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Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 50
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 12,796

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For the Defense: Twisted Facts and Other Staples of the Trump Playbook

The lawyers representing the former president in his impeachment trial are the latest in a rotating cast that has always had trouble satisfying a mercurial and headstrong client.

Ever since Donald J. Trump began his run for president, he has been surrounded by an ever-shifting cast of lawyers with varying abilities to control, channel and satisfy their mercurial and headstrong client.

During the final weeks of the 2016 campaign, Michael D. Cohen arranged for hush money payments to be made to a former pornographic film actress. In the second year of Mr. Trump’s presidency, John M. Dowd, the head of the team defending the president in the Russia investigation, quit after he concluded that Mr. Trump was refusing to listen to his counsel.

By Mr. Trump’s third year in office, he had found a new lawyer to do his bidding as Rudolph W. Giuliani first undertook a campaign to undermine Joseph R. Biden Jr. and then helped lead the fruitless effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election, with stops in Ukraine and at Four Seasons Total Landscaping along the way.

On Friday, the latest members of Mr. Trump’s legal cast took center stage in his impeachment trial and for the most part delivered exactly what he always seems to want from his lawyers: not precise, learned legal arguments but public combat, in this case including twisted facts, rewritten history and attacks on opponents.


Trump lawyer struggles to answer key questions from Republican senators

Source: Yahoo News

A lawyer representing Donald Trump at the former president's Senate impeachment trial struggled Friday to answer pointed questions asked by Republican senators.

"Exactly when did President Trump learn of the breach of the Capitol? What specific actions did he take to bring the rioting to an end, and when did he take them?" the Senate clerk said, reading the questions from moderate Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska. "Please be as detailed as possible."

In his answer, Trump lawyer Michael T. van der Veen made clear that he didn't know the answers, which he could have obtained simply by posing those questions to his client.

"The House managers have given us absolutely no evidence one way or the other onto that question. We're able to piece together a timeline, and it goes all the way back to Dec. 31. Jan. 2 there's a lot of interaction between the authorities and getting folks to have security beforehand on the day," van der Veen responded.

Read more: https://news.yahoo.com/trump-lawyer-struggles-to-answer-question-from-republican-senators-222820288.html

Whaaaaaaahhh!!! The Democratic House managers didn't provide us with an alibi for Trump!

The Californians Are Coming. So Is Their Housing Crisis.

Is it possible to import growth without also importing housing problems? “I can’t point to a city that has done it right.”

Statistically speaking, Idaho is one of America’s greatest economic success stories. The state has low unemployment and high income growth. It has expanded education spending while managing to shore up budget reserves. Brad Little, the state’s Republican governor, has attributed this run of prosperity to the mix of low taxes and minimal regulation that conservatives call “the business climate.”

But there is another factor at play: Californians, fleeing high home prices, are moving to Idaho in droves. For the past several years, Idaho has been one of the fastest-growing states, with the largest share of new residents coming from California. This fact can be illustrated with census data, moving vans — or resentment.

Home prices rose 20 percent in 2020, according to Zillow, and in Boise, “Go Back to California” graffiti has been sprayed along the highways. The last election cycle was a referendum on growth and housing, and included a fringe mayoral candidate who campaigned on a promise to keep Californians out. The dichotomy between growth and its discontents has fused the city’s politics and collective consciousness with a question that city leaders around the country were asking even before the pandemic and remote work trends accelerated relocation: Is it possible to import California’s growth without also importing its housing problems?

“I can’t point to a city that has done it right,” said Lauren McLean, Boise’s Democratic mayor.

That’s because as bad as California’s affordable housing problem is, it isn’t really a California problem. It is a national one. From rising homelessness to anti-development sentiment to frustration among middle-class workers who’ve been locked out of the housing market, the same set of housing issues has bubbled up in cities across the country. They’ve already visited Boise, Nashville, Denver and Austin, Texas, and many other high-growth cities. And they will become even more widespread as remote workers move around.


The NYT does seem to have a thing about California...

People moving from California to other lower housing cost states do bring some benefits to those places. Homebuilders and home sellers certainly appreciate their arrival, and the extra money they bring and spend in those communities helps everyone.

I think local resentment of migrating Californians has more to do with cultural differences; it's the more liberal attitudes they tend to bring with them that is a primary source of the hostility -- it's almost a reflexive response in those areas.

Impeachment Offers Republicans Grace. They Don't Want It.

House managers are treating Trump’s enablers as his victims.

By Michelle Goldberg

During her impeachment presentation on Wednesday, Stacey Plaskett, who represents the Virgin Islands in the House, explained how Donald Trump winked at violence from his base in the weeks leading up to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. She showed a video of Nick Fuentes, a white supremacist, bellowing through a bullhorn at the second so-called Million MAGA March in December.

