The snake eats its own tail in Georgia: GOP PAC turns on Herschel Walker, drops new attack ad

Biden's midterm campaign agenda emphasizes accomplishments, Republican extremism

Justice Department Seeks to Unseal Search Warrant of Trump Home

White Voters Are More Excited About the Midterms. In Nevada, Latino Organizers Aim to Close the Gap

Justice Department is seeking to unseal Trump warrant, Attorney General Merrick Garland announces

Texas man indicted on hate crimes, aggravated assault in connection to Dallas salon shooting

Ukraine update: Belarus has another smoking accident; what's Ukraine's real plan at Kherson?

Report: A secret grand jury subpoena was served to Trump before Mar-a-Lago search

The Real Motive Behind the GOP’s “Culture War”Why do Putin…

How Corporations are Using Inflation to Take Your MoneyInflation…

How America Can Lower Gas Prices Like Other CountriesGas prices…

Debunking 4 Myths About InflationThe truth about inflation is…

Why Food Prices Are Rising Even MoreMonopolies are slowly…

Armed suspect attempted to breach FBI office, now in standoff with local police and FBI

Probes on probes on probes: Trump needs a lot of legal help

Report: Rep. Scott Perry wasn't the only Pennsylvania Republican to hear from the FBI this week

Noted racist Joe Arpaio officially loses mayoral race, laughably suggests he may challenge result

What Happened On Aug. 9

After beating incumbent, Joe Kent aims to be both Trump’s guy in Congress and the Proud Boys’ too

'It may be funny to you, motherf***er’: Watch Beto O’Rourke call out heckler during Uvalde speech

How Rising U.S.-China Tensions May Hurt Efforts to Fight Climate Change

What If Democrats — Or Republicans — Had Won Every Redistricting Battle?

Biomedical Racism, Queer Theory, and the Monkeypox Epidemic

Polícia do Rio tem incentivo maior para investigar lavagem de dinheiro do que homicídio

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The Real Motive Behind the GOP’s “Culture War”Why do Putin…

The Real Motive Behind the GOP’s “Culture War”Why do Putin and the Republican Party sound so much alike? Simple: Their culture wars have similar agendas.Both are trying to distract attention from the economic…

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Justice Department Seeks to Unseal Search Warrant of Trump Home

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has asked a court to unseal the search warrant the FBI received before searching the Florida estate of former President Donald Trump, Attorney General Merrick Garland said…

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How Corporations are Using Inflation to Take Your MoneyInflation…

How Corporations are Using Inflation to Take Your Money Inflation is a cover corporations are using to squeeze more money out of you. But as I’ll explain, there are five things we can…

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Trump Says He Took the Fifth in NY Civil Investigation

WASHINGTON—Donald Trump invoked the Fifth Amendment and wouldn’t answer questions under oath in the New York attorney general’s long-running civil investigation into his business dealings, the former president said in a statement…

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Why Food Prices Are Rising Even MoreMonopolies are slowly…

Why Food Prices Are Rising Even More

Monopolies are slowly killing rural America — and driving up the price you pay for food.

Just four firms control 85% of all beef, 66% of all pork, and 54% of all poultry. This degree of monopolization is hurting farmers — and you.

Monopolists control nearly every part of the food production process, from selling feed to farmers, to packaging the meat and poultry for supermarkets. Half of all chicken farmers report having just one or two processors to sell to.

Farmers are essentially forced to buy from and sell to monopolies at whatever price the corporation wants – often taking on crushing debt to do so. They are trapped in long-term binding contracts, with no way out but losing their livelihood altogether.

Meatpackers used to compete at cattle auctions for what ranchers produced – which helped ranchers get a reasonable return on their investment. Now, with so few buyers, ranchers have no choice but to sign contracts with meatpackers, and sell their cattle for a lower price than if the market were truly competitive.

In 1980, 62 cents of every dollar consumers spent on beef went to ranchers. Today, only 37 cents do. Most of the profits are going into the pockets of the monopolists.  

And here’s the kicker: Even though farmers are getting squeezed, the ag monopolists are also charging you higher prices. During the pandemic, beef prices rose nearly 16% — and the four biggest beef companies’ profits rose more than 300 percent.

These corporations are using their monopoly power to fix prices. Just recently, beef giant JBS settled — without admitting guilt, of course — a beef price-fixing case for $52.5 million.

Monopolization is happening across the food sector. In corn, soybeans, dairy, pesticides, and farm machinery. The result is the same: lower pay to farmers, bigger profits for the monopolists, higher prices for you.

A better way to hold these monopolies accountable would be to break them up, and stop future mergers. But it won’t be easy. They flex their political muscle through powerful lobbies like the North American Meat Institute, and maintain a revolving door with regulatory agencies like the US Department of Agriculture.

Well, I say, take them on. Rural America is hurting, farmers are getting squeezed, and consumers are being shafted. Notwithstanding the power of food monopolies, taking them on is wildly popular — especially in Rural America.

But don’t just listen to me, listen to what farmers are saying about this:

“I’m here to tell the powers at be to enforce the antitrust laws for the world of agriculture.”

“The laws are on the books. We have to strengthen those laws and do what Teddy Roosevelt did to break up the monopolies.”

“Don’t let these boys who come to Washington with pockets of money set there and bribe our congressman year after year after year.”

“Who will stand up for me if you don’t?”

For the good of us all, America needs to enforce antitrust laws, and break up Big Ag.

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Trump Allies Are Attacking Biden For a Plan to Hire 87,000 New IRS Agents That Doesn’t Exist

Since news broke on Monday that the FBI searched former President Donald Trump’s South Florida home, Republican members of Congress and right-wing media figures have launched a new line of attack against Democrats: that the Internal Revenue Service intends to use nearly $80 billion in new funding to pursue similar intrusions on average Americans. Those dollars, Trump allies are saying, will go toward the hiring of 87,000 new IRS agents.

Do you make $75,000 or less?” tweeted House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. “Democrats’ new army of 87,000 IRS agents will be coming for you—with 710,000 new audits for Americans who earn less than $75k.” Richard Grenell, Trump’s former Acting Director of National Intelligence, wrote on the social media platform: “The FBI raids Trump’s house and the Democrats vote to add 87,000 new IRS agents to go after Americans. Wake up, America.”
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Other high-profile conservatives have insinuated that the Biden administration intends to direct those additional auditors to dig up dirt on the President’s political opponents. “After todays raid on Mar A Lago what do you think the left plans to use those 87,000 new IRS agents for?” tweeted Sen. Marco Rubio.

It’s a notion that has taken off like wildfire, signaling what is likely to be a prominent broadside from Republicans against Democrats in the midterm elections.

There’s only one problem. It’s not true.

The Inflation Reduction Act, a landmark climate, health care and tax package that passed the Senate on Sunday and is expected to head to Biden’s desk after the House approves it on Friday, includes roughly $78 billion for the IRS to be phased in over 10 years. A Treasury Department report from May 2021 estimated that such an investment would enable the agency to hire roughly 87,000 employees by 2031. But most of those hires would not be Internal Revenue agents, and wouldn’t be new positions.

Read more: How The Inflation Reduction Act Aims To Close Tax Loopholes

According to a Treasury Department official, the funds would cover a wide range of positions including IT technicians and taxpayer services support staff, as well as experienced auditors who would be largely tasked with cracking down on corporate and high-income tax evaders.

“It is wholly inaccurate to describe any of these resources as being about increasing audit scrutiny of the middle class or small businesses,” Natasha Sarin, a counselor for tax policy and implementation at the Treasury Department, tells TIME.

At the same time, more than half of the agency’s current employees are eligible for retirement and are expected to leave the agency within the next five years. “There’s a big wave of attrition that’s coming and a lot of these resources are just about filling those positions,” says Sarin, an economist who has studied tax avoidance extensively and who was tapped by the Biden administration to beef up the IRS’s auditing power.

In all, the IRS might net roughly 20,000 to 30,000 more employees from the new funding, enough to restore the tax-collecting agency’s staff to where it was roughly a decade ago.

The IRS currently has roughly 78,000 employees. According to John Koskinen, who served as IRS commissioner from 2013 to 2017, that’s down from around 100,000 when he first started. By the time he resigned four years later, he said, it was clear that the agency was in the grip of a systematic attempt by the GOP to weaken it.

“Nobody loves tax collectors,” Koskinen tells TIME.

It’s an effort that goes back to 2010, when Republicans took back control of the House of Representatives and immediately instituted a series of crippling cuts on the IRS. Since then, overall funding for the IRS has fallen further, by more than 20 percent, while enforcement funding has dropped by 31 percent. That’s made it easier for high-net-worth tax cheats and major corporations to avoid federal taxes to the tune of billions of dollars.

