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As COVID cases spike in Florida, Trump now says he's 'flexible' on convention format in JacksonvilleWith coronavirus cases exploding in Florida, the president now says he is “flexible” on plans to hold a large-scale, indoor Republican National Convention next month.

7/8/2020 10:46:40 AM

An Austin police officer appeared to grope a woman's breast after pulling her over for a traffic violationThe Austin Police Department defended the officer's conduct, saying he followed the department's regulations and that no female officer was available.

7/9/2020 1:44:05 PM

Mexico posts new case record to overtake Spain; official says virus 'slowing'Mexico on Wednesday posted a fresh record for new coronavirus cases reported on a single day, with 6,995 infections, overtaking Spain to register the world's eighth highest case count, according to a Reuters tally. Despite the soaring figures, Mexico's coronavirus czar, Hugo Lopez-Gatell, said the pandemic was "slowing." The figures pushed Mexico's overall tally of infections to 275,003 cases.

7/8/2020 7:18:22 PM

Australia offers safe haven to Hong Kongers, sparking China furyAustralia offered pathways to permanent residency for thousands of people from Hong Kong on Thursday in response to China's crackdown on dissent, drawing a furious reply from Beijing. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his government was suspending its extradition agreement with the city and, in addition to extending the visas of 10,000 Hong Kongers already in the country, threw open the door to thousands more wanting to start a new life Down Under. Morrison said the decisions were taken in response to China's imposition last week of a tough new security law in Hong Kong, which he said "constitutes a fundamental change of circumstances" for the semi-autonomous territory.

7/9/2020 6:42:27 AM

Frat parties to blame for surge in coronavirus cases at UC Berkeley, school saysThe new cases could impact the fall semester.

7/9/2020 9:04:29 AM

Twitter billionaire Jack Dorsey just announced he will be funding a universal basic income experiment that could affect up to 7 million peopleJack Dorsey's fellow Silicon Valley billionaires Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg think a universal basic income could help poor Americans, too.

7/9/2020 4:58:00 PM

Man who flies Nazi flag from his car to show he is in ‘total opposition of Black Lives Matter’ claims he was attacked because of itA man who flies a Nazi flag on the back of his car to show his opposition to Black Lives Matter protests and gay people, claims he was attacked last month because of it.Jesus Seineke, who lives in Alpine, San Diego, flies a Nazi flag on the back of his SUV when he drives around his local area.

7/9/2020 4:19:16 PM

Israel looked like a model for halting coronavirus. Here's how it 'lost its bearings.'"It has been several weeks since Israel's compass for handling the pandemic has lost its bearings," wrote the public health director in her resignation.

