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Illinois man charged with hate crime for threatening synagogue 2 days after Pittsburgh massacre

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An Illinois man has been charged with a hate crime after making threats to a synagogue in a Chicago suburb — and referencing the massacre at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life temple.

The Chicago Tribune reported that Dean R. West was arrested after making the call to the Central Avenue Synagogue in Highland Park on October 29 — just two days after a gunman opened fire and killed 11 people at a temple in Pittsburgh.

Highland Park Deputy Police Chief Jon Lowman told the Tribune that West referenced the Tree of Life shooting.

Local police reportedly worked in tandem with the Lake County Sheriff and a U.S. Marshalls taskforce to apprehend the suspect after working with state and federal authorities to investigate the call.

West’s bail has been set at $250,000 and, if convicted, could spend between two and five years in prison.

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A rabbi at a nearby reform temple in Highland Park said he too received a disturbing call after the Pittsburgh massacre.

The caller “said because the Jews do not accept Jesus in their lives this was their problem,” RabbiIke Serotta of the Lakeside Congregation for Reform Judaism told the newspaper. “He said it was the Jews’ fault they were killed in Pittsburgh.”

Serotta said he doesn’t know who made the call or why they made it.

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BUSTED: CNN’s panel of women defending Trump’s racism were literally the ‘Trumpettes’

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CNN aired a panel that featured “Republican women” defending President Trump’s racist tweets, but failed to mention that they were actually part of a pro-Trump group whose members the network had interviewed in the past.

This article originally appeared at Salon.

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Ben Carson is Donald Trump’s faulty human shield against accusations of racism

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Ben Carson is back in the news — after another long absence — because Donald Trump has once again been accused of racism.

This article originally appeared at Salon.

The secretary of Housing and Urban Development is the only African-American member of the president’s Cabinet, and is often trotted out to clean up after Trump makes a mess too obviously problematic for the media to ignore. While Trump has tried to spin his recent racist attacks on four progressive freshman congresswomen as a strategic maneuver meant to manipulate Democratic infighting to his advantage, Carson's re-emergence from his stupor should be a clear indication that the president’s team recognizes the damage that can be caused by his unforced errors.

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An illegal trend could be emerging after Trump let Kellyanne Conway off the hook for breaking federal law

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Federal workplaces are supposed to be free of politics, but a Trump administration appointee used a government forum Wednesday to express support for the president’s reelection.

At a conference on religious freedom hosted by the State Department, an official told the crowd of several hundred people that “hopefully he will be reelected,” referring to President Donald Trump.

It’s illegal for federal employees to engage in political activities while they are on the job.

“It’s a violation of the Hatch Act for a federal official, to say in her official capacity, to hope that the president will be reelected,” said Kathleen Clark, an expert on legal ethics at the Washington University in St. Louis.

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