Royal family absorbs shock of revealing Harry, Meghan interview

Royal family absorbs shock of revealing Harry, Meghan interview

Britain and its royal family absorbed the tremors Monday from a sensational television interview by Prince Harry and Meghan, in which the couple said they encountered racist attitudes and a lack of support that drove the duchess to thoughts of suicide.

In a two-hour soul-baring interview with Oprah Winfrey, the couple painted a deeply unflattering picture of life inside the royal household, depicting a cold, uncaring institution that they had to flee to save their lives.

Meghan told Winfrey that at one point “I just didn’t want to be alive anymore” and that she had uncontrollable suicidal thoughts. She said she sought help through the palace’s human resources department but was told there was nothing they could do.

Meghan, 39, admitted that she was naive at the start of her relationship with Harry and unprepared for the strictures of royal life.

The former television star, who identifies as biracial, said that when she was pregnant with son, Archie, there were “concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born.”

Harry confirmed the conversation, saying: “I was a bit shocked.” He said he would not reveal who made the comment.

The pair, known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, announced they were quitting royal duties last year, citing what they said were the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media. That split became official earlier this year, and the interview was widely seen as their first opportunity to explain their decision.

The implications for the interview — which was broadcast Sunday night in the United States and will air in Britain on Monday night — are only beginning to be understood. Emily Nash, royal editor at Hello! Magazine, said the revelations had left her and many other viewers “shell-shocked.”

“I don’t see how the palace can ignore these allegations, they’re incredibly serious,” she said. “You have the racism allegations. Then you also have the claim that Megan was not supported, and she sought help even from the HR team within the household and was told that she couldn’t seek help.”

Anti-monarchy group Republic said the interview gave a clearer picture of what the royal family is like — and it’s not pretty.

“Whether for the sake of Britain or for the sake of the younger royals this rotten institution needs to go,’’ Graham Smith of the campaign group said.

Harry, born a royal prince, described how his wife’s experience had helped him realize how he and he rest of the family were stuck in an oppressive institution.

“I was trapped, but I didn’t know I was trapped,” Harry said. “My father and my brother, they are trapped.”

Meghan, he said, “saved me.”

The younger royals — including Harry, Meghan, Harry’s brother, Prince William, and William’s wife, Catherine — have made campaigning for support and awareness around mental health one of their priorities. But Harry said the royal family was completely unable to offer that support to its own members.

“For the family, they very much have this mentality of ‘This is just how it is, this is how it’s meant to be, you can’t change it, we’ve all been through it,’” Harry said.

The couple had faced severe criticism in the United Kingdom before the interview. Prince Philip, Harry’s 99-year-old grandfather, is in a London hospital after recovering from a heart procedure, and critics saw the decision to go forward as being a burden on the queen — even though CBS, rather that Harry and Meghan, dictated the timing of the broadcast.

In the United States, sympathy for the couple poured in after the interview. Britain could be less forgiving, since some see Meghan and Harry as a couple who put personal happiness ahead of public duty.

Tennis star Serena Williams, a friend who attended Harry and Meghan’s wedding, said on Twitter that the duchess’s words “illustrate the pain and cruelty she’s experienced.”

“The mental health consequences of systemic oppression and victimization are devastating, isolating and all too often lethal,” Williams added.

Meghan — then known as Meghan Markle, who had starred on the American TV legal drama “Suits” — married Harry, a grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, at Windsor Castle in May 2018.

But even that was not what it seemed: The couple revealed in the interview that they exchanged vows in front of Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby three days before their spectacular wedding ceremony at the castle.

“We called the archbishop and we just said, ’Look, this thing, this spectacle is for the world, but we want our union between us,’” Meghan said.

Archie was born the following year and in a rare positive moment in the interview, the couple revealed their second child, due in the summer, would be a girl.

Holding hands, Harry and Meghan sat opposite Winfrey while she questioned them in a lush garden setting. The couple lives in Montecito, California, where they are Winfrey’s neighbors.

