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New York Times Makes A Doozy Of A Slip About Ivanka Trump

Make no mistake: Ivanka Trump has a very close relationship with her father. But shes not his wife.

The New York Times made that mistake in a Wednesday article headlined, Tracking the Presidents Visits to Trump Properties.

The story described President Donald Trumps visits to his own properties on 22 days of his 76 days in office more than one-fourth of his term so far. But one of the storys most memorable parts was the misidentification of Trumps daughter as his wife, forcing this embarrassing correction:

Correction: April 5, 2017

Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article misidentified Ivanka Trump as President Trumps wife. His wife is Melania.Ivanka is one of his daughters.

Journalists like to say the first three rules of the profession are accuracy, accuracy and accuracy.

It should be noted that the Times fessed up to the error and quickly corrected it something the president seems incapable of doing when he makes a whopper.

Not to make excuses for the Times, but the mistake brings up some tasteless and bizarre things the president has said about his daughter.For instance, when he appeared on The View back in 2006, he said,If Ivanka werent my daughter, perhaps Id be dating her.

Then there was the 2013 episode of The Wendy Williams Show,when father and daughter were asked what they had in common.

Ivanka: Either real estate or golf.

Trump: Well, I was going to say sex.

Last October, Ivanka Trump liked a tweet by HuffPost Politics promoting a story headlined,Donald Trump: Sure, Call My Daughter A Piece Of Ass

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How To Deal With Pop Culture That’s Not Made For You

Have you ever seen a new movie or played a new game, hopped online because you were excited to discuss it, and discovered that the internet is flooded with thoughts and opinions so aggressively terrible that you want to kick the genitals straight off of whoever wrote them? We, by which I mean your less intelligent and attractive acquaintances, have a tendency to think that all pop culture is made specifically for us, and to lash out when we discover otherwise. So here are some questions they should ask themselves before they tweet their profound and entirely necessary thoughts on The Boss Baby.

It’s easy to dismiss something that wasn’t made for you as having no value, while forgetting that countless people think the same thing about all the stuff that you like. Your timeless song that helped you through that junior high breakup was some out-of-touch adult’s proof that music was objectively better when they were getting dumped by the cutie from English. Your favorite video game is the crux of someone’s rant about how games are a useless medium for immature adults. You know, the kind of idiotic sweeping generalizations that make us want to scream because they contribute nothing to anything, except for when we’re insightfully making them.

Rebel Media
If you haven’t heard of Rebel Media, they’re Canada’s answer to Breitbart and anal abscesses.

Complaints about pop culture way outside of the complainer’s demographic are most common with stuff marketed at teens because, well, a lot of it is fucking terrible. I read The Maze Runner, and the author belongs in word jail. But one of the shittiest things an adult can do to a teenager is mock their interests just because what’s new and novel to the teen is old and boring to them. Maybe it’s objectively bad, or maybe it just doesn’t push the right buttons in your brain. But unless it’s fascist propaganda, like the new YA hit The Fault In Our Cucks, it’s really none of your business. That horror trailer you saw and derided as being the same crap you’ve seen for decades is new to someone, somewhere. Every horror flick is some teen’s first exposure to slasher tropes or the evil twin twist that they’ll half pay attention to while trying to grope another teen’s genitals in the back row of the theater. They don’t care how unoriginal you think Amityville: The Awakening looks if will get them a couple of good jump scares and a chance to awkwardly finger without their parents walking in.



“Why Would Someone Like This?”

“How could anyone like this?” is a rhetorical question that gets asked in a thousand Reddit threads a day, often in the context of someone posting “sports? LULZ, who wants to watch a bunch of ‘roided-up morons chase a ball around?” before going to scream slurs at their League Of Legends teammates for three hours. It’s the Jeopardy answer to the clue “This question reveals that you have no imagination by assuming that everyone without the exact same taste as you is an idiot.”

But it’s also a question that’s worth asking seriously, especially when the latest trend rolls in and you feel like an alien for not getting it. For example, while what feels like all of North America debates taking out a second mortgage so they can afford Hamilton tickets, I would rather watch a show set to Metal Machine Music played through an elevator speaker than hear a second of The Man Who Wanted To Tax Whiskey Yet Is Somehow Still Beloved. And I found some people who agree with me! Terrible, terrible people.

