Sunday, October 21, 2018

Will we ever know what happened to Jamal Kashoggi ??

In this Jan. 29, 2011 file photo, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi speaks on his cellphone at the World Economic Forum

A Saudi official has announced that Jamal Khashoggi was killed when he was "placed in a chokehold position" to prevent him from leaving that country's consulate in Turkey and calling for help.
PHOTO: This image taken from CCTV video obtained by the Turkish broadcaster TRT World and made available on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018, purportedly showing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Oct. 2, 2018.
 Kahshoggi videotaped alive the day of his disappearance
Two weeks later, on Friday, the country's public prosecutor said an initial investigation revealed that discussions between Khashoggi and the individuals who met with him at the consulate led to an argument and a fist fight, which resulted in the journalist's death, according to the Arabic report in the Saudi Press Agency.
The whereabouts of Khashoggi's body remain unknown. A Saudi official, on Sunday claimed that Khashoggi’s body was given to a "local cooperator" in Istanbul for disposal. "Investigation into this continues," the official said.
Fifteen Saudis, members of the team sent to Turkey to meet with Khashoggi in the consulate in Istanbul, are among those who have been detained by the Saudi public prosecutor, according to the official.
"All the 15 team members are among those detained," the official said. "I don't have the names at this time."
The official also said that five Saudi intelligence chiefs, who were relieved of their duties in connection to Khashoggi's death, are not currently suspects in the investigation, even though they were "part of the chain of command of the operation" and that "the operational orders ... were written in such a way as to contribute to the series of events that led to the tragic death."
Turkish officials have claimed that a team of 15 Saudi men, including one who was identified by the press as an autopsy doctor, flew to Turkey specifically to kill Khashoggi at the consulate.
The Trump administration has strongly denied a claim that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was played an audio recording and provided a transcript of Khashoggi's killing.
Eighteen Saudi citizens were detained by the Saudi government in connection with Khashoggi's killing, according to Saudi Arabia's state-run news agency.
Several human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and the Committee to Protect Journalists, have called for the U.N. to investigate Khashoggi’s death.
After speaking with Saudi Arabia's King Salman, President Trump suggested that Khashoggi was targeted by "rogue killers." Earlier this week, Trump said that there would be "severe consequences" if it is found that the Saudis murdered Khashoggi, and on Friday the president said that Saudi’s announcement that it had suspects in custody was "a good first step."
  Kashogi at a news conference
U.S. Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin, and several international business leaders, have pulled out of a major investment forum in Saudi Arabia scheduled to begin next week called the Future Investment Initiative.
Khashoggi fled Saudi Arabia in 2017, and had recently been living in the U.S. where he served as an opinion columnist for The Washington Post newspaper, writing critically of the Saudi royal family and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, and warning of efforts to stifle the free press in the Middle East.
Khashoggi’s final column in the newspaper, published Oct. 17 was titled: "What the Arab world needs most is free expression."
 Donald Trump said Friday that he believes Saudi Arabia's explanation for the death of the journalist .

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Trump tells AP he's not to blame if Republicans loses House

The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he won't accept the blame if Republicans lose the House in November.

Trump said he believes he is "helping" Republican candidates as he campaigns ahead of crucial midterm elections next month. With Republicans facing headwinds, Trump said he thinks the GOP is "going to do well," arguing that "it feels to me very much like" 2016.

In a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press, Trump also accused his longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen of "lying" under oath, defended his use of the derisive nickname "Horseface" for porn actress Stormy Daniels and argued that the widespread condemnation of the Saudis in the disappearance of a Washington Post columnist was a rush to judgment.

Of his efforts on the campaign trail, Trump said: "I don't believe anybody has ever had this kind of impact." He resisted comparisons to President Barack Obama, who took responsibility for the Democrats' defeat in 2010 by acknowledging that his party got "shellacked."

Democrats are hopeful about their chances to recapture the House, while Republicans are increasingly confident they can hold the Senate. If Democrats take the House and pursue impeachment or investigations — including seeking his long-hidden tax returns— Trump claimed he will "handle it very well."

Trump also declared that Cohen's testimony was "totally false" in his August plea deal to campaign finance violations alleging he coordinated with Trump on a hush-money scheme to buy the silence of Daniels and a Playboy model who alleged affairs. But in entering the deal with Cohen, prosecutors signaled that they accepted his recitation of facts and account of what occurred.

He derided Cohen, who worked for Trump for a decade, as "a PR person who did small legal work," and said it was "very sad" that Cohen had struck a deal to "achieve a lighter sentence."

And Trump did not back down from derisively nicknaming Daniels "Horseface" in a tweet hours earlier.

Asked by the AP if it was appropriate to insult a woman's appearance, Trump responded, "You can take it any way you want."
Observations from our in-house expert Mr. Humble :
"When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history."
~ John Brennan~
Trump says His administration is a well oiled machine! This machine produces… severe violations of the emoluments clause, conspiracy, obstruction, money laundering, tax evasion, fraud, racism, adultery, treason!—
REALLY is this a USA President?????

Trump made similar claims in January when boasting about how loyal his fanbase is by suggesting he could shoot someone dead and not lose their vote. Trump>>“They say I have the most loyal people. Where I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose any voters, ok?<<Trump

Dictators .. Seek to Confuse the centers of power! Playing one against the other… Causing division in the Executive, the Judicial and the Legislative Branches of Government!!! Dictators make alliances with Foreign Dictators… Russia, Does this sound like anyone familiar?

This piece of Garbage has never taken responsibility for ANYTHING - always blaming everyone else - a great example of a COWARD.
Okay. We'll blame the lying fat guy with the lousy hair, who puts rapists on the supreme court, calls women dogs and horsefaces, tells murdering dictators he loves them, and does business with assassins because he loves money more than human life. We'll blame that guy.

At every rally he says a vote in November is vote for him but he won't accept blame for a loss?  Truth is, trump won't accept responsibility for anything.
I still remember all those campaign promises Trump came up with. We will build a great wall and Mexico will pay for it. We will rebuild the military and the infrastructure while cutting taxes for everyone, especially the wealthy. I kept thinking to myself, how are we going to pay for this? Does Trump know? Has he even thought about it?

It was all a bunch of lies to get fools to vote for him so he could give the wealthy a permanent, massive tax cut, and look at all the fools that still support him.

