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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 127)

Colombia Is Turning Into A Major Medical Marijuana Producer

Westlake Legal Group foto-cultivo-prensa_custom-a5485d2b5b537ec7f08f0253c2cf2cca5a7ba4b9-s1100-c15 Colombia Is Turning Into A Major Medical Marijuana Producer

Workers prune marijuana plants at a Clever Leaves greenhouse in Pesca, Colombia. The company employs over 450 people. Courtesy of Clever Leaves hide caption

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Courtesy of Clever Leaves

Westlake Legal Group  Colombia Is Turning Into A Major Medical Marijuana Producer

Workers prune marijuana plants at a Clever Leaves greenhouse in Pesca, Colombia. The company employs over 450 people.

Courtesy of Clever Leaves

Patricia Santiago and her family were forced to flee their home near Colombia’s Caribbean coast after complaining about neighborhood dope dealers who, in turn, threatened to kill them. But in an odd twist, Santiago now works in the drug trade — at a medical marijuana facility.

At first, Santiago felt like she was breaking the law as she pruned and clipped cannabis plants on a plantation run by a Colombian firm called Clever Leaves. However, the government legalized medical marijuana in 2016 and now Clever Leaves is exporting cannabis-based products to Canada and the United Kingdom.

Rather than a symbol of the country’s dark past of narco-fueled violence, Santiago smiles and says, Colombian drugs “can now be used to treat people.”

At least that’s the bet of a growing number of entrepreneurs who are building vast marijuana plantations and state-of-the-art pharmaceutical laboratories that produce everything from cannabis-based pain relievers for cancer patients to dog treats that act as calming agents.

Other countries are passing laws to permit the production, import and export of medical marijuana but Colombia has a leg up because it did so three years ago, says Rodrigo Arcila, president of the Colombian Cannabis Industry Association. He said the group’s 29 member companies have invested more than $600 million in building medical marijuana facilities.

Arcila maintains that Colombia can produce cannabis products at lower prices than competitors due to affordable land, relatively low wages and an abundance of skilled farm hands who cut their teeth in Colombia’s booming flower business.

Colombia sits near the equator, giving it 12 hours of daily sunlight year-round. By contrast, countries with seasonal variations require the extensive use of artificial lights, which drives up production costs.

“This is a marvelous opportunity in a country where drugs have caused so many problems,” Arcila says.

Colombia is already well-known as a major marijuana supplier. In the 1960s and 1970s, tons of illegal Colombian cannabis, mostly grown in the Sierra Nevada mountains near the Caribbean coast, were smuggled into the United States.

But marijuana traffickers, including the late drug lord Pablo Escobar, soon switched to cocaine, which was far more profitable. That made Colombia ground zero for the war on drugs, a conflict that in the 1980s and ’90s killed thousands of Colombians, police and army soldiers, anti-drug agents, judges and politicians.

In recent years Colombia — like Canada, several European and Latin American nations and many U.S. states — has taken a more permissive stance on pot. Since the mid-1990s, Colombian courts have upheld the right of individuals to possess up to 20 grams of marijuana, though a government decree last year banned people from using drugs in public.

Westlake Legal Group aerea-cultivo-13-hras-detalle-d3cb990b4c3632c1619a02e4649a39f9a54647fc-s1100-c15 Colombia Is Turning Into A Major Medical Marijuana Producer

An aerial view of the Clever Leaves plantation in Pesca. It currently covers 37 acres and plans to expand cultivation to over 200 acres of marijuana plants by 2021. Courtesy of Clever Leaves hide caption

toggle caption

Courtesy of Clever Leaves

Westlake Legal Group  Colombia Is Turning Into A Major Medical Marijuana Producer

An aerial view of the Clever Leaves plantation in Pesca. It currently covers 37 acres and plans to expand cultivation to over 200 acres of marijuana plants by 2021.

Courtesy of Clever Leaves

As an emerging venture it’s unclear how the medical marijuana business will play out. For example, it remains illegal to import marijuana-based products into the United States. Due to government bureaucracy in Colombia, it can take months or years for startups to secure the proper permits and licenses.

