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Zorro

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 50
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 11,727

Journal Archives

Saudi crown prince accused of sending hit squad to Canada

Source: BBC

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been accused of sending a hit-squad to Canada in order to kill a former Saudi intelligence official.

The failed plan to kill Saad al-Jabri was soon after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey, court documents filed in the US allege.

Mr Jabri, a veteran of the government of Saudi Arabia, fled into exile three years ago.

He has been under private security protection in Toronto since.

The alleged plot failed after Canadian border agents became suspicious of the hit-squad as they attempted to enter the country at Toronto's Pearson International Airport, court documents say.

Read more: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-53677869

The big, ugly disconnect hanging over Trump's response to the crisis

President Trump has blithely declared that the most dire public health crisis in modern U.S. history will just “disappear” or “go away” nearly two dozen times since the novel coronavirus first arrived on our shores. It has been far and away one of the most consistent things he has said on any topic.

So is it any wonder that Trump’s position on the economic catastrophe it has unleashed is almost exactly the same?

A strange disconnect is hovering over two of the biggest events in our politics right now: the economic rescue talks in Congress, and Trump’s new ad campaign against Joe Biden, which boasts a retooled message that’s supposed to reverse Trump’s plummeting fortunes.

For Trump, both are proceeding as if the economic calamity we’re sliding into simply isn’t any kind of big deal at all, as if it’s something that will “go away” or “disappear” with little effort on his part, other than getting public officials to stop taking such nettlesome steps to combat the health crisis.

This is rooted in Trump’s sociopathic refusal to take responsibility for the mounting wreckage on his watch. But it’s also rooted in ideology, as the talks and Trump’s own ads reveal.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/08/06/big-ugly-disconnect-hanging-over-trumps-response-crisis/

Trump sneered at the Civil Rights Act. We know why.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is widely viewed as one of the most consequential laws in the history of the republic. After overcoming filibuster attempts by white supremacists (I highly recommend Clay Risen’s magnificent telling of the law’s passage in “Bill of the Century" ), it transformed society, integrating everything from schools to amusement parks to labor unions; banishing the “whites only” signs that Blacks had to endure since Reconstruction; requiring any entity receiving government funds to adhere to nondiscrimination requirements; and setting up the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the potential for civil suits. Even today, it continues to extend the blessings of equality in public accommodations, employment and education to all Americans — including the LGBTQ community, as Justice Neil M. Gorsuch recently wrote for the Supreme Court.

Yet when asked about the law in the disastrous interview with Axios’s Jonathan Swan, President Trump responded: “How has it worked out? If you take a look at what Lyndon Johnson did? How has it worked out?” When Swan followed up by asking if he thought the Civil Rights Act was a mistake, Trump deflected.

The most charitable explanation for this exchange is that nearly four years into his presidency, Trump remains almost entirely ignorant about U.S. history and law. He quite possibly has no idea or only a vague idea of what the Civil Rights Act is (let alone the 1965 Voting Rights Act or the 1968 Fair Housing Act). His vast ego combined with laziness and lack of intellectual curiosity prevent him from learning even basic information any informed citizen, let alone the president, should have mastered by high school.

The other possibility — consistent with his history of alleged housing discrimination in the 1970s; his call for the execution of the Central Park Five (and refusal to recognize their innocence after DNA evidence exonerated them); his resorting to birtherism; his comment about “very fine people” at violent rallies in Charlottesville, Va.; his remark about “shithole” countries; his defense of Confederate statues and of military bases named for traitorous generals; and his recent appeal to white fear of “low income” neighbors — is that he is a racist seeking to appeal to a racist base. From start to finish (I hope we are nearly at the end), this has been a president driven and defined by white supremacy and convinced the way to bind himself to supporters is by appeal to white grievance.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/08/05/trump-disdains-not-only-rep-john-lewis-civil-rights-movement/

Trump chooses for ambassador to Germany a racist Fox commentator who is pro-Putin and anti-Merkel

I suppose I shouldn’t be shocked by Douglas Macgregor’s selection to be U.S. ambassador to Germany. When it comes to the appointment of officials, the Trump administration appears bent on refuting Darwin. Instead of evolution, we are seeing devolution. No matter how unqualified, dangerous or extremist an appointee, odds are that whoever comes next will be even worse.

