year of doing research, Riccardi-Swartz learned that many of these converts had grown disillusioned with social and demographic change in the United States. In ROCOR, they felt they had found a church that has remained the same, regardless of place, time and politics. But Riccardi-Swartz also found strong strains of nativism, white nationalism and pro-authoritarianism, evidenced by strong admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
    Putin as "king-like figure"

    "For many of them, Putin becomes this sort of king-like figure in their narratives," she said. "They see themselves as oppressed by democracy because democracy is really diversity. And they look to Putin because democracy isn't really, as we see right now, an option [in Russia]."

    She recently published a book based on her research that's titled Between Heaven and Russia: Religious Conversion and Political Apostasy in Appalachia.

    The case study that Riccardi-Swartz provides adds detail and color to a trend that a handful of historians and journalists have documented for nearly a decade. In publications mostly targeted toward an Orthodox Christian audience, they have raised the alarm about a growing nativist element within the church. Despite Orthodoxy's relatively small imprint in the U.S., they warn that, unchecked, these adherents could fundamentally alter the faith tradition in the United States. They also warn that these individuals are evangelizing hate in the name of Orthodoxy in ways that could attract more who share those views.

    "It's an immigrant faith. It's now being sort of colonized by these converts in many respects," said Riccardi-Swartz. "They're vocal in their parishes. They're vocal online. They're very digitally savvy and very connected to other far-right actors in the United States and across the globe. And that's really changing the faith."
    Orthodoxy's changing footprint in America

    Despite centuries of presence in North America, starting in what we now know as Alaska, the Orthodox church in the U.S. is still relatively small. Alexei Krindatch, a sociologist of religion who focuses on Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches in the U.S., estimates that active adherents make up about 0.4% of the population. Within that, nearly two dozen branches are divided between what's known as Eastern Orthodoxy and Oriental Orthodoxy. They include Greek, Coptic, Ethiopian, Armenian and more.

    Eastern Orthodox churches, which include ROCOR, flourished in the U.S. starting at the turn of the 20th century, when migrants flocked to major industrial hubs like New York, Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland for jobs. Over time, these churches concentrated in the Northeast and West Coast. But more recently, the size and location of Eastern Orthodox churches in the U.S. has changed. According to Krindatch, who conducts censuses of Orthodoxy in the U.S., parishes declined in size between 2010 and 2020.

    "This is in line with American mainline religion, [where] everyone is shrinking in size except nondenominational churches," Krindatch said. But ROCOR, which Krindatch estimated in 2020 to have roughly 24,000 adherents, experienced a striking shift. While the number of ROCOR adherents declined by 14%, Krindatch found that the number of parishes grew by 15%.

    "So what it means [is], we have more parishes, but which are smaller in size. And if you look at the geography, those parishes were planted not in traditional lands of Orthodoxy," said Krindatch. The growth occurred in less populated areas of the Upper Midwest and Southern states, places with fewer direct links to Russia.

    "So for me, those are a bunch of new ROCOR communities which are founded by convert clergy or by convert members," Krindatch said.

    Aram Sarkisian, a postdoctoral teaching fellow at Northwestern University's Department of History, said this new growth from converts has helped some branches of Orthodoxy offset a decline in multigenerational families in the church. Sarkisian said these converts often find their way to Orthodoxy because they seek a haven for what they consider to be the most important cultural issues of the day.

    "They're drawn to what they believe to be conservative views on things like LGBTQ rights, gender equality. Abortion is a really big issue for these folks, the culture wars issues, really," Sarkisian said. "And so they leave other faith traditions that they don't believe to be as stringent about those issues anymore."

    Sarkisian said he began to see white nationalist and nativist views surface within Orthodox spaces online just around the time that these shifts began taking place.

    "I first started noticing this around 2010, 2011 on Orthodox blogs, where I started to see language and rhetoric that was subtly racist and was subtly engaging in what we would now know as the alt-right," Sarkisian said. "They bring it with them into the church because they see Orthodoxy as amenable to these goals, to these viewpoints."
    Orthodoxy and the Unite the Right rally

    Perhaps the most well known among Orthodox converts who worked within alt-right circles was Matthew Heimbach. He had established the Traditionalist Worker Party, which helped organize a deadly gathering of neo-Nazis and white nationalists at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017. But years before that, Heimbach's activities had already created waves within some Orthodox circles.

    In 2014, he was excommunicated from the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America shortly after he had been accepted into it. During his brief time there, Heimbach's activities with other Orthodox converts on a college campus in Indiana drew scrutiny. In explaining the decision to cut Heimbach off from the church, the priest who had brought him into the church explained, "I did not understand at that time that he held nationalistic, segregationist views." Heimbach went on to join another branch of Orthodoxy.

