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Zorro

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 50
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 11,551

Journal Archives

Book by 'Anonymous' describes Trump as cruel, inept and a danger to the nation

Senior Trump administration officials considered resigning en masse last year in a “midnight self-massacre” to sound a public alarm about President Trump’s conduct, but rejected the idea because they believed it would further destabilize an already teetering government, according to a new book by an unnamed author.

In “A Warning” by Anonymous, obtained by The Washington Post ahead of its release, a writer described only as “a senior official in the Trump administration” paints a chilling portrait of the president as cruel, inept and a danger to the nation he was elected to lead.

The author — who first captured attention in 2018 as the unidentified author of a New York Times opinion column — describes Trump careening from one self-inflicted crisis to the next, “like a twelve-year-old in an air traffic control tower, pushing the buttons of government indiscriminately, indifferent to the planes skidding across the runway and the flights frantically diverting away from the airport.”

The book is an unsparing character study of Trump, from his morality to his intellectual depth, which the author writes is based on his or her observations and experiences. The author claims many other current and former administration officials share his or her views.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/book-by-anonymous-describes-trump-as-cruel-inept-and-a-danger-to-the-nation/2019/11/07/b6b6c6f2-0150-11ea-8bab-0fc209e065a8_story.html

Russian Snipers, Missiles and Warplanes Try to Tilt Libyan War

The casualties at the Aziziya field hospital south of Tripoli used to arrive with gaping wounds and shattered limbs, victims of the haphazard artillery fire that has defined battles among Libyan militias. But now medics say they are seeing something new: narrow holes in a head or a torso left by bullets that kill instantly and never exit the body.

It is the work, Libyan fighters say, of Russian mercenaries, including skilled snipers. The lack of an exit wound is a signature of the ammunition used by the same Russian mercenaries elsewhere.

The snipers are among about 200 Russian fighters who have arrived in Libya in the last six weeks, part of a broad campaign by the Kremlin to reassert its influence across the Middle East and Africa.

After four years of behind-the-scenes financial and tactical support for a would-be Libyan strongman, Russia is now pushing far more directly to shape the outcome of Libya’s messy civil war. It has introduced advanced Sukhoi jets, coordinated missile strikes, and precision-guided artillery, as well as the snipers — the same playbook that made Moscow a kingmaker in the Syrian civil war.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/05/world/middleeast/russia-libya-mercenaries.html

Elizabeth Warren Is Asking the Most Important Question on Health Care

Last week, Senator Elizabeth Warren released the much-anticipated financing details of her Medicare for All proposal. And they look good — too good, critics say. She has managed to outline a plan that could, in theory, finance generous universal care without a middle-class tax increase.

Experts and opponents are diving in, and they’re already finding much to dispute. But we shouldn’t lose sight of what Ms. Warren is trying to do. She’s making an evidence-based case for shifting the debate away from the perilous place it’s now in. Rather than “Will taxes go up?” or “Will private insurance be eliminated?” she wants us to ask a more basic question: How can we move from a broken system — a system that bankrupts even families who have insurance and produces subpar health outcomes despite exorbitant prices — to one that covers everyone, restrains prices and improves results?

That’s a question I’ve been thinking about for a long time. I first started advocating a step-by-step path away from our current system toward universal Medicare almost 20 years ago. A partial version became the “public option” that was stripped from the Affordable Care Act before its passage. More recently, I contributed to the design of the Medicare for America Act introduced by Representatives Rosa DeLauro and Jan Schakowsky, which would allow high-quality employment-based health plans to continue but cover everyone else through Medicare. (Full disclosure: I’ve also offered advice to the Warren campaign.)

Getting to affordable universal care has always been a problem of politics, not economics. Given that the United States spends much more for much less complete coverage than any other rich democracy, it’s easy to come up with a health care design that’s much better than what we have. The problem is figuring out how to overcome three big political hurdles: financing a new system, reducing disruptions as you displace the old system and overcoming the backlash from those the old system makes rich.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/05/opinion/warren-medicare-for-all.html

Murder in Mexico: Mormon Families Have a Long History There

The brutal killing of nine members of a family in northern Mexico on Monday highlights the long history of American religious settlers in the region.

The LeBarón family, some of whose members were targeted in Monday’s attack, has lived in the turbulent border region for decades, part of a wave of settlers who moved to Mexico in the early 20th century seeking at the time to practice polygamy, which was forbidden by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Today polygamy has largely faded from the community.

Long unaffiliated with the mainstream church, fundamentalist Mormon communities in northern Mexico originated in the late 1880s, when a number of families moved to the states of Chihuahua and Sonora. The Mormons who put down stakes included Miles Park Romney, the great-grandfather of Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah and the party’s presidential nominee in 2012.

