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The spin is only just starting, and already Sean Hannity sounds dizzy.

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The spin is only just starting, and already Sean Hannity sounds dizzy.

 

Daily Brian / Flickr FBI raids offices of Donald Trump...
Daily Brian / Flickr

Hee-hee-hee. Not even an hour into being outed as one of three people on the planet lacking the sense to get out of the way of a speeding bus, and already Sean Hannity is losing his shit.

MSNBC just played a clip of Sean Hannity on his radio program, responding the the sudden mushroom cloud over his head due to his association with one august Michael Cohen. Hannity sounds unhinged in the best of circumstances, but if what he just said on the radio is anything representative, they may want to consider restraining him so that he doesn’t hurt himself, or anybody else.

Hannity started out trying to be sarcastic about the mainstream media making a mountain out of this Kilimanjaro. Hannity did not deny using Cohen’s legal services. Kinda. Sort of. Hannity admitted that he had occasionally spoken to Cohen on “legal issues.” But then he went off of the rails, you could almost “see” him pounding his fist on the table as he emphatically stated that he had never paid Cohen, had never received an invoice from Cohen, and had never consulted Cohen regarding any matter involving a “third party.”

OK, my Black Irish brain is confused here. The Manatee’s name only came out for one reason, the legal Maxwell Smart that is Michael Cohen named Hannity as a “client.” Yet Hannity insisted just moments ago that he had never received a bill from Cohen, nor had he ever paid Cohen for his services. Doesn’t the word “client” normally connote someone who is paying for services from someone else? Somebody here has to be lying. Either Cohen is full of shit, and Sean Hannity is not a client, or Sean Hannity is full of shit, and just doesn’t want to admit that he paid a legal lamprey like Cohen for as much as shining his shoes. The only alternative is that Cohen took Hannity on as a “charity case,” cuz like, rich white assholes need a break once in a while too.

The funny thing is, it’s perfectly obvious as to why Sean Hannity is doing this circus contortionist act to try to distance himself from Michael Cohen. After all, it’s not illegal to have a lawyer, I’ve had several myself at one time or another. But the problem is, what kind of a lawyer is he? Michael Cohen is not a corporate lawyer. He’s not a criminal defense lawyer. He’s not a real estate, personal injury, or estate planning lawyer either. So, what kind of law does he practice (and God, he needs all the practice he can get), and what legal expertise does he offer?

Well, if you listen to “Mikey the Mook” himself, he’s a self identified “fixer.” Yep, Michael Cohen is the Barney the Dinosaur version of Ray Donovan. But what kinds of problems? Cohen’s one consistent cash cow, Donald Trump used somebody else for his pre-nups. He used somebody else for his real estate deals. He used somebody else to defend him in the Trump U case, he has other lawyers for the Mueller investigation, as well as all of his other litigation, since there is no history of Cohen ever filing a motion on Trump’s behalf. So, what kind of legal assistance could Cohen have been providing to Hannity, whether paid or unpaid?

How did we become so intimately wise to the legal skills of Michael Cohen in the first place? He flubbed a matter so simple it should be taught in second year law school, a binding non disclosure agreement. What was one of the major bones of contention? Donald Trump never signed the agreement. Which was the real problem, if Trump had wanted to sign the agreement, he wouldn’t have had Cohen call him “David Dennison” in the NDA. I can call myself Bernie Madoff, but unless I change it in court, I’m still going to have to sign the securities fraud booking forms Joseph Murphy. Then we come to find that Cohen facilitated, apparently more quietly this time, a $1.6 million settlement for Elliott Broidy for getting an ex Playboy bunny in a family way. That’s pretty much it, Cohen’s entire public ouvre of excellence in the legal arena.

Little wonder that a married man like Sean Hannity, somebody with enough zeroes in his bank balance to choke Barry Manilow’s accountant, doesn’t want the dear wifey to hear that he has been “consulting” with the likes of Michael Cohen. For all we know, Michael
Cohen could be overseeing dozens of Trump ordered shell companies, laundering millions of rubles, but the only two words the world associates with the name Michael Cohen is Stormy Daniels. And now you can add the name Sean Hannity to that stellar roster.

We’ve known all along that El Presidente Pendejo has the reverse Midas touch, everything he touches turns to shit. Now it turns out that he has rather long coattails, because everythning Michael Cohen touches is starting to smell like a barn too…Mikey shoulda worn surgical gloves when he shook hands with Trump. This just keeps getting better and better.


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Former GOP congresswoman resigns as interim USA Gymnastics head after anti-Nike tweet surfaces

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Former GOP congresswoman resigns as interim USA Gymnastics head after anti-Nike tweet surfaces

 

TraipsingThruFilms / YouTube Mary Bono on Gay Marriage 2012 1539733770.jpg...
TraipsingThruFilms / YouTube

USA Gymnastics interim president and CEO Mary Bono is resigning after only days in the position after coming under fire for posting an anti-Nike tweet. Bono was a Republican congresswoman from 1998-2013 representing the 44th and 45th California districts during her tenure. Unfortunately, it seems that in spite of her retirement the GOP racism still goes strong in her.

On Friday, USA Gymnastics named Bono as their new interim leader to take the organization into a new era after Larry Nasser’s long-enabled abuse. However, she was divisive from the start. HuffPost reports:

The day after her new role was announced, Bono came under fire for posting a photo on Twitter of her covering the Nike logo on her golf shoes. The photo suggested that Bono was protesting the sportswear company’s move to partner with Colin Kaepernick, a former NFL player who has kneeled during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality.

Olympian Simone Biles called out Bono on Twitter, writing: “Mouth drop. Don’t worry, it’s not like we needed a smarter USA Gymnastics president or any sponsors or anything.”

