Wednesday, January 11, 2023

11: China

How Montana Took a Hard Right Turn Toward Christian Nationalism What happened to a state known for its political independence? ........ In the last three years, Montana has become the second-fastest-growing state in the nation, largely because of the arrival of wealthy transplants. ....... During the convention, a group of delegates led an ultimately unsuccessful push to declare the 2020 presidential election fraudulent. (In Montana, such efforts occupy a curious logical space: Citizen groups sympathetic to Donald Trump have repeatedly demanded recounts of districts he won handily.) ......... For much of the 20th century, Montana reliably sent both Democrats and Republicans to Washington. Candidates across the political spectrum respected Montanans’ libertarian streak, which was born out of a deep suspicion of corporate power. ....... Montana has the smallest percentage of Black residents in the country, and the largest minority group in the state, Native Americans, have faced entrenched disenfranchisement since securing the right to vote in 1924. ........ it remains common for tribal citizens to have to drive vast distances to vote in statewide and national races. ........ “Both parties have a really lackluster track record in sustained connection and relationship-building in Indian Country” ......... In 2011, the Montana Supreme Court upheld the law, but the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the ruling the following year, and corporate money poured into Montana. State law still restricts direct corporate spending on local elections, but political-action committees and dark-money groups have injected money into divisive contests and, as in much of the country, there’s no limit on candidates’ donations to their own campaigns. ......... a state in which all navigable streams are public and equal access to wilderness is sacrosanct. ........ Not only did Trump win the state by 20 points, but he also seemed to obliterate Montanans’ resistance to single-party rule. .......... Gianforte pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and was sentenced to 40 hours of community service and 20 hours of anger-management classes. ......... At a 2018 rally, Trump said he thought the attack had helped Gianforte at the polls, adding, “He’s my guy.” ....... Bullock himself ran for Senate, losing to Steve Daines — a former employee of Gianforte’s at RightNow Technologies — in a race that drew more than $100 million in outside spending. In the Legislature, Republicans gained another 10 seats, and Gianforte, after spending more than $7 million on his own campaign, finally emerged victorious in his quest to be governor. ........... the Montana Nurses Association accused the state of pushing “junk science.” .......... Infighting at school-board meetings became commonplace. In Montana, as in much of the country, the arguments centered on masks and the teaching of what critics called “critical race theory.” ........ Knudsen, the attorney general, issued an opinion that described certain antiracist programming as “racial harassment,” and Gianforte would later oppose the addition of the word “equity” to a teachers’ code of ethics. ........... There were also bills banning same-day voter registration and paid ballot collection — measures that are considered essential for tribal communities because of the great distances between many reservations and polling places. After Gianforte signed the voting restrictions into law, Keaton Sunchild, a member of the Rocky Boy’s Chippewa-Cree Tribe and at the time the political director for Western Native Voice, called the laws “a coordinated, pretty overt way of trying to tamp down the enthusiasm and power of the Native vote.” Western Native Voice, along with other advocacy groups, filed suit, and a judge has since blocked the laws as unconstitutional. ........ “Government doesn’t create opportunity,” he told the delegates in Billings. “Let’s just get out of the way.” ......... conservatives were seeking shelter in Montana ....... In 2021, Flathead County, which is deeply conservative, surpassed the majority Democratic Gallatin County, home to the tech hub of Bozeman, in its rate of population growth. ........ Over the course of the three-day platform convention in Billings this summer, numerous speakers appeared to be trying to outdo one another in their performative anger, and it was apparent that the enemies were not limited to the left. ............. “Derek Skees was always a hard-right guy,” said one state Republican official, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisal. “But now he’s being called a RINO!” .......... The fieriest debate surrounded the abortion plank, which contained no exceptions for incest or rape. “We support the preservation of innocent human life at every stage of life, in all circumstances, beginning at conception through natural death,” it read. ........... “If you want to live here,” Karla Johnson, a chapter president of the Montana Federation of Republican Women, said, “be a Christian.” Keith Regier, an influential state senator, said all laws should be based on Judeo-Christian principles. “The Ten Commandments were a good foundation for any country to live by,” he told me. He was upset by what he perceived to be a censorious cultural moment — especially when it came to people speaking out against gay and transgender rights. “There is an open war on Christianity in this country.” ................ what can he get away with? Whatever he can get away with, he’ll get away with in shaping a Christian society. Because he believes that’s a true society.” ............. in 2021, a weekly men’s group read a polemic against Black Lives Matter, antiracism and the media titled “Fault Lines: The Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism’s Looming Catastrophe,” by Voddie Baucham Jr., a Black former pastor. ............ Gianforte greeted Hughes and a handful of the other parishioners before sitting down next to his wife and near two notable visitors: the Nebraska governor Pete Ricketts and Trump’s former press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who were in Montana for a gathering of the Republican Governors Association. (Huckabee Sanders would be elected governor of Arkansas in November.) .......... I hear people saying now, ‘My America, I don’t even feel comfortable in my America.’ ......... On Election Day, Republicans won 86 out of 127 legislative races, achieving their supermajority. Montana Democrats did not field candidates in 35 of those contests, and turnout was low in majority-Indigenous counties. ............ In Cascade County, a onetime Democratic stronghold, Republicans swept all 15 state legislative races, two of which were uncontested. ............ “One of the Montana values is, if you’re neighbor’s not hurting you, you leave them alone,” he said. “Well, what I see is less of that and more of, ‘You’re just going to do it my way.’” .

