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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 106)

Impeachment Fight May Help a New NAFTA Deal

Westlake Legal Group merlin_149149407_0a6f61d5-8746-484c-9b23-07cd02828074-facebookJumbo Impeachment Fight May Help a New NAFTA Deal United States Politics and Government United States Chamber of Commerce Trump, Donald J Pelosi, Nancy North American Free Trade Agreement Mexico Lighthizer, Robert E Labor and Jobs International Trade and World Market impeachment House Committee on Ways and Means Canada

WASHINGTON — The escalating impeachment drama between Congress and the White House that has all but doomed hopes of most legislative progress this fall has instead enhanced the prospects for approval, within weeks, of one major initiative: a sweeping new trade agreement among the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Top lawmakers in both parties and others closely following the talks said that substantial progress had been made in resolving the sticking points, and that a decisive House vote on the accord to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement could occur before Congress departed for Thanksgiving.

The deal may be a rare bright spot in an otherwise dysfunctional dynamic that has taken hold in the capital, and it owes its progress to a coincidence of timing, productive negotiations that have unfolded behind closed doors for months and political necessity for two parties that each has distinct reasons to hope it succeeds.

“We are on a path to yes,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters last week in one of the strongest signals yet that she would put the full weight of her leadership behind passage of the agreement, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

Both parties have strong political incentives to approve the trade deal despite deep Democratic skepticism over such pacts after American jobs flowed into Mexico after the ratification of NAFTA in 1993.

For President Trump and Republicans, the agreement is a major priority that could bolster American businesses and help struggling farmers, while showing voters that they have been good stewards of the economy. For Democrats, the accord is a way to give lawmakers from swing districts a broadly popular achievement to show constituents, and a way to counter criticism that they have accomplished little during their time in Washington, which has more often consisted of passing legislation that dies in the Republican-controlled Senate.

That has become even more important now that House Democrats are engaged in an impeachment inquiry that could lead to the president’s ouster. Democrats who represent Republican-leaning districts are facing a potential backlash from Republican and independent voters angry over the Democrats’ emphasis on impeachment, and they are looking for ways to show that they can still produce policies that benefit Americans.

“We are going to demonstrate that simultaneously you can govern,” said Representative Richard E. Neal, the Massachusetts Democrat who leads the Ways and Means Committee. Mr. Neal is leading a delegation to Mexico for a meeting on Tuesday with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to seek final assurances over aspects of the trade agreement.

Top Democrats also see the agreement as a vehicle to achieve some major progressive goals that would otherwise be impossible to extract from a Republican administration. Republicans are considering potential sweeteners for Democrats, including a plan to shore up pensions that has been sought by Mr. Neal and labor unions.

House Democrats and Robert Lighthizer, the United States trade representative, have been exchanging proposals and counterproposals for weeks, trying to satisfy demands for labor and environmental guarantees. Both sides say the confidential talks have produced results that are leading to increasing confidence that Ms. Pelosi will put the measure on the floor relatively soon.

“It has been a patient give-and-go, and I think we have moved the ball toward the goal,” Mr. Neal said.

Even Democrats skeptical of a trade deal based on their previous experience said the talks with Mr. Lighthizer, who has built credibility with the lawmakers, had been substantive and helpful.

“We have been having conversations for I think over a year, and the Democrats made very serious, thoughtful proposals around issues that we have been consistent on over the years,” said Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, a member of a working group appointed by the speaker to work out Democratic concerns over the agreement.

But Ms. DeLauro, who opposed NAFTA and was an early critic of the failed Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, was not quite ready to sign off.

“We are making headway,” she said. “Our view is that when it is right, we will go. We are not there yet.”

There are substantial issues that could still hold up a final agreement. It is not clear, for instance, how negotiators plan to address Democrats’ objections to a provision that would extend protections to pharmaceutical companies for new products. Democrats argue that such measures could hamper future efforts to enact legislation to lower the cost of prescription drugs.

Democrats say that their main fear is that Mexico will not enforce the provisions of the trade deal in areas such as minimum wage requirements and environmental standards, and that the United States will not be allowed to make inspections to determine whether the agreement is being followed. They were alarmed by news reports of labor department budget cuts in Mexico, a fear the Mexican government has raced to alleviate.

Republicans lobbying for the agreement argue that supporting it should be an easy choice for Democrats who have long criticized NAFTA, since the new version amounts to an update with several far more progressive elements than the existing agreement, such as new minimum pay levels.

Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio and a chief trade negotiator for President George W. Bush, is a leading proponent of the agreement and has been trying to sell Democrats on its merits.

“If you vote no on this, that means you are saying, ‘Let’s go with NAFTA,’ and politically for most Democrats, NAFTA is a four-letter word,” Mr. Portman said in an interview. “I just think logic prevails in the end.”

More than that, some Democrats believe the trade agreement is their best prospect for achieving some bipartisan success in such a highly polarized environment.

