The Left: Robespierre did nothing wrong

Discussion in 'The Mainboard' started by bricktop, Jan 17, 2017.

  1. JGator1

    JGator1 I'm the Michael Jordan of the industry
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    Is there an official Left position on euthanasia? My grandmother's had zero quality of life for years (has a caretaker, can't remember my name, in bed 95% of the day) and it seems like the only entity that benefits is the pharmaceutical industry.
     
  2. Lyrtch

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    I dunno about left specifically but personally and everyone I know wants at minimum the Oregon model Nationwide. Our healthcare system is definitely set up to drain people's assets in the last few years of people's lives.
     
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  3. JGator1

    JGator1 I'm the Michael Jordan of the industry
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    My 10 minute analysis thinks that's a good program which would make a ton of sense nationwide. I assume it'll never get traction in the south because of bullshit religious "sanctity of life" shit and "the government is going to kill you" propaganda.
     
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  4. Lyrtch

    Lyrtch My second favorite meat is hamburger
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    The caveat is it does nothing for situations like your grandmother's.

    Helped a few people go through the process in Oregon, it's a little cumbersome and cost of drugs is probably the biggest barrier. Ends up only really being an option for decently well off people.
     
  5. Can I Spliff it

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  6. Name P. Redacted

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    I would imagine it’s “people can do what they want with their body”.
     
  7. Can I Spliff it

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  8. Name P. Redacted

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    Ok so she was 6 years old in that video. Move along dude.
     
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  9. Mister Me Too

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    They actually defended her and her mother they made it more about criticizing the uncle who had a history of being a Nazi sympathizer.
     
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  10. Can I Spliff it

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    ehhh the west was pretty big on turning avowed nazis in to professionals after WWII, even in the 1950s making a Waffen SS larper into supreme commander of NATO and england filling up a lot of lawyer roles with them in england.

    That is, maybe the west was way friendlier to nazism than has been let on. Her herself, meh. Sentiments at large are more interesting.

    That being said, I posted it because of the anti-poverty funds.
     
  11. Name P. Redacted

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    I guess I didn’t read much past the first few sentences.
     
  12. Can I Spliff it

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  13. Can I Spliff it

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  14. Prospector

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    old white men need to retire and enjoy their creation
     
  15. MORBO!

    MORBO! Hello, Tiny Man. I WILL DESTROY YOU!!!!
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    Basically the fight is "do we means test Social Security and Medicare, or leave it as is?" I see no reason to fuck with it because means testing either program opens the door to Republican fuckery down the line with expanded exclusions for the middle class under the guise of cutting spending (to reduce taxes for rich folks even more). It's a universal program, and it should stay that way.


    Dear Old white men,
    Get out.
     
  16. Name P. Redacted

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    Biden should just appreciate his legacy of loony meme VP before he ruins it.
     
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  18. TAXTAXTAX

    TAXTAXTAX Well-Known Member
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    Why can't we have a Yanis in our country?
     
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  19. soulfly

    soulfly Well-Known Member
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    Both of my paternal grandparents had to be put in Alzheimer’s care facilities, to the tune of $5k per month, each. Between the two of them, they ended up getting tagged for a million dollars before they died.

    Shit is beyond disgusting.
     
  20. DEAD7

    DEAD7 Well-Known Member

    I guess $300,000 for the rest of a patients life is just easier to digest.
    Pricing actually seems about right... once the patten expires the price will come down.

    Nothing to see here.
     
  21. timo

    timo you'll be fine at the end of the line
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    getting ugly quickly in Brazil....
     
  22. MORBO!

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    Go on
     
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  23. timo

    timo you'll be fine at the end of the line
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    https://www.apnews.com/c754faab167c43d1bb883dda1b511c54

    They're going to turn the Amazon into a giant soybean field and cattle ranch and the people who have been living there for 20,000 years will be eliminated.

    open season on this community.

    but teh markets
     
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  24. Pile Driving Miss Daisy

    Pile Driving Miss Daisy It angries up the blood
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    hello even more global warming
     
  25. timo

    timo you'll be fine at the end of the line
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    Yes, to say nothing of 'hello full blown genocide' and I'm in no way being hyperbolic.
     
  26. Capstone 88

    Capstone 88 Going hard in the paint
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    Bolsonaro is an absolute monster. Brazil is in for a very rough ride
     
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  27. Prospector

    Prospector I am not a new member
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    also,
    Brazil’s new President imposes zero-tolerance on crime and orders police and military “to shoot to kill”
    By Emma R. 1 January 2019
    stepped up the fight against criminal gangs.

    The police force shall shoot to kill, and unpunished citizens will be allowed to carry weapons, Samhällsnytt reports.

    The newly elected president, Jair Bolsonaro, has promised not to hold back on improving citizens’ security. Among other things, police officers and military personnel who shoot and kill armed criminals will not be punished.

    There will also be an end to reduced penalties, and the age of criminal responsibility will be lowered, first to 17 years and later to 16 years.

    On top of that Bolsonaro has promised to ease legal barriers for unpunished citizens who want to buy weapons to protect themselves and their families.

    As well, about 120 snipers from the military will strengthen the police force in Rio de Janeiro. These skilled soldiers are said to be able to kill a person from as far away as 600 meters. The order will be to immediately eliminate, kill, armed criminals.

    “Criminals who carry weapons do not care about the lives of others, they are ready to eliminate anyone crossing their path. It is a big problem, not only in Rio de Janeiro, but across the country”, says Rio de Janeiro’s new Governor Wilson Witzel.

    With 55 percent of the votes, Bolsonaro was elected president in October. In connection with the election, he stated that police officers who shoot criminals dead will be protected from legal action. The President also said that police officers who shoot criminals should be awarded medals.

    The harsh rhetoric and the result in the form of dead criminals in the streets is welcomed by the citizens.
     
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  28. Truman

    Truman Well-Known Member
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    Pretty good and simplistic explanation on what could be w UBI to share w others without getting too far into the weeds.

    First 25 he just explains all the types of welfare/assistance in the country. You add it all up and divide it amongst everyone and it's $670 for every person in the country. Not a perfect explanation, but a good intro level for those looking for it.

