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Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 50
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 13,316

Journal Archives

Ex-U.S. Embassy worker in Mexico accused of sexually assaulting 24 women

A former worker at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico is believed to have drugged and sexually assaulted as many as two dozen women, filming many of them while they were unconscious, according to federal prosecutors.

Brian Jeffrey Raymond was arrested earlier this month in San Diego, where he had moved after leaving his job in June. He has been charged in one case involving an alleged assault last May, and prosecutors say they anticipate more charges involving 23 other women.

The FBI started investigating Raymond after Mexican police responding to a call May 31 found a woman naked and screaming from the balcony of a U.S. Embassy-leased apartment in Mexico City.

Investigators found more than 400 photos and videos in Raymond’s iCloud account which suggested he was filming unconscious women, according to court documents.


DHS plans largest operation to secure U.S. election against hacking

A 24/7 war room will operate from Election Day until local officials are confident in the results. It shows just how far DHS’s cybersecurity agency has come since 2016.

The Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity division is mounting the largest operation to secure a U.S. election, aiming to prevent a repeat of Russia’s 2016 interference and to ward off new threats posed by Iran and China.

On Election Day, DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency will launch a 24/7 virtual war room, to which election officials across the nation can dial in at any time to share notes about suspicious activity and work together to respond. The agency will also pass along classified information from intelligence agencies about efforts they detect from adversaries seeking to undermine the election and advise states on how to protect against such attacks.

“I anticipate possibly thousands of local election officials coming in to share information in real time, to coordinate, to track down what’s real and what’s not, separate fact from fiction on the ground,” said Matt Masterson, CISA’s senior cybersecurity adviser, who has helped lead election preparations. “We’ll be able to sort through what’s happening and identify: Is this a typical election event or is this something larger?”

The operation will run for days or weeks until winners are clear in most races — and potentially until the election is formally certified in December. “We’ll remain stood up until the [election] community tells us, ‘Okay, we’re good, you can stand down,’ ” Masterson said.


Chris Christie Makes Cameo Video For Montana Democrat (By Mistake)

The former New Jersey governor is the latest Republican politician to be tricked into making a video for the opposing party.

Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor, on Thursday became the latest Republican politician to be fooled into making a campaign video on behalf of a Democrat.

Mr. Christie is one of many of Mr. Trump’s current and former associates available for hire on Cameo, an app that allows users to commission personalized videos from minor — and increasingly major — celebrities.

The video, which cost $200, was framed as a jovial message to a person named Greg, who Mr. Christie was prompted to encourage to return to New Jersey, Greg’s former home.

What Mr. Christie did not know was that the video was meant for Greg Gianforte, the Republican nominee in Montana’s governor’s race. It was commissioned by the campaign of Mr. Gianforte’s opponent, Mike Cooney.


Lies, Damned Lies and Trump Rallies

Who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?

By Paul Krugman

Donald Trump lies a lot. In fact, he lies so often that several media organizations try to keep a running tally, and even try to draw political inferences from fluctuations in the number of lies he tells in a given month (although the trend has been relentlessly upward).

But we’ve crossed some kind of threshold in the past few weeks. It’s not so much that Trump is lying more as that the lies have become qualitatively different — even more blatant, and increasingly untethered to any plausible political strategy.

Back in the day, Trump lies tended to be those like his repeated claims that he was about to unroll a health care plan that would be far better and cheaper than Obamacare, while protecting pre-existing conditions.

Those of us following the issue closely knew that there was no such plan, indeed that there couldn’t be given the logic of health insurance; we also knew that he had made the same promise many times, but never delivered.


Texas Voters Line Up To Shoot Ballots At Local Election Range

CANYON, TX—Loading their firearms with enough ammo to mark their preferred candidates for each race, Texas voters lined up to begin shooting their 2020 ballots at local election ranges, sources confirmed Thursday.

“It’s always nice to stare down the ol’ iron sights and make your voice heard by leaving a bullet hole on your favorite politicians,” said Cal Humphries, 54, who shouldered an AR-15 and fired multiple rounds into a sheet of paper that hung from a target retrieval system to indicate his choice in a series of down-ballot judicial races.

“Being able to hit a bull’s-eye on your Senate pick is a hallowed right that our ancestors fought and died for. Just make sure you’re using the right caliber bullet, though, or your vote may be disqualified.”

At press time, a visibly furious Humphries was heard cursing loudly after one of his shots was slightly off, leading him to accidentally select Green Party presidential candidate Howie Hawkins.


