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Donald Trump has turned the White House into a bribe factory

For years now it has been clear that Donald Trump is the most corrupt president in American history. No previous president has continued to operate a vast personal business empire while in office — creating more than 3,000 identifiable conflicts of interest. As I predicted three days before he was inaugurated, he has constantly jammed taxpayer money into his own pockets, corruptly bullied foreign powers into doing him political favors, and turned the Department of Justice into an arm of his campaign.

Now that The New York Times has gotten access to many years of Trump’s tax returns, we have new confirmed details about one particular aspect of his corruption — getting paid for political favors. In essence, he has turned the American executive branch into a giant bribery scheme. Wealthy people with business before the state stuff money into Trump’s pockets through his many properties, and in return he gives them the contracts or policy concessions they want.

Here’s how the bribery machine works: an interested party spends tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars at one of Trump’s hotels, or golf resorts, or at Mar-a-Lago. That gets them in front of Trump — as he has spent nearly 400 days as president at those locations — and in his good graces, because he is exceptionally greedy. Then he is easily convinced to help them on some matter of policy.

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

AAR Corp., a government contractor fighting off a rival in court, held two retreats at the Trump National Doral resort,

House collapses, record rains kill 15 in southern India

Exclusive: White House advances drone and missile sales to Taiwan – sources

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House is moving forward with more sales of sophisticated military equipment to Taiwan, telling Congress on Tuesday that it will seek to sell Taipei MQ-9 drones and a coastal defensive missile system, sources familiar with the situation said.

The possible sales follow three other notifications first reported by Reuters on Monday that drew China’s ire as the United States prepares for its Nov. 3 election.

One of the eight sources said that in total the sales were valued at around $5 billion. Very often figures for U.S. foreign military sales include costs for training, spares and fees making the values difficult to pinpoint.

Reuters broke the news in September that as many as seven major weapons systems were making their way through the U.S. export process as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on China.

The pre-notification to Congress for the General Atomics-made MQ-9 drones is the first after President Donald Trump’s administration moved ahead with its plan to sell more drones to more countries by reinterpreting an international arms control agreement called the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).

Tuesday’s other congressional pre-notification was for land-based Harpoon anti-ship missiles, made by Boeing Co BA.N, to serve as coastal defense cruise missiles. One of the sources said the approximately 100 cruise missiles that were notified to Capitol Hill would have a cost of about $2 billion.

Representatives for the U.S. State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A Taiwan government source acknowledged that “Taiwan has five weapon systems that are moving through the process.”

The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations and House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committees have the right to review, and block, weapons sales under an informal review process before the State Department sends its formal notification to the legislative

White House embraces a declaration from scientists that opposes lockdowns and relies on ‘herd immunity.’

The White House has embraced a declaration by a group of scientists arguing that authorities should allow the coronavirus to spread among young healthy people while protecting the elderly and the vulnerable — an approach that would rely on arriving at “herd immunity” through infections rather than a vaccine.

Many experts say “herd immunity” — the point at which a disease stops spreading because nearly everyone in a population has contracted it — is still very far-off. Leading experts have concluded, using different scientific methods, that about 85 to 90 percent of the American population is still susceptible to the coronavirus.

On a call convened Monday by the White House, two senior administration officials, both speaking anonymously because they were not authorized to give their names, cited an October 4 petition titled The Great Barrington Declaration, which argues against lockdowns and calls for a reopening of businesses and schools.

“Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health,” the declaration states, adding, “The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk. We call this Focused Protection.”

The declaration has more than 9,000 signatories from all over the world, its website says, though most of the names are not public. The document grew out of a meeting hosted by the American Institute for Economic Research, a libertarian-leaning research organization.

Its lead authors include Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, an epidemiologist and infectious disease expert at Stanford University, the academic home of Dr. Scott Atlas, President Trump’s science adviser. Dr. Atlas has also espoused herd immunity.

The declaration’s architects

Family killed in Oxford A40 crash ‘were moving house’

Zoe Powell from Chinnor, Oxfordshire, with her husband Josh and their three children. (Sarah Mak Photography)
Zoe Powell from Chinnor, Oxfordshire, with her husband Josh and their three children. (Sarah Mak Photography)

A family who lost a mother and three children in a car crash near Oxford had recently moved because their house burned down, according to a report.

The four victims, named in the media as Zoe Powell, 29, daughters Amelia, four, and Phoebe, eight, and six-year-old son Simeon, all died in an incident on the A40 Monday evening.

Police said the collision involved their Subaru people carrier and a heavy goods vehicle.

Two other passengers in the Subaru, reported as Powell’s 30-year-old husband Josh and their 18-month old daughter, were taken to hospital in Oxford and are in a critical condition.

Thames Valley Police said the driver of the HGV, a 56-year-old man, suffered minor injuries.

Zoe Powell was named as a victim of the A40 crash. (Sarah Mak Photography)
Zoe Powell was named as a victim of the A40 crash. (Sarah Mak Photography)

The Sun reported that William Milroy, Zoe Powell’s father, said the family, who were living in Chinnor, Oxfordshire, had been moving from house to house but recently began renting a long-term place.

“They were going home. I don’t know where they had been but they had recently moved into a new rented house after theirs had burned down,” he said.

Zoe Powell ran a blog website about being a mother, oriented towards the mental health and wellbeing of mums.

A police witness appeal sign on the A40 near Oxford where a four-year-old girl, a six-year-old boy, an eight-year-old girl and a 29-year-old woman from Chinnor, Oxfordshire, died Monday night after a collision between a people carrier and a heavy goods vehicle.
A police witness appeal sign on the A40 near Oxford where a four-year-old girl, a six-year-old boy, an eight-year-old girl and a 29-year-old woman died. (PA)

She would write about coping when a child is ill, dealing with new challenges and promoting the use of a journal to record events and feelings.

The mother also made videos for Youtube in which she talked about writing down thoughts.

Police were called to the collision at 9.50pm