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5 ways to motivate yourself when you're feeling stuck in a rut

  • Amy Morin is a psychotherapist, licensed clinical social worker, mental strength coach, and international bestselling author.
  • During the pandemic, it's been easy for some people to fall into a mundane, day-to-day routine that can leave them feeling stuck or unmotivated.
  • Morin says to these feelings of boredom can be reduced by incorporating new habits into your schedule that you can look forward to.
  • She recommends making a list of fun activities that you can do at home, like trying a new recipe or workout video, and setting new goals that you want to achieve.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A common reason people come to therapy is that they feel stuck. For some, feeling stuck is about boredom. Their daily habits have become mundane, and life seems so predictable it's become stale.

For others, it's a feeling of being stuck in a specific situation — like a job they hate or a relationship that leaves them unfulfilled.

When you find yourself feeling stuck, you have to take action. But in the midst of a rut, this often feels impossible.

Fortunately, the following strategies can help you get out of a rut no matter how stuck you feel.

1. Identify several escape routes

There are always many different solutions to a problem. Of course, not all of them are good solutions. But when you're first trying to look at how to get unstuck, brainstorm as many ideas as you can — even ones you think might be bad.

Create a long list of strategies that could help you escape your current situation. Include ideas that seem awful and ones that might seem impossible (at least for now). The goal is to create a long enough list that your brain will recognize you have plenty of options.

2. Change your routine

While routines can be good for developing good habits — like going to the gym every day — having too much structure in your life could cause you to feel robotic. You need to change things up a bit to get out of the rut.

Doing things differently helps your brain look at matters from a new angle. It might spark new ideas, fuel a passion, or give you more energy.

You don't necessarily need to make huge changes — smaller ones can be effective too. Instead of eating dinner right when you get home from work, go for a walk. Or sign up for a class that will help you learn something new.

3. Develop a challenge

Competition is a great way to add fuel to a dwindling fire. And you don't necessarily need to compete against anyone else. Instead, you can create a challenge that's just for you.

Your challenge could be related to a specific problem. If you're in a financial rut, you might challenge yourself to pay down $1,000 worth of debt in a month.

Or you could just create a challenge that gives you a goal to reach every day — like running a mile to see how fast you can do it. Running each day might give you something to look forward to, it could offer a sense of accomplishment, and it may spark new interests in other areas of your life.

4. Design experiments

You don't have to commit to making a change that is going to last forever. Instead, you can design short-term experiments.

See if they make your life better or worse. If your experiment makes things better, stick to it. If it makes things worse, do something else.

You might design a small experiment like testing whether wearing a different type of clothing makes you feel differently about yourself. If your wardrobe change boosts your confidence, stick with it. If it doesn't, do something different.

Or you could test a different social media strategy for your business one week. If it gets you positive results, keep it up. If not, try something different.

Make it a goal to have a new experiment every week — whether it's social, business, fitness, or financial — and you'll find ways to improve your life.

5. Switch up your social circle

The people you surround yourself with make a big difference in how you see yourself and the world around you. Switching up your social circle can be one of the fastest ways to get unstuck.

Look for ways to reconnect with people you've lost touch with, or find ways to meet new people. (This may be a good time to design an experiment if you aren't sure what to do.)

You also might have a few people in your circle that you want to subtract. If there are people dragging you down, limit your contact, or reduce their influence on your life. You might find this helps you feel a little less "stuck" too.

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Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian tells employees it isn't helping with virtual border wall

  • Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian on Friday addressed employees concerned about a testing contract with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol in which the company would provide it AI technology.
  • Kurian said the company received confirmation from the government agency that Google's technology proposal wouldn't be used for immigration enforcement at the southern border.
  • It comes after The Intercept reported that the company's testing contract included using artificial intelligence for a "virtual wall."

Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian told employees Friday that it received confirmation from the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol that its technology won't be used for immigration enforcement at the border, including for a "virtual wall."

Kurian spoke to employees in a Friday all-hands meeting for the Cloud group known as The Weather Report, where he addressed a question from employees about a recent government contract reported by The Intercept. The report said that Google's AI technology might be used in conjunction with technology from start-up Anduril, which is working on technology for a "virtual wall" at the U.S. border with Mexico.

Kurian strongly denied that aspect of the report.

"As we have stated in the past, we are not working on any projects associated with immigration enforcement at the southern border," Kurian told employees Friday, according to a transcript of the meeting from a participant. Google confirmed the accuracy of the transcript, but declined further comment.

"While the statement of work includes a lengthy list of programs the agency may be testing, we have spoken directly with Customs and Border Patrol and they have confirmed that they are not testing our products for those purposes."

Google employees have been outspoken about existing and potential government contracts — especially those of Trump-led immigration agencies and those with potential uses of war. Last year, Google employees signed a petition asking company leaders to declare they won't work with U.S. immigration and border control agencies, citing mistreatment of asylum seekers and refugees.

And in 2018, Google declined to renew a government contract dubbed Project Maven — which helped the government analyze and interpret drone videos via artificial intelligence — after several thousand employees signed a petition and dozens resigned. That also led to the company establishing what it calls "AI Principles" for both Google and its Google Cloud unit.

Employees aired their most recent concerns amid the August cloud proposal with the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol that states the Google Cloud Platform could contribute its artificial intelligence technology such as machine learning and natural language processing. The "statement of work" document showed the technology could be used in coordination with other agencies, including with drone camera company Anduril, which has a project for a "virtual border wall."

In addition to Kurian's statements, a person close to the project said the company is not working with Anduril and never had plans to.

Kurian told employees Friday the Border Patrol's potential testing may include dozens of congruent companies and that would be likely applied for functions like document scanning and that any "custom" work would need to be finalized alongside its "AI principles."

