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Hometown: NY
Home country: US
Current location: Florida
Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 09:54 PM
Number of posts: 165,055

Journal Archives

Trump Wanted to Sell Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria, His Former Homeland Security Head Says


Trump Wanted to Sell Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria, His Former Homeland Security Head Says
Blake Montgomery
Updated Jul. 11, 2020 5:12PM ET /
Published Jul. 11, 2020 5:10PM ET

President Donald Trump raised the possibility of selling hurricane-devastated Puerto Rico to his Secretary of Homeland Security in late 2017, The New York Times reports. Elaine Duke, a Republican who served as acting head of Homeland Security from July to December 2017, told the Times in an interview, “The president’s initial ideas were more of as a businessman, you know: Can we outsource the electricity? Can we sell the island? You know, or divest of that asset?”

Duke said the idea didn’t come up in a serious way after Trump’s initial proposal. Hurricane Maria ripped through Puerto Rico in September 2017, causing billions of dollars in damages that the island nation is still recovering from.
Posted by babylonsister | Sun Jul 12, 2020, 11:27 AM (13 replies)

Never Trumpers Become a Force


Never Trumpers Become a Force
July 11, 2020 at 7:07 pm EDT By Taegan Goddard

Washington Post: “Groups such as the Lincoln Project and Republican Voters Against Trump emphasize guerrilla tactics and scathing ads as they troll the president. The movement seeks to build a national political operation to oust both the president and his supporters in Congress, with a particular emphasis on convincing white suburban voters who consider themselves true Republicans to break from the president, according to interviews with more than a dozen anti-Trump advisers and allies who are involved in the planning, some of whom requested anonymity to describe private discussions.”

“As the campaign unfolds, the movement’s influence will be tested, however, as many Republicans rally around the embattled president and as former vice president Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, becomes a more high-profile target of GOP attacks.”

“A Friday memo from the group obtained by The Washington Post argues that ‘Arizona and Colorado are off the board for Republicans’ and says South Carolina, Kansas, and even Alabama could be in play.”
Posted by babylonsister | Sun Jul 12, 2020, 11:24 AM (0 replies)

Coronavirus testing czar: Lockdowns in hotspots "should be on the table"


39 mins ago - Health
Coronavirus testing czar: Lockdowns in hotspots "should be on the table"

The Trump administration's coronavirus testing coordinator Adm. Brett Giroir said on ABC's "This Week" that "everything" — including the "stringent lockdowns" that many governors implemented in March and April — should be "on the table" in states where new infections are skyrocketing.

Why it matters: President Trump said in June that the U.S. "won't be closing down the country again" — a view shared by many Republicans who believe that the economic damage caused by stay-at-home orders was too great to justify a second round of lockdowns.

The big picture: Seven times over the last two weeks, the U.S. has set a new record for the most cases in a single day. Cases are increasing in 33 states, and several of those states are seeing such staggering increases that they may soon overwhelm their hospitals.

Giroir stressed that every American should wear a mask when they go out in public, and that states where cases are surging need to close restaurants and bars as soon as possible.

He also said that he expects hospitalizations and deaths to increase, since they are a lagging indicator to new infections.

"We do expect and are planning for and are surging people and everything else — but we expect hospitalizations to go up," Giroir said. "At the peak in April, we were at about 85,000. Right now, we're at 63,000. But we do expect those to go up."
Posted by babylonsister | Sun Jul 12, 2020, 10:18 AM (3 replies)

IG report puts 'Sharpiegate' in a new, relevant, unflattering light


IG report puts 'Sharpiegate' in a new, relevant, unflattering light
New "Sharpiegate" evidence offers a case study in Team Trump prioritizing public-relations considerations over reality-based assessments from experts.
July 10, 2020, 4:09 PM EDT
By Steve Benen


An independent investigation conducted on the NOAA's behalf found that its leaders "violated codes of the agency's scientific integrity policy," which was hardly a surprising conclusion.

The Commerce Department's inspector general went further and shined a light on the White House's direct involvement in the mess. From the Washington Post's report:

According to the inspector general’s report -- which does not include redactions, not even for presidential privilege -- then-acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney instructed Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Sept. 5 to have the public record corrected in favor of the president, and Mulvaney and Ross were involved in the statement approval process.

Outraged that the National Weather Service had told the public the truth, Mulvaney wrote on Sept. 5 to the cabinet secretary, “As it currently stands, it appears as if the NWS intentionally contradicted the president. And we need to know why." Apparently in reference to the president, Mulvaney added, “He wants either a correction or an explanation or both."


But taking a step back, "Sharpiegate" also offers a case study in the White House prioritizing public-relations considerations over reality-based assessments from experts and government scientists.