     
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  29. Prospector

    Prospector I am not a new member
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    long but good read from DK
    The Christian Right could be irrelevant by 2024. EXvangelicals are working to ensure it

    [​IMG]
    #EmptythePews
    We know now that the core of T***p’s voter base is the white evangelical demographic, and we know the issues with it: the main underlying drive of fear, the us-vs.-them mentality, the easy brainwashing due to being conditioned from childhood to mindlessly obey authority and believe lies, the anti-intellectualism, the false worldview generated from the pulpit and from the right-wing noise machine, the sexism, racism and many other bigotries, the authoritarianism, the “prosperity gospel” worship of wealth and the wealthy, the opposition to equality, freedom and democracy. They’re even talking about T***p being a God-sent king, so perhaps we have to add embrace of criminality, treason and sexual predation.

    But it appears the numbers of white evangelicals are dwindling enough that they might become irrelevant as a political force as soon as 2024, and direct opposition to their toxic worldview is being led by an increasingly strong and vocal movement of their own disaffected youth: the Exvangelicals.

    Nina Burleigh, Newsweek, Dec. 13, 2018:

    The numbers are stark: Twenty years ago, just 46 percent of white evangelical Protestants were older than 50; now, 62 percent are above 50. The median age of white evangelicals is 55. Only 10 percent of Americans under 30 identify as white evangelicals. The exodus of youth is so swift that demographers now predict that evangelicals will likely cease being a major political force in presidential elections by 2024.

    One of these demographers is Robert Jones, who heads up the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) and published a book in 2017 entitled The End of White Christian America. Jones, Burleigh writes,

    ...has tracked what he calls a “stair-steps downward trajectory of white Christian presence in the electorate.” In 1992, when Bill Clinton was elected, 73 percent of the electorate was white and Christian. By 2012, that number was 53 percent. “If current trends hold steady, 2024 will be a watershed year—the first American election in which white Christian voters do not constitute a majority of voters.”

    See the Dem side of the new House of Representatives? That’s the long-term future of American politics.

    While the older cohort of the Christian Right is aging and dying out, the younger is abandoning it due to being fed up with hypocrisy and bigotry. Burleigh, as well as providing an overview of Christian Right history, presents the stories of three young men who are now leaders in the Exvangelical movement: Blake Chastain, whose podcast “Exvangelical” gave the movement its name, felt his church’s support of the Iraq War conflicted with biblical teachings. Jason Desautels left his after his preacher mis-blamed the Oklahoma City bombing on Muslims and didn’t apologize when the truth came out. Alex Camire left his church after his mother was demonized by his pastor for her alcoholism and his horizons were broadened by a secular education; his pastor’s endorsement of T***p sealed the deal, exemplifying Burleigh’s point that the T***p phenomenon, while it did not start the Exvangelical exodus, certainly hastened it.

    Consider this as a two-birds-with-one-stone best-case scenario: T***p ultimately destroys both the GOP and the Christian Right’s already-weakening political clout.

    Another Exvangelical leader, Christopher Stroop, calls 2018 “the Year of the Exvangelical” and identifies five key crucial events/factors of last year in a Dec. 26 article in Rewire.News:

    We've used our increased visibility, often through hashtag campaigns, to expose evangelical authoritarianism to the broader American public, something that major media outlets have mostly failed to do.

    [...]

    5) Urban Dictionary Adds Exvangelical Definition of “Beverly”

    Some readers of RD may remember how a post by a woman named Beverly Russell Bell, who praised God for sparing her sister-in-law’s Bible when the sister-in-law herself died in a fire, went viral in 2016…

    4) Best Exvangelical Hashtags of 2018

    The quickest way to get a general sense of what exvies are like is to read exvangelical Twitter. Exvies have a pattern of demonstrating creativity and social media savvy by creating hashtags that range from the whimsical and snarky to the deadly serious…

    #Exvangelical

    #EmptyThePews

    #HowToEvangelical (“gaslight yourself constantly”)

    #LetGaryGraduate

    #ChristianAltFacts

    #ChurchToo

    3) Exvangelicals Go Offline

    Since exvangelicals are geographically scattered, community building until now has taken place mostly online. In 2018, however, exvangelicals organized some public offline events, hoping to inspire more local community formation and to build synergy between online and offline activities…

    2) Exvangelicals Make National News, Including Television Debut

    In 2018, exvangelicals continued to make progress in terms of media representation, with our perspectives being considered in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the New Republic, Salon, and other outlets. Exvangelicals were even featured in Newsweek twice, including in the cover article of the print edition for December 21.

    The biggest exvangelical media breakthrough thus far, however, is surely the CBS special “Deconstructing My Religion,” written and produced by Liz Kineke, and which began running on CBS affiliate stations earlier this month [December]...

    www.cbsnews.com/… (Link fixed, h/t to Ta2guy)

    1) Exvangelicals Prevent Evangelicals from Taming the #ChurchToo Critique

    In my view, the greatest exvangelical triumph of 2018 came this month when the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College held one of its “GC2” (Great Commission/Great Commandment) Summits dedicated to abuse in the church—initially using the #ChurchToo hashtag to promote the event. Thanks to the efforts of exvangelicals, the event failed both to co-opt a hashtag whose creators correctly see evangelical purity culture and patriarchal teachings on sexuality as drivers of evangelicalism’s widespread abuse and sexual assault problem, and to control the media narrative surrounding the event… And the news media noticed, documenting the counter-event and taking the concerns of the conference’s mostly exvangelical critics seriously.

    Stroop concurs with Burleigh that T***p’s election was a “flashpoint and catalyst” for the unification and activation of the Exvangelical movement, many of whose members, he notes, are survivors of religious trauma (link provided by Stroop). “Because the exvangelical community consists of those who repudiate evangelicalism for its pervasive authoritarianism, we also tend to affirm that which most white evangelicals—a literally uniquely conservative, uniquely pro-Trump, and nativist demographic—stand against… feminism, intersectionality, racial justice, and LGBTQ rights.”

