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Psychiatrist explains why Trump 'delights in putting people in danger'

October 6, 2020 in Blogs

By Igor Derysh

President Donald Trump’s maskless return to the White House on Monday following a weekend at Walter Reed Medical Center shows that he wants his supporters to “prove their loyalty to him with their lives,” Yale psychiatrist Bandy X. Lee said in an interview with Salon.

Trump, who is still infected with the novel coronavirus, took off his mask on the Truman balcony and saluted Marine One before entering the White House and possibly exposing a photographer and others around him. Trump suggested in a video that he may now be “immune” from the virus, even as his doctor warned that the president was “not be entirely out of the woods yet.”

Lee told Salon after the viral photo-op that it “would not be an exaggeration” to say that Trump “delights in putting people in danger.”

“Sociopathy is dangerous, in part because out of envy of other human beings for having human characteristics, it actively desires people to suffer and die,” she said.

Lee, a forensic psychiatrist at Yale School of Medicine who also taught at Yale Law School, is the author of the textbook “Violence” has worked on public health approaches to violence prevention for decades. She also edited the book “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 37 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President” and serves as president of the World Mental Health Coalition, which plans to release a video statement by “100 mental health experts” arguing that Trump should be removed from office and the 2020 ballot, because he is dangerous and unfit. Lee also plans to publish a “Profile of the Nation” on her website, which aims to provide a “full psychological profile of Donald Trump in the context of his followers and the nation.”

Trump’s behavior is not unlike the thousands of people Lee has treated in her career, she told Salon.

“Mental health professionals look at patterns, as human behavior is not random. This is why society charges us with preventing dangers to self and others before they happen, unlike law enforcement, which must wait until after things happen,” she said. “We are far more familiar with these situations, too. In my 20-year career of working with prisoners and violent offenders to …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Will New Jersey be the next state to legalize marijuana?

October 6, 2020 in Blogs

By Phillip Smith

New Jersey looks set to be the next state to legalize marijuana. It’s on the ballot come Election Day on November 3, the polls are looking good, and while it’s not the only state with marijuana legalization on the ballot, the others—Arizona, Montana, and South Dakota—are all out West, and the Garden State should beat them by a few hours.

The New Jersey legalization initiative, Public Question 1, would amend the state constitution to legalize the recreational use of marijuana and its cultivation, processing, and retail sale by a person who is at least 21 years old. It also designates the existing Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC), which currently handles medical marijuana, to regulate all legal marijuana commerce. Retail marijuana sales would be subject to the state sales tax of 6.625 percent, but any other state sales taxes would be prohibited. The initiative authorizes the legislature to let local governments add a 2 percent local sales tax.

It also leaves it up to the legislature and the CRC to address unresolved issues. Those include whether and how home cultivation would be allowed, how much weed people could possess, and detailed retail regulations.

If the measure passes, New Jersey will not only be the first to legalize marijuana this Election Day, it will also be the first mid-Atlantic state to do so, and the first to legalize it via a legislatively initiated voter referendum. Of the 11 states (and the District of Columbia) that have so far legalized marijuana, nine did it through citizen-based ballot initiatives, while in the other two, Illinois and Vermont, legislatures passed legalization bills.

But even though Governor Phil Murphy (D) campaigned on marijuana legalization in 2017 and vowed to get it passed in 100 days, legislative infighting, opposition within the Legislative Black Caucus, and bickering over revenues blocked the legislature from ever getting it done. As a last resort, Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D) and marijuana reform champion Senator Nick Scutari (D) filed the resolution giving the voters the final decision. It passed with overwhelming Democratic support over strong Republican opposition in December 2019.

And the polls have consistently shown it winning this November. An April poll by Monmouth University of registered voters had the measure winning 64 percent of the votes, while a July Brach Eichler …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Rudy Giuliani can’t stop coughing through a Fox News interview while mocking Biden's mask advocacy

October 6, 2020 in Blogs

By Igor Derysh

President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani repeatedly coughed throughout a Monday interview with Fox News as he attacked Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for urging Americans to listen to scientific experts and wear masks amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Giuliani told Fox News host Martha MacCallum that he was awaiting his test results after working in close contact with Trump and other advisers on the president’s debate preparation team, who have since tested positive for COVID-19.

“I actually got one about two hours ago,” Giuliani said, adding that his first test was negative. “I haven’t gotten the results yet. I went to NYU. I got one of those all the way in the back of the nose tests.”

He then went on to criticize Biden for telling Americans to follow the advice of scientific experts on the coronavirus.

