Part 30 of "Conflicts
President Trump's Administration"
OVERVIEW OF IMPORTANT EVENTS
IN THE U.S. AND MIDDLE EAST,
From Mid-2020-AUG to Mid-NOV.
Poll concerning 2020-NOV-03 election
Some Internet humor.
The Israel-United Arab Emirates peace
agreement is signed.
Israel & Bahrain establishing diplomatic ties.
President trump nominates new high court judge.
Pat Robertson predicts the future.
Unofficial Republican ballot drop boxes in California.
Police expected violence on election day.
New York Times abandons their "election needle."
Expected protests happen.
Overview: From mid 2020-AUG: Joe Biden's (D) lead over Donald Trump is narrowing:
CNN Politics reports that 53% of voters are "extremely enthusiastic" about voting in November. This is the highest value since 2003.
50% back the Biden-Harris ticket; 46% support Trump and Pence. However, Biden must maintain a healthy majority in order to be assured victory. A simple majority is not enough, as was shown in the the previous presidential election when Hillary Clinton (D) won a healthy majority of votes in the election, but Donald Trump was still elected. This is because of the inherent potential for bias of the Electoral College system. Also, some members of the College can vote against the winner of the vote in their state and overturn the votes of millions of individuals. These members are called "faithless" electors.
Joe Biden's lead has been narrowing since June. 1
2020-SEP-07: Recent poll concerning upcoming NOV-03 election:
Paul LeBlanc and Zachary B. Wolf, writing in an email distributed by CNN, said:
"A new CNN/SSRS poll has former Vice President Joe Biden leading President Donald Trump by a 51% to 43% margin.
The email contains a quote from Harry Enten of CNN:
"The big question coming out of the major party conventions would be if they would reset the 2020 campaign. Could Trump's efforts to refocus the campaign on crime and law and order help him close what has been a consistent deficit?
Now, we still have about two months to go in this campaign. Things can shift. We'll get more data in the weeks to come. We'll have to see if Trump's efforts eventually pay off; but for now, it's not." 1
2020-SEP-08: Some bits of humor dug up by the Webmaster:
I found, and then lost, a bit of humorous meme on the Internet . It said something like:
"U.S. elections are much like driving a car: "D" to go forward; "R" to go in reverse."
Searching for a pro-Republican meme for balance, I stumbled over a brief pro-science conversation between a father and son:
Son: "What is science?"
Dad: "I don't know, son. We're Republicans."
A meme titled "Liberal Fascism" said:
"Oh. You want Trump impeached? For what? The crime of making you cry?"
An imaginary quotation, falsely attributed to Abraham Lincoln:
"I haven't seen the Democrats this mad since I took away their slaves."
At least one of the above four memes should make every reader angry.
The majority of visitors to this web site live in the U.S. However, I vote neither Democrat or Republican. I live in Canada where the two largest parties are called by unambiguous words: conservative and liberal. In this country, the main federal political parties are the Bloc Québécois, Conservative Party of Canada, Green Party of Canada, Liberal Party, and New Democratic Party. There are also some tiny fringe parties: Christian Heritage Party, Communist Party of Canada, and Libertarian Party of Canada.
2020-SEP-11: Israel and Bahrain have agreed to establish formal diplomatic ties:
Israel and Bahrain have agreed to establish formal diplomatic ties with each other. The deal was brokered by the U.S.
Bahrain is a small island/nation in the Persian Gulf. It is about 443 km by air (275 miles) North-West of the United Arab Emirates, which is shown in orange in the map below. It is located across the Persian Gulf from Iran. 3 The agreement was signed on SEP-15 in Washington, DC, at the White House by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and foreign minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani of Bahrain.
2020-SEP-15: Israel-United Arab Emirates peace agreement is also scheduled to be signed:
This story is about a conflict of many years duration; but it is about a positive development.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is situated in the Southeast part of the Arabian Peninsula and has a border in the Persian Gulf. It shares borders with two countries: Oman to the south and Saudi Arabia to the North West.
