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As Campaign Falters, GOP Senate Nominee Flip-Flops On Social Security

New Hampshire Senate Republican nominee Don Bolduc is trying soften his pitch to voters while still saying he would privatize Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

On Friday, Bolduc — a far-right candidate and retired Army brigadier general — told New Hampshire Today that he is "not promoting privatization," but he does want to replace Social Security and Medicare with programs that are privately run.

"First of all, our seniors have nothing to worry about with me," Bolduc said on Friday. "I want Granite Staters to know that I will invest in a solid Medicare program that puts them in charge of their health care, not the government, and as far as Social Security goes, we are going to put that money back, we are going to give people the money that they put into it."

At an Aug. 2 town hall event in Pembroke, New Hampshire, Bolduc said he backed the end of the social safety net programs that provide health insurance for millions of older and low-income Americans.

"The privatization is hugely important," Bolduc said at the event, according to Politico. "Getting government out of it, getting government money with strings attached out of it."

This echoed previous comments Bolduc made during his unsuccessful 2020 Senate campaign.

At a May 2020 Hillsboro Republican Party meeting, Bolduc said "experts" at the Heritage Foundation — a right-wing think tank that for decades has pushed for privatizing Social Security — had been helping to inform his fiscal policies.

"I've been spending a lot of time on research, and I've been getting a lot of support from the experts at the Heritage Foundation, and I have developed some ideas, and — to go into a plan that will reduce our spending by $10.8 trillion over the next ten years," Bolduc said at the meeting.

He went on to suggest that the United States could reduce the federal deficit by cutting $2 trillion from Social Security, $1.2 trillion from Medicare, and $4 trillion from Medicaid.

At a Republican primary debate in August, Bolduc said he opposes letting Medicare negotiate for lower drug prices because "anything that the government's involved in is not good and doesn't work, period."

At another GOP debate in September, he again urged the replacement of Social Security with "a different system" for future generations.

But now, as a recent Emerson College-WHDH poll shows him trailing Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) in the November general election race, Bolduc's campaign is claiming he has changed his position on privatization.

"Having served 10 tours of combat in Afghanistan, General Bolduc relies on his health care from the VA," spokesperson Jimmy Thompson told Politico. "He knows first-hand how important its services are to veterans, and he believes that every American who is eligible should be able to rely on the benefits they have paid into it, including Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security."

Thompson said Bolduc now "will oppose any effort to privatize these programs."

Bolduc's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for this story.

Hassan responded to the Politico story on Thursday by noting that 370,000 people in New Hampshire rely on Medicare for their health insurance. In a press release, she said:

Don Bolduc is so extreme that he would end Medicare as we know it and take away care from hundreds of thousands of Granite State seniors. While I have a record of fighting to lower costs for seniors, Don Bolduc has actually said that he would end Social Security and Medicare as we know it. New Hampshire seniors have spent their lives paying into Social Security and Medicare, and Don Bolduc would create immeasurable harm by taking away these critical programs.”

Since winning the GOP nomination, Bolduc has walked back his position on a federal abortion ban and has abandoned the conspiracy theory that President Donald Trump was the real winner of the 2020 election.

Other prominent Republicans have also been caught in recent months endorsing the end of the popular public entitlement programs.

Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, has proposed a "Rescue America" plan which calls for a five-year sunset on every single federal program, including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

This means that Congress would need to re-pass each of those programs every five years or they would cease to exist.

Arizona Republican Senate nominee Blake Masters said at a June 23 forum hosted by the right-wing advocacy group FreedomWorks, "Maybe we should privatize Social Security, right? Private retirement accounts, get the government out of it."

And on August 2, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) told a Wisconsin radio station that Social Security and Medicare should not be mandatory spending.

"What we ought to be doing is we ought to turn everything into discretionary spending, so it's all evaluated so that we can fix problems or fix programs that are broken, that are going to be going bankrupt," he said.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Flip Flop! Election Denier Bolduc Now Says Biden Is 'Legitimate President'

Two days after winning the New Hampshire Republican Senate nomination, Don Bolduc has already done a complete flip-flop on whether the 2020 presidential election was stolen: Just weeks after repeating the lie that former President Donald Trump was the real winner, he said Thursday that President Joe Biden is "the legitimate president of this country."

In an appearance on Fox News, the retired Army brigadier general was asked about his earlier insistence that President Joe Biden was not legitimately elected, and was shown footage of his comments during a candidates debate on Aug. 14: "I signed a letter with 120 other generals and admirals saying that Trump won the election and damn it, I stand by my letter."

Bolduc responded by claiming that he had recently become convinced that Trump lost.

"So, you know, we, you know, live and learn, right? And I've done a lot of research on this and I've spent the past couple of weeks talking to Granite Staters all over the state, from, you know, every party. And I've come to the conclusion, and I want to be definitive on this: The election was not stolen," he claimed.

Bolduc then baselessly asserted that there had been fraud in the election, then acknowledged, "But elections have consequences, and unfortunately, President Biden is the legitimate president of this country."

The far-right Bolduc narrowly won Tuesday's primary to face first-term Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan, despite concerns on the part of state and national Republicans that he would be too extreme to win a general election.

Bolduc had spent the past 16 months repeatedly pushing conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and falsely claiming that Biden was not the real winner.

The letter Bolduc signed in May 2021 also said that the Biden administration had "launched a full-blown assault on our Constitutional rights in a dictatorial manner, bypassing the Congress, with more than 50 Executive Orders quickly signed, many reversing the previous Administration's effective policies and regulations asserting that the election had been stolen."

Bolduc repeated the accusations in the days following the publication of the letter, tweeting the next day: "I stand by what is written in the letter. The truth in today's world can make people uncomfortable, but that should not stop anyone from speaking their truth."

"I signed that letter because I thought there was a tremendous amount of fraud," he told the New Yorker a month later. "My initial perspective was from New Hampshire, right? We've had a significant amount of fraud here. Our governor is in denial, in large part because he benefits from it, and so do all the federal Democratic incumbents. They all benefitted from it. Statistically, they won by margins that were mathematically impossible and defied common sense."

Despite Bolduc's claims before the primary and now, there has been no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election either in New Hampshire or nationally. Biden won the national popular vote by more than 7 million votes and won the Electoral College 306-232.

In a November 2021 interview published in the New Hampshire Business Review, then-Secretary of State Bill Gardner, who served in the office from 1976 to 2022 with bipartisan backing, said, "I don't have one example to give you where a person won an election in this state who should not have won it."

The same story noted that Bolduc was unable to point to any evidence-based specific examples of fraud in the state. Instead, he speculated, "It's clear to me with same-day voter registration, with college student registration, with the voting machines, that there was fraud."

A Bolduc campaign spokesperson did not immediately respond to an inquiry from the American Independent Foundation for this story.

Fox News host Bill Hemmer pressed Bolduc during the interview on Thursday, telling him, "This appears to be quite a change" and asking whether he had discussed the matter with former Vice President Mike Pence the previous day during a campaign event.

Bolduc said he hadn't, and added: "We all have time to make up for mistakes or for things that we've said that aren't accurate. And that's part of learning, that's part of listening. ... If we continue to reinforce failure, we're never going to move forward. If we can't accept in people fallibility and mistakes, we're never going to be able to move forward. ... That's what I stand for, and that's what Sen. Hassan does not stand for."

In a press release on Thursday, Hassan campaign spokesperson Kevin Donohoe said, "Don Bolduc has spent the entire campaign touting the Big Lie, and he can't hide from that record. He has even said that he supports overturning the results of the 2024 election if it doesn't go his way. A word salad on Fox will not erase his record of election denial."

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

New Hampshire GOP Nominates Conspiracy Theorist Bolduc For Senate

Republicans in New Hampshire have nominated Don Bolduc, a far-right politician and former brigadier general of the Army, as their candidate for the state's U.S. Senate seat. Following his narrow victory in the primary on Tuesday, Bolduc will face Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) this November.

