MoJo Author Feeds: James West | Mother Jones Mother Jones logo en We Talked to New Yorkers on the Block That Was Bombed About Who Will Make America Safe Again <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>New Yorkers are practical. "It would have been awesome to see a dumpster go flying across the street. I would have paid to see that," Chelsea office worker Matthew Swope told me, deadpan, as we stood near to where a bomb detonated on Saturday night, injuring 29 people and triggering a manhunt across two states. "What else are you going to do?"</p> <p>Residents and workers along 23rd Street near 7th Avenue were getting on with life Monday<strong> </strong>afternoon, as police oversaw a complicated crime scene nearby. Meanwhile, presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump engaged in a war of words over terrorism, and over who would make Americans feel safer. "They are looking to make this into a war against Islam, rather than a war against jihadists, violent terrorists," Clinton said about potential terrorists attacking America. "The kinds of rhetoric and language Mr. Trump has used is giving aid and comfort to our adversaries."</p> <p>Trump, on the other hand, blamed immigration: "These attacks, and many others, were made possible because of our extremely open immigration system."</p> <p>Residents and workers in Chelsea, however, completely rejected Trump's hardline immigration policy as a solution to future terrorist attacks. "Of course, Clinton&mdash;I feel that she can do a better job of protecting us," Swope said. "She has a much more level-headed personality."</p> <p>Jane Nelson, who was visiting a friend in Chelsea, was even blunter: "He knows nothing."<a href="#correction">*</a></p> <p id="correction"><em>Correction: A previous version of this post misidentified the person who said "He knows nothing."</em></p></body></html> Politics Video Donald Trump Mon, 19 Sep 2016 23:00:14 +0000 James West 314386 at Melania Trump's Photographer Just Made Her Immigration Story Even More Confusing <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Melania Trump released a letter Wednesday morning from a top immigration lawyer denying there were any problems with her immigration record. Questions about the Slovenia-born model's status have persisted ever <a href="" target="_blank">since the <em>New York Post </em>published a racy photo spread in July</a>, reportedly shot in Manhattan in 1995,<strong> </strong>raising the possibility that Trump worked without proper authorization in the United States before securing a work visa.</p> <p>Donald Trump's campaign originally promised that his wife would host a press conference to answer reporters' questions about her immigration status, but that never happened. She took to Twitter instead.</p> <p>"I am pleased to enclose a letter from my immigration attorney which states that, with 100% certainty, I correctly went through the legal process when arriving in the USA," Trump <a href="" target="_blank">wrote on Twitter</a> on Wednesday morning. She accompanied her update with a signed letter from Michael Wildes, an immigration attorney who has previously represented <a href="" target="_blank">Trump Models</a>, the mogul's New York modeling agency, and secured visas for models appearing in Trump's Miss Universe pageants.</p> <p>"Contrary to published reports, Mrs. Trump never worked in the United States in 1995 because she was never in the United States in 1995," Wildes wrote in the letter. "Mrs. Trump's first entry to the United States was on August 27, 1996."</p> <p>According to the account, Trump first arrived in the United States on a visitor's visa and then quickly qualified for an H-1B visa, which allowed her to work legally in the United States beginning on October 18, 1996. "The allegation that she participated in a photo shoot in 1995 is not only untrue, it is impossible," Wildes noted. "In reality, through an interview with Mrs. Trump, we ascertained that the photo shoot in question did not occur until after she was admitted to the United States in H-1B visa status in October 1996." Melania Trump's Twitter post was not accompanied by any further documentation.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="und"><a href=""></a></p> &mdash; MELANIA TRUMP (@MELANIATRUMP) <a href="">September 14, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p>But the letter released today does not answer all the questions about Melania Trump's immigration story. For example:</p> <p><strong>1. When, exactly, was Melania Trump's <em>Max Magazine</em> Manhattan photo shoot?</strong></p> <p>Melania Trump's letter contradicts the first account of the French photographer of the photo series, Jarl Ale de Basseville, <a href=";shared=email">who told the <em>New York Post </em>in August</a> that the shoot occurred at his Manhattan apartment-studio in 1995. The nude pictures appeared in the January 1996 issue of <em>Max Magazine</em>, <a href=";shared=email">according to the <em>New York Post</em></a><em>&mdash;</em>several months before Trump officially immigrated to the United States on her work visa.</p> <p>But now the photographer says he can't remember when exactly the shoot took place. When <em>Mother Jones</em> reached de Basseville on the phone in Paris on Wednesday, he flatly denied that it had happened in 1995.</p> <p>Instead, he insisted the photos were taken in 1996 around Union Square in Manhattan, though he could not remember the month. "I've done more than 100,000 photos in my life," he explained, acknowledging, "It's complicated with me." But he was clear that the shoot occurred "in 1996 for sure." (He remembers the year because he was having a fight with his ex-wife at the time about his work and travel. "So I remember, because it's drama, you know?")</p> <p>He also said the magazine in question, <em>Max Magazine</em>, came out in "early 1997," not in January 1996, as originally reported by the <em>New York Post</em>. "I can't answer for the <em>New York Post</em>," he said. "They made a mistake."</p> <p>"There are so many lies, what are we to believe or not believe?" he said. <em>Mother Jones</em> reached out to the expos&eacute;'s author at the <em>Post</em>, Isabel Vincent, for a response, but did not hear back.</p> <p>The <em>Post </em>originally <a href="" target="_blank">reported</a> that the edition with Melania Trump's risqu&eacute; photos featured Cindy Crawford on its cover. <a href="">But that edition came out in February, 1997</a>. (Crawford was not on the <a href="">cover of the January 1996</a> magazine.)</p> <p><strong>2. Why did Melania Trump say she returned to Slovenia every "few months" to renew her visa when her lawyer says she didn't need to?</strong></p> <p>Today's letter from Wildes says that at the time, the work visa known as the H-1B was capped at one year for Slovenian citizens, requiring Trump to make yearly trips back to her home country to renew the permit. She did this, according to the letter, five times.</p> <p>Previously, Trump has said that she followed immigration rules, and that after her arrival in the United States she returned home "every few months" to renew her visa&mdash;something she would not have had to do if she'd had an annual work authorization.