“Everything else that happened in 2016 was great!”


I find musicals too relentlessly cheery and upbeat and stuck in the past, and while everyone is tapping their toes I think “Lyrics are a terrible way to dispense information! Just sit down and have a conversation instead of singing about how you’re angry for five minutes! And why are you holding up LA traffic?” But the musical lovers in my life think that songs are a far more powerful way to express emotion than some boring old monologue, especially if an upbeat song is being used to dull the impact of dark subject matter. We just interpret stories, and the emotions they’re trying to instill, in different ways.

Knowing where the other person is coming from is a better long-term solution than rolling your eyes and grumbling every time they go on about how much they love Grease. But the real trick is to do it with fads that are mocked as much as they’re loved. I made fun of Twilight as much as the next guy, and that’s because they’re written like Stephenie Meyer is trying to devolve the English language. But if you understand why they sold 100 million books and produced five blockbuster movies, you’ll understand more about the world you live in than if you dismiss it as some dumb fantasy for people with bad taste.

Note that determining why something is likable doesn’t mean that you have to start liking it yourself. I get the appeal of trashy reality shows, but if you expect me to sit down and watch one then there’d better be a case of beer on the table. I read Fifty Shades Of Grey and it killed my sex drive for six weeks. But tens of millions of people masturbated and then disagreed with me, and we all have to live in the same world. So if you start turning pop culture tastes into battle lines …






… you’re the one who ends up looking dumb for being unable to take a minute to figure out what the deal is.


“When Is It Meant To Be Consumed?”

If I’m at a restaurant and Mars Needs Moms is silently playing with Italian subtitles on the far wall, I will pay more attention to it than the conversation, because my brain is fundamentally broken. I think people who half-watch a movie with you while browsing their phones, then complain that they didn’t like it because it was too confusing, should be hauled in front of a show trial and sentenced to re-education camps.

But apparently that’s “a clear violation of human rights,” and so a lot of pop culture is made for those people. Police procedurals and their ilk, for example, are mostly half-watched by people who are making dinner or cleaning or going through their email. Their repetitive banality is their strength — you’re not going to miss a shocking twist or a brilliant piece of writing if you need to run the vacuum cleaner for a couple minutes.

Again, this doesn’t mean that they’re beyond reproach! You can’t criticize Law And Order for being repetitive, because that’s its job, but you can call it out for ripping plots from the headlines like vultures who washed out of screenwriting programs, for distorting our view of crime by over-representing women as both victims and criminals, for how it mishandles rape and sexual assault for cheap entertainment value, and for how their GamerGate-inspired episode is so moronic it single-handedly kept aliens from contacting us.

NBCUniversal Television Distribution
“Game on, NYPD! It’s time for a death match! We really the Nintendo Wiied on you!”

But when you’re really into pop culture it’s easy to forget that not everyone else is, and that some people just want something mindless to collapse in front of after an exhausting day at a stressful job. Sometimes you just want to watch a bad guy get caught or a patient get saved while you fall asleep. There are good procedurals and stupid ones, and you can’t consider them all useless just because you don’t need that particular stress valve.

This question doesn’t only apply to people on the scale of “Can talk to you about Carl Th. Dreyer for five hours” and “Refuses to watch anything other than CSI and Hee Haw reruns.” Other contexts are important too. That new pop hit with the insipid lyrics? You’re not supposed to lie in a dark room and thoughtfully take in every word like it’s Nick Drake; it’s background music for bars, or something to occupy your mind while you’re driving to work. If you like it in other contexts, cool, but don’t complain about music because it doesn’t work in a way it was never designed for.



“I will fucking punch anyone in the face who mocks gaming, though.”