“The largest corporations in the United States with over $20 billion of assets have had their rate of audits go from nearly 100% to 50%,” says Janet Holtzblattt, a senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. “Among wealthy individuals who had a positive income of a million dollars or more, the audit rate fell from 8.4% in 2010 to 2.4% in 2019.”

Meanwhile, the employee shortage only made it harder for average Americans to reach IRS customer support, which has been inundated with requests far beyond what the staff could handle. “I used to say there’s no Democratic or Republican way to run the IRS,” Koskinen says. “The people who are significantly disadvantaged are the average taxpayers who have a simple question and can’t get through. Those are Republicans as well as independents and Democrats.” As of last month, the IRS backlog included 10.2 million unprocessed individual returns.

Funding from the Inflation Reduction Act will also go toward tech modernization. The IRS currently uses technology from the 1960s, called COBOL, to process and intake individual tax returns. According to government officials, the agency has struggled to find workers who are still equipped to code under the antiquated system.

The increased funding for the IRS is a key part of Democrats’ plan to pay for the Inflation Reduction Act. By going more forcefully after tax cheats and increasing compliance, the Congressional Budget Office estimates the agency will increase revenue by $204 billion over the next decade.

Yet while the IRS may be in desperate need of more funding, it’s not exactly most Americans’ favorite government institution. Nobody likes to fork over a big check to Uncle Sam. Which is a big reason why Republicans are likely to keep hammering this point in the coming months, and potentially pointing to 87,000 new IRS agents who will never materialize.

“I think a lot of people are going to be upset by this across the country and across the political spectrum,” Hogan Gidley, Trump’s former White House deputy press secretary, tells TIME, when asked about IRS funding. He falsely described the Biden administration’s plan as hiring “85,000 IRS agents to come after mom-and-pop businesses.”

But if Gidley’s right, Americans will only be angry because of what Republicans are telling them about the IRS—not what’s actually happening there.

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Mastriano, Pennsylvania’s GOP Nominee for Govenor, Cuts Short Interview With Jan. 6 Panel

WASHINGTON — Pennsylvania’s Republican governor nominee Doug Mastriano appeared briefly Tuesday before the Jan. 6 committee investigating the U.S. Capitol insurrection but shared little as the panel probes Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Mastriano, who was outside the Capitol that day and helped organize efforts in Pennsylvania to submit alternate presidential electors beholden to Trump, cut the interview short. He disputed the validity of the committee and the terms of the appearance, his attorney said.

Mastriano’s attorney, Timothy Parlatore, said his client wanted to be able to record the interview and said little during the brief session, which was over in less than 15 minutes. Parlatore said they plan to challenge the committee in court.
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“Because he’s currently in a general election, we just want some protective measures,” Parlatore said in a phone interview, “to prevent them from putting out a false or misleading quote that would potentially impact the election.”


More from TIME


Mastriano was one of two people expected to provide private interviews Tuesday before the committee, according to a person familiar with the situation who was granted anonymity to discuss it. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has also been in talks to testify on Tuesday, CNN and other outlets have reported.

Read More: Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger on Where the Jan. 6 Committee Goes Next

Committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson issued the subpoena for Mastriano back in February as the panel intensified its probe of the “fake electors” scheme, seeking documentation from him and others potentially involved and in close contact with Trump.

The committee “is seeking information about efforts to send false slates of electors to Washington and change the outcome of the 2020 election,” Thompson wrote. “We’re seeking records and testimony from former campaign officials and other individuals in various states who we believe have relevant information about the planning and implementation of those plans.”

Mastriano, who organized two buses from central Pennsylvania for the Trump speech that preceded the violent siege and himself had VIP seating at the rally, walked to the Capitol afterward. He had been scheduled to speak on the Capitol steps that afternoon.

Parlatore said Mastriano “knows nothing about any insurrection” and did not witness any violence or see any firearms. He said his client would be willing to testify publicly before the panel.

Read More: The Jan. 6 Hearings May Be Exposing Trump’s ‘Glass Jaw’

A retired Army officer who beat out several candidates to emerge as the GOP nominee for governor in Pennsylvania, Mastriano has previously been willing to talk to the committee. He also spoke with the FBI last year and said he did not know about a planned insurrection, his lawyer has said.