Hassan, who was governor of New Hampshire prior to serving in the Senate, is seeking a second term. She has supported abortion rights, LGBTQ equality, and efforts to protect voting rights and democratic elections.

Bolduc, who has voiced support for anti-LGBTQ, anti-abortion rights, and anti-democracy policies, previously ran unsuccessfully for his party's Senate nomination in 2020.

This time around, he overcame the opposition of the state's senate president, Chuck Morse, and nine other Republican candidates. Bolduc's candidacy was also challenged by ads funded via a super PAC linked to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) and, although he didn't endorse any candidates, comments by New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) that criticized him. Sununu deemed Bolduc "not a serious candidate" and "a conspiracy theorist."

While he has not committed to supporting a federal ban on abortion, Bolduc has repeatedly stated he is against abortion rights. In December 2021, Bolduc privately described himself to the Dover Republican Committee as "unapologetically pro-life," and "I'm not gonna vote contrary to" anti-abortion causes.

In June, Bolduc praised the Supreme Court's Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision which struck down the judicial precedent for abortion rights set by the court in Roe v. Wade nearly 50 years prior. "As a pro-life candidate, I believe the Supreme Court made the right decision," he said in a statement.

Recent polls found that both the Dobbs decision and restriction of abortion rights are unpopular with amongst a majority of New Hampshire voters.

Bolduc has also been sharply critical of federal safety net programs. As a candidate in 2020, he proposed making $2 trillion in cuts and a gradual end to the Social Security program. During his current campaign, at a Sept. 7 primary debate, he again called for replacement of Social Security with "a different system" for future generations.

Bolduc also proposed a $1.2 trillion cut to Medicare. At another debate in August, he explained that he opposed allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices because "anything that the government's involved in is not good and doesn't work, period." He the falsely claimed "Medicare doesn't negotiate anything. They do it with third-party insurance companies."

Bolduc has proposed major cuts to federal government agencies as well. "The whole damn government needs to be audited and needs to be reduced big time," he stated at the August debate, specifically naming the "Energy [Department], the EPA, Homeland Security, the IRS, the Federal Reserve, and the Department of Education." At the debate on Sep. 7, he added the Departments of Labor, Veterans Affairs, and Defense to his list of agencies he wants to significantly cut.

In addition to supporting conspiracy theories that former President Donald Trump really won the 2020 election, which he called "stolen," Bolduc has vowed to "absolutely" overturn a possible President Joe Biden reelection win in 2024. He also supported a repeal of the 17th Amendment, which guarantees the right of voters to choose their own U.S. senators.

Bolduc previously earned the backing of six lawmakers in New Hampshire who advanced legislation calling for the state to secede from the union and become a "sovereign nation." He also received endorsements from three other state representatives who co-authored a December 2020 letter demanding for "termination of the state" of New Hampshire's government based on "fraud" in the 2020 election.

Bolduc also has a long record of sexist, racist, and homophobic remarks. In November 2019, he told a joke at a local GOP meeting about locking his wife and dog in the trunk of his car. "You close the trunk. Walk away, have a cup of coffee, come back in an hour, open up the trunk," he joked, "and who's going to be happy to see you? Not the wife!"

In March 2020, he used racist language to describe the COVID-19 virus, incorrectly calling it the "China Coronavirus." He defended himself as "not a racist person at all" because he "served 33 years in the military, an institution that was the first to desegregate of any in our society in 1948."

He incorrectly claimed in January 2020 that the Civil War — fought largely over the issue of slavery — was the result of insufficient compromise. "The Civil War was started because the parties, because they couldn't come together," he said. "There were reasons for fighting it. But they couldn't get together to figure it out so we just had a war. Gridlock, blaming, pointing the finger. Not working together, not being a partnered team."

Bolduc also used a homophobic language in an August 2020 campaign ad, telling voters, “I didn’t spend my life defending this country to let a bunch of liberal, socialist pansies squander it away." He previously told voters that he did not believe federal civil rights laws protected LGBTQ people and called himself "a believer in traditional marriage."

“Don Bolduc is the most extreme Senate nominee in modern New Hampshire history. Bolduc is an election denier who would ban abortion nationwide, end Social Security, decimate Medicare, and undermine our democracy," Ray Buckley, chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, said in a statement on Wednesday.

In a statement, Hassan wrote:

I have worked across the aisle to get results for New Hampshire and taken on corporate special interests to lower costs. This campaign will be a clear contrast between my record of delivering for the people of New Hampshire and Don Bolduc’s radical, backward-looking agenda. If Don Bolduc had his way in the U.S. Senate, he would work to end Social Security, decimate Medicare, and vote to ban abortion nationwide. Don Bolduc is simply too extreme for New Hampshire, and his agenda is wildly out of touch with Granite Staters.

Now that Bolduc has become the Republican nominee, the Cook Political Report determined that the New Hampshire Senate contest will "lean" in favor of the Democratic nominee.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

GOP Senate Fundraiser Hosted By Donors Who Defended Rape

A pair of wealthy tech industry donors with a history of writing rape apologia are set to host a major fundraiser for Senate Republicans and Senate candidates next week. At least nine current nominees, in addition to Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), are expected to attend the Florida event.

According to the event invitation, first reported by Puck News reporter Teddy Schleifer in late August, the "Take Back the Senate" reception will be held at the Miami home of former PayPal executive vice president Keith Rabois and his husband Jacob Helberg on September 15. Former PayPal chief operating officer David Sacks is also listed as a host of the event, which will cost attendees between $1,000 and $50,000 per-person to attend.

In addition to Scott (R-FL), Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) are expected to attend, along with GOP Senate nominees Blake Masters, Joe O'Dea, Adam Laxalt, Ted Budd, J.D. Vance, Mehmet Oz, and Tiffany Smiley as "special guests" for the fundraisier. The invitation pledges that there are "more senators and candidates to be announced."

Rabois and Sacks both have longstanding connections to white nationalist-linked PayPal's founder Peter Thiel, dating back to their time attending Stanford University together in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Thiel has already largely bankrolled the campaigns of Vance and Masters, both who formerly worked for the billionaire.

As a Stanford Law School student, Rabois, reportedly got into trouble in 1992 for berating a member of the faculty and calling them "faggot" and yelling, "Hope you die of AIDS." He later claimed he intended "to make a provocative statement."

After Stuart Thomas, a senior year student at Stanford, was charged with statutory rape of another student that same year, Rabois co-authored a column in a special "Rape Issue" of Stanford Review, Thiel's conservative school publication. According to the book The Contrarian: Peter Thiel and Silicon Valley's Pursuit of Power, the column "joked" that the dorm building where the attack took place may become "the solution to asexually frustrated freshmen."

Sacks also contributed to the "Rape Issue," writing an article defending the perpetrator and dismissing statutory rape as "a moral directive left on the books by pre-sexual revolution crustaceans."

Sacks and Thiel co-authored a 1995 book together called The Diversity Myth: Multiculturalism and Political Tolerance on Campus, throughout which they defend Rabois' anti-LGBTQ outburst. They also dismissed date rapes in the book as "seductions that were later regretted." Both have since tried to distance themselves from their writing.

Sacks told Recode in 2016 that the book was “college journalism written over 20 years ago," although it was published after their college careers, and that "it does not represent who I am or what I believe today. I'm embarrassed by some of my former views and regret writing them.”

In 2013, Rabois resigned from his chief operating officer position at Square Inc., after accusations of sexual harassment. Though he denied the allegations, he admitted in an open letter that he had a "physical relationship" with an employee even after he recruited him to join the company staff, which he described as "poor judgment on my part."

Though the event will be at the home of a married same-sex married couple — with donors who have made anti-LGBTQ statements — several of the Republican candidates that will be in attendance have long records of opposing LGBTQ rights and marriage equality.

