Saturday, May 23, 2020

Last Call For Tales Of The Trump Depression, Con't

Hertz filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy amid rising debt and a sharp drop in demand for rental cars during the coronavirus pandemic. 
The company is the latest travel-related business to fall victim to the coronavirus, which has grounded travelers and tourists and led to a sharp drop in revenue. 
“The impact of COVID-19 on travel demand was sudden and dramatic, causing an abrupt decline in the Company's revenue and future bookings," the company said in a statement. "Hertz took immediate actions to prioritize the health and safety of employees and customers, eliminate all non-essential spending and preserve liquidity. 
“However, uncertainty remains as to when revenue will return and when the used-car market will fully re-open for sales, which necessitated today's action," it continued. "The financial reorganization will provide Hertz a path toward a more robust financial structure that best positions the Company for the future as it navigates what could be a prolonged travel and overall global economic recovery.”

The company says it has over $1 billion cash on hand to keep its sites up and running while it undergoes the bankruptcy process.

“Today's action will protect the value of our business, allow us to continue our operations and serve our customers, and provide the time to put in place a new, stronger financial foundation to move successfully through this pandemic and to better position us for the future," said Hertz President and CEO Paul Stone. "Our loyal customers have made us one of the world's most iconic brands, and we look forward to serving them now and on their future journeys."

Entire sectors of the economy are going to be gone for good, taking tens of millions of jobs with them.  And on the other side of that equation, because we refuse to subsidize universal childcare and because daycares are rightfully closed, millions of women are leaving the workforce to care for kids.

If day cares closed because of the novel coronavirus, Aimee Rae Hannaford expected her family to fare better than most. She worked full time as the chief executive of a tech company while her husband stayed home. He’d been taking some time off from his own tech career, managing a rental property while considering his options. He could look after their 3-year-old son, she thought — at least for a while.

“That lasted a grand total of three days,” Hannaford said.

Once her son was home full time, she realized they’d need a different solution. She was holed up in the guest room, wielding dual-monitors at her desk. Her husband was exhausted. “I can’t do it,” she remembers him saying: “I can’t watch him for this long.”

Hannaford, 46, had been logging 70-hour weeks for years — and she was proud of the work she’d done. When she started her career in San Francisco, she was one of two women at a video game company, buying nondescript jeans and hoodies so she could be “one of the guys.” Eventually she came to run a company she co-founded, building open-source websites for clients like Stanford University. Hannaford, who oversaw software development, co-led a diverse team of 13 employees. She was intentional about hiring women, minorities and others who challenged the stereotypes about Silicon Valley.

Hannaford had long been planning to take six weeks off. It would be a time free from computers and headphones, she’d promised her husband. She’d make bath bombs with her son and plant pumpkins in the backyard.

But it was never the right time. Her co-founder, busy with her own kids and aging parents, was able to help out less and less. Even outside work hours, Hannaford would field emails and take calls as her son, Ryan, climbed into her lap and tried to grab her phone. Her husband would plead with her to “get off the computer,” she said, teaching Ryan a trick to get her attention: When she wasn’t responding, her son would call her “Aimee” instead of “Mom.” (Hannaford’s husband declined to comment for this story.)

When the company lost a client because of the coronavirus, Hannaford realized she’d have to devote even more time to work. If she really pushed herself, she knew she could probably keep the company going even if day care closed. But could she ask her husband to handle 12-hour shifts of child care, with no help, no breaks and no clear end point? She wasn’t sure her family could survive that. She wasn’t sure he’d do it, even if she asked.

“I thought to myself, ‘I can carry this company forward, but I’m going to be so broken. My son will be so broken. My husband will be so broken.’ ”

Remember, it didn't have to be this way.  But Donald Trump was in charge and he blew it, and Mitch McConnell won't lift a finger.

Never forget.

