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Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
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The Crown isn't making the royal family look bad. They do a fine job of that themselves

The Crown isn’t making the royal family look bad. They do a fine job of that themselves
Catherine Bennett

Whatever the guild of royal experts says, Peter Morgan’s series can’t match the truth of its unlovely subjects
Sun 29 Nov 2020 03.30 EST

(Guardian UK) Which, below, did the Prince of Wales not say?

a) “I am the Prince of Wales and I will be King!”

b) “I need encouragement and the occasional pat on the back too.”

c) “Darling, come back, of course I want to hug you.”

Any accredited royal writer would know instantly that the answer is b), a line from season 4 of Peter Morgan’s The Crown. The first quote was aimed by a tantruming Charles, along with a book, at Paul Burrell. “I can still see its fluttering pages whirring through the air,” Burrell wrote in A Royal Duty. Quote c) is from The Housekeeper’s Diary by Wendy Berry, a book banned in the UK. “In 1986,” she wrote, “Diana was still making an effort to be loving and affectionate to her husband.”


Fellow Charlesite Penny Junor thinks the dramatisation is over-indebted to Diana. “How easy it is to be seduced,” she writes, “into thinking what we see on screen is what really happened and this is what members of the royal family really said to one another.” Though, equally, how easy it is, when such royal authorities assemble, to forget that some of the deadliest lines – Charles’s “whatever ‘in love’ means” – are verbatim.


Since this is the second time in a month (following the Martin Bashir revelations) that royal commentators have felt compelled to move more or less en bloc against an outsider whose methods they deplore, the creation of some sort of organised guild or union is surely overdue. Royal specialists have for years taken sides, but this was always, you gathered, undertaken regretfully, professionally, out of virtually Baghottian reverence for the institution at risk. No passionate Diana or Charles advocate – or adversary – ever intended by their partiality to expose the entire royal family, as The Crown relentlessly does, as cruel, spoilt and silly, essentially a collection of pitiful victims. .............(more)


Trump's whining about the "rigged" election feeds off GOP's longtime victim complex

Trump's whining about the "rigged" election feeds off GOP's longtime victim complex
For the right to cast themselves as history's victims is nothing new. But this time it's more dangerous than ever

NOVEMBER 30, 2020 1:30PM

(Salon) Both the New York Times and the Washington Post were out over the holiday with deep dives into the post-election moves by Donald Trump and various players around the country as the president refuses to concede and one lawsuit after another is rejected by the courts. They are harrowing tales of a president (whom one source in the Post describes as "Mad King George, muttering 'I won, I won, I won'" ) and a group of lower-level Republicans and judges around the country who stepped into the breach to stop him from overturning the election results.

The Post's narrative takes us down the White House rabbit hole to show just how demented Trump has been ever since election night, when it became clear that his strategy to take advantage of the "red mirage" wasn't working. You may recall that Republicans had successfully kept certain swing states from counting mail-in ballots until the day of the election, the idea being that an early lead from in-person votes might give the impression that Trump had "won" at least 270 Electoral College votes and could declare victory on election night. This stupid plan was thwarted by the Fox News decision desk calling Arizona for Joe Biden, not that it stopped Trump from emerging at 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 4, to declare victory anyway.

His behavior ever since has been predictably daft, disseminating obscure voter-fraud conspiracy theories, empowering his maniacal personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani (whom the Post says Trump considers a "peer" ) and generally behaving like a spoiled, petulant child who simply cannot admit that he lost. Even after four long years of debasing our government and political culture, this would almost be a sad denouement — if he weren't also brainwashing tens of millions of Americans to believe that the election was rigged and cannot be trusted. Unless he wins, of course.


Despite protestations from plenty of establishment voices, none of this is a sign that the "guardrails" worked. It's clear from both articles that the only thing keeping Donald Trump and the Republican Party from overturning this election through propaganda and backdoor political power plays is the fact that too many swing states were not close enough for their strategy to work. Nobody should be relieved by this outcome. It's only remarkable because the election wasn't that close. And this unfortunately gives Trump a platform to be a martyr. ........(more)


Maryland to pay $250 million to settle Purple Line disputes, replace construction contractor

(Baltimore Sun) The Maryland Department of Transportation has agreed to pay $250 million to settle a dispute over cost overruns that caused the construction contractor to quit the Purple Line light rail project in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in September.

The settlement, which is pending approval by the state Board of Public Works, would allow construction to resume by ending all litigation, salvaging the public-private partnership with two of the contractors — Meridiam and Star America — and replacing Texas-based Fluor Corp., the project’s primary builder.

The settlement amounts to less than a third of the $800 million in overruns that Purple Line Transit Partners, the consortium of contractors, had claimed due to more than two years of delays to the project. Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, had accused the companies of trying to “gouge” Maryland taxpayers.

“This agreement is a major step toward completing the Purple Line, a transformative project for our state and the region,” Hogan said in a statement. .............(more)


Love this.... Time to demote Mitch.

Conservative women often don't perceive sexism as a social problem. Here's why

(Salon) Arecent study found that conservative women who experience sex-based discrimination are less likely to become politically active, or to believe that sexism is a systemic problem, than their liberal counterparts.

"Women who have experienced gender discrimination report higher levels of political participation and a higher chance of voting in the general election," writes Dr. Alexa Bankert of the University of Georgia in a paper published in American Politics Research. "However, among conservative women, personal experience with sexism is not associated with this participatory impetus." In other words, the experience of being discriminated against seems to activate liberal women and encourage them to vote and be involved in politics. Peculiarly, that wasn't the same for conservative women.

Bankert told PsyPost that the difference related to how one perceives sexism, as a one-off thing or systemic. "Among conservative women, the perception dominates that sexist behavior consists of isolated incidents while liberal women view sexism as a more systemic problem," she said. That interpretation fits with a fundamental truth about the right-left divide, namely, the tendency of the right to deny the existence of the social sphere and view social problems rather as individual ones — whereas the left understands social issues as structural, related to large-scale cultural and social factors that must be changed at a political level. "This might explain why experienced sexism amplifies liberal women's political engagement but there is not a similar participatory impetus among conservative women," Bankert mused.

Salon reached out to Bankert about her paper and how she went about her research. ..................(more)


The National Retail Federation is delusional.......

Retailers could end up having a strong finish to 2020, despite all of the challenges that the coronavirus pandemic has dealt the industry, according to a new forecast that cites a strong stock market, rising home values and record personal savings rates as factors that could boost spending.

The National Retail Federation said Monday it expects holiday sales during November and Decemberto rise between 3.6 percent and 5.2 percent year over year, amounting to between $755.3 billion and $766.7 billion.

“Given the pandemic, there is uncertainty about consumers’ willingness to spend,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “But with the economy improving, most have the ability to spend.”

With spending on travel and entertainment largely sidelined, consumers have more money to spend on other items, the group said. ..............(more)


Radicalization experts fear what Trump's fringes will do now--and they aren't certain how to stop it.

(Slate) Donald Trump and his surrogates’ attempts to overturn the results of U.S. election have prompted waves of panic, ridicule, and disbelief. The effort has proved an embarrassment, with a disastrous track record in court and increasing resistance from Republican officials. But for closer watchers of the far-right fringes that the president has helped grow and nurture during his administration, the outcome of the charade has never been the concern. Experts on radicalization and deradicalization are less worried about what will happen with Trump—and more worried about what his diehard supporters will do in a post-Trump America.

“This keeps me up at night,” John Horgan told me over the phone. He’s a Georgia State professor and the director of the Violent Extremism Research Group, which examines what pushes people to political violence. Joe Biden won the election, but groups like the Proud Boys and the Boogaloo movement aren’t fading away. “I think for many of these movements, their moment has come,” Horgan said. “I think we’re truly in free fall, and don’t have any sense of how to grasp this.”

Horgan has long put himself in the minds of extremists to understand what fuels them. He’s aware that by warning others of their potential for violence, he could be playing into their hands. But he’s not willing to play down the threat he sees. “If you need to terrify yourself, that’s often what these groups want us to do. But the warning signs are all around us,” he said. “I want to be wrong about this, but I see short- and medium-term violence in our future. It’s all around us.”

