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Trump Pledge to Help China Telecom Co. Comes Days After China Approved Large Trump Project

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Trump Pledge to Help China Telecom Co. Comes Days After China Approved Large Trump Project

 

BipHoo Company / Flickr In Beijing Trump presses China on...
BipHoo Company / Flickr

This story is new and breaking on MSNBC as I write. But I must get it out because you deserve to know the truth immediately, given that I wrote just days ago about Trump’s pledge to void/help a Chinese telecom company fined $1.2 billion by Trump’s own fking Commerce Department. I wrote – and you of course knew – that Trump’s “America First” promise comes with an asterisk bigger than a basketball, the one asterisk being “unless I get millions out of the deal.” We knew that Trump had a side arrangement.

Well, even I didn’t think it would only take days to get the news that the Trump “pledge” came only days after the Chinese government approved a huge Trump project in China. Obviously, that is why Trump momentarily had a “China First” promise, noting that he couldn’t possibly allow that $1.2 billion dollar fine to be enforced because, as he said, “too many Chinese jobs would be lost.”

Concern about Chinese jobs? When the company blatantly cheated U.S. sanctions on two countries building nukes to kill people?

Fines issued by the United States government generally go first to American people hurt by the company fined, and then possibly to the department issuing the fine, to assist programs to enforce regulations that brought about the fine. Often neither category fits, in such cases the money goes to the federal general fund. We likely don’t even want to know how much $1.2 billion could assist poor kids with cancer, asthma, cerebral palsy, how many elderly who cannot afford nursing home care despite desperate need could be assisted, or the desperately needed bridges and road repairs that amount could fund, could even go to science done to cure cancer. Yet Trump is concerned about the number of Chinese jobs lost.

By the way, each of those causes listed above, they assist with American jobs.

But, Trump had a deal made. How the deal got made, who the fk knows, because it wasn’t through official channels. If the smallest magistrate judge in your town or city offered a ruling in exchange for $1,000 – he’s be fired, and face criminal charges. The President of the United States can do it out in the open, because “the president cannot have a conflict,” Trump says. It is true that the law currently doesn’t require the president to declare and reject conflicts, but that is mostly because Congress and previous presidents never even envisioned the possible need for one, given the obvious principle.

I am so mad it is hard to write right now. I apologize for any typos or grammatical errors.


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Former GOP congresswoman resigns as interim USA Gymnastics head after anti-Nike tweet surfaces

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Former GOP congresswoman resigns as interim USA Gymnastics head after anti-Nike tweet surfaces

 

TraipsingThruFilms / YouTube Mary Bono on Gay Marriage 2012 1539733770.jpg...
TraipsingThruFilms / YouTube

USA Gymnastics interim president and CEO Mary Bono is resigning after only days in the position after coming under fire for posting an anti-Nike tweet. Bono was a Republican congresswoman from 1998-2013 representing the 44th and 45th California districts during her tenure. Unfortunately, it seems that in spite of her retirement the GOP racism still goes strong in her.

On Friday, USA Gymnastics named Bono as their new interim leader to take the organization into a new era after Larry Nasser’s long-enabled abuse. However, she was divisive from the start. HuffPost reports:

The day after her new role was announced, Bono came under fire for posting a photo on Twitter of her covering the Nike logo on her golf shoes. The photo suggested that Bono was protesting the sportswear company’s move to partner with Colin Kaepernick, a former NFL player who has kneeled during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality.

Olympian Simone Biles called out Bono on Twitter, writing: “Mouth drop. Don’t worry, it’s not like we needed a smarter USA Gymnastics president or any sponsors or anything.”

Bono deleted the tweet, but the damage was done. She was already on shaky ground due to her past. Bono worked with Faegre Baker Daniels, the law firm that represented USA Gymnastics as the Larry Nassar scandal arose. Another Olympic gold medalist, Aly Raisman, expressed her opposition to Bono, too.

Considering that it hasn’t been a week on the job and she’s already controversial, Bono did the organization a favor and resigned. She stayed defensive to the end, justifying both the tweet and her work with the law firm, saying she “proudly” stands behind it.

With respect to Mr. Kaepernick, he nationally exercised his first amendment right to kneel. I exercised mine: to mark over on my own golf shoes, the logo of the company sponsoring him for ‘believing in something even if it means sacrificing everything’ — while at a tournament for families who have lost a member of the armed services (including my brother-in-law, a Navy SEAL) who literally ‘sacrificed everything

View the full statement below:

Good riddance.

