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‘It’s God’s plan’: North Carolina church helped members commit unemployment fraud so they could keep tithing

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An evangelical church already under investigation for luring foreign believers to the U.S., where they were kept as virtual slaves, has been accused of encouraging parishioners to file fraudulent unemployment claims so they could keep tithing.

According to an Associated Press investigation, the founder of the Word of Faith Fellowship reportedly encouraged church members to defraud the government so that they could keep filling her coffers at Sunday services, saying it was “God’s plan.”

In an interview, contractor Randy Fields related how he appealed to church founder Jane Whaley to allow him to scale back his tithing because his business was faltering, only to have the religious leader encourage him to file fraudulent unemployment claims in the names of his employees.

According to the report, Fields was not alone, with multiple other church members — and fellowship employees – also admitting they committed fraud in the name of the church. The report goes on to note that the allegations are being investigated by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Detailing years of fraud,  former church adherents estimated that the fake claims — including “some filed by the business owners’ wives and other family members” — would have diverted hundreds of thousands of tax dollars to the church over a six-year period.

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This is not the first time the Word of Faith Fellowship has been scrutinized.

In June of this year, a church member admitted that she led approximately 30 parishioners from her church to attack and beat a gay member of the church in an effort to “expel his demons.”

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What drove the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer into Al Franken denialism?

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The defenders of Sen. Al Franken are perhaps the single most embarrassing group of allegedly progressive people in the Democratic coalition. Franken, who resigned from the Senate in January 2018, was accused by eight different women of sexual impropriety. Most of these accusations were both serious and credible, in that the women making them were mostly liberals who had no apparent reason to lie about Franken's behavior toward them. Despite this, Franken's defenders are married to the delusional belief that it's all just a frame-up and that if he'd had "due process" in the form of a Senate ethics investigation (run by Republicans, who control that chamber) he would have somehow managed to prove this.

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Rush Limbaugh argues Kamala Harris and Barack Obama can’t be considered African-American

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Rush Limbaugh, the controversial radio host with a long history of racially charged comments, on Monday described Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and former President Barack Obama as not being truly "black."

In a clip captured by Media Matters for America, Limbaugh can be heard using a mocking tone to describe Harris and Obama — as well as Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich. — as people who want to be "victims" so they depict Trump as "this big man bully."

"And by the way, can somebody explain to me how Kamala Harris is an African-American?" Limbaugh asks. "Her father is Jamaican and her mother is Indian. How does that equal African-American? Same thing with Barack Obama. Obama's not African-American, he doesn't have any history here [inaudible] any of that stuff. And Rashida Tlaib is Palestinian, for crying out -- that'd be like calling a Jewish person a person of color. How is Rashida Tlaib a person of color? She's not! This is all about making them victims. It's all about making them appear to be 'Just little people trying to save themselves and save their country and this big man bully, this guy Trump comes along and squashes on them and steps on them and it's all because he doesn't like...' It's absurd!"

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Mueller is signaling he’ll be tough witness — and it could play right into the GOP’s hands

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Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller is sending a very clear message: He doesn’t want to testify.

That’s the not-so-subtle subtext of the announcement that Mueller plans to submit the 448-page report detailing the findings of the Russia investigation as a statement for the record during his hearing before the House scheduled for Wednesday. Of course, Congress already has the report, so the move isn’t necessary. It’s Mueller’s way of saying, as he has previously, “The report is my testimony.”

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