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Trump's childhood fear of humiliation is inspiring a petty fit of vengeance on the entire country

November 20, 2020 in Blogs

By Common Dreams

In Mary L. Trump’s book about her family, Too Much and Never Enough, there’s a moment referred to in the index as the “mashed potatoes incident.”

Apparently, young Donald was a major pill almost from birth, undisciplined, rude and nasty to his siblings and his mother. One night at dinner, he was, as usual, picking on his younger brother Robert. He had the boy in tears. Older brother Fred, Jr., then 14, intervened.

“Robert’s crying and Donald’s needling became too much,” Mary Trump writes, “and in a moment of improvised expedience that would become family legend, Freddy picked up the first thing at hand that wouldn’t cause any real damage: the bowl of mashed potatoes.

Everybody laughed and they couldn’t stop laughing. And they were laughing at Donald. It was the first time Donald had been humiliated by someone he even then believed to be beneath him… From then on, he would wield the weapon, never be at the sharp end of it.

On November 3, a majority of voters dumped mashed potatoes on Donald Trump’s head and he’s still screaming from the injustice of it all. Despite overwhelming evidence that he lost the election, he continues to falsely bellow “Fraud!” via his Twitter feed and pursues one frivolous lawsuit after another to challenge the result, all to no avail. So far. (As of this writing, he and the Republican Party were 0-25.)

Meanwhile, he fired Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, installed Trump loyalists at the Pentagon, and terminated Chris Krebs, director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), who had the audacity to do an exemplary job keeping this year’s voting free and clear of hacking and other interference. “In every case of which we are aware,” Krebs had announced, “these claims either have been unsubstantiated or are technically incoherent”— flying in the face of Trump’s post-election attempts to flood the zone and work the refs with wild-eyed lies and conspiracy theories.

Judges are viewing his legal team’s frantic fantasies with derision and contempt and lawyers have been dropping the Trump campaign like the proverbial hot un-mashed potato it is to the extent that clown prince Rudy Giuliani is now heading up the legal effort.

I’m hard-pressed to immediately come up with someone who needs to be twelve-stepped more than our city’s former mayor. Rudy, who has not argued before a federal court in 28 years, appeared in one on Tuesday …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Paul Krugman slams the Trump administration plot to 'sabotage' the economy and hurt Biden

November 20, 2020 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

When President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated on January 20, he will inherit not only the worst health crisis in over 100 years, but also, the economic crisis it has unleashed on the United States. Unfortunately, a decision made by outgoing Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, according to the New York Times, won’t make it any easier for Biden to handle the economy — and columnist Paul Krugman is slamming Mnuchin for it on Twitter.

Journalists Jeanna Smialek and Alan Rappeport, in the Times, report that Mnuchin has “said he does not plan to extend several key emergency lending programs beyond the end of the year and asked the Federal Reserve to return the money supporting them — a decision that could hinder President-elect Joseph R. Biden, Jr.’s ability to use the central bank’s vast powers to cushion the economic fallout from the virus.”

Mnuchin, according to Smialek and Alan Rappeport, “said he would not continue Fed programs, including ones that support the markets for corporate bonds and municipal debt and one that extends loans to midsize businesses.” And not renewing that funding, the Times reporters note, “could leave significant corners of the financial world vulnerable to the type of volatility that cascaded through the system as virus fears mounted in the spring.”

In a letter, Mnuchin wrote, “I am requesting that the Federal Reserve return the unused funds to the Treasury.”

Krugman’s response to the Smialek/Rappeport article has been vehement. The liberal economist/Times columnist, in a Twitter thread, explains why he believes that Mnuchin is making a terrible decision.

According to Krugman, “Mnuchin is effectively trying to create a financial crisis, or at least make one more likely.”

Krugman notes that “emergency lending programs can have a stabilizing effect even when they don’t end up being used. And he slams Mnuchin’s decision as “more sabotage by an administration on its way out.”

The Biden camp, unsurprisingly, is likewise outraged at the move.

“The Treasury Department’s attempt to prematurely end support that could be used for small businesses across the country when they are facing the prospect of new shutdowns is deeply irresponsible,” Kate Bedingfield, a spokeswoman for Biden told the Washington Post. “At this fragile moment, as the COVID and …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Watch: A distraught Trump supporter tells Rush Limbaugh says he 'will die for my president'

November 20, 2020 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

Although President Donald Trump has been decisively voted out office — President-elect Joe Biden won 306 electoral votes and is ahead of him by at least 5.8 million in the popular vote — he still has plenty of unwavering devotees. Many Trump critics have described his MAGA base as cult-like, and a Trump supporter who called Rush Limbaugh’s radio show this week certainly fits that description. The male caller, who was deeply upset over the election results, declared that he would be willing to die for the president.

