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Monday
Jun262017

POLITICS (National): President Donald Trump, son-in-law (senior White House adviser) Jared Kushner, Kushner Companies: "Kushner firm's $285 million Deutsche Bank loan came just before Election Day" ....

***President Donald Trump, son-in-law (senior White House adviser) Jared Kushner, Kushner Companies....

* Washington Post (Michael Kranish):  "Kushner firm's $285 million Deutsche Bank loan came just before Election Day" - From the WP:

One month before Election Day, Jared Kushner’s real estate company finalized a $285 million loan as part of a refinancing package for its property near Times Square in Manhattan. The loan came at a critical moment. Kushner was playing a key role in the presidential campaign of his father-in-law, Donald Trump. The lender, Deutsche Bank, was negotiating to settle a federal mortgage fraud case and charges from New York state regulators that it aided a possible Russian money-laundering scheme. The cases were settled in December and January.

Now, Kushner’s association with Deutsche Bank is among a number of financial matters that could come under focus as his business activities are reviewed by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is examining Kushner as part of a broader investigation into possible Russian influence in the election. The October deal illustrates the extent to which Kushner was balancing roles as a top adviser to Trump and a real estate company executive.

After the election, Kushner juggled duties for the Trump transition team and his corporation as he prepared to move to the White House. The Washington Post has reported that investigators are probing Kushner’s separate December meetings with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, and with Russian banker Sergey Gorkov, the head of Vnesheconombank, a state development bank.

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Deutsche Bank loans to Trump and his family members have come under scrutiny. As Trump’s biggest lender, the bank supplied funds to him when other banks balked at the risk. As of last year, Trump’s companies had about $364 million in outstanding debts to the bank ...................

Monday
Jun262017

POLITICS/SPORTS (International/Mexico): Mexico, World Cup soccer competition, gay rights?: "Mexican soccer fans are reluctant to give up a favorite chant -- an anti-gay slur" ....  

* Los Angeles Times:  "Mexican soccer fans are reluctant to give up a favorite chant -- an anti-gay slur" - From the LAT:

They’ve been begged by star players to stop it, fined repeatedly, and threatened with dramatic sanctions that could hurt their national team’s chances in the World Cup. But Mexican soccer fans have been loath to give up their favorite game-day chant, a homophobic slur that has been condemned by gay rights groups, government officials and international soccer authorities.

At a recent World Cup qualifying match at Mexico City’s massive Estadio Azteca, game organizers aired messages pleading with fans to not say it. Beforehand, some of the team’s top players had condemned the slur in public service announcements. But the crowd of more than 80,000 had other plans. Each time the goalie for the United States team picked up the ball to punt it, the crowd began chanting, “Eehhh,” stretching out the sound like a long musical note on a crescendo. When the goalie finally kicked the ball, the crowd shouted, “puto!” in unison.

The word, which translates roughly to “male prostitute,” has long been used in Mexico as a slur against gay men. Many soccer fans insist it isn’t meant as an anti-gay insult. They point out that the word has taken on other meanings, including “coward,” and is even sometimes used between friends kind of like “dude.” Critics say fans obviously aren’t screaming “dude” at opposing teams.

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Debate over the term has become a lightning rod issue in Mexico. Gay marriage is legal in several states, but discrimination and violence against gays is a regular occurrence in many parts of the country. “Slurs like this are part of the violent context that we live,” said Paulina Martinez, who heads a gay rights group .................

Monday
Jun262017

POLITICS (National): Donald Trump presidency, various reports: Analysis (Dan Balz), "Beyond opposing Trump, Democrats keep searching for a message"; commentary (James Risen, Tom Risen), "Donald Trump Does His Best Joe McCarthy Impression"; "The Congressional Black Caucus rejects Omarosa's invitation to meet with Trump"; also, "Analysis indicates partisan gerrymandering has benefited GOP" ....  

***Donald Trump presidency, various reports....

* New York Times (James Risen, Tom Risen):  "Donald Trump Does His Best Joe McCarthy Impression"

* Washington Post (Dan Balz):  "Beyond opposing Trump, Democrats keep searching for a message"

* San Francisco Chronicle (Business Insider):  "The Congressional Black Caucus rejects Omarosa's invitation to meet with Trump"

***ALSO:

* ABC News (AP): "Analysis indicates partisan gerrymandering has benefited GOP"

Monday
Jun262017

POLITICS (National): President Donald Trump, "infrastructure agenda"/ political friends and allies?: Report/analysis, "Trump's infrastructure agenda: Approving private projects, including those of his allies" .... 

* Sacramento Bee (McClatchy D.C.):  "Trump's infrastructure agenda: Approving private projects, including those of his allies" - From the Bee:

-- Just four days after he was inaugurated, President Donald Trump delivered a clear message that he would use his office to help industry friends and political allies. He signed a Jan. 24 executive order that assured completion of the Dakota Access pipeline, which will transport oil fracked by various companies, including one owned by Oklahoma oilman Harold Hamm, his longtime friend and energy adviser.

Since that day, the president has tapped various friends and supporters to help shape his infrastructure agenda, including CEOs who have a financial interest in the regulatory relief Trump is promising and implementing. These include Stephen Schwarzman, who heads the New York-based Blackstone equity firm, which has multi-billion-dollar investments in infrastructure nationwide. They also include lesser known figures, such as Veresen CEO Don Althoff, whose Canadian company was unable to get permits during the Obama era to build a liquified natural gas export terminal in Oregon.

Trump’s appointments to regulatory agencies have delivered a boost to these allies, and also to others, such as ....................

Monday
Jun262017

POLITICS (National): 2018 congressional elections, Democrats?: "Democrats field a glut of House candidates in 2018 but remain divided on how to win"; "There's only one Trump -- and that's a key challenge for Democrats targeting GOP seats in 2018"; also, commentary (Willie Brown), "The party that doesn't know how: Democrats in disarray"; analysis, "How the Democrats Can Take Back Congress"  

***2018 congressional elections, Democrats?

* San Francisco Chronicle (Willie Brown):  "The party that doesn't know how: Democrats in disarray"

* Los Angeles Times (Cathleen Decker):  "There's only one Trump -- that's a key challenge for Democrats targeting GOP seats in 2018"

* Washington Post (Ed O'Keefe, David Weigel):  "Democrats field a glut of House candidates in 2018 but remain divided on how to win"

* The Atlantic (Bruce Reed, Rahm Emanuel):  "How the Democrats Can Take Back Congress" - "Two architects of their party's last congressional victory argue Democrats need to recruit candidates who match their districts and offer voters a detailed agenda."