Tag Archives: Massachusetts

Trump’s Legal Woes Are just Getting Started

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Watching the right wingers rejoicing at Trump’s self-proclamation of exoneration within minutes of special counsel specifically stating he had NOT been exonerated is kinda sad….for them….but not for America. Because the right only hears news from one or two Trump-promoting websites, they are STILL unaware that Robert Mueller sent most of the obstruction cases were sent over to the Southern District, where Trump is legally helpless to manipulate his way out of them, since he has zero legal jurisdiction. Bwahaha! This will be a real shocker, because they don’t see it coming. It was strategic. It went right over their heads.

The closure of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. election does NOT mark the end of legal worries for Trump and people close to him. Not by a longshot. Other continuing investigations and litigation are focusing on issues including his businesses and financial dealings, personal conduct, charitable foundation and inaugural committee. This will be that which ends him.

Think about it. Mueller charged 34 people and three companies. Some of those cases resulted in guilty pleas, and one case went to trial, with former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort convicted of eight criminal counts, including bank fraud and tax fraud. Longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone was indicted in January of this year and pleaded not guilty, but his trial is still pending. There are other cases involving indicted Russians that have not gone to trial. Other prosecutors within the Justice Department will likely take over criminal cases begun by Mueller.

Donald Trump is horrible for America.

Trump will face significant dents in his current jubilation from federal prosecutors in Manhattan, according to the legal experts viewing these cases. His former personal lawyer Michael Cohen said in Feb. 27 congressional testimony that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York is examining Trump’s business practices and financial dealings. Cohen already has implicated Trump in campaign finance law violations to which he pleaded guilty in August 2018 as part of the Southern District investigation.

Cohen admitted he violated campaign finance laws by arranging, at Trump’s direction, “hush money” payments shortly before the 2016 presidential election to porn film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy magazine model Karen McDougal to prevent damage to Trump’s candidacy. Both women established that they had sexual relationships with Trump more than a decade ago,during his marriage to Melania, soon after the birth of their son, Baron. (As an aside, I have challenged my social media readers to document even ONE DAY that Trump has EVER dedicated to this child since he was born. ONE SINGLE DAY…..and not one person has been able to do that.)

Prosecutors said the payments constituted ILLEGAL campaign contributions intended to influence the election. Under federal election laws, such donations cannot exceed $2,700 and need to be publicly disclosed. Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, received $130,000. McDougal received $150,000.

The New York District investigation has involved longtime Trump ally David Pecker, publisher of the National Enquirer tabloid newspaper, who admitted to paying McDougal for the rights to her story and then suppressing it to influence the election, an arrangement called “catch and kill.”

Cohen has already said he was in “constant contact” with federal prosecutors in Manhattan, and said other crimes and wrongdoing by Trump are being investigated by them. Trump WILL fall, and the Southern District will take him down, but it will be after this one term. Remember, Cohen said he could not testify about the nature of his last conversation with Trump in early 2018 because it was under investigation by the federal prosecutors in New York. They will get him.

A lawsuit filed by the New York state Attorney General’s Office has already led the corrupt Donald J. Trump Foundation, which was presented as the charitable arm of Trump’s business empire, to agree in December 2018 to dissolve, and the litigation continues.

The state of New York is seeking an order banning Trump and his three eldest children from leadership roles in any other New York charity EVER. The state’s Democratic attorney general accused the foundation of being “engaged in a “shocking pattern of illegality” and “functioning as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests” in violation of federal law.

Charges stemming from this matter state that Trump and his family members used the charity to pay off his legal debts and purchase personal items. The foundation agreed to dissolve and give away all its remaining assets under court supervision, but the Trump’s have not yet faced a court over this illegal activity. Oh, but they will!

Then come the issues surrounding the emoluments. Trump is accused in a lawsuit filed by the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia of violating anti-corruption provisions of the U.S. Constitution through his businesses’ dealings with foreign governments. These are very serious charges that Trump has not been able to beat. The Richmond, Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on March 19 in the Trump administration’s appeal of U.S. District Judge Peter Messitte’s 2018 rulings allowing the case to proceed.

