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Preview: The Guardian newspaper: Comment & debate | guardian.co.uk

Opinion | The Guardian



Latest opinion, analysis and discussion from the Guardian. CP Scott: "Comment is free, but facts are sacred"



Published: Sat, 03 Dec 2016 15:52:33 GMT2016-12-03T15:52:33Z

Copyright: Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2016
 



I'm on the 'professor watchlist.' It's a ploy to undermine free speech | Anthea Butler

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 16:48:27 GMT2016-12-02T16:48:27Z

The right-wing roundup isn’t protecting conservatism – it’s making an Orwellian environment at universities where all ideas should be welcome

The release of the professor watchlist, purporting to expose professors who discriminate against conservative students, is anything but that. I should know: I’m on it.

As one of a handful of religion professors in the US who study, write and teach about conservative Christianity and politics, I am all too aware of the real meaning of the list, and of its purpose. Promoted by Turning Point USA, the list is not simply designed to expose professors who discriminate; it is designed to silence and smear. And it helps feed information and screeds to similar sites like the College Fix and Campus Reform, which states that they are “a watchdog to the nation’s higher education system” to “expose bias and abuse on the nations college campuses”.

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Trump's Great Gatsby government will be a gift to the rich | Nomi Prins

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 17:10:01 GMT2016-12-02T17:10:01Z

Donald Trump is selecting a gilded elite to fill key cabinet positions. They have signaled loud and clear that they will serve their interests alone

Donald Trump’s administration will be the most affluent ever. Estimates are imprecise because we don’t even know the president-elect’s true net worth, but the wealth of his cabinet picks so far range from $12bn to $35bn. At the very least, this quadruples that of the Obama cabinet. But more than just representing his friends, loyalists and family, the natural alliances among these people, their hallowed predispositions, will impact the policies they form.

We know the dangers of this skewed power. Before F Scott Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby, he published The Rich Boy, a 1924 short story, in which the narrator says: “Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me ... They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves.”

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Why is the Obama administration opposing rights for immigrant detainees? | Daniel Denvir

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 15:35:29 GMT2016-12-02T15:35:29Z

Non-citizens are often locked up as they fight deportation proceedings, even if they’re in the country legally or don’t pose a flight risk

Immigrants detained for months and even years by the federal government should have no right to a bond hearing to determine whether their detention is necessary or justified. That might seem like an extreme statement. It is. But it’s not coming from Donald Trump. That’s what lawyers for the Obama administration this week argued before the US supreme court in Jennings v Rodriguez.

Non-citizens, including lawful permanent residents, are often locked up for lengthy periods in prison-like conditions while fighting deportation proceedings. That’s a result of a 1996 law, signed by President Bill Clinton, which made detention mandatory for a huge swath of immigrants convicted of crimes – even minor ones and even cases where an immigrant poses no public safety or flight risk.

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Facing my fear: to save my autistic son's future, I had to let him go | Elayne Robertson Demby

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 12:00:15 GMT2016-12-02T12:00:15Z

It’s always hard for parents when their children leave home. But usually they can fend for themselves when they do

Watching the child you once cradled in your arms walk out the door and into their own life always fills a parent with a sense of terror and loss. You raise them as best you can and hope that the adult you created will succeed.

When that child, however, will never truly be an adult in the typical sense of the word, it’s more complicated.

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Many of us in rural, poor America supported Trump. But he will hurt us | Brook Bolen

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 16:59:47 GMT2016-12-01T16:59:47Z

Donald Trump’s daily assaults on working people are exhausting. His choice for Treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, is just the latest example

Related: The recount is a distraction. Only a strong left can beat Trump | Kate Aronoff

I live in one of the poorest parts of Virginia, and I’m one of the few members of my family and community who do not support the president-elect. The fact that my own rust-tinged trailer is distinguished by a lack of signs in favor of Trump is a personal point of pride.

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Under Donald Trump, the scourge of HIV/Aids is going to get worse | Steven Thrasher

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 10:00:43 GMT2016-12-01T10:00:43Z

Trump’s anti-gay, anti-science cabinet is going to put more people at risk of infection, and make the lives of those already infected worse

An Aids memorial is being unveiled in New York City today. While it is fitting to have right here in Greenwich Village a grand Jenny Holzer-designed, Walt Whitman-inscribed memorial to the 35 million people who have died from Aids and the 37 million people currently living with HIV, there is little to celebrate locally or globally.

Just across the street, St Vincent’s hospital – an epicenter of the epidemic in its early years – has died, just as so many gay men did within its walls in the 1980s. It is being converted into luxury condos. That a hospital which served the most marginalized would be replaced by real estate for the super wealthy is a fitting metaphor in the age of a real estate developer-turned-president. Indeed, Donald Trump is set to preside over a newly harmful period in HIV history.

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Good luck getting healthcare in Donald Trump's America | Miranda Yaver

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 16:18:51 GMT2016-11-30T16:18:51Z

Despite decades as a doctor, HHS pick Tom Price puts his conservative politics over medical evidence that the ACA has helped many Americans

After an election dominated by rhetoric and anti-establishment sentiment more than policy specifics, the upset of 8 November left open many questions as to how President-elect Donald Trump would steer the nation. More questions still were raised when it was suggested that, contrary to his campaign promise, some aspects of the Affordable Care Act might, indeed, be salvaged. Such hopes have been dashed.

Related: Welcome to the reign of King Trump | Ben Fountain

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Toxic Trumpism may have one formidable foe: corporate America | Bakari T Sellers

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 18:17:06 GMT2016-12-01T18:17:06Z

Companies that don’t want to be aligned with the hatred that fueled Donald Trump’s campaign are spurning associations with him

Donald Trump may have been democratically elected president, but there are plenty of people who find this appalling. That nearly 73 million American voters rejected the xenophobia, racism, sexism and hatred that fueled Trump’s campaign could be an opportunity – for corporate America.

Related: Kellogg pulls ads from Breitbart News: site isn't 'aligned with our values'

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'Power posing' is a sham. Time to redefine what strength looks like | Jean Hannah Edelstein

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 12:00:00 GMT2016-12-01T12:00:00Z

A study debunked the idea that puffing yourself up physically to increase confidence works. Let’s stop prizing masculinity in power and leadership

Given the election night coup of a certain blustering, overly confident egomaniac, it might seem like channeling a very masculine idea of success is a good way to get ahead. After all, Donald Trump lurked menacingly over Hillary Clinton on the debate stage, blustered and bragged, and he triumphed. It seems a smart strategy to emulate aggressive masculine behavior if planning a power grab.

But writing in the journal Hormones and Behavior, two researchers undermined previous findings that standing in a “power pose” – that is “broad posture, hands on hips, shoulders high and pushed back”, or what I would describe as “in the manner of a blustering, bigoted kleptocrat” – has no measurable effect on feelings of emotional or physical strength.

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The recount is a distraction. Only a strong left can beat Trump | Kate Aronoff

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 12:00:17 GMT2016-11-30T12:00:17Z

Some hope Trump’s presidency can be averted through Jill Stein’s initiative. What we should focus on instead is strengthening the Democratic party

It’s hard to imagine a happy ending to the recount of this year’s election results, spearheaded by Green party presidential candidate Jill Stein. Barring miracles in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania in the coming weeks, the challenge for the next four years remains the same: make Trump’s job impossible, and build a visionary alternative to both his autocracy and Clinton’s Third Way neoliberalism. Everything else is a distraction.

Stein has been joined by dozens of lawyers and security experts, $5m in crowdfunding and Hillary Clinton in her recount efforts. But neither Clinton nor Stein are the right women for the job of standing up to Trump. Continuing to revolve a media circus around either could cause us to lose focus from the task ahead.

