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William Hill Casino reviews submitted by CharloteRichards to u/CharloteRichards [link] [comments]

Lost in the Sauce: Barr's DOJ shut down investigations of Trump and admin officials

Welcome to Lost in the Sauce, keeping you caught up on political and legal news that often gets buried in distractions and theater… or a global health crisis.
Housekeeping:

Post-election

On Saturday, Trump announced on Twitter that he has put his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in charge of his campaign's long-shot post-election legal challenges. Other people on the team include Joseph diGenova, Victoria Toensing, Sidney Powell, and Jenna Ellis.
  • Giuliani worked with a Russian agent to smear Biden. diGenova and Toensing tried to get the Justice Department to drop charges against corrupt Ukraine oligarch Dmytro Firtash. Powell represents Michael Flynn and champions "deep state" conspiracies. Ellis said gay marriage leads to pedophilia.
NYT: Mr. Trump turned to Mr. Giuliani earlier on Friday in reaction to the latest setback he faced in court, this one relating to votes in Maricopa County, Arizona… A half-dozen other Trump advisers have described Mr. Giuliani’s efforts as counterproductive and said that he was giving the president unwarranted optimism about what could happen… In an Oval Office meeting with aides on Thursday, Mr. Trump put Mr. Giuliani on speakerphone so the others could hear him. He angrily accused the aides of not telling the president the truth
Giuliani’s conspiracy-riddled rant at Four Seasons Total Landscaping was so disastrous that it “scared off many of the lawyers” recruited to argue election-related lawsuits. Politico: “Campaign officials described the episode as disastrous...there are widespread concerns within Trumpworld and GOP circles that Giuliani’s antics are thwarting the president’s legal machinery from within.”
Two major law firms have withdrawn from Trump campaign cases as his legal challenges crumble. Arizona’s largest law firm Snell & Wilmer dumped the RNC and Trump campaign effort to challenge votes in Maricopa County. Porter Wright Morris & Arthur is abandoning Trump’s attempt to block Pennsylvania's popular vote for Joe Biden.
  • In one day (Friday), nine cases meant to attack President-elect Joe Biden's win in key states were denied or dropped - seven in Pennsylvania, one in Arizona, and one in Michigan.
The new federal chief information security officer, Camilo Sandoval, has already taken leave from his day job to participate in a pro-Trump effort to hunt for evidence of voter fraud in the battleground states. The group, Voter Integrity Fund, is a newly formed Virginia-based group that is analyzing ballot data and cold-calling voters. Sandoval was officially appointed on Nov. 4, 2020, but lists his starting date at October on his personal LinkedIn page.
WaPo: Sandoval is part of a hastily convened team led by Matthew Braynard, a data specialist who worked on Trump’s 2016 campaign. Another participant is Thomas Baptiste, an adviser to the deputy secretary of the Interior Department who also took a leave to work on the project. Braynard said in an interview that several other government officials on leave are also assisting the effort, but he declined to identify them.
Media’s role:
  • Facebook Cut Traffic To Leading Liberal Pages Just Before The Election: Liberal page administrators who spoke with BuzzFeed News said that their reach declined by as much as 70%, and still hasn’t recovered.
  • Facebook Live Spread Election Conspiracies And Russian State-Controlled Content Despite Employee Fears: The social network’s live video tool has recommended videos featuring misinformation and the hyperpartisan views of Trump allies leading up to and following election day in the US.
  • In the week after the election, Trump’s postings dominated Facebook, accounting for the 10 most engaged status updates in the United States, and 22 of the top 25. “I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!” was his top post.
  • YouTube Is Doing Very Little to Stop Election Misinformation From Spreading
  • Social media app Parler receives financial backing from conservative hedge-fund investor Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah, The Wall Street Journal reported. Parler turned into a kind of de facto home for conservatives’ protests against the election— including the persistent “Stop the Steal” campaign— after the race was called for former Vice President Joe Biden. Several high-profile conservative social media personalities encouraged people to abandon Twitter and Facebook because of their moderation policies, and instead follow them on Parler.

Transition

Emily Murphy, the head of the General Services Administration, still hasn’t signed the official letter that would allow the incoming Biden team to formally begin the transition. House Democrats are assessing options to force the GSA’s hand, which could include summoning Murphy to the Hill to testify or suing her. “Obviously, Congress could file suit against the GSA administrator for failing to do her duty. We could seek to get a court to, in fact, issue an order
Her ascertainment is the legally necessary precursor to the government’s assistance to the Biden-Harris Presidential Transition Team. It releases $6.3 million dollars to the team, which is funded by public and private money; a loan of expanded federal office space and equipment; access to government agencies that will begin sharing information and records about ongoing activities, plans and vulnerabilities; national security briefings for the president; and other support.
  • The Office of the Director of National Intelligence recently confirmed that it is not providing national security briefings to the president-elect. The Defense Department has also reportedly indicated that it will not meet with the Biden-Harris transition team until Murphy formally affirms the apparent winner.
One of the officials fired in Trump’s latest purge was helping prepare for the transition to the new administration. USAID Deputy Administrator Bonnie Glick was removed abruptly to make way for a Trump loyalist after she had been supportive of transition planning, including the preparation of a 440-page manual for the next administration.
The GSA’s refusal to enact the transition has locked Biden’s team out of crucial Covid-19 pandemic data and government agency contacts. The president-elect’s Covid-19 task force has been trying to work around the federal government by connecting with governors and the health community.
  • The head of Operation Warp Speed, Moncef Slaoui, called on the White House to allow contact with the Biden team, saying “It is a matter of life and death for thousands of people.”
White House’s Office of Management and Budget is considering 145 new regulations and other policy changes they could enact before Biden’s inauguration - rules that will be challenging to undo once they are finalized. Critics and supporters of the administration say they expect a final burst of regulations to be finalized in the weeks before Jan. 20.
The rules under development include policies that the incoming Biden administration would probably oppose, such as new caps on the length of foreign student visas; restrictions on the Environmental Protection Agency’s use of scientific research; limits on the EPA’s consideration of the benefits of regulating air pollutants; and a change that would make it easier for companies to treat workers as independent contractors, rather than employees with more robust wage protections.
Last week, both Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said they’re preparing for a second Trump term. “There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration,” Pompeo said during a news conference Tuesday afternoon (clip). Pompeo then doubled down on Fox News (clip). “We are moving forward here at the White House under the assumption there will be a second Trump term,” Navarro said on Fox Business Friday (clip).

DOJ interference

Attorney General William Barr stopped career prosecutors in DOJ’s Public Integrity Section from investigating whether President Trump broke any laws related to his conduct with Ukraine last year. The section was initially given the green light to pursue “a potentially explosive inquiry” into Trump, but after the Senate acquitted the president during impeachment proceedings, Barr sent the case to the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn.
Prosecutors in DOJ’s Public Integrity Section were also prevented from bringing charges against former interior secretary Ryan Zinke by political appointees atop the Justice Department. Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen told prosecutors that they needed to gather more evidence and refine the case against Zinke for lying to Interior investigators.
  • The investigation into Zinke stemmed from his decision to block two Native American tribes—the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan—from opening a casino in Connecticut. Zinke’s office had been lobbied heavily by MGM Resorts International, which had been planning to open its own casino very close to where the tribes intended to break ground.
Sixteen assistant U.S. attorneys specially assigned to monitor malfeasance in the 2020 election urged Barr on Friday to rescind his memo allowing election-fraud investigations before results are certified. "It was developed and announced without consulting non-partisan career professionals in the field and at the Department. Finally, the timing of the Memorandum's release thrusts career prosecutors into partisan politics," the prosecutors wrote.
An internal Justice Department investigation found that federal prosecutors who oversaw a controversial non-prosecution deal with Jeffrey Epstein in 2008 exercised “poor judgment” but did not break the law. “They just say he used poor judgment, and that's their way of basically letting everyone off the hook while offering some sort of an olive branch to the victims that we acknowledge weren't treated perfectly,” said Brad Edwards, who sued the DOJ in 2008 on behalf of Epstein accusers.

Immigration news

Eastern District of New York Judge Nicholas Garaufis (Clinton-appointee) ruled that Chad Wolf was not legally serving as acting Homeland Security secretary when he signed rules limiting DACA program applications and renewals. Therefore, in a win for Dreamers and immigration activists, Garaufis said the changes were invalid.
The judge described an illegitimate shuffling of leadership chairs at the Department of Homeland Security, the agency responsible for immigration enforcement, for the predicament of Wolf's leadership and that of his predecessor, Kevin McAleenan.
"Based on the plain text of the operative order of succession," Garaufis wrote in the Saturday ruling, "neither Mr. McAleenan nor, in turn, Mr. Wolf, possessed statutory authority to serve as Acting Secretary. Therefore the Wolf Memorandum was not an exercise of legal authority."
  • There's a renewed push to get Chad Wolf confirmed as Homeland Security secretary -- a position in which he's been serving in an acting capacity for a yearr -- before Inauguration Day. In the past week, Homeland Security officials spoke to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office about bringing the nomination to a floor vote in the coming weeks.
Within the last six months, as the coronavirus pandemic gripped the US, the Trump administration filed 75 lawsuits to seize private land along the US-Mexico border for the border wall." People right now are having to choose between their health and their homes," said Ricky Garza, a staff attorney at the Texas Civil Rights Project, a legal advocacy group.
After a series of price increases, Trump’s border project will cost taxpayers $20 million per mile of border fence. A review of federal spending data shows more than 200 contract modifications, at times awarded within just weeks or months after the original contracts, have increased the cost of the border wall project by billions of dollars since late 2017.
DHS has expelled unaccompanied immigrant children from the US border more than 13,000 times since March, using the coronavirus as an excuse to deny children their right to asylum. Previously, unaccompanied children were sent to government-run shelters as they attempted to pursue their asylum cases.
Migrant children from Central America are being expelled to Mexico, where they have no family connections. The expulsions not only put children in danger - the policy violates a diplomatic agreement with Mexico that only Mexican children and others who had adult supervision could be pushed back into Mexico after attempting to cross the border.
The House Judiciary Committee released a report on the Trump administration’s policy of separating families at the border, revealing that the federal agency that cares for migrant children was not told about the policy. The chaos contributed to the inability to later reunite parents and children.
The Trump administration is trying to deport several women who allege they were mistreated by a Georgia gynecologist at an immigration detention center. Hours after one detained woman spoke to federal investigators about forced hysterectomies at a Georgia detention center, she said ICE told her that it had lifted a hold on her deportation and she faced “imminent” removal. Six former patients who complained about Dr. Mahendra Amin had already been deported.
Northern District of Illinois Judge Gary Feinerman (Obama-appointee) blocked a key Trump administration policy that allowed officials to deny green cards to immigrants who might need public assistance Advocates who had feared that the policy would harm tens of thousands of poor people, particularly those affected by widespread job loss because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Miscellaneous

Microsoft said it has detected attempts by state-backed Russian and North Korean hackers to steal valuable data from leading pharmaceutical companies and vaccine researchers. “Among the targets, the majority are vaccine makers that have COVID-19 vaccines in various stages of clinical trials.”
Two census takers told The AP that their supervisors pressured them to enter false information into a computer system about homes they had not visited so they could close cases during the waning days of the once-a-decade national headcount.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday signaled it’s unlikely to tear down Obamacare over a Republican-backed lawsuit challenging the landmark health care law. Chief Justice John Roberts and Trump appointee Justice Brett Kavanaugh strongly questioned whether the elimination of the mandate penalty made the rest of the law invalid. Kavanaugh appeared to signal on several occasions that he favored leaving the rest of the law intact if the mandate is struck.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) was sued last week by four whistleblowers claiming that he abused his office to benefit himself, a woman with whom he was said to have had an affair, and the wealthy donor who employs her before retaliating against the members of his staff who reported him to the FBI.
The Trump administration is rushing plans to auction drilling rights in the U.S. Arctic National Wildlife Refuge before the inauguration of Biden, who has vowed to block oil exploration in the rugged Alaska wilderness. Biden’s efforts could be complicated if the Trump administration sells drilling rights first. Formally issued oil and gas leases on federal land are government contracts that can’t be easily yanked.
submitted by rusticgorilla to Keep_Track [link] [comments]

Ultimate Casino Cashback Guide - Earn over £500 - Every Offer Explained!

