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Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 48
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 14,738

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Republicans are planning a mass attack against Biden using information from pro-Russian agents

In 2016, Donald Trump and his campaign team made more than 100 contacts with Russian agents in what turned out to be a successful effort to plunder information, disseminate propaganda, and ultimately steal an American election. Other Republican officials were certainly involved to some degree—particularly Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who did everything he could to block efforts to make the public aware of Russian interference and damaged election security.

In 2020, Republicans in both House and Senate—having given Trump a free pass to invite foreign interference and approving the whitewashing of Trump’s crimes by Attorney General William Barr—are all on board. That includes Barr, who has all but promised to provide America with a QAnon-sanctioned October surprise. It includes Republican lawmakers like Rep. Devin Nunes, who are sitting on a packet of documents prepared by a pro-Russian official from Ukraine. It includes Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has been using the State Department to pile up a stack of unsubstantiated attacks on Joe Biden. Barr, Nunes, and Pompeo are not just sitting on this information: they’re deliberately hiding it, looking for the moment to strike when no one has a chance to see what a baseless conspiracy they’re really pushing.

Devin Nunes has always represented the ragged edge of support for Donald Trump. From the moment he jumped from an Uber and sneaked into the White House in an attempt to derail the Russia investigation, to his stint in front of the House Ethics Committee, Nunes made it clear that his loyalty to Trump exceeded any other responsibility. And when it came to questions about when Nunes would be truthful with his House colleagues, he could not have been more clear: “Never.”

So it should come as no surprise that as the 2020 election approaches, Devin Nunes has been working directly with a pro-Russian Ukrainian lawmaker who previously passed along information through Rudy Giuliani. That lawmaker has been feeding information to Republicans in both the House and Senate. It comes in the form of a “packet” of supposed evidence that backs up Trump and Giuliani’s long-debunked claims about Joe Biden’s relationship to the Ukrainian government.


Dems Subpoena Pompeo In Probe Of Senate GOP Biden-Ukraine Disinfo Campaign

Source: Talking Points Memo

House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) issued a subpoena to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday, demanding reams of documents that the State Department has already provided to Senate Republicans who are seeking damaging information about Vice President Joe Biden.

Sens. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) have been probing long-discredited allegations that Biden abused his position to help his son avoid a Ukrainian investigation.

In so doing, the State Department under Pompeo has replied promptly to the Senate GOPers requests for documents and information.

Engel, in the subpoena, is demanding copies of the documents that Pompeo provided to the Senate, as well as “internal State Department correspondence about responding to Congress.”

Read more: https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/dems-subpoena-pompeo-in-probe-of-senate-gop-biden-ukraine-disinfo-campaign

1 Marine dead, 8 missing after amphibious assault vehicle takes on water near San Clemente Island

Source: San Diego Union-Tribune

One Marine is dead, two are in the hospital and eight more service members are missing off the coast of San Clemente Island after their assault amphibious vehicle began taking on water Thursday afternoon, the Marines said in a statement early Friday.

There were 16 service members in the vehicle — 15 Marines and one sailor. Eight have been recovered and a multi-ship, multi-agency search is underway for eight who are missing.

They are all based at Camp Pendleton. Some of the Marines are assigned to Battalion Landing Team 1/4, a Marine spokesman told the Union-Tribune. The unit is attached to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit which is conducting routine training off the coast of San Diego near San Clemente Island.

“We are deeply saddened by this tragic incident. I ask that you keep our Marines, Sailors, and their families in your prayers as we continue our search,” said Col. Christopher Bronzi, 15th MEU Commanding Officer, in a statement.

Read more: https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/military/story/2020-07-31/1-marine-dead-8-missing-after-amphibious-assault-vehicle-takes-on-water-near-san-clemente-island

White House, Democrats trade blame on expiration of jobless benefits

Source: Washington Post

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows says Democrats rejected reasonable offers; Pelosi disputes.

The White House and congressional Democrats traded blame on Friday for the expiration of enhanced unemployment benefits for millions of Americans, which have run out as negotiations over extending them stalled on Capitol Hill.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Democrats had rejected reasonable offers during talks at the Capitol late Wednesday night, and said they “are certainly willing today to let some of the American citizens who are struggling the most under this pandemic to go unprotected."

