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Westlake Legal Group > News and News Media (Page 108)

‘Star Wars’-themed Instant Pots that look like R2-D2, Chewbacca now available for your rootleaf-stew needs

Finally, something to aid in the process of braising our delicious porg-based stews.

Williams Sonoma has teamed up with Instant Pot to debut a line of pressure cookers decorated in the style of five different “Star Wars” characters.

SEE IT: MOM ORDERS INSTANT POT-THEMED CAKE FOR 2-YEAR-OLD

“From Jedi Starfighters and heroic droids to hungry Sith lords, everyone in the galaxy is raving out about special edition ‘Star Wars’ collection,” writes Williams Sonoma in a very presumptuous message posted to its website. “Fulfill your destiny and restore order to your kitchen!”

Westlake Legal Group WilliamsSonomaStarWarsPots2 'Star Wars'-themed Instant Pots that look like R2-D2, Chewbacca now available for your rootleaf-stew needs Michael Bartiromo fox-news/shows/star-wars fox-news/food-drink/food/kitchen-tools-gadgets fox news fnc/food-drink fnc article 244b3eeb-9d2c-5049-b625-13f83e3cbb5d

Williams Sonoma’s “Star Wars” Instant Pots are currently available for preorder, and are expected to be available in stores starting Dec. 13.  (Williams Sonoma)

Offerings include Instant Pots designed to look like R2-D2 and BB-8, which somewhat make sense, as well as “Stormtropper” and “Darth Vader” varieties, which simply feature pictures of their namesakes. There’s also a Chewbacca-inspired Instant Pot covered in a furry design with a bandolier running down the side.

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The R2-D2, Stormtrooper and Darth Vader varieties retail for $99.95 each, being Duo models with 6-quart capacities. The BB-8 model is appropriately smaller at just 3-quarts, costing $79,95, and the Chewbacca variety has a capacity for 8-quarts and retails for $119.95.

Each Instant Pot is currently available for online preorder. The appliances are expected to be available in stores starting Dec. 13.

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“Star Wars” fans not interested in using furry Instant Pots can currently find dozens of other “Star Wars”-branded kitchenware items at Williams Sonoma. Sadly, however, the retailer has failed to capitalize on a “Star Wars”-inspired ice cream maker like the one Willrow Hood swiped from Cloud City like a total boss.

Westlake Legal Group HP_StarWarsInstapot_111919_v44 'Star Wars'-themed Instant Pots that look like R2-D2, Chewbacca now available for your rootleaf-stew needs Michael Bartiromo fox-news/shows/star-wars fox-news/food-drink/food/kitchen-tools-gadgets fox news fnc/food-drink fnc article 244b3eeb-9d2c-5049-b625-13f83e3cbb5d   Westlake Legal Group HP_StarWarsInstapot_111919_v44 'Star Wars'-themed Instant Pots that look like R2-D2, Chewbacca now available for your rootleaf-stew needs Michael Bartiromo fox-news/shows/star-wars fox-news/food-drink/food/kitchen-tools-gadgets fox news fnc/food-drink fnc article 244b3eeb-9d2c-5049-b625-13f83e3cbb5d

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Brady gets second loss of season as Texans top Pats 28-22

Westlake Legal Group SNF-cropped-436am-1 Brady gets second loss of season as Texans top Pats 28-22 Kristie Reiken fox-news/sports/nfl/new-england-patriots fox-news/sports/nfl/houston-texans fox-news/sports/nfl fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 29513e41-0787-5853-8336-a44faeae32b7

Deshaun Watson has long admired Tom Brady for his talent and resilience.

He beat him Sunday night by not only throwing touchdown passes, but by catching one, too.
“I told them I’m an athlete … the more you can do, the longer you play in this league,” he said. “So I can do it all.”

J.J. WATT MIGHT RETURN TO TEXANS FOR PLAYOFFS: REPORTS

Watson threw three touchdown passes and had the first TD reception of his career, and the Houston Texans frustrated Brady in a 28-22 victory over the New England Patriots.

Texans coach and former Patriots assistant Bill O’Brien got his first win in six tries against New England coach Bill Belichick. It was Houston’s second win over the Patriots and first since Jan. 3, 2010.

Watson had 234 yards passing and threw touchdown passes of 14, 13, and 35 yards as Houston (8-4) built a 21-3 lead against New England’s vaunted defense.

“This is pretty big just because it’s Brady,” Watson said. “I was 0-2 against him and who knows when he’s going to hang it up. That’s my role model, a guy that’s been doing it forever, over 20 years … so it’s pretty awesome to finally get one.”

Brady completed two of his three TD passes in the final 4 minutes to pull within six. A Patriots (10-2) player got a hand on Jake Bailey’s onside kick attempt with 50 seconds remaining, but the ball bounced out of bounds.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS SEARCH FOR FOURTH KICKER AS 8 PLAYERS MISS PRACTICE BECAUSE OF FLU-LIKE SYMPTOMS: REPORT

“There’s really not a whole lot to say here,” Belichick said. “The Texans did a good job tonight, across the board, in every area. They were just better than we were.”

