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Zorro

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Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 50
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 9,800

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Celadon, biggest bankruptcy in truckload history expected by mid-week

Celadon Group will file for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 no later than Wednesday, December 11, according to internal sources. The Indianapolis-based, publicly-traded trucking carrier employed more than 3,200 drivers and took in more than $1 billion in gross revenue as recently as 2015.

More recent numbers are difficult to come by because Celadon had to restate its financial reporting after mismanagement and a complex accounting scandal that ultimately resulted in former executives being indicted on securities fraud charges yesterday, December 5.

But the imminent bankruptcy’s immediate cause was a technical default on Celadon’s covenants, the agreements between borrowers and lenders that can define requirements for cash reserves and earnings. Celadon entered the week with scant cash in its accounts to continue operations, but was negotiating with creditors Luminis and Blue Torch to secure further financing. Those talks fell through Thursday morning, December 4, when talks between Blue Torch and Luminis broke down over collateral issues. Blue Torch owned 70% of the debt and Luminus owned 30%.

Over-the-road drivers may be at risk of being stranded — our source could not verify that Celadon’s drivers would get home — and should fill their tanks at the earliest opportunity as the company’s fuel cards still work. Celadon’s 3,500 employees could lose their jobs soon.

https://www.freightwaves.com/news/celadon-biggest-bankruptcy-in-truckload-history-expected-by-mid-week

Gaetz: 'I Think it's a Little Weird' that Giuliani is in Ukraine Meeting with Government Officials

Trump ally Matt Gaetz (R., Fla.) distanced himself from the president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani during an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo Thursday night.

“I think it’s a little weird that Rudy Giuliani is over in Ukraine right now, and I’m not here to defend Rudy Giuliani,” Gaetz told Cuomo.

Cuomo began by asking Gaetz what he made of Giuliani’s presence in Ukraine, where he met this week with government officials as part of his ongoing effort to prompt the opening of a corruption investigation that would benefit Trump politically.

Giuliani met on Thursday with a KGB-trained member of Ukraine’s parliament to discuss a possible investigation into Hunter Biden, son of former vice president Joe Biden. In November, news broke that Giuliani considered taking Ukraine’s top prosecutor as a client earlier this year, as he urged the prosecutor and other Ukrainian officials to investigate former vice president Joe Biden.

https://news.yahoo.com/matt-gaetz-think-little-weird-184627747.html

If Gaetz thinks it's a "little weird"...

Bloomberg Says 2020 Rivals Criticizing His Fortune Could Have Made Their Own

Michael R. Bloomberg on Friday brushed back critiques about his wealth and bristled at the suggestion that he was using it to buy success in the 2020 presidential race, arguing that other Democrats who have complained about his entry into their party’s primary could have taken it upon themselves to earn their own personal fortunes, as he had done.

In a television interview, Mr. Bloomberg’s first since he announced his presidential campaign, the billionaire and former mayor of New York City rejected the idea that he had an unfair advantage, saying that while other candidates asked donors for money, he had made his money himself and then given most of it away.

“I turn and they’re criticizing me for it,” he said on “CBS This Morning.” “They had a chance to go out and make a lot of money. And how much of their own money do they put into their campaigns?”

“I’m doing exactly the same thing they’re doing, except that I am using my own money,” he added. “They’re using somebody else’s money and those other people expect something from them. Nobody gives you money if they don’t expect something. And I don’t want to be bought.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/06/us/politics/mike-bloomberg-cbs-interview.html

Moved from GD.

Accused of Killing a Gambino Mob Boss, He's Presenting a Novel Defense

Four days after pulling off the most high-profile mob killing in decades, Anthony Comello sat down with New York Police Department detectives and told them that the C.I.A. had infiltrated the Mafia. And, he added, the government was spying on him.

He had put his phone in a copper bag to protect it from “satellites,” he told them, and Democratic operatives in Washington were doing business with Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the Mexican drug kingpin known as El Chapo.

In the nine months since that conversation, Mr. Comello, 25, has claimed to his lawyer that he killed Francesco Cali because the mob boss was part of “the deep state,” a member of a liberal cabal working to undermine President Trump.

