The Jury Talks Back

5/31/2019

Transcript: Trump’s Lawyer Floats Pardon to Flynn’s Lawyer

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 5:52 pm

Those who have read the Mueller report, all three of you, already know that Donald Trump’s lawyer floated pardons to Michael Flynn and Michael Cohen to dissuade them from cooperating with the government. Now CNN reports:

The Justice Department on Friday released a more complete transcript of a voice mail from Donald Trump’s attorney John Dowd to Rob Kelner, the lawyer for Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn, where he sought information about Flynn’s discussions with the special counsel on the eve of his cooperation deal.

. . . .

The release of the transcript — and lack of the other release of transcripts — came following Judge Emmet Sullivan’s unusual order last week seeking public disclosure of documents used in Flynn’s case as he heads toward sentencing Flynn for lying to investigators.

Overall, the voice mail highlights a call that special counsel Robert Mueller investigated as potential obstruction of justice by the President. Dowd had made the call on November 22, 2017, after Flynn’s team said it could no longer communicate with the White House, just before Flynn pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate in Mueller’s investigation.

In the voice mail transcript, most of which was previously documented in the Mueller report, Dowd said it “wouldn’t surprise me” if Flynn was about to make a deal, but if it “implicates the President, then we’ve got a national security issue, or … some issue … not only for the President, but for the country.” He then asked for a “heads up,” according to the transcript. Dowd also wanted to remind Flynn about “the President and his feelings towards Flynn.”

The call “could have had the potential to affect Flynn’s decision to cooperate, as well as the extent of that cooperation,” Mueller wrote in his report on potential obstruction of justice by the President during the investigation. “We do not have evidence establishing whether the President knew about or was involved in his counsel’s communications with Flynn’s counsel.” Mueller credited Flynn for turning over the voice mail to investigators so they could investigate possible obstruction of the probe, according to a previous court filing.

If you think Dowd did that on his own without talking to Trump, you are naive. Here’s the text of the voice mail:

Hey, Rob, uhm, this is John again. Uh, maybe, I-I-I’m-I’m sympathetic; I understand your situation, but let me see if I can’t … state it in … starker terms. If you have … and it wouldn’t surprise me if you’ve gone on to make a deal with, and, uh, work with the government, uh … I understand that you can’t join the joint defense; so that’s one thing. If, on the other hand, we have, there’s information that. .. implicates the President, then we’ve got a national security issue, or maybe a national security issue, I don’t know … some issue, we got to-we got to deal with, not only for the President, but for the country. So … uh … you know, then-then, you know, we need some kind of heads up. Um, just for the sake of … protecting all our interests, if we can, without you having to give up any … confidential information. So, uhm, and if it’s the former, then, you know, remember what we’ve always said about the President and his feelings toward Flynn and, that still remains, but-Well, in any event, uhm, let me know, and, uh, I appreciate your listening and taking the time. Thanks, Pal.

This is not subtle. An accurate paraphrase: if you’re thinking of making a deal, remember Trump still likes your client and could pardon him.

When Justin Amash said Trump “engaged in impeachable conduct” he was right. This is just one example of many.

Blogger Temporarily Suspended For Tweet About Elizabeth Warren, Who ‘Sounds A Little Bit Like Rachel Dolezal’

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 10:47 am

[guest post by Dana]

Conservative writer Erick Erickson received a temporary Twitter suspension for allegedly violating Twitter’s “hateful conduct” rules:

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Surely it was the clumsy use of “Wampum” in his joke that triggered a conduct violation because Twitter wouldn’t be so biased that Erickson’s actual point to mock Warren for *falsely claiming* to be a Native American was intentionally misconstrued as mocking a real Native American, right?

