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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 333)

Military Leaders Fear They’ve Seen This Before. It Ended in the Iraq War.

Westlake Legal Group 10dc-military-1-facebookJumbo Military Leaders Fear They’ve Seen This Before. It Ended in the Iraq War. United States Politics and Government United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Trump, Donald J Syria Persian Gulf War Kurds Iraq War (2003-11) Iraq Hussein, Saddam Defense Department Bush, George

WASHINGTON — The last time the United States abandoned allies in the Middle East, military officials say, it helped lead to the Iraq war.

Now, almost 30 years later, President Trump has pulled American special forces and support troops away from Kurdish allies in northern Syria, easing the way for Turkey’s promised offensive, which began on Wednesday.

It is too soon to say with any certainty where Mr. Trump’s abandonment of the Kurdish fighters who did the heavy lifting in the fight against the Islamic State will lead. But already, anguished American military and national security officials are sounding alarms that clearing the way for Turkey to bomb the Kurds could have long-term repercussions, just as the desertion of allies did then.

“In the course of American history, when we have stuck with our allies in troubling circumstances, from the U.K. and Australia under attack in WWII to South Korea in the Korean War, things tend to work out to our benefit,” said James G. Stavridis, a retired admiral and former supreme allied commander for Europe. “When we walk away from loyal allies, as we did in Vietnam and are now threatening to do in Afghanistan and Syria, the wheels come off.”

At the end of the Persian Gulf war, the United States’ refusal to aid a rebellion it encouraged in Iraq allowed Saddam Hussein to brutally crush the insurgents, leaving him in power and American allies on the ground alienated and slaughtered by the thousands.

Now, with the Kurds potentially facing a similar fate, a Pentagon official said anger within the military was deeper than at any other point in Mr. Trump’s tenure as commander in chief.

That is in part because American military officials personally know the Kurds they have been fighting alongside. They consider them friends and even, in some cases, brothers in arms. While the Kurds may not have been with the Americans in Normandy, as Mr. Trump curiously noted on Wednesday, neither were the American service members who are now in Iraq and Syria. What those service members know, military officials say, is that the Kurds have been with them in Manbij, and Raqqa, and the Middle Euphrates River Valley.

“What happens if we leave?” the normally reticent Gen. Joseph L. Votel, who until March was the commander of United States Central Command overseeing the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, wrote in an op-ed article in The Atlantic on Tuesday, two days after the White House announced it was leaving the Kurds. In the piece, General Votel spoke fondly of the top Kurdish general, Mazloum Abdi, whom he called “impressive and thoughtful.”

General Votel, now retired, wrote that Turkish attacks on the Kurdish fighters, “coupled with a hasty U.S. departure, now threaten to rapidly destabilize an already fragile security situation in Syria’s northeast, where ISIS’ physical caliphate was only recently defeated.”

Paul D. Eaton, a retired major general and veteran of the Iraq war, was more blunt. “It takes time to build trust,” he said. “And any time you erode trust, like this, it’s that much harder to bring it back.”

Pentagon officials fear that Turkey’s incursion could lead to the release of tens of thousands of Islamic State fighters and their families who are being held in detention facilities under Kurdish control, and a return, quickly, of the self-proclaimed caliphate that the United States and its partners have spent the last five years destroying.

But even more, they fear that the next time the United States is looking for help from fighters on the ground in the region, the Americans will not be able to find it.

This has happened before. In February 1991, as the Desert Storm campaign was unfolding in Iraq, President George Bush, during a rally in Andover, Mass., suggested that the Iraqi people “take matters into their own hands and force Saddam Hussein, the dictator, to step aside.”

Two weeks later, Mr. Bush made another call to arms, saying that putting Hussein “aside” would “facilitate the resolution of all these problems that exist and certainly would facilitate the acceptance of Iraq back into the family of peace-loving nations.”

Iraq’s feared Republican Guard did not heed Mr. Bush. But the Shiites and the Kurds did. On March 1, the day after Mr. Bush halted the Desert Storm war effort, Iraqi Shiites in the south and Kurds in the north began a rebellion against Hussein.

At first, things went swiftly and well for the Shiites and the Kurds, as a succession of Iraqi cities and towns — although not Baghdad — came under their control.

But the United States never stepped in to assist, and Hussein’s military soon regrouped and began a counteroffensive. In fact, the cease-fire negotiated by Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf to end Desert Storm helped Hussein quell the uprising. The deal prohibited the Iraqi military from using fixed-wing aircraft over the country but allowed helicopters, which Hussein then deployed to bombard the Shiites, who had few surface-to-air missiles or heavy weapons. They were largely defenseless against the helicopters strafing the ground.

In the north, Iraqi divisions crushed the Kurdish rebellion.

Shiite and Kurdish leaders turned to the Americans, begging for help. It did not come. American warplanes in the south did not engage as the Republican Guard wiped out the rebellious Shiites by the thousands.

Human Rights Watch reported that “in their attempts to retake cities, and after consolidating control, loyalist forces killed thousands of unarmed civilians by firing indiscriminately into residential areas” and “executing young people on the streets, in homes and in hospitals.” The Iraqi military, Human Rights Watch said, was shooting people “en masse.”

Paul D. Wolfowitz, then the under secretary of defense for policy, was “dismayed,” he would say later, by the president’s unwillingness to support the Shiite uprising, and particularly by the order that American pilots not shoot down Iraqi military helicopters that were strafing the rebels.

More than a decade later, President George W. Bush was surrounded by many of the same national security advisers his father had. One in particular, Mr. Wolfowitz, was forcefully making the case that it was time for the United States to do what it did not in 1991: Go after Hussein.

When the United States finally did enter Iraq in 2003, the Shiites, while welcoming the toppling of Hussein, did not greet the Americans as liberators.

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Trying To Change Men Ousted By #MeToo Shows Promise — But No Guarantees

Westlake Legal Group metoo_custom-57ed080ebf5deca4fed2067eddc22777a3c87839-s1100-c15 Trying To Change Men Ousted By #MeToo Shows Promise — But No Guarantees

Two years into the #MeToo movement, as focus grows on when — and if — it’s appropriate for men ousted for sexual harassment to return to work, attention is also shifting to underlying questions of rehabilitation. Can sexual harassers change? And if so, how? Zoē van Dijk for NPR hide caption

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Zoē van Dijk for NPR

Westlake Legal Group  Trying To Change Men Ousted By #MeToo Shows Promise — But No Guarantees

Two years into the #MeToo movement, as focus grows on when — and if — it’s appropriate for men ousted for sexual harassment to return to work, attention is also shifting to underlying questions of rehabilitation. Can sexual harassers change? And if so, how?

Zoē van Dijk for NPR

You hear it said about sexual harassers all the time: “Guys like that will never change.”

That may be true for those who are out-and-out psychopaths and those with serious disorders, but experts say most sexual harassers are not in that bucket.

“They’re apples and oranges,” says forensic psychiatrist and Temple University School of Medicine professor of psychiatry Barbara Ziv, who has spent decades studying both victims and perpetrators of sexual misconduct. Most are “opportunistic offenders” or self-delusional, she says, but they’re not beyond help.

“Those aren’t individuals who are sort of hardwired to sexually assault,” she says. “And those are the people that have the most potential for learning and not doing it again.”

Ziv, who will testify for the prosecution in the upcoming rape trial of former film producer Harvey Weinstein, says the bulk of offenders are too often conflated with the most egregious ones who dominate the headlines.

“Even my saying that there’s a distinction can be perceived as letting men off the hook,” she says. But “the #MeToo movement has to become more sophisticated, and we should, two years out, be able to distinguish between these buckets.”

