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GOP leader Kevin McCarthy abruptly backtracks from his claim that 'Trump won this election'

November 6, 2020 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had to backtrack on Friday after claiming on Fox News the previous night that “President Trump won this election.”

As of this writing, only one major election outlet — Decision Desk HQ — had called the election; it projected Joe Biden as the winner, based on his lead in Pennsylvania, which appears to be insurmountable. Other outlets have yet to declare a winner, but vote counts in the remaining key swing states, with the exception of North Carolina, all seemed to be leaning against the incumbent president. Biden has multiple paths to a clear victory, whereas something extraordinary would have to change for Trump to win.

Dave Wasserman, of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, revealed on Friday afternoon that McCarthy had clarified to him that he did not intend to declare Trump the victor in the presidential election.

Instead, Wasserman said, McCarthy meant that the president “gets the credit for helping us win House seats.” This explanation was particularly odd, though, because McCarthy had posted the video of him incorrectly declaring victory for Trump on Twitter Thursday night.

Despite this correction, McCarthy still seems intent on feeding into Trump’s disinformation campaign about the election results. In the video, he urged viewers: “Everyone who’s listening: Do not be quiet. Do not be silent about this. We cannot allow this to happen before our very eyes. We need to unite together. You don’t need to be a Republican. You believe every legal vote needs to count. You believe in the American process. Join together and and let’s stop this.”

This was nonsensical and almost certainly intentionally misleading. There’s nothing to “stop” — the vote counting is ongoing. The suggestion that “every legal vote needs to count” was meant to imply that a significant number of illegal votes are being counted — a conspiracy theory Trump is trying to use to his advantage. The truth is Trump and the GOP fear that the continued counting of legitimate votes will make him a loser, so they’re desperately trying to find a way to stop that result.

But based on McCarthy’s comments to Wasserman, he may also be hedging his bets, not wanting to stick too closely to Trump if he …read more


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The Biden team had the perfect response to fears Trump won't leave office if he loses

November 6, 2020 in Blogs

By Common Dreams

The Joe Biden campaign let it be known late Friday morning that it will have no trouble making sure President Donald Trump is removed from the White House if he—as looks increasingly likely—loses reelection but refuses to go voluntarily.

With votes still being counted in crucial states, Biden campaign spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a statement that “the American people will decide this election,” and then—in a quite apparent reference to Trump—added that “the United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House.”

Trump, meanwhile, continued to lash out and make “pathetic” and false claims that fraud is the reason he remains behind in key states, particularly Pennsylvania.

The presidential race as of midday Friday remained “too close to call” for most major news outlets and decision desks, but the window was rapidly closing for any chance for President Donald Trump—who has continued to lie and spew nonsense about election fraud as it suits him—to win reelection.

As of this writing:

  • Joe Biden has taken the lead in Pennsylvania.
  • The latest ballots in Nevada saw his lead over Trump double. According to the latest numbers released by the state, Biden now has 624,246 votes (49.83% of the total), compared to Trump’s 602,170 (48.07%). The current difference of 22,076 votes, is approximately twice Biden’s earlier 11,000 vote lead.
  • In Georgia, Biden also took his first lead Friday morning as that state’s counting neared completion, though the race remained within the margin of a possible recount and nearly tied with the candidates each carrying approximately 49.4% of the vote. With an estimated 64,000 thousand votes to count, NBC News reports that Biden’s lead currently sits at 1,584 votes.
  • Arizona also remained “too close to call,” but Biden’s lead had increased to 50% over Trump’s 48.6%. In that state, with just over 225,000 votes left to count, Biden maintained a lead of nearly 44,000 votes.

Of those four key states, none is more important than Pennsylvania, where a confirmed win there for Biden would all but assure him of surpassing the 270 electoral college votes needed to secure victory. According to the New York Times—which now calculates that electoral race as 253 to 214 in favor of Biden—a win the Keystone State—worth 20 electoral votes—”would be decisive” for the Democratic former vice president.

“If Joe …read more


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Trump's limp coup is falling apart — and right-wing media is losing it

November 6, 2020 in Blogs

By Amanda Marcotte

Most still-rational Americans, watching Donald Trump’s atrocity of a press conference on Thursday night, had two simultaneous reactions: Wow, that man really is the worst living American, and also, yeah, this is all over except for the paperwork.