</p> <p>"It's a little vague," said immigration attorney Pankaj Malik, a partner at New York-based Ballon, Stoll, Bader &amp; Nadler who has worked on immigration issues for more than two decades. "If everything is accurate, why don't you just put in copies of her approval notices? Then release the documents."</p> <p>Wildes' version also contradicts earlier statements by Trump's original modeling agent in the United States, Paolo Zampolli, who told the <em>Los Angeles Times</em> in August that he hired her to come to New York from Milan&mdash;and secured work approval for three years, not one. The <em>Los Angeles Times</em> <a href="" target="_blank">reported</a> that Zampolli "helped her obtain an H1-B visa, which allowed her to stay in the U.S. for three years and do modeling work."</p> <p><strong>3. How did Melania Trump get her green card? </strong></p> <p>Not by marriage, according to Wildes.</p> <p>Wildes originally <a href="" target="_blank">told</a> <em>Univision</em> in August that Trump obtained a green card in 2001, "based on marriage," even though she married Donald four years later.</p> <p>But today's letter from Wilde now corrects his earlier statement: "Mrs. Trump self-sponsored for a green card as a model of 'extraordinary ability,' and on March 19, 2001 she was admitted to the United States as a lawful permanent resident."</p> <p>On the campaign trail, Donald Trump has railed against the H-1B program and those who he says abuse it. "I will end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program and institute an absolute requirement to hire American workers first for every visa and immigration program," the GOP nominee <a href="">said</a> in March. "No exceptions."</p> <p><strong>UPDATE Wednesday September 14, 2016, 6:20 p.m. EST: </strong>The <em>New York Post</em> has <a href="" target="_blank">updated</a> its original story about Melania Trump's <em>Max Magazine</em> photospread: "Photographer Al&eacute; de Basse&shy;ville later told The Post that he misspoke, and the photo session actually took place in 1996 in Manhattan, and appeared in a 1997 issue of the magazine."</p></body></html> Politics Wed, 14 Sep 2016 22:04:28 +0000 James West 313946 at Senator Intensifies Calls for Federal Investigation Into Donald Trump's Modeling Agency <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>On Wednesday morning, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) intensified her push for a federal investigation into Trump Model Management, the GOP nominee's New York modeling firm. Last week, Boxer called on the the director of the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), part of the Department of Homeland Security, to launch an inquiry into the company's immigration practices, following a <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Mother Jones</em> investigation </a>that cited three former models who say they worked for the company illegally.</p> <p>After speaking to former Trump model Rachel Blais (who is featured in <em>Mother Jones</em>' story), Boxer today requested that the Department of Labor investigate the agency's employment practices, which include hiring models as young as 14 and allegedly housing them, as many as six to a bedroom, in tight communal living quarters.</p> <p>"Blais was particularly concerned about the treatment of girls, some as young as 14, who were actively recruited by the modeling agency," Boxer wrote in the letter to Secretary of Labor Tom Perez. "She told me that many underage girls lived with her in cramped dormitory-style living arrangements."</p> <p>She added: "As you know, our labor laws were written to protect workers, especially children, young women and other vulnerable populations, from mistreatment and exploitation."</p> <p>The letter details several questions Boxer would like the Labor Department to look into, including whether Trump's agency sought to "violate federal laws that seek to protect workers from unfair treatment and wage theft," and whether or not underage models were being lawfully cared for by the company.</p> <p>"We need to protect our children!" Boxer wrote in blue marker at the end of the letter. Read the full letter here:</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Screen%20Shot%202016-09-13%20at%206.27.14%20PM.png" style="height: 811px; width: 630px;"></div> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Screen%20Shot%202016-09-13%20at%206.27.26%20PM.png" style="height: 800px; width: 630px;"><div class="caption">Sen. Barbara Boxer</div> </div> <p><em>Mother Jones</em>' <a href="" target="_blank">investigation into Trump Model Management</a> revealed that foreign models effectively competed for work visas while performing a range of modeling jobs for the company while in the United States as tourists,&nbsp;including posing for high-profile magazine shoots and runway appearances. Two former models also described how they were encouraged by Trump's company to evade customs officials when they came into the country&mdash;including lying about their New York addresses on federal customs forms. While they were working for the company, the models recalled living in a basement dormitory in New York's East village that could be occupied by 11 or more people. Rent for a single bunk in the apartment could run $1,600 per month and was deducted from the models' earnings&mdash;if they made enough to pay off the debt in New York's competitive industry.</p> <p>The immigration practices that the former Trump models described pose a stark contrast to the hardline stance on immigration that Donald Trump has taken on the campaign trail. Trump's running mate, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, described the allegations as "sidebar" issues.</p> <p>So far, no one from Trump's modeling agency has responded to multiple inquiries from <em>Mother Jones.</em> But last Thursday, Ronald Lieberman, executive vice president for management and development at the Trump Organization, commented on the story to <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Bloomberg BNA</em></a>. He did not deny that foreign Trump models had worked in the United States without proper visas, saying only that the cases highlighted in <em>Mother Jones</em>' story happened "many, many years ago."</p></body></html> Politics 2016 Elections Donald Trump Top Stories Wed, 14 Sep 2016 14:00:46 +0000 James West 313886 at Trump Executive Won't Deny Allegations That Trump Models Used Illegal Immigrants <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>On Thursday, Donald Trump's business empire finally broke its silence on <em>Mother Jones</em>' <a href="">investigation</a> of the GOP nominee's modeling agency, Trump Model Management. The story reported that Trump's firm had used foreign models who worked in the United States illegally, and it prompted a request by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) for a formal investigation by the Department of Homeland Security into alleged labor and immigration violations by the company.</p> <p>The Trump campaign declined to comment for <em>Mother Jones</em>' story, and Trump Model Management did not respond to numerous calls and emails. But in the first public response to the story from inside Trump's corporate world, Ronald Lieberman, executive vice president for management and development at the Trump Organization, commented on the allegation on Thursday in an <a href="" target="_blank">article published by <em>Bloomberg BNA</em>.