https://lawyerfirmnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/181002190421-01-vinnie-favale-file-super-tease-1-1.jpg 619 1100 Lawyer Firm News https://lawyerfirmnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/logo-lawyerfirm-news-300x100.png Lawyer Firm News2018-10-03 17:40:092018-10-03 18:30:10CBS executive placed on leave following allegations of sexual and homophobic language
“I’ll never forget the day he told me he got four erections while watching Jennifer Hudson rehearse,” a female former CBS executive recalled to CNN.
Favale allegedly made the comment about Hudson as he watched the Oscar-winning performer rehearse ahead of a December 2015 appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”
Two other CBS employees, one former and one current, told CNN they heard Favale say the vulgar remark. Others told CNN they learned about it from co-workers later that day. Of the five sources CNN spoke to about the incident, two said Favale allegedly made the remark in the presence of a CBS standards and practices representative.
Favale was placed on administrative leave on Wednesday, according to a spokesperson for CBS, following CNN’s request for comment on this story. Favale denies allegations of retaliation and said his comments were taken out of context.
In his current role, Favale develops programing around talent and advises on comedy bookings for the network. He started his career with CBS in 1996 and served as a senior programming executive for “The Late Show with David Letterman” and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” through 2017. He appeared on the program in comedic bits several times during Letterman’s tenure.
From 1998 to 2001, Favale also oversaw the CBS syndicated “Howard Stern Radio Show.” He gained recognition among followers of Stern in numerous appearances on his TV shows between 2004 and 2012. He is also credited as one of the founders of the Comedy Central television network.
According to several people who work or worked with Favale as a CBS executive, the off-color humor prevalent in some comedy circles has followed him professionally.
Nine current and former CBS employees, a mix of men and women, agreed to be interviewed by CNN as part of this story. All spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing non-disclosure agreements, or concern over professional retribution. These individuals described instances in “Late Show” meetings and rehearsals, between 2015 and 2018, where Favale used sexual innuendo, made homophobic comments and allegedly said derogatory remarks about the appearances of female guests.
When contacted by CNN for this story, Favale issued the following statement:
“Allegations that I have ever retaliated against anyone in any fashion are 100% false. I have spent my entire career working at comedy shows, where there has always been a wide latitude to make transgressive jokes while preparing the program. While we make a lot of jokes, these jokes attributed to me, whether said in rehearsals or production meetings, are being taken out of context and were not said in the way being presented here.”
The individuals interviewed for this story said they felt emboldened to share their accounts about Favale’s language after former CBS CEO Les Moonves resigned last month.
Moonves was forced to step down following allegations of sexual harassment and assault in two reports by Ronan Farrow published by The New Yorker. While Moonves acknowledged consensual relations with three women cited in the stories, he disputes the allegations of assault and harassment.
Two sources detailed a problematic “Late Show” department meeting around 2015, where Favale was in attendance and loud construction could be heard outside the office.
“There was a big drill, and we looked outside and went to the window. [Favale] compared the drill to ‘a big black dick’ as it was drilling into the ground,” a former CBS employee recalled. “I couldn’t believe he said that.”
This former employee said she complained to her superior about Favale’s drill remark and other comments she deemed offensive and felt she faced retaliation.
Favale began blocking her out of “important” and “necessary” meetings, she said. She voluntarily left her role at CBS and said Favale was a contributing factor.
The former CBS executive told CNN two employees complained to her after the drill remark and she shared their concerns with the company’s human resources department. She said it appeared to her the network did not take any visible action against Favale. She, too, felt he began to retaliate against her.
“He definitely knew that I had gone to HR. I told him, ‘People are complaining about you and I let HR know,'” she said. “He stopped talking to me for long periods of time. Our roles required that we interact … he shut me out of meetings. I went back to HR and complained, but I was told it wasn’t happening and had been addressed with him.”
In April 2017, after at least one formal HR complaint had been made against Favale, he was promoted from the network’s east coast late-night executive to his current role.
“After you realize that that’s the kind of thinking and logic that advances one’s career at CBS, as a woman, you are left with one choice,” a current CBS employee told CNN. “Are you a person who raises questions and calls that person out and has your employment jeopardized, or someone who just says nothing? Or do you become a good-time girl who laughs along with him and hopes that becoming a cool girl that gets it will help you advance? Those are not choices that someone should have to make in the workplace.”
“He has been known to say sexist things,” another CBS employee said about Favale. “But I think that no one [in HR] took it seriously because it wasn’t physical. It wasn’t groping, so he got away with it.”
When contacted by CNN for this report, CBS issued the following statement:
“The comments reported in this story are offensive and not consistent with the standards we expect from our executives or the culture we want at CBS. The network investigated a complaint for inappropriate language that was received in January 2016, and corrective action was taken. However, since concerned voices are speaking up nearly three years later, additional review is warranted. Mr. Favale has been placed on leave while we look into this situation further.”
“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” declined to issue a separate response.
Some of the people CNN spoke to also allege Favale made homophobic comments. A current CBS employee and the former executive said they heard Favale derogatorily use “homos” and “gay” in reference to heterosexual guests and co-workers. He allegedly questioned Colbert’s sexual orientation in rehearsals.
“He would frequently call Stephen [Colbert] gay because of his seeming inability to interview women well,” the former executive told CNN. “He would say this in rehearsals, the control room. Sometimes the CBS attorney would even be present, which to me is just shocking that nothing was done.”
The current CBS employee recalled an incident in which Favale was “bashing” actor Hugh Jackman, when the actor appeared on the show in 2017 to promote his film “Logan.” The employee said that Favale was standing in front of five to seven colleagues when she heard him say Jackman was “gay” and “in the closet.” Favale allegedly described Jackman’s now 22 year marriage to Deborra-lee Furness as “fake.”