"The president has been very clear for us to be aggressive and forward-leaning to make sure that they get protected and yet what we’re seeing is politics as usual from Democrats on Capitol Hill,” Meadows said, addressing reporters in the White House briefing room.

As he was speaking, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was holding her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill, where she derided Republicans for trying to advance a short-term unemployment insurance fix with their backs against the wall.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2020/07/31/congress-bailout-unemployment-insurance/

What is not in dispute is that Republicans did nothing for months to address the issue, instead trying to hope and pray it away.

Florida breaks coronavirus death record for the fourth day in a row

Source: Tampa Bay Times

The state added 257 deaths on Friday and another 9,007 infections

For the fourth consecutive day, Florida broke its record for coronavirus deaths, adding 257 Friday and bringing the total deaths from the virus to 6,966.

The first daily record was 191. Then 217. And then 252. The increase brought the weekly death average to its highest point yet with 171 people dead per day, according to the Florida Department of Health.

It’s a grim milestone public health experts warned was coming. Deaths tend to lag weeks behind new infections, and after Florida’s cases surged in June, the state saw the number of deaths more than double in July.

Florida also logged 9,007 new infections Friday, bringing the total to 470,386 cases since the pandemic reached Florida in March. The positivity rate, or the percentage of positive tests out of all tests processed, was 11 percent.

Read more: https://www.tampabay.com/news/health/2020/07/31/florida-breaks-coronavirus-death-record-for-the-fourth-day-in-a-row/

Trump is heading to Tampa today. Think that maybe he'll talk about all these records Florida is setting?

Trump just told us how mail delays could help him corrupt the election

It’s telling that after President Trump was widely rebuked for suggesting a delay of the election, he wasn’t remotely chastened. Instead, he floated another scenario that could help him accomplish the same goal of avoiding a free and fair election:

He suggested that only the votes that can be tallied on Election Day should count.

This may seem like Trumpian bluster. But it’s much more alarming in light of an important new exposé in The Post that reports on big backlogs in mail delivery due to “cost-cutting” by the new head of the U.S. Postal Service — who, by spectacular coincidence, just happens to be a top Trump fundraiser.

And here’s an additional reason for alarm that needs more attention: The impact of those delays could be dramatically exacerbated by state laws that invalidate ballots that are mailed before Election Day but arrive after Election Day.

Guess which key presidential swing states have such provisions invalidating ballots that arrive after Election Day?

All of them do, with the exception of North Carolina.


No one puts a better face on the GOP's coronavirus ignorance than Louie Gohmert

IT WAS a slip of the tongue, but Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (Calif.) reference to fellow Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert as “Congressman Covid” could not have been more apt. No one puts a better face on the heedlessness and ignorance that have helped fuel the spread of the deadly coronavirus than the Texas congressman who has made it a political badge of honor not to wear a mask. That he tested positive for covid-19 seems to have made no impact on him as he continues the nonsense that puts others at risk and has made the United States a hot spot of the pandemic.

Mr. Gohmert, who was scheduled to fly to Texas on Wednesday morning on Air Force One with President Trump, tested positive for the coronavirus in a pre-screen at the White House. The conservative congressman has relished his disdain for the advice of public health experts; he has been seen walking the halls of the Capitol without a mask and not practicing social distancing. Even after learning he was infected, he insisted on returning to the Capitol; after Politico broke the news of the test results, he told his aides in person that he had tested positive. He appeared in a video smiling, smugly referring to covid-19 as the “Wuhan virus” and absurdly blaming his diagnosis on his recent use of a mask. He has not experienced any symptoms — which we hope continues to be the case — but that’s of little comfort to those who came into contact with him. There’s mounting evidence that people without symptoms or with mild symptoms help spread the virus.

Understandably, many of those who work at the Capitol were far less cavalier than Mr. Gohmert about his diagnosis. There were renewed questions about working conditions on the Hill, where lawmakers each week go back and forth between Washington and their home states, some of which (like Texas) are seeing dramatic spikes of the virus, without getting tested. Politico reported about the fury — from legislative aides, chiefs of staff, press assistants, career workers, and maintenance men and women — about the patchwork of rules, lax enforcement and bosses who turn a blind eye to their welfare, even mocking those who wear masks.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced a new rule requiring all lawmakers to wear a mask while appearing on the House floor and is considering other measures. Mr. McCarthy and others pressed Ms. Pelosi to take the White House up on its offer of rapid testing for lawmakers. Now that he’s so passionate about the need for a testing regimen in Congress, maybe Mr. McCarthy and his fellow Republicans will do more to deliver testing for the nation, which needs it just as much.