This guide aims to outline all of the best gambling cashback offers available over a range of sites, following this guide you should be able to make over £500 in cashback
Note - Cashback often takes a while to payout, bear this in mind when completing offers as you may have to wait to cashout your earnings
When completing these offers don't chase any loses as the cashback will give you a profit with nerly every offer
A short review of each site and some referral links
Topcashback - Cashback will show as tracked within a few days, can take a few weeks to become payable, in some cases even longer, asides from gambling they have great offers for car insurance and mobile phone contracts, worth taking a look to save some extra money!
Ref - Extra £5 when you make £10 cashback
Non-Ref - No reward
Quidco - Much the same as Topcashback
Ref
Non-Ref
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Ohmydosh - Faster Payouts but less offers
Ref - Extra £1
Non-Ref - No reward
Minimum payout - Any
Cashback Earners - A lesser known site in need of a fresh look, this site also has some bad reviews, referal income is paid to the site on a monthly basis with the dates for each site being different, offers don't seem to show as tracked until the website receive their payment, cashback should appear in your account within 1 month of completing an offer. Cashout amounts are specific, its best to build up a balance and then withdraw. Payment takes around 3 weeks.
Ref - Sign up bonus £6.5
Non-Ref - Sign up bonus £6.5
Minimum payout is £20
Payment Proof - Payments for all sites can be seen here, quidco isn't shown as i have signed up for all the casinos on offer through topcashback

How to Maximize Profit - IMPORTANT - READ THIS

For the majority of these offers you want to play blackjack following the chart found here
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When playing blackjack there will often be more than one spot that you can bet on, allowing the player to bet more than one hand at a time, Its important to only bet on one spot at a time as it reduces the variance of the game and will ensure you get the maximum return possible from the game, stick to £1 hand sizes when playing and dont be tempted to bet larger amounts as you will be getting a nice amount of cashback from every offer
Through playing blackjack this way the player will get a return of around 98%, meaning for every £100 staked you will lose around £2. If you make a loss on a casino site after completing the required wagering amount, withdraw your remaining balance, don't chase loses as the cashback will make up for loses and give you a profit in most cases.
All offers are updated fairly regularly, make sure to check the terms for each offer as information in this post may become outdated. Also check for other offers every now and then as new casinos are added!

TopCashBack Offers - £400+ Profit

Topcashback Referral - Get an extra £5 - See the Ref Link at the top of the page!
If you dont already have an account at top cashback, you can sign up through my referral to get an extra £5 added to you account once you make £10 cashback
Lottoland - Cashback £15
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Betfair Casino - Cashback £70
Note this is not the poker offer
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Quidco are offering £100 for this offer
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Tombola - Cashback £24.5
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Quidco don't offer a sign up bonus, find my ref link at the top of the post if you want to help me out!
All of the offers on quidco are much the same as topcashback, the only offer worth noting is the betfair casino offer which pays £100
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Cashbackearners - Cashback £180+

Sign up Bonus
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Add £10 and play through £10 on any slot staking the minimum amount per spin. Keep track of spins and quit the slot after wagering the required amount. Don't spin the wheel that pops up after signing up or accept any other bonuses.
Thanks for reading, hope this of use to some people, happy earning!
submitted by Leth96 to beermoneyuk [link] [comments]

The death of George Smith aboard a cruise ship on July 5th, 2005, is it another cruise ship suicide or foul play?

George Smith was an American man who, while on his honeymoon in 2005, was reported to have fallen overboard and drowned. Due to his remains never being located and the suspicious details of his apparent death the case remains unsolved.
Background
George Allen Smith was born on October 3rd, 1978. At the age of 26 he had been helping his family run their liquor store in Cos Cob, Connecticut. Described as clean-cut and smart, George was planning to take over the running of the liquor store once he had married his Fiancé, Jennifer Hagel.
Jennifer Hagel was 25 in 2005 and was about to begin a job as a third grade teacher, she had studied and graduated from Roger William's university with a Masters in Education the year before.
The couple had married in June 2005 in what friends and family described as a the perfect story-book wedding at the Inn at Castle Hill, Newport, Rhode Island. For their honeymoon, the couple had decided to take a Mediterranean Cruise.
The Cruise Ship
The Cruise Ship that the newlyweds would be travelling one was the 'Brilliance of the Seas', the ship is a 90,000 Ton, 292 meter cruise ship operated by Royal Carribean Cruises and in 2005 was operating the Mediterranean route between Italy, Greece and Turkey.
With over 850 crew and capacity for more then 2,500 passengers on board, the ship is a large hotel complex at sea. The trip that George and Jennifer Smith elected to take was the longest of the trips offered at the time by the company, a two week round-trip that took in several stops in Italy, Greece and Turkey along the way.
The Events of July 5th 2005
The couple had boarded the ship with thousands of others in Barcelona, just a few days after their wedding in late June. They were said to be very happy and quickly made friends with some other couples, notably fellow honeymooners Paul and Galina Kvitnisky who described them as normal down to earth people who were great to talk to.
The Cruise Ship was travelling off the coast of Turkey on the night of July 4th. The Kvitniskys and the Smith's reportedly had dinner before going to the Casino around 1-2am on the morning of July 5th. The Kvitniskys later said that George was a competent gambler and with his Breitling watch and prosperous appearance he fit right in.
While at the casino George met up with a friend he had made on the trip named Josh Askin, he was teaching him to play craps and Josh's friends, cousins Zachary and Greg Rozenburg joined them with their friend Rusty Kofman. This was apparently interrupted when George noticed a cruise ship employee was getting close with his wife.
Witnesses later said that a Croupier named Lloyd Botah had been showing Jennifer a lot of attention as the night went on. A fellow cruise ship employee said that the nature of their relationship wasnt known to him but that what he had seen certainly went beyond professional boundaries.
When the casino closed at 2:30am, George, Jennifer, Lloyd, Josh, Zach, Greg and Rusty all headed for the disco, sitting at a table together the group had been reportedly drinking absinthe that had been smuggled onboard when George got into an argument with Lloyd Botah about his conduct around Jennifer. The argument reportedly moved to the dance floor and Jennifer and George had a loud argument infront of everyone before she kicked him in the groin and stormed out of the disco.
Lloyd Botah then left to follow Jennifer while a clearly drunk George was helped back to the table by the others. Shortly after the men were seen helping an unsteady George out of the disco. The 5 men walked back to George and Jennifer's Stateroom but when George saw that Jennifer wasnt there he became annoyed and set off to search for her, the other men later said they waited in the room until George returned and the men continued to drink.
Clete Hyman, the man staying in the room next to George and Jennifer, reported that there was loud noises coming from the room next door around 3am, he later explained it sounded like a party or loud card game and had reported the couple previously on the trip for making a racket.
Josh Askin, Greg and Zachary Rozenburg and Rusty Koffman all claim they left George alone in his room shortly after this complaint was made, Clete Hyman says he saw only three men leave the room at that time through his peep hole.
Clete Hyman said he had then tried to return to bed but within a few minutes heard a loud thud, assuming someone had knocked something over or drunkenly collapsed he went to sleep.
Jennifer Smith was found passed out drunk and lying in a hallway in another area of the ship by several crew members and was helped back to her room around 5am, she said that George wasnt there and she slept for a few hours before then waking in the morning and going to a spa despite not knowing where he was.
When questioned later about this lack of concern for her husband, Jennifer explained that they had both slept in other staterooms at different times on the trip so she had assumed he had spent the night somewhere else.
Before she had finished her massage at the spa, Jennifer Smith was paged over the ships intercom and summoned to her Stateroom. Blood had been found smeared on the canopy of a lifeboat that lay beneath the rooms balcony by a passing passenger and the ships captain had wanted to check that neither her or her husband had been injured.
It was at this time it was discovered George was no longer onboard the ship and the alarm was raised.
Investigation
Jennifer Smith was taken ashore along with Josh Askin and they were both questioned by Turkish police within 24 hours of George's disappearance. Jennifer was found to have an alibi though it wasnt made public what this was other then the moment the crew members found her passed out in a hallway around 5am.
Josh claimed that he and his 3 companions had returned to their rooms and ordered room service before staying up to watch tv, the Turkish police found that while calls had been made around the time they said, no food was recorded as having been delivered to them.
Josh then reboarded the cruise ship to continue the journey while Jennifer immediately flew back to the U.S. It was 48 hours later that George was declared likely drowned at sea, his remains were never found.
Josh, Greg, Zachary and Rusty were all expelled from the cruise ship several days later when they allegedly raped a female passenger and taped it on a camcorder they had with them. The Italian Police investigated this and once they reviewed the footage declared that no rape had occurred and the men and their families were put on a flight home.
George's family arrived in Europe by the end of the week, appearing on tv appealing for information and passing out flyers to cruise ship passengers, they criticised openly at the time Jennifer's actions in flying home so quickly and not returning with them. Jennifer and George's family both stated at the time that they believed George had been murdered.
Later Developments
George's family found Jennifer becoming more distant and argumentative with them as the months went by, they said that she once became angry that they had used a cropped photo of George with Actress Tara Reid instead of a photo that included her for missing posters and badges.
In 2006 the Family hired a private investigator, the investigator claimed they had information that indicated a video tape existed showing Jennifer having sex with other men prior to the night of George's disappearance, this tape failed to be located but some in the family have alleged it is in the possession of Royal Caribbean Cruises.
Josh, Greg and Zachary later appeared on Geraldo Rivera and maintained the same story they had already told, Rusty didnt appear.
In late 2006, Jennifer Hagel accepted a $1.1million settlement from Royal Caribbean Cruises, this was far beyond the legal required amount of $70,000 at the time. George's family criticised Jennifer for accepting the money and took her and Royal Carribean to court over the amount of money and the circumstances of the settlement, they alleged Jennifer was trying to avoid details of sexual affairs that occurred onboard during the cruise being made public. Jennifer stated shortly after receiving the settlement that George likely died as a result of a drunken accident.
The FBI became involved shortly after George's disappearance and began a lengthy investigation which found evidence that the Turkish Police had missed. Blood stains were located inside the cabin as well as on the balcony above the lifeboat canopy. Most telling for the investigation was that the blood stain on the canopy was in the distinctive shape of a man, an unusual thing to be found in accidents on cruise ships, typically little blood is left when someone falls from a cruise ship at sea but this seemed to suggest George had already been bleeding badly when he had landed on the canopy and then had slipped off into the sea.
The FBI investigation officially ended in 2015 finding they couldnt rule in the case in any way and returned an open finding. George's family immediately began petitioning the courts to refer the case to a new jurisdiction in order for it to be investigated.
Theories
George Accident
George was heavily intoxicated according to witnesses and cctv from the cruise ship on the night of July 5th, it is possible like in many circumstances of deaths on Cruise Ships that he had stumbled over the Balcony railing and to his death before eventually sliding off of the canopy and into the sea. This is disputed by his family but supported by the accounts of Josh, Greg, Zachary, Rusty and Jennifer.
George Suicide
George may have been despondent about Jennifer leaving the Disco with Lloyd Botah on the night of July 5th, once he was alone in the stateroom and began to sober up he could have been overcome with grief at the failing of his marriage and considering the alleged other sexual partners she had on the trip likely had become depressed and jumped from the balcony, in the dark he may not have seen the canopy below and lay there injured or dead for some time before falling from it into the sea.
George Murdered
George may have gotten into an altercation with whichever of the men had remained behind on the night of July 5th, Clete Hyman has said only 3 left but never publicly identified who he didnt see leaving. George may have been attacked or robbed by the man who stayed behind only to die and then be thrown from the balcony in an attempt to cover up the crime.
It has also been alleged that he may have gotten into an argument with Jennifer due to her whereabouts not being publicly known while the Turkish Police have said they were satisfied her movements had been accounted for.
Lloyd Botah had also been suggested as a suspect in the case as he and George had already almost come to blows earlier that morning, his whereabouts on July 5th after leaving the Disco have not been made public.
Regardless of the circumstances of his murder, Georges family supports the theory he met his end through foul play and people close to him that night have answers.
Jennifer Later Developements
Jennifer later went back to being known as Jennifer Hagel, left the search in 2007 and went to work at the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinsons Research in New York. She then moved to Fairfield, Connecticut to work with Near and Far Aid, a non-profit that supports the homeless.
In 2009, Jennifer Hagel married Jeff Agne, a Financial Advisor who worked in Global Healthcare Equities for Pinebridge Investments. The couple went on to have three children as of 2015, Jennifer's family said they couldnt be happier that she has moved on with her life.
The Death of Greg Rozenburg
15 years after George was lost at sea, Greg Rozenburg was murdered on the doorstep of his home by an unknown perpetrator or perpetrators. Police in Davie, Broward County, Florida said in September of 2020 that they hoped their continued investigation into Greg's death might reveal more about George's.
Conclusion
George Smith's case remains unresolved, it has torn family and friends apart and set different jurisdictions investigations at odds with each other. Without his remains being found it's unlikely a satisfactory conclusion could ever be reached in this case.
What do you believe happened to George Smith on July 5th, 2005?
Wikipedia Link
News Article
Photo of Bloodstained Canopy below balcony
submitted by Armchair_Detectives to UnresolvedMysteries [link] [comments]