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Think Trump's scary now? Obama is leaving him with broad war powers | Trevor Timm

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 16:33:34 GMT2016-11-29T16:33:34Z

The president-elect keeps news cycles churning with his unhinged tweets, but it’s the current administration’s expanding military license that should scare us

In all the outrage about the unhinged things Donald Trump keeps tweeting and saying, there’s been almost zero criticism at the fact that Obama will be partly responsible for the extraordinary scope of powers Trump inherits. The Obama administration has not only done nothing to curtail the slew of extreme national security and war powers that Trump is about to acquire since the election – the White House is actively expanding them.

Related: If Donald Trump gets his way, his administration will be disastrous | Trevor Timm

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How the Democrats could win again, if they wanted | Thomas Frank

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 12:00:48 GMT2016-11-29T12:00:48Z

Labor and economic equality used to be at the heart of liberal politics. Rich professionals expunged these concerns – and have reaped the consequences

What makes 2016 a disaster for Democrats is not merely the party’s epic wipeout in Washington and the state capitals, but that the contest was fought out on a terrain that should have been favorable to them. This was an election about social class –about class-based grievances – and yet the Party of the People blew it. How that happened is the question of the year, just as it has been the question of other disastrous election years before. And just like before, I suspect the Democrats will find all manner of convenient reasons to take no corrective action.

But first let us focus on the good news. Donald Trump has smashed the consensus factions of both parties. Along the way, he has destroyed the core doctrine of Clintonism: that all elections are decided by money and that therefore Democrats must match Republican fundraising dollar for dollar. This is the doctrine on which progressive hopes have been sacrificed for decades, and now it is dead. Clinton outspent Trump two-to-one and it still wasn’t enough.

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Public schools may not survive Trump's billionaire wrecking crew | Nikhil Goyal

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 12:30:18 GMT2016-11-30T12:30:18Z

His education secretary pick, Betsy DeVos, is a fierce supporter of private schools and the voucher movement. She could end education as we know it

Related: My dad's Reagan protests inspire me to stand up to Donald Trump | Steven W Thrasher

Donald Trump, a self-described billionaire, wants billionaire heiress Betsy DeVos to take over the Department of Education. These two ultra-rich people have never attended public schools. Nor have they sent their kids to them. Yet they will likely accelerate the bipartisan dismantling of public education as we know it.

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World leaders beware: a photo with Trump will expose your soul | Stuart Heritage

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 15:26:28 GMT2016-11-30T15:26:28Z

Mitt Romney, Chris Christie, Barack Obama and Nigel Farage are all destined to be remembered for how they looked when they were photographed with the president-elect

You could get lost in that photo of Donald Trump and Mitt Romney, couldn’t you? Every time you look at it, another new detail rises to the surface and breaks your heart. The angle of Romney’s eyebrows. The self-satisfied lurch in Trump’s neck. The bottle of wine in the background and the glasses of water on the table. The sensation that Trump has shoved away his plate of scallops and demanded that someone bring him a big bowl of Sugar Puffs and a mixing spoon.

But it is Romney’s face that makes this such a fascinating picture. Look at it. There is no way on Earth that Romney expected the photo to be taken. He is, remember, the most presidential-looking non-president in the history of the United States. He looks like what you would get if you asked a beachside cartoonist on Martha’s Vineyard to draw a human version of a bald eagle. Yet here he is, three mouthfuls into a meal, looking sheepish and squirming as if he has just been caught in bed with another woman. If this photo had a caption, it would be: “Honey! What are you doing back so early?”

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Standing Rock is the civil rights issue of our time – let's act accordingly | Bill McKibben

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 15:20:28 GMT2016-11-29T15:20:28Z

The US government sent helpers to protect integration efforts in the 1960s. Why not do more to protect the Dakota Pipeline protesters today?

When John Doar died in 2014, Barack Obama, who’d already awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, called him “one of America’s bravest lawyers”. Without his courage and perseverance, the president said, “Michelle and I might not be where we are today”.

Related: The Standing Rock protests are a symbolic moment | Neil Young and Daryl Hannah

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The TPP wasn't killed by Donald Trump – our protests worked

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 12:00:29 GMT2016-11-28T12:00:29Z

We the people can create change by standing together. This is crucial to remember for the next four years

The reports are rolling in: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is dead. If you read the obituaries, most news outlets seem to agree that the cause of death was simple: the election of Donald Trump, who railed against the deal during his campaign. But the pundits have the story wrong.

The real story is that an unprecedented, international uprising of people from across the political spectrum took on some of the most powerful institutions in the world, and won.

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My dad's Reagan protests inspire me to stand up to Donald Trump | Steven W Thrasher

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 18:51:35 GMT2016-11-28T18:51:35Z

It’s sad that our ancestors’ battle for equal rights may never end. But I will do my part as my father did

I have been battling depression and sleeplessness while thinking about how to fight Donald Trump and what his rise means about the United States of America.

It is dispiriting that after both modest and substantial gains have been made during the Obama and Black Lives Matter years (on race, gender, political imagination, LGBT rights and healthcare) many stand to be rolled back with a vengeance in the coming months and years. The retrenchment is frightening. And it’s become clear that this fight is going to last for the rest of my life.

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In this dangerous new world, journalism must protect itself | Christiane Amanpour

Wed, 23 Nov 2016 17:02:41 GMT2016-11-23T17:02:41Z

We face an existential crisis, a threat to the very relevance and usefulness of our profession. Our values of truth can win out, if we stand together in their defence

This is the text of a speech delivered at the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York on 22 November 2016

I never in a million years thought I would be up here on stage appealing for the freedom and safety of American journalists at home.

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Will any celebrities agree to attend Donald Trump's inauguration? | Dave Schilling

Sun, 27 Nov 2016 12:00:00 GMT2016-11-27T12:00:00Z

Elton John quickly shut down rumors he was playing on 20 January. He’s not the only former Mar-a-Lago guest who is begging off

The cost of winning the 2016 US presidential election might finally be sinking in for Donald Trump. It must be quite sobering for a man long fixated on establishing and cultivating relationships with celebrities to realize that most of them have abandoned him. Sure, he’s about to become the commander-in-chief of the most powerful military in the world, but is that as gratifying as bro-ing with Lionel Richie at Mar-a-Lago?

Instead of glitz and glamour, President-elect Trump is stuck pretending to be friends with Steve Bannon, who looks like the kind of person who cleans his ears out with the eraser end of a pencil and microwaves Eggo waffles for breakfast. He’s so loathed that when a Trump spokesperson claimed that Elton John would be performing at the inauguration, the legendary pop star immediately, vehemently denied it.

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We're Muslims who served our nation. Donald Trump must reject a registry

Wed, 23 Nov 2016 15:15:07 GMT2016-11-23T15:15:07Z

Reince Priebus suggested Muslims will be targeted and criticized our faith. As veterans, we ask the president-elect to rule out any kind of religious test

As Muslim Americans who fought for our nation in uniform, we find ourselves at a particular intersection of an emerging debate. We firmly believe that everything must be done to protect our nation from domestic and foreign terror threats. But, we also find ourselves gravely concerned about measures to do so that put us, and our loved ones, in the crosshairs of efforts that rest on very shaky constitutional grounds.

This weekend, on two separate appearances on Sunday talkshows, President-elect Trump’s incoming chief of staff, Reince Priebus, declared that he would not “rule out anything” when it came to a registry of Muslims, except that such a registry would “not be based” on a religion. Priebus then went on to declare that aspects of the faith of Islam were “problematic”, without elaborating.

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Under Donald Trump, the US will no longer be the beacon of the free world | Richard Wolffe

Wed, 23 Nov 2016 20:27:19 GMT2016-11-23T20:27:19Z

Other nations look to America as an example. The president-elect’s attitude to his business interests won’t help efforts to spread good governance

Somehow Donald Trump manages to dumb down everything. Somehow he manages to lower the bar to the point where he can play by a different set of rules. And somehow the media and elected officials just shrug their shoulders and walk away.

