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Trump Threatens States Over Mail In Voting Amid Pandemic

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The U.S. President Donald Trump has shockingly threatened two states who are working to expand access to mail-in voting amid the CV pandemic. Trump stated he would withhold federal funding, funds that are desperately needed amid the crisis, which would only harm the citizens.

Trump accused Michigan and Nevada of sending “illegal” vote by mail ballots to voters and baseless accusations of “voter fraud.” However, Michigan is sending applications for absentee ballots to all its registered voters, not the ballots themselves. While in Nevada, all active registered voters will receive an absentee ballot.

“Breaking: Michigan sends absentee ballots to 7.7 million people ahead of Primaries and the General Election. This was done illegally and without authorization by a rogue Secretary of State. I will ask to hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path!” Trump wrote in a tweet.

Michigan’s Secretary of State sarcastically replied to the U.S. president on Twitter: “Hi! I also have a name, it’s Jocelyn Benson. And we sent applications, not ballots. Just like my GOP colleagues in Iowa, Georgia, Nebraska and West Virginia.”

In a second tweet speaking on Nevada, Trump tweeted, “State of Nevada ‘thinks’ that they can send out illegal vote by mail ballots, creating a great Voter Fraud scenario for the State and the U.S. They can’t! If they do, ‘I think’ I can hold up funds to the State. Sorry, but you must not cheat in elections.”

Several other states have already taken steps to expand mail-in voting for the primaries and other voting. But legal battles have ensued in Texas, Nevada, Georgia, and Florida, among other states, where voting rights groups have sued to expand voting to mail-in ballots, PBS reported.

PBS reports:

“Currently, registered voters in 29 states can receive an absentee ballot by mail upon request, without providing a reason why they can’t vote in person. An additional 5 states — Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, Colorado and Utah — hold what are commonly known as “all-mail” elections. In those states, registered voters automatically receive a ballot by mail, and can return it by mail or vote early in person ahead of Election Day.

But 16 states still require voters to show they meet certain criteria in order to vote by mail with an absentee ballot. The criteria vary by state, but often include things like being over the age of 65, having a disability, or plans to be out of the country on Election Day.”

Hilariously, most states (33 states and Washington, D.C.) already allow voters to request and submit absentee mail-in ballots without explaining their reasoning according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

However, don’t tell Trump that or he might threaten other states with cutting federal funding that consider shifting to mail-in voting. Public health officials have stressed the need for — social distancing, and limiting contact with others, which could pose a problem for polling sites if the pandemic is still ongoing.

While Trump is right according to Propublica that mail-in ballots could enable voting fraud, its unheard of to threaten federal aid of states during a crisis. The bigger elephant to worry about is the funding for election infrastructure that is necessary to process mailed ballots, a transition that could take several months or years.

According to a report by ABC News, at least 19 voters or poll workers in Wisconsin who participated in person in Election Day during the state’s primary have tested positive for CV-19. However, State officials stated it was possible some of the new cases were not directly linked to the election. But this just highlights the potential for a flare-up in cases if millions of people attend polling stations to exercise their will to vote.

Business Insider also reports the other massive looming issue with mail-in ballot voting, is it typically takes decades to implement according to the publication.

The other alternative option is online voting which a growing number of experts including government officials argue is flawed and insecure. Recently, the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) joined a group of federal agencies in condemning the idea of online voting in guidelines as The Guardian reported.

The guidelines, sent to states privately even described online voting as a “high risk.”

“Electronic ballot return, the digital return of a voted ballot by the voter, creates significant security risks to voted ballot integrity, voter privacy, ballot secrecy, and system availability,” the agencies wrote in state guidelines. “Securing the return of voted ballots via the internet while maintaining voter privacy is difficult, if not impossible, at this time.”

It’s worth mentioning for readers that Trump previously threatened federal funding of aid to California when the state was in the midst of battling wildfires. Trump has frequently politicized events but to withhold funding during a pandemic would be unheard of and would surely be met with lawsuits against the U.S. president and no doubt ensued backlash quickly following.

