Saturday, November 18, 2017

Last Call For Franken My Dear, She Doesn't Give A Damn

If you've been following me on Twitter, you know that I believe a lot of politicians who have engaged in sexual assault and misconduct need to be out of Washington, starting with admitted serial sex criminal Donald Trump.  Roy Moore needs to go too.

But so does Sen. Al Franken.  And while Leeann Tweeden may have forgiven Franken and doesn't believe for now that he should step down from the Senate, there are others who see Franken's continued presence as both an insult and a weapon to be used again and again, and that he is no longer capable of doing his job.

It was on a November evening in 2014, after a tailgate party on her University of Minnesota campus, that Abby Honold was brutally raped by a fellow student. Despite going to the hospital in an ambulance with bruises and bite marks, despite reporting everything to police, it would take more than a year for Honold to find justice. 
In August 2016, her rapist, Daniel Drill-Mellum, pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct and was sentenced to six years in prison. Honold’s public and agonizing fight to hold Drill-Mellum accountable drew statewide attention, shedding light on the challenges of reporting and prosecuting sexual assaults. 
It also led Honold to the offices of Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.). Honold’s convicted rapist, it turns out, had interned for the senator. 
Franken, moved by Honold’s story, worked with her to draft a Senate bill that would provide federal funding for special law enforcement training on interviewing victims of trauma. He planned to introduce the bill this month. 
“He was one of the few people who listened to me and actually let me talk,” Honold told The Washington Post. “It felt really validating to be heard and to see something come of my experience that was positive for other people.” 
So on Thursday, Honold was stunned and crushed when she heard that a Los Angeles radio broadcaster, Leeann Tweeden, had accused Franken of forcibly kissing and groping her during a USO tour in 2006. He was captured posing for a photo grabbing Tweeden’s breasts while she was sleeping. 
Honold wholeheartedly believed the woman. She decided that her bill — and her efforts to combat sexual assault — could no longer be associated with someone who was accused of this kind of behavior. 
The 22-year-old no longer wants Franken’s name on the legislation when it is introduced and hopes to find someone else to sponsor it.

It’s really difficult when someone who has been a champion for you turns out to be the exact opposite for someone else,” Honold said in a phone interview.

Call me a stupid idealist, call me a purity crusader if you want, but at some point we have to be better than the goddamn Republican party in both word and deed.

I stand by my call for Franken to resign.

Russian To Judgment, Con't

Turns out that not only did plenty of Trump campaign folks try to get an off-the-books secret Trump/Putin meeting going during the 2016 campaign, but plenty of Russian nationals did too, like the deputy governor of Russia's central bank, and once again Jared Kushner is at the center.

A senior Russian official who claimed to be acting at the behest of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia tried in May 2016 to arrange a meeting between Mr. Putin and Donald J. Trump, according to several people familiar with the matter.

The news of this reached the Trump campaign in a very circuitous way. An advocate for Christian causes emailed campaign aides saying that Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of the Russian central bank who has been linked both to Russia’s security services and organized crime, had proposed a meeting between Mr. Putin and Mr. Trump. The subject line of the email, turned over to Senate investigators, read, “Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite,” according to one person who has seen the message.

The proposal made its way to the senior levels of the Trump campaign before Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and a top campaign aide, sent a message to top campaign officials rejecting it, according to two people who have seen Mr. Kushner’s message.

Though the meeting never happened, Mr. Torshin’s request is the latest example of how the Russian government intensified its effort to contact and influence the Trump campaign last year as Mr. Trump was closing in on the Republican presidential nomination. It came just weeks after a self-described intermediary for the Russian government told a Trump campaign aide, George Papadopoulos, that the Russians had “dirt” on Mr. Trump’s rival, Hillary Clinton, in the form of “thousands of emails.”

Soon after Mr. Torshin’s outreach fizzled, Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, arranged a meeting at Trump Tower after being told that a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin would bring damaging information about Mrs. Clinton to the meeting.

