Trust But Verify: Cohen To Return To Congress In Role Of Reformed Sinner

Below is my earlier column on the scheduling of testimony for President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen. The new Democratic majority is right to call Cohen who, while he will not discuss matters under investigation with the Special Counsel, can supply needed details on his allegations on other alleged crimes. While he may bring new details, he will bring little credibility as a proven serial liar. Nonetheless, he joins a long line of disreputable characters called before Congress. They are a necessary cost of oversight in some scandals, but Cohen’s record demands more than the usual degree of corroboration. Any oath that Cohen takes at this point will be viewed as a moment worthy of its own laugh track.

Here is the column:

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Alaskan Guide Fined After Herding Grizzly Bears With Snowmobiles So Clients Could Shoot Them More Easily

USFWS

As many on this blog know, I am no fan of trophy hunting.  I fail to see why it is impressive or thrilling to shoot a giraffe or elephant with a high-powered rifle.    I just do not understand the thrill kill. I feel the same way about shooting grizzly bears, which I have traveled to Alaska to watch in the wild. However, there are many responsible hunters and, while I would not allow hunting grizzly bears, it is lawful in some states. What is not lawful is herding with snowmobiles so some fat cat on a high priced hunting thrill could shoot one. That is what Brian Simpson of Fairbanks, did for Wittrock Outfitters. He is now stripped of his master guide’s license and fined $2,600 in restitution for the killing of two grizzly bears.

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President Trump Threatens to “Devastate Turkey Economically” If Nation Attacks Kurds

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Earlier today, President Trump minced no words in laying a groundwork for his expectations on the terms of withdrawal for U.S. Forces in the Syrian Theater.

While he mentioned he did not want the Kurds to provoke Turkey, the message directed at Turkey’s government was plain: “…[We] Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds.

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YPG Issues Statement Refuting Accusations of Turkey Regarding Syrian Conflict

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

YPG Spokesman Nuri Mahmud
YPG Spokesman Nuri Mahmud

Yesterday, Anti-ISIS Kurdish Militia Spokesman Nuri Mahmud issued an official statement countering what the Syrian Democratic Forces coalition describe as falsehoods spread by the Turkish Government to establish a pre-text toward invasion of Kurdish areas of Syria.

Turkey Regards the YPG (People’s Protection Units) of having ties with and providing support to the PKK, which Turkey and the United States consider a Terrorist Organization.

The YPG/YPJ and SDF is in alliance with U.S. Coalition forces to eliminate the ISIS threat in Syria and have in all regards been the foundation for the terrorist organization’s upcoming defeat as a military force in Syria.

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PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan Granted 1st Visit in Two Years After Jailed Pol. Listed In Critical Condition During Hunger Strike Protesting His Isolation

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Abdullah Öcalan, in 1997 by Halil Uysal

Turkey granted imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan his first visitor in nearly two years this Saturday. Turkish courts ruled in 2016 that he was to receive no visitors, including family. Mr. Öcalan has not had access to visits from his attorneys since 2011 despite filing over seven hundred requests to do so. Mr. Öcalan was visited by his brother, Mohammad Öcalan.

While it is unclear exactly why Turkey had a change of heart regarding the visits, it was recently widely reported on Thursday in Turkish and Kurdish news media that a jailed member of Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) in Turkey is suffering “life-threatening” medical conditions during her hunger strike that started sixty-five days ago. She began the strike to protest the conditions and isolation that Mr. Öcalan was experiencing at the hands of his Turkish captors.

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Saudi Teenager Involved In Bangkok Standoff Granted Asylum In Canada

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

On Friday our host featured an article depicting the plight of Saudi Arabian National Rahaf al-Qunun who fled to Thailand to escape what she described as religious persecution for apostasy. Ms. al-Qunun renounced Islam and refused to submit to the state’s discriminatory practices toward women.

Her asylum pleading for many seemed a prima facie case, given apostasy is punishable up to and including the death penalty and Canada swiftly approved her petition upon her arrival.