James White had a 12-yard reception for New England’s first touchdown late in the third quarter, but Watson grabbed the first reception of his career on a flip from DeAndre Hopkins on a trick play with about 10 minutes left to make it 28-9. Watson took the snap and handed off to Duke Johnson, and he gave the ball to Hopkins on a reverse to the right. Hopkins tossed to Watson on an option near the sideline, and Watson dived into the end zone for a 6-yard score.

The Patriots entered needing a win to be the first AFC team to clinch a playoff spot after Oakland’s loss to Kansas City earlier in the day. Instead, they struggled to sustain drives, and Brady often looked upset on a night he was 24 of 47. He threw an interception and was sacked three times, hit on 12 other occasions and was seen yelling at his receivers on the sideline after a drive with several incompletions in the first half. He finished with 326 yards.

“Execution,” Brady said. “Just got to do a better job, and it’s tough to get behind and come back. Just put ourselves in a pretty deep hole and you can’t do that on the road.”

New England dealt with a flu bug this week that swept through the locker room and left two players inactive Sunday.

Brady connected with White again with about four minutes left, but the 2-point conversion failed to leave New England down 28-15. The Patriots attempted an onside kick after that and Houston recovered but couldn’t move the ball and had to punt.

HOUSTON TEXANS’ WIN OVER INDIANAPOLIS COLTS COMES WITH FUMBLE CONTROVERSY

Brady threw a 20-yard pass to Julian Edelman that cut the lead to six with 50 seconds left. But the Patriots couldn’t recover a second onside kick and Houston ran out the clock.

There were about seven minutes left in the third quarter when the Patriots went for it on fourth-and-1 and Johnathan Joseph broke up a pass intended for Mohamed Sanu.

On the next drive, Houston had a touchdown reception by Will Fuller called back after a review. It didn’t matter much as the Texans got a 35-yard TD on a nearly identical route by Kenny Stills on the next play to push the lead to 21-3.

New England was able to sustain a drive for the first time since its opening possession when White grabbed his 12-yard TD from Brady late in the third. Kai Forbath missed the extra point to leave the Patriots down 21-9. Forbath was signed on Friday to replace Nick Folk, who was released after having an emergency appendectomy.

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The Patriots led 3-0 after a field goal on their first drive. The Texans had to punt on their first possession but got the ball back three plays later when Bradley Roby jumped a route and intercepted Brady. Roby, who also had a sack, returned after missing the last five games with a hamstring injury.

Houston cashed in on the miscue when Watson connected with Johnson on a 14-yard TD pass to make it 7-3 late in the first quarter. It is Watson’s fifth game this season with at least three touchdown passes, which is tied for most in the NFL.

The Texans padded the lead when they capped a 13-play, 88-yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown reception by Darren Fells.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group SNF-cropped-436am Brady gets second loss of season as Texans top Pats 28-22 Kristie Reiken fox-news/sports/nfl/new-england-patriots fox-news/sports/nfl/houston-texans fox-news/sports/nfl fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 29513e41-0787-5853-8336-a44faeae32b7   Westlake Legal Group SNF-cropped-436am Brady gets second loss of season as Texans top Pats 28-22 Kristie Reiken fox-news/sports/nfl/new-england-patriots fox-news/sports/nfl/houston-texans fox-news/sports/nfl fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 29513e41-0787-5853-8336-a44faeae32b7

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His Company Makes Speakers. Now He’s Speaking Out, Opposing Tariffs

Westlake Legal Group dan-digre-misco-33cdd4da7f54e3ee8fead16009a0b1e4e81bd2e4-s1100-c15 His Company Makes Speakers. Now He's Speaking Out, Opposing Tariffs

Dan Digre, who owns a Minnesota factory, Misco, that makes speakers, says tariffs are hurting his ability to compete. Courtesy of Michael Everett/Misco hide caption

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Courtesy of Michael Everett/Misco

Westlake Legal Group  His Company Makes Speakers. Now He's Speaking Out, Opposing Tariffs

Dan Digre, who owns a Minnesota factory, Misco, that makes speakers, says tariffs are hurting his ability to compete.

Courtesy of Michael Everett/Misco

The Misco speaker company in St. Paul, Minn., is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. But the company’s future is uncertain — a result of the trade war between the U.S. and China.

Dan Digre’s dad started Misco after serving in World War II.

“He was a B-17 radio operator and came back to the United States and married a woman with a bad radio,” Digre says. “Turned out the radio wasn’t bad but the speaker was bad, so he started his own speaker repair business.”

Today, Misco employs about 100 people in the Twin Cities and manufactures a wide variety of speakers for musicians, home theater buffs, even drive-through restaurants.

Digre, who’s now the company’s president, says there used to be a substantial speaker industry in the United States. But over the past two decades, most manufactures moved offshore. And their suppliers moved with them.

