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Millions of Americans Voting Early in What Could be Record Election Turnout

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 17/10/2020 - 5:22am in

Election day is still weeks away, but a staggering 17.1 million voters have already cast their ballots either by mail or in person, according to data collected by Michael McDonald, a professor at the University of Florida who closely tracks voter turnout. Continue reading

The post Millions of Americans Voting Early in What Could be Record Election Turnout appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

An Impossible Election

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 12/08/2020 - 4:25pm in

The Florida recount crisis involves 43,000 disputed votes in four counties in Florida in the year 2000. This year there could be tens of millions of paper mail in ballots for the election officials to count, and they will be operating without a full complement of workers. This is going to work out perfectly.

The Schoolyard Bully

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 16/07/2020 - 1:50am in

Against medical advice, Donald Trump pressures schools to reopen. Continue reading

The post The Schoolyard Bully appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

Trump Tells Florida Crowd “Something Will Happen in Venezuela” Soon

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 15/07/2020 - 2:59am in

On a trip to COVID-19 riddled Florida this weekend, President Donald Trump not-so-cryptically revealed that he had something big planned for Venezuela during a meeting with leaders of the U.S. military’s Southern Command. “Something will happen with Venezuela. That’s all I can tell you,” he said, before adding that Washington would be “very much involved” in what he was referencing.

On Trump’s orders, Southern Command moved large numbers of forces to the region, ostensibly to conduct a counter-narcotics operation against Venezuela, which the U.S. has described as a “narco state,” with the DEA offering a $15 million bounty for President Maduro’s head. This, despite the fact the U.S. government’s own reports on drug smuggling barely even mention Venezuela and official summaries show that U.S.-allies Colombia and Ecuador are the sources of the vast majority of South American drugs that end up in the U.S. In May, Juan Guaidó, the Washington-backed self-declared president of Venezuela, green-lighted a coup attempt led by American ex-Green Berets that ended in total failure.

Despite privately writing him off as a spent force, the “Beto O’Rourke of Venezuela,” President Trump continued to publicly back Guaidó, telling a group of hardline Venezuelan and Cuban expats in Miami-Dade County this weekend that he still “stands with the righteous leader of Venezuela.” A recent poll found that only three percent of Venezuelans recognize Guaidó as legitimate, and over 80 percent of the country say the entire opposition movement has “no credibility” whatsoever.

This weekend, Trump’s Special Advisor on Venezuela, Elliott Abrams announced brand new sanctions not just on Venezuela, which is under a virtual total blockade, but on any company found to be helping the importation of goods to the country in any way. Abrams has managed to force London-based Lloyd’s Registrar to withdraw insurance and registration to ships the U.S. deems to be helping break the blockade, meaning they are unable to dock anywhere in the world. “It’s just not worth the hassle or the risk for [companies],” he gleefully told Reuters. “There are people who don’t cooperate…We’ll go after the ship, the ship owner, the ship captain.” U.S. citizens breaking the embargo already face 30 years in prison. Thus, Abrams appears to have dusted off his Nicaragua strategy from the 1980s, where the country was sanctioned and attacked so badly that they eventually gave in and accepted the U.S.-backed candidate Violetta Chamorro as president in 1990.

Washington’s power and influence have helped bring the Venezuelan economy to a standstill, with oil exports at their lowest in modern history. The sanctions regime was formally condemned by the United Nations; an American U.N. rapporteur visiting the country and estimating that over 100,000 people have been killed as a result, declaring the U.S. guilty of “crimes against humanity.” Sanctions are a bi-partisan endeavor, beginning under President Obama in 2015, who declared a “national emergency” due to the “unusual and extraordinary threat” Venezuela was posing to the United States.

Trump’s latest move to tighten the noose even further around the necks of Venezuelans appears to be at least partially motivated by his desire to shore up the vote of the large Latin American expat vote in Southern Florida, a state where polls show he is falling further behind Joe Biden. In the 2013 election, at least 92.5 percent of Venezuelans in Florida voted against Maduro and for the opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski.

Biden has also taken a hard line on Venezuela and is attempting to out-hawk Trump on the issue. “It’s time for free and fair elections so that the Venezuelan people can turn the page on the corrupt and repressive Maduro regime,” he said, adding that, “Trump talks tough on Venezuela, but admires thugs and dictators like Nicolas Maduro. As President, I will stand with the Venezuelan people and for democracy.” Last month the largest Democratic Super PAC began running ads aimed at Latino Florida Latinos comparing Trump to Maduro, his predecessor Hugo Chavez, and former Cuban leader Fidel Castro. A recent poll found that only 19 percent of Venezuelans had confidence that the situation would improve in the short term. The U.S.’ latest moves suggest they would be correct in their pessimism.

