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Author Topic: Corruption in Government  (Read 11098 times)

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AGelbert

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #900 on: March 23, 2019, 05:38:43 pm »

Extended Conversation with Vicky Ward on “Kushner , Inc.”

Web Exclusive MARCH 22, 2019

https://www.democracynow.org/2019/3/22/extended_conversation_with_vicky_ward_on

This is viewer supported news. Please do your part today.

investigative journalist and author of Kushner, Inc.: Greed. Ambition. Corruption. The Extraordinary Story of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.

Web-only extended interview with investigative journalist Vicky Ward, author of “Kushner, Inc.: Greed. Ambition. Corruption. The Extraordinary Story of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.”

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh. Our guest is Vicky Ward, investigative journalist. Her new book, Kushner, Inc.: Greed. Ambition. Corruption. The Extraordinary Story of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.

Why don’t we just begin with the title, Vicky?

VICKY WARD: Right.

AMY GOODMAN: Kushner, Inc.

VICKY WARD: Yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: Why did you call it that?

VICKY WARD: Because I think that, you know, all roads, in the book, lead back to the Kushners’ giant financial problems and that everything Jared and Ivanka have done in this White House is about self-service, not public service. You know, these are people who both grew up in cultures that have extraordinary disdain for rules, including the rule of law. They think that rules only apply to other people. You know, I mean, Jared has very strong feelings about government, going back to what happened to his father in 2004, when, you know, he pled guilty. The government, Chris Christie and his team of prosecutors in New Jersey, had extraordinary leverage. And I think that from—

AMY GOODMAN: Why don’t you tell that story, for those who are not familiar with what happened? This is before Chris Christie was governor, prosecutor in New Jersey. And what happened to Charles Kushner?

VICKY WARD: Well, Charles Kushner pled guilty to basically three counts: tax fraud, illegal campaign contributions, but the most sort of scandalous and notorious thing was that he set his own brother-in-law up in a very sordid sting involving a prostitute, that was witness tampering. And Christie had a lot of leverage over him, that I go into in the book, about his personal life that Charles Kushner did not want out in public, which is why he pled guilty so quickly. And Jared was aware of a lot of this. And I think that—you know, I included it in the book because it’s the only way that you can understand the intensity of the hatred that I think is engendered in Jared towards Christie, but towards the system. Right? This is—you know, there’s a Kushner mentality, and Charles had it, too, that, you know, we’re not here to—you know, we don’t wait to be accepted by Harvard; we pay our way into Harvard. You know—

AMY GOODMAN: And explain that.

VICKY WARD: So, Charles Kushner’s company sent a check to Harvard University for $2.5 million. Jared Kushner ended up going to Harvard. He was, at his high school, in the third track of the—in his class, there were five tracks. He was in the third. No, it was unheard of for anyone in the third track to go to any Ivy League school, let alone Harvard. And I quote one of his classmates, who was in the first track, getting—being rejected by Harvard and crying when she heard that Jared had got in. And a lot of the teachers were crying. They thought it was such an abuse of the system.

The Kushners are used to buying—buying their way through life. They think that money buys everything they need. You know, during Charles Kushner’s legal troubles—there’s a lawyer I quote in book who said, with their money, they virtually got him fired. You know, he said that they knew how to use money. So—

AMY GOODMAN: They got who fired?

VICKY WARD: They didn’t get him fired. He’s a guy called Theodore Moskowitz. He was involved in Charlie Kushner’s legal dispute with his brother.

But you asked me a bit bigger question. So that, yeah, there is this mindset, when Jared and Ivanka go into government, that rules are for other people. And I think that this is why you see the unfairness in, for example, the divestment, right? Everyone—you know, Gary Cohn, Rex Tillerson sell everything in order to go into the government. Jared Kushner and Ivanka don’t. I mean, they put most of their things into a trust run by family members. And, after all, they both come from family businesses.

And then Jared does something extraordinary: He closes the White House logs, the White House visitor logs, so that no one can see who he’s meeting with in the White House. And we only discover a whole year later, when John Kelly says, “No, no, the White House logs have got to be open,” that he’s met with Citigroup and Apollo, who have meanwhile given his family firm loans, and he’s met with Lloyd Blankfein, then the CEO of Goldman Sachs, at a time when Goldman Sachs had an investment in a company that Jared had not only actually put—he hadn’t put it on his White House disclosure form, and he hadn’t divested. I mean, this is—I mean, this is just remarkable. And no one knew. And the American people have a right to know who’s going in and out of the White House.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, Jared Kushner’s father, Charles Kushner, has just written a piece in The Washington Post titled “Here’s the Truth About My Family and Our Business.” Charles Kushner writes, quote, “When he left the company, Jared took several steps to preclude conflicts of interest. At the recommendation of his legal counsel, in consultation with the Office of Government Ethics, he divested from more than 80 partnerships, including 666 Fifth Ave., at a substantial financial sacrifice. We walled off Jared from receiving information on the company, and he resigned as the controlling partner in more than 100 entities. This was all done out of an abundance of caution,” Charles Kushner wrote.

VICKY WARD: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think this also was in response to your book?

VICKY WARD: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: It was today.

VICKY WARD: Yes. I mean, I think it’s just sad. I mean, there’s the—it’s just—this is a fantasy. This is version of what Charles Kushner wishes had happened. I mean, it’s almost more interesting for the things it leaves out than for what it actually says. You know, he starts off, and he portrays the Kushner family as sort of like this cookie-cutter family. No mention of the sordid scandal and him going to jail. He talks about the fact that it’s legal to seek foreign investment to finance trophy buildings in New York. He doesn’t explain that he had to seek foreign investment, because no one in America would touch this thing with a 50-foot barge pole. He talks about the fact that he was bailed out with a 99-year lease. He doesn’t say that that lease was paid up front. I mean, that’s just unheard of, and which is why Congress is investigating it. And—

AMY GOODMAN: And you’re saying that Qatar is involved with this lease?

VICKY WARD: Yes. The Qataris have a $1.8 billion stake in Brookfield. And, you know, Charlie Kushner has bragged about his relationship with the Qataris. I knew they were always there. And the Qataris—if the Qataris want to do this, Brookfield is not going to turn around and say no. I mean, to pay a 99-year lease up front, I mean, you’d have to have—any businessperson, you’d have to have your—for a building that’s worth—you know, would be better if it was just dirt, you’d have to have your head examined. It makes absolutely no financial sense.

And to the last point about Jared having no appearance of conflict of interest, how can he wall himself off from his family? I mean, this is a family business. And I also say in the book he has—you know, he’s also had, in the past, a profit-sharing agreement with his brother, by the way. You know, clearly, the security agencies don’t agree with Charles Kushner, because that’s why they wouldn’t give Charles—Jared Kushner a security clearance.

AMY GOODMAN: So, talk about the significance of that, that only recently sort of exploded again, the whole issue of how Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump got security clearances, Ivanka Trump going on television recently and outright saying Trump was not involved in her security clearance, when in fact—what do you understand happened?

VICKY WARD: Well, Trump had to override everybody. Absolutely everybody said, you know, they’re not—they cannot have security clearances. The—

AMY GOODMAN: You mean everyone in intelligence, who is—

VICKY WARD: Sorry, sorry. Any, yes, career intelligence agency. And, you know, Trump had to override this. And then, as we know, he lied about it, and Ivanka lied about it on television. I mean, for this to be the new norm in our leadership strikes me as just extraordinarily troubling and dangerous. I mean, you know, how do you even begin to right a system that’s so broken and is so dangerous?

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, I want to turn to Ivanka Trump’s recent appearance on Fox News criticizing the Green New Deal’s proposal for guaranteed jobs for all Americans.

