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The white nationalist “alt-right” movement has suffered massive setbacks over the past few weeks. After his plans for a “Michigan Alt-Right Conference” in Detroit fell apart, followed by his total flop of a speech to a near-empty auditorium at Michigan State University on March 5, Richard Spencer claimed he’s going to have to rethink his college tour. Apparently it just isn’t “fun” anymore.

For top administrators at Michigan State University and the University of Michigan (which has yet to offer a definitive response to Spencer’s outstanding request to speak) this is pretty much the best outcome they could have hoped for. However, it has been worrisome, to say the least, to see university administrators, faculty and others celebrating — or even taking credit for — Spencer’s defeat without acknowledging the campus and community organizers who actually defeated him.



Happy Friday LD! Hope you don’t mind if I treat this as a News thread

After Hillary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders’s strong showing in the primary, many in the Democratic Party are able to read the writing on the wall: They need to move left. But who wants to step in? Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York.

In the past two years, Mr. Cuomo — with an eye on national office — has rebranded himself from conservative insider to left-wing populist. Last year, he even held a news conference with Mr. Sanders to announce a “free college” plan. (The plan, unsurprisingly, turned out to be full of not-very-progressive loopholes.)

The truth is, the governor wears his new identity like a cheap suit — stretched and baggy in all the wrong places. The good news is that despite his ambition, Mr. Cuomo probably has little chance of capturing a presidential nomination. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t need a strong challenge from the left. If New York’s activists can keep Mr. Cuomo from striding onto the national stage in 2020 under a thin veneer of Bernie-ism, we can send the Democrats a message they need to hear. More immediately, we can help force the issues that matter to working-class New Yorkers into the center of the campaign.

Cynthia Nixon is doing just that. Last month, Ms. Nixon, a public school advocate and an actress best known for her role on “Sex and the City,” announced that she’s challenging Mr. Cuomo in this year’s primary. She’s campaigning on a platform that includes rent control, putting more money into public schools and ending mass incarceration. The left should support her.


Nice rally you have there. It’d be a shame if anything happened to it.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s aides and campaign staff made a round of phone calls to elected officials, asking them to not attend a rally on Thursday in support of community groups that have endorsed his opponent, Cynthia Nixon, according to eight New York City Council members who received such calls or messages and two others briefed on the effort.

The rally was held to protest what organizers described as Mr. Cuomo’s pressure tactics: They said the governor made a push for labor unions to stop funding those same community groups.

Mr. Cuomo has denied using any such pressure tactics, even as his aides pressed various Council members to boycott the rally.


Cuomo Insists He’s Not Punishing WFP, Says Punishment Is Up To God

At the same time, Cuomo insisted the split withing the WFP, which endorsed his primary opponent Cynthia Nixon on Saturday, was between the activist wing of the party and its founding labor unions, which have left the organization on the eve of meeting last weekend.

“I’m not going to punish. It has nothing to do with me,” Cuomo said. “Punishment is for God. Who unions should support or not support, that’s up to the unions. Nobody’s going to tell them what to do.”

WFP officials have said publicly that Cuomo has leveled threats against the WFP, telling them to “lose my number” if they endorsed Nixon and would find ways of pulling funding from the advocacy organizations that remain with the liberal ballot line. The groups are largely funded by labor organizations and cannot receive direct funding from the state.


I love when politicians act like we’re all stupid. It worked out great for his buddy Hillary.


If the money was going into a more structured state health Fund, there wouldn’t be as much a problem.


Gov. Andrew Cuomo has a disturbing new way to raise revenue: using government muscle to squeeze private organizations into “voluntarily” writing billion-dollar checks. That’s what he did to Fidelis Care, a nonprofit health plan affiliated with the Catholic Church, and its would-be buyer, Centene Corp.

In a murky deal announced on Good Friday, Fidelis and Centene agreed to pay the state $2 billion over four years. The payments are not technically required by law. But Fidelis and Centene agreed to them after a three-month pressure campaign by Mr. Cuomo, including overt and implied threats to seize the funds, block the sale or both.

