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Gender: Male
Hometown: Louisville, KY
Current location: Winter Garden, FL
Member since: Thu Sep 16, 2004, 02:03 PM
Number of posts: 48,340

Journal Archives

Petition. Extend #CARESAct

Please help and sign!

TO: The Governors of all 50 states, and both houses of Congress - Our Federal Legislators
Extend COVID19 Emergency Unemployment $600 per week additional assistance through Dec 31, 2020


Many people, including myself, who are still not back to work yet. And states like FL only offer $275/week, which will extend another 13 weeks but $275/wk is a cruel joke. Esp to families.

WOW! Twitter thread on repackaging of NON-medical KN95 masks to send to Texas Div of Emergency Med


J. David McSwane @davidmcswane

1/ A TaskRabbit contractor in San Antonio told me he stumbled onto a warehouse where people were repackaging non-medical Chinese masks so they could pass for medical use and be sold to Texas.

So began my latest journey into the world of COVID profiteers ..

1/ A TaskRabbit contractor in San Antonio told me he stumbled onto a warehouse where people were repackaging non-medical Chinese masks so they could pass for medical use and be sold to Texas.

So began my latest journey into the world of COVID profiteers ..

2/ His name was Lucas Rensko and he showed up in a warehouse where there were other “Taskers” earning about $20/hr ripping Chinese masks out of plastic bags and stuffing them into new ones that were identical but for one potentially deadly difference …

3/ The old packages were labeled in all caps “MEDICAL USE PROHIBITED.” The new bags didn’t have that warning.


4/ Medical workers’ best defense against a virus that ravages the body with horrifying complexity is a simple, but trustworthy, mask. But many thousands of these repackaged ones were potentially making their way into the Texas supply. Here's the warehouse:

5/ Before flying down to Texas to look into it, I did a little research from my DC apartment. Jaime Rivera, who hired the TaskRabbits, had posted some intriguing photos on Facebook of boxes of masks bursting at the seams and stacked high in his garage.

6/ These are labeled AYM-KN95. Early on the FDA approved these for use in healthcare settings. But they were taken off the list in May. They’re nowhere near the 95% effective required - tested as low as 39% in CDC tests …

7/ More curious was a screenshot Rivera posted of a $2k payment from “BM.” One of his Facebook friends noted “looks like code for a drug deal.”

8/ So I pulled out my phone and looked for him on Venmo and was delighted to see all his transactions were public.

Someone named Brennan Mulligan was paying him and others on Venmo to repackage masks. Check it out …

9/ Turns out Mulligan is a successful San Francisco tech/apparel businessman. He runs SKYOU, whose 3D design software lets people customize apparel that ships directly from China …

10/ Makes sense, I thought. As I found in this story, a lot of apparel and textile businesses used China connections to make their way into the mask market.
The Secret, Absurd World of Coronavirus Mask Traders and Middlemen Trying To Get Rich Off Government Money
The federal government and states have fueled an unregulated, chaotic market for masks ruled by oddballs, ganjapreneurs and a shadowy network of investors.

11/ That “131 boxes to TDEM” is delivery of KN95s to the Texas Division of Emergency Management, Texas’ FEMA, which supplies to hospitals inundated with patients. As you can see … Texas is in trouble.

12/ Rivera and I talked on the phone at length. He agreed to meet in person but then cut off contact as my questions became more uncomfortable. Here’s some of what he told me …

13/ Mulligan had hired him through TaskRabitt to pick up masks arriving in Texas airports via Southwest Cargo jet. Some he delivered to TDEM, others needed to be repackaged.

14/ Rivera spoke as if it was just common sense. They needed to take MEDICAL USE PROHIBITED off the package so Texas could accept the masks. It’s not a big deal, he said, because Texas will inspect the masks. He said it was just red tape.

15/ As our conversations progressed, Rivera started to worry that maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. He was desperate, he said. His main income - doing jobs via TaskRabbit - had dried up because of the pandemic.

