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the generational divide among evangelicals on same-sex marriage is stark

a new poll finds christian youth are far more likely to support marriage equality than past generations.

millennials and gen x evangelicals are coming out in support of gay marriage in much higher numbers than their parents' and grandparents' generations, according to a recent pew research center poll. around 46 percent of evangelical christians born after 1964 support same-sex marriage, compared with only 26 percent of adults born between 1928 and 1964.

over the past decade, as many states and eventually the supreme court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, a generational divide has emerged within evangelical churches and communities across the united states that were traditionally in unanimous opposition toward marriage equality. 

some argue that younger evangelical christians' shifting attitudes are a byproduct of the supreme court's ruling in obergefell v. hodges and the acceptance of same-sex marriage in mainstream popular culture.

"we see that with pot in colorado," glenn stanton, director of family formation studies at focus on the family, told the washington post. "there's a legitimizing and institutionalizing [factor] when you make something legal.”

opposition to same-sex marriage has decreased across all religious groups in the united states since the turn of the 21st century, according to the pew study.

as a whole, the majority of white evangelical christians and black protestants continue to oppose same-sex unions, while catholics and white protestants now overwhelmingly support equal marriage rights. 






stephen colbert lays into mitch mcconnell after the gop delays its health care vote

"mcconnell knows if they don't pass it now, there's a serious danger someone might read it."

despite controlling all three branches of government, republicans have yet to repeal and replace the affordable care act—one of donald trump's biggest campaign promises and the gop's cri de coeur for nearly a decade.

"you remember how the republicans have been promising to repeal and replace obamacare for seven years now?" opened "late show" host stephen colbert tuesday. "it's their most consistent message other than 'turn down that hip-hop racket, you kids!'" 

scrutiny over the deeply unpopular bill, which five republican senators have declined to support, has impelled senate majority leader mitch mcconnell to postpone a vote on the so-called better health care reconciliation act until after the fourth of july recess.

"mcconnell knows if they don't pass it now, there's a serious danger someone might read it," colbert quipped.

"there are a lot of good reasons not to have the vote this week," he continued, but one really big reason: "mcconnell would have lost."

a damning new report from the congressional budget office isn't helping matters.

"republicans, who were already nervous, ran for the exits after the nonpartisan congressional budget office announced yesterday that under the gop plan, 22 million people would lose their health coverage."

"to put that number into perspective," the host noted, "if you laid 22 million people end to end, it would reach canada, where they could get health care." 

watch:

 

related stories






wild animal acts are becoming a thing of the past, but some circuses insist on continuing their cruel ways

during a recent inspection, officials documented that the universoul circus was using injured animals.

the new york city council just passed a ban on traveling wild-animal acts. ringling bros. has shuttered, following a decade of falling ticket sales. numerous shrine and other circuses are reconsidering animal acts. countries around the world have also banned traveling wild-animal acts.

but it's business as usual for universoul circus, which has just begun a summer run at fedexfield, the home of the washington redskins. universoul's stubborn insistence on featuring acts with records of animal abuse and public endangerment is why laws like the one new york city just passed—on the heels of universoul shows in brooklyn and queens—are so important and should be enacted across the country.

during a recent inspection of universoul, officials documented that the circus was using wounded animals, including an elephant with a circular wound on his ankle—likely from a bullhook, elephant handlers' weapon of choice—a zebra with a wounded nose, and a camel with a leg laceration. a second camel's foot and ankle were abscessed, and the elephants' feet were bruised.

universoul circus was found to be using a wounded elephant, zebra and camel. (image: peta)

in addition, the tiger exhibitor universoul has used for years is a chronic violator of animal-welfare laws and has shown "blatant disregard" for the law. big cats have home ranges of up to 400 miles in the wild, but those used by universoul have been confined to tiny transport cages "24 hours/day 7 days a week" for weeks and even months on end. they've also been denied veterinary care, put at risk of injury and strangulation, and fed a deficient diet.

universoul also endangers the public. tigers have repeatedly escaped from this circus, including in landover hills, maryland, where, during a show attended by elementary school students, one tiger attacked another, escaped, ran loose, and attacked an elephant. in another incident, a tiger with universoul escaped from a cage, climbed onto a car to jump over a fence, and was found in an alley. in addition, multiple people have lost parts of their fingers to tigers with universoul. despite these extremely dangerous incidents and numerous citations for unsafe handling, this circus has been allowed to stay in business. 

a caged tiger at universoul circus. no way to treat any animal. (image: peta)

big cats are apex predators who can easily kill humans. consider the incident in which lions fatally mauled a woman at the national zoo, leaving her body so ravaged that her face was virtually unrecognizable and she had no fingerprints. in another incident, a tiger killed a handler in front of 200 children at a circus. in yet another, a tiger mauled a trainer in front of 400 people during a show, resulting in wounds requiring dozens of stitches.

zebras have also repeatedly escaped from universoul, including just last year. as jared diamond notes, "a kick from a zebra can kill," and zebras "are responsible for more injuries to american zookeepers each year than any other animal." these animals are, he says, "[o]ften bad tempered … and once they bite, they tend not to let go." even circus veterinarians warn that zebras "can be highly volatile, with a propensity for intense and unpredictable reactions that can lead to severe physical trauma[,] …. major property damage, multiple injured animals and humans, and even fatalities." at a recent legislative hearing to consider banning traveling wild-animal acts, universoul admitted that these escapes endanger the public.

the animals also pose disease risks. universoul uses elephants who have been exposed to tuberculosis (tb), a potentially fatal disease that's transmissible between elephants and humans—even without direct contact, since it's an airborne contagion. seven people recently contracted the disease after being around infected elephants at a u.s. zoo. in 2014, new york city officials required universoul to keep elephants out of its acts after the circus failed to provide current tb tests. dallas also recently prohibited elephants used by universoul from performing because they tested reactive for tb. and michigan cautioned that these elephants should not be on the road, because of their risk for transmitting tb. yet universoul has hauled them into maryland and is exhibiting them to the public.

universoul uses elephants who have been exposed to tuberculosis. (image: peta)

circuses that phased out wild-animal acts around the time ringling's ticket sales began falling a decade ago are thriving today, making it clear that the show can go on without animal abuse and public endangerment. until other jurisdictions follow new york city's lead and ban these outmoded acts, folks who care about animals—or just their own health and safety—should steer clear of universoul circus.

(image: peta)

 

related stories






so much for the idea of a trump-putin 'bromance'

national interests have a way of prevailing over personal friendships.

can donald trump relight the fire with his russian brother vladimir putin?

once upon a time they were a mutual admiration society. in 2013, trump expressed hope that putin would attend his miss universe contest in moscow and wondered if he would become "my new best friend." in 2015, he compared putin favorably to president obama.

