Gorsuch Asserts His Independence: ‘No Such Thing as a Republican Judge’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS)

MAR 21 2017, 9:34 AM ET

Gorsuch Asserts His Independence: ‘No Such Thing as a Republican Judge’

Play
Watch Live: Confirmation Hearing for SCOTUS Nominee Neil Gorsuch

Neil Gorsuch insisted that he would not shy from ruling against President Donald Trump and assured lawmakers during the second day of his confirmation hearings Tuesday that he made no commitments to the president when he was nominated to the Supreme Court.

“I have no problem ruling against a person or any party,” Gorsuch told Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, calling the question of his independence a “softball.”

  • Gorsuch said he would have “no problem” ruling against President Trump or anyone else.
  • The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals judge said he would have “walked out” if Trump asked him to vote against Roe v. Wade.
  • He called it “grossly improper” to speculate about how he would rule in case about travel ban.

“There is no such thing as a Republican judge, or Democratic judge. We just have judges in this country,” he added.

Gorsuch has used the start to his high-profile confirmation battle to present himself as a consensus building, independent jurist with views well within the mainstream. He repeatedly told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee he made no promises to the Trump administration about future rulings, even saying he would have “walked out the door” if Trump asked him to commit to voting against Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling that affirmed a woman’s right to an abortion.

Play
Gorsuch Pressed About Legality of Trump’s Travel Ban 3:03

But Democrats prodding him about his opinions on both established Supreme Court precedent and the legality of Trump’s most controversial acts thus far as president, including Trump’s travel bans, received few clues.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals judge called it “irresponsible” to tip his hand on potential future rulings.

Related: Follow the Confirmation Hearing Live Blog

“It would be grossly improper of a judge to do that and a violation of the separation of powers and judicial independence if someone sitting at this table, in order to get confirmed, had to make promises or commitments about how they’d rule in a case that’s currently pending and likely to make its way to the Supreme Court,” Gorsuch said after Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., examined him about Trump’s controversial travel restrictions.

Trump’s revised executive order banning travel from six Muslim-majority nations, issued after his first travel order was described as a “Muslim ban” by critics and met with significant legal challenges, was blocked from going into effect by a federal judge last week.

Gorsuch called Roe v. Wade “precedent” that has been “reaffirmed many times” and declined to say whether he agreed with a host of other precedent-setting rulings on issues like gun rights and the power of the executive branch.

“If I indicate my agreement or disagreement with the past precedent of the United States Supreme Court, I’m doing two things that worry me sitting here: The first thing I’m doing is signaling to future litigants that I can’t be a fair judge in their case. Because those issues keep coming up,” Gorsuch told Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the highest ranking Democrat on the committee.

Democrats and liberal groups have attacked Gorsuch for his ties to big business, centering on his skepticism of the so-called Chevron Doctrine that allows federal agencies to make rules to clarify areas where the law is ambiguous. His opposition to Chevron could curtail federal agencies ability to tackle issues like climate change and workers’ rights.

Play
Gorsuch: I Would Have ‘No Difficulty’ Ruling Against the President 2:26

Feinstein asked the nominee for assurances “that you will be for the little man” and stand up to corporate interests.

“If you want cases where I ruled for the little guy as well as the big guy, there are plenty of those, Senator,” he told Feinstein, who asked for examples to be sent to her office.

Democrats also used the hearing to voice their frustrations over Republican efforts to block Merrick Garland, President Obama’s pick to fill the court vacancy left after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in February 2016.

“Do you think [Garland] was treated fairly by this committee, yes or no?” Leahy asked Gorsuch.

“I can’t get involved in politics, and there is judicial canons that prevent me from doing that,” Gorsuch said.

Scalia’s death — and Republicans’ subsequent refusal to allow President Barack Obama to fill the seat, made the Supreme Court one of the top issues in the 2016 race. Trump won 56 percent of voters who said the nominee was important, according to national exit polls.

