Daily Check-In 10/12/2018

Friday, October 12, 2018





On the 12 steps toward authoritarianism, where is “Letting another country murder its political opponents, who are your legal residents, with impunity and tacit approval?” Justice for

2/ Additional authoritarianism points: “Well, they buy our military products with which they slaughter Yemenites, and they book rooms in my Emolument Hotel, so they can murder whomever they like.”

3/ I follow a good number of conservatives. Other than the solid and admirable , the silence from the right about Khashoggi’s murder has been nauseating. The Full Trumpification of the Republican Party marches on.

Jared Kushner and #Kashoggithread: How can Kushner be investigated for alleged corrupt ties to Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Qatar? The Foreign Emoluments clause arguably applies to Kushner as Senior Advisor ot the President as an “office of trust.” (But it’s complicated)… 1/

2/ Foreign Emoluments Clause: “No Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the US] shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”

3/ Is an unpaid Senior Advisor an “office of trust”? There is historical debate about the scope of this phrase, and courts have not resolved this question. But in 1982, the OLC (the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel) suggested broad coverage: https://www.justice.gov/file/22956/download …

4/ Kushner resigned as CEO from the Kushner Companies, but reports are that he only partially divested. He still benefits from the profits of these companies, and thus received emoluments from foreign governments…

5/ Last March, I wrote about Kushner Co. receiving a $184 million loan from Apollo under very shady circumstances. “One of the largest investors in Apollo’s real estate trust is the Qatari government’s investment fund, the Qatar Investment Authority.”

6/ And Kushner is getting bailed out of his disastrous $1.8 Billion purchase of 666 5th Ave by Brookfield, a Canadian firm whose largest outside investor is Qatar and whose board has ties to UAE.

7/ It was widely reported that Kushner could not find any takers on such an obsolete overpriced building. But Brookfield gave Kushner implausibly generous terms. A source, an expert on real estate deals, explains: “The $300M junior debt was written off…”

8/ Source:”The $1.1B was paid off as was Vornado by Brookfield. It looks like Kushner has recovered cost, so if the option is exercised they should make some money on the deal. For the Kushners, this seems like the best possible outcome one could hope for.” And no other bidders.

9/ Now recall a series of stories about Kushner’s corrupt links to Saudi. Kushner. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who allegedly is behind #Khashoggi‘s murder, bragged that he had Kushner “in his pocket.”

10/ It is my understanding from @ddd_reporterthat Canada has an anti-corruption law that bars transaction that violate that laws where the transaction takes place. Canada’s Brookfield is arguably violating the Foreign Emoluments clause in its purchase from Kushners… @CBCNews

11/ Canada regulators could inquire into Brookfield, Kushner, Qatar, Saudi, and UAE connections before approving this sale. And state attorneys general in the U.S. in NY, NJ, and Delaware could investigate. They all have quo warranto powers.

12/ If you want #JusticeForKhashoggi, contact your state AG. The Maryland and DC AGs @BrianFrosh@AGKarlRacinehave standing to sue Trump Org. for #Emoluments. State AGs have “special solicitude” in our federal system. Kushner emoluments endanger state/federal/foreign balance.

13/ And in particular, @NewYorkStateAG@TishJames@NewJerseyOAGGubir Grewal and @DE_DOJMatthew Denn all have established quo warranto powers to investigate the Kushner Companies for corruption, fraud, and emoluments violations. #JusticeForKhashoggi

14/ Finally, this is why winning the House is so important: subpoena power. If you want to know whether Russia, Saudi, UAE, Qatar, etc. have leverage over Trump and Kushner, you want Congress’s subpoena power.























The good times President Trump brought to the stock market may be ending.

The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index is down nearly 7 percent from its peak in late September, and the Nasdaq index, which includes many hot technology stocks, has fallen nearly 10 percent from its high.

Doubts appear to be overwhelming investors’ bullishness. They are concerned that Mr. Trump’s bellicose trade policy will disrupt corporate America’s supply chains and push up costs. Mr. Trump’s tax cuts have contributed to a ballooning fiscal deficit. Borrowing costs have also risen this year, which could dampen investment.

“Donald Trump has made uncertainty great again,” said David Rosenberg, chief economist of Gluskin Sheff. “His policies are doing more harm than good.”

The market reaction is a stark reversal. Investors had piled into stocks with abandon for much of Mr. Trump’s presidency. Taxes and regulations were being slashed, earnings were surging and the United States economy was performing better than many of its rivals. The S.&P. 500 is up 28 percent since Election Day 2016.

Crucially, to investors, it is not clear when the threats to the stock market will lift. But until they do, stocks could remain weak.















Gather ’round, it’s story time! 2 months before starting my current position I came across a data breach involving a PR firm named 720 Strategies. It contained proof of astroturfing efforts they had engaged in on behalf of bigname clients (masquerading as “grassroots campaigns”),

After identifying the likely origin of the data, I did the right thing and notified 720 Strategies of the exposure. At that point though, all I knew for sure was that the exposed backups had a great deal of apparent login credentials. Even the keys to their named “castle” server.

After receiving a suspiciously hostile, yet follow-up phone call from 720’s counsel (an attorney from the firm of Akin Gump), it occurred to me that 720 probably had something to hide and, considering the business they are in, it would probably be best to more-thoroughly review.

I’ll leave you with the two attached images. The first is a letter from 720’s attorney that I received (in which I have mercifully redacted her name). The second image is the response I emailed back to her. You’ll probably wonder what is blacked out near the end of my response.

All you need to know about that particular line is two things: 1. I never heard back from the Akin Gump attorney. 2. That redacted line has borne fruit.


That’s it for Friday.  This was a busy last couple days, and I should be back to normal posting by Tuesday.


Thank you, and have a good one.


“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur




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