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Your Day-One Guide to President Trump’s Conflicts of Interest
Source:  mother jones
Friday, 20 January 2017 08:32

Donald Trump takes office today as the most conflicted and ethically problematic president in the nation's history. He refuses to divest from his global business holdings. His company continues to make foreign deals even after he promised to halt them. He owes hundreds of millions of dollars to domestic and overseas banks and other financial institutions. And Trump has yet to release his tax returns, making it impossible to know the full extent of his business dealings, liabilities, and other potential conflicts in the US and around the world.

On the first day of Trump's presidency, here is a guide to the conflicts and ethical questions that will dog him from the moment he steps foot in the White House.

Trump's Other Home on Pennsylvania Avenue

There was a joke during the presidential campaign: Win or lose, Trump would still have a presence on DC's iconic Pennsylvania Avenue. The Trump International Hotel opened last year in the historic Old Post Office Building four blocks from the White House, charging $850 a night for a room and $26 for a hamburger. Trump's unexpected victory, however, presented a new problem for the incoming president: He will violate the Trump International's lease the moment he takes office.

Trump's lease with the General Services Administration—the landlord of the federal government—bans any elected official, including the president, from having a financial stake or gaining a financial benefit from the property. Congressional Democrats argue that Trump, under the terms of the lease, must legally divest himself from the 263-room hotel before taking office. If he chooses not to divest, Democrats say the GSA should evict Trump.

The conflicts here are many. Trump's administration will oversee the GSA and handpick its leader, and the agency will in turn be tasked with negotiating with Trump Organization officials over rent, lease terms, and so on. GSA officials have hedged their comments about the fate of the hotel. The agency said in a statement in December that it "plans to coordinate with the president-elect's team to address any issues that may be related to the Old Post Office building." Trump's transition team stayed mum about the lease controversy while Trump himself has refused to cut ties with the hotel. The Trump International, meanwhile, has courted foreign dignitaries, raising questions about whether the new administration was pushing foreign governments to patronize the hotel. This week, Trump spokesman Sean Spicer gave a shout-out to the hotel: "It's a stunning hotel. I encourage you to go there if you haven't been by."

The Foreign Connection

The Emoluments Clause was an obscure provision of the US Constitution—until Trump arrived on the scene. The clause prohibits any government official from receiving money, gifts, and anything else of value from a foreign government. In the view of many constitutional experts, Trump stands in violation of the Emoluments Clause from the first day of his presidency. "Applied to Mr. Trump's diverse dealings, the text and purpose of the Emoluments Clause speak as one: this cannot be allowed," wrote Norm Eisen, a former chief ethics lawyer under President Obama, and Richard Painter, a former chief ethics lawyer under President George W. Bush.

A foreign state-owned bank rents space in a Trump-owned building. Trump has loans via a partnership with the Bank of China. Foreign diplomats and governments are paying to stay at the Trump International Hotel in DC, which is largely owned by Trump and run by his company. And then there are the many Trump-owned and -branded hotels across the globe—deals that in some cases involve partnerships with questionable characters. (A project in Azerbaijan with the son of the country's transportation minister is one glaring example.) All of these sources of money—and many more—run afoul of the Emoluments Clause, according to Eisen and Painter.

Trump has responded to questions about his conflicts with flat denials. "The law is totally on my side," he said in late November, "meaning the president can't have a conflict of interest." Ethics experts say this isn't true. In an analysis for the Brookings Institution, Eisen and Painter studied legal and historical precedent and came to the conclusion that evidence "compellingly" supports "the longstanding and near-unanimous consensus among lawyers and legal scholars that the Emoluments Clause applies in full to the President."

At a press conference earlier this month, Trump said he was turning control of his company over to his sons and declared that the Trump Organization would pursue no new international business during his presidency. He also said the company would terminate many foreign projects (like the Azerbaijani project, which has long been dormant anyway) that the Trump Organization had in development. But, just this week, one of his Scottish golf courses announced plans to expand and Trump projects in Indonesia appear to be moving forward. While Trump bragged at the press conference about turning down a deal with Dubai-based property development company DAMAC, he did not address the fact that he has an ongoing licensing deal with company worth between $2 million and $10 million a year.

It's Not What You Own—It's What You Owe

Trump, as Mother Jones has reported, will enter the White House as the most indebted president in history. And the new president's debtors, which include foreign financial institutions, raise a whole slew of questions.

