Far-right media pundits are now calling for a police state

Stephan:  I think the self-empowerment of women, and minorities, and their pushback to what is going on has completely freaked out the Christofascists and the violence that always lurks just a bit below the surface with them is now surfacing. The complete failure of the Republican members of the congress to put the country above party has further exacerbated this trend, and we now have Christofascist media explicitly calling for civil violence and a police state. Here's an account of their activity.

Alex Jones; Jeanine Pirro; Sebastian Gorka
Credit: AP

While he is notoriously stubborn and self-assured, President Donald Trump is also famous for being susceptible to the power of suggestion.

Trump demonstrates how easily persuadable he is by responding via Twitter to “Fox & Friends” almost every day. His campaign and White House staffers have admitted to this several times, albeit not on the record. But their actions have made clear they believe this: White House chief of staff John Kelly has reportedly prohibited staff members from giving Trump reading materials. More recently, Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer asked that presidential aide and immigration hard-liner Stephen Miller be kept out of an immigration meeting, lest he shape the president’s thinking too much. Even Russian-controlled Twitter accounts have apparently been set to tweet at Trump during times he’s habitually online.

But the relationship between Trump and his admirers goes both ways. It has been observed that the people who […]

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This Land is Your Land Rotting cabins, closed trails: why we’re shining a light on US national parks

Stephan:  This report in a British newspaper tells a story that has been obvious but unregarded  by American media, our national parks are literally sinking into crisis for lack of maintenance because of funding cuts. Here is the story, and I think it is telling us something important about ourselves.  

The Ingersoll Lodge after its collapse, at Voyageurs National Park.
Credit: National Park Service

At Zion national park, a popular trail has been closed since 2010. At the Grand Canyon, a rusting pipeline that supplies drinking water to the busiest part of the park breaks at least a half-dozen times a year. At Voyageurs, a historic cabin collapsed.

The National Park Service is the protector of some of America’s greatest environmental and cultural treasures. Yet a huge funding shortfall means that the strain of America’s passion for its parks is showing. Trails are crumbling and buildings are rotting. In all there is an $11bn backlog of maintenance work that repair crews have been unable to perform, a number that has mostly increased every year in the past decade.

“Americans should be deeply concerned,” said John Garder, senior director of budget and appropriations at the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA). The National Park Service, he argued, is hamstrung by a lack of resources and is in “triage mode”.

Today the Guardian is announcing a major expansion of This […]

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Evolution Unleashed

Stephan:  Since I was in university almost everything we thought we knew about evolution and the origins of our species has been proven to be wrong. Oddly enough that's good news. Speculation and conclusions based on inadequate evidence is being replaced by actual data. Here is some news on what is happening in evolutionary science.

The food preferences of different groups of orcas are thought to be driving them to split into several different species.
Credit: Mike Korostelev

When researchers at Emory University in Atlanta trained mice to fear the smell of almonds (by pairing it with electric shocks), they found, to their consternation, that both the children and grandchildren of these mice were spontaneously afraid of the same smell. That is not supposed to happen. Generations of schoolchildren have been taught that the inheritance of acquired characteristics is impossible. A mouse should not be born with something its parents have learned during their lifetimes, any more than a mouse that loses its tail in an accident should give birth to tailless mice.

If you are not a biologist, you’d be forgiven for being confused about the state of evolutionary science. Modern evolutionary biology dates back to a synthesis that emerged around the 1940s-60s, which married Charles Darwin’s mechanism of natural selection with Gregor Mendel’s discoveries of how genes are inherited. The traditional, and […]

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Koch Network to Tap $400 Million Lode for Ads to Sway 2018 Vote

Stephan:  The Christofascist billionaires are explicitly trying to buy the 2018 election, and think they can get away with it because they have nothing but contempt for you personally. You are just a sheep whose mind they can befuddle by playing on your fears and prejudices. We'll see whether they are correct, or whether American citizens are going to rise up and take back their democracy before it is destroyed. What are the odds do you think? You know that about 38% of voters are already in the bag.

Charles Koch and David Koch.
Credit: Patrick T. Fallon/The Washington Post

The conservative political network led by billionaires Charles and David Koch is planning an early advertising blitz to try to help Republicans hold majorities in Congress in the 2018 midterms.

The television and online ad campaign that’s slated to start in the next few months is part of the roughly $400 million the organization has pledged to spend trying to influence policy and politics during the two-year election cycle that culminates with November’s elections. That total represents a 60 percent increase over what the network spent during the 2016 cycle and includes all of its state and national activities to try to influence policy and elections.

During a briefing Monday at one of the group’s bi-annual gatherings at a desert resort in southern California, Koch donors were told to expect a challenging campaign season for Republicans given President Donald Trump’s historical unpopularity in polls.

“These elections are going to brutally tough,” […]

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Millions of Americans Believe God Made Trump President

Stephan:  I don't think the majority of Americans realize just how much the Christofascist world thinks they are God's chosen people, and that Trump won because that's what God wanted. It is incredibly medieval, but true. At the heart of this, however, I think it is fear and White supremacy. Anyway, here's the story.

Trump holding up the book at Davos. Credit: Politico

If Donald Trump gets a little bored on his flight home from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, he can always page through a book handed to him by a delegate not long after he arrived: “God and Donald Trump.”

The volume, written by Stephen Strang, a leading Pentecostal figure and the longtime publisher of Charisma magazine, is an easy read—part spiritual hagiography, part Fox News bulletin and part prophecy. It ultimately says far less about Trump than about the charismatic Pentecostals who were some of his earliest religious supporters and who now view his election as the fulfillment of God’s will.

The genre of spiritual hagiography last flourished during the presidency of George W. Bush, who was the subject of four books about religion and one documentary (“George W. Bush: Faith in the White House”) during his first term alone. In Bush, authors had something they could work with. He had a much-documented mid-life experience of being born again, was a regular church attender in Texas, and […]

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