“I would say to Joe that you don’t really understand what scientists are,” Giuliani said. “First of all, listen to your doctors. They know your personal history. Doctors really aren’t scientists. Scientists almost always have competing opinions. That’s what science is about.”

Giuliani, who coughed throughout the interview, went on to slam Biden’s mask advocacy.

“It isn’t science to be wearing that mask, Joe, when you are giving a speech, and people are 30-40 feet away from you,” he said. “The only thing you can infect is the teleprompter that’s near you, so I see through you. That’s a political statement to scare people — wearing that mask. You do not need that mask when you are standing at a podium.”

MacCallum noted that Biden had not gotten sick, while Trump just spent a weekend at the hospital with COVID-19.

Giuliani said he had not gotten sick, even though he “doesn’t wear masks as much” as he probably should.

After the interview, MacCallum expressed concern about the former New York mayor’s cough.


“I hope that cough is not anything bad while you are waiting for your test to come back,” she said. “We hope you will be healthy and well.”

“I hope so, too,” Giuliani exclaimed.

Giuliani told Salon’s Roger Sollenberger after the interview that his test on Monday came back negative, and he had “no …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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CNBC actually attacked Biden's tax plan by making us feel sorry for the rich

October 6, 2020 in Blogs

By Daily Kos

Joe Biden is promising to raise taxes only on families making $400,000 or more each year—the top 1.8% of taxpayers. Here to explain why that will really hit middle-class families is CNBC with the latest contribution to the “why rich people are really barely making it” genre. No, really. Experts say!

“Based on the expenses, a $400,000 household income provides for a relatively middle-class lifestyle,” one personal finance website guy claimed. “A middle-class lifestyle is defined as: owning a home, having two kids, saving for retirement, saving for college, going on modest vacations several weeks a year, and retiring in one’s early 60s.” Ha ha ha, yeah, okay: “A middle-class lifestyle is defined as: a bunch of stuff out of reach for most people in this country who consider themselves middle-class, transferred to one of the 10 most expensive cities in the country. Middle-class, I tell you!”

Let’s take a look at the sample budget provided for a family with $400,000 in income in an expensive city. These highly representative imaginary people end the year with just $34 left over after all their budgeted expenses—really a hand-to-mouth existence all provided courtesy of CNBC wanting to argue that Biden’s proposal to tax the rich is mean to the middle class. So how does this family spend the $260,530 that’s left after taxes and $39,000 in 401k contributions? (Because they have to be able to retire in their early 60s or they won’t count as middle-class, apparently.)

We’re starting with a family of four, which is a perfectly reasonable family size, but let’s not forget that poor people are often judged for having “more kids than they can afford.” So this “middle-class” family in the top 2% of earners is getting a pass on something that might be questioned if they were trying to scrape together a full-time schedule at McDonald’s.

Our allegedly middle-class family lives in a four-bedroom, two-bathroom house, which is a fairly standard size of house in many parts of the country—except that people who live in the most expensive metro areas typically recognize that they will need to sacrifice some of the space they would be able to afford out in the suburbs or in a smaller city. If you say “I need to live in New York City rather than in Short Hills, New Jersey” or “I need to live in Boston rather than …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Trump just torpedoed his best hope for re-election

October 6, 2020 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick

Is President Donald Trump actively trying to lose the 2020 presidential election?

I don’t actually believe that’s what he’s doing, but it would easy to get that impression.

On Tuesday afternoon, Trump effectively torpedoed the ongoing congressional negotiations for a second round of stimulus funds, which were likely his best hope of turning around his re-election chances:

Here’s the background: House Democrats passed a massive $3 trillion package in May that would supplement the economic assistance of the CARES Act, which aimed at fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting recession. The Democrats’ package included an additional round of direct payments to individuals and families, unemployment insurance funds, and aide to state and local governments struggling with reduced tax revenues. Republicans in control of the Senate, however, refused to pass the bill and decided to sit on their hands, only beginning to negotiate with the Democrats at the end of July when the CARES Act funds were drying up.

Those talks went nowhere as much of the GOP balked at more spending, and the funding lapsed. Trump tried to use executive power to extend a fraction of the benefits, but the effect was marginal at best. The economy needs more stimulus to avoid continued financial strain, a fact that lead GOP negotiator, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, has seemed aware of. Even Trump himself favored a second round of stimulus checks to individuals, likely believing it would boost his approval heading into the election.

But now Trump is — or at least wants to appear be — pulling the plug. Jeff Stein, a Washington Post reporter who has followed the negotiations closely, explained what this means:

Trump perhaps thinks he can win by running on a pledge to pass the stimulus after the election.

