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  Trump's Financial Scandal (short form)
Posted by: aqua - 3 hours ago - Forum: Politics - No Replies

The chickens are finally coming home to roost. Cool

10 Things You Need to Know About Trump’s Tax Returns

by Robert Reich | September 29, 2020

"Finally Trump’s tax returns have been made public. Here are the 10 big things you need to know about them:

1. Did he break the law? Almost surely. Details of tax practices suggest fraud on a massive scale. As Michael Bromwich, a former inspector general at the Justice Department, said yesterday, based on the Times’s story, Trump faces federal and state prosecution for bank fraud, tax fraud, wire fraud, and mail fraud, as does his entire family.

2. How little has he paid in taxes? In 11 of the 18 years examined, Trump paid no taxes at all. In his first year in office he paid the most income tax he had paid in a decade: $750. He has deducted taxes for almost everything imaginable, including $70,000 for hairstyling.

3. But he paid taxes in other nations where he did business? Yes, in 2017, when he paid $750 to the U.S., he paid $15,598 in Panama —$145,400 in India —$156,824 in the Philippines. So much for America first.

4. Why did Trump run for president? He was deeply in debt in 2015, and was, as his former fixer Michael Cohen said, eager to rebuild his brand by running for president. The presidency has injected cash into Trump’s businesses, as lobbyists and foreign governments have invested in them. But he’s still losing money.

5. How broke is he? He owes more than $300 million in loans and can’t repay them. His businesses are constantly losing money. He’s fighting with the IRS and could owe another $100 million to the government. So much for the “successful businessman” image.

6. Who does he owe money to? We don’t know. And that’s part of the problem. Because whoever he does has huge leverage over him.

7. Does this make Trump a national security risk? You bet. Note that a bipartisan group of nearly 500 national security officials, past and present, last week endorsed Biden for president. The list includes retired General Paul Selva, who served as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the first two and a half years of Trump’s presidency.

8. Why is he so desperate to stay in power? Presumably because a sitting president cannot be indicted, and he won’t have to face federal and state prosecution.

9. What’s Trump’s reaction to this bombshell? Not surprisingly, he claims it’s “totally fake news.” But the easiest way to refute it would be to make his tax returns public, which he refuses to do.

10. Will this bombshell affect the election? Probably not. His followers live in a Fox News bubble that this news won’t permeate. It will only confirm what the rest of us already knew. Trump is a conman and a crook."


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  Trump's Debt Problem
Posted by: aqua - 4 hours ago - Forum: Politics - No Replies

Cool Cool   Hmmm......I am thinking his creditors are both Saudi and Russian (those were the first two countries he visited in 2017).

Do Saudi debt collectors show up at your door with bone saws ? ?  Maybe Andrew knows.

Whoever Owns Trump’s Enormous Debts Could Be Running the Country

by David Atkins | September 30, 2020 - 7:35am

— from Washington Monthly

"At long last, the New York Times has Donald Trump’s tax returns. The picture they paint, put shortly, is one of epic financial malfeasance, likely criminal tax avoidance on a massive scale, probable bank fraud, opulent living at taxpayer expense, unethical self-dealing and wild recklessness more becoming a buffoonish French aristocrat or drunken sailor than a prudent businessman. Donald Trump’s approach to business and tax compliance appears to have been the same as his approach to politics: tell outrageous lies, play the government and creditors for fools, steal everything not nailed down today, figure out how to solve tomorrow’s consequences tomorrow, and already be onto the next con before anyone can catch him on the last one.

But despite its potential to land the entire Trump family in penury and jail, what is far more terrifying for the country isn’t what lies in his past of tax avoidance. It’s the time bomb of debt that lies in Trump’s very near future. It’s about the mystery of who owns Trump’s outlandish debts, and the degree of secret power they may be wielding over the country.

The particulars of the Trump grift are sickening in both the details and grand scope. It’s not just an issue of his class: the scale of his tax avoidance far dwarfs that of most others in his income bracket. Despite posturing as a billionaire, Trump paid only $750 in taxes for the years 2016 and 2017. He tried to use the same trick to offload tens of millions in tax burdens by claiming business losses twice in as many decades, except that the second time he actually still retained partial ownership of the underlying business, and has been in a $72 million battle with the IRS for a decade ever since–a battle he should lose by all rights. His daughter Ivanka was hired as a consultant for the same work she was doing in her main job–an obvious and incredibly stupid tax-avoidance grift that could easily land her jail. He (likely illegally) deducted $70,000 in hair care for his TV show. And so on.

