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Hometown: NY
Home country: US
Current location: Florida
Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 08:54 PM
Number of posts: 170,119

Journal Archives

Humpback whale gulps and spits out Cape Cod lobsterman

Humpback whale gulps and spits out Cape Cod lobsterman
Published 11 hours ago
Michael Packard: "Oh my God, I'm in a whale's mouth and he's trying to swallow me. This is it, I'm going die"


Humpback whales can grow to as long as 50ft (15m) and weigh about 36 tons. According to the World Wildlife Fund, their global population is about 60,000.

Mr Packard, 56, told the Cape Cod Times he and his crewmate took their boat, the Ja'n J, off Herring Cove on Friday morning where conditions were excellent, with water visibility at about 20ft.

He told WBZ-TV News that after jumping off the vessel in scuba gear into the water, he "felt this huge bump and everything went dark".

'He's trying to swallow me'

He thought he had been attacked by one of the great white sharks that swim in the area, "and then I felt around and I realised there was no teeth".

"And then I realised: 'Oh my God, I'm in a whale's mouth and he's trying to swallow me. This is it, I'm going die'."


Posted by babylonsister | Sat Jun 12, 2021, 07:37 AM (9 replies)

SPECIAL REPORT-Trump-inspired death threats are terrorizing election workers

June 11, 20217:04 AM
SPECIAL REPORT-Trump-inspired death threats are terrorizing election workers
By Linda So

June 11 (Reuters) - Late on the night of April 24, the wife of Georgia’s top election official got a chilling text message: “You and your family will be killed very slowly.”

A week earlier, Tricia Raffensperger, wife of Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, had received another anonymous text: “We plan for the death of you and your family every day.”

That followed an April 5 text warning. A family member, the texter told her, was “going to have a very unfortunate incident.”

Those messages, which have not been previously reported, illustrate the continuing barrage of threats and intimidation against election officials and their families months after former U.S. President Donald Trump’s November election defeat. While reports of threats against Georgia officials emerged in the heated weeks after the voting, Reuters interviews with more than a dozen election workers and top officials – and a review of disturbing texts, voicemails and emails that they and their families received – reveal the previously hidden breadth and severity of the menacing tactics.

Trump’s relentless false claims that the vote was “rigged” against him sparked a campaign to terrorize election officials nationwide – from senior officials such as Raffensperger to the lowest-level local election workers. The intimidation has been particularly severe in Georgia, where Raffensperger and other Republican election officials refuted Trump’s stolen-election claims. The ongoing harassment could have far-reaching implications for future elections by making the already difficult task of recruiting staff and poll workers much harder, election officials say.


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Jun 11, 2021, 09:10 AM (52 replies)

Eric Boehlert: The gotcha press comes for Kamala Harris


The gotcha press comes for Kamala Harris
Manufactured drama
Eric Boehlert
2 hr ago


CNN’s coverage was relentlessly negative, attacking her “defensive” behavior, questioning her “political agility,” stressing her “political missteps,” mocking her “clumsy” and “tone deaf” media performance; her “shaky handling of the politics” surrounding immigration.


The lack of context was also telling, coming after four years of Trump and his team ransacking the norms. In light of his dangerous tenure, the Harris controversy this week about a single border question and whether she was too casual in her response, seems quaint and rather absurd. The last time Trump’s vice president made news was because he was in danger of being killed in the halls of Congress by a roaming, insurrectionist mob unleashed by his boss. By contrast, Harris got hit with days of bad news coverage for possibly mishandling a policy question during a television interview. (By the way, CNN published a Mike Pence valentine this week.)


This kind of eagerly negative coverage springs from a media yearning for conflict. Frustrated by the No Drama Biden era, which has been completely absent of backstage White House gossip, and the kind of daily and hourly tumult that marked the Trump years, journalists are constantly overreaching trying to create news where none exists.

