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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 179)

Video appears to contradict Warren’s suggestion that school fired her over pregnancy

Westlake Legal Group Elizabeth-Warren-AP Video appears to contradict Warren's suggestion that school fired her over pregnancy Sam Dorman fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox news fnc/media fnc f69b6486-68cb-537c-9158-49730ee59501 article

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., suggested this week that a school principal effectively fired her from a teaching job after she became “visibly pregnant,” but a resurfaced video indicates that wasn’t the actual reason she left the job.

“I was married at nineteen and then graduated from college [at the University of Houston] after I’d married,” Warren, then a Harvard Law School professor, said in an interview posted to YouTube in 2008.  “My first year post-graduation, I worked — it was in a public school system but I worked with the children with disabilities. I did that for a year, and then that summer I actually didn’t have the education courses, so I was on an ’emergency certificate,’ it was called.

“I went back to graduate school and took a couple of courses in education and said, ‘I don’t think this is going to work out for me,'” Warren continued. “I was pregnant with my first baby, so I had a baby and stayed home for a couple of years, and I was really casting about, thinking, ‘What am I going to do?'”

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TOP WARREN CAMPAIGN OFFICIAL FIRED FOR ‘INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR’

By contrast, Warren told an audience at a town hall in Carson City, Nev. Wednesday that she had “loved” working as a special needs teacher.

“By the end of the first year, I was visibly pregnant, and the principal did what principals did in those days,” she said. “Wish me luck and hire someone else for the job.”

CLICK HERE FOR THE ALL-NEW FOXBUSINESS.COM.

Warren has repeated the story at campaign appearances throughout the summer, each time repeating the “principal did what principals did” line to describe her departure from teaching.

The senator’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment to clarify the apparent discrepancy.

This isn’t the first time that Warren’s past has raised questions about her credibility. She has been widely criticized for identifying herself as a Native American in legal directories before applying to work at Harvard Law School. Last year, Warren released the results of a DNA test showing she is only between 1/64th and 1/1,024th Native American — and apologized for identifying as Native American on past forms.

Westlake Legal Group Elizabeth-Warren-AP Video appears to contradict Warren's suggestion that school fired her over pregnancy Sam Dorman fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox news fnc/media fnc f69b6486-68cb-537c-9158-49730ee59501 article   Westlake Legal Group Elizabeth-Warren-AP Video appears to contradict Warren's suggestion that school fired her over pregnancy Sam Dorman fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox news fnc/media fnc f69b6486-68cb-537c-9158-49730ee59501 article

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Iran frees Australian travel bloggers in possible prisoner swap

Westlake Legal Group Jolie-King-Mark-Firkin-Instagram Iran frees Australian travel bloggers in possible prisoner swap Melissa Leon fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/travel/regions/australia fox news fnc/world fnc article a7915b00-9ab7-50b3-9b40-d4e080809ddc

Iran has freed two Australian travel bloggers who were detained for three months after being arrested for flying a drone near a military zone without a license.

Tehran dropped its charges against Australian-British blogger Jolie King and her fiancé Mark Firkin, who both returned to Australia. They had been held in the notorious Evin Prison in Tehran since early July.

King and Firkin were released as part of a possible prisoner swap, according to The Associated Press.

At the same time as the couple’s release, Iranian state-run television reported that Reza Dehbashi, an Iranian scientist who was detained for 13 months in Australia over the purchase of a defense system for his country from the United States, had returned home.

Iranian TV said that the Australian judiciary had planned to send Dehbashi to the U.S. but that he was released through Tehran’s diplomatic efforts.

IRAN CONFIRMS HOLDING 3 AUSTRALIANS ON SPYING CHARGES

King and Firkin thanked the Australian government and released a statement, saying: “We are extremely happy and relieved to be safely back in Australia with those we love. While the past few months have been very difficult, we know it has also been tough for those back home who have been worried for us.”

The couple requested privacy as they try to “get back to [our] normal lives.”

“We know there are others who remain in detention in Iran, including a fellow Australian, and believe intense media coverage may not be helpful for efforts to bring them home,” the couple said.

Melbourne University Islamic studies lecturer Dr. Kylie Moore-Gilbert has been detained in Iran since October 2018 on accusations of spying for an unidentified third country.

Australia Foreign Minister Marise Payne said Saturday that Moore-Gilbert’s situation is “very complex” and the government is still trying to secure her return.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ALL-NEW FOXBUSINESS.COM 

“She has been detained for some considerable time, and has faced the Iranian legal system and has been convicted and sentenced,” Payne said. It was not immediately clear what sentence had been passed down against her.