Yet another unreported contact between the Trump campaign and Putin's circle of oligarchs, and Trump campaign officials keep scrambling to get out of the way of being involved in any way with these series of contacts. Jared Kushner, has suddenly developed selective amnesia on a number of issues it seems.

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner told congressional Russia investigators that he did not communicate with WikiLeaks and did not recall anyone on the Trump campaign who had, a source with knowledge of his testimony told CNN. 
But Kushner did receive and forward an email from Donald Trump Jr. about contact Trump Jr. had with WikiLeaks, according to a new report this week and a letter from the Senate Judiciary Committee. 
Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law, was asked in July during his closed-door congressional testimony if he had any contacts with WikiLeaks or its founder Julian Assange and he responded that he had not, according to the source. He also told Congress he did not know of anyone on the campaign who had contacted WikiLeaks.
A separate source familiar with Kushner's interview with congressional investigators said he accurately answered questions about his contact and didn't recall anyone else in the campaign who had contact. 
In a statement Friday night, Kushner attorney Abbe Lowell said the committee had asked "a classic gotcha question. 
"Mr. Kushner was asked if he had contacts with Wikileaks, Guccifer or DC Leaks and said no. He also said he did not know of such contacts by the campaign. From all I have now seen, his statement was accurate then as it is now. In over 6 hours of voluntary testimony, Mr Kushner answered all questions put to him and demonstrated that there had been no collusion between the campaign and Russia." 
But Democrats are likely to amplify calls for Kushner to return for more testimony on the heels of a letter on Thursday from Senate Judiciary Committee leaders that charged Kushner failed to turn over certain documents on a range of topics to the committee, including those related to WikiLeaks. 

Every week it seems we learn about yet another contact with Trump's inner circle to Putin's inner circle that they "forgot" about for a year.  Mueller on the other hand, well, he's not in the forgetting business.  Every week, these contacts get closer and closer to Trump himself.

Stay tuned.

Ivanka Trump Presents Panamaniacs

Eddie, Alex, and David Lee jammed it out best twenty-some years ago:

Jump back, what's that sound
Here she comes, full blast and top down
Hot shoe, burnin' down the avenue
Model citizen zero discipline 
Don't you know she's coming home with me?
You'l lose her in the turn
I'll get her! 


In 2017 the song's all about Ivanka Trump's first money laundering job for her dad and the Russians.

In the spring of 2007, a succession of foreigners, many from Russia, arrived at Panama City airport to be greeted by a chauffeur who whisked them off in a white Cadillac with a Donald Trump logo on the side. 
The limousine belonged to a business run by a Brazilian former car salesman named Alexandre Ventura Nogueira, who was offering the visitors a chance to invest in Trump’s latest project – a 70-floor tower called the Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower. It was the future U.S. president’s first international hotel venture, a complex including residential apartments and a casino in a waterfront building shaped like a sail. 
“Mr Nogueira was an outgoing and lively young man,” remembered Justine Pasek, who was crowned Miss Universe by Donald Trump in 2002 and was acting in 2007 as a spokesperson for Nogueira’s company, Homes Real Estate Investment & Services. “Everybody was so impressed with Homes as they seemed to be riding the top of the real estate boom at the time,” she said. 
One of those Nogueira set out to impress was Ivanka, Trump’s daughter. In an interview with Reuters, Nogueira said he met and spoke with Ivanka “many times” when she was handling the Trump Organization’s involvement in the Panama development. “She would remember me,” he said.
Ivanka was so taken with his sales skills, Nogueira said, that she helped him become a leading broker for the development and he appeared in a video with her promoting the project. 
A Reuters investigation into the financing of the Trump Ocean Club, in conjunction with the American broadcaster NBC News, found Nogueira was responsible for between one-third and one-half of advance sales for the project. It also found he did business with a Colombian who was later convicted of money laundering and is now in detention in the United States; a Russian investor in the Trump project who was jailed in Israel in the 1990s for kidnap and threats to kill; and a Ukrainian investor who was arrested for alleged people-smuggling while working with Nogueira and later convicted by a Kiev court. 
Three years after getting involved in the Trump Ocean Club, Nogueira was arrested by Panamanian authorities on charges of fraud and forgery, unrelated to the Trump project. Released on $1.4 million bail, he later fled the country. 
He left behind a trail of people who claim he cheated them, including over apartments in the Trump project, resulting in at least four criminal cases that eight years later have still to be judged.