Sounding like he was almost in tears, the caller argued that Republicans aren’t doing enough for Trump in Georgia — which Biden won, according to the original vote count as well a statewide audit of the ballots. The caller told Limbaugh, “Trump and you are all we have left, Rush…. We have a Republican-controlled state, and they won’t do an audit of the vote. They won’t. They just basically told every Georgian that they don’t care.”

The caller went on to say that he attended a large MAGA event in Washington, D.C. recently and was dismayed to see that there were “no Republicans” there. Limbaugh asked him to clarify, saying, “You mean, no elected Republicans? Is that what you mean?” And the caller responded, “Yes, I do. Our party ‘leadership,’ quote unquote. If this were a Democrat rally, they would all be there.”

The caller grew even more emotional when he added, “No one stands for us, Rush. Only you and Donald Trump. God forbid, what do we have left? I love my president. I am not a revolutionary, Rush. But I will die for my president. This man has given more to this country than anybody, and he has no need to. None. He’s a billionaire. He doesn’t need this.”

Limbaugh added, “That’s exactly right.”

Here are some Twitter reactions to the caller:

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Here's the real reason Republicans are all in on Trump's attempted coup

November 20, 2020 in Blogs

By Amanda Marcotte

Donald Trump and his, uh, lawyer Rudy Giuliani are moving into the next phase of Trump’s attempted coup, which entertainingly involves Giuliani sweating out the previous day’s martinis into his hair dye while barking incomprehensible conspiracy theories at bewildered reporters.

Unfortunately, the less amusing and more worrisome aspect of the whole ordeal involves Trump’s efforts to lean on Republican-run state legislatures to appoint pro-Trump electors in states where Joe Biden clearly won.

Like most people reading this, I, too, wish I had a crystal ball and could look into the future at Jan. 20, 2021, to see how this all shakes out. In the meantime, the main point of concern is that nearly all Republican politicians are, to one degree or another, supporting Trump’s efforts. Some, like Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, are flirting with openly seditious behavior by actively trying to get legal ballots thrown in the trash. Most, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, are playing word games to avoid saying who they think will be or should be sworn as president in two months. The only Republican senator to speak out so far is Mitt Romney of Utah, who was also the only Republican senator who voted to convict Trump after his impeachment trial earlier this year.

The common theory in the political class is that this silence is borne out of fear of Trump and his tweeting fingers. Former President Barack Obama, who has been blunt in his concerns about the threat Trump represents to our democracy, characterized the GOP’s passive consent to this coup exactly this way.

“I’m more troubled that you’re seeing a lot of Republican officials go along with it, not because they actually believe it, but because they feel intimidated by it,” Obama told MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart on Thursday.

Obama is right on two out of three counts. It’s true that Republican officials don’t believe a word of Giuliani’s sweaty conspiracy theories, which Heather Digby Parton has described as “going full Infowars.” It’s also true that this GOP compliance is the real problem here. As I explain in the latest Standing Room Only newsletter, successful coups rely on various bureaucrats and lower level politicians who go along. If Trump pulls this …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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This Trump-supporting writer just admitted that his post-election fight is crashing and burning

November 20, 2020 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

The Washington Examiner’s Byron York will never be mistaken for a Never Trump conservative; he has been an outspoken defender of President Donald Trump throughout his time in office. But in his Friday newsletter, even York admits that the post-election tactics of Trump’s legal team are going too far.

York’s column discusses a news conference that was held on Thursday and featured Trump campaign attorneys Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell and Jenna Ellis, all of whom have been claiming, without evidence, that Trump, not President-elect Joe Biden, really won the election and that Trump’s campaign was a victim of widespread voter fraud.

According to York, the conference “marked a turning point of sorts in the way some Republicans view the president’s challenge to election results around the country. Among those Republicans, Trump supporters all, there is concern that the attorneys’ sensational theories of election fraud are hurting the president’s cause rather than helping it.”

York finds “Powell’s presentation” to be “the most worrisome.” Powell, York notes, “told reporters that Joe Biden’s wins in some key states was the result of ‘the massive influence of communist money through Venezuela, Cuba and likely China in the interference with our elections here in the United States.’ The Dominion voting system and Smartmatic software used in the interference, Powell continued, was ‘created in Venezuela at the direction of Hugo Chavez’ to corrupt elections there.”

Powell insisted, “President Trump won by a landslide. We are going to prove it.” But York emphasizes that “Powell offered nothing to prove what she said happened. Her case appeared to be that it could have happened. Nor has Powell or the rest of the Trump team filed a lawsuit alleging that it actually occurred.”

Even Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, York points out, said that Powell “never sent us any evidence, despite a lot of requests, polite requests. Not a page….. (She) never demonstrated that a single actual vote was moved illegitimately by software from one candidate to another.”