“It was so offensive,” the employee said. “I really couldn’t believe it. I mean, this is an executive talking so openly like this … it’s mind blowing.”
Two people told CNN they witnessed Favale rhetorically ask, “Who wants to see that ugly man on TV,” when talking about an appearance by MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow. Another source heard Favale say a similar comment about a second high-profile, openly lesbian guest.
Favale would tell “Late Night” producers to “book hotter” women, several current and former CBS employees said. And while prioritizing attractive television guests is par for the course in the industry, the sources said they felt Favale was particularly critical about women who were booked to talk about political or social issues.
“If we wanted to include female scientists or political wonks there were a lot of notes about their looks,” one former employee said.
An instance that stood out to the former CBS executive and one current employee of the show, was a meeting in which Favale and the producing team were discussing women’s rights activist Gloria Steinem.
“When we wanted to book [Gloria], he said that instead we should find younger feminists who were hot,” the employee said.
Other sources pointed to a 2016 “Late Show” staff meeting with more than 20 people in attendance, where they were discussing a group of feminist artists called the “Guerilla Girls.”
“We were talking about how we were going to mic them and they were on to talk about equality in the art world, and [Favale] said, ‘We should make their microphones not work,'” the former employee recalled. “As a woman, when an executive says women who fight for equal pay should be silenced, how do you feel as a woman in that culture?”
The former CBS executive told CNN that Favale made it known from her first day on the job that he “had a direct line to Moonves.”
“He would talk about Les and Julie [Chen] all the time … he was just connected all the way up to the top. He would say whatever he wanted to say, even if it was outrageous,” she said.
CBS has hired outside counsel to investigate the allegations against Moonves, as well as the culture at the company more broadly. CBS also announced a $20 million donation to organizations that support the #MeToo movement, to be deducted from any potential severance agreement with Moonves.
Last week, CBS disclosed in an SEC filing it has received subpoenas about the allegations against Moonves from both the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and the New York City Human Rights Commission. The company said it is cooperating with the subpoenas and declined to comment about the filing.
A current “Late Show” employee told CNN that Favale’s 2017 promotion has led to less interaction with the show’s staff.
“Vinnie was a horrible fit with the Colbert team from day one. Those abhorrent comments were just a symptom of a man who held the entire staff and show in contempt,” the employee said. “The fact that he was forced on us as long as he was is an indictment of the classic ‘old boys network’ that existed at the highest level of CBS.”
Another CBS employee said although the allegations against Favale don’t rise to the level of those brought against Moonves, or some other Hollywood executives, people should take notice.
“These are the people that are making decisions about what you see or don’t see on television every day and that’s important,” she said. “It might be easy to dismiss these women, ‘Oh, they just got their feelings hurt,’ or we are crying because the boys were mean to us. But these men are the people that decide what you see on television, what your children see on television and that should matter and [the executives and CBS] should take that responsibility seriously.”
https://lawyerfirmnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/181003131748-01-suspicious-letters-sent-to-pentagon-100318-super-tease-2-1-1.jpg 619 1100 Lawyer Firm News https://lawyerfirmnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/logo-lawyerfirm-news-300x100.png Lawyer Firm News2018-10-03 17:40:082018-10-03 18:30:12Person in custody after suspicious letters sent to Trump and the Pentagon
FBI tactical and hazardous material response personnel searched the subject’s residence outside Salt Lake City.
Dozens of federal and local law enforcement officials were witnessed on the scene, and an FBI public information officer in Utah confirmed an operation was underway at the Logan, Utah, residence.
“As there are potentially hazardous chemicals involved, we ask that the public stay away from this location during the entirety of the operation,” the information officer said. “No wider threat to public safety exists at this time. As it is a pending matter, that is all we can say at this time.”
CNN reported previously that suspicious envelopes were sent to Trump, Defense Secretary James Mattis and the chief of naval operations, Adm. John Richardson.
A source familiar with the ongoing joint federal investigation said that based on preliminary investigative activity, the White House and Pentagon letters were believed to be connected and the substance in question was a very crude castor bean concoction that authorities were not technically calling “ricin” until further testing.
Ricin is a highly toxic compound extracted from castor beans. It can be used in powder, pellet, mist or acid form. If ingested, it causes nausea, vomiting and internal bleeding of the stomach and intestines, followed by failure of the liver, spleen and kidneys, and death by collapse of the circulatory system.
One person familiar with the investigation into the letters said there was messy handwriting on the envelopes. At least one of the letters contained an index card with writing that said, “Jack the missile bean” and “Stock powder.”
Dana White, chief spokesperson for the Pentagon, said in a statement on Wednesday that a preliminary analysis showed the letters contained castor seeds.
“The FBI is still investigating,” White’s statement said.
A previous ricin case in the Obama administration led to a lengthy sentence for a Texas woman. In 2014, Shannon Guess Richardson was sentenced to 18 years in prison after she admitted sending ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama and then-New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
CNN’s Nick Watt, Michael Callahan and Barbara Starr contributed to this report.
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Now, the girl’s parents are fighting to keep her on life support while seeking another hospital to care for her.
Payton has been on life support at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas, since late September, after she went into cardiac arrest.
Last month, Payton was staying overnight with her grandmother when the young girl suddenly woke up, “screamed for her grandmother to help her and said that she couldn’t breathe … then she collapsed,” Payton’s mother, Tiffany Hofstetter, told CNN affiliate KTVT in September.
Payton was taken to the hospital, where doctors established a heartbeat but put her on a ventilator since she wasn’t breathing. A test determined that Payton did not have brain activity. Under Texas law, a person is considered dead when they have suffered an irreversible loss of all brain function, a hospital statement said, according to KTVT.