Even after attending Thiel's 2017 marriage to husband Matt Danzeisen, Masters reportedly said in February that "Marriage is between a man and a woman. ... Marriage is an institution that goes back thousands of years, and it has a point. The point is procreation and creating children."

When the American Independent Foundation asked for comment via email for this story, Rabois wrote back: "No, not for this level of biased stupidity."

Sacks, Senate Republicans, and Republican candidates scheduled to attend the fundraiser did not immediately respond to inquiries.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Flip-Flopping Phony: Now J.D. Vance Says There's No Climate Crisis

In 2020, Ohio Republican Senate nominee J.D. Vance said, 'We of course have a climate problem in our society.' Now he says there isn't one.

Ohio Republican Senate nominee J.D. Vance has spent the past several weeks attacking clean energy infrastructure investments and lying about whether climate change is a problem. But a just-announced $4.4 billion electric vehicle battery facility in Ohio and his own previous comments undermine his latest claims.

Vance, a millionaire venture capitalist and author with a history of flip-flopping on political issues, has repeatedly criticized his Democratic opponent, Rep. Tim Ryan, for supporting the Inflation Reduction Act last month. That law will make $369 billion available for energy and climate change infrastructure, make health care and prescription drugs more affordable for millions of Americans, and reduce the federal budget deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars.

In an interview on the right-wing "Clay Travis & Buck Sexton" radio talk show on July 28, Vance dismissed both climate science and electric vehicles.

After Sexton said that he did not believe there really is any climate crisis, Vance concurred:

No, I don't think there is, either. And even if there was a climate crisis, I don't know how the way to solve it is to buy more Chinese-manufactured electric vehicles. The whole EV thing is a scam, right? So set to the side these questions about, you know, how much carbon drives the climate change situation. Look, I'm with you on this. I do not wake up in the morning thinking, [We've got] a climate crisis we need to destroy the economy to deal with.

"I gotta say, Stu, this Inflation Reduction Act, which is a ridiculous name for this thing, what it basically does is subsidize rich people to buy electric vehicles at the expense of the Ohio automotive industry. It's gonna put a lot of Ohioans out of work," Vance told Fox Business' Stuart Varney on August 8, calling the Inflation Reduction Act "a joke of an economic program."

"Tim Ryan's green new deal is little more than a handout to Chinese companies at the expense of Ohio workers," he tweeted on August 12. "It's dumb, does nothing for the environment, and will make us all poorer. I wish he'd stick to renaming post offices."

In another tweet that day, he mocked Ryan's vote for the package's electric vehicle tax credits — as well as his attire — writing, "Hey guys I just gave a bunch of rich people tax credits to buy EVs but I have these awesome pink shorts."

A Vance spokesperson did not immediately respond to an inquiry for this story.

But it appears that Ohio workers will actually benefit from the Democratic majority's clean energy investments: The Inflation Reduction Act and the bipartisan 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which included billions of dollars to support electric vehicle-related manufacturing in the United States, are helping to spur new jobs in the state.

On Monday, electronics giant LG and car manufacturer Honda announced plans to build a $4.4 billion electric vehicle battery production facility in Ohio. Construction is expected to begin in 2023 and production to commence by 2025.

"Making stuff in America once again. You absolutely love to see it," cheered Ryan in a tweet.

Back in February 2020, Vance acknowledged that climate change is real, dangerous, and caused by humans.

In a speech at a conference hosted by the Center for Ethics and Human Values at The Ohio State University, Vance lamented that technological progress on many fronts has slowed in recent years. "Think about energy," he said:

We of course have a climate problem in our society, one largely caused now by unrestrained emissions in China. Part of the reason we have that problem is because we're not generating energy much cleaner than we used to 30 or 40 years ago. In fact, the biggest improvement in emissions is solar energy, which can provide a substantial amount of our power, but can't provide anything like 50% of our power. Definitely not 100% of our power, and through, sort of, our increasing reliance on natural gas, which of course is an improvement over dirtier forms of power but isn't exactly the sort of thing that's gonna take us to a clean energy future.

Vance has also flip-flopped on his position on the viability of coal as a source of fuel.

At DePaul University's Chicago Ideas festival in October 2019, he observed:

I think that the idea that we're gonna bring back hundreds of thousands of coal jobs in Appalachia is probably, almost certainly, in fact, not true, that the big reason that coal has become so much less of a significant employer, or the two reasons are, one, you can produce a lot more coal with a lot fewer people because mechanization has been very successful in increasing productivity in the coal industry, and also, coal is just not as economically viable of a fuel source, as an energy source in the era of natural gas and all the renewables that you just talked about.

But on July 29 of this year, Vance tweeted, "All of this 'bring American manufacturing back' from the Democrats is fake unless we stop the green energy fantasy. Solar panels can't power a modern manufacturing economy. That's why the Chinese are building coal power plants, something Tim Ryan's donors won't let America do."

Recent polls have shown the race between Vance and Ryan for the open seat of retiring Republican Sen. Rob Portman to be a toss-up.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

North Carolina GOP Senate Nominee Addresses Theocratic Hate Group

Ted Budd, the Republican nominee for the North Carolina Senate seat currently held by retiring Republican Sen. Richard Burr, and the Republican lieutenant governor of the state, Mark Robinson, appeared on Monday at an event in Greenville that was organized by an anti-LGBTQ group called the American Renewal Project.

The "Pastor Gathering" and lunch at Greenville's People's Baptist Church was one of a series of such events at churches across the state, with Robinson as their keynote speaker, advertised on the website of the group, which the Southern Poverty Law Center says "is designed specifically to drive evangelical pastors into politics in an attempt to establish a Christian theocracy in America."

According to American Bridge 21st Century Foundation's Conservative Transparency website, the American Renewal Project is organized and funded by the American Family Association, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated an anti-LGBTQ hate group.

The Daily Reflector, a media outlet in Greenville, reported that Budd told the audience: "I look around and I see our freedoms trampled underfoot by the obscene advances of the radical left, whether it be through those open border policies, threats to the Second Amendment or attacks on Christians, churches and schools like this. As believers, we know that's not the path that leads to human prosperity and human flourishing. It's the path instead that leads down the road to destruction."

Robinson repeated complaints about school curriculums and said: "Go to Raleigh and go to that education building and find the people who put that pornography in our schools. You have yet to hold those accountable for showing pictures in our schools that you would not show in your television special." He claimed to be one of the rare speakers of the truth in modern America, including such truths as "men can't have babies" and "there are only two genders."

A story by the Christian Pentecostal media outlet Charisma News posted on the American Renewal Project's website in May quoted the group's founder and president, David Lane: "There's no such thing as the separation of church and state. The First Amendment is to keep the state out of the church. My goal is to restore America to our Judeo-Christian heritage and reestablish a biblically based culture." It said Lane hopes to "restore righteousness in the public square" by recruiting pastors to run in local elections.

Lane has long pressed his anti-LGBTQ views, writing for World Net Daily in 2013, "Those who embrace homosexual marriage and homosexual Scouting – or homosexuality in general – know little and practice nothing of Christianity." According to the opposition research site Right Wing Watch, Lane has called the LGBTQ rights movement a "pagan onslaught" and wrote: "Homosexual desire and marriage is unnatural and—more so—is a symptom of advanced cultural decay and precursor to the collapse of the Republican Party and the nation."

Budd and Robinson have their own long records of anti-LGBTQ extremism.

Budd opposed the Equality Act, a bill that would explicitly ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, stating on Facebook that he agreed with an article he shared along with the post that "The so-called Equality Act is 'the triumph of cancel culture over facts, reason, and empirical knowledge.'" He also pushed to allow discrimination against transgender prison inmates, student athletes, and military service members.

