When you meet a Trump supporter up close

For most of us, because we associate with others largely by choice, the people in our social circle tend to be those who share our worldview in general, especially when it comes to political and social issues. Thus political discussions usually take place upon generally agreed principles and within common frameworks, and such discussions tend to be more analytical and less emotional and confrontational. This is not the case when it comes to family members who can be all over the map and problems can also arise when the two groups overlap. Thus the advice to avoid topics like politics and religion at social gatherings where people might have widely differing views is quite sound.
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How the shutdown is viewed in China

Politicians in the US love to prate on and on about how the US is the world’s greatest system of government. The US senate is routinely referred to, by its own members of course, as the ‘world’s greatest deliberative body’, despite all evidence to the contrary. But things like having periodic government shutdowns must surely make such boasts ring hollow. How can any government fail at its most basic task of keeping the lights on? I myself am aghast that such a thing could happen at all in any country, let alone one with the largest economy and military, and yet we have had a shut down in 2013, almost another one in 2015, and yet another one going on right now. It is becoming routine.
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Trumpers don’t like being called a cult

What happens when you put a group of old white people who voted for Donald Trump in a room and one of them who is disillusioned with him calls them a cult? Pretty much what you’d expect. (If you cannot access the video below, try this.)

Christian group seeks to roll back transgender prisoner rights

Aviva Stahl writes that a Christian advocacy group known as Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is seeking to roll back protections that had been put in place in prisons that had enabled transpeople to petition to use bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity.

For Lagan and the other trans women locked up at Carswell, the new policies were a lifeline. They were allowed to escape the pervasive risks they faced in male custody, including sexual and physical assault from prisoners and guards; they frequently ended up in solitary confinement, either as punishment or, perversely, for “protection.”

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, more than one third of transgender people held in prisons and jails experience sexual violence, the highest reported of any demographic group studied; the new policies were meant to ease this burden.

Today, however, a Christian legal advocacy group with a growing national profile, called Alliance Defending Freedom, is working to undo the regulations and policies that helped Langan move to Carswell. Now she is at risk of being sent back into the male prison population.
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Democratic collusion with Trump’s authoritarianism

Last week I wrote about how House Democratics leaders like Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff, people who have been loudly protesting Donald Trump’s authoritarianism, then turned around and lobbied to pass a bill that would continue to give him sweeping warrantless domestic spying powers. The bill then went to the senate and there too Democrats were instrumental in enabling it to pass, as Alex Emmons writes.
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Only a crazy system could allow this to happen

Most people have heard about David and Louise Anna Turpin who kept their 13 children aged 2 to 29 like prisoners under the most appalling conditions, where they were shackled and starved. These children were not sent to school but kept at home pretty much all the time. It was only after one 17-year old child escaped through a window and called the authorities that the abuse was discovered although it had been going on for years. She was so emaciated that police thought she was just 10 years old.
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Backlash to the #MeToo movement

As was inevitable, there has been a backlash against the #MeToo movement and from some surprising quarters. The French actress Catherine Deneuve was one of the signatories to an open letter from 100 women that suggested that the movement had gone too far and was risking infantilizing women and denying them agency and becoming puritanical. The letter suggested that the movement seemed to be condemning even flirtatious behavior and defended the right of men to hit on women. She later apologized to victims of sexual assault and, while she herself stood by the letter, distanced herself from some of the other signatories whom she said had distorted the message of the letter in the process of expanding upon it.
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