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Where the Republican voters ARE going

In a rebuttal to Eric Zuesse’s analysis piece here on The Duran, we offer a conservative’s point of view on what Eric left unsaid

Seraphim Hanisch

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One of our most esteemed writers, Eric Zuesse, offered a great piece, to be found here, that made some significant note of the fact that Republican voters are actually moving away from their support in the Republican Party’s Representatives and Senators in Congress, though they are on the whole not moving away from their support of President Trump.

He went further, noting that the strength and “intensity” of Republican voter support appeared to have eroded to a significant degree following the signature of the US $1.3 trillion “omnibus” spending bill submitted to the President’s desk at the last minute before a partial government shutdown was to ensue.

Now, the interesting thing about the piece is that when I first read it I did not know anything about Mr. Zuesse, who he is, what his point of view is shaped by, and so on. So I just read his piece as I often read anything here on our site, with an assumption that if it is here, it’s probably darn good journalism and worth paying attention to.

And in this I am correct about Mr. Zuesse. He writes in as balanced a way as he can without revealing or sacrificing his personal perspective.

It was only much later that I discovered that he is very far to the left politically, and is at best a cynic about things that conservatives value highly (namely Christianity), as one can see in the blurb for one of his books, here.

I do not say this to censure Mr. Zuesse; nevertheless, I disagree with his point of view expressed in his book, for I though I believe he was as thoughtful and as fair as he could be, he was restricted from facing the truth because to do so would violate his adopted set of perspectives..

So, I will respectfully, and from my point of view, offer a response.

I think Eric got these first two points absolutely right. The Republicans are indeed not feeling the love for their party. What I mean by this is that they are increasingly aware that the Representatives and Senators they have elected in the recent past have been unfaithful to the electorate’s desires, and, once they got into Washington, all the resolve they stated about how things were going to change evaporated. The only person who really shines on the GOP supporter screen as being a man of his word is President Trump himself.

The second point, this being of voter “intensity” of support among GOP voters and its decrease, was a spot occurrence, in my opinion.

Eric rightly caught the reaction to Mr. Trump’s signature of the omnibus bill, for it was very poorly received among many Trump supporters. This was bolstered in no small manner by the point of view expressed with great force by Rush Limbaugh on his radio program the day that the bill was signed, as well as the day before. Both Mr. Limbaugh and his listeners (including myself, honestly) were extremely dismayed about this. Many conservative folks, including journalists on both sides were quick to gleefully note (and I mean gleefully, on BOTH sides) that this meant that President Trump had sold everyone down the river and was now “just another politician” in the White House, betraying the people who supported and voted for him.

Except that he wasn’t. 

About one day into the weekend after this awful bill was signed, an interesting detail surfaced: The “Omnibus spending bill” is not a budget. It is guidance on how an allotted amount of money should be spent, but the President can change many of these categories and expenditures at his own discretion. 

In this way, so went the analysis, the border wall is paid for and will begin construction immediately, because President Trump and his team found that the wall can be considered a matter of Defense and national security, and they got a lot of money to build up precisely that. President Trump himself announced this on the Saturday after the bill was signed.

Now, this matter is being challenged, as to whether or not the President can indeed legally do this, but his Defense Secretary is examining this idea for ways to get it done.

There are other similar aspects.

Now, although the principle of signing this bill still tastes bitter to Trump supporters, we also know Trump himself hated it, because he bluntly stated that he was never going to sign something like this again.

It is my opinion that most of his supporters believe he means exactly what he has said.

The Congress is not likely to take Mr. Trump seriously, but if the pattern holds that has held ever since Inauguration Day 2017, Congressional resistance will overplay its hand and the President will pound them into the ground for their refusal to change.

To examine the matter of Trump’s supporters not being very supportive of the GOP itself, the most obvious part of the answer lies in the 2014 midterm election and the ensuing several months afterwards.

But to get a fuller picture of this we have to set the WayBack machine to 1994, during the first term of President William “Bill” Jefferson Clinton.

