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Getty Images, USPS

It was mass hysteria last week when former President Barack Obama accused current President Donald Trump of trying to sabotage the U.S Postal Service by removing mailboxes.

Hysterical social media users retweeted images of a flatbed truck carting off blue mailboxes in Portland, Oregon.

"They're going around literally with tractor trailers picking up mailboxes," Democratic nominee Joe Biden said at a virtual fundraiser. "You oughta go online and check out what they're doing in Oregon. I mean, it's bizarre!"

The chaos reached peak hysteria on social media after Obama accused Trump of giving the direct order to remove the boxes.

"What we've seen in a way that is unique to modern political history is a president who is explicit in trying to discourage people from voting," Obama said during his former campaign adviser David Plouffe's podcast on Friday.

"What we've never seen before is a president say, 'I'm going to try to actively kneecap the postal service to encourage voting and I will be explicit about the reason I'm doing it.'"

Obama added, "That's sort of unheard of."

But USPS spokeswoman Kimberly Frum told The Hill that the removal of mailboxes is actually quite common.

Thousands of mailboxes were removed during the Obama/Biden administration to be refurbished and relocated to high traffic areas.

"When a collection box consistently receives very small amounts of mail for months on end, it costs the Postal Service money in fuel and workhours for letter carriers to drive to the mailbox and collect the mail."

She added that anyone with a residential mailbox can simply raise the flag on their box to have their mail picked up.

USPS spokesman Steve Doherty told Boston.com there's nothing to see here: "These trucks are on the street daily. They're part of our field maintenance fleet."

Roughly 14,000 USPS mailboxes were removed and relocated between 2011 and 2016 -- during the Obama-Biden administration. No one accused Obama of sabotaging the USPS.

In 2016, Obama proposed that the USPS slash 12,000 jobs, saying private mail carriers like FedEx and UPS were more efficient. "It's the post office that's always having problems," he added.

The National Association of Postal Supervisors President Ted Keating fired off a letter to then-President Obama.

"Your negative references to the Postal Service without knowledge of the facts was a disservice not only to the members of our organization, but to all postal employees," Keating wrote.

In response to the fake news, the USPS announced they will stop removing mailboxes until after the November elections.

"We are not going to be removing any boxes," USPS spokesman Rod Spurgeon told NBC News. "After the election, we're going to take a look at operations and see what we need and don't need."

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President Donald Trump plans to travel to New York to visit his seriously ill brother, Robert Trump, a senior administration official confirmed Friday.

Trump will travel to Manhattan on Marine One chopper. Robert Trump (left) embraced his brother after the president-elect delivered his acceptance speech in November, 2016.

A White House official said Trump "has a very good relationship with his brother and his brother is very special to him."

Robert Trump was recently hospitalized in the intensive care unit at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City earlier this summer. He spent a week in the ICU.

Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images

Officials didn't disclose when Robert was re-admitted to the hospital. Robert Trump, left, is pictured with (L-R) ex-wife Blaine Trump, Donald Trump and his ex-wife, Ivana Trump, in a photo dated 2005.

Robert Trump filed a lawsuit last month seeking to block the release of his niece Mary Trump's tell-all book, titled Too Much and Never Enough.

At the time, he said he was "deeply disappointed" in his niece's efforts to profit off his brother's good name.

He said the "entire family" were "so proud of my wonderful brother, the president."

AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden on Thursday called for an immediate nationwide mask mandate for the next three months.

"Every American should be wearing a mask when they're outside for the next three months at a minimum," Biden told reporters in Wilmington, Delaware, after he and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, left their Covid-19 briefing with health experts.

Both Biden and Harris emerged from their briefing wearing black face masks.

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Biden said he would mandate face masks nationwide if he was president. He cited health experts who predict a nationwide mask mandate would save 40,000 lives during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Democratic nominee called on every governor to mandate face masks until the November election. "Let's institute a mask mandate nationwide, starting immediately and we will save lives," he said.

He urged Americans to "be a patriot" and wear the masks.

Biden said he hoped President Donald Trump "learned the lesson" but he added a mask mandate is not about politics.

Some pundits believe Biden called for mandatory face masks until the election to boost mail-in voting.

But Dr. Anthony Fauci backed President Trump's demands for in-person voting, saying, "there is no reason we can't have in-person voting."