“in terms of leadership, he [putin] is getting an 'a,'" he told bill o'reilly. putin returned the favor in 2016 by calling trump "talented and brilliant."

today their relationship is less chummy. the multiple investigations of russian meddling in u.s. elections have made washington more hostile, much to the russian leader’s annoyance. trump’s aides now want him to keep his distance from the russian president, advice trump seems unlikely to follow.

the two leaders plan to meet at a multinational conference in germany next month. trump is reportedly eager for a meeting with all the pomp and circumstance of a bilateral meeting. putin seems less enthusiastic about the idea.

that’s a signal that trump and putin’s differences are getting harder to paper over. those differences are the product of complex geopolitical realities and a legacy of the 200-year-old relationship between the two countries. putin bristles with resentment over the way the united states ran roughshod over russia in the 1990s. trump presides over a divided and dysfunctional government that is actively investigating russia's role in the 2016 election.

over time, national interests have a way of trumping personalities. witness the latest headlines from syria.

syria

on monday the white house announced the syrian government would pay a "heavy price" if it launched another chemical weapons attack against its enemies. 

putin spokesman dmitry peskov said "such threats to syria's legitimate leaders are unacceptable."

this is not the language of mutual admiration, but of cold geopolitics. russia is assad's patron. putin’s use of the russian air force turned the tide in a civil war that assad was losing. putin sided with assad when he denied responsibility for a reported chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of people in idlib province april 4. putin is not going to abandon an ally under fire for the sake of a friendship, no matter how chummy.

one of the russian goals of intervening in the 2016 election was to prevent a more aggressive u.s. policy in syria touted by hillary clinton. putin has long sought u.s. help for a peace agreement that will preserve the syrian government, if not president assad, in power.

durng the campaign, trump seemed amenable. he savaged the bush family for lying about the disastrous invasion of iraq. he denounced clinton for her hawkish agenda in syria. when trump mused in the first week of his presidency about joint u.s.-russia action against isis, putin had reason to think he would be helpful.

trump inherited the same policy options as his predecessor. he could do what obama did: argue long and hard behind closed doors to limit u.s. intervention in syria and to explore the possibility of a peace talks. or he could do what hillary clinton did: side with pentagon and cia officials who advocated aiding anti-assad rebels and taking control of syrian air space.

trump did not hesitate. he jettisoned his campaign views and is now doing exactly what he told voters he would not do. he is pursuing clinton’s aggressive syria policy agenda in service of bush’s dream of “regime change” in the middle east.

the 45th president has discovered the eternal washington truth that deferring to the global military machine (now active in 137 countries) is much easier than trying to restrain it. he has also learned that the washington press corps, aggressive with questions about russian interference in the 2016 election, tends to go soft when it comes to "beautiful" cruise missile attacks on arab tyrants suspected of having weapons of mass destruction. 

trump’s policy of escalation, however, challenges putin’s primacy in russia’s proverbial backyard.

putin played the kingmaker in syria. his goal was—and is—to prevent the emergence of a jihadist bastion or a failed state that could serve as a platform for terror attacks in russia. now that success is in sight, trump is threatening to disrupt putin's accomplishment with a war on iran fought on syrian soil. that’s not what geopolitical friends are for.

sanctions

perhaps the primary reason putin backed trump in 2016 was the hope—no, the expectation—that he would lift the sanctions obama imposed after the russian invasion of crimea. the sanctions, which isolate russia from the international economy, pose a long-term threat to putin’s autocracy.

trump has not only failed to lift the sanctions, his russia-related problems have nervous republican looking for ways to distance themselves from the erratic chief executive. on june 15, the senate voted 98-2 to slap new sanctions on russia and limit the white house’s power to lift them. putin’s goal of sanctions relief is growing more distant, not more likely.

putin has every reason to be happy about trump’s indifference to america's treaty committments to european allies. he can count on trump's support in his efforts to undermine german prime minister angela merkel. but as a transactional politician, putin is looking for results, not love. on syria and sanctions trump has delivered nothing but trouble, and that is not good for the future of a bromance.






wild animal acts are becoming a thing of the past, but some circuses insist on continuing their cruel ways

during a recent inspection, officials documented that the universoul circus was using injured animals.

the new york city council just passed a ban on traveling wild-animal acts. ringling bros. has shuttered, following a decade of falling ticket sales. numerous shrine and other circuses are reconsidering animal acts. countries around the world have also banned traveling wild-animal acts.

but it's business as usual for universoul circus, which has just begun a summer run at fedexfield, the home of the washington redskins. universoul's stubborn insistence on featuring acts with records of animal abuse and public endangerment is why laws like the one new york city just passed—on the heels of universoul shows in brooklyn and queens—are so important and should be enacted across the country.

during a recent inspection of universoul, officials documented that the circus was using wounded animals, including an elephant with a circular wound on his ankle—likely from a bullhook, elephant handlers' weapon of choice—a zebra with a wounded nose, and a camel with a leg laceration. a second camel's foot and ankle were abscessed, and the elephants' feet were bruised.

universoul circus was found to be using a wounded elephant, zebra and camel. (image: peta)

in addition, the tiger exhibitor universoul has used for years is a chronic violator of animal-welfare laws and has shown "blatant disregard" for the law. big cats have home ranges of up to 400 miles in the wild, but those used by universoul have been confined to tiny transport cages "24 hours/day 7 days a week" for weeks and even months on end. they've also been denied veterinary care, put at risk of injury and strangulation, and fed a deficient diet.

universoul also endangers the public. tigers have repeatedly escaped from this circus, including in landover hills, maryland, where, during a show attended by elementary school students, one tiger attacked another, escaped, ran loose, and attacked an elephant. in another incident, a tiger with universoul escaped from a cage, climbed onto a car to jump over a fence, and was found in an alley. in addition, multiple people have lost parts of their fingers to tigers with universoul. despite these extremely dangerous incidents and numerous citations for unsafe handling, this circus has been allowed to stay in business. 

a caged tiger at universoul circus. no way to treat any animal. (image: peta)

big cats are apex predators who can easily kill humans. consider the incident in which lions fatally mauled a woman at the national zoo, leaving her body so ravaged that her face was virtually unrecognizable and she had no fingerprints. in another incident, a tiger killed a handler in front of 200 children at a circus. in yet another, a tiger mauled a trainer in front of 400 people during a show, resulting in wounds requiring dozens of stitches.

zebras have also repeatedly escaped from universoul, including just last year. as jared diamond notes, "a kick from a zebra can kill," and zebras "are responsible for more injuries to american zookeepers each year than any other animal." these animals are, he says, "[o]ften bad tempered … and once they bite, they tend not to let go." even circus veterinarians warn that zebras "can be highly volatile, with a propensity for intense and unpredictable reactions that can lead to severe physical trauma[,] …. major property damage, multiple injured animals and humans, and even fatalities." at a recent legislative hearing to consider banning traveling wild-animal acts, universoul admitted that these escapes endanger the public.

the animals also pose disease risks. universoul uses elephants who have been exposed to tuberculosis (tb), a potentially fatal disease that's transmissible between elephants and humans—even without direct contact, since it's an airborne contagion. seven people recently contracted the disease after being around infected elephants at a u.s. zoo. in 2014, new york city officials required universoul to keep elephants out of its acts after the circus failed to provide current tb tests. dallas also recently prohibited elephants used by universoul from performing because they tested reactive for tb. and michigan cautioned that these elephants should not be on the road, because of their risk for transmitting tb. yet universoul has hauled them into maryland and is exhibiting them to the public.

universoul uses elephants who have been exposed to tuberculosis. (image: peta)

circuses that phased out wild-animal acts around the time ringling's ticket sales began falling a decade ago are thriving today, making it clear that the show can go on without animal abuse and public endangerment. until other jurisdictions follow new york city's lead and ban these outmoded acts, folks who care about animals—or just their own health and safety—should steer clear of universoul circus.

(image: peta)

 

related stories






watch: man screams 'freedom!' as he destroys arkansas' new ten commandments monument

the structure had been erected just the day before.

on tuesday, a 6-foot stone monument of the ten commandments was installed on capitol grounds in little rock, arkansas. less than 24 hours after it went up, a driver plowed into the granite with his vehicle and captured it all on facebook live.

the monument, built with $26,000 in private donations, was totaled by michael reed, 32, at 4:45 a.m. wednesday. reed faces three charges: felony for defacing an object of public interest, trespassing on capitol grounds and first-degree criminal mischief according to reuters.

in the facebook live video believed to be posted by reed, the driver of a vehicle could be heard saying, “oh my goodness,” then shouting, “freedom,” as his car drives onto grass and smashes into the the stone slab. the video ends moments after the collision.

back in 2014, a man named michael tate reed used his truck to ram into a similarly designed ten commandments monument at the oklahoma capitol in oklahoma city. it’s not clear if the same michael reed as was involved in wednesday’s incident. the associated press has some information on the history of the monument.

the privately funded, granite monument in little rock weighed 6,000 pounds (2,721 kilograms). it was installed tuesday morning on the southwest lawn of the capitol with little fanfare and no advance notice. a 2015 law required the state to allow the display near the capitol, and a state panel last month gave final approval to its design and location.

what’s the future of the monument erected to celebrate the immortality of biblical law? that’s not certain.

