And the exhibitors are.....   

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Well, thank you everyone!
Having received entries from all parts of the world with 365 pieces submitted from over 156 jewellers, 
the organisers would like to offer their heartfelt thanks to everyone who submitted to the "suspended in pink” exhibition.

The jury has chosen a selection for the exhibition from the impressive quantity of objects- after a lot of very very hard work, here are the exhibitors....



Exhibitiors 'Suspend.ed in Pink' 2013

Alexandra Hopp,  Andrea Coderch, Annette Dam, Babette Von Dohnanyi, Claire Lavendhomme, Claire McArdle, Corrado de Meo, Demitra Thomloudis, Drew Markou, Erica Voss, Farrah Al Dujaili, Galatée Pestre, Helena Johansson, Heng Lee, Isabel Dammermann, Jane Richie, Jo Pond, Jorge Manilla, Josephine Siwei Wang, Kate Rohde, Karen Bartlett, Karen Vanmol, Karin Roy Andersson, Katharina Moch, Kevin Hughes, Lauren Markley, Laurence Verdier,  Lital Mendel, Lynn Batchelder, Mallory Weston, Masako Hamaguchi, Michelle Kraemer, Minna Karhu, Patricia A Gallucci, Rachel McKnight, Réka Fekete, Rhona McCallum, Ria Lins, Sam Hamilton, Silke Fleischer, Sofia Björkman, Thea Clark, Vinit Koosolmanomai, Yeseul Seo, Zoe Robertson.

HOWEVER, thats not it yet!

Keep an eye out for further exciting announcements........

Claire McArdle 
Thea Clark

Sam Hamilton



          

Romanian Energy Awards 2015   

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The fourth edition of Awards “Romanian Energy Awards 2015 ‘were organized by The Diplomat-Bucharest on 12th. Gala has gathered together more than 150 top managers, energy suppliers and distributors, government officials and representatives of the regulatory authorities. Prizes were offered for Managers, activities or projects in 20 different categories. The jury was composed of leading […]

Articolul Romanian Energy Awards 2015 publicat pe bepco.


          

Reversible Error to Impose Time Limits on Voir Dire   

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Last week the Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed an aggravated battery conviction based on a trial court improperly limiting the amount of time an attorney could ask questions to a prospective jury panel.  Strachan v. State, ___ So. 3d ___ (Fla. 4th DCA 2019). In Strachan, the trial court entered a scheduling order before trial limiting voir dire to forty-five minutes per side, noting if either side needed additional time they could approach the bench and address their concern with the court.  At the conclusion of the State’s allocated forty-five minutes, the court sua sponte asked the State if they needed more time, and if so, how much time. The State requested, and was granted, an additional ten minutes.  Defense then questioned the jury for fifty-five minutes and when the clerk called “time,” the Defense requested additional time which was denied. The Defendant specifically identified questions and areas of concern he needed to…
          

Judge says she couldn't refuse convicted ex-cop a hug   

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Judge says she couldn't refuse convicted ex-cop a hugThe judge who gave a hug and Bible to a former Dallas police officer after she was sentenced to 10 years in prison for killing her neighbor said Monday that she watched the woman change during her trial and wants her to live a purposeful life. Judge Tammy Kemp said she had never previously acknowledged her Christian faith to a defendant or given one a Bible, but Amber Guyger said she didn't have one at the end of her trial for the September 2018 killing of her upstairs neighbor, Botham Jean. In her first interview since the jury convicted Guyger of murder last week, Kemp said she felt her actions were appropriate since the trial was over and the former officer told her she didn't know how to begin seeking God's forgiveness.



          

Jury to resume in convicted bomber's attempted murder trial   

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ELIZABETH, N.J. (AP) - Jurors in New Jersey are scheduled to resume deliberations in the attempted murder trial of a man already convicted of planting bombs in New York City.

Afghanistan-born naturalized U.S. citizen Ahmad Khan Rahimi faces charges stemming from his arrest in 2016.

The jury of eight women ...

