Requiem for a loser: Trump swindles his followers | Editorial

Just when Americans have learned how to block solicitations from Nigerian princes, the President of the United States has ensnared millions of us in his own email scam.

Donald Trump — who is of the opinion that money can do anything and is therefore likely to do anything for money — has been begging donors to give to his “Election Defense Fund,” sending out more than 200 emails with screaming subject lines such as “The Recount Results were BOGUS” and “I need you now more than ever.”

If you click through and read carefully, you’ll find a classic swindle: While the premise is to use these contributions to help Trump’s legal efforts — none of which are likely to overturn any election results —  60% of the donations under $5,000 actually go to the president’s Save America Leadership PAC, while the rest goes to the Republican National Committee.

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Big share of $15.8B in federal emergency loans went to larger NJ companies

COLLEEN O'DEA, SENIOR WRITER | DECEMBER 4, 2020

NJ Spotlight News

 

Some 142,000 New Jersey businesses shared almost $15.8 billion in federal emergency loans under the nation’s primary coronavirus relief program for businesses.

An NJ Spotlight News analysis of loan approval amounts released by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) on Wednesday in response to a court order found that the loans issued through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which Congress passed last April in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, supported close to 1.38 million jobs reported by recipients. The average award was $111,344 per business, or $11,467 per job, according to the analysis.

While the program was billed as a way to aid small businesses and was very popular — its funding was refreshed, and the deadline extended — more than $8 of every $10 in loans went to just 15% of the companies that got an award and was parceled out in large amounts of $150,000 or more. The smallest companies, those with fewer than 25 workers, got just 37% of the loans distributed. About 100 of the recipients reported employing 500, the maximum permitted for eligibility, while more than 68,000 were freelancers, consultants or single proprietorships or reported just one or two jobs protected.

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Stay open, go remote or in between? Murphy argues for in-person instruction

JOHN MOONEY, EDUCATION WRITER | DECEMBER 3, 2020

NJ Spotlight News

Sept. 10, 2020: Teaching an online class at Sharon Elementary School, Robbinsville

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Schools may prove Gov. Phil Murphy’s trickiest balancing act of the pandemic.

While the governor has been a forceful voice for restrictions on businesses and other activities, Murphy has pressed hard for schools to reopen as much as possible.

But in a strategy that some have contested, Murphy has left it to local districts to decide, and that has drawn a very mixed response from the state’s education leaders.

On Wednesday, Murphy announced the latest numbers, and in data released by his administration, districts are clearly leaning toward more remote instruction — no matter what Murphy says.

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Trump, in Video From White House, Delivers a 46-Minute Diatribe on the ‘Rigged’ Election

By 

THE NEW YORK TIMES

Dec. 2, 2020

President Trump once again refused to concede defeat in his bid for re-election almost a month after Election Day.Credit...

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WASHINGTON — President Trump on Wednesday released a 46-minute videotaped speech that denounced a “rigged” election and was filled with lies the day after his own attorney general joined election officials across the country in attesting to his defeat.

Mr. Trump recorded what he said “may be the most important speech I’ve ever made” in the Diplomatic Room of the White House and delivered it behind a lectern bearing the presidential seal. He then posted a two-minute version on Twitter, with a link to the full version on his Facebook page.

The president once again refused to concede defeat in his bid for re-election almost a month after Election Day, repeating a long list of false assertions about voter fraud and accusing Democrats of a conspiracy to steal the presidency.

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Murphy warns of tighter restrictions if there’s COVID-19 Thanksgiving spike

LILO H. STAINTON, HEALTH CARE WRITER | DECEMBER 3, 2020

NJ Spotlight News

A woman walks past a coronavirus testing site in the Ironbound section of Newark on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020.

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Despite pleas from public health officials urging people to stay home and avoid large Thanksgiving gatherings, New Jersey officials are worried that last week’s holiday celebrations could trigger a new spike in COVID-19 cases.

