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OnDoutside's Journal
OnDoutside's Journal
January 31, 2018

CNN : Justice Dept. files to dismiss charges against Sen. Bob Menendez


(CNN)The Justice Department Wednesday filed to dismiss its remaining charges against Sen. Bob Menendez, likely bringing the legal case against the New Jersey Democrat to a close.

An 11-week trial last fall resulted in a hung jury. Prosecutors had accused the senator of accepting bribes from Dr. Salomon Melgen, a wealthy ophthalmologist in Florida, in return for political favors.
Menendez and Melgen pleaded not guilty to all charges.
"Given the impact of the Court's Jan. 24 order on the charges and the evidence admissible in a retrial, the United States has determined that it will not retry the defendants on the remaining charges," DOJ spokeswoman Nicole Navas Oxman said.
This story is breaking and will be updated.
January 28, 2018

Marco Rubio fires his Chief of Staff for "improper conduct"


Washington (CNN)Sen. Marco Rubio has fired his chief of staff over "allegations of improper conduct" with a subordinate, his office announced late Saturday night.

"Yesterday afternoon, I was made aware, for the first time, of allegations of improper conduct by my chief of staff while under the employment of my office," Rubio said in a statement. The statement did not mention Rubio's chief of staff by name, but he has been identified as Clint Reed on his social media accounts, and a former aide confirmed he was the chief of staff. CNN has attempted to contact Reed for comment. "By early this afternoon, I had sufficient evidence to conclude that while employed by this office, my chief of staff had violated office policies regarding proper relations between a supervisor and their subordinates. I further concluded that this led to actions which in my judgement amounted to threats to withhold employment benefits."

January 23, 2018

Manchin Will Seek Re-election but Sends Democrats a Stern Warning

WASHINGTON — Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia told colleagues on Tuesday that he intended to run for re-election this year after all, ending an anxiety-making flirtation with retirement and easing Democratic fears that the most conservative Democrat in the Senate was about to effectively hand his seat to a Republican.

In an interview, Mr. Manchin said he repeatedly expressed his frustration to Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, and other colleagues, telling them that “this place sucks,” before finally signaling Tuesday morning to Mr. Schumer’s aides that he would file his re-election paperwork before West Virginia’s deadline on Friday. “I was very vocal,” Mr. Manchin said, adding, “they read between the lines.”


It also will have to be bridged if Democrats have any hope of regaining the Senate in November, when they must defend 10 seats in states that Mr. Trump won, while winning Republican-held seats in difficult states like Tennessee, Nevada and Arizona. “I’ve said this point blank: If people like me can’t win from red states, you’ll be in the minority the rest of your life,” Mr. Manchin said about his conversations with other Democrats about the need to tolerate more moderate lawmakers.


His aides noted that he had a dinner fund-raiser planned for Tuesday evening in Washington and campaign events already scheduled for this weekend in West Virginia. They also pointed out that Mr. Manchin’s grumbles about Senate dysfunction and the Democratic Party’s shift left were not new. Such complains have been a recurring theme over his seven-year tenure.

January 18, 2018

Irish PM Leo Varadkar speaks and debates at EU Parliament - Brexit, Border, Tax and more

Five things the Taoiseach said in his special address to the European Parliament

The Taoiseach gave a 20-minute address at the European Parliament in Strasbourg this morning as part of a series of leaders' addresses. He was the first head of government to do so. The President of the European Commission Jean Claude-Juncker and lead Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier were also present.

1. On 'serving the interests of citizens'

In his speech, Taoiseach Varadkar called for the EU to "serve the interests" of all "citizens and not just corporations." He also recommitted Ireland’s position at the centre of Europe and the euro and called for "even more free trade" and globalisation. "Now is the time to fulfil the promise of the single market in other areas," he said.

"For example, insurance, mortgages and loans, so that people can get cheaper loans from European lenders and insurers if needs be," he told the European Parliament in Strasbourg. He said; "Ireland is a founder member of the euro, and a founder member of the Single Market."

2. On Tax
On tax, he said such issues "should be determined by national governments, but equally true was the fact that corporations should pay their fair share of tax."

"We cannot tolerate a situation where large companies can avoid paying taxes anywhere. He said Ireland has already taken steps to close loopholes in our tax laws "and we will do more." "I believe in more free trade agreements with third countries, and in completing monetary union," he told the audience of MEPs.

3. On Challenges to the EU

The Taoiseach said that Europe is at "decisive point in history" and despite all the upheavals of recent years – the rise of populism and euro-scepticism, nationalism and anti-democratic forces - "we meet in solidarity", with a renewed "sense of purpose."


4. On Ireland's Potential in the EU

Varadkar said the promise of Europe "unlocked the potential of Ireland and allowed us taking our place among the nations of the world." He thanked the EU for recognising the unique situation of Northern Ireland and how Brexit affects Ireland.

5. On Ireland and Brexit
Taoiseach Varadkar pointed to the fact that citizens in Northern Ireland will remain to be EU citizens even after Brexit such is the unique position of the north.

He reiterated the importance of ensuring the UK translates the agreement in phase one of Brexit into a legal text and a withdrawal agreement.


He received a round of applause when he said Europe needs to "stick together" if we are to "protect what we have and export our values and world view."


Varadkar's speech




Of course not everyone is happy....in between being an international puppet for Putin, Farage is still drawing an EU Parliament salary.

January 3, 2018

Alex Wagner joins The Circus, replacing Halperin


The Showtime political documentary series “The Circus” is set to return in April, minus its most recognizable star: Mark Halperin, the high-flying journalist whose career was felled last year by allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault. Replacing Mr. Halperin will be Alex Wagner, a CBS News anchor and former MSNBC host. She will join two of the original hosts, the writer John Heilemann, Mr. Halperin’s longtime professional partner, and Mark McKinnon, a Stetson-sporting political consultant.


Ms. Wagner, who has appeared as a guest on the show, said she planned to use her new role to examine “questions of American identity: us vs. them, tribalism and nativism, themes that emerged in the campaign and show no sign of going away.” She is the author of a soon-to-be-published book, “Futureface,” which looks at race and immigration in the United States through the lens of her own mixed-race ancestry.

Ms. Wagner laughed when asked if she and her co-hosts were simpatico on political matters. Mr. McKinnon is a former adviser to the presidential bids of George W. Bush and John McCain; Ms. Wagner, whose views lean liberal, is married to the Obamas’ former White House family chef.

“I think it’s a prerequisite that we don’t all agree on everything,” Ms. Wagner said. A former editor in chief of The Fader, a music magazine, she said she was also looking forward to expanding the show’s musical selections.

“If we can get André 3000 on the show,” she said, “I am doubly in.”

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