The Wonderful World of Scarecrows (Fourth Edition)

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Now that it’s fall, it’s the season for scarecrows. Though I’m not sure if any of these can actually scare crows away from your garden vegetables or crops. Or at least once the birds pick at it and realize it’s just a mere figure of straw and old clothes that doesn’t do much of anything. Yet, people still make them anyway for their fall décor. There are even contests. Most of these consists of a mannequin dressed in old clothes and stuffed with straw. Yet, you’ll find a few made of metal and other materials. Some don’t even have clothes on at all. Of course, some people decide to get creative with these guys. So some of them can be well beyond the farmer image we’re used to. So for your reading pleasure, I give you another assortment of delightful scarecrows for the fall.

  1. Birds better watch out for this woman in black.
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Indeed, she has red hair. Yet, she could be a witch for all you know.

2. There’s nothing like an afternoon tea in the garden.

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Each lady has a bouquet of flowers on her lap. Also, love their hats.

3. I guess his name is either “Buckethead” or “Metalman.”

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Well, he has a bucket for a head. But his trunk mostly consists of a trash can. While his limbs are air pipes.

4. Sometimes you don’t need an old skirt if straw will do.

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The only clothing she has is a shawl full of holes. Yet, you have to like her straw dress and hat.

5. Have room for an old crow?

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This one has a crow head. While crows are normally sharp, this one doesn’t have a lot of fashion sense.

6. You will be delighted with this happy chef.

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He’s made out of straw in a chef’s outfit. Yet, you won’t find him in any restaurant kitchen.

7.  “Yer a wizard, Harry.”

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These are Harry Potter and Hagrid. Yet, the Hagrid one kind of gives the creeps. Since he comes off as a frightening cult leader.

8. This woman has a rather colorful disposition.

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She has a rather loud coat draping her outfit. Yet, I love her hat the best.

9. You can’t doubt her flower power.

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She’s wearing a flower skirt with a flower sash and scarf. She even has flower eyes.

10. I have to admit, her skirt is quite trashy.

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Okay, her skirt is a trash can and chicken wire. Yet, her head is a real can.

11. “I call this number, ‘Pumpkin Spice Blues.'”

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Just a scarecrow with a guitar. You’d almost think he’s actually singing.

12. This gardener is all tin cans.

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Seems more tin man than the Tin Man. And you don’t even need oil for him either. Though he’s prone to rust.

13. All she wants to do is sit and knit.

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Seems like she’s knitting a scarf. Yet, please don’t watch. Since it just seems weird.

14. This bonnie lass always loves tending her garden.

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She wears a tam, kilt, boots, and a sweater. So she can tend in all kinds of weather.

15. Seems like this guy has gone to the pond.

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He’s just sitting down with a hoe across his lap. Not sure what he’ll use it for.

16. Bet you didn’t see this little scarecrow.

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She even carries her own security blanket. Though I’m sure this is made out of old clothes for small children.

17. Don’t mind her. She’s just taking notes.

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She’s supposed to be a schoolgirl. Even has her own desk. So cute.

18. This pirate captain swings above his buried treasure.

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And who’s popping out from the treasure chest? However, remember that real pirates don’t have buried treasure since they didn’t expect to live very long.

19. You can surmise that she’s kind of flat.

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Well, she’s made from an ironing board with a pot head. And she’s holding a pot of flowers.

20. The flowers should always match the dress.

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She has pink flowers on her hat while wearing a white dress with pink prints. I guess the hair is made of straw.

21. A straw hat goes well with a white dress.

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She holds a basket of flowers and stands next to a flower wagon. Love her hat.

22. Well, this pothead is sitting pretty.

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This guy’s has a potted plant for a head. Still, that suit is snazzy.

23. He’s just a guy on top of his horse.

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Yes, that horse is made out of straw, too. And the guy has a jack-o-lantern had.

24. Seems like this guy has quite the rabbit ears.

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Interesting, his head is an old TV. And he has a bunny in hand.

25. Popeye always stays at port with his Olive Oyl.

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Here they are in their cartoon glory. Popeye even has a can of spinach.

26. Didn’t think I’d see a cowboy on his own lawn.

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Kind of reminds me of Woody from Toy Story for some reason. By the way, the gray cloth things are either guns or hands.

27. Guess he’s a goalie for H.E. Double Hockey Sticks.

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He’s supposed to be an undead hockey player. Though he will only skate when hell freezes over.

28. You’d almost think they’re well-dressed country bears.

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They’re bear scarecrows in suits. Love their hats. So adorable.

29. With Tinkerbell’s fairy dust, Peter Pan can fly.

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Yet, Peter Pan is a really creepy story. Yet, this is a good likeness.

30. This guy’s rather sunny.

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He’s dressed in white with Easter eggs in front of him. But you have to love his sunflower mane.

31. Sometimes you got to make a big impression.

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Well, a giant scarecrow will certainly scare the birds away. Despite that he seems kind of friendly if you ask me.

32. Apparently, this orange man’s about to go on a Twitter rant.

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Yes, that’s an angry pumpkin-headed Donald Trump screaming over not getting his way, again. Complete with tiny doll hands. This is perfect.

33. There’s something divine about this broom angel.

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She has her halo and wings. While she demonstrates her hospitality through a fan.

34. This seems like a job for Sir Pumpkinhead.

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You’d think they’d have a scarecrow Renaissance Festival with this guy. Yet, he’s not wearing a helmet.

35. How much longer do you think this guy will stay on the fence?

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This is a Humpty Dumpty scarecrow. But when he falls, you can’t put him back together again.

36. Hope you don’t bale on this scarecrow.

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He’s made out of hay. Has bales for a head and body. Square bales for arms.

37. You’d be board if you don’t view this lady in red.

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Well, she’s made out of wood planks. But she carries a fork and birdhouse just the same.

38. She comes outside in her straw hat and blue raincoat.

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And here she’s on the side of the road with yellow flowers in her hands. Still, she’s so lovely.

39. This scarecrow’s sawing logs.

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And he’s using am manual saw. Mostly because you wouldn’t use a chainsaw in a scarecrow display.

40. Even a fall bride should have a sensational gown.

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Wonder if that’s an old wedding dress. Wouldn’t be surprise. But her head is a pumpkin.

41. Hope you enjoy this scarecrow clown.

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On second thought, he’s kind of creepy. Wonder if he can give Pennywise a run for his money.

42. They always wanted a seaside wedding.

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Well, the seaside seems hardly picturesque. But the bride is exquisitely stunning.

43. You’d think she was a certified flower child.

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She stands with high boots and shorts. While smiling as her long blond hair drapes onto her shoulders.

44. Strange to see promgoers during the daytime.

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The three are under an umbrella. Wonder if those are actually prom dresses.

45. This scarecrow is all plastic.

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Well, almost all plastic. But everything about him is recycled for sure.

46. “Open wide.”

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Fittingly enough these dentist scarecrows are in front of a dentist office. Guess they want to drum up business.

47. Nobody can resist a girl with an umbrella skirt.

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Her skirt is even embroidered with flowers and butterflies. She also wears a hat of leaves.

48. This scarecrow is all pots.

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This one has a flower pot body with straw at the edges. Love the straw headdress.

49. Perhaps you might want to meet a lady from under the sea.

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She’s supposed to be Ariel from The Little Mermaid. Or at least inspired by her. Yet, her hair has seashells while her fish tail is covered with CD scales.

50. There’s nothing like hanging out at Snoopy’s doghouse.

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This is a scarecrow display of Peanuts. Yet, Charlie Brown wears a prize ribbon. Must’ve impressed the judges enough.

51. This wooden lady’s got a flower pot in each hand.

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Here she holds them high though the plants are dying. Still, she rocks that straw hat.

52. Heard this guy was quite the rake.

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Well, a green rake with autumn leaves. But he’s adorable just the same with his sunflower eyes.

53. Looks like he’s struck out with the baseball in his mouth.

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This is from Disneyland in California, by the way. And yes, he plays for the Scarecrows.

54. This scarecrow has gone to the next hole.

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Not sure how he’s doing. But at least he’s not golfing at a Trump property.

55. Apparently, the news seems to be on the Dark Side.

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Had to put a Darth Vade scarecrow at some point. The cape is made out of a trash bag, by the way.

56. With him, there are always springs attached.

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Since he mainly consists of a mattress frame. I’m sure he’ll scare the crows in the patch.

57. Apparently, this pickup truck has gone haywire.

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But don’t worry, a straw mechanic is on the job. Sure his head is made of pumpkin, but you get that.

58. You have to love a dad who goes out with his kids.

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Here he’s with his kids dressed in their costumes. Though he and his older son are real jug heads.

59. Apparently, Gulliver has 99 problems at Liliput.

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This is a takeoff of Gulliver’s Travels. Yet, you have to admire whoever managed to pull this display off.

60. Got phone problems? This guy’s on the job.

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Though he’s not on a telephone pole. Yet, this is quite amazing to see.

61. She’s just as simple country girl of the dirt.

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She wears a gingham dress and apron with a straw hat. And she brings her own gardening gloves.

62. These undead Mexicans are in the mood for some tequila.

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Bet this is to commemorate Dia de los Muertos. Love the roses in their mouths.

63. “Quoth the scarecrow, ‘Nevermore.'”

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Yes, Edgar Allan Scarepoe himself. Comes with a raven and tell-tale heart per his stories.

64. Don’t mind the old lady and her pink camel.

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Indeed, it’s quite cartoonish looking with the woman’s long nose. But it’s quite original and clever that she won a prize.

65. These scarecrows know that fall is leaf raking time.

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And they got the rakes out and are ready to roll. Yet, one rides in the wheelbarrow.