          

Comment on Ending America’s Cult of the Warrior-Hero by Ground Close Combat is Gender Agnostic - The Wavell Room    

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[…] Warrior culture in the U.S. is something of a cult, and if Pressfield is its high priest, Mattis is its patron saint. It is troubling that his tenure as U.S. Secretary of Defense was marred by remarks suggesting that “the jury was still out” on women in combat arms. Annis references ”Combat Operational Stress Control,” but this 2015 RAND study “did not find OSCAR [Operational Stress Control and Readiness] affected the key mental health outcomes it was designed to address.” As certified Marine Corps Operational Stress Control and Readiness Instructor I can tell you from personal experience that it was yet another “check-the-block” wellness initiative. […]
          

First Monday in October   

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The Term starts off with two exciting criminal law cases:

1. First up is Kahler v. Kansas: “Whether the Eighth and 14th Amendments permit a state to abolish the insanity defense.”  Amy Howe of SCOTUSblog has a nice write up here.  A snippet:
Under Kansas law, Kahler could not argue that he was insane as a defense to the charges. In 1995, Kansas had replaced the insanity defense with a new law that allows a defendant to argue that, because of mental illness, he could not have intended to commit the crime but makes clear that mental illness “is not otherwise a defense.” The law was a response to several high-profile criminal cases, including the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan by John Hinckley, who was found not guilty by reason of insanity. The trial court instructed the jurors in Kahler’s trial that they could only consider Kahler’s mental illness as part of determining whether he intended to kill his victims. The jury found him guilty and sentenced him to death.
The Kansas Supreme Court upheld Kahler’s death sentence, rejecting his argument that the failure to allow him to raise an insanity defense violated the Constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case in March.
In his brief on the merits, Kahler contends that it has long been established that a mentally ill person who commits a crime without understanding that his actions are wrong is not morally responsible for those actions and therefore should not be held criminally responsible. The importance of this rule, he suggests, can be seen in the fact that, until 1979, every jurisdiction in the United States allowed an insanity defense. Today, he continues, 45 states, the federal government, the U.S. military and the District of Columbia all allow a mentally ill defendant to assert an insanity defense.
But under Kansas law, Kahler argues, it doesn’t matter whether an insane defendant understands that what he is doing is wrong. The only question is whether he intended to commit the crime, which is a much lower bar. Therefore, Kahler posits, “so long as a defendant intentionally kills another human being—even if he delusionally believes the devil told him to do it, or that the victim was an enemy soldier trying to kill him,” he can be convicted of murder even if he is insane. Such an approach is not the equivalent of offering an insanity defense, Kahler maintains. Rather, he predicts, the state’s rule will “shrink the class of defendants who might be acquitted as a result of mental disease or defect almost to the vanishing point.”
Removing such a fundamental principle from the criminal justice system, Kahler maintains, violates the 14th Amendment’s due process clause, which was enacted to protect exactly these kinds of basic principles. Kansas’ rule also violates the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment because, “by convicting and punishing people who are not blameworthy, cannot be deterred, and require incapacitation and rehabilitation that the criminal justice system cannot provide,” it doesn’t advance any of the justifications for punishment – such as deterrence or retribution. Indeed, Kahler notes, at the time the Eighth Amendment was adopted, it was widely regarded as cruel and unusual to impose criminal punishments on the insane.
Kahler acknowledges that the Supreme Court normally gives the states a fair amount of latitude in how they structure their criminal justice systems, and he concedes that states can “tweak” a baseline standard that hinges on whether the defendant knows that his actions were wrong. States can also require defendants to show that they are insane, perhaps even beyond a reasonable doubt, but they can’t get rid of the insanity defense altogether.
Kansas frames the issue very differently, telling the justices that the state has simply “redefined,” rather than “abolished” the insanity defense. Although a defendant cannot raise insanity as an affirmative defense to accusations of a crime, the jury can still consider evidence of mental illness in determining whether the defendant could have intended to commit the crime.
2.  Second up is Ramos v. Louisiana, which addresses “whether the 14th Amendment fully incorporates the Sixth Amendment guarantee of a unanimous verdict.”  Amy Howe again:
In Ramos’ case, the justices are not writing on a blank slate. Nearly 50 years ago, in Apodaca v. Oregon, the court ruled that the Sixth Amendment guarantees a right to a unanimous jury, but that such a right does not extend to defendants in state trials. The justices were deeply divided. Four justices would have ruled that the Sixth Amendment does not require a unanimous jury at all, while four others would have ruled that the Sixth Amendment establishes a right to a unanimous jury that applies in both state and federal courts. That left Justice Lewis Powell, who believed that the Sixth Amendment requires a unanimous jury for federal criminal trials, but not for state trials, as the controlling vote.
In his brief on the merits, Ramos starts with the threshold question of whether the Sixth Amendment’s jury trial clause requires a unanimous verdict at all. He argues that the answer is yes: The Sixth Amendment, he contends, guarantees a defendant in a criminal case a “trial, by an impartial jury,” which the Supreme Court has consistently interpreted as requiring a unanimous jury verdict before a defendant can be convicted of a crime. This includes the court’s 1972 decision in Apodaca, he continues, in which “a majority of the Court agreed yet again that the Sixth Amendment requires jury unanimity to convict.”
The history and purposes of the jury trial clause also make clear that a unanimous verdict is required to convict a defendant, Ramos continues. Starting as far back as the 14th century, Ramos explains, laws in England required a unanimous verdict. The colonies embraced this requirement in their own legal systems, and the Framers of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights adopted this understanding of what the right to jury trial meant in the Sixth Amendment. The requirement of a unanimous verdict also serves important purposes at the heart of the jury trial right, such as countering possible bias or overreach by prosecutors. “Indeed,” Ramos writes, “the knowledge that a conviction cannot be obtained absent a unanimous verdict deters prosecutors from bringing questionable charges in the first place.” The requirement also “ensures the jury’s verdict represents the voice of the whole community” and “promotes public confidence in the reliability and fairness of the criminal justice system.”
Louisiana counters that the Sixth Amendment does not require a unanimous jury. Nothing in the text of the Constitution imposes such a requirement, even though the Constitution imposes other requirements on the jury system – for example, specifying where jury trials must take place. And, the state argues, the justices should not assume that, just because juries were required to be unanimous in the late 18th century, that requirement was tacitly included in the Constitution’s reference to a “jury.” To the contrary, the state suggests, the history of the Bill of Rights shows that the Framers intentionally omitted a unanimity requirement from the Sixth Amendment: The original draft of the amendment included a unanimity requirement, but the Senate rejected it, instead adopting a different version without one. At the same time, the state observes, some state constitutions explicitly imposed a unanimity requirement – which they would not have needed to do if the phrase “trial by jury” had been understood to include a requirement that the jury’s vote be unanimous. Indeed, the state adds, there were other historical jury practices that no one has argued should be read into the Sixth Amendment – for example, “the requirement that juries consist of twelve male property owners who would be held without food and drink until they returned a unanimous jury verdict.”
Louisiana also sees no conflict between the purpose of the Sixth Amendment and a rule that jury verdicts do not have to be unanimous. The purpose of the jury trial clause, the state stresses, is to ensure that a defendant is convicted by members of the community, who have looked at the evidence and independently concluded that he is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. That purpose is served, the state insists, whether the vote is unanimous or is instead 11-1 or 10-2 – as demonstrated by the fact that most countries (including England) that use jury trials do not require unanimous verdicts. Eliminating the unanimity requirement also significantly reduces the likelihood of a deadlocked jury, the state notes, which in turn reduces burdens on court systems.

