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Breaking: Sanders Agrees To Unsanctioned Debate If Clinton Will Agree To Three Additional Ones

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Sanders Raises Stakes

Bernie Sanders says he will participate in the February 4 unsanctioned debate in New Hampshire if both Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley agree to an additional three debates. The offer comes in response to Clinton repeatedly requesting Sanders to agree to the debate announced by NBC News and the New Hampshire Union Leader on Tuesday, ahead of the nation’s second primary February 9.

“From the beginning of this campaign Sen. Sanders has called for more debates. Secretary Clinton has not,” Sanders’ campaign manager Jeff Weaver said in a statement. “Now she is asking to change the rules to schedule a debate next week that is not sanctioned by the DNC. Why is that? The answer is obvious. The dynamics of the race have changed and Sen. Sanders has significant momentum.”

“Sen. Sanders is happy to have more debates but we are not going to schedule them on an ad hoc basis at the whim of the Clinton campaign,” Weaver added, although not noting the debate was initiated by NBC News and the Union Leader.

The Sanders campaign, taking a swipe at the DNC, insisted the three additional debates be scheduled on days and times more people would be likely to watch – unlike the schedule created by embattled DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who is increasingly under fire for her tight hold on her debate schedule that included debates on the Saturday night before Christmas and on a holiday weekend against the NFL playoffs.

“If Secretary Clinton wants more debates that’s great. We propose three additional debates. One in March, April and May and none on a Friday, Saturday or holiday weekend. And all of the three Democratic candidates must be invited. If the Clinton campaign will commit to this schedule, we would ask the DNC to arrange a debate in New Hampshire on Feb. 4.”

The Clinton campaign on Tuesday said Clinton would “participate in a debate in New Hampshire if the other candidates agree, which would allow the DNC to sanction the debate.” In an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews Wednesday, Clinton herself said, “I would look forward to another debate,” and, “Let’s try to make it happen.”

No response yet from the Clinton campaign or the DNC.

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'DEEP STATE'

Federal Agencies Tapped Phones of Portland’s Racial Justice Protestors to Prove They’re Terrorists

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Two current officials from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have confirmed that the DHS and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) teamed up with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) during this summer’s racial justice protests in Portland, Oregon for a covert operation focused on “extracting information from protester’s phones.”

The officials told The Nation that a DHS colleague with expertise in electronic surveillance was sent to Portland as part of “an interagency task force” using a classified cell phone cloning attack to “intercept protesters’ phone communications.”

“Cell phone cloning involves stealing a phone’s unique identifiers and copying them to another device in order to intercept the communications received by the original device,” The Nation explains. It’s a tactic conducted to better understand your target, their network and their planning. The DEA is believed to have had a “special key” to help carry out the surveillance.

While it’s unclear who specifically was targeted by the surveillance, “They were abusing people’s rights,” one official said. The DHS hasn’t responded to congressional calls to explain the program either.

The officials quoted in The Nation’s article say that colleagues from the DHS were asked to “volunteer” to participate in the program, something departments do to conduct operations outside of the department’s official and legal capacity.

The overall goal, the officials state, was to substantiate thin claims by Attorney General William Barr that Antifa (anti-fascist) activists are receiving foreign sponsorship, something that is a necessary criterion to formally designate the group as a terrorist organization, something Trump vowed to do as recently as yesterday.

Considering that the U.S. has a long history of surveilling, harassing and possibly even killing racial justice activists since before the Civil Rights era, this newest program is hardly surprising, albeit still frightening.

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'CAN'T WE END THIS ALREADY?'

“Armed Militias to Intimidate Voters”: Donald Trump Jr.’s New Ad Recruits GOP “Army” to “Secure” Election

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Donald Trump Jr.

The president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., appears in a social media video ad asking people to join an “army” to stop the “radical left” and their plan to “steal” the election. Nevermind, that Trump Sr. has already refused to ensure a peaceful transfer of power if he loses and has also said he can only lose if the vote is rigged.

Here’s the ad itself:

In the ad, Trump Jr. says:

“The radical left are laying the groundwork to steal this election from my father, President Donald Trump. They are planting stories that President Trump will have a landslide lead on election night but will lose when they finish counting the mail-in ballots. Their plan is to add millions of fraudulent ballots that can cancel your vote and overturn the election. We cannot let that happen.”

“We need every able-bodied man and woman to join Army for Trump’s election security operation at defendyourballot.com. We need you to help us watch them, not just on Election Day but also during early voting and at the counting boards. President Trump is going to win. Don’t let them steal it. Go to defendyourballot.com and enlist today.”

While the actual website DefendYourBallot.com is just a Trump campaign get out the vote effort that doesn’t actually instruct supporters to monitor polling places or post offices, one tech culture website said the “ads incite armed militias to intimidate voters.” Keep in mind, Trump Sr. has already promised to deploy thousands of law enforcement officials to polling places on Election Day, a move that will discourage voting by people with a distrust of police.

Considering the numerous armed protesters at anti-lockdown rallies during the start of the COVID-19 epidemic and Trump Sr.’s repeated lie that Democrats want to abolish the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms, it’s easy to see how Donald Jr.’s appeal could inspire right-wing gun nuts to “monitor” polling places and post offices by scaring voters, poll workers, and postal delivery people by challenging anything that looks even remotely suspicious to them.

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'AS AN AMERICAN WHO CARES DEEPLY ABOUT THE CONSTITUTION

“A Direct Attack on Millions of Americans”: Reactions to Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court Nomination

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Amy Coney Barrett

Yesterday, The New York Times announced that President Donald Trump has chosen far right-wing religious extremist, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, to be his third Supreme Court pick.

Although Trump won’t make his official announcement until 5 p.m. ET today, reactions against Barrett have already started rolling in. Here’s a growing sample voicing concern over her hypocritical and extremist positions:

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