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America’s Only Successful Coup d’Etat Overthrew a Biracial Government in 1898

October 7, 2020 in History

By Aaron Randle

The Wilmington, North Carolina massacre decimated Black political and economic power in the city for nearly 100 years.

It was the only successful coup d’état in the history of the United States and a story of racial terror largely obscured from the annals of American history.

In 1898, a group of white vigilantes—angry and fearful at the newly elected biracial local government—joined forces with area militias to rain terror on Wilmington, North Carolina, then the South’s most progressive Black-majority city.

After stoking fear of a Black uprising that would upend their way of life, endanger their women and bring about an unfathomable new American reality in which Black men—not white—governed, white city leaders pledged to “choke the current of the Cape Fear with carcasses” rather than allow Wilmington’s Black citizens to succeed, and lead.

When the carnage ended, more than 100 Black government officials—city councilmen, the city clerk, the treasurer, the city attorney and others—had been forced from their elected roles. Somewhere between 60 and 250 Black citizens were murdered.

After the coup, for which no one was ever prosecuted or punished, more than 100,000 registered Black voters fled the city. No Black citizen would again serve in public office for three-quarters of a century.

“It was a massacre,” says Christopher Everett, director of Wilmington on Fire, a documentary on the uprising. “A massacre kept secret for over 100 years.”

READ MORE: How Power Grabs in the South Erased Reforms After Reconstruction

In Wilmington, the Black Community Was Thriving

In the years leading up to 1898, Wilmington stood as the most progressive city in the American South. A bustling, integrated port, the town, historians say, “was what the new South could have become after the Civil War.”

By 1896, nearly 126,000 Black men in Wilmington were registered voters. The city’s flourishing Black middle class boasted some 65 doctors, lawyers and educators, scores of barbers and restaurant owners, public health workers, members of the police force and the fire department. And just three decades after Emancipation, Black Republicans held multiple positions of power, serving as city councilmen, magistrates and other elected officials.

The integration resulted from Fusion politics, a political phenomenon in North Carolina that joined the Populist Party (comprised mostly of poor, white farmers) and the Republican Party (the political affiliation of choice for freed Black Americans) into one entity. They aligned against the Democrats, a party composed of …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Trump calls his case of COVID-19 a 'blessing from God' in baffling new video

October 7, 2020 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick

In a new video of Twitter, President Donald Trump claimed that getting COVID-19 was a “blessing from God” and seemed to pivot away from his focus on getting a vaccine approved before the election. Instead, he tried to encourage viewers to think a therapeutic treatment for the disease is actually a cure.

At a base level, the video served one fundamental purpose: To show that Trump, who is still at risk of a resurgence of symptoms, currently appears relatively healthy and to be functioning normally. It was essentially a success on that front, though it’s not clear how representative the video was of his condition throughout the day.

But the content itself was baffling. Aside from his comment that contracting the virus was a divine gift, Trump largely focused on the antibody treatment he received from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. He was able to receive the drug on a compassionate use basis, not through the FDA’s typical approval process or even through an Emergency Use Authorization. And he claimed these antibodies in particular were the cause of his improvement, and he wants everyone to have access to them.

“I went in, I wasn’t feeling so hot,” he said. “And within a very short period of time, they gave me Regeneron, it’s called Regeneron [it's actually not called that — that's the name of the drug company]. And other things too, but I think this was the key. But they gave me Regeneron. And it was like, unbelievable. I felt good immediately.”

He said “we’ve authorized it, I’ve authorized it,” though it’s not clear what actual steps have actually been taken in the treatment’s approval process. He seemed to be suggesting that because he deemed the drug successful in his case , it should be approved for everybody. Of course, this isn’t how drug approval should work. And he has also taken remdesivir and the steroid dexamethasone, the latter of which may be causing his current decline of symptoms. And despite his claim that he felt immediately better after taking the antibody cocktail, his doctor’s reports have made clear that his condition had worsened and improved several times since he first took the treatment.

Overall, the most natural reading of the video and the claims he made is that Trump is trying to spin his hospitalization, which some data suggests have hurt his standing in the polls, as a positive. He wants voters to think …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Trump is flying off the handle — even more than usual

October 7, 2020 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick

Still suffering from an infection of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, President Donald Trump unleashed an extended and aggressive tirade on Twitter following a period of relative radio silence while he was hospitalized.

He seemed to have returned from Walter Reed Medical Center with a vengeance. His furious tweeting, often in all caps, targeted his favorite subjects, including the Russia investigation, the media, Hillary Clinton, and former Vice President Joe Biden.

