Progressive Liberal https://www.progressiveliberal.net Forward Thinking Fri, 10 Aug 2018 09:25:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 https://www.progressiveliberal.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/favicon.png Progressive Liberal https://www.progressiveliberal.net 32 32 Trump’s War On Intellect Is Actually An Old French Tradition https://www.progressiveliberal.net/trumps-war-on-intellect-is-actually-an-old-french-tradition/ https://www.progressiveliberal.net/trumps-war-on-intellect-is-actually-an-old-french-tradition/#respond Fri, 25 May 2018 15:29:22 +0000 https://www.progressiveliberal.net/?p=38382 If there’s the first rule of political journalism it is that one should never start an article with the pronoun ‘I,’ and if a second rule exists, then it would be that if you absolutely must mention Greek philosopher and all-around smarty pants Plato, you should not do so until the second paragraph. Leaving it […]

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If there’s the first rule of political journalism it is that one should never start an article with the pronoun ‘I,’ and if a second rule exists, then it would be that if you absolutely must mention Greek philosopher and all-around smarty pants Plato, you should not do so until the second paragraph.

Leaving it to the third is even better.

The fact is that Plato’s belief – that a show of hands is a lousy way to resolve disputes is so fundamentally undemocratic that it tends to send even the hardiest of political constitutions into spasms as if they had Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Those of us who like to believe that democratic institutions are the bedrock upon which our society and indeed our entire sense of self-worth is based upon flared nostrils at one another at the mere suggestion of political elitism nee expertise.

Democracy is, after all, in our blood. It’s the way we do things. It’s a workable system, a wholemeal system filled with whole grains of truth and bowel friendly roughage.

And yet.

Few of us, if seated on a Boeing 747, would be encouraged if the pilot – via the crackle of the intercom – asked what their preferred altitude was. Consternation would morph to overt biliousness if the next vote centered on which of three promising-looking levers operated the landing gear.

In a medical crisis, we turn to doctors. Electricians wire our houses; chefs soufflé, kittens mewl, preachers preach, and game show hosts engage in the kind of asinine banter that only people who apply to go on game shows seem to enjoy. We rely on pharmacists to curate our medicine, farmers to rear our venison, and countless others to dot ‘I’s and cross ‘T’s to ensure that bridges continue to bridge and computers continue to compute.

We live in a world of interconnected disciplines and if that world were to end – were we to return to the state of nature so familiar to our ancestors — we’d be screwed. The wonders of the modern world are the product of collective ignorance. The average Apple genius has about as much chance of constructing a microchip as a Palaeolithic orangutan has of winning a Michelin Star for a truly top-notch Baklava.

We know this. Ever since we moved out of the caves and began to try our hands at farming, humanity has embraced the concept of specialization. Potters, weavers, blacksmiths, gunsmiths, scribes, clergy, nobility and peasants. Our history is rife with not so informal caste after willingly informal caste that knew their place, their limitations.

And when to look to others for advice.

Modern Family Feud

Not so with the modern world. Today one field appears exempted from perceived expertise. In politics, the opinions of those trained in the implementation of skills specific to the task at hand are barely listened to.

Indeed, they are often greeted with snorts of derision.

When it comes to politics, there can be no experts. Political scientists ply their trade in a twilight precinct of shabbily constructed discourse. Wedged uncomfortably between the asymmetric butt cheeks of academic rigor and ill-informed opinion, the dissonant is vetoed by the ego. Sure, political academics write their books, attend their conferences and whore their erudition to rolling news networks.

They get the same $600 a pop as all the other academics.

But they never get invited to do TED talks.

Because political science is the white foam cresting a wave of anti-intellectualism that has been growing for some time. What began as a proto-democratic tendency to favor one ‘wing’, over another descended – over the course of the twentieth century — into the kind of rampant tribalism that gave the Vandals such a bad name.

As a veritable Valles Marianas opened up between political factions, other disciplines got dragged into the quagmire. Kicking and screaming, they too mired in the funk.

Evolutionary biology. Climatology.

Urology.

Ok… So maybe not that last one.

But such related disciplines were only ever a support act; the Amazon equivalent of the #567 bestselling book in the category of ‘invertebrate fiction.’ The headline was always writ large as a war between the opinion-crafters and the opinionated.

A battle the ignoramuses tend to win at the best of times.

Best ‘Worst Candidate’ Ever

Trump is a bad idea we told them. He’s a blowhard, an amateur, an incompetent peddler of reeking snake oils with known mafia connections.

They would not listen.

He’s a womanizer, a pedant, a liar, and a fraud.

They ignored us.

For God’s sake – we opined – he looks like someone fucked a sweet blancmange dessert and poured it into a cheap suit.

They elected him anyway.

They flipped the bird to the so-called experts—scoffed at the would-be-pundits and went their own way instead. We were so aghast that we upgraded our emotional state to agog. Facts became fake news; reality became subjective. Not that this new wave cause célèbre of stubborn stupidity, this cluster-fuck of willful ignorance was restricted to the United States. That might have at least made sense.

But no; over in Europe, the United Kingdom delivered a hefty kick to its own nut sack in the form of Brexit.

Italy toyed with the notion of returning to its fascist routes. Turkey opted to vote for incumbent president Recep Erdogan a suite of powers that would make Superman Kryptonite-green with envy. Nobody could figure out what the hell Hungary was doing to itself either.

What to do? Where could urbane snowflakes trapped in an elitist bubble made of avocado pits and college degrees turn to for advice? Was there no precedent for this sort of thing? Where are the allegorical or literal lessons that could help us make sense of all that had befallen us?

They are in the usual place of course, in France.

Specifically, Paris in December 1894.

The Dreyfus Affair

One might be forgiven for thinking that the affair in question must have been a sex scandal. This is France we are talking about here a nation so rife with a licentious scandal that even their constitution has semi-regular check-ups at the VD clinic. But no. The Dreyfus affair was an instance of duplicity so atrocious in its application and intent that its odor has lingered elevator fart- like for much longer than anyone would wish.