"The testing that they are doing might include systems to help with customer fraud, to detect drug trafficking, and scanning and translating travel documents," Kurian continued in the live-streamed meeting. "As with any project, the use of our services will be in accordance with our terms of service and acceptable use policy, and any custom work would have to go through our AI principles review."

Anduril was founded by Palmer Luckey, who also co-founded virtual reality company Oculus, which Facebook acquired in 2014. Luckey says Facebook fired him in 2017 for what he once described to CNBC as "no reason at all," amid controversy surrounding his political contributions and financial support of far-right groups and internet trolls.

Google's cloud business is an increasing area of focus for Google and parent company Alphabet. During its Q3 earnings report yesterday, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said it would begin reporting Google Cloud's operating income starting next quarter.

"With the segmentation, you will additionally see information about the scale of our investment, which will help gauge the progress we are making on the multi-year path ahead to create sustainable value," Pichai said. 

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The GOP Is Doing Whatever It Can To Stop The Vote In Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania helped Donald Trump win his election four years after it helped Barack Obama to a second term. Now that the swing state is leaning back toward the Democrats, the Republican party is doing everything in its power to thwart voters, in an effort to eke out another victory for Trump.

As of Friday, Democratic challenger Joe Biden leads Trump by five to six points in Pennsylvania, depending on the poll aggregator. Biden has maintained a comfortable lead over Trump throughout the weeks leading up to the election, and it is widely thought he will win the popular vote. Of course, Americans do not directly choose their next president ― the Electoral College does, and Pennsylvania’s 20 presidential electors represent a top prize for both parties because it can be hard to predict which way voters may send them.

With a series of lawsuits, Republicans are attempting to tip the scales in Trump’s favor by targeting the unprecedented number of Americans choosing to vote by mail — a pool of voters that will likely skew Democratic.

It’s a battle that has turned particularly heated in Pennsylvania. The state presently has a Democratic governor, Tom Wolf, but a Republican-controlled legislature that could exert outsized influence on the results if they are not certified by early December.

Here’s what’s going on.

By law, Pennsylvania officials can’t start counting votes until Election Day. This makes Democrats nervous.

Pennsylvania is not the only state with hands tied from counting ballots until Nov. 3, but election leaders in many other areas of the country are trying to do as much advance prep as they can ― even if it’s just opening the envelopes and flattening the ballots for easier scanning. Pennsylvania Democrats tried to take that simple step but were blocked by Republican legislators. 

Statewide, 3 million Pennsylvanians requested a mail-in ballot this year, roughly double the number cast by mail in 2016. It is simply going to take more time to tally the votes this year because processing mail-in ballots takes longer.

Bob Harvie, a Democratic county commissioner in Bucks County, told The New Yorker how frustrating it was to count primary ballots earlier this year.

“What took us the longest was to open the envelope, then open the secrecy envelope, then flatten the ballot as much as we could before it was counted. It was an endless process,” Harvie said.

That could pose a problem for Democrats. One fear, which was amplified by Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh earlier this week, is that Trump and his supporters are going to cast heavy doubt on the election results the longer they take to arrive. Trump has already been doing his best to spread the idea that voting by mail invites rampant fraud, which has no basis in the reality of American elections, and is pushing to declare a winner on election night.

The next president, however, will almost certainly not be known for at least a day or two afterward because each state has its own way of processing results. Some states allow votes to be counted if they are received days or weeks after Nov. 3 ― so long as they were postmarked by a certain time. Nationwide, voters could appear to favor Republicans earlier on, only to shift toward Democrats as more mail-in ballots are counted across the states.

Pennsylvania Democrats have secured a three-day leeway period for counting votes, and they were handed a slight win this week when the Supreme Court told Republicans they could not speed up their case against that expanded tallying period. Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar has said she expects “the overwhelming majority” of Pennsylvania votes to be counted by Nov. 6.  

Pennsylvania ballots need to be returned in a very specific way or risk being tossed out. 

Mail-in ballots across the state are sent in two envelopes: one outer one with the voter’s name and address, and one inner “security” envelope. In theory, the inner envelope allows election officials to check to see whether a person has already voted without seeing who they voted for. A ballot is therefore considered “naked” without the inner envelope and can be tossed out, according to a late September ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. 

Democrats scored a win last week, however, on the issue of ballot signatures. The state supreme court ruled unanimously that ballots may not be disqualified if a voter’s signature looks different than the one on their registration form. 

Republicans are using cameras to watch ballot drop boxes, and claiming people are dropping off multiple ballots inappropriately.

After unsuccessfully suing to ban drop boxes, the Trump campaign drew criticism for videotaping voters at ballot drop-off locations in order to try to catch people submitting more than one ballot, alleging it represents widespread fraud. The campaign has gone so far as to submit photographic evidence of a few voters in a lawsuit aiming to crack down on people dropping off ballots for friends or family unless specifically authorized to do so. (People with disabilities, for example, may have others submit their ballot for them.)

Reporting from The New York Times, however, found that at least one of the images included in one of the GOP suits ― a social media post of a man holding two ballots ― was misrepresented. The man told the Times that his husband was standing just outside of the frame, not wanting to be in the photo, and the second ballot belonged to him. 

State Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, has been encouraging Pennsylvanians to use the drop boxes in order to lessen the strain on the postal system and has been speaking out against the Trump campaign’s cameras. 

“Our entire system of voting is built on your ballot being private and your choice to vote being a personal one,” he said in a previous email to HuffPost. “Depending on the circumstance, the act of photographing or recording a voter casting a ballot could be voter intimidation — which is illegal.”

Trump is encouraging his supporters to watch the polls — which could constitute voter intimidation.

Trump has been urging his supporters to “go into the polls” and “watch very carefully” for any “shenanigans.” During his recent Pennsylvania barnstorming, Trump has focused his ominous threats on the state’s leadership.

“We’re watching you, Governor Wolf, very closely,” he said at one stop. At another point, Trump warned, “We’re watching you, Pennsylvania. We’re watching you at the highest level.”

