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Wednesday :: October 28, 2020

Wednesday Open Thread

My current prediction: Trump will lose in a landslide. But that will only matter to him if the popular vote difference is huge. So no matter where you live, even if it's in a blue state, please VOTE against Donald Trump. Any popularily shown to Trump will be taken as a sign by his undeserving children that they are heirs to his current position.

I am busy all afternoon -- time for a new open thread, all topics welcome.

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Tuesday :: October 27, 2020

WAPO: Trump Directed More Than $8 Million to His Properties

The Washington Post has a new report analyzing expense money Donald Trump directed be paid to his properties since he got his desk in the oval office. Saying it is the tip of the iceberg, it has tracked at least $2.5 million in taxpayer funds, and $5.5 million from his campaign and fundraising committee to his properties.

Since his first month in office, Trump has used his power to direct millions from U.S. taxpayers — and from his political supporters — into his own businesses. The Washington Post has sought to compile examples of this spending through open records requests and a lawsuit.

In all, he has received at least $8.1 million from these two sources since he took office, those documents and publicly available records show.

He’s visited his hotels and clubs more than 280 times now, making them a familiar backdrop for his presidency. And in doing so, he has turned those properties into magnets for GOP events, including glitzy fundraisers for his own reelection campaign, where big donors go to see and be seen.

Some examples [More....]

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Donald Trump Puts Third Justice on Supreme Court

With the fast Senate approval of Amy Coney Barrett, Unpresident Donald Trump has accomplished what conservatives have only dreamed of since the 1930's -- created a true conservative majority on the Supreme Court. (WSJ, paywall).

Like Justice Scalia, Justice Barrett is known as an originalist and a textualist—that is, she applies the Constitution according to her understanding of what its language meant when adopted, and when interpreting statutes she zeroes in on the text of legislation rather than the purpose lawmakers were trying to achieve.

Another sobering thought:

In the last 40 years, more Supreme Court justices have served after age 80 than in the previous 190 years combined.

We get the government we elect. Please vote and help deny Donald Trump another undeserved opportunity to sit at a desk in the oval office.

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Sunday :: October 25, 2020

Trump Chief of Staff: We Can't Control Coronavirus

Mark Meadows, Donald Trump's Chief of Staff, made quite the admission Sunday when he said during an interview that the U.S. can't control the coronavirus.

The numbers are getting grimmer by the day: Yesterday, the total number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. hit 8,575,000. Deaths now exceed 224,000.

Several states are running out of hospital rooms. More than 41,000 people are currently hospitalized for COVID-19.

Donald Trump has run this country into the ground with his ineffectiveness and lack of ability to prepare for and meet emergencies. If he is re-elected, Americans have only themselves to blame.

We get the government we elect. VOTE!

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Thursday :: October 22, 2020

Thursday Open Thread

I can't wait until Donald Trump is no longer headline news. I'd also like to believe that there will come a day when those over 65 are released from COVID-19 house arrest.

Here is a new open thread, all topics welcome.

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Ghislaine Maxwell's Deposition Transcript Released

Personally, I would have kept the 2016 deposition transcript of Ghislaine Maxwell sealed. The appeals court decided differently and released the transcript today. Ms. Maxwell is facing criminal charges and is entitled to the presumption of innocence. The only effect of the unsealing will be to further pollute the possible jury pool with the salacious questions asked by the accuser's lawyer (virtually all of which Maxwell denied.)

Deposition transcripts in federal civil cases are not routinely filed with the court, they remain with the lawyers for the parties. It is usually excerpts rather than entire depositions that are admitted at hearings and trial.

The defamation case that was the genesis of this deposition is over. Why should the deposition transcripts be released now as opposed to a year from now? I think they should have remained sealed until after Ms. Maxwell's trial.

The transcript is available here.

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A Thankfully Last and Final Trump Debate

Update 5:48 pm MT: I think I will watch after all. I heard CNN on the car radio today and some official said that the mute button is only for the first two minute segments when they each get a chance to talk. (Shouldn't it be for all questions if the one not asked the question butts in and hogs the other candidate's time?) I think they should go further and block out the offender's face and mute his statements and have a chyron that says "Stand by. We will be back momentarily".

Does anyone need another debate to decide between voting for Trump or Biden? I doubt it. Does anyone need a final debate to decide whether to vote at all? Perhaps. [More...]

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Monday :: October 19, 2020

Monday Open Thread

This was on the playlist of the Peloton class I took this morning. It's hard to find a clear video of all of the Byrds performing it live (as opposed to a lip synced version from an old 60's TV show or an out of focus 1970's reunion show), but it's still a great song and it made me think of Trump as I pedaled today:

"And I'll probably feel a whole lot better when you're gone"

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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The Path to Victory: Biden v. Trump

95% of the time I think the election will be a slam-dunk for Biden and a decisive rejection of Donald Trump. But then, I think of all the millionaires and billionaires exercising their clout for Trump, and the unknown faction -- the number of marginalized, unhappy, under-informed lost souls out there somewhere in rural America, and I wonder, could they bring the election home for Trump?

The Wall St. Journal today has a "path to victory" chart in which you can move the battleground states into either candidate's column to see how they can reach 270 electoral votes. (Note: Paywall, but I think the NY Times had a similar feature a few weeks ago).

