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Sunday, December 04, 2016

Message to Carrier - your products are now branded

Carrier Corporation: (read this before the company website takes this down!)
Responsibility from the Carrier Corporation website:
  • Successful businesses improve the human condition.
  • We act with integrity and maintain the highest ethical standards.
  • We are environmentally responsible and drive to sustainability.
  • We care for the health and safety of our employees and customers.
  • We actively support the communities in which we do business.
Obviously, Carrier rode roughshod over its self described corporate responsibilities. 

Honestly, Carrier corporation wasn't exactly a household word before the recent dodge ball game of throwing "jobs to Mexico", or "no jobs to Mexico', and now "some jobs to Mexico" played with the Trump transition.

Nevertheless, as a result of this latest round of crony capitalism, as Sarah Palin so aptly called it (broken clock award there, Sarah!) the company's name be synonymous with corporate welfare.  

"I want a Carrier deal" will be the euphemism for taxpayer funded incentives to keep American jobs from leaving the country while the rest of us provide the subsidies.  Indeed, the company is now branded in a way that wasn't envisioned in their strategic plan.

Here's the fact: Carrier had no reason to move jobs to Mexico.  Rather, this greedy move was made to leverage profit margins without regard for workers.  Moreover, the reason Carrier has somewhat expressed a change of heart is because the Trump transition team created an opportunity for Carrier to skim even bigger profits out of the pockets of government.  In other words, Carrier was promised tax incentives (TIFs- Tax increment funding) to change its mind about moving jobs to Mexico.

But here is the rest of the story. This is the letter Carrier sent to explain their change of heart decision.

The letter from Carrier to its employees that Donald Trump doesn’t want you to read: “It is not good news for everyone.”
On Thursday, President-elect Donald Trump traveled to the Carrier factory in Indianapolis, Indiana to tout the deal he helped orchestrate to keep about 800 manufacturing jobs in the United States in exchange for state and federal incentives, including $7 million from Indiana.

“Companies are not going to leave the United States anymore without consequences. Not going to happen. It’s not going to happen, I’ll tell you right now,” Trump said during a speech at the factory.

What Trump didn’t mention, either then or during a subsequent “thank you” rally later Thursday in Cincinnati, is that the deal he and Vice President-elect Mike Pence helped broker won’t prevent Carrier from outsourcing more jobs than are being saved in Indiana. The company will keep about 800 jobs at the Indianapolis plant, but will still move 600 jobs from Indianapolis to Mexico. Another 700 jobs are being moved to Mexico from a separate factory in 
Huntington, Indiana, which will be closed. In sum, about 800 American jobs are being saved, but another 1,300 are disappearing. Those painful details were acknowledged in a letter Carrier sent to affected workers on Thursday that was posted to Twitter by Indianapolis-based journalist Rafael Sánchez.

Trump’s deal with United Technology, the company that owns Carrier, is good news for the workers who will keep their jobs, of course. 
Indianapolis Governor and Vice-President elect Mike Pence explains how Carrier will keeps some jobs while others will be lost like a corporate coin flip.

Of course, it goes without saying, doling out huge tax breaks and other incentives to entice companies to keep jobs in the United States is bad economics, as Trump himself acknowledged on the campaign trail when he denounced government officials for believing that providing economic incentives to corporations keeps jobs in the United States.

During a Thursday appearance on CNBC, conservative economic policy analyst Jimmy Pethokoukis went so far as to call Trump’s speech at the Carrier plant “absolutely the worst speech” about economics in more than 30 years.

Jimmy Pethokoukis: "absolutely the worst speech about economics in more than 30 years"
“The idea that American corporations are going to have to make business decisions, not based on the fact that we’ve created an ideal environment for economic growth in the United States, but out of fear of punitive actions based on who knows what criteria exactly from a presidential administration,” Pethokoukis, a scholar with the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute, said. “I think that’s absolutely chilling.”
On Friday, the latest jobs numbers reinforced that Trump’s Carrier deal comes amid a long-term downturn in manufacturing jobs in the country. While a net 178,000 private and public positions were added in November and the unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent, the lowest since August 2007, manufacturing jobs fell by 4,000. For the year, manufacturing jobs across the country have fallen by 78,000.

If the trend continues into 2017 — manufacturing jobs in the country have been declining since before George W. Bush took office — Trump would need to strike roughly 100 Carrier-equivalent deals to stem the tide, at an untold cost to taxpayers.

Bryce Covert contributed reporting.

So, how to help solve this decline in manufacturing? Certainly, companies like Carrier should begin by upholding it's own corporate responsibilities- including improving the human condition!

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Saturday, December 03, 2016

Jews and Muslims share fear of "Trumpziism"

Americans must stand against bigotry and racism, the social diseases now so caustic in our nation, post the Trumpzi election.

This report about Jews and Muslims, from the Christian Science Monitor (CSM) continues to remind me about the poignant relevance of the Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) poem titled "First They Came".  It's a startling poetic report about the cowardice of German intellectuals following the Nazis' rise to power in Germany and subsequent purging of their chosen targets, group after group. 

Pastor Martin Niemöller

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Many variations and adaptations in the spirit of the original have been published in the English language. It deals with themes of persecution, guilt and responsibility.

Why Jews are coming to the defense of mosques in America- reported in "Bridging Divides" (CSM): by Jessica Mendoza
Jewish-Muslim cooperation is on the rise. 
Their ability to work together despite decades of conflict on issues of foreign policy could serve as a model for embracing shared American values.

LOS ANGELES — When Sheryl Olitzky first broached the subject of a Jewish-Muslim women’s group, Atiya Aftab didn’t buy it. “Why is someone calling me because I’m Muslim?” Ms. Aftab recalls thinking. “This is creepy.”

But as Ms. Olitzky made her case over lattes at a Starbucks in suburban New Jersey, Aftab found herself drawn in.

“This is a woman extending her hand to me, saying, ‘I want to get to know you. I want to be your protector. I want to have your back because I know what you’re going through, because of what the Jewish community has been through,’ ” says Aftab, a professor at Rutgers University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies. “That was so compelling, so honest.”

After that meeting in 2010, the two women launched the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom – then just a casual gathering of local Muslim and Jewish women talking about faith and family, and sharing their experiences as religious minorities in America. 

Today, the group has chapters in more than 50 cities.

The success of groups such as the Sisterhood point to a growing – and perhaps unprecedented – desire among American Muslims and Jews to work toward a common goal, some say.

Over the years, “More people have become aware of their common faiths given the rise of toxic anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic hate,” says Haroon Moghul, senior fellow and director of development at The Center for Global Policy, a New York think tank. “There’s been a definite change, and for the better.”

This spring, business, political, and religious leaders from both communities for the first time formed a joint advisory council that seeks to give the Muslim and Jewish Americans a national voice. And amid a post-election spike in anti-Islamic sentiment, local Jewish groups have stepped up their support for Muslims in their own communities.

When mosques in California this week received a threatening letter calling Muslims “a vile and filthy people” and saying that President-elect Donald Trump “is going to do to you Muslims what Hitler did to the jews (sic),” Jewish groups were among the first to reach out, says Ojaala Ahmad, communications director for the Council on Islamic Relations in Los Angeles. The letter was also sent to mosques in several other states, including Georgia, Michigan, Ohio, and Rhode Island.

One Jewish group out of New Haven, Conn., started an online campaign to raise funds for a Muslim nonprofit, urging fellow Jews to “hold ourselves accountable for the intersectional oppressions Muslim people are facing, and honor and join the movements Muslim Americans are building to combat white supremacy and advocate for their rights.”

“I think there’s more of a sense of urgency,” says Aftab at the Sisterhood. “We’ve heard from people all over the country, even all over the world, saying, ‘I need to reach out and do something constructive rather than be affected by this fear in a negative way.’ ”

The coming together of these two faith groups, despite decades of conflict on issues of foreign policy, could serve as an important model for others seeking to focus on shared American values, experts say.

Such efforts also demonstrate a continued drive among Americans to hold to ideals of democracy and pluralism by banding together and finding common ground in times of fear and confusion.

“Groups that are willing to talk and learn and still maintain their identities and distinctiveness represent a real promise for what a pluralistic society looks like,” says Brie Loskota, executive director of the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California.

“Difference is a fundamental reality of humanity,” she adds. “If we can’t negotiate that – if every disagreement is an existential disagreement – then the work of knitting together a society of 300 million people becomes almost impossible.”
Building bridges

In Los Angeles, an encounter that echoed Olitzky and Aftab’s led to the formation of another Jewish-Muslim partnership.