    "And then after that all happened, basically, the bishops said, 'OK, it's all done. There is nothing to talk about anymore and nothing here to see,' " said Inga Leonova, the founder and editor of The Wheel, a journal on Orthodoxy and culture.

    Leonova, a member of the Orthodox Church in America, said she began following the trend of extremists joining Orthodoxy when she became aware of Heimbach's campus activities. When she writes about the topic, she said she receives threats from within the Orthodox community. Still, she has felt that silence on the issue has caused greater harm. In the wake of the Unite the Right rally, she said that bishops across Orthodox jurisdictions ignored calls to condemn the event and the rise of extremist ideologies in the church.

    "I think that there must be a presence of a certain amount of aloofness and the lack of desire to engage with these topics because there is an Orthodox story that Orthodoxy and politics don't mix," she said.

    But Leonova said this is fiction. An Orthodox Church in America priest from Ohio was briefly suspended after he was seen in a video wearing his cassock on Capitol grounds on Jan. 6, 2021, after he attended the Stop the Steal rally in Washington, D.C. And Leonova said other clergy members, themselves American converts to the faith, have signaled their political viewpoints on their social media pages and personal blogs.

    "There is a significant number of clergy whose social media profiles sport Confederate flags and support of the Southern cause," she said.
    ROCOR's media-makers

    Those who have followed the influx of extremists into American Orthodoxy agree that those individuals are fringe within the church and are mostly concentrated in newly founded ROCOR parishes. But they also warn that it would be foolish to ignore them. Of particular concern are the ways in which these individuals are networking with outside extremist groups and broadcasting their ideologies in the name of Orthodoxy.

    "I do actually think it's growing," said George Demacopoulos, a professor and the director of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center at Fordham University. "I don't think these people are necessarily changing the minds of people already in the church, but I do think they are bringing others culturally or politically like them into the church."

    In a viral social media clip pulled from a far-right internet talk show on the eve of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, former Republican U.S. Senate candidate Lauren Witzke of Delaware praised Russia as a "Christian nationalist nation." Witzke is studying to convert to ROCOR.

    "I identify more with Russian — with Putin's Christian values — than I do with Joe Biden," Witzke said in the video. She declined to speak with NPR for this story.

    Sarkisian said Witzke's view typifies those of far-right converts to ROCOR, who have been receptive to Kremlin propaganda portraying Putin as a pious defender of Orthodoxy and traditional values. He said Putin also represents to them an appealing style of authoritarian leadership that challenges pluralism and liberal democracy in the United States.

    "They are anti-democratic by nature," Sarkisian said. "They are a part of these larger networks on the American far right, like Nicholas Fuentes and his America Firsters. They connect into these nodes that are challenging the very fabric of American democracy."

    Witzke, a MAGA supporter who ran on an anti-immigration platform in 2020, has appeared on Orthodox podcasts, where she has identified herself as aligned with the white nationalist America First movement. She also, at one time, seemed to support QAnon conspiracy theories but has since renounced QAnon. The media ecosystem she has participated in, a network of American converts to ROCOR who produce podcasts and live video chats online, presents a highly politicized interpretation of Orthodoxy to the world and one that many believe offers a distorted view of the church.

    "This is how people are finding Orthodoxy now. They're finding Orthodoxy through these YouTube shows. They're finding it through these podcasts. They're finding it through these blogs," said Sarkisian. "They're being radicalized by these folks on the internet, and that's really dangerous."

    The channels revolve around themes of antisemitism, contempt for women's and LGBTQ rights, xenophobia and support of white nationalists, including some who've been convicted of violent hate crimes. At times, clergy within ROCOR and other Orthodox branches have joined these online discussions, which may lend the appearance of sanctioning those views.

    Some longtime ROCOR faithful have found these views bewildering, given the church's history. Lena Zezulin, whose parents were among the founding members of a parish in Long Island, N.Y., said that the community was always inclusive of non-Christian Russian immigrants living among it and proud of its immigrant roots.

    "We had Muslims in the community," she recalled. "My summer camp had Buddhists in the community. So those people were kind of lovingly absorbed into the group because they all came over [to the U.S.] together."

    She said that the congregation and clergy also welcomed her African American husband when they married roughly 40 years ago. But over time, their children started to encounter racism in the church. Zezulin said it tracked with the church's expansion to new regions of the U.S., where it was drawing new conservative converts. Zezulin said she believes tolerance for these views may explain why extremists with xenophobic and nativist views have been joining.

    "It's outrageous, given that we came here as refugees and were accepted," she said. "I think it's racism based."

    Russia's war in Ukraine

    In general, those who have raised concern about racism and extremists' participation within the church say the issue has largely been left to parish priests to address — or not to address. NPR reached out to Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary near Jordanville, N.Y., ROCOR's theological training institution, for comment on a number of questions, including how clergy are advised to handle the airing of antisemitic or nativist views by parishioners. Representatives declined to answer questions.

