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'This isn't going to happen': Top GOP operative throws cold water on Trump's claims of 'voter fraud'

November 5, 2020 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick

As President Donald Trump and his allies desperately try to push the narrative that the election that’s slipping away from him is actually being stolen via voter fraud, a longstanding top operative in the Republican Party threw cold water on the suggestion.

Karl Rove, the former adviser to George W. Bush, wrote a blog post on Thursday describing the state of the race. His overall analysis seemed to generally match the consensus view of election analysts at the time — votes in key swing states remain outstanding, but results look increasingly favorable for Joe Biden — though he didn’t explicitly lay out that Trump is on a track to lose. He even put a negative spin on his analysis for Biden, arguing that his campaign did nothing to lift up down-ballot Democrats.

But in one notable paragraph, he sharply broke with the president and his allies who are concocting baseless claims about voter fraud to cast doubt on the results and drum up legal challenges to the process.

The level of voter fraud needed to turn the election around for Trump, Rove explained, is just not plausible:

There are suspicious partisans across the spectrum who believe widespread election fraud is possible. Some hanky-panky always goes on, and there are already reports of poll watchers in Philadelphia not being allowed to do their jobs. But stealing hundreds of thousands of votes would require a conspiracy on the scale of a James Bond movie. That isn’t going to happen.

Though Democrats have been worried about reports that the post office — deliberately or otherwise — delayed delivery of a substantial number of mail-in ballots, they haven’t been making sweeping claims about fraud that would undermine the final election.

Those claims are coming from the Trump camp — which strongly suggests they think they’re losing. It’s notable that Rove, of all people, isn’t on board for this gambit.

“Karl Rove is an expert on fake voter fraud scandals,” said HuffPost reporter Arthur Delaney. “He was involved in firing US Attorneys for not prosecuting bogus voter fraud cases, a disgrace that led to the resignation of the Attorney General.”

…read more


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India moves toward a de facto unitary state that is dangerous for its future

November 5, 2020 in Blogs

By Prabir Purkayastha

This article was produced by Globetrotter. Prabhat Patnaik is an Indian political economist and political commentator.

Federalism is one of the basic features of the Indian Constitution. In the Constituent Assembly, Indian economist professor K.T. Shah wanted the terms “federal” and “secular” included in the Preamble itself, but Dr. Ambedkar rejected it on the grounds that the federal and secular character of the republic was understood and did not need specification. The Indian Constitution, in its Seventh Schedule, spelled out the respective jurisdictions of the center and the states in two lists, and areas of common jurisdiction in a third list (Concurrent List). Since then, the center has always tended to encroach on the domain of the states, but this tendency has now acquired a strength where the claim that the country is being pushed toward a de facto unitary state appears to be no exaggeration.

Having persuaded states to give up their constitutionally mandated taxing powers by substituting their main revenue source, the sales tax, with a goods and services tax (GST)—administered by a GST Council dominated by the center—with the promise that their revenue shortfall will be made good, the center has now coolly reneged on that promise. States at present have no taxing powers (except over just three commodities); and the promised compensation from the center has not materialized.

But it is not just control over resources that has been centralized; decision-making too is being centralized against the provisions of the Constitution. Education, for instance, is in the Concurrent List; but the center has recently come out with a new National Education Policy (NEP), without any consultation with the states. The states are simply expected to fall in line and implement the NEP. Agriculture belongs to the State List; and yet the center has just rushed three bills through the parliament, with no consultation with state governments, making far-reaching changes in the country’s agricultural arrangements, which, apart from their impact upon the peasantry, would also mean significant revenue losses for states.

It is not just …read more


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Why capitalism was destined to come out on top in the 2020 election

November 5, 2020 in Blogs

By Richard D. Wolff

No matter who “won” the U.S. election, what will not change is the capitalist organization of the country’s economy.

The great majority of enterprises will continue to be owned and operated by a small minority of Americans. They will continue to use their positions atop the capitalist system to expand their wealth, “economize their labor costs,” and thereby deepen the United States’ inequalities of wealth and income.

The employer class will continue to use its wealth to buy, control, and shape the nation’s politics to prevent the employee class from challenging their ownership and operation of the economic system. Indeed, for a very long time, they have made sure that (1) only two political parties dominate the government and (2) both enthusiastically commit to preserving and supporting the capitalist system. For capitalism, the question of which party wins matters only to how capitalism will be supported, not whether that support will be a top governmental priority.