Harry said he had lived in fear of a repeat of the fate of his mother, Princess Diana, who was covered constantly by the press and died in a car crash in Paris in 1997 while being pursued by paparazzi.

“What I was seeing was history repeating itself, but definitely far more dangerous — because then you add race in, and you add social media in,” Harry said.

Both Meghan and Harry praised the support they had received from the monarch.

“The queen has always been wonderful to me,” Meghan said.

But Harry revealed he currently has a poor relationship with William and said things got so bad with his father that at one point Prince Charles stopped taking his calls.

“There is a lot to work through there,” Harry said about his relationship with his father. “I feel really let down. He’s been through something similar. He knows what pain feels like. And Archie is his grandson. I will always love him, but there is a lot of hurt that has happened.”

While clips of the interview have been shared online, and the British press covered the major points, much of Britain won’t see the full interview until Monday night — and many will want to know how the palace addresses this saga. The palace has not responded to the interview.

The royal family has known scandal before — most recently over Prince Andrew’s friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. That led Andrew, Harry’s uncle, to being sidelined from royal duties.

“I’m very sad for the queen,” said Ernest Lee, 76, when questioned in London. “I think she has a lot of problems at the moment, what with one of her sons (Andrew) and scandals and now her grandson busting up, pulling away from the royal family. … We have enough problems in this world without people making more.”

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Conservative group to invest $10M on effort to tighten election security laws in 8 swing states

Officials work on ballots at the Gwinnett County Voter Registration and Elections Headquarters, Friday, Nov. 6, 2020, in Lawrenceville, near Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Heritage Action for America, a conservative nonprofit tied to the right-leaning think tank The Heritage Foundation, on Monday will announce that it plans to spend $10 million on efforts to tighten election security laws in eight key swing states. 

The details of the effort, first obtained by Fox News, will include digital and television ads, volunteer issue advocacy campaigns and lobbying state legislatures directly. Heritage Action will target Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, Texas and Wisconsin, all considered key swing states after the 2020 election. 

“Fair elections are essential for every policy debate in the future,” Heritage Action Executive Director Jessica Anderson said in a statement. “We are working to help state lawmakers restore trust in our elections, ensure transparency, and protect the rights of every American to a fair election. This is our number one priority, and we are committed to doing whatever it takes.”

Officials work on ballots at the Gwinnett County Voter Registration and Elections Headquarters, Friday, Nov. 6, 2020, in Lawrenceville, near Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)


State election systems came under close scrutiny during the coronavirus pandemic, which caused nationwide lockdowns beginning approximately one year ago.

The later races in the Democratic presidential primary took place primarily by mail ballot to limit in-person contact as the virus spread. But Republicans said that mail voting is less secure than in-person voting.

States generally kept or even expanded their mail ballot systems for the general election. The speedy implementation of these processes raised concerns of ballot harvesting, that ballots could be mailed to voters who no longer live at a certain location due to outdated voter rolls, and more. 

Shifting election rules were some of the key gripes from former President Donald Trump and those who supported his false claims that he won the presidential election. But despite intense scrutiny, no fraud widespread enough to overturn the result in any individual state was found. 

Congressional Democrats are aiming to make permanent some of the widespread changes that states put in place for the 2020 presidential election.

Mass-mail-in ballots sit atop junk mail in a trash can beside a Las Vegas, Nev., apartment building, October 2020. Photo courtesy of Jim Murphy.

Mass-mail-in ballots sit atop junk mail in a trash can beside a Las Vegas, Nev., apartment building, October 2020. Photo courtesy of Jim Murphy.


The bill, H.R. 1, would eliminate all voter I.D. requirements; make it harder for states to clean up outdated voter rolls; mandate automatic voter registration for individuals who are registered with state or federal offices within a state; and mandate no-excuse absentee voting in all states, among many other things. 

