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Monthly Archives: December 2017

The Chumph Family Mob – Money Laundering

You are what you associate with…

The Chumph isn’t the only crook in the family.

Image result for dirty money

Ivanka Trump’s Old Jewelry Business Is Now Caught Up in an Alleged Fraud Scheme

Throw a dart at a map of the world and there’s a solid chance it will land near a spot where a Trump family business has allegedly gotten caught up in a money laundering scheme.

There’s Panama, where the Trump Ocean Club is said to have washed dirty cash for Russian gangsters and South American drug cartels. There’s Azerbaijan and the Trump Baku, where the money allegedly being laundered was said to belong to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. And of course, there’s the Trump Soho in Manhattan, a magnet for money from Kazakhstan and Russia, and a property that one former executive on the project now calls “a monument to spectacularly corrupt money-laundering and tax evasion.”

In each of those cases, the Trump Organization has denied any wrongdoing and has sought to distance itself—and the Trump family—from the property, saying they merely licensed ​the Trump name. But as it turns out, it’s not just Trump-branded real estate developments that perhaps have attracted the wrong kinds of money.

Thanks to an overlooked filing made in federal court this past summer, we can now add a jewelry business to the list of Trump family enterprises that allegedly served as vehicles to fraudulently hide the assets of ultra-rich foreigners with checkered backgrounds. In late June, the Commercial Bank of Dubai sought—and later received—permission to subpoena Ivanka Trump’s now-defunct fine jewelry line, claiming its diamonds were used in a massive scheme to hide roughly $100 million that was owed to the bank, according to filings at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

High-end real estate is a common vehicle for money laundering, in part because, until recently, the industry was effectively exempt from many of the laws that prevent laundering through other types of assets, such as the “Know Your Customer” laws that apply to banking. But diamonds, too, hold an important place in the money launderer’s toolkit. Mountains of dirty money can be converted into tiny diamonds, which are easy to store or smuggle across national boundaries, and convert back into cash when the opportunity arises.

The Trumps are not the only Western business owners whose ventures have been tied to alleged money laundering and fraud schemes, but they are the only ones who are also in charge of American foreign policy, making the entanglements—and possible points of leverage—that arise from such ventures matters of national security.

Ivanka Trump launched Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry roughly a decade ago, partnering with a young real estate and diamond heir named Moshe Lax. It was her first independent business venture. She licensed her name for use by Madison Avenue Diamonds, which did business under Trump’s name in exchange for royalties. Trump also owned an equity stake in the business for an unspecified period. Around the time they were going into business together, Lax introduced Trump to Jared Kushner, the man who would become her husband, at a luncheon for real estate heirs he convened in Midtown Manhattan.

Trump and Lax set up a flagship boutique on Madison Avenue and publicly showered praise on each other, but the partnership eventually soured. Lax has been accused of all kinds of wrongdoing, from stiffing creditors to extortion, in numerous lawsuits, some of them related to Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry and some of them unrelated.

Trump terminated her relationship with Lax late last year, and according to the Trump Organization, Lax still owed her money as of August. Meanwhile, the defunct diamond line is getting dragged into court proceedings like this latest Dubai case, which alleges a plot by the family of prominent Emirati oil traders named the Al-Saris.

A decade ago, the high-flying Al-Saris controlled a multibillion-dollar oil-trading empire, but then hit a rough patch, reportedly becoming mired in legal battles over unpaid bills and sanctions imposed in 2012 on the family’s firm, FAL Oil, for selling oil to Iran.

Apparently strapped for cash, the Al-Saris are alleged to have borrowed over a $100 million from the Commercial Bank of Dubai. They defaulted on the debt and, according to court documents, proceeded to hide their assets in a network of shell companies, through which they bought diamonds and Las Vegas real estate. In addition, to Ivanka’s line, the bank—which filed a fraud suit in 2014—says the Al-Saris purchased diamonds from Jacob Arabo—better known as “Jacob the Jeweler”—for the same purpose. As “Jacob the Jeweler,” Arabo became famous as a diamond dealer to the stars (he was sentenced to 30 months in prison in 2008 for lying to investigators about Detroit’s “Black Mafia Family” drug trafficking ring).

In this new case, the Commercial Bank of Dubai has not accused the jewelry line or Arabo of any wrongdoing. Arabo’s business did not respond to requests for comment, nor did FAL oil, the Al-Sari- owned enterprise at the center of the dispute. Lawyers for the Dubai bank, which is being represented in New York by Mayer Brown LLP, declined to comment.