          

Shortlisted Designs for the National Pulse Memorial & Museum Displayed in Orlando    

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The six shortlisted concepts for the National Pulse Memorial & Museum will be on display at the Orange County Regional History Center where people can view and comment on the schemes, helping the jury choose the winning proposal, to be announced on October 30.


          

Deadlocked jury resumes deliberations in the murder trial of a Georgia officer who shot a naked, unarmed man   

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The jury in the case of a Georgia police officer charged with murdering a naked, unarmed black man entered its third day of deliberations Tuesday.

          

Crown alleges horrific gang sex assault in Little Italy bar was captured on surveillance video   

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Warning: Graphic and disturbing details follow.

Eight surveillance cameras in a College St. bar captured two men repeatedly sexually assaulting an extremely intoxicated woman between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., a Crown prosecutor told a jury Monday morning.

In an overview of the evidence the jury is expected to hear during the trial, prosecutor Rick Nathanson said the videos will show the woman going in and out of consciousness, unable to stand on her own, and being physically overpowered by the two men during repeated rough and forceful sexual acts over long periods of time that she did not consent to.

The videos will also show the woman was served alcohol at the bar, including the two men giving her three drinks within 12 minutes, and given cocaine, Nathanson said.

The surveillance videos will be “difficult to watch” but are necessary to show the jury so they can assess the woman’s level of intoxication and decide “whether (she) consented, and had the mental capacity to consent, to all of the sexual acts that took place,” Nathanson said. The videos do not have audio.