Those are people complaining about dubstep while listening to it in the middle of the afternoon at home by themselves, even though it’s mostly made for dancing while on MDMA in an abandoned warehouse. Maybe that still sounds terrible to you, but kids on drugs need music to dance to as much as you need music to balance your budget to. You wouldn’t fuck to the Wiggles or cue up the Smiths for a fun road trip or play Swans at your family BBQ. Think about what a song or a show offers the consumer, whether it’s stress release, relaxation, a jolt of energy, or a way to vent negative emotions. Then you can passionately argue that third wave avant-garde black metal is objectively superior to new blackgaze Viking.


“What Was It Trying To Accomplish?”

The Force Awakens is a bad movie. The plot is a boring and vague rehash, it has no sense of time or scale, and it’s not cool to get people excited about Gwendoline Christie and then give her 12 seconds of moronic screen time.

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
More like Captain Phassma. More like Brienne of Barf. More like a stupid, pointless character in a movie that already had too many villains, come on, seriously.

But that’s fine, because The Force Awakens But Clearly Isn’t Lucid Yet wasn’t made for me. It exists to remind casual fans that “Hey, Star Wars exists! Pew pew, lasers! Whoo!” It was made for parents to take their seven-year-olds to and then realize that was a huge mistake when they asked for 27 toys. It reset the franchise and healed society’s collective prequel-induced trauma and set the stage for some new ideas, at least by the standards of carefully controlled billion-dollar franchises stewarded by conservative production companies.

And, sure enough, The Force Awoke But Put Me To Sleep led to Rogue One, which is the smarter and better movie about a universe of space wizards fighting a war against history’s most inept military dictatorship, along with the upcoming Donald Glover Plays Lando Calrissian, Hell Yeah, That’s Going To Be So Sweet, Who Even Gives A Shit What The Rest Of The Movie Is About. The Force Awakens accomplished what it set out to do, so even if “being good” wasn’t one of its goals it’s hard to get too upset about that.

Speaking of reboots, no, the Transformers reboot, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot, and all the others didn’t “rape” your childhood. They didn’t even buy you a drink. The 2014 Turtles movie was nominated for five Golden Raspberries and three Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards. Guess which the studio cared about? Studios need to bring in money so they can afford to release cult hits that risk bombing at the box office. Getting mad at the new TMNT movies for existing is like getting mad at someone for having a job.

Film School Rejects

Daily Kos

Daily Kos
“Part two of a special 12-part investigation!”

You should also consider what a movie is trying to accomplish in terms of tone, something Neil deGrasse Tyson fails at every time he goes on Twitter.



Neil, are you telling me that a movie set in a universe where magic exists is unrealistic? TIE Fighters make noise in the vacuum of space because TIE Fighters sound fucking rad. Pointing out that Star Wars doesn’t follow the laws of nature is like hearing a joke and responding with “Since when could horses talk? And how would it even fit through the bar door? Don’t waste my time with your nonsense, sir!” You sound like an alien who was banished from their home planet for being a huge buzzkill.

If a movie purports to be rigorously researched, then it’s fair game. Tyson also nerded out on Gravity, but since its whole shtick was being technically accurate it’s reasonable to call out the moments when it wasn’t.

Except for the part where a man who tries to promote interest in space among the general public thought that kids are having 2001 viewing parties.

Movies that claim to be historically accurate but are full of lies is an entire genre at Cracked. But there’s a difference between saying “Hey, wait, The Imitation Game, a supposedly serious drama, turned a real, decent person into an idiotic villain, and completely re-wrote history in the process” and “Hey, wait, The Imitition Game, the porn parody based on the hit film, is using sex toys that didn’t exist in the ’40s! The immersion is ruined!”

You can criticize a movie based on how it presents itself to you, but if you start applying a different set of rules so you can run up the score in a game that only you’re playing, you’ve become a pedantic jerk who loves to ruin things that other people enjoy. Don’t say “Superman couldn’t really fly, this movie is dumb! Why can’t you see that, comic book fans?” Point out that Superman was an idiot because he chose to fly to the wrong places.


“Am I Being An Asshole?”

This is a question you should ask yourself in all contexts, but it’s easier to be an asshole when discussing pop culture than at a funeral, because the stakes are low. As proof, here’s the internet.

