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Midnightwalk

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Member since: Wed Jun 20, 2018, 06:01 PM
Number of posts: 2,457

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Customs and Border Protection used money meant for food and medicine on dirt bikes and ATVs, says GA

Their budget should be cut by twice what they misappropriated and senior management should be fired at a minimum.

Customs and Border Protection spent parts of a $112 million emergency fund meant to buy food, medicine and other items for migrants on all-terrain vehicles, dirt bikes and boats, according to a Government Accountability Office report published Thursday.

"Congress provided this additional funding for the primary purpose of improving conditions for migrants at the border and ensuring migrants were receiving adequate healthcare after the deaths of multiple children in custody," Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, said in a statement. "Instead of helping migrants and improving conditions on the ground, CBP then broke the law by spending this taxpayer money on things that were not authorized — such as ATVs, dirt bikes, and computer systems."

At the request of Congress, the GAO had examined CBP's books for how the agency spent its emergency allocations for "consumables and medical care" in 2019 and issued a legal opinion finding that CBP had used the funds for items that were not food, hygiene products or medicine. The GAO recommended that CBP fix its books to put expenses in the proper categories and pay for the items out of the right parts of its budget, or else it would be required to report its failure to do so.

"If CBP lacks sufficient budget authority to make the adjustments, then it should report a violation of the Antideficiency Act as required by law," the GAO report said.

[link:https://www.nbcnews.com/news/amp/ncna1230101|]

Researchers on Atrocity Prevention Warn: US on Path to Widespread Political Violence

Article at:
[link:https://www.justsecurity.org/70665/researchers-on-atrocity-prevention-warn-us-on-path-to-widespread-political-violence/|]


As scholars of armed conflict and human rights with a combined five decades of experience, we are deeply troubled by recent developments. Our motivation for writing this article is to voice our concern that recent events in the United States, such as Trump’s repeated endorsements and approval of violence against peaceful demonstrators, are strikingly similar to those that preceded eruptions of large-scale political violence elsewhere. This is not a theoretical exercise – it is happening in real time before our eyes. We are by no means alone in holding this view. In its June 3 “Atrocity Alert” which “highlight[s] situations where populations are at risk of, or are enduring, mass atrocity crimes,” the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect included the United States, alongside Iraq, Syria, and Sudan as places of serious concern.

Last week, the U.S. government deployed active-duty military units in Washington. Soldiers in combat uniforms, without identifying insignia, fired smoke canisters and rubber bullets at protestors in front of the White House – all so President Trump could walk to St. John’s Episcopal Church and pose for photographs while using religion as a political prop. Earlier that same day, Trump threatened to invoke the 1807 Insurrection Act and assume federal control of the National Guard to “dominate” protestors, against the will of many state governors. The day after, the White House announced that 1,600 additional active-duty quick-reaction troops were being deployed from Fort Bragg and Fort Drum to the capital region.

The constitutionality of Trump’s response to the protests, following the murder of George Floyd, an African-American man, by a white police officer, have been hotly debated by legal scholars. Whatever their legal status, conventional norms about the proper role of the military in securing domestic public order have been shredded. Few would disagree that the images of military professionals being mobilized against fellow citizens is an unsettling one – even for a country that is by now well acquainted with the increasing militarization of our police forces, especially in African-American communities. Nonetheless, recent developments represent only one among many troubling telltale signs of a growing atrocity risk in the United States.

We do not suggest that the commission of mass atrocities within the United States is imminent or inevitable, and we hope that our concern is misplaced. The United States possesses robust civil and political institutions, and since the Civil War at least, instances of large-scale violence, such as the 1921 Tulsa race massacre, did not engulf the country. However, it is clear to us that recent events on domestic soil have moved us down a well-trodden path that has led other countries to widespread and systematic violence. The risk of this outcome will be heightened in the coming months under certain circumstances – for instance, if Trump declares a federal state of emergency; if the general election is cancelled or postponed; or if Trump’s encouragement of far-right militias, whether tacit or otherwise, leads to actual armed confrontation.


