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Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 50
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 12,796

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Someone tried to poison Oldsmar's water supply during hack, Sheriff says

Source: Tampa Bay Times

Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said the attacker tried to raise levels of sodium hydroxide, also known as lye, by a factor of more than 100.

Local and federal authorities are investigating after an attempt Friday to poison the city of Oldsmar’s water supply, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said.

Someone remotely accessed a computer for the city’s water treatment system and briefly increased the amount of sodium hydroxide, also known as lye, by a factor of more than 100, Gualtieri said at a news conference Monday. The chemical is used in small amounts to control the acidity of water but it’s also a corrosive compound commonly found in household cleaning supplies such as liquid drain cleaners.

The city’s water supply was not affected. A supervisor working remotely saw the concentration being changed on his computer screen and immediately reverted it, Gualtieri said. City officials on Monday emphasized that several other safeguards are in place to prevent contaminated water from entering the water supply and said they’ve disabled the remote-access system used in the attack.

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office is investigating, along with the FBI and the Secret Service, Gualtieri said.

Read more: https://www.tampabay.com/news/pinellas/2021/02/08/someone-tried-to-poison-oldsmars-water-supply-during-hack-sheriff-says/

This is a clear example of how vulnerable SCADA systems that control our vital infrastructure elements are.

There are no doubt thousands of systems just as vulnerable.

Ivanka Trump Thinks Her "Political Reemergence" Is Just Around The Corner

The former first daughter is hoping to parlay her work securing pardons for white-collar criminals into a major comeback.

When Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner took jobs in their father/father-in-law’s administration, they reportedly struck an unintentionally hilarious agreement between themselves that if the opportunity arose in the future, they wouldn‘t argue over which one of them would run for president—she’d be the one to do it. That they weren‘t remotely qualified to even work in the White House, let alone run the country, was clearly a thought that never entered either of their heads, despite all the vast open space in there; instead, they were apparently already considering campaign slogans and potential running mates and the extremely important question of whether or not Ivanka would enter the Capitol for her inauguration perched on a daybed carried by a quartet of shirtless men, Cleopatra-style.

Fast-forward four years and the idea of Ivanka holding any higher office whatsoever seems even more ridiculous than it did in 2016, in light of the whole violent insurrection she basically encouraged. And yet! The former first daughter apparently still believes she has a bright political future, and that people would agree if only they knew about all of the good work she allegedly did securing pardons for the poor and downtrodden from her father. For instance, over at Axios, sources familiar with the matter would like it to be known that during Trump’s final days in office, Ivanka “attended multiple Oval Office meetings and made calls from empty offices in the West Wing” about potential pardons and commutations, news of which she likely believes will be key to her “political reemergence.” Not only that but the night before Joe Biden’s inauguration, she stayed at the White House until roughly 8:30 p.m.—which is almost 9, which is practically 10, which is basically an all-nighter—“wrangl[ing] over controversial eleventh-hour pardons.” And then, after having burned the midnight oil, she spent the drive over to Joint Base Andrews the next day, where Trump gave his farewell speech, calling families of those she’d advocated for. Who were the lucky individuals that Ivanka worked so tirelessly to obtain justice? In addition to a couple people who had been imprisoned for nonviolent drug offenses, she apparently went to bat for, among others: a woman convicted of “money laundering, bank and wire fraud and other financial crimes” and a guy convicted of stealing $43 million from victims of a telemarketing scam. And that‘s not all!

According to a new report from The Washington Post, another representative recipient of clemency was Paul Erickson, a Republican operative who pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering after scamming dozens of people out of $5.3 million, and who a judge told during his sentencing last summer: “What comes through is that you’re a thief, and you’ve betrayed your friends, your family, pretty much everyone you know.” Erickson received just one of the 144 clemency grants Trump issued during his final hours in office, thanks, per the Post, to “a process marked by unprecedented favoritism and a rush by well-paid lobbyists.” The Post also notes that while White House counsel Pat Cipollone “officially ran [that] process…Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner served as key gatekeepers.” In other words, Princess Purses and her husband played a major role deciding who did and did not receive pardons or commutations, which led to the “sidelin[ing] of low-level offenders who had waited years after filing petitions through the Justice Department and elevated those with personal connections to the White House—or the money to pay someone with those connections.”

In its statement granting clemency to Erickson, the White House wrote that he was “charged with a minor financial crime,” which came as news to his victims. “Minor to who?” Susan Holden, a college classmate of Erickson’s who he duped, asked the Post. Referring to his pardon, Lisa Coll Nicolaou, a New Jersey teacher and one of Erickson’s victims, said: “I was completely blindsided.” (Erickson had convinced Coll Nicolaou to invest in a fraudulent medical-device company after connecting with her at their 25th college reunion.) Other people on the receiving end of a Trump pardon or commutation included Philip Esformes, an ex-nursing home executive convicted of one of the biggest Medicare frauds in U.S. history, and Judith Negron, who’d been convicted in a separate scam to steal millions from Medicare and who not only had her sentence cut short but told she didn’t need to pay back her share of $87 million in court-ordered restitution.