</a> The Trump executive did not deny that foreign Trump models had worked in the United States without proper visas. He said the cases highlighted in <em>Mother Jones</em> story had occurred "many, many years ago," adding that he couldn't speak about what might have happened 10 or more years ago without reviewing company records.</p> <p>Two former Trump models who shared their stories with <em>Mother Jones </em>said they worked for the agency in 2004 on tourist visas. Another former model spent the summer of 2009 modeling for the agency without a work visa. Financial and immigration records from a recent lawsuit against Trump Model Management by former model Alexia Palmer reveal that she, too, worked for the company without work authorization in 2011, appearing in a photo shoot with the stars of <em>Glee </em>in <em>Teen Vogue</em> several months before she was given the proper visa.</p> <p>When asked about Palmer's case, Lieberman told <em>Bloomberg BNA</em> that her suit was "completely dismissed." Palmer's case did not address her immigration status while with Trump's agency, only her allegations of wage theft and fraud. Since a federal court in New York dismissed her case in March, Palmer filed another complaint with the Department of Labor, which was dismissed in August, this time for being filed after the statute of limitations had expired. Palmer's lawyer, Naresh Gehi, told <em>Mother Jones</em> he is appealing the decision.</p> <p>Lieberman told <em>Bloomberg BNA</em> that while he couldn't speak to the past, Trump Model Management was now in full compliance with the law. "Everything is being done perfectly," he said. "Every girl has what they need to work."</p> <p><em>Mother Jones</em> contacted Lieberman's office on Friday to clarify his comments, but was told he was in budget meetings all day.</p></body></html> Politics 2016 Elections Donald Trump Fri, 09 Sep 2016 17:05:22 +0000 James West 313546 at Senator Calls for Homeland Security to Investigate Trump's Model Agency <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><em><strong>Editor's Note</strong>: <a href="" target="_blank">Read why</a> we can do this type of reporting&mdash;and consider <a href=";list_source=7H69C001&amp;extra_don=1&amp;abver=B" target="_blank">supporting it with a tax-deductible donation during our pledge drive</a></em>.</p> <p>Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) is calling on federal authorities to investigate Trump Model Management for alleged labor and immigration violations, in the wake of a <em>Mother Jones</em> <a href="">investigation of the company</a>.</p> <p>Three former Trump models, all non-US citizens, told <em>Mother Jones</em> they worked for the GOP nominee's agency while on tourist visas. Immigration laws require employers to seek work authorization for any foreigner they hire. <a href="">Financial</a> and <a href="">immigration records</a> included in a recent lawsuit filed by a fourth former Trump model indicate that she also worked for Trump's agency without a proper visa.</p> <p>"I am extremely concerned by the claims levied against Trump Model Management and ask that you open an investigation into the company's employment practices," Boxer wrote in a Wednesday letter to Le&oacute;n Rodr&iacute;guez, the director of the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), a part of the Department of Homeland Security.</p> <p>Boxer wrote that the allegations in <em>Mother Jones</em>' expos&eacute; were "disturbing," and she called on the agency to "make clear that immigration and labor violations like these will not be tolerated." The letter was also sent to Labor Secretary Tom Perez.</p> <p>Read the full letter here:</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Bb-Letter-USCIS.jpg" style="height: 815px; width: 630px;"></a> <div class="caption"><strong>The letter from Sen. Barbara Boxer sent Wednesday morning requesting that the US Immigration and Customs Service investigate employment practices at Trump Model Management. <a href="" target="_blank">Click to enlarge</a>. </strong>Sen. Barbara Boxer</div> </div> <p>Two of the former models told <em>Mother Jones </em>that they were coached on how to evade the scrutiny of immigration and customs officers by using fake pretenses for entering the country and even writing false addresses on customs forms.</p> <p>While working for Trump's agency, the models said, they were charged exorbitant rent to bunk with other Trump models in cramped, dormitory-style quarters while competing for coveted work visas. Those who didn't make the cut were sent home&mdash;but not until after rent and other fees were deducted from their Trump Model Management earnings.</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Screen%20Shot%202016-09-07%20at%208.52.13%20AM.png" style="height: 211px; width: 280px; float: right;"></a> <div class="caption"><strong>Read <em>Mother Jones</em>' <a href="" target="_blank">full investigation into Trump Model Management. </a></strong>Teen Vogue</div> </div> <p>Trump Model Management has yet to comment publicly on the allegations, and Donald Trump's campaign spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, declined to answer detailed questions about the story. "That has nothing to do with me or the campaign," she told <em>Mother Jones </em>last week.</p> <p>Gov. Mike Pence, Trump's vice presidential running mate, told CNN's Alisyn Camerota last Wednesday, "These sidebar issues that come up, his business enterprise can address those and I'm confident they'll address them forthrightly."</p> <p>Boxer has been a prominent <a href="">critic</a> of Donald Trump, and last week, as Trump traveled to Mexico for a surprise meeting with President Pe&ntilde;a Nieto, she <a href="" target="_blank">took to Twitter to blast the nominee</a>:</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Apparently Trump never built a wall to keep foreign models from working illegally in this country for low pay. <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Barbara Boxer (@BarbaraBoxer) <a href="">August 31, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script></center></body></html> Politics Donald Trump Immigration Top Stories Wed, 07 Sep 2016 14:00:03 +0000 James West 313286 at Former Models for Donald Trump's Agency Say They Violated Immigration Rules and Worked Illegally <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><div class="mobile-css-hide"> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><a href=";list_source=7H68C002&amp;extra_don=1&amp;abver=A" target="_blank"><img alt="Reader support makes scoops like this possible: please donate to Mother Jones" class="image" src=""></a></div> <p>Republican nominee Donald Trump has placed immigration at the core of his presidential campaign. He has claimed that undocumented immigrants are "<a href="">taking our jobs</a>" and "<a href="">taking our money,</a>" pledged to deport them en masse, and vowed to build a wall on the Mexican border. At one point he demanded a ban on Muslims entering the country. Speaking to supporters in Iowa on Saturday, Trump said he would crack down on visitors to the United States who overstay their visas and <a href="" target="_blank">declared</a> that when any American citizen "loses their job to an illegal immigrant, the rights of that American citizen have been violated." And he is scheduled to give a major address on immigration in Arizona on Wednesday night.