“Either suppliers went to China or they probably went out of business,” Digre says.

His factory is still in Minnesota, but it depends on some components imported from China. Since last fall, the company has had to pay tariffs on those components — tariffs that are now 25%. Ironically, if Digre built whole speakers in China, like some of his competitors do, he’d have to pay only a 15% import tax.

Digre has tried passing some of his tariff bill on to customers, and he has asked component suppliers for a tariff discount. But the company has had to absorb most of the extra cost itself.

“It comes out of our bottom line,” Digre says. “And that’s the money that we need to be reinvesting in new technology, in new products — all of the things that makes your business competitive in a global economy.”

Every time Digre imports components from China, he gets a bill from U.S. Customs and Border Protection saying how much he owes in tariffs.

“A surprising number of people that I talk to — you know, smart, intelligent, well-read people — think that somehow China is paying the tariffs,” Digre says.

Perhaps that’s because President Trump keeps making that claim. Recently, Trump told Fox News he’s in no hurry to make a deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“He wants to make it much more than I want to make it,” Trump said. “I’m not anxious to make it. We’re taking in hundreds of billions of dollars in tariffs.”

The actual tariff bill is tens of billions of dollars, not hundreds of billions. And for China to absorb that cost, researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said last week that Chinese suppliers would have to cut their prices by about 20%. So far, the price of Chinese imports has fallen just 2%.

Americans are paying the rest.

“This is a tax that is not on foreigners. This is a tax on our own people,” Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., complained at a recent congressional briefing. “This is a tax unilaterally imposed by the executive branch.”

The trade war has contributed to a slowdown in manufacturing in recent months. U.S. factory activity declined in August, September and October.

At his speaker factory in Minnesota, Digre says the higher cost of components is only part of the problem.

“A tweet could come out this afternoon that could dramatically change a tariff rate,” he said.

Uncertainty over tariffs and other trade policy has left businesspeople wary of spending money in recent months. Business investment fell at a 2.7% rate in the third quarter. Digre says the longer the tariffs remain in place, the more that decisions and investments are postponed.

“That’s, I think, one of the drags that American businesses are feeling right now,” Digre says. “None of us know what it’s going to look like in a year, in two years, even two weeks.”

This week, Digre is traveling to the Philippines to look for alternative components he could buy without having to pay a tariff. It’s a costly and time-consuming process.

“We’re trying to keep building speakers here in the U.S., but there’s only a couple of us left in the country to do it,” Digre says. “And if these tariffs go on a lot longer, I don’t know if there will be anybody left in this country to do it.”

Ultimately, Digre says, he might have to move his whole factory overseas — exactly the opposite of what the president said he wanted when he started this trade war.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

This Day in History: Dec. 2

On this day, Dec. 2 …

1954: The U.S. Senate passes, 67-22, a resolution condemning Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy, R-Wis., saying he had “acted contrary to senatorial ethics and tended to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute.”

Also on this day:

  • 1823: President James Monroe outlines his doctrine opposing European expansion in the Western Hemisphere.
  • 1859: Militant abolitionist John Brown is hanged for his raid on Harpers Ferry the previous October. 
  • 1859: Artist Georges-Pierre Seurat is born in Paris.
  • 1927: Ford Motor Co. unveils its Model A automobile that replaces its Model T.
  • 1939: New York Municipal Airport-LaGuardia Field (later LaGuardia Airport) goes into operation as an airliner from Chicago lands at one minute past midnight.
  • 1942: An artificially created, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction is demonstrated for the first time at the University of Chicago.
  • 1957: The Shippingport Atomic Power Station in Pennsylvania, the first full-scale commercial nuclear facility in the U.S., begins operations. (The reactor would cease operating in 1982.)
  • 1970: The newly created Environmental Protection Agency opens its doors under its first director, William D. Ruckelshaus.
  • 1982: In the first operation of its kind, doctors at the University of Utah Medical Center implant a permanent artificial heart in the chest of retired dentist Dr. Barney Clark, who would live 112 days with the device.
Westlake Legal Group escobar120219 This Day in History: Dec. 2 fox-news/us/this-day-in-history fox news fnc/us fnc article 5616f3f2-9cd3-5c00-ad0f-bbfa1f35451b
  • 1993: Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar is shot to death by security forces in Medellin.
  • 2001: In one of the largest corporate bankruptcies in U.S. history, Enron files for Chapter 11 protection.
  • 2015: A couple loyal to Islamic State opened fire at a holiday banquet for public employees in San Bernardino, Calif., killing 14 people and wounding 21 others before dying in a shootout with police.
  • 2017: ABC News suspends investigative reporter Brian Ross for four weeks without pay for an erroneous report about President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn. (Ross had reported that then-candidate Trump had directed Flynn to make contact with the Russians; Ross clarified the report hours later, saying that his source now said Trump had not done so as a candidate, but as president-elect.) Ross would leave the network in 2018.  
Westlake Legal Group McCarthy120219 This Day in History: Dec. 2 fox-news/us/this-day-in-history fox news fnc/us fnc article 5616f3f2-9cd3-5c00-ad0f-bbfa1f35451b   Westlake Legal Group McCarthy120219 This Day in History: Dec. 2 fox-news/us/this-day-in-history fox news fnc/us fnc article 5616f3f2-9cd3-5c00-ad0f-bbfa1f35451b

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U.S. Senator: GOP Is Turning Into Russia’s ‘Most Important Global Asset’

Westlake Legal Group 5de4c6bf1f0000dc1adf0177 U.S. Senator: GOP Is Turning Into Russia’s ‘Most Important Global Asset’

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) called out the Republican Party for advancing Russian conspiracy theories as it defends President Donald Trump during the impeachment hearings. 

