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Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 48
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 14,712

Journal Archives

Plant City man sues Facebook, claiming 'censorship' of coronavirus posts

The lawsuit argues that the social media platform is a “state actor” subject to the First Amendment.

A Plant City man is suing Facebook, alleging the company has violated the First Amendment by “censoring” certain posts about COVID-19 on behalf of the Biden administration.

Richard Rogalinski, a 38-year-old Army veteran and business owner, said he is bringing forward the lawsuit on behalf of himself and any other Facebook users in America who had their activity on the platform “censored, modified, hidden, appended or curtailed” between Inauguration Day 2021 and July 19 — the date the lawsuit was filed in the U.S. Middle District of Florida.

However, the company has monitored and attempted to correct medical misinformation on its platform in the past, such as moderating rumors about measles in Samoa and polio vaccines in Pakistan. Shortly after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, Facebook released an update on its efforts to fight misinformation about the virus, writing in the March 25, 2020, post, “Ever since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global public health emergency, we’ve been working to connect people to accurate information and taking aggressive steps to stop misinformation and harmful content from spreading.”
Rogalinski said he decided to sue after a July 15 press briefing in which White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the Biden administration had been working to flag misinformation about COVID-19 for Facebook and had proposed changes to the social media platform and other online networks to combat misinformation about the pandemic.



'Rise Up, Patriots!' Rand Paul Calls To Intubated Patients Lying Unconscious In Hospital ICU

WASHINGTON—Rallying patients lying unconscious in the intensive care unit of George Washington University Hospital, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) called on those intubated due to Covid-19 to rise up from their hospital beds and choose freedom, sources confirmed Tuesday.

“To all you brave patriots who have been imprisoned in this ICU, I say join me and your fellow countrymen in rebelling against this despotic medical system!” shouted Paul, a non-board-certified ophthalmologist who represents a state in which more than 1,000 people are hospitalized with Covid, before going on to urge every patient with acute respiratory failure to join arm-in-arm and cast off the tyrannical yoke of fear and propaganda.

“Don’t you see? Those ventilators aren’t there to save you, they’re meant to enslave you. They may look like innocent, artificial breathing devices intended to provide you with you a steady supply of oxygen, but they are the shackles of your oppressor. Rip out your breathing tube and join the resistance!”

At press time, dozens of Covid patients had reportedly died after Paul attempted to reenact the Boston Tea Party by dumping their discolored, hypoxic bodies into the Potomac.


Getting Old Is a Crisis More and More Americans Can't Afford

Growing old is an increasingly expensive privilege often requiring supports and services that, whether provided at home or in a facility, can overwhelm all but the wealthiest seniors. With Americans living longer and aging baby boomers flooding the system, the financial strain is becoming unsustainable.

Consider the demographics. In 2018, there were 52.4 million Americans age 65 or older and 6.5 million 85 or older. By 2040, those numbers will hit 80.8 million and 14.4 million, respectively. From now until 2030, an average of 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 every day. Already, demand for care dwarfs supply. The Medicaid waiting list for home-based assistance has an average wait time of more than three years.

Next, factor in the financial reality of seniors. Nearly half of U.S. households headed by someone 55 or older have no retirement savings, according to 2016 data. Many Americans over 65 face trying to get by on Social Security income alone, which provides an average retirement benefit of $18,516 a year.

Compare this with the price of long-term care. Nationwide, the median cost of a semiprivate room in a nursing home is more than $93,000 a year, according to the 2020 Genworth Cost of Care Survey. The median yearly cost of employing a home health aide full time is around $50,000. And tens of millions of Americans are providing unpaid care to family members, costing the caregiver thousands in expenses per year on top of lost work time and wages.


The rebellion against pro-Trump, anti-mask GOP governors is gaining steam

Let’s state this up front: GOP governors are not required by some higher Trumpian law to use official powers to actively thwart efforts to fight the spread of the coronavirus. Some are choosing not to do that: In South Dakota, the governor left decisions about mask mandates to local officials, and in Arkansas the governor admitted that an earlier ban on them was an “error.”