“People understand and appreciate that we’re trying to get to yes, and we’re trying to get it right,” Representative Lizzie Fletcher said.

Ms. Fletcher, who represents the Houston area, noted in an interview the number of trade relationships between her district and both countries in the new trade agreement, and said sealing the deal would show that the gridlocked Congress could achieve some consensus.

“People really want to know about how we’re working together and where there’s bipartisan agreement,” she added. “They want to know that we’re trying to solve real problems.”

Representative Abigail Spanberger, Democrat of Virginia, said the trade deal was a rare consequential measure that could pass the House without falling victim to Republican resistance in the other chamber or in the White House.

“The notable thing about U.S.M.C.A. is that it’s also a priority for the Senate and for the president,” Ms. Spanberger said of the new trade deal. “That hasn’t been the case for some of our most impactful legislation.”

To move the agreement forward, Democrats will need to conclude that it is beneficial enough to them that they are willing to share credit with Mr. Trump over an accomplishment that he will undoubtedly herald in his re-election campaign. Ms. Pelosi, who voted for NAFTA in the House, has told colleagues that she wants to get the new trade agreement approved, and has made clear that she hopes Democrats can separate the impeachment fight and the trade deal.

“They have nothing to do with each other,” Ms. Pelosi said. She added that if the president did not work with Democrats because they questioned his conduct, “then the ball is in his court.”

Despite the priority the Trump administration and congressional Republicans have put on the trade agreement, some concern has arisen in recent days that Mr. Trump, furious over the impeachment showdown, would pull back on the agreement and try to blame Democrats for its collapse, saying they could not get it done because of a single-minded focus on impeachment.

“The Do Nothing Democrats don’t have time to get it done!” Mr. Trump tweeted Thursday about the trade deal.

Ultimately, backers of the agreement believe, the White House will embrace congressional approval of the long-sought agreement as a major victory for the president.

“We are pretty bullish,” said Neil Bradley, executive vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “The speaker is saying all the right things, and they are actually making progress in the negotiations.”

“At the end of the day,” he said, “you want to show that impeachment is not the only thing you are focused on.”

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

The 2020 Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000 is ready for the rocks

Kawasaki is going head-to-head with the sportiest side-by-sides.

Westlake Legal Group k3 The 2020 Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000 is ready for the rocks Gary Gastelu fox-news/auto/style/motorcycles fox news fnc/auto fnc article 59d097d5-62a2-5b16-924f-84a0e18388df

(Kawasaki)

The 2020 Teryx KRX 1000 is the brand’s highest performance model yet. The $20,495 two-seater is powered by a 999 cc parallel-twin engine with 76.7 lb-ft of torque that’s matched to a CVT automatic equipped with a temperature gauge to help keep drivers from overheating the belt, which is a common occurrence with this type of transmission.

Westlake Legal Group k5 The 2020 Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000 is ready for the rocks Gary Gastelu fox-news/auto/style/motorcycles fox news fnc/auto fnc article 59d097d5-62a2-5b16-924f-84a0e18388df

(Kawasaki)

The KRX 1000 is built around a tubular steel frame with integrated rollover protection and can operate in two-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive, with selectable drive modes optimized for high-speed running and rock crawling.

Westlake Legal Group k2 The 2020 Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000 is ready for the rocks Gary Gastelu fox-news/auto/style/motorcycles fox news fnc/auto fnc article 59d097d5-62a2-5b16-924f-84a0e18388df

(Kawasaki)

It has 14 inches of ground clearance and rides on a suspension that features adjustable Fox 2.5 Podium LSC shocks and provides 19 inches of travel up front and 21 inches in the rear. Thirty-one-inch tires come standard on 15-inch bead-lock wheels and the rear cargo area can fit a 32-inch spare or up to 351 pounds of gear.

Westlake Legal Group k1 The 2020 Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000 is ready for the rocks Gary Gastelu fox-news/auto/style/motorcycles fox news fnc/auto fnc article 59d097d5-62a2-5b16-924f-84a0e18388df

(Kawasaki)

A large range of accessories are being offered, including an “I want it all” package that costs $8,888.95 and comes with a light bar, winch, fully enclosed cabin and protective rock sliders.