66. He’d like to try some Alpine skiing.

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Though I’m not sure if that’s feasible. Since skiing is a winter activity.

67. You’d expect these ladies to sing their hearts out.

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They’re a scarecrow chorus. Choir robes and all.

68. Seems like this wedding is a rather straw occasion.

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This is a take off for the royal wedding. Not sure if it’s for Prince William or Prince Harry though.

69. “Badges? We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!”

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Well, they’re supposed to be Mexican banditos. And their sombreros are made of straw.

70. Guess we got a pothead family on our hands.

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Guess the pots run in the family. Yet, their hair goes in all directions.

71. Bet these scarecrows make you want to rock and roll all night.

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They’re KISS scarecrows. Each one has a white pumpkin head with their face on it.

72. This Mexican lady has looks to die for.

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Well, she is kind of dead as you can see. Since she’s a scarecrow for Dia de los Muertos.

73. Nothing beats roasting marshmallows at the campfire.

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These are just Boy Scouts camping. But they seem to have good time.

74. You wouldn’t like this scarecrow when he’s angry.

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This is a scarecrow Hulk. And yes, his shirt is ripped and bursting with straw.

75. Anyone would love to see an autumn fairy in the garden.

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She’s decked in a tie-dye dress of autumn colors. And wears a mask of gold with a leaf crown.

76. Dracula wants to suck her blood.

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Yet, he seems quite alive in the daytime. Thought vampires hate the sun.

77. You’ll have no worries with this scarecrow.

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Well, it’s supposed to be a scarecrow of Simba from The Lion King. His mane is made of yarn.

78. She’s just getting her hair done at the salon.

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Here she sits with curlers in her hair. While her locks are blow dried.

79. This activist wants you to save the pumpkins.

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Well, she’s for breast cancer awareness. The pumpkins are boobs.

80. With scarecrows like these, you’d want to say, “cowabunga!”

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These are scarecrow Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And yes, they come with pizza.

 

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Outcasts in Their Own Country

In the United States, it’s taken for granted that being born in this country automatically makes you a American citizen. After all, most Americans support the notion of birthright citizenship since it was established by a 1898 Supreme Court case brought on by a Chinese American man and by virtue of the US Constitution’s 14th Amendment. Most Americans assume there’s a clear-cut line between legal immigrants and undocumented immigrants, between citizens and noncitizens, and naturalized citizens and those native born.

On Wednesday, August 29, 2018, the Washington Post reported that the Trump administration have told “hundreds, even thousands” of Latinos born near the US-Mexican border that their US birth certificates aren’t sufficient proof of US citizenship to get their passports approved or renewed. Making matters worse, they’re being subjected to ridiculous document requests like baptismal records and insulting questions like “Do you remember when you were born?” Some are having their passports revoked and being thrown into deportation proceedings, or even barred from reentering the United States when they tried returning to Mexico.

Nonwhite and immigrant Americans already know that the Trump administration lacks any respect for them as Americans or as human beings. In this context, denying passports to native-born citizens can seem like racism at best and state violence at worst. Generally, the Trump administration’s immigration actions aren’t shocking because they’re unprecedented power grabs. But rather efforts to aggressively use the executive branch’s existing powers which simply have been used with more restraint in the past. As an escalating effort started by past presidents, this story is no exception. Since the Trump administration has shown a knack and xenophobic zeal for finding parts of the immigration system giving the federal government the most power and bringing their full strength to bear on already vulnerable people like South Texan Chicanos.
The new wave of passport scrutiny is specifically targeted at South Texan Latinos born near the US-Mexican border in particular circumstances. According to the State Department, “the U.S.-Mexico border region happens to be an area of the country where there has been a significant incidence of citizenship fraud.” This sounds very racist, playing into suspicions that even Latinos who’d been living in Texas before it was America aren’t even American, along with conflations of Latinos as well as legal and undocumented immigrants.

But there’s a particular history behind it, though racism is certainly a part of such policy. In the latter half of the 20th century, the federal government cracked down on South Texas midwives for birth certificate fraud like signing a birth certificate attesting to delivering a baby on US soil, when the baby had actually been born across the border in Mexico. Between 1960 and 2008, at least 75 South Texas midwives were convicted of fraudulent activities.

Of course, the problem is that these midwives also signed a bunch of birth certificates for children actually born on US soil. In addition, there aren’t easy ways to distinguish real US births from false ones, especially when most families in infrastructure-poor and poverty-stricken South Texas couldn’t afford a hospital birth. Confusing matters even further, some families reportedly received birth certificates saying their US-born children had been born in Mexico, to allow them to attend public schools there. Since before the last 2 decades, it wasn’t uncommon for families to frequently travel between the US and Mexico, or even split time between the 2 on a weekly basis.

In 2007, the US changed the law: from 2009, it would require everyone coming into the US from anywhere in the Western Hemisphere to show a passport (including American citizens coming from Mexico). As that change approached, area Latinos began complaining about their passports being denied due to their birth certificates deemed as suspicious. This resulted in an ACLU filing a lawsuit in 2008. The next year, the two sides agreed to a process by which passport denials to midwife-born applicants would be reviewed. One of the settlement documents was a sample letter requesting more information from the applicant to supplement the record. Some of the listed items were faintly ridiculous like baptismal records or evidence of prenatal care. But others were straightforward, if often difficult like requests for school and employment records.
However, even after the 2009 settlement, rejections of midwife-issued birth certificates continued. In 2012, CNN wrote an article about the matter. In 2014, NPR’s Morning Edition ran a segment featuring accounts of people having their passports snatched while trying to enter the US, being harassed by Border Patrol agents, and being forced to agree to their own deportation.

What’s changed under Donald Trump mostly seems to be the scope of the denials. Not only has there been a “surge” in new denials, as well as of people actually put into deportation proceedings (which ICE officials can choose to do when a passport is denied for absence of evidence for US birth. But they don’t have to do it). In addition, the government appears to have expanded its “suspicions” not just to midwife-signed birth certificates, but also those signed by South Texas obstetrician Jorge Treviño who delivered thousands of babies, often in home births before his death in 2015. Since the government has an affidavit from an anonymous Mexican doctor alleging that Trevino falsified a birth certificate.

But perhaps most importantly, this is happening under Donald Trump who doesn’t have much goodwill toward immigrants, Latinos, or white liberals. Thus, the report has raised concerns not only of the harassment facing particular South Texan passport applicants, but how broadly the Trump administration could challenge citizenship and voting rights of other groups as well. When most Americans see clear cut lines pertaining to legal status and citizenship, the Trump administration often sparks outrage for doing things that appear to cross these lines. They’ve arrested undocumented immigrants at their green card interviews. They’ve begun an effort to comb old naturalization applicants for fraud, in an effort labeled a “denaturalization task force.” They’ve tried to end DACA, putting its 800,000 recipients’ legal status in a constant state of uncertainty. And now they’re questioning the citizenship of people who’ve lived in the US for decades as native-born US citizens.

However, more disturbingly, in all these cases, the Trump administration isn’t crossing an unprecedented line. It’s just merely exploiting places where the category boundaries are murkier and often by building on what past administrations have already done. Generally, these boundary areas are where immigration officials show the most caution. They have the discretion in who they pursue and who they don’t. At the margins, they’re more likely to use discretion to show sympathy to people who’ve been living in the US and have roots here. Even if they could be more aggressive in trying to push them out. It’s possible that the government has changed its policy across the board on birth certificates issued by midwives or other “suspicious” practitioners or more broadly even people born in the US to noncitizen parents, though there’s no evidence of that. It’s also possible the government hasn’t changed its policies as the government claims, just fighting more of the individual cases falling under the process the 2009 settlement set.
But what makes Trump officials’ immigration policy different isn’t necessarily what they’re doing, but how aggressively they’re doing it. The Trump administration doesn’t have to deny every or even any application from anyone whose birth certificate was signed by a “suspicious” practitioner. Yet, it’s using the power’s full extent given by law. So it’s easier to put pressure on groups that already have been targeted because they’ve already been targeted.

Nonetheless, targeting South Texan passport applicants isn’t necessarily a test run for an inevitable expansion to widespread revocation of citizenship or nonwhite Americans writ large. Since denaturalization efforts don’t automatically call all naturalized Americans’ citizenship into question. This remains crucially true because targeted people have recourse to the legal system. And even South Texans whose citizenship is challenged usually win their cases though they have to appeal to federal courts to do it which usually costs thousands of dollars and time. However, that’s the other thing about pushing on those already marginalized. They’re the ones least likely to have the resources to overcome harassment or the support to call an end to the practice.

However, make no mistake that Donald Trump understands his base. Sure many working class Trump supporters have real concerns since real wages haven’t increased and those manufacturing jobs aren’t coming back. Not to mention, they know full well that their lives seem harder than their parents. But they also angry and want someone to blame. And it can’t be people who look like them since they see these money-grubbing robber barons as beacons of hope that their lives may improve, instead of the corporate con artists preying on their misery. In Hispanic immigrants and their children, Trump has a perfect scapegoat. Steve Bannon remarked in an interview that Trump won on “Pure anger. Anger and fear is what gets people to the polls.” It’s no coincidence that Trump once whips up fears by trying to strip vulnerable people of their citizenship and imply to his base these people shouldn’t be here and are right to be concerned about immigration fraud. We should also note how Trump got into politics by promoting birtherism and called President Barack Obama’s birth certificate a fraud after he showed it. Revoking passports may not be illegal, but they’re nonetheless dehumanizing, especially when the individual is a South Texas Latino who’s lived in the US their whole life.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Rod Rosenstein Has Left the Building (Okay, He Hasn’t, Yet)

On Friday, September 20, 2018, the New York Times reported that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said he wanted to record conversations with Donald Trump in 2017. He also discussed using the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. He also talked about wearing a wire to catch him on tape. Though Rosenstein denied the report, one source told the Times he was being sarcastic. Eventually neither was carried out. The Times report was primarily based on anonymous source accounts and contemporaneous Andrew McCabe memo descriptions.