Benedict’s Burial Leaves Francis Alone, and Unbound Liberal supporters of Francis, a pope never shy about exercising power, now anticipate a late-breaking season of change. .......... Since the first day of his papacy nearly a decade ago, Pope Francis has had to navigate an unprecedented complication in the Roman Catholic Church: coexisting with his retired predecessor in the same Vatican gardens. ........ conservative acolytes of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI sought to wrap their fervent opposition in their leader’s white robes. ........ “Now, I’m sure he’ll take it over,” said Oswald Gracias, the archbishop of Mumbai, as he walked around St. Peter’s Square before Benedict’s funeral Mass. .......... Francis has a very clear agenda. ......... He said there was talk about a new document on morality, sexuality and contraception. He also predicted the revisiting of major issues. .......... Francis has already allowed debate on key, and previously taboo, topics like being more inclusive to gay people and giving women larger roles in the church. ......... In 2020, he seemed poised to allow married men in far-flung areas like the Amazon to become priests. ........... Already absolute, Francis’ leadership in the church is increasingly fortified by a hierarchy in his image. By the end of the year, Francis will almost certainly pack the College of Cardinals with handpicked appointees. His chosen prelates will most likely then make up two-thirds of the body, the threshold necessary for electing the next pope. .......... That number could click even higher if he remains in power through the end of 2024, when the second of two major meetings of the world’s bishops he has convened will end. ......... Francis said during the Mass, “Let us worship God, not ourselves; let us worship God and not the false idols that seduce by the allure of prestige or power, or the allure of false news.” ......... and Francis, of whom he said Benedict was a “big supporter.” ......... Benedict had withdrawn in his monastery, and so “there was only one pope, Francis.” ......... the major difference for Francis after Benedict’s death was “now he can resign.” ....... with Francis having already brought down the hammer on their beloved Old Latin Masses, some predict they will wage an even more open war against Francis............ in the Vatican, two years is plenty of time for something to go wrong and slow Francis down. ......... To the chagrin of his critics, Francis has demonstrated a political agility, media savvy and seeming imperviousness to the scandals and crises that so hobbled Benedict during his eight-year papacy. ............ Benedict frequently stumbled with political missteps. He openly acknowledged he was no administrator and seemed to prefer the books of a theologian to the platform of the globe’s most powerful pastor. He surrounded himself with intrigue-prone Italians in the Curia, the Roman bureaucracy that governs the church, and ultimately resigned amid tawdry Vatican scandals, including the theft of his documents by a butler. ............... When an embarrassing scandal erupted in 2020 about the possible misuse of funds to buy an apartment building in London, Francis publicly humiliated one of his top cardinals and stripped him of his privileges, including voting in the conclave. ............. And on a more substantive crisis, when Francis wrongly sided with his bishops in Chile over sex abuse victims, whom he accused of “calumny,” he reversed himself, ordered an investigation and “wound up firing basically half” of the bishops in Chile ............ “He’s shown an incredible ability to change his mind and to adapt to learning that he was wrong” .......... Francis and his team “can see a train wreck coming and try to get out ahead of it in a way that Benedict and his team was never able to do.” .