In September of that year, a French Housekeeper working at the German embassy in Paris stumbled upon a somewhat remarkable letter. Addressed to Max Von Schwarzkoppen – the German military attaché assigned to the embassy – it was unsigned, undated and written on a piece of tissue paper torn into six pieces. It stated that confidential French military documents were about to be sent to a foreign power.

French Counterintelligence was soon informed and — rather grandiosely—chose to name the document the ‘Bordereau.’ That means ‘the slip,’ to those of us not conversant in French.

The French Minister of War — General Auguste Mercier – took personal charge of the investigation. Both he and the press had long suspected that his department was compromised. Indeed, it had been leaking like a cold sore in the tropics. Sensing an opportunity to redeem himself, he launched two secret investigations into Bordereau; one was judicial in nature the other purely administrative. Both arbitrarily restricted their search to suspects who either held positions on the General Staff or had recently departed from such a post.

They soon found an ‘ideal’ candidate.

Of course, their criteria for what was and what was not ‘ideal’ might be somewhat confusing to the modern observer.

We cannot understand politics without first understanding history, and we cannot understand history without knowledge of geography.

Two Strikes

Case in point.

Captain Dreyfus had two strikes against him from the get-go.

Firstly, he was from Alsace.

The province is known today as French King Louis XIV annexed Alsace during the seventeenth century. Its neighboring state –Lorraine — fell behind French borders during the eighteenth-century reign of Louis XV, Both areas lay within what the French understood as their ‘natural borders’ specifically their eastern border which they maintained ran all the way to the Rhine. The dictates of nationalistic geography, however, circumvented a somewhat inconvenient point of order. The people who inhabited both regions were not really all that French.

In fact, they were positively Germanic.

The German language dominated – overwhelmingly so – but so too did other Germanic traditions; cuisine, modes of dress, military tropes and cultural norms. All stemmed from Teutonic mores. In 1871 the newly created German Empire demanded – and received – Alsace-Loraine. They were in effect taken as reparations for France’s humiliating defeat during the Franco Prussian War of 1870. Thus ‘Germanic France’ was returned to Germany and the people of Alsace made the transition from provincial oddities to actual foreigners.

So, there was that.

Secondly, he was a Jew.

Just as Karl Marx would have been surprised to learn that it was Russia who would first implement his radicalism so too would early students of Jewish history have been surprised to discover that the Holocaust was a crime of German design.

Jewish France

In the late nineteenth century, France seemed the most likely candidate for a backlash against its Jewish community. Anti-Semitism had been on the rise ever since the 1886 publication of La France juice (Jewish France), by Édouard Adolphe Drumont. The book – which sold 150, 000 copies within its first year – was a work of sickening prejudice.
Across 1200 pages, Drumont developed thee separate strands of anti-Semitic thought. The first, was racial in origin suggesting that a conflict between Jews and non-Jews -or Aryans as he labeled them was an inevitability.

His second accusation centered on his belief that the Jews controlled the world’s financial institutions. His theory in this regard was nothing new and based on centuries-old facile observations. Christians financiers had long been hampered by the fact that charging interest on loans was something of a taboo. Worse than that, it was a sin of ‘thou shalt not,’ vintage commonly referred to as ‘usury.’

The problem was that the Bible was somewhat conflicted on the issue. According to Deuteronomy it was OK to lend to a foreigner but not to your brother.

In Exodus charging loan interest to rich people was just fine and dandy. But woe betides those who exploited the poor to turn a profit. Meanwhile, Ezekiel asked and answered the question as to whether it was even permissible to let bankers live. Spoiler alert: Zeke thought it best to butcher them pretty much on sight.

The Jewish Exception

Jewish law was less ambiguous, as lending to other Jews was a serious no-no, but to Gentiles? That was another matter altogether. The modern banking sector was a thing of the Renaissance, but it was during the Enlightenment that it came into its own. Drumont, observing the growth of Jewish banking families such as the Rothschilds, Montagu, and Schroders saw conspiracy where there was in reality only historical anomaly

Lastly, Drumont proposed a religious reason for the hatred of Jews because they were complicit in the death of Jesus.

With rabid anti-Semitism at fever pitch in France, the somewhat German, defiantly, Jewish Dreyfus did not stand a chance.

That his on-file handwriting did not match that of the Bordereau hardly seemed relevant. An officer—with the improbable name of Charles du Paty de Clam was wheeled in to provide his expertise on the matter. As an amateur practitioner of the pseudoscience graphology – second only to phrenology in the list of nineteenth-century judicially mandated deception – he was well placed to throw reason to the crows.

Du Paty de Clam insisted that the reason that the handwriting on the Bordereau lacked any similarity to Dreyfus’ own script was that he had cleverly disguised it. Despite the fact that such wild and unsubstantiated speculation flew in the face of basic levels of jurisprudence the suggestion was taken seriously.

Miscarriage Of Justice

A total lack of tangible evidence notwithstanding, on October 29, 1894, General Mercier summoned Dreyfus to a meeting and demanded a confession. Dreyfus denied all knowledge of the affair. Mercier then suggested that Dreyfus should shoot himself, kindly offering him the use of his own revolver. Dreyfus declined the invitation.

The press went wild.

The La Libre Parole (Translated: The Free World) – a newspaper owned by none other than Édouard Drumont himself – was the first to break the story. They told tales of a licentious life. Day by day they spun lurid tales of non-existent gambling debts, of Dreyfus’ ‘insidious’ Germanic heritage. They sought always to weave the narrative of bad fiction towards those very same anti-Semitic sentiments they had been espousing for years.

You were warned — they told their readers—of the dangers of allowing Jews in the army.

The trial began on December 19, 1894, and a closed court was immediately pronounced.

The whole thing was a disgraceful sham.

Dreyfus defended himself with vigor. A dozen witnesses came forward to corroborate his protestations. There was no motive; Dreyfus was a patriot with an unblemished military record. He was rich, a hard worker and he had earned respect — and the support — of most of his peers.

The General Staff — aware that the evidence against Dreyfus was as insubstantial as a fruit fly’s flatus — panicked. The very lack of evidence, the prosecution insisted desperately– was proof of the man’s guilt. He had – they told an incredulous panel of judges – cleverly destroyed it all for the very purpose of making a conviction impossible. At the eleventh hour, a secret file prepared by the High Command’s own statistics section was submitted to the court by order of War Minister Mercier.

