Donald Trump: Is It Really Charity If It’s Not on TV?

May 31, 2016 by  
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I believe almost everybody is happy when Americans donate to help our veterans. However, they aren’t as happy when the rich and powerful use our veterans as props for their self interests.

Donald Trump was really upset over the way he has been treated by the press over his highly-publicized veterans fundraiser because they dared to ask him how much, when and where the money was going to after he cancelled on the Fox News Republican debate.

Instead of just sending out a document that details how the money was handled to the media, he held a press conference to tell the world how wonderful and generous his event was.

He also spent most of his time during the presser castigating reporters for their truly awful and corrupt and sleazy reporting on him and added a caveat that he never wanted any credit for doing the hugely public fundraiser.

He repeatedly said, “I didn’t have to do this,” and I agree. He didn’t. Trump could have easily raised that money (5.6 million) by making a few phone calls to his wealthy businessmen brethren and raised almost the same amount of money, if he really was in it for the veterans alone.

As he was reading off the list of charitable organization he cut checks to, Donald named some of the wealthy people that donated to his fundraising night.

Carl Icahn gave a half a million dollars. Phil Ruffin gave a million. Stewart “Stewie Rah-Rah” Rahr gave a million. Ike Perlmutter gave a million.”

And again he said, “I didn’t have to do that.”

Remember when Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told the Post that the event had raised about $4.5 million — less than the $6 million originally announced by Trump — because some who’d pledged contributions had backed out?

If we add up those names, plus Trump’s one million dollar donation — between those five wealthy individuals, they donated about 4.5 million dollars.

The same figure that Lewandowski quoted to the press.

If he wasn’t doing it for the publicity, then why make it a very public event? Why not dial a few more names from his Rolodex, and add to this group, but never make it public?

There is only one real answer.

He used our veterans to get back at Fox News.

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Viacom Gears Up For Fight To Keep Board From Redstone

May 30, 2016 by  
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NEW YORK (Reuters) – Viacom Inc’s <VIAB.O> six independent directors vowed on Monday to fight any attempt to oust them from the board, saying they found “inexplicable” the assertion that controlling shareholder Sumner Redstone was mentally competent and acted of his own free will.

In a letter to shareholders, Lead Independent Director Fred Salerno said the directors would legally contest any bid to remove them, the latest salvo in an increasingly public and bitter battle for control of Viacom at a time when the U.S. media company needs to focus on turning its business around.

The letter came three days after a statement from Redstone, issued by his spokesman, that said the 93-year-old media mogul was considering ousting Viacom Chief Executive Philippe Dauman and the board of directors.

Salerno made no mention of Dauman in his letter, but said the independent directors have tried to meet face-to-face with Redstone for several weeks and have been turned away.

Writing on behalf of six of Viacom’s 11 board members, Salerno said, “we feel the responsibility to challenge in court what we honestly believe would be legally flawed removals.”

“That is especially so because the flaw we see would be the inexplicable assertion that Sumner was acting of his own free will and with the mental competency to do so,” he wrote.

A spokesman for Redstone declined to comment.

Redstone holds 80 percent of the voting shares in Viacom and CBS Corp <CBS.N>. Earlier this month, he removed Dauman and Viacom board member George Abrams from the seven-person trust that will control the shares after Redstone exits.

Dauman, 62, has filed a legal challenge to that move, arguing that Redstone was being manipulated by his daughter, Shari. She has called that allegation “absurd” and said her father made his own decisions.

Solerno’s letter called a replacement of the independent directors “completely inconsistent with Sumner’s lifetime commitment to an independent Board” and “equally inconsistent with his stated judgment for many years that his daughter, Shari, should not control Viacom or his other companies.”

A spokeswoman for Shari Redstone declined to comment.

UNHAPPY PERFORMANCE

Shares of Viacom have fallen more than 50 percent in the past two years as its cable networks, including MTV and Nickelodeon, suffered from falling ratings because younger viewers were migrating online and to mobile video. Viacom’s U.S. advertising revenue has declined for seven straight quarters.

Salerno said the directors were not happy with Viacom’s current performance, and they were “very focused” on improving it and on “the need for management to drive it.”

He added that they intend to continue with plans to “explore strategic options that might include a minority investment in Paramount,” Viacom’s movie studio.

Questions about Redstone’s health have swirled since one of his former girlfriends, Manuela Herzer, filed a lawsuit last year arguing that he was not mentally competent to remove her from his advance healthcare directive.