Consider this bewildering media narrative that’s become commonplace in recent weeks: It’s bad news for Harris that she’s taking on substantive responsibilities as vice president, such as leading the administration’s response to stemming the flow of migration from Central America, and organizing the Democratic fight against a slew of Republican suppression laws being passed nationwide. This bad-news VP meme has been relentless (“Is Kamala Harris Being Set Up to Fail?” Slate asked), and it defies logic. Instead of giving Harris credit for tackling the nation’s tough problems, the press is preemptively dinging her for possible failures. “Harris can’t win,” New York Times columnist Frank Bruni recently announced.


The right wing loves to vilify Harris. The mainstream media fails when it treats those attacks as news.
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Jun 11, 2021, 08:47 AM (5 replies)

Dr. Fauci and the rw

Bruce Lindner on FB...

In case you haven’t noticed it, the right has it in for Anthony Fauci. Why? I’ll cut right to the chase:
Because as long as they can keep someone else on the Covid hot seat, it distracts from who is ultimately responsible for 612,000 needless American deaths and 34 million infections.
That’s all this is. Cover for the boss. Never forget that.
It wasn’t Tony Fauci who dismantled Barack Obama’s pandemic preparedness unit.
It wasn’t Tony Fauci who sat on his fat ass for TEN WEEKS before begrudgingly taking action.
It wasn’t Tony Fauci who denied the lethality of the virus in public, but confessed to it to Bob Woodward in private.
It wasn’t Tony Fauci who told his Orcs at one of his hootenannies “It’s their (the Democrats) new hoax.”
It wasn’t Tony Fauci who asked a journalist in the White House press room to take off her mask, and when she balked, told her “I know, you want to wear it because you want to be politically correct.”
It wasn’t Tony Fauci who hosted an event in the White House Rose Garden ignoring the CDC’s distancing and masking guidelines, which resulted in multiple infections amongst the attendees—including the host himself!
Consider this: Until just a few short months ago, America had the worst Covid record of all of the nearly 200 countries on this planet. We constitute around 4% of the population of the world, yet we had 25% of all the Covid cases, largely because of feckless management and nonexistent distribution of the vaccines once they became available.
Six months later, the United States of America has dropped the infection rate to its lowest point in a year. We now have one of the best turnaround records in dealing with Covid. How did we do it? In a word; SCIENCE. In a sentence; Scientists, and a President who has the wisdom to take their advice.
Is Anthony Fauci perfect? Undoubtedly not. No one is. But he has a decades long career protecting us, and he’s earned America’s respect.
Unless of course, you want to politicize the pandemic to protect your brand, and you view Fauci’s reputation as antithetical to your agenda—so you go on the attack. This is a dramatization, but it’s pretty close to how Fox News sets Fauci up for the fall:
Congress: “Dr. Fauci, how much did the Wuhan Lab receive in grants from 2016 to 2021?”
Dr. Fauci: “From 2016 to 2021, about $600,000.”
Fox News: “From 2014 to 2019, the NIH gave the Wuhan Lab $800,000 in grants! Fauci has been caught lying! We can’t trust anything he says!”
Again, that’s not verbatim, but it’s demonstrative of their sick game. If they can pin the Covid tail on the Fauci donkey, the REAL donkey, the one who told over 30,000 lies in four years, can skirt responsibility for his role in the pandemic. And his political party will benefit, and survive to spread their corruption for another day.
The recipe for Fox News / GOP disinformation:
1 cup of outrage
A dozen lies
1 scant pinch of truth
3 pounds bullshit
2 pounds fear

Stir together, spread evenly over social media, distribute throughout Murdoch Empire, Sinclair owned stations, Newsmax, give extra helpings to OANN. Whip up another batch tomorrow. The Orcs are FAMISHED, and their appetite for Chef Rupert’s special sauce is insatiable.
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Jun 10, 2021, 08:36 PM (5 replies)

Trump Has Reportedly Been Crashing Mar-a-Lago Memorial Services Because Of Course He Has


Levin Report
Trump Has Reportedly Been Crashing Mar-a-Lago Memorial Services Because Of Course He Has
Not surprisingly, he apparently also overstays his welcome.
By Bess Levin
June 10, 2021