“as far as what happens to the monument, it’s unclear at this time. the first thing will be to clean up the debris.”

 

 






wild animal acts are becoming a thing of the past, but some circuses insist on continuing their cruel ways

during a recent inspection, officials documented that the universoul circus was using injured animals.

the new york city council just passed a ban on traveling wild-animal acts. ringling bros. has shuttered, following a decade of falling ticket sales. numerous shrine and other circuses are reconsidering animal acts. countries around the world have also banned traveling wild-animal acts.

but it's business as usual for universoul circus, which has just begun a summer run at fedexfield, the home of the washington redskins. universoul's stubborn insistence on featuring acts with records of animal abuse and public endangerment is why laws like the one new york city just passed—on the heels of universoul shows in brooklyn and queens—are so important and should be enacted across the country.

during a recent inspection of universoul, officials documented that the circus was using wounded animals, including an elephant with a circular wound on his ankle—likely from a bullhook, elephant handlers' weapon of choice—a zebra with a wounded nose, and a camel with a leg laceration. a second camel's foot and ankle were abscessed, and the elephants' feet were bruised.

universoul circus was found to be using a wounded elephant, zebra and camel. (image: peta)

in addition, the tiger exhibitor universoul has used for years is a chronic violator of animal-welfare laws and has shown "blatant disregard" for the law. big cats have home ranges of up to 400 miles in the wild, but those used by universoul have been confined to tiny transport cages "24 hours/day 7 days a week" for weeks and even months on end. they've also been denied veterinary care, put at risk of injury and strangulation, and fed a deficient diet.

universoul also endangers the public. tigers have repeatedly escaped from this circus, including in landover hills, maryland, where, during a show attended by elementary school students, one tiger attacked another, escaped, ran loose, and attacked an elephant. in another incident, a tiger with universoul escaped from a cage, climbed onto a car to jump over a fence, and was found in an alley. in addition, multiple people have lost parts of their fingers to tigers with universoul. despite these extremely dangerous incidents and numerous citations for unsafe handling, this circus has been allowed to stay in business. 

a caged tiger at universoul circus. no way to treat any animal. (image: peta)

big cats are apex predators who can easily kill humans. consider the incident in which lions fatally mauled a woman at the national zoo, leaving her body so ravaged that her face was virtually unrecognizable and she had no fingerprints. in another incident, a tiger killed a handler in front of 200 children at a circus. in yet another, a tiger mauled a trainer in front of 400 people during a show, resulting in wounds requiring dozens of stitches.

zebras have also repeatedly escaped from universoul, including just last year. as jared diamond notes, "a kick from a zebra can kill," and zebras "are responsible for more injuries to american zookeepers each year than any other animal." these animals are, he says, "[o]ften bad tempered … and once they bite, they tend not to let go." even circus veterinarians warn that zebras "can be highly volatile, with a propensity for intense and unpredictable reactions that can lead to severe physical trauma[,] …. major property damage, multiple injured animals and humans, and even fatalities." at a recent legislative hearing to consider banning traveling wild-animal acts, universoul admitted that these escapes endanger the public.

the animals also pose disease risks. universoul uses elephants who have been exposed to tuberculosis (tb), a potentially fatal disease that's transmissible between elephants and humans—even without direct contact, since it's an airborne contagion. seven people recently contracted the disease after being around infected elephants at a u.s. zoo. in 2014, new york city officials required universoul to keep elephants out of its acts after the circus failed to provide current tb tests. dallas also recently prohibited elephants used by universoul from performing because they tested reactive for tb. and michigan cautioned that these elephants should not be on the road, because of their risk for transmitting tb. yet universoul has hauled them into maryland and is exhibiting them to the public.

universoul uses elephants who have been exposed to tuberculosis. (image: peta)

circuses that phased out wild-animal acts around the time ringling's ticket sales began falling a decade ago are thriving today, making it clear that the show can go on without animal abuse and public endangerment. until other jurisdictions follow new york city's lead and ban these outmoded acts, folks who care about animals—or just their own health and safety—should steer clear of universoul circus.

(image: peta)

 

related stories






india is on its way to becoming a hindu nation, suppressing multiculturalism

putting one religion first in the state is a threat to all democracies, not just india.

as i write, about 150 hindu groups meet in the unlikely spot of goa, a popular international tourist destination, to discuss how their "common goal” of the creation of a “hindu nation” (rashtra) can be achieved by 2023. it is not insignificant, as has been recently pointed out by professor shamsul islam in sabrangindia, that one of these 150 organizations, the hindu janjagruti samiti (hjs), has been regularly holding national conventions to establish a hindu state.

says islam:

“in 2013 one such convention was held in goa. it is to be noted that members of one avtar (face/version) of hjs, sanatan sanstha, have been found indulging in bomb blasts at muslim institutions and are under investigation for the murder of renowned secular intellectuals like govind pansare and narendra dhabolkar. this convention started its proceedings with a felicitation from the then cm of gujarat, narendra modi wishing hjs all success in its project of turning india into a hindu nation.”

much has changed since 2013. narendra modi, who was then chief minister of a western indian state, the first chief minister who was a direct recruit from the supremacist rashtriya swayamsevak sangh (rss), is now india’s prime minister, heading a majority government that has already implemented several changes in laws and statutes that arguably militate against india’s constitutional framework.

this government rose to power in may 2014, led by modi’s charisma with the masses, backed by a high-voltage campaign funded by crony capital; yet no victory of the bharatiya janata party (bjp) within indian politics has ever been possible without the organizational mettle of its parent body, the rss. the rss, since its birth in 1925, has openly advocated not just to create a hindu nation, but also to continue propagating the “overthrow of the constitutional framework.”

it is therefore not insignificant that the purported vision of the 2017 convention of these self-declared “hindu nationalists” is to have a hindu state in place by 2023, to coincide with the near century of the rss’ existence.

the moot question is: how different would a “hindu state” look from an india based on what it is today, the indian constitution? to address these questions, it is first critical to locate the circumstances under which india was born, and the complex contexts within which the indian constitution took shape and form. eighteen volumes of the extensive “constituent assembly debates” give a student of law and history an insight into the detailed deliberations that took place around the shape, texture and form of india’s foundational document. spread over 18 long months, the deliberations were even spotted with doses of harsh reality: india not only achieved independence but was partitioned through a bloody vivisection that the british left behind as a bitter relic of their years of “divide and rule.” ten to 12 million were forcibly displaced, and the death toll to date remains disputed, varying from 200,000 to 2 million.

despite these violent schisms, as this author tells students of history and law in her classes, the rich deliberations contained in india’s constituent assembly debates reveal a deep maturity in the political leadership of the day, from all political persuasions, that was clear and committed to an india that was inclusive and based on equality of citizenship, irrespective of color, class, gender or community. the preamble of india’s constitution lays this out clearly:

“we, the people of india, having solemnly resolved to constitute india into a sovereign, [“socialist, secular” was added through a subsequent amendment] democratic republic and to ensure to all its citizens,

justice: social, economic and political;

liberty of thought, expression, faith, belief and worship,

equality of status and opportunity and to promote among them all

fraternity, asserting the dignity of the individual and the unity of the nation.”

despite the deep schisms, even bloodshed, caused during india’s vivesection, the vast section of india’s political leadership opted for india to remain democratic, inclusive and secular. this was a deeply principled and pragmatic decision, as only through this promise (as encapsulated in the indian consitution) of equality for all could india and indians—with all their attendant diversities of language, faith and culture—remain as one. the indian constitution recognizes 22 languages, though we have more than 740 dialects, and through this abiding respect for our deep diversity has this nation been born. it is this basic assumption that is under direct threat from an ideological force that believes in the overthrow of india as was born in 1947 and established in 1950.

articles 14 and 21 of the indian constitution guarantee every indian equality of citizenship and equality before the law; article 25 guarantees freedom of faith and belief; and article 19, freedom of expression and association. it is these non-negotiables that herald india as a democracy with a secular constitution that are in direct threat of being overthrown by forces that have come to power through the ballot box but are wedded to overthrow india as we know it.

as i wrote on december 31, 2015, in sabrangindia:

“the official website of the rss (www.rss.org ) has a version of the e-book, bunch of thoughts.
 