Last but not least :
Many ways to spot a Trump supporter:
1) They don't really support Trump; they follow him. Kind of like how sheep follow their master or how that cult in Guyana followed Jim Jones. They aren’t really capable of critical thinking. 
2) They want to “make America great again” but can barely string a sentence together and probably don't hold an advanced degree.  
3) They hate (or fear) anyone who is different from them.
4) They tend to vote against their own best interests. 
5) They are blissfully unaware of numbers 1 through 4.
6) They are easily brainwashed
7) They never search for the truth.
8) They never check sources of news on their Facebook and other social media accounts.
9) A lie is just as good as the truth if you can get someone to believe it
10) They will cheer ANYTHING Trump says.
11) And if he says something completely different the next day, they will cheer that too.
That's all folks ------------Just my humble opionon

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Related image

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Kushner Makes Millions ... Pays No Taxes

Jared Kushner is seen at the Royal Court after US President Donald Trump received the Order of Abdulaziz al-Saud medal in Riyadh on May 20, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN        (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Jared Kushner is a multi-millionaire slumlord who evicts and harasses low-income tenants to line his own pockets.
He is also best buds with Mohammed Bin Salman, a 30-something despot nicknamed “Little Saddam”. Salman is  waging a war on Yemen that has killed thousands of children and malnourished millions. He is also reported to have personally ordered the killing of WaPo journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
If none of that moved you to despise Kushner, perhaps this will. The NY Times obtained documents that describe Kushner’s taxes (they were part of package in a loan application). The documents show that Kushner has used special tax loopholes created for real-estate investors to an extreme degree. He has paid no income taxes for years, while receiving many millions in taxes:
The documents, which The Times reviewed in their entirety, were created with Mr. Kushner’s cooperation as part of a review of his finances by an institution that was considering lending him money. Totaling more than 40 pages, they describe his business dealings, earnings, expenses and borrowing from 2009 to 2016. They contain information that was taken from Mr. Kushner’s federal tax filings, as well as other data provided by his advisers. The documents, mostly created last year, were shared with The Times by a person who has had financial dealings with Mr. Kushner and his family.
The summaries of Mr. Kushner’s tax returns reviewed by The Times don’t explicitly state how much he paid. Instead, the documents include disclosures by his accountants that estimate how much tax he owed for the year just ended — called “income taxes payable” — and how much he paid during the year in anticipation of taxes he would owe, called “prepaid taxes.” For most of the years covered, both were listed as zero. —
Of course, none of us are surprised by this. We already know Donald Trump is a tax cheat. Trump hasn’t paid income taxes for years either. Trump took a billion dollar tax loss, for money that he’d borrowed. When that was revealed in 2016, numerous accountants called it illegal.
There has to be a politician somewhere who can speak to this rigged system. How is it that a waitress making $12 an hour is taxed, while a guy like Kushner who makes millions a year pays no taxes?
Why don’t Democrats attack this problem head on?
The tax code affords real estate investors great leeway in how they calculate their depreciation — flexibility that often is used to inflate their annual deductions. Among the tactics used by many developers: Their tax advisers prepare studies arguing that much of a property’s value is attributable to things like appliances and parking lots, which under the law can be depreciated more quickly than the building.
Such strategies are almost never audited, tax professionals say. And the new tax law provides even more opportunities for property investors to take larger deductions. —
Why don’t more politicians talk about a rigged economic system which is designed to inflate the fortunes of the Trumps and Kushners of the world. Meanwhile, poor and middle-income Americans pay crippling taxes and their children go off to fight our wars, something else that the Trumps and Kushners of the world avoid and evade.

Is Trump on a Collision Course With Impeachment?

Nixon’s case used to be a extra uncomplicated abuse of energy and obstruction of justice: the Watergate housebreaking to secret agent on his political opposition and the ensuing cover-up, together with the cost of hush cash and, in any case, a transcript of the “smoking gun” tape of him seeking to order the C.I.A. to dam the F.B.I. investigation. The House Judiciary Committee voted to question, and Nixon resigned quite than proceed to battle after fellow Republicans deserted him.

Bill Clinton’s case fell someplace within the murky heart. Charged with perjury and obstruction of justice for seeking to hinder a sexual harassment lawsuit filed through Paula Jones through hiding his affair with a former White House intern, Monica Lewinsky, Mr. Clinton used to be impeached on a just about party-line vote within the House and acquitted within the Senate. Defenders had been left to argue that sure, he could have violated the legislation, however it used to be no longer such a profound violation to benefit removing.

More than some other president, on the other hand, Mr. Trump has lived below the shadow of impeachment since prior to he took place of job. Within days of his election in November 2016, hypothesis started about impeachment on account of the numerous moral problems surrounding him.

Regardless of whether or not Mr. Mueller stories any ties with Russia all over the 2016 marketing campaign, Mr. Trump’s critics have a laundry checklist of what they believe impeachable offenses, from resort and different non-public trade actions that get pleasure from international governments to the firing of the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, after seeking to get him to drop an investigation of a former aide to hush cash paid to 2 ladies to stay them from speaking publicly about sexual encounters prior to the election.

The public is extra supportive of impeaching Mr. Trump than it ever used to be of impeaching Mr. Clinton and greater than it used to be of starting impeachment lawsuits towards Richard Nixon till close to the top of the Watergate scandal. In August, 49 p.c of Americans surveyed through The Washington Post and ABC News appreciated impeaching Mr. Trump, whilst 46 p.c hostile it.

The elected Democratic management has been reluctant to discuss it, out of worries of a public backlash or enjoying into Mr. Trump’s palms. A failed impeachment may just energize his base or even propel him to re-election in 2020. “It’s not someplace I think we should go,” Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the House Democratic chief, has said.

But it’s onerous to believe Democrats no longer going there in the event that they take the House, given the large force from their liberal base to no less than open an impeachment inquiry. Three-quarters of Democrats instructed pollsters that they would like Mr. Trump impeached. Tom Steyer, the liberal billionaire who has been financing tv advertisements advocating impeachment, introduced this previous week that he has accumulated six million signatures on a petition.

Mr. Trump’s facet is gearing up and hopes to make use of the possible battle to impress supporters to prove subsequent month. “It’s very simple — Nov. 6, up or down vote,” Steve Bannon, his former leader strategist, said lately. “Up or down vote on the impeachment of Donald Trump.”

Peter Baker is an creator, with Jon Meacham, Timothy Naftali and Jeffrey A. Engel, of “Impeachment: An American History.”

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Peter Jackson's WWI Archive Footage Film ....In High Definition Living Color

Filmmaker Peter Jackson has swapped fantasy for history in his new 3D film about the First World War.The Oscar-winning director, famous for bringing Lord Of The Rings to the silver screen, and his team have restored and painstakingly hand-colourized 100-year-old footage for the movie. 
The film, called 'They Shall Grow Not Old', is part of a series of events announced by arts organization 14-18 NOW and is due to premiere at the BFI London Film Festival in October.
Peter Jackson's new WW1 film
Mr Jackson said that he wanted to transform the footage to "beyond anything we’ve ever seen before". He added:
"We started to do some experiments and I was honestly stunned by the results we were getting.
"We all know what First World War footage looks like. It's sped up, it's fast, like Charlie Chaplin, grainy, jumpy, scratchy, and it immediately blocks you from actually connecting with the events on screen." 
They Shall Not Grow Old
They Shall Not Grow Old
A before and after of the transformed footage
"But the results are absolutely unbelievable... This footage looks like it was shot in the last week or two, with high-definition cameras. It's so sharp and clear now."
'The Hobbit' filmmaker said: "The faces of the men just jump out at you. It's the faces, it's the people that come to life in this film.
"It's the human beings that were actually there, that were thrust into this extraordinary situation that defined their lives."
They Shall Not Grow Old
Mr Jackson and his team combed through approximately 600 hours of audio interviews with veterans, found in the BBC archives from the 1960s, 70s and 80s.
The interviews illustrate not only the military strategy and knowledge but also the human experience of war.
The filmmaker said that the film will give "a sense of what it was like to be in this war 100 years ago [from] the perspective of the people that were actually there".

14–18 NOW is the UK’s arts program for the First World War centenary.
The season will conclude by marking Armistice Day on 11 November, with a new, yet-to-be-announced work by filmmaker Danny Boyle, the mastermind behind the London 2012 opening ceremony, which "will invite people across the UK" to take part.
The BFI London Film Festival artistic director, Tricia Tuttle, said:
"A hundred years after the First World War, we know much about the horrific impact of this conflict on its soldiers, especially the brutal scale of the casualties which decimated a generation, but Peter's film offers new understanding of the human experience of life at the front."
"Using original audio and moving image archive, he allows the soldiers to tell their own stories.
"The work his team have done on the materials, adding color and converting to 3D, is painstaking and beautiful.
"It makes these people from 100 years ago seem so alive and gives an uncanny sense the footage was shot recently."
Due to premiere at the BFI London Film Festival's Documentary Special Presentation on 16 October, the film will then be screened nationwide in both 2D and 3D. 

Last Call to save the Earth

It's the final call, say scientists, the most extensive warning yet on the risks of rising global temperatures. Their dramatic report on keeping that rise under 1.5 degrees C says the world is now completely off track, heading instead towards 3C.
Keeping to the preferred target of 1.5C above pre-industrial levels will mean "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society".
It will be hugely expensive - but the window of opportunity remains open for ten or twelve years.
After three years of research and a week of haggling between scientists and government officials at a meeting in South Korea, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued a special report on the impact of global warming of 1.5C.
The critical 33-page Summary for Policymakers certainly bears the hallmarks of difficult negotiations between climate researchers determined to stick to what their studies have shown and political representatives more concerned with economies and living standards.
Despite the inevitable compromises, there are some key messages that come through loud and clear.
"The first is that limiting warming to 1.5C brings a lot of benefits compared with limiting it to two degrees. It really reduces the impacts of climate change in very important ways," said Prof Jim Skea, who co-chairs the IPCC.
"The second is the unprecedented nature of the changes that are required if we are to limit warming to 1.5C - changes to energy systems, changes to the way we manage land, changes to the way we move around with transportation."

What's the one big takeaway? 

Graphic showing what is likely to be affected by different rises in temperature
"Scientists might want to write in capital letters, 'ACT NOW, IDIOTS,' but they need to say that with facts and numbers," said Kaisa Kosonen, of Greenpeace, who was an observer at the negotiations. "And they have."
The researchers have used these facts and numbers to paint a picture of the world with a dangerous fever, caused by humans. We used to think if we could keep warming below two degrees this century, then the changes we would experience would be manageable.
Not any more. This new study says that going past 1.5C is dicing with the planet's liveability. And the 1.5C temperature "guard rail" could be exceeded in just 12 years, in 2030.
We can stay below it - but it will require urgent, large-scale changes from governments and individuals and we will have to invest a massive pile of cash every year, about 2.5% of global gross domestic product (GDP), the value of all goods and services produced, for two decades.
Even then, we will still need machines, trees and plants to capture carbon from the air that we can then store deep underground - forever.

"Scientists might want to write in capital letters, 'ACT NOW, IDIOTS,' but they need to say that with facts and numbers," said Kaisa Kosonen, of Greenpeace, who was an observer at the negotiations. "And they have."
The researchers have used these facts and numbers to paint a picture of the world with a dangerous fever, caused by humans. We used to think if we could keep warming below two degrees this century, then the changes we would experience would be manageable.
Not any more. This new study says that going past 1.5C is gambling with the planet's liveability. And the 1.5C temperature "guard rail" could be exceeded in just 12 years, in 2030.
We can stay below it - but it will require urgent, large-scale changes from governments and individuals and we will have to invest a massive pile of cash every year, about 2.5% of global gross domestic product (GDP), the value of all goods and services produced, for two decades.
Even then, we will still need machines, trees and plants to capture carbon from the air that we can then store deep underground - forever.

What can I do?

The report says there must be rapid and significant changes in four big global systems:
  • energy
  •  land use
  •  cities
  •  industry
But it adds that the world cannot meet its target without changes by individuals, urging people to:
  • buy less meat, milk, cheese and butter and more locally sourced seasonal food - and throw less of it away 
  • drive electric cars but walk or cycle short distances  take trains and buses instead of planes
  •  use video conferencing instead of business travel
  •  use a wash line instead of a tumble dryer
  •  insulate homes
  •  demand low carbon in every consumer product
Lifestyle changes can make a big difference, said Dr Debra Roberts, the IPCC's other co-chair.
"That's a very empowering message for the individual," she said. "This is not about remote science; it is about where we live and work, and it gives us a cue on how we might be able to contribute to that massive change, because everyone is going to have to be involved."
"You might say you don't have control over land use, but you do have control over what you eat and that determines land use.
"We can choose the way we move in cities and if we don't have access to public transport - make sure you are electing politicians who provide options around public transport."

Five steps to 1.5

  1. Global emissions of CO2 need to decline by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030
  2. Renewables are estimated to provide up to 85% of global electricity by 2050
  3. Coal is expected to reduce to close to zero
  4. Up to seven million sq km of land will be needed for energy crops (a bit less than the size of Australia)
  5. Global net zero emissions by 2050
How much will all this cost?

It won't come cheap. The report says to limit warming to 1.5C, will involve "annual average investment needs in the energy system of around $2.4 trillion" between 2016 and 2035.
Experts believe this number needs to be put in context.
"There are costs and benefits you have to weigh up," said Dr Stephen Cornelius, a former UK IPCC negotiator now with WWF. He says making big emissions cuts in the short term will cost money but be cheaper than paying for carbon dioxide removal later this century.
"The report also talks about the benefits as there is higher economic growth at 1.5 degrees than there is at 2C and you don't have the higher risk of catastrophic impacts at 1.5 that you do at two."

What happens if we don't act?

The researchers say that if we fail to keep temperature rises below 1.5C, we are in for some significant and dangerous changes to our world.
You can kiss coral reefs goodbye, as the report says they would be essentially 100% wiped out at two degrees of warming.
Global sea-level will rise about 10cm (4in) more if we let warming go to 2C. That may not sound like much but keeping to 1.5C means that 10 million fewer people would be exposed to the risks of flooding.
There are also significant impacts on ocean temperatures and acidity, and the ability to grow crops such as rice, maize and wheat.
"We are already in the danger zone at one degree of warming," said Kaisa Kosonen, from Greenpeace. "Both poles are melting at an accelerated rate; ancient trees that have been there for hundreds of years are suddenly dying; and the summer we've just experienced - basically, the whole world was on fire."

In 1980, the minimum sea ice extent was 7.7 million square kilometres. This year it was at 4.7 million square kilometres.2012 was the lowest year on record, when it was down to 3.6 million square kilometres - less than half what it was in 1980.
Scientists say that urgent steps need to be taken now to keep global warming from exceeding 1.5C and causing a "climate catastrophe".
Current research shows that keeping that rise under 1.5C says the world is now completely off track, heading instead towards 3C.
But how can a few degrees make such a big difference - and why is 1.5 so important? Laura Foster explains.

Is this plan at all feasible?

The countdown to the worst of global warming seems to have accelerated. Seriously damaging impacts are no longer on a distant horizon later this century but within a timeframe that appears uncomfortably close.
By the same token, the report's "pathways" for keeping a lid on temperatures all mean that hard decisions cannot be delayed:
  • a shift away from fossil fuels by mid-century
  • coal phased out far sooner than previously suggested
  • vast tracts of land given over to forests
It's mind-bending stuff and some will say it's hopelessly unrealistic, a climate scientists' fantasy. So is any of it plausible? On the one hand, the global economy relies on carbon and key activities depend on it. On the other, wind turbines and solar panels have tumbled in price and more and more countries and states such as California are setting ambitious green targets.
Ultimately, politicians will face a difficult choice: persuade their voters that the revolutionary change outlined in the report is urgently needed or ignore it and say the scientists have got it wrong.

Is all this about saving small island states?

The idea of keeping the global temperature rise to 1.5 is something very close to the hearts and minds of small island and low-lying states, which fear being inundated with flooding if temperatures go to two degrees.
But over the three years that the report was in preparation, more and more scientific evidence has been published showing the benefits of staying close to 1.5C are not just for island nations in the Pacific.
"If you save a small island country, then you save the world," said Dr Amjad Abdulla, an IPCC author, from the Maldives. "Because the report clearly states that no-one is going to be immune. It's about morality - it's about humanity."

How long have we got?

Not long at all. But that issue is now in the hands of political leaders. The report says hard decisions can no longer be kicked down the road. If the nations of the world don't act soon, they will have to rely even more on unproven technologies to take carbon out of the air - an expensive and uncertain road.
"They really need to start work immediately. The report is clear that if governments just fulfil the pledges they made in the Paris agreement for 2030, it is not good enough. It will make it very difficult to consider global warming of 1.5C," said Prof Jim Skea.
"If they read the report and decide to increase their ambitions and act more immediately, then 1.5C stays within reach - that's the nature of the choice they face."
Campaigners and environmentalists, who have welcomed the report, say there is simply no time left for debate.
"This is the moment where we need to decide" said Kaisa Kosonen. "We want to move to clean energy, sustainable lifestyles. We want to protect our forests and species. This is the moment that we will remember; this is the year when the turning point happened."
This is our last chance to save the earth we know. Without immediate action we may condemn the future earth to an unlivable, bleak, parched existence.

Thanx to the BBC for all the help

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Kavanaugh's third accuser

Julie Swetnick

Julie Swetnick is the third woman to publicly accuse Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.  Swetnick's allegations have been treated less seriously than accusations against Kavanaugh from two other women: Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez. Swetnick's lawyer, Michael Avenatti, demanded she be interviewed by the FBI as part of an investigation into the allegations against Kavanaugh.

In a sworn declaration released last week, Swetnick claimed she was gang raped at a high school party that Kavanaugh and his friend, Mark Judge, attended in the 1980s. She also accused Kavanaugh and Judge of sexual misconduct at other parties.
Swetnick's allegations have been treated less seriously than accusations against Kavanaugh from two other women: Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez.

Who is Julie Swetnick?

In her sworn declaration, Swetnick identified herself as a resident of Washington, DC.
Swetnick, 55, graduated from Gaithersburg High School in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and attended Montgomery College, a community college in the area, according to The Washington Post.
She's the child of government bureaucrats. Her father worked on the lunar orbiter for NASA and her mother was a geologist at the Atomic Energy Commission, The Post reported.
Swetnick is a web developer and has held multiple security clearances doing work for various government agencies.
What we know about Swetnick's allegations against Kavanaugh

Swetnick's sworn declaration, which was made public by her attorney Michael Avenatti, says she attended "well over" 10 parties where Kavanaugh and Judge were present during the early 1980s.
She claims she saw both men "consistently engage in excessive drinking and inappropriate contact of a sexual nature with women" at these parties.

"I also witnessed efforts by Mark Judge, Brett Kavanaugh and others to cause girls to become inebriated and disoriented so they could then be 'gang raped' in a side room or bedroom by a 'train' of numerous boys. I have a firm recollection of seeing boys lined up outside rooms and many of these parties waiting for their 'turn' with a girl inside the room. These boys included Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh," Swetnick states in the declaration.
Swetnick also claimed she "became the victim of one of these 'gang' or 'train' rapes where Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh were present," though she did not explicitly accuse either of them of raping her.

Elisabeth Rasor, an ex-girlfriend of Mark Judge, told The New Yorker that Judge once confessed to "an incident that involved him and other boys taking turns having sex with a drunk woman."
Judge, who is also accused of being involved in Kavanaugh's alleged assault of Christine Blasey Ford, a California professor, seemed to believe the incident was consensual, Rasor said. But some have taken this as corroborative evidence of Swetnick's allegations. Kavanaugh and Judge have both vehemently denied Swetnick's allegations.

Questions arise about her allegations

Statements Swetnick made in an interview on Monday have raised questions about her allegations, and she appeared to walk back some of her initial claims. In her sworn declaration, Swetnick claimed she was "aware" of "efforts" from Kavanaugh, Judge, and others to spike drinks with drugs "and/or" grain alcohol so they would "lose their inhibitions" and their ability to say "no."
When asked by NBC's Kate Snow if she directly saw Kavanaugh or Judge spike drinks, she said "around the punch containers" and had seen him "giving red cups to quite a few girls during that time frame."
"I don't know what he did. But I saw him by them, yes," Swetnick said.