After meeting at a local community center, Michelle Missaghieh, a rabbi, and Aziza Hasan, a mediator with years of experience in coalition-building, started organizing local meetings for women to study the Quran and Torah. The program became a key part of NewGround, an organization that fosters interfaith relationships through programs, grants, internships, even a leadership council for high school students..

For both NewGround and the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, the goal was to bridge a gap between two faith groups that shared a rich history and experience as religious minorities in Christian-majority America.

“For a Christian, to go to your weekly service generally means you don’t have to ask for a day off. Sunday is a day that most people don’t work,” says Ms. Loskota at USC. “If you’re Muslim, to get the middle of the day off on a Friday to go pray, that’s not easily accommodated.”

The same goes for dietary restrictions, modes of dress, and customs regarding behavior towards the opposite sex, Loskota says, not to mention more overt experiences of discrimination.

Crossing the boundaries of faith to form relationships around those shared realities not only allows Muslim and Jewish Americans to hear and understand each other’s stories. It also helps them create a community that can together compose a more powerful narrative about their place in American society, Loskota says.

“It’s moving the discourse from special privileges for a group or individual to an argument about who we are as a country,” she says. “Do we value people and their dignity?”
A symbol of cooperation

The Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council, which debuted just days after the election, represents the next step in community building between the two groups. Its main goals are to work at the policy level to fight discriminatory laws, as well as bolster support for grassroots efforts like the Sisterhood and NewGround, says Robert Silverman, the council’s executive director.

“This new council adds a leadership, national-level body that can talk about things happening throughout the country and get some change done,” he says. “You have to have community-based organizations; otherwise it’s just a bunch of talking heads. But if it’s only grassroots groups, it stays limited. You need both to work.”

At the same time, the council serves as an important symbol of cooperation for other groups seeking to build coalitions on the eve of Trump’s presidency.

For decades, Jews and Muslims in the US have clashed on the issue of Israel-Palestine, and the council is no different – Silverman notes its members often stand on opposite ends of the conflict. Yet all of them, he says, are dedicated to promoting both communities’ concerns in America.

“This [effort] is about the country we care about most, which also happens to be the country we live in,” Silverman says.

Jewish-Muslim relations are “the single thorniest interfaith issue of our time,” says Mr. Moghul at The Center for Global Policy. “And if we can find a way to talk and to understand and respect each other even as we disagree, then we are establishing a model.”

[Editor's note: This version was updated to clarify the circumstances in which NewGround was founded, and to correct the issue to which Mr. Moghul referred as 'the single thorniest interfaith issue of our time.']

With the obvious rise of white supremacy, (Trumpzism) and given the horrible Trump hire of Breitbart (aka, barfcart) news, a media where "fake news" rules, it's time for us who despise the diseases of bigotry and racism to remember the haunting words written in "First They Came".

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Friday, December 02, 2016

Trump's change - health care in the vice

In his campaign promise to "make American great again" Donald Trump didn't explain how his slogan would replace what he wrongly and rehtorically screeched about the evils of the Affordable Care Act, aka "Obamacare". Well, now the orthopedic physician, Congressman Tom Price M.D., who Trump is putting in charge of the important Health and Human Services department and who will sit on his cabinet, will likely be sure to see his peers get a big raise, in referrals. Physicians will feel empowered again, as many of them felt disenfranchised by the ACA. One way the Obamacare coverage provided for at least some affordability was to limit unnecessary surgeries, like some orthopedic procedures. It's simply impossible to explain how it is that a nation as wealthy as the United States can restrict anyone- anyone at all- from access to health care!
Image result for logo for health care

Of course, the biggest losers of all under the "make America great again" rubric will be the poor people, those who need and depend on Medicaid assistance. (Ironically, many of these people were wrong minded Trump supporters.) Those not mentioned in this New York Times article (below) are the people who depend on long term care assistance, the disabled and children born in poverty or who live in foster care, to name a few. Moreover, what will happen when, inevitably, the lack of access to care, due to new rules, causes another outbreak of infectious diseases, like either "bird flu" (H1N1) or tuberculosis?

PUBLIC HEALTH- published in The New York Times
A Trump Pick, and Why Indiana’s Strict Medicaid Rules Could Spread- by Margaret Sanger-Katz

In most of the United States, anyone poor enough to qualify for Medicaid simply receives whatever care doctors recommend at minimal cost. But many Medicaid enrollees in Indiana can’t get full benefits unless they pay monthly premiums, and some who fail to pay can be shut out of coverage entirely for six months. If they go to the emergency room too often, they have to pay a fee.

These provisions were unprecedented departures for the program last year, and they were negotiated with federal health officials by Seema Verma, a consultant, on behalf of Gov. Mike Pence, now the vice president-elect. 

This week Donald J. Trump chose Ms. Verma to lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the influential agency inside the Department of Health and Human Services that oversees Medicare, Medicaid and the Obamacare insurance markets.

It is not clear what Ms. Verma may have planned for Medicare, a fully federal program that covers millions of older Americans and that usually makes up most of the administrator’s job. Administrators of the agency typically come with some Medicare experience, and Ms. Verma appears to have little.

Her policy priorities for Medicaid are much clearer. Mr. Trump and congressional Republicans have vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and to create new systems for providing health insurance to low and middle-income Americans. But even without legislation, the executive branch can do a lot to reshape existing programs by giving states more power. Ms. Verma’s nomination suggests that the administration will become much more enthusiastic about approving novel Medicaid policies like those adopted in Indiana.

The Healthy Indiana Plan, as it’s known, “has been successful in meeting its policy objectives, but it also continues to demonstrate the potential for consumer-driven health care as an alternative to the traditional Medicaid model,” Ms. Verma wrote in an article in the journal Health Affairs this summer, arguing that other states should adopt its provisions. (An employee of her consulting firm said Ms. Verma was not doing interviews or answering questions.)
(Too bad Ms. Verma isn't available to answer the questions about the beneficiaries of long term care, the disabled, children in foster care or others who are too poor to advocate for themselves.)

The Medicaid statute allows states to throw out many, but not all, program rules to test whether they can deliver better care to Medicaid patients at a similar cost. The bright lines about which rules can be waived are often decided in court.

The Obama administration has been open to new ideas in Medicaid, in part because it has wanted to encourage Republican-led states to expand coverage to more of their residents. It has allowed major policy experiments in Arkansas and Iowa, but the Indiana plan pushed the furthest in requiring beneficiaries to spend their own money and follow complex rules to continue receiving full benefits.

Other changes to Medicaid long favored by Republican state officials, like requirements that applicants work to obtain benefits, could also be approved. The Obama administration has argued that such requirements violate the Medicaid statute.

Republican state officials argue that such rules help beneficiaries take a greater stake in their own health and help them learn the value of their benefits.

“When things aren’t completely free, people begin to make more careful decisions about how and how much to consume,” said Mitch Daniels, the former Indiana governor, who worked with Ms. Verma on an early version of the plan. Mr. Daniels, now the president of Purdue University, praised her as an “indispensible technician” for her efforts in devising the proposal.

Analysts have criticized the Indiana program, saying that there hasn’t been good evidence that beneficiaries understood the incentive structure or changed their behavior because of it. They have also raised concerns that the program is complex and hard to manage — that the cost of collecting small premiums exceeds the revenue the state receives. Judith Solomon, the vice president for health policy at the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, said the state had not cooperated with efforts to independently evaluate the program.

At the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Ms. Verma could also encourage large changes in middle-class coverage. A provision in the Affordable Care Act allows states to replace traditional Medicaid and the Obamacare insurance marketplaces with a different system if it can be demonstrated that the plan would cover a similar number of people at a similar cost. The provision was envisioned as a way to allow liberal states to pursue single-payer systems. But health policy experts believe it could also be used to reshape many of the Affordable Care Act’s insurance market rules.

“The Affordable Care Act really federalized the health insurance market, so now we can decentralize that again, bring that authority back to the states in determining what benefits are,” said Dennis Smith, a former federal director of Medicaid in the Bush administration, who has also run the Wisconsin Medicaid program. He is now working for the Medicaid agency in Arkansas.

Other Medicaid experts worry about new barriers to health care, if the Trump administration approves plans that Obama administration officials have blocked.

