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26 мая, 00:00

Дональд Трамп и Джаред Кушнер у папы римского

Встреча президента Трампа с папой римским носила символический характер. И хотя длилась встреча всего 30 минут, она должна была подтвердить единство стратегических целей Вашингтона и Ватикана, их согласие в ключевых вопросах мировой политики. Если в строящемся новом мировом порядке Вашингтон «отвечает» за финансово-экономическую и военно-политическую глобализацию, то Ватикан выполняет духовную миссию – не только даёт...

25 мая, 19:41

Trump’s ‘Historic’ Visit To The Middle East: Much Ado About Nothing

Sadly, President Trump’s visit to the Middle East only confirmed my skepticism about what might come out of it. Trump went to the region with nothing to offer to mitigate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and received no commitment from either Israeli or Palestinian leaders to resume the peace negotiations in earnest, but he received lots of platitudes and empty good-will gestures. In his meeting with the Saudi King Salman and the rest of the heads of Arab states, he heard the chanting against the Iranian threat and joined the chorus without offering any specific idea as to how he might address Iran’s support of violent extremists and its hegemonic ambitions. To be sure, however, there were many photo ops. Israeli and Arab officials alike clamored to take a photo with a besieged President who is reveling in the accolades of the moment and doing his best not to think about the dark clouds awaiting him back home. That said, there is no doubt that the US remains the indispensable power in the Middle East, and just about every state in the region relies heavily on the US’ political support and protection. This, however, does not suggest that the US has a magic wand and can simply wave it and change overnight the dynamics of the multiple conflicts sweeping and consuming the region. None of Trump’s predecessors has had that kind of power and Trump has even less. During his meetings with Saudi officials, he said nothing about their gross violation of human rights and the kingdom’s promotion of Islamic Wahhabi extremism. On the contrary, he was delighted to conclude an arms deal worth over $110 billion, becoming more like a merchant of death rather than a messenger of peace. On the relationship between the Arab states and Israel, Trump offered no recipe as to how they can reach a comprehensive peace agreement. He stated that “King Salman feels very strongly and, I can tell you, would love to see peace with Israel and the Palestinians.” The fact is that the Arab states want peace between Israel and the Palestinians based on a two-state solution, and conditioned normalization of relations with Israel based on that premise, which was articulated in the Arab Peace Initiative introduced by the Arab League in 2002. On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Trump seems to have realized that the conflict is far more intractable than when he stated before his trip that “There is no reason there’s not peace between Israel and the Palestinians—none whatsoever.” But once he listened to the Israelis and Palestinians, he stated that “I’ve heard it’s one of the toughest deals of all.” Whereas he took no initiative to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, to the chagrin of Netanyahu and his cohorts, Trump backtracked on his promise to relocate the US embassy to Jerusalem and asked Netanyahu to slow down the building and expansion of settlements. To the disappointment of many in Israel, he refused to allow any Israeli officials to accompany him during his historic visit to the Western Wall. The statements made by Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas that they are ready and willing to resume negotiations are old, tired, and inconsequential. Both sides have been expressing such a sentiment for years, and nothing that Trump has said or done will change the positions of either Abbas or Netanyahu. Netanyahu is not committed to a two-state solution, and Abbas is unable to make any concession and politically (if not physically) survive. Trump could have challenged both leaders to take some measures to demonstrate their commitment to peace and create a conducive atmosphere that would pave the way for serious negotiations, but he did not even attempt to do just that. Among other measures, Trump could have asked Netanyahu to release some Palestinians prisoners, allow for freer movement of Palestinians, and open the door for mutual tourism. Trump could have also leaned on Abbas to stop public incitements and acrimonious public narratives, and end financial aid to the families of terrorists. Although Trump does want a deal, he assigned his son-in-law Jared Kushner and former Trump Organization attorney Jason Greenblatt, two novice individuals who know even less about the complexity of the conflict than he does, to find a solution that has eluded several presidents before him. Notwithstanding their desire to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Iranian threat assumes greater urgency for both Israel and the Arab states. Both sides have long since concluded that Iran is a common enemy and poses a real danger to their national security. As they see it, although the Iran deal has delayed its pursuit of nuclear weapons, Tehran is still committed to becoming a nuclear power. Regarding the concern over the Iranian threat, Trump said nothing that was not known before: “There is a growing realization among your [Israel] Arab neighbors that they have common cause with you in the threat posed by Iran, and it is indeed a threat, there’s no question about that.” It is true that Tehran is deliberately destabilizing the region by its support of terrorist organizations and by meddling in the Arabs’ domestic affairs (Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen) to serve its hegemonic ambition. Israel and the Arab states have for several years been collaborating strategically by sharing intelligence and developing clandestine security cooperation to stop Iran from realizing its regional objectives. Other than boasting by stating that “We are telling you right now that Iran will not have nuclear weapons”, Trump offered no concrete steps as to how to deal with the Iranian menace. Instead, he encouraged the Sunni Arab states to ally against Shiite Iran, which can only further heighten tensions between the two sides and further destabilize the region, which is already in turmoil. Trump ignores the basic fact that regardless of Iran’s mischiefs and transgressions, it is here to stay. Tehran has been complying to all the provisions of the nuclear deal and it has just reelected President Rouhani, who is a moderate and expressed on many occasions that he wants to improve relations with the US and the Arab states. However, Trump’s statement to the Sunni leaders was: “Until the Iranian regime is willing to be a partner for peace, all nations of conscience must work together to isolate Iran, deny it funding for terrorism, and pray for the day when the Iranian people have the just and righteous government they so richly deserve.” Indeed, regardless of the intense objection of the Israelis and the Arab states to the Iran deal, Trump did not tear it up as he promised during his campaign for President, and his administration continues to fully comply with the deal’s requirements by lifting the sanctions as stipulated in the accord. Wisdom dictates that the US should build on the Iran deal, and work with Iran to help bring an end to the horrifying civil war in Syria and stop the senseless proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia in Yemen and Iraq, from which neither side can emerge victorious. Trump’s visit to the region was full of opulence and symbolism, with little or no substance. There was no progress in in the search for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Arab states continue to refuse to normalize relations with Israel before resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and they have received no assurance that the US will deal with Iran with an iron fist. The only thing that came out of Trump’s visit is that he could get a respite from the political turmoil in which he is marred back home. Otherwise, the trip was much ado about nothing. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