Gavin MacMillan, 44, and Enzo DeJesus Carrasco, 34, have pleaded not guilty to charges of gang sexual assault, drugging to overpower and forcible confinement. MacMillan was the owner of the College Street Bar in Little Italy and DeJesus Carrassco was the manager at the time of the alleged sexual assaults on Dec. 14 and 15, 2016, according to an agreed statement of facts.

The central issues in the case are consent and capacity to consent.

The complainant’s identity is covered by a publication ban. She has little memory of much of what happened that night, Nathanson said, but has said she did not consent to any sexual activity with either man.

The allegations described by Nathanson in his opening address have not been proven in court. The videos have not yet been played to the jury. The following descriptions of what will be seen in the videos are Nathanson’s.

Nathanson said the woman, a freelance photographer who was then 24, went to the College Street Bar at 7:30 p.m. in the evening of Dec. 14, 2016 to meet up with a friend who was doing a bartending course there. The woman was visiting from out of town and staying with another friend.

The woman had a few drinks with the bartending class group, Nathanson said.

The woman’s friend left the bar around 10 p.m. The woman made plans to meet up with another friend and remained at the bar, which was closed to the public for the bartending event. She, MacMillan and DeJesus Carrasco were the only ones at the bar at the time, Nathanson said.

After her friend left the two men gave the woman three drinks over the next 12 minutes, Nathanson said. MacMillan then left the bar for about 45 minutes.

Nathanson said the video will show the woman becoming increasingly and visibly drunk and DeJesus Carrasco forcefully sticking his hand into the woman’s pants. She removed his hand each time or backed away, Nathanson said.

By 11 p.m., the woman was leaning her head on the bar and DeJesus Carrasco physically pulled her up and walked her out, Nathanson said. At one point, DeJesus Carrasco texted MacMillan: “this b---- is out of control.” MacMillan texted back and told him to “fire her” and come join him elsewhere, Nathanson said.

Later, the woman comes back into the bar and appears to pass out on a chair for 10 minutes, Nathanson said. DeJesus Carrasco texted MacMillan: “she’s dead dead dead, im dealing with it.” He texted another person: “I have a girl pass out.”

DeJesus Carrasco pulled the woman over to the bar, held her by her chin or throat and slapped her 10 times on the face, to which she barely appeared to react, Nathanson said. He then positioned her head over what appeared to be lines of cocaine though it is unclear how much if any she inhaled, Nathanson said.

MacMillan returned to the bar, and appeared to take some cocaine along with DeJesus Carrasco. They appear to give the woman cocaine two more times within about 20 minutes, Nathanson said.

A few minutes later the woman “crumpled” to the floor, Nathanson said.

About half an hour after she appeared to pass out in the chair and 15 minutes after she was made to take cocaine, she was pulled to her feet and held by MacMillan while DeJesus Carrasco forcibly penetrated her with his hand, Nathanson said.

Over the next hour she was repeatedly sexually assaulted by the two men, appearing at some points unable to stand up on her own, unconscious or near unconscious, Nathanson said.

For one hour she was in the women’s washroom, where there are no surveillance cameras. Both men are seen entering the washroom a few times, Nathanson said.

She was led out of the washroom by MacMillan and was again sexually assaulted by both men for “very lengthy periods of time,” Nathanson said. At certain times she appeared to be “physically overpowered” by the men, at other times she appeared to smile or kiss them, Nathanson said. For much of the time, MacMillan kept a firm grip on her hair, Nathanson said.

The woman left with DeJesus Carrasco in a taxi around 6 a.m. She believed he was taking her to her friend’s place but he took her to his own apartment where he again sexually assaulted her, Nathanson said.

The complainant reported the sexual assault to the police that afternoon. Sexual assault nurse Judy Waldman examined her and found bruising and injuries, Nathanson said. Under cross-examination, Waldman said that it is not possible to tell, just based on the injuries she observed and recorded, whether they came from consensual sex or sexual assault.

The complainant gave a statement to police in the early hours of Dec. 16, 2016 and the two men were arrested later that day.

The trial continues.

Alyshah Hasham is a Toronto-based reporter covering crime and court. Follow her on Twitter: @alysanmati


          

Comment on Americans Never Enter International Awards: Introducing the Nami Concours by Therese Bigelow    

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Hi Betsy, It is a biennial award.Junko Yokota was on the jury for 2019 which was chaired by Roger Mello. Also the Minn family who own Nami Island are sponsors of the Hans Christian Andersen Award. The month of May is devoted to children's picture books with the award ceremony and display of the artwork of the winning illustrators kicking it off.
          

