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Hometown: Green Mountains
Home country: US
Member since: Tue Feb 5, 2013, 03:27 PM
Number of posts: 10,039

Journal Archives

Special Report: HHS chief Azar had aide, former dog breeder, steer pandemic task force

Source: Reuters

As is now widely known, two agencies Azar oversaw as HHS secretary, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration, wouldn’t come up with viable tests for five and half weeks, even as other countries and the World Health Organization had already prepared their own.

Shortly after his televised comments, Azar tapped a trusted aide with minimal public health experience to lead the agency’s day-to-day response to COVID-19. The aide, Brian Harrison, had joined the department after running a dog-breeding business for six years. Five sources say some officials in the White House derisively called him “the dog breeder.”

Azar’s optimistic public pronouncement and choice of an inexperienced manager are emblematic of his agency’s oft-troubled response to the crisis. His HHS is a behemoth department, overseeing almost every federal public health agency in the country, with a $1.3 trillion budget that exceeds the gross national product of most countries.

Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa-hhschief-speci/special-report-hhs-chief-azar-had-aide-former-dog-breeder-steer-pandemic-task-force-idUSKCN2243CE

And I thought his dumpy boss didn't even like dogs.

Also from the article:
On January 21, the day the first U.S. case of coronavirus was reported, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services appeared on Fox News to report the latest on the disease as it ravaged China. Alex Azar, a 52-year-old lawyer and former drug industry executive, assured Americans the U.S. government was prepared.

“We developed a diagnostic test at the CDC, so we can confirm if somebody has this,” Azar said. “We will be spreading that diagnostic around the country so that we are able to do rapid testing on site.”

While coronavirus in Wuhan, China, was “potentially serious,” Azar assured viewers in America, it “was one for which we have a playbook.”

Azar’s initial comments misfired on two fronts. Like many U.S. officials, from President Donald Trump on down, he underestimated the pandemic’s severity. He also overestimated his agency’s preparedness.

Azar’s optimistic public pronouncement and choice of an inexperienced manager are emblematic of his agency’s oft-troubled response to the crisis. His HHS is a behemoth department, overseeing almost every federal public health agency in the country, with a $1.3 trillion budget that exceeds the gross national product of most countries.

Krebs On Security: Who's Behind the "Reopen" Domain Surge?

Some great analysis by Brian Krebs detailing some of the ownership/control of a large number of new domain registrations made after the dump called on his followers to "Liberate" some of the states.

Whoops: Here's the URL: https://krebsonsecurity.com/2020/04/whos-behind-the-reopen-domain-surge/

The past few weeks have seen a large number of new domain registrations beginning with the word “reopen” and ending with U.S. city or state names. The largest number of them were created just hours after President Trump sent a series of all-caps tweets urging citizens to “liberate” themselves from new gun control measures and state leaders who’ve enacted strict social distancing restrictions in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s a closer look at who and what appear to be behind these domains.

KrebsOnSecurity began this research after reading a fascinating Reddit thread over the weekend on several “reopen” sites that seemed to be engaged in astroturfing, which involves masking the sponsors of a message or organization to make it appear as thought it originates from and is supported by grassroots participants.

The Reddit discussion focused on a handful of new domains — including reopenmn.com, reopenpa.com, and reopenva.com — that appeared to be tied to various gun rights groups in those states. Their registrations have roughly coincided with contemporaneous demonstrations in Minnesota, California and Tennessee where people showed up to protest quarantine restrictions over the past few days.

Same old (r)epuglicon slime working on behalf of Kochs, Putin, etc.

Michael Cohen, Trump's former lawyer, in solitary confinement

Source: Reuters

Michael Cohen, U.S. President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, has been placed in solitary confinement at a federal prison in New York state where he is serving time for violating campaign finance laws, according to his lawyer and two sources familiar with the matter.

Cohen, 53, was transferred on Wednesday to a Special Housing Unit at Otisville Federal Correctional Institution, a disciplinary section of the prison, the sources said.