Indeed, two years into the #MeToo movement, with growing focus on when –and if — it’s appropriate for men ousted for sexual harassment to return to work, attention is also shifting to underlying questions of rehabilitation: Can proven sexual harassers change? And if so, how? A burgeoning industry of therapists, coaches and counselors are now working with offenders to try to reform them. It’s not just for their sake, they say, it’s the only way to ensure long-term, meaningful cultural change.

“Justice needs to be had,” says University of Toronto psychologist James Cantor. “But so long as we keep talking about ‘we need to just gather up the evil [offenders], dismiss them and ignore them,’ we’re not going to either rehabilitate these people or prevent more of these cases from the future.”

That’s not to say the work is easy.

“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” says one man who says he had buried his misconduct for decades. The #MeToo movement finally compelled him to confront what he had done, from stealing a kiss at the office to date raping a woman he barely knew, several decades ago.

He asked that his name not be used for fear that backlash would hurt his family. But, determined to grow from being part of the problem to part of the solution, he’s now facing his demons head-on.

“I was shook by the realization that I had been able to go through my life powered by privilege, without owning up to this,” he says. “And there are probably a lot of other guys who had done those things, and if we want to prevent [this] and change culture, our actions need to come out in the light of day and be the basis for conversation.”

He has been doing his own soul-searching in counseling and through a process called “vicarious restorative justice,” where he meets with survivors as a kind of “stand-in” perpetrator for survivors who cannot, for various reasons, meet with the actual perpetrators in their own cases. He listens to them describe their experience as victims, and they listen as he takes responsibility for what he did to his victim.

“That would be to say, ‘I took your body for my pleasure and my needs,’ ” he says, choosing his words carefully and deliberately. “I knew you couldn’t stop me from doing it. I knew that you were hurt, but I got up and left you there, having been violated by me, because of my selfishness and my belief that what you had was mine for the taking.”

Then, he acknowledges the damage he did. “You may have had depression, you may have — ” he begins, before catching himself and switching to the first person. “I may have caused you anxiety and a lifetime of difficulty having relationships.”

And lastly, he offers an apology.

“It’s not your fault,” he says, “and it’s not something that was anything other than my boorishness, my belief that I could have whatever I wanted. And I’m very sorry that you were hurt.”

It’s cathartic for him and healing for the survivors who were with him in the circle, including Alissa Ackerman.

“I don’t even know how to describe it in words,” she says, “but it was just this moment of being heard, by someone who’d caused sexual harm. It is a weight that you no longer have to carry.”

Ackerman, an assistant professor of criminal justice at California State University, Fullerton, now leads restorative justice circles for others, convinced that it can teach empathy and motivate change like nothing else.

Indeed, it was no coincidence that only while listening to survivors describe their pain did the man in her circle remember — for the first time in decades — his victim’s first name.

“In the middle of the sessions, he just blurted it out when it came back to him,” recalls Ackerman. “He was able to humanize her because he had to humanize the four of us sitting right in front of him.”

“I was pretty shaken by it,” he sighs. “She became a real person.”

“It’s not exactly therapy, but it’s definitely therapeutic,” says Cordelia Anderson, who has been doing sexual assault prevention work since the 1970s. “It’s a way for people to get insight into their own behavior and recognize the impact of their behavior on others and how these things have ripple effects.”

Restorative justice is not for everyone; it’s a non-starter if the survivor does not want to engage or if the perpetrator is denying any part of his misconduct. From the get-go, he has to admit and take responsibility for all of it.

In many cases, offenders will have gotten to that point through conventional counseling, where perpetrators may be pressed, for example, to unpack their own past traumas, boundary issues, or self-delusion and denial.

“A person engaged in what we call ‘motivated reasoning’ will only see what they want to see and discount or ignore counterevidence,” Cantor says. For example, he might tell himself a co-worker is “not meeting my gaze because she’s busy or embarrassed, rather than because she’s not interested.” In the same way, he will dismiss any signs he has crossed a line, convincing himself that “the other person is overreacting.”

Research on treatment specifically for sexual harassment is scant. But Vaile Wright, director of research and special projects at the American Psychological Association, says extrapolating from studies on sexual assault, there is cause for optimism. Wright says strategies like cognitive behavioral therapy, which break down the thoughts and feelings driving bad behavior, are particularly promising. For example, in the case of a guy who repeatedly makes unwelcome advances to a co-worker, a therapist can help dig deeper to discover what makes him feel entitled to keep “hitting on her.” Or, Wright explains, the process might help reveal that when she rebuffs him, he takes that to mean “she is a tease” and therefore “a bad person [who] gets what she deserves.”

“You just go down a rabbit hole until you can figure out what it is that’s at the core of the problem,” Wright says. That could be anything from feelings of inadequacy to outmoded views of gender roles and power.

It’s why another approach gaining interest focuses on toxic masculinity.

“A big part is peeling off the armor and bringing these guys into state of being utterly raw, utterly vulnerable,” says Joshua Hathaway, who does personal coaching and leads men’s retreats through a group called The Brotherhood Community, in Santa Cruz, Calif. One by one, he says, he’s trying to change hearts and minds by helping men show up “as the attuned, empathetic understanding, listening version of themselves, instead of the guy who’s going to try to talk somebody out of their opinion or the guy who’s going to deny certain facts, to defend ourselves and our ego.”

Hathaway will often start men with simple exercises, like going a full day only listening. Or, another exercise, he says, requires that “the first thing that comes out of his mouth in any conversation is reflecting back what he just heard.”

“It’s learning how to wield power in more responsible way,” Hathaway says. “It’s dismantling our misogyny. It’s dismantling a lot of these prejudices that dehumanize other people. And that’s messy work.”

While counselors say a growing number of men are buying in, others are dubious. They worry about such softer, gentler rehabilitative approaches gaining favor over punitive ones.

“Quite frankly, I think there should be a fear of social stigma, a fear of social sanction, a fear of social consequence attached to boorish and sexually improper behavior,” says Max Eden, a senior fellow with the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. “My concern is that were not only letting men off the hook with this, but we’re actually creating a reward structure for behaving badly and by going through what might not be a very sincere redemption process.”

But proponents insist that it’s hard to fake your way through intense personal encounters such as restorative justice circles. One of the things that process does best, Ackerman says, is to suss out who is genuinely remorseful and rehabilitated and who may be going through the motions just hoping to get their career rehabilitated.

“At the end of the day, you don’t know who’s being authentic except when you have those really in-depth, one-on-one encounters when perpetrators can talk about their understanding of the harm they’ve caused,” she says.

But even then, it’s not like you get a diploma from your therapist. So how’s an employer to know whether a person is changed enough to be worthy of returning to work?

That’s something very much on the minds of Elizabeth Grossman, a defense attorney who represents men accused of sexual misconduct, and Caprice Haverty, a clinical and forensic psychologist who treats them. They’ve been trying to conceive of some kind of audit to identify who has gone the distance and who may have run off course. It might also offer some confidence, or cover, to an employer considering hiring someone with a checkered past.

“My concern is that we not lose the power of this moment,” Grossman says. Society, she says, “needs to figure out the way forward for people who’ve transgressed, so we can keep them motivated to do the deep hard work and change.”

Just like the criminal justice system has compulsory progress reports for sex offenders, Haverty says people who are working on rehabilitating themselves after getting fired for sexual harassment could have “a frank and confidential dialogue and get honest feedback.”

“We have ways of measuring authenticity,” she says. Though Grossman is quick to add, it may be more gut than science.

“This is not measured by a ruler,” she says. “They’re instinctual understandings.”