Keep in mind, though, that this is just what we know of from his own personal reporting to the IRS. It’s not a forensic accounting document. These financial statements are Trump’s best foot forward to the government, with no knowing what criminal rot lies in the details.

Many rich tax cheats will tell the IRS they are broke while hiding their true wealth elsewhere. But Donald Trump isn’t just a tax cheat pretending to be broke for the feds. He appears to actually be broke. He inherited money from his father, squandered it on failed casino investments, offloaded the losses onto creditors, and then remade himself as a personal brand machine selling the rights to his name. He played a fake billionaire on TV and made significant money from doing that. Remarkably, adopting a fake reality TV show persona for public entertainment value may be the closest thing to honest work Trump has ever done. But rather than being content to invest those proceeds wisely, he went on another foolish real estate spending spree. His properties old and new are losing ridiculous amounts of money–he has lost a shocking $315 million dollars in the last 20 years at his golf courses alone.

One fact stands out far above all the others in its staggering implications: Donald Trump is personally responsible for $421 million worth of loans coming due in the next few years. Not his business. Him. Personally. He has no means of repaying them. He already refinanced his few profitable properties, and sold off most of his stocks to stay afloat. He appears short on liquidity. And we still don’t know to whom he owes the money.

This fact has frightening implications for public policy and national security. Even minor debts are a frequent reason for the government to deny a security clearance, for the obvious reason that indebted and financially desperate public servants make easy marks for bribery, blackmail and potential treason. The potentially destructive power of that sort of hold on a President of the United States is beyond comprehension. It is the stuff of nightmares, bad spy movie plots and otherwise outlandish conspiracy theory. Imagine if a president owed millions to the mob or to those with close ties to a foreign government, and those individuals both controlled the president’s financial future and knew of corrupt criminal activity. The president might act with otherwise strange deference to said mobsters and those connected to them, and bend public policy on their behalf. If they were tied to fossil fuel interests, the president might set the globe on fire rather than cross them. If his creditors were simply a wealthy set of Wall Street tycoons, he might rig all financial policy on their direct behalf.

What we do know is that beginning in the late 2000s, no one would lend to Donald Trump. His history of bankruptcies, combined with whatever horrors were on his personal and organizational financial statements, clearly made every bank run the other direction. Every bank but one, that is: Deutsche Bank. Donald Trump’s history with Deutsche Bank has always merited special scrutiny, but never more than now. The head honchos at Deutsche would have known just how desperate Trump’s financial position was. But they lent to him anyway. Why? It certainly looks even more ominous that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s son was managing the real estate division at Deutsche that lent to Trump, and that Justice Kennedy unexpectedly retired to ensure Trump could seat his replacement. And it looks triply suspicious that Deutsche Bank has been fined and sanctioned over multiple money laundering scandals, including $20 billion from Russian kleptocrats.

It could all be a coincidence. But it probably isn’t.

Still, even if the darkest fears turn out to be unfounded, some group of individuals still owns Trump’s nearly half-billion dollar debts. They likely also know where many of his financial and legal skeletons are buried. Whoever they are, they have the capacity to be directly dictating to Donald Trump and he would be in no position to say no. That is an untenable place for the country to be in.

The New York Attorney General has even more dirt on the finances of the Trump Organization, and the New York Times will be releasing even more information on Trump’s taxes in the coming days. But even with just what we know now, the country faces an unprecedented policy and national security crisis. The situation is untenable. A man in Trump’s position simply cannot be allowed to continue as president.

Trump has already proven himself temperamentally and morally unfit for the job. But now, whether he wins or loses re-election, no responsible member of Congress should allow him to be re-inaugurated. The Republican Party could easily put Vice President Pence in his place and achieve the same policy goals. Trump must be impeached and removed, because the country faces grave risks every day he remains in power."


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  thought for the day
Posted by: andrew_o - Today, 04:53 AM - Forum: Politics - No Replies

[Image: 120256611_2368806366599406_3652709349873...e=5F9A17F2]

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  October Black Swan?
Posted by: silverfish - Today, 01:14 AM - Forum: Markets, Money & Investing - Replies (3)

Anyone else think there could be a sudden big stock market drop this October?

One that is about house prices and other property prices falling?

One that loses the incumbent the November election? (I have nothing against Donald Trump, and dislike Biden, just if the stock market drops it is not favourable for the incumbent. I don't know anything about Kamala Harris, but she does look like she could be president, not Biden.)

