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Noam Chomsky: The United States is committing ‘a form of criminality with literally no historical antecedent’

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In a new interview with MIT Press, famed linguist and political thinker Noam Chomsky offered brief thoughts on the dangers our society faces.

“A very broad question, but perhaps one that speaks to the times we’re living in right now: What do you regard these days as a cause for optimism?” asked MIT Press Director Amy Brand of the 90-year-old.

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Despite the question, Chomsky focused more on what troubled him about the present than what gives him optimism.

He noted that these times are “extremely dangerous,” perhaps “more so than ever before in human history.” He noted that history could essentially come to an end if we don’t address the threats posed by nuclear weapons and “environmental catastrophe.”

So how should these challenges be addressed?

“That requires reversing the course of the U.S. in dismantling arms control agreements and proceeding — along with Russia — to develop ever more lethal and destabilizing weapons systems; and in not only refusing to join the world in trying to do something about the severe environmental crisis but even aggressively seeking to escalate the threat, a form of criminality with literally no historical antecedent,” he said.

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Unfortunately, both those prospects look particularly dismal at the moment. The United States’ trade war with China is emblematic of its failure to come together in an aggressive way to address climate change, especially after President Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord. And National Security Adviser John Bolton has been successfully pushing for the United States to pull out of arms control agreements and it is now believed that Russia is working on building nuclear-powered cruise missiles — to disastrous effect. At least until Trump is out of office — and perhaps not even then — it’s difficult to see how the United States will get its act together regarding these global threats.

“Not easy,” Chomsky said of reversing course, “but it can be done.”

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He continued: “There have been other severe crises in human history, even if not on this scale. I’m old enough to remember the days when it seemed that the spread of fascism was inexorable — and I’m not referring to what is referred to as fascism today but something incomparably more awful. But it was overcome.”

What does encourage him, Chomsky said, is that he sees “very impressive forms of activism and engagement taking place, mainly among younger people. That’s very heartening.”

“In the final analysis, we always have two choices: We can choose to descend into pessimism and apathy, assuming that nothing can be done, and helping to ensure that the worst will happen. Or we can grasp the opportunities that exist — and they do — and pursue them to the extent that we can, thus helping to contribute to a better world,” he concluded. “Not a very hard choice.”

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You can read the full interview — mostly discussing Chomsky’s work in linguistics — here.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Trump explains why he wants to buy Greenland to reporters: ‘It’s a large real estate deal — a lot can be done’

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President Donald Trump reaffirmed his desire to buy Greenland in discussion with reporters Sunday.

The president was returning to Washington, D.C. when he stopped at the airport in Morristown, New Jersey. New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman asked the president about his desire to buy the country from Denmark.

"Greenland, I don't know. It got released somehow," Trump said of the news about his desire to buy the country. "It's something we talked about. Denmark essentially owns it. We're very good allies with Denmark. We protect Denmark like we protect large portions of the world. So the concept came up, and I said, strategically, it's interesting. And we'd be interested. We'll talk to them a little bit. It's not number one on the burner; I can tell you that."

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‘They love the meanest parts of him’: Conservative writer explains why evangelical Christians stick with Trump

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Ben Howe, a conservative writer and evangelical Christian who refuses to support Donald Trump, explained why fellow evangelicals continue to back the president despite his decidedly ungodly behavior.

Speaking with the Atlantic’s Emma Green about his new book The Immoral Majority, Howe — whose evangelical bona fides include attending pastor Jerry Falwell’s church as a kid — described evangelicals’ support for Trump, insisting “they love the meanest parts of him.”

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‘Mental midget’ Stephen Miller absolutely demolished in MSNBC blast at Trump’s ‘misfit’ advisers

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Given the opportunity to discuss two profiles on White House adviser Stephen Miller -- published by the Washington Post and the New York Times late Saturday -- Democratic consultant Don Calloway jumped in with both feet to trash the man he called a "mental midget"."

Asked p on MSNBC about the controversial Miller's outsized influence on Donald Trump, Calloway didn't hold back.

"What goes through your head when you hear how much influence Stephen Miller has on immigration policy?" host Alex Witt asked.

"Stephen Miller is a mental midget, that's the best thing I can say," Calloway began to the sounds of laughter offscreen.

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