100 Percent Proof

It contained within it four ‘absolute proofs,’ of Dreyfus’ guilt, so secret that revealing their contents was out of the question. The court would just have to take it on faith that there was some juicy stuff in there.

As would the defense team.

On December 22, the seven judges came to the unanimous conclusion that Dreyfus was guilty of collusion with a foreign power and was sentenced to permanent exile within a walled fortification.

On January 5, Dreyfus was marched out before his peers where an adjutant tore off his badges, shredded his stripes and removed the cuffs and sleeves of his jacket. His sword was then broken. Shipped initially from one prison to another on April 14 he, at last, arrived at the infamous Devil’s Island in French Guiana.

Locked in a hut that was only 13′ by 13′ Dreyfus – the only person on the island aside from the guards – was subjected to a miserable existence. Isolated and feverish with tropical diseases he would remain in solitary confinement for over four years.

Meanwhile — as Dreyfus’ physical state deteriorated – all hell was breaking loose back home.

Two State Dissolution

The trial had created something of a rift in French society. On one side there were the Anti Dreyfusards – infested with the rabid anti-Semitism of the masses. Dreyfus’ guilt was tightly wound up in his Jewishness. He was guilty because the Jews were ‘guilty’ of a multitude of imagined slights, crimes, and depredations. He suffered for the sins of others.

The theological irony went unnoticed by most.

In the other camp were the Dreyfusards; those who saw the trial for what it was. A cover-up.

Dreyfus’s bother Mathieu led the way. He worked tirelessly to force a re-trial. He risked reprisals from the military establishment and spent a fortune. He planned to make as much noise as possible in the hope that somebody would listen to him.

Somebody did.

In 1896– as pressure to review the case mounted – Lieutenant Colonel Georges Piquart was ordered to review the case and was granted access to all documents including those in the secret file. He came across a telegram later to be dubbed ‘petit bleu.’ A German Military attaché Max von Schwarzkoppen wrote and addressed it to a French military officer called Major Walsin-Esterházy, His interest piqued Piquart decided to dig a little deeper and to his astonishment realized that there was something oddly familiar about Esterházy’s handwriting.

It looked exactly like the writing on the Bordereau.

He alerted the authorities.

Piquart was ignored then monitored and ultimately transferred to Tunisia for his troubles. Documents were forged, and petit bleu was doctored to make it look as if the original name had been altered. Despite overwhelming evidence that a miscarriage of justice had occurred the General Staff refused to budge. In 1897 Piquart returned to Paris and went public with his findings.

The Dreyfus affair was born.

The Wrong Side Of History

The reactionary anti- Dreyfusards led by men such as the novelist and politician Maurice Barrès and writer and critic Ferdinand Brunetière heaped scorn upon the Dreyfusards a disparate group of free thinkers led by Playwright Émile Zola, Anatole France, and Lucien Herr, et al.

The reactionaries dismissed them as – and in doing so popularized the term – intellectuals. They were derided as liberal dilettantes and political amateurs. These people were — the anti Drefusards alleged — so ensconced in their elitist bubble that they were inured from simple, common-sense logic.

They also just so happened to be right.

This odd collection of artists, writers and scientists were way ahead of the curve. The general public chose to follow narrow-minded prejudice and dance to the tune of a conservative overtly racist press. The progressives danced to their own tune.

With the knowledge of petit bleu now public domain Esterházy was put on trial for the crime that Dreyfus was currently serving time for. Future prime minister Georges Clemenceau accused the General Staff of cowering before Esterhazy. A former mistress came forward with letters in which Esterhazy outlined his hatred of France and its army. In the closed court, the accused was applauded, the witnesses booed. After three minutes of deliberation, Esterházy was acquitted.

Piquart was arrested.

Headline Act

On January 13, 1898, Zola published what is arguably the most famous – and certainly most damming – political headline of all time.

J’accuse…! – I accuse – was an open letter that appeared on the front page of the socialist newspaper L’Aurore. Zola’s accusations were fierce. He accused the French government of anti-Semitism of the unlawful jailing of an innocent man and of other heinous crimes. He highlighted the judicial errors and deviations from jurisprudential norms. In a blistering attack upon the media he wrote that:

“It is a crime to poison the minds of the meek and the humble, to stoke the passions of reactionism and intolerance, by appealing to that odious anti-Semitism that, unchecked, will destroy the freedom-loving France of the Rights of Man. It is a crime to exploit patriotism in the service of hatred, and it is, finally, a crime to ensconce the sword as the modern god, whereas all science is toiling to achieve the coming era of truth and justice.”

The paper sold 300, 000 copies a tenfold increase in its regular circulation.

For his troubles, Zola was accused of libel, found guilty on February 23, 1898, and received the maximum possible penalty of one year’s imprisonment and a fine of 30,000 Francs. He fled to England.

You can probably see where this is going.

 

Featured Image Via Europeana-Newspapers

 

 

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A ‘Normal’ Hunting Rifle Shouldn’t Be Turned Into A Weapon Of Mass Murder – But Could Be, Easily https://www.progressiveliberal.net/hunting-rifle-weapon-mass-murder/ https://www.progressiveliberal.net/hunting-rifle-weapon-mass-murder/#respond Tue, 22 May 2018 16:09:50 +0000 https://www.progressiveliberal.net/?p=38576 Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of ProgressiveLiberal.net.  As a gun control advocate, I believe that we would greatly benefit from understanding guns before discussing responsible gun ownership with the NRA. Banning the AR-15 rifle is currently the most hotly contested issue when it […]

The post A ‘Normal’ Hunting Rifle Shouldn’t Be Turned Into A Weapon Of Mass Murder – But Could Be, Easily appeared first on Progressive Liberal.

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Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of ProgressiveLiberal.net. 

As a gun control advocate, I believe that we would greatly benefit from understanding guns before discussing responsible gun ownership with the NRA. Banning the AR-15 rifle is currently the most hotly contested issue when it comes to controlling gun violence.