He’s almost certainly wrong, and his framing is disastrous for his own side. First, he’s criticizing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for insisting on a supposedly overly generous package, which is at odds with Trump’s ostensible populist messaging and disregard for the deficit in other cases. …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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How Billionaire Ross Perot Brought Populism Back to Presidential Politics

October 6, 2020 in History

By Suzanne McGee

That sucking sound back in 1992? The votes he spirited away from the mainstream parties.

H. Ross Perot didn’t win the 1992 presidential election. He didn’t even capture a single Electoral College vote.

Nonetheless, the Texan billionaire’s outsider bid for the American presidency transformed the political and electoral landscape, in both the short and longer term. By capturing 19 percent of all votes cast that November—the highest percentage for a third-party or independent candidate since Theodore Roosevelt campaigned for a third term in the White House in 1912—Perot delivered a wake-up call to politicians on both sides of the aisle.

Perot followed the populist model set down by William Jennings Bryan in his (unsuccessful) campaigns for the presidency in 1896, 1900 and 1908. Like Bryan, Perot reached out to working-class and middle-class Americans who felt ignored by the political establishments within both parties. Bryan argued for what he felt was in the interests of the “common man,” advocating the creation of a silver standard and vilifying monopolies and the overreach of American imperialism.

Nearly a century later, Perot changed the dynamics of the race by focusing on similarly populist issues voters felt had been overlooked or discounted by both incumbent President George H.W. Bush and the Democratic Party candidate, Arkansas Governor William J. Clinton. “All he wanted was change,” argued Jim Squires, his former campaign spokesman, in a 2007 analysis.

READ MORE: Populism in the United States: A Timeline

Perot Directed His Message to the Masses, Using Mass Media

Texas billionaire businessman Ross Perot pointing to chart during a self-financed TV ad/program promoting his run for president as a third-party candidate.

The first sign that Perot’s campaign would diverge from any other Americans had encountered: He announced his candidacy not at a press conference or political gathering, but instead on a TV political chat show, “Larry King Live.” Long before candidates like Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders turned to the Internet to transform their campaigns, Perot recognized that mass media—in the form of cable television and infomercials—had the potential to shake up the way candidates and voters connected. “If I want 100,00 volunteers more, all I need to do is go on some national show,” Perot said of his campaign. Millions watched his infomercials.

Perot didn’t just change the way candidates reached voters. He also transformed both the style and substance of political campaigning. …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Woodrow Wilson Got the Flu in a Pandemic During the World War I Peace Talks

October 6, 2020 in History

By Dave Roos

Lingering effects of the ‘Spanish flu’ may have hindered Wilson’s ability to effectively advocate for his ’14 Points’ at the Paris Peace Conference.

On the night of April 3, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson began to suffer from a violent cough. His condition quickly worsened to the point that his personal doctor, Cary Grayson, thought the president might have been poisoned. Grayson later described the long night spent at Wilson’s bedside as “one of the worst through which I have ever passed. I was able to control the spasms of coughing but his condition looked very serious.”

The culprit wasn’t poison, but the same potent strain of influenza nicknamed the “Spanish flu” that would eventually kill an estimated 20 million worldwide, including more than 600,000 in the United States. Wilson’s illness was made even worse by its timing—the president was left bedridden in the middle of the most important negotiations of his life, the Paris Peace Conference to end World War I.

Before the Flu, a Deadlock

Wilson came to the Paris negotiations armed with his visionary “14 Points” strategy for achieving world peace. It included calls for open and transparent peace treaties, freedom and self-determination for all European nations, disarmament, and above all the creation of a “general association of nations”—later called the League of Nations—to actively prevent all future wars.

But parts of Wilson’s post-war scheme were adamantly opposed by the other chief powers at the Paris Peace Conference, namely France and Great Britain. The French prime minister, Georges Clemenceau, openly clashed with Wilson over the level of economic punishment to inflict on the Germans. Clemenceau demanded billions in reparations for the monumental loss of French lives and property at German hands, but Wilson wanted to spare Germany such humiliation and focus instead on building up the League of Nations.

By April, the Paris negotiations were deadlocked, and that was precisely the moment when Wilson fell ill. The president was confined to his bed for five days battling a 103-degree fever and racking coughs while his doctor, Grayson, lied to the press that it was nothing more than a bad cold.

READ MORE: US Presidents Who Became Ill in Office

Post-Flu Neurological Disorders

The Spanish Flu Was Deadlier Than WWI (TV-PG; 5:42)

WATCH: The Spanish Flu Was Deadlier than WWI

The 1918 “Spanish” flu was notorious for aggressively attacking the respiratory system. The infection …read more

Source: HISTORY