What is Donald Trump up to these days? Oh, not much, just reportedly telling people he’s going to be president again by August, crashing weddings, and according to a new report from Bloomberg BusinessWeek, dropping in on memorial services and having a weirdly good time for an event honoring a dead person:

He’ll show up to anything. In recent weeks, Trump has popped into engagement parties and memorial services. A Mar-a-Lago member who recently attended a club gathering for a deceased friend was surprised when Trump sauntered in to deliver remarks and then hung around, apparently enjoying himself. This insular feedback loop, amplified by the worshipful validation he gets for doing Newsmax or OAN TV hits, doesn’t appear likely to diminish as he settles into his New Jersey golf club for the summer and prepares to resume his trademark rallies. “Donald Trump needs the adulation of the crowd the way you or I need oxygen to breathe,” says Michael Cohen, his estranged former lawyer. By all accounts, Trump’s life after the White House doesn’t resemble that of a typical ex-president so much as a foreign monarch cast into exile—like Napoleon at Elba, but with golf and a bigger buffet.

Yes, it’s strange and morbid and the odds are high he’s offended at least a few people in mourning. (“People loved Jack though they couldn’t have loved his as much as me, your favorite president,” he’s no doubt said as the deceased’s widow sobs. “Heard he was a great guy though I never met him so I can’t say, but people said it. Would have been really broken up about what Democrats did to me I’m sure. Bet he wishes he was here to see me speaking at his funeral. Lot of nice looking ladies here that’s for sure, wonder why I wasn’t invited to any family functions before this, will have to look into that.”) Still, the dead are probably less annoyed by his uninvited presence than, say, a bride whose wedding has been hijacked by the incoherent rambling of a man who thinks it’s normal to commemorate someone’s nuptials with a speech that includes the lines, “Y’know, I just got, I turned off the news, I get all these flash reports, and they’re telling me about the border, they’re telling me about China, they’re telling me about Iran—how’re we doing with Iran, howdya like that. Boy, they were ready to make a deal, they woulda done anything, they woulda done anything, and this guy goes and drops the sanctions and then he says, ‘We’d love to negotiate now,’ [and Iran says], ‘We’re not dealing with the United States at all,’ oh, well, they don’t want to deal with us.” Which, yes, is a thing that actually happened.

On the other hand, whatever keeps his mind off of trying for another coup is arguably a good thing, though when he crashes his first bris and tries to do the mohel’s job, someone should probably say something.
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Jun 10, 2021, 08:04 PM (24 replies)

Something's Very Fishy About The Big $$$ Secretly Passing From Trump Fund To RNC


6/10/21 12:19pm
Something’s Very Fishy About The Big $$$ Secretly Passing From Trump Fund To RNC
Are state Republican parties fraudulently covering up for the Trump Victory group and/or RNC’s repeated violations of campaign finance law?
By NewsHound Ellen

Several state Republican parties have suddenly discovered they failed to report large sums received from the Trump Victory group and passed on to the RNC, The Daily Beast has reported.

As The Daily Beast explains, the Trump Victory group could legally skirt campaign finance laws by collecting large sums from donors, then parceling out the money to states’ Republican parties which could, in turn, give the money to the RNC.

But while the RNC reported getting the money from the state parties, an astonishing number “forgot” they gave it. For example, The Daily Beast notes that the Arkansas GOP blamed “clerical errors” when it reported a previously undisclosed $3.5 million in transfers with Trump Victory, a group it has never officially joined. Hawaii said it missed nearly $1.7 million “due to a misunderstanding regarding the reporting requirements.”

When the FEC wanted to know how the RNC reported receiving money from states that had not reported giving it, the RNC blamed the states, The Daily Beast reports.

But wait, there’s more: Some of the state committees didn’t even have bank accounts at the bank used by both Trump Victory and the RNC. Others seem to have recently “found” accounts they initially failed to report.

