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Tea Party Senate candidate drove $138,000 Mercedes to interview

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Unfazed if he helps re-elect Harry Reid, claims GOP nominee ‘lies’

Scott Ashjian, the independent Tea Party candidate in Nevada’s US Senate race, reportedly showed up to an interview with ABC News in a lavish black Mercedes Benz.

“I met with Ashjdian in Las Vegas,” reported ABC’s Jonathan Karl, “where the self-described Tea Party candidate he showed up to our interview in his black Mercedes Benz S63 AMG (MSRP $138,000) and spent much of the interviewing explaining why he believes [Republican nominee Sharron] Angle is a worse candidate than Reid.”

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Donning a luxurious car to a high-profile national interview may be an unwise strategic move for a candidate promising to represent a movement that presents itself as a grassroots, bottom-up populist operation.

Ashjian, who is seizing upon the Tea Party mantle, told Karl he’d be “at peace” if he takes away enough votes from Angle — an early Tea Party favorite — so as to help Reid win the election and retain his seat.

“Sharron Angle lies on her issues,” Ashjian said. “She’s come off 100 percent of where she was in the beginning when I supported her, compared to where she is today.”

He called Angle a “consummate politician” whose agenda isn’t what she presents it as. The Tea Party independent has no love for Reid, yet he had kinder words for the GOP’s nemesis.

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“At least with Harry Reid, you know what you got,” Ashjian explained, while also fiercely criticizing the Democratic leader. “As far as competence goes, or maybe, intellect goes, Harry Reid is probably a smarter person than Angle.”

Reid and Angle are neck and neck in the polls, with Ashjian too far behind to be considered a serious contender. But he remains on the ballot, and even if he wins a small percentage of votes it could influence the outcome of the race, as those votes are likely to come out of Angle’s total.

Ashjian’s comments — and refusal to exit the race — are likely to infuriate the conservative faithful, for whom ousting Reid is such a top priority that GOP-affiliated groups nationwide have helped Angle set an extraordinary third-quarter fundraising record of $14 million.

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Pope decries euthanasia as Italy court considers assisted suicide

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Pope Francis on Friday again spoke out against assisted suicide and euthanasia, days before a top Italian court is to examine the thorny question in the largely Roman Catholic country.

"We can and we must reject the temptation, which is also favored by legislative changes, to use medicine to satisfy a sick person's possible wish to die," the pope told a delegation from the Italian Doctors Order.

Italy's Constitutional Court has called a session for Tuesday to reexamine the question of potentially legalising assisted suicide, without mentioning euthanasia.

The court last October gave parliament a year to fill a legal void on the question, but MPs have not done so.

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How Facebook makes money when people are slaughtered

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The National Rifle Association nearly doubled its spending on pro-gun Facebook propaganda for three weeks after the mass shootings last month in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, according to analytics provided to The Intercept.The social advertising surge began just one day after the Aug. 3 El Paso massacre, which left 22 people dead, and on the same day as the Dayton killings, which took 10 lives. At one point in this period, the NRA was spending $29,000 on a day’s worth of Facebook ads, nearly four times as much as before the shootings, according to Pathmatics, a company that monitors online advertising spending. The ad spending was conducted through the NRA’s lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action, which, in the four weeks before the shootings, spent on average just over $9,400 a day on Facebook ads.Between Aug. 4 and Aug. 25, the institute spent around $360,000 on Facebook — roughly $16,500 per day — reaching a peak of over $29,000 on Aug. 18, according to Pathmatics, which said that it gathered this data from a panel of hundreds of thousands of Facebook users who opt in to automatically share information about the ads they’re shown. Altogether, the ads bought in this period were viewed tens of millions of times, the analytics firm estimated. “The NRA’s ad spend has spiked significantly, which isn’t surprising for an organization in the midst of a reputation battle and crisis,” Pathmatics CEO Gabe Gottlieb said.

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Is a strange Twitter glitch censoring the left?

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The Working Families Party, a New York-based progressive political party, has a reputation befitting its name as a left-populist political organization. So when the organization endorsed the center-left Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren — who was once a hardcore Republican and has emphasized her capitalist credentials — over the explicitly democratic socialist candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sanders (I-Vt.) supporters were understandably disappointed. After all, the party overwhelmingly endorsed Sanders in the previous presidential election. What had changed?

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