“At the first Million MAGA March, we promised that if the G.O.P. would not do everything in their power to keep Trump in office that we would destroy the G.O.P.!” Fuentes shouted. “Destroy the G.O.P.! Destroy the G.O.P.!” chanted the belligerent crowd in response. Said Plaskett: “Those words, that was Trump’s message: Destroy anyone who won’t listen.” She quoted the former Trump campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson speaking at the same rally: “We knew that both Republicans and Democrats were against we the people.”

Over and over, impeachment managers emphasized this message: Trump victimized Republican officials, and is fundamentally different from others in his party. The managers ladled praise on former Vice President Mike Pence and showed a mob baying for his execution. Ted Lieu of California highlighted tweets in which Trump’s “threats grew even more heated and specific towards Republicans that he considered to be part of that surrender caucus.”

The president, said Lieu, “wasn’t just coming for one or two people, or Democrats like me. He was coming for you, for Democratic and Republican senators.” The managers’ presentations showed just how close the mob came to getting to Senator Mitt Romney.


Even for the Trumpist Conspiracy-Peddler Sidney Powell, This Was 'Weird as Shit'

It was bound to get a little odd when Dominion Voting Systems tried to serve the ‘Kraken’ legal mind with a defamation suit for demonizing the firm. But this was extra.

There was a time when Sidney Powell, the former Donald Trump attorney, welcomed a confrontation with Dominion Voting Systems, the election technology firm demonized by the Trumpist right. But when the moment came for her to be served with a defamation lawsuit, Powell wouldn’t even get out of her car.

On January 28, following Dominion’s prolonged hunt for her “across state lines,” the process server finally caught up to Powell at her home in Biltmore Forest, North Carolina. Dominion has sued major Trumpworld figures Powell and Rudy Giuliani for their false, Trump-backed claims that the voting-tech company was part of a massive conspiracy to rig the election for current Democratic President Joe Biden. Powell helped spearhead some of Trump’s most extremist efforts, and most absurd conspiracy-theory-fueled fantasies, for nullifying Biden’s 2020 victory. Dominion has also sent legal threats to various MAGA allies in the former president’s media and social orbits, leading to a wave of retractions. But in Powell’s case, the former Trump lawyer proved particularly difficult to track down.

On that evening of January 28, the assigned process server spotted Powell and her small entourage pulling into the driveway and arriving back at the North Carolina residence. But as the process server was trying to get a bead on Powell, the cops were already on their way. Someone—it’s unclear who—had called the police.

What ensued was a bizarre, 15-minute back-and-forth, with the cops, Powell and co., and the process server all gathered on the driveway. At one point, an associate of Powell’s seemingly tried to block the server from doing their job, with the Trump-aligned lawyer refusing to be personally served.

“It was weird as shit,” one of the people familiar with the matter said. “Sidney Powell is a lawyer, she knows how this works… Just because you don’t acknowledge the process server’s existence doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.”


Judge to Bullhorn Mom: You're 'So Unpatriotic It Makes My Straight Hair Curl'

Accused rioter Rachel Powell was granted bail—but only if she finally puts a face mask on.

Rachel Marie Powell, a Pennsylvania mom of eight who came to be known as “the bullhorn lady” after she was filmed shouting orders to rioters during the ransacking of the Capitol, has been released on bail by a D.C. federal judge.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Beryl Howell described Powell’s alleged actions on Jan. 6 as “so unpatriotic it makes my straight hair curl,” but said Powell could be fitted with an electronic ankle monitor and confined to her home in Sandy Lake, Pennsylvania at all times, pending her trial in D.C.

If she is given permission to leave the house to work, see a doctor, or meet with her lawyer, Powell must wear a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Howell said.

Powell’s nose and mouth were not covered during the Capitol riot according to video evidence presented in court, Howell noted. Prosecutors pointed out that Powell was previously fired from a job for refusing to wear a mask. But Powell’s lawyer, Michael Engle, insisted his client would follow the rules if set free.

“We appreciate the court giving Rachel the opportunity to return to her family and to be reunited with her children,” Engle told The Daily Beast after the hearing. “Obviously, we have a lot of work to do in order to determine how to best proceed with this case moving forward, but today was a significant step in the right direction for Rachel so she can see her children and address this matter from home instead of being incarcerated.”


Oath Keepers Planned to Deploy Armed Force to Capitol Riot: Docs

Oath Keeper Jessica Watkins wasn’t planning to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6 with her mace, taser, and nightstick only.

