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Manafort Jury Deliberating

The jury is out in the Paul Manafort trial. His charges:

  • willfully subscribing and filing false income tax returns (Counts 1 through 5),
  • willfully failing to file foreign bank account
    reports (“FBARs”) (Counts 11 through 14),
  • bank fraud (Counts 25 through 27, 30 and 32),
  • bank fraud conspiracy (Counts 24, 28, 29, and 31)

It's interesting to see all the media articles with photos of Manafort and counsel arriving at the courthouse and Manafort and his wife leaving the courthouse. The photos are all from prior court appearances. Manafort is detained during trial, his bond having been revoked in June. There are no photos of him coming to or leaving the courthouse during the trial.

Google News, which has become almost useless at finding what you want since their last revamping of the site, blows it today with its huge headline for Manafort that says, "Manafort lied on witness stand, prosecutors argue." Manafort didn't take the stand. Really sloppy. [More...]

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Thursday Open Thread

R.I.P. Aretha Franklin. (No links because everyone of them has auto-play video.)

Time for a new open thread, all topics welcome.

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US and Mexico to Announce New Drug War Plan

I'll be out when this is announced today, but according to Reuters, the U.S. and Mexico have agreed on a new strategy in the war on drugs.

President Lopez-Obrador (AMLO) has suggested a peace/amnesty plan in the past. Today's announcement may be a joint decision to go after the money.

Details of the plan will be made at a joint news conference in Chicago on Wednesday afternoon, the official said. The official said representatives from Mexico’s current government would be present but did not name them.

Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a left-leaning nationalist, has vowed to shake up Mexico’s war on drug cartels after he takes power in December. He wants to rewrite the rules, aides have said, suggesting negotiated peace and amnesties rather than a hardline strategy that critics say has only perpetuated violence.

No amount of "police, soldiers and intelligence officers" can win the war on drugs. Mexico needs to start with the corruption among high government officials, military and police and the U.S. needs to start with reducing demand. Long prison terms do nothing. They certainly are not a deterrent to others. Amnesty and legalization together would be a good start.

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Nebraska Kills Inmate With Fetanyl Drug Cocktail

Carey Dean Moore was executed this morning with a four drug concoction that included fetanyl. Nebrasks wins the title of being the first state in the country to intentionally kill someone using Fetanyl. Nevada intended to be first until stopped by a court last month.

According to the Nebraska Dept of Corrections, it took 23 minutes for Moore to die after receiving the first drug.

The first of four substances was administered at 10:24 a.m. The Lancaster County coroner pronounced Moore’s time of death at 10:47 a.m.

According to witnesses:

One media witness, Brent Martin of the Nebraska Radio Network, said that Tuesday's execution in the Nebraska State Penitentiary took longer than the 13 executions he witnessed in Missouri. In those executions, it took about five minutes to complete the lethal injection process.

About 15 minutes into the execution, ight after administering the last injection, officials closed the curtains for about 8 minutes, so the process was not as transparent as it should have been. When officials re-opened the curtains, Moore was already dead. Witnesses said his face was "darker purple, and mottled."

The four drugs used were: Diazepam was first, and then the fentanyl, then cisatracurium and then the heart-stopper, potassium chloride. [More...]

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Stephen Miller's Uncle Calls Him Out on Immigration

Imagine having your mother's brother give you a public smack-down in writing for ignoring your heritage and working for a boss who engages in the same tactics as the Nazis to instill fear of immigrants in Americans.

Meet Dr. David S. Glosser is a retired neuropsychologist: formerly a member of the Neurology faculties of Boston University School of Medicine and Jefferson Medical College. His op-ed in today's Politico is titled, Stephen Miller Is an Immigration Hypocrite. I Know Because I’m His Uncle."

I have watched with dismay and increasing horror as my nephew, who is an educated man and well aware of his heritage, has become the architect of immigration policies that repudiate the very foundation of our family’s life in this country.

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Omarosa and the Tapes

The only thing that's changed about Omarosa since her days on the Apprentice is she's learned how to modulate her voice a bit, so she isn't always screaming at the top of her lungs.

Here's a smither of her taped call with Trump and another with John Kelly.

As for the big taped call no one has heard that she now claims she has heard (since her book was printed), it's a tape that has been talked about for years. I remember an Apprentice employee claimed to have heard many of them on seasons I and 2. Mark Burnett threatened to sue any employee for $5 million if any Apprentice tapes were released. Media Matters offered to pay the $5 million in damages if he'd release it to MM, but he got no takers. [More..]

