Garage Sale, October 17th, 2020

  
By:  Bob Nelson  •  6 days ago  •  16 comments


Garage Sale, October 17th, 2020



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Bob Nelson
1  author  Bob Nelson    6 days ago
 
 
 
Bob Nelson
2  author  Bob Nelson    6 days ago

Foxconn, the company that assembled your iPhone, unveils electric car chassis
The company wants 10 percent of the EV market by 2025

512 Foxconn, the Taiwanese electronics contract manufacturer that's best known for assembling Apple products, has rolled out an automotive   EV   platform, part of a push to become a manufacturer of electric-car components. At the unveiling in Taipei, Foxconn Chairman Liu Young-way said he's targeting a 10 percent share of the global EV market as soon as 2025.

The chassis is described as "open-source," with customizable elements including size, wheelbase, suspension type, and battery size. Partner automakers could fine-tune it to their needs, and Foxconn would assemble it for them.

The company additionally said it plans to introduce a solid-state battery for EVs in 2024 that would be superior to today's lithium-ion electric-car batteries.

In January,   FCA   named Foxconn as a joint-venture partner to build EVs in China. Foxconn currently is a supplier to   Tesla . The chairman said his company is talking to multiple automakers about further tie-ups.

In the United States, Foxconn has been in the news over its planned factory in Wisconsin. In a deal heralded by former Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, the state promised to give the Taiwanese manufacturer $3 billion in subsidies for a new plant that was to assemble LCD displays, and President Trump participated in the groundbreaking ceremony in 2018. Recently, though, Wisconsin said it would not be providing the first installment of the money because Foxconn failed to hire the agreed-upon number of workers or invest the required amount into the project.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
2.1  author  Bob Nelson  replied to  Bob Nelson @2    6 days ago

Maybe they'll build it in Wisconsin....

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
3  author  Bob Nelson    6 days ago

Why Birds Survived, and Dinosaurs Went Extinct, After an Asteroid Hit Earth
Paleontologists think that beaks may have given birds an advantage over other creatures

512 Birds are the only dinosaurs left. That might seem strange. A pigeon or a penguin doesn’t look much like a   Tyrannosaurus . But the connection is still there, all the way down to the bone. About 150 million years ago, in the Jurassic, the first birds evolved from small, feathery,   raptor-like   dinosaurs, becoming another branch on the dinosaur family tree. For more than 80 million years, birds of all sorts flourished, from loon-like swimmers with teeth to beaked birds that carried streamer-like feathers as they flew.

A great spotted woodpecker eats a hazelnut. Bird beaks may have allowed the animals to eat seeds and nuts after an asteroid hit the earth, wiping out many forms of life.
Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

With hindsight, birds can be categorized as avian dinosaurs and all the other sorts—from   Stegosaurus   to   Brontosaurus —are non-avian dinosaurs. The entire reason paleontologists make that split is because of a catastrophe that struck 66 million years ago. An asteroid more than 6 miles across struck what’s now the Yucatan Peninsula, triggering the fifth mass extinction in the world’s history. Some of the debris thrown into the atmosphere returned to Earth, the friction turning the air into an oven and sparking forest fires as it landed all over the world. Then the intensity of the heat pulse gave way to a prolonged impact winter, the sky blotted out by soot and ash as temperatures fell. All told, more than 75 percent of species known from the end of the Cretaceous period, 66 million years ago, didn’t make it to the following Paleogene period. The geologic break between the two is called the K-Pg boundary, and beaked birds were the only dinosaurs to survive the disaster.

“There has been a lot of discussion about what enabled modern-type birds to survive the K-Pg extinction while other birds groups, non-avian dinosaurs, and even pterosaurs perished,” says Royal BC Museum paleontologist Derek Larson. The end of the Cretaceous boasted an entire array of birds and bird-like reptiles. But of these groups, it was only the beaked birds that survived. The happenstances of evolution had given birds a lucky break, the key events set in motion long before the asteroid struck.

All living birds have toothless beaks, but this wasn’t always so. The very first bird, the 150 million-year-old   Archaeopteryx , initially confounded 19th century naturalists because it had teeth. For tens of millions of years after   Archaeopteryx , toothed birds continued to thrive and evolve alongside their dinosaurian relatives. And some of these toothed birds eventually lost their teeth, plucking up their meals with toothless beaks instead.