STEVE HILTON: You’ve got people who will see that offer from the Democrats, from the progressive Democrats, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—”Here’s the Green New Deal, here’s a guarantee of a job”—and think, “Yeah, that’s what I want. That simple.” What do you say to those people?

IVANKA TRUMP: I don’t think most Americans, in their heart, want to be given something. They’re—I’ve spent a lot of time traveling around this country over the last four years. People want to work for what they get. So I think this idea of a guaranteed minimum is not something most people want. They want the ability to be able to secure a job. They want the ability to live in a country where there’s the potential for upward mobility.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: That was Ivanka Trump speaking to Fox News. Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez responded on Twitter saying, quote, “As a person who actually worked for tips & hourly wages in my life, instead of having to learn about it 2nd-hand, I can tell you that most people want to be paid enough to live. A living wage isn’t a gift, it’s a right. Workers are often paid far less than the value they create,” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted—

VICKY WARD: Right.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: —in response to Ivanka’s comment. So—

VICKY WARD: Right, right, right. Well, I mean, how out of touch is she? But, I mean—but, you know, we see this. I mean, you know, what Jared and Ivanka, I think, don’t realize is that everyone else in the White House sort of views them as like Inspector Clouseau, like bumbling incompetence. And the only people who are aware that—you know, who don’t realize how incompetent they are, are themselves. I mean, they live in a reality distortion field.

AMY GOODMAN: So, can we switch gears completely and talk about what you understand happened with the firing of James Comey—

VICKY WARD: Yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: —and what Jared Kushner’s involvement was?

VICKY WARD: Yes. So this is really important. And I think, you know, one of the most important reveals, actually, in the book was that Jared Kushner—the story that Jared Kushner had met with the Russian ambassador and a Russian banker connected to the Kremlin during the transition started to come out in the early spring of 2017. And it was noticed and reported that Jared had not put any of these meetings, or any of the other meetings he had with any foreigners, for that matter, on his security clearance form. That is—that could well be—that’s a felony.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: I mean, you suggest, in fact, that it was Jared Kushner who was responsible for removing the White House logs—

VICKY WARD: Yes. So—

NERMEEN SHAIKH: —so he could not—you know, so he would be protected from people knowing about all the people who were coming to see him at the White House.

VICKY WARD: Yeah. Well, that’s a slightly different thing. This, that is indeed true and also extraordinary. But the Comey thing is a little different. You know, Jared’s normal sort of way of operating with the president was to take him aside and talk quietly to him. But when it came—so, but once these reports were out that he hadn’t disclosed these meetings on his security clearance forms, and by this time the FBI had got—then run by James Comey—had opened its investigation into whether or not there was collusion with the Trump campaign and Russia, Jared, unusually, in front of everybody, in front of a large group—Bannon was there, but so were lots of others—made an impassioned plea to the president to fire James Comey. He gave a three-pronged argument. He said, you know, “The FBI doesn’t like him. The Democrats don’t like him. And your base will love it.” Steve Bannon, who is—you know, whatever we all think of his politics, he’s a wily strategist—thought this was a disastrous idea, and pushed back. But, obviously, you know, it was Jared who, I say in the book, was “gung-ho” about this. I mean, he was very atypically impassioned. Jared swayed the president. And hence you have Robert Mueller. I mean, James Comey goes, and, you know, hence we have everything—you know, the extraordinary events of this ongoing investigation, the special counsel.

AMY GOODMAN: So, let me ask you about Ivanka Trump’s defense of her father after Charlottesville. We have this famous moment after the horror of Charlottesville and the killing of Heather Heyer, the Ku Klux Klan/neo-Nazi march, where President Trump says this.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I think there’s blame on both sides. And I have no doubt about it, and you don’t have any doubt about it, either. And–and—

REPORTER 1: But only the Nazis—

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: And—and if you reported it accurately, you would say.

REPORTER 2: One side killed a person. Heather Heyer died—

REPORTER 1: The neo-Nazis started this. They showed up in Charlottesville. They showed up in Charlottesville—

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Excuse me. Excuse me.

REPORTER 1: —to protest the removal of that statue.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: They didn’t put themselves down as neo—and you had some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides. You had people in that group—excuse me, excuse me. I saw the same pictures as you did. You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park, from Robert E. Lee to another name.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s President Trump. “There were fine people on both sides.”

VICKY WARD: Yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: Explain where Ivanka Trump then fits into this story.

VICKY WARD: So, I mean, to me, this is the heart of the book. It’s the sort of absolute tipping point, because I think it’s just the most shocking reveal of all. Gary Cohn, whose grandfather was a Holocaust survivor, an immigrant, came over here, Jewish—very, very upset by what the president had said.

AMY GOODMAN: His top economic adviser.

VICKY WARD: Yeah, sorry. Yes. And so upset that he decides he’s going to resign. He goes to New Jersey, where the president has a home. So do Jared and Ivanka. And he stops in to visit Jared and Ivanka and explain that he’s going to resign. And Ivanka—Jared, rather typically, says nothing. Ivanka, to his amazement, says, “no, no. You know, you don’t get it. My father is—you know, my father didn’t mean any of that.” But then she says, “No, my father didn’t say that.”

Gary Cohn had been part of the circle of advisers trying to manage Trump’s response to Charlottesville, and he knew that not only had Trump said it, that Trump had said it deliberately. He had gone against the advice of his advisers. He had picked out—pulled out a piece of paper. He said those words quite deliberately. He was horrified at what—at Ivanka’s response. And he never felt the same way about Jared and Ivanka again. He didn’t resign, but the reason he didn’t resign was he talked to Rob Porter, then the staff secretary, who he’s close to, and Porter said, “You know, we need you to try and get tax reform through Congress.”

AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to Vicky Ward, investigative journalist. Her new book, Kushner, Inc.: Greed. Ambition. Corruption. The Extraordinary Story of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. We were speaking to you about Ivanka Trump the last time you were on Democracy Now! You were investigating her business interests from China to India. What about Jared Kushner’s links to China? Can you explain them more fully, as you do in the book?

VICKY WARD: Yeah. So—

AMY GOODMAN: And especially talk about the holding company Anbang Insurance.

VICKY WARD: Yeah, I think this is one of the things that actually triggered me to start thinking about writing this book, is what happened, what we started to learn about Jared and the Chinese. You know, it was—so, no one knew this. None of his transition or White House colleagues knew anything about this. But Jared, the first weekend of the transition, and his father had a dinner with a major Chinese insurance firm, Anbang, that they were hoping would bail them out of the 666 Fifth Avenue, this disastrous money pit. But at the same—in the same time period in the transition, the Chinese government flew in, because they were so concerned about what the president said—had said about Taiwan. And Jared—

AMY GOODMAN: This is before he’s president.

VICKY WARD: Yes, this is the transition.

AMY GOODMAN: Just in the period—the transition period.

VICKY WARD: And Jared and a group of others meet with the Chinese government officials at the Kushner Companies headquarters. The whole thing is, you know, wildly, wildly inappropriate. But Jared doesn’t mention the fact that he’s got these ongoing talks with this Chinese insurance company, by the way, whose CEO has gone to jail for a life sentence. And on, I think it’s January 9th, The New York Times reports news of this dinner. And all of Jared’s colleagues—you know, Gary Cohn, Priebus—are just horrified. And Gary Cohn says to Jared, “You know, you realize, Jared, that from now on, whatever you do, everyone is just going to assume you’re here to enrich yourself.”

AMY GOODMAN: The Palestinian negotiator, Erekat, what did he say about Jared Kushner, as he pushes a, quote, “Middle East peace plan”? Something around the issue of “he sounds like a real estate agent”?

