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WATCH: Leaked Footage Reveals Trump Allies Planning To Harvest Ballots

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Leaked footage from a right-wing organization reportedly shows multiple allies of President Donald Trump advocating for ballot harvesting despite the president constantly accusing Democratic voters of doing so.

With less than 25 days to Election Day, Republican activist Charlie Kirk spoke during a closed-door gathering of conservatives hosted by the Council for National Policy (CNP) where he appeared to praise the impact coronavirus will have on the election. According to Kirk, COVID may prohibit many liberal college students from voting in the upcoming election.

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USPS Special Agents Find Massive Amount Of Undelivered Mail At QAnon Postal Worker's Home

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

United States Postal Service (USPS) special agents reportedly discovered large amounts of undelivered mail after raiding the home of a mail carrier who aligns with the far-right conspiracy theory QAnon.

A total of eight large garbage bags—believed to be filled with undelivered mail—were confiscated from the home of USPS mail carrier, Sean J. Troesch, according to KDKA. Following the raid, the USPS Office of Inspector General confirmed agents had retrieved "several classes of mail," some of which were first class mail pieces.

"Special Agents recovered several different classes of mail, including business mail, flats, and small amount of first class mail. We expect to perform a piece count of the mail tomorrow, and make arrangements to have the mail delivered to customers as soon as feasible," the statement said.

Troesch's neighbors also revealed this was not the first time they had seen a large number of garbage bags in front of the home. Screenshots have also surfaced from a Facebook page belonging to someone who identifies as Sean J. Troesch. Many of the Facebook posts shared on that page highlighted far-right conspiracy theories, per the Pittsburgh City Paper.





Allegheny County voter registration records also indicate that a Sean J. Troesch resides at the residence that was raided by USPS special agents. The Inspector General office's findings are now being turned over to the Justice Department for a criminal investigation.

"Once USPS OIG special agents conclude their investigation, the case will be presented for federal prosecution to the U.S. Attorney's Office," Special Agent Scott Balfour told CNN.

No criminal charges have been filed against Troesch yet.

Trump’s Wacky Babble Will Make You Forget Biden’s ‘Gaffes’

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

President Donald Trump's antics have gotten progressively worse over the last week, and his interviews have been littered with epic blunders that have raised more questions about his mental capacity amid his battle with COVID-19.

1. The Nonexistent 'Second Debate' Victory

When Trump appeared on Fox News Thursday morning, he claimed to have beaten Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in the first and second debates. However, there is one glaring problem with Trump's remarks: the second debate has not occurred yet and likely will not because the president refuses to commit to participating virtually despite being COVID-positive.

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Hashtag ’Superspreader’ Pinned To Trump’s Reckless Supreme Court Nominee

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

As more White House staffers and Republican lawmakers test positive for COVID-19, there is speculation that several people may have contracted coronavirus while attending President Donald Trump's Rose Garden event last Saturday announcing the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

Now, Twitter users are highlighting Trump and Barrett's recklessness under the hashtag, "SuperSpreader," which appears to describe the nature of the event. In addition to Trump being blamed for his own battle with COVID-19, photos from the Rose Garden event are now being used to argue that Barrett's alleged irresponsibility proves she is not fit to serve on the Supreme Court.

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Portland Sheriff: Hell No, l Don’t Support Trump

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese of Portland, OR. quickly shut down President Donald Trump's claim that he endorsed him for the upcoming presidential election.

During the first presidential debate on Tuesday night, Reese took to Twitter with his reaction to Trump's remarks as he confirmed he has never supported Trump. In addition, he also made it clear he has no intent on supporting the president going forward.

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’Sick Of Him’: Trump Losing Key Voter Bloc In Florida

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Florida senior residents have been reliable Republican voters for decades, but it looks like their political impact could shift in the upcoming 2020 election.

As Election Day approaches, Florida is becoming a major focal point. President Donald Trump is facing more of an uphill battle with maintaining the support of senior voters due to his handling of critical issues over the last several months. Several seniors, including some who voted for Trump in 2016, have explained why he will not receive their support in the November election.

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Early Voting Is Already Shattering Past Election Records

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

The American public is showing a heightened interest in early voting practices ahead of the November election.

Over 28 million Americans have already requested ballots and an additional 43 million are automatically scheduled to be mailed to registered voters, according to a survey of election offices conducted by CNN. The states surveyed include a total of 42 states in addition to Washington D.C.

