Mueller subpoenas Trump Co., affiliates, associates

A new, wide-ranging subpoena from the special counsel to the Trump Organization describes at least seven partnerships — a requirement the president’s lawyers consider an “overreach.”

The request is the latest sign that Robert Mueller is intensifying his investigation into President Donald Trump’s business relationships and links to Russia. It’s also indicative of Mueller’s continued focus on the family of his first target, Trump’s longtime attorney and fixer Michael Cohen.

The subpoena, which included the names of partners and a description of their partnership agreements, appeared in a court filing unsealed late Wednesday in New York.

Cohen pleaded guilty in August to lying to Congress about his attempts to negotiate a real estate deal in Moscow on Trump’s behalf. He was also accused of arranging hush money payments to two women who alleged affairs with Trump in the months before the 2016 election to influence the campaign.

The latest court filing sheds new light on the companies that Cohen said Trump discussed the deal with — although none of the firms are with Cohen’s former company.

Prosecutors are investigating them, according to the court filing.

Trump’s attorneys have consistently maintained that their president is not under federal investigation.

In a statement Wednesday night, a spokesman for President Trump’s legal team said the co-investment agreements described in the subpoena “constitute a completely improper and pointless measure by this overzealous prosecutor.”

“He has no evidence that Mr. Trump committed a crime, and thus, taking his advice, the raid on the law offices of Michael Cohen was nothing more than an attempt to intimidate Mr. Cohen and obtain what it cannot legally obtain,” the spokesman said, asking for an expedited hearing in New York federal court to determine the merits of the request.

“This latest subpoena is nothing more than a fishing expedition,” he added.

The president’s legal team specifically targeted the New York attorney general, J. Keith Urbahn, a former spokesman for the National Security Council under President George W. Bush.

Last month, after the release of the Cohen document to the FBI, Urbahn tweeted that he was fired from his job at the NSC in February because he told the White House “Trump’s central staff turnover is the result of disdain/hostility among core administration staff.”

“I’ve seen this episode play out over and over again, with a steady stream of FBI agents, DOJ attorneys, and prosecutors gone,” he said.

The Trump-related partnerships in question include entities that bear the name of Elliot Broidy, a California hedge fund manager who last year married the daughter of a Russian oligarch.

The subpoena lists several payments from brokering firms to several individuals.

It was sent by Mueller’s team to Cohen’s law firm, which in turn provided it to law enforcement officials.

The subpoena is the latest step in an investigation Mueller is conducting into the relationship between Trump, his family and business. It’s an investigation that appears to be entering an increasingly aggressive phase after months of cooperation by Cohen.

The special counsel’s team of prosecutors, known as the team of unindicted co-conspirators, is seeking documents and information about the Trump Organization.

Mueller’s office has increased its secrecy in recent weeks, and a spokesman declined to comment.

A spokesman for the Manhattan US attorney’s office also declined to comment.


Sara Kahn Goes Green – Buying and Recycling Green Gadgets

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 21, 2018 (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) — Green gadget-buyer Sara Kahn from believes that all one needs to support the environment in a sustainable way is to use as little energy as possible. She also adds that energy consumption from old technology makes your whole house more vulnerable to wear and tear, and can lead to future structural damage.

“The Greenest Gadget You May Already Own” reads the headline in her latest article. However, she says it’s not the more modern gadgets that have the most effect on the environment, but “old-fashioned devices.”

It’s not always easy to replace the electronics we have at home. Sara says that what sets “the Greenest Gadget You May Already Own” apart from other similar articles is its way of making environmentalism fun and easy.

“We create problems when we discard obsolete electronics,” Sara said. “We’re not doing our communities any favors by using outdated devices that end up as useless scraps instead of replacing them with the most energy-efficient ones. If we did just that, we would be further reducing our carbon footprint in the long run, and cutting down on our energy use, too.”

Sara notes that having a “green gadget” is not just the same as using an eco-friendly gadget. However, her new post contains a complete guide for how to purchase and use the most green gadget you can.