Before their arrest, King and Firkin had been traveling around the globe, documenting their adventures in YouTube videos and on Instagram.

According to their joint Instagram account, The Way Overland, the two are currently “taking a break.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Jolie-King-Mark-Firkin-Instagram Iran frees Australian travel bloggers in possible prisoner swap Melissa Leon fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/travel/regions/australia fox news fnc/world fnc article a7915b00-9ab7-50b3-9b40-d4e080809ddc   Westlake Legal Group Jolie-King-Mark-Firkin-Instagram Iran frees Australian travel bloggers in possible prisoner swap Melissa Leon fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/travel/regions/australia fox news fnc/world fnc article a7915b00-9ab7-50b3-9b40-d4e080809ddc

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

Opinion: Simone Biles makes two crazy-difficult skills look so easy. They are not

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Opinion: Simone Biles makes two crazy-difficult skills look so easy. They are not
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STUTTGART, Germany — Simone Biles topped the all-around standings by more than two points, got two new skills named after her and made the finals in all four events.

Ho-hum.

“Overall, I don’t know. I still feel like I could do better,” Biles said Saturday night when asked to assess her first day of competition at the world gymnastics championships. “But my goal going into tonight was not to do great, it was just to do well. I feel like I accomplished that.”

If you’re a gymnastics fan, savor this time. Even if you’re not a gymnastics fan but appreciate incredible achievements in sports, know that you are witnessing greatness.

Biles is so singularly talented that it’s easy to lose perspective at just how special an athlete she is. Like Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods or Michael Phelps in their heydays, the extraordinary has become the norm with her.

But there is nothing normal about what she is doing.

For any other gymnast, Saturday night’s performance would have been the defining one of her career. Biles posted the highest scores on both balance beam and floor exercise, and trailed teammate Jade Carey on vault by a mere .001 points.

Even on uneven bars, which made her want to “vomit … it was so bad,” Biles had the seventh-highest score.

And then, of course there were the new skills. Her triple-twisting, double somersault on floor exercise is so difficult, no other woman even tries it. Same for her double-twisting, double somersault on balance beam.

But it’s more than just the difficulty. There are plenty of gymnasts who try hard skills and  look as if they’re inches away from death while doing them. Go watch some of the scary crashes on vault and you’ll see exactly what I mean.

Biles, though, doesn’t throw skills just to say she did them. If she’s going to compete at something, it’s going to be perfect. Or pretty darn close. 

Take the double-double on beam. Or, as it will be known forever now, the Biles.

To pull it off, Biles has to twist while flipping, and it takes an incredible amount of power and precision to do it. Oftentimes she takes several seconds to marshal the energy she’s going to need before doing the trick.

On Saturday, though, she hesitated only briefly before running down the beam – which is only 4-inches wide, mind you, and 4 feet off the floor. And Biles did the double-double with such ease, that people who didn’t know what they were seeing probably thought it was a pretty standard move.

Which it most certainly is not.

Biles was grinning when she landed, and she ran off the podium clapping.

“That’s how I train beam. It finally felt good to go out there and hit a beam routine like I train because I feel like every time I go up to compete beam, I just like bomb it,” she said. “So it felt really good to nail it.”

And though she wouldn’t say it, send a message to the International Gymnastics Federation.

OPINION: Simone Biles penalized for having skills other gymnasts can’t pull off

Every skill in gymnastics is assigned a letter, which corresponds to a numerical value. An “A” skill is worth a tenth of a point, and every letter in the alphabet that follows is an additional tenth. So a “D” skill is four-tenths of a point while the rare “J” skill is worth a full point.

The women’s technical committee decided this week that Biles’ double-double would be an “H” skill, while almost everyone else agrees it should be at least an “I.”

“They have a value too low,” national team coordinator Tom Forster said. “It needs to be up one more.”

The committee’s rationale was that it didn’t want to encourage gymnasts from trying skills they aren’t capable of. But the value of a skill is the value of a skill, and to punish Biles because of what other gymnasts “might” do is absurd. 

Biles said she considered not doing it – why go through all that effort to do something so hard when it’s not going to be properly recognized? – but ultimately decided to go ahead. Time and again she has said that she’s not doing gymnastics for medals or titles – she already has plenty of those – but to see how far she can push herself.

“I’m so happy she has more skills named after her now because that’s been a really big deal for her,” Forster said. “And she did a great job.”

She always does. 

Follow USA TODAY Sports columnist Nancy Armour on Twitter @nrarmour. 

