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Old 14th November 2016, 20:35
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Soros - take back power Part 2

A Soros spokesman declined to comment for this story.

But, given that the billionaire financier only periodically attends DA meetings and is seldom a part of the formal proceedings, his scheduled Tuesday morning appearance as a speaker suggests that he’s committed to investing in opposing President Trump.

The agenda item for a Tuesday morning “conversation with George Soros” invokes Soros’ personal experience living through the Holocaust and Soviet Communism in the context of preparing for a Trump presidency. The agenda notes that the billionaire currency trader, who grew up in Hungary, “has lived through Nazism and Communism, and has devoted his foundations to protecting the kinds of open societies around the world that are now threatened in the United States itself.”

LaMarche, who for years worked for Soros’s Open Society foundations, told POLITICO that the references to Nazism and Communism are “part of his standard bio.”

LaMarche, who is set to moderate the discussion with Soros, said the donor “does not plan to compare whatever we face under Trump to Nazism, I can tell you that.” LaMarche he also said, “I don’t think there is anyone who has looked at Trump, including many respected conservatives, who doesn’t think the experience of authoritarian states would not be important to learn from here. And to the extent that Soros and his foundations have experience with xenophobia in Europe, Brexit, etc., we want to learn from that as well.”

The Soros conversation was added to the agenda after Election Day. It was just one of many changes made on the fly to adjust for last week's jarring result and the stark new reality facing liberals, who went from discussing ways to push an incoming President Clinton leftward, to instead discussing how to play defense.

A pre-election working draft of the DA’s agenda, obtained by POLITICO, featured a session on Clinton’s first 100 days and another on “moving a progressive national policy agenda in 2017.” Those sessions were rebranded so that the first instead will examine “what happened” on the “cataclysm of Election Day,” while the second will focus on “combating the massive threats from Trump and Congress in 2017.”

A session that before the election had been titled “Can Our Elections Be Hacked,” after the election was renamed “Was the 2016 Election Hacked” — a theory that has percolated without evidence on the left to explain the surprising result.

In his post-election emails to donors and operatives, LaMarche acknowledged the group had to “scrap many of the original plans for the conference,” explaining “while we made no explicit assumptions about the outcome, the conference we planned, and the agenda you have seen, made more sense in the event of a Hillary Clinton victory.”
Soros bands with donors to resist Trump, 'take back power' - POLITICO

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Old 14th November 2016, 20:45
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Trump, Putin hold phone talks Russian President Vladimir Putin held a telephone conversation with U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump, according to TASS citing the Kremlin's press service.
UNIAN Nov 14, 2016

Both Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump are reported to have spoken in favor of increasing joint efforts to normalize the Russian-U.S. relations, TASS reported.

The Russian president stressed Moscow's readiness to build up a constructive dialogue with the new U.S. administration, "based on principles of equal rights, mutual respect, and non-interference in the international affairs of one another".

The officials stressed the importance of creating a solid foundation to build up bilateral ties through economic development.

They agreed to maintain phone contacts, and to plan to hold a meeting in person soon.
Trump, Putin hold phone talks - news about politics | unian | UNIAN

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Old 14th November 2016, 21:03
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Breitbart, Reveling in Trump’s Election, Gains a Voice in His White House

There is talk of Breitbart bureaus opening in Paris, Berlin and Cairo, spots where the populist right is on the rise. A bigger newsroom is coming in Washington, the better to cover a president-elect whose candidacy it embraced.

Mainstream news outlets are soul-searching in the wake of being shocked by Donald J. Trump’s election last week. But the team at Breitbart News, the right-wing opinion and news website that some critics have denounced as a hate site, is elated — and eager to expand on a victory that it views as a profound validation of its cause.

“So much of the media mocked us, laughed at us, called us all sorts of names,” Alexander Marlow, the site’s editor in chief, said in an interview on Sunday. “And then for us to be seen as integral to the election of a president, despite all of that hatred, is something that we certainly enjoy, and savor.”

Breitbart not only championed Mr. Trump; its chairman, Stephen K. Bannon, helped run his campaign. On Sunday, Mr. Trump named Mr. Bannon as his chief White House strategist and senior counselor, further closing the distance between Breitbart’s newsroom and the president-elect.

Those who consider Mr. Trump, who has vilified the news media, a threat to the free press view Mr. Bannon’s appointment as more cause for alarm. Critics say Breitbart now has the potential to play an unprecedented role in a modern presidency, as a weaponized media adjunct for the White House.

“It will be as close as we are ever going to have — hopefully — to a state-run media enterprise,” said Kurt Bardella, a former Breitbart spokesman who quit the site this year, saying it had turned into a de facto “super PAC” for Mr. Trump.

