Monday, June 12, 2017

Fake News and SEO

Have you wondered why it is Trump so fervently believes in "fake news?" His passionate cries of fake news! Fake News! Have confused many people. Why is he so convinced that the media is making up total lies?
The answer is- because he pays them to.
This article from Paste Magazine, "How the Trump-Russia Data Machine Games Google to Fool Americans," is possibly the best article I've read on Donald J. Trump to date.
Trump's team pays for people to create fake stories (showing his opponents in an absurdly bad light), and then use search engine optimization (SEO) to promote the fake news.
So naturally it is easy for a man who is easily deluded to his own grandeur to believe that anything negative about him is actually fake news created by his enemies, just like he creates it about them.
I can understand if this might be hard for some people to believe (this being the entire idea that you can game Google to spread fake news). But I work in marketing. I personally spend hours every day working with SEO. I've seen first-hand just how easy it can be to create a website, implement excellent SEO techniques, and dominate Google.
So for me, this just makes sense. I finally understand why Trump believes in it. He's not a nut job conspiracy theorist. He's guilty of fake news himself!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Not Even a Good Liar


According to Trump's private fleet records he never went to Russia.
Not even in November 2013, when he was there for the Miss Universe pageant.
It's like he's not even trying. Unless you believe the possibility that maybe, possibly he flew commercial.


Saturday, May 27, 2017

Trump and the Russia Interference Allegations Timeline



The timeline of events surrounding President Doland Trump, Jared Kushner, Michael Flynn, James Comey, and others on the possibility that Russia interfered in the U.S. election, and possibly with the complicity of the Trump campaign.

June 6, 2017 - Reading Between the Lines of Comey's Prepared Testimony. New York Times reporters analyze prepared remarks by James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, that were published Wednesday by the Senate Intelligence Committee.
May 26, 2017 - The Trump-Russia Story Starts Making Sense (WSJ)
May 27, 2017 - Jared Kushner requested secret channel to communicate with Russians (W Post)
May 27, 2017 - White House will not comment on Jared Kushner's involvement with Russia (The Hill)
May 27, 2017 - Trump and Russia: A Timeline on Communications (The Hill)

May 25, 2017 - The Justice Department tells CNN that Sessions did not disclose his meetings with Kislyak on his application for a security clearance, despite a requirement to name contacts with a foreign government or its representatives in the previous seven years.

May 23, 2017 - Trump gets outside council (a lawyer who has worked for him for 15 years) for possible lawsuit over Russia interference allegations (WSJ) Former CIA director John Brennan confirms that he viewed intelligence showing people involved in Trump’s campaign had interacted with Russian officials and that the contacts “concerned” him. He refuses to identify the individuals or speak to their level of involvement in the campaign, and says he is unsure whether the contacts amounted to “collusion.”

May 19, 2017 - White House lawyers begin researching impeachment
May 19, 2017 - Rick Santorum warns Trump GOP could impeac

May 17, 2017 - Everything we know so far about Trump, Russia, and Comey (LA Times)

May 16, 2017 - Trump asked Comey to drop investigation into Flynn according to memo (LA Times)

May 11, 2017 - Timeline of events leading to Comey's firing (NY Times)

May 9, 2017 - Trump fires Comey (LA Times) Former acting attorney general Sally Yates says during testimony before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee that she had warned the White House that Flynn and Kislyak had discussed sanctions immediately after realizing that Flynn had misled Pence about that fact. Flynn’s communications with Kislyak had been picked up in routine surveillance of the Russian ambassador, she says. Yates also disputes the White House’s characterization of Flynn’s behavior as routine.

April 11, 2017 - Congressman Jason Chaffetz won't investigate the Russia connection, constituents fight back (Deseret News)

April 1, 2017 - Trump tells NBC to stop covering the Russia investigation (thehill.com)

March 28, 2017 - Trump admin tries to block Sally Yates from testifying on Russia.  (W Post)

March 20, 2017 - FBI Director James Comey confirms in public testimony before the House Intelligence Committee that the bureau is investigating Russian election interference, and any linkes between Moscow and Trump’s campaign.
The same day, Spicer says at a press briefing that Trump stands by his comments that he has no knowledge of any contacts between his campaign associates and Russia during the election — though he notes that Trump is aware of Flynn’s contacts with Kislyak. Spicer says that the White House is not aware of any contacts between former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and Russian operatives. Spicer also stresses that former Obama intelligence officials have said there is "no evidence of a Trump Russia collusion.”

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Deep Musings on Secular, Worldly, and Religious Ideas...





This morning as I read through the morning news I find myself contemplating the picture attached to this article about Trump meeting Pope Francis. And not just because of the grim look on the Pope's face. If anything I am sure that this is just a bad and out of place picture out of hundreds, and that's why it is making the media rounds. (Only Trump is smiling, and everyone else looks off. I'm sure it's just a bad picture, and not indicative of any real emotions.)

But it is an interesting picture for other reasons.
1. Jared Kushner- Jewish.
2. Ivanka- former Christian converted to Judaism to marry her husband.
3. Melania- former topless model, from a not usually Christian country, that tends to hate Catholics, and yet claims to be a Roman Catholic.
4. Trump- serial womanizer, on his 3rd wife, who claims at different times to be Catholic or Lutheran. I think he and Melania are not actually really religious except in political years.

And then there is the Pope. A man who embodies the very definition of being the Lord's servant on Earth. Few men in history have shown the love and compassion for all of humanity that Pope Francis has. He has set an example for all of the world when it comes to accepting sinners and the poor. He shows humility in all that he does. (And I would say without hesitation is the very compelling opposite of all things Trump.)
I may not be Catholic, but I have nothing but the greatest respect for Pope Francis.

It is of interest to note that he doesn't just represent a religion, but a country. It is a religion with so much power that it is a country. That's no small thing. The Vatican City holds a great deal of power within its walls.

And that's my jumping off point---

What if all religions were their own nation state? What if other world leaders had to pay the same respect to all religions that they do to the Vatican?

I think it would be a beautiful thing. I'm actually quite serious on this. I don't believe religions need armies to be heard. The Vatican certainly doesn't need one, and yet is heard worldwide. (Also, sidenote, if you've ever seen the Swiss Guard at the Vatican, feel free to laugh at the idea of those men actually in battle.

Which brings me to my next musing...

Respect for religions and beliefs.

Whilst in the Middle East, Melania and Ivanka didn't cover their heads. But they did to meet the Pope. They would not have been allowed to meet the Pope otherwise. I do believe they should have shown respect for Muslim beliefs in Saudi and worn head scarves there too.

Last, but more important than all the rest, Callista Gingrich. The third (or is it fourth?) wife of Newt, has been named Ambassador to the Vatican.

For a hundred reasons I don't like Trump. But this is one of the few things he's done that truly just disappoints me. Appointing Callista Gingrich to the Vatican is showing tremendous disrespect for Catholicism and the Pope.

Both the Church and the Pope have promoted strong marriages, anti-divorce, and purity. And so Trump appointed a woman who had a 6 year affair with Newt while he was married. Callista and her husband represent the Pope's views on family and marriage about as well as Donald and Melania. Of course, her job is to represent American views, not the Pope's. But in this unique ambassadorship, it would be far more appropriate and fitting to appoint someone who doesn't embrace the opposite values.

It's very disappointing.

Respect for other's beliefs is more important now than ever before. Intolerance of other beliefs has always been (and probably always will be) what leads to war. If the Crusades and Islam's War on the World has taught us anything, it's that we greatly need to respect other's beliefs.

So look at the picture below one more time and think about it. And think about how the Pope is doing something here many popes before him would not have done. He is standing with 2 Jews, a topless model, and serial adulterer. He is the one in this picture showing respect for others' beliefs, and embracing those he doesn't agree with.

Not the other way around.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Rick Santorum Warns Trump the GOP will Turn on Their Own

Normally I'm not a big Rick Santorum fan. But his warning to Trump is spot on. Glad to see a party mainstay show some backbone.
As White House lawyers begin researching impeachment procedures, former senator and Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum said Friday night the GOP is nowhere near supporting such a move, but warned President Donald Trump that "this can't continue for a whole lot longer."
Santorum voted to convict former President Bill Clinton of perjury and obstruction of justice during his impeachment trial in 1999. (Reminder- he was acquitted in the end.) Santorum believes that as of May 19, Republicans would currently oppose impeachment. But then he showed some surprising independence and backbone and cautioned that things could change dramatically if damaging revelations continue to plague the Trump administration.
"Unlike Democrats, who will never break with a president, no matter what they do -- I mean I don't care, they can find him with a smoking gun and a picture, they wouldn't break with him -- Republicans will," he warned. "So I would say this to President Trump: This can't continue for a whole lot longer."