    A thought of my own about the timing of the exvangelical phenomenon: part of the evangelical strategy for raising docile, pliable members is—as with any cult—isolation from the outside world and its information. Religious home-schooling, Christian camps and Christian colleges provide a cradle-to-adulthood indoctrination pathway. However, it is simply not possible to isolate young people as they could 20 or 30 years ago. The whole world is accessible through a little device everyone under 30 constantly has in their hands. It’s no accident that Exvangelicals first connected online.

    Robert Jones sees white Christian Americans as working their way through Kübler-Ross’s five stages of grief over the loss of their supremacy (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance).

    “We are past denial. People see the writing on the wall in terms of demographic change. And that is also why we see immigration taking over and becoming the flagship issue. That and a wall symbolize the resistance to this demographic change.”

    See why the impossible wall is so important to T***p anyway? For all it started as a mnemonic, it is a potent symbol.

    “I think we are somewhere between anger and bargaining. And in many ways, this shotgun marriage between Trump and white evangelicals happened under some duress and is a desperate bargain that you make at the end of life.”

    And of course a raging, destructive, sociopathic chaos agent given the enormous powers of a US President is the perfect vehicle for thwarted-authoritarian anger.

    Jones’s notion of T***p as a crazy desperate Hail Mary effort to maintain white/Christian/male/hetero supremacy in the face of unstoppable demographic forces—even at the price of selling America out to foreign enemies, destroying democracy and perhaps the nation itself—is the most plausible explanation of the T***p phenomenon I’ve ever encountered.

    That Hail Mary will never work, however. So long as the Exvangelicals and other supporters of democracy, equality, freedom and realism who form the true moral majority of Americans don’t let it.

    Monday, Jan 7, 2019 · 4:09:52 PM CST · KM Wehrstein
    On Progressive Evangelicals

    Several commenters have asked me not to “throw out the baby with the bathwater” by mixing up right-wing evangelicals with progressive evangelicals. They also note that the latter have not been the target of much media attention.

    For more information on progressive evangelicals, who they are and what they are doing, see this comment and this comment by Catte Nappe, and this comment by Mokurai. Thanks for this contribution, everyone!



    I’m a SPWM (single parent with mortgage) who earns every dollar I earn by writing. If you’d like to help keep it economically feasible for me to write diaries like this one on DKos, please consider sending a donation my way. Suggested amount $3. THANK YOU to all who have helped already. Your generosity humbles me.
     
  30. Prospector

    Prospector I am not a new member
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    It is changing, just too slow for many.
     

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  31. Keef

    Keef Well-Known Member
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  32. Can I Spliff it

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  33. Bruce Wayne

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    Gosh how will he be able to feed his family without that bonus

     
  34. Can I Spliff it

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  35. Anison

    Anison Known friend and trusted agent
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  36. Taques

    Taques this muggy november weather gives me the horribles
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    the smithsonian defends the owners responsible for the triangle shirtwaist factory fire for some reason


    Why the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire Makes for a Complicated History

    https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smit...fair-triangle-waist-factory-owners-180971019/


    the article was edited slightly due to significant backlash, but the central premise remains

    highlights from before the edits (most are still in there):

    "While calling the Triangle Waist Company owners 'greedy' was not a perfect assessment, it’s true that they were not saints. Blanck and Harris were hard-driving entrepreneurs who, like many other business owners, cut corners as they relentlessly pushed to grow their enterprise."


    "The Triangle factory fire was truly horrific, but few laws and regulations were broken."


    "While the contents of the factory were highly combustible, the building itself was considered fireproof (and survived the fire without structural damage). Triangle dealt with fire hazards to their equipment and inventory by buying insurance. Workplace safety in this period was not yet a priority."


    "What became of the owners Isaac Harris and Max Blanck?

    Before the deadly fire, Blanck and Harris had been lauded by their social peers as well as those in the garment industry as the “shirtwaist kings.” In 1911 they lived in luxurious houses and like other affluent people of their time had numerous servants, were philanthropic, and were pillars of their community. While Blanck and Harris successfully escaped conviction in the Triangle manslaughter trial, their apparel kingdom began to crumble.

    They became the scapegoats, even though a lack of government regulation and enforcement, as well as consumers demanding low prices could as easily have been blamed.

    Blanck and Harris tried to pick up after the fire. They opened a new factory but their business was not as successful. In 1913 Blanck was arrested for locking a door during working hours in the new factory. He was convicted and fined $20."
     
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  37. Jax Teller

    Jax Teller Well-Known Member
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    Need to up my troll game. This weirdo started following me and commenting on posts. Yes I know this isn't news. His bio seems like a new way to describe yourself as an incel.
    Screenshot_20190118-073304_Instagram.jpg
     
  38. Can I Spliff it

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    Thats definitely an odd confluence of things that dont go well together

    He's extremely online
     
  39. Jax Teller

    Jax Teller Well-Known Member
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    And he started following me by commenting on engagement pics. No idea how that got his attention. I was going to block right away but figured I'd bring his idiocy to TMB first.
     
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  40. Jax Teller

    Jax Teller Well-Known Member
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    Hoss Bonaventure find this guy in Houston and punch him. But don't tear your bicep doing it.
     
  41. Hoss Bonaventure

    Hoss Bonaventure Don’t touch the bike
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    I tore my left bicep. I only need my right arm.
     
  42. Prospector

    Prospector I am not a new member
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    Will your small town die?

    by Jon Chadwell ([email protected]) 13 hours ago 291 views


    Many prognosticators are predicting the death of small-town America.
    Statistics from the census department seem to concur. About 81% of Americans are classified as living in an urban environment. Small towns across the country are struggling with their futures and how they can tap into a global business environment. More than ever before, small communities must become proactive in developing their future.

    Four out of five Americans will not be affected by the loss of small-town life. Even fewer will be affected by the demise of one particular community. Rural residents must come to grips with the fact that no one is coming to their rescue. Any success that comes to a rural community will come only because the community creates that future by investing in itself.

    Economic and community development can seem overwhelming and complex in a smaller community. Resources seem limited, challenges seem large, and too often leadership is divided. To succeed, rural communities must take steps to create an environment that is business and community friendly. While financial resources will be needed, many of the initial steps are low-cost and high-impact.