VICKY WARD: A real estate, yes, exactly. He did. And, of course, Jared pushes back and says, “Well, maybe you need a real estate broker to solve Middle East peace.” I mean, it’s—you know, again, we come back to this idea, the sort of entitlement, the disdain of rules, rule of law, the sort of the personal agendas, self-interest, not the public interest. I mean, and—

NERMEEN SHAIKH: You could say that’s something that’s true of a large number of people within the Trump administration. The distinction is that Trump and—that Jared and Ivanka Trump are relatives of Donald Trump. I mean, would you say that’s the main problem with them? Therefore they’re not in formal positions for which they could be faulted for the things that you’re pointing out, but rather they’re relatives who have access to Trump in a way that, first of all, gives them power, but without granting them some kind of formal authority.

VICKY WARD: Well, I think it’s more complicated than that. I think it’s to do with transparency. I think that the other members of the Cabinet and the administration are sort of held to a greater public scrutiny. I mean, you know, all these things, you know, that Jared has the power to close the logs and operate in darkness, the fact that he’s—the foreign policy is conducted in darkness, that it’s the—it’s that they’re kind of—they, unlike everyone else, are out of the system. And this is what Reince Priebus couldn’t manage. You know, everyone else, it’s sort of a bit more transparent, you know, their conversations with the president. I think the problem with these two is, we don’t—there’s so much that we don’t know.

AMY GOODMAN: Even though they have official titles, as a senior advisers.

VICKY WARD: Right. And that’s not OK. I mean, look, if she was just the first daughter, not a problem. But she’s not. And that’s where there is a real problem. You know, you can’t go into government and run it like a family real estate business. But that is exactly what’s going on.

AMY GOODMAN: Talking about the family real estate business, what about the Trump International Hotel, down the street from the White House, and how it’s being run, who goes there, what they pay, and then what they’re getting in return?

VICKY WARD: Well, that’s an obvious example of exactly what we’re talking about, just an extraordinary conflict of interest, that’s in plain sight. I mean, famously, you know, anyone—all the foreign entities who are looking to curry favor all stay there. I mean, you know, and again, Ivanka and her—the Trump children each have a 7 percent share in that, which actually is surprisingly little, that Donald Trump didn’t give them more equity. I mean, that, I think, explains, to some degree, why Ivanka was so keen to hold onto her fashion line for so long, even though it was completely inappropriate that she do that, because Donald Trump gives his children surprisingly little. It’s an unusual arrangement for a New York real estate family business. They have surprisingly little equity in his assets.

AMY GOODMAN: So, what about the House Oversight Committee, Judiciary—

VICKY WARD: Yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: —now that Democrats control the House? What is being—what do you think should be exposed about Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump? What do you think they are most vulnerable on, as the—as, for example, House Judiciary has demanded—

VICKY WARD: Yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: —documents from 81 businesses and people, but Ivanka Trump is not one of them?

VICKY WARD: No, but her businesses are—I mean, come up, and there are a lot of questions about her businesses, as there are about Jared and his businesses. You know, I hope that House Oversight asks more people. I mean, I think that it’d be—you know, I that talking to Jared’s brother—I mean, there are questions about conflicts of interest. You know, just a question. And, you know, it seems clear that Gary Cohn would be a useful person to interview, given that he had a prior knowledge of some of the Kushner brothers’ partnerships.

AMY GOODMAN: Because?

VICKY WARD: Because Goldman Sachs, which is where Gary Cohn used to work, was an investor. So, I hope that—you know, I think that one way to look at it is that the investigations coming out of Congress now are going to give us a road map. They’re the sort of what. And I hope that my book is the why, if that makes sense.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, let me ask you specifically about another issue, very important: BFPS.

VICKY WARD: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: Explain what that is, how this ties into the whole debate around healthcare, Obamacare, around the Affordable Care Act.

VICKY WARD: Right. So, BFPS is on Jared Kushner’s White House disclosure forms. It stands for “brothers first, partners second.” The way he described it to someone he was trying to hire, three years ago, before he went into the government, was that it’s a profit-sharing vehicle with his brother Josh, whereby each brother splits 50 percent of each of their businesses with each other. Charles Kushner, I report in the book, liked this arrangement, because Charles Kushner had a famous disastrous feud with his own brother about money. So he thought it would be great if these two split their profits 50-50, avoid any fighting.

Now, Josh Kushner says that currently there is no profit-sharing arrangement between them—very precise use of the tense. But Gary Cohn knew that they still had—you know, that Jared still has a stake in a company called Cadre, that he founded with Josh Kushner, his brother, and he kept that stake when he went into the government. He didn’t disclose it on his financial forms. Instead, he rolled it up in BFPS.

AMY GOODMAN: Brothers first, partners second.

VICKY WARD: Yes. So, yes. So—

AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking about Thrive. We’re talking about Cadre. We’re talking about Oscar insurance.

VICKY WARD: Oscar—well, so, it’s a little tricky. So, Oscar Health insurance is a business that Josh Kushner started. It’s a health insurance business that’s worth—or it was worth, at the time, at the beginning of the administration, $2.7 billion. And because Gary Cohn knew that there was this web of entanglement, or that certainly existed in the past, and he knew—he did know that Jared still had a stake in Cadre with his brother, he was very concerned when Jared kept bringing up his brother’s name during discussions of repeal-and-replace. And, you know, Jared—

AMY GOODMAN: Repealing Obamacare.

VICKY WARD: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And Jared—because Josh’s business, the success of it, is entirely predicated on Obamacare, it’d be disastrous if it had been repealed, for Oscar, this $2.7 billion business. So when Jared kept saying—you know, mentioning Josh, Gary Cohn was really, really uncomfortable. And then Joel Klein, who works for Josh, reached out to Gary Cohn with suggestions of how he thought healthcare should be shaped. And Gary Cohn says in the book that he was really uncomfortable about this. Now, Joel Klein says, “I was just doing—I was doing what anyone in my position would do.” You know, but given the background and given these business partnerships, I think Gary Cohn was really troubled. And rightly so.

AMY GOODMAN: So, you don’t name a lot of your sources.

VICKY WARD: No.

AMY GOODMAN: And that’s one of the criticisms of the book—

VICKY WARD: Yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: —is that it’s based on so many unnamed sources. Why?

VICKY WARD: Well, if you look at any book about a White House that’s written contemporaneously, they’re not on the record. I mean, even the great Bob Woodward is full of anonymous sources. And with this White House in particular, that is known to be so punitive, people are very frightened to go on the record. You know, Washington is an ecosystem. These people’s livelihoods depend on their relationship with the White House. So the only way you can get around—you know, you can really try and be as accurate as possible is to double- or triple-source everything. And, you know, so I made it a point of principle not to take one person’s word—you asked me earlier about Steve Bannon—absolutely never to take what somebody like he might have said, you know, as gospel, that it had to be run past other people who had direct knowledge of what happened in the room.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: But there are a couple of moments where you say, “He thought to himself,” Bannon thought to himself. That can’t possibly be verified by anybody else.

VICKY WARD: Yeah, it’s a—so, that would have been checked. I mean, that’s not in there without, you know, yes, I would have known. I would have had access to what he thought in those instances, and he is aware of that.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, we’ll leave it there. At the end, an unnamed source says to you, “Wait until they’re out of power.”

VICKY WARD: Oh, yes.

AMY GOODMAN: “I’ll tell you the real story then.” Vicky Ward, investigative journalist. Her new book is titled Kushner, Inc.: Greed. Ambition. Corruption. The Extraordinary Story of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.

To see Part 1 of our discussion, go to democracynow.org. I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh.

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.


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AGelbert

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #901 on: March 23, 2019, 06:31:45 pm »



Kushner, Inc.: Vicky Ward on How Jared and Ivanka’s Greed & Ambition Compromise U.S. Foreign Policy
STORY MARCH 21, 2019 

SNIPPET:

icky, welcome back to Democracy Now!

