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Why Michael Cohen’s plea deal is really bad for President Trump

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Why Michael Cohens plea deal is really bad for President Trump

Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to to eight counts. Among those were admitting to excessive campaign contributions. He paid off women directly and indirectly to stay silent about their affairs with then-candidate Donald Trump.

This is the worst news the President has gotten all year.

Michael Cohen pleads guilty to 8 counts, including excessive campaign contribution

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/michael-cohen-pleads-guilty-to-8-counts-including-excessive-campaign-contributionPorn star Stormy Daniels has been embroiled in a legal battle with Trump over an alleged extramarital affair. Cohen paid her $130,000 in an October 2016 in exchange for her silence, but she filed a lawsuit earlier this year claiming the nondisclosure agreement she signed should be nullified because Trump didn’t sign it.

Cohen’s guilty plea to excessive campaign contribution applies to Daniels’ case, as Cohen said he was instructed by a candidate to make the $130,000 payment.

Cohen also confessed he made an illegal contribution of $150,000. Former playboy model Karen McDougal, who claims she had a sexual relationship with Trump, was paid $150,000 by the publisher of the National Enquirer, American Media Inc., in order to keep her quiet about the affair.

In many ways this is worse than the Russia scandal because it has a lawyer for Trump acting on his behalf to pay hush money to women who may have been able to derail his presidential campaign. While the potential for Russian collusion rests comfortably in the middle of the gray area, this is direct.

Before getting elected President, Trump’s attorney explicitly tried to mislead Americans.

The only spin the White House can put on this is that Cohen was acting alone. They will try to say he thought he was doing the right thing by keeping women quiet, but that the President still never had affairs with them. They’ll say that had he known about the payoffs, he would have balked.

The tape that Cohen leaked that has the President saying something about a payoff isn’t clear enough to shake this narrative.

Cohen, Trump tape released. What does it mean?

http://noqreport.com/2018/07/25/cohen-trump-tape-released-mean/What seems to be missing in both narratives is a focus on the underlying problem with President Trump’s character. Just as those on the right lambasted President Clinton for his extramarital activities, so too should they be asking President Trump the same questions.

In the whole scheme of things this is just fodder for a few news cycles.

As it turns out, it was more than just fodder. This is a big deal. It will likely compel the President to be deposed about the payoff to Daniels. And her lawyer is having fun with it all at the expense of the President’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

Perhaps the saddest part in all of this is that Daniels is somehow considered a victim here. She was paid a lot of money and stands to be paid a lot more for having consensual sex with a powerful man. It doesn’t speak well for her just as it looks bad for the President.

The best case scenario for the President is that this is viewed by the public as a sexual embarrassment. Other politicians have survived worse exchanges surrounding sex and an extramarital affair before his time at the White House is already secondary to past Presidents’ affairs while in the White House.

The worst case scenario is that this the President will lie and/or be seen as a liar. It will be very difficult for him to make the nation believe he didn’t cheat on Melania. It will also be difficult to make them believe he didn’t try to pay them for their silence. What makes it all even worse is that if he lies about these women, what about everything he’s said about the dozens of other women who have accused him of consensual or unwanted sexual advances?

Republicans chose a man they knew beyond a shadow of a doubt had skeletons in his closet. They knew by his own admissions he is immoral, uncaring, and untrustworthy, yet they chose to embrace him through the election and support him through is time in office. This reflects badly on all who have stood by his side.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Bill

    August 22, 2018 at 4:48 am

    I am no expert on Cohen’s report to the FEC on the Stormy payment, but: Did that report require a denial from the President? If so, knowledge of the payment would be certainly be expected since the President has saught to enforce the agreement and now admits to reimbursing Cohen for it… after denying knowledge of it. That may be the biggest perjury trap, and Avenetti seems to see this…

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Federalists

What Stacey Abrams gets right about moving forward from the Georgia election

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What Stacey Abrams gets right about moving forward from the Georgia election

Democrat Stacey Abrams possesses some pretty radical political ideologies. I completely disagree with her far-leftist rhetoric or the agenda she hoped to bring to Georgia as governor. Republican Brian Kemp is the next governor, which even Abrams admits.