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Sanders Says ‘Plans Will Be Made’ To Remove Trump If Necessary

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) made it clear that plans will be made to remove President Donald Trump from the White House if he loses the election and refuses to leave office.

Sanders spoke with HBO host Bill Maher, where he discussed the importance of the upcoming election as he urged liberal voters to cast their ballot for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

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Mary Trump’s New Lawsuit Claims Fraud By President And His Siblings

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

President Donald Trump is facing a new legal battle with his niece Mary Trump who insists she was duped into forfeiting her inheritance following the death of her grandfather, Fred Trump, Sr., and her father, Fred Trump, Jr.

In the New York State Supreme Court lawsuit, filed in Manhattan on Thursday morning, Mary Trump named the president, her aunt, Maryanne Barry Trump, and her late uncle, Robert Trump — who passed away in August of this year. She outlined claims of fraudulent representation, fraudulent inducement, negligent representation, civil conspiracy, and fraudulent misrepresentation and concealment dating back to the "beginning of the 1980s."

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Poll: Huge Majorities Reject Trump’s Medicare And Medicaid Cuts

New national polling from Public Policy Polling conducted for the organization Protect Our Care shows overwhelming voter rejection of the cuts to Medicare and Medicaid in the budget the Trump administration released this week, once more elevating health care to a key issue for the 2020 campaign, and creating a major headache for Republicans.

The survey found that 60 percent of voters are opposed to Trump’s proposed Medicaid cuts; 72 percent say they oppose the proposed Medicare cuts; and 50 percent say they’re less likely to vote for him because of these proposed cuts. That includes 54 percent who consider themselves independents. When the question about Trump’s proposed budget cuts was prefaced by the statement “President Trump is proposing these cuts to Medicare and Medicaid after his tax plan gave hundreds of billions of dollars in new tax breaks for big corporations, including health insurance companies and drug companies,” the number that say they are less likely to support him jumps to 54 percent. That includes 57 percent of voters over age 65 and 51 percent of independents.

The proposed budget would cut $780 billion from Medicaid over the next 10 years and reduce the growth of the program by $1.4 trillion. It would cut $846 billion from Medicare. The administration argues it’s just cutting waste, fraud, and abuse in Medicare (it doesn’t bother to justify destroying Medicaid), ignoring the fact that cuts that deep to providers in Medicare will rebound onto patients.

White House budgets are never binding, but they’re a reflection of the values and priorities of the president. Boy, is this budget a reflection of Trump—one that Democrats are going to hang around the neck of every Republican between now and November 3, 2020.

Inside Trump’s Manic And Incompetent Obsession With The ‘Wall’

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

The Wall Street Journal posted a behind-the-scenes deep dive into President Trump’s signature issue, a wall along the United States’ southern border, on Friday. In the story, written by Michael Bender, Trump emerges as an angry and unprepared figure, often yelling at staffers who failed, in the President’s estimation.

“Who the f— put that in my request?” Mr. Trump shouted in one testy 2017 exchange related to funding for the wall, according to Bender’s story.

The angry comment was directed at Marc Short, then Trump’s legislative affairs director, while John Kelly, Trump’s former chief of staff, was silent in the room, per Bender. The long read further pointed out that the various failures in getting the wall started the past few years may be the fault of Trump himself, who failed to appoint a dedicated point person, despite the barrier being his signature policy initiative.

“Yet in the two years since Mr. Trump took office, there had been no single official appointed within his administration to champion the wall,” Bender writes. “A revolving cast handled negotiations with Congress over paying for it. And the picture of what, exactly, the wall should be kept shifting.”

Trump did not blame himself for the wall not being built, however. He assigned blame to Democrats and some Republicans.

According to the Journal:

During the shutdown last month, Mr. Trump complained to conservative allies that Paul Ryan should have pushed harder for wall funds. Last weekend, the president complained about it again during a meeting with a Republican member of the committee that negotiated the latest deal.

 

 

Report: Kushner Whistleblower Seeks Federal Protection

NBC News is reporting White House security specialist Tricia Newbold is now seeking official whistleblower protection from the federal government after raising concerns about “unwarranted security clearances” for Jared Kushner.

According to NBC, the specialist filed the whistleblower complaint less than two weeks after she was suspended without pay for defying her supervisor, Carl Kline.