</p> <p>But the mogul's New York modeling agency, Trump Model Management, has profited from using foreign models who came to the United States on tourist visas that did not permit them to work here, according to three former Trump models, all noncitizens, who shared their stories with <em>Mother Jones</em>. <a href="" target="_blank">Financial</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">immigration records</a> included in a recent lawsuit filed by a fourth former Trump model show that she, too, worked for Trump's agency in the United States without a proper visa.</p> <p>Foreigners who visit the United States as tourists are generally not permitted to engage in any sort of employment unless they obtain a special visa, a process that typically entails an employer applying for approval on behalf of a prospective employee. Employers risk fines and possible criminal charges for using undocumented labor.</p> <p>Founded in 1999, Trump Model Management "has risen to the top of the fashion market," <a href="" target="_blank">boasts</a> the Trump Organization's website, and has a name "that symbolizes success." According to a <a href="" target="_blank">financial disclosure</a> filed by his campaign in May, Donald Trump earned nearly $2 million from the company, in which he holds an 85 percent stake. Meanwhile, some former Trump models say they barely made any money working for the agency because of the high fees for rent and other expenses that were charged by the company. &nbsp;</p> <p>Canadian-born <a href="">Rachel Blais</a> spent nearly three years working for Trump Model Management. After first signing with the agency in March 2004, she said, she performed a series of modeling gigs for Trump's company in the United States without a work visa. At <em>Mother Jones</em>' request, Blais provided a detailed financial statement from Trump Model Management and a <a href="" target="_blank">letter</a> from an immigration lawyer who, in the fall of 2004, eventually secured a visa that would permit her to work legally in the United States. These records show a six-month gap between when she began working in the United States and when she was granted a work visa. During that time, Blais appeared on Trump's hit reality TV show, <em>The Apprentice</em>, modeling outfits designed by his business prot&eacute;g&eacute;s. As Blais walked the runway, Donald Trump looked on from the front row.</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Blais-Apprentice-Trump-630px-2_0.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Former Trump model Rachel Blais appeared in a 2004 episode of Donald Trump's hit NBC reality show, <em>The Apprentice</em>. Trump Model Management had yet to secure her work visa. </strong>NBC</div> </div> <p>Two other former Trump models&mdash;who requested anonymity to speak freely about their experiences, and who we are giving the pseudonyms Anna and Kate&mdash;said the agency never obtained work visas on their behalf, even as they performed modeling assignments in the United States. (They provided photographs from some of these jobs, and <em>Mother Jones</em> confirmed with the photographers or stylists that these shoots occurred in the United States.)</p> <p>Each of the three former Trump models said she arrived in New York with dreams of making it big in one of the world's most competitive fashion markets. But without work visas, they lived in constant fear of getting caught. "I was pretty on edge most of the time I was there," Anna said of the three months in 2009 she spent in New York working for Trump's agency.</p> <p>"I was there illegally," she said. "A sitting duck."</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><a href=""><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/trumpers_2000x1124_0_2.jpg" style="height: 163px; width: 290px;"></a> <div class="caption"><strong><a href="" target="_blank">I Spent 5 Years With Some of Trump's Biggest Fans. Here's What They Won't Tell You.</a></strong></div> </div> <p>According to three immigration lawyers consulted by <em>Mother Jones</em>, even unpaid employment is against the law for foreign nationals who do not have a work visa. "If the US company is benefiting from that person, that's work," explained <a href="">Anastasia Tonello</a>, global head of the US immigration team at Laura Devine Attorneys in New York. These rules for immigrants are in place to "protect them from being exploited," she said. "That US company shouldn't be making money off you."</p> <p>Two of the former Trump models said Trump's agency encouraged them to deceive customs officials about why they were visiting the United States and told them to lie on customs forms about where they intended to live. Anna said she received a specific instruction from a Trump agency representative: "If they ask you any questions, you're just here for meetings."</p> <p>Trump's campaign spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, declined to answer questions about Trump Model Management's use of foreign labor. "That has nothing to do with me or the campaign," she said, adding that she had referred <em>Mother Jones</em>' queries to Trump's modeling agency. <em>Mother Jones</em> also sent detailed questions to Trump Model Management. The company did not respond to multiple emails and phone calls requesting comment.</p> <p>Fashion industry sources say that skirting immigration law in the manner that the three former Trump models described was once commonplace in the modeling world. In fact, <em>Politico </em><a href="">recently raised questions</a> about the immigration status of Donald Trump's current wife, Melania, during her days as a young model in New York in the 1990s. (In response to the <em>Politico </em>story, Melania Trump said she has "at all times been in compliance with the immigration laws of this country.")</p> <p>Kate, who worked for Trump Model Management in 2004, marveled at how her former boss has recently branded himself as an anti-illegal-immigration crusader on the campaign trail. "He doesn't want to let anyone into the US anymore," she said. "Meanwhile, behind everyone's back, he's bringing in all of these girls from all over the world and they're working illegally."</p> <p><span class="section-lead">Now 31 years old</span> and out of the modeling business, Blais once appeared in various publications, including <em>Vogue</em>, <em>Elle</em>, and <em>Harpers Bazaar</em>, and she posed wearing the designs of such fashion luminaries as Gianfranco Ferr&eacute;, Dolce &amp; Gabbana, and Jean Paul Gaultier. Her modeling career began when she was 16 and spanned numerous top-name agencies across four continents. She became a vocal advocate for models and appeared in a 2011 documentary, <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Girl Model</em></a>, that explored the darker side of the industry. In a recent interview, she said her experience with Trump's firm stood out: "Honestly, they are the most crooked agency I've ever worked for, and I've worked for quite a few."