VICKY WARD: Thank you, Amy.

AMY GOODMAN: Let’s begin there. I mean, it may sound a little odd to talk about the senior adviser to President Trump, Jared Kushner, and how he almost started a war in the Middle East, by asking you about a New York City skyscraper, a New York City building.

VICKY WARD: You’re exactly right, though, to make—

AMY GOODMAN: 666 Fifth Avenue.

VICKY WARD: You’re exactly right to make the connection. So, the Kushners have this albatross around them. In the book, I sort of think of 666 Fifth Avenue as like the Maltese Falcon. It’s just always there, and sort of all roads, when it comes to Jared’s policymaking, lead back to this money pit, this disastrous investment, where a loan of $1.4 billion is coming due in February of 2019, and no American lender will touch it with a 50-foot pole, which means the Kushners need foreign investment. You know, tricky when it’s a family business, and the son is now senior adviser to the president. The Qataris told the Kushners in the spring of 2017, when Jared was already in government—Charlie Kushner asked for over a billion dollars; they turned Charlie Kushner, Jared’s father, down.

So, bearing that in mind, Jared has a new best friend in the Middle East, who also has money: MBS, the future crown prince—he wasn’t crown prince yet—of Saudi Arabia. And these two form a bond that really alarms Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state, and James Mattis, the secretary of defense, because Jared and MBS cut out all the national security officials who should be looped in onto their communications, cut out everyone in the State Department. You know, these are systems we’ve had in place to protect our security and our government for decades. And Rex Tillerson, who, you know, was very experienced in the region—

AMY GOODMAN: The former secretary of state.

VICKY WARD: The former secretary of state, but, before that, remember, he ran Exxon—knew a bit about MBS’s sort of brutal track record and was really concerned about this.

Jared sees an opportunity for money, for investment in MBS and for subsidizing his peace plan. So he pushes the president to make the United States’ first official visit overseas not to a country with shared democratic values, such as Britain or France, but to the united—sorry, to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where they have this summit that is supposed to be all about cooperation in the region. But 10 days later, or thereabouts, Rex Tillerson and James Mattis are at a conference in Australia. To their astonishment, they learn that, instead of cooperating, the Saudis have led a group of Middle Eastern countries to blockade Qatar, where America has an air base. That is our security in the region. They had no prior knowledge of this. Tillerson immediately knew that the green light—Saudis would never have done this without support from the White House—it came from Jared.

And what MBS wanted was to over—was he actually wanted to invade Qatar—it was worse than that—because he wanted the Qataris’ resources, which is why, when he eventually—actually, when he couldn’t get hold of those, that’s what actually then leads him to round up six of the seven ruling branches of the Saudi royal family later in November. You know, it’s all about money. Rex Tillerson said to Jared Kushner, “Jared, have you noticed that the only branch”—you know, there are seven ruling houses in Saudi Arabia—”the only branch that MBS has not rounded up is his own? Don’t you think it’s statistically unlikely that they’re not corrupt, too?” Jared didn’t want to know. He didn’t want to know, when Tillerson told him how dangerous this was. And actually, what Jared did was what MBS wanted him to do, which was fire Rex Tillerson.

But there’s an ironic twist to this tale. In the spring of 2018, MBS arrives in Washington, and the president asks him for $4 billion to help rebuilding Syria. And MBS says, “I don’t have that kind of money.” This atrocious war in Yemen has cost the Saudis a lot, and oil prices fell. Well, Trump and Jared listened. The Qataris then arrived in Washington. And, you know, strategically, they offered Trump and Jared—they said, “We’ve got plenty of money, for whatever you want to do. But you need to end the support of this blockade.”

So, what happens is that at exactly the sort of same time period, 666 Fifth Avenue, the Kushners’ troubled building, gets an extraordinary deal that makes absolutely no sense. A Canadian firm, whose second-largest investor is the Qatari Investment Authority, says it’s going to lease this building, that someone who’s been involved in it said would be worth—more valuable if it was just a pile of dirt. They’re going to pay $1.3 billion, 99-year lease, and they’re going to pay all that lease up front. I mean, this is a deal that stinks. So, I mean, it seems hard—and at the same time, the U.S. changes its policy towards the blockade on Qatar. I mean, Congress is now, quite rightly, investigating this.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, I mean, that’s one of the incidents, one of the principal incidents, that you cite in the book as a conclusion, which, you know, might surprise people, which is that Jared and Ivanka are Trump’s greatest liability.

VICKY WARD: Yes.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: I mean, it seems that there are a number of contenders for that position, not least Trump himself.

VICKY WARD: Yes, but I think, you know, Trump, as we’ve seen, particularly in this last week, to a much larger degree than Jared and Ivanka, is in plain sight. Right? He’s not holding back on anything, unfortunately. You know, all the inappropriate things that have come out his mouth or his Twitter feed in the last week illustrate that. Jared and Ivanka would never say those kind of things, which means, I think, that they’re more dangerous, in a way, because they’re in disguise. You know, what I just described to you, I think of as sort of diplomacy in the dark. I mean, the idea that Jared is running around doing all of this, and nobody knows anything about it, not even our State Department, not the National Security Council, I mean, that’s horrifying.

View full video or read full transcript:


https://www.democracynow.org/2019/3/21/kushner_inc_vicky_ward_on_how

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #902 on: March 26, 2019, 09:59:41 pm »

Green New Deal Voted Down by Senate🐉🦕🦖, but Activists Aren’t Deterred

March 26, 2019

The Senate rejected the proposal in what Democrats called a “sham vote,” but 18-year-old Jeremy Ornstein of the Sunrise Movement says that won’t stop the movement for climate action

Green New Deal, climate, climate change, Ed Markey, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Senate

Story Transcript

DHARNA NOOR: It’s The Real News. I’m Dharna Noor.

The U.S. Senate voted no on a resolution for the Green New Deal on Tuesday afternoon. They held the procedural vote at the behest of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said that they wanted to get Democrats on record. The resolution, introduced last month by New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, outlines a broad plan to tackle the climate crisis by reaching net zero emissions within a decade while creating millions of jobs investing in infrastructure and centering frontline communities. Democrats have said that McConnell’s call for a vote was an attack, and they voted ‘present’ instead of ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on the resolution to show unanimity. Even resolution sponsor Markey voted ‘present.’

Now joining me to talk about this vote is Jeremy Ornstein, an 18-year-old fellow and spokesperson with the Sunrise Movement. Sunrise is the youth-led environmental organization that spearheaded the push for the Green New Deal. Thanks so much for being on, Jeremy.

JEREMY ORNSTEIN: Yeah, my pleasure. I’m looking forward to the conversation.

DHARNA NOOR: So I want to start by asking you to talk about the Senate Democrats’s strategy on the floor today. Again, even Markey, the Senate sponsor of this resolution, just voted ‘present.’ Here he is at a press conference that y’all, Sunrise, held before the hearing.

ED MARKEY: Republicans and President Trump may choose to be in denial about the consequences of climate change. But to ordinary people, climate change is not politics. It is life and death. But instead of confronting this generational challenge, Senate Republicans and their leader Mitch McConnell have scheduled a sham vote today on the Green New Deal resolution on the floor of the United States Senate. They are calling this vote without hearings, without expert testimony, without any real discussion of the costs of climate action and the massive potential for clean energy job creation in our country. And that is because Senator McConnell wants to sabotage the call for climate action.

DHARNA NOOR: But Republican senators seem to think that this was a way to dodge the vote. For contrast, here’s what Texas Republican Senator Cornyn’s response to the vote was today.