Yet the uncertainty hasn’t stopped companies from betting big on cannabis. Khiron, a Canadian firm founded in 2017 and based in Colombia’s capital of Bogotá, now has marijuana plantations in this country as well as Chile and Uruguay. CEO Álvaro Torres, a 40-year-old Colombian engineer, says one reason he got involved in the business was the occurrence of so many high-profile deaths, including the music star Prince, from opioid-based drugs.

“So I look at that and say: ‘Why not cannabis which has less hazardous effects for the body?” Torres says.

Westlake Legal Group whatsapp-image-2019-09-03-at-8.50.24-am-719859322b743201bdd90aab889eef01fc36237a-s1100-c15 Colombia Is Turning Into A Major Medical Marijuana Producer

Julián Wilches is the co-founder of Clever Leaves. Before getting into medical marijuana, he used to work on drug policy at Colombia’s Justice Ministry. John Otis for NPR hide caption

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John Otis for NPR

Westlake Legal Group  Colombia Is Turning Into A Major Medical Marijuana Producer

Julián Wilches is the co-founder of Clever Leaves. Before getting into medical marijuana, he used to work on drug policy at Colombia’s Justice Ministry.

John Otis for NPR

Julián Wilches, who co-founded Clever Leaves in 2016, used to work for the Colombian Justice Ministry combating the illegal narcotics industry. But he has fully embraced medical cannabis.

“I feel great about doing this,” Wilches says during a tour of the Clever Leaves facility in the town of Pesca, a four-hour drive from Bogotá. “This is the right way to use controlled substances.”

The land around Pesca has long been used for potato and dairy farming, but it’s now home to 37 acres of marijuana bushes. Clever Leaves intends to increase the acreage to more than 200 by 2021, in its quest to become the world’s largest medical marijuana company.

Inside green houses, Clever Leaves workers wearing smocks and rubber gloves water, prune and clip the cannabis plants which grow to a height of about five feet before they are harvested. The flowers, which are rich in chemical compounds called cannabinoids, are then dried and ground into a powder that is turned into oils, extracts and crystals at a Clever Leaves laboratory.

“Pharmaceuticals always come from the global north to South America to Africa to Asia,” Wilches says “This is something that is changing that model. This is from Colombia to the world.”

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Mollie Hemingway: Biden likely won’t be nominee, Warren would be better candidate than Clinton was

Westlake Legal Group Biden-Hemmingway-Warren Mollie Hemingway: Biden likely won't be nominee, Warren would be better candidate than Clinton was Sam Dorman fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article aa4624f5-2c3c-5293-ac91-8631dad7d120

Author Mollie Hemingway claimed that 2020 was President Trump’s election to lose and that former Vice President Joe Biden was such a bad candidate, it would be incredibly difficult for him to compete against the president.

“I do not see how he could even hope to compete against Donald Trump,” Hemingway said during Thursday’s “Hemmer Time” podcast.

She added that the more that Democratic voters saw Biden committing gaffes, the “more they’re going to be nervous.”

Despite Biden’s strong polling numbers and relationships with donors, Hemingway predicted that the former vice president likely wouldn’t even win the party’s nomination.

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE ‘HEMMER TIME’ PODCAST

Hemingway pointed to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., saying she was running “an incredibly smart campaign” and could appeal more to the increasing numbers of single women who held sway over the party’s direction.

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Warren, Hemingway said, would be a better candidate than former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was in 2016, but not necessarily good enough to beat Trump.

“Hillary Clinton — people underestimated just how much legitimate baggage she had going back decades. People had built up a really long list of reasons for why they didn’t like Hillary Clinton,” Heminway told Fox News host Bill Hemmer.

Trump’s campaign, according to Hemingway, had to worry about maintaining the vote among suburban women who were emotionally turned off by his rhetoric on Twitter.

‘JUSTICE ON TRIAL’ EXCERPT: MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, CARRIE SEVERINO REVEAL HOW KAVANAUGH CONFIRMATION WAS SAVED

She said that even if Trump continued using inflammatory rhetoric, however, voters could still support the president given how extreme the Democratic Party was becoming. Trump’s 2016 voters would also likely support him again — in addition to conservatives who refused to back him during his initial run.

“You had people who really were Republican or really were conservative and they didn’t trust Donald Trump or they didn’t like his rhetoric — they now have had three years to witness how he governs. They’re probably really happy with that,” she said.