The question is what evolutionary pressures pushed birds to lose teeth when teeth seem so useful. Given that most birds fly, adaptation to the air seemed like a possibility. “Older hypotheses focused on the idea of weight reduction for flight,” says University of Texas at Austin paleontologist Grace Musser, but the discovery that some toothed birds were strong fliers has led researchers back to the drawing board.

Rather than flight, food might have given birds an evolutionary nudge towards toothless beaks as ancient avians thrived among other dinosaurs. Paleontologists have noticed that some dinosaur groups, including birds, evolved beaks and lost teeth as they became more herbivorous. While the earliest birds had teeth to nab insects and other small morsels, some bird lineages started to specialize on fruit, seeds, and other plant foods. Instead of teeth to catch, the birds evolved beaks to pluck and pick.

Among the birds that began to lose teeth in favor of beaks, the way beaks form during development may have helped the evolutionary shift. “Changes to the skull and face as the beak became more complex may have moved developing tissues around, changing how they interact in the embryo, and resulted in the loss of tooth formation,” says King’s College London anatomist Abigail Tucker.

“All the things that make birds, birds, were already in place well before the mass extinction,” says University College London anatomist Ryan Felice.

When the extinction struck, the traits birds had been evolving for millions of years made the difference between life and death. While some birds survived the impact and its aftermath, not all of them did. “When we think about hypotheses of traits that let birds survive, we need to take into account that it was only a small sliver of diversity that made it to the other side,” Felice says. Entire groups of birds, such as toothed birds called enantiornithes, went extinct. It’s unlikely that one single trait determined the fate of all these species. Still, surviving extinction often comes down to luck, and beaks may have been some birds’ ace.

By the end of the Cretaceous, beaked birds were already eating a much more varied diet than their toothed relatives. These birds weren’t specialized on insects or other animal food, and so they were able to pluck up hard food items like seeds and nuts. And in the aftermath of the extinction, when animal life was severely cut back, those hard, persistent little morsels got beaked birds through the hard times. Beaked birds were able to   feed on the seeds   of the destroyed forests and wait out the decades until vegetation began to return.

Not that beaks guaranteed survival of the impact event. The duck-like bird   Vegavis   lived at the end of the Cretaceous and had a beak, yet there’s no indication that this avian survived. “Just having a beak was not enough,” Tucker says. Rather, it’s that birds with beaks and powerful gizzards capable of crushing tough seeds had an unexpected advantage that increased their chances of survival.

Both fossils and the timeline of bird evolution discerned from their genetic relationships indicates that early members of modern bird groups—such as birds related to ducks, parrots, and chickens—were around by time the asteroid struck. These groups still suffered losses, but enough survived to set up a new pulse of bird evolution in the millions of years following the catastrophe. Many bird lineages became smaller in size while maintaining their brain size. Through evolutionary shrinking, birds wound up with larger brains compared to their body size, setting the stage for avian intelligence beyond what the non-avian dinosaurs could have evolved.

But big evolutionary changes often come with constraints. “The loss of teeth does limit the number of dietary niches birds could explore,” Felice says. “Herbivorous mammals and non-avian dinosaurs evolved ever-growing teeth so that could continue eating as the plants wore their teeth down, but this just isn’t possible with a beak,” Felice says. And that means that bird skulls haven’t needed to vary as much to support different jaws and ways of feeding, meaning that birds look like evolutionary slowpokes compared to non-avian dinosaurs—as Felice and colleagues found in a new study of bird skull evolution.

To understand more about how birds managed to survive and make a living in a world recovering from one of the worst mass extinctions of all time, the task at hand is to find more fossils from the time directly following the mass extinction, from a time called the Paleocene. Paleontologists have some great examples of fossil birds from about 10 million years after the disaster, from a time called the Eocene, but birds fossils from the slice in between the Cretaceous and Eocene are fragmentary and hard to find. These are the bones that may reveal new secrets.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
3.1  author  Bob Nelson  replied to  Bob Nelson @3    6 days ago

Hazelnuts! Yum....