Breitbart has been denounced as misogynist, racist and xenophobic, and it served as a clearinghouse for attacks on Mr. Trump’s adversaries, spreading unsubstantiated rumors about Hillary Clinton’s health and undermining its own reporter, Michelle Fields, after she accused Corey Lewandowski, then Mr. Trump’s campaign manager, of assaulting her.

The site frequently boasts about knowing the pulse of its readers. News articles with evocative headlines, like “Paris Streets Turned into WARZONE by Violent Migrants,” are frequently followed by comments from readers about “the enemy within,” migrant “scum” and the “Jewish-controlled media.” Breitbart’s writers often vilify the Black Lives Matter movement, emphasizing what they say is a wave of “black-on-black crime.”

But the site’s influence on social media, where more and more Americans now consume information, has been palpable. On election night, Breitbart’s Facebook page received the fourth-highest number of user interactions on the entire platform — beating Fox News, CNN and The New York Times.

Mr. Marlow, the editor, praised Mr. Bannon on Sunday, saying, “Steve understands the voters, the American people, better than just about anyone.” But he rejected the premise that Breitbart could become an American version of Pravda.

“Our loyalty is not going to be to Donald Trump; our loyalty is to our readers and to our values,” Mr. Marlow, 30, said. “That’s regardless of what role Steve has.”

“If Trump runs his administration and honors the voters who voted him in, we’re all good,” Mr. Marlow added. “But if he is going to turn his back on those values and principles that drove his voters to the polls, we’re going to be highly critical. We’re not going to think twice about it.”

For now, Breitbart is supporting the president-elect. Its post-Election Day coverage has been, if anything, emboldened: “Meltdown Continues: Wave of Fake ‘Hate Crimes’ Sweeps Social Media,” read a headline on its home page on Sunday, attempting to cast doubt on a wave of reports of intimidation and harassment by Trump supporters. “Anti-Democracy Crybabies March by Thousands Nationwide,” read another.

The site’s expansion of political coverage comes at a time when other news outlets in Washington are concerned about staying relevant with readers — and girding for tensions with a president-elect who denounces reporters as dishonest, or worse.

A spokesman for the White House Correspondents’ Association, which coordinates press coverage of the White House, declined to comment on Mr. Bannon’s appointment.

Andrew Breitbart, the site’s founder, who died in 2012, “used to talk about the Democrat-media complex,” recalled Ben Shapiro, Breitbart’s former editor at large.

“It’s hard to think of a more Republican-media complex than Breitbart and the Trump team,” Mr. Shapiro said. “I’ll be fascinated to see if there are any points of departure, any points of criticism at all.”

Outlets like Fox News, which has a large Republican audience, insist that Breitbart is no competitor, saying that an online-only outlet with few known personalities can hardly compete with television networks that reach tens of millions of homes.

Breitbart receives far fewer unique web visitors than Fox News’s digital sites, according to statistics from comScore. Still, its Facebook audience has more than doubled in the last year, and it frequently sets the agenda for social media users with their own mass followings. The site has spotlighted nationalist views and conspiracies once relegated to the right-wing fringe.

Larry Solov, Breitbart’s chief executive, declined on Sunday to provide revenue figures for the site. Nor would he comment on whether Mr. Bannon, a former Goldman Sachs banker, retains a financial stake. (Mr. Solov is a part owner, along with Andrew Breitbart’s estate and the family of Robert Mercer, a wealthy Trump donor.)

Speaking by telephone from Hearst Castle in California, which he was visiting for a postelection vacation, Mr. Solov said that his teams had been flooded with résumés from reporters and even some aspiring journalists with no experience, “who feel motivated and energized.”

“We’ve built a community, and I really emphasize that,” Mr. Solov said. “People come to us because they feel they belong to something.”

Mr. Marlow, the editor, said the site’s international expansion was tied to upcoming elections in France and Germany. He said that Breitbart planned to support the candidacy of Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s far-right National Front party.

“There’s an underserved readership” in Europe, Mr. Marlow said, before referring to the recent “Brexit” vote. “It’s the same readers who had been ignored in Britain and had been ignored in the United States.”

On Sunday, with Mr. Bannon elevated to one of the country’s most powerful positions, the site took on a celebratory air. Linking to a story about Mr. Bannon’s new role, the @BreitbartNews Twitter account wrote, to its more than 400,000 followers: “What a time to be alive.”