Fidelis would seem an odd target for a gubernatorial money grab. Founded in 1993, it specializes in health coverage for the poor. With 1.6 million members, it is the largest purveyor of state-sponsored programs such as Medicaid managed care, Child Health Plus and the Essential Plan, as well as Medicare Advantage and commercial ObamaCare coverage. It has played a big role in reducing the state’s uninsured rate, and it has not been publicly accused of wrongdoing.

What sparked Mr. Cuomo’s campaign was Fidelis’s pending sale to Centene, announced in September, for a price of $3.75 billion. The bishops planned to put the money into a charitable foundation in support of health care for the needy. Mr. Cuomo argued that the state was entitled to $3 billion of the proceeds because Fidelis earned most of its revenue from state programs. By that logic, the state could skim the savings accounts of public employees when they retire.

A final disturbing twist is where the state’s $2 billion is destined to go: into a “health care transformation fund,” into which the governor’s budget director can dip without even notifying the Legislature (or the public) for 15 days. So Mr. Cuomo is diverting money otherwise meant for charity to furnish himself with $1.35 billion to spend as he wishes in an election year. What innocent but deep-pocketed organization will be next?


If he does get on the ballot, it probably ensures that Pritzker will win


A Republican state senator launched a third party bid for governor Thursday in what could be a death knell for Illinois GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner’s reelection bid.

State Sen. Sam McCann is running as what he called an “independent conservative,” telling POLITICO Thursday that he felt “called to serve” to counter the prospect of having only two “billionaires from Chicago” on the November ballot.

McCann denied that his run is an effort to settle a score with Rauner and ensure the embattled first-term governor is defeated in November.

“I’m in this to win it. I’ve never run a race not to win it. I don’t run against people, I run to win,” McCann said Thursday.


I say the more the merrier. I don’t like JB nor Rauner, both hedge fund guys. This guy’s politics aren’t mine when it comes to health choices for women, but he’s right about the disastrous handling of the state budget. I’m hoping a Green Party guy will show up and depending on what s/he is advocating, we’ll see if I still have to wear a nasal closepin when in the voting booth.


I hear ya Benny, to many times I had to wear a self containing breathing suit going to vote in my area of WI. We have to do better.



Teachers in Arizona held a strike vote on Thursday that launched Arizona’s first-ever statewide walkout and turned down a proposed pay raise — instead demanding increased school funding.

The Arizona Education Association and the grass-roots group the Arizona Educators United announced that teachers will walk off the job April 26.

At issue is a plan crafted by Gov. Doug Ducey to give teachers a 20 percent raise by 2020, starting with a 9 percent hike next year.

Arizona Governor Agrees To 20 Percent Raise For Protesting Teachers
Arizona Governor Agrees To 20 Percent Raise For Protesting Teachers
Initially, Ducey’s plan drew support from two education advocacy groups, Save Our Schools Arizona and the Arizona Parent Teacher Association (AZPTA). But both groups have withdrawn their support, saying the plan is not sustainable and likely will come at the expense of others in the educational system.


The NRA is being supported by these companies

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), with 1.7 million members, has officially cut ties with banking giant Wells Fargo for the company’s ongoing relationship with the National Rifle Association (NRA).

According to USA Today, the move came after Wells Fargo declined to heed the union’s recommendation that it forgo its lending relationship with the gun lobbying group or impose new restriction on firearms manufacturers, in wake of the deadly mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that left 17 people dead.

After the shooting, young survivors and youth activists, along with their educators and fellow gun control advocates, pushed for tighter restrictions on gun sales and urged boycotts of any business that maintained a working relationship with the NRA.

Although other business have since severed ties with the gun lobbying group, Wells Fargo — dubbed the “preferred financier for the U.S. gun industry” by Bloomberg due to the hundreds of millions in loans and bonds its handed out to firearm and ammunition companies since 2012 — has shown reluctance to change.

That stubbornness prompted the American Federation of Teachers to cut ties with the bank, which previously created a $28 million line of credit for the NRA and “operates [its] primary accounts,” according to Bloomberg: on Thursday, AFT notified Wells Fargo in a letter that it would no longer “offer or promote” the bank’s mortgage lending program to its members and would remove it from its AFT member benefits site.