Religious communities that date themselves to Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often call themselves Mormon. The mainstream church has abandoned the moniker, in part because of negative connotations around polygamy.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/05/us/mexico-mormon-community.html

California conservatives leaving the state for 'redder pastures'

The Volkswagen SUV whizzed past the Texas state line, a U-Haul trailer in tow, as it made its way toward Amarillo.

“Yay!” Judy Stark cried out to her husband, Richard, as they officially left California. The pair bobbed their heads to ’50s music playing on the radio.

Like many other Republican and conservative voters in California, the retired couple have decided to leave the state. A major reason, Stark and her spouse say, is their disenchantment with deep-blue California’s liberal political culture.

Despite spending most of their lives in the Golden State, they were fed up with high taxes, lukewarm support for local law enforcement, and policies they believe have thrown open the doors to illegal immigration.

https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/california/story/2019-11-04/california-conservatives-republicans-leaving

Good riddance, I say.

And won't they be surprised if Texas turns blue this next election cycle.

Tesla's competitors find that going electric has its own set of problems

Not all is good in EV Land.

Nio, a Chinese electric-car manufacturer vying to become the next Tesla, has fallen on hard times. A perfect storm of reduced government subsidies, uncertainty brought on by the trade war with the U.S., as well as generally lower demand in China has forced the manufacturer to cut more than 2,000 jobs and heavily “optimize” its business by spinning off non-core businesses by year’s end. The company’s shares have plummeted.

Unfortunately, Nio’s not alone. Harley-Davidson in mid-October briefly halted the production of its LiveWire electric motorcycle because of problems with charging the vehicle using low-voltage outlets (the ones found in your home or garage).

Similar problems plague Volkswagen unit Audi. In June, it was forced to recall the e-tron, its electric SUV, because of battery-fire risk. The company has recalled half of e-tron cars sold since the model was launched in April.

June was a month of recalls for Jaguar. Its I-Pace model has had problems with regenerative braking, which could lead to an increased delay between braking and the vehicle decelerating, increasing the risk of a crash.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/teslas-competitors-find-that-going-electric-has-its-own-set-of-problems-2019-11-04

Think you're anonymous online? A third of popular websites are 'fingerprinting' you.

Just when you thought we had hit rock bottom on all the ways the Internet could snoop on us — no. We’ve sunk even lower.

There’s a tactic spreading across the Web named after treatment usually reserved for criminals: fingerprinting. At least a third of the 500 sites Americans visit most often use hidden code to run an identity check on your computer or phone.

Websites from CNN and Best Buy to porn site Xvideos and WebMD are dusting your digital fingerprints by collecting details about your device you can’t easily hide. It doesn’t matter whether you turn on “private browsing” mode, clear tracker cookies or use a virtual private network. Some even use the fact you’ve flagged “do not track” in your browser as a way to fingerprint you.

They’re doing it, I suspect, because more of us are taking steps to protect our data. Privacy is an arms race — and we are falling behind.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/10/31/think-youre-anonymous-online-third-popular-websites-are-fingerprinting-you/

Google will acquire Fitbit in $2.1 billion deal and direct challenge to Apple

Source: Washington Post

FitBit on Friday announced it would be acquired by Google in a deal that values the smartwatch maker at roughly $2.1 billion.

The deal puts Alphabet in a race against Apple when it comes to tracking fitness and health data. FitBit’s stock had surged as much as 30 percent earlier this week on reports that Alphabet had put in an offer. The deal is expected to close in 2020.

Google will pay $7.35 a share for the fitness tracker, helping it advance its ambitions for wearable technology. The company does not make its own smartwatch.

FitBit’s stock surged 16 percent after the announcement.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/11/01/google-will-acquire-fitbit-billion-deal-direct-challenge-apple/



Fitbit's devices are capable of monitoring your biometrics (heart rate, sleep durations/type, etc.). It is already a bit disturbing to know that this detailed personal information is available to commercial companies; it's not a stretch to see the government also getting access to this data for political purposes.

Republicans convene the cult of Trump

That Rep. Devin Nunes serves as the ranking member on something called the Intelligence Committee has always been a contradiction in terms. The California Republican displayed his intellectual heft earlier this year by suing a fictitious dairy cow that was mean to him on Twitter.

Even so, what he said on the House floor during Thursday’s debate to authorize a formal impeachment inquiry was jaw-dropping. He railed about the sort of person who believes in “conspiracy theories” and relies on “defamation and slander,” who spins a “preposterous narrative” with “no evidence” and only “bizarre obsession.”

Surely he was describing one Donald J. Trump to a T?

On the contrary, Nunes applied these Trumpian signatures to Democrats. “What we’re seeing among Democrats on the Intelligence Committee,” he said, “is like a cult. These are a group of people loyally following their leader as he bounces from one outlandish conspiracy to another.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/10/31/republicans-convene-cult-trump/
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