The Trump Organization and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard

Donald Trump, as we all know, has business ties all over the world. This includes the Former Soviet Union, like Azerbaijan for example. It is well-known that Vladimir Putin is aggressively trying to recreate the sphere of influence the former Soviet Union used to have an iron grip on during the Cold War. The Soviet leaders decided, a common strategy in the days of old because the effect is a buffer between the USSR and their adversary in the United States and Eastern Europe. This is less important now given the satellites and other means to discover whether nefarious things are happening near your “frontier” as it used to be called now just a border.

The former Soviet states have slowly been reclaimed by Russia by placing their desired leaders in power by hacking, spreading misinformation disguised as news, and the new “weaponized trolls” that were very active in the 2016 Presidential election. Putin has been honing his techniques before attacking the US in what I feel is nothing short of a Cyber-Pearl Harbor, thankfully without the loss of life and damage to the US Navy. (New developments in this story breaking today.)

By now we all know that Donald Trump has been effective in marketing his brand and continues to build Hotels and golf resorts. Being familiar with building in foreign countries, Donald Trump is aware of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977  (FCPA).

According to that law, it is incumbent upon American businesses that is precisely what brings me to the former Soviet bloc five-star hotel in residence called the Trump International Hotel & Tower Baku. In 2012 the Trump Organization entered into multiple contracts with Azerbaijani developers, the Trump Organization made plans to transform the tower into an all ultra-luxury hotel with large guest rooms that would occupy the first 13 floors and the higher stories featuring residences widths spectacular views of Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, and the beautiful Caspian Sea.

There are many oddities surrounding the development which are clearly explained in this excellent article in The New Yorker by Adam Davidson in the March 13, 2017 issue.
What I intend to focus on herein is the Trump Organization’s business partner in this venture. The Azerbaijanis behind the projects were relatives of Ziya Mammadov, the Transportation Minister and one of the country’s wealthiest and most powerful oligarchs. As stated in the New Yorker article, the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index rates Azerbaijan as among the most corrupt nations in the world.

Ziya Mammadov became the Transportation Minister in 2002, around the time the regime began receiving enormous profits from government-owned oil reserves in the Caspian Sea. Presumably this is how mamma dogs, who spent his career as a government official with the salary equivalent to about $12,000 became a billionaire.
Once Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president mother Jones, the AP, the Washington Post and other publications ran articles raising questions about Trump’s involvement in the Baku project. Interestingly, these articles referred to a series of tables sent from the US Embassy in Azerbaijan in 2009-10, which were publicized by none other than wiki leaks. In one of those cables, an American diplomat referred to as I have mamma dogs as “notoriously corrupt even for Azerbaijan.” Alan Garten, the chief legal officer for the Trump Organization, told reporters the Baku hotel project raised no ethical issues for Donald Trump as his company never engaged directly with Mammadov.

According to Garten, Donald Trump was involved merely as a licensor, allowing his famous name to be used by a company headed by Ziya Mammadov’s son, Anar, a young and well-connected entrepreneur. It is unknown the revenue the Trump Organization received from the licensing agreement, although his Public Disclosure pursuant to the election revealed he received $2.8 million apparently there was an additional payment of $2.5 million in 2012 though no other payments or income has been disclosed. Donald Trump also signed a contract to manage the hotel upon its opening for an undisclosed fee tied to the hotel’s performance. Once Donald Trump was elected president, Garten announced the Trump Organization severed its ties with the Baku hotel project and brushed off the transaction as mere housecleaning. Unfortunately for Donald Trump, Adam Davidson’s reporting tells a very different story about the Trump Organization’s involvement in the Baku project. “I was in Baku at the time, and it had become clear that the Trump Organization’s story of the hotel was incomplete and inaccurate.” Trump’s company had made the deal not just with Anar Mammadov, but also with Ziya’s brother, Elton – an influential member of the Azerbaijani parliament.” Elton even confirmed it in an interview he founded Baku XXI Century, the parent company that owned the Trump Tower Baku. When he was asked who owns Baku XXI Century, he called it a “commercial secret” but added that he “controlled all its operations” until 2015, when he “cut ties to the company.”