He called for “arrests” out of the Justice Department’s review of the handling of the Russia investigation, based on dubious reporting of selectively declassified documents from his own administration that showed no evidence of any clear crimes:

Attorney General Bill Barr, who has previously denigrated the administration’s predecessors and whipped up hopes that the investigation would punish the president’s enemies, appears to be disappointing Trump as it is many of his fans. Barr has previously said that the president’s tweeting about ongoing investigations make it “impossible” for him to do his job, but that hasn’t deterred Trump.

Trump also called on California — a state he’ll certainly lose — to vote for him, and retweeted a vile smear comparing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to Nazis.

The day before, Trump tweeted that he was ending negotiations with Democrats on a new round of pandemic relief funds, criticizing the high dollar figures House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked for. But then, he baffled observers by echoing Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s remarks that Congress should pass more stimulus without worrying about “overdoing it.” That alone made people question his mental stability. He then abruptly shifted to new demands for a narrow stimulus bill, seemingly completely reneging on his declaration that negotiations were over.

He also tweeted excessively about declassifying documents in the Russia investigation. However, it was unclear how serious these tweets were; Trump has previously made similar claims on Twitter, only for the Justice Department to reject the idea that his tweets constituted official declassification orders. He ended up reversing himself, saying he had already made the declassifications, though he also continued to tout reports that claimed his declassification was a new event.

One of the president’s tweets seized on random user’s conspiratorial …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Medical expert warns Trump still has 'more than a 1 in 10' chance of dying

October 7, 2020 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

Even after being hospitalized with COVID-19, President Donald Trump has continued to downplay the severity of the novel coronavirus. But when Dr. Robert Wachter — chairman of the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco — appeared on CNN on Wednesday, he warned that the president still has “more than a one in ten” chance of dying from his illness.

Wachter told CNN’s Brianna Keillar, “He’s doing well, that’s great. He is not out of the woods. It won’t really be until next week that he would be getting to the end of the period during which we worry about a significant deterioration and compromise of his breathing.”

The medical expert noted that with COVID-19, a patient who appears to be doing relatively well can suddenly take a turn for the worse.

“At this point, you’d still say: if you took the overall numbers of patients with COVID — as severe as he had with the risk factors he had — he still has a significant chance, probably more than one in ten, of dying of this episode,” Wachter explained. “So, it’s nothing to be taken lightly.”

Keillar responded, “Oh, OK, I mean that’s a considerable number, right?” But the CNN host quickly added, “The reverse of that would be nine of ten have not.”

Wachter stressed that Trump, who is back in the White House after leaving Walter Reed Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, is still capable of infecting others with COVID-19.

Wachter told Keillar, “He’s six days into it. He is almost certainly still contagious and will be, on average, until about ten days after his symptoms have gone away. So, he’s still on the contagious period. He’s not at the peak of its contagiousness, which was probably on Wednesday or Thursday.”

Watch the clip below:

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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News outlet removes reporter from the White House press pool over safety concerns

October 7, 2020 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

Earlier this week, Michael D. Shear — a New York Times White House correspondent who has tested positive for COVID-19 — told Axios, “My wife has now tested positive for COVID. The collateral damage is going to be pretty significant, I think.” And the danger that journalists who cover the White House are facing is also evident in a decision that BuzzFeed News has made: it has removed reporter Kadia Goba from the White House press pool, citing safety concerns.

BuzzFeed’s decision follows the recent hospitalization of President Donald Trump after testing positive for COVID-19. A long list of well-known Republicans and Trump allies have also tested positive for the novel coronavirus, from White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany to Republican National Committee Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel to Trump’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien, to Gov. Chris Christie.

The New York Times’ Katie Robertson reports that Matt Mittenthal, a BuzzFeed spokesman, “confirmed that the company, on Tuesday, had withdrawn the correspondent, Kadia Goba, from her Wednesday shift out of concern for her safety. The spokesman added that BuzzFeed News was awaiting further guidance from the White House Correspondents’ Association.”

Goba clearly fears that entering the White House at this point would put her at risk for being infected with COVID-19, which according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, has killed more than 1 million people worldwide.

Goba told the Times, “Anyone that knows me understands I’d rather be at the White House working today, but at the same time, there are obvious concerns about working indoors during an outbreak. I don’t want to be knocked out for the rest of the election because I’m sick.”