Warren reiterated that she is not a Native American during a radio interview this morning, saying, “I am not a person of color”:

During the interview, Warren acknowledged that she should not have claimed to have been Native American (and blamed her family for the mistake). She then made every effort to change the subject and focus on the policies she would enact if elected President. Radio host Charlamagne Tha God continued to press Warren on the matter of her Native American claims by asking whether she had ever benefited (financially or professionally) as a result. Warren said she had not. Looking a bit mystified, Charlamagne, with furrowed brow, lowered the boom:

You sound like the original Rachel Dolezal a little bit.

–Dana

President Trump Starts Trade War With Mexico

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 6:48 am

[guest post by Dana]

President Trump has started another trade war. This time with Mexico. Tweeting late yesterday afternoon, the President said:

On June 10th, the United States will impose a 5% Tariff on all goods coming into our Country from Mexico, until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP. The Tariff will gradually increase until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied,..at which time the Tariffs will be removed. Details from the White House to follow.

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Additionally, the White House said in a statement:

The tariff on all goods by land, sea, and air from Mexico will hike to 10 percent on July 1 — and potentially increase substantially from there.

“If Mexico still has not taken action to dramatically reduce or eliminate the number of illegal aliens crossing its territory into the United States, Tariffs will be increased to 15 percent on August 1, 2019, to 20 percent on September 1, 2019, and to 25 percent on October 1, 2019,” Trump said in a statement released later by the White House on Thursday. “Tariffs will permanently remain at the 25 percent level unless and until Mexico substantially stops the illegal inflow of aliens coming through its territory.”

…”Thousands of innocent lives are taken every year as a result of this lawless chaos. It must end NOW! … Mexico’s passive cooperation in allowing this mass incursion constitutes an emergency and extraordinary threat to the national security and economy of the United States.”

Reporting that the Dow Jones futures hadn’t moved until the President’s tweet, Investors Business Daily reports on the downside:

This could undermine efforts to ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the revision to Nafta, just as the three countries begin a push to approve it. The U.S. already is embroiled in an escalating China trade war and still mulling global auto tariffs.

GM stock fell 1.5% and Ford stock 2% in late trade. U.S. tariffs on Mexico would affect supply chains for General Motors and Ford. Mexico is a big producer of cars, trucks and parts.

GM, Ford and other automakers already are worried about looming global auto tariffs, though Trump recently delayed that trade-war decision by up to 180 days.

Further reaction to the announcement saw the “Dow Jones industrial average futures fall 200 points, or 0.8%, while Mexico’s peso tumbled 2% against the U.S. dollar.”

Here are the numbers :

Goods imports from Mexico totaled $346.5 billion in 2018 (ustr.gov/COUNTRIES-REGI…)

A 5% tariff on that flow of goods amounts to a $17 billion tax increase.

In 2018, we imported $93 billion of vehicles, $64 billion of electrical machinery, $63 billion of machinery, $16 billion of mineral fuels, and $15 billion of optical and medical instruments from Mexico.

Mexico was the second largest supplier of imports to the United States in 2018. So, we’re imposing a tax on *everything* Americans buy from one of our largest trading partners.

…Mexico is our largest supplier of agricultural products: fresh vegetables ($5.9 billion), other fresh fruit ($5.8 billion), wine and beer ($3.6 billion), snack foods ($2.2 billion), and processed fruit & vegetables ($1.7 billion).

And here is the outlook for California if the tariffs are imposed:

The state imported $44 billion in goods from Mexico in 2018, making it the third-largest importing state for goods from Mexico, according to the California Chamber of Commerce.

Mexico is also California’s number one export market, buying $30.7 billion in goods last year, 17% of all California exports.

Computers and electronic products remained the state’s largest exports, accounting for 25.8% of all California exports to Mexico.

The tariffs would reportedly apply to all Mexican imports.

If you recall, it was a little over a week ago that President Trump chided White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow and advised him “not to worry about how tariffs would impact U.S. businesses.” This after Kudlow publicly (and rightfully) contradicted the President by admitting that “yes, both sides [U.S. and China] will pay in these things.”