It was an odd mix of emotions. There was the disgust of watching the actual president of the actual United States demand that legal votes be thrown out insinuating that millions of American voters were somehow fakes. But there was also the relief of seeing Trump’s facade of bravado collapsing, exposing the loser that was always hiding behind that wall of bluster. Even many Trump voters knew, at that moment, that it was over. Trump’s attempted coup is collapsing under the weight of his own incompetence and laziness.

We are now at the portion of the right-wing cycle of failure where the supporters of the corrupt and failed Republican president slink away and pretend that they were never that into him in the first place. (See: Nixon, Richard M., and Bush, George W.) But for whatever reason, a decent number of rats are clinging fiercely to the side of the sinking ship, insisting, as the water starts lapping against their skinny tails, that Captain Bleach-Injector can still somehow save himself.

Thursday night, a frantic Sean Hannity was on Fox News, baselessly claiming that Philadelphia election officials counting Pennsylvania ballots are “violating the law” and suggesting, apparently not as a joke, “a do-over in that state.” On his radio show, Hannity begged for state-appointed electors who’ll vote for Trump, defying the actual voters of Pennsylvania. (State GOP leaders have declined.)

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy appeared on Laura Ingraham’s Fox News show and falsely claimed that “Trump won this election,” demanding, “Everyone who’s listening, do not be quiet.” He then tweeted out the video clip, in case there was any doubt he was trying to rile up Republican voters with these lies. Twitter put a content warning on the video.

Ingraham went along with McCarthy’s antics, demanding that other Republican politicians “better stand and fight” for Trump and claiming that “we have huge amounts of money from Mark Zuckerberg and George Soros and others flooding” into “canvassing, you know, states like Pennsylvania.” This claim is not only untrue but also nonsensical: The apparent …read more


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Green New Deal champion Chloe Maxmin unseats powerful state GOP incumbent in rural Maine

November 6, 2020 in Blogs

By Common Dreams

The results of the U.S. Senate race this week in Maine—won by four-term Republican Sen. Susan Collins after Democrats poured $50 million into challenger Sara Gideon’s campaign—may have given the impression that a Trumpian right-wing agenda has an iron grip on the state’s more conservative rural voters, but the victory of Democratic state Rep. Chloe Maxmin, a progressive champion who ran on the promise of a Green New Deal and offering a “politics as public service” in a strong GOP district, tells a much different story.

Two years after winning a seat in the state House of Representatives, representing conservative, rural District 88, Maxmin secured a win in her challenge to state Senate Republican Leader Dana Dow. As in her first campaign for elected office, Maxmin won over voters in state Senate District 13—where residents chose Collins over Gideon—by engaging deeply with her community and offering a platform focused on climate action, investing in universal broadband access, and treating healthcare as a human right.

Maxmin’s campaign was focused on providing help to people in a part of Maine where many feel disillusioned by politics and neglected by leaders in the state legislature and Washington, D.C.—but her energy was spent less on convincing voters to back a progressive agenda and more on giving them a platform to talk about their own experiences.

“When I talk to folks, I mostly listen, I don’t show up and talk about myself,” Maxmin told Common Dreams on Thursday. “I really try and listen and make sure that the voices that I hear are reflected in our campaign… The work that we do on our side is to really think about campaigns differently, because we see them as one of the primary ways that we can start building a new type of politics. So we didn’t use any party consultants. We designed all of our mailers, palm cards, postcards ourselves. We’re all about authentic conversation and just had dozens and dozens of volunteers writing postcards or having conversations with voters and using the same style of just listening, and not going around saying, ‘You should vote for Chloe because of this,’ but trying to understand where people are at.”

“My sense is that people really saw that we were doing it differently and that I could be in office differently, too,” she added.

When the Covid-19 …read more


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A psychologist offers 10 tips to manage the uncertainty and stress of election aftermath

November 6, 2020 in Blogs

By The Conversation

by Bethany Teachman, University of Virginia

Well-meaning advice for people freaking out about current events often includes encouragement to be patient, stay calm and keep the faith… but how on Earth are you supposed to do that amid the insanity of 2020?