When Bill Clinton won the White House, he started governing as an extremely elitist leftist liberal. One of the first things he attempted was to make a declaration to allow homosexual people to openly serve in the military. This measure was a massive attempt at social engineering to force the military personnel to be made comfortable with a matter that they were overwhelmingly not comfortable with. As in most liberal policymaking, the traditional value must be thrown under the bus in the name of “progress.” However, Congress moved during 1993 to outflank the President and then successfully cut his move off. The result was a modified position of “don’t ask, don’t tell” regarding homosexual lifestyle, which was really only incrementally different than the president’s proposed radical move.

In the midterm elections of 1994, the GOP successfully observed that the hard-left policies of the President and the Democrat-led Congress were increasingly out of step with the will of a huge number of American people. In response to this, the GOP leadership issued their “Contract with America”, which included some ten very specific policy measures that a GOP-led House and Senate would enact if given the majority in these respective bodies. The premise was stated very clearly:

As Republican Members of the House of Representatives and as citizens seeking to join that body we propose not just to change its policies, but even more important, to restore the bonds of trust between the people and their elected representatives.

That is why, in this era of official evasion and posturing, we offer instead a detailed agenda for national renewal, a written commitment with no fine print.

This year’s election offers the chance, after four decades of one-party control, to bring to the House a new majority that will transform the way Congress works. That historic change would be the end of government that is too big, too intrusive, and too easy with the public’s money. It can be the beginning of a Congress that respects the values and shares the faith of the American family.

Like Lincoln, our first Republican president, we intend to act “with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right.” To restore accountability to Congress. To end its cycle of scandal and disgrace. To make us all proud again of the way free people govern themselves.

This strongly stated promise and premise won a GOP victory that effectively halted the liberals onslaught on American life, and the GOP controlled congress effectively forced President Clinton into abandoning his excessively liberal course. Over the next six years, this combination actually resulted in fairly effective leadership.

This incident in history is NOT setting up for a repeat. And in fact, the Great GOP Betrayal of 2014, 20 years later, was exactly the opposite in terms of manifested results.

The 2014 midterm elections featured a suspected conservative “silent majority” who had been largely cowed into silence by the greatly intensified liberal screed under President Obama and his extremely liberal Democrat Congress.

Millions of Americans were out of work, the result of a smothered economy that kept struggling to revive, only to be slapped down by ever-increasing government regulation and the oppressive burden of “ObamaCare”, nee the Affordable Care Act, which was anything but that.

Also, increasing discrimination and persecution of people and businesses wishing to conform themselves to traditional Christian ethics and morality resulted in these businesses closing, and an increasing sense of fear among Christian believers in the United States to speak up about their own point of views about life, lest they be blackballed and forced to resign or sued out of business.

The GOP candidates did not have a unified party agenda at all. There was no Republican platform, and no clearly stated document in the same manner as that of the Contract with America. However, almost all the GOP candidates, and certainly all who got elected successfully, did campaign on the promise that they would “stop Obama” if elected.

When the new Congress was seated, these “conservative” candidates proceeded to fold to the President. Every time. At first there was the attempt to create a narrative that said “we are strategically maneuvering Obama into a position where he will have to go with our intents” but that moment never came. Obama got everything he wanted and the minority Democrats continued to run the country, and the problems aforementioned only became worse more quickly than ever.

By 2015, the Supreme Court, with a 5-4 conservative-liberal composition actually created a “right” out of thin air, sanctioning same-sex marriage as a “constitutionally protected right” without legislation to sanction it passing.

Up to that time, most states that had put this measure up for state election ballots received resounding NO votes, but in one decision the Court swept all this aside, and it did so with a supposedly conservative majority.

The GOP had by now earned a reputation for being completely ineffective, “afraid of Obama,” and the seeds for the idea of the “establishment politician” were planted and growing quite well.

It was in this environment that the GOP offered up 17 candidates for the party’s primaries. Of these, three people were non politicians: Dr. Benjamin Carson, a world-renowned neurosurgeon and well-expressed Christian; Carly Fiorina, former CEO of HP; and Real-Estate and Entertainment mogul Donald Trump.

The rest of the field consisted of GOP senators and governors, and the establishment among them showed its early preference for Governor Jeb Bush, who utterly flopped in debates and in his campaign.

The public distaste for the currently elected members of the GOP was slow for the media to discover, but for many people it was instantaneous. As soon as Donald Trump came down the escalator in Trump Tower in New York, and announced his candidacy for President, it was all over for the establishment.

