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“Trump Is Still Making Money Off His Defunct University”: Despite Rampart Fraud, It Appears Business Is Boomin

Donald Trump may be facing three separate lawsuits over his now-defunct university, but he’s still raking in money from the enterprise.

According to his 2016 personal financial disclosure form, filed with the Federal Election Commission, Trump made $13,239 in the last year from the Trump Entrepreneur Initiative LLC, the company formally known as Trump University LLC. In an earlier disclosure which he filed last summer when his presidential campaign was beginning, Trump reported earning $11,819 from the company, which held live seminars about earning money from real estate and online courses providing a path to riches.

It’s unclear why or how Trump made money from a business that has been defunct since 2011 and facing litigation since 2013. Alan Garten, executive vice president and general counsel of the Trump Organization, has not responded to a request for comment from The Daily Beast.

Trump is staring down three lawsuits which allege rampant fraud in his educational endeavor. Students claimed that they put money down to learn the tricks of the real estate trade from Donald Trump only to end up with cardboard cutouts of his figure.

One, a class-action suit in San Diego, has been delayed until November 28, which is after the presidential election. There will be a hearing for a second class action suit in San Diego on July 22. Finally a state fraud case, brought down by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, will also likely only go to trial after the election now.

On Tuesday, a four-judge panel in New York agreed to let Trump’s lawyers argue their case with the Court of Appeals, hoping to challenge a ruling that let Schneiderman progress with the case this year. Cases brought to this highest court in New York take a long time to resolve, likely stretching this suit beyond the timeframe of the presidential contest.

Even as Trump managed to dodge bullets—avoiding appearances on the witness stand during a crazy election year—Schneiderman has made it clear that he intends to pursue Trump vigorously.

“I am very pleased the judge has indicated her intention to move as expeditiously as possible to trial, as thousands of Mr. Trump’s alleged victims have been waiting years for relief from his fraud,” Schneiderman said in a previous statement provided to The Daily Beast. “As we will prove in court, Donald Trump and his sham for-profit college defrauded thousands of students out of millions of dollars.”

And it’s still lining Trump’s pockets, apparently.

Overall, Trump said that his revenue grew by $190 million over the past 17 months, and that he had $557 million in earned income. Ironically, the personal financial disclosure indicates that Trump has investments in a number of companies he has publicly railed against at his rallies, including Ford Motor Co. and Apple Inc., which he wanted to boycott.

There are also a series of new LLC’s with names of foreign cities—likely for new international hotel projects—in places like Saudi Arabia, from whom Trump wanted to halt oil purchases. Not to mention that whole suggestion he made that the country was responsible for 9/11.

“Who blew up the World Trade Center? It wasn’t the Iraqis, it was Saudi — take a look at Saudi Arabia, open the documents,” Trump said in February.

Trump has still not released his tax returns which could address more questions about his personal finances. But as he marches towards the nomination, it appears that business is boomin’.

 

By: Gideon Resnick, The Daily Beast, May 19, 2016

May 20, 2016 Posted by | 9-11, Donald Trump, Fraud, Trump University | , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Forever Active Or Proxy Warfare”: Republican Lies And Distortions About The Middle East

One of the reasons it is difficult to comment on the actual content of what the Republican presidential candidates said last night is that so much of it was simply untrue. By the time you are done fact-checking, there isn’t much there there.

The debate produced a lot of material for the fact-checkers to work with. But most troubling, given the topic they were focused on, was the complete lack of understanding and/or truthfulness about what is actually going on in the Middle East. A perfect example of that was the claim from Ted Cruz that the Obama administration “toppled former President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt.” One can only assume that Cruz is ignorant of the whole “Arab Spring” rebellions of 2010/11 and the fact that it was the people of Egypt who forced him to step down.

For a more comprehensive review, Ishaan Tharoor has written: The Middle East dreamed up at the Republican debate doesn’t really exist. He begins by talking about Cruz’s proposal to “carpet bomb” ISIS.

Cruz’s emphasis is on tough, withering, relentless action, but you can’t bomb the Islamic State to smithereens without contemplating an enormous civilian death toll. That places Cruz in the same camp as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has for years now been bombing civilian areas in his own nation’s cities with barrel bombs and other crude, indiscriminate forms of munitions…

Cruz and, to varying extents, other candidates onstage appeared to view the Middle East as a kind of set for “American Sniper” — a woebegone place of dusty towns crawling with bad guy extremists and not much else.

It wouldn’t be the first time a Republican confused the real world with the movie version.

Tharoor goes on to talk about Carson’s proposal to move Syrian refugees to the Hasakah governorate in northeast Syria, which “is still a theater of war and the site of bitter clashes between Kurdish militias and the Islamic State,” as well as the complex realities of working with various Kurdish parties and militias. But then he got to what I noticed in the proposals we heard last night from Kasich, Rubio and Christie.