“Buying the best gadget is not as straightforward as not buying the other ones,” Sara said. “In our ever-connected world, consumers need an eco-friendly method to keep up with the latest gadgets, as well as their smart home technology.”

Green gadget-buyer Sara Kahn is an environmental lawyer. She came across the occasional gadget “buzz” about a year ago and decided to investigate. Based on her research and findings, Sara’s blog makes it easy for every woman to own a “green gadget” — wherever she is in the world. This happens with step-by-step advice about what makes an eco-friendly gadget and how to use it in her or his daily life.

“I wanted to put together a complete guide to find the best gadget that is completely green, regardless of whether you live in a studio or a suburban home,” Sara explained. “I’m proud to show how common it is to have a green gadget and to give a personal introduction to one of the thousands of different models available today.”

About dangLife:, a new site specializing in buying and selling green gadgets, helps eco-minded individuals and families save money and avoid wasteful waste in the home. Sustainability has always been very important to Sara, and she is taking environmentally-friendly technology mainstream, making it appealing to the general consumer.

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Arab group calls for advocates to quit boycotts, reach out to Israel

(AP) The Arab American Institute is calling for Arab intellectuals to abandon boycotts and focus on reaching out to Israel. The group issued a report Wednesday focusing on the value of reconciling Israeli Arabs with Israelis.

“For almost a decade, the Arab world has been making the world a safer place for women and children, a more stable and peaceful region for all people, and a better world for itself with a campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel,” the report’s authors write. “This movement, which received support in its early stages from Arab intellectuals, is characterised by tactics such as terrorism, boycotts and diplomatic isolation.”

Anti-Israel boycotts began with demonstrators at the University of California, Berkeley in the 1990s, and spread to universities around the world. Activists say the boycott targets the Israel government and Israeli businesses, while Israel rejects the claims of its boycott target as illegitimate.

“Israel is not a totalitarian or racist regime. Israel does not systematically discriminate against or discriminate against Jews or non-Jews,” the report says. “The conflict in Palestine-Israel is a human rights issue that is rooted in the desire of Palestinians for self-determination. There is no shared solution to the conflict.”

The report called on Arab intellectuals and opinion makers to reflect on their past campaigns against the Jewish state, make connections with the Israeli culture and work towards support of a two-state solution to end the conflict.

“Part of the issue for them is rejection and it’s that history. How does the world reconcile that rejection? How do we make it easier for them to say, ‘I actually mean what I say?’” said Lara Friedman, one of the report’s authors and director of policy and advocacy for AAPI Link, an advocacy group for Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders.

In the past, Arab intellectuals have spoken out against Israel — including acclaimed writer Youssef Khalil and Palestinian-born painter Elia Suleiman. But that opposition has waned, in part because of a shift in support for the peace process and in part because of the spread of anti-Muslim sentiment in Europe.

“We are seeing them engage more with Israel. It’s not off their radar,” Friedman said. “To say that ‘I am pro-Israel’ is a kind of an old story because the fact is that most people who are engaged with Israel agree that if we can resolve the issues of the conflict we can get to two states. But also the voices of opposing voices are not silenced by the sorts of outdated and unjust ideologies that have historically impeded efforts to engage.”


Muslim scholars call for Israeli peace

In a message that ranged from gentle words to pointed criticism, more than 50 academics, authors, artists, and other high-profile Muslim public figures are calling on the international community to abandon boycotts of Israel and embrace Israel as a regional partner.

“Although the Middle East peace process often looks like an exercise in futility and paralysis, there is hope for a new approach,” writes Ahmed Qurashi, Egypt’s mufti and an 85-year-old traditionalist cleric. “Muslims can even share with others the lessons that faith has taught them: The time of rejecting and punishing Israel is over, as the reality of Israel is true.”

The Hebrew acronym “KAHAN”—Arabic for coexistence—is printed on each page of the paper.

For more than a decade, Professor Qurashi has been driving a human rights organization called Al-Arabiya Fact-Finding. It’s a broad organization that focuses on nonviolent activism, and its mission includes supporting the oppressed Arab women in Iraq, Syria, and in the West Bank. It also advocates for Palestinian civil rights.