Dr Zuesse rightly understood the data that showed the GOP voters leaving their party. But he did not go back far enough or investigate the causes for them to do so, nor did he successfully uncover why their support for Donald Trump is getting stronger over time instead of eroding.

That has to do with the fact that almost all of the Congressional Republicans have failed, or have refused, to understand the will of the people who elected them.

As the Democrats have increasingly shifted away from representing the wishes of “ordinary” Americans (the middle incomes and lower income citizens who are striving to make more of themselves) to the increasingly fragmented ranks of citizens who define themselves through identity politics, the GOP has been given the greatest opportunity it ever had to fill in the vacuum.

And in terms of promises and political campaigning, they have largely succeeded in recent history in at least speaking to the regular American on their terms. That is why there is a substantial GOP House majority and a marginal Senate Majority. The words had some effect.

But the GOP’s reputation for caving to liberals has been precisely what keeps them out of decisive majorities in both houses, especially the Senate, because the actions of these elected officials show only that once they get into DC politics, their actual representation of their constituents vanishes.

The essence of populism is that the populist supports the concerns of ordinary people. THIS is why Donald Trump’s support remains strong.

The funny thing is that both parties in Congress advertise populism in some ways, but neither side delivers it.

The Democrats’ alignment is the most clear to see, that being a combination of adherence to the principles expressed in secular humanism, with clear and specific measures taken along any expressed topic of non-traditional identity politics.

The GOP advertises a general idea of conservatism, but that idea itself is cloudy, because to speak clearly about it, especially about Christian values, means a swift and deafening attack from the Left.

Going further, the GOP’s notion of conservatism is itself also sliding left, away from traditional values.

So what is “conservative” now usually refers to the notion of spending in the Federal government and having a lot of military power.

There is no real “heart” to the GOP’s expression of its policy views, for again, to clearly express an alternative to the Left’s strange worldview is to invite a visceral fight against the mainstream media (which is very powerful and strongly aligned left), and the shrill voices of professional victims who are able to shout and manipulate the opposition into looking “heartless.” To fight such people, one needs to be able to fight just as dirty as they do.

Enter Donald Trump.

To fight “dirty” politics does not require lies, but it does require swift rebuttal and passion.

Far from the normally thought-of definition of political or presidential statesmanship, Donald Trump’s fiery swiftness at engaging media and politically based slander has been nothing but a constant surprise – and a burden – for the mainstream press for as long as his campaign and presidency have been in force.

It is not only the fact that Donald Trump fights back against falsehoods spread about him. His response is undoubtedly populist and he expresses how many people feel in his own statements.

The recent passage of the Omnibus bill is a great example. The President signed it, and he received great criticism for doing so, but he also said “I will never sign a bill like this again.”

There is every reason to believe he means what he says, and his supporters know this. Even now, as of April 4th, a Rasmussen poll has his general approval ratings at 51% – and this is an increase over time since he was elected, not a decrease. Usually presidential approval ratings start rather high and deteriorate over time, but not so with Donald Trump. His started rather low and have gradually been on the uptick as his policy moves take effect.

From the point of view of many conservatives, Mr. Trump is the engineer and executor of these policy changes. There is no Congressional hero on his side, though he does praise Congress when they go his way, including very generous naming of names of those who he recognizes were helpful.

Far from the Obama days, President Trump is quick to lavish praise on any allies he has, and he is equally as quick to criticize those who attack him. And yet in spite of this collegial attitude, most of the support goes to the President.

While Zuesse proposes that this is because President Trump is slick, a “Teflon Don”, this is only part of the reason. We suggest that the other reason is that, to date, no GOP congressman has shown themselves as “part of the plan” with regards to President Trump’s agenda. Even to the GOP stalwarts, President Trump is a problem. Maybe it can be summarized by this statement:

The private sector expects results.

President Trump is giving them those results. When the elected representatives of either party realize that it is precisely this that the American people have wanted for decades, then maybe they will win back the support of the American voter.

In regards to the GOP, this is a critical issue come November because the potential exists for voter cynicism about the GOP choices to result in a series of no-shows for the midterms, or worse, election of Democrats promising change.

