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St. Louis suburb funds itself by increasing nuisance ticketing on black homes by 495 percent: lawsuit

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A small suburb of St. Louis where 95 percent of residents are black has allegedly found a new source of revenue by increasing municipal citations by 495 percent since 2010, a lawsuit claimed this week.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the Institute for Justice’s office filed a lawsuit seeking class action status this week against the city of Pagedale.

The lawsuits accuses Pagedale of “an unprecedented governmental intrusion into the homes of its residents” for issuing tickets for things like barbecuing in the front yard, drinking beer too close to the grill and even saggy pants.

In some cases, residents said that Pagedale officials threatened to demolish their homes, even though the city admitted that the homes were only a nuisance and presented no public safety threat.

Valarie Whitner and Vincent Blount told the paper that they were forced to take out a payday to pay $1,810 in fines.

After a Justice Department investigation found that Ferguson, Missouri was raising revenue by fining residents, the state passed a law limiting how much of a city’s funding can come from traffic violations.

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But Pagedale has been able to skirt that law by issuing municipal citations instead of traffic tickets. In 2013, 17 percent of the city’s revenue came from fines and fees, The New York Times noted.

“This case demonstrates that property rights are fundamentally civil rights,” Institute for Justice lawyer William told The Associate Press. “Pagedale treats its residents like walking, talking ATMs, making withdrawals by issuing tickets for ridiculous things that no city has a right to dictate.”

Pagedale city attorney Sam Alton insisted that the fines were for the good of community.

“Both the lawsuit, and any perception that these people are being treated unfairly, is unfortunate,” Alton said. “The city is doing everything it can within the boundaries of the law to make sure that properties within the city are code compliant and do not present any type of danger or risk to the residents of the city.”

“The city is simply attempting to get these individuals to bring their property up to code like everyone else,” he added. “If they just work with the city, and just do something minimally every month, those fines will be abated.”

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Right now Donald Trump thinks he’s winning — and he might not be wrong

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Donald Trump thinks he's winning.

For months, Americans have grown accustomed to Trump in his cornered-rat mode, lashing out defensively and ruminating obsessively over the possibility of impeachment. But his tweets this week have been surprisingly cheerful, suffused with the buoyant spirits of a teenage bully who has successfully swirlied a nerd.

First, like an overexcited child on Christmas Eve who unwraps his presents too soon, Trump — overcome with the pleasures of racist sadism — tweeted on Monday night that "ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens."

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Here are 7 wild, bizarre and pathetic moments from Trump’s ‘campaign launch’

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On Tuesday night, President Donald Trump held a rally that was billed as the official launch his re-election campaign — though he has never really stopped holding campaign rallies.

As expected, the president ranted, lied, and engaged in the raucous attacks that are central to his connection with Republican voters. Some of it was actually just sad, such as his continued obsession with Hillary Clinton.

Here are seven of the wildest, disturbing and pathetic moments from the rally:

1. He said Democrats "want to destroy our country as we know it."

Trump casually accuses Democrats of "want[ing] to destroy you and they want to destroy our country as we know it." pic.twitter.com/4K79KlbEeR

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Rick Wilson hilariously ridicules the ‘formal flip-flops’ and ‘dress cargo pants’ worn by Florida Trump supporters

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Republican strategist Rick Wilson mocked the attire of the Donald Trump supporters who were bused in from around Florida for his official campaign kickoff in Orlando.

Wilson, a Florida man himself, joined MSNBC's Brian Williams for post-rally analysis on "The 11th Hour."

Williams played a clip of a Trump supporter with sleeveless Trump T-shirt identifying her as a "proud member of the basket of deplorables" explaining why she'll vote to re-elect the president in 2020.

"The main reason? Because he’s one of the best presidents we’ve had for a very long time," the woman argued. "Very long time."

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