Bono deleted the tweet, but the damage was done. She was already on shaky ground due to her past. Bono worked with Faegre Baker Daniels, the law firm that represented USA Gymnastics as the Larry Nassar scandal arose. Another Olympic gold medalist, Aly Raisman, expressed her opposition to Bono, too.

Considering that it hasn’t been a week on the job and she’s already controversial, Bono did the organization a favor and resigned. She stayed defensive to the end, justifying both the tweet and her work with the law firm, saying she “proudly” stands behind it.

With respect to Mr. Kaepernick, he nationally exercised his first amendment right to kneel. I exercised mine: to mark over on my own golf shoes, the logo of the company sponsoring him for ‘believing in something even if it means sacrificing everything’ — while at a tournament for families who have lost a member of the armed services (including my brother-in-law, a Navy SEAL) who literally ‘sacrificed everything

View the full statement below:

Good riddance.

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Students cheated by for-profit colleges to finally get debt relief as judge unblocks Obama-era rule

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Students cheated by for-profit colleges to finally get debt relief as judge unblocks Obama-era rule

 

Gage Skidmore / Flickr betsy devos...
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Students scammed by for-profit colleges whose business model was fraud will finally get the debt relief the Obama administration put into motion and the Trump administration tried to block. The Betsy DeVos-led Education Department said it would stop trying to delay the student debt relief rule after a federal judge ordered it implemented immediately.

Attorneys general from 18 states and the District of Columbia successfully sued DeVos last year over her decision to block the rule, known as Borrower Defense to Repayment, from taking effect.

The judge sided with the states last month, but implementation of the debt-relief rule was delayed pending Tuesday’s decision in the separate lawsuit brought by an industry group.

This is a good win—a really good win—but it’s also a reminder of how many judges Donald Trump has put on the federal bench to rule in future such cases pitting people like broke students against companies like the for-profit colleges that cheated them.

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Organization sues Trump to protect media from unconstitutional restrictions

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Organization sues Trump to protect media from unconstitutional restrictions

 

ABC News / YouTube How Donald Trump Has Used Twitter...
ABC News / YouTube

PEN America is a New York nonprofit dedicated to promoting creative expression and defending the rights upon which it’s predicated: freedoms of speech and press. Its members range from journalistic to literary to media professionals. There’s no shortage of issues for the organization to tackle, especially now, but PEN’s “bedrock work” is “long-term advocacy on behalf of individual writers who are being punished because of their work.”

They take exception to Trump’s war against the press. Represented by Protect Democracy and the Yale Law School Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic, PEN America is moving beyond criticism to legal complaint. They’re asking a federal district court, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, to declare Trump’s retaliatory actions unconstitutional under the First Amendment and to block Trump from retaliating or directing retaliation against someone based on their speech.

Their challenge is meaningful, as the organization was founded in 1948. It’s also nonpartisan. PEN “forcefully raised concerns about free expression infringements during the Obama, Bush, and other prior administrations.” Trump’s not even the first president PEN has sued.

It’s a pretty complaint. PEN takes care to catalogue Trump’s verbal attacks on the press (“disgusting,” etc.), then notes that these comments, while anti-democratic, are not the basis for this suit. The problem is, they point out, that he has threatened to engage, and he has engaged, in conduct intended to retaliate against specific news organizations and journalists he disagrees with.

PEN says Trump’s retaliatory measures against Amazon—motivated by a desire to strike at founder Jeff Bezos, also owner of the Washington Post—have included criticizing Amazon in a way that affected its stock, telling USPS to re-evaluate its rates for Amazon, and personally directing the head of USPS to double rates for Amazon and its ilk.

Trump has also openly referred to his vendetta against CNN.

In this case, his dislike has bled over into hostility toward parent company Time Warner. Back in 2016, PEN says, he threatened to push the Department of Justice to block Time Warner’s merger with AT&T. That’s exactly what he did, despite the norm for vertical mergers being approval. DOJ’s effort to block the merger died in district court, but, as PEN has pointed out, CNN and Time Warner expended significant resources in the process.

A great number of Trump’s actions against and threats toward individual reporters and outlets vis-á-vis access have been public—very public. To name a few, Trump has warned reporters he’ll take their press credentials and told networks he’ll go after their broadcast licenses. Imagine what he’s doing and saying off the record.

Trump’s actions prove his threats are credible, not mere posturing. One reporter, Kaitlan Collins, was banned for questioning Trump.

PEN’s suit is both solid and important. Here’s Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of Berkeley Law School at the University of California. (He’s constitutional law’s Mick Jagger.)

“No president in history has repeatedly threatened the press as Donald Trump does on a regular basis. Under long-standing First Amendment precedents, these threats violate freedom of press and the First Amendment. This lawsuit addresses an urgent threat to our Constitution.”

Sonja West, a First Amendment expert at the University of Georgia Law School, focuses on the harms the lawsuit seeks to avert or mitigate.

“President Trump has a pattern of trying to use the power of the federal government to punish the press for coverage he dislikes. Make no mistake, this should alarm us. Lobbing insults at reporters is one thing, but this kind of tactic represents a far more serious threat to press freedom. When a president crosses the line from insulting the press to turning the wheels of government as a means to retaliate against news organizations for their reporting, the potential First Amendment violations become very real. This lawsuit is asking the courts to make clear that the president cannot violate the Constitution’s vital protections for press freedom.”

PEN’s is just the latest addition to the bevy of suits directed against Trump by everyone from individuals to associations to businesses to members of Congress. By my count, Trump’s currently being sued under at least four amendments to the Constitution. It’s another ignoble first.

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