WNPR

The Scramble

Gadjo_Niglo / Creative Commons

The world is riveted by the presidential election in France, which seems to be at the epicenter of clashing ideological forces vying to shape the future of Western democracy. All we know for sure after Sunday's first round of voting is that the May 7 winner will not be a Socialist. For the first time in 59 years, France chose two candidates outside the mainstream parties to advance to the final run-off in May. 

Mike Licht / Creative Commons

Presidential press secretaries usually keep a low profile. They don't typically try to control the room or get defensive or mean with reporters.  They don't typically break news or become the butt of jokes on late-night TV. They don't typically perpetuate information proven to be untrue and then assume a threatening manner when asked to support the claim. In short, Sean Spicer is a press secretary like few we've seen before. 

Charles Fettinger / Creative Commons

 

Aspiring tyrants have long used disaster and terror to consolidate power and limit freedom. Hitler used the Reichstag fire to suspend the basic rights of all German citizens; more recently, Putin used the bombing of buildings in Russian cities to attack Russia's Muslim people in Chechnya.

Phil Roeder / Creative Commons

Conservative politicians love to cut funding for the arts: Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Newt Gingrich, and now, Donald Trump. The arts can't do anything tangible, like build a wall, or cure cancer. Too often, they fail the conservative litmus test for decency. Yet the arts are essential to our humanity, our hopes, and often, our healing.

Michael Vadon / Creative Commons

Donald Trump's White House is paranoid, tense and increasingly defined by turf battles​ between top advisors vying to promote their competing agendas. It has gotten so bad that Donald Trump has charged a group of senior aides  with monitoring the loyalty of his Cabinet secretaries. The confusion shows and it's rattling America and our closest European and Asian allies.

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