No matter who won, the private sector and the government will continue their shared failure to overcome capitalism’s socially destructive instability. Economic crashes (“downturns,” “busts,” “recessions,” and “depressions”) will continue to occur on average every four to seven years, disrupting our economy and society. Already in this young century, we have endured, across Republicans and Democrats, three crashes (2000, 2008, and 2020) in 20 years: true to the historic average. Nothing capitalism tried in the past ever stopped or overcame its instability. Nothing either party now proposes offers the slightest chance of doing that in the future.

No matter who won, the historic undoing of the New Deal after 1945 will continue. The GOP and Democrats will both keep reversing the 1930s’ reduction of U.S. wealth and income inequalities (forced from below by the Congress of Industrial Organizations [CIO], socialists, and communists). As usual, the GOP reverses these gains for Americans further and faster than Democrats, but both parties have condoned and managed the upward redistribution of wealth and income since 1945.

The GOP will likely celebrate explicitly the wealthy they serve so slavishly. The Democrats will likely moan occasionally about inequality while serving the wealthy quietly or implicitly. The GOP will “economize on government costs” by cutting social programs for average people and the poor. The Democrats will expand those programs while carefully avoiding any questioning, let alone challenging, of capitalism.

No matter who won, what U.S. politics lacks is real choice. Both major parties function as …read more


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Why Harry Truman Ended Segregation in the US Military in 1948

November 5, 2020 in History

By Farrell Evans

Executive Order 9981, one of Truman’s most important achievements, became a major catalyst for the civil rights movement.

When President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981 on July 26, 1948, calling for the desegregation of the U.S. Armed Forces, he repudiated 170 years of officially sanctioned discrimination. Since the American Revolution, African Americans had served in the military, but almost always separately from white soldiers—and usually in menial roles.

A major achievement of the post-war civil rights movement—and of Truman’s presidency—the event marked the first time a U.S. commander in chief had used an executive order to implement a civil rights policy. It became a crucial step toward inspiring other parts of American society to accept desegregation.

Truman’s journey to signing 9981 is the story, in part, of heeding pressure from Black civil rights leaders and recognizing, pragmatically, the importance of the Black vote to his political fortunes. But it’s also the story of his overcoming his own deeply embedded racial prejudices.

READ MORE: Black Americans Who Served in WWII Faced Segregation Abroad and at Home

Truman’s White Supremacist Roots

In 1911, when Truman was a 27-year-old corporal in the Missouri National Guard, he wrote to his future wife, Bess Wallace: “I think one man is just as good as another so long as he’s honest and decent and not a nigger or a Chinaman… I am strongly of the opinion that negros (sic) ought to be in Africa, yellow men in Asia and white men in Europe and America.”

Truman came by these beliefs from his upbringing in Missouri, where his grandparents had owned slaves and where 60 African Americans were lynched between 1877 and 1950, the second highest number of any state over that period outside the Deep South.

He grew up in a home that openly reviled abolitionism, Reconstruction and Abraham Lincoln. “Truman literally learned at his mother’s knee to share the South’s view of the War Between the States,” wrote William E. Leuchtenburg, a professor emeritus of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in 1991. “He also acquired an abiding belief in white supremacy.”

The arrest, beating and blinding of African American veteran Isaac Woodard by Batesburg, South Carolina police on February 12, 1946—hours after he was honorably discharged from the United States Army, and while still in uniform—caused a national furor …read more


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Trump's clownish coup attempt appears to be backfiring

November 5, 2020 in Blogs

By Amanda Marcotte

Caveat: As I’m writing this on Thursday morning, I don’t know how this election will end. Joe Biden could be declared the winner today — but there remains a chance that Donald Trump can pull this out thanks to traditional Republican methods of vote suppression, rather than his ham-fisted coup attempt.

On Wednesday afternoon, word went out on social media: A group of MAGA yahoos were outside the Philadelphia Convention Center. They were there to offer backdrop to Rudy Giuliani, Eric Trump and other members of Trump’s reality-TV Oberkommando. The authoritarian Klown Korps had been flown in to give speeches echoing Trump’s demands that the vote-counting happening inside be halted — not for any vaguely legitimate legal reason, but simply because he likes the numbers where they are.

But the plan hit a snag: The good people of Philadelphia, who also know how to read a press release and were not interested in letting the second-born failson and a martini-soaked former Lifelock spokesman do a photo-op menacing the dutiful election officials who are just trying to count the votes.

A crowd of protesters showed up, chanting “Count every vote!” Eric and company turned tail and ran to their safe space, to give their dumb speeches outside the charter plane section of the Philadelphia airport.’

In all the post-election chaos, that incident didn’t really register on the national news, but on the ground here in Philly, it felt like a perfect distillation of how Trump’s attempted coup is going: About as well Pinky and the Brain’s various schemes to take over the world.