In a few cases, employers are getting involved themselves in efforts to rehabilitate offenders. Not every offense should result in termination, says Mary Koss, a professor of Public Health at the University of Arizona, Tucson, and an expert in gender-based violence and restorative justice. And in those cases, she says, employers could be doing a lot more to coach and guide employees at the earliest signs of trouble.

“Instead of just putting a letter of warning in their personnel file, [and letting the offender] move on having learned nothing, I wish there were more opportunities to give close mentoring to people,” Koss says.

She has been called in to be a kind of “babysitter” for guys who misstepped. In one instance, she gave a man some coaching and implored him to “come tell me what you’re thinking about doing before you do it, and then we can decide if it’s a red light or a green light,” she recalls. Not long after, he came to tell Koss he was planning to ask a co-worker out on a date. “I said to him: ‘Red light! This is not a bar.’ “

For some employers, a better solution is to make outside counseling a condition of continued employment after a first-time, relatively minor offense. But more often, companies will steer clear altogether, says Stephen Gianotti, who is president of New Hampshire-based business consulting firm The Woodland Group. He says companies are more likely to “have the attitude that ‘Look, we’re not a social welfare institution here. We make widgets, we don’t change people. If people don’t want to behave, then we need to get rid of them.’ “

“The obvious problem with that,” Gianotti says, “is that the person who gets fired goes someplace else and is likely to do it again in some other organization, so they’re just kicking the can down the road.”

On the other hand, the obvious problem with attempting to rehabilitate offenders is that it comes with no guarantee.

Psychiatrist Ziv recalls working with one executive, who dutifully listened and seemed to understand, as she explained for hours and hours, why it was wrong to touch a female colleague, flirt with her or make comments about her looks.

A few months later, she saw him again “and the first thing he said to me when I walked into office was ‘Don’t you look pretty!’ All the time I spent with him, and he was oblivious.”

Unfortunately, Ziv sighs, we’ll only know for sure if someone has really changed and ready for a second chance is after they’ve had their second chance and didn’t blow it.

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

How Vaping Nicotine Can Affect A Teenage Brain

Westlake Legal Group vape_woman_brooklyn-13dacc3353b84fb800641528560b3e641021bb06-s1100-c15 How Vaping Nicotine Can Affect A Teenage Brain

How does nicotine in e-cigarettes affect young brains? Researchers are teasing out answers. Research on young mice and rats shows how nicotine hijacks brain systems involved in learning, memory, impulse control and addiction. Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

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Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Westlake Legal Group  How Vaping Nicotine Can Affect A Teenage Brain

How does nicotine in e-cigarettes affect young brains? Researchers are teasing out answers. Research on young mice and rats shows how nicotine hijacks brain systems involved in learning, memory, impulse control and addiction.

Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The link between vaping and severe lung problems is getting a lot of attention.

But scientists say they’re also worried about vaping’s effect on teenage brains.

“Unfortunately, the brain problems and challenges may be things that we see later on down the road,” says Nii Addy, associate professor of psychiatry and cellular and molecular physiology at Yale School of Medicine.

Potential problems include attention disorders like ADHD, impulse control issues and susceptibility to substance abuse.

There’s no easy way to study precisely what nicotine is doing in a teenager’s brain. But research on young animals shows that nicotine can interfere with processes that are critical to memory, learning, focus, impulse control and brain development.

“It’s unfortunate that a whole generation of teenagers are basically guinea pigs for the effects of nicotine in the brain,” says Frances Leslie, professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of California, Irvine.

Leslie says the problem is that nicotine mimics acetylcholine, an important chemical messenger in the brain. So nicotine is able to fool brain cells that have something called a nicotinic receptor.

Unfortunately, she says, “those parts of the brain that are actively maturing during adolescence are being actively controlled by nicotinic receptors.”

Nicotine also acts on the brain’s dopamine system, which plays a role in desire, pleasure, reward and impulse control.

It’s still not clear what tweaking the dopamine system does to the brain of an adolescent human.

But in young mice, Leslie says, the result is alarming. “A very brief, low-dose exposure to nicotine in early adolescence increases the rewarding properties of other drugs, including alcohol, cocaine, methamphetamine — and these are long-term changes,” she says.

Of course, nicotine-vaping products also contain lots of other substances, including flavors like bubblegum and pink lemonade. And Addy wonders whether these flavors might offer a dopamine kick of their own.

“If both nicotine and flavors are both acting on this same dopamine system in the brain,” he says, “is that somehow facilitating and making it more likely that people will take products that have both flavors and nicotine?”

So Addy and a team of researchers studied rats that drank plain and flavored liquids containing nicotine.

“What we found is that the sweet flavors can make the nicotine more palatable in the oral cavity,” he says, “but also act in the brain to increase nicotine taking.”

This effect is especially troubling in a teenage brain, Addy says, which is more sensitive than an adult brain to rewards.

Animal research by another Yale University scientist suggests that vaping during adolescence can lead to long-term brain changes, like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Addy says.

“If there’s exposure to nicotine early on, that can influence attentional processes later in life,” he says.

So what might help reduce teen vaping?

One approach is to ban flavored products, something that was proposed by the Trump administration in September.

And if the ban happens, it could reduce the number of new vapers, says Janet Audrain-McGovern, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania.

Research shows that “if the first e-cigarette that you used was flavored, then you’re more likely to go on and use an e-cigarette again,” Audrain-McGovern says.

Another promising approach is to make nicotine-vaping products more expensive. When taxes forced up the price of tobacco products, Audrain-McGovern says, the number of young customers declined.

Finally, Audrain-McGovern thinks it should be harder for teenagers to buy vaping products online.

At the moment, many vaping websites simply ask visitors if they are underage before allowing a sale.

“I don’t think it’s that difficult to click the box that you’re 18 or you’re 21 and, if you have a credit card, to get those products,” Audrain-McGovern says.

In August, Juul Labs launched a program that offers incentives to retailers that implement an age-verification system for customers.

But some measures that helped discourage smoking probably won’t work as well against vaping, Audrain-McGovern says. For example, studies suggest that physically active teens are less likely than their peers to smoke but no less likely to vape.

Another challenge is that it’s hard for scientists and regulators to keep up with the rapid pace of change in the vaping world.

“Teens who maybe four years ago were using predominately vape pens are now using Juul and some of the pod mods,” Audrain-McGovern says.

And those newer products are designed to deliver higher levels of nicotine to the brain. More nicotine makes the products more addictive.

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Mom’s candid photo of blended family goes viral

One Canadian woman who proudly puts family first said she never thought a candid image of her blended family would go viral, and that the overwhelmingly positive response from social media users has taken her by surprise.

Two months ago, Madison Holley and fiancé Cody Pietz welcomed their first child, a baby boy named Waylon. The new mom, who shares son Cade, 3, with her former partner Tyler Mcilveen, quietly took a photo from behind as her toddler happily walked hand-in-hand with his father and Pietz, Good Morning America reports.

In his other hand, Pietz carried little Waylon in an infant car seat, as the blended family left the hospital together, 24 hours after the new baby was born.

Westlake Legal Group blended-family-1-Madison-Holley Mom's candid photo of blended family goes viral Janine Puhak fox-news/lifestyle/parenting fox-news/lifestyle fox news fnc/lifestyle fnc article 922aae9e-0a4a-50c2-9e9d-f5fe617b5831

Two months ago, Madison Holley and fiancé Cody Pietz welcomed their first child, a baby boy named Waylon. The new mom, who shares son Cade, 3, with her former partner Tyler Mcilveen, quietly took a photo from behind as her toddler happily walked hand-in-hand with his father and Pietz.  (Madison Holley)

TODDLER CUTS OFF BABY SISTER’S HAIR, SURPRISED MOM SAYS ‘RAD’ NEW LOOK MATCHES GIRL’S PERSONALITY

“Just because a relationship doesn’t work out between two people DOES NOT mean the relationship with the child shouldn’t. I would never take that away,” the Ontario mother of two wrote in an Oct. 3 Facebook post published by blog Love What Matters.