Ultimate Casino Cashback Guide - Earn over £500 - UK ONLY

This guide aims to outline all of the best gambling cashback offers available over a range of sites, following this guide you should be able to make over £500 in cashback
Note - Cashback often takes a while to payout, bear this in mind when completing offers as you may have to wait to cashout your earnings
When completing these offers don't chase any loses as the cashback will give you a profit with nerly every offer
A short review of each site and some referral links
Topcashback - Cashback will show as tracked within a few days, can take a few weeks to become payable, in some cases even longer, asides from gambling they have great offers for car insurance and mobile phone contracts, worth taking a look to save some extra money!
Ref - Extra £5 when you make £10 cashback
Non-Ref - No reward
Quidco - Much the same as Topcashback
Ref
Non-Ref
Minimum payment - £10
Ohmydosh - Faster Payouts but less offers
Ref - Extra £1
Non-Ref - No reward
Minimum payout - Any
Cashback Earners - A lesser known site in need of a fresh look, this site also has some bad reviews, referal income is paid to the site on a monthly basis with the dates for each site being different, offers don't seem to show as tracked until the website receive their payment, cashback should appear in your account within 1 month of completing an offer. Cashout amounts are specific, its best to build up a balance and then withdraw. Payment takes around 3 weeks.
Ref - Sign up bonus £6.5
Non-Ref - Sign up bonus £6.5
Minimum payout is £20
Payment Proof - Payments for all sites can be seen here, quidco isn't shown as i have signed up for all the casinos on offer through topcashback
How to Maximize Profit - IMPORTANT - READ THIS
For the majority of these offers you want to play blackjack following the chart found here
Any blackjack game will do, look for a normal version of the game at the site you are playing on and make sure it is a non live game as the hand sizes will be lower.
When playing blackjack there will often be more than one spot that you can bet on, allowing the player to bet more than one hand at a time, Its important to only bet on one spot at a time as it reduces the variance of the game and will ensure you get the maximum return possible from the game, stick to £1 hand sizes when playing and dont be tempted to bet larger amounts as you will be getting a nice amount of cashback from every offer
Through playing blackjack this way the player will get a return of around 98%, meaning for every £100 staked you will lose around £2. If you make a loss on a casino site after completing the required wagering amount, withdraw your remaining balance, don't chase loses as the cashback will make up for loses and give you a profit in most cases.
All offers are updated fairly regularly, make sure to check the terms for each offer as information in this post may become outdated. Also check for other offers every now and then as new casinos are added!

TopCashBack Offers - £400+ Profit

Topcashback Referral - Get an extra £5 - See the Ref Link at the top of the page!
If you dont already have an account at top cashback, you can sign up through my referral to get an extra £5 added to you account once you make £10 cashback
Lottoland - Cashback £15
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Betfair Casino - Cashback £70
Note this is not the poker offer
Add £50 to your account and play 50 single £1 hands on blackjack following the strategy outlined at the top of the post, withdraw any remaining balance.
Quidco are offering £100 for this offer
Party Casino - Cashback £26.5
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Bingoport - Cashback £3
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Ladbrokes - Cashback £42
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Pokerstars - Cashback £32
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STS - Cashback £21
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William Hill - Cashback £54
add £25 and play 25 single £1 hands on blackjack following the strategy outlined at the top of the post, withdraw any remaining balance.
Megacasino - £15.75
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LottoGo - Cashback £3.18
Buy a euromillions ticket
Slingo - Cashback £24.75
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PaddyPower Games - Cashback £20
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The Football Pools - Cashback £24.75
Sign up for the £10 a month subscription, cancel this after 30 days
Lottomart - Cashback £18
Add £10 - Play 10 single £1 hands on blackjack following the strategy outlined at the top of the post, withdraw any remaining balance.
Genting Slots - Cashback £25
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OhMyDosh - Cashback £40+
Referral gives an extra £1, sign up through the ref link at the top of the post to get the bonus!
Gala Bingo - Cashback £17.50
Deposit at least £5, you'll get a £10 slots bonus and 100 free spins, these carry hefty wagering requirements, Open any slot and play the minimum spin size, play until you lose all of the money in your account or complete the wagering requirements on the bonus funds. Withdraw any remaining balance.
BGO - £10 Cashback
Deposit at least £15. Play 15 single £1 hands on blackjack following the strategy outlined at the top of the post, withdraw any remaining balance. DONT ACCEPT the welcome bonus from BGO.
Lottosocial - Cashback £4
Sign up to Lotto Social - Use your correct phone number when joining as it is the only way to login to your account. Purchase 10 lines for £1, after making a purchase go to your account page and find the list of syndicates your are in, leave the syndicates to avoid making any more payments.
Cheeky Bingo - £10 Cashback
Deposit £10 and get a £40 welcome bonus, just play bingo with all of your funds and hope to get some wins, bonus has 4x wagering requirements.

Quidco - Cashback £100+

Quidco don't offer a sign up bonus, find my ref link at the top of the post if you want to help me out!
All of the offers on quidco are much the same as topcashback, the only offer worth noting is the betfair casino offer which pays £100
Betfair - £100 cashback
Add £100 and play 100 single £1 hands on blackjack following the strategy outlined at the top of the post, withdraw any remaining balance.

Cashbackearners - Cashback £180+

Sign up Bonus
Get a £6.5 sign up bonus, think this works with or without the ref link, links are at the top of the post!
To find these offers just search for casino on the site.
All of these offers state that you only need to make a deposit, its best to play through the deposit 1x to ensure that the cashback is paid.
LuckyMeSlots - Cashback £15
Add £15 and play 15 single £1 hands on blackjack following the strategy outlined at the top of the post, withdraw any remaining balance.
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Cashmo - Cashback £10
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add £30 and play 30 £1 hands on blackjack following the strategy outlined at the top of the post, withdraw any remaining balance.
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Casinosuperwins - Not recommended, bad site, awful support
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The Sun Vegas - Cashback £15
Add £15 and play 15 £1 hands on blackjack following the strategy outlined at the top of the post, withdraw any remaining balance.
DrSlot - Cashback £10
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PrimeCasino - Cashback £15
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ConquestAdor - Cashback £10
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MFortune - Cashback £10
Add £10 and play through £10 on any slot staking the minimum amount per spin. Keep track of spins and quit the slot after wagering the required amount. Don't spin the wheel that pops up after signing up or accept any other bonuses.
Thanks for reading, hope this of use to some people, happy earning!
submitted by Leth96 to beermoneyglobal [link] [comments]

[Lost in the Sauce] Trump admin hides Paycheck Protection program details; lawmakers benefit from loans

Welcome to Lost in the Sauce, keeping you caught up on political and legal news that often gets buried in distractions and theater… or a global health crisis.
Title refers to: The Trump admin is blocking IGs from getting info on over $1 trillion in relief spending, including corporation bailouts. The admin is also withholding PPP info from Congress, meaning we don't know if Trump or his family took taxpayer money. Additionally, we learned that at least 4 members of Congress have benefited from PPP money, but aren't required to disclose it.
Housekeeping:

Coronavirus

Inspectors general warned Congress last week that the Trump administration is blocking scrutiny of more than $1 trillion in spending related to the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the previously undisclosed letter, Department of Treasury attorneys concluded that the administration is not required to provide the watchdogs with information about the beneficiaries of programs like the $500 billion in loans for corporations.
Treasury Secretary Mnuchin refused to provide Congress with the names of recipients of the taxpayer-funded coronavirus business loans. After criticism, Mnuchin began to walk back his denial, saying he will talk to lawmakers on a bipartisan basis “to strike the appropriate balance for proper oversight” of PPP loans “and appropriate protection of small business information.”
At least 4 lawmakers have benefited in some way from the Paycheck Protection program they helped create. Politico has been told there are almost certainly more -- but there are zero disclosure rules, even for members of Congress.
  • Republicans on the list include Rep. Roger Williams of Texas, a wealthy businessman who owns auto dealerships, body shops and car washes, and Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Missouri, whose family owns multiple farms and equipment suppliers across the Midwest. The Democrats count Rep. Susie Lee of Nevada, whose husband is CEO of a regional casino developer, and Rep. Debbie Mucarsel Powell of Florida, whose husband is a senior executive at a restaurant chain that has since returned the loan.
Mick Mulvaney dumped as much as $550,000 in stocks the same day Trump assured the public the US economy was 'doing fantastically' amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Mulvaney unloaded his holdings in three different mutual funds, each of which is primarily made up of US stocks. The next day, the value of the mutual funds tanked.

Cases rising in many states

Good summary: There was supposed to be a peak. But the stark turning point, when the number of daily COVID-19 cases in the U.S. finally crested and began descending sharply, never happened. Instead, America spent much of April on a disquieting plateau, with every day bringing about 30,000 new cases and about 2,000 new deaths. This pattern exists because different states have experienced the coronavirus pandemic in very different ways…The U.S. is dealing with a patchwork pandemic.
As of Friday, coronavirus cases were significantly climbing in 16 states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Washington.
Oklahoma is experiencing a massive increase in coronavirus cases just days before Trump’s planned rally in Tulsa. In Tulsa county itself, 1 in roughly 390 people have tested positive. Yet Trump plans on cramming 20,000 people in an event with voluntary face mask policy and no social distancing. Attendees must sign a waiver that absolves the president’s campaign of any liability from virus-related illnesses.
  • On Monday, Pence lied saying that Oklahoma has “flattened the curve.” As you can see at any of the resources immediately below, this is not even close to true. Over the past 14 days, the state has seen a 124% increase in cases and reports 65% of ICU beds are in use.
  • Tulsa World Editorial Board: This is the wrong time and Tulsa is the wrong place for the Trump rally. "We don't know why he chose Tulsa, but we can’t see any way that his visit will be good for the city...Again, Tulsa will be largely alone in dealing with what happens at a time when the city’s budget resources have already been stretched thin."
  • Earlier in the day, Trump tweeted that he is a victim of double standards when it comes to perception of his decision to resume campaign rallies in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, declaring that attempts to “covid shame” his campaign “won’t work!”
Resources to track increases: There are many different sites with various methods of visualizing the spread of coronavirus. Here are some that may be particularly useful this summer… Topos COVID-19 compiler homepage and graphs of each state since re-opening. How we reopen Safely has stats on each state’s progress towards meeting benchmarks to reopen safely (hint: almost none have reached all the checkpoints). WaPo has a weekly national map of cases/deaths; the largest regional clusters are in the southeast.
On Monday, Trump twice said that “if we stop testing right now, we’d have very few cases, if any,” (video). Aside from the fact that cases exist even if we don’t test for them, we cannot explain the rising number of cases by increased testing capacity: In at least 14 states, the positive case rate is increasing faster than the increase in the average number of tests.
  • Reminder: In March Trump told Fox News that he didn't want infected patients from a cruise ship to disembark because it would increase the number of reported cases in the US. "I like the numbers being where they are," Trump said at the time. "I don't need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn't our fault."
Fired scientist Rebekah Jones builds coronavirus dashboard to rival Florida’s… Her site shows thousands more people with the coronavirus, and hundreds of thousands fewer who have been tested, than the site run by the Florida Health Department.

