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Here's the real danger lurking in Trump's world-historical tantrum

November 12, 2020 in Blogs

By Amanda Marcotte

Over the past week, Donald Trump has successfully sent a large chunk of the 78 million-plus Americans who voted for President-elect Joe Biden — the actual winner of the actual presidential election — into an emotional tailspin. Trump is still doing what the mainstream media gently describes as “refusing to concede”, but is in fact better described as throwing the world’s biggest and most childish tantrum, screaming “WE WILL WIN!” on Twitter and floating an endless stream of baseless conspiracy theories about the election.

Trump tantrums more than a roomful of tired toddlers, so this is no surprise. But what terrifies so many Biden voters — an astonishing number of people are complaining of panic attacks or lost sleep on social media — are the real moves Trump’s team and many Republican politicians are taking that make this less like a typical tantrum and more like a genuine attempted coup.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has trolled reporters by talking about Trump’s “second term”. General Services Administration head Emily Murphy, a Trump appointee, is refusing to sign paperwork that would allow the Biden transition team to begin work. Trump’s campaign is continuing to file relentless and frivolous suits, even though they’re getting promptly thrown out of court, making false allegations of “voter fraud.” Relatively few Republican elected officials will even admit that Biden won, and a healthy number are backing Trump’s false accusations that Democrats stole the election.

But what really sent a lot of people around the bend was Trump’s petulant firing of various leaders at the Pentagon and in U.S. intelligence services, replacing them with loyalists apparently trained at Rep. Devin Nunes’ Camp for Incompetent Conspiracy Theorists. This triggered a fear response, largely due to outdated American notions of what a “coup” looks like, borne from half-remembered ’70s-era news footage of tanks and military fatigues in foreign countries.

So let’s rest assured: Trump is going to leave office, one way or another, on Jan. 20. Sadly, it almost certainly won’t be because he forces the Secret Service to drag him out, since he knows better than anyone what would happen to his combover in such a situation. Trump’s one shot to invalidate the …read more


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White House Election Night party was a giant superspreader event

November 12, 2020 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

From tightly packed MAGA rallies to a White House Rose Garden ceremony honoring the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett — now a U.S. Supreme Court justice — in October, President Donald Trump has repeatedly drawn sharp criticism from medical experts for gatherings that failed to live up to social distancing standards during the worst pandemic in over 100 years. And now, yet another Trump gathering is being slammed as a superspreader event: the Election Night party held in the White House.

According to NBC News’ Peter Alexander, the list of Trump allies who attended that Election Night event on November 3 and have since tested positive for COVID-19 includes White House Chief Staff Mark Meadows; Ben Carson, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development; White House Political Director Brian Jack; Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager; Dave Bossie, a Trump campaign adviser; and Healy Baumgardner, a Trump ally.

On Twitter, Alexander’s colleague at NBC News, Monica Alba, also listed all of them as attendees at the Election Night event — noting that three unnamed White House aides who were in attendance as well have tested positive for COVID-19. Alba noted, however, that it is “hard to say” for certain where all of them “got the virus.”

These infections follow a long list of COVID-19 infections in Trumpworld in October. The president himself tested positive for the novel coronavirus less than a week after his first presidential debate with former Vice President Joe Biden, which was held on September 29 and was moderated by Fox News’ Chris Wallace. Trump was hospitalized at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland because of his illness and received experimental treatments not available to the public. Trump allies who also tested positive for COVID-19 around that time included White House adviser Kellyanne Conway; former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany; First Lady Melania Trump; North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis; Republican National Committee Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel; Sen. Mike Lee of Utah; …read more


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MSNBC’s Chris Hayes spits fire at Republicans for letting America be ‘thrashed’ by COVID-19

November 12, 2020 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

As President-elect Joe Biden’s lead over President Donald Trump continues to grow in both the electoral vote and the popular vote, many pundits are analyzing the reasons for Biden’s victory. At the top of the list of reasons is Trump’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which Biden has repeatedly slammed as disastrous. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes clearly shares Biden’s view, and during an angry, scathing commentary on his Wednesday night show, the news host argued that Trump and other Republicans have failed their country miserably during the worst pandemic in over 100 years.

Hayes opened his commentary by noting the current popular vote count, pointing out that Americans of all political stripes are suffering because of the pandemic.

“This is an enormous, complicated country,” Hayes explained. “72 million people voted for Donald Trump, and 77 million and counting — that will go up — voted for Joe Biden in the tallying completed so far. And Trump voters and Biden voters, we share this country together. What it means to be American is to share this place.”

Hayes added, “The best form of patriotism is that you love your country not because it’s better than other counties — you love it the same way you love your family: because it’s yours. And you fight for it because it’s yours. And this country, our country we all share together, is in unbelievable distress right now.”

