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Zorro

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Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 50
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 13,578

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Thieves take $1 million worth of gloves meant for Florida hospitals

Surveillance video shows thieves backing a truck up to the shipping container and hauling off the personal protective equipment.

Thieves have stolen over 6 million gloves, worth $1 million, meant for first responders at Florida hospitals.

Medgluv, a supplier of medical gloves to the national health care industry, said it received the shipment at its office in Coral Springs on Friday night. On Sunday night, surveillance video shows thieves backing a truck up to the shipping container and hauling off the personal protective equipment. It took only a few minutes.

“We’ve had hospitals asking for this product on a daily basis waiting for this to arrive,” said Rick Grimes, Medgluv’s vice president of sales and marketing. “It’s heartbreaking in so many different ways.”

He did not elaborate on whether the company thought the theft was lucky timing or an inside job.

https://www.tampabay.com/news/health/2020/10/27/thieves-take-1-million-worth-of-gloves-meant-for-florida-hospitals/

Sounds like an inside job to me.

How China took Trump to the cleaners in their big trade deal

By MICHAEL HILTZIK

January seems so long ago it’s almost prehistoric, but if you can cast your mind back that far you’ll recall that President Trump signed a big deal signifying a cease-fire in his incredibly destructive trade war with China.

The so-called Phase 1 deal called for China to step up its purchases of U.S. goods and produce by $200 billion over two years. The idea was to shrink China’s enormous trade surplus with the U.S., which had reached a record $323.3 billion in 2018.

Trump called the agreement, signed with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He at a White House ceremony Jan. 15, “transformative.”

Sadly, no. The latest trade figures, ably collated and analyzed by Chad P. Bown of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, show that China has fallen far behind on its purchase commitments. So far behind, Bown says, that the chances it will meet its year-end 2020 commitments are effectively nil.

https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2020-10-27/hiltzik-china-beat-trump-in-trade-deal

Biden headed for historic margin in California, poll shows

With one week to go before the 2020 campaign ends, California remains on track to hand former Vice President Joe Biden a victory by the largest margin for a Democratic presidential candidate in state history, the final UC Berkeley Institute for Governmental Studies poll indicates.

Biden leads President Trump 65%-29%, the poll finds. That 36-point margin would top the 30-point advantage that Hillary Clinton amassed against Trump in 2016, the previous record for a Democrat. The only larger victory in state history came exactly a century ago, in 1920, when Warren G. Harding, the Republican, beat James Cox, the Democratic candidate, by 42 points.

The likely outcome in California has never been in much doubt. The former vice president consistently has led Trump by huge margins in statewide polls for the past two years. The Republican ticket has never pretended to contest the race in the state, despite California’s large trove of 55 electoral votes, visiting for fundraising but not much else.

A Republican hasn’t carried California in a presidential contest since George H.W. Bush in 1988, and the state hasn’t been competitive in more than a generation.

https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-10-27/biden-headed-for-historic-margin-in-california-poll-shows

Vote Him Away #3

Steve Miller is the Key to Understanding Chad's Rise: At DHS, Chad Wolf is Playing a Political Game

“STEPHEN MILLER IS THE KEY TO UNDERSTANDING CHAD’S RISE”: AT DHS, CHAD WOLF IS PLAYING A POLITICAL GAME WITHIN A GAME

Wolf’s rise to the top of the Department of Homeland Security happened largely by chance. Now that he’s there, colleagues say he’s learned to play the Trumpworld game—and formed heavyweight alliances. “Stephen really tried to be the shadow secretary of Homeland Security,” says a former DHS official, “and his vessel for doing that was Chad.”

When Chad Wolf defended the Department of Homeland Security’s crackdown in Portland, Oregon this summer, his former colleagues were perplexed. To them, the man decrying the “violent anarchists” threatening “to burn down” a federal courthouse was almost unrecognizable. It wasn’t just the partisan nature of his comments, made before the Senate in August, but the aggression with which he delivered them. “That doesn’t match the guy I worked with,” a former senior DHS official told me. “It’s not his personality.” Wolf, like so many others before him, was plainly putting on a show for Donald Trump: “He’s playing to the audience of one.”