Mike Pompeo is a worse secretary of state than Rex Tillerson. While Tillerson was merely ineffectual, Pompeo is actively malign: helping Trump ratchet up tensions with countries such as China and Iran, while alienating U.S. allies such as Germany and South Korea — and trying to blackmail Ukraine.

Mark Meadows is a worse White House chief of staff than Reince Priebus, John F. Kelly or even Mick Mulvaney. More so than his predecessors, Meadows actively enables Trump’s worst abuses, such as tear-gassing peaceful demonstrators and mismanaging the pandemic.

Chad Wolf is a worse secretary of homeland security than Kirstjen Nielsen was. While Nielsen was willing to torment undocumented immigrants, Wolf has become Trump’s favorite because he is also eager to wage war on unarmed demonstrators.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/08/05/richard-grenell-was-bad-enough-ambassador-germany-douglas-macgregor-would-be-even-worse/

Senate Republicans advance Ukraine probe aimed at Biden despite foreign interference concerns

Source: Washington Post

One of President Trump’s top supporters in the Senate is pressing ahead with a politically fraught investigation into former vice president Joe Biden and Ukraine, despite warnings from Democrats that he risks laundering Russian disinformation into the United States through the Senate ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, is scrutinizing a Ukrainian gas company’s hiring of Biden’s son onto its board and the activities of a lobbying firm it hired in Washington, reviving a thread of the Trump impeachment proceedings that the president’s allies hope could damage Biden.

Johnson has said he is investigating whether Hunter Biden’s involvement with the gas company posed a conflict of interest to then-Vice President Biden’s work on Ukraine policy. His committee has been collecting documents and in recent days interviewed three witnesses, including a top State Department official who testified during the impeachment hearings, according to people familiar with the inquiry, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation. Johnson told the Hill newspaper that he is planning to publish his report by mid-September, weeks before the Nov. 3 election.

Johnson, who is working with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), has said Democratic objections are a sign that his inquiry is on the right track.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/senate-republicans-advance-ukraine-probe-aimed-at-biden-despite-foreign-interference-concerns/2020/08/05/6eb3718e-d503-11ea-b9b2-1ea733b97910_story.html



Republicans are all fucking traitors to this country.

Ex-Justice Dept. official says Michael Flynn secretly 'neutered' Obama's moves on Russia

Source: Washington Post

Former deputy attorney general Sally Q. Yates told Congress on Wednesday that President Trump’s incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn in late 2016 had secretly “neutered” Obama administration actions toward Russia, prompting an investigation that consumed the early days of Trump’s presidency.

Yates has been a target of Trump and many Republicans for her brief oversight of the investigation of Russia’s election interference and possible collusion with the Trump campaign four years ago. She testified via video before the Senate Judiciary Committee, whose chairman, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), has been highly critical of the FBI’s handling of that case.

Trump attacked Yates before the hearing began, tweeting that she “has zero credibility” and declaring her “part of the greatest political crime of the Century, and ObamaBiden knew EVERYTHING!”

Graham’s review of the Russia investigation is one of two in the Republican-controlled Senate focused on reviewing the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign. The president’s allies leading those reviews say they are focused on exposing misconduct and working to restore public confidence in federal law enforcement. Critics, including congressional Democrats, say they are a politically motivated attempt to rewrite history and help the incumbent in an election year.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/sally-yates-russia-michael-flynn-senate-hearing/2020/08/05/7fdb7132-d733-11ea-930e-d88518c57dcc_story.html

The Biggest Bedroom Is No Longer a 'Master'

The term’s racist and sexist undertones lead New York’s real estate community and others to rethink outdated industry jargon.

Following the lead of other real estate brokerage communities around the country, several industry groups in New York are planning to eliminate the term “master bedroom” from floor plan descriptions and conversations between real estate agents and clients.

The Real Estate Board of New York plans to vote soon on removing the phrase from its residential listings service, the online platform that organizes listings data from brokerages around the city. While most people searching for a new place to live don’t use the site directly, the update is influential since brokerages rely on the service.

