Saturday, April 1, 2017

Morality Police


Texas Family Lawyers,
ACTION REQUESTED: Contact the following State Representatives on the House Calendars Committee and respectfully ask that the bill not be placed on the House Calendar.
The Honorable—
Trent Ashby (Lufkin)512-463-0508
Helen Giddings (DeSoto)512-463-0953
Kyle Kacal (College Station)512-463-0412
Linda Koop (Dallas)512-463-0454
Chris Paddie (Marshall)512-463-0556
Dade Phelan (Port Neches)512-463-0706
Talking points:
  • House Bill 65 infringes on the liberty of adult Texans to make their own decisions regarding divorce.
  • House Bill 65 would prevent even an AGREED divorce from being completed in less than 180 days if a child is involved and the ground is insupportability.
  • House Bill 65 could result in the parties and the kids being subjected to temporary orders for longer than may be otherwise necessary.
  • Kids and adults need stability and finality. House Bill 65 would prevent people from getting on with their personal and professional business as they see fit.
Copyright 2017
Texas Family Law Foundation

Representative Devin Nunes of California, a Republican and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, arrived for a meeting Tuesday on Capitol Hill.
2 White House Officials Helped Give Nunes Intelligence Reports


The revelation fueled criticism that Representative Devin Nunes has been too eager to do the White House's bidding, not run an independent investigation

Industrial art



by jonathanturley
We recently discussed the shocking effort by a California Democratic legislator to curtail free speech in a reckless effort to combat "fake news."  Now the Democratic California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has brought an equally chilling criminal case against two anti-abortion activists responsible for the videotapes that triggered national protests against Planned Parenthood.  The 15 felony counts against  David Daleiden and Susan Merritt are breathtaking and even warranted a rebuke from the Los Angeles Times.  The prosecution could represent a radical shift toward prosecuting activists from environmentalists to animal right activists to pro life/pro choice protesters in their effort to record alleged abuses or violations.
An immunity deal would make it impossible for the Justice Department to prosecute Michael T. Flynn.
Michael Flynn Offers to Testify Before Congress in Exchange for Immunity


An official said investigators were unwilling to broker a deal with Mr. Flynn, the former national security adviser, until their Russia inquiry was further along.


Reza Zarrab, a Turkish gold trader, was charged with violating United States sanctions on Iran.
Giuliani Was Hired to Negotiate Turk's Iran Sanctions Case, Letters Suggest


Letters to the judge from both sides indicate that Mr. Giuliani was retained to work out a resolution with officials at higher levels than the prosecutor overseeing the case.

Doctor Sues McGuireWoods for Legal Malpractice

, Texas Lawyer

A southeast Texas doctor is seeking more than $5 million in damages from McGuireWoods in a malpractice lawsuit alleging the firm negotiated unenforceable joint venture contracts for him with a dialysis company, and then advised that company on how to minimize the doctor's income from the contracts.
Mohammed Atiq Dada and his company, Nephrology Leaders & Associates, of Bay City, alleged in a petition filed on Wednesday in the 190th District Court in Harris County that McGuireWoods placed its own interests and the interests of its other client ahead of their interests.
The plaintiffs allege they were "coerced" by McGuireWoods to accept much less money than expected under provisions of the joint venture contracts.
"Through intimidation and threats of criminal prosecution, McGuireWoods coerced its own clients to decide to forego the language of the agreements and accept monetary benefits which were millions less than was bargained for, claiming the agreements (that it drafted) were invalid and unenforceable," Dada and his company alleged in the petition.