The new Saudi Arabian premier, Dr. Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al-Thani, recently welcomed the idea of the Kingdom of Qatar, just down the Persian Gulf, forming a partnership with Arab states in the Persian Gulf to battle terrorism and extremist ideologies.

“The time for blame and confrontation has gone,” added Qurashi. “We believe that we will have to work with all those who want peace and to achieve a region of security, and not just in the Arab world, but also in the Muslim world, and in the European Union and the United States of America, and elsewhere.”

Professor Qurashi argues that the political and religious forces that were at the heart of the current conflicts can not only be overcome, but can even become a force for reconciliation in the Middle East.

Part of the paper’s inspiration came from the newly inaugurated Mufti of Malta, Cardinal William Levada. Through his writings and lectures, he has been ahead of the Jewish and Muslim resistance movements to the question of Muslim anti-Semitism, and thereby was a model for other Muslim leaders to follow.

“The intellectual culture of the Arab world is disintegrating, and it is suddenly important to promote civil society and social welfare in order to counter growing pessimism,” said Qurashi.


The seven things we learned from the Democrats

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The morning after the televised Democratic debate, we took a look at seven facts from the event.

1. “It’s not a critique for me to say that Donald Trump’s policies have hurt millions of people.”

During the debate, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand made a surprisingly unsubtle swipe at Donald Trump. “We’ve spent more money trying to stop him than in trying to protect people from getting poisoned,” she said.

The real estate mogul has been criticized for his proposal to block sales of a particular measles vaccine at gunpoint. He has also said that millions of people are living in a “bubble” because of their religion.

On the latter claim, there is no evidence that people are refusing to vaccinate their children out of political convictions. But they are, a little, refusing to vaccinate themselves.

2. “For example, the tax cuts passed in the last Congress benefitted only the wealthiest one percent of the American people.”

That, apparently, was the point of the answer on taxes. On taxes, many of the Democrats who spoke during the debate supported the border adjustment tax, which would hit wealthy people but not low- and middle-income people.

“There is no big benefit to working families,” said former Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Some of the Republican tax cut is targeted at low-income people, but much of it is for corporations and the wealthy.

3. “I will stop giving billions and billions of dollars every year to companies that are shipping jobs overseas.”

How would Gillibrand do that? No one knows.

Investigations are underway about whether AT&T paid Apple and other companies too little in taxes. Apple has announced plans to move some operations to Ireland and possibly shut down a number of manufacturing plants.

4. “We have a huge trade deficit with China, the largest ever recorded by any country. And yet, we also have no tariffs on Chinese products that are coming in here. How does that make sense?”

Gillibrand’s summary is accurate, but the numbers she is citing do not cover the whole $500 billion trade deficit between the United States and China. It’s an indicator of the impact of Chinese imports, not necessarily how many there are.

5. “The number of prisoners who’ve come out of prison who have been convicted of murder, have been convicted of rape.”

That’s a stretch. On a popular website used by crime-prevention organizations, there were nearly 400,000 people who were on death row in the United States, as of September. Fifty-six states have the death penalty, and not every person on death row is convicted of murder or rape.

The other 3,300 or so people are convicted of murder or rape. Yet, according to the website, less than 400 are convicted of either rape or murder. About 40 percent of people on death row are innocent. Many, maybe most, are never put to death.

6. “This war on coal is the biggest, most destructive thing that we’ve done since the Great Depression.”

This didn’t change anyone’s mind. In fact, it seemed to bolster Gillibrand’s argument that the economy could use some improvement. That wasn’t the message from the other candidates.

7. “I will fight for Dreamers every single day.”

This was just another recognition that Donald Trump is among the most aggressive opponents of immigrants. The name Dreamers is not actually a federal government program, but instead, it is a reference to a concept in the “DREAM Act” — the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act.

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Young Boy Shot, Killed at Yolo County Football Game

YOLO COUNTY, California (CN) – A 10-year-old boy died Tuesday, nearly a week after being shot at a high school football game in Oceano, Calif.