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Panel from missing Los Angeles Public Library sculpture found after 50 years

Westlake Legal Group Well-of-the-Scribes-LAPL Panel from missing Los Angeles Public Library sculpture found after 50 years Robert Gearty fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox news fnc/us fnc article 0937dd11-daca-59de-9466-cafd1c722bfc

Fifty years after a three-panel bronze sculpture disappeared from the grounds of the Los Angeles Public Library in the city’s downtown one of the panels has been found.

The “Well of the Scribes” vanished in 1969 when gardens in front of the library were demolished to make way for a parking lot, according to reports.

“The gardens were fortunately restored in 1993, but the Well of the Scribes went missing,” said City Librarian John Szabo told KABC-TV Friday.

Author Susan Orlean referenced the sculpture in her 2018 bestseller “The Library Book.”

That inspired the managing editor at Alta magazine to commission an article about the missing sculpture which ran over the summer, The Los Angeles Times reported.

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS VENDOR FORCED TO REMOVE IMPEACHMENT-THEMED ‘PEACH MINT’ DESSERT ITEM FROM CAFETERIA

An antiques dealer in Arizona read the article and recognized the sculpture, according to the paper.

A bronze panel he bought for $500 years earlier was a piece of it, the paper reported. The dealer kept the panel in his apartment.

The dealer gave it back to the library, which unveiled it Friday.

LIBRARY BOOK RETURNED WITH FULL TACO SHOVED BETWEEN ITS PAGES

“Up until now, we thought [the sculpture] might have been destroyed or was in someone’s backyard,” Szabo said, according to the Times. “We just didn’t know if it would ever be found.”

The “Well of Scribes” went on display in the gardens when the Library opened in 1926. According to the paper, it pays homage to history’s great writers.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ALL-NEW FOXBUSINESS.COM 

Now the Library wants to solve the rest of the mystery and find out what happened to the other two missing panels.

“We’ve always been hopeful,”  Szabo told KABC, “but I think we’re especially hopeful now that part of it has been discovered, that we might find the other two pieces.”

Westlake Legal Group Well-of-the-Scribes-LAPL Panel from missing Los Angeles Public Library sculpture found after 50 years Robert Gearty fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox news fnc/us fnc article 0937dd11-daca-59de-9466-cafd1c722bfc   Westlake Legal Group Well-of-the-Scribes-LAPL Panel from missing Los Angeles Public Library sculpture found after 50 years Robert Gearty fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox news fnc/us fnc article 0937dd11-daca-59de-9466-cafd1c722bfc

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Rep. Tim Ryan: President Trump is trying to convince us public crimes are just him being transparent

Westlake Legal Group lpsp9u8pM4AHrCC_6jaDDzDdXM407OhD4tgspB5OTSo Rep. Tim Ryan: President Trump is trying to convince us public crimes are just him being transparent r/politics

To add:

You have the mix of religion and racism: the American Taliban and white nationalism, religious self righteousness, hatred and fear of LGBTQs, xenophobia, misogyny, a mantra for 40 years that you cannot trust government and need to drown it in a bathtub (meaning our democracy), thank you Ronald Reagan and billionaires, mostly masquerading as patriotism.

Throw in the destruction unions, demonization of the social and defunding of social programs, once again thank you Ronald Reagan for getting the ball rolling. Massive military spending dwarfing everything else, celebrating militarization. Federal officials’ ambivalence toward laws that limit foreign ownership of U.S. communications firms, that is Fox circa 1995.

Then a willingness to lie, cheat, and change or ignore democratic norms two centuries old.

Now Reagan did hate the Soviet Union, but if you think about religious self righteousness, xenophobia, hatred and fear of LGBTQs well that is Russia, and conservatives love Russia.

Edit: misogyny

Edit: k sera sera. If this is how it ends, don’t say should have not seen it coming decades ago.

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Scorsese Says Marvel Films Are More Like ‘Theme Parks’ Than Cinema

Westlake Legal Group 5d98fc6620000046024d41ed Scorsese Says Marvel Films Are More Like ‘Theme Parks’ Than Cinema

Listen up, Marvel. Martin Scorsese would like a word.

Though the superhero film franchise has throngs of devoted fans, as it turns out, the 76-year-old director ― whose iconic flicks include “Taxi Driver,” “Goodfellas” and “Raging Bull” ― isn’t one of them.

In fact, he won’t even deign to watch a Marvel movie in its entirety.

“I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema,” he said in a recent interview with Empire magazine.

“Honestly, the closest I can think of them, as well made as they are, with actors doing the best they can under the circumstances, is theme parks. It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.”

The remarks drew the ire of James Gunn, writer and director of Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” films, who tweeted that he was “saddened” by Scorsese’s take on his work.