Israel is located on the south-eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea.
Israel (Green); United Arab Emirates (Orange)
A state of high tension has existed between Israel and most of its surrounding Arab nations for decades. Some of the friction is caused by religious differences, between Judaism and Islam which have led to political differences. Much of the opposition has been due to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict which started when Israel was re-established as a country.
The most recent peace agreements between Israel and an Arab country were with Egypt in 1979, and with Jordan in 1994 -- over 25 years ago.
However, in recent years:, the relationship between the UAE and Israel has been steadily improving. Recently:
- From early July to mid-August 2020, the US has been involved in extensive discussions with Israel and the UAE, according to White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner.
- On 2019-AUG-16, Israel Katz, the foreign minister of Israel publicly discussed a program of military cooperation with the UAE, after rising tensions between the UAE and Iran.
- On 2020-AUG-13, the Israel–United Arab Emirates normalization agreement, (a.k.a. the Abraham Accord) was agreed to between the UAE and Israel. It includes an agreement by Israel to suspend plans for annexing parts of the West Bank.
- On 2020-AUG-16, the UAE unblocked direct long distance telephone calls with Israel.
- On 2020-AUG-31, the first commercial airline flew from Israel to the UAE. There are plans to implement direct flights from both Bahrain and the UAE into Tel Aviv.
The Fatah faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Hamas group announced a "day of popular rejection" to protest the two agreements. The PLO released a statement saying:
"We call on the vital forces, civil, public, student, and feminist institutions along the width and breadth of our beloved Arab homeland. Will not the Arab flag of pride and the Palestinian flag be raised in condemnation and rejection to this shameful agreement on this black day? 4
Meanwhile, talks between the Israelis and Palestinians remain stalled.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu departed from Israel in a flight to Washington just after midnight Sunday SEP-13 local time. He tweeted that he was:
"On our way to bring peace in exchange for peace." 5
Protesters briefly interrupted traffic on roads leading to the Ben Gurion Airport.
On 2020-SEP-15, the Accord was signed at the White House in Washington DC by the UAE's foreign minister, Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the UAE, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. 6,7,8
Khaled Toameh of The Gatestone Institute commented:
"Israel did not destroy Syria; Israel did not burn Libya; Israel did not displace the people of Egypt; Israel did not destroy Libya, and Israel did not tear up Lebanon. Before you Arabs blame Israel, take a look at yourselves in the mirror. The problem is in you." — UAE Islamic cleric Wassem Yousef, Twitter, September 16, 2020.
"Several Palestinian factions have urged the Palestinian leadership to withdraw from the Arab League to protest the refusal of the Arab countries to condemn normalization with Israel. Earlier this month, the Arab League foreign ministers refused to endorse a Palestinian draft resolution condemning the UAE for its decision to make peace with Israel." 9
After the agreements were signed, President Trump stated that seven to nine additional countries are ready to normalize ties with the Israel.
Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, interviewed on the Today Show, said:
“I think what you’re seeing now is the beginning of the end of the Israel-Arab conflict that has been going on for a long time.
This really signals the beginning of the president bringing people together. ..."
So this will hopefully reduce tension in the region, bring people closer together and long-term make the Middle East much more stable." 10
President Trump nominated a new Justice to the U.S. Supreme Court:
President Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals for a lifetime appointment to the High Court. She is generally regarded as an "originalist:" That is, she is a conservative who interprets the U.S. Constitution according to the opinions of its authors at the time it was written. Liberal judges tend to interpret the Constitution in terms of how the text is understood in today's culture. For topics where U.S. public opinion has changed over the past centuries -- like race, slavery, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, etc., -- this can make a major difference.
Michelle Smith and Michael Bieseker wrote an article for the Associated Press News, mentioning that Amy Barrett:
"... had served for nearly three years on the board of private Christian schools that effectively barred admission to children of same-sex parents and made it plain that openly gay and lesbian teachers weren’t welcome in the classroom.
