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‘We will open fire on these thugs’: Texas AG received months of emails threatening to kill Hispanics — and did nothing

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According to the San Antonio Express-News, an armed man in San Antonio has spent a year and a half sending racist, violent messages to the office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, totaling around 100 pages worth of threats to shoot undocumented immigrants — and no one did anything to stop him.

Ralph Pulliam’s messages are full of rage about “sanctuary cities” (even though San Antonio is not a sanctuary city, even by the broadest of definitions). In one email, he wrote, “We will open fire on these thugs … It will be a bloodbath.”

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Though Paxton’s office reportedly did not communicate the threat to local officials, police did frequently visit his house on 911 tips. At no point was he arrested or stripped of his firearms, because local authorities — who weren’t aware of the threatening messages — did not have any evidence he had committed a crime. In the wake of the report, police are now trying to build a case against him.

“These messages are clearly threats of deadly force against San Antonians based solely on the color of their skin,” wrote state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer in a complaint to Paxton demanding a meeting. “It is deeply alarming to me that despite the large volume and explicit nature of the messages from Mr. Pulliam, the Office of Attorney General has taken so long to cooperate with local law enforcement.”

This news comes just weeks after the deadly mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso. The perpetrator published a manifesto raging against a “Hispanic invasion of Texas,” and drove halfway across the state to find a border town where he could shoot migrants.

Currently, Texas does not have a “red flag” law that allows people to petition for a temporary removal of firearms from a person they believe to be a risk. Paxton, an extreme right-wing official who is under indictment for securities fraud and is leading the multi-state lawsuit to strike down Obamacare in full, has made his stance against gun control clear, suggesting at a GOP convention that merely talking about gun laws means “more people are gonna die.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott briefly considered a red flag proposal from activists, but dropped the idea after opposition from Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who controls the state Senate.

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Trump administration quietly guts COVID-19 paid leave provision that already excluded 75 percent of workers

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The Trump administration has quietly issued new guidance that will exempt many small businesses from having to provide some workers with paid leave during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Department of Labor issued a temporary rule Wednesday that effectively exempted businesses with fewer than 50 workers from being required to provide 12 weeks of paid leave for workers whose children are suddenly at home from school or child care under the coronavirus stimulus package signed by President Donald Trump.

This article first appeared in Salon.

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Trump is deploying national guardsman to provide pandemic support without any health benefits: report

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The National Guard are an essential part of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, and thousands of them have potentially been exposed to infected civilians, making it a particularly dangerous and important time to serve.

But according to The Daily Beast, the guard has been deployed in a way that prevents them from being eligible for the military's health care system.

"The approximately 20,000 guardsmen who have been called up to help states around the country deal with the spread of the coronavirus are federalized on what’s called Title 32 status, which puts them in command of their various state governors but with the federal government paying costs," wrote senior national security correspondent Spencer Ackerman. "But according to the National Guard’s advocates and the U.S. governors’ association, the guardsmen are activated on orders that last 30 days. That puts them one single day shy of the requirement allowing the military health insurance system known as TRICARE — think of it as Medicare For All In Uniform — to cover them."

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Vaccine researchers grew ‘alarmed’ as Trump’s CDC wasted weeks of their time with a flawed coronavirus test: report

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According to a report from the Washington Post, in the early days as health officials became concerned about the possibility of the COVID-19 pandemic blossoming out of China, researchers sat and wasted days they could have used to start developing a vaccine because they were assured by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that a testing kit was on its way.

As it turned out, that test was flawed.

Relying on emails and interviews, the Post is reporting, "On a Jan. 15 conference call, a leading scientist at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention assured local and state public health officials from across the nation that there would soon be a test to detect a mysterious virus spreading from China. Stephen Lindstrom told them the threat was remote and they may not need the test his team was developing 'unless the scope gets much larger than we anticipate,' according to an email summarizing the call."

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