By his own admission, the president-elect is negotiating business deals at a time when his predecessors were, you know, filling cabinet positions and transitioning to power. He met with his Indian business partners and the Trump Organization signed a Kolkata deal last week.

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Trump changed everything. Now everything counts | Barbara Kingsolver

Wed, 23 Nov 2016 11:00:02 GMT2016-11-23T11:00:02Z

Millions of Americans are starting to grasp that we can’t politely stand by watching lives and liberties get slashed beyond repair. What are you going to do?

If you’re among the majority of American voters who just voted against the party soon to control all three branches of our government, you’ve probably had a run of bad days. You felt this loss like a death in the family and coped with it as such: grieved with friends, comforted scared kids, got out the bottle of whisky, binge-watched Netflix. But we can’t hole up for four years waiting for something that’s gone. We just woke up in another country.

It’s hard to guess much from Trump’s campaign promises but we know the goals of the legislators now taking charge, plus Trump’s VP and those he’s tapping to head our government agencies. Losses are coming at us in these areas: freedom of speech and the press; women’s reproductive rights; affordable healthcare; security for immigrants and Muslims; racial and LGBTQ civil rights; environmental protection; scientific research and education; international cooperation on limiting climate change; international cooperation on anything; any restraints on who may possess firearms; restraint on the upper-class wealth accumulation that’s gutting our middle class; limits on corporate influence over our laws. That’s the opening volley.

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The Standing Rock protests are a taste of things to come | Kate Aronoff

Tue, 22 Nov 2016 16:19:59 GMT2016-11-22T16:19:59Z

The way opponents of the Dakota Access pipeline have been treated by police is likely to be replicated on a massive scale under Donald Trump

Horrific scenes have been coming out of North Dakota these last several days, where the battle is ongoing to stop the Dakota Access pipeline. On Sunday night, police turned tear gas and rubber bullets on hundreds of unarmed “water protectors”, as those taking on the pipeline prefer to be called. They deployed water cannons as well, in temperatures well below freezing. More than 160 people were injured, and many sent to the hospital. As a result of the standoff, a young woman could lose her arm.

For those with a passing knowledge of the kind of tactics faced by America’s civil rights movement, the above might sound like blast from our more brutal past. As Donald Trump prepares to enter the White House, it should also sound like our possible future.

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We need to talk about Donald Trump's plans for Muslims | Moustafa Bayoumi

Wed, 23 Nov 2016 20:11:43 GMT2016-11-23T20:11:43Z

Special registration was useful only as a tool to disrupt average Muslim lives and spend a lot of money needlessly. Despite that, it’s probably coming back

Appearing on that most revered of presidential forums (also called YouTube), Donald Trump released a video this week describing his plans to “make America great again for everyone, and I mean everyone”. I’ve learned not to believe Trump’s magnanimous act, but others really want to.

Henry Kissinger told Fareed Zakaria on CNN that we should give Trump “an opportunity to develop the positive objectives that he may have”. And Barack Obama told an audience in Peru that he wants “to be respectful of the office and give the president-elect an opportunity to put forward his platform and his arguments without somebody popping off in every instance”.

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Dear Melania Trump: please leave New York when your husband does | Dave Infante

Tue, 22 Nov 2016 18:34:57 GMT2016-11-22T18:34:57Z

The president-elect’s transition team is causing major traffic snarls in Midtown Manhattan. New Yorkers can’t escape the coming Trumpocalypse

On Monday, President-elect Donald Trump confirmed reports that his wife Melania would stay in Midtown Manhattan’s Trump Tower with their son Barron, rather than move to the White House with him after January’s inauguration. Now, I don’t go to Midtown Manhattan, because it’s teeming with bad suits, worse smells and piles of garbage taller than Mike Huckabee’s large adult sons. I don’t write about politics, for similar reasons.

While it’s not exactly central to Our Gilded American Rapture, Melania’s choice to stay at Trump Tower (at least through the end of Barron’s fourth-grade year at an Upper West Side prep school) smacks of cruel portent. The campaign may be over, but in New York City, a fresh new logistical hell has just been laid upon Midtown’s traffic, our familiar old hell. The New York Post, among others, warns that Melania’s non-move would usher in a “traffic apocalypse”.

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The 'alt-right' don't belong in the American conservative tradition | Jamie Weinstein

Tue, 22 Nov 2016 18:21:21 GMT2016-11-22T18:21:21Z

Their ideas aren’t compatible with the Reagan-inspired right, and their recent conference managed to attract 20 times fewer attendees than BronyCon

The media have been focused on the “alt-right” since Donald Trump’s selection of Breitbart CEO Steve Bannon to be a senior counselor in the White House. Bannon has claimed Breitbart News is a “platform for the alt-right”.

Interest in what the “alt-right” stands for was only heightened after video emerged this week from a Washington DC conference hosted by the National Policy Institute, showing attendees giving the Nazi salute.

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Welcome to the reign of King Trump | Ben Fountain

Tue, 22 Nov 2016 12:00:35 GMT2016-11-22T12:00:35Z

While Donald Trump’s guiding principle is ego, the structures that hold him aloft were painstakingly built over decades by the worst of the Republican party

“This bloodbath of an election,” a friend emailed me. “Like watching someone get murdered,” another said over the phone. And this in an email from a veteran of the Vietnam war: “The third Vietnam Draft Dodger is now commander in chief”.

Welcome to the full flowering of the Era of Trump, which began with that now mytho-epic glide down the escalator at Trump Tower, where Trump commenced his candidacy with these historic words:

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Bernie Sanders still says class is more important than race. He is still wrong | Michael Arceneaux

Tue, 22 Nov 2016 15:29:15 GMT2016-11-22T15:29:15Z

Sanders spoke about the need to move ‘beyond identity politics,’ apparently not recognizing that this is impossible in America

It appears that in the aftermath of a monumental but nonetheless failed presidential campaign, Bernie Sanders remains most comfortable in the spot that made him a loser: trying to separate class and race.

Sanders has never been wrong about the damaging roles establishment politics and economics play in the lives of millions of Americans. Even so, he’s long struggled with acknowledging that focusing on class alone won’t make this country better for many who are struggling. That the revolution cannot be colorblind if it were to truly make this country better for all of the disenfranchised.

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Trump is a threat to the Paris agreement. Can states like California defend it? | Adam McGibbon

Mon, 21 Nov 2016 12:00:05 GMT2016-11-21T12:00:05Z

The world is counting on the climate movement in the US to keep action on fossil fuel going. Here is one way we can do that

Related: Trump’s dilemma: to please his friends by trashing the Paris climate deal, or not? | Bill McKibben

There’s no point hiding from it – Donald Trump’s election should give us all concern for our future and the future of our children.

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Abortion rights are already under siege – and it's only going to get worse | Jessica Valenti

Tue, 22 Nov 2016 12:00:34 GMT2016-11-22T12:00:34Z

Donald Trump has said he will appoint supreme court judges who want to overturn Roe v Wade. We need to be ready to protect ourselves no matter what

Imagine being so desperate to end a pregnancy that you sit in a bathtub, gird yourself, and stick a wire hanger up your vagina and into your uterus. You don’t have anesthesia, but you do it anyway. You start to bleed, badly. After you go to the hospital for help, you don’t get sympathy - you get arrested.

I don’t describe this horrific scenario to remind you of a time when abortion was illegal and how bad it was for women. Because this didn’t happen in the 1950s; it happened last year.