The case, which claimed that Redstone was “a living ghost,” was dismissed earlier this month. The mogul had struggled to speak when questioned by attorneys, but he was clear about wanting Herzer out of his life and putting his daughter in charge of healthcare decisions if he could no longer make them.

Since Redstone removed Dauman from the trust on May 20, Viacom shares have risen more than 13 percent, a move that some investors saw as the first step in a change in management that could eventually lead to a sale of the media company.

A hearing on whether Dauman’s case should be expedited is scheduled in Massachusetts on June 7, after he filed a petition to have the trial date moved up.

(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak and Jessica Toonkel; Editing by Tiffany Wu)

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Libertarian Chair Candidate James Weeks Strips During Party Convention

May 29, 2016 by  
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Here’s something you don’t see on C-SPAN every day. 

James Weeks, a candidate for chairman of the Libertarian Party, used his time at the podium during the convention on Sunday to mix free-market principles with a clothing-free lifestyle. 

Before Weeks started stripping, he got the audience to clap along. But as the clothes came off, people began booing. 

Not everyone was upset; at least two people ran on stage and appeared to put money into Weeks’ underwear. 

“It was a dare,” Weeks explained at the end of his striptease. “I’m gonna go ahead and drop out.” 

“Get off the stage! You’re making an ass of yourself!” one man in the audience yelled. 

Weeks’ Facebook page has since been filled with comments, mostly from Libertarians angry at the negative attention he has brought to the party

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‘Stockbroker’s Bible’ Just Told Oil Industry To Accept Its Demise

May 29, 2016 by  
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The editorial board of the Financial Times isn’t exactly stacked with bleeding-hearted environmentalists. Just a month ago, the British paper defended ExxonMobil’s right to question climate change amid legal probes into whether the oil giant covered up evidence of global warming.

But in an editorial published Saturday, the FT urged the oil industry to “face a future of slow and steady decline.”

“Instead of railing against climate policies, or paying them lip-service while quietly defying them with investment decisions, the oil companies will serve their investors and society better if they accept the limits they face, and embrace a future of long-term decline,” the editorial board wrote. 

The board criticized U.S. goliaths like Exxon and Chevron for denying the role fossil fuel emissions have in increasing global temperatures and changing longstanding climate patterns. At Exxon’s shareholder meeting on Wednesday, investors rejected all but one proposal to increase transparency about the risks of climate change to its business. Last year, shareholders of BP, Royal Dutch Shell and the Norwegian state-owned Statoil all voted, nearly unanimously, in favor of similar resolutions.

“In their public presentation, at least, the European groups including Shell and Total are more willing to face up to the threat of climate change than their US rivals,” the board wrote. “While accepting the conclusions of climate science, Exxon and Chevron stress the importance of energy security and affordability over reducing emissions.”

The tone of the editorial shows a marked departure from that of one of the FT’s chief rivals, The Wall Street Journal. Last December, the Rupert Murdoch-owned daily — the biggest U.S. newspaper by circulation — lambasted the historic climate treaty reached in Paris.

“Forgive us for looking through the legacy of smoke, but if climate change really does imperil the Earth, and we doubt it does, nothing coming out of a gaggle of governments and the United Nations will save it,” the Journal’s editorial board wrote

Traditionally, newspapers keep editorial boards and opinion sections separate from news coverage, for fear of tainting the perception of reporters’ objectivity. But the Journal’s climate skepticism — perhaps inherited in part from its owner, whose ideology bleeds through most aggressively at the Fox News Channel he owns — seems to have affected news coverage

A study published last August by researchers at Rutgers University, the University of Michigan and the University of Oslo found that — between 2006 to 2011 — the Journal’s news reporting rarely mentioned the threats or effects of climate change, compared to the country’s other leading broadsheet newspapers. 

The economics of pandering to wealthy oil and gas advertisers or fearmongers who shrug off climate science as conspiracy may still make sense for some. But the economics of denying the financial risks posed by climate change just don’t make sense, at least according to the FT.

“Rather than investing in potentially stranded oil and gas projects, or gambling on new technologies that they do not fully understand, the oil companies would do better to continue returning money to shareholders through dividends and share buybacks,” the paper wrote. 

Coming from a publication known as the “stockbroker’s bible,” that should come as sobering wake-up call.

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Emilia Clarke Watched Her Nude ‘Game Of Thrones’ Scene With Her Parents

May 28, 2016 by  
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NOTE: Spoilers from “Game of Thrones” Season 6 ahead.

She may be the badass Mother of Dragons. But even Emilia Clarke couldn’t help being embarrassed when watching that nude “Game of Thrones” scene with her parents.