Deshon Brown, who turned 10 on the same day he was shot, played football at Dunsmore Union High School in Yolo County, an area between Fresno and Sacramento.

But his mother, Lisa Mackay, said the crowd took the violent game too far when a dispute turned from a yell about a rival team to gunfire, sending her son to the hospital.

Brown was struck in the neck by a bullet from a pistol fired in the air during the game that pitted a rival football team from an “A” league against another from a “B” league.

Witnesses told the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office that the boy had argued with a group of people, some of whom were children, just before he was shot. A fight followed, with the group moving closer to the football field, the sheriff’s office said.

A responding deputy saw a group of about 15 people with their arms drawn and drawn in the direction of the football field after receiving a call about the shooting. The deputy heard seven or eight shots fired and then saw some of the people running away from the scene.

As Brown was receiving emergency care in the hospital, family and friends expressed their outrage about how his shooting had taken place.

“They grabbed my son and threw him on the field,” mother Mackay said during a Sept. 26 press conference at Yolo County Sheriff’s Department.

The sheriff’s office said it is investigating the shooting and waiting for the outcome of an autopsy as evidence develops. The 10-year-old’s family has claimed the gun used was given to Brown’s friend by the group of assailants.

Mackay told Fox40: “They took my son away from me because they had a gun.”

Brown died at a children’s hospital in Sacramento on Tuesday night.

“He was killed over a play at a football game. A playing,” a friend who was there at the time of the shooting wrote on Instagram after learning Brown died.

About 90 people attended a candlelight vigil for Brown at Dunsmore Union High School. His mother delivered a message of forgiveness for his alleged assailants.

“I forgive them,” Mackay said. “My son gave his all to be here. Don’t ever ever try to take that from us. Never ever.”

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Journalists’ High-Paying Pre-News Employment

In the decades-long push for real, last-resort data on labor markets in the United States, little was known about whether reporters make more money than other media workers, which helps explain why the issue has a certain allure to reporters, and why it is often picked up by policymakers. These issues don’t get much attention in the nation’s leading papers: Not until last December, with a column about well-paid Democrats, did the New York Times write an article about “how wage gaps in the media work,” until now.

In this week’s paper, Maureen Dowd, the Times’ lead news columnist, includes a particularly notable but not surprising bit of data: that reporters earn far more than television, radio, and print journalists who field a relative trickle of the national press corps. But why?

Do media reporters get paid more than their colleagues in some of the same jobs, but on less media time and with lesser resources? Since much of the industry is volunteer, you could say that’s true. But that seems an odd explanation to take to the relationship between labor rates and their production.

This is not an issue to focus on naively, in my view. To speak about it fairly, journalists are technically not the kind of people who are paid to be available and work on the evening news all day and the weekend. They are journalists, and, in the process of producing quality journalism, they are paid less than the average person whose main job is to be present at any given moment and to perform a host of other more traditional production tasks. The point of this salary gap may well not be the same as the national wage gap, but it does seem reasonably clear that media outlets are out of step with the salaries of most other media workers.

I asked several New York Times reporters about this, and they were mostly confused. Indeed, I received plenty of replies to my conversation question about the salaries of journalists that focused primarily on pay discrepancies between that particular sector and other sectors, never mind between journalists and other professions that are not media at all. The Times journalists I spoke with each could not name a single example of how much more they are paid than the head of an organization of three or four full-time journalists.

They pointed me to an article by Jeremy W. Peters in April, which made a case, after being asked a question I considered fairly innocuous, that New York Times journalists’ combined salary rose steadily between 2015 and 2017. This “a stunning 96 percent jump,” Peters noted, “is roughly equal to the wage gap between [New York Times executive editor] Dean Baquet and columnist [opinion page editor] Bob Cohn,” (the two of whom he accused of having talked about the salary gulf and who both claim to be earning in the low five figures compared to something in the mid to high four figures). So sure, the salary gap between media journalists and other journalists does indeed seem to be large; no, not big enough to be interesting or important enough to have a lot of news outlets as a source of data. But that is not really the point. If journalism is, according to your conversation with me, more important to you than the job of working on the evening news, then all the surprise you can produce at your superlative salary for delivering a superlative product may be just as important to you as it is to the part of your role that you proudly call “consumable.”

