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Charlie Munger Dies at Age 99
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Billionaire Charlie Munger, the investing sage who made a fortune even before he became Warren Buffett’s right-hand man at Berkshire Hathaway, has died at age 99.

Munger died Tuesday, according to a press release from Berkshire Hathaway. The conglomerate said it was advised by members of Munger’s family that he peacefully died this morning at a California hospital. He would have turned 100 on New Year’s Day.

“Berkshire Hathaway could not have been built to its present status without Charlie’s inspiration, wisdom and participation,” Buffett said in a statement.

In addition to being Berkshire vice chairman, Munger was a real estate attorney, chairman and publisher of the Daily Journal Corp., a member of the Costco board, a philanthropist and an architect.

In early 2023, his fortune was estimated at $2.3 billion — a jaw-dropping amount for many people but vastly smaller than Buffett’s unfathomable fortune, which is estimated at more than $100 billion.

During Berkshire’s 2021 annual shareholder meeting, the then-97-year-old Munger apparently inadvertently revealed a well-guarded secret: that Vice Chairman Greg Abel “will keep the culture” after the Buffett era.

Munger, who wore thick glasses, had lost his left eye after complications from cataract surgery in 1980.

Munger was chairman and CEO of Wesco Financial from 1984 to 2011, when Buffett’s Berkshire purchased the remaining shares of the Pasadena, California-based insurance and investment company it did not own.

Buffett credited Munger with broadening his investment strategy from favoring troubled companies at low prices in hopes of getting a profit to focusing on higher-quality but underpriced companies.

An early example of the shift was illustrated in 1972 by Munger’s ability to persuade Buffett to sign off on Berkshire’s purchase of See’s Candies for $25 million even though the California candy maker had annual pretax earnings of only about $4 million. It has since produced more than $2 billion in sales for Berkshire.

“He weaned me away from the idea of buying very so-so companies at very cheap prices, knowing that there was some small profit in it, and looking for some really wonderful businesses that we could buy in fair prices,” Buffett told CNBC in May 2016.

Or as Munger put it at the 1998 Berkshire shareholder meeting: “It’s not that much fun to buy a business where you really hope this sucker liquidates before it goes broke.”

Munger was often the straight man to Buffett’s jovial commentaries. “I have nothing to add,” he would say after one of Buffett’s loquacious responses to questions at Berkshire annual meetings in Omaha, Nebraska. But like his friend and colleague, Munger was a font of wisdom in investing, and in life. And like one of his heroes, Benjamin Franklin, Munger’s insight didn’t lack humor.

“I have a friend who says the first rule of fishing is to fish where the fish are. The second rule of fishing is to never forget the first rule. We’ve gotten good at fishing where the fish are,” the then-93-year-old Munger told the thousands of people at Berkshire’s 2017 meeting.

He believed in what he called the “lollapalooza effect,” in which a confluence of factors merged to drive investment psychology.

A son of the heartland

Charles Thomas Munger was born in Omaha on Jan. 1, 1924. His father, Alfred, was a lawyer, and his mother, Florence “Toody,” was from an affluent family. Like Warren, Munger worked at Buffett’s grandfather’s grocery store as a youth, but the two future joined-at-the-hip partners didn’t meet until years later.

At 17, Munger left Omaha for the University of Michigan. Two years later, in 1943, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps, according to Janet Lowe’s 2003 biography “Damn Right!”

The military sent him to the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena to study meteorology. In California, he fell in love with his sister’s roommate at Scripps College, Nancy Huggins, and married her in 1945. Although he never completed his undergraduate degree, Munger graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1948, and the couple moved back to California, where he practiced real estate law. He founded the law firm Munger, Tolles & Olson in 1962 and focused on managing investments at the hedge fund Wheeler, Munger & Co., which he also founded that year.

“I’m proud of being an Omaha boy,” Munger said in a 2017 interview with Dean Scott Derue of the Michigan Ross Business School. “I sometimes use the old saying, ‘They got the boy out of Omaha but they never got Omaha out of the boy.’ All those old-fashioned values — family comes first; be in a position so that you can help others when troubles come; prudent, sensible; moral duty to be reasonable [is] more important than anything else — more important than being rich, more important than being important — an absolute moral duty.”

In California, he partnered with Franklin Otis Booth, a member of the founding family of the Los Angeles Times, in real estate. One of their early developments turned out to be a lucrative condo project on Booth’s grandfather’s property in Pasadena. (Booth, who died in 2008, had been introduced to Buffett by Munger in 1963 and became one of Berkshire’s largest investors.)

“I had five real estate projects,” Munger told Derue. “I did both side by side for a few years, and in a very few years, I had $3 million — $4 million.”

Munger closed the hedge fund in 1975. Three years later, he became vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway.

‘We think so much alike that it’s spooky’

In 1959, at age 35, Munger returned to Omaha to close his late father’s legal practice. That’s when he was introduced to the then-29-year-old Buffett by one of Buffett’s investor clients. The two hit it off and stayed in contact despite living half a continent away from each other.

“We think so much alike that it’s spooky,” Buffett recalled in an interview with the Omaha World-Herald in 1977. “He’s as smart and as high-grade a guy as I’ve ever run into.”

“We never had an argument in the entire time we’ve known each other, which is almost 60 years now,” Buffett told CNBC’s Becky Quick in 2018. “Charlie has given me the ultimate gift that a person can give to somebody else. He’s made me a better person than I would have otherwise been. … He’s given me a lot of good advice over time. … I’ve lived a better life because of Charlie.”

The melding of the minds focused on value investing, in which stocks are picked because their price appears to be undervalued based on the company’s long-term fundamentals.

“All intelligent investing is value investing — acquiring more than you are paying for,” Munger once said. “You must value the business in order to value the stock.”