Murphy tweeted: 

Murphy’s tweet came hours after one of his Senate colleagues essentially repeated a debunked Russian talking point on “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

“I think both Russia and Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election,” Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) said. “I think it’s been well documented.” 

He also claimed Ukraine’s former president, Petro Poroshenko, had been actively working for Hillary Clinton. 

As host Chuck Todd pointed out, the U.S. intelligence community has implicated only Russia for 2016 election interference and recently warned senators that Moscow was trying to frame Ukraine for it.   

“You realize the only person selling this argument outside the United States is … Vladimir Putin?” You’ve done exactly what the Russian operation is trying to get American politicians to do. Are you at all concerned that you’ve been duped?”

“No,” Kennedy replied.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Mary Anne Marsh: Democrats’ top two contenders as Iowa and NH votes draw near

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6110902560001_6110902426001-vs Mary Anne Marsh: Democrats' top two contenders as Iowa and NH votes draw near Mary Anne Marsh fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/pete-buttigieg fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 1b9a0641-5d0d-5d78-81e1-4b57ebccc064

With 63 days until the Iowa caucuses, 71 days until the New Hampshire primary and 92 days until Super Tuesday, the race for the Democratic nomination is in the home stretch. The one thing money can’t buy a campaign is time. And time is running out for everyone except the top tier candidates.

Math and history favor the one who wins at least one of the first contests and Super Tuesday. Today that means the race is between Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

For all the talk and wishful thinking that the race is wide open, it has been remarkably consistent. The current top tier, Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, have been there for much of the year. Buttigieg returned to the top tier after an earlier appearance last spring.

NEWT GINGRICH: PLOT AGAINST PRESIDENT IS REAL – AND BIGGER THAN MANY THINK

Much media coverage focuses on national polls but it is the first contests, specifically Iowa and New Hampshire, that tell you where the race really stands.

The latest Des Moines Register poll, the gold standard for the Iowa caucuses, has Buttigieg in first place at 25 percent, a meteoric 16 percent rise since September. Warren, who led the September Iowa poll with 22 percent, slipped to 16, while Biden and Sanders are tied at 15 percent. The Register poll had the same four candidates in the top tier five months ago.

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In New Hampshire, the most recent poll, conducted by Suffolk University, has a tight four-way race: Sanders at 16 percent, Warren at 14, Buttigieg at 13, and Biden at 12. Since the Suffolk poll in August, Buttigieg has gained seven points, Biden lost nine and Sanders dropped one. Warren stayed the same.

Clearly, Warren and Buttigieg are poised to win either one or both of the first two contests. Historically, a candidate who wins the first two contests runs the table. John Kerry, in 2004, was the last candidate to accomplish this.

More from Opinion

The Democratic primary contests since 2004 have been a tussle between two candidates,  Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in 2008 and Clinton and Sanders in 2016. In both cases, the nomination was settled on Super Tuesday. In fact, from 1988 to 2016, the winner of Super Tuesday became the Democratic nominee.

That is even more likely in 2020. Fifteen states, about a third of the country, including California and Texas, will vote on Super Tuesday. Not only will the math make it a challenge for anyone to catch a front runner after that day, but a rule change makes it even harder. At the convention next year, only pledged delegates will be eligible to vote on the first ballot.

To win the nomination a candidate must have 1,919 delegates. To avoid a second ballot that means pledged delegates as super delegates can’t vote on the first ballot. The first four contests – Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada — offer a total of 135 pledged delegates. But there are 1,163 pledged delegates up for grabs on Super Tuesday. That’s not enough to be the nominee, but doing well on March 3 can make a candidate almost impossible to catch.

Democratic primary contests since 2004 have been a tussle between two candidates, Clinton and Obama in 2008 and Clinton and Sanders in 2016. In both cases, the nomination was settled on Super Tuesday.

Biden leads in the national polls but he doesn’t lead in Iowa and New Hampshire. Losses there dramatically lessen his chances of winning Nevada or South Carolina – and the nomination. Voters see him as an insurance policy as they wait to see if another candidate emerges to take on President Trump.

Sanders’ prospects are just as precarious. His best chance is New Hampshire, a state he won by 22 points over Clinton in 2016. Today, he holds a slim two-point lead. A loss there means Sanders loses the nomination.