Josh Raffel, a White House spokesman who fields Ivanka-related inquiries, did not respond to questions about the subpoena request, nor did Alan Garten, the general counsel of the Trump Organization.

The attempt to subpoena the jewelry business has so far escaped public notice, likely in part because court documents name only “Madison Avenue Diamonds”—the corporate entity that was registered to do business as “Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry”—and do not mention the Trump name. Though Trump has since cut all ties to Madison Avenue Diamonds, the timeline of the underlying case suggests any alleged transactions would have taken place when the company was still doing business as Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry.

As a practical matter, such a subpoena request—from the Commercial Bank of Dubai—now potentially injects the business dealings of the first family into a vicious legal fight between Arab world power players at a time when the Trumps are also using the power of the presidency to influence the region….

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The Year in Trump Racism

A quick review…

 

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Who Exactly are Omarosa’s “People”?

The Omarosa revenge tour is in full swing. She is supposedly writing a “tell all” book about her time spent at Trump’s knees.

Not sure what “juicy details” she is going to “reveal” in her tawdry effort at retaliation, but there is a problem.

You see – as part of the high level security clearance that you are granted to be in the same room of the President of the US, you are under a special set of laws protecting National Security, and sign an agreement not to disclose information about the inner workings of the White House for a period of 10 years. Anything you write has to be reviewed by Government Security Lawyers in that time period.

Now…I don’t know if you have ever seen the result of such review – but they tend to look like this –

Image result for FOIA Redactions

So…Good luck with that!

Anyway…On Omo’s recent claim she was working for “Her people”…

 

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Hey Chumph! Don’t Even Think About Firing Mueller

Senator Mark Warner is one of my state’s Senators. Know him through business and have met him several times through mutual acquaintances.

He is a businessman…And he doesn’t make idle threats.

 

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Memphis Plays “Whack a Reb” Around Republican State Racists

Nice move, Memphis!

In a rapidly emerging war between municipalities, the Trump administration and white-wing, neo fascist Republican dominated legislators opposed to local rule…

Another mile marker.

 Memphis takes bold legal action to circumvent Tennessee state rule and remove Confederate statues

The city of Memphis engaged in a “massive operation” on Wednesday to take down two controversial Confederate statues before the morning light, the Commercial Appealreports.

The Memphis City Council first unanimously voted to sell two public parks to a private entity. Within minutes, Memphis Police Department officers had deployed to the sites of statues honoring Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest and Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Within one hour of the vote, Mayor Jim Strickland had signed the ordinance.

The sale of the parks was a legal mechanism to circumvent a decision by the Tennessee Historical Commission intended to prevent local governments from taking down the statues.

“Health Sciences Park and Memphis Park have been sold. Operations on those sites tonight are being conducted by a private entity and are compliant with state law,” Mayor Strickland explained. “We will have further updates later tonight.”

 

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Getting a Handle on What Sexual Misconduct Actually Means

I think everyone except white-wing evangelicals agrees that a forcible sex act is rape.

But what about a coworker looking at another and saying “Damn, she’s fine”?

Stealing a kiss in what you think is a romantic moment to find out she/he isn’t that in to you? I mean, in the old movies, that always seemed infamously to lead to slap a la Cary Grant and Doris Day.

Trying to force a coworker into a sexual encounter? No question this is wrong.

Can a woman be accused of sexual misconduct in attempting to coerce an unwilling male?

So where exactly are the lines?

And what can we do as a society to make sure everyone is on the same page? What is and is not acceptable is rapidly changing. As well as out view of “who” is believable. Misconduct isn’t going to be swept under the rug (unless you are a Republican).

 

What Does ‘Sexual Misconduct’ Actually Mean?

The almost infinite shades of creepy misbehavior on display are challenging the legal and cultural categories used to describe them.

“Enough is enough,” proclaimed Senator Kirsten Gillibrand at a December 6 press conference. Whatever the details of her colleague Al Franken’s sexual misbehavior, said Gillibrand, who has been aggressively pushing for Congress to tackle its harassment problem, he needed to step down. “I think when we start having to talk about the differences between sexual assault and sexual harassment and unwanted groping, you are having the wrong conversation. You need to draw a line in the sand and say: None of it is OK. None of it is acceptable.”