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
4  author  Bob Nelson    6 days ago

The White House's CDC takeover
Vox Sentences Newsletter

  • A new Associated Press report says two White House political operatives are working at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to attempt to control the information the agency releases related to the Covid-19 pandemic, as President Donald Trump’s administration looks to downplay the severity. [ AP / Jason Dearen, Mike Stobbe, and Richard Lardner ]
  • Both arrived at the CDC without clear assignments, and neither had any public health background beforehand. Nina Witkofsky was named the CDC’s acting chief of staff, with Chester “Trey” Moeller as her deputy. [ Daily Beast / Barbie Latza Nadeau ]
  • According to emails and other internal government documents obtained by ProPublica, the Trump administration has taken control of the CDC’s messaging, turning the agency into a political tool to advance the Trump agenda. [ ProPublica / James Bandler, Patricia Callahan, Sebastian Rotella, and Kirsten Berg ]
  • White House advisers have made detailed edits to CDC health guidance, from recommendations for religious gatherings to social distancing in bars and restaurants. In May, Trump successfully pressured CDC Director Robert Redfield to declare places of worship essential services. [ WSJ / Rebecca Ballhaus, Stephanie Armour, and Betsy McKay ]
  • Just as the full extent of the pandemic was becoming known in March, Trump’s hard-line immigration adviser Stephen Miller had the CDC use its quarantine powers to stop migrants from coming across the US-Mexico border. [ The Week / Peter Weber ]
  • In August, the CDC came under fire for publishing guidance discouraging people from getting tested for Covid-19. Reporting by the New York Times later revealed that Trump officials had actually published that guidance over CDC scientists’ objections. [ Business Insider / Bill Bostock ]
  • Last month, a CDC order that would have required all passengers and employees to wear masks on all forms of public transportation was blocked by the White House. Redfield has said masks are “the most powerful weapon we have to confront Covid.” [ NYT / Sheila Kaplan ]
  • The White House also ignored CDC guidance with regards to its own coronavirus outbreak. The CDC recommends that anyone who has had close contact with someone infected with Covid-19 should get a test and quarantine for 14 days, but federal officials have defied those guidelines. [ Vox / German Lopez ]
 
 
 
Bob Nelson
4.1  author  Bob Nelson  replied to  Bob Nelson @4    6 days ago

Reporting of fact is not allowed.
     - Ministry of Truth

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
5  author  Bob Nelson    6 days ago

You Can’t Be a Christian and Support the Democratic Party

The Democratic Party has built its entire platform off of two major issues: abortion and sexual anarchy. I will state at the beginning of this that no Christian can support the Democratic Party. I have no qualms expressing such. I find it hard to believe that professing Christians could even find this topic worthy of debate. Per Scripture’s own stance on the evil of abortion and sexual licentiousness, these issues really are about as black and white as they can get. There is simply no room within the historic Christian faith to disagree. What we are dealing with then is a simple rejection of these issues as matters of primacy.

Scripture is quite clear that the shedding of innocent blood is abominable (Pro. 6:17). Likewise, the sanctioning of homosexuality, transgenderism, and the like, is abominable and goes against created order and Natural Law (Gen. 1:26-28; Lev. 18:22, 20:13; Rom. 1:18-32). There is no mincing of words to be had. One who gives a passive shrug or hearty support of any individual who believes these things to be   good   is at odds with the historic understanding of the Christian faith. One who claims that the Christian faith leaves room for Christians to support men and women who promulgate the murder of children in the womb and sexual anarchy are likewise at odds with the historic understanding of the Christian faith. Christianity is not a big tent religion.

There's more in the OA.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
5.1  author  Bob Nelson  replied to  Bob Nelson @5    6 days ago

I often have posted: "You can't be a Christian and a Trump supporter", so when I saw this title, I figured that it would only be honest to seed it. Intellectual honesty requires giving the podium to people who disagree. (Within limits, Perrie! Within limits...)

So... 

At first lecture, I didn't get past the first sentence: "The Democratic Party has built its entire platform off of two major issues: abortion and sexual anarchy." This is apparently important for the author, Grayson Gilbert - he puts it right at the start and says it's "the entire platform". Just one problem: it is completely false.

