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SunSeeker

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Member since: Sun Mar 20, 2011, 12:05 PM
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New Zealand PM vows to toughen gun control laws after Christchurch attack

New Zealand’s gun control laws will be strengthened following the massacre of 49 people in Christchurch mosques, the country’s prime minister has said.

Jacinda Ardern said she would consider banning semi-automatic firearms altogether after the alleged gunman behind the shootings obtained five guns legally.

“I can tell you one thing right now: our gun laws will change,” said Ardern. “There have been attempts to change our laws in 2005, 2012 and after an inquiry in 2017. Now is the time for change.”

Ardern said the alleged shooter was found to have used five guns that he appeared to legally own under a “category A” licence obtained in November 2017. He appeared to have begun buying guns the following month, she said.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/15/new-zealand-prime-minister-gun-control-jacinda-ardern

Michael Cohen sues the Trump Organization, says he is owed $1.9M

Source: AP

President Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen filed a lawsuit Thursday claiming the Trump Organization broke a promise to pay his legal bills and owes at least $1.9 million to cover the cost of his defense.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in New York state court, claims the Trump Organization stopped paying Cohen's mounting legal fees after he began cooperating with federal prosecutors in their investigations related to Trump's business dealings in Russia and attempts to silence women with embarrassing stories about his personal life. It alleges breach of contract and seeks damages on Cohen's behalf. 

The lawsuit says the company stopped paying for his legal defense about two months after the FBI raided Cohen's home and office.

The lawsuit said that as part of his work for Trump, the company agreed to indemnify him for his company-related work. It said the Trump Organization initially lived up to that promise, footing the bill for more than $1.7 million in Cohen's legal fees.

Read more: https://www.kgw.com/mobile/article/news/nation-world/michael-cohen-sues-the-trump-organization-says-he-is-owed-19m/507-8b3cc49c-5829-4bf3-b330-ce0e3d7905bb?utm_campaign=trueAnthem:+Trending+Content&utm_content=5c81ed7a00bd47000112b06e&utm_medium=trueAnthem&utm_source=twitter?utm_campaign=trueAnthem:+Trending+Content&utm_content=5c81ed7a00bd47000112b06e&utm_medium=trueAnthem&utm_source=twitter



The depo transcripts in this should be a hoot!


Federal deficit up 77 percent so far this budget year

Source: NBC News/AP

The government collected lower taxes from individuals and corporations, reflecting the impact of Trump's $1.5 trillion tax cut.

The Treasury Department said Tuesday that the deficit for the first four months of this budget year, which began Oct. 1, totaled $310.3 billion. That's up from a deficit of $175.7 billion in the same period a year ago. The surplus in January was $8.7 billion.

The higher deficit reflected greater spending in areas such as Social Security, defense and interest payments on the national debt. Meanwhile, the government collected lower taxes from individuals and corporations, reflecting the impact of the $1.5 trillion tax cut President Donald Trump pushed through Congress in 2017.

Individual income taxes withheld from paychecks total $818 billion for the October-January period, down 3 percent from the same period last year. Corporate income taxes total $73 billion over the four-month period, down 23 percent.

Read more: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/federal-deficit-77-percent-so-far-budget-year-n979631



So much for Republicans being "fiscal conservatives."

If Whitewater was fair game, then Trump's old finances are certainly fair game.

At CPAC yesterday, Trump claimed Democrats investigating his "deals" before he assumed office was "sick." Yet Republicans spent years investigating the Clintons' involvement in the failed 1979 Whitewater real estate deal, once Bill Clinton assumed office in 1992, making it one of the biggest political controversies of the 1990s.

It began with an investigation into the real estate investments of Bill and Hillary Clinton and their associates, Jim McDougal and Susan McDougal, in the Whitewater Development Corporation. While Special Counsel Kenneth Starr failed to find criminality by the Clintons in that deal, he did eventually dig up other dirt in the course of that investigation, namely Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky that he denied in a deposition, which Republicans used to impeach Clinton.

The Whitewater failed business venture was incorporated in 1979 with the purpose of developing vacation properties on land along the White River near Flippin, Arkansas. The Clintons lost between $37,000 and $69,000 on their Whitewater investment. Trump, on the other hand, has made hundreds of millions of dollars in shady deals with Russians, our biggest geopolitical adversary.

Any time Republicans claim investigation of Trump's old finances is off limits, we need to remind them of what they did with Whitewater.

On Edit: On AM Joy today, Seema Iyer, former prosecutor and defense attorney, noted that n 2017, the NY Times published a a secret memo by Kenneth Starr's attorneys finding that sitting presidents CAN be indicted for crimes committed before taking office. Something else to throw back in Republicans' face!

Russian hackers 8 times faster than Chinese, Iranians, North Koreans, says report

CrowdStrike measured what it calls "breakout time" — the speed at which a hacking group can break into a network and start stealing data. That speed is important because intrusions are being detected and stopped faster than ever before. The faster the hackers can smash and grab, the more data they can steal.

"It is quite remarkable to see that Russia-based threat actors are almost eight times as fast as their speediest competitor — North Korea-based adversaries, who themselves are almost twice as fast as intrusion groups from China," CrowdStrike says in the threat report.

Overall, hackers targeting the West upped their game in 2018, CrowdStrike found.

