Daily Archives: April 19th, 2017

Donald Trump Has Raised His Approval Ratings by Embracing His Inner Bomb

Annalisa Merelli reports for Quartz:

In this April 6, 2017, photo, President Donald Trump walks from the podium after speaking at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., Thursday, April 6, 2017, after the U.S. fired a barrage of cruise missiles into Syria. Trump’s White House, one perpetually plagued by infighting among aides jockeying for the president’s ear, has been sharply divided by a new rivalry, one pitting his powerful son-in-law with unfettered access to the president against the sharp-elbowed ideologue who fueled Trump’s populist campaign rhetoric. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)Since before he became president on Jan. 20, Donald Trump’s approval ratings have been low, to say the least: Trump has consistently registered lower than any president in recent history, even when comparing his performance with predecessors dealing with especially difficult circumstances (the Great Recession, for instance).

As of April 18,—88 days into his term—Trump’s approval rating is 39% according to the Marist Poll, 41% per Gallup, and 40% per a CBS News poll. Low as these numbers may be, there are good news for the president, significantly up from the end of March, when at 35% according to Gallup, Trump had its worst rating ever.

The trend has flipped upward for Trump. And it’s not because his record on keeping electoral promises has significantly improved. No, something else looks to be the cause of his increase in popularity—war, or the threat of it.

READ MORE…

Trump Companies Don’t Always Follow His ‘Buy American, Hire American’ Pledge

Jacob Pramuk reports for CNBC:

President Donald Trump delivers opening remarks during a meeting with (L-R) Wendell Weeks of Corning, Alex Gorsky of Johnson & Johnson, Michael Dell of Dell Technologies, Mario Longhi of US Steel, and other business leaders and administration staff in the Roosevelt Room at the White House, Jan. 23, 2017 in Washington, DC.President Donald Trump promoted his “buy American, hire American” policy again Tuesday — but his family’s companies haven’t always followed that pledge themselves.

After touring a Snap-on tools plant in Wisconsin on Tuesday afternoon, Trump signed an executive order pushing the hiring of domestic workers by American companies.

The measure will aim to make it more difficult for businesses to hire lower-wage foreign workers, particularly through changes to the H-1B program favored by technology companies, The New York Times reported. The order will also direct a review of government rules related to the use of American companies for federal contracts.

“We are sending a powerful signal to the world. We are going to protect our workers, defend our jobs and finally put America first,” Trump said Tuesday.

But businesses owned by Trump and his family members don’t always favor American workers.

READ MORE…

Ivanka Trump Brand Secures China Trademarks on Day U.S. President Met Xi Jinping

Benjamin Haas reports for The Guardian:

Related imageAs Donald Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping dined on Dover sole and New York strip steak earlier this month, thousands of miles away in China a government office quietly approved trademarks that could benefit the US president’s family.

On the day the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump met the Chinese leader, China granted preliminary approval for three new trademarks for her namesake brand, covering jewellery, bags and spa service, according to official documents.

Her company, Ivanka Trump Marks LLC, has been granted four additional trademarks since her father’s inauguration and has 32 pending, according to the Associated Press, which first reported the new approvals.

Donald Trump’s White House has created a minefield of ethics concerns, according to critics, and the president and his top officials represent one of the wealthiest cabinets in history, with business empires spanning the globe. Ivanka Trump was appointed assistant to the president last month, after previously saying she would not join her father’s administration.

Ivanka Trump no longer manages her clothing, jewellery and accessories brand, but still owns the business and is frequently seen wearing clothes from her own collection. She has put her business in a trust, run by family members.

READ MORE…

Inside the ‘Stalkerware’ Surveillance Market, Where Ordinary People Tap Each Other’s Phones

Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai and Joseph Cox report for Motherboard:

John* tapped out a simple text message to his wife in January 2016. “I love you,” it read.

But this wasn’t the only message she saw. Unbeknownst to John, his wife had bugged his smart phone. She was spying on John, eavesdropping on all of his texts and multimedia messages, and tracking his every move through the device’s GPS.

She was also stealing all of John’s photos. In one slightly blurred picture, John, a police officer in a small town in the southwestern United States, is knelt over a suspect, who is face down on the curb. In another photograph, John is taking a selfie wearing a dress shirt and a black tie. A third picture shows an email exchange with Facebook’s law enforcement help team, revealing that John was requesting data on a target of an investigation.

These messages and pictures, including some of the couple’s more intimate moments, were taken directly from John’s cellphone by his wife, using a piece of consumer surveillance software made by American company Retina-X. In an ironic twist, the software is called PhoneSheriff.

John is just one of tens of thousands of individuals around the world who are unwitting targets of powerful, relatively cheap spyware that anyone can buy. Ordinary people—lawyers, teachers, construction workers, parents, jealous lovers—have bought malware to monitor mobile phones or computers, according to a large cache of hacked files from Retina-X and FlexiSpy, another spyware company.

The breaches highlight how consumer surveillance technology, which shares some of the same capabilities and sometimes even the same code as spy software used by governments, has established itself with the everyday consumer. And it would appear no small number of people are willing to use this technology on their partners, spouses, or children.

In other words, surveillance starts at home.

READ MORE…

The Rise of Left-Wing, Anti-Trump Fake News

BBC Trending reports:

fake news imageSince the US election presidential race, fact checking websites report what seems like an increase in anti-Trump, ‘liberal fake news’.

The fact-checking site Snopes told BBC Trending radio that in the past week, for example, they have debunked many more anti-Republican party stories than pro-Republican ones.

One example of an incorrect story is the unflattering, digitally-manipulated image, which suggested that US President Donald Trump had diarrhoea during a recent golf outing.

It’s hard to gather definitive data on the political bias in fake news stories, so the evidence for a rise in ‘liberal fake news’ is essentially anecdotal. But a recent study did effectively debunk the stereotype that fake news tends to be shared more by uneducated people or those with right-leaning politics, as compared to other groups.

READ MORE…

Clinton 2016: Garbage In, Garbage Out

Christian Parenti wrote for Jacobin in November 2016:

It is now becoming clear that Clinton’s ground game — the watchword for defenders of her alleged competence — was actually under-resourced and poorly executed. Like so much else in this election, her field strategy was hostage to the colossal arrogance and consequent incompetence of the liberal establishment.

At the heart of the failure was the notion of the “new emerging majority.” According to this argument — pushed by, among others, John Judis and Ruy Teixeira — women, Latinos, blacks, and skilled professionals who support the Democrats were becoming the demographic majority. Thus the traditional white working-class base of the Democratic Party could be sidelined.

Back in July Chuck Schumer summed it up: “For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia, and you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin.”

From this theory and strategy flowed a deeply flawed set of tactics, and a badly fumbled get-out-the-vote (GOTV) effort.

READ MORE…