Robinson, whose endorsement Budd highlights on his campaign website, drew bipartisan criticism and calls for his resignation last year after he delivered a sermon saying that it is "child abuse" for kids to be taught about sexual orientation and gender identity in schools.

"There's no reason anybody, anywhere in America should be telling any child about transgenderism, homosexuality, any of that filth. And yes, I called it 'filth.' If you don't like it that I called it 'filth,' come see me and I'll explain it to you," he told the congregation.

In November, Robinson asserted that heterosexual couples are better than same-sex couples because they can reproduce: "These people are superior because they can do something these people can't do because that's the way God created it to be."

Budd will face Democratic nominee Cheri Beasley, the former chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, in November. Beasley, a strong supporter of LGBTQ rights, has been endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign as "a fierce ally to the LGBTQ+ community."

Recent polls have called the race a toss-up.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Desperate Arizona GOP Senate Nominee Lies About Democrat Kelly's Abortion Stance

Arizona Republican Senate nominee Blake Masters released a new ad on Thursday and once again claimed that he has been unfairly accused of misrepresenting his position on abortion.

Masters, who has in the past insisted that he is "unapologetically PRO-LIFE" from conception, until Thursday included on his campaign website a statement in support of "a federal personhood law (ideally a Constitutional amendment) that recognizes that unborn babies are human beings that may not be killed." As of Thursday, that statement was gone, along with the phrase "I am 100% pro-life."

After the campaign of his general election opponent, incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, and Democratic groups called Masters out for his extreme anti-abortion position, Masters tweeted out the new ad with the message, "Mark Kelly is lying about my views on abortion — the Democrats have to do that because their own position (no limits of any kind, ever) is so extreme. Here's the truth."

In the minute-long ad, filmed as Masters plays with his children, he says, "Most people support commonsense regulation around abortion." Then he lies about Kelly's position: "But Mark Kelly votes for the most extreme abortion laws in the world. We're talking no limits up until birth. Think about how crazy that is. That's more extreme than Western Europe. It's way more extreme than what Arizonans want."

Masters then uses unscientific and incorrect language employed by abortion opponents: "Look, I support a ban on very late-term and partial-birth abortion. And most Americans agree with that." He falsely accuses Kelly of supporting "no-limits extreme abortion policies."

The Supreme Court's landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which held that the Constitution guarantees the right to abortion, specified that states could limit abortions after the point where a fetus was viable outside of the uterus, as long as those laws contained exceptions for the life and health of the pregnant person.

The court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization in June, which Masters backed, overturned Roe.

A 2003 federal law signed by former President George W. Bush banned some rare later abortion procedures, vaguely called "partial-birth abortion" by opponents and recognized by the Supreme Court in 2007 in Gonzales v. Carhart, in which it upheld the law, to mean intact dilation and extraction. The law contains an exception for the life of the patient, but not for their health.

Prior to winning the Arizona GOP Senate primary, Masters repeatedly expressed his support for a national abortion prohibition, telling the right-wing Center for Arizona Policy that he supports "Prohibiting abortion except when it is necessary to prevent the death of the mother."

Masters' claims about Kelly's position have been debunked by Politifact: He has never backed "no limits up until birth." Rather, Kelly backed the Women's Health Protection Act, a bill that would have codified the right to abortion as affirmed in Roe. Its language expressly noted that restrictions would be allowed "after fetal viability" as long as it included an exception for when "in the good-faith medical judgment of the treating health care provider, continuation of the pregnancy would pose a risk to the pregnant patient's life or health."

Kelley Dupps, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood Votes in Arizona, said in a statement:

This desperate move by the Masters campaign is sad but unsurprising. They've made the calculations and know that his true views on abortion and reproductive freedom are deeply out-ot-touch with Arizonans and will cost him the election. Instead of doubling down on his problematic and dangerous record, they're lying — lying about Senator Kelly, lying about Masters' anti-abortion agenda, and lying to themselves if they think Arizonans will fall for it.

A nationwide Navigator survey of registered voters released on Aug. 11 found 80% believe abortion decisions "should be left to the woman and her doctor."

A July OH Predictive Insights poll of Arizona voters found that they opposed overturning Roe by a 52-33 percent majority.

The same poll found that 52 percent of voters oppose an 1864 Arizona law that criminalizes doctors who perform abortions in the state; 28 percent support the law, which, subject to an injunction after the Roe decision, is not currently in effect. Arizona Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich has gone to court to get the injunction lifted.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

New Hampshire GOP Candidates Attack Medicare As 'A Failure'

'It's not a legitimate role of government to be involved in health care in any way,' said New Hampshire GOP Senate candidate Bruce Fenton.

Two New Hampshire Republicans seeking their party's nomination to challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan in the November general election said Wednesday that Medicare is a failure. Retired Army Brigadier Gen. Don Bolduc and investment banker Bruce Fenton argued that the popular program should not be able to negotiate lower prescription drug prices because government is the problem.

Appearing at a primary debate hosted by the right-wing media outlet Newsmax alongside New Hampshire Senate President Chuck Morse and former Londonderry town manager Kevin Smith, Bolduc and Fenton were asked whether a provision in the recently enacted Inflation Reduction Act that allows the federal government to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies "ultimately helps Americans."

"Listen, anything that the government's involved in is not good and doesn't work, period," the current frontrunner Bolduc replied to applause and cheers. He continued by making false claims about how the system works: "The worse thing about this whole thing is that Medicare doesn't negotiate anything. They do it with third-party insurance companies. So anyone that knows anything about Medicare and what it does, it doesn't do that, right?"

Bolduc then misled viewers about orders issued by former President Donald Trump in 2020 that Trump claimed lowered the price of insulin to $35 out of pocket, but in fact applied to very narrow segments of the population. This included an order issued in December 2020 that according to the Department of Health and Human Services under President Joe Biden would have imposed "excessive administrative costs and burdens" on health centers directed to provide the drug. Bolduc said: "President Trump put in a great executive order that lowered insulin to $35. What did Biden do? He reversed it, and Maggie Hassan supported that. It's terrible! Now it's up over several hundred dollars. That hurts people."

He continued:

Medicare was started in 1965. They've stolen from it ever since. That's what career politicians do. That's what the government does, it steals from people, it taxes them and then doesn't even give them a return on their investment. Medicare, we need to take care of our aging population. Definitely. It needs to be reformed and if we don't reform it, and we don't make it patient-focused, and we don't allow people to be in control of their own health care, medical freedom, then we're just violating our own constitutional rights.

Medicare, the federal health insurance program mostly used by Americans age 65 and older and funded through payroll taxes, provided coverage to more than 60 million people in 2020 — 300,000 of them in New Hampshire.

According to a May 2021 Kaiser Family Foundation report, 94% of Medicare beneficiaries 65 years of age or older said they were "very satisfied" or "satisfied" with the quality of care they receive.

Asked for his view, Fenton said the government should not be involved in the health care system at all.

Medicare is one of the, it's one of the many things that sounds good, but it isn't. Government corrupts everything that it touches, and there's a huge, huge price of all government programs, and we often forget that because things sound good, they sound like they're going to help people, or we get mistaken that it's compassion or something like that. But really, at the end of the day, these projects are generally corrupt, they reward cronies, and most importantly they're both expensive in terms of the human cost and the regulatory cost and the financial cost, in some cases causing financial ruin for some citizens. But they're also not effective. ... Government is ineffective, and it's not a legitimate role of government to be involved in health care in any way. We shouldn't have them involved in any of this, at all. We should entirely get government out of it and put the hands in the power of the people. That's where it belongs.

According to a column written by Rep. Pramila Jayapal and Sen. Bernie Sanders and published by Data for Progress in 2021, polling conducted by the organization and Social Security Works found "a full 83 percent of voters support expanding Medicare to cover hearing, vision, and dental care, including 86 percent of those over the age of 45. That popularity crosses party lines: 89 percent of Democrats, 82 of Independents, and 76 percent of Republicans are in favor." A poll conducted on behalf of the organization Patients for Affordable Drugs Now in April 2022 found overwhelming support for congressional efforts to lower what they consider excessively high drug prices.

