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Sarah K. Burris

Rural voters explain why they’re ditching Trump: ‘I went from being a pawn — to collateral damage’

President Donald Trump has desperately tried to convince rural America that he will save them as their communities are slowly falling away. Trump has tried to prop them up with farmer funding, but the tactic shows an ignorance about the issues that rural families are facing when it comes to education and access to medical care.

In a Washington Post report, Creston, Iowa beautician Re Nae Fulton said that she was done with Trump early on in his presidency.

"Silly us!" Fulton said. "He had everything handed to him. . . . Everything had to be about him — me, me, me, why aren't you bowing down to me? We need somebody who is going to heal our country and bring people back together."

After a long-term trade war that sent many farmers spiraling into bankruptcy and a crusade against the Affordable Care Act, which funded rural hospitals, national polls show Trump's support among rural voters is narrowing.

"In Michigan, Trump won 56 percent of rural votes to Hillary Clinton's 38 percent, according to 2016 exit polls," the Post cited. "A New York Times/Siena College poll of the state earlier this month found Trump and Biden were essentially tied with rural voters.

Alan Weisshaar is a farmer and rancher who left the Democratic Party. In 2016 he thought the promises the president made "sounded pretty good for farmers." While he voted for Clinton, he was ready to give Trump the benefit of the doubt. It didn't go well. He and his fellow farmers lost their shirts when the export demand for corn and soybeans took a dive. He lost about $40,000 each year of the Trump trade war.

"Before he was elected, he was all about the little guy, this populist rhetoric," he said. "But then he got us out of the trade treaties, like all of them, and I went from feeling like a pawn in his personal trade war to being collateral damage."

While Trump is still expected to win rural America, it's clear the broken promises have made a dent in those whose lives are worse after four years of Trump.

Read the full report at the Washington Post.

Trump praised armed Michigan protesters — then militia members reportedly plotted the governor's kidnapping

Heavily armed militia members and other protesters gathered at the Michigan State Capitol in May 2020 demanding that the mask mandate be ended and the coronavirus quarantine be halted. It was during that protest that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) said that she would not negotiate with terrorists.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump was tweeting "LIBERATE MICHIGAN" and praising them as "very good people" who were simply "angry."

According to the court documents it was directly after that the militia members began building a larger group to help with a plot against the Michigan governor and the violent overthrow of the state capitol.

"On June 6, 2020, CROFT, FOX and approximately 13 other people from several states gathered in Dublin, Ohio. CHS-1 was present at this meeting. The group talked about creating a society that followed the U.S. Bill of Rights and where they could be self-sufficient. They discussed different ways of achieving this goal from peaceful endeavors to violent actions. At one point, several members talked about state governments they believed were violating the U.S. Constitution, including the government of Michigan and Governor Gretchen Whitmer," said the court documents.

It was in that month that the group began to build their plot and coordinate with other militias.

It's unknown if the president or Attorney General Bill Barr were briefed on the plot or the FBI investigation. Neither have commented on the arrests.

Six of the men were taken into custody after a raid in suburban Detroit Thursday morning. They were Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, Brandon Caserta and 24-year-old Ty Garbin.

An additional seven men affiliated with a militia known as Wolverine Watchmen were also arrested. They are: Paul Bellar, 21, Shawn Fix, 38, Eric Molitor, 36, Michael Null, 38, William Null, 38, Pete Musico, 42, and Joseph Morrison, 42, cited the DailyMail.

Arkansas GOP county chair died from COVID-19. His committee hosted a mask-less gathering last month

The chairman of the Craighead County Republican Committee in Arkansas has died from complications while fighting the coronavirus, reported KAIT8 News.

Steven Farmer's GOP committee hosted a social gathering with Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), who just recovered from COVID-19, in mid-September. The Reagan Day event was photographed extensively, and it showed very few masks being worn and no social distancing.

Farmer was admitted to the hospital on Sept. 18, just four days after the GOP event. He was put in the ICU and placed on a ventilator.

It is unclear when Farmer was first diagnosed with COVID-19, and whether he attended The Reagan Day gathering.

By Sept. 25, Farmer's doctor told the family that he was "very worried that dad was not going to make it through this," his daughter relayed.

Monday the doctors told her that her father had minimal brain activity and he died. He is survived by his wife, Judy Davis-Farmer, and their three daughters and several grandchildren.

Virologist maps out how White House press secretary has been putting people at risk for days

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany has been putting lives at risk since her exposure to the coronavirus last week, a virologist explained in an extensive Twitter thread.

McEnany, who has been testing herself since Thursday, finally tested positive Monday upon arriving at the White House. Despite extensive exposure to the virus, McEnany worked at the White House over the weekend, saying that she is considered "essential" and came up "negative" multiple times. So, she was considered "safe."

