Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Last Call For Money Can't Buy Respect

Gallup's annual poll of the most respected folks on earth is out, and once again Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton top the list.

Americans once again are most likely to name Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as the man and woman living anywhere in the world they admire most, as they have for the past 10 years. The pair retain their titles this year, although by much narrower margins than in the past. Obama edges out Donald Trump, 17% to 14%, while Clinton edges out Michelle Obama, 9% to 7%. 
The 2017 survey marks the 16th consecutive year Clinton has been the most admired woman. She has held the title 22 times in total, more than anyone else. Eleanor Roosevelt is second with 13 wins. Obama has now been named the most admired man 10 times, trailing only Dwight Eisenhower, who earned the distinction 12 times. Obama won all eight years he was president, plus 2008 -- the year he was first elected -- and this year, his first as a former president. 

That's ten in a row for Obama, and 16 for Hillary.  That can't make Donny happy.

Not at all.

Russian To Judgment, Con't

The Mueller investigation is now moving into the phase where we learn that Trump is far from the only corruption in the Republican party, and it's why so many high-ranking GOP politicians in a Congress they control completely are heading for the exits.

Special counsel Robert Mueller has begun to question Republican National Committee staffers about the party's 2016 campaign data operation, which helped President Donald Trump's campaign team target voters in critical swing states
Two sources told Yahoo News that Mueller's team is examining whether the joint RNC-Trump campaign data operation — which was directed on Trump's side by Brad Parscale and managed by Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner — "was related to the activities of Russian trolls and bots aimed at influencing the American electorate." 
The FBI has been scrutinizing Kushner's contacts in December 2016 with the Russian ambassador to the US and the CEO of a sanctioned Russian bank. 
The special counsel's office declined to comment on its ongoing investigation. Multiple requests to various current and former RNC officials on Wednesday went unanswered. A source close to one of the Trump campaign's data firms said they were "unaware of anyone being questioned." 
It is not surprising that federal investigators have begun to examine the possibility that Russia and the Trump campaign helped each other during the election. Investigators have been looking into whether Russia provided the campaign with voter information stolen by Russian hackersfrom election databases in several states, and whether the Trump campaign helped Russia target its political ads to specific demographics and voting precincts. 
The general counsels for Facebook, Twitter, and Google gave enigmatic replies when asked by the House Intelligence Committee last month whether they had investigated "who was mimicking who" when it came to online ads promoted by both the Trump campaign and Russia during the election. 

The RNC's data operation provided the targeting info for Russian-bought pro-Trump and anti-Clinton ads on social media.  They knew exactly who to hit.

And who was hired to help run the RNC's data operation?  Cambridge Analytica and Steve Bannon.

Investigators have long wondered whether the data-mining and analysis firm Cambridge Analytica served as a link between the campaign's data operation and Russia.
That scrutiny intensified following revelations that Cambridge CEO Alexander Nix reached out to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in June 2016 asking for access to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's "stolen" emails.

It is still unclear how much Cambridge Analytica actually did for the campaign. Trump campaign aides and even current and former Cambridge employees have consistently tried to downplay its role. 
Parscale was asked about Cambridge during his interview with the House Intelligence Committee in October. The ranking members of the House Oversight and Judiciary committees sent him a separate letter that month asking whether his firm received "information from a foreign government or foreign actor" at any point during the election. 
The letter was also sent to Nix and the heads of Deep Root Analytics, TargetPoint Consulting, and The Data Trust — firms hired by the Republican National Committee last year to bolster the Trump campaign's data operation. 

You'd better believe the Russians know more about you than you do.  They knew just where to target us to give Trump the Electoral College number he needed to lose the popular election but win the presidency.

If you're wondering what Trump has on the rest of the GOP in order to compel their silence, tug on this thread.  How many other Republicans benefited from this partnership in 2016?

When all this comes out, it's going to be devastating and Trump knows it.  He also knows there's no way he goes down alone.

Just A Steel-Town Fool On A Saturday Night

Lookin' for the Trump of their life
In the real time world no one sees them at all
They all say Trump's crazy...

Four days after his inauguration, Donald Trump signed a handful of executive memos to advance the Keystone XL pipeline and revive the U.S. steel industry. He invited builder TransCanada Corp. to reapply for a permit denied by Barack Obama and ordered up fast-track rules forcing not only Keystone but also all new U.S. pipelines to be made from American steel. “From now on, we’re going to be making pipeline in the United States,” he said.

Made-in-America Keystone was a stunt. Most of its pipes had already been manufactured, a fact the White House grudgingly admitted when it exempted the project from any new Buy American rules a few months later. While some of Keystone’s pipes were made in the U.S., at least a quarter of them came from a Russian steel company whose biggest shareholder is an oligarch and Trump family friend. The company, Evraz North America, supplied Keystone from its steel plants in Canada and for years has lobbied in Washington against Trump-style protectionism.

Ten months after his Keystone event, Trump has yet to deliver on his pledge to boost the fortunes of American steel. Two self-imposed deadlines for trade action, one in June and one in July, have come and gone. Meanwhile, the prospect of tariffs has led to a surge of cheap foreign steel into the U.S., with imports rising 24 percent in 2017, the fastest increase in years. 
As federal and congressional investigators probe Moscow’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election, Evraz North America shows that Russians are also involved in pressing against one of Trump’s main campaign promises. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Evraz Plc, Russia’s second-largest steelmaker. It has two factories in the U.S., in Colorado and Oregon, and four in western Canada, where it produces steel and large-diameter steel pipe. The company’s top shareholder is Roman Abramovich, a billionaire who owns 31 percent of Evraz’s stock. In 2005 he was the first oligarch allowed to sell his oil company to the state, taking in $13 billion in a deal approved by Vladimir Putin.

Abramovich’s ties to the Trumps stem from a decade-long friendship between Ivanka Trump and Abramovich’s wife, Dasha Zhukova, from whom he announced a separation in August. Jared Kushner and his brother, Joshua, invested in Zhukova’s art collection business. The Russian couple hosted Ivanka and Jared in Russia in 2014, when they shared a table at a fundraiser for Moscow’s Jewish museum. Zhukova went to the 2016 U.S. Open tennis tournament with Ivanka and attended Trump’s inauguration as Ivanka’s guest.

Dear Steel Country:

You voted for Donald Trump because he promised to make your mill towns and factory cities great again. You voted for him because he was going to make it so your kid, fresh out of high school, could make $90k a year busting his ass at a smelting plant and take pride in it, that you'd be proud of him, that you didn't have to spend $100,000 to get him through four years at Penn State or Michigan or Miami of Ohio for him to get a house and a good job that he could support a wife and kids with so she didn't have to work.

You also voted for him because he was going to send all those job-stealing Mexicans home and keep the blacks in line so that you could afford to send your youngest to Catholic school instead of the public high school with all those people in it. And maybe you could afford to move to a new place away from them and work for another 20 years and retire like your grandpa did when he put in his 35 at the GM plant in Hamtramck.

I'm here to tell you Donald Trump flat out lied to you.  Not only did he lie to you, he sold you out to the goddamn Russians.  He sold you out so that Putin's cronies could make pipelines using imported steel from Asia.  That big infrastructure plan Trump has?  It's a gift to the guys who really got him elected.

You got played for fools, but you had a choice and you made it.

Now we all have to live with the consequences of 2016.

The good news is you can help make it right in 2018 and 2020.

Think about it.
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