We couldn't have known it at the time, but it was a precursor to Team Trump's handling of the coronavirus crisis that unfolded soon after.
Posted by babylonsister | Sat Jul 11, 2020, 11:14 AM (7 replies)

Why extreme heat is so alarming for the fight against Covid-19

Why extreme heat is so alarming for the fight against Covid-19
“I’m actually really worried about indoor transmission.”
By Umair Irfan Jul 10, 2020, 10:20am EDT


However, the combination of extreme heat and a fast-spreading virus in the Sun Belt is now creating a new set of problems that could undermine efforts to control Covid-19. From hampering surge capacity plans for hospitals to increasing people’s likelihood of getting exposed to the virus while sheltering indoors from the heat, heat can make things harder. And temperatures are poised to rise even higher in the southwest in the future due to factors like the urban heat island effect and climate change.

But there are ways to mitigate some of these risks. In particular, tactics like increasing ventilation reduces the likelihood of transmitting the infection indoors. These measures will be key to making schools, offices, and public spaces safe enough to reopen.


People spending more time indoors

When temperatures get searingly hot, people spend more time in enclosed spaces, which presents the greatest opportunity for infection if the virus is present. “I’m actually really worried about indoor transmission,” said Davidson Hamer, a professor of global health and medicine at Boston University. “It’s so hot in the Southwest US that people are not outside. They’re being driven inside, so then you have all the issues of aerosol transmission and recycled air, a lot of which honestly we don’t fully understand yet.”

For a state like Arizona, it can be difficult to go outside at all for days at a time. But it’s not clear yet whether this will raise or lower the transmission rate of Covid-19.


Posted by babylonsister | Sat Jul 11, 2020, 10:01 AM (6 replies)

The Most Corrupt Act In Recent History


The Most Corrupt Act In Recent History
July 11, 2020 at 7:52 am EDT By Taegan Goddard

Jeffrey Toobin called President Trump’s granting of clemency to Roger Stone ― who was soon set to begin a 40-month sentence for lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstructing the House investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election ― as “the most corrupt and cronyistic act in perhaps all of recent history.”
Posted by babylonsister | Sat Jul 11, 2020, 08:01 AM (5 replies)

An Unforgivable Betrayal of His Office


An Unforgivable Betrayal of His Office
July 10, 2020 at 11:10 pm EDT By Taegan Goddard

The Washington Post editorial page:

“There are no doubt thousands of people in federal prison who deserved a presidential commutation more than Roger Stone. But after President Trump’s intervention on Friday, Mr. Stone will serve none of his prison sentence. The president may have had the power to help his longtime friend. But that does not make it any less a perversion of justice — indeed, it is one of the most nauseating instances of corrupt government favoritism the United States has ever seen.
Posted by babylonsister | Sat Jul 11, 2020, 12:20 AM (7 replies)

Anti-Mask Florida Lawmaker In Critical With COVID

Anti-Mask Florida Lawmaker In Critical With COVID
July 10, 2020 Coronavirus, Republicans

WTF Florida reports:

St. Johns County Commissioner Paul Waldron caught the coronavirus and went into septic shock after voting against a motion to mandate masks for county employees last week.

His daughter posted on Facebook on July 9 that Waldron “went into septic shock and has many organs struggling.”

“He is currently in the most critical of conditions,” she wrote. “I ask you not to doubt the power of prayer.”


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Jul 10, 2020, 11:19 PM (51 replies)

"They're Saying, 'We'd Like to See Biden Crush Trump'": For Some on Wall Street...

Wall Street
“They’re Saying, ‘We’d Like to See Biden Crush Trump’”: For Some on Wall Street Beating Trump Is More Important Than Money
In a Biden administration, Wall Street will feel pain: Hello, 28% top tax rate. Hello, continued deficit spending and addressing inequities. But every bit will be worth it.
By William D. Cohan
July 9, 2020
For Some on Wall Street Beating Trump Is More Important Than Money

Most of Wall Street, it seems, is happily preparing for a Joe Biden victory in November. “The majority of my friends on Wall Street would like to see Trump lose to Biden,” one very senior investment banker tells me. “They’re saying, ‘We’d like to see Biden crush Trump.’” And that is without knowing exactly what Biden and the 117th Congress—to be elected on November 3—will do about such important economic topics such as the corporate tax rate, the capital gains tax rate, or taxes on the wealthiest Americans. The consensus on Wall Street seems to be that a Biden presidency will mean an overhaul of the Trump 2018 tax law. That means higher tax rates for the very wealthy, for corporations—likely an increase in the tax rate to 28%, from 21%—and on capital gains.

