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Conspiracy theory scholars explain why Trump’s paranoid rants are historically unprecedented

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From rants about former President Barack Obama’s birth certificate to paranoid ramblings about the “Deep State,” to fact-free declarations about “illegal votes” costing him the popular vote in the 2016 election, President Donald Trump has publicly spouted conspiracy theories in a way that is unprecedented for an American president.

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Russell Muirhead, a professor of government at Dartmouth, and Nancy Rosenblum, a professor of government at Harvard, have now written a new book on Trump’s embrace of conspiracy theories titled “A Lot of People Are Saying: The New Conspiracism and the Assault on Democracy.”

In a review of the book in The New Yorker, staff writer Elizabeth Kolbert says the authors do an exception job of documenting just how strange it is to hear the most powerful person in the world talking like an InfoWars listener.

“Historically, Muirhead and Rosenblum maintain, it’s been out-of-power groups that have been drawn to tales of secret plots,” Kolbert writes. “Today, it’s those in power who insist the game is rigged, and no one more insistently than the so-called leader of the free world.”

Additionally, conspiracy theories have traditionally popped up to explain real-world events, such as JFK’s assassination or the 9/11 terror attacks. However, Trumpian conspiracy theories such as Pizzagate and QAnon are literally fiction that have no basis in reality whatsoever.

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“There is often nothing to explain,” the professors argue. “The new conspiracism sometimes seems to arise out of thin air.”

Read the entire review here.


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US ‘lies’ slammed after Mike Pompeo blames Iran for drone attacks without proof

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Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi forcefully rejected Sunday unsubstantiated charges by by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) regarding the recent drone attacks that caused serious damage to two crucial Saudi Arabian oil installations.

“It has been around 5 years that the Saudi-led coalition has kept the flames of war alive in the region by repeatedly launching aggression against Yemen and committing different types of war crimes, and the Yemenis have also shown that they are standing up to war and aggression,” Seyyed Abbas Mousavi said in a statement.

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Why are college students so stressed out? It’s not because they’re ‘snowflakes’

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Across the country, college classes are well underway, the excitement of the start of the year is waning and student stress is on the rise. Frantic calls home and panicked visits to student health services will start to dramatically increase. And before long, parents and observers will start wondering what is wrong with these kids. Why can’t they handle the pressures of college and just pull it together?

College student stress is nothing new. Anxieties over homesickness, social pressures, challenging course loads and more have been a common feature of the U.S. college experience for decades. But, without question, student stress levels and psychological distress are measurably worse than before. According to a national study published earlier this year in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, major depression among young adults (18-25) rose 63 percent between 2009 and 2017. They also report that the rate of young adults with suicidal thoughts or other suicide-related outcomes increased 47 percent from 2008 to 2017.

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Kaiser healthcare workers plan for nation’s largest strike since 1997

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More than 80,000 Kaiser Permanente emergency medical technicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and other staffers are threatening to walk out of work next month, in what could be the nation's largest strike since 1997.

The authorization to strike, approved by 98% of the union members who voted, does not mean a walk out will happen, but it does allow union leaders to call one as early as Oct. 1, giving them leverage ahead of negotiations with the California-based health care giant. Kaiser Permanente, comprised of 39 hospitals and nearly 700 medical officers, serves more than 12 million members in seven states across the country.

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