Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Last Call For State Of The Bank Account

The State Department is apparently out of the democracy game under the Tillerson/Trump "leadership era" because let's face it, it's a lot easier doing business with dictators, strongmen, and despots when you're unburdened by American values. Forget the red, white, and blue, it's all about the green. Josh Rogin at WaPo:

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has ordered his department to redefine its mission and issue a new statement of purpose to the world. The draft statements under review right now are similar to the old mission statement, except for one thing — any mention of promoting democracy is being eliminated. 
According to an internal email that went out Friday, which I obtained, the State Department’s Executive Steering Committee convened a meeting of leaders to draft new statements on the department’s purpose, mission and ambition, as part of the overall reorganization of the State Department and USAID. (The draft statements were being circulated for comment Friday and could change before being finalized.) 
  • The State Department’s draft statement on its purpose is: “We promote the security, prosperity and interests of the American people globally.”
  • The State Department’s draft statement on its mission is: “Lead America’s foreign policy through global advocacy, action and assistance to shape a safer, more prosperous world.”
  • The State Department’s draft statement on its ambition is: “The American people thrive in a peaceful and interconnected world that is free, resilient and prosperous.”
Compare that to the State Department Mission Statement that is currently on the books, as laid out in the department’s fiscal year 2016 financial report
“The Department’s mission is to shape and sustain a peaceful, prosperous, just, and democratic world and foster conditions for stability and progress for the benefit of the American people and people everywhere. This mission is shared with the USAID, ensuring we have a common path forward in partnership as we invest in the shared security and prosperity that will ultimately better prepare us for the challenges of tomorrow.” 
Former senior State Department officials from both parties told me that eliminating “just” and “democratic” from the State Department’s list of desired outcomes is neither accidental nor inconsequential.

The only significant difference is the deletion of justice and democracy,” said Elliott Abrams, who served as deputy national security adviser for global democracy strategy during the George W. Bush administration. “We used to want a just and democratic word, and now apparently we don’t.”

But we sure like your money.  Morality, after all, doesn't pay the bills for multinationals like ExxonMobil. Note the repetition of the word "prosperous/prosperity" in the new State Department mission statement.

Hey now, you're a rock star, get your game on, get paid.

Serena Hits The Gap

Tennis legend Serena Williams took to Fortune Magazine yesterday to write an essay on Black Women's Equal Pay Day, as July 31st, 2017 represents the seven months longer it would take for the average black woman to work extra to equal what the average white man earned in 2016 alone.

Today is Black Women's Equal Pay Day. This day shines a light on the long-neglected fact that the gender pay gap hits women of color the hardest. Black women are 37 cents behind men in the pay gap—in other words, for every dollar a man makes, black women make 63 cents. 
I’d like to acknowledge the many realities black women face every day. To recognize that women of color have to work—on average—eight months longer to earn the same as their male counterparts do in one year. To bring attention to the fact that black women earn 17% less than their white female counterparts and that black women are paid 63% of the dollar men are paid. Even black women who have earned graduate degrees get paid less at every level. This is as true in inner cities as it is in Silicon Valley.

Together, we will change the story—but we are going to have to fight for every penny.
Growing up, I was told I couldn’t accomplish my dreams because I was a woman and, more so, because of the color of my skin. In every stage of my life, I’ve had to learn to stand up for myself and speak out. I have been treated unfairly, I’ve been disrespected by my male colleagues and—in the most painful times—I’ve been the subject of racist remarks on and off the tennis court. Luckily, I am blessed with an inner drive and a support system of family and friends that encourage me to move forward. But these injustices still hurt. 
am in the rare position to be financially successful beyond my imagination. I had talent, I worked like crazy and I was lucky enough to break through. But today isn’t about me. It’s about the other 24 million black women in America. If I never picked up a tennis racket, I would be one of them; that is never lost on me. 
The cycles of poverty, discrimination, and sexism are much, much harder to break than the record for Grand Slam titles. For every black woman that rises through the ranks to a position of power, there are too many others who are still struggling. Most black women across our country do not have the same support that I did, and so they often don’t speak out about what is just, fair and appropriate in the workplace. When they do, they are often punished for it. 
Unfair pay has prevailed for far too long with no consequence. Through decades of systematic oppression, black women have been conditioned to think they are less than. In many cases, these women are the heads of households. Single mothers. The issue isn’t just that black women hold lower-paying jobs. They earn less even in fields of technology, finance, entertainment, law, and medicine. 
Changing the status quo will take dedicated action, legislation, employer recognition, and courage for employees to demand more. In short, it’s going to take all of us. Men, women, of all colors, races and creeds to realize this is an injustice. And an injustice to one is an injustice to all. 
The first step in making a change is recognition. We need to push this issue to the front of conversations so that employers across the U.S. can truly understand that all male and female employees must be compensated equally. Not close. Not almost the same. Equally. 
Recently, I have joined SurveyMonkey’s board of directors, with this specific initiative in mind. SurveyMonkey wants to make information accessible so that all of us can make informed decisions. As they say: knowledge is power. As a black female entrepreneur and person in the spotlight, I am trying to figure out how I can move the needle forward and open doors for everyone, no matter the color of their skin. But I want to start with the wage gap.