It turns out that President Bleach-Injector’s ideas on how to depose democracy are — shall we say? — underdeveloped. His main weapons appear to be whining and making comically obtuse proclamations on Twitter, in the vain hope that someone mistakes them for law.

It started at 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday, when Trump, reportedly against the advice of his campaign team, gave a speech baselessly declaring the election a “fraud” and declaring himself the winner.

It didn’t take, resulting in a whole lot of online mockery and every reputable news source — plus Fox News, which is not one of those! — informing America that none of it was true. So he kept at it on …read more


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Election law expert unpacks 'Trump's endgame' in his legal fight against the vote count

November 5, 2020 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

As of Thursday afternoon, the final result of the United States’ nail-biter of a presidential election is still up in the air. Former Vice President Joe Biden has won 253 electoral votes, according to the Washington Post, but votes are still being counted in Pennsylvania, Georgia and other battleground states. Election law expert Richard L. Hasen, in an article published on the Election Law Blog and republished by Slate on Thursday afternoon, contemplates “Trump’s endgame” is if the election is called for Biden.

“Although things remain uncertain,” Hasen explains, “it appears that Joe Biden could soon be declared by news organizations as the winner of the presidential race. This depends upon finishing the count in a number of key states, including states where Trump is at the moment behind — Arizona, Nevada — and places where he is ahead: Georgia, Pennsylvania.”

Hasen notes that Trump and his allies “have been promoting baseless and dangerous conspiracy theories that Democratic elected officials are somehow ‘stealing’ the vote when all they are doing is counting the ballots. Trump is doing exactly what many of us feared and warned about: using the fact that there is a ‘blue shift’ in votes in some places as evidence of fraud. It is nonsense, and the shift comes from the order in which ballots are processed.”

Hasen, in his article, is dismissive of the lawsuits that Trump has filed in various states.

“None of Trump’s small-bore lawsuits have been able to stop the count, and of course, there is no basis to do so,” Hasen argues. “Trump’s litigation strategy is not created to lead to a difference in results unless Pennsylvania is the decisive Electoral College state and the vote count is so close that the result would depend upon those segregated ballots arriving during the three days after Election Day. Indeed, one could imagine just as easily Trump being behind in Pennsylvania and wanting to have those ballots counted (and they should be counted, regardless of who is ahead or behind).”

Many Trump critics fear that if Biden gets to 270 electoral votes and wins the election, Trump will refuse to concede.

According to Hasen, “If Trump loses, he may grumble and the country may move on — or he can try to keep yelling …read more


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Titanic: The Surprising Calm Before the Chaotic Sinking

November 5, 2020 in History

By Greg Daugherty

For at least the first hour after the iceberg collision, the ship’s crew downplayed the danger. Many passengers remained optimistic.

When the RMS Titanic disappeared beneath the dark waves of the North Atlantic in the early morning hours of April 15, 1912, it left many mysteries in its wake. One of the most puzzling, even now, was the behavior of the passengers and crew. Why did so many people on board act so calmly when more than 1,500 of them would die in a matter of hours?

The short answer: No one knew, when they were first summoned to the deck around midnight on that clear, cloudless night, that the unthinkable would happen: That there were roughly half the number of lifeboats needed. Or that the ship visible in the distance would never arrive. Or that the celebrated behemoth of a ship would actually go under.

To be sure, some panic would ensue as time went on—especially as lifeboats became scarce, the ship began to perceptibly tilt, and anything not nailed down became a high-speed projectile. But while popular movies and other dramatizations of the disaster have played up isolated incidents of chaos and cowardice, most survivors told a different story.

“There was no commotion, no panic and no one seemed to be particularly frightened,” first-class passenger Eloise Smith testified in a U.S. Senate hearing on the disaster. “I had not the least suspicion of the scarcity of lifeboats, or I never should have left my husband.”

“I watched the boats on the starboard side, as they were successively filled and lowered away,” Washington Dodge, a physician, reported. “At no time during this period, was there any panic, or evidence of fear, or unusual alarm. I saw no women nor children weep, nor were there any evidences of hysteria…”

Even survivors who remained on the Titanic after the last lifeboats rowed off and soon found themselves in the icy water, marveled at what they saw. Charles Lightoller, the highest-ranking crew member to survive, was in charge of loading lifeboats on the port side. “There was no jostling or pushing or crowding whatever,” he testified at a British inquiry. “The men all refrained from asserting their strength and from crowding back the women and children. They could not have stood quieter if they had been in church.”

MORE: The Titanic: Before and After Photos

Women and children being loaded into lifeboats …read more