“I mean, no matter the issue, if it’s deregulation or tax reform or pro-life issues or judges or any of these issues — they could not be happier. You’re getting better results with Donald Trump — inexplicably — than you got with people who really talked the talk and had been lifelong conservatives.”

Hemingway also argued that media outlets had failed to learn lessons after the 2016 election.

MOLLIE HEMINGWAY SLAMS ANTI-TRUMP HOST LAWRENCE O’DONNELL FOLLOWING ON-AIR APOLOGY: ‘EMBARRASSING AND SAD’

“They responded to their obvious failures in 2016 by getting worse,” Hemingway said. “You would have thought that what they would have done was improve — focus on facts as opposed to pushing a narrative, hiring people who don’t share their far-left views, making structural changes in the newsroom,” she said.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

She added that the media instead “rolled right into the Russia collusion hoax where they argued for years that the reasonable explanation for their failures was not that they didn’t know what was going on in the country but that Donald Trump was the Manchurian candidate who had secretly conspired with Russians to steal the 2016 election.”

Rather than admitting fault with the Russia narrative, she said, the media was hopping onto a Democratic narrative that accused people who didn’t share their politics of racism.

Listen to the full interview on the latest episode of “Hemmer Time” here, and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

Westlake Legal Group Biden-Hemmingway-Warren Mollie Hemingway: Biden likely won't be nominee, Warren would be better candidate than Clinton was Sam Dorman fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article aa4624f5-2c3c-5293-ac91-8631dad7d120   Westlake Legal Group Biden-Hemmingway-Warren Mollie Hemingway: Biden likely won't be nominee, Warren would be better candidate than Clinton was Sam Dorman fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article aa4624f5-2c3c-5293-ac91-8631dad7d120

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Ellie Goulding shows off her six pack while on honeymoon

Ellie Goulding showed fans her impressively toned figure in the first shot from her honeymoon.

The singer, 32, stripped down to a navy bikini and black trainers as she admired the picturesque view on her romantic getaway.

A sailing ship passed behind her in turquoise water and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.

‘MODERN FAMILY’ STAR ARIEL WINTER SHOWS OFF ABS IN INSTAGRAM POST: ‘YOU LOOK BEAUTIFUL’

Loved-up Ellie’s famously voluminous blonde hair blew gently in the breeze and her six-pack looked chiseled.

Westlake Legal Group ellie-goulding-bikini Ellie Goulding shows off her six pack while on honeymoon The Sun fox-news/entertainment/style fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fnc/entertainment fnc article a473419e-bdee-56de-a062-72d3b010f7cb

Ellie, 32, enjoying her honeymoon.  (Instagram)

Last Saturday Ellie glowed with happiness as she shared a kiss with new husband Caspar Jopling after tying the knot at York Minster.

The “Love Me Like You Do” singer arrived at her star-studded wedding in York in a gothic-style white gown.

Arriving in a blue VW camper van, Ellie was greeted by her bridesmaids, who all wore white long-sleeved white dresses.

The singer’s gown featured a high, ruffled neck, long sleeves and pearl floral detailing throughout.

TOM BRADY, MARIO LOPEZ THIRST OVER MARK WAHLBERG’S INCREDIBLE ABS

She added a long white veil and carried a bouquet of white roses.

As she climbed the steps of the Minster, her bridesmaids helped fan out the train of her dress.

After exchanging vows, the newlyweds shared their first kiss as man and wife at the altar, the stunning windows filling the space with light as their loved ones watched on.

The couple then headed outside for photographs, and Ellie couldn’t hide her delight at becoming Mrs. Jopling.

The singer planted a kiss on her new husband’s lips before they posed for more photographs.

Ellie invited a star-studded array of guests from the world of music and showbiz as well as members of the Royal Family after Princess Eugenie reportedly introduced the couple.

Fellow singer Katy Perry, 34, arrived with actor fiance Orlando Bloom, 42, and opted for a tie-dye patterned dress with a mint green jacket over the top.

HALLE BERRY ENJOYS ‘SOME ME TIME’ AS SHE STUNS IN A SHEER SWIMSUIT

The star added a colorful hairband, hoop earrings, and pink kitten heels to complete her wedding look, and held hands with Orlando as they smiled to the waiting crowds and headed inside the Minster.

Also in attendance was singer James Blunt, who arrived with his wife Sofia Wellesley, as well as comedian Jimmy Carr.