Even Trump’s supporters in Congress are having a hard time backing him in this, for good reason:

“This is a misuse of presidential tariff authority and counter to congressional intent,” said Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. “I support nearly every one of President Trump’s immigration policies, but this is not one of them. I urge the president to consider other options.”

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico is also imploring President Trump to reconsider this move, and to enter into negotiations instead.

Just how much of a decrease in border crossings would be necessary to signal the tariffs a success remains unclear:

“We are going to judge success here by the number of people crossing the border and that number needs to start coming down immediately in a significant and substantial number,” Mulvaney said.

–Dana

5/30/2019

Hillary and Chelsea Go Hollywood!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 3:55 pm

[guest post by Dana]

I thought this would be a suitable follow-up to JVW’s amusing all-time awesome troll job post. Because, as he asks at the end of his post, I too was compelled to ask the same question about this: This is a parody, right?

Nope, it’s true:

Hillary Clinton and her daughter Chelsea are forming a production company to pursue film and television projects, making a foray into Hollywood after decades in the public eye…

The family hopes to use film and television to influence culture and society now that Hillary Clinton is out of politics. They plan to focus on stories by and about women. The production company is one of many potential business opportunities that Hillary Clinton, 71, is considering.

Looks like the Lifetime channel may have some stiff competition in the near future.

Hollywood: They’ll Pay You a Thousand Dollars for a Kiss, and Fifty Cents for Your Soul. Yep, sounds like a pretty good fit for the Clintons.

Anyway, I also saw this, and given it’s a little bit too on the nose, thought for sure it was a parody.

Wrong again:

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(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

5/28/2019

Notre Dame Cathedral: French Senate Says No To “Experimental” Spire Replacement

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 8:44 pm

[guest post by Dana]

I say hear, hear for honoring the historical, and for treasuring the exquisite.

A 300-foot-tall flame sculpture, a shooting beam of light, and a tower that resembles a spaceship are among the outlandish proposals put forth by architects to replace Notre Dame’s legendary spire, which collapsed during the cathedral’s devastating fire in April. But, in the end, none of these architectural follies is likely to become reality. On Monday, the French Senate voted that the cathedral must be restored to resemble as closely as possible its appearance before the blaze.

There has been a vigorous argument about the design of a new spire. Demands that it be rebuilt to look as it did before the April fire stood in direct opposition to the push for modernization. The decision to regulate the renovation explicitly mandates that any renovation of the cathedral must preserve the “last-known visual condition” of the monument, including the spire.

Given that “two days after the fire, France’s Prime Minster Édouard Philippe announced an international architectural competition to reconstruct the spire, this week’s vote by the French Senate underscores the belief in preserving tradition. While Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris voiced a preference for a replication of the original design, President Macron said he was open to “a contemporary architectural gesture” that could make Notre Dame Cathedral “even more beautiful.” Oh, please. As if.

Here are a few examples of how architects and artists, and even landscape architects, imagined a new Notre Dame Cathedral spire:

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spire2

spire

Oh, and yes, this is a cross-shaped swimming pool on top of the cathedral:

notre dame

Make this more beautiful, President Macron? I don’t think so:

notre dame

–Dana

5/26/2019

Unsurprising: President Trump Expresses Confidence In Kim Jong-Un While Mocking Joe Biden

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 9:36 am

[guest post by Dana]

Last week at his campaign launch in Philadelphia, former vice-president Joe Biden rhetorically asked the crowd:

Are we a nation that embraces dictators and tyrants like (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and Kim Jong Un?

Pyongyang reacted in typical fashion when their Supreme Leader is publicly insulted:

Former U.S. Vice-President Biden has gone reckless and senseless, seized by ambition for power…What he uttered is just sophism of an imbecile bereft of elementary quality as a human being, let alone a politician…It is by no means accidental that there is nonstop comment over his bid for candidacy that he is not worth pinning hope on, backed by the jeer that he is a fool of low IQ.”