Filmmaker Joss Whedon, who directed “The Avengers” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” also spoke out in support of Gunn, stating that “his heart & guts are packed into GOTG.”

Scorsese’s latest film, “The Irishman,” is set to hit Netflix in late November, and tells the story of the 1975 disappearance of Teamster Jimmy Hoffa through the perspective of alleged Bufalino crime family hitman Frank Sheeran. 

In a follow-up tweet, Gunn said Friday that he “will always love Scorsese, be grateful for his contribution to cinema, and can’t wait to see” his new film.

CLARIFICATION: This article has been amended to clarify that Hoffa disappeared in 1975. He was declared dead in 1982. His killing remains unsolved.

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Kurt Volker, Ukraine and a Turbulent End in the Trump Administration

Westlake Legal Group 05dc-volker-facebookJumbo Kurt Volker, Ukraine and a Turbulent End in the Trump Administration Voice of America United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry State Department North Atlantic Treaty Organization Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Burisma Holdings Ltd arizona state university

WASHINGTON — “Please don’t publish this letter,” Kurt D. Volker, a former career foreign service officer, pleaded in 2016 with Eliot A. Cohen and Eric Edelman, two former Republican officials leading a “Never Trump” letter-writing movement.

Their arguments were not wrong, Mr. Volker told them, as both sides remember it. But he argued that Donald J. Trump might actually win the election. And Mr. Volker, who had seen his foreign service career cut short after a new President Barack Obama swiftly removed him as the United States ambassador to NATO, was not going to blacklist himself from a senior post in another administration.

He got a lot more than he wanted.

Mr. Volker, who was President Trump’s special envoy to Ukraine until his abrupt resignation late last month, is today a central player in a political uproar that is threatening Mr. Trump’s presidency with impeachment and contaminating American’s relationship with Ukraine. It has also saddled Mr. Volker with legal bills and may force his resignation from another post, that of executive director of the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University, based in Washington. (A final decision had been postponed.)

One bright spot for Mr. Volker, 54, a serious-looking policymaker with wire-rim glasses and a thick crop of salt-and-pepper hair, is that he was to be married Saturday afternoon at Washington National Cathedral to Ia Meurmishvili, a journalist and television anchor for Voice of America’s Georgian service. They met when he was her first guest on her television program; it is his second marriage.

Mr. Volker, who viewed his task as helping Ukraine remain independent against Russian aggression while working for a president with a curious crush on President Vladimir V. Putin, has emerged from his assignment as a man who seems a willing participant in an effort by Mr. Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, to pressure a foreign government to investigate Democratic political rivals at home.

Friends counter that Mr. Volker is another victim of the Trump era — a career diplomat who thought he could reconcile his own ambition and public service while working for a president who blurs the line between personal gain and the country’s interests.

“I have no doubt he was trying to do the right thing,” said Daniel Fried, a former ambassador and 40-year State Department official who was Mr. Volker’s former boss at the National Security Council. “The question is not what his motives were, but whether what he was trying to do was just impossible because he was facing a situation so compromised, he couldn’t fix it with his usual skills.”

But friends who read the testimony that Mr. Volker gave to Congress on Thursday also said they were frustrated that Mr. Volker was papering over his own role rather than taking responsibility for it. They pointed to a disconnect between Mr. Volker’s testimony and a series of incriminating text messages he provided voluntarily to Congress, in which he is revealed as party to a plan for Ukraine to conduct politically helpful investigations for Mr. Trump as a condition for a White House visit.

Mr. Volker stated in his testimony that “at no time was I aware of or took part in an effort to urge Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Biden.” He said that Joseph R. Biden Jr. was “never a topic of discussion” in the text messages. But the messages include references to Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company where Hunter Biden, a son of Mr. Biden, was on the board. The subtext, foreign policy experts said, was impossible not to understand.

Mr. Volker, for his part, views himself as blameless, according to people who have spoken with him. He has told associates that the text messages do not capture the whole story.

“Heard from White House — assuming President Z convinces trump he will investigate / ‘get to the bottom of what happened’ in 2016, we will nail down date for a visit to Washington,” Mr. Volker wrote to a top aide to President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine on July 25.

The text seems to show that Mr. Volker understood that pursuing a policy outcome he wanted — setting up a face-to-face meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Zelensky in order to reset the relationship — meant using highly questionable means and what critics call an extraordinary abuse of presidential power — to get there.

But Mr. Volker testified to congressional investigators on Thursday that ultimately he advised the Ukrainians to drop the arrangement and that he was, as he has told associates, simply trying to “stop something bad from happening.”