But the Republican governors of Texas and Florida — Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis — are in a class by themselves. Their states are seeing some of the worst surges of covid in the nation, yet they are continuing to hamstring local officials from acting to protect their constituents.

Which is why these governors are facing a rebellion of sorts. In both states, ABC News reports, officials are defying limits on mask mandates, setting up direct conflicts with those governors.

This will flush out into the open the truly twisted nature of what DeSantis and Abbott are doing. They piously claim to be defending their constituents’ freedom from government mandates. But they are using their power to prevent local officials from implementing basic public health measures in a highly selective way that is plainly molded around the obsessions of former president Donald Trump and his movement, not anchored in any genuine public interest rationale.


DeSantis is failing Florida on COVID precautions

Listen to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ own description of his pandemic-driven priorities, and you’ll get this message: It’s money over lives.

He intends to keep Florida’s economy humming, even as hospital intensive-care units fill up with patients. More patients than ever before, in fact. Younger than those in previous waves. The number of deaths has also started to climb.

But we’ve stopped buying the governor’s rationale. It seems obvious that his own personal ambitions — magnified by the vocal but diminishing crowd of supporters who have made a political cause of minimizing COVID’s impacts and belittling scientists — are in control.

And that explains a lot.

Because we’ve wondered when DeSantis’ stubborn refusal to value these lives would erode. How long it would take for Floridians’ fear, anger and grief to break through his arrogance. Surely, he’d eventually realize that Florida’s economy will suffer lasting damage if COVID takes control as it threatens to do.


Tying Sarasota's Cyber Ninjas to Donald Trump's White House

It was described as the craziest meeting of Donald Trump's pro-wrestling presidency, six combative hours of sheer conspiratorial lunacy that may help explain how millions of dollars wound up in the hands of an indiscernible Sarasota computer company named after ninjas.

The almost-fantastical summit took place inside the Oval Office on Dec. 18, according to a report by Axios. Trump was sitting at the Resolute Desk, and here's who was assembled before him in a neat little row of election-fraud nut jobs, after they snuck in, no less:

Our new neighbor in Englewood and admitted-liar-to-the-FBI Michael Flynn; the conspiracy-obsessed Sidney Powell, a former attorney for Trump and Flynn; former Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne; and Emily Newman, an obscure former White House staffer, who, oddly enough, helps tie this together.

The four showed up unannounced and used Flynn's status as retired Army Lieutenant General to weasel their way into the Oval Office. Once there, they tried to convince Trump that Dominion Voting Systems rigged their machines as part of an international communist plot to sway the election in favor of Joe Biden, according to Axios.


Sen. Mitt Romney Sells California Beach House for $23.5 Million

The Republican senator and former presidential hopeful bought the La Jolla property in 2008 and built a luxurious mansion

U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney has sold his oceanfront villa in La Jolla, California, in an eight-figure deal that was first announced virtually.

The Utah Republican and former Massachusetts governor scooped up $23.5 million in an apparent off-market deal for the property, according to documents recorded with San Diego County on June 30.

Last month, during a virtual discussion on infrastructure, the senator noted that he had sold the California home and that “the movers have cleared everything out except for this bed,” according to The Salt Lake Tribune, which first reported the sale.

Given the discreet nature of the transaction, little information is publicly available about the beachfront spread or its amenities. Though aerial images show the walled, Mediterranean-style property encompasses a pool and hot tub in an inner courtyard and a separate beachside yard.


Had not seen this reported here. I believe this is the home that had the car elevator.

Republicans aren't conservatives. They're nihilists.

The most benign spin you can put on the Trumpified Republican Party is that the American right has entered its “hippie phase,” as Kevin D. Williamson suggests in National Review. In the 1960s, he points out, the liberal counterculture attacked the establishment, while the GOP stood for order and authority. Today the roles are reversed: Liberals are the ones who respect the authority of institutions such as the federal government, the scientific community, universities and schools, the media, big business, the military and the FBI, while the right subjects them all to “ridicule and scorn.”