Mastriano has said he had regular calls with then-President Donald Trump in the months between Trump’s reelection defeat and the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

His attorney sought to shield Mastriano from testifying over the alternative electors plan because it was undertaken when his client was a state senator.

Parlatore said much of Mastriano’s contacts with Trump in the lead-up to Jan. 6 involved Mastriano’s capacity as a state lawmaker — a status that complicates the committee’s efforts to interview him about what the lawyer described as “alternative electors” to the Electoral College.

Parlatore said he planned to file a court action in Washington, D.C., federal court, seeking to have a judge determine if Jan. 6 committee’s makeup and procedures violate House rules.

The committee is working through August, deepening its work after blockbuster public hearings this summer that began to outline its investigation into Trump’s multi-pronged effort to reverse his election loss to Joe Biden and the subsequent storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

The scheme to compile alternative electors emerged as a last-ditch plan by Trump’s team to stop Biden’s victory when Congress met for the typical routine job of certifying the state election results.

Growing from Trump’s false claims of voter fraud, the fake electors strategy relied on having several battleground states that Biden won submit their tally for the defeated Republican president, rather than the Democratic winner, Biden.

Read More: Biden’s ‘Bland Leadership’ May Be Getting Results

Federal authorities earlier this summer issued subpoenas in several key battleground states across the nation to individuals in Arizona, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Georgia and other Republican officials potentially involved in the strategy to submit electors for Trump.

Prosecutors in Georgia are similarly probing Trump’s attempt to subvert the election results in that state.

The Justice Department has charged more than 800 people in the deadly Capitol riot and is investigating Trump’s actions in the run up and aftermath of the insurrection.

The Jan. 6 attack left at least nine people killed in the riot and its aftermath, including a Trump supporter shot by police and a police officer who died later.

Scolforo reported from Harrisburg, Pa.

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FBI Raids Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago Estate, a First for an Ex-President

WASHINGTON — The FBI searched Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate as part of an investigation into whether he took classified records from the White House to his Florida residence, people familiar with the matter said Monday, a move that represents a dramatic and unprecedented escalation of law enforcement scrutiny of the former president.

Trump, disclosing the search in a lengthy statement, asserted that agents had opened up a safe at his home and described their work as an “unannounced raid” that he likened to “prosecutorial misconduct.”

The search intensifies the months-long probe into how classified documents ended up in more than a dozen boxes located at Mar-a-Lago earlier this year. It occurs amid a separate grand jury investigation into efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and adds to the potential legal peril for Trump as he lays the groundwork for another run.
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Read more: Trump Could Still Lead the U.S. to Civil War—Even if He Doesn’t Run in 2024

Familiar battle lines, forged during a four-year presidency shadowed by FBI and congressional investigations, quickly took shape again Monday night. Trump and his allies sought to cast the search as a weaponization of the criminal justice system and a Democratic Party-driven effort to keep him from winning another term in 2024 — even though the Biden White House said it had no prior knowledge of it, and the current FBI director, Christopher Wray, was appointed by Trump five years ago and served as a high-ranking official in a Republican-led Justice Department.

“These are dark times for our Nation, as my beautiful home, Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents,” Trump wrote. “Nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before.”

“After working and cooperating with the relevant Government agencies, this unannounced raid on my home was not necessary or appropriate,” Trump said in his statement.

Justice Department spokesperson Dena Iverson declined to comment on the search, including about whether Attorney General Merrick Garland had personally authorized it.

Trump did not elaborate on the basis for the search, but the Justice Department has been investigating the potential mishandling of classified information after the National Archives and Records Administration said it had retrieved from Mar-a-Lago 15 boxes of records containing classified information earlier this year. The National Archives said Trump should have turned over that material upon leaving office, and it asked the Justice Department to investigate.

Trump FBI
The entrance to former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.

There are multiple federal laws governing the handling of classified records and sensitive government documents, including statutes that make it a crime to remove such material and retain it at an unauthorized location. Though a search warrant does not suggest that criminal charges are near or even expected, federal officials looking to obtain one must first demonstrate to a judge that they have probable cause that a crime occurred.

Two people familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation, said the search happened earlier Monday and was related to the records probe. Agents were also looking to see if Trump had additional presidential records or any classified documents at the estate.