Madelia man acquitted of charges in kidnapping, sexual assault case    

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On Friday, Michael Charles Cowell, 39, of Madelia was acquitted of 3rd deg. criminal sex conduct, 1st deg. burglary, kidnapping, 2nd deg. assault with a dangerous weapon, and domestic assault, all felony charges. The jury convicted Cowell of intentional false imprisonment, also a felony. A second count of 2nd deg. assault with a dangerous weapon was dismissed. All counts regard events that took place on or around June 9th.The investigation was described as a "she said, he [...]
          

   

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The Deep State

From the time of the campaign all the way until now, the president has been under repeated attacks from elements of America’s intelligence agencies, including the CIA and FBI. Many of the people, like Brennan, Clapper, Comey, McCabe, and Strzok, have been removed. But there are still many more who have not been identified and “weeded out.”

The president has appointed various people he was told would clean house. Former Indiana Sen. Dan Coats, an old friend of mine, was named director of national intelligence. But he quickly became a mouthpiece for the agency he was running rather than a reformer of the agency. Thanks for nothing, Dan.

Early in his administration, a CIA official resigned and wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post lambasting the president. He was promptly hired to be a commentator for NBC News. More recently, an intelligence analyst at the State Department used his resignation to make a big splash in the news.

The current controversy reportedly originated with an employee at the CIA. The current head of the CIA is Gina Haspel, a career officer and the first woman to lead the CIA.

The president was told, and we were all told, that she was the ultimate professional who would not tolerate any nonsense. Clearly, she needs to call in all agency supervisors and review the rules regarding their involvement in partisan politics.

It is worth remembering that even before the inauguration, then President-elect Trump was expressing his frustration with the intelligence community. At the time, Senate Democrat Leader Chuck Schumer bragged to Rachel Maddow, “Let me tell you: You take on the intelligence community — they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.”

If this abuse of our intelligence agencies cannot be ended, then the globalists have won and we have lost the country. I pray and still believe that is not true. But the jury is still out.

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Why Cats Pay a Lower Price for CAT Scans

Once a year, I bring my ill-tempered three-legged tabby cat (named Hopper) to the veterinarian. No one ever has a good time or particularly enjoys the cacophony of hisses, growls, and whiny meows. All the same, I can’t help but feel an “Alice in Wonderland” sort of feeling while talking to my feline’s healthcare providers. Most procedures and medical tests for our furry friends are the same as ours. But unlike the human healthcare system, prices are transparent and upfront in pet care. While no one likes hearing that Fifi’s surgery will cost $600, having costs out in the open keeps prices tethered to reality and under control. Lawmakers can throw patients everywhere a (figurative) bone by opening healthcare markets to competition and encouraging price transparency.

When most owners bring their furry nincompoops to the veterinarian, insurance simply isn’t a part of the conversation because nearly 2 million cats and dogs are covered by insurance policies in the U.S., compared to more than 180 million cats and dogs owned in total.

Compare this less-than-2 percent coverage rate for our pets to the predominance of human health insurance. Around 90 percent of Americans have health insurance, with most plans covering at least some routine doctors’ visits and predictable expenses such as medications. Americans pay even less money out-of-pocket for medical care (as a percentage of expenditures) than most of their Canadian and European (i.e. Germany, United Kingdom, Sweden) counterparts.

When the government and/or insurers are footing the bill, providers have little reason to disclose prices. Patients asking a doctor’s office or hospital for the price of, say, a CAT scan or an appendectomy will probably be stonewalled. With no price transparency and other people paying the bills, costs skyrocket out of control and healthcare expenditures climb far in excess of the rate of inflation. From 2008 to 2018, healthcare prices in the U.S. climbed 21.6 percent while prices for goods and services overall grew by 17.3 percent (measured by GDP deflator).

But not so in the pet healthcare sector, where consumers are exposed to price and veterinarians have a real incentive to keep costs low. Because pet insurance accounts for such a tiny sliver of the veterinary healthcare market, the prices that they pay for claims reflects prices that consumers are willing to pay rather than the third-party driven “prices” of the human healthcare market. For the past several years, Nationwide’s pet health insurance division has partnered with Purdue University researchers to track trends in pet insurance payouts. The researchers track a “basket” of the most commonly-utilized procedures to see how the typical veterinary visit has changed in price over time. According to their research, these ordinary expenses declined by 6 percent from January 2009 to December 2017 after adjusting for inflation.