Outside groups are pushing Democrats to unite in opposition to Trump’s pick, though most have said they will wait for the hearings to conclude before deciding how they’ll vote. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has painted Gorsuch as an ideological extremist and said he will make his views “very strongly known to them” once the public hearings conclude.

Outside groups have also been working to promote Gorsuch’s confirmation with millions of dollars in undisclosed donations. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., asked if it was “any cause of concern” for him that a reported $10 million ad campaign was launched to support his nomination.

“There is a lot about the confirmation process today that I regret,” Gorsuch said, including the strain it has put on his family.

“The fact of the matter is, that it is what it is, and it’s this body that makes the laws. And if you wish to have more disclosure, pass a law and a judge will enforce it,” he added.

Even a united front would unlikely be enough for Democrats to stop Gorsuch. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has not ruled out invoking the so-called “nuclear option,” a parliamentary maneuver that would eliminate the 60-vote threshold required to advance a nominee, and intends to approve the nominee before the Senate breaks for Easter recess.

Admiral Charged In Fat Leonard Navy Bribery Case

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS)

Admiral Charged in Fat Leonard Navy Bribery Case

The Justice Department has charged an admiral and eight other current and former Navy officials with corruption for allegedly taking bribes from a Singapore-based defense contractor nicknamed “Fat Leonard” in exchange for classified and internal Navy information.

Rear Adm. Bruce Loveless, several Navy captains, a retired Marine colonel and an enlisted sailor are accused of accepting Cuban cigars, prostitutes and free hotel rooms from Leonard Glenn Francis, who also allegedly threw sex parties for U.S. sailors. The behavior described in the charges allegedly occurred between 2006 and 2014.

Francis, the former CEO of Glenn Defense Marine Asia, has pleaded guilty to defrauding the Navy of millions of dollars. The information he received from Navy officials allowed him to overcharge the government by $20 million.

“This is a fleecing and betrayal of the United States Navy in epic proportions, and it was allegedly carried out by the Navy’s highest-ranking officers,” said Alana Robinson, acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of California. “The alleged conduct amounts to a staggering degree of corruption by the most prominent leaders of the Seventh Fleet – the largest fleet in the U.S. Navy — actively worked together as a team to trade secrets for sex, serving the interests of a greedy foreign defense contractor, and not those of their own country.”

Eleven other Navy officials, including another admiral, have already been charged in the fraud and bribery investigation.

 

Image: Bruce Loveless
Retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Bruce Loveless poses in this undated photo. U.S. Navy

A Scourge To Human Morality: 110 Women And Children Have Starved To Death In Somalia In Last 48 Hours

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS AND THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

MAR 5 2017, 3:06 PM ET

Somalia: 110 Dead From Hunger in Past 48 Hours in Drought

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Somalia’s prime minister announced Saturday that 110 people have died from hunger in the past 48 hours in a single region as a severe drought threatens millions of people across the country.

It was the first death toll announced by Somalia’s government since it declared the drought a national disaster on Tuesday. The United Nations estimates that 5 million people in this Horn of Africa nation need aid, amid warnings of a full-blown famine.

Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire spoke during a meeting with the Somali National Drought Committee. The death toll he announced is from the Bay region in the southwest part of the country alone.

Somalia was one of four regions singled out by the U.N. secretary-general last month in a $4.4 billion aid appeal to avert catastrophic hunger and famine, along with northeast Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen. All are connected by a thread of violent conflict, the U.N. chief said.

The U.N. humanitarian coordinator, Stephen O’Brien, was expected to visit Somalia in the next few days.

Image: Abdullahi Mohamud, 5, cries next to his mother Sahro Mohamed Mumin, 30, and brother, Abdulrahman Mahamud, 2, as a nurse struggles to find a vein for an injection at a government run health clinic in Shada, Somalia.
Abdullahi Mohamud, 5, cries next to his mother Sahro Mohamed Mumin, 30, and brother, Abdulrahman Mahamud, 2, as a nurse struggles to find a vein for an injection at a government-run health clinic in Shada, Somalia. Andrew Renneisen / Getty Images

Thousands have been streaming into Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, in search of food aid, overwhelming local and international aid agencies. Over 7,000 internally displaced people checked into one feeding center recently.

The drought is the first crisis for Somalia’s newly elected Somali-American leader, President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed. Previous droughts and a quarter-century of conflict, including ongoing attacks by extremist group al-Shabab, have left the country fragile. Mohamed has appealed to the international community and Somalia’s diaspora of 2 million people for help.

About 363,000 acutely malnourished children in Somalia “need urgent treatment and nutrition support, including 71,000 who are severely malnourished,” the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Famine Early Warning Systems Network has warned.

Because of a lack of clean water in many areas, there is the additional threat of cholera and other diseases, U.N. experts say. Some deaths from cholera already have been reported.

The government has said the widespread hunger “makes people vulnerable to exploitation, human rights abuses and to criminal and terrorist networks.”

The U.N. humanitarian appeal for 2017 for Somalia is $864 million to provide assistance to 3.9 million people. But the U.N. World Food Program recently requested an additional $26 million plan to respond to the drought.

Houston Texas Teen Survives Seven-Story Fall From Parking Garage In His Car

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS)

FEB 26 2017, 5:39 PM ET

God Was on His Side’: Texas Teen Survives Seven-Story Fall in Car

A Houston teenager was recovering Sunday after driving off the seventh floor of a parking garage and landing upside down on the roof of a store below, officials said.

Image: A vehicle drove off a parking garage and landed in a building below Sunday afternoon, Feb. 26, 2017, Houston, Texas.
A vehicle drove off a parking garage and landed in a building below Sunday afternoon, Feb. 26, 2017, Houston, Texas. KPRC

Firefighters arrived at the store, Westheimer Plumbing and Hardware, around noon and found the unidentified teenager apparently in shock and sitting inside the locked, closed shop, Houston Fire Department Capt. Al Castillo told NBC News.

Images showed the car partially lodged in the shop’s roof with a large hole beside it.

It was unclear why the teen drove off the parking garage, Castillo said, though he only suffered cuts and lacerations.

“It’s amazing he wasn’t more seriously injured,” he said. “God was on his side today.”

Harrison Ford Almost Lands His Plane On Wrong Runway: On top of A Loaded American Airlines Jet

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME NEWS)

Harrison Ford Nearly Piloted His Plane Into a Passenger Airliner at L.A. Airport

5:37 PM Eastern

Harrison Ford was nearly involved in a serious accident while piloting his private plane on Monday, NBC News reports.

Ford, an aviation enthusiast who has been piloting since the 1990s, was attempting to land his single-engine plane at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, Calif. Air traffic controllers instructed the actor to land on a designated runway, but he mistakenly aimed for a taxiway instead where an American Airlines plane full of 116 people was parked. His plane just managed to pass over the top of the commercial airliner.

The American Airlines flight took off safely just minutes later. Ford was recorded asking the air traffic controllers, “Was that airliner meant to be underneath me?”

The Federal Aviation Administration reportedly told NBC News that the “controllers gave Ford the proper landing instructions and that he read them back.” The FAA is investigating the incident, according to NBC News.

Ford, 74, has been involved in a number of crashes and near-accidents over the years but he was credited with saving “several lives” by avoiding crashing his plane into a populated area during a 2015 crash onto a Los Angeles golf course, NBC reported. The actor has amassed a collection of vintage aircraft throughout his career.

As More Americans Lose Food Stamp Benefits, Dollar General Posts Drop in Sales

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS)

As More Americans Lose Food Stamp Benefits, Dollar General Posts Drop in Sales

The sign outside the Dollar General store in Westminster, Colorado is pictured
REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Discount retailer Dollar General reported a surprise drop in third-quarter comparable sales, largely due to lower grocery prices and a reduction of food stamp coverage in several U.S. states.

Sales at Dollar General stores open at least 13 months fell 0.1 percent, compared with the 0.8 percent growth expected by analysts polled by research firm Consensus Metrix.

By the end of 2016, as many as 22 states will have changed the criteria for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly called the food stamp program — a move that is likely to result in about 1 million Americans losing benefits.