“Every child needs a mother and father figure and my son Cade just happens to get some extra love,” she continued. “Be civil and co-parent. If you made the child together it’s both your job to raise the child.”

In the days since, the woman’s opinionated take has gone viral with over 148,000 likes, 46,000 shares, and thousands of comments to date.

Westlake Legal Group blended-family-2-Madison-Holley Mom's candid photo of blended family goes viral Janine Puhak fox-news/lifestyle/parenting fox-news/lifestyle fox news fnc/lifestyle fnc article 922aae9e-0a4a-50c2-9e9d-f5fe617b5831

Madison Holley with her young sons, Cade and baby Waylon. (Madison Holley)

Holley said she never expected for the emotional picture to go as far and wide as it did, and that other blended families have since shared with her photos of their own unique crews.

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“We were leaving the hospital after Waylon was born and my son was holding his dad’s hand but he also wanted to hold Cody’s hand,” the parent told People. “I just found that super adorable because they both have important roles in my son’s life.”

“I guess this isn’t something you see every day. I wish that it could be that way for more people.”

— Madison Holley

“That photo captured all the love they have for my son. It was a really nice moment,” she continued, exclaiming that the sudden viral fame “blew my mind!”

In a larger sense, Holley credited some of the smooth co-parenting dynamic she shares with Mcilveen in caring for Cade to a good relationship with his current girlfriend, Karin Gray.

“She’s the reason why everybody turned out the way it did. She helped us all be civil. She helped me to be able to even speak to Tyler again after we broke up,” Holley said of Gray. “Not only did me and her build a friendship, she’s been awesome with my son.”

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Gray also got Holley, Mcilveen and Pietz together at Easter to “talk about how we could make it work,” Holley said, an all-important meeting that Holley is truly grateful for.

“So many people actually struggle with co-parenting. I guess this isn’t something you see every day,” she mused. “I wish that it could be that way for more people.”

Moving forward, Holley said that she hopes their story can inspire other blended families to put any differences aside and embrace a shared commitment to their children.

Westlake Legal Group blended-family-1-Madison-Holley Mom's candid photo of blended family goes viral Janine Puhak fox-news/lifestyle/parenting fox-news/lifestyle fox news fnc/lifestyle fnc article 922aae9e-0a4a-50c2-9e9d-f5fe617b5831   Westlake Legal Group blended-family-1-Madison-Holley Mom's candid photo of blended family goes viral Janine Puhak fox-news/lifestyle/parenting fox-news/lifestyle fox news fnc/lifestyle fnc article 922aae9e-0a4a-50c2-9e9d-f5fe617b5831

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Death Toll Climbs as Turkish Offensive in Syria Enters 2nd Day

SANLIURFA, Turkey — Fighting lit up the sky early Thursday as Turkish troops pressed their air and ground offensive against United States-allied Kurdish fighters in northern Syria. At least 16 Kurds were reported to have been killed, one monitoring group said.

Members of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces were killed in the Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ain areas of northeastern Syria, along with six attackers of unknown identity, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a conflict monitor based in Britain. American troops had withdrawn from both areas on Monday.

An additional 33 members of the Syrian Democratic Forces were wounded, the monitoring group said.

The Turkish military’s move into Syria began on Wednesday, following President Trump’s decision on Sunday to pull American troops out of Turkey’s way, despite disagreement from his own military officers and State Department.

Mr. Trump condemned Turkey’s operation as a “bad idea” on Wednesday and said this week that Turkey, a NATO ally, would face economic punishment if it did anything he considered “off limits.”

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Westlake Legal Group merlin_162430521_87f5b015-689b-4732-b556-a2d35b0f40e7-videoSixteenByNine3000 Death Toll Climbs as Turkish Offensive in Syria Enters 2nd Day United States Defense and Military Forces United Nations Children's Fund Turkey Trump, Donald J Tal Abyad (Syria) Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Syrian Democratic Forces Syria Kurds Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Defense and Military Forces

Turkey has launched attacks in northeastern Syria, aimed at a U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish militia. This attack pits two American allies against each other.CreditCreditBurak Kara/Getty Images

He has not said what such actions might be, but some analysts have considered the killing of Kurdish fighters a potential red line, both for Mr. Trump and for members of Congress who opposed the pullback of American troops. The troops’ presence had been considered a deterrent to an invasion by Turkey, which has long sought to root out American-allied Kurdish forces who were instrumental in the American fight against ISIS.

In the northern Syrian town of Tel Abyad, one of the spots where the fighting was heaviest, videos by residents recorded the rattle of gunfire and streaks of tracer fire over the town.

The Anadolu news agency reported that cannon fire into Tel Abyad decreased through the night. Land forces crossed into the city, and by Thursday morning the streets were silent.

In a statement on Wednesday, Turkey’s defense minister, Hulusi Akar, said the aims of the operation were to “ensure the security of our borders and the safety of our people,” naming Kurdish militias and Islamic State militants as threats.

Six hours of airstrikes ensued, followed by Turkish ground troops crossing the border into Syria.

The fighting threatens to create a humanitarian crisis for hundreds of thousands of people who have been cut off from Syrian assistance for years. Most rely on the Kurdish forces and aid groups for basic services. Civilians jammed roads while fleeing with their possessions on Wednesday.

Henrietta Fore, the executive director of Unicef, said in a statement on Wednesday that the military escalation would have “dramatic consequences” on the ability to provide aid.

“I urge all parties to protect children and the civilian infrastructure on which they depend, in accordance with international human rights and humanitarian law,” she said. “The use of explosive weapons in populated areas causes unacceptable harm to children.”

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Whistleblower lawyers admit client had contact with presidential candidates; Trump wants Turkey to be ‘humane’

Good morning and welcome to Fox News First. Here’s what you need to know as you start your Thursday …

Whistleblower lawyers acknowledge client had ‘contact’ with presidential candidates
The attorneys representing the whistleblower at the center of Democrats’ impeachment inquiry acknowledged in a statement Wednesday that their client “has come into contact with presidential candidates from both parties” — but insisted the contact involved the politicians’ roles as “elected officials – not as candidates.” Mark Zaid and Andrew Bakaj asserted in their statement that the whistleblower “has never worked for or advised a political candidate, campaign or party” — leaving open the possibility that the whistleblower advised a current 2020 Democratic presidential candidate prior to their run for office.

Westlake Legal Group Atkinson101019 Whistleblower lawyers admit client had contact with presidential candidates; Trump wants Turkey to be 'humane' fox-news/columns/fox-news-first fox news fnc/us fnc article 4e190c03-d4f9-582c-ac6a-0d410a51a366

Michael Atkinson, the inspector general of the intelligence community. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

The lawyers’ disclosure came shortly after the Washington Examiner reported that Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson told lawmakers the whistleblower worked “or had some type of professional relationship” with one of the Democratic presidential candidates, citing three sources familiar with Atkinson’s interview with lawmakers on Friday. Click here for more on our top story.

In other developments in the Trump impeachment inquiry: President Trump on Wednesday told reporters that he would cooperate with a formal impeachment inquiry if there is a House vote on the investigation and if Democrats commit to rules he believes are fair. Trump also said Republicans must get a “fair shake.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden for the first time called for the impeachment of President Trump over the Ukrainian controversy. According to a new Fox News poll released Wednesday, just over half of voters want President Trump impeached and removed from office. A new high of 51 percent wants Trump impeached and removed from office, another 4 percent want him impeached but not removed, and 40 percent oppose impeachment altogether.

