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Conspiracy theories flying as Lakers lose to Pacers in limping to playoffs

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Conspiracy theories flying as Lakers lose to Pacers in limping to playoffs

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The hottest conspiracy theory in the NBA is that the Lakers rivals in the Western Conference are trying to help Portland become the eighth seed in the playoffs.

The Trail Blazers have been one of the more impressive teams in the bubble, with wins over Houston and Denver, and they nearly beat Boston, which is third in the East and has won 46 games.

So when Clippers coach Doc Rivers rested Kawhi Leonard on Saturday against the Trail Blazers, and then pulled his other star, Paul George, from the game with three minutes remaining and the Clippers trailing by three, eyebrows raised. Was this an attempt to throw the game to improve the chances the Lakers would have to see this tough team in the first round?

Rivers said George simply was on a minutes restriction and had reached his limit.

Then the coach was asked if he thought the Trail Blazers could beat the Lakers.

I dont get involved in that, said Rivers, whose team beat Portland despite not having its stars in at the end. I honestly dont look at it. I heard our guys talking about it, Im like, Listen, thats their business. Our business is who were playing. We need to focus on that.

The Lakers also declined to engage in the conversation after their 116-111 loss to Indiana. LeBron James, who scored 31 points against the Pacers, said it was none of his business.

Coach Frank Vogel was asked about the Clippers decisions with their stars and how it could affect his team.

Ive got no problem with it, Vogel said. Everybodys got to manage their team their own way.

More on his mind is the management of his Lakers team, which lost its third game in a row since clinching the Wests top seed and dropped to 2-4 in the bubble.

Vogel has not played his expected playoff rotation yet and on Saturday evening he gave significant minutes to reserves Jared Dudley, Quinn Cook and Talen Horton-Tucker. Cook was the Lakers second-leading scorer with 21 points. Dwight Howard offered a late boost with 10 points and 12 rebounds.

Anthony Davis saw frequent double-teams and made only three of 14 shots, scoring eight points.

I obviously have to be better, Davis said. I had some good looks tonight. Just missed. Some shots around the rim layups that I missed. Open threes missed. Open midrange shot. Shots were just not going in.

Pacers forward T.J. Warren scored 39 points, continuing a standout showing in the bubble.

Vogel expects to continue experimenting with his lineups during the next two seeding games. Hell wait until the break before the start of the playoffs to work on those rotations. By then hell also be closer to knowing which team the Lakers will face in the first round.

The Clippers win Saturday knocked Portland a game and a half back from eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies, and the Trail Blazers are only a half-game ahead of 10th-seeded Phoenix, which is 5-0 in the bubble.

Once the seeding games end, the eighth and ninth teams in the West will participate in a play-in game.

If the eighth seed wins, it advances to the playoffs. If the ninth seed wins, the teams play an elimination game.

And while the Lakers are paying attention to that race, on Saturday night they found reasons to feel optimistic about themselves.

Three observations on the Lakers:

LeBron James is getting more comfortable with the oddities of playing in the bubble. He said after the game that he couldn’t remember the last time he played a real game in an empty gym it didn’t even happen in high school.

Talen Horton-Tucker has been earning more minutes in the rotation with his play. After scoring 10 points against Houston on Thursday, the 19-year-old rookie scored 10 against Indiana.

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Sanders and Schumer call on McConnell to hold hearings to fight election conspiracy theories – KTVZ

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Sanders and Schumer call on McConnell to hold hearings to fight election conspiracy theories - KTVZ

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Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York are calling on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to create a new bipartisan committee focused on election integrity and schedule hearings to reassure Americans over a process President Donald Trump has repeatedly sought to undermine.

There is growing anxiety among Democrats, and some Republicans, that Trump will not only continue to sow doubt over the legitimacy of the coming election but throw the subsequent count into chaos by declaring victory before all the votes can be tallied, including the millions that will arrive by mail.

In a letter to McConnell, Sanders and Schumer quote back the Kentucky senator’s own words, in which he attested to the reliability of mail-in voting by citing its successes in Oregon, Washington and Colorado, which have been using the system for years.

