For Florida’s Felons, The Fight To Regain Their Voting Rights Is Just Starting (HBO)

More than 1.4 million convicted felons gained the right to vote back after Florida passed an amendment to its constitution last year. But getting the amendment passed was just the first hurdle for advocates hoping to re-enfranchise those citizens.

Now, some are worried that calls by Republican leaders in the state to pass legislation clarifying the amendment could end up undercutting it.

Ion Sancho, who served as the Leon County, Fla. Supervisor of Elections for nearly three decades, told VICE News that Florida has been the “genesis of the modern era of voter suppression tactics” — and that talk from GOP state lawmakers about legislating the amendment could be yet another example.

“I am anticipating that they’re going to try to slow-walk it,” he said of Republicans in the state legislature. “They’re going to try to put any kind of impediment they can. “

So far, there are no specific proposals on the table concerning the amendment from Florida legislators. But state Sen. Dennis Baxley, an Ocala Republican, says he and other skeptics of the amendment are simply considering options to make it easier for both ex-felons and state officials to verify who’s eligible.

“Whatever we’re doing is going to be about compliance,” he said. “Anything we would do would be how do we validate that…so that there is not mishap or an opening for mischief.”

Baxley pointed to the fact that there is currently no centralized database in Florida where ex-felons can confirm that they’ve finished all the terms of their sentence, a requirement to be able to register under the new amendment. Supervisors of Elections also can’t independently confirm eligibility, and were given no guidance from the Secretary of State on how to implement the amendment.

Still, advocates of the change say they’re ready for any attempts to slow-walk the law, and willing to fight such efforts in court. In the meantime, says Demetrius Jifunza, an ex-felon who fought for the amendment and registered the first day he was eligible, advocates for the amendment are going to focus their efforts on getting people registered and involved in politics — so they can combat any attempts to take their rights away again.

“So, you know, it’s politics and it’s Florida. I mean you could snowball things, put language into something to hold things up,” he acknowledged.

But Jifunza added: “The only way to combat that is if we stay on top of things.”

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Brazil’s Drug Gangs Are Prepared To Go To War Over Bolsonaro’s Gun Crackdown (HBO)

Brazil’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, signed a temporary decree on Tuesday fulfilling a campaign promise to tackle the country’s epidemic of violence by making it easier for Brazilians to buy guns.

“I signed this decree, created by many upstanding people, so that at this first moment, upstanding citizens can have peace inside their homes,” Bolsonaro said at the signing ceremomy in the country’s capital, Brasília.

Bolsonaro, a conservative former Army captain, was sworn in as president on Jan. 1 after sweeping to power last year on a hard-line law-and-order platform, pledging to reduce the countrys record murder rate and booming trade in illegal drugs that fuels it.

On the main highway leading into Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s Federal Highway Patrol or PRF say they’re confiscating record numbers of illegal guns and drugs. The officers patrolling the road seized 18 tons of drugs last year — a more than 300-percent increase from the year before.

“It’s a traditional route for drug traffickers – not just for drugs, but also heavy arms,” Alcino Galvao da Silva, Unit Leader of the Federal Highway Patrol, told VICE News. “Machine guns, bullets, marijuana, and cocaine… It has grown quite a bit, especially in Rio de Janeiro.”

“Johnny,” as he asked VICE News to call him, has been dealing drugs for the Third Command drug gang since he was 16 years-old. Now at 28 he manages all the drugs corners in the neighborhood and isn’t afraid to defend them by force.

“I can tell you that today I’ve got 35 homicides,” “Johnny” told VICE News. “Fear? We don’t have fear. That’s what we’re here for. To kill and die. We’ll die, but die fighting. It’s our war motto: Die fighting.”

Bolsonaros plan to “give guns to good people,” and ramp up the military’s role by giving security forces more power to shoot and kill armed criminals isn’t getting the drug gangs to drop their guns. Third Command says their stockpilling weapons of war.

“He’s going to take the world into an urban war,” “Johnny” told VICE News. “Instead of us killing the Red Command we’re going to go after the guy who is in the police who listened to one of Bolsonaro’s orders.”

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Ann Coulter Is “Not Going To Complain” Trump Shut Down The Government Over Immigration (HBO)

In 2015, Bill Maher’s audience erupted in laughter when Ann Coulter predicted that Donald Trump would win the 2016 general election. Coulter would become one of Trump’s biggest supporters, writing a book subtly titled In Trump We Trust, and calling the president an “emperor god.” But that was then.

In December, Coulter unloaded on Trump, branding him a “gutless president” and “a vulgar publicity hound.” Within hours, the president’s Twitter follower count conspicuously went from 46 to 45.