Robertson notes that after BuzzFeed announced that Goba was being removed from the White House Press pool, an e-mail circulated in the press pool asking if someone would like to fill in for her. But other reporters who work in Washington, D.C. are worried as well.

In response to that e-mail, the Dallas Morning News’ Washington bureau chief, Todd J. Gillman, wrote, “We are in uncharted territory. No one wants anyone to take unwarranted risk. Nor do we want the pool system to collapse.”

Politico ended up sending journalist Meridith McGraw to cover the White House in place of BuzzFeed’s Goba.

Robertson points out that in addition to Shear, at least two other journalists …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Here’s the big mistake people keep making about 2020 election forecasts

October 7, 2020 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick

With the 2020 presidential election already in progress and its conclusion mere weeks away, the polls are starting to look exceptionally good for former Vice President Joe Biden.

A new slate of polls from Quinnipiac University — which does, admittedly, tend to find more favorable numbers for the Democrat — reported Biden with a stunning lead in key swing states, most notably finding him up 11 points in Florida. Even if off by a significant margin — say, 6 points — it would point to a resounding victory for Biden. And recent national polls have shown a major shift toward the Democrat, with Biden up 9.4 points in the most recent RealClearPolitics average. FiveThirtyEight now shows Biden with an 84 percent chance of winning.

We shouldn’t read too much into any particular poll or snapshot in time, but all the figures point to a strong showing by Biden on Nov. 3. But that raises a significant question for many, especially those with the bruises of 2016: could all the polls be wrong?

They could indeed. Systematic polling errors happen for a variety of factors. But that’s why FiveThirtyEight’s forecasting model is useful. It incorporates uncertainty about the polls into its assessment of the race.

That’s why, as FiveThirtyEight founder Nate Silver pointed out on Wednesday, one of the biggest criticisms of his forecast is so mistaken. He pointed, in particular, to this quote from Chris Kofinis in a recent Vanity Fair interview:

I’m always skeptical of the polls because of how each pollster will model the electorate. Polling is as much an art as a science; unfortunately some artists are really bad, and others ignore the science. Look at the FiveThirtyEight website—they basically look at all the polling out there, and then they come up with a probability model of who is going to win based on that polling. But that model is based on one huge assumption: that the polling isn’t wrong. But if the polling is wrong, then the subsequent model is wrong. I’m skeptical that the polls are right because the electorate is more divided and dysfunctional than ever before in history.

Silver responded on Twitter.

“This is one of the dumbest misconceptions about probabilistic models. The 538 model doesn’t assume that polls are right. It does exactly the opposite: **it tells you the chance that the polls will …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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What Are Swing States and Why Are They Critical in US Elections?

October 7, 2020 in History

By Jessica Pearce Rotondi

The claim that “every vote counts” is especially true in swing states. And such states have been in play since the election of the nation’s second president.

Swing states, also known as battleground states or purple states, are highly competitive states that have historically swung between voting for different parties in presidential elections. While most states consistently vote along party lines—from 2000 to 2016, 38 states voted for the same political party—the few who don’t receive an outsized amount of attention from candidates and pollsters. Here’s the history of swing states and the powerful influence they’ve had on elections in America.

The Electoral College Gives States Power

The Founding Fathers were divided on how to pick a president. Some wanted Congress to select the nation’s leader, while others wanted to citizens to vote directly. The Electoral College was created as a compromise. The Constitution grants each state a number of electors based on the combined total of the state’s delegates in the Senate and House of Representatives. There are 538 electoral college votes total, and presidential candidates need 270 electoral votes to win the White House. Forty-eight out of 50 states have a “winner take all” system, meaning that whoever gains the popular vote wins all of that state’s electoral college votes. Two states—Maine and Nebraska—use the congressional district method, meaning they allocate two electoral votes to the popular vote winner in the state and one electoral vote to the popular vote winner in each Congressional district.

Presidents can win the popular vote and lose the electoral college vote. It’s happened five times, most recently in the 2016 election, when Hillary Rodham Clinton received 2.8 million popular votes than Electoral College winner Donald Trump, the largest disparity in history.

Because 38 out of the 50 states have voted for the same party since the 2000 presidential election, it’s relatively easy to predict which states will vote for a Democratic candidate and which will vote for a Republican. It is the states that do not consistently vote along party lines that determine whether a candidate will win or lose: Swing states.

Have There Always Been Swing States?

America 101: What is a Swing State? (TV-PG; 1:39)

WATCH: America 101: What is a Swing State?

There is a reason why swing states exist in the United States—the U.S. voting system is structured around …read more

Source: HISTORY