Fitness fanatic Ellie also invited The Body Coach Joe Wicks, who looked dapper in his suit as he arrived with his fiancee Rosie Jones.

The groom arrived around the same time as the guests, looking smart in his wedding suit with a white rose in his lapel.

Caspar Jopling, an arts dealer, looked relatively relaxed on his big day, smiling and sharing a joke with his friends before heading inside to await his bride.

Princess Beatrice, sister of the couple’s reported matchmaker Princess Eugenie, opted for a dark green dress with ruffled sleeves as she waved to the crowds on the steps of the Minster.

She was joined by her mother, Sarah Ferguson, with the wedding marking the first time she has broken cover since her ex Prince Andrew first faced scrutiny over his relationship with paedo financier Jeffrey Epstein.

Ellie and Caspar, 27, first started dating in 2017, after their mutual friend Princess Eugenie reportedly introduced them.

This story originally appeared in The Sun

Westlake Legal Group ellieg Ellie Goulding shows off her six pack while on honeymoon The Sun fox-news/entertainment/style fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fnc/entertainment fnc article a473419e-bdee-56de-a062-72d3b010f7cb   Westlake Legal Group ellieg Ellie Goulding shows off her six pack while on honeymoon The Sun fox-news/entertainment/style fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fnc/entertainment fnc article a473419e-bdee-56de-a062-72d3b010f7cb

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Iran Now Using Advanced Centrifuges, Inching Closer To A Nuclear Weapon

Westlake Legal Group 5d739ef92400002d2277c633 Iran Now Using Advanced Centrifuges, Inching Closer To A Nuclear Weapon

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran has begun using arrays of advanced centrifuges to enrich uranium in violation of its 2015 nuclear deal, a spokesman said Saturday, warning that Europe has little time left to offer new terms to save the accord.

The comments by Behrouz Kamalvandi of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran signal a further cut into the one year experts estimate Tehran would need to have enough material for building a nuclear weapon if it chose to pursue one. Iran maintains its program is peaceful.

Iran already has breached the stockpile and enrichment level limits set by the deal, while stressing it could quickly revert back to the terms of the accord if Europe finds a way for it to sell its crude oil abroad despite crushing U.S. sanctions. However, questions likely will grow in Europe over Iran’s intentions as satellite photos obtained by The Associated Press on Saturday showed an once-detained oil tanker Tehran reportedly promised wouldn’t go to Syria was off its coast.

Tensions between Iran and the U.S. have risen in recent months, with mysterious attacks on oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, Iran shooting down a U.S. military surveillance drone, and other incidents across the wider Middle East. Iran separately seized another ship and detained 12 Filipino crewmembers, a semi-official news agency reported Saturday.

“Our stockpile is quickly increasing,” Kamalvandi warned in a news conference. “We hope they will come to their senses.”

The accord saw Iran limits its enrichment of uranium in exchange for sanctions relief. Among the limitations was a requirement that Iran use only 5,060 first-generation IR-1 centrifuges. A centrifuge is a device that enriches uranium by rapidly spinning uranium hexafluoride gas.

Today, Iran has begun using an array of 20 IR-6 centrifuges and another 20 of IR-4 centrifuges, Kamalvandi said. An IR-6 can produce enriched uranium 10 times as fast as an IR-1, Iranian officials say, while an IR-4 produces five times as fast.

Iran already has increased its enrichment up to 4.5%, above the 3.67% allowed under the deal. Using advanced centrifuges means a shorter time would be needed to push up its enrichment.

Kamalvandi said Iran had the ability to go beyond 20% enrichment of uranium. Experts say 20% is just a short technical step away from weapons-grade levels of 90% enrichment.

While Kamalvandi stressed that “the Islamic Republic is not after the bomb,” he warned that Iran was running out of ways to stay in the accord.

“If Europeans want to make any decision, they should do it soon,” he said.

Kamalvandi also said Iran would allow U.N. inspectors to continue to monitor sites in the country. A top official from the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency was expected to meet with Iranian officials in Tehran on Sunday.

The IAEA said Saturday it was aware of Iran’s announcement and “agency inspectors are on the ground in Iran and they will report any relevant activities to IAEA headquarters in Vienna.”

Kamalvandi made the remarks in a news conference carried on live television. He spoke from a podium with advanced centrifuges standing next to him.