But during the coronavirus outbreak in early 2020, when Berkshire suffered a massive $50 billion loss in the first quarter, Munger and Buffett were more conservative than they were during the Great Recession, when they invested in U.S. airlines and financials like Bank of America and Goldman Sachs hit hard by that downturn.

“Well, I would say basically we’re like the captain of a ship when the worst typhoon that’s ever happened comes,” Munger told The Wall Street Journal in April 2020. “We just want to get through the typhoon, and we’d rather come out of it with a whole lot of liquidity. We’re not playing, ‘Oh goody, goody, everything’s going to hell, let’s plunge 100% of the reserves’ [into buying businesses].”

The philanthropist/architect

Munger donated hundreds of millions of dollars to educational institutions, including the University of Michigan, Stanford University and Harvard Law School, often with the stipulation that the school accept his building designs, even though he was not formally trained as an architect.

At Los Angeles’ Harvard-Westlake prep school, where Munger had been a board member for decades, he ensured that the girls bathrooms were larger than the boys room during the construction of the science center in the 1990s.

“Any time you go to a football game or a function there’s a huge line outside the women’s bathroom. Who doesn’t know that they pee in a different way than the men?” Munger told The Wall Street Journal in 2019. “What kind of idiot would make the men’s bathroom and the women’s bathroom the same size? The answer is, a normal architect!”

Munger and his wife had three children, daughters Wendy and Molly, and son Teddy, who died of leukemia at age 9. The Mungers divorced in 1953.

Two years later, he married Nancy Barry, whom he met on a blind date at a chicken dinner restaurant. The couple had four children, Charles Jr., Emilie, Barry and Philip. He also was the stepfather to her two other sons, William Harold Borthwick and David Borthwick. The Mungers, who were married 54 years until her death in 2010, contributed $43.5 million to Stanford University to help build the Munger Graduate Residence, which houses 600 law and graduate students.

Asked by CNBC’s Quick in a February 2019 “Squawk Box” interview about the secret to a long and happy life, Munger said the answer “is easy, because it’s so simple.”

“You don’t have a lot of envy, you don’t have a lot of resentment, you don’t overspend your income, you stay cheerful in spite of your troubles. You deal with reliable people and you do what you’re supposed to do. And all these simple rules work so well to make your life better. And they’re so trite,” he said.

“And staying cheerful … because it’s a wise thing to do. Is that so hard? And can you be cheerful when you’re absolutely mired in deep hatred and resentment? Of course you can’t. So why would you take it on?”

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1 Comment
  • L'Angelo Mysterioso says:

    Anybody who invested millions in kommie run outfits like U of Michigan, Stanford U, & Harvard law school can’t be all that smart….look what they’re turning out! To me, he may have been a smart investor, but a complete idiot when it came to judging institutions of higher indoctrination!

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    Watch:

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    Kelce, 36, shared earlier Monday that he reached a decision about his playing future in a post on X.

    “No Keg videos this year, I have come to a decision and will address it at a press conference this afternoon,” he wrote.

    Kelce was referring to the March 2022 video of him announcing his return to the Eagles on a one-year deal which began with him filling up a cup of beer from a keg.

    A sixth-round pick (No. 191 overall) by the Eagles in the 2011 NFL Draft out of Cincinnati, Jason has six All-Pro selections and seven Pro Bowls under his belt.

    He won Super Bowl LII in 2018 with the Eagles and helped Philadelphia reach the Super Bowl in February 2023, when he faced Travis and the Chiefs in a 38-35 loss in Glendale, Ariz.

    Kelce holds the franchise record for most consecutive starts at 157, having not missed a game since 2014.

    Kelce’s brother Travis, the star Chiefs tight end, was in the front row for the press conference and also cried.

    After his roughly 45-minute monologue was done, Kelce hugged Travis, his parents Donna and Ed and kissed his wife Kylie.

    Prior to the announcement, the father off three spent time with Travis in Philadelphia.

    The brothers attended a fundraiser to raise money for cancer survivors after a young man named Brendan McDermott, 38, passed away on May 31 after losing his battle to colorectal cancer, and met with firefighters and other first responders.

    Kelce, who played on a one-year deal in 2023 and could have became a free agent next week, was the focus of retirement speculation following Philadelphia’s stunning first-round playoff ouster in January, a crushing 32-9 loss to the Buccaneers in the wild-card round.

    It came after the Eagles lost six of their final seven games following a 10-1 start.

    Kelce reportedly told his teammates in the locker room after Philadelphia’s wild-card loss that he is retiring.

    Afterward, the All-Pro center repeatedly said he would announce his decision when the time is right.

    Travis weighed in on his brother’s future during last month’s Super Bowl festivities in Las Vegas — where Kansas City became repeat champions in a 25-22 win against the San Francisco 49ers on Feb. 11.

    “I’ll tell you what, I think it’s still up in the air whether or not he’s going to continue to play football,” he told 11-year-old reporter Jeremiah Fennell.

    When asked if his older brother would play in the Eagles’ international game in Brazil next season, Travis replied, “I think he’s got some football left in him.”

    A week later, the brothers were celebrating the Chiefs’ Super Bowl win with Travis’ girlfriend, Taylor Swift in Las Vegas.

    Jason has been open about the toll football has taken on his body toward the end of his career, and how his wife Kylie Kelce has been supportive of every step of the way.

    The couple, who tied the knot in April 2018, share three daughters, Wyatt, 4, Elliotte, 2, and Bennett, who turned one in February 2023.

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    Haiti Gang Prison Attack Triggers Massive Jailbreak, at Least a Dozen Dead

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    Armed gangs in Haiti’s capital released roughly 4,000 inmates from the country’s largest prison after a days-long gun battle with police on Sunday.

    The vast majority of the 4,000 men held in the Port-au-Prince jail successfully escaped, according to reports from local media. Many of the inmates were gang members charged in connection with the 2021 assassination of Hatian President Jovenel Moise.

