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Trump just let slip his feelings about having a 'female' president

October 23, 2020 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick

While attacking Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris of California on Friday, President Donald Trump seemed hung up on the fact that if she were elected vice president, she would have the potential to become the country’s first woman president.

Speaking at a campaign rally in Florida, Trump insisted that this can’t be allowed to happen, though at first he didn’t say why. But then he moved on to the complaint that Harris is supposedly a socialist — a claim that any actual socialist would tell you is not true. (He also mispronounced her name, for an extra insult.)

“By the way, Kamala will not be your first female president,” he said. “She will not be your first female president. That’s not the way it’s suppose do to be. We’re not going to have a socialist — look, we’re not going be a socialist nation, we’re not going to have a socialist president.”

Then, cracking a smile and stifling a laugh, he added: “Especially a female socialist president. We’re not going to have it. We’re not going to put up with it. It’s not going to happen.”

Of course, even if you object to socialism, there’s no reason to object to having a female socialist president as compared to a male socialist president. It should make no difference. There’s nothing inherently different, or “especially” worse, or laughable, about having a female socialist as compared to a male socialist as president. Unless, that is, you take the misogynistic view that women are somehow intrinsically inferior to men or unsuited for the job of president. Only then does Trump’s comment make any sense.

Many have argued, of course, that there’s plenty of evidence that Trump is an extreme misogynist. And he just let slip what he really thinks about the idea of having a woman as president. Though really, it should be no surprise.

Watch the clip below:

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Trump's smile falls from his face as his attempt to get a foreign leader to attack Biden backfires

October 23, 2020 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick

In a now-infamous phone call, President Donald Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to insert himself into American politics by announcing an investigation of his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. That call and the scheme surrounding it led to Democrats impeach Trump, alleging that he had corruptly leveraged his office and congressionally approved funds to benefit his own political campaign.

Trump appeared to be taking a shot at similar gambit, if on a much smaller and less elaborate scale, on Friday during a televised call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

While discussing a new plan for Israel to normalize relations with Sudan on speakerphone in front of reporters, Trump tried to goad Netanyahu into attacking Biden.

“Do you think Sleepy Joe could have made this deal, Bibi? Sleepy Joe?” Trump asked, smirking. “Do you think he would have made this deal? Somehow, I don’t think so.”

Of course, the ask wasn’t as duplicitous or egregious as the on Trump made of Zelensky. It involved no withholding of military aid, and he was simply asking for Netanyahu to disparage his opponent, not open a criminal investigation of him. Still, it was wildly inappropriate and corrupt, both from the perspective of domestic and international politics.

And despite the fact that Netanyahu has made no secret for his preference for Republicans and his fondness for Trump in particular, the Israeli prime minister refused to bite on the president’s bait. He pointedly avoided disparaging Biden.

“Well, Mr. President, one thing I can tell you is that we appreciate the help for peace from anyone in America,” Netanyahu said. “And we appreciate what you’ve done enormously.”

The smile dramatically fell from Trump’s face, and he gave a deflated: “Yeah.” It was clear he was disappointed that Netanyahu didn’t join him in attacking Biden, which would have given him a de facto campaign ad with the endorsement of one of his favorite foreign leaders.

Many pointed out, though, that despite Netanyahu’s fondness for Trump, he can read polling data as well as anyone. And the polling quite clearly indicates that Biden is heavily favored to win in the 2020 election. Netanyahu is likely to have a more fraught relationship with Biden regardless, but he wisely doesn’t want to intentionally aggravate the Democrat in the last days of an election.

Netanyahu seemed to try to make up for the disappointment his remarks surely caused by adding: “This will be registered …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Paul Krugman explains why Ayn Rand's libertarianism is absolutely deadly

October 23, 2020 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

During the coronavirus crisis, President Donald Trump and many of his Republican allies have not only downplayed the severity of the pandemic — they have also vehemently opposed social distancing restrictions, mask wearing and other measures meant to slow down the spread of COVID-19. Liberal economist Paul Krugman discusses that mindset this week in his New York Times column, slamming it as “libertarianism gone bad” and the toxic influence of the late right-wing author Ayn Rand.

“If you look at what Republican politicians are saying as the pandemic rips through their states,” Krugman explains, “you see a lot of science denial. Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota has gone full Trump — questioning the usefulness of masks and encouraging potential superspreader events…. But you also see a lot of libertarian rhetoric — a lot of talk about ‘freedom’ and ‘personal responsibility.’”

Noting the autumn surge in COVID-19 infections that is occurring across the U.S., Krugman writes, “Donald Trump’s disastrous leadership is, of course, an important factor. But I also blame Ayn Rand — or, more generally, libertarianism gone bad, a misunderstanding of what freedom is all about.”