I wish my wife’s place of employment would get on board to make a change as Wells Fargo is the administrastor for her retirement plan. We simply cant change anything as long as she works their. I don’t trust this company at all.


wells fargo is one of the worst, although all the huge ones are pretty awful at this point.



The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is levying a $1 billion fine against Wells Fargo — a record for the agency — in punishment for the banking giant’s actions in its mortgage and auto loan businesses.

Announcing the penalty on Friday, the CFPB said it is part of a settlement with Wells Fargo, which has also pledged to repair the financial harm to consumers.

The new action comes less than two years after Wells Fargo was fined nearly $200 million over what the CFPB called “the widespread illegal practice of secretly opening unauthorized deposit and credit card accounts.”

Those earlier penalties included a $100 million fine to the CFPB — a record at the time. The new punishment stems from the agency’s findings that Wells Fargo abused its relationship with home and auto loan borrowers.



The teachers – and a fair number of the people who support them — aren’t buying the spin this time.

They didn’t buy the recent $1 million ad blitz touting the wonders of public schools since Ducey became governor – the ads paid for by the newly formed Arizona Education Project (read: the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Arizona Public Service.)

They aren’t going to buy the inevitable ads expected in the coming week about “#20by2020” – ads reportedly to be brought to you by Republican Governor’s Association (including, presumably APS, which donated $100,000 to the RGA last fall).

#20by2020, as Team Ducey is calling it, may make for a trendy hashtag, but here is what teachers know.

Students are getting shorted

Funding to operate Arizona’s schools is still $950 million below where it was in 2008, when inflation is taken into account.

The state is investing $924 less on a child’s education today than it spent a decade ago.

And that doesn’t count the billions in capital funding the state isn’t providing to build and maintain schools, despite a state law that says it must.

The result is 25-year-old biology books and roofs that leak. The result is rodents running amok and schools unable to afford toilet paper.

The result is a set of poorly paid, red-shirted teachers who have grown tired of being ignored and now they are shouting, Can you hear us now?

This, in an election year when education will be a top issue.

I imagine Gov. Ducey is at home tonight, breathing into a paper bag.


Morning LD and TPW’ers Rare day off from shining up the office chair with my ass. Hope you done mine that I treat this as an open thread as I came across this article today. And to think an 18 year old who was probably told it couldn’t be done has thought this up and wasn’t deterred by the skeptics. I’ve had discussions with one of my sons who’s an engineer who says certain things in his favorite sci fi movie cant be done. I constantly tell him its not the people who say it cant be done that will discover solutions or figure out a warp drive etc, It’s the person who believes it CAN be done and will dedicate themselves to finding a way. Score one for the next generation here. Their is also a break through on an enzyme that will eat plastics and break it down to a inert form but its early in its research, it was discovered by accident.

The Revolutionary Giant Ocean Cleanup Machine Is About To Set Sail

On a Wednesday afternoon in a sprawling lot on a former naval air station in Alameda, California, across the bay from San Francisco, workers are welding a massive black tube together. The tube–roughly the length of a football field–is one piece of a larger system that will set sail for the Great Pacific Garbage Patch this summer, where it will begin collecting some of the 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic trash brought there by ocean currents Six years ago, the technology was only an idea presented at a TEDx talk. Boyan Slat, the 18-year-old presenter, had learned that cleaning up the tiny particles of plastic in the ocean could take nearly 80,000 years. Because of the volume of plastic spread through the water, and because it is constantly moving with currents, trying to chase it with nets would be a losing proposition. Slat instead proposed using that movement as an advantage: With a barrier in the water, he argued, the swirling plastic could be collected much more quickly. Then it could be pulled out of the water and recycled.Some scientists have been skeptical that the idea is feasible. But Slat, undeterred, dropped out of his first year of university to pursue the concept, and founded a nonprofit to create the technology, The Ocean Cleanup, in 2013. The organization raised $2.2 million in a crowdfunding campaign, and other investors, including Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, brought in millions more to fund research and development. By the end of 2018, the nonprofit says it will bring back its first harvest of ocean plastic back from the North Pacific Gyre, along with concrete proof that the design works. The organization expects to bring 5,000 kilograms of plastic ashore per month with its first system. With a full fleet of systems deployed, it believes that it can collect half of the plastic trash in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch–around 40,000 metric tons–within five years.</blockquote

More at


Thanks for the link, wi59. Read it, and was absolutely fascinated. The oceans are in dire need of major cleanup. Hopefully, these people will get it done in time.