The Telegraph
The Telegraph had to rename their “Thinking Man” section after this ran.

“Read whatever you want, but be sure to click on my trashy, baity article that calls you out for it.”

The Telegraph
Wait, The Telegraph again? Do they have a special section powered entirely by curmudgeonly jackoffs?

Just let people enjoy the things they like, you gigantic douchebags. Life can be tough, and we all need distractions from it sometimes. If people are talking about something they love, don’t wade in with a “Well, actually …” no matter how tempting it is. Believe me, I know the allure. Anytime I hear a conversation about how bold and creative Firefly was, I want to jump in with all of the reasons I hated it and then give them a box set of Cowboy Bebop. That would still be an asshole move because I probably would’ve had to steal the set. I’m not made of money. Just don’t try to ruin things for other people unless you have a damn good reason to. As a special note to The Telegraph writers, “I think anything that isn’t Finnegans Wake is plebeian trash and no one should enjoy it” is not a good reason.

So does this mean that we can’t ever criticize anything? No! God no. I’m going to keep calling The Big Bang Theory the pop culture rectal prolapse that it is, and if I had my way Chuck Lorre would be banished to the wilderness and subjected to damnatio memoriae. But there’s a difference between discussing the merits of pop culture with other nerds who love to talk about it, and making fun of someone for needing something mindless to unwind with or to park their kids in front of. You can think something is objectively terrible while still acknowledging that it fills a need for someone.

And, if nothing else, The Big Bang Theory gave us this.

Pop culture, whether we’re willing to admit it or not, shapes so much of how we look at the world. You’ve probably never been to court, but how much do you think you know about the legal system based on movies and TV shows, and then how often have you used that “knowledge” to leap to conclusions about a real life trial? How much history have you learned from in-depth autobiographies and academic lectures, and how much have you picked up from sketchy biopics and period pieces? How many myths about guns and war and psychology and crime and hacking have been driven into your head through sheer repetition? How many people do you know who have a book or movie that changed their lives? And how many of those people are better for it, even if you thought the book or movie was stupid?

We can and should demand more of our pop culture. Good works of art should challenge the way we look at the world and at our ourselves, or at least keep us entertained while we’re eating dinner in lieu of having to talk to our loved ones. But you can either be a snobby, annoying elitist about it, or you can make smart observations and criticisms while still acknowledging that, unfortunately, The Big Bang Theory has a place in society. Try to be the smart one in the conversation.

Mark is on Twitter and has a universally beloved book.

For more check out 6 Injustices Suffered by People Who Hate Popular Things and 5 Little-Known Reasons Why Modern Pop Culture Sucks.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel and check out Iconic Pop Culture Moments You Remember Wrong, and watch other videos you won’t see on the site!

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Here Are All The Advertisers Fleeing Bill O’Reilly’s Show

Dozens of advertisers have pulled their content from The OReilly Factor following revelations that several women have accused host Bill OReilly of sexual harassment.

Since Monday night, more than 40 companies that advertise with Fox News have announced theyre splitting from the show a response to a bombshell New York Times reportindicating that OReilly and Fox News have paid around $13 million in settlements to address complaints brought by five of his former female colleagues.

Fox News said in a statement Tuesday that it values its ad partners and is working with them to address their current concerns about the OReilly Factor. At this time, the ad buys of those clients have been re-expressed into other [Fox News Channel]programs.

Fox News did not immediately respond to a question about whether any companies have pulled ads from the network entirely.


Mercedes-Benz was the first company and one of six automakers to pull advertising from the show.

The allegations are disturbing and, given the importance of women in every aspect of our business, we dont feel this is a good environment in which to advertise our products right now, Mercedes-Benz spokeswoman Donna Boland told CNN, which first reported the companys decision, on Monday.


Hyundai announced its decision to pull advertising shortly after Mercedes-Benz did on Monday night.

We had upcoming advertising spots on the show but are reallocating them due to the recent and disturbing allegations,a Hyundai spokesman said.As a company we seek to partner with companies and programming that share our values of inclusion and diversity.