The British actress, who plays Daenerys Targaryen in the HBO epic fantasy drama, opened up about the awkward screening on “The Graham Norton Show,” which aired in the U.K. on Friday night.

With her mom and dad commenting on how she hadn’t appeared in many of the early episodes of the sixth season, she encouraged them to watch the one in which she appears completely naked.

“In hindsight (it) might have been not the episode to choose,” she said. Norton pressed her on the subject, and asked whether she watched the entire scene with her parents.

“Yes,” she replied, before flushing red and trying to change the topic.

“I think I probably started talking about something really important, like ‘Top Gear,’” she added, before turning to actor Matt LeBlanc, who was also on the show promoting the upcoming relaunch of the BBC motoring show.

Check it out in the clip above.

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Colbert’s Reaction To Trump’s Nomination Is The Appropriate Reaction

May 27, 2016 by  
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Welp, here we are, America. At first, we thought it was highly unlikely. Then essentially implausible. Then slightly improbable. Then possibly doubtful.

And now? There are no words. Trump will be the Republican nominee. On Thursday’s “Late Show,” Stephen Colbert responded for the entire nation. 

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A Data-Informed Voice: Why It’s Important for Brands and Publishers

May 26, 2016 by  
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At the core of every great company or publication is a strong brand voice. And behind every strong brand voice is, of course, data and strategy. A well-crafted brand voice should answer: Who are we marketing to, and in what voice should we speak to best reach and influence them?

Once a strategic brand voice is established, consistency is the name of the game — as with any branding initiative. A global study conducted by SDL found that 60 percent of millennials expect a consistent experience across channels from brands. Laura Murcek, of Airstark, a branding consultancy, says: “Through consistent use of language and tone across channels, customers come to recognize the brand, much as they would a familiar acquaintance, no matter where they encounter it.” She adds, “When a brand chooses its words wisely, it gives customers the words to talk about it as they might talk about a trusted friend.”

But as companies grow and more departments are empowered to create their own customer-facing assets (an unideal yet all-too-common problem), the opportunity becomes greater for their “voice” to derail from its strategic core. Here are a few examples of when and why a brand or editorial voice may go astray:

1. Lack of differentiation between different types of content. A publication fails to extend its editorial voice to its sponsored content, resulting in an inconsistent experience between its editorial content and native advertising.

2. Over-catering to a particular demographic. Marketers over-cater voice to a demographic they are looking to reach instead of finding a middle ground between strategic brand voice and that of the newly targeted customer.To some degree, it’s okay to differentiate per channel but the decision should be data-informed, not based a whim.

3. Information harboring. Brand voice guidelines should be accessible to every department, regardless of if those departments employ the voice on a daily basis or not so that there is transparency around branding best practices.

4. Lack of documentation. A brand DNA document, set of voice guidelines, or any other preferred internal documentation of voice is essential for governing consistency. Whatever you call it, make sure this document is shared widely and updated as necessary.

And although consistency of voice enables brands and publications to build trust and be memorable, this is not to say that a brand voice should remain unchanged. In fact, voice must change to some degree over time in order to evolve alongside its customers, audience, and the digital landscape. Analyzing audience and engagement data is the only strategic way to approach this.

Ariel Knutson, engagement editor for foodie lifestyle publication The Kitchn, works with writers and contributors to ensure that The Kitchn’s content is in line with its brand voice, which she describes as fun, accessible, and smart. Knuston explains: “By listening to what our audience wants to hear, we’re able to strengthen our messages. That being said, we always want to experiment with the breadth and types of content we create. Social platforms emerge or expand and you need to be able try new things. Data is just one of the tools that helps inform how we express our editorial voice when something new pops up.”

Executive editor for U.S. News & World Report, Kimberly Castro, also uses data in order to inform editorial voice. She says, “Our team’s mission is simple: To produce advice content that helps people make informed decisions about their health and finances. We use that as the driving force behind defining our voice, making sure our content is accessible, conversational, free of jargon, and above all, non-intimidating.” She adds, “We use data to understand where our audience is coming from. It helps us create better content that speaks directly to them.”

Every so often, it’s worth doing a deep-dive examination of your brand or editorial voice in order to ensure that it’s firing on all cylinders for you. A voice analysis can help you make the content you’re creating work harder for you or shed light on potential growth opportunities.

Mark McKnight, co-founder and CMO of RootsRated, a media platform that connects brands and people with content about outdoor experiences, says: “As a result of our editorial voice analysis from 2015, we’ve cut back on the number of articles produced and have focused budget on higher-quality pieces that are more likely to resonate with our audience and drive significant traffic.” He adds, “We completely overhauled our editorial production based on insights driven by analytics.”