In Paris, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Iran’s announcement wasn’t a surprise.

“The Iranians are going to pursue what the Iranians have always intended to pursue,” Esper said at a news conference with his French counterpart, Florence Parly.

Meanwhile Saturday, satellite images showed a once-detained Iranian oil tanker pursued by the U.S. appears to be off the coast of Syria, where Tehran reportedly promised the vessel would not go when authorities in Gibraltar agreed to release it several weeks ago. Iran later seized a British-flagged oil tanker which it still holds.

The tanker Adrian Darya-1, formerly known as the Grace-1, turned off its Automatic Identification System late Monday, leading to speculation it would be heading to Syria. Other Iranian oil tankers have similarly turned off their tracking beacons in the area, with analysts saying they believe crude oil ends up in Syria in support of embattled President Bashar Assad’s government.

Images obtained by The Associated Press early Saturday from Maxar Technologies appeared to show the vessel off Syria’s coast, some 2 nautical miles (3.7 kilometers) off shore under intermittent cloud cover.

Iranian and Syrian officials have not acknowledged the vessel’s presence there. There was no immediate report in Iranian state media about the ship, though authorities earlier said the 2.1 million barrels of crude oil onboard had been sold to an unnamed buyer.

The oil on board would be worth about $130 million on the global market, but it remains unclear who would buy the oil as they’d face the threat of U.S. sanctions.

The new images matched a black-and-white image earlier tweeted by John Bolton, the U.S. national security adviser.

“Anyone who said the Adrian Darya-1 wasn’t headed to #Syria is in denial,” Bolton tweeted. “We can talk, but #Iran’s not getting any sanctions relief until it stops lying and spreading terror!”

U.S. prosecutors in federal court allege the Adrian Darya’s owner is Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, which answers only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. On Wednesday, the U.S. imposed new sanctions on an oil shipping network it alleged had ties to the Guard and offered up to $15 million for anyone with information that disrupts its paramilitary operations.

Brian Hook, the U.S. special envoy for Iran, also has reportedly emailed or texted captains of Iranian oil tankers, trying to scare them into not delivering their cargo.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Transportation Department’s Maritime Administration issued on Saturday a new warning to shippers about a potential threat off the coast of Yemen in the southern Red Sea.

“A maritime threat has been reported in the Red Sea in the vicinity of Yemen,” the warning read. “The nature of the event is potential increased hostilities that threaten maritime security.”

Large areas of war-torn Yemen are held by the country’s Houthi rebels, which are allied to Iran. Shipping in the Red Sea has been targeted previously by rebel attacks. On Wednesday, a warning went out after two small boats followed one ship in the region, but there’s been no other information about a new threat there.

Cmdr. Joshua Frey, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s Bahrain-based 5th Fleet, said the Navy remained ready to maintain the safety of shippers in the region.

Separately Saturday, the semi-official ISNA news agency said Iran seized a tugboat and its crew of 12 Filipinos near the Strait of Hormuz on suspicion of smuggling diesel fuel. The report did not elaborate. Frey said the U.S. Navy was aware of the report, but declined to comment further.

Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Associated Press writers Robert Burns in Paris and David Rising in Berlin contributed to this report.

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Trump Lashes Out At Washington Post Reporters, Hints At White House Ban

Westlake Legal Group 5d7397de23000023025126e1 Trump Lashes Out At Washington Post Reporters, Hints At White House Ban

President Donald Trump early Saturday lashed out on Twitter at two reporters from The Washington Post who he said “shouldn’t even be allowed on the grounds of the White House.”

Trump called Philip Rucker and Ashley Parker “two nasty lightweight reporters” in response to their story published last weekend titled: “Trump’s lost summer: Aides claim victory, but others see incompetence and intolerance.”

The Post’s piece centered on what some White House aides and Trump allies believed were a series of opportunities that Trump had missed over the last couple of months.

Part of it read:

White House officials promote the summer of 2019 as one of historic achievement for Trump, offering up a list of more than two dozen accomplishments. But privately, many of the president’s advisers and outside allies bemoan what they consider to be a period of missed opportunity and self-sabotage.

The White House hit back via its official Twitter feed on Tuesday, with this video:

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham and deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley have also published an essay ― titled “The Washington Post’s Lost Summer” ― in which they accused the newspaper of ignoring many of the administration’s accomplishments.