Krugman agrees with libertarians that there are many times when the government needs to butt out and mind its own business. But when a pandemic poses so great a threat to public health, Krugman argues, it isn’t government overreach to encourage social distancing or ask someone to wear a mask in public.

“Many things should be matters of individual choice,” Krugman argues. “The government has no business dictating your cultural tastes, your faith or what you decide to do with other consenting adults. But refusing to wear a face covering during a pandemic, or insisting on mingling indoors with large groups, isn’t like following the church of your choice. It’s more like dumping raw sewage into a reservoir that supplies other people’s drinking water.”

According to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, the COVID-19 pandemic has killed more than 1.1 million people worldwide and over 223,600 in the United States — and some health officials fear that the worst is yet to come if the pandemic follows a path similar to that of the 1918/1919 Spanish flu pandemic, which went from bad to worse during its second wave. Whatever happens this winter, COVID-19 has already killed a staggering number of people. And in light of all the misery the …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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The debate wasn't 'civil' — Trump showed himself to be a cold-blooded psychopath

October 23, 2020 in Blogs

By Amanda Marcotte

The word on the media reviews for Thursday night’s second — and blessedly last — debate of the presidential campaign is that it was civil.

“It was civil, calm, sedate, substantive (at times) and, almost, even normal,” Shane Goldmacher at the New York Times writes.

“It came down to muting the president,” Robin Givhan of the Washington Post writes. “That’s what it took to stage a reasonably civil debate between President Trump and former vice president Joe Biden.”

Deirdre Walsh at NPR declared the Nashville debate ” a much different — and far more civil — night than the last encounter.”

I don’t know what debate these analysts were watching. Because the one I saw was between a normal politician, Joe Biden, and a man whose utter lack of empathy for any other human being is only matched by his baseless self-regard. The mute button only allowed Trump to speak at greater length, showcasing for all of America to see a textbook illustration of what sociopathy looks like. Afterwards, I wondered if Christian Bale had been watching, and if so, if he was worried that his star turn in “American Psycho” was too understated.

I know we’ve all grown numb to Trump’s casual cruelty and his obvious inability to imagine that other people are fully real, but hot damn, it is incumbent on us who carry the dubious title of “journalist” not to let that numbness cloud our vision. There is something deeply wrong with that man. Anyone who listened — really listened — to him on Thursday night could see it.

Trump’s sociopathic responses to human suffering started straightaway, when moderator Kristen Welker asked about future responses to the coronavirus, which has infected more than 8 million Americans and killed 223,000 as of Friday morning. Trump talked about the pandemic as if he were cheating at golf or trying to bully some hapless tenant into agreeing that there’s nothing wrong with brown water coming out of the faucet.

“So as you know, 2.2 million people modeled out, were expected to die,” Trump started, in a tone so casual one would think he was talking about the weather. He went on to claim the U.S. is doing better than most of the world with controlling the pandemic.

All of this is a lie, which is no surprise. That number of 2.2 fatalities was the absolute worst-case …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Did Alexander the Great Arrange His Father’s Murder?

October 23, 2020 in History

By Adrian Goldsworthy

Philip II of Macedon’s bodyguard—and former lover—wielded the knife. But 21-year-old Alexander, heir to the powerful king, quickly fell under suspicion.

In the ancient world, the young and dashing Alexander the Great led his army from northern Greece to what is now Pakistan, leading from the front, killing enemies with sword and spear, ordering executions and massacres, even stabbing one old friend to death in a drunken rage. He killed a lot of people, but did he launch his career as a king by arranging the murder of his own father, the hugely successful Philip II?

Philip’s career made Alexander’s conquests possible, for it was Philip who saved Macedonia from the verge of extinction, beating off powerful neighbors before expanding until he dominated Greece and the Balkans. In the process, he created a uniquely effective army, combining many different types of troops into one formidable, fast moving team. This was the army Alexander led against the Persian Empire, composed of Philip’s men, fighting in the same way they had done for more than 20 years.

The facts of Philip’s murder, in 336 BC, are plain and undisputed. The assassin struck in the theater at Aegae (modern Vergina), watched by a crowd who had travelled from all over Macedonia and Greece to show support for the king. As Philip made his entrance—limping from an old wound, but still active in his 47th year—one of his bodyguards, a young man named Pausanias, ran toward him. Producing a concealed dagger from beneath his cloak, he stabbed Philip between the ribs and fled. The king died within moments, followed quickly by his assassin—as Pausanias sprinted towards the waiting horses, he tripped on a vine root and was swiftly dispatched by his fellow bodyguards.