Poster Child For Mass Shootings?

Making the AR-15 the poster child for mass shootings is only one piece of a complicated issue.

The AR-15 rifle looks like a machine gun that Rambo would use to mow down 150 bad guys in a few minutes while pounding his chest like an ape

The following is a photo of my semiautomatic Benelli 30-06 caliber rifle.

Image By Duncan Claybourne/Own Work

It comes standard with an internal magazine that holds four rounds. The caliber of this rifle is actually larger than a typical AR-15. However, AR-15s do come in more than one caliber.

An AR-15 is inaccurately labeled as an “Assault Rifle” because of its acronym. The “AR” actually stands for  “Armalite Rifle,” a class of firearms that operates mechanically identical to the Benelli. The AR-15 uses a small caliber bullet with high velocity, relatively speaking. It is incredibly simple to work and can be shouldered and carried.

But perhaps most importantly it can fire with ease, and the barrel doesn’t get too hot.

The most significant differences Include, IMHO…

  1. The AR-15 looks like a machine gun that Rambo would use to mow down 150 bad guys in a few minutes while pounding his chest like an ape. It is not. It is just like my rifle, except
  2. It has a handle. Yup, that is what many “Assault Rifle” bans focus on when they make them illegal to own. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is a gun nut, but he made a valid point while acting like a heartless fool during a CNN town hall in the wake of the Parkland massacre. He pointed out that there are around 2200 rifles that operate mechanically the same way but most only focus on about 200 (his numbers). The thing is, he’s correct. Lawmakers use handles as a reason to ban some rifles.
  3. The reason for banning handles leads to the fact that some AR-15s come fitted with large capacity magazines, sometimes referred to as “Banana Clips.” The Banana Clip is the same magazine type that the AK-47 uses. The magazine type – and not the gun – is what the gun control and gun rights groups should discuss. Including, preferably, the number of bullets magazines hold, not to mention fire, before swapping out the spent magazine for a new one. Well, that, and the fact that the user could reload an AR-15 in just seconds.
  4. The caliber of the bullet. It is just a measurement in increments of the standard inch in diameter. A .223 round, which is common in AR-15s, is a reference to it being just under a quarter of an inch wide. My Benelli fires a round that is considerably larger. This means the AR-15 with a .223 round has less recoil, which also means more bullets fired in rapid succession than the Benelli.

What gun control advocates need to understand is that my Benelli, if it had a 30 round magazine, would be just as deadly, if not more so, than most AR-15s.

But it doesn’t look scary, so most folks don’t even consider it problematic.

The Benelli is simply more accurate over a greater distance than the typical AR-15. However, the lighter .223 round tends to tumble upon hitting flesh causing massive, gaping wounds and turning internal organs to mush, literally, which scientists refer to as the cavitation effect. (See video below for more information on this effect.)

They are deadly in different ways

These mass killers likely gravitate to the AR-15 because it makes them feel like they have compensated for their undescended testicles with a bazooka-sized penis extension.

It looks badass. It looks dangerous. It looks intimidating, and that is a psychological issue – not an issue that pertains to how a gun operates. If you ban them, these deranged idiots will resort to purchasing a rifle like my Benelli, and shove a massive magazine into it with four more in their pockets when they go berserk.

We would need to ban a hell of a lot more guns to wipe out all of the weapons that can be modified to fire hundreds of rounds in a few minutes

Rubio is an NRA beholden nightmare – have no doubt about that fact, but he made a valid point while the gun control folks in the audience that nearly booed him off the stage that night.

Rubio was asked – paraphrasing, of course:

“Why not start with those 200 guns that look scary?”

What he said was correct. Banning the AR-15 is just one component in reducing mass shootings. There are, in fact, a couple of thousand other guns to ban that can be adapted to kill many humans in a short period.

A Benelli is one of those rifles

It comes down to something elementary: If Americans choose to ban AR-15s, they have NOT solved the problem. The real problem is the magazine capacity. Period.

The reason why the Benelli comes with a four round magazine is that it is a hunting rifle. That is why it has a scope, and that is why it doesn’t come with a 30 round magazine. If you need that many bullets to bag Bambi, then you have no business going anywhere near a trigger. Nevermind the fact you will destroy the very meat for which you killed Bambi for in the first place.

Guns weren’t designed for any other purpose except to kill. All guns are meant to kill. They are just a tool, but they are a tool for causing death.

Many of us sound ridiculous when debating Fright-Wing gun nuts. Many don’t possess any knowledge of firearms, or worse, they possess inaccurate information, and that makes freaks like Ted Nugent laugh his sick ass off at our naivete.

So bring on better background checks. In many states, it remains legal to pawn off your grandpa’s arsenal to anyone, with zero background checks, after he dies.

That is nuts

Domestic violence offender? No worries. As long as the seller doesn’t ask any questions, there won’t be any legal ramifications. This loophole leaves the seller able to skirt the law quite easily.

If we are going to discuss the mechanics of how firearms function, then to do so, we need to get over our basal ganglionic reactions that our reptile brains spark that tells us to ban weapons based upon how they trigger a fear response visually.

Solving this aspect of gun violence requires buckling up and getting down to the real issue – and that is restricting magazine capacity.

Check out this video of ballistic bullet testing for more information:


Featured Image By Duncan Claybourne/Own Work.

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Oklahoma Signed First Anti-LBGTQ Legislation Of 2018 – Just In Time For Mother’s Day https://www.progressiveliberal.net/oklahoma-anti-lbgtq-legislation-2018/ https://www.progressiveliberal.net/oklahoma-anti-lbgtq-legislation-2018/#respond Sun, 13 May 2018 18:17:51 +0000 https://www.progressiveliberal.net/?p=38634 Just in time for Mother’s Day, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin just signed a law that states that child-placement agencies can choose who adopts or fosters a child based on the agencies, “written religious or moral convictions.” In other words, perfectly wonderful gay adoptive parents in the state of Oklahoma now face an uphill battle if they […]

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Just in time for Mother’s Day, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin just signed a law that states that child-placement agencies can choose who adopts or fosters a child based on the agencies, “written religious or moral convictions.” In other words, perfectly wonderful gay adoptive parents in the state of Oklahoma now face an uphill battle if they want to adopt a child there, and the state just made it perfectly legal to do so.