But none of this was being deliberated in Las Vegas, of course.

Instead, there was a vague embrace of Sunni Arab elites — namely the ruling royals of countries like Jordan and Saudi Arabia — and a parallel demonization of Iran, a regional bogeyman on the other side of a sectarian divide with the Saudis.

The truth is that the neocons in the Republican Party want the United States to take sides in the centuries-old battle between the Shia and the Sunnis in the Middle East. Specifically, they want us to take the side of the Sunni majorities in countries like Saudi Arabia against the Shiites in Iran. That means aligning with the country whose oil wealth has been used to support groups like al Qaeda and ISIS. Here is how Kasich put it last night:

Assad is aligned with Iran and Russia. The one thing we want to prevent is we want to prevent Iran being able to extend a Shia crescent all across the Middle East. Assad has got to go…

I don’t want to be policeman of the world. But we can’t back off of this. And let me tell you, at the end, the Saudis have agreed to put together a coalition inside of Syria to stabilize that country.

He must go. It will be a blow to Iran and Russia.

In the Republican mind, we have friends and we have enemies. Saudi Arabia – which has one of the worst human rights records in the world – is a “friend.” Russia and Iran are “enemies.”

That is exactly why Republicans are so vehemently opposed the the deal that was recently negotiated with Iran to stop their development of nuclear weapons. As President Obama told David Remnick prior to the conclusion of those negotiations, it sets the stage for a potential geopolitical realignment in the Middle East.

Ultimately, he envisages a new geopolitical equilibrium, one less turbulent than the current landscape of civil war, terror, and sectarian battle. “It would be profoundly in the interest of citizens throughout the region if Sunnis and Shias weren’t intent on killing each other,” he told me. “And although it would not solve the entire problem, if we were able to get Iran to operate in a responsible fashion—not funding terrorist organizations, not trying to stir up sectarian discontent in other countries, and not developing a nuclear weapon—you could see an equilibrium developing between Sunni, or predominantly Sunni, Gulf states and Iran in which there’s competition, perhaps suspicion, but not an active or proxy warfare.

For all their bluster about the President being weak and ineffective, this is the real reason Republicans oppose his strategy in the Middle East. They can’t conceptualize peace in the Middle East short of a military solution that provides a win for our friends and defeat of our enemies. In other words…forever active or proxy warfare.

 

By: Nancy LeTourneau, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, December 15, 2015

December 20, 2015 Posted by | GOP Presidential Candidates, Middle East, Terrorism | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“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

“Marco Rubio Has No Clue How To Defeat ISIS”: A Collection Of Ideas Ranging From The Irrelevant To The Ridiculous

We ask an awful lot of our presidential candidates. In addition to being forced to shake a million hands, beg for money, and cram any fried foodstuff right into their mouths, they’re supposed to have opinions and ideas about everything. As soon as something important happens in the United States or anywhere else, in short order we expect them to have a “plan” to deal with it, to assure us that once they take office, the problem will be solved forthwith.

A couple of weeks ago, ISIS was a serious challenge the next president will have to deal with, but in the wake of the attacks in Paris, candidates are now expected to have an ISIS plan, a specific set of actions they’ll take that will eliminate the terrorist group once and for all. Not everyone has come up with one yet, but what we’ve seen so far is not going to inspire a whole lot of faith that ISIS’s days are numbered come January 2017.

Consider, for example, Marco Rubio, the establishment’s golden boy and one of the “serious” GOP candidates. When it comes to foreign policy in particular, people will look to Rubio, since by virtue of his seat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee he’s better informed than most of his primary competitors. Rubio delivered his plan to defeat ISIS last week, and it’s a remarkable document. Let’s walk through its main points.

Rubio begins with the requisite statement of steely resolve: “When I am president, what I will do to defeat ISIL is very simple: whatever it takes.” Inspiring! Then he dives into the details. “First, I would protect the homeland by immediately stopping the flow of Syrian refugees into the United States,” he says. I won’t bother going over again how wrong it is to think that stopping Syrian refugees will protect us from an attack, but we can at least all agree that doing so certainly won’t help “defeat” ISIS.

“Next, I would reverse defense sequestration so we have the capabilities to go on the offense against ISIL,” Rubio says. This is equally silly. You can argue that the budget cuts forced by sequestration are a bad thing, but the reason we haven’t yet banished ISIS from the earth isn’t that our defense budget is too skimpy. It’s not like the chairman of the Joint Chiefs is saying, “Mr. President, we could take ISIS out and bring a peaceful, democratic government to that area, but we can’t do it without more tanks and helicopters — and I just don’t have the money.” Our resources are more than ample for whatever military action we might want to take.