We take our duties as a responsible advertiser seriously and have been closely monitoring the situation involving The OReilly Factor, the company told The Huffington Post in a statement on Tuesday. In response, we have asked our media-buying partners to move all Lexus ad inventory out of the program.


BMW confirmed with several media outlets on Tuesday that it was pulling ads from the show.

Mitsubishi Motors

Mitsubishi Motorsconfirmed its decision with CNN Money late Tuesday afternoon.

We will continue to monitor this situation as we assess our long-term strategy, a spokesperson said.


In response to complaints on Twitter, Subaru said Wednesday that it had decided to pull ads from the show.

Coldwell Banker

The real estate franchise Coldwell Banker tweeted Tuesday night that it was pulling its ads, adding that it was disappointed to see one run on the show.

Credit Karma

Credit Karma spokesman Rick Chen confirmed to HuffPost on Tuesday that the company had pulled its ads: In light of the recent concerning allegations, we will not be advertising on this show and have asked for our ads to be removed.


LegalZoom, a legal document services company whose ads ran on The OReilly Factor Tuesday night, told HuffPost on Wednesday that it was pulling its commercials.

The OReilly Factor was not part of our intentional media programming and we have pulled all ads from this show, a statement from the company read., another company whose ads ran during Tuesday nights episode of the show, tweeted Tuesday night that it was working to remove them.

Sanofi Consumer Healthcare

The health products company Sanofi Consumer Healthcare told BuzzFeedon Tuesday that it had removed ads from OReillys show.

The controversy around The OReilly Factor program and allegations made against Bill OReilly are matters that we take seriously and will continue to monitor, a spokesperson said, adding that the company does not endorse the behavior or opinions of program hosts or the content.

Constant Contact

Marketing company Constant Contact confirmed to CNN Money on Tuesday that it was pulling ads, but noted that its commercials would continue to run on the program through that evening.

Based on the recent allegations and our strong commitment to inclusion, respect and tolerance in the workplace, we have decided to pull Constant Contacts ads from The OReilly Factor, the spokeswoman said.

Pacific Life

Insurance company Pacific Life, which had ads run during Tuesday nights episode, said Wednesday morning that it was no longer an advertiser on the show.


As a company in which more than two-thirds of our employees are women, we take sexual harassment claims very seriously, Aaron Sanandres, CEO of the mens clothing retailer, told The Washington Post on Tuesday. In light of the disturbing allegations, we instructed our media buyer this morning to reallocate our ad dollars to other shows effective immediately.


Inclusivity and support for women are important Allstate values, the insurance company said in a statement. We are concerned about the issues surrounding the program and we have suspended our advertising.

H&R Block

The tax assistance company H&R Block announced its decision Wednesday morning.

The Wonderful Company

The maker of POM Wonderful juice and FIJI Water told BuzzFeed it has no ad inventory moving forward and that it is committed to a respectful and inclusive workplace environment and insist upon the same from our business partners.

Old Dominion Freight Line

Freight transportation company ODFL, another company that ran ads Tuesday night, tweeted Wednesday morning that it would pull its commercials.


Pharmaceutical company GSK confirmed with several media outlets that it is temporarily pulling ads while it reviews the situation.

We are continually reviewing our advertising to ensure it is conducted in a responsible manner aligned with our values, a spokeswoman said. We have temporarily put a hold on spots running on The OReilly Factor while we assess this situation.


The human resources software company confirmed Wednesday that it was pulling commercials from the show.

T. Rowe Price

The investment company confirmed with several media outlets Tuesday afternoon that it would no longer run ads on The OReilly Factor.


Pain relief drug Advil, which is owned by the consumer products company Pfizer, announced its decision Wednesday morning.

The Society for Human Resource Management

SHRM, a membership association for human resources workers, confirmed its decision Tuesday afternoon.


Based on the serious nature of these allegations, we have made the decision to suspend all advertising on the program in question, a spokesperson for Bayer, a German pharmaceuticals company, told CNN Money. This suspension has been requested immediately and will be handled as expeditiously as possible. We have been informed, however, that programming changes may not become effective immediately.