Further reporting reveals the Trump Organization was involved far more than initially revealed. In addition to the licensing agreement, it also signed a technical-services agreement promising to help its partner meet Trump design standards. This appears to be a contract allowing Donald Trump extensive oversight in the back to project the attorney revealed “we were always following their instructions. We were in constant contact with the Trump Organization. They approved the smallest details.” He continued stating Trump staff visited the site monthly in order to inspect & approve further progress. The article details the very extensive, almost micromanaging of the project, even Ivanka Trump’s involvement in nearly every aspect of the project from the landscaping, the paneling, the ballroom doors – all of which were of the highest quality and commensurate expense. Ivanka Trump even posted a photograph of herself wearing a hard hat on the side of the project, which was about half completed, and the caption reads: “Ivanka has overseen the development of Trump International Hotel & Tower Baku since its inception, and she recently returned from a trip to the fascinating city in Azerbaijan to check on the project’s progress.” Interestingly, Ivanka Trump declined to discuss the project with reporter Adam Davidson.

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Hurricane Trump… hold on!

A Barrage of lies and Propaganda… Un-American Policies Executed with the Incompetence Demonstrated Throughout Trump’s Campaign & That Weaken Our Security at Home & Abroad.

This is absolutely insane! This president seems to attack or alienate, disparage and weaken all of our most important alliances, the latest being with Australia. Of course, Republicans like Sen. Kori Gardner of Colorado refused to say anything but talking points regarding how they feel about trumps “diplomacy” with our allies – not our adversaries – these are our long-standing allies.

In 20 days we’ve seen conflict with Mexico – we’ve threatened to send US Troops into Mexico if they can’t address their drug problem, a personal insult to Germany’s Angela Merkel, our strongest ally in remaining in Europe, a public disagreement with the majority of the rest of the world as evidenced like that of Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, who had the audacity to say Canada will welcome Syrian immigrants (mostly women and children) fleeing to escape the horror in Syria, a horribly hostile call with an ally that has been in every war with us since World War II – of all countries to fight with, we fight with our best ally.

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America & the World hold on as Hurricane Trump’s rapid fire barrage of hot-air has them scrambling: BNPS

 

I fully believe this is an intentional strategy from Steven Bannon, a strategy is to constantly change the subject with one controversial move or ill-advised tweet, in an effort to get the media to shift focus. That is precisely why Trump moved up his announcement of the Supreme Court nominee to distract from the Muslim Ban. Now we know that he may have, without Trump’s knowledge or consent, slipped into the “Modernization” of the National Security Council (NSC) a permanent seat on the NSC, while taking permanent seats away from the Direction of National Intelligence – the highest intelligence officer in the Nation whose job is to advise the President on Intelligence issues.

As you try to follow and think about the ramifications are of this machine gun of errors, it is almost impossible to keep up much less write a serious piece with links to the examples of the constant lies from this administration. I was glad Kellyanne Conway finally admitted that the President was offering “Alternative Facts.” It doesn’t take a genius to realize there is no such thing as alternative facts. In the real world these are LIES and correctly called lies. There are way too many lies to even keep up with them all, but let’s just look at the very first White House Press Briefing the Trump Administration had.

buddha-truth

In the very First Press Briefing by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, whose job is to speak for the President. Spicer too no questions but read from a statement excoriating the media and flat-out lied to the American People four (4) times:

  • There were 3-5 million votes cast by illegal in the election;
  • That it was the “Largest crowd in history” to have seen an inaugural ‘both in person and on TV’;
  • There were magnetometers on the mall that slowed people joining the crowd before; and
  • The Parks Service never used white grass protectors; making it seem like the crowd was smaller.