The policies that discriminated against LGBTQ people and their children were in place for years at Trinity Schools Inc., both before Barrett joined the board in 2015 and during the time she served. ..."
"Suzanne B. Goldberg, a professor at Columbia Law School who studies sexuality and gender law, said private schools have wide legal latitude to set admissions criteria. And, she said, Trinity probably isn’t covered by recent Supreme Court rulings outlawing employment discrimination against LGBTQ people because of its affiliation with a religious community. But, she added, cases addressing those questions are likely to come before the high court in the near future, and Barrett’s past oversight of Trinity’s discriminatory policies raises concerns.
'When any member of the judiciary affiliates themselves with an institution that is committed to discrimination on any ground, it is important to look more closely at how that affects the individual’s ability to give all cases a fair hearing,' Goldberg said. ..." 13
"Barrett, in her hearing last week, refused to say whether she agreed with the Supreme Court’s ruling in Lawrence v. Texas, which in 2003 struck down state laws criminalizing sex acts between those of the same gender. She also repeatedly refused to say whether she agreed with the high court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark 5-to-4 decision in 2015 that effectively legalized same-sex marriage nationwide (with the exception of American Samoa where most people are considered residents and not American citizens. Thus the territory does not have to respect rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court.
Barrett stressed that she did not intend to signal any opinion one way or another. If confirmed, she insisted, she would keep an open mind about how she might rule in any future cases."
The historical makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court is very different from the population of the U.S. Between 1789 and 2018, among the 114 Justices who have served on the High Court:
- There have only been three to six non-white Justices. (Sources differ).
- There have only been four female Justices.
As of 2020-OCT-01:
- 56% of the justices were Roman Catholic, compared with 22% for the country's adults as a whole;
- 33% were Jewish, compared with 2%;
- 11% were Protestant, compared with 49%. 12
Her nomination was confirmed by the Senate on 2020-OCT-26, by a vote of 52 to 48. 17 Senator Susan Collins (R) of Maine was the only Republican Senator to vote in favor of the nomination. Conservative-leaning Justices now hold a solid 6 to 3 majority in the Supreme Court, and the percentage of Roman Catholics on the bench is now 67%. Her confirmation has increased the historical percentage of female justices from four to five. This will move the High Court in a conservative direction, probably for many decades in the future.
Televangelist Pat Robertson said that God informed him about the future:
Decades ago, Robertson had predicted that the world would end during 1982-OCT or NOV. Later he said it would happen on 2007-APR-29. 15 Both were wrong. Last time I checked, the world is still here.
Pat Robertson, 90, who founded the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), said during "The 700 Club" program that he sensed that God told him via prayer during 2020-OCT that:
- President Trump will be re-elected "without question,"
- The Chinese will initiate a war,
- The North Koreans will threaten the U.S. with nuclear weapons,
- The U.S. will be "torn apart" with civil disobedience,
- There will be two or more attempts to assassinate the President, and
- Muslim countries will declare war on Israel. 14
There was some civil disobedience in the U.S., but not serious enough to tear the U.S. apart. The other predictions didn't happen.
This raises a number of troubling questions:
- Was God deceiving Robertson?
- Did Robertson misinterpret God's messages to him?
- Did the messages really come from God, or did they come from Satan or from some other supernatural being pretending to be God?
- Were the messages simply created by Robertson?
- Does prayer really involve communication from God, or is it entirely developed within a person's brain?
- Did God plan for the above six events to happen and then changed his mind later?
2020-OCT-13: Unofficial ballot drop boxes in California called illegal:
Drop-off boxes have been installed by the state government to allow voters to deposit their ballots. This avoids possible delays for ballots sent via the Postal Service, and bypasses the need for voters to go to crowded polling stations on Election Day in order to vote. The latter can be dangerous because of the widespread Coronavirus pandemic.
