... virtually shuttering the main independent television station, removing a news editor deemed insufficiently loyal, shutting opposition websites and continuing to brand nongovernmental organizations receiving money from abroad as "foreign agents."
One or two outspoken critics, including Andrei Zubov, a history professor at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, were fired after speaking out against Russia's Ukraine policy.
How we remember Phil Donahue being fired from MSNBC in the 2003 lead up to the invasion of Iraq because he questioned the wisdom of Bush's neocon agenda. Phil's show was the top rated show on MSNBC at the time. He also turned out to be absolutely right.
In July 2002, Phil Donahue returned to television after seven years of retirement to host a show called Donahue on MSNBC. On February 25, 2003, MSNBC canceled the show, citing his opposition to the imminent invasion of Iraq by the United States military. Donahue was the highest rated show on MSNBC at the time it was canceled, managing to beat Chris Matthews' MSNBC show Hardball in the ratings. But Matthews was a big proponent of the Iraq invasion and he cultivated a good relationship with MSNBC's management before Donahue came to the network. He played a crucial role in procuring the firing of Donahue and "saw himself as MSNBC's biggest star, and he was upset that the network was pumping significant resources into Donahue's show." In the fall of 2002, U.S. News & World Report ran a gossip item that had Matthews saying over lunch in Washington that if Donahue stays on the air, he could bring down the network.
Soon after the show's cancellation, an internal MSNBC memo was leaked to the press stating that Donahue should be fired because he opposed the imminent U.S. invasion of Iraq and that he would be a "difficult public face for NBC in a time of war." Donahue commented in 2007 that the management of MSNBC, owned by General Electric and Microsoft, required that "we have two conservative (guests) for every liberal. I was counted as two liberals."
Donahue continued to oppose the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq after MSNBC fired him. He participated in public marches and rallies against the occupation and even debated Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly, who strongly supported the war. During his 2005 appearance on O'Reilly's show, he told O'Reilly, "In the last year, two things have doubled. The number of dead American troops in Iraq has doubled from over a thousand to almost two thousand. You know what also doubled, Billy? The price of Halliburton stock—from thirty-three to sixty-six dollars. That doesn't shame you? That doesn't make you wonder whether this is an enterprise that is worth the support of the American people?" (Halliburton Company, through its subsidiary KBR, received billions of dollars in government contracts to help manage the military's occupation of Iraq.) Donahue continued, "There is no democracy without dissent."
The following should appear at the end of every post:
According to the IRS, "Know the law: Avoid political campaign intervention":
Tax-exempt section 501(c)(3) organizations like churches, universities, and hospitals must follow the law regarding political campaigns. Unfortunately, some don't know the law.
Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from participating in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The prohibition applies to campaigns at the federal, state and local level.
Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes. Section 501(c)(3) private foundations are subject to additional restrictions.
Political Campaign Intervention
Political campaign intervention includes any activities that favor or oppose one or more candidates for public office. The prohibition extends beyond candidate endorsements.
Contributions to political campaign funds, public statements of support or opposition (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of an organization, and the distribution of materials prepared by others that support or oppose any candidate for public office all violate the prohibition on political campaign intervention.
Factors in determining whether a communication results in political campaign intervention include the following:
- Whether the statement identifies one or more candidates for a given public office
- Whether the statement expresses approval or disapproval of one or more candidates' positions and/or actions
- Whether the statement is delivered close in time to the election
- Whether the statement makes reference to voting or an election
- Whether the issue addressed distinguishes candidates for a given office
Many religious organizations believe, as we do, that the above constitutes a violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
That said, we make the following absolutely clear here:
- The Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project not only do not endorse any candidate for any secular office, we say that Christianity forbids voting in such elections.
- Furthermore, when we discuss any public-office holder's position, policy, action or inaction, we definitely are not encouraging anyone to vote for that office holder's position.
- We are not trying to influence secular elections but rather want people to come out from that entire fallen system.
- When we analyze or discuss what is termed "public policy," we do it entirely from a theological standpoint with an eye to educating professing Christians and those to whom we are openly always proselytizing to convert to authentic Christianity.
- It is impossible for us to fully evangelize and proselytize without directly discussing the pros and cons of public policy and the positions of secular-office holders, hence the unconstitutionality of the IRS code on the matter.
- We are not rich and wouldn't be looking for a fight regardless. What we cannot do is compromise our faith (which seeks to harm nobody, quite the contrary).
- We render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. We render unto God what is God's.
- When Caesar says to us that unless we shut up about the unrighteousness of Caesar's policies and practices, we will lose the ability of people who donate to us to declare their donations as deductions on their federal and state income-tax returns, we say to Caesar that we cannot shut up while exercising our religion in a very reasonable way.
- We consider the IRS code on this matter as deliberate economic duress (a form of coercion) and a direct attempt by the federal government to censor dissenting, free political and religious speech.
- It's not freedom of religion if they tax it.
And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)