• Trump claims he paid millions of dollars in taxes (he did not)

    During the presidential debate tonight, Trump was pressed on the New York Times reporting that showed he paid no taxes for much of the past 20 years, and $750 for two years. Trump got flustered.

    Show us your tax returns," Biden says. "You will when it's done," Trump said.

    Trump is saying flatly that he paid "millions of dollars" in income taxes in 2016 and 2017. The NYT says he paid $750 each year.

  • 'Will You Shut Up, Man' – Biden to Trump during debate, speaking for all of us

    Joe Biden to Donald Trump during tonight's debate, truly speaking for us all at this point: "Would you shut up, man?"

    This is an instantly iconic line. Biden speaks for all of us.

  • Trump and Biden face off in first Presidential debate

    The first presidential debate kicked off tonight at 9PM Eastern.

    Donald Trump's pupils sure are… huge tonight.

    Joe Biden's first words to Trump: "How you doin', man?"

    12 minutes in, Trump calls Biden's party Socialist.

    Trump began by defending his approach to filling #RBG's Supreme Court seat: "We won the election; we have the right to choose her."

    Biden waits about a minute into the debate to make his first Obamacare mention. "He's in the Supreme Court now trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act."

    Then, Trump said that if Biden "were here," as President, "it'd be 2 million people" dead in America of coronavirus, rather than 200K+, as Biden noted.

    "I guess I'm debating you not him but that's no surprise" Trump mocks moderator Chris Wallace Trump's #Debate2020 performance is for his MAGA fans.


    "It's like water it's so cheap," Trump lies about drug prices.

    Biden: I'm not gonna listen to him, referring to Trump.

    "Everything he's saying is a lie. I'm not here to call out every one of his lies I know he's a liar."

    When Trump is asked to stop by moderator Chris Wallace, Biden says, "he doesn't know how to do that."

    Biden: "He has no plan for healthcare. (…) Like everything else he talks about he doesn't have a plan and the fact is this man doesn't know what he's talking about."

    Biden: VOTE!

    Biden: "Shut up, man. This is so unpresidential. (…)Keep yapping, man."

    Trump to Biden on COVID: "You would have lost far more people. Far more people."

    Trump in one of the most heated exchanges so far:

    "Don't ever use the word smart with me. Don't ever use that word. Because there is nothing smart about you Joe"

  • "Suspected ransomware attack" takes down Universal Health Services hospital network, doctors and nurses are using paper

    A large hospital chain that operates medical facilities around the U.S. was taken offline Monday, and in a statement blamed an unnamed technology "security issue." Security experts say it sounds like a "suspected ransomware attack."

    Universal Health Services operates over 250 hospitals and other medical facilities throughout the nation. They said late Monday their network was offline, and doctors and nurses were resorting to "back-up processes" including paper records.

    From AP:

    The Fortune 500 company, with 90,000 employees, said "patient care continues to be delivered safely and effectively" and no patient or employee data appeared to have been "accessed, copied or misused."

    The company also has hospitals in the United Kingdom, but its operations in that country were not affected, a spokeswoman said Monday night.

    UHS provided no details about the incident, but people posting to an online Reddit forum who identified themselves as employees said the chain's network was hit by ransomware overnight Sunday. The posts echoed the alarm of a clinician at a UHS facility in Washington, D.C., who described to The Associated Press a mad scramble, including anxiety over determining which patients might be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.

    Read more at the Associated Press: Cyberattack hobbles major hospital chain's US facilities

    And here is the UHS statement.

  • Microsoft 365 outage caused problems for Outlook.com and Microsoft Teams users

    There was a big outage for users of Microsoft 365, and other related services. Late on Monday Microsoft said a recent change it introduced probably caused the glitch that impacted user access to multiple Microsoft 365 services, including Outlook.com and Microsoft Teams.

    Reports Reuters:

    The developer of Windows and Office software said it did not "observe an increase in successful connections" even after it rolled back the change to mitigate the impact.

    "A moment ago nothing was working, then I went into files in Teams and it was working, now nothing is working. Well I guess now I have an excuse to not do work and watch TV," one Twitter user tweeted.