Anderson said that the Heritage Action state-level effort is partially an answer to H.R. 1, which passed the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives but is unlikely to clear a 60-vote filibuster hurdle in the Senate. 

“Fair and free elections matter to every American,” Anderson said. “While we are working to prevent federal election takeovers like HR 1, voting safeguards have to start with the states. That is why we are now deploying Heritage Action’s extensive grassroots network for state-level advocacy for the first time ever.”


Heritage Action will push for stricter rules on voter I.D., citizenship verification and ballot harvesting. It will also advocate for laws that will make it easier for states to clean their voter rolls and for election observers to oversee the voting and ballot-counting processes. 

Meanwhile, President Biden on Sunday signed an executive order designed to increase voter access as he backs the passage of the likely-doomed H.R. 1. 

According to the White House, Biden’s executive order modernizes, orders federal agencies to expand access to voter registration, provides voting access and education to prisoners in federal custody, examines barriers to citizens with disabilities voting and improves ballot tracking for overseas voters, including active duty military.

#Conservative #group #invest #10M #effort #tighten #election #security #laws #swing #states

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Sen. Joe Manchin, a key Democratic swing vote, is open to crafting a ‘more painful’ filibuster

Sen. Joe Manchin, a key Democratic swing vote, is open to crafting a 'more painful' filibuster

The House is expected to clear President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus bill on Tuesday, after the Senate narrowly passed it Saturday morning, following a lengthily negotiation with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) over unemployment benefits. The narrow Democratic majority is now discussing how to pass other legislative priorities, and Manchin said Sunday he’s open to reforming the filibuster.

“The filibuster should be painful, it really should be painful. and we’ve made it more comfortable over the years,” Manchin said on Fox News Sunday. “Maybe it has to be more painful.” One solution could be to require a “talking filibuster,” where senators can block legislation temporarily through feats of endurance. “If you want to make it a little bit more painful, make him stand there and talk,” Manchin said on NBC’s Meet The Press.. “I’m willing to look at any way we can, but I’m not willing to take away the involvement of the minority.”

Manchin repeated that he’s “not going to change my mind” on ending the filibuster, but his comments were still greeted positively by filibuster opponents. The talking filibuster “preserves some ability for the minority to slow a bill as long as they physically hold the floor, but then allows an up-or-down vote once they give up,” Demand Justice executive director Brian Fallon tweeted. “This is the Jimmy Stewart model.”

Manchin also expressed an openness to exploring other ways to sidestep blanket GOP opposition, suggesting that perhaps the budget reconciliation process could be used to pass voting-rights legislation — it can’t — or other priorities. “But I’m not going to go there until my Republican friends have the ability to have their say also,” he said. “I’m hoping they will get involved to the point where we have 10 of them that will work with 50 of us.”

“If we continue to see obstruction from our Republican colleagues — as we saw through this COVID relief package — I think the patience is going to wear thin, even on moderate Democrats,” Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) said Sunday on CNN. “But we’ll see.”

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#Sen #Joe #Manchin #key #Democratic #swing #vote #open #crafting #painful #filibuster

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Unruly party near Colorado University in Boulder prompts police to vow arrests

A police vehicle was damaged during a massive street party.

Police in Boulder, Colo., said Sunday that they were working to identify those who took part in a large street party on University Hill that resulted in three officers being assaulted by bricks and rocks, reports said.

KDVR, the local station, reported that the Saturday night party included a large crowd that set off fireworks and caused significant property damage, including to an armored police vehicle and fire truck. Police from the Boulder Police Department said they are reviewing footage in order to “charge and identify” those involved.

The school also issued a statement calling the incident “unacceptable and irresponsible,” especially when considering compliance with COVID-19 health orders.

“We appreciate the efforts of law enforcement to address the unacceptable conduct of these students and apologize to the residents of University Hill for their behavior,” the school’s statement said.