State law prohibits electioneering within 10 feet of any active polling place, and federal law also offers voters protection from intimidation. While each party is allowed to nominate a handful of poll watchers to each district, there are limitations on how they can interact with voters.

Showing up to polls to make a noisy display of support for a candidate ― as Trump supporters have been doing around the state ― “most certainly may constitute voter intimidation” if “these individuals are targeting Black and brown voters in Philadelphia, and seeking to discourage them from freely casting their ballots,” Kristen Clarke, president of Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, told HuffPost in an email.

Pennsylvania’s Republican legislature may only have to stall a few weeks to sway the results.

Republicans will likely attempt to drag out the results by contesting various aspects of the process as illegitimate, likely giving the Supreme Court ― with its newly minted 6-3 conservative majority ― the chance to weigh in on different elements.

If the results are not certified by Dec. 8, however, Pennsylvania’s state legislature could step in directly using powers appointed to them by the U.S. Constitution.

Dec. 8 is considered the “safe harbor” deadline for appointing the people who will make up the Electoral College, which meets six days later. In ordinary circumstances, the governor of each state sends the national archives a Certificate of Ascertainment naming the electors “as soon as practicable” after the results are settled. In this election, though, the results may be picked apart and fought over right up until that deadline ― potentially allowing state legislatures to invoke Article II of the Constitution, which allows them to ultimately decide how electors are selected if the popular vote is undecided. 

Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled legislature could claim there had been widespread fraud and choose electors loyal to Trump. This scenario is already being discussed, according to a lengthy feature in The Atlantic citing several Trump campaign officials and Republican leaders. A reporter for The New Yorker also explored the possibility.

“The state legislatures will say, ‘All right, we’ve been given this constitutional power. We don’t think the results of our own state are accurate, so here’s our slate of electors that we think properly reflect the results of our state,’ ” a legal adviser to the Trump campaign told The Atlantic. The unnamed adviser spoke as if the states only had two choices during an election in an unprecedented public health crisis: “So pick your poison. Is it worse to have electors named by legislators or to have votes received by Election Day?”

(At least one of those quoted by The Atlantic, Pennsylvania state senate majority leader Jake Corman, has distanced himself from the article, later telling the York Daily Record that the process of choosing electors “DOES NOT INVOLVE THE LEGISLATURE.”)

And Pennsylvania isn’t alone. 

The swing states of Michigan, North Carolina and Wisconsin also have Democratic governors and Republican-controlled legislatures ― potentially setting up scenarios where those lawmakers step in to sort out the issue of electors if the popular vote is undecided by Dec. 8. 

Republicans are also pursuing lawsuits to crack down on whose votes may count in other states, such as Wisconsin, where ballots received after Nov. 3 are to be thrown out in accordance with a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision benefiting the GOP. 

Kavanaugh’s dissent in the Wisconsin case hinted that the court may favor Trump’s arguments against counting any votes that come in after Election Day. The justice said it could cause “chaos and suspicions of impropriety” if “thousands of absentee ballots flow in after election day and potentially flip the results of an election.”

Reid Hoffman, the billionaire LinkedIn founder and big Democratic donor, has poured $1 million into a musical ad campaign simply encouraging battleground state voters to be patient with the election results. The Facebook spots will target voters in Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, according to Axios.  

Its lyrics are refreshingly candid: “Chill the fuck out … it’s gonna take some time to count!” 

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Energy and climate: Comparing Trump's and Biden's plans

Election uncertainty creates volatility, fear for investors: Expert

Nicholas Wealth Management’s David Nicholas provides insight into how the 2020 election is impacting the markets.

A key issue on voters' minds this election is energy, be it climate change concerns or concerns of the economic fallout of trying to curtail the planet's warming. While Democratic nominee Joe Biden is running on a bold overhaul of environmental policy, President Trump is running on his legacy of establishing energy independence and rolling back regulations.

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Here's a look at how their plans compare:

Biden’s climate and energy plan 

Cost: $2 trillion

Goal: 100% clean energy by 2035, net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, create jobs

Biden has called for transforming the federal fleet of vehicles from gas to electric, building 500,000 charging stations along the nation’s highways for electric vehicles, upgrading 4 million buildings and weatherizing 2 million homes over the next four years to increase energy efficiency, and offering government grants to retool factories.

Consumers would also get subsidies for switching their gas-powered cars to electric vehicles.

WHAT THE COAL SECTOR COULD LOOK LIKE IN THE NEXT ADMINISTRATION 

His plan also calls for creating an Environmental and Climate Justice Division within the Department of Justice.

The former vice president’s proposal goes further than the one he unveiled during the Democratic presidential primaries – and reflects his adoption of some of his former rivals' positions. His overall $2 trillion price tag is up $300 billion from his original plan.

The plan would be paid for by tax increases on corporations and the wealthy and stimulus spending, the campaign said.

While he’s recently said he would only ban fracking on federal land, he said he would “transition” the U.S. away from the oil industry over time.

“I would transition from the oil industry, yes,” Biden said when pressed by Trump in a recent debate, adding that “the oil industry pollutes, significantly” and “has to be replaced by renewable energy, over time.”

On an international level, Biden would return to the Paris Climate Accords and pressure America’s allies to similarly invest in clean tech and low carbon initiatives.

WHAT IS FRACKING?

Trump's energy plan 

Goal: maintain energy independence, keep rolling back regulations

The White House has offered little in the way of a second-term energy plan. When asked about the matter, Trump told the New York Times his administration would “continue doing what we’re doing.”

"I think it would be, I think it would be very, very, I think we'd have a very, very solid, we would continue what we're doing," Trump said. "We'd solidify what we've done and we have other things on our plate that we want to get done."

And while the president has at times expressed skepticism about man-made climate change, he’s more recently come around to the idea.

“You believe that human pollution, gas, greenhouse gas emissions contributes to the global warming of this planet?” moderator Chris Wallace asked during the first presidential debate.