Are your readers more receptive to a conversational or academic voice? Which types of headlines entice the most clicks for your brand or publication? Describe your brand voice in three words.

If you can’t answer those questions quickly, you may benefit from a voice analysis. You wouldn’t address the president with a “what’s up,” would you? Probably not… unless, of course, data shows it’s what they’re likely to respond to.

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Is BDS Simply a ‘Campus Movement?’ How Deceitful Can Thomas Friedman Actually Be?

May 25, 2016 by  
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On May 25 the New York Times published an op-ed by Thomas Friedman with the incendiary title, “Netanyahu, Prime Minister of the State of Israel-Palestine,” which attempts to show just how far the Israeli Prime Minister has gone to destroy any notion of a two-state solution. That Friedman would have only now caught on to the demise of such a possibility should indicate just how far out of touch he is.

Friedman spends his space talking about Netanyahu’s purging of Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, and his naming of “far-right Avigdor Lieberman” as his Yaalon’s replacement. But he begins his piece with this entrĂ©e: “Israel has recently been under intense criticism on the world stage. Some of it, like the ‘boycott, divestment, sanctions’ (B.D.S.) campaign, is a campus movement to destroy Israel masquerading as a political critique.”

Friedman seems to take always alluding in some way or another to BDS as an obligation. Not only does he do so with remarkable consistency, he also always gets it wrong. More than two years ago, Mondoweiss succinctly captured Friedman’s modus operanti: “Not only does he try to obfuscate the origin of the successful movement and the extent of its success but he tries to cut it down to acceptable proportions.”

Yes, Friedman persistently misattributes the origins of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, (BDS) which in 2005 emanated not from U.S. college campuses as he suggests, but rather from Palestinian civil society, with over 170 Palestinian political parties, organizations, trade unions and movements joining together to fight for Palestinian rights. Talk about obfuscation.

Besides purposefully erasing the origins of BDS, Friedman constantly ignores its reach. Well beyond the borders of U.S. college campuses, churches, unions, artists, writers, musicians and others, from around the world, have either explicitly endorsed BDS or taken on one or another of its tactics. And they are doing so in increasing numbers.

In April the Alliance of Baptists affirmed the use of boycott, divestment, and sanctions to end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land; in May the United Methodist Church passed three measures criticizing Israel and advocating for Palestinian rights; in January that same church put five Israeli banks on a blacklist, declaring that the church would do no business with banks involved in the Occupation; previously in 2014 the United Presbyterian Church voted to divest from companies doing business on the West Bank.

In terms of labor unions, Vijay Prashad notes,

a host of US labor unions have decided to endorse the BDS pledge. The United Electrical Workers (UE), a union of over thirty-five thousand members, debated the question of Israel’s occupation of Palestine at its August 2015 convention. “Our government is on the wrong side,” said Angaza Laughinghouse of Local 150 (North Carolina). “We have to stand on the right side of the Palestine struggle.” Laughinghouse’s union–UE–decided to unanimously endorse BDS and to actively work “to become engaged in BDS.” In October, the two hundred thousand members of the AFL-CIO of Connecticut passed a resolution that called upon the national AFL-CIO to endorse BDS “in connection with companies and investments profiting from or complicit in human rights violations arising from the occupation of the Palestinian territories by the State of Israel.”

Michael Letwin, Co-Convener, Labor for Palestine; Former President, Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW 2325 comments, “By respecting the BDS picket line, a growing number of U.S. trade unions are honoring the most fundamental labor principle: An injury to one is an injury to all. The refusal by ILWU Local 10 dockers to handle Israeli Zim Line cargo in 2014 shows the unparalleled power of labor solidarity against apartheid Israel.”

Artists and musicians such as Junot Diaz, Lauryn Hill, Roger Waters, Chuck D, Boots Riley, and others have come out in solidarity with the Palestinians, and in Augist 2015 over a thousand Black artists and activists signed on. As I reported then:

On the anniversary of last summer’s Gaza massacre, in the 48th year of Israeli occupation, the 67th year of Palestinians’ ongoing Nakba (the Arabic word for Israel’s ethnic cleansing)–and in the fourth century of Black oppression in the present-day United States–we, the undersigned Black activists, artists, scholars, writers, and political prisoners offer this letter of reaffirmed solidarity with the Palestinian struggle and commitment to the liberation of Palestine’s land and people.