This decrease is corroborated by less reliable sources, such as the American Pet Products Association (APPA) annual consumer spending surveys. For virtually every year tracked (accessible via web archive), cat and dog owners reported spending less money on average routine and surgical visits. The data is jumpier than the Nationwide and Purdue rigorous analysis of 30 million insurance claims but confirms an interesting – and counterintuitive – trend.  In a system where consumers and patients’ “representatives” have enough skin in the game, healthcare prices behave like they would in most other markets.

There are, of course, differences between pet and human healthcare. Owners are far less likely to spend money treating Fluffy for cancer than they would for their own chemotherapy treatments. All the same, prices continue to decline in real terms as a rapidly growing percentage of pet owners regard their companions as members of the family and worthy of medical care. As these numbers increase further, policymakers should take notice and keep tabs on price trends. Perhaps increasing consumer exposure to prices and empowering them to pay medical expenses directly via Health Savings Accounts would lead to the same declining prices seen in the veterinary world.

I’m not sure what medical surprises await Hopper in the next few years, but prices are all but guaranteed to come up for discussion in future vet visits. This norm may be unpleasant, but it sure seems to keep costs under control. Humans and their pets can benefit from a price structure that encourages competition and cost control.

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Enough with Existential Crises

BY STEPHEN KRUISER

I think we can trace most of modern American society's ills back to when men decided to start hugging. OK, a lot of it can go back to when women began watching football too, but I'll try to maintain some focus here.

I remember the first time I got a man hug and I wasn't at a funeral, which used to be the only events at which they were acceptable. I knew that some sort of testosterone-based Pandora's box had been opened.

The next thing I knew, everyone had feelings and the Super Bowl became less about football and more about making the womenfolk happy with seven-hour-long halftime concerts.

Now I hug a lot, but only because people don't expect it from me and I know it makes them uncomfortable.

Back in 2015 and 2016 when I was -- to put very mildly -- a Trump skeptic, I did keep telling people that I didn't think he posed an existential threat to the Republic. I'm a grown-up who has been through too many false apocalyptic political narratives to fall for them anymore.

In yesterday's Briefing, we looked at the first installment of a full-court press by the media to woo Republicans to getting behind impeachment. The plea was a predictable one: Trump must be removed from office or the country that survived a civil war, the Soviet Union, and the heresy of New Coke will cease to exist.

That press picked up speed on Monday, with various "save the country" pleas to Republicans -- specifically GOP senators -- to save the country.

When they're not making their prom pitches to Republicans with grandiose visions of saving the country, the MSM and Democrats are concern trolling for the future of the GOP.

Jeff Flake -- my least favorite former senator -- wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post that worried about Republicans' "souls."

Nobody's soul is at stake, especially the GOP's.

The future of the United States is most certainly not in danger because of anything the president is doing. The hysteria is more boring than agitation-inducing at this point.

Look around you. The world isn't ending. The United States isn't in its death throes. The baseball season is ending and that is sad, but we can work through it.

I'm dismissive of my political opponents these days because they're more in need of diapers than careful consideration of their opinions.

My good friend, Ricochet Editor-In-Chief Jon Gabriel, summed it up rather nicely on Monday:

Impeachment has been the left’s goal since December 2016 — before Trump took office. Ukraine is just another bite of the apple after the Mueller report failed so spectacularly.
The media hysteria over Ukraine feels a lot like the recent Greta hysteria. There’s no time to absorb facts, discuss options, or weigh pros and cons. We need to act now or else!

Hysteria is a poor strategy. It didn’t work for climate change or Kavanaugh or the many other panics we’ve been subjected to since Trump took office. How Trump’s detractors think this will end well is beyond me.

That's just it: they don't think. They feel. When that's all you do, everything is the end of the world.

And when everything is the apocalypse, nothing is the apocalypse.

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Feds paid $1 billion in Social Security benefits to individuals without a SSN

The Social Security Administration paid $1 billion in benefits to individuals who did not have a Social Security Number (SSN), according to a new audit.

The agency’s inspector general found errors in the government’s documentation for representative payees, otherwise known as individuals who receive retirement or disability payments on behalf of another person who is incapable of managing the benefits themselves.

The audit released Friday found thousands of cases where there was no SSN on file.

