You are browsing the archive for 2018 October 05.

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Susan Rice Announces She May Run to Defeat Susan Collins for Her Betrayal of Women

October 5, 2018 in Blogs

By Matthew Chapman, AlterNet

Susan Collins is rapidly gathering a bench of challengers.

On Friday, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) finally did what activists long expected she would do, and whipped herself into the party line to vote for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. In a lengthy and self-aggrandizing speech explaining her decision, she attacked the allegations of sexual assault and gaslit the nation about his extremist judicial activism.

Her support for Kavanaugh, which essentially ensures his confirmation and a solidification of the Supreme Court's hard-right bloc for years to come, immediately prompted nationwide fury.

And another thing it did was attract a potential Senate challenger for when she runs for re-election in 2020:

Susan Rice served on President Barack Obama's national security team, and as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. She is a well-known quantity in liberal circles. If she follows through, Rice would be a highly visible and well-known recruit.

Rice is not even the only person to declare. Another candidate, family physician Cathleen London, was already moving toward a Senate run even before Collins announced her support for Kavanaugh.

While Collins was the focus of an enormous amount of energy by protestors and sexual assault survivors who hoped she would break ranks with the GOP, as one of the caucus's only women and Senators from a blue state, there was a broad sense from the get-go that she was a lost cause due to her repeated denials that Kavanaugh was a threat to Roe v. Wade.

For this reason, the Maine People's Alliance and Mainers for Accountable Leadership joined up with ALS-stricken activist Ady Barkan to start crowdfunding account weeks ago, to raise money for the eventual Democratic challenger to Collins that would be made available only in the event that she voted to confirm. The account has already swelled to $2 million, which is considerably more than the $1.3 million Collins has on hand in her own campaign account. Indeed, as Collins announced her decision to vote for Kavanaugh, so many people logged on to donate …read more


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Why October 1918 Was America's Deadliest Month Ever

October 5, 2018 in History

By Christopher Klein

It wasn’t because of World War I.

The St. Louis, Missouri Red Cross Motor Corps on duty during the 1918 influenza epidemic.

While war engulfed the globe in the early autumn of 1918, Roy Grist watched as the bodies of fellow soldiers piled up inside a makeshift morgue. As the U.S. Army doctor wandered through the double rows of dead doughboys, he struggled to comprehend how young men, so full of life only days earlier, had been cut down in their primes. It would have been understandable if they had been felled by German guns on the Western Front, but these soldiers had died from a mysterious disease at an army camp northwest of Boston. “It beats any sight they ever had in France after a battle,” Grist wrote of the devastation he witnessed at Camp Devens.

In the weeks to come, the situation only grew worse, much worse. October 1918 would become the deadliest month in American history as a contagion the likes of which had not been seen since the days of the Black Death raged across the country and around the world.

The first officially recorded case of what has been called the “mother of all pandemics” occurred in early March 1918, at a U.S. Army training camp in Kansas. After mess cook Albert Gitchell complained of flu-like symptoms in the morning, another 107 soldiers followed by lunchtime. Five weeks later, more than 1,000 soldiers had been infected and 47 were dead. The deadly influenza tore through the overcrowded army training camps populated by one million new recruits, and the doughboys sent to Europe in the spring of 1918 carried with them infinitesimal microbes that proved as lethal as their guns.

Men gargling with salt and water at Camp Dix in New Jersey as a preventive measure against the influenza epidemic of influenza.

After subsiding over the summer, a second, even more powerful wave of influenza swept across the United States after two sailors in Boston contracted the illness. The flu quickly reached nearby military installations such as Camp Devens before spreading to civilian populations across the country.

Working 16 hours a day, Grist saw patients who arrived with coughs, sore throats and high fevers “very rapidly develop the most viscous type of pneumonia that has ever been seen.” Within hours, mahogany spots dotted soldiers’ cheeks before their …read more


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Flanked by Two Republican Women Senators, Susan Collins Announces Support for Brett Kavanaugh

October 5, 2018 in Blogs

By Elizabeth Preza, AlterNet

That's the whole ballgame, folks.

In a floor speech on Capitol Hill on Friday, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) announced she would vote “yes” on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, a move that all but seals his fate as the next United States Supreme Court Justice.


In a speech that touched on her “little 'believees'” about Kavanaugh’s judicial record—including her steadfast opinion that he will not vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, despite having somehow garnered a seal of approval from the Federalist Society—Collins declared (with her words, not her actions) that she believes survivors before announcing she “will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh.”

Collins said Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation against Kavanaugh doesn’t even meet the threshold “more likely than not.”

