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Photo by XPlayer2x via Wikimedia Commons

The so-called “QAnon” movement continues to gain steam as its adherents are putting their money where their mouths are by committing acts of violence. After the FBI recently designated the right-wing group as a domestic terrorism threat, QAnon has come under great scrutiny by the general public.

While social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are finally taking action to remove QAnon content, not everyone is following suit. As of writing, two of the top three online retailers in the United States — Amazon and eBay — continue to permit its users to sell a variety of QAnon merchandise.

In case readers are unaware, QAnon began as a fringe online community roughly five years ago, as did Pizzagate. Both conspiracy theories revolve around the notion that, together, various “world elites” are operating a massive child sex slavery cartel. Surprising no one, the supposed culprits are the typical right-wing targets: Hollywood, Democrats, and Jews. They’re allegedly part of an insidious “Deep State” which manages to pull all of the strings of power in this country. …


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Photo by Warren Wong on Unsplash

This past weekend, we were all stunned to learn about the deadly mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton. While it was almost immediately clear what motivated the shooter in Texas, it is taking a bit more time to gain the same type of insight into what compelled the Ohio shooter.

As I recently wrote, it seems indisputable that the El Paso shooter, having posted his manifesto online mere moments beforehand, was enormously motivated by right-wing radicalism and racial hatred — a rising sentiment behind these types of atrocities. The Dayton shooter, however, appears to be a somewhat less straight-forward case. …


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Photo credit: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Unless you’ve been living in a cave without internet access, you’ve probably heard about the deadly mass shootings that took place this past weekend.

As is usually the case with these events, the media and the public wants to know the motives behind these heinous acts. When it comes to the perpetrator of the El Paso, Texas, shooting (whose name will be deliberately omitted here), however, it didn’t take long to figure out what was going through his mind when he walked into that Walmart.

According to investigators, the El Paso shooter posted a roughly 2,500 word manifesto onto the 8chan message board — a website which has come under increasing scrutiny for harboring a user base with a strong affinity for right-wing radicalism — explaining just why he was going to do what he did. …


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Photo Credit: Fibonacci Blue/Flickr

If you live in the United States, the word “ slavery “ no doubt evokes images of a bygone, shameful era of our national history which found prosperity on the backs of people held in bondage. One might think of fuzzy black and white photographs or to perhaps the Civil War — something from this country’s dark past. Right?

The unfortunate reality is that slavery — which includes child marriages and forced labor — remains all too common throughout the modern world. …


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Photo Credit: NASA / Wikimedia Commons

By now most American readers are probably aware of Vice President Mike Pence’s announcement that the Trump administration will be establishing a new military branch: the United States Space Force. Since President Trump publicly floated the idea earlier this year, the notion has been met with derision and mockery — and for good reason.

This week the president signed off on an enormous $717 billion defense budget, but before doing so he tried to justify his push to create the Space Force by explaining that countries like China have already taken similar steps.

Among the various glaring flaws with this plan is the fact that the United States already has a military branch that covers space — the U.S. Air Force, which has a dedicated department called the U.S. Air Force Space Command. It already oversees space-based defense systems and includes the California-based Space and Missile Systems Center. …


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Photo Credit: Elvert Barnes/Flickr

In 2015, in response to law enforcement’s heavy-handed repression of Ferguson demonstrators outraged by Michael Brown’s death, then-President Barack Obama chose to curtail Bush-era programs that provided military equipment to police departments across the country.

While the policy change didn’t wholly demilitarize the police, it did put an end to the use of armored, tracked vehicles and .50 caliber munitions.

Unfortunately, one year ago, President Donald Trump — at Attorney General Jeff Session’s behest — signed off on an executive order which rolled back these changes.

Obama’s reforms primarily aimed to curb the use of excessive force by local law enforcement officers, and criminologists have since discovered the true extent of harm that comes from military-style policing. …


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Photo Credit: Ted Eytan via Flickr

After the Trump administration was exposed for diverting $9.8 million from FEMA in order to fund ICE jails, it has come to light that this wasn’t the only agency to have its funding ransacked.

Official budget documents from the Department of Homeland Security reveal the extent to which money was shuffled around in order to support the rapidly growing need for facilities to hold ICE detainees and increased deportation activity. In total, roughly $202 million was reallocated to ICE this year among DHS agencies alone.

This includes $34 million from the TSA, $29 million from the U.S. Coast Guard and $1.8 million from the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office. Even $33 million was shifted around within ICE and put towards jailing and deportations. …


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Photo Credit: John Ramspott via Flickr

Author’s note: Though this article was originally written during the Kavanaugh nomination process, I feel the content below is still worthy of discussion.

With the Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh now facing four accusations of sexual misconduct and assault at the time of writing, a number of people — both men and women — are coming forward to defend him. Some, like President Trump, have simply dismissed the accusations as fabrications. Others have skipped this step and gone straight to shrugging it off as not being a big deal.

This latter shift demonstrates a truly disturbing acceptance of sexual assault by claiming that it is a matter of “boys will be boys” among other inane tautologies. …


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Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash

It’s almost become a tired cliché to hear a politician or demagogue (or, as with President Trump, a little of both) speak of America as being the best in the world. “America is number one!” is still somehow chanted without irony, though by now many of us have become sadly aware that this isn’t true. But, surely, the United States is still in the top five, right? Maybe we’re still in the top ten, at least?

According to an incredibly comprehensive new academic study recently published in the science journal The Lancet, as of 2016, the United States can more accurately claim that “America is number twenty-seventh!” Much of this, sadly, can be directly attributed to relatively stagnant advancements in education and health care in the U.S. …


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Photo Credit: Michael Fleshman/Flickr

While speaking in front of the world’s largest police union — the International Association of Chiefs of Police — in Orlando, Florida, President Trump recently argued that police departments in cities like Chicago must implement “ stop-and-frisk” policies to combat crime.

Trump claims that while his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was mayor of New York City, stop-and-frisk successfully caused crime to drop. Unfortunately for Trump, data from the New York Police Department during this time shows that such policies made almost no impact whatsoever on crime rates.

During this period, crime rates certainly declined in New York City. However, researchers found that the primarily causal link to this reduction in crime could likely be attributed to the number of patrol officers assigned to a given area, not the widespread use of stop-and-frisk. …

About

Llowell Williams

Writing about various things (mostly politics & social issues) for more than six years. Freelancer for hire.

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