TRUMP HAMMERS BIDEN ON FRACKING STANCE DURING PA RALLIES

“I think a lot of things do, but I think to an extent, yes,” Trump said.

One of Trump’s 2016 campaign promises was to achieve energy independence, and he now often touts the U.S. as an energy-independent nation in his rallies.

President Trump’s energy focus has centered on energy independence, particularly through dismantling President Obama’s climate agenda to free energy and auto industries from regulations the Trump administrations says kill jobs.

“We are now the number one producer of oil and natural gas anywhere in the world. We are independent and we do not need Middle East oil,” Trump said in January.

The U.S., now the top oil producer in the world, has in recent months turned an amount of oil roughly equivalent to what it uses, but the U.S. has not completely disengaged from the global market.

Ahead of the Republican Convention, Trump’s campaign released a 50-point list of priorities, which included promising to advance a "deregulatory agenda for Energy independence."

In 2016, Trump ran on a campaign promising that for every new regulation, at least two would be rolled back.

In his first administration, the Trump administration has worked to roll back nearly 100 Obama-era environmental rules and regulations. Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2019 officially undid Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which required states to meet targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and aimed to reduce power sector emissions to 32 percent the level in 2005 by 2030.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said that analyses had predicted double-digit electricity price increases in 40 states under the CPP.

The Trump administration replaced the CPP with a more lax standard called Affordable Clean Energy. Wheeler says emissions would still continue to decline under Affordable Clean Energy, without damaging the coal industry. The ACE rule would lower power sector emissions by between 0.7% and 1.5%.

But due to a boom in natural gas production and falling prices for wind and solar power, the coal industry has continued to suffer. Last year, coal-fired electricity fell 18% to the lowest level since 1975. 

Trump also revoked an Obama executive order that set a goal of cutting the federal government’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40%.

In a move Trump said would reduce auto prices, his administration revoked California’s right to set strict fuel economy standards.

California's authority to set its own emissions standards tougher than the federal government's goes back to a waiver issued by Congress during passage of the Clean Air Act in 1970. The state has long pushed automakers to adopt more fuel-efficient passenger vehicles that emit less pollution. A dozen states and the District of Columbia also follow California's fuel economy standards.

Trump said the decision was “in order to produce far less expensive cars for the consumer.”

“This will lead to more production because of this pricing and safety advantage, and also due to the fact that older, highly polluting cars, will be replaced by new, extremely environmentally friendly cars,” Trump tweeted.

In August, Wheeler announced that the EPA would do away with an Obama-era restriction on methane leaks. The rollback was a gift to small and mid-size energy companies, whose profits had collapsed under the Covid-19 pandemic, but some experts say methane leaks are a major contributor to the globe’s warming.

Wheeler announced the rollback in Pittsburgh, Pa., the heart of the nation’s natural gas boom. The EPA estimated the rule change would result in $100 million of economic benefits every year through 2030.

And as Trump highlights his support for natural gas production in battleground Pennsylvania, he’s weighing an executive order showing his support of fracking through an economic analysis of the practice’s effects on the economy and trade, according to the Wall Street Journal.

He’s repeatedly hammered his opponent on fracking, saying Biden “really blew it” when he suggested he would “transition” the U.S. away from the oil industry in a Pennsylvania rally.

“That means no fracking, no natural gas, no coal, no jobs, no energy, no Pennsylvania families being well taken care of,” Trump said at Altoona-Blair County Airport. “Fracking is saving Pennsylvania families $2,500 a year, at least. It’s saving families all over the country. We are energy independent and you’re a big part of it – and they want to end that.”

Still, the president has repeatedly touted that U.S. “air and water are the cleanest they’ve ever been,” without supporting evidence.

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“We are creating a future of American energy independence, and yet our air and water are the cleanest they’ve ever been by far,” Trump said at a Florida rally in 2019, sentiments that have been reiterated at nearly every rally since.

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CNN's Jake Tapper blasted for suggesting NY Post to delete its Hunter Biden tweet to restore Twitter account

New York Post responds to Twitter CEO Dorsey’s Senate testimony

Opinion editor Sohrab Ahmari explains paper is still locked out of Twitter account on ‘The Story’

CNN anchor Jake Tapper was widely panned on Friday for suggesting that the New York Post cave to Big Tech by deleting its original tweet sharing its explosive Hunter Biden story in order to regain access to its Twitter account. 

For weeks, the Post has had a bitter clash with Twitter after the tech giant suppressed the newspaper's report about emails allegedly from Hunter Biden's laptop by not allowing its users to share the link on its platform, something Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey now admits was a mistake. The Post has since been locked out of its account. 

However, while testifying virtually in a Senate hearing, Dorsey said all the Post has to do to regain access to its Twitter account is to delete the tweet that apparently broke the company's policy at the time. Dorsey has repeatedly acknowledged Twitter was wrong and that the paper can simply repost that exact tweet if it chooses after unlocking the account. 

Tapper, who has essentially ignored the growing Hunter Biden controversy on-air, weighed in on the Big Tech feud, but didn't appear to offer a strong defense for his fellow journalists. 

"Since twitter has locked out the NYPost for violating rules that no longer stand as rules (but twitter won't revisit past enforcement decisions) the NY Post COULD end this standoff by deleting the tweets that broke the rules (thus unlocking its account) then tweet them out again," Tapper wrote. "I asked a twitter exec if this was possible, he said yes and it would end the whole thing. Probably take 15 seconds."

Tapper then acknowledged that Twitter, too, can end this battle by granting the Post's access to its account, but reiterated, "I'm just suggesting a possible way to end this."

New York Post op-ed editor Sohrab Ahmari knocked the CNN anchor and doubled down his paper's tweet, saying that its Hunter Biden report never violated Twitter's policies since they never published hacked material. 