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Obama created a deportation machine. Soon it will be Trump's | Daniel Denvir

Mon, 21 Nov 2016 12:30:06 GMT2016-11-21T12:30:06Z

While he is still in office, the president should urgently take action to limit the damage that Trump can do once it’s in his hands

Among the many asphyxiating gut punches delivered by Donald Trump’s election, his denigration of immigrants and pledge to deport them en masse stand out. Trump has now signaled that he will move to deport as many as three million immigrants after he takes office, and roll back Barack Obama’s executive action protecting more than 700,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children.

The guesswork under way over the damage Trump might wreak, from decimating what remains of the social safety net to trashing precarious efforts to curb global warming, is chilling. The promised attack on immigrants suggests we will see communities terrorized by what can only be fairly described as a police state.

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Yes, the US economy is rigged. That's why we're striking | Oliwia Pac

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 12:30:48 GMT2016-11-29T12:30:48Z

Workers at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport and across the country are standing up to support the Fight for $15. We demand a fair minimum wage for all Americans


Since the election, a lot has been written about the widespread anger people feel about the economy. Many think it is rigged in favor of the rich and worry that working Americans put in longer hours for less money. America does not feel fair any more for millions of ordinary people whom the political elites ignore. Working people are slipping behind.

I know all about that. I work a low-wage job at Chicago’s O’Hare airport. I endure long hours of difficult and physically demanding labor. I am about to graduate from college and I help support my parents after my father lost his job at a factory. But even though I work hard and live at home, I barely have enough money to pay my bills.

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I feared my life lacked meaning. Cancer pushed me to find some | Bradford Frost

Sat, 26 Nov 2016 13:00:32 GMT2016-11-26T13:00:32Z

Despite lots of accomplishments, I suffered existential angst. A potentially fatal diagnosis made me realize that we can make each moment meaningful

It was late. I was drunk, nearing my 35th birthday this past May, alone in a dank college dorm room, attending my five-year grad school reunion.

The journal entry I wrote that night was just one line: “I’m not the man I want to be.”

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As a US traveller, under Bush I sported a Canadian flag patch. Time to dust it off | Lilit Marcus

Wed, 23 Nov 2016 12:00:03 GMT2016-11-23T12:00:03Z

Donald Trump’s first forays into foreign policy this week have made me not just eager to feign Canadianness again but to go there on a longer-term basis

I began traveling solo as a college student during the Bush years. Before I packed up my backpack and headed to a study abroad program in Madrid, my best friend gave me a gift: a Canadian flag patch.

Related: Canada's response to the US election is a most Canadian nod to our predicament | Jean Hannah Edelstein

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I nearly died from an insect sting. The fear it left was worse than the wound | Beverly Willett

Fri, 18 Nov 2016 12:00:16 GMT2016-11-18T12:00:16Z

I carried an EpiPen around for years, more as a crutch than a reassurance. Then one day, I forgot it while walking in a field of bee-friendly wildflowers

Twenty-six years ago I almost died. My husband and I had rented a house in a seasonal beach community. I was examining the menu outside the town’s restaurant when I felt a sharp pain in my left earlobe. My vision blurred and my knees buckled.

Related: Tell us about a time you faced your fear

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I am a Democrat in rural, red-state America. My party abandoned us | Jane Lindsday

Tue, 15 Nov 2016 17:38:15 GMT2016-11-15T17:38:15Z

Donald Trump came and said he cared. It’s not rocket science: that’s why he won

Related: Feminists misunderstood the presidential election from day one | Liza Featherstone

I come from rural Texas. I am one of the handful of people here who votes blue – and I put up with all kinds of ridicule and rejection because of that. Many of the people who voted for Trump are my friends and family. Yes, some of them are racist but not all of them are. The reason they support Trump is simple: their needs have been thrown aside for years.

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Fellow white evangelicals: your votes for Trump shook my faith | Sam Thielman

Wed, 16 Nov 2016 12:00:18 GMT2016-11-16T12:00:18Z

Four in five of you put perceived injustices and immediate gain ahead of a greater good more in line with Christianity’s teachings

As we enter the era of Donald Trump, I have to confess that I only now understand how purely cruel my fellow Christians are. I find it hard to pray as a result.

White American evangelicals, who produced me, and among whom I must count myself, have thoroughly demonstrated how little we care about our representation of Christ to the world, how gleefully willing we are to put our own interests and grievances above the teachings of Jesus. And we have done that where we always do it: in the voting booth.

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Loan forgiveness was meant to help me get out of debt. It did the opposite | Andrea Moore

Mon, 14 Nov 2016 12:30:47 GMT2016-11-14T12:30:47Z

How did a program designed to help public servants confine me to what feels like indefinite servitude?

Debt: $120,000+

Source: Student loans

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I took a DNA test hoping for surprises, but I'm exactly who I thought I was | Samantha Gillison

Sat, 12 Nov 2016 13:00:50 GMT2016-11-12T13:00:50Z

We all dream of being something grander than we seem, making the lure of home DNA kits irresistible. But for the most part, you’re in for disappointment

At first glance the DNA ancestry “craze” may seem like yet another navel-gazing fad cleverly monetized by the tech industry. But personal genetic testing is much more than a kind of Snapchat filter for your family album.

By combining the complex science of DNA testing and the data riches uncovered by the Human Genome Project into an accessible, relatively inexpensive self-testing kit, the genetic heritage industry has created an ingenious product: a consumer must-have that tickles one of the deepest, most ancient and potent of human wishes. This wish is not, as it happens, to have scientific proof of your genetic heritage. The beguiling promise that these ancestry kits offer is the possibility that you just might be someone else.

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Facing my fear: I'm a hopeless extrovert, and I adopted a nonverbal child | Amy Whipple

Fri, 11 Nov 2016 12:00:19 GMT2016-11-11T12:00:19Z

I didn’t realize when I opened my home and my heart that I’d also be opening myself to the type of silence I’d spent the rest of my life avoiding

Once upon a time, several lifetimes ago, I had the hangout apartment. If you were bored or lonely or stoned-and-just-happening-to-be-walking-by, you could appear at my door and be welcomed.

Once upon a time, fewer lifetimes go, I had the party apartment. If a group gathered, you could appear at my door and be welcomed.

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I didn't protest during the presidential race. I will now | Yuko Kodama

Thu, 10 Nov 2016 19:49:00 GMT2016-11-10T19:49:00Z

I joined the protesters outside Trump Tower on Wednesday night because I don’t want to live in a country whose leader wants to roll back our rights

I woke up on 9 November in a state of shock and disbelief. As I tried to go about my day, I found myself suddenly crying when the reality of a Donald Trump presidency started to set in. Thoughts of gay marriage being overturned, Muslims getting humiliated for their beliefs, his denial of climate change, his sexist and misogynistic language permeating our society made me sick to my stomach.

Related: Tens of thousands of post-election protesters plan further action across US

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My violent father drove me straight into America's arms | Anonymous

Tue, 08 Nov 2016 14:00:16 GMT2016-11-08T14:00:16Z

After he flew into a vicious rage during a family holiday, I knew I needed to get away for good. My mother helped me flee India and start a new life abroad

Related: Tell us how you got here: share your stories of immigration

One summer morning when I was 17, I begged my mother to get me out of India – where I was born – and out of my helpless situation. We were on a family holiday in Jaipur and my father had gone into another one of his viciously violent rages the day before. We had all had a sleepless night. It wasn’t the first time: we had gone through this so many times before. I don’t know why it was this time that made me snap. Something about the pink city of royals triggered a desperation in me that I didn’t know existed.

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Dear Scotus, please don't discriminate against our vulnerable trans children | Emily Wedick

Sun, 06 Nov 2016 13:00:16 GMT2016-11-06T13:00:16Z

We are concerned that the US supreme court will hear a case about which bathrooms trans kids can use. Our daughters and sons’ safety is in the balance

Last week, the US supreme court announced it will hear the transgender bathroom rights case, GG v Gloucester County School Board. Gavin Grimm, a trans senior at Gloucester high school in Virginia, is fighting for his right to use the boys’ bathroom at school, and the school district is appealing to the highest court in the country to keep him out.