A recent YouGov poll that polled over 30,000 people found that majority of Americans (65%) support voting-by-mail. Those results included — Democrats (80%), Independents (64%), and Republicans (54%.)

If you are interested in voting, conforming to the system, and still feel like your vote counts you can see Vice’s article on how to set up mail-in ballots state by state here.

 

Alex Baldridge is an activist and freelance journalist from the midwestern United States who was inspired to become a writer after watching the development of the Wikileaks story and the persecution of Julian Assange. Alex is especially interested in topics like surveillance, the rise of automation, foreign policy, prison reform, and the legal system.

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Maryland Man Arrested After Threatening To Kidnap, Rape Kamala Harris And Kill Joe Biden

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U.S. Secret Service agents have charged James Dale Reed, age 42, of Frederick, Maryland with threatening a presidential candidate, expressing he wrote a letter in which he warns of beating “Grandpa Biden,” raping Sen. Kamala Harris, and targeting supporters of the Democrats.

James Dale Reed, age 42, of Frederick, Maryland, is alleged to have threatened the two Democrat candidates for President and Vice President, Joe Biden, and Kamala Harris in a letter he left on a doorstep of a neighbor according to a Federal complaint, The New York Times reported.

“We have a list of homes and addresses by your election signs. We are the ones with those scary guns, We are the ones your children have nightmares about. The Boogeymen coming in the night,” Reed, allegedly wrote.

The federal charge was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur and Special Agent in Charge Bo Keane of the United States Secret Service – Baltimore Field Office, CBS 13 Baltimore reported.

United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur stated, “We take these types of threats extremely seriously. Such threats to commit violence are illegal and have no place in our democracy, and we will hold accountable those who make them. We are grateful for the assistance of the City of Frederick Police Department and to citizens who provided tips that ultimately led to Mr. Reed’s arrest and these federal charges.”

According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, on October 4, 2020, a letter threatening candidates for President and Vice President—specifically, former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris—was left on the doorstep of a resident in Frederick in the early hours of the morning. The silouethe of the subject delivering the letter was captured by a Ring door camera. The resident did not know the suspect but had several signs in the yard supporting the candidates threatened in the letter. The letter, which is included in full in the attached Complaint, contains the following passage:

“This is a warning to anyone reading this letter if you are a Biden/Harris supporter you will be targeted. We have a list of homes and addresses by your election signs. We are the ones with those scary guns, We are the ones your children have nightmares about…When We capture Grandpa Biden We will all severely beat him to the point of death as for Mrs. Harris she will be bent over and Anally raped by my rifle barrel. Then for the Grand end the [sic] both will be executed on National Television.”

“The right to vote and peacefully support the candidate of your choice are bedrocks of our democracy,” said U.S. Attorney Hur. “Conduct like this that threatens major candidates and fellow citizens only undermines our democracy and the principles upon which America was founded. We will not tolerate threatening conduct that seeks to intimidate, harass or dissuade Americans from exercising their right to vote.”

Investigators quickly worked to identify Reed after he was caught on the door camera’s Ring video. They also said they had received a citizen tip that focused on Reed. An individual familiar with Reed viewed the door camera footage and confirmed that the person on the surveillance tape was Reed. The video showed, a man who appeared to be a white male wearing a beanie hat, gloves, and a military-like windbreaker according to the criminal complaint.

On October 13th, 2020, Reed was interviewed at his residence and denied leaving a threatening letter or being the individual in the door camera video that was shown to him. Two days later, Reed admitted writing and delivering the letter and was arrested and charged.

If convicted, Reed faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison for threats against a government official. Reed has been denied bail and ruled to be a “dangerous individual” to society.