Jake: We have more honor and principle than others, I suppose," Ahmari responded to Tapper. "Our reporting was never based on hacked material to begin with."

"Under oath, Twitter’s CEO, @jack, mumbled through his Rasputin/hobo beard that his firm had — and still has — zero evidence we used hacked material, Ahmari continued. "@jaketapper, as a reporter, why don’t you show an iota of solidarity with America’s oldest daily?"

Others on social media piled on Tapper's tweets. 

"RIP: Jake Tapper's credibility as a journalist," Newsmax White House correspondent Emerald Robinson declared. 

"The NY Post Should NOT delete anything. They did nothing wrong. Twitter is at fault and must reconcile," journalist Tim Pool wrote. 

"This is a very weird argument," Mediaite reporter Charlie Nash reacted. "Twitter could literally just unlock the account. It is some weird power play on Twitter's part, like making a misbehaving child write lines, and the purpose is intimidation of the press."

"This plea for mewling submission to Big Tech is so on brand for CNN," The Federalist publisher Ben Domenech knocked the anti-Trump network.

"Why won’t twitter just unlock their account? It would take 1 second," former DNI Ric Grenell told Tapper. 

"Tapper in a North Korean prison camp: 'If you just tell them where your parents are hiding out they’ll give you an extra serving of porridge,'" Grabien Media founder and news editor Tom Elliott quipped. 

The CNN anchor later fired back at the "usual bad faith actors" who accuse him of telling the Post to "bow to twitter to delete the tweets."

"I'm clearly not saying that — I'm saying they can delete them *then tweet them out again,*" Tapper stressed. "I agree twitter enforcing defunct rules makes no sense. Zero. I also don't think twitter should have blocked them to begin with. But this would be a way for NYPost to have cake and eat it too — and get its twitter feed back. Just an idea. Don't like it? That's fine too."

The growing Hunter Biden story has received a virtual blackout of coverage from the rest of the mainstream media, including CNN. 

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Last week, Tapper declared the allegations being made against Joe Biden's son "too disgusting" to repeat on television. 

"The rightwing is going crazy with all sorts of allegations about Biden and his family. Too disgusting to even repeat here," Tapper said. "I mean, some of the ones I've seen from the president's son and some of the president's supporters are just wildly unhinged."

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Mortgage warning: ‘Time is running out’ as public call for stamp duty rule extension

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Mortgage approval rates have risen at record pace according to the latest data from the Bank of England. According to the central banks latest figures, approvals jumped to around 91,500 in September, up from around 85,000 on the previous month.

Hugh Wade-Jones, the Managing Director of Enness Global Mortgages, explained just how substantial these results are: “Prospective home buyers have continued to fuel the furnaces of the UK property market with another huge uplift in mortgage approval figures.

“The highest rate of approvals since 2007 tells you all you need to know about the dramatic return to form currently being seen, as buyers are returning in their droves ahead of the stamp duty holiday deadline.

“This is despite the fact that lenders have started to penalise the applications of buyers they consider to be in more changeable circumstances such as the self-employed or those heavily reliant on commission.

“At the same time, first-time buyers have also seen the range of products open to them dwindle with many required to stump up larger deposits to secure a mortgage.

“However, this tightening of the belt is yet to cause any dent in top-level market activity and mortgage approval figures are soaring.

“This growth has been maintained by a high level of deals that continue to be done by second and third rung buyers, in particular.”

On the demand for property, Richard Pike, a Director at Phoebus Software, also offered analysis.

As he warned: “The general consensus in the market is that time is running out if buyers want to see the benefits of the stamp duty holiday as we now see more properties progressing through the sales system, creating backlogs in the pipeline.

It is widely noted that to be in with a chance of beating the stamp duty holiday, a sale should be secured by Christmas at the latest.

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“The issue at hand, however, is that the market is being driven by home movers and their hunger for different types of properties in post-lockdown life.

“As we look forward with an air of caution, we must ask ourselves what the market will look like in 2021 without government incentives propping it up?”

Stamp duty rules were temporarily upended earlier on in the year in a bit to help home buyers and keep the property industry afloat.

The stamp duty threshold was raised to £500,000, which according to reports could save buyers as much as £15,000.

Given how impactful the stamp duty changes have proven to be, calls have emerged to extend the rules beyond their current deadline.

These calls have grown in recent months as it became clear coronavirus would continue to cause economic damage into 2021 as Paresh Raja, the CEO of Market Financial Solutions, detailed: “The Stamp Duty holiday has been a great success in stimulating property investment.

“While other sectors face hardships, the property market has benefited from a sustained surge in buyer demand for residential real estate.

“With the holiday coming to an end on 31st March 2021, we are now facing the opposite problem – the market simply does not have the capacity to meet buyer demand.

“Mortgage providers are taking longer to process applications, and the lack of available loans has made findings the right type of finance difficult for prospective buyers.

“My concern is that this will lead to a backlog of sales, and could result in many buyers missing out on the holiday due to the fact that lenders are simply not able to release the volume of loans needed.

“The government has two choices. The first is to extend the SDLT holiday beyond the current deadline. The second is to put into place arrangements to ensure that buyers who have agreed to a sale prior to the deadline still qualify for the tax relief should the sale occur after 31st March 2021.

“Regardless, it is important that mainstream and alternative lenders ensure they are ready and to meet the growing market demand for finance. This will be vital in supporting the UK’s post-pandemic recovery.”

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Is Bidenomics turning into Bernienomics?: Maria Bartiromo, James Freeman 'The Cost'

Biden can’t ‘tax an economy into prosperity’: Art Laffer

Former Reagan economic adviser Art Laffer discusses President Trump and Joe Biden’s economic plans.

In their new book, “The Cost” FOX Business Network anchor Maria Bartiromo and James Freeman of The Wall Street Journal review President Trump’s first term and highlight many of his policies that drove one of the greatest economic booms in U.S. history, pre-pandemic.