Related: US supreme court to rule if transgender teen can use boys' bathroom

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I spent years chasing perfection. Then I decided to embrace messiness | Kim Abraham

Fri, 04 Nov 2016 13:01:53 GMT2016-11-04T13:01:53Z

Trying to live out my upbringing as the perfect wife and mother left me sick, broke and alone. What if I tried all that I’d been afraid of instead?

Growing up in a mentally ill, violent, addiction-riddled home with Catholicism lurking, I was filled with fear. I never learned to look to myself for an opinion, but to monitor the emotions of others to get a sense of how I was doing. Needless to say, this was exhausting and overwhelming.

Related: Tell us about a time you faced your fear

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In the UK, I am working-class. But I said goodbye to that identity in America | Eliot Bamford

Tue, 01 Nov 2016 11:30:05 GMT2016-11-01T11:30:05Z

I was lost when I learned that the customs, references, and, most significantly, attitudes of the British class system did not translate across the pond

Related: Tell us how you got here: share your stories of immigration

“And where are you from?” is one of the hardest questions I have to answer on a regular basis. Depending on my mood, I can handle it in many different ways. I usually say “I’m from England, but I’ve lived here for 18 years now”. Recently, I’ve added that I became an American citizen three years ago. I just want them to know I am an equal here.

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Facing my fear: I was scared of being laughed out of the gym | David Ferguson

Fri, 28 Oct 2016 15:15:55 GMT2016-10-28T15:15:55Z

Since adolescence, I associated exercise with the humiliation I felt as a teenager in PE. But I learned that everyone focuses on themselves, not those around them

Did I ever tell you that Frank Thomas was in my high school physical education class? Yes, that Frank Thomas, the major league first baseman known as “The Big Hurt”. Every time we’d play baseball in fourth period and Frank would come up to bat, everybody in the outfield would start walking backwards, because when Frank hit the ball, it was always going over the fence and into the parking lot of the housing projects next to the school.

Related: Tell us about a time you faced your fear

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I'm on trial for giving water to thirsty pigs. If they were dogs, I would be a hero | Anita Krajnc

Thu, 27 Oct 2016 13:48:39 GMT2016-10-27T13:48:39Z

Pigs are smart, loyal, funny creatures, and their suffering should affect us as much as humans or pets in need do

On a scorching hot day in June 2015, I gave water to thirsty pigs on board a transport truck headed for the slaughterhouse. As the (now famous) video of the incident shows, the driver jumped out of the cab, telling me to stop. I replied with a reference to the Bible: “Jesus said, ‘If [they] are thirsty, give them water.’”

The driver shouted back, “These are not humans, you dumb frickin’ broad!”

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Our church's Black Lives Matter banner was torn down – now we know why | Ana Levy-Lyons

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 16:23:05 GMT2016-10-26T16:23:05Z

A ‘Blue Lives Matter’ sign appeared instead. Yes, police officers have the right to do their jobs in safety. But the comparison is false, and here’s why

Last winter First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn, where I serve as senior minister, voted to hang a Black Lives Matter banner outside our building. Shortly after we hung the banner it mysteriously disappeared. We replaced it and the replacement disappeared as well. This kept happening. For months the thief was silent; there was no inkling of motive. Every Monday we would post a banner or sign, and every Sunday night, it would be removed. Then, last week, we found something new: next to the Black Lives Matter sign appeared a sign that read: “Blue Lives Matter.”

In the history of oppressed groups demanding equality, an equivalent of the 'Blue Lives Matter' sign goes up every time

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My family fled Vietnam for America. It took 17 years for us to be reunited | Diep N Vuong

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 11:00:21 GMT2016-10-25T11:00:21Z

The pain of being split up without knowing whether we would be together again was immense. I don’t think we’ve ever healed from that

Related: Tell us how you got here: share your stories of immigration

I came to America as a 16-year-old boat person from Vietnam in 1980. When we escaped, we were picked up by an oil exploration boat and then brought to a Singapore refugee camp. We stayed there for two months and took a plane to America. Before that, I grew up in Saigon. The aftermath of the war left us stranded.

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It turns out losing online friends feels as bad as the death of 'real life' ones | David Ferguson

Sat, 22 Oct 2016 11:00:15 GMT2016-10-22T11:00:15Z

Last week, I traveled to say goodbye to a close friend I’d never met in person. These relationships might not sound serious, but they are deep and real

“So, what are you headed to Texas for?” asked the woman in the airport lounge last week.

“Well, I’ve got this friend,” I said, and took a deep breath. “We’ve never met, but we were online coworkers for a few years. We talked every day. And now he’s really sick.”

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Why immigration is a feminist issue – What would a feminist do? podcast

Sat, 29 Oct 2016 12:00:19 GMT2016-10-29T12:00:19Z

This week on the podcast, host Jessica Valenti speaks with Hillary Clinton’s Latino outreach director about the realities of being undocumented and female

On this latest episode of What would a feminist do? we talk with Lorella Praeli, Hillary Clinton’s Latino outreach director and Miriam Yeung, Executive Director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum about how immigrant women are treated.

The conversation explores the hazards of being undocumented and accessing safe reproductive care, the reality of domestic abuse and the danger of sexual assault. We delve into the myths surrounding immigration and identify racist rhetoric like “anchor babies” and how anti-migrant policy treats women’s bodies as a threat to the nation.

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When women's rights meet botox – What would a feminist do?

Sat, 15 Oct 2016 13:27:04 GMT2016-10-15T13:27:04Z

This week, Jessica Valenti sits down with Dana Berkowitz, author of Botox Nation, to talk about the aging process and the choices facing modern women

As a society, we are obsessed with youth. Thanks to advances in medical science, there are new procedures popping up every day marketed to women to improve their appearance. While we haven’t yet found the fountain of youth, we have discovered Botox, a de-wrinkling neurotoxin injected millions of times each year, mostly among women.

But why is this particular procedure so appealing?

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The buying and selling of feminism – What would a feminist do?

Mon, 03 Oct 2016 12:24:57 GMT2016-10-03T12:24:57Z

Feminism is everywhere – even Nike and Sarah Palin have jumped on the bandwagon. With author Andi Zeisler, we explore ‘marketplace feminism’

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A few weeks ago, we touched on feminism becoming “mainstream.” In this episode, we take a much deeper dive into the issues of buying, selling, branding and consumerism around feminism.
Host Jessica Valenti is joined by Andi Zeisler, co-founder of Bitch Media and author of We Were Feminists Once: From Riot Grrrl to CoverGirl, the Buying and Selling of a Political Movement.
We explore the progression of so-called “marketplace feminism.” From feminine cigarettes to deodorants preparing women to ask for job raises, what does it mean when a political movement seems more like another consumer choice?

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Princesses, pink and 'girly' culture – What would a feminist do? podcast

Sat, 17 Sep 2016 12:00:48 GMT2016-09-17T12:00:48Z

Girls have not always been pink and boys have not always been blue. This week, Jessica Valenti is joined by Peggy Orenstein to discuss how to better raise kids

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Walking down an aisle in any toy store, it would seem that the way children play should be broken down by gender: pink and glitter for girls, blue and superheroes for boys. But has it always been this way?

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Choosing to live child-free – What would a feminist do? podcast

Sat, 03 Sep 2016 12:00:31 GMT2016-09-03T12:00:31Z

On this episode, Guardian columnist Jessica Valenti talks with authors Meghan Daum and Danielle Henderson about how society views women without children

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This week, host Jessica Valenti talks about the choice to live without having children – and the stigma women face in making that decision.