Interesting article.

Some classical guitar

[link:|]

Kavanaugh and Roberts Side with Liberals to Hand Environmentalists Huge Win; Alito Is Not Amused

Source: Law & Crime

Environmentalists scored a significant victory in the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday with help from some unusual suspects.

In a 6-3 opinion authored by Justice Stephen Breyer, two of the court’s conservatives–Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh–joined with the four-member liberal minority in order to strengthen a key provision of the Clean Water Act (CWA) of 1972.

Stylized as County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund, the case stems from a lawsuit filed by “several environmental groups” in 2012 which alleged that Maui’s use of a wastewater reclamation facility ran afoul of the CWA by pumping roughly four million gallons of treated wastewater into the Pacific Ocean every day without a permit.

...

Kavanaugh’s concurrence clearly sums up the basic issue:
“ The question in this case is whether the County of Maui needs a permit for its Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility. No one disputes that pollutants originated at Maui’s wastewater facility (a point source), and no one disputes that the pollutants ended up in the Pacific Ocean (a navigable water). Maui contends, however, that it does not need a permit. Maui says that the pollutants did not come “from” the Lahaina facility because the pollutants traveled through groundwater before reaching the ocean.”




Read more: https://lawandcrime.com/supreme-court/kavanaugh-and-roberts-side-with-liberals-to-hand-environmentalists-huge-win-alito-is-not-amused/



Not sure if law & crime is considered a news source but the decision is news. I’ll move to general if not ok.

COVID-19's recent spread shifts to suburban, whiter, and more Republican-leaning areas

Brookings Institute
William H. Frey April 22, 2020

There is a stereotypical view of the places in America that COVID-19 has affected most: they are broadly urban, comprised predominantly of racial minorities, and strongly vote Democratic. This underlines the public’s perception of what kinds of populations reside in areas highly exposed to the coronavirus, as well as some of the recent political arguments over social distancing measures and the states easing their restrictions.

While that perception of high-prevalence areas was accurate during the earlier stages of the pandemic, COVID-19’s recent spread has changed the picture. During the first three weeks of April, new counties showing a high prevalence of COVID-19 cases are more suburban, whiter, and voted more strongly for Donald Trump than counties the virus hit first. These findings result from a new analysis of counties with high COVID-19 prevalence rates (more than 100 confirmed cases per 100,000 population) based on data available from The New York Times and the U.S. Census Bureau.

As of March 29, 59 counties (representing 7.8% of the U.S. population) registered high COVID-19 prevalence rates. Over the subsequent three weeks, through April 19, an additional, 142, 254, and 262 counties registered a high prevalence—increasing the shares of the U.S. population living in such counties by 11.8%, 11.2%, and 15.7%, respectively. Thus, as of April 19, 48% of U.S. residents lived in counties with a high prevalence of COVID-19 cases.

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More at
[link:https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2020/04/22/as-covid-19-spreads-newly-affected-areas-look-much-different-than-previous-ones|]

Medical supplier says FEMA seized 400,000 N95 masks, has them 'just sitting on a loading dock at JFK

The seizures are continuing. This article includes a seizure on 4/19.

[link:https://www.nydailynews.com/coronavirus/ny-delaware-company-says-fema-seized-mask-shipments-amid-coronavirus-20200421-3yz7dks53fbl7jlrjhuq2xokyu-story.html|]

A medical supply company in Delaware is questioning the legality of federal seizures of N95 respirator masks destined for medical workers amid the coronavirus pandemic.

George Gianforcaro, owner of Delaware-based Indutex USA, told the Daily News that the Federal Emergency Management Agency confiscated 400,000 masks in two imported shipments meant for his U.S. customers.

He said the masks, which arrived in separate shipments on April 6 and April 19, are still being held at JFK Airport, apparently stranded in limbo as federal officials work out what to do next.