25 мая, 14:50

Frontrunning: May 25

World stocks hit record after Fed minutes (Reuters) OPEC extends oil output cut by nine months to fight glut (Reuters) Father and Brother of Manchester Bomber Arrested in Libya (BBG) In testing Montana vote for Trump, Republican caught up in brawl (Reuters) NATO to Take New Counterterrorism Measures (WSJ) Trump’s Toxic Budget Is a Cheap Win With the Right People (BBG) Pope 'terrific', Saudi 'spectacular': Trump waxes lyrical on foreign tour (Reuters) Hedge Funds Squeezed by World's Highest Rents Are Moving Out (BBG) Talent Battle: Hedge Funds vs. Silicon Valley (WSJ) China Hitches Yuan to the Dollar, Buying Rare Calm (WSJ) China's Downgrade Could Lead to a Mountain of Debt (BBG) Data Mining to Find Tax Cheaters (BBG) In first under Trump, U.S. warship challenges Beijing's claims in South China Sea (Reuters) Change and Culture Collide in America’s Prison Capital (WSJ) Iran says it has built third underground ballistic missile factory (Reuters) Indonesian police launch raid as Jakarta attacks linked to Islamic State (Reuters) Lack of new launches leaves Ford playing catchup with GM (Reuters) Ford to name new heads for Europe, Asia: FT (Reuters) Deerfield Partners Snared in Probe of Leaking Consultants (BBG) Beijing Moves to Ease Jitters Over Converted Commercial Housing (Caixin) Trump Turns His Back on International Tourists (BBG) Israeli police question U.S. casino mogul Adelson in Netanyahu probe (Reuters) Philippines deploys helicopters in battle to retake city from Islamist rebels (Reuters) Sears posts first quarterly profit in nearly two years on cost cuts (Reuters) Best Buy quarterly comparable sales rise unexpectedly (Reuters) Why a Giant New Eataly Won’t Sell Parmesan Cheese or Parma Ham (BBG)   Overnight Media Digest WSJ - The Pentagon conducted a navy patrol in the South China Sea, U.S. officials said, the first such operation under U.S. President Donald Trump designed to send a signal to China about U.S. intentions to keep critical sea lanes open in the Pacific Ocean. on.wsj.com/2rWhAY9 - Federal Reserve officials expected at their policy meeting this month that it would "soon be appropriate" to raise short-term interest rates, a signal the U.S. central bank could move in June at its next gathering. on.wsj.com/2qcsDzP - Federal prosecutors filed insider-trading charges against one of Wall Street's best sources of tradable information from the government, accusing him of relaying a series of tips from an obscure bureaucrat inside a key health-care agency to traders at a New York hedge fund. on.wsj.com/2rju3J2 - Sears Holdings Corp sued a vendor for demanding what the retailer says are unjustified changes to their supply contract, the latest signal of supplier discontent with Sears' turnaround strategy. on.wsj.com/2qRlW56 - Activist investor Dan Loeb plans to publicly push for changes to the complicated combination and breakup of Dow Chemical and DuPont, according to a presentation reviewed by the Wall Street Journal. on.wsj.com/2qYqy7N   FT - Shares of Bunge held its gains on Wednesday after Glencore disclosed a takeover approach. Glencore said it had made an "informal approach" to Bunge about a "possible consensual business combination". Bunge later said it was not in discussions. - U.S. academic Ted Malloch who claimed to be Donald Trump's likely ambassador to the EU, was never under consideration for the position. He had caused alarm among European politicians by celebrating Brexit and predicting the "collapse" of the euro and the EU. - The U.S. steel industry is pushing for the Trump administration to take a sweeping view of what constitutes national security, seeking a crackdown on steel imports from China, South Korea and others. Industry executives argued that illegal dumping of below-cost steel threatened their ability to supply everything from armour plating and other speciality metals used by the military. - British security officials investigating the Manchester attack are considering withholding sensitive information from the United States after a series of damaging leaks. UK intelligence and security agencies are frustrated by leaks of up-to-date information about the attack which appears to have been disclosed to media by U.S. counterparts without permission.   NYT - Federal Reserve Board officials said at a meeting early this month that they wanted to see evidence of stronger economic growth before continuing to increase the Fed's benchmark interest rate, according to minutes of the meeting published on Wednesday. nyti.ms/2qm4yCc - Prosecutors say an employee of a Washington consulting firm obtained information about policy decisions at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. nyti.ms/2qmguUk - Fox News on Wednesday urged a federal court to discipline a lawyer it said had failed to vet basic facts when he filed a lawsuit accusing the network of using fake Twitter accounts to harass a former host. nyti.ms/2qmkdRX - Ken Kurson, a close friend of President Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, said on Wednesday that he will leave his job as editor of the Observer, the cheeky chronicler of New York City media and politics that Kushner purchased in 2006. nyti.ms/2qmmoFb - A Latin American competitor to Uber, 99, has raised $100 million from SoftBank Group Corp of Japan to fuel growth, the Brazilian start-up's chief executive says. nyti.ms/2qmkLat - A bill to dismantle the Affordable Care Act that narrowly passed the House this month would leave 14 million more people uninsured next year than under President Barack Obama's health law — and 23 million more in 2026, the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday. Some of the nation's sickest would pay much more for health care. nyti.ms/2qmhjfS   Canada THE GLOBE AND MAIL ** A key member of the U.S. Federal Reserve warned against destroying trading partnerships between the U.S., Canada and Mexico and said it would eliminate jobs and hurt his country's competitiveness. (tgam.ca/2rTrwm2) ** Kinder Morgan Inc and its bankers have tempered their hopes for pricing a $1.75 billion initial public offering of shares in the pipeline company's Canadian unit. Kinder Morgan Canada has priced the shares at $17 apiece, down from a previously expected range of $19 to $22, according to a source familiar with the issue. (tgam.ca/2rTCOGV) ** Metrolinx is going back to court over a controversial $770 million light rail vehicle deal with Bombardier Transportation, questioning a key part of the judge's decision that preserved the contract. (tgam.ca/2rCAo2a) ** The number of people who died of opioid overdoses in Ontario jumped 11 per cent in the first six months of 2016, according to new figures showing that the epidemic is rapidly moving east from Western Canada. (tgam.ca/2qZJa9D) NATIONAL POST ** The Bank of Montreal is starting to see "early indications" that Toronto's overheated housing market is "cooling," executives said Wednesday. While the Ontario government's plan to rein in soaring house prices in Canada's biggest city is still in its early days, BMO chief financial officer Tom Flynn said there are "signs that their policies might have the desired effect." (bit.ly/2qZbnv8)   Britain The Times Anthony Grabiner is to step down as chairman of Taveta Investments, the vehicle behind Philip Green's retail empire, in the latest high-profile departure from the group. bit.ly/2rRZGGA Brexit poses little risk to financial stability in the eurozone, the European Central Bank has said in a robust dismissal of British warnings that a punitive deal for London would backfire on the continent. bit.ly/2rRYbbs The Guardian Anglo-Swiss chemicals firm Ineos has bought the oil and gas business of Dong Energy for £1 billion ($1.30 billion), a major milestone in the Danish company's switch from hydrocarbons to renewable energy. bit.ly/2rS4ID3 Seán Fitzpatrick, chair of Anglo Irish, has walked free from a Dublin court after being acquitted of misleading auditors about multimillion-euro loans. bit.ly/2rRNdCV The Telegraph A 200 million pound settlement between Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and thousands of aggrieved shareholders has been hit by further delays after it emerged that lawyers were having difficulty tracking down some investors to ask them to agree to the deal. bit.ly/2rSkGgL Aston Martin has moved to head off speculation it is revving up for a listing as the legendary sports car company reported a strong acceleration in sales. bit.ly/2rRPqyn Sky News Sainsbury's announced on Tuesday that it would no longer be using the Fairtrade Certification mark on some of its tea, including its Red and Gold tea labels. bit.ly/2rS6VhO Manchester Arena suicide bomber Salman Abedi had links to an Islamic State cell which operated in the city, and knew one of the terror group's most prolific recruiters, Sky News can reveal. bit.ly/2rS29AW The Independent Police and security services have found bomb-making materials which could be primed for imminent attacks in the extensive raids following the Manchester suicide bombing. ind.pn/2rRTdeT  