“Per our protocol and national pediatric medical standards, a second brain death exam was scheduled to take place by a different physician within 12 hours of the first to complete the legal process of declaring Payton deceased,” the hospital said in a statement.
It added, “in addition to dealing with the sudden blow of her cardiac arrest and devastating brain injury, Payton’s family is also coping with the news that the arrest was caused by the growth of a very large tumor in her chest that is shutting off her circulatory system.”
Payton’s parents have argued that they need more time.
They filed a temporary restraining order against the hospital in order to keep Payton on life support there for at least two more weeks while they find another hospital that could take their daughter.
The parents have 12 days to find a new facility or else the hospital will remove her from life support.
“As of right now, we have not found a facility but we remain hopeful. I have friends and family that are continuing to send us different locations all over the United States that they feel would be a best fit for Payton, and we stay on top of it,” Hofstetter told HLN’s Michaela Pereira on Wednesday.
“Payton never gave up on anything. And I know that in this situation, she wouldn’t give up, either,” she said. “The fact that the doctors told me that her heart would stop on its own this weekend, and she made it until today, lets me know that Payton’s not done. She’s still here to fight. So I’m her voice, and I’ll do it for her.”
Justin Moore, a lawyer for Payton’s family, told CNN on Wednesday that there will be a hearing on Friday to learn whether a judge will grant the family more time to find another hospital.
Kim Brown, a spokeswoman for the hospital, said in a statement to CNN on Wednesday, “Cook Children’s has been informed that we no longer have the ability to speak to media about Payton Summons. Although the family previously signed a consent form authorizing the release of information protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), we have been notified by the family’s lawyer that the family has revoked their consent for us to speak about Payton’s condition.
“Unfortunately, this means that we are no longer able to provide detailed, factual information regarding this case. We’re disappointed that the family has revoked their authorization because we believe that accurate information facilitates fair, balanced and informed reporting.”
https://lawyerfirmnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/120414183555-edward-mccaffery-headshot-large-169-1-1.jpg 259 460 Lawyer Firm News https://lawyerfirmnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/logo-lawyerfirm-news-300x100.png Lawyer Firm News2018-10-03 17:40:072018-10-03 18:30:15Opinion: In Trump's family, the apple never really fell
The Times piece is the kind of massive story that few of us have time to read (the Times itself has even published some CliffsNotes versions of it.
In the rush to summarize and understand, the main takeaway in the media seems to be that the Times story is confirmation that Donald J. Trump is not, indeed, a self-made man, contrary to the story the President likes to tell. But that will not surprise too many; there has long been reporting about the family bases of the President’s wealth. What should count as a main theme is not that Trump is not a self-made man, but rather that he is a man made, in considerable part, on taxpayers’ money. That is, all of us, not just Fred and Mary Trump, have played a role in both the myths and realities of Donald J. Trump, possible billionaire.
The very late British philosopher Thomas Hobbes was born when the Spanish Armada was en route to, presumably, conquer England (that didn’t end well for the Spanish), and he famously wrote that his mother gave birth to twins: himself and fear. Donald Trump’s twin was tax avoidance.
In 1946, the year of Trump’s birth, the top marginal tax rate under the income tax was 91%, on income above $200,000. Fred Trump did not want to pay that rate, or any rate, it would seem. What did he do? Like many aggressive taxpayers at the time, Fred put the young Donald on his payroll, and gave him property so that he, Fred, would have to pay his son rent. Per the Times: “[b]y age 3, Mr. Trump was earning $200,000 in today’s dollars from his father’s empire. He was a millionaire by age 8.” Later we learn that Fred “made Donald not just his salaried employee but also his property manager, landlord, banker and consultant.”
Why did Fred do such things? Out of love for his son? Because his son, starting at age 3, was just so gifted that his father needed his help? Nah. Fred Trump’s tax planning is typical of the wealthy of his time — except for its fabulous excess. Rather than earning another $200,000 himself, and paying $182,000 in taxes at his 91% tax rate, Fred was able to deduct the amounts paid to his son, who was in a far lower tax bracket. The government got less revenue than it should have.
In for a penny, in for a pound. The Times story makes clear that what started in Donald Trump’s toddler-hood continued throughout his father’s life. Before Fred died, in 1999, the tax avoidance games had morphed into using large “loans” that weren’t really loans, and transferring property at valuations that were shockingly low.
There should have been far more taxes paid on all these transactions and transfers: hundreds of millions of dollars, per the Times analysis. That is not money that came from Fred. That is money that came from all of us, an opportunity lost.
One more take-home from the Times story. When Trump was running for President, he boasted that, because he knew so many tax-avoidance schemes so well, he as President could fix them. Yet what we got, in Trump’s one major legislative accomplishment, the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017, were more, not fewer, tax breaks for billionaires, including a severe gutting of the gift and estate tax.
Far from draining any swamp or closing any loophole, Donald Trump’s tax policy is making it far easier for the rich like Fred Trump to avoid all taxes — without even needing to pay planners to help. Meanwhile, the Trump administration, like those before it, have made it easier to get away with even outright fraud, through lax IRS enforcement caused in considerable part by restricted funding for audits. This particular apple never really left the tree.
https://lawyerfirmnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/141017161658-screen-shot-2014-10-17-at-4-04-41-pm-vr-story-top-1-1.png 360 640 Lawyer Firm News https://lawyerfirmnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/logo-lawyerfirm-news-300x100.png Lawyer Firm News2018-10-03 17:40:062018-10-03 18:30:36More than 250 people have died taking selfies since 2011
Some 259 people worldwide have died while taking selfies, according to a study published in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care. Researchers from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, a group of public medical colleges in New Delhi, scoured news reports on selfie deaths that occurred from October 2011 to November 2017.