    Armed gangs launched their attack against the prison earlier this weekend when Prime Minister Ariel Henry left the country on a visit to Kenya, seeking assistance in the fight against domestic gangs.

    Gang leader Jimmy Cherizier, a former police officer, called on various armed groups to overthrow Henry’s regime. Gangs attacked both the National Penitentiary and the country’s main container port.

    “All of us, the armed groups in the provincial towns and the armed groups in the capital, are united,” Cherizier said.

    Henry had vowed to step down from his position by the end of February, but he argued the gang violence needed to be overcome before free and fair elections could be held.

    Haiti has not held an election since 2016.

    Henry succeeded in negotiating an agreement in Kenya on Friday.

    Kenya had agreed in October to lead a U.N.-authorized international police force to Haiti, but the Kenyan High Court in January ruled the plan unconstitutional, in part because of a lack of reciprocal agreements between the two countries.

    Last week’s agreement ensures that Kenya will send 1,000 police officers to the troubled Caribbean nation to help combat ongoing gang violence.

    Kenyan President William Ruto said in a statement that he and Henry witnessed the signing of the reciprocal agreements between the two countries on Friday.

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    Speaker Johnson Releases Over 5,000 Additional Hours of Jan. 6 Footage

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    House Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) and House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) announced Friday the release of 5,000 hours of CCTV footage of the Jan. 6, 2021, protests. This release coincides with Blaze Media investigative journalist Steve Baker’s FBI-compelled surrender in Dallas over his Jan. 6 reporting.

    According to the Republican congressmen, this release is but a trickle compared to the coming flood, as far more footage will be released in the coming weeks and months. Additionally, at the direction of Johnson, faces will not be blurred in the footage in the interest of “getting this work completed as responsibly and efficiently as possible.”

    Already, the footage Loudermilk made available to Steve Baker has served to greatly undermine the Jan. 6 narrative advanced by Democratic lawmakers and their allies in the media.

    Weeks after uncovering various damning irregularities in the story told by and about U.S. Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn, Baker confirmed in January — on the basis of Jan. 6 footage — that the so-called passerby who discovered the pipe bomb at the DNC happened to be a United States Capitol Police plainclothes officer.

    In his continued deep dive, Baker also found troubling indications that something was off about the pipe bomb investigation from the outset.

    On the basis of closed-circuit TV video footage made available to him by Loudermilk, Baker noted how three cameras controlled by the U.S. Capitol Police and customarily pointed at the DNC office building were strangely turned away from the scene just after the discovery of the alleged explosive device. Despite the cameras’ averted gazes, Baker nevertheless highlighted curious details about various law enforcement agencies’ responses to the discovery of the pipe bombs as well as about the investigation that followed.

    The release of additional vantages on the Jan. 6 protests and the incidents in the surrounding area may serve to lend additional insights into what actually took place on that fateful day.

    Videos have been uploaded and now appear on the House Subcommittee on Oversight’s Rumble page. Subsequent releases will similarly be reviewed to ensure that footage does not contain sensitive security information.

    “House Republicans again commend Chairman Loudermilk and the entire Committee on House Administration for their ongoing commitment to ensuring that there is full transparency surrounding the events of January 6,” Johnson said in a statement obtained by Blaze News.

    Last year, Johnson indicated he would release 44,000 hours of footage from the Jan. 6 protests, noting that doing so would “provide millions of Americans, criminal defendants, public interest organizations, and the media an ability to see for themselves what happened that day, rather than having to rely upon the interpretation of a small group of government officials.”

    In his statement Friday, Johnson stressed that the “ongoing work is especially necessary considering the deeply flawed prior investigation conducted by the partisan January 6 select committee, which instead of delivering transparency, has contributed to defendants, public interest groups, and the media having to rely upon the interpretation of a small group of government officials.”

    “My subcommittee’s investigation has always been about providing the American people with full transparency and complete accountability about what really happened on January 6, 2021,” said Rep. Loudermilk. “As such, we have been working tirelessly to make public all U.S. Capitol Police CCTV footage from that day.”

    Loudermilk lauded Johnson for his continued support of the subcommittee’s efforts and for his “resolute commitment to full transparency for the American people.”

    “Today’s decision will significantly expedite CCTV footage releases, all of which will be made available to the American public within the next few months, without blurring or editing,” added the Georgia congressman.

    Watch the videos here.

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    Laken Riley’s Mother Speaks Out for First Time Since Her Daughter’s Murder

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    Laken Riley’s mother, Allyson Phillips, on Saturday shared a public message for the first time since her daughter’s Feb. 22 murder, calling it an “avoidable tragedy” in a Facebook post.

    Riley, a 22-year-old nursing student at Augusta University, was killed while jogging on trails around the University of Georgia campus. Jose Antonio Ibarra, a 26-year-old Venezuelan national who was living illegally in the United States, has been charged in her murder, which police described as a “crime of opportunity.”

    “As I sat down to write this message, I really just have no words,” Phillips wrote on Facebook. “My family has faced the most devastating, unimaginable loss that anyone could ever be force [sic] to endure. I would like to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for being with me and my family during this heartbreaking time. I encourage everyone to have a personal relationship with Jesus. I give Him all the glory for getting us through this.”

    She added that “[i]t would be really easy to lose our faith in mankind because of this senseless and avoidable tragedy,” but said her family has received an overwhelming “amount of love, support and help” during what she described as a “horrific nightmare.”

    “I can’t begin to tell you all how much we appreciate all of the text, calls, flowers, meals, groceries, bows, pictures, personal gifts, memorials, gift cards and donations to Laken’s foundation,” she said. “We are beyond grateful for everyone who has stepped up to be here for us through this difficult time. The outpouring of love has been so enormous – that I felt this was the best way to thank you all in a timely manner. I hope that each and every one of you know how much we love you and appreciate all you have done.”