The Constitution’s “emoluments clause” bars U.S. officials from accepting payments from foreign governments and the governments of U.S. states without congressional approval. The lawsuit stated that because Trump did not divest himself of his business empire, spending by foreign governments at the Trump International Hotel in Washington amounts to unconstitutional gifts, or “emoluments,” to the president.

Federal prosecutors in New York are also investigating whether the committee that organized Trump’s inauguration in January 2017 accepted illegal donations from foreigners, misused funds or brokered special access to the administration for donors. The Trump organization seems to have forgotten that Federal election law prohibits foreigners from donating to U.S. political campaigns or inaugural committees, and corruption laws ban donors from making contributions in exchange for political favors.

Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said in December 2018 that the president was not involved in his inaugural committee, and that the $107 million raised by the committee, which was chaired by real estate developer and investor Thomas Barrack, was the largest in history, according to Federal Election Commission filings. However, there is copious evidence implicating Trump that is on its way back to haunt him.

Under the Constitution, the president, vice president and “all civil officers of the United States” can be removed from office by Congress through the impeachment process for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” The House of Representatives acts as the accuser – voting on whether to bring specific charges such as obstruction of justice – and the Senate then conducts a trial with House members acting as prosecutors and the individual senators serving as jurors. A simple majority vote is needed in the House to impeach. A two-thirds majority is required in the Senate to convict and remove.

I don’t think Trump will be impeached, because he has so carefully shielded himself, but he WILL face charges after he is voted out of office in the next election. Just you wait.

How Not to Die

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I am very excited to announce the long-awaited book by my nutrition guru, Dr. Michael Greger.  Folks, this is a revolutionary breakthrough in medical research that will blow your minds!  Pick up a copy by visiting NutritionFacts.org.   This is the book that will change your life forever.  Would make a great holiday gift as well!

Pannekoeken and Mountain Exercise

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When we lived in Western Massachusetts, twice a month we would go to a little German pancake place in a nearby town for their outrageous Apple Pannekoeken.   For those of you unfamiliar with Pannekoeken, it is a gigantic Dutch/Belgian-style puff-pillow of a pancake that comes filled with fruit or custard or plain, to be eaten with (usually) butter and maple syrup.  They are rather light in texture; although a good Pannekoeken will have a bit of density per nibble as well.  I could never finish one on my own.  In fact, to say that I could even eat half of one is stretching the truth, but I enjoyed every bite that I did take, regardless.  They taste good!

The place, whose name escapes me, made Pannekoeken using the traditional addition of 50% buckwheat flour, which is a good thing, since buckwheat is so nutritious.  This method is less common nowadays, but makes a denser, more substantial and healthful pancake.   The basic ingredients for this concoction without the buckwheat include either plain, self-rising or both types of flour, eggs, salt and milk.  If you are not into dairy milk, soymilk can be substituted with almost the exact end results.

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Old timers still use “Beestings” in their Pannekoeken instead of milk or soy, otherwise known as Colostrum, or the first form of milk that is produced by the mammary glands of mammals (including humans) during the last months of pregnancy.  This is the stuff that has antibodies that protect newborns against diseases.  It is a lower fat milk that is higher in protein than regular dairy milk.  You’re probably not ever going to find Pannekoeken in a restaurant that is made with beestings, however, and I’m sure you’re not going to get human milk Beestings, no matter what…unless you make it at home, I suppose…but why?!  

To make Pannekoeken, the ingredients are whipped into a runny batter and then ladled onto a hot griddle that has butter or oil on its surface.  The pancake is cooked until it is dry and the edges begin to brown before it is flipped and cooked on the other side.  It takes a great deal of skill and practice to master this technique, and I’ve not obtained this level of expertise, myself.  I have turned out a few good Pannekoeken, but thus far, my efforts have been hit or miss…. with the miss part being the majority of my tries.  Mine have always tasted good.  I just haven’t been able to achieve that big, fluffy, beautiful finished product that is so impressive, more than a half dozen times.