They found that the most selfie deaths occurred in India, followed by Russia, the US and Pakistan. Most of the victims were men (about 72%) and under the age of 30.
India accounted for more than half the total — 159 reported selfie deaths since 2011. Researchers attributed the high number to the country’s enormous population of people under 30, which is the world’s largest.
Although women generally take more selfies than men, researchers found that men were more likely to take risks — like standing at the edge of a cliff — to capture a dramatic shot. “It justifies the higher number of deaths and incidents for men,” the study said.
Drownings and fallings
Drowning is the leading cause of selfie deaths, usually involving people being washed away by waves on beaches or falling out of a boat.
The second-leading cause is listed as “transport” — people killed, for example, while trying to snap a quick pic in front of a moving train.
Tied for third are selfie deaths involving fires and falls from high places. Eight people died while taking selfies with dangerous animals.
Unsurprisingly, the US led in the number of selfie deaths involving a firearm — people accidentally shooting themselves while posing with guns.
The study says the problem is almost certainly underreported. For example, it notes that when a person decides to pose for a selfie while driving and is then killed in a car crash, it’s most often reported as just a fatal traffic wreck. And there are several developing countries where reports of selfie deaths may not make it into the local news.
Selfie deaths are on the rise, too. There were just three reported selfie deaths in 2011. By 2016 that number had shot up to 98.
“The youth and tourists are frequently affected because of the desire of ‘being cool,’ posting photos on social (media) and getting rewards in forms of likes and comments,” the study says. “Selfies are themselves not harmful, but the human behavior that accompanies selfies is dangerous. Individuals need to be educated regarding certain risky behaviors and risky places where selfies should not be taken.”
‘No selfie’ zones
The study’s authors suggest that “no selfie zones” be established in tourist areas, especially on mountain peaks, near bodies of water and on top of tall buildings. India has more than a dozen of these zones, including several in Mumbai.
Police there say they’ve pinpointed locations around the city where they want to “restrain” people to prevent further casualties. The high-risk areas are mostly along the city’s oceanfront — a popular destination for young people armed with camera phones.
“This is a new problem for us,” police spokesman Dhananjay Kulkarni told CNN in 2016. “We have identified spots in Mumbai. We want to restrain people from going there so that mishaps don’t happen.”
After a spate of selfie-related fatalities in 2015, police in Russia put out a brochure urging people to take “safe selfies.”
“A cool selfie can cost you your life,” reads the brochure, which police handed out to both students and the general public.
The two-page guide contains infographics that resemble road signs, most of which are based on actual incidents — such as the case of a 21-year-old woman who accidentally shot herself in the head and a teen who was struck by a train after trying to take a photograph of herself on railway tracks.
The brochure also warns against are taking selfies with animals, on rooftops and with exposed live wires.
CNN’s Mallika Kapur and Barry Neild contributed to this report.
https://lawyerfirmnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/180921091202-cillizza-youtube-overlay-tease-24-1-1.jpg 438 780 Lawyer Firm News https://lawyerfirmnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/logo-lawyerfirm-news-300x100.png Lawyer Firm News2018-10-03 17:40:062018-10-03 18:30:58The President's mockery of Christine Blasey Ford indicates that he'll take his disdain for the movement onto the campaign trail
Trump had clearly been working on the material for days, including on at least two occasions with reporters.
The version that emerged Tuesday night was primed for re-election rallies, and was the clearest indication that Trump will take his disdain for #MeToo onto the campaign trail.
The fine-tuned attack on Ford and warning that emerged for supporters in Mississippi allowed Trump to attack her credibility and criticize her spotty memory on some specifics from the night of her attack compared with her conviction about details of others. That may be a common thread among assault victims, but in Trump’s hands she was made to sound untrustworthy.
His comments were direct and harsh pushback against the #MeToo movement, of which Ford has become emblematic and for which Trump, who was accused of assault by more than a dozen women not long before his election, is surely a villain. Trump has denied the allegations.
This latest anti-#MeToo talking point of Trump’s arguably started last week with a question from Steven Portnoy of CBS News at a news conference in New York the day before Ford’s public testimony.
Trump had already bemoaned what he said was a partisan attack on Kavanaugh and the effect the charges were surely having on the judge and his family.
But Portnoy wanted to know if Trump had a message for young men as the country enters a period where women feel more comfortable coming forward with allegations.
Trump did not say men should respect women, but rather suggested his message to young men was: Be afraid. He said the issue was bigger than the current debate over Kavanaugh.
“This is beyond Supreme Court,” Trump said. “This is everything to do with our country. When you are guilty until proven innocent, it’s just not supposed to be that way. Always, I heard you’re innocent until proven guilty. I’ve heard this for so long and it’s such a beautiful phrase. In this case, you’re guilty until proven innocent. I think that is a very, very dangerous standard for our country.”
Clearly Trump felt he was on to something with the “dangerous standard” idea, because he riffed on it a few days later, on Tuesday, when he was talking to reporters before getting onto Marine One.
“It is a very scary time for young men in America, where you can be guilty of something you may not be guilty of,” Trump said. “This is a very, very — this is a very difficult time. What’s happening here has much more to do than even the appointment of a Supreme Court justice.”
He added: “It’s a very scary situation where you’re guilty until proven innocent. My whole life I’ve heard you’re innocent until proven guilty, but now you’re guilty until proven innocent. That is a very, very difficult standard. You could be somebody that was perfect your entire life and somebody could accuse you of something.”