READ MORE: How Alexander the Great Conquered the Persian Empire

An Assassination Prompted by Personal Grievance

Philip II of Macedon.

Pausanias’ personal motive for the murder was also widely known. As a teenager, he had for a while been the king’s favorite and lover. Polygamous like all Macedonian kings, Philip was notorious for his numerous affairs with women and young men. Yet soon Philip’s eye wandered, and he replaced Pausanias with another youth. Resentful, Pausanias mocked the new lover, accusing him of being effeminate and an easy conquest. The new lover, stung by the jokes, tried to prove his manhood in battle by fighting recklessly and was killed.

The dead youth had …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Federal prosecutors allege far-right 'Boogaloo' member tried to incite a riot during George Floyd protests

October 23, 2020 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

President Donald Trump and many of his allies in the right-wing media have been claiming that most or all of the political violence that has occurred in the United States following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25 has come from the left — totally overlooking the history of violence associated with the Proud Boys, QAnon and a variety of white nationalist and militia groups. But federal prosecutors accused a Texas-based member of the far-right Boogaloo Bois on Friday of going to Minneapolis in late May with the intention of taking part in a riot.

Ivan Harrison Hunter is facing criminal charges for firing a semiautomatic weapon into a Minneapolis police precinct during the protests.

“Federal agents reviewed a video taken on the night of May 28 that shows an individual, later identified as Hunter, firing 13 rounds from an AK-47 style semiautomatic rifle into the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct building,” KARE-TV, the NBC affiliate in Minneapolis, reports. “Law enforcement recovered discharged rifle casings from the scene that are consistent with an AK-47-style firearm.”

According to KARE, “Investigators say they recovered social media posts Hunter made upon his return to Texas, describing his illegal activities in Minneapolis. They allege he was communicating with Michael Solomon, a Minneapolis resident and member of the Boogaloo Bois who is federally charged with providing support to a terrorist organization, along with an associate named Benjamin Teeter.”

The Boogaloo Bois are an extremist far-right movement that call for a second civil war in the United States and favor violent confrontations with law enforcement and politicians. In Northern California, Boogaloo supporter Steven Carrillo is facing murder charges for his role in a late May shooting in Oakland that left a Federal Protective Service officer dead. And some of the 13 men arrested in connection with a plot to kidnap and possibly murder Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer are believed by law enforcement to be connected to the Boogaloo movement; others allegedly involved in that plot, according to the FBI, were part of the Wolverine Watchmen, a far-right militia group.

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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How the East India Company Became the World's Most Powerful Monopoly

October 23, 2020 in History

By Dave Roos

The massive British corporation was founded under Queen Elizabeth I and rose to exploit overseas trade and become a dominating global player.

One of the biggest, most dominant corporations in history operated long before the emergence of tech giants like Apple or Google or Amazon. The English East India Company was incorporated by royal charter on December 31, 1600 and went on to act as a part-trade organization, part-nation-state and reap vast profits from overseas trade with India, China, Persia and Indonesia for more than two centuries. Its business flooded England with affordable tea, cotton textiles and spices, and richly rewarded its London investors with returns as high as 30 percent.

“At its peak, the English East India Company was by far the largest corporation of its kind,” says Emily Erikson, a sociology professor at Yale University and author of . “A company is not a state. A company ruling in the name of the Crown cannot happen without the Crown’s consent. Sovereignty became a big problem. In whose name will the company devise laws?”

The answer, in most cases, was the East India Company’s local branch officer. The London office of the company didn’t concern itself with Indian politics. Roy says that as long as trade continued, the Board was happy and didn’t interfere. Since there was very little communication between London and the branch offices (a letter took three months each way) it was left to the branch officer to write the laws governing company cities like Bombay, Madras and Calcutta, and to create local police forces and justice systems.

This would be the equivalent of Exxon Mobil drilling for oil in coastal Mexico, taking over a major Mexican city using private armed guards, and then electing a corporate middle manager as the mayor, judge and executioner.

From Mercantile Company to Empire Building

Robert Clive receives from Shah Alam, the Mughal Emperor of India, a decree conferring upon the East India Company the administration of the revenues of Bengal, Behar and Orissa.

A major turning point in the East India Company’s transformation from a profitable trading company into a full-fledged empire came after the Battle of Plassey in 1757. The battle pitted 50,000 Indian soldiers under the Nawab of Bengal against just 3,000 Company men. The Nawab was angry with the Company for skirting taxes. But what the Nawab didn’t know was that the East India Company’s military leader in …read more

Source: HISTORY