This tidbit from The Daily Beast suggests that Trump Victory and the RNC repeated what they got away with in 2016:

In 2019, the [FEC] slapped the Wyoming GOP with a major fine for its unreported 2016 transfers. The report cited allegations of suspicious banking activity, pointing to concerns that funds were transferred directly from Trump Victory to the RNC, “rendering all FEC reports concerning those transfers fraudulent.”

The General Counsel recommended a sweeping investigation. The Republican-appointed commissioners, however, voted it down.

Will this get swept under the rug under a Biden presidency?
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Jun 10, 2021, 07:45 PM (6 replies)

Eric Boehlert: Stop calling the Arizona charade an "audit"


Stop calling the Arizona charade an “audit”
It's a "fraudit"
Eric Boehlert

Now in its seventh week, the pointless review of two million ballots in Maricopa County, Arizona’s most populous outpost, has not only emerged as a dishonest, partisan circus, it’s also a blueprint for how right-wing conspiracists want to treat future GOP election losses. Along the way, they’re deliberately destroying faith in the democratic process.

As the “fraudits” spread to other states, and as it becomes clear that hard-core Republican fanatics will stop at nothing in their pursuit of overturning the 2020 election, it’s imperative the press undertake a course correction and stop calling these partisan sham events “audits.” They’re not going away and the press needs a better, more exact way to describe them. By adopting GOP “audit” language, journalists are doing the right wing’s bidding and undermining confidence in U.S. elections.

Once again, the GOP’s radical and dangerous behavior in the age of Trump ought to prompt news outlets to change the language they use to cover American politics. There is no precedent for a former U.S. president to barnstorm the country insisting his election loss was fraudulent and claiming “Indians” were paid to vote in 2020. And there’s no precedent for the mockery that’s being made out of ballot-counting in Arizona, a charade that even local Republican election officials have dismissed as a “grift disguised as an audit.”

The question is, how does the media cover the Grand Canyon State’s slow-motion train wreck? By using “audit” without including qualifiers, such as “so-called,” “alleged,” or “absurd,” the press lends an undeserved air of legitimacy to the clown proceedings. The language use becomes especially problematic when “audit” is deployed in headlines, which is what most people end up reading, instead of the body of the article. A New York Times front-page, print headline yesterday read, “Arizona’s Vote Audit Is Scorned. Republicans Press On, Anyway.”


By contrast, NPR took a smart approach with a recent headline, putting the word in quotation marks to signal the dubious nature of the Arizona sham: “Experts Call It A 'Clown Show' But Arizona 'Audit' Is A Disinformation Blueprint.” And a recent CNN report referred to the Arizona effort as a “so-called audit” and a “partisan ballot review.”

Another good description for the ongoing shenanigans might be an “unofficial review,” since the ballot exercise carries no legal weight and cannot change the vote outcome. “Partisan inquisition” is also an accurate offering, as well as “boondoggle,” “charade,” “farce,” and “sham.” Using those terms means journalists would have to stand up to Republicans and not be afraid of “liberal media bias” cries that would certainly follow.


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Jun 10, 2021, 05:41 AM (3 replies)

The Rude Pundit: The Sinking of the Bipartisanship Manchin

The Rude Pundit
Proudly lowering the level of political discourse
The Sinking of the Bipartisanship Manchin

It's a pretty great joke that Senator Joe Manchin, putative Democrat, has pulled on the country and, especially, on the people of his state, West Virginia. It's honestly irrelevant at this point whether Manchin actually believes the shit he's shoveling about the need "to seek bipartisan compromise no matter how difficult and to develop the political bonds that end divisions and help unite the country we love," as he wrote in his laughably dumb opinion piece for the Charleston Gazette-Mail newspaper (motto: "We're trying so damn hard to save you idiots, but you keep voting for the people who poison our goddamn water and keep you hooked on opioids. Did you even read our reporting? Fuck.".