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Old 16th November 2016, 02:25
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With Ivanka's jewelry ad, Trump companies begin to seek to profit off election result
THE WASHINGTON POST Drew Harwell (Washington Post) Nov 15, 2016

One day after President-elect Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka spoke to "60 Minutes" about her father's rise to power, her jewelry line alerted journalists to a surprising fact: The First Daughter-elect's bracelet could be bought for $10,800.

It was the first televised interview with the new commander-in-chief of a deeply anxious America. But it was also, for the Trump company, an undeniable promotional opportunity. The 18-karat Metropolis diamond bangle, a gold version of which also sold for $8,800, was Ivanka's "favorite bangle," an Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry vice president told journalists in a "style alert."

The sales tactic marked one of the first moments since the election during which the Trump companies have sought to use Trump's presidential prominence to boost their private fortunes.

But it may not be the last. Ethics advisers have increasingly voiced concerns over the unprecedented conflicts of interest that could arise from the soon-to-be First Family's empire of real estate, luxury goods and licensing deals.

"This will keep a spotlight on the family business, on the members of the family, how they run the business and their interactions with the government," said Jan Witold Baran, a partner at Washington law firm Wiley Rein. "Family members can create problems all on their own."

Officials said Friday that Trump would name his children to his presidential transition team, guaranteeing Ivanka and her siblings will likely have influential roles in deciding the players and policies of Trump's time in office.

The presidential campaign was a ripe time for Trump corporate marketing. Ivanka Trump's fashion line advertised on Twitter encouraging shoppers to buy the dress she wore during her Republican National Convention speech.

In the first months of Trump's campaign, revenue at his palatial Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago, nearly doubled, and his book, "Crippled America," drew in millions of dollars in royalties, financial disclosure filings showed.

But the promotional spots since Trump's electoral victory reveal the many potential entanglements that could influence the businessman's presidency.

During the "60 Minutes" interview Sunday, Ivanka Trump sought to maintain her connection to the licensing and merchandising deals she had forged as a businesswoman in her father's image.

When asked if she would assume a role in Trump's White House, Ivanka Trump said she would not, adding, "I'm going to be a daughter. But I've said throughout the campaign that I am very passionate about certain issues and I want to fight for them."

"Wage equality, child care, these are things that are really important to me," added Ivanka, a Trump company executive vice president who also runs her own lines for clothing, shoes and handbags. "There are a lot of things that I feel really strongly about, but not in a formal administrative capacity."

In a statement to The Post, Abigail Klem, president of the Ivanka Trump brand, said the notification about the bracelet “was sent by a well-intentioned marketing employee at one of our companies who was following customary protocol, and who, like many of us, is still making adjustments post-election. We are proactively discussing new policies and procedures with all of our partners going forward.”

There is nothing illegal about the advertisements. Conflict-of-interest laws do not block a president from involving himself in matters that could boost his private companies' wealth or prominence.

Trump has also resisted the tradition set by most presidents before him of selling or handing over his assets into a "blind trust" controlled by an independent manager. He said he intends to give control of his companies to Ivanka and his other children, an arrangement that ethics experts say does little to put distance between Trump's presidential decision-making and personal estate.

Though some Trump companies have faced growing boycotts, Ivanka Trump's brands have seemingly gained a generous boost in attention during her father's campaign. The retail site ShopRunner said interest in the Ivanka Trump Collection had exploded in recent months.
With Ivanka’s jewelry ad, Trump companies begin to seek profit off election result – Washington Post | World Incidents
I encourage all Trumpeteers to rub their nickles together and each order one of Ivanka's bangles for the holidays.

FYI none of Ivanka's companies have anything that even remotely resembles a maternity leave benefit.

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Old 16th November 2016, 14:29
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Clinton's lead in popular vote passes 1 million – media Hillary Clinton's lead in the popular vote over President-elect Donald Trump has surpassed 1 million, according to Dave Wasserman of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, according to POLITICO.
UNIAN 16 Nov 2016

As the final vote counts continue to trickle in a week after Election Day, Wasserman's tally found that Clinton had 61,963,234 votes to Trump's 60,961,185 as of Tuesday afternoon, POLITICO wrote. Wasserman tweeted that votes from Montgomery County, Maryland, pushed Clinton's lead over the 1-million mark, with the Democratic nominee receiving roughly 20,000 more votes, compared to about 3,000 for Trump. Votes are still being tabulated in California, Utah and Washington, according to Tracy Lewis, elections operations manager for the Associated Press. The result in Michigan remains too close to call. Trump, a Republican and a distinct underdog going into the election, won the Electoral College by a considerable margin, stunning Washington and both major-party establishments. While Clinton racked up large raw vote margins in blue states like California and came closer than Democrats traditionally do in states such as Arizona and Georgia, Trump managed to flip states in the Midwest like Wisconsin, carrying him to victory.