The Loss of Naivete'

By Charles M. Blow

How could we have been so blind? How could we have been so naïve? How did we not believe that the worst was possible until we plummeted into it?

We didn’t believe that a demagogic tyrant-worshiper could rise to the presidency.

The founders of this country worried obsessively about the rise of a demagogue, and the power of foreign influence on our democracy. And yet somehow, over the years, after centuries of American presidents behaving in ways that at least demonstrated a fealty to the country and its institutions and the power of precedent and legacy, those fears waned to a whisper.

Having a demagogue, partially installed by a Russian disinformation campaign no less, who exalted our enemies in the world and hammered our friends, was somewhat unthinkable. This was America. We would only go so far. We might race up to the precipice, but we would never hurl ourselves into the abyss. Wrong.

With the election of Donald Trump, America did the unthinkable, shocking itself and the world: It put the most powerful country in the world under the control of a lying, grifting, shady carnival ­­­­­conductor. He had no experience in governance and no expertise. His entire life was a game of smoke and mirrors, double talk and double-dealing.


Four Wasted Years Thinking About Donald Trump

By Michelle Goldberg

It’s very hard to catalog all the things we’ve lost under the presidency of Donald Trump.

As I write this, over 225,000 Americans have lost their lives to Covid-19. Many of our children have lost months of school. Soon a huge part of the country will lose Thanksgiving.

Because of the Trump administration’s barbaric family separation policy, 545 children may be lost to their parents forever. America has lost its status as a leading democracy. We lost Ruth Bader Ginsburg, so we’re probably going to lose Roe v. Wade. More people have lost their jobs under Trump than under any president since at least World War II.

Compared with all this, mourning the cultural casualties of the Trump years might be frivolous.

But when I think back, from my obviously privileged position, on the texture of daily life during the past four years, all the attention sucked up by this black hole of a president has been its own sort of loss. Every moment spent thinking about Trump is a moment that could have been spent contemplating, creating or appreciating something else. Trump is a narcissistic philistine, and he bent American culture toward him.


Colossal Reef Discovered Off Australia's Coast Is Taller Than Empire State Building

Scientists have discovered a new detached coral reef at the northern tip of the Great Barrier Reef – and it stands an impressive 500 metres (1,640 feet) high, taller than the Empire State Building, the Sydney Tower and the Petronas Towers in Malaysia.

It's the first such discovery in the region for 120 years, made by a team from the Schmidt Ocean Institute using underwater mapping technology, and then captured on camera by the SuBastian diving robot. The researchers are currently on a 12-month mission to map the underwater landscape around Australia.

The gigantic reef, separate from the Great Barrier Reef but still fixed to the ocean floor, joins several other tall reefs in the region – including the one at Raine Island, an important habitat and breeding area for green turtles.

"This unexpected discovery affirms that we continue to find unknown structures and new species in our ocean," says Wendy Schmidt, co-founder of the Schmidt Ocean Institute. "The state of our knowledge about what's in the ocean has long been so limited."


Trump Killed the Pax Americana

By Paul Krugman

There are, I suppose, some people who still imagine that if and when Donald Trump leaves office we’ll see a rebirth of civility and cooperation in U.S. politics. They are, of course, hopelessly naïve. America in the 2020s will remain a deeply polarized nation, rife with crazy conspiracy theories and, quite possibly, plagued by right-wing terrorism.

But that won’t be Trump’s legacy. The truth is that we were already well down that road before he came along. And on the other side, if the Democrats win big, I expect to see many of Trump’s substantive policies reversed, and then some. Environmental protection and the social safety net will probably end up substantially stronger, taxes on the rich substantially higher, than they were under Barack Obama.

Trump’s lasting legacy, I suspect, will come in international affairs. For almost 70 years America played a special role in the world, one that no nation had ever played before. We’ve now lost that role, and I don’t see how we can ever get it back.

You see, American dominance represented a new form of superpower hegemony.


Trump abdicated America's international leadership role, and has allowed China to fill the void. What a humiliation and a disgrace.

How Will I Ever Look at America the Same Way Again?

By Frank Bruni

It’s always assumed that those of us who felt certain of Hillary Clinton’s victory in 2016 were putting too much trust in polls.

I was putting too much trust in Americans.

I’d seen us err. I’d watched us stray. Still I didn’t think that enough of us would indulge a would-be leader as proudly hateful, patently fraudulent and flamboyantly dishonest as Donald Trump.

We had episodes of ugliness, but this? No way. We were better than Trump.

Except, it turned out, we weren’t.

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