Posted by: maboulette | March 28, 2017

McDonald’s Worker, 94, Honored For 44 Years of Service


McDonalds

A 94-year-old Evansville, Ind. woman was celebrated for her 44 years of dedicated service at a variety of local McDonald’s restaurants.

LORAINE MAURER

Loraine Maurer, who is currently employed at the North Green River location, was surrounded by dozens of family, friends and community members inside the burger joint last Thursday.

INTERVIEW

In an interview with the Courier & Press, a smiling Maurer said most of her time spent over the last several years was in full swing, running operations at the fast-food place.

“I get in here at 5 o’clock when they open. I have to get up at three,” Maurer said.

“I started at the first one in town over there by Glenwood school … From there, I went to Covert Avenue, and I worked there a long time, very long time.”

Maurer revealed she has kept an extraordinarily close relationship to her regulars.

“If the weather was bad, [my customers] would come after me in the morning, and when my shift was over, they came over to McDonald’s and picked me up and took me home. You can’t ask for more than that,” she added.

“I would never want to be a manager. I want to deal with my customers. I want to be in contact with them.”

Despite working demanding hours at the restaurant and losing her husband years back, Maurer has continued to live her life to the fullest.

“[My girlfriend and I] have traveled all over the world … When I fly over the cities, I look for the Arch.”

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Posted by: maboulette | March 28, 2017

Amazon to Begin Collecting Sales Tax Nationwide On April 1


amazon

If you’ve been enjoying sales tax-free purchases online, get ready for a major change. Amazon will begin collecting sales taxes from all states with a sales tax as of April 1, 2017. That’s no April Fool’s Day joke: it’s for real.

YEARS IMPOSITION STATE BY STATE

After years of fighting the imposition of sales tax on a state by state basis – from court battles to corporate exemptions – Amazon has been following a different tack of late. The online retail giant has been adding – not fighting – states to its list of jurisdictions subject to sales tax. You can see the list as it appears today here.

SALES TAX 45 STATES

The list is about to get a little longer. Next month, Amazon will begin collecting sales tax in Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, and New Mexico. Those four states are the last to be added to the list, rounding out a complete list of 45 states where Amazon will now collect sales tax. That means that as of next month, Amazon will be collecting sales tax nationwide.

5 STATES DON’T HAVE SALES TAX

And no, I didn’t skip the geography class: I know there are 50 states. Amazon won’t collect sales tax in Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon. Those states do not have a state sales tax.

Collecting sales tax on online purchases has been a provocative subject for years. Companies which make sales over the internet are still subject to the same sales tax collection requirements as so-called “brick and mortar” stores. Normally, the test is whether the company has a physical presence in that state: if a company has a physical presence in a state, they are required to collect and remit sales taxes. The test is the result of 25-year-old Supreme Court ruling in Quill Corp. v. North Dakota. In that case, the Court ruled that only those companies with a physical presence inside a state can be required to collect sales tax, “continuing value of a bright-line rule in this area.” The key, of course, is that the definition of ‘physical presence’ can vary as technology changes.

(You can read more about the history of sales tax and mail order catalogs here.)

Retailers don’t love the rule because it’s more work for them. Figuring sales tax in multiple states and localities can be complicated and expensive. So, for years, online retailers like Amazon have largely railed against an expansion of sales tax to the internet while brick and mortar stores have argued for expanding the tax, claiming it would level the retail playing field.

That said, even if a company doesn’t charge you sales tax, consumers don’t get a pass on taxes. States that impose a sales tax typically also impose a use tax. If your state has a use tax and you are not charged a sales tax, you are supposed to self-report and pay the tax. About half of all states offer a line on their income tax returns now for this purpose; otherwise, there are separate tax forms for your completion.

As you can imagine, between the complexity and the insanity of this rule, most consumers ignore the use tax. In fact, a 2015 poll conducted by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) found that 62% of registered voters were not aware that use taxes were payable (downloads as a pdf). Most of those polled felt that the best way to collect sales tax was at the point the sale is made – and not by asking consumers to self-report and pay.

So what’s changed? The laws haven’t changed drastically (though, some states, like Colorado, are passing new rules to require retailers to report more information about sales). That said online retailers who are either seeing the writing on the wall or are weary of fighting against the inevitable, have been quietly shifting operations to collect sales tax in most states. Amazon is one of the largest retailers to do so.

A request for comment from Amazon about the change was not immediately returned.

Founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos, Amazon is headquartered in Seattle, Washington. The retail giant reported revenues of $107.01 billion in 2016. The company was ranked at #237 in Forbes’ Global 2000 and #12 on Forbes’ list of the Most Valuable Brands.

 

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Posted by: maboulette | March 28, 2017

Too Bad We Can’t Pause This Presidency


pause.jpg

 

The American people should mandate a termination of all momentous actions by this “president” until we can be assured that Russian efforts to hack our election, in a way that was clearly meant to help him and damage his opponent, did not also include collusion with or cover-up by anyone involved in the Trump campaign and now administration.

ALITTLE EXTREME

This may sound extreme, but if the gathering fog of suspicion should have dots that all connect, it would be one of the most egregious assaults on our democracy ever. It would not only be extraordinary it would be a deep wound to faith in our authority.

PAUSE

Viewed through the serious lens of epic implications, no action to put this presidency on pause is too extreme. Rather, it is exceedingly sensible.

BARE MINIMUM

Some things must be done and some positions filled simply to keep the government working. Absolute repeal of administrative authority is infeasible and ill advised. But a bare minimum standard must be applied until we know more about what the current number of investigations yield. Indeed, it may be that the current investigative apparatuses are inadequate and a special commission or special counsel is in order.

HAVE TO PAUSE

In any event, we can’t keep traveling along as if the unanswered question isn’t existential.

BREAK

Americans must demand at least a momentary break from — my preference would be a permanent termination of — Trump’s destructive agenda to dramatically change the social, economic and political contours of this country.

NO DOUBT

America deserves to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that our president is sincere before he issues a single new upsetting executive order.

DESERVES

America deserves to know that he is legitimate before he pushes through a budget that obscenely expands military spending while making dramatic cuts in other areas.

America deserves to know that he is legitimate before the Senate moves forward with confirmation hearings for his Supreme Court nominee.

MERRICK GARLAND

GOP pitched a fit when President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to fill the seat made open by the death of Antonin Scalia, falsely arguing that a president should not be allowed to fill a vacancy during the last year of his term. That is basically a seat that the Republican stole.  It is not at all clear to me that this will not be the last year of Donald Trump’s term, should these investigations expose something untoward between his regime and Russia.

WE DO KNOW

But we now know, according to reporting by The Washington Post, that Attorney General Jeff Sessions also met at least twice with the ambassador during the campaign — once at the Republican National Convention — and then lied about those contacts under oath during his confirmation hearings.

ALLEGATIONS

Then last weekend in a series of tweets Trump made a scandalous and completely unconfirmed allegation that President Obama had “my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower” in October of 2016. He said of his baseless charge, “This is McCarthyism!” and “This is Nixon/Watergate” and called Obama a “Bad (or sick) guy!”

WHICH IS TRUE

This is absolutely disgraceful. One of three things is true here:

  • Obama, during the waning months of an eight-year term free of personal scandal, decided to maliciously and illegally tap the phones of the candidate all the polls at the time predicted would lose;
  • A law enforcement agency was able to present evidence and convince a federal judge that someone or some group of people in Trump Tower were engaged in illegal activity;
  • This “president,” who has proven himself a pathological liar, is once again chasing conspiratorial windmills and seeking to detract and deflect from legitimate scandal.

Any of these scenarios has the profoundest of consequences.

LOTS OF SMOKE

There is a helluva lot of smoke here for there to be no fire. Maybe all of these contacts with the Russians have some generous and believable explanation that escapes me at the moment. Maybe this is just the result of an extraordinary series of coincidences. Maybe.

ALTERNATIVE

Whatever the case, we deserve answers before we simply pretend that there is some sort of political inertia pulling us forward and that the Trump agenda is an inevitable consequence of a suspect election.

No!

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released last month found that a majority of Americans believe “Congress should investigate whether Donald Trump’s presidential campaign had contact with the Russian government in 2016.”

That’s important, but not enough. Until that investigation is finished, that same majority of Americans must put elected officials on notice that there will be a price to pay if they aid and abet Trump’s agenda before the truth is known.

We must all demand without equivocation: Pause This Presidency!

So start talking to family and friends – email and call Congress your Senators and Representative.

THINK ABOUT THIS – what if we find out that this presidency is illegal but this president has already made so many changes it is impossible to repair all the damage.

 

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Posted by: maboulette | March 27, 2017

Adele Says She May Never Tour Again


If you didn’t catch Adele on her year-long world tour, you may have missed your chance.

NEW ZEALAND

The “Hello” singer wrapped the main bulk of her Adele Live tour in Auckland, New Zealand, Sunday night and told the crowd she might not tour again.

40,000 FANS IN THE RAIN

“Touring isn’t something I’m good at… applause makes me feel a bit vulnerable,” Adele said, according to the New Zealand Herald. “I don’t know if I will ever tour again. The only reason I’ve toured is you. I’m not sure if touring is my bag.”

Sunday’s show drew 40,000 fans to Mount Smart Stadium, although poor weather conditions left Adele performing in the rain.

122 DATE TOUR

The 28-year-old star said her 122-date tour was the “greatest accomplishment in my career.”

ADELE LIVE

Adele Live began in February 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and completed its first leg, in Europe, last June. Adele then toured the U.S. from July through November, and has been touring Australasia since February.

FINAL RUN

A final run of four performances at London’s famed Wembley Stadium takes place in June and July.

Posted by: maboulette | March 27, 2017

What’s Next On the Agenda for the GOP and Trump


Ryan

Republicans suffered a bruising, self-inflicted blow Friday when they tanked their own health care bill and gave up on that long-held priority.

NOW WHAT

The question now is whether the GOP can recover and accomplish other items on the congressional agenda — whether it’s passing spending bills to keeping the government open or enacting sweeping tax reform.

“They lost their first major legislative fight and did it in spectacular fashion,” said David Cohen, a political science professor at the University of Akron.

That does not bode well, Cohen said, because “so much of politics is built on momentum,” with success begetting more success — or failure leading to more defections and distrust.

MOVE ONTO TAX REFORM

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., painted a rosy picture of the GOP’s next steps on Friday, even while admitting their failure to pass the health care bill was a setback. He said they would now move onto tax reform, deficit reduction, rebuilding the military, securing the border and boosting infrastructure spending.

EASIER THAN HEALTH CARE

Ryan and others said tax reform and other issues would be easier than health care, because there’s more agreement within the party on how to proceed.

“Republicans are moving full speed ahead with President Trump on the first pro-growth tax reform in a generation,” said Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which will oversee that effort.

DIVISIONS NEED TO HEAL

But the divisions that sank the health bill are still raw, with Republicans engaged in a round of intra-party recriminations and finger-pointing.

COLLINS

Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., said tensions inside the House Republican conference are so high that some lawmakers aren’t speaking to each other and some are even “storming past each other” in the Capitol’s marbled hallways.

REASON HEALTH CARE FIRST

And there’s a reason that Republicans tackled health care first. They were rolling that into a budget “reconciliation” bill, a special framework that is not subject to a filibuster in the Senate. Anything else the Republicans do will have to win 60 votes in the Senate, where Republicans control 52 seats to the 46 Democrats and 2 independents who caucus with the Democrats. And the budget bill would set a framework for other tax and spending matters, which impact everything else the GOP does.

RETHINK LEGISLATIVE SCHEDULE

Asked earlier this week what would happen if the health bill failed, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said: “I think you have to go back to square one and rethink your entire legislative schedule.”

TAX REFORM MORE DIFFICULT

Ryan conceded that tax reform is more difficult with Obamacare left in place, because that law included a bevy of tax increases the GOP had hoped to repeal.

“That just means the Obamacare taxes stick with Obamacare,” Ryan said. “We’re going to go fix the rest of the tax code.”

REPAIR RELATIONS

He also admitted that Republicans would have to do a little soul-searching to figure out what went wrong in the health care debate — and to repair frayed relations inside the party.

“We will need time to reflect on how we got to his moment,” he told reporters Friday. “We were a 10-year opposition party, where being against things was easy to do.”

Now, he said, the party is undergoing “growing pains” as it adjusts to controlling all levers of government.

POLITICAL ANALYST

Political analyst Stuart Rothenberg called it “quite an admission” for Ryan to acknowledge the GOP is not yet a “governing party.”

“What an embarrassment. What else can you say?” Rothenberg tweeted. “They promised. They voted to repeal — until they were in charge.

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fishing

Though advisories about toxic mercury in fish have continued in Michigan and the surrounding Great Lakes, with recommendations to limit consumption of certain species to a few times per month, the amount of mercury found in fish tissues has dropped steadily over decades since the 1970s. That paralleled with the reduction of pollution coming from Midwestern smokestacks as:

  • Regulations tightened;
  • Pollution prevention technology improved;
  • Coal-fired factories and power plants went offline.

But over the last several years, that has begun to change. Scientists are finding mercury levels rising in large Great Lakes fish such as walleye and lake trout. Curiously, it’s occurring with fish in some locations but not others. Researchers are still trying to figure out why.

MERCURY LEVELS

The mercury levels are not over U.S. Environmental Protection Agency thresholds. But researchers want to determine if what they are seeing is a temporary trend or a trajectory that’s only going to worsen.

4

COMPLICATIONS

The answer has large complications for Michigan’s vibrant sports fishing industry. Anglers spent $2.4 billion in trip-related expenses and equipment in 2011, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

MERCURY

Mercury is a heavy, silvery metal, infrequent in that it’s liquid at room temperature. It’s naturally occurring, but is rare to find uncombined with other elements.

HUMANS and ANIMALS

It’s toxic to humans and animals — and unlike many other toxins, mercury remains in the environment for very long periods of time, moving up the food chain and compounding inside animals that ingest it.

EPA

The EPA has found that mercury in water has potential to cause kidney damage from short-term exposures at levels above the maximum contaminant level of just 0.002 parts per million. Mercury can prevent brain development in fetuses and children, and harm immune systems and adult heart function.

CLIMATE CHANGE CANADA

Environment and Climate Change Canada, an agency similar to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, looks at data collected from multiple fish species and herring gull-egg monitoring across the Great Lakes. One of the survey sites for gull eggs is on Canada’s Fighting Island, in the Detroit River near Wyandotte, said Agnes Richards, a research scientist with Environment Canada.

2

MONITORING SINCE 1970s

“We’ve been monitoring since the 1970s, and the (mercury contamination) trends overall have been declining — as have been the emissions of mercury into the atmosphere and deposition into the lakes,” she said. “We decided to look at recent trends, from 2000 to 2015. What we found is, at some specific sites, trends have reversed.”

The researchers published findings of their studies in late December. The issue has been noticed on the Michigan side of the Great Lakes as well.

“Out of 19 data sets, we see eight where we can see a significant trend” of mercury levels rising in certain fish, said Joseph Bohr, aquatic biologist for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Water Resources Division, which does its own fish monitoring.

LAKE MICHIGAN

On Lake Michigan, walleye and lake trout from Grand Traverse Bay show increases, Bohr said. On Lake Huron, walleye from Saginaw Bay and lake trout from Thunder Bay have rising levels. Mercury levels in Lake Erie walleye have also risen. The average rate of increase is about 2% per year in the fish, he said

But at least for now, the mercury spikes are in isolated locations.

“We have 11 other data sets where we’re not showing any significant increase,” Bohr said.

TREND OF WARMNG LAKES

Scientists only have hypotheses on why this is occurring. The trend of warming Great Lakes could be a factor, said Shane De Solla, an ecotoxicologist with Environment Canada and co-author on the recent study.

METHYLMERCURY

Many types of mercury in the environment tend to pass through fish when consumed. But a type known as methylmercury tends to be absorbed into tissues of fish. As small fish eat contaminated insects, and medium-sized fish eat the smaller fish, and large game fish eat the medium fish, those mercury concentrations get expanded exponentially, a process known as ‘bioaccumulation’

LAKES SLIGHTLY WARMER

“The lakes are slightly warmer, and that increases the production of methylmercury,” De Solla said.

The region’s more frequent and intense storms in recent years could also be a factor, Richards said.

“That results in a lot of flooding, and the re-suspension of sediments,” she said. “What was buried before can become exposed, and that can increase the conversion of mercury to methylmercury.”

And invasive species in the Great Lakes likely also play a role.

“It’s really significantly changed the food web,” Bohr said.

The timelines for the explosion of invasive zebra and quagga mussel populations in the Great Lakes, as well as the round goby, a small fish, rather neatly correlate with the reversal of declining mercury levels in sport fish, he noted.

“You can’t just ignore that,” he said.

NO CARP

Further evidence of invasive species’ disruption of fish diets as a possible culprit for the mercury mystery comes from carp. In Grand Traverse, Saginaw and Thunder bays, unlike walleye and lake trout, carp aren’t showing rises in their mercury levels, Bohr said. From the St. Clair River, through Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River, carp are even showing decreases in mercury, he said.

That’s significant, because bottom-feeding carp are eating different meals than the large sport fish.

“They’re low on the food chain,” Bohr said. “They’re just mucking around on the bottom eating insects, basically.”

De Solla said he doesn’t “see anything catastrophic in the next little while.” But if the mercury numbers do continue to rise in Great Lakes fish, “it could become a problem again.”

CONTINUED MONITORING

That highlights the importance of continued monitoring, Richards said, “to see if this is a slight oscillation or a growing trend.”

TRUMP CALLS FOR ELIMINATION

That could be jeopardized on the U.S. side, as President Trump’s 2017 budget proposal calls for elimination of almost all Great Lakes restoration funds.

ENIVONMENTAL QUALITY

Bohr said most of the Department of Environmental Quality’s work to evaluate toxins in fish is done through state funding. But, “indirectly, any federal budget cuts are likely to have an impact,” he said.

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Air Force One

The Washington Post last week had a scoop on the Secret Service requesting an additional $60 million in its next budget: $27 million to protect the president’s wife and son in their three-floor penthouse at Trump Tower in New York, where they live instead of the White House and $33 million for additional travel costs.

FAMILY OF 4

The average family of four in the United States pays about $4,000 a year in federal income taxes. That means the entire tax bill for 15,000 families for the year will go toward these additional protection measures for Trump. And the Secret Service is just a slice of the overall expense. Figure in costs incurred by authorities in Florida and New York, the Pentagon and others, and costs related to the Trump sons’ international business trips, and we’re well over $100 million a year.

25,000 AMERICAN FAMILIES

That’s the annual federal income-tax bill for some 25,000 American families. Each trip Trump takes to his Mar-A-Lago Club in Florida, where he has gone most weekends since his inauguration, is assessed to cost taxpayers in excess of $3 million. And an unknown chunk of the taxpayers’ money subsidizes Trump businesses in the form of rent, restaurant bills and publicity. In April, Trump will host Chinese leader Xi Jinping at what Trump dubs the “southern White House,” which is a Trump property where the initiation fee has doubled to $200,000 since Trump won the presidency.

TAXPAYER SUBSIDIZATION

The taxpayer subsidization of Trump’s rich-and-famous lifestyle is but one of the bait-and-switch maneuvers by Trump, who said during the campaign that “I would rarely leave the White House because there’s so much work to be done.” The man ran as a populist and is governing as a plutocrat.

WITHDRAWN HEALTH-CARE BILL

The now-withdrawn house GOP health-care bill, pushed by Trump, would have been a huge transfer of wealth to the rich from the poor and middle class. The urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center calculates that while low-income Americans would take a hit under this plan, the average family earning more than $200,000 could be $5,640 better off. White, working-class populations that supported Trump would be disproportionately hurt. Under revisions to the bill this last week, 24 million people would still lose health-care coverage but wealthy Americans would get even more of a tax break, the Congressional Budget Office said.

BUDGET

Trump’s budget, unveiled shortly before one of his Mar-A-Lago jaunts, would cut many of the government’s efforts to help low- and middle-income Americans:

  • Aid for small manufacturers;
  • Financial assistance to rural regions;
  • Affordable housing;
  • Job training;
  • Home heating.

Analyses of previous Trump proposals have shown that the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans would get nearly half of the tax benefits.

CABINET AND ADVISERS

On March 18, the post’s Philip Rucker and Robert Costa reported on the unexpected influence of a “coterie of ascendant Manhattan business figures” around Trump aligned with son-in-law Jared Kushner:

  • Gary Cohn;
  • Dina Powell, formerly of Goldman Sachs;
  • Two other businessmen recruited by Kushner, Chris Liddell and Reed Cordish.

They, along with finance and industry heavies in the cabinet such as Wilbur Ross, Steven Mnuchin and Rex Tillerson, are providing a counterweight to adviser Stephen K Bannon’s populism.

PLUTOCRACY

Plutocracy doesn’t come cheap, in ways big and small. Tillerson, the Secretary of State, kicked the press corps off his plane, which means taxpayers will probably pick up tens of thousands of dollars in travel costs that had been paid by media organizations. (the administration said Tillerson flew on a smaller plane to save money, but the military 737 he took is often used by officials travelling with reporters.)

BUDGET-CONSCIOUS PRESIDENT

A budget-conscious president would spend weekends at Camp David rather than hopping on Air Force One, at about $200,000 an hour, to Palm Beach, Florida. The post’s Philip Bump estimated spending on Trump’s travel and protection, if it continues at current rates, at $526 million for his presidency. This dwarfs what was spent by Trump’s predecessors, even though Trump in 2012 tweeted that Obama’s “vacation is costing taxpayers millions of dollars — unbelievable!”

BOOST TO HIS PROPERTIES

Trump has already used his office to boost Trump properties by dining at the Trump International Hotel in Washington and playing golf on his courses. And the Trump administration has told the Trump organization that this is just fine. The general services administration on Thursday declared that the Trump organization is in “full compliance” with the terms of its lease of the Trump International facility, even though the agreement says no “elected official of the government of the United States” can get “any benefit” from the lease. Trump stepped down from day-to-day management of his company, but he and his family still stand to make out financially.

“I’M PRESIDENT, AND YOU’RE NOT”

Trump, who has often pointed out that he’s exempt from conflict-of-interest rules, isn’t just any elected official. Last Wednesday, when asked by Time’s Michael Scherer about integrity problems over his false intelligence claims, Trump had an arrogant justification: “I’m President, and you’re not”.

 

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Pope Francis

Pope Francis’ sex abuse advisor reiterated the pontiff’s unwavering obligation to exterminate the problem, and explained that it was being done through a “victim-first” approach. Speaking at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University on 23 March, Cardinal Sean O’Malley said that there was no doubt of the pontiff’s goal to make the church a place of safety.

NO DOUBT

“Let there be no doubt about it: Pope Francis is thoroughly committed to rooting out the scourge of sex abuse in the church,” he said. “Making our church safe for all people demands our collaboration on all levels.”

TARGET PROBLEM HEAD-ON

The Church has been blamed of dragging its feet in regards to sex abuse and taking swift and strong action against the abusers. O’Malley explained that it was imperative to “learn from our experiences, including our mistakes,” and target the problem head-on.

STATEMENT

His statement follows the much-publicized resignation of Marie Collins from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. Collins, the only member who is a clerical abuse victim, claimed “lack of cooperation” by the Roman Curia and said that there was “lack of resources”, “inadequate structures,” and “cultural resistance” from the Vatican.

SURVIVOR

“I have come to the point where I can no longer be sustained by hope,” she wrote in her resignation statement. “As a survivor, I have watched events unfold with dismay.”

REFORM AND RENEW

O’Malley said the commission planned to discuss Collins’ resignation and the issues she brought up at the next closed-door plenary meeting. “There is simply no justification in our day for failures to enact concrete safeguarding standards for our children, young men and women and vulnerable adults,” he said adding that the church needs to “reform and renew” its own institutions.

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Trump3

The former ethics lawyer for George W. Bush believes the FBI investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia has uncovered evidence of treason.

PAINTER

Richard Painter, who joined a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of President Donald Trump’s foreign business ties, tweeted a link late Wednesday to a McClatchy report on a federal investigation into whether U.S. right-wing websites coordinated with Russian operatives to attack Hillary Clinton.

EVIDENCE OF TREASON

“(The) FBI uncovering evidence of treason,” Painter said. “There is no other word for it.”

JOHN MCCAIN

Painter also agreed with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) that an independent commission or select committee was needed to investigate possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

“Senator McCain is right – Congress has no credibility in undertaking the Trump-Russia investigation,” Painter tweeted.

 

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voronenkoc

Just one day after the full extent of former Donald Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort’s alleged crimes in Ukraine was publicly revealed, the Russian dissident who would have been a star witness against him has been shot to death in Kiev.  Denis Voronenkov, a former elected official in Russia who fled to Ukraine and joined the resistance against Vladimir Putin, was murdered earlier this week according to CNN. So what’s his connection with Manafort?

EVIDENCE

Yesterday, the government of Ukraine released evidence which established the longtime rumors that Paul Manafort had been taking tens of millions of dollars in payments from a Kremlin intermediary while he was running the political campaign of Russian puppet Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine. Yanukovych was elected president before eventually being chased out of the country by the Ukrainian people.

TREASON CASE

Denis Voronenkov was helping Ukraine build a treason case against Yanukovych, but they were never going to be able to get him back from Russia in order to put him on trial. In contrast, the government of Ukraine has become increasingly vocal about wanting to put Paul Manafort on trial for his financial crimes in relation to installing Yanukovych into power. In addition, Ukraine recently stated its intention to go after Manafort for the deaths of several Ukrainian protesters; Manafort’s own daughter alleges the deaths were arranged by Manafort for Yanukovych’s political gain.

FBI INVESTIGATING

Considering the extent to which the FBI is investigating Paul Manafort for his alleged criminal conspiracy with Russia to rig the 2016 election in Donald Trump’s favor, and the mounting evidence against him, it seems likely that he’ll have to answer for his crimes in the United States one way or the other. But if Ukraine decides to separately try Manafort, Denis Voronenkov would have been a key witness. And because Voronenkov spent time in Russian parliament, he could have used the trial to air out Putin’s most unethical secrets in the process.

MURDER

So his murder today (source: CNN) may help Putin, but it probably doesn’t help Manafort. Voronenkov’s murder makes him the tenth prominent Russian to die suspiciously during the course of the Trump-Russia scandal.

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