Support for new restrictions on guns has surged in the weeks since the mass shooting at a Parkland, Fla. high school, a new ABC News/ Washington Post poll found.

Sixty-two percent of respondents in the poll said that they support a national ban on selling assault weapons, up from 50 percent in the same poll in mid-February. It’s the highest level of support in the poll for such a ban since January 2011.

Even more respondents were in favor of other gun measures. Seventy-two percent of respondents said they supported raising the legal age to buy rifles and shotguns to 21, and 85 percent backed so-called “red flag” measures that allow police to take away guns from individuals deemed to be a danger to themselves and others.

Fifty-seven percent of respondents said that enacting new laws aimed at preventing gun violence are more important than protecting gun rights.

The poll also found that 71 percent of Americans believe lawmakers aren’t doing enough to prevent gun violence, and 59 percent think President Trump isn’t doing enough.


America Has Never Had a Black Woman Governor. Stacey Abrams Has Something to Say About That.

Abrams is tapping into a moment when Democrats are finally realizing how much they owe to the black women who have long been intensely loyal to the party. In 2012, black women voted at higher rates nationally than any other demographic group. In 2016, 94 percent of them voted for Hillary Clinton. (Less than half of white women did.) And in a fiercely contested special election in Alabama in December 2017, black women supported the Democratic winner, Doug Jones, by a 98-2 margin. After Jones’ slim victory, Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez tweeted, “Black women are the backbone of the Democratic Party, and we can’t take that for granted. Period.”

But black women’s clout at the ballot box has not translated into representation. Nationwide, only 12 black women have ever been elected to statewide executive positions such as attorney general or lieutenant governor. Research shows that women candidates have to work harder than men to raise money, and black women who run for office face the additional burden of representing areas with less money to pull from. Some feel their fundraising is unfairly scrutinized because they are seen as not raising enough cash—or raising too much. Sarah Bryner, the research director at the Center for Responsive Politics, says black women candidates “face the same kinds of intersectional problems that they face in all sorts of areas—they have difficulty raising money because they’re women and because they’re black.”

Black women candidates “face the same kinds of intersectional problems that they face in all sorts of areas—they have difficulty raising money because they’re women and because they’re black.”

On the one hand, Abrams is quick to tout the significance of being a black woman seeking higher office. But she’s also aware she has to beat her main opponent in the May 22 Democratic primary, Stacey Evans, a white state Assembly member. To do that, she’ll need white voters, and white women in particular, to rally to her side. “I do not disparage anyone based on race. I do not isolate any community based on religion. I want everybody,” Abrams says. “But I am going to focus on progressive voters who run the cross section of racial and economic and regional geography but who share core values that I have.”


Good luck Ms Abrams as our current elected officials are not as diverse as it should be. We need representation that truly reflects our country’s diverse population. Right now most of our elected officials work for the 1% and don’t listen or care about the rest of us.


Another article aligning with what Thomas Picketty and Thomas Frank have to say. Discussed at DK where some refuse to believe that all Dems are not in lock step on economic issues. They aren’t—partly due to selfish interests and partly due to political corruption.

Taking it a step further, a Democratic Party based on urban cosmopolitan business liberalism runs the risk not only of leading to the continued marginalization of the minority poor, but also — as the policies of the Trump administration demonstrate — to the continued neglect of the white working-class electorate that put Trump in the White House.

In other words, Democratic strategists looking to piece together a 21st century political alliance have to consider the unintended consequences of taking the easy route: constructing a coalition explicitly dominated by elites.

The force that had historically pushed policy to the economic left — organized labor — has for the most part been marginalized. African-American and Hispanic voters have shown little willingness to join Democratic reform movements led by upper middle class whites, as shown in their lack of enthusiasm for Bill Bradley running against Al Gore in 2000 or Sanders running against Clinton in 2016.