    Four steps can help small towns jump-start the development that will lead to their survival. First, leadership must come together and work together for common goals. Often in rural communities, the “big fish” in the “small pond” engage in turf battles. A desire for credit can often cripple strategies that would grow the community. Community leadership must be a team. Poor leadership might be masked in a large city, but in a small town it is on display for all to see.

    Second, a community must be willing to invest in itself. Grants and help from the outside will always be important resources. Yet, if a community is unwilling to invest in its own future, it will have a much harder time receiving grants. Small towns must ask, “How can we start creating the things we desire to see in our town?” Towns that find ways to invest in themselves develop a stronger sense of pride and accomplishment.

    Third, rural communities need to learn to be proactive rather than reactive. So often, small towns have gone from crisis to crisis and have spent very little time or energy on looking ahead. This attitude can be the result of a fear of a future that is less desirable than today. One of the best ways to become proactive is to look for small communities that are succeeding.

    Throughout the nation, there are bright spots of development in little towns. Visit these towns and learn how they transitioned from reactive to proactive. Adopt some of their forward-thinking strategies. The energy that proactive hope brings is one of the biggest community and economic development tools.

    Finally, use great customer service skills to take care of the businesses and the residents the town already has. A community’s greatest sales force is composed of the people and businesses that already call it home. If a business has a problem or issues, do everything possible to solve it. Not all problems can be solved, but communities will find that many problems are solved by simply getting the right people in the room or the right resources to the business.

    The people and businesses fell in love with the town at some point in the past. Rekindle that pride and desire. When a small community starts talking about the positives rather than the negatives, good results always follow. As towns start by taking care of their existing businesses, this leads to growth within those businesses and leads to becoming more attractive to new businesses.

    Over the next century, many small towns will die. Some small towns, however, will not only survive, they will thrive. The future is in the hands of those who live in the town. No one is coming to save rural communities. The question is, will the community save itself?
     
  43. Prospector

    Prospector I am not a new member
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    Concern About Global Warming Among Americans Spikes, Report Says

    January 22, 20194:08 PM ET
    Ian Stewart

    [​IMG]

    A home burns during the Camp Fire in Paradise, Calif., in November 2018. It was one of several fires often discussed in terms of the changing climate. A new survey shows a jump in the number of Americans who are "very worried" about global warming.
    Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images
    In 2018, Americans watched as California towns were incinerated by fires, hurricanes devastated coastal communities and a government report sounded the alarm about the impacts of a changing climate.

    All those factors contributed to significant changes in perceptions of global warming in the U.S., according to the authors of a new public opinion survey.

    The proportion of Americans who said global warming is "personally important" to them jumped from 63 percent to 72 percent from March to December of last year.

    There has also been an 8-percent rise in the number of Americans who are "very worried" about global warming – 29 percent said they feel that way, while 40 percent said they are "somewhat worried."

    And 56 percent of Americans said their family will be harmed by global warming.

    [​IMG]

    In 2018, more people surveyed said they felt the issues of global warming was personally important to them than at any time in the survey's 11 year history.

    Climate Change in the American Mind 2018
    "Americans have, unfortunately, had far more experience with what climate change looks like," researcher Anthony Leiserowitz told NPR. He led the team behind the survey, "Climate Change in the American Mind," which was a collaboration between Yale and George Mason Universities.

    He said the biggest surprise for researchers was how Americans' worry about global warming spiked between their surveys in March and December of last year.

    "It really does indicate that Americans are increasingly seeing this not as a distant problem, but as something that's here and now," Leiserowitz said.

    NPR's terms of use and privacy policy.

    [​IMG]
    News
    Climate Change Is Already Hurting U.S. Communities, Federal Report Says

    While scientists often can't tie specific weather events to climate change, global warming is leading to warmer oceans and hotter summers – the kinds of conditions that exacerbate the high-profile storms and fires that are impacting the U.S.

    A major federal government climate assessment released in November painted a stark picture of the costs and dangers the country faces as global temperatures continue to climb: From billions of dollars in infrastructure damage and disaster response funds, to the spread of disease and rising seas. Fifty-four percent of Americans said they haven't yet felt the effects of global warming, but that number is at its lowest level in a decade.

    [​IMG]

    Results from the research group's findings in a survey conducted last November and December.

    Climate Change in the American Mind 2018
    The survey, released Tuesday, also took stock of how Americans see the role of humans in global climate change. Sixty-two percent of those surveyed said global warming is mostly caused by humans – which is what science has shown. Twenty-three percent of Americans said it is "mostly caused by natural changes in the environment," the lowest number of people to say so since the survey began in 2008.

    Leiserowitz said he thinks the survey also shows the impact of media coverage on public impressions of climate change.

    "The only way most Americans even know about these issues is because of coverage," Leiserowitz explained. "So when the media does not report this, it is literally out of sight, out of mind. But when the media does report it, it becomes salient."

    [​IMG]
    Science
    Megafires More Frequent Because Of Climate Change And Forest Management

    The presence of climate change in public debate – and in Americans' consciousness – has both grown and faded over the years. A look back at Leiserowitz's data from the last decade shows that Americans' concern about the issue has only recently matched or surpassed public opinion in 2008.

    Leiserowitz explained that a combination of media (Al Gore's climate change documentary An Inconvenient Truth and the climate change disaster film The Day After Tomorrow) and politics (John McCain was vocal about the threats of global warming) drove increased levels of awareness and concern about the problem at that time. He said their research shows the subsequent rise of the conservative tea party – which sidelined concerns about climate change — erased those gains.

    The survey says that 48 percent of Americans feel hopeful about global warming, while 51 percent feel helpless. Just 14 percent of Americans think it is too late to do anything about it.
     
  44. Prospector

    Prospector I am not a new member
    Arkansas Razorbacks

    from the Americanconservative.com !!??
    cross posting in the Opioid thread

    A Real Killing: How Greedy Corporate Pushers Caused the Opioid Crisis
    Purdue and other big Oxy peddlers now face trial in federal court.
    By Brian SaadyJanuary 23, 2019

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    By Tero Vesalainen /Shutterstuck
    A federal judge has ruled that a massive lawsuit that blames drug manufacturers, distributors, and pharmacies for the American opioid epidemic will proceed to trial.