“We can expect to see far-reaching changes contemplated for Medicaid that will erect many more barriers to coverage — and very punitive barriers,” said Joan Alker, the executive director of the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University, in an email. “For example, forcing people to remain uninsured for up to year if they miss a paperwork deadline or a premium payment, even though we know that conditions like mental illness or homelessness — or something more simple like a notice getting lost in the mail — may explain the missed deadline.”

But experts across the political spectrum agree: Ms. Verma’s appointment will probably usher in a new era of state flexibility in health care.

(Certainly, the poor are in the vice again as making American great again will obviously be challenging for the poor who need health care coverage.  It appears to be the case that the wealthiest nation on earth will not make providing health care for the poor a national priority.)

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Thursday, December 01, 2016

Baltimore HIV incidence: reverse this infectious stigma

When I worked in Baltimore at Johns Hopkins Hospital, a few decades ago, the public health initiatives were in the area of sexually transmitted diseases, particularly how to diagnose and treat syphilis. Now, the urgency is to identify all the sexually transmitted diseases ie, STD's including reported HIV infections. HIV is a STD but also spreads through shared needle use by people addicted to illegal drugs.
Related image
Baltimore is a city and metropolitan area with public health and community resources to treat and eliminate all sexually transmitted diseases- including HIV.

Although HIV is slowly declining, the trend in Baltimore remains in the highest among metropolitan areas. This stigma can be reversed!

Frankly, I don't understand how Baltimore finds itself the focus, again, of HIV and STD epidemics. Speaking from first hand nursing provider experience, Baltimore has the money and certainly the specialists with extraordinary expertise to reverse this reputation as a place where STD's "grow". 

In my opinion, given the resources at Baltimore City's disposal, the city should be a showcase of places where HIV is treated and eliminated.  

It's impossible for me to accept that the continued incidence of HIV in Baltimore is anything other than a lack of public policy and health care providers' willingness to treat and solve this problem.

Here's an article describing the problem:
Where Baltimore Region Ranks in New HIV Cases

Reported cases and rate of new HIV diagnosis
By Greg Hambrick (Patch National Staff) - December 1, 2016 2:52 pm ET

Baltimore metro area continues to have one of the highest rats of infection, according to figures released this week by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Baltimore ranks 10th among metro areas when comparing new HIV cases, with a rate of 22.1 new diagnoses for every 100,000 residents. That's far higher than the national rate of 12.3. The Baltimore metro area includes cities and communities in and around Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, Howard and Queen Anne's counties.

There were 618 new HIV cases reported in the Baltimore metro area in 2015, down slightly from 678 a year earlier. Across Maryland, there were 1,348 new diagnoses of HIV in 2015 — a rate of 22.4 cases for every 100,000 residents. In total, 32,000 Marylanders are living with HIV.

The data comes from the federal "HIV Surveillance Report," with the number of new cases and overall infection rates collected nationwide. The CDC notes that the latest data compiled for 2015 is preliminary and may not include some delayed reports. Final 2015 numbers will be released next year.

Across the U.S., new HIV cases continues to decline, down to 39,513 in 2015, compared to more than 49,000 in 2008. Sixteen states saw an increase in the rate of new diagnoses in 2015. Louisiana saw a significant drop in new diagnoses but still had the highest rate — slightly ahead of Florida with 24.2 new cases for every 100,000 residents.

Dec. 1, 2016, is World Aids Day, an annual international effort to increases awareness about safe practices that prevent HIV infection and how to support those with the disease. provides a national locator for health centers that provide HIV testing.

The highest rate of HIV diagnosis among metropolitan areas is in Miami. The metro area — which includes Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach — had a rate of nearly 39 new HIV cases for every 100,000 residents. Along with Miami, other metro areas with a higher rate of infection include Louisiana's Baton Rouge and New Orleans, followed by Jackson, Mississippi, and Atlanta.

HIV and AIDS cases are generally concentrated in urban areas and, therefore, in states with large metropolitan regions. 

But in the South, larger percentages of diagnoses are in smaller metro areas and suburban and rural areas, according to the CDC.

Here are the 30 metro areas that had the highest rate of new HIV cases in 2015 (the rate is per 100,000 residents):

Miami–Fort Lauderdale–West Palm Beach, FL: 38.8
Baton Rouge, LA: 32.0
New Orleans–Metairie, LA: 31.9
Jackson, MS: 31.3
Atlanta–Sandy Springs–Roswell, GA: 25.8
Orlando–Kissimmee–Sanford, FL: 25.7
Louisville/Jefferson County, KY–IN: 24.5
Memphis, TN–MS–AR: 23.1
Jacksonville, FL: 22.7
Baltimore–Columbia–Towson, MD: 22.1
Houston–The Woodlands–Sugar Land, TX: 22.1
Washington–Arlington–Alexandria, DC–VA–MD–WV: 21.5
Columbia, SC: 21.1
Las Vegas–Henderson–Paradise, NV: 20.9
Tampa–St. Petersburg–Clearwater, FL: 20.1
Augusta–Richmond County, GA–SC: 18.6
Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington, TX: 18.0 17
New York–Newark–Jersey City, NY–NJ–PA: 17.8
Richmond, VA: 17.7 19
Greensboro–High Point, NC: 17.3 20
San Juan–Carolina–Caguas, PR: 17.0 21
Austin–Round Rock, TX: 16.8 22
Virginia Beach–Norfolk–Newport News, VA–NC: 16.6 23
Lakeland–Winter Haven, FL: 16.6
Charlotte–Concord–Gastonia, NC–SC: 16.5
Los Angeles–Long Beach–Anaheim, CA: 16.5
San Antonio–New Braunfels, TX: 16.2
Little Rock–North Little Rock–Conway, AR: 16.0
Durham–Chapel Hill, NC: 15.7
Charleston–North Charleston, SC: 15.7

Drug Use and HIV Diagnosis

Also this week, federal officials expressed concern about infections among drug users who inject heroin and other narcotics. HIV cases among minorities injecting drugs dropped by 50 percent between 2008 and 2014, but new infections among white injected drug users dropped by only 28 percent.

One possible cause may be the continued use of shared needles among white drug users, according to the CDC report. It also notes that the rate of injected drug use has increased dramatically among whites — up 114 percent in recent years.

The new data was shared in an effort to support Syringe Services Programs that can provide clean needles, along with services that include substance abuse counseling, disease testing and overdose response training.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Christian survivors in Iraq

A Christian Science Monitor report about the brave Irqai Christians who have (so far) apparantly survived ISIS, the evil Islamic Caliphate (self declared government).

"They’ve suffered a lot,"- Father Ammar Siman, priest of the St. George Syriac Catholic church in Bartalla

Their town now liberated, Iraqi Christians talk of life under ISIS
The historic heartland of Assyrian Christians in Iraq was seized by the militants in 2014, and nearly all fled in the face of demands to convert, pay a tax, or die.
Ismail Ibrahim Matti and his mother, Jandark Behnam Mansour Nasi, are Assyrian Christians who pretended to convert to Islam to escape execution by the so-called Islamic State (ISIS), when their hometown of Bartalla, Iraq, was overtaken in 2014. They endured two years of beatings and captivity before finally escaping, under sniper fire, to the Iraqi Army in early November.

CSM: By Kristen Chick, Correspondent NOVEMBER 28, 2016

ERBIL, IRAQ — When Christians fled the small town of Bartalla in August 2014, as Islamic State militants swept toward them, then-14-year-old Ibrahim Matti and his elderly mother stayed behind. Without a car, they waited on a relative who promised to return for them after ferrying his own family to safety.

But by then, it was too late. Matti and his mother, Jandark Nasi, both Assyrian Christians, spent more than two years living under IS control in and around Mosul. They endured physical violence, constant threats and intimidation, and forced conversion before finally escaping as the Iraqi Army pushed into Mosul in recent weeks.

They are among just a handful of Christians who have so far emerged from territory controlled by the self-declared Islamic State amid the Iraqi offensive that has retaken parts of northern Iraq.

The historic heartland of Assyrian Christians in Iraq was part of the territory seized by the militants in 2014, and nearly all fled in the face of IS requirements: convert, pay a tax, or die. The ordeal of Matti and Ms. Nasi offers a glimpse of what life was like for those unable to escape.

Father Ammar Siman, priest of the St. George Syriac Catholic church in Bartalla, around 14 miles east of Mosul, says around 100 Christians were missing from the Christian villages around Mosul after August 2014. The relatives of many of the missing fear they did not survive.

Fr. Siman fled to Erbil in 2014. Although he has been back to see the church, he says no one has moved back to the town yet.