According to Trump's financial disclosure forms, his largest single lender is Deutsche Bank, which he owes $364 million. The German bank and US law enforcement officials have sparred in recent years, with the bank agreeing to pay a $7.2 billion fine for its role in the 2008 mortgage crisis. The Justice Department has an ongoing investigation into the bank for allegedly helping to funnel money out of Russia.

The fact that Trump will enter office with his biggest lender under investigation by his administration is one of the most obvious conflicts his debts pose. But there are other ethical issues: What happens if one of his lenders wants to renegotiate the loan's terms? How can the public be sure that the bank isn't using its leverage to curry favor or that Trump isn't using his position to seek special treatment? Although Trump has said he is separating himself from the daily operations of his company, he has personally guaranteed a number of his loans. Will Trump recuse himself if a decision directly involving one of his lenders lands on his desk?

Trust Isn't Blind

During his press conference earlier this month, Trump laid out his plan to insulate himself from conflicts of interest: He would place all of his assets in a trust controlled by his sons, who would not discuss any of the Trump Organization's business dealings with him. An "independent ethics adviser" would vet any new Trump Organization deals. And Trump would donate any hotel profits derived from foreign governments to the US Treasury.

Ethics experts were aghast. They had been nearly unanimous in their advice that Trump place his assets in a blind trust run by an independent trustee who oversees the assets and can sell off those that pose a conflict. Trump's plan was so far outside the boundaries of what past presidents and cabinet members typically do that the usually press-shy director of the Office of Government Ethics publicly blasted the proposal. Trump's transition team did not even consult with the OGE, according to Walter Shaub, the office's director. "We would have told them that this arrangement fails to meet the statutory requirements," he said.

For Trump, however, the issue appears to be settled—even if that means entering the White House as the most conflict-ridden President in US history.


Hammered Hearts, Honey Body wash: KLG and Hoda's faves
Source:  Newsvine
Friday, 20 January 2017 08:31


‘Rammstein: Paris’ to Rock Cinemas with Picturehouse Entertainment
Source:  Variety
Friday, 20 January 2017 08:31

Picturehouse Entertainment has taken worldwide rights (excluding German-speaking territories) to concert film “Rammstein: Paris” for an event-cinema release on March 23. The film, directed by Swedish director Jonas Akerlund, captures the German rock band’s performance at the Paris Bercy Arena in March 2012, featuring an extraordinary stage show. It was shot over two nights using... Read more »

Serial Hackers or Nuisance Attacks—We Need to Bolster Our Systems
Source:  Observer
Friday, 20 January 2017 08:30

Any group that calls itself Anonymous craves a bit of the limelight.

Daily Kos Radio is LIVE at 9 AM ET!
Source:  Daily Kos
Friday, 20 January 2017 08:30

This is it! Let’s all huddle around this candle until it burns out!

Yes, this will be my last chance to tell you how awful this guy is before he actually becomes president. And if you listen via podcast, you’ll be too late!

Listen LIVE right here at 9:00 AM ET!

It’s also time for a new message in this section, befitting the new year. Now, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I’ve resolved that 2017 should be the year we make the Kagro in the Morning show a sustainable enterprise by finding sufficient subscription support from our audience through our Patreon account. It should be, but I’m not making it a New Year’s resolution, because that practically guarantees failure.

So instead, let’s just all agree that the KITM show is a fun way to stay sane during the upcoming Trump years (or whatever unit ends up being best suited to measuring his time in office), and that supporting the show is a great way to make sure we’re there for one another as needed.

As a gesture of good will, please enjoy our latest episode ABSOLUTELY FREE!

x YouTube Video

YouTube | iTunes | LibSyn | Support the show via Patreon

Take some time to finish reading any novels today, as fiction will cease tomorrow. Donald Trump holds reality and mendacity in equal regard. Snowflake Donald is triggered when people lie about him, or tell the truth about him. So, can the rest of us find common ground by embracing truth? Greg Dworkin calls in and increases David Waldman’s stress level. Over a third of Americans say Trump's election increased their stress. Pediatricians stress out as Donald Trump and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. endanger millions of children. Educators stress out as Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos endanger millions of children. Meanwhile, psychologists “enhance” our interrogation techniques, and those techniques are due for even more enhancement. Rick Perry, perpetually saying “Whaaaa?”, enters yet another learning curve as Energy Secretary. Donald Trump is going to take an ax to government spending, passing the savings, and a pile of cash to… well, the line forms behind Scott Walker. Commerce Secretary pick Wilbur Ross fired an undocumented employee before his hearing, and White House budget director pick Mick Mulvaney didn’t pay taxes on an employee, but they’ll both have to try a lot harder to create a “Gate” in today’s climate. Life for journalists keeps getting tougher. The Trump Hotel in Washington is banning the media, which could be illegal. Even a fake journalist paying his rent by making up Hillary stories, had his day job terminated for reporting the (fake) news.