Americans Adamantly Refuse to Cash Stimulus Checks Unless Republicans Are Onboard

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—A broad majority of Americans adamantly refuse to cash a new round of stimulus checks unless congressional Republicans fully support their issuance, a new poll shows.

According to the poll, ninety per cent of Americans would forego food, clothing, and shelter if it means holding out for a relief package that has the support of such G.O.P. lawmakers as Senator Susan Collins, of Maine.

“Sure, I’d love to avoid being evicted at the end of the month,” one poll respondent said. “But if that means accepting a stimulus check that has less than bipartisan support, count me out.”

“We’ve been struggling to pay for groceries ever since my husband and I both got laid off last year,” another respondent said. “But I wouldn’t feel good about buying food for my family if I knew that the money came via the budget-reconciliation process.”

“My eight-year-old son came to me the other day and said, ‘Daddy, I don’t want new shoes unless the money to pay for them comes with Mitch McConnell’s blessing,’ ” another said. “I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder of that little boy.”


Trump would sell US secrets to the highest bidder if given intel briefings, says senior Democrat

Source: The Independent

The country’s secrets would be sold “to the highest bidder” by Donald Trump if he continued to receive intelligence briefings, a senior Democrat has claimed.

The remarks by Democratic congresswoman Val Demings on Saturday came after Joe Biden suggested there was “no need” to provide Mr Trump with intelligence briefings and that they should be stopped.

Mr Biden, whose comments to CBS will air on Sunday, said there was a possibility that Mr Trump would “slip up and say something” he shouldn’t if he was briefed with sensitive intelligence, which he is able to request.

Ms Demings, agreeing with the president, told MSNBC that she believed Mr Trump might even “sell” any intelligence to whoever bid the highest, while mentioning Mr Trump's alleged connections to Russia.

Read more: https://news.yahoo.com/trump-sell-us-secrets-highest-185304320.html

And I absolutely believe he would. He is a traitor to this country.

Senate Republicans back Trump as impeachment trial nears

The Senate is set to launch the impeachment trial Tuesday to consider whether Trump’s fighting words provoked a mob to storm the Capitol.

Donald Trump’s defenders in the Senate on Sunday rallied around the former president before his impeachment trial, dismissing it as a waste of time and arguing that the former president’s fiery speech before the U.S. Capitol insurrection does not make him responsible for the violence of Jan. 6.

“If being held accountable means being impeached by the House and being convicted by the Senate, the answer to that is no,” said Republican Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi, making clear his belief that Trump should and will be acquitted. Asked if Congress could consider other punishment, such as censure, Wicker said the Democratic-led House had that option earlier but rejected it in favor of impeaching him.

“That ship has sailed,” he said.

The Senate is set to launch the impeachment trial Tuesday to consider the charge that Trump’s fighting words to protesters at a Capitol rally as well as weeks of falsehoods about a stolen and rigged presidential election provoked a mob to storm the Capitol. Five people died as a result of the melee, including a police officer.

Many senators including Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell immediately denounced the violence and pointed a finger of blame at Trump. Following the riot, Wicker said Americans “will not stand for this kind of attack on the rule of law” and without naming names, said “we must prosecute” those who undermine democracy.

But with Trump now gone from the presidency, Republicans have shown little political appetite to take further action, such as an impeachment conviction that could lead to barring him from running for future office. Those partisan divisions appear to be hardening ahead of Trump’s trial, a sign of his continuing grip on the GOP.


'Intimidation measure': Louisiana AG criticized for suing reporter over records request

At first, Andrea Gallo’s quest for sexual harassment complaints against a top state justice official seemed like a typical public records battle. The investigative reporter heard a common refrain from agencies withholding information: There was an “ongoing investigation.”

“The records should be ready and released to you by early next week,” officials eventually told Gallo on Jan. 22, a few days after she reported the criminal division head of the Louisiana Attorney General’s office had his pay docked for participating in “inappropriate” conversations.

Then the attorney general’s office came back with new arguments — and a lawsuit.

“You have demanded information which will compromise the rights of our employees and could lead to litigation over the violation of those rights,” staff for Attorney General Jeff Landry (R) wrote Friday in a letter to Gallo, a 28-year-old reporter at the Advocate and the Times-Picayune.


Seems like somebody has something to hide.

Josh Hawley made his choice and cast his lot. He deserves his fall from grace.

Opinion by Kathleen Parker

When Josh Hawley ran for Missouri attorney general in 2016, he had almost no name recognition and knew little about the world of conservative politics he was about to enter.