7/9/2020 3:31:00 AM

On the Next Stimulus, Democrats Have to Stand Up and Stop Trump’s Fleecing of AmericaOn Monday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin finally bowed to growing national outrage around the White House’s sketchy accounting for emergency COVID-19 relief funds connected to Donald Trump’s controversial $660 billion Paycheck Protection Program. Trump and company hailed the move as another sign of the administration’s transparency, but close readers are finding more questions than answers.Why did large hedge funds and private equity firms unaffected by COVID-19 closures receive hundreds of millions of dollars from a relief program designed to help struggling small businesses? How did so many Trump family members and hotel industry friends  tap into the PPP while politically unconnected entrepreneurs across America were told funds had run dry? Don’t expect any answers from the White House.Trump is no stranger to bragging about his record-setting transparency, but the truth rarely lives up to the hype. Speaking to reporters on the White House lawn in May 2019, Trump declared, “There has never been, ever before, an administration that’s been so open and transparent.” A few days later, Trump crowed that he was easily “the most transparent president in history.” Trump’s Small Biz Rescue Bailed Out Kushner’s Family, Obama’s Aides and Other Political EliteDespite the bravado, Trump and his senior officials have waged an unprecedented war of obstruction and obfuscation against real and imagined opponents on Capitol Hill and in the media. As recently as June 11, Mnuchin flatly refused to disclose the names or loan amounts of companies seeking federal coronavirus aid, going so far as to prevent the Small Business Administration from publishing routine loan data SBA has been sharing since 1991. Now the American public knows why Mnunchin and Trump went to such extreme lengths to resist disclosing PPP recipients. While only 12 percent of minority small business owners who applied to receive PPP funds were approved, Treasury waived long standing ethics rules to allow Trump business partners like a Hawaii hotelier to claim up to $5 million in taxpayer cash.The White House’s heated resistance to providing any public data about the administration’s COVID-19 spending is just the latest example of Trump’s pathological aversion to accountability—a habit dating back to the administration’s earliest efforts to conceal the details of Trump’s inaugural finances. But Trump’s stunning mishandling of America’s COVID-19 response compelled even friendly Republicans like Florida Sen. Marco Rubio to demand increased visibility into how Trump and Mnuchin are spending over $660 billion in taxpayer funds.It shouldn’t have taken until early July for Democrats and Republicans on the Hill to demand accountability and transparency for a program they authored. The PPP didn’t need to become another Trump administration slush fund. By now House Democrats know not to trust Trump officials with large-scale cash distribution schemes, but once again, establishment Democrats found themselves temperamentally unable to force a prolonged fight over including accountability and transparency mechanisms in their own legislation.That isn’t to say Democrats have been silent in the months since passing a raft of emergency COVID-19 measures. In late April, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren called for a Senate investigation into Trump officials “playing favorites” with PPP funds. In the House, Rep. Katie Porter authored a bill to make public by default the names of businesses requesting PPP loans and how much federal aid they received.As has become depressingly familiar among establishment Democrats in Congress, though, this latest push to hold Trump accountable comes too late. Democratic lawmakers and Hill staffers I’ve spoken to offer different reasons for fumbling PPP accountability: the COVID-19 crisis was pressing down on legislators, making any delays politically risky; Democrats feared being tarred as anti-business obstructionists; there would always be time to fine-tune the legislation after the first round of funds went out. Instead of opting for an ounce of prevention, the lack of political will among House Democrats now necessitates 660 billion pounds of cure. If recent history has taught politics-watchers anything, it is that voters have little interest in punishing legislators for claims of “obstructionism.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell built an entire leadership strategy on the blanket deployment of legislative speed bumps and delays, and deployed it with ruthless effectiveness during the Obama administration. Legislative meekness is a one-way ticket to political irrelevance.Just because Democrats missed the boat on PPP accountability doesn’t mean hope is lost. There are plenty of opportunities for Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic leadership to display leadership on the COVID-19 crisis. In March, the CARES Act created a bicameral congressional committee intended to bring the House and Senate together to tackle the unprecedented challenge coronavirus poses to our economy and public health. It’s a great idea. It’s also a sham.Nearly four months since the CARES Act authorized this bipartisan COVID-19 committee, Republicans have resisted appointing a chairperson to lead the committee’s work. Republican Senators have openly floated former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford for the role, but that would ensure no meaningful oversight of Trump administration excesses. Trump considers Dunford one of the key figures in his decision to run for president. For his part, Dunford publicly pledged never to discuss Trump, even after leaving military service.Democrats shouldn’t be giving do-nothing Senate Republicans a free pass to market this hollow, leaderless committee as a triumph of bipartisan cooperation, especially when Rep. Jim Clyburn is overseeing serious, data-driven COVID-19 policymaking as chair of the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis. Propping up Republican-led “oversight” efforts undermines the meaningful work Democrats are doing to get a long-overdue handle on the coronavirus crisis.Last month, the Trump administration called for a $1 trillion infrastructure stimulus package managed by the White House. Given Trump’s disastrous handling of PPP funds, Democrats would be insane to give Trump another free hand to distribute nearly twice as much money. Any discussion of a stimulus package—any discussion of handing Donald Trump money under any circumstance—must come with strong oversight to ensure that money isn’t pocketed by various Kushners and Kanyes.Trump’s mishandling of emergency coronavirus funds is more than a political disaster; it jeopardizes the lives and livelihoods of millions of Americans who rely on the government to be an honest broker in times of national crisis. House Democrats have the oversight authority to prevent Trump from fleecing small businesses for the benefit of his friends. Millions of Americans are depending on them to use it.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

7/8/2020 3:17:41 AM