None dare call it treason, but perhaps one day they will

Opinion by Joe Scarborough

What a tremendous burden it must be for you to still be defending President Trump. You have called yourself a constitutional conservative for decades, but now you sit silently as the president pushes to move this year’s election because he might lose. Even some Republican senators are speaking up. Why aren’t you?

Trump remembers how you ran interference for him when he claimed unlimited powers under Article II of the Constitution, so he thinks you will stay quiet. Remember your silence after Charlottesville? You eventually mustered the nerve to claim Trump never preached moral equivalence between torch-carrying Nazis and protesters. How unthoughtful it was of David Duke to expose you by praising the president’s putrid performance and thanking Trump for his “honesty and courage to tell the truth.” The former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard even bragged to reporters that Charlottesville represented a “turning point” for white nationalism. “We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump,” Duke proclaimed. “That’s why we voted for [him].”

Ouch. That one had to sting, but you kept on defending Donald.

If you had a political soul after that shameful stunt, the Cold Warrior in you would have been as sickened by Trump’s retreat from Germany as U.S. strategists were over his ceding of Syria to Vladimir Putin, handing Moscow a foothold in the Middle East for the first time since 1973. No country was a closer ally during the Cold War than West Germany, and no nation is more critical to Europe’s future now than a unified Germany. Undermining the U.S.-German alliance because of an ignorant misunderstanding of NATO’s dues structure undermines the historic work that Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush completed throughout the Cold War’s final years.

But there you are, silently supporting a demagogue who sits by while intelligence suggests Russia’s leader put bounties on the heads of young American troops. Trump instead plays Putin’s apologist by declaring the United States equally guilty.


The Nightmare on Pennsylvania Avenue

Trump is the kind of boss who can’t do the job — and won’t go away.

Every worker’s nightmare is the horrible boss — everyone knows at least one — who is utterly incompetent yet refuses to step aside. Such bosses have the reverse Midas touch — everything they handle turns to crud — but they’ll pull out every stop, violate every norm, to stay in that corner office. And they damage, sometimes destroy, the institutions they’re supposed to lead.

Donald Trump is, of course, one of those bosses. Unfortunately, he’s not just a bad business executive. He is, God help us, the president. And the institution he may destroy is the United States of America.

Has any previous president failed his big test as thoroughly as Trump has these past few months? He rejected the advice of health experts and pushed for a rapid economic reopening, hoping for a boom leading into the election. He ridiculed and belittled measures that would have helped slow the spread of the coronavirus, including wearing face masks and practicing social distancing, turning what should have been common sense into a front in the culture war.

The result has been disaster both epidemiological and economic.

Over the past week the U.S. death toll from Covid-19 averaged more than 1,000 people a day, compared with just four — four! — per day in Germany. Vice President Mike Pence’s mid-June declaration that “There isn’t a coronavirus ‘second wave’” felt like whistling in the dark even at the time; now it feels like a sick joke.


Mitch McConnell Could Rescue Millions. What Is He Waiting For?

The economy is in dire shape. Millions of Americans are about to lose federal aid. The Senate is going on vacation.

The worst economic news on Thursday was not the official announcement that the American economy shrank at an annualized rate of 32.9 percent in the second quarter of 2020 — a grim quantification of the pain caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

No, the really bad news was the lack of action on Capitol Hill.

Congress needs to extend the emergency aid programs that were created in March to help Americans endure a broad suspension of economic activity. Instead, even as the pandemic rages on, Congress is allowing those aid programs to expire.

People who lost jobs during the pandemic have received $600 a week from the federal government on top of standard unemployment benefits. For many, the money is all that has kept them from going hungry and has allowed them to stay in their homes. It has prevented a significant increase in the share of Americans living in poverty. But those payments end this week, even as unemployment remains at a level last experienced during the Great Depression.

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