Clinton's unexpected loss in the Electoral College has prompted some grumbling about the system among Democrats, who also lost the White House but won the popular vote in 2000. On Tuesday, California Sen. Barbara Boxer filed a longshot bill that would eliminate the Electoral College.

Trump on Tuesday boasted on his Twitter account that he would have won the popular vote, too, had that been the focus of his campaign.

"If the election were based on total popular vote I would have campaigned in N.Y. Florida and California and won even bigger and more easily," he wrote. "The Electoral College is actually genius in that it brings all states, including the smaller ones, into play. Campaigning is much different!"

Read more on UNIAN: Clinton's lead in popular vote passes 1 million – media

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Old 16th November 2016, 14:48
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Jared Kushner — Donald Trump’s son-in-law
Janet Allon, AlterNet RAW STORY
26 Aug 2016 at 07:13 ET

A member of Donald Trump’s inner circle by virtue of being his daughter’s husband, Jared Kushner, the wealthy son of a New Jersey real state mogul, has managed to fly somewhat under the radar until recently. But last week, both the New Yorker and Esquire magazine published not terribly flattering profiles of the so-called golden boy, who is reported to be a major influence and key decision maker in the Trump inner circle.

Here are seven of the most damning revelations about Ivanka’s hubby.

1. Jared is a really good compartmentalizer. It runs in the family.

In August 2004, Jared’s father, Charles Kushner, head of a multi-hundred-million-dollar real estate empire in New Jersey, pleaded guilty to 18 felony counts of tax fraud, election violations and witness tampering. Interestingly, future Trump toadie Chris Christie was the prosecutor who indicted him as New Jersey’s U.S. attorney, but we’ll get back to that.

Charles Kushner set his sister’s husband up with a sex worker and filmed their interactions in an effort to blackmail her out of cooperating with a federal investigation. Such a nice family man.

But it didn’t work. Kushner ended up being sentenced to two years in prison.

Similarly, Jared Kushner, an observant Jew, seems to be able to convince himself that the fact that his father-in-law courts and hires white supremacists, who are by definition antisemitic, is A-OK. Nor does he seem troubled by Trump’s desired persecution of a group of people for their religion, Muslims. Kushner angered members of his own family by defending Trump’s tweet of Hillary Clinton against a backdrop of the Star of David and money by invoking his own relatives’ Holocaust experiences.

2. Jared has long been a Trump admirer.

And imitation is the best form of flattery. In an echo of Trump’s real estate career, at the tender age of 24 (right after dad was sent to prison), Kushner used his father’s real estate empire and money to break into the high-profile Manhattan real estate scene. As Vicky Ward writes in her Esquire profile of Kushner:

“Much as Trump’s renovation of the Grand Hyatt hotel three decades earlier had carried his family’s real estate empire across the East River from Queens, Jared’s purchase of 666 Fifth Avenue, just three blocks from Trump’s own trophy skyscraper, was an unmissable sign of the Kushners’ arrival in Manhattan.”

Some say Kushner’s admiration of Trump has morphed into a kind of hero worship. He has a stash of red “Make America Great Again” baseball caps in his office and is said to be in awe of the Trump campaign slogan, telling people, “It came right out of Trump’s head.”

3. Much like the Donald, Jared isn’t as good a businessman as he claims to be.

In fact, he does not even run his family’s business, according to Vicky Ward’s Esquire profile; his ex-con father does. Jared is more like a semi-attractive figurehead, at this point.

4. Jared shows some of his father-in-law’s tendency to be vindictive about people he feels have crossed him.

The Esquire profile opens with a lengthy anecdote about a vendetta Kushner pursued using the power of the newspaper he owns (the New York Observer), which his daddy bought for him. Some seven years after Kushner had a dispute with one of his real estate investors, he ordered a hit piece in the paper’s real estate section to settle the score. “There’s a guy named Richard Mack, and we’ve got to get this guy,” Kushner reportedly told Dan Geiger, the Observer’s real estate reporter.

In fairness, Kushner may have inherited his score-settling streak from his dad, rather than modeling it on his then-future father-in-law.

But some of Kushner’s resentments and animosities do overlap Trump’s; he blames the media for his father’s conviction, for instance. And, of course, he hates Chris Christie, reportedly fighting hard to deny him Trump’s veep nod. Still, while Jared prevailed in that fight, Trump and Christie are still pretty good pals, maybe thanks to the fact that Christie colluded with Trump to hugely reduce Trump’s tax bill as soon as Christie became governor, to the great detriment of New Jerseyans.

