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Why People Believe in Conspiracy Theories – Merion West

(Photo by Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images)

The paradox of believing in conspiracy theories is thatdespite the distrust and paranoia reflected in themadherents often deeply desire a sense of order in the world.

Introduction

The rise of Trumpism signifies the emergence of an age of bullshit to use Princeton University philosopher Harry Frankfurts infamous term. According to Frankfurt, bullsh-t needs to be philosophically distinguished with great care from mere dishonesty, which it resembles but isnt reducible to. A dishonest liar is still cognizant of the distinction between truth and falsityin some cases so much so that they go to great lengths to conceal their deceit. In the realm of politics, Machiavelli insists that the Prince must be willing to lie to others to advance their agenda. But the Prince must always be aware that he is misrepresenting the world; failing to do so risks falling victim to ones own illusions. By contrast, a bullsh-tter is someone who has no interest in truth or falsity one way or another. The bullsh-tter sees little motivation to be concerned with how the world is, particularly where that contrasts with what he or she wishes it to be. As Frankfurt puts it:

This is the crux of the distinction between [the bullsh-tter] and the liar. Both he and the liar represent themselves falsely as endeavoring to communicate the truth. The success of each depends upon deceiving us about that. But the fact about himself that the liar hides is that he is attempting to lead us away from a correct apprehension of reality; we are not to know that he wants us to believe something he supposes to be false. The fact about himself that the bullshitter hides, on the other hand, is that the truth-values of his statements are of no central interest to him; what we are not to understand is that his intention is neither to report the truth nor co conceal it. This does not mean that his speech is anarchically impulsive, but that the motive guiding and controlling it is unconcerned with how the things about which he speaks truly are.

Since George Carlins seminal monologue on the topic, many commentators have expressed concern that American culture is becoming saturated with bullsh-t. Few have done more to perpetuate this process that Dinesh DSouza, a far-right pundit who once took a stab at academic respectability before going down the rabbit hole of conspiracy theorizing. Some of DSouzas more interesting claims in his latest film Death of a Nation include that Hitler was actually tolerant of LGBTQ people despite many gay Germans being imprisoned in concentration campsand that despite coining the term alt-right, white nationalist Richard Spencer is, in fact,a progressive Democrat. More recently DSouza made headlines forcomparing 16 year old climate activist Greta Thunberg to subjects in Nazi propaganda images. This is particularly ironic givenDSouzas calls earlier this year for Donald Trump to send in the National Guard to put a stop to Antifa on college campuses. When it comes to substantial analysis, DSouzas work is of little interest outsides the cheese value of its brazen bullsh-t, but it is worth pointing to as representative of a broader cultural dynamic. In this article, I will briefly unpack the appeal of such conspiracy theorizing and manic partisanship in post-modern culture, before suggesting how it can be countered.

The Appeal of Conspiracy Theories

The final key to the way I promote is bravado. I play to peoples fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. Thats why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. Its an innocent form of exaggerationand a very effective form of promotion.

Donald Trump, The Art of the Deal

On the surface, it can be difficult to understand the appeal of conspiracy theories and manic partisanship. To come back to Frankfurt, like most bullsh-t claims they are often readily falsifiable with little effort. The hypocrisy is often blatant, and many of us become deeply resentful that anyone would think us gullible enough to buy into them. Yet despite living in a period where it is easier than ever to probe the truth or falsity of conspiracy theorizing and bullsh-t, they are not only persisting, but, in many respects, they are thriving. Part of this may be attributable to declining public trust in traditional sources of epistemic authority. There are repeated polls suggesting that many people no longer trust the media, academics, and politicians to the extent they used to. This creates a knowledge-vacuum, which can be readily filled by politicians like President Trump and pundits such as DSouza who affirm these concerns and suggest the public put its faith in them instead. But pointing to these empirical reorientations doesnt adequately explain why individuals came to distrust conventional epistemic authorities in the first placeor why bullsh-t and conspiracy theorizing become appealing in post-modernity. While part of it may well be a healthy skepticism towards the alleged neutrality of the media, academics and so on, I think the roots run far deeper.

One of the features of post-modernity I have discussed at some length is the collapsing faith in grand or meta-narratives, which provided a unified structure through which individuals interpreted the world. These were often propped up by epistemic authorities, whether one is speaking about the Church or rationalistic liberal academics, who provided an intellectual justification for the overall structure. As put by the French philosopher Jean Francois Lyotard in his classic work The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge:

In contemporary society and culture post-industrial society, postmodern culture the question of the legitimation of knowledge is formulated in different terms. The grand narrative has lost its credibility, regardless of what mode of unification it uses, regardless of whether it is a speculative narrative or a narrative of emancipation.

As faith in this these narratives declined under the pressures of political diversification, growing scientific and philosophical skepticism, and technologically-mediated exposure to the flaws of authority figures, many no longer knew who to trust or believe. This generated a tremendous sense of uncertainty in a world which often appeared increasingly complex and multi-faceted, resisting efforts to assimilate its subtleties within the confines of a new unified structure. Such anxieties were general in nature, but they particularly impacted conservatives and other right leaning individuals, who as Jonathan Haidtput it are frequently more emotionally attracted to order and stability than their liberal counterparts. For progressives, the decline of meta-narratives offered an opportunity for traditionally marginalized or experimental identities to agitate for political reform, given the window opened by collapsing traditionalism. For conservatives attracted to the DSouzas and Trumps of the world it generated a compulsion for a new kind of grand narratives, which would simultaneously help make sense of an ever more chaotic reality while generating an antagonistic responsible for the crisis in epistemic authority.

The paradox of believing in conspiracy theories is thatdespite the distrust and paranoia reflected in themadherents often deeply desire a sense of order in the world. Like the Emperor who thinks hes making a slick deal buying an invisible and weightless pair of clothes, the personality attracted to conspiracy theories thinks he is opting into a more skeptical set of beliefs about the world. However, this often entails accepting even the most transparent bullsh-t. This is because conspiracy theories are, in some ways, an optimistic way of looking at the world. Rather than confronting a world that is chaotic and beyond the purview of human control, negative events can be attributed to an antagonist who is hyper-rational and manipulating everything. The world, then, is no longer a complex and overdetermined assemblage of technological changes, economic forces, and political pressures which have primarily destabilized social identity and national homogeneity. Instead, it is the story of a Democratic Party who wishes to bring in ever more immigrants in order to secure further their grip on power. It isnt a centuries long history of the process of secularization, spearheaded by sophisticated critiques of traditionalist religious worldviews, which has contributed to declining faith. Instead it is campus liberals and theirculture war. It is not that the President tells lies which can be readily disproven; rather it is that the media fact checkers are the enemies of the people. Each of these conspiracy theories have just enough of a veneer of truth to be plausible to those who are primed to believe them. They simultaneously manage to affirm the believer as a victim who is tormented by an oppressive antagonist, while flattering their ego as one of the few who has actually managed to look behind the curtain to grasp the scheme of the puppet masters.

And most importantly a belief in these explanations provides the conspiracy theorist with a sense of security that the world is, in fact, ordered and interpretable according to a grand narrative: one in which there is a shadowy and malicious antagonist opposed by a victimized but growing band of the knowing. Relative to the agonistic dualism of this worldview, the material complexities of 21st century life are quite a bit more frightening. We are increasingly confronted by developments, from man-made climate change on down. Our day-to day-lives are highly determined by economic and social forces which, despite emerging from human activity, seem to transcend ready understanding. Even the most powerful states and figures are readily beholden to these forces, as the 2008 Recession eminently displayed. The decline of essentialist narratives about human nature brings with it the possibility of post-humanism and the potential reconfiguration of the most basic features of our biological identity, while simultaneously time raising serious ethical and empirical questions which allow no easy answers. The conspiracy theorist evades these issues by reducing them to a simplistic agonism which is easily disseminated and understoodsay through hokey documentary films or through bombastic tweets and rhetoric. To invoke Trumps own statements, the appeal of conspiracy bullsh-tor to use its politically correct name truthful hyperboleisnt its facticity. Its instead to give people something spectacular to believe in which helps restore the sense that they understand the world. This takes the place of actually having to epistemically confront complexities.

Conclusion

Nothing in this piece should be taken as suggesting that genuine conspiracies do not existor that all agonistic narratives are predicated on bullsh-t. Much as there are indeed wealthy and powerful individuals who enjoy undue influence over political affairs, there have historically been conspiracies operating on the margins which sought to interfere with the world for nefarious purposes. One could even truly put on the tinfoil hat and speculate about a world where the President of the United State was willing to pardon criminals who say nice things about him. My point here was simply to explain the attraction of such conspiracy theories within post-modernity, particularly to the political right. Figures like Dinesh DSouza and Donald Trump generated significant followings because they catered to a need for epistemic order in an increasingly skeptical and uncertain world. That many of their positions are readily falsified has little to do with this emotional desire; indeed, it can even calcify the beliefs of their adherents. This is characteristic of conspiracy theorizing and bullsh-t in that both can be self-validating, much as the Emperors apparent nudity was only proof that he wore invisible clothes. The absence of evidence confirming the narrative only demonstrates how efficient the conspiracy is in concealing its activities and marginalizing critics, while even the slenderest fact or gossip in its favor is ballooned into incontrovertible proof of the desired claims.

Unfortunately there is no easy way to fight against such self-validating norms, given they are construed to be immunized from criticism. The only possibility is to continue insisting on the complexities of the world, while trying to expose and delegitimize those who sell bullsh-t as through it were holy writ. The one consolation is that the impotent bigness of conspiracy theories, truthful hyperbole, is such that the narrative must always expand to become more self-contradicting and transparently unrealistic as history goes on. No matter how hard one tries to dismiss reality, it has an insistent way of making itself heard. One can only hope that these edifices collapse under their own weight in the fullness of time.

Matt McManus is currently Professor of Politics and International Relations at TEC De Monterrey. His book Making Human Dignity Central to International Human Rights Law is forthcoming with the University of Wales Press. His books, The Rise of Post-modern Conservatism and What is Post-Modern Conservatism, will be published with Palgrave MacMillan and Zero Books, respectively. Matt can be reached at mattmcmanus300@gmail.comor added on Twitter via @MattPolProf.