A polished and impeccably trained lawyer, he proved to be a quick study. But somewhere along the way to becoming a U.S. senator in 2019 and making a national name for himself, Hawley made a fateful turn: He decided to become Donald Trump 2.0 — a demagogue who cries victimhood when opposed, who lies about the law, and who exaggerates his accomplishments for political gain.

“He’s a tragedy,” said one of his disappointed early admirers. “But I can’t feel sorry for him because he knows better.”

Does he? The familiar, viral photo of the junior senator raising his fist to protesters at the U.S. Capitol like an undaunted gladiator was both ridiculous and frightening. Hawley then went inside the Senate and pushed to have election results overturned. Not even then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — and 90-odd other senators — could go along with that foolishness.

It was a remarkably fast fall from grace: In a matter of just a few hours, a bright and promising star saw his fortunes completely fade. Members of both parties stopped working with him. Money from big donors dried up in a day or so. An up-and-comer once viewed by many conservatives as presidential material in 2024 traded integrity for the favors of a populist mob.


Marjorie Taylor Greene and the Republican Perversion of 'Freedom'

She’s playing the victim. Don’t fall for it.

By Frank Bruni

The Republican delirium drawing the most attention is the party’s indulgence of Marjorie Taylor Greene as she turns madness into martyrdom. Mustn’t alienate the QAnon caucus! Can’t win elections without ’em, and if Democratic leaders aren’t exactly cannibals and pedophiles, well, they want higher taxes on the affluent and more Americans enrolled in Obamacare, which is pretty much the same thing.

But there was a less noted sequence of events recently that, in its way, said just as much about how lost the party is. As is so often the case in Republican politics, it involved guns.

Many House Republicans have been freaking out, no exaggeration, over the installation of metal detectors along their paths to the House floor. Some of them have pointedly bypassed the devices. Others have railed against them with a righteous fury that would lead you to believe that instead of being checked for lethal weapons, they’re having their Newsmax printouts shredded or being outfitted with muzzles. (Don’t get any ideas.)

Apparently, if you can’t pack heat in proximity to Nancy Pelosi, you’re living in a totalitarian state. That’s not me being sarcastic. That’s Representative Debbie Lesko’s actual interpretation of the events. Lesko, an Arizona Republican, tweeted that the new security screening was proof that lawmakers “now live in Pelosi’s communist America.”

Trump Lawyer Asks to Pause Impeachment Trial if It Runs Into Sabbath

Source: New York Times

The request by David Schoen, one of former President Donald J. Trump’s lawyers, could upend plans for a fast trial.

Democrats and Republicans eager to tidily conclude former President Donald J. Trump’s impeachment trial within a week may have a fresh obstacle in front of them: the biblical commandment to keep the Jewish Sabbath.

One of the lead defense lawyers for Mr. Trump has informed Senate leaders that he is an observant Jew who strictly adheres to the commandment against working on the Sabbath, and thus would be unable to participate in any proceeding that stretched past sundown on Friday or met on Saturday.

In a letter obtained by The New York Times, the lawyer, David Schoen, asked that the trial be suspended if it was not finished by the beginning of the Sabbath at 5:24 p.m. on Friday, and that it not reconvene until Sunday.

“I apologize for the inconvenience my request that impeachment proceedings not be conducted during the Jewish Sabbath undoubtedly will cause other people involved in the proceedings,” Mr. Schoen said in the letter. “The practices and prohibitions are mandatory for me, however; so, respectfully, I have no choice but to make this request.”

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/06/us/politics/trump-impeachment-trial.html

Strong Trump Supporters Picked to Head Michigan Republican Party

Source: New York Times

The state’s selection of party chair and vice chair hinged in large part on who was most loyal to the former president.

Ron Weiser, a wealthy real estate developer from Ann Arbor, was elected chair of the Michigan Republican Party on Saturday, bringing along a vice chair who has caused consternation among some factions of the party because of her fierce support of former President Donald J. Trump.

The vote from more than 2,000 party delegates did little to heal the deep divide in the party that surfaced this week when Laura Cox, the chair of the party for the last two years, jumped back into the race at the last minute, saying that Mr. Weiser had used $200,000 in party funds as a payoff to get a candidate out of the race for secretary of state in 2018.

The election partially hinged on who was the more loyal supporter of Mr. Trump, with supporters of Mr. Weiser saying Ms. Cox had failed the party when Joseph R. Biden Jr. won the state by more than 154,000 votes, flipping a key state that went for Mr. Trump in 2016.

Mr. Weiser, who is also a member of the University of Michigan Board of Regents and a prolific donor to both the Republican Party and the university, has been chairman of the state party twice before — from 2009 to 2011 and 2017 to 2019.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/06/us/politics/michigan-elections-board.html
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