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Bombshell: Moscow Thought Trump’s Attacks on Khans Showed Him ‘Psychologically Unfit,’ Certain GOP Would Dump Him

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Report: ‘Why Vladimir Putin’s Russia Is Backing Donald Trump’

A third bombshell report by Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald was published Friday morning, revealing the depths of the Russian government’s backing of Donald Trump, including a tremendous and widespread hacking and disinformation campaign to support him. Rachel Maddow on MSNBC previewed the report Thursday night (video above.)

In the lengthy exposé, Eichenwald writes that the Russian government thought Trump’s weeks-long attacks on the Khans, the Gold Star family who addressed the Democratic National Convention, was so inappropriate it would lead Americans to dump him.

“Trump’s behavior, however, has at times concerned the Russians, leading them to revise their hacking and disinformation strategy,” Eichenwald reports. 

“For example, when Trump launched into an inexplicable attack on the parents of a Muslim-American soldier who died in combat, the Kremlin assumed the Republican nominee was showing himself psychologically unfit to be president and would be forced by his party to withdraw from the race. As a result, Moscow put its hacking campaign temporarily on hold, ending the distribution of documents until Trump stabilized, both personally and in the polls, according to reports provided to Western intelligence.”

And it appears the Russian government is funneling information – or disinformation – into the Trump campaign.

“Trump and his campaign have also spread propaganda created as part of the Kremlin’s effort, relying on bogus information generated through traditional Russian disinformation techniques,” Eichenwald charges. 

“In one instance, a manipulated document was put out onto the internet anonymously by propagandists working with Russia; within hours, Trump was reciting that false information at a campaign rally. The Trump campaign has also spread claims from Sputnik, another news outlet identified by American intelligence as part of the Russian disinformation campaign. For example, almost immediately after the posting of an article by Sputnik attacking this Newsweek reporter, the Trump campaign emailed a link to the piece to American reporters, urging them to pursue the same story.”

The article also dives into the great concerns our NATO allies have about Trump, including his apparent protection of Putin and the Russian government. 

During the final presidential debate, despite having been briefed by U.S. intelligence officials about Russia’s hacking, Trump on stage wholly denied Russia’s involvement.

The words that so shocked the British were ‘our country has no idea,’ and ‘I doubt it,'” when Clinton accused the Russians of hacking, Eichenwald reports. “All of the NATO allies are sure Russia is behind the hacking. All of America’s intelligence agencies are, too. The foreign intelligence services had been sharing what they knew about this with the Americans, and Trump had been told about it.”

“But he blithely dismissed the conclusion of not only the United States but its allies as well, based on absolutely nothing. Trump had no apparent means of developing his own information to contradict the findings of intelligence agencies around the world. And that he would so aggressively fight to clear Putin, and cast aspersions on all Western intelligence agencies, left the British officials slack-jawed.”

The entire story is at Newsweek and worth a read. 

 

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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'DANGEROUS FOOLS'

QAnon Sends Death Threats to Gay Senator for Trying to Make Sex Laws Less LGBTQ-phobic

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image via Wikimedia Commons, Scott Weiner

Democratic California State Senator Scott Wiener has received death threats from far-right supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory after he introduced legislation to reform the state’s sex offender registry to be less queerphobic.

Right now, California law allows judges to refuse to list the full names of certain offenders from the sex offender registry if the judge finds a valid reason to do so—let’s say, for example, if an 18-year-old has sex with a 16-year-old. The rule only applies for offenders who have sex with minor ages 15 to 17 and it only applies to penis-in-vagina sex.

As such, in any cases involving digital penetration, anal or oral sex—sexual methods often used by LGBTQ people—the judge has no choice but to list the offender’s full name without exception.

Wiener wanted to change the law to include all types of sex, and that’s when the death threats started pouring in.

“You’re dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. I’ll publicly execute you. I’m gonna embarrass you. Pedophile,” one Instagram user wrote.

Another wrote, “I’ll come cut your head off and deliver it to your mom if you even considering introducing your ‘bill.’ Got it?”

Others messages were anti-Semitic or accused Weiner of being a child rapist. Because it’s against the law for elected officials to block users on social media, all of his social media channels have to remain open to such threats.

The QAnon conspiracy theory believes that the Trump administration will expose a top-secret international child sex trafficking network run by “deep state” senior Democrats who are determined to stop Trump at all costs. Its theories infamously led an armed gunman in 2017 to enter a gay-owned Washington D.C. pizza parlor, Comet Ping Pong, to investigate “Pizzagate,” the claim that the pizzeria had child sex slaves locked in its nonexistent basement.