25 мая, 12:22

Manafort advised Trump team on Russia scandal

Former campaign chief remained in contact with the president and his aides after the FBI launched its Russia probe.

25 мая, 12:13

White House tries to avoid ‘paralysis’ amid investigation

With the president still overseas, senior aides are putting together a plan for how to keep going under the cloud of a special investigation.

25 мая, 11:50

We Can't Predict Whether Trump Will Succeed in the Middle East

At this stage, a great start and a false start would both look much the same.

25 мая, 09:45

Текст: Туман в отношении Саудовской Аравии рассеивается ( Валентин Катасонов )

Первое зарубежное турне Дональда Трампа в качестве президента США включает посещение им Саудовской Аравии, Израиля, Палестины, Италии, Ватикана, Бельгии и снова Италии. В Брюсселе Трамп будет встречаться с руководителями стран - членов ЕС и НАТО. В конечной точке путешествия – Сицилии – американскому президенту предстоит участвовать в заседании G7, где будут присутствовать все лидеры «семёрки». В общей сложности за время этого вояжа Трампу предстоит встретиться с лидерами примерно 80 стран.  В кругу сопровождающих Трампа в поездке лишь самые близкие и надёжные люди. В частности, глава Госдепа Рекс Тиллерсон, супруга Меланья, дочь Иванка и зять Джаред Кушнер (он же старший советник президента). Силовики из президентского окружения будут появл...

25 мая, 08:50

Проект «ЗЗ». После Дональда будет Иванка, после Путина — Путин

Супруга Меланья открыто демонстрирует охлаждение к мужу Дональду. Зато в мире стремительно растёт популярность его зятя Джареда Кушнера и особенно дочери Иванки. Последняя уже неофициально считается будущей президенткой США. Ну а в России после президента Путина ожидается снова президент Путин. По мнению одного китайского эксперта, русские ценят «стабильность».

25 мая, 07:14

Шоу президента Трампа: уходя от импичмента. Трамп перебрасывает силы со Среднего Востока на Дальний, заставляя саудитов оплатить это

Президентское кресло Дональд Трамп занял с обещанием: «Сделаем Америку снова великой!» Обещал построить стену с Мексикой от нелегальных мигрантов, заняться созданием рабочих мест и вообще реиндустриализацией США. Эта стратегия подразумевает приоритет внутренней политики над внешней, блага от лидерства Америки в мире должны были доставаться в первую очередь американцам. Однако, глобалистская «демократическая» закулиса, угрожая импичментом, добилась изменения повестки дня президента.