The Democratic majorities in Congress voted unanimously on Aug. 7 in the House and Aug. 12 in the Senate to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, with provisions to allow negotiation and to cap out-of-pocket expenses for prescription drugs and insulin for Medicare recipients. Every single Republican in both chambers opposed the package, which also invested hundreds of billions of dollars in energy and climate change infrastructure and funded affordable health care coverage for three more years.

New Hampshire Republican Senate candidate Morse was not asked about the issue at the debate on Wednesday, but told Manchester station WGIR's Chris Ryan on Aug. 18 that he would not have supported the legislation or the drug negotiation provisions because "when the government gets involved, we eliminate choices and that hurts the people in the state of New Hampshire. So, no, I'm against the government getting involved in anything to do with our lives."

In an email following the debate, the New Hampshire Democratic Party responded: "Tonight, Don Bolduc doubled down on his opposition to allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, proving once more that he would stand with Big Pharma over Granite Staters. Allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices is a commonsense solution that will help bring down prescription drug prices across the board and put money back into Granite Staters' pockets."

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

McConnell Admits There's 'Very Little' Voter Fraud In America's 'Solid' Democracy

On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell admitted that election fraud is not the major concern that he and his party have made it out to be.

In an appearance in Georgetown, Kentucky, captured by NBC News, the Kentucky Republican was asked about growing public concerns about threats to America's system of government. He responded that the United States is a "very solid democracy."

"Very little election fraud," he said. "There is some, we've had people in Kentucky go to jail for that. It happens occasionally. But our democracy is solid and I don't think, of the things we need to be worried about, I wouldn't be worried about that."

But just last year, McConnell claimed there is "considerable evidence that voter fraud still exists."

McConnell is right that election and voter fraud are basically nonexistent in the United States. Research by the Brennan Center for Justice has documented that widespread voter fraud is a myth.

"It is more likely that an individual will be struck by lightning than that he will impersonate another voter at the polls," a 2007 report by the center found.

But that has not stopped former President Donald Trump and other Republicans from fearmongering about the issue to sow doubt when Republicans lose elections and to push for strict voter identification laws and other steps to make it harder for Americans to vote.

The Republican National Committee's platform, which was adopted in 2016 and kept in place in 2020, includes a section called "Honest elections and the right to vote." In it, the party expresses concern that "some voting procedures may be open to abuse" and endorses "legislation to require proof of citizenship when registering to vote and secure photo ID when voting."

The National Republican Senatorial Committee's chair, Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), released a March 2021 memo in which he vowed that "Republicans will push to eliminate all voter fraud, all of it, and we will no longer be intimidated by the Democrats playing the race card with their BIG LIE."

Far more Black voters than white voters lack the valid photo identification required to cast their ballot, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

McConnell himself has repeatedly helped spread the voter fraud myth.

"There is considerable evidence that voter fraud still exists. [Democrats] act like it is nonexistent," he told th in November 2021.

In March 2021, McConnell scolded congressional Democrats for trying to pass the For the People Act, a landmark pro-democracy and voting rights bill. His remarks came during an interview with Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated as a hate group.

"It undermines photo ID at the polls. Any effort to verify that the person voting is who they say they are," McConnell said at the time. "It requires what we call ballot harvesting, that is the ability to go around a collect a whole bunch of ballots and turn them in for somebody else. Fraught with the potential for fraud."

And in February 2019, after Republican political operatives were caught illegally collecting and forging absentee ballots for a 2018 North Carolina House race, McConnell suggested that highly unusual situation was proof that voter fraud was a serious concern even though the problems were caught under existing laws.

In a floor speech, he said:

Now, for years and years, every Republican who dared to call for commonsense safeguards for Americans’ ballots was demonized by Democrats and their allies. We were hit with left-wing talking points insisting that voter fraud wasn’t real. That fraud just didn’t happen. That modest efforts to ensure that voters are who they say they are and are voting in the proper place were really some sinister right-wing plot.

As you might expect, now that an incident of very real voter fraud has become national news and the Republican candidate seems to have benefitted, these long-standing Democrat talking points have quieted. Now, some are singing a different tune. Now there is new interest in ensuring the sanctity of American elections. I’ve been focused for decades on protecting the integrity of our elections. So I would like to welcome my friends on the left to their new realization that this subject really matters. But I have yet to see evidence they’re actually interested in cleaning up the conditions that lead to messes like this one.

In November 2020, Kentucky's Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams confirmed that there were "no known cases" of voter fraud in the state that year.

McConnell's abrupt turnabout on voter fraud comes in the wake of ongoing efforts by Trump and his supporters to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, culminating in the U.S. Capitol insurrection that took place on January 6, 2021.

In an NBC News poll released Sunday, a plurality of American voters surveyed ranked "threats to democracy" as the most important issue facing the country.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Ron Johnson Hits Trump For 'Failure' To Approve Quack COVID Treatment

Sen. Ron Johnson said in an interview on Thursday with the anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist host of a podcast that President Donald Trump's COVID-19 response team got in the way of what he considered the best approach to handling the coronavirus pandemic. But, the Wisconsin Republican said, he kept quiet about it at the time so as not to hurt Trump's reelection campaign.

Johnson made the comments in a nearly 90-minute interview with anti-vaccine figure Del Bigtree on his program "The Highwire" that was flagged by the political opposition research group American Bridge 21st Century.

Criticizing Dr. Anthony Fauci, the experienced expert on infectious diseases who clashed with Trump and others on the right, as well as Dr. Deborah Birx and others on Trump's COVID team, Johnson discussed hearings he led in 2020 as chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, during which he himself was criticized for inviting anti-vaccine activists to testify in favor of unproven and medically risky treatments for COVID such as the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which has been shown to be ineffective against the virus.

"I don't expect the general public to really listen to hearings. It's kind of the aftermath, and what news reports are written about it. Again, from my standpoint, we were making news, but I wasn't Fauci, I wasn't Birx — they had a different narrative here. And so I realized I wasn't making a whole lot of headway and this was kind of out of my control at this point in time. And you know, quite honestly, I wanted to make sure that President Trump got reelected and I didn't want to get too overly critical on his administration, to be quite honest," he said. "I had some real problems with what was happening inside the administration. I mean, again, he was not obviously aware of these things. But he couldn't get it done. His team wasn't serving him well."

The Trump administration's response to the pandemic failed to prevent hundreds of thousands of deaths due to COVID in the United States.

In the early days, Trump belittled the threat of the virus, falsely claiming that it was "under control" and would not spread in the United States and that it would quickly go away when the weather warmed up.

He admitted to journalist Bob Woodward that he intentionally misled the public, telling him, "I wanted to always play it down."

As the virus spread across the world and shut down the U.S. economy, Trump falsely said the seasonal flu was worse than COVID, pushed hydroxychloroquine as a "miracle cure," refused to wear a mask and mocked those who did, and hosted events that ended up as "superspreaders" of the virus while flouting his own safety guidelines.

Johnson, who has long pushed false claims about the supposed dangers of COVID-19 vaccines and touted dangerous and unproven treatments, had nothing to say about the actual failings of the Trump administration's response, instead arguing that the COVID team's failure to push hydroxychloroquine was because it would make have made it harder to get actual vaccines against the virus approved.

"I can't explain it. But it sure seems at some point in time, the cabal — I call them the COVID cartel — decided, no, it's going to be vaccine," Johnson said. "And, and of course, that's one of the explanations of why they'd want to tank and sabotage early treatment, which they did, was if you have an effective therapy, you're not going to get emergency use authorization on a totally novel therapy that's not a vaccine."