    “It is accurate to describe the opioid epidemic as a man-made plague, twenty years in the making. The pain, death, and heartache it has wrought cannot be overstated,” blasted U.S. District Judge Dan Polster of the Northern District of Ohio in his ruling last month.

    This federal trial will take place in September.

    The class action combines no fewer than 600 claims by local and state governments against the opioid industry. While the more cynical among us might think this is nothing but a cash grab by our nation’s prosecutors, the facts show that this is the least we can do to hold these corporate criminals accountable.

    Take Purdue Pharma, the first manufacturer of OxyContin and the most high-profile defendant in this case. The company has reportedly made $35 billion from the sale of OxyContin since its introduction in 1995, mostly thanks to an early marketing campaign that sold the painkiller as a pill to “start with and to stay with” that was “virtually non-addictive.” Addiction, Purdue said, occurred with less than 1 percent of patients. Clinical trials have since contradicted that bold claim, but that hasn’t stopped Purdue or other manufacturers from pushing this lie for the last two decades. Meanwhile, some 200,000 people have died from overdoses of OxyContin or other prescription painkillers since 1999.

    This campaign of deception wasn’t limited to Purdue. A report by the Center for Public Integrity and the Associated Press found that, from 2012 to 2017, the top five opioid manufacturers gave more than $10 million to various seemingly independent, non-profit advocacy groups, which in turn promoted the painkillers.

    That doesn’t even include the collective $14 million spent by opioid manufacturers for advertisements in medical journals in 2011 alone. Nor does it include the thousands of doctors who accepted lucrative payments from opioid manufacturers for speaking engagements and consulting.

    Not coincidentally, an investigation by CNN and Harvard researchers demonstrated a correlation between the money drug companies paid to doctors and the significant numbers of opioids they prescribed to their patients. In some cases, doctors received six-figure compensations from drug companies.

    Hence, the current federal effort has a number of parallels to past lawsuits against tobacco companies. But the shameless promotion of opioids represents a new level of depravity. As far back as the 1930s, tobacco companies were hiring doctors to make false claims about cigarette smoking in advertisements. However, they never enlisted an army of well-paid doctors to actually prescribe their cigarettes.

    After OxyContin’s introduction in 1995, DEA officials began taking note of Purdue’s aggressive tactics, which were unprecedented for a Schedule II drug—including promotionally branded giveaways to professionals in the health care field. Alas, Rudy Giuliani and his consulting firm proved to be an ironic but highly effective advocate for their company. During his well-paid stint in 2002, Giuliani met with DEA officials on multiple occasions and convinced them to ease some planned restrictions on OxyContin.

    Two years later, Eric Holder, the former attorney general, while working for Covington & Burling, helped negotiate a meager $10 million settlement with the state of West Virginia over OxyContin. Importantly, that agreement allowed Purdue to withhold documents and testimony related to its marketing practices.

    Likewise, with Mary Jo White, the former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, at their side, Purdue Pharma executives avoided serving prison time in 2007. The company and three executives were fined $630 million and sentenced to three years of probation and 400 hours of community service over their aggressive and deceptive marketing of the drug.

    Such a relatively light punishment clearly didn’t deter the company’s aggressive practices. By 2016, Purdue Pharma had increased its sales force to 700 reps, up from 300 in 2007. OxyContin’s sales peaked in 2010 with more than $3 billion of revenue.

    So Purdue Pharma has made in the range of over $35 billion in sales from OxyContin over the last 24 years. As a point of comparison, the world’s most notorious drug trafficker, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, generated an estimated $16 billion fortune, with only a portion of his drug empire derived from the profits of heroin.

    There is a legitimate place for prescription opioids in the health care industry. The problem is that companies such as Purdue have consistently fought legal battles to stymie transparency. That includes subpoenas related to their marketing campaigns and doctors with unusually high prescription rates.

    Over the years, many pill mill operators and shady doctors have been sent to prison for crimes related to prescription opioids. Yet the big fish at the top of the corporate hierarchy have yet to see the inside of a prison cell.

    Granted, the blame doesn’t fall solely on the manufacturers. Major pharmacy chains, such as Walgreens and CVS, have failed to properly monitor and report suspicious activity. For instance, a lawsuit filed by the state of Florida found that 2.2 million opioid pills were dispensed in a single Walgreens store in Hudson, a town of 12,000 people.

    Our nation’s drug distribution companies have also ignored glaring red flags. Last year, the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce found that 780 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills were sent to the state of West Virginia between 2007 and 2012. That’s 433 pills per person!

    The subsets within these statistics are even more outrageous. Case in point: over a nine-year period, McKesson and Cardinal Health delivered 12.3 million opioid pills to a single pharmacy in Mount Gay-Shamrock. Mind you, that is a town with fewer than 2,000 residents. Numerous other states can point to similar examples.

    Despite being presented with precise evidence of extreme corporate negligence, none of the executives from the top three distributors (McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and Cardinal Health) admitted to contributing to the opioid epidemic during their testimonies before Congress last May.

    Instead, the chairman of the board of a much smaller private drug distributor, Miami-Luken, acknowledged its company’s complicity. That company’s role was much less scandalous. Miami-Luken shipped 20 million doses of oxycodone and hydrocodone to pharmacies in West Virginia between 2007 and 2012, whereas McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and Cardinal Health were responsible for 423 million.

    Those three companies, which are ranked sixth, twelfth, and fourteenth respectively in the Fortune 500, can operate in this brazen manner for a few obvious reasons. They can easily withstand the relatively small fines assessed by various government agencies. The profits more than offset the costs.

    Also, they have the campaign financing and lobbying resources to wipe out any kind of credible threat to their opioid profits. Take for example what happened with the West Virginia attorney general, Patrick Morrisey.

    Morrisey claimed that he would recuse himself from an investigation of Cardinal Health due to his conflicts of interest, such as $8,000 of campaign donations and $250,000 from lobbying work for a trade group that represents Cardinal Health. Not to mention that his wife, Denise Henry, is a partner with the D.C. firm Capitol Counsel, which represented Cardinal Health from 1999 to 2016.

