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Zorro

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 50
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 11,808

Journal Archives

Mark Meadows isn't saving Trump. He's sabotaging the country.

This is what happens when you put a saboteur in charge of governing.

On Capitol Hill, talks for a new pandemic relief package are going nowhere fast, even though enhanced unemployment benefits have already lapsed for many of the 32 million Americans out of work — while schools lack funds to protect teachers and students, and states and cities run out of money to pay for cops and public health.

At the White House, meanwhile, the Trump administration’s pandemic response, after a brief feint in the direction of responsible behavior, has again devolved into chaos, with President Trump warring with his own “pathetic” pandemic task force coordinator and regarding 1,000 dead Americans a day with nonchalance: “It is what it is,” he told Axios during an interview broadcast Monday night.

The common denominator, the man with a lead role in both, is Mark Meadows, the new White House chief of staff. During his seven years in Congress, he developed an unsurpassed reputation for blowing things up and making sure bills didn’t pass. But he has virtually no experience at getting things done.

At deadlocked congressional negotiations Monday, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) complained to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who successfully cut two pandemic-relief deals with lawmakers, that Meadows had been a “bad influence” on Mnuchin. A person familiar with the private exchange confirmed the account, first reported by Politico.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/08/04/mark-meadows-isnt-saving-trump-hes-sabotaging-country/

President Trump wants to undermine the election. Here's one way to stop him.

AS HE trails in the polls, President Trump is laying the groundwork to dismiss a loss this November. He fumed last week that “dangerous” mail-in voting will result in a “crooked,” “inaccurate” and “fraudulent” vote — “the most rigged election in history.” The result could be that “you never even know who won the election,” he warned.

Mr. Trump has no rational basis for his claims. Voting by mail presents logistical and administrative challenges, but it has been proved safe in blue states and red states alike. Yet this coronavirus-inflected election will feel different from what many Americans are used to, and Mr. Trump will exploit that reality to sow doubt about the results — for his own benefit, even if it corrodes faith in U.S. democracy.

The best antidote is for states to prepare now, both for increased mail-in voting and for safe in-person voting; and for Congress to give them the funds to do so, which so far Republicans are resisting.

But it also would be useful to stand up some neutral authority that could endorse fair standards for this pandemic election — and to which the nation could turn for assurance that its votes are being counted honestly. Such a bipartisan or nonpartisan commission could sort out at election time what is alarming and what is not in an unusual time.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/president-trump-wants-to-undermine-the-election-heres-one-way-to-stop-him/2020/08/04/66e3366e-d5c7-11ea-9c3b-dfc394c03988_story.html

Relieved Trump Administration Thankful To Get Easy, Run-Of-The-Mill Hurricane Response To Fuck Up

WASHINGTON—Still reeling from the unprecedented, complex ways in which they have fatally mishandled the Covid-19 pandemic, White House officials reportedly breathed a sigh of relief Tuesday after Tropical Storm Isaias gave them a simple, run-of-the-mill hurricane relief effort to fuck up.

“A Category 1 storm hitting the Carolinas? We can drop the ball on that, no problem,” said Peter Gaynor, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, adding that with everything the Trump administration had been dealing with lately, a routine failure along the lines of its bungled responses to Hurricanes Maria and Dorian should make for a nice change of pace.

“Seriously, all we have to do is not provide anywhere near enough temporary shelters, maybe spread some misinformation about where the storm is actually headed, and then see to it that a completely unproven startup with a clear, unethical connection to the administration misdirects any crucial supplies urgently needed in flood zones. Should be a fairly straightforward case of lethal government malpractice.”

Following news that Isaias had forced the closure of numerous Covid-19 testing sites in Florida, a White House spokesperson confirmed things were already off to a pretty good fuck-up.

https://www.theonion.com/relieved-trump-administration-thankful-to-finally-get-e-1844607682

Tampa teen pleads not guilty as documents reveal how feds cracked his Twitter hack case

Graham Ivan Clark, 17, remains in jail on $725,000 bail. His attorneys will argue Wednesday for a lower amount.