They alleged the firm's motive was its previous or simultaneous representation of the dialysis company, American Renal Associates (ARA), in related matters and "enforcing the agreements as written would be detrimental to this other, more valuable client, and the income stream that this client provided to McGuireWoods."
McGuireWoods declined to comment.
As alleged in the petition in Nephrology Leaders and Associates v. McGuireWoods, Dada and his company hired a partner in McGuireWoods' Houston office on Nov. 15, 2013, to negotiate joint venture agreements with ARA for clinics. Because the firm had previously represented ARA, the plaintiffs signed a document waiving any potential conflicts, but McGuireWoods acknowledged in the waiver that it would represent the plaintiffs in the transaction and not represent ARA in matters related to the transaction.
The plaintiffs alleged the joint venture contracts included "put rights" clauses that gave them the right to sell ARA their shares in the joint ventures if ARA went public, and required ARA to purchase the shares. The plaintiffs alleged that the put rights provisions were important because they would allow them to benefit from ARA's initial public offering.
The plaintiffs alleged they and ARA finalized the joint venture agreements and they "proceeded" under the contracts into 2015. However, Dada and his company alleged that in December 2014, without their knowledge or consent, McGuireWoods began to provide ARA with "compliance advice" and guidance on joint venture contracts with them and others, and the value of put rights in the event of an IPO.
"This new advice would result in ARA paying millions of dollars less to plaintiffs," Dada and his company alleged in the petition.
ARA went public on April 8, 2016, and the plaintiffs allege that after they provided ARA with notice that they would exercise the IPO put rights for their joint ventures, the firm and one of its lawyers in Houston "engaged in a course of conduct designed to minimize the value of the put rights in order to benefit their other (more valuable) client, ARA." They allege that in June 2016, the firm sent them a letter advising them that the formula of the put rights sale in the joint venture agreement was unlawful or unenforceable, and they needed to sell their interest under a different, less-lucrative formula.
Dada and his company alleged they would not have entered into the contracts with ARA if they had known the put rights provisions were unenforceable, and they would have alternatively entered into a contract with another company.
In September 2016, according to the petition, McGuireWoods notified the plaintiffs that ARA had asked the firm to get the plaintiffs to sign a waiver of conflict that would allow McGuireWoods to represent them for only another month and only in "friendly negotiations" and not in litigation or arbitration. At that point, Dada and his company terminated their relationship with McGuireWoods and hired another firm.
The plaintiffs allege that ARA then claimed that it only owed them about $1.5 million, instead of as much as $6.5 million if McGuireWoods had properly drafted the contract. The plaintiffs sued ARA in March, and settled for a payment of $1.138 million from ARA.

The plaintiffs bring negligence and breach of fiduciary duty causes of action against McGuireWoods and allege it violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. They also claim an exception to caps on exemplary damages on the ground that the firm violated sections of the Texas Penal Code.
Dada and his company seek damages that include $3.88 million in actual damages­—the difference between what they would have received if the agreements had been enforced and the amount they actually received. They also seek more than $1 million in lost profits that they would have earned if they had entered into contracts with other companies, as well as unspecified exemplary damages, and fee forfeiture.
The plaintiffs are represented by Lance and David Kassab of Kassab Law Firm in Houston, which specializes in legal malpractice litigation. David Kassab declined to comment beyond the pleadings.




Flynn in 2016: “When You Are Given Immunity, It Means That You Probably Committed A Crime”

by jonathanturley
Today I discussed how people should not assume that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has committed a crime or is turning on President Trump because his lawyer is seeking an immunity deal.  Lawyers often seek immunity as an added protection, particularly in cases with powerful political interests.  Moreover, some immunity deals are based on a witnesses information and not necessarily a witness' culpability.  It would seem that one person who would have to be convinced of that fact is Flynn himself.  Flynn is shown below in 2016 saying that if someone gets immunity it probably means that you committed a crime.

Iranian Morality Police Force Christian Women To Wear Islamic Hijab Inside of Church

by jonathanturley
Iran's infamous morality church has reportedly turned its attention to a segment of the population that appears distinctly non-Islamic:  Christians.  The police stopped women outside of churches like the medieval Holy Savior Cathedral in Isfahan to enforce the requirement of veils under the country's Islamic modesty laws.  So Christian women are expected to dress Islamic in church.  That captures the lunacy of these Sharia-based legal systems that are so insecure about their values that they must force others to follow them at risk of arrest and imprisonment.