As a practicing clinical psychologist and professor who studies how to manage anxiety and tolerate uncertainty, I offer 10 suggestions to make it through this highly stressful election period.

1. Put the phone down!

While it is tempting to stay glued to your devices during this time, the never-ending doomscrolling and screen-refreshing becomes overwhelming and keeps you in a state of tension and constant vigilance. The excessive consumption of news and social media predicts poorer long-term mental health during times of crisis.

Plan some breaks where you can engage in other activities that take your mind off politics and the uncertainties we face, and allow things to feel a little more normal for a while.

2. Uncertainty doesn’t equal catastrophe

It’s hard not to know things – outcomes of elections, for instance. But not knowing shouldn’t mean that you assume the worst-case scenario has occurred. When you’re anxious (as many in the U.S. are right now), you tend to assign threatening meanings to ambiguous situations, but this tendency is neither accurate nor helpful. Jumping to catastrophic conclusions is like setting off a series of false alarms that keep you on edge and exaggerate your sense of threat.

3. Don’t retreat into bed

The feeling of deep disappointment about election results you don’t like, or apprehension about upcoming results, can trigger a desire to withdraw and hole up. While that response is natural, it tends to be counterproductive. Staying engaged in activities that give you a sense of accomplishment, pleasure or meaning can make managing this time far less painful.

4. Remember it’s happened before

While in many ways it is true that 2020 is unique and unprecedented, it’s also the case that human beings tend to be remarkably resilient, even in the face of tremendous stress and trauma. This difficult time will not last forever. Things won’t magically all get better, but time will move forward, this situation will change and you will keep putting one foot in front of the other.

5. Don’t go through this time alone

While the pandemic means you need to remain physically distant from others, this should not mean staying socially or emotionally distant. When people …read more


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How Horses Transformed Life for Plains Indians

November 6, 2020 in History

By Dave Roos

Horses were first introduced to Native American tribes via European explorers. For the buffalo-hunting Plains Indians, the swift, strong animals quickly became prized.

Forty million years ago, horses first emerged in North America, but after migrating to Asia over the Bering land bridge, horses disappeared from this continent at least 10,000 years ago. So for millennia, Native Americans traveled and hunted on foot, relying on dogs as miniature pack animals.

When Christopher Columbus brought two dozen Andalousian horses on his second voyage to the New World in 1493, he couldn’t have imagined how reintroducing the horse to North America would transform Native American life, especially for the buffalo-hunting Plains Indians, for whom the swift and loyal horse was a marriage made in heaven.

How the Horse First Entered Native American Culture

When Columbus and other Spanish explorers arrived in Hispaniola on horseback, the native Taíno of the Caribbean were terrified by what they saw as a half-man, half-beast, says Herman Viola, a curator emeritus at the Smithsonian Institution. “They had never seen a creature that had human beings riding on it.”

As more Native tribes encountered the horse, that initial fear gave way to awe for the animal’s speed and power. With the dog as their closest reference, Indians gave this mythical new creature names like “elk dog,” “sky dog” and “holy dog.”

“The Spanish quickly realized that the last thing they wanted was for Indians to have horses, because that would put them on equal footing,” says Viola, but that’s exactly what happened following the Pueblo Uprising of 1680. After enduring a century of harsh Spanish rule, the otherwise peaceful Pueblo Indians violently drove the Spanish from Santa Fe and captured their prized horses, which they then traded with neighboring tribes.

Horses quickly moved across trade routes to the Navajo, Ute and Apache, then to the Kiowa and Comanche of the southern Plains, and the Shoshone of the Mountain West. By 1700, horses had reached the Nez Perce and Blackfoot of the far Northwest, and traveled eastward to the Lakota, Crow and Cheyenne of the northern Plains. As horses arrived from the west, the first guns were being traded from the east. By the time of the French and Indian War in the 1760s, the armed and mounted Indian warrior was a formidable presence on the Great Plains.

Horses Transformed the Buffalo Hunt

Print of a buffalo hunt, after a painting …read more


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The Horrifying Discovery of Dachau Concentration Camp—And Its Liberation by US Troops

November 6, 2020 in History

By Dave Roos

The wrenching images and first-hand testimonies by Dachau’s shocked U.S. liberators brought the horrors of the Holocaust home to America.