Obscure social media platforms, a hacked database and drivers license photos.

These are the crumbs that led federal agents to the illegal sale of celebrities’ Twitter accounts — Joe Biden, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Kanye West among them — and the arrest of a Tampa teen investigators call the “mastermind” of the operation, according to new court documents obtained by the Tampa Bay Times.

Graham Ivan Clark, 17, is accused of gaining access to the Twitter accounts and sending tweets soliciting others to send in payments of Bitcoin, the hard-to-track cryptocurrency that stores transaction data on the blockchain — a decentralized public ledger. Prosecutors say Clark promised any Bitcoin sent in would be returned doubled. In all, Clark reaped $117,000 over about three hours, prosecutors said.

Clark, 17, a student at Gaither High School until last January, pleaded not guilty to the charges Tuesday in Hillsborough Circuit Court. He is scheduled for a bail hearing Wednesday, where his attorneys will argue for reduced bail. He remains in jail on $725,000 bail. He faces 30 charges and, if convicted, could spend up to 200 years in prison.

https://www.tampabay.com/news/crime/2020/08/04/tampa-teen-accused-of-profiting-from-twitter-hacks-pleads-not-guilty/

Tampa teen accused in Twitter hack linked to deadly home invasion, records show

Seven months later, the shooting death remains an open case. Investigators said four Gaither High students were likely involved.

One night in January, two teens broke into an apartment in the Citrus Park area, one of them armed. A man who lived there shot them both and only one survived.

Two other teens stopped by deputies at the apartment complex were likely involved in the home invasion, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office reported at the time. The office said all four suspects were Gaither High School students and that criminal charges in the case were forthcoming. No names were released.

Seven months later, the case remains open. But records obtained by the Tampa Bay Times this week show that investigators believe one teen linked to the crime is Graham Ivan Clark, who drew international attention Friday when he was charged with taking control of celebrity Twitter accounts to solicit Bitcoin payments.

The home invasion case appears in a “name report” for the 17-year-old Clark that was generated by the Sheriff’s Office at the Times’ request. The investigation is listed as “murder-justifiable homicide.”

Just how Clark was involved remains unclear. The Sheriff’s Office declined to elaborate, saying the investigation remains active. When the Times asked for the case report, the office provided 13 pages, most of them redacted, from a document that’s at least 652 pages.

https://www.tampabay.com/news/hillsborough/2020/08/04/tampa-teen-accused-in-twitter-hack-linked-to-deadly-home-invasion-records-show/

Americans Insanely Jealous of Spain After Corrupt Head of State Flees Country

MADRID (The Borowitz Report)—Americans are insanely jealous of Spain after its disgraced former head of state Juan Carlos announced on Monday that he was fleeing the country.

In interviews across the U.S., Americans expressed dismay and frustration that multiple criminal investigations were “all it took” for the former Spanish ruler to voluntarily leave Spain forever.

“So wait, in Spain, if a leader is being investigated for financial crimes and tax evasion, he just writes a letter saying goodbye and then he leaves?” Carol Foyler, who lives in Topeka, Kansas, said. “Whoa.”

Tracy Klugian, who hails from Butte, Montana, harbored similar feelings of jealousy when he learned of Juan Carlos’s self-exile. “So, basically, the people of Spain will never have to see or hear from this corrupt narcissist again?” he said. “Man.”

Harland Dorrinson, who lives in St. Louis, said that he was seething with envy when he learned that Juan Carlos might have already fled to the Dominican Republic, some four thousand miles away from Spain.

“Four thousand miles away from Washington is basically the North Pole,” he said. “Why does Spain get all the good things?”

https://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/americans-insanely-jealous-of-spain-after-corrupt-head-of-state-flees-country

The real reason the next pandemic rescue package is stalled

Is this any way to handle a crisis?