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The 2020 election has paired fiscal conservatives against leftist leaning Democrats and extreme socialists. Whether that mix will benefit Biden or backfire is explored in this excerpt of the book.

Chapter 9: Is Bidenomics Turning Out to Be Bernienomics?

Some Democrats must be wondering why their party asked them to show up and vote in this year’s primaries and caucuses. Since last winter Democratic voters nationwide have made it abundantly clear that they do not want a candidate promoting massive structural change in American government and society. But the party leadership seems determined to give them one anyway.

CHINESE SPIES, CORPORATE TRADE SECRETS: MARIA BARTIROMO, JAMES FREEMAN 'THE COST'

Beginning in South Carolina in late February and continuing through the final months of the nomination contest, Democrats soundly rejected the radical option: Vermont’s socialist senator Bernie Sanders. Exit polling data published by the Washington Post in March showed that, across the Super Tuesday states, most Democratic voters consider themselves conservative, moderate, or somewhat liberal, while a minority call themselves “very liberal.” Most of these Democratic primary voters don’t regard income inequality as the most important issue facing the country, and their votes made clear that they aren’t seeking the socialist revolution promised by Sanders.

But since the voters had their say, party leaders seem to be systematically ignoring the message. After vanquishing Sanders, former vice president Joe Biden has moved rapidly toward Sandernista positions on the environment, health care, financial regulation, and many other issues.

TRUMP’S TAX REVOLUTION: MARIA BARTIROMO, JAMES FREEMAN 'THE COST'

Perhaps Democrat bosses are revealing their true beliefs, or maybe it’s just a panicked response to the usual lack of enthusiasm for Biden. Despite strong polling, Biden doesn’t have an enthusiastic following. Kevin Roose reported in the New York Times in April: “Joe Biden is very famous, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at his YouTube channel. . .

“. . . [T]he virtual crickets that greet many of his appearances have become a source of worry for some Democrats, who see his sluggish performance online as a bad omen for his electoral chances in November.

“ ‘This video is 2 days old and it’s sitting at 20,000 views,’ one commenter wrote under a recent video of Mr. Biden’s. ‘This is a guy that is supposed to beat Trump?’ ”

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A Biden campaign podcast called “Here’s the Deal” was a springtime flop.

Biden’s sharp left turn on policy may help him secure some enthusiastic young Sanders voters. But since there were demonstrably more Biden voters than Sanders voters, one wonders how many aging non-radicals will come along for the leftward ride in November. After defeating Sanders, Biden decided to start taking the socialist senator’s advice and giving him a say in the Biden agenda, and adopting many of his policies.

MARIA BARTIROMO, JAMES FREEMAN: THE TRUMP AGENDA – VOTERS NEED TO THINK ABOUT COST OF NOT HAVING HIM IN CHARGE

In the summer, they set about crafting ideas to appeal to party radicals. In Forbes, Sally Pipes described the new groups created to draft policies as “a who’s who of the progressive elite—and signal that Biden is going to run for the White House on a platform that is further to the left than any Democrat in history.

“His healthcare task force is a haven for advocates of a government takeover of health insurance. . . .

“The highest-wattage name on Biden’s climate change task force is New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She has made the Green New Deal her signature legislative proposal.”

In 2019 the Green New Deal and its potential $100 trillion price tag received not a single vote in the U.S. Senate even though a number of senators, including vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris, had served as cosponsors. But its radical author is helping to craft the Biden plan for governing. In the summer of 2020 Ocasio-Cortez and her radical colleagues joined with Team Biden to publish a long document entitled, Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force Recommendations.

OCASIO-CORTEZ FIRES BACK AT TRUMP IN SUBURBIA DEBATE

The 110-page Biden-Sanders coproduction essentially calls for the political revolution long promised by Bernie Sanders. It says that “Democrats commit to forging a new social and economic contract with the American people.” Just like the Sanders campaign—and just like Venezuela’s socialist constitution— the new Biden plan recognizes things like housing and health care as rights guaranteed by government. The plan promises higher wages and affordable financial services. The “new social and economic contract” will also provide policies to address America’s alleged history of “economic exclusion and political suppression.”

The plan makes clear that the goal is to grow the public sector, not the private economy: “We will invest in the caring workforce, including by directing significant funding to state and local governments to retain and hire more teachers, public health professionals, nurses, home care workers, social workers, and other critical positions. Democrats reject any efforts to privatize public-sector jobs, from our schools to the United States Postal Service.”

There’s so much more, from Medicaid expansion to a new government-run health plan to free public college and university tuition for most students to applying ancient telephone regulation to the internet to a new Office of Environmental Justice to prosecute business.

Maria Bartiromo joined FOX Business Network (FBN) as Global Markets Editor in January 2014. She is the anchor of "Mornings with Maria" on FBN (6-9 AM/ET), which is the number one pre-market business news program in cable, and anchors "Sunday Morning Futures" (10 AM/ET) on FOX News Channel (FNC), which routinely ranks as the highest-rated show on Sundays in cable news. In April 2017, Bartiromo was also named the anchor for FBN’s weekly primetime investing program "Maria Bartiromo’s Wall Street" (Fridays at 9 PM/ET).  "The Cost" is her fourth book.

James Freeman is assistant editor of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page and author of the “Best of the Web” column. He is co-author of "Borrowed Time: Two Centuries of Booms, Busts, and Bailouts at Citi," a New York Times Editors’ Choice and Financial Times Business Book of the Month. He is a Fox News contributor and former investor advocate at the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

This essay is adapted from "THE COST" by Maria Bartiromo and James Freeman. Copyright © 2020 by Bartiromo Productions LLC and James Freeman. Reprinted by permission of Threshold Editions, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.  All rights reserved.

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Housing benefit: Over 1 million families are missing out on £3,100 a year – can you claim?