The report comes as Americans have lamented a more and more polarized political atmosphere as voters prepare for the 2020 presidential election on November 3rd. In fact, The Independent reported that three-quarters of Americans have expressed fears about violent post-election riots and protests. Anewspost previously reported another threat against a government official, this time by militia members who are accused of domestic terrorism and attempted kidnapping of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, in an effort to ferment civil war. The two events are not known to be connected in any way shape or form.

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Trump And Biden Will Have Microphones Muted At Times During Upcoming Debate

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The first series of debates for the presidential nominees were widely criticized for a variety of reasons, but the candidates cutting each other off and not allowing one another to speak was one of the primary complaints. On Monday, the event’s sponsors announced that the candidates will both have their microphones cut at certain times during the debate

According to the Commission on Presidential Debates, when one of the candidates is given a chance to provide a two-minute answer to each of the six debate topics, his opponent’s microphone will be muted.

“It is the hope of the Commission that the candidates will be respectful of each other’s time, which will advance civil discourse for the benefit of the viewing public,” the statement said.

The final debate scheduled between Trump and Biden is set for Thursday at 9 p.m. ET in Nashville and it will be moderated by NBC News’ Kristen Welker. The debate will include six debate topics that are given 15 minutes each, and the entire debate will run for 90 minutes.

The topics are:

Fighting Covid-19
American families
Race in America
Climate change
National security
Leadership

The topics were chosen by debate host Kristen Welker.

In a recent statement, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien accused the commission of bias, but said the president “is committed to debating Joe Biden regardless of last-minute rule changes.”

Trump also said that he was treated unfairly because the moderators for both debates were not fans of his.

On Saturday, Trump posted a tweet about Walker that said, “She’s always been terrible & unfair, just like most of the Fake News reporters, but I’ll still play the game.”

On Monday, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien shared a letter on Twitter urging the debate hosts to ensure that foreign policy would be the main focus, instead of the coronavirus, climate change or race in America. Foreign policy is probably Trump’s strongest issue with undecided and left-wing voters.

Despite his excessive praise for the US military, President Trump is actually to the left of Biden on foreign policy. According to numerous staffers and reporters who spoke on conditions inside the White House, including Trump crtitics like John Bolton and Bob Woodward, Trump is actually insistent on getting out of Afghanistan and has argued to scale back military action and spending in the middle east, but has been consistently undermined by the intelligence community and his generals. Biden, on the other hand, has adopted the philosophy of military intervention in the name of humanitarian war.

On the other hand, Trump obviously wanted to avoid talking about race and the COVID pandemic response because these are his weakest areas. On the topic of race, many undecided voters have been waiting to hear Trump explicitly condemn white supremacy, but for him to do so would be political suicide because so much of his voting base is driven by white fragility.

There is also a very good chance that the candidates will veer off-topic in the final debates. President Trump has already said that he will press Biden on the recent controversies surrounding his son.

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Chinese President Xi Issues Warning At UN Of “Clash Of Civilizations”

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President Xi Jinping defended China’s ambitions Tuesday in a speech to the UN, warning against the danger of a “clash of civilizations.”

In a prerecorded address Xi said that the world must “oppose politicization and stigmatization” over the pandemic, urging global leaders to embrace the “concept of a big family … and avoid falling into the trap of a clash of civilizations.”

The U.S. and China have seen tensions rise over a plethora of issues: the origins of the coronavirus, trade and tech dominance, security, Hong Kong, and Taiwan as well as the long-disputed South China Sea.

The U.S. has also called China out over its ambitions to control the strategically pivotal South China Sea as well as for its bid to crush democracy movements in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Xi reassured world leaders his country had no desire for “hegemony, expansion or sphere of influence,” The Guardian reported.

“China has no intention to enter a Cold War with any country,” he said, insisting Beijing is instead a bulwark of international systems such as the World Trade Organization and a willing partner in the face of diplomatic spats.

“We insist on dialogue to bridge differences and negotiation to resolve disputes,” Xi added.

Xi urged the world to “join hands to uphold the values of peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom shared by all of us.”

