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Damage control? Trump hints at leaving the country if he loses the election

October 17, 2020 in Blogs

By Meaghan Ellis

President Donald Trump is already hinting at how he would react to being defeated by Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

On Friday, Trump traveled to Macon, Ga., where he held a crowded campaign rally filled with maskless supporters and no social distancing. At one point during the rally, Trump mulled over the possibility of losing the election and how he might handle an upsetting defeat.

“Could you imagine if I lose?” Trump said during the rally. “My whole life, what am I going to do? I’m going to say, ‘I lost to the worst candidate in the history of politics.’ I’m not going to feel so good. Maybe I’ll have to leave the country. I don’t know.”

It is no secret that Trump could be faced with a trove of legal repercussions if he loses the presidential privilege against prosecution. So, his remarks also raise speculation about his reason for wanting to leave the country if he loses the election. As Election Day approaches, Trump is deploying more tactics in hopes of changing the trajectory being depicted in the national polls.

Bryan Lanza, a lobbyist who served on Trump’s presidential campaign and transition team in 2016, and still maintains communication with the 2020 campaign, weighed in on Trump’s campaigning tactics.

“He campaigns best when he is counterpunching,” Lanza said. “He’s the running back who runs toward the tackles as opposed to the running back who runs away. We used to say he’s like Rocky Balboa — he waits for his opponent to punch and then he comes back to deliver the knockout blow.”

One Republican pollster Frank Luntz has also expressed concern about Trump’s latest tactic seemingly begging for voters. Although the president has done so in a joking tone, Luntz believes the approach is not beneficial.

“He’s taking the wrong approach,” “He should be talking about earning their support rather than asking them to give him their support. He should be turning that electoral weakness into a strength.”

With just 17 days until the 2020 election, more than 22 million Americans have already cast their ballot by voting early.

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Watch: Feds release disturbing footage of Whitmer kidnapping suspects' training drills with assault rifles

October 17, 2020 in Blogs

By Meaghan Ellis

Federal prosecutors released disturbing footage created by the suspects involved in the plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D).

On Friday, U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge publicly unveiled a trove of evidence, including text messages and recorded footage that was used presented in a hearing for the suspects identified as—Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, and Brandon Caserta—who now face charges for their involvement in the alarming plot.

The clip below captures several men participating in military-style drills while firing assault weapons. The video then shifts to Caserta who expressed disapproval of the U.S. government.

“If this s**t goes down… okay… if this whole thing starts to happen, I’m tellin’ you what dude, I’m takin’ out as many of those motherf**kers as I can. Every single one dude. Every single one. And if you guys are gonna give any of these motherf**kers a chance, any of these gang f**king criminal a** government thugs that rob people everyday, if you’re even gonna give them a second to try to speak or tell their story, don’t even f**k with me dude.

“I have zero patience for immoral coward criminals,” Caserta said, adding, “I’m sick of being robbed and enslaved by the state. Period… And these are the guys who are actually doing it.”


Videos show training for alleged governor kidnapping plot

youtu.be

Additional disturbing details about the plot were also shared via Twitter by Fox 17 reporter Doug Reardon of Detroit, Mich. The evidence also included text message conversations with one message, in particular, appearing to suggest that Whitmer be killed.

That message read, “Have one person go to her house. Knock on the door and when she answers it just cap her… “

The latest developments come as President Donald Trump continues to attack Whitmer. In fact, he even attempted to blame her for the plot orchestrated against her …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Noam Chomsky: 'If you don't push the lever for the Democrats, you are assisting Trump'

October 17, 2020 in Blogs

By David Masciotra

Noam Chomsky, one of the world’s foremost public intellectuals, has provided the international left with wisdom, guidance and inspiration for nearly 60 years. Proving that he operates at the locus where argumentation and activism meet, he demonstrates indispensable intellectual leadership on issues of foreign policy, democratic socialism and rejection of corporate media bromides.

One of the founders of linguistics, he is also an American dissident who has wrestled with systems of power on matters no less important than genocide, war and poverty, creating a corpus of classics, ranging from his manifesto against the Vietnam War, “American Power and the New Mandarins,” to his amplification of reason against a jingoistic cacophony following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, “9-11.” “Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media,” which he co-authored with Edward S. Herman, is essential reading for anyone interested in the real biases against democracy in the commercial press. His more recent book “What Kind of Creatures Are We?” provides a deft and provocative exploration of human purpose and the common good.

At 91, he is still committed to seeking and sharing the truth, and showing little patience for the foolishness and selfishness of the powerful.

With dozens of books, and countless lectures and articles, Chomsky has addressed nearly every major topic of politics and economics with an orientation toward democracy, peace, and justice, but his new book is possibly his most urgent. “Climate Crisis and the Global Green New Deal,” co-authored with progressive economist Robert Pollin, measures the stakes of climate change as threatening the survival of the human species, and offers a bold and ambitious solution that can not only stave off disaster, but create a more beautiful, hospitable and just world.

