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Ice was on the ballot last week–and lost big in the new South

November 14, 2020 in Blogs

By Daniel Nichanian

This piece originally ran in The Appeal: Political Report.

Republicans lost sheriff’s elections last week in populous Southern counties that have been close ICE allies. This is likely to bring an end to prominent ICE contracts in Georgia’s Cobb and Gwinnett counties and in Charleston County, South Carolina.

These results are major wins for immigrants’ rights advocates who have long worked to change policies in these jurisdictions, which are home to more than 2 million residents combined.

“We celebrate the ouster of the sheriffs who were responsible for the targeting of community members, working in collusion with ICE,” Azadeh Shahshahani, legal and advocacy director of Project South, told The Appeal: Political Report. “These incredible victories are the culmination of more than a decade of fighting back by immigrants’ rights organizers against the devastating 287(g) program which led to untold numbers of families being torn apart.”

Charleston, Cobb, and Gwinnett are all members of ICE’s 287(g) program, which deputizes local law enforcement to act like federal immigration agents within jails. The program has put thousands of people each year on ICE’s radar. Local officials justify this policy as a way to target people who commit violent crimes, though the vast majority of people affected were booked for lower-level offenses or were never convicted. As a result, people can be funneled into deportation proceedings and find themselves locked up in detention centers that are known for inhumane conditions. Project South is among the organizations suing ICE for failing to respond to a whistleblower complaint alleging that women in Georgia’s Irwin Detention Center were forced to undergo gynecological surgeries that could result in sterilization.

Participation in the 287(g) program is up to the sheriff—much like many other forms of cooperation with ICE—and the Democratic nominees in each of these counties ran on terminating it, a stance they reiterated in interviews with the Political Report in September and October. The Republican nominees favored the 287(g) program, by contrast. The three Democrats prevailed.

Cobb County’s longtime sheriff, Neil Warren, lost to challenger Craig Owens. In Gwinnett County, a sheriff with notoriously aggressive policies toward immigrants retired, and the resulting open race was won by …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Here's where Donald Trump's recount fundraising could really be going

November 14, 2020 in Blogs

By Meaghan Ellis

As it became increasingly unlikely that President Donald Trump would be elected for a second term, his campaign team began sending out flurries of emails urging Trump supporters to donate to the president’s legal fund to stop Democrats from “stealing the election.”

The stir of panic sent high-strung Trump supporters into overdrive and now many of them are donating to aid in the president’s legal battle. Although the Trump campaign has raised a substantial amount of money in the past week, it is being reported that there is a strong possibility the funds will not be used for the purpose his supporters think. Trump is vowing to contest the results of the election, but the disclaimer added to his presidential campaign emails suggests the president may have other plans for the money he is generating, according to a new report published ABC-13.

Trump has promised to contest President-elect Joe Biden’s win in court. But the fine print indicates much of the money donated to support that effort since Election Day has instead paid down campaign debt, replenished the Republican National Committee and, more recently, helped get Save America, a new political action committee Trump founded, off the ground.

Paul S. Ryan, a veteran campaign finance attorney with the non-profit organization, Common Cause, weighed in on the financial windfall the campaign may receive from the influx of donation.

“This is a slush fund. That’s the bottom line,” Ryan explained. “Trump may just continue to string out this meritless litigation in order to fleece his own supporters of their money and use it in the coming years to pad his own lifestyle while teasing a 2024 candidacy.”

The report also breaks down of the purpose of Trump’s new “Save America” political action committee and how the campaign will be distributing funds from the campaign donations to the new initiative.

It reads: “A detailed breakdown of how contributions are split up shows that 60% of any donation now goes to Save America PAC. The next 40% goes to an RNC account. It’s only once a donor reaches the maximum contribution limit for each group – $5,000 for Trump’s PAC and $35,000 for the RNC – that money will spill into legal accounts for Trump and the RNC, according to campaign finance attorneys who have reviewed the details of the arrangement.”

Despite Trump’s continued efforts to undermine the outcome of the election, …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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'That's the plan': Pence offers delusional response to MAGA crowd chanting 'four more years'

November 14, 2020 in Blogs

By Meaghan Ellis

Vice President Mike Pence signaled on Friday that President Donald Trump has absolutely no plan to concede despite losing the presidential election.

On Friday, Pence delivered a speech at the Conservative think tank known as the Council for National Policy. During his speech, Trump supporters began chanting “four more years,” according to the transcript, but instead of setting the record straight Pence only added to their false hopes.

“That’s the plan,” Pence said, adding, “I promise you: We will keep fighting until every legal vote is counted, until every illegal vote is thrown out, and we will never stop fighting to make America great again.”

The vice president also claimed “we await the results of our election” despite President-elect Joe Biden already being declared the winner of the election. As of Saturday, November 14, the Electoral College results show Biden defeating Trump with 306 electoral votes to the president’s 232 which is a relatively wide margin that basically seals the deal.

Pence’s remarks come as the White House refuses to commit to a peaceful transfer of power to Biden’s new administration. Despite the election results, Trump, his campaign advisors, and White House officials have continued to spread falsehoods to undermine the results of the election as the president has refused to accept defeat.

Although the vast majority of Trump’s lawsuits have been dismissed due to lack of evidence, he continues to give his supporters hope that he will continue to govern for another four years. In fact, White House trade advisor Peter Navarro, on Friday, also said that they are preparing for “a second Trump term.”

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Source: ALTERNET

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Time to discuss the potentially unpleasant side effects of COVID shots? Scientists say yes.

November 14, 2020 in Blogs

By Kaiser Health News

Drugmaker Pfizer is expected to seek federal permission to release its COVID-19 vaccine by the end of November, a move that holds promise for quelling the pandemic, but also sets up a tight time frame for making sure consumers understand what it will mean to actually get the shots.This story also ran on NBC News. It can be republished for free.This vaccine, and likely most others, will require two doses to work, injections that must be given weeks apart, company protocols show. Scientists anticipate the shots will cause enervating flu-like side effects — including sore arms, muscle aches and f…

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Source: ALTERNET

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This scientist paved the way for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

November 14, 2020 in Blogs

By The Philadelphia Inquirer

PHILADELPHIA — When Drew Weissman first started injecting mice with genetic molecules called messenger RNA, it did not go well.Many of the animals became overwhelmed with harmful inflammation, and some died.But Weissman solved that problem with a bit of clever biochemistry 15 years ago, working with then-colleague Katalin Karikó at the University of Pennsylvania. Now their work forms the backbone of two vaccines for COVID-19, including the one for which dramatic early results were announced this week.The vaccine made by Pfizer Inc. and the German firm BioNTech SE, where Karikó now works, appea…

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Source: ALTERNET