If that’s the case, Gov. Phil Murphy said additional restrictions might be necessary to control the spread of the coronavirus in advance of the next round of seasonal festivities, including Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Year’s.

“If we see a big spike coming out of Thanksgiving” over the next five to seven days “that will be of significant concern and we will have to revisit where we are (with public health restrictions.) We’re hoping that’s not the case, but we’re already at big numbers today,” Murphy said during his media briefing Wednesday.

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Unsealed court ruling discloses bribe-for-pardon probe related to Trump White House

A court ruling made public Tuesday indicates that federal prosecutors have been pursuing an investigation into potential bribery in connection with an effort to secure a pardon from President Donald Trump, although details of the inquiry remain murky.

The opinion issued by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell in August and released in a heavily redacted form Tuesday shows that Howell granted prosecutors permission to examine emails involving lawyers and an effort to seek a pardon for someone whose name was deleted from the public version of the opinion.

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Pascrell mocks GOP congressmen who claim he violated Giuliani’s civil rights

By David WildsteinDecember 01 2020

New Jersey Globe

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson).

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Five Republican congressmen have asked U.S. Attorney General William Barr to investigate whether Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. violated the civil rights of Rudy Giuliani and 22 other lawyers helping President Donald Trump challenge the results of the 2020 presidential election.

The New Jersey Democrat filed legal complaints in five states seeking to disbar Giuliani and the other Trump lawyers, a move that caused the Republican congressmen to ask the House to censure the him

Pascrell mocked his GOP colleagues for their move.

“On the same day we learned that Rudy Giuliani asked Donald Trump for a preemptive pardon, five Republican House members are alleging I violated Giuliani’s civil rights by demanding his disbarment for trying to steal the election,” Pascrell said. “You can’t make it up.”

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Christie's 2013 campaign hasn't paid off $1M in debt to 2 firms

12/01/2020 

Politico

Then-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie stands with then-candidate Donald Trump at a May 19, 2016 fundraising event in Lawrenceville, N.J.

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Seven years after his 2013 reelection, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s gubernatorial campaign still owes $1 million in debt stemming from the Bridgegate scandal.

But the moribund campaign may be allowed to stop filing campaign finance reports this year. And there’s no sign that the campaign has sought to pay back its debts, or that either of the companies that are owed the money — a prominent law firm and a cybersecurity firm that billed large monthly amounts to taxpayers during the Christie administration — have made an effort to collect.

According to its latest filing from last month, Christie’s 2013 campaign owes $651,305 to the law firm of Squire Patton Boggs and $364,103 to the digital forensics firm Stroz Friedberg, which has since changed its name to Aon’s Cyber Solutions

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Concerned about hospital capacity, Murphy tightens COVID-19 restrictions

LILO H. STAINTON, HEALTH CARE WRITER | DECEMBER 1, 2020

NJ Spotlight News

 

As the number of new COVID-19 cases continues to escalate in New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday put the focus on hospital capacity in announcing new restrictions on indoor sports and outdoor gatherings to help curb the spread of the virus.

The situation is truly worrisome.

Acute-care facilities are not facing the same level of patient surge they experienced in the spring, and care options have improved significantly since then, experts note. But according to some key indicators, New Jersey’s system is becoming more stressed as the case load swells. And one respected model predicts that by January hospitalizations could be 20% higher than experienced when the coronavirus first peaked in April.

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N.J. restaurants may have to get new outdoor dining permits as officials worry about fire and snow

Posted Nov 30, 2020

As New Jersey’s cold winter begins setting in, restaurants with outdoor dining bubbles or igloos who want to extend outdoor dining may have to apply for new permits, state officials say.

The state Department of Community Affairs last week said restaurants and other establishments with tents or other “outdoor domes” that are more than 120-square-feet had to apply for a Uniform Construction Codes permit by Monday.

The new guidelines are to make sure the domes and canopies that typically have to come down at the end of November will be able to handle snow and other winter conditions between Dec. 1 and March 30, the new guidance states.

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