And the reason that the Governor gave for allowing this thing through is as baffling as it is abhorrent – diversity. Once again, with members of the GOP, the cognitive dissonance is almost palpable.

SERIOUSLY?

Fallin said in a statement that:

“SB 1140 allows faith-based agencies that contract with Oklahoma to continue to operate in accordance with their beliefs. In a day and time when diversity is becoming a core value to society because it will lead to more options, we should recognize its value for serving Oklahoma also because it leads to more options for loving homes to serve Oklahoma children.”

This is categorically false. This bill will serve to cut the number of people who can adopt babies. Pretending otherwise sets a dangerous precedent, and will just keep more kids stuck in the system.

Activist groups, as well as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), have stepped in. And they aren’t going down without a fight.

 THE REACTION

Sharon Bishop-Baldwin, Oklahomans for Equality’s vice-president, said:

“The idea that bigotry trumps decency is really reprehensible. I am horribly disappointed in Governor Fallin tonight.”

SB1140 Reaction

Posted by Oklahomans for Equality on Friday, May 11, 2018

Oklahomans for equality released the above video. And the ACLU released a statement of its own.

Allie Shinn, ACLU of Oklahoma’s External Affairs Director, said:

“We are disappointed, though frankly unsurprised, that the Governor chose today to continue the Legislature’s game of using children and LGBT Oklahomans as pawns in cruel political games. SB 1140 is discriminatory, anti-family, anti-children, and anti-First Amendment. Rather than stand up to religious fanaticism, the Governor has chosen to reinforce the delusions of those who confuse discrimination with liberty.”

‘STATE SANCTIONED HATE’

Troy Stevenson, executive director of Freedom Oklahoma, said that children who are desperately looking for homes in the state would certainly be harmed by this “state-sanctioned hate,” then he added, “we’ll see you in court.”

According to statistics from Oklahoma Foster’s, right now in the state, there are 9,6000 children in state custody. Every day, there are over 3oo children legally available and looking for homes. The majority of them are under twelve years of age.

Instead of doing everything in their power to help those babies find those homes, however, Fallin passed a law that will make it even more difficult.

Not a very happy Mother’s Day at all for many people in one mid-west state this week.

The bill passed, mostly along party lines, in the Republican-controlled House (56-21) and Senate (33-7). Under Republicans, that whole line that’s supposed to exist between government and religion gets muddier and muddier every single day.


Featured Image via YouTube Video.

 

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DNC Paying Millions For Hillary Clinton’s Coveted Email List https://www.progressiveliberal.net/dnc-millions-hillary-clintons-email-list/ https://www.progressiveliberal.net/dnc-millions-hillary-clintons-email-list/#respond Sat, 12 May 2018 18:48:15 +0000 https://www.progressiveliberal.net/?p=38620 The Federal Elections Commission (FEC) revealed that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is paying over $2 million for access to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign email list. The DNC is pushing hard to take back the House in 2018. They consider the former Secretary of State’s email list an invaluable asset for that victory and in a […]

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The Federal Elections Commission (FEC) revealed that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is paying over $2 million for access to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign email list. The DNC is pushing hard to take back the House in 2018. They consider the former Secretary of State’s email list an invaluable asset for that victory and in a run for the Senate majority.

The FEC reports the money will be transferred to Onward Together; a “dark money” group Clinton formed after her failed candidacy. The group already received several payments in 2018 so far. According to The Intercept:

“According to FEC filing the DNC has made three payments to Onward Together between January and February, adding up to $570,000; another payment of $135,000 was made in March, bringing the total to $705,000. The full $1.65 million will be paid out by October of this year.”

Former President Barack Obama’s email list generated throughout his campaign and presidency was deemed the most valuable in all of politics. That’s why Obama donated his list to the DNC back in 2015 instead of selling or renting it. That donation was valued at $1,942,640, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, an organization devoted to tracking such contributions.

To Gift Or Rent The List?

Clinton is legally entitled to rent her email list to the DNC as opposed to offering it as a gift as President Obama did.

Some have criticized Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for not turning over his email list. Sen. Sanders says that such an action would open his supporters up to having their emails misused by the DNC.

The Intercept relates the pitiful state of the DNC after the 2016 general election:

“The 2016 election left the DNC in shambles, with the organization struggling to attract new donors — evidently despite the HFA assets. It has been reporting disappointing fundraising figures for well over a year. In 2017, the DNC managed to raise roughly $67 million in comparison to the RNC’s $125 million, according to its latest FEC filings.

Former DNC Chair Donna Brazile told The Intercept the deal was the result of ‘tough negotiations between the Clinton campaign and the DNC. I wanted to bring back our assets. I wanted to get as much from them as they got from us. … Under the terms I worked out, we had to pay quarterly for items that the DNC acquired.'”

The Intercept reports on the state of the DNC and the RNC heading into the 2018 midterm elections:

“The DNC has taken out $1,700,000 in loans since January 2017, roughly equal to the amount it owes the Clinton campaign, bringing its debt burden to $6.6 million with just $10,093,347 cash on hand. (The RNC has $42,442,531 and no debt.). The Clinton campaign, following a secret August 2015 memo of understanding,would have had full visibility into the DNC balance sheet.”

One would hope that Onward Together will make good use of the money that the DNC is hard pressed to give. However, given the financial distress and debt held by the DNC and the nearly quadruple monies held by the RNC, it seems like a risky investment.


Featured Image Via NBC News YouTube Video.

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On Death Row: The Execution Of The Net Neutrality Is Now Scheduled For June https://www.progressiveliberal.net/the-execution-of-the-net-neutrality-has-been-scheduled-for-june/ https://www.progressiveliberal.net/the-execution-of-the-net-neutrality-has-been-scheduled-for-june/#respond Fri, 11 May 2018 16:50:54 +0000 https://www.progressiveliberal.net/?p=38603 The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has set the date for the end of Net Neutrality. The execution commences this coming June 11th. Verizon and their ilk will now control our internet and we are powerless to stop them without Congressional action The Hill reports: “The FCC voted 3-2 along party lines late last year to […]

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has set the date for the end of Net Neutrality. The execution commences this coming June 11th.

