Buyers tied to Russia, Soviet republics made 86 all cash sales

Was it for favors or things beyond the condos, or were they just laundering money?

— BY ANITA KUMAR

Aleksandr Burman, a Ukrainian who engaged in a health care scheme that cost the federal government $26 million and was sentenced to a decade in prison, paid $725,000 cash for a condo at a Trump Tower I in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla. in 2009.

Leonid Zeldovich, who has reportedly done extensive business in the Russian-annexed area of Crimea, bought four Trump units outright at a cost of more than $4.35 million, three of them in New York City between 2007 and 2010.

And Igor Romashov, who served as chairman of the board of Transoil, a Russian oil transport company subject to U.S. sanctions, paid $620,000 upfront for a unit at a building adorned with the future U.S. president’s name in Sunny Isles Beach in 2010.

Buyers connected to Russia or former Soviet republics made 86 all-cash sales — totaling nearly $109 million — at 10 Trump-branded properties in south Florida and New York City, according to a new analysis shared with McClatchy. Many of them made purchases using shell companies designed to obscure their identities.

| McClatchy Washington Bureau
via Buyers tied to Russia, Soviet republics made 86 all cash sales | McClatchy Washington Bureau

South Dakota lawmaker: Let businesses ‘turn away people of color,’ later apologizes

I can just see the thought process here… “Darnit – with Trump in office I can’t tell anymore when I’m supposed to be wearing my ‘not a bigot’ facemask and when I’m not…”

In a Facebook comment, state Rep. Michael Clark, a Hartford Republican, said business owners should have the final say in who they serve.

Clark later pulled the Facebook comment. And an hour after the Argus Leader published a story about the comment, he sent an email apology to a reporter.

The comment elicited outrage from constituents and calls from Democratic opponents for him to withdraw.

Clark’s initial comment came in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s narrow decision Monday siding with a Colorado baker that refused to make a cake for a same-sex couple’s wedding.

via South Dakota lawmaker: Let businesses ‘turn away people of color,’ later apologizes

A Christian Nationalist Blitz – The New York Times

The hard right evangelicals who put Trump in power see a window of opportunity open across the country with so many legislatures in the hands of highly conservative GOP legislators. They are certainly going to use this window to sow more exclusion, more division, and rafts of discriminatory laws disguised as “religious freedom” measures.

The purpose of these mostly unconstitutional bills is to get out the vote the next two election cycles. If hard right evangelicals can’t get enthused for Trump anymore, they can for these bills.

See Katherine Stewart’s article below:

The sponsors of Project Blitz have pinned their deepest hopes on the third and most contentious category of model legislation. The dream here is something that participants in the conference call referred to in awed tones as “the Mississippi missile.” The “missile” in question is Mississippi’s HB 1523, a 2016 law that allows private businesses and government employees to discriminate, against L.G.B.T. people for example, provided that they do so in accordance with “sincerely held religious beliefs.” The bill offers extraordinary protections, not to all religious beliefs per se, but to a very narrow set of beliefs associated mostly with conservative religion. If you hold a different set of religious beliefs, like, say, a commitment to gender and L.G.B.T. equality, there is no liberty in this bill for you.

In another piece of model legislation, the blitzers’ goal is to get state legislatures to resolve that, notwithstanding the Supreme Court’s recent decision on same-sex marriage, “This state supports and encourages marriage between one man and one woman and the desirability that intimate sexual relations only take place between such couples.” We have known for a long time that Christian nationalists seek to control what goes on in other people’s bedrooms. The striking thing about this model bill is the cruelty with which it advances the argument. The bill claims that people in same-sex relationships have a “higher instance of serious disease.”

It would be touching to think that the sponsors of Project Blitz have at last turned their attention to health care, but, no — their concern here, according to the guidebook, is that all of this gay sex is costing taxpayers lots of money — “estimated to be in the billions of dollars annually,” according to the bill template.

via Opinion | A Christian Nationalist Blitz – The New York Times

Public Shaming or not, the FDA Should out Companies Blocking Generic Drugs

This is a good thing, drug prices in this country are killing people who can’t afford them.

The Food and Drug Administration plans this week to effectively begin publicly shaming brand-name drug companies that stand in the way of competitors trying to develop cheaper generic drugs.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told reporters on Monday and Tuesday that the agency will unveil a website on Thursday, May 17 that names names of such companies. More specifically, the website will publicly reveal the identity of 50 branded drugs and their makers that have blocked generic development. The website will also be updated “on a continuous basis” to list additional names.

In fielding questions from reporters, Gottlieb denied that the effort was a form of public shaming. “I don’t think this is publicly shaming,” Gottlieb said, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. “I think this is providing transparency in situations where we see certain obstacles to timely generic entry.”

via FDA to start naming names of pharma companies blocking cheaper generics | Ars Technica

Appropriating Morality

Here is one of my favorite YouTube commentators, Theremin Trees,  regarding the tendencies of religions to claim credit and co-opt works, ideas, and philosophies that originated outside of religion. E.G. Prior to either Christianity or Judaism practices and concepts such as Democracy, Republic, Human Rights, and laws against murder, theft, etc. were all used in Greece.

via appropriating morality [cc] – YouTube

Deadpool 2 – Trailer

Deadpool 2 | The Trailer – YouTube

You Can’t Step Twice

To everyone it’s apparent that rivers are always ever changing, so Heraclitus (or Plato as some would have it,) stating that you ‘can’t step twice in the same river’ is not as philosophically pithy and profound a statement about the nature of our universe as it might initially seem. Instead, it’s one of those master of the obvious things like Cyndi Lauper proclaiming that “until it ends there is no end…” in “All Through the Night;” or Yogi Berra proclaiming that no matter where you go, well there you are, which was later borrowed by Buckaroo Bonzai and the Pig Farmer in “Beyond Thunderdome.”

Thanks to All Who Served

Veteran’s Day 2017

Two Weeks in the Life of a Sunspot

From NASA – Goddard: