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House Oversight Committee votes to hold Bill Barr and Wilbur Ross in contempt for stonewalling Census investigation

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On Wednesday, the House Oversight Committee voted to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress for their refusal to cooperate with the investigation into how the Trump administration is rigging the 2020 Census against Democrats and people of color.

In a statement prior to the vote, a spokesperson for House Oversight chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) said that the Justice Department and the Commerce Department “have made no commitment or counter-offer regarding any of the critical documents in our subpoenas.”

The Trump administration invoked executive privilege over the Census documents ahead of the vote.

Trump officials have caused national outrage by attempting to add a question to the Census interrogating people about citizenship status. Former Census Bureau officials have broadly warned such a move will prevent people from responding, leading to millions of people being undercounted and Democratic and minority areas of the country losing representation and federal funding.

The Oversight Committee’s investigation seeks to determine why and how this change to the Census was approved. Ross previously testified the DOJ asked him to include the citizenship question to facilitate the Voting Rights Act. But documents obtained from the hard drives of Thomas Hofeller, an operative who helped the GOP rig congressional and legislative districts across the country, reveal officials intended that the change “would be advantageous to Republicans and non-Hispanic whites.”

The Supreme Court is scheduled to decide whether the administration can include the citizenship question in coming weeks.

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Iran says new ‘mentally retarded’ Trump sanctions mean ‘permanent closure’ of diplomacy

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Iran said Tuesday that new US sanctions targeting its supreme leader meant a “permanent closure” of diplomacy, while the country’s president labelled the White House “mentally retarded” as tensions between Tehran and Washington escalated.

US President Donald Trump signed an executive order imposing the sanctions against Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Monday, taking a dramatic and unprecedented step to increase pressure on Iran after Tehran’s downing of an American drone last week.

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‘Dangerous linguistic power’: A historian explains how Trump weaponizes nicknames

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Is Donald Trump the modern day Earl Long?

A three-time Louisiana governor, Long mastered the art of political ridicule seven decades ago by weaponizing nicknames. The hilarious names Long pinned on his rivals, and the rollicking stories he told about them, riveted audiences bored by puffed-up rhetoric.

While Long’s stunts may be remembered as silly hijinks, there was a sly, often deadly serious, purpose to his technique. He used it to get voters to laugh at his foes and to put them on the defensive––a place politicians never want to be. Tucked within Long’s jests were razor-sharp attacks aimed at exploiting opposition weaknesses––hidden swords inside a pea-patch cloak.

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Walmart got a $2.2 billion tax cut — now it’s laying off workers

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Walmart announced it will lay off hundreds of workers in North Carolina despite receiving billions in tax cuts that the Republican Party and President Trump claimed would spur job growth.

The giant retailer will lay off about 570 employees and close its corporate office near the Charlotte airport, despite signing a 12-year lease just four years earlier, the Charlotte Business Journal reported.

The work done at the Charlotte facility will be outsourced to a firm in Arkansas, according to the report.

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 ENOUGH IS ENOUGH 

Trump endorses killing journalists, like Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Online ad networks are now targeting sites that cover acts of violence against dissidents, LGBTQ people and people of color.

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