The MSNBC host went on address the fact that in the U.S., the pandemic has been going from bad to worse in one state after another.

“Americans are all being thrashed by this virus,” Hayes angrily noted, adding that per-capita, the U.S. has some of the worst COVID-19 infection rates in the world. The U.S. clearly leads the world in the number of COVID-19 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. But on a per-capita basis, the infection rates in the U.S. are — as Hayes pointed out — also appalling. And Hayes slammed not only Trump, but also, other Republicans who continue to hold superspreader events that ignore social distancing guidelines.

Hayes told viewers, “There are more than 150 countries doing better than us…. We should be demanding the best of our country and our leadership. But instead, this corrupt, defeated government has surrendered.”

Watch the video below:

Chris Hayes: If The GOP Loves Our Country, It Needs To Fight Covid-19 | …read more


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What Was the Titanic’s Captain Doing While the Ship Sank?

November 12, 2020 in History

By Greg Daugherty

Smith’s body was never recovered, and his final moments remain a mystery—with no shortage of conflicting accounts.

No one knows exactly where Captain E.J. Smith was at 11:40 p.m. on Sunday, April 14, 1912. But witnesses said he appeared on the bridge of the Titanic just moments later, asking what the storied ship, making its maiden voyage across the Atlantic, had struck.

“An iceberg, sir,” First Officer William Murdoch replied.

So began the worst night of Edward John Smith’s otherwise charmed life. In more than 40 years at sea he had rarely been involved in an accident and never held accountable for one. Now he was about to preside over one of the worst sea disasters of all time. In a matter of hours, more than 1,500 passengers and crew would be dead, including Smith himself.

Smith’s body was never recovered, and his final moments remain a mystery, with no shortage of conflicting accounts—including one in which he jumped off the ship holding a baby. As author Wyn Craig Wade wrote in The Titanic: End of a Dream, “Captain Smith had at least five different deaths, from heroic to ignominious.” Rumors of his survival also circulated.

MORE: The Titanic: Before and After Photos

Captain of White Star Liner, RMS Titanic, Commander Edward J. Smith, c. 1911.

Conflicting Damage Reports

At first it appeared as if Smith’s luck was going to hold. Fourth Officer Joseph G. Boxhall made a quick inspection of the ship and returned to the bridge to report that he had found no damage. But whatever relief Smith might have felt at that moment was quickly shattered. Thomas Andrews, the Titanic’s head designer, reported that his inspection revealed flooding in at least five of the Titanic’s 16 watertight compartments. While the ship could have stayed afloat with up to four flooded compartments, depending on their location, five tipped into catastrophic territory. At roughly midnight, Andrews reportedly told Smith the Titanic could last another 60 to 90 minutes.

Smith now knew the Titanic was doomed. He also knew that its 20 lifeboats, with a total capacity of 1,178, couldn’t begin to accommodate the more than 2,200 passengers and crew members aboard.

READ MORE: Titanic by the Numbers: From Construction to Disaster to Discovery

The Phantom Rescue Ship

The captain still had some hope of averting total disaster. Soon after the collision, he and other officers saw what they believed …read more


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Inside the world of a dark-web drug seller

November 12, 2020 in Blogs

By Filter


In today’s bifurcated illicit drug trade, it’s increasingly common for transactions to occur anonymously, online—on the 0.01 percent of the deep web known as the dark web, which is inaccessible on most browsers.

For buyers and sellers with Tor, cryptocurrency and PGP, dark-web markets offer an intuitive, Amazon-esque user interface, with escrow and review features to keep everyone honest. Such markets are a logical first stop for newbies with technical know-how. But the added protection of the markets comes at an extra cost—one that many customers are happy to do without once they’ve established trust and a one-to-one connection with a seller.

In the fentanyl era, it remains easy and common to demonize drug sellers. But the one I interviewed—a 30-something, soft-spoken white man in the eastern United States, whose identifying details are omitted for obvious reasons—couldn’t be less like the bloodthirsty predator stereotype we hear about in elementary school drug prevention assemblies and mainstream media. Over the course of our conversation, I was struck by his meticulousness, insight and palpable concern for customer health and safety. Though he is unquestionably and unapologetically working illegally, his answers illustrate why he is ethically ok with his work.

Our interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

David Poses: How long have you been doing this and how did you get started?

A friend got into some low-level dealing when Silk Road was coming up [in the early 2010s]. I went along and grew it from there.

Do you sell drugs in person or only online?

Strictly online.

Is this your only occupation, or do you do something else?

I have another (legitimate) business.