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In some cultures Pannekoeken is commonly eaten as a main course.  In winter, it is sometimes consumed after snert (a type of pea soup….and a word that I love…) in a double-coursed meal.  It is also a popular choice for a child’s birthday meal in Belgium and in the Netherlands where my former husband and good friend, Steve, lives.

So this next part is a bit of a departure…

After John and I would eat it in this little café, it became our tradition to drive over to Mt. Skinner and climb …ok…walk….to the top to get some extra exercise.  Pannekoeken can sit at the bottom of the stomach for a LONG time, and exercise is necessary to dislodge it! J  Mount Skinner is a small “mountain” near where we lived in South Hadley (near Amherst and across the Connecticut River from Northampton) where I would go frequently either with John, my daughter, friends or alone.  At the top was a building called The Summit House, that overlooked the beautiful Connecticut River Valley.

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Once, when I was walking up to the peak by myself, I saw an ever-so-slight movement out of the corner of my eye.  I turned to look and there were two tiny fawns curled up into little balls underneath a tree.  They couldn’t have been any older than one or two days.  I stopped briefly and just stared at them in wonder, my eyes tearing up with awe of the miraculous discovery that I had made.  Of course, deer can be dangerous so I was very cautious, but I didn’t want to disturb them anyway.  It was such a special moment in time, and one I will never forget.

The Summit house was, in effect, an old museum that was once a resort area for wealthy New Englanders who would take a cable car, sort of like a ski lift, to the top.  It is a very pleasant place to go and hang out for a day.  We used to take all of our visitors there.

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My daughter, Sarah, who was a rock climbing enthusiast at the time, would sometimes accompany me up Mt. Skinner and scale the boulders that were available along the way.  I always got so much joy out of seeing her do that.  I tried a few times myself, but never did keep it up.

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Anyway….long story sort.  Here is a Pannekoeken recipe courtesy of the Food Network…. but I highly recommend you climb a small mountain after you eat it….especially if you eat a whole one!  Total Time:

35 min
Prep
15 min
Cook
20 min
Yield:
2 to 4 servings

This makes a tasty dessert for a dinner party. You can use a pizza cutter to slice it into wedges and serve it with some vanilla ice cream.

Ingredients
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 Granny smith apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons cold butter
Powdered sugar, for serving
Whipped cream, for serving
Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Add the cinnamon, nutmeg and apples to a pan. Saute the apples over medium-low heat until slightly soft, 3 to 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the batter. Mix the milk, vanilla and eggs in a bowl. Add the flour, granulated sugar and salt and whisk lightly (some lumps are ok but not too many).

Increase the heat under the apples to medium and add the brown sugar and butter. Cook until a syrup forms, about 3 minutes, then add the batter all at once to the center of the pan. Swirl the apple syrup mix through the batter, using a heatproof spatula, to form ribbons (you do not want to fully combine the apple-sugar syrup into the batter). Cook until small bubbles form around the edge.

Finish cooking the pannekoeken in the oven, 12 minutes. To serve, invert a 12-inch plate over the pan and flip the pan to turn out the pannekoeken. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, top with whipped cream and enjoy!

Fall Back Films….

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Do you have any films that you watch over and over? I sure do. I call these my “fall back” films. “Harold and Maude” is one. I have to watch that film at least twice a year, no matter what. Robert Altman’s, “3 Women” is another…..such a twisted, disturbing film, but hilarious in its own way, and certainly a cinematographic milestone. “Enchanted April” is one that reminds me, so much, of my adventures with my best friend, Katy, and is another that I watch over and again (The John and Joan Cusack are her relatives. They are in High Fidelity) ….as is “Room with a View”. Last night, we watched, “High Fidelity” another fun film on a lot of different, carefree levels. This song is an all-time favorite from that film. I went out and bought the soundtrack right after I saw it for the first time. This was when we lived in Massachusetts. I used to open the sunroof of my Saab and drive through the countryside around Amherst and Northampton and play this song and sing along with it. Ahhhh memories. That is what the fall back films are for. They evoke so many great memories.

What are your favorites?