The message in what he’s saying is the same, but he’s refined it, economized the words and subbed in “scary time” for “dangerous standard.” He’s refined the idea to make clearer he thinks men should be afraid of the accusations of women. In both appearances he mentioned the many allegations against him in 2016.
Those two comments teed up the full-force treatment of the new material in Mississippi on Tuesday night, before a roaring crowd of supporters.
“Guilty until proven innocent,” Trump lamented, to booing from the crowd. “That’s very dangerous for our country. That’s very dangerous for our country. And I have it myself all the time. But for me, it’s like a part of the job description.”
Trump brushed off the accusations by more than a dozen women against himself, ranging from sexual harassment and sexual assault to lewd behavior, as something that should be expected.
“Let it happen to me. Shouldn’t happen to him. Shouldn’t happen to him,” he said, before launching into his attack directly on Ford’s memory, after which he added: “And a man’s life is in tatters. A man’s life is shattered. His wife is shattered. His daughters, who are beautiful, incredible young kids — they destroy people. They want to destroy people. These are really evil people,” he said, although it wasn’t exactly clear who he was referring to.
Trump came back to the idea again, driving the point home further and speaking to women who might worry about the men in their lives being accused.
“This is a time when your father, when your husband, when your brother, when your son could do great. ‘Mom, I did great in school. I’ve worked so hard. Mom, I’m so pleased to tell you, I just got a fantastic job with IBM. I just got a fantastic job with General Motors. I just got — I’m so proud.’
” ‘Mom, a terrible thing just happened. A person who I’ve never met said that I did things that were horrible and they’re firing me from my job, Mom. I don’t know what to do. Mom, what do I do? What do I do, Mom? What do I do, Mom?’ It’s a damn sad situation, OK?” Trump said.
Trump again mentioned his own accusations. At this point in the story, the Trump accusations are apiece with the Kavanaugh accusations, in Trump’s telling. And they’re apiece with the accusations that any man might face.
It’s clear, now, by using the material at such length in his Mississippi rally, that Trump is stirring backlash to the national reckoning with sexual harassment, and using that to drive his supporters to the polls. Which means this line isn’t going anywhere.
https://lawyerfirmnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/181003135602-frank-bainimarama-headshot-large-169-1-1.jpg 259 460 Lawyer Firm News https://lawyerfirmnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/logo-lawyerfirm-news-300x100.png Lawyer Firm News2018-10-03 17:40:062018-10-03 18:31:06Opinion: To truly fight climate change, we need to set our sights higher
Simply put, the commitments the world has made so far under the Paris Agreement to reduce the emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases are woefully inadequate. And we are out of time. If we do not increase these commitments by 2020 as the agreement requires us to do, the potential impacts will be devastating, and they threaten the lives, homes and livelihoods of people in countries like ours.
We must act, and we must make the world understand its responsibility to act.
That is why, together, Fiji and the Marshall Islands, as members of the High Ambition Coalition, which came together in the Paris negotiations, are committed to continuing to lead the world by example. At this year’s UN General Assembly, we were among the first to announce that we will deliver stronger new targets to reduce emissions, and have, or are in the process of developing, long-term decarbonization plans.
Last Monday, the Marshall Islands published one of the most ambitious plans to decarbonize an economy, pledging to reach net-zero emissions by midcentury, and to implement short-term plans consistent with that long-term vision. This makes sense for our economy and our environment, as well as for our people and our planet. We will do this by transforming our electricity, waste and transportation sectors, and putting a big new focus on adaptation, for which we will be heavily reliant on securing additional international public finance.
Similarly, Fiji is committing to delivering an enhanced emissions-reduction target by next year. To achieve this, we are engaging all sectors of the economy to prepare a comprehensive long-term 2050 decarbonization strategy to achieve net-zero emissions. This process will inform the preparation of our new national target. We are examining extra reductions from our transport, maritime, agriculture and forestry sectors. This is in addition to our existing commitment to produce 100% of our electricity from renewables by 2030.
But governments alone cannot combat climate change. The enormity of the challenge defies simple government solutions. It will take conscious effort at every level — in every community, every business, every institution and every home. It will, indeed, require all of us, working toward one noble, and ultimately self-interested, objective to preserve the quality of life as we know it on planet Earth.
We are pleased to see that many sub-national governments — the world’s cities, counties, states, and regions — are taking up the mantle of leadership, and in some cases are ahead of their national governments in their efforts and their stated commitments. Climate action and leadership, wherever it arises, needs to be embraced. That is why we are encouraged that the vast majority of the private sector and civil society is energetically embracing the need to reduce carbon emissions and waste of all kinds. This kind of commitment should serve to strengthen the resolve and the ability of governments to raise their own targets.
There is a robust process in place to do so — through the UN Convention on Climate Change. This year’s meeting in Poland in December will be marked by the Talanoa Dialogue, based on the concept of an open, honest and respectful process of dialogue used in the Pacific. The idea of Talanoa is to bring the best ideas for how to tackle this threat to the surface and share them.
We need this process of collective effort now more than ever. The nations of the world will need to bring solutions — in the form of strengthened targets and long-term decarbonization plans by 2020. That is the deadline agreed to in Paris to increase our short-term actions in order to keep temperatures within the safe limits established by that very agreement.
To achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, we need to chart a clear path forward. This path goes from the groundswell of climate action we witnessed at California Gov. Jerry Brown’s Global Climate Action Summit last month, through Climate Week and the One Planet Summit in New York last week, through to the Virtual Summit of the Climate Vulnerable Forum in November, to the Talanoa Dialogue at COP24, and from there into 2019 and the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit. This is the path forward, and if we all walk it together, we can reach our destination.
