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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: 10,602

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Venezuela unveils largest-ever bill, worth a few US dollars

Venezuelans living with hyper-inflation and a scarcity of cash for buying daily goods will soon have the country's largest paper bill circulating in recent history.

The country's president announced Wednesday that the new 100,000- bolivar note will hit the streets this week. It will be worth less than $2.50 in U.S. currency in black market dealings.

In a nationally broadcast appearance, President Nicolas Maduro held up the new paper bill, while also unveiling a 30 percent boost to the minimum wage.

The new denomination is stop-gap measure in an economic plan by Maduro's government aimed at doing away with the need for paper money.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/venezuela-unveils-largest-ever-bill-worth-few-us-010834417.html

Buddy, can you spare 4,000 bolivars?

Poll: Americans Were Sort of Hoping Mueller Would Arrest Someone New Every Day

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—After a memorable Monday, in which the special counsel announced criminal charges against three men associated with Donald Trump’s campaign, millions of Americans were sort of hoping that Robert Mueller would arrest someone new every day, a new poll indicates.

According to the poll, Monday’s news that Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, and George Papadopoulos had been charged may have unfairly raised Americans’ expectations that Mueller would be generating new arrests at the rate of at least three a day.

“Monday was one of the happiest days of my life,” one poll respondent said. “It started out great with Manafort and Gates, and then, bam, out of nowhere, Papadopoulos. I guess I started hoping all days would be like that.”

Although Jared Kushner and Donald Trump, Jr., continue to be Americans’ most popular picks for the person Mueller arrests next, the poll suggests that, at this point, the indictment-starved public would be willing to settle for a lesser-known figure.

https://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/poll-americans-were-sort-of-hoping-mueller-would-arrest-someone-new-every-day

EPA's Pruitt and staff to attend chemical industry meeting at luxury resort next week

Source: Washington Post

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt will travel next week to address the American Chemistry Council’s board meeting at a high-end resort on South Carolina’s Kiawah Island, his spokesman confirmed Thursday.

Pruitt, who has traveled across the country to meet with industry groups regulated by the EPA, is scheduled to address the board during a session on Nov. 9, according to the event’s official schedule. The administrator plans to bring eight EPA staffers to the event. The contingent includes his chief of staff, a senior adviser on state and regional affairs, a press aide, a public engagement official, a security detail of three and an advance person.

The EPA on Thursday said the government is paying for the group’s expenses.

“This is part of Administrator Pruitt’s ‘back-to-basics’ tour as he continues to meet with as many stakeholders as possible,” EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox said in a statement. “Administering the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), amended by the 2016 Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act, is one of EPA’s core functions.”

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/11/02/epas-pruitt-and-staff-to-attend-meeting-at-luxury-resort-next-week



Nice gig Pruitt has going on here.

The new GOP tax plan proves it: The problem isn't just Trump. It's Republicans.

The Republican tax bill is finally out, and it doesn’t change the two competing narratives about it, which are that it’s either an enormous giveaway to the rich and corporations (the Democrats’ story) or that it will unleash spectacular growth that will trickle down to everyone (the Republicans’ story).

But this bill, in all its mangled confusion, represents exactly where Republicans are today, in terms of both policy and politics. And that’s not a good place.

Yes, President Trump is going to send out some stupid tweets and say some stupid things that will make passing the bill more difficult. But the problems congressional Republicans have are of their own making.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2017/11/02/the-new-gop-tax-plan-proves-it-the-problem-isnt-just-trump-its-republicans

Trump and the Republicans cannot govern. Is that a feature or a bug?

House Republicans were supposed to release the details of their tax cut plan on Wednesday, but as of Tuesday night, it appears that they will push the release to Thursday, as they struggle to find ways to offset the cost of their plan. This sort of process — introducing major tweaks at the last minute, writing the bill in secret while touting its alleged benefits, throwing out new “payfors” at the last minute in hopes that lobbyists won’t have time to fight against them — is unprecedented.

In a way, so what if they’re a day late? History will not record this hiccup. But that glazes over the larger point. Except for health-care reform — the last big issue President Trump and the Republicans tried to legislate — I’ve never seen such lurching on such a portentous issue. The federal government collects about 17 percent of GDP in taxes, over $3 trillion per year; health-care spending is of a similar magnitude, split equally between the public and private sectors. And their health-care debacle came after seven years of endlessly inveighing against the Affordable Care Act, hundreds of wasted hours of debate and dozens of phony, showboating repeal votes that the Republicans knew would not pass.