On Tuesday, a letter written by a former TV weatherman named Dennis Ketterer that made claims about Swetnick's alleged sexual preferences was released by Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee in what was widely viewed by critics as an effort to undermine her allegations.
Responding to the letter, Avenatti tweeted, "The letter from Dennis Ketterer is garbage - the GOP is desperate. The allegations he makes are false and without any basis."
—Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) October 2, 2018

Swetnick's credibility has also been called into question due to the fact she's been involved in at least six lawsuits over the past quarter century, including one in which a former employee accused her of falsifying her college and work history on her job application. The suit was ultimately dismissed.
Moreover, an ex-boyfriend of Swetnick's, Richard Vinneccy, has also said she's not credible and claims he filed a restraining order against her in 2001. But records show the suit was dismissed two weeks after he filed a petition for the order.
During her recent interview with NBC, Swetnick said of Vinneccy's claims, "That is absolutely preposterous, and honestly, I never received a restraining order."
Swetnick has been excluded from an FBI investigation into allegations against Kavanaugh

After Ford and Kavanaugh delivered dramatic, emotional testimony on her allegations before the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday, the White House authorized an FBI investigation into the matter to be completed prior to a Senate floor vote on Kavanaugh's nomination.
The FBI investigation concluded on Wednesday and the White House received a report from investigators. The report was passed on to senators on Thursday morning for review.

Swetnick was not contacted by the FBI, a fact Avenatti has been highly critical of. He said on Monday that the investigation is a "farce" being run by President Donald Trump and claimed the White House and Republicans are "afraid" of what Swetnick might say.
Avenatti also rejected the notion that her claims cannot be corroborated and on Wednesday tweeted a declaration from another women he said "confirms a number of Ms. Swetnick's claims."
"These women deserve to be heard & interviewed by the FBI before any vote on the nomination," Avenatti added.

Judge, who is also accused of being involved in the alleged assault of Ford, was interviewed.
Ramirez, who accuses Kavanaugh of shoving his penis in her face at a party when they were both at Yale University, has also been interviewed, among others with potentially relevant knowledge about the allegations the Supreme Court nominee faces.

But Kavanaugh and Ford were not interviewed, a fact that has led to criticism from Democrats who have noted that Trump said he wanted the investigation to be "comprehensive."
Critics, particularly Avenatti, feel the FBI investigation was not extensive enough.

On Thursday morning, Avenatti tweeted, "The FBI investigation was no investigation at all. [President Donald Trump], [Sen. Mitch McConnell], and [Sen. Chuck Grassley] ensured that numerous key witnesses, including six very damaging witnesses I am aware of, were never even interviewed. Their conduct is a disgrace - they never wanted the truth."

Meanwhile, the president tweeted that that the treatment of Kavanaugh as "harsh" and "unfair" and described the allegations against him as "uncorroborated."

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Cosby ... Life in Prison

a man talking on a cell phone: Bill Cosby is escorted out of the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in Eagleville, Pennsylvania, on Sept. 25, 2018, after he was sentenced to three to 10 years in state prison for sexual assault.

© Jacqueline Larma/AP/REX/Shutterstock Bill Cosby is escorted out of the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in Eagleville, Pennsylvania, on Sept. 25, 2018, after he was sentenced to three to 10 years in state prison for sexual assault.

Just days after Bill Cosby was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman in his home 14 years ago, new details are emerging about the sex offender treatment he'll receive while he's behind bars.

Judge Steven O'Neill branded the disgraced comedian, 81, a "sexually violent predator" during his sentencing on Sept. 25 and ordered him to immediately be incarcerated in a Pennsylvania state prison.

During his first few weeks as inmate NN7687, prison officials confirm Cosby -- who's being housed in his own cell near the infirmary -- will be meeting with medical, psychological and records staff as he's evaluated so that, they can "determine the extent of his sex offender treatment."

The program he'll be assigned to is called "Responsible Living: A Sex Offender Treatment Program," TMZ explains, and while it's something all convicted sex offenders must go through, how far into the program Cosby gets depends on how much of a danger experts decide he poses.

© Pennsylvania Department of Corrections / Uncredited/AP/REX/Shutterstock This photo provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections shows Bill Cosby in a booking photo taken after he was transferred to a state prison in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, after being sentenced to three to 10 years for sexual assault on Sept. 25, 2018.

The program has seven phases, Phase 1: Responsibility taking; Phase 2: Behavioral techniques; Phase 3: Emotional well-being; Phase 4: Victim empathy; Phase 5: Anger management; Phase 6: Sex education; Phase 7: Relapse prevention.

"According to the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, Cosby will go through an evaluation process to determine what category of risk he falls in and what sort of treatment is deemed fit in the state sex offender program," explaining that the comedian -- who maintains his innocence despite dozens of women's claims that he raped or sexually assaulted them over the decades, many say after he incapacitated them with drugs -- could end up completing just a few steps.
"If he falls into a moderate-high or a high-risk category, he'll have to complete all seven phases of the sex offender program".
"If he falls into a low or low-moderate risk category, he's just required to knock out 'Responsibility taking,' 'Sex education' and 'Relapse prevention.'"

© Montgomery County Correctional Facility / Uncredited/AP/REX/Shutterstock This booking photo provided by the Montgomery County Correctional Facility shows Bill Cosby on Sept. 25, 2018

Cosby is so far serving his sentence at Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution Phoenix in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, a 3,830-bed facility that houses some of the state's most violent offenders. The state-of-the-art prison is brand new and only opened in July. Officials could determine that he should be transferred to a different facility at a later date.

Though Cosby, who's legally blind, is currently in a cell on his own, Corrections Secretary John Wetzel explained in a press release that "the long-term goal is for him to be placed in the general population to receive the programming required during his incarceration."

Cosby was convicted in an April retrial of three counts of aggravated indecent assault against Andrea Constand. Sixty women came forward to recount their sexual assaults by Cosby. The 'statute of limitations' precluded him from being charged in almost all cases.
 Cosby's wife Camille and their children were conspicuously absent from his sentencing. Camille has been by his side all the way through his trial but seems to have abandoned him since his conviction.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Gee, maybe your hopes are about to be dashed Mr Trump.... Sen. Flake opts for fair play

Trump Agrees to Open ‘Limited’ F.B.I. Investigation Into Accusations Against Kavanaugh