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Why People Believe in Conspiracy Theories - Merion West

Catholic voice in fiction and fine art poised for new relevance – Crux: Covering all things Catholic

CHICAGO Catholic fiction, poetry and drama are poised for a Renaissance of sorts, according to participants of this years Catholic Imagination Conference Sept. 19-21 at Loyola University Chicago.

Organized under the theme The Future of the Catholic Literary Tradition, the event attracted nearly 500 writers, poets, educators, graduate students and journalists to an examination of the significance of the Catholic voice in contemporary fiction and fine art.

Michael Murphy, director of the Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage at Loyola University, was host for this years biannual conference. Previous conferences took place in 2015 in Los Angeles and in 2017 at Fordham University in New York.

The Hank Center was founded in 2006 to investigate Catholic thought and its links to all academic disciplines. But it was the literary arts, particularly fiction, poetry, drama and film that dominated discussion at the 2019 event.

What is the state of discourses in faith and Christian humanism in a world increasingly described as postmodern, post-Christian, post-religious, Murphy asked in describing some of the inspiration for the conference. How is Catholic thought and practice represented in literature, poetry and cinema?

Interest in the Catholic voice in art surged ahead in 2004 with the appearance of essays in Catholic periodicals bemoaning the lack of meaningful faith-based content in contemporary fiction. Except for small religious publishing houses, Catholic-themed material has had few outlets, especially since the passing of celebrated Catholic writer Flannery OConnor in 1964.

In a December 2013 essay, U.S. poet Dana Gioia wrote that the Catholic voice is heard less often in public conversations informing American culture.

Catholics have lost the power to bring their own best writers to the attention of a broader audience, Gioia said. Today if any living Catholic novelist or poet has a major reputation, that reputation has not been made by Catholic critics but by the secular literary world, often in spite of their religious identity.

The former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, Gioia was one of the driving forces in looking to stem the decline of Catholicism in American letters. He hosted the first Catholic Imagination Conference and was one of the main speakers at this years affair.

The Catholic voice in literature matters in two important ways, Gioia told Catholic News Service. First, it allows Catholics to hear their experience and worldview articulated from their own perspective. Second, it enriches and enlarges American literature by reflecting the lives of its largest religious group. Without a vital Catholic presence, American literature is not merely diminished, but incomplete.

Gioia is excited by the growing interest and enthusiasm for similar Catholic-themed conferences.

Without any doubt, there has been a growing interest and confidence among Catholic writers over the four years since our first conference, he added. They have gradually realized how large and talented their own community is. They no longer feel so isolated and alone.

The energy, intelligence and talent present at this conference left everyone but the hardcore cynics full of optimism for the future of Catholic literature.

Other conference delegates agreed with the need to emphasize the Catholic voice in American fine arts. Robin Hart-Winter, director of the St. Catherine of Siena Center at Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois, said it was refreshing to hear from so many scholars, authors, poets and dreamers at the event.

The Siena Center examines critical issues of church and society in light of faith and scholarship, so the Catholic Imagination Conference is a place I go for inspiration both personally and professionally, Hart-Winter said.

For his part, Murphy believes the Catholic imagination conferences serve as a valuable resource for those concerned with bringing the authentic Catholic voice to fiction and other fine art.

It matters deeply that we keep this alive, he said. In many ways, we are emulating and participating in the precise way that Jesus taught. His was a Catholic imagination if there ever was one. But to teach about the uniqueness of our lives in God precisely through story, narrative art and public oratory is the clue to how important all of this is.

In addition to poetry and fiction readings from authors, the conference featured the presentation of a lifetime achievement award to Paul Mariani, the chair of English studies at Boston College. Mariani is a poet, educator and author of authoritative biographies of several poets including Jesuit Father Gerard Manley Hopkins, Robert Lowell and John Berryman.

The conference also included the presentation of the Hunt Prize for excellence in journalism, arts and letters to poet Mary Szybist, associate professor of English at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon.

Mastromatteo, a Toronto-based writer and editor, writes regularly about Catholic writers for an ongoing CNS series.

Crux is dedicated to smart, wired and independent reporting on the Vatican and worldwide Catholic Church. That kind of reporting doesnt come cheap, and we need your support. You can help Crux bygiving a small amount monthly, or witha onetime gift. Please remember, Crux is a for-profit organization, so contributions are not tax-deductible.

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Catholic voice in fiction and fine art poised for new relevance - Crux: Covering all things Catholic

Good news: Christianity in NZ is fast heading towards extinction – Patheos

LAST year Christians in New Zealand got the hump when Jesus was turfed out of parliament following a decision by the speaker Labours Trevor Mallard to remove all references to Christ in official government prayers.

Although Mallard unfortunately stopped short of banishing prayer altogether God still gets a mention around 1,000 Christians, who labeled him Dishonorable Judas Mallard, descended on parliament to protest the move. Some of the fools are pictured above.

Then earlier this year, New Zealand scrapped its archaic blasphemy law a move welcomed byJolene Phipps, President of Humanists NZ, who stated:

Blasphemy laws have never served a useful or justifiable purpose. Instead they have been used to limit freedom of expression and freedom of religion or belief. Where they exist, blasphemy laws often incite violence rather than prevent it.

Charges of blasphemy are regularly used to persecute political or business rivals or to suppress minority groups. People accused of blasphemy have been stoned or hacked to death, and lawyers and judges intimidated with death threats or killed. We know a number of humanists accused of blasphemy who have sought refuge in New Zealand to escape persecution.

Now the country is back in the news following a report that the number of New Zealanders with no religion has officially surpassed the number of those who call themselves Christian.

Newly released data from the 2018 shows that 48.59 per cent of New Zealanders are not religious up from 41.92 at the 2013 Census.

The number of people identifying with the Christian superstition has fallen from 47.65 per cent in 2013 to 37.31 per cent this year.

In a press release today, Humanists NZ said the numbers suggest its time to re-think the concessions and privileges afforded to Christians.

Christianity has a privileged position in public policy today that is out of step with modern New Zealand. From parliamentary prayers to classrooms closing during the school day so that Christian groups can run religious instruction, the concessions awarded to religious organisations clash with human rights and our concept of a free and fair society.

She added:

In our hospitals, 10 Christian churches get 100 per cent of the funding for chaplaincy, pastoral and spiritual support from the Ministry of Health.

Religious groups are awarded charity status and tax exemptions just for promoting religion.

Non-religious people need more recognition, support, services, and representation. We want to work together to ensure our voices are heard.

For the record, NZs Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, 39, ditched the Mormon faith in her twenties because of its hostility towards gays, and now calls herself an agnostic.

Last year she became the first NZ PM to join a Pride parade in Auckland, as the pic above shows.

The 2018 Census numbers also show rising numbers of people identifying with other religions.

The number of Sikhs has more than doubled, from 19,191 in 2013 to 40,908 in 2018.

The number of those practising Islam has risen from 46,149 in 2013 to 61,455 in 2018.

And the number of Hindus also continues to climb, going from 89,319 in 2013 to 123,534 in 2018.

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Good news: Christianity in NZ is fast heading towards extinction - Patheos

Andrew Coyne: How do you tell a Conservative from a Liberal? Ask an economist – National Post

I believe I was the first to propose the creation of an Economists Party, a political movement that would advocate for the sorts of policies favoured by people who study economics for a living, based on the principles at its core.

It could not happen, of course, any more than the existing parties are likely to suddenly embrace the teachings of economists they have so cheerfully ignored until now, and for the same reason: because politics is, at its core, the opposite of economics.

The basic principle of economics is that everything is scarce. The basic principle of politics is that nothing is scarce. Economics teaches that more of one thing can only be had at the expense of less of another. Politics teaches that we can have more of both things, and of everything else besides.

Since more of one thing means less of another, economics tells us there is no point in favouring one part of the economy over another: the resources diverted to one firm, industry or region are simply resources denied to all the rest. Whereas politics is all about such transfers: a perpetual merry-go-round of redistribution, not from rich to poor, which is appropriate, but from everybody to everybody, which is impossible.

One has to suppose that the current generation of Conservatives feels at least some discomfort at the dogs breakfast they are asked to endorse

And if, for some reason, a politician were to resist this impulse, he would shortly find himself out of work. For whereas the benefits of a given intervention are typically concentrated on this or that group, the costs are spread widely; its beneficiaries, accordingly, have every incentive to organize and agitate on its behalf, while those footing the bill consumers, taxpayers, or both have comparatively little at stake as individuals. They may not even know who they are.

Thus it is that politics inclines, more or less inevitably, to prefer the narrow interest over the broad; producers over consumers; the present over the future. The only difference between the parties is whether this bias to the expedient is dressed up as a philosophy and celebrated as a positive good, or merely yielded to.

In practice this is only really an issue for the Conservative party. If you genuinely believe that scarcity is a myth that deficits, far from a vice, are a virtue; that only cruelty and superstition, and not observation and analysis, prevents governments from substituting their own beliefs for how resources should be allocated for those of people with actual skin in the game then your conscience is clear: muck about all you like.

But Conservatives have occasionally affected some familiarity with economics. For brief periods in the recent past within living memory, at any rate Conservatives have professed to believe in such ideas as balanced budgets, free trade and private ownership; to favour a neutral tax system and broad-based tax cuts over narrowly targeted deductions and credits; to understand how price signals are superior to regulatory edicts as spurs to efficient resource use.

So one has to suppose that the current generation of Conservatives, under first Stephen Harper and now Andrew Scheer, feels at least some discomfort at the dogs breakfast they are asked to endorse as party economic policy.

Where once the party stood for bold, broad tax reform, it now confines itself to a clutch of micro-targeted boutique tax credits, such as for childrens fitness or transit passes: spending programs by another name, of precisely the sort of busy-bodying, social-engineering bent that Conservatives used to disdain, and not very effective even at that. Harper could be faulted for taking the party down this road, but Scheer now proposes to revive the same credits even after their abolition by the Liberals.

Or where the party does get around to proposing more broad-based cuts, it does so in a way calculated to produce the least bang for the buck. It was the GST cuts under Harper; it is the cut to the 15 per cent base rate of personal income tax now. As before, the proposal will cost billions, at the expense, not of spending the party is no longer meaningfully committed to balanced budgets but of the deeper cuts in the middle and top marginal rates that the same money would have bought: the kind of cuts that would actually do the economy some good.

