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Fox’s Shep Smith quickly shuts down right-wing gadfly for suggesting Notre Dame fire was intentional

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Fox News’ Shepard Smith on Monday shut down Philippe Karsenty, a prominent French political gadfly, for suggesting the fire consuming Notre Dame was deliberately set.

“Everybody’s really under shock now in France. I would tell you something, even if nobody died, it’s like a 9/11, a French 9/11,” Karsenty said of the centuries-old cathedral. “You need to know that for the past years, we’ve had churches desecrated each and every week all over France. Of course, you will hear the story of the political correctness, which will tell you it’s probably an accident.”

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“Sir, sir, sir, we’re not going to speculate here of the cause of something that we don’t know,” replied an audibly angry Smith. “If you have observations or you know something, we would love to hear it.”

“I’m just telling you something, what we need to be ready — ” Karsenty protested, but Smith shut him down completely, hung up the phone, and proceeded to publicly call out his guest as a liar.

“No, sir, we’re not doing that here. Not now, not on my watch,” Smith said. “The man on the phone with us has absolutely no information of any kind about the origin of this fire, and neither do I.”

“Fire investigators will at some point come to a determination about what caused this,” Smith continued. “Conspiracy theories about anything are worthless and in many cases counter-productive and injurious to society. Those who entertain them are not acting in the best interests of the people of this planet.”

Karsenty has a long history of problematic statements. He was convicted of libel in 2013, and after investigators discovered “funding irregularities” in his campaign for office in 2013, he was banned from running again for a year.

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2020 Election

Joe Biden was right about black people and Trump — and the left needs to get past purity tests

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My uncle, whom I'll call Roger, is a white man. He "dated" my older cousin-aunt for 40 years, although they never got married. Roger was also a musician who played bass in my father's band. Roger and my cousin-aunt were very much in love and had several children. As such, Uncle Roger was always at family gatherings and other events. Inevitably, he would have too much to drink (and smoke) and get into a loud argument with someone about politics, sports, music, books or some other topic … and then he would say something impolitic about black folks. Everyone would look at him, shake their heads, roll their eyes and then laugh. On cue, everyone would say, "That's Uncle Roger! He's just getting too familiar again!"

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How Rudy Giuliani went from ‘America’s mayor’ to self-serving Trump sycophant

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After the al-Qaeda terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Republican Rudy Giuliani was widely praised for the leadership he showed as New York City’s mayor during one of the darkest times in the city’s history. But these days, many of the people who were praising Giuliani as a take-charge leader after 9/11 have become blistering critics — for example, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough. And journalist Seth Hettena, in Rolling Stone, takes an in-depth look at Giuliani’s journey from “America’s mayor” to self-serving Trump sycophant.

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Tolerance and violence: The fate of religious minorities during the plague under Christianity and Islam

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Pandemics are nothing new—they scythed through the ancient world as they did the pre-modern and, as we know to our grief and confusion, they are still mowing us down today.

We might think that human nature is fairly invariant across time and space, and expect the response to these catastrophes to be perennially the same. Certainly, in the 21st century there are disturbing echoes of the way Jews were blamed by European Christians of the 14th century for the Black Death. From the US to the UK, from Iran to Indonesia (the largest Muslim country in the world), there has recently been an escalation of abuse and violence against Chinese and Asian-looking people. And not just Asians. Political groups and politicians have latched on to coronavirus as a weapon in their anti-immigration policies, urging their partisans to hunker down and suspect the alien minority. In a bid for votes President Trump seems to be using coronavirus to whip up anti-Chinese feeling. In India, egged on by the BJP, the ruling Hindu nationalist party, Muslims have been viciously attacked and accused of conspiring to kill Hindus by deliberately spreading the disease.

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