Taken in reverse order, it took just a few minutes to debunk the last lie from Sean Spicer’s mouth: 4) was proven a lie after a simple Google search revealed images shots of workers placing the white grass protectors on the ground during President Obama’s Inauguration in 2013. 3) Though the Secret Service generally does not issue statements demonstrating the President LIED to the American people, the did issue a statement to verify there were NO magnetometers on the National Mall. (2) Trump Inauguration was not even remotely close to either of President Obama’s inauguration and even George W. Bush after another peculiar electoral process had a larger audience.

Let’s be honest, no one in their right mind thought Trump had anywhere near the crowd of either of president Obama’s 2009 crowd of 1.8 million and 2013 was only 1 million. Just having functional eyes and a brain is all that one needs to discern that assertion is so completely ridiculous it barely deserves discussion. YET that story dominated the new President’s thoughts for at least a week. His thin skin is so bad that he has to make up a completely obvious lie, that no one outside Trump believes and points to the complete lack of any evidence whatsoever, that 3-5 million illegal votes were cast… otherwise he could have won the popular vote. The most laughable assertion he has made yet. It is no coincidence the Oxford word of 2016 is “Post-Truth.”

post-truth

 

I believe shorter, single issue posts is the way to try to keep up with the barrage of steps this “learn-on-the-job president keeps firing at us hoping there is no time to focus on one thing before the next distraction is manufactured by the big “ratings machine -DJT.”

I also think reposting other very well done posts is a great idea as well. The more the truth is circulated to defy the Trump Propaganda machine modeled after his idol, Vladimir Putin, and his use of propaganda and now fake news. Trump also has the first “news” channel that is solely devoted to making him look good, making everything Democrats do as evil and un-American, and freely spread the fake news and lies the right uses to confuse so people don’t know what to believe. All of us are guilty of echo-chambers because social media is designed that way… that makes the more extreme politicians attractive to badly misinformed voters and stoked by Right-Wing Media so we get “the party of NO.”

The same is true for Democrats though maybe not quite so bad – but I want democrats to really Stand for Something again – like being the party of the middle class in Deed and not just in word. The party left the unions… heck they let unions be weakened to the point of extinction. Now Corporate Interests dominate the media, political system, and they are executing their takeover of the Courts, which we see is the last line of defense in the brilliant Separation of Powers our Founding Fathers established. Unfortunately is has been slowly gobbled up and now serves Corporate interests rather than being “beholden to The People, alone.”

Democrats need to repay the GOP for the awful Republican treatment given to President Obama by the right – like Mitch McConnell saying on 1/20/09 that his “number one priority is making Barack Obama a one-term president.” Remember, that was said as the Country was hemorrhaging 800,000 jobs per month. He didn’t want to help the President that actually had an electoral mandate guide the country through the Great Recession. Thankfully he succeeded without any Republican help at all. Despicable.  As much as I despise Trump, I want him to somehow become a great president because that means American is doing well.

Unfortunately, the only evidence available is not encouraging. As a result, all Americans should watch like they never have before and educate themselves on what is really happening despite what ALL the Corporate media tells people. But this does not mean the Democrats should work to make compromises unless it pertains to issues that are actually good for America, and make him expend every bit of political capital on fights that distract him from killing Americans by just ending The Affordable Care Act (ACA or ‘Obamacare’) or starting a war with an adversary or even an ally because Trump’s has no idea to act with grace and diplomacy which he sees as weak… the rest of the sane world calls it good governance.

Trump Will Tell You He’s Keeping Us Safe from all the Terrorist Attacks Suffered Under Obama & Bush? Problem is, what attacks justify this Executive Action – which Republicans would have called ‘an Imperial fiat from King Obama’ while they are now silent as Trump equates the morality of America versus Russia. Guess he means the ‘Lone-Wolf’ attacks  the Muslim Ban would not have prevented.