    Nonetheless, Patrick Morrisey met with representatives of Cardinal Health during the investigation that resulted in a $20 million settlement in 2016. Subsequently, a judge ordered Patrick Morrisey to release records of his communications with the company, but he hasn’t complied.

    It’s fairly obvious how campaign financing and lobbying can influence legislators. However, government agencies, such as the DEA, should theoretically be immune from this influence. That hasn’t been the case.

    There’s been a revolving door of former DEA agents who go on to assist the pharmaceutical industry in limiting the agency’s regulatory power. In fact, 42 former DEA officials are working at pharmaceutical companies or law firms that represent them, according to The Washington Post.

    That kind of influence certainly played a role in the DEA’s decision to allow the industry production quota for oxycodone to increase by 1,300 percent over a 20-year period. And the results have been disastrous. According to the CDC, there were nearly 218,000 deaths in the U.S. from prescription opioids from 1999 to 2017. The rate of death was five times higher in 2017 than in 1999.

    A bill passed in 2016, known as the “Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act,” may have been the industry’s coup de grâce. Now the DEA’s ability to block drug companies from making suspicious transactions involving controlled substances is essentially nullified. And in the end, special interest groups were able to co-opt Congress for a low investment of $1.5 million. That price tag represents the cumulative donations by political action committees to the sponsors and cosponsors of the bill.

    So expect some seriously high-powered PR campaigns by the drug industry ahead of September’s trial. But don’t be swayed. These kinds of efforts are two decades too late and several billion dollars short. They can’t scrub the fact that these companies are complicit in the deaths of thousands of Americans.

    Brian Saady is the author of four books. That includes his series, Rackets, which chronicles the legalization of drugs and gambling, and the decriminalization of prostitution. You can check out his podcast and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

     
    BellottiBold likes this.
  45. Prospector

    Prospector I am not a new member
    Arkansas Razorbacks

    from DK
    many words

    How the 'cultural Marxism' hoax began, and why it's spreading into the mainstream
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    Anders Breivik's video manifesto justifying his 2010 terrorist attack in Norway that left 77 dead focused on his belief that 'cultural Marxists' were destroying the West. (Image from Breivik video)
    It all seems plausible enough on the outside, especially for people conditioned to think of Communism as a conspiracy-driven enterprise aimed at overturning Western capitalist societies. Why wouldn’t Marxism, which is mainly devoted to economics, also have cultural component that complements its ultimate goal?

    That’s the claim made, anyway, by right-wing pundits and thinkers who insist that “cultural Marxism” is the underlying belief system that brought multiculturalism to the modern world, and is now forcing it all down our throats as “political correctness.”

    It’s become a common reference in recent years as conservatives have increasingly attacked multiculturalism in the public square. From Fox News to Breitbart to pop philosophers such as Jordan Peterson, “cultural Marxism” is increasingly identified as the source of everything wrong with modern liberal democracies.

    The problem with these claims, however, is that they are fundamentally groundless. The only place that “cultural Marxism” actually exists is within a very narrow and relatively minor faction of academia, and in the fertile imaginations of the right-wing ideologues who see it as the wellspring of a nefarious conspiracy to undermine and eventually destroy Western civilization.

    The whole concept is essentially a kind of hoax, a conspiracy theory concocted by radical white nationalists in the 1990s to explain the spread of multiculturalism, and nurtured by a combination of neo-Nazis and nativists over the ensuing years, as it gradually spread to mainstream conservatism through the activism of a handful of key players. It is also deeply anti-Semitic at its root, offering essentially an updated version of the classic “Protocols of the Seven Elders of Zion” conspiracy theory, postulating a scenario in which a cabal of elite Jews conspires in secret to inflict all the ills of modernity onto society for their own benefit.

    An academic plot
    The general outline of this conspiracy, according to the progenitors of the theory, is fairly simple: A group of Jewish academics, all Marxists with a base of operations at the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt am Main—known as “the Frankfurt School”—were responsible for concocting the ideas behind multiculturalism and “Critical Theory,” which they saw as a means for translating Marxist ideals into cultural values. During the 1930s, the story goes, they moved from Frankfurt to New York and Columbia University, and their influence became so profound that it now dominates both academia and modern popular culture.

    Indeed, as they tell it, nearly all of the modern expressions of liberal democratic culture—feminism, the civil rights movement, the '60s counterculture movement, the antiwar movement, rock and roll, and the gay rights movement—are eventually all products of the scheming of this cabal of Jewish elites.

    In reality, while the influence of the Frankfurt School is generally viewed by most political scientists to have had a considerable range within academia, especially regarding Critical Theory, this school of thought was directly in opposition to the theories promoted by “postmodernists,” who are frequently themselves identified by right-wing ideologues as leading examples of “cultural Marxism.” Nor were its members leaders of any kind of international conspiracy to destroy Western civilization. Contrary to the characterizations of the conspiracy theorists, most of the “cultural Marxists” of the Frankfurt School were sharply critical of the modern entertainment industry, which they saw not as a tool for their own ideology but as a kind of modern “opiate of the masses” that was antithetical to their values.

    Moreover, multiculturalism was not the product of Critical Theory, but has much deeper roots in the study of anthropology, dating back to the turn of the 20th century. It became ascendant as a worldview in the post-World War II years, after it became apparent (especially as the events of the Holocaust became more widely understood) that white supremacy—the worldview it replaced—was not only inadequate but a direct source of wholesale evil. The people who are widely recognized as the founders of multiculturalism—particularly such anthropologists as Franz Boas and Margaret Mead—were not members of the Frankfurt School (though both were affiliated with Columbia), and their work had long preceded the war.

    Far-right bogeyman
    The idea of “cultural Marxism” as a plot to destroy the West originated with a handful of far-right thinkers in the 1990s. One of these was the conservative Jewish intellectual Paul Gottfried, who claimed in later years that he had identified with the right-wing bloc of the Frankfurt School, and had first complained about cultural Marxism as an insider. Gottfried (who is also credited with having helped coin the phrase “alt-right”) engaged in a debate with paleoconservative William S. Lind, an associate of far-right godfather Paul Weyrich and his Free Congress Foundation, questioning whether or not such thinkers could be properly labeled Marxists. Lind concluded that they could and should be (Gottfried disagreed).