</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Blais-Tear-960px-2.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Rachel Blais appeared in this <em>Elle</em> fashion spread, published in September 2004, while working for Trump's agency without a proper visa. </strong>Elle</div> </div> <p>Freshly signed to Trump Model Management, the Montreal native traveled to New York City by bus in April 2004. Just like "the majority of models who are young, [have] never been to NYC, and don't have papers, I was just put in Trump's models' apartment," she said. Kate and Anna also said they had lived in this apartment.</p> <p>Models' apartments, as they're known in the industry, are dormitory-style quarters where agencies pack their talent into bunks, in some cases charging the models sky-high rent and pocketing a profit. According to the three former models, Trump Model Management housed its models in a two-floor, three-bedroom apartment in the East Village, near Tompkins Square Park. <em>Mother Jones</em> is withholding the address of the building, which is known in the neighborhood for its model tenants, to protect the privacy of the current residents.</p> <p>When Blais lived in the apartment, she recalled, a Trump agency representative who served as a chaperone had a bedroom to herself on the ground floor of the building. A narrow flight of stairs led down to the basement, where the models lived in two small bedrooms that were crammed with bunk beds&mdash;two in one room, three in the other. An additional mattress was located in a common area near the stairs. At times, the apartment could be occupied by 11 or more people.</p> <p>"We're herded into these small spaces," Kate said. "The apartment was like a sweatshop."</p> <p>Trump Model Management recruited models <a href="" target="_blank">as young as 14</a>. "I was by far the oldest in the house at the ripe old age of 18," Anna said. "The bathroom always smelled like burned hair. I will never forget the place!" She added, "I taught myself how to write, 'Please clean up after yourself' in Russian."</p> <p>Living in the apartment during a sweltering New York summer, Kate picked a top bunk near a street-level window in the hopes of getting a little fresh air. She awoke one morning to something splashing her face. "Oh, maybe it's raining today," she recalled thinking. But when she peered out the window, "I saw the one-eyed monster pissing on me," she said. "There was a bum pissing on my window, splashing me in my Trump Model bed."</p> <p>"Such a glamorous industry," she said.</p> <p>Blais, who previously discussed some of her experiences in an interview with <a href="" target="_blank">Public Radio International</a>, said the models weren't in a position to complain about their living arrangements. "You're young," she remarked, "and you know that if you ask too many questions, you're not going to get the work."</p> <p>A detailed financial statement provided by Blais shows that Trump's agency charged her as much as $1,600 a month for a bunk in a room she shared with five others. Kate said she paid about $1,200 a month&mdash;"highway robbery," she called it. For comparison, in the summer of 2004, an entire studio apartment nearby was advertised at $1,375 a month.</p> <p>From April to October 2004, Blais traveled between the United States and Europe, picking up a string of high-profile fashion assignments for Trump Model Management and making a name for herself in the modeling world. During the months she spent living and working in New York, Blais said, she only had a tourist visa. "Most of the girls in the apartment that were not American didn't have a work visa," she recalled.</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><a href=""><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/trump-super-tuesday_1.gif" style="height: 163px; width: 290px;"></a> <div class="caption"><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>Here's How Trump (Allegedly) Stiffed an 82-Year-Old Immigrant Over an Unpaid Bill </strong></a></div> </div> <p>Anna and Kate also said they each worked for Trump's agency while holding tourist visas. "I started out doing test-shoots but ended up doing a couple of lookbooks," Anna said. (A lookbook is a modeling portfolio.) "Nothing huge, but definitely shoots that classified as 'work.'"</p> <p>Employers caught hiring noncitizens without proper visas can be fined up to $16,000 per employee and, in some cases, face up to six months in prison.</p> <p>The three former Trump models said Trump's agency was aware of the complications posed by their foreign status. Anna and Kate said the company coached them on how to circumvent immigration laws. Kate recalled being told, "When you're stuck at immigration, say that you're coming as a tourist. If they go through your luggage and they find your portfolio, tell them that you're going there to look for an agent."</p> <p>Anna recalled that prior to her arrival, Trump agency staffers were "dodging around" her questions about her immigration status and how she could work legally in the United States. "Until finally," she said, "it came to two days before I left, and they told me my only option was to get a tourist visa and we could work the rest out when I got there. We never sorted the rest out."</p> <p>Arriving in the United States, Anna grew terrified. "Going through customs for this trip was one of the most nerve-wracking experiences of my life," she added.&nbsp;"It's hard enough when you're there perfectly innocently, but when you know you've lied on what is essentially a federal document, it's a whole new world."</p> <p>"Am I sweaty? Am I red? Am I giving this away?" Anna remembered thinking as she finally faced a customs officer. After making it through immigration, she burst into tears.</p> <p>Industry experts say that violating immigration rules has been the status quo in the fashion world for years. "It's been common, almost standard, for modeling agencies to encourage girls to come into the country illegally," said Sara Ziff, the founder of the Model Alliance, an advocacy group that claimed a major success in 2014 after lobbying the New York State legislature to pass a bill <a href="">increasing protections for child models</a>.</p> <p>Bringing models into the United States on tourist visas was "very common," said Susan Scafidi, the director of Fordham University's Fashion Law Institute. "I've had tons of agencies tell me this, that this used to happen all the time, and that the cover story might be something like 'I'm coming in for a friend's birthday,' or 'I'm coming in to visit my aunt,' that sort of thing."</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><a href=""><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/20120425_zaf_r65_025_1.jpg" style="height: 193px; width: 290px;"></a> <div class="caption"><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>Read a letter from an immigration attorney confirming Rachel Blais' eligibility to work in the US. </strong></a>Pierre Roussel/ZUMA</div> </div> <p>For their part, modeling agencies have complained about the time and resources required to bring a foreign model into the country and have insisted that US immigration laws are out of step with their fast-paced industry. "If there are girls that we can't get into the United States, the client is going to take that business elsewhere," Corinne Nicolas, the president of Trump Model Management, told the <a href="" target="_blank"><em>New York Daily News</em></a> in 2008. "The market is calling for foreign girls."