This weekend, President Trump praised North Korea’s murderous, thug dictator Kim Jong-Un by expressing confidence in him while casually downplaying North Korea’s recent missile testing. And instead of loudly reinforcing Biden’s accurate assessment of Kim, the President of the United States opted to join in with the tyrant to publicly mock the former vice-president of the United States:

North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me. I have confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me, & also smiled when he called Swampman Joe Biden a low IQ individual, & worse. Perhaps that’s sending me a signal?

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Some will say, with a certain level of exasperation and condescension, that this is just part of President Trump’s clever strategy to keep Kim Jong-Un reined in, and that this demonstrates his magnificent skills in deal-making with the world’s strongmen. But when one considers what President Trump’s own national security adviser said about the missile testing, that theory comes into question:

Bizarrely, Trump made the comments not only just hours after his own national security adviser condemned North Korea for testing ballistic missiles, but also right before his scheduled meeting in Japan with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who also spoke out about the missile testing.

The country’s test of ballistic missiles earlier this month was seen as an aggressive escalation that violates United Nations Security Council resolutions, according to Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton.

“In terms of violating Security Council resolutions, there’s no doubt about that,” Bolton told reporters on Saturday morning. Bolton also said Trump is working to maintain sanctions pressure on the North Korean regime until it backs down.

A day earlier, Pyongyang suggested it had no intention of cooperating with Washington until the Trump administration agrees to make compromises instead of insisting on what it described as unilateral disarmament. An unnamed North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman made the comments to state media, saying nuclear negotiations between the two countries will not resume until the U.S. changes its terms.

This morning, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told Chuck Todd that the president and Kim Jong Un agree in their assessment of Joe Biden. This as she bizarrely tried to divorce the person Kim Jong-Un from his words because in Sander’s upside down world, what a person says is not reflective of who they are, and vice-versa:

On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” host Todd referenced Trump’s tweet, and asked Sanders whether Americans should be “concerned that the president of the United States is essentially siding with a murderous authoritarian dictator over a former vice president of the United States.”

“Chuck, the president’s not siding with that,” Sanders said. “But I think they agree in their assessment of former Vice President Joe Biden.”

“The president doesn’t need somebody else to give him an assessment of Joe Biden,” she added. “He’s given his own assessment a number of times. I think you’ve seen it. I’m sure you’ve covered it on your program. The president watched him and his administration with President [Barack] Obama fail for eight years. He’s come in in two and a half, he’s cleaned up a lot of the messes that were left behind.”

Sanders went on to say that Trump shouldn’t have to “deal with” North Korea at all, but that the previous administration failed on North Korea, Iran and trade and now it’s up to Trump to be “tough with these countries.”

“I think if anybody needs help with an assessment, it’s Joe Biden and whether or not he should be trying to get an upgrade when he failed to do the job in the number two slot.”

Context :

Kim Jong Un is an enemy of America & the world. His nuclear program exists to threaten & extort the planet. North Korea is a prison state & hundreds of thousands are kept in gulags for generations. And he’s responsible for Otto Warmbier’s death.

This on top of the continued starvation of his people.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 59

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 12:01 am

It is the sixth Sunday of Easter. Today’s Bach cantata is “Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten” (Whoever loves me will keep my word).

Today’s Gospel reading is John 14:23-29:

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

“You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.

The text of today’s piece is available here. It contains these words, taken directly from the beginning of the Gospel passage:

Whoever loves Me will keep My Word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our dwelling with him.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

5/24/2019

Harriet Tubman On $20 Bill Won’t Happen Until Trump Is Out Of Office

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 7:02 am

[guest post by Dana]

In 2016, Donald Trump appeared on The Today Show and claimed during an interview that replacing Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman on a $20 bill was a “P.C. move”:

“Andrew Jackson had a great history,” Trump told the Today show when asked about the president most infamous for genocidal actions against Native Americans. “I think it’s very rough when you take somebody off the bill. Andrew Jackson had a history of tremendous success for the country.”