Verizon and their ilk will now control our internet and we are powerless to stop them without Congressional action

The Hill reports:

“The FCC voted 3-2 along party lines late last year to scrap its 2015 Open Internet Order, despite backlash from Democrats and protesters calling for an open internet.

“FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has argued the FCC overstepped when it imposed the restrictions.

“Others have argued that repealing the rules would allow for major internet companies, such as Comcast or Verizon, to abuse their powers as internet gatekeepers and drive up the costs of internet use.”

The importance of Net Neutrality cannot be understated. Allowing it to end will fundamentally turn control of the Net over to corporations. Corporations pursue one goal, and that is not to serve the consumer. They pursue profit at all costs. A corporation has no soul to save.

And emptying your bank account never disappoints Comcast.

There has been a recent wave of action in Congress to end this abomination. Naturally, this flurry of activity is not led by Republicans. The lone hope appears to be Senator Susan Collins from Maine. Her expressions of concern along with every single Senate Democrat will hopefully lead to a vote next week to stop the FCC’s plans.

The Hill explains:

“On Wednesday, Senate Democrats officially began their push to force a vote on net neutrality under the Congressional Review Act.

“If the resolution is passed by Congress and signed by President Trump it would reverse the repeal of net neutrality measures.”

Sen. Edward J. Markey, (D-Mass.) has filed a Congressional Review Act objecting to ending Net Neutrality. NPR reports:

“Formally called a Resolution of Disapproval, the CRA has the support of every member of the Democratic caucus in the Senate, along with Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. It also has the support of Tim Berners-Lee, the father of the web, and a number of businesses, from Reddit and Tumblr to Wikimedia.”

In essence, the fate of the open internet rests in the hands of a lone Senate Republican. May we all pray in our own way she stays the course to undo the end of the Net as we know it.

Featured Image: Gerd Altmann for Pixabay 

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Trump Seeks To Dismantle Native American Tribal Authority By “Paper Genocide” https://www.progressiveliberal.net/trump-dismantle-native-american-tribal-nations/ https://www.progressiveliberal.net/trump-dismantle-native-american-tribal-nations/#respond Wed, 09 May 2018 19:27:12 +0000 https://www.progressiveliberal.net/?p=38581 Funding corporate tax breaks are leveraged on the backs of the already bruised. From cuts in child healthcare benefits to Meals on Wheels being put at risk, the list goes on and on. And now it includes an effort to both strip away Native American’s rights to Medicaid by a measure that also threatens tribal […]

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Funding corporate tax breaks are leveraged on the backs of the already bruised. From cuts in child healthcare benefits to Meals on Wheels being put at risk, the list goes on and on. And now it includes an effort to both strip away Native American’s rights to Medicaid by a measure that also threatens tribal autonomy.

Because tucked away in the fine print of that measure to cut Medicaid benefits for Native Americans is to lump together those various tribal nations by classifying them as a “race.”

And the potential damage of this effort is stunning far beyond what is on the surface of its callousness

Truth Out’s Courtney Parker explains the insidious nature of the administrations plan to undermine the tribal authority and strip away their benefits:

Native Americans have long existed in a legal and cultural limbo, surviving the devastating impacts of a trail of broken treaties by the US government with staunch determination to maintain their unique cultures and legal federally recognized tribal sovereignty.

In further defiance of the nearly 600 treaties that the US government signed with tribal nations, the Trump administration now appears to be on the move to bring an end to that centuries-old struggle, by committing a “paper genocide.”

Ms. Parker explains the nefarious use of “paper genocide” thusly:

The phrase “paper genocide” is used when a culture is wiped from mass consciousness and visible autonomy through tactics such as removing their ethnic designations from a national census — or in this case, having their sovereignty dismantled by the notion that Native America is a “race” and not a diverse sum of distinct cultures and subcultures of sovereign Nations, tribes, and Peoples.

And that is precisely the tactic Trump utilizes to take away basic human rights. Only in this instance, it targets the sovereignty of independent tribal authority. By taking away that authority it opens up Native Americans to be held to the standards of the individual healthcare mandate.

Native Americans lose their autonomy and are forced to comply with the federal government’s health care mandates by being lumped together as a “race”

And it doesn’t stop there.

Trump’s efforts specifically seek to undermine critical resources that benefit the most vulnerable Native American populations. So a program like the Community Health Representative — a branch of the Indian Health Service is jeopardized.

By forcing work mandates on benefits the Trump administration ignores the realities of life on tribal lands where jobs can be scarce. The loss of benefits could easily result in the loss of life.

So Who is fighting back?

When Politico first broke this story back in April they reported:

The United States has a legal responsibility to provide health care to Native Americans,” said Mary Smith, who was acting head of the Indian Health Service during the Obama administration and is a member of the Cherokee Nation. “It’s the largest prepaid health system in the world — they’ve paid through land and massacres — and now you’re going to take away health care and add a work requirement?

The lack of ambiguity in Mary Smith’s statement is compelling. Truth Out provides a ray of hope:

Senator Tom Udall — a Democrat representative of New Mexico — is currently leading a pushback against these efforts in Congress; and, a group of Senators (including a Republican — Lisa Murkowski — from Alaska) signed a recent letter to the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar. Their collectively endorsed statement issues an accusation that the Trump administration has failed, “…to recognize the unique legal status of Indian tribes and their members under federal law, the US Constitution, treaties, and the federal trust relationship.”

There is little doubt on which side righteousness lies in this fight.

Featured Image: Pixabay, CC —AdinaVoicu

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Hating Trump Is Not A Political Platform https://www.progressiveliberal.net/hating-trump-not-political-platform/ https://www.progressiveliberal.net/hating-trump-not-political-platform/#respond Tue, 08 May 2018 14:44:13 +0000 https://www.progressiveliberal.net/?p=38567 Democrats committed political suicide in 2016. Their incapacity to find commonality over conflict left the party in ruins — and lead to a Trump presidency. Hating Trump is not a political platform Liberal/progressive thought is truly concerning these days. It seems to be lacking any mission other than to despise Trump. It is as if […]

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Democrats committed political suicide in 2016. Their incapacity to find commonality over conflict left the party in ruins — and lead to a Trump presidency.