The likelihood of losing the first two contests isn’t the only thing Biden and Sanders share. Their drop in the polls has benefited Warren and Buttigieg. Warren’s rise was fueled by picking up Sanders supporters. Now, former Biden supporters are boosting Buttigieg’s rise.

That is why the contest today is between Warren and Buttigieg, with the senator having the advantage. Despite her recent drop in the polls, Warren is the strongest candidate in terms of fundraising, organization, message, policy positions, and events. Her campaign built a solid foundation out of the adversity she faced earlier in the race, and which she also faces again.

It appears Warren’s recent drop in the polls coincides with her “Medicare-for-All” policy. There is no other explanation for it. But the experience of building her way into the top tier earlier this year should serve her well as she works to regain front-runner status.

Buttigieg is in the top tier and spotlight for the second time, but he returns without the foundation of Warren. He was initially boosted by big fundraising hauls, which have continued. But he didn’t fare well under the bright lights of scrutiny and dropped back into the second tier. His problem with race as mayor of South Bend continues, presenting the biggest obstacle to winning the nomination. Without African American votes, which are critical on Super Tuesday, you can’t win the Democratic nomination.

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Compounding Buttigieg’s problems are his changing policy positions. Just one example is being for “Medicare-for-All” before he was against it. But Buttigieg’s rise is undeniable. The question is whether he can stay there this time.

For now, though, entering the home stretch for the Democratic nomination, the matchup to watch is Warren vs. Buttigieg. Buckle up.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE BY MARY ANNE MARSH

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6110902560001_6110902426001-vs Mary Anne Marsh: Democrats' top two contenders as Iowa and NH votes draw near Mary Anne Marsh fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/pete-buttigieg fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 1b9a0641-5d0d-5d78-81e1-4b57ebccc064   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6110902560001_6110902426001-vs Mary Anne Marsh: Democrats' top two contenders as Iowa and NH votes draw near Mary Anne Marsh fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/pete-buttigieg fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 1b9a0641-5d0d-5d78-81e1-4b57ebccc064

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U.S. Senator: GOP Is Turning Into Russia’s ‘Most Important Global Asset’

Westlake Legal Group 5de4c6bf1f0000dc1adf0177 U.S. Senator: GOP Is Turning Into Russia’s ‘Most Important Global Asset’

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) called out the Republican Party for advancing Russian conspiracy theories as it defends President Donald Trump during the impeachment hearings. 

Murphy tweeted: 

Murphy’s tweet came hours after one of his Senate colleagues essentially repeated a debunked Russian talking point on “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

“I think both Russia and Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election,” Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) said. “I think it’s been well documented.” 

He also claimed Ukraine’s former president, Petro Poroshenko, had been actively working for Hillary Clinton. 

As host Chuck Todd pointed out, the U.S. intelligence community has implicated only Russia for 2016 election interference and recently warned senators that Moscow was trying to frame Ukraine for it.   

“You realize the only person selling this argument outside the United States is … Vladimir Putin?” You’ve done exactly what the Russian operation is trying to get American politicians to do. Are you at all concerned that you’ve been duped?”

“No,” Kennedy replied.

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After Long Gap, Supreme Court Poised to Break Silence on Gun Rights

Westlake Legal Group merlin_151293738_52467552-c9f8-480d-a4c2-96f9db3e18fd-facebookJumbo After Long Gap, Supreme Court Poised to Break Silence on Gun Rights Thomas, Clarence Supreme Court (US) Suits and Litigation (Civil) Stevens, John Paul Second Amendment (US Constitution) Scalia, Antonin Kennedy, Anthony M Kavanaugh, Brett M gun control Gorsuch, Neil M firearms Decisions and Verdicts Constitution (US)

WASHINGTON — It has been almost 10 years since the Supreme Court last heard a Second Amendment case. On Monday, a transformed court will return to the subject and take stock of what has happened in the meantime.

The nation has had a spike in gun violence. And lower courts have issued more than 1,000 rulings seeking to apply the justices’ 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, which established an individual right to own guns but said almost nothing about the scope of that right.

The new case concerns a New York City ordinance. Fearing a loss in the Supreme Court, to say nothing of a broad ruling from the court’s conservative majority on what the Second Amendment protects, the city repealed the ordinance and now argues that the case is moot. But the court may be ready to end its decade of silence, elaborate on the meaning of the Second Amendment and, in the process, tell lower courts whether they have been faithful to the message of the Heller decision.

Proponents of gun rights and some conservative justices say lower courts have been engaged in lawless resistance to the protections afforded under the Second Amendment by sustaining unconstitutional gun-control laws.

“The lower courts have, generally speaking, been defying Heller,” said George Mocsary, a law professor at the University of Wyoming.

Gregory P. Magarian, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis, looked at the same evidence and came to the opposite conclusion. “By and large, the lower courts have played this whole game very straight,” he said. “They have taken Heller seriously.”