A police vehicle was damaged during a massive street party.
(Boulder Police Department)

Photographs from the scene showed cars with smashed windows and at least one car was flipped over.

The Washington Post reported that there were about 500 to 800 “maskless revelers.” The report said police arrived at about 8:30 p.m. and warned the crowd that they faced arrest if they did not leave. There was a clash with police when about 100 from the group charged them, the report said.


Michael Dougherty, the Boulder County district attorney, told reporters at a news conference that calling what happened on Saturday a party is incorrect.

“I don’t regard people flipping over a car as a party. I don’t regard people throwing bottles and rocks at firefighters and police officers as a party. Those are criminal acts and will be treated as such.”

#Unruly #party #Colorado #University #Boulder #prompts #police #vow #arrests

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Incoming cold storm to bring rain, snow to Southern California

Incoming cold storm to bring rain, snow to Southern California

Vaccination sites within the city of Los Angeles will ramp up first-dose appointments this week, aiming to administer 88,000 shots across seven permanent locations and eight mobile clinics, officials said Sunday.

“Vaccines are our ticket to ending the pandemic, saving lives, rebuilding our communities, and delivering hope for a healthier future,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement Sunday. “We still have a long way to go to safely and swiftly vaccinate as many Angelenos as possible — and a larger, steadier supply of doses this week means we can bring relief to more seniors, frontline and essential workers, and anyone eligible to receive a vaccine in our city.”

#Incoming #cold #storm #bring #rain #snow #Southern #California

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United Center limits vaccinations to only Chicagoans after majority of appointments made by those outside the city

United Center limits vaccinations to only Chicagoans after majority of appointments made by those outside the city