But she refuses to concede that she actually lose the election. She’s clear that Kemp is the governor-elect, but she falls just short of saying that his victory is illegitimate.

That’s all political theater. Here’s what she gets right. Georgia and many states need to clean up their election practices. Laws should be passed. Other laws should be removed. Ballot access for American citizens must be protected and the process must be made as easy as possible without jeopardizing accuracy or opening the doors to fraud.

Most importantly, this must be done through a combination of the legal system and the state legislature. At no point should she or anyone else try to turn this into a federal issue.

People on both sides of the political aisle seem to be leaning towards fixing election problems at the national level. This would be a huge mistake. The states must clean their own houses. The residents of the states must be the catalyst. Keep DC out of it.

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Conspiracy Theory

Many Democrats support Mueller investigation without knowing what it’s about

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“Trump stole the election!”

Two years and two elections ago, something happened that has Democrats scratching their heads even today. Hillary Clinton lost. She wasn’t supposed to lose. She was cheated some way, somehow.

This is what they hope to be proven by special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 elections. The problem is a majority of Democrats think the Russians did something that Mueller’s team isn’t even investigating because there’s absolutely no hint of a possibility that it could be true.

67% of Democrats believe “Russia tampered with vote tallies in order to get Donald Trump elected President.”

Let that sink in.

Robert Mueller Poll

If you believe Russia attempted to influence the elections by using social media and other venues to spread anti-Hillary rhetoric, you’re almost certainly correct. In fact, the Mueller investigation has assumed that to be true from the beginning. The question isn’t whether or not Russia tried to influence the elections in this way. It’s whether or not Americans helped them, in particular members of the Trump campaign.

What’s not being considered is whether or not Russia tampered with vote tallies. They did not. It’s not even a consideration in Mueller’s investigation, yet two-thirds of Democrats believe it to be true.

67% of Democrats can’t wait for Mueller to prove their theories correct even though he isn’t even investigating vote tally tampering at all. It’s reminiscent of the days after Obamacare was launched when Democrats asked, “Wait, it’s not free?”

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Entertainment and Sports

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs would be terrible if the Coen brothers didn’t make it

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The Ballad of Buster Scruggs would be terrible if the Coen brothers didnt make it

Directors often get too much credit for making movies great. That’s not the case with the Coen brothers. In their latest release, their presence in the director’s chairs and behind the writing desks took what should have been a mediocre Old West anthology and made it clever enough that most viewers will enjoy it. Others, like me, will hate it despite their presence.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is a Coen brothers film made for Netflix that doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is why 91% of critics reviewed it favorably on Rotten Tomatoes. But the thumbs-up/thumbs-down approach by Rotten Tomatoes makes the rating a bit misleading. Many of the “positive” reviews I read were essentially homages to the Coen brothers. There were many complaints about the six-part anthology that were followed by “… but it’s the Coen brothers, so…”

That’s the big plus in the movie. The Coens were able to tell the six stories the way only they could with such attention to detail that I almost watched it a second time even though I hated it. The critic in me detested what the movie tried to do. The fan in me loved how the Coens tried to do it.

Unfortunately, that means the only valid reason to watch it is to see the Coens do their thing. That’s enough of a reason if you’ve already seen all of their other extraordinary works. If you’ve missed any of them, I’d start there before using The Ballad of Buster Scruggs as a filler to get you through until their next masterpiece.

I normally don’t do spoilers. In fact, I make a point to not even spoil important components like mood or tone. Since this is a case where I’m not only going against the grain of other reviewers but I’m also trying to dissuade certain people from seeing it, I’ll go ahead and warn that there are spoilers ahead.