(Wait, cut taxes at the top? Heresy! But much of the benefit of the Tory cut would go to those higher up the income scale they pay the 15 per cent rate, too, on the first $47,630 of their income. Only it would take the form of a windfall, rather than an incentive to higher productivity, inasmuch as it would apply to income they had already earned, rather than to income they were thinking of earning to the next investment, or the next hour worked. Want to help the working poor? Enrich the federal Working Income Tax Benefit, which doesnt go to rich people.)

The news is a little better when it comes to business subsidies. But even as Scheer was announcing he would cut such corporate welfare payments by $1.5 billion annually a fraction of the total he was insisting he would preserve those distributed by the sordid pork-barrel rackets known as the regional development agencies. As for supply management, the state-organized price-fixing rings into which much of Canadian agriculture has been organized, we know where Scheer stands on that.

Which rather makes a mockery of his professed concern to make life more affordable for ordinary Canadians, as in his mulish opposition to the federal carbon tax a tax that, unlike the costs of his own, more regulatory-heavy climate change plan, is refunded to consumers. Once, not so long ago, we might have expected the Conservatives to offer a more market-oriented alternative to the Liberals. But now I guess it will have to fall to the Economists Party.

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Andrew Coyne: How do you tell a Conservative from a Liberal? Ask an economist - National Post

Christian Conservative Politics Are Driving Liberals Out of the Pews – New York Magazine

Many liberals think loving Jesus means loving you-know-who. Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Next door to the parsonage of the small Christian church (Disciples of Christ) congregation, of which I am a member, live a militantly progressive couple who are estranged from their conservative religious upbringing. For years they exchanged pleasantries with the pastor, before stumbling into a political discussion in which they discovered he was not, to their surprise, a right-winger. Oh, I get it: Youre not those Christians, the husband exclaimed. The couple soon became regulars at our church.

I mention this anecdote in connection with new research showing that the political views of conservative Christians notably the militant Christian right composed mostly of white Evangelicals though with some Catholic traditionalists in harness with them are pushing people who strongly disagree with them away from Christianity (or any other religious faith). Amelia Thomson-Deveaux and Daniel Cox explain:

Researchers havent found a comprehensive explanation for why the number of religiously unaffiliated Americans has increased over the past few years the shift is too large and too complex. But a recent swell of social science research suggests that even if politics wasnt the sole culprit, it was an important contributor. Politics can drive whether you identify with a faith, how strongly you identify with that faith, and how religious you are, saidMichele Margolis, a political science professor at the University of Pennsylvania And some people on the left are falling away from religion because they see it as so wrapped up with Republican politics.

This isnt just a hunch, by the way. The data on who is falling away from religion and why is becoming pretty compelling:

[W]hen two sociologists,Michael HoutandClaude Fischer, began to look at possible explanations for why so many Americans were suddenly becoming secular conventional reasons couldnt explain why religious affiliation started to fall in the mid-1990s. Demographic and generational shifts also couldnt fully account for why liberals and moderates were leaving in larger numbers than conservatives.In a paper published in 2002, they offered a new theory: Distaste for the Christian rights involvement with politics was prompting some left-leaning Americans to walk away from religion.

It hasnt helped, of course, that politically active conservative Christians get enormous attention from secular media. It often seems they are the only real Christians, as they so often profess. To the extent that Christianity is identified with hostility to equality for women or LGBTQ folk, it has a particularly lethal effect on younger Americans an effect that snowballs when their parents are secular liberals as well:

Its no coincidence then that the youngest liberals who never lived in a political world before the Christian right are also the most secular. Its very, very unlikely that a kid raised in a nonreligious liberal household would suddenly consider going to church, Margolis said.

A majority of self-identified Democrats, to be sure, are still religiously affiliated (particularly among African-American and Latino Democrats), but the trend toward non-affiliation is strong and unmistakable enough so that the Democratic National Committee passed a resolution this summer proclaiming the partys welcoming attitude toward the nonreligious (a stance Republicans are not about to emulate). The polarizing force of politicized religion got a little bit stronger when the very prominent Trump-loving Baptist minister Robert Jeffress went on Lou Dobbss show on Fox to declare the Democratic Party godless.

This dynamic is obviously troubling to religious folk who are politically progressive, and/or who would like to see religious leaders speak a bit less confidently about what God wants to do. As the New York Times reported recently in a piece on Rutgers Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, some mainline (i.e., non-Evangelical) Protestant churches are trying to get ahead of the curve by appealing to the religiously unaffiliated on the basis of a common commitment to progressive causes:

Sharing a belief in God any God at all isnt necessary. Instead, the community there has been cobbled together by a different code of convictions, pulled in by social justice efforts, activism against climate change, meal programs for the homeless and atask force to help refugee families.

Houses of worship including Christian churches from a range of denominations, as well as synagogues have positioned themselves as potent forces on progressive issues, promoting activism on social justice causes and inviting in the L.G.B.T.Q. community. But religious scholars said that Rutgers was reaching a new frontier where its social agenda in some ways overshadowed its religious one.

You could argue that such pioneers are simply engaged in the time-honored practice of missionary outreach or you might fear they are following their conservative cousins in focusing so much on secular political goals that religion does become secondary. But at least they are helping to challenge the stereotypical Christian right and secular view that if you love Jesus, you must hate gays and legalized abortion and environmental paganism and those sneaky and sinister Muslims. The more non-religiously-affiliated Americans think Robert Jeffress or Mike Pence or (shudder) Donald Trump speak for God in this country, the less likely they will ever darken the door of a church, where it is assumed those Christians are stewing in their cultural pathologies.

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Christian Conservative Politics Are Driving Liberals Out of the Pews - New York Magazine

Liberal pundit tweets daydream of destroying president’s property with car after Trump Plaza incident – Fox News

A liberal commentator admitted on Wednesday that he often thinks about driving his car into Trump Plaza following an incident that took place at a Trump-branded property.

The bizarre admission was made after a car reportedly lost control and plowed through the lobby of a Trump Plaza condominium complex just outside New YorkCityon Tuesday night.

Videos of the crash posted to social media shortly after 9 p.m. show a damaged black Mercedes-Benz inside the marble lobby of the 40-story luxury residential building inNew Rochelle, N.Y., about 18 miles north of Manhattan.

Police told Fox Newsthe driver and two pedestrians suffered non-life-threatening injuries. An investigation is ongoing. Authorities said it is too early to tellif drugs or alcohol were involved. The crash is believed to have been an accident.

MSNBC GUEST SAYS HE WANTS'PITCHFORKS AND TORCHES' OUTSIDE PRO-TRUMP EQUINOX CHAIRMAN'S HOUSE

On the heels of the report, Above the Law executive editor and occasionalMSNBC guest Elie Mystal took to Twitter and saidhe sometimes thinks about doing the same --except it wouldn't have been an accident.

"Real talk: When you come out of the parking lot of this mall/movie theater, you have to sit a red light staring right into this lobby. Ive thought about driving my car through it EVERY TIME. Basic humanity keeps me from doing it, but JUST," Mystal wrote in a Twitter thread flagged by Mediaite. "The view in this picture is exactly the view you have from the stop light. Its a long light. You have a lot of time to ... think."

Mystal went on to speculate that the incident wasn't an "accident," and said that he shouldn't be selected as a juror in the case.

"Anyway, innocent until proven guilty but ... 'accident'doesnt seem likely to me. Maybe thats my own bias. Defense counsel should NOT put me on this guys jury, I know too much," Mystal said, adding a smiley face emoticon.

Last month, Mystal appeared on MSNBC and called for "pitchforks and torches" outside the Hamptons residence of Equinox and SoulCycle chairman Stephen Ross after it became known that he was hosting a fundraiser forPresident Trump.

"I want pitchforks and torches outside this man's house in the Hamptons," Mystal said. "I've been to the Hamptons, it's very nice. There's no reason it has to be. There's no reason he should be able to have a nice little party. There's no reason why people shouldn't be able to be outside of his house and making their voices peacefully understood."

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Mystal has also said Trump supporters should be "destroyed" at the ballot box.

"You don't communicate it to them -- you beat them. Beat them. They are not the majority of this country. The majority of white people in this country are not a majority of the country," Mystal said while appearing onMSNBC's "AM Joy."

"And all the people who are not fooled by this need to come together, go to the polls, go to the protests, do whatever you have to do.You do not negotiate with these people -- you destroy them."

Fox News' Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.

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Liberal pundit tweets daydream of destroying president's property with car after Trump Plaza incident - Fox News

Both the Left and the Right Are Attacking Liberal Democracy – Patheos

Freedom. Rights. Equality. Democracy. Rule of Law. Free Enterprise. These are the tenets of liberal democracy (the word liberal referring not to left-leaning progressivism but to the Latin word for freedom). Most Americans across the political spectrum take these principles for granted. But today liberal democracy is being attacked from both the left and the right.

Despite the alleged polarization of our politics, some conservatives and some liberals are agreeing with each other that our constitutional liberties and system of government (and their equivalent in other parts of the world) are to blame. But, of course, they criticize it for different reasons.

To generalize, the Left is currently frustrated with such constitutional rights as religious liberty, the right to keep and bear arms, and freedom of speech, believing that they give the individual too much latitude and prevent the government from taking collective action to ensure justice for all, including preventing discrimination. Politically, the Left would like to change the Supreme Court, the Electoral College, and tenets of democratic federalism that helped elect Donald Trump. Liberal democracy empowers individuals at the expense of groups and makes for smaller, weaker governments that cannot take effective action against social injustice.

But the Lefts problems with liberal democracy go deeper. Accompanying personal and political freedom is economic freedom, a.k.a., capitalism, which has enabled some individuals to become extremely wealthy and politically influential. This is held to contradict the democratic principle of equality and to allow the wealthy and members of other privileged groups to exercise power over workers, minorities, women, the poor, and other marginalized groups.

Continuing the generalizations, the Right believes that the freedom made possible by liberal democracy undermines the family, destroys communities, and weakens the church and other moral authorities. This side, like the Left, also criticizes free market economics for pursuing profit over the needs of local communities and replacing national interests with economic globalism.

We have blogged about the religious rejection of liberal democracy in the Catholic movement known as integralism, but some political conservatives are also raising doubts about some traditional American principles, suggesting that democracy is too individualistic to promote the common good.