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  Reasons not to Catch Covid virus
Posted by: aqua - Yesterday, 11:55 PM - Forum: Misc - No Replies

Here Are 8 Reasons Covid Is so Much Worse than the Skeptics Think[/url][url=http://www.smirkingchimp.com/topics/in-the-news/coronavirus] Covid-19
by Thom Hartmann | September 29, 202

"America's first COVID death was on February 29 of this year, roughly 200 days ago. In that time, more than 200,000 Americans have died of the disease, the equivalent of 1,000 people a day.

That's how many people would have died if between February 29 and today three fully-loaded jumbo jets had crashed every single day, even on weekends, for 200 days.

Now that we've passed this grim milestone and are still losing around 1,000 people a day, and Donald Trump acknowledged—bragged—to Bob Woodward last winter that he knew COVID is both deadly and airborne, many Trump-lovers are starting to look for factual information about the virus.

With this handy list, you can help them out.

Here are the facts about this virus with links to the various scientific sources, already well-known to most of the rest of the world but mostly absent from Fox News. I'm writing this as a reporter, not a physician or scientist, so it's written mostly in plain English.*

[b]COVID Can Damage Your Heart[/b]

A group of researchers in Germany did follow-up studies on people who were, on median, 71 days out from their diagnosis, with a mean age of 49 years old and who considered themselves recovered from the infection.

They reported in the American Medical Association's peer-reviewed journal JAMA Cardiology that 78 percent of "recovered" patients had heart damage that was visible on MRIs and other scanning technologies.

Even more alarming, fully 60 percent still—months after their illness—had "ongoing myocardial inflammation" (inflammation of the heart muscle).

Because the virus has never before infected humans and we're less than a year into it, nobody knows if this heart damage and ongoing heart inflammation will be lifelong or if people will heal from it at some point.

[b]COVID Damages Young People's Hearts Even When They Don't Have Symptoms[/b]

As colleges started pulling their athletes back onto campus late this summer, Ohio State University found 26 students—football, soccer, lacrosse, basketball and track—who tested positive for COVID.

Fourteen never had any symptoms and a dozen had "mild" symptoms. None had been so sick they required hospitalization or even oxygen or drug support. All believed they had fully recovered, some as many as 53 days out from their positive test.

Out of an abundance of caution—and some curiosity—the university asked those 26 elite athletes to pop themselves into an MRI machine so they could check out their hearts.

Fully 15 percent of them had ongoing "signs of inflammation to the heart muscle" (myocarditis).

Over at Penn State, the football team's doctor, Wayne Sebastianelli, said of the Big Ten athletes who'd tested positive for COVID that "30 to roughly 35 percent of their heart muscles" showed evidence of myocarditis. "[W]e really just don't know what to do with it right now," he added.

The New York Times pulled together a startling collection of stories of athletes who have been devastated by COVID infections.

For example, take the story of former college football player and current Ironman triathlete Ben O'Donnell:

Quote:"[H]e needed a walker just to go out to the mailbox at the end of the driveway. In his first attempt to exercise, two days after he left the hospital, he walked for seven minutes at a speed of 1.2 miles per hour using supplemental oxygen. He has been trying to add a minute of time, and a bit of speed, each day."
[b]COVID Can Damage Your Brain and Even Produce Dementia[/b]

About half of symptomatic COVID patients report "headaches, confusion and delirium," the New York Times reports, suggesting the virus is acting on the brain, according to new research published in the neurological journal Brain.
Another study reported in the British medical journal Lancet found that 62 percent of symptomatic COVID patients studied "presented with a cerebrovascular [blood vessels of the brain] event." It also found that of the COVID patients British doctors had evaluated and referred to an inter-physician database between April 2 and April 26, 2020, 74 percent "had an ischemic stroke" and 12 percent had "an intracerebral hemorrhage" (bleeding in the brain).

Of the patients who hadn't had a stroke or brain-bleed, 59 percent "presented with altered mental status [that] fulfilled the clinical case definitions for psychiatric diagnoses as classified by the notifying psychiatrist or neuropsychiatrist," and 92 percent of those "were new diagnoses."

These included "new-onset psychosis" (43 percent), "neurocognitive (dementia-like) syndrome" (26 percent), and an "affective [mood-distorting] disorder" (17 percent).

Of the patients with an "altered mental status," 49 percent were younger than 60 and 51 percent were over 60.
New York Times reporter Apoorva Mandavilli reached out to University of California, San Diego, neuroscientist Alysson Muotri to get her take on that study and other, previous research showing that COVID can infect the brain and cause brain-cell (synapse) death through a mechanism that still isn't fully understood.