On Monday, September 24, 2018, news came that Rod Rosenstein’s position as deputy attorney general is now facing an uncertain future. Initial reports said he resigned or got fired, which was later debunked. As of now, it’s expected that Rosenstein will meet with Donald Trump to discuss his future with the Department of Justice. But the deputy attorney general expects to be fired. At any rate, the deputy attorney general’s possible departure is significant. Due to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusal from the Russia probe over lying to Congress about his Russian contacts, Rosenstein was responsible for overseeing Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election.

  • According to court testimony, Mueller’s team has admitted to informing Rosenstein of all major decisions in advance, and that he’d have authority to overrule them.
  • Rosenstein approved Mueller’s assembly of an all-star team that totaled 17 prosecutors at its height.
  • In August 2017, Rosenstein wrote a memo to Mueller listing many people and topics he was authorized to investigate. The publicly released version is heavily redacted.
  • Rosenstein held press conferences announcing Mueller’s 2 major indictments of Russians for election interference like the February social media indictment and the July email hacking indictment.
  • Rosenstein was also reportedly involved in Mueller’s decision to refer an investigation into Michael Cohen to federal prosecutors in Manhattan, resulting in Cohen’s guilty plea to tax, bank fraud, and campaign finance violations in August.

Furthermore, Rosenstein has helped to preemptively protect Mueller from firing by testifying that regulation under which he appointed the special counsel gives him to send him on his way. So it’s clear that a Trump order to fire Mueller would be legally dubious.
For over a year, Rod Rosenstein has had to walk a delicate tightrope. On one hand, he was committed to protecting the investigation from conservatives inside and outside Congress who believed it biased against Donald Trump and urged him to fire the special counsel. Yet, Rosenstein couldn’t champion the investigation too much or else he’d draw Trump’s ire. In other words, he had to keep both sides happy as they constantly went at each other’s throats. During a House Judiciary Committee hearing in December 2017 over the Strzok-Page exchanges, Rosenstein defended the texts’ release to satisfy the anti-Mueller Republicans, saying “We consulted with the inspector general to determine that he had no objection to releasing the material. If he had, we would not have released it.” Yet, Rosenstein also defended Mueller when asked whether he’d fire him. He replied, “If there were good cause, I would act. If there were no good cause, I would not. It would’ve been difficult to find anyone more qualified for this job.” Yet, keeping both sides happy allowed Rosenstein to claim support for his staff while also backing Donald Trump. It’s not a glamorous job but if he’s gone many fear Rosenstein might be replaced with a Trump crony who’d rein in the probe or even shut it down completely.

The current deputy attorney general’s potential departure strikes at the Trump-Russia investigation’s heart. Because Mueller had to run major investigative decisions past him. Rosenstein’s temporary replacement, Solicitor General Noel Francisco, could simply refuse to approve Mueller’s requests, effectively slowing the investigation to a crawl. Or he could fire Mueller outright if he felt there was a reason to do so. Rod Rosenstein refused to do that. Instead, he allowed Mueller’s probe to proceed unimpeded while Mueller indicted top Trump campaign officials. The Mueller probe’s future and perhaps even that of Trump’s presidency once depended on how well Rosenstein performed this delicate balancing act.

Those who worked for him have long characterized Rod Rosenstein as an apolitical straight shooter who doesn’t put up with bullshit and always tries to be fair. Appointed as a US attorney for Maryland by President George W. Bush in 2005 and kept on by President Barack Obama, he joined the Trump administration with broad bipartisan support at his confirmation. Sure, he and Jeff Sessions wrote a letter calling of the firing of FBI Director James Comey for his actions against Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election. However, it turns out that Rosenstein isn’t a man without bias. Since his bias tends to be for the rule of law and country over party or anyone in the White House. But he made up for it by hiring Robert Mueller as special counsel, and authorizing him to look into possible Trump-Russia ties as well as “any matters that arose or may arise from the investigation.” He didn’t stop Mueller from pursuing the investigation the way he saw fit. And he made every indication that he intended to keep letting Mueller proceed with his probe.

Nonetheless, Donald Trump has publicly and privately raged about the Russia probe and his Justice Department for months. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein have been his ire’s frequent targets. Trump has repeatedly complained that the Russia investigation is a “witch hunt,” that “flipping” witnesses (like Michael Flynn, Rick Gates, and Paul Manafort) should be illegal, and that the Justice Department isn’t doing enough to investigate Democrats like Hillary Clinton and isn’t personally loyal to him. As a result, Trump’s staunchest allies in Congress and in conservative media have joined him in this effort as well, training criticism on Sessions and Rosenstein. Hardline House conservatives have even threatened to force a vote on Rosenstein’s impeachment based on paper thin pretexts before eventually backing down. So the fear of Trump firing Rosenstein and replacing him with a kiss-ass crony that could either slow down the Mueller probe or shut it down entirely is well-justified.

But if Rod Rosenstein is fired or resigns, Solicitor General Noel Francisco can change all that, especially if Donald Trump throws enough Twitter tantrums to give significant pressure. Firing Robert Mueller may not completely undermine the investigation. Since 5 Trump associates have pleaded guilty and prosecutors are likely to follow leads from the investigation’s beginning in June 2016. The future is still unclear. But if Francisco doesn’t do Trump’s bidding, Trump could fire him, which can be more detrimental to Mueller’s probe and be in the making of a Saturday night massacre. A new deputy attorney general could effectively cripple the Mueller probe by rejecting his requests to investigate more people, get new evidence, or pursue more charges against more people of interests. In effect, Rosenstein’s potential ouster puts Mueller’s investigation in its most precarious position to date, possibly allowing Donald Trump, his family, and associates to escape further scrutiny. And considering the horrible stuff Trump and his swamp cronies have done, our country can’t face this.

Fun with Protest Signs

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Given that we in the United States live at the time of the Trump administration which threaten many Americans’ fundamental rights, values, and prestige around the world, there have been more mass protests than ever before. There’s the Women’s March, the March for Science, the March for Our Lives, and many more. Sometimes they may happen spontaneously or wherever Donald Trump may be like that mass demonstration in the UK during the summer. At any rate, you’ll find plenty of signs with clever sayings on them just to get to the point. A lot of these were made on cardboard with markers in block letters. Many of these have been featured on various sites like Buzzfeed or Pinterest. So for your reading pleasure, I give you a treasury of protest signs to entertain you on these dark days of Trump. Some of these may not be safe for work, by the way.

  1. At least IKEA cabinets are much more useful.
Well, I could definitely say the same about the Trump cabinet. Though you have to assemble the IKEA cabinets yourself.

2. This woman gives no apologies.

Because she’s a woman who stands up for herself. From the Women’s March, by the way.

3. Some people don’t always know what they’re protesting about.

Yes, yes, “Down with this sort of thing.” From a protest in Britain, I think.

4. Well, I hope Donald Trump did Nazi this sign coming.

Sure, Donald Trump isn’t Hitler. But he doesn’t see anything wrong with hiring white nationalists at the White House.

5. Seems like these protestors don’t get on.

Either that, or they’re having too much fun with each other. Still, the signs are funny.

6. Apparently, she thinks pot solves everything.

You have to wonder whether she’s totally high right now. Cause I don’t think legalized marijuana will solve all our problems.

7. Someone wants to feed Donald Trump to the dogs.

Yes, feed Trump to the corgies. Since Queen Elizabeth II famously owns them.

8. Gandalf gives the Picard facepalm.

I’m sure Sir Patrick Stewart would get a kick out of this. Since they’re friends and have been on X-Men together.

9. On any cardboard sign, you can only write so much.

Yes, there’s so much to be upset about. And so little space to adress your grievances.

10. Apparently, you don’t see these signs every day.

One wasn’t busy. One has a sign from the times. And one is mad as hell but is taking a deep breath and counting to 10.

11. Kids should be more worried about grades in school.

This is from the March for Our Lives protest. This arose after the Parkland shooting in February.

12. Donald Trump is an American Psycho.

Well, that’s quite appropriate. For Donald Trump is a sociopath who abuses his power to enrich himself.

13. This boy laid off the video games for this.

Apparently, he likes playing dystopian video games like Fortnite. Guess this is from the March for Our Lives.

14. So George Soros did pay protestors to be there.

Actually, I think this is a joke. Since George Soros has been a major focus of right-wing conspiracy theories, particularly on Fox News and InfoWars.

15. Bombing for peace solves nothing.

Yes, it’s basically like that. Mostly since violence only breeds more violence.

16. She was angry so she did embroidery.

After all, doing embroidery whas her way to relieve stress. As she inscribed on her sampler.

17.  Go ahead, tell them how you really feel.

Well, of course we’re really not happy about this. Because Donald Trump is president and he’s a total disaster.

18. Don’t tell this woman to smile.

Because women are told to smile all the time. Even when we’re mad as hell and can’t take it anymore.

19. Everything is fine. Nothing to see here.

Yes, everything is okay. Despite that Donald Trump is in the White House and is destroying the United States from within.

20. British people always try to be polite.

Wish I could tell Donald Trump to fuck off. Since he’s a complete monster.

21. Someone is a Star Wars fan.

These people are public employees protesting Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Becuase he tried to take away their collective bargaining rights.