Online retailer Wayfair confirmed with several outlets on Tuesday that it was pulling its ads in light of the sexual harassment allegations.

Jenny Craig, Inc.

After refusing on Tuesday to comment on its advertising strategy, weight loss company Jenny Craig said Wednesday that it would indeed pull its ads.

Ainsworth Pet Nutrition

The pet food company announced its decision to pull ads on Tuesday.


Eye care center Visionworks released a statement Wednesday confirming its decision to pull its ads in response to the allegations against OReilly.


The insurance company announced its decision on Wednesday.


Auto pricing site TrueCar said Tuesday it was reallocating ads slated for The OReilly Factor to other shows.

Proudly Propane

This company ran ads during the show Tuesday night, but said Wednesday that it had received complaints and would stop airing commercials during OReillys time slot.


Carfax, a site for researching vehicles histories, called the OReilly controversy a distraction from [its] mission when it announced on Wednesday that it was pulling ads from the program.


The prescription drug coupon company said Wednesday that it is in the process of pulling ads from the show.


The background check company told HuffPost on Wednesday that it was pulling ads from OReillys show.

We continually monitor our advertising to make sure it aligns with our company values, spokesman Shawn Siegel said.

Consumer Cellular

The mobile phone company responded Wednesday to complaints on Twitter with an announcement that it had pulled advertising from the show.


Dental company Invisalign confirmed Wednesday afternoon that it was pulling its ads from the show.


MileIQ, a mileage tracking app, announced Wednesday via Twitter that it was pulling ads from OReillys show but that some pre-booked commercials might still run.

Stanley Steemer

The floor-cleaning service Stanley Steemer said Wednesday it is in the process of removing its ads.


The postcard app tweeted Wednesday that it was removing its ads from the show but some may still run, sadly.


At-home exercise company Peloton confirmed Wednesday afternoon it was pulling its ads, noting the change might not be effective right away.


The dessert-topping company tweeted on Wednesday that it is pulling its ads from OReillys show.

Southern New Hampshire University

SNHU pulled ads from the show on Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the company confirmed with HuffPost on Wednesday.

In light of recent allegations, SNHU has pulled all advertising from The OReilly Factor. As a University, we value diversity, inclusion, and respect for all, and we take every measure to ensure our advertising is consistent with our core values.


Rollins, Inc., which owns pest control company Orkin, confirmed with CNN Money that it has requested its ads no longer appear on the show.

Orkin buys its advertising in broad dayparts on networks that reach our target audience. We do not buy specific shows, including the OReilly Factor, Rollins, Inc.said. The OReilly Factor is in the daypart that we buy on Fox, and we have added that show to our Do Not Buy list in the wake of the current allegations.

WeatherTech (maybe)

After its ads ran on the show Tuesday night, the car accessory company replied to several complaints on Twitter stating that it is already working on adjusting [its] advertising schedule.

The company did not immediately respond to a request to clarify whether it is pulling its ads from OReillys show.

This article has been updated since its initial publication with the names of several more advertisers.

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Late-night TV hosts on Donald Trump and Russia: ‘This is real fake news’

Comics, including Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel, discussed allegations of Russia helping Trumps campaign and Jared Kushners unusual trip to Iraq

Late-night hosts discussed investigations into possible Team Trump collusion with Russia, as well as son-in-law-in-chief Jared Kushners unusual trip to Iraq.

On The Late Show, Stephen Colbert brought up allegations that the Russian state paid teams to generate false news stories about Hillary Clinton during last years election. And when I say fake news, this is real fake news, Colbert explained. Not fake fake news that is real news that Donald Trump just doesnt like.

Further reports have suggested that Russians, believing Trump to be susceptible to such false stories, have used Twitter accounts to tweet the stories at the president during periods when hes likely to be online. Thats almost as devious as when Putin put on a blonde wig and guest-hosted Fox and Friends, Colbert joked.

The comic questioned the decision by Trumps former national security adviser, Mike Flynn, to ask for immunity from prosecution in order to participate in an investigation into Trumps Russia ties. What does he know about Donald Trump, and how could it be worse than what we know about Donald Trump? asked Colbert.