The left-leaning online magazine Voxgives the reasoning from both sides. ReadZack Beauchamp, The anti-liberal moment, with the deck Critics on the left and right are waging war on liberalism. And liberals dont seem to have a good defense. Here are some excerpts:

[From the Left]

Liberalisms core error, in this view, comes from a mistake in its vision of democracy. Liberals support democracy as a matter of principle, believing that individuals have a right to shape decisions that affect their lives in deep and important ways. But liberals curiously excludes parts of economic life from this zone of collective self-determination, seeing the market as a place where people have individual but not collective rights. Liberalism sees nothing wrong with the heads of Amazon and Facebook making decisions that have implications for the entire economy.

So long as capitalists are free from democratic constraint, leftists argue, liberal democracy is on dangerous footing. The super-rich use the power their accumulated wealth provides to influence political life, rearranging policy to protect and expand their fortunes. The rise of neoliberalism is, per thesocialist writer Peter Frase, this process in action: proof that capitalism will invariably corrupt liberalisms promise of freedom and equality.

The rights attack on liberalism is even more sweeping than the lefts.

Conservative anti-liberals question not only freedom in the economic sphere, but the value of pluralistic democracy itself arguing that core liberal ideals about tolerance and equality actually produce an insidious form of tyranny that destroys communities and deadens the human spirit. . . .

Liberalisms foundational premise is that the government must defend liberty: that people should be free to choose their paths in life, and that the states role should first and foremost be protecting and enabling the exercise of this freedom. Conservative critics believe this basic liberal picture is rooted in a false, impoverished view of human life there is not, and never has been, such a thing as freely choosing, autonomous individuals.

Actual people are embedded inside social relations and identities most notably, family, faith, and community without which they lack meaning and purpose. Liberalism elevates the will of the individual at the expense of these pre-political bonds. . . .

For decades now our politics and culture have been dominated by a particular philosophy of freedom, [Missouri Senator Josh] Hawley writes in an essay published byChristianity Today. It is a philosophy of liberation from family and tradition, of escape from God and community, a philosophy of self-creation and unrestricted, unfettered free choice.

The pursuit of profit erodes social ties, creating incentives for people to pursue their self-interest rather than build families or embed themselves in communities. Young people leave their small towns in search of career and meaning in anonymous big cities, destroying the communal ethos that allowed people to feel happy and secure. Rising inequality chips away at the bonds of social solidarity, hollowing out the middle class and placing deep barriers between citizens. . . .

The political project of liberalism is shaping us intoincreasingly separate, autonomous, non-relational selves replete with rights and defined by our liberty, but insecure, powerless, afraid, and alone, [Notre Dame political theorist Patrick] Deneen, probably the sharpest of these conservative anti-liberals, writes in his bookWhy Liberalism Failed.

What do you think about all of this? Have you, for reasons either of the Right or the Left, given up on freedom and democracy? If not, how would you defend these principles against their critics? If so, what alternatives to our current constitutional order do you envision?

Illustration: Democracy Chronicles, Public Domain via Flickr.

Continued here:

Both the Left and the Right Are Attacking Liberal Democracy - Patheos

Challenge to Liberals’ Chinese election signs to go to trial in federal court – The Guardian

Challenges to the election of embattled Liberal MP Gladys Liu and the treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, over allegedly misleading signs at polling booths will go to trial in the federal court.

Justice Michelle Gordon made the direction on Wednesday in the high court, sitting as the court of disputed returns, to move the matter down so it could be dealt with more efficiently.

She said the lower court would be better placed to handle issues over access to information.

Liu and Frydenberg, who hold federal seats in Victoria, are being challenged over controversial signs authorised by the Liberal party that were displayed at polling booths in their electorates of Chisholm and Kooyong on the day of Mays federal election.

They were in the Australian Electoral Commissions official colours of purple and white, had no Liberal branding, did not refer to the Liberal candidates or policies, and were in Chinese.

The translation of the words was: The right way to vote: On the green ballot paper fill in 1 next to the candidate of Liberal Party and fill in the numbers from smallest to largest in the rest of the boxes.

The matter has been taken to court by Oliver Yates, one of the former candidates for Frydenbergs seat for Kooyong, and retired social worker and climate campaigner, Leslie Hall.

At a directions hearing on Wednesday, Lisa De Ferrari SC, acting for Yates and Hall said her side had hoped lawyers for the MPs would agree to hand over information.

But she said it hadnt happened, making it necessary for the court to issue orders to help them get it.

Gordon said the court of disputed returns would not ordinarily deal with such an order, deciding instead it should go to a trial judge at the federal court.

De Ferrari said she believed the other side would be withholding either way.

Theyre going to be combative. Theyre going to be combative in this court, theyre going to be combative in the federal court, she said.

Philip Solomon QC, for Frydenberg and Liu, said his side would make substantial admissions.

It may be that those admissions have the consequences that many of the documentary requests fall away, he told the court.

But he acknowledged that knowledge remained an issue.

Here is the original post:

Challenge to Liberals' Chinese election signs to go to trial in federal court - The Guardian

Liberals delay release of PBO platform costings, say only big ticket pledges will get independent review – The Globe and Mail

Liberal Party leader and Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Sept. 11, 2019.

DAVE CHAN/AFP/Getty Images

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is delaying the release of independent reports on the cost of his promises and will not be submitting all of his election pledges for review by the Parliamentary Budget Officer.

It is the first election campaign in which political parties have the option of submitting potential campaign promises to the PBO in confidence for an analysis of the estimated cost. If the party decides to go ahead with the idea, it can then authorize the PBO to post its analysis online.

The Liberals legislated the new rules after promising the change in their 2015 platform, which said it would help Canadians make informed decisions during elections.

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However, the Liberal campaign team said the party is only submitting big ticket proposals to the PBO for costing. The party is also delaying the release of related PBO reports until the full platform is released because some promises are connected and releasing costing reports individually wouldnt tell the whole story.

By contrast, the Conservative Party is submitting all of their campaign promises for costing by the PBO.

So far, the PBO has posted reports on six Conservative Party campaign announcements and two NDP announcements. The reports summarize each promise and provide an estimate by fiscal year of how the measure would affect Ottawas bottom line. The estimates provide significantly more detail than is commonly found in political party platforms and the figures are regularly quoted by journalists covering the specific announcements.

The PBO has not posted any analysis of Liberal announcements, even though Mr. Trudeau has been touring the country making election promises.

On Tuesday in St. Johns, Mr. Trudeau promised that a re-elected Liberal government would make maternity and parental benefits tax-exempt. When Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer made a similar promise earlier in the campaign, the Conservatives approved the release of the PBOs costing document, which said the measure would reduce federal revenues by more than $1-billion a year once fully implemented.

A Liberal Party news release said the cost of its Tuesday announcement would rise to $1.2-billion by 2023-24. Yet no PBO document was released in relation to the Liberal version of the promise.

We have made use of the Parliamentary Budget Officers new powers to cost political parties platforms. We have used them on a number of our platform announcements that will be forthcoming, Mr. Trudeau said when asked why the Liberals have not released a related costing document by the PBO.

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We know its important for Canadians to have an objective review of the cost of various platforms and I can assure you that the Parliamentary Budget Officer has been very much engaged by the Liberal Party on a number of elements within our platform costing and when our full platform costing comes out in the coming weeks, that will be abundantly clear.

The PBO is an independent office staffed by researchers and economists that reports to Parliament on a wide range of issues related to government spending and economic trends.

The Liberals changes to the Parliament of Canada Act that gave the PBO these new powers clearly states that once a costed-promise has been made public, the PBO should release its costing document as soon as possible. In practice, the PBO has released other costing documents on the same day they were announced.

In an e-mail to The Globe and Mail, Yves Giroux, the PBO, said that for a costing report to be posted to the PBO website, two requirements must be met. Firstly, the party must submit its request for costing, and secondly, the party must notify the PBO that the policy has been announced and the costing can be released.

Until both conditions are satisfied, we cannot post, he said. Given the confidentiality rules under our electoral proposal costing mandate, I can unfortunately not say anything further.

The PBOs website also states that its mandate is to cost individual policy promises and not entire party platforms.

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The PBO will prepare each estimate independently, so the PBO will not consider the consequences that a partys proposal may have for the financial cost of its other proposals, the office states in its written guidelines.

Conservative Party spokesman Simon Jefferies said all of Mr. Scheers campaign promises will be costed by the PBO.

Justin Trudeau and the Liberals should be up front and honest with Canadians and release their costing as they make their platform commitments, he said in an e-mail. Its starting to look they have something to hide and are preparing a document dump days before election day."

Mr. Jefferies also accused Mr. Trudeau of being cagey as to whether or not all of the Liberal Partys promises will be vetted by the PBO.

"This begs the question, why? Did they not get an answer they were looking for from the PBO? he asked.

The Conservative Party had initially expressed reservations about participating in the PBO process out of concern that promises could potentially be leaked. However, the party decided to submit its promises to the PBO after receiving personal assurances from Mr. Giroux about the measures the office would take to keep information secret until it is released.

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NDP spokeswoman Mlanie Richer noted in an e-mail that her party was the first to approve the release of a PBO costing report. She said the NDP is working with the PBO on many of its commitments, but declined to say whether all NDP promises were costed.

What we are concerned about is that Mr. Trudeau has not been clear about where he is going to get the funds to pay for his promises," she said.

Read more here:

Liberals delay release of PBO platform costings, say only big ticket pledges will get independent review - The Globe and Mail

Can the Liberal Democrats turn momentum into votes? – The Independent

It seemsthe sky is the limit for the Liberal Democrats at the moment, as unbridled optimism sweeps overthe partys annual gathering.

After years in the wilderness, the Lib Dems are on the up and they are clearly feelingjubilant.

Chuka Umunna, one of the partys recent converts, claimed itcould win 200 seats in the next election, while Jo Swinson, the Liberal Democrat leader, said she was aiming for a slightlymore moderate100 seats.

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Thepartys ranks were bolstered by former Tory MP Sam Gyimah on Saturday, who became the sixth MP to defect to the Liberal Democrats in recent months.

He joins ex-Conservatives Sarah Wollaston and Phillip Lee, as well as former Labour MPs Luciana Berger, Umunna and Angela Smith in moving over to Jo Swinsonsnewly energisedparty.

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But it remains to be seen whether this momentum can be turned into votes at an early general election.

Recent opinion polls tend to put the Lib Dems in third place behind the Tories and Labour, with the latest survey by Opinium putting the party on 16 per cent.

If the party wants to make serious gainsit will need to consolidate the Remain vote, which has been fragmented since the referendum.