And in an interview on “Hannity,” Trump’s son Eric noted that former President Barack Obama has been conspicuously silent regarding the link between Ukraine and former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. “He’s the only guy who’s hiding,” Eric Trump said of Obama. “I mean, Joe Biden was his vice president. Where is Obama? What does he think about this rampant corruption?”

Turkey says ground forces advancing in Syria, at least seven civilians among the first deaths reported
Turkish ground forces pressed their advance against Kurdish fighters in northern Syria on Thursday, Turkey’s Defense Ministry said, launching airstrikes and unleashing artillery shelling on Syrian towns and villages the length of its border.. The latest development comes as at least seven civilians and three members of the Kurdish-led force known as the Syrian Democratic Forces were among the first reported deaths Wednesday after Turkey announced that its ground forces invaded northeastern Syria to fight against Kurdish forces.

The ground offensive was part of a wave of initial attacks in the region after President Trump announced the U.S. would withdraw American troops from the area. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the mission was to “neutralize terror threats against Turkey and lead to the establishment of a safe zone, facilitating the return of Syrian refugees to their homes.” After Erdogan announced the offensive, Trump called the operation “a bad idea.” Later Wednesday, he said he didn’t want to be involved in “endless, senseless wars.”

The president told reporters Wednesday that he would do “far more than sanctions” against Turkey if the country didn’t act in the most “humane way as possible,” and that he hoped Erdogan would act rationally. When asked what would happen if Erdogan wiped out the Kurds, Trump threatened to “wipe out” Turkey’s economy, saying he’d done it once before. Click here for more on this story.

Westlake Legal Group matt-lauer Whistleblower lawyers admit client had contact with presidential candidates; Trump wants Turkey to be 'humane' fox-news/columns/fox-news-first fox news fnc/us fnc article 4e190c03-d4f9-582c-ac6a-0d410a51a366

Matt Lauer rape accuser thanks supporters, calls Lauer letter ‘victim blaming’
A former NBC News employee whose rape allegation against Matt Lauer went public for the first time Wednesday posted a Twitter message later in the day, thanking those who supported her decision to come forward with her story. Brooke Nevils, 35, who claims Lauer raped her in a hotel room at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, also excoriated Lauer in a letter to NBC News, calling Lauer’s written denial of her allegations “a case study in victim blaming.” (Click here to read Lauer’s letter.)

Lauer, who was fired from NBC News for sexual misconduct in 2017, is accused of sex crimes reported in graphic detail in journalist Ronan Farrow’s upcoming book “Catch and Kill.” Lauer in a letter provided to Fox News by his lawyer called the rape allegations false and said the sex was consensual.

US-China trade talks may last only one day as tensions flare
The latest trade talks between the United States and China may have cooled before they even started. Originally set for Thursday and Friday, the talks may only last one day, Fox Business has learned. The delegation, led by Vice Premier Liu, will depart for China on Thursday at the conclusion of the talks. It is unclear why talks were shortened so close to the start. However, White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere issued this statement: “We are not aware of a change in the Vice Premier’s travel plans at this time.”

Westlake Legal Group dbdc1d29-PowerOutage101019 Whistleblower lawyers admit client had contact with presidential candidates; Trump wants Turkey to be 'humane' fox-news/columns/fox-news-first fox news fnc/us fnc article 4e190c03-d4f9-582c-ac6a-0d410a51a366

Carlos Lama of Bayside Cafe, which was among businesses to lose power due to PG&E’s public safety power shutoff, uses an LED lamp and light from his phone at the counter of the restaurant in Sausalito, Calif. (Alan Dep/Marin Independent Journal via AP)

PG&E begins second wave of California planned power outages to head off wildfire risk
The largest utility company in California began its second wave of planned power outages to head off wildfire danger from downed power lines Wednesday evening, according to a report. Pacific Gas and Electric Co. delayed the outages planned for noon local time Wednesday in parts of Northern California until after 7 p.m. Around 234,000 customers were expected to lose power in the second wave, Sacramento’s KCRA-TV reported.
 
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SOME PARTING WORDS

Sean Hannity explains that the White House refuses to cooperate with House Democrats’ formal impeachment inquiry because it does not want to legitimize an illegitimate investigation. 
 
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Fox News First is compiled by Fox News’ Bryan Robinson. Thank you for joining us! Enjoy your day! We’ll see you in your inbox first thing on Friday morning.

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Biden campaign slams NY Times for running ‘Clinton Cash’ author’s op-ed on ex-VP’s Ukraine ties

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6093266104001_6093267179001-vs Biden campaign slams NY Times for running 'Clinton Cash' author's op-ed on ex-VP's Ukraine ties fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/joe-biden fox news fnc/politics fnc Brie Stimson article 2a0f55fa-41ea-52de-9184-0ce6646f2f9b

The deputy manager of Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign slammed The New York Times on Wednesday in a letter to the newspaper’s executive editor — blasting the paper’s coverage of the former vice president’s involvement in Ukraine.

The letter, written by Kate Bedingfield to Dean Baquet of the Times, criticizes the paper for “giving top billing” to “Clinton Cash” author Peter Schweizer in a Wednesday op-ed titled, “What Hunter Biden Did Was Legal – That’s the Problem,” CNN reported.

HILLARY ON BIDEN-UKRAINE ALLEGATIONS: ‘FAIR GAME’ TO QUESTION JUDGMENT, BUT ‘NO EVIDENCE’ OF WRONGDOING’

In his article, Schweizer asserts Biden was “self-dealing” in Ukraine while vice president.

Bedingfield goes on to criticize The Times’ Ukraine coverage at large. She writes that the newspaper had an “outsized hand in a baseless conspiracy theory” promoted by Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani that Biden acted inappropriately in helping get rid of a Ukrainian prosecutor.

She then accuses the Times of “active participation” in a “smear campaign” against Biden, citing a May article titled, “Biden Faces Conflict of Interest Questions That Are Being Promoted by Trump and Allies.”

The Times later pushed back against the Biden campaign official’s assertions, according to a statement obtained by CNN.

“Our coverage of the Biden campaign and Hunter Biden has been fair and accurate,” the newspaper wrote, adding it “will continue to cover Joe Biden with the same tough and fair standards we apply to every candidate in the race and we’re happy to sit down with Biden advisers anytime to discuss news coverage.”

The Times’ statement emphasized the Schweizer story was published in the Opinion section, “where their mission is to invite intelligent discussion on a range of opinions and ideas.”

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The Biden campaign also sent letters to Twitter and Facebook on Wednesday, asking them not to run ads from the Trump campaign that promote what it described as conspiracy theories about the Bidens in Ukraine, according to CNN.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6093266104001_6093267179001-vs Biden campaign slams NY Times for running 'Clinton Cash' author's op-ed on ex-VP's Ukraine ties fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/joe-biden fox news fnc/politics fnc Brie Stimson article 2a0f55fa-41ea-52de-9184-0ce6646f2f9b   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6093266104001_6093267179001-vs Biden campaign slams NY Times for running 'Clinton Cash' author's op-ed on ex-VP's Ukraine ties fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/joe-biden fox news fnc/politics fnc Brie Stimson article 2a0f55fa-41ea-52de-9184-0ce6646f2f9b

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Newt Gingrich: The coup against Trump began the day he was elected — This is not an impeachment process

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6093425952001_6093419567001-vs Newt Gingrich: The coup against Trump began the day he was elected -- This is not an impeachment process Newt Gingrich fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 76176df5-66a5-509d-996d-6308a637ed77

The fake impeachment movement taking place is part of an ongoing effort to drive President Trump from office. It is part of a determination on the left that Trump must be expelled from the White House.