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Open Thread: Returning From Off the Grid

I have been "off the grid" for a week -- I plan on returning tonight or tomorrow. It's been wonderful not giving a moment's thought to the cartoon with a desk in the oval office.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Saturday Open Thread

It's too nice to stay indoors today. I didn't see much in the news, so I'm reading about Denver's growth spurt (there seems to be a crane on every corner in and around downtown, way too many -- I'd much rather they kept the parking lots), food (recipes and new local restaurants) and of course, Central and Latin America and Mexico.

What's on your agenda this weekend? If you've found something binge-worthy to watch, or something great to cook, please share.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Manafort Trial: Judge Keeps the Reins Tight

The judge in the Paul Manafort trial is keeping a tight reign on the prosecution. According to Fox News, the judge told Team Mueller today they would not be able to prove conspiracy without calling Rick Gates. Prosecutors began floating the idea yesterday Gates might not testify.

Manafort's defense seems to be that Gates did all the bad stuff.

Manafort is being tried in the Eastern District of Virginia. He is charged with tax and bank fraud crimes. From a brief the Government filed today (Doc. 193): [More...]

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Tuesday Open Thread

Our last open thread is full. I will be back blogging soon, just not today.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Thursday Open Thread

There has been an afternoon or evening storm every day this week. It's even cloudy this morning, most unusual for Denver.

Weather, however, pales by comparison to the gray and troubled skies over this country. The news is so unthinkable it's like we are permanently living in a state of shock and shame. There's a man with a desk in the oval office who is, in my opinion, not fit to be there. He's putting all Americans at risk globally and at home. More and more, I study the benefits of moving and living in a country like Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Colombia and my latest: Panama (especially now that Trump's name has been stripped from the tower he licensed it to.)

Since I will be spending the day in Court, here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Are Trump Businesses in a Slump?

Ivanka Trump today announced she will close her clothing business. It was down to 18 employees. The boycotts of her clothes had a big effect. Other companies decided to stop carrying her line due to slumping sales.

The company, based in New York’s Trump Tower, had been dropped by retailers such as Nordstrom due to flagging sales. Its dresses, shoes and handbags — all of which were made in foreign countries such as China and Indonesia — also conflicted with her push for more jobs in the United States.

...“Views on the brand have become highly polarized, and it has become a lightning rod for protests and boycotts,” said Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail. “While the company is still viable, doing business has become far more challenging and these problems will only increase.”

But it's not just Ivanka's business that seems to be in a slump. Remember Scion, the new hotel line Trump's sons were going to open (more affordable and planned for several mid-western cities)? Not a single one has been opened. [More...]

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Trump and Cohen Call: Rudy Says Trump Waives Privilege

There are several media articles the past few days about Michael Cohen having taped Donald Trump two months before the election when they were discussing a $150,000 payment to American Media (owner of the Enquirer) that would then go to Karen MacDougal for telling her story about having an affair with Trump. Unbeknownst to Macdougal, American Media had agreed not to publish it.

Ms. McDougal says she began a nearly yearlong affair with Mr. Trump in 2006, shortly after Mr. Trump’s wife, Melania, gave birth to their son Barron. Ms. McDougal sold her story for $150,000 to The National Enquirer, which was supportive of Mr. Trump, during the final months of the presidential campaign. But the tabloid sat on the story, which kept it from becoming public. The practice, known as “catch and kill,” effectively silenced Ms. McDougal for the remainder of the campaign.Because she'd be signing a non-disclosure agreement, she couldn't tell or sell her story elsewhere if American Media didn't publish it.

New York is a state that allows taping provided one participant to the conversation agrees. But Cohen is a lawyer, talking to Trump, his purported "client". Is there a privilege or ethics rule that comes into play here? [More...]

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Tuesday Open Thread

Here's a new open thread, all topics welcome.

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Near Unanimity: Trump Flops in Helsinki

It's virtually unanimous: Donald Trump pooped on himself and the United States today at his big Helsinki summit. The adjectives for his pitiful performance are boundless, and coming from both sides.

The New York Times:

Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, called it “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.”

The cover of tomorrow's NY Daily News shows Trump shooting Uncle Sam, with a caption "Open Treason".

Former CIA Director John Brennan:

Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of “high crimes & misdemeanors.” It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???

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