Wolf’s movements in the months since federal officers in unmarked vans hoovered up protesters in Portland have constituted an encore performance, featuring rhetoric that could’ve been cribbed from the president’s Twitter feed. As experts fret that the presidential election, less than two weeks away, might foment widespread violence regardless of the outcome, Wolf’s acquiescence to Trump has arguably become a homeland security threat in itself. “There’s a difference between advancing your political agenda and interfering in the ability of intelligence, law enforcement, and security agencies to protect the nation,” John Cohen, a former deputy undersecretary for intelligence and analysis at DHS, told me. “And that’s the difference here.”

Ask a half dozen people who have worked closely with Wolf to describe him—which I did—and the portrait that emerges is remarkably unremarkable. Sources I spoke with described Wolf as an effective but milquetoast bureaucrat who, before his elevation to the helm of DHS, kept his personal views so close to the vest that at times he didn’t appear to have any. “He’s a nice guy, but not a super-nice guy,” said one source who worked closely with Wolf. His stoicism often prompted colleagues to ask, “What’s Chad thinking?” said a second former senior DHS official. (After repeated requests from Vanity Fair, DHS did not make Wolf available for an interview.) As he fell further upward through the ranks at DHS, Wolf’s survival instinct led him to foster connections with those who would hone him into the tool he has become. “He is savvy in the sense that Chad knows who is important around the president and who he needs to not piss off. Namely, Stephen Miller,” the second former senior DHS official told me. “Stephen Miller is the key to understanding Chad’s rise in this administration and his ultimate nomination to be secretary of Homeland Security by the president.”

Wolf didn’t climb the institutional ladder so much as hang from a rung longer than most. After a four-month stint at the Transportation Security Administration in the beginning of the Trump administration, Wolf joined the DHS front office as deputy chief of staff and top aide to then deputy secretary Elaine Duke. He stuck by Duke when she was elevated to acting secretary as a result of John Kelly and Kirstjen Nielsen taking White House positions. When Nielsen returned to DHS and was confirmed as secretary, Wolf remained in the same role, serving as her chief of staff. After Kevin McAleenan took over from Nielsen, Wolf was confirmed as the undersecretary for strategy, policy, and plans.

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2020/10/chad-wolf-acting-secretary-department-homeland-security

More than 6 million Floridians have already voted

To equal 2016′s turnout of 75 percent, 4.78 million more Floridians will have to vote from now until 7 p.m. on Nov. 3.

About 42 percent of Florida’s registered voters have already cast ballots in the 2020 general election following the first weekend of early in-person voting.

With eight days to go until Nov. 3, more ballots have already been cast — 6,018,430 — than the total number of mail and early in-person ballots cast in the 2018 general election. The total so far includes Florida’s most high-profile resident; President Donald Trump voted in person Saturday in Palm Beach County.

Republicans have continued to narrow the gap with Democrats in ballots cast, with 2.2 million Republicans having voted so far compared to nearly 2.6 million Democrats. No-party-affiliated voters, which make up about a quarter of registered voters, have also had strong numbers in early voting so far, casting nearly 1.2 million ballots.

Campaigns are urging voters to cast ballots early; doing so can help them focus resources on turning out remaining voters on Election Day.

https://www.tampabay.com/news/florida-politics/elections/2020/10/26/more-than-6-million-floridians-have-already-voted/

What has four years of President Donald Trump meant for Florida's environment?

The president has pushed environmental deregulation at a level veteran lawyers say they have never seen before.

Under President Donald Trump, the federal government has rushed into a deregulation push unlike anything longtime environmental advocates say they have ever seen.

The changes, including rollbacks to landmark rules on issues such as clean air and endangered species, go beyond familiar partisan seesawing between Republican and Democratic leadership.

“On some level, the administration .... see(s) this as perhaps a generational opportunity to remake what the federal role in environmental protection is about,” said James McElfish, a senior attorney at the Environmental Law Institute.

