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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

By Joseph Serna, Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — Hundreds of residents in Forest Falls in San Bernardino County remained stranded Monday morning as crews worked to clear the last of four mud walls caused by flash floods over the weekend that cut the town off.

“It’s like somebody threw a huge mud ball on the town and it’s just sitting there,” said San Bernardino County firefighter Ryan Beckers. “It’s one road in, one road out.”

On Sunday, a storm that hovered over Mount Baldy, Forest Falls, and a few other communities managed to pour several inches of rain onto the area, triggering mudslides and overflowing creeks and washes that sent campers and locals running for higher ground.

In Forest Falls, mudslides as high as 10 feet cut across Valley of the Falls Drive, which connects the town to Highway 38. Even when rain doesn’t fall directly onto the secluded town, its placement next to a creek and at the foot of three mountain peaks makes it susceptible to floods and slides, Beckers said.

Dozens of homes sustained damage, mostly from water and mud, but determining the severity of the damage to each home and final costs to the community could be days away, officials said.

In the history of floods to the area, “this was one of the bigger ones,” Beckers said.

At least one car was overturned, but no one was inside. Several power poles were tipped over and put slack into power lines, forcing utility workers to cut power to the lines so cleanup crews could clear the debris.

In terms of the potential for disaster, Beckers said they counted the community’s response to Sunday’s downpour a success. Locals were mostly prepared and camp employees kept visitors from panicking, he said.

Still, the flash flooding killed one person on Mount Baldy when his vehicle spilled off a mountain road and into a creek. The man was identified Monday as 48-year-old Joo Hwan Lee of El Segundo, Calif.

On Monday, crews were sweeping through the mountain communities to assess the damage. At Mount Baldy, one home suffered major damage and four sustained moderate damage, said San Bernardino County firefighter Chris Prater.

Several propane tanks were also dislodged and leaked fuel but were contained before any significant incident occurred, Prater said.

The thunderstorm system was expected to move out and into Central and Northern California on Monday, bringing with it the threat of lightning, which has been blamed for sparking dozens of destructive wildfires in recent weeks.

Photo via WikiCommons

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Actor as Donald Trump in Russia Today video ad

Screenshot from RT's 'Trump is here to make RT Great Again'

Russia Today, the network known in this country as RT, has produced a new "deep fake" video that portrays Donald Trump in post-presidential mode as an anchor for the Kremlin outlet. Using snippets of Trump's own voice and an actor in an outlandish blond wig, the ad suggests broadly that the US president is indeed a wholly owned puppet of Vladimir Putin– as he has so often given us reason to suspect.

"They're very nice. I make a lot of money with them," says the actor in Trump's own voice. "They pay me millions and hundreds of millions."

But when American journalists described the video as "disturbing," RT retorted that their aim wasn't to mock Trump, but his critics and every American who objects to the Russian manipulations that helped bring him to power.

As an ad for RT the video is amusing, but the network's description of it is just another lie. Putin's propagandists are again trolling Trump and America, as they've done many times over the past few years –- and this should be taken as a warning of what they're doing as Election Day approaches.

The Lincoln Project aptly observed that the Russians "said the quiet part out loud" this time, (Which is a bad habit they share with Trump.)