The decision in the new case may clarify matters. Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil M. Gorsuch have already set out their positions, saying that the Supreme Court has tacitly endorsed dishonest rulings in the lower courts by refusing to hear appeals from decisions sustaining gun-control laws.

It was, Justice Thomas wrote in a 2017 dissent joined by Justice Gorsuch, part of “a distressing trend: the treatment of the Second Amendment as a disfavored right.”

In another dissent last year, Justice Thomas returned to the theme.

“The right to keep and bear arms is apparently this court’s constitutional orphan,” he wrote. “And the lower courts seem to have gotten the message.”

Eight months later, Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh joined the court, replacing the more moderate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. And just a few months after that, the court announced that it would hear the case to be argued Monday.

The Heller decision was both revolutionary and modest. It ruled, by a 5-to-4 vote, that the Constitution guarantees an individual right to own guns — in the home, for self-defense. At the same time, it indicated that many kinds of gun regulations are permissible.

Justice Kennedy was in the majority in Heller decision, but he insisted on an important limiting passage, according to a 2018 interview with Justice John Paul Stevens, who wrote the main dissent and died in July.

“Nothing in our opinion,” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the majority in the passage that was the price of Justice Kennedy’s fifth vote, “should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”

The court’s only other Second Amendment case since then, McDonald v. Chicago in 2010, extended the Heller decision, which concerned federal gun laws, to state and local ones.

Recent scholarship tells a complicated story about how the Heller decision has been applied in the lower courts. A comprehensive study of Second Amendment rulings after the Heller decision through early 2016, published last year in the Duke Law Journal, found that the success rate for challengers was indeed low, at about 9 percent.

But the article concluded that “the low rate of success probably has more to do with the claims being asserted than with judicial hostility.” For instance, challenges by felons charged with possessing guns made up about a quarter of the cases and almost always failed, as the Heller decision itself seemed to require.

Other challenges, in criminal cases or brought by people without lawyers, were also seldom successful. But plaintiffs with lawyers in civil cases in federal appeals courts, the study found, had a success rate of 40 percent.

“Second Amendment challenges have overwhelmingly failed at a broad level,” said Joseph Blocher, a law professor at Duke, who conducted the study with Eric Ruben, a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice. “Something like 90 percent of them failed. But when you dig down into the cases to see why they failed, it turns out that many of them were weak from the outset.”

“Courts are not reflexively rejecting Second Amendment claims,” Professor Blocher said. “There will be cases in which judges may not go far enough in protecting the right, but that’s not indicative of what critics have called ‘massive resistance’ or ‘nullification’ or ‘second-class rights treatment.’”

Still, said Brannon P. Denning, a law professor at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., “there was a tendency to give Heller the narrowest possible reading.”

“Judges were saying that as long as there is not a complete prohibition of possession of a handgun for self-defense in the home,” Professor Denning said, “then pretty much on anything else we’re going to give the benefit of the doubt to the government.”

The New York City ordinance challenged in the new case allowed residents with so-called premises licenses to take their guns to one of seven shooting ranges in the city limits. But the ordinance barred them from taking their guns anywhere else, including second homes and shooting ranges outside the city, even when they were unloaded and locked in a container separate from ammunition.

Three city residents and the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association filed a lawsuit challenging the law but lost in Federal District Court in Manhattan and in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. A unanimous three-judge panel of the Second Circuit ruled that the ordinance passed constitutional muster under the Heller decision.

After the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. City of New York, No. 18-280, the city amended its ordinance to allow people with premises licenses to take their guns to their homes and businesses and to shooting ranges and competitions, whether in the city or not. For good measure, New York State enacted a similar law.

The challengers have gotten everything they sought, the city’s lawyers told the Supreme Court, making the case moot. In response, the challengers said the case is still live because they may be entitled to seek money from the city and could suffer negative consequences for what was unlawful conduct while the ordinance was in place. They urged the justices not to reward the city’s “extraordinary machinations designed to frustrate this court’s review.”

Timothy Zick, a professor at William and Mary Law School, said supporters of gun regulation had reason to hope the justices would rule that the case is moot.

“The fear is that the court will accept the premise that what we need here is the most robust form of protection we can offer to this fundamental right because it’s been orphaned and disrespected,” Professor Zick said. “That, and the fact that this law is not a very good one, makes it understandable that you might not want this case to be the one that the court decides.”

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China to suspend US Navy visits to Hong Kong over bill

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6103124200001_6103126715001-vs China to suspend US Navy visits to Hong Kong over bill fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/world fnc Edmund DeMarche article a9de8bf3-9c3f-5d88-b4c3-3561c1875eae

China announced Monday that it will suspend U.S. Navy visits to Hong Kong in retaliation over President Trump’s decision to sign legislation that supported the city’s pro-democracy protesters who have taken to the streets since June.

CHINA EXPERT SAYS BEIJING’S THREATS ARE LAUGHABLE

Beijing took its first step to make good on its promise to employ “countermeasures” against the U.S. in light of the bills that it blasted as “hegemonic” in nature and ignorant of the facts on the ground.