California officials lodged complaints with state Republican Party leaders demanding that the latter remove their "unofficial, unauthorized" ballot collection boxes. They had apparently been set up in at least three California counties. There is no guarantee that ballots placed in these boxes will end up being counted.
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla (D) said that:
"Unofficial, unauthorized drop boxes are not permitted in the state of California."
Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) said:
"Tampering with the vote is illegal, and anyone who knowingly engages in the tampering or misuse of a vote is subject to prosecution. ... [People] have a right to vote, and you have a right to know that your vote will be counted the right way."
California Republican Party spokesman Hector Barajas acknowledged that the party had installed their own drop boxes, and said: "We’re not going to stop this program." 16
2020-OCT-24: Police expect violence on and after NOV-03, election day:
Police across the U.S. are preparing for election day and the possibility of voter intimidation, unrest and/or violence. Disturbances might last a long time if election results are delayed or are challenged in court. Andrew Walsh, a deputy chief with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, said:
"I don’t think we’ve seen anything like this in modern times."
Police expect the greatest danger of violence will start after voting is finished, and will end after the outcomes are declared. 18
Walmart temporarily removed guns and ammunition from their store displays before election day. 19
Fortunately, on election day, NOV-03, the expected violence did not occur.
Relationship between a person's religion and their expected vote for President:
During their poll taken between 2020-SEP-30 and OCT-05, Pew Research found that among all registered voters who would vote (or lean toward voting) for Joe Biden or Donald Trump:
- The Democratic candidate, Joe Biden, had a significant edge over the Republican candidate, Donald Trump, 52% to 42%.
- White evangelical Protestants overall favored Trump over Biden by 78% to 17%!
- Protestants overall favored Trump over Biden by 54 to 41%
- Roman Catholics overall favored Biden over Trump by 51% to 44%.
- Persons who are religiously unaffiliated favored Biden over Trump by 71 to 22%!
- Agnostics and Atheists favored Biden over Trump 83% to 11%!
- Black Protestants favored Biden over Trump 90% to 9%.!
- 6% of registered voters favored an alternate candidate or none of the candidates listed. 20
Undecided and uncertain voters were not included in the calculations.
2020-NOV-02: Vinay Menon of CNN commented on election night TV coverage:
"These are not normal times. This is not a normal election.
Global security experts are using words like 'tinderbox' and 'powder-keg' to warn of looming violence, no matter who wins. Do you really think the Trump Cult will auto-deprogram and graciously send congratulatory bouquets from 1-800-FLOWERS if Biden is victorious? Get real. ... Amplifying the fear and loathing is the fact Trump keeps saying any result in which he is not re-elected is rigged or fraudulent. ..."
"Which brings us back to the media and Election Night, which may well turn into Election Week, Election Month or Election... Holy Hell, It’s The Spring Equinox And We Still Don’t Know? Both sides now have more lawyers than Chapters has paperbacks. Barring a Biden landslide so massive it traps even Lou Dobbs in rhetorical quicksand, any close result is no doubt headed to the courts." 21
About the "Election Needle:"
The New York Times web site had traditionally featured an "election needle" on election night.
It is a semicircular chart that shows the the Time's best estimate for who will become the next President. It is displayed long before the winner's count is statistically valid.
The "needle" in the 2016 election predicted Hillary Clinton as winner!
For the year 2020 election night, they abandoned the needle for the U.S., but have added state "needles" for Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina. 22
2020-NOV-12: Expected protests:
Public protests ocurred in Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, San Diego, and Seattle about racial equality and/or the election.