…read more


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White Supremacist Think Tank’s Tax-Exempt Charity Status Restored by IRS

October 5, 2018 in Blogs

By David Badash, The New Civil Rights Movement

The IRS automatically revoked the National Policy Institute's tax-exempt status.

A white supremacist think tank headed by the man who coined the term “alt-right” has just had its tax-exempt non-profit status restored by the IRS. The National Policy institute lost its 501(c)(3) nonprofit status in March 2017, which was “triggered by its failure to file tax returns for three consecutive years,” Courthouse News reports.

National Policy Institute president Richard Spencer and NPI have been labeled white supremacist, although he reportedly rejects the term. The Anti-Defamation League says NPI is a white supremacist organization and Spencer is a white supremacist.

Spencer told the Associated Press, “When we lost it, it did feel like persecution, to be honest.”

The IRS automatically revokes tax-exempt status from organizations that don't file tax returns for three years.

“The National Policy Institute raised $697,267 in tax-deductible contributions from 2007 through 2015,” the AP notes.

On its website The National Policy Institute says it is “an independent organization dedicated to the heritage, identity, and future of people of European descent in the United States and around the world.”

“Heritage” is a dog whistle term that can refer to white supremacism.

“Richard Spencer and NPI are at the forefront of Alt-Right activism,” the organization states.

Spencer rebranded racist hate ideology into the term “alt-right” in 2010.

…read more


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After Murkowski's Bombshell Announcement, These Two Senators Will Make Or Break Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court Confirmation

October 5, 2018 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson, AlterNet

The nail-biter confirmation continues.

A major bombshell in Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court came early Friday afternoon, October 5, when Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski announced that she was a definite “no” vote on President Donald Trump’s nominee. This means that only two senators remain undecided on Kavanaugh: Maine’s Susan Collins and Arizona’s Jeff Flake and West Virginia’s Joe Manchin). And they are the ones who, at this point, could either make or break the nomination.

Here are where things presently stand on Kavanaugh’s nomination with these undecided senators.

1. Susan Collins

Sen. Collins has been described as the last of the “moderate” northeastern Rockefeller Republicans. Truth be told, Collins isn’t really a centrist: she has a very conservative voting record and voted to confirm Trump’s 2017 Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch. But she does buck her party on occasion. In 2017, Collins was a swing vote that helped save the Affordable Care Act of 2010, a.k.a. Obamacare, from being overturned—and unlike most Republicans, Collins is pro-choice on the abortion issue.

The Maine senator is under enormous pressure to vote for Kavanaugh, and she has indicated that she is leaning in that direction. But she is also under great pressure from Kavanaugh opponents in Maine, where activists have been crowdfunding a hypothetical Democratic opponent for 2020 should she vote “yes.”

While Cory Booker, Kamala Harris and other Democrats in the Senate have criticized the FBI’s investigation of Kavanaugh for being superficial and much too brief, Collins doesn’t agree: she described the FBI’s report as “very thorough.” And that report might give her an excuse to vote for Kavanaugh. But on the other hand, Murkowski’s bombshell gives Collins some cover should she vote “no.”

2. Joe Manchin

On October 5, Joe Manchin was the lone Democrat to invoke cloture on Kavanaugh’s nomination. With Indiana’s Joe Donnelly and North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp having announced that they are definite “no” votes, Manchin remains the sole Democrat who might help to save Kavanaugh’s nomination. And he has reason for a “yes” vote: Manchin, who voted for Gorsuch’s confirmation, is up for reelection in a state …read more


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Lisa Murkowski's Facebook Page Flooded with Rape Threats and Accusations After ‘No’ Vote on Kavanaugh

October 5, 2018 in Blogs

By Tom Boggioni, Raw Story

Lisa Murkowski's “no” vote set off deeply partisan conservative voters.

By becoming the first — and possibly the only Republican senator — to announce a “no” vote on the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) opened herself up to a firehose of disgusting comments and attacks on her and her family on her Facebook page.

Friday morning the independent-minded Alaskan senator announced she was unwilling to vote for the embattled Kavanaugh, saying “He’s not the right man for the court at this time.”

This set off deeply partisan conservative voters unwilling to believe any of the multiple accusations leveled at Kavanaugh, who then responded to her announcement in the vilest ways, including rape accusations.

Among the attackers was one man — Phil Davis — who wrote, “Lisa sexually assaulted me I have no evidence but trust me she did . I demand a fbi probe and that she be removed from office even if there is nothing to back up what I claim.”

Look below for some of the more appalling Facebook comments which appeared under a post where the Alaskan senator lamented a fatal helicopter crash in her state.