The Lib Dems unashamed support for Remain has contrasted positively with Labours equivocation. ButJeremy Corbyns party is nowshifting towards a more pro-EU position.

So Swinson has gone even harder, telling the party faithful in Bournemouth that the Lib Dems would revoke Article 50 without a referendum if she was inDowning Street.

The move has caused fury amongBrexiteers, who deem it undemocratic, as well as ripples of concern among advocates for a Final Say referendum.

But Swinson is gamblingthis will play well for her Europhile base. The Opinium poll found55 per cent of Remain voters supported cancelling Brexit, and only 26 per cent support extending the Brexit negotiations and putting a revised deal to a public vote.

The pledge is designed to offer a distinctive message from Labour,in advance of its annual conference in Brighton this weekend.

Labour has already shifted towards supporting a referendum on any deal and pro-EU activists will be piling the pressure on Corbyn to commit to campaigning for Remain.

The problem for the Lib Dems will be transforming the energy and optimism into Westminster seats.

Veteran pollster Sir John Curtice said there wereonly 22 constituencies where the Lib Dems came within 25 points of the winning candidate in 2017, which he himself describes as a generous definition ofa marginal seat.

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Of these seats, plenty were in Leave areas and would involve taking on the Tories, who are starting to hoover up the Brexit Party vote.

The Lib Dems and Labour could end up scrabbling over the same voters in pro-EU areas leaving the way clear for the Conservatives.

An upcoming election will undoubtedly be a Brexit election, but the Lib Dems will want to think carefully about what else they stand for, if they want to win big.

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Can the Liberal Democrats turn momentum into votes? - The Independent

A Liberal fight in Conservative Alberta what this election could mean to you – Global News

The campaign trail is always a long and tiring one. For federal Liberals in Alberta, it might also be an uphill climb.

Amarjeet Sohi is one of three Liberals in the province running for re-election. On a sunny evening, just days into the fall campaign, Sohi knocks on doors in his Edmonton-Mill Woods constituency, asking many of the people who answer just one question.

Im here to ask you if I am living up to your expectations as your member of Parliament, he asks.

READ MORE: A really tight race: Conservatives, Liberals locked in dead heat, Ipsos poll says

Sohi hopes to hear support he needs it. In 2015, he beat Conservative Tim Uppal by a mere 92 votes. Four years later, the incumbent faces the same challenger but under different circumstances.

Watch below: In this election edition of Alberta Matters, Fletcher Kent looks at the forecast for Alberta ridings and what poll results mean for Liberal incumbents and voters too.

Economic pain in Alberta, coupled with pipeline delays, have plagued the federal Liberals on the Prairies and Sohi has been the point man on the pipeline file. Since last July, he has been the Minister of Natural Resources.

Some of the answers he gets to his living up to your expectations question focuses on that anger.

Absolutely we hear concerns around pipelines, but we understand in order to move forward on large energy projects, we need to fix the process, Sohi says.

I have been having these conversations for the last four years, so these conversations are nothing new.

Sohi is one of three Liberal MPs in Alberta running for re-election. Hes joined by Edmonton-Centres Randy Boissonnault and Calgary-Centres Kent Hehr.

On the same day as Sohi is doorknocking, Hehr also navigates his community and talks to voters. At one door, he begins explaining the federal carbon tax and how it puts a price on carbon.

For what purpose though? asks the voter. Hehr brings up climate change and the voter is dismissive, saying the entire economy and a lot of political parties are scaring people with climate change.

READ MORE: Alberta Premier vows to campaign to keep federal Liberals from second term

Despite discussions like this, Hehr paints a rosy picture of his campaign so far.

This is my fourth election running as a Liberal in this city, he says. I can say I have never had it better on the doors. [Ive] never felt better about a campaign, never raised as much money, never had as many volunteers.

His Conservative opponent, Greg McLean, doubts any of that will translate to votes for Liberals.

A lot has changed in four years. People have actually seen what electing a Liberal government has done, McLean says. To give them another four years, I think, would be a travesty.

Not surprisingly, McLeans colleague (and Sohis rival) Tim Uppal says hes hearing the same thing from his Edmonton constituents.

Im talking to a lot people who did support the Liberals or Amarjeet Sohi in the last election who are now saying, You know what? We are just so frustrated with Justin Trudeau. So many people are saying, Forget it. Were voting for change this time and were going to vote Conservative.'

READ MORE: Edmonton a key battleground in 2019 federal election: political scientist

Clearly, voter assessments from the candidates are unscientific, at best. Thats where Faron Ellis comes in. He teaches at Lethbridge College and his students conduct polling.

The most recent poll shows Conservative support in Alberta exceeding 70 per cent. But even the political scientist says you dont need science to understand this election.

The results in Alberta are pretty much predetermined, Ellis says.

All the incumbent Liberals are going to have a tough time retaining their seats, and I wouldnt be surprised at all it its a Conservative sweep.

Its conceivable [Justin Trudeau] might be wiped out in Saskatchewan as well. It might not be just Alberta, there may be two provinces where Liberals have no elected representation.

What that could mean to Albertans depends largely on who wins the election.

The same polls that say Alberta will reject the Liberals also say the party could hang on to power nationally.

A re-elected Justin Trudeau is going to have a very difficult job getting an Alberta voice around the cabinet table, Ellis says.

Minimal regional cabinet representation wouldnt be a first for Alberta.

For most of the governments led by Jean Chrtien, there were only two Alberta MPs.

In 1980, when Justin Trudeaus father Pierre Trudeau beat Joe Clark, no Liberals were elected west of Manitoba. In order to get regional representation in cabinet, the elder Trudeau appointed Alberta senators to his cabinet.

Clark did the same thing in 1979 when his crop of PC MPs included only one from Quebec.

Justin Trudeau might have a difficult time following that parliamentary practice if he loses a number of his western MPs. There are no more Liberal senators and Trudeau has only appointed Independents.

Ellis points out that a minority government is also a possibility. Depending on the size of the minority, a strong showing from the Green Party could lead to a scenario where a Liberal government, propped up by the Green Party, is working to build the Trans-Mountain pipeline and no Albertans are at the cabinet table.

The outcome will be hugely significant, Ellis says.

READ MORE: Analysis: A Scheer victory does not guarantee carbon tax repeal

However, the possible scenarios for Albertans arent limited to ones involving a Liberal government.

If the Conservatives win nationally, Ellis points out Andrew Scheer would have plenty of Alberta-based cabinet options from which to choose.

Id be very surprised if Michelle Rempel is not in a Conservative cabinet, he says.

Ellis says Edmonton-Wetaskiwins Mike Lake could be another consideration, or Ron Liepert from Calgary-Signal Hill. Liepert hasnt been around federal politics for long but he served in Albertas provincial cabinet.

Ellis also says there may be room for some young faces like Michael Cooper or Garnett Genuis. He also points out that the party has seen a lot of turnover since Stephen Harper lost in 2015. Only nine candidates from the Harper years remain.

It is unlikely many of the candidates are thinking much about their cabinet chances.

There are still five weeks of campaigning left, five more weeks of doorknocking and debating with the hopes of attracting a few more voters.

At this point, the Conservatives and the Liberals both say theyre feeling pretty confident about their chances in Alberta.

History has shown Canadians a couple of things: First, polls done early havent always proven accurate; second, campaigns matter, perhaps even this year in Alberta.

2019Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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A Liberal fight in Conservative Alberta what this election could mean to you - Global News

2 Montreal-area campaigns file police complaints after swastikas painted on signs – CBC News

Two Montreal-area riding associations filedpolice complaints Monday after several of their campaign signs were defaced with swastikas.

The Liberal riding association of Hochelaga, in east-end Montreal, contacted police when they found the Nazi symbol spray-painted on at least six signs for candidateSoraya Martinez Ferrada, aformer city councillor.

Deputy campaign manager Lionel Fritz Adimi spent Monday morning removing themand plans to hand them overto police as evidence.

The signs werevandalized to include a swastika over the Liberal logoand a mark that looks like a bullet hole on the candidate's head.

Adimihas worked on several campaigns and says he expected some of Ferrada's signs to be vandalized. But he said the campaign decided to file a police complaint because of the hateful nature of the graffiti.

"Such hate doesn't have a place in Canadian politics," he said. "Everyone should call out such actions."

In Pierrefonds-Dollard, at least three campaign signs belonging to Conservative candidateMariamIshakwere also defaced withswastikas.

Helen Thibault, a spokespersonfor Ishak's campaign, said they began noticing the vandalized signs on Sunday. They too filed a police complaint on Monday.

"There's just no room for hate in the community of Pierrefonds-Dollard, nor is there room for hate in any community across Canada. We need to be better than this," she said.

It's not clear whether either candidate was specifically targeted; neither is Jewish.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs issued a statement decrying the signs.

"Defacing election signs is illegal and anti-democratic. Using swastikas is particularly egregious," it wrote on Twitter.

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2 Montreal-area campaigns file police complaints after swastikas painted on signs - CBC News

Lone Sask. Liberal Ralph Goodale facing challenge to keep election streak alive – CBC.ca

Ralph Goodale is an anomaly.

For 26 straight years, he has been the representative in parliament for Regina Wascana often the lone splash of red on an electoral map covered in Tory blue with sprinkles of NDP orange.

So how is Goodale able to keep winning?

"It's not a Liberal riding, it's a Goodale riding for sure," said David Herle, a political strategist and pollster.

"There are 14 federal ridings in Saskatchewan. In [2011]half of all the people in Saskatchewan who voted for the Liberal Party voted for Ralph."

Goodale has won eight straight elections, starting in 1993.Before the current election period began, he was tied as the third-longest-serving active MP. Hewas first elected to Parliament in 1974 at age 24.

"I had no intention for this to be a long-term endeavour,"Goodale said.

"But at the same time it never occurred to me in that first election back in Assiniboia in 1974 that I might lose. As it turns out, we won."

The initial win would be followed, though, bya string of losses for more than a decade.

Now seeking a ninth straight election victory,Goodale faces familiar criticisms of western abandonment by Ottawa and a motivated Conservative challenger inMichael Kram, who Goodale defeated in the 2015 election.

None of this has him considering leaving politics. He said that decision will be made by his constituents.

"Voters always ultimately have the final decision. Never assume you're entitled to a vote. Go over there and earn it," Goodale said.

