Monday Reads: Hi from Hurricane Central!!!Posted: August 24, 2020
Good Day Sky Dancers!
It’s really a gorgeous morning here and last night was great but it’s the proverbial calm before the storm is here. Temple and I had a great walk at 7:30 to beat the first of the rain bands. It was in the 70s with a cool breeze. But, like everything 2020, here comes the turbocharged change!
Fortunately for those of us in the central and western Gulf Coast, Little Hurricane Marco just never quite got going. He is going to swipe us before puttering along towards Texas. As long as he doesn’t slow down, he’ll have some water but only enough to dampen the day.
Hurricane Laura, however, is going to pack a punch! She is strengthening and likely to cause some problems. My only solace is that this is a big news event which is likely to somewhat drown out the four nights of Klanfest. The RNC is evidently in disarray because of all Trump’s interference including 4 nights of him giving speeches which is irregular to say the least. From Vox’s Aaron Rupar: “The RNC disarray is a microcosm of everything Trump did wrong with the coronavirus. He had no plan. The result is chaos.”
The day it’s set to begin, there is still much we don’t know about what will be happening at the 2020 Republican National Convention. But what we do indicates it’ll have a circus-like quality.
Confirmed speakers include Patricia and Mark McCloskey, the St. Louis couple best known for brandishing firearms at protesters earlier this year, and former Covington Catholic student Nick Sandmann, who became a symbol of white grievance last year after he was filmed in a viral video of a confrontation with Native American demonstrators. President Trump will likely deliver his convention-closing speech from the White House, flouting ethical concerns and laws prohibiting the use of government property for political gain, with other events set to take place on government property located conveniently near the downtown DC hotel he still owns and profits from. On Sunday, the RNC released a speaker list — with Trump scheduled to appear every day.
My TV will be firmly tuned to the Weather Channel if we have power through the week. It’s generally on mute but on constantly during hurricane times here.
The disaster of a Post Office General is also on full display today.
We also know that Trump handpicked folks for the UPS positions that evidently have a habit of supporting voter suppression. This from Mary Redden writing for HuffPo: ” Trump’s Handpicked Postal Service Chair Has A Long History Of Voter Suppression. Robert Duncan chaired the RNC during the party’s unprecedented escalation of voter disenfranchisement efforts in swing states.”
President Donald Trump’s selection for a key Postal Service position, Robert M. Duncan, once had a very different job: steering the Republican Party while it undertook some of its most brazen voter suppression schemes.
Duncan is now the chair of the Postal Service board of governors, but he previously served as general counsel and then chair of the Republican National Committee from 2002 to 2009, a time when the committee and its state counterparts oversaw an unprecedented escalation of voter disenfranchisement efforts in swing states.
From 2004 to 2006, when Duncan was the committee’s general counsel, party officials challenged the eligibility of at least 77,000 voters, a 2007 report by the nonpartisan group Project Vote found.
As it happens, one of the party’s favored tactics relied on the U.S. mail. In 2004, Republicans in Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania sent thousands of nonforwardable letters and postcards to select voters — particularly minority voters — and used the mail returned as undeliverable to come up with voter registration challenge lists.
Duncan’s history is the latest alarm bell for those fearful that Trump is attempting to undermine the U.S. Postal Service in order to win reelection.
We’ve had yet another senseless shooting of an unarmed black man by the police. This time it is in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The man is in serious condition.
This is from the Kenosha News: “State DOJ will probe officer-involved shooting; man in serious condition”.
Dozens of squad cars from the Kenosha Police and Kenosha County Sheriff’s department and Wisconsin State Patrol converged in the Wilson Heights neighborhood, lining the streets approaching the scene.
The incident was being turned over to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation, which will be investigating the officer involved shooting.
At least a half dozen witnesses said that the man had tried to break up a fight between the two women outside a home at 2805 40th St. and that police had attempted to use a Taser on the man prior to the shooting. Then, they heard at least seven gunshots ring out.
Witnesses said he was unarmed and shot in the back.
A video that has since gone viral on social media shows the man walking away from officers and going around the vehicle to get inside. While the man is entering the vehicle the video shows an officer firing a gun at the man inside the vehicle. A woman in the video is screaming as he is being shot.
It was not immediately known whether the man had a weapon.
Residents who live across the street from the residence said while they have heard gunfire in the neighborhood before, never that close until Sunday.
“We’ve never had anything like this happen before,” said Juventino Camputano who has lived in the neighborhood for 40 years.
Annie Louise Hurst, a 50-year resident of the neighborhood, just shook her head.
So, it continues to be a week where we find out more about the Trump/Kushner family crime syndicate activities too. This is from The Daily Beast: “Revealed: Jared Kushner’s Private Channel With Putin’s Money Man”.
On a late afternoon in March, a large military aircraft bearing the Russian Federation insignia descended into John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. Its mission: to deliver personal protective equipment and ventilators to nearby hospitals scrambling to treat patients during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo had pleaded for weeks with the federal government for additional resources, particularly ventilators, to treat the thousands of COVID-19 patients across the state. Yet news of the Russian delivery surprised those in the governor’s office working to obtain additional medical equipment. They’d thought the ventilator support would come from the U.S. stockpile or from an American company.
Officials in the U.S. State Department were surprised, too. Despite a department press release announcing the delivery, several senior officials working on the Russia portfolio in the department and elsewhere in the national security apparatus were unaware exactly how the 45 ventilators had ended up on American soil. Half of the shipment was paid for by the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), one of the country’s sovereign wealth funds, which is under U.S. sanctions. (The sanctions do not prohibit all transactions between U.S. entities and the firm, but they have limited the fund’s interactions with American businesses.) And the fund’s CEO, Kirill Dmitriev, had been scrutinized by Congress and former special counsel Robert Mueller for his communications with Trump transition officials shortly after Moscow had meddled in the 2016 election.
For years, the Trump administration had attempted to find ways to cooperate with Russia on the world stage but largely failed in those efforts because Moscow has continued to engage in activity that threatens U.S. national security, from hacking operations to reportedly offering bounties on American soldiers in Afghanistan. A public display of Russian supplies being offloaded caught some officials in the Trump administration off guard.
But there was a simple answer to the whodunit. The Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) told The Daily Beast it had assigned the State Department “to represent the U.S. in the transaction with the Government of Russia.” But it was President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who helped facilitate the ventilator delivery, according to two senior administration officials. During the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, Kushner headed “Project Airbridge”—the medical supply delivery program that worked to fast-track the delivery of personal protective equipment and other medical supplies by using federal funding to underwrite the cost of shipping. In an effort to supply New York City hospitals with the medical equipment they needed, Kushner looked in multiple places for the equipment and found a safe bet in Moscow, those officials said. While the State Department had been involved in the logistics of the onboarding and offloading, it was Kushner who helped strike the deal.
The ventilators turned out to be faulty and were cast aside by officials in New York and New Jersey, according to local officials who spoke with The Daily Beast. During that same time period, the city of Los Angeles was told by representatives of the federal government that it had lost a bid for N95 masks to a Russian entity, according to two people familiar with the matter. The L.A. officials were never told the Russian outfit’s name.
Kushner held the details of the New York shipment closely and accelerated the order by leaning on his personal relationship with Dmitriev, a confidant of President Vladimir Putin who’d been dispatched to make inroads with the inexperienced 2016 Trump transition team.
So, I’m off to try to get some more things cooked just in case the heat goes off. Don’t want any perishables lying around in a powerless refrigerator and at least the cooked stuff lasts a bit longer.
Take care! Be safe! Be kind and gentle with yourself!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?