Giuliani, during the news conference, claimed, “I can prove to you that [Trump] won Pennsylvania by 300,000 votes. I can prove to you that he won Michigan by probably 50,000 votes.” But Powell notes that the former New York City mayor offered no evidence to back up those claims. And he says that Ellis “essentially pleaded for more time to make the case…. But the Trump team needs to be fast. Time is passing.”

<div …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Jill Biden

November 20, 2020 in History

By History.com Editors

Dr. Jill Biden is a longtime educator, the wife of the 46th U.S. president-elect and former vice president, Joe Biden, and the future first lady of the United States. From 2009-17, as second lady of the United States, she advocated for greater support of military families and breast cancer research, among other issues, while working as a professor of English and writing at Northern Virginia Community College.

Early Life & Marriage to Joe Biden

Then-Senator Joe Biden of Delaware is shown with his wife, Jill, at a rally, Wilmington, Delaware, 1988. The Senator was then a candidate for the Democratic Party nomination for the U.S. President in the 1988 National election.

Born Jill Jacobs in 1951, in Hammonton, New Jersey, she grew up as the oldest of five sisters in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. At 18, after briefly studying fashion merchandising at a junior college in Pennsylvania, she married Bill Stevenson. The two began attending the University of Delaware together, but divorced a few years later. Jill briefly left college, but later returned to earn her bachelor’s degree in English in 1975.

That same year, she was introduced to Joe Biden, then a U.S. senator from Delaware, by Joe Biden’s younger brother, Frank. Nine years Jill’s senior, Joe Biden had lost his first wife, Neilia, and his one-year-old daughter, Naomi, in a car accident in 1972, shortly after he was elected to the Senate for the first time. His two sons, Hunter and Beau, were injured in the same accident but survived.

Joe famously proposed five times to Jill before she accepted. In June 1977, they were married at the United Nations chapel in New York City. Jill helped raise Hunter and Beau, as well as their daughter, Ashley, born in 1981.

Teaching Career

Jill Biden earned two master’s degrees, in education (with a specialty in reading) from West Chester University in 1981 and in English from Villanova University in 1987, while teaching adolescents at a psychiatric hospital. She later taught for years at Claymont High School, Brandywine High School and Delaware Technical and Community College.

Biden returned to the University of Delaware to pursue her doctorate in education, which she earned in 2007. Meanwhile, her husband was re-elected to the Senate five times, and ran unsuccessfully for president twice, in 1988 and 2008, before Barack Obama, the eventual Democratic nominee in 2008, chose him as …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Key Steps That Led to End of Apartheid

November 20, 2020 in History

By Becky Little

A combination of internal and international resistance to apartheid helped dismantle the white supremacist regime.

The formal end of the apartheid government in South Africa was hard-won. It took decades of activism from both inside and outside the country, as well as international economic pressure, to end the regime that allowed the country’s white minority to subjugate its Black majority. This work culminated in the dismantling of apartheid between 1990 and 1994. On April 27, 1994, the country elected Nelson Mandela, an activist who had spent 27 years in prison for his opposition to apartheid, in its first free presidential election.

The white minority who controlled the apartheid government were Afrikaaners—descendants of mostly Dutch colonists who had invaded South Africa starting in the 17th century. Although Afrikaaner oppression of Black South Africans predates the formal establishment of apartheid in 1948, apartheid legalized and enforced a specific racial ideology that separated South Africans into legally distinct racial groups: white, African, “coloured” (i.e., multiracial) and Indian. The apartheid government used violence to enforce segregation between these groups, and forcibly separated many families containing people assigned to different racial categories.

South African Resistance

From 1948 through the 1990s, a single word dominated life in South Africa. Apartheid—Afrikaans for “apartness”—kept the country’s majority black population under the thumb of a small white minority. The segregation began in 1948 after the National Party came to power. The party instituted policies of white supremacy, which empowered white South Africans, descendent’s from Dutch and British settlers, while further disenfranchising black Africans.

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Black South Africans resisted apartheid from the very beginning. In the early 1950s, the African National Congress, or ANC, launched a Defiance Campaign. The purpose of this campaign was for Black South Africans to break apartheid laws by entering white areas, using white facilities and refusing to carry “passes”—domestic passports the government used to restrict the movements of Black South Africans in their own country. In response, the government banned the ANC in 1960, and arrested the prominent ANC activist Nelson Mandela in August 1962.

The banning of the ANC and the incarceration of its leaders forced many ANC members into exile. But it did not stop resistance within South Africa, says Wessel Visser, a history lecturer at Stellenbosch University in South Africa.

“What many dissidents started to do inside the country was …read more

Source: HISTORY