To his supporters, the president is fulfilling a promise to speed up permitting and eliminate red tape that adds expenses to businesses, from auto manufacturers to oil companies. Critics say the approach is one plank of a broader assault on science.

https://www.tampabay.com/news/environment/2020/10/26/what-has-four-years-of-president-donald-trump-meant-for-floridas-environment/

Eleven arrested after fights erupt between pro-Trump caravan and protesters in Manhattan

Source: Washington Post

Among the crowd that brawled in Manhattan on Sunday, there were Trump hats, American flags, people dressed in all black and others sporting red gear that read “Make America Great Again.” Punches were thrown, eggs were launched and expletives were yelled.

The fight in the heart of Times Square between Trump supporters and demonstrators protesting the president led to 11 arrests, police said, after a “verbal dispute that turned physical."

The incident points to the political tensions boiling over at the final stretch of a particularly divisive campaign season. While police normally prepare for potential unrest around elections, The Washington Post’s Mark Berman reported, fears are heightened among law enforcement leaders this year that any result at the polls — or no immediately obvious one — could spark physical confrontations.

Already, a number of violent brawls have broken out in recent weeks between groups rallying for or against Trump on city streets around the country.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/10/25/trump-protest-ny-fight-caravan/

Iowa Republicans are only pivoting toward the center to save their hold on the state

Opinion by Lyz Lenz

After Iowa Republicans rejected incumbent U.S. congressman and notorious racist Steve King in last June’s primary, GOP consultant David Kochel told me he was breaking out the booze. A fellow Republican operative tweeted a video of Kochel squirting something from a flask into his mouth with the comment, “King Slayer @ddkochel drinks blood after the kill.”

Kochel himself appended several clapping emojis to a Democrat’s tweet that said, “Steve King continues to honor the Confederacy by getting just destroyed on his home turf.”

Iowa Republicans were celebrating. Forget that Kochel used to donate to King. Forget that, just months earlier, two GOP rivals for another congressional seat, Bobby Schilling and Mariannette Miller-Meeks, shared a stage with neo-Nazi Nick Fuentes. And never mind that Fuentes was there by an invitation from a Schilling staffer.

No, they said, they were a new party now.

But the truth is, Iowa Republicans are changing only because the party stands on the verge of losing its current chokehold on the state. Republicans turned against King not because of his racism, which they tend not to comment on, but because he wasn’t an effective congressman.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/10/26/iowa-republicans-are-only-pivoting-toward-center-save-their-hold-state/

Trump's mythical economic success and the end of supply-side tax cuts

Opinion by Jennifer Rubin

President Trump’s argument for reelection boils down to this: “I kept the economy humming before I wrecked it, so let me try again.” Voters should understand this is false. More important, Republicans should understand their economic philosophy has reached a dead end.

Steven Rattner, former treasury official in the Obama administration, reminds us in an op-ed for the New York Times: “For the first three years of his presidency, his economy amounted to nothing more than a continuation of the recovery engineered by President Barack Obama. Job growth, for example, was faster during Mr. Obama’s last three years than during the first three years of Mr. Trump’s.” It was much the same story on wages, if one looks at “worker average hourly earnings, year-over-year percent change during Mr. Obama’s last 36 months and Mr. Trump’s first 36 months in office.”

Trump promised up to 6 percent growth as a result of the tax cuts, but that never appeared. Instead, Rattner reports, “At the end of December, Bloomberg Economics estimated that the trade war would cost the U.S. economy around $316 billion by the end of 2020.”

Republicans’ singular focus on tax cuts as the sole engine of growth and jobs needs to be reexamined. Obama’s 2013 tax hike, which raised the top marginal tax rate to 39.6 percent and increased the long-term capital gains rate for wealthy individuals, did not slow the economy. In fact, the Associated Press reported in 2016 that “employers added 5.8 million jobs in 2014 and 2015 — the strongest two-year growth since the late 1990s.” Those two years saw economic growth of 2.45 percent and 2.88 percent, respectively. The growth rate following Trump’s 2017 tax cut, by comparison, was 3.18 percent in 2018 and 2.33 percent in 2019.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/10/26/trumps-mythical-economic-success-end-supply-side-tax-cuts/
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