Equipment and supplies

More studies prove wearing masks limits transmission and spread of coronavirus… One study from Britain found that routine face mask use by 50% or more of the population reduced COVID-19 spread to an R of less than 1.0. The R value measures the average number of people that one infected person will pass the disease on to. An R value above 1 can lead to exponential growth. The study found that if people wear masks whenever they are in public it is twice as effective at reducing the R value than if masks are only worn after symptoms appear.
Meanwhile, Trump officials refuse to wear masks and Trump supporters copy his behavior… VP Mike Pence, leader of the coronavirus task force, published a tweet showing himself in a room full of Trump staffers, none wearing masks or practicing social distancing. Pence deleted the tweet shortly after criticism. A poll last week showed that 66% of likely-Biden-voters “always wear a mask,” while 83% of likely-Trump-voters “neverarely wear a mask.”
  • Trump’s opposition to face masks hasn’t stopped him from selling them to his supporters, though. The online Trump Store is selling $20 cotton American flag-themed face masks.
  • Yesterday, we learned that South Carolina Republican Rep. Tom Rice and family have tested positive for the coronavirus. Just two weeks ago, Rice was on the House floor and halls of the Capitol without wearing a mask.
Internal FEMA data show that the government’s supply of surgical gowns has not meaningfully increased since March… The slides show FEMA’s plan to ramp up supply into June and July hinges on the reusing of N95 masks and surgical gowns, increasing the risk of contamination. Those are supposed to be disposed of after one use.
Nursing homes with urgent needs for personal protective equipment say they’re receiving defective equipment as part of Trump administration supply initiative. Officials say FEMA is sending them gowns that look more like large tarps -- with no holes for hands -- and surgical masks that are paper-thin.
More than 1,300 Chinese medical-device companies that registered to sell PPE in the U.S. during the coronavirus pandemic used bogus registration data… These companies listed as their American representative a purported Delaware entity that uses a false address and nonworking phone number.
Florida is sitting on more than 980,000 unused doses of hydroxychloroquine, but hospitals don’t want it… Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered a million doses of the drug to show support for Trump, but very few hospitals have requested it.

Native American communities struggle

The CARES Act money for Native American tribes, meant to assist people during the pandemic, came with restrictions that are impeding efforts to limit the transmission of the virus. For instance, the funds can only be used to cover expenses that are "incurred due to the public health emergency." On the Navajo Nation, the public health emergency is inherently related to some basic infrastructure problems. 30% of Navajo don’t have running water to wash their hands, but the money can’t be used to build water lines.
Federal and state health agencies are refusing to give Native American tribes and organizations representing them access to data showing how the coronavirus is spreading around their lands, potentially widening health disparities and frustrating tribal leaders already ill-equipped to contain the pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has turned down tribal epidemiologists’ requests for data that it’s making freely available to states.
A Hospital’s Secret Coronavirus Policy Separated Native American Mothers From Their Newborns… Pregnant Native American women were singled out for COVID-19 testing based on their race and ZIP code, clinicians say. While awaiting results, some mothers were separated from their newborns, depriving them of the immediate contact doctors recommend. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that state officials would investigate the allegations.

Personnel & appointees

Former IG Steve Linick told Congress he was conducting five investigations into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the State Department before he was fired. In addition to investigating Pompeo's potential misuse of taxpayer funds and reviewing his decision to expedite an $8 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia, Linick’s office was conducting an audit of Special Immigrant Visas, a review of the International Women of Courage Award, and another review "involving individuals in the Office of the Protocol."
  • Pompeo confidant emerges as enforcer in fight over watchdog’s firing: Linick testified that Undersecretary of State for Management Brian Bulatao, a decades-old friend of Pompeo’s, “tried to bully [him]” out of investigating Pompeo.
Trump has empowered John McEntee, director of the Presidential Personnel Office, to make significant staffing changes inside top federal agencies without the consent — and, in at least one case, without even the knowledge — of the agency head. Many senior officials in Trump's government are sounding alarms about the loss of expertise and institutional knowledge.
Trump’s nominee for under secretary of defense for policy, retired Army Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata, has a history of making Islamophobic and inflammatory remarks against prominent Democratic politicians, including falsely calling former President Barack Obama a Muslim.
Amid racial justice marches, GOP advances Trump court pick hostile to civil rights. Cory Wilson, up for a lifetime seat on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, has denied that restrictive voting laws lead to voter suppression and called same-sex marriage “a pander to liberal interest groups.”
Interior Secretary David Bernhardt has indefinitely extended the terms of the acting directors of the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service, sidestepping the typical Senate confirmation process for those posts and violating the Federal Vacancies Reform Act,

Courts and DOJ

The Supreme Court declined on Monday to take a closer look at qualified immunity, the legal doctrine that shields law enforcement and government officials from lawsuits over their conduct. Developed in recent decades by the high court, the qualified immunity doctrine, as applied to police, initially asks two questions: Did police use excessive force, and if they did, should they have known that their conduct was illegal because it violated a "clearly established" prior court ruling that barred such conduct? In practice, however, lower courts have most often dismissed police misconduct lawsuits on grounds that there is no prior court decision with nearly identical facts.
The Supreme Court ruled that federal anti-discrimination laws protect gay and transgender employees. Justice Neil M. Gorsuch and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joined the court’s liberals in the 6 to 3 ruling. They said Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination “because of sex,” includes LGBTQ employees.
  • Alito, writing more than 100 pages in dissent for himself and Thomas, accused the court's majority of writing legislation, not law. Kavanaugh wrote separately: "We are judges, not members of Congress...Under the Constitution and laws of the United States, this court is the wrong body to change American law in that way."
  • Just days before the SCOTUS opinion was released, the Trump administration finalized a rule that would remove nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people when it comes to health care and health insurance. The SCOTUS ruling may make it easier to challenge the changes made by Trump.
The Supreme Court also declined to take up California’s “sanctuary” law, denying the Trump administration’s appeal. This means that the lower court opinion upholding one of California's sanctuary laws is valid, limiting cooperation between law enforcement and federal immigration authorities. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, two of the Court's conservative members, supported taking up the case.
A federal appeals court appeared unlikely Friday to stop a judge from examining why the Justice Department sought to walk away from its prosecution of Michael Flynn. "I don't see why we don't observe regular order," said Judge Karen Henderson. "Why not hold this in abeyance and see what happens?" Judge Robert Wilkins told Flynn's lawyer that if Sullivan doesn't let the government drop the case, "then you can come back here on appeal."

Other

Good read: Fiona Hill on being mistaken as a secretary by Trump, her efforts to make sure he was not left alone with Putin, and what the US, UK and Russia have in common. “It’s spitting in Merkel’s face,” said Vladimir Frolov, a former Russian diplomat who’s now a foreign-policy analyst. “But it’s in our interests.”
  • Russia’s Foreign Ministry welcomed Trump’s plan to withdraw more than a quarter of U.S. troops from Germany.
  • Op-Ed: Why cutting American forces in Germany will harm this alliance
According to a new book, the Secret Service had to seek more funding to cover the cost of protecting Melania Trump while she stayed in NYC to renegotiate her prenup - taxpayers paid tens of millions of dollars to allow her to get better terms. Additionally, NYPD estimated its own costs conservatively at $125,000 a day.
Georgia election 'catastrophe' in largely minority areas sparks investigation. Long lines, lack of voting machines, and shortages of primary ballots plagued voters. As of Monday night, there were still over 200,000 uncounted votes.
Fox News runs digitally altered images in coverage of Seattle’s protests, Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone
Fox News Mocked After Mistaking Monty Python Joke for Seattle Protest Infighting
In addition to holding a rally on the day after Juneteenth (originally scheduled the day of), Trump will be accepting the GOP nomination in Jacksonville on the 60th anniversary of “Ax Handle Saturday,” a KKK attack on African Americans.
Environmental news:
  • Ruling against environmentalists, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the federal government has the authority to allow a proposed $7.5 billion natural gas pipeline to cross under the popular Appalachian Trail in rural Virginia.
  • Trump administration has issued a new rule blocking tribes from protecting their waters from projects like pipelines, dams, and coal terminals.
  • The EPA published a proposal in the Federal Register that critics described as an assault on minority communities coping with the public health legacy of structural racism. The rule would bar EPA from giving special consideration to individual communities that bear the brunt of environmental risks — frequently populations of color.
  • The Trump administration is preparing to drill off Florida’s coast, but says it will wait until after the November election to avoid any backlash from Florida state leaders.
Immigration news
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection used emergency funding meant for migrant families and children to pay for dirt bikes, canine supplies, computer equipment and other enforcement related-expenditures… The money was meant to be spent on “consumables and medical care” for migrants at the border.
  • ACLU files lawsuit against stringent border restrictions related to coronavirus that largely bar migrants from entering the United States.
  • Under Trump’s leadership, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has mismanaged its finances so badly that it has sought an emergency $1.2 billion infusion from taxpayers. When Trump took office, USCIS inherited a budget surplus. A large amount of funding is drained by its deliberate creation of more busy work for immigrants and their lawyers — as well as thousands of USCIS employees. These changes are designed to make it harder for people to apply for, receive or retain lawful immigration status.
  • Asylum-seeking migrants locked up inside an Arizona ICE detention center with one of the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases say they were forced to clean the facility and are 'begging' for protection from the virus
  • ICE plans to spend $18 million on thousands of new tasers and the training to use them
submitted by rusticgorilla to Keep_Track [link] [comments]

Kozmo Casino 10 free spins bonus no deposit required

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Kozmo Casino is operated by members of the 888 group and is headquartered in the fair island of Gibraltar. Specifically Kozmo is ran by Cassava Enterprises and Virtual Digital Services Limited which operate under a Gibraltar gaming license as well as 888 UK Limited which is regulated by the Great Britain Gambling Commission. The company is perhaps best known for their 888 casino and poker site which has been running since 1997. 888 has been the subject of a few large merger discussions including high street bookmakers William Hill and Ladbrokes but thus far nothing has come to fruition.
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Kozmo’s Banking

As always with online casinos and gambling sites it isn’t the signup process which is the most complicated aspect of the process, but rather the banking and withdrawal process. Kozmo casino makes it simple enough to see the payment forms it accepts with a list at the very bottom of the landing page. Visa, Mastercard, Neteller, Paypal and Entropay are amongst the types of payment accepted. When it comes to withdrawing sums of money Kozmo do a good job of explaining the process on their FAQ.
They are very upfront about exactly how long it takes for money to reach your bank account after a withdrawal. This depends exactly on how the money was deposited to Kozmo in the first place and varies from 3 days for Mastercard payments to 10 days for wire transfer. A good rule of thumb is is the payment will take 3-5 working days to reach you. Caution however, cheques issued by Northern Bank may take up to 21 days to clear for people outwith Europe. Best to avoid this deposit method if you need to collect any potential winnings in a hurry.