Abortion may be mentioned somewhere in the platform, but it is certainly not "the entire platform". Abortion is legal all across the country, even if some states are trying very hard to subvert the law. The Republican Party, wanting to change the law, may consider this important, but for the Dems, it is established law.

What the fuck is "sexual anarchy"? 

So... the article is lying through its teeth, right off the bat.

---

There's a Commandment against taking the Name of the Lord in vain... but Mr Gilbert doesn't pay that little rule any attention: "Per Scripture’s own stance on the evil of abortion and sexual licentiousness..."

The Bible doesn't mention abortion. Period. Anyone who pretends to find a Biblical text on the subject is a liar. Period.

Apparently, "sexual licentiousness" and "sexual anarchy" are related, but Mr Gilbert does not explain how, and he does not cite the appropriate portion of the Democratic platform.

--- 

You can read the whole pile of xxxx if you wish. It is edifying. It is proof that some people have no problem making shit up, in the name of the Lord...

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
6  author  Bob Nelson    6 days ago

A Regulatory Rush by Federal Agencies to Secure Trump’s Legacy
With the president’s re-election in doubt, cabinet departments are scrambling to finish dozens of new rules affecting millions of Americans

Facing the prospect that President Trump could lose his re-election bid, his cabinet is scrambling to enact regulatory changes affecting millions of Americans in a blitz so rushed it may leave some changes vulnerable to court challenges.

The effort is evident in   a broad range of federal agencies   and encompasses proposals like easing limits on how many hours   some truckers can spend behind the wheel , giving the government more freedom to   collect biometric data   and setting federal standards for when workers   can be classified as independent contractors   rather than employees.

512 In the bid to lock in new rules before Jan. 20, Mr. Trump’s team is limiting or sidestepping requirements for public comment on some of the changes and swatting aside critics who say the administration has failed to carry out sufficiently rigorous analysis.

Tankers at a railroad in Texas. President Trump has played a direct role in pushing to accelerate a provision that allows railroads to move highly flammable loads of liquefied natural gas on freight trains.
Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

Some cases, like a new rule to allow railroads to move highly flammable liquefied natural gas on freight trains, have led to warnings of public safety threats.

Every administration pushes to complete as much of its agenda as possible when a president’s term is coming to an end, seeking not just to secure its own legacy but also to tie the hands of any successor who tries to undo its work.

But as Mr. Trump completes four years marked by an extensive deregulatory push, the administration’s accelerated effort to put a further stamp on federal rules is drawing questions even from some former top officials who served under Republican presidents.

“Two main hallmarks of a good regulation is sound analysis to support the alternatives chosen and extensive public comment to get broader opinion,” said Susan E. Dudley, who served as the top White House regulatory official during the George W. Bush administration. “It is a concern if you are bypassing both of those.”

Administration officials said they were simply completing work on issues they have targeted since Mr. Trump took office in 2017 promising to curtail the reach of federal regulation.

“President Trump has worked quickly from the beginning of his term to grow the economy by removing the mountain of Obama-Biden job-killing regulations,” Russell Vought, the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, which oversees regulatory policy, said in a statement.

If Democrats take control of Congress, they will have the power to reconsider some of these last-minute regulations, through   a law last used at the start of Mr. Trump’s tenure   by Republicans to repeal certain rules enacted at the end of the Obama administration.

512

But the Trump administration   is also working to fill   key vacancies on   scientific advisory boards   with members who will hold their seats far into the next presidential term, committees that play an important role in shaping federal rule making.

A proposal to set federal standards for defining when
a worker is an independent contractor or an employee
will affect companies like Uber and Lyft as well as
millions of workers.
Karsten Moran for The New York Times

Few of the planned shifts have drawn more scrutiny and criticism than   a Labor Department proposal   to set federal standards for defining when a worker is an independent contractor or an employee, a step that could affect millions of workers.

The issue has come to a boil as states like California have tried to push companies like Uber and Lyft to classify workers as employees, meaning they would be entitled to benefits such as overtime pay and potentially health insurance, a move that the companies have challenged.

The proposed Labor Department rule   creates a so-called economic reality test, such as whether workers set their own schedules or can earn more money by hiring helpers or acquiring new equipment.

The department, in the proposed rule, said it cannot predict how many workers may see their status change as a result of the new definitions because of “uncertainties regarding magnitude and other factors.”