The American voter is on average, unfortunately still demonstrably gullible, and an unproven candidate with a slick message of change could win it, and take the change the totally wrong way, or block the moves that the President is making.

Either way, the midterm election of 2018 is going to be a watershed moment for the Trump presidency.

It is not going to be a referendum on his success. It will be a referendum on the voters’ faith that their candidates will actually create results.

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Nigel Farage lashes out at Angela Merkel, as Chancellor attends EU Parliament debate (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 17.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at Nigel Farage’s blistering speech, aimed squarely at Angela Merkel, calling out the German Chancellor’s disastrous migrant policy, wish to build an EU army, and Brussels’ Cold War rhetoric with Russia to the East and now the United States to the West.

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The Ukrainian President Signs a Pact With Constantinople – Against the Ukrainian Church

There is still a chance to prevent the schism from occurring.

Dmitry Babich

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Authored by Dmitry Babich via Strategic Culture:


Increasingly tragic and violent events are taking their toll on the plight of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Ukraine . After several fights over control of the church’s property, prohibitions and blacklists are starting to spread, affecting respected church figures coming from Russia to Ukraine. The latest news is that the head of the Moscow Theological Academy, Archbishop Amvrosyi Yermakov, was deported from Ukraine back to Russia. Amvrosyi’s name popped up on the black list of Russian citizens who are not deemed “eligible to visit” Ukraine. Obviously, this happened right before his plane landed in Zhulyany, Kiev’s international airport. After a brief arrest, Amvrosyi was put on a plane and sent back to Moscow. This is not the first such humiliation of the Orthodox Church and its priests that has taken place since the new pro-Western regime came to power in Kiev in 2014. Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church has been declared persona non grata throughout Ukraine since 2014. That decision was made by humiliatingly low-level officials. A department within the Ukrainian ministry of culture published a ruling stating that Kirill’s visit to Ukraine’s capital of Kiev “would not be desirable.”

Since the ancestors of modern Russians, Belarusians, and Ukrainians were first baptized in 988 in Kiev, the Patriarchs of the Russian Church have never had problems visiting Kiev, the birthplace of their church. Not even under the Bolsheviks did such prohibitions exist. So, for Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church to be denied permission to visit Kiev can only be compared to a possible prohibition against the pope visiting Rome. Since 2014, there have also been several criminal cases filed against the priests of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC MP) because they have called the hostilities in eastern Ukraine a “civil war” and have discouraged the faithful from supporting that war. This has been interpreted by the Ukrainian state authorities as a call for soldiers to desert the army.

Why Poroshenko’s meeting with Bartholomew is ominous

Despite the fact that the UOC MP has become used to all sorts of trouble since 2014, things have been looking even worse for the canonical church lately, as 2018 draws to a close. In early November 2018, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko broke the wall of separation between church and state in the most overt manner possible — he signed “an agreement on cooperation and joint action” between Ukraine and the so called Constantinople Patriarchate, the oldest institution of Orthodox Christianity, which is now based in Turkish Istanbul.

Rostislav Pavlenko, an aide to Poroshenko, wrote on his Facebook page that the agreement (not yet published) is premised on the creation of a new “autocephalous” Orthodox Church of Ukraine — a development that the official, existing Orthodox Churches in Russia and Ukraine view with foreboding as a “schism” that they have done all they can to prevent. Why? Because Poroshenko’s regime, which came to power via a violent coup in Kiev in 2014 on a wave of public anti-Russian sentiment, may try to force the canonical Orthodox Church of Ukraine to merge with other, non-canonical institutions and to surrender to them church buildings, including the famous monasteries in Kiev and Pochai, as well as other property.

