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White Supremacist Arrested In Plot To Murder Journalists, Democrats

Coast Guard officer plotted to kill Democrats and journalists, prosecutors say. NYT: "A Coast Guard lieutenant and self-described white nationalist who was arrested in Maryland last week was plotting to kill a long list of prominent journalists and Democratic politicians, as well as professors, judges and what he called “leftists in general,” federal prosecutors said in a court filing on Tuesday. Lt. Christopher Paul Hasson, 49, was arrested Friday on gun and drug charges, but prosecutors said in the filing that the charges were just the 'proverbial tip of the iceberg.' The filing argued that Lieutenant Hasson should be held until he is tried, describing him as a 'domestic terrorist' who intended 'to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country.' Prosecutors quoted a letter that he drafted to friends in 2017 and that the authorities found on his computer. In it, Lieutenant Hasson, who works as an acquisitions officer at Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, wrote: “I am dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on the earth. I think a plague would be most successful but how do I acquire the needed / Spanish flu, botulism, anthrax not sure yet but will find something.” In the last month, prosecutors said, the lieutenant used his work computer to draw up a list of prominent figures he called “traitors” and wanted to kill, including many well-known anchors and hosts on the CNN and MSNBC news networks and a number of Democratic elected officials."

SCOTUS Rules Against Asset Forfeiture As Punishment

Supreme Court’s new ruling on civil asset forfeiture is pretty huge. ThinkProgress: "States cannot ignore the Constitution when imposing fines or confiscating people’s property in civil or criminal cases, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled Wednesday. The decision in Timbs v. Indiana means change is on the wind for the widespread and chronically abused law enforcement tactic of civil asset forfeiture. It will also have sweeping implications for other monetary punishments levied by state and local governments, including the grubby spiderweb of municipal court fines whose cumulative effect is to make poverty itself a jailable offense in many jurisdictions. But though the unanimous ruling gives defendants a powerful new tool to combat abusive practices by local cops and fine-happy judges, it is not a self-executing change. There will be no lightswitch moment when people simply stop being victimized by abusive forfeiture actions like the one that led to Tyson Timbs’ $42,000 Land Rover being confiscated by Indiana officials in 2013. 'It’s not like police practices are going to change tomorrow,' Institute for Justice attorney Wesley Hottot, who argued the case in court, told ThinkProgress. 'They’re definitely going to be taking that property just like they would have yesterday. I think as long as police and prosecutors are allowed to keep 100 percent of the assets they take from people, sometimes without even convicting them of a crime, they’re going to maintain that practice.' Timbs’ case is an example of criminal asset forfeiture, the less common but more legally clear-cut version of police property-seizing where someone has already been convicted of a crime. "

NM House Approves Automatic Voter Registration

New Mexico's House approves automatic voter registration. The Hill: "The New Mexico House of Representatives has voted in favor of automatic voter registration legislation. Lawmakers late Tuesday night approved a bill that would change that state’s voter registration to be “opt-out” at motor vehicle offices, according to Las Cruces Sun News. Currently, drivers in New Mexico can choose to be registered to vote when they get their driver’s license or ID at a Motor Vehicle Division office through an “opt-in” system, the newspaper noted. If the new legislation passes the state Senate, the registration process would be changed to automatically register people unless they choose to opt out, it added. The measure, which was passed in a 44-22 vote in the House, reportedly faced opposition from Republican lawmakers who said that it could result in ineligible people becoming registered to vote illegally. Democrats argued that the bill included safeguards to prevent that from happening, such as a mandated annual audit of voter rolls by the New Mexico Secretary of State, according to the newspaper. Lawmakers and voters in a number of other states, including Nevada and Massachusetts, have moved in recent months to establish automatic voter registration systems."

NC GOP Candidate's Son Says Father Knew About Fraud

Republican candidate's son shakes up North Carolina hearing with surprise testimony. NBC: "The son of Republican congressional candidate Mark Harris testified before the North Carolina State Board of Elections on Wednesday, saying that he warned his father about the illegal tactics of a political operative that Harris hired and casting doubt on Harris' insistence that he had no knowledge of fraudulent election activity in last year's election. In a dramatic surprise appearance that culminated with an emotional plea to fix the political process, John Harris, an assistant U.S. attorney in North Carolina, testified that he told his father he had become concerned about McCrae Dowless' practices after studying the 2016 congressional primary in the same 9th district. In that race, Dowless’ candidate, Todd Johnson, came in third place in the election even though he won all but four of the 218 absentee ballots cast in Bladen County. Harris was a candidate in that election as well. Harris testified that his father decided to hire Dowless despite his concerns."

Trump To Puerto Rico: Go Hungry

Trump to Puerto Ricans: Go hungry. American Prospect: "he clock ticks for Puerto Rico’s poor since the Trump administration has announced it won’t support supplemental funding for the storm-ravaged island’s food stamps program. Emergency food aid for an estimated 1.4 million Puerto Ricans will dry up at the start of March if a $600 million appropriation isn’t approved by Congress and the White House. Without the additional funding, about 1.3 million U.S. citizens will face a steep drop in food assistance. Roughly 100,000 will be kicked off program entirely, according to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). Attempts by congressional Democrats to secure the emergency funding have been blocked by a White House hell bent on building a border wall. The compromise spending bill signed by Trump last week will keep the government open, but does not include any disaster aid for Puerto Rico. Responding to the devastation left by Hurricanes Maria in 2017, the White House and Congress approved $1.27 billion to bolster Puerto Rico’s food stamps program, known as Nutrition Assistance Program (NAP), in addition to the $1.8 billion in yearly funding the program regularly receives from the federal government. The supplementary appropriation was meant to offer the island time to get back on its feet after being ravaged by the storm. But Puerto Rican officials have warned for months that the standard funding is insufficient. The requested $600 million would continue benefits at current levels until September of this year. Unless the supplemental $600 million is approved, NAP benefits will return to pre-hurricane levels in March and eligibility standards for the program will tighten. For a family of four that was already enrolled in the program, that means that the current maximum benefit of $649 a month will drop to $410, according to the CBPP analysis. Some 100,000 Puerto Ricans who joined the program in the wake of the hurricane will lose access altogether."

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