Over the last decade, the agency paid $1 billion to 22,426 representative payees who "did not have an SSN, and SSA had not followed its policy to retain the paper application."

“Furthermore, unless it takes corrective action, we estimate SSA will pay about $182.5 million in benefits, annually, to representative payees who do not have an SSN or paper application supporting their selection,” the inspector general said.

The inspector general also found the agency paid $853.1 million in benefits since 2004 to individuals who had been terminated as representative payees by the agency.

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Impeachment Coup and Civil War?

Donald Trump shared a warning from Pastor Robert Jeffress about a "Civil War-like fracture" given that Democrats are, again, undertaking what has all the markings of a coup d'état to remove him from office. The point was to assert that using deep-state operatives to overthrow a presidency is tantamount to insurrection.

Jeffress said, "Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats can't put down the impeachment match. They know they couldn't beat [Trump] in 2016 against Hillary Clinton, and they're increasingly aware of the fact that they won't win against him in 2020, and impeachment is the only tool they have to get rid of Donald Trump. And the Democrats don't care if they burn down and destroy this nation in the process."

In fact, he continued, "I don't pretend to speak for all Evangelicals, but this week I have been traveling the country and I've literally spoken to thousands and thousands of evangelical Christians. I have never seen them more angry over any issue than this attempt to illegitimately remove this president from office — overturn the 2016 election and negate the votes of millions of evangelicals in the process. And they know that the only impeachable offense President Trump has committed was beating Hillary Clinton in 2016. That's the unpardonable sin for which the Democrats will never forgive him." Jeffress predicted, "If the Democrats are successful in removing the president from office, I'm afraid it will cause a Civil War-like fracture in this nation from which this country will never heal."

Democrats have only two things to offer in 2020: socialist redistribution of wealth by way of an endless list of "free" stuff in return for votes, and impeachment to appeal for votes from those suffering severe Trump Derangement Syndrome. And, on top of that, they are openly proposing to confiscate guns. Unfortunately, these combined threats to Liberty make the reference to "civil war" relevant.

SOURCE

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Australia Foreign Minister says helping White House probe in national interest

Australia’s offer to help U.S. President Donald Trump investigate a report into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election was in the national interest, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said on Wednesday.

The New York Times on Monday reported Trump had asked Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison for help investigating the origins of what became Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s efforts to aid Trump in the 2016 national elections.

A spokesperson for Morrison on Tuesday said the prime minister had agreed to help, drawing criticism from Australia’s opposition Labor party.

But Payne said cooperating with Australia’s closest ally was prudent. “We are working in Australia’s interests and we are working with our closest and most important ally,” Payne told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. “We should assist them as we can, we should ensure that assistance is appropriate and that’s what we’re doing.”

Trump is under mounting pressure amid an impeachment investigation by the U.S. House of Representatives into reports that he sought to influence foreign governments to go after his political adversaries.

The Democratic-led House began the inquiry last week after a whistleblower raised concerns that Trump tried to leverage nearly $400 million in proposed aid for Ukraine in exchange for an investigation of former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.

Biden is seeking the Democratic nomination to run against Trump in the 2020 election.

The Mueller report was triggered in part by former Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer.

Downer was allegedly told in 2016 by George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign aide, that Russia had damaging information about Hillary Clinton.

Downer reported the details of the conversation, which Papadopoulos denies, to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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IN BRIEF

GIULIANI SUBPOENAED: "Democrats on Monday subpoenaed Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer who was at the heart of Trump's efforts to get Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden's family. ... With Congress out of session for observance of the Jewish holidays, Democrats moved aggressively against Giuliani, requesting by Oct. 15 'text messages, phone records and other communications' that they referred to as possible evidence. They also requested documents and depositions from three of his business associates." (Associated Press)

HONG KONG BATTLEFIELD: "Hong Kong police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at pro-democracy protesters throwing petrol bombs in the Asian financial hub on Tuesday as its Chinese rulers celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic. ... The South China Morning Post and television reports said at least one person was wounded in the chest by police firing live rounds." (Reuters)

MANUFACTURING CONTRACTION CONTINUES: "A gauge of U.S. manufacturing slumped to the lowest level in more than 10 years in September as exports dived amid the escalated trade war. The U.S. manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index from the Institute for Supply Management plunged to 47.8% in September, the lowest since June 2009, marking the second consecutive month of contraction. Any figure below 50% signals a contraction." (CNBC)

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 

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