Feature photo | President Donald Trump speaks about the counternarcotics operations at U.S. Southern Command, July 10, 2020, in Doral, Fla. Evan Vucci | AP

Alan MacLeod is a Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent. He has also contributed to Fairness and Accuracy in ReportingThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin MagazineCommon Dreams the American Herald Tribune and The Canary.

The post Trump Tells Florida Crowd “Something Will Happen in Venezuela” Soon appeared first on MintPress News.

Roger Stone is not just an impotent tricksterHe's a violent, evil man who had a lot to do with fixing the vote in Florida in 2000

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 11/07/2020 - 9:36pm in

Roger Stone is not just an impotent trickster. He's a violent, evil man who had a lot to do with fixing the vote in Florida in 2000. George Bush supposedly officially won the presidency by 537 votes in Florida — just 537 votes! But 178,000 ballots were disqualified, considered unreadable. A hundred and seventy-eight thousand!!! These were concentrated in Democratic and Black areas: Jacksonville, Gadsden County, Miami-Dade and Broward.... READ MORE

Petition Started to Sack Keir Starmer as Leader of the Labour Party

There’s been outrage after Keir Starmer sacked Rebecca Long Bailey from her position on the shadow cabinet yesterday. Her crime was simply tweeting about an interview with the actress Maxine Peake in the Independent. Peake and RLB had condemned the training of US police by the IDF, who had taught them to keep suspects and protesters down by putting their knees on their necks. It was this hold that had killed George Floyd. RLB had begun her tweet by stating that systematic racism was a global issue, mentioning that the American cops were taught the hold from seminars with the Israeli security forces.

This outraged the Zionist fanatics and the Tories, like the Tory peer and Murdoch hack Daniel Finkelstein, John Rentoul, the keeper of the Blair flame in the Labour Party, and the noxious Dave Rich, who immediately declared that RLB was peddling an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory and demanded Starmer sack her. But it isn’t a ‘conspiracy theory’. It’s solid fact, as established and verified by Amnesty International. Mike in his piece about this disgraceful scandal has supported RLB’s statement through passages from Amnesty reporting that law enforcement officials from a series of American states – Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, Arizona, Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Georgia, Washington State, and the police of Washington DC, have travelled to Israel for training. He has also reproduced a passage from the Jerusalem Post reporting that a city in North Carolina has actually banned training and other forms of exchange between their police and the IDF because of the IDF’s brutal repression and maltreatment of the Palestinians. He also points out that what RLB said was not anti-Semitic. She did not say Jews had taught the police the use of the technique. She had said the IDF. The two are not synonymous, no matter what Marie van der Zyl of the Board of Deputies wishes to claim.

Starmer, honouring his obligation to the Board after he signed their ridiculous and highly manipulative 10 pledges, has asked RLB to resign. This was angrily attacked by the peeps on Twitter, including Simon Maginn, Kerry-Ann Mendoza, Ash Sarkar, and Tom London. Even Owen Jones, who has supported the anti-Semitism smears, called it an absurd overreaction.

But as Mike himself has pointed out, Starmer has not sacked Rachel Reeves, the odious right-winger in the party who laid a wreath at the statue of Nancy Astor. Astor was the first British woman MP, but she was also a vicious anti-Communist and anti-Semite, who thought that Adolf Hitler was the right man for Germany and tackling both of these issues.

Mike has also reproduced RLB’s own series of Tweets explaining and clarifying her comments. She states that she put up an previous clarification of her comments, which had been agreed by Starmer, but was told to take it and her retweet down. This means that Starmer is using her Tweet as a pretext to get rid of her. It’s all part of his campaign to purge the Labour Party of the left, and anti-Semitism is just the pretext, not a real cause.

Long-Bailey’s sacking tells us all we need to know about Keir ‘double-standard’ Starmer and his racist Labour Party

In fact under Starmer Labour has allowed racism to go unpunished. But it’s the racism of his supporters against Blacks and BAME MPs, supporters and activists.

Zelo Street in its article also quotes the Middle East Eye, which states

“The Israeli police force has tried to distance itself from any perceived imilarities, issuing statements denouncing what happened and stating that its officers are not trained to use knee-to-neck techniques. But photographs taken as recently as March have shown Israeli forces using the same restraint on unarmed protesters just yards from the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City”.

The Street concludes

‘The training of US law enforcement officers by the Israeli military is not an “anti-Semitic conspiracy theory”. It’s not “5G level stuff”. No-one “blames Jews”. But this does enable pundits to look away from holding a catastrophically inept Government to account.