After more than two months of preparation and training, the Army veteran was prepared to “fight hand to hand” to take over the Capitol. Then, there was the “quick reaction force” she helped set up—an armed group that would be lingering outside D.C., ready to bring guns to Watkins and other Oath Keepers “if it gets bad” or if Trump somehow ordered them to storm the city.

“I’m no doctor. I’m a soldier. A medic with a rifle, maybe, but a solider [sic]. I will hurt/kill those who try to hurt/kill me or others,” Watkins said in one text message, according to a detention memo filed Thursday.

Watkins, 38, is one of three members of the far-right paramilitary group to be charged with conspiring and recruiting others to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6 as Congress met to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory. Thomas Edward Caldwell, the 65-year-old apparent leader of the Oath Keepers, and Donovan Crowl, a 50-year-old former U.S. Marine, have also been charged. All three are currently in custody.


GOP Senators Must Choose--the United States or Donald Trump

In a rational world, Trump’s guilt wouldn’t be a partisan issue at all. But we live in Republican world.

How can any patriotic American watch the two days of the House managers’ powerful presentation and not only want to hold Donald Trump responsible for inciting the insurrection–but demand he be held accountable?! How could a patriot watch the people Trump incited—as countless insurrectionists told us point blank he did—sack our Capitol to prevent the certification of the election, kill a police officer, and injure 140 other officers and not vocally denounce Trump?!

How?! You tell me, because I can’t make sense of it.

Yes, I know it’s potentially dangerous to get into who is a patriot versus who is a traitor when it comes to political issues. But here’s the thing: The attack on Jan. 6 is not—and can never be—viewed as a typical political issue.

Jan. 6 was a deadly terrorist attack, just as were 9/11, The Pulse nightclub attack, and Oklahoma City bombing. There were not two sides to any of those attacks—just as there should not be to the 1/6 attack.

There’s no disputing the words of House manager Rep. Madeleine Dean, who said, “This attack never would have happened but for Donald Trump.” If Trump had not engaged in months of lies about election fraud to radicalize his base, spent millions of dollars in online ads to bolster that lie, then call his most rabid supporters to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 to amass within walking distance of the Capitol where he delivered a fiery speech that was clearly a call to violence to stop the certification of the votes, the 1/6 attack never happens. Period.


How Much Does a C-Section Cost? At One Hospital, Anywhere From $6,241 to $60,584.

New federally mandated disclosures by California’s Sutter Health illustrate the wide disparity in healthcare rates negotiated by insurers

When a woman gets a caesarean section at the gleaming new Van Ness location of Sutter Health’s California Pacific Medical Center, the price might be $6,241. Or $29,257. Or $38,264. It could even go as high as $60,584.

The rate the hospital charges depends on the insurance plan covering the birth. At the bottom end of the scale is a local health plan that serves largely Medicaid recipients. At the top are prices for women whose plans don’t have the San Francisco hospital in their insurers’ network.

The nation’s roughly 6,000 hospitals have begun to reveal the secret rates they negotiate with insurers for a range of procedures. The data offer the first full look inside the confidential deals that set healthcare rates for insurers and employers covering more than 175 million Americans. The submissions also illuminate how widely prices vary—even for the same procedure, performed in the same facility—depending on who is paying.

“It is shining a light on the insanity of U.S. healthcare pricing,” said Niall Brennan, chief executive of the Health Care Cost Institute, a nonprofit that analyzes medical costs. “It’s at the center of the affordability crisis in American healthcare.”

Under a Trump administration rule that took effect in January, nearly all hospitals must make their prices public, a move the industry sued to block. Courts rejected hospitals’ arguments that their prices should remain under wraps. Healthcare economists say these rates are a major driver of U.S. medical costs, the highest in the world, and they are largely paid by American companies and workers.


The stakes at Trump's trial: Whether GOP will fully denounce political violence

Opinion by Greg Sargent

If Senate Republicans vote to acquit Donald Trump, as we all know they will, the former president will not be sufficiently held accountable for his effort to overthrow U.S. democracy, including through the incitement of mob intimidation and violence.

But what does this mean for the future?

During Thursday’s presentation, a Democratic impeachment manager spelled out the forward-looking stakes in a new way, suggesting that failure to convict Trump could continue undermining our democracy going forward, by emboldening his supporters to continue committing acts of political violence.

“Unless we take action, the violence is only just beginning,” Rep. Diana DeGette (Colo.) told Senate jurors.

DeGette noted that there was a rise in threats after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, and that intelligence services have concluded that the attack will be viewed as a rallying cry for right-wing extremist groups for the foreseeable future.

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