…read more


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8-Year-Old Girl Pulls 1,000-Year-Old Sword From Lake

October 5, 2018 in History

By Becky Little

“I held it up in the air and I said ‘Daddy, I found a sword!’”

Sure, the story of King Arthur drawing Excalibur from the Lady of the Lake is pretty cool. But have you heard about the eight-year-old girl who pulled a sword that’s at least 1,000 years old out of a Swedish lake?

The Swedish news site The Local reports that Saga Vanecek was playing in Vidöstern Lake this summer when she stepped on something that felt kind of like a stick.

“I picked it up and was going to drop it back in the water, but it had a handle, and I saw that it was a little bit pointy at the end and all rusty,” she told The Local. “I held it up in the air and I said ‘Daddy, I found a sword!’ When he saw that it bent and was rusty, he came running up and took it.”

The Jönköpings Läns Museum estimates that the sword is at least 1,000 years old, and may even date to the 5th or 6th century A.D. If so, this would mean the sword pre-dates the Viking era by a few hundred years.

Who Were the Vikings? (TV-14; 2:35)

“Why it has come to be there, we don’t know,” said the museum’s Mikael Nordström, according to The Local. “When we searched a couple of weeks ago, we found another prehistoric object; a brooch from around the same period as the sword, so that means—we don’t know yet—but perhaps it’s a place of sacrifice. At first we thought it could be graves situated nearby the lake, but we don’t think that any more.”

Saga, who is Swedish-American and lived in Minneapolis until last year, had to keep her discovery a secret until the museum released details about it to the public. The only person she told besides her family and the museum was her best friend.

When news of the sword broke on Thursday, she was finally allowed to tell her classmates. Her teacher celebrated the day with a party, and played the TV and radio interviews Saga had conducted about the sword for the class.

Her father told The Local that some of his friends have joked that Saga’s discovery makes her the Queen of Sweden. On Twitter, many others agreed.

“Ah, finally an end to our post-election limbo,” tweeted Carl Fridh Kleberg, a reporter in Stockholm. “Tell …read more


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NATO Welcomes Another Military Midget

October 5, 2018 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

During the Cold War, NATO actually meant something. The Soviet
Union was a totalitarian predator, the Western Europeans were
exhausted, and Washington did not want to face a Soviet-dominated

Today the transatlantic alliance has descended into farce.
Earlier this year, NATO invited the small Balkans country of
Macedonia to join its ranks. In what now passes for the historic
“Great Game” in Europe, officials anxiously awaited the
results of Macedonia’s referendum on a national name change.
Approval would allow the Western alliance to augment its collective
forces by an astounding 8,000 men and 31 tanks.

For a quarter century, the countries of Greece and Macedonia, a
small piece of what had been Yugoslavia, were deadlocked over the
latter’s use of what Greeks considered to be their birthrate
name. Officials in Athens insinuated that their small neighbor
harbored aggressive designs and hoped to revive the historic
Macedonian empire of Alexander the Great. With its vast legions,
the newly independent nation might go on a militarist rampage and
occupy Salonika, perhaps even Athens.

It’s the sort of nationalist nonsense that should cause
any normal human being to laugh himself silly.

Alliances should be based
on circumstances and treated as a means rather than an end, which
means they should be temporary, ending along with the exigencies
that led to their creation.

Instead the dispute quickly took on crisis proportions. As the
diplomatic conflict was joined, Greeks referred to their northern
neighbor as Skopje and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,
or FYROM. More important, Athens blocked The Country With the
Disputed Name from joining both the European Union and NATO. In
doing so, it inadvertently did America a favor, by preventing
another needless alliance expansion. Still, year after year
American and European diplomats busied themselves attempting to
resolve the dispute.

And then Athens and Skopje finally came to an agreement. After
years of angry argument and Western mediation, Macedonia is to be
called the Republic of Northern Macedonia. Apparently, the
ghosts of Alexander dissipate when you move further north. If
approved, the pact would lead to Skopje’s entry into NATO and
possible accession to the EU. However, any compromise was too much
for some nationalists, and the proposal has incited anger in both

On Sunday, Macedonians cast ballots, and things didn’t
work out as expected. Almost 92 percent voted yes, but turnout was
only 37 percent, well below the normal 50 percent threshold. Prime
Minister Zoran Zaev remained confident: “I am determined to
take Macedonia into the European Union and NATO.” However,
though the poll was not binding, some legislators may reject the
change, given its ambivalent public backing. Nationalists already
held enough seats …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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The Titanic: Before and After Photos

October 5, 2018 in History

By Madison Horne

In 1912, the Titanic was glorified as the largest and most luxurious passenger ship in history. See it before and after its tragic sinking.