FOX NEWS AUTOS DRIVES THE 2019 HONDA TALON 

Westlake Legal Group iwia The 2020 Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000 is ready for the rocks Gary Gastelu fox-news/auto/style/motorcycles fox news fnc/auto fnc article 59d097d5-62a2-5b16-924f-84a0e18388df

(Kawasaki)

The order book for the KRX 1000 is open now and it will be hitting dealers soon, where it will compete with the likes of the Honda Talon 1000, Yamaha YXZ, Polaris RZR and Can-Am Maverick X3 lineups on the pricier side of this fast-growing segment.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

Westlake Legal Group k3 The 2020 Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000 is ready for the rocks Gary Gastelu fox-news/auto/style/motorcycles fox news fnc/auto fnc article 59d097d5-62a2-5b16-924f-84a0e18388df   Westlake Legal Group k3 The 2020 Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000 is ready for the rocks Gary Gastelu fox-news/auto/style/motorcycles fox news fnc/auto fnc article 59d097d5-62a2-5b16-924f-84a0e18388df

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Mitch McConnell rebukes Donald Trump’s plan to pull US troops out of northern Syria

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Mitch McConnell rebukes Donald Trump's plan to pull US troops out of northern Syria

Major Trump ally, Senator Lindsey Graham, is vowing to fight the White House’s decision to pull US troops from Syria. Buzz60

LOUISVILLE — Though he and President Donald Trump often agree, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday he is against the president’s move to pull U.S. troops out of northern Syria.

The White House announced the decision late Sunday night as Turkey prepares a military assault against Kurdish fighters who helped the U.S. battle the Islamic State.

Trump defended the decision on Twitter Monday, saying it was time to “get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home.” He added that “WE WILL FIGHT WHERE IT IS TO OUR BENEFIT, AND ONLY FIGHT TO WIN” and that “Turkey, Europe, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Russia and the Kurds will now have to figure the situation out.” 

However, McConnell rebuked the move in a statement issued Monday, saying “ISIS and al Qaeda remain dangerous forces in Syria.”

“A precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime,” McConnell said. “And it would increase the risk that ISIS and other terrorist groups regroup.”

Background: Graham says Trump’s Syria pullout abandons Kurds, helps ISIS

McConnell urged Trump to reverse the decision and to keep fighting ISIS.

Though McConnell opposes Trump’s decision, his Republican counterpart from Kentucky, Sen. Rand Paul, voiced support for the president.

“I stand with @realDonaldTrump today as he once again fulfills his promises to stop our endless wars and have a true America First foreign policy,” Paul tweeted Monday.

But the Senate majority leader was far from alone in his pushback against the Trump administration. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Trump’s decision “will be a stain on America’s honor for abandoning the Kurds,” and “we have sent the most dangerous signal possible – America is an unreliable ally.” 

Additionally, Nikki Haley, Trump’s former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, spoke out against the move, tweeting, “The Kurds were instrumental in our successful fight against ISIS in Syria. Leaving them to die is a big mistake.”

ICYMI: In ad, McConnell says impeachment will fail ‘with me as majority leader’

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other administration officials had promised the U.S. would ensure that “the Turks don’t slaughter the Kurds.” The Kurdish fighters in Syria are known as the Syrian Democratic Forces. 

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan considers the Kurdish forces in Syria to be terrorists allied with Kurdish insurgents within his country and has long threatened a military incursion into the area. 

Foreign policy experts, as well as Republican and Democratic lawmakers, have warned that allowing Turkey into the region could lead to a massacre of the Kurds and would be seen as an American betrayal of  a vital military ally. 

Contributing: William Cummings, David Jackson and Deirdre Shesgreen.

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/10/07/mitch-mcconnell-rebukes-trumps-plan-pull-troops-out-syria/3901760002/

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Trump Declares ‘Time for Us to Get Out’ of Syria as Republicans Object

Westlake Legal Group 07dc-prexy-01-facebookJumbo Trump Declares ‘Time for Us to Get Out’ of Syria as Republicans Object United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Syrian Democratic Forces State Department Kurds Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Graham, Lindsey Erdogan, Recep Tayyip Defense Department

WASHINGTON — President Trump vowed on Monday to pull back from military involvement in the Middle East and leave it to others “to figure the situation out,” even as some of his Republican allies condemned him for abandoning allies and emboldening regional enemies.

In a series of Twitter messages, the president defended his decision to clear the way for a Turkish military operation that could sweep away America’s Kurdish allies near the Syrian border, arguing that the internecine conflict among forces in the region was not a top priority for a war-weary United States.

“I held off this fight for almost 3 years, but it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home,” Mr. Trump wrote. “WE WILL FIGHT WHERE IT IS TO OUR BENEFIT, AND ONLY FIGHT TO WIN. Turkey, Europe, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Russia and the Kurds will now have to figure the situation out.”

But after a flood of criticism from congressional Republicans, Mr. Trump pivoted hours later, saying that he would prevent Turkey from going too far, without explaining what he meant or where that line would be drawn.

“As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!),” he wrote.

Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader and one of Mr. Trump’s staunchest advocates in the Senate, joined the Republican chorus on Monday afternoon. “I urge the President to exercise American leadership” and maintain the American deployment in Syria. He also reminded Mr. Trump of a Senate vote in January that Congress rebuked him over a planned withdrawal.

“A precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime,” he said. “And it would increase the risk that ISIS and other terrorist groups regroup.”