Kozmo Casino Bonuses

As with any online casino there are incentives for signing up and Kozmo offers a cash match bonus of £10 when you deposit £10. It further offers 10 free spins as part of the same offer. It is safe to say that this promotion may not excite more hardened gamblers, it seems designed to attract casual punters with a bit of something for nothing. For the casual crowd just beware a little, as you shouldn’t think about collecting that £10 bonus too quickly.
That £10 needs to be wagered a minimum of 35 times before it can be cashed out. If you have ever had a welcome bonus from one of the other sites in the 888 stable of casinos then you will not be eligible for a sign-up offer. The site further claims to have daily free spins with no wagering requirements but fails to go into any detail about how this process works.
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Plenty to Enjoy

Slots on offer at Kozmo casino include titles such as Irish Eyes, Jack and the Beanstalk, Jungle Spirit, Enchanted Prince, Starburst and Rainbow Riches - a slot UK punters will be familiar with from its ubiquity in high street betting shops. Some of the other titles appear a little more generic but in a total selection of over 300 slots that is to be expected. There is also an arcade looking 80s retro slot called Arcader and a slot tied to Casper the friendly ghost titled Casper’s Mystery Mirror.

Numbers and Forms

Kozmo casino makes a big play of being a supportive and helpful site. As well as accepting what they refer to as a constellation of payment methods they further enforce this by saying your details are thoroughly secure with them. In the UK they have a toll free help number between the hours of 9am and 1am, but for elsewhere in the world there is a form to complete in order to receive a response. Despite the fanfare regarding help and support this may take up to 72 hours to receive a response from. It is safe to say that the support side is not a 24/7 service for anyone who only deals with the firm through online methods.
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Kozmo Casino in Conclusion

As a fresh face in the online casino marketplace Kozmo does just about enough to distinguish itself from the rest. The space theme makes for a good working concept and this is followed through in the descriptions and wordplay on the landing page. Sadly, this level of effort has not gone into the graphical design of the logo or anything else here. The site is completely functional if nothing else.
With a £10 sign-up bonus and free spins the site doesn’t offer a huge amount of incentives for signing up so the main strengths seem to be a large array of video slots to choose from. The other plus point of the site is that the financial side of things seems safe and secure enough to give punters some confidence in what they are getting into. In a crowded marketplace of online casinos launching a new brand is quite an undertaking, especially if you want it to get really get noticed. With that being said the question remains whether Kozmo casino has enough escape velocity to break free of the atmosphere and launch into orbit or whether it will come crashing down to Earth with a bump.
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Lost in the Sauce: March 22 - 28

Welcome to Lost in the Sauce, keeping you caught up on political and legal news that often gets buried in distractions and theater… or a global health crisis.
Figuring out how to divide the COVID-19 content from the “regular” news has been difficult because the pandemic is influencing all aspects of life. Some of the stories below involve the virus, but I chose to include them when it fits into one of the pre-established categories (like congress or immigration). The coronavirus-central post will be made again this Thursday-Friday; the sign up form now has an option to choose to receive an email when the coronavirus-focused roundup is posted.
House-keeping:
  1. How to support: If you enjoy my work, please consider becoming a patron. I do this to keep track and will never hide behind a paywall, but these projects take a lot of time and effort to create. Even a couple of dollars a month helps. Since someone asked a few weeks ago (thank you!), here's a PayPal option and Venmo.
  2. How to get notifications: If you’d like to be added to my newsletter, use this SIGNUP FORM and you’ll get these recaps in your inbox!
Let’s dig in!

MAIN COURSE

Congress passes stimulus

Last week started out with a Republican-crafted stimulus bill that was twice-blocked by Senate Democrats, who objected to the lax conditions of aid to corporations, too little funding for hospitals, and a $500 billion “slush fund” for big companies to be doled out by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin with no oversight.
Conservative-Democrat Joe Manchin (WV) even criticized the GOP bill:
“It fails our first responders, nurses, private physicians and all healthcare professionals. ... It fails our workers. It fails our small businesses… Instead, it is focused on providing billions of dollars to Wall Street and misses the mark on helping the West Virginians that have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.”
Through negotiations, Democrats shifted the bill in a more-worker friendly direction. The version that passed includes the following Democrat-added provisions: expanded unemployment benefits, $100 billion for hospitals, $150 billion for state and local governments, direct payments to Americans without a phase-in (ensuring low-income workers get the full amount), a ban on Trump and his children from receiving aid, and oversight on the “slush fund” (see next section for more info). Senate Democrats also managed to remove a provision that would have excluded nonprofits that receive Medicaid funding from the small-business grants.
Echoing sentiments expressed during debate on the previous coronavirus bill (the second, for those keeping track), Republican senators derided the $600 a week increase in unemployment payments as “incentivizing” workers to quit their jobs. Sens. Ben Sasse (Neb.), Rick Scott (Fla.), Tim Scott (S.C.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) delayed passage of the bill in order to force a vote on an amendment removing the extra unemployment funding. "This bill pays you more not to work than if you were working," Graham said. Fortunately for American workers, the amendment failed and the improved bill passed the Senate and the House.

The giveaways in the bill

While Senate Democrats were able to add worker-friendly provisions, the bill still required bipartisan support to pass the chamber and some corporate giveaways remained in the final version.
Politico:

Trump’s signing statement

While signing the latest coronavirus relief bill, the president also issued a signing statement undercutting the congressional oversight provision creating an inspector general to track how the administration distributes the $500 billion “slush fund” money.
The newly-created inspector general is legally required to audit loans and investments made through the fund and report to Congress his/her findings, including any refusal by the executive office to cooperate. In his signing statement, Trump wrote that his understanding of constitutional powers allows him to gag the special IG:
"I do not understand, and my Administration will not treat, this provision as permitting the [inspector general] to issue reports to the Congress without the presidential supervision required" by Article II of the Constitution.
The signing statement further suggests that Trump does not have to comply with a provision requiring that agencies consult with Congress before it spends or reallocates certain funds: "These provisions are impermissible forms of congressional aggrandizement with respect to the execution of the laws," the statement reads.
While some have said that Congress fell short in this instance, one Democratic Senate aide told Politico that Congress built in multiple layers of oversight, including “a review of other inspectors general and a congressional review committee charged with overseeing Treasury and the Federal Reserve's efforts to implement the law.”
Legal experts have pointed out that a signing statement is “without legal effect.” But that ignores the fact that oversight is not equal to enforcement. The problem, in my opinion, isn’t that Congress won’t be notified of any abuses of power by Trump. The problem is that congressional Republicans and the judiciary have largely failed to hold him accountable and enforce our laws even after learning of his abuses.

Concerns about the IG

Another potential weakness in the oversight structure is the inspector general position itself. The special inspector general for pandemic recovery, known by the acronym S.I.G.P.R., is nominated by the president and confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate. As we’ve seen from Trump’s previous nominees, particularly judicial, many unqualified individuals have been confirmed. The Democrats will not have the power to stop the president and Mitch McConnell from jamming through a loyalist to fill the SIGPR role.
Former inspector general at the Justice Department Michael Bromwich: “The signing statement threatens to undermine the authority and independence of this new IG. The Senate should extract a commitment from the nominee that Congress will be promptly notified of any Presidential/Administration interference or obstruction.”
You may recall that Trump has already proven that he’s willing to interfere with the legally-mandated work of an inspector general. When the Ukraine whistleblower filed a complaint last year, the IG of the Intelligence Community, Michael Atkinson, investigated and determined the complaint to be “urgent” and “credible.” Atkinson wrote a report and gave it to Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire to hand over to Congress. However, the White House and DOJ interfered and instructed Maguire not to transmit the report to the Senate and House Intelligence Committees. Chairman Adam Schiff had to subpoena Maguire to turn over the report and testify before his committee.
Further, there are already five IG vacancies in agencies that have a critical role in responding to the pandemic. The Treasury itself has not had a permanent, Senate-confirmed IG for over eight months now, and Trump hasn’t nominated a replacement. The Treasury Dept. has taken a lead role in the coronavirus response, with Secretary Mnuchin handling most of the negotiating with Congress on Trump’s behalf. The fact that the lead agency doesn’t have IG oversight should be troublesome in itself; replicating the situation with a special IG doesn’t seem to be a promising solution.
UPDATE: The nation's inspectors general have appointed Glenn Fine, the Pentagon's acting IG, to lead the committee of IGs overseeing the coronavirus relief effort.
This is one of several oversight mechanisms built into the new law. They include:
A committee of IGs (now led by Fine), a new special IG (to be nominated by Trump), a congressional review panel (to be appointed by House/Senate leaders)

Direct payments

Included in the stimulus bill is a $1200 one-time direct payment for all Americans who made less than $75,000 in 2019 (less than $150,000 if couples filed jointly). More details can be found here. I have read that the Treasury will use 2018 information for those who have not filed yet this year, but I am not 100% sure that’ll happen.
Mnuchin has said that Americans can expect to receive the money within three weeks, but many experts expect that timetable to be pushed into late April. Additionally, that only applies to Americans who included direct deposit information on their 2019 tax returns. Those who did not include their bank’s information will have to be sent a physical check in the mail… which could take anywhere from two to four months.
Other options are being discussed, including partnering the Treasury Dept. with MasterCard and Visa to deliver prepaid debit cards. Venmo and Paypal are reportedly lobbying the government to be considered as a disbursement option.
Future payments?
House Speaker Pelosi is already planning another wave of direct payments to Americans, saying that the $1,200 is not enough to mitigate the economic effects of the pandemic: “I don’t think we’ve seen the end of direct payments.” Republicans, meanwhile, are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach, using the next couple of weeks to measure the impact of the $2 trillion bill passed last week.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: “What concerns me is when I listen to Nancy Pelosi talk about a fourth package now, it’s because she did not get out of things that she really wanted...I’m not sure you need a fourth package...Let’s let this work ... We have now given the resources to make and solve this problem. We don’t need to be crafting another bill right now.”
For the fourth legislative package, Democrats have said they would like to see increased food stamp benefits; increased coverage for coronavirus testing, visits to the doctor and treatment; more money for state and local governments, including Washington, D.C.; expanded family and medical leave; pension fixes; and stronger workplace protections.
Trump’s signature
Normally, a civil servant signs federal checks, like the direct payments Americans are set to receive. According to a Wall Street Journal report, Trump has told people that he wants his signature to appear on the stimulus checks.

THE SIDES

War on the poor continues

Amid the coronavirus crisis, Trump has defended his continued support of a Republican-led lawsuit to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, which would result in 20 million Americans losing health insurance if successful. The Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments in the case this fall. Contrasting with his position that the ACA is illegal, Trump is considering reopening enrollment on HealthCare.gov, allowing millions of uninsured individuals to get coverage before potentially incurring charges and fees related to COVID-19.
Joe Biden called on Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is leading the charge against the ACA, and President Trump to drop the lawsuit:
“At a time of national emergency, which is laying bare the existing vulnerabilities in our public health infrastructure, it is unconscionable that you are continuing to pursue a lawsuit designed to strip millions of Americans of their health insurance and protections under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including the ban on insurers denying coverage or raising premiums due to pre-existing conditions.”
The Trump administration is also pushing forward with its plan to kick 700,000 people off federal food stamp assistance, known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). The USDA announced two weeks ago that the department will appeal Judge Beryl Howell’s recent decision that the USDA’s work mandate rule is “arbitrary and capricious."
Additionally: The Social Security Administration has no plans to slow down a rule change set for June that will limit disability benefits, the Department of Health and Human Services still intends to reduce automatic enrollment in health coverage, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development will continue the process to enact a rule that would make it harder for renters to sue landlords for racial discrimination.