“We are very happy to receive them alive,” he says of those who had recently managed to escape. “Of course they need too much help. They’ve suffered a lot.”

Three days ISIS took Bartalla, Matti and his mother also tried to flee to Erbil, the capital of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region where many Christians took refuge. But militants stopped them at a checkpoint and sent them to a detention center in Mosul, and then to one in Bartalla. The prison was full of other Christians and Shiites, all of whom were being beaten, he says. There, militants told the teenager he must convert to Islam, urging him to say the Islamic profession of faith.

“I said there is no God but Jesus,” he recalled recently.

The militants then went to the next cell, where they were holding Shiite Muslims, whom they consider heretics. Matti could hear as an IS member demanded a man convert to Islam. “He didn’t accept, so they shot him in the head. Then they took me to his cell, showed me his body, and told me if you don’t convert to Islam, you will have the same fate,” he says. “I was frightened. I was scared.”

When the militants again demanded that the two recite the Islamic profession of faith, they complied. “We said it. But it wasn’t coming from our hearts,” he says. “I have strong faith, but with everything that happened, we were under threats and pressure. When you say something that’s not from the bottom of your heart, it’s not to be believed.”

Yet even that did not end their torment. Over the next two years, as they were living on the outskirts of Mosul and in the village of Bazwiya, IS militants regularly visited the two to test their commitment to Islam.

“I didn’t memorize their prayers, so they were beating me,” says Matti. “They beat my mother with sticks because she didn’t know how to pray.”

Militants would torture them with needles if they answered questions incorrectly, he says, and told him that if he missed three consecutive Fridays at the mosque they would kill him. Whenever he didn’t go to the mosque, they found and beat him, he says. He was forced to wear the short trousers preferred by the militants, and to grow his beard.

At the mosque, Matti listened to the imam proclaim the rest of the world infidels and urge residents to pledge obedience to the leader of IS and participate in jihad. Over the two years, he says he often saw members of IS who were not Iraqi. He also saw public executions, including the stoning of a woman accused of adultery, when he visited a central Mosul marketplace to buy food. But the two say that some Mosul residents secretly helped them, risking the ire of IS members by giving them food and supplies.

“I was always praying in my heart to Mary and Jesus,” says Nasi. “I was praying in the bottom of my heart, and crying. For the sake of my son, my gift from God.”

When the Iraqi Army offensive reached the area they were living on the eastern outskirts of Mosul, IS members gathered all the residents and forced them to retreat into the city. From there, Matti and Nasi were able to flee to territory taken by Iraqi forces.

Asked how it felt to finally be free, Matti smiles for the first time in an hour and a half of talking. “I still don’t believe it,” he says.

While Matti and Nasi lived in and near Mosul while under IS, two elderly Christian women stayed in the town of Qaraqosh.  Zarifa Baqous Daddo didn’t leave as all her neighbors fled the IS onslaught in August 2014 because her sick husband wasn’t able. He died after 15 days, and Ms. Daddo went to stay with another elderly Christian couple who’d stayed behind.

But one day, the man went out and never returned, she says, leaving the two frail women to spend the remainder of the two years alone. Militants briefly took them to Mosul before returning them to Qaraqosh and forcing them to recite the Islamic profession of faith under threats of violence.

She said the militants didn’t beat them, possibly showing some deference to their age, and regularly brought food and water to the house where the two women remained. But they terrorized them, including with false reports of territorial conquest.

“They were always telling us, you have no relatives left, we have taken over Erbil, we have taken over everything,” she says. Amid it all, she said she clung to her faith. “We didn’t have anything but our prayers. This was the only thing we had to do.”

Security forces found the pair after they pushed IS from the village.

Daddo, Matti, and Nasi say no one has blamed them for doing what they had to do to stay alive.

“We were visited by two priests, they told us not to worry about that,” says Nasi. “They said ‘you don’t have to fear anything now, we are your people, we are your family.’ ”

Siman, the priest from Bartalla, said they would receive only love from God and the church. “I think they were obligated to accept something they didn’t believe,” he says.“Do we blame them? No.”

Matti, a quiet and slight teenager, and his mother now live in a small room in a church-run center for displaced people in Erbil. Rosaries hang on the wall above the two simple beds, and the floor is covered by carpet scraps. A bare light bulb hangs from the wall. After more than two years without television, they enjoy a Bollywood film on a donated television – the pair are partial to Indian and Egyptian films.

Now out from under the caliphate, Matti says he wants to obtain medical care for his mother and to continue his studies, which stopped at 8th grade. But both see a future that lies outside of Iraq and their hometown.

“We spent two years [under IS], two horrible years. We don’t want to go back,” says Nasi. “We want to leave Iraq, to leave this pain.”

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

One Electoral voter resigns takes courage

Although I would've preferred to see this resigned Electoral College voter remain, to cast a dissenting vote, the very rare resignation from what was, in the past, an honorable role, is yet another dent in the irresponsible decision to elect Donald Trump.
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Alexander Hamilton:  "the office of the President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications
Texas Elector to Resign Instead of Voting for Trump
Art Sisneros says he won’t be ‘faithless,’ but he also can’t in good conscience signal his approval of the president-elect.

A Republican elector from Texas says he is resigning his position instead of casting his vote for Donald Trump, calling the Electoral College "corrupted from its original intent" and saying voting for the president-elect would "bring dishonor to God."

Art Sisneros was considering in August the possibility of becoming a so-called faithless elector, meaning he would refuse to vote for Trump if the GOP candidate won the Lone Star State and its 38 electoral votes in November.

In a Saturday blog post on his website, Sisneros said he had decided he was not comfortable defying his pledge to vote for his party's nominee, but neither could he cast his vote for Trump.

"Since I can't in good conscience vote for Donald Trump, and yet have sinfully made a pledge that I would, the best option I see at this time is to resign my position as an elector," Sisneros wrote. "This will allow the remaining body of electors to fill my vacancy when they convene on Dec. 19, with someone that can vote for Trump."

His decision followed a previous post in which he posed the question of whether it was "acceptable for a Christian to vote for a man like Trump for president," and concluded that he could not "in good conscience" do so.

"I do not see how Donald Trump is Biblically qualified to serve in the office of the presidency," he said in his Saturday post. 

"Of the hundreds of angry messages that I have received, not one has made a convincing case from Scripture otherwise. If Trump is not qualified and my role, both morally and historically, as an elected official is to vote my conscience, then I cannot and will not vote for Donald Trump for president."

In the lengthy post, Sisneros explained his frustration with both progressives' and conservatives' approaches to the Electoral College and the failure to use the body in the way the founders intended, which Sisneros likened to parents acting "in the best interest of their children" even if in some cases their children desire otherwise.

"The people will get their vote. They will get their Skittles for dinner," he said. "I will sleep well at night knowing I neither gave in to their demands nor caved to my convictions. I will also mourn the loss of our republic."

Meanwhile, a separate movement is openly lobbying for enough electors to refuse to vote for Trump.

Calling themselves the Hamilton Electors – a nod to Alexander Hamilton’s explanation of the Electoral College’s job as to ensure “the office of the President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications” – the group spurred by Democratic electors hopes to trigger the selection of another candidate through electors either changing their votes or abstaining from voting for Trump.

Electors are set to meet in their respective states across the country on Dec. 19 to formally cast their votes for president.

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Monday, November 28, 2016

Borowitz and El Chapo - all truth has a germ of humor

This Andy Borowitz on line report from The New Yorker is a metaphor in humor. Why not El Chapo? All truth has an element of humor, enough to create the germ of satirical genius.

TRUMP PICKS "EL CHAPO" TO RUN D.E.A. (for the people challenged by acronyms, that's "Drug Enforcement Agency")

NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report)—Just days after picking Betsy DeVos (married to Amway executive Doug DeVos) to run the Department of Education, President-elect Donald Trump has tapped another wealthy outsider by naming Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán to head the Drug Enforcement Administration.
(Donald Trump told the website "Snopes" that he neither confirms nor denies this report.)

In an official statement, Trump said that El Chapo’s “tremendous success in the private sector” showed that he has what it takes to “shake things up” at the D.E.A.

Trump’s appointment of the former drug lord surprised many in Washington, in no small part because acrimony between the two allegedly prompted El Chapo, in 2015, to put a hundred-million-dollar bounty on Trump’s head.