25 мая, 06:30

Meet JK2 Westminster LLC – The Kushner Family Real Estate Subsidiary Preying On Poor People

Authored by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog, Cox stopped cooking for herself and her son, not wanting food near the sink. A judge allowed her reduced rent for one month. When she moved out soon afterward, Westminster Management sent her a $600 invoice for a new carpet and other repairs. Cox, who is now working as a battery-test engineer and about to buy her first home, was unaware who was behind the company that had put her through such an ordeal. When I told her of Kushner’s involvement, there was a silence as she took it in.   Very few of the complex residents I met, even ones who had been pursued at length in court by JK2 Westminster, had any idea that their rent and late fees were going to the family company of the president’s son-in-law. “That Jared Kushner?” Danny Jackson, a plumber in his 15th year living at Harbor Point Estates, exclaimed. “Oh, my God. And I thought he was the good one.”   At the Carroll Park complex, I met Mike McHargue, a private investigator, and his girlfriend, Patricia Howell. “They’re nothing but slumlords,” Howell told me of Westminster Management. “They take everyone’s money.” When I asked if they knew who was behind the company, they said they did not. “Oh, really?” Howell said when I mentioned Kushner’s name. “Oh, really. And I’m a Trump supporter.”   From The New York Times Magazine article: Jared Kushner’s Other Real Estate Empire Yesterday, The New York Times Magazine published a deeply disturbing story about a Kushner family real estate subsidiary with a consistent pattern of aggressive and questionable collection practices aimed at lower income people who can’t defend themselves properly. Excerpts from the piece are below, but it should really be read in full. Warren sent a letter reporting the problem to the complex’s property manager, a company called Sawyer Realty Holdings. When there was no response, she decided to move out. In January 2010, she submitted the requisite form giving two months’ notice that she was transferring her Section 8 voucher — the federal low-income subsidy that helped her pay the rent — elsewhere. The complex’s on-site manager signed the form a week later, checking the line that read “The tenant gave notice in accordance with the lease.”     So Warren was startled in January 2013, three years later, when she received a summons from a private process server informing her that she was being sued for $3,014.08 by the owner of Cove Village. The lawsuit, filed in Maryland District Court, was doubly bewildering. It claimed she owed the money for having left in advance of her lease’s expiration, though she had received written permission to leave. And the company suing her was not Sawyer, but one whose name she didn’t recognize: JK2 Westminster L.L.C.     Warren was raising three children alone while taking classes for a bachelor’s degree in health care administration, and she disregarded the summons at first. But JK2 Westminster’s lawyers persisted; two more summonses followed. In April 2014, she appeared without a lawyer at a district-court hearing. She told the judge about the approval for her move, but she did not have a copy of the form the manager had signed. The judge ruled against Warren, awarding JK2 Westminster the full sum it was seeking, plus court costs, attorney’s fees and interest that brought the judgment to nearly $5,000. There was no way Warren, who was working as a home health aide, was going to be able to pay such a sum. “I was so desperate,” she said.       If the case was confounding to Warren, it was not unique. Hundreds like it have been filed over the last five years by JK2 Westminster and affiliated businesses in the state of Maryland alone, where the company owns some 8,000 apartments and townhouses. Nor was JK2 Westminster quite as anonymous as its opaque name suggested. It was a subsidiary of a large New York real estate firm called Kushner Companies, which was led by a young man whose initials happened to be J.K.: Jared Kushner.     In August 2012, a Kushner-led investment group bought 5,500 multifamily units in the Baltimore area with $371 million in financing from Freddie Mac, the government-backed mortgage lender — another considerable bargain. Two years later, Kushner Companies picked up three more complexes in the Baltimore area for $37.9 million. Today, Westminster Management, Kushner Companies’ property-management arm, lists 34 complexes under its control in Maryland, Ohio and New Jersey, with a total of close to 20,000 units.   Kushner’s largest concentration of multifamily units is in the Baltimore area, where the company controls 15 complexes in all — which, if you assume three residents per unit, could be home to more than 20,000 people. All but two of the complexes are in suburban Baltimore County, but they are only “suburban” in the most literal sense. They sit along arterial shopping strips or highways, yet they are easy to miss — the Highland Village complex, for example, is beside the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, but the tall sound barriers dividing it from the six-lane highway render its more than 1,000 units invisible to the thousands traveling that route every day.   At the time of the 2012 Baltimore purchase, Kushner raved about the promise of the low-end multifamily market. “It’s proven over the last few years to be the most resilient asset class, and at the end of the day, it’s a very stable asset class,” he told Multifamily Executive. He said things were proceeding well in the Midwestern complexes he purchased a year earlier. “It was a lot of construction and a lot of evictions,” he said. “But the communities now look great, and the outcome has been phenomenal.” Awesome! Meanwhile, back to Warren… Kamiia Warren still had not paid the $4,984.37 judgment against her by late 2014. Three days before Christmas that year, JK2 Westminster filed a request to garnish her wages from her in-home elder-care job. Five days earlier, Warren had gone to court to fill out a handwritten motion saying she had proof that she was given permission to leave Cove Village in 2010 — she had finally managed to get a copy from the housing department. “Please give me the opportunity to plead my case,” she wrote. But she did not attach a copy of the form to her motion, not realizing it was necessary, so a judge denied it on Jan. 9, on the grounds that there was “no evidence submitted.”   The garnishing started that month. Warren was in the midst of leaving her job, but JK2 Westminster garnished her bank account too. After her account was zeroed out, a loss of about $900, she borrowed money from her mother to buy food for her children and pay her bills. That February — five years after she left Cove Village — Warren returned to court, this time with the housing form in hand, asking the judge to halt garnishment. “I am a single mom of three and my bank account was wiped clean by the plaintiff,” she pleaded in another handwritten request. “I cannot take care of my kids when they snatch all of my money out of my account. I do not feel I owe this money. Please have mercy on my family and I.” She told me that when she called the law office representing JK2 Westminster that same day from the courthouse to discuss the case, one of the lawyers told her: “This is not going to go away. You will pay us.”   The judge denied Warren’s request without explanation. And JK2 Westminster kept pressing for the rest of the money, sending out one process server after another to present Warren with legal papers. Finally, in January 2016, the court sent notice of a $4,615 lien against Warren — a legal claim against her for the remaining judgment. Warren began to cry as she recounted the episode to me. She said the lien has greatly complicated her hopes of taking out a loan to start her own small assisted-living center. She had gone a couple of years without a bank account, for fear of further garnishing. “It was just pure greed,” she said. “It was unnecessary.” I asked why she hadn’t pushed harder against the judgment once she had the necessary evidence in hand. “They know how to work this stuff,” she replied. “They know what to do, and here I am, I don’t know anything about the law. I would have to hire a lawyer or something, and I really can’t afford that. I really don’t know my rights. I don’t know all the court lingo. I knew that up against them I would lose.”   A search for “JK2 Westminster” in the database of Maryland’s District Court system brings back 548 cases in which it is the plaintiff — and that does not include hundreds of other cases that have been filed in the name of the company’s individual complexes.   