    "We're pursuing mitigation steps for this issue. In parallel, we're rerouting traffic to alternate systems to provide further relief to the affected users," Microsoft said on its status page, without specifying how many users were affected.

  • Why Trump's taxes matter so much

    Because "Cracking down on rich tax cheats is law enforcement," writes the NYT.

    Donald Trump's long-concealed, just-reported tax information for the last 20 years is "The Picture of a Broken Tax System," writes the New York Times Editorial Board: "Donald Trump's tax returns illustrate the profound inequities of the tax code and the shambolic state of federal enforcement."

    Excerpt:

    Legend has it that the bank robber Willie Sutton said that he robbed banks because that's where the money is. The I.R.S. has been reduced to going where the money isn't. As ProPublica has reported, the government now audits lower-income households that claim the earned-income tax credit at roughly the same frequency as high-income households. It's easier for the depleted agency to pick on people who can't afford to hire expensive tax attorneys.

    The result? On current trends, the federal government will fail to collect $7.5 trillion in taxes over the next decade — about 15 percent of the total amount owed.

    Cracking down on rich tax cheats is law enforcement. It is a basic function of government to ensure that people are playing by the rules. Tax cheating is not a victimless crime. Every dollar hidden from the government is that much less money to spend on education, roads and research. The rich are benefiting at the expense of everyone else.

    Read the rest: The Picture of a Broken Tax System

  • NYT got 2 decades of Donald Trump income taxes — paid no federal income taxes for 10 of past 15 years, and $750 for two years

    The New York Times has obtained two decades of tax returns of impeached and manifestly unfit U.S. President Trump. The resulting report shows he is in massive debt, and that Trump paid $750 in taxes to the federal government the year he was elected, 2016, and $750 again his first year in office.

    The Times also reports that Trump's tax information reveals "struggling properties, vast write-offs, an audit battle and hundreds of millions in debt coming due."

    Decades of income tax avoidance helped, as did "a series of one-shots that may not be available again," but "Now his tax records make clear that he is facing a battery of threats to his business and his own financial well-being," the Times reports:

    In 2012, he took out a $100 million mortgage on the commercial space in Trump Tower. He took nearly the entire amount as a payout, his tax records show. His company has paid more than $15 million in interest on the loan, but nothing on the principal. The full $100 million comes due in 2022.

    In 2013, he withdrew $95.8 million from his Vornado partnership account.

    And in January 2014, he sold $98 million in stocks and bonds, his biggest single month of sales in at least the last two decades. He sold $54 million more in stocks and bonds in 2015, and $68.2 million in 2016. His financial disclosure released in July showed that he had as little as $873,000 in securities left to sell.

    Mr. Trump's businesses reported cash on hand of $34.7 million in 2018, down 40 percent from five years earlier.

    What's more, the tax records show that Mr. Trump has once again done what he says he regrets, looking back on his early 1990s meltdown: personally guaranteed hundreds of millions of dollars in loans, a decision that led his lenders to threaten to force him into personal bankruptcy.

    This time around, he is personally responsible for loans and other debts totaling $421 million, with most of it coming due within four years. Should he win re-election, his lenders could be placed in the unprecedented position of weighing whether to foreclose on a sitting president.

    Read the full report by Russ Buettner, Susanne Craig and Mike McIntire at the New York Times.

  • Postmaster DeJoy says removed mail sorting machines were stripped for parts, can't be reinstalled

    Postmonster General Louis DeJoy says all those mail sorting machines can't be put back now, because they were stripped down for parts.

    Wow.

    Trump's Postmaster DeJoy told a federal court that hundreds of high-speed mail sorting machines he ordered removed cannot be returned to service because they have now been disassembled.

    From Yahoo News:

    DeJoy and the U.S.Postal Service presented the excuse in a response filed Wednesday to a nationwide order issued by U.S. District Judge Stanley Bastian in Yakima, Washington, last week demanding the return of some 700 machines that had been taken out of service.