Several states allow voters to have their votes counted if they mail their vote with a postmarked in or before Tuesday, NOV-02. President Trump seems to have suggested that these votes should not be counted, and that he will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to have this enforced. 23
Detailed descriptions of events from 2020-September to November start in the next article
How you may have arrived here:
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Jennifer Agiesta, "CNN Poll: Biden and Trump matchup tightens as enthusiasm hits new high, CNN Politics, 2020-AUG-17, at: https://www.cnn.com/
- Vinay Menon, Fox News, CNN and the networks have one job on election night: do not screw this up," The Toronto Star, 2020-NOV-02, at: https://www.thestar.com/
- "Oregon, Compton shooting and embracing awkward silence," 1440.com mailing, 2020-SEP-14.
- "PLO, Hamas to hold joint rallies decrying UAE, Bahrain normalization with Israel," Times of Israel, 2020-SEP-13, at: https://www.timesofisrael.com/
- "Netanyahu flies to Washington to sign historic peace deals with UAE and Bahrain," Times of Israel, 2020-SEP-13, at: https://www.timesofisrael.com/
- Paul LeBlanc & Zachary B. Wolf,"What Matters," CNN, 2020-SEP-06, at: https://view.newsletters.cnn.com/
- Graphic: File:Israel United Arab Emirates Locator.png
From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository.
Downloaded without change from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Israel_United_Arab_Emirates_Locator.png
Drawn by: Aquintero82 / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)
- Emily Judd, "US will ‘continue to support’ Israel, UAE in future peace talks: WH official," Alarabiya.net, 2020-AUG-15, at: https://english.alarabiya.net/
- Khaled Abu Toameh, "Arabs: "Palestinians Repeat the Same Mistakes," Gatestone Institute, 2020-SEP-21, at: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/
- Marissa Newman, "After UAE, Bahrain deals signed, Trump says 7-9 countries seek peace with Israel," The Times of Israel, 2020-SEP-15, at: https://www.timesofisrael.com/
- "Roe v Wade: Trump says Supreme Court ruling on abortion 'possible'," BBC News, 2020-SEP-27, at: https://www.bbc.com/
- Sarah Feldman, "Religious Makeup of the Supreme Court," Statista, 2018-OCT-10, at: https://www.statista.com/
- Michelle Smith & Michael Bieseker, "Barrett was trustee at private school with anti-gay policies," AP News, 2020-OCT-21, at: https://apnews.com/
- Michael Foust, "Pat Robertson: Trump Will Win Reelection but the U.S. Will Be 'Torn Apart', War Will Break Out against Israel," Christian Headlines, 2020-OCT-20, at: https://www.christianheadlines.com/
- Priyamvada Rana, "Who is Pat Robertson? Televangelist predicts Trump win and world's end, Internet says 'vote Biden to save planet',"
- Steve Gorman, "California officials clash with state Republican Party over ballot drop boxes," National Post, 2020-OCT-13, at: https://nationalpost.com/
- Clare Foran & Ted Barrett, "Senate confirms Trump's Supreme Court nominee a week ahead of Election Day,"
CNN, 2020-OCT-26, at: https://www.cnn.com/
- "Police brace for potential Election Day unrest in a year when ‘everything is uncertain’," Washington Post, 2020-OCT-24, at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/
- Lekky Tyko, "Walmart removes guns, ammunition from store displays ahead of election amid concerns of civil unrest," USA Today, 2010-OCT-29, at: https://www.usatoday.com/
- Gregory Smith, "White Christians continue to favor Trump over Biden, but support has slipped," Pew Research, 2020-OCT-13, at: https://www.pewresearch.org/
- Vinay Menon, Fox News, CNN and the networks have one job on election night: do not screw this up," The Toronto Star, 2020-NOV-02, at: https://www.thestar.com/
- Nate Cohn, "Introducing the Needle, the New Hampshire Version," New York Times, 2020-FEB-11. at: https://www.nytimes.com
- "Biden pushes closer to victory in race for the White House," Canadian Press, 2020-NOV-05, at: https://www.msn.com/
Text Copyrighted © 2020 by Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2020-SEP-18
Latest update: 2020-NOV-25
Author: B.A. Robinson