But what matters is that he has created a lovely myth about Democrats and Republicans working together that makes absolutely no sense on a basic logical level. That's the joke. All over the country, Republicans, without the votes of Democrats, are making it harder, sometimes ludicrously so, for Democrats to vote, especially non-white Democrats. They are doing that to assure Republican (and, let's be honest, white) control of not just the states, but of the federal government, especially the presidency. Manchin says that he opposes the For the People Act, which, while not the greatest piece of legislation, would restore some semblance of sanity to the nation's voting laws, despite cosponsoring it in 2019. And he says that it's because Republicans oppose it that he can't support it. You got that?

However, and continue to follow this shitstream of consciousness here, but he will support the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (which essentially unfucks what John Roberts' Supreme Court fucked by ripping the teeth out of the Voting Rights Act) because one Republican, Lisa Murkowski, supports it, and that he thinks he can get more Republicans on board, which, of course, he hasn't and he won't, at least not 10 of those depraved fucks. And why would they vote for it? They benefit from the extravagantly fucked new laws being masturbated into full release by the nutzoid state legislatures. It's like telling the Nazis in 1941, "Hey, we won't defend our allies if you don't say it's cool to do so." It's fucking embarrassingly laughable.

But Manchin doesn't give a fuck. He's reached that lazy point in his late career where he's had his lips pressed to corporate asses for so long that he can't breathe without Wall Street farts in his face. The man is rich, and his chances of getting reelected again are spiraling into the Trumpian paradise that West Virginia is. There's no sense in acting like he can somehow make Republicans give up their complete intransigence, which they've had since Barack Obama was elected. So it's just what he fucking knows. And it sure smells kind of racist.

It's so goddamned frustrating because we can sit here and say, "Well, why can't leadership lean on him? Why can't he be stripped of committee assignments? Why are Democrats so feckless?" And the answer is that we fucking need Manchin, galling as that is, because without him, Republicans control the Senate, and that way lies madness. I could go a long fucking time without hearing Lindsey Graham squawking about how unfair it is to help poor people and migrants or holding Hunter Biden/Burisma hearings from now until 2024 as the chair of a committee, like it's Benghazi times Monica Lewinsky levels of outrage.


Posted by babylonsister | Wed Jun 9, 2021, 04:18 PM (12 replies)

Oregon Republican faces likely expulsion after more video surfaces of plot to storm state Capitol


Oregon Republican faces likely expulsion after more video surfaces of plot to storm state Capitol
Daily Kos Staff
Tuesday June 08, 2021 · 4:10 PM EDT

It's looking to be a near-certainty that Oregon state Rep. Mike Nearman will be expelled from the state's House of Representatives now that a new video has surfaced of Nearman helping plan an invasion of the state Capitol by pandemic anti-lockdown protesters and coaching them on where to be so that he could open a door allowing them into the closed building. The protesters intended to confront lawmakers meeting in an emergency session inside; they were instead forced out of the building after a brief battle with law enforcement that resulted in injuries.

Nearman was already facing criminal charges for his involvement. On Monday, all 22 Republican members of the state House asked Nearman to resign, and Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek introduced a resolution setting up an eventual expulsion vote. The Associated Press reports that Nearman himself believes he will be expelled, but so far has not indicated he will abide by the unanimous Republican request for his resignation. He evidently intends to stick with a policy of always doing the worst possible thing to see how it "works out," which is admittedly on-brand in a party that has made it into something of a motto.

There's really not too much to say about this one. While most Republicans in the nation have been willing to forgive even bonafide insurrection so long as they can vaguely pretend the violent crowd only intended to harm other lawmakers, not them, Nearman's own colleagues have now had two separate videos showing him to have plotted out acts that stood a good chance of putting them in immediate danger, had his plans been fulfilled. This is something that Donald Trump can get away with three times a day without facing any consequences more dire than "all these Republicans licking my shoes are making it hard for me to walk." This guy? Not so much.

For the moment, a bipartisan six-person "Special Committee" will consider the resolution to expel Nearman; if they agree, Nearman can only be expelled by a two-thirds vote of the House. The numbers work out such that only three Republican votes are needed to meet that two-thirds majority, so Nearman seems correct to assume the votes will be there.