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Universal Credit is replacing housing benefit and a number of other legacy benefits but for now, it is still possible to claim housing benefit under certain conditions. Payments from housing benefit can be quite generous but new evidence suggest millions could be missing out on the state support.

Recently, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) released their latest estimates for income-related benefit take up for the financial year 2018 to 2019.

Within this release, it was revealed up to 1.1 million families who were entitles to housing benefit did not claim it.

This amounts to £3.4billion going unclaimed, averaging out to around £3,100 per year for eligible families.

The monetary value for some families could be even higher as the government states there is no set amount on housing benefit payments.

As it stands, it is possible to make a new claim for housing benefit if any of the following apply:

  • The claimant is getting the severe disability premium from the government or are entitled to it
  • They got or were entitled to the severe disability premium within the previous month and are still eligible for it
  • They have reached state pension age
  • They’re in supported, sheltered or temporary housing

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The amount paid will depend on the claimant’s circumstances but the payments could help with all or parts of the rents due.

How much a person will receive will depend on the claimants “eligible” rent (actual rent plus any service charges that have to be paid), if there are any spare rooms, household income and other circumstances.

To make a new claim for housing benefit, a person will need to go through their local council.

Additionally, a claim for housing benefit can be put through along with a pension credit claim.

Claims can also be made in advance by up to 13 weeks, which could be useful for people who are moving.

It should be noted however that money will usually not be paid out before moving.

Claims may also be backdated but this will need to be checked with local councils.

Housing benefit decisions can be reconsidered and appealed if a claimant is unhappy with an outcome.

It should be noted housing benefit will not cover heating, hot water, energy bills or food.

Where additional help is needed, councils may be able to award discretionary housing payments which can cover certain housing costs.

These payments can cover rent shortfalls, rent deposits or rent in advance if a claimant needs to move home.

Universal Credit can also provide additional payments for housing costs but these cannot be received while a person is claiming housing benefit.

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Republicans hope Cubans, warming to Trump, will deliver them Democrats' most vulnerable Florida House seat

  • Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Fla., was swept into Congress two years ago in a "blue wave" of Democratic victories that featured many stories like her own — a female immigrant of color knocking down a Republican incumbent.
  • Now Mucarsel-Powell, who holds Democrats' most vulnerable House seat in Florida, is facing a test of her staying power. She is being challenged by the term-limited mayor of Miami-Dade County, Carlos Gimenez, an immigrant from Cuba who is backed by President Donald Trump.
  • The 26th District, which contains Miami suburbs and parts of the Florida Keys, is the third most immigrant-heavy in the country, including many Cuban Americans.

Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Fla., was swept into Congress two years ago in a "blue wave" of Democratic victories that featured many stories like her own — a female immigrant of color knocking down a Republican incumbent.

Now Mucarsel-Powell, who holds Democrats' most vulnerable House seat in Florida, is facing a test of her staying power. She is being challenged by the term-limited mayor of Miami-Dade County, Carlos Gimenez, an immigrant from Cuba who is backed by President Donald Trump.

Mucarsel-Powell's effort to hold onto Florida's 26th congressional district is a key element in Democrats' efforts to retain the majority they obtained in the House of Representatives last cycle.

The district will also feature prominently in Trump's attempt to defeat Joe Biden with a strategy that is heavily reliant on support from South Florida's Cuban population, which has warmed to the president in recent years.

The 26th District, which contains Miami suburbs and parts of the Florida Keys, is the third most immigrant-heavy in the country, including many Cuban Americans. The district has a majority Latino population that makes up nearly 70% of its voting age residents, according to the American Public Media Research Lab.

Unlike the majority of U.S. Latino voters, Cuban Americans tend to lean Republican. Mucarsel-Powell, who immigrated from Ecuador, is the first person not from Cuba to represent the area in more than three decades. (The 26th District was created after the 2010 census and redrawn in 2015.)

Susan MacManus, a Florida political analyst, said that an underlying theme of the race was Cuban versus non-Cuban Latina "in a region where country of origin matters."

"Gimenez has been stressing his experience and stressing his anti-socialism credentials," she added.

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Though there are few publicly available polls of the district, the race between Mucarsel-Powell and Gimenez is expected to be tight. Mucarsel-Powell won against incumbent Rep. Carlos Curbelo in 2018 by just 2 percentage points.

A poll conducted for the Congressional Leadership Find, a Republican spending committee, showed Gimenez up by five percentage points in July. Nonpartisan forecasters estimate that the race leans slightly in Mucarsel-Powell's favor or else consider it a tossup.

Trump, who needs Florida's 29 Electoral College votes to have a reasonable shot at victory, is neck-and-neck with Biden in the state, averages of recent polls show. Both Trump and Biden spent Thursday in Florida seeking to energize voters during the last stretch, a sign of the state's significance to the race.

While the president lost to Democrat Hillary Clinton in the district in 2016 by double digits, the region has a history of ticket-splitting, particularly in favor of down-ballot Cuban Republicans, according to the liberal analyst Matthew Isbell, who is based in Florida.

Trump looks likely to do better in the district than he did four years ago, as Cubans who were wary of his politics have become more supportive of him. The president's rising fortunes could serve to deflate some of the attacks against Gimenez.

"Heading into 2020, we see that a lot of these Cubans are actually coming back home, quote unquote, to the GOP, and therefore any hope of using Trump as a boogeyman, or an anchor against the Republicans, that won't work as well," Isbell said.

Gimenez himself illustrates he phenomenon. In 2016, he endorsed Clinton for president. This time around, he's touting his ties to the president.

The race has echoes in the presidential contest. Gimenez, for instance, has promoted his record on the economy and has sought to portray Mucarsel-Powell as one of the most liberal members of the Democratic Party. Republicans have suggested she has ties to socialism, and played up a controversy involving Ukraine.

