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“What Else Is Trump Up To?”: Trump Only Loves Rich Muslims Who Give Him Money

Donald Trump clearly has issues with Muslims. The latest example is his vow to ban all Muslim immigration to the United States, declaring he wants a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” Before that Trump had called for depriving American Muslims of civil liberties simply because of their faith by way of warrantless surveillance of Muslim Americans. And he has even gone as far as to indict all Muslims by declaring recently that “worldwide the Muslims were absolutely going wild” cheering on the 9/11 attacks.

But there’s one type of Muslim Trump really loves: The ones that make him big bucks. You see, if a Muslim can show Trump the money, then all those concerns he has with Muslims go right out the window of his private jet as he jets off to the Gulf to cash in.

For example, Trump loves Hussain Sajwani, head of the Dubai luxury real estate company Damac Properties. Trump has called the Muslim Sajwani a “good friend” and a “great man,” among other accolades. And in May 2014, The Donald even flew off to Dubai to spend time with his Muslim friend as they announced the massive real estate project they were teaming up to create in the United Arab Emirates.

And when I say massive project, I mean Trump-style “yuge!”  This 42 million-square-foot development (the Pentagon is 6 million-square-feet) includes 104 villas and mansions that begin at more than $1 million U.S. dollars and climb to over $10 million a pop. The development also boasts the “Trump World Golf Club,” which Trump has described as a course that “will be bigger and better and stronger” than any other in the region. Interestingly, Trump has used almost identical words to describe how the U.S. military will look if he’s elected.

So how did Sajwani get Trump to forget that Muslims “worldwide” celebrated on 9/11? Simple, Sajwani paid Trump enough money to go from a scary Muslim to a “great guy.”

As Sajwani explained to the Dubai media, “We went to see him [Trump] and he signed with us.” While Sajwani refused to reveal the exact dollar amount Trump was paid, it must be big given that the Trump-named golf course has been dubbed the “centerpiece” of the project, complete with a luxury spa, restaurants, stores, etc. And just a few months ago, “Trump Private Mansions” went on sale starting north of $1 million each and are being touted as “the most distinguished address in Dubai,” with a view “overlooking the Trump International Championship” golf course.

While no one can find video of “thousands and thousands” of Muslims cheering on 9/11 in New Jersey as Trump claim happened, there’s plenty of video of Trump chilling with his Muslim BFF Sajwani. You can see the two laughing it up at the 2014 press conference in Dubai, riding in Trump’s special golf cart and posing for cameras as Trump gives a big thumbs up while praising Sajwani and Dubai.

Now while this may not trouble Trump, Sajwani was convicted in 2011 in an Egyptian court for getting an illegal sweetheart deal from an Egyptian government minster to buy government land he wanted to develop. Sajwani, who was tried in absentia, was sentenced to five years in prison, and the government minister who sold him the land was imprisoned for the crime of “squandering public funds.” Ultimately, however, the criminal conviction was “settled” in 2013 after a more receptive Egyptian government came to power.

But putting aside the criminal issue of Trump’s business partner, there are still questions about the working conditions for the migrant workers building these Trump homes. As most know, the working conditions for the migrant construction employees in Dubai can be horrific. Workers have been requited to work 14-plus-hour days in over 100 degree weather and live in barely habitable conditions.

In fact, at the 2014 press conference in Dubai announcing this project, a reporter from Vice asked about this issue point blank: “Mr. Trump, the workers who build your villas make less than $200 a month. Are you satisfied?” People in the room reportedly gasped at the question. Trump refused to answer, instead remaining stone-faced. The project’s publicist then told the reporter, “That’s not an appropriate question.”

But wealthy people in Dubai aren’t the only Muslims Trump adores. His company is looking at “multiple opportunities in Abu Dhabi, in Qatar, in Saudi Arabia.

Trump teaming up with Saudi Arabia and Qatar is especially surprising given Trump’s purported concerns about Muslim terrorists. After all, 15 of the 19 hijackers who attacked America on 9/11 and killed nearly 3,000 Americans came from Saudi Arabia. Plus we all know about Saudi Arabia’s policies of oppression of women, even banning them from driving.

And the government in Qatar has in the past publicly funded the terrorist group Hamas and even allowed Hamas leader Khaled Meshal to live in the small Gulf country. But when big money is in play, Trump seems to ignore these issues.

I wonder how Trump palling around with Muslims in Saudi Arabia and Qatar will play with the GOP base? Will some Republicans and the media want more details about Trump’s Middle East deals and assurance that none of his business partners have made contributions directly, or indirectly, to terrorist groups? (Hamas is not even labeled a terrorist group in Dubai, so his partners could have legally supported the group.) Will they at least want to know if any of Trump’s Muslim business partners were cheering after the 9/11 attacks? And does Trump’s avowed ban on Muslims entering the United States also apply to his wealthy business partners?

Maybe they won’t care. Trump is the consummate salesman so maybe they understand that Trump would say one thing to Muslims he’s courting for their money and another to American voters he’s courting for their votes. After all, telling potential buyers what they want to hear is just good business.

Regardless of their reaction, the lesson for Muslim Americans is simple. If we want Trump to like us, we simply need to make it worth his while financially. Anyone want to join me in starting a “huge” Kickstarter campaign to raise the money we need to get Trump to call us “good friends”?