JOHN CORNYN: But this proposal is a pie-in-the-sky, unattainable end destination with no details of how to arrive there. So as the Senate prepares to vote on the Green New Deal, I’d ask we keep in mind that our constituents didn’t send send us here to Washington to vote ‘present.’ That’s a cop out. Voting ‘present’? Give me a break.

DHARNA NOOR: So what do you make of this strategy? Was it a cop out to vote ‘present’? Did you support the strategy?

JEREMY ORNSTEIN: That’s a good question. I think today, we were talking earlier, and I think not–I don’t feel deterred by the vote, and by the fact that the Senate voted no. We were expecting this. This resolution was intended as a conversation starter. We knew it couldn’t pass the Senate, where the the party in the majority takes more than 90 percent of the total campaign contributions from oil and gas. This wasn’t supposed to pass. This was supposed to start a conversation.

And so I think that the Republicans who are calling this a cop out, who are asking for political leaders to just show up and pick a side, you know, which side of the line are they on? Are they for a Green New Deal? Or are they opposing the Green New Deal? I think they’re misinterpreting this moment.

Senator Markey said it himself. There haven’t been discussions, real discussions around this Green New Deal resolution. I sat in the Republican Senate chambers a few weeks ago to hear Republicans pointing to skewed graphs and a made up number that talked about the Green New Deal without, as the senator said, expert testimony; without considering the cost of inaction. And so this isn’t the big vote where everyone draws the line and says we’re going to take a side. This isn’t the the vote where history will look back to see who picked a side. But that has already begun, and it’ll continue to go on. This is one piece in this long political struggle to secure a livable future of good jobs.

And part of the reason I’m saying that is we’re looking straight ahead to 2020, because when those politicians come back asking for our votes, we’re going to remember today. We’re going to remember yesterday. And we’re going to remember from now until then what choices these politicians make. So this is one choice out of many. And I think that–yes. So that’s why I think that this is no cop out, because this what this vote is, is such a clear political stunt by McConnell to score some political points with his billionaire donors, because they’re cowards threatened by this Green New Deal.

At the same time, I question the Democrats. I’m a Democrat. I’m a registered Democrat. And I think that the Democrats are the only party that’s really standing up to the climate denialism of the Republican Party.

DHARNA NOOR: But standing up in what sense? I mean, there’s some disagreement amongst the Democrats, too. I mean, OK, they all voted ‘present’ today on the Senate side. But you know, Chuck Schumer today said that climate change is a crisis. So yeah, he supports action on climate change, I guess. But he’s calling for the creation of a Senate select committee on climate change. On the House side, Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that she’ll be creating a select committee on climate change. But Sunrise and AOC have called for a select committee on the green new deal, one that could draft legislation, have subpoena power. Let’s take a look at the clip from Chuck Schumer today at the Senate.

CHUCK SCHUMER: I am calling for the creation of a Senate Select Committee on Climate Change. It’s a crisis. Ask the farmers in Iowa and Nebraska and Kansas if they think it’s a crisis. The very least we can do is do what the House did, and set up a select committee on climate change. Bipartisan. The committee could be partners with the House committee. And we might actually get something done, not sham votes that everyone knows are a joke. A political joke. If there ever were an issue that demanded focus from this chamber, this is it. Climate change is an existential threat to our committee, to our country, and our planet.

DHARNA NOOR: So is Schumer’s proposal enough?

JEREMY ORNSTEIN: Yeah, I think you hit on the–He says this is the least we can do. It’s so clearly not enough. And I say that because he doesn’t call for something more. And if the reason, the big reason that these Republican GOP elite senators are so afraid to discuss the Green New Deal is because it’s not just the plan to decarbonize our economy, it’s a plan to transform our economy and society while making sure nobody falls through the cracks. And that is so truly a threat to the interests of their donors. So I think–and at the same time it’s the only solution that fits the scale and scope of the crisis, which is so big.

So when Senator Schumer calls for this climate change committee, which is definitely a compromise, he’s not compromising between two decent sides to find some meaningful common ground. He’s compromising with the people who are literally profiting, who are taking campaign money, from the executives who will profit from the crisis.

So I think that–I think that the leadership that we want to see is not just to say, you know, well, do you believe in climate change? Because we’ve moved past that. Climate change is here, and it’s hurting people right now. What Democrats in the Senate should be asking their counterparts is not “Do you believe in climate change?” If they don’t believe in climate change, they’re beyond politically irrelevant. The question we’ve got to be asking is “What is your plan that fits the scale and scope, that gets us to 100 percent renewable in line with the IPCC report?” And that’s a Green New Deal. If we’re going to do it in a way that makes sure people can live while doing it, that makes sure people can have access to good jobs. But anything other-

DHARNA NOOR: But some senators are saying that the proposals for things like Medicare for All being in the Green New Deal are unrelated to the climate crisis, and so they don’t belong in legislation like this. And so some of them are calling for more targeted action, they would say. So Republican Senator John Barrasso from Wyoming today called for the implementation of carbon capture and storage instead of the Green New Deal. And Senator Cornyn said that it may as well include a proposal for a free beer and pizza. Why do things like Medicare for All belong in a resolution to fight the climate crisis?

JEREMY ORNSTEIN: Good question. Yeah, I wonder how much money the senator from Texas has taken from the people who are profiting from the destruction of our future. And I hope he knows that tackling a crisis this big is no joke. And a lot of the people who are going to be affected by this, we can’t drink free beer. Guess what? I’m not 21. So I hope the Senator hears that one. And more importantly, I think, is that the Green New Deal, the reason the Green New Deal isn’t just being championed by environmental groups, isn’t just being championed by people who live in rural areas, or urban areas, or suburban East Coast, West Coast, heartland, but by all these groups, by people who who are fighting for a new economy and live in all parts of the country, who come from all walks of life, is because it’s not–it doesn’t just address one thing. It actually transforms our country to deal with many interconnected crises.

And the reason for that is that the climate crisis, which is caused by our dependence on fossil fuel, is so interlinked to everything about our society. That’s why the scale of transformation, the infrastructure investments, the public transportation, the energy, the food, all of these systems which power our lives, that are that are so ingrained in the way we live, to change those, to change all of them to save us from this terrible threat which is already here, there’s so much work involved. There’s so much change..

DHARNA NOOR: To answer your question, Senator Cornyn from Texas actually takes the fourth most amount of fossil fuel contributions from anybody on the Senate.

JEREMY ORNSTEIN: Wow.

DHARNA NOOR: But you mentioned, right, that the point of this Green New Deal resolution wasn’t to get it to pass. But you know, much was made today of the rather unorthodox remarks of Senator Mike Lee. And when he wasn’t showing pictures of Reagan riding a dinosaur, he was dismissing climate change as a threat to worry about later, not now.

[Clip of Sen. Mike Lee]

JEREMY ORNSTEIN: It highlights to me importance of having people–I think the congresswoman from Massachusetts, Ayanna Pressley, says the people in power should be the people who are closest to the pain. So I am sure that the senator from Utah knows where his water is coming from every day, and isn’t worried about heat waves. And I, yeah, I’m concerned for his grandchildren, for his kids. I know he’s put up the poster that says have a lot of kids. And I, you know, a lot of the people around now won’t be around to see the worst consequences of the climate crisis, so they’re just going to keep getting worse. So I think it’s really important that our leadership reflects all the people who are dealing with the challenges of the day. That’s the first thought.

And second, we know that putting forward a resolution for a select committee for a Green New Deal changed the political landscape in a dramatic way. I mean, we’ve got Republicans who take money from fossil fuel executives. We’ve got the Republicans, the GOP elite who are the most ardent supporters of President Trump, who a climate denier-in-chief, as Markey says. Those Republicans, those GOP elite politicians, are putting forward their own plans to deal with climate change that of course don’t match the scale and scope of the crisis. But they’re being forced to do this politically. And we also know that fossil fuel executives like the Koch brothers continue to have a grasp, continue to have power on our politics, or else something like the Green New Deal would be implemented a long time ago. Or else they wouldn’t be using made up numbers to lie about it so vehemently.