After his breakthrough in 1974, Goodale lost in federal elections in 1979 and 1980, after which hemoved to provincial politics and lost a provincial byelection in Estevan.

Goodale became Saskatchewan Liberal Party Leader in 1981 and was again defeated in the 1982 provincial election. Four years later, he won the party's only seat in the legislature. In 1988, he would step down to seek a federal seat, only to lose in that year's election.

If you're keeping score that'stwo wins and five losses at the polls in 14 years.

"I had the humbling experience of writing Ralph Goodale's political obituary in 1988,"said Dale Eisler, a former Regina Leader-Post journalist.

"I figured having lost federally three times and provincially twice and then resigning after winning provincially, there were no other avenues open. But of course, I underestimated Ralph."

Eisler referred to Goodale's lonely years as provincial Liberal leader to a "long-distance runner."

He recalls Goodale "sitting in the Speaker's gallery day in, day out for question period. The one that didn't have a seat in the legislature."

Before he made his way back to Ottawa, Goodale's executive assistant wasJason Kenney now the premier of Alberta.

To keep his political career alive,Goodale had to win the party's nomination in 1993 for the riding of Regina Wascana.

For help, he called on David Herle, who first worked forGoodale in 1980 as a volunteer on his byelection bid in Estevan.

"He's my first mentor in politics," saidHerle, who went on to run campaigns for Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin.

"Without him, I wouldn't have had the life in politics that I've had. He trusted me at a very young age. He's a remarkable mentor."

In 1993,Herle came back from Ontario to help Goodalewinthe Regina Wascana nomination against well-known Regina lawyer Tony Merchant.

"It was the biggest nomination that Saskatchewan had had in quite some time,"said Herle.

Merchant sold more memberships, he said, but Goodale had more supporters show up in the end.

"It was the people that were determined to elect Ralph that made the difference."

This fall, Goodale is in for another battle.

He is facingan anti-Liberal sentiment in the Western Canada, a billboard campaign, and criticism of his party's energy policies most notably the carbon tax.

He's also faced pointed criticism from Premier Scott Moe over pool projects in Regina.

And for the first time in his 26-year run, Goodale has an opponent taking a run at him in a second straight election.

"I'm starting to feel optimistic. The feedback I'm getting this time has been very positive compared to four years ago," said Regina Wascana Conservative candidate Michael Kram.

Goodale beat Kramby 10,000 votes in 2015.

"You have to reapply for your job every four years, and just because you won 10 or 20 years ago doesn't mean you'll win this time around."

Kram says he has heard "many people" on the doorstep tell him they have voted for Goodale in the past but are switching their vote to the Conservative Party this time.

Herle, though, saysthe seat is the Liberal "beachhead" in Saskatchewan.

"Ralph Goodale is one of the most talented people in the government. It would be a terrible blow for the government to lose him," he said.

University of Regina political studies professor Jim Farney thinks Goodale is in for a bigger challenge this year.

"I would guess that the race is going to be closer than it was last time, but that kind of name recognition the 30 years of networking in public service is probably going to see another Goodale victory," hesaid.

Goodale said he will ignore polls.

"I always assume you're 100 votes behind and you've got to go find those 100 extra supporters," he said.

"You're always working at the task of earning support."

Goodale has faced anti-government sentiment before,including in 2011, when the Liberals won the lowest number of seats in their history.

"Any Liberal who was able to survive the 2011 election is one of the safest Liberals in the country," said CBC polling analyst ric Grenier.

The other candidates in Wascana are Hailey Clark (NDP), Tamela Friesen (Green Party) and Mario Milanovski (People's Party of Canada).

Since 1993,a second LiberalMP has been elected in Saskatchewan on two occasions.

"Most Canadians vote for parties first and they'll pay attention to who their representative is after. I think with Ralph, it's the other way around. It's a really deep personal connection," the U of R's Farney said.

"He represents the party people in Saskatchewan don't like and after 40 years, he's more popular than he ever was before," agreed Herle.

"In his own constituency, they refer to 'Goodale Liberals,'"said Eisler.

"So these are people who maybe aren't Liberals in the sense of strong adherence to the Liberal Party of Canada, but they feel a real sort of commitment to Goodale because they see him as a competent and credible guy."

Eisler added Goodale is seen around Regina at events and has given the city a voice at the cabinet table.

"There are some MPs I've seen over time that have, once they got elected moved to Ottawa and then went back to their riding when they wanted to," Goodale said.

"Your approach has to be the other way around. I've always lived in Regina Wascana. I go to Ottawa when I have to."

Goodale, who turns 70 two weeks before election day, said he is motivated by seeing policy through. He highlighted his support for the "Big Dig,"which deepened Regina's Wascana Lake, and a newer proposal to have Lake Diefenbaker linked to the Qu'Appelle Valley river system.

"There's always a new challenge," Goodale said. "There's always a new issue to be tackled or problem to be solved."

Goodale's latest challenge will come when Canadians vote on Oct. 21.

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Lone Sask. Liberal Ralph Goodale facing challenge to keep election streak alive - CBC.ca

The Liberals set up a debates commission, and now theyre benefitting from it – The Globe and Mail

Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer was caught off guard this week when he learned that Maxime Bernier, the former Tory who fell out with Mr. Scheer last year and launched a new right-wing party, had suddenly been invited to two major coming leaders debates.

The decision was made by the Leaders Debates Commission, a body created and chosen by the Trudeau government and given the mandate to organize two televised debates one in French and and one in English during every federal general election.

For Mr. Scheer, something didnt smell right.

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Its no big surprise that Justin Trudeaus hand-picked debate panel [justified] Mr. Berniers attendance at the debate," his press secretary, Daniel Schow, said in a statement.

Mr. Scheers charge of favouritism is partly self-serving. It is also understandable. Until Monday, he thought he would be facing off against Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau in two five-person debates that would also include NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and Bloc Qubcois Leader Yves-Franois Blanchet.

Now, he will also have to share the stage with a man leading a marginal party purpose-built to steal votes from his candidates. The presence of Mr. Bernier may give the Peoples Party of Canada Leader a last-minute boost in credibility, which would hurt the Conservatives and help the Liberals.

Given that the Leaders Debates Commission was created unilaterally by the Liberal government, which set its criteria and named its lead commissioner, the charge that Mr. Trudeaus hand-picked debate panel" is playing politics will resonate with Conservative voters.

Their suspicions could further be buttressed by the thinking used by the commission in its decision to include Mr. Bernier in the debates.

The commission originally told Mr. Bernier in August that he wasnt invited, as his party failed to satisfy at least two of three criteria established by the (Liberal) order-in-council creating the debates commission: It had candidates in more than 90 per cent of the ridings, but it isnt represented in Parliament by an MP who was elected as a member of the PPC, and the commission saw no evidence it would be able to elect more than one candidate in October.

But the commission also gave Mr. Bernier the opportunity to change its mind, by naming ridings where he believed PPC candidates had a legitimate shot.

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Mr. Bernier named five ridings, including his own and two ridings where the PPC candidates are former Conservative MPs. He also pointed to Etobicoke North, where his star candidate is Renata Ford, the widow of former Toronto mayor Rob Ford.

The commission then did polling in those ridings and found that anywhere between 25 per cent and 34 per cent of those surveyed were at least considering voting PPC. Based on that, and on Mr. Berniers social-media activity, his media profile and his standing as a former cabinet minister, the commission changed its mind and ruled that the PPC has a legitimate chance of electing more than one candidate.

However, what the PPC candidates in question are much more likely to do is split the Conservative vote in those ridings, thereby opening the door to the Liberals. That means the PPC is, in fact, unlikely to meet the criteria for debate participation.

The bottom line is that there are serious problems with the Leaders Debate Commission.

Its not the commissions criteria; the question of who should be invited to a leaders debate is inherently subjective. The problem is that those criteria were unilaterally set by the Trudeau government. Its not a great look.

The goal was the establishment of an independent body to organize televised leaders debates and put an end to partisan bickering over who would attend what and when. Instead, compared with 2015, there will be fewer debates this time partly because Mr. Trudeau is using the commissions two official debates as cover for avoiding debates organized by independent groups.

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And now, a last-minute change in the attendees list, based on the subjective interpretation of various factors, and which appears to favour the Liberal Party, has raised doubt about the commissions independence.

The Leaders Debate Commission might have been a good idea in theory, but it is failing its first real-world test. It should not survive the election in its current form.

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The Liberals set up a debates commission, and now theyre benefitting from it - The Globe and Mail

Liberals to re-record French version of campaign theme song after hitting sour note – CBC News

Are the Liberals removing one hand for tomorrow?

That's what some say the new French-language version of the federal party's theme songimplies.

The English version of One Hand Up, recorded by The Strumbellas, goes, "We can hold one hand up for tomorrow. We can hold one hand up to the stars."

In French, the same line translates as:"On lve une main haute pour demain. On lve une main haute aux toiles."

But instead of "on lve," which means "we raise," some say they hear "enlve," which means to remove.

While that misunderstanding may boil down to mispronunciation, other parts of the song make little sense in French, critics say.

"Google Translate does not sing," one Twitter user, Lyne Labrche, wrote toLiberal Leader Justin Trudeau on Sunday.

"I repeat, Google Translate does not sing."

The criticism appears to have had an effect. The Liberals said early Monday they are planning to record a new version of the song.

The song first appearedin English on the Ontario band's Rattlesnake album released earlier this year.

The French version of the song, posted in a short video clip to social media by the Liberals, has been viewed more than 100,000 times since it was released Sunday morning.

The Liberals say it was translated by the band for the campaign.

MNA Gatan Barrette, a member of the Quebec Liberal Party, slammed the song on Twitter.

"I listened to it a dozen times and I have not yet understood all the lyrics," he wrote, calling it a "very bad French translation that is very, very, very embarrassing."

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Liberals to re-record French version of campaign theme song after hitting sour note - CBC News

Trans privilege: Liberal media sugarcoats the story of a transgender employee harassing a conservative customer – Washington Examiner

Guess what happens when an employee randomly harasses a customer and throws them out of the store without cause? The employee gets fired, that's what. And everyone, or at least everyone sensible, agrees that they deserve it.

Unless, of course, that employee is transgender. Then, as intersectionality demands, special rules apply. The progressive and LGBT media cover the incident in a way that implies the trans employee's actions were righteous, so long as the person they targeted was a conservative.