    Phillips asked the public to “continue to pray” for her family as they “put one foot in front of the other moving forward.” She also changed her profile picture to a photo of a black and red heart – UGA’s colors – featuring Laken’s name, along with the hashtag #sayhername.

    Phillips laid her daughter to rest on a rainy Friday afternoon in Woodstock, Georgia.

    “When the world loses someone like Laken, whose light consistently shined so bright, it seems that much darker in their absence,” Woodstock City Church lead pastor Samer Massad said in a Friday statement to Fox News. “Laken was special. She was a gift to anyone who knew her. Smart, kind, compassionate, and thoughtful don’t even begin to scratch the surface. She was a loving daughter, sister, and friend. She had a gift for making anyone she was around feel comfortable and seen. But the most special thing about Laken was her faith in Jesus.”

    Jose Ibarra and his brother, Diego Ibarra, lived together in an apartment complex in Athens located about a five-minute walk from the approximate scene near Lake Herrick on UGA’s campus where Riley was killed.

    Jose entered the United States through the U.S.-Mexico border in 2022 and was freed on border parole. He initially lived in New York City before moving to the Georgia college town.

    He is charged with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, kidnapping, hindering a 911 call and concealing the death of another.

    Diego Ibarra was fired from a dishwashing job at UGA after presenting fake green card documents, the school previously told Fox News Digital.

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    Hunter Biden’s Chinese Legal “Client” Claims First Son Earned $1 Million for No Work — And Now Threatens to Sue if Not Paid Back

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    Hunter Biden was paid $1 million by Chinese firm CEFC to act as attorney for their employee, Dr Patrick Ho, but now Ho is threatening to sue the first son within seven days unless he gets the money back — because he claims Hunter did no legal work for him.

    Ho sent a legal letter to Hunter last week requesting that their attorney-client agreement be terminated immediately and threatening legal action unless he receives a detailed list of services provided by Hunter and reimbursement for the unused funds, as laid out in the 2017 contract.

    Ho’s letter, sent by Hong Kong law firm Huen & Partners to Hunter’s attorney Abbe Lowell in Washington, DC, set a deadline of seven days for the repayment of any remaining funds.

    “Patrick says he paid him, and that Hunter never did anything for him,” a friend of Ho’s told The Post, “and that according to the contract the money should be reimbursed.”

    The $1 million legal retainer was wired from CEFC in China to CEFC’s Hong Kong HSBC account, and then, on November 2, 2017, to the American bank account of Hudson West III (HWIII) the firm Hunter co-owned with CEFC, and then to Hunter’s private firm, Owasco, according to his California tax indictment.

    Ho was arrested in New York on November 18, 2017, as he got off a plane from Hong Kong.

    The former Hong Kong Home Affairs secretary was convicted in 2019 for paying bribes to the presidents of Chad and Uganda. He was sentenced to three years’ jail before being deported to Hong Kong.

    According to Ho, Hunter, 54, pocketed the $1 million but did no legal work for him, other than call another attorney, Edward Kim, and turn up half an hour late for a meeting with Ho and Kim at the Manhattan Correctional Center the morning after Ho’s arrest.

    Hunter didn’t visit Ho, 74, even once in jail, Ho has told friends bitterly.

    Hunter’s name does not appear as an attorney on record for the Patrick Ho case in the Southern District of New York.

    Under oath, Hunter told Delaware district judge Maryellen Noreika, during his failed plea hearing of July 26, 2023, that he received the million dollar payment as “payment for legal fees for Patrick Ho,” through “my own law firm”.

    Noreika wanted more detail: “Who is that payment received from, was that the law firm?”

    Hunter: “Received from Patrick Ho, Your Honor.”

    Noreika: “Mr. Ho himself?”

    Hunter: “Yes.”

    Noreika: “Were you doing legal work for him and apart from the law firm?”

    Hunter: “Yes, Your Honor. Well –.”

    Sniffing danger, Hunter’s lawyer Chris Clark stepped in at this point: “That wasn’t through Boise Schiller, Your Honor, Mr. Biden was engaged as an attorney.”

    Noreika: “Right. So that’s why I asked. You were doing work for him –.”

    Hunter: “My own law firm, not as counsel.”

    Noreika: “So you had your own law firm as well?”

    Hunter: “I think Owasco PT acted as a — acted as a law firm entity, yeah.”

    Noreika: “Okay.”

    Hunter: “I believe that’s the case, but I don’t know that for a fact.”

    Ho, who has been keeping a close eye on Hunter’s travails from Hong Kong, according to his friend, was “baffled” by Hunter’s responses to Noreika. He was stuck with a massive legal bill for Kim’s representation, which he had to pay out of his own pocket.

    A copy of the attorney engagement agreement that Hunter signed on September 18, 2017, was on his abandoned laptop, and also was obtained by IRS investigator Joe Ziegler from an electronic email search warrant to Google.

    Ziegler testified to the House Ways and Means Committee last year that, “The evidence … indicates that this $1 million payment was not for legal fees and was misrepresented by the Delaware U.S. Attorney’s Office in the statement of facts, and that its ultimate purpose was still under investigation by DOJ.”

    Ho’s letter was sent days after the president’s brother Jim Biden testified to the impeachment inquiry about telling the FBI that CEFC chairman Ye Jianming was a “protege” of China’s President Xi Jinping, a statement that was not welcomed in Beijing, according to Ho’s friend, who said Xi and Ye have “no relations.”

    Ye was arrested in China in February 2018 under the direct orders of President Xi, according to Chinese news agency Caixin. He has not been heard from since.

    Hong Kong has been a Special Administrative Region of China since 1997 and is subject to increasing control from Beijing.

    CEFC paid Hunter a total of $7.2 million between March 2017 and March 2018. Chairman Ye also gave Hunter a 3.16-carat diamond in February 2017, along with a grading report that listed it as a “round brilliant” of Grade F with prime “VS2” clarity and “excellent” cut, putting its estimated value at $80,000, which also was the price claimed by the divorce attorney for Hunter’s ex-wife Kathleen. Photographs of the stunning stone and grading report appear on Hunter’s laptop.