He unfollowed Coulter.

“If you had promised to build a wall every single day for 18 months of your winning campaign — the day after your election wouldn’t you have started meeting with, you know, members of — of the Seabees, and — and military types, and allies in Congress to figure out how to get it going so that the day you’re sworn in you’d be down at the border, you’d be talkin’ to the rebar guys, and start building the wall?,” Coulter told VICE News. “Well, Trump didn’t do that.”

With the government shutdown now in its 24th day — and with criticism mounting even from his own party — President Trump has been immoveable on the border wall, after having previously softened on his demand for $5 billion in funding.

“It is self-preservation,” Coulter said. “Because he is dead in the water if he doesn’t build that wall. Dead, dead, dead. Dead.”

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France’s Yellow Vest Protesters Just Won Against Macron (HBO)

According to local media in France, Macron’s government will announce a moratorium on the hike in fuel prices today. The U-turn comes after Saturday’s riots in Paris which the government said were the worst they had seen in 50 years.

It marked the third week of “gilet jaunes” or yellow vest protests across France, named after high-visibility safety jackets the French are required to keep in their cars. The movement first came together on social media to protest an increase in fuel taxes. But among chants of “Macron Resign! Macron Resign!” at the protest, it was obvious it had become about working and middle class being hit hard by the economic policies of President Emmanuel Macron.

“We need a balance between the rich and poor in France,” Jimmy Moreno told VICE News among tear gas and water cannons at L’Arc de Triomphe. Jimmy came to protest peacefully and voted for Macron in the 2017 election but says he wouldn’t vote for him again.

“He has shown himself to be cold-hearted and inhuman, little more than a banker, with no place governing a nation,” Jimmy said the day after the protest at his home in the Paris suburb of Argenteuil.

“What’s happening now because of the government’s violent actions and the yellow vests’ violent reaction, is representative of French history. Every time there is a shift in governance or a revolution, there is violence, it’s unavoidable,” he added.

The government struggled to negotiate with the yellow vests which is an a-political grassroots movement that has no clear leadership. But smashed shop windows, graffiti, and cars burning in the streets got the government’s attention. “We need to violence to stop because the violence we had against police, against institutions last week is just unacceptable so we need it to stop,” said Aurore Bergé, a deputy in the French Parliament and spokesperson for Macron’s party En Marche!.

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Inside The Thriving Business Of ‘Man Weaves’ (HBO)

What if there was a cure for male baldness? What if you could pay to naturally look 10 years younger? There may not be a permanent solution but we might have found a temporary one. Hair weaves are a technique Black women (and all women) have used for years, but it’s recently become an emerging practice amongst Black men. Mintel, a global market research provider, values the Black hair care industry at more than $2.54B. While Black women contribute to a lion’s share of the market, Black men aren’t exempt from wanting great looking hair. Wade Menendez aka Wade the Barber is the owner of The W Hair Loft in Glen Burnie, MD, and a pioneer in the field of Black male hair units. In the video above, Vice News visited one of Menendez’s classes to document the business behind the sought-after technique.

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This Jailer Got Rich Selling E-cigs To Inmates (HBO)

Jamie Mosley is a successful entrepreneur, who started a company, and made a lot of money, selling a product you might not have realized there was a market for: E-cigarettes that are safe for jails.

Specifically, for his jail — or at least, that’s how it started.

Mosley, a former state police officer who moonlights as a NASCAR driver, was elected Jailer of Laurel County Kentucky in 2012. Without the option to sell tobacco in his commissary, the jail saw a new set of problems emerge, like withdrawal issues, more inmate fighting, and an increase in black market trade of tobacco. Furthermore, Mosley found that corrections staff had one less thing to take away from inmates to discourage bad behavior.

“When I developed the product. It was really not with the intention of starting a company I was just trying to solve a problem within my own facility.” Mosley told VICE News. So he got the idea to introduce a vape option to his jail, but all of the ones on the market were too easily turned into weapons. So he invented a solution.

“Everything out there had a metal casing or was a very very hard plastic, and could be hammered down into a shank,” Mosley said, “We also wanted something with a very low voltage so that you couldn’t utilize it for an ignition source to start a fire with.”

Crossbar, as Mosley calls his product, is now in some 33 prisons and jails across the county, and is is expected to do $3.5 million in sales this year.

It sells to prisons and jails for about $2 to $3, and the jails, in turn, sell it to inmates for between $10-15. One Crossbar e-cig is said to be the equivalent of about two packs of cigarettes, but inmates say they are still essentially luxury items. And while Mosley sells the ecigs to his own jail at cost, it’s not hard to see the excellent profit margins that would be attractive to other facilities. This additional revenue source is one of the main marketing points for Crossbar.