“The truth is, Trump racked up many well-documented victories that directly benefited the American people at home and abroad,” they wrote. “When the Post asked, the White House proudly provided it with a detailed list of the administration’s 26 most important successes of the summer. Of those 26 accomplishments, the Post chose to publish just four, which it buried under 11 paragraphs of editorialized critique.”

The Post denied the allegation, however.

“As subscribers are probably aware, The Post did not take the summer off,” its national correspondent Philip Bump wrote in a piece published Wednesday and then shared again Friday.

“In fact, we covered each of the major stories included in the video package. It’s just that, outside the White House, those individual accomplishments aren’t really a powerful counterweight to the self-inflicted wounds Trump’s presidency has suffered since the beginning of July,” he added. “Most of those ‘wins,’ in fact, are either executive orders making incremental changes, achievements that happened before the summer or announced changes that exist in limbo.”

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Ted Cruz dragged for thinking climate change only affects coastal cities — ‘Ted Cruz is a good reminder that getting an Ivy League education doesn’t mean you’re actually smart.’

Westlake Legal Group 5Ywy8v1FWrzDJhBONdtqyIoFI0JevHfu_L4xb6oASXA Ted Cruz dragged for thinking climate change only affects coastal cities — ‘Ted Cruz is a good reminder that getting an Ivy League education doesn’t mean you’re actually smart.’ r/politics

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Jimmy Kimmel Thinks Mike Pence Is (From) Out Of This World

Westlake Legal Group 5d738cc123000023025126d7 Jimmy Kimmel Thinks Mike Pence Is (From) Out Of This World

The “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” offered multiple examples of what he thought was alien-like behavior from the GOP former Governor of Indiana.

“What happened is, he landed on earth and said ‘take me to your leader’ and somehow he ended up working for him,” Kimmel concluded. “I think this is why he’s so obsessed with the Space Force, he wants to go home.”

Check out the segment above.

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'What are we going to do Mike?': Trump's victory posed problems for Pence and his wife, new book says

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close 'What are we going to do Mike?': Trump's victory posed problems for Pence and his wife, new book says

After a week of hard work in the White House, Vice President Mike Pence likes to wind down with a supreme thin crust pizza and non-alcoholic beer. Veuer’s Sam Berman has the full story. Buzz60

WASHINGTON – Donald Trump’s unexpected 2016 victory was a bit awkward for his running mate’s political future and for his homelife, according to a new book about the vice president.

Instead of getting to run himself for the GOP nomination in 2020, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence would have to spend the next four years cleaning up after Trump, journalist Tom LoBianco writes in his book “Piety & Power: Mike Pence and the Taking of the White House” that publishes this month.

And then there was his angry wife.

Karen Pence had twice rebuffed her husband’s celebratory kiss on election night before exploding, during a briefing the next day with Secret Service agents, over concerns about how the financially-strapped couple would pay for their new life.

“What are we going to do Mike?? We don’t have any money! Who’s going to pay for my inaugural gown??” LoBianco quotes Karen Pence as saying.

Pence’s office declined to comment about the book.

Trump ended up arranging for the inaugural committee to cover some updates to the vice presidential residence and to buy Karen Pence two ball gowns – an original and the cost of altering that dress into one she liked better, according to the book.

The Pences may not have needed the financial help if the couple, years before, hadn’t lost nearly $1 million Pence had inherited from his father. He invested in a pair of privately held companies which failed, according to LoBianco. Pence, whom the author describes as being in awe of those who make money, later lost close to $700,000 more in stock he’d held in the family’s gas station and convenience store business, which went bankrupt in 2001.

Those are some of the many details that LoBianco includes in the latest book that tries to answer the question of who is Mike Pence – and why the devout Christian has entwined himself with Trump.

LoBianco describes Pence as indecisive, but great at executing others’ decisions. A “pleaser,” Pence is kept on track by his “bulldog” wife and is easily manipulated by staff, according to the book.

Pence shines on the fundraising circuit and is skilled at bringing together disparate personalities with his genial attitude and self-effacing humor, he writes. But LoBianco describes Pence as governing like an “amateur” in Indiana. And he says that the inability of Pence, a former six-term congressman, to deliver the votes to repeal Obamacare drove a wedge between him and Trump.