Monday, May 15, 2017

TrumpCare Dissected & Explained in Plain English




To understand TrumpCare we have to first go back and redefine the insurance industry. It used to be that insurance was essentially a large scale, calculated group gamble. A group of 10 people each put in $100/month, with the expectation that of those ten people, 8 of them would probably only use about $100/month, give or take a few dollars. One person wouldn’t use their insurance at all, but would purchase it just to be safe. And the final person would likely need to use far more than $100, but the unused portion from the other nine people would cover the difference.

But then healthcare got more expensive and the pooled amount from the ten people didn’t cover everything. So the insurance providers raised the rates to $200. And then for the people that needed more than the $200/mo, they asked for more money. And lowered the rates for the group of people who barely used it.

To the business mind this makes sense. The person who uses more of the resources should have to pay more. But in reality what this really did was actually take money out of the system when they lowered the rates for the lower users.

And so they raised the rates on everyone. Again.

So people complained. And rightfully so. They were paying a lot more and receiving the same amount of care. And more and more people couldn’t afford insurance.

And then came ObamaCare, and the idea that access to healthcare was a right.

ObamaCare created more access to insurance by creating mandates, and tax credits. Mandates is just a fancy word for penalty. Fail to get insurance, pay a mandate.

Tax credits were not as easy to understand. To put it in simplest terms, pretend you receive a tax refund each year of $1,000. ObamaCare took that $1,000 and put it towards your insurance premiums for you, in theory, lowering your monthly insurance expenses. It also did away with all pre-existing conditions. You no longer paid more if you used more. Basically it used your own money to subsidize your insurance premiums.

It also greatly expanded Medicaid.

The problem was it varied from state to state, and didn’t always work the way it was planned. It raised taxes, and users no longer received tax refunds. And in many cases, at the end of the year, owed more money to the government to cover their tax credits.

Opponents of ObamaCare didn’t like the mandate or the higher taxes, or the poor administration and application of the program, which unarguably, was full of faults.

Which brings us to TrumpCare.

TrumpCare does away with the general pool and calculated gamble idea of insurance. And instead takes the “business is in business to make a profit” approach. The majority will pay a calculated, evened out sum. Some will pay less, and get less. And the higher risk, higher use pool will pay more.

And Medicaid is scaled back dramatically.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Failures of Mormon Conservatism

Not too long ago I sat in a ward council meeting where the members discussed how we could better serve the refugees in our community. At the time I was very involved with the poor of our community and local non profits. I was aware of how very few refugees we had in town, and how many deserving poor there were as well. I tried to point out that we had few refugees in our town (and what few we had were not in dire straights), and that due in large part because some of the people in that very room had very loudly actively campaigned against allowing refugees in. I tried to call them out on their hypocrisy, (Serve and love them! Just not in my backyard!)

But I got shot down.

This article from the Deseret News explains my feelings on conservative Mormons who listen to politicians more than religious leaders.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Has the U.S. Become Too Big? Mullings...

Has the US become too big?

Look at other countries of similar or larger size. China and India are the only ones who come to mind. And both have horrible infrastructures. Socialism has failed them, but so has democracy. Both of those countries have a ruling elite and horrible poverty.

Is the new question does democracy fail at a certain size? Can you become too big and diverse for democracy to be effective?

China has had to resort to domestic military enforcement on more than one occasion. And India has fought internal wars for decades.

Is the answer that someday the US will have to divide and break up? And can that be done peacefully? Or will a civil war be required?

Thoughts?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Utah Billboard and the Russia Investigation

This billboard perfectly explains how I feel about Chaffetz and the GOP lately.

If the GOP could waste YEARS searching for a birth certificate, they can spend at least half that time to investigate potential treason.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Love Trumps Bigots and Hate

This story about a so-called Mormon, pro-Trump blogger makes me sick. 
The most important statement in this whole piece is literally the very last sentence. Good riddance. 
I've had my own run ins with this woman. A few months ago, before the election, she targeted me on Twitter, sending me dozens of hateful messages, telling me I was going to hell for not supporting Trump. 
(Just one of the many reasons I will never support him.)

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Sean Spicer's Debut on the Swing State Voter Blog

I majored in Political Communication and Broadcast Journalism in college. Or as my university adviser once put it, I majored in "spin doctor."
For people in my area of studies, and eventual career, the White House Press Secretary is a revered position, with the person holding the office an icon.
We looked to that job as a role model. Someone who lives under a severe microscope and handles pressure with grace and class. Someone who sets the tone, brand, and style of a whole nation.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Kellyanne Conway's Feet

Kellyanne Conway daily personally brings down the level of propriety and dignity of the White House. 
In any other professional scenario in a room full of professional leaders, if ANY person or man sat like that on the couch, it would be considered rude, impolite, and improper. And without any sexism whatsoever, it's NEVER appropriate for a a female over the age of 5 to sit like that in a dress in public! Period!! For a woman of her age and office to be sitting like that in LITERALLY THE HIGHEST OFFICE IN THE LAND is absolutely shameful!!
Show some respect, woman!

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/kellyanne-conway-s-feet-oval-office-couch-kick-debate-n726596


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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Utah and the Zion Curtain

Another excellent example of Republican legislators who have forgotten what it means to be Republicans, and in this case, they think they are the Morality Police. (A job they certainly weren't elected to do.)
 In short, the Utah Legislature has expanded the "Zion Curtain," to now include a "Zion Moat." (A name they apparently find offensive, but it's beautifully appropriate and descriptive.)
Previously (to help the state get the winter olympics) they had "opened up" liquor laws to allow restaurants to serve alcohol. If a restaurant wanted to serve alcohol (and most do), they had to put a wall or barrier between the bar area and the eating area, primarily so children couldn't see drinks being made or consumed. (I'm not joking.) This wall came to be known as the Zion Curtain.
Now they have expanded it by saying you don't have to have a Zion Curtain if instead you just create a 10 ft buffer area from the bar where minors are not allowed at tables (unless accompanied by an adult), or build a half-wall or railing, at least 42 inches high, that creates a delineation between the dining and liquor-dispensing areas. The new buffer zone has come to be known as the Zion Moat.
"What this bill does is establish parameters under which restaurants can operate and keep children away from alcohol," Sen. Jerry Stevenson, the Senate sponsor, said. "It keeps kids away from the bars and the mixing area and works to prevent overconsumption by patrons."
Exactly how this helps to prevent "overconsumption" (which, by the way, isn't a word) isn't exactly clear.
And really, how does not seeing drinks being made keep a child from drinking it? (Especially if their parents can still order and drink alcohol at their table?) (Note: I am not in anyway suggesting that parents shouldn't be allowed to drink.)
But then because the Utah legislature just can't help but be hypocrites in every possible way, they added this to the bill-
Restaurants serving alcohol are now allowed to be closer to community locations (churches and schools where minors are found)— dropping from the current 600 feet distance to 300 feet.
And again, just further proof that Republicans in this state don't know how to be Republicans, this new bill would boost the state markup on liquor from 86% to 88%. The markup on heavy beer sold in liquor stores would go up from 64.5% to 66.5%. Utah consumers already pay the highest markup on wine — and the sixth highest on spirits — among the country's 17 liquor-control states and one county.
Republicans who raise taxes, and create even more government control and interference in personal choices- that's Utah for you.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Republican Leadership Have Lost Their Minds

Have the Republican leadership completely forgotten how to be Republicans? 
This is an absolutely terrible bill. Instead of coming up with a bill that helps provide access to healthcare, and makes insurance and/or insurance more affordable, it raises the cost of coverage for those who let coverage lapse (which is more often than not the individuals who couldn't afford it so they had to stop paying), and puts in more government involvement. 
Pres. Trump never made any promises about his future plan except "it would be the best plan ever."
This is what happens when you vote for a man who never laid out any actual plans, just empty promises. And a man who values his own ego and checkbook more than party values or the citizens of his country.

http://cnnmon.ie/2lybWgc

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Keep Trump Accountable

Things he's actually said and done this week-
"The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by "intelligence" like candy. Very un-American!"
Counterpoint- the real scandal is that the President of the United States of America appears to have been co-opted by America's greatest adversary.
Countries and entities the POTUS has condemned-
MSNBC, CNN, Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, NY Times, Washington Post, FBI, NSA, Former President Obama
He has not condemned: Russia.
From official POTUS twitter: "This Russian connection non-sense is merely an attempt to cover-up the many mistakes made in Hillary Clinton's losing campaign."
Counterpoint: Exposing Trump's campaigns' ties to Russia is of national security interest to us all. It's not fair campaign dirty plays.
From official POTUS Twitter: "Information is being illegally given to the failing @nytimes & @washingtonpost by the intelligence community (NSA and FBI?).Just like Russia"
Counterpoint: Maybe intelligence is being given to the parties that will listen, since the POTUS himself doesn't have time for briefings.
In short- I'm terrified.


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