Raw Exclusives

Tensions flare among Republicans in Arizona as factions split over the future of the 2020 'audit'

The same split that is dividing Republicans nationally, whether to embrace or reject the fiction that the 2020 presidential election was illegitimate, is now reverberating backstage at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Arizona, where pro-Trump contractors are leading a state-sponsored inquiry into the vote in Maricopa County, home to Phoenix and 60 percent of Arizona voters.

The state Senate's lead contractor, Florida-based Cyber Ninjas, whose CEO Doug Logan had said that Joe Biden's victory was illegitimate, has been opposing an effort to widen the Arizona Senate's inquiry—via another assessment that vets the 2020 vote more thoroughly. Logan also has sought to muzzle and even oust the lead proponent of that more detailed inquiry, former Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, a Republican. Senate President Karen Fann asked Bennett to take the role of Senate audit liaison after she hired Cyber Ninjas. He is not taking any compensation for his role, unlike Cyber Ninjas and the subcontractors.

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Notorious Capitol rioter Baked Alaska is a conduit for incels, gamers and IRL streamers who've committed violent assaults

Tim Gionet, the YouTube live-streamer better known as "Baked Alaska," held his cell phone aloft on a selfie stick with his body turned in the passenger seat so that the phone was pointed at another streamer, "Chaggot," as an argument between the two men escalated into a shouting match one night last month in Mesa, Ariz.

"Take the camera off of me," Chaggot demanded. "I'm not taking this shit anymore."

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Expert explains how our income tax system is a massive subsidy for the super-rich -- and white men

ProPublica scored a fantastic scoop when it obtained and meticulously analyzed 15 years of raw income tax data on the wealthiest Americans. This leak of Internal Revenue Service records is by far the biggest and most important tax news in the 55 years that I've reported on taxes.

Thanks to the leaker, we now know beyond any doubt that the endless claims that America has a progressive income tax system are bunk. A progressive system means that the more you make, the greater the share of your income you pay in taxes. Back in 2005, I got the George W. Bush administration to acknowledge that the system stops becoming progressive near the top. But, unfortunately, ProPublica shows that it's even worse than what I reported back then.

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The biggest polluters you've never heard of

Hilcorp Energy, a privately held oil and gas producer based in Texas, shows up in Violation Tracker with only $2 million in regulatory penalties compared with more than $1.5 billion for petroleum giant Exxon Mobil.

Yet according to a detailed new report published by Ceres and the Clean Air Task Force, Hilcorp dwarfs Exxon when it comes to climate-ruining emissions of methane gas.

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Publicly, she organizes MAGA truck caravans in California -- but her wedding photo is on a Nazi Telegram channel

Since June 2020, the Placer County For Trump Facebook group has organized truck caravans to support Donald Trump in the Sierra Nevada foothills northeast of Sacramento, and the demonstrations have continued beyond the failed Jan. 6 insurrection and Jan. 20 inauguration of President Biden.

The truck caravans and other events, including a March 21 "MAGA Wedding," have provided a welcoming community for Trump loyalists to rub shoulders with Proud Boys — the nationalist street gang whose members face conspiracy charges in the Capitol siege — while also nurturing relationships between the party base and leadership. The private Facebook group for Placer County For Trump has attracted a robust 4,600 members, drawing energy from a steady run of events, most recently a Memorial Weekend parade from Rocklin, in Placer County, to the state capitol.

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New indictments reveal Oath Keepers wanted Antifa to attack rally -- and give Trump an excuse to declare martial law

A new indictment issued by a grand jury expands the number of Oath Keepers accused of conspiring to disrupt the certification of the electoral vote in the presidential election from 12 to 16, adding four new defendants.

The indictment, which was received by the federal courts on May 26 but only filed on Sunday, adds three Florida men to the list of defendants: Joseph Hackett, 50, of Sarasota; Jason Dolan, 44, of Wellington; and William Isaacs, 21, of Kissimmee. Dolan and Isaacs were both arrested on May 27 and made initial appearances the same day. Hackett was arrested on May 28. Information about a fourth defendant is redacted from the indictment published on Sunday, suggesting that this person is not yet in custody.

