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Zorro

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 50
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 11,756

Journal Archives

First on CNN: Security costs skyrocket at 'lightning rod' EPA

Source: CNN

The Environmental Protection Agency is beefing up security measures surrounding Administrator Scott Pruitt to an unprecedented level, CNN has learned, as members of Congress are asking if the costs are a "potential waste or abuse of taxpayer dollars."

Pruitt's security detail is in the process of expanding by hiring a dozen more agents, according to a source with knowledge of the situation, as the number of threats against the agency leader increase. The incoming agents will grow the team that works in shifts to provide him around-the-clock protection, something unheard of for Pruitt's predecessors.

Salaries alone for the full team will cost at least $2 million per year, according to figures compiled by CNN from public documents. The numbers do not include costs such as training, equipment, and travel.

The spending increase comes as the Trump administration has laid out plans to cut the agency's budget by 30%, including major cuts to the agency's enforcement work and staffing as well as the elimination of some programs. Pruitt told Congress in June that the EPA "can fulfill the mission of our agency with a trimmed budget, with proper leadership and management."

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/23/politics/epa-pruitt-security-costs/index.html



I think this will make it over two dozen bodyguards for this POS.

Trump voting commission criticized for lack of transparency

Source: AP

President Donald Trump's advisory commission on election integrity has integrity questions of its own — with some of its own members raising concerns about its openness.

This past week, two members fired off letters to commission staff complaining about a lack of information about the panel's agenda and demanding answers about its activities. That comes as Democratic U.S. senators are requesting a government investigation of the commission for ignoring formal requests from Congress.

The criticism from the commissioners was remarkable because it came from insiders — the very people who are supposed to be privy to its internal discussions and plans.

In a letter sent Oct. 17, Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said it was clear he was not being made aware of information pertaining to the commission. He requested copies of all correspondence between commission members since Trump signed the executive order creating it in May.

Read more: https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-voting-commission-criticized-lack-transparency-140503565--politics.html



I guess it takes a lot of behind-the-door work for commission Republicans to manufacture evidence of "widespread voter fraud".

Ally of Milo Yiannopoulos wins control of California College Republicans

Source: LA Times

In a closely divided election, a UC Irvine student who led an insurgency against establishment politics won a bitter battle Saturday for control of the California College Republicans, a triumph for provocative conservatism over a more moderate approach.

Ariana Rowlands, an ally of right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, led a slate called Rebuild, which advocates aggressive actions in campus culture wars and taking on college administrators and liberals who try to suppress the conservative voice.

Her opponent, USC graduate Leesa Danzek, works for a centrist Republican state legislator, favors inclusion and encourages students to help GOP candidates with phone banking and electioneering. She headed the Thrive slate and had led the state organization, which supports about 70 campus chapters, over the last year.

Rowlands defeated Danzek, 88-64, in the first contested election in nearly a decade but the 14-member executive board ended up evenly split between the two sides. The divide between them reflects the national battle between GOP establishment insiders and insurgents inspired by Trump.

Read more: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-california-college-republicans-20171021-story.html



I would say this is a sign of things to come, but from my experience College Republicans have been closet fascists for the past 50 years.

Now they're becoming more blatant and open about it.

Venezuela is blowing debt payments ahead of a huge, make-or-break bill

One week before Venezuela faces a critical debt payment, the distressed petrostate is already late on a series of smaller bills — and no one can say exactly why.

The nation's state-owned oil giant, Petroleos de Venezuela, SA, has two major bond payments totaling about $2 billion coming due in the next two weeks. While the market expects the company, better known as PDVSA, to avoid default, the missed payments have rattled investors and raised fresh questions about how long embattled President Nicolas Maduro's regime might last.

"You're cutting close to the edge of not enough money in the checking account to pay the bills," said Ray Zucaro, chief investment officer at RVX Asset Management, an asset manager specializing in emerging and frontier markets.

Last week, Venezuela missed five coupon payments totaling nearly $350 million tied to the debt of PDVSA, the government and the utility Electricidad de Caracas. That stoked a minor sell-off in a number of outstanding bonds.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/20/venezuela-is-blowing-debt-payments-ahead-of-a-huge-make-or-break-bill.html

Will Venezuela become a new Cuba? Despite recent events, dont count on it

In the aftermath of Venezuela’s fraudulent Oct. 15 regional elections, the conventional wisdom is that President Nicolás Maduro has closed all avenues to an electoral solution to the country’s crisis, and that Venezuela will become a new Cuba. It may happen, but there are a few things that suggest otherwise.

There are many similarities. Maduro is increasingly acting like an all-out dictator, a la Fidel Castro. Maduro’s most recent elections for 23 governorships were so fraudulent that they were denounced by the United States, the 28-member European Union, and Latin America’s biggest countries, including Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.