Lawmakers’ stock transactions

The Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission are beginning to investigate stock transactions made ahead of the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. CNN reports that the inquiry has already reached out to Senator Richard Burr for information. “Under insider trading laws, prosecutors would need to prove the lawmakers traded based on material non-public information they received in violation of a duty to keep it confidential,” a task that won’t be easy.
Sen. Burr is facing another consequence of his trades: Alan Jacobson, a shareholder in Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, sued Burr for allegedly using private information to instruct a mass liquidation of his assets. Among the shares he sold were an up to $150,000 stake in Wyndham, whose stock suffered a market-value cut of more than two-thirds since mid-February.

Environmental rollbacks

Using the pandemic as cover, the Trump administration has begun to more aggressively roll back regulations meant to protect the environment. These are examples of what Naomi Klein dubbed “the shock doctrine”: the phenomenon wherein polluters and their government allies push through unpopular policy changes under the smokescreen of a public emergency.
On Thursday, the EPA announced (non-paywalled) an expansive relaxation of environmental laws and fines, exempting companies from consequences for pollution. Under the new rules, there are basically no rules. Companies are asked to “act responsibly” but are not required to report when their facilities discharge pollution into the air or water. Just five days before abandoning any pollution oversight, the oil industry’s largest trade group implored the administration for assistance, stating that social distancing measures caused a steep drop in demand for gasoline.
  • Monday morning update: In an interview with Fox News this morning, Trump said he was going to call Putin after the interview to discuss the Saudi-Russia oil fight. A consequence of this "battle" has been plummeting prices in the U.S. making it difficult for domestic companies (like shale extraction) to turn a profit. It's striking that the day after Dr. Fauci told Americans we can expect 100,000 to 200,000 deaths from COVID-19 (if we keep social distancing measures in place), Trump's first action is to talk to Fox News and his second action is to intervene in an international tiff on behalf of the oil and gas industry.
Gina McCarthy, who led the E.P.A. under the Obama administration, called the rollback “an open license to pollute.” Cynthia Giles, who headed the EPA enforcement division during the Obama administration, said “it is so far beyond any reasonable response I am just stunned.”
The EPA is also moving forward with a widely-opposed rule to limit the types of scientific studies used when crafting new regulations or revising current ones. Hidden behind claims of increased transparency, the rule would require disclosure of all raw data used in scientific studies. This would disqualify many fields of research that rely on personal health information from individuals that must be kept confidential. For example, studies that show air pollution causes premature deaths or a certain pesticide is linked to birth defects would be rejected under the proposed rule change.
Officials and scientists are calling upon the EPA to extend the time for comment on the regulatory changes, arguing that the public is unable to express their opinion while dealing with the pandemic.
“These rollbacks need and deserve the input of our public health community, but right now, they are rightfully focused on responding to the coronavirus,” said Representative Frank Pallone of New Jersey, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Other controversial decisions being made:
  • A former EPA official who worked on controversial policies returned as Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s chief of staff. Mandy Gunasekara helped write regulations to ease pollution controls for coal-fired power plants and vehicle emissions in her previous role as chief of the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. In a recent interview, Gunasekara, who played a role in the decision to exit the Paris Climate Accord, pushed back on the more dire predictions of climate change, saying, “I don't think it is catastrophic.”
  • NYT: The plastic bag industry, battered by a wave of bans nationwide, is using the coronavirus crisis to try to block laws prohibiting single-use plastic. “We simply don’t want millions of Americans bringing germ-filled reusable bags into retail establishments putting the public and workers at risk,” an industry campaign that goes by the name Bag the Ban warned on Tuesday. (Also see The Guardian)
  • Kentucky, South Dakota, and West Virginia passed laws putting new criminal penalties on protests against fossil fuel infrastructure in just the past two weeks.
  • The Hill: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said Friday that it will extend the amount of time that winter gasoline can be sold this year as producers have been facing lower demand due to the coronavirus. It will allow companies to sell the winter-grade gasoline through May 20, whereas companies would have previously been required to stop selling it by May 1 to protect air quality. “In responding to an international health crisis, the last thing the EPA should do is take steps that will worsen air quality and undermine the public’s health,” biofuels expert David DeGennaro said.
  • NYT: At the Interior Department, employees at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have been under strict orders to complete the rule eliminating some protections for migratory birds within 30 days, according to two people with direct knowledge of the orders. The 45-day comment period on that rule ended on March 19.
  • WaPo: The Interior Department has received over 230 nominations for oil and gas leases covering more than 150,000 acres across southern Utah, a push that would bring drilling as close as a half-mile from some of the nation’s most famous protected sites, including Arches and Canyonlands National Parks… if all the fossil fuels buried in those sites was extracted and burned, it would translate into between 1 billion and 5.95 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide being released into the air. That upward measure is equal to half the annual carbon output of China

Court updates

Press freedom case
Southern District of New York District Judge Lorna Schofield ruled that a literary advocacy group’s lawsuit against Trump for allegedly violating the First Amendment can move forward. The group, PEN America, is pursuing claims that Trump “has used government power to retaliate against media coverage and reporters he dislikes.”
Schofield determined that PEN’s allegation that Trump made threats to chill free speech was valid, providing as an example the White House’s revocation of CNN correspondent Jim Acosta’s press press corps credentials:
”The threats are lent credence by the fact that Defendant has acted on them before, by revoking Mr. Acosta’s credentials and barring reporters from particular press conferences. The Press Secretary indeed e-mailed the entire press corps to inform them of new rules of conduct and to warn of further consequences, citing the incident involving Mr. Acosta… These facts plausibly allege that a motivation for defendant’s actions is controlling and punishing speech he dislikes.”
Twitter case
The president suffered another First Amendment defeat last week when the full 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals declined to review a previous ruling that prevents Trump from blocking users on the Twitter account he uses to communicate with the public. Judge Barrington D. Parker, a Nixon-appointee, wrote: “Excluding people from an otherwise public forum such as this by blocking those who express views critical of a public official is, we concluded, unconstitutional.”
Trump-appointees Michael Parker and Richard Sullivan authored a dissent, arguing the free speech “does not include a right to post on other people’s personal social media accounts, even if those other people happen to be public officials.” Park warned that the ruling will allow the social media pages of public officials to be “overrun with harassment, trolling, and hate speech, which officials will be powerless to filter.”
Florida’s felon voting
U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle ripped into Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s administration for failing to come up with a process to determine which felons are genuinely unable to pay court-ordered fees and fines, which are otherwise required to be paid before having their voting rights restored.
“If the state is not going to fix it, I will,” Hinkle warned. He had given the state five months to come up with an administrative process for felons to prove they’re unable to pay financial obligations, but Florida officials did not do so. The case is set to be heard on April 28 (notwithstanding any coronavirus-related delays).

ICE, Jails, and COVID-19

ICE
One of the most overlooked populations with an increased risk of death from coronavirus are those in detention facilities, which keep people in close quarters with little sanitation or protective measures (including for staff).
Last week, U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee ordered the federal government to “make continuous efforts” to release migrant children from detention centers across the country. Numerous advocacy groups asked for the release after reports that four children being held in New York had tested positive for the virus:
“The threat of irreparable injury to their health and safety is palpable,” the plaintiffs’ lawyers said in their petition… both of the agencies operating migrant children detention facilities must by April 6 provide an accounting of their efforts to release those in custody… “Her order will undoubtedly speed up releases,” said Peter Schey, co-counsel for the plaintiffs in the court case.
On Tuesday, 13 immigrants held at ICE facilities in California filed a lawsuit demanding to be released because their health conditions make them particularly vulnerable to dying if infected by the coronavirus. An ACLU statement says the detainees are “confined in crowded and unsanitary conditions where social distancing is not possible.” The 13 individuals are all over the age of 50 and/or suffering from serious underlying medical issues like high blood pressure.
“From all the evidence we have seen, ICE is failing to fulfill its constitutional obligation to protect the health and safety of individuals in its custody. ICE should exercise its existing discretion to release people with serious medical conditions from detention for humanitarian reasons,” said William Freeman, senior counsel at the ACLU of Northern California.
Meanwhile, ICE is under fire for continuing to shuttle detainees across the country, with one even being forced to take nine different flights bouncing from Louisiana to Texas to New Jersey less than two weeks ago. That man is Dr. Sirous Asgari, a materials science and engineering professor from Iran, who was acquitted last year on federal charges of stealing trade secrets. The government lost its case against him, yet ICE has had him in indefinite detention since November.
Asgari, 59, told the Guardian that his Ice holding facility in Alexandria, Louisiana, had no basic cleaning practices in place and continued to bring in new detainees from across the country with no strategy to minimize the threat of Covid-19...Detainees have no hand sanitizer, and the facility is not regularly cleaning bathrooms or sleeping areas…Detainees lack access to masks… Detainees struggle to stay clean, and the facility has an awful stench.
Jails
State jails are making a better effort to release detained individuals, as both New York and New Jersey ordered a thousand people in each state be let out of jail. The order applied only to low-level offenders sentenced to less than a year in jail and those held on technical probation violations. In Los Angeles County, officials released over 1,700 people from its jails.
A judge in Alabama took similar steps last week, ordering roughly 500 people jailed for minor offenses to be released to lessen crowding in facilities. Unlike in New York and New Jersey, however, local officials reacted in an uproar, led in part by the state executive committee for the Alabama Republican Party and Assistant District Attorney C.J. Robinson. Using angry Facebook messages as the barometer of the community’s feelings, Robinson worked “frantically” to block inmates from being released.
  • Reuters: As of Saturday, at least 132 inmates and 104 staff at jails across New York City had tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus… Since March 22, jails have reported 226 inmates and 131 staff with confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to a Reuters survey of cities and counties that run America’s 20 largest jails. The numbers are almost certainly an undercount given the fast spread of the virus.

Tribe opposed by Trump loses land

On Wednesday, The Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs announced the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s reservation would be "disestablished" and its land trust status removed. Tribal Chairman Cedric Cromwell called the move "cruel" and "unnecessary,” particularly coming in the midst of a pandemic crisis. Rep. Bill Keating (D-Mass.), who last year introduced legislation to protect the tribe's reservation as trust land in Massachusetts, said the order “is one of the most cruel and nonsensical acts I have seen since coming to Congress.”
The administration’s decision is especially suspicious as just last year Trump attacked the tribe’s plan to build a casino on its land, tweeting that allowing the construction would be “unfair” and treat Native Americans unequally. As a former casino owner, Trump has spent decades attacking Native American casinos as unfair competition. At a 1993 congressional hearing Trump said that tribal owners “don’t look like Indians to me” and claimed: “I might have more Indian blood than a lot of the so-called Indians that are trying to open up the reservations” to gambling.
More than his past history, however, Trump has current interests at play in the Mashpee Wampanoag’s planned casino: it would have competed for business with nearby Rhode Island casinos owned by Twin River Worldwide Holdings, whose president, George Papanier, was a finance executive at the Trump Plaza casino hotel in Atlantic City.
In the Mashpee case, Twin River, the operator of the two Rhode Island casinos, has hired Matthew Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union and a vocal Trump supporter, to lobby for it on the land issue. Schlapp’s wife, Mercedes, is director of strategic communications at the White House.
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CASINO TOP RATINGS - Blog by Mike Higgins

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Five Top Online Casinos and Best Casino Sites

Five Top Online Casinos and Best Casino Sites
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Top online casinos and some of the best casino sites enable people to play and bet money on casino games over the internet. It is a popular form of online gambling. Online Casinos typically offer odds and payback percentages that are marginally better than a physical casino. Some online casinos report higher payback percentages for slot machine games and some post payout percentage audits on their sites. Assuming that the online casino uses a correctly designed random number generator, table games like blackjack have a fixed house bottom. The payout rule for these games is determined by the rules of the game.

Which Are the Five Top Online Casinos in 2020?

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What Are the Best Casino Sites?