According to a November 2020 article in the scientific publication Microbes and Infection, Bigtree's program frequently presents similar “government and the media are lying to you" themes, like Johnson's, in its continued opposition to vaccination.

Johnson, who had previously promised not to serve more than two terms in the Senate, is facing an uphill race this November against Democratic Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes in his quest for a third six-year term. Polls show Johnson is widely unpopular, with the second-lowest approval ratings of any senator in the country after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Johnson frequently reminds supporters that he has been endorsed by Trump.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Johnson Admits He Wants A Federal Abortion Ban

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) suggests that after states decide what sort of abortion restrictions to adopt, Congress should add national restrictions.

After a campaign appearance in Germantown, Wisconsin, the Washington County Daily News asked Johnson — who believes "life begins at the moment of conception" — about the recent election in Kansas, where voters decisively rejected a proposed constitutional amendment restricting abortion rights.

Rather than acknowledge the Kansas decision, however, Johnson discussed ways to further restrict abortion rights.

In a somewhat self-contradictory response, Johnson praised the July Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade and said that states should make their own laws governing abortion — while hinting that Congress could eventually override them.

"Completely agree with the decision. It's been 50 years since the Supreme Court, nine justices, made this decision for all Americans, which of course didn't solve the problem, it exacerbated the divide. So, I look forward to every state, the people in every state, hopefully having a serious, compassionate, and sympathetic discussion to decide this question, and this is what needs to be decided. At what point does society have the responsibility to protect life? That's the question on the table. I don't think nine justices should decide it. I don't think 535 members of Congress should decide it. I think it should be decided by the people, state-by-state. Maybe sometime in the future, you know, maybe Congress can take a look at what the states have done and say, 'We probably ought to place this limit here,' based on new information or whatever."

Asked about the comments on Wednesday, a Johnson spokesperson said in an email that "no where does he talk about a national abortion ban" and said that Johnson "emphasizes this is on each state to decide and the people through their elected representatives."

Pressed about what sort of national rules Johnson does back, the spokesperson pointed to his previous record.

In his first run for Senate in 2010, Johnson said on his website that he was committed to "preserving Wisconsin values," promising to support a "culture of life."

Johnson has subsequently backed a ban on nearly all abortions and promoted anti-abortion "crisis pregnancy centers" which manipulate people with deceptive and dishonest tactics.

"It might be a little messy for some people, but abortion is not going away," Johnson predicted in May, before the Supreme Court's ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health. "I just don't think this is going to be the big political issue everybody thinks it is, because it's not going to be that big a change."

He also noted that while Wisconsin has an archaic 1849 abortion ban on the books that offers almost no exceptions, his constituents could just drive to a neighboring state if they wanted to end their pregnancy.

Following the Supreme Court's July decision, Johnson posted a lengthy explanation of his abortion positions on his "Just The Truth" campaign site.

He noted that he had backed federal abortion bans but that he thinks states should get to determine what sort of bans to adopt.

"I believe society has a responsibility to protect life at some point in the womb. As a U.S. Senator, I have voted in favor of protecting life after 20 weeks (5 months). I also signed an amicus brief supporting Dobbs in overturning Roe, and also in protecting life after 15 weeks (~4 months). I personally believe life begins at the moment of conception, but I fully support allowing the democratic process in each state to decide at what point society should protect that life. This is the profound moral question that must weigh the interests and rights of the mother against the interests and rights of the unborn child within her."

Polling shows that Johnson's position is well out of the mainstream among Wisconsin voters.

A June poll conducted by Marquette University Law School found that 58 percent of the state's adults back abortion rights in "all" or "most cases," while 35 percent say abortion should be illegal most or all of the time.

"There has been little change among preferences in abortion policy in recent years," the pollster noted while highlighting a small uptick in the percentage of people saying abortion should be legal in all cases.

Johnson, whose own approval rating hovers at around 35 percent is facing an uphill battle for reelection this November.

Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, the Democratic nominee, has been endorsed by NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

Barnes responded to Johnson's comments in a statement Wednesday.

"Ron Johnson's disregard for the rights and freedoms of Wisconsin women is disqualifying," Barnes said. "We deserve elected leaders who will go to the mat to protect our freedoms, but instead Ron Johnson is putting women and doctors at risk by supporting a federal abortion ban. He is dangerously out of touch with Wisconsinites and it's time to send him packing."

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Herschel Walker Profited From Shady Outfits That Exploited Veterans, Elderly

Republican Georgia Senate nominee Herschel Walker has been under fire for misrepresenting his work for a for-profit company accused of exploiting veterans and service members. But it appears that another controversial company for which he worked may also have targeted veterans in a multilevel marketing scheme.

Walker, a former professional football player and contestant on former President Donald Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice" game show, is challenging incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock.

He has repeatedly been caught lying and exaggerating about his past: overstating his work on the President's Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition; lying about having graduated from college; and significantly exaggerating his achievements in business and the number of employees he hired.

Walker has frequently presented himself as having worked to help members of the armed services and assist them with mental health challenges. He has touted his work with a program called Patriot Support, which he claimed to have created to provide treatment for thousands of soldiers annually.

But an AP investigation in May found that Patriot Support, which was founded 11 years before Walker was hired to be its spokesperson, is actually a for-profit program created and offered by the hospital chain Universal Health Services. The program has been accused of fraud and of exploiting veterans and service members.

The company paid Walker $331,000 in 2021 alone.

A spokesperson for Walker's campaign did not respond to an inquiry for this story. However, in response to an ad released by the Warnock campaign criticizing Walker's involvement with Universal Health Services, the campaign said in a statement: "The accusations levied in the ad were brought against Universal Health Services. Herschel Walker played zero role in the founding of Universal Health Services, and the allegations against the company had absolutely nothing to do with Herschel."

In July, CNN broke the story that, starting in 2012, Walker worked as a "partner" and "spokesman" for Momentis, which was then a multilevel marketing subsidiary of an energy company called Just Energy.

The report noted that Just Energy had been accused by regulators and state governments of deceptive practices, including tricking older customers and people who are not fluent in English into signing long-term contracts.

In 2014, Mother Jones included Just Energy on its list of "6 Shady Power Providers," noting that it and its predecessor had been fined by states for deceiving and misleading customers.

CNN's reporting noted that it does not appear that Walker's role or the online marketing service he touted were targets of any state investigation.

A spokesperson for Just Energy, which filed for bankruptcy in 2021, said in an email the company "sold all of the assets of Momentis in March 2014 and has had no relationship with Momentis since that time."

While Walker was working for Momentis in 2012, it launched "Project Hope," a "veterans business development program" targeting military families and veterans.

"US Military Veterans and their spouses need opportunities for income both during and after serving in the US Military," reads the description accompanying a YouTube ad for Momentis for Veterans. "Momentis has designed a program, in fact are the only company to date that has created a Military marketing program allowing military families to participate as a business owner.”

The Federal Trade Commission warns about multilevel marketing on its consumer advice website:

Businesses that involve selling products to family and friends and recruiting other people to do the same are called multi-level marketing (MLM), network marketing, or direct marketing businesses. Some MLMs are illegal pyramid schemes. ... If the MLM is not a pyramid scheme, it will pay you based on your sales to retail customers, without having to recruit new distributors. Most people who join legitimate MLMs make little or no money. Some of them lose money. In some cases, people believe they’ve joined a legitimate MLM, but it turns out to be an illegal pyramid scheme that steals everything they invest and leaves them deeply in debt.

Walker will face incumbent Sen. Warnock in the November general election. Warnock was elected in a January 2021 special election runoff against appointed Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler to fill the final two years of the term of the late Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson. He is now running for a full six-year term.