That’s the reasonable question to ask as you watch Congress in a stalemate over the next economic rescue package. And although it’s a mistake to attribute the problem to “Congress” as an entity (as if blame should be apportioned equally to both parties regardless of the facts), there is an institutional problem at work here.

It’s divided government, something pundits often describe as a healthy guarantor of moderate policy outcomes and something voters say they like as a check on either party growing too powerful. But right now, wouldn’t it be better if one party were in charge and could just solve the problem — or at least do its best?

“Only if it’s my party,” you might say. Fair enough. But right now, we’re seeing how the need to compromise can slow things to a crawl when rapid, decisive action is what’s necessary.

Let’s be clear: The main holdup is that the White House and congressional Republicans can’t agree on what they’re seeking. They know they don’t want to be as generous as Democrats do, but beyond that, they seem all over the map. For their part, House Democrats passed their rescue bill back in May.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/08/04/real-reason-next-pandemic-rescue-package-is-stalled/

Attacking the U.S. Postal Service before an election is something a terrorist would do

To hobble the U.S. Postal Service under the guise of “treating it like a business” is to undermine public confidence in yet another vital American institution at exactly the time when confidence is most needed, as much of the nation prepares to vote by mail in the Nov. 3 election. Such an attack would be an obvious strategy of a terrorist group or a foreign adversary. It also appears to be the strategy of the president of the United States.

President Trump has long railed against the Postal Service as a money-losing operation, and it’s quite true: Public mail delivery isn’t a profit-making business. Nor should it be. It’s a government service that should no more be expected to produce profits than, say, the Food and Drug Administration.

Trump also reportedly dislikes the Postal Service because it delivers packages for Amazon, which is owned by Jeff Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post, which is critical of Trump in its coverage. That may be a stretch, or it may be right on the money; Trump has indeed criticized the Postal Service for charging Amazon rates that he says are too low.

Of more concern, though, is Trump’s constant harangue against voting by mail, which he says — without evidence — is a hotbed of fraud. Many states plan to conduct their balloting by mail, so making sure the Postal Service has a hard time delivering election-related material in a timely fashion — or even appearing to do so — gives him ammunition to attack the validity of election results that don’t go his way.

https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-08-04/undermining-postal-service-voting-trump

California sued over climate change policy -- by the nation's biggest gas utility

Southern California Gas Co. is taking its battle with state officials over climate change policy to court, arguing in a new lawsuit that the California Energy Commission has failed to promote natural gas as required by state law.

The lawsuit, filed Friday in Orange County Superior Court, is the latest attempt by SoCalGas to shield itself against efforts to phase out gas, a planet-warming fossil fuel used for heating, cooking and power generation. The company, which maintains its headquarters in Los Angeles and is owned by Sempra Energy of San Diego, took in $4.5 billion in operating revenue last year.

A separate lawsuit was filed last week against the state’s Air Resources Board by the California Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition, whose two “charter members” are SoCalGas and Clean Energy Fuels Corp., which joined the gas company in its lawsuit against the Energy Commission. This lawsuit seeks to overturn the newly approved “advanced clean trucks” rule, which is aimed at putting 300,000 zero-emission trucks on the road by 2035.

The legal actions are part of a growing effort by leading players in the natural gas industry to defend themselves as public support increases for aggressive policies to wind down the burning of fossil fuels, not just in California but across the country.

https://www.latimes.com/environment/story/2020-08-04/california-sued-by-nations-biggest-gas-utility-in-climate-change-dispute

Woman killed, two others wounded in shooting at Mulholland Drive mansion party

Three people were shot, one of them fatally, early Tuesday during a large party at a mansion on Mulholland Drive, authorities said.

The three victims were taken to hospitals — two in critical condition and the third in grave condition — according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

One of the shooting victims, a woman who authorities said was about 35 years old, later died, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

The other two victims, another woman and a man, were in stable condition around 8 a.m. Tuesday, officials said.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-08-03/lapd-responds-to-party-at-mulholland-drive-mansion
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