    Most recently, Russia's war in Ukraine has prompted painful reflection among some faithful. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, gave religious cover to the war. He claimed that the invasion of Ukraine is necessary to protect Orthodox Ukrainians from Western influence — namely, gay pride parades. Zezulin left her longtime ROCOR community and has started attending an Orthodox Church in America parish because her priest would not condemn the invasion.

    "You know, somebody just said we should stand and pray for both sides. Well, were the Brits supposed to pray for Hitler and Churchill at the same time?" she said.

    If anything, said Sarkisian, the war has exposed just how Putin has used the Russian Orthodox Church to further his country's influence.

    "It is definitely an arm of soft diplomacy, and ROCOR is a really important part of that," Sarkisian said. "Putin is really interested in the church for its purposes for amplifying a particular aspect of Russian history politically, religiously, culturally."
    tl;dr: People think Putin is the last hope for the white race.
    I mean when the Pope’s a communist...

  16. #19676
    tulip's Avatar
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    There's a bit in that article where the author criticises the sort of people joining as being into culture war type beliefs, in the article she says she thinks this movement should have organised cultural opposition to it... ie this should be taken seriously and stopped.

    Does she appreciate the irony I wonder?
    Quote Originally Posted by Tarminic View Post
    Just for the record, "sending a needy text" is never the right answer.

  17. #19677
    Lief Siddhe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sacul View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lief Siddhe View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by August View Post
    Screening tests on babies to determine fitness for society. Gattaca was too early.
    Here in Croatia these past few days is a big hubbub regarding a pregnant woman in late pregnancy whose child has brain tumors and would have a very nasty short life if born. She wants to abort, lotsa doctors here refuse to do it, sparking a "right to abort" protests and lotsa discussion on the nuances of the whole issue, so yeah.
    2022 medicine, 1810 mindset i guess.
    Everyone's virtue signaling but since we're talking about a 7 month old fetus at this point the ugly fact is that there's lots of shouting and posturing and walking with signs but what I'm not seeing is any pro-abortion people lining up to go stick the poison needle into the baby's heart and vacuuming it out themselves nor do I see anti-abortion people offering to adopt and take care of the baby throughout its miserable short life.

    This is the procedure we're talking about here and tbh there's no happy ending to this either way (Induction Abortion).

    https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Health/P...px?hwid=tw2562

    But as always, George Carlin said it best

    Last edited by Lief Siddhe; May 14 2022 at 10:01:10 PM.
    I was somewhere around Old Man Star, on the edge of Essence, when drugs began to take hold.

  18. #19678
    Keckers's Avatar
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    Mothers should be allowed to abort their child up to 40 years post birth tbh
    Look, the wages you withheld from the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of Hosts. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves for slaughter.

  19. #19679

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    Quote Originally Posted by rufuske View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Hel OWeen View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by August View Post
    Not giving birth does hurt the community as declining birth rates will fuck the economy hard. In this interconnected world, every single thing you do has an effect on the community. RIP.
    Only in a capitalist world.

    1) In this day and age of climate change anyone still deciding to have kids must really hate them. They will suffer a very miserable life. And the resource wars haven't even begun.
    2) The world is better of with especially fewer of us resource-consuming westerners.
    Jesus...There's so much wrong with those statements I don't even know where to begin with.

    Ponder the picture you're painting. Would you say that with straight face to people with families?
    I not only would, I in fact did on multiple occassions.

    Would you care to take a step forward and say that those resources etc should be left to be utilized by african/asian ethnic populations? Cause that's what you're implying. It's like you internalized all the white genocide bullshit they keep spining.
    No, I'm not implying that. I simply state the fact that we westernes (that includes Asians like Japanese, btw) in general consume more resources than the earth can provide. E.g. Germany's Overshoot Day this year was May 4th. Or to put it another way: when everyone lived the lifestyle of a typical German, we needed 3 earths.

  20. #19680

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    Quote Originally Posted by August View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Hel OWeen View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by August View Post
    Not giving birth does hurt the community as declining birth rates will fuck the economy hard. In this interconnected world, every single thing you do has an effect on the community. RIP.
    Only in a capitalist world.

    1) In this day and age of climate change anyone still deciding to have kids must really hate them. They will suffer a very miserable life. And the resource wars haven't even begun.
    2) The world is better of with especially fewer of us resource-consuming westerners.

    Alas, the westerners have the best chance of developing technology to survive global warming so having them collapse probably wouldn’t be good for humanity overall.
    Perhaps ... but given our past and still current track records - do you think we westernes would share that with those who most need it, i.e. the poor countries of the world which suffer already the most from climate change?

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