If rural Americans are being “left behind”, why don’t they just move? President Trump and Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee want to help “forgotten” farmers — they won’t be able to. Heather Long on America’s forgotten towns: Can they be saved or should people just leave? Telling rural people to move won’t solve poverty: Geography is only partly to blame for the shrinking fortunes of small towns. Where the small-town American Dream lives on: As America’s rural communities stagnate, what can we learn from one that hasn’t? America’s polarization threatens to undo us: More and more, the geography of the U.S. is one of winners versus losers — but the populist backlash puts our future at risk. Damn the politics of today’s rural whites if you want, but at the very least cut the Populists as much slack as we do other past social movements.


From Diametros, a special issue on Enlightenment and Secularism. Nomi Maya Stolzenberg (USC): From Eternity to Here: In Search of the Origins of Secularism. Patrick Gilger (New School): Performing Secularity: Towards the Construction of a Concept. Jason Ananda Josephson-Storm (Williams): The Superstition, Secularism, and Religion Trinary: Or Re-Theorizing Secularism. From The Immanent Frame, a forum on history and theorizing the secular. Jaclyn L. Neo (NUS): Secularism Without Liberalism: Religious Freedom and Secularism in a Non-Liberal State. In defence of secularism: From Turkey to Trump’s America, the principles of secularism are under threat — we all have a duty to defend them.


David Chalmers (ANU): The Meta-Problem of Consciousness. Martha Albertson Fineman (Emory): Care and Gender. From the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program of the Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania, here is the 2017 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report. “An endless war”: Why 4 U.S. soldiers died in a remote African desert. Why is Ethiopia in upheaval? This brief history explains a lot. Nayma Qayum explains the crisis in the Maldives. Do you believe her now? With new evidence that Clarence Thomas lied to get onto the Supreme Court, it’s time to talk seriously about impeachment. Foucault has a new book out, and it’s the key to understanding his entire work on sexuality.

Bari Weiss and the left-wing infatuation with taking offense: Outrage mobs are chipping away at democracy, one meaningless debate at a time. “Well-compensated professional contrarians who immediately start babbling about fascism when people on Twitter start criticizing their ‘provocative’ hot takes are the most irritating people in the world”. “Oh dear. @nytimes, with friends like this”. Chris Lehmann on the tyranny of the takes: On the op-ed pages, the mediocrity is the message.


Mass shootings have started to look, sound and feel the same — and that’s a problem. E.J. Graff on what political science can tell us about mass shootings. Why “they” seem more violent than “we” are: Suzanne Schneider on the link between mass shootings and immigration. Stigmatize this: Making histories of violence synonymous with mental illness is as discriminatory as linking violence and race, or violence and religion. Why we shouldn’t always expel kids like Nikolas Cruz. Stassa Edwards on the imperative of content. The Florida school shooting has America’s attention — but for how long?

Parkland shooting survivors claim “blood of 17” is on GOP’s NRA enablers: “They left us to people like Nikolas Cruz”. Former GOP lawmaker’s blunt words on gun control: “Republicans are not going to do anything”. Democrats should run on gun control all over the country. Mass shootings are a national security threat: We need to guard ourselves from gun violence as ferociously as we guard ourselves from threats abroad.


Former senior FBI official Anthony Ferrante is leading BuzzFeed’s effort to verify Trump dossier. Brand maintenance: The departure of Rachel Brand forebodes a future where Trump loyalists control every aspect of the Department of Justice. A court might hand Mueller a new asset in his quest to get Trump to testify. Trump can fire Mueller, but not a grand jury: The president can’t shut down the Russia investigation, even if he gets rid of the special counsel. The woman who could save us from Trump: Paul Connew wonders if the President’s longest-serving aide could be the one to bring him down. Natasha Bertrand on Adam Schiff, the congressman who infuriates the president.

Indictment makes Trump’s hoax claim harder to sell (and more and more). Thread: “I’m reading the Mueller indictments in the original PDF-legalease format. All the way through, because I’m not a Republican member of Congress and think this is actually important”. Evan Osnos on reading the Mueller indictment: A Russian-American fraud. Bob Bauer on the charging mystery in the Russia indictments — and its indication of what comes next in the Mueller investigation. Melanie Schmitz on the misleading claims Republicans are already using to downplay the Mueller indictment.

Adrian Chen on what Mueller’s indictment reveals about Russia’s Internet Research Agency. An indicted Russian picks up the phone, and mocks the idea that Russia meddled. Russian troll factory alum selling social media mobs for $299 a month: An email address buried in the latest indictment from Robert Mueller reveals a new service for gaming social networks. The surprise Mueller indictment tells us how we’ve been wrong about Russian trolls. The 21st-century Russian sleeper agent is a troll with an American accent.

Russia wanted Trump to win — and it wanted to get caught. America is under attack and the president doesn’t care. Russia is at war with our democracy — when will we finally start defending it? Trump’s conspicuous silence leaves a struggle against Russia without a leader. There’s a good chance President Trump is being blackmailed. Of course the president obstructed justice. President Trump’s Russia denialism is grounds for impeachment.

Russia isn’t the only one meddling in elections — we do it, too: America has long used cash and propaganda to try to steer the outcome of foreign votes.

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