Cambridge Analytica and Kompromat

TrumpCan we just stop ignoring the fact that human trafficking is a HUGE issue as part of the Channel 4 News expose on Cambridge Analytica?  Is it not equally as bad as the misuse of data belonging to 50 million people in this country?   How ironic that people who manage data seemingly didn’t investigate the client with whom they met to discuss ways of discrediting political rivals.  That new client was a Channel 4 undercover reporter.  Cambridge Analytica CEO, Alexander Nix, is recorded offering the new client the “service” of sending Ukrainian sex workers to rivals’ rooms to discredit the rival.  SEX WORKERS!  In most parts of the world, that sort of offer is referred to as engaging in sex trafficking – and yet the offer is barely mentioned.

How are the sex workers be hired?  What is the history of the exploitation of these women – are they in the work by choice or by force?  Who will be paid for their labor?  Do they receive direct payment or will a manager/pimp/human trafficker receive that payment on their behalf?  The introduction of the world “Kompromat” to the American English has, I’m afraid, lessened the impact of the reality of what the word means and its potential for harm to the worker on the more dehumanizing end of the bargain.  It is doubtful that we are talking about women (and men) who  decided to enter the sex trade of their own accord.  Self-selecting the field still holds risks and the potential for dehumanization, but individuals at least own their labor and have the right, and the ability, to decline work.

Have we accepted the practice of the exploitation of women for power as standard and, therefore, acceptable or predictable?  We know it is historical, but isn’t it time for that history to end?   Are we to conclude that individuals who hire sex workers to compromise others are simply business people, or political figures, who are using a means to reach an end?  What happens to those sex workers when the job is finished?  Are they compromised in a way that puts their lives at risk?  Even when the  target is exposed, he is rarely placed in a life-threatening situation, does the risk increase for the sex worker?

IF concern for the women who are trafficked as part of these seedy plots is, sadly, not enough, let’s really make it “sexy”.

— Did Team Trump receive the same offer as other potential new clients? When, and who would have been the identified targets of such offers?

— If the link between CA and #Trump extends as far back as is now alleged, was #Trump preparing the public for a CA hit on #TedCruz after Trump-friendly rags claimed that Cruz had a history of hiring sex workers?

—  Ted Cruz was also a client of CA, was the same Kompromat offer made to him regarding primary rivals?  How could he not know that CA operated this way?

— How could Kushner, Trump, Trump Jr., Conway, Bannon, Manafort, and the rest of the rogue’s gallery of individuals tightly connected to CA not know that this was part of the “services” the organization provided?

— What will be the reaction of an Evangelical movement that has made peace with #Trump’s infidelities and ill treatment of women?  They have already made peace with his relationship with porn star, Stephanie Clifford (#StormyDaniels).  Will they make peace with his relationship with a company that brags about trafficking women as a matter of routine?   A man with a “difficult” history with women hires a company with a “difficult” history with women.  How much more of their integrity are Evangelicals willing to sacrifice to defend this?

And now for the less “sexy” part:  Why are we not more concerned that trafficking and politics seem to go hand-in-hand?  Somewhere out there, at any given moment, human traffickers are profiting in ways we never expected, but that directly and indirectly touch our lives.  They are profiting by making us queasy and distrustful of any politician caught up in one of these plots.  They may even be profiting by putting elected officials in high offices, blackmailing them into making decisions favorable to traffickers, their bosses, their colleagues – all at our expense, in order to cover their secrets.

I am hoping that the U.S. Congress (read as: The Democrats), or some other international governing body, will research Nix’s offer.  If they find that there is even one scintilla of evidence pointing to this as a routine past practice, CA should be, in my opinion, charged with human trafficking in an international criminal court.

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How Marco Rubio may have saved the Republican party

I scarcely see how any of the @GOP’s top 3 contenders has a shot at beating Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders this coming fall.  What I do believe is that Marco Rubio, whose campaign is all but finished, has most likely saved the Republican party from assured self-inflicted destruction this coming election cycle.  He hasn’t done it by demeaning the legacy of former President Jimmy Carter, a man whose personal and professional accomplishments CAN be named, unlike Rubio’s light/nonexistent accomplishments.

Rubio hasn’t saved his party by finally figuring out the cause of global climate change (he’s not a scientist, after all).  He has potentially saved his party, and Cruz’s political career, by exposing what appears to be Donald Trump’s biggest weakest.  Thin skin.  That is a trait that should make anyone ineligible to hold the nation’s highest office.

Say what you will about President Obama, but what you can’t say is that he ever let criticism stop him from focusing on his job while in office.  President Obama inherited an economy considered so frightfully in peril that then-candidate John McCain took the unprecedented move of suspending his Presidential campaign to “deal with the crisis”.  President Obama  is now presiding over an economy that:

Our President has continued to help push the nation forward in all areas of American life, despite dealing with an obstructionist congress that refuses to compromise and then blames him for not working with them. He has continued the push forward despite the scurrilous vicious attacks on his parents, wife, children, and extended family.  He has done so despite the vicious and cruel taunts, attacks, and repeated violations into the physical space that he and his family now call home.  THAT is the temperament we need in our national leader.