“for the purposes of this article, i shall look only at bunch of thoughts, not yet disowned by the rss in which, at the outset, it rejects the indian constitutional understanding of indian nationhood articulated in the indian constitution. [3] from start to finish this foundational and guiding document that governs the worldview of the ruling party in india today is at loggerheads with the basic doctrine of the indian constitution, equality in citizenship and composite, territorial nationhood.
 
“rss and the guru, both are anti-indian constitution

“the rss and by ideological and organisational association, the bharatiya janata party (bjp) that rules india today are fundamentally against the concept of indian nation-hood, indian citizenship as defined by the constitution of india. at page 119 of the bunch of thoughts,the rss’ foundational doctrine, the author has completely debunked the ‘absurdity of the concept of territorial nationalism’.  golwalkar says, “they(we presume by this the rss means the leaders in the constituent assembly) forgot that here was already a full-fledged ancient nation of the hindus and the various communities which were living in the country were here either as guests, the jews and paris, or as invaders, the muslim and christians. they never faced the question how all such heterogeneous groups could be called as children of the soil merely because, by an accident, they happened to reside in a common territory under the rule of a common enemy.”
 
“rss unashamed about its aim: overturn the constitutional mandate

“‘....we have been sufficiently fooled uptil now by their exhortation that we hindus, who are having a great philosophy of human brotherhood, catholicity of spirit and so on, should not narrow ourselves by the talk of hindu nationalism and all such 'communal', 'medieval' and 'reactionary' ideas! we must be able to see through the game and revert to the truth of our nationalism as an ancient fact and the hindus being the national society of bharat, so clearly restated by our revered founder when he decided the word 'rashtriya' for our organisation. we must once again stand up in our true and full stature and boldly assert that we shall elevate the hindu national life in bharat to the peak of glory and honour which has been its birthright since hoary time.’ (page 127, bunch of thoughts, ms golwalkar)

“it is enlightening to derive an understanding of the multi-faith perspective of the rss, be it its attitude towards buddhism, islam or christianity. the latest census figures show buddhists at 0.70 per cent of the indian population, muslims at 14.23 per cent, christians at 2.30 per cent. (we now have a category of ‘others’ that do not declare their religion in census records which is at 0.89 per cent). despite these figures, the rss outlines muslims, christians and communists as three grave internal threats.”

for the proponents of the “hindu nation,” be it modi or any other, the freedom struggle or overthrowing colonial yoke was never a priority. accused through evidence of being collaborators with british colonialists, the rss never even flew the indian tricolor flag over its headquarters until it led a minority government under former prime minister atal bihari vajpayee in 1999. its objection to india’s flag is again deeply ideological—representative of india’s diversity of faith and profession, giving space in this symbolism even to the “buddhist wheel (chakra)” is what has made india, and its flag, so special.

it is this multifaceted respect and negotiation with diversity that is under direct threat from those who more aggressively, now, push for transformation into a “hindu nation.”

frontline encapsulated again what italian academic and scholar marzia casolari had traced, drawing links between rss leaders and ideologues like bs moonje and the fascists under benito  mussolini, published by the economic and political weekly, in its issue dated january 22, 2000. it is these ideological linkages that are more firmly expressed in we or ournationhood defined, by ms golwalkar, a major rss ideologue when he praises hitler’s nation of “superior race aryans” and squarely says that if the “christians and muslims” must live within this “hindu nation” it must be as “relegated second-class citizens.”

it is not mere words but the actions of those in power and the mob on the streets after modi assumed power, that give weight to these potential dangers. “the recent election of adityanath, who is a strong proponent of hindu rashtra, with a brute majority (to the post of chief minister of uttar pradesh) shows that people want a hindu rashtra in india,” uday dhuri, spokesperson of the hindu janajagruti samiti, told the hindustan times ahead of the goa conclave. the samiti’s agenda, available on its website, is a good example of the priorities of a hindu rashtra, should it emerge. hatred and bile against india’s religious minorities and dalits, authoritarian rule, the imposition of “one culture, one language” to create a strong “militarized, hindu nation.”

for india, and the world, to understand the gravity of the threat to the basic principles of democracy and equality of citizenship, the historiography of this ideology as also its overt invocation of violence, intimidation and threat would be in order. in several bouts of intra-community violence that have assumed the shape of anti-minority pogroms in post-independence india, commissions of inquiry headed by sitting or retired judges have held organizations of the far “hindu” right to blame for using inciteful speech and writings against minority sections of the indian population.

this discourse has achieved greater and greater legitimacy since modi assumed power today as can be seen and heard from what many may see as atrociously provocative statements by members of his government, members of parliament and state assemblies.

the ongoing convention in goa represents a very real threat—and not just to india, known as it is as the largest democracy with well-negotiated principles of equality and non-discrimination. another win for modi and his lot in the next general election could make this threat into a chilling reality, where discrimination rules and violence, threat and intimidation become an easy norm.

during the era of racial segregation in the united states, when the white majority, in most part, refused to see what was happening to the black minority, martin luther king jr. famously said: “history will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.” can india and the world afford such a silence now in the face of this emergent threat?

 

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5 best foods to keep your skin looking youthful and healthy—and the 5 worst

poor nutrition is just as bad for your complexion as smoking.

aging is an inevitable part of life. that doesn’t mean it's something to fear. instead, the natural process our body and skin undergoes as we get older deserves our acknowledgment and our respect. how can you respect the aging process? one great way is to start thinking more about what you eat. 

"we’re actually learning that poor nutrition is just as bad for your skin as cigarette smoking," patricia farris, a dermatologist and author of the sugar detox, explained to health website prevention.com. the reasons for this are multiple and relate to both short- and long-term effects.

certain foods are crucial to keeping your skin hydrated while other foods can directly help protect your skin cells from damage that can lead to wrinkles.

“every dermatologist will attest that a well-rounded diet will better support a healthy immune system,” says bobby buka, a new york city dermatologist, “and will therefore result in fewer dermatologic conditions of all types.”

by eating the right foods and avoiding the wrong ones, you may not be able to turn back the hands of time, but you can certainly slow down some of the cogs.

here are five foods that will have you looking more youthful long into your golden years. 

1. olive oil

you’ve probably heard that olive oil is great for your heart, but did you know it’s also super for your skin? a 2012 plos one study reflected this after analyzing the diets of 1,264 women. the study found that women who consumed more than 2 teaspoons of olive oil a day experienced “31 percent fewer signs of aging compared to people who ate less than 3.8 grams (about 1 teaspoon).” olive oil in particular was responsible for this difference due to the fact that around “75 percent of the fat in olive oil is monounsaturated fatty acids.”

2. tomatoes

if you spend a lot of time in the sun, tomatoes are your skin’s best friend. those juicy reds are rich in the antioxidant lycopene, which improves skin’s natural spf. that doesn’t mean it acts as a replacement for sunscreen, but when used in combination, can work wonders for protecting you from harsh uv rays.

3. dark chocolate

cocoa flavanols, plentiful in this foodstuff, are great for hydrating your skin. lisa drayer, author of the beauty diet, suggests for optimum benefits keeping to a 1-ounce portion (150 calories) of the stuff.

4. sardines and salmon

oh, glorious omega-3 fatty acids! why are they so good (and found in great quantity in these slippery suckers)? dha, an anti-inflammatory omega-3, helps reduce outbreaks of acne and keeps skin clear.