Fauci said voting at polling stations is okay if guidelines are observed.

Meanwhile, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp dropped his lawsuit against Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, saying he would address the issue of mandatory face masks in his next executive order.

Kemp sued Bottoms in federal court after she mandated face masks in the city of Atlanta.

"Unfortunately, the mayor has made it clear that she will not agree to a settlement that safeguards the rights of private property owners in Georgia," Kemp said. "Given this stalemate in negotiations, we will address this issue in the next executive order. We will continue to protect the lives and livelihoods of all Georgians."

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A debate is brewing on social media on the issue of Kamala Harris's race. Atlanta Black Star recalled the intense debate between CNN anchor Don Lemon and political analyst April Ryan on February 13, 2019.

Lemon and Ryan argued over whether Harris, 55, could call herself African American, Black or mixed-race.

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Lemon concluded that Harris -- the product of an Indian mother and mixed-race Jamaican father -- is in fact mixed race and definitely not African American.

Lemon, 54, shouted down Ryan when she tried to emphatically insist that Harris was African American.

"[Harris] is a Black woman," said Ryan. "She is a mixed-race woman. When you see her, you see her Blackness. But she is also South Asian ... and her dad is Jamaican. She is a Black woman."

But Lemon argued that Harris doesn't share the experience of American descendants of slaves, also known as "ADOS."

"No, no, no, no. I don't think you hear what people are saying. To want the distinction to say is she African-American, or is she Black or is she -- whatever -- there is nothing wrong with that. There is a difference between being African-American and being Black."

Ryan interjected: "So she could indeed be African-American mixed with others, but she is a Black woman."

"Jamaica is not America," Lemon said, interrupting Ryan. "Jamaica did not come out of Jim Crow. I'm just saying."

"She was born here in America!" Ryan shot back. "So, let's talk about [Sen.] Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz was born in Canada and his father —"

"This isn’t about Ted Cruz,” Lemon interrupted her, accusing his guest of changing the subject.

"It's hypocrisy! I'm not changing the subject!" Ryan shouted. "I don't know what you want from me."

"You're missing the point," Lemon told Ryan. "People are asking if you are African-American if you are someone who came out of Jim Crow, out of American slavery. Are you [a] descendant out of that? That's all I’m saying."

Watch the debate between Lemon and Ryan below.
 

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Breonna Taylor's mother and legal team met with Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron this week.

On Thursday, Aug. 13, Tamika Palmer, Breonna's mother, (center) and co-counsels Benjamin Crump (left) and Lonita Baker (right) held a news conference in front of Louisville City Hall.

Crump said he expects there will be criminal charges against the three plainclothes officers who shot and killed Taylor while executing a no-knock warrant at her home in March. They were searching for a drug suspect who was already in custody.

"I absolutely expect there to be charges based on the evidence," Crump told reporters.

"One hundred and fifty days," Palmer said. "Every day is still March the 13th."

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Taylor, a 26-year-old Black EMT, was asleep in the early hours of March 13 when three cops served a no-knock narcotics search warrant at her home.

Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, opened fire on the intruders, wounding one of the officers in the leg. The cops returned fire, killing Taylor. Walker was not injured in the shootout. He was arrested but later released without charges.

Former cop Brett Hankison was fired by Louisville Metro Police Department in June. Two other officers — Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove — remain on administrative leave.

Baker said the attorney general didn't reach out to the family earlier because he was fearful it could compromise the investigation.

"It really speaks to why we should not have the police policing themselves," Crump said, "because we lost two months while we were letting them try to figure out how to justify the unjustifiable. And so now we're waiting on ballistics tests over 150 days later?"

The attorney general's office released a statement after the meeting:

"The meeting provided an opportunity for Attorney General Cameron to personally express his condolences to the family. The investigation remains ongoing, and our Office of Special Prosecutions continues to review all the facts in the case to determine the truth."

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Fulton County DA's Office

The Fulton County district attorney who charged 2 white police officers with murdering Rayshard Brooks has lost his job.

Paul Howard Jr. conceded defeat after he lost his runoff election to lost to challenger, Fani Willis, Tuesday night.

Howard also angered law enforcement officers by charging cops who pepper sprayed a young couple on their way home in downtown Atlanta during the George Floyd riots in June.