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The Supreme Court radically altered the meaning of the First Amendment this year — in an unsigned opinion

The United States Supreme Court issued on April 9 a decision in Tandon v. Newsom that struck down California's covid pandemic-related rule that limited the size of all events held in private homes, including religious gatherings, to three people per household. In an unsigned, four-page opinion, the high court's right-wing majority radically altered the law governing the First Amendment's free-exercise clause claims for special religious exemptions from otherwise generally applicable laws.

Since the Supreme Court's 1990 decision in Employment Division v. Smith, the free-exercise clause has been understood to require religious exemptions only to laws that discriminate against religion—that is, government cannot target religion for worse treatment. The California covid pandemic-related rule easily passed this test, for it limited the size of all gatherings in private homes, religious and secular alike.

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'Person Three': Feds concentrating on North Carolina and are closing in on Oath Keepers ‘quick reaction force’ leader

A new filing today in the case against one of the Oath Keepers defendants charged in a conspiracy to obstruct Congress' certification of the presidential election shows the government's continued focus on an unindicted co-conspirator designated to lead a "quick reaction force" who is linked to a group from North Carolina.

In a filing opposing defendant Thomas Caldwell's request to modify conditions of release, Assistant US Attorney Kathryn Rakoczy wrote that "a major part of his role in the conspiracy was organizing individuals who were on standby with guns in a hotel across the river, conduct that this court has described as among the most concerning aspects of the conspiracy and for which the evidence has only strengthened since defendant Caldwell's release."

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'A dumpster fire': Republicans are resisting efforts to modernize the US Postal Service

House Republicans oppose measures that would save $46 billion in postal employee benefits and up to $17 billion in mail truck operating costs by requiring the new trucks to run on electricity rather than gas.

The actions of Republicans during a mark-up of U.S. Postal Service legislation cast doubt on a basic theme of the party. They say that their positions are driven by fiscal responsibility and low costs for government services. Of course, you wouldn't know that because news coverage of the House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing was virtually nonexistent.

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There's a dark history behind this revealing Fox News chyron

For decades, the GOP claimed the mantle of an economically conservative party and exploited societal issues such as racism and abortion to bolster their electoral support. Yet over the past few years, a reversal has occurred, such that the GOP's cultural identity now eclipses any pretense of an economic agenda. As an example, just this week, Fox News declared, "Critical Race Theory Replaces Economy as Top Issue."

Over the course of the 1980s through the 2000s, American conservative thought was often framed as primarily economically oriented. The Republican Party, however, gained electoral support by appealing to societal resentments. From Ronald Reagan's "welfare queen" to encouraging turnout with anti-LGBTQ legislation, the GOP augmented cultural wars. It knew how to exploit culture to win elections and power.

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DA drops charge against North Carolina reporter arrested while covering march to the polls

A North Carolina prosecutor has dismissed a charge against reporter who was arrested while covering a march to the polls that was disrupted when police began pepper-spraying a crowd during the final day of early voting last October.

The Alamance County District Attorney's office dismissed a misdemeanor resisting public officer charge against Tomas Murawski on Wednesday afternoon, according to Tom Boney, publisher of the Alamance News newspaper.

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Father brags he breached Capitol so his son could defecate on Pelosi's desk

Three men accused of storming the US Capitol on Jan. 6 appeared before a DC magistrate judge via videoconference on Wednesday.

One of the defendants, James Douglas Rahm III, traveled with his father, James Douglas Rahm Jr., who has already been indicted, to attend the Jan. 6 "Save America" rally, and they breached the Capitol together, according to government filings.

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Congress close to reversing Trump-era lending loophole that allowed 'rogue banks' to bleed Americans

Finally, there's something 52 senators can agree on: If a legal money lender is charging you Tony Soprano-level interest rates, you're at least entitled to know who they are.

The Senate voted 52 to 47 to repeal the so-called "true lender rule" that consumer advocates and plaintiff lawyers threatened consumers. It was a last-minute banking rule under the Trump administration that covers up who's really behind triple-digit interest rate loans.

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