This coup attempt – which is exactly what it is – has nothing to do with evidence or any single accusation. As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said when asked what she would do if the whistleblower accusation involving Ukraine collapsed, “We have many other, shall we say, candidates for impeachable offense in terms of the Constitution of the United States, but this one is the most understandable by the public.”

In other words, no matter the evidence and no matter how many times President Trump and his team knock down the attack, there will always be another effort designed to drive him from office.

GREG JARRETT: DID MUELLER LIE TO CONGRESS ABOUT MEETING WITH TRUMP BEFORE HE TOOK THE SPECIAL COUNSEL JOB?

This “destroy President Trump” coup effort developed in the first 24 hours after the 2016 election.

On Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, a left-wing group announced emergency protests against Donald Trump in six cities that day. Within 24 hours of Trump being declared president, left-wing activists were gathering in Chicago, Los Angeles, Sacramento, New York City, San Francisco, and Albuquerque. As the organizers at Act Now to Stop and End Racism (ANSWER) announced:

In a shock result, Donald Trump has been elected president – but the people can rise up and defeat his bigoted, extreme right-wing agenda! The ANSWER Coalition is mobilizing across the country to organize and take part in emergency actions.

More from Opinion

As one of my colleagues discovered, these gatherings were just the beginning. Below, we’ve compiled a partial list of the first week’s intense reaction from the left.

The left’s first reaction was simply to protest Trump’s election. It was essentially a protest against democracy and our electoral system.

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After weeks of sometimes violent protests, the anti-Trump movement realized that simply shouting and causing public nuisance wasn’t going to get them what they wanted. It didn’t take long for the members of the left to find impeachment was the best vehicle for their coup to drive the president from office.

By Dec. 15, about five weeks after the presidential election and roughly five weeks before the presidential inauguration, Vanity Fair published an article by Emily Jane Fox headlined “Democrats are Paving the Way to Impeach Donald Trump.” The focus at that phase of the effort was the family business, the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C. and possible personal financial improprieties (all of which disappeared within a few weeks and were replaced by “Russian collusion” as the focus of Democratic coup efforts).

By the day of the inauguration, January 20, 2017, the impeachment hunger was great enough that the Washington Post headlined Matea Gold’s article “The Campaign to Impeach President Trump Has Begun.”

As I wrote in my bestselling book, “Understanding Trump and Trump’s America,” this effort to drive President Trump from the White House has never been about finding truth. It has always been about subverting the will of the people.

You are not watching an impeachment process. You are in year three of an attempted coup d’etat, which started the day the president was elected. The evidence is there for anyone who wants to look.

Post-Election Protest Timeline

November 9, 2016

“Not Our President’: Protests Erupt Across the Bay Area After Trump’s Stunning Presidential Victory” – NBC Bay Area

“Anti-Trump Alaskans Talk Unity, Look Ahead at Candlelit Gathering” – Anchorage Daily News

“Thousands Join Anti-Trump Protests Around Country” – ABC 13

“Trump Victory Sets Off Protests On Both Coasts” – CBS Miami

“Hundreds Gather in Portland Following Trump’s Victory” – WGME 13

“Anti-Trump Demonstrators Take to DC’s Streets” – NBC Washington

“Anti-Trump Protests in Multiple American Cities Including Winston-Salem” – Fox 8

“Anti-Trump protest takes Tempe streets” – NBC 12

“Fires Erupt, Vandalism Reported at Anti-Trump Protest in Oakland” – ABC 7

“Thousands Protest Trump Election in LA, Block 101 Freeway Downtown” – ABC7

“‘Love Trumps Hate’: Protestors March Through Atlanta After Election” – WXIA

“Donald Trump Victory Sparks Protests in Downtown Detroit” – WXYZ Detroit

“Protests in Major Cities for Second Day After Trump’s Victory” – CBS News

“Anti-Trump Protests Break At The University Of Michigan” – NBC 6

“Anti-Trump Protesters March Through Richmond For 2nd Night” – NBC 12

“Nationwide Protests Continue as Obama and Trump Strike Conciliatory Tone” – NBC

“Oxnard Students Took To The Streets Protesting Trump” – VC Star

“#NotMyPresident Protests in Downtown Greensboro” – WFMY News

“Louisville’s “Not My President” Protest Wraps Up” – WLKY

“Hundreds of Anti-Trump Protesters Close Down I-94 in Minneapolis” – CBS Minnesota

“Anti-Trump Demonstrations Continue in Philadelphia for Second Night” – CBS Philly

“Anti-Trump Protesters March to Iowa Capital” – The Des Moines Register

“Students Hold Anti-Trump Protests at Texas State University” – KSAT 12

“‘Ignite Your Right: Humanity Against Trump’ Protest Friday at UMass” – Amherst Wire

November 11, 2016

“Second Anti-Trump Protest of The Day Takes to Nashville Streets” – The Tennessean

“More North Texas Anti-Trump Protests Planned Tonight” – CBS DFW 11

“Anti-Trump Protesters Gather in Downtown Miami, Block Traffic” – CBS Miami

“Anti-Trump Protesters Take To The Streets In Grand Rapids” – The Collegiate

“Denver High School Students Walk Out of Class in Anti-Trump Protest” – The Denver Channel

“Vanderbilt Students Protest Trump, Shout ‘Not My President’” – The Tennessean

“Anti-Trump Protesters Block I-80 in Iowa City” – KCRG

“Anti-Trump Protesters Gathered in Southwest Bakersfield Friday” – 23 ABC Bakersfield

“200 Gather In Burlington For Afternoon Anti-Trump Rally” – The Burlington Free Press

“Round Three of Anti-Trump Protests in Dallas” – WFAA

“Dallas And Fort Worth Streets Filled With Anti-Trump Protesters For Third Day” – WFAA

“Anti-Trump Protests Flare in Large US Cities for 3rd Day” – VOA News

“Protesters in Royal Oak March Against Trump and Bigotry” – The Detroit Free Press

“Dozens Protest in Olympia: ‘No KKK, No Fascist USA, No Trump’” – My Northwest

“SUNY New Paltz Students Protest Trump Presidency” – The Times Herald-Record

“Anti-Trump Protests in Michigan and Around the Nation” – The Detroit News

“Anti-Trump Protests Held in CT” – Eyewitness News 3

November 12, 2016

“Not Their President: UI Students Protest Trump’s Election” – The News Gazette

“Anti-Trump protests at UNCG, UNCW” – WCNC Greensboro, SC

“Students Hold Anti-Trump Protest on Campus” – WECT 6 News Wilmington, NC

“Anti-Trump Protest: Marchers Burn American Flag, Fail to Block Interstate” – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“Trump Protesters Take Over Downtown San Antonio” – My San Antonio

“Anti-Trump Protesters March at VCU: ‘We Do Not Respect Blatant Sexism’” – CBS 6

“U.S. Protesters March Against Trump Presidency for Fifth Day” – Reuters

“8,000 Anti-Trump Marchers Flood Downtown Los Angeles; Many Fear Immigration Policy” – The Los Angeles Times

“Thousands Protest Against Trump in Chicago” – WGN9

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November 13, 2016

“7 Arrested In Indianapolis Anti-Trump Protest, Where Hundreds Gathered” – USA Today

“Day Five of Anti-Trump: Protests Continue in a Number of Cities” – NBC

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM NEWT GINGRICH

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6093425952001_6093419567001-vs Newt Gingrich: The coup against Trump began the day he was elected -- This is not an impeachment process Newt Gingrich fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 76176df5-66a5-509d-996d-6308a637ed77   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6093425952001_6093419567001-vs Newt Gingrich: The coup against Trump began the day he was elected -- This is not an impeachment process Newt Gingrich fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 76176df5-66a5-509d-996d-6308a637ed77

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The Radical Manifesto Embraced by Google Workers and Uber Drivers

Just before 20,000 Google employees left their desks last fall to protest the company’s handling of sexual harassment, a debate broke out among the hundreds of workers involved in formulating a list of demands.