Howard served as Fulton County's top prosecutor for more than 20 years. Willis is the first female district attorney in Fulton County.

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Howard made headlines in June after half of Atlanta Police Department's officers in zones 3, 4 and 6 walked off the job or called out sick in support of one of the cops who is charged with killing Brooks at a Wendy's in Atlanta.

Howard was accused of rushing to judgment by charging two former cops with multiple felony murder counts in the death of Brooks.

Howard's reign as DA was marred by controversies. He is currently under investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for allegedly funneling $140,000 to his nonprofit to supplement his salary.

Last week, Howard agreed to pay a $6,500 fine to the state ethics commission, WSB-TV reported. Howard admitted he failed to disclose his role with two nonprofits that paid him more than $200,000.

Howard claimed the cash was a "pay raise".

"I have every confidence that I'll be totally exonerated because what I've done is what most Americans do all the time. They ask for a pay raise," Howard told Channel 2 Action News.

Howard was first elected in January 1997, becoming the first Black man to be elected district attorney in the state of Georgia.

He is reportedly related to NBA star Dwight Howard.

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Black Twitter is outraged over a misinterpretation of a tweet by President Donald Trump on Wednesday.

First the misinterpretation: "Trump said 'suburban housewives will vote for me to protect black democrats from putting housing nearby."

What Trump really tweeted:

"The 'suburban housewife' will be voting for me. They want safety & are thrilled that I ended the long running program where low income housing would invade their neighborhood. Biden would reinstall it, in a bigger form, with Corey Booker in charge!"

Trump criticized the Obama/Biden administration's efforts to place low-income families in suburban neighborhoods.

The issue was one of the factors that drove voters to the polls to elect Trump as president in 2016.

But, as one Twitter user pointed out, the majority of people living in low-income housing are white.

User @pastordlamb writes: "Anyone who sees the words 'low income housing' and automatically thinks of black people is racist. We have numerous low income housing projects in our city and they are 90% white occupied."

Another user wrote: "Never underestimate the fear they have of POC. They hate and fear us. He know what he is doing, they will vote for him because he will build a wall in the suburbs to keep us out. They are all part of the problem in Amerikkka."

And a third user tweeted: "Donald Trump wants to keep "low income housing" out of the suburbs. Because there's nothing scarier than that... is there?"

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As Russia announced the approval of a new Coronavirus vaccine, legal questions arise about the rights of Americans to decline taking the vaccine.

Vulnerable populations, including Black people, are concerned that their rights will be infringed upon after President Donald Trump announced he would mobilize the military to "distribute" the vaccines.

AFP via Getty Images

According to Dov Fox, a law professor at the University of San Diego, Americans who refuse to take the vaccination can be fined or jailed by law.

"States can compel vaccinations in more or less intrusive ways," he said in an interview.

"They can limit access to schools or services or jobs if people don't get vaccinated. They could force them to pay a fine or even lock them up in jail."

Fox noted authorities in the U.S. have never attempted to jail people for refusing to vaccinate, but some mayors and governors have threatened to jail people who refuse to wear face masks.

"Courts have found that when medical necessity requires it, the public health outweighs the individual rights and liberties at stake," Fox said.

There is legal precedence dating back to 1905 that gave states the authority to fine people who refused to take vaccinations for smallpox.

The coronavirus, which kills far less than 1% of the population, is nowhere near as deadly as Smallpox, an infectious viral disease with a death rate of 30%.

Bill Gates has said "multiple doses" of the expensive vaccines will be necessary to provide protection against the virus.

The unprecedented response to the Coronavirus - a respiratory infection that causes mild symptoms or no symptoms in 99% of the population, has many Americans worried about the government's financial motives.

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Russia registered the first Coronavirus vaccine, the Wall Street Journal reports. Russia's vaccine is the first important breakthrough in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.

The Russian vaccine - developed at the Gamaleya Institute - was tested on animals and two groups of 38 humans each.

Russia's clinical testing is much less than required for approval of drugs by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA typically doesn't approve drugs until they have passed three phases of clinical testing.

But Russian Minister of Health Mikhail Murashko claims all volunteers developed high titers of antibodies in response to the vaccine. He said "none of them had serious complications of immunization."

The world is happy with the announcement. A vaccine wasn't scheduled to go to market until at least the end of the year or early 2021.

