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California Republicans Continue To Purloin Ballots In Illegal Drop Boxes

Despite a cease-and-desist order from California's Secretary of State, the state's Republican party continues to deny wrongdoing after setting up multiple illegal ballot drop boxes around the state.

Law enforcement discovered the drop boxes — some of which were falsely labeled "official" — over the weekend.

On Monday, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said that the operation was a clear breach of election law.

On Wednesday, Republican officials falsely claimed that their unofficial ballot drop boxes don't violate state law, and said they would continue to put up the fake drop boxes.

"There is nothing illegal about the collection of ballots provided by voters, on a certainly volunteer basis, and entrusted to the persons who are operating that local election, or local party office, from transmitting those ballots," California Republican Party general counsel Tom Hiltachk said.

"We're going to continue with the program because it complies with the law," he added.

Padilla said many of the ballots found in the drop boxes were invalid because they were missing information, such as the identity of the person submitting the vote and their relationship to the voter.

Donald Trump has routinely accused his adversaries of exploiting official state drop boxes to tamper with ballots, which he has called "a whole big scam."

"Some states use 'drop boxes' for the collection of Universal Mail-In Ballots," Trump tweeted in August. "So who is going to 'collect' the Ballots, and what might be done to them prior to tabulation? A Rigged Election? So bad for our Country. Only Absentee Ballots acceptable!"

There is no evidence for this claim. Official ballot boxes are designed to ensure the security and integrity of individual ballots.

This is just the latest example of Trump working to undermine the legitimacy of the presidential election that former Vice President Joe Biden is favored to win.

The Trump campaign has filed a flurry of lawsuits mostly targeting blue states to make it more difficult to vote safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, Republicans across the country continue to uphold restrictive voter ID laws and other laws that make it harder for citizens to vote.

In Texas, a three-judge panel upheld Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's decision to limit each county in the state to just one official ballot drop box. The judges who ruled in the case were all appointed by Trump.

As Nov. 3 inches closer, Trump will likely continue to try to sow confusion and invalidate the election's results ahead of time.

Last month, a reporter asked Trump if Americans could expect a peaceful transition of power if Biden wins the election.

"We're going to have to see what happens, Trump replied.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Vowing To Join Miami Debate On Oct. 15, Trump May Remain Contagious

A day after he was released from Walter Reed Medical Center after being diagnosed with the coronavirus, Donald Trump pledged to take part in the next presidential debate.

"I am looking forward to the debate on the evening of Thursday, October 15th in Miami. It will be great!" Trump tweeted.

As Jennifer Jacobs, White House reporter for Bloomberg News, pointed out, Trump would not yet be considered beyond the risk of being contagious and spreading the coronavirus by Oct. 15. "Trump says he's planning to debate in 9 days," Jacobs tweeted. "Dr. Conley said it would be 10 days plus or minus before it would be safe for the president to be out and about."

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Trump Paid Less Taxes Than The Undocumented Immigrants He Attacks

Donald Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes the year he was elected president, according to a blockbuster report published by the New York Times on Sunday.

The Times report also found that Trump is millions of dollars in debt, incurred through a series of failed business ventures — a fact that runs counter to Trump's self-made image as a successful businessman. Trump has also used his financial failings to avoid paying taxes, the report found.

The president has resisted revealing his financial information since the start of his first presidential campaign, despite promising otherwise. "I would certainly show tax returns if it was necessary," Trump told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt in 2015. Yet for five years, the president has failed to produce the documents.The president paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016, and paid another $750 in 2017, according to the report. And in 2014, Trump paid zero dollars in taxes.

Conservatives including Trump often suggest that undocumented immigrants take advantages of government services without contributing their fair share. Throughout his first term, Trump has repeatedly cast blame on immigrants and suggested they post an economic burden to U.S. taxpayers.

"Our current immigration system costs America's taxpayers many billions of dollars a year," Trump claimed in 2017 during his first presidential address to Congress.

That claim does not hold up to scrutiny. In reality, undocumented immigrants pay billions of dollars in taxes every year. In 1996, the Internal Revenue Service created a program for non-citizens who work in the U.S. to report their income. Non-citizens who do not have a Social Security Number — including undocumented immigrants — are able to file taxes using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, or ITIN. According to the IRS, 4.4 million people paid taxes using an ITIN in 2015, totaling $23.6 billion in tax revenue.

This raises the question: why would undocumented immigrants pay U.S. taxes if they are unauthorized to live in the country? Immigrants often choose to pay taxes in order to demonstrate "good moral character" when applying for legal residence or citizenship, according to the National Immigration Law Center. Undocumented immigrants who fail to pay their taxes risk deportation.

"Immigrants, both documented and undocumented, paid an estimated $328 billion in state, federal, and local taxes in 2014 alone," Stephen Yale-Loehr, a professor of immigration law practice at Cornell Law School, told the American Independent Foundation. "It is outrageous that the average undocumented immigrant in the United States pays more in federal income taxes than the President did in 2016."

This contrast is especially ironic given Trump's tendency to deride unauthorized immigrants as irresponsible lawbreakers. Trump has a tendency to respond to criticism with projection — when accused, he accuses others of the same thing.

"Yes, undocumented immigrants are helping fund the very system that detain and deport us," journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, who is undocumented, tweeted in 2019.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Ex-CIA Officer: ‘Insane’ Syria Pullout Aids Putin And Assad

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

 

The fallout from President Donald Trump’s decision to pull US troops from the northern border of Syria continued Wednesday. Even stalwart Trump supporters like Rick Santorum slammed the President for the withdrawal. So far, two top advisors have quit, noting that the President’s seemingly abrupt decision signaled that the US was willing to abandon allies and cede strategic gains.

Former CIA operative Bob Baer appeared on CNN Wednesday to break down the ramifications of President Donald Trump’s decision.

“This is foreign policy malpractice,” Baer said. “Clearly the Russians are delighted that we are giving them all of Syria, that we are giving up our Kurdish allies and not only to Russia, the Iranians will fill the vacuum.”

“The other day somebody called me and said ‘are you guys serious? pulling out of Syria and leaving it to us?’” Baer claimed.

He pointed out that the US alliance with the Kurds has yielded successful results in the region and that abandoning them now doesn’t make much sense.

“This is insane. This is the most successful counter insurgence we have conducted in living memory, getting rid of the Islamic state using Kurdish forces. To just give this up gratuitously is crazy,” he said.

Watch: