'Beyond an embarrassment,' legal experts say of Trump and Giuliani's floundering efforts in court
'It's as dysfunctional a litigation strategy as I've ever seen,' one attorney told NBC News.
AdPitstop is the Microsoft Cloud Society forum. Join discussions and engage with a network that can help you get to the top.The WeekBiden's White House: 'Sipping unflavored almond milk' after guzzling vats of Tabasco for 4 yearsPresident-elect Joe Biden will start introducing his Cabinet picks Tuesday, and the consensus in Washington was perhaps best described by Brendan Buck, a former top aide to Republican House Speakers Paul Ryan and John Boehner:> These Biden nominations and appointments are so delightfully boring> > — Brendan Buck (@BrendanBuck) November 23, 2020Most of the names Biden announced Monday — Antony Blinken as secretary of state, Jake Sullivan as national security adviser, Alejandro Mayorkas as Homeland Security secretary, Avril Haines as director of national intelligence, Linda Thomas-Greenfield as U.N. ambassador, and Ron Klein as White House chief of staff — are career professionals little known outside Washington policy and politics circles, but well regarded within them. "By design, they seem meant to project a dutiful competence," The Washington Post reports.Biden has also chosen some boldface names: John Kerry as international climate envoy and former Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen as treasury secretary. What ties them all together is the prospect of a Biden administration "filled with people who have deep experience in government and in the agencies they will be running," Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer write at Politico.You can expect fewer impulsive tweets and more of "a linear, plodding, purposeful, and standard policy process" run "by political professionals who aren't likely to try to burn down the White House over petty disagreements and jockeying to get in the good graces of the president," Sherman and Palmer add. "In other words, if the Trump White House was like downing a vat of Tabasco sauce over the past four years, the Biden White House will be like sipping unflavored almond milk."The selection process hasn't been entirely without drama, but "the relatively uncontroversial nature of these picks has been by design," Politico's Ryan Lizza reports. "Internally, Biden officials have been instructed to emphasize to reporters how normal the picks are, how 'these are tested leaders.' It's seen as a success if the Biden staff and Cabinet announcements don't make much news."More stories from theweek.com Obama the pretender The airline industry begins to plan COVID-19 'vaccination passports' for international travel Purdue Pharma pleads guilty to criminal charges, admits role in opioid epidemic
10h agoLatest North Korean defector reported to be a gymnast who jumped border fenceIn the annals of great escapes, vaulting the barbed wire, heavily-surveilled fence that separates the mined no-man’s land between North and South Korea would surely feature strongly. According to the South Korean media this week, a defector who evaded security in one of the most dangerous border crossings of the world on November 3 was a former gymnast who managed to swing himself over the imposing barricades, reportedly without triggering key sensors. The authorities vowed to investigate why high-tech security systems did not work. “We will look into why the sensors did not ring and make sure they operate properly,” an official told Yonhap news agency. The man, reported to be wearing blue civilian clothes and in his twenties, later surrendered after a manhunt by the South Korean military units who discovered a breach of the fence. He was detained without incident just under a mile south of the fence and has asked for asylum.
12h agoBusiness InsiderCharles Koch told Axios that he was "horrified" by some of the policies and positions that the Republican politicians he supported were talking about.4h agoDozens of Venezuelan migrants arrive in Trinidad after hours at sea headtopics.com
At least 29 Venezuelan migrants, including 16 minors, returned to Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday after being deported from the island over the weekend and spending hours at sea, said their relatives, who had been concerned about their whereabouts. Around 40,000 have settled in the neighboring dual-island nations, and dozens have gone missing since vessels they boarded in attempts to get to Trinidad sunk. Trinidadian authorities deported the group of 29 in two small boats on Sunday, but a judge in Trinidad later ordered their return to the island.
3h agoThe WeekMarco Rubio blasts Biden White House picks for Ivy League degrees — despite Trump administration's similar credentialsSen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Tuesday predicted President-elect Joe Biden's new hires for his incoming administration would be "polite and orderly caretakers of America's decline," facetiously citing how many members of the group have Ivy League degrees.It's true that many of Biden's picks so far went to Ivy League schools, but Rubio's remark makes less sense when considering that the current White House is a similarly Ivy-infused crowd. President Trump himself went to the University of Pennsylvania, after all.> Come on, @marcorubio pic.twitter.com/xYjMwjRyli> > -- Yashar Ali (@yashar) November 24, 2020The GOP's critique that Democratic administrations are oversaturated with Ivy Leaguers isn't new. NBC News' Benjy Sarlin pointed out that Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who has a Harvard degree, issued a similar complaint about former the Cabinet chosen by former President Barack Obama, who defeated him in the 2012 election. > This is always a classic. Mitt Romney derided Obama's "Harvard faculty lounge" cabinet in 2012 while he had a Harvard JD/MBA, three (!!!) sons who attended Harvard business, and his advisors included famous Harvard faculty members. https://t.co/GiTVVD5Jlw> > -- Benjy Sarlin (@BenjySarlin) November 24, 2020More stories from theweek.com Obama the pretender The airline industry begins to plan COVID-19 'vaccination passports' for international travel Purdue Pharma pleads guilty to criminal charges, admits role in opioid epidemic
6h agoOregon Gov. Kate Brown Encourages Residents to Call Police on Neighbors Violating COVID RulesOregon Governor Kate Brown is encouraging residents to call the police on any neighbors who flout state COVID-19 restrictions, which include limiting in-home gatherings to a maximum of six people.“This is no different than what happens if there's a party down the street and it's keeping everyone awake,” Brown said in an interview Friday. “What do neighbors do [in that case]? They call law enforcement because it's too noisy. This is just like that. It's like a violation of a noise ordinance.”Last week the Democratic governor instituted a new round of restrictions aimed at mitigating the spread of coronavirus in the state via executive order, including a two-week “freeze” limiting indoor and outdoor gatherings to no more than six people from no more than two households just ahead of Thanksgiving. Residents are also prohibited from eating out at restaurants and going to the gym, though faith-based gatherings of up to 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors are allowed.Violators can face up to 30 days in jail, $1,250 fines or both. The Marion County Sheriff’s office said in a statement on Friday that it believes “we cannot arrest or enforce our way out of the pandemic.”“We believe both are counterproductive to public health goals.”Brown pushed back, calling criticisms of the new restrictions "irresponsible."“This is about saving lives and it's about protecting our fellow Oregonians,” she said. “We have too many sporadic cases in Oregon. We can't trace these cases to a particular source. We have to limit gatherings and social interactions.”On Sunday, new COVID-19 cases reached a record high in the state for the third straight day, with 1,517 new infections recorded, bringing the state total to 65,170.
1d agoUS national security adviser warns China not to use military force against TaiwanThe United States’ national security adviser has warned China not to use military force against Taiwan, a day after an unannounced visit to the democratic island by a two-star Navy admiral overseeing US military intelligence in the Asia-Pacific. Robert O’Brien cautioned Beijing while touring the Philippines and Vietnam, where he spoke to his counterparts about tackling China’s growing assertiveness in the South China Sea, a region of vital shipping routes where it has made multiple disputed territorial claims. The Chinese Communist Party also claims Taiwan, a democracy of 24 million, even though it has never ruled there. It has threatened to annex the island, and in recent months has stepped up military intimidation through air incursions and invasion simulations. “We have very close ties with Taiwan. The president has made it very clear that any attempt to cause Taiwan to unify with China with anything other than persuasion or democratic election, is something that would be extraordinarily consequential for the People’s Republic of China,” said Mr O’Brien. “I can’t imagine anything that would cause a greater backlash against China around the entire world if they attempted to use military force to coerce Taiwan,” he told reporters. The US does not have formal diplomatic ties with Taipei but it views Taiwan as a democratic ally in the strategic Indo-Pacific region. It is Taiwan’s biggest arms supplier. The Trump administration has beefed up support for Taiwan in recent months - approving several big weapons sales and dispatching senior officials, including Alex Azar, the US health secretary. This weekend Reuters reported that Rear Admiral Michael Studeman, the director of the J2, which oversees intelligence at the US military’s Indo-Pacific Command, had made a secretive visit. He is believed to be one of the most high-ranking US officers known to have visited Taipei in recent years. The increased US backing for Taiwan has riled China amid rising tensions between Washington and Beijing over the South China Sea, the crackdown on the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong and an ongoing trade dispute. On Monday, the Chinese foreign ministry hit back with a warning of its own, demanding the US “immediately stop” all official exchanges and military contacts with Taiwan and signalling that China would make “legitimate and necessary responses” without giving further details. “China firmly opposes official exchanges and military contacts between the US and Taiwan in any form. This position has been consistent and clear. We urge the US side to fully recognise the high sensitivity of the Taiwan issue,” said spokesman Zhao Lijian. headtopics.com
1d agoBusiness InsiderFor years, chains have been battling against a federal minimum wage hike. Now, in 2020, some are giving up the fight.10h agoMuslims have visualized Prophet Muhammad in words and calligraphic art for centuriesThe republication of caricatures depicting the Prophet Muhammad by French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in September 2020 led to protests in several Muslim-majority countries. It also resulted in disturbing acts of violence: In the weeks that followed, two people were stabbed near the former headquarters of the magazine and a teacher was beheaded after he showed the cartoons during a classroom lesson. Visual depiction of Muhammad is a sensitive issue for a number of reasons: Islam’s early stance against idolatry led to a general disapproval for images of living beings throughout Islamic history. Muslims seldom produced or circulated images of Muhammad or other notable early Muslims. The recent caricatures have offended many Muslims around the world. This focus on the reactions to the images of Muhammad drowns out an important question: How did Muslims imagine him for centuries in the near total absence of icons and images? Picturing Muhammad without imagesIn my courses on early Islam and the life of Muhammad, I teach to the amazement of my students that there are few pre-modern historical figures that we know more about than we do about Muhammad. The respect and devotion that the first generations of Muslims accorded to him led to an abundance of textual materials that provided rich details about every aspect of his life. The prophet’s earliest surviving biography, written a century after his death, runs into hundreds of pages in English. His final 10 years are so well-documented that some episodes of his life during this period can be tracked day by day.Even more detailed are books from the early Islamic period dedicated specifically to the description of Muhammad’s body, character and manners. From a very popular ninth-century book on the subject titled “Shama'il al-Muhammadiyya” or The Sublime Qualities of Muhammad, Muslims learned everything from Muhammad’s height and body hair to his sleep habits, clothing preferences and favorite food. No single piece of information was seen too mundane or irrelevant when it concerned the prophet. The way he walked and sat is recorded in this book alongside the approximate amount of white hair on his temples in old age. These meticulous textual descriptions have functioned for Muslims throughout centuries as an alternative for visual representations. Most Muslims pictured Muhammad as described by his cousin and son-in-law Ali in a famous passage contained in the Shama'il al-Muhammadiyya: a broad-shouldered man of medium height, with black, wavy hair and a rosy complexion, walking with a slight downward lean. The second half of the description focused on his character: a humble man that inspired awe and respect in everyone that met him. Textual portraits of MuhammadThat said, figurative portrayals of Muhammad were not entirely unheard of in the Islamic world. In fact, manuscripts from the 13th century onward did contain scenes from the prophet’s life, showing him in full figure initially and with a veiled face later on. The majority of Muslims, however, would not have access to the manuscripts that contained these images of the prophet. For those who wanted to visualize Muhammad, there were nonpictorial, textual alternatives. There was an artistic tradition that was particularly popular among Turkish- and Persian-speaking Muslims. Ornamented and gilded edgings on a single page were filled with a masterfully calligraphed text of Muhammad’s description by Ali in the Shama'il. The center of the page featured a famous verse from the Quran: “We only sent you (Muhammad) as a mercy to the worlds.”These textual portraits, called “hilya” in Arabic, were the closest that one would get to an “image” of Muhammad in most of the Muslim world. Some hilyas were strictly without any figural representation, while others contained a drawing of the Kaaba, the holy shrine in Mecca, or a rose that symbolized the beauty of the prophet. Framed hilyas graced mosques and private houses well into the 20th century. Smaller specimens were carried in bottles or the pockets of those who believed in the spiritual power of the prophet’s description for good health and against evil. Hilyas kept the memory of Muhammad fresh for those who wanted to imagine him from mere words. Different interpretationsThe Islamic legal basis for banning images, including Muhammad’s, is less than straightforward and there are variations across denominations and legal schools. It appears, for instance, that Shiite communities have been more accepting of visual representations for devotional purposes than Sunni ones. Pictures of Muhammad, Ali and other family members of the prophet have some circulation in the popular religious culture of Shiite-majority countries, such as Iran. Sunni Islam, on the other hand, has largely shunned religious iconography.Outside the Islamic world, Muhammad was regularly fictionalized in literature and was depicted in images in medieval and early modern Christendom. But this was often in less than sympathetic forms. Dante’s “Inferno,” most famously, had the prophet and Ali suffering in hell, and the scene inspired many drawings. These depictions, however, hardly ever received any attention from the Muslim world, as they were produced for and consumed within the Christian world. Offensive caricatures and colonial pastProviding historical precedents for the visual depictions of Muhammad adds much-needed nuance to a complex and potentially incendiary issue, but it helps explain only part of the picture. Equally important for understanding the reactions to the images of Muhammad are developments from more recent history. Europe now has a large Muslim minority, and fictionalized depictions of Muhammad, visual or otherwise, do not go unnoticed.With advances in mass communication and social media, the spread of the images is swift, and so is the mobilization for reactions to them. Most importantly, many Muslims find the caricatures offensive for its Islamophobic content. Some of the caricatures draw a coarse equation of Islam with violence or debauchery through Muhammad’s image, a pervasive theme in the colonial European scholarship on Muhammad. Anthropologist Saba Mahmood has argued that such depictions can cause “moral injury” for Muslims, an emotional pain due to the special relation that they have with the prophet. Political scientist Andrew March sees the caricatures as “a political act” that could cause harm to the efforts of creating a “public space where Muslims feel safe, valued, and equal.” Even without images, Muslims have cultivated a vivid mental picture of Muhammad, not just of his appearance but of his entire persona. The crudeness of some of the caricatures of Muhammad is worth a moment of thought.[Insight, in your inbox each day. You can get it with The Conversation’s email newsletter.]This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. It was written by: Suleyman Dost, Brandeis University.Read more: * Muslim schools are allies in France’s fight against radicalization – not the cause * Why there’s opposition to images of MuhammadSuleyman Dost does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
10h agoWhy a watchdog group is troubled by Biden's secretary of state pickPresident-elect Joe Biden's pick for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, "was known for his unimpeachable ethics," according to The American Prospect's prior report. That may be true, but how he's spent his time since the end of the Obama administration has left some critics bristling at his selection.In a July report, TAP put a spotlight on the strategic consultancy firm WestExec Advisers, of which Blinken and Michele Fourney, the favorite to lead the Pentagon in the Biden administration, were founding partners. The firm has ties to an array of industries, including: tech, financial services, aerospace, defense, and pharmaceuticals. But it's not exactly clear who the individual clients are since the firm, which is not registered to lobby, doesn't have to disclose them. The lack of transparency is a cause for concern among some observers, who are worried about people in the Biden, or any, administration getting too wrapped up in the interests of global corporations, TAP reported.Danielle Brian, the executive director of the Project on Government Oversight, a nonprofit watchdog group, told The New York Times that "those kinds of consulting shops," like WestExec, "take advantage of current laws, so there is no transparency in their clients and how they are trying to influence public policy for them. That's exactly the kind of people who should not be in an administration."There likely will be some clarity, however, since Blinken, as a political appointee, will have to disclose clients who paid $5,000 or more for his services in the past year. Read more about WestExec Advisers at The American Prospect. > Federal political appointees are required to disclose clients who paid $5k or more for their services in the past year. So Blinken's financial disclosure will be a rare glimpse into this sort of consultancy's clientele https://t.co/QqfICsYpx4> > -- Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) November 23, 2020More stories from theweek.com Obama the pretender The airline industry begins to plan COVID-19 'vaccination passports' for international travel Purdue Pharma pleads guilty to criminal charges, admits role in opioid epidemic
1d agoEthiopia's Tigray forces claim battle win, global alarm growsThe federal government denied that and said many Tigrayan soldiers were surrendering in line with a 72-hour ultimatum before a threatened attack on the regional capital Mekelle. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's troops launched an offensive against the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) local government on Nov. 4 and say they are closing in on Mekelle in a final push to win the conflict.
17h agoYahoo News VideoGeorgia election official: We've 'crossed a tipping point' where many Republicans' distrust of system will suppress votePresident Trump’s efforts to undermine the results of the November election in Georgia will “absolutely” hurt Republicans in two U.S. Senate runoff races there, an election official in the state said Monday. “We’ve crossed a tipping point where ... there may be some Republicans who don’t trust the outcomes of the system at all, and say, ‘Why bother to vote,’” Gabriel Sterling, Georgia’s voting system implementation manager, told Yahoo News. headtopics.com
1d agoArchitectural DigestWe rounded up a mix of gifts that help others, keep folks healthy, and add a little something-something to the home Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest1d agoRush Limbaugh Does Full 180, Blasts Sidney Powell After Team Trump Disavowed Her
Rush Limbaugh fully reversed course on Monday, trashing the Trump legal team’s unhinged press conference detailing baseless election-fraud conspiracies just days after praising attorney Sidney Powell—whom the Trump team has since disavowed—for dropping “bombs all over the place.”Over the weekend, after Powell claimed millions of votes were stolen from President Donald Trump by corrupted software, Powell gave an off-the-rails interview to Newsmax TV in which she expanded her bonkers conspiracy to include Georgia’s Republican governor and secretary of state being bribed.With Powell having already come under fire from Fox News host Tucker Carlson for failing to provide any evidence for her outrageous allegations, which included claims that late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez was involved in stealing votes, Team Trump finally distanced itself from Powell on Sunday evening, saying she “is practicing law on her own. She is not a member of the Trump Legal Team. She is also not a lawyer for the President in his personal capacity.”Trump and his legal team weren’t the only people trying to retroactively memory-hole Powell just days after giving over-the-top praise for the QAnon-boosting lawyer’s baseless conspiracies and incessant promises to “Release the Kraken.”During his Thursday broadcast, immediately following the insane news conference—which also featured Giuliani’s hair-dye streaking down his face as he acted out My Cousin Vinny—Limbaugh couldn’t contain his glee over Powell’s debunked theories about Dominion voting software flipping votes to President-elect Joe Biden.“Sidney Powell just dropped bombs all over the place,” Limbaugh bellowed at the time. “For instance, Trump votes were so overwhelming, the number of people who had voted for Trump that the rigged system, this Dominion system with the Smartmatic software melted down. It couldn’t handle, it couldn’t cheat fast enough, it could not overcome the number of legitimate Trump votes.”Repeatedly praising Powell’s “impeccable reputation” on Thursday afternoon, Limbaugh claimed that Powell had “evidence of fraud” and “detailed evidence of communist money” being used to “rig the elections,” telling his listeners that the presser was a “full hour of constant, overwhelming evidence.”Fast forward to Monday: Limbaugh now sings a different tune.“I mean, it’s a tough thing to deny that she was ever a part of it because they introduced her as part of it. I mean, she was at that press conference last week,” he noted, adding that there is no credibly denying Powell's official involvement on Trump's legal team. (Ellis had said Powell was a member of the legal team’s “elite strike force” on Thursday.)“You call a gigantic press conference like that—one that lasts an hour—and you announce ‘massive bombshells,’ then you better have some bombshells,” he added. “There better be something at that press conference other than what we got.”Noting that Powell “jumped the shark,” Limbaugh again expressed disappointment in the lack of evidence while throwing the president’s legal team under the bus.“I talked to so many people who were blown away by it, by the very nature of the press conference,” he concluded. “They promised blockbuster stuff, and then nothing happened, and that’s just, it’s not good.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
1d agoMetal monolith discovered deep in Utah desert leaves officials baffledA metal monolith has been found in the heart of Utah's red rock country by a state employee who was carrying out a count of bighorn sheep. The shiny structure was spotted by a biologist while conducting an aerial survey of southern Utah as part of a programme to double the number of sheep in the area. Bret Hutchings, the helicopter pilot, was dumbfounded. “That’s been about the strangest thing that I’ve come across out there in all my years of flying," he told the local tv news channel, KSLTV. “I’d say it’s probably between 10 and 12 feet high,” he added. “We were kind of joking around that if one of us suddenly disappears, then the rest of us make a run for it.” How the monolith got there remains a mystery. According to Mr Hutchings it was not just dropped in place, but firmly planted into the ground. He speculated the piece was a work of art deposited in the middle of nowhere by what he described as a "new wave" artist - perhaps inspired by Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film, "2001: A Space Odyssey".Read more: Yahoo News »
Biden inauguration live updates: Biden takes over at White House
Updates during the transition from the Trump to Biden administrations -- and about a second Senate impeachment trial.
The actual embarrassment is the Left Democrats for over 4 years making up conspiracy stories about Russia stealing the 2016 election, and yet here we are again with the hypocrisy, the actual stealing and cheating is from the Democrats themselves... I’ll tell you the story how it really is. BIDEN WON.