Asked whether he’s a fan of Tubman’s, however, the GOP frontrunner said she’s “fantastic,” but that “I would love to leave Andrew Jackson [on the $20] and see if we can maybe come up with another denomination [for Tubman]—maybe we do the $2 bill or another bill.”

Not content to end it there, Trump continued: “I don’t like seeing it. I think it’s pure political correctness. [Jackson] has been on the bill for many, many years and really represented somebody that was really very important to this country.”

Ugh. Of course, by this time in the campaign, Trump he had already successfully tapped into his base and validated their anger, frustration and belief that they had been left behind. He knew what to say to rally supporters.

Thus it was unsurprising that at the House Financial Services Committee hearing, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said that the redesigned $20 bill with Harriet Tubman’s likeness on it would be “delayed” until 2028, long after President Trump is out of office (because we all know that it takes the most advanced nation in the world eight years to redesign a $20 bill):

The redesign of the $20 bill featuring Harriet Tubman will no longer be unveiled in 2020, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday.

The unveiling had been timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. Mnuchin said the design process has been delayed and no new imagery will be unveiled until 2028.

“The primary reason we have looked at redesigning the currency is for counterfeiting issues,” Mnuchin said in response to questions by Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., during a hearing before the House Financial Services Committee. “Based upon this, the $20 bill will now not come out until 2028. The $10 bill and the $50 bill will come out with new features beforehand.”

Seriously?? Stop pretending we don’t see through this charade. Make the $20 bill the priority! Especially as $20 bills are in wider circulation than the $10 bill or $50 bill.

Interestingly, while there hasn’t been confirmation by officials that President Trump made the actual decision about delaying the the Tubman $20 bill, Mnuchin was apparently concerned that the President might cancel the new bill altogether:

Treasury Department officials did not say whether Mr. Trump had a hand in the decision, and Mr. Mnuchin would not say whether he himself believes that Tubman should be on the bill’s face. “I’ve made no decision as it relates to that,” Mr. Mnuchin said Wednesday at a congressional hearing in response to a question from Representative Ayanna S. Pressley, Democrat of Massachusetts.

[…]

Mr. Mnuchin, concerned that the president might create an uproar by canceling the new bill altogether, was eager to delay its redesign until Mr. Trump was out of office, some senior Treasury Department officials have said.

By now everyone has their opinion of whether Trump is a racist or just an unfiltered blowhard looking to cut his next deal, increase him status, increase his bank account and increase the name Trump . With any other president, I would say that it’s hard to see how Mnuchin’s announcement could have a positive impact on re-election efforts, and on the GOP as a whole. However, in this case, I’m sad to say that I’m not so sure anymore.

On a purely political note: There is an important election just around the corner. Trump is running for a second term, Trump needs votes and he needs to take advantage of any opportunity that comes his way to increase voter turnout and grow his support. Making the bill happen post-haste was a no-brainer. But instead of jumping on the opportunity, President Trump foolishly missed out on the golden opportunity served to him on a silver platter. Making sure that the Harriet Tubman redesign wouldn’t be unveiled during his tenure, along with his previous praise of Andrew Jackson and relegation of the famed abolitionist and freed slave to the $2 bill is a distasteful and underhanded signal to his base. Convince me I’m wrong.

Anyway, in retrospect, this naivete by Mnuchin’s predecessor is laughable:

WHEN THEN-TREASURY Secretary Jack Lew decided in 2016 to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, he knew it would be up to the next administration to implement the change. But it seemed highly unlikely that anyone would upend a plan to honor this great American hero with a currency redesign that would also include depictions of historic events such as the suffragist march on Washington. “I don’t think somebody’s going to probably want to do that — to take the image of Harriet Tubman off of our money? To take the image of the suffragists off?” Mr. Lew said incredulously.

I’ll leave you with a photograph of this powerful mural depicting Harriet Tubman. It was painted by artist Michael Rosato on the wall of the Harriet Tubman Museum & Education Center in the city of Cambridge. It was completed just this week.

