By Robert A. Vella
After getting a very light sentence of just 4 years last week in his Virginia case, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was sentenced to 6 years today in his D.C. case. Only 2 ½ years of his criminal sentencing will be served concurrently meaning that the total time he will serve in prison is 7 ½ years of which he has already served 9 months. Manafort also faces the possibility of state prosecutions. Meanwhile, Trump’s former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn has requested a 3-month delay in his sentencing while Trump ally and GOP dirty trickster Roger Stone is still awaiting the judge’s determination of his gag order violations which could land him in jail immediately. See:
737 and Trump
Boeing’s new 737 MAX models have been grounded across much of the world after two deadly crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia, but the planes are still flying in America because the Trump Administration refuses to take similar action. The 737 is a workhorse airliner with a long service record; however, the new MAX models have upgraded engines which changed the aircraft’s flight characteristics (i.e. the airframe wasn’t originally designed for the newer engines) and which also necessitated modifications to its flight controls. These controls, specifically the autopilot and anti-stall systems, have come under scrutiny as possible causes of the accidents. Potential problems had been identified in these systems and software modifications were in progress, but President Trump’s shutdown of the federal government this year delayed their implementation. Boeing’s chief executive Dennis A. Muilenburg has been urging President Trump not to ground the 737 in the U.S. It should also be noted that Boeing has been highly active in its political lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C. See:
Big college scandal
WASHINGTON – The college admissions bribery investigation that led to charges on Tuesday against 50 people, including CEOs and Hollywood celebrities, has placed a new focus on how President Donald Trump’s son-in-law got into Harvard.
Jared Kushner, who serves as a top aide to Trump, and his acceptance to the Ivy League school was investigated as part of the 2006 book “The Price of Admission” written by ProPublica editor Daniel Golden.
The book examined how the nation’s wealthy buy their children into prestigious schools with tax write-offs and other donations. One such donation was made by Kushner’s father, real estate developer Charles Kushner.
Golden wrote a 2016 story after Trump won the presidency, about his book and specifically a legal $2.5 million donation that Charles Kushner pledged to Harvard in 1998. It wasn’t long after, according to Golden, that his son was accepted to the prestigious school.
Charles Kushner was convicted in 2005 of tax evasion, making illegal campaign donations and witness tampering.
Rich people paying for their children to get into elite colleges and universities college isn’t exactly new. It’s no big secret that America’s wealthy have used their power, influence and money to win a leg up when it comes to college admissions.
That may explain why there was outrage, although not unmitigated surprise, that the federal government had charged dozens of people in a massive college admissions bribery scheme, two Hollywood actors included.
The details, however, were shocking. The massive criminal complaint made public Tuesday tells stories of bribery, phony test scores, made-up résumés and superimposed photos to “prove” that applicants are athletes when they aren’t. At least one of the cooperating witnesses in the case pleaded guilty to a number of serious federal charges, including racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstruction of justice. That sets this scandal apart.
The scandal ensnared Hollywood stars Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin as well as wealthy business executives who some might have thought didn’t need more than they already had to get their children into school. What this shows, according to Anand Giridharadas, journalist and author of the book “Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World,” is that even traditional preference isn’t enough anymore for the rich.
He tweeted: “The crux of the college scandal: Many rich Americans are no longer content with the generalized rigging of America in their favor. They want extra, private, bottle-service, bespoke rigging, over and above the unfair advantages they’re forced to share with other rich people.”
Polarization in schools
Political grudges and racial animosity have divided students at U.S. high schools and President Donald Trump has exacerbated the problem with his rhetoric, a study released on Wednesday showed.
Researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) surveyed 505 high school principals for the study. More than 60 percent of them reported some of their students had made derogatory remarks about immigrants.
More broadly, more than 80 percent of principals said some of their students had disparaged other ethnic groups.
The UCLA study is called “School and Society in the Age of Trump,” but its author said the Republican president is not solely responsible for tensions at secondary schools.
“The report is a story of this particular time, not narrowly a story of the actions of this one president, although this president’s actions contribute to it,” John Rogers, a professor of education at UCLA, said by phone.
A White House representative declined to comment.
Planned Parenthood ruling
March 12 (Reuters) – A divided federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld the constitutionality of an Ohio law that blocks state funding for Planned Parenthood, reversing its own prior ruling and handing a victory to anti-abortion advocates.
In an 11-6 vote, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati rejected the argument by Planned Parenthood affiliates that the funding ban, which also covered non-abortion services, violated their due process rights.