The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which was sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., requires that the U.S. conducts yearly reviews into Hong Kong’s autonomy from Beijing. If ever found unsatisfactory, the city’s special status for U.S. trading could be tossed.

“I signed these bills out of respect for President Xi, China, and the people of Hong Kong,” Trump said in a statement. “They are being enacted in the hope that Leaders and Representatives of China and Hong Kong will be able to amicably settle their differences leading to long term peace and prosperity for all.”

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China also announced on Monday that it sanctioned Human Rights Watch for its support of the violence in the city, ,Hua Chunying, a ministry spokesman, told Reuters.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6103124200001_6103126715001-vs China to suspend US Navy visits to Hong Kong over bill fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/world fnc Edmund DeMarche article a9de8bf3-9c3f-5d88-b4c3-3561c1875eae   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6103124200001_6103126715001-vs China to suspend US Navy visits to Hong Kong over bill fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/world fnc Edmund DeMarche article a9de8bf3-9c3f-5d88-b4c3-3561c1875eae

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With Brutal Crackdown, Iran Is Convulsed by Worst Unrest in 40 Years

Westlake Legal Group XXIRAN-PROTESTS-01-facebookJumbo With Brutal Crackdown, Iran Is Convulsed by Worst Unrest in 40 Years Rouhani, Hassan Khamenei, Ali Iran Embargoes and Sanctions Demonstrations, Protests and Riots

Iran is experiencing its deadliest political unrest since the Islamic Revolution 40 years ago, with at least 180 people killed — and possibly hundreds more — as angry protests have been smothered in a government crackdown of unbridled force.

It began two weeks ago with an abrupt increase of at least 50 percent in gasoline prices. Within 72 hours, outraged demonstrators in cities large and small were calling for an end to the Islamic Republic’s government and the downfall of its leaders.

In many places, security forces responded by opening fire on unarmed protesters, largely unemployed or low-income young men between the ages of 19 and 26, according to witness accounts and videos. In the southwest city of Mahshahr alone, witnesses and medical personnel said, Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps members surrounded, shot and killed 40 to 100 demonstrators — mostly unarmed young men — in a marsh where they had sought refuge.

“The recent use of lethal force against people throughout the country is unprecedented, even for the Islamic Republic and its record of violence,” said Omid Memarian, the deputy director at the Center for Human Rights in Iran, a New York-based group.

Altogether, from 180 to 450 people, and possibly more, were killed in four days of intense violence after the gasoline price increase was announced on Nov. 15, with at least 2,000 wounded and 7,000 detained, according to international rights organizations, opposition groups and local journalists.

The last enormous wave of protests in Iran — in 2009 after a contested election, which was also met with a deadly crackdown — left 72 people dead over a much longer period of about 10 months.

Only now, nearly two weeks after the protests were crushed — and largely obscured by an internet blackout in the country that was lifted recently — have details corroborating the scope of killings and destruction started to dribble out.

The latest outbursts not only revealed staggering levels of frustration with Iran’s leaders, but also underscored the serious economic and political challenges facing them, from the Trump administration’s onerous sanctions on the country to the growing resentment toward Iran by neighbors in an increasingly unstable Middle East.

The gas price increase, which was announced as most Iranians had gone to bed, came as Iran is struggling to fill a yawning budget gap. The Trump administration sanctions, mostly notably their tight restrictions on exports of Iran’s oil, are a big reason for the shortfall. The sanctions are meant to pressure Iran into renegotiating the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and major world powers, which President Trump abandoned, calling it too weak.

Most of the nationwide unrest seemed concentrated in neighborhoods and cities populated by low-income and working-class families, suggesting this was an uprising born in the historically loyal power base of Iran’s post-revolutionary hierarchy.

Many Iranians, stupefied and embittered, have directed their hostility directly at the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who called the crackdown a justified response to a plot by Iran’s enemies at home and abroad.

The killings prompted a provocative warning from Mir Hussein Moussavi, an opposition leader and former presidential candidate whose 2009 election loss set off peaceful demonstrations that Ayatollah Khamenei also suppressed by force.

In a statement posted Saturday on an opposition website, Mr. Moussavi, who has been under house arrest since 2011 and seldom speaks publicly, blamed the supreme leader for the killings. He compared them to an infamous 1978 massacre by government forces that led to the downfall of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi a year later, at the hands of the Islamic revolutionaries who now rule the country.

“The killers of the year 1978 were the representatives of a nonreligious regime and the agents and shooters of November 2019 are the representatives of a religious government,” he said. “Then the commander in chief was the shah and today, here, the supreme leader with absolute authority.”

The authorities have declined to specify casualties and arrests and have denounced unofficial figures on the national death toll as speculative. But the nation’s interior minister, Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, has cited widespread unrest around the country.

On state media, he said that protests had erupted in 29 out of 31 provinces and 50 military bases had been attacked, which if true suggested a level of coordination absent in the earlier protests. Iran’s official media have reported that several members of the security forces were killed and injured during the clashes.