    Hunter testified to the impeachment inquiry last week that he gave the diamond to his uncle, Jim Biden. Jim testified that he “threw it in the trash.” Jim also testified that there was another diamond or diamond “ring” given to Hunter in 2015 or 2016 on behalf of CEFC by a fellow father of a student at exclusive Sidwell Friends school in Washington.

    The Ho-Hunter attorney engagement agreement stipulated: “Attorney will perform the legal services called for under this agreement, keep Client informed of progress and developments, and respond promptly to Client’s inquiries and communications.”

    Legal services included: “conferences, court sessions, depositions preparation and participation; correspondence and legal documents review and preparation; legal research; and telephone conversations . . .

    “If at the conclusion of this agreement, the total amount of Attorney fees and costs is less than that of the retainer sum, the remaining amount will be reimbursed to the client.”

    Ho’s letter was emailed by CEFC’s Mervyn Yan to Hunter, Jim Biden and Jim’s wife Sara on October 10, 2017, Ziegler testified. Jim testified that he “didn’t know” if Hunter was representing Ho.

    Ho headed up CEFC’s nonprofit arm, a think tank also called CEFC, which was granted “special consultative status” by the United Nations.

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    Report: Nasrallah’s Grandson Killed by Israeli Strike in Lebanon

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    The grandson of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, Abbas Ahmed Halil, was one of the three Hezbollah terrorists killed on Saturday by an IDF strike in Neqoura in south Lebanon, according to a report by the Syrian radio channel Voice of the Capital on Sunday.

    This is yet to be confirmed by official sources, but the report cites the same attack in which the IDF announced that three Hezbollah operatives were killed in a vehicle in southern Lebanon after it was attacked by an Israeli drone strike.

    The Hezbollah-affiliated newspaper Al-Manar also airstrike in the village of Kila in southern Lebanon and artillery strikes in the villages of Aitaroun and Belida, which are close to the border with Israel.

    Israel-Hezbollah aggression has been continuous since October

    Israeli strikes since October have killed more than 200 Hezbollah fighters and some 50 civilians in Lebanon, while attacks from Lebanon into Israel have killed a dozen Israeli soldiers and five civilians.

    Tens of thousands of Israelis and Lebanese have fled villages on both sides of the frontier.

    Hezbollah signaled this week that it would halt its attacks if Israel’s Gaza offensive stops, but it is also ready to keep on fighting if the Gaza war continues.

    On Friday, Hezbollah announced the deaths of four members killed in Lebanon.

    Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister Najib Mikati told Reuters on Thursday a halt to fighting in Gaza as early as next week would trigger indirect talks to end hostilities at the border.

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    Leaked Audio Obtained by Russia Reveals Germany Considered Giving Ukraine Missiles to Destroy Crimean Bridge

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    Germany’s air force commander gathered his top officers for a secret meeting last month to discuss the possible delivery of his country’s most powerful guided missiles to Ukraine.

    The long-range weapons could be used to destroy the Kerch Bridge, which links Russia to the occupied Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, the German officers said.

    What they didn’t know: Russian spies recorded their conversation, which revealed classified details about Western involvement in Ukraine. A 38-minute audio tape of the discussion was posted online late Friday by the head of Russian state-run broadcaster RT.

    Senior German officials confirmed the authenticity of the recording to The Wall Street Journal and said the meeting took place on the commercial platform WebEx, an online conferencing tool, which isn’t encrypted to the armed forces’ standard for confidential communication. One officer dialed in with his cellphone from a Singapore hotel room.

    The meeting focused on how Germany might organize delivery and operation of Taurus long-range cruise missiles should they be sent to Ukraine. German leader Olaf Scholz has declined to send the Taurus despite pleas from Kyiv and pressure within his own government.

    Also in the recording were officials saying that Britain, France and the U.S. keep troops in Ukraine to help operate sophisticated Western weapons systems, something those countries have denied.

    The leak delivered a propaganda win for the Kremlin, sparked a furor in Germany and could strain relationships with Germany’s North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies.

    It was also the latest in a string of incidents highlighting German vulnerability to Russian spying. A senior officer in Germany’s BND foreign intelligence service was recently arrested on allegations that he was spying for Moscow.

    Officials familiar with the German investigation of the audiotape leak said that WebEx is widely used by the military and other sensitive departments in the German government. “This should be a wake-up call,” one senior official said.

    Last week, Scholz said Taurus missiles can’t be given to Kyiv because they would require German troops to help operate them. Officers in the leaked call, however, discussed how Ukrainians could be trained to use the system on their own.

    Scholz has long been under international and domestic pressure to deliver the weapon. Britain at one point offered to take over and deliver the system in order to help the chancellor maintain his policy that Germany must not directly be drawn into military operations.

    The leak now makes it less likely that Germany will deliver the weapon, politicians and analysts said.

    Following the leaks, Russian officials attacked Germany for discussing detailed attacks on Russian targets and threatened with retaliation should Berlin become part of the war effort.

    The leak was very serious and would be investigated “very meticulously, very intensively and very quickly,” Scholz told reporters during a visit to the Vatican on Saturday.

    On Sunday, Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said he had launched an investigation into what he called a hybrid attack by Russia aimed at spreading disinformation. WebEx was suitable for communications below a certain confidentiality level, he said, and the investigation would establish whether the officers breached that protocol.

    Pistorius said that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s propaganda machine was using the leak to falsely claim that Germany was getting directly involved in the war.

    “This is designed to divide us and undermine our determination… we mustn’t play into Putin’s hands,” he said.