Mr. Volker, friends said, has remained upbeat, committed to the idea that he helped steer Ukraine policy in a successful direction, and that his decision not to sign the “Never Trump” letters and to serve in the Trump administration was, even in retrospect, the right thing to do.

When Mr. Volker joined the administration in July 2017, he was taking on a difficult task under normal circumstances — supporting democracy and reform in Ukraine while deterring Russian aggression. The added burden, friends said, was doing it all under Mr. Trump, a leader who ran a separate off-the-books foreign policy through Mr. Giuliani, and who wanted to maintain a close relationship with Mr. Putin.

In his testimony to Congress, Mr. Volker said he was aware that Mr. Trump viewed Ukraine as a corrupt country full of “terrible people” who were “trying to take me down.” That view, he said, was fueling a “negative narrative” that stood in the way of building a bilateral relationship with the new Ukraine government.

Mr. Volker — whose part-time, unpaid role as special envoy meant that he functioned outside of any formal State Department process — tried to explain his rationale for involving himself in Mr. Giuliani’s push for Ukraine to investigate Mr. Biden, who is running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

He faced a choice, Mr. Volker said in his testimony: “Do nothing, and allow this situation to fester, or try to fix it. I tried to fix it.”

Foreign policy experts said that view was naïve.

“Donald Trump is certainly not someone who can be boxed in or fixed,” said Andrew S. Weiss, who was a Russia adviser to President Bill Clinton. “Everything we know about Giuliani points in the same direction.” Mr. Weiss said that under Mr. Trump’s leadership, “the level of dysfunction on Ukraine policy is stunning.”

The State Department declined to comment on Mr. Volker’s testimony, or his work in the administration. Mr. Volker declined to comment as well, and Mr. Giuliani did not respond to a request for comment.

But in an appearance on Fox News on Friday night, Mr. Giuliani described Mr. Volker as “a great diplomat” who “doesn’t know anything about investigating, doesn’t know anything about crime.’’

Mr. Volker’s former colleagues pinned the blame on the man who sets the tone for his administration from the top.

“Experience has demonstrated that the closer you get to Trump, the harder it is to stay clean,” Mr. Fried said. “Decent people are put in impossible positions. I don’t think Kurt deserves to be hurt. It could have been me.”

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

Kurt Volker, Ukraine and a Turbulent End in the Trump Administration

Westlake Legal Group 05dc-volker-facebookJumbo Kurt Volker, Ukraine and a Turbulent End in the Trump Administration Voice of America United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry State Department North Atlantic Treaty Organization Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Burisma Holdings Ltd arizona state university

WASHINGTON — “Please don’t publish this letter,” Kurt D. Volker, a former career foreign service officer, pleaded in 2016 with Eliot A. Cohen and Eric Edelman, two former Republican officials leading a “Never Trump” letter-writing movement.

Their arguments were not wrong, Mr. Volker told them, as both sides remember it. But he argued that Donald J. Trump might actually win the election. And Mr. Volker, who had seen his foreign service career cut short after a new President Barack Obama swiftly removed him as the United States ambassador to NATO, was not going to blacklist himself from a senior post in another administration.

He got a lot more than he wanted.

Mr. Volker, who was President Trump’s special envoy to Ukraine until his abrupt resignation late last month, is today a central player in a political uproar that is threatening Mr. Trump’s presidency with impeachment and contaminating American’s relationship with Ukraine. It has also saddled Mr. Volker with legal bills and may force his resignation from another post, that of executive director of the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University, based in Washington. (A final decision had been postponed.)

One bright spot for Mr. Volker, 54, a serious-looking policymaker with wire-rim glasses and a thick crop of salt-and-pepper hair, is that he was to be married Saturday afternoon at Washington National Cathedral to Ia Meurmishvili, a journalist and television anchor for Voice of America’s Georgian service. They met when he was her first guest on her television program; it is his second marriage.

Mr. Volker, who viewed his task as helping Ukraine remain independent against Russian aggression while working for a president with a curious crush on President Vladimir V. Putin, has emerged from his assignment as a man who seems a willing participant in an effort by Mr. Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, to pressure a foreign government to investigate Democratic political rivals at home.

Friends counter that Mr. Volker is another victim of the Trump era — a career diplomat who thought he could reconcile his own ambition and public service while working for a president who blurs the line between personal gain and the country’s interests.

“I have no doubt he was trying to do the right thing,” said Daniel Fried, a former ambassador and 40-year State Department official who was Mr. Volker’s former boss at the National Security Council. “The question is not what his motives were, but whether what he was trying to do was just impossible because he was facing a situation so compromised, he couldn’t fix it with his usual skills.”