In the cases that Tapper has brought to court on behalf of JK2 Westminster and individual Kushner-controlled companies, there is a clear pattern of Kushner Companies’ pursuing tenants over virtually any unpaid rent or broken lease — even in the numerous cases where the facts appear to be on the tenants’ side. Not only does the company file cases against them, it pursues the cases for as long as it takes to collect from the overmatched defendants — often several years. The court docket of JK2 Westminster’s case against Warren, for instance, spans more than three years and 112 actions — for a sum that amounts to maybe two days’ worth of billings for the average corporate-law-firm associate, from a woman who never even rented from JK2 Westminster. The pursuit is all the more remarkable given how transient the company’s prey tends to be. Hounding former tenants for money means paying to send out process servers who often report back that they were unable to locate the target. This does not deter Kushner Companies’ lawyers. They send the servers back out again a few months later.   In March 2009, Joan Beverly, a probation agent, signed the lease for her daughter, Lennettea, for a unit at Dutch Village, a complex on the northern edge of Baltimore. Lennettea moved out a year later, several months before her lease was up. Kushner Companies bought Dutch Village more than two years later. In December 2012, JK2 Westminster filed suit in Baltimore County District Court against Beverly, seeking $3,810.16 — several months of rent it said it was owed, plus about $1,000 in repair costs, including $10 for “failure to return laundry room card.”   That February, Lennettea filed a written court notice explaining that her mother, who was dying of pancreatic cancer, was “in terminal hospice care and is not eligible to work.” She added by way of supporting evidence a letter from the hospice provider to Joan Beverly’s bank, explaining her and her husband’s late mortgage payments on their home: “There has been added financial stress because Mrs. Beverly is very ill at this time.” But JK2 Westminster persisted in seeking a hearing on the suit. In March, a district court judge found in favor of the company — a total judgment against Joan of more than $5,500.   Joan died two weeks later. Her husband, Tyrone Beverly, a retired longshoreman, requested that the judgment against his deceased wife be removed but was denied. The case remains open in the court database. Tyrone, who was married to Joan for 32 years, told me that he had assumed the judgment had been dismissed and was unaware that it was still listed as awaiting payment. “They just didn’t treat us fair,” he said.   Over all, about nine out of every 10 cases brought by JK2 Westminster that I surveyed resulted in judgments against the defendants, who often did not appear in person for the hearings — and if they did, almost never had legal representation. How could it possibly be worth Kushner Companies’ while to pursue hundreds of people so aggressively over a few thousand dollars here and there? After all, the pursuit itself cost money. And it wasn’t happening just in Baltimore — Doug Wilkins, a lawyer in Toledo who has represented some of the complexes bought there by Kushner, told me the company is seeking far more monetary judgments than did previous owners.   Matthew Hertz, whose Bethesda, Md., firm represents landlords and tenants in similar cases, explained to me that there is a logic behind such aggressive tactics. The costs of the pursuit are not as high as you might imagine, he said — people are not that hard to find in the age of cellphones and easily accessible databases. “If I give my process server a name and phone number, it’s generally enough to trace you,” he said. “If I have a date of birth and Social Security number, it’s even easier.” The legal costs can be billed to the defendant as attorney’s fees, if the terms of the lease allow. And garnishing wages is relatively easy to do by court order, assuming the defendant has wages to garnish.   The Highland Village complex, along the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, is one of Kushner Companies’ largest, a vast maze of lanes and courts lined with rows of short brick-and-siding-fronted homes. Like the other Kushner complexes I visited in Baltimore’s southern and eastern suburbs, it is situated in what was once a predominantly white working-class community, within reasonable commuting distance of the harbor and industrial plants, now defunct, like Bethlehem Steel. In recent decades, many black transplants from the city and Hispanic immigrants have arrived as well, and Highland Village is an unusually integrated place.   The complex, like the others I saw, seemed designed to preclude neighborliness — most of the townhouses lack even the barest stoop to sit out on, and at least one complex has signs forbidding ball-playing (“violators will be prosecuted”). At another complex, kids had drawn a rectangle on the side of a storage shed in lieu of a hoop for their basketball game. The only meeting points at many of the complexes are the metal mailbox stands, the Dumpsters and the laundry room. And the only thing that united many of the residents I spoke to, it seemed, was resentment of their landlord.   They complained about Westminster Management’s aggressive rent-collection practices, which many told me exceeded what they had experienced under the previous owners. Rent is marked officially late, they said, if it arrives after 4:30 p.m. on the fifth day of the month. But Westminster recently made paying the rent much more of a challenge. Last fall, it sent notice to residents saying that they could no longer pay by money order (on which many residents, who lack checking accounts, had relied) at the complex’s rental office and would instead need to go to a Walmart or Ace Cash Express and use an assigned “WIPS card” — a plastic card linked to the resident’s account — to pay their rent there. That method carries a $3.50 fee for every payment, and getting to the Walmart or Ace is difficult for the many residents without cars.   The worst troubles may have been those described in a 2013 court case involving Jasmine Cox’s unit at Cove Village. They began with the bedroom ceiling, which started leaking one day. Then maggots started coming out of the living-room carpet. Then raw sewage started flowing out of the kitchen sink. “It sounded like someone turned a pool upside down,” Cox told me. “I heard the water hitting the floor and I panicked. I got out of bed and the sink is black and gray, it’s pooling out of the sink and the house smells terrible.”   Cox stopped cooking for herself and her son, not wanting food near the sink. A judge allowed her reduced rent for one month. When she moved out soon afterward, Westminster Management sent her a $600 invoice for a new carpet and other repairs. Cox, who is now working as a battery-test engineer and about to buy her first home, was unaware who was behind the company that had put her through such an ordeal. When I told her of Kushner’s involvement, there was a silence as she took it in.   Very few of the complex residents I met, even ones who had been pursued at length in court by JK2 Westminster, had any idea that their rent and late fees were going to the family company of the president’s son-in-law. “That Jared Kushner?” Danny Jackson, a plumber in his 15th year living at Harbor Point Estates, exclaimed. “Oh, my God. And I thought he was the good one.”   At the Carroll Park complex, I met Mike McHargue, a private investigator, and his girlfriend, Patricia Howell. “They’re nothing but slumlords,” Howell told me of Westminster Management. “They take everyone’s money.” When I asked if they knew who was behind the company, they said they did not. “Oh, really?” Howell said when I mentioned Kushner’s name. “Oh, really. And I’m a Trump supporter.”   Jared Kushner stepped down as chief executive of Kushner Companies in January. But he remains a stakeholder in the company — his share of company-related trusts is estimated to be worth at least $600 million — and the company says it has no intention of selling off its multifamily holdings. (JK2 Westminster was formally dissolved in December, but Kushner Companies still owns the complexes through other entities; lawsuits against tenants are now typically filed in the names of the complexes themselves.) Because Kushner retains his interest in the complexes, the White House told The Baltimore Sun in February that he would recuse himself from any policy decisions about Section 8 funding, as many of his tenants rely on it for their rent. But even as Kushner now busies himself with his ever-expanding White House portfolio, his company is carrying on its vigorous efforts in court. On a related note, here’s an article I published earlier this month: Kushner Companies Seen Hawking Shady U.S. Visa Buying Residency Program to Wealthy Chinese