LoBianco writes that the common thread in the disparate descriptions others have given of the vice president — a Svengali pulling Trump’s strings, or a glorified coatrack — is Pence’s “hidden nature.”

Still, he concludes that Pence is in the White House, serving someone like Trump, because “in the end, ambition and the hunger for power outweighed anything else.”

Is Mike Pence channeling Queen Esther?: Book examines this and more

LoBianco, a former reporter for the Associated Press and The Indianapolis Star, covered Pence during his challenging years as Indiana governor.

The book includes many behind-the-scenes details of the controversial “religious freedom” law Pence supported, which critics said would sanction discrimination against the LGBT community for religious reasons.

Most notably, he credits Paul Singer, the hedge-fund billionaire who Pence had been courting for a potential presidential bid, with convincing him to agree to change the law. Singer, whose son is gay, is an ardent supporter of LGBT rights inside the GOP.

Even after Pence reluctantly signed the revised law, most of Indiana’s most important GOP donors were not ready to back Pence’s re-election bid, according to the book.

While his aides arranged a meeting between Pence and a transgendered state worker to help the governor better understand the gay community, Pence couldn’t understand how the country could view him as a monster, LoBianco writes. In fact, when Pence’s son asked if it would be OK for his fiancee’s gay best friend to be the Man of Honor at their 2016 wedding, Pence and his wife readily agreed.

But that “love the sinner, hate the sin,” approach has continued to provoke controversy for Pence, who did not run for re-election as governor after Trump made him his running mate.

Before Indiana’s decisive presidential primary in May 2016, former President George W. Bush had asked Pence, through intermediaries, to save the Republican Party by stopping Trump from getting the nomination, according to the book.

Describing Pence’s lukewarm endorsement of Ted Cruz that also included praise for Trump, LoBianco quotes an unnamed Cruz aide saying that Pence doesn’t make his own decisions but is manipulated by staff. An anonymous Trump adviser said Pence lacks confidence.

But Pence is portrayed as standing up to Trump when the presumptive GOP nominee wants to know why he should pick Pence over New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

If Trump wants a “killer,” Pence said, he’s not that guy.

“I’m going to enjoy myself,” LoBianco quotes Pence saying. “I’m going to be respectful. I’m going to do things with my own style because that’s how I’m comfortable.”

Chris Christie book: Mike Pence was stunned on election night

Pence’s comfort level was severely tested by the release, during the campaign, of the Access Hollywood recording in which Trump had bragged about grabbing women’s genitals.

A few select donors delivered back-channel messages to Pence that the party had a contingency plan to replace Trump on the ticket with Pence, according to the book. But helping to remove Trump would be political suicide. And even as friends texted him to leave the ticket to save himself, Pence knew that Trump was the future of the GOP, LoBianco writes.

He describes Karen Pence as initially livid after the release of the recording. But then she tells top aide Marty Obst that the couple had always known there would be times that Trump said and did things that they would never do. That doesn’t change the mission, she added.

Still, after Trump’s unexpected victory, Karen Pence rejected her husband’s embrace, a detail LoBianco attributes to former Trump campaign aides, the same source for her comments about their financial straits.

Near the end of the book, the author quotes an exchange between the vice president and an evangelical pastor, which suggests Pence might have his own struggles with his political marriage to Trump.

Robert Schenck, who had prayed with Pence in his congressional office years before, watched his old friend administer the oath of office in 2018 to Sam Brownback, Trump’s new ambassador for religious freedom. 

Schenck told LoBianco that, after the ceremony, he confronted Pence.

“You know, Mr. Vice President, more than anything, we need you to find your conscience, the country desperately needs you to find your conscience,” Schenck said he told Pence.

The vice president, no longer smiling, replied: “It’s always easier said than done.”

More: Book traces Mike Pence’s ‘path to power’

More: How 2 soaring hawks persuaded Mike Pence not to give up on his political dreams

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‘Trump is in severe mental decline’: Concerns raised over president’s health

Westlake Legal Group 08Fbk494AvjHkwvyJW-KG1uRgKFhQ8Ow0jnS5tX_4yc ‘Trump is in severe mental decline’: Concerns raised over president’s health r/politics

Sharpiegate isn’t new behavior or sign of a decline.