 Senator Jeff Flake has asked for a one-week delay before the full Senate holds a vote to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh so that the F.B.I. could investigate allegations against him of sexual assault.
President Trump, ceding to a request from Senate Republican leaders facing an insurrection in their ranks, ordered the F.B.I. on Friday to reopen a background investigation of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, his nominee to the Supreme Court, and examine the allegations of sexual assault that have been made against him.
The announcement plunged Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination into new turmoil after a tumultuous week on Capitol Hill, and will delay, by as much as a week, a final confirmation vote. It came only 24 hours after the judge and one of his accusers, Christine Blasey Ford, each gave emotional testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee that led many Republicans to think Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation was inevitable.
Republican leaders had little choice but to ask Mr. Trump to order the F.B.I. inquiry after Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, first announced he was supporting Judge Kavanaugh, and then, in a stunning reversal, said he would not vote to confirm him without an F.B.I. investigation first. With a handful of allies in a closely divided Senate, Mr. Flake, a conservative but an outspoken critic of the president, could determine the future of the Kavanaugh nomination, and that gave him leverage over Senate Republicans as well as the president.
“We ought to do what we can to make sure we do all due diligence with a nomination this important,” Mr. Flake told his colleagues on the Judiciary Committee after extracting a promise from Republican leaders to delay the final vote on the nomination until after the F.B.I. investigation. “This country is being ripped apart here.”
Mr. Trump, who had hoped Judge Kavanaugh would be sworn in by the time the Supreme Court opens its next term on Monday, said he was ordering the F.B.I. to conduct what he called a “supplemental” investigation that he said “must be limited in scope and completed in less than a week,” as the Republican Senate leadership had asked for.
The F.B.I. has already completed a background check on Mr. Kavanaugh, and it is unclear what the parameters of the new inquiry would be. But according to a person familiar with the matter, the allegations made by Deborah Ramirez, a former Yale classmate of Judge Kavanaugh’s, will be investigated along with those made by Dr. Blasey.
Judge Kavanaugh said in a statement on Friday that he would continue to cooperate with investigators to clear his name. Debra S. Katz, a lawyer for Dr. Blasey, said her client welcomed the development but not the “artificial limits” imposed by senators. Mark Judge, a friend of Judge Kavanaugh’s identified by Dr. Blasey and another accuser at the scene of the episodes, said through a lawyer that he would cooperate with investigators.
The delay cast a cloud over what Republicans expected to be a triumphant day, but they still had reason to be optimistic: Despite adamant Democratic opposition, they were able to muscle the
nomination through the Judiciary Committee with an 11-to-10 vote and send it to the full Senate with a favorable recommendation.

Mr. Flake had already announced his intention to vote in favor of Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation on Friday morning when, on his way to the committee meeting room, he was confronted by protesters who tearfully told him that they had been sexually assaulted. Then, after the committee chairman, Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, set a 1:30 p.m. vote, he began to waver, and retreated into an anteroom with colleagues of both parties.
After nearly an hour of hushed conversations, as well as calls to law enforcement officials and other undecided Republicans, Mr. Flake emerged to ask for an investigation that would be “limited in time and scope to the current allegations that are there,” siding with Democrats who have repeatedly requested an inquiry.
With that stipulation, the committee quickly voted along party lines to recommend to the full Senate that Judge Kavanaugh be confirmed.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Bill Cosby sentenced to 3 to 10 years in state prison for 2004 sexual assault

| NEW YORK DAILY NEWS |        SEP 25, 2018 
Bill Cosby was sentenced to three-to 10-years for sexual assault on Sept. 25, 2018. (Montgomery County Correctional Facility via AP)

Disgraced pudding pop pitchman Bill Cosby finally got his just desserts.

Judge Steven T. O’Neill on Tuesday sentenced the fallen funnyman to three to 10 years in state prison for drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University staffer Andrea Constand nearly 15 years ago.

Cosby, 81, removed his tie and cufflinks and was escorted from the Montgomery County District Courthouse in handcuffs after the judge denied him bail.

“It’s time for justice,” O’Neill said. “Mr. Cosby, this has all circled back to you. The time has come.”

Prosecutors had asked for a term of five to 10 years, arguing the man once revered as “America’s Dad” showed no remorse for his actions. Cosby’s legal team requested house arrest, arguing Cosby is now legally blind and poses no risk to the community.

P.J. Masten — who came forward in 2014 to accuse Cosby of drugging and raping her in 1979, when she worked as a Bunny manager at the Playboy Club in Chicago — said she was overcome with emotion when she heard the sentence.

“First I screamed, and then I just started to cry,” Masten told the Daily News in a phone interview.

“He’s done. He can’t hurt anybody else ever again. I’m just so relieved it’s finally over,” she said. “I just hope he suffers in prison. His survivors have suffered for more than 40 years. It’s now his turn to suffer and see what it feels like. We’ve had attempted suicides, hospital stays, ongoing therapy. We’ve been attacked and spit on. It’s been horrific.”

Fellow accuser Jennifer Kaya Thompson, 47, expressed shock Cosby got close to what prosecutors wanted and could spend a decade behind bars.

“I was just so surprised. It’s been so many years, I didn’t think it would actually happen. I expected him to get away with it,” Thompson told The News.

“I didn’t think people would be able to wake up, collectively. So it’s really rewarding on many levels. It’s a sign our society is healing. It really affirms we do care, and just because a person has money, status, fame and knows how to bully people, that doesn’t mean they will come out ahead,” she said.

Thompson was a 17-year-old model when she met Cosby in 1988 with the hope of landing a role on “The Cosby Show.”

She stepped forward as a Jane Doe witness for Constand during her 2005 civil lawsuit and later went public with claims the powerful comedian made unwanted sexual advances and manipulated her into performing a sex act at his New York residence that caused her lasting trauma.

“The damage he caused was to his victims as well as their families and loved ones. It robbed us of many of our hopes and dreams. It’s a complex sort of victimhood,” Thompson said.

O’Neill on Tuesday also declared Cosby to be a “sexually violent predator,” a designation that requires the former comedian to submit to counseling for the remainder of his life. The label had no impact on the length of Cosby’s sentence.

Cosby’s publicist, Andrew Wyatt, gave a withering statement after the sentencing, calling Cosby’s legal proceedings “the most racist and sexist trial in the history of the United States.”

He said Cosby was the victim of a “sex war,” and compared him to U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who’s now battling separate accusations of decades-old sexual misconduct.
Former Playboy bunny P.J. Masten stepped forward to say Bill Cosby drugged and raped her. Here, they are pictured together.
Former Playboy bunny P.J. Masten stepped forward to say Bill Cosby drugged and raped her. Here, they are pictured together. (Courtesy PJ Masten /)

Constand, 45, offered a much different account during emotional and often excruciating testimony at Cosby's first trial in June 2017, which ended with a deadlocked jury, and again at his retrial five months ago.

The former head of women’s basketball operations at Cosby’s alma mater, said she considered the actor a mentor and father figure the night he offered her three unidentified blue pills he referred to as “your friends” during a meeting to discuss her career.

She thought the pills were herbal remedies for stress, she testified, and was stunned and confused when they caused her words to slur, her vision to blur and her legs to turn rubbery.

Constand told the jurors she felt powerless as Cosby groped her breasts, penetrated her with his fingers and masturbated himself with her hand.

“I wanted it to stop,” she said on the witness stand in April. “I was weak. I was limp, and I could not fight him off.”