And that's really the issue.  The wage gap exists across not just "pink collar" jobs like office assistants or secretaries, it exists among geologists, physicians, civil engineers, lawyers, and CEOs too. We've got the numbers, and across the board black women get paid less, period.  That's even more true for Latino women by the way, as well as white women.

If the most highly-paid tennis player of her generation can recognize this and take steps to help, we all can.

Russian To Judgment, Con't

The Trump regime can't stop lying, and can't stop getting caught in those lies as we revisit Donald Trump Jr.'s now infamous June 2016 meeting with several Russian nationals where the topic was seeking Russian intelligence dirt on Hillary Clinton.  It now turns out Trump the Younger's statement after that news broke wasn't the work of himself or his lawyers...but dictated by his father, according to a Washington Post story.

On the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Germany last month, President Trump’s advisers discussed how to respond to a new revelation that Trump’s oldest son had met with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign — a disclosure the advisers knew carried political and potentially legal peril.

The strategy, the advisers agreed, should be for Donald Trump Jr. to release a statement to get ahead of the story. They wanted to be truthful, so their account couldn’t be repudiated later if the full details emerged.

But within hours, at the president’s direction, the plan changed.

Flying home from Germany on July 8 aboard Air Force One, Trump personally dictated a statement in which Trump Jr. said that he and the Russian lawyer had “primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children” when they met in June 2016, according to multiple people with knowledge of the deliberations. The statement, issued to the New York Times as it prepared an article, emphasized that the subject of the meeting was “not a campaign issue at the time.”

The claims were later shown to be misleading.

Remember how the concern was that such a misleading statement was potential legal trouble for those involved in creating it?

Over the next three days, multiple accounts of the meeting were provided to the news media as public pressure mounted, with Trump Jr. ultimately acknowledging that he had accepted the meeting after receiving an email promising damaging information about Hillary Clinton as part of a Russian government effort to help his father’s campaign.

The extent of the president’s personal intervention in his son’s response, the details of which have not previously been reported, adds to a series of actions that Trump has taken that some advisers fear could place him and some members of his inner circle in legal jeopardy.

As special counsel Robert S. Mueller III looks into potential obstruction of justice as part of his broader investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, these advisers worry that the president’s direct involvement leaves him needlessly vulnerable to allegations of a coverup.

“This was . . . unnecessary,” said one of the president’s advisers, who like most other people interviewed for this article spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal deliberations. “Now someone can claim he’s the one who attempted to mislead. Somebody can argue the president is saying he doesn’t want you to say the whole truth.”
Trump has already come under criticism for steps he has taken to challenge and undercut the Russia investigation.

Gosh, you think Trump is an inveterate liar who, if these reports are true, dictated a massive lie in order to try to cover up the truth and protect his son?  It wasn't just the Trump regime that put out this statement, it was Donald Trump himself.  Trump said that he was aware of his son's meeting but not the content of that meeting, and now we know that's a lie.

One might even say this was potential obstruction of an investigation into that meeting. And somebody in the White House just blew a hole in Trump's defense and leaked to the Washington Post.

As I said, the Trump Jr. meeting was the end of the beginning of this story.  Now it's moving on to a new stage.

The Fox News Channel and a wealthy supporter of President Trump worked in concert under the watchful eye of the White House to concoct a story about the murder of a young Democratic National Committee aide, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday.
The explosive claim is part of the lawsuit filed against Fox News by Rod Wheeler, a longtime paid commentator for the news network. The suit was obtained exclusively by NPR. 
Wheeler alleges Fox News and the Trump supporter intended to deflect public attention from growing concern about the administration's ties to the Russian government. His suit charges that a Fox News reporter created quotations out of thin air and attributed them to him to propel her story. 
Fox's president of news, Jay Wallace, told NPR Monday there was no "concrete evidence" that Wheeler was misquoted by the reporter, Malia Zimmerman. The news executive did not address a question about the story's allegedly partisan origins. Fox News declined to allow Zimmerman to comment for this story. 
The story, which first aired in May, was retracted by Fox News a week later. Fox News has, to date, taken no action in response to what it said was a failure to adhere to the network's standards.

The lawsuit focuses particular attention on the role of the Trump supporter, Ed Butowsky, in weaving the story. He is a wealthy Dallas investor and unpaid Fox commentator on financial matters, who has emerged as a reliable Republican surrogate in recent years. Butowsky offered to pay for Wheeler to investigate the death of the DNC aide, Seth Rich, on behalf of his grieving parents in Omaha. 
On April 20, a month before the story ran, Butowsky and Wheeler — the investor and the investigator — met at the White House with then Press Secretary Sean Spicer to brief him on what they were uncovering. 
The first page of the lawsuit quotes a voicemail and text from Butowsky boasting that President Trump himself had reviewed drafts of the Fox News story just before it went to air and was published.

Turns out Trump is involved in a lot of things and then later lied about them or had his people lie about them and specifically his involvement, and he keeps getting caught time and time again in those lies.

Stay tuned.


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