 

By: Dean Obeidallah, The Daily Beast, December 8, 2015

December 9, 2015 Posted by | 9-11, Donald Trump, Hassan Sajwani, Muslims | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Rove’s New Game; Split Warren & Clinton”: Typical Rovian Dishonesty, Using Warren’s Words Out Of Context To Attack Clinton

So now, America’s most overrated political consultant has decided that the foundation that has handed out free AIDS medications to millions of Africans and done far more in a few years to reduce greenhouse gas emissions around the world than the Republican Party has in its entire history is Hillary Clinton’s great Achilles’ heel. I’ll admit that time might prove Karl Rove right, although I don’t really think so. More on that later.

But one thing Rove has accomplished with his new web ad that uses Elizabeth Warren’s words to attack Clinton is to show us that Warren, while she may not be running for president, is definitely out to maximize her leverage over the presumptive nominee. Here’s the story.

The ad, in case you’ve missed it, shows both Clintons posed for photos with various be-keffiyehed petro-garchs with flash cards announcing that the Clintons’ foundation has accepted millions from “foreign governments.” This is not illegal, and if the governments in question had been Iceland and Lichtenstein, the ad wouldn’t even exist. But they were the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, a “prominent backer of Hamas,” which has given the foundation “potentially millions.” Uh…potentially?

But here’s where the ad gets cute. There is a voice-over, a woman’s voice, which warns that “the power of well-funded special interests tilts our democracy away from the people and toward the powerful.” That voice, of course, is Warren’s. Boom!

The ad wants to make the viewer think that Warren was inveighing against the Clintons when she spoke. But Warren was not, when she said those words, thinking about the Clinton foundation taking oil money at all. In fact, the ad cobbles together Warren quotes from different occasions. For example, the line I quoted above was taken from a September 2013 event of the Constitutional Accountability Center about the dangers of Citizens United and other Roberts Court decisions (here’s a video of that; the line comes at 11:28). In other words, she was lambasting the people Rove loves—two of whom, John Roberts and Samuel Alito, he helped elevate to the Court.

And get this. The full quote as Warren spoke it isn’t quite what you get in the ad. The full quote goes: “The power of well-funded special interests to blanket our politics with aggregate contributions tilts our democracy away from the people and toward the powerful.” Doesn’t sound to me much like a denunciation of nonprofit cup-rattling, even on the Clintons’ operatic scale.

In another of the ad’s sound bites, Warren cries out that “action is required to defend our great democracy against those who would see it perverted into one more rigged game where the rich and the powerful always win.” Did she wake up enraged that morning that the Clintons were perverting our democracy by funneling Saudi dollars into childhood nutrition programs? Not quite. She was on the floor of the Senate in September 2014 speaking in support of a constitutional amendment that would give Congress and states the authority to regulate campaign finance.

So it’s typical Rovian dishonesty. Nothing new there. Warren was lambasting a system of corruption that Rove supports, indeed lives and breathes, and has done far more than his part to advance.

But here’s an interesting thing. Warren hasn’t denounced this misuse of her words. Why not? I was on Lawrence O’Donnell’s show Monday night with David Axelrod and others talking about this ad, and O’Donnell raised the point of Warren’s silence, and Axelrod said yes, “that’s surprising to me. I would think she would speak out. The last place I’d think she’d wanna be is narrating a Karl Rove Crossroads ad.” You might think that Warren would be anxious to say hey, bub, I wasn’t talking about the Clintons! I was talking about you and your kind!

But she hasn’t. I emailed Warren’s office asking about this and got silence. I emailed Clinton’s office asking if they had asked Warren to issue a statement and got the same silence. So it seems on some level Warren doesn’t mind being used in this manner. She probably figures something like: To the extent that ads like this create pressure that pulls Clinton in the direction of eschewing special interests, she’s all for them. That may increase her leverage over Clinton in the near term. But undoubtedly other Republicans are going to notice her silence, and they’re going to try to drive a wedge between her and Clinton, and she’s not going to be able to stay silent forever.

On the broader question of the foundation: As I said on O’Donnell, sure, the Republicans will hit it hard, and it will remind some voters of some of those Lincoln Bedroom-y aspects of Clintonist politics. And they’ll raise questions about whether all of Bill’s glad-handling and hustling might compromise his wife’s White House in some way. But A, the Clintons can and should counter with the massive amount of good the foundation has done in the world, and B, unless some hot new smoking gun emerges that blossoms into an actual scandal, as opposed to a Fox News Scandal, the foundation is probably a second-tier issue.

A lot of voters can be troubled by something like the Clintons’ fund-raising. But most of them still like old Bill fine and know how he rolls. Elections are about the state of the economy and the alternate futures of the country the two candidates present to voters. Those are both matters the Clintons have always understood better than Rove, whose vision of America’s future was so wobbly that he was predicting a permanent conservative realignment shortly before the bottom fell out of George W. Bush’s presidency. That is reality. He can splice all the dishonest sound bites he wants.

 

By: Michael Tomasky, The Daily Beast, February 25, 2015

March 1, 2015 Posted by | Elizabeth Warren, Hillary Clinton, Karl Rove | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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