Some workers argued that they could win fairer pay policies and a full accounting of harassment claims by filing lawsuits or seeking to unionize.

But the argument that gained the upper hand, especially as the debate escalated in the weeks after the walkout, held that those approaches would be futile, according to two people involved. Those who felt this way contended that only a less formal, worker-led organization could succeed, by waging mass resistance or implicitly threatening to do so.

This view, based on century-old ideas, did not emerge in a vacuum. It can be traced in part to a book called “Labor Law for the Rank and Filer,” which many Googlers had read and discussed.

Its authors are a longtime labor historian, Staughton Lynd, and an organizer, Daniel Gross. They identify with a strain of unionism popularized in the early 1900s by the Industrial Workers of the World, a radical labor group known as the Wobblies that defined itself in opposition to mainstream trade unions.

The book has been “incredibly helpful in thinking through options for action, ways of building collective power, and giving workers who often aren’t familiar with labor law some working knowledge that can guide decision making,” said Meredith Whittaker, a leader of the walkout who left Google in July after more than a dozen years at the company.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 09pamphlet4-articleLarge The Radical Manifesto Embraced by Google Workers and Uber Drivers Strikes Organized Labor Lynd, Staughton Labor and Jobs Industrial Workers of the World Gross, Daniel Demonstrations, Protests and Riots

Staughton Lynd, a historian long active in labor and civil-rights causes, wrote the first edition of “Labor Law for the Rank and Filer” in 1978. He turns 90 next month.CreditDustin Franz for The New York Times

And Googlers aren’t the only ones who have drawn inspiration from the book. Workers at the crowdfunding company Kickstarter, the site of a recent union campaign, have studied it. Organizers with one of the largest Uber driver groups say the ideas have influenced them as well.

Ares Geovanos, a longtime volunteer for the Tech Workers Coalition, which seeks to organize workers across the industry, said the book’s key contention — that a dedicated group of employees can accomplish more through actions like strikes than by formal efforts to certify a union — had gained traction partly because it reflects reality: Most tech workers have traditionally been reluctant to organize.

“A lot of the struggles will necessarily be with a strong minority due to the narratives around working in the industry and ideological baggage of the work force,” Mr. Geovanos said by email. He said he first stumbled across “Labor Law for the Rank and Filer” while searching online for a do-it-yourself guide to organizing. His group later led training sessions based on the book that Google workers attended.

Mr. Lynd and Mr. Gross lay out a practical guide for staging a kind of workplace revolution that upends the balance of power between management and labor.

They explain, for example, when striking workers enjoy strong legal protections (in taking aim at unfair labor practices like retaliation) and when they are more exposed (in strikes focused strictly on economic demands). They discuss the circumstances under which workers can take their concerns to the media, such as a news conference in which coffee shop employees disclosed evidence of rat and insect infestations.

But more broadly, the book serves as a polemic contrasting mainstream “business unions” with what the Wobblies refer to as “solidarity unions” — that is, worker-led groups that are not typically certified as exclusive bargaining agents under federal law and therefore don’t need to win majority support to exist.

The business union “is controlled from the top down by officers and staff (usually white males) who are not regularly employed at the workplace,” Mr. Lynd and Mr. Gross write. They complain that a business union is preoccupied with achieving a bargaining agreement that requires workers to give up the right to strike and any say in the company’s major decisions.

When there is trouble at the workplace, they write, “the union member calls a steward or business agent and hopes that some bureaucratic process disconnected from the rank and file will right the wrong.”

In a solidarity union, by contrast, the workers “decide together on a course of direct action to right the wrong, which the workers will lead.” Solidarity unions may seek written agreements with management, but they are loath to make them overly comprehensive, at the risk of letting management get too comfortable.

Mr. Lynd, who will turn 90 in November, is something of a Forrest Gump figure in progressive politics. He taught history at Spelman College in Atlanta in the early 1960s and served as director of the Freedom Schools program in Mississippi, which brought activists from around the country to help teach and organize African-American students.

He joined the Yale faculty in 1964 but found himself without tenure prospects after making a trip to Hanoi with the antiwar activist Tom Hayden during the Vietnam War.

He and his wife, Alice, moved to Chicago, but he struggled to land another faculty position. “I was kicked out of academia,” Mr. Lynd said. They took jobs with the organizer Saul Alinsky, and Mr. Lynd later attended law school there. In the mid-1970s they moved to the Youngstown, Ohio, area, where Mr. Lynd represented workers and later prisoners, and have lived there ever since. Mr. Lynd’s first edition of “Labor Law for the Rank and Filer” was published in 1978.

In the early 2000s, he met Mr. Gross, nearly 50 years his junior, during a trip to Brooklyn for a conference. They stayed in touch after Mr. Gross went to work at Starbucks, where he was fired in 2006 while helping to lead a solidarity union that he co-founded, the IWW Starbucks Workers Union.

“I was an all-star barista, and all of a sudden they thought I forgot how to make a cup of coffee,” Mr. Gross said. Starbucks declined to comment for this article, but said at the time that Mr. Gross had been fired for an inappropriate remark to a manager. Mr. Gross said the remark was a simple plea not to fire a colleague.

Mr. Gross, who later graduated from Fordham Law School, prefers unpretentious professional titles. More than once in our conversation he used “fellow worker” as an honorific, as someone might use “doctor” or “professor.” “Fellow Worker Little was another martyr in the copper industry,” he said, alluding to Frank Little, a revered organizer in the Wobblies’ heyday.

Since law school, Mr. Gross has led Brandworkers, a group that organizes employees in the specialty food-making business. On a Saturday in August, he joined workers in leafleting outside a Manhattan cafe over its patronage of a bakery that the group accuses of hurting workers by mishandling an immigration audit.

Mr. Gross collaborated on a revised edition of “Labor Law for the Rank and Filer” with Mr. Lynd in 2008, with an update in 2011. About three years ago, Mr. Geovanos of the Tech Workers Coalition came across the book, and the group incorporated it into a seminar that became the basis of a standard training session.

Mr. Geovanos said tech workers were quick to absorb the book’s lessons. “We do breakout exercises and scenarios based on the material so I get to see people apply the learnings immediately,” he said by email.

While applauding the grass-roots organizing that the book has helped inspire, union leaders have cautioned that solidarity unions can be exhausting for workers to sustain and that they leave workers vulnerable to company retaliation. “You don’t have the law behind you to protect you like you would if you have recognized agents like a union,” Liz Shuler, the secretary-treasurer of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., said in an interview.

But many Google activists have come to share Mr. Lynd’s and Mr. Gross’s ambivalence about traditional unions. “They can work for some workers, but we need to be thinking about the organizational form we’re adopting and how to build power for the long run,” Ms. Whittaker said.

Ivan Pardo, a leader of Rideshare Drivers United, a group representing more than 5,000 Uber and Lyft drivers in Southern California, said the views of Mr. Gross, with whom he speaks regularly, “definitely pervaded the way I think.”

Mr. Pardo’s group has criticized efforts by mainstream unions to broker a deal with Uber and Lyft that would allow drivers to organize but could require them to give up other rights. He said Mr. Gross had helped give him confidence that drivers could have influence by building their own organization and striking and protesting rather than making such concessions.

