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|An Iranian general said officials lied about shooting down a Ukrainian passenger jet to defend national security ||Score picks, bold predictions and fantasy tips for every Week 3 NFL game |
Amir Ali Hajizadeh said that Iran's public lies about shooting down Ukraine International Airlines flight 752 were justifiable.
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|Postpone the Impeachment Trial until the House Finishes Investigating ||Belichick cuts presser short after AB questions |
Two things happened simultaneously on Wednesday: (a) The House of Representatives transmitted to the Senate two articles of impeachment approved on straight partisan lines a month ago, and (b) the House’s impeachment inquiry — yes, it’s still very much alive — highlighted new, relevant evidence it has turned up about the activities in Ukraine of President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and Giuliani’s associates.The Democrats’ strategy is coming clear.The House provided the Senate with two half-baked impeachment articles. House Democrats rushed through the investigation, forgoing salient witnesses and evidence, because of the political calendar. The charges are weak and the inquiry was needlessly short-circuited, so Democrats have continued investigating the premature allegations. Now they are publicly disclosing newly acquired evidence, with the promise of more to come. Transparently, their goal is to pressure the Senate not merely to conduct a trial but to complete the investigation that the House failed to complete — calling witnesses and gathering evidence, as if a trial were nothing more than an extension of an open-ended grand-jury probe.Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans should not let them get away with it. No trial court would allow itself to be whipsawed this way. A federal judge would tell prosecutors to go back to the grand jury, finish the investigation, and come back to the trial court when they have a case ready to be tried, not investigated.That is not to say new evidence may not be serious. It may be very serious. It could make the case worse for President Trump. But in any event, there should be just one trial, and it should occur when the investigation is complete. This is not supposed to be a non-stop grand jury, with an ever-hovering prospect of new articles of impeachment, in addition to an endless stream of newly emerging materials that the Senate is expected to sort out rather than judge.Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans should hold the two pending articles in abeyance, or vote to dismiss them without prejudice to the House’s revoting them when its impeachment inquiry is finally concluded.The new information that has emerged underscores a strategic error by the president and House Republicans, which I have outlined several times since the Ukraine controversy emerged. They have insisted on fighting the Ukraine allegations on the impossible theory that the president’s communication with his Ukrainian counterpart, President Volodymyr Zelensky, was “perfect,” and that there was no quid pro quo — i.e., no indication that the president was withholding official acts sought by Kyiv ($400 million in defense aid and a White House visit) until its government met his demands (the public announcement that Ukraine would conduct an investigation of the Bidens and into Ukraine’s role in the Trump-Russia investigation).I have contended, to the contrary, that the president’s best defense is that nothing of consequence happened. I have been prepared to assume that the president pressured Ukraine, as alleged. But it was much ado about nothing: Ukraine got the defense aid (and barely knew it had been briefly delayed); Zelensky did not have to make any commitment about investigations; and he got his high-profile audience with President Trump (albeit at the United Nations in New York City, not at the White House). The president’s defense should be that, while there may have been improprieties, nothing here approaches the egregious misconduct required to trigger impeachment.This would be the best strategy in any event. It is an imperative strategy, however, in a situation such as this one, where the investigation is continuing and new information is coming out continuously. Under my approach, if new evidence emerged about the president’s knowledge of or complicity in the pressure campaign on Zelensky, it could be dismissed as mere confirmation of what was already obvious. But because the president and Republicans have taken the tack that nothing inappropriate happened and no pressure was asserted, any evidence of impropriety and pressure can be framed as a bombshell — even though it doesn’t actually change the bottom line.Giuliani associate Lev Parnas is under indictment in the Southern District of New York (SDNY), in a case that has factual overlap with events that were the focus of the House impeachment inquiry. Parnas wants to use his potential value as a witness in the impeachment inquiry as leverage against his SDNY prosecution. So he has begun sharing information from the SDNY case with House investigators. They, in turn, are releasing the information to the media, which are reporting it as ground-shaking revelations.That information (texts, notes, and the like) indicates that Giuliani, representing that he was acting with the president’s knowledge and approval, and in his official capacity as Trump’s private lawyer, sought a meeting with Zelensky in mid May 2019. The implication is that this was part of a then-ongoing plan to push Ukraine for an investigation of the Bidens.Moreover, there are communications between Parnas and Yuriy Lutsenko, a Ukrainian prosecutor who was helping Giuliani investigate possible Biden corruption, about their desire for the ouster of Marie Yovanovitch — the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, who was eventually removed by the president at the urging of Giuliani (among others). There is enough detail in Parnas’s correspondence about Yovanovitch’s activities that it raises the disturbing specter that he was monitoring an American ambassador.The allegedly unjustified removal of Yovanovitch was extensively covered in the House hearings, which included the ambassador’s testimony. It was mainly atmospheric, rather than substantive. The president does not need a reason to dismiss an ambassador. And while it was vaguely suggested that Yovanovitch was removed because she was seen as an obstacle to pressuring Ukraine for an investigation of the Bidens, that was not established. There are no impeachment articles tied to her removal.If I am right, and Parnas is trying to use his potential value as an impeachment witness as a chip in plea negotiations with the SDNY, that could take time to work out. (The SDNY, whose job is prosecution, not impeachment, would want a guilty plea and full cooperation; Parnas would want immunity.) Meanwhile, the other major storyline is that John Bolton, formerly the president’s national-security adviser, has indicated that he is willing to testify if called. He is patently a relevant witness to the internal administration discussions over delayed defense aid to Ukraine. So is acting chief of staff and budget director Mick Mulvaney. So may be Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, if the House’s continuing investigation is focusing on Ambassador Yovanovitch’s dismissal.Plainly, there are loose ends here that the House should have tied up and that, importantly, the House is continuing to investigate. Note that Democrats have been caterwauling that the impeachment trial will not be fair because Senate Republicans are too in-the-tank for Trump to do their duty as impartial decision-makers (as if Democrats were not rabid anti-Trump partisans). But what could more undermine the fairness of a trial than a continuing, very public investigation of the same defendant while that trial is proceeding?No trial judge would put up with that. Prosecutors would not be permitted to present the case before a trial jury while, outside the courtroom, they were prejudicing the trial by continuing to investigate and publicize their findings.There is a very simple solution, one that judges in federal court deal with all the time in cases that are still under investigation when an indictment is initially filed: Don’t schedule the trial until the prosecutors acknowledge to the court that the investigation is over and no further charges are anticipated.It is worth bearing in mind: Impeachment is not just any trial. It stops the legislative business of the United States cold. There will be no movement of bills, no consideration of appointments, no hearings on vital issues such as Iran and the use of force. The impeachment trial will impede the work of the Supreme Court, since the chief justice must preside. In this instance, the impeachment trial will even wreak havoc on the Democratic nomination campaign, as senators — including top-tier contenders Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders — must sit as jurors for six days a week.These are costs that must be borne. There has been an impeachment, so the Constitution calls on the Senate to act. But for the sake of our governance, that should mean a single trial, and it should represent the Democrats’ best, most complete case for the president’s removal. That trial should not happen until the investigation is done and the charges are fully ripe. By contrast, if Republicans allow Democrats to engage in the ongoing gamesmanship — in which the Senate trial would open, but House Democrats plan to throw new evidence into the mix every few days or weeks, demanding that the Senate trial be expanded to investigate what it all means — we would be looking at weeks, maybe months, of governmental paralysis. There is, moreover, basic fairness: The accused is supposed to know what the allegations are before the trial starts — the charges are not supposed to evolve as the trial proceeds.The importance of preserving impeachment as a viable constitutional remedy for presidential misconduct transcends the current administration and Congress. If impeachment must be done, it should be done right. It should not be done as a partisan game of investigative ping-pong between congressional chambers.
| Patriots coach Bill Belichick's patience ran thin. He walked off after fielding seven questions about Antonio Brown's off-the-field issues. "I'm good," he said. "Thank you." |
|Bureaucracy to brutality: New evidence reveals IS hierarchy ||Sources: Yanks' German won't pitch again in '19 |
Documents compiled by a U.S.-based Syrian rights group reveal how Islamic State militants used one of their most powerful bureaucratic bodies to regulate daily life and impose and execute penalties. The Washington-based Syria Justice and Accountability Center said Thursday that the evidence — documents produced by IS itself — could help identify individuals responsible for atrocities during the militants' four-year reign of terror and lead to criminal prosecutions. The 24-page report, called “Judge, Jury and Executioner,” is based on dozens of documents obtained by SJAC from inside Syria and collected by a local activist from abandoned IS offices in Raqqa province, where the militants also had their self-declared capital in a city that carries the same name.
| Right-hander Domingo German will miss both the rest of the regular season and the postseason following his placement on administrative leave, sources told ESPN's Buster Olney. |
|Political Turmoil to Be ‘New Normal’ for 2020, Risk Firm Says ||Flame out: NFL field pyrotechnics get brief ban |
(Bloomberg) -- The violent protests and political upheaval that marked 2019 and challenged governments from Hong Kong to Chile is set to stay and is now the “new normal,” according to a global risk firm.Verisk Maplecroft, which advises corporate clients on political risk around the world, said in a new report released Thursday that it predicts “continued turmoil in 2020” as administrations around the world continue to be surprised by demonstrators and ill-prepared to address the underlying social grievances that spur them.“We all need to buckle up for 2020,” said Miha Hribernik, the Singapore-based head of Asia risk insight for Verisk Maplecroft. “The rage that caught many governments off-guard last year isn’t going anywhere and we’d all better adapt.”Many governments were caught by surprise by the scale and ferocity of the protests and ended up attempting to crackdown on the movements, deploying what human rights group have said were arbitrary arrests and indiscriminate violence. That response has ended up further radicalizing protesters and provoking more violent demonstrations, Verisk Maplecroft said in its Political Risk Outlook 2020.Rising UnrestOf the countries seeing significantly more angry protests than usual, some of the steepest increases on firm’s unrest index were in Chile and Hong Kong. Chile rose from 91st place to 6th on the index as simmering social strife transformed Latin America’s richest and most stable nation into a focal point of chaotic protests that caused some $2 billion of property damages and killed more than two dozen people.Hong Kong similarly rose from 117th to 26th after seven months of pro-democracy street protests, the firm said. Although prompted by a since-withdrawn bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, Verisk Maplecroft added that the “root cause of discontent has been the rollback of civil and political rights since 1997.”India and Iraq, which have both seen determined protests recently, ranked much lower on the list of worsening hot spots because they began last year with heightened levels of unrest. In New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi now faces the most significant challenge to his rule since being first being elected in 2014, as protesters take to the streets criticizing his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party for its anti-Muslim policies.Many governments have “reacted with a combination of repression and limited concessions” which achieved little because resilient protest movements have adapted rapidly to police tactics, Hribernik said.“During 2019, governments worldwidescrambled to find an effective response to protests,” he said. “We don’t see much changing during 2020, and January has so far borne this out -- protesters have continued to turn out in their thousands in Iran, Iraq, India, Chile, Hong Kong and Lebanon -- to name just a few places.”To contact the reporters on this story: Iain Marlow in Hong Kong at email@example.com;Hannah Dormido in Hong Kong at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at email@example.com, Muneeza NaqviFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
| The NFL has placed a temporary ban on all flame effects and pyrotechnics used on its playing fields as it investigates a fire at the Tennessee Titans' Nissan Stadium in Week 2. |
|Princess Cruises responds after 'Marriage Story' actress speaks out, sues alleging bedbugs ||DC floats Lamar-Mahomes as next Peyton-Brady |
A "Marriage Story" actress and her husband are suing Princess Cruises, alleging their room was infested with bedbugs.
| Ravens defensive coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale is looking forward to Sunday's showdown between Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes, saying it could be sports' next great rivalry, a la Tom Brady and Peyton Manning or Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. |
Elmira Local News
Elmira Views and Opinions
The Importance of Free Press in a Democracy
Before we can understand the importance of a free press in a democracy, we need to grasp what it means to have a free press. The Cambridge Dictionary tells us that a free press allows all media outlets to express whatever opinions they desire. That means, it says, that they are enabled to â€œcriticize the government and other organizations.â€ So why would that be relevant in a democracy?
Unfair Questions or Democracy At Work ?
â€œCongress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.â€ -- The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
Why U.S. Engagement Policy Is The Correct One
Invariably, when one thinks of the efficacy of a nationâ€™s military, the mindâ€™s eye is drawn to the ability of that country to deliver a \"warhead onto the forehead\" of their enemies. Indeed, owing to the Pentagonâ€™s slick packaging of the First Gulf War, modern conflict, in the American mind, became synonymous with high-tech toys, grainy videos of successful missile shots, and a quick resolution of hostilities.
Capitalism and The Wealth Gap
When it comes to the efficient delivery of goods and services, capitalism is the proven economic model that puts people to work and products on the shelves. Whether those jobs end up paying enough money to purchase the items on those shelves is another matter, however.
Living Wages Are A Global Problem
The recent protests for an increased minimum wage are part of a larger global protest. The purpose is the same for low wage earners all over the world; increase wages to match the cost of living, and allow workers to form unions if desired and needed. The global protest has gained media attention all over the world, but critics claim that is the only accomplishment the movement will have.
Ukraine: Not What It Seems
After tense days of fighting this week, people in Ukraine are mourning the dead and celebrating the removal of President Victor Yanukovych from power. The final struggle that began on February 18, was the bloodiest endured by the protesters of Euromaidan. By February 22 the fighting was over.
Coup Or Civil War In Egypt
The day after new protests erupted in Egypt the military in a show of support presented an ultimatum to Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood-led government. Morsi was to step down from power and meet all of the demands of the Egyptian people, or face being removed by the military on Wednesday. As the ultimatum deadline draws closer in Egypt, Morsi refuses to leave, insisting that parliamentary elections are needed before he should be removed, and that he doesn't have permission from the United States to remove himself from power. Most recently he stated he will pay with his life to preserve the sanctity of the ballot box.