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Saturday, Dec 20th

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US election: Big win for conservative big money

Conservative big moneyEstablishment Republican money finally got what it paid for — an electoral wave.

After two cycles during which conservative megadonors’ record spending was plagued by flawed candidates and internecine squabbling, their side’s big money operatives got to do some gloating on election night.

Conservatives tweaked their playbook to spend bigger and earlier to crush tea party insurgents and define Democratic candidates. And Republicans won most of the Senate races in which they prosecuted that plan — including Iowa, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia.

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Rogue pastors endorse candidates, but IRS looks away

IRSA record number of rogue Christian pastors are endorsing candidates from the pulpit this election cycle, using Sunday sermons to defiantly flout tax rules.

But the tax agency is doing anything but. Although the IRS was sued itself for not enforcing the law and admitted about 100 churches may be breaking the rules, the pastors and their critics alike say the agency is looking the other way. The agency refuses to say if it is acting.

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To vote in the Rust Belt, it takes more than an official photo ID

Voting in the rust beltNick Veron, 34, is a third-generation Elkhart factory man. He works on the same assembly line as his dad, making steel lathes and machine screws. Years ago, a factory paycheck could comfortably support an entire family; today, Veron earns $16 an hour and has no health insurance. His wife, Janet, a sometimes retail worker and homeschool teacher, says of their town, “Most people are really ragged, tired, beat down. The only reason they’re here is because they’re too poor to get out.”

The Verons, like so many low-income people in northern Indiana, do not plan to vote on Nov. 4. In their case, Nick says, they’ve distanced themselves from a political process they see as irredeemably corrupt, drowning in tainted money “the higher up you go.” Others in this section of the Rust Belt — where more than 16 percent of the population lives in poverty — say they have faced logistical obstacles to voting.

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Republican ISIL fear-mongering amplifies extremists' message, experts say

ISIS and the GOPIn one frame of the video, a masked fighter for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) brandishes a knife, with a beheaded American journalist just beyond view. In another, the Mosque of the Prophet Jonah disappears into a cloud of dust. A crowd of masked gunmen hold Kalashnikovs aloft. Dramatic music plays in the background.

But this isn’t a recruitment video for ISIL. It’s a campaign ad for Allen Weh, who is running against Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., in the Nov. 4 midterm elections.

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Court won’t force Georgia to find 40,000 missing voters

Michelle NunnTens of thousands of Georgia residents have submitted all required documentation, but have still not received a voter registration card, and so will be denied a chance to participate in Tuesday’s important midterm election.

And there’s likely nothing they can do about it.

Yesterday, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Christopher Brasher denied a petition from voter rights advocates that would have forced the Georgia Secretary of State to process an estimated 40,000 voter registration forms now missing from a public database.

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The stealth return of Jim Crow: Millions threatened by poll purges

Jim Crow returns to US electionsElection officials in 27 states, most of them Republicans, have launched a program that threatens a massive purge of voters from the rolls. Millions, especially black, Hispanic and Asian-American voters, are at risk. Already, tens of thousands have been removed in at least one battleground state, and the numbers are expected to climb, according to a six-month-long, nationwide investigation by Al Jazeera America.

At the heart of this voter-roll scrub is the Interstate Crosscheck program, which has generated a master list of nearly 7 million names. Officials says that these names represent legions of fraudsters who are not only registered but have actually voted in two or more states in the same election — a felony punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison.

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Greens grow into electoral powerhouse

Tom SteyerThe green movement has grown into a formidable political force, launching a broad and sophisticated operation this election cycle that rivals many of the most established groups.

Leading environmental organizations like the League of Conservation Voters, the Sierra Club and Tom Steyer’s NextGen Climate Action Committee have hired well-known national and state political operatives to guide the effort, and they are digging into detailed polling and analysis produced by the same white-shoe firms that helped President Barack Obama get elected.

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