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–Dana

5/23/2019

Follow-Up: Los Angeles Officials Moved To Clean Up Piles Of Rotting Garbage After Report Details Health Dangers

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 6:32 pm

[guest post by Dana]

[Ed. Ignoring pleas for help from residents of the city, and the subsequent procrastination of city officials to confront the enormous health threat posed by the mountains of rotting garbage and a dangerous rat infestation speaks to why so many Americans loathe elected officials in general.]

In a follow-up to my post about the mountains of rotting garbage and subsequent rat infestation on the streets of Los Angeles, we are learning today that the city has begun to clear the garbage. Funny how far bad publicity can go toward motivating politicians. It’s also sad that that is what it takes:

Just 48 hours after the I-Team exposed a mountain of trash, that stretches for almost a city block, Los Angeles appears to finally be taking action.

Sanitation crews started clearing away the mountain of garbage on Ceres Avenue late Wednesday afternoon, as rats scurried all around in an alley between downtown LA and the Fashion and Produce districts. The giant public health hazard has been expanding just a mile and a half from Los Angeles City Hall and LA’s mayor has ignored the filth.

As the I-Team has documented, this pile had been left to fester and rot since last fall, even though business owners have been calling the city to have it cleaned up.

[…]

Minutes after the city cleared away the trash on Ceres Avenue, I-Team cameras caught rats running all over the area, which is next to LA’s Produce District.

But really, this is some serious bullshit pushed by city officials who said earlier this week that it would take at least 90 days for the city to clear the garbage. Angelenos should be relentless in the public shaming and calling out of their city officials for their blatant lies and bureaucratic laziness.

Residents and business owners realize that, at best this is but a temporary fix given that the city still has no rat abatement plan in place. This, as well as there being a seeming lack of interest in tackling the problem in both the short and long term. And if Mayor Garcetti’s refusal to answer questions from NBC’s I-Team is an indicator. After having made numerous requests to talk with the Mayor, his spokesperson told the I-Team that they could possibly catch the mayor at a public event.

Note: Los Angeles City Hall has already encountered a problem with rats in the building. Worse, Deputy City Attorney Liz Greenwood, whose office is at Los Angeles’s City Hall, was diagnosed with typhus in November of last year. She believes it was the result of being bitten by fleas in her office.

–Dana

Washington State Takes “Going Green” To New Level: Now Legal To Compost Deceased Loved Ones

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 9:09 am

[guest post by Dana]

Gov. Jay Inslee, who is also a is a Democratic 2020 presidential candidate, showed voters he is serious about “going green” when he signed off on a controversial-to-some third option for deposing of human remains:

Gov. Jay Inslee signed legislation Tuesday making Washington the first state to approve composting as an alternative to burying or cremating human remains.

It allows licensed facilities to offer “natural organic reduction,” which turns a body, mixed with substances such as wood chips and straw, into about two wheelbarrows’ worth of soil in a span of several weeks.

Loved ones are allowed to keep the soil to spread, just as they might spread the ashes of someone who has been cremated — or even use it to plant vegetables or a tree.

Supporters believe this process is a far more environmentally friendly route to go. The process would help alleviate environmental and financial concerns that come with traditional burials and cremation: the increasing use of land used to bury the dead as well as the lack of available land for burials in other areas, harsh chemicals like formaldehyde (used in traditional burials) eventually seeping into groundwater, and exorbitant costs which can run anywhere $8,000 and $25,000 for a burial, and $6,000 or more for cremation. The targeted cost for human composting is around $5,500.

The idea of human composting is the brainchild of Katrina Spade, an architecture student who adapted the traditional method used by farmers to dispose of their livestock:

She tweaked the process and found that wood chips, alfalfa and straw created a mixture of nitrogen and carbon that accelerates natural decomposition when a body is placed in a temperature- and moisture-controlled vessel and rotated.