So here’s the truth about this. This is not just a fight to build enough solar panels and invest enough in infrastructure in time. This is also a political fight to make sure that our generation and ordinary Americans have the political power to pass all the things we need. Once we do the politics, then we can worry about it. And at the same time as we do the politics we can worry about survival, prosperity. But we know that–we know that the enemy really is clear that there are people who are very invested in holding back action. And when we do something like we did in November and December, and now, introducing the Green New Deal resolution, making a really bold political ask, that’s when we challenge Senator Lee to say “What’s your plan?” That’s where we get him on the record, talking about babies, talking so clearly naive about the situation, naive about the threat.

And that’s where we–that’s how we tell our fellow Americans. That’s how we exposed the crisis, expose the corruption. And that’s how we set ourselves up to win in 2020. And we can–you know, I think it’s good when members of Congress talk about more incremental approaches. I think, fine, let’s do all the small things, too, because we’re going to have to do at some point. But if we don’t take bold political leadership, then we’ll never go all the way. And if we don’t take bold political leadership we’ll never exile the fossil fuel campaigns, the fossil fuel billionaires, from our politics. And if they keep a grasp on our politicians, I don’t know if we’ll ever get a plan passed that really fits the scale and scope of the crisis. I hope that makes sense and answers your question.

DHARNA NOOR: Yes, definitely. OK, Jeremy Ornstein joining us today from Washington, DC, where the Senate has voted no on a resolution for the Green New Deal. But again, Jeremy says that he and the rest of the representatives from the Sunrise Movement are not deterred. Thank you so much for being here again today.

JEREMY ORNSTEIN: Thank you so much.

DHARNA NOOR: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

https://therealnews.com/stories/green-new-deal-voted-down-by-senate-but-activists-arent-deterred
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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #903 on: March 26, 2019, 10:41:04 pm »
Dumping Wallace, Blocking Bernie: How the Democrats Broke With the Working Class - Kuznick RAI
22,589 views

The Real News Network

Published on Mar 20, 2019

A replay of a TRNN interview from June 2016

Peter Kuznick, co-author of The Untold History of the United States, spoke to Paul Jay about the significance of the vice presidency of Henry Wallace, who served in the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt, in the context of the Bernie Sanders campaign.


"[The historian] Arthur Schlesinger talked about him being the greatest secretary of agriculture in American history," said Peter Kuznick. "He turned the agricultural economy around. In 1932, the farm income was one-third of what it had been before the Depression started, and Wallace reversed it and put it back on its feet. But during the '30s, he was America's leading progressive.

"Wallace "actually was, in terms of his politics, more progressive than Bernie Sanders," said Paul Jay. "In fact, he makes Bernie Sanders look like a centrist moderate.

"The party bosses sought to remove Wallace from the ticket for Roosevelt's third presidential run.

"The segregationists in the South hated him," said Kuznick. "He was the leading spokesman for black civil rights. The misogynists hated him. He was the leading spokesperson for women's inequality. The British and the French hated him. They implored Roosevelt to get him off the ticket as vice president because he was writing pamphlets and speaking openly about the need to end British and French colonialism. He said that America's fascists are those people who think that Wall Street comes first and the American people second.

"After FDR wrote a letter saying he would reject the nomination if Wallace was removed, the beloved progressive politician was put back on the ticket.

Wallace was one of the most popular public figures in America during the 1930s. When traveling in Chile and Costa Rica, he attracted crowds numbering in the tens of thousands.

"Many people don't understand where the progressive aspects of the New Deal came from," say Kuznick. "If you look at the '34, election, '36 election, the American public was very, very, very progressive during that time. And the thing that sparked the progressive elements in the New Deal was the upsurge of labor, the rise of the CIO, the battle for the working class in the 1930s and the soul of America. In fact, if you look even at the Communist Party, the Communist Party was planning to be part of that tradition of the popular front."

"Once you have the Cold War, McCarthyism, and the House Un-American Activities Committee and essentially purge the unions of most of the really progressive leadership, what you're left with is a union leadership that merges with the elites and in fact become elites themselves," said Jay. "And so the Democratic Party, instead of this place where you have this united front of different classes contending, you have the whole preponderance of leadership now representing the elites.

""We've had certain moments when the party has reverted to its working-class roots, when it has been a progressive party," said Kuznick. "And I think that's what the Sanders campaign is trying to do, and it's certainly what Wallace was fighting for from 1941-45 when he was vice president of the United States."


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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #904 on: March 27, 2019, 11:39:53 am »
Agelbert NOTE: This explains why you will not hear a peep from the right wing in the form of criticism of the Biden Campaign.

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #905 on: March 27, 2019, 01:58:59 pm »
Good Ol' Joe has too much baggage.

DOA.

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #906 on: March 27, 2019, 02:21:41 pm »
Apropos of this thread:

Let’s look at what they’ve been comfortable with:
— fired two law enforcement officials for investigating him
— drafted a false cover story for the Trump Tower Russia meeting
— concealed his debt to Cohen for a hush money payoff by omitting it from his financial disclosure report, a felony if done knowingly and willfully
— destroyed records of his secret meetings with Putin
— lied to the American people about his business dealings in Russia
— has been caught telling thousands and thousands of lies to the American people
— committed human rights violations with a new policy that caused an unprecedented number of family separations and made no effort to track the thousands of children taken
— used the military for an election stunt
— gave openly political speeches to the military and CIA
— violated the constitution’s emoluments clauses
— refused to divest conflicts of interest that now appear to be influencing govt policy
— actively furthered a cover-up of the torture murder of a Virginia resident, who wrote for the Washington Post, by one of his top customers
— has used his position for profit
— spent 1/3 of his days visiting his properties
— publicly called for a hostile foreign power to attack our elections
— shared classified info with Russia
— publicly disclosed a planned trip of legislators to a war zone
— put an unaccountable shadow cabinet of members of Mar-a-Lago in charge of VA, and circumvented ethics laws by naming Carl Icahn a presidential advisor without appointing him
— has continued to let his nepotistic son-in-law spearhead Middle East policy initiatives without a high level security clearance
— attempted to shield his criminal National Security Advisor from investigation
— has violated the Presidential Records Act and allowed his staff to use private means of communications (while complaining about his political rival’s emails)
— intervened in career-level disciplinary actions, which insulate certain key government functions from politics
— refused to take action on 10 findings of Hatch Act violations by his own appointee leading the agency that enforces the Hatch Act
— has undermined critical alliances and threatened to withdraw from NATO
— shut down the govt, leaving some desperate Feds in danger of eviction
— humiliated the U.S. by acting like Putin’s gushing subordinate in Helsinki
— has defended Russia against the findings of our own intelligence agencies, dragged his feet on sanctions against Russia, and advocated lifting sanctions on Oleg Deripaska and D.O.’s businesses
— announced withdrawal from Syria without consulting, or telling, the military
— is an unindicted coconspirator in criminal campaign finance violations
— called white supremacists “fine” people
— has disgraced the office of the presidency with disgusting tweets and statements
— dispatched the Counsel to the President to find out if a secret FISA warrant had been issued regarding his associates
— said that “flipping” to cooperate with federal law enforcement agents “almost ought to be illegal.”
— etc., etc., etc
Walter Shaub- Former Director of the Office of Government Ethics

https://threader.app/thread/1086255622088257537

AGelbert

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #907 on: March 27, 2019, 02:37:39 pm »
Good Ol' Joe has too much baggage.

DOA.