Trump has previously maintained that presidential records were turned over “in an ordinary and routine process.” His son Eric said on Fox News on Monday night that he had spent the day with his father and that the search happened because “the National Archives wanted to corroborate whether or not Donald Trump had any documents in his possession.”

Asked how the documents ended up at Mar-a-Lago, Eric Trump said the boxes were among items that got moved out of the White House during “six hours” on Inauguration Day, as the Bidens prepared to move into the building.

“My father always kept press clippings,” Eric Trump said. “He had boxes, when he moved out of the White House.”

Trump emerged from Trump Tower in New York City shortly before 8 p.m. and waved to bystanders before being driven away in an SUV.

In his first public remarks since news of the search surfaced, Trump made no mention of it during a tele-town hall on behalf of Leora Levy, the Connecticut Republican he has endorsed in Tuesday’s U.S. Senate primary to pick a general election opponent against Democratic U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal. Trump gave his public backing to Levy late last week, calling her on Monday the best pick “to replace Connecticut’s joke of a senator.”

Trump alleges ‘weaponization’ of the justice system

But in a social media post Monday night, he was much more unguarded, calling the search a “weaponization of the justice system, and an attack by Radical Left Democrats who desperately don’t want me to run for President in 2024.”

Other Republicans echoed that message. GOP National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel denouncing the search as “outrageous” and said it was a reason for voters to turn out in November.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican who is considered a potential 2024 presidential candidate, said in a statement on Twitter that it was “an escalation in the weaponization” of U.S. government agencies. Kevin McCarthy, the House Minority Leader, said in a tweet that the Justice Department “has reached an intolerable state of weaponized politicization” and said that if Republicans win control of the U.S. House, they will investigate the department.

That Trump would become entangled in a probe into the handling of classified information is all the more striking given how he tried during the 2016 presidential election to exploit an FBI investigation into his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, over whether she mishandled classified information via a private email server she used as secretary of state. Then-FBI Director James Comey concluded that Clinton had sent and received classified information but the FBI did not recommend criminal charges because it determined that Clinton had not intended to break the law.

Read more: What Trump Knew: How the Jan. 6 Committee Is Building a Case Against a Former President

Trump lambasted that decision and then stepped up his criticism of the FBI as agents began investigating whether his campaign had colluded with Russia to tip the 2016 election. He fired Comey during that probe, and though he appointed Wray months later, he repeatedly criticized him too as president.

Thomas Schwartz, a Vanderbilt University history professor who studies and writes about the presidency, said there is no precedent for a former president facing an FBI raid — even going back to Watergate. President Richard Nixon wasn’t allowed to take tapes or other materials from the White House when he resigned in 1974, Schwartz noted, and many of his papers remained in Washington for years before being transferred to his presidential library in California.

“This is different and it is a sign of how unique the Trump period was,” said Schwartz, author of Henry Kissinger and American Power: A Political Biography. “How his behavior was so unusual.”

The probe is hardly the only legal headache confronting Trump. A separate investigation related to efforts by Trump and his allies to undo the results of the 2020 presidential election — which led to the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol — has also been intensifying in Washington. Several former White House officials have received grand jury subpoenas.

And a district attorney in Fulton County, Georgia, is investigating whether Trump and his close associates sought to interfere in that state’s election, which was won by Democrat Joe Biden.

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Politics Podcast: Democrats Over-Perform Again In Wake Of The Dobbs Decision

FiveThirtyEight

 

In Minnesota’s special general election on Tuesday, Republican Brad Finstad won by only 4 percentage points in the 1st Congressional District, where then-President Donald Trump won by double digits in 2020, adding evidence to the idea that the GOP is experiencing a backlash after the Supreme Court’s decision on abortion.

In this installment of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, the crew breaks down this election as well as notable primary races in Minnesota, Vermont and Wisconsin. They also look at how incumbents are faring in the midterm primaries overall and discuss the FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s home in Florida, and what that may mean for the Justice Department’s larger investigation.

You can listen to the episode by clicking the “play” button in the audio player above or by downloading it in iTunes, the ESPN App or your favorite podcast platform. If you are new to podcasts, learn how to listen.

The FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast is recorded Mondays and Thursdays. Help new listeners discover the show by leaving us a rating and review on iTunes. Have a comment, question or suggestion for “good polling vs. bad polling”? Get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments.

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