He went on to note reports that press secretary Sean Spicer owns several rental properties and you think your landlord is a liar and that protesters had sued Trump for allegedly targeting them at a campaign rally with racial and sexist slurs. Or, as Trump calls them, campaign promises, Colbert joked.

Colbert also mentioned Trump forgetting to sign an executive order at an executive order signing ceremony, suggesting he may simply have been tired. Its been a busy few weeks every day he gets to work, rolls up his sleeves and gives a new job to Jared Kushner.

On Late Night with Seth Meyers, the host said Trumps behaviour at the signing ceremony reminded him of a confused bear who woke up from hibernation too early.

While theres still no conclusive evidence of collusion that would connect the dots between Russia and Trumps campaign team, Meyers noted that there are so many dots. We are covered in dots, the comic joked. The Trump presidency is basically a six-year-old with chicken pox. And the rest of us are so itchy.

On Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the host questioned why Kushner was visiting Iraq on behalf of the administration. Hes a real estate developer, hes 36 years old, he has no experience dealing with foreign governments. This is a guy whose job is to figure out how much it will cost to put a Dunkin Donuts on the first floor of an office building, Kimmel said, adding: Dennis Rodman has more foreign policy experience than Jared Kushner.

Kimmel offered his own theory to explain the unusual visit. I think the president might be trying to kill him. You know a lot of fathers dont get along with their son-in-laws, he joked.

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The American expats breaking up indigenous communities on the Mexican ‘Riviera’

As property developers edge closer to the home town of 5,000 Cocas, the community has appealed to the government for help

Machetes in hand, the indigenous Cocas are climbing the steep scrubby hills that overlook their territory. Young boys climb alongside elders while a trusty donkey carries their camping equipment. Other groups man outposts beside the entrances to Mezcala, the lakeside town their forefathers founded in the late 13th century, over 200 years before the Spanish arrived in Mexico.

Theyre heading out on a unique voyage – bringing the community together to discuss their tactics against displacement.The men and boys will spend the night huddled around ceremonial bonfires, telling stories about their heritage, before descending upon the sacred Isle of Mezcala the next morning to discuss with a larger group how to defend their land and way of life. Based in the western state of Jalisco, the Cocas go back more than 700 years and have had to fight off waves of invaders over the centuries.

The latest threat to their land? A wave of American retirees heading south – pretty ironic, given President Donald Trumps demonisation of Mexican immigrants. Thousands of American and Canadian retirees have settled in the neighbouring towns on Chapala and Ajijic in recent decades to take advantage of the cheap living costs, year-round sunshine and stunning views of Mexicos biggest lake.

Weve always had invasions by people who want to take control of our land, says Manuel Jacobo, a 30-year-old Coca activist Photograph: Duncan Tucker for the Guardian

Now known as the Chapala Riviera, the area is brimming with boutique hotels and gated communities. Foreigners are driving the growth, having spent more than twice as much as locals on housing and tourism in 2015. An estimated 7,000 expats live there all year round, with up to 10,000 snowbirds joining them each winter. Expat community leaders say their population could double within five years.

Property developers have long coveted nearby Mezcala, the home of 5,000 Coca people. With poorly paved roads and crumbling houses, it is noticeably less developed than Chapala and Ajijic. But after witnessing what happened to the original residents of those towns, the Cocas have reason to fear outsider-led development.

Santiago Bastos, an anthropologist who has spent eight years studying Mezcala, notes that (pdf) the arrival of foreign retirees and wealthy Mexicans from nearby Guadalajara saw indigenous residents ousted, often illegally, from prime plots of land, while prices shot up, making the lakeside area unaffordable for many locals.

Senior citizens have flocked to Ajijic, attracted by great weather, cheap real estate and the quaint cobblestone streets of the town. Photograph: MCT/MCT via Getty Images

Weve always had invasions by people who want to take control of our land, says Manuel Jacobo, a 30-year-old activist with a punk-inspired appearance. We inherited it from our forefathers who fought and gave their lives for it. Our grandfathers used to tell us the myths and legends. We dont want future generations to lose [the land].

