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Zorro's Journal
Zorro's Journal
July 1, 2019

Judge: Rep. Duncan Hunter's trial can detail alleged affairs

Source: AP

Jurors can hear evidence of U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter's alleged extramarital affairs when they consider charges the California Republican looted campaign cash to finance vacations, golf outings and other personal expenses, a judge said Monday.

Prosecutors revealed salacious details about the married congressman's lifestyle in court filings last week, saying he used campaign money to illegally finance a string of romantic relationships with lobbyists and congressional aides.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Whelan said the allegations were relevant to whether campaign money was spent illegally and spoke to motive and intent.

Hunter's attorney, Gregory Vega, argued that any mention of extramarital affairs and "personal indiscretions" would be "extremely prejudicial" at a trial set for September.

Read more: https://news.yahoo.com/rep-hunter-tells-judge-corruption-044436682.html

Can't wait to hear Duncan's wife testify about whether those payments were legitimate campaign expenditures.
June 30, 2019

Duncan Hunter defends campaign spending on affairs with staffers, lobbyists as 'overtly political'

Source: San Diego Union-Tribune

Congressman Duncan Hunter’s defense lawyers Friday asked a judge to bar federal prosecutors from using evidence of infidelity in the criminal case against Hunter, who is accused of improperly spending $250,000 in campaign dollars on personal expenses.

Prosecutors recently filed motions alleging Hunter spent campaign donations on hotels, trips, meals and drinks to support extramarital affairs he had with at least five women.

Hunter’s attorneys argued in a filing on Friday that prosecutors were trying to embarrass their client and influence a potential jury against him.

They also said that because the alleged relationships were with lobbyists and congressional staffers, prosecutors can’t prove all the expenses didn’t serve legitimate political purposes.

Read more: https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/watchdog/story/2019-06-29/both-sides-in-hunter-case-jockey-for-advantage-ahead-of-monday-hearing

June 29, 2019

Boy, 2, dies from E. coli linked to San Diego County Fair; 3 other kids sickened

County health officials announced late Friday night that a 2-year-old child has died and three other children between 2 and 13 years old have become ill after having contact with animals at the San Diego County Fair.

The County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency reported four confirmed pediatric cases of Shig-toxin-producing E. coli — known as STEC — linked to contact with the animals.

Officials from the HHSA’s Epidemiology Program and County Department of Environmental Health are investigating the cluster of four infections, officials said.

The four children who fell ill visited the fair between June 8 and June 15, and began showing symptoms between June 10 and June 16.



June 28, 2019

Trump says war with Iran wouldn't last very long. He hasn't read enough history.

Sometimes in foreign policy, the best course of action for a powerful country is the most limited, at least visibly. That may be the case now in the United States’ confrontation with a cornered but potentially venomous Iran.

The U.S.-Iran showdown is a classic test between a strong nation and a much weaker one. An embattled Tehran has seemingly tried to goad the United States, shooting down a U.S. spy drone, allegedly mining ships near the Persian Gulf and allowing proxies to fire missiles at civilian airports in Saudi Arabia. President Trump hasn’t retaliated militarily, but his loose talk Tuesday of the “obliteration” of Iran keeps the pot boiling, as Tehran probably wants.

Trump should keep the lid on, but this week demonstrated how difficult that will be. On Wednesday, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, again spurned Trump’s call for diplomacy. “Negotiation is an effort to deceive [Iran] into doing what the U.S. desires,” he said. Its defiance moved into a higher gear Thursday when, by its own account, Iran said it would break the cap on uranium enrichment set by the 2015 nuclear agreement.

History teaches us that ruinous wars often begin when powerful nations misjudge weaker ones or think that they can determine political outcomes by force. That’s the obvious lesson of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, where the United States assumed it could gain quick, decisive victories against weaker adversaries. Modern British historians make a similar assessment of World War I, where combatants rushed to war in the expectation of rapid triumph, oblivious to the horrors of trench warfare that lay ahead.


June 28, 2019

Evangelicals are naked before the world

“There has never been anyone who has defended us and who has fought for us, who we have loved more than Donald J. Trump. No one!”

This recent statement by religious-right activist Ralph Reed is objectively true, at least when it comes to sloppy kisses for the president. Considered purely as a political transaction, religious conservatives have gotten two appointments to the Supreme Court who set their hearts aflutter. They, in return, have shifted from the language of political realism to the language of love.

Trump has not gone back on the conservative promises of his 2016 campaign. More than that, he has not let up in his attacks against liberal elites who disdain religious conservatives. Reed is correct that Trump has “defended us” and “fought for us.”