    In short order, Lind began developing a cottage industry around his “cultural Marxism” theory, promoting the idea on the internet, in speeches, and in videos. “Cultural Marxism is a branch of western Marxism, different from the Marxism-Leninism of the old Soviet Union,” he wrote. “It is commonly known as ‘multiculturalism’ or, less formally, Political Correctness. From its beginning, the promoters of cultural Marxism have known they could be more effective if they concealed the Marxist nature of their work, hence the use of terms such as ‘multiculturalism.’ ”

    Eventually, Lind propounded on the topic at a Holocaust denial conference in 2003, where he explained to the audience pointedly: “These guys were all Jewish.”

    Weyrich, who had already promoted the idea of “cultural conservatism,” also heavily promoted the idea, presenting it as the subject of a speech he gave in 1998 to the Civitas Institute's Conservative Leadership Conference: “Cultural Marxism is succeeding in its war against our culture. The question becomes, if we are unable to escape the cultural disintegration that is gripping society, then what hope can we have?”

    This became the cornerstone in Weyrich’s call for conservatives to join in a “culture war” against liberals, joining the ranks of such paleoconservatives as Patrick Buchanan, the former presidential candidate who in 1992 had originally issued a call for such a “culture war” at the Republican National Convention.

    Beginning in 2000, Buchanan picked up Lind’s and Weyrich’s idea and ran with it, incorporating his attacks on “cultural Marxism” in his writings, and began giving a number of interviews in which he laid all of the world’s ills at its feet. In his 2001 book The Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasions Imperil Our Country and Civilization, Buchanan described it as a “regime to punish dissent and to stigmatize social heresy as the Inquisition punished religious heresy. Its trademark is intolerance.”

    The book ascribes nearly superhuman powers to “Critical Theory.” “Using Critical Theory, for example, the cultural Marxist repeats and repeats the charge that the West is guilty of genocidal crimes against every civilization and culture it has encountered,” Buchanan averred. “Under Critical Theory, one repeats and repeats that Western societies are history's greatest repositories of racism, sexism, nativism, xenophobia, homophobia, anti-Semitism, fascism and Nazism. Under Critical Theory, the crimes of the West flow from the character of the West, as shaped by Christianity ... Under the impact of Critical Theory, many of the sixties generation, the most privileged in history, convinced themselves that they were living in an intolerable hell.”

    In addition to Buchanan and the paleoconservatives, the theory was also quickly adopted by white nationalists who began promoting the theory assiduously. The most notable of these was the far-right publisher Roger Pearson, a retired anthropologist and prominent eugenicist. Besides numerous eugenicist and supremacist books and journals, he published a book in 2006 by Frank Ellis titled Marxism, Multiculturalism, and Free Speech that laid out the basics of the “cultural Marxism” theory and claims. Ellis, a former Leeds University professor, claimed that “political correctness” could be traced to Vladimir Lenin and Mao Zedong, and that it was designed as an attack on the principles of free speech.

    Other white nationalists, notably Jared Taylor of American Renaissance, academic Kevin MacDonald, and Peter Brimelow of VDare, likewise made discussion of “cultural Marxism” central to their arguments. Taylor railed against it and multiculturalism at a Council of Conservative Citizens convention in 1999. MacDonald discussed “cultural Marxism” at length in his book Culture of Critique and discusses it frequently in interviews and at his magazine, Occidental Observer. Brimelow mentioned the concept as early as 2003, and all the way up through 2017 was blaming it for the world’s ills, including the cancellation of a VDare conference.

    It also gained wide play among right-wing conspiracy theorists, led by Alex Jones, who featured guest conspiracist Alan Watt on air in a 2010 show. Watt told Jones: “People really have lost a sense of dignity and self-respect, and definitely a common culture. That was part of the deep massive Communist move for multiculturalism. It wasn’t to be nice to other cultures, it was to help you destroy your own cohesive majority.”

    “Get rid of all other cultures and replace it with a corporate Borg culture,” Jones surmised.

    However, the concept also began moving into the mainstream of the conservative movement as early as 2008, mainly due to the contributions of Andrew Breitbart, the founder of the online news organization Breitbart News.

    In his autobiography Righteous Indignation, Breitbart described his discovery, in about 2007, of “cultural Marxism” as his “awakening.” He told an interviewer in 2012, shortly before his death, that the concept was like “putting the medicine in the sherbet ... My one great epiphany, my one a-ha moment where I said, 'I got it—I see what exactly happened in this country.’ ”

    Breitbart began holding forth at length in various venues about the evils of “cultural Marxism.” He appeared on Fox News and told Sean Hannity and his audience: “For much of the latter half of the 20th century, America dealt with Communism, which was economic Marxism. And what America was susceptible to during that period of time was cultural Marxism. Cultural Marxism is political correctness, it’s multiculturalism, and it’s a war on Judeo-Christianity.”

    After Breitbart’s death in 2012, the news organization bearing his name continued its tradition of obsession with cultural Marxism; the subject remains a popular keyword among the website’s writers.

    Inspiring violence
    The concept of “cultural Marxism” first came to the public’s attention in a broad way in 2011, almost entirely due to one of the most heinous acts of terrorism in memory.


    It began, on July 22, in Oslo, Norway, where a car bomb blast in the middle of the capital, at the offices of the prime minister, killed eight people and injured another 209. Then, less than two hours later, the man who had set off the bomb entered a youth summer camp on the lake island of Utoya, northwest of Oslo, disguised as a policeman and carrying an array of guns, and began slaughtering the teenagers who were there. In the end, he had killed 69 of them and another 110 were wounded.

    Police arrested 32-year-old Anders Breivik. It soon emerged that not only was Breivik a frequent commenter on far-right websites, railing about the decline of civilization and nonwhite immigration into Europe, but he had left behind a lengthy, 1,500-page manifesto explaining why he had committed these acts. It was accompanied by a video.