Experts explain that it's important to self-quarantine for 14 days after exposure because it's unknown at what point in the process the virus takes hold and can continue to infect others.

Post-doc virologist K. Taylor, Ph.D, M.S. explained as much in a thread where she noted, "we do not yet know what the infectious dose (how many virus particles you need to become infected) is so I'm going to use hypothetical numbers for the sake of this explanation."

She said that the most common test is the PCR test, which is the nasal swab, can detect the virus RNA "up to a certain threshold. The test the White House has been using is the rapid test which detects virus proteins. Both meant to be surrogate for infection."

So, if the dose of the virus was, say 10, it means you need 10 virus particles to become infected.

"Let's say PCR requires a minimum of 1,000 particles to be detected and antigen test requires 1.5k," she said, noting that these numbers are arbitrary and only being used to explain how the virus is detected.

"On day 0 when I contract SARS-CoV2 there are 10 particles so I would not test positive," she explained. "Let's say for every 1 particle it produce[s] 5 more particles every 24 hours that means I wouldn't be at detectable levels until day 3 for PCR and day 5 for antigen test."

That would mean that McEnany, Hope Hicks, even President Donald Trump could have the virus but still be testing negative. It's also why after being exposed, doctors are testing former Vice President Joe Biden multiple times.

"Let's also say that I start shedding at 600 virus particles. That means at some point on day 2 I start shedding virus and being able to infect other people," Dr. Taylor continued. "I'm asymptomatic until I have 4K particles (reminder, made up numbers). So I'm walking around asymptotic, shedding virus and not wearing a mask because I tested negative day 1 and day 2. This is why a negative test is only good for one day."

She noted it's also why people need to be wearing masks despite being tested. Her example also doesn't even take into account the antigen test, which can be inaccurate and isn't meant to be used by asymptomatic people.

"In real life, we know the incubation period can be 2-12 days," she closed. "So until you get to the last day with a negative test you can still be infected. This quarantine and wear a mask if you have been exposed.

It's also why Biden still isn't in the clear, despite his three negative tests. Indeed, it's also why anyone who attended the Rose Garden super-spreader event at the White House should be tested frequently and why they should all have been wearing masks, she explained.

Read the full thread on Twitter.

Kayleigh McEnany tests positive for COVID-19

The White House announced that press secretary Kayleigh McEnany has tested positive for the coronavirus.

According to a New York Times report Sunday, McEnany came into the office despite exposure to the virus over the weekend. The White House said she was "fine" because she is tested daily. For that reason, she could ignore the Coronavirus Task Force guidelines to quarantine for 14 days after exposure.

"After testing negative consistently, including every day since Thursday, I tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday morning while experiencing no symptoms. No reporters, producers or members of the press are listed as close contacts by the White House Medical Unit," she claimed in a statement.

She adds to a growing list of people who've had contact with the White House over the past week who are now COVID-positive.

McEnany also has a newborn at home who is now likely at risk for the virus.

Furious Fox News’ John Roberts blows up on the White House after contentious press briefing: ‘I’m tired of it’

Fox News' John Roberts was enraged after the White House press briefing on Thursday in which Kayleigh McEnany refused to denounce white supremacy or explain why the president refuses to do so.

During Tuesday's debate, Trump hammered former Vice President Joe Biden on denouncing violent protesters, which Biden did, saying that violence is not the answer and anyone who induces violence should be prosecuted. President Donald Trump, by contrast, refused to condemn white supremacists and militias who are trying to stir up more unrest to help Trump craft a narrative that Democrats are dangerous and create violence.

"All of you on Twitter who were hammering me for asking that question, I don't care!" Roberts said after the contentious press briefing. "Because it's a question that needs to be asked and clearly the president's Republican colleagues, a mile away from here, are looking for an answer for it too. So stop deflecting! Stop blaming the media! I'm tired of it!"

See the video below:

‘Classic projection’: Mary Trump says the president was triggered when Biden called his policy ‘not smart’

President Donald Trump's niece Mary not only spent her life around the president and his family, but she also has the benefit of being a psychologist who could legitimately assess the life and mental health of her uncle.

Speaking to MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell, she explained that in one particular moment in the Tuesday evening debate, Trump seemed triggered by former Vice President Joe Biden's use of the phrase "not smart" in reference to a policy. Trump went off.

"Did you use the word 'smart?'" Trump asked after Biden insulted Trump's coronavirus plan as not being "smart."

"So you said you went to Delaware State but you forgot the name of your college," Trump continued, falsely claiming something Biden never said. "You didn't go to Delaware state. You graduated either the lowest or almost the lowest in your class. Don't ever use the word 'smart' with me. Don't ever use that word."