At a virtual fundraiser on June 29 with Wall Street types, Biden said he’ll likely roll back much of Trump’s $2 trillion tax cut “and a lot of you may not like that.” Interestingly, in my conversations with Wall Street executives, bankers and traders, higher taxes seems to be a small price to pay to be rid of Donald Trump. “Wall Street’s not this amorphous, unified blob,” the senior Wall Street banker continues, “but the majority of people I talk to on Wall Street think it’s worth taking the hit to get Trump out of office. They view him as an existential threat.”

Robert Wolf, the former head of UBS in the Americas who now has his own advisory and investment firm, 32 Advisors, concurs. Wolf, who was once described as Barack Obama’s favorite investment banker, says Wall Street understands the numbers: the multi-trillion-dollar annual federal budget deficits and a national debt at $24 trillion. “The numbers don’t lie,” Wolf says. “Those managers who are best on Wall Street are preparing for possible changes in tax reform, are preparing for how best to look at infrastructure, are preparing for what we’ve seen under this administration of more nationalistic policy that hopefully will change. People prepare for change. They don’t necessarily institute the policies, but they start preparing for change, and the good Wall Street firms, they look at where they think 2021 can be, and they look at the changes where each administration could have, and they start planning for that.”

He says he’s convinced if the election were held today, Biden would win, big. The election is “predominantly a referendum on Donald Trump,” Wolf continues. “He’s at his lowest approval polls to date. If the election was today, I think that the Democratic Party would win the presidency, the Senate, and the House.” He says Wall Street, while not monolithic in its voting patterns, looks “at the volatility and the lies that come out of this White House, and my gut tells me that they’re exhausted from it. The old saying that people vote with their pocketbook, I’m not sure I agree with that. I think there’s more to people. I believe that people are much more substantive than just the pocketbook.” He says that what has been revealed by the COVID pandemic and the faltering economy is “income inequality, health inequality, and racial inequality,” and voters are going to be focused on the candidate that is best able to articulate solutions to these serious problems. He thinks Biden is the best qualified to address these issues. “Biden is going to focus on how we can grow, and how we can grow in a fair and just way,” Wolf says. “I think you’ll see the corporate rate go up. You’ll see the highest earners’ income tax rate go up. I think it’s expected. I don’t think any of this is unexpected…I think there will be clear-cut disagreements between what’s the best way to take our country into 2021. Certainly, my view is that the Biden campaign is going to be able to show why they have the best case and the best person to lead.”


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Jul 10, 2020, 09:10 PM (1 replies)

Tucker Carlson's top writer resigns after secretly posting racist and sexist remarks in online forum

Shocked I'm not.

Tucker Carlson's top writer resigns after secretly posting racist and sexist remarks in online forum
By Oliver Darcy, CNN Business
Updated 7:33 PM ET, Fri July 10, 2020

New York (CNN Business)Editor's note: This article quotes racist, homophobic and sexist language, much of which has not been censored.

The top writer for Fox News host Tucker Carlson has for years been using a pseudonym to post bigoted remarks on an online forum that is a hotbed for racist, sexist, and other offensive content, CNN Business learned this week.

Just this week, the writer, Blake Neff, responded to a thread started by another user in 2018 with the subject line, "Would u let a JET BLACK congo n****er do lasik eye surgery on u for 50% off?" Neff wrote, "I wouldn't get LASIK from an Asian for free, so no." (The subject line was not censored on the forum.) On June 5, Neff wrote, "Black doods staying inside playing Call of Duty is probably one of the biggest factors keeping crime down." On June 24, Neff commented, "Honestly given how tired black people always claim to be, maybe the real crisis is their lack of sleep." On June 26, Neff wrote that the only people who care about changing the name of the NFL's Washington Redskins are "white libs and their university-'educated' pets."

And over the course of five years, Neff has maintained a lengthy thread in which he has derided a woman and posted information about her dating life that has invited other users to mock her and invade her privacy. There has at times also been overlap between some material he posted or saw on the forum and Carlson's show.

CNN Business contacted Neff for comment Thursday night. After he or someone acting on his behalf passed that email to Fox News spokespeople, a network spokesperson on Friday morning told CNN Business that Neff had resigned. A Fox News spokesperson said Carlson could not be reached for comment. Neff did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Neff worked at Fox News for nearly four years and was Carlson's top writer. Previously, he was a reporter at The Daily Caller, a conservative news outlet that Carlson co-founded. In a recent article in the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine, Neff said, "Anything [Carlson is] reading off the teleprompter, the first draft was written by me." He also acknowledged the show's influence, telling the magazine, "We're very aware that we do have that power to sway the conversation, so we try to use it responsibly."


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Jul 10, 2020, 08:50 PM (14 replies)
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