Or at least, thats how NBC News and the Hill bizarrely decided to spin the story.

You'd sooner expect such coverage from Pink News and Queerty the latter's framing was the most egregious, painting the employee as essentially a hero who ripped into a bigot. But all of these news outlets essentially acquiesced to this same narrative.

Heres what really happened: A belligerent employee, who just coincidentally happened to be transgender, harassed and targeted a customer without cause, just because she disliked that customers private political beliefs. The liberal medias framing of the story clearly implies that the firing had something to do with the employees transgender identity, when it clearly did not.

The transgender employee, Natalie Weiss, approached a regular customer, whom she recognized as a socially conservative activist, and said You are f---ing bigoted trash, and we do not want you in our restaurant. Over 80% of the people who work here are queer. You are not f---ing wanted in our restaurant, so get out and dont come back, as reported by the Washington Examiner.

Naturally, the cafe fired Weiss. In a statement, the shop owner said The employee was fired almost immediately ... while we're proudly liberal personally ... let it be known that we would *never* condone treating a customer this way."

Frankly, this should never have been news. If the employee in question had not been a transgender person, its likely that none of the progressive outlets would have even reported this development, let alone reported it in a sympathetic light. Only because it suits a broader, left-wing narrative of supposedly rampant anti-transgender employment discrimination was it reported.

The fact that anyone could think the transgender employee was in the right here is mind-blowing but unfortunately not surprising. Its consistent with the identitarian Lefts new mantra: Those who dissent from progressive orthodoxy on gender ideology arent just wrong, their very beliefs constitute an act of violence. When "thoughtcrime" becomes an act of violence, harassment and even actual violent retaliation are merely justifiable acts of self-defense.

This, not a fully justified firing at a random cafe, is the concerning development thats truly worth reporting on here.

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Trans privilege: Liberal media sugarcoats the story of a transgender employee harassing a conservative customer - Washington Examiner

Democrats must engage foreign policy to preserve liberal world order | TheHill – The Hill

Many of the Democratic presidential candidates rightly have called for more humane treatment of asylum seekers at Americas border and challenged President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump conversation with foreign leader part of complaint that led to standoff between intel chief, Congress: report Pelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' Trump to withdraw FEMA chief nominee: report MOREs demonization of Hispanic immigrants. Many have agreed on the need for comprehensive immigration reform that would offer a path toward citizenship for illegal immigrants already residing in the U.S. A few have advocated foreign aid for Central America.

However important, such proposals fail to address the massive problems of poverty, violence and war intensifying with climate change that drive people to flee so many countries. Meanwhile, the Wests rising nationalism, fueled by protectionist and nativist responses to the wave of refugees arriving from the Middle East and North Africa, threatens the Western heartland of the liberal international order. Addressing that source of danger is an immediate challenge.

The Democratic candidates would do well to remember that, as the world descended into the horrors of World War II, Franklin Roosevelt offered a pragmatic internationalist vision that supplanted the isolationism of the original America First movement, setting the stage for post-war policies that long prevented the return of right-wing populism and fascism. Those policies resolved a massive post-war refugee crisis by rebuilding war-ravaged countries and creating millions of jobs.

Democrats need to reclaim the soul of their party by upholding the core human rights values associated with Americas rise to world leadership. That vision can be traced to Roosevelts 1941 State of the Union address, when he famously affirmed the Four Freedoms freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want and freedom from fear to counter the anti-liberal regimes that launched a world war.

Those principles provided a crucial underpinning for European stabilization and recovery as FDRs vision was translated into practical plans: the United Nations, Bretton Woods, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Marshall Plan and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), forged as integrated components of the emerging international liberal order.

FDR and his post-war successors well understood that economic prosperity and liberal values should be sustained at home and abroad. Absent such a comprehensive vision from the Democratic Partys nominee, Trump will come out looking like an international expert by comparison. It will not be enough to challenge his boasts about defeating ISIS, restoring foreigners respect for America and cutting deals to Americas advantage all reinforced by insiders accounts of his personal talks with foreign leaders.

Meanwhile, renewed social unrest is brewing in the Middle East and North Africa, and in particular Algeria and Sudan. Refugees are fleeing a resurgent ISIS; the bombing of Syrian cities by Bashar al-Assads regime with support from Russias Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinTrump's 'soldier of fortune' foreign policy Feehery: Impeachment fever bad for Democratic governing vision Taliban travels to Moscow after Trump declares talks dead MORE; and ongoing wars in Yemen and Libya. Western isolationism and fatigue are becoming increasingly dangerous. If Democrats continue to turn inward, overlooking the weakening international liberal order, their failure will only feed what has become a vicious cycle of isolationism and insecurity.

In the Middle East, there is simply no alternative but to address the regions problems at their source. Democrats should issue a clarion call for comprehensive solutions. Antidotes to right-wing populism and the rise of fascism, fed by the refugee crisis and widening economic inequity, would include confronting the failures of past Western policies toward the region, learning from historically successful endeavors, and promoting the full spectrum of human rights.

This is no chimera, as there are positive developments that have fallen below the radar of political campaigns. For example, high-level conversations are occurring, particularly in the Arab Gulf, toward expanding regional economic integration to include modern transportation networks, new financial structures and a commitment to renewable energy across a sundrenched region. These plans could be extended to address the needs of the millions of Syrian refugees displaced to Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, along with the regions massive unemployment.

As regional powers grow weary of the brutal, financially draining and unwinnable proxy wars driving the refugee crisis, Western leadership guided by liberal values can help provide sustainable solutions. These would include prioritizing efforts aimed at rapprochement between Iran and the Arab Gulf states in Syria and Yemen. More immediately, Western engagement could build on todays strengthening security cooperation between Israel, Jordan and Egypt by promoting economic development and other human rights for Palestinians, thereby addressing one underlying source of their conflict with Israel.

The Middle East desperately needs American and Western assistance to advance the interlinked human rights preconditions for longstanding stability. The viability of Western democracy, in turn, needs a peaceful Middle East as an essential step toward halting the global refugee crisis. To rebuild the international liberal order, the Democrats should embrace practical human rights proposals, rather than be complicit through disengagement.

The world will either move forward toward unity and widely shared prosperity, cautioned Roosevelt, or it will move apart. The stakes are too high, and the world cannot afford to lose.

Micheline Ishay is a distinguished professor at the University of Denver and director of the International Human Rights Program in its Josef Korbel School of International Studies. She is the author of The Levant Express: The Arab Uprisings, Human Rights and the Future of the Middle East (Yale University Press, August 2019).

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Democrats must engage foreign policy to preserve liberal world order | TheHill - The Hill

The Liberal Democrats oppose another Scottish independence vote its hypocrisy of the highest order – The Independent

Liberal Democrat opposition to the holding of a second referendum on Scottish independence is more than a little bizarre.

While the party calls for a second EU vote on the one hand, it then notes opposition to the holding of a second independence referendum on the other. This would be the case even if the SNP on its own or with the Greens winan outright majority in the Scottish parliament elections on a platform of holding another such vote.

The logic that somehow people should be allowed another say on Brexit but not on Scottish independence smacks of hypocrisy of the highest order.

From 15p 0.18 $0.18 USD 0.27 a day, more exclusives, analysis and extras.

It appears that the Liberal Democrats are neither liberal or democratic.

Alex OrrEdinburgh

Protesters dressed as the Incredible Hulk and Robocop outside the Supreme Court in London where judges are due to consider legal challenges to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament. The Supreme Court will hear appeals over three days from two separate challenges to the prorogation of Parliament brought in England and Scotland

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Farmer Tom Hoggard harvests pumpkins at Howe Bridge Farm in Yorkshire, ahead of Halloween

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Team Europe celebrate winning the Solheim Cup at Gleneagles in Auchterarder, Scotland. Europe won the last three singles matches to claim victory 14-13

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Sunset at St Mary's Lighthouse in Whitley Bay

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Activists from PETA stage a demonstration outside a venue during London Fashion Week in London, Britain

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Australia's Marnus Labuschagne attempts to stop a boundary in the fifth Test

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Storm clouds gather over the pier just off the North East coast at South Shields

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The peloton rides past the Angel of the North during stage four of the Tour of Britain from Gateshead to Kendal

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A penny farthing cyclist rides past St. John's, Smith Square, Westminster, London

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Australia celebrate the wicket of England's Craig Overton, which meant they won the fourth test and retained the Ashes

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Manchester City celebrate after Caroline Weir scored during their Women's Super League match against Manchester United at Etihad Stadium. The WSL attendance record was smashed with 31,213 people watching the first Manchester derby of Womens Super League era nearly six times the previous WSL record

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A bull bumps into a plain clothes police officer (left) while being walked by Prime Minister Boris Johnson during his visit to Darnford Farm in Banchory near Aberdeen. It coincided with the publication of Lord Bew's review and an announcement of extra funding for Scottish farmers

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon cuts the hair of David Torrance MSP raising 1000 for the charity Maggie's Centre in Kirkcaldy at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh

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Australia's David Warner looks dejected after being dismissed by England's Stuart Broad during day one of the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford in Manchester

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Anti Brexit demonstrators attend a protest at Parliament Square. Lawmakers returned from their summer recess Tuesday for a pivotal day in British politics as they challenged Prime Minister Boris Johnson's insistence that the UK leave the European Union on 31 October, even without a withdrawal agreement to cushion the economic blow

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Set building begins on Waterloo Place in Edinburgh ahead of filming for Fast and Furious 9

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Members of the Royal Southern Yacht Club and the Island Sailing Club take part during the annual cricket match between the clubs, which takes place on the Bramble Bank sandbank in the middle of the Solent at low tide

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Anti-Brexit protesters demonstrate at Whitehall in London

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One of the iconic 'Girl with Balloon' artworks by anonymous street artist Banksy is carried near one of the original locations the artwork appeared at on the Southbank in London

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The sun rises over the sculpture "The Couple" by artist Sean Henry, at Newbiggin-by-the-sea in Northumberland

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A person wearing a Boris Johnson 'head' digs a grave at the foot of a tombstone during a protest organised by Avaaz and Best for Britain, outside Downing Street in London

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Nat Lofthouse statue is covered in flags at the University of Bolton Stadium, Bolton

Action Images via Reuters

Performers take part in Notting Hill Carnival. Nearly one million people were expected to attend Sunday and Monday's carnival to celebrate Caribbean culture