"Days after infection," Dr. Muotri said, "we already see a dramatic reduction in the amount of synapses. We don't know yet if that is reversible or not."

Mandavilli noted that COVID "exploits the brain cells' machinery to multiply, but doesn't destroy them. Instead, it chokes off oxygen to adjacent cells, causing them to wither and die."

[b]Months After COVID Infection, You Can Still Lose Your Taste and Smell[/b]

And it appears to be worse for women and children. As 11-year-old Aviva Epstein noted, two months after recovering from a mild COVID infection, "I couldn't eat anything." She described her new life: "I would run to the garbage, gag, and spit out anything I would eat. I would eat pasta. I love it. It tasted gross, like rotten beef or rotten pork."

Michael Rothschild of Mount Sinai's Icahn School of Medicine notes that nobody knows if about a third of patients who've lost their sense of smell will ever recover.

Reporter Melissa Russo with New York's Channel 4 NBC affiliate noted, "He says ordinarily, about two thirds of patients will recover fully, but because COVID-19 is new, it's difficult to predict how long these symptoms will last and if the rate of recovery will be the same."

[b]Many Get Chronic Fatigue—and Nobody Knows How Long It Will Last[/b]

One of the more common problems people experience after recovering from even a mild case of COVID is deep, debilitating fatigue.

The COVID virus is a variation on the original SARS coronavirus that erupted back in 2003 and the SARS-type MERS virus that ravaged the Middle East (27 countries) starting in 2012. (It is not an influenza or "common cold" virus.)
Dr. Rashid Chotani, vice president of medical affairs at CareLife Medical in Fairfax, Virginia, said in an interview with health writer Sarah Ellis that in previous studies of SARS and MERS survivors, they sometimes showed signs of fatigue and muscle weakness for years afterward.

"What we know is that SARS survivors had poorer exercise capacity and health status and had chronic fatigue symptoms 3.5 years after being diagnosed," he told Ellis. "So, one possible long-term effect is chronic fatigue syndrome."

Fiona Lowenstein, an American writer who wrote about her experience for the New York Times and started an online support group for COVID survivors, told Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reporters, "I thought I had fully recovered a couple of weeks ago, then I relapsed into some old symptoms, chills and sweats. And this intense feeling of fatigue."

She added, "It almost feels like I've been hit by a truck at 4:00 pm each day."

She's not alone. Deep, debilitating, "crushing" fatigue is one of the most common conditions experienced by people who never really recovered and thus call themselves "long-haulers." After writing about her own difficult recovery, Lowenstein said, "My inbox was flooded."

[b]You Can Damage Your Fingers and Toes, and Even Lose Your Legs[/b]

Physicians who specialize in feet (podiatrists) have reported extensively on a condition apparently caused by the tendency of COVID to inflame even the tiniest of blood vessels while increasing levels of clotting factors in the body.
The symptoms of "COVID toe" include "finger/toe cyanosis [blue skin], skin bullae [large blisters] and dry gangrene [green or black skin due to low blood supply] to the digits" along with a loss of sensation or excruciating pain, apparently depending on how extensively the virus attacks the nerves.

Canadian ER physician Dr. Dina Kulik told Canadian TV, "It looks like frostbite [with] red or purple or brown discoloration around the feet, could be on the underside of the foot, the top of the foot, on the toes, and sometimes there's cracked or dry looking skin as well."

In the press, most of the attention went to children getting "COVID toes," although it shows up in adults as well. For example, Broadway actor Nick Cordero—the 41-year-old father of a 1-year-old child and an athlete in excellent shape—first had his leg amputated in the hospital when what appeared to be such a COVID-caused inflammation and clots blocked blood to it, and subsequently died from his COVID infection.

A study published July 16, 2020, in the medical journal Radiology, titled "Lower Extremity Arterial Thrombosis Associated with COVID-19 Is Characterized by Greater Thrombus Burden and Increased Rate of Amputation and Death," compared hospitalized COVID patients with blood clots in the blood vessels (thrombosis) of their legs to those who had leg clots but didn't have COVID.

The study concluded, "All patients with COVID-19 infection undergoing lower extremity CTA had at least one lower extremity clot (100%) while only 69% of controls had clots (p=0.02)."

Even worse, it noted, "Adjusted for history of peripheral vascular disease, death or limb amputation was more common in patients with COVID-19 infection (odds ratio 25, p<0.001)."

The conclusion of the study's abstract noted that "the incidence of death and amputation is significantly more common in COVID-19 patients…"

[b]You May Think You're Getting Better, and Then It Kills You[/b]

There are several stages to a COVID infection. The first and most common involves the throat, nose and respiratory tract with the familiar cough and sore throat, along with a loss of smell.

About 10 percent to 15 percent of people who get these "mild-to-moderate" symptoms go onto a more "severe" form of the disease, and of the people who are "severe," about 15 percent to 20 percent become "critical."

Often there is a period between the mild symptoms and the severe symptoms where the body has largely fought off the disease, but then, after a few days, it returns with a roar. The transition from mild to severe can happen "very, very quickly," according to an expert from WHO.

The CDC says the median time from a COVID-caused pneumonia diagnosis to death is typically 13 days.

[b]You May Not Even Know You Have It—Until You Infect Somebody Else[/b]

While more than 1,000 health care workers in America have died from COVID, a recent study of such workers who tested positive for the infection found that about half (44 percent) had such light or nonexistent symptoms that they didn't realize they had a disease, a statistic that generally reflects the asymptomatic percentage of infected people among normal, healthy adults.

However, asymptomatic people with COVID can still pass the disease along to others. And infected children—without symptoms—may be even more contagious than adults, according to data published in the American Medical Association's journal JAMA Pediatrics.

"Here, we report that replication of SARS-CoV-2 in older children leads to similar levels of viral nucleic acid as adults," the researchers reported, "but significantly greater amounts of viral nucleic acid are detected in children younger than 5 years."

America is just beginning a giant experiment in how effectively children can contract and spread the disease—usually with no apparent symptoms—but this peer-reviewed and published research should give pause.

"Thus," they conclude their study, "young children can potentially be important drivers of SARS-CoV-2 spread in the general population, as has been demonstrated with respiratory syncytial virus [which causes common colds], where children with high viral loads are more likely to transmit."

[b]America: The Great Experiment[/b]

Most countries have engaged one of two quite different strategies to deal with COVID.
Countries like Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and most of Europe have chosen to try to rid themselves of the virus, using extensive testing and contact tracing, as well as prevention measures for social distancing, mask-wearing, and lockdowns.

With a few notable exceptions, poorer countries lacking high-quality health care infrastructure or resources have done little to nothing to stop or slow the spread of the disease and have put much stock in the hope that, unlike the common cold coronavirus, this particular type of SARS coronavirus doesn't mutate in ways that make vaccines ineffective.

Because the Trump administration has been all over the map on these two strategies, embracing a testing/tracing strategy in March and early April, then shifting course rapidly in the direction of not taking COVID as seriously after the April 7 revelation that Black, Hispanic and Native Americans were dying at higher rates than white Americans.

While on the campaign trail in June, Trump even suggested America "slow the testing down" so the case rates would appear lower. And he has repeatedly underestimated the dangers of the virus, dismissed science-backed prevention methods such as mask-wearing in favor of dangerous and unproven ones, claimed the virus would "miraculously" disappear in warm weather, and admitted to "playing it down" when he knew it was "deadly."

If America doesn't shut down the virus fairly quickly, it may become so widespread that a testing and contact-tracing strategy is impossible, leaving the next president with an unrecoverable disaster to deal with. Nobody knows for sure how many cases it'll take to bring this about, but the UK going into a second lockdown because they flirted with herd immunity for several months should be a warning.

*To be technically accurate, SARS-CoV-2 is the name of the virus, and COVID-19 is the umbrella name for the various manifestations of its infection (i.e., the disease). For simplicity, I've combined them in this article under the popularly-understood rubric of "COVID."

This article was produced by Economy for All, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

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  Commercial Properties down in USA
Posted by: aqua - Yesterday, 01:02 PM - Forum: Markets, Money & Investing - No Replies


"NEW YORK (Reuters) - The economic effects of the coronavirus are battering the U.S. commercial-backed securities market, raising the question of the value of hotels, malls, and other buildings that act as collateral for mortgages, according to a report in the Financial Times on Sunday.

Wells Fargo estimates that U.S. properties that have gotten into trouble are being written down by 27% on average, according to the report. (on.ft.com/36cE4eE)

Declining appraisal values could hammer portfolio managers that have moved into the commercial mortgage-backed securities market in search for yield at a time when the Federal Reserve has indicated that it will keep benchmark yields near zero until 2023 at the earliest."

