Former President Barack Obama has some suggestions for why so many rappers publicly expressed support for US President Donald Trump on the campaign trail, despite his “law and order” rhetoric and his opposition to social justice issues.
In a recent interview with The Atlantic, Obama pointed out that there are many different cultures that exist in hip hop. Some artists talk about justice or life on the streets, while others talk about bling, “winning” and getting rich. The artists that talk about money excessively also often have a macho attitude as well, which lines up with Donald Trump’s persona.
In the interview, Obama says, “I have to remind myself that if you listen to rap music, it’s all about the bling, the women, the money. A lot of rap videos are using the same measures of what it means to be successful as Donald Trump is. Everything is gold-plated. That insinuates itself and seeps into the culture.”
Trump was referenced in countless hip hop songs throughout the 90s, where rappers often compared their wealth to that of Donald Trump. While he appears to have fallen out of favor with the hip hop community in recent years, many rappers have expressed support for him this year, while others have agreed to meet with him about the Platinum Plan.
“America has always had a caste system — rich and poor, not just racially but economically — but it wasn’t in your face most of the time when I was growing up,” Obama explained. “Then you start seeing Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, that sense that either you’ve got it or you’re a loser. And Donald Trump epitomizes that cultural movement that is deeply ingrained now in American culture.”
However, he does have some optimism for the culture of the future, and says that values have shifted for the younger generation, who he perceives as being less materialistic.
“When you look at the younger generation, Malia and Sasha’s generation, you see that more clearly. It’s more often articulated, what they want out of life. They’re much less likely to have a need to be on Wall Street by such-and-such date. That is not how they seem to be defining themselves quite as much. That makes me more optimistic,” he said.
During the recent election, many hip-hop fans were shocked to see some of their favorite artists showing public support for Trump. Kanye West was one of the first to come out in support, and it resulted in a mixture of outrage and concern for his mental health. He has since distanced himself from Trump and launched his own controversial political career.
Later on in the campaign, Lil Wayne appeared at the White House alongside Trump in a photo that he shared to his Twitter account, saying that he “Just had a great meeting with (President Donald Trump) besides what he’s done so far with criminal reform, the platinum plan is going to give the community real ownership.”
50 Cent expressed support for Trump on social media, before changing his mind a few days later after his ex-girlfriend scolded him and offered to go back out with him if he changed his vote. Lil Pump followed Trump around for the last few rallies on the campaign trail this year, even appearing on stage with the president at a rally in Michigan.
Trump Says Supreme Court Probably Won’t Take His Election Case
In a phone interview with Fox News on Sunday, US President Donald Trump acknowledged that his legal battle “probably” won’t reach the Supreme Court, which had been the primary goal of his legal team for the past few weeks.
“It’s very hard to get a case to the Supreme Court. I probably can’t get a case,” Trump said on “Sunday Morning Futures.”
However, he continued to insist that widespread fraud took place during this year’s elections, claiming that millions of votes across several battleground states were illegitimate. He also refused to give any type of “drop-dead” date for when his team will give up their legal battle.
“I’ve got the best Supreme Court advocates, lawyers, that want to argue the case if it gets there, but they said it’s very hard to get a case up there,” Trump said.
This admission from Trump is a major blow to those who were trying to maintain hope for legal victories.
With each legal defeat that the team has suffered, they have claimed that it won’t matter when they bring the case to the Supreme Court. Now, with chances of a Supreme Court hearing looking bleak, the Trump team is running out of legal options to keep the White House.
At one point during the interview, Trump even suggested that the FBI and Department of Justice could somehow be involved in helping to rig the election.
“This is total fraud. And how the FBI, and Department of Justice — I don’t know, maybe they’re involved — but how people are allowed to get away with this is stuff is unbelievable. This election was rigged. This election was a total fraud,” Trump said.
Fox News anchor Maria Bartiromo was criticized for not challenging Trump on many of his assertions about the election, which have previously seen push back from other employees of the network.
Watching Fox debunk it’s own morning interview with Trump is deeply satisfying pic.twitter.com/a5JOrwcJfD
— Texan for Yang 🧢 (@BrandonNeff16) November 29, 2020
In the week after the election, Fox News host Neil Cavuto abruptly cut off White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, over claims about the election being stolen, saying that he could not air “false claims” in “good conscience.”
In his first public appearance after the election, Trump gave a controversial speech from the White House, which caused many networks to cut their coverage prematurely after he claimed that he would win the election if the “legal” votes were counted. MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS, and NPR, decided to cut their coverage of the speech prematurely.
Fox continued to air the speech, but in the following days began to challenge Trump’s claims, causing the network’s relationship with the president to deteriorate. There have even been rumors that Trump is planning to launch his own media network when he leaves office, and that he wants to compete directly with Fox.
The day before his interview with Fox on Sunday, Trump slammed the network on Twitter and called its coverage “unwatchable.” He then directed his followers to watch OANN and Newsmax instead, which has given his efforts to contest the election much more favorable coverage than Fox.
.@FoxNews daytime is virtually unwatchable, especially during the weekends. Watch @OANN, @newsmax, or almost anything else. You won’t have to suffer through endless interviews with Democrats, and even worse!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 28, 2020
Justin Trudeau Pranked By Russians Posing As Greta Thunberg
Russian comedians Vovan and Lexus managed to prank Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau with a phone call where they claimed to be climate change activist Greta Thunberg.
Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexey Stolyarov, who call themselves Vovan and Lexus, are notorious for similar phone pranks.