5. kale and spinach

rich in lutein and zeaxanthin—nutrients known for neutralizing free radicals caused by uv rays—kale and spinach also help provide “134 percent and 133 percent of your daily value for skin-firming vitamin c and a, respectively,” according to reseach published in clinics in dermatology. additionally, a journal of cancer study found that spinach-eaters “developed half as many skin tumors over 11 years” as those who went without, likely thanks to dna-repairing folate.

the 5 worst foods

of course, it is just as important to know which foods are bad for your skin so you can avoid them. the following five won't do your skin any favors.

1. salt

many a meal might call for a light savory sprinkle, but too much salt can take its toll. one of the more visible ways is the presence of puffy eyes. the reason has to do with the way salt causes skin to retain water. too much salt in your diet can lead to swelling, particularly around areas where skin is thin, such as the eyes. this may not be a problem in your younger years, but as dermatologist neal b. schultz notes, “these effects of salt are definitely age related” becoming more visible the older you get.

2. shellfish

who doesn’t love a delish bit of shellfish overlooking the ocean? (well, apart from vegans, vegetarians and allergy sufferers.) and so you should, but as with many things in life, such a thing should be enjoyed in moderation. especially when it comes to your skin, which is prone to acne caused by a shellfish-rich diet. why? basically, this type of seafood is naturally high in iodine, which over time can lead to acne breakouts among those who are naturally prone.

3. alcohol

bet you saw this one coming. turns out the old adage—too much alcohol will make you age faster—is more than just a preventative measure to get you to drink less. like those hangovers some suffer from, the problem comes down to dehydration. alcohol is a natural diuretic, so drinking too much can draw out the moisture from your skin, which with time can contribute to pronounced wrinkles and fine lines. also, says schultz (and anyone who knows about the natural blushing that happens after a few beers), alcohol triggers outbreaks of rosacea.

4. high glycemic foods

according to dr. buka, foods rich in starch should be avoided to maintain your complexion. part of the reason has to do with blood sugar. when you eat starchy foods—which are considered high glycemic—this often leads to a spike in blood sugar, which in turn can spark a number of problems from acne to wrinkles. a 2007 australian study showed that a low-glycemic diet reduced acne. as for wrinkles, explains valori treloar, dermatologist and author of the clear skin diet, when you eat starch-based foods such as rice cakes, your body converts them into glucose, a natural enemy of the anti-wrinkle protein, collagen.

5. sugar

speaking of which, any food that contains straight sugar will act much the same. in fact, says dermatologist farris, “countries without diets heavy in processed sugar” tend to produce children who “go through puberty without acne.” moral of the story: stay away from the sweet stuff.

 

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for young muslim-americans like nabra hassanen, ihop served as a rare safe space

the teenager's slaying outside of ihop should be treated as yet another attack on muslims.

for many muslim-american teenagers, the 3am ihop outing is a rite of passage during the month of ramadan. teenagers from new york to san francisco to tampa drive to the all-american breakfast chain to fill up on buttermilk pancakes, steak and eggs, and golden hash browns before the sun rises during the holy month. often it is their first experience free from parental supervision. 

in her saturday new york times op-ed, "nabra hassanen and the lost innocence of ramadan ihop nights," pakistani-american writer and global voices editor sahar habib ghazi mourns the loss of 17-year-old nabra on her way home from an early morning outing to ihop on june 18 as an attack on the muslim-american community and its traditions.

"after what happened to [nabra hassanen], i don’t know whether the american ihop ramadan ritual will ever feel the same," writes ghazi, who spent many early mornings during her teenage years and early 20s at ihop surrounded by a diverse group of muslim americans—arab, black, iranian, and pakistani.

ghazi muses on hassanen's final hours: "an hour before ms. hassanen was attacked, she was praying at her mosque. if she was anything like me and my friends when we were 17, she was probably praying for good grades, mercy for people she had never met far away in war-torn countries and happiness for the people she knew were sad. or perhaps she spent the night asking for something that no one close to her even knew she wanted."

police say that hassanen's killer, a 22-year-old man, was not motivated by racial or religious hate. but in light of the islamophobia in the mainstream u.s. political climate, and proliferating acts of anti-muslim violence and murder from portland to london, many activists and muslim-americans are treating hassanen's murder as an act of islamophobia.

for ghazi, hassanen's murder also represents the destruction of a uniquely muslim-american cultural space. for a community that has been vilified and made unwelcome in so many public spaces in the united states, hassanen's attack outside of ihop means one fewer place where muslim-americans feel safe from violence.

"police say their investigation 'in no way indicates the victim was targeted because of her race or religion.' but whether her killer’s actions are officially characterized as 'road rage' or ever described as a 'hate crime' won’t change the fact that muslim spaces—the religious ones and the ones we’ve created—are increasingly under attack. and visibly muslim women, especially muslim women of color, are the most vulnerable," writes ghazi. 

 

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cnn's chris cuomo shuts down republican senator whining about fake news

"this thing needs to end right now."

cnn’s chris cuomo has grown very tired of republicans shooting down any facts that go against their political messaging as “fake news.”

during a discussion with sen. ron johnson (r-wi) about the senate’s health care bill, the senator said that opponents of the gop bill were intentionally using misinformation about the senate’s plan to drive public opposition.

“we need information, and the debate on this thing is completely distorted using incorrect information,” johnson fumed.

cuomo at this point stopped him dead in his tracks.

“you’re not suggesting that i’m using misleading information, right?” cuomo asked him. “you let me know what i’m saying that is accurate. because this whole ‘fake’ thing needs to end, and it needs to end right now. you tell me what i’m getting wrong, or we’ll deal with the number as the cbo is putting them out.”

johnson quickly backed down.

“i’m not talking about you,” he said. “i’m talking about the fact that people don’t understand the [estimate that 22 million people would lose health care under the senate gop’s bill] was using the wrong baseline.”

watch the video below.

 

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elizabeth warren reminds democrats saving obamacare is not enough

calls the aca a "conservative model" born of a "conservative think tank."

rep. elizabeth warren (d-mass.) criticized former president obama's model for healthcare while promoting a progressive agenda towards single-payer health care. she said the affordable healthcare act, also known as obamacare, was based on a model of healthcare taken from a conservative playbook and that democrats should campaign on a platform for medicare-for-all. "president obama tried to…

 

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the generational divide amongst evangelicals on same-sex marriage is stark

a new poll finds christian youth are far more likely to support marriage equality than past generations.

millennials and gen x evangelicals are coming out in support of gay marriage in much higher numbers than their parents' and grandparents' generations, according to a recent pew research center poll. around 46 percent of evangelical christians born after 1964 support same-sex marriage, compared with only 26 percent of adults born between 1928 and 1964.

over the past decade, as many states and eventually the supreme court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, a generational divide has emerged within evangelical churches and communities across the united states that were traditionally in unanimous opposition toward marriage equality. 

some argue that younger evangelical christians' shifting attitudes are a byproduct of the supreme court's ruling in obergefell v. hodges and same-sex marriage's acceptance in mainstream popular culture. "we see that with pot in colorado," glenn stanton, director of family formation studies at focus on the family, told the washington post. "there's a legitimizing and institutionalizing [factor] when you make something legal.”

opposition to same-sex marriage has decreased across all religious groups in the united states since the turn of the 21st century, according to the pew study.

as a whole, the majority of white evangelical christians and black protestants continue to oppose same-sex unions, while catholics and white protestants now overwhelmingly support equal marriage rights. 






robert reich: this is the message democrats have been searching for

the party can't just defend the aca. now is the time to demand medicare for all.

mitch mcconnell is delaying a vote on the senate republican version of trumpcare because he doesn’t yet have a majority. 

some senate republicans think the bill doesn’t go get rid of enough of the affordable care act. others worry that it goes too far – especially in light of the congressional budget office’s finding that it would eliminate coverage for 22 million americans.  