QAnon conspiracy theorists have become more active during the COVID-19 lockdown and the runup to the November 3 presidential elections as many U.S. residents find themselves at home without jobs.

“Whether its QAnon or Russian troll farms, these are factories of false info designed to undermine democracy and public discourse, and also to send a message to elected officials that if you pursue unpopular progressive change to help marginalized groups like queer kids, ‘We’re going to target you,'” Weiner told Mother Jones.

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'DEEPLY EMBARRASSING'

“I’m Not a Racist” Says Republican Politician Who Repeatedly Uses N-word to Discuss Black Lives Matter

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Tom Eckerle

Tom Eckerle—a Republican road commissioner for Leelanau County, Michigan—is reportedly resigning after political pressure for repeatedly using the n-word, an anti-Black racist slur, to describe racial justice protestors.

Before a meeting of the road commission started last Tuesday, Eckerle was asked by a commission member why he wasn’t wearing a mask. He responded, “Well this whole thing is because of them (n-words) down in Detroit.”

When Bob Joyce, the commission’s chair, told Eckerle he couldn’t say that, Eckerle said, “I can say anything I want. Black Lives Matter has everything to do with taking the country away from us.”

Let’s be clear: the social aims listed on the Black Live Matters (BLM) website do not mention white people. According to its website, the BLM movement seeks to unite Black communities worldwide to oppose state-sanctioned violence and anti-Black racism while also create creating healing, empathetic communities free from prejudice.

When asked about his comments during a Thursday interview with Interlochen Public Radio, Eckerle said didn’t realize the public found out about his comments and said, “No, I don’t regret calling it an (n-word). A( n-word) is a (n-word) is a (n-word). That’s not a person whatsoever.”

Eckerle also told the Associated Press, “I’m not a racist. Black Lives Matter is racist. If I believed in Black Lives Matter, I would be racist. … Black Lives Matter has no heart. And that is as offensive to me as the N-word,” before saying the actual n-word again, just to make his point.

“If I could get a few people that, when they see a Black Lives Matter sign up, to think the N-word, I have accomplished what I’m after,” he added.

Eckerle was elected to his eight-year position in 2018. Of Leelanauhas County’s 21,700 residents about 90 percent are white. Black people are less than 1 percent of its population.

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'ANGRY AND APPALLED'

Trump’s Postmaster General Destabilizes Postal Service Just 87 Days Before Presidential Elections

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In a memo released yesterday, President Donald Trump ally Louis DeJoy — who was hired by Trump’s handpicked Postal Service Board of Governors — reshuffled two top executives and 21 to 31 other executives and staffers who represent “decades of institutional postal knowledge” out of leadership roles or into new positions in the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).

This move, along with other recent “cost-saving” measures which have slowed down mail delivery and threatened to worsen the service, comes as an unprecedented wave of mail-in ballots are expected in the November presidential elections as voters avoid in-person polling stations to reduce possible COVID-19 exposure.

The USPS was already in financial trouble because of a 2006 law requiring it to pre-fund 75 years worth of retirement benefits — a $110 billion cost. Also, like many U.S. businesses, the epidemic significantly harmed the USPS. Many workers fell ill or began quarantining, causing USPS leaders to spend millions on personal protective equipment, plexiglass and social distancing equipment for offices while its reduced workforce began working overtime at increased pay to help continue services.

New measures instated by DeJoy ban employees from working overtime and making extra trips to deliver mail while reducing hours at different branches nationwide. The Friday memo also said the service would implement a hiring freeze, ask for voluntary retirements, and reduce its operating units and service regions.

These moves are allegedly meant to help the USPS stay financially solvent as it’s expected to run out of money anytime between March and October 2021, despite the recent approval of a $10 billion Treasury loan approved in the upcoming coronavirus relief package.

The moves are also eyebrow-raising seeing as DeJoy and his wife have between $30.1 million and $75.3 million in assets in USPS competitors and contracts who might directly benefit from the USPS’s failure.

People suspect Trump of deliberately sabotaging the USPS as a way to try and sway the upcoming November elections in his favor. Trump, who has repeatedly and falsely claimed that mail-in voting increases voting fraud, wants to deny the service billions in federal aid unless USPS quadruples its prices, something that would compel people to use USPS competitors.

The Trump campaign has sued state and local governments nationwide over mail-in ballot rules, and according to Vox.com:

Different states have different laws about how mail-in ballots work. Currently, 34 states — including swing states like Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — require ballots to be received by election authorities by Election Day, so any delay in the mail could lead to untold numbers of votes going uncounted.

“We’ve been doing mail ballots as postal workers for generations,” said Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union. “It’s been increasing in popularity. In the last election, 31 million people voted by mail. There’s virtually no fraud.”

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