But, appearing on CNN, the Trump surrogate Kellyanne Conway said that the selection of El Chapo should surprise no one. “Mr. Trump always said that he would surround himself with the best people,” she said.

When asked why Trump had readily offered a job to El Chapo while still mulling the fate of another former adversary, Mitt Romney, Conway said, “El Chapo might not have voted for Mr. Trump, but that’s because he’s Mexican and in jail, and Mitt Romney is neither.” In fact, the appointment of the former Mexican drug kingpin is far from a done deal. 

Nevertheless, the associates of El Chapo report that he is “concerned” that being a member of the Trump Administration 
will be bad for his brand.

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Submariner alert "Trump is in an uproar"

In the #Trumpertantrum now under way by Donald Trump about the Wisconsin election recount is the classic response to what William Shakespeare identified as the person who "doth protest too much".

As US Navy submariners might profanely say, "Trump has his balls in an uproar.."

"The lady doth protest too much, methinks" is a quotation from the c. 1600 play Hamlet by William Shakespeare. It has been used as a figure of speech, in various phrasings, to describe someone's overly frequent and vehement attempts to convince others of some matter of which the opposite is true, thereby making themselves appear defensive and insincere.

Again, Donald Trump resorts to the only communication he knows how to manipulate to make false accusations while the cloud of controversy about his conflicts of interest and foriegn investments are being investigated.  Here are the absolute facts:

1.  There is no evidence of election voter fraud.
2.  An election recount of votes in Wisconsin and other states will serve to provide integrity, clarity and closure to the election results.
3. Plenty of evidence exists about how Donald Trump continues to have ethical problems with his foreign investments.

"...Swiss pharmaceutical company, announced last year that it would close a plant in nearby Clarecastle, causing the loss of more than 200 jobs. 'If someone told them you’d save those jobs by building any wall, everyone would do it,' he said. 'The only reason people are objecting here is because of Trump'.” - The New York Times

Potential Conflicts Around the Globe for Trump, the Businessman President By RICHARD C. PADDOCK, ERIC LIPTON, ELLEN BARRY, ROD NORDLAND, DANNY HAKIM and SIMON ROMERONOV. 26, 2016
Lichuan Xia works for Caijing Magazine as editorial cartoonist and graphic designer.
Certainly the Trump meteor is frightening- he ran his campaign on fear and he'll evidently "rule" by leveraging his international investments in favor of his own best interest.

MANILA — On Thanksgiving Day, a Philippine developer named Jose E. B. Antonio hosted a company anniversary bash at one of Manila’s poshest hotels. He had much to be thankful for.

In October, he had quietly been named a special envoy to the United States by the Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte. Mr. Antonio was nearly finished building a $150 million tower in Manila’s financial district — a 57-story symbol of affluence and capitalism, which bluntly promotes itself with the slogan “Live Above the Rest.” And now his partner on the project, Donald J. Trump, had just been elected president of the United States. 

(MaineWriter- I've been to Makati- the "business district" the slogan is descriptive as well as a metaphor about the Philippines.)

After the election, Mr. Antonio flew to New York for a private meeting at Trump Tower with the president-elect’s children, who have been involved in the Manila project from the beginning, as have Mr. Antonio’s children. The Trumps and Antonios have other ventures in the works, including Trump-branded resorts in the Philippines, Mr. Antonio’s son Robbie Antonio said.

“We will continue to give you products that you can enjoy and be proud of,” the elder Mr. Antonio, one of the richest men in the Philippines, told the 500 friends, employees and customers gathered for his star-studded celebration in Manila. Mr. Antonio’s combination of jobs — he is a business partner with Mr. Trump, while also representing the Philippines in its relationship with the United States and the president-elect — is hardly inconsequential, given some of the weighty issues on the diplomatic table.

Among them, Mr. Duterte has urged “a separation” from the United Statesand has called for American troops to exit the country in two years’ time. His antidrug crusade has resulted in the summary killings of thousands of suspected criminals without trial, prompting criticism from the Obama administration.

Situations like these are already leading some former government officials from both parties to ask if America’s reaction to events around the world could potentially be shaded, if only slightly, by the Trump family’s financial ties with foreign players. They worry, too, that in some countries those connections could compromise American efforts to criticize the corrupt intermingling of state power with vast business enterprises controlled by the political elite.

“It is uncharted territory, really in the history of the republic, as we have never had a president with such an empire both in the United States and overseas,” said Michael J. Green, who served on the National Security Council in the administration of George W. Bush, and before that at the Defense Department.

The globe is dotted with such potential Trump conflicts. 

In fact, Mr. Trump’s companies have business operations in at least 20 countries, with a particular focus on the developing world, including outposts in nations like India, Indonesia and Uruguay, according to a New York Times analysis of his presidential campaign financial disclosures. What’s more, the true extent of Mr. Trump’s global financial entanglements is unclear, since he has refused to release his tax returns and has not made public a list of his lenders.

In an interview with The Times on Tuesday, Mr. Trump boasted again about the global reach of his business — and his family’s ability to keep it running after he takes office.

“I’ve built a very great company and it’s a big company and it’s all over the world,” Mr. Trump said, adding later: “I don’t care about my company. It doesn’t matter. My kids run it.”

In a written statement, his spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, said Mr. Trump and his family were committed to addressing any issues related to his financial holdings.

“Vetting of various structures and immediate transfer of the business remains a top priority for both President-elect Trump, his adult children and his executives,” she said.

But a review by The Times of these business dealings identified a menu of the kinds of complications that could create a running source of controversy for Mr. Trump, as well as tensions between his priorities as president and the needs and objectives of his companies.

In Brazil, for example, the beachfront Trump Hotel Rio de Janeiro — one of Mr. Trump’s many branding deals, in which he does not have an equity stake — is part of a broad investigation by a federal prosecutor who is examining whether illicit commissions and bribes resulted in apparent favoritism by two pension funds that invested in the project.

Several of Mr. Trump’s real estate ventures in India — where he has more projects underway than in any location outside North America — are being built through companies with family ties to India’s most important political party. This makes it more likely that Indian government officials will do special favors benefiting Mr. Trump’s projects, including pressuring state-owned banks to extend favorable loans.

In Ireland and Scotland, executives from Mr. Trump’s golf courses have been waging two separate battles with local officials. The most recent centers on the Trump Organization’s plans to build a flood-prevention sea wall at the course on the Irish coast. Some environmentalists say the wall could destroy an endangered snail’s habitat — a dispute that will soon involve the president of the United States.

And in Turkey, officials including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a religiously conservative Muslim, demanded that Mr. Trump’s name be removed from Trump Towers in Istanbul after he called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States. More recently, after Mr. Trump came to the defense of Mr. Erdogan — suggesting that he had the right to crack down harshly on dissidents after a failed coup — the calls for action against Trump Towers have stopped, fueling worries that Mr. Trump’s policies toward Turkey might be shaped by his commercial interests.

Mr. Trump has acknowledged a conflict of interest in Turkey. 

“I have a little conflict of interest because I have a major, major building in Istanbul,” he said during a radio interview last year with Stephen K. Bannon, the Breitbart News executive who has since been designated his chief White House strategist. “It’s a tremendously successful job. It’s called Trump Towers — two towers, instead of one. Not the usual one. It’s two.”

These tangled ties already have some members of Congress — including at least one Republican representative — calling on Mr. Trump to provide more information on his international operations, or perhaps for a congressional inquiry into them.

“You rightly criticized Hillary for Clinton Foundation,” Representative Justin Amash, Republican of Michigan, said in a Twitter message on Monday. “If you have contracts w/foreign govts, it’s certainly a big deal, too.#DrainTheSwamp”

David J. Kramer, who served as assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor during the Bush administration, said Mr. Trump’s financial entanglements could undermine decades of efforts by Democratic and Republican presidents to promote government transparency — and to use the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act to stop contractors from paying bribes to secure government work abroad.

“This will make it a little harder to be able to go out and proselytize around these things,” Mr. Kramer said.

Even if Mr. Trump and his family seek no special advantages from foreign governments, officials overseas may feel compelled to help the Trump family by, say, accelerating building permits or pushing more business to one of the new president’s hotels or golf courses, according to several former State Department officials.

“The working assumption on behalf of all these foreign government officials will be that there is an advantage to doing business with the Trump organization,” said Michael H. Fuchs, who was until recently deputy assistant secretary at the bureau of East Asian and Pacific affairs. “They will think it will ingratiate themselves with the Trump administration. And this will significantly complicate United States foreign policy and our relationships around the world.”