White House Proposes Immediate Cuts To Pell Grants, HIV Research, Food Assistance

OAKLAND (CBS SF) — The Trump Administration isn’t waiting until 2018 to try to slash federal spending that it has deemed unnecessary.
The White House is proposing an immediate $18 billion in cuts to government programs that promote education, scientific research, health, job training and diplomacy, programs already approved for 2017.
On Tuesday, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) railed against the proposal to slash discretionary spending bills in 2017 through a reduction of funding for Pell Grants, HIV/AIDS research, and many other domestic and international programs.
Lee described parts of the president’s proposal, which was sent to Capitol Hill on Friday and leaked to the public, as “morally bankrupt.” The memo was first reported by Politico on Tuesday.
Lee, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, drew attention to proposed cuts of nearly $350 million to the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and HIV/AIDS programs, warning, “President Trump’s proposed reductions to PEPFAR and other HIV/AIDS programs would be a humanitarian catastrophe.”
The White House also wants Congress to cut roughly $1.2 billion in funding to the National Institutes of Health this year.
Lee said the accomplishments of Congress threaten to be undone so that “President Trump can line the pockets of defense contractors.”
The proposal to cut programs in 2017 comes roughly a week after the White House unveiled a $1.15 trillion budget for next year, FY 2018, that slashes many domestic and international programs while recommending a $54 billion increase in defense spending.
The White House’s 2017 budget recommendations includes a $1.3 billion reduction in Pell Grants, the government subsidy to help students with financial need afford college.
“This’ll make it even harder for low-income students to graduate,” Lee said on Twitter.
The Trump administration also proposes a $1.2 billion cut to a teacher grant program.
In California, the Pacific Coast Salmon Recovery Fund is also being recommended by the White House for complete defunding.
The program, according to NOAA’s website, “is essential to preventing the extinction of the 28 listed salmon and steelhead species on the West Coast and, in many cases, has stabilized the populations and contributed to their recovery course.”
Other programs that the White House is asking to be eliminated are grants to community banks and a FEMA program countering violent extremism.
Additionally, the President wants a $72 million cut in funds for United Nations peacekeeping efforts, a $50 million reduction in Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program funding, and an $11 million decrease in funding for the Minority Health Office.
Among the the most controversial items is a recommendation to cut $200 million from the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) food assistance program, which was founded in 1974 to provide a safeguard for families who are at nutritional risk.
A $500 million cut to global food programs was also proposed by the White House, which includes the Food for Peace program and the McGovern-Dole Food For Education Program.
Additionally, the White House proposed a $1.5 billion cut from Community Development Block Grants, which funds Meals on Wheels, provides disaster relief and helps people become homeowners.
A $372 million cut to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance program has also been proposed by the president, raising concerns that some families will face trouble come the winter months.
Programs including AmeriCorps and SeniorCorps would be almost completely defunded under the White House’s proposed 2017 budget.
Lee called the 2017 budget recommendations from the president “dangerous, cruel & destructive.”
Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said in a statement Tuesday that the document detailing cuts proposed by the Trump Administration for FY 2017 was not shared by the Office of Management and Budget directly with his office or the offices of other Democratic members of the Appropriations Committee.
Leahy described the cuts proposed in the document as “draconian” and said, “Cutting cancer research, slashing affordable housing and programs to protect the environment, and making middle class taxpayers pay for a wall … These may be the Trump administration priorities, but they aren’t the priorities of the American people.”
There’s no indication yet that the White House’s 2017 budget recommendations will be taken into consideration by members of Congress.
UPDATE: On 3/30/17: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, “I think his funding requests and priorities are laid out in the budget that Director Mulvaney detailed and sent up for the remainder of 2017. There are some key things in that, and I think that it is going to begin a conversation that we will continue to have with the House and Senate. Obviously, we don’t want the government to shut down, but we want to make sure that we’re funding the priorities of the government.”
By Hannah Albarazi – Follow her on Twitter: @hannahalbarazi.




President Trump's daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner, leaving the Oval Office in February.
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner Still Benefiting From Business Empire, Filings Show


The White House released ethics filings from President Trump's daughter and son-in-law and released details of a plan devised to avoid conflicts of interest.

Stefania Rouselle for The New York Times. Technology by Samsung.
Video VIDEO: Puzzle in Poland: Who Bent the Trees?
A dirt road in Poland leads to a patch of pine trees with unusually crooked trunks. Why? It's kind of a mystery. See for yourself in this 360° video, and consider some theories.



One of the detainees in a prison wing at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, last year.
Videos of Force-Feeding at Guantánamo Will Stay Secret, Court Rules


The federal appeals panel held that disclosing the videotapes would create national security risks, and that this concern superseded any public right to see the tapes.

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