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Zorro's Journal
Zorro's Journal
October 31, 2017

New Northrop Grumman drones to begin taking over 50-year-old Navy ocean surveillance plane mission

A high-flying drone equipped with surveillance sensors and a wingspan longer than that of a Boeing 737 will be the newest way for the U.S. Navy to monitor the seas.

The first operational MQ-4C Triton drone will be delivered by Northrop Grumman Corp. to the Navy within the next week at Point Mugu Naval Air Station near Oxnard, with a second drone to follow by the end of the year. The two drones will undergo testing at Point Mugu before being deployed to Guam next year.

The program has strong California roots — engineering and design is done in Rancho Bernardo, and the drone is assembled in Palmdale. During low-rate initial production, that line will churn out three Tritons a year.

Eventually, the Navy will have 68 of the drones, a lucrative production cycle that analysts said will help defense giant Northrop Grumman maintain its knowledge of high-altitude, long-endurance drones and keep its Palmdale production line up and running.


October 31, 2017

Trump Unsure Who This Manafort Person Is

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Asked to comment on the arrest of Paul Manafort on Monday, Donald Trump told reporters that he was not sure “who this Manafort person is.”

“There’s been a lot of talk about this guy, Peter Manafort, or whoever, this morning,” Trump said. “The name doesn’t really ring a bell with me. I’ll have to have someone Google him and figure out exactly who he’s supposed to be.”

When reporters pointed out that Manafort had been his campaign chairman in 2016, Trump responded angrily. “I just told you I never heard of him,” he said. “What’s his name again? I can’t even remember his name. That’s proof.”

Before bringing his conversation with reporters to an abrupt close, Trump offered a theory of who Manafort might be. “You’re telling me he ran a campaign,” Trump said. “If he ran anybody’s campaign, it was Hillary’s.”


October 31, 2017

Scariest thing on this Halloween is the demise of fact-based reality

If you are a person who likes being frightened by the prospect of a zombie apocalypse, then Halloween is the holiday for you. Have fun being scared. But, if you truly are convinced that a zombie apocalypse could be a real thing, then we all have a problem.

A sane society depends on most people sharing a common understanding of reality, but American politics is driven by fears, many of which are unfounded. True or not, the things we fear are very likely to be the things that motivate us to vote for particular candidates.

For instance, if you fear global warming and people carrying guns in grocery stores, I can probably guess who you voted for in the 2016 presidential election, just as I could likely make an accurate prediction of your ballot behavior if you are someone who fears that federal agents will take your guns and immigrants will take your job.

Voting is an emotional act that feels as if it is a rational choice. If it scares you to think that the federal government is concocting so-called false flag events, like the Sandy Hook school shooting, or that every Muslim is capable of being turned into a terrorist, then it seems rational to vote for certain candidates over others, even though both of those viewpoints are preposterous falsehoods promoted by charlatans to elicit an emotional reaction that is susceptible to manipulation.


October 31, 2017

Fancy suits at center of ex-Trump campaign chief charges

Source: AP

At $7,500 apiece, the handmade custom suits former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort wore were meant to dazzle and impress.

An indictment unsealed Monday detailing conspiracy and money laundering charges against him suggests they certainly caught the eye of special counsel Robert Mueller.

A luxury clothing store in New York is among 19 vendors Manafort paid some $12 million to between 2008 and 2014 from foreign bank accounts he didn't disclose, using offshore companies registered in countries such as Cyprus and the Grenadines to make the purchases, court papers allege.

Besides the suits, Manafort used the money to buy antique rugs and art, make payments on three Range Rovers and install an $112,825 audio-visual system in his Hamptons home — all without paying taxes on that income, the indictment charges.

Read more: http://www.latimes.com/sns-bc-us--manafort-expensive-tastes-20171030-story.html

October 31, 2017

Venezuela: Repression taken into people's living rooms as home raids surge

The Venezuelan authorities have expanded their arsenal of repressive tactics by launching a vicious campaign of illegal home raids on citizens suspected of dissent, Amnesty International said in a new investigation published today.

Nights of terror: Attacks and illegal raids on homes in Venezuela reveals how Venezuelan security forces and government-sponsored civilian armed groups have violently broken into people’s homes in recent months as a way of intimidating them against taking part in demonstrations or any other form of protest.