They released the recording this week on YouTube with an animation. In the recording, they have a conversation with Trudeau in which he seemed convinced that he was talking to Greta for a moment.
However, he caught on when they asked about setting up a meeting with the fictional South Park characters Terrance and Phillip.
— The Windsor Star (@TheWindsorStar) November 26, 2020
In the prank call, the “Greta” character said that she has fears of “growing international crisis and anticipation of the world war”.
“It already leads to disaster,” fake Greta said.“It’s very scary,” to which Trudeau replies: “Yes indeed.”
Also in the conversation, she said, “You are adults but you act like children. We can create a world where there is a place for everyone. For white and black. Christians and Muslims. Trump and Putin. for you and me. For Boris Johnson. For Corbyn. For Terrance and Phillip, who are also known in your country.”
“No, that is exactly, exactly the right perspective,” Trudeau responds.
At one point later she interrupts Trudeau and says, “But leave Nato. Drop your weapons. Pick flowers. Smile at nature.”
Trudeau responded, “I also dream of a world in which soldiers are not necessary, but we don’t live in that world yet, unfortunately.”
Next, she asked if he could set up a meeting with Terrance and Phillip.
That is when Trudeau started to catch on, but continued to play along a bit.
“I would be happy – I’ll ask my team to try and figure out how we can connect you. Because I don’t have their direct coordinates with me now. Wait, Terrance and Phillip, where they not in South Park? I don’t personally know them. I believe they are South Park parodies of Canadians,” he said.
He ended the call with the comedians shortly after.
Trudeau is the second-youngest prime minister in Canadian history. He is also the first to be related to a previous holder of the post, as the eldest son of Pierre Trudeau.
In the short year that Greta has been involved in her activism, she has quickly been thrust into the heights of fame.
There is also some discussion of nominating the child for the Nobel Peace Prize for her activism.
The call and animation can be viewed below.
Thousands of Inmates Scammed Unemployment Fund For Millions
Tens of thousands of inmates in the state of California, even serial killers, and high profile murderers like Scott Peterson, were able to defraud the government of roughly a billion dollars through pandemic unemployment benefits. In court on Tuesday, prosecutors said that this was possibly the largest fraud scheme in California history.
“The fraud is honestly staggering,” Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said.
Schubert said that between March and August, inmates across every California prison filed 35,000 claims totaling around $1 billion. $140 million in benefits had already been sent out.
San Quentin inmate Scott Peterson, convicted of killing his wife and unborn son, received CA unemployment benefits in recent months, according to a group of state and federal prosecutors who have been investigating fraud in the pandemic relief system https://t.co/yAiQOcnGtC
— 🌵 Michelle Mendoza 🌵 (@Chicana74) November 24, 2020
Some of the payments were made to friends and families of the inmates, while others were paid directly to the inmates inside the prisons. 133 of the state’s 700 death row inmates also filed for benefits under their real names, including high profile murderers like Cary Stayner, who murdered four people near Yosemite National Park in 1999, Susan Eubanks, who murdered her four sons in 1996; and Peterson, who killed his wife and unborn son in 2002.
In Kern County, district attorney Cynthia Zimmer said investigators noticed that something was wrong when prisoners across the state began receiving money orders. The forms that were filled out to receive the benefits included fake social security numbers and fake names like John Doe, John Adams or, in one case, “poopy britches.”
“Quite frankly, the inmates are mocking us,” Schubert said.
California has 17 fraud investigators for EDD — fewer than the alcohol and cosmetics investigators the governor sicced on struggling California businesses…California’s ‘dysfunctional’ EDD was unresponsive amid inmate unemployment fraud, prosecutors say https://t.co/0euNel3DXG
— Harmeet K. Dhillon (@pnjaban) November 24, 2020
She said inmates were able to pull this off because California lacks a system that “cross matches” prison and jail data with unemployment claims. Only 35 states in the US currently has one of these systems, which means that widespread fraud could have taken place in other states as well.
In a statement, Loree Levy, deputy director of the state’s Economic Development Department, said it was “pursuing how to integrate such cross-matches moving forward as part of enhanced prevention efforts during this unprecedented time of pandemic-related unemployment fraud across the country.”
Earlier this year, a man from Florida was arrested after he was caught scamming the COVID relief fund out of $3.9 million and spending the money on a variety of different personal items and expenses. 29-year-old David T. Hines fraudulently applied for over $13 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for a few different companies.
INMATE EDD FRAUD | “It has been said that there is no honor among thieves, and there is no better example of this than the massive EDD fraud that is occurring within our jails, in our prisons here in California,” Sac County DA Anne Marie Schubert says. https://t.co/M5qPx4HPYR pic.twitter.com/YWeq6qZybn
— kcranews (@kcranews) November 24, 2020
Due to the rushed nature of the PPP program and the urgency of the pandemic, the government was sending out funds to pretty much anyone who applied, without checking IRS records first. However, the agency is starting to catch up with many of these scammers as they go back and evaluate which recipients qualify for the loan forgiveness. Numerous cases of PPP scammers have been reported across the country.
52-year-old David Staveley was recently arrested by the U.S. Marshals Service in Alpharetta, Georgia, after he faked his own death to avoid fraud charges for the $500,000 he received from the government through fraudulent PPP loan applications.
Large corporations like Shake Shack and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse received millions in PPP loans, but were later forced to return the money after a massive public outcry was sparked by their applications. Over 9,000 Catholic churches were approved for the loans as well, even though they are exempt from taxes.
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