The U.S. stock market's reaction to the news was negative. U.S. vaccine related stocks—including Moderna (ticker: MRNA), Noravax (NVAX) and Pfizer (PFE) are all down on the news.

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A few minutes after U.S. President Donald Trump began his press conference in the White House briefing room, Secret Service burst into the room and hustled him out.

Television viewers and reporters were left stunned by the abruptness of Trump's departure on Monday evening.

As rumors spread on social media, there were reports that a man had been shot near the White House.

Comedienne Kathy Griffin took to Twitter to assure her followers she had nothing to do with the reported shooting outside the White House.

"It wasn't me," tweeted the 59-year-old comedian, minutes after news of the shooting broke.

About 20 minutes after his abrupt departure, Trump returned to the White House briefing room and revealed the details of the shooting to the press.

"There was a shooting outside of the White House and it seems to be very well under control. I'd like to thank the Secret Service for doing their always quick and very effective work," he said.

When asked if the White House had been breached in any way, he replied: "I don't think the person breached anything. I don't believe anything was breached." Trump added that he was not taken to the White House bunker underground.

Griffin is no fan of Donald Trump. She notably shared footage of herself with a severed Donald Trump head art piece in 2017, which sparked a wave of outrage and resulted in her being blacklisted.

The funnywoman lost endorsement deals and was removed from her co-hosting duties of CNN’s New Year's Eve coverage as a result of her actions.

AFP via Getty Images

President Donald Trump bypassed Congress by signing four executive orders at his golf club in New Jersey on Saturday.

One of the executive orders extends unemployment benefits to $400 per week instead of the $600 unemployed Americans received in addition to state unemployment benefits.

The $400 per week benefits are retroactive to the week of August 1.

When a reporter asked if $400 would be a "hardship" for people who were getting $600 plus state benefits, Trump said, "Well, no, this is not a hardship, this is the money that they need."

He added: "This is the money they want. And this gives them a great incentive to go back to work so this is much more than what was originally agreed. The 600 was a number that was there and as you know, there was, there was difficulty with the 600 number because it really was a disincentive."

A second executive order creates a payroll tax holiday for Americans earning less than $100,000 annually. And a third executive order freezes evictions and foreclosures for some renters and mortgage holders until the end of the year, beginning September 1.

A fourth executive order waives penalties and interests for federally held student loans through the end of the year.

In announcing his executive orders, Trump took aim at Congressional Democrats, accusing them of "holding aid hostage" because they want "bailout money for states that have been badly managed for many years".

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Instagram.com

You would never know there was a worldwide coronavirus pandemic if you're in Atlanta. It's business as usual at packed nightclubs and lounges in Atlanta.

Club promoters are making money hand over fist as Atlantans who are wary of being restricted to their homes go out for a night on the town.

All of my club promoter friends are doing brisk business at their establishments and venues. It's almost as if the coronavirus doesn't exist in the clubs in Atlanta.

No one wears face masks and social distancing is non-existent. It's actually good to see Black people enjoying themselves and socializing amongst their peers.
 

The CDC, Dr. Fauci and Bill Gates tried to strike fear into the hearts of people in the Black community, but so far, their fear tactics are not working.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms received glowing reviews for her efforts to contain the coronavirus in her city.

The mayor issued an executive order in June, mandating that people wear masks in public to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Gov. Brian Kemp, who refused to mandate face masks in the state, filed a federal lawsuit against Bottoms to prevent her from enforcing her mask mandate.

On Friday, the governor extended his order that explicitly bans local governments (including Keisha's) from enacting mask mandates.

Gov. Kemp believes adults should make their own decisions whether to wear PPE.

A hearing on the matter was delayed after two judges recused themselves from the case.

Calls to the mayor's office for comment were not returned on Friday.

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A new at home spit test could potentially turn around Covid-19 test results within 30 minutes.

Currently, Americans who want to be tested for COVID-19 are subjected to a painfully invasive nasopharyngeal swab shoved into the back of their throat.

Columbia University and biopharmaceutical company Sorrento announced a new COVID-19 rapid test kit that can be conducted at home with test results within 30 minutes.

The COVID-19 saliva diagnostic test works like a pregnancy test - but using saliva instead of urine.

The kit, called COVI-TRACE, has already passed initial non-peer reviewed clinical studies, according to medRxiv.com.