A Defense Department official said that the president’s tweet removed any ambiguity about whether Mr. Trump had endorsed a Turkish attack on the Kurds. “The Department of Defense made clear to Turkey — as did the president — that we do not endorse a Turkish operation in Northern Syria,” said Jonathan Hoffman, the Pentagon spokesman, in a statement. “The U.S. armed forces will not support, or be involved in any operation.”

The president’s abrupt decision on Sunday to defer to Turkey’s desire to intervene in Syria overrode the objections of the Pentagon and State Department, which sought to maintain a small American troop presence in northeastern Syria, and caught even some of Mr. Trump’s top supporters off guard. Republican hawks in Congress joined with Democrats in castigating the president and promising to try to sanction Turkey if it followed through with its plans.

[A look at who is affected by Trump’s shift in Syria.]

“If I didn’t see Donald Trump’s name on the tweet, I would have thought it was Obama’s rationale for getting out of Iraq,” Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and usually one of the president’s most vocal backers, said on Fox News.

As with President Barack Obama’s decision to pull out American troops from Iraq in 2011, Mr. Graham said, Mr. Trump’s withdrawal would create a vacuum for remnants of the Islamic State, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and others to surge forward again.

“This is a big win for Iran and Assad, a big win for ISIS,” Mr. Graham said, using another term for the Islamic State. “I will do everything I can to sanction Turkey if they step one foot in northeastern Syria. That will sever my relationship with Turkey. I think most of the Congress feels that way.”

Mr. Graham said he would also introduce a nonbinding resolution asking Mr. Trump to reconsider his move, which he called “shortsighted and irresponsible.” The president’s assertion that the Islamic State has been defeated is “the biggest lie being told by this administration,” Mr. Graham added.

The announcement set off a swift and bipartisan backlash from other lawmakers as well.

Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, a member of the House Republican leadership, called withdrawing United States forces from northern Syria “a catastrophic mistake.” Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, said it would be “a grave mistake that will have implications far beyond Syria.”

Nikki Haley, Mr. Trump’s former ambassador to the United Nations, joined the chorus. “We must always have the backs of our allies, if we expect them to have our back,” she wrote on Twitter. “The Kurds were instrumental in our successful fight against ISIS in Syria. Leaving them to die is a big mistake. #TurkeyIsNotOurFriend.”

Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, shared a tweet from Mr. Graham and added his own thoughts. “The President’s decision to abandon our Kurd allies in the face of an assault by Turkey is a betrayal,” he wrote. “It says that America is an unreliable ally; it facilitates ISIS resurgence; and it presages another humanitarian disaster.”

Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky and one of the president’s staunchest defenders, emerged as the lone congressional backer of the move. The president “once again fulfills his promises to stop our endless wars and have a true America First foreign policy,” Mr. Paul wrote on Twitter.

Some conservatives also came to the president’s defense. “Some will cast any deal w/ Turkey as @realDonaldTrump getting close w/ a dictator,” Hugh Hewitt, the talk show host, wrote. “It’s not. It’s dealing with the realities that we can’t stay forever.”

Mr. Trump came to office promising to get out of overseas wars, contending that the country’s military involvement in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has been largely a waste of lives and money with little to show for it.

A similarly sudden decision last winter to pull American troops out of Syria prompted Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to resign, and Brett McGurk, the special presidential envoy to the coalition fighting the Islamic State, accelerated his own planned departure in protest.

The Senate, led by Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, relayed their displeasure in January when it voted overwhelmingly to rebuke Mr. Trump over his planned withdrawal of military forces from Syria and Afghanistan.

Mr. Trump later walked back his decision in Syria to some extent, but has been frustrated not to be doing more to extricate the United States from entanglements in the region. His supporters said the latest move should therefore not be a surprise and the Kurds had fair warning.

The decision came after a telephone call with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey. American officials indicated that the 100 to 150 United States military personnel deployed to northeastern Syria would be pulled back in advance of any Turkish operation but that they would not be completely withdrawn from Syria.

The Kurdish forces in the area, part of the Syrian Democratic Forces, or S.D.F., have been the most reliable American ally in the region for years, a critical element in recapturing territory once controlled by the Islamic State. But Turkey has long considered the Kurdish fighters to be terrorists and has lobbied the United States to abandon support for them.

“The United States was supposed to be in Syria for 30 days, that was many years ago,” Mr. Trump wrote on Monday. “We stayed and got deeper and deeper into battle with no aim in sight.” Now, he said, it is time to leave.

He offered little sympathy for the fate of America’s Kurdish allies: “The Kurds fought with us,” he wrote, “but were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so.”

Mr. Trump has been particularly irritated that the United States continues to pay to detain thousands of Islamic State fighters. For months, he has tried to pressure European states and others to take those fighters who originated from there, only to run into strong resistance.

“Europe did not want them back, they said you keep them USA!” Mr. Trump wrote. “I said ‘NO, we did you a great favor and now you want us to hold them in U.S. prisons at tremendous cost. They are yours for trials.’ They again said ‘NO,’ thinking, as usual, that the U.S. is always the ‘sucker,’ on NATO, on Trade, on everything.”