"In diplomatic channels and the media, several nation-states gave lip-service to curbing their clandestine cyber activities, but behind the scenes, they doubled down on their cyber espionage operations — combining those efforts with further forays into destructive attacks and financially motivated fraud," the report said.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/russian-hackers-8-times-faster-chinese-iranians-north-koreans-says-n972926

The Note: Trump show upstaged by Beto O'Rourke and congressional realities

President Donald Trump marched into El Paso Monday night, ready to go to battle on the border wall and against an emerging foe.

But just moments before Trump took the stage, congressional negotiators cut a dealthat cut him out. And the foe whose hometown he was in was leading El Paso as it marched back at an outdoor rally just down the road.

“We stand for America, and we stand against walls,” said Beto O’Rourke, who was until six weeks ago a congressman from El Paso.

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/note-trump-show-upstaged-beto-orourke-congressional-realities/story?id=60997073

WaPo Flowchart of what could happen next in Virginia

A week ago, the future of Virginia’s governor’s mansion seemed fairly obvious: Gov. Ralph Northam (D) would resign in the wake of the emergence of a racist photo from his medical school yearbook, and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) would take over.

But it’s been a long week. Now it seems more likely that Fairfax will resign, following multiple allegations of sexual assault against him. Northam seems to be prepared to dig in, perhaps frustrating no one more than Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D), who, as second in line to the governor’s seat, would have seemed to be well positioned if both Northam and Fairfax stumbled. Of course, his own history of appearing in blackface also put Herring on the rocks, leaving third-in-line Speaker of the House Kirk Cox (R) in a suddenly advantageous position.

With so much up in the air in the state, we decided to put together a flowchart showing how the dominoes might fall — if any do. We’re grateful to A.E. Dick Howard, Warner-Booker distinguished professor of international law at the University of Virginia and executive director of Virginia’s Commission on Constitutional Revision, for his patience with multiple, out-of-the-blue emailed questions as things got ever murkier.

Let’s begin.



https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/02/09/what-could-happen-next-virginia-flowchart/?utm_term=.4605988980b7

Deputy City Attorney Contracts Typhus at L.A. City Hall

Deputy City Atty. Elizabeth Greenwood was at work in City Hall East last fall when her shin began to hurt. “I looked down and there were a couple of insect bites,” Greenwood recalled. She thought little of it at the time, she said, but within weeks she was gravely ill with what doctors would ultimately diagnose as the flea-borne illness typhus.

“It was absolutely terrifying,” Greenwood said, describing symptoms that included a 102-degree fever, “the worst headache I have ever had in my life,” and dizziness so severe that she needed help walking to the bathroom.

Greenwood’s doctor initially diagnosed her with meningitis. She said that as she lay in bed one day wondering why she wasn’t getting better, she recalled Mayor Eric Garcetti’s email last October warning of the typhus outbreak. “I googled ‘typhus’ and all of my symptoms were included on the list,” she said. A blood test later confirmed her diagnosis, she said.

Greenwood said she notified the City Attorney’s office that she had typhus, but supervisors did not alert co-workers.
“It was clear they just didn’t believe me,” she said. Spokesmen for the office did not respond to messages seeking comment.

https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-city-hall-typhus-20190209-story.html

87M Adults Were Uninsured or Underinsured in 2018, Survey Says

Researchers estimate that in 2018, 45 percent of working-age adults, or 87 million people, were either underinsured or had no coverage for at least part of the last year – a share that is essentially unchanged from 2010, despite monumental shifts in health policy during that time.
...
"Inadequate insurance coverage leaves people exposed to high health care costs, and these expenses can quickly turn into medical debt," the report said.

The increase in Americans with leaner health coverage has largely been driven by employer-based plans, not the ACA's individual marketplaces, The Commonwealth Fund found. As health care costs have risen, employers have asked workers to shoulder some of the burden by offering plans with higher deductibles or requiring them to pay a larger share of premiums.

About 42 percent of people with individual health coverage said they were underinsured in 2018, compared with 28 percent of those with job-based coverage, the report found. Yet from 2010 to 2018, the greatest growth in the underinsured rate was among adults with employer-based plans.

https://www.usnews.com/news/healthiest-communities/articles/2019-02-07/lack-of-health-insurance-coverage-leads-people-to-avoid-seeking-care

Russia's propaganda machine discovers 2020 Democratic candidate Tulsi Gabbard

The Russian propaganda machine that tried to influence the 2016 U.S. election is now promoting the presidential aspirations of a controversial Hawaii Democrat who earlier this month declared her intention to run for president in 2020.

An NBC News analysis of the main English-language news sites employed by Russia in its 2016 election meddling shows Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, who is set to make her formal announcement Saturday, has become a favorite of the sites Moscow used when it interfered in 2016.

Several experts who track websites and social media linked to the Kremlin have also seen what they believe may be the first stirrings of an upcoming Russian campaign of support for Gabbard.

Since Gabbard announced her intention to run on Jan. 11, there have been at least 20 Gabbard stories on three major Moscow-based English-language websites affiliated with or supportive of the Russian government: RT, the Russian-owned TV outlet; Sputnik News, a radio outlet; and Russia Insider, a blog that experts say closely follows the Kremlin line. The CIA has called RT and Sputnik part of "Russia's state-run propaganda machine."

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/russia-s-propaganda-machine-discovers-2020-democratic-candidate-tulsi-gabbard-n964261
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