Were not against progress, adds Vicente Paredes, a Coca spokesperson. But if theres urbanisation then let it be carried out by our community, not outsiders. Weve seen the problems that happened in Chapala and Ajijic, where the original inhabitants have been forced to move into the hills and live as third-class citizens.

There have already been some unwelcome attempts to develop Mezcalas 3,602 hectares (8,900 acres) of communal land, which were not only formally recognised as belonging to the Coca people under a 1971 presidential decree but also in viceregal deeds dating back to 1539.

Since 1999, the Cocas have been locked in a series of legal disputes, still unresolved, with Guillermo Moreno Ibarra, a wealthy local businessman who built a hillside mansion on 10 hectares (25 acres) of their land. The townspeople claim Moreno seized the land illegally, diverted a local stream, sent armed men to intimidate them, and falsely accused several locals of property damage.

Moreno, whose family owns a mining firm and has shares in exclusive housing developments along the Riviera, denies the accusations. His lawyer, Jos Soto, says he built the property in partnership with a local resident in a sustainable manner that doesnt affect the community in any way. The locals are upset, Soto says, because theyve never wanted socioeconomic development.

This is not true, the Cocas say. They want to see investment in health, education and communications infrastructure. Mezcala has an infinite number of needs, Paredes affirms, describing how theyd like funding for programmes to combat poverty and marginalisation. Mezcala residents have also had to begin patrolling their territory to defend their forests and water from illegal logging or pollution.

The town of Mezcala is home to 5,000 Coca people. Photograph: Duncan Tucker for the Guardian

They need government support on these issues, though, and that remains lacking. The Cocas, according to their state government, dont meet the criteria for indigenous people as they have no traditional dress or dialect. And without this formal recognition, Mezcalas residents are ineligible for additional funding that could give them greater control of their destiny.

Theyve been trying to gain recognition from the state for some time in order to gain access to the funds assigned to indigenous communities, notes Fela Pelayo, the head of Jaliscos congressional committee for indigenous affairs.

But even formally recognised indigenous groups have little control over the administration of public funds in their communities, as local governments rarely consult them before deciding what the money is spent on. As a result of structural, systematic and historic discrimination, the National Council Against Discrimination found that Mexicos 15.7 million indigenous people have substandard access to health and education and suffer unjustifiable levels of poverty and marginalisation.

The Mexican government is trying to make changes. The current administration says it has invested a record 21.5bn pesos (917m) in infrastructure for indigenous peoples, issued 8,000 birth certificates to unregistered indigenous children, and provided legal support for 4,100 indigenous people who were found to have been wrongly imprisoned.

There is still a way to go though. Last August, Pelayo proposed changes to state law to give Jaliscos indigenous groups greater control over the use of public funds for development projects in their communities – but it was blocked in February.

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Eric Trump: Nepotism ‘a factor of life’

Washington (CNN)Eric Trump defended his role at the head of the Trump Organization in an interview, revealing his thoughts on nepotism.

“Nepotism is kind of a factor of life,” Trump told Forbes in his Trump Tower office in a February interview that posted Tuesday. He is currently running the Trump Organization in his father’s absence with his older brother, Donald Trump Jr.
“We might be here because of nepotism, but we’re not still here because of nepotism,” he said. “You know, if we didn’t do a good job, if we weren’t competent, believe me, we wouldn’t be in this spot.”
    Eric is President Donald Trump’s third child, his youngest son from his marriage to Ivana Trump. Eric Trump told the financial magazine that he and his brother’s professional development over the past eight years made it possible for their father to hand over his business and pursue the White House.
    “I don’t know if (Donald Trump) could have done the presidential thing four years ago,” he said. “Certainly eight years ago, he couldn’t have. I think we probably would have been too big of question marks for him.”
    Eric Trump said that now he and his brother have proved themselves, with the “many of the deals that we’ve done.”
    “I think hopefully we earned our stripes. And I think that’s ultimately why we’re in the seat we’re in,” he said.
    And Eric and Donald Jr. aren’t the only Trumps in the family business — