Trump's Incredible $355 Million Fine - The Monday AM Quickie 2/19/24

Happy Presidents' Day. Over here the newslettering never rests. -Jacob

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Judge Orders Trump to Pay $355 Million – Plus Interest

Trump's civil fraud case in New York is rambling toward a conclusion – pending appeals – as Judge Arthur Engoron ordered former president Donald Trump on Friday to pay more than $355 million in fines. The total, with interest, may top $450 million, according to the New York Times. The penalty calls for a monitor to oversee the Trump Organization and bans Trump from heading a business in New York state for three years, which may represent a blow to Trump's ego as much as it does to his ability to operate in the financial capital of the world. Trump called the fine "ridiculous... a $355 million fine for doing a perfect job."

The ruling isn't quite the death penalty for the Trump Organization that was hoped for by some, but it's a pretty severe consequence for the former president, one that could possibly wipe out all of his cash. He also owes some $88 million to the writer E. Jean Carroll. And the independent monitor overseeing Trump's companies will essentially be running them – not Donald Trump, not his sons.

"This is a venial sin, not a mortal sin," wrote Judge Engoron in his decision. "Defendants did not commit murder or arson. They did not rob a bank at gunpoint. Donald Trump is not Bernie Madoff. Yet, defendants are incapable of admitting the error of their ways."

That sounds like a congenital liar who's facing 91 felony charges.

Plastics Industry Lied for Decades About Recycling

A new report reveals that the plastics industry has known for decades that recycling is not economically viable and that other claims around the efficacy of recycling have been overblown or outright lies. "The industry’s misconduct continues today," according to the report, which suggests that chemical, gas, and plastics companies may have conducted fraud on a massive scale. The "plastic waste crisis," says the Center for Climate Integrity, is another environmental crime that big oil has knowingly perpetrated, and covered up, for more than a half century.

Will Putin Get Away With Navalny's Murder?

On Friday, the Russian government reported the death of Alexei Navalny, the jailed anti-corruption campaigner and political challenger to President Vladimir Putin. Navalny had been poisoned, harassed, surveilled, and eventually jailed on trumped-up charges by the Russian government, so his death wasn't necessarily a surprise, but it was shocking in its brazenness. Navalny's widow accused Putin of murdering her husband, and according to one independent Russian newspaper, Navalny's body arrived at a hospital covered in bruises. As "Putin's most formidable critic," Navalny was considered one of the few democratic hopes for Russia. It's unlikely that democracy campaigners and foreign governments will be able to do much to hold Putin accountable for his death.


  • Trump Supports a 16-Week Abortion Ban Former President Donald Trump has privately told people that he supports a 16-week abortion ban, which has been reported as a concession to social conservatives. In an indication of how seriously Trump takes the issue, he apparently told a friend that 16 weeks appealed to him because it was a nice round number. via The New York Times.
  • Drones Allow Ukraine to Strike Deep Into Russia New drone technologies are allowing Ukrainian forces to challenge Russia's air superiority. They're also worrying NATO allies and exciting defense contractors. via Bloomberg.
  • Jim Biden Traded on His Brother's Name In Healthcare Business Jim Biden, brother of President Joe Biden, repeatedly invoked his more famous sibling's name in his healthcare consulting work, which included financing the expansion of a healthcare firm that went bankrupt. The president isn't accused of any wrongdoing. via Politico.
  • Sinclair Dominates Airwaves With Panic Over Crime, Drugs, and Homeless People Sinclair Broadcasting, the arch-conservative media company that owns 185 local TV stations across the country, has filled out its menu with a diet of right-wing hysteria. In the process, the network has become deeply influential in local media markets and a boon to Trump. via Washington Post.


41 percent

That's how much the crime clearance rate dropped for California police agencies between 1990 and 2022, according to a new report. In short, cops are solving fewer and fewer crimes while citizens are paying ever more in taxes for law enforcement. In San Francisco, the clearance rate has fallen to 6.7 percent. Proponents of the report argue that the problem isn't funding or empowerment of police; it's that police aren't doing their jobs – and perhaps aren't the solution to crime at all.


2/19: Happy Monday! Emma speaks with Abdul Alkalimat, professor of African American Studies & library and information science at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, to discuss his book The History of Black Studies.


Elon Musk Keeps Humiliating Matt Taibbi

If there's an easy lesson here, it's never get in bed (professionally!) with an insane billionaire.

What a Palestinian American Doctor Saw in Gaza

A doctor who tended to Palestinian casualties in Khan Younis talks about the devastation wrought by the Israeli military campaign.


"There’s nothing in your brain that says, ‘OK, stop now, you’re done. You’ve won your money back, you can put this behind you. There was just something in my brain that made me keep going."

-- From a psychiatrist who became addicted to online gambling apps and found herself unable to quit, leading to her losing hundreds of thousands of dollars. With the explosion in sports and online gambling in recent years, many Americans have found themselves tempted by easy-to-use apps that, using coercion, giveaways, and other inducements, have hooked untold numbers of people.

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