Lowering The Barr, Con't

The Barr Justice Department is starting to make its move against states with Democratic governors and lockdown orders, beginning with Illinois and Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

In a move that has long been threatened and long anticipated, the U.S. Department of Justice on Friday filed a “statement of interest” in a lawsuit against coronavirus-related executive orders issued by Illinois Gov. J. B. Pritzker, a Democrat. The plaintiff in the lawsuit against the governor is Darren Bailey, a Republican who serves a rural southeastern Illinois district in the state’s House of Representatives. 
The U.S. DOJ’s decision to join Bailey’s fight — coincidentally — came only two days after Bailey was thrown out of his own legislative chamber for failing to wear a mask. The bipartisan vote to temporarily eject him was 81-27, the Washington Post reported. “You’re silencing millions of voices of people who have had enough,” Bailey said of the Thursday vote. Bailey’s district contains closer to 107,000 people. 
The crux of the case has nothing to do with that little tidbit, however. According to the DOJ’s news release and several court documents obtained by Law&Crime, Bailey says his governor’s several coronavirus orders are illegal because they, when taken together, have lasted longer than thirty days. Bailey argues that the governor can only exercise emergency powers for 30 days under the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act
In essence, Bailey seems to suggest that the governor cannot reissue new executive orders as time goes on to deal with continuing, changing events — it’s one and done in his apparent view. Bailey’s statements on the matter also indicate he wants the state health department’s pandemic response plan to rule the state’s response to the virus, not the governor’s executive order. The health department’s pandemic response plan would, Bailey says, empower local governments. 
Bailey filed the original case in Illinois state courts, but the governor removed it to federal court. Bailey has previously accused the governor of forum-shopping within the state’s own courts
The Department of Justice (DOJ) is reviewing the orders of local governments “to ensure that civil liberties are protected during the COVID-19 pandemic,” a press release said. Eric Dreiband, of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, and Matthew Schneider, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, are spearheading the reviews. 
Buried at the bottom of the DOJ’s news release announcing its self-injection into the claim was the suggestion that states should bend to the whims and wills of federal policy — and, of course, federal law. 
“Even in the face of a pandemic, states must comply with their own laws in making these sensitive policy choices in a manner responsive to the people and, in doing so, both respect and serve the goals of our broader federal structure, including the guarantee of due process in the U.S. Constitution,” the DOJ’s news release said. 
“The Governor of Illinois owes it to the people of Illinois to allow his state’s courts to adjudicate the question of whether Illinois law authorizes orders he issued to respond to COVID-19,” said Dreiband in the statement. “The United States Constitution and state constitutions established a system of divided and limited governmental power, and they did so to secure the blessings of liberty to all people in our country. Under our system, all public officials, including governors, must comply with the law, especially during times of crisis.” 
“However well-intentioned they may be, the executive orders appear to reach far beyond the scope of the 30-day emergency authority granted to the Governor under Illinois law,” said Steven D. Weinhoeft, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois. He was slightly more cautious, however. “[W]hile the people of Illinois must be physically protected from the effects of this public health crisis, including by complying with CDC guidelines[,] their constitutionally guaranteed rights and liberties must be safeguarded as well.” 
The DOJ’s statement of interest says the case belongs in state court. “[T]he complaint does not raise any federal constitutional claims,” the DOJ said.

The argument is Illinois specifically does have a limit on emergency orders, something that Califronia and other blue states do not, hence why Barr is starting with Illinois.

Make no mistake however, the Barr Justice Department is under direct orders to find a way to legally justify punishing states that issue (or re-issue) lockdown orders.

You and your family will be free to die for Dear Leader Trump, citizen.

Or else.

Orange Meltdown, Con't

It’s a feel-good story that President Trump’s press secretaries have relished over the years: the quarterly announcement of which government agency Mr. Trump has selected to be the lucky recipient of his salary, an easy way to show the president sticking to his 2016 campaign pledge to forgo his $400,000 salary and donate it.

In the past, the $100,000 check from Mr. Trump has been made out to the Small Business Administration initiative to help veteran entrepreneurs, to the Office of the Surgeon General to fight the opioid epidemic, and to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, among other places.

But on Friday, Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, did not just reveal that the president was sending his salary to the Department of Health and Human Services to help “support the efforts being undertaken to confront, contain and combat the coronavirus.”

She also displayed the president’s private bank account and routing numbers.

The $100,000 check she held up like a prop appeared to be a real check from Capital One, complete with the relevant details. An administration official said mock checks were never used in the briefing.

A White House spokesman, Judd Deere, said in a statement, “Today his salary went to help advance new therapies to treat this virus, but leave it to the media to find a shameful reason not to simply report the facts, focusing instead on whether the check is real or not.”