22. Even Voldemort didn’t kill that many people all at once.

Guess this has to pertain to the Middle East. Does it concern Israel and Palestine? I’m not sure.

23. Seems like the Star Trek and Star Wars rivalry is quite fierce.

This is from a Trekkie. Still, most sci-fi fans usually like both. Since both Star Wars and Star Trek are good in their own way.

24. This guy hates crowds. But hates Trump more.

Yes, crowds are terrible since they’re so noisy. But having Trump as president is even worse.

25. There’s only one orange thing Scottish people are okay with.

Guess this is a beer in Scotland. Still, the Scots really hate his guts. Condolences for those who live near his Scottish golf course.

26. A Trump is better out than in.

Because a “trump” is British slang for fart, apparently. Still, this is hilarious.

27. Someone went out of their way to bash Donald Trump.

This Brit took off work and hired a babysitter. All to call Trump a “wanker.”

28. I’m sure that’s an understatement.

Indeed, Donald Trump likes going golfing on the weekends. Though I don’t think he’s any good either.

29. Dear Queen, don’t give him the good cookies.

They refer cookies as “biscuits” in Britain. not exactly sure why. Still, Trump treated the Queen like shit during his UK visit.

30. Melania, if you want us to save you, show us a sign.

However, I think that Melania is actually complicit in all this. Since she’s just Trump’s trophy wife.

31. This tennis fan is missing Wimbledon for this.

Though I do like how she called Trump a “tangerine wankmaggot.” Brits are so great with insults.

32. I’m sure protests can be civil affairs.

I think this is from The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear by Comedy Central in 2009. Nonetheless, this is hilarious.

33. There is only one baby who should be caged.

Well, I can agree with that. With all Trump has done, we should put his ass in prison.

34. Don’t worry, these guys are from the internet.

I think these guys are from Anonymous. Since they’re wearing Guy Fawkes masks from V for Vendetta.

35. Beware, alt-right, for the witches are coming.

This is from a counter protest in Boston after Charlottesville. The sheer crowd size scared the white supremacists away.

36. When you don’t have science, you have no Death Star.

Indeed, this Stormtrooper is right. But is that a point you want to make? I mean it can blow up a planet.

37. As we can see, Trump is a prick with no wall.

Because Trump’s wall at the US-Mexican boder is a phenomenonally stupid idea. Also, Trump’s a complete prick.

38. Donald Trump is not our Cheeto.

Considering how orange Trump is, this is appropriate. Because his stan is cheeto color.

39. It’s very bad when a librarian has to show up at a protest.

Since librarians don’t go out much. For they prefer books over people.

40. Barack Obama really doesn’t fit the holy description.

Well, that’s one way to piss off a conservative Christian. Indeed, a lot of them decried Obama a lot of things during his presidency. Miss the guy.

41. These women could’ve had brunch instead of turn out.

This is from the Women’s March. And yes, hell hath no fury like millions of women scorned.

42. We only have to fear fear and zombies.

Because the zombies will kill us all in the apocalypse. So it’s best we all stay out of cemeteries.

43. After all, Liza Minnelli married 2 gay men.

This is a pro-gay marriage sign. Yet, I’m sure Liza didn’t find out until after she married those guys.

44. This guy’s been gay for 82 years.

Because gay isn’t a choice or a phase. And yes, old gay people do exist.

45. Hurt education, kids won’t learn how to spell.

I guess this was for a teacher’s strike. And yes, teachers don’t get the respect they deserve in many states.

46. Didn’t know there were Smashing Pumpkins fans here.

Oh, it has Trump’s face on it. Okay, I get the joke.

47. Looks like Deadpool and Wolverine are having a feud.

Then again, Deadpool might just be trolling Wolverine. Still, the sign is funny.

48. For some people, everything always sounds sinister in Arabic.

Don’t worry, they’ve translated it to English so you wouldn’t get scared. Sad how Islamophobia infects the nation.

49. Guess this a sign of what’s to come.

Well, most of us knew that a Trump presidency was bad news. But this woman went with a reusable sign since she has a lot to protest about.

50. It’s always customary to have a sign at a protest.

Kind of a generic sign if you ask me. Not really original.

51. This guy must be a real Belieber.

Guess this was during a protest when Justin Bieber was popular. Apparently, he attracted a lot notoriety since.

52. Now’s not the time to be turned on right now.

Hope he wasn’t at a women’s march. Then again, better a women’s march than a Trump rally.

53. Get a load of this strong American bitch.

She does happen to be a dog. Though her bark is worse than her bite. Yet, she will bite that cheeto orange man in the White House.

54. These banksters on Wall Street need to go to jail.

I think this is from an Occupy protest. Nonetheless, the art is spot on.

55. Canadians will always support their American sisters.

I know those words aren’t appropriate in polite conversation. But it certainly fits in the protest context.

56. Very strong opinions can’t always be put into a sign.

This is from a Women’s March. But at least the sign gets straight to the point.

57.  Apparently, this guy doesn’t understand.

What does he mean by somewhat irritated? In Trump times, a lot of things can cause extreme outrage.

58. Protest signs accomplish nothing.

At least this person seems honest. Though this kind of cracks me up.

59. Someone seems rather scared.

This person is afraid of people with signs at rallies. Though the ones at Trump rallies are understandable.

60. She takes run like a girl to a whole new level.

That’s how you show them, kiddo. She’ll grow up to be a fine woman some day.

61. Don’t like gay marriage? Blame straight people.

Well, it has a valid point. It’s the straight people making gay babies. Since most gay people have straight parents.

62. Some guy’s keeping score in Trump’s golf game.

This is another British anti-Trump protestor. Though he decided to troll the Pussygrabber-in-chief in the most epic way possible.

63. Swamp creatures never drain the swamp.

I can agree with that. You should see the people in Trump’s cabinet.

64. Oh, God, Trump’s got the queen.

This is King Kong takeoff is brilliant. Though I’d exclude the cross of gold. I know the Religious Right backs him. But Trump never goes to church.

65. Not even Melania likes Trump, according to this sign.

Melania may not love Trump. But she loves his money. So she’s not going anywhere.

66. When talking about Donald Trump’s crimes, it’s difficult where to begin.

Yes, I get that feeling all the time. Since Donald Trump is an all-around wretched human being with practically no redeeming qualities. Other than not being a cannibal or murderer.

67. Just let that case do the talking.

Indeed, that describes Trump so perfectly. Got to love the Brits.

68. This woman has a public cervix announcement for Trump.

Indeed, we should all tell Trump to “fuck you.” Yet, Stormy Daniels doesn’t think it’s a good idea.

69. This light up sign has a very valid point.

Yeah, I think we took it too far with Trump. Since he’s totally not qualified for the job at all.

70. After all, there’s no marriage bans for assholes.

I mean Trump’s been married 3 times. So has Giuliani and Gingrich. So she has a valid point.

71. Seems to be a Daily Show fan to me.

Her comedy central is Fox News. Her news channel is Comedy Central.

72. Corporations are people when Texas executes one.

I can get behind this one. Since corporations aren’t people and shouldn’t have the same rights either.

73. Capitalism, you got serious problems.

After all, unrestricted capitalism is how many of us got in this financial mess. Yet, no Wall Street banker has been jailed for causing the 2008 recession.

74. Don’t believe in government? Don’t run for office.

Yet, libertarians and Republicans don’t seem to listen. And that’s why we have men like Trump in the White House.

75. Someone doesn’t seem to understand healthcare policy.

Uh, Medicare is socialized medicine. That’s why Democrats like me want Medicare for all.

76. There’s no excuse not to be civil at a protest.

Well, doesn’t hurt to disagree respectfully. Might be from Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.

77.  Down with those rich corporate CEOs!

This is pretty clever if you ask me. Rich CEOs are a bunch of greedy bastards who want to hold onto their power.

78. You should always try to see others’ perspectives.

Well, it always help to understand different points of view. Though sometimes, it can prove difficult.

79. This gay guy just wants one marriage.

I mean Newt Gingrich treats women like some people treat cars. If something’s wrong with the one he has, he casts her aside for a newer model.

80. When Twitter’s down, one must use other ways of communication.

Not sure if signage is the way to go. There’s always blogging though.

81. Stop the tyrannical automatic renewals!

Guess people are upset with automatic renewals. Not sure why.

82. If there’s something conservatives should like about gay people…

You have to hand that to them. Since gay unions don’t result in unintended pregnancies.

83. We all know this is bound to happen.

Indeed, because Fox News is a conservative propaganda machine. Now it’s basically Trump TV.

84. Don’t think a protest is a place for a gang bang.

Yet, he holds such sign in colorful letters. Guy must be mad.

85. Some people are so angry they’d go do something about it.

Though not enough peope were angry enough to vote in 2016. And that’s why we got Lord Cheetohead in the White House.

86. These people don’t know what they’re protesting about.

They seem to be there for the beer. Though I don’t think there is any.

87. Indeed, our country has a grave case of electile dysfunction.

You got that right. Yet, that’s a close representation of the Capitol.

88. Islamophobes assume the worst with Arabic script.

Don’t worry, it just says, “McDonald’s.” Nothing to fret about.

89. Now here’s a cause we all can get behind.

Since some people start decorating for Christmas before it’s Halloween. Can’t they just wait until after Thanksgiving.

90. We all have our limits.

He’s using a straw to hold up his protest sign. Where he got it, I have no idea.

91. I believe someone must disagree.

Indeed, she begs to differ. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

92. Let this be clear: most Muslims aren’t terrorists. 

His wife may not be a terrorist. But he’s still scared of her anyway.

93. Best we be cool about everything here.

This one has the Dude from The Big Lebowski. Love this.