During his year and a half in office, Warnock has backed legislation to expand health care for veterans who were exposed to toxic burn pits while serving and introduced S. 4561, the Increasing Home Ownership for Service Members Act, and S. 4563, the Building More Housing for Service Members Act.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

New Hampshire 'Secession' Extremists Endorse GOP Senate Candidate

Several state legislators who backed efforts to secede from the United States or dissolve the state government have endorsed Don Bolduc, a Republican Senate candidate in New Hampshire.

Bolduc is one of several GOP candidates seeking the party's nomination for Senate in the Sept. 13 primary. The winner will face Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) in November.

On July 26, Bolduc — a retired Army brigadier general and failed 2020 Senate candidate — released a list of 41 Republican state representatives endorsing his candidacy. This amounts to about one-fifth of the 206 current members of the New Hampshire House Republican Caucus.

In a press release, he praised the lawmakers as "true patriots" committed to the nation:

As I've campaigned and held over 25 town halls throughout the state, I've been lucky enough to be joined by some of the Granite State's great local representatives along the way. I'm honored to earn the support and trust of these true patriots who believe, like I do, our greatest days are ahead, and together we can build back American Strength.

Six of Bolduc's endorsers — Reps. Max Abramson, Dustin Dodge, Dennis Green, Raymond Howard, Diane Kelley, and Paul Terry — backed a proposed state constitutional amendment to provide "that the state peaceably declares independence from the United States and proceeds as a sovereign nation."

Those six were among just 13 "no" votes as 323 of their colleagues successfully moved to kill the amendment by deeming it "inexpedient to legislate."

Dodge, Green, and Howard also signed on as co-sponsors of the secession legislation.

In December 2020, Howard and three others on Bolduc's endorsement list — Reps. José Cambrils, Dave Testerman, and Scott Wallace — reportedly co-authored a letter calling for "termination of the state" of New Hampshire's government based on "fraud" in the 2020 election and declaring it "is, and Right ought to be a Free and Independent State as defined by Part I, Bill of Rights, Article VII."

Their "Declaration of Independence" was signed by six state representatives in total and 31 other activists.

A Bolduc spokesperson did not immediately respond to an inquiry for this story.

His endorsers' pro-secession position is outside the mainstream. A June SurveyUSA poll found that 29 percent of New Hampshire adults would prefer the state "govern itself as an independent country," while 58 percent would not.

Some of the other state legislators backing Bolduc have come under bipartisan criticism in the past for sharing bigoted messages online.

Rep. Dawn Johnson faced criticism and calls to step down in December 2020 after she shared an anti-Semitic story and cartoon from the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer website accusing Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp of conspiring with Jews to rig the election. She later apologized but refused to resign.

In October 2021, Rep. Ken Weyler stepped down from his committee assignments, but not his state House seat, after sending colleagues a 52-page anti-vaccine manifesto that included anti-Catholic conspiracy theories. Among these were a baseless claim of a secret Pope and an accusation that church leaders are Satanists.

In September 2018, an image shared on Rep. Harry Bean's Facebook page reportedly showed Hillary Clinton and her campaign vice chair Huma Abedin with nooses, suggesting that the two should be hanged. Bean claimed to be unaware of the image a year later and told a local news outlet that his account had been hacked.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Arizona Republicans Nominate Racist, Anti-Gay Blake Masters For Senate

Arizona Republicans chose millionaire venture capitalist Blake Masters on Tuesday to be their 2022 nominee for U.S. Senate, despite his history of overt racism and anti-LGBTQ bigotry.

Masters will face incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) in the November midterm elections.

Former President Donald Trump gave Masters his "Complete and Total Endorsement" in the Republican primary race. But even with Trump's backing, Masters only received about 39% of the vote against the rest of the GOP field, including Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich and businessman Jim Lamon.

In June, Masters told the right-wing advocacy group FreedomWorks that he would be open to ending Social Security as we know it. In Arizona, roughly 18.3% of residents and 24.5% of voters are over the age of 65, according to U.S. Census data.

"We need fresh and innovative thinking," Masters said. "Maybe we should privatize Social Security, right? Private retirement accounts, get the government out of it."

Masters has repeatedly made bigoted comments.

On April 11, he told the right-wing Jeff Oravits Show podcast that America's gun violence problem was mostly a problem for people of color.

"We do have a gun violence problem in this country, and it's gang violence, right?" he baselessly argued. "It's gangs. It's people in Chicago, St. Louis shooting each other. Very often, you know, Black people, frankly. And the Democrats don't want to do anything about that."

Masters has frequently attacked LGBTQ rights.

He proposed a federal "Don't Say Gay" law based on Florida's bigoted law, claiming "your tax dollars should not fund radical gender ideology and weird sex instruction for children."

He also supports businesses denying service to LGBTQ customers.

He opposes same-sex marriage equality because marriage's "point is procreation and creating children."

Masters promises on his campaign website that he will "crack down on crime," especially "deadly mob violence." But he also touted the endorsement of Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), who egged on the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol insurrection and then sold campaign coffee mugs commemorating his fist pump to the mobs storming the building.

His campaign has benefited from at least $15 million in super PAC donations from his former boss, the conservative tech billionaire Peter Thiel.

Thiel, who co-founded PayPal and Palantir Technologies, has extensive ties to white nationalists and co-wrote a 1998 book that claimed, "The purpose of the rape crisis movement seems as much about vilifying men as about raising 'awareness.'" Thiel apologized for the "insensitive, crudely argued statements" in 2016.

Political experts rate this fall's Arizona Senate race a "toss-up."

Kelly, a former astronaut and the husband of former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ), was elected to the Senate in a 2020 special election. He says he is seeking a full term "because Washington is broken and Arizonans deserve independent leadership focused on solving the problems we face."

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Big Oil's Dark Money Outfit Targets Democrats Over Gas Prices

The dark money group American Action Network has launched a multimillion dollar ad campaign against vulnerable House Democrats, dishonestly blaming them for gasoline prices. The ads make no mention of the group's history of accepting oil and gas industry money.

According to a press release on Wednesday, the tax-exempt 501(c)(4) group is spending $2 million on ads against five Democratic incumbents seeking reelection in toss-up districts this November.

The ads against Reps. Marcy Kaptur (OH), Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas (NH), and Frank Mrvan (IN) claim that each is to blame for gasoline prices because they stand with President Joe Biden in opposing unlimited oil and gas drilling.

"This summer the signs are all around us. It was their plan all along," claims the ad against the two New Hampshire representatives, before a clip is shown of President Joe Biden in mid-sentence saying, "... no ability for the oil industry to continue to drill. Period."

The spot urges people to call Kuster and Pappas to tell them to "unleash American energy" and "lower prices."

This out-of-context partial quote comes from a March 2020 Democratic debate, at which Biden said that he would oppose offshore drilling and new drilling leases on public lands.

"Number one, no more subsidies for fossil fuel industry. No more drilling on federal lands. No more drilling, including offshore. No ability for the oil industry to continue to drill, period, ends, number one," he said. CNN has previously debunked claims that that statement indicated a desire to shut down all drilling.

Another new spot by the group attacks Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) with the same misleading partial Biden quote. It claims, "Now gas costs $5 a gallon ... but Dina Titus wanted it to cost more," before playing clip of her saying, "Well, you've got to raise the gas tax."

Titus made the comment in a Feb. 21, 2020, podcast interview as part of a discussion about how to address infrastructure challenges facing the Highway Trust Fund, a federal gas tax-funded source of money for highway construction and mass transit. At the time, gasoline cost less than $2.50 a gallon on average.

She has since signed on a co-sponsor of a bill to temporarily suspend the federal gas tax entirely given the current national price spike.

Though the group blames current prices on the lack of domestic drilling under Biden, experts agree that this is not a major factor.

The cost of gasoline began to rise under former President Donald Trump in 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic reduced supply and the reopening of the economy boosted demand. It then went up much more this year following Russia's invasion of Ukraine and Congress' nearly unanimous decision to suspend Russian oil and gas imports in response.