    "Dismantled machines 'are generally dissembled for their usable parts, with such parts being removed to maintain or enhance other machines,'" DeJoy, a loyalist and major contributor to President Donald Trump's campaign, stated in his response. "It is therefore not possible to return such machines to service."

    But witnesses reported that many of the expensive machines were quickly dismantled and tossed into dumpsters as scrap. The injunction noted that 72% of the ripped out machines were in counties Hillary Clinton won in the 2016 presidential election.

    Read more at Yahoo News: DeJoy Says Mail Sorting Machines Were Stripped For Parts And Can't Be Reinstalled

    PHOTO: Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is sworn in for a virtual congressional hearing on US Postal Service operations during the COVID-19 pandemic on August 21. SOURCE: U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee

  • Judge to decide by Sunday if TikTok will remain in U.S. app stores

    TikTok's fate in the U.S. Apple and Google app stores will be decided by Sunday, we are told.

    A U.S. judge is expected to decide by Sunday whether Trump's ban on TikTok will be upheld, after a last-minute filing by the Trump-controlled Department of Justice supporting the move.

    TikTok, owned by China's ByteDance, previously said Trump's restrictions "were not motivated by a genuine national security concern, but rather by political considerations relating to the upcoming general election."

    The government faced a 2:30 p.m. Friday deadline to either delay the ban or oppose TikTok's preliminary injunction, reports Reuters:

    The Justice Department filed its objection under seal because it includes submissions made by TikTok's Chinese owner, ByteDance, that include confidential business information. ByteDance has said it has made a preliminary deal for Walmart Inc and Oracle Corp to take stakes in the short video sharing app, but the exact terms of the agreement remain unclear.

    Judge Carl Nichols in Washington is expected to rule before Sunday on TikTok's request. The Commerce Department gave the companies an additional week to finalize a deal before an order banning TikTok from U.S. app stores takes effect, citing "recent positive developments."

    On Sunday, a judge in California issued an preliminary injunction that blocked a similar order from taking effect on Tencent Holdings' WeChat app. The Justice Department has asked the judge to allow the ban to take effect pending appeal.

    Read more at Reuters.

  • Breonna Taylor's family demands release of evidence

    The family of Breonna Taylor on Friday demanded that authorities in Kentucky release all body camera footage, police files, and grand jury transcripts that led to no charges being filed against police officers who killed the Black woman while she was sleeping, during a mistargeted drug raid at her apartment.

    From the Associated Press:

    As Taylor's mother, Tamika Palmer, stood close by in a shirt that had "I (heart) Louisville Police" with bullet holes in the heart emoji, Taylor's lawyers said they have seen the evidence, and there is much state Attorney General Daniel Cameron got wrong. They did not give specifics.

    Taylor's aunt read a statement on behalf of Palmer, saying the entire justice system failed her and Cameron was just the final person in the chain that included the officer who sought the no-knock warrant, the judge who signed it, and the police who burst into her Louisville apartment. The warrant was connected to a suspect who did not live there, and no drugs were found inside.

    Taylor was shot multiple times by white officers after her boyfriend fired at them, authorities said. He said he didn't know who was coming in and opened fire in self-defense, wounding one officer. Cameron said the officers were not charged with Taylor's killing because they acted to protect themselves.

    Read more at AP.

  • 'Army For Trump' ads incite armed militias to intimidate voters in 'election security operation', also Don Jr. doesn't look so good

    President Donald Trump's son stars in this new "defend your ballot" ad, and says: "We need every able-bodied man and woman to join Army for Trump's election security operation…we need you to help us watch them."

    Holy shit.

    I mean, what else does one even say about these insane nwq Trump-Pence ads, and the curiously addled Don Jr., who resembles a crackhead in the throes of addiction? What else does one say, but holy shit. Long past time for Twitter and Facebook, where these ads are trending, to take action — the ads are lying, and they're inciting armed violence against Americans.

    Via Vera Bergengruen, this is the full text of Donald Trump Jr.'s ad rallying supporters to join "Army for Trump's election security operation," shared by the Trump campaign on Facebook and Twitter.

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Eix_NWuX0AAPU6P?format=png&name=large

    Observations from reporters on Twitter, below.