But if Turkey moves against the Kurds, the S.D.F. could abandon camps to fight the Turks, potentially allowing some 10,000 captured Islamic State fighters, including 2,000 foreigners, to escape. United States military officers were trying to reassure the S.D.F. in hopes of avoiding such a scenario.

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Helena Bonham Carter: Princess Margaret’s Ghost Gave Me Advice For ’The Crown’

Princess Margaret is still pretty spirited — at least according to Helena Bonham Carter.

The actor, who plays the royal who died in 2002 in Season 3 of Netflix’s “The Crown,” told the audience at the Cheltenham Literary Festival that she did some pretty thorough research into the life of Queen Elizabeth II’s younger sister. This included talking to friends, ladies-in-waiting and relatives. But, according to The Guardian, she didn’t stop there.

Westlake Legal Group 5d9b87632100005903330647 Helena Bonham Carter: Princess Margaret’s Ghost Gave Me Advice For ’The Crown’

Netflix Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret in Netflix’s “The Crown.”

In order for Bonham Carter to be as accurate as possible, she also consulted a graphologist, an astrologer (Margaret was a Leo, in case you were wondering) and a psychic.

The latter allowed Bonham Carter to talk to Princess Margaret herself, and it sounds like the two had a very interesting exchange.

Princess Margaret, for instance, seemed mostly satisfied that Bonham Carter would be portraying her.

“She said, apparently, she was glad it was me,” Bonham Carter said. “My main thing when you play someone who is real, you kind of want their blessing because you have a responsibility.”

But the late Margaret’s approval wasn’t completely wholehearted.

Westlake Legal Group 5d9b88d3200000f2004ec240 Helena Bonham Carter: Princess Margaret’s Ghost Gave Me Advice For ’The Crown’

DALMAS via Getty Images Princess Margaret and her husband, the Earl of Snowdon, in the Bahamas in 1967.

“So I asked her, ‘Are you OK with me playing you?,’ and she said: ‘You’re better than the other actress’ … that they were thinking of. They will not admit who it was. It was me and somebody else.”

It sounds like Margaret was referring to the other actor who was considered to play an older version of herself (rather than Vanessa Kirby, who played a younger Princess Margaret in the first two seasons of “The Crown”), whose identity she presumably gleaned from her perch in the afterlife. The late princess’s slight also felt authentic to Bonham Carter.

“That made me think maybe she is here,” Bonham Carter said. “Because that is a classic Margaret thing to say. She was really good at complimenting you and putting you down at the same time.”

Through the psychic, Princess Margaret also offered Bonham some advice — and another jab — as well.

“Then she said: ‘But you’re going to have to brush up and be more groomed and neater.’ Then she said: ‘Get the smoking right. I smoked in a very particular way. Remember that — this is a big note — the cigarette holder was as much a weapon for expression as it was for smoking.’”

Westlake Legal Group 5d9b86772100009004ab9463 Helena Bonham Carter: Princess Margaret’s Ghost Gave Me Advice For ’The Crown’

Anwar Hussein via Getty Images Princess Margaret smokes a cigarette at the Windsor Horse Show in April 1978.

Speaking to Princess Margaret beyond the grave was not the only connection Bonham Carter has to the famous royal.

She also said at the festival that her uncle, Mark Bonham-Carter, once dated Princess Margaret, The Sun reported.

“Uncle Mark escaped as a prisoner in Italy in the Second World War,” she said. “They didn’t send him away again, they put him at Windsor and he guarded Princess Margaret an­d Elizabeth. I have photos of [Mark and Margaret] together. They looked dashing and remained good friends.”

Bonham Carter then jokingly remarked on her role, “It’s weird, I basically went out with my uncle.”

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

Helena Bonham Carter Says Princess Margaret’s Ghost Gave Her Advice For ‘The Crown’

Princess Margaret is still pretty spirited — at least according to Helena Bonham Carter.

The actor, who plays the royal who died in 2002 in Season 3 of Netflix’s “The Crown,” told the audience at the Cheltenham Literary Festival that she did some pretty thorough research into the life of Queen Elizabeth II’s younger sister. This included talking to friends, ladies-in-waiting and relatives. But, according to The Guardian, she didn’t stop there.

Westlake Legal Group 5d9b87632100005903330647 Helena Bonham Carter Says Princess Margaret’s Ghost Gave Her Advice For ‘The Crown’

Netflix Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret in Netflix’s “The Crown.”

In order for Bonham Carter to be as accurate as possible, she also consulted a graphologist, an astrologer (Margaret was a Leo, in case you were wondering) and a psychic.

The latter allowed Bonham Carter to talk to Princess Margaret herself, and it sounds like the two had a very interesting exchange.

Princess Margaret, for instance, seemed mostly satisfied that Bonham Carter would be portraying her.