When the men of the 42nd “Rainbow” Division rolled into the Bavarian town of Dachau at the tail end of World War II, they expected to find an abandoned training facility for Adolf Hitler’s elite SS forces, or maybe a POW camp.

What they discovered instead would be seared into their memories for as long as they lived—piles of emaciated corpses, dozens of train cars filled with badly decomposed human remains, and perhaps most difficult to process, the thousands of “walking skeletons” who had managed to survive the horrors of Dachau, the Nazi’s first and longest-operating concentration camp.

“Almost none of the soldiers, from generals down to privates, had any concept of what a concentration camp really was, the kind of condition people would be in when they got there, and the level of slavery and oppression and atrocities that the Nazis had perpetrated,” says John McManus, a professor of U.S. military history at the Missouri University of Science and Technology, and author of Hell Before Their Very Eyes: US Soldiers Liberate Concentration Camps in Germany, April 1945.

“It was stunning.”

The liberation of Dachau by American troops on April 26, 1945, wasn’t the first such deliverance by Allied troops. The Soviets had found and freed what remained of Auschwitz and other Polish death camps months earlier. But the wrenching images and first-hand testimonies recorded by Dachau’s shocked liberators brought the horrors of the Holocaust home to America.

No soldier survives alone. Based on a true story, The Liberator is coming this Veterans Day. Produced by A+E Studios. Only on Netflix. Watch preview here.

Dachau Became a Model for Nazi Concentration Camps

American soldiers standing at the main entrance to the Dachau Concentration Camp, 1945. Thousands of prisoners entered these doors and never came out alive.

When Dachau opened in 1933, the notorious Nazi war criminal Heinrich Himmler christened it as “the first concentration camp for political prisoners.” And that’s what Dachau was in its early years, a forced labor detention camp for those judged as “enemies” of the National Socialist (Nazi) party: trade unionists, communists, and Democratic Socialists at first, but eventually Roma (Gypsies), homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses and of course, Jews.

The cruelly efficient operation of Dachau was largely the brainchild …read more


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How Did John Wilkes Booth Die?

November 6, 2020 in History

By Greg Daugherty

By most accounts, the drama played out in a Virginia tobacco barn.

In his decade as a professional actor, 26-year-old John Wilkes Booth played some of the most prestigious theaters in the United States. But the assassin of Abraham Lincoln delivered his final, and perhaps most memorable, performance in a tobacco-curing barn near Port Royal, Virginia.

To some observers, though, it was nothing short of a disappearing act.

The drama played out sometime after 2 a.m. on April 26, 1865 when a detachment from the 16th New York Cavalry regiment and a pair of detectives cornered Booth and a compatriot, David Herold, in the barn. By then, Booth and Herold had been on the run for 12 days.

Luther Baker, one of the detectives, told the two fugitives they had five minutes to come out, or the men would set the barn on fire.

Booth asked for “a little time to consider it.”

History’s Greatest Mysteries premieres Saturday, November 14 at 9/8c on HISTORY.

At that point, Booth and Herold weren’t even sure who their would-be captors were, apparently holding out hope that they might be sympathetic Southerners. Booth twice asked them to identify themselves, but was told only, “It don’t make any difference who we are. We know who you are, and we want you. We want to take you prisoners.”

Booth refused to come out, but attempted to negotiate, citing the leg injury he’d recently sustained: “I am a cripple. I have got but one leg. If you will withdraw your men in line 100 yards from the door, I will come out and fight you.”

Told that the men who surrounded him hadn’t come to do battle but simply to arrest him, Booth tried again, this time asking for just 50 yards. Again, his request was rebuffed.

“Well, my brave boys, prepare a stretcher for me!” Booth replied, in what the second detective, Everton Conger, remembered as a “singularly theatrical voice.”

Broadside advertising reward for capture of Lincoln assassination conspirators, illustrated with photographic prints of John H. Surratt, John Wilkes Booth and David E. Herold.

By now, Booth’s accomplice had decided to give himself up. After some bickering with Booth, who denounced him as a “damned coward,” Herold appeared at the barn door and surrendered.

But Booth remained behind, hiding in the shadows, heavily armed with a pair of pistols, a large Bowie knife and a carbine, or …read more