As high as an eleven-story building and nearly four city blocks long, the Titanic was one of the largest and most magnificent ships in the world. It’s shown here, photographed on April 10, 1912.

View the 13 images of this gallery on the original article

The R.M.S. Titanic has gone down as one of the most famous ships in history for its lavish design and tragic fate. It was a massive 46,000-ton ship, measuring 882 feet long and 175 feet high. The “Ship of Dreams” included a swimming pool, gym, Turkish baths, a photography darkroom and three cigar rooms. However, its lack of proper safety features would become a critical flaw on the night of the Titanic’s doom.

The lifeboats set in place for emergencies were only equipped to hold a total of up to 1,178 people, while the ship itself was capable of holding 2,435 passengers and roughly 900 crew members. In the late hours of April 14, 1912, just four days after setting sail, the “unsinkable” Titanic struck an iceberg. The collision tore a gash in the side of the ship and it sank to the bottom of the ocean, claiming the lives of about 1,500 people.

It wasn’t until September 1, 1985 that the wreck would be discovered about 2 miles below the surface of the North Atlantic. Lead by Robert D. Ballard, the joint U.S-French Expedition used experimental naval technology to find the Titanic 400 miles east of Newfoundland with many pieces still in tact, such as remnants of the propellers, deck and dining areas. Now, bacteria in the ocean depths are eating away at the wreck and threaten to erase the remains of one of history’s most iconic ships.

Want more HISTORY? Check out these stories:

The Real Story Behind the Discovery of Titanic’s Watery Grave

Why Did the Titanic Sink?

Titanic Survivor’s Eyewitness Account

The True Stories That Inspired ‘Titanic’ Movie Characters

Letter Found on Titanic Passenger’s Body Sold for Record Amount

…read more


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Yes, Environmental Externalities Exist. but Bans Aren't the Way to Go

October 5, 2018 in Economics

By Ryan Bourne

Ryan Bourne

‘What on earth is going on in the UK?” asked a
Washington DC friend this week. She wasn’t referring to the
fate of Chequers, Theresa May’s “Dancing Queen”
conference speech entrance, or even Corbyn’s planned
nationalisation of the economy.

No, what piqued her curiosity was the increasing penchant of
British politicians and regulators for bans and
“crackdowns” on every day items or pleasures.

The particular trigger was the Environment Secretary’s
comments that his next target in the “war on plastic”
would be that great scourge of our time: the disposable nappy.

Michael Gove, of course, ultimately clarified that the
Government had no intention of banning disposable,
plastic-containing nappies altogether. But we can be forgiven for
assuming the opposite.

Every day, it seems some UK Government official, MP or regulator
advocates restricting us from buying or using something.

In recent months we have heard plans or ideas for a doubling of
the plastic bag tax, bans for single-use plastic straws and cotton
buds, a ban on sales of energy drinks to teens, a tax on
milkshakes, a call for McDonald’s to stop giving toys away
with happy meals, a crackdown on disposable ballpoint pens, razors,
and balloon sticks, and a ban on wood-burning stoves. All these
idea have been floated by the supposed free-market

Sadly, this is not a Tory-specific affliction. In Scotland, the
SNP beat a hasty retreat this week after a furious backlash over
its anti-obesity strategy, which proposed banning takeaways from
giving customers free poppadoms and prawn crackers. Perhaps feeling
left out, the Advertising Standards Agency also banned a Costa
Coffee advert after receiving two complaints it encouraged
unhealthy eating. At times it feels not so much a slippery slope of
lifestyles and environmental regulation and control, but as if we
are caught in an avalanche.

This “no pleasure left behind” approach has good
intentions, of course. For all the myriad barking ideas,
politicians are cack-handedly trying to solve two perceived
problems. The first is pollution, particularly the damage that
non-biodegradable plastics cause in oceans or landfill. This
genuinely imposes social environmental costs on to others and
cannot be obviously solved by assigning property rights. The second
is obesity, especially relating to collective healthcare costs.

In the face of evidence
that when free to choose we don’t all decide to be life-expectancy
maximising machines, public health campaigners, as with
environmentalists, are getting more draconian.

The main problem with the idea of bans, crackdowns or
ever-rising taxes, of course, is that they simply ignore the
benefits or enjoyment we get from the consumption itself. As such,
preventing us buying certain things or setting taxes such that
consumption plummets to near-zero leaves us all …read more

Source: OP-EDS