Hating Trump is not a political platform

Liberal/progressive thought is truly concerning these days. It seems to be lacking any mission other than to despise Trump. It is as if the oxygen of dialogue on solving our nation’s problems has been sucked out of the room by fear and loathing.

Hating Trump is not a political platform. We will lose our roots in we remain mired in reacting to his next new crazy — and that is precisely what Republicans want.

Are we going to be part of the problem or the solution?

The Constitution was written to tend to the least of us — to mend, to heal and to promote the general welfare of “We the People.”

It seems obvious that any American would revolt against the absence of common sense and decency. However, there is a more primal fear that has been manufactured to blind the misinformed with malevolence.

And many believe the Constitution is the Bible and the Bible is the Constitution having read neither.

But they are unified in that primal fear, and common sense and common decency are not enough to sweep up in a Blue Tsunami in the 2018 midterms.

What divided us in 2016 has not dissipated. The rancor is still there between the Hillary and Bernie camps. There are too many progressives still pointing the finger of blame at their brothers and sisters.

Unresolved it may permit Republicans to fundamentally turn our democracy into an Oligarchy

Where do we go from here? How do we fix the fear we have of one another? Where do we put the hate we feel every time we turn on the news?

Talking to a political adversary should never be futile. Our hearts should sink collectively at the thought that informed debate is impossible.

We all live beneath the same sun. We all have children we hope find their way to happiness.

Something different needs to happen…

And I don’t want to be a part of the problem anymore.

Featured Image: Wikimedia (Marc Nozell from Merrimack, New Hampshire, USA • CC BY 2.0)

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Mass Shooting Reports Lead To Huge Surge In Calls To National Domestic Violence Hotline https://www.progressiveliberal.net/mass-shootings-lead-to-huge-surge-in-calls-to-national-domestic-violence-hotline/ https://www.progressiveliberal.net/mass-shootings-lead-to-huge-surge-in-calls-to-national-domestic-violence-hotline/#respond Mon, 07 May 2018 22:57:12 +0000 https://www.progressiveliberal.net/?p=38557 All the news about ongoing mass shootings in America has led to a surge in gun-related domestic violence reports and a massive increase in calls to the National Domestic Violence Hotline in 2017. The number of calls to the hotline skyrocketed by 75% in 2017, following a year that saw a 50% increase in gun-related […]

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All the news about ongoing mass shootings in America has led to a surge in gun-related domestic violence reports and a massive increase in calls to the National Domestic Violence Hotline in 2017.

The number of calls to the hotline skyrocketed by 75% in 2017, following a year that saw a 50% increase in gun-related domestic violence reports.

Despite what Trump and the NRA would have us believe, most mass shootings aren’t happening in gun-free zones. They’re taking place in the home, related to domestic violence, and guns make it more likely violence will occur.

Reports from Everytown for Gun Safety reveal that about half of mass shooting from 2009-2016 involved domestic or family violence.

The risk of death for abused partners is 5 times greater if guns are present in the home.

Other notable increases: 12% more reports involving children, 14% more reports involving stalking, and 13% more reports involving immigration issues.

Survivors are seeing reflections of themselves in the wave of stories of mass shootings. Some are calling in to warn about spouses who they fear might be capable of carrying out such a horrific act themselves.

Calls involving the issue of immigration and domestic violence saw an increase of 13% following Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies.

Sadly, immigrants are being kept in abusive relationships by the threat of deportation.

Hotline CEO Katie Ray-Jones said women are responding to news of immigrants being deported and separated from their children.

“It’s mostly women reaching out in fear because of what they’re seeing on TV. Their abusers say, ‘That’s going to be you. I’m going to get you deported, and you’re never going to see (your children) again.’ They leverage that to keep her in the relationship.

Not only does the fear of deportation keep women in bad relationships, but it also keeps those women from seeking protective orders in court, for fear they might come under scrutiny from ICE. The same fears keep neighbors who witness abuses from coming forward.

Hotline advocate Paula Davis said:

“They have a whole other level of fear that they’re dealing with — the thought of going back where they came from (and) leaving children with someone who was mistreating them,” Davis says. “As a parent, our first priority is our children.”

Although men make up less than 10% of the calls to the hotline, the CDC says that one in seven men have been abused by an intimate partner, compared to one in four women. Men may be ashamed to admit their abuse from women.

The surge in hotline calls hasn’t been met with an increase in staff to take those calls, and roughly 98,000 calls were left unanswered.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is asking for donations to help with the increased demand for their services.

If you need their assistance, you are definitely not alone:

Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY for Deaf/Hard of Hearing) or chat with us by using the “Chat Online Now” button @

See more from USA Today below:


Featured image: Woman with phone via Max Pixel

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Trump Heartlessly Guts Temporary Protected Status For 57,000 Hondurans https://www.progressiveliberal.net/trump-guts-protected-hondurans/ https://www.progressiveliberal.net/trump-guts-protected-hondurans/#respond Sat, 05 May 2018 18:35:39 +0000 https://www.progressiveliberal.net/?p=38546 President Donald Trump is so obsessed with deporting immigrants that he is literally stripping protections that give hundreds of thousands of them legal status here. On the list are 57,000 Hondurans who have lived here for 20 years. Since 1998, 57,000 Hondurans lived in the United States under Temporary Protected Status due to a hurricane […]

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President Donald Trump is so obsessed with deporting immigrants that he is literally stripping protections that give hundreds of thousands of them legal status here. On the list are 57,000 Hondurans who have lived here for 20 years.

Since 1998, 57,000 Hondurans lived in the United States under Temporary Protected Status due to a hurricane that ravaged Honduras and forced thousands to flee. They came here and have had legal status under the law, and past presidents have extended the protection over the years because of continued violence and political instability in the Central American nation.

