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Texas cops arrest Democratic campaign worker after asking his candidate’s party affiliation

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Law enforcement officials in Waller County, Texas, on Wednesday reportedly arrested Jacob Aronowitz, a field director for Democratic U.S. House candidate Mike Siegel (photo), after asking Siegel’s political affiliation.

What did Aronowitz do to get arrested?

He delivered a letter from Siegel to a clerk on the county executive’s staff. The letter was a proposed solution to the local government’s attempts to prevent students from a historically black university, Prairie View A&M University, from voting.

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Talking Points Memo editor Josh Marshall first reported the news, and interviewed Aronowitz by phone on Wednesday.

Noting the attempts by the local government to prevent students from Prairie View A&M from voting goes back decades, Marshall notes there was even a Supreme Court case in 1979 over their voting rights. He adds that the students are now facing “a new set of obstacles” imposed by county officials.


Prairie View A&M has about 9500 students. About 60 percent are women and over 80 percent are Black. Waller County has about 43,500 residents, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

On Wednesday when Aronowitz presented Siegel’s letter to the clerk, he took a photo of himself doing so, apparently to prove he had, in fact, delivered the letter. That clerk reportedly got upset and called a bailiff.
Shortly after, Aronowitz walked out of the courthouse and was “surrounded by a court bailiff, a sheriff’s deputy and a city police officer.”

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At this point Aronowitz called his boss, Mike Siegel, who also happens to be a civil rights attorney. Siegel was on the phone as all this took place, so he could hear what was going on.

Marshall explains that “it seems like … the law enforcement officers weren’t happy with Aronowitz but weren’t clear what exactly they could charge him with or if they could arrest him. After Aronowitz explained what he was at the courthouse to do and then identified himself, one of the officers asked Aronowitz which party his candidate was with.”

Aronowitz told them Siegel was a Democrat. A couple minutes later the phone went dead and Aronowitz was placed under arrest for what he was told was “48 hour investigative detention.”

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Siegel tweeted out the arrest and a copy of the letter Aronwitz had delivered:

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Apparently, after Siegel got involved, law enforcement officials released Aronwitz. But he has to appear in court November 7 – the day after Election Day.

Talking Points Memo doesn’t mention this much, but Siegel is trying to unseat powerful Republican Rep. Michael T. McCaul, who is the Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security. McCaul happens to be one of the wealthiest members of Congress.


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2020 Election

Trump and the GOP have become the party of the dead

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There are few morbid topics subject to greater speculation than the religious loyalty of President Donald Trump's "base." Why an alarmingly large amount of Americans refuse even to entertain any criticism of Trump deserves scrutiny from political scientists, psychologists and perhaps horror novelists working in the school of Edgar Allan Poe.

This article first appeared in Salon.

What is abundantly clear is that no matter who votes for Trump, he and the Republican Party on the national level have no interest in governing on the behalf of living human beings — with the exception of ensuring that a tiny minority of billionaires and multimillionaires enlarge their investment portfolios. Trump evinces no concern for Americans dying of the coronavirus, racist violence or any other malady or injustice. He demonstrates no regard for health care professionals courageously trying to save their patients from dying, and appears cruelly indifferent to the struggles of millions of workers whose livelihoods have been destroyed by COVID-19. Needless to say, Trump also shows contempt for Black Lives Matter, immigrants and anyone who opposes his re-election, which at this moment (and throughout his presidency) is more than half of the American public.

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As coronavirus seizes the state, Florida hospitals are in panic mode

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As Florida experiences a surge in coronavirus cases, the residents of the state are facing obstacles like overwhelmed hospitals and a looming shortage in beds.

This article first appeared in Salon.

There are 47,663 hospital beds in the state right now with 11,782 available (meaning a remaining capacity of 19.82 percent) and a total staffed bed capacity of 59,445, according to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration's Hospital Bed Capacity Dashboard. The state Department of Health also reported on Friday that, out of 95,300 individuals who received coronavirus test results over the course of the previous day, 11,433 tested positive for COVID-19 (all but 90 of whom were Florida residents), meaning that more than 12 percent of the new cases had positive test results. The state also reported 93 new deaths due to COVID-19. (Salon reached out to the Florida Department of Health for comment on this story.)

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2020 Election

The GOP is a suicide cult

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

Back in March, we argued that Donald Trump had become the charismatic leader of the dumbest suicide cult ever. There were fewer than 500 confirmed cases of Covid-19 at the time, but it wasn't difficult to see the trajectory we were on at even that early date. At the time, we were commenting on the President's* repeated claims that the whole thing was a big hoax and polls showing that Democrats were twice as likely as Republicans to say they were taking steps to avoid becoming infected.

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