The hurdle facing those seeking to democratize elite domination of the Democratic Party is finding voters and donors who have a sustained interest in redistributive policies — and the minimum wage is only a small piece of this. Achieving that goal requires an economically coherent center-left political coalition. It also requires the ability to overcome the seemingly insuperable political divisions between the white working class and the African-American and Hispanic working classes — that elusive but essential multiracial — and now multiethnic — majority. Establishing that majority in a coherent political coalition is the only way in which the economic interests of those in the bottom half of the income distribution will be effectively addressed.


LOL. What is up with all these guys named Thomas basically making the same good argument?



Kyle at Secular Talk also weighs in.

I don’t think this is terribly surprising, but validates what Bernie and Jane were saying on the campaign trail and what we saw from the Podesta e-mails released by Wikileaks. What I like about Kyle’s commentary is that he invokes Noam Chomsky’s theory about mainstream media reporting, and Kyle coins the term for MSNBC, “the left gatekeepers.”



Beto O’Rourke, buoyed by stout fundraising and a surprisingly favorable poll, has a renewed belief in miracles.

More than ever before, the Democratic congressman from El Paso is talking like beating incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz is no longer a pipedream

“Who knows about polls these days,” O’Rourke told The Dallas Morning News before a rally at the Rustic restaurant and bar Thursday night. “I hear everyone is skeptical of polls. I kind of feel that way myself, but if nothing else, it shows that this is possible.”

But the crowd knew O’Rourke, who thrilled them as the beer and libations flowed.

O’Rourke urged supporters to join his movement, saying that Texas could lead the nation in providing health care, taking care of veterans, supporting teachers and public education, curbing gun violence and “rewriting immigration laws in our own image.”

“This will either be the year that we lost it forever, or more likely, this will be the year that we get it back on track,” he said. “Are you with me?”



The Democratic National Committee filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit Friday against the Russian government, the Trump campaign and the WikiLeaks organization alleging a far-reaching conspiracy to disrupt the 2016 campaign and tilt the election to Donald Trump.

The complaint, filed in federal district court in Manhattan, alleges that top Trump campaign officials conspired with the Russian government and its military spy agency to hurt Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and help Trump by hacking the computer networks of the Democratic Party and disseminating stolen material found there.


Democrats have a candidate on the ballot in every single 2018 Colorado congressional, statehouse and major statewide race

The last candidate to make the ballot and fill out the party’s roster was Guinn Unger Jr., a Democrat from Bayfield, who is running for the seat currently held by Sen. Don Coram, R-Montrose. Unger’s signatures were verified by the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office on Thursday.

“Democratic enthusiasm for the 2018 election is off the charts, and we’re capitalizing on that by running strong candidates in places we have never targeted before,” Matthew McGovern, executive director of House Majority Project, said in a written statement. “Having a Democratic candidate running in every district not only improves our chances of expanding the majority in the House and retaking the majority in the Senate, but it will help drive up Democratic turnout across the state and help provide campaign infrastructure for statewide candidates.”



There was no question on primary night in Texas last month that Franklin Bynum would win the Democratic nomination to become a criminal court judge in Houston. The 34-year-old defense attorney had no challengers.

But for his supporters who packed into a Mexican restaurant that evening, there was still something impressive to celebrate. Many in the crowd were members of the Democratic Socialists of America, or D.S.A., a group that has experienced an enormous surge of interest since the election of President Trump, even in conservative states. And Mr. Bynum was one of their own — a socialist who, along with at least 16 others, appeared on the ballot in primary races across the state of Texas.

“Yes, I’m running as a socialist,” Mr. Bynum said. “I’m a far-left candidate. What I’m trying to do is be a Democrat who actually stands for something, and tells people, ‘Here’s how we are going to materially improve conditions in your life.’”

Rather than shy away from being called a socialist, a word conservatives have long wielded as a slur, candidates like Mr. Bynum are embracing the label. He is among dozens of D.S.A. members running in this fall’s midterms for offices across the country at nearly every level. In Hawaii, Kaniela Ing, a state representative, is running for Congress. Gayle McLaughlin, a former mayor of Richmond, Calif., is running to be the state’s lieutenant governor. In Tennessee, Dennis Prater, an adjunct professor at East Tennessee State University, is running to be a county commissioner.