  • Ron Paul hospitalized after suffering apparent stroke during live episode of his political show

    [UPDATE, 1pm] – Message from Ron Paul: "I am doing fine. Thank you for your concern."

    Disturbing video shows former Texas congressman Ron Paul suffering what appears to be a stroke on Friday.

    @RonPaul, who is 85, has been hospitalized for "precautionary" reasons after experiencing what looks to have been a medical emergency during a live episode of his political show, 'Liberty Report.'

  • Here's video of Trump getting booed while 'paying his respects' to RBG. "Vote Him Out!"

    This little clip of video has gone viral today, and it really captures quite a moment.

    CNN's Kevin Liptak: "Trump at the court as crowd chants 'vote him out' — it's rare for this President to see his opposition this up-close and in-person."

    The viral footage serves as a reminder that Trump is a historically unpopular president, writes Rupar at Vox.

  • Hunter killed by bear in Alaska was Ohio man, say park officials

    A man on a hunting expedition in a remote Alaska park was killed by a grizzly bear last weekend. The attack took place in Alaska's Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. The man was identified Thursday by park officials as Austin Pfeiffer, a 22-year-old man from Ohio.

    Pfeiffer's death late Sunday is the first recorded fatal bear attack in the park since it was established in 1980, the park said in a statement.

    From the Associated Press:

    Park spokesperson Jan Maslen, said in an email that officials were not releasing his hometown at the family's request. Pfeiffer was hunting with a friend and they were salvaging meat from a moose they killed a day earlier when the attack occurred, the statement said.

    Read more at the Associated Press: Park identifies hunter killed by bear in Alaska as Ohio man

  • CISA says unnamed US federal agency got hacked using valid credentials for users' Microsoft 365 and domain admin accounts

    CISA announced Thursday that an unnamed United States government agency was hacked in an unusual method. The attacker used valid credentials for multiple users' Microsoft 365 accounts, and users' domain administrator accounts.

    The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, known as CISA, was alerted to the breach by an intrusion detection system that monitors federal civilian agencies, reports Bloomberg News:

    The hacker implanted malware that evaded the agency's protection system and was able to gain access to the network by using valid access credentials for multiple users' Microsoft 365 accounts and domain administrator accounts, according to authorities.

    Investigators weren't able to determine how the hacker initially obtained the credentials. But the agency said it was possible that the hacker obtained them by exploiting a known vulnerability in Pulse Secure virtual private network servers.

    CISA released technical details about the breach, but didn't provide any information about what data was stolen or whether the hack was carried out by a rival nation state. The U.S. government occasionally makes such "technical indicators" public so that companies or other governments can check to see if their own systems are under attack.

    More at Bloomberg [via Techmeme]

  • Navalny's apartment was seized while he was in a coma, says his team

    Russian authorities seized Alexei Navalny's Moscow apartment while the opposition leader was still in a coma, said Navalny's spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh on Thursday, blaming a powerful and wealthy figure in Russia linked to the Kremlin.

    Navalny was released from hospital in Berlin yesterday, and continues to recover there before a planned return to Russia.

    Navalny's representative Yarmysh says the home seizure has to do with a court ruling in favor of a school catering company reportedly linked to Yevgeny Prigozhin, a tycoon with ties to Vladimir Putin.

    Prigozhin is also known by the nickname "Putin's chef."

    From the Associated Press :

    Prigozhin was among a dozen Russians indicted in 2018 by a U.S. grand jury in the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, alleging he funded internet trolls involved in interfering with the U.S. presidential election in 2016.

    Last year, a Moscow court ordered Navalny and his associates to pay 88 million rubles ($1.1 million) in damages to a company reportedly linked to Prigozhin after they accused the company — and him — of allegedly supplying contaminated food to Moscow kindergartens and sparking an outbreak of dysentery among dozens of children.

    Prigozhin's spokespeople denied he had anything to do with the company. Days after Navalny fell into a coma, Prigozhin announced he had bought the debt from the company, promising to "ruin" the politician if he survived.

    More at AP.