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  Covid is on the rise again
Posted by: aqua - Yesterday, 12:56 PM - Forum: Misc - Replies (8)

Last week local stories of hospitals filling up again started going around.

Even if mortality is down, who wants to spend 2 to 8 weeks or more in a hospital ?


Warning Signs Are Flashing Ahead of Covid’s Second U.S. Winter
Michelle Fay Cortez
September 28, 2020, 3:03 PM CDT

"Public health officials in the U.S. could take heart at the end of the summer. Even as the new coronavirus continued to spread, fewer people were winding up in the hospital because of Covid-19, and fewer were dying.

Now, as the seasons turn, there are signs suggesting there will be more deaths and serious illness ahead.

Data collected by the Covid Tracking Project shows that the number of people hospitalized has plateaued at about 30,000 in the past week, after a decline from nearly 60,000 that began in late July. Deaths, meanwhile, averaged about 750 over the seven days through Sunday, higher than the roughly 600 deaths a day in the first week of July.

Scientists had hoped that a warm-weather reprieve could soften an expected re-emergence of the coronavirus in the colder months. Instead, the contagion continued to spread across the country after Memorial Day, with early-summer outbreaks in Sun Belt states followed by the recent surge of new infections in the Upper Midwest and on college campuses nationwide.

Any indication hospitals are attending to more coronavirus patients is likely to reignite concerns that the health-care system could be overwhelmed by new cases as the weather cools and more activities, including school and holiday socializing, move indoors.

History and science suggest the second winter with coronavirus is likely to be worse than the first. The pathogen is more entrenched and most respiratory viruses circulate primarily in the winter months.

“We haven’t had exposure to Covid throughout an entire winter, when more people are indoors and close together for prolonged periods,” said William Schaffner, an infectious disease professor at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. “We are certainly concerned that Covid could spread even more readily in the winter than it has so far.”
More Testing

The Trump administration has pointed to the increasing availability of coronavirus tests as the reason the number of new cases in the U.S. remains high. Diagnostics manufacturers are now shipping more than 1.2 million tests nationwide each day, up from 600,000 at the start of May, according to AdvaMed, a trade group for the medical-technology industry.

Increased testing has also made it possible to catch coronavirus cases earlier. That, combined with improved hospital care and medicines like Gilead Sciences Inc.’s remdesivir and generic steroid dexamethasone, allowed more patients to survive their infections this summer.

However, a week-long plateau in new cases, hospitalizations and deaths are an early warning that things could be about to get worse. Along with the resumption of school, more states are easing curbs on restaurants and bars, giving the virus more chances to find vulnerable people to infect. Last week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis lifted capacity limits on restaurants and other businesses.

“It’s not complicated to explain. All of that opening up, so many people taking off their masks, gathering together in bars and parties, going back to the old normal,” Schaffner said. “We should not be surprised that we are seeing an increase in Covid again. Covid loves that environment.”

.....While those hardest hit were more likely to have other conditions, about three of every four who were hospitalized, needed intensive care or died had no other health concerns, the CDC said.

The number of cases among children has increased dramatically since the start of September, when many went back to school in person at least part time.

Coronavirus cases in those 19 and younger have increased three-fold since May, according to the CDC, suggesting they may play an increasingly important role in community transmission even if their individual risk of serious illness is low....."

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  Minority Rule
Posted by: aqua - Yesterday, 12:17 PM - Forum: Politics - Replies (9)

Smile  An interesting essay on politics (and it is short).

Minority Rule Is Un-American and Unacceptable
by Marc Ash | September 29, 2020 - 6:32am

"Minority rule is by its very nature authoritarian. If power is not truly derived from the people – a majority of the people – then that power is exercised in defiance of the people.

Four times in American history a candidate has won the presidency without a popular majority. In each instance it was a Republican, never a Democrat. In the first 20 years of this young 21st century, twelve of those years have seen the nation led by a president who could not win a majority from the American voters.

The result has been a degree of social division and unrest not seen in the country since the post Civil War era, which was the moment in history when the other two Republican minority presidents captured the White House.

Minority rule is fundamentally antithetic to American core values. The Declaration of Independence was at its foundation a pronouncement of self-determination. The idea that there should be “no taxation without representation” was a defining ideology of the Revolution.

Our perception or interpretation of the intent of the Framers seems to be a never-ending work in progress. Did they really intend that presidents serve without having won the popular election? After their bout with King George III, that would seem unimaginable. Nonetheless, we have found ourselves governed by not one but two presidents without majority support. What could go wrong?