In the complaint, Newbold says she “raised concerns” with Kline about a security clearance for an unnamed individual as early as July 2017.

The complaint does not explicitly identify the person, but sources familiar with the situation told NBC News that it was Kushner. Additionally, Newbold alleges Kline “repeatedly mishandled security files and has approved unwarranted security clearances.”

Read the full report from NBC here.

Bannon Joins Right-Wing Cabal Pushing ‘Privatized’ Border Wall

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

 

What brings together the likes of the president’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon; voter disenfranchiser Kris Kobach; notorious Blackwater founder Erik Prince; controversial former sheriff David Clarke; immigration hardliner and former Congressman Tom Tancredo; and offensive meme spewer and former baseball great Curt Schilling?

A move to supplement President Donald Trump’s proposed “wall” on the southern border with a privatized wall.

According to new reporting by Politico, the right-wing crew got together—though Prince just phoned in—for the first time last week at the border town of McAllen, Texas for “a kind of #MAGA field trip.”

The New York Times reported on the privatized wall effort late last month, but Politico is the first to report on Bannon’s involvement.

“Do we have a billion dollars right now? No. But can we raise one- or two-hundred million dollars? No doubt about it,” Bannon told the news outlet. As of this writing, the new GoFundMe page has raised a little over $20 million of its $1 billion goal.

Trump has given the effort his “blessing,” Kobach asserted to the Times.

The project reportedly got its start in Iraq war veteran Brian Kolfage’s GoFundMe page for wall funding. That evolved into a new fundraising effort and the formation of the nonprofit “We Build the Wall.”

A FAQ page for new group asserts that it is “presently working with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol experts and other U.S. border security service professionals” to target areas for a wall, which would rely on consenting landowners. “The company will build the wall mile-by-mile in strategic locations based on a variety of factors. We will build as much wall as we can based on feasibility, land use, and funding,” it continues.

That company is reportedly the Israel-based Magal Security Systems, which is behind apartheid barriers that besiege Palestinians.

The crew is getting ready to tout their project as soon as Friday at a town hall in Tucson, Arizona and later this month at the upcoming Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

Kolfage, who’s listed as a key part of the We Build the Wall team, told Politico, “we’re going to give it our all.”

 

Why Rapper Cardi B Won’t Be Silenced By Far Right

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

As quickly as Cardi B’s Instagram address about the government shutdown went viral, the 26-year-old rapper became the latest target for right-wing conservatives to harass online

“All these conservatives been harassing me and telling me the most disgusting things these past few days,” Cardi B tweeted on Jan. 22. “Listen I’m not telling ya to turn liberal all I’m saying is to admit that your president is fuckin up this country right now! Liberal or conservative we ALL suffer as citizens.”

The collective intimidation from the right culminated after conservative commentator Tomi Lahren mocked Cardi B’s political commentary, which was a much needed reality check on the government shutdown. (“Our country is in a hellhole right now,” Cardi B said, “all for a fucking wall.”)

“Looks like @iamcardib is the latest genius political mind to endorse the Democrats. HA! Keep it up, guys! #MAGA2020,” Lahren tweeted.

Cardi B replied, advising Lahren to leave her alone or she would “dog walk” her.

“I’m sure you would,” Lahren said. “Still doesn’t make your political rambling any less moronic.#BuildthatWall.”

Cardi B ended the public exchange, telling Lahren she is “so blinded with racism that you don’t even realize the decisions the president you root for is destroying the country you claim to love so much.”

And it didn’t stop there. Lahren made her media rounds, going on “Fox & Friends” to talk about how the hip hop star threatened physical violence on her (for the record, one definition on Urban Dictionary defines “dog walking” as “total domination” in addition to beating someone’s ass, and it is unclear what exactly Cardi B. meant).

Since the Twitter conversation, many media outlets have reported on a “feud” between the two, using a tired playbook: pitting two women against each other and sensationalizing the exchange, which only fuels it in the end. There is no doubt that the two engaged in a public conflict, but what many reports on the matter failed to contextualize the pattern their exchange falls into: When a woman — particularly a woman of color — speaks out about politics, and the public listens, the far right immediately tries to silence her through harassment.

We’ve seen it happen with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has become somewhat of an obsession with many Republicans. Ditto Rep. Maxine Waters. Donald Trump flat out called Hillary Clinton a “nasty woman.” Stormy Daniels has been degraded by many simply because of her profession as a sex worker, too. The attempts to marginalize these accomplished women through harassment have sexist, and in applicable cases racist, overtones.