And while the e-cig trade has made Mosley a fairly wealthy man, he insists he had no plans to give up the job he loves: working at the jail.

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Ken Starr: Mueller May Indict Trump After His Presidency (HBO)

Special Counsel Bob Mueller has two pathways to proceed against President Trump if he uncovers serious wrongdoing by the President, former independent counsel Ken Starr told VICE News.

Mueller can either refer his findings to Congress for impeachment — as Starr did with former President Bill Clinton in 1998. Or Mueller can wait for Trump’s presidency to end, and indict Trump afterwards, Starr said.

Starr said he believes that the law does permit a sitting president to face a criminal indictment. But longstanding DOJ policy against charging a sitting president will keep Mueller from charging Trump while in office, Starr predicted — no matter what the special counsel’s investigation into Trump’s links to Russia finds.

Unlike many observers, Starr himself has real-world experience in making such decisions. In 1998, he sent an explosive report to Congress, dubbed the Starr Report, that laid out 11 “grounds” for impeaching Clinton, including perjury, obstruction of justice, witness-tampering and abuse of power.

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Inside The Search For Nearly 1,000 People Missing From The California Wildfire (HBO)

CHICO, California — As the Camp Fire continues to burn, 12 days later, and at 66 percent containment, 77 deaths have been confirmed, and 993 are left unaccounted for.

With over 151,000 acres burned, the search for the unaccounted is unprecedented.

“We don’t normally have a process to deal with this many unaccounted for individuals,” Butte County Sheriff and Coroner Kory Honea told VICE News. But the list has posed several challenges for authorities trying to track everyone down. Issues range from: People not knowing they are on the list, duplicated names due to converged data sets, to even finding remains in all the debris.

While the list of unaccounted people represents an imperfect picture of the missing, it does illustrate the large retirement community in the area. Paradise, the city hardest hit by the fires, was known, in part, as a retirement community, a quiet place for people to get away.

VICE News spent time with Tammie Konicki, during her search for her missing 64-year-old mother, who was last seen getting into a car the morning of the fire.

“Hopefully she is somewhere and just doesn’t have a way to get a hold of us,” Konicki said of her mother. “Right now, for me, no news is good news, because no news means she hasn’t been found dead,” she said. “She’s not one of those bodies as of yet.”

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Watch These First-Time Female Candidates Find Out If They Won On Election Night | She’s Running 4

A record number of women ran for office this year, many of them for the first time; among their ranks were Deidre DeJear, Pearl Kim, Anna Eskamani, and Morgan Zegers. These four very different women, who we followed on the campaign trail for six months, got into politics for very different reasons, but shared one thing in common: They’d never thought they’d be candidates.

Each sought to make history on Tuesday. Democrat DeJear wanted to be Iowa’s secretary of state and the first African-American elected to statewide office in Iowa. Republican Kim, a former special victims prosecutor and sexual assault survivor, ran for Pennsylvania’s 5th Congressional District and to become the first Korean-American woman in Congress. Democrat Eskamani, a former Planned Parenthood employee, hoped to become the first Iranian-American in the Florida state House. And 21-year-old Republican Zegers tried to convince voters to elect to her to the New York State Assembly as its youngest member.

All these women’s canvassing, their fundraising, their sign waving, their speech making, their cow milking, their porkchop flipping, their weeks and months and years of campaigning — all of it came down to just one day.

“It was a pretty incredible experience to be able to vote for myself,” Kim told VICE News. “After all this, to vote myself in for Congress — it’s crazy.”

Watch the final installment of VICE News’ “She’s Running” web series to find out what happened next.

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O’Rourke Campaign Craze & Russian Cowboys: VICE News Tonight Full Episode (HBO)

This is the November 1, 2018 FULL EPISODE of VICE News Tonight on HBO.

2:11 Trump is unleashing a blast of pre-midterm falsehoods, and the Republican establishment is going along

7: 52 Across the country, Beto O’Rourke fans are gathering to raise money and support the campaign. But these are not his constituents. They don’t live in Texas and can’t vote there. So why bother going through all the trouble, when it doesn’t even look good for Beto to pull out a win in Texas?

11:55 Democrats desperately want Beto O’Rourke to win but the reality is that Texas is probably a ways away from turning blue. We get a reality check from James Carville on what it would take for it to go blue THIS year. (It won’t.)

14:37 Being a cowboy wasn’t even a job in Russia 10 years ago. Today, there are 1,000 of them

19:43 VICE News breaks down the elements that make Post Malone’s music so damn catchy.

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