However, as Anewspost reported, China’s military has painted a much different picture releasing several frightening videos aimed at the U.S. More recently, the People’s Liberation Army Air Force published a video of nuclear-capable H-6 bombers carrying out a simulated attack on Andersen Air Force Base on the U.S. Pacific island of Guam.

That isn’t the first video release that seems aimed at the U.S. either. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has previously published a video on social media showing Hong Kong air defense drills as Anewspost reported.

This also follows an incident last month when Chinese military drills were disrupted by the U.S. and China responded firing two medium-range “ship killer” projectiles into the South China Sea as a warning.

The PLA has been increasing the number of military drills across East Asia as relations with the U.S continue to deteriorate. This comes after two American aircraft carriers held an unusual exercise in the South China Sea in July. As well as after a mysterious visit to Taiwan by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

Upon Azar’s visit to Taiwan, Chinese state media angrily threatened to retaliate by holding live-fire missile drills near Taiwan and Guam.

China claims Taiwan is its territory and threatens to use military force to bring under its control the island that is a self-governing democracy and close U.S. ally, CBS reported.

Trump also made a speech at the UN virtually, the U.S. President stated the UN “must hold China accountable for their actions,” before listing a litany of alleged crimes by Beijing.

Trump’s remarks sparked an angry response from China’s ambassador to the UN, Zhang Jun, who called Washington’s handling of the coronavirus a “complete failure,” and said, “it’s really time for some US politicians to wake up from their self-created illusions.” Zhang added the U.S. “may wish to be great, but to be great you have to behave like a leader.”

Zhang further stated:

“China firmly rejects and opposes the groundless accusations made by the United States against China during the General Debate on 22 September,” Zhang said.

Although Xi’s speech seemed to indicate that China wanted peace and would not further aggression, past speeches tell a different tale. Last year, China’s President Xi Jinping ordered the Chinese armed forces People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to enhance their combat readiness to safeguard national sovereignty, security, and development interests after the U.S. had issued a travel warning to China stating Americans were at risk to arbitrary and indefinite detention.

“The world is facing a period of major changes never seen in a century, and China is still in an important period of strategic opportunity for development,  Xi said, to the Central Military Commission (CMC) warning that various risks and challenges were on the rise.  The entire armed forces should have a correct understanding of China’s security and development trends, enhance their awareness of danger, crisis and war, and make solid efforts on combat preparations in order to accomplish the tasks assigned by the Party and the people,” Xi added according to a press release.

Beijing’s state media has previously warned any attempt to prevent China from accessing its interests in the region of the South China Sea could risk sparking a “large-scale war.”

Trump recently promised to “decouple” the U.S. from China, while threatening to block companies who outsource jobs to China from receiving federal contracts. China has threatened to kill the TikTok deal organized by Oracle Corp. and Walmart Inc. with the entity TikTtok Global.

The UN chief Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that the tensions between the U.S. and China were moving in a dangerous direction that could fracture the world and turn into a military conflict.

“We must do everything to avoid a new Cold War,” Guterres said. “We are moving in a very dangerous direction.” He added, “Our world cannot afford a future where the two largest economies split the globe in a great fracture. A technological and economic divide risks inevitably turning into a geo-strategic and military divide. We must avoid this at all costs,” Guterres said.

Guterres isn’t the only political official to warn about increasing tensions with China becoming a hot conflict. A top Republican lawmaker Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) who sits on the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation recently predicted that an armed war with China was imminent.

“I would predict there will be a clash within the next three to six months,” Yoho told the Washington Examiner.

The Florida Republican predicted that armed conflict will be triggered by a Chinese naval attack against the U.S. Pacific Fleet, which often commands a strong presence in the South China Sea, as Anewspost reported.

For now, it’s just a trade and tech cold war with each country taking its shot with sanctions, blockades of technology companies, and manufacturing. But this exchange of words can quickly turn into a heated conflict, which will only harm each countries citizenry and divide the rest of the world as UN Chief Guterres warned.

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