President Poroshenko was visibly happy to sign the document — the contents of which have not yet been made public — on cooperation between the Ukrainian state and the Constantinople Patriarchate, in the office of Bartholomew, the head of the Constantinople Patriarchate. Poroshenko smiled and laughed, obviously rejoicing over the fact that the Constantinople Patriarchate is already embroiled in a scandalous rift with the Russian Orthodox Church and its Ukrainian sister church over several of Bartholomew’s recent moves. Bartholomew’s decision to “lift” the excommunication from two of Ukraine’s most prominent schismatic “priests,” in addition to Bartholomew’s declaration that the new church of Ukraine will be under Constantinople’s direct command — these moves were just not acceptable for the canonical Orthodox believers in Russia and Ukraine. Kirill, the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), as well as Onufriy, the Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine, are protesting loudly, viewing this situation as a breach of two basic principles. First of all, the Ukrainian state has interfered in the church’s affairs, asking Constantinople to give the Ukrainian church “autocephaly,” which that church never requested. Second, Constantinople itself has interfered in the affairs of two autonomous national churches, the Russian and the Ukrainian. In the eyes of Ukrainian and Russian clergy, Bartholomew is behaving like the Roman pope and not as a true Orthodox leader who respects the autonomy and self-rule of the separate, national Orthodox Churches.

The Russian President sympathizes with the believers’ pain

Two days before Poroshenko made his trip to Istanbul, Russian president Vladimir Putin broke with his usual reserve when commenting on faith issues to bitterly complain about the pain which believers in Russia and Ukraine have experienced from the recent divisions within the triangle of Orthodoxy’s three historic capitals — Constantinople, Kiev, and Moscow.

“Politicking in such a sensitive area as religion has always had grave consequences, first and foremost for the people who engaged in this politicking,” Putin said, addressing the World Congress of Russian Compatriots, an international organization that unites millions of ethnic and cultural Russians from various countries, including Ukraine. Himself a practicing Orthodox believer, Putin lauded Islam and Judaism, while at the same time complaining about the plight of Orthodox believers in Ukraine, where people of Orthodox heritage make up more than 80% of the population and where the church has traditionally acted as a powerful “spiritual link” with Russia.

Despite his complaints about “politicking,” Putin was careful not to go into the details of why exactly the state of affairs in Ukraine is so painful for Orthodox believers. That situation was explained by Patriarch Kirill. After many months of tense silence and an unsuccessful visit to Barthlomew’s office in Istanbul on August 31, Kirill has been literally crying for help in the last few weeks, saying he was “ready to go anywhere and talk to anyone” in order to prevent the destruction of the canonical Orthodox Church in Ukraine.

Politics with a “mystical dimension”

Kirill said the attack against the Orthodox Church in Ukraine “had not only a political, but also a mystical dimension.” Speaking in more earthly terms, there is a danger that the 1,000-year-old historical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) — which now owns 11,392 church buildings, 12,328 parishes, and two world-famous monasteries in Ukraine — will be dissolved. The roots of the UOC MP go back to the pre-Soviet Russian Empire and even further back to the era of Kievan Rus, the proto-state of the Eastern Slavs in the tenth-twelfth centuries AD, when the people who would later become Russians, Ukrainians, and Byelorussians were adopting Orthodox Christianity from the Byzantine Empire. It is by far the biggest church in Ukraine, as Mikhail Denisenko’s non-canonical “alternative” church has only 3,700 parishes that include church buildings (fewer than a third of what is owned by the UOC-MP, despite the fact that Denisenko enjoys official support from the Ukrainian state).

What many Russian and Ukrainian believers fear is that the Istanbul-based Patriarch Bartholomew will eventually grant Kiev what is being called autocephaly. In that event, the UOC-MP may be forced to merge with two other, non-canonical churches in Ukraine that have no apostolic liaison. The apostolic succession of the UOC-MP consists in the historical fact that its first bishops were ordained by medieval bishops from Constantinople, who had in turn been ordained by Christ’s disciples from ancient Israel. Apostolic succession is crucial for the Orthodox Church, where only bishops can ordain new priests and where the church’s connection to the first Christians is reflected in many ways, including in the clergy’s attire.

Metropolitan Hilarion (his secular name is Grigory Alfeyev), the Russian church’s chief spokesman on questions of schism and unity, accused the patriarch of contributing to the schism by officially “lifting” the excommunication from Ukraine’s most prominent schismatic church leader — the defrocked former bishop Mikhail Denisenko. That clergyman stands to gain most from the “autocephaly” promised to Poroshenko by Patriarch Bartholomew. A hierarchical Orthodox Church is considered to have autocephalous status, as its highest bishop does not report to any higher-ranking bishop. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has stated that for Ukraine to be granted autocephaly from Istanbul, this would mean a complete “reformatting” of the country’s religious status quo and the severing of all links to Orthodox Russia and its “demons.”. Most likely, the new “united” church won’t be headed by the UOC MP’s Metropolitan, but by Mikhail Denisenko, who was excommunicated by both the UOC MP and the Russian church back in 1997 and with whom real Orthodox priests can only serve against their will and against the church’s internal rules.

