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Whitefish Energy charged Puerto Rico $319 per hour for linemen — then paid them $63 per hour: report

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On Sunday night, The New York Times reported that novice energy firm Whitefish Energy was wildly overcharging the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) for the hourly rate it paid line workers.

Whitefish Energy Holdings only had two employees when it was awarded a $300 million contract to restore electricity to Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria. To meet the shortfall, Whitefish hired contractors from Florida at rates varying from $42 per hour to $100 per hour with an average hourly rate of $63.

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However, the company’s “shocking” contract allowed it to bill PREPA $319 per worker per hour.

The Times spoke to industry experts who said that $319 per hour is far, far above the norm about amounts to about 17 times what a Puerto Rican worker would make performing the same job.

Whitefish spokesman Chris Chiames told the Times that the company had to make the jobs competitive to attract labor from around the region.

“We have to pay a premium to entice the labor to come to Puerto Rico to work,” Chiames claimed, but declined to explain the average of $256 that was disappearing between PREPA’s payouts and the pockets of Whitefish’s linemen.

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The company had its contract revoked after San Juan’s Mayor Carmen Julín Cruz challenged the company and called for transparency regarding Whitefish’s deal with the federal government.

Millions of Puerto Ricans had power restored briefly by Whitefish only to have the repaired line fail again this week, returning them to life without electricity. More than 80 percent of the island is still without electricity nearly two months after Hurricane Maria made landfall.

Read the full report here.

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Nate Silver claps back at right-wing pollster for accusing him of fraud

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One of the worst-performing national pollsters in the 2018 election cycle was Rasmussen Reports, a right-leaning outfit that is consistently the only one to show President Donald Trump with a net positive approval rating. In 2018, Rasmussen showed Republicans leading the generic congressional ballot by 1 point — but Democrats won the popular vote by 8.4 points.

Nonetheless, Rasmussen is proud of its methodology and particularly irritated when polling analyst and FiveThirtyEight founder Nate Silver points out their inaccuracy. Over the past two weeks, they have twice accused him of "fraud" and characterized his analyses as "corrupt."

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Trump told Republicans he didn’t care ‘about terrorists 7,000 miles away’

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President Donald Trump reportedly doesn't care about terrorists, according to sources inside the room after Democrats abandoned the Wednesday meeting with the president.

Washington Post Congressional reporter Mike DeBonis said that the president said "several times" in the meeting that he isn't concerned about terrorists that live 7,000 miles away.

The source said that Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) had to remind the president that the Sept. 11 terrorists "came from 7,000 away" themselves.

https://twitter.com/mikedebonis/status/1184592170545745920

The president has neglected to understand terrorists can attack the U.S. on North American soil as well as at embassies, military bases, international sporting events, or even Trump's properties. It would be simple for ISIS to use a car bomb to attack Trump's property in Indonesia, as an example.

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Diplomat testified of fear Rudy wanted ‘grand bargain with Russia where we throw Ukraine under the bus’: report

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President Donald Trump's former special envoy to Ukraine testified about fears that Rudy Giuliani was trying to cut a "grand bargain" with Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin, according to a new report in Axios.

Volker reportedly testified that Bill Taylor was reluctant to take the position of acting ambassador to Ukraine after the firing of Marie Yovanovitch.

"He was just worried [Ukraine] was going to get undermined at some point,” Volker reportedly testified. “Hanging over everyone’s head in the expert community is, is there some grand bargain with Russia where we throw Ukraine under the bus?”

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