With Benedict’s Death, an Unprecedented Moment for the Modern Church Benedict stunned the Roman Catholic world by becoming the first pope in nearly 600 years to resign. Now his death leaves a living pope presiding over the funeral of his predecessor. ......... Two popes, past and present, traditionalist and reformist, both cloaked in white robes and invested with moral authority, coexisted on the same minuscule grounds. ......... On Sunday, Mr. Bruni confirmed that immediately after Benedict died, his closest and most loyal aide, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, called Pope Francis, who went directly across the gardens to bid adieu to his predecessor. .......... When Celestine V resigned in 1294 to live like a monk, his successor, Pope Boniface VIII, in part fearing a rival claim, threw him in jail and deprived him a pope’s funeral when he died in 1296. When Gregory XII stepped down from the throne in 1415, the last pope to resign before Benedict, he reverted to being a cardinal, and he received the funeral rites reserved for a cardinal when he died two years later. .......... he took the title of Pope Emeritus, keeping his white robes and a following of ideological conservatives who tried to make him into an alternative power center. .......... Benedict had himself intended to become “Brother Benedict” and live as a monk, but his partisans persuaded him to take the title of emeritus, which is more common in the Eastern churches. ........ In a 2019 essay, he — or the aides writing in his name — asserted that sex abuse was a symptom of the sexual revolution of the 1960s, secularization and an erosion of morality that he pinned on liberal theology. That undercut Francis’ view that it resulted from an unhealthy abuse of power by clerics who held themselves above their flock. ........... As Francis has faced his own health setbacks, some wondered whether the emeritus pope would survive the acting one. If Francis suddenly retired, would there be three popes in the Vatican? ......... For his part, Francis, who as pope also serves as the bishop of Rome, has repeatedly left the option of retirement on the table. But he has suggested he would avoid confusion by taking the title of emeritus bishop of Rome “rather than pope emeritus” and spend his last days hearing confessions and visiting the sick. ........ Ultimately, Benedict’s legacy was his stunning resignation, in a seemingly offhand remark made while speaking Latin at a regular meeting with cardinals. It broke with his beloved church tradition, palpable in the lace of his clothes and the Latin of his liturgy, and set a modern precedent. .

‘What madness looks like’: Russia intensifies Bakhmut attack
A long march offers a glimpse of a post-Modi India Rahul Gandhi’s 3,500km march has a simple message — religious harmony and prosperity for all. It might just work. .
Rental Housing Is Suddenly Headed Toward a Hard Landing While investors were focused on fears of a collapse in the homebuying industry, a crash in the apartment market has been taking shape. ....... At that pace the vacancy rate would be at its pre-pandemic level by April. ..... All this is happening while there are more apartment units under construction than there have been in more than 50 years, which will dump even more supply onto the market. Even before accounting for the possibility of job losses and a recession in 2023, this increased supply will create more vacancies. .

को हुन मधेश प्रदेशका नयाँ मुख्यमन्त्री सरोज कुमार यादव ? स्व. गजेन्द्र नारायण सिंहको प्रेरणाले राजनितिमा सफल विरासत
प्रभु साह र अमरेश सिंहले भने, ‘यो तन्त्र जनता होइन कार्यक्रता पाल्ने तन्त्र हो’
संसदमा डा. राउतको पहिलो सम्वोधन, ‘मधेशमा ईशा पुर्व छैठौं शताब्दीमै गणतन्त्र थियो’

डिल्लीबजार जेलमा रहेका रेशम चौधरीलाई ओलीको दोस्रो फोन : माघ महिनाभित्र रिहा
राप्रपाको जलपान : अचानक कमल थापा लिङ्देनलाई भेट्न मञ्चमा पुगेपछि...(तस्बिरसहित)
सिके राउत र अमेरिकी राजदूतबीच भेटघाट

मधेस प्रदेशको नयां मुख्यमन्त्री बन्दै जसपा नेता सरोज यादव
संसदमा न्याय माग्दै रञ्जिता– टिकापुर घटना बन्द कोठामा भएको होइन, देख्ने हजारौं आँखा छन्
Janamat + Unmukti
जनमत र नागरिक उन्मुक्ति पार्टीबीच कार्यगत एकताको घोषणा
सीके र रञ्जिताबीच १२ बुँदे सहमति : रेशमको रिहाइ पहलदेखि नागरिकता विधेयकमा दबाबसम्म (पूर्णपाठ)

This Is What Shanghai’s Covid Outbreak Looks Like up to 70 percent of the city’s 26 million residents had been infected ..... .