“The product is just sitting on a loading dock at JFK. They want to charge me $3,000 a day to store it there. I said, ‘I’ll just come pick it up then.’ They said, ‘No, it’s not released.’ It’s un-American. It’s horrible,” Gianforcaro told The News.


They are slowing down the delivery of protective gear so republican donors can make money distributing the seized gear. In my opinion.

Here’s a link
[link:https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/27/republican-fundraiser-company-coronavirus-152184|]

Ticked off vic on mortgage relief nsfw

Came across this yesterday. Guy knows how to rant but he’s spot on. Stop mortgage, credit card, car loan payments for three months and tack the three months onto the end.

[link:https://m.|]

His other videos are good too. The walmart service one had me laughing late last night

Divided walk

Started south of downtown and headed east south of the railroad tracks. Saw a few people in the park and on the streets but the neighborhoods ran out pretty quick and then no one.

It’s heating up but not too bad yet. I forgot to check for suntan lotion in the bag.

Passed a lot of warehouse type buildings. Passed barrios brewery and it was open for takeout. Damn a beer and a snack would have been nice. Stupid open container laws.

So I walked on by and then that brewery food smell hit me. Good fried food smell made me hungry. Oh well.

Saw one place I could get past the tracks, but there was a highway that wasn’t crossable. On I went.

Finally walked far enough to get on the other side of the tracks and the highway. That was kind of interesting but if I ever go this way again it’d be easier. I think.

Funny how the town is divided by those tracks. It reminded of other places I’ve walked where you have to walk miles out of your way to get past a highway, a railroad, a river.

Back in neighborhoods again. I made it a little further then asked my wife to pick me up.

I wonder where I’ll go tomorrow.

In coronavirus scramble for N95 masks, Trump administration pays premium to third-party vendors

The Trump administration has awarded bulk contracts to third-party vendors in recent weeks in a scramble to obtain N95 respirator masks, and the government has paid the companies more than $5 per unit, nearly eight times what it would have spent in January and February when U.S. intelligence agencies warned of a looming global pandemic, procurement records show.

....

The Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded a $55 million contract for N95s this month to Panthera Worldwide LLC, which is in the business of tactical training. One of its owners said last year that Panthera’s parent company had not had any employees since May 2018, according to sworn testimony.

It also has no history of manufacturing or procuring medical equipment, according to a review of records produced as a result of legal disputes involving the company and its affiliates.

Panthera Worldwide’s parent company filed for bankruptcy last fall, and the LLC is no longer recognized in Virginia — where it has its main office — following nonpayment of fees, which according to Virginia code results in “the existence of a limited liability company” being “automatically canceled.”

[link:https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/coronavirus-trump-masks-contracts-prices/2020/04/15/9c186276-7f20-11ea-8de7-9fdff6d5d83e_story.html|]

What does Panthera’s web site say?

Specialized teams comprised of US Special Forces troops, members of Federal agencies, and/or intelligence collection experts, join forces to carry out and protect the National Security interests of the United States.


Why am I thinking about blackwater?

9th street mural and weather report

My wife and I went for a walk around 4 Drizzling and a little cold we went through some streets we hadn’t been before and kind of gawked at some old houses and a church or two. Nice elegant old buildings.

Clean air and the rain. It was smelling like that real desert.

We turned north on 9th and got to this mural. Started off with weird creatures and scenes. It was block long. By the time we got to the other end it had pictures of buildings and stores we had seen on the way there.

Found it on the web so here’s some pictures
[link:https://globalphile.com/tucsons-dunbar-springs-neighborhood/|]

Such a cool thing in a place we’ve never been in town.

We walked back to the car and she drove home. Walked towards the university. 4th street was empty. Got to the university and looked back at university. Sun was low enough for that glare to start. Streets were still wet enough to amplify it. No cars or people to absorb any of it.

People were out but spread out. There were people walking by the university but fewer than normal. The mall had some people playing but much emptier than a typical saturday afternoon.

Walked about 7.5 miles. I’ll have to start bringing a bag. I normally like to stop along the way to get a drink but not now.

Best walk in a month.
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