I recently interviewed Chomsky over the phone about climate change, the Green New Deal, and the 2020 presidential election.

We can, perhaps, begin by spotlighting Amy Coney Barrett’s remarks at her nomination hearings calling climate change a “controversial and contentious issue.” One of the realities you and your co-author, Robert Pollin, identify in this book, which seems to elude most other analysts, is that while our mainstream discourse often presents a “debate” surrounding climate change, there is no debate at all – not just among scientists, but among the institutions that are actively making the problem worse. They know they are courting catastrophe.

Not just “courting,” but causing catastrophe. She not only said …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Billionaire wealth rises to more than $10 trillion for first time ever amid pandemic: analysis

October 17, 2020 in Blogs

By Igor Derysh

Billionaire wealth increased to $10.2 trillion through the end of July, setting a new record amid the coronavirus pandemic even as millions of unemployed people fall into poverty.

Wealth held by billionaires around the world rose to $10.2 trillion in July, up from the previous record of $8.9 trillion in 2017, according to an analysis by Swiss bank UBS and consulting firm PwC.

The number of billionaires also rose from 2,158 in 2017 to 2,189 this summer, according to the report.

Not all billionaires saw their wealth increase, though some saw their wealth rise by close to 50%. Health care billionaires, for example, saw their wealth increase by 50%. Technology billionaires saw their wealth rise by 42.5%. Billionaires in the entertainment, financial services, materials, and real estate sectors saw increases of 10% or less.

While the UBS analysis looked at billionaires around the world, a separate analysis by the Institute for Policy Studies and Americans for Tax Fairness found that billionaire wealth in the United States has grown by $792 billion, or 27%, since the beginning of coronavirus lockdowns in March. The combined wealth of American billionaires now tops $3.7 trillion.

Some prominent billionaires have done particularly well. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has seen his wealth rise more than 60% during the pandemic to $195 billion through late August, according to the analysis. Tesla CEO Elon Musk saw his wealth more than triple to $85 billion over that time frame.

The study pointed to President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax cuts, which helped billionaires keep more of their earnings. The UBS study noted that Trump’s desired capital gains tax cut, billed as a pandemic-related stimulus, would overwhelmingly favor the richest Americans.

“For billionaires, this is a heads-we win, tails-you-lose economy, boosted by Trump policies to funnel wealth to the top,” Chuck Collins, the head of the Institute for Policy Studies’ Program on Inequality, said in a news release.

“The pandemic profiteering of America’s billionaires shows taxes on the wealthy must go up substantially to narrow the wealth gap and raise revenue vital for our big climb back from disaster,” added Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness. “By demanding even more tax cuts for the rich at this crucial moment President Trump shows he is as out of touch with our nation’s needs as America’s …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Is the pandemic making us drink more or less? It's complicated

October 17, 2020 in Blogs

By Nicole Karlis

Are people drinking more or less during the pandemic? It’s a question that’s been on the mind of researchers, and the public alike. Humans often turn to alcohol in difficult times, which comes with its own problems: research shows that when you turn to drinking to cope with stress it’s more likely to turn into a problem. Yet as recently as last year, studies found that American millennials just weren’t that into drinking, perhaps because of related trends in wellness and healthy lifestyles.

Now that we’re seven months into the pandemic, researchers are beginning to look at data and polls to study how drinking behaviors have changed.

According to a recent report in the journal JAMA Network Open, Americans are drinking 14 percent more often during the coronavirus pandemic. The study compared responses from a survey of 1,540 participants of their self-reported drinking habits in spring to the year prior. For women, the increase was up to 17 percent compared to last year. Specifically, heavy drinking for women—which was defined as four or more drinks within a couple of hours—increased by 41 percent. The study’s participants were between the ages of 30 and 80; the data collected was from the RAND Corporation American Life Panel.

“Women were particularly affected in our data,” Michael Pollard, a sociologist and co-author of the paper told Salon. “The higher baseline distress, and likely greater increases in distress during the pandemic, suggest that women will similarly increase the use of alcohol to cope at higher levels than men; it is certainly a concern.”

Pollard said since women typically have higher levels of mental distress than men, coupled with larger increases in domestic labor at home, it’s no surprise that women reported drinking more than men once the pandemic started. The pandemic has had a greater economic and social impact on women than men. Women, and particularly women of color, are more likely to be “essential” workers, too, who are under particular stress.

“Heavy alcohol use by women specifically has been somewhat overlooked by the scientific literature, but clearly it is a real and growing concern,” Pollard told Salon. “For example, some of my colleagues at RAND conducted a review of the last 20 years of assessments of the efficacy …read more

Source: ALTERNET