The list of signatories includes scholar-activists Angela Davis and Cornel West, political prisoners Mumia Abu-Jamal and Sundiata Acoli, rappers Talib Kweli, Boots Riley and Jasiri X, and Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors. Organizational signers include the Florida-based Dream Defenders and St. Louis-based Hands Up United and Tribe X, which were founded after the killings of Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown, respectively, as well as the 35-year-old Organization for Black Struggle in St. Louis.

Commenting on Friedman’s latest, Mondoweiss again has it just right:

Friedman’s smear is obviously the establishment litmus test these days. Hillary Clinton says BDS is bad. So does President Obama, so does the French prime minister. But that will soon change. As Israel sinks further into its existential identity crisis, the few remaining liberals among the Jewish elites there will turn desperately to the world to pressure Israel, as Gideon Levy and Larry Derfner have already done. That pressure means boycott, divestment and sanctions. And if it also means the end of Israel as a Jewish state, that prospect will by then no longer be tragic to realistic Americans, including Friedman, who have glimpsed the paranoid Sparta that the Jewish democracy has produced.

One can only wonder how long Thomas Friedman can staunchly keep on with his delusional lies about BDS.

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Meet The Right-Wing Reality Show ‘Rabbi’ Hustling His Way Into the Trump Campaign

May 24, 2016 by  
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Shmuley Boteach promotes himself as “America’s rabbi” and “the most famous rabbi in America.” A man of many hustles, he has inserted himself as political liaison to far-right pro-Israel casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, close confidante of Senator Ted Cruz, spiritual guide to Michael Jackson, pal of Oprah Winfrey, soulmate of Eli Wiesel, buddy of Senator Cory Booker, star of his own reality TV show,  and bestselling self-help author of Kosher Sex. This month Boteach scrambled between a meeting with Donald Trump, whose candidacy for president he recently endorsed, and a ritzy gala for his own organization, thrown on the solemn Holocaust Memorial Day, at which he bestowed special honors on the former “Baywatch” star Pamela Anderson and Yoko Ono, among other dignitaries.

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Tribune Gets $70.5 Million Investment, Rejects Gannett Offer

May 23, 2016 by  
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May 23 (Reuters) – Tribune Publishing Co, owner of the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, said Los Angeles billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong has invested $70.5 million in the company, becoming its second largest shareholder.

Tribune also rejected Gannett Co Inc’s latest takeover offer of $15 per share, but said on Monday that it would allow Gannett, the publisher of USA Today, access to some confidential corporate information. Reuters first reported the news Sunday.

Tribune’s shares closed down 15 percent on Monday.

Soon-Shiong, through his fund Nant Capital LLC, will hold about 12.9 percent in Tribune and join the publisher’s board as vice chairman on June 2.

Soon-Shiong, a South African-born surgeon, is part-owner of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team and a founder of two drug companies, which he sold for a total of $8.6 billion.

Nant Capital has also entered into a standstill agreement with Tribune, limiting its ability to raise its stake in the publisher.

Soon-Shiong is also chairman and chief executive of biotech company NantKWest Inc and is one of the highest paid chief executives in America. He took NantKWest public last June.

TRIBUNE WANTS NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENT

While Tribune rejected Gannett’s latest takeover offer, it invited Gannett to agree to a “mutual non-disclosure agreement” to share information about a potential deal. The agreement, which has not been signed by either company, has become a source of contention.

Gannett first said in a statement that the proposed non-disclosure agreement “would require Gannett to effectively cease any public proxy solicitation or other public pursuit of a transaction.”

Tribune, in response, said that the agreement it offered does not prevent Gannett from continuing to pursue its withhold campaign or other proxy contests.

Gannett responded by saying the agreement does not have a restriction against a proxy contest, but it does restrict public disclosures that could inhibit a proxy fight. It said Tribune is asking Gannett not to include references to discussions or negotiations in proxy statements or tender offer documents, and that its advisers are preparing a revised version.

Last week, Gannett asked Tribune Publishing shareholders to withhold support for the latter’s eight nominees to the board of directors at its annual meeting June 2.

Proxy adviser Institutional Shareholder Services Inc recommended that Tribune shareholders vote for the nominated directors.

Oaktree Capital Management LP, a major shareholder of Tribune, is also pushing for a deal with Gannett and urged the company to form an independent board to consider the proposal.(http://bit.ly/22lAILv)

(Reporting by Narottam Medhora in Bengaluru and Liana B. Baker in San Francisco; Editing by Kirti Pandey and Leslie Adler)

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