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Trump’s taxes reveal president’s businesses reaped millions in return for favors from the administration: NYT

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(Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)

On Saturday, The New York Times published a detailed report on how their new access to President Donald Trump’s tax records reveals the extent to which he used his businesses to sell access to wealthy individuals with business before the administration.

“An investigation by The Times found over 200 companies, special-interest groups and foreign governments that patronized Mr. Trump’s properties while reaping benefits from him and his administration. Nearly a quarter of those patrons have not been previously reported,” said the report. “The tax records — along with membership rosters for Mar-a-Lago and the president’s golf club in Bedminster, N.J., as well as other sources — reveal how much money this new line of business was worth.”

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In particular, “Just 60 customers with interests at stake before the Trump administration brought his family business nearly $12 million during the first two years of his presidency, The Times found. Almost all saw their interests advanced, in some fashion, by Mr. Trump or his government.”

“Patrons at the properties ranged widely: foreign politicians and Florida sugar barons, a Chinese billionaire and a Serbian prince, clean-energy enthusiasts and their adversaries in the petroleum industry, avowed small-government activists and contractors seeking billions from ever-fattening federal budgets,” continued the report. “Mr. Trump’s administration delivered them funding and laws and land. He handed them appointments to task forces and ambassadorships, victories as weighty as a presidential directive and as ephemeral as a presidential tweet.”

In one case, the report noted, one prominent Florida lobbyist, Brian Ballard, felt pressured into paying the $200,000 membership fee to join Trump’s Mar-a-Lago country club because he was made to feel that his clients would not get favorable treatment otherwise.

Another case centered on Illinois businessman David Storch. “In the closing months of the Obama administration, Mr. Storch’s company, AAR Corp., had wrested from a rival a $10 billion contract to service State Department aircraft … But as Mr. Trump took office, the competitor, DynCorp, was fighting the award in federal court.” Because the private equity manager who owned DynCorp was a huge donor to Trump, Storch and AAR felt pressure to respond in kind: “In 2017, AAR held an executive retreat at the Trump National Doral golf resort. The company returned again in June 2018, during the hot and rainy slow season, paying $120,746, records show. The following year, AAR held an event at Mr. Trump’s Chicago hotel.”

White House spokesman Judd Deere denied all of these characterizations, saying, “The president has kept his promise every day to the American people to fight for them, drain the swamp and always put America first.”

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2020 Election

REVEALED: Far-right extremists are circulating plans to lock down Arizona streets if Trump is re-elected

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On Saturday, The Arizona Republic reported that far-right paramilitary groups are circulating plans to lock down neighborhoods in the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area in the event that President Donald Trump is re-elected, supposedly to police left-wing protesters.

"In Arizona, the head of the Prescott-area chapter of the Oath Keepers group, which recruits military and law enforcement officers, has warned residents to be prepared to protect their neighborhoods from feared extreme left-wing protesters who would be upset should President Donald Trump be re-elected," reported Richard Ruelas. "Part of that the pro-Trump group'splan involved closing streets and assigning monitors to control access, according to a planning document shared with The Republic."

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2020 Election

America’s crimes against humanity aren’t on the ballot this year — but they should be

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The 2020 presidential election is a life-and-death decision for thousands of people vulnerable to COVID-19, for a globe under the assault from the climate crisis, and for the future of American democracy. And yet for all the urgency, the political campaign still suffers under the weight and stench of bullshit.

This article first appeared in Salon.

Philosopher Harry Frankfurt warns in his bestselling pamphlet "On Bullshit" that "bullshit" is more injurious than the blatant lie. One reason among many is that bullshit blurs the line between reality and fiction, offering a manipulative incorporation of truth to strengthen its own capacity to persuade. Absolute falsity, in contrast, is obvious to anyone with minimal awareness of the facts. When the Trump administration recently declared that one of its grand achievements was "ending the pandemic," most people laughed in disbelief. This is a lie fit for consumption only from inhabitants of a collective similar to the Rev. Jim Jones' notorious People's Temple settlement in Guyana.

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2020 Election

Conservatives are hopping mad that their clumsy Hunter Biden smear is a flop

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

In 2016, Steve Bannon did an amazing job rolling out the Clinton Foundation nontroversy. He gave The New York Times and CNN early access to Peter Schweizer's book, Clinton Cash, and the outlets gave it mainstream credibility. Later, when the Uranium One story was thoroughly debunked, it didn't matter. The foundation remained under a pall of fuzzy suspicions.

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