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Students cheated by for-profit colleges to finally get debt relief as judge unblocks Obama-era rule

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Students cheated by for-profit colleges to finally get debt relief as judge unblocks Obama-era rule

 

Gage Skidmore / Flickr betsy devos...
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Students scammed by for-profit colleges whose business model was fraud will finally get the debt relief the Obama administration put into motion and the Trump administration tried to block. The Betsy DeVos-led Education Department said it would stop trying to delay the student debt relief rule after a federal judge ordered it implemented immediately.

Attorneys general from 18 states and the District of Columbia successfully sued DeVos last year over her decision to block the rule, known as Borrower Defense to Repayment, from taking effect.

The judge sided with the states last month, but implementation of the debt-relief rule was delayed pending Tuesday’s decision in the separate lawsuit brought by an industry group.

This is a good win—a really good win—but it’s also a reminder of how many judges Donald Trump has put on the federal bench to rule in future such cases pitting people like broke students against companies like the for-profit colleges that cheated them.

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Organization sues Trump to protect media from unconstitutional restrictions

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Organization sues Trump to protect media from unconstitutional restrictions

 

ABC News / YouTube How Donald Trump Has Used Twitter...
ABC News / YouTube

PEN America is a New York nonprofit dedicated to promoting creative expression and defending the rights upon which it’s predicated: freedoms of speech and press. Its members range from journalistic to literary to media professionals. There’s no shortage of issues for the organization to tackle, especially now, but PEN’s “bedrock work” is “long-term advocacy on behalf of individual writers who are being punished because of their work.”

They take exception to Trump’s war against the press. Represented by Protect Democracy and the Yale Law School Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic, PEN America is moving beyond criticism to legal complaint. They’re asking a federal district court, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, to declare Trump’s retaliatory actions unconstitutional under the First Amendment and to block Trump from retaliating or directing retaliation against someone based on their speech.

Their challenge is meaningful, as the organization was founded in 1948. It’s also nonpartisan. PEN “forcefully raised concerns about free expression infringements during the Obama, Bush, and other prior administrations.” Trump’s not even the first president PEN has sued.

It’s a pretty complaint. PEN takes care to catalogue Trump’s verbal attacks on the press (“disgusting,” etc.), then notes that these comments, while anti-democratic, are not the basis for this suit. The problem is, they point out, that he has threatened to engage, and he has engaged, in conduct intended to retaliate against specific news organizations and journalists he disagrees with.

PEN says Trump’s retaliatory measures against Amazon—motivated by a desire to strike at founder Jeff Bezos, also owner of the Washington Post—have included criticizing Amazon in a way that affected its stock, telling USPS to re-evaluate its rates for Amazon, and personally directing the head of USPS to double rates for Amazon and its ilk.

Trump has also openly referred to his vendetta against CNN.

In this case, his dislike has bled over into hostility toward parent company Time Warner. Back in 2016, PEN says, he threatened to push the Department of Justice to block Time Warner’s merger with AT&T. That’s exactly what he did, despite the norm for vertical mergers being approval. DOJ’s effort to block the merger died in district court, but, as PEN has pointed out, CNN and Time Warner expended significant resources in the process.

A great number of Trump’s actions against and threats toward individual reporters and outlets vis-á-vis access have been public—very public. To name a few, Trump has warned reporters he’ll take their press credentials and told networks he’ll go after their broadcast licenses. Imagine what he’s doing and saying off the record.

Trump’s actions prove his threats are credible, not mere posturing. One reporter, Kaitlan Collins, was banned for questioning Trump.

PEN’s suit is both solid and important. Here’s Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of Berkeley Law School at the University of California. (He’s constitutional law’s Mick Jagger.)

“No president in history has repeatedly threatened the press as Donald Trump does on a regular basis. Under long-standing First Amendment precedents, these threats violate freedom of press and the First Amendment. This lawsuit addresses an urgent threat to our Constitution.”

Sonja West, a First Amendment expert at the University of Georgia Law School, focuses on the harms the lawsuit seeks to avert or mitigate.

“President Trump has a pattern of trying to use the power of the federal government to punish the press for coverage he dislikes. Make no mistake, this should alarm us. Lobbing insults at reporters is one thing, but this kind of tactic represents a far more serious threat to press freedom. When a president crosses the line from insulting the press to turning the wheels of government as a means to retaliate against news organizations for their reporting, the potential First Amendment violations become very real. This lawsuit is asking the courts to make clear that the president cannot violate the Constitution’s vital protections for press freedom.”

PEN’s is just the latest addition to the bevy of suits directed against Trump by everyone from individuals to associations to businesses to members of Congress. By my count, Trump’s currently being sued under at least four amendments to the Constitution. It’s another ignoble first.

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