Democratic lawmakers and consumer groups have also blamed some of the increase on price gouging and greed on the part of oil and gas companies.

The American Action Network was founded in 2010 and is chaired by former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN), who has been a registered lobbyist for Saudi Arabia in recent year. It has spent millions of dollars in dark money on attacking Democrats, supporting Republicans, and opposing fossil fuel regulations.

While it does not disclose its donors, in the ads or elsewhere, public records show that American Action Network and its affiliated American Action Forum think tank have received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the American Petroleum Institute, the trade group for the oil and gas industry, and tens of thousands more from the American Natural Gas Alliance.

A spokesperson for the American Action Network did not immediately respond to an inquiry for this story.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

GOP Senate Candidate Backed Predatory Lenders Who Paid Him Well

North Carolina Republican Rep. Ted Budd opposed consumer protections against predatory lending, despite his own state prohibiting the practice.

North Carolina Republican Senate nominee Ted Budd has consistently sided with predatory lenders and the payday lending industry, even though payday lending is banned in his state. The industry has rewarded him with thousands of dollars in campaign contributions.

Budd, currently serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives, is running against former North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley (D) this November for the open seat of retiring Republican Sen. Richard Burr. He calls himself a "liberal agenda crusher" who "will work for everyday families, not the elite or political insiders."

But Budd's record indicates otherwise. He has consistently supported lenders who prey on lower-income individuals using abusive repayment terms and exploitative tactics, practices that have been illegal in North Carolina for more than 20 years.

Many financial services companies offer payday or "cash advance" loans, short-term loans carrying a high interest rate based on anticipated income coming on the borrower's next payday.

North Carolina is among the states that have cracked down on these practices. According to its Justice Department, "North Carolina has some of the toughest laws against unfair loans in the nation and was the first state to adopt a comprehensive law against predatory home loans."

The state has prohibited payday loans since 2001. After state officials closed a loophole in 2006, payday lending shops stopped operating in the state entirely.

Republicans in Washington, D.C., have pushed to overrule those and other state regulations, at the behest of the lending industry. A rule enacted at the end of 2020 by then-President Donald Trump's administration allowed lenders to partner with banks from other states to avoid state restrictions.

The Democratic majorities in the House and Senate overturned the Trump administration rule in 2021. Budd and almost every other Republican voted to keep it in place.

In March 2018, Budd signed on as a co-sponsor of an effort to repeal a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rule cracking down on payday, car title, and other high-cost loans.

In July 2020 and again in February 2021, Budd introduced a "Freedom from Regulations Act" that would have placed limitations on the actions of independent agencies, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

His spokesperson told the right-wing Epoch Times after the initial bill was filed that the effort was "focused on some of the most far-reaching and economically impactful regulations that independent agencies have implemented, like the CFPB's 2017 payday lending rule, the FCC's 'net neutrality' rule, the NLRB's joint-employer rule."

As Budd repeatedly sided with payday lenders, payday lenders repeatedly filled his campaign coffers.

He received at least $2,500 from the Community Financial Services Association of America PAC, the political arm for the payday lending industry's trade association. A spokesperson for the group did not immediately respond to an inquiry about the donations.

Budd's June 2022 campaign finance report noted thousands of dollars in PAC contributions from payday lending companies.

Some of the industry donations he received came within days of a key vote.

On May 4, 2017, Budd voted to advance the Financial CHOICE Act of 2017 out of the House Financial Services Committee. The package, which was mostly aimed at rolling back the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, included a section determining that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau "may not exercise any rulemaking, enforcement or other authority with respect to payday loans, vehicle title loans or other similar loans."

"They're trying to sneak in that provision," Diane Standaert, then executive vice president at the Center for Responsible Lending, told the Los Angeles Times. "It seems like they hoped no one would notice."

Several financial company executives donated to Budd that month, including at least one payday lender.

On May 31, he received $1,000 from Scott Wisniewski, the CEO of Western Shamrock Corporation, which offers paycheck advance loans and has been called a "predatory lender" by the advocacy group Texans for Public Justice.

A spokesperson for the company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Democratic nominee Beasley, who supports her state's ban, told the American Independent Foundation in an emailed statement, "Payday lenders have a long record of taking advantage of hard-working Americans, and it's unacceptable that Washington politicians like Ted Budd chose to take their campaign contributions instead of holding them accountable. In the Senate, I will always stand up to corporate special interests to protect North Carolinians from predatory lenders."

Budd has a history of siding with his donors over his North Carolina constituents.

He accepted contributions from pharmaceutical interests within days of voting against a bill to lower prescription drug prices in 2019 and took cash from the oil and gas sector a day before voting not to prohibit price gouging by the industry.

Budd's spokespeople did not respond to an inquiry for this story.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

House Republicans Reject Effort To Track And Curb Neo-Nazis In Military

The House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to improve transparency about the ongoing problem of white supremacists and neo-Nazis in the military and federal law enforcement. But every single Republican present voted no.

The party-line vote was 218-208 in favor of an amendment sponsored by Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL) to "direct the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and the Secretary of Defense to publish a report that analyzes and sets out strategies to combat White supremacist and neo-Nazi activity in the uniformed services and Federal law enforcement agencies not later than 180 days after enactment and every six months thereafter."

The amendment's text requires that these reports include "the number of individuals discharged from the uniformed services due to incidents related to White supremacy and neo-Nazi activity," "the number of Federal law enforcement officers separated from federal agencies due to incidents related to White supremacy or neo-Nazi activity," a description of what happened in each incident, information about how the incidents were handled, and plans to address the problem.

In a floor speech explaining his proposal, Schneider cited a May report by the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency titled, "Insider Threat and Extremist Activity Within the DOD."

He said the agency "laid out in a very clear presentation, defining what is domestic violent extremism, laying out the stages of development, highlighted seven cases of extremism in active-duty and former-duty servicemembers, and went on to describe — for commanders — steps they can take in prevention and reporting."

Noting that the amendment would help agencies track and address the problem, Schneider explained, "These are exceptions. They are rare, but we must do everything we can to identify them and thwart them before risks become reality."

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) denounced the amendment as "Orwellian" and said it "attempts to create a problem where none exists." He also predicted that potential military recruits would be so offended by even the existence of such a report that they would not join up:

Every member of the military who showed an interest or actual participation in a white supremacist or white nationalist group has faced discipline. The relevant branch either demoted the individual, discharged them, or otherwise disciplined the sympathizer. Further, the armed services have taken steps to address these concerns going all the way back to the 1980s.

At a time when it is difficult to recruit military and law enforcement, Democrats should be not be maligning their integrity by implying they're overrun with white supremacists and neo-Nazis. In fact, we have lost recently tens of thousands, forced out of service — military service — due to the vaccine mandate. We are way below in our recruiting levels. This type of malignancy, this type of imputation of bad conduct, in a generic form, in a generalized form, because that's what this amendment does, actually will make it harder to recruit.

Extremism is a real problem in the military. But Republican lawmakers have opposed even talking about the issue, suggesting that doing so is an attack on servicemembers and veterans.

At an October 2021 hearing by the House Veterans' Affairs Committee on domestic violent extremist groups targeting active and former military members for recruitment, Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) complained, "I hope every veteran in America is watching this hearing today and hearing from you and the majority in control of this committee that our veterans are so stupid and susceptible to becoming domestic terrorists that you and the Democrats have to save them from it," adding, "It's wildly offensive and dangerous."

After all 208 Republicans present voted against the amendment, Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) tweeted a photo of the vote breakdown, writing, "We just voted to combat neo[-N]azis in our military and every single [R]epublican voted no."

Despite the GOP's unanimous opposition, the Schneider amendment will now be part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023, a must-pass bill to establish the budget and operating rules for the military for the upcoming year.

The House is expected to vote on final passage of the defense package by the end of this week.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.