Once the door to minority rule is opened, those who enjoy its power may not want to relinquish it. See current events for more on this. In addition, if the majority is ruled by the minority, this leads to social unrest – as evidenced by developments in Portland, Kenosha, Louisville, and hundreds of other emerging hotspots around the country. Minority rule imposes a lack of social order and naturally fosters social unrest.

There were concerns in 2015 as Donald Trump’s campaign for president began to get rolling that the tone of his rhetoric could, or perhaps was even intended to, lead to civil war. We are not there yet, but we can see that place from here.

Amy Coney Barrett and the frantic rush job to install her as the 2020 presidential election process is in full swing is another deliberate step toward constitutional nullification, minority rule, and social chaos.

The time has come for the minority to feel the full weight of the majority. Simply standing aside as the Constitution is trampled makes those who take no action complicit with those who transgress.

Should a state like Wyoming, with a population of roughly 600,000, stand in full parity in the selection of a Supreme Court Justice as a state like California, whose population stands at 40 million and has the fifth largest economy in the world? Or is the better question how long will California, New York, Illinois, and other states whose major population centers are fundamentally impacted by the imposition of the will of small rural states stand for the intrusion.

When do the major population and economic centers of the US begin to act like it? When do the citizens of those areas begin to demand it? Small, rural minority states can only control large, populous, economically powerful states if the larger states are docile and compliant.

The strength and power of the larger states can be exercised effectively without undue strife, but the process must begin in earnest and with immediacy."


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  25 questions for Biden
Posted by: andrew_o - 09-28-2020, 08:21 PM - Forum: Politics - Replies (6)


Tuesday’s presidential debate provides an opportunity for the American public to finally get answers from Joe Biden, who has largely been absent from the campaign trail.
Vice President Biden should be asked the following 25 questions. This list is by no means exhaustive.
Many of these questions were suggested by this author last month, but because they remain unanswered, I offer them again in the hope that Tuesday’s debate moderator, Chris Wallace, will question the Democratic nominee with the same enthusiasm he has shown for questioning President Trump.
1. A Senate investigative report issued this month found that your son, Hunter Biden, and his family and business partners “received millions of dollars from foreign nationals with questionable backgrounds.” Among the sums they received while you were vice president include over $4 million from the corruption-plagued Ukrainian energy company Burisma to your son and his business associate, a $3.5 million wire transfer to your son from the wife of the former mayor of Moscow, and “millions of dollars in cash flow” from your son’s business associations with “Chinese nationals linked to the Communist government and the People’s Liberation Army.” In light of all of this, we must ask: Why did members of your family get so many lucrative business opportunities overseas while you were vice president?

2. The report also contradicts your earlier statements that you were never told about your son’s business dealings in Ukraine. According to the report, “In October 2015, senior State Department official Amos Hochstein raised concerns with Vice President Joe Biden, as well as with Hunter Biden, that Hunter Biden’s position on Burisma’s board enabled Russian disinformation efforts and risked undermining U.S. policy in Ukraine.” Is Mr. Hochstein lying about this or are you?

3. Why did your son Hunter accompany you on your official trip to Beijing in December 2013? What did he do on that trip? Who did he meet with? What should the American public make of the fact that just 10 days after this trip, your son’s boutique private equity firm secured a $1 billion investment deal from the state-owned bank of China (later expanded to $1.5 billion) despite having no prior experience in China; and with this deal, the Chinese government granted your son’s firm a first-of-its-kind arrangement to operate in the recently formed Shanghai Free-Trade Zone—a perk not granted to any of the large established financial institutions?

4. Should the American public be concerned that your son’s private equity firm partnered with a Chinese government-owned aerospace and defense conglomerate to facilitate the purchase of an American company (based in Michigan) that produced strategically sensitive dual-use military technology that the Chinese government wanted?

5. Does your “Build Back Better” proposal contain any provisions to ensure that American taxpayer-funded technology is not bought off by Chinese state-backed enterprises working with private equity firms like your son’s?

6. How did your brother, Frank, secure $45 million in taxpayer loans from the Obama administration for his Caribbean projects?

7. How did a newly-minted firm employing your other brother, James, receive a $1.5 billion contract to build homes in Iraq despite having no experience in construction or international development?