This is terrible governance, brought to us at the hands of a majority political party that has mastered the art of getting elected, while remaining clueless as to what to do once in power.

But hold up a second. Why should I complain about this? If team Trump/Ryan/McConnell can’t move legislation that guts health care, adds tens of millions to the ranks of the uninsured, transfers trillions in tax revenue to the wealthiest households and multinational corporations at the expense of the middle class and the poor, that’s a feature of their legislative fecklessness, not a bug, right?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2017/11/01/trump-and-the-republicans-cannot-govern-is-that-a-feature-or-a-bug

I worked for Paul Manafort. He always lacked a moral compass.

Early in my career, I worked for Paul Manafort. He was strategic, canny and demanding, and, it will surprise no one to learn after his 12-count indictment Monday, he played by his own rules, in an industry where you usually got away with it. I was young and wanted to do right by the world, but my boss lacked a moral compass. Working for him nearly broke my spirit.

A few years out of college, in 1987, I landed a job as an international field operative for BMS&K — Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly, the capital’s first bipartisan lobbying firm. Manafort himself hired me after I promised that “there is no place in the world I will not go.” And I got what I signed up for: In more than a decade working for him, there was no place that Manafort would not send me.

According to a Newsweek cover story in 1985, BMS&K was “the hottest shop in town.” The service it provided to clients was part politics, part public policy and part commerce, a curious mix of self-interest, selflessness and opportunism that could exist only in Washington. BMS&K got paid to change policy and alter opinions. It could be for something as narrow as a modified export regulation or as all-encompassing as building strategic alliances against America’s enemies, real or perceived.

The late ’80s was a time of global upheaval. After Ronald Reagan’s presidency, we were in an era of proxy wars and “freedom fighters.” The Soviet Union was beginning to teeter. So foreign governments and other political interests were willing to pay us millions to ensure that they were properly allied with the United States. And we did it all: We organized congressional delegations and advocacy trips to lawmakers’ districts, coordinated head-of-state visits to Washington, handled front-page media placements, prepared white papers. Whatever it took.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2017/11/01/i-worked-for-paul-manafort-he-always-lacked-a-moral-compass

White House's Sanders: Trump's flaw is having to deal with you guys on a daily basis

Add this one to the pile of anti-media remarks that have come out of the White House over the past nine months.

In Wednesday’s briefing, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked by NBC News correspondent Peter Alexander to identify a flaw in President Trump: “Yesterday from that podium, you said ‘All of our leaders have flaws — Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Kennedy.’ What are President Trump’s flaws?”

Without much hesitation, Sanders replied, “Probably that he has to deal with you guys on a daily basis.”

No, not right, countered Alexander as he pointed out that Trump actually doesn’t have to deal with the media on a daily basis. “Most every day, actually,” protested Sanders. Pressed again to specify an actual flaw in Trump, Sanders deflected, “I just gave you one.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/wp/2017/11/01/white-houses-sanders-trumps-flaw-is-having-to-deal-with-you-guys-on-a-daily-basis

Amazon Cloud Cam

This new Amazon home product is to be released later this month, and no doubt will be very popular. It's being promoted as a benign security feature.

We really are moving into the future surveillance state at a pretty rapid pace, but we're surrendering our privacy to commercial versus government organizations. This trend is disturbing to me.

John McCain Just Attacked Nearly Everything Donald Trump Represents

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) fired off another shot at President Donald Trump and his supporters, attacking everything from “crackpot conspiracy theories” to the proposed border wall with Mexico.

“It’s time to wake up,” McCain told midshipmen at the Naval Academy on Monday night, per the Capital Gazette. “I believe in America. We’re capable of better. I’ve seen it. We’re hopeful, compassionate people.”

McCain then lamented the loss of “compromise and principled cooperation.”

“We are asleep to the necessity of our leadership, and to the opportunities and real dangers of this world,” he said, according to The Hill. “We are asleep in our echo chambers, where our views are always affirmed and information that contradicts them is always fake.”

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/john-mccain-trump-naval-academy-speech_us_59f7f0dde4b0c0c8e67c5a2d
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