A pilot project at Washington State University tested the idea last year on six bodies, all donors who Spade said wanted to be part of the study.(The) body is covered in natural materials, like straw or wood chips, and over the course of about three to seven weeks, thanks to microbial activity, it breaks down into soil.

While there have been objections to the legislation, and accusations of the process being undignified and disgusting, Spade’s company, Recompose is pushing ahead to raise $7 million for a facility in Seattle, with plans to expand to other locations as well.

–Dana

Healthy Pet Dog Is Euthanized So It Can Be Buried With Deceased Owner

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 6:11 am

[guest post by Dana]

This is just awful:

Emma, a healthy Shih Tzu mix, was euthanized recently because her owner left explicit instructions in her will: The fur baby was to be put down — and laid to rest with her.

“Heartbroken” shelter volunteers at Chesterfield County Animal Services — where Emma had a two-week reprieve from death — said she was a well-bred, pampered and much-loved pup. They appealed to the executor of the dead woman’s estate, begging them to not go through with ending Emma’s life — but their pleas were ignored.

“We did suggest they could sign the dog over on numerous occasions — because it’s a dog we could easily find a home for and re-home,” Carrie Jones, manager of Chesterfield County Animal Services, tells WWBT NBC. “But ultimately, they came back in on March 22nd and redeemed the dog.”

Emma was taken directly to a vet to be euthanized. After she was cremated, her ashes were placed in an urn and returned to the “authorized representative of the estate,” following her owner’s last wishes to the letter.

Note: While Virginia state code prohibits burying animals with humans in commercial cemeteries, there are exceptions for final resting spaces that are family-owned.

According to reports, a number of veterinarians said that putting a healthy dog down just so it can be buried with its deceased owner is not ethical, and they would not fulfill such a request.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

5/22/2019

Federal Grand Jury Indicts Michael Avenatti Today

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 3:33 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Michael Avenatti was indicted in Manhattan today:

Embattled lawyer Michael Avenatti has been charged with fraud and aggravated identity theft for allegedly snatching a total of $300,000 from Stormy Daniels and spending it on personal expenses like airfare, hotels, and restaurant delivery, and to bankroll his law firm.

Federal prosecutors in New York announced the latest charges against the Newport Beach litigator soon after ABC News reported Avenatti was expected to be charged with additional financial crimes. The 48-year-old lawyer faces a slew of charges on both coasts, including wire fraud, bank fraud, and extortion.

On Wednesday, a grand jury also indicted Avenatti for trying to extort the footwear giant Nike to the tune of $25 million, and the Daniels charges are separate from that case.

“Michael Avenatti abused and violated the core duty of an attorney—the duty to his client,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in a statement. “As alleged, he used his position of trust to steal an advance on the client’s book deal. As alleged, he blatantly lied to and stole from his client to maintain his extravagant lifestyle, including to pay for, among other things, a monthly car payment on a Ferrari. Far from zealously representing his client, Avenatti, as alleged, instead engaged in outright deception and theft, victimizing rather than advocating for his client.”

Federal prosecutors brought yet another set of charges against celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti on Wednesday, this time alleging that he skimmed nearly $300,000 from Stormy Daniels, the adult actress he represented in a case against President Donald Trump.

Prosecutors in New York charged that Avenatti sent a fraudulent and unauthorized letter purporting to contain Daniels’ signature to her book agent instructing the agent to send payments to his bank account rather than to her.

The indictment, revealed on Wednesday afternoon, leaves Avenatti facing three sets of federal charges in two states. Prosecutors have also accused him of trying to extort money from shoemaker Nike and of stealing from clients in Los Angeles.

Popehat has an entertainingly informative overview of the charges and what Avenatti faces:

So SDNY indicted Avenatti in two separate indictments — one on the let’s-extort-Nike-and-Boies-Shiller-I-see-no-way-this-could-go-wrong gambol, and one for defrauding Stormy Daniels. That makes him the defendant in three simultaneous federal indictments, no mean feat.