At one court appearance, Mr. Comello scrawled on his hand a symbol and phrases associated with the far-right conspiracy theory, “QAnon.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/06/nyregion/gambino-shooting-anthony-comello-qanon.html

This moment was made for Nancy Pelosi

James Rosen, the longtime Fox News correspondent now with right-wing Sinclair Broadcast Group, told me he didn’t like the assignment his editors gave him Thursday morning.

So, he said as we awaited House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s news conference, he decided to come up to Capitol Hill and, as he put it, make his own news.

He proceeded to do just that.

Pelosi had been the very definition of deliberate Thursday, first in a televised statement announcing that lawmakers would draw up articles of impeachment against President Trump, and then in a news conference defending the “heartbreaking” decision.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/12/05/this-moment-was-made-nancy-pelosi/

Donald Trump Is a Clear and Present Danger to the 2020 Election

The report released on Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee begins with a powerful indictment: “The impeachment inquiry,” the first sentence says, “uncovered a monthslong effort by President Trump to use the powers of his office to solicit foreign interference on his behalf in the 2020 election.”

Mentions of the “2020 election” and the president’s re-election campaign can be found scattered throughout the 300-page document. The core message comes through loud and clear: The harm here is not a historical one. This report warns of a future harm: that an American president used his enormous power — and may use it again — to compel a foreign country to alter the outcome of the next presidential election.

We are faced with a direct threat that is unfolding before our eyes. If left unchecked, the president’s abusive behavior stands as a clear and present danger to the future of our democracy. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said as much on Thursday when she announced that the House Judiciary Committee would begin drafting articles of impeachment. “The facts are uncontested,” Ms. Pelosi said. “The president abused his power for his own personal political benefit, at the expense of our national security.”

Our criminal law has three main goals: to punish a person who has broken the law, to stop that person from causing a current harm and to deter future harm. It is the last goal, and the importance of preventing future wrongdoing, that resonates so clearly in the work of the Intelligence Committee. And it is through Article I of the United States Constitution, which establishes impeachment as the mechanism for holding the president of the United States accountable for criminal conduct or other wrongdoing, that this goal can be achieved.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/05/opinion/trump-impeachment-2020.html

Rep. Duncan Hunter Shows no Signs of Resigning Despite Pleading Guilty to Campaign Finance Charges

Representative Duncan Hunter (R., Calif.) has not indicated that he will leave his seat in the House after he pleaded guilty on Wednesday to campaign finance violations.

Hunter had long criticized the investigation against him as a “witch hunt,” but announced on Sunday that he would change his stance and plead guilty. Hunter and his wife, who pleaded guilty to similar charges in June, were accused of using $250,000 in campaign funds to pay for family vacations to Hawaii, plane tickets for their pet rabbit, and other personal expenses. Both face a possible sentence of eight to fourteen months in jail.

“I failed to monitor and account for my campaign spending. I made mistakes, and that’s what today was all about,” Duncan told reporters on Tuesday after his guilty plea. He said he wanted to avoid a trial “for my kids. I think it would be really tough for them.”

However, the congressman has not yet discussed resigning from the House with minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.). Hunter refused to answer Politico on Wednesday when they asked whether he planned to resign.

https://news.yahoo.com/rep-duncan-hunter-shows-no-143418941.html

He's probably planning on drawing a government paycheck as long as he can. Wouldn't surprise me if he tried to keep his seat until the new Congress is sworn in.

Republican squawking can't distract from Democrats' key points in hearing

The impeachment process has moved from fact-finding in the House Intelligence Committee to the consideration of articles of impeachment in the House Judiciary Committee. By definition, this is a process in which we are not likely to learn anything new about the underlying facts, but we might learn something about the Republicans’ strategy and ability to mount a cogent defense.

In general, Republicans were predictably incoherent and loud (why must Georgia Rep. Douglas A. Collins scream?), but failed to stop Democrats from making their key point: The evidence produced by the Intelligence Committee, as the three law professors called by Democrats laid out, more than meets the standard for high crimes and misdemeanors and bribery. As events played out Wednesday morning, a few moments stand out.

First, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) made clear in his opening remarks that Democrats have not foreclosed the possibility of voting on articles that encompass activity outside the Ukraine scandal. “Of course, this is not the first time that President Trump has engaged in this pattern of conduct,” he said of the attempt to engage Ukraine in our election. “In 2016, the Russian government engaged in a sweeping and systematic campaign of interference in our elections. In the words of special counsel Robert Mueller, ‘the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome.’”

Nadler noted that “the president welcomed that interference” once he was president. He added: “On July 24, the special counsel testified before this committee. He implored us to see the nature of the threat to our country: ‘Over the course of my career, I have seen a number of challenges to our democracy. The Russian government’s effort to interfere in our elections is among the most serious. ... [This] deserves the attention of every American.' Ignoring that warning, President Trump called the Ukrainian president the very next day to ask him to investigate the president’s political opponent.” In short, the Russia case was the predicate for inviting Ukraine to interfere, and the Ukraine scandal demonstrates that Trump will continue to solicit foreign help and to obstruct Congress unless impeached and removed.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/12/04/republican-squawking-cant-distract-democrats-key-points-hearing/

"Trump was pissed": Rudy Given FOX Time-Out After "Insurance" Diss

For more than a year, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump have been part of a chorus of West Wing advisers telling Donald Trump that he needs to fire Rudy Giuliani. “Most people around Trump have tried to say Rudy is not a positive,” a former West Wing official recently told me. Trump ignored their criticism and stood by his personal lawyer, even when Guiliani gave erratic interviews that often required messy walkbacks. “He liked him on television,” the official said.

But as Giuliani’s legal woes mount, Trump is coming around to his advisers’ view that Giuliani is a liability, three Republicans close to the White House told me. The relationship has grown so strained that Trump has even directed Giuliani not to appear on Fox News, a Republican briefed on the conversations said. (A Fox source said Giuliani has declined producers’ requests to appear on the network in recent days). “Rudy is cut off from Fox News,” the Republican told me. One Republican close to Trump put it this way: “We had to do something, we don’t want Rudy out there. Every time he talks it’s bad for Trump.”

The turning point seems to be Giuliani’s Fox News interview on November 23 in which he claimed to have an “insurance policy” in case Trump throws him overboard. “Trump was pissed,” a source told me. Giuliani tweeted that his comment was “sarcastic” and later called Trump to apologize. The next day, the news broke that Giuliani associate Lev Parnas had turned over tape recordings of Trump and Giuliani to Congress. Then, on November 27, the New York Times reported that Giuliani tried to land business deals in Ukraine at the same time Trump assigned him to conduct a shadow foreign policy campaign to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. Trump, sources said, was furious. “Trump hates when people make money off working for him,” a second former West Wing official said. (The White House did not respond to a request for comment.)

Giuliani did not respond to a request for comment. But a person close to Giuliani said that he is not worried about the federal investigation into his Ukraine work and that his relationship with Trump is as close as ever. “Trump is not mad at him,” the source told me. “Who are Trump’s defenders? You got Gingrich, Giuliani, and Huckabee. Rudy’s critics would love nothing better than for Rudy to disappear.” When I asked about the insurance policy, the source said: “Everything Rudy has is a benefit to the president.”

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019/12/rudy-given-fox-time-out-after-insurance-diss

NATO Leaders Challenge Trump to Spell NATO

LONDON (The Borowitz Report)—This year’s summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization began on a discordant note, on Tuesday, after the other twenty-eight nato leaders challenged Donald Trump to spell nato.

At a preliminary gathering of the leaders, Trump demanded that the other member nations increase their cash contributions to the alliance, prompting Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, to issue the unexpected and unwelcome spelling challenge.

“We’ll be happy to give more to nato, Mr. President, if you can spell nato,” she said, drawing raucous applause from the other leaders.

Handing Trump a pencil and a yellow legal pad, Merkel watched as he struggled to spell the word correctly, crumpling page after page in the effort.

After several failed attempts, Trump finally offered up a drawing of several stick figures standing in a row and asked for “partial credit.”

When the other nato leaders rejected his request by a 28–0 voice vote, Trump stormed out of the room, vowing never to return.

In a joint communiqué, the nato leaders said that they were looking forward to spending the rest of the summit watching the impeachment hearings.

https://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/nato-leaders-challenge-trump-to-spell-nato
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