AFP/Getty

A competitor swims in the World Bog Snorkelling Championships in Llanwryd Wells, Powys

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People flock to Bournemouth beach as a heatwave spells potentially record high temperatures for the bank holiday weekend

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Fans of Bury FC deliver a symbolic coffin to the club's home at Gigg Lane as the continuation of their membership to the football league lies in doubt. The club will lose their membership at midnight if they don't find a buyer or prove that they have the means to pay off their debts

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Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow DEFRA Secretary Sue Hayman during a visit to Rakefoot Farm, Castlerigg, Keswick where they are highlighting the danger of a No Deal Brexit to sheep farmers

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Festival goers walk along the towpath of the River Thames as they arrive for the Reading Festival at Richfield Avenue

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Police officers gather to pay their respects at the scene near Ufton Lane, where Thames Valley Police officer PC Andrew Harper, 28, died on Thursday. Jed Foster, 20, has appeared at Reading Magristrates' Court where denied any involvement with the murder

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A fire that broke out at the site of Village Bakery on Coed Aben Road, Wrexham Industrial Estate in Wales

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England fielders crowd Pat Cummins as he see's out the final over during day five of the second Ashes Test match against Australia at Lord's Cricket Ground. The test ended in a draw

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Glew (centre) and Monroe Adams (right) pose for a selfie with a member of the public outside DragWorld London 2019, Europe's largest drag convention, featuring drag stars from the US and UK during a two-day event at Olympia, London

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A grey seal with fishing net tangled around its neck amongst the colony on the beach at Horsey in Norfolk, as RSPCA data show the number of animals affected by plastic litter is at an all-time high, with incidents increasing by 22% in just four years

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A flock of sheep are herded past government buildings in London by members of Farmers for a People's Vote, a campaign group

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Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks during a press conference at the Mayflower Marina in Plymouth, southwest England, on August 14, 2019, ahead of her journey across the Atlantic to New York, aboard the Malizia II IMOCA class sailing yacht, where she will attend the UN Climate Action Summit next month. - A year after her school strike made her a figurehead for climate activists, Greta Thunberg believes her uncompromising message about global warming is getting through -- even if action remains thin on the ground. The 16-year-old Swede, who sets sail for New York this week to take her message to the United States, has been a target for abuse but sees that as proof she is having an effect

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A hare runs on a moor near Ripon, North Yorkshire

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Britains Jamie Chadwick wins first-ever W Series title. She pocketed a prize of 410,000 and, having been signed as a development driver for Williams, she keeps up her hopes of making it into Formula One

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People gather on the beach as a raft carrying people dressed as clowns heads to shore during the annual Whitby Regatta in Whitby, England. At over 170 years old, the Whitby Regatta is thought to be the oldest sea regatta on the northeast coast of England and draws thousands of visitors each year

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Burryman Andrew Taylor, gets a nip of whisky using a straw, from resident Mary Hamblin, 82, as he parades through the town of South Queensferry, near Edinburgh, encased in burrs. The parade takes place on the second Friday of August each year and although the exact meaning of this tradition has been lost through the years it is thought to have begun in the 17th Century. The tradition is believed to bring good luck to the towns people if they give him whisky offered through a straw or a donation of money

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A mosque is seen amongst residential housing from the air during a mass take off at the annual Bristol hot air balloon festival in Bristol

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An Asiatic lioness eats meat during feeding time ahead of World Lion Day at London Zoo

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Beer enthusiasts taste beer and ale during The Great British Beer Festival at Kensington Olympia in west London. The Great British Beer Festival, organised by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), brings hundreds of real ales, international beers and real ciders and perries under one roof

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Australia's Nathan Lyon celebrates after taking the wicket of England's Joe Root during day five of the first Ashes test at Edgbaston. The hosts were on the end of a thumping, as Australia won the first test by 251 runs

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Franky Zapata stands on his jet-powered "flyboard" prior to landing on St. Margaret's Bay in Dover, during his attempt to fly across the 35-kilometre (22-mile) Channel crossing. The Frenchman achieved his aim today, on his second attempt, after having spent years developing the jet-powered hoverboard

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A Cricket fan wears a Donald Trump inflatable, during day three of the first Ashes test cricket match between England and Australia at Edgbaston in Birmingham

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An RAF Chinook helicopter flies in sandbags to help repair the dam at Toddbrook Reservoir which was damaged in heavy rainfall

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Stuart Broad celebrates after taking the wicket of David Warner during day one of the first Ashes test between England and Australia at Edgbaston. England fans celebrated the loss of David Warner and Cameron Bancroft dismissals by waving sandpaper after they both faced bans for their roles in the Sandpaper scandal last year. Australia were all out for 284 after Steve Smith frustrated the hosts with a total of 144. He helped drag his side from 122-8

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The Liberal Democrats oppose another Scottish independence vote its hypocrisy of the highest order - The Independent

What Conservatives Need Now? More Liberal Celebrities – Townhall

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Posted: Sep 13, 2019 12:01 AM

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not represent the views of Townhall.com.

As ten Democratic contenders descend on Houston for their third round of showing a center-right country just how left they have become, the Trump economy is booming. As the hopefuls howl for an economy that works for everybody, every single identifiable class of Americans is experiencing record low unemployment. While the open border crowd decries positive steps to curb our immigration crisis, the Supreme Court has issued yet another opinion supporting the Administration and halting activist judges. With all of this going so well and looking great for 2020, what can conservatives possibly hope for? Simple. More liberal celebrities.

The liberal celebrity is a tremendous asset to the conservative cause. As they fly their private jets, or take their personal yachts all around the world to attend self-aggrandizing climate conferences aimed at telling ordinary Americans that driving to work is existential threat to human existence, do they believe that anyone, other than themselves, takes them seriously? As they stand behind their personal security while pontificating on the 2nd Amendment, self-defense rights, of others, does anyone outside of CNN really listen? Well, some people do, but not in the way, or to the effect, that they would hope.

Last week, train wreck Debra Messing skidded off the tracks with a series of tweets that implied that black Americans who support Trump suffer from mental illness before moving on to full on McCarthyism by recommending the doxxing and blacklisting of Trump donors. Does that really move minds in her direction or do more to prove that her mid-90s spin on Seinfeld as an emotionally unhinged racist was more a case of art imitating life than vice-versa?

Thirty years ago, Alyssa Milano was moderately famous for playing Tony Danzas kid on T.V. Now she parlays that stint into very public pseudo-Constitutional scholarship. Now more famous for believing that state governments restricting abortion, a court constructed Constitutional implied power, is a government overreach, while restricting the enumerated 2ndAmendment Constitutional right is not a government overreach. She famously sat behind Justice Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings smirking, but did she move the needle? Did one vote move in either direction?

Imagine, just for a minute, your favorite television show, movie franchise, or professional sports team. Now imagine the star of that show, film series, or team. Regardless of your political stripes and philosophy, if that star came out tomorrow only to say that, anyone who believed as you do was an idiot, anyone belonging to your political party was inherently evil, and if you dont support their candidate, you are garbage. Would you, the very next day, change your party affiliation, set up a recurring donation to the stars political candidate, and rethink your entire life? If so, you might want to rethink your entire life. But more likely than not, you would dislike the star and lose interest in their show, movie franchise, or sports team. We did see this with Colin Kaepernick and how his career took a nosedive right alongside the NFLs ratings.

Of course, liberal celebrities are entitled to their opinion. This is America, everybody is entitled to state their opinion, until and unless the left get their way. The question is, do they move the needle in the way they would like or believe that they do? All people,particularlyAmericans, dislike being told what to do. Telling someone what to do or believe with condescending hypocrisy is, probably, not the best approach.

With the economy soaring, unemployment plummeting, and the Democrat contenders in a race to get left of Mao, one final wish for conservatives remains. More liberal celebrities. The great thing about this wish is that you dont have to wish for it. You dont have to pray, and you dont have to be good. Its just assured to happen, and 2020 will take care of itself.

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What Conservatives Need Now? More Liberal Celebrities - Townhall

Ottawa #Elxn43: Liberal nom in Orlans, leader visits, McCaffrey controversy – Ottawa Citizen

Heres whats you may have missed in local election news over the past few days as people trained their eyes on the Confederation Line launch instead of on the campaign.

Orlans set to get its Liberal candidate

With federal election day five weeks away, the Liberals have finally announced a date for local members to choose the partys candidate in Orlans: Thursday, Sept. 19.

Orlans is the only Ottawa-area riding that hasnt officially nominated a Liberal candidate.

Incumbent Andrew Leslie, a retired army commander, announced in the spring that he wouldnt run again. A date for the nomination meeting still hadnt been set when the election period officially began last week.

Orlans MPP Marie-France Lalonde and riding association president Khatera Akbari are contesting the nomination.

The Conservatives, Green Party and Peoples Party of Canada have chosen candidates in every Ottawa-area riding. The NDP has yet to officially nominate a candidate in Nepean and LanarkFrontenacKingston.

McCaffrey questioned about friendship with Faith Goldy

Kanata-Carleton Conservative candidate and fashion designer Justina McCaffrey came under fire after several Liberals posted a years-old video in which she pals around with far-right personality Faith Goldy.

At a weekend appearance in Kanata with Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, McCaffrey fled reporters with questions about her relationship with Goldy. Later, the Conservatives issued a statement in which McCaffrey said, This video is from 2013. I havent seen her in several years. Goldy was banned from Facebook in April for spreading hate. In 2017, she was fired by right-wing news outlet The Rebel after she appeared on a neo-Nazi-affiliated podcast.

Party leaders lend face time to local candidates

Visiting KanataCarleton, Scheer said McCaffreys team knocked on more doors than any other Conservative campaign last week. His presence and McCaffreys ground game likely mean the Conservatives see this as a winnable riding.

Liberal Karen McCrimmon won the seat in 2015 with 51 per cent of the vote, compared to 39 per cent for the Conservatives. Shes running again.

Scheer wasnt the only leader to visit an Ottawa battleground riding over the weekend. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh joined Ottawa Centre NDP candidate Emilie Taman to kick off her campaign. Ottawa Centre was an NDP riding for more than a decade until it turned red with Catherine McKennas 2015 election victory.

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Ottawa #Elxn43: Liberal nom in Orlans, leader visits, McCaffrey controversy - Ottawa Citizen


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