</p> <p>In 2007, a few years before his career imploded in a sexting scandal, former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) <a href="">sponsored a bill</a> that would give models the same kind of work visas that international entertainers and athletes receive. The tabloids had a field day&shy;&mdash;"Give me your torrid, your pure, your totally smokin' foreign babes," screamed a <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Daily News</em></a> headline&mdash;and the effort ultimately failed.</p> <p>Trump Model Management sponsored only its most successful models for work visas, the three former models said. Those who didn't cut it were sent home, as was the case, Blais noted, with many of her roommates.</p> <p>"It was very much the case of you earn your visa," Anna said. "Essentially, if you got enough work and they liked you enough, they'd pay for a visa, but you weren't about to see a dime before you could prove your worth."</p> <p>The company eventually secured an H-1B visa for Blais. Such visas allow US companies to employ workers in specialized fields. According to financial records provided by Blais, the company deducted the costs of obtaining a work visa from her earnings. (The agency did not obtain work visas for Anna and Kate, who each left the United States after their stints with Trump Model Management.)</p> <p>H-1B visas have been increasingly popular in the high-tech field, and Trump's companies, including Trump Model Management, have <a href="" target="_blank">used this program extensively</a> in the past. But on the campaign trail, Trump has railed against the H-1B program and those who he says abuse it. "I will end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program and institute an absolute requirement to hire American workers first for every visa and immigration program," Trump <a href="">said</a> in March. "No exceptions."</p> <p>Nearly three years after signing with Trump's agency, Blais had little to show for it&mdash;and it wasn't for lack of modeling jobs. Under the contracts that she and other Trump models had signed, the company advanced money for rent and various other expenses (such as trainers, beauty treatments, travel, and administrative costs), deducting these charges from its clients' modeling fees. But these charges&mdash;including the pricey rent that Blais and her roommates paid&mdash;consumed nearly all her modeling earnings. "I only got one check from Trump Models, and that's when I left them," she said. "I got $8,000 at most after having worked there for three years and having made tens of thousands of dollars." (The <a href="" target="_blank">check</a> Blais received was for $8,427.35.)</p> <p>"This is a system where they actually end up making money on the back of these foreign workers," Blais added. She noted that models can end up in debt to their agencies, once rent and numerous other fees are extracted.</p> <p>This is known in the industry as "agency debt." Kate said her bookings never covered the cost of living in New York. After two months, she returned home. "I left indebted to them," she said, "and I never went back, and I never paid them back."</p> <p><span class="section-lead">The experiences the</span> former Trump models related to <em>Mother Jones</em> echo allegations in an ongoing <a href="" target="_blank">class-action lawsuit</a> against six major modeling agencies by nine former models who have claimed their agencies charged them exorbitant fees for rent and other expenses. One plaintiff, Marcelle Almonte, has alleged that her agency charged her $1,850 per month to live in a two-bedroom Miami Beach apartment with eight other models. The market rate for apartments in the same building ran no more than $3,300 per month, according to the complaint. (Trump Model Management, which was initially named in an earlier version of this lawsuit, was dropped from the case in 2013, after the judge narrowed the number of defendants.) Models "were largely trapped by these circumstances if they wanted to continue to pursue a career in modeling," the complaint alleges.</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><a href=""><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/iStock_58504826_LARGE_2.jpg" style="height: 193px; width: 290px;"></a> <div class="caption"><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>Read Alexia Palmer's complaint against Trump Model Management. </strong></a>Wavebreakmedia/iStock</div> </div> <p>"It is like modern-day slavery" Blais said of working for Trump Model Management&mdash;and she is not alone in describing her time with Trump's company in those terms. Former Trump model Alexia Palmer, who filed a lawsuit against Trump Model Management for fraud and wage theft in 2014, has <a href="">said</a> she "felt like a slave."</p> <p>Palmer has alleged that she was forced to pay hefty&mdash;sometimes mysterious&mdash;fees to Trump's agency. These were fees on top of the 20 percent commission she paid for each job the company booked. Palmer charged that during three years of modeling for Trump's company, she earned only $3,880.75. A New York judge dismissed Palmer's claim <a href="">in March</a> because, among other reasons, she had not taken her case first to the Department of Labor. Lawyers for Trump Model Management called Palmer's lawsuit "frivolous" and "without merit."</p> <p>Palmer filed a complaint with the Department of Labor this spring, and in August the agency dismissed the case. Palmer's lawyer, Naresh Gehi, said he is appealing the decision. Since he began representing Palmer, he said, fashion models who worked for other agencies have approached him with similar stories. "These are people that are coming out of the closet and explaining to the world how they are being exploited," he said. "They are the most vulnerable."</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Documents</a> filed in Palmer's case indicate that she worked in the United States without a <a href="" target="_blank">work visa</a> after being recruited by Trump's agency from her native Jamaica. Gehi declined to discuss his client's immigration status.</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Palmer-Tear-960px-3.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Former Trump model Alexia Palmer posed for this <em>Teen Vogue</em> shoot in January 2011. She secured a work visa in October 2011. </strong>Teen Vogue</div> </div> <p>A Caribbean model contest launched Palmer's career <a href="">in 2010</a>, and at age 17 she signed an exclusive contract with Trump Model Management in January 2011. Department of Labor records show she received approval to work in the United States beginning in October 2011. Yet according to a financial statement filed as evidence in her case, Palmer started working in the United States nine months before this authorization was granted. Her financial records list a January 22, 2011, job for Cond&eacute; Nast, when she posed for a <em>Teen Vogue</em> spread featuring <a href="">the cast of <em>Glee</em></a>. (The shoot took place at Milk Studios in Los Angeles.)