Fiji and the Marshall Islands are leading by example. We are moving forward and we call on all other countries to follow our lead. We believe that if two developing countries can develop robust emissions-reduction targets that truly drive us toward the goals we agreed to in Paris, then other nations can, too — including the almost 30 countries that signed a Declaration for Ambition in June, and which we call on other countries to now join.
When we talk about combating climate change, we always talk about the need to raise ambition. That is what we have done. Every country must now join us.
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Just hours before Trump took the stage, The New York Times published a bombshell report laying out in stark terms that a) Trump and his father, Fred, had actively worked to evade tax law to enrich themselves and b) his own wealth was heavily dependent on and derived from his father’s wealth. The rally also came amid the FBI’s supplemental background investigation into Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Those twin pressures seemed to add up to a toxic mix, as Trump spent more than an hour savaging Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault, the media, Democrats and anyone else he could think of. It was quite a performance — and not one that sat well with the likes of Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska and Susan Collins R-Maine, the swing votes on whether Kavanaugh will be confirmed at the end of this week.
I went through the transcript and pulled out the most wild, wacky and woe-is-me lines. They’re below.
1. “Well, I have to start by saying that 2020 is looking really easy, isn’t it?”
And away we go!
2. “In less than two years, we’ve achieved the biggest comeback in American history. That’s what’s happened.”
The biggest comeback on what front? Economically? Internationally? Diplomatically? The US Men’s National Soccer team? Who knows! Just take his word for it. Biggest ever.
3. “And more Americans are working today than ever before. Today — ever before.”
True! Also, kind of pointless. There are more Americans working than ever before because, well, there are more Americans than ever before. According to The Washington Post’s Fact Checker, this claim “might go down as one of the more ridiculous economic claims made by the administration.”
4. “We’re calling it USMCA. You’re going to like that name. That’ll become a part of your vocabulary. USMCA.”
This line — in which Trump is talking about how he renegotiated and renamed NAFTA — is a good reminder of how he is, at root, a brander and marketer. “NAFTA” was a bad name because it didn’t make clear how America was the prime mover in it. USMCA — “United States-Mexico-Canada” — is way better.
5. “America is winning again, and America is being respected again, maybe respected like never before, because we are finally putting America first.”
[Pulls out trusty Respect-O-Meter, checks readings] Yeah, this checks out.
6. “I’m not on the ballot, but in a certain way, I’m on the ballot.”
He’s talking about the 2018 midterms — and correct! But that is not good news for Republicans. In all but three midterm elections since the end of the Civil War, the president’s party has lost seats in the House.
7. “The only reason to vote Democrat is if you are tired of winning.”
And who could be sick of that??? Losers, that’s who.
8. “You can really get your wife to like you a lot when that happens.”
Trump is referring to the fact that 401(k) values have gone up during his presidency. So, yes, he is suggesting that a sure-fire way to a woman’s heart is by making your retirement accounts more valuable.
9. “The Democrats — and I say this — and I’ve dealt with it — the Democrats are the party of crime.”
This feels like a slight oversimplification. Maybe it’s just me.
10. “No one under any circumstances is allowed to speak up if you’re on this side of the equation.”
This sentiment, vague as it is, is the beating heart of Trumpism. His candidacy — and presidency — is a reaction to political correctness, liberal shaming and the idea that conservatives need to shut up and sit down. He took that boiling cauldron of anger and resentment and turned it into political jet fuel.
11. “And first in his class at Yale. Top, top in his class at Yale Law School.”
Kavanaugh was neither of these things. Neither Yale nor Yale Law School, which Kavanaugh attended, calculate class rank. Kavanaugh graduated cum laude from Yale as an undergrad.
12. “What he’s going through: 36 years ago, this happened. ‘I had one beer.’ Right? ‘I had one beer.’ ‘Well, you think it was …’ ‘Nope, it was one beer.’ ‘Oh, good. How did you get home?’ ‘I don’t remember.’ ‘How did you get there?’ ‘I don’t remember.’ ‘Where is the place?’ ‘I don’t remember.’ ‘How many years ago was it?’ ‘I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.'”
No one should be shocked that Trump is mocking Ford’s emotional recounting of a sexual assault in her teen years that she alleges was committed by Kavanaugh. We shouldn’t even be shocked that lots and lots of people in the crowd laughed at Trump’s “impersonation.” But what we should remember is that this isn’t normal presidential behavior. Or, really, acceptable human behavior.
13. “They want to destroy people. These are really evil people.”
It’s not clear to me who the “they” is in Trump’s accusations. Is it Democrats? If so, what evidence is there that Senate Democrats had any role at all in Ford’s allegations? If it’s Ford (and the other accusers of Kavanaugh), well, then that’s a whole other — and darker — thing.
14. “Da Nang Richard Blumenthal”
This is the start of an extended riff by Trump attacking Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal for lying about whether or not he had actually served in Vietnam during the war. Blumenthal, who was never in Vietnam during his time as a member of the Marine Corps Reserves, was forced to apologize. This happened in 2010.
15. “And then he cried. When they caught him, he cried like a baby. Like a baby.”
Not much is a bigger indictment of you as a man in the eyes of Trump than if you cry. It shows weakness. It’s un-manly. One wonders, then, what Trump thought of Kavanuagh’s tear-filled opening statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee last week.
16. “And the reason he got elected is because in Connecticut it’s impossible for a Republican to get elected.”
[whispers] From 1995 through 2011, Connecticut had Republican governors.
17. “We had another woman just reported by a sleazebag lawyer named Aviante. Sleazebag. Sleazebag.”
Who is this “Aviante Sleazabag”? Sounds like a bad dude!
18. “I’ve had many false accusations. I’ve had it all the — I’ve had so many — and when I say it didn’t happen, nobody believes me.”