what should be the democrats’ response? over the next weeks or months, democrats must continue to defend the affordable care act. it’s not perfect, but it’s a major step in the right direction. over 20 million americans have gained coverage because of it.

but democrats also need to go further and offer americans a positive vision of where the nation should be headed over the long term. that’s toward medicare for all.

some background: american spending on healthcare per person is more than twice the average in the world’s thirty-five advanced economies. yet americans are sicker, our lives are shorter, and we have more chronic illnesses than in any other advanced nation.

that’s because medical care is so expensive for the typical american that many put off seeing a doctor until their health has seriously deteriorated.

why is healthcare so much cheaper in other nations? partly because their governments negotiate lower rates with health providers. in france, the average cost of a magnetic resonance imagining exam is $363. in the united states, it’s $1,121. there, an appendectomy costs $4,463. here, $13,851.

they can get lower rates because they cover everyone – which gives them lots of bargaining power.

other nations also don’t have to pay the costs of private insurers shelling out billions of dollars a year on advertising and marketing – much of it intended to attract healthier and younger people and avoid the sicker and older.

nor do other nations have to pay boatloads of money to the shareholders and executives of big for-profit insurance companies.  

finally, they don’t have to bear the high administrative costs of private insurers – requiring endless paperwork to keep track of every procedure by every provider.

according to the kaiser family foundation, medicare’s administrative costs are only about 2 percent of its operating expenses. that’s less than one-sixth the administrative costs of america’s private insurers

to make matters even worse for americans, the nation’s private health insurers are merging like mad in order to suck in even more money from consumers and taxpayers by reducing competition.

at the same time, their focus on attracting healthy people and avoiding sick people is creating a vicious cycle. insurers that take in sicker and costlier patients lose money, which forces them to raise premiums, co-payments, and deductibles. this, in turn, makes it harder for people most in need of health insurance to afford it.

this phenomenon has even plagued health exchanges under the affordable care act.  

medicare for all would avoid all these problems, and get lower prices and better care.

it would be financed the same way medicare and social security are financed, through the payroll tax. wealthy americans would pay a higher payroll tax rate and contribute more than lower-income people. but everyone would win because total healthcare costs would be far lower, and outcomes far better.

if republicans succeed in gutting the affordable care act or subverting it, the american public will be presented with a particularly stark choice: expensive health care for the few, or affordable health care for the many.

this political reality is already playing out in congress, as many democrats move toward medicare for all. most house democrats are co-sponsoring a medicare for all bill there. senator bernie sanders is preparing to introduce it in the senate. new york and california are moving toward statewide versions.

a gallup poll conducted in may found that a majority of americans would support such a system. another poll by the pew research center shows that such support is growing, with 60 percent of americans now saying government should be responsible for ensuring health care coverage for all americans – up from 51 percent last year.

democrats would be wise to seize the moment. they shouldn’t merely defend the affordable care act. they should also go on the offensive – with medicare for all.

 

 

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how does ketamine treat depression?

researchers think they have found the answer.

 

 

 

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how to go the resistance distance: pop-up schools for novice activists

modeled after the civil rights era’s citizenship and freedom schools, the new sojourner truth school for social change leadership teaches skills for the trump era.

more than 200 people crammed into a meeting room at smith college to listen to dr. beverly daniel tatum speak at the may 4 opening ceremony of the sojourner truth school for social change leadership. the new school provides in-person training opportunities in activism in five cities throughout western massachusetts.

“we need the sojourner truth school to lift us out of the deep funk that many of us have felt since the election of 2016,” said tatum, president emerita of spelman college and author of several best-selling books on the psychology of racism. “ordinary people can get this started and make an impact.”

since the trump election, there has been an outpouring of interest in engaging with politics and social movements—and a hunger to learn new skills. the truth school is one of a number of schools cropping up recently to train people to become activists in social change movements.

the rev. andrea ayvazian co-founded the school and said the idea was to create a “school that teaches movement building skills—a ‘pop-up’ school that teaches useful skills to those seeking to resist trump’s authoritarianism.” she said she hopes the school will “help us cling to democracy during the trump years.”

the notion for the school emerged after ayvazian attended a pop-up artist’s event in an empty store space. “i imagined an impermanent school, popping up around the valley.”

ayvazian said that the initial response to her idea was overwhelmingly positive. people have offered free spaces for the school, she said, and now the truth school is popping up in artist studios, library halls and community meeting rooms at religious congregations. 

history of activism schools

the post-election activist surge has included thousands who have thrown themselves into electoral politics. these activists are working to elect insurgent candidates such as rob quist in montana and jon ossoff in georgia and around the country. and organizations that train people to enter political races for the first time have seen a spike in interest. more than 7,000 women have signed up for voterunlead’s “run as you are” course that teaches women how to run for office. according to the cut, the she should run online incubator program for women candidates reported a huge increase in women registering for the program: from dozens to hundreds of women signing up in a normal month before the election to more than 8,100 in the three months since the election.

one new school that formed in the wake of the trump inauguration—called the resistance school—drew more than 175,000 participants during its initial four-part training series in april, according to the school. the program, designed by undergraduate students at harvard university, drew parallels to the founding of dumbledore’s army from the harry potter series as they rallied to resist the evil lord voldemort.

this outpouring of energy is reminiscent of similar activist schools that formed during the civil rights movement. in the late 1950s and into the 1960s, citizenship schools were established in a number of states throughout the south to overcome barriers to voter registration. and in 1964, more than 40 freedom schools popped up throughout mississippi to provide youth with basic education courses in literacy and math, for example, but also in black history, civic engagement and leadership.

according to an article by marian wright edelman, “… volunteers were trained to teach in these [freedom schools] held in church basements, on back porches, in parks and even under trees.” edelman worked as an attorney in 1964 in mississippi. “i remember visiting a freedom school under a tall old oak tree in greenwood, mississippi, and hearing pete seeger sing,” she wrote.

edelman went on to found the children’s defense fund and establish a freedom school initiative to provide after-school and summer programs to enhance reading skills. several freedom schools, inspired by these earlier efforts, operate today in cities such as chicago and detroit, and an akwesasne freedom school continues on the mohawk reservation in upstate new york.

“we haven’t created anything terribly new,” said ayvazian, reflecting on the history of the citizenship and freedom schools—and other historic progressive and social justice schools like the midwest academy and highlander center. “we’re just repurposing good, old ideas for our time.”

truth school

at the newly opened truth school, all space is donated, and the money raised goes to pay trainers so classes can be free and open to anyone. the initial course offerings for may and june include activist skills such as public speaking, writing for mass media, song-leading and nonviolent direct action. courses also focus on mobilizing millennials, organizing beyond political silos, working across class divisions, self-care and inspiration.

teachers of the courses include government officials and community organizers. former massachusetts state rep. ellen story, for example, is teaching a class called “preparing to run for office.” and jo comerford, the national campaign director for moveon.org, is teaching “organizing 101: the art of structuring the most effective and winning campaign goals, strategies and tactics.” other course offerings include: “and still we rise: leadership forum for women of color,” “leading songs of protest and resistance” and “spiritual resilience and resistance.”

ayvazian said anti-racism work is at the center of the truth school’s theory of change—and part of the work of building a movement. “as a white person committed to dismantling racism, the challenge is to keep paying attention, never losing one’s focus, not turning away,” she said. “racism is ongoing. the school is built on the notion that we’re going to keep paying attention.”

she hopes others will replicate the model of the truth school, so they are documenting their planning process and keeping copies of outreach and course materials. “right now we’re hosting classes and preparing the catalog for september and october,” she said. “but in eight months, some of our board will be ready to go on the road to help other communities start up.”

at the closing of the may 4 kick-off event, ayvazian said she hopes the truth school will help build a lasting movement. “there is a danger that we could put everything into the first year of resistance to the trump disaster and then kind of burnout and go home and act as if things are normal,” ayvazian said. “the truth school is needed because we don’t want people to flare up and burn out.”