Political violence in the United States is already trending upward. Armed insurgency groups are recruiting with higher success rates. And in some states, they are activated. In the months leading up to election, a teenager persuaded by militiamen-style propaganda allegedly shot and killed anti-police protesters, an antifa sympathizer allegedly shot and killed an opponent, and more generally, Americans’ opinion on whether political violence is justifiable has shifted. Many experts in countering violent extremist—known as CVE in insider speak—fear it may already be too late to steer clear of what comes next. .............(more)


Canada: One-year-old boy killed after police open fire on alleged kidnapper

A one-year-old infant in Canada has been fatally shot in an incident involving police officers who opened fire on a pickup truck while responding to an alleged kidnapping.

Investigators have not yet confirmed if police gunfire killed the boy.

“It’s too early for us to know why officers fired at the vehicle, and it’s too early for us to know exactly what transpired,” Monica Hudon, a spokeswoman for the province’s police watchdog, told reporters.

Early on Thursday morning, officers in the community of Kawartha Lakes in Ontario were alerted to a domestic dispute involving a firearm and the suspected abduction of the one-year-old by his father. ...........(more)


What could Trump do to tank the economy out of vengeance? What Republicans have done for years

(Salon) Less than a week before the 2020 election, I interviewed a number of psychologists who speculated that if President Donald Trump lost to former Vice President Joe Biden, his narcissism might cause him to lash out by deliberately tanking the economy. Now it seems like that prediction might have been correct — although the reasons may have as much to do with the Republican Party's longstanding traditions as Trump's individual flaws.

Last week Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin inexplicably decided to allow a number of federal programs sponsored by the CARES Act to expire on Dec. 31. These programs, which have allowed the government to lend up to $4.5 trillion in various financial markets to stave off economic pain that would otherwise be felt by municipalities, businesses and workers, could still be revived by incoming Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen if she strikes an agreement with the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

Because Biden will not take office until Jan. 20, however, Mnuchin's actions are likely to hurt people economically in the intervening span, a point that the Federal Reserve itself acknowledged when it publicly disagreed with Mnuchin.


While some of Trump's actions can be potentially explained by a narcissistic desire to punish Americans for not reelecting him, others are consistent with the Republican Party's longstanding approach toward economics. As Dr. Richard D. Wolff, professor emeritus of economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, told Salon, it is not at all uncommon for Republicans to make decisions that they know will hurt the working class in order to reap political benefit for themselves. ...........(more)


Harvey Milk's murder is a stark reminder of the persistence of police brutality

Harvey Milk's murder is a stark reminder of the persistence of police brutality
Lincoln Mitchell

Few realize Milk and San Francisco mayor George Moscone were killed in part due to their opposition to police violence and abuse
Fri 27 Nov 2020 06.00 EST

Like millions around the world, last May the image of the Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin killing George Floyd sickened and angered me and drove me to the streets to demonstrate in support of Black Lives Matter. It also reminded me of events that occurred in my hometown of San Francisco 42 years ago on Friday.

Many people know who Harvey Milk was, are familiar with his contributions to the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement and remember that he was assassinated on 27 November 1978 after being in office for less than a year. Fewer people are aware that one of the proximate reasons why Milk and San Francisco’s progressive mayor George Moscone were killed was because of their opposition to police violence and abuse.

The line from Derek Chauvin back to Dan White, the former San Francisco supervisor, fireman and policeman who murdered George Moscone and Harvey Milk, may encompass 42 years of urban history, but it is clear and a stark reminder of the persistence of police brutality and the efforts to which some will go to resist any reform.

Dan White was a bigot who, in 1977, had gotten elected on a reactionary platform that included promises to “eradicate malignancies that blight our city”, but his actions were motivated in substantial part by a toxic mix of that bigotry along with anger and loyalty to the parochial interests of the racist factions within the San Francisco police department (SFPD). ..............(more)


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