Has Donald J. Trump yet given a speech in which he hasn’t defended both his hand size and the size of his penis since the comment was made on Feb. 27th?  Trump’s focus on  Rubio’s comment was so intense that he marred the history of  presidential debates to respond to it.  An open defense of your member during a Presidential debate is not exactly the kind of “first” you want to be known for.  Rubio has called the man a con artist and implied that the issues with Trump University are so severe that Trump might even have engaged in criminal activity.  What gains traction to the point of distraction with Trump?  The hand size comment.  During a March 5th speech in West Palm Beach at Trump International, he faulted “someone else” for bringing up the comments about his hands, leading him to address the issue during the debate. (Personal Responsibility?)  To be clear, the comment was raised to put Rubio on the defensive for engaging in personal attacks after promising that he wouldn’t.  Trump was not asked to respond to it.  How much more presidential would Trump have looked had he not addressed the comment at all, but let Rubio twist over a broken promise?

Trump’s focus on Rubio’s comments is so intense that he even involved the golf champions at Trump International in a discussion about his “hands”.  He asks, “Do I hit the ball good?”, “Do I hit it long?”, “Is Trump Strong?”. (22:07)   Again, I doubt that most voters will see that as a presidential move.

 

Rubio seems to have thrown Trump off of his game plan (whatever that plan was).  At what point will we stop hearing about his member and more about the plans that will make a difference in the lives of the American people?  If you are looking for work, or worried about your mortgage, do you care about the size of Tump’s penis?  Can you imagine what would happen if Trump was in negotiations with international leaders who threw him off his game by commenting on his hand size?   How would he ever survive? Trump’s  ego and temperament have been called into question for some time.  In a comment that ran for less than 1 minute, Rubio has been able to show the American public yet another side to Trump, and caused Trump to spend approximately a week defending something that does not require a defense.  Will this win Trump voters in the general election? I doubt it.  Given Cruz’s comeback Saturday, Trump’s tactics may not play well in the GOP primary, either, moving forward.

Since the comments have been repeatedly uttered, blamed on others for raising the point, and uttered, again,  we learn that Trump has lost ground with later voting Republicans – while winning the early vote.  We have also learned that Kasich has pulled ahead of Trump in Michigan.  Will Rubio, win or lose, be heralded as true hero of the GOP this election cycle?  If so, he  finally has an accomplishment he and his supporters can talk about!  Is this the beginning of the end for Trump ?  Admittedly, Trump wasn’t supposed to make it this far, so only time will tell.

If Ted Cruz won Iowa, did Sarah Palin lose?

I am still trying understand what the value of Sister Sarah’s endorsement was, other than to provide Saturday Night Live with another winning political season.  SNL once again capitalized on the questionable phenomenon that is Sarah Palin by lampooning her bizarre and rambling endorsement. as seen in the video posted below.  (I would advise you to skip the actual endorsement in the first video and enjoy the pure comedic gold of the second video):

Palin endorsed Trump, prior to the Iowa Caucus,  without hesitation, she claims in an interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie.  Despite her long held ties to Ted Cruz (Iowa 2016), despite the support she gave Cruz in his bid for national office during his Senate run, and her belief that he is a “true conservative”, Palin tells the Today Show hosts the following about Cruz: “I want to keep him in the Senate, and I want Donald Trump to be our president.” Why not?  Cruz has routinely distracted the Senate from the work that needed to be done in favor of throwing rotted red meat at those for whom his circus act plays well.

 

His ideological, highly unrealistic, approach to governing has not served the nation, nor his party, well in my opinion.  His legislative record is paltry, at best.  His most significant accomplishments in congress may be his ability to help shut down the government and to keep media attention on himself as he makes promises to his base that he is improbably going to be able to deliver.

Given the serious miscalculation of the value of Palin’s endorsement, and her inability to swing conservative voters into Trump’s camp in meaningful numbers,  this will hopefully be the end of the courtship of Palin by Republican pols. Trump, himself, now looks more like “Palin the Failed Promise” than “Donald the Future Leader”.  It now feels as if they  share the same penchant for saying anything, showing zero competence in discussing ANY issue,  ability to gloss over the reality of voter mood, and an ability to spew meaningless rhetoric.  We’eve been down that road, and ONE the individual who helped take us there in 2008 just endorsed Trump and probably cost him Iowa and the party’s nomination.

Ultimately, the greatest irony is that post Iowa, both Cruz and Trump are beginning to be viewed as placeholders for Marco Rubio.  No matter the outcome on the Republican side, this should be an interesting election season and one that should make Hillary Clinton feel optimistic about the election this coming fall.  Months, money, and motivation… down the drain, because in the end both Trump and Cruz will be stumping for a weak Rubio.

In any case, this all feels like a WIN for Hillary Clinton:

Trump is too much of a reminder of the obnoxious boss many people can’t wait to get away from.  He reminds you of the boss who sorely underpays you and then shows you the pictures of the expensive remodel on his grand new home.  Despite his recent run away from his comments that “wages are too high”, that comment will live with him.  Note that American hourly wages are too high.  I don’t recall any statement where Trump questioned the wages of the workers at the top.

Cruz is too much like that odd neighbor whose odd behavior leaves you feeling uncomfortable for reasons you can’t explain. You know enough to not to do business with him or leave him alone with your valuables.

Rubio?  Sigh. Poor Rubio.