    In the recording, Germany’s air force chief, Gen. Ingo Gerhartz, tasked top aides with preparing a presentation for the defense minister on how Germany could deliver the Taurus to Ukraine—and how Kyiv could use it to destroy targets including ammunition depots and the Kerch Bridge.

    Ukraine operates similar Western missiles—the British Storm Shadow and France’s SCALP. Kyiv has used them to hit the bridge before but failed to do lasting damage. Experts say the more powerful and further-reaching Taurus, a German-Swedish air-launched missile, could knock down the bridge.

    German officers in the recording indicated that they had analyzed in great detail how to attack that key piece of infrastructure, and said it would take 10 to 20 Taurus missiles to evade Russian air defenses and destroy the bridge.

    “There is no real reason to say we can’t do this; it only depends on the political red lines,” Gen. Gerhartz is heard saying.

    Germany has a stockpile of around 600 Taurus missiles, of which some 500 are believed to be operational. Gen. Gerhartz is heard saying that Germany could afford to supply 100 missiles to Ukraine, delivered in two tranches.

    He added that Britain and France were putting pressure on Germany to deliver cruise missiles because they themselves had depleted their stockpiles.

    On the leaked call, Gen. Gerhartz said there was no point giving more than 100 missiles to Ukraine because the weapon can’t make any significant impact on the battlefield since Ukraine is running short of troops to gain or even hold territory.

    Destroying the bridge linking Russia to Crimea would be strategically and politically important but Ukraine would likely be unable to follow up with a ground offensive, he said.

    “This will not change the course of the war, we must be clear about that,” Gen. Gerhartz is heard saying.

    Taurus missiles fly low to evade radar and use GPS, satellite imaging as well as artificial intelligence-enabled infrared cameras to observe the terrain and navigate to a target without contact with an operator.

    According to the leaked conversation, Ukraine would need six hours to launch a missile after receiving intelligence on a new target if its personnel were properly trained and had access to all needed data.

    Germany’s air force has modeled the terrain around the battlefield for the weapon system and could easily help Ukrainian troops evade aerial defenses around key targets including the Kerch Bridge, officers said in the conversation.

    That topographical data is described as “for German eyes only” and sharing it could breach the limits imposed by the German government on its involvement in the conflict, one officer is heard saying.

    Training Ukrainian operators would take between two weeks and four months depending on the level of precision and the complexity of the task they would be facing, officers taking part in the recorded conversation said.

    Gen. Gerhartz, the only NATO air chief who personally pilots jet fighters, can be heard saying that the chancellor insisted that any delivered missile should be operated without any participation of Berlin’s armed forces.

    One participating general is heard saying the missiles could relatively easily be fitted onto Ukraine’s Su-24 jets, which are already equipped to deploy Storm Shadow missiles. They could also easily be fitted onto F-16s that Ukraine is expected to receive from NATO this year.

    U.S. military personnel in Ukraine could aid local troops in handling the Taurus, Gen. Gerhartz is heard saying. “Many people with American accents run around in civilian clothes” in Ukraine, he is heard saying.

    A spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Moscow had demanded immediate answers from Berlin.

    “Our historic adversaries, the Germans, have once again turned into our archenemies,” Russia’s former President and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, now vice-chair of the Russian Security Council, posted on social media.

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    J.R. Majewski Suspends Campaign Following Controversial Remarks

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    Republican congressional candidate J.R. Majewski suspended his campaign for Ohio’s 9th Congressional District over the weekend following recent controversial remarks that he had made about the Special Olympics.

    Majewski, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump in his prior congressional bid in 2022, said that Trump did not ask him to drop out of the race.

    “It has been the honor of my lifetime to receive so much support from my America First neighbors, powering me to a strong lead in this Republican primary,” he said in a statement on Saturday.

    “While I know I would win, and have a great shot in the general election now that my record has been cleared, it is inevitable that the Deep State will do whatever it takes to fight against me. Even going as far as attacking my family and once again accusing me of stolen valor.”

    “Earlier this week, I reaffirmed my dedication to fighting for those who feel as if their voices are being ignored by the DC Elite,” he added.

    “Well, the best way to do that is to dedicate all of my energy to the one man who I know will crush the Deep State. That man is President Donald J. Trump.”

    During an appearance on a right-wing podcast last month, Majewski said: “Shout out to all the Democrats living in mom’s basement that like to talk s*** on the internet. You know, no matter how hard you try, arguing on the internet, it’s like being in the Special Olympics. No matter how good you perform, you still have … you’re still f***ing retarded at the end of the day.”

    “Yeah, that’s gonna get clipped and ran against me in the general election,” Majewski immediately conceded after making the remarks.

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    Haley Walks Back Pledge to Support Trump if He’s the GOP Nominee

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    Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley didn’t commit Sunday to endorsing former President Donald Trump in the 2024 race if she were to drop out.

    Haley, who has vowed to stay in the race at least through Super Tuesday, had previously signed the Republican National Committee’s loyalty pledge saying she would back whoever wins the GOP nomination.

    The pledge was one of the requirements from the RNC for candidates to become eligible to participate in a series of GOP debates before primary season began.

    Trump, the GOP frontrunner in the race, notably abstained from signing the pledge and did not participate with his fellow candidates in any of the debates.

    “I truly am not thinking about any of that,” said Haley of a future endorsement on NBC’s “Meet the Press” in an interview that aired Sunday.

    “If you talk about an endorsement, you are talking about a loss,” she said. “I don’t think like that. When you’re in a race you don’t think about losing.

    You think about continuing to go forward. What I can tell you is I don’t think Donald Trump or Joe Biden should be president.”

    “Meet the Press” moderator Kristen Welker then brought up the pledge Haley signed, and asked if the former South Carolina governor still felt bound by it to support the GOP nominee.

    Haley said that at the time of the debate, candidates had to say yes and sign the pledge to get on the stage. That RNC “is now not the same RNC.”
    “I think I’ll make what decision I wanna make, but that’s not something I’m thinking about,” Haley added.