 

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a heroin addict’s appeal to president trump

you have an opportunity to save countless lives.

i didn’t vote for you. you see, i was born with a brain injury. doctors at children’s hospital in boston told my parents i would never be able to walk normally.

young children are mean. as a young boy, insults, and laughs became a daily ritual. when i walked into a classroom, a restaurant, or down a street, people didn’t look into my eyes. they always looked down as i limped awkwardly along.

but i overcame and became a varsity athlete at a prep school outside of boston. as a teenager, i grew strong, and anybody that made fun of my limp or my awkward gate became irrelevant.

frankly, mr. president, the day you mocked a disabled reporter should have been the end of your presidential candidacy.

that said, i for one am all for giving you a chance to “make america great again.” mr. president, i implore you to focus more of your efforts on the heroin epidemic that is crushing the american dream in every state in the union.

i understand that the stigma and moral issues of heroin addiction run deep. today’s heroin epidemic parallels the aids epidemic of the 1980s. the old school philosophy back then was, “men having sex with men. it’s not natural. that’s god’s punishment.”

although the diction has changed, the sentiment remains constant today. “i didn’t force them to stick a needle of heroin into their arm. why should i be forced to pay for their rehabilitation?”

but you see, we are not just junkies, mr. president. i am three decades clean, have won the prestigious du-pont-columbia as a journalist, written a bestseller, became a wga screenwriter and worked on the fighter, a feature film that won two academy awards.

i have spoken to organizations and recovery centers all across america. and what amazed me the most were the rooms were filled with middle-class kids whose fathers were chief’s of police, firefighters, teachers, lawyers, and doctors.

heroin addiction is insidious: in several states across this country, young women are selling themselves as sex-slaves to maintain their daily heroin habit.

just recently, npr did a radio program about heroin addicts that are purposely committing crimes, so they’ll be arrested and locked up to get the treatment they need.

treatment is just not available on the streets because there aren’t any beds available in recovery centers. the medical community could never have prepared for the onslaught of heroin in their neighborhoods.

mr. president, this epidemic was given birth by purdue pharma and their owners, the sackler family. in fact, the sacklers became known as the godfathers of oxycontin and rang in at number 19 on last year’s forbes annual list of america’s richest families.

through purdue pharma, the sackler family acquired a fortune with the blood of young americans. although, a judge convicted purdue pharma’s top executives in federal court of knowingly and willfully misleading consumers, unfortunately, your old friend rudy giuliani’s law firm got them off with a sweetheart deal.

as president of the united states, you have an opportunity to save countless lives. please consider creating a “sin tax” similar to the cigarette and alcohol tax levied by several states. if big pharma wants to do business on the backs of the american consumers suffering from chronic pain, force them to pay a “recovery tax.”

please consider creating a work program for heroin addicts that want help. a simple, we’ll pay for your thirty-day recovery hospital and continued care, and you’ll work cleaning up roads or run down areas of your community to pay for it.

finally, why not designate a line on the irs tax forms for people to donate a dollar or more to help put an end to the suffering brought on by the countless deaths of promising young men and woman.

mr. president, you have a daunting task in front of you. but you can’t “make america great again” by sitting back and watching 4,380 americans die every month from an accidental overdose of heroin. that’s right, 144 people a day die from an accidental overdose of opioids.

i have an 11-year-old son that is on the brink of growing up in a society that will be the most dangerous environment in america’s history. you see, mr. trump, not since your predecessor, lyndon johnson, has the youth of america been more in jeopardy.

think about it; not since the vietnam war has a generation been at greater risk to die between the ages of 18 to 25. please help them. an entire generation is on the verge of being wiped out.

follow ritchie farrell on twitter: www.twitter.com/ritchiefarrell1

need help with substance abuse or mental health issues? in the u.s., call 800-662-help (4357) for the samhsa national helpline.

 

 

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elizabeth warren has some pointed words for obamacare too

calls the aca a "conservative model" born of a "conservative think tank."

rep. elizabeth warren (d-mass.) criticized former president obama's model for healthcare while promoting a progressive agenda towards single-payer health care. she said the affordable healthcare act, also known as obamacare, was based on a model of healthcare taken from a conservative playbook and that democrats should campaign on a platform for medicare-for-all. "president obama tried to…

 

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why it makes no sense to separate the white working class from the black working class

the media consistently radicalizes the white working class as noble; meanwhile the money is going to the top 1%.

this article appears in the summer 2017 issue of the american prospect magazine. subscribe here

“after all, if every economic issue is framed as a struggle between a hard-working white middle class and undeserving minorities, then workers of all shades will be left fighting for scraps while the wealthy withdraw further into their private enclaves.”  —barack obama, farewell address, chicago, january 2017

after three losses to ronald reagan and george h.w. bush, a trifecta last accomplished by presidents harding, coolidge, and hoover, there was much hand-wringing among democrats about the loss of the south and the vanishing loyalty of southern whites. william galston and elaine kamarck at the progressive policy institute argued that the electoral math made the south the true presidential battleground; that democrats could not win by being more liberal or hoping to motivate black and poor voters to increase their voter participation. thomas edsall and mary edsall similarly warned in the pages of the atlantic that the south was key, and it was lost because the liberal orthodoxy was too tied to race, and out of touch with white working-class voters.

“liberal” candidates like tom harkin, dick gephardt, and michael dukakis were out. their message was deemed too northern, elite, and alien to the needed southern white voter. in was a candidate who could rebrand the democratic party and break liberal orthodoxy, proving the party could be tough on crime and defense, and reinvent welfare and the social state. this turned out to be bill clinton. now, the defeat of hillary clinton has once again caused democrats to argue about what is needed to win the white vote.

countless articles have focused on what democrats have done wrong. and much of the theme remains the same as in 1989—that there is a noble white worker who has been betrayed. here is how the edsalls portrayed one such voter back in 1989:

“you could classify me as a working-class democrat, a card-carrying union member,” says dan donahue, a chicago carpenter who became active in the campaign of a republican state senator in 1988. “i’m not a card-carrying republican—yet. we have four or five generations of welfare mothers. and they [democrats] say the answer to that is we need more programs. come on. it’s well and good we should have compassion for these people, but your compassion goes only so far. i don’t mind helping, but somebody has got to help themselves, you’ve got to pull. when you try to pick somebody up, they have to help. unfortunately, most of the people who need help in this situation are black and most of the people who are doing the helping are white. we [white cook county voters] are tired of paying for the chicago housing authority, and for public housing and public transportation that we don’t use. they [taxpayers] hate it [the school-board tax] because they are paying for black schools that aren’t even educating kids, and the money is just going into the board of education and the teachers’ union.”

as president barack obama warned in his farewell address, this depiction of whites as hard-working, noble, and beset (compared with whom?) is nowhere to start a dialogue about an economy in which the real problem is that all economic gains have gone to the top 1 percent. the language presumes that there are not black workers who lost out to trade deals that sent thousands of auto-parts jobs from flint, michigan, to mexico or shut steel mills in baltimore, maryland. richard trumka, president of the afl-cio, echoed obama on the risks of reinforcing trump’s cynical manipulation of race and the white working class:

anyone who talks about dividing people in the country as a solution is a threat to the country, to democracy, the economy, and to working people, and we take every one of those seriously.

oddly, much of the hand-wringing comes after victories by presidents clinton and obama, each of whom demonstrated both the complexity of the white vote and the fact that the black vote matters. a core challenge is that many voters misunderstand basic economics, leading them to vote against the interests of working america as a whole. many americans still hold the view articulated by the edsalls’ late-1980s white voter that government is not the solution. and their misunderstanding has been reinforced by actions of recent presidents.

one of those was bill clinton. the pursuit of white voters by clinton led to attacks on the social security act, first on the premise that budget discipline was more important, and second on the assumption that social security’s aid to the poor was too generous and too much of a handout to black women. clinton supported partial privatization of social security pensions. even obama, pursuing deficit cuts, flirted with cuts in the cost-of-living formula.