Doctors at Columbia University's Medical Center will escalate clinical trials within weeks, and if the results are positive, will apply for an emergency use authorization from the Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

If approved by the FDA, the test kits will be fast-tracked at "rapid, full-scale production" to bring the tests to market quickly. The tests will retail for around $10 per kit.

The COVI-TRACE saliva test kits could be a game changer. People who test positive at home would get follow-up testing at a clinic or hospital, and possible treatment if they have symptoms.

COVI-TRACE saliva kits would save time and money spent testing millions of healthy people who aren't sick.

Many Americans still do not have access to COVID-19 testing and those who have been tested complain about the long wait times for results.

Viral Twitter photos that show students crowding a Georgia high school hallway resulted in the suspension of a student who took the photos.

The photos were taken at North Paulding High School in Dallas, Georgia on the first day of school this week. The school is less than 50 miles northwest of Atlanta.

The photo shows students - many not wearing face masks - crowded in a packed hallway on their first day back to class since the coronavirus pandemic.

More photos were tweeted from the same high school on Day 2 that showed even fewer students wearing face masks.

15-year-old student Hannah Watters was suspended for 5 days for posting the images on Twitter, according to her mother, Lynne Watters, who said she filed a grievance with the school Thursday morning.

"I expressed my concerns and disagreement with that punishment," Lynne Watters said in a text message to the Chicago Tribune.

In an email to Fox News, North Paulding High School principal Gabe Carmona said a few cases of Covid-19 positive students with mild, flu-like symptoms "have already been identified."

Paulding County School District, Brian Otott, defended his decision to reopen schools, saying the viral photo was "taken out of context" because the students were only in the hallway between classes.

"There is no question that the photo does not look good." Masks are not required at the school, Otott said, although the administration strongly encourages masks for students and staff members.

Otott said mask wearing is not mandated at North Paulding High School.

"Wearing a mask is a personal choice," he wrote, "and there is no practical way to enforce a mandate to wear them."

Scott Sweeney, Georgia Board of Education Chairman told Fox News, "Mask wearing is not something that we can mandate... from the state board of education standpoint."

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp refused to mandate face masks in the state, preferring to leave the decision to local communities.

Recent studies published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) concludes face masks - which were designed to stop bacteria - are not effective against viruses such as the coronavirus, which is 100 to 1000 times smaller than bacteria.

"We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection," the article said.

The New England Journal of Medicine noted "the truth about mass mask wearing, and that the main if not only benefit of masks is that it eases anxiety of some people.”
 

Copyright Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to the photograph(s) or video(s) used in this post. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" of photographs for purposes such as parody, criticism, commentary, news reporting, education, and research.

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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday that he will begin authorizing shutting off water and power services at the properties of repeat offenders who hold large parties.

Garcetti made the announcement amid reports of large parties thrown by promoters who ignore the city's coronavirus safety guidelines.

"The consequences of these large parties ripple far beyond just those parties," Garcetti said during an online video briefing on Wednesday.

His announcement came as demonstrators continue to protest outside Garcetti's Tudor style mansion in Windsor Square.

Garcetti blamed "super spreader" parties for the small spike in positive coronavirus cases in L.A. County.

He said he has ordered the power and lights shut off at residences for "egregious cases". Garcetti said if police are called to residences or businesses with large gatherings more than once, the city will notify the parties responsible and shut off Department of Water and Power service within 48 hours, according to the Daily News.

"While we have already closed all nightclubs and bars, these large house parties have essentially become nightclubs in the hills," he said. "Many times the homes are vacant or used for short term rentals."

Some residents have grown wary of the mayor's overreaching restrictions on their daily lives. They say the mayor is drunk with power and they prefer to be treated like adults capable of making health decisions on their own.

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Rapper Desiigner took to social media to say the Covid-19 pandemic is fake: "Yo, no funny. Corona is fake, gone, bro [sic]. No funny s**t. Enjoy life. No cap [no lie]. We ain't even on that type of vibe. Corona s**t, man. Honestly, that corona s**t is BS. You feel me?"

Desiigner added that he's convinced the pandemic is just a hoax because he has yet to fall ill with the virus himself, despite not wearing a face mask.

"I ain't get sick yet. I been outside, healthy," he said.