    Last June, Haley slammed Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — a GOP presidential candidate at the time — for not committing to support the Republican nominee, saying it was “absolutely irresponsible.”

    The RNC has been in the thick of a leadership shake-up, with its chairwoman Ronna McDaniel set to step down on March 8.

    McDaniel resigned after a pressure campaign from Trump, who recently issued a trio of endorsements for his allies.

    Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump and his campaign senior adviser Chris LaCivita, are among the three people the former president endorsed for leadership roles in the RNC.

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    Arizona Rancher Says He Has Found 17 Dead Bodies, Rape Trees, Migrants Crawling on His Property

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    A fourth-generation Arizona rancher who owns 1,600 acres of land that spans 10.5 miles along the southern border said he has found 17 dead bodies, rape trees, and illegal aliens crawling on his property.

    John Ladd, 68, has been outspoken about Biden’s border crisis over the years.

    He described what it’s like to live on the border under the Biden Regime which openly favors the illegal invaders and punishes American citizens.

    “That’s a rape tree,” Ladd told The Daily Mail, pointing to a tree on his property covered with women’s underwear, which cartel smugglers use as ‘trophies.’

    “Almost all the women who come across get raped by their guides, who then throw their underwear in the trees,” he added.

    Ladd carries a firearm at all times to protect his property and cattle. His family has kept up the ranch for 127 years.

    “I’m in favor of having American citizens and private property owners have more control over their destiny. That’s the bottom line,” Ladd said.

    Ladd told the Daily Mail of the invaders: “They’re military-age males in camouflage, Balaclavas and a cell phone. They don’t want to get caught.”

    WATCH:

    The Daily Mail reported:

    John Ladd’s phone is an archive of life on a ranch beside the Arizona border with Mexico.

    Ladd, 68, has been a rancher all of his life. In the past 30 years he has learned about such savage displays, as well as the patterns of migrants who cross the border and the cartels who control turf on the other side.

    His 16,000 acres lie in the busiest part of the entire border. Border Patrol agents in the Tucson sector recorded 250,000 apprehensions in just the first four months of the fiscal year — almost a 200 percent increase on last year.

    His family has kept cattle here for four generations or 127 years.

    These days he keeps count of the dead bodies he has found on his land — 17 in total (not counting those found on the 60ft strip of federal land at the border). They are migrants who succumbed to the desert heat in summer or the cold in winter or whose hearts gave out or the victims of violence.

    One Arizona rancher who decided to defend his wife and property from illegal invaders was arrested and charged with second-degree murder and aggravated assault.

    George Alan Kelly, 74, was arrested for killing Gabriel Cuen-Butimea, on his Arizona ranch in Kino Springs just outside of Nogales, Mexico on January 30, 2023.

    According to reports, Gabriel Cuen-Butimea has a history of illegally crossing into the United States and multiple deportations.

    According to the defense lawyers, Mr. Kelly fired warning shots after he saw a group of men dressed in camouflaged clothing point an AK-47 right at him.

    George Alan Kelly was careful to shoot above their heads, the lawyers said.

    The rancher later discovered the deceased illegal alien, who is likely a cartel smuggler, when he went to go check on his horse.

    Kelly was initially charged with first-degree murder, but a judge recently downgraded his charge to second-degree murder during an evidentiary hearing in court.

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    FBI Launches Probe After Alaska Fishermen Discover Possible Debris of Chinese Spy Craft

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    The FBI is investigating possible debris from a Chinese spy craft that flew over Alaska early last year after a fisherman reported the curious finding on Friday.

    An Alaskan fishing vessel recovered the debris days ago and is expected to return to the coast sometime this weekend and turn it over to the FBI for examination, according to ABC News.

    “The FBI is aware of debris found off the coast of Alaska by a commercial fishing vessel. We will work with our partners to assist with the logistics of the debris recovery,” the FBI said in a statement on Friday.

    FBI sources emphasized to the outlet that it has yet to determine whether the craft if of foreign origin, but the recovered material is being taken to the FBI lab in Quantico, as was material recovered from a confirmed Chinese spy balloon last year.

    President Biden’s administration was met with a firestorm last year after U.S. intelligence tracked a Chinese balloon as it entered U.S. airspace over Alaska and then crossed the entire continental U.S. before being shot down just off the coast of South Carolina.

    U.S. intelligence admitted at the time that the balloon was not an isolated incident, and the debris recovered in Alaska this week may be of the same origin.

    The U.S. intercepted another high-altitude balloon over Utah in late February, but officials said they determined it was a hobbyist balloon and it eventually left U.S. airspace.

    “The balloon was intercepted by NORAD fighters over Utah, who determined it was not maneuverable and did not present a threat to national security. NORAD will continue to track and monitor the balloon,” NORAD said. “The FAA also determined the balloon posed no hazard to flight safety. NORAD remains in close coordination with the FAA to ensure flight safety.”

    China initially claimed that last year’s balloons were merely weather balloons that blew off course and sailed into U.S. airspace. U.S. authorities deemed that to be untrue, noting surveillance equipment found on the craft.

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    Trump Wins Missouri, Idaho Caucuses, Sweeps Michigan GOP Convention

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    Former President Donald Trump continued his march toward the GOP nomination on Saturday, winning caucuses in Idaho and Missouri and sweeping the delegate haul at a party convention in Michigan.

    Trump earned every delegate at stake on Saturday, bringing his count to 244 compared to 24 for former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. A candidate needs to secure 1,215 delegates to clinch the Republican nomination.

    The next event on the Republican calendar is Sunday in the District of Columbia. Two days later is Super Tuesday, when 16 states will hold primaries on what will be the largest day of voting of the year outside of the November election. Trump is on track to lock up the nomination days later.

    The steep odds facing Haley were on display in Columbia, Missouri, where Republicans gathered at a church to caucus.