5. As a media mogul, Jared wants to be just like Rupert, as in Murdoch.

Kushner and Rupert Murdoch are really good pals, and Kushner has consulted Murdoch on how to run his little media property, the New York Observer. (Also, Ivanka and Murdoch’s ex-wife, Wendi Deng, are close enough to travel together.) Actually, Rupert and Wendi might have saved Jared and Ivanka’s relationship before they were married—it was on the rocks because the Orthodox Jewish Kushner family was against their son marrying a blonde shiksa. Jared and Ivanka broke up, but were invited to a party on Murdoch’s yacht and reunited.

Murdoch had expressed admiration for Hillary Clinton when she was New York’s senator, but Kushner brought his pal over to the Trump side. Then again, it might have been Murdoch who awakened Kushner’s conservative side by sharing books by right-wingers like racist pseudo-social scientist Charles Murray and conservative economist Niall Ferguson.

6. While in college at Harvard, Jared was developing properties in nearby Somerville on the side.

Seriously, who does that in college? Kushner reportedly made $20 million in profit buying old buildings and converting them to condos.

Then again, academia was likely not Kushner’s thing. He was a mediocre student in high school and yet somehow miraculously gained entrance to Harvard after his dad pledged $2.5 million to the school and called in a favor from New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg, who asked his friend Ted Kennedy to get Kushner in.

7. Jared fancies himself a JFK type.

Both he and his younger brother Josh have photographs of John F. Kennedy on prominent display in their offices. That might change. The family previously leaned Democratic; most of his father’s campaign contributions went to Democrats (like Lautenberg, and Clinton in her Senate run in 2000). But Charles recently threw a fundraiser for Trump at his Jersey Shore mansion, so he’s on board. Only Josh, reportedly a Democrat, is not planning on voting for Trump.

Here are 7 damning revelations about Jared Kushner — Donald Trump’s son-in-law

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Old 16th November 2016, 15:46
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The Trump shock - How worrying is the global market reaction to the American election?
Nov 14th 2016, 17:38 by R.A. | WASHINGTON THE ECONOMIST

IT HAS not yet been a week since Americans elected Donald Trump their next president, and already there is a lot to digest. While Mr Trump's initial personnel decisions deserve plenty of scrutiny, the global market reaction to the election also demands attention.

This morning, the decline in bond prices that began last week continued. In America, the 10-year government bond yield rose above 2.26%, the highest level since the end of 2015, while the 30-year bond yield reached 3%. Treasuries are faring no worse than many other bonds, however. Yields are going up nearly everywhere, but emerging markets and the euro-area periphery are experiencing especially large moves. (It is, as my colleague Buttonwood quipped on Twitter, a "Trump tantrum".) What is happening here, and why?

The conventional wisdom is that markets are pricing in an expected move toward expansionary policy in America. Mr Trump is expected to cut taxes dramatically, increasing the American budget deficit, while also spending more on infrastructure and defence. That boost is coming at a time when America's economy, while still operating short of potential, is nonetheless humming along as close to capacity as it has been in a decade. Unsurprisingly, inflation expectations are rising.

One important question which needs answering is: through what channel are these expected shifts affecting markets more broadly? It is possible that markets reckon American reflation will boost global demand, leading to higher expectations for demand growth and inflation elsewhere. It is hard to be too confident in this story, however. Equities around the world are up a little since election day, but not wildly so. And while some commodities have done relatively well in recent days, like copper, most have slumped.

While Mr Trump's plans might deliver an inflationary impulse, there is another force at work, the effects of which could swamp any American fiscal stimulus. The Federal Reserve, while it remains independent, is not going to tolerate a big rise in inflation. Markets are revising upward their expectations for rate increases over the next 18 months; at the moment they reckon that the fed funds rate will be 50 basis points higher than it currently is by the middle of 2017. A faster-than-expected pace of tightening in America typically sends shockwaves around the world economy. And indeed, the dollar is on a tear.

At several points over the last few years, economists have found themselves worrying that monetary tightening in America and a rising dollar, coupled with a slowdown in trade growth and flat to falling commodity prices, could generate serious financial difficulties for emerging markets with lots of foreign-currency debt (public or private). The Fed has found itself forced to tighten more slowly than it would have preferred as market jitters threatened to feedback into the American economy, slowing its recovery. But a blowout stimulus push by Mr Trump could change this dynamic, leaving a Fed which remains determined not to tolerate much of an inflation overshoot with little choice but to raise rates multiple times. That, more than a turn toward protectionism, could pose a serious short-term threat to economies around the world. The Trump shock: How worrying is the global market reaction to the American election? | The Economist

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