Constantinople’s first dangerous moves

On October 11, 2018, the Constantinople Patriarchate made its first step towards granting autocephaly by repealing its own decision of 1686 that gave the Moscow Patriarch primacy over the Kiev-based Metropolitan. This 17th-century decision reflected the political reality of the merger between the states of Russia and Ukraine and established some order in the matters of church administration. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Moscow gave the Ukrainian church complete independence in financial and administrative matters, but the two churches retained their cherished “spiritual unity.” “Constantinople’s decision is aimed at destroying that unity,” the ROC’s Patriarch Kirill explained. “We can’t accept it. That is why our Holy Synod made the decision to end eucharistic communication with the Constantinople Patriarchate.”

How Moscow “excommunicated” Bartholomew

The end of eucharistic communication means that the priests of the two patriarchates (based in Moscow and Istanbul) won’t be able to hold church services together. It will be maintained as long as the threat of autocephaly continues. The Western mainstream media, however, interpreted this decision by the Russian church as a unilateral aggressive act. The NYT and the British tabloid press wrote that it simply reveals Putin’s “desperation” at not being able to keep Ukraine’s religious life under control.

However, Patriarch Bartholomew seems undeterred by the protests from the Russian faithful and the majority of Ukraine’s believers. Bartholomew said in a recent statement that Russia should just follow the example of Constantinople, which once granted autocephaly to the churches of the Balkan nations. Bartholomew’s ambassadors in Kiev do not shy away from communicating with the self-declared “Patriarch” Filaret (Mikhail Denisenko’s adopted religious name from back when he was the UOC MP’s Metropolitan prior to his excommunication in 1997). For true Orthodox believers, any communication with Denisenko has been forbidden since 1992, the year when he founded his own so-called Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate (UOC-KP). Unfortunately, Denisenko enjoys the full support of Ukrainian President Poroshenko, and recently the US State Department began encouraging Denisenko, by giving its full support to Ukraine’s autocephaly.

The lifting of Denisenko’s excommunication by Patriarch Bartholomew in Istanbul both upset and embittered the Orthodox believers in both Ukraine and Moscow, since Denisenko was excommunicated by a joint decision of the Russian church and the UOC MP in 1997, after a five-year wait for his return to the fold of the mother church. So, by undoing that decision, Constantinople has interfered in the canonical territory of both the Ukrainian and the Russian churches.

The UOC-MP protested, accusing not only Patriarch Bartholomew, but also the Ukrainian state of interfering in the church’s affairs. “We are being forced to get involved in politics. The politicians do not want Christ to run our church; they want to do it themselves,” said Metropolitan Onufriy (Onuphrius), the head of the UOC-MP, in an interview with PravMir, an Orthodox website. “Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate has been independent. Our church did not ask for autocephaly, because we already have independence. We have our own Synod (church council) and our own church court. Decisions are made by a congress of bishops and priests from all over Ukraine. We have financial and administrative independence, so autocephaly for us will be a limitation, not an expansion of our rights.”

Poroshenko’s premature jubilation

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Poroshenko did not conceal his jubilation about Constantinople’s moves. “This is a victory of good over evil, light over darkness,” Poroshenko said when the news about the lifting of Denisenko’s excomnmunication came from Istanbul in early October.

Poroshenko said he wanted a “united Orthodox Church” for his country, and he openly pressured Patriarch Bartholomew to provide autocephaly to Kiev during his visits to Istanbul in the spring of 2018 and in November of the same year. Meanwhile, Denisenko said that the provision of autocephaly would mean the immediate dispossession of the UOC MP. “This Russian church (UOC MP) will have to cede control of its church buildings and famous monasteries to the new Ukrainian church, which will be ours,” Denisenko was quoted by Ukrainian media as saying. “These monasteries have been owned by the state since Soviet times, and the state gave them to the Russian church for temporary use. Now the state will appoint our communities of believers as the new guardians of this heritage.” Denisenko also made a visit to the US, where he met Undersecretary of State Wess Mitchell, obtaining from him America’s active support for the creation of a “unified” Ukrainian church.