Nobody else got indicted in either case for now, which is something that was being carefully watched by the sort of people who carefully watch this sort of thing.

However, the un-indicted co-conspirator, whose identity is widely known, remains described prominently in Avenatti’s indictment, remains in the zone of danger, and is currently in a condition commonly known as damp-pantsed.

In the Nike indictment, Avenatti is charged with conspiracy to transmit interstate communications to extort, conspiracy to extort, transmitting interstate extortionate communications, and extortion. But really with flying too close to the sun.

Some of Michael Avenatti’s tweets figure in his Nike indictment, characterized as part of the scheme, because of course they are.

Meanwhile, in the separate THIRD indictment faced by the man who called me and told me I would never amount to anything, Avenatti is accused of stealing some of Stormy Daniels’ (or “Victim-1″) advance on a book contract.

The third indictment alleges Avenatti used Stormy’s money to pay payroll for his firm, for his coffee business, for “insurance, hotels, car services, restaurant and meal delivery,” and for — wait for it — wait for it —-

— $1,900 to “Client-2″ in Los Angeles, who is almost certainly the client Avenatti is charged here in Los Angeles with ripping off. In other words, it appears the indictment charges that Avenatti stole money from Daniels to make lulling payments to a different victim.

This is EXACTLY why you need a good accountant.

The third indictment — the one about Stormy Daniels, not to be confused with the federal indictment about trying to extort Nike or the one about protracted tax dipshittery — describes Avenatti’s lulling communications to Stormy Daniels in detail.

When Daniels asked unjustifiably politely where her book advance was Avenatti responded in a very brief, unsatisfactory, and perfunctory fashion, which no doubt [REMAINDER OF JOKE DELETED]

Anywho, in Federal Criminal Indictment 3/3 Avenatti’s charged with wire fraud and aggravated identify theft, but very unusually, not with conspiracy, possibly because there was literally nobody else in the world stupid enough to try this

Indictments are accusations by a government that responsible people should not trust or take at face value, and which should be vigorously tested by capable advocates, before neutral judges and juries who do not favor one side over the other, and also I should get a pony.

That said, like the SDCA indictment, the SDNY indictments lay out the receipts in a manner that suggest a case that will be extremely difficult to defend. Brah’s in trouble deep.

Avenatti continues to claim he is innocent of all charges and says he expects to be exonerated.

I want to take a minute to remember how the media lapped up all things Avenatti. The adoration was fueled by the wishful hope that the lawyer was the one anointed who would take down President Trump. Oddly, in as much as media outlets helped get President Trump elected by the fawning over him and providing him with far more airtime than any of other candidates, so too did the media help “create” the “folk hero” Avenatti and elevate him to ridiculous levels. Even going so far as to embarrassingly gush about his sartorial choices and alleged sex appeal. That the media helped push Avenatti into the public eye is reinforced also by a report that determined that the self-promoting lawyer was on television 254 times in the span of one year. Also, David Rutz of the Washington Free Beacon calculated that Aveantti “earned roughly $175 million in free media.” Congratulations, media, yet again.

This is my favorite cringe-worthy example of the media idol worship of Avenatti: Idiotic fangirls, CNN commentator Ana Navarro and The View’s Joy Behar deifying the cheap grifter. Clearly their hatred of Trump sucked away any semblance of discernment and rational thought (giving them the benefit of the doubt for having some in the first place):

“Lately, to me, you’re like the Holy Spirit. You are all places at all times. Right. I mean, I do — I see you all over cable news, I see — there’s a seat available if you want to be a co-host at ‘The View.’ There’s people here you can pitch. He’d be a great lady around the table” Navarro ranted.

“[Avenatti] has a bigger calling here. Being a lawyer is minimal compared to what he’s doing,” Joy Behar said.

Navarro interrupted, “The priesthood?”

Behar continued, “He’s out there saving the country.”

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

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