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Zorro's Journal
Zorro's Journal
December 10, 2019

Trump desperately using lies, distortions to fight impeachment

On Capitol Hill the case for impeaching Donald Trump has sharpened into a clear picture of abuse of power. Simultaneously, at the Justice Department, the inspector general demolished a conspiracy theory Trump has cited to justify his effort to destroy public confidence in American national security agencies. But if you expect the President and his backers to turn off the fog machines of lies and distortions, don't.

Up is down. Black is white. The American people are being told, despite the evidence, that the FBI is crooked, and that House Democrats are only interested in undoing the 2016 election. In Trump -- and Trump alone -- the GOP Trust.

Moments after the IG reported on Monday that the FBI had properly opened an investigation into Russia's election meddling on behalf of Trump's 2016 presidential bid, Attorney General William Barr demonstrated that he knows how to speak the President's language. Barr said the IG had found "a clear abuse" of the system for authorizing sensitive investigations. In fact, the IG concluded the opposite.

Barr's distortion of the IG's findings showed how little he seems to respect the office he holds. His predecessors, including Jeff Sessions, generally held themselves above the partisan fray, but not Barr. Still, his distortions were minor when compared with the efforts of Republicans on the Judiciary Committee to confuse anyone trying to understand the Democrats' case for impeachment.


December 10, 2019

Resigning Republican lawmaker Duncan Hunter flew pet rabbit around using campaign funds: report

The late 1970s had President Jimmy Carter and the Killer Rabbit. Now the late 2010s have Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter and the high-maintenance hare.

Hunter, who represents California, plans to resign after the holidays in the wake of his guilty plea on federal corruption charges last week. His more than $200,000 in misappropriations, in which he used campaign funds for personal expenses, included flying a pet rabbit around to the tune of $625, CNN reported.

“It has been an honor to serve the people of California's 50th District, and I greatly appreciate the trust they have put in me over these last 11 years,” Hunter said in a statement obtained by USA Today.

He announced his resignation last week, and a House Ethics Committee report released Monday sealed the deal, detailing the rabbit and other expenses including video games, a vacation to Italy and groceries, according to CNN. This was on top of expenses related to his five mistresses.


Locally we've known about the rabbit for years.

December 10, 2019

The strongest reason to mourn Volcker: He was willing to be unpopular

There are many reasons to admire Paul A. Volcker, the former Federal Reserve chair who died Sunday.

He was notoriously frugal; throughout his time as chair, when he flew the shuttle each week between New York and Washington, he folded his gigantic 6-foot-7-inch frame into a tiny coach seat, once joking to an incredulous senator sitting in first class that he was on the hunt for something cheaper.

The impetus for this frugality was yet another testament to his character: Accepting the chairmanship required a huge pay cut. His wife, who stayed behind in New York because of health complications, had to take in a boarder to make ends meet, according to a biography by economist William L. Silber.

And of course, as Fed chair, Volcker reined in runaway inflation, which at its peak reached double-digits and which previous Fed chairs had suggested there was no way to tame.


December 10, 2019

The GOP: If it looks, swims and quacks like a duck, it's an avocado

Walk to the back of the impeachment hearing room, into the Republican cloakroom where lawmakers huddle during proceedings, and you’ll find a closed double door with a sign taped to it announcing:
“This is not a door. Thank you.”

Pay no attention to the latch, the push bar, the light visible through the crack, the wood panels: This is not a door.

It’s the perfect distillation of the defense of President Trump in these final days of the House impeachment proceedings. This is not a quid pro quo. This is not an abuse of power. This is not an obstruction of justice. It doesn’t matter if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck. This is not a duck. Thank you.

The White House declined to offer a defense of Trump as lawyers for the House Intelligence Committee outlined their findings Monday. This left Republicans to defend him with a blend of falsehoods, disruptions and conspiracy theories aimed at causing confusion in the mind of anybody tempted to conclude that a door is a door.


December 10, 2019

Pig-Monkey Chimeras Have Been Born In China In World First Experiment

The world's first pig-monkey chimeras have been born in China, scientists have announced. Researchers injected monkey stem cells into fertilized pig embryos then implanted them into sows and allowed pregnancy to continue to full term. The two hybrid piglets both died within a week of being born, the team said.

Chimeras are organisms made of cells from two genetically distinct individuals—normally two different species. The word comes from Greek mythology, with Chimera being a fire-breathing creature composed of a lion, goat and serpent.

In genetics, it is hoped chimeras could one day result in human organs being grown inside animals that can then be transplanted. Shortages of organs for transplants is a problem facing nations across the world—according to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), there are over 113,000 currently on the waiting list for a transplant in the U.S.

Earlier this year, Spanish newspaper El Pais announced researchers in China had created a human-monkey chimera, inserting human stem cells into monkey embryos. These embryos were not left to develop into a live birth, but biologist Estrella Núñez, from the Murcia Catholic University in Spain, told the newspaper the initial results were "very promising."


Pig-monkeys already exist. They're called Republicans.

December 9, 2019

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.


December 6, 2019

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.


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

December 6, 2019

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.”


Moved from GD.

December 6, 2019

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.”


December 6, 2019

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.


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