Donald Trump’s presidency has inspired rage in progressive women, which they’ve turned into action. Since a record-breaking number of women were sworn into the House and Senate this year, many breaking barriers for religion and race, it is likely that women feeling inspired and empowered will continue to become more involved in politics, too. The center of the patriarchy is becoming increasingly unstable as it breaks down and is being reformed with more diverse leadership, and perhaps that is why popular opinions from women like Cardi B are so threatening to right-wing pundits. Or maybe it is simply her refusal to be silenced.

Politics and theories aside, Cardi B deserves respect and to be listened to. Political commentary is not reserved to those who work in politics — and anyway, even being elected to Congress won’t spare an outspoken progressive woman. Hip hop artists have a long history of political speech, of pushing for change by making music about injustice, racism, poverty and class struggles. Social media has only given many of these artists an even more open platform to make this kind of commentary more frequently and outside of the recording studio or concert stage. As Cardi B explained in a GQ interview, politics have always been of interest to her: “I love government. I’m obsessed with presidents. I’m obsessed to know how the system works.” And as many signs at the Women’s March last weekend indicated, her video about the government shutdown resonated with many followers.

In a true democratic society, anyone should be able to share their political opinions without being berated by pundits tweeting disgusting things in response. However, as online harassment trends show, we still have a long way to go before that happens. Fortunately, that doesn’t appear to be stopping Cardi B, whose fierce resistance to being silenced will only inspire more women to speak up stand their ground too, even when the trolls roll in.

 

In New York Times Email, Barr Endorses Trump’s Vendetta Against Clintons

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

 

William Barr, President Donald Trump’s pick to be the next attorney general, has a disturbing record of extreme partisan opinions on central matters of the rule of law — a record which many critics argue disqualifies him from serving at the head of the Justice Department.

A prime example of this extreme partisan bias was revealed in an email that he sent to the New York Times in 2017. Reporter Peter Baker shared the text of email in response to increased curiosity about the paper’s reporting on his opinions:

In the email,  Barr defended Trump’s calls for his enemies — in particular, Hillary Clinton — to be investigated. Not only did he defend this norm-breaking and borderline authoritarian behavior, but Barr also agreed with the substance of Trump’s call for an investigation. He similarly disparaged the basis for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, despite the mountains of public evidence supporting its continuance and the fact that DOJ was certain to have additional confidential pieces of evidence supporting its decisions. (It has since proven to indeed have much more evidence in the matter than was publicly known at the time of the email.)

“I have long believed that the predicate for investigating the uranium deal, as well as the [Clinton] foundation, is far stronger than any basis for investigating so-called ‘collusion,’” Barr wrote. “To the extent it is not pursuing these matters, the Department is abdicating its responsibility.”

No wonder Trump picked him.

In this short email, Barr betrays the fact that he has completely bought into the right-wing conspiracies surrounding the Russia investigation, Hillary Clinton, and the Uranium One deal — which none other than Fox News’ Shep Smith has rigorously exposed as nonsense.

The fact that he has clearly developed rabid partisan opinions on central matters of the rule of law should frighten any American. So too should the fact that, in swallowing this empty propaganda and then declaring as an outsider what the Justice Department should be doing, he has revealed himself to be bereft of good judgment.

 

House Republicans Finally Sanction Racist Rep. Steve King

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

 

After years of spewing hateful rhetoric, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) finally took things too far even for the GOP when he asked in a New York Times interview when white supremacy became offensive.

On Monday, Republican leaders voted to strip King of his assignments on the Agriculture, Small Business, and Judiciary committees, a substantial punishment that will drastically curtail Kong’s power to shape bills. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) called on him to resign, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said, “If he doesn’t understand why ‘white supremacy’ is offensive, he should find another line of work.” House Democrats are planning on a censure vote.

King, however, remains unbowed. In a new statement on Monday evening, he lashed out at House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and insisted that he had not said anything racist — his statement was just parsed wrong:

The problem with King’s defense is that he can’t really get the benefit of the doubt on his racism anymore. He has called Mexican immigrants drug mules with “calves the size of cantaloupes.” He has said that “diversity is not our strength” and that he wants America’s population to be more “homogenous.” He has retweeted neo-Nazi content. He gave an interview to an Austrian far-right party founded by an SS officer during a Holocaust education trip, and espoused conspiracy theories that Jewish billionaire philanthropist George Soros is secretly funding a plot to replace white Europeans with brown-skinned Muslim immigrants.

