5 Things That Happened While You Were Out: Aug. 18, 2020

Another Tuesday come and gone, CivMixers! Following up on one of our “5 Things” from yesterday, today, the Postmaster-General announced that any operational changes planned for the USPS would be suspended until after this year’s presidential election in November.

In Nashville, TN, a mural to the “Queen of Country,” Ms. Dolly Parton, was painted with her Billboard quote on her views towards the Black Lives Matter movement. I am sure it will raise some eyebrows, but frankly, it may be my new mantra. Only Dolly could say, “Of course black lives matter. Do you think our little white a**se are the only ones that matter?” and turn it into a rallying cry, but I’ll take it.

Let’s see what else happened while you were out today.

1) After three long years, the Senate Intelligence Committee released an almost 1,000-page report detailing its investigation into Russian interference into the 2016 election. The conclusion is the same as many other agencies that have investigated.

In short: There was indeed an aggressive, multi-tiered attempt to influence the outcome of that contest for the White House by a foreign nation.

Included in the report is clear documentation of links and interactions between Russia and the Trump campaign. The document supports many of the findings contained in another report released last year by then-special counsel Robert Mueller, and also includes concerns of counterintelligence efforts by Russia that may have extended into the current election cycle.

According to the report released today, there was a lot of contact between a Russian national, Konstantin Kilimnik, and his former associate of many years, Paul Manafort, the chairman of the 2016 Trump campaign.

The report concludes that Kilimnik is a Russian Intelligence officer and had private information regarding the campaign given to him by Manafort. There was also proof that information was provided to him with the specific intent that he hack and then leak the information needed to damage the Democratic Party and its 2016 nominee, Hillary Clinton.

According to this report, Manafort was “a grave counterintelligence threat” due to his closeness to the current president, his position in the campaign, and his ability and willingness to share information.

Last March, Manafort was sentenced to seven years in prison for charges of fraud that were the result of Mueller’s report. He has since been released to serve time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

There were details of other interactions as well. One has to do with Wikileaks (before it was declared a hostile entity) and GOP consultant Roger Stone – a long-time Trump associate. This resulted in Wikileaks released specific documents that they hacked at the exact time to do the most damage to both the DNC and Clinton’s campaign. According to the report, campaign officials were told to stay in touch with Stone by Trump.

Last November, Stone was convicted of seven different felonies – all a result of Mueller’s report – and received a presidential commutation.

Alongside the report, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, the committee’s acting chairman, said irrefutable evidence had been found that the Russians did interfere in the election. Still, he asserted, there was no proof that there was collusion with the Trump campaign.

This report is being released just as the separate investigation by U.S. Attorney John Durham is reportedly nearing its end.

2) During a briefing today, Trump stated that he is going to issue a posthumous pardon to the leader of the women’s suffrage movement, Susan B. Anthony. Anthony was found guilty in 1872 for illegally voting in that year’s presidential election.

Trump deemed this a “fantastic” move, as Anthony was never pardoned. Today is the centennial anniversary of the 19th amendment ratification, giving women the right to vote, which occurred in 1920 – 14 years after Anthony died.

This announcement comes as Trump is trailing in many polls, and may be designed to appeal to the women voters who helped him to get into the White House in 2016. That swing demographic is showing a preference in many polls for the Democratic nominee, Joe Biden.

It is also on the heels of the USPS suspending all changes until after the November election as Trump has been making a lot of noise, declaring that mail-in ballots will lend themselves to increased voter fraud…many of which seem to be caused by the budgetary changes his Postmaster-General appointee was attempting to make.

You do see the irony here, right? Trump has been talking about voter fraud, and he is pardoning Anthony, who was convicted of voting illegally. She was tried in 1873 and refused to pay any of her penalty – and authorities didn’t pursue it further. Trump also again insisted that an over-reliance on mail-in voting would increase dishonesty and fraud.

Though Anthony has come under fire in modern times for sidelining Black women, many still acknowledge her fight and see her limitations as a result of the time in which she lived.

3) Some 800 full-time jobs are coming to Montgomery as Amazon confirmed that it is going to open a new operations center in Orange County. The center, slated to open in early to mid-2021, will be located in a 1-million-square-foot building at the intersection of Route 17K and I-747.

Amazon said it is excited to be working in New York, since it has been an essential partner in many endeavors – including Prime. The company says it will offer competitive pay and benefits.

At the center, employees will select products, pack them into shipments, and send them out. They are mainly going to handle large items and bulk products. They will also be filling roles in more administrative aspects of the business.

Amazon is expanding all over the state with fulfillment centers and delivery stations – from the Bronx to Rochester and many places in between.

4) Throughout the Capital District, there is a growing need among families for food provisions. Trinity Alliance is trying to keep up with the ever-increasing demand.

Two times a month, volunteers gather to pack food bags and then deliver them throughout Arbor Hill and the South End in Albany. Though deliveries are a new concept to Trinity Alliance, they are working out the idea as they are going due to the need for contactless transfer due to COVID-19.

According to Trinity, they are delivering to approximately 800 families a month.

5) The Albany County Health Department is alerting the public of possible COVID exposure at two separate hair braiding businesses.

If you were at Annie African Hair Braiding located at 355 Central Ave. in Albany on:

  • Monday, Aug. 10th -4 – 4:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Aug 11th – 4 – 4:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 12th – 4 – 6 p.m./li>

Or Adja African Hair Braiding located at 622 Central Ave in Albany on:

  • Thursday, Aug. 13th – 4 – 7:30 p.m.

Please contact the Albany DOH if you were at either location at the above times.

Stay steady, stay strong, stay safe.

Stay woke.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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