A less kind but more accurate characterization is to argue, as Edward Luce did in the Financial Times, that “Republicans have become the party of nihilism.” Like the Joker, a lot of Republicans just like “to watch the world burn” — quite literally, in the case of their climate denialism. Republican anarchism is also on full display with regard to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and the covid-19 pandemic.

On July 27, four police officers delivered harrowing testimony before a House select committee about how they had been assaulted by insurrectionists. In the past, these heroes might have been championed by the party of “law and order.” But it turns out that Republicans only “back the blue” when officers are accused of employing excessive force against minorities. When officers try to stop a Trumpist lynch mob, Republicans bash the blue.

Newsmax’s most popular host, Greg Kelly (son of a former New York City police commissioner), accused one of the officers of being “wrapped too tight.” Fox’s top host, Tucker Carlson, said they were “lying” and literally snickered at their testimony. Also giggling was professional provocateur Dinesh D’Souza. Fox host Laura Ingraham sneered that the officers deserved acting awards for their “third-rate theatrics.”


It certainly seems that the scales have been lifted from Max Boot's eyes.

Yes, Trump tried to stage a coup. By denying it, the right is laying the groundwork for another one.

Something unprecedented occurred after the Nov. 3 election: An incumbent president refused to recognize the results and, in fact, tried to overturn them. That effort culminated in another unprecedented event on Jan. 6: The president instigated a mob attack on the U.S. Capitol in the hope of stopping the vote certification. Yet in one recent poll, 82 percent of registered Republicans expressed a favorable opinion of the dangerous demagogue responsible for these appalling attacks on our democracy.

In order to continue supporting former president Donald Trump, Republicans are forced to make excuses for what happened on Jan. 6. Attempts to minimize the horror of that day — when a violent mob brutally attacked police officers and tried to hunt down members of Congress — come in two varieties: hard and soft.

The hard variant is what you hear from the party’s far right — loony rabble-rousers such as Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), Paul A. Gosar (Ariz.) and Andrew S. Clyde (Ga.), and, of course, Trump himself. They argue that what happened on Jan. 6 was either a “normal tourist visit” and a “lovefest” or a plot by antifa or the FBI to frame the Trumpkins. Either way, they insist on seeing the arrested terrorists as “political prisoners” and glorify Ashli Babbitt — the QAnon follower killed while attempting to break into the House Speaker’s Lobby — as a martyr.

This narrative has gained disturbingly wide acceptance on the right. A majority of Trump voters in a recent poll described the Jan. 6 attack as a defense of “freedom” and an expression of “patriotism.” Even Rep. Elise Stefanik (N.Y.), the formerly moderate, third-ranking House Republican leader, blamed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), rather than Trump, for the attack.


The deplorable treatment of Michael Fanone and the heroes of Jan. 6

The violent scene on the west front of the Capitol captured in a photo taken on Jan. 6 by Shannon Stapleton of Reuters is haunting. In it you see the anguished face of D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone as he is swarmed by a mob of terrorists hellbent on overturning a free and fair election at the behest of a president who refused to accept defeat.

Fanone was mauled. He was tased so many times that he suffered a heart attack. He has said that he heard his potential murderers say, “Kill him with his own gun.” The father of four believes he was saved after he pleaded, “I’ve got kids.”

The chaotic scene, as revealed by his own body camera and as described in Molly Ball’s fantastic profile of Fanone in Time magazine, is horrific. Not only for its violence but also what that violence signified. American democracy was on the brink.

What is most ironic and jarring about the photo is the flag fluttering above Fanone. The one with the black-and-white stripes and thin blue line, a.k.a. the thin-blue-line flag. According to the Marshall Project, “Those who fly the flag have said it stands for solidarity and professional pride within a dangerous, difficult profession and a solemn tribute to fallen police officers.” Yet there’s the pro-police thin-blue-line flag being used as a weapon — against the police. Against Fanone.

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