“She said, apparently, she was glad it was me,” Bonham Carter said. “My main thing when you play someone who is real, you kind of want their blessing because you have a responsibility.”

But the late Margaret’s approval wasn’t completely wholehearted.

Westlake Legal Group 5d9b88d3200000f2004ec240 Helena Bonham Carter Says Princess Margaret’s Ghost Gave Her Advice For ‘The Crown’

DALMAS via Getty Images Princess Margaret and her husband, the Earl of Snowdon, in the Bahamas in 1967.

“So I asked her, ‘Are you OK with me playing you?,’ and she said: ‘You’re better than the other actress’ … that they were thinking of. They will not admit who it was. It was me and somebody else.”

It sounds like Margaret was referring to the other actor who was considered to play an older version of herself (rather than Vanessa Kirby, who played a younger Princess Margaret in the first two seasons of “The Crown”), whose identity she presumably gleaned from her perch in the afterlife. The late princess’s slight also felt authentic to Bonham Carter.

“That made me think maybe she is here,” Bonham Carter said. “Because that is a classic Margaret thing to say. She was really good at complimenting you and putting you down at the same time.”

Through the psychic, Princess Margaret also offered Bonham some advice — and another jab — as well.

“Then she said: ‘But you’re going to have to brush up and be more groomed and neater.’ Then she said: ‘Get the smoking right. I smoked in a very particular way. Remember that — this is a big note — the cigarette holder was as much a weapon for expression as it was for smoking.’”

Westlake Legal Group 5d9b86772100009004ab9463 Helena Bonham Carter Says Princess Margaret’s Ghost Gave Her Advice For ‘The Crown’

Anwar Hussein via Getty Images Princess Margaret smokes a cigarette at the Windsor Horse Show in April 1978.

Speaking to Princess Margaret beyond the grave was not the only connection Bonham Carter has to the famous royal.

She also said at the festival that her uncle, Mark Bonham-Carter, once dated Princess Margaret, The Sun reported.

“Uncle Mark escaped as a prisoner in Italy in the Second World War,” she said. “They didn’t send him away again, they put him at Windsor and he guarded Princess Margaret an­d Elizabeth. I have photos of [Mark and Margaret] together. They looked dashing and remained good friends.”

Bonham Carter then jokingly remarked on her role, “It’s weird, I basically went out with my uncle.”

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

New Jersey man sentenced to 8 years after pigeon dispute triggers deadly stabbing of Catholic teacher

Westlake Legal Group pigeonreuters-1 New Jersey man sentenced to 8 years after pigeon dispute triggers deadly stabbing of Catholic teacher Stephen Sorace fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-jersey fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox news fnc/us fnc article 89cef71f-fb88-549b-98f4-91b2e88a34d6

A New Jersey man has been sentenced to eight years in prison for stabbing to death a retired Catholic school teacher during a dispute over feeding pigeons at a local park.

Charles Lowy, 69, stabbed 77-year-old Anthony Bello in April 2018, NJ.com reported. Lowy was convicted of reckless manslaughter this past July.

CALIFORNIA, NEW JERSEY WELL REPRESENTED ON LIST OF ‘MISERABLE’ US CITIES

Lowy’s defense attorney reportedly said it was the 69-year-old’s routine of feeding the birds by scattering food in a circle around him that set off the argument between the two men in Pershing Field Park in Jersey City.

Lowy had left the scene by the time police found Bello, who had been walking through the park on his way to church, bleeding and unresponsive, the paper reported. The retired school teacher had a stab wound in his chest. He later died at a hospital.

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The defense argued that Bello was the aggressor and Lowy had stabbed him in self-defense, the paper reported.

Under the state’s No Early Release Act, Lowy won’t be eligible for parole until he’s served 85 percent of his sentence, according to the paper. He would have faced life in prison if convicted of murder.

Westlake Legal Group pigeonreuters-1 New Jersey man sentenced to 8 years after pigeon dispute triggers deadly stabbing of Catholic teacher Stephen Sorace fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-jersey fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox news fnc/us fnc article 89cef71f-fb88-549b-98f4-91b2e88a34d6   Westlake Legal Group pigeonreuters-1 New Jersey man sentenced to 8 years after pigeon dispute triggers deadly stabbing of Catholic teacher Stephen Sorace fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-jersey fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox news fnc/us fnc article 89cef71f-fb88-549b-98f4-91b2e88a34d6

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Alabama mom charged with murder in death of infant left in car: police

An Alabama mom has been charged with murder in connection with the death of her infant son after he was left in a car overnight, police said.

Elizabeth Case, 36, was arrested in Athens, Ala. Saturday and was held without bond. It wasn’t immediately clear if she had a lawyer.

