SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australians vote on Saturday in a national election, with the conservative Liberal-National coalition seeking a fourth straight term and the Labor Party seeking a return to power after nine years in opposition. Opinion polls have shown Labor leading, but the gap has narrowed in the final weeks of campaigning. A strong showing by high-profile independent candidates campaigning on climate action, integrity and gender equality could lead to a hung parliament. THE PARLIAMENT The House of Representatives has 151 seats, 76 of which are needed for a majority to form the government....
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The Chinese-owned social networking video platform TikTok is being used by accounts "propping up surging Christian nationalist and Christo-fascist ideology in the United States," according to a new report by Vice News.
"Christian nationalists believe that their country’s policies and laws should reflect evangelical Christian values, and culture war issues like LGBTQ rights, 'critical race theory,' or immigration, are regarded as signs of moral decay that imperil their nation’s future," Tess Owen explained. "Christo-fascists take that one step further, and believe that they’re fighting primordial battles between West and East, good and evil, right and left, Christians and infidels."
She noted the two groups sometimes overlap.
"On TikTok, ideologues from both ends of the spectrum are weaving together a shared visual language using 4chan memes, Scripture, Orthodox and Catholic iconography, imagery of holy wars, and clips from movies or TV featuring toxic male characters. Many of the videos, on their face, are innocuous enough, but they exist in close proximity to disturbing, violent, or explicitly white nationalist content," Owen explained. "The biggest TikTok account in this space was Caitliceach_r, who claims to be based in Ireland and racked up nearly 30,000 followers and over 2 million views since posting their first video last September. TikTok removed the account after VICE News reached out for comment, but another account posting the same content was activated soon after."
One popular hashtag is #ChristPill, which references the "red-pill" meme to describe far-right radicalization.
@basedorthodox Embrace Christ ☦️✝️ #christian #christianity #orthodox #based #edit #catholic ♬ INCOMING - MC ORSEN
"GIFs of alt-right icon Pepe the Frog even make an appearance at times. Some use incel memes to bemoan what they see as the decline of Christian family values in the West. Some identify themselves as nationalists, while others employ blatantly fascist symbols to signpost their alignment with Christo-fascism," Owen reported. "But while aesthetic choices, denomination, and even political ideology can vary across accounts in this world, they’re linked by fantasies of violence and conflict. The shared message is clear: White Christian identity is under attack and needs to be fought for, through prayer, the ballot box, or even violence. Back in the real world, acts of political violence are, increasingly, committed in the name of Christian nationalism in the U.S."
The people behind many of the accounts studied by Owen are a mystery.
"The majority of accounts reviewed by VICE News don’t have any faces or clear identities attached to them, and they claim to hail from the U.S., Australia, England, Hungary, Macedonia, and other countries in Europe. Only two of those 55 accounts, one from Azerbaijan and another from Germany, posted videos in their native language,," Owen reported. "This online community seems to be growing at a time when Christian nationalist ideology is attaining mainstream acceptance, particularly in the U.S., where a conservative majority on the Supreme Court has opened the floodgates to a torrent of regressive opinions, including dismantling the national right to abortion. After that decision, one Christian nationalist podcaster, who has nearly 45,000 followers on Telegram, declared the current moment the 'era of Christian Nationalism.' 'People are thirsty for it, they are hungry for this,' he said. 'We are the Christian Taliban, and we will not stop until the Handmaid’s Tale is a reality—even worse than that, to be honest,” he said."
Read the full report.
On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that listeners around the country to right-wing talk radio stations are being bombarded with breathless, and baseless, warnings that Democrats are about to steal the 2022 midterm elections — just like they supposedly stole the 2020 election from former President Donald Trump.
"Mr. Trump introduced the nation to a flurry of false claims about widespread voter fraud after his electoral loss in 2020. The extent of his efforts has been outlined extensively in the past couple of weeks during the hearings on the Jan. 6 Capitol riot — including a speech that day in which he falsely said Democrats changed voting laws 'because they want to cheat,'" reported Stuart Thompson. "Republican politicians and cable outlets like Fox News have carried the torch for Mr. Trump’s conspiracy theories ever since. But the loudest and most consistent booster of these unfounded claims has been talk radio, where conservative hosts reduce the jumble of false voter fraud theories into a two-word mantra: 'Democrats cheat.'"
The article gathered several instances from recent broadcasts in which right-wing talk radio hosts claimed that the fix is already in for 2022.
“These people are not going to sit by and just accept the big loss. They have the same poll numbers we do. What are they going to do? They're going to cheat," said one broadcast on KFAB-AM 1110 in Omaha. “The Democrats will hold on to the House and the Senate and the gubernatorial races, where they'll be able to cheat in the 2024 election. That’s the plan,” said another on KTRH-AM 740 in Houston. “They’re going to get smoked so bad it’s going to be embarrassing, if they can’t cheat. They got to be able to cheat, and the way they got to do that is with mail-in ballots,” said yet another on KEEL-AM 710 in Shreveport, Louisiana.
According to the report, however, talk radio hosts have conspicuously stopped going after Dominion Voting Systems, an elections equipment company that is a common bogeyman of right-wing conspiracy theorists. This comes after the company filed suit against Fox News and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, both of whom were instrumental in spreading false claims the company's voting systems switched votes from Trump to Biden.
Another concern for Republicans is that at least some of the listeners bombarded with all of these claims now think voting is worthless: "Callers repeatedly expressed doubts about voting at all, falsely claiming that elections are so rigged by Democrats that their votes no longer matter. In response, radio hosts have implored Republicans to vote in even larger numbers — so much so that a supposed Democratic cheat would prove ineffective. 'I’ll tell you what’s happened — and I give the Democrats a lot of credit for this,' said Michael Berry, a radio host based in Houston, 'is they have convinced a lot of people on our side that it’s not worth it to vote.'"
You can read more here.
'Very significant development': J6 panelist explains how Georgia is focused on Trump allies' 'bogus claims'
One of the most experienced members of the Jan. 6 select committee on Tuesday explained the significance of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis subpoenaing Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Trump attorneys Rudi Giuliani, John Eastman, Cleta Mitchell, Kenneth Chesebro and Jenna Ellis.
"Just a short time ago, the Jan. 6 committee announced its next hearing will be a week from today, July 12th, 10:00 a.m. It did not announce witnesses or the topic," CNN's Anderson Cooper reported. "Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA), who is on the committee, previously said the next hearing will focus on, 'efforts to assemble that mob on the mall' as well as the connections between the former president's allies and extremist groups at the Capitol that day."
For analysis, Cooper interviewed select committee member Zoe Lofgren (D-CA). Lofgren has experience in all four modern presidential impeachments, having worked for the House Judiciary Committee member Rep. Don Edwards (D-CA) during Watergate. When Edwards retired in Congress, Lofgren succeeded him and served during the impeachment of Bill Clinton and both of Trump's impeachments.
"What is your reaction to the news that several of the former president's allies were subpoenaed today by a Georgia special grand jury investigating the effort to overturn the election results?"
"I think that's a very big deal," said Lofgren, who also taught at the University of Santa Clara School of Law.
"These are the individuals who we have shown through our hearings conspired with bogus claims of fact, bogus legal theories, to essentially overturn the democracy and many of them have refused to really come in and tell the truth to us," she explained. "They're going to find a very different situation in Georgia and this criminal grand jury and I think it's a very important step forward."
"Obviously we have no way of knowing the details of the investigation, but I think it is very significant," Lofgren said.
Watch below or at this link.
Zoe Lofgren www.youtube.com