Sandhya Espitia, chief operating officer of the real estate board, said its residential board of directors, which would make the decision, has been engaged in “deep conversation” over the last month while also researching similar changes in listing services around the country. They are “assessing what meaningful steps should be put in place to bring greater diversity and inclusion to the industry,” Ms. Espitia said.

The push to stop using the term “master bedroom” comes in the wake of George Floyd’s death and the resulting Black Lives Matter protests, and as the industry grapples with issues of housing discrimination and diversity within its ranks. The origins of the term are unclear, but some brokers nonetheless find it offensive and inappropriate.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/05/realestate/master-bedroom-change.html

Trump and his spinners are suddenly freaking out about Florida. Here's why.

After spreading endless lies about vote-by-mail’s supposed susceptibility to fraud, President Trump and his family members — who often double as his propagandists — are suddenly scrambling to reassure voters that mail-balloting is actually tremendously secure and reliable.

Yet they are mainly doing this in one particular state — Florida, which just happens to be an absolute must-win for Trump.

But in undertaking this new scramble, Trump and his spinners are actually reminding us of the degree to which they are willing to corrupt our election on his behalf. The stakes are incredibly high: Large numbers of voters could be disenfranchised, allowing Trump to prevail.

This push comes in the form of a new Trump campaign ad from Lara Trump, the president’s daughter-in-law, and a new tweet from the president himself.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/08/05/trump-his-spinners-are-suddenly-freaking-out-about-florida-heres-why/

If Biden wins, the post-Trump corruption purge will have to be epic

It’s widely understood that if Joe Biden wins the White House, he’ll face monumental tasks in digging us out of our spiraling public health crisis and the economic catastrophe it has unleashed, which could get far worse if Congress’ next rescue package falls short, as it likely will.

But an incoming Biden administration will also face another mission: undertaking a full accounting of the Trump administration’s corruption and the damage it has done to our government and institutions.

That is, if the new administration chooses to accept that mission.

A new report from the Democratic-allied Center for American Progress both lays out an argument for why Biden should indeed take on that mission and offers a suggested road map on how to do that.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/08/05/if-biden-wins-post-trump-corruption-purge-will-have-be-epic/

How QAnon Creates a Dangerous Alternate Reality

Game designer Adrian Hon says the conspiracy theory parallels the immersive worlds of alternate reality games.

In 2019, the F.B.I. cited QAnon as one of the dangerous conspiracy theories posing domestic terrorist threats to the United States and cited past incitements of violence from its adherents. Despite its fringe origins, the conspiracy movement continues to grow in troubling ways. QAnon-supporting candidates are running for office in surprising numbers (Media Matters’ Alex Kaplan reports that “at least 14 candidates made it out of primaries to the ballot in November or to primary runoffs.”) The movement has been tacitly embraced by President Trump and his re-election campaign, who’ve amplified QAnon accounts and even some of their memes.

For those who haven’t paid attention to the community since the early days, the movement’s growing popularity is alarming and often confusing. Some have compared it to a budding religion. Personally, the phenomenon has always struck me as a dark iteration of vigilante investigations that grew popular on message boards in the 2010s — citizen journalism gone wrong.

Perhaps the best explanation I’ve heard for the movement’s popularity comes from Adrian Hon, the chief executive of the gaming company Six to Start and a designer of alternate reality games or ARGs. Unlike video games, alternate reality games aren’t played on a console — they use the world as their storytelling platform. There’s no one particular medium. The story takes place in real time and seems to exist in the world. So game designers hide clues and puzzles in websites, apps and even newspaper advertisements. It’s a bit like a networked treasure hunt that turns the world around you into a game.

For Mr. Hon, that phenomenon resembled the dynamics governing QAnon. In a viral Twitter thread and follow-up post, he argued that “QAnon pushes the same buttons that ARGs do, whether by intention or by coincidence. In both cases, ‘do your research’ leads curious onlookers to a cornucopia of brain-tingling information.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/04/opinion/qanon-conspiracy-theory-arg.html
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