Westlake Legal Group ALABAMA Alabama mom charged with murder in death of infant left in car: police fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/alabama fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc ece74a8f-121a-56ac-9dc5-ef4b6fe425ba Bradford Betz article

Police say Elizabeth Case “is a known drug user” and was out on bond in connection to first-degree robbery. (Limestone County Jail)

Limestone County sheriff’s deputies said Case left home with the 13-month-old boy Friday evening to go “dumpster diving.” They said she left the child in the car when she returned home around 5:40 a.m. Saturday.

She awoke around 1:30 p.m. Saturday when her mother arrived, and they found the boy still in the car. Deputies said Case put the child in the shower and her mother called 911.

CALIFORNIA MOTHER CHARGED WITH MURDER AFTER TODDLER LEFT IN CAR FOR HOURS WITH HEATER ON

The boy was taken to Athens-Limestone Hospital where he was pronounced dead, officer Stephen Young told the News Courier.

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Young told the paper that Case “is a known drug user” and was out on bond in connection to first-degree robbery.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group ALABAMA Alabama mom charged with murder in death of infant left in car: police fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/alabama fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc ece74a8f-121a-56ac-9dc5-ef4b6fe425ba Bradford Betz article   Westlake Legal Group ALABAMA Alabama mom charged with murder in death of infant left in car: police fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/alabama fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc ece74a8f-121a-56ac-9dc5-ef4b6fe425ba Bradford Betz article

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Trump impeachment investigation: Here is what will happen this week

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Impeaching a U.S. president might not be the be-all-end-all for their career. We explain why this is the case. Just the FAQs, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – This week will be packed with activity in the House impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump, as committees subpoena more documents about the administration’s dealings with Ukraine, and lawmakers depose State Department officials as Trump responds with two political rallies.

The fast-paced developments can be a confusing jumble of foreign names and officials who don’t typically show up in news stories. But the key elements continue to focus on Trump urging Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky in a call July 25 to investigate his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, while crucial military aid to that country was frozen. Trump insists he was justified to fight corruption in Ukraine.

Three House panels – Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, and Oversight and Reform – subpoenaed the White House and State Department for documents about dealings with Ukraine. The panels are also interviewing State Department officials and intermediaries who helped Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, encourage the investigation of Biden.

But Trump has called the investigation a witch hunt and vowed to fight all subpoenas. The president called Sunday for the impeachment of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., for treason, for investigating him.

More: A visual timeline of the text messages in the Trump-Ukraine affair

Here is a roundup of the key players and events this week, although timing for some is still in flux:

MONDAY

A federal judge in New York dismissed Trump’s lawsuit to block Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance from gaining access to eight years of tax returns. Trump immediately filed notice he would appeal the decision. Four House committees are also pursuing Trump’s tax returns for evidence of possible corruption in three different federal lawsuits.

Three committees – Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Oversight – subpoenaed the Pentagon and White House Office of Management and Budget for documents about the administration’s temporary freeze on military aid for Ukraine. The administration froze $400 million in aid in July and released the funding in September. Lawmakers said they are exploring reasons for the cutoff. The deadline for the documents is Oct. 15.

The three panels earlier subpoenaed Ukraine documents from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Giuliani. But the department missed a Friday deadline that the panel set for documents. Pompeo has accused lawmakers of bullying department staffers.

TUESDAY

Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, is scheduled to give a deposition to the three committees. The whistleblower said Sondland, along with Kurt Volker, the special representative to Ukraine, who gave a deposition Thursday, had met with Giuliani to try to “contain the damage” his efforts on Biden were having on U.S. national security.

The whistleblower said Volker and Sondland also met with Ukrainian officials to help them navigate the “differing messages” they were getting through official U.S. government channels and Giuliani’s private outreach. Texts that the committees released showed Bill Taylor, the top diplomat in Ukraine, asking: “Are we now saying that security assistance and WH meeting are conditioned on investigations?” Sondland texted back: “Call me.”

U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell scheduled arguments for the House Judiciary Committee’s subpoena for grand-jury evidence behind special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. The committee seeks the evidence for Trump’s possible obstruction of Mueller’s 22-month investigation. But the Justice Department opposed the request and said it could jeopardize ongoing cases. House Republicans contend the committee doesn’t qualify for grand-jury evidence unless the full House votes to authorize an impeachment investigation, but Pelosi has said no vote is necessary.

THURSDAY

The three panels also scheduled a deposition with Lev Parnas, a Ukrainian-born businessman who helped introduce Giuliani to the Ukrainian prosecutor sought to provide dirt on Biden.

Trump scheduled a political rally in Minneapolis. The rally has already sparked controversy because the police department prohibited officers from wearing their uniforms at political events or in ads. The police union struck back by creating “Cops for Trump” T-shirts.

FRIDAY

The three committees scheduled a deposition with Marie Yovanovitch, a career diplomat and the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. She was pulled from her post in May after working years under both Republican and Democratic administrations. Trump called Yovanovitch “bad news” in his July phone call with the Ukrainian president, which followed reports in conservative media that Yovanovitch was disloyal to Trump.

