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An anthropologist explains how the collapse of the Maya Civilization could resemble what we’re in for as Trump takes office

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The Mayan civilization is famous for its collapse, but could something similar happen in the near future? At least one expert on the region says yes.

American anthropologist and archeologist Arthur Andrew Demarest has studied Mesopotamia for nearly four decades. And while pundits ponder the collapse of the two-party system, Demarest insists Americans should think bigger.

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“Almost all civilizations collapse, especially complex ones,” he told Bloomberg in an “Odd Lots” podcast two weeks after the election. “The broadest pattern is that the strengths of civilization are the things that bring it down,” he added.

Demarest, having studied 18 collapses, encourages critics to look at what went wrong in societies, but also believes it may be too late.

“I can’t really help you with being optimistic,” he joked, before sharing his account about the collapse of the Maya and similarities with our own culture.

“High civilizations aren’t supposed to exist in tropical soil and their successful secret was to adapt their cities to the tropical forests and that means it had to be decentralized,” he said. “Many things can go wrong as you start to get to successful… it starts to put a strain on the environment.”

This was around 1000 BCE.

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“The whole world of Mezoamerica began to switch to something [that resembles our economy]. The Mayan area was not very competitive and eventually their trade routes were taken over by various peoples and moved to the coast,” the anthropologist explained.

The main issue they faced was holding together a civilization that’s been dispersed.

“The answer you see in Angkor Wat and with the Mayans is this divine kingship system with these huge rituals,” Demarest explained.

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“And the king’s power isn’t just political, it’s largely religious,” he continued. “They’re divine kings… the king is also a general.”

Reflecting on the rise of Donald Trump and both parties’ battle against the Washington elite, Demarest warns of counter trends, good and bad.

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“The leaders do more of what they do [or] they intensify it and it’s almost always counterproductive. You have to build more temples, they have to be more impressive, bigger rituals, make the gods happy, but also make the people happy,” he explained. “You’re taking more and more things out of the environment and bringing things down.”

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Year of Rat hails easy ride for Donald Trump — but bumps for Harry and Meghan

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As the world prepares to welcome the Year of the Rat, feng shui masters predict a lucky year for Donald Trump, but warn Harry and Meghan's futures are less certain as they make a bid for freedom.

Both the US President and the Sussexes have begun 2020 with a bang.

The former is facing down an impeachment trial -- and seeking re-election in November -- while the latter are beginning a new chapter in Canada after consciously uncoupling from the gilded but pressured career of being a working British royal.

But if experts in the field of Chinese horoscopes are to be believed, it is the US president that will have the easier journey this year.

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John Roberts caused a ‘crisis of democratic legitimacy’ — it’s ‘entirely fitting’ he has to preside over his mess: columnist

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Supreme Court Justice John Roberts was blasted in The Washington Post on Thursday for his culpability in creating the dynamics that resulted in President Donald Trump -- and his impeachment.

"There is justice in John Roberts being forced to preside silently over the impeachment trial of President Trump, hour after hour, day after tedious day," Dana Milbank wrote. "Roberts’s captivity is entirely fitting: He is forced to witness, with his own eyes, the mess he and his colleagues on the Supreme Court have made of the U.S. political system. As representatives of all three branches of government attend this unhappy family reunion, the living consequences of the Roberts Court’s decisions, and their corrosive effect on democracy, are plain to see."

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2020 Election

Democrats have a powerful case against Trump — but they keep making a key mistake

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On the floor of the Senate, House impeachment managers have delivered a thorough, factual and compelling case for removing President Donald Trump from office. He abused his power by using his office to induce Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into launching investigations of his political enemies, and then he obstructed Congress in its efforts to uncover the details of this scheme.

The managers’ ability to present the evidence for these charges for hours on end has been impressive, and they’re earning plaudits for their furtive efforts, even though removal of the president remains supremely unlikely.

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