    Titled “2083: A European Declaration of Independence,” it was obsessed with “cultural Marxism” and its effects on Western civilization. “We are sick and tired of feeling like strangers in our own lands, of being mugged, raped, stabbed, harassed and even killed by violent gangs of Muslim thugs, yet being accused of ‘racism and xenophobia,’” he wrote. It cited a number of American inspirations, including such noted Islamophobes as Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, as well as the various promoters of the “cultural Marxism” concept.

    “As we all know, the root of Europe’s problems is the lack of cultural self-confidence (nationalism),” he wrote. “Most people are still terrified of nationalistic political doctrines thinking that if we ever embrace these principles again, new ‘Hitler’s’ will suddenly pop up and initiate global Armageddon ... This irrational fear of nationalistic doctrines is preventing us from stopping our own national/cultural suicide as the Islamic colonization is increasing annually ... You cannot defeat Islamization or halt/reverse the Islamic colonization of Western Europe without first removing the political doctrines manifested through multiculturalism/cultural Marxism.”

    Breivik was found guilty of murder by the court (which declined to rule that he was mentally ill) and sentenced to life in prison. During the trial, he expressed the wish that he had been able to kill even more people. But he broke into tears when the video manifesto he had created was shown.

    Meanwhile, back in the U.S., Patrick Buchanan chimed in: “As for a climactic conflict between a once-Christian West and an Islamic world that is growing in numbers and advancing inexorably into Europe for the third time in 14 centuries, on this one, Breivik may be right.”

    Going mainstream
    Over the past three years, the idea of “cultural Marxism” as a real thing rather than a whole-cloth concoction has gained traction throughout right-wing media and among its pundits and thinkers. It also has become a mainstay of the belief systems of the alt-right.


    Some of this spread has been on mainstream right-wing news outlets. During the 2016 election campaign, former game show host Chuck Woolery went on Fox News to complain about liberal ads being run against Donald Trump. He told the hosts of America’s Election HQ that it was all a product of “cultural Marxism,” in a breathless rant that was risibly afactual and ahistorical:

    No one knows where this stuff came from. PC just kind of appeared. Well, it didn’t. It was the Frankfurt School, that’s where it appeared, and the Frankfurt School – it’s real interesting little piece. The Frankfurt School was in Germany, obviously, brought on PC, Marx picked it up and thought it was a great idea for his government. By the second World War, Hitler was such an anti-Communist that the Frankfurt School had to move, so they moved here, to the Columbia University campus. You will find the Frankfurt School on Columbia’s property. That’s where political correctness came from.

    I like the history of all of this stuff so that I understand what’s happening today. I want to know who my enemy is. Our enemy is cultural Marxism.

    [Fact-check note: Karl Marx died in 1883, long before the Frankfurt School was founded in the 1920s. He never led any government. No one “picked up” the school’s concepts as part of any government, prewar or postwar. There is no Frankfurt School on the Columbia campus; the Institute for Social Research, which is the School’s formal name, returned to Frankfurt in 1953.]

    The theories spread throughout the right-wing mediasphere. At the Daily Caller, the website founded by Fox News host Tucker Carlson, articles explored the cultural-Marxism theories in detail with headlines like “Cultural Marxism is Destroying America.” At the Pajamas Media website, author Michael Walsh (whose book, The Devil’s Pleasure Palace, regurgitates the various Frankfurt School theories) attacked other journalists for pointing out that “cultural Marxism” was mostly a kind of hoax.

    At the Federalist, one writer asserted that “Cultural Marxists are actually [postmodern] fascists,” and that “The problem isn’t what the Frankfurt School made of Marx, but what contemporary postmodernists made of the Frankfurt School.” At the longtime conservative mainstay American Spectator, writer Paul Kengor described “today’s Marxist revolution” as a “cultural” one: “Karl Marx’s vision may have ended in political and economic failure, but even he couldn't have anticipated his ongoing and perhaps ultimate triumph on the cultural front.”

    It’s even played a role in the ongoing culture war arguments that have arisen over pop entertainment. “Cultural Marxism” has been blamed by angry alt-right fans for the multi-ethnic nature of the recent Star Wars films, leading to a #BoycottStarWars campaign that failed badly.

    Right-wing pop philosopher Jordan Peterson, the Toronto-based lecturer whose book 12 Rules for Life is a nonfiction bestseller, has built much of his reputation as an enemy of multiculturalism and “cultural Marxism,” though he rarely uses the latter phrase, other than in mostly secondary contexts. Peterson prefers instead to attack “postmodernism” as the final outcome of misbegotten academic thinking: “Postmodernism, in many ways, especially as it’s played out politically, is the new skin that the old Marxism now inhabits,” he says in a video titled “Postmodernism and Cultural Marxism.”

    In 12 Rules for Life, Peterson explicitly links postmodernism with the Frankfurt School. He also shared the Daily Caller piece describing cultural Marxism as killing America on his Facebook page.

    The theory has also made its way into the halls of government under the Trump administration. In August 2017, a memo written by a Trump-appointed analyst named Rich Higgins at the National Security Council was leaked to the press, revealing that he was a believer in the “cultural Marxism” claims.

    The memo was written to describe a nefarious plot against the new administration.

    “This is not politics as usual but rather political warfare at an unprecedented level that is openly engaged in the direct targeting of a seated president through manipulation of the news cycle,” Higgins wrote. “It must be recognized on its own terms so that immediate action can be taken. At its core, these campaigns run on multiple lines of effort, serve as the non-violent line of effort of a wider movement, and execute political warfare agendas that reflect cultural Marxist outcomes.”

    Higgins, who had previously held a position in the Trump campaign and was associated with former national security adviser Michael Flynn Sr., was among several high-level staff members who were fired in the internal furor that arose within the NSC over its authorship.

    According to Foreign Policy, which first published Higgins’ memo, one of the administration officials who read it was Donald Trump Jr., who then passed it along to his father, the president. According to the article’s sources, Trump “gushed over it.” It also reported that when Trump later learned, from Fox News’ Sean Hannity, that the memo’s author had been fired, the president was “furious,” according to a senior administration official. “He is still furious.”