Sunday, March 25, 2018

Last Call For It's Mueller Time, Con't

We've gotten to the point to where Donald Trump is in so much legal trouble right now that he can't find any lawyers willing to defend him against Mueller after firing his previous legal counsel.

President Trump has decided not to hire two lawyers who were announced last week as new additions to his legal team, leaving him with a shrinking stable of lawyers as the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, enters an intense phase.

“The president is disappointed that conflicts prevent Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing from joining the president’s special counsel legal team,” Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Jay Sekulow, said in a statement on Sunday morning. “However, those conflicts do not prevent them from assisting the president in other legal matters. The president looks forward to working with them.”

The upheaval on the legal team comes at a critical time for Mr. Trump. The president’s former lead lawyer, John Dowd, quit the team on Thursday, just as Mr. Trump is deciding whether to sit with Mr. Mueller for an interview. At the moment, Mr. Sekulow is the president’s chief outside lawyer, as Mr. Trump’s longtime New York lawyer, Marc E. Kasowitz, remains on the periphery.

While Mr. Trump’s lawyers, including Mr. Dowd, had told the president that the investigation would be over by this point, it seems to be accelerating, as Mr. Mueller appears to be looking into a wide range of matters related to Mr. Trump’s corporate activities, his 2016 campaign, his associates and his time in office.

The president met with Mr. diGenova and Ms. Toensing, who are married, in recent days to discuss the possibility that they would join his legal team in the Mueller case. According to two people told of details about the meeting, the president did not believe he had personal chemistry with Mr. diGenova and Ms. Toensing.

Mr. Corallo has told investigators that he was concerned that a close aide to Mr. Trump, Hope Hicks, may have been planning to obstruct justice during the drafting of a statement about a meeting between a Russian lawyer and Donald Trump Jr. during the campaign.

Ms. Hicks’s lawyer has strongly denied that suggestion, and White House aides said Mr. Corallo’s assertion had come up in discussions with the president as he weighed whether to go ahead with Mr. diGenova and Ms. Toensing.

If you're a right-wing lawyer and you are given the chance to work with the White House legal team, there's only one reason to turn the offer from the Oval Office down: you can't win the case and that your client is guilty, furthermore it means that your client is going to ask you to do something that will most likely get you disbarred or worse.

When these two FOX News legal eagles realized what they were up against, the full power of Robert ueller and his special counsel all-star team, they ran for the hills rather than defend Trump, citing "conflicts".

There's no conflict when the White House offers you a job.  You drop everything and take it, including your current clients...unless that White House has Donald Trump in it.

To me, this says more than anything that Mueller has Trump dead to rights, and that his legal team has no chance in hell of saving him from what's coming.

Scott Walker In "Stealing Wisconsin"

Wisconsin GOP Gov. Scott Walker and state Republicans refused to hold special elections to fill two open seats in the state, citing the "costs" of special elections.  A Madison judge disagreed and mandated Walker to hold the elections anyway.

Now Wisconsin Republicans say they will openly defy that court order and instead simply change the law to make not holding them perfectly legal rather than risk giving Democrats an advantage.

Wisconsin Republicans signaled Friday that they will hold a special election to change election law rather than face special elections in two heavily Republican legislative districts.

On Thursday, Dane County Circuit Judge Josann Reynolds ordered Gov. Scott Walker (R) to call special elections in two legislative districts that have been vacant for months.

Walker's attorneys had argued state election law did not require him to fill the seats, because they were made vacant during an off year. The legislators who occupied both seats quit to take jobs in Walker's administration.

But the judge rejected those arguments, ruling in favor of voters from both districts and the National Democratic Redistricting Trust, a group led by former Attorney General Eric Holder, who argued that Walker's refusal to call special elections denied voters their right to representation in Madison.

Reynolds, who was appointed to the bench by Walker, ordered the governor to declare vacancies next week, thus setting up special elections that would be held later this spring or summer.

But in a joint statement released Friday, Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R) and state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) said they would ask Walker to call the legislature back into session in order to change Wisconsin's special election law.

"After consulting with [the state Department of Justice] and others, we have decided it's best to move forward on an extraordinary session in order to clean up the statute on special elections and ensure that it aligns with the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act," Vos and Fitzgerald said.

And these are two Republican state districts, but Walker simply doesn't want to take the chance that Democrats might win in a year where a blue wave is coming, pure and simple.

Republicans would rather not hold elections then risk Democrats winning.  That's something fascist tyrants do, so congratulations, Wisconsin.  You live in an authoritarian regime.

What do you plan to do about it?

The Blue Wave Rises, Con't

Conor Lamb's victory in PA-18's special election earlier this month has broken the dam on Republican retirements.  GOP House members are running for the hills, and nowhere is it more apparent than in Pennsylvania itself, where newly redrawn competitive districts across the state are forcing Republicans like Rep. Ryan Costello into retiring completely.

Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Ryan Costello will not seek reelection to his district in 2018 as he faces a difficult midterm race in a district with a growing Democratic voter base, City & State Pennsylvania reported Saturday.

Despite having filed this week to run in the GOP primary for the state's 6th District in May, Costello told state and local Republican officials that he plans to drop out in the weeks before then, unidentified sources told the news outlet.
Costello reportedly met with former 6th District Rep. Jim Gerlach (R) and the state GOP chairman about the decision Friday, which he said would avoid a costly defeat for the party in the coming months.

The Pennsylvania Republican has been rumored to be considering retirement from the Philadelphia-suburban area hit hard by a recent redrawing of the state's congressional districts.

The redraw, forced by the state Supreme Court after determining the old congressional map was unconstitutional, raised doubts as to whether Costello could hold on in the competitive swing counties surrounding Philadelphia.

The district went from being one that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton won by just 1 point in 2016 to one she would have won by 9 points, ABC News reported.

And given the massive disadvantage Trump is going to be in November, Republicans are going to kiss this district and dozens more beside it goodbye.

Sunday Long Read: The Big Blue Bully

This week's Sunday Long Read is ProPublica's investigation into the original American tech giant: IBM's shady practices towards firing its senior employees in the last several years allowed it to circumvent age discrimination laws and dump thousands of workers in exchange for younger, cheaper labor brought in on HB-1 tech visas.

FOR NEARLY A HALF CENTURY, IBM came as close as any company to bearing the torch for the American Dream. 
As the world’s dominant technology firm, payrolls at International Business Machines Corp. swelled to nearly a quarter-million U.S. white-collar workers in the 1980s. Its profits helped underwrite a broad agenda of racial equality, equal pay for women and an unbeatable offer of great wages and something close to lifetime employment, all in return for unswerving loyalty.

But when high tech suddenly started shifting and companies went global, IBM faced the changing landscape with a distinction most of its fiercest competitors didn’t have: a large number of experienced and aging U.S. employees. 
The company reacted with a strategy that, in the words of one confidential planning document, would “correct seniority mix.” It slashed IBM’s U.S. workforce by as much as three-quarters from its 1980s peak, replacing a substantial share with younger, less-experienced and lower-paid workers and sending many positions overseas. ProPublica estimates that in the past five years alone, IBM has eliminated more than 20,000 American employees ages 40 and over, about 60 percent of its estimated total U.S. job cuts during those years
In making these cuts, IBM has flouted or outflanked U.S. laws and regulations intended to protect later-career workers from age discrimination, according to a ProPublica review of internal company documents, legal filings and public records, as well as information provided via interviews and questionnaires filled out by more than 1,000 former IBM employees. 
Among ProPublica’s findings, IBM: 
  • Denied older workers information the law says they need in order to decide whether they’ve been victims of age bias, and required them to sign away the right to go to court or join with others to seek redress.
  • Targeted people for layoffs and firings with techniques that tilted against older workers, even when the company rated them high performers. In some instances, the money saved from the departures went toward hiring young replacements.
  • Converted job cuts into retirements and took steps to boost resignations and firings. The moves reduced the number of employees counted as layoffs, where high numbers can trigger public disclosure requirements.
  • Encouraged employees targeted for layoff to apply for other IBM positions, while quietly advising managers not to hire them and requiring many of the workers to train their replacements.
  • Told some older employees being laid off that their skills were out of date, but then brought them back as contract workers, often for the same work at lower pay and fewer benefits.
IBM declined requests for the numbers or age breakdown of its job cuts. ProPublica provided the company with a 10-page summary of its findings and the evidence on which they were based. IBM spokesman Edward Barbini said that to respond the company needed to see copies of all documents cited in the story, a request ProPublica could not fulfill without breaking faith with its sources. Instead, ProPublica provided IBM with detailed descriptions of the paperwork. Barbini declined to address the documents or answer specific questions about the firm’s policies and practices, and instead issued the following statement: 
“We are proud of our company and our employees’ ability to reinvent themselves era after era, while always complying with the law. Our ability to do this is why we are the only tech company that has not only survived but thrived for more than 100 years.”
With nearly 400,000 people worldwide, and tens of thousands still in the U.S., IBM remains a corporate giant. How it handles the shift from its veteran baby-boom workforce to younger generations will likely influence what other employers do. And the way it treats its experienced workers will eventually affect younger IBM employees as they too age.

Nobody should be surprised by this, IBM has long been the champion of America's bad-boy tech giants.  The only reason Google and Facebook hasn't had to fire senior engineers at this pace is because those companies don't hire IT workers over 40 to begin with.

Nobody does.

Did I mention I'm an IT worker over 40?

Just putting that out there in case you think the problem is limited to Big Blue.
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