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Rudy Giuliani is working with Iranian ‘cult’ — and forcing the US to deal with the ‘consequences’: MSNBC host

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President Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani has been accused of conducting his own “shadow diplomacy” with both Ukraine and Venezuela, despite not being a registered foreign agent. But as MSNBC host Chris Hayes pointed out, it’s another of Giuliani’s clients that could get him in trouble now.

“One reason the threat of catastrophe in the Middle East remains present, at the moment, is because the president is surrounded by people who have been quite openly pushing for a full military confrontation with Iran for a while,” said Hayes.

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One, Hayes said, is his most infamous adviser: Mr. Giuliani.

While Giuliani hasn’t been appointed to any government office or confirmed by the U.S. Senate, somehow he’s running his own government projects.

“Aside from his various meetings with various Ukrainian figures to manufacturer dirt on Joe Biden, has represented Turkish interests and then pushed for policies favorable to President Erdoğan,” Hayes continued. “And he has a longstanding relationship with a fringe Iranian dissident group known as the MEK a group rooted in Marxism and Islamism that’s often described as a cult and his primary goal is to overthrow the Iranian regime.”

The MEK is currently headquartered in Albania and most of the members are exiles from the country.

“They have paid tons of money to American political figures to curry favor, including John Bolton, Howard Dean, Ed Rendell and, of course, Rudy Giuliani. When contacted by the Daily Beast on Monday, Giuliani cited the MEK as a reason he supported the assassination of Qassem Suleimani saying he was, ‘Directly responsible for killing some of my MEK people.’ This would be a little like favoring action against the U.S. because you had friends in the Branch Davidians.”

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Hayes said that the group is so “toxic” that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sent out a cable on Tuesday to all U.S. diplomatic posts telling them not to meet with Giuliani’s client.

Giuliani, however, doesn’t work for the State Department, “so he can do whatever he wants,” Hayes said. “And we all get to deal with the consequences.”

Watch the segment below:

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‘Empty the Pews’ chronicles the ‘nurtured insanity’ of a fundamentalist upbringing

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There is a great exodus taking place in Christian circles. Can it be called a loss of faith? I don’t think so. It is rather a loss of confidence in everything at once. Christianity has always been about “the Word,” but these days, words don’t seem to matter. They’ve lost their power to describe and convince in the face of horrible deeds, from climate-change denial to the persecution of trans people to the wholesale abandonment of Christ’s teachings in favor of abusive meanness. The hard-right white evangelical voter gave us Trump. The church sat silent as industrial oligarchs ruined the earth.

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‘Impeach him again!’ Assange sets off bombshells with Trump pardon claim

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange claims President Donald Trump dangled a pardon through a Republican lawmaker if he agreed to cover up Russia's involvement in 2016 election hacking.

Assange's lawyer Edward Fitzgerald told a London court Wednesday that former Rep. Dana Rohrabacher had passed along the offer in exchange for testimony that Russia had nothing to do with DNC leaks -- and the allegation shocked legal experts and other social media users.

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Religious leaders need ‘Empty the Pews’ — which chronicles the darker side of the ‘Nones’ phenomenon

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Empty the PewsEdited by Lauren O’Neal and Chrissy StroopEpiphany Publishing (November, 2019)

In 2020, the rise of the so-called religious “Nones”—those who claim no religious affiliation—has evolved from a story of interest to a small niche of readers into an entire genre on the religion beat. While the term None has some usefulness as a blanket descriptor, we are beginning to understand that most individual stories about religious disaffiliation are far more complicated than just checking “none of the above” on a survey. Stories about the decline in Gen Z, Millennial and Gen X believers are a regular feature in secular news—Religion News Service even publishes an entire column dedicated to statistical data on Nones, compiled by the sociologist Ryan Burge—and a growing number of books exploring the narrative stories of Nones have appeared in recent years, including a book of my own.

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