Ukraine Battles for Eastern Town as Russia Advances
Meet the Republicans Who Are Facing Down the Hard Right
I Am the Last Barrier Between My Sister and New York City The city has a shortage of psychiatric emergency rooms, an inadequate number of inpatient beds in hospital psych units and interminable waiting lists for outpatient treatment programs and affordable housing. .......... Before she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2004, my sister was an art director at a leading advertising agency in New York. She owned a co-op in Manhattan, vacationed in the Hamptons and was a die-hard Mets fan. Since her diagnosis, she has cycled in and out of New York hospitals even as her mental health deteriorated. She has been involuntarily hospitalized two other times, seen by a mobile crisis unit, treated and discharged by the same hospital where she was taken for inpatient care in November, and been noncompliant on all outpatient treatment. .......... In 2009, her condition had worsened and she was given a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder. She lost the apartment she had owned for 20 years when, unbeknownst to our family, she fell behind on the mortgage and monthly maintenance fees. The co-op board approved the sale of her shares to a real estate speculator, who then evicted her. ......... Because of her illness, my sister lacks all insight into her condition. She does not understand that the loss of her career, her co-op, her life in New York as she once knew it is due to her illness. She does not accept that I am her guardian, that she can no longer live unsupervised and that the stray animals and injured birds she adopts have caused thousands of dollars in damage to the apartments I was able to sublet for her. She does not understand that she has become a danger to herself and others and needs medical treatment to safely live within the community. ........... The social worker tells me that housing my sister is my responsibility — if I am unable to provide it, the hospital will send her to a homeless shelter. ......... My sister and I shared a bedroom as children, but it takes me a minute to recognize the thin, disheveled gray-haired woman I see through the window. Then I see her wary, puzzled expression, and I realize that she no longer recognizes me. She is less than 10 feet away and I cannot reach across the decades and find the little sister I knew, the beautiful, hilarious and talented person she once was. The nurse standing beside her hurries out from the ward; he tells me that my crying is “not helping,” that I am confusing and alarming my sister. I move away from the window so she can’t see me anymore. ............ If my sister had cancer, or Parkinson’s or diabetes, she could get treatment. But because she is mentally ill, she is trapped in a reality distortion field from which she cannot escape without the medication she perversely refuses. ........... It is no longer a mystery to me why the streets of New York and Los Angeles and too many other cities in America are home to thousands of unhoused mentally ill people. They have nowhere else go. .......... Housing the mentally ill will not be solved by the kindness of strangers, not when there are millions of people like my sister. ........ “I live in the city!” she texted me, again and again like a mantra. It is how she remembers who she is. ........... As she texted me from the garden, from the depths of he

Is That All There Is? A Secular Seeker Visits Holy Sites. In “The Half Known Life,” Pico Iyer journeys around the globe to study conceptions of the world beyond. ......... Skittering from the gardens of Iran’s holiest mosques to the car-free streets of North Korea’s capital, from the avenues of East Belfast to war-torn Kashmir’s Dal Lake houseboats, from the outback of aboriginal Australia to the Ethiopian chapels of Jerusalem, from the empty moonscape of Ladakh to the massive stone Buddhas of Sri Lanka, from the graveyards of Japan’s mountain temples to the burning ghats of Varanasi, this elliptical odyssey, graced with occasional notes of light, finds itself by dwelling in the shadows. The places we avoid, Iyer says, are “so often closer to us than the ones we eagerly seek out.” .......... Iyer is not a Buddhist, but he has a Buddhist sensibility. Born in Oxford and educated in elite English boarding schools, he is a secular writer with an eye for the spiritual. His book has the soft ring of a classic Buddhist meditation strategy: In order to understand the emptiness of the ego, one must first find the self as it appears. ......... “The fact that nothing lasts is the reason why everything matters,” he realizes while in the Japanese monastery of Koyasan. But it is in Varanasi that he brings it all together. As an Englishman with relatives in India, he had always avoided Varanasi. “Too dirty,” they had warned him. But it is there that he makes a critical connection. “Death is not the opposite of life,” he writes, quoting the Varanasi scholar Diana Eck.

It is, rather, “the opposite of birth.”

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