</p> <p>"That whole period, from January to September, was not authorized," said Pankaj Malik, a partner at New York-based Ballon, Stoll, Bader &amp; Nadler who has worked on immigration issues for over two decades and who reviewed Palmer's case for <em>Mother Jones</em>. "You can't do any of that. It's <em>so</em> not allowed."</p> <p><span class="section-lead">Trump has taken</span> an active role at Trump Model Management from its founding. He has personally signed models who have participated in his Miss Universe and Miss USA competitions, where his agency staff appeared as judges. Melania Trump was a Trump model for a brief period after meeting her future husband in the late 1990s.</p> <p>The agency is a particular point of pride for Trump, who has built his brand around glitz and glamour. "True Trumpologists know the model agency is only a tiny part of Trumpland financially," <a href="">the <em>New York Sun </em>wrote in 2004</a>. "But his agency best evokes a big Trump theme&mdash;sex sells." Trump has often cross-pollinated his other business ventures with fashion models and has used them as veritable set pieces when he rolls out new products. Trump models, including Blais, appeared on <em>The Apprentice</em>&mdash;and they flanked him at the 2004 launch of his Parker Brothers board game, <em>TRUMP</em>.</p> <p>Part of Blais' job, she said, was to serve as eye candy at Trump-branded events. Recalling the first time she met the mogul, she said, "I had to go to the Trump Vodka opening." It was a glitzy 2006 gala at Trump Tower where Busta Rhymes performed, and Trump unveiled his (<a href="" target="_blank">soon-to-be-defunct</a>) line of vodka. "It was part of my duty to go and be seen and to be photographed and meet Donald Trump and shake his hand," she remembered.</p> <p>Trump made a strong impression on her that night. "I knew that I was a model and there was objectification in the job, but this was another level," she said. Blais left Trump Model Management the year after the Trump Vodka gala, feeling that she had been exploited and shortchanged by the agency.</p> <p>Kate, who went on to have a successful career with another agency, also parted ways with Trump's company in disgust. "My overall experience was not a very good one," she said. "I left with a bad taste in my mouth. I didn't like the agency. I didn't like where they had us living. Honestly, I felt ripped off."</p> <p>These days, Kate said, she believes that Trump has been fooling American voters with his anti-immigrant rhetoric, given that his own agency had engaged in the practices he has denounced. "He doesn't like the face of a Mexican or a Muslim," she said, "but because these [models] are beautiful girls, it's okay? He's such a hypocrite."</p> </div></body></html> Politics Donald Trump Elections Investigations The Right Top Stories new york city Tue, 30 Aug 2016 16:07:39 +0000 James West 312461 at Trump Calls Himself a Champion of Gay Rights. Hang On a Second. <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>During his 75-minute speech at the Republican National Convention in July, Donald Trump looked genuinely surprised at the roar of applause when he said, "As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect LGBTQ citizens."</p> <p>Momentarily going off script, Trump added, "I have to say, as a Republican, it is so nice to hear you cheering for what I just said. Thank you."</p> <p>Since the Orlando gay nightclub shooting in June, which killed 49 people, Trump has portrayed himself as a warrior for gays while accusing his rival Hillary Clinton of being weak on terror and taking money from countries with bad records on gay equality. He has used the massacre to double down on his promise to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States.</p> <p>"The bottom line is that the only reason the killer was in America in the first place was because we allowed his family to come here," Trump <a href="">said after the massacre</a>. (The gunman was an American citizen who <a href="">reportedly declared his allegiance to the leader of ISIS</a> during the attack.) "Clinton wants to allow radical Islamic terrorists to pour into our country&mdash;they enslave women and murder gays.&nbsp;I don't want them in our country."</p> <p>"I'm much better for the gays," he <a href="">told Fox News at the time</a>. (National gay rights groups <a href="">roundly disagreed</a>.)</p> <p>In a foreign policy address&nbsp;in Youngstown, Ohio, on Monday, Trump promised to impose an "ideological screening test" for anyone hoping to immigrate to the United States, one that would "screen out any who have hostile attitudes toward our country or its principles." That, he said, would include people who "support bigotry and hatred." The&nbsp;Associated Press <a href="" target="_blank">reported</a> prior to the speech that Trump planned to&nbsp;impose an ideological test for new immigrants to determine their opinions on American values like religious freedom, gender equality, and gay rights.</p> <p>"I call it extreme vetting," Trump said on Monday. "I call it extreme, extreme vetting."</p> <p>But there are some within Trump's own party who might have difficulty passing a test on gay rights and the basic tenets of equality advocated by the gay rights movement, including marriage, anti-discrimination policies, and hate-crime legislation.</p> <p>Here are a few of them:</p> <p><strong>Donald Trump:</strong></p> <p>Trump himself does not support nationwide marriage equality and has said he would <a href="">"strongly consider" appointing judges to overturn it</a>. In one 2011 speech, Trump likened his refusal to embrace same-sex marriage to his reluctance to use a new kind of golf putter, as the <em>New York Times</em> <a href=";ref=nyregion" target="_blank">reported</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>"It's like in golf," he said. "A lot of people&mdash;I don't want this to sound trivial&mdash;but a lot of people are switching to these really long putters, very unattractive," said Mr. Trump, a Republican. "It's weird. You see these great players with these really long putters, because they can't sink three-footers anymore. And, I hate it. I am a traditionalist. I have so many fabulous friends who happen to be gay, but I am a traditionalist."</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>The Republican Party platform committee:</strong></p> <p>The <a href="">2016 Republican Party platform promises</a> to defend "marriage against an activist judiciary," describing the Supreme Court's historic 2014 gay marriage ruling this way: "Five unelected lawyers robbed 320 million Americans of their legitimate constitutional authority to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman." The document also endorses the "<a href="">First Amendment Defense Act,</a>" a federal bill&mdash;now in committee, and not yet debated&mdash;that seeks to allow businesses and individuals to discriminate against LGBT Americans on religious grounds.