94. If God hates gays, why are they so cute?

Guess they’re making fun of Westboro Baptist Church. Still, it’s pretty funny.

95. How they protest in Canada.

She is a bit upset. That’s Canadian for “super pissed.”

96. We all may need Jesus during these dark times.

I’m sure anti-Trump Christians like me are all praying right now. Because we really can’t do much else.

97. Someone’s xenophobic.

Has a picture of Xenia, Warrior Princess. And I can see why this person might be afraid of her.

98. We should all pay our taxes.

Love the snake sign that says, “Slytherin.” Definitely says a lot about those who fly the “Don’t Tread on Me” flags.

99. We only get a certain amount of time.

Someone doesn’t have time for all this. Well, don’t we all?

100. Circus clown needs a job.

He wants to be in Congress where he belongs. Can’t really argue with that.

Et Tu, Paul Manafort?

On Friday, September 14, 2018, the moment special counsel Robert Mueller had been waiting for so long had finally happened. That day, former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort appeared in a Washington DC court and pleaded guilty to a reduced set of charges. As part of his plea deal with Mueller’s team, Manafort agreed to cooperate with the investigation. The new deal will stave off a second trial for Manafort in a DC court which was supposed to begin this month as well as dismissing 10 mistrial counts from his trial in Virginia from August. Much of Manafort’s money and property will also be subject to forfeiture. In advance to Manafort’s fateful court appearance, Mueller’s team filed a new document that drops some charges and lays out what Manafort will admit to. He pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy against the United States (related to his foreign lobbying work in Ukraine and his finances), and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice (related to attempted witness tampering early this year).

Paul Manfort’s flip is enormously important for the Russia investigation since this deal marks the end of one phase in the Mueller investigation. Since his appointment in the summer of 2017, Robert Mueller has focused more on his office’s activity on Manafort than any other individual and was its most visible activity so far. He indicted the former Trump campaign chair on 25 charges in 3 separate batches and across 2 venues. In the first trial stemming from his probe, Mueller’s team got Manafort convicted on 8 counts and facing a years-long prison sentence. While investigating Russian interference with the 2016 campaign is Mueller’s main task with the Russia probe, the charges were mainly about Manafort’s past unregistered foreign lobbying work and his finances. Mueller hasn’t publicly explained his strategy. But many have long speculated that the special counsel’s main aim with charging Manafort with financial and lobbying crimes was to pressure him to “flip” so he’d agree to provide information related to their true concern of whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to interfere with the 2016 election.

Robert Mueller’s team initially indicted Paul Manafort in October 2017 alongside his longtime right-hand man Rick Gates on conspiracy, undeclared foreign lobbying, financial, and other crimes. Though we know Mueller had investigated Manafort’s involvement in Russian interference with the 2016 campaign, the indictment was about years’ worth of lobbying work the pair did for Ukranian politicians and government leaders prior to the campaign and what they did with their money afterward. At first, both pleaded not guilty. Then in February 2018, Mueller filed a new set of charges against the pair, again related to the Ukranian money. This spurred the younger and less wealthy Gates to strike a deal agreeing to cooperate against Manafort and pleading guilty to a reduced set of charges. But Manafort held out. 4 months later, Mueller’s team added a new allegation against him that he and a Russian associate named Konstatin Kilimnik encouraged a likely witness in his upcoming trial to stick to a false story. The new charges led Judge Amy Berman Jackson fining that Manafort had violated his conditions of release and ordering him jailed (as he has been since). During the Virginia trial, Gates testified against his former boss along with an array of other witnesses. And while Manafort’s team managed to get one holdout juror to vote against conviction of 10 charges, Mueller won a unanimous conviction on 8 others. Now with a conviction in the books and Manafort set to face a likely prison sentence, he was still facing another trial in Washington and potentially a second if Mueller retried the Virginia mistrial counts, Manafort eventually came to the table and agreed to cooperate.

Now that Paul Manafort has flipped, what does he know about the collusion or conspiracy between the Trump team and the Russian government during the 2016 campaign? Previously, Manafort has said nothing, stating that no collusion happened so he’d naturally have no information to provide. But given his intense focus on the former Trump campaign chair, Robert Mueller has long believed otherwise. And there are 2 suspicious circumstances during the 2016 campaign that we know Manafort was involved in.

The Trump Tower Meeting: Remember the infamous Trump Tower meeting that Donald Trump Jr. set up in June 2016 with a Russian lawyer and other Russia-tied figures? Well, the 3 Trump figures in attendance were Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort. Until Manafort’s flip, no attendee has become a cooperator for Mueller. Perhaps the special counsel thinks more remains to be learned about the meeting and hopes Manafort will tell them about it.

As far as we know, Paul Manafort is the first person who attended the infamous Trump Tower meeting in July 2016 who’s agreed to cooperate with Robert Mueller’s probe. We all know it arose after British publicist Rob Goldstone emailed Donald Trump Jr. to say that the Russian government had dirt on Hillary Clinton and that he could arrange a meeting to discuss its transfer with the Trump campaign. Trump Jr. infamously replied, “If it’s what you I say I love it.” Aside from Trump Jr., Manafort, and Jared Kushner, other attendees included a Russian lawyer named Natalia Veselnitskaya, real estate developer Ike Kaveladze, and lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, all of whom have Kremlin ties to varying degrees. Given that Manafort was Trump’s campaign manager at the time while Kushner was a significant Trump campaign figure sat in, it’s suggested the meeting was a high-level thing.

So far all of the attendees who’ve publicly spoken about it have insisted that nothing of note happened at the meeting. However, while there isn’t enough information one way or another, Goldstone’s emails setting up the meeting suggest collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign is possible. And that the Trump campaign was at least open to the idea.

Robert Mueller is keenly interested in the Trump Tower meeting since his team has requested documents about it and quizzed witnesses on what actually happened. Now he has access to someone who has no incentive to stick to the party line. Since Paul Manafort has agreed to fully cooperate, he could officially tell us whether the official story about the meeting is true. Or whether it’s a cover for a much more significant interaction that might prove that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia after all. Another question Manafort could help answer is who knew about the meeting such as Donald Trump and the Russia government. Manafort knows what went on at the meeting and what it was for as well as possibly the cover-up afterward.

Oleg Deripaska and Konstantin Kilimnik: Even more suspicious are Paul Manafort’s surreptitious contacts with 2 Russian nationals during the campaign. One is his former client Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch to whom Manafort was heavily indebted. The other is Manafort’s longtime business associate Konstantin Kilmnik, who Mueller’s team has said is tied to Russian intelligence. Just weeks after joining the Trump campaign, Manafort appeared to see an opportunity. In early April, he emailed Kilimnik about his newly high media profile, writing “How do we use to get whole,” and “Has OVD operation seen?” (OVD is Deripaska’s initials). In July 2016, Manafort and Kilimnik exchanged emails about Deripaska again. Kilimnik wrote, “I am carefully optimistic on the issue of our biggest interest. He will be most likely looking for ways to reach out to you pretty soon.” Manafort replied that if Deripaska, “needs private briefings we can accommodate.” As the summer wore on, the pair’s emails on the topic grew vaguer. In late July, Kilimnik wrote to Manafort, “I met today with the guy who gave you your biggest black caviar jar several years ago. We spent about 5 hours talking about his story, and I have several important messages from him to you.” Again, this is believed to be about Deripaska with “caviar” meaning money. Kilimnik and Manafort arranged to meet in New York City on August 2 for Kilimnik had “long caviar story” to tell and “several important messages.” Days after the meeting, Deripaska took a yacht trip with Russian deputy prime minister Sergei Prikhodko who’s focused on foreign policy. All this occurred while Manafort chaired the Trump campaign before his mid-August 2016 firing. Since he’s based in Moscow, Kilimnik is unlikely to face charges.

Nonetheless, we still don’t know what happened between Manafort, Kilimnik, and Deripaska during the campaign. Maybe this is where the Trump/Russia collusion happened. Maybe Manafort was just freelancing and trying to get himself paid and it doesn’t involve Donald Trump personally. Yet, it’s one of the biggest loose ends about what happened in 2016. But whatever the case, Manafort has committed to tell Mueller the truth.

Paul Manafort’s guilty plea doesn’t say anything about possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia military intelligence officials who’ve allegedly attacked the 2016 election for Donald Trump’s benefit. But the plea agreement’s implications point to many ways Manafort’s decision could legal and politically damage Trump. Trump’s constant assertion that the Mueller probe is a “witch hunt” has only sought to bring down “innocent” men keeps weakening when each “innocent” man confesses to federal felonies. While Trump claims the investigation is a money pit, Manafort’s asset surrender of accounts and properties worth millions of dollars shows that the Mueller probe has basically paid for itself. Furthermore, Manafort’s guilty plea virtually blocks any avenue Trump can obstruct the investigation by pardoning him. Now that Manafort has agreed to cooperate with Mueller and Trump has no apparent way to learn what his former campaign chair has told prosecutors or a grand jury, there’s no way Trump can benefit with a pardon attempt. Finally, after months of painting Manafort as a “good guy” who’s been treated “unfairly,” Trump’s spin doctors will have to reverse course on a potential witness against their guy. Rudy Giuliani seemed confused about this fact, releasing a statement saying, “the president did nothing wrong and Paul Manafort will tell the truth,” before retracting the part about Manafort.