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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #908 on: March 27, 2019, 02:56:01 pm »
Apropos of this thread:

Let’s look at what they’ve been comfortable with:
— fired two law enforcement officials for investigating him
— drafted a false cover story for the Trump Tower Russia meeting
— concealed his debt to Cohen for a hush money payoff by omitting it from his financial disclosure report, a felony if done knowingly and willfully
— destroyed records of his secret meetings with Putin
— lied to the American people about his business dealings in Russia
— has been caught telling thousands and thousands of lies to the American people
— committed human rights violations with a new policy that caused an unprecedented number of family separations and made no effort to track the thousands of children taken
— used the military for an election stunt
— gave openly political speeches to the military and CIA
— violated the constitution’s emoluments clauses
— refused to divest conflicts of interest that now appear to be influencing govt policy
— actively furthered a cover-up of the torture murder of a Virginia resident, who wrote for the Washington Post, by one of his top customers
— has used his position for profit
— spent 1/3 of his days visiting his properties
— publicly called for a hostile foreign power to attack our elections
— shared classified info with Russia
— publicly disclosed a planned trip of legislators to a war zone
— put an unaccountable shadow cabinet of members of Mar-a-Lago in charge of VA, and circumvented ethics laws by naming Carl Icahn a presidential advisor without appointing him
— has continued to let his nepotistic son-in-law spearhead Middle East policy initiatives without a high level security clearance
— attempted to shield his criminal National Security Advisor from investigation
— has violated the Presidential Records Act and allowed his staff to use private means of communications (while complaining about his political rival’s emails)
— intervened in career-level disciplinary actions, which insulate certain key government functions from politics
— refused to take action on 10 findings of Hatch Act violations by his own appointee leading the agency that enforces the Hatch Act
— has undermined critical alliances and threatened to withdraw from NATO
— shut down the govt, leaving some desperate Feds in danger of eviction
— humiliated the U.S. by acting like Putin’s gushing subordinate in Helsinki
— has defended Russia against the findings of our own intelligence agencies, dragged his feet on sanctions against Russia, and advocated lifting sanctions on Oleg Deripaska and D.O.’s businesses
— announced withdrawal from Syria without consulting, or telling, the military
— is an unindicted coconspirator in criminal campaign finance violations
— called white supremacists “fine” people
— has disgraced the office of the presidency with disgusting tweets and statements
— dispatched the Counsel to the President to find out if a secret FISA warrant had been issued regarding his associates
— said that “flipping” to cooperate with federal law enforcement agents “almost ought to be illegal.”
— etc., etc., etc
Walter Shaub- Former Director of the Office of Government Ethics

https://threader.app/thread/1086255622088257537



Exactly RIGHT! Thank you for posting these irrefutable truths. 


Trump and his wrecking crew could care less about facts or truth. The damage he, his wrecking crew and his followers are doing to this country and the biosphere may be irreparable at this point. As you are doing , I will continue to advocate for solutions, even if the odds are now against people who want to do the right thing.
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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #909 on: March 27, 2019, 08:43:55 pm »
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 27, 2019

Barr 😈Is a Distraction. We Must Insist on the Moral Indictment of Trump.

SASHA ABRAMSKY, TRUTHOUT

Now is not the time to backpedal on criticisms of Trump. Now is the time to step them up, to laser-focus on the moral ugliness and cruelty of this horrific man and the enablers now charged with implementing his vision.

Read the Article →
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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #910 on: March 28, 2019, 12:18:28 pm »

I found this quote out there on the internets. It is a perfect response to the corrupt POS Republicans 🐉😈🦕🦖 making a lot of noise "demanding" that Schiff 🦅👍 resign as Chairman of the House Intelligence Commmittee. These are the SAME corrupt POS Republicans 🐉😈🦕🦖 that were MUTE while the former House Intelligence Commmittee Chairman, Trump Lackey 🐒 Nunez, lied about everything under the sun with FAKE investigations, charges and exonerations of all things Trump:

Quote
Schiff is a brilliant man who will get the last laugh when Congress finds Trump guilty of Obstruction and SDNY with tax and insurance fraud. Kudos to Schiff! (Not Peter!)



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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #911 on: March 28, 2019, 06:05:14 pm »

Quote
Congressman Adam Schiff, who spent two years knowingly and unlawfully lying and leaking, should be forced to resign from Congress!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)
March 28, 2019

MAR 28, 2019, 1:33 PM

THINKPROGRESS

By DANIELLE MCLEAN

Quote
"I think it's immoral, I think it's unethical, I think it's unpatriotic, and yes, I think it's corrupt and evidence of collusion."

Schiff recites long list of Trump’s Russia contacts after Republicans call for his resignation


Associated artcle:

https://thinkprogress.org/schiff-rebukes-republicans-listing-trump-contacts-russia-intelligence-committee-b940fe749a72/


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AGelbert

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #912 on: March 28, 2019, 07:48:31 pm »

US Military Budget Reveals an Offensive Posture, Russia and China on Defense – Wilkerson

March 27, 2019

The massive military expansion in the US and China could lead to absolute disaster – Larry Wilkerson joins Paul Jay


https://therealnews.com/stories/us-military-budget-reveals-an-offensive-posture-russia-and-china-on-defense-wilkerson

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AGelbert

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #913 on: March 30, 2019, 03:16:13 pm »
Agelbert NOTE: I agree that large tech companies have too much power and are doing all they can to destroy what is left of democracy in human society. However, it is WRONG to say that the polluters no longer have a massive say in government policy. They STILL do. Proof of that is that the polluters STILL get GIANT "subsidies" (i.e. wefare queen hand outs on the taxpayer dime). Giant tech corporations, though they ARE provided with unjustified pecuniary incentives to exploit people hither and yon, get a pittance in swag when compared to the SWAG gifted to the Fossil Fuel and Nuclear Power biosphere destroyers. If these polluters lacked the power they once had, they would NOT be getting the massive SWAG they continue to get each year from polluter corrupted governments all over the world. The author should not pretend that these polluter biosphere destroyers are no longer a problem for human civilization. They ARE the MAIN THREAT.

The author does, however, makes good points 👍 about the danger of the tech giants. Still, the existential threat the polluter corporations represent is more pressing and has NOT diminished in any significant way. Yeah, Renewable Energy IS killing them and their profits slowly, but that is certainly not because of any lessening of power and influence the polluters wield 24/7 to corrupt governments.   


Saturday, March 30, 2019 9:40 AM

by Bruce Wilds

Mega Global-Companies 🦍 Dwarf Power Of Many Nations

Names We Know- Do they 💵🎩Have An 🍌🏴‍☠️🚩 Agenda?

When the value of Apple and Amazon soared above one trillion dollars they became the first companies to reach this milestone. It is difficult to deny that in our modern world many large companies already have more power than most nations and their power continues to grow at an alarming rate. In the past, it was large oil conglomerates that held the power but today much of it has shifted to technology companies 🙃. This power is reflected in companies ability to bend regulations in the area of trade, in some ways, the anti-globalism movement could be viewed as an attempt to halt large companies in their tracks. This is one of the reasons anti-globalist and those wanting more limits of trade have rushed to embrace the use of tariffs.

For years many economists have discounted the implications and disregarded how the greed of these companies have added too many problems in the world. For example, if it is bombs you want, they will gladly make them for you, and while doing this they gain power and add to their profits. This train of thought brings front and center the question of whether mega-global companies are working in the direction of taking over the world and even dominating governments and countries. This is in some ways an extension of the New World Order with CEOs pulling the strings. The power they wield is often masked behind the facade of a figurehead leader but it is very real.

Developments over the last several decades portend a shift in power from country to corporations. The argument can be made that corporations are well on their way to supplant the state as the world's dominant organizational structures in the future. Knowledge is power and this means is not just about large conglomerates that produce products or energy but extends into how internet companies, in particular, have placed themselves in the position where they control the communication networks collecting and storing data on all of us putting them in a position to manipulate us in every way.