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Can feminism be bought and sold? Share your perspective

Thu, 25 Aug 2016 15:26:06 GMT2016-08-25T15:26:06Z

Jessica Valenti’s next What would a feminist do? podcast tackles the buying, selling and branding of feminism. Put your questions to author Andi Zeisler

Each week on the Guardian’s What would a feminist do? podcast, host Jessica Valenti tackles a different issue that women face today.

Coming up, we’re talking about the buying, selling and branding of feminism. We’ll be speaking with Andi Zeisler about her new book, We Were Feminists Once: From Riot Grrrl to CoverGirl, the Buying and Selling of a Political Movement.

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Dealing with workplace sexism – What would a feminist do? – podcast

Sat, 20 Aug 2016 12:00:03 GMT2016-08-20T12:00:03Z

This week, Jessica Valenti is joined by Feminist Fight Club author Jessica Bennett to discuss how to navigate difficult employers and “bropropriator” colleagues

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While women have been gaining rights in the past decades, workplace sexism still exists in many insidious forms. Sexism in the workplace is arguably even more difficult to navigate today because it is often subtle and difficult to pinpoint.

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Saying the F-word – What would a feminist do? podcast

Sat, 06 Aug 2016 12:00:06 GMT2016-08-06T12:00:06Z

How do you feel about the word ‘feminist’? On this week’s episode, we dissect our reactions to the F-word

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This week, host Jessica Valenti asks: do you call yourself a feminist? Whether you do or don’t, the word evokes thoughts or feelings based on preconceived notions of what feminism means.

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Talking about sexual violence with men – What would a feminist do? podcast

Sat, 23 Jul 2016 13:00:00 GMT2016-07-23T13:00:00Z

How we can better engage men to prevent gender-based violence? Jessica Valenti talks with Jamil Smith of MTV News and Dr Dorothy Edwards of Green Dot, etc.

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This week, host Jessica Valenti asks: how we can better engage men and boys to prevent gender-based violence? Why is it that sexual violence is still, in 2016, talked about as a women’s issue?

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Keep your last name or take your spouse’s – What would a feminist do? podcast

Sat, 25 Jun 2016 12:00:13 GMT2016-06-25T12:00:13Z

Only 7% of American women keep their last names when marrying. Columnist Jessica Valenti and guest Laurie Scheuble discuss why that is

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This week, host Jessica Valenti asks why so few American women decide to keep their names when marrying and where the tradition comes from.

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The Guardian view on European politics: Italy’s turn on the brink | Editorial

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 19:00:10 GMT2016-12-02T19:00:10Z

France and Austria may be shifting to the right in presidential elections, but the referendum in Italy is the immediate challenge for Italy and the eurozone

The surprise would have been if François Hollande had decided to run for a second term in 2017. Even so, the socialist president of France’s announcement on Thursday that he will not run again in the spring is another milestone in Europe’s political crisis. This weekend, attention will shift to Italy, which holds its much-anticipated constitutional referendum on Sunday, as well as to Austria, where the presidential election re-run may result in Europe’s first far-right head of state since 1945. The sense that the old order is under serial threat across large parts of Europe is palpable.

Mr Hollande’s unpopularity and withdrawal both stem from his manifest inability to provide an effective route out of the aftermath of the financial crisis, as well as fears exacerbated by migration and terror attacks. France’s growth is still sluggish at best, while unemployment, is still stuck at about 10%. Yet he has no clear successor. Whoever emerges with the socialist nomination after planned primaries in January will struggle to make it into the second round of next year’s election, probably leaving François Fillon and Marine Le Pen to fight it out on the right. Mr Hollande has been a personally undistinguished president, but the crisis is not his alone. The French left as a whole is divided and weak, bereft of leaders, confidence and ideas for tackling France’s social divisions.

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The Guardian view on Aleppo: the west’s grim failure | Editorial

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 19:53:33 GMT2016-11-30T19:53:33Z

As Assad’s forces, backed by the Russians, make their final move on Syria’s second city, the world can only count the cost of a humanitarian and military disaster it failed to stop

Exhausted parents clutching terrified children in their arms, young people pushing the old in makeshift carts or wheelchairs and families pulling overstuffed suitcases: the scenes from east Aleppo are those of a new exodus. As Syrian government forces move on the last urban stronghold of the anti-Assad opposition, helped by Shia militias from Iraq, Iran and Hezbollah, hundreds of men have been rounded up and disappeared. Their relatives, as well as human rights activists, fear they may already be dead, or have become victims of Assad’s network of jails and torture centres where thousands have been murdered.

Related: Aleppo families fear for 500 men seized by forces loyal to Assad

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The Guardian view on world chess rivalries: no return to the cold war | Editorial

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 19:48:39 GMT2016-11-29T19:48:39Z

It is tempting to present the Carlsen-Karjakin tussle in world chess championship as a clash between east and west. Thankfully times have changed

From Wednesday night chess lovers can finally get some sleep. The world chess championship, which has been gripping chess fans for three weeks, with some games lasting seven hours or more, must be decided in New York on Wednesday. More than two decades ago the Soviet grandmasters Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov played a match that lasted for more than five months, and even then wasn’t finished, the world governing body decreeing that the players’ health was in danger if the match lasted any longer. Chess today marches to a faster beat. The current world title match between the Norwegian champion Magnus Carlsen and his Russian challenger Sergey Karjakin won’t be such an epic struggle.

A series of tie-breakers – rapidplay games, blitz games with very short time controls, and even a so-called “Armageddon” game where the player with the disadvantage of the black pieces and less time on the clock only has to draw the game to win the title – will determine who is champion. It is the chess equivalent of a penalty shootout and would have horrified the purist former world champion Mikhail Botvinnik, founder of the Soviet chess system, who, when asked whether he ever played blitz, replied that yes, he had played it once, on a train.

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The Guardian view on France: Fillon v Le Pen is the wrong contest | Editorial

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 19:20:19 GMT2016-11-28T19:20:19Z

The shift to the right in western democracies is undeniable. The left shares the blame, in France as elsewhere

Across the western democracies, the centre of political gravity shifts erratically but inexorably to the right. Britain’s Brexit vote caused a tilt to the right in Theresa May’s cabinet and has been followed by the election of Donald Trump and a Republican Congress in America. This weekend, Austrians may elect a far-right president, while the centre-left Italian government could fall after this Sunday’s constitutional referendum. In France, meanwhile, the centre-right Republican party has now selected the more conservative contender François Fillon as its presidential candidate in the 2017 contest that could end as a head-to-head with the far-right Front National’s Marine Le Pen.

It is a mistake to treat these developments as simply interchangeable. Every country has its own local political dynamics. Mr Fillon, for example, is routinely depicted as an admirer of Margaret Thatcher – a charge that will be trumpeted by opponents between now and April. But his focus on France’s Catholic roots puts him in a long tradition of French conservatism which has no real equivalent in Britain. His politics are not the same as those of Mrs May, who is again sharply different from Mr Trump. The new Ukip leader Paul Nuttall, who took over from Nigel Farage today, is not Britain’s Ms Le Pen either.

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The Guardian view on Turkey’s repression: stop this stalemate | Editorial

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 19:15:05 GMT2016-11-28T19:15:05Z

Post-coup crackdowns in Turkey are wrong in themselves and risk putting relations with Europe in jeopardy

For the past four months, Turkey’s leader has subjected his country to sweeping political purges – but there are few signs of an end soon. The new announcement that 6,000 teachers will be reinstated in their jobs after having been suspended is a welcome gesture but does little to reduce the level of tension.

Since the mid-July failed coup attempt against Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s regime, the president has orchestrated what amounts to a counter-coup. What Mr Erdoğan sees as a clean-up of the Turkish body politic looks like the biggest purge in Turkey’s modern history. More than 125,000 people have been dismissed or suspended and around 40,000 others arrested. Amnesty says there are “credible reports” of detainees being subjected to “beatings and torture, including rape”. Judges, military personnel and professors have lost their jobs.