It sounds like a joke, but Maduro claims to have won 80 percent of the governorships in a clean election, despite the fact that virtually all polls show that 80 percent of Venezuelans want him to leave office.

In addition to using massive government resources to help his candidates, allowing widespread media censorship and refusing to allow credible international observers, Maduro invalidated more than 1 million opposition votes by preventing people in opposition strongholds from casting their ballots.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/andres-oppenheimer/article179824416.html

Driven by unrest and violence, Venezuelans are fleeing their country by the thousands

As Ana Linares ambled around Lima’s sprawling and historic Plaza San Martin, holding aloft a tray of pastries, her shouts pierced the rush hour traffic roar: “Donuts, fresh donuts!!” She earns about $15 a day — more than she made in a month in her native Venezuela.

“It’s enough to live on and even send a little cash back to my family in Barquisimeto,” Linares said between sales. She buys the pastries from a Venezuelan neighbor and hustles downtown to the plaza. “I don’t leave until I’ve sold them all.”

Linares arrived in Lima last May after enduring a six-day bus trip from central Venezuela, her 8-month-old son on her lap, to join her husband who came months before. Life in Venezuela had become intolerable, with millions struggling with hyperinflation, food shortages, lack of work and lawlessness.

“Everything there has turned ugly. There’s hunger and crime. You can’t leave your house after 5 p.m. because you’re going to be robbed or killed,” Linares said, adding that she now earns enough to afford three meals a day, an impossibility for many these days in Venezuela.

http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-venezuela-refugees-20171019-htmlstory.html

Venezuela Maduro warns of repeat elections in states won by opposition

Venezuelan state elections may be repeated in the five states won by the opposition if the governors-elect continue to refuse to be sworn in by a controversial pro-government legislative superbody, President Nicolas Maduro warned on Friday.

His warning came in a televised speech after the government on Sunday unexpectedly won 18 of 23 states in a vote which the opposition calls fraudulent.

Authorities have mandated that all elected governors participate in a ceremony before the pro-government Constituent Assembly, but the five opposition winners did not take part. “Anyone who wants to be governor will have to recognize the Constituent National Assembly; otherwise elections will be repeated in states where the Assembly is not recognized,” Maduro said at the inauguration of one of the socialist candidates in western Lara state.

The opposition says that by law, the oath must be taken before regional parliaments and not before the Constituent Assembly, but so far none of their candidates have undergone that process and formally assumed their roles.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics/venezuela-maduro-warns-of-repeat-elections-in-states-won-by-opposition-idUSKBN1CP2UU

White House Says It Is Unpatriotic to Offer Irrefutable Video Evidence That a General Lied

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—In a stirring defense of Donald Trump’s chief of staff, General John Kelly, the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said on Friday that it was “unpatriotic in the extreme” to offer irrefutable video proof that a four-star general lied.

“It is unpatriotic enough to accuse a four-star general of lying,” Sanders told the White House press corps. “But to make available a video that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that that general lied is unpatriotic bordering on treasonous.”

Warming to her subject, Sanders said that any American who sees undeniable video evidence that a general lied and chooses to believe the video “shows disrespect for our country and hatred for our flag.” “General Kelly has served our country with courage and valor,” she said. “He has earned the right to lie without fear of being contradicted by the facts.”

Minutes after Sanders concluded her remarks, Kelly also received a vote of confidence from Trump, who called his chief of staff “a good liar, for a beginner.”

https://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/white-house-says-it-is-unpatriotic-to-offer-irrefutable-video-evidence-that-a-general-lied

Venezuela swears in governors amid opposition boycott

Source: BBC News

In Venezuela, 18 newly elected socialist governors have been sworn in by the constituent assembly.

Five governors from the opposition Roundtable for Democracy (MUD) coalition boycotted the event.

They said they refused to bow to the constituent assembly, which they consider illegitimate.

The boycott is the latest stand-off between the opposition and the governing socialist party amid a grave economic and political crisis.

Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-41678337



Maduro apparently is threatening to not allow the opposition governors to take their offices because of their refusal to be sworn in by the constituent assembly.

Venezuela opposition governors refuse to be sworn in

Venezuela's opposition said its newly-elected governors would refuse to participate Wednesday in a swearing in ceremony before the pro-government Constituent Assembly, which it does not recognize.

The Democratic Union Roundtable (MUD) said it would not allow its five governors to be subjected to "the blackmail of the fraudulent Constituent Assembly" after President Nicolas Maduro threatened to remove them from office if they refused.

"We will only be sworn in before God and the respective legislative councils and not before the fraudulent Constituent Assembly," the MUD said in a statement shortly before a special swearing-in session convened at the legislative palace.

The opposition had previously said it would not participate but doubts remained until shortly before the ceremony because of internal divisions.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/venezuela-opposition-governors-refuse-sworn-153651983.html
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