25 мая, 03:13

Jeff Sessions Reportedly Failed To List Russian Ambassador Meetings On Security Form

function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); Attorney General Jeff Sessions failed to disclose two meetings with Russia’s ambassador to the United States on an application for a security clearance, CNN and ABC reported Wednesday. The Justice Department argued on Wednesday that Sessions did not make any mistakes. Sarah Isgur Flores, a Justice Department spokeswoman, told CNN that an FBI official who assisted Sessions in filling out the form told him he did not need to include every foreign contact he had as a senator. A Justice Department official with knowledge of the situation told ABC that the stipulation to include every foreign contact would be particularly burdensome and broad for a senator. The portion of the form that requests foreign contacts says applicants do not have to share meetings with foreign officials while abroad on government business, but Sessions’ meetings with Kislyak were in the United States. The failure to disclose his meetings with Russian officials were the reason Sessions was forced to recuse himself of overseeing the FBI’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.  During his confirmation hearing in January, Sessions failed to disclose he met with Kislyak twice in 2016 when asked about Trump campaign connections to Russian officials. After The Washington Post revealed that Sessions met with Kislyak twice, the attorney general recused himself from any Justice Department investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. campaign. Sessions, who advised Donald Trump during the presidential campaign, insisted at the time that his meetings with Kislyak were normal and that the Russian ambassador was just one of a number of diplomats who sought meetings with him. Sessions later amended his testimony to the Senate to include his meetings with Kislyak. The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to a HuffPost request for comment Wednesday. A statement was related in a Twitter message, however. DoJ statement: Soooooo many foreign officials. How do you keep track of all of them? pic.twitter.com/5thjZH2kSq— Jim Roberts (@nycjim) May 25, 2017 Sessions is the third Trump official facing scrutiny for failing to disclose information while seeking a security clearance. Michael Flynn, fired as Trump’s national security adviser in February after misleading Vice President Mike Pence about conversations with Kislyak, also failed to disclose income from Russia when he applied for a renewal of his security clearance last year, according to The New York Times. Jared Kushner, Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, warned the FBI a day after submitting his security clearance forms that he had failed to list foreign contacts. “In the Bush Administration someone who lied on a security clearance form would have been out the door within 24 hrs,” Richard W. Painter, a law professor at the University of Minnesota and the chief White House ethics lawyer for George W. Bush, said on Twitter. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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24 мая, 23:30

В Белом доме сообщили подробности встречи Трампа с Папой Римским

Президент США обсудил с понтификом борьбу с терроризмом и другие глобальные проблемы человечества.

24 мая, 21:23

Пример Украины заразителен: США «закрывают» Facebook?

Пока Дональд Трамп отплясывал вместе с королём Саудовской Аравии Салманом бен Абдель Азизом Аль Саудом танец с саблями и наблюдал через пуле- и даже ракетонепробиваемые стёкла отеля «Царь Давид» за Древним Иерусалимом, в США продолжились нападки на Белый дом. Цель – импичмент президента, причём меди...