For an average civilian, that information could be used to withdraw or deposit money, make online purchases or hack an account.

“It’s not a best practice to share that information publicly,” said Eva Velasquez, the president and chief executive of the Identity Theft Resource Center. “If you don’t have protections in place, there are sophisticated schemes and ways someone could access those funds knowing the account and routing number and the individual person it belongs to.

These clowns can't even get a simple thing right like "Don't display a person's account and check routing numbers on national TV" right.  And we're supposed to believe they have a handle on classified intelligence?

Jesus, what morons these people be.

Reade, Between The Lines

Joe Biden sexual assault accuser Tara Reade just had what little remaining credibility she had destroyed this week, and it was made clear on Friday that Reade has been materially misrepresenting herself for an extraordinarily long time.

The lawyer for Tara Reade, the former Senate aide who has accused Joseph R. Biden Jr. of sexual assault, said Friday that he was no longer representing her, just two weeks after taking her on as a client.

The lawyer, Douglas H. Wigdor, has been a leading plaintiff’s attorney of the #MeToo era. His firm is best known for bringing discrimination cases against Fox News — and its former star host Bill O’Reilly — and Harvey Weinstein, and his presence at Ms. Reade’s side gave her claims added legal heft.

His announced departure came a day after defense lawyers in California said they were reviewing criminal cases in which Ms. Reade served as an expert witness on domestic violence, concerned that she had misrepresented her educational credentials in court.
While not providing a reason for leaving, Mr. Wigdor said his decision was “by no means a reflection on whether then-Senator Biden sexually assaulted Ms. Reade,” adding that he was among the 55 percent of Americans who believe her, according to a Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll.

Mr. Wigdor, a conservative Republican whose support for President Trump in 2016 did not preclude him from suing prominent Trump allies, had a parting shot for the news media, which he accused of applying a “double standard” to its coverage of accusations against the presumed Democratic nominee.

“Much of what has been written about Ms. Reade is not probative of whether then-Senator Biden sexually assaulted her, but rather is intended to victim-shame and attack her credibility on unrelated and irrelevant matters,” he said. “We have and will continue to represent survivors regardless of their alleged predator’s status or politics.”

Ms. Reade did not immediately respond to a request for comment about her lawyer’s departure.

He is leaving as her credibility is coming under harsh scrutiny. On Thursday in California, lawyers who had faced off against her in court began raising questions about the legitimacy of her testimony, and the verdicts that followed, after news reports that Antioch University had disputed her claim of receiving a bachelor’s degree from its Seattle campus.

Then known as Alexandra McCabe, Ms. Reade testified as a government witness in Monterey County courts for nearly a decade, describing herself as an expert in the dynamics of domestic violence who had counseled hundreds of victims.

The public defender’s office in Monterey County has begun scrutinizing cases involving Ms. Reade and compiling a list of clients who may have been affected by her testimony, according to Jeremy Dzubay, an assistant public defender in the office.

Roland Soltesz, a criminal defense lawyer, says he believes Ms. Reade’s testimony made a significant difference in the outcome of the 2018 trial of his client Victoria Ramirez. Both Ms. Ramirez and her co-defendant, Jennifer Vasquez, received life sentences for attempted murder, arson and armed robbery.

“People have been convicted based upon this, and that’s wrong,” said Mr. Soltesz, adding that he “could care less about the politics of this whole thing.”

Me Too and Believe Women doesn't mean "buy a con job from somebody who has made a career of being a con artist."  Reade is facing serious accusations of misrepresenting herself as professional expert witness with credentials of a degree that she apparently never had.

If your lawyer leaves you because they find your credibility lacking, then you have a problem.

The larger issue is "Did Joe Biden sexually assault Tara Reade?"

The people who know Biden and who vetted him say this never happened.  Biden said it never happened, and Biden freely says if you believe Reade, then you shouldn't vote for him. But as the above article mentions, a majority of Americans in at least one poll, some 55%, do believe Reade.

I believe Biden at this point.  It would mean that essentially every Democratic politician in the 21st century is lying to cover for him, and if that's the truth, then we really do deserve another four years of Trump.

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