"As Mayor, I delivered the largest tax cut in county history, balanced billion-dollar budgets, protected the environment and more," Gimenez said in a statement. "Now, I'm running for Congress to bring those lessons in frontline leadership experience to Washington. I'll bring us together instead of being a partisan mouthpiece."

Ads produced by Republicans have repeatedly focused on an indirect Mucarsel-Powell family connection to Ukraine. Mucarsel-Powell's husband, Robert Powell, did legal work for companies partially owned by the Ukrainian billionaire Ihor Kolomoisky. Robert Powell has denied having significant ties to Kolomoisky.

"This town is far too familiar with violent thugs," the narrator says in one ad, as images of Venezulan leader Nicolas Maduro and Fidel Castro, the Cuban revolutionary, appear on screen. "And Debbie Mucarsel-Powell is far too familiar with violent warlord Ihor Kolomoisky."

The attacks mirror those lobbed by Trump at Biden. In July, Trump told Venezuelan expatriates at an event in the state that "Joe Biden and the radical left are trying to impose the same system — socialism plus — in America."

A Spanish language ad that Trump put up earlier this month, titled "Castrochavismo," links Biden to Castro and the Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez.

There is some evidence that Trump's strategy is working, which could be bad news for Mucarsel-Powell. Only a few weeks ago, Trump trailed Biden in Florida by four percentage points, before closing the gap in recent weeks.

Biden, who has largely shrugged off Trump's attacks — he asked voters in Pennsylvania in August, "do I look like a radical socialist?" — deployed his most powerful spokesperson, former President Barack Obama, to fend off the criticism in an address in Miami on Saturday.

"Some of the rhetoric you're hearing down here in South Florida, it's just made up. It's just nonsense," Obama said at the campaign rally. "Listening to the Republicans, you'd think Joe was more Communist than the Castros. Don't fall for that garbage."

"Joe Biden is not a socialist. He was a senator from Delaware. He was my vice president. I think folks would know if he's a secret socialist by now," Obama said.

In her own closing argument, Mucarsel-Powell has focused on health care, and Gimenez's record on Covid-19 as mayor. She spent more than $1 million on an ad buy last month emphasizing her and Gimenez's differences on the issue.

In an interview with CBS Miami earlier this month, the congresswoman compared Gimenez's handling of the pandemic to Trump's, and slammed his response to the crisis.

"I think that [Gimenez] knows that he has failed in protecting our community from coronavirus. I know that he realizes that both Republican mayors, city mayors here in the county, and also Democratic city mayors have denounced his failure in leading with this crisis," she said.

Sarah Guggenheimer, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said that Mucarsel-Powell's "story is the story of South Florida – coming to America at a young age and working her way from a donut shop as a teenager to become the first South American immigrant to serve in Congress."

"In her first term she's delivered for her constituents, providing crucial COVID-19 relief and writing the bill to ensure Medicare Advantage covers COVID-19 testing," Guggenheimer added. "South Florida knows they can count on Mucarsel-Powell to deliver results, unlike Corrupt Carlos Giménez who's only ever looked out for himself, his family, and his corporate donors."

In the final stretch, Mucarsel-Powell benefits from a cash advantage. The most recent data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politcs showed the Democrat had raised more than $6 million, compared to less than $2 million for Gimenez. Mucarsel-Powell also had nearly triple the cash on hand, at $582,098 versus $234,499.

Isbell said that Mucarsel-Powell's strategy could be effective if it energizes Democrats to vote, particularly non-Cuban Hispanic voters who tend to have lower turnout rates than Cubans.

"The victory in 26 is not just the persuasion campaign but also making sure that you get a good electorate," he said. "There are a lot of different Democratic pockets in this district that Democrats need to show up to make sure the district stays blue."

Isbell said that he thinks the race will go toward Mucarsel-Powell, though it will be close. Mucarsel-Powell's campaign did not respond to requests for comment.

In a statement, National Republican Congressional Committee spokeswoman Camille Gallo said Mucarsel-Powell "will be voted out of office."

"Whether it's her record of being one of the most partisan members of Congress, ties to a shady Ukrainian warlord, or the fact her husband's employer received $15M in PPP loans, it's easy to see why Debbie Mucarsel-Powell is losing this race," Gallo said.

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Virginia judge rules in partial favor of GOP-led election integrity lawsuit

Pennsylvania, North Carolina Dems claim wins in key voting cases

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A Virginia judge ruled partially in favor of a Republican-led lawsuit that sought to block mail-in ballots arriving after Election Day with missing or unreadable postmarks.

The ruling came in a dispute over whether ballots received up to three days after Election Day still count if the postmarks on them were not clearly identifiable as on or before Nov. 3. The Public Interest Legal Foundation, which filed the lawsuit on behalf Frederick County Board of Elections member Tom Reed, argued that the new rule was in violation of a recent election law. Bob Hess, chairman of the Winchester Republican Committee, was also a plaintiff.

The Republicans argued that the law’s requirements were simple – ballots received after Election Day must have been postmarked before the deadline.

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But the state’s Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring’s office called the lawsuit an attempt to “suppress the vote.”

The state instructed local officials to still count ballots with missing or illegible postmarks so long as a barcode on the envelope confirmed it had been mailed before the deadline.

If the barcode was inconclusive, election officials were told to look inside and check the date written next to voter’s signature. But lawyers for the plaintiffs argued was insufficient evidence of when it actually was mailed.

The judge ruled that if a barcode didn’t confirm a ballot with a missing postmark actually was mailed, it wouldn’t count, regardless of what was written inside. A ballot postmarked illegibly could still count, as long as the voter signed it before Election Day.

"There was a big win for election integrity and the rule of law in Virginia yesterday," said Rich Anderson, chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia. "In a lawsuit brought by two of our grassroots Republicans, the Frederick County Circuit Court told the Attorney General and the State Board of Elections what we all know – the law means what it says."

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Early in-person voting is allowed until Oct. 31, according to the Virginia Department of Elections.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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