Mary Trump explained that it was "classic projection" on the president's part. Even though the "not smart" had nothing to do with Trump himself, he couldn't control himself.

"Well, he knows [smart] doesn't apply to him, and he's very insecure about it," she said. "That was just classic projection because, you know, it also didn't make any sense. Joe Biden was talking about a tactic that wasn't the right way to approach something. He wasn't talking about anybody's IQ. So, I think it was just another example of Donald's insecurity coming to the surface.

O'Donnell noted that when Biden called Trump a "racist," he didn't bat an eye and didn't seem to care.

Mary Trump explained that it was "classic projection" on the president's part. Even though the "not smart" had nothing to do with Trump himself, he couldn't control himself.

"Well, he knows [smart] doesn't apply to him, and he's very insecure about it," she said. "That was just classic projection because, you know, it also didn't make any sense. Joe Biden was talking about a tactic that wasn't the right way to approach something. He wasn't talking about anybody's IQ. So, I think it was just another example of Donald's insecurity coming to the surface.

O'Donnell noted that when Biden called Trump a "racist," he didn't bat an eye and didn't seem to care.

"That was a great observation," noted Mary Trump. "No, he's happy to take that label as we saw with his horrific comments or failure to comment, I should say, on condemning white supremacy. He knows — first of all, he is a white supremacist, so he's not going to go condemn himself. And secondly, he knows that that is something about him that plays with his base, and his base is all he's got left."

Biden went after Trump's attacks on soldiers, talking about his late son, who served in Iraq. Trump pivoted from Biden talking about soldiers to attacking Biden's other son Hunter for his addiction struggle. Mary Trump said that her reaction to it was "pure rage."

"It was horrifying," she said. "It was certainly not the most dangerous moment in the debate, but I think it explains why other moments are as dangerous as they are. This shows us who he is. First of all, I found Vice President Biden's restraint absolutely incomprehensible. But that's who — that's who Donald is. He is cruel. He is contemptuous. And when Vice President Biden was able to steer the conversation back to something that mattered, his son's recovery, and to say how proud he was of his son, I first thought personally I wish he had been my father's dad. But unfortunately, Donald Trump was my father's brother, so it was a pretty devastating moment."

See the interview below:

Part 1:

Mary Trump

Part 2:

Mary Trump 2

John Oliver breaks down how Dems can bring the pain to Mitch McConnell — even if he wins re-election

"Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver returned to his Sunday show, fresh off of an Emmy win, to explain how the United States got so incredibly f*cked up.

Oliver began by remembering Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and noting that her seat will be taken over by a far-right conservative justice who will unmake healthcare, reproductive freedom, LGBTQ rights and more things Americans have indicated they want.

He played a clip of Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) claiming that America is a "center-right" country, which Oliver called outright "bullsh*t." Not only do Americans overwhelming support reproductive freedom, they also support LGBTQ equality. At the same time, Americans also believe, overwhelmingly, that President Donald Trump shouldn't be allowed to appoint the next justice.

After walking through the corrupt ways America got to this point, namely Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), he suggested major ideas required for bringing down this disparity in the United States that gives the most amount of power to small, less populous states.

However, "as easy and as fun as it is to blame Mitch McConnell and his mule piss for everything, it is a mistake to focus just on the people involved here because there is a whole system underneath them that has enabled them to do what they have done," said Oliver.

After blaming Mitch McConnell as one of the ways we got to where we are, Oliver then blamed the undemocratic systems that still exist in the United States. Namely, Oliver called out Republicans for claiming that because they hold the Senate majority, it means they have a "mandate" to do whatever they want. The problem with that logic is that neither the Senate nor the presidency reflects the so-called "will of the people."

"First, take the White House," said Oliver. "A Democrat has won the national popular vote in four out of the last five elections. But we've spent 12 of the last 20 years with a Republican in office. And that is because the Electoral College, with its winner-take-all approach of the states, can distort the will of the majority. On top of which, it gives disproportionate power to less populous states, which tend to be rural and more conservative. Something that is even more pronounced in the Senate."

He explained that 15 states represent 38 million people, and they have 30 American Senators. California has a population of about 40 million people, but they still only get two senators. Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico have a population of about 4 million Americans, the same of Rhode Island, Montana, and Wyoming.

The Senate gives the average black Americans only 75 percent as much representation as white Americans in a government that purports to be "by and for the people." The average Hispanic American only gets about 55 percent as much representation as whites in the U.S. Talk about separate but equal.

So, when Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed, "a president who lost the popular vote will have picked the quarter of the federal judiciary and one-third of the supreme Supreme Court. And his choice will be rubber-stamped by a Senate-Republican majority that represents 15 million fewer people than the Democratic minority."