But it is nonetheless pushing to have the rule finished before the end of Mr. Trump’s first term, limiting the period of public comment to 30 days, half the amount of time that agencies   are supposed to offer .

That has generated letters of protest from Senate Democrats and 22 state attorneys general.

“Workers across the country deserve a chance to fully examine and properly respond to these potentially radical changes,” said   a letter organized by Senator Patty Murray , Democrat of Washington, and signed by 16 other Democratic senators.

The Departments of Labor and Homeland Security are using a tactic known as   an interim final rule , more typically reserved for emergencies, to skip the public comment period entirely and   to immediately enact   two   regulations that put much tougher restrictions   on work visas for immigrants with special skills. The rule change is part of the administration’s longstanding goal of limiting immigration.

The Homeland Security Department   is also moving , again with an unusually short 30-day comment period, to adopt a rule that will allow it to collect much more extensive biometric data from individuals applying for citizenship, including voice, iris and facial recognition scans, instead of just the traditional fingerprint scan. The measure, which the agency said was needed to curb fraud, would also allow it for the first time to collect DNA or DNA test results to verify a relationship between an application for citizenship and someone already in the United States.

512 A   third proposed   new Homeland Security rule would require sponsors of immigrants to do more to prove they have the financial means to support the individual they are backing, including   three years’ worth of credit reports , credit scores, income tax returns and bank records. Anyone who accepted welfare benefits during the previous three years would be unable to sponsor an immigrant unless a second person agrees to do so.

Mr. Trump’s team is limiting or sidestepping requirements for public comment on some of the changes and swatting aside critics who say the administration has failed to carry out sufficiently rigorous analysis.
Doug Mills/The New York Times

The agency is limiting public comment on that change to 30 days as well.

There is a lot more in the Original Article

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
6.1  author  Bob Nelson  replied to  Bob Nelson @6    6 days ago

My guess is that there are Biden people tracking everything that the Trump Administration is doing, in order to undo it as quickly as possible.

I hope that a maximum of noise is made over each item.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
7  author  Bob Nelson    6 days ago

How the Trump admin devastated the CDC—and continues to cripple it
From missteps to blatant political interference, CDC's fall is a national tragedy

384 The CDC   has been neutered , shamed, and blamed amid the novel coronavirus pandemic and global crisis. From internal missteps that bungled the country’s rollout of diagnostic testing to blatant political interference and strong-arming on critical public health guidance, the CDC has gone from the world’s premier public health agency to a silenced, overridden, distrusted afterthought in the US response—an agency stripped of its ability to collect even basic   health data from hospitals   during a raging pandemic.

CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield
Getty | Alex Edelman

The heavy blows to the agency’s reputation and role have been well documented throughout the pandemic.   President Trump   and his administration have openly   undermined the agency   and, behind the scenes, attacked it while overriding expert public health advice on   testing ,   school reopening , and the   handling of outbreaks on cruise ships , among other things.

But while the broad strokes of the agency’s undoing were noted in real time, a set of new investigations and reports offers new details. In a sweeping investigative   report by ProPublica , three journalists retraced a number of events, digging up emails, heated exchanges, and alarm within the agency. For instance, it provides fresh insight into how a single CDC researcher valiantly worked to develop diagnostic tests for the novel coronavirus, only to fumble, producing tests contaminated with genetic sequences of the virus. That contamination produced false positive results in public health labs around the country, rendering the tests useless and losing precious time to get ahead of the disease's spread.

Unconscionable

It also revisited how CDC experts were disregarded in handling cruise ship outbreaks. As Ars reported at the time,   CDC officials objected   to the State Department’s decision in February to fly home American passengers infected with the virus on the   Diamond Princess   cruise ship, which was quarantined at a port in Japan. CDC officials told ProPublica they were appalled by both the decision and its execution. One official, speaking of the method to separate infected passengers on a flight back to the US, noted: “There’s a four-foot gap at the top of the shower curtain that you bought from Home Depot—and you’re calling this a quarantine area? If I were to write a book, it would be called Operation Clusterfuck, and it would start with this chapter.”