Nogueira, 43, denies the charges and told Reuters in an email: “I am no Angel but not Devil either.” 
Ivanka Trump declined to comment on her dealings with Nogueira. A White House spokesman referred questions to the Trump Organization. Alan Garten, the organization’s chief legal officer, said: “No one at the Trump Organization, including the Trump family, has any recollection of ever meeting or speaking with this individual.” 
Trump put his name to the development and stood to make up to $75 million from it, according to a bond prospectus for the project. He did not exert management control over the construction and was under no direct legal obligation to conduct due diligence on other people involved.

It's something of a Saturday Long Read for you, but the story is good and yet another reminder that while Donny Jr. and Eric Trump may be comically evil, Ivanka is as cold, as crafty, as mean and as greedy as her old man.

She's the one you really have to look out for.

Bet on Mueller knowing all about the Trump Ocan Club in Panama.  Bet on Ivanka going down along with the rest of her family too.

Soccer Takes Balls, As They Say

Cincinnati really tries to be a sports town, but frankly it just doesn't have the base to support too much in the way of major league sports.  The city's location may be great for transportation and distribution companies, but it's terrible for sports franchises.  

There are just too many other larger sports teams close to Cincy: Cleveland, Atlanta, Chicago, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Nashville, Memphis and Charlotte are all a reasonable drive and compete for Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana sports fans.

FC Cincinnati won't get taxpayer help to build a new stadium in Hamilton County under a plan unveiled Wednesday. 
County commissioners rejected FC Cincinnati's pitch to use hotel tax money for a stadium and said the team should instead embrace the idea of playing games at Paul Brown Stadium on the riverfront. 
Instead, the county commissioners offered a plan to use parking revenues to pay for a $15 million garage for FC Cincinnati.

FC Cincinnati General Manager Jeff Berding, in response, said the club needs a soccer-only stadium if it wants to join Major League Soccer.

"Paul Brown Stadium would not support an MLS team, and any suggestion to the contrary is wrong," Berding said. "Therefore, Paul Brown Stadium simply does not work and does not result in a winning bid. It means a losing bid." 
Commissioner Todd Portune said the Bengals' home stadium, which is paid for through a county-wide sales tax, makes sense as a home for FC Cincinnati and would be far less costly than building a new, soccer-only stadium. 
"We believe Paul Brown Stadium can work," Portune said. "Paul Brown Stadium is our first option." 
His fellow commissioner, Chris Monzel, was more blunt: "The county already owns two stadiums. We don't need any more stadiums."

Whether the county's idea is enough to win FC Cincinnati a spot in Major League Soccer remains to be seen. Team officials have pushed for up to $75 million in taxpayer help to build a $200 million stadium in Oakley, which they say is the price of admission to MLS. 
The three commissioners did offer a Plan B to the team. If MLS rejects the proposal to play at Paul Brown Stadium, Portune said, the county would consider using some of its annual parking revenue to help pay for a parking garage for a stadium in Oakley.

The Oakley stadium still might come through, but there's no way in hell City Council is going to finance a $200 million soccer anything with county funding.  Not in this town.  If it gets done, it won't be with county money.

Odds are it won't get done in that case.  My biggest issue remains that the MLS Columbus Crew is just an hour away anyhow, with Atlanta and Chicago close by as well, and FC Cincinnati will go under quickly.  It makes much more sense for MLS to expand to Charlotte and Phoenix than Cincy next year.

I could be wrong, FC Cincinnati might be able to pull it off, but at this point I'm tired of $200 million stadiums when we don't have the money around these parts to say, fix the Brent Spence bridge.
Related Posts with Thumbnails