Furthermore, what Paul Manafort knows is important for several threads of the Russia investigation like the hack on the DNC, any communication between the Trump campaign and Russian interests, and most importantly, the infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting. Before striking the plea deal with the former campaign chair, prosecutors sat down with Manafort for a proffer session where a defendant answers from investigators, including details about their own case and other criminal activity they might’ve witnessed. Ultimately, prosecutors will only agree to a cooperation deal with a defendant if the latter gives them information that other witnesses and documents can verify. So Mueller’s team feels that what Manafort knows is really critical evidence about that Trump Tower meeting, who knew about it and when, and what other contacts took place between the campaign and people around Donald Trump.

The Dollhouse World of Miniatures

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When many of us are kids, we may have dollhouses we’d play with from time to time. They may be part of a set or homemade. Yet most will come with a family along with all kinds of furniture and accessories which are sometimes sold separately. However, while dollhouses have primarily been a domain for children, their collection and crafting can also be a hobby for many adults. Think Lester Freamon in The Wire who likes making dollhouse furniture. Nonetheless, today’s dollhouses trace their history back 400 years to the European baby house display cases that showed idealized interiors, which first appeared in the 16th century. These displays mostly consisted of cabinet display cases consisting of individual rooms.  Yet, unlike most dollhouses you’d find at Wal Mart today, these were handmade with architectural details and filled with miniature household items that weren’t made to a uniform scale even within an individual house. These were solely made for adults. And no, the reasons had nothing to do with safety concerns since child labor was rampant back then. But more because these early dollhouses were often status symbols of rich people who could afford them in England, Germany, and the Netherlands. Not to mention, they often cost as much as a house. Smaller houses with more realistic exteriors appeared in Europe during the 18th century. As you’d expect, early dollhouses were all handmade until the Industrial Revolution when they began mass producing toys. Of course, while many of us played with dollhouses as kids, the miniatures I will show on this post are more the work of adult hobbyists. So enjoy for your reading pleasure.

  1. You’d be pressed not to peek into the Palace of Versailles.
Okay, it’s a miniature display. But the detail is quite extraordinary.

2. Perhaps you might want to look in the pantry.

Looks much cleaner than a typical pantry. Yet, contains all the provisions your heat desires.

3. How about we kick back and relax in the music room?

This room even includes a large painting of a woman in a purple dress within a gold frame. Also includes a piano in the corner.

4. Best to put your bookshelves above your bathroom door.

Well, it seems more like an old-fashioned set up. Even includes a spitoon in the corner.

5. Treat yourself to some fine dining.

You’d even see a chandelier on the ceiling. Not sure if it really lights up. Also, love the miniature china.

6. A blue room should always come with considerable taste.

The furniture even matches the wallpaper. Includes painting and a gold chandelier that really lights up.

7. A floral divider always brightens a room.

The dividing wall even contains a bookshelf. Love the windows and chair.

8. Sometimes a small one room trailer is all you need.

This is more of a colorful display you’d find in a Wes Anderson movie. Still, it’s quite quaint.

9. Anyone would want to have this gorgeous kitchen.

This one has pots and pans dangling at the ceiling. Yet, you won’t find a dishwasher, sink, or refrigerator here.

10. This print shop seems quite busy.

You’d almost think Benjamin Franklin would work in such a place. Though there doesn’t seem to be a printing press in sight.

11. Sometimes it helps if the wallpaper matches the floor.

Consists of 2 striped chairs with a painting and chest of drawers between them. The chairs even match the lamps as well.

12. This bakeshop is open for business.

Includes a staircase with open air dining. Tables even have flowers on them.

13. Perhaps a more modern style may suit you.

As you can see, most of these dollhouse styles seem to date before the 1920s. Though this one has zebra rug and antique bust.

14. In a palace, you’ll find plenty of rooms with outrageous extravagance.

I’m sure this room is part of a palace. Includes a chandelier and other lavish decorations.

15. A garden can always bring beauty into a sitting room.

Seems like someone’s having a tea party in here. Yet, the pug has to grab a present.

16. I guess important business is conducted in this palace room.

Apparently, it’s quite gilded from ceiling to floor. Though you’d find fruit on the central table.

17. A white living room doesn’t need to be plain.

This room has a lot of fancy decorations. Guess this was in some lavish mansion.

18. Nobody has been to this laundromat for quite some time.

Seems like this place was built in the 1960s from what I could tell from the furniture. And the machines are all defunct.

19. We all need to relax in a calm room from time to time.

Seems like almost everything in here had to match the china. Though the chaise lounge seems quite comfy.

20. This swanky diner is always a happening place.

Indeed, this place seems straight from the 1950s. And yes, it’s made from a metal box.

21. A sultan would love to have a room like this.

This one has nice pillow seats around the table. Hope the wall is tiled with real mosaic, too.

22. The furniture must always match the wallpaper.

This one even has the curtains match as well. Got to love the pillows though.

23. A lavish throne room is always fit for a king.

This is part of a palace. Indeed, it’s quite lavish. Though I’m not sure about the color.

24. You’ll find all kinds of trinkets in this white room.

I guess the trees are photos for the background. Yet, you have to admire those Greek columns.

25. A Grecian living room should always carry a marble statue.

It’s even lit by a small chandelier. Still, got to love the fireplace.

26. Perhaps you want to lie on a flowery bed.

The floral wallpaper is pretty. Not sure how I feel about the covers.

27. You might prefer to lounge around in a more modern home.

You can see the living room on the bottom floor. And you can peek in the bedroom at the top.

28. You can’t go wrong with blue walls and white furniture.

Well, a couple of chairs aren’t white. But they go well with the white fireplace and shelf.

29. Every girl has to sleep in a pink bedroom once in awhile.

This room is in a little case. And yes, it has pink wallpaper and shelves.

30. Wonder what dresses are in store in this room.

After all, this room has plenty of dress pictures. So it’s not hard to assume it’s a dressing room.

31. A Christmas tree should always brighten a room around the holidays.

This one even includes candles which is a critical fire hazard. Though this display is supposed to reflect the 18th century.

32.  You should do your laundry in this room.

Since the whole laundry room is in a bottle of detergent. Still, got to love the clothesline.

33. Got to put some wood in the stove.

This is an old-fashioned stove with copper crockery. Thank God, we have electric.

34. A desk should have as many of compartments as you desire.

This one keeps books and papers inside the top shelves. Though the green color isn’t for me.

35. A bathroom should have a modern touch.

Sure it only has red walls and a mosaic floor. But are posters necessary?

36. A design studio should have plenty of light.

This one has rather simple and wide windows. Though seems like a great place for crafts.

37. Perhaps you’d like a room with some Asian flair.

Consists of pillow seats and a low table. Yet, they also match the red cushioned sofa.

38. A white bedroom always looks clean.

Includes a shelf for white and floral blankets. Love the flowers though.

39. Any little girl would love a bedroom like this. 

Has floral wallpaper and dolls on the bed. Also, you’ll find some on a shelf.

40. A 21st century kitchen should have some modern flair.

This one has a checkered floor with flowers on the tables. Includes a sleek new fridge, too.

41. Feel free to take the tea you want.

And it seems to be quite a tea party. Judging by how many teapots there are in this dining room.

42. An opulent couch can never have too many cushions.

Indeed, all these pillows come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and patterns. Love the drapes.

43. Perhaps you’d want to sit back to a roaring fire in this rustic cabin.

I bet a fire is fake. Yet, the room seems to have a rather cozy atmosphere.

44. You can spend hours in this cozy living room.

Has a bookshelf beside the couch. While the coffee table contains cacti and a starfish.

45. Seems like there’s a special occasion going on.

This room is in a modern design. Love the fancy Chinese dragon rug.

46. When greeting guests, always make a grand entrance.

Contains a fancy green door with a fancy green ceiling. Oh, and there’s some gold railing.

47. A bathtub should always match the wallpaper.

Looks like an old bathroom given the bowl and pitcher. Yet, there doesn’t seem to be a toilet.

48. Blue cabinets will surely brighten a kitchen.

Even has a fireplace next to the stove. Though you’ll find plenty of blue and white dishes.

49. You’d swear the bed was attached to the wardrobe.

This seems like something you’d find in a Renaissance castle. Yet, the woodwork is quite ornate.

50. You’d swear that you’ve been transported into an old-timey garage.

The cars are definitely Volkswagens. And some will need tires replaced.

51. Hope your kitchen is well tiled.

This is a more old-fashioned kitchen with a wooden ice box in the background. Also, note the blue and white porcelain.

52. Doesn’t hurt to gild your living room if you can afford it.

Indeed, it’s quite an extravagant parlor with flora chairs. Even includes a famous painting or 2.

53.  Want to hear a song in the music room?

You should look inside the piano. It’s quite an ornate work of art.

54. Perhaps you’d like a living room with an extravagant mural.

This mural features imagery from Greek mythology. Also includes exquisite gold columns to match.

55. A luxurious home should have luxurious furniture.

And I see this furniture set includes a bed for the dog. Not sure what to think about that.

56. A royal study should be fit for a king.

Includes a chandelier and a roll-top desk in gold trim. Even has gilded walls and mirror.

57. Sometimes simplicity is best.

Though this one hardly counts as simplicity. And yes, it has a fancy dog bed, too.

58. Guess this an empty theater long after the show is done.

Seems like it’s been abandoned. Yet, the light remains on for you to see the seats.

59. You’ll find whatever you need in this pantry.

Contains all kinds of food and preserves for all your desires. Though I don’t think I’d try the milk.

60. Sometimes a quality kitchen is a fancy kitchen.

This kitchen even contains paintings. Not sure if it belongs in a room where you cook food.

61. With high columns, your home can look like a palace.

Though I think they were actually going for the Roman palace look. And yes, there’s plenty of gild to go around.

62. You’ll have plenty of counter space in this sleek modern kitchen.

Includes an oven and plenty of shelving. Could easily see this in an IKEA catalog.

