Megan Phelps-Roper grew up in the Westboro Baptist Church, which preaches a message of hate and fear. But after engaging with her critics—on Twitter, no less—she decided to leave the church.
About Megan Phelps-Roper
Megan Phelps-Roper was raised in the Westboro Baptist Church, infamous for its daily public protests against members of the LGBT community, Jews, the military and countless others. Dialogue with “enemies” online proved instrumental in her decision to leave the church and its way of life in November 2012.
Phelps-Roper has since become an advocate for people and ideas she was taught to despise.
It is hard to spend a week in Israel and not come away feeling that Israelis have the wind at their backs.
- They’ve built an awesome high-tech industry
- Regionally, the Arabs and Palestinians have never been weaker
- Israel has never had a more unquestioningly friendly United States.
- Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, asking Israel for nothing in return. The Arab states barely made a peep.
this wind has whetted the appetite of Israel’s settlers and ruling Likud Party to go to extremes
.. the “Likud Party unanimously urged legislators in a nonbinding resolution … to effectively annex Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, land that Palestinians want for a future state.”
.. Sure, the world would scream “apartheid,” but Israeli rightists shrug that the world will get used to it.
- Nikki Haley will cover for Israel at the U.N.
- Sheldon Adelson will keep Trump and the G.O.P. in line.
- And the Arab regimes, which need Israel to counter Iran, will look the other away.
They think they can annex the West Bank without giving Palestinians citizenship; they’ll just let the Palestinians vote in their own elections.
.. May 17, 1983 .. Israel (backed by the U.S.) imposed virtually all its security demands on a weak Lebanese government, including a framework for normalizing trade and diplomacy.
.. “Going All The Way: Christian Warlords, Israeli Adventurers and the War in Lebanon.”
I always loved that title — going all the way. It’s a recurring theme out here, and it almost always ends with a “Thelma and Louise” moment — partners driving over a cliff — and so it did with Israel in 1983.
.. everywhere I look today I see people going all the way.
- I see Republicans trashing two of our most sacred institutions — the F.B.I. and the Justice Department — because these agencies won’t bend to Trump’s will.
- I see Iran controlling four Arab capitals: Damascus, Sana, Baghdad and Beirut.
- I see Hamas still more interested in building tunnels in Gaza to kill Israelis than schools to strengthen Palestinian society.
- I see the crown prince of Saudi Arabia with one hand undertaking hugely important steps —
- moderating Saudi Islam,
- letting women drive and
- opening Saudi society culturally to the world
- and, with the other hand,
- abducting the prime minister of Lebanon,
- buying ridiculously expensive paintings and
- seizing businesses in the name of combating corruption
- I see the Taliban killing 103 people in Kabul by packing an ambulancewith explosives and driving it into a crowd.
I see Houthis, Yemeni warlords, Iranians, Saudis and the U.A.E. all tearing Yemen apart in the name of God knows what.
I see Turkey’s president silencing every critical journalist in his country.
I see the Egyptian and Russian presidents eliminating all serious rivals in their upcoming elections.
I see Bibi Netanyahu trying to derail a corruption investigation by weakening Israel’s justice system, free media and civil society — just like Trump and for the same purposes: to weaken constraints on his arbitrary use of political power.
I see an American president threatening to tear up, or actually tearing up, global agreements he doesn’t like —
the Iran nuclear deal,
the Trans-Pacific Partnership,
the Paris climate accord and
aid to Palestinians and Pakistanis —
but without any clear plan or alternative for the morning after that will improve on the status quo.
Worst of all, I see an America — the world’s strongest guardian of truth, science and democratic norms — now led by a serial liar and norms destroyer, giving license to everyone else to ask, why can’t I?
Can anything stop this epidemic of going all the way? Yes: Mother Nature, human nature and markets. They’ll all push back when no one else will.
.. How so?
Gaza has limited hours of electricity each day.
Result: Gaza’s already inadequate sewage plants are often offline, and waste goes untreated straight into the Mediterranean.
Then the prevailing current washes Gaza’s poop north, where it clogs Israel’s big desalination plant in Ashkelon — which provides 15 percent of Israel’s drinking water
.. In both 2016 and 2017, the Ashkelon plant had to close to clean Gaza’s crud out of its filters. It’s Mother Nature’s way of reminding both that if they try to go all the way, if they shun a healthy interdependence, she’ll poison them both.
.. then out of nowhere Iranians back home start protesting against Suleimani’s overreach; they’re tired of seeing their money spent on Gaza and Syria — not on Iranians. And, just as suddenly, the biggest internet meme in Iran becomes an Iranian woman ripping off her veil and holding it upon the end of a stick.
.. And if you don’t think markets have a way of curing excesses, you didn’t read the top story in The Times.
.. Watch out for
- the market,
- Mother Nature and
- human nature.
.. One is the relentless product of chemistry, biology and physics; one is the balance between greed and fear; and the third is the eternal human quest for freedom and dignity. In the end, they’ll shape the future more than any leader or party who tries going all the way.
Mr. Trump may call this behavior “fighting back,” but the federal criminal code would almost surely call it obstructing justice — an offense that has led to the resignation of one president and the impeachment of another... Other defenders of the president have argued it was no big deal. Hey, this happened seven months ago, and he didn’t even follow through!.. But he did follow through with firing Mr. Comey. If there were any remaining doubt that he did so for an innocent reason, Thursday’s news snuffed it out. Mr. Trump’s claim that he wanted Mr. Mueller gone because of his supposed “conflicts of interest,” which included a claimed dispute long ago over fees at one of Mr. Trump’s golf clubs, is not worth taking seriously... Second, why the repeated lies by Mr. Trump and his associates about the contacts with Russian officials? Maybe they truly believed they did nothing illegal during the campaign and transition, but thought it would be embarrassing for the contacts to become public in light of the intelligence community’s finding that Russia attempted to interfere in the election. For this White House, though, mere public embarrassment has never seemed a source of chagrin.
Republicans — and only Republicans — have the power to make clear that Trump’s presidency is effectively over if he fires Robert Mueller, the special counsel.
At the Justice Department, Republicans can refuse to carry out any order to fire Mueller and create a firestorm if Trump subsequently fires them.
And at the White House, Republicans serving under Trump can explain to him that he would create a true constitutional crisis if he tried to subvert the rule of law.
.. We now know — thanks to Michael Schmidt and Maggie Haberman of The Times — that Trump did try to subvert the rule of law.
.. I would caution people not to lionize McGahn. He’s been involved in some of this administration’s seedier acts, including the nomination of unqualified federal-judge candidates, at least one of whom had personal ties to him. He also played a role in previous attempts by the White House to muck up the Russia investigation, including the firing of James Comey as the F.B.I. director.
.. But McGahn acted honorably and bravely when it mattered most.
.. there is every reason to think he is afraid of it — and willing to do almost anything to obstruct it.