Trump has repeatedly questioned the validity of mail-in voting, promoted conspiracy theories questioning election security, called on supporters to act as unsanctioned “poll watchers,” and suggested that the absence of a clear result by the evening of November 3 would in some way cast doubt on the eventual outcome. Key allies in powerful positions, like Attorney General Bill Barr, have followed suit. Barr has persisted in puffing up a debunked claim that ballots received by mail would somehow strip the sender of their privacy — ignoring well-established safeguards.

By escalating the matter now, Sanders and Schumer are responding to growing concern, in partisan and nonpartisan spaces, that Americans are not adequately prepared for the potential of a longer-than-usual wait for results or Trump’s willingness to short-circuit the democratic process if he smells defeat.

“Democrats and Republicans in Congress must come together to ensure that we have a free and fair election where every vote is cast and counted without intimidation,” Sanders told CNN, “where no one has to put his or her health in danger to cast a ballot, and where we have full confidence in the results.”

The proposed hearings would invite a cross-section of election officials from across the country to testify to the security and reliability of mail-in, early- and in-person voting — subjects on which Sanders and Schumer, again, referenced McConnell’s own words.

“Despite the clear security of our vote-by-mail system, some have continued to undermine it with unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud,” they wrote. “As you have correctly said, people ‘can vote early, you can vote on Election Day, or you can drop it in the mail,’ and that voters should ‘not worry about your vote not counting.’”

The minority leader and Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, also want more detailed discussion about the fraught hours, or days, after the polls close and a real-time watch of the election horse race potentially swings from one candidate to another.

“We know a number of states may well be counting ballots for a period of time after Election Day, and that those votes may be determinative in this election,” the senators wrote to McConnell. “To avoid disinformation, conspiracy theories, and suspicion about results, we must understand the likely timeline for this process.”

The letter goes on to reference the recent war games-style preparations conducted by a group called the Transition Integrity Project, a bipartisan gathering of operatives and academics that made headlines when some of the outcomes of their exercises — including “both street-level violence and political impasse” — were reported on in late July.

“A bipartisan group of experts and officials have studied multiple scenarios where the outcome of the election was not immediately known. Some of these scenarios resulted in unrest and even violence,” Sanders and Schumer wrote, suggesting the Senate should elevate similar discussions and familiarize the public with the uncertainties ahead. “We would like to hear from the most knowledgeable people in the country as to how we can do everything possible to make sure that the election and the period afterward is secure and peaceful.”

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HHS official sorry for conspiracy theory video

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HHS official sorry for conspiracy theory video

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HHS supported Caputo, with a statement that called him a critical, integral part of the presidents coronavirus response, leading on public messaging as Americans need public health information to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.

There was no immediate statement from the White House.

Attempts to reach Caputo were unsuccessful.

On Capitol Hill, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., called on Azar to fire Caputo, accusing the spokesman of trying to interfere with CDC reports to the medical and scientific community, as well as the public at large. And Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called on Azar himself to resign, citing interference with the CDC as one example of what he termed the administration’s failures.

Officials at CDC have privately complained of recent efforts by political appointees at main HHS to try to edit or press for changes in the agency’s weekly MMWR publications, a go-to resource for public health professionals.

MMWR articles are technical, but they reveal telling details. One published earlier this year noted that while Trump’s travel restrictions dramatically reduced travel from China in February, nothing was being done at that time to restrict travel from Italy and Europe, where the coronavirus was spreading widely and rapidly. Analysis of virus samples from hard-hit New York in March suggested it was introduced there from Europe and other parts of the U.S., the CDC article reported.

Caputo is an unswerving Trump loyalist. His recent book, The Ukraine Hoax, claims the presidents phony impeachment was rooted in a vast conspiracy.

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unwinona:This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS…

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unwinona:This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS...

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My RSS Feedunwinona:

This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS and Polio narrative (among others), only we’re seeing it escalated to weeks and months instead of years or decades.

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