It most definitely is not. But as the public outrage over sexual misconduct gains force, it is swallowing up an increasingly diverse range of allegations, from the relatively petty (such as those lodged against Franken) to the truly monstrous (such as the claims regarding Harvey Weinstein and Roger Ailes). In between those poles exist almost infinite shades of creepy—which, sadly, will necessitate a great many discussions about how to deal with, and even talk about, the different types of offenses and offenders.

This is, in some ways, uncharted territory. In the past, questions of culpability were largely left to the legal realm: As long as a man didn’t get arrested or lose a lawsuit—and sometimes even if he did—he could get away with an awful lot while suffering little more than a bad-boy reputation. But the current reckoning is different, a rising tide of public shaming driven in part by shifting attitudes and expectations among younger women. Going forward, it’s hard to tell how the new lines will be drawn, much less where.

Women should be respected. Period. But not all offenders are created equal. The pattern of coercive harassment of employees allegedly perpetrated by chat show host Charlie Rose or former Representative John Conyers is not the same as the fumbling, drunken stupidity of which The New York Times’ Glenn Thrush stands accused. Thrush may or may not deserve to lose his current job for having made booze-fueled passes at, and subsequently talked smack about, female colleagues at his previous job. But his alleged offenses pale when compared to, say, ex-ABC pundit Mark Halperin’s alleged practice of groping, rubbing his erections against, and even masturbating in front of junior staffers—and then threatening to kill the careers of those who rebuffed him. (Like many of the men caught in this whirlwind, Halperin disputes at least some of the allegations against him.)

Some of the misbehavior being detailed is flat-out bizarre. Comedian Louis C.K. admitted to being a nonviolent but nevertheless intrusive exhibitionist-masturbator. It remains a public mystery precisely what Garrison Keillor did to get his radio show killed. (Something about touching a woman’s bare back when her shirt fluttered open?) Representative Joe Barton had every right to text naked pics of himself to one of his girlfriends, but threatening to use the Capitol Police to keep her quiet about their relationship was a no-no. As for former Representative Trent Franks, who felt it appropriate to pressure multiple young aides to serve as surrogate mothers for him and his wife: Someone needs to explain that The Handmaid’s Tale is dystopian fiction, not a how-to guide.

Then, of course, there are the many and varied accusations circling President Donald Trump, not to mention his own boasts in this area—none of which he has addressed in a remotely coherent, much less persuasive fashion. (The Access Hollywood tape is empty locker room talk! No, wait, it’s a fake! He has never met these women! Not even the ones he’s been photographed with! Or the one who was on his show!) But that, alas, is a special topic to be saved for another day.

It is precisely because this movement is so powerful that it’s important to avoid (through frustration or disgust, exhaustion or confusion) sweeping every bad act and actor into the same mushy heap. That kind of sloppiness breeds excess and backlash. Right now, even our language is inadequate to the moment. Shoving Weinstein and Ailes under the same umbrella of sexual “misconduct” or “misbehavior” as Franken or Thrush renders such terms all but meaningless. Weinstein terrorized scores of women—psychologically, professionally, and physically—for multiple decades and is currently under investigation for rape. That’s not “misconduct” or “harassment.” It’s an atrocity, possibly wrapped in multiple felonies. Both genders need to find a way to address some of these qualitative distinctions without sounding like anyone is being let off the hook.

This may sound obvious, until, for instance, you wander into an angry Twitter mob of John Conyers supporters demanding to know why the ex-congressman’s sins are seen by many to be worse than Franken’s. Well, for starters, Franken didn’t use tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars to secretly settle an aide’s harassment claim. As for the underlying misconduct, if one believes the accusations, Conyers’s transgressions—committed repeatedly against his own employees in direct abuse of his power over them—were empirically more egregious and revolting. (Asking an aide to touch his junk or else find him another woman who would? Come on.) This isn’t to say that Franken didn’t behave like an entitled pig. But, until the drip, drip, drip of low-level grope-and-slobber stories accumulated, the case for his being pushed from office was not nearly as clear as the one against Conyers….More...

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2017 in and the Single Life, Men, The New Jim Crow, Women

 

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Democrats Set Up to Lose Again In Virginia

Democrats lose by pursuing “bipartisanship”…

Republicans don’t give a damn about what anyone thinks and ram through their agenda.

Until Democrats learn to shove it up Republican ass with a 4×4…Democrats will continue to lose.

Democrats have also become the “white women’s” Party – which is a losing proposition. They had better start paying attention to all of their bases.

Ralph Northam – biggest Democrat comeback in Va history, with Governorship, Lt Governorship, a majority in the House…And one vote away from a majority in the Senate…

And he is already going mamby-pamby.