Mr. Gross sees a key advantage of the solidarity model in some of the recent successes by nonunionized workers. The need to win a majority of workers, typically in a secret ballot election, makes formally certified unions relatively easy to resist, he said. If a company hangs on through the election, union organizers often pack up and leave.

But solidarity unions can challenge employers for years without an election. “What Uber and Lyft workers are doing, what tech workers are doing, game workers,” he said, “it’s very resilient and robust and very difficult to stamp out. There’s no institution that’s going to call it quits one day.”

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Two Rudy Giuliani associates who once dined with Donald Trump enter fray of impeachment inquiry

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Two Rudy Giuliani associates who once dined with Donald Trump enter fray of impeachment inquiry

Ensnarled in an impeachment probe over his request for Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, President Donald Trump is now calling on another nation to do the same: China. There is no evidence of any wrongdoing by the Bidens. (Oct. 3) AP, AP

WASHINGTON – Two Ukrainian-born business partners, who showered Republican campaign committees with nearly $500,000 and dined with President Donald Trump at the White House, are the latest witnesses House Democrats want to question in their impeachment inquiry.

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman helped Rudy Giuliani meet a key Ukrainian prosecutor as the president’s personal lawyer sought to discredit Trump’s political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.

Parnas and Fruman, who were born in Ukraine when it was part of the Soviet Union but who now live in Florida, have become political players in recent years. In May 2018, Parnas posted pictures on Facebook of himself and Fruman with Trump in the White House and with his son, Donald Trump Jr., in California. That was the same month their company, Global Energy Producers LLC, was credited for giving $325,000 to a campaign committee that supports Trump’s re-election.

But in a legal dust-up that appears unrelated to the Ukraine scandal, the campaign contribution sparked a complaint to the Federal Election Commission – and at least two lawsuits – because of questions about the source of the money. Despite the generous political contributions, Parnas faces a $510,000 federal judgment in a case over a debt for a movie that never got made.

Three House committees – Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, and Oversight and Reform – scheduled depositions Thursday with Parnas and Friday with Fruman to ask how they fit in with Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. Those panels have also subpoenaed documents from Giuliani and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

But Parnas and Fruman are not expected to appear, after their lawyer John Dowd notified the committees that they were given too little notice to prepare.

Why role did Parnas and Fruman play?

The impeachment investigation has focused on a July 25 phone call in which Trump urged Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Biden. Text messages between top State Department officials suggested the demand was a trade-off for nearly $400 million in military aid.

But Trump has tweeted that as president, he has “an absolute right, perhaps even a duty,” to investigate corruption. He has defended his discussion with Zelensky as a “perfect” call and has said there was no quid pro quo between the request to investigate Biden and the military aid.

White House counsel Pat Cipollone notified House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and the three committee chairmen on Tuesday that Trump would not cooperate with an investigation he considers “partisan” and unfair.

More: A diagram of events in the impeachment inquiry of President Trump

Parnas and Fruman drew the congressional spotlight because they helped arrange a January meeting in New York between Giuliani and Ukraine’s then-prosecutor general, Yuri Lutsenko, according to multiple Ukrainian media reports.

Lutsenko is at the heart of the impeachment inquiry because Trump and Giuliani have pushed an unsubstantiated claim that Biden urged the prosecutor’s removal in 2016 to thwart an investigation into a company tied to his son, Hunter Biden. Biden has denied wrongdoing and Lutsenko has told The Washington Post that Hunter Biden “did not violate anything.”

Dowd, the lawyer who represents Parnas and Fruman, told the Intelligence Committee by letter Oct. 3 that they couldn’t meet a Monday deadline for documents and communications because the men were also represented by Giuliani and the material might be protected by attorney-client privilege.

“Your request for documents and communications is overly broad and unduly burdensome,” Dowd told the panel, calling the request an effort to “harass, intimidate and embarrass my clients.” Dowd said the committee should recognize “some semblance of due process, fairness, justice and common decency.”

Parnas earlier told The Miami Herald the impeachment inquiry is a “soap opera” and he defended Trump.

“I got certain information and I thought it was my duty to hand it over,” Parnas told The Herald.

If Parnas and Fruman refuse to testify, the committees could subpoena them. Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, was subpoenaed Tuesday after refusing to appear to describe his role in dealings with Ukraine.

Parnas, Fruman support Trump

The $325,000 campaign contribution May 17, 2018, took a wayward path to America First Action, a political-action committee that supports Trump’s re-election. The contribution was attributed to the company Global Energy Producers LLC on the committee’s report to the Federal Election Commission. Parnas was listed as CEO of the company and Fruman as president, in other campaign documents.

But The Associated Press found the money actually came from a different corporate entity, Aaron Investments I LLC, which was managed by Parnas and his wife. Aaron Investments had received $1.2 million from the proceeds of a private mortgage May 15, 2018, secured by a condo unit in North Miami Beach owned by a separate corporation tied to Fruman, according to AP. Wire-transfer records show $325,000 was then wired from Aaron Investments to America First Action, even though the contribution was credited to Global Energy Producers.

Four days after the contribution, on May 21, 2018, Parnas posted a picture on Facebook of himself with Fruman and Donald Trump Jr. at a breakfast at the Beverly Hills Polo Lounge in California. “Power Breakfast!!!” the caption said. Parnas had previously posted a picture of himself with Trump at the White House on May 1, describing an “incredible dinner and even better conversation.”

The Campaign Legal Center, a non-partisan campaign finance watchdog based in Washington, filed a complaint with the FEC in July 2018 arguing that Global Energy Producers shielded the source of the political contribution. Under federal law, contributions must be attributed to the person or entity providing the money, to avoid straw donations.

Parnas and Fruman were also generous to a variety of Republican campaign groups. Parnas has contributed nearly $125,000 since October 2016 and Fruman more than $44,000, according to FEC records. 

A legal case right out of the movies

The large political contributions also prompted at least two lawsuits against Parnas for unpaid debts.

A Florida man named Felix Vulis filed a state lawsuit in March against Fruman, Parnas and Global Energy Producers seeking repayment of a $100,000 loan that was provided to help the business achieve the goal of becoming the country’s biggest exported of liquid natural gas. Vulis wrote a check Oct. 1, 2018, that was supposed to be repaid by Dec. 1, 2018, but wasn’t, according to the lawsuit. Both sides said the case was settled amicably Aug. 23.

A thornier case lingers from a federal judgment that Parnas owes for a movie that never got made.

The Pues Family Trust IRA filed a federal lawsuit in 2011 in New York City seeking repayment of a $350,000 loan to Parnas. The trust’s executor, Michael Pues, described the money in court documents as a bridge loan for a movie with the working title “Anatomy of an Assassin,” while Parnas found more investors.

But Parnas denied in a court filing that the money was ever a loan. Parnas said the movie, which he said was going to be called “Memory of a Killer,” fell apart because of financing problems, including Pues not contributing $1 million as promised.

In any event, a “final judgment” in the federal case in March 2016 ordered Parnas to pay the Pues Family Trust $510,435 for the loan and 9% annual interest.

After learning of the political contribution, Pues asked a federal court in Florida in January 2019 to enforce the unpaid judgment. Pues is asking the court to undo the political contribution related to Global Energy Producers, Aaron Investments I and America First Action, so the judgment can be partially repaid.

America First Action said in a July filing that it objected to the lawsuit’s claim that the $325,000 contribution came from Aaron Investments rather than Global Energy Producers. But the committee said it would provide documents that related to the wire transfer.

Parnas has argued against a subpoena for Global Energy Producers in the case, saying the company wasn’t involved in the case that led to the New York judgment.

More about the impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump:

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

Read the summary of President Trump’s call with Ukraine president about Biden

Nancy Pelosi announces formal impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump over Ukraine scandal

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