8. Back in 2000, you voted in favor of giving permanent Normal Trade Relations (NTR) to China. At the time, you said that this would not lead to “the collapse of the American manufacturing economy” because China is “about the size of the Netherlands” and could not possibly become “our major economic competitor.” Furthermore, you predicted that free trade with China would establish “a path toward ever greater political and economic freedom” for the people of China. Do you still stand by these statements today after 3.4 million American jobs have been lost to China and millions of China’s citizens have been imprisonedsurveilleddisappeared, and used as slave labor by an increasingly authoritarian regime enriched by 20 years of record trade imbalances acquired through flagrant trade violations?

9. The People’s Republic of China has a bold plan called “Made in China 2025” to dominate the key technologies of the future in order to overtake the United States militarily and economically. Do you still contend that China is “not competition for us”?

10. Why did you promote the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to financial special interest groups when research was clear that the deal would make it easier for corporations to move U.S. jobs overseas?

11. Do you believe Xi Jinping kept his promise to Barack Obama to end cyber-espionage against the United States? If not, what are you prepared to do about it?

12. Do you accept that the coronavirus originated in China? Do you think China was honest with the world in its handling of the coronavirus? Are you satisfied with China’s explanations for how it spread? Do you believe their claims about the number of cases and fatalities in China?

13. Do you think China should be held responsible in any way for its handling of the coronavirus? If not, why not? What, if any, repercussions should there be for China in its handling of the coronavirus?

14. You have vowed to rescind the Trump tax cuts. Can you think of a single example of a country that recovered from a recession by raising taxes?

15. President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, has been attacked by members of your party because of her Catholic faith. Do you denounce these attacks on Judge Barrett’s Catholicism?

16. Your running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), attacked a judicial nominee on the basis of his membership in the Catholic fraternal organization the Knights of Columbus, which is the largest fraternal organization in the world and includes among its past and present members many prominent Americans like President John F. Kennedy, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Gov. John Bel Edwards (D-LA), and Vince Lombardi. Do you or Sen. Harris believe that being a member of the Knights of Columbus disqualifies a person from holding public office? Would you refuse to hire someone on the basis of their membership in the Knights of Columbus or any other Catholic organization? In Sen. Harris’ questioning of this Catholic judicial nominee, she singled out the issue of the Catholic teaching on the sanctity of life. Would you or Sen. Harris disqualify a job applicant on the basis of their Catholic beliefs about abortion? Do you or Sen. Harris believe that being pro-life disqualifies someone from employment?

17. Your campaign has adopted a version of the Green New Deal that calls for 100 percent renewable electricity generation by 2035. California has adopted similar “green” goals, but now it can’t keep the lights on due to the state’s reliance on wind and solar energy. California’s Democratic Gov. Gavin Newson admitted that the Golden State needs a “backup” plan for energy because the current blackouts caused by lack of wind and overcast skies have shown the danger of relying solely on “green” energy. Why would the nation fare any better than sunny breezy California in keeping the lights on if we adopt 100 percent renewable energy?

18. You supported the George Floyd protests, which you claimed were peaceful. Have you spoken to any victims of the riots — people who lost loved ones or businesses?

19. Do you believe that the looting of the Magnificent Mile in Chicago was a “form of reparations,” as one Chicago Black Lives Matter organizer claimed? Is looting an appropriate form of protest as a means of reparations?

20. Seattle Black Lives Matter protesters stormed a neighborhood, demanding that residents “get the f*** out” and “give black people back their homes” as reparations. Do you support that style of protest? If not, have you condemned it?

21. You said in your DNC acceptance speech that America is ready to “do the hard work of rooting out our systemic racism.” What did you do in your 36 years as a U.S. senator and 8 years as vice president to root out systemic racism? Why didn’t it work?

22. What is the maximum number of illegal immigrants you would allow into the country before securing the border to stop more from entering?

23. The Obama administration deported an estimated 3 million illegal aliens. Was that a bad thing?

24. With 30 million Americans unemployed due to the coronavirus, would you support a halt on work visas for foreign workers competing with Americans for jobs? If not, explain to us why CEOs will not use this huge increase in the supply of labor to freeze and reduce salaries for American workers?

25. Do you or do you not support a ban on fracking? If you do, what do you say to the estimated 7.5 million American jobs that will be lost due to such a ban, which includes an estimated 550,000 jobs lost in Pennsylvania, 500,000 jobs lost in Ohio, 363,000 jobs lost in North Carolina, 353,000 jobs lost in Colorado, and 233,000 jobs lost in Michigan?

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  vote harvesting
Posted by: andrew_o - 09-28-2020, 08:16 PM - Forum: Politics - No Replies

I think Project Veritas has a smoking gun here. Federal investigations to follow?

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