But of course the “moderate” Dems will vote for torture loving Pompeo. He’s going to rebuild that State Department to ensure peace! Pardon me while I puke.

Mike Pompeo came close on Thursday to clinching confirmation as the nation’s 70th secretary of state when Senator Heidi Heitkamp, Democrat of North Dakota, announced her support. But before that triumph, he is expected to face a historic rebuke from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which most likely will not recommend his confirmation.

Ms. Heitkamp, who faces a difficult re-election fight in a state that President Trump won handily, said in a statement that Mr. Pompeo had convinced her that he would rebuild the State Department, which was seriously depleted under the previous secretary of state, Rex W. Tillerson.

“At a time of peril around the world, we need to exhaust all diplomatic options before sending the brave men and women of the armed forces into dangerous situations that could escalate out of control,” she said.

Ms. Heitkamp’s announcement is likely to push other moderate Democrats facing re-election in states that Mr. Trump won to follow suit. Many of those senators — including Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Claire McCaskill of Missouri — voted for Mr. Pompeo last year when he was confirmed to be C.I.A. director, and they are under renewed pressure at home to show they are willing to vote with Mr. Trump’s interests from time to time.


Democratic Party files lawsuit alleging Russia, the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks conspired to disrupt the 2016 campaign

The Democratic National Committee filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit Friday against the Russian government, the Trump campaign and the WikiLeaks organization alleging a far-reaching conspiracy to disrupt the 2016 campaign and tilt the election to Donald Trump.

The complaint, filed in federal district court in Manhattan, alleges that top Trump campaign officials conspired with the Russian government and its military spy agency to hurt Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and help Trump by hacking the computer networks of the Democratic Party and disseminating stolen material found there.

“During the 2016 presidential campaign, Russia launched an all-out assault on our democracy, and it found a willing and active partner in Donald Trump’s campaign,” DNC Chairman Tom Perez said in a statement.

“This constituted an act of unprecedented treachery: the campaign of a nominee for President of the United States in league with a hostile foreign power to bolster its own chance to win the presidency,” he said.

The case asserts that the Russian hacking campaign — combined with Trump associates’ contacts with Russia and the campaign’s public cheerleading of the hacks — amounted to an illegal conspiracy to interfere in the election that caused serious damage to the Democratic Party.

There are no specifics about the suit against Wikileaks because to me, they can’t prove they were a Russian agent.

To me, it’s more about propping Clinton’s claims that Wikileaks and Russia, along with working class women who didn’t vote for her, caused her to lose the election. I’m disgusted because Wikileaks also showed collusion from the DNC office against Bernie Sanders’ campaign. Bernie and Jane noted there were problems working with the DNC, especially about the debates, but they didn’t have any evidence. Wikileaks provided it, and yes, the DNC is still untrustworthy.


I’m going to post a few tweets by Glenn Greenwald’s responses to this report. He raises good questions about the series of DNC lawsuits, Wikileaks in particular. TomP has posted a diary at TOP about it, and of course the TOPers are giddy about it. I’m not although I think the DNC has the right to sue if they wish.


The last tweet is a link to a story about why the Intercept believes Ecuador decided to take away Assange access to the Internet.

How Shoddy Reporting and Anti-Russian Propaganda Coerced Ecuador to Silence Julian Assange


So how many countries will now sue us for conspiring to change an elected govt. (regime change), much less meddling in one way or another. Honestly, this looks like a publicity stunt.

I’m so ashamed of the DNC. Wikileaks ain’t perfect, but it’s one of the few that have the guts to publish truth to power.

And it makes me double down sure about changing to unaffiliated. I have to look up or call and see if such a registration is possible here.


I think the purpose of the suit is to put pressure on the Republicans for the 2018 elections, alleging that they conspired with a foreign government to use stolen information to affect our 2016 elections. I have no problem with that as long as the Dems don’t stop there and lose sight of the fact that they also have to get behind policies voters want. The Clinton crowd is wrong. The 2016 debacle wasn’t only about Russia Russia Russia-Clinton also sucked as a candidate. The DNC definitely has a right to bring suit based on the stolen hacked emails. After the Watergate break-in, it sued the Republicans and won.

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