This has resulted in a blurring of the lines between business and state that has emerged over the centuries and shaped the world as we know it. By weaponizing the data they have collected as propaganda in a battle for our hearts and minds technology companies may hold an advantage over national government in persuading individuals to align with their interests. This translates into enormous persuasive power and could be the key to providing corporations with a path to ultimately control populations, governments, and even nations. As they have gained power it seems these powerful global entities often lead governments around by the nose placing and have taken to placing people in a position of servitude.

The leaders of many large global companies have quietly cast off their national identities over the years choosing to live as citizens of the world and part of the global elite. CEOs of mega-corporations are often the iconic figures that show up in Davos at the World Economic Forum and set the world's future agenda. In a world where countries struggling to be great and often steal the resources of others to elevate themselves to power, many people with leadership qualities have decided the route of CEO is a superior path to power over becoming a politician where national borders limit their rise. These companies are the powerful behind the curtain with politicians pandering to their wants and needs.

Adding to our woes is the number of these companies feeding at the government tit and profiting greatly from the production of items or services that poorly serve mankind. It was with an Orwellian sleight of hand a few years after the end of World War II the War Department was renamed the Department of Defense. This did not halt the growth of the military industrial complex that had grown into a monolith during the war but gave it a path to justify its expansion after the war. One way to do this has been to find new enemies constantly lurking in the shadows, this we have done. Those profiting from the tools and weapons of destruction have blown away national borders by selling their wares across the world deeming this and that country as an ally. 

They also promote "free trade" which has replaced the idea of fair trade. Companies have long pushed for national borders to vanish as they pursue ever-larger markets and strive to achieve greater supply chain efficiency. Transnational companies have declared, damn the people of our nation, it is about us. This makes it rather ironic that governments across the world have chosen to spend so much time and money spying on their people rather than focusing on watching the actions of the huge global companies and conglomerates that hold power over us all. By doing this they have allowed and often abetted the very companies wishing to supplant their power.

As governments yield to these companies by joining and allowing them to watch and exert control over populations it seems prudent to question whether the power of individual sovereign countries has been supplanted by that of mega companies. Across the world, we find many countries rapidly moving towards more controlling governments with strong authoritarian tendencies. Using tools such as facial recognition every citizen in China is now slated to be watched and their behavior scored in the most ambitious and sophisticated system of social control in history. ABC Australian news ran a piece showing how the Chinese people are justifying this extension of government power. Even more concerning is that this could even be viewed as a coordinated effort to reduce, we the people into mere pawns and less relevant.

The idea that a world controlled by mega companies will be benevolent and kind ignores the greed and ambitions of those who control them and how little regard they can have for those ranked below them. In his novels, Orwell depicted how governments could take on a life of their own and criticized totalitarianism throughout his writings. Totalitarianism, the most extreme and complete form of authoritarianism, is a political concept that defines a government which prohibits opposition parties, restricts individual opposition to the state and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. As an added bonus for these behemoths they can hide behind the governments they control sucking the blood from them but remain aloof and shielded from the evil they inflict. It seems an argument could be made that this is the direction we are moving.

Footnote; In the works is an article explaining why these companies are very content to throw countries under the bus and enslave us for "the greater good."  The article below contends that Apple and Amazon share an ugly truth and that is their strong ties to America's government has in many ways allowed them to create a persona or facade that far outshines reality. This allows each company in its own way to exploit us while masking the huge amount of income they pluck from our government on all levels.
 
http://brucewilds.blogspot.com/2017/12/apple-and-amazon-share-ugly-truth-they.html

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AGelbert

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #914 on: April 01, 2019, 04:54:00 pm »

THREE THINGS: THIS AIN’T NO FOOLING AROUND

April 1, 2019/26 Comments/in Congress, Domestic Policy, Economics /by Rayne

SNIPPET:

~ 1 ~

This sums up the problem:

Quote
A senior administration official with direct knowledge of the meeting described Trump’s stance:He doesn’t want another single dollar going to the island.”

Puerto Rico is still in very bad shape 19 months after Hurricane Maria devastated the island. I can’t begin to do the scale of the additional problems inflicted on Puerto Ricans by the horrible management of financial aid. Please read this piece at the Washington Post for a better take on how bad things are:

Puerto Rico faces food-stamp crisis as Trump privately vents about federal aid to Hurricane Maria-battered island

The Bigot-in-Chief continues his deadly vendetta against Puerto Rican Americans still badly affected by Hurricane Maria’s devastation. He doesn’t want to send them any additional aid for reasons which are opaque to the rest of the country but are readily guessed at based on his past behavior.

— He couldn’t bother to do adequate pre-hurricane preparation; he sat on his goddamn fat ass and bitched about NFL players taking a knee rather than get off his ass and make sure Puerto Rico was prepared. We know he had ample time and instead he was either malignant in his duties or incompetent, take your pick.

— He had to be shamed by Hillary Clinton into dispatching the Navy’s hospital ship. The ship did not treat as many patients as it should have nor did it stay long enough. At least one entire ICU ward on the island died because medical attention didn’t get to the most obviously needy places fast enough.

— Under his watch management of disaster recovery services was totally botched, from water bottles sitting on the tarmac undelivered to electrical service contracts let to what appears were profiteering outfits unprepared to deal with the scale of the problems. So much money was wasted because of this gross incompetence.

— Too little attention was given to Puerto Rico’s businesses as critical national infrastructure. The entire country faced medical supplies shortages because manufacturers in PR were the only sources in the U.S. and they were ignored rather than treated as essential.

Three thousand Americans died after the hurricane; most of them died because of the fu-cked up and opaque personal agenda Trump has against Puerto Rico. More people may have been affected here on the mainland but I’ll bet there’s no way to record the impact.

Me, for example — I had to manipulate the schedule for major surgery back in early 2018 because the hospitals here in Michigan were reporting tight supplies of IV equipment made in Puerto Rico. Thank goodness it worked out, that I didn’t have another episode requiring transfusions and days of IVs. But I couldn’t help think of patients elsewhere across the country who were negatively impacted; there were reports of reusing disinfected IV equipment because supplies had run out.

Trump thinks Puerto Rico has received too much money already. I suspect Trump’s real issues are:

1) He has a personal bias against Puerto Rico because a Trump-branded golf course there failed in 2015;

2) He simply hates brown and non-English speaking people — just look at how he responds to situations where persons of color need help versus whites;

3) He doesn’t see Puerto Rico as part of the U.S.


American persons of color are highly aware of the treatment of Puerto Rico. How the White House and Congress respond to Puerto Rico shapes their opinion, and failure to do right by Puerto Ricans can affect these voters’ attitudes going into 2020.

But Puerto Ricans don’t have a senator, one might say. True — but it’s estimated 6% of the population left the island after the hurricane and more may still leave. They’ve been moving to Illinois, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, and Wisconsin because it’s cheaper to live in these states than it is now in Puerto Rico. What a pity for GOP senators in those states up for re-election in 2020 who continue to vote against aid for Puerto Rican recovery — they’ll have more Democratic voters to contend with at the polls.

Call your senators — tell them to ensure Puerto Rico has more financial assistance for post-hurricane recovery. We owe it to our fellow Americans just as we would if they were in North Carolina, Florida, Texas, or California after a major disaster. We owe them for the failure to provide equal protection under the law before, during, and after the hurricane resulting in nearly as many Americans’ deaths as 9/11.

Read more:

https://www.emptywheel.net/2019/04/01/three-things-this-aint-no-fooling-around/

Leges         Sine    Moribus     Vanae   
Faith,
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

 

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