If you’re wondering if I might have accidentally fallen off of your salary scale, I would never try to shame you into getting a non-journalist job over a journalist who needs the cash. (That there is a “diverging superlative,” as Peters wrote, probably doesn’t help.) But I am impressed, in general, by my colleagues’ aptitude for shaping newsrooms as institutions to better serve the best interests of citizens. You worked incredibly hard to get your job. That is an excellent and worthy work, one of the few noble things happening in journalism right now. Rather than bully yourself or someone else into the other job (which is perhaps where the real, wild discrepancies begin), put your skills to the most productive and serviceable use you can.

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Do not let go of an illegal immigrant, nor a victim

In a shocking and significant judge’s decision, a U.S. Border Patrol agent who was charged with assault, after he deliberately hit a mother with his vehicle after she and her daughter, both reported as “undocumented,” crossed into the U.S. from Mexico was sentenced to two years of probation, the Washington Post reports.

In a past interview with reporters, Ixchel Leibovich, one of the many plaintiffs in the lawsuit, described the amount of times she had to bump up against Border Patrol agents before she went through the “Do Not Let Go” crossing, and the abuse and harassment she has been subjected to. Even the fact she and her daughter were harassed prompted them to cross the border.

According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, the trial led to the conviction of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Michael Senna, who, the Department of Justice stated, “intentionally hit [Leibovich] with his vehicle several times after she and her daughter crossed into the United States from Mexico in May of 2015.”

The alleged assault caused “serious physical and emotional injury to [Leibovich] and her daughter.”

That same month, Kate Steinle, 32, of San Francisco, was shot and killed by Francisco Sanchez, an illegal immigrant, who had been previously deported to Mexico five times. Sanchez was acquitted by the U.S. District Court on March 9, 2018.

Sanchez had been deported for time once after being convicted of burglary and is a career criminal, having been released numerous times despite prior convictions. He was in the country illegally again after being told by San Francisco that, “not a dime’s worth of bail is posted.”

A month before the arrest, Senna was allegedly caught in an incident where he physically attacked a woman on a sidewalk, slashing her clothes and grabbing her by the hair in an attempt to kiss her, according to the Department of Justice.

It is important to remember that immigration arrests and prosecutions are often distorted by the public into a focus on scapegoating “illegals.”

By the end of the reporter’s interview, I did not think the officer would go to jail; as that was the government’s case, the judge would likely order probation. But the punishment so extraordinary that it did not carry much weight. The court ordered Senna to complete 90 hours of community service.

The Texas Observer reported, “In addition to the sentence, Senna will have to pay Leibovich $7,500 to “revoke” the charges of assault. In simple terms, he did the assault.”

The Washington Post confirmed that Senna received a reduced sentence in order to reduce his debt to the U.S. Treasury.

In effect, a total of $6,500 will be paid to the U.S. Treasury from the wages that were allegedly stolen from Senna by the Border Patrol.

I, in the video previously provided to the news media, spoke with Leibovich about the reduction of sentence. When I asked, “Is it important for you that this video go around the world and get people to listen to what you went through?” she responded, “It is important that everyone will hear it, to know what happened. It won’t happen again to another family or another mother.”

In a June 28-30, 2018 video report on the footage, I said, “The image of this mother being beaten with a baton and kicked by U.S. Border Patrol agent Mike Senna will be one that will live in history, as well as will his history with the agency in question, as they say he crossed the line and was tried for this. And yet, because of a weak judiciary in Texas, he is walking free as we speak.”

Hopefully, this sentence will give other young immigrant mothers something like what happened to Ms. Leibovich in the past.


Winners of the 2019 National Book Awards

The National Book Award announced this week the winners of this year’s writing prizes, each chosen by more than 50 judges, the majority of whom are also National Book Award judges.