Oliver walked through what Democrats can and should do if they take power in 2020. It's time for fast and sweeping change, and they can't wait around for "bipartisan" buy-in because they'll never get it. If we truly want America to be a representative democracy, we have to give representation to every American and ensure they're treated equally. That doesn't exist now, but if Democrats win, it could.

And now, here's a poem Oliver wrote about Ted Cruz:

"I do not like that man, Ted Cruz.
I do not like his backward views.
I do not like his stupid suits.
I do not like his cowboy boots.
I do not like him when he sneezes.
I do not like him eating cheeses.
I hate to see his dumb face smirkin'
Because his beard looks like a merkin."

See the video below:

The Supreme Court: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Here's why there was no mention of Russia or Michael Cohen in NYT tax bombshell: Trump biographer

Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter David Cay Johnston has literally written the book on President Donald Trump and his finances. Trump's supporters have already gone after the report saying that it vindicated the president because there was no mention of Michael Cohen or Russia anywhere in the New York Times bombshell report.

Breitbart editor-at-large Joel Pollak celebrated the news and claimed, without evidence, that the taxes must have come illegally from the IRS. The personal tax returns did show, however, that Trump made an absurdly large amount of money from handling the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow.

As Cay Johnston explained, those things wouldn't be on Trump's personal taxes; it would fall under the Trump Organization.

"This is a stunningly detailed report that goes into essentially everything that you would know from the tax returns that isn't what you'd know about his business. For example, nothing in here about Russia and whether the money he's gotten we know he's gotten from Russia, because that would be business records, not tax records," he explained.

He went on to note that the most important details revealed in this report are that Trump is a fraud and the worst businessman in America.

"Think about this: in just the years, 2008 and 2009, Trump took $1.4 billion of losses," Cay Johnston explained. "$1.4 billion in those two years. Now from the years just before that, 2005, the year to which I got his tax return mailed to me at my home, and I believe by Donald himself, and 2006 and 2008, he paid $70 million or something called an alternative minimum tax. As a real estate developer, that's a tax he gets back essentially it makes you loan the money to the government at zero interest, and you take it back. So, he paid $70 million of that, and more than half was from the year 2005 and not really a tax bill. It's a temporary tax bill."

He explained that something like that proves there must be a law in place that demand all presidential candidates and vice-presidential candidates disclose their taxes."We understand their finances, and I agree with John Harwood I think pointing out that this suggests Donald Trump needs the presidency right now because bills he has coming to including more than $300 million of loans he personally guaranteed. The very issue that caused him to have a financial collapse in 1990 when I was covering him, only then he had $3 billion in personally guaranteed loans he could not pay back," he explained.

In a separate interview with MSNBC, Cay Johnston also noted that one of the report's toplines is that Trump paid more in taxes to other countries like India, the Philippines, Panama, and other locations than the United States.

"What this illustrates is why Donald Trump doesn't want you to see his tax returns," he explained. "And he has good reason to try and argue falsely that he can't release his return because he's under audit. Once you sign your return, nothing changes by releasing it. There is no legitimate reason for Donald Trump to withhold his tax returns. This is entirely something he's trying to do to protect his image."

Watch the interviews below:


David Cay Johnston

Former Army prosecutor: Trump will ‘get laughed out of court’ if he tries to steal the election

Democrats are still panicking about the plots that President Donald Trump and the Republican Party seem to be cooking up to circumvent the people's vote in November.

Last week's shocking piece in The Atlantic detailed how electors in Pennsylvania could be manipulated to deliver Trump the vote despite ballots to the contrary. After President George W. Bush's campaign convincing the Supreme Court to stop Florida from counting the 2000 election ballots, there is a fear that Trump too could manipulate the courts to get his Supreme Court justices to deliver him a win.

Former Army prosecutor and MSNBC legal analyst Glenn Kirschner released a video Sunday explaining that there's no chance Trump will be successful.

He said that voters still have to get out "in numbers too big to rig — in numbers too real to steal," but if things go well for Democrats, Trump will likely launch lawsuits in critical parts of battleground states to try and save himself.

"Donald Trump is going to get laughed out of court," said Kirschner. "How can I say that? Well, I tried to count out how many judges I appeared before in my 30 years as a prosecutor. It's probably around 200, give or take. And those are both military judges in military trials and military appellate courts. Those are civilian judges in civilian trial courts and in appellate courts… I've been in front of a lot of judges. I've argued a lot of cases. And what I can tell you is a litigant can't walk into court with unclean hands. A litigant can't create a problem and then walk into court and say, 'I am a victim of the problem I created! And judge I demand relief.'"

He went on to explain the "clean hands doctrine" or the "doctrine of wrongdoing" which he says will ultimately be Trump's undoing.

See the video below:

Here's Why Trump Will Lose ALL Court Battles Contesting the Election.