As noted already, this movie doesn’t take itself seriously. There are six completely separate stories tied together by two things: death and the historical Old West. We’ll deal with the death aspect shortly, but one good thing I can say about the movie is that I’ve never seen one capture the beauty of the period like this one. Even on a small screen, the sets are stunning. It’s a shame that such amazing cinematography will have so few see it on the big screen.

Now, let’s deal with death. It’s the overarching theme throughout, and it’s noteworthy that none of the reviews I read seemed to catch onto the specificity of the deaths. In order from first to last, the deaths are whimsical, ironic, undeserved, deserved, and tragic. This is done in a very particular order to keep the audience engaged. It’s an emotional ebb and flow that the Coens have mastered over three decades of filmmaking.

The opening story shares its title with the movie itself. It’s a live-action cartoon with stunning aspects that make the viewer laugh, marvel, and finally scratch his or her head. Buster Scruggs’ death is as quick and unexpected as the death the character dishes out throughout his story.

The second story, Near Algodones, demonstrates the inevitability of death for one who chooses a life of crime. Both times the lead character is captured and set to hang are comical and ironic, as if saying Death won’t be cheated by death. His final scene is the last real laugh we get in the movie.

As is common for the Coen brothers, there’s no attempt to ease in to a drastically changing mood. From beginning to end, Meal Ticket makes us feel melancholy and turns it up near the end of the third story. The only temporary relief is seeing an orange chicken mesmerizing a simple-minded crowd with its ability to do basic math on command, a not-so-subtle allusion to President Trump and his adoring fans.

The star of the anthology is the fourth story, All Gold Canyon, as Tom Waits delivers on multiple connections. He touches nature as both an intruder and its defender. He talks to his goal, “Mr Pocket,” like a friend about to deliver the good news of riches heading his way. The best line of the movie comes out in a dialogue between Waits and the pocket of gold when he says, “I’m old, but you’re older.” All of this combines for a deep connection we’re able to feel with his character. We may like or dislike other characters, but we actually connect with this one. Any of the stories could be fleshed out to be a standalone film, but this one would probably yield the best one.

The fifth story, The Gal Who Got Rattled, is another one that could easily expand. It made me think someone could make an interesting series about life on the Oregon Trail that followed the guides back and forth in their exciting journeys. Instead, we get a glimpse at the trail, another glimpse of irony surrounding an annoying dog that survives both of its masters, and then a fleeting glimpse of real action as Grainger Hines fearlessly takes on a group of Commanche who want his scalp and the young lady he’s protecting.

The Mortal Remains rounds out the movie. It’s the only story that doesn’t end in death, though it’s predicated by death; two of the five characters in this story are bounty hunters with the body of their most recent prey strapped to the top of the carriage they’re riding.

There are different interpretations for this segment of the movie. Some say the self proclaimed “reapers” are taking the souls of the other three passengers to their resting place. This theory lends to the apprehension and dread they demonstrate when they finally get there. Others say they simply fear that death may come to them soon, which is why they hesitate to enter the hotel. I lean towards the first interpretation. The three in the carriage with the bounty hunters/reapers died normally while the body on the roof had to be hunted down, which is why he has to be carried to his final resting place instead of walking there like the other three.

Who knows? The Coens.

The stories in this movie were accumulated over 25 years. It’s very possible that there is a much deeper underlying meaning to all of this that the Coens may or may not ever reveal. It could be personal, like their own private joke about Hollywood; watching Meal Ticket definitely lends itself to the notion that the highest level of art can’t be as popular as a counting chicken. There may be nothing to it at all. The Coens know, and unless they’re changing their style, they aren’t telling us their secrets.

An uncanny number of reviews I read noted a variation of the idea that the whole was less than the sum of the parts.

The bottom line: Lots of people loved this movie for everything the Coen brothers bring to the table. Some, like me, hated it because it’s six stories that individually could have been great but compressing them into one movie didn’t do them justice.

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