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Kurdish Forces: Two American Jihadists Captured

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Source: Syrian Democratic Forces


Kurdish Democratic Forces in Syria report the arrest of two Americans allegedly fighting with or aiding the Islamic State terrorist organization in Syria.  The two men are identified as Warren Christopher Clark, 34, of Texas and Zaid Abed al-Hamed, 35.

They were captured by the Kurds during a counter-terrorism raid near the Iraq border in the vicinity of one of the few remaining holds of ISIS in Syria. Prior to their capture, the two, along with a Pakistani National and a male reportedly from Ireland, were preparing an attack against civilians fleeing the battlefields.

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Saudi Teenager Continues Standoff In Thailand In Seeking Asylum

There remains confusion in Thailand over the fate of Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, 18, who is seeking asylum after renouncing Islam and refusing to be treated as chattel under the medieval laws of Saudi Arabia. We have previously discussed the sexist and repressive laws imposed on women in the Kingdom, making adult women effective wards of male family members, including younger siblings or family members. Since the Saudis kill people for apostasy, the fear of this young woman is real and immediate. She is deserving of asylum and the United States should show that it truly believes in women’s rights and step forward to give her protection against our Saudi allies.

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New York Times Issues Retraction In Bombshell Collusion Story

The New York Times caused a firestorm over its reporting that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort attempted to pass internal Trump campaign data to a Russia oligarch with close ties to Vladimir Putin during the 2016 presidential race. Various sites declared the story by reporters Sharon LaFraniere, Kenneth P. Vogel and Maggie Haberman as the final corroboration of collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign. However, the New York Times later retracted the key connection to a Russian oligarch.

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Police Search For Rapist After Woman in Vegetative State For Ten Years Gives Birth In Arizona Facility

Regulars on this blog are familiar with the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur (or “the thing speaks for itself”). One twisted case near Phoenix, Arizona would certainly seem to fit that definition after a patient in a vegetative state gave birth. AZ Family reported that he victim is a member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe who nearly drowned 10 years ago. Police or the company may seek DNA samples from all male employees at Hacienda HealthCare. In this case, a positive match would by definition confirm rape given the non-consensual context.

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Yes, Trump Has The Authority To Declare A National Emergency On The Southern Border

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the threat of President Donald Trump that, should the Democrats refuse to fund the wall, he is preparing to declare a national emergency to build it unilaterally. As I discuss below, I believe that such a declaration should be opposed by Congress in defense of its inherent constitutional function over the federal purse. I do not see the compelling basis to declare an emergency given the available data on illegal crossings on the Southern border. However, I disagree with those who have argued that such a declaration would be unconstitutional.

Here is the column:

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Trump Goes “Medieval”: Both Sides Deepen Divide Over Wall

In his signature fashion, President Donald Trump on Wednesday embraced the criticism of the Democrats and said that his wall is “medieval” but works. Last night, the public saw both the President and the Democrats announce that they will not yield an inch as the country continues what will soon become the longest government shutdown in history. Lingering in the background is the threat of a presidential declaration of emergency — followed by a unilateral order to start to build the wall with unobligated funds. If so, the White House needs to guarantee that it will not repeat the grossly negligent performance of its first travel ban roll out. Trump reportedly stormed out of a meeting with Democrats in the afternoon.

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Rep. Lee: Shooting Of Black Child By Black Suspects Is Still Possible Hate Crime Because It Was Hateful

A second suspect has been arrested in the shooting of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes in Houston Texas. Larry Woodruffe was arrested in the drive-by shooting after the earlier arrest of Eric Black, Jr., 20.  Barnes was shot and killed on Dec. 30, while riding in a car with her mother and three siblings. She died at the scene and her mother, LaPorsha Washington, and her 6-year-old sister were both injured. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D., Tx) previously called the shooting a hate crime when the suspect was alleged to be white. Now, however, Lee still insists that this should be prosecuted as a hate crime despite the fact that the two suspects are both African American.

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