But friends who read the testimony that Mr. Volker gave to Congress on Thursday also said they were frustrated that Mr. Volker was papering over his own role rather than taking responsibility for it. They pointed to a disconnect between Mr. Volker’s testimony and a series of incriminating text messages he provided voluntarily to Congress, in which he is revealed as party to a plan for Ukraine to conduct politically helpful investigations for Mr. Trump as a condition for a White House visit.

Mr. Volker stated in his testimony that “at no time was I aware of or took part in an effort to urge Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Biden.” He said that Joseph R. Biden Jr. was “never a topic of discussion” in the text messages. But the messages include references to Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company where Hunter Biden, a son of Mr. Biden, was on the board. The subtext, foreign policy experts said, was impossible not to understand.

Mr. Volker, for his part, views himself as blameless, according to people who have spoken with him. He has told associates that the text messages do not capture the whole story.

“Heard from White House — assuming President Z convinces trump he will investigate / ‘get to the bottom of what happened’ in 2016, we will nail down date for a visit to Washington,” Mr. Volker wrote to a top aide to President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine on July 25.

The text seems to show that Mr. Volker understood that pursuing a policy outcome he wanted — setting up a face-to-face meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Zelensky in order to reset the relationship — meant using highly questionable means and what critics call an extraordinary abuse of presidential power — to get there.

But Mr. Volker testified to congressional investigators on Thursday that ultimately he advised the Ukrainians to drop the arrangement and that he was, as he has told associates, simply trying to “stop something bad from happening.”

Mr. Volker, friends said, has remained upbeat, committed to the idea that he helped steer Ukraine policy in a successful direction, and that his decision not to sign the “Never Trump” letters and to serve in the Trump administration was, even in retrospect, the right thing to do.

When Mr. Volker joined the administration in July 2017, he was taking on a difficult task under normal circumstances — supporting democracy and reform in Ukraine while deterring Russian aggression. The added burden, friends said, was doing it all under Mr. Trump, a leader who ran a separate off-the-books foreign policy through Mr. Giuliani, and who wanted to maintain a close relationship with Mr. Putin.

In his testimony to Congress, Mr. Volker said he was aware that Mr. Trump viewed Ukraine as a corrupt country full of “terrible people” who were “trying to take me down.” That view, he said, was fueling a “negative narrative” that stood in the way of building a bilateral relationship with the new Ukraine government.

Mr. Volker — whose part-time, unpaid role as special envoy meant that he functioned outside of any formal State Department process — tried to explain his rationale for involving himself in Mr. Giuliani’s push for Ukraine to investigate Mr. Biden, who is running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

He faced a choice, Mr. Volker said in his testimony: “Do nothing, and allow this situation to fester, or try to fix it. I tried to fix it.”

Foreign policy experts said that view was naïve.

“Donald Trump is certainly not someone who can be boxed in or fixed,” said Andrew S. Weiss, who was a Russia adviser to President Bill Clinton. “Everything we know about Giuliani points in the same direction.” Mr. Weiss said that under Mr. Trump’s leadership, “the level of dysfunction on Ukraine policy is stunning.”

The State Department declined to comment on Mr. Volker’s testimony, or his work in the administration. Mr. Volker declined to comment as well, and Mr. Giuliani did not respond to a request for comment.

But in an appearance on Fox News on Friday night, Mr. Giuliani described Mr. Volker as “a great diplomat” who “doesn’t know anything about investigating, doesn’t know anything about crime.’’

Mr. Volker’s former colleagues pinned the blame on the man who sets the tone for his administration from the top.

“Experience has demonstrated that the closer you get to Trump, the harder it is to stay clean,” Mr. Fried said. “Decent people are put in impossible positions. I don’t think Kurt deserves to be hurt. It could have been me.”

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

McConnell fundraises off impeachment, says effort will fail ‘with me as majority leader’

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close McConnell fundraises off impeachment, says effort will fail 'with me as majority leader'

The search of the word impeach skyrocketed in the Merriam Webster dictionary. Veuer’s Natasha Abellard has the story. Buzz60

Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said his chamber would have “no choice” but to hold a trial on whether to remove President Donald Trump from office if the House votes to impeach.

But in a new campaign ad on Facebook, the Kentucky Republican claims that any impeachment attempt will fail as long as he remains in charge of the Senate.

“Nancy Pelosi’s in the clutches of a left wing mob. They finally convinced her to impeach the president,” McConnell says directly to the camera in a 17-second video. “All of you know your Constitution. The way that impeachment stops is a Senate majority with me as majority leader.

“But I need your help,” he adds, standing in front of a picture of an elephant. “Please contribute before the deadline.”

