JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

(Cartoonist - Matt Davies)

In other news, the Ford Motor Company says it's cutting 7,000 more jobs worldwide including 2,500 here in the U.S. to cut costs and save $600 million per year. Trump's tariffs have cost Ford at least $1 billion.

Meanwhile, Trump's big idea for peace in the Middle East is apparently to build a Starbucks in Gaza. I'm barely kidding.

Trump’s Middle East team, led by his son-in-law Jared Kushner and regional envoy Jason Greenblatt, appears intent on focusing initially on potential economic benefits, despite deep skepticism among experts that they can succeed where decades of U.S.-backed efforts have failed.

“We think this is an opportunity to take the economic plan that we’ve worked on for a long time now and present it in the region,” a senior Trump administration official said.

Finally, the New York Times reports that Anti-money-laundering specialists at Deutsche Bank flagged suspicious activity in accounts controlled by Trump and Jared Kushner in 2016 and 2017, meaning some of this activity was flagged while Trump has been in office.

And Deutsche Bank executives covered it up.

The transactions, some of which involved Mr. Trump’s now-defunct foundation, set off alerts in a computer system designed to detect illicit activity, according to five current and former bank employees. Compliance staff members who then reviewed the transactions prepared so-called suspicious activity reports that they believed should be sent to a unit of the Treasury Department that polices financial crimes.

But executives at Deutsche Bank, which has lent billions of dollars to the Trump and Kushner companies, rejected their employees’ advice. The reports were never filed with the government. [...]

Ms. McFadden, a longtime anti-money laundering specialist in Deutsche Bank’s Jacksonville office, said she had reviewed the transactions and found that money had moved from Kushner Companies to Russian individuals. She concluded that the transactions should be reported to the government — in part because federal regulators had ordered Deutsche Bank, which had been caught laundering billions of dollars for Russians, to toughen its scrutiny of potentially illegal transactions.

Shares of Duestche Bank dropped to a record low value this morning.

  • swift_4

    Can you blame Deutsche Bank? If they rat out Trump for laundring money for Russians, he won’t pay back all that money they loaned to him even though they knew he had a habit of not paying it back.

    Oh, wait. We can blame Deutsche Bank. We can definitely blame them. Maybe we can even sue them or imprison some of their heads.

  • muselet

    I don’t think this will be the last round of layoffs in the car industry. Call it a hunch.

    By concentrating on (carefully-restricted) economic development in Gaza instead of addressing issues of governance, Jared Kushner returns us to those thrilling days of yesteryear when offering beads to unruly savages was meant to make them friendly. Even Benjamin Netanyahu must be shaking his head in disbelief.

    Deutsche Bank looks more and more like a corrupt enterprise, doesn’t it? (To be clear, I’m willing to be convinced that DB has cleaned up its act since 2017 and no longer acts as a laundromat for sketchy funds. I just haven’t seen much evidence of that.)


    • Badgerite

      At this point, the inhabitants in Gaza are in such a bad way that I would support anything to try to make their lives better, even if it were to come from Kushner. However, color me skeptical. This is like expecting Kim Jung Un to want to open up North Korea to outside economic development. It is ridiculous in the extreme. Kim and the regime that supports him stay in power through the use of terror and absolute control. Any kind of open contact with the outside world destroys the underpinnings of their power. Like the gop here, they care about power more than they care about life or the well being of their country.
      I’m not comparing the Israelis or the Palestinians to Kim and North Korea. What I am saying is that if it were all about economic development and nothing else, the conflict would have ended ages ago. There is more involved.
      On both sides.

      • muselet

        In principle, I don’t disagree. If Jared Kushner could somehow broker an agreement to bring a just peace to the Israel/Palestine conflict, I would applaud his efforts.

        Problem is, and I left this little gem out of my comment, nobody bothered to ask the Palestinians what they want or need, or indeed to invite them to discuss their future. Any discussions that will take place will be Kushner and Benjamin Netanyahu sitting at a table and deciding the fate of Gaza.

        I’m … erm … less than optimistic about this.


        • Badgerite

          Very good point. But trumpers have been treating the Palestinians as if they didn’t exist since they got there. The Israelis seem to have followed them on this as well. Standards of human rights have been eroded the world over, thanks to the trump scumbags. The Palestinians once counted on the support of the whole Islamic world. I don’t think they have that anymore. The Baathist ideal of Pan Arabism is pretty much gone and the old fissures within the Islamic world have resurfaced. It doesn’t seem to me that there is any chance of a unified Islamic response to anything anymore, the Ummah not withstanding.
          There are consequences to never making peace if you were on the losing side of a war. For my money, the Palestinians were incredibly foolish not to make peace with Israel long before a Netanyahu showed up. They held out for things like Right of Return that were never going to happen. Now….I don’t see true peace happening at all and the lack of it could result in a nuclear conflagration in the region that would destroy what they are fighting about.
          I think trumpers think that by undercutting all the Palestinian support in the region (and Iran is doing a fine job of helping on that score by reviving the age old and deadly rift between Sunni and Shiite) that the Palestinian people will eventually settle for whatever they can still get.
          That’s what it looks like to me anyway. Your point is well taken.
          I wouldn’t call it “peace”. More like “take what you can get” kind of thing.
          I don’t think this will sit well with the Ayatollahs of Iran. Which, I suspect, is why Bolton et all are gearing up to take advantage of the situation to do something they have wanted to do for a long time and attack Iran.

  • Aynwrong

    All this winning is wearing me out. I repeat myself but, if you voted for Trump because of so called “economic anxietyanxiety,” where’s your MAGA now?

    Kushner’s economic ideas for Israel/Palestinian should work as well the Bush administration’s ideas did for Iraq.

    The same congressional R’s that wanted to impeach Obama over SolyndraFastAndFuriousIRSSalutingWithACupOfCoffeeWhileWearingATanSuitGate now look the other way on painfully obvious global corruption every single day. Whenever D’s take back enough power to hold these people accountable they better fucking do it and I better not hear any feel good horseshit about bipartisanship or the “nation needs to heal.”

    • Christopher Foxx

      Anyone who says “The nation needs to heal” is just declaring their own cowardice and criminality. They’re too afraid to stand up to criminal acts so instead decide to help the crooks get away with their crimes.

      What the country needs is to clearly demonstrate that laws will be followed and enforced against high-ranking political figures. Yes, it will be disruptive and yes, those who are subject to prosecution will retaliate. But giving in to that just means we’ll keep going through the same lawlessness over and over. And that is vastly more harmful to the country than the rough patch that indictments, prosecutions and impeachments will ever bring.

  • fry1laurie

    A bunch of jittery, heavily-armed people. Nice plan.

    • Aynwrong

      This could be a perfectly accurate description of Kushner’s Mid East “peace plan”, Trump’s plan to send volunteers to police the southern border or the NRA’s demographic.

      I may have trouble sleeping tonight.