Reminder: During the course of the 2016, more than a dozen women came forward to say Trump acted inappropriately with them, sexually assaulted them or carried on affairs with them. Trump denied all of the allegations and pledged to sue each and every one of the women for defamation once the election ended. None of those lawsuits have been filed.
19. “You know, I’m listening to commentators, and they say, ‘If Trump were running, he’s going to beat everybody.’ They’re saying that. You know, it’s hard for them to admit that.”
I’m not sure where Trump is getting this quote although it’s almost certainly from cable TV — if it actually exists at all. And for what it’s worth: I think he has a real chance of winning a second term in 2020, but I wouldn’t make a prediction that he is going to win based on his not-so-great poll numbers at the moment.
20. “You know, with Biden, you go like this — whew — and he goes down.”
No big deal! Just the President of the United States saying he would knock out the former vice president of the United States with one punch!
21. “And they say if I was on the ticket, everybody would go, it would be a landslide. Even the fakers back there, they say that.”
[narrator voice] “They” didn’t say that.
22. “We’ll be on the ballot in two years, and we will do a landslide like you haven’t — like you wouldn’t believe.”
The biggest landslide. You’ll be amazed by the size of it. Believe me.
23. “Nobody has accomplished more in two years.”
This is almost certainly inaccurate. (If you assume “most accomplishments” can be accurately measured.)
24. “You think this is a big crowd in here? This place is packed, right? Right.”
Trump is obsessed with crowd size because he believes it is a direct indicator of just how popular he is. Which is why he had then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer make the false claim that his inaugural crowd was the biggest ever. (It wasn’t.)
25. “Because we don’t need much of a stage. Basketball, they need a big — you’re filled up with people, like it is tonight.”
[takes out notepad] Basketball, right. [scratches head, blinks repeatedly, stares blankly into space]
26. “And that kind of dishonesty happens all the time. Happened at the inauguration. It happened at the inauguration.”
He’s suggesting — STILL — that his inauguration crowd was bigger than it was reported!!!! (It wasn’t.) It’s October 2, 2018!
27. “We are thrilled to be joined tonight by several great Republican leaders.”
This is the first mention of why Trump is actually in Mississippi. And it comes more than halfway through the speech.
28. “Look at this guy. Is he central casting or what? Is he — look at this. He’s central casting.”
Trump’s referring to Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant — and, in so doing, reminding us all that looking the part is essential to doing the job in his mind.
29. “These are warriors. Look, the abuse they take, the abuse we all take, if you’re not a warrior, you just go home, go to the corner, put your thumb in your mouth and say, ‘Mommy, take me home.'”
Donald Trump on politicians. And crying. And warriors?
30. “He’s jumping around. The hair’s going crazy. The hair’s going crazy.”
Donald Trump has some thoughts on Bernie Sanders’ hair. Which is totally fine and not at all ironic.
31. “You know, he’s out there. He’s doing his thing, whether you like it or not. He’s out there doing his thing, and you’ve got to hand it to him.”
What’s interesting is that, I think, Trump sort of likes Sanders. They agree on almost nothing, but Trump admires his passion and spunk.
32. “Patrick Leahy — oh, he’s never had a drink in his life. Check it out. Look under ‘Patrick Leahy/drink.'”
Just the President of the United States suggesting a Democratic senator has a drinking problem. Totally normal stuff!
33. “Have to do it. We have to do it. We have to do it, and we want to do it. I want to do it. We’re all going to do it.”
What is Trump talking about here? Would you believe insurance companies covering pre-existing conditions?
34. “We’re building the wall. It’s going up.”
35. “They’re going to take your wealth away from you. They’re going to take your wealth away.”
So, if Democrats win the House, you will be poor. Case closed.
36. “We don’t have a magic wand.”
[Crosses Trump off running list of “people who might possess magic wands”]
37. “We need a real majority, and we’re going to do everything that you’ve been looking for a long time. You know, with that being said, we’ve done so much. We’ve done so much.”
In back-to-back sentences, Trump argues that if they had larger House and Senate majorities, then they could really get things done and then that they have already done so much. Sure!
38. “I love you, too. You’re not my type, but I love you.”
This was in response to a man’s yell from the crowd. I’ll just leave this here.
39. “Beautiful accent. I wish I had his accent. I would have been president 15 years ago if I had his accent.”
The President is admiring the accent of Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the European Union. (Not Jean-Claude Van Damme.) And, yes, Trump he did an impersonation of Juncker, who is a Luxembourger. Which is really what you call Luxembourg natives. Which is terrific.
40. “Do you know how wealthy our country would be if they didn’t have these really stupid deals all over the place, so many of them?”
[tentatively raises hand] Um, very wealthy?
41. “The Space Force. And that’s what it’s all about, folks. You look at what’s happening. I’m not just talking rockets to the moon and to Mars. I’m talking about defense. I’m talking about — that’s where it is. It’s in space.”
The Space Force. It’s a force. In space. SPACE FORCE.
42. “Now, who knows, folks? Who knows?”
This feels like a good place to end.
https://lawyerfirmnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/181001153720-donald-trump-large-169-3-1-1.jpg 259 460 Lawyer Firm News https://lawyerfirmnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/logo-lawyerfirm-news-300x100.png Lawyer Firm News2018-10-03 15:05:382018-10-03 15:30:05Trump says it's a 'scary time' for men. Here's stats on false sexual assault claims
To hear President Donald Trump tell it, “It is a very scary time for young men in America.”
“It’s a very scary situation where you’re guilty until proven innocent,” Trump said about sex assault claims against men, including against his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
“You could be somebody that was perfect your entire life, and somebody could accuse you of something.”
Trump isn’t alone in his concern. Many women, including mothers of boys, are using the hashtag #ProtectOurBoys to denounce what they consider false claims.
We’ve seen some high-profile cases in which men were wrongfully accused of sexual assault: for example, the Duke lacrosse players and the former football player whose alleged victim later admitted she wasn’t raped.
But those appear to be anomalies. Studies suggest the prevalence of false reporting on sexual assault is between 2% and 10%, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
And there’s a big caveat to those numbers: “Research shows that rates of false reporting are frequently inflated, in part because of inconsistent definitions and protocols,” the resource center said.
For example, some law enforcement agencies might label a rape claim as “false” just because there’s not enough corroborating evidence to prosecute. (Those cases would be more accurately described as “baseless” rather than “false.”)
“It does not mean that some form of sexual assault may not have occurred, but only that from the legal perspective … the case does not meet the legal criteria, or it is ‘baseless,'” the resource center said.
The FBI and the International Association of Chiefs of Police have tried to improve accuracy when it comes to labeling sex assault claims.
They issued guidelines saying certain factors shouldn’t be sole reasons for labeling a report “false,” such as:
— Delayed reporting
— Insufficient evidence to prosecute
— A victim’s decision to not cooperate with investigators
— Inconsistencies in a victim’s statements
But those are just guidelines, not rules.
“While some police departments may follow these guidelines, it is not mandatory, and as a result, many do not,” the sexual violence resource center said.
And that can lead to more “false” claims than there actually are.
Another reason why sex assault cases can be perceived as false is the frequent lack of witnesses.
Offenders “are deliberate and strategic about not having witnesses. This is intrinsic to the crime,” said Kristen Houser, spokeswoman for the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
“So, if our nation continues to demand that there be witnesses, we are essentially ignoring the very nature of the crime.”
CNN’s Jeremy Diamond contributed to this report.
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Sadly, we’ve grown accustomed to what his acolytes call “Trump being Trump” at these rallies, which often devolve into red meat rants that fuel his supporters’ tribalism and his own narcissism.
Trump’s latest transgression during a rally Tuesday in Mississippi was just another infuriating example.
By mocking Christine Blasey Ford, the President of the United States looked women in the eye and told them their sexual assaults do not matter. There should be no comedic value in denigrating such traumatic experiences, yet there Trump was, leading the way, as thousands of his supporters cheered him on and nodded in agreement. Even more alarming were the all-too-familiar chants of “lock her up” — usually reserved for Hillary Clinton, now directed toward Ford after Trump decried Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s treatment as “abuse.”
In Trump’s bizarre world, men are the actual victims. “It’s a very scary time for young men in America,” he proclaimed to reporters.
As shocking as this may sound to many, it’s consistent with Trump’s paranoia that everyone is out to get him. Despite being credibly accused of sexual misconduct by more than a dozen women, his own history of misogyny, his own words on the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape, and the growing list of powerful men brought down by their sexual misconduct, we’re supposed to believe Trump, and more broadly men, are the victims. Talk about gaslighting America.
What an insult to all the women, and there are thousands upon thousands, who have lived through the nightmare of sexual assault. How do I know? My mother is one of them.
My mother survived a sexual assault in her 20s by a well-known doctor in our hometown. Like so many women, she never reported it. When I asked her why not, she said, “He was a prominent doctor. I was a young, single mother on welfare with a biracial child. I didn’t have the resources to defend myself. I didn’t think anyone would believe me.” Sound familiar?
After watching Ford’s testimony, Kavanaugh’s belligerence and Republican senators’ tone-deaf reaction to it all during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, my mother felt emboldened to share with me another traumatic incident she experienced. After 43 years of silence, she decided to tell her story. While pregnant with me, at 20 years old, she survived an attempted sexual assault at gunpoint. She narrowly escaped with her life and mine.
Taken aback by this new revelation, I asked my mother if she remembered certain details about that day similar to the ones Ford has been criticized by Kavanaugh supporters for not recalling.
She said, “I may not remember what day of the week it was, or even what month, but I will never forget running to escape, the gun or the stubby hairy fingers of the man who put that gun to my head. To this day, I still cringe when I see men with fingers like that.”
She never reported it.
Watching the sexism on display by Republicans during the Kavanaugh nomination, I understand. It’s a sad commentary on where we are as a country when it comes to sexual assault. Wonder why victims of sexual assault don’t come forward? The treatment of Ford by the rabid conservative media, Republicans and Trump himself is exhibit A.
A multitude of studies have been done on why sexual assault victims delay reporting, if they do at all. It’s also well-known that individuals process trauma differently.
Yes, Mr. President. It is a very scary time in America. What’s scary for young men in this country is the fact that standards have sunk so low for the office of the presidency that a man who brags about grabbing women by their private parts and mocks sexual assault victims from the bully pulpit as an arena full of people cheer him on can now occupy the Oval Office in 2018.
It’s scary to see lines of people, including families with children, waiting to participate in these tribal circuses — we can’t even call them political rallies anymore. They’ve become altar calls at the foot of their faux messiah where common decency and honesty have been thrown to the wayside. This is what the Republican Party has become in the era of Trump. As part of their Faustian bargain, Republicans continue to stand by as craven enablers of this President. Shame on them.
This is a toxic political mix as we head into the midterm elections. The Kavanaugh saga has further divided the country along partisan lines and sadly relegated the serious issue of rampant sexual assault to political brinkmanship. The GOP already has a gender gap problem. The mishandling of the Kavanaugh nomination is only going to exacerbate it this November.
Suburban women in swing districts are paying attention. Their voices do matter. If they weren’t motivated to vote before, I suspect they will be now.
The question remains how big of an electoral price will Republicans pay?
An earlier version of this article incorrectly said that Trump’s rally was held in Tennessee.