Next, Rubio says “I would build a multinational coalition of countries willing to send troops into Iraq and Syria to aid local forces on the ground.” Also, “I would demand that Iraq’s Shiite-dominated government grant greater autonomy to Sunnis, and would provide direct military support to Sunnis and the Kurds if Baghdad fails to support them. I would back those demands with intense diplomatic pressure and the leverage of greater American military assistance to Iraq.” So that’s a mix of things the Obama administration is trying to do (though somehow Rubio would manage to convince other countries to put in troops where Obama hasn’t been able to; maybe Obama’s diplomatic pressure hasn’t been “intense” enough), plus something that sounds like he wants to set up an independent Sunni quasi-state within Iraq, like what the Kurds have. That’s…interesting. Shouldn’t be any complications there.

And finally, “Cutting off oxygen to ISIL also requires defeating Assad in Syria. I would declare no-fly zones to ground Assad’s air force and coalition-controlled ‘safe zones’ in the country to stop his military.” If you read that without knowing anything, you might think Rubio believes that Assad is supporting ISIS and not fighting it. But anyhow, he’ll just “defeat Assad,” whom we’re not actually fighting at the moment. Does that mean an invasion? If not, what? And “safe zones” sound nice, but how many tens of thousands of American troops would be required to create and maintain them?

Now keep in mind: This collection of ideas ranging from the irrelevant to the ridiculous is the best plan the GOP’s best foreign policy candidate can devise.

The problem isn’t that Marco Rubio is some kind of idiot, even if you’d be tempted to conclude that upon reading his “plan.” The problem is that ISIS presents an unusually difficult challenge, where every possible course of action is either foreclosed before it begins or brings huge complications along with it. That’s why when Hillary Clinton — who has more foreign policy experience than all the Republican candidates put together — gave a speech last week outlining the course she’d like to follow on ISIS, it was terribly frustrating, in many ways more hope than plan. Clinton at least acknowledges the complexity of the situation — for instance, our ally Saudi Arabia isn’t helping us fight ISIS, while our adversary Iran is, all while the two countries wage proxy battles against each other. If the next president can untie that knot, it would be a wonder.

Presidential candidates never acknowledge that some challenges are so difficult that success is uncertain at most. They don’t say, “Boy, this one’s a doozy, but I’ll do my best.” They say that if they’re elected, all our problems foreign and domestic will be swept away. It’s when they try to explain exactly how they’re going to get there that the future doesn’t look so bright.

 

By: Paul Waldman, Senior Writer, The American Prospect; Contributor, The Week, November 23, 2015

November 25, 2015 Posted by | Foreign Policy, ISIS, Marco Rubio | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Trump Speaks The Truth”: The Donald Has The Better Of Jeb Bush In Their Spat Over 9/11

Here at the Country Mart, on the edge of Brentwood and Santa Monica, politics is not on the menu. The Sunday talk shows are no big thing. Imagine, people are not that excited about Hillary Clinton’s upcoming date with Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., chairman of the House Benghazi committee.

This is Hillaryland, a rare state with two Democratic women senators. But one flare from the presidential primary season has made its way west: Donald Trump said something simple and true, which needed to be said. I never thought I’d say it, but thanks for clearing the air on the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Trump.

The failing presidential contender Jeb Bush has made this absurd statement his signature as a candidate: “My brother kept us safe.” No, President George W. Bush did not do that. Trump only pointed out that almost 3,000 died on that day and the World Trade Center towers fell. That’s the record of a day that broke the nation’s heart.

It happened on President Bush’s watch, while he was ignoring his CIA August intelligence briefings that a plot involving planes was in the air, so to speak. Most of the hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, not Afghanistan nor Iraq. We stayed friends with the desert kingdom for some reason; the Bushes were chummy with Prince Bandar. Bush fell down on the job, to say the least.

We are still paying dearly for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The fearsome Islamic State group is not keeping us safe, little brother. President Barack Obama had to own that grim truth, keeping more troops than planned in the warring Middle East neighborhood. Much of Syria has been destroyed, like a contemporary Carthage.

“My brother kept us safe” shows a tragic chorus of Bush blind loyalty at work again. Jeb Bush has clearly not learned any lessons from the past, asking the same family crowd of foreign policy advisors to help him, including that shrewd player and hawk, Paul Wolfowitz.

It’s his birthright, his inheritance. Jeb is very proud of being a Bush team player.

Finally, as a matter of finesse, “my brother” sounds like he’s running for home room president. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy always referred in public to his late brother, John F. Kennedy, as President Kennedy. That has more dignity, not the Bush strong suit.

Trump spoke the plain truth. It’s refreshing. Let’s have more of it from Republicans running for president.

 

By: Jamie Stiehm, Washington Whispers, U. S. News and World Report, October 19, 2015

October 23, 2015 Posted by | 9-11, Donald Trump, Jeb Bush | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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