Even King’s excuse that he was simply defending our “civilization” rings hollow, because he has consistently used that word as a euphemism for “white people.” He previously claimed that it is white people, and not other “sub-groups,” that contributed to our civilization and famously warned, “we can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”

Republicans waited far too long to mete out any sort of consequences for the white nationalist in their midst. But now they finally are — and King has only himself to blame.

 

Bolton Firing Urged After Effort To Push Iran Strike Exposed

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

 

Reminding the world that he is, as one critic put it, “a reckless advocate of military force,” the Wall Street Journal revealed on Sunday that President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton “asked the Pentagon to provide the White House with military options to strike Iran last year, generating concern at the Pentagon and State Department.”

“It is imperative that this Congress investigate Bolton’s request for war options and pass legislation placing additional legal and political constraints on the administration’s ability to start a new war of choice with Iran that could haunt America and the region for generations.”
—Jamal Abdi, NIAC

“It definitely rattled people,” a former U.S. official said of the request, which Bolton supposedly made after militants aligned with Iran fired mortars into the diplomatic quarter of Baghdad, Iraq that contains the U.S. Embassy in early September. “People were shocked. It was mind-boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran.”

“The Pentagon complied with the National Security Council’s request to develop options for striking Iran,” the Journal reported, citing unnamed officials. “But it isn’t clear if the proposals were provided to the White House, whether Mr. Trump knew of the request, or whether serious plans for a U.S. strike against Iran took shape at that time.”

The Journal‘s report, which comes just days after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered an “arrogant tirade” of a speech vilifying Iran, sparked immediate alarm among critics of the Trump administration’s biggest warmongers—who, over the past several months, have been accused of fomenting unrest in Iran and laying the groundwork for war.

Daniel W. Drezner, a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, called the news “a reminder that when it comes to Iran, John Bolton and Mike Pompeo are batshit insane.”


Trita Parsi, founder of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), tweeted, “Make mistake: Bolton is the greatest threat to the security of the United States!” Parsi, an expert on U.S.-Iranian relations and longtime critic of Bolton, called for his immediate ouster over the request detailed in Journal‘s report.

“This administration takes an expansive view of war authorities and is leaning into confrontation with Iran at a time when there are numerous tripwires for conflict across the region,” NIAC president Jamal Abdi warned in a statement. “It is imperative that this Congress investigate Bolton’s request for war options and pass legislation placing additional legal and political constraints on the administration’s ability to start a new war of choice with Iran that could haunt America and the region for generations.”

In a series of moves that have elicited concern from members of Congress, political experts, other world leaders, and peace activists, since May the Trump administration has ditched the Iran nuclear deal—formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—and reimposed economic sanctions.

NIAC, in November, urged the new Congress that convened at the beginning of the year to challenge the administration’s hawkish moves and restore U.S. standing on the world stage by passing measures to block the sanctions re-imposed in August and November, and reverse Trump’s decision to breach the deal—which European and Iranian diplomats have been trying to salvage.

Iran continues to comply with the terms of JCPOA, according to the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). However, Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran’s nuclear chief, told state television on Sunday that “preliminary activities for designing modern 20 percent (enriched uranium) fuel have begun.” While Iran has maintained that it is not pursuing nuclear weapons, the nation would still have to withdraw from the deal if it resumed enrichment at the level.

As Iran signals that it is considering withdrawing from the JCPOA, the Journal report has critics worried that Bolton and Pompeo have the administration on a war path—with Bolton, just last week, insisting without any evidence that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons. Some have compared that claim to former Vice President Dick Cheney’s infamous lie in 2002, to bolster support for the U.S. invasion, that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

“John Bolton and fellow Iran hawks believe they have two years left to collapse the Iran nuclear deal and trigger a disastrous war that the American people want no part of,” Abdi concluded. “We know that Bolton and other administration officials preferred an Iran war to negotiations prior to serving Trump. Now there is confirmation that they are still seeking out opportunities to fulfill their war agenda.”

As the Journal noted, “Alongside the requests in regards to Iran, the National Security Council asked the Pentagon to provide the White House with options to respond with strikes in Iraq and Syria as well.”