The McConnell campaign, according to Facebook’s “Ad Library,” started running the digital ad last week, a few days after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced an impeachment inquiry over whether Trump improperly pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate political rival and possible 2020 opponent Joe Biden.

Pelosi: Trump impeachment probe ‘a very sad time for our country’

Photos: The Trump impeachment inquiry in pictures

The ad features the same video, but McConnell’s team has paired the video with different captions that all are mostly focused on the topic of impeachment.

“Your conservative Senate Majority is the ONLY thing stopping Nancy Pelosi from impeaching President Trump. Donate & help us keep it!” one caption reads.

McConnell campaign manager Kevin Golden told The Courier Journal the impeachment inquiry is energizing the Senate leader’s supporters.

“Few issues energize conservative voters like liberal overreach,” Golden said in a statement. “And the Democrats latest outrageous attempt to impeach President Trump has activated our base to new heights.”

Another caption from Team Mitch goes after Pelosi’s fellow California Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee.

“BREAKING: Adam Schiff LIED. His office secretly coordinated with the source of this laughable impeachment inquiry,” the caption reads. “Help me stop it.”

That caption appears to reference the New York Times reporting this week that Schiff received an early account of the whistleblower’s complaint regarding Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Impeachment inquiry: House Democrats subpoena White House for Ukraine documents

More: Trump tears into Mitt Romney who said requests for Ukraine, China to investigate Biden were ‘appalling’

The complaint from the anonymous whistleblower, reportedly a CIA officer, led to the White House releasing a summary of the July phone call between Trump and Zelensky.

According to the call’s summary, Trump told Zelensky to reopen an investigation into a Ukrainian energy company connected to Biden’s son, Hunter.

McConnell reportedly told the White House to release the transcript of the phone call, something that McConnell and his spokespeople have not commented on.

On Thursday, Trump added further fuel to the fire by telling reporters that China should also investigate the Bidens.

The president also claimed Thursday that McConnell put out a statement referring to the president’s phone call with the president of Ukraine as “the most innocent phone call (transcript) that I’ve read.”

McConnell’s office has not responded to questions about Trump’s assertion, though the Senate leader dismissed criticism of the call last week and said it is “laughable to think this is anywhere close to an impeachable offense.”

On the Senate floor, McConnell has defended his record of standing up for Ukraine, especially against the Russian government.

Democrats and some Republican critics of Trump have said the president’s requests to Ukraine and China are a blatant attempt to have a foreign power interfere with next year’s election. 

Trump has denied any wrongdoing.

It would take a simple majority of the House (218 votes) to submit articles of impeachment to the Senate.

A trial would then be held in the Senate, where it would take at least two-thirds (or 67 votes) of the chamber to convict Trump and remove him from office. 

The chief justice of the Supreme Court presides over the trial. But as majority leader, McConnell would have some power in setting up ground rules for a trial, including timing.

“So I would have no choice but to take it up,” McConnell told CNBC on Monday, referring to the impeachment trial. “How long you’re on it is a whole different matter.”

The new campaign ad from McConnell shows the Senate leader sees the impeachment matter as a chance to raise funds for his 2020 reelection campaign.

Amy McGrath, a former Marine Corps pilot and one of several Democrats in Kentucky vying to unseat McConnell in 2020, endorsed the impeachment inquiry last week.

McGrath has also urged McConnell to show “patriotic courage” and get to the truth of the allegations in the whistleblower complaint.

The “deadline” mentioned by McConnell in the new video refers to this past Monday, Sept. 30.

‘Over the top’: McConnell still mad about #MoscowMitch, calls attention to 2020 election

That was the third-quarter cutoff for donations to Senate, House and presidential candidates.

Candidates now have until Oct. 15 to file reports with the Federal Election Commission that reveal their fundraising and spending totals.

According to Facebook’s Ad Library, McConnell’s campaign spent a little over $63,000 on digital ads between Sept. 27 and Oct. 3.

That represents about 44% of the roughly $143,500 that Facebook data shows Team Mitch spent from May 2018 to Oct. 3, a decent-sized sum in a brief amount of time.

According to the most recent FEC data, McConnell had a sizable war chest for his 2020 reelection bid, with nearly $7.9 million in cash on hand.

Follow Billy Kobin on Twitter: @Billy_Kobin

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Diseases like West Nile, EEE and flesh-eating bacteria are flourishing due to climate change

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Diseases like West Nile, EEE and flesh-eating bacteria are flourishing due to climate change

Multiple Michigan residents have died from the rare mosquito-borne virus Eastern equine encephalitis and several others have been sickened. USA TODAY

An outbreak of a deadly and rare brain disease has killed at least 11 people in the United States so far this year. Scientists say the mosquito-borne illness, Eastern equine encephalitis, may be worse because of unseasonably warm temperatures. It’s one of just several diseases scientists worry are being affected by climate change.