63. A pantry should have everything well stored.

You’ll find all sorts of things in here. Even a Canadian goose on the table.

64. The scullery will take care of your dirty dishes.

And I see there’s a washboard and tub on the other side. Definitely not a room I’d want to be in.

65. Hope you enjoy a walk down the halls.

And yes, there’s an ornate archway. But feel free to look at the pretty paintings.

66. A stately room should have fine lavender curtains.

Has a big chandelier with fine paintings. The chairs are rather ornate, too.

67. A grand entrance must always impress.

Gas 2 grand staircases coming down the middle. But take a peek at the paintings.

68. In a Tudor room, you always rely on the window light.

Don’t see a lot of furniture here. Yet, I do find a chandelier.

69. If you can’t have cabinets, curtains work just as well.

Counter is filled with food. Yet, you’d always come to a sunny kitchen with that kind of light from the windows.

70. You will always enjoy fine dining in a green room.

You have to admire the fine wooden furnishings. While the chandelier has candles to light up the room.

71. Perhaps you might prefer to dine in a large white room.

Wonder if this is a palace room. Since it sure looks like it. Though I do love the large painting.

72. A blue bedroom can always make you relax.

Has a nice mural on the ceiling to look at. Includes white furniture with blue drapes and cushions.

73. Care to dine in a fancy room?

Has a lot of wooden furniture with a white fireplace. Includes a table filled with culinary delights.

74. Enjoy a recital in this gilded music room.

Even the piano is gilt with gold. And it has a big chandelier from the ceiling.

75. Mirror walls make for a luxurious bathroom.

Has a lovely marble bathtub with sink. Not sure how I feel about the mirrors though.

76. A living room should always have a fine mix of wooden and floral furniture.

The floral couches have gold upholstery. While a large painting sits above the fireplace.

77. You’ll find plenty of tables in this hallway.

Well, it’s more of a social hall. Contains plenty of palm trees near the table areas.

78. At this apothecary, you’ll find a cure for whatever ails you.

Has plenty of jars and boxes in fine packaging. There’s even a witch’s picture near the window.

79. An Art Deco kitchen will always give what you need.

The cabinets are in black and white. While the ice box is in a separate room.

80.  Get all the produce you want from this market stand.

You can see all the fruit and vegetables to your heart’s delight. Wonder what each item costs.

81. Sometimes all you need is a nice, cozy dining room.

Even has a couple of dogs sleeping off from the table. Also has a green fireplace and archway.

82. A quaint entrance always leaves room for flowers.

Sure it’s not extravagant. Yet, seems like a rather quaint front entrance you’d find almost anywhere.

83. Now I would definitely get myself ready in this dressing room.

Mostly because the walls and furniture are purple, which is my favorite color. Love this room.

84. “Grandma, what big teeth  you have?”

This is a miniature rendition of Little Red Riding Hood. And yes, the wolf is up to no good here.

85. This living room is fit for any Renaissance man or woman.

Has high columns with a globe and harp. Even has a wooden ship model.

86. Guess this bedroom belongs to an artist type.

You can see a couple of paintings near the bed. And yes, it’s in a modern design.

87. A bright cyan bedroom will always lift one’s spirits.

Has a white bed inside. While the upholstery is in gold. Yes, lavish indeed.

88. Sometimes a simple kitchen is all you need.

You’d think this was an old kitchen. Until you see a small package of Ritz crackers.

89.  You’ll find plenty of dishes in this cabinet.

The dishes consist of fine china and jugs. Perfect for any old American kitchen.

90. Care to take a holiday reservation?

This seems like a rather swanky restaurant or hotel. Still, love the Christmas tree in the next room.

91. Gold furniture never goes out of style.

Once again, the set includes a luxurious dog bed. Like the gold divider though.

92. Kick back and relax in this rustic bedroom.

Has a deer head aboce the bed. And plaid curtains on each side to match. Great for a weary traveler.

93. A fancy room should always have some fancy furniture.

The walls are quite elaborate with Greek columns and wide windows. Love the chandelier.

94. Perhaps a small house may suit your fancy.

Even has a piano outside for serenades. But where’s the bathroom and the kitchen?

95. Perhaps you might go for a fancy bathroom with an ornate sink.

Comes with a chandelier and a shelf above the tub. Has a stained glass window on the tub ceiling.

96. There’s nothing like a hard day in the garden.

Contains birdhouses and pots. Even includes a rusty wagon.

97. A lovely living room should always give way to large windows.

Has a floral mural above the fireplace. Nonetheless, the pets seem to enjoy this room.

98. Wooden walls always make for a fine dining room.

The woodwork on this dining room is amazing. Love the chairs, too.

99. Blue walls will always make a room more elegant.

Here the dog sits by the wicker chair and ottoman. Love the curtain on the right.

100. A dining room should always look its best to entice guests.

Here the table is all set up and surrounded by paintings. Guess it’s a state dinner at a palace.

How Donald Trump Makes Money Off the Presidency

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Among the barrage of Donald Trump’s scandals, legislative failings, and Twitter tantrums, that appear in the news with constant regularity, there are plenty that seem to fall through the cracks. One of these concerns Trump’s businesses and his holding power as president. Despite promising to divest himself from his businesses while in office (he hasn’t), Trump is actively profiting from the presidency, which the founders never intended. While we still don’t have his tax returns to shed light on whether his behavior benefits his business’ ledgers, we know taxpayer money has been flowing to some of his businesses like Mar-a-Lago. However, despite the public seeing their tax dollars flow directly to the Trump Organization every time he goes golfing at his resorts and the rules being laid out in the Constitution, nobody has tried to stop this.

Previous presidents have disclosed and divested, so this hasn’t been a problem. After all, the Founding Fathers wrote protections into the US Constitution with emoluments clauses making it illegal for presidents to receive gifts from foreign governments or federal and state governments. Now Donald Trump did promise to release his tax returns during the campaign, and divest himself from his business while in office to avoid conflict of interests. After all, he promised to “drain the swamp” which his supporters think it meant that he’d stop corruption in Washington DC like limiting access to lobbyists, curbing deals with foreign governments, and refusing to profit from the White House. Yet, unlike his predecessors, he’s does nothing more than the legal minimum required.

However, we must understand that corruption and egregious abuses of power makes Donald Trump who he is. In fact, since he came to Washington DC, the United States has seen an unprecedented attack on presidential ethics. Trump campaign donors have gotten cushy White House jobs. Goldman Sacks bankers wrote the GOP tax plan. But most importantly, Trump hasn’t divested and most likely had no intention to in the first place. He doesn’t care about conflicts of interest. So he’s still making money.

First of all, the Trump Organization is huge private company with properties and business interests all over the world. But we don’t have a clear picture of exactly how big and valuable it is. According to a February 2018 Forbes report, Donald Trump rakes in at least $175 million a year from commercial tenants like the state-owned Industrial & Commercial Bank of China. But it’s impossible to say which companies pay him and how much because federal disclosure laws don’t require an accounting of where his businesses get their money. So we don’t know where the money’s coming from and how much he’s getting. Since he hasn’t released his tax returns either. And that’s a big problem since Trump probably has many conflicts of interest that could influence public policy. As Forbes noted, “Take any hot-button issue of the past year, and there’s a good chance Trump’s tenants lobbied the federal government on it, either in support of or in opposition to the administration’s position.” In fact, according to Forbes, at least 3 dozen Trump tenants have “meaningful relationships with the federal government, from contractors to lobbying firms to regulatory targets.”

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Here’s a CREW timeline of Trump trademark approval actions by governments overseas. Not the ones coming from China.

In addition, foreign governments have been quick to figure out how to get on Donald Trump’s good side. According to a January McClatchy article, they’ve “donated public land, approved permits and eased environmental regulations for Trump-branded developments, creating a slew of potential conflicts as foreign leaders make investments that can be seen as gifts or attempts to gain access to the American president through his sprawling business empire.” The Chinese government has granted Trump at least 39 trademarks since he took office while his daughter and senior adviser Ivanka has received 7 since she joined the administration.

Then there’s the fact the Trump Organization still sells real estate. Last summer, a USA Today investigation found that during the last year Donald Trump clinched the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, “70% of buyers of Trump properties were limited liability companies – corporate entities that allow people to purchase property without revealing all of the owners’ names. That compares with about 4% of buyers in the two years before.” According to the paper, overall in 2017, Trump’s companies, “sold more than $35 million in real estate … mostly to secretive shell companies that obscure buyers’ identities.” So since Trump became the Republican nominee and later president, mysterious investors have poured millions of dollars into his coffers.

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Since Donald Trump became president, the Trump International Hotel has become the go-to place for foreign visitors and anyone else wanting to curry favor with the White House. Not to mention, the GOP holds a lot of activities there. The lighting above the arch is by an anti-Trump protester.

Of course, the most obvious Donald Trump uses his position as president to promote his own business interest is through mixing and matching his presidential activities with his own properties while charging Secret Service and transportation costs to taxpayers. As Washington University professor Kathleen Clark told ProPublica, “Trump appears to be commandeering federal resources in order to maximize revenues at Trump properties, and he does this by visiting properties close to the White House. And when he travels to the golf courses in Florida, Virginia and New Jersey, other agencies that are involved in supporting the president end up spending money.” In fact, he spent 1/3 of his first year in office visiting his own commercial properties. Every Trump appearance at his properties is a marketing event. According to financial disclosures, Trump hotel revenue soared over the past few years. In 2015, records show just $16.7 million in hotel and resort revenues. In 2016, that income more than doubled to $33.8 million. Since Trump moved into the White House, Trump hotel income jumped about 80%, reaching $60.8 million in 2017. Sure in late 2016, Trump opened the Old Post Office Hotel in Washington DC despite the clear guideline that, “No elected official of the Government of the United States…shall be admitted to any share or part of this Lease.” Since then, it’s become the go-to hotel for any foreign visitor looking to win favors from the Trumps as well as headquarters to GOP activity in DC.