24 мая, 14:12

Мелания Трамп в трауре пришла к Папе Римскому

Яркие кадры посещения Ватикана американским президентом с супругой

24 мая, 13:34

Папа Римский сухо встретил Трампа в Ватикане

Встреча Папы Римского Франциска с президентом США Дональдом Трампом в Ватикане продолжалась всего тридцать минут. Об этом сообщает The Independent. Вместе с Трампом в Ватикан прибыли также его супруга Меланья, дочь Иванка с мужем Джаредом Кушнером. О содержании беседы пока ничего не сообщается, однако, как отмечает издание, ее трудно назвать душевной: понтифик сухо поприветствовал Трампа и без особой улыбки пригласил его на разговор. «Папа совсем не улыбался, когда приветствовал Трампа. Трамп, который выглядел подавленным, сказал, что для него это большая честь», — отмечает издание. Они позировали для фотографов: на лице папы не было и тени улыбки, а Трамп сиял», — пишет The Independent. Чуть более благосклонен понтифик был к первой леди США Меланье Трамп — ее он благословил и поинтересовался, что она ела на ужин в Риме. «Пиццу?» — уточнил он. Напомним, что во время предвыборной кампании Трампа Папа Римский Франциск резко его критиковал. Поводом для этого стали планы миллиардера построить стену на границе с Мексикой. Папа заявлял, что человек, имеющий такие планы, не может называться христианином.

24 мая, 12:54

Trump ditches his feud in gracious visit with the pope

‘I won't forget what you said,’ the president says as their meeting came to a close.

24 мая, 12:45

Трамп получил напутствие от Папы Римского

В ходе своего первого зарубежного визита президент США Дональд Трамп встретился 24 мая в Ватикане с Папой Римским Франциском. Встреча президента и Папы в формате один на один продолжалась полчаса.

24 мая, 11:44

Даже не улыбнулся. Папа римский оказал холодный приём Дональду Трампу

Встреча папы римского с президентом США Дональдом Трампом продолжалась всего тридцать минут. Как отмечает сегодня The Independent, её трудно назвать душевной: понтифик даже не улыбался. О содержании беседы пока ничего не известно. Поэтому СМИ приходится обсуждать только то, что было открыто для публики: церемонию рукопожатия и первые минуты встречи. — Папа не улыбался, когда приветствовал Трампа. Трамп, выглядевший подавленным, сказал, что "это большая честь". Они позировали для фото: папа стоял с суровым лицом, а Трамп сиял для фотографов, — отмечает издание. Вместе с Трампом на встречу прибыли также его супруга Меланья, дочь Иванка с мужем Джаредом Кушнером. Понтифик благословил Меланью и поинтересовался, что они ели на ужин в Риме. "Пиццу?" — уточнил он. Напомним, что во время предвыборной кампании Трампа папа римский резко его критиковал. Поводом для этого стали планы миллиардера построить стену на границе с Мексикой. Папа заявлял, что человек, имеющий такие намерения, не может быть христианином.

07 апреля, 21:45

В мире: Удар по Сирии в момент встречи Трампа и Си Цзиньпина не является совпадением

Попытка унизить – или знак уважения? Востоковеды обсуждают, как именно воспринял Китай тот факт, что сенсационный удар ракетами «Томогавк» по Сирии США предприняли именно в тот момент, когда лидер КНР встречался с Дональдом Трампом. В чем они солидарны – это точно не было случайным совпадением. «Наш президент сообщил о происходящем китайскому лидеру в тот момент, когда удары наносились», – заявил журналистам в пятницу официальный представитель Белого дома, которого цитирует ТАСС. Трамп, принимающий председателя КНР Си Цзиньпина «на своем поле», за ужином просто сообщил китайскому гостю, что «предпринимается эта акция», и пояснил, «что ей предшествовало». Си оказался первым из мировых лидеров, которого Трамп поставил в известность о ракетной атаке на сирийскую базу Шайрат – причем сделал это лично. При этом позиция Пекина известна, и она не менялась. О ней в пятницу напомнил официальный представитель МИД Китая Хуа Чуньин: КНР уважает выбор сирийского народа, сделанный в пользу Башара Асада. Сами американо-китайские переговоры, начатые накануне в поместье Трампа «Мар-а-Лаго» во Флориде, президент США назвал «замечательными». Трамп заявил, что встреча с Си Цзиньпином позволила продвинуть вперед отношения Вашингтона и Пекина. С другой стороны, еще в конце марта Трамп анонсировал встречу с лидером КНР как очень сложную. А накануне прилета Си во Флориду США озвучили список жестких требований к Китаю – как экономических, так и политических. В частности, Вашингтон заранее дал понять, что не откажется от размещения ПРО в Южной Корее, что крайне нервирует Китай. Атака на Сирию, пришедшаяся на финал ужина Трампа и Си, оказалась как нельзя кстати. Демонстрация мощи и создание барьера «Трамп попытался показать, что США сохраняют свои позиции. Вопрос – специально ли к встрече с Си Цзиньпином приурочен этот удар, или были какие-либо иные причины. Это важный вопрос, ответ на который хотелось бы знать», – отметил в беседе с газетой ВЗГЛЯД директор Центра экономических и социальных исследований Китая, замдиректора Института Дальнего Востока РАН Андрей Островский. Трамп специально объявил об атаке именно в период визита Си Цзиньпина, – считает эксперт Центра анализа стратегий и технологий Василий Кашин, указывающий на это в публикации портала Defence.Ru. Президент США «дал понять Си Цзиньпину, кто в доме хозяин, и тем самым диктовать условия на переговорах», – полагает Островский. Таким образом, подчеркивает собеседник, новый американский лидер намерен создать барьер на пути претензий Пекина. Эксперт сравнивает поведение Трампа с поведением Гарри Трумэна – в 1945 году президент США сообщил Сталину о бомбе, сброшенной на Хиросиму. Советский же лидер сделал вид, что не понял, о чем идет речь. Китай, по мнению Кашина, воспримет атаку на Сирию в момент визита Си как преднамеренное унижение. Китайцы «сделают хорошую мину», а «потом отомстят». Такое демонстративное бравирование силой грозит похоронить наметившееся улучшение отношений с Китаем. Но существует мнение, согласно которому Трамп ведет более тонкую игру. Демонстрация уважения и создание безвыходной ситуации «Трамп показал свое уважение к Китаю, сообщив новость именно лидеру Китая, а не лидеру какой-либо из своих стран-союзниц», – полагает профессор факультета мировой экономики и мировой политики НИУ ВШЭ Алексей Маслов. Послание, связанное с бомбардировкой Сирии, связано с политикой Трампа в отношении Азии вообще, а не только по отношению к Ближнему Востоку, отметил востоковед в беседе с газетой ВЗГЛЯД. Маслов отмечает: если немного «отмотать назад», то можно обратить внимание, что буквально неделю назад в интервью газете Financial Times Трамп по сути дела поставил Китай в безвыходную ситуацию. «Он сказал буквально следующее: господин Си должен помочь нам с Северной Кореей, иначе наш ответ будет unilateral – «односторонним», – полагает эксперт. – Сначала был намек на то, что Китай должен сильнее нажать на КНДР. Китай не отреагировал на это более активным образом, как показалось Трампу», – отмечает Маслов. Бомбардировкой Сирии американцы показывают, что нечто подобное может произойти и в регионе Восточной Азии, считает собеседник. «Именно поэтому Трамп первым сообщил эту новость именно Си Цзиньпину», – делает вывод он. С точки зрения собеседника, речь идет сугубо о двусторонних отношениях Вашингтона и Пекина. В данном случае Трамп вообще не принимал во внимание позицию Москвы. Россия вне повестки? «Представление о том, что Трамп пытается вбить клин между Россией и Китаем или «притянуть» Китай к США – несколько упрощенный взгляд», – отмечает Маслов. Для Трампа сегодня российская повестка не очень важна, или как минимум не первостепенна, полагает собеседник. «Более важна сугубо китайская повестка», – считает он. Главный вопрос в отношениях с Китаем, по мнению Маслова, это разделение зон ответственности в мире. Это касается и военной сферы, и торговых отношений. Но, добавляет Маслов, Трамп сделал «несколько несуразных шагов» как во время предвыборной гонки, так и сразу после выборов. «Тогда он в основном озвучивал мнение ультраправых китаистов – своих советников. Они убеждали, что Китай является основной экономической и даже военной угрозой для США. В результате по сути это возвело непреодолимый барьер между Трампом и Си Цзиньпином», – поясняет собеседник. Так было в январе-феврале. Но потом, отмечает Маслов, президент США изменил саму систему подхода к Китаю. Два шага навстречу Китаю Во-первых, китаисты-фундаменталисты были отключены от принятия экспертных решений, указывает Маслов. В основном связи между китайской стороной и Трампом идут через зятя Трампа Джареда Кушнера и вообще семейных связей Трампа, указывает Маслов. По сведениям New York Times, именно Кушнер (который уже достаточно давно налаживает бизнес-контакты с деловыми кругами Китая) был инициатором встречи Трампа и Си во Флориде. Зять нового президента рассматривается в Пекине как прагматик и перспективный партнер. Во-вторых, Трамп, казалось бы, вынужденно, признал идею «одного Китая», отмечает Маслов. Ранее, в рамках демонстрации «жесткости» по отношению к Пекину, Трамп демонстрировал готовность более тесно сотрудничать с Тайванем. Но состоявшийся в феврале первый телефонный разговор лидеров КНР и США стал ходом Трампа навстречу Китаю. «Это был «кивок» в сторону Си Цзиньпина. Но был и показательный момент: после телефонного разговора в американском и китайском пресс-коммюнике имелись расхождения, – отмечает Маслов. – В американском коммюнике было сказано: господин Трамп согласился с политикой «одного Китая» по просьбе Си Цзиньпина. В китайском коммюнике слов «по просьбе» не было. США показали, что они пошли навстречу Китаю». Особых плюсов по итогам встречи Трампа и Си ждать не придется – учитывая реальное состояние отношений Вашингтона и Пекина, считает Андрей Островский. «По логике вещей они не должны договориться ни о чем, – предполагает эксперт. – Ни по корейскому вопросу, ни по Южно-Китайскому, ни по попыткам Трампа ограничить объем экспорта и объем китайских инвестиций в Америку». Но, вне зависимости от итогов встречи, Трамп уже продемонстрировал, «кто в доме хозяин». Впрочем, вряд ли Пекин считает Поднебесную и в целом восточноазиатский регион частью американского «дома». Теги:  Китай, Россия и Китай, США и Россия, Си Цзиньпин, Атака на Сирию, Дональд Трамп, США и Китай

03 февраля, 06:45

Крутой маршрут Трампа и опасения Европы

В Вашингтоне теперь дня не проходит без сенсаций. 1 февраля на брифинге для прессы советник президента по вопросам национальной безопасности Майкл Флинн сделал громкое заявление, сказав, что США «берут Иран на заметку» после последнего испытания этой страной баллистической ракеты среднего радиуса действия. К этому Майкл Флинн добавил, что Иран дестабилизирует ситуацию по всему Ближнему Востоку, и в качестве примера привел...

20 января, 17:30

Трамп прийде, порядок наведе!

В должность 45 президента США вступает Дональд Трамп, часто сравниваемый с Рональдом Рейганом Давайте взглянем на его кабинет и на него самого более пристально WASP,пресвитерианец, изоляционист, консерватор (в хорошем смысле этого слова) и натоящий мужик!

10 января, 11:22

Зять Трампа займет пост в Белом доме, а дочь воздержится

Бизнесмен Джаред Кушнер, который занимается строительством недвижимости, как и его тесть, станет старшим советником президента США. В частности, родственник миллиардера займется вопросами торговли и Ближнего Востока. Адвокаты Кушнера утверждают, что это назначение не будет противоречить закону против кумовства, действующему в США.