(Thanks again to Scott Anderson for the show summary!) Need more info on how to listen? Find it below the fold.

Trump inauguration live stream: watch swearing-in speech online
Source:  Vox
Friday, 20 January 2017 08:30

Donald Trump, the man who defied the odds to win the 2016 election, will be inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States on January 20.

At the ceremony, America’s Got Talent runner-up Jackie Evancho will sing the national anthem, and Trump will place his hand on two copies of the Bible — one a gift from his mother and the other once used by Abraham Lincoln — to take the oath of office.

Event planners are estimating that 900,000 people will be in attendance Friday, which is half the turnout of President Barack Obama’s record-breaking ceremony in 2008. Notably, more than 50 congressional Democrats have chosen to boycott the ceremony.

While there’s politics in the pageantry, the most important moment of the proceedings will likely come during Trump’s inaugural address.

As it stands, Trump will enter the White House an incredibly unpopular president; his approval ratings have dropped since he was elected in November. He lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by almost 2.9 million votes, and nearly the same number of people are coming to Washington, DC, to protest Trump’s presidency as are projected to attend the inauguration.

Trump told reporters that his inaugural address will aim to unite America, taking a similar tone as his election night victory speech. But we already know that Trump hasn’t made much progress on this front over the course of the transition process, going after civil rights icon John Lewis on MLK Day weekend and even questioning the validity of approval ratings.

Trump is said to be receiving counsel from advisers Stephen Bannon and Kellyanne Conway and his campaign speechwriter Stephen Miller, as well as several historians specifically regarding the speech’s length, incoming press secretary Sean Spicer told the press Wednesday. But the words will be fully Trump’s own.

Here’s how to watch.

When, where, and how to watch

The inaugural swearing-in ceremony will begin at 11:30 Eastern on the western front of the Capitol building, where Trump will take the oath of office and make his inaugural address to the American people.

The inaugural parade will follow the swearing-in ceremony, scheduled to begin at 3 pm Eastern and make its way down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the White House.

You can stream the ceremonies online. NBC, CBS, FOX, and ABC will stream the events on their websites; however, you may need to log in to your TV provider to access the coverage.

The White House will be streaming the inauguration on its website, and several news outlets, including C-SPAN, Bloomberg Politics, and the Washington Post, have also partnered with YouTube to stream the events.

The proceedings will also be aired on all major news channels, including Fox, CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC and NBC News, with special all-day inauguration coverage.


Nine Ways To Motivate Customers Into Sharing Their Positive Experiences With Your Brand
Source:  Forbes Real Time
Friday, 20 January 2017 08:30

Forbes Coaches Council explains how to motivate consumers into sharing their positive experiences.

'Amazing Race' will return, but not in fall
Source:  Newsvine
Friday, 20 January 2017 08:29


Skyworks' Beat And Raise A Positive Read Thru For Micron, Broadcom, Silicon Motion
Source:  Benzinga
Friday, 20 January 2017 08:29

Skyworks Solutions Inc (NASDAQ: SWKS) reported its FQ1 2017 results ahead of expectations and raised its guidance for FQ2. The beat and raise has a “positive read thru to mobile handset supply chain,” Loop Capital Markets’ Betsy Van Hees said in a report.

Latest Ratings for SWKS

DateFirmActionFromTo
Jan 2017Goldman SachsDowngradesBuyNeutral
Oct 2016JP MorganInitiates Coverage OnNeutral
Oct 2016JP MorganInitiates Coverage OnNeutral

View More Analyst Ratings for SWKS
View the Latest Analyst Ratings


Meet Japan's First Self-Made Woman Billionaire
Source:  Forbes Real Time
Friday, 20 January 2017 08:27

A onetime secretary with a high school degree, Yoshiko Shinohara founded a temp staffing agency in the 1970s. Now it’s a $4.5 billion company – and she’s got a 10-figure fortune.

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