The nation’s changing climate patterns are bringing heatwaves, flooding, warming waters and droughts. These in turn alter the environment and the microbes, viruses and insects that inhabit it in ways that can cause them to increase or appear in new areas and at different times than before.  

While it’s difficult to attribute any particular disease event to global warming, it’s safe to say that climate change will change disease dynamics, said Erin Mordecai, a professor of biology at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, who studies the ecology of infectious disease

“We’re poised for a lot of surprises,” Mordecai said.

What to know: This flu season could be a nasty one. Get a shot now, CDC says

One is Eastern equine encephalitis virus, or EEE, which kills a third of all people who get it. A mosquito-borne virus, it tends to come in cyclical waves with large outbreaks occurring many years apart. This is the biggest outbreak since the 1950s or 1960s, said Mordecai.

There are no definitive ties to global warming in this outbreak but “this is such an emerging story there hasn’t been time to research it yet,” Mordecai said.

What is known is that the mosquitoes which transmit the virus thrive in warmer temperatures and die off at the first hard frost. 

That’s where climate change comes in. The Earth just had its warmest September on record. The past five years have been the warmest since modern record-keeping began in the 1880s, according to NASA. 

Earlier springs, later falls and hotter months in between contribute to higher mosquito populations and a greater chance of infection.

 “The longer the breeding season, the more baby mosquitoes that are going to hatch and the more your chance of getting bitten,” says George Rutherford, a professor infectious disease and epidemiology at the University of California, San Francisco.

EEE isn’t the only disease doctors are concerned about. Other illnesses that might be getting worse because of climate change include:

Dengue Fever

Transmitted by mosquitoes, some cases of dengue fever can result in a rare hemorrhagic form that can kill. Dengue was once known as “breakbone fever” for the severe muscle and joint pain it can cause.  There have been outbreaks in Hawaii, Florida and Texas. And there is some concern it might spread because of longer mosquito breeding seasons caused by warmer weather.

“There’s been dengue in southern Texas, Hawaii and Florida and there will be dengue in other places,” said UCSF’s Rutherford.

West Nile Virus

First introduced to the United States in New York in 1999, West Nile virus is transmitted by infected mosquitoes and ticks. In a tiny percentage of cases it causes brain inflammation that can take weeks or months to recover from and sometimes causes permanent effects, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It is spread through the bites of infected mosquitoes and ticks. Last year, 167 people died from it, according to the CDC.

Chronic kidney disease

The “kidney stone risk belt” is an area across the warmer parts of the southeastern United States were the incidence of kidney stones is higher, which researchers believe is linked to hotter temperatures. When people sweat more they produce less urine, which raises their risk for kidney stones.

Research at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas predicts that the proportion of the U.S. population living in high-risk zones for kidney stones will increase from 40% in 2000 to 56% by 2050 and to 70% by 2095.

“The assumption is that the ‘stone belt’ will eventually expand as areas that were not as hot get hotter. We predicted that will lead to an increasing kidney stone rate across the United States,” said Yair Lotan, one of the authors of the research paper.

Flesh-eating bacteria

Vibrio vulnificus is a bacteria that lives in warm brackish water. It’s actually erroneously described as “flesh-eating” because it releases enzymes that can rot flesh and shut down internal organs. Infection can occur after handling or consuming seafood or coming into contact with seawater.

Warmer coastal water and flood conditions, which are increasing with climate change, can create a more hospitable environment for the bacteria, according to the CDC. The number of cases in areas where it was once rare, such as New Jersey and Delaware, has been increasing.

Brain-eating amoeba

Naegleria fowleriis a single-celled organism that’s commonly found in soil, as well as warm freshwater lakes, rivers and hot springs. On very rare occasions it can enter the body through the nose, where it can travel to the brain and destroy brain tissue. Such an infection is called primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, or PAM for short, and is almost always fatal.

For decades this very rare disease was mostly reported in the southern part of the United States. Infections in northern states, however, have begun to increase as water temperatures rise, according to the National Institutes of Health. It first appeared in Minnesota in 2010.

Tick-borne diseases

Ticks that can carry Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Babesiosis are all expanding into higher latitudes as temperatures rise. This is creating a larger area across which they can be transmitted.

The ticks are also emerging from their winter hibernation earlier and remaining active later into the fall, increasing the possibility they will bite and infect humans.

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