States implementing SNAP changes this year include Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee, which have some of the highest concentration of Dollar General stores.

Dollar General has been cutting prices to fight aggressive competition from Wal-Mart and others amid falling grocery prices.

The company’s shares were down 4.3 percent at $74 in light premarket trading on Thursday.

Kremlin Emails Hacked Prove President Putin Is A Liar, A Fraud And A Mass Murderer!

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS)

UKRAINE CRISIS
OCT 27 2016, 6:00 PM ET

Payback? Russia Gets Hacked, Revealing Putin Aide’s Secrets

Karma, it turns out, is a borscht.

A Ukrainian group calling itself Cyber Hunta has released more than a gigabyte of emails and other material from the office of one of Vladimir Putin’s top aides, Vladislav Surkov, that show Russia’s fingerprints all over the separatist movement in the Ukraine.

While the Kremlin has denied the relationship between Moscow and the separatists, the emails show in great detail how Russia controlled virtually every detail of the separatist effort in the Russian-speaking regions of the Ukraine, which has torn Ukraine apart and led to a Russian takeover of Crimea.

And unlike the reported Russian hack of the Democratic National Committee, the Ukrainian hack reached deep into the office of the Russian president.

“This is a serious hack,” said Maks Czuperski, head of the Digital Forensic Research Lab of the Atlantic Council (DFRL), which has searched through the email dump and placed selected emails on-line.

Play
Flight MH-17 Shot Down by Russian Missile, Investigation Finds

“We have seen so much happen to the United States, other countries at the hands of Russia,” said Czuperski. “Not so much to Russia. It was only a question of time that some of the anonymous guys like Cyber Hunta would come to strike them back.”

A senior U.S. intelligence official said the U.S. “had no role” in the hack.

Surkov has been a close aide to Putin for more than a decade, serving as both deputy prime minister and Putin’s deputy chief of staff. The hacked emails date from 2014, a period during which Surkov was called the “gray cardinal” of the Kremlin, Putin’s behind-the-scenes aide responsible for managing Russia’s most crucial operations. He guided separatists not just in Ukraine, but in breakaway “republics” in Georgia as well.

It’s as if the Russians were able to hack the email of Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security director and close aide to President Obama.

Specifically, the anonymous Ukrainian hackers were able to download the Outlook email accounts of Surkov’s assistants, including a “Masha” and a Yevgenia,” according to the DFRL. Surkov himself apparently doesn’t use email. The files included “the inbox, outbox, drafts, deleted email, spam, etc.,” said Czuperski, noting 2,337 messages in total were dumped.

Emails from the Outlook accounts of Surkov’s assistants Digital Forensic Research Lab at the Atlantic Council

A senior U.S. official, asked if the material was authentic, told NBC News that there was “nothing to indicate otherwise.”

Hidden in the one gigabyte file are a variety of materials that provided evidence of Russian involvement at the highest levels in the war in the eastern Ukraine, which has taken the lives of 10,000 people, including the 298 passengers and crew of Malaysian Flight 17, shot down by a separatist missile in July 2014 over Ukraine.

There is a list of casualties in the Donbass region of Ukraine sent from a high-ranking separatist official, and a list of candidates for office in a sham election. One email notes that the individuals with asterisks next to their name were “checked by us” and are “especially recommended.” Days later, those same names were announced as having been “elected.”

There are expense reports and a proposal for a government press office in Donetsk, scene of some of the fiercest fighting — a three-person operation for separatist propaganda , with an editor, reporter and webmaster.

One U.S. official told NBC News that the material confirms much of what the U.S. believed was going on at the time, that the Kremlin was running the separatists at a micro-level. In fact, the official noted that Surkov’s name was the first on a list of Russians and Ukrainians placed under executive sanctions by President Obama in March 2014, citing his role in the separatist movement. The action froze his U.S. assets in the United States and banned him from entering the country. Similar sanctions were imposed by the European Union.