“In Venezuela, no place is safe from the twisted power of the security forces. Not even people´s homes,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International. “The Venezuelan authorities have found a new and disturbing way of stamping out dissent as part of a seemingly endless quest to instill fear into the population. They have taken street repression into people’s living rooms.”

Local human rights organizations have collected reports of at least 47 illegal home raids in 11 districts across the country between April and July 2017 – when demonstrations were at their height. More than 120 people were killed, nearly 2,000 were injured and more than 5,000 were arrested during this period.


October 29, 2017

Excited Crowd Outside Mueller's Office Awaits First Arrest

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—A crowd estimated in the hundreds of thousands has gathered outside the office of Robert Mueller in eager anticipation of the special counsel’s first arrest in the Russia probe.

Minutes after news was leaked that charges had been filed, Americans from across the country descended on Mueller’s office to witness firsthand what many called the beginning of the end of the nightmare.

“I can’t believe this day has finally come,” Carol Foyler, who drove from North Carolina, said. “My husband is having surgery today, but I didn’t want to miss this.”

Although the gathering has been largely peaceful, isolated arguments have erupted over which member of Trump’s circle the attendees would like Mueller to arrest first.


October 29, 2017

Anti-Trump Republicans have three options but only one can save their party

The most stinging critiques of Donald Trump’s presidency in the last few weeks have come not from Democrats, but from Republican members of the U.S. Senate.

“I will not be complicit,” said Jeff Flake of Arizona. Trump’s “reckless, outrageous and undignified behavior … is dangerous to a democracy.”

“The debasing of our nation, the constant non-truth-telling … will be what he is remembered for,” said Bob Corker of Tennessee. “He is obviously not going to rise to the occasion as president.”

“Half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems,” said John McCain of Arizona, slamming Trump’s foreign policy.


October 29, 2017

GOP says lower-tax states are subsidizing California. It's the other way around

The main Republican argument for killing the state and local tax deduction is that the break forces residents of low-tax states to subsidize those in California and other high-tax states.

But when it comes to federal taxes, the data show that it’s the other way around. And it could get worse for Californians if the deduction is eliminated as part of the GOP tax overhaul.

California is among 13 states that ship more tax money to Washington than they get back in federal spending, according to the Rockefeller Institute of Government, a public policy think tank in Albany, N.Y.

They’re known as donor states, a title California has held for years, mostly because of the state’s relatively younger population and large number of high-income earners.


October 27, 2017

Intelligence Briefing Interrupted By Sofa-Cushion-Wearing Trump Boys Volunteering To Fight

WASHINGTON—With sofa cushions duct-taped to their chests as they marched into the meeting, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. reportedly interrupted a military intelligence briefing Friday, shouting “ten-hut!” in unison and then volunteering to fight in North Korea.

According to sources, Defense Secretary James Mattis and the Joint Chiefs of Staff were reviewing a presentation on troop mobility in Afghanistan when the Trump boys, who wore rain boots and had secured throw pillows to their legs and arms with belts, burst into the White House Situation Room to announce they had trained for an entire day and were ready to deploy to North Korea to “kill King Jong-un.”

“We did all the basic training and now we can do combat stuff!” said Donald Jr., who dropped to the ground to do a commando roll underneath the conference room table before hopping to his feet, readjusting the metal colander on his head, and turning to salute the chief of naval operations. “I’ve mastered 10 kinds of kicks, including some ninja ones.”

“We’re gonna stomp their nukes,” Eric Trump added as he lifted his foot and attempted to crush an empty soda can, which soon became stuck to his heel.

October 27, 2017

Venezuela governor-elect removed for refusing to take oath

Source: AP

The pro-government constitutional assembly on Thursday ordered new gubernatorial election in Venezuela's most populous state after the opposition politician who won the race was blocked from taking office.

When voters elected governors in the country's 23 states two weeks ago, opposition candidate Juan Pablo Guanipa won the race in Zulia, but he has not been allowed to take the oath of office in his home state.

Before the election, socialist President Nicolas Maduro had warned that any winning candidate would be removed for not saying the oath before the constitutional assembly in the capital of Caracas.

Four of the five winning opposition candidates followed the order but Guanipa, with the backing of the opposition's Democratic Unity alliance, refused to go along. He was repelled with tear gas as he and supporters this week tried to march to Zulia's state legislature in protest.

Read more: https://www.yahoo.com/news/venezuela-governor-elect-removed-refusing-oath-202823641.html

Bolivarian democracy in action!

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