At the same time, Mr. Fuchs said, American diplomats in countries where Mr. Trump’s companies operate, fearful of a rebuke from Washington, may be reluctant to take steps that could frustrate business partners or political allies.

Another question is, who will be responsible for security at the Trump Towers around the world, especially in the Middle East, which terrorism experts say may now become more appealing targets as symbols of American capitalism built in the name of the president?

What is clear is that there has been very little division, in the weeks since the election, between Mr. Trump’s business interests and his transition effort, with the president-elect or his family greeting real estate partners from India and the Philippines in his office and Mr. Trump raising concerns about his golf course in Scotland with a prominent British politician. Mr. Trump’s daughter Ivanka, who is in charge of planning and development of the Trump Organization’s global network of hotels, has joined in conversations with at least three world leaders — of Turkey, Argentina and Japan — having access that could help her expand the brand worldwide.

Mr. Trump, in the interview with The Times on Tuesday, acknowledged that his move to the Oval Office could help enrich his family. He cited his new hotel a few blocks from the White House, which the Trump Organization has urged diplomats to consider patronizing when in town to meet the president or his team.

Federal law does not prevent Mr. Trump from taking actions that could benefit him and his family financially; the president is exempt from most conflict-of-interest laws. But the Constitution, through what is called the emoluments clause, appears to prohibit him from taking payments or gifts from a foreign government entity, a standard that some legal experts say he may violate by renting space in Trump Tower in New York to the Bank of China or if he hosts foreign diplomats in one of his hotels.

“I mean it could be that occupancy at that hotel will be because, psychologically, occupancy at that hotel will be probably a more valuable asset now than it was before, O.K.? The brand is certainly a hotter brand than it was before. I can’t help that, but I don’t care,” Mr. Trump said, adding, “The only thing that matters to me is running our country.”

Robert D. Blackwill, a former National Security Council member who also served as ambassador to India during the Bush administration, said Mr. Trump still had a chance to demonstrate that he could manage these challenges once he was sworn in.

“Let’s listen and not prejudge,” said Mr. Blackwill, a Republican who was so critical of Mr. Trump that he endorsed Hillary Clinton. “I want to see what he does as president.”


Nation Under Pressure, Ventures Under Scrutiny

Donald Trump Jr., the president-elect’s oldest son, gushed with triumphalism when he announced a deal in 2014 to attach the family name to the Trump Hotel Rio de Janeiro, a lavish 171-room beachfront project featuring cavernous suites with private plunge pools and a 4,000-square-foot nightclub.

“This is an exciting time to develop our first project in South America and the perfect location to do so,” the younger Mr. Trump (his brother Eric is also involved in the family business) said at the time.

But just two years later, the venture is embroiled in a criminal investigation in Brazil, pointing to unfulfilled promises that are casting a pall over both the Trump business empire and the president-elect in their dealings in Latin America’s largest country.

Anselmo Henrique Cordeiro Lopes, a crusading federal prosecutor in the capital, Brasília, opened an investigation in the weeks before the American election into $40 million in investments made by two relatively small Brazilian pension funds in the Trump Hotel Rio.

The Trump hotel inquiry is looking at why the funds — Serpro, which invests on behalf of retirees of a state-controlled information technology firm, and Igeprev, which manages the pensions of public employees of the sparsely populated Tocantins State — put so much of their capital into the venture, which is owned by Mr. Trump’s Brazilian partner, LSH Barra.

Back in 2014, the hotel might have seemed like a good deal. Brazil was about to host the World Cup soccer tournament that year, while Rio was preparing to be the venue for the 2016 Summer Olympics. At the same time, Rio, the nerve center of Brazil’s energy industry, had been bolstered by large offshore oil discoveries.

But Brazil’s economy began to weaken in 2014, undermined by falling commodities prices, colossal graft scandals and political instability that culminated in the ouster this year of President Dilma Rousseff, who was replaced by her vice president, Michel Temer. The result: Brazil is still grappling with its most severe economic crisis in decades.

The hotel officially opened for the Olympics, but months later remains unfinished. The top floors of the property, whose design evokes a futuristic pyramid, are closed. Parts of the hotel still resemble a construction site, including the second floor, where pleasure-seekers were supposed to mingle in a nightclub overlooking the Atlantic.

The examination of the project by Mr. Lopes, the federal prosecutor, has already found a series of “highly suspicious” potential irregularities warranting a criminal investigation, according to court documents. “It is necessary to verify if the favoritism shown by the pension funds to LSH and the Trump Organization was due to the payment of illicit commissions and bribes,” Mr. Lopes said in documents filed in October.

In his filings, Mr. Lopes said the size of the hotel investments relative to the overall holdings of the small pension funds reflected a highly unusual level of risk, especially for an unfinished venture that failed to capitalize fully on the demand for accommodations during the Olympics. Going further, Mr. Lopes positioned the inquiry within a broader investigation of public pension funds, pillars of the Brazilian economy that often work in tandem with large state-controlled banks and energy companies.

Mr. Trump first took interest in a Rio hotel venture in 2012, when Ivanka Trump was having lunch in Florida with Paulo Figueiredo Filho, a businessman who is a grandson of João Figueiredo, the last autocrat of Brazil’s 21-year military dictatorship, which ended in 1985. The younger Mr. Figueiredo spearheaded the hotel venture until recently.

In a statement, Mr. Trump’s Brazilian partner, LSH, said it was innocent of any wrongdoing in connection with the investments by the pension funds, and was cooperating with the criminal inquiry.

Alan Garten, the Trump Organization’s general counsel, said in a statement issued Friday that the investigation was not targeting Mr. Trump or his company — given that it does not own the hotel — and “has no knowledge whatsoever regarding any governmental inquiry.”

The investigation of the Trump projects is unfolding at an awkward time for the Brazilian authorities. Foreign Minister José Serra, Brazil’s top diplomat, publicly declared in July that a Trump presidency would be a “nightmare.” Although President Temer has formally congratulated Mr. Trump on his victory in a letter, he is still among world leaders who have not yet spoken by telephone with the president-elect.

Even if Brazil’s executive branch actively tries to seek warmer relations with Mr. Trump, officials will face obstacles if they try to quell the investigation. Brazil differs from some other countries in Latin America where presidents can easily exert pressure on prosecutors and judges, with the judiciary steadily growing more independent.

“Brazilian diplomats could try to avoid the problem of referring to the investigation when dealing with the Trump administration, but that’s about all they can do,” said Maurício Santoro, a political scientist at the State University of Rio de Janeiro. “This is something that could hang over relations between the two countries for years.”

INDIA - Potential Pitfalls in Dual Roles

On the other side of the world, Donald Trump Jr. had other projects he was pushing.

In 2012, he flew into Mumbai for a brief meeting with the state’s chief minister at that time, hoping to salvage a residential tower representing the Trump Organization’s first planned project there. He was hoping the chief minister, Prithviraj Chavan, would intervene on his behalf to get the permission needed.

The participants recall the meeting differently: Mr. Trump’s partner, Harresh Mehta of Rohan Lifescapes, said development regulations had changed, leaving the project in limbo, and they hoped Mr. Chavan could formalize a policy so that the project could continue. Mr. Chavan said that in a 30-minute meeting, Mr. Trump and his partner were “requesting a concession that could not be given.”

By the end of the meeting, in any case, it was fairly clear that the younger Mr. Trump’s presence had not worked any magic. The project was shelved soon after.

“He thought the name was so big, we would bend backwards to satisfy him, but that was not the case,” Mr. Chavan said.

Kalpesh Mehta, managing partner of Tribeca Developers of Mumbai, the Trump Organization’s development partner in India, confirmed that Donald Trump Jr. had met with the chief minister, but disputed the claim by Mr. Chavan that he had sought a special favor.

“The notion that a request was made by Donald Jr. to waive any regulations is absolutely false,” Mr. Mehta said in the statement, which was issued Friday. “The Trump Organization does not get involved in the regulatory aspects and/or interacting with government officials related to its projects in India.”

This example, analysts here say, points to a potentially serious ethical hazard for a United States president who is also a real estate mogul in India, with five projects underway. Mr. Trump was operating much like other developers in India, who cozy up to politicians — officially or unofficially — to push projects through the bureaucracy.

Often, they must obtain as many as 60 permissions and building permits from government officials, including bureaucrats “whose main goal in life is to attract rent,” said Saurabh Mukherjea, the chief executive of institutional equities at Ambit Capital, a leading investment bank in India.