Until now, Cohen had been housed in a minimum-security camp at Otisville, which is about 70 miles (110 km) northwest of New York City.

One of the sources said Cohen was placed in solitary after another inmate complained about his internet use.

Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-cohen-exclusive/exclusive-michael-cohen-trumps-former-lawyer-in-solitary-confinement-idUSKCN21R38A

Wonder how long it will be before he is found with his neck broken and all cameras disabled.

Any way we can have all trump photos in "Pic of the Moment" blurred out?

Seeing his mug front-and-center in almost every DU home page is revolting.

I understand that some might be trying to mock his idiotic face and body with these photos. He doesn't care.

I'd suggest a pig's rear end but that maligns our porcine friends. How about just a blobulous mass with an oozing orifice?

I might try to put some browser image blocker on for his mug - there must be one.

"A Virus Does Not Care" - An excellent recitation

(Please read the whole blog post. It is very powerful.)

A virus does not care. A virus simply wants to reproduce, and for that it needs a host. A virus does not care about who that host is. A virus just wants a place to live, eat, and reproduce. A virus does not care if it makes the host sick. A virus does not care if it kills the host. This is the First Rule of Viruses: A virus does not care.

But people care, and they care about lots of things, and that’s where things got worse. People care about their status. People care about their businesses and their livelihoods. People care about parades the celebrate the end of a long and ugly war. People care about gathering in the corner bar with their friends, and playing sports in the local parks. People care about staying safe when danger threatens. People care about singing and dancing and enjoying life. People care about a million and one things, but a virus does not care about any of those things.

A virus does not care.

A virus does not care if it is a beautiful time. A virus does not care if it is a great day. A virus does not care what you think. A virus does not care what you love.
We can choose how we respond to an uncaring virus. We can choose like St. Louis did, or we can choose like Philadelphia. And for far too many people, my friends, that is a choice between life and death. And in 1918, even St. Louis didn’t get it completely right:

The quarantine was temporarily lifted Nov. 18 but reinstated when the flu roared back in December. By Dec. 10 the flu peaked in the city with 60 deaths in one day. After illnesses declined sharply, the quarantine was lifted just after Christmas.

I’m a pastor. I’d love to see my church packed to the rafters on Easter. I’d love to hear the trumpets leading a 1000 voices in grand hymns of celebration. But that’s not going to happen, because while a virus does not care, I do.

We’re going to be closed this year. Not because we want to be. Not because we lack faith. Not because we don’t care about worship. Not because we’re giving in to the virus. It’s because we care about ourselves and our community so much that we’ll give up this kind of gathering to defeat the virus. Anything less than a full community commitment to a choice like that, and the virus will not be slowed, because the virus does not care.

I pray that more local leaders, state leaders, and national leaders choose wisely, even as Trump seems determined to choose . . . poorly.

I pray this, because I know the First Rule of Viruses: a virus does not care.

Time for the dump family to take a one-way trip to the USSR?

Things are getting a bit unpleasant here in the USofA.

Dump has fulfilled the terms of his contract, mostly. The bonus 20% will be paid when the US becomes totally incapacitated.

Dear Vlad has promised a huuge dasha and a Dump Tower to hold all of Donnie's wealth. Sort of like the Tower of London.

Jarvanka will have suitable accommodations also - probably a leading role making dolls and trollings. Dump's "wife" will be rewarded with a Slovenian Metal of Horror "Ask Me If I Care".

Pence will continue looking like a robot bunny until his energizer batteries wear out.

There's probably a very good supply of novichok for all of the above and anyone else who may have knowledge of the linkages between the USSR and the US - looking at you (r)epublicons.

Anybody else expect that Weinstein will suffer a neck contusion because he was "friends" with Don?

Just like Epstein?

Starting to sound a lot like tactics of criminals/russians.

WaPo: The U.S. government couldn't shut down the Internet, right? Think again.


Written by Jessica Rosenworcel, member of the FCC.

It's been good to know you all.

In the age of the always-on Internet, what happens when a government decides to turn it off? For many people around the world, this is no longer a theoretical question.

Last year, Internet service was shut off for roughly seven months in India’s Kashmir Valley, affecting 7 million people. The government of the world’s largest democracy justified the blackout by saying it was necessary to avoid protests and loss of life. In Bangladesh, a government-directed shut-off disrupted humanitarian and emergency services in Rohingya refugee camps for more than six weeks in 2019. Congo blacked out the Internet for 20 days after last December’s elections, preventing electoral observers from relaying information from rural polling stations. Ethiopian authorities shut down the Internet for three days last June to prevent student cheating on national exams. In January, there were outages in Iran during protests over the downing of a Ukrainian plane, following a week-long blackout last year after the price of fuel went up.

Section 706 of this law allows the president to shut down or take control of “any facility or station for wire communication” if he proclaims “that there exists a state or threat of war involving the United States.” With respect to wireless communications, suspending service is permitted not only in a “war or a threat of war,” but merely if there is a presidential proclamation of a “state of public peril” or simply a “disaster or other national emergency.” There is no requirement in the law for the president to provide any advance notice to Congress.

And as recently as 2010, a Senate committee report on protecting cyberspace concluded that section 706 “gives the President the authority to take over wire communications in the United States and, if the President so chooses, shut a network down.” That means if a sitting president wants to shut down the Internet or selectively cut off a social media outlet or other service, all it takes is an opinion from his attorney general that Section 706 gives him the authority to do so.

WaPo: Vladimir Putin's virus How the Russian president has infected our national trust


Such a good analysis. Hope many of you can read it.

The president of the United States fires his director of national intelligence after aides brief a congressional committee on new Russian efforts to interfere in the 2020 election. His acting replacement is a man whose main qualification appears to be his skepticism that Russia is meddling in our politics at all. Meanwhile, intelligence officials tell Sen. Bernie Sanders, the leading candidate to unseat the president, that Russian bots have infiltrated his online army to sow discord in the Democratic Party. They say the goal is to help Sanders, but Sanders thinks it is a leak designed to hurt him.

It’s ironic that Americans of all political stripes have contributed to Putin’s success — by failing to understand what he wants and why he wants it. His goals are not the goals of the former Soviet Union (though he has described the collapse of the U.S.S.R. as a “disaster”). During the Cold War, the Kremlin pursued the spread of communist ideology. Putin is nonideological, according to former U.S. ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, now of Stanford University and a Post contributing columnist. “I see him as impulsive, emotional, opportunistic. Putin sees himself as the last great nationalist, anti-globalist leader.”

Putin’s rise through the chaos of the post-Soviet period had left him convinced that Western-style capitalism, unrestrained by a centralized controlling authority, was incompatible with Russian greatness. And to be fair, the United States and its Western allies had not done enough to help the Russians build a market economy. Though Americans helped design the stock exchange and other elements of the post-Soviet economy, the state-owned industries that made up the backbone of the old system were swiftly privatized in a frenzy of corruption and opportunism.

Since then, Putin has transformed the anarchic plunder of the 1990s into a centralized structure of state-approved oligarchs, with himself at the top of the pyramid. Putin is believed to be among the richest people on Earth — impressive for a man who has worked his whole life for the government. His palace on the Black Sea was built on a reported $1 billion budget, and that’s just one of his many palaces and retreats.

Agree with Mr. Ected (above) but for a different reason - Unitary Executive

As this is proceeding the Executive Branch will have all powers and will remain in the hands of the current peeResident and whoever else is anointed by the master.

Congress (especially the Senate) is performing a self-emasculation. All of the (r)epuglicons have a higher master also with bigger paychecks than those supplied by their US voting constituents. In other words the (r)'s don't give-a-shit what happens any more.

The remaining branch (judicial) needs teeth to enact their findings - assuming some may be against the executive. They have no power, only opinions.

The remaining power lies directly with the people, perhaps the states.
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