People seem to forget that Trump was lying about his inauguration crowd sizes in contradiction of photographic evidence from day fucking one of his Presidency.

This is who he has always been – a lying psychopath prone to narcissistic rage, fixated on revenge.

People also forget that when Donald’s first wife Ivana referred him to her doctor for a hair transplant and he wasn’t happy with the result, he attacked her, tore clumps of her hair out of her skull, and violently raped her. He has exhibited the symptoms of psychopathy and narcissistic rage his entire life.

He’s not a doddering harmless fool like Reagan, he’s turned the Presidency into an extension of his criminal organization, and he currently sits in most powerful chair in the world, baying for blood and revenge by inciting terrorist attacks against his political enemies.

Trump is the most dangerous person in the world, a villain who must be removed from the Presidency immediately.

People need to organize goddamit!

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Dorian's legacy: The slowest, strongest hurricane to ever hit the Bahamas

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Entire communities were flattened and roads washed out while hospitals and airports were swamped by several feet of water due to Hurricane Dorian. Andrew West

As Hurricane Dorian moves away from the United States, it’s now certain that the storm’s lasting legacy will be its slow, torturous rampage as a Category 5 monster across the Bahamas over the Labor Day weekend, which left dozens dead and unimaginable destruction. 

With sustained winds of 185 mph, Dorian was the strongest hurricane on record to strike the Bahamas since records began in 1851.

It was also the first Category 5 to make landfall on Grand Bahama Island, and at 185 mph was the strongest hurricane on record to hit Abaco Island.

SEE IT: Incredible before and after images reveal Dorian’s destruction in the Bahamas

What was even more stunning was its slow path across the Bahamas: According to Colorado State University meteorologist Phil Klotzbach, Dorian tracked only about 25 miles in 24 hours – the shortest distance tracked by an Atlantic major hurricane in a 24-hour period since Hurricane Betsy in 1965.

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Weather Underground meteorologist Jeff Masters said that “portions of (Dorian’s) eyewall lashed Great Abaco and Grand Bahama islands with Category 5 winds for a total of 22 hours before the great hurricane finally weakened to Category 4 strength.

“In records going back over a century, there are no cases where an Atlantic Category 5 hurricane has impacted a land area for as long as Dorian battered the Bahamas,” Masters said.

Atleast 43 people are reported dead in the Bahamas and the death toll is expected to rise significantly. Property losses in the Bahamas could hit $7 billion.

 “We expect (the death toll) to rise,” Health Minister Duane Sands said late Friday in a text message to The Associated Press.

Security Minister Marvin Dames said authorities are striving to reach everyone, but the crews can’t just bulldoze their way through fallen trees and other rubble because there might be bodies not yet recovered.

“We have been through this before, but not at this level of devastation,” Dames said. “These are very serious times and very sensitive times.”

The storm also left its mark in the record books in other ways:

As of Friday, with its landfall in North Carolina, Dorian has been a hurricane for a total of nine days. This is longer than most Atlantic storms: Klotzbach said that only about 10% of all Atlantic hurricanes last longer than eight days. 

While this may seem like a lot, it’s still a long way from the record of 19.5 days, which was set by Hurricane Ginger in 1971, according to Klotzbach. Ginger took a long and loopy path around the Atlantic before finally making landfall in North Carolina in late September 1971. 

In addition, Dorian has been a named storm for 13 days, which includes its first few days as a tropical storm. That places it in a tie for 5th place for most storm days by an Atlantic hurricane that formed in August, Klotzbach said.

What’s in name? Here’s how naming hurricanes works

Because of the death and destruction caused by Dorian, the storm’s name will almost certainly be retired by the World Meteorological Organization, the United Nations’ group that determines which hurricane names will be used in upcoming years. 

A nation hardest hit by a storm can request its name be removed because the storm was so deadly or costly that future use of the name would be insensitive. The names of two of last year’s most destructive storms – Florence and Michael – were retired by the WMO earlier this year.

Contributing: Associated Press

Reach Doyle Rice at @USATODAYWeather

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Dorian's legacy: The slowest, strongest hurricane to ever hit the Bahamas

Katrina, Maria, Harvey and Sandy are all infamous names belonging to some of the worst hurricanes in history. But where do these names come from? Just the FAQs, USA TODAY

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