the social security act, let’s recall, was intended to protect the income of working-class american families. yes, it was an entitlement, and proudly so. social security was first denied to most black americans, but then extended. aid to families with dependent children (afdc) was a core part of social security. clinton’s view that single mothers should be written out of the act—for that is what the end of “welfare as we know it” meant—was not viewed as an attack on working people. but it was. black women, who have historically had the largest labor force participation rate among all racial groups, and who work more hours than any racial group among women, were stigmatized as being made lazy because they finally had access to that part of the social security act which had initially been denied them when it was passed.

temporary assistance for needy families, the feeble successor to afdc, removed a class of workers from social security protection. because of the “nannygate” scandal surrounding clinton’s attorney general nominee, protections for domestic workers within the social security act were watered down. despite the ravaging effect of the reagan-era downturn on unemployment insurance, the clinton administration offered little to repair a state-based system that had gone bankrupt and then refinanced itself by cutting access to benefits and benefit levels.

the hard reality of today's level of inequality is this: for an increasing share of the population—black and white—the market no longer works to serve basic needs like housing, health insurance, child care, or college education. as the share of income held by the middle 60 percent declines, the top 10 percent’s share continues to grow, and within that, the top 1 percent.

the effect of heavy concentrations of money in fewer hands means that market-based allocations of resources are dictated by a smaller set of decision-makers. businesspeople react to where the money is, whether they are home-builders, college presidents, or day-care providers. in the market, price is used as the rationing device, and prices follow where the money is.

when the middle class dominated the economy, it meant that prices for key personal investments followed increases in the incomes of the middle class. the government stepped in with housing, health, and education policies to subsidize those in the bottom 20 percent whose incomes were not keeping pace, and who would be rationed out of housing, health, and education by a market outcome. worsening income inequality meant rising demands on government programs to ensure fair access to health and education, as prices rose faster than low income. through the 1990s, the effect of discrimination made blacks synonymous with the bottom 20 percent, as they were overrepresented in the bottom income group.

what has happened to more whites now is that the market has moved past them as well. pricing for child care and college education, essentials for their children, are outstripping their income growth; instead, prices are tied to the growth in income for the top 1 percent in the case of college tuition. and whites in the bottom 20 percent of income, who hold considerably more wealth than blacks in any part of the income distribution, can no longer self-insure themselves against the bumps in the economy.

as it took almost 40 years to get to this point, in the near term no recipe of policy fixes will sufficiently remedy the effects. democrats need to focus on reversing those long-term trends, but also must have something to offer workers now. but every year that trump is in office, that goal becomes more difficult.

union representation, a key element in reversing those trends, continues to fall. more states are likely to adopt “right to work” laws. it will be increasingly difficult to rebuild workers’ voice in deciding how corporate output will be divided between wages and profits. that is the greatest source of the rising inequality. the hollowing out of the middle is not the result of automation. rather, it reflects the relative advantage of those workers more closely tied to management, who squeeze down the income share for the middle and below.

what reagan achieved in the 1980s was the illusion that by letting the floor fall, the middle could be protected. unfortunately, too many white workers still have a view of the economy fed by the reagan framework of government’s role. the unabated concentration of income will make after-tax methods of redistribution more vital so that americans can have access to housing, education, and health. the affordable care act, a market-based approach to health access, is one example where the fix is inadequate to rising income inequality, and made worse because it naïvely assumed that states would expand public access to address the gap in affordability.

under trump, race will complicate the effort to devise palliatives to rising inequality until more effective remedies can take effect. his dismantling of anti--discrimination offices within the federal government will create new downward pressures on an already stressed black working class. and the decline in union membership is more dangerous to black workers, who have higher union density than white workers and who rely far more than whites on union bargaining power to get higher wages. further, black union density is more heavily reliant on public-sector bargaining than is true for whites, and public-sector unions are a target of trump, who will abet the attack on public-sector unions taking place at the state level.

under trump, the gap between the experience of black and white workers will grow. trump has already changed the political discourse. he has revived a strain of southern populism that allows for asserting white privilege.

for democrats, the problem with language that emphasizes the white working class as a separate problem from rising inequality of income and wealth is that it will racialize the debate rather than emphasizing the common assault on all who are not rich. it evokes the negative part of bill clinton’s presidency. hillary clinton had a hard time convincing young black workers that welfare reform and mass incarceration weren’t key to the clinton legacy. the lack of black enthusiasm for clinton is as much a part of the story of 2016 as the enthusiasm of white voters for trump.

further, progressive forces in the democratic party have been too uncritical of bernie sanders’s inability to lay the proper foundation with the party’s african american base ahead of the primary season. it was curious during the 2016 primary season to see republicans all hopped up about the “sec primary” (so-called because the southern states involved have flagship universities in the southeastern conference), but no mention among the democrats of the swac primary (the southwestern athletic conference, a complementary athletic conference of public historically black universities).

so, while in the fall of 2015 republicans fawned over attending games between the university of alabama and auburn, not a peep was heard on the need for democrats to be at a game between alabama state and alabama a&m. black voters often determine the victor in the southern democratic primaries, but spending time in iowa and new hampshire would be a likely outcome of a party worried about white working voters.

democrats need to spend more time developing a frame to combat inequality. they need to do a better job of explaining that income inequality is a threat to economic growth. they need to be spending time helping americans take the blinders off and see that workers, of all races, are being given the shaft by a system where corporate greed has become an elite “entitlement.” they need to pull the band-aid off a false sense there is some white privilege that can spare some workers the wrath of america’s war on working people. they must fess up to their quiet, and sometimes vocal, support of an agenda that attacked america’s workers. they need to stop believing the problem confronting american workers is that they are uneducated or unskilled. they need to stop defining the white working class as the less-educated. those are the perennial excuses meted out to black workers. young black workers reacted angrily in 2016 to a perception that their pain was being ignored. they didn’t vote for trump, but clinton lost as much because they didn’t vote for her either as trump won because white voters voted for him.

the democrats won’t solve their electability issues repeating the debate about white voters that they had in the late 1980s. they need to focus on the urgency of the effect of income inequality on american democracy. they need to sound the alarm. and they need to wake up and see who they are in bed with. the power elite of the party think they have freed themselves of a dependency on union support. but the wall street vision of the economy is poison for workers of all races and for democrats.

when the republican party of the 19th century cut its deal to end reconstruction and concentrate on winning the white vote, it launched the gilded age and the unremittent growth of inequality that collapsed in the great depression. it was accompanied by a southern populism that entrenched a harsh racial code. trump’s victory puts us within reach of repeating that mistake in history. democrats need to be wary, and shrewd. how they handle this could entrench the dystopia of more trumps—or create a new multiracial coalition of class uplift.

 

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the generational divide amongst evangelicals on same-sex marriage is stark

a new poll finds christian youth are far more likely to support marriage equality than past generations.

millenials and gen x evangelicals are coming out in support of gay marriage in much higher numbers than their parents' and grandparents' generations, according to a recent pew research center poll. around 46 percent of evangelical christians born after 1964 support same-sex marriage, compared with only 26 percent of adults born between 1928 and 1964.

over the past decade, as many states and eventually the supreme court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, a generational divide has emerged within evangelical churches and communities across the united states that were traditionally in unanimous opposition towards marriage equality. 

some argue that younger evangelical christians' shifting attitudes are a byproduct of the supreme court's ruling in obergefell v. hodges and same-sex marriage's acceptance in mainstream popular culture. "we see that with pot in colorado," glenn stanton, director of family formation studies at focus on the family, told the washington post. "there's a legitimizing and institutionalizing [factor] when you make something legal.”

opposition to same-sex marriage has decreased across all religious groups in the united states since the turn of the twenty-first century, according to the pew study.

as a whole, the majority of white evangelical christians and black protestants continue to oppose same-sex unions, while catholics and white protestants now overwhelmingly support equal marriage rights.