Wake the fuck up!

Ralph Northam, Barack Obama

We wouldn’t be in this Chumphshit mess if Obama had hung a few of the regnant white wing bastards from the light posts.

Obama’s Lesson for Virginia

When it comes to expanding Medicaid, Gov.-elect Ralph Northam shouldn’t bother with bipartisanship.

Ralph Northam ran on Medicaid. “We need to expand Medicaid in the commonwealth of Virginia,” the Democratic gubernatorial candidate said at a major rally in Richmond just a few weeks before the election. “Right now there are 400,000 working Virginians that don’t have access to health care. That is immoral.”

In his first interview since the election, Ralph Northam says he won’t take that step. “I have let our people know that I will work with the legislature that was elected by the people,” he said in an interview with the Washington Post. “I’m not approaching anybody … in the Senate or the House.” The Post notes that “Northam said he has no plans to try to force Republicans to accept a broad expansion of Medicaid.”

It’s true that Northam won’t enter office with Democratic majorities in the General Assembly. But he’ll be close. Democrats swept state legislative elections in a surprising wave that, after several recounts—including one race determined by a single vote—gave them 50 seats in the 100-member House of Delegates, with incoming Lieutenant Gov. Justin Fairfax as the tie-breaking vote. Along with Republicans’ razor-thin minority in the state Senate—19 seats in a 40-member chamber—Democrats are a hair’s breadth away from the votes they need to expand Medicaid. Bringing a few Republicans into the Northam administration, or convincing one or two of the most vulnerable GOP members to switch sides, would open the floor to expanding the health care program.

Northam, who himself switched parties before entering electoral politics and was later courted to switch back by Republicans, is clearly committed to an Obama-esque vision of civility and compromise. But before heading down that road, the incoming governor should remember one of the lessons of Obama’s presidency: Voters may say they like bipartisanship, but they don’t actually vote for it.

Despite an electorate that clearly wanted Democrats to take the lead, Northam is preaching bipartisanship in Richmond. His advice to freshman Democratic lawmakers? “Learn the system, number one. And really make good relationships on both sides of the aisle. … I’ll try to lead that. We talk about the doctor being in, healing, and I’ll try to bring people together and emphasize doing what’s in the best interest of Virginia.”

We’ve seen this logic before. In the first year of his presidency, Barack Obama tried to find common ground with the GOP on issues of presumably mutual concern. He brought Republicans into his Cabinet, extending offers to Robert Gates, former Rep. Ray LaHood of Illinois, and Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire. A week after his inauguration, Obama met with congressional Republicans, seeking support for his stimulus plan and offering concessions on several items. And far from jamming health care through Congress, the White House deferred to a bipartisan “Gang of Six” led by Sen. Max Baucus of Montana. By the end of his first 100 days in office, most Americans—66 percent according to Gallup—believed Obama was making a sincere effort to find common ground with the Republican Party, fulfilling a key campaign promise.

But while the public likes bipartisanship, it doesn’t reward it. Obama’s overtures didn’t insulate him or his Democratic allies from a growing sense of discontent and a landslide that would obliterate the party’s majority in the House of Representatives. What voters typically reward is performance, and the administration’s zeal for compromise on stimulus and health care produced measures that weren’t large enough or generous enough to give voters a sense of security in the wake of a disastrous recession.

Compromise is part of governance, but given the yawning ideological gap between Republicans and Democrats, there is real tension between pursuing that bipartisanship and building legislation that works. During Obama’s presidency, the pressures of partisanship and ideology meant Republicans were never going to support an expansive health insurance program. Still, Democrats built their program around the possibility of bipartisan support, yielding a law with real weaknesses.

Ralph Northam clearly values compromise and bipartisanship, but he runs a risk in elevating them over his unambiguous promise to expand Medicaid. Northam won’t have to stand for re-election—the governor of Virginia can’t serve consecutive terms—but the energy that elevated state Democrats and delivered a shocking victory in the House of Delegates can dissipate as easily as it emerged. Indeed, in the wake of his interview with the Post, Northam was hit with a social media backlash, excoriating him for backing away from his Medicaid pledge.

If Obama’s experience doesn’t weigh on Northam, that backlash should. If Northam can lead Virginia to fully implement the Affordable Care Act, there’s a decent chance voters will remember in two years and vote accordingly. They won’t remember, and won’t care, if he reaches out to Republicans to craft a half-measure that doesn’t address the problem.

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2017 in Stupid Democrat Tricks

 

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