And it allows the Tories to get away with rather more blatant anti-Semitism. The kind that none of those bleating at Maxine Peake seem to notice. I’ll just leave that one there.’

See: https://zelo-street.blogspot.com/2020/06/maxine-peake-and-no-anti-semitism.html

Tony Greenstein, the long-time critic of Israel and Zionism, was so incensed by Starmer’s actions that he has put up an article that also proves very clearly that the training of American cops by the IDF is most definitely not a ‘conspiracy theory’ but solid fact. he has this quote from Neta Golan of the International Solidarity Movement.

“When I saw the picture of killer cop Derek Chauvin murdering George Floyd by leaning in on his neck with his knee I remembered noticing when many Israeli soldiers began using this technique when we were protesting in the West Bank sometime in 2006.”

He has also stated that Starmer’s support for Black Lives Matter is hypocritical, as the Israel lobby despises BLM because it also criticises and condemns the Israeli state’s maltreatment of the Palestinians. He provided more than ample evidence of this in an article he put up yesterday.

See https://azvsas.blogspot.com/2020/06/for-6-years-black-lives-matter-were.html

He also notes that this isn’t about attacking anti-Semitism. It is about defending the Israeli apartheid state and the bi-partisan imperialist foreign policy in the Middle East that Labour shares with the Tories. He states that a racist and imperialist cannot be leader of a socialist party, and has therefore set up a petition calling for Starmer to go. A link to it is in his article on RLB’s sacking at:

https://azvsas.blogspot.com/2020/06/its-time-for-starmer-to-go-israels-use.html

I think this link should also take you there if you put it in the search box.

http://chng.it/CJg7z8QNGY

I’ve signed it, as I agree absolutely with what Tony, Mike and Zelo Street have all said. This isn’t about anti-Semitism. It’s simply using the anti-Semitism smears to justify the unjustifiable – apartheid in Israel, and the smearing and purge of entirely decent, anti-racist people from the Labour Party in favour of racist red Tories.

If you feel the same, please consider signing Tony’s petition. Though I’m afraid that it may provide Starmer with more names of people he can purge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can the Republicans Get Their Act Together?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 13/06/2020 - 1:53am in

Trump will give his acceptance speech in Jacksonville, Florida, on August 27. The date is the 60th anniversary of a brutal attack on Black Jacksonville residents by white mobs brandishing baseball bats and ax handles, an event known as “Ax Handle Saturday.” Continue reading

The post Can the Republicans Get Their Act Together? appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

The Long History of LinesWhy long lines are a key trick in the GOP's election fraud book

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 11/06/2020 - 8:23pm in

When the only way you can win is by depriving people of their vote, long lines are a feature, not a bug of GOP election strategy. It’s no coincidence that the worst lines tend to be in young, poor and minority neighborhoods — in others words places where people tend to... READ MORE

Florida Fires COVID-19 Public Data Guru as Private Firm Takes over Atlanta’s Data Dashboard

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 21/05/2020 - 6:27am in

Tags 

News, Florida, georgia

Rebekah Jones doesn’t expect her replacement at Florida’s DOH’s Division of Disease Control and Health Protection (DDCHP) to provide “the same level of accessibility and transparency” that she had been committed to providing as geographic information system (GIS) manager and architect of the state’s lauded COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard.

Jones blames that very commitment to data accessibility and transparency as the motivating factor for her reassignment on May 5. In an email to a local CBS news affiliate in Tallahassee, she made the explosive allegation that superiors at the DDCHP had asked her to cook the books and “manually change data to drum up support for the plan to reopen.” When she refused, Jones was taken off the job and offered a settlement with the option to resign.

Just fifteen days before news of the Syracuse University graduate’s removal broke, Dr. Deborah Birx – a member of the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force – went out of her way on national television to praise the system Jones had built, suggesting Americans visit the “extraordinary” website to see how Florida had been able to display information about COVID-19 cases and tests at a granular level, “district by district, county by county”.

Birx, who has not yet commented on the Jones firing, said yesterday that she was “encouraged” by “clinical, laboratory data and surveillance data” showing a 50 percent decline in new COVID-19 cases throughout the U.S. over the last month. Meanwhile, the data dashboard Birx had extolled on “Face the Nation” has crashed several times since Jones’ firing, limiting access to the underlying data sheets, and, according to Jones, still has not yet been “fully repaired.”

 

Political Fodder

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ spokeswoman, Helen Aguirre Ferré, blamed Jones’ firing on “insubordination” in an email communication issued after a press conference in which DeSantis claimed not to know who Jones was. Ferré’s email accused the former GIS manager of making “unilateral decisions to modify the Department’s COVID-19 dashboard without input or approval from the epidemiological team or her supervisors,” effectively turning the tables on Jones’ narrative and adding fuel to the fire of what looks to be the beginning of a political battle at the state level.

Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried, the lone Democrat holding office at the state level, addressed Governor DeSantis in an open letter decrying Jones’ firing as undermining “trust in our government,” and warning that such actions are “extraordinarily dangerous to public health.” The chair of Florida’s Democratic Party followed suit by calling for an independent investigation of Jones’ allegations of data manipulation and going as far as labelling these actions as potentially “criminal.” U.S. Representatives Lois Frankel and Kathy Castor also joined in condemning DeSantis and called attention to Florida’s “troubling pattern” of withholding data as it regards overall mortality rates in the state.

Despite the obvious political fodder inherent in the Jones controversy, exclusive insight provided this the author about a parallel event that recently took place across state lines in Georgia might reveal a more disturbing picture as coronavirus containment protocols open the door for draconian surveillance measures and increasing concentration of information in less and less hands.

 

Emergency Meeting

On May 12, a week after Rebekah Jones had been reassigned, an emergency meeting was called at Grady Health Systems – a major hospital network serving greater Atlanta to announce to the staff of telemedicine workers that the data dashboard they use to track cases of COVID-19 was being taken over by a new team of cybersecurity experts.

According to confidential sources, the meeting was a highly emotional affair as Grady’s in-house IT department was let go after more than two decades managing the hospital network’s cybersecurity operations. Outgoing members of Grady’s IT department had barely been given the news a day earlier. The new team from a private cybersecurity firm called IT-CNP was introduced to the staff at the meeting.

Founded in November 2001, IT-CNP has a longstanding relationship with the Department of Health and Human Services. In 2017, it was awarded a Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) contract by HHS to “provide Next Generation IT Services (NGITS) application hosting, FedRAMP certified cloud, and associated managed services”. IT-CNP’s President, Sal Baldwin, asserted this contract would advance efforts around “artificial intelligence in service automation and operational efficiencies in direct support of rapidly evolving HHS mission objectives.”

Given the revelations contained in a multi-part investigative series co-authored by this author with Whitney Webb, this development at Grady Health Systems coupled with the recent events surrounding access to COVID-19 case data in Florida could point to a broader national effort to clamp down on reliable and transparent information about coronavirus cases across the country, in order to manipulate the message as we move towards reopening. It is also worth noting that none of the existing coverage of Jones’ ouster makes it clear who exactly was put in charge of Florida’s COVID-19 dashboard.

 

Controlling the Data

Limiting access to raw COVID-19 case data has direct repercussions on everything from how states implement reopening protocols to how many resources are allocated through federal government programs to fight the healthcare crisis that is unfolding. Jay Wolfson, a Senior Associate Dean at the University of South Florida’s Morsani College of Medicine, attributes two possible motives for restricting access to raw data. One revolves around the data being deemed “too flawed” and the other is that it might “reveal information that could be disturbing or contrary to stated narratives.”

Even more disturbing was an assessment made by Asal M. Johnson, assistant Professor of Public Health at Stetson University, who pointed out that “racial and ethnic data has been consistently excluded from Florida’s line listing of cases”, speculating that this was being done to “undermine evidence-based decision making” to further particular economic interests.

Ultimately, the ability to control the data available to both the public and the scientific community in the throes of a pandemic has far reaching implications for the future of democracy in the United States, and the fact that control over said data is being handed over to private concerns – in the case of IT-CNP – and unknown actors within the Florida DOH should be a serious concern to us all.

We would be remiss not to pay close attention to Rebekah Jones’ story and heeding the advice she gave in an email to subscribers of a COVID data listserv: “They are making a lot of changes,” warned Jones. “I would advise being diligent in your respective uses of this data.”

Feature photo | Health workers conduct COVID-19 tests at a drive through coronavirus testing site at a community center, April 27, 2020, in Sanford, Florida. John Raoux | AP

Raul Diego is a MintPress News Staff Writer, independent photojournalist, researcher, writer and documentary filmmaker.

The post Florida Fires COVID-19 Public Data Guru as Private Firm Takes over Atlanta’s Data Dashboard appeared first on MintPress News.

Palast & David Cay Johnston: How Trump Stole 2020 — A Warning!

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 10/05/2020 - 2:38am in

They don’t steal votes to steal elections. They steal votes to steal the money. If you can steal an election, you’ve stolen the keys to the treasury — our treasury. In this conversation, award-winning investigative reporters and authors Greg Palast and David Cay Johnston follow the (stolen) money, and expose the billionaires and ballot bandits who are systematically stripping the United States of its assets, just as a vulture fund would with a corporate entity caught in its talons.

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