The American Library Association presented the awards to Susan Choi, Julie Sheehan and Erin Luxley (for fiction) and Annabel Lyon (for nonfiction) for their work, respectively.

Lee Smith’s novel Landmark won the literary fiction award, while poets Rita Dove and Tony Hoagland shared the award for poetry.

Two “women’s fiction” books won the fiction prize, each by a different author, again working this year with both half female and half male writers. Choi’s Trust Exercise was written by a fellow fiction writer, Carolyn Lukensmeyer, while Lee Smith’s is by a fiction writer, Roberta Smith. Lyon won with A Chrysalis; Lum Kin Chai, who previously won the poetry award for An Imperfect Exhale, was awarded the prize in poetry for Piercing Aphrodite.

Smith won for a book that most of the panelists referred to as classic, writing about “women of power and withering regret, men clinging to fantasy, and lovers forever captive to their most magnetic instincts.” They collectively referred to Olivier and Hélène, also in the “Women’s Fiction” category, as “a very, very good novel.”

The competition in the “nonfiction” category included seven titles in which more than 50 percent of the writers were women. Lyon’s book, Porcelain, focused on Laos, and Lens, by Evan Osnos, about Turkey and America, were nominated, as were Freewheel, by Lorrie Moore, and Moving Light, by Noam Chomsky.

Sarah Potempa, publisher of HarperCollins, also took home an award for another book in the “fiction” category: Federal Marriage. Potempa won as the sole publisher for best publication of the year.


Follow The Money: Driver’s view from Rio Vista, Texas

With a mere 60mph train to San Francisco it’s almost impossible to live in the Bay Area. But what if you could afford to live in one of the cheapest areas of California. And what if it was only by car?

We’ve just discovered that this car park in Rio Vista, Texas is open for use. However, just around the corner, there’s a new Mac plant opening – in Mexico.

We found a guy called Blake who moved over from San Diego to Rio Vista 12 years ago. He’s an official ‘Steady Hand’ for the Milacron, but is currently working on projects for other companies in Austin, Texas.

“I love it here”, he says. “I worked in Rancho Cucamonga, was a Farmers Market Manager, in Scottsdale, was a content manager for just about every McDonald’s and Taco Bell in San Diego, in Stanton for a big camping company and back in San Diego again for a few months at the California Pizza Kitchen location.

“I was able to live wherever, and I love it here. People are friendly, family oriented and the prices are pretty awesome. Then people talk to you about new restaurants and other things you wouldn’t normally hear about. And you’ve gotta be somewhere to work, so it’s kinda like being in Utah with the transient population.

“It’s a young, vibrant area with a great feel to it. That Mac Factory is just across the street from a skateboard park.”

In a blog for FOX 13 News, Blake discussed the feeling of community in the area.

“We walk past stalls that sell locally sourced goods all day in that area and there’s a ton of opportunities for art and culture, as well as music and food. And it’s a community that still embraces technology as much as other areas. I really love that there are all kinds of roads in our area and you never have to look around.

“And you can be in the University Heights District at 6am and see blue flashing lights that are cops speeding up about 6:45am for a drug bust, taking drugs off the street. There’s good and bad and it’s really cool to see.

“There’s a car wash, a bus stop stop, a parking lot, an old school building that people buy houses in, and then have exercise classes in. We’ve even got the northern tip of a Lazy River.

“There are a few things on Facebook and Instagram, but in general people don’t think of us as a city. It’s normal for someone to see me outside in the neighborhood at 7:30am at a bus stop waiting for a bus to go to work, which they’d never normally see.

“This community was founded by homesteaders back in 1868, and there are two cattle operations here too, so there’s been beef coming through since before the whole nation was even founded. And that Mac factory is about a mile down the road. I just think people have this image that there’s something there. So yeah, it’s pretty cool here.

“My rule is that if someone stops me and says ‘hey, where can we park?’ That’s all I’ve got to say, take a guess, it’s not Santa Monica!”

For more on the vacant 700-space lot in Rio Vista, CLICK HERE

In the meantime, below is a gallery of photos taken by FOX 13’s Jack Nicas as he drove through Rio Vista.