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• Casiplay Casino is one of the most inspiring and best casino sites in the world. Where other sites have a simpler website design, Casiplay is rich in functionality. The graphics are stunning and support hundreds of games. Casiplay's owner or William Hill, the UK's famous sports bookmaker. • NY Spins Casino was launched in 2018 as a web-based gambling platform for both mobile and desktop devices. It has gained popularity by providing quick pay-outs, having an efficient site and customer service and support from the biggest game developers. • Bet MGM Casino NJ has a large selection of video slots, table games and other betting choices that are fun to play thanks to the design futures from developers like IGT and Lightningbox. The very best thing about BetMGM Casino NJ is that you can use it to gamble on countless different sporting events as well as daily casino games. NBA, Premier Leaugue soccer, NFL and other major leagues are covered in depth through the bookie section on the website. • Wild Casino is a platform that offers players the chance to access a number of different games. All you need to do is use the navigation menu at the top of the website to get to them. The games that make up the Wild Casino lobby come from Betsoft, a successful and we’ll know provider, and Nucleus Gaming, a rarer but equally appealing developer. This guarantees that the lobby has a variety of games that you can access, many of which feature amazing graphics and exciting gameplay in categories such as slots, blackjack and table games. • Euro Palace offers you both of both worlds, if you are looking for amazing games and the best casino site. As the name suggests, the elegant palatial atmosphere would attract the most discerning players. Instead of being noisy and distracting by clashing colours and bulky pictures, the understated, uncluttered site with an elegant dark blue backdrop offers the ideal atmosphere to let the games take center stage. Euro Palace has become a top digital casino destination for sophisticated players from a variety of countries.
Whether you were looking for the top online casinos or wanted to know what are the best casino sites that offer an amazing graphic experience, this is the list for you. As an afterthought, you should know that most of the online casinos buy or rent their software from companies like International Game Technology, Amaya, Microgaming, Playtech, CryptoLogic, Golden Race or Realtime Gaming.
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Lost in the Sauce: Feb. 16 - 22

Welcome to Lost in the Sauce, keeping you caught up on political and legal news that often gets buried in distractions and theater. (the previous edition can be found here if you are super behind).
House-keeping:
  1. How to read: the headings will guide you through this piece. The Main Course covers the “big” stories and The Sides covers the “smaller” stories. IF YOU FOLLOW THE NEWS CLOSELY: you likely know about the stories in the Main Course section, so you will be best served by scrolling down to The Sides portion.
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Let’s dig in!

MAIN COURSE

Trump’s war on the intelligence community: 10 days under an authoritarian administration

I wrote a stand-alone piece covering the biggest news from last week: Over the past 10 days, we've seen Trump fully indulge his authoritarian impulses in an attempt to stamp out any inkling of facts that he dislikes - whether that be for personal, egocentric reasons or to shore up political strength. This began with a briefing given to the House Intelligence Committee that Russia is seeking to re-elect Trump. In response, Trump purged the Office of the Director of National Intelligence of officials he perceived to be disloyal, installing loyalists in their place.
Also covered: how Trump gets away with a cabinet full of acting officials, Richard Grenell’s numerous dis-qualifications, a pardon offered to Julian Assange, and the hunt for “Never Trumpers” in the administration.

Sunday night update

On Sunday, Trump made a veiled threat toward House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff while claiming without evidence that the Democrat had leaked information from the Russia briefing on Feb. 13: “Somebody please tell incompetent (thanks for my high poll numbers) & corrupt politician Adam ‘Shifty’ Schiff to stop leaking Classified information or, even worse, made up information, to the Fake News Media. Someday he will be caught, & that will be a very unpleasant experience!” tweet
Later, while speaking to reporters, Trump called for an investigation into the leak - more concerned about the public learning of the briefing than he is about Russia’s repeated interference in U.S. elections. “They leaked it, Adam Schiff and his group. They leaked it to the papers and - as usual - they ought to investigate Adam Schiff for leaking that information,” Trump said.
Schiff responded: “Nice deflection, Mr. President. But your false claims fool no one. You welcomed Russian help in 2016, tried to coerce Ukraine’s help in 2019, and won’t protect our elections in 2020.”

Pardon-palooza

Authoritarians also dispense largesse, but they do it by their own whims, rather than pursuant to any system or legal rule. The point of authoritarianism is to concentrate power in the ruler, so the world knows that all actions, good and bad, harsh and generous, come from a single source. (The New Yorker)
Last week, Trump granted pardons and commutations to 11 people with one thing in common: connections. Trump bypassed the process of formal procedures typically used to determine who is given a pardon, instead relying on connections to his wealthy friends and political allies.

Roger Stone going to prison

Perhaps not coincidentally, Trump’s pardoning of corrupt public officials like Blagojevich occurred just two days before Roger Stone’s sentencing for lying to investigators, obstructing a congressional investigation, and witness tampering. Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentenced Stone to 40 months - or 3.3 years - in prison, much lighter than the original 7-9 year sentencing recommendation made by career prosecutors who withdrew from the case in protest of AG Barr’s intervention.
Lawfare has a great line-by-line breakdown of the sentencing hearing, if you’d like the nitty-gritty details. But if you only have time to read one excerpt from the hearing, I suggest the following:
Judge Jackson: “The truth still exists. The truth still matters. Roger Stone's insistence that it doesn't, his belligerence, his pride in his own lies are a threat to our most fundamental institutions, to the very foundation of our democracy...The dismay and the disgust at the attempts by others to defend his actions as just business as usual in our polarized climate should transcend party. The dismay and the disgust with any attempts to interfere with the efforts of prosecutors and members of the judiciary to fulfill their duty should transcend party.
"Sure, the defense is free to say: So what? Who cares? But, I'll say this: Congress cared. The United States Department of Justice and the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia that prosecuted the case and is still prosecuting the case cared. The jurors who served with integrity under difficult circumstances cared. The American people cared. And I care."
Judge Jackson pushes back
During the hearing, Judge Jackson said that the jurors in the case "served with integrity." Stone’s lawyers took this statement and moved to disqualify the judge from the case, claiming that her remarks “rendered her unable to fairly rule on his bid for a new trial.”
"Stone’s Motion for New Trial is directly related to the integrity of a juror. It is alleged that a juror misled the Court regarding her ability to be unbiased and fair and the juror attempted to cover up evidence that would directly contradict her false claims of impartiality," his lawyers argued.
"The premature statement blessing the “integrity of the jury” undermines the appearance of impartiality and presents a strong bias for recusal," they added.
As expected, Jackson denied the motion to have her disqualified...
A pardon for Stone?
But the goal may be to reach the ears of the president instead. According to Politico, a former senior administration official who remains in contact with Trump and his senior advisers says about a pardon for Roger Stone: “It’s not a question of if; it’s when.” Following the sentencing, Trump argued that Stone’s jury was “tainted” and said that “Roger has a very good chance of exoneration.”
On Sunday, Trump was asked about the possibility of a pardon for Stone and instead took the opportunity to attack the jury forewoman, again:
"That juror is so biased and so tainted, that shouldn't happen in our criminal justice system… You have a juror that is obviously tainted. She was an activist against Trump. She said bad things about Trump and bad things about Stone," the President claimed without evidence. "She somehow weaseled her way onto the jury and if that's not a tainted jury then there is no such thing as a tainted jury."

More info on Stone’s lenient sentence

In the week since four prosecutors withdrew from Stone’s case in protest of AG Barr’s interference, we have gotten a slow drip-drip of new information. A piece by The New York Times Sunday summed it up nicely: Timothy Shea, appointed to replace Jessie Liu as head D.C. attorney, was sent to the office specifically to steer cases to the president’s benefit after previous efforts failed.
A new boss, Timothy Shea, had just arrived and had told them on his first day that he wanted a more lenient recommendation for Mr. Stone, and he pushed back hard when they objected, according to two people briefed on the dispute. They grew suspicious that Mr. Shea was helping his longtime friend and boss, Attorney General William P. Barr, soften the sentencing request to please the president.
...The tensions between the office, the Justice Department and the White House date back further than the tumult in the Stone case. They have been simmering since at least last summer, when the office’s investigation of Andrew G. McCabe, a former top F.B.I. official whom the president had long targeted, began to fall apart.
Mr. Shea’s predecessor, Jessie K. Liu, a lawyer whom Mr. Trump had appointed to lead the office in 2017, pressed the McCabe case even after one team of prosecutors concluded that they could not win a conviction. After a second team was brought in and also failed to deliver a grand jury indictment, Ms. Liu’s relationship with Mr. Barr grew strained, people close to them said. She left the position this year, though she and Mr. Barr have both stressed to associates that her departure was amicable.

Undoing Mueller’s work

Trump’s efforts to derail the sentencing of Stone can be seen as part of a larger campaign to rewrite history, and specifically, erase the findings of the Mueller investigation. Roger Stone’s indictment shows that Stone was acting on Trump's personal order to find Hillary Clinton’s campaign emails stolen by Russia. In order to cover-up his role in the Russia-Wikileaks-Trump network, Stone lied to investigators and threatened a witness. By claiming that Stone did not commit a crime, Trump is attempting to reverse the findings of the Mueller report and make himself the victim.
Last week, Trump embarked on a rambling Twitter thread calling for all cases stemming from Mueller’s probe to be “thrown out.” He continued, saying: “If I wasn’t President, I’d be suing everyone all over the place.......BUT MAYBE I STILL WILL. WITCH HUNT!”
Hours later, while discussing the spate of pardons he had issued that day, Trump made the astounding assertion that he is “the chief law enforcement officer of the country” and thus has the “legal right” to interfere in criminal cases. “I’m allowed to be totally involved,” the president added. While technically he is incorrect - the Attorney General is the chief law enforcement officer - in practice Trump has been proven right. A lawless chief executive is in fact in charge of enforcing the law when the Attorney General acts as his personal fixer.
This is in the style of autocrats across the globe, who weaponize the law to help themselves and their friends and hurt their enemies. The nation’s legal system is now run by a man who has spent his life mocking it. (NYT Editorial Board)
Meanwhile, the president’s allies have reportedly been urging him to fire anyone who was involved in Mueller’s investigation:
The MAGA punditry’s outsized influence over the president means their campaign against the so-called Mueller “holdovers” is likely not falling on deaf ears, especially given Trump’s fixation with what his defenders and detractors are saying about his administration in their frequent appearances on his favorite TV programs.
“It's totally unclear to me why any members of the Mueller team need to remain in the Trump DOJ,” the pro-Trump conservative blogger Will Chamberlain wrote after news broke of the Stone sentencing recommendation.
...GOP operative Arthur Schwartz, a close friend of Donald Trump Jr. who has been described as the eldest son’s “fixer,” said of the career officials in question: “I think they should all be investigated.”
...John Dowd, a former Trump lawyer who remains in touch with the White House, characterized the line attorneys in the Stone case as “insubordinate,” and “the same crowd of prosecutors wedded to the Mueller agenda” who need to be “cleaned out” from DOJ. “And Bill Barr is doing that,” Dowd said.
What can be done about the politicization of the DOJ? In an op-ed for The Washington Post, Cass Sunstein of Harvard Law School suggests that “Congress should transform the Justice Department into an independent agency, legally immunized from the president’s day-to-day control.”