CIA planning cyber attack against Putin and Russian officials, NBC News reports 0:29

Czuperski said he believed that since Russian authorities realized they were dealing with a violation of international law, they wanted to keep the details in their emails close-hold. He said that while he believes there is likely more hacked material, and that it may prove politically sensitive, he doesn’t know that for sure, or whether “Cyber Hunta,” like WikiLeaks, will continually dump material.

“It’s all time and probability — how much effort you put in and how much effort the adversary puts in,” he said.

Should People Like Donald Trump And Billy Bush Have Their Tongues/Dicks Cut Off?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

Nancy O’Dell, the woman who rebuffed Trump

Nancy O’Dell reacts to Trump’s lewd comments about her 00:57

Story highlights

  • Nancy O’Dell is an anchor, mother and author
  • She has had a long TV career that started in South Carolina

(CNN)Nancy O’Dell is the married woman who rejected Donald Trump’s advances, as described in lewd comments he made in a 2005 conversation that surfaced Friday.

“Access Hollywood,” the NBC show O’Dell co-anchored in 2005, identified her Friday as the woman Trump vulgarly discussed with Billy Bush, O’Dell’s co-host at the time.
Today O’Dell is the co-anchor of CBS’s “Entertainment Tonight.”
“When I heard the comments yesterday, it was disappointing to hear such objectification of women,” O’Dell said in a statement released Saturday by “Entertainment Tonight.”
“Politics aside, I’m saddened that these comments still exist in our society at all,” she said.
“The conversation needs to change because no female, no person, should be the subject of such crass comments, whether or not cameras are rolling. Everyone deserves respect no matter the setting or gender.”
O’Dell is an accomplished entertainment journalist and author with a career that includes awards and honors for her work and her beauty.
Throughout her career she’s met and interviewed hundreds of American celebrities.
She started her TV career at local stations in her native South Carolina, reporting and anchoring in Myrtle Beach and Charleston before moving to Miami’s NBC affiliate WTVJ-TV. From there she joined “Access Hollywood” in 1996.

Author, award-winner

O’Dell won an Emmy and three Associated Press awards for her work.
She was also honored by the beauty industry in 2009 with the inaugural “Beautiful Humanitarian Award,” given to a public figure “who exemplifies beauty, both on the inside and out,” according to the professional beauty association website.
In 2005, the year Trump made the lewd comments about her, she married Keith Zubchevich, a tech executive. Her daughter Ashby was born two years later.
Motherhood turned O’Dell into an author. She wrote “Full of Life: Mom-to-Mom Tips I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Was Pregnant,” published in 2009, and two more parenting books.
According to her Twitter account, she is a devoted Clemson University fan. She’s an alumna who finished in the top 2% of her class, according to her official biography.
Last year, O’Dell became an official spokeswoman for ALS.net, which raises funds for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
The cause is dear to her because her mother was diagnosed with ALS in 2007 and died from complications related to the disease in 2008.
She was also a global ambassador for the 2015 Special Olympics World Games.
“Nancy is passionate about inclusion and respect for all people, including those with intellectual disabilities,” her website says.
CNN has sought comment from O’Dell’s representatives, but has not gotten a response.

Hillary Clinton’s “lazy Eye” “Brain Freeze” Shows Up Again In NBC News Segment

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE AMERICAN THINKER WEB SITE)

Hillary’s ‘lazy eye’ ‘Neurological Disorder’ strikes again

Hillary’s “lazy eye” (strabismus) has struck again, this time in an interview on her “Stronger Together” airplane on September 27, the day following the debate.  This segment was aired on the NBC Nightly News that night.  I thought I saw her eyes very briefly go bananas while watching the show (we tape it and watch it later so we can zip through the numerous commercials).  But I wasn’t sure until I viewed the NBC live-stream on my iPad to capture a freeze-frame image:

Note to Hillary and her Democrat handlers: this is the Internet Age.  Everybody is now looking for these moments.  The strabismus, “brain freezes,” and seizures are unpredictable and can pop up at any time.  Just how much longer do you think you will be able to hide Hillary’s neurological disorder from the public?

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