The three committees scheduled a deposition with Igor Fruman, a Ukrainian-born business partner of Parnas, who helped introduce Giuliani to the Ukrainian prosecutor.

Trump will rally supporters in Lake Charles, La. This would be the third event in a week in the state where members of the Trump administration have rallied voters, including Friday with Vice President Mike Pence in Kenner and Monday with the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., in Lafayette.

More about the impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump:

Nancy Pelosi has put the Trump impeachment inquiry on a fast track. Here’s the plan, timeline and key players

What’s going on with Trump and Ukraine? And how does it involve Biden and a whistleblower complaint?

Read the full declassified text of the Trump whistleblower complaint

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4 reasons the corporate pension is on its deathbed

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Buzz60’s Elizabeth Keatinge tells us what plans some millennials have for retirement. Buzz60

General Electric’s move to significantly lower its pension liabilities is simply the latest in a sweeping corporate pivot away from guaranteed retirement benefits.

GE on Monday announced that it would offer lump-sum pension buyouts to about 100,000 former U.S. employees who have not yet begun receiving their pensions. 

The company, which has been facing pressure to bolster its finances, also announced plans to freeze pension benefits for about 20,700 salaried pensioners at current levels.

Taken together, the moves illustrate how corporate America has largely ditched pensions, which are swiftly becoming a thing of the past for active employees who don’t work for the government.

“In the bigger picture, GE is just going the way that most of the private sector in the United States has gone,” said Alicia Munnell, director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. “It’s really over in the private sector. The question is just when does the last plan close down?”

GE freezes pensions: General Electric offers pension buyouts to reduce debt

Why put off retiring?: 5 reasons to retire as early as you can

The number of pension plans offering defined benefits – which means the payouts are guaranteed – plummeted by about 73% from 1986 to 2016, according to the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration.

Here are four key reasons why:

1. Pensions are seen as expensive, risky

Defined-benefit pension plans are viewed as expensive and risky to maintain: Corporations are making promises to pay out benefits for decades but may not be able to guarantee their own financial success for the same period of time. If they fall on hard times, pension promises can become burdensome.

As a result, they have largely shifted investment risk to individual workers. Instead of managing investments on behalf of employees in the form of corporate pension funds, companies have formed defined-contribution plans like 401(k)s, which typically require tax-free withdrawals from people’s paychecks.

If the worker’s money is invested successfully, the payoff can be lucrative. But if the investments sour or the market tanks, workers, not the company, are on the hook for finding additional income.

“A pension is a promise to pay monthly benefits for as long as the employee lives after retirement,” Munnell said. “For employers, a system where they bear all the costs and all the risks is not appealing.”

2. Union power has diminished

As private-sector unions have withered, so have private-sector pensions. Unions have historically championed defined-benefit pensions for their members. For example, the United Auto Workers union is currently bargaining for improved pension benefits as it continues a strike against General Motors.

But the percentage of American private-sector workers in a union was only 6.4% in 2018, compared with 33.9% in the public sector, according to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The nation’s overall unionized rate of 10.5%, which includes public workers, is down from its all-time high of 20.1% in 1983, the first year comparable BLS figures are available.

3. 401(k)s have been normalized

A series of tax law changes in recent decades has enabled the rise of defined-contribution plans like 401(k)s.

Until the 1980s, this was not a normal employee benefit. Today it is. More than 100 million people have 401(k)-style benefits, according to the Department of Labor.

Critics say it’s not enough. The Economic Policy Institute says 401(k)s are a “poor substitute” for defined-benefit pensions, in part because many people simply aren’t saving enough and small businesses are less likely than large companies to offer them.

But advocates say the defined-contribution approach gives workers more control over their money and they point out that defined-benefit pensions are vulnerable to corporate bankruptcy, mismanagement, and corruption.

Also, in the modern economy, many workers prize the ability to move from company to company, instead of accruing benefits at a single employer. That emphasis on mobility tends to favor 401(k)-style plans.

“It’s really only the older companies that have residual defined-benefit plans,” Munnell said.

4. Public companies are under pressure to reduce pension debt

As public companies face pressure to deliver positive quarterly earnings, one area they often seek to improve is their general liabilities. That can involve slashing debt to earn a better credit rating, which typically makes it cheaper to borrow or win over investors.

When GE announced its pension moves Monday, analysts welcomed the plan. 

“This move shows that GE is looking to pull any and all levers to restore its financial health,” CFRA Research stock analyst Jim Corridore said in a research note. 

The major ratings agencies often praise companies for reducing their pension liabilities. And despite the pivot away from defined-benefit plans, corporations still owe a lot.

The top 100 private plans alone owe their workers $1.66 trillion, according to actuarial firm Milliman. In other words, while most active employees won’t be getting a pension, the legacy of America’s pension system will live on for decades.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.

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