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TIME magazine has a good cover for Donald Trump’s DC hotel. Funny how they call it “The Swamp Hotel” since Trump promised to “drain the swamp.” Though I think he might’ve meant the Everglades than Washington.

But what the public doesn’t know is that Donald Trump wasn’t the only political and/or business figure to visit his properties. According to a January 2018 report by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, during Trump’s first year in office, his properties hosted more than 100 executive branch officials, 30 members of Congress, and more than a dozen state officials. Trump’s properties also hosted events held by at least 40 special interest groups. At least 11 foreign governments and 6 foreign officials have appeared on Trump properties since 2017. The Kuwaiti Embassy held a National Day celebration in 2017 and 2018 at Trump’s D.C. hotel. While one Asian diplomat told the Washington Post shortly after Trump’s election that going to his D.C. hotel makes perfect sense, “Why wouldn’t I stay at his hotel blocks from the White House, so I can tell the new president, ‘I love your new hotel!’ Isn’t it rude to come to his city and say, ‘I am staying at your competitor?'” In the business sector, USA Today found that executives from 50 government contractors and 21 lobbyists hold Trump club memberships.

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This is a CREW graph on top campaign spenders at Trump properties. You can see Trump’s top the list. But Republican governors and politicians aren’t far behind.

The Center of Responsive politics sorted the spending of political committees at Trump properties with Donald Trump’s own campaign events topping the list. In 2017 alone, Trump’s 2020 campaign spent $760,064 at buildings he owns. And since Trump still owns these properties, he and his family make extra money every time he holds a fundraiser. Since Trump’s DC Hotel is only a block away from the Justice Department and close to the White House, anyone who wants to make a contribution to Trump’s pockets simply books events there. Same goes for New York’s Trump Tower and Mar-a-Lago. In 2016, the RNC spent $146,521 at Trump properties and $173,416 in 2017.

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Here’s a CREW map of members of Congress who’ve visited a Trump property. Kind of surprised to see Ted Cruz on there given what Donald Trump put him through. Yet, I don’t see Devin Nunes for some reason since he was on Trump’s transition team.

Before assuming office, Donald Trump vowed to donate his DC hotel profits from foreign governments to the US Treasury. However, to no one’s surprise months later, the Trump Organization admitted that tracking all foreign government money was “impractical.” But it promised to donate profits from guests self-identifying as foreign government representatives. Yet, in early 2018 the Trump Organization announced that it had donated profits from “foreign government patronage” after all but declined to disclose specifics like as the Washington Post speculated, “How much was donated? Which Trump properties were included in this accounting? Which foreign entities had paid money to Trump’s businesses?”

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Here’s a CREW map of foreign governments that have paid a Trump-owned entity since the inauguration. Includes China, India, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Turkey, and Malaysia.

Furthermore, neither Donald Trump nor his team have shied away from promoting his brand. After the 2016 election, Trump signaled he’d spend a great deal of time at his Mar-a-Lago in Florida. In turn, the club doubled its membership fees to $200,000 before taxes and charged $175 more to $600-$750 for its New Year’s Eve party. From January to August 2017, 2/3 of the 50 executives and lobbyist club members played golf on days Trump was. White House spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway promoted Ivanka brands on Fox News for God’s sake. During his first year in office, Trump mentioned his private businesses at least 35 times according to CREW estimates. Overall, their report found that political groups spent over $1.2 billion at Trump properties during his first year in office, after never having spent more than $100,000 “in any given year going back to at least 2002.” CREW chair and former Obama ethics czar Noah Eisen tweeted that the group’s report described Trump as “the most unethical presidency,” adding, “Year two has been even worse—& it’s just getting started.” In the fall of 2017, the Trump Organization debuted Trumpstore.com where you can buy all other-than-made-in-the-USA #MAGA gear, which is just another Trump family cash grab.

Nor is Donald Trump the only one in his family profiting from the presidency. In June 2018, the Washington Post reported: “Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, the president’s daughter and son-in-law, brought in at least $82 million in outside income while serving as senior White House advisers during 2017, according to new financial disclosure forms released Monday. Ivanka Trump earned $3.9 million from her stake in the Trump International Hotel in Washington, while Kushner reported over $5 million in income from Quail Ridge, a Kushner Cos. apartment complex acquired last year in Plainsboro, New Jersey. The filings show how the couple are collecting immense sums from other enterprises while serving in the White House, an extraordinary income flow that ethics experts have warned could create potential conflicts of interests.” Allowing Ivanka and Kushner retain their outside income sources is remarkable since Cabinet officials are required to divest themselves from their holdings or abide by strict rules imposed by a blind trust. Shortly after the inauguration, the State Department’s web page promoted Melania’s jewelry line. The Secret Service has even provided protection for Trump’s family as they go on business trips as well, with their expenses being paid on the taxpayer dime.

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Here’s a small snapshot of Donald Trump’s and his administration’s over 500 conflicts of interest. You many not be able to read everything on here. But it’s truly staggering.

So why is all this a problem? Because it’s against the rules at a constitutional scale. The presidency shouldn’t be a get-rich-quick scheme. No president or First Family member should use the Oval Office to enhance their wealth. With his business interests on his mind, Donald Trump is making decisions as a country’s leader and under the guise of what’s best for the nation. But since he won’t be in office forever, he’s possibly putting Trump Organization interest before public interest. As CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder put it, “Every decision President Trump makes in the course of his job is followed by the specter of corruption. Because of his steady stream of conflicts, we have to question whether each decision he makes was made in the best interest of the American people or the best interest of his bottom line.” CREW estimates that Trump has over 500 conflicts of interest, which a clear picture of a presidency being used to turn a profit and his businesses serving as access points to corridors of power. Bookbinder adds, “Just as we feared, President Trump is not only making money in spite of his official position, in many cases, he’s making money because of it.”

Of course, the courts need to hash out this though with Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court almost a done deal, does this harm the public? (Absolutely). Is there any proof Trump’s violating the Constitution? (Yes, the Emoluments Clause which forbids the president from accepting money from foreign governments). Fortunately, the apparent Emoluments Clause violations haven’t gone unnoticed as several lawsuits work their way through the courts. It appears quite serious as Trump businesses are subpoenaed and ordered to preserve documents. 3-4 suits have been filed so far. Naturally, the Trump administration asked that they’d be thrown out. Again, a judge will decide if Donald Trump’s broken the law. As of March 2018, one suit has been thrown out in December while the others endure and may be gaining traction.

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Donald Trump doesn’t see anything wrong with profiting from the presidency. Since he sees himself having the right to the spoils. Nonetheless, making the presidency for sale greatly undermines our democracy.

So how is Donald Trump’s legal team defending profiting off the presidency? For one, despite how rich he is, we taxpayers are paying for lawyers to argue that Trump has a right to profit from his presidency. And according to a USA Today article, it all boils down to this: “The taxpayer-funded lawyers are making the case that it is not unconstitutional for the president’s private companies to earn profits from foreign governments and officials while he’s in office.” Further, “The government lawyers and Trump’s private attorneys are making the same arguments — that the Constitution’s ban on a president taking gifts from foreign interests in exchange for official actions does not apply to foreign government customers buying things from Trump’s companies. The plaintiffs, including ethics groups and competing businesses, argue the payments pose an unconstitutional conflict of interest.” Or to quote Trump before he took office, “The president can’t have a conflict of interest.” However, we must keep in mind that Donald Trump doesn’t see himself as constrained to any norm, rules, or even laws. He was born into wealth and privilege and sees himself exempt from certain restraints that get in his way that would land the average person in jail. Profiting off the presidency is political corruption at its finest and not at all normal. Yet, like any con artist businessman, Trump sees profit as natural and immediate spoils of office.

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This is a map of where Donald Trump owns property outside the United States. You can see that Russia is in bright yellow since it interfered in the 2016 election on Trump’s behalf.

Whether you can agree or disagree with Donald Trump’s actions, it’s very obvious he’s at least violating the spirit of the law. After all, he promised to step away from his interests but didn’t, implying he knew he should’ve before taking office. But it’s still hard to say whether or not a court will throw the book at him since there’s not much legal precedent here. However, since presidential ethics laws never foresaw a businessman president who wouldn’t follow political norms of divesting himself from his businesses, disclosing his taxes, and generally trying to avoid conflicts of interests, much of this may be legal.

Nonetheless, it’s more than just making sure that a president acts in good faith while in office. The real issue here is establishing precedent moving forward. While Capitol Hill seems fine letting Donald Trump get away with anything he wants including Emoluments violations, what can we expect from future presidents? While it’s a test for the courts, it’s also one for how much the public is willing to put up with from our elected officials. If we don’t put our foot down now, what happens when another more competent president goes out of bounds?

But what’s certain is that each day he occupies the White House, Donald Trump continues to profit from the presidency and possibly because he’s the man in the Oval Office. By promoting his business in an official capacity without shame and by offering access and influence to his businesses’ patrons, Trump sends a message to special interests and foreign government that his administration is for sale. This is no message an American president should send to the world since it shows that Trump’s support can be bought with patronage. While most Americans can’t even afford to stay at any of his resorts or visit his golf courses. This isn’t how American democracy should function. Nonetheless, the remaining years of the Trump administration are unlikely to be any different unless the American people and their Congressional representatives demand better.

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