Great. What and where is it?


What kinds of drugs do you sell?

Heroin and a little coke; meth, occasionally.

What’s your most popular item?

Two-gram bags of heroin.

Do you add fentanyl or other synthetic analogues to your heroin?

Never. Most of my customers are trying to steer clear of fentanyl.

How do you know it’s not fentanyl or laced with fentanyl?

I run a few different kinds of tests on it [including methods "more sophisticated" than fentanyl test strips]. If the shit is cut, I let customers know.

Actual heroin and genuine pharmaceutical opioids seem to be increasingly hard to find. Is that your experience as …read more


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The GOP's formula for destruction is back in play — here's how Democrats can beat it

November 12, 2020 in Blogs

By Joshua Holland

The broad contours of the next two years of American politics are pretty clear. They’re going to suck for the left. And things could get worse after that. But there is hope.

The GOP’s nonsensical claims that widespread voter fraud denied Trump a second term represent Birtherism 2.0. They can’t claim that a white guy from Scranton who’s been a prominent figure in DC for the past 40 years was born in Kenya, but for the 86 percent of Trump voters who believe that Joe Biden did not legitimately win the 2020 election, the effect is the same. This belief will animate the next, more extreme iteration of the tea party movement. In fact, some of the Republican operatives organizing these “stop the steal” protests are veterans of that Astroturf campaign.

If Democrats manage the difficult task of sweeping runoff elections for two Georgia Senate seats in January, they will be constrained by the filibuster. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has already signaled that he would not support eliminating it. Others would no doubt join him if they weren’t the deciding vote.

If, as is likely, Republicans hold onto the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will follow the playbook he developed during the Obama years, refusing to bring bills with bipartisan support to the floor and blockading Biden’s judicial nominees. Either way, requiring 60 votes to pass legislature will be the norm.

Given that the pandemic is now completely out of control, McConnell would probably have no choice but to negotiate a bipartisan Covid relief and economic stimulus package, assuming one doesn’t pass before the inauguration. Aside from that, Democrats would only be able to make progress through executive actions and during “fiscal cliff” negotiations over must-pass bills to keep the government operating or avoid a debt default. If Dems manage to win control of the Senate, they would also be able to do certain things–like rolling back the Trump tax cuts–through budget reconciliation, which can’t be filibustered.

The executive branch wields a lot of power, and with control of the House, Democrats would be able to achieve smaller parts of their agenda. And competent government will be like a breath of fresh air after the past four years. But the party’s base wants them to govern. They want a new voting rights act and an expansion of public healthcare and aggressive climate legislation, among other priorities. …read more


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Queen Elizabeth II: 13 Key Moments in Her Reign

November 12, 2020 in History

By Sarah Pruitt

Revisit some of the most historic moments in the reign of Britain’s record-setting monarch.

Queen Elizabeth II is such an institution that it’s easy to forget she wasn’t supposed to have become queen at all.

Born in 1926, Elizabeth was the daughter of King George V’s second son, and had little expectation of succeeding to the throne until her uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated in 1936 to marry the divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson. After the death of her father, King George VI, 25-year-old Elizabeth was called upon to assume the throne, beginning a momentous reign that has spanned the better part of a century.

Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation – June 2, 1953

Queen Elizabeth II after her coronation ceremony in Westminster Abbey, London.

Held at Westminster Abbey, Elizabeth’s coronation ceremony was the first to be broadcast live on television. Some 27 million people in the United Kingdom (out of a total population of 36 million) watched the ceremony, and 11 million more listened on the radio. Afterward, some 3 million people lined the route as the queen and her entourage made their slow procession back to Buckingham Palace.

READ MORE: Queen Elizabeth II’s Reign: Then and Now

First State Visit to West Germany – 1965

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip drive in an open off-road vehicle of the British Military Police on the occasion of a parade of British troops over the Maifeld at the Olympic Stadium, in Berlin, on May 27, 1965.

In the midst of a decade marked by social and political changes, the queen kept to a busy schedule of diplomatic duties, including a 10-day visit to the Federal Republic of Germany (or West Germany) that was the first official visit there by a British royal since 1913. Her visit marked the 20-year anniversary of the end of World War II, helping to symbolize the reconciliation between the two countries and recognize Germany’s reemergence as a power in Europe and on the world stage.

READ MORE: Queen Elizabeth II: The Real Stories Behind the Tumultuous 1960s and ’70s

Mining Disaster in Wales – 1966

On October 21, 1966, nearly 140,000 cubic yards of coal waste had slid down a rain-saturated manmade mountainside in in Aberfan, Wales.

View the 9 images of this gallery on the original article

On October 21, 1966, an avalanche …read more