    Seth Christensen stood on stage and called on them to vote for Haley. He wasn’t well received.

    Another caucusgoer shouted out from the audience: “Are you a Republican?”

    An organizer quieted the crowd and Christensen finished his speech. Haley went on to win just 37 of the 263 Republicans in attendance in Boone County.

    Here’s a look at Saturday’s contests:

    MICHIGAN

    Michigan Republicans at their convention in Grand Rapids began allocating 39 of the state’s 55 GOP presidential delegates. Trump won all 39 delegates allocated.

    But a significant portion of the party’s grassroots force was skipping the gathering because of the lingering effects of a monthslong dispute over the party’s leadership.

    Trump handily won Michigan’s primary this past Tuesday with 68% of the vote compared with Haley’s 27%.

    Michigan Republicans were forced to split their delegate allocation into two parts after Democrats, who control the state government, moved Michigan into the early primary states, violating the national Republican Party’s rules.

    MISSOURI

    Voters lined up outside a church in Columbia, home to the University of Missouri, before the doors opened for the caucuses. Once they got inside, they heard appeals from supporters of the candidates.

    “Every 100 days, we’re spending $1 trillion, with money going all over the world. Illegals are running across the border,” Tom Mendenall, an elector for Trump in 2016 and 2020, said to the crowd. He later added: “You know where Donald Trump stands on a lot of these issues.”

    Christensen, a 31-year-old from Columbia who came to the caucus with his wife and three children age 7, 5, and 2, then urged Republicans to go in a new direction.

    “I don’t need to hear about Mr. Trump’s dalliances with people of unsavory character, nor do my children,” Christensen said to the room. “And if we put that man in the office, that’s what we’re going to hear about all the time. And I’m through with it.”

    Supporters quickly moved to one side of the room or the other, depending on whether they favored Trump or Haley. There was little discussion between caucusgoers after they chose a side.

    This year was the first test of the new system, which is almost entirely run by volunteers on the Republican side.

    The caucuses were organized after GOP Gov. Mike Parson signed a 2022 law that, among other things, canceled the planned March 12 presidential primary.

    Lawmakers failed to reinstate the primary despite calls to do so by both state Republican and Democratic party leaders. Democrats will hold a party-run primary on March 23.

    Trump prevailed twice under Missouri’s old presidential primary system.

    IDAHO

    Last year, Idaho lawmakers passed cost-cutting legislation that was intended to move all the state’s primaries to the same date in May. But the bill inadvertently eliminated the presidential primaries entirely.

    The Republican-led Legislature considered holding a special session to reinstate the presidential primaries but failed to agree on a proposal in time, leaving both parties with presidential caucuses as the only option.

    “I think there’s been a lot of confusion because most people don’t realize that our Legislature actually voted in a flawed bill,” said Jessie Bryant, who volunteered at a caucus site near downtown Boise. “So the caucus is really just the best-case scenario to actually get an opportunity to vote for a presidential candidate and nominate them for the GOP.”

    One of those voters was John Graves, a fire protection engineer from Boise. He said the caucus was fast and easy, not much different from Idaho’s usual Republican primary. He anticipated the win would go to Trump.

    “It’s a very conservative state, so I would think that Trump will probably carry it quite easily,” Graves said. “And I like that.”

    The Democratic caucuses aren’t until May 23.

    The last GOP caucuses in Idaho were in 2012, when about 40,000 of the state’s nearly 200,000 registered Republican voters showed up to select their preferred candidate.

    This post was updated.

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    Disturbing Video Shows Teens Sucking, Licking Each Other’s Toes at School-Sanctioned Event

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    An Oklahoma high school is under investigation after a viral video of students sucking and licking one another’s toes at a school-sanctioned fundraiser exploded this week.

    The disturbing footage shows at least four kids from Deer Creek High School lying on their stomachs on what appears to be a gymnasium floor furiously lapping up peanut butter off their peers’ bare feet.

    “He is devouring those!” one student can be heard saying, as others cheer in the background and an MC moderates the bizarre competition.

    The video racked up nearly 50 million views on social media in just 24 hours — and led to a formal investigation by the Oklahoma State Department of Education.

    “This is disgusting. We are cleaning up this filth in Oklahoma schools. Our agency is investigating,” state Superintendent Ryan Walters said on X.

    The video was filmed Thursday at the Clash of Classes assembly, which was part of the high school’s week-long fundraiser for a local coffee shop that employs people with special needs, according to the Deer Creek School District.

    Students from 9th through 12th grade volunteered to participate in a plethora of class competitions that their peers paid to attend — including the toe-sucking tournament.

    Administrators initially applauded its students for their involvement in its Wonderful Week of Fundraising, which raised $152,830.38 — but later apologized to its student body and parents.

    “There is a video circulating on social media of one of the activities that involves students only during this assembly that has, unfortunately, gained national attention,” the district Saturday said in a letter shared with The Post.

    Watch:


    “We want to stress to our community that much of the information accompanying this video is inaccurate. However, through this specific game we failed to uphold the dignity of our students and the proud image of our community. We have a responsibility to protect our Antlers and showcase them in a positive light. In regards to this one particular activity, we fell short and for that we greatly apologize.”

    “Thank you for standing with us and helping us to weather this storm and move forward together. “

    Despite several students eagerly participating in the games, the peanut butter toe-licking left others feeling unsettled.

    “It was surprising,” an anonymous student told Fox 25, which originally obtained the footage.

    “I didn’t think they were going to do all that. I was just shocked. I didn’t really have like a feeling. I was kind of disgusted, and then kind of glad I wasn’t over there.”

    One parent described the competition as “excessive,” while another accused the school of not thinking things through.

    Texas Sen. Ted Cruz called the activity “child abuse” on X, to which Walters replied: “Completely agree. We are stopping this in Oklahoma.”

    Walters’ office could not immediately share the status of the investigation.

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