The property damage also included 731 banks, 140 public spaces, nine religious centers, 70 gasoline stations, 307 vehicles, 183 police cars, 1,076 motorcycles and 34 ambulances, the interior minister said.

The worst violence documented so far happened in the city of Mahshahr and its suburbs, with a population of 120,000 people in Iran’s southwest Khuzestan Province — a region with an ethnic Arab majority that has a long history of unrest and opposition to the central government. Mahshahr is adjacent to the nation’s largest industrial petrochemical complex and serves as a gateway to Bandar Imam, a major port.

The New York Times interviewed six residents of the city, including a protest leader who had witnessed the violence; a reporter based in the city who works for Iranian media, and had investigated the violence but was banned from reporting it; and a nurse at the hospital where casualties were treated.

They each provided similar accounts of how the Revolutionary Guards deployed a large force to Mahshahr on Monday, Nov. 18, to crush the protests. All spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution by the Guards.

For three days, according to these residents, protesters had successfully gained control of most of Mahshahr and its suburbs, blocking the main road to the city and the adjacent industrial petrochemical complex. Iran’s interior minister confirmed that the protesters had gotten control over Mahshahr and its roads in a televised interview last week, but the Iranian government did not respond to specific questions in recent days about the mass killings in the city.

Local security forces and riot police officers had attempted to disperse the crowd and open the roads, but failed, residents said. Several clashes between protesters and security forces erupted between Saturday evening and Monday morning before the Guards were dispatched there.

When the Guards arrived near the entrance to a suburb, Shahrak Chamran, populated by low-income members of Iran’s ethnic Arab minority, they immediately shot without warning at dozens of men blocking the intersection, killing several on the spot, according to the residents interviewed by phone.

The residents said the other protesters scrambled to a nearby marsh, and that one of them, apparently armed with an AK-47, fired back. The Guards immediately encircled the men and responded with machine gun fire, killing as many as 100 people, the residents said.

The Guards piled the dead onto the back of a truck and departed, the residents said, and relatives of the wounded then transported them to Memko Hospital.

One of the residents, a 24-year-old unemployed college graduate in chemistry who had helped organize the protests blocking the roads, said he had been less than a mile away from the mass shooting and that his best friend, also 24, and a 32-year-old cousin were among the dead.

He said they both had been shot in the chest and their bodies were returned to the families five days later, only after they had signed paperwork promising not to hold funerals or memorial services and not to give interviews to media.

The young protest organizer said he, too, was shot in the ribs on Nov. 19, the day after the mass shooting, when the Guards stormed with tanks into his neighborhood, Shahrak Taleghani, among the poorest suburbs of Mahshahr.

He said a gun battle erupted for hours between the Guards and ethnic Arab residents, who traditionally keep guns for hunting at home. Iranian state media and witnesses reported that a senior Guards commander had been killed in a Mahshahr clash. Video on Twitter suggests tanks had been deployed there.

A 32-year-old nurse in Mahshahr reached by the phone said she had tended to the wounded at the hospital and that most had sustained gunshot wounds to the head and chest.

She described chaotic scenes at the hospital, with families rushing to bring in the casualties, including a 21-year-old who was to be married but could not be saved. “‘Give me back my son!,’” the nurse quoted his sobbing mother as saying. “‘It’s his wedding in two weeks!’”

The nurse said security forces stationed at the hospital arrested some of the wounded protesters after their conditions had stabilized. She said some relatives, fearing arrest themselves, dropped wounded loved ones at the hospital and fled, covering their faces.

On Nov. 25, a week after it happened, the city’s representative in Parliament, Mohamad Golmordai, vented outrage in a blunt moment of searing antigovernment criticism that was broadcast on Iranian state television and captured in photos and videos uploaded to the internet.

“What have you done that the undignified Shah did not do?” Mr. Golmordai screamed from the Parliament floor, as a scuffle broke out between him and other lawmakers, including one who grabbed him by the throat.

The local reporter in Mahshahr said the total number of people killed in three days of unrest in the area had reached 130, including those killed in the marsh.

In other cities such as Shiraz and Shahriar, dozens were reported killed in the unrest by security forces who fired on unarmed protesters, according to rights groups and videos posted by witnesses.

“This regime has pushed people toward violence,” said Yousef Alsarkhi, 29, a political activist from Khuzestan who migrated to the Netherlands four years ago. “The more they repress, the more aggressive and angry people get.”

Political analysts said the protests appeared to have delivered a severe blow to President Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate in Iran’s political spectrum, all but guaranteeing that hard-liners would win upcoming parliamentary elections and the presidency in two years.

The tough response to the protests also appeared to signal a hardening rift between Iran’s leaders and sizable segments of the population of 83 million.

“The government’s response was uncompromising, brutal and rapid,” said Henry Rome, an Iran analyst at the Eurasia Group, a political risk consultancy in Washington. Still, he said, the protests also had “demonstrated that many Iranians are not afraid to take to the streets.”

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