But this language itself should raise warning signs. Is this really how most conservative Christians view the political enterprise — as the vindication of their own interests rather than the good of the whole? Were Christian political activists of the 19th century — such as William Wilberforce , Frederick Douglass , Charles Grandison Finney and Harriet Beecher Stowe — primarily concerned with the respect accorded to their own religious community? No, they were known for taking the side of the oppressed and vulnerable.


June 25, 2019

Federal debt on track to reach unsustainable level in 30 years, CBO reports

Source: LA Times

The nation’s federal debt by the end of the year will reach the highest level since shortly after World War II and is on pace to reach historic and unsustainable levels within 30 years, according to a government report released Tuesday.

The federal debt already equals 78% of the nation’s gross domestic product. It is on track to reach 92% by the end of the next decade and 144% by 2049, according to calculations compiled by the Congressional Budget Office.

Phillip L. Swagel, director of the nonpartisan agency responsible for putting together budget estimates for Congress, warned that the rising debt poses “substantial risks for the nation and presents policymakers with significant challenges.”

“High and rising federal debt increases the likelihood of a fiscal crisis because it erodes investors’ confidence in the government’s fiscal position and could result in a sharp reduction in their valuation of Treasury securities,” the report says.

Read more: https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-congress-cbo-federal-debt-deficit-rising-20190625-story.html

June 25, 2019

Oregon has too much cannabis. Two laws may help the state manage its surplus

Matt Miller’s family has farmed pot in Oregon since well before it became legal.

But since the market flooded after recreational use was approved by state voters in 2014, prices have plummeted, putting strain on the operation he runs with his wife, Rhea.

Oregon’s lush climate and weed-tolerant culture have long resulted in large and potent harvests. Seeking to fold black market growers into its budding legal industry, the state has distributed licenses liberally, leaving Oregon saddled with an enormous surplus of legal cannabis — more than its small population of 4 million would ever be able to smoke.

Now, Oregon lawmakers are hoping to tackle the problem, with two bills signed into law in the past week; one aimed at curbing excess production and the other seeking to establish new markets to funnel excess weed into.


June 25, 2019

Rep. Duncan Hunter requested dismissal of criminal charges

For nearly a year Rep. Duncan Hunter has dismissed prosecutors and the criminal charges against him as politically motivated.

Now he’s asking the courts to do the same.

On Monday Hunter’s attorney filed a motion of dismissal in federal court, asking the judge to throw out the criminal case against him on the grounds that the U.S. attorneys prosecuting him lacked “impartiality” and improperly conducted themselves, thus violating his Fifth Amendment right to “due process.”

Or, alternatively, Hunter asked that the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California be removed from further participation in the case.


June 24, 2019

SpaceX hopes to impress the Air Force with its 'most difficult launch ever'

Source: LA Times

SpaceX is set to carry two dozen satellites into space Monday night aboard a Falcon Heavy rocket and spread them across the sky in a marathon mission that Chief Executive Elon Musk has described as the company’s “most difficult launch ever.”

The launch, commissioned by the U.S. Air Force, is scheduled for 11:30 p.m. Eastern Time (8:30 p.m. PT) from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

If successful, it could bolster SpaceX’s case to win more Air Force contracts to launch sensitive military satellites.

A new batch of the contracts is up for grabs, and Hawthorne-based SpaceX is competing against longtime rival United Launch Alliance — a joint venture of Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. — as well as Northrop Grumman Corp. and Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin, which have never launched military satellites.

Read more: https://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-spacex-falcon-heavy-stp-2-launch-20190624-story.html

This launch is not only SpaceX's most difficult launch ever, but probably the most difficult satellite deployment ever attempted. The upper stage will be releasing multiple satellites at three different altitudes and inclinations.
June 24, 2019

John Bolton Urges War Against The Sun After Uncovering Evidence It Has Nuclear Capabilities

WASHINGTON—Amid escalating tensions with the hostile celestial object, National Security Adviser John Bolton argued for military action against the Sun Monday after being presented with evidence it has nuclear capabilities.

“Newly collected intelligence shows the Sun, day after day, generating extreme levels of nuclear energy, and America simply cannot stand idly by any longer,” said Bolton, adding that the United States will soon be forced to consider a preemptive attack on the Sun, such as deploying troops to the Sun’s surface or a targeted strike to swiftly take out the Sun.

“We know the Sun is harboring dangerous amounts of nuclear power in what we are referring to as its ‘Core,’ a site where the Sun appears to be fusing over 600 million metric tons of hydrogen every second. This is, needless to say, an extremely powerful, aggressive star that threatens the American way of life, and, frankly, I question the utility of negotiating with such an unreasonable orb.”

Bolton added that the United States would likely consider military action after giving the Sun a chance to comply with a nuclear accord.


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