One of Mr. Trump’s projects, Trump Towers Pune, is in fact under investigation by local authorities after another builder alleged that one of its permits was fraudulent. Panchshil Realty has disputed that accusation, saying the permit in question was not required for the construction. The very nature of the country’s real estate business, however, underscores larger concerns about potential damage to American efforts to discourage corruption in business abroad.

In India, real estate is the main vehicle politicians and businessmen have used to invest so-called black money, on which taxes have not been paid. In cities, where land is scarce and extraordinarily valuable, special favors from top political leaders can lead to windfall profits, and negotiations between developers and officials are informal affairs.

It is so routine for developers to pay bribes at every step of the approval process that many bureaucrats have informal rate sheets showing exactly how much must be paid to each official.

Politicians not only pressure the bureaucracy to approve their pet projects, sometimes even when they are against local regulations, they also squeeze government banks to give out favorable loans.

Top officials might “think in some way the U.S. president will help them,” and “can put in a friendly word with the banks” to extend loans for around 8 percent interest, rather than the characteristic 15 percent, said Vikas S. Kasliwal, the chief executive officer and vice chairman of Shree Ram Urban Infrastructure.

“If the son goes himself, if the son is willing to go and meet the prime minister of India, or the urban development minister, that is a very big thing,” he said. “They will think the president is meeting them.”

Another pitfall is that Donald Trump’s partners in major projects are, in some cases, politicians themselves. Most major Indian developers have some sort of alignment, direct or indirect, with regional political leaders, who can assist in acquiring the necessary permits.

Mr. Trump’s first projects in India, which are expected to increase in number over the next year, follow this pattern: His partner for Trump Towers Pune is Panchshil Realty, owned by a family that has a close and longstanding family relationship with one of the state’s most powerful politicians, Sharad Pawar, the head of the small but influential Nationalist Congress Party. (Mr. Trump was photographed — in an image distributed on Twitter but since taken down — with executives from Panchshil Realty on Nov. 15.) Mr. Pawar’s daughter, Supriya Sule, a member of Parliament, holds a 2 percent share in Panchshil’s parent company, she said in an interview.

Mr. Trump’s partner in the Trump Tower Mumbai is the Lodha Group, founded by Mangal Prabhat Lodha, vice president of the Bharatiya Janata Party — currently the governing party in Parliament — in Maharashtra State. The Lodha Group has already negotiated with the United States government; it announced a landmark purchase of a property, known as the Washington House, on tony Altamount Road, from the American government for 3.75 billion rupees, almost $70 million.

His partner in an office complex in Gurgaon, near New Delhi, is IREO, whose managing director, Lalit Goyal, is the brother-in-law of a Bharatiya Janata member of Parliament, Sudhanshu Mittal. Mr. Mittal, in an interview, has denied having any connection with the real estate company.

Suraj Hegde, the secretary of the All India Congress Committee, a national body of Indian National Congress party members, said he was troubled by the dual roles Mr. Trump and his family would play in Indian affairs — particularly given real estate’s important role in India’s fast-growing economy, and the clout the United States has on the world stage.

“Basically this is the globalization of lobbying across countries, which then tries to establish monopoly over real estate,” Mr. Hegde said in an interview. He added that he was already calling for an independent parliamentary investigation of such maneuvers, including Mr. Trump’s real estate ventures in India.

“Establishing monopoly at the cost of small players by business connections to Mr. Trump is very worrisome,” he said. “This is not at all healthy for a democracy.”

TURKEY - Mixing Business, Politics and Islam

Mr. Trump’s business interests in Turkey are emblematic of two weighty contradictions for a businessman turned politician.

As a candidate, Mr. Trump railed against moving American jobs overseas and promised to do something about it. As a businessman, he invested in a partnership with a furniture company here, making luxury furniture in the firm’s factory in western Anatolia and selling it in the United States and worldwide — a partnership that apparently remains active.

Mr. Trump the candidate inveighed against Muslims and threatened at least a temporary ban on their entering the United States. Mr. Trump the businessman has in recent years had some of his biggest expansions overseas, including in Muslim countries like Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and even Azerbaijan.

One of the most visible Muslim-world symbols of that contradiction is in the bustling commercial district of Sisli, on the European side of Istanbul, where a pair of cantilevered modernist towers, nearly 40 stories high, bear Mr. Trump’s name.

Turkey’s leader, Mr. Erdogan, visited Trump Towers Istanbul — one holds luxury apartments and one office space, with a shopping mall connecting the two — after their completion in 2012, with Mr. Trump and Ivanka Trump appearing as part of the celebration the next day.

“We look forward to this being the first of many world-class developments undertaken together in Istanbul and throughout Turkey,” Mr. Trump saidin a statement issued during the visit.

Beyond real estate, there is the Trump Organization’s 2013 partnership with Dorya International, a luxury furniture maker with a factory in Manisa Province, near the city of Izmir, to build pieces sold under the Trump Home Collection.

But the presidential campaign demonstrated how the goals of his business and politics ventures can come into direct conflict, particularly once Mr. Trump in December proposed barring Muslims from entering the United States, implying that all Muslims might pose a terrorist threat.

“We regret and condemn Trump’s discriminatory remarks,” Bulent Kural, the manager of the Trump Towers Mall, wrote in an email to a reporter at the time, as he announced that the mall was considering removing Mr. Trump’s name. “Such statements bear no value and are products of a mind that does not understand Islam, a peace religion, at all. Our reaction has been directly expressed to the Trump family. We are reviewing the legal dimension of our relation with the Trump brand.”

Mr. Erdogan weighed in on the issue, too, saying, “The ones who put that brand on their building should immediately remove it.”

Mr. Trump’s next move helped re-establish his standing. After a failed coup in Turkey in July, he defended Mr. Erdogan’s crackdown on dissidents, saying in an interview with The Times that the United States has to “fix our own mess” before trying to alter the behavior of other nations.

“I don’t think we have a right to lecture,” Mr. Trump said in the interview.“Look at what is happening in our country,” he added, referring to violence in the United States. “How are we going to lecture when people are shooting policemen in cold blood?”

In between his two remarks — one infuriating the president of Turkey, the other comforting him — the calls for the renaming of the Trump Towers Mall ended. But much more is at stake in relations between the United States and Turkey than a shopping mall and two skyscrapers.

Turkey is a key player in United States efforts to combat the Islamic State in the Middle East, and sits next door to Syria as the United States has armed rebel groups in an attempt to remove Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, from power.

The recent postelection telephone call between Mr. Trump and Mr. Erdogan suggests that business and political roles will continue to be mixed.

According to a Turkish journalist, Amberin Zaman, writing in the independent online news outlet Diken, Mr. Trump told the Turkish leader that he and his daughter — who participated in the call — admired both Mr. Erdogan and Mehmet Ali Yalcindag, Mr. Trump’s business associate in the towers, whom he called “a close friend.”

Ms. Zaman, a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, said no government officials had disputed her account of the conversation. “I’m of the opinion they were quite happy for this to be published,” she said. A spokeswoman for Mr. Trump declined to comment about the call.

Jennifer Harris, who served on the staff of the National Intelligence Council and on the State Department’s policy planning staff, said the twin hats that Mr. Trump and his family would be wearing in Turkey would almost certainly complicate the jobs of American diplomats there.

“It makes me wonder if the Trump administration will use the power of the state to help political or business allies and hurt political adversaries and business rivals,” she said.

THE PHILIPPINES - What Stance Toward Duterte?

President Duterte’s antidrug campaign has led to the summary deaths of thousands of suspected criminals at the hands of police and vigilantes since he took office June 30. The killing has been condemned by human rights activists — and the Obama administration.

In August, Elizabeth Trudeau, a State Department spokeswoman, said the United States was “very deeply concerned” about reports of “extrajudicial killings by or at the behest of government authorities of individuals who are suspected to have been in drug activity in the Philippines.” She added, “We have also made our concerns known.”

The question now, former State Department officials say, is just what kind of a stand the Trump administration will take as Mr. Trump and his family balance their personal and financial ties with foreign policy demands.

Mr. Antonio first met Mr. Trump casually in the 1990s and has been his business partner in the Philippines for five years. President Duterte named him special envoy to the United States as the Philippines angrily pushed back at President Obama for criticizing his deadly campaign. At the time of the appointment, Mrs. Clinton was leading in the polls in the United States presidential election.

Mr. Duterte has made clear that he does not appreciate American meddling in his country’s domestic affairs.

“I am a president of a sovereign state, and we have long ceased to be a colony,” Mr. Duterte told reporters in early September, before a scheduled meeting in Laos with Mr. Obama that never took place. “I do not have any master except the Filipino people, nobody but nobody.”

Mr. Duterte handpicked Mr. Antonio as his intermediary with the United States, said his press secretary, Ernesto Abella, because of his business success, his previous experience as a special envoy to China and the Philippine president’s “deep intuition about people.” The appointment will be advantageous for the Philippines, Mr. Abella added, because Mr. Trump already knows Mr. Antonio.

Even before Mr. Trump has been sworn in, Mr. Antonio flew to New York and visited Trump Tower, where he met with Mr. Trump’s children, who are executives at the Trump Organization — which oversees the president-elect’s real estate ventures. This was a business trip, not a diplomatic one, Robbie Antonio, Mr. Antonio’s son and the managing director of the family business, said in an interview.

The two families are considering new ventures as they finish work on the Trump Tower in Makati City, a financial center within metropolitan Manila, that is one of the country’s wealthiest enclaves and home to many of the nation’s elite.

The $150 million tower — one of the tallest in the Philippines — is on the gritty side of Makati about two blocks from Manila’s most notorious red-light district, where it is common to see prostitutes soliciting business and people sleeping on sidewalks. Completion, originally scheduled for this year, is now expected in 2017. About 240 of the 260 units have been sold, said Kristina Garcia, the director for investor relations.

“We are bringing Trump to the Philippines because we believe that Trump exemplifies the best quality of real estate anywhere in the world,” Mr. Antonio said in a 2011 video promoting the project — in which Mr. Antonio is identified as “ambassador” and Mr. Trump also appears. “It also exemplifies luxury and it exemplifies exclusivity.”

In the interview at the celebration in Manila on Thursday evening, Robbie Antonio said he had little doubt of his father’s priorities: He will put the Philippines’ interests above those of his company. “It is for the good of the country now,” he said.

But Mr. Fuchs, who helped oversee United States relations with the Philippines as the deputy assistant secretary of state until early this year, said he was deeply troubled by Mr. Trump’s overlapping priorities, particularly given the long list of globally significant issues in play with the Philippines. These include planned joint military exercises in the South China Sea, the fight against militant Islamic groups based in the country’s southern islands, and the human rights abuses taking place.

“What we already have is a blurring of the lines between official and business activities,” Mr. Fuchs said. “The biggest gray area may not be a President Trump himself advocating for favors for the Trump Organization. It’s the diplomats and career officers who will feel the need to perhaps not do things that will harm the Trump Organization’s interests. It is seriously disturbing.”

IRELAND and SCOTLAND - Over a Tiny Snail, Big Concerns

The vertigo angustior snail is only two millimeters long. But it punches above its weight.

The endangered little snail has helped stall Mr. Trump’s plans to build a sea wall to protect the coastline along his Trump International Golf Links course on the west coast of Ireland, in County Clare.

Environmentalists, as well as surfers, list a host of concerns about the proposed wall, particularly its potential impact on sand dunes. Along with the snails, a patch of the dunes near the course is protected by European Union rules. But Mr. Trump’s organization has said the golf resort development might be dead in the water without the sea wall, and many locals welcome the business and the jobs it brings.

The battle is likely to be decided next year in front of a national planning board, in the weeks or months after Mr. Trump is inaugurated on Jan. 20, several people said.

The planning board was overhauled in the 1980s to insulate it from political meddling, and it now has the confidence of environmentalists. But there is little precedent for the Trump situation, which could involve a public hearing.

“They can be long, they can be lively, and a lot of things could be aired,” said Sean O’Leary, the executive director of the Irish Planning Institute, which represents the majority of the country’s professional planners.

He noted that the national planning board had considered a development proposed by a politician before, but that was a holiday home that the Irish president wanted to build.

“The scale is slightly different,” he said.

Local officials have said the Trump Organization needs to resubmit its application by the end of the year. In a statement, the Trump Organization said it was “considering all potential coastal protection options at present” and would be in contact with the local authority before Christmas. The snail, the statement said, “is thriving on the site.”

“Its only material threat is that presented by coastal erosion,” it added.

Certainly, Mr. Trump’s golf courses in Scotland and Ireland have remained at the fore in the president-elect’s mind, even in recent days. Shortly after his election, he urged a group of “Brexit” campaigners led by Nigel Farage, the head of the U.K. Independence Party, to fight against wind farms in Britain. Wind farms have been a favorite target of Mr. Trump’s in both Britain and Ireland, where he has railed against proposed installations as a potential blight on the views from his resorts.

After a spokeswoman for Mr. Trump initially denied that the matter had been raised with Mr. Farage’s group, Mr. Trump conceded during his interview with The Times this past week that “I might have brought it up.”

Tony Lowes, an activist who runs a group called Friends of the Irish Environment, said Mr. Trump had once called him because Mr. Lowes’s group also happened to oppose a proposed wind farm near Mr. Trump’s Irish course on environmental grounds.

“He certainly hates wind farms, that’s for sure,” Mr. Lowes said about the call.

His group decided against working with Mr. Trump, and is now a leading opponent of his planned sea wall.

“The dune system will not be able to develop naturally,” Mr. Lowes said. “It will be starved of the sand it needs to develop and evolve and it will die.” He added, “The whole system there is alive and mobile and moving, and the wall is intended to stop that.”

Mr. Trump’s representatives have advanced a number of rationales for the sea wall, with the most straightforward being that they simply want to buffer the land from a continuing erosion problem. The proposal has previously attracted attention because an environmental-impact statement submitted by Mr. Trump’s team highlighted the risks of climate change and its influence on “coastal erosion rates.” That was a noteworthy claim, since Mr. Trump has called global warming a hoax perpetrated “by and for the Chinese.”

The Irish government has zealously courted Mr. Trump. When he visited the course in 2014, he was greeted on the airport tarmac in Shannon with a red carpet, a harpist, a violinist and a singer whose voice cut through the runway clamor.

Malachy Clerkin of The Irish Times called it “a preposterous welcome” and “the worst kind of forelock-tugging.”

Many locals, however, support Mr. Trump’s development. Hugh McNally, the owner of Morrissey’s Bar in Doonbeg Village, about two miles from the course, said the issue had been “sensationalized by the media” because of the Trump connection.

“I’ll give you an example,” he said. Roche, the Swiss pharmaceutical company, announced last year that it would close a plant in nearby Clarecastle, causing the loss of more than 200 jobs. “If someone told them you’d save those jobs by building any wall, everyone would do it,” he said. “The only reason people are objecting here is because of Trump.”


A Transition and a Business Plan

Mr. Trump’s family appears to have been preparing for the transition to the Oval Office and ways to capitalize on it both in the United States and around the globe.

In April, even before Mr. Trump had secured the Republican nomination, his business moved to trademark the name American Idea for use in branding hotels, spas and concierge services, according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. It was one of more than two dozen trademark applications that Mr. Trump and members of his family filed in the United States and around the world while he was running for president.

The applications offer a glimpse of where the Trumps may intend to focus their business endeavors. Last month, representatives of the Trump Organization in Indonesia, where Mr. Trump has been pursuing two hotel deals, filed trademark registrations for use of the Trump name in connection with hotel management. Similar filings have been made in Mexico, Canada and the European Union.

Ivanka Trump has filed at least 25 trademark registrations for her brand of clothing, cosmetics and jewelry in the United States, Canada, the European Union and Mexico since the beginning of the year, mostly recently in October. Mr. Trump’s wife, Melania, filed an American trademark application for a line of jewelry in August.

As he prepares for the presidency, Mr. Trump has made at least one concession so far, he said in the interview with The Times this past week.

“In theory, I can be president of the United States and run my business 100 percent, sign checks on my business,” Mr. Trump said, before later adding, “but I am phasing that out now, and handing that to Eric Trump and Don Trump and Ivanka Trump for the most part, and some of my executives, so that’s happening right now.”

Richard C. Paddock reported from Manila, Eric Lipton from Washington, Ellen Barry from New Delhi, Rod Nordland from Istanbul, Danny Hakim from London and Simon Romero from Rio de Janeiro. Reporting was contributed by Mike McIntire from New York, Safak Timur from Istanbul, Sinead O’Shea from Ireland and Suhasini Raj from New Delhi. Karen Yourish and Gregor Aisch contributed research.

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