When the agency was further brushed off in March when it proposed no-sail orders for the cruise industry, Martin Cetron, the agency’s veteran director of global migration and quarantine, exclaimed with anguish, “this is unconscionable” at a packed meeting. Though a no-sail order did eventually go into place, the Trump Administration   again overruled the CDC in September on its recommendation to extend it into next year , seemingly bowing to the cruise industry’s wishes.

Cetron was again infuriated in March when Trump senior advisor Stephen Miller insisted that the CDC use its quarantine powers to keep migrants from crossing the US-Mexico border. Miller argued it would keep migrants from carrying the infection into the country. But Cetron noted to staff that Miller misrepresented data and overstated the threat. In the end, Cetron refused to sign the order.

“I will not be a part of this,” Cetron reportedly told a colleague while furious. “It’s just morally wrong to use a public authority that has never, ever, ever been used this way. It’s to keep Hispanics out of the country. And it’s wrong.”

CDC Director Robert Redfield signed the order.

Birxed

ProPublica also detailed how White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Deborah Birx came to strip the CDC of the responsibility of collecting data on COVID-19 patients from hospitals. The move was aimed at streamlining data collection in order to get more accurate data faster. But it came at the expense of the CDC’s reputation and was done without the agency’s extensive experience and expertise at collecting and cleaning up the daunting amount of data on a daily basis. And Birx’s attempt failed spectacularly, putting data collection into the hands of an inexperienced private company that has provided far less data at a slower pace than the CDC. The report noted Birx’s reputation of having a “dictatorial” and “autocratic” style, a point echoed in   a similar deep dive by Science Magazine .

The Science investigation noted that CDC staffers knew Birx’s plan would fail, with one staffer texting to another, “Birx has been on a monthslong rampage against our data. Good fucking luck getting the hospitals to clean up their data and update daily.”

Lastly, ProPublica's investigation highlighted to role of Kyle McGowan, the CDC’s former chief of staff and main protector of Redfield. Though McGowan was a political appointee, “There was a sense that he’d gone native,” a senior scientist told the outlet. McGowan ended up defending and protecting CDC experts from the Trump Administration, particularly Michael Caputo, a Trump-appointed spokesperson to the Department of Health and Human Services.

In September,   Caputo —a long-time Trump supporter, former Russian political advisor, and protégé of Roger Stone—claimed in a Facebook live video that the government's scientists were engaging in “sedition” and said that the CDC is harboring a “resistance unit.” Caputo took   leave of this post   at HHS shortly after.

Never again

But the resignation wasn’t fast enough for McGowan, who grew so frustrated with Trump Administration's meddling in the CDC that he resigned in August. The last straw for McGowan, according to ProPublica, was the administration’s insistence that he allow a dog not vaccinated against rabies to remain in the country over CDC expert advice. While Brian Harrison, a labradoodle breeder and appointed HHS chief of staff celebrated the dog’s rule-bending entry into the US, McGowan was troubled thinking of the children deported at the US border.

A report by the Associated Press today   noted that McGowan’s position was filled by Nina Witkofsky, who has no background in health and was installed by the White House, along with her deputy Chester “Trey” Moeller. CDC officials told the AP that their role is to keep an eye on Redfield and report internal CDC business back to the White House.

Witkofsky, who had a minor role in Trump’s election campaign, has a background in finance and business administration, and at one point worked as a publicist and talent booker for Turner Broadcasting’s Cartoon Network, according to the AP. She also worked as an events director for George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign.

Before Caputo left the HHS, Witkofsky was in regular communication with him.

All the political meddling has left CDC scientists and staff grappling with their futures at the agency, ProPublica noted. “Many of us who might be viewed as complicit need to decide whether we need to leave,” one of them said. “Or can we be part of the ‘never again’ so that the agency never gets this kind of political interference again?”

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
7.1  author  Bob Nelson  replied to  Bob Nelson @7    6 days ago

The fundamental idea here is incredibly disgusting. Literally. So disgusting that it is hard to believe.

The CDC exists to protect Americans from disease. Apparently that is less important than Mr Trump's political messaging...

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
8  author  Bob Nelson    6 days ago

Judge Rules That If Trump’s Tweets Are Bullshit, He Needs to Say So Himself

512 President Trump’s Twitter account has been the subject of several   legal conundrums   over the last few years,   and figuring out how the social network should fit into the leader of the free world’s communications has been a learning process for us all. On Friday, a federal judge decided that he’s had enough of reading the tea leaves when it comes to exactly what the fuck Trump is talking about.

Brendan Smialowski
Getty Images

The president’s tweets   have become   more central to his tenure in office than ever before as he’s been recovering from covid-19 infection and lashing out in every direction to save his floundering campaign. On Oct.   6, between retweeting supporters and spreading conspiracies about the FDA, Trump   tweeted : “I have fully authorized the total Declassification of any & all documents pertaining to the single greatest political CRIME in American History, the Russia Hoax. Likewise, the Hillary Clinton Email Scandal. No redactions!” And in case you didn’t get the message, he   tweeted it again   later that day.

This was news to anyone who has been trying to get their hands on a copy of the full unredacted   Mueller Report —including reporters at   CNN and BuzzFeed who are involved in ongoing litigation around the report. And like clockwork, BuzzFeed filed   two emergency motions   requesting all documents related to the Russia investigation

Earlier this week, Justice Department lawyers   told a federal court   that no such declassification order exists and the department would continue to make redactions and declassify documents at its discretion. “The White House Counsel’s Office informed the Department that there is no order requiring wholesale declassification or disclosure of documents at issue in this matter,” the DOJ said in a court   filing .

U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton is done taking the word of people in this administration. On a brief hearing by telephone this morning, Walton told the DOJ that he wants Trump to say whether or not the tweets were serious or just more bullshit he hopes people believe and forget about.

“I think the American public has a right to rely upon what the president says about what his intent is,” Walton said on the call, according to   Politico . “It seems to me that when a president makes an unambiguous statement of what his intent is, I can’t rely upon White House counsel saying, ‘Well, that was not his intent.’ Maybe White House counsel talked to the president. Maybe they didn’t, but I can’t tell.”

Justice Department attorney Courtney Enlow argued that, essentially, the judge should assume that everyone involved is telling the truth under a “presumption of regularity.” The judge was having none of it and feels things are quite irregular at the moment. He pointed to a radio interview Trump did with Rush Limbaugh after the tweets in question in which Trump once again claimed he’d declassified everything involving the Russia investigation. Enlow said these weren’t “clear directives to declassify” as “they’re stated in the past tense.”

But the words of a president matter,   and Judge Walton felt that Trump’s words were clear enough that only he can take them back. The judge ordered DOJ to go back to the White House and get an official declaration on the president’s intent from Trump himself,   or someone from the department can file the declaration as long as they speak with Trump directly. The department has until Oct.   20   to comply.

Writing about BuzzFeed’s promising morning in court, Jason Leopold pointed out that this could be a “watershed moment” for individuals who’ve had to fight battles in court over Trump tweets. The administration has argued in the past that his tweets   shouldn’t be taken seriously   and are   official statements   by the president, depending on what argument suits them in a given case. We’ve even seen a   court fight   over whether Trump has the right to selectively block Americans from viewing his tweets.

Judge Walton is done with this nonsense and now puts Trump in a difficult position. Does Trump admit that he was lying,   or does he just say screw it and unleash more chaos with a flood of unredacted documents that might not paint him in the greatest of lights? This is a man who has said he has “ no regrets ” about his administration’s response to the covid-19 pandemic that has left the U.S. with the   highest   recorded case-load and death toll in the world. He doesn’t admit when he’s wrong. On the other hand, declassifying the documents could, at minimum, amount to a political situation that finds Trump essentially doing to himself what FBI Director   James Comey did   to Hillary Clinton a week before the 2016 election.

Never tweet, folks.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
8.1  author  Bob Nelson  replied to  Bob Nelson @8    6 days ago
Justice Department attorney Courtney Enlow argued that, essentially, the judge should assume that everyone involved is telling the truth under a “presumption of regularity.” The judge was having none of it and feels things are quite irregular at the moment. He pointed to a radio interview Trump did with Rush Limbaugh after the tweets in question in which Trump once again claimed he’d declassified everything involving the Russia investigation. Enlow said these weren’t “clear directives to declassify” as “they’re stated in the past tense.”

    jrSmiley_88_smiley_image.gif

 
 
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