While Cosby’s first jury failed to reach a verdict after marathon deliberations, his second jury of five women and seven men returned a unanimous verdict after a 12-day trial that included new testimony from five additional accusers, including former supermodel Janice Dickinson.

“The harrowing memory of the rape continues to this day. I have reoccurring nightmares, I wake up in fear, I fear the dark. I struggle to discuss this even with my beloved husband of 6 years,” Dickinson said in a statement Tuesday, adding that she “will never be the same.”

During a press conference after the sentencing, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said Cosby not only used his on-screen personality to manipulate women, but that he also used it as a shield to hide behind.

“It was a seminal character on TV, and so was the family, but it was fiction,” he said.

“Before Bill Cosby became a convicted felon taken away in handcuffs to begin paying for his crimes, a lot of people believed that’s who he was,” Steele said. “He used his acting skills and endearing TV personality to win over his victims and then keep them silent about what he did to them.”

Cosby was held under house with an electronic monitor between his conviction and sentencing. On Tuesday, he returned to court for the second and final day of his sentencing sporting a small grin as he shuffled past both fans and protesters gathering outside.

“We’re right here with you, Bill! Hold your head up,” a man nearby shouted as dozens more called out to the convicted felon.

Cosby was granted an opportunity to speak on his own behalf Tuesday but declined.

“I don’t need any more discussion on that,” he said.

Pennsylvania’s Sexual Offenders Assessment Board had already recommended Cosby be designated a “sexually violent predator.” Psychologist and board member Kristen Dudley on Monday testified that she believes Cosby experiences uncontrollable urges to violate young women.

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele echoed the sentiment, saying he believed Cosby would commit more crimes given the chance.

“To say that he is too old to do that — to say that he should get a pass because it’s taken this long to catch up to what he’s done?” Steele said. “What they’re asking for is a ‘get out of jail free’ card.”

Cosby’s defense team balked at the label.

“The suggestion that Mr. Cosby is dangerous is not supported by anything other than the frenzy,” defense lawyer Joseph Green Jr. said.

Under Pennsylvania law, Cosby will have to serve the minimum three years before he can be eligible for parole.
Andrea Constand at Cosby's sentencing hearing on Monday, Sept. 24, 2018. He was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison on Tuesday.
Andrea Constand at Cosby's sentencing hearing on Monday, Sept. 24, 2018. He was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison on Tuesday. (David Maialetti/AP / AP)

“They persecuted Jesus and look what happened,” Wyatt said, reading his statement outside the courthouse. “Mr. Cosby is fine. He’s holding up well. Anyone who wants to say anything negative, you’re a joke as well."

Cosby in April was convicted on three counts of aggravated indecent assault for drugging and molesting Constand in 2004 at his home just outside Philadelphia. She reported the incident to police in 2005 but the district attorney at the time did not press charges — so she brought a civil suit against the actor.

In the years since, Cosby has been accused of sexual assault by more than 60 women, prompting officials to reexamine the case. His once family-friendly reputation, sparked by his portrayal of the lovable Dr. Cliff Huxtable in the 1980s sitcom,”The Cosby Show,” eclipsed by the slew of allegations.

“We may never know the full extent of his double life as a sexual predator but his decades-long reign of terror as a serial rapist is over,” Constand said in a victim impact statement released Tuesday.

“I have often asked myself why the burden of being the sole witness in two criminal trials had to fall to me. The pressure was enormous. I knew that how my testimony was perceived — that how I was perceived — would have an impact on every member of the jury and on the future mental and emotional well-being of every sexual assault victim who came before me. But I had to testify.”

Cosby was first charged back in December 2015, just days before the 12-year statute of limitations on the crime ran out. He pleaded not guilty, claiming that Constand was a willing sexual partner. His lawyers were quick to brand her as a “con artist” who framed the comedian for the money, pointing to the $3.4 million settlement she received a decade back.

Therese Serignese was another one of the Jane Doe witnesses for Constand during her civil case and attended the sentencing hearing Tuesday.

“It’s been a long road,” she told The News by phone as she shared the victim impact statement she addressed directly to Cosby.

“I was full of young life, hope, optimism and trust. I was impressionable. I was na├»ve, and I had my whole life ahead of me. You showed callous disregard for my wellbeing and safety. With your damaging and criminal actions that day, you stole my trust, my body and my belief that good things happen,” she said in the emotional statement.

Serignese was a recent high school graduate when she met Cosby in Las Vegas in 1976. He admitted in a 2005 deposition that he gave her the now-banned sedative Quaaludes then had sexual relations with her.

“You, with premeditation, incapacitated me and then violated me and took away my dignity,” she said. “Your actions of drug-facilitated sexual assault/rape have caused me lifelong harm.”

Bill Cosby prosecutor seeks 5 to 10 years in prison

Variety        EMILIE LOUNSBERRY         Sep 24th 2018
 NORRISTOWN, Pa. — A prosecutor urged the judge in Bill Cosby’s sexual abuse case on Monday to sentence the disgraced entertainer to five to 10 years behind bars, while Cosby’s defense lawyer said incarceration would be an “excessive hardship” for the man once known as America’s Dad.

Montgomery County Judge Steven T. O’Neill is poised to impose the sentence sometime Tuesday after hearing one defense witness and then deciding whether Cosby should be declared a “sexually violent predator” — a designation that would subject him to a lifetime of registering as a sex offender.

Cosby, 81, was found guilty in April of three counts of aggravated indecent assault for molesting Andrea Constand, a former operations manager for the women’s basketball team at Temple University, where Cosby was an enthusiastic supporter and major donor.

He had been facing a maximum of 30 years in prison, but O’Neill announced in court on Monday that the prosecution and the defense had agreed that two of the three counts should be merged into one charge, leaving Cosby exposed to a maximum of 10 years in state prison.

Cosby is the first celebrity to be sentenced in the heated atmosphere of the #MeToo movement amid a growing cultural awareness of the impact of sexual abuse everywhere from Hollywood to Washington D.C., to the highest echelons of the media world to the Catholic Church.

Dozens of women have accused Cosby of sexual assault, but Constand’s allegation was the only one that became the subject of a criminal case.   She was present in court on Monday, as were a number of the other women who have contended Cosby assaulted them.

Cosby has denied assaulting Constand and claims their sexual encounter was consensual. He is expected to appeal his conviction. He will have an opportunity to address O’Neill before the sentence is imposed.

While Constand’s father, mother, sister, and the chief prosecutor all gave detailed statements in court, Constand herself spoke just briefly. She made her point — and then walked silently back to her seat in the packed courtroom.

“The jury heard me. Mr. Cosby heard me. And now, all I am asking for is justice as the court sees fit,” said Constand.

State sentencing guidelines call for a range of between 22 and 36 months of confinement for Cosby, with leeway of up to 12 months upward or downward, depending on whether the judge finds aggravating or mitigating factors. O’Neill is not bound by the guidelines and could decide on virtually any sentence.