Why is he not resigning already? A good question, but not one we can answer.
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Jun 8, 2021, 08:27 PM (1 replies)

Donald Trump's Chances of Staying Out of Prison Are Not Improving


Levin Report
Donald Trump’s Chances of Staying Out of Prison Are Not Improving
A major Trump Organization executive has testified before a grand jury.
By Bess Levin
June 7, 2021

If you asked Donald Trump what he thinks the next several months will hold for him, he’d likely tell you that he’ll be holding some rallies, playing some golf, and getting ready to head back to the White House. He’d tell you that because he’s a disturbed man who apparently thinks that a president who loses an election can simply be “reinstated” to the presidency, like one can have their cable reinstated after canceling it and then panicking about how they’re going to be able to watch Vanderpump Rules. In reality, what the next several months, and potentially years, hold for the ex-president are a lot of meetings with attorneys about how he’s legally in the bad place—that is, assuming they’re still keeping him apprised of the situation and aren’t yet at a point where they just park him in front of the TV “while the grown-ups talk.

Most recently, the no good, very bad news for Agent Orange has involved the impaneling of a grand jury by the Manhattan district attorney as part of Cyrus Vance Jr.’s criminal probe. Last month, The Washington Post reported that such a group will be hearing evidence concerning the ex-president, his business, and its executives, and on Friday, it emerged that one of the most senior officials at the Trump Organization has reportedly already testified. Which seems less than ideal for the owner of said Trump Organization.

Per ABC News:

Jeff McConney is among a number of witnesses that have already appeared before the special grand jury that will decide whether criminal charges are warranted against the former president, his company, or any of its employees, [sources with direct knowledge of the matter] said. McConney, who serves as a senior vice president and controller for the Trump Organization, is the first employee of the former president’s company called to testify, the sources said, and his testimony is a sign that prosecutors have burrowed deep into the company’s finances. “Complex accounting issues are crucial to this investigation, as is the knowledge and intent of the people at the Trump Organization involved in these transactions,” said Daniel R. Alonso, the former chief assistant district attorney in Manhattan and now a partner in private practice at Buckley LLP. “In any case like that, the two most important people—whether as targets or witnesses—are the company’s CFO and the company's controller,” Alonso told ABC News.

McConney was mentioned by Trump in his 2004 book, Trump: Think Like a Billionaire: Everything You Need to Know About Success, Real Estate, and Life. In a chapter titled “How to Stay on Top of Your Finances,” Trump describes an interaction he says he had with McConney in the late 1980s in which Trump implored McConney to always question invoices and never accept a contractor’s first bid. “Jeff got the message,” Trump wrote, “and is doing a terrific job. He looks out for my bottom line as if the money were his own.”


Last month, after news of the convening of the grand jury broke, a source from Trumpworld told Politico that there was “definitely a cloud of nerves in the air,” with the adviser saying that while Trump is no stranger to legal issues, this situation feels different, in part because prosecutors are trying to gain the cooperation of Weisselberg, who’s described himself as Trump’s “eyes and ears” at the company. “I think the Weisselberg involvement and the wild card of that makes the particular situation more real, because there’s no sort of fluff and made-up fictional circumstances around the guy,” this person told Politico. “The fact that they’re dealing with a numbers guy who just has plain details makes people more nervous. This is not a Michael Cohen situation.” In related Trump legal news, Politico also reported last month that former prosecutors and defense attorneys believe Vance could be exploring the possibility of arguing that Trump‘s entire business empire is a corrupt enterprise, under a New York law known as “little RICO,” which was modeled after the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, originally used to crack down on the mafia. The state law can be used with proof of as few as three crimes involving a business or other enterprise and carries a minimum mandatory sentence of one to three years—and a maximum term of up to 25. “It’s a very serious crime,” said Michael Shapiro, a defense attorney who used to prosecute corruption cases in New York. “Certainly, there are plenty of things an organization or business could do to run afoul of enterprise corruption, if they’re all done with the purpose of enhancing the revenue of the enterprise illegally…it’s an umbrella everything else fits under.”
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Jun 8, 2021, 07:16 AM (19 replies)
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