Two decades is a long time. In fact, it’s more than long enough to settle down and establish roots within a community, have children and grandchildren, have a career, build friendships, and make a difference in people’s lives.

But Trump and his Department of Homeland Security is now ripping those roots up from the ground as they continue to wage a hostile war against immigrants from what Trump refers to as “sh*thole countries.”

On Friday, the Trump administration issued a statement announcing the end of Temporary Protected Status for Hondurans.

The statement said:

“The Secretary determined that the disruption of living conditions in Honduras from Hurricane Mitch that served as the basis for its TPS designation has decreased to a degree that it should no longer be regarded as substantial.”

It also completely ignored that part of the law that instructs administrations to:

“…[Weigh] extraordinary and temporary conditions in the foreign state that prevent aliens who are nationals of the state from returning to the state in safety.”

Honduras is one of the most violent countries in the world and has a high murder rate. There is also considerable civil unrest. That’s why many Hondurans are still fleeing from their homeland.

We should also point out that even Honduras is pleading with the Trump administration to keep the protections in place. After all, these 57,000 people have lived most of their lives in the United States and have built ties to their communities. Their lives are here, not in Honduras. And because many of them came here when they were children, they are far better off here than they would be in Honduras, a place they would be totally unfamiliar with now.

Temporary Protected Status only applies to the 57,000 Hondurans who chose to remain here. No more Hondurans can benefit from the program. And it’s hard to enter the program.

According to Vox:

To enter the program, nationals of a designated country must clear a number of conditions: They must maintain a relatively clean criminal record and pass a background check, they must pay a $495 processing fee when they first apply for the program and every time their status is renewed, and they must reside in the United States at the time of their country’s designation.

Again, the Temporary Protected Status program gives these immigrants legal status to reside and work in the United States. And it’s not just protecting 57,000 Hondurans. It protects around 400,000 people came here seeking asylum from countries devastated by war and natural disasters.

Trump is ending protections for most of them as well, which means 390,000 people will be displaced once again by 2020 and will basically become undocumented immigrants once they lose their protections, which means Trump will be wasting taxpayer dollars and resources deporting people who are law-abiding members of society.

And many of those innocent people would be getting sent to their deaths.

But it will also have a negative impact on the economy as these immigrants with protected status provide billions of dollars to Social Security and Medicare. GDP would also take a major hit, including in states that voted for Trump such as Texas. Furthermore, deporting all of these people would cost taxpayers billions. So, it’s a lose-lose situation that benefits no one as Trump uses it to pander to his racist supporters.

It’s a tragedy that underscores Trump’s disregard for America’s humanitarian values.


Featured Image: YouTube screenshot.

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New Study Reveals The True Motivation Of Those Who Support Donald Trump https://www.progressiveliberal.net/new-study-reveals-the-true-motivation-of-those-who-support-donald-trump/ https://www.progressiveliberal.net/new-study-reveals-the-true-motivation-of-those-who-support-donald-trump/#respond Tue, 24 Apr 2018 16:36:50 +0000 https://www.progressiveliberal.net/?p=38526 Ever since Donald Trump was elected president, pundits have been trying to understand and explain exactly why so many American voters chose to support and cast a ballot for a man with no government experience and numerous business failures who has been dogged by reports of immoral behavior for decades. The most popular theory was […]

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Ever since Donald Trump was elected president, pundits have been trying to understand and explain exactly why so many American voters chose to support and cast a ballot for a man with no government experience and numerous business failures who has been dogged by reports of immoral behavior for decades.

The most popular theory was that Trump had tapped into economic anxiety felt by millions of lower and middle class voters. Trump promised to restore economic glory to them and to the nation, which resonated with workers fearful they would be replaced by immigrants, robots, or their jobs outsourced to another country.

But a new study conducted by University of Pennsylvania political scientist Diana C. Mutz has an alternative answer for the question of why Trump is now president, and it’s much more than just a matter of dollars and cents.

Race, Status, and Fear

Specifically, Mutz’s study shows:

“Traditionally high-status Americans, namely whites, feel their status in America and the world is threatened by America’s growing racial diversity and a perceived loss of U.S. global dominance. Under threat by these engines of change, America’s socially dominant groups increased their support in 2016 for the candidate who most emphasized reestablishing status hierarchies of the past.”

As the New York Times notes, Trump supporters didn’t respond to his message because they were upset with their own finances, and they weren’t acting on anger toward Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama. Instead, they voted out of the fear that white Christians were becoming a minority in the United States.

Dominance and Power

After a close examination of Mutz’s groundbreaking study, the Times came to the following realization:

“Losing a job or income between 2012 and 2016 did not make a person any more likely to support Mr. Trump, Dr. Mutz found. Neither did the mere perception that one’s financial situation had worsened. A person’s opinion on how trade affected personal finances had little bearing on political preferences. Neither did unemployment or the density of manufacturing jobs in one’s area.”

And Mutz echoes that statement when she reports in her summary:

“Political uprisings are often about downtrodden groups rising up to assert their right to better treatment and more equal life conditions relative to high-status groups,. The 2016 election, in contrast, was an effort by members of already dominant groups to assure their continued dominance and by those in an already powerful and wealthy country to assure its continued dominance.”

Railing Against Globalization

One of the themes Trump used most often in 2016 was that other countries were taking advantage of the United States when it came to economic and social factors. He railed against China for its unending economic expansion and urged a total ban on Muslim immigrants, tapping into fears of “others” who want to attack Americans overseas and here at home.

And while Trump was successful with his message of fear and anxiety, demographic trends suggest that a return to the American past is fleeting, as Mutz reminds us:

“In many ways, a sense of group threat is a much tougher opponent than an economic downturn, because it is a psychological mindset rather than an actual event or misfortune. Given current demographic trends within the United States, minority influence will only increase with time, thus heightening this source of perceived status threat.”

Fear can often prove to be more powerful than hope, and in 2016 Donald Trump perfectly tapped into the darker angels of the American psyche. But can he maintain power and possibly win reelection in 2020 by continuing to beat that same drum? Only time will tell.

Featured Image Via Gage Skidmore for Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

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