Someone blew the whistle on Hookers for Jesus

The Department of Justice gives out grants to groups to help fight human trafficking. That's good!

But this year, the DOJ decided to ignore the expected recipients, who both received high marks from grant application reviewers, and gave around $500,000 each to the Lincoln Tubman Foundation, a new organization founded by the daughter of a prominent Trump-supporting South Carolina Republican, and the Nevada-based Hookers for Jesus.

Here's what Reuters, who broke the story, had to say about Hookers for Jesus:

Hookers for Jesus, which received $530,190 over three years, is run by a born-again Christian trafficking survivor who has lobbied against decriminalizing prostitution, a policy position aligning with many in the Republican Party.

Hookers for Jesus operates a safe house for female adult trafficking victims that, in 2010 and in 2018, maintained a policy of requiring guests to participate in religious activities, internal program manuals obtained by Reuters through public records requests show.

The safe house’s manuals had rules that included a ban on reading “secular magazines with articles, pictures, etc. that portray worldly views/advice on living, sex, clothing, makeup tips.” Other rules limited everything from who victims could call to banning them from bringing their purses with them on weekly shopping trips. Rule-breakers could be penalized by being assigned chores such as washing windows.

There are major issues here. First, that the policies around this particular grant forbid the government from funding any activity that is explicitly religious — that whole separation-of-church-and-state thing. Second, that the organizations that have received the grant in the past, and expected to receive it once again, were both involved in activities that were decidedly opposed to the Trump agenda. Read the rest

South Carolina's magistrate judges are a clown-car of corrupt cronies, but they get to put people in jail

South Carolina's magistrate judge system is a holdover from aristocratic England, where landowners would appoint someone with "common sense" to hear legal cases, without any legal training or oversight -- which is how it works in South Carolina today, where 800,000+ criminal and civil cases are heard by magistrates who are not required to have a background in law, not required to divulge official sanctions for ethical violations, and not overseen in any meaningful way as they fine, jail and censure people who are often not represented by counsel nor permitted to speak in their own defense. Read the rest

Foxconn's corporate welfare deal will cost Wisconsin taxpayers more than 3 billion dollars

The recent trumpist trumpeting about the plans of Chinese manufacturer Foxconn to open a manufacturing facility in Wisconsin omitted a few key details -- like the fact that Foxconn is being given a sweetheart tax-break that's topped up with 15 years' worth of guarantees of up to $200m/year in cash subsidies at taxpayer expense -- a record-setting taxpayer subsidy that exceeds the previous Wisconsin record-holder by a factor of fifty. Read the rest

Mind-boggling graph of Trump's business ties

Kim Albrecht took on the herculean task of creating an interactive data visualization of Trump's business interests. Behold crony capitalism at its worst. Read the rest

Wells Fargo just hit with another massive fraud scandal, but thankfully Donald Trump owes them a lot of money

Wells Fargo didn't merely open 2,000,000 fraudulent accounts and bill its customers for them; it also tricked its customers into signing up for insurance policies, at mass-scale. Read the rest

Donald Trump's 100 day plan: the good, the bad, and the terrifying

On Naked Capitalism, Gaius Publius parses through Donald Trump's "100-day action plan" (just the public parts, not the parts leaked by the bumbler Trump wants to put in charge of the DHS), and calls out the few bright spots (killing TPP, improving NAFTA) and the terrifying remainder (accelerating climate change, deploying a national campaign of stop-and-frisk, all but destroying public education). Read the rest

Petition to reassign head of Canada Post to deliver letters at $500k/year

Derryl Murphy writes, "Former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper gave Canada Post CEO Deepak Chopra (I know) a new contract a month before the election when he still had time on his contract, and Chopra's working hard to pillage the postal system in Canada. So I did this up for a little fun, but the word needs to get out there." Read the rest