</p> <p>The platform also supports "the right of parents to determine the proper medical treatment and therapy for their minor children," a provision that was born out of a fight to allow parents to take their kids to "conversion therapy"&mdash;a <a href="">bogus practice</a> that attempts to "un-gay" patients. Conversion therapy has been made illegal in several states. (According to <em><a href="" target="_blank">Time</a></em>, the original language proposed by Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council and a delegate from Louisiana, <a href="">was a more strident defense of the "therapy."</a>) The platform also rejects gay and lesbian families by saying, "A man and a woman family is the best, ideal vehicle for raising children."</p> <p><strong>Gov. Mike Pence:</strong></p> <p>Trump's vice presidential pick, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, was something of a pioneer in laws allowing businesses to refuse service to gays on religious grounds, when in 2014 he rushed through a bill known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. After his state lost 12 big conventions <a href="">and an estimated $60 million</a> amid a national backlash, <a href="">Pence pushed state lawmakers to tweak the bill to protect gays and lesbians</a>. But as my colleague Hannah Levintova <a href="">pointed out in mid-July</a>, Pence's staunch opposition to gay rights goes back even longer:</p> <blockquote> <p>In 2003, Pence, then representing the sixth congressional district of Indiana, <a href="" target="_blank">co-sponsored an amendment</a> that would have prohibited same-sex marriage. Four years later, he <a href="" target="_blank">voted against</a> the Employee Non-Discrimination Act, which aimed to prevent job discrimination based on sexual orientation. While in Congress, he opposed a bill aimed at more effectively prosecuting hate crimes based on sexual orientation and <a href="" target="_blank">voted against</a> the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>States suing the Obama administration over bathroom laws:</strong></p> <p>Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina signed into law a <a href="" target="_blank">sweeping bill</a> earlier this year that struck down workplace protections for LGBT employees and forced transgender people to use public restrooms matching their biological sex&mdash;sparking a <a href="">heated legal battle</a> between the US Justice Department and North Carolina.</p> <p>Now, about <a href="">half of all American states are suing</a> over President Barack Obama's May directive from the Education Department and the Justice Department saying public schools should let transgender kids use the bathroom they want. The <a href="">guidance</a> said public schools should treat their transgender students in a way that matches their gender identity.</p> <p>Conservative backlash has been fierce, catapulting the bathroom access debate onto the national stage. "This is the most outrageous example yet of the Obama administration forcing its liberal agenda on states that roundly reject it," said Mississippi Republican Gov. Phil Bryant <a href="">in May</a>.</p> <p>For his part, Trump said North Carolina <a href="" target="_blank">should allow people to "use the bathroom they feel is appropriate."</a></p> <p><strong>Loads of state leaders:</strong></p> <p>In April, the <em>Huffington Post</em> published a <a href="" target="_blank">comprehensive roundup</a> of the full-blown national assault on gay rights. At the time, there were more than 100 anti-gay bills awaiting a vote in 22 states.</p></body></html> Politics Civil Liberties Donald Trump Elections Mon, 15 Aug 2016 20:06:39 +0000 James West 311731 at This Video of Hillary Clinton Answering 40 Years of Sexist Questions Is Infuriating <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>Nearly four decades is a long time to be hearing the same stuff about being a woman in power. The nauseating proof comes in the form of a new video that was put together by <a href="" target="_blank">National Memo</a>, a news and politics website, and posted to YouTube on Thursday.</p> <p>It tracks almost 40 years of Hillary Clinton&mdash;as first lady, senator, and presidential candidate&mdash;and the sexist ideas about women in public life put to her in numerous media appearances. Some of the interviewers appear to be adopting sexist tropes to humanize Clinton or to highlight inequalities, while other commentators are downright nasty. Together, it plays like a relentless heartbeat of gendered criticism.</p></body></html> Politics Video Hillary Clinton Media Thu, 04 Aug 2016 21:49:22 +0000 James West 311051 at We Asked Bernie Die-Hards Inside Their Philly Tent City: “What Now?” <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>Tents were being disassembled. Buttons and signs, stacked and packed away. A protester strummed a final, whimsical song. Several dozen bleary-eyed Bernie Sanders die-hards were preparing to head home on Thursday afternoon. Many had been camping out for days in Philadelphia's Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park, not far from the Wells Fargo Center, where delegates met this week to nominate Hillary Clinton as the Democratic presidential candidate.</p> <p>Anger over party politics and Clinton's nomination lingered. But Sanders' supporters also vowed to fight on, to carry the revolution back to their hometowns, and to continue to campaign for third-party candidates. Many said they were switching their support to Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate.</p> <p>"This movement is the future, and we are the future&mdash;and we're coming in hot," said Chelsea Piner, a 29-year-old brewer in Detroit. "We're not lacking enthusiasm, and I think the whole world can see that."</p> <p>All the campers I spoke to agreed that Clinton and Donald Trump were essentially equally bad. Philadelphia local Jesse Ilnicki, 35, who described himself as "just another weird dude who gives a fuck," put it this way: "We're up against two oligarchic demons fornicating with each other, and then expecting us to pick one over the other when they're both fucking prostitutes."</p> <p>Wearing a T-shirt that read, "Over the Hill Hippies for Bernie," 63-year-old Arja Moy agreed: "Hillary is even more dangerous."</p></body></html> Politics Video 2016 Elections Elections Thu, 28 Jul 2016 22:13:16 +0000 James West 310416 at Broadway Stars Line Up at DNC to Belt Out "What the World Needs Now Is Love” to Honor Victims of Gun Violence <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>On Wednesday night, Broadway stars including Idina Menzel and Darren Criss, took to the Wells Fargo Center stage in Philadelphia to belt out "What the World Needs Now Is Love," the Burt Bacharach classic.</p> <p>The crowd rose to its feet, swayed, and sang along energetically as the performers swapped microphones throughout the song and harmonized.</p> <p>The performance came after harrowing speeches from survivors of gun violence,and relatives of shooting victims, including <a href="" target="_blank">Christine Leinonen</a>, the mother of 32-year-old Christopher "Drew" Leinonen, who was shot and killed at Pulse, an Orlando nightclub, in June.</p> <p>"The weapon that murdered my son fires 30 rounds in one minute," Leinonen said. "An Orlando city commissioner pointed out the terrible math. One minute per gun to fire so many shots, five minutes per bell to honor so many lives."</p></body></html> Politics Video Elections Guns Thu, 28 Jul 2016 00:58:44 +0000 James West 310306 at