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The Guardian view on Fidel Castro: man of history | Editorial

Sun, 27 Nov 2016 19:23:11 GMT2016-11-27T19:23:11Z

Situate the Cuban leader in the political and intellectual setting of 20th-century Latin American anti-colonialism rather than seeing him through the eyes of the 21st centuryRecovering the figure of Fidel Castro from the legacy of the failures of communism, his own chequered reputation, the hours-long flights of rhetorical bombast and hipster beard is no easy task. One should situate him in the political and intellectual setting of 20th-century Latin American anti-colonialism rather than seeing him through the eyes of the 21st century. Castro’s passing sees the departure of one of the giants of the cold war era and a revolutionary guerilla leader. He must be judged by the conditions that made him possible, but not indulged by them. He emerged victorious in a battle against a brutal and corrupt US-friendly regime at a time when democracy had yet to reach most of the Caribbean or indeed what we now know of as the developing world. Although his brother Raul assumed presidential powers in 2006 before getting the official title in 2008, modern-day Cuba was built by Fidel Castro. The early years saw him embrace faraway Soviet Union and reject the United States next door, expropriating American assets in the name of his revolution. Castro’s alliance with Moscow brought the world to the brink of nuclear war in 1962. Yet he survived – and thrived on – the brinkmanship, even if the world very nearly did not.From there came a series of human rights abuses and restrictive policies that can never be excused or simply explained away as “a product of their time” or a “strategic necessity”. Sham trials saw hundreds of summary executions of political opponents. Despite studying law, the Cuban leader defended such actions claiming “revolutionary justice is not based on legal precepts, but on moral conviction”. Power flowed from the gun and a repressive state pointed weapons inward. Perceived cultural subversion was punished. Even in the 1970s Cuba was imprisoning homosexuals and long-haired hippies. But there also emerged a remarkable system of health care and education, producing life expectancies and literacy rates only found in far richer nations. Castro’s international reputation was built pa[...]


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The Observer view on corruption, repression and violence threatening fragile democracies | Observer editorial

Sun, 27 Nov 2016 00:05:45 GMT2016-11-27T00:05:45Z

The populations of Malaysia, Thailand and Burma are increasingly suffering under their leaders

Malaysia, Thailand and Burma are all suffering a backwards slide from the basic standards expected of modern-day representative democracies. While the reasons vary, the results are similar: growing public unrest, increased state repression, negative economic effects, weakened institutions and reputational damage.

Malaysia vividly exemplifies these phenomena. The former British colony has never been a faultless democracy. The United Malays National Organisation, representing the ethnic Malay majority, has held power since independence in 1957. The mostly non-Muslim, ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities, whose ancestors were shipped in by the British as cheap labour, have suffered historical discrimination, yet this furore has little to do with history, race or religion. It is about probity in government – which appears to be sorely lacking.

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The Guardian view on independence for Hong Kong: made in Beijing | Editorial

Fri, 25 Nov 2016 18:58:19 GMT2016-11-25T18:58:19Z

Instead of dealing with a political problem, China has sought confrontation. Without compromise the situation is likely to get worse before it gets betterNo one can accuse Chris Patten, Hong Kong’s last colonial governor, of not being prepared to scrap with China to defend liberal values in the territory. The Conservative peer and chancellor of the University of Oxford took the view – rightly – two decades ago that Hong Kong’s prosperity was underpinned by a free and plural society. He pushed for more representative institutions, albeit far too late in Britain’s century-and-a-half tenure in charge. In doing so he earned the enmity of Beijing. Its media organs churned out ever more elaborate descriptions of the governor. A “serpent” and a “wrongdoer who would be condemned for a thousand generations” are among the kinder epithets hurled by mainland propagandists. His elected council was dissolved upon Hong Kong’s handover to the people’s republic in 1997.So it is strange now, perhaps, to find Beijing and Lord Patten in agreement over the antics of two pro-independence Hong Kong legislators. Yau Wai-ching, 25, and Sixtus “Baggio” Leung, 30, had pledged allegiance to the “Hong Kong nation” and unfurled a banner declaring “Hong Kong is not China” during a swearing-in ceremony earlier this year. In conflating the push for greater democracy with the argument for independence, activists are, in Lord Patten’s words, “dishonest, dishonourable and reckless”. Words that might not go amiss in the editorials of Beijing’s mouthpiece Global Times which mocked “the Hong Kong independence farce”. Continue reading...[...]


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The Guardian view on ‘alt right’ news: no good story to tell | Editorial

Thu, 24 Nov 2016 19:26:43 GMT2016-11-24T19:26:43Z

Breitbart News, the pro-Trump website accused of racism and sexism, is coming to Europe. It hopes to stir passions and promote far-right parties with its mix of provocative news and misinformation. Readers have been warnedThe American Breitbart News Network, a website aligned to the noxious politics of the “alt-right”, has announced it will expand into France and Germany ahead of key elections next year. Readers in Europe: be warned. Breitbart was a pro-Trump propaganda machine in the US elections. Provocative and sometimes inaccurate claims cast as news have been criticised as racist, anti-Muslim and sexist. It sees France as “the place to be” because it intends to fuel the Le Pen vote. In Germany, Breitbart will likely amplify the far-right AfD party’s message.Angela Merkel is right to warn against the part that “fake websites, bots and trolls” play in shaping opinion. An insight into how the “alt-right” might perhaps work in Europe can be gleaned in the days before the run-off vote on Sunday in the French rightwing primaries. Alain Juppé, a moderate pro-diversity ex-prime minister, has been labelled by a social media campaign “Ali Juppé”, because he works with the imam of Bordeaux, the city where he is mayor. His chances have been damaged. When Breitbart arrives, expect more manipulation and hatred. Under pressure, brands have pulled adverts. A backlash against misinformation might just have begun in time. If we want civility then we have to reward it. Continue reading...[...]


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The Guardian view on Angela Merkel: an old leader who needs new thinking | Editorial

Mon, 21 Nov 2016 19:27:23 GMT2016-11-21T19:27:23Z

The German chancellor’s decision to seek a fourth term is not surprising. But Germany and Europe are changing and she must adapt

Some countries – the United States and France among them – place legal limits on their political leaders’ stay in office. Others, like Britain, have a rule of thumb that judges 10 years is as long as anyone should sensibly hold the top job. But Angela Merkel’s decision to seek a fourth term as Germany’s chancellor scorns such caution. If she wins the 2017 election and stays the full term, she will have governed Germany for 16 years, making her, alongside Helmut Kohl, the longest-serving German leader since Bismarck.

On one level, it is understandable that Mrs Merkel should stand again. She embodies stability at home and abroad. She is personally popular (a weekend poll said Germans want her to have a fourth term by 55% to 39%). She has no rival in the centre-right CDU (she needs to groom a successor). And these are uncertain times. Migration, the Trump presidency, the Russian threat, the Brexit vote and the eurozone crisis, now focusing on Italy – all threaten the stability that Germans treasure. Unsurprisingly, Mrs Merkel feels duty-driven to run again, while German voters seem to like Hilaire Belloc’s advice to “always keep a-hold of Nurse/ For fear of finding something worse”.

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Hillary Clinton once believed anything possible. Now her tragedy is ours | Jill Abramson

Fri, 11 Nov 2016 15:42:10 GMT2016-11-11T15:42:10Z

Fifty years ago she embarked on a political life that seemed to embody liberal progress. Rightwing rage brought her down – and with it an entire era

When Hillary Clinton relinquished her political dream at the Wyndham Hotel on Wednesday, her voice barely quavered. She exuded grace and resilience. The woman has a true gift for giving losing speeches.

Some of her supporters, who began demonstrating on the streets to protest Donald Trump’s victory, yearned to hear something else, however. They would have preferred at least a dash of the defiant tone that Hillary Rodham struck in her famous Wellesley commencement address. In that speech, she talked proudly about how the women in her class were too young to know what was “not possible”. They were going to reshape the ruling order, a pledge that remained unfulfilled.

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Harry Reid condemns Steve Bannon appointment on Senate floor – as it happened

Wed, 16 Nov 2016 03:35:29 GMT2016-11-16T03:35:29Z

Trump has completed his dinner outing, according to the press pool:

Trump’s motorcade arrived back at Trump Tower at 9:41pm.

Finalists? https://t.co/Y778KLkAHs

@realdonaldtrump is going to be president:

Very organized process taking place as I decide on Cabinet and many other positions. I am the only one who knows who the finalists are!

Finalists? https://t.co/Y778KLkAHs

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The Birth of a Nation: how Nate Parker failed to remake history

Mon, 10 Oct 2016 14:10:20 GMT2016-10-10T14:10:20Z

The much-hyped slavery drama, steeped in controversy, has underperformed at the box office – but where did it go wrong?

In July of this year, a 25-year-old black army veteran, Micah Johnson, drove to a peaceful Black Lives Matter rally in Dallas, got out of his car with an AK-47 and started shooting at white police officers as retribution for the police shootings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota. It’s the kind of retaliatory violence that white Americans have feared for centuries. The kind that the writer and author Ta-Nehisi Coates said we should have seen coming. The kind that is depicted in The Birth of a Nation, Nate Parker’s much anticipated and equally maligned slave rebellion film that opened over the weekend. And the kind that, frankly, I’m somewhat astonished we don’t see more often.

Related: New York first-night moviegoers shrug off The Birth of a Nation controversy

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Can black celebrities shake America out of its racial justice slumber? | Syreeta McFadden

Thu, 28 Jul 2016 11:30:05 GMT2016-07-28T11:30:05Z

African American stars are using their large platform to demand equal protection of black life in America – just as their forbears did

Once again, this is turning out to be a summer marked by prominent police killings of innocent black men. Black popular artists in American culture are complicating things for those fans who would prefer to remain silent or choose not to engage in the most significant civil rights issue of our time. These artists are shaking moderates out of complacency and extending our awareness to this crisis – just as their forebears did during the civil rights struggle in the 1960s.

Black musicians and artists are key partners in dramatizing equality and justice for black citizens. The cynical among us may presume that artists who call for action against systemic, racialized police violence are simply jumping on a cause célèbre – or that their earned privilege no longer affords them the right to be outraged. But that is a selective and ahistorical reading.

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Solitary confinement is 'no touch' torture, and it must be abolished | Chelsea E Manning

Mon, 02 May 2016 06:00:16 GMT2016-05-02T06:00:16Z

I spent about nine months in an isolated cell behind a one-way mirror. It was cruel, degrading and inhumane

Shortly after arriving at a makeshift military jail, at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, in May 2010, I was placed into the black hole of solitary confinement for the first time. Within two weeks, I was contemplating suicide.

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The new side of Sheryl Sandberg is something to celebrate | Emma Brockes

Wed, 18 May 2016 17:09:06 GMT2016-05-18T17:09:06Z

In a moving post and a commencement address, the Facebook COO showed how her mind has been broadened. Let’s hope this rubs off on Silicon Valley

Sheryl Sandberg gave the commencement speech at UC Berkeley last weekend, during the course of which she said many stirring things about the future awaiting the class of 2016. She also built on her much-commented upon Mothers’ Day Facebook post, in which she spoke for the first time about life in the wake of her husband’s death last year. These two elements, the motivational speaking and the personal reflections on grief, combined to do something that has so far eluded Sandberg and the corporate world generally: the acknowledgement that people are human.

Related: The best commencement speeches: from Jill Abramson to Neil Gaiman

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Phyllis Schlafly won some battles, but she lost the war | Jessica Valenti

Tue, 06 Sep 2016 17:05:06 GMT2016-09-06T17:05:06Z

While the conservative crusader helped defeat the ERA, the country has largely embraced the causes she feared most – from working women to LGBT rights

Phyllis Schlafly believed feminism was a losing battle. The conservative icon, who died on Monday aged 92, insisted that the movement for gender equality was “a fight with human nature”, and therefore doomed to fail. Women belonged in the home, she believed, men belonged in the workforce and women didn’t need any more rights than the ones they were already afforded.

But despite Schlafly’s predictions and beliefs, the world she left behind this week is one that largely embraces the issues she most feared. Feminism is more popular than ever, women are in the workforce en masse, LGBT rights are front and center and the country is mostly pro-choice.

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Almost everyone gets Russia wrong – apart from Obama | Trevor Timm

Thu, 08 Sep 2016 11:00:31 GMT2016-09-08T11:00:31Z

Those itching for conflict like to portray Putin as a grandmaster. In reality, his country is weak and his strategy is one of desperation

These days it is en vogue in Washington DC to be itching for conflict with Russia. Politicians and pundits alike are outdoing each other for how they can describe the supposed threat Putin now poses to the west. To his credit, Barack Obama seems to be the only politician not playing into the cold war 2.0 hysteria.

In little noticed comments last week, Hillary Clinton suggested that the US should start preparing “military” responses to cyber-attacks allegedly perpetrated by Russia on the DNC and voter registration files. And her campaign has also spent the last few weeks ratcheting up the fear-mongering that the Trump campaign is secretly a Russian plant of some sort.

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A split supreme court means contraception is more likely to remain a right | Scott Lemieux

Wed, 23 Mar 2016 20:16:31 GMT2016-03-23T20:16:31Z

Some religious employers have railed against including contraceptive coverage in health plans. Without Justice Scalia, though, they’re unlikely to prevail

On Wednesday, the US supreme court heard oral arguments in Zubik v Burwell. The case challenges the Affordable Care Act requirement that employers include contraceptive coverage in taxpayer-subsidized health plans, with potentially negative ramifications for women nationwide should the court rule against the government.

The arguments suggest, however, that the issue will remain unresolved by a shorthanded court likely to split 4-4, which may well be the best-case scenario under the circumstances.

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All-day podcasts and brick-sized books. Or, why 2015 was the year the long form fought back

Sat, 02 Jan 2016 08:00:05 GMT2016-01-02T08:00:05Z

Digital-age culture was meant to be bite-sized. But novels are getting longer, and I have learned to enjoy Wilbur SmithShortly before Christmas, Wilbur Smith, the writer of airport novels, gave an interview to a Sunday newspaper in which he spoke of his four wives in the following tender terms: “Two of them died on me, the first one hates me, and this one loves me, so I’ve covered the whole spectrum.” He no longer saw his children, he added: “They’ve got my sperm, that’s all … it’s sadder for them than it is for me, because they’re not getting any more money.” Perhaps the most charitable response was to observe that at least Smith was being consistent here: the real people in his life seemed as two-dimensional, judging from these descriptions, as the typical Smith hero, who is a rugged outdoorsman with a passion for hunting, hard liquor, and no-strings sex. (Oh, and for avoiding the gaboon adder, the deadly African snake Smith calls upon, with amusing frequency, when a character needs to die.) But my sneering’s a bit hypocritical, really. I only know about Smith’s cardboard-cutout characters because 2015 was the year I read two of his brick-sized novels, along with several similar vast works by Frederick Forsyth and Ken Follett: the kind of books, as one friend put it both succinctly and snobbily, that you find in self-catering holiday cottages. A further confession: mainly, I enjoyed them.In publishing at large, it was a year of very long works: of Franzen and Knausgård and Marlon James, if you have some kind of problem with gaboon adders and prefer literary fiction instead. A survey in December confirmed that novels in general are getting bigger: the average number of pages in a bestseller, it found, had grown by 25% since 1999. This is unexpected. Digital culture was always supposed to fragment ou[...]


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