Biden starts way ahead of Trump with 226 electoral votes to Trump's 165. But, Florida is big, with 29 E.V. and Texas has 38. PA, Ohio and MI are next with 20, 18, and 16. Personally, I think Biden will take Florida, but even if he does, Trump could still win. For example, if the only undecideds Biden takes are FL, IA and NV.

Biden has the edge, and I hope he trounces Trump in a landslide, so Trump can never claim his legacy is anything but the failure that it is. [More...]

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Tuesday :: October 13, 2020

The Virus Strikes Twice

The Lancet has an article about a 25 year old man in Nevada who tested positive for COVID-19 in April and recovered but then at the end of May, he was infected again. He did not have any serious underlying conditions and there were no indications his immune system was compromised. But on May 28, he felt sick and on May 31 he got tested, and his test was positive. hThis time his symptoms were more severe.

We present, to our knowledge, the first North American case of reinfection with SARS-CoV-2. A 25-year-old man, who was a resident of Washoe County in the US state of Nevada, had laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection in April, 2020, followed by secondary infection within a period of around 6 weeks, in June, 2020. The second infection was symptomatically more severe than the first. Genomic analysis showed the two viral agents were genetically distinct. The patient's immune reaction in vitro was not assessed and, thus, conclusions cannot be made about the duration or degree of immunity.

The Lancet reports that at least 4 people have been reinfected. Does this man immunity Herd does not exist or individual immunity is not be a sure thing (unless you are a contestant on Survivor)? [More...]

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Friday :: October 09, 2020

Trump Ready to Return to His Campaign Rallies

Donald Trump wanted to return to the campaign trail (pun intended, as he trails his opponent be several points) today. but he is now planning on heading out on Monday. His doctor says:

White House physician Sean Conley said in a memo released on Thursday that Trump had completed his course of therapy for COVID-19, remained stable since returning home from the Walter Reed medical facility on Monday and could resume public engagements on Saturday.

“There are medical tests underway that will ensure that when the president is back out he will not be able to transmit the virus,” McEnany said, adding Conley would lay out the details later. “He won’t be out there if he can transmit the virus.”

[More....]

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Wednesday :: October 07, 2020

Wednesday Open Thread

Some things not worth their own post:

Stephen Miller is the latest to follow a string of White House staff getting COVID-19. (His wife had been with Mike Pence, prepping him for the debate but she left when she got the news about her husband. She had the virus in May).

Kellyanne Conway, aka Ms. Most Unimportant Person in the World, is still fighting with daughter Claudia over Claudia's airing of the family's dirty laundry on TikTok. Claudia says her mom gave the virus to her. And in one TikTok, now deleted, you can hear Kellyanne screaming at Claudia and using the F word. I guess this is what goes for "more mama less drama" in the Conway household. At the Rose Garden ceremony, there were serveral photos of Kellyanne and Bill Barr, standing shoulder to shoulder, laughing and talking spiritedly, with their mouths just inches away from each other and neither wore a mask.

There's a debate tonight between Kamala Harris and Mike Pence. I haven't decided whether to watch yet. I might choose to re-watch some episodes of Money Heist (casa de papel) or the 4th season of Reign, or the 4th episode of Tehran. I hate when streaming services release one episode a week. Don't they know we're all binge-watchers? Also good: Trackers (South African) and Departures. So many movies with bad CIA characters these days. [More...]

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Trump Loses Another Court Battle on Release of Taxes

Donald Trump loses once again, this time in the Second Circuit appeals court which upheld the refusal of the trail court to quash subpoenas in New York state investigation of Trump wronging.

The decision is Trump v. Cyrusr, 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 31772 and is available free here.

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U.S. Brings 2 ISIS Members to U.S. For Trial in Virginia

Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, two of the four ISIS members known as "the Beatles" who are accused of being prison guards who tortured Americans James Foley, Kayla Mueller, Steven Sotloff, and Peter Kassig while they were held as hostages, are coming to the United States for trial in Virginia. This follows months of neogtiating with Great Britain which finally agreed to turn over evidence in its possession based on on William Barr's agreement not to charge a death penalty offense.

The third member of the group, British citizen Aine Davis, is being held in Turkey. The fourth member and leader of the group,"jihadi john" aka Mohammed Emwazi, was targeted and killed in a U.S. airstrike several years ago.

Several European journalists captured and held by ISIS were eventually released, when their countries or families paid the ransom. The U.S. and Britain do not pay ransom, and thus,Foley and the other Americans were killed.

And still no definitive word on what happened to John Cantlie. Most assume he is dead, but some captured ISIS fighters have said they saw him after the collapse of ISIS in Iraq. [More...]

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Friday :: October 02, 2020

Donald and Melania Have COVID-19

Donald Trump and Melania Trump have tested positive for Covid-19.

[Trump] will quarantine in the White House for an unspecified period of time, forcing him to withdraw at least temporarily from the campaign trail only 32 days before the election on Nov. 3.

....Even if Mr. Trump, 74, remains asymptomatic, he will lose much of his remaining time on the campaign trail. If he becomes sick, it could raise questions about whether he should remain on the ballot at all.

Hope Hicks also is infected. She is just one of "scores of people" in the last week.

Ms. Hicks received the diagnosis after she began experiencing symptoms on Wednesday while attending the president’s rally in Minnesota.

The Trump family did not wear masks during the debate. Mask-less Ivanka sat right next to mask-less Melania during the debate. [More...]

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