16/ That’s when Rivera mentioned he and Mulligan had been contacted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

“His analogy was you’re telling somebody you have a Ferrari but you’re selling a Honda,” Rivera said.

17/ “Are you worried you were complicit in a crime?” I asked

“The more we talk about it, yes,” he said.

Before he hung up and cut off communication, he added: “I’m not the brains of the operation, and I’m definitely not the wallet for it.”

18/ The wallet was Mulligan, who didn’t respond to my calls but sent some brief emails. He blamed the FDA’s flip-flopping on chinese masks and onerous Chinese customs regulations.

19/ He couldn’t get the masks out of China without the non-medical disclaimer, he explained. And the Texas emergency agency would reject anything that had the disclaimer.

20/ He and other mask brokers told me they shipped all these masks in after the FDA cleared a bunch of KN95s, but before they could sell them the FDA kicked a bunch of manufacturers off the list.

21/ So “the only solution,” he said, was to repackage masks. But problem was - the masks he was repackaging weren’t on the FDA’s list of masks OK’d for emergency use. Mulligan says he broke no U.S. laws.

22/ I told TDEM what I had learned and they confirmed Mulligan and Rivera had tried to sell the poor quality masks and Texas rejected them. TDEM’s vetting is really good, a spokesperson said.

23/ Mulligan tried to sell them to another guy, who was trying to sell masks to hospitals in Illinois, but the buyer told me he walked away when he learned they’d been repackaged.

24/ So Mulligan is stuck where a lot of opportunistic mask brokers are - with tons of sub-par masks that governments can’t and shouldn’t buy.

25/ Oh, yeah, and that Homeland Security investigation? The agency said it’s real, but the statement also reads like the law enforcement equivalent of ¯_(ツ_/¯.

26/ There’s a lot more detail in the story, some funny anecdotes and whatnot. I hope you’ll read it.
He Removed Labels That Said “Medical Use Prohibited,” Then Tried to Sell Thousands of Masks to Officials Who Distribute to Hospitals
Using TaskRabbit and Venmo, a Silicon Valley investor and his business partner had workers repackage non-medical KN95 masks so he could sell them to Texas emergency workers.

27/ If you know more about PPE brokers and investors, shoot me a note: david.mcswane@propublica.org
28/ and if you want to get our next big stories, sign up for propublica’s Big Story newsletter:
Sign Up For the Big Story Newsletter — ProPublica
PS - it remains a mess out here in the Wild West of PPE trading - companies pooping up overnight, untested, some whose owners have questionable backgrounds. Federal agencies say they’re vetting these companies but we’ve found a ton of problems

Ohio State (sex abuse) UNSEALED Complaint



Check item 1436. “Coach Jordan” threatening athletes they’d get in trouble with the school for “acting out”

1436. Several wrestlers expressed their anger about being watched in the shower by these men.
Coach Hellickson and Assistant Coach Jordan told the wrestlers that if they did anything to act out that they would find themselves in trouble with the school.

CNN - Palm Beach County mandate re: masks - FL nutjobs freak


These bizarre, unhinged responses from some of the people are SO indicative of what I see ALL the time in local FB groups for here in central FL.

These people are N U T S. Absolutely NUTS!!!

LIVE look at newest DC protest at Lafayette Square


Attempts to fell Andrew Jackson statue

Past 15 min things have stabilized

BunkerBoy probably crapping himself

Video - trump #Hurt


Found a GREAT pic of Jr and made a quick meme


WOW. Tulsa arena filled in quickly at the end


Sharpie to the rescue!

NEW - SDNY US Atty Berman *IS* stepping down

Berman apparently only stepped down once the head of the SEC wouldn’t be jammed into his position. Dig the shade...

PBS Frontline - Putin's Revenge (Nov 2017)

That moment when #Putin started going after the US, and, specifically, #HillaryClinton

Part II
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