Public charge rule takes effect

The Supreme Court voted 5-4 to allow the government to implement new “wealth test” rules making it easier to deny immigrants residency or admission to the United States if they might depend on public-assistance programs. Legal challenges will continue in lower courts in the meantime. Doug Rand, co-founder of Boundless Immigration who formerly worked on immigration policy in the Obama White House, estimates that as many as 400,000 people every year could be denied green cards or visas because of the new rules.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor filed a written dissent that was sharply critical of both the federal government and her conservative colleagues, warning that they are “putting a thumb on the scale in favor of” the Trump administration. Read her full seven-page dissent here.
The justice wrote that granting emergency applications often upends "the normal appellate process" while "putting a thumb on the scale in favor of the party that won." Targeting her conservative colleagues, she said "most troublingly, the Court's recent behavior" has benefited "one litigant over all others."
"Claiming one emergency after another, the Government has recently sought stays in an unprecedented number of cases," Sotomayor said. "It is hard to say what is more troubling," she said, pointing to the case at hand, "that the Government would seek this extraordinary relief seemingly as a matter of course, or that the Court would grant it." CNN

THE SIDES

Justice Department’s new rules benefit Giuliani

In a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, the DOJ indicated that the agency has implemented another layer of approval that would make it difficult for prosecutors to widen their probe into Rudy Giuliani:
The Justice Department revealed Tuesday that law enforcement officials running Ukraine-related investigations must seek approval before expanding their inquiries — a move that could have implications for Rudolph W. Giuliani, as President Trump’s personal attorney pushes for scrutiny of the president’s political foes while facing a federal probe into his own conduct.
Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd wrote to Nadler that the department had tapped two U.S. attorneys to assist in the process — Scott Brady in Pittsburgh to receive and assess new information, and Richard Donoghue in Brooklyn to help coordinate personnel throughout the Justice Department involved in Giuliani’s case and others with a focus on Ukraine. An accompanying internal memo, circulated by Rosen in January, says that he and Donoghue must approve expansions of any inquiries.

Related: The Hill admits John Solomon’s columns were misleading

The Hill’s review of Solomon’s work can be found here. I have found the review itself to be overly generous to the publication (no surprise), so I will quote from a WaPo summary of the review:
In effect, the Hill said Solomon amplified an inaccurate and one-sided narrative about the Bidens and Ukraine that was fed to him by Giuliani, “facilitated” by businessman Lev Parnas, who was working with Giuliani at the time, and reinforced by Solomon’s own attorneys, who also represented clients embroiled in U.S.-Ukraine politics.
But the Hill stopped short of retracting or apologizing for Solomon’s articles, nor did it say it shouldn’t have published them. It also didn’t characterize Solomon’s motives in presenting what appears to be a largely debunked conspiracy theory about Ukraine.
“In certain columns, Solomon failed to identify important details about key Ukrainian sources, including the fact that they had been indicted or were under investigation,” said the internal investigation, which was overseen by the newspaper’s editor, Bob Cusack. “In other cases, the sources were [Solomon’s] own attorneys” — Victoria Toensing and Joseph DiGenova, who have also represented President Trump and Giuliani, who was also a key source for Solomon’s columns.
Solomon didn’t disclose this connection in his columns nor did he disclose to his editors that he shared drafts of his stories with Toensing, DiGenova and Parnas, the review noted.

Trump tries to block Bolton book

The Washington Post reports that Trump is attempting to block the release of former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s book, instructing aides that it should not be released until after the November election.
Trump has told his lawyers that Bolton should not be allowed to publish any of his interactions with him about national security because they are privileged and classified, these people said. He has also repeatedly brought up the book with his team, asking whether Bolton is going to be able to publish it, they said.
Trump told national television anchors on Feb. 4 during an off-the-record lunch that material in the book was “highly classified,” according to notes from one participant in the luncheon. He then called him a “traitor.”
“We’re going to try and block the publication of the book,” Trump said, according to the notes. “After I leave office, he can do this. But not in the White House...I give the guy a break. I give him a job. And then he turns on me,” Trump added during the West Wing lunch. “He’s just making things up.”

Susan Rice tells Bolton the truth

During a panel discussion at Vanderbilt University on Wednesday, Bolton shared the stage with Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice. Bolton made excuses for his failure to testify in Trump’s impeachment trial, blaming the House for committing “impeachment malpractice.” Rice challenged Bolton repeatedly, denigrating his decision to promote his book instead of testify:
"I thought a lot about if I had been in that position how would I have approached it, and I'll be honest: It's inconceivable to me that if I had firsthand knowledge of gross abuse of presidential power that I would withhold my testimony from a constitutional accountability process.”
"I can't imagine withholding my testimony, with or without a subpoena," Rice said. "I also can't imagine, frankly, in the absence of being able to provide the information directly to Congress, not having exercised my First Amendment right to speak publicly at a time when my testimony or my experience would be relevant. And, frankly, when my subordinates ... were doing their duty and responding in a fashion consistent with their legal obligations to provide information."
"I would feel like I was shamefully violating the oath that I took to support and defend the Constitution."

Trump corruption update

President Donald Trump’s choice to stay at his own Las Vegas hotel each night during the western states swing that wraps up Friday likely cost taxpayers a million extra dollars as well as diverted thousands of them into his own cash registers.
Breaking with precedent, Trump flew back to Vegas to stay every night at his Trump International Hotel, despite his day activities taking place in California, Arizona, and Colorado.
Had Trump held the same events but done so in a geographically logical order ― starting in Beverly Hills and finishing in Colorado Springs, but overnighting each day in the city where he would begin the following morning ― Trump would have spent four fewer hours aboard Air Force One, thereby saving taxpayers about $1.1 million.
...Indeed, the repeated overnight trips to Las Vegas may have forced the Secret Service and other support personnel to keep a motorcade there for a full four days, rather than move it to the site of an upcoming presidential trip
This week, Trump has a whole new country to focus on: India, home to the largest portfolio of Trump real estate projects outside North America, according to the president’s son Donald Trump Jr. According to The Washington Post, since the elder Trump’s last trip to India in 2014, two of his business partners have encountered massive legal and financial trouble.
During Trump’s time as president, the Trump Organization has vigorously promoted their properties in India, earning millions of dollars in royalties:
In 2018, the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr. — who runs the Trump Organization with his brother, Eric Trump — spent several days in India promoting the family’s developments, attending a champagne dinner with condo buyers who plunked down $39,000 deposits and bringing in millions of dollars in new sales. While there, he also met with Modi behind closed doors. The next year, Trump’s Indian business partners flew 100 early buyers of his luxury condos near Delhi to visit Trump Tower and Trump Ferry Point golf course in New York City as a way to generate interest in the properties in India. One attendee gushed afterward about meeting the son of a U.S. president on the trip.

Trump 2020: Cambridge Analytica and Facebook

President Donald Trump’s campaign is bringing on an alum of the controversial data firm Cambridge Analytica...Matt Oczkowski, who served as head of product at Cambridge before it went bankrupt and shut down in 2018, is helping oversee the Trump campaign’s data program...Oczkowski, who also worked on Trump’s 2016 effort, joined the reelection campaign in January, and payments to his company, HuMn Behavior, are expected to show up on Trump’s next campaign finance disclosure later this month. (Politico)
An Axios report revealed where most of Trump’s re-election campaign is spending its advertising budget: on Facebook ads. “Last fall, the campaign urged Facebook to keep the same tools for political advertisers that they make available to companies...Facebook ultimately decided not to change its policies around microtargeting.” However, unlike in 2016, the campaign is also diversifying, “testing new strategies on several dozen platforms, including YouTube, Google, ad exchanges, publisher networks and conservative podcasts.”
  • Side note: The IRS is suing Facebook for $9 million in back taxes, alleging the social media company undervalued intellectual properties when selling them to an Irish subsidiary in 2010. Ireland has lower corporate tax rates than the United States, so the move reduced the company’s tax bill.

Erik Prince investigations

There is apparently another investigation into Blackwater Founder - and brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos - Erik Prince. The FBI is reportedly investigating Prince “for his 2015 attempt to modify two American-made crop-dusting planes into attack aircraft — a violation of arms trafficking regulations...The planes became part of private military services Prince proposed to sell or use in mercenary operations in Africa and Azerbaijan.”
This new investigation adds to Prince’s legal problems, though he insists that he is untouchable “under this guy,” referring to Trump. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Justice Department is “in the late stages of deciding whether to charge” Prince for allegedly lying to Congress in its Russia probe and violating U.S. export laws in his business dealings overseas.

Trump blocking prominent climate change warning

The United States is against mentioning climate change in the communique of the world’s financial leaders, G20 diplomats said, after a new draft of the joint statement showed the G20 are considering including it as a risk factor to growth...G20 sources said the United States was reluctant to accept language on climate change as a risk to the economy. Reuters
On Sunday, it was announced that the U.S. ultimately agreed to a less-prominent placement for the risks of climate change. It will now appear in language referencing the Financial Stability Board’s work examining the implications of climate change for financial stability.
One of the G20 sources said it was the first time a reference to climate change had been included in a G20 finance communique during Trump’s presidency, even though it was removed from the top of the joint statement. U.S. officials have resisted naming climate change as an economic risk since Trump took office in 2017. One of his first acts as president was to announce Washington’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord.

Rightwing threats

Last week, two men were arrested in separate incidents involving threats to President Trump’s perceived opponents.
A Michigan man, Brittan J. Atkinson, was arrested on Thursday for sending death threats to Mark Zaid, an attorney for the Ukraine whistleblower. Atkinson sent the threats in November, on the day that Trump held up a photo of Zaid and read some of his tweets at a rally in Louisiana.
"All traitors must die miserable deaths," Atkinson's email read in part, the indictment says. "Those that represent traitors shall meet the same fate[.] We will hunt you down and bleed you out like the pigs you are. We have nothing but time, and you are running out of it, Keep looking over your shoulder[.] We know who you are, where you live, and who you associate with[.] We are all strangers in a crowd to you[.]"
On Wednesday, Salvatore Lippa of New York was arrested for threatening to assault and murder Rep. Adam Schiff and Sen. Chuck Schumer in voicemails last month.
Lippa started the threatening message by calling the congressman "Schiff, Shifty Schiff," invoking the nickname used by President Donald Trump for Schiff, the lead House manager during Trump's impeachment trial.
...When questioned by U.S Capitol Police, Lippa admitted to making the threatening calls to Schiff and Schumer because he said he was upset about the impeachment proceedings, prosecutors said.

State news

  • Washington Post: A second court has temporarily blocked North Carolina’s new voter identification law on the argument that it discriminates against African Americans. The ruling reduces the likelihood that the rule will be in effect in a key swing state during November’s elections. A three-judge panel of the North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that intent to discriminate was a “primary motivating factor” behind the voter ID law, which passed the Republican legislature in late 2018.
  • CBS News: Florida cannot bar felons who served their time from registering to vote simply because they have failed to pay all fines and fees stemming from their cases, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.
  • CNN: Mississippi's law banning abortions at the detection of a fetal heartbeat -- as early as six weeks into pregnancy -- will remain blocked, a panel of circuit judges ruled on Thursday...The three-judge panel on the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court's ruling that the Mississippi law unconstitutionally prohibited pre-viability abortions.
  • Tampa Bay Times: A curious request arrived in the inboxes of Florida tax collectors last week from an employee of the Republican National Committee. He asked for “all email addresses that have been collected and are in the possession of the Tax Collector’s Office.” He also wanted any names, property addresses and phone numbers connected to those emails in their records. If the tax collectors had complied, the Republican Party would soon have a valuable trove of personal information for millions of Floridians as it gears up for the 2020 election: A detailed database of many taxpayers’ emails plus the name, address and phone number tied to that email.
  • Associated Press: Most Republican lawmakers refused to attend a Tuesday night session of the Oregon House of Representatives amid a slowdown over anger at a sweeping bill on climate change. Earlier, Republican lawmakers, who are a minority in the House, insisted that bills coming to the floor be read in their entirety instead of being summarized, which slowed things down substantially. The 2020 session of the Legislature lasts only 35 days, being an even-year short session.
  • Q13 Fox News: Efforts to expel a controversial state representative from the Washington Legislature are likely over after no Republicans would sign a letter calling for state Rep. Matt Shea’s expulsion. The Spokesman-Review reports that all 98 members of the state House of Representatives were asked Thursday to sign a letter calling for the expulsion of Spokane Valley Republican. All 56 Democrats signed the letter, but no Republicans did.
CONTINUED BELOW
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