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August 7, 2020

The 2020 Race Tightens

This Day in History | 1782

General George Washington creates the “Badge for Military Merit,” a decoration consisting of a purple, heart-shaped piece of silk, edged with a narrow binding of silver, with the word Merit stitched across the face in silver. 

Good morning middle Americans, 

One thing that most people, whether they like him or not, can agree on is that Donald Trump knows how to attract attention. And he’s always bragged about his ratings. But lets be honest, as of late his tv ratings have been better than his approval ratings. The important right track / wrong track metric is definitely trending in the wrong direction. And while he’s still 13 points behind former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 race, the gap seems to be closing.  At least the last couple of days. Trump’s newly elevated campaign chief Bill Stepien seems to think it’s all because of these daily Coronavirus briefings that have resumed. What do you think? We think it has more to Joe Biden being Joe Biden. As bad as things seem for the president right now, he’s the president and has the incumbent’s massive advantage. 

That said, the president is definitely going to lose to the teen vote. Lol. There’s no teen vote. But if there were, they would be mad at him for banning Tik Tok and We Chat, two Chinese social media apps that are really just data gathering tools for the CCP.  Here’s a reminder to all the app developers and foreign social media companies out there. You can have a good lobbyist, but when your users can’t vote, don’t expect your platform to have much clout in Washington D.C.. 

Also today we have stories about New York’s Attorney General Letitia James announcing that the state is seeking to dissolve the National Rifle Association. James filed a lawsuit that accuses the leadership of diverting millions of dollars for their own personal use. The NRA calls the lawsuit “baseless”. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders introduced legislation on Thursday that would levy a 60 percent tax on billionaires. And finally today – A Florida grandmother is suing Walt Disney World claiming she was “was wrongfully arrested and taken into custody at the Orlando theme park for possessing federally legal CBD oil” in 2019.

Read all about it. 

-Fraser Dixon

Trump Campaign Chief Sees Bounce After Virus Briefings Revived

(Bloomberg) – Donald Trump’s new campaign manager credited the revival of the president’s daily briefings with narrowing the gap between him and Democratic nominee Joe Biden, saying that when the president speaks “it’s a needle mover.”

Bill Stepien took over as the president’s campaign manager in mid-July after Brad Parscale was demoted. At the time, the Trump re-election effort staggered under the pressures of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed about 158,000 Americans, and crashed the economy.

Since Stepien stepped in, Trump has changed his public approach to the virus. He now calls wearing protective equipment an act of “patriotism” after dismissing the value for months. While he still downplays the virus’s effect and argues with scientists about it, he also sometimes takes a more somber tone.

Most notably, he has revived the daily late-afternoon briefings in which he reads positive updates about the pandemic, encourages states and schools to reopen and takes questions from reporters.

Find out more here

Trump Bans Dealings with Chinese Owners of TikTok, WeChat

(AP) – President Donald Trump has ordered a sweeping but vague ban on dealings with the Chinese owners of social media apps TikTok and WeChat on security grounds, a move China’s government criticized as “political manipulation.”

The twin executive orders issued Thursday — one for each app — add to growing U.S.-Chinese conflict over technology and security. They take effect in 45 days and could bar the popular apps from the Apple and Google app stores, effectively removing them from U.S. distribution.

China’s foreign ministry expressed opposition but gave no indication whether Beijing might retaliate.

Earlier, Trump threatened a deadline of Sept. 15 to “close down” TikTok in the United States unless Microsoft Corp. or another company acquires it.

TikTok, owned by Beijing-headquartered ByteDance Ltd., is popular for its short, catchy videos. The company says it has 100 million users in the United States and hundreds of millions worldwide.

The Trump administration has expressed concern Chinese social media services could provide American users’ personal information to Chinese authorities, though it has given no evidence TikTok did that.

Read more here

New York AG Seeks to Dissolve NRA in Lawsuit Accusing Leaders of Self-Dealing, Causing $64 Million in Losses

(CNBC) – New York Attorney General Letitia James on Thursday announced that the state is seeking to dissolve the National Rifle Association in a lawsuit that accuses the leadership of the flagging nonprofit of diverting millions of dollars for their own personal use. 

According to the lawsuit, the senior leadership of the NRA squandered millions in donations on personal trips, private jets and expensive meals. The failure to lawfully manage the organization’s funds contributed to losses of $64 million over three years, the suit says. 

The suit was filed in New York county in the New York State Supreme Court. At a press conference announcing the suit, James said the NRA was “a breeding ground for greed, abuse, and brazen illegality.”

NRA president Carolyn Meadows said in a statement that the suit is “a baseless, premeditated attack on our organization and the Second Amendment freedoms it fights to defend.”

Get the latest here

Bernie Sanders Proposes 60% Tax on Billionaires’ Pandemic Gains

(Newsweek) – Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders introduced legislation on Thursday that would levy a 60 percent tax on billionaires. Money generated by the tax would purportedly go towards covering all out-of-pocket health care expenses for every American for one year.

Known as the Make Billionaires Pay Act, the tax would be effective until the end of the calendar year. If adopted, the proposal would tax the wealth gains made by 467 U.S. billionaires from March 18 to August 5. During that time span, closures initiated by the coronavirus pandemic caused 50 million Americans to apply for unemployment benefits.

According to a statement released by Sanders, 5.4 Americans lost health insurance benefits during that time. The act would allegedly raise $421.7 billion, which would be enough to allow Medicare to pay for such out-of-pocket health expenses, including prescription drugs.

Get more info here

Grandmother Sues Disney After She Was Arrested with CBD Oil in Her Purse

(CNN) – Attorney Ben Crump has filed a civil lawsuit against several entities including, The Walt Disney Co. and the Orange County Sheriff, on behalf of Hester Burkhalter, a 69-year-old White woman from Hickory, North Carolina, and her family.

Crump said she “was wrongfully arrested and taken into custody at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, for possessing federally legal CBD oil” in 2019.

CBD is a natural anti-inflammatory derived from the cannabis plant.

According to Crump and a July 29 complaint, a lawsuit has been filed in the Circuit Court of the 9th Judicial Circuit in Orange County against The Walt Disney Company and a number of its executives as well as the Orange County Sheriff and a number of its deputies alleging illegal detention, false arrest and violation of civil rights. The suit requests $6 million in compensatory damages and $12 million in punitive damages for Burkhalter, as well as millions of additional dollars for her family, according to the complaint.

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