The Guardian

No, Dr Seuss and Mr Potato Head haven’t been ‘cancelled’. Here’s the difference

Real cancel culture has existed throughout US history, and much of what we witness now is meaningless by comparison Dr Seuss Enterprises said on Tuesday that these four titles, as well as Scrambled Eggs Super! and The Cat’s Quizzer, will no longer be published. Photograph: Christopher Dolan/AP On Tuesday, the estate of Dr Seuss decided that it will cease publishing six books by the beloved children’s author which contain offensive depictions of non-white characters. A week earlier, Hasbro, the manufacturer of Mr Potato Head, announced that the toy will henceforth be known by the non-gendered moniker Potato Head. An army of defenders has now risen to protect the sanctity of Mr Potato Head and Dr Seuss. Social media and conservative news outlets have been consumed with memes and hot takes declaring the dangerous overreach of “cancel culture”, which they define as the process of punishing a person or product deemed offensive by some vague set of modern moral standards. Fox News dedicated much of Tuesday to proclaiming the end of Dr Seuss at the hands of liberals. One Fox News Host, Brian Kilmeade, exclaimed, “The cancel culture is canceling Dr Seuss … It’s out of control.” During a congressional debate, the Republican California congressman Kevin McCarthy somehow worked the Seuss controversy into an argument against a bill that would expand voting rights, saying, “First they outlaw Dr Seuss and then they want to tell us what to say.” Congressman Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Florida, lambasted the rebranding of Mr Potato Head during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), blatting, “Look out, Mr Potato Head, you’re next … I’m sorry, I think now he’s going by Potato X. He can’t be Mr Potato.” As is usual with outrage over cancel culture, the discussion is devoid of facts, and aimed at a phantom leftwing mob that mainly exists in conservatives’ minds. Dr Seuss and Mr Potato Head are not being cancelled, they were never going to be, and, if anything, the exact opposite is happening. Real cancel culture has existed throughout the history of the United States, and much of what we are witnessing today is meaningless and inconsequential by comparison. First and foremost, neither Dr Seuss nor Mr Potato Head are being cancelled. Dr Seuss’s estate decided to voluntarily stop producing six of his books. These books contain racist imagery that Dr Seuss (real name Theodor Seuss Geisel) may too have been ashamed of. During the second world war, Seuss published anti-Japanese cartoons and vocally supported the establishment of concentration camps for Japanese-Americans. Years later he sought to apologize for his actions and wrote the book Horton Hears a Who! to reflect his changed views. The books that will cease publication are nowhere near his most popular works, and it is doubtful most Americans have even heard of them. Those books will not be burned; they were not forced to be removed by a horde of liberals; and the rest of his catalogue will remain untouched. The tale of our favorite spud is much the same. Mr Potato Head is not ceasing to exist, nor is his wife and assumed lover Mrs Potato Head. Hasbro, the owners of the Potato Head family line of toys, is simply changing the brand’s name to Potato Head, which reflects the reality that it covers the Mr, the Mrs and a growing family of potatoes that they seek to sprout in the near future.And quite the opposite of cancellation is on the horizon. Dr Seuss books are seeing a boost in overall sales, and the books pulled from the shelves are selling for up to $500 online. Hasbro is expecting a similar bump to sales. Its CEO has said he expects double-digit growth in the next year, and the rebranding and expansion of the Potato Head line may be a part of the equation. Whether or not these were calculated marketing strategies is unknowable, but they fall into a well-established pattern in which corporations try to clean up their pasts and appeal to the public in a way that won’t negatively affect their ability to reap profits. Real cancel culture has existed in the United States and it is worth remembering what it means to be truly cancelled What we perceive as “cancel culture” is just a fundamental function of capitalism playing itself out. Companies must adapt with the times to make money on a perpetual track of constant and infinite profit. This is why businesses engage in practices like greenwashing – packaging their goods and services in superficially environmentally friendly ways, while doing little to change their real environmental impact – and pinkwashing, the annual tradition of turning products pink for breast cancer awareness, even for products that may cause cancer themselves. These corporations don’t have morals, and don’t care about taking political or ethical stances; their bottom line is just that – their bottom line. This is how an oil company like Chevron can pat itself on the back for investing $100m in lowering emissions while simultaneously investing $20bn in oil and gas, or how Baker Hughes, one of the world’s largest oilfield operators, can proudly distribute 1,000 pink drill bits across the planet, while using known and possible carcinogens at their hydraulic fracking facilities.Real cancel culture has existed in the United States and it is worth remembering what it means to be truly cancelled. The multiple red scares in the United States involved socialist – and allegedly socialist – actors, directors and musicians being spied on and blacklisted by production companies and studios for their political views. People as famous as Charlie Chaplin were accused of subversion and banned from the US, while everyday Americans like the Massachusetts schoolteacher Anne Hale had their lives completely and utterly ruined. This wave of “cancellation” involved institutions like the NAACP and America’s largest labor federation, the AFL-CIO, pushing out communist and socialist activists. And government programs like Cointelpro – arguably an extension of the red scare – involved the harassment and sabotage of socialists and other leftwing activists, including the notorious assassination of the 21-year-old Black Panther leader Fred Hampton. Million-dollar corporations in the United States can hardly be cancelled; they can simply rebrand or wait until the storm is over. Real cancel culture has the power of institutions behind it. In an era in which corporations like Amazon are on one hand launching smear campaigns against Black workers for labor organizing while celebrating Black History Month on the other, it is important for the public to understand the difference between cancel culture and corporate PR. We can cancel corporations only through actions like boycotts, strikes and seizures of their property for the sake of the public good. But no one is cancelling Dr Seuss and no one is cancelling Mr Potato Head, despite Hasbro’s history of allegedly profiting from child labor and other abuses. Instead of focusing on the outrage of the week, we need to focus on toxic employers who mistreat workers here and abroad, and consider using collective action to punish industries and corporations that have essentially cancelled the futures of entire generations. Akin Olla is a Nigerian-American political strategist and organizer. He works as a trainer for Momentum Community and is the host of This is the Revolution podcast

#United #Center #limits #vaccinations #Chicagoans #majority #appointments #city

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