There is still a chance to prevent the schism from occurring. Poroshenko’s presidential aide, Rostislav Pavlenko, made it clear on Tuesday that the actual “tomos” (a letter from the Constantinople Patriarchate allowing the creation of an autocephalous church) will be delivered only IN RESPONSE to a request from a “unifying convention” that represents all of Ukraine’s Orthodox believers in at least some sort of formal manner. This new convention will have to declare the creation of a new church and elect this church’s official head. Only then will Constantinople be able to give that person the cherished “tomos.”

Since the UOC-MP has made it very clear that it won’t participate in any such convention, the chances of the smooth transition and easy victory over the “Muscovite believers” that Poroshenko wants so badly are quite slim. There are big scandals, big fights, and big disappointments ahead.

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Trump DEMOLISHES Macron; Tweets ‘Make France Great Again’ (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 16.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at US President Trump’s tweetstorm aimed at French President Macron, who just days ago used the WW1 ceremony in Paris to ridicule and talk down to the US President in front of world leaders.

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Via Zerohedge

Macron’s office has refused to comment on Trump’s claims.

OFFICE OF FRENCH PRESIDENT MACRON SAYS IT REFUSES TO MAKE ANY COMMENT REGARDING TRUMP’S TWEETS CRITICISING FRANCE AND MACRON

* * *

Without directly referencing the rumors, Trump has branded reports that he refused to appear at a cemetery for American soldiers because he didn’t want to get his hair wet as “fake news.” In the tweet, Trump insisted that he wanted the Secret Service to drive him to the speech instead of taking a helicopter, but they refused because of security concerns. He added that he gave a speech at the cemetery the next day in the pouring rain – something that was “little reported”.

Trump’s rampage against Macron continues. The president slammed his French counterpart for his low approval rating, as well as France’s high unemployment. Furthermore, in response to Macron’s “nationalist” snub, Trump pointed out that “there is no more nationalist country” than France..

…before adding a spin on his classic slogan.

Trump’s rage against Macron continues, but this time, the topic is slightly more serious. What could be more serious than questioning the foundation of Post-WWII military alliances, you might ask? The answer is simple – trade!

Trump conceded that while France makes “very good wine” (an interesting claim from Trump, who doesn’t drink), the country “makes it hard for the US to sell its wine into France, and charges very big tariffs”. Meanwhile “The US makes it easy for French wines and charges small tariffs.”

“Not Fair, must change!”

We now await Trump’s order of an investigation into the national security implications of imported French wine.

* * *

President Trump isn’t ready to forgive the “French diss” served up over the weekend by President Emmanuel Macron.

During a ceremony honoring the 100th anniversary of World War I at the Arc de Triomphe on Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron insulted Trump to his face by launching into a screed about the dangers of toxic “nationalism” and subtly accusing the US of abandoning its “moral values”.

This did not sit well with the US president, who was already facing criticism over his decision to show up late to a ceremony honoring the war dead (the administration blamed it on security concerns though it’s widely suspected that Trump didn’t want to get his hair wet), and Trump has let his displeasure be known in a series of tweets ridiculing Macron’s suggestion that Europe build its own army, saying that France and other European members of NATO would be better served by paying their fair share for NATO while daring them to leave and pay for their own protection.

And in his most abrasive tweet yet mocking the increasingly unpopular Macron’s imperial ambitions (no, really), Trump pointed out that, historically speaking, Europe has been its own worst enemy, and that while Macron wants to defend the Continent from the US, China and Russia, “it was Germany in WWI & WWII,” adding that “they were starting to learn German in Paris before the US came along. Pay for NATO or not!”

Of course, Macron isn’t the only French official calling for the creation of a “European army”. The country’s finance minister advocated for the creation of a Continental army during an interview with Germany’s Handelsblatt – a comment that was derided by the paper’s editors, who pointed out that Germans “weren’t very supportive” of the idea. One wonders why…

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