The key questions include whether any prison sentence would be so long that it would essentially mean that Cosby will spend the rest of his life behind bars, and whether he will have to begin serving any sentence immediately or be allowed to remain under house arrest pending the outcome of an appeal.

Constand had testified that the assault took place at Cosby’s home in Montgomery County, just outside of Philadelphia, in early 2004. She said Cosby gave her three pills she thought were an herbal relaxant and took them because she trusted him. Then, she said, she became incapacitated and felt his fingers inside of her, but “couldn’t fight him off.”

Asking the judge to impose the maximum sentence, District Attorney Kevin Steele said state prison was the appropriate place for Cosby, not house arrest at his suburban Philadelphia home or even in the county jail.

“What they’re asking for is a get-out-of-jail free card,” Steele said of the defense.

Steele said the state Department of Corrections has a prison just for older inmates, and that Cosby wouldn’t even be the oldest.

“The bottom line, your honor, is that nobody’s above the law — nobody,” said Steele.

Cosby appeared in court with a new team of defense lawyers, Joseph P. Green Jr. and appellate specialist Peter Goldberger, and as usual, walked into court on the arm of his publicist, Andrew Wyatt.

Green said the 81-year-old Cosby is legally blind, has no prior record, and could become an extortion victim in prison. “Incarceration would impose on him excessive hardship,” said Green.

The defense lawyer disputed efforts by prosecutors to persuade O’Neill to declare Cosby a sexually violent predator.

Such a designation would subject Cosby to registration as a sex offender and would require that he receive counseling. O’Neill is required to decide the issue before announcing a sentence.

Green rejected the prosecution’s contention that Cosby is dangerous.

“Mr. Cosby is not dangerous,” said Green. “Eighty-one-year-old blind men who are not self-sufficient are not dangerous, except to perhaps themselves.”

Green said the entertainer grew up in North Philadelphia and endured hardships as a youth. He went into the Navy and then attended Temple on a scholarship and decided to become a teacher before he learned that he had a knack for making people laugh, the defense lawyer told the judge.

Green said mitigating factors include Cosby’s advanced age, his blindness, and the unlikely prospect of any recurrence of the conduct at issue in the case.

In an apparent reference to the #MeToo movement, Green reminded O’Neill that a court of law is much different than a court of public opinion where public relations and protests may dominate the public square.

“The court of public opinion is governed by its own rules,” said Green.
Let's hear from Witchy :

As predicted, the man has money....therefore, his sentence will be reduced.  Different levels of consequences for the same crime depending on:  wealth status, political party allegiance, profession, sex, race, state and level of fame.  That said, there was a time when the USA was different (and better) than other countries due to our equal justice system.  Today, even free speech is in jeopardy here in the USA.
Courts should fine Cosby 90% of his wealth and assets and liquidate them  give that money to his victims.  No justice if his defense is that he got away with being a serial rapist until his 80's. Should be in jail as soon as sentence is set. No house arrest pending appeal. He lives in a mansion and the appeal could take years. He needs punishment now.
Cosby's not normal and therefore, I believe he doesn't have a conscience like other people. He's living in luxury and not suffering so he needs to go to prison and fulfill his full sentence which I hope is a lengthy one.

Now ain't  this sentencing a 'BITCH.' HeHe

Stay tuned to    "As The Stomach Turns'

Sunday, September 23, 2018

2 Powerful Tornados Strike Canadian Capitol

Parts of Canada’s national capital were still reeling Saturday after a powerful tornado carved paths of destruction through residential neighborhoods – snapping huge trees, tossing cars and obliterating homes along its way.

The tornado inflicted heavy damage late Friday as it churned across pockets of Ottawa’s west and south ends, as well as densely populated sections of the neighboring Quebec city of Gatineau.
The storm’s bite continued to be felt across a wide swath of the region many hours later, with more than 150,000 customers still without power Saturday afternoon. Hydro Ottawa CEO Bryce Conrad compared the magnitude of the damage to the power grid to the debilitating ice storm of 1998.
The human toll was also significant. Authorities said dozens of people suffered injuries, however there were no reports of fatalities or of missing people.

The Ottawa Hospital tweeted that two people were in critical condition, one was in serious condition and two others were stable. Officials established shelters for those who couldn’t return home and they said crisis counselling would be available.
On the north side of the Ottawa River, Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin said more than 700 of his citizens were impacted by the storm and about 100 people took refuge in a shelter Friday night at a local college. More than 215 buildings suffered damage or were destroyed in his city – affecting a total of 1,686 housing units, he added.

In areas lashed by the tornado, scenes of the havoc were everywhere. The winds tore the roofs from numerous large buildings, bounced large sections of metal bleachers across soccer fields, knocked over hydro poles and cracked thick trees like twigs.  

Much of Dunrobin, a semi-rural community about 35 kilometres west of downtown Ottawa, remained cordoned off by police Saturday afternoon after a second tornado touched down.
“It looked like it was something from a movie scene or a war scene,” Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson told reporters Saturday recalling what he saw in the area of Dunrobin, where buildings were wiped out or partially destroyed.
“Literally, it looks like some bomb was dropped from the air.”

It was eerily quiet inside the police perimeter of one of Dunrobin’s most-damaged neighbourhoods – and only a few trees were still standing. Personal items were strewn everywhere – a baby blanket, a life jacket, mattresses, lawn mowers, a fridge, a kitchen sink lying on the grass and even a love seat wrapped around a telephone pole.
A car, windows shattered, lay on its side in front of a house. Fluffy, pink insulation – sucked out of ravaged homes – covered the neighborhood.
Looking at one house, the blue sky could be seen through an open door. Its roof had vanished.
Some houses had nothing left at all and lay flat on the ground, covering their vehicles.
Officials warned people not to re-enter their homes until they had been deemed safe as firefighters went door-to-door to determine whether structures were still sound. In Dunrobin, authorities said many buildings that had emerged from the tornado partially intact would likely have to be torn down.
Conrad informed people in the Ottawa area to brace for a multi-day power outage following what he described as a “cascading failure” of hydro resources.

“Last night’s storm was devastating to our electrical infrastructure, arguably as bad if not worse than the ice storm in 1998,” Conrad told reporters.
He said there were 200 separate outages across the Hydro Ottawa network and 147,000 customers without power. Hydro Ottawa only serves some of the people left without power because of the tornado.

Environment Canada confirmed Saturday that indeed a tornado struck the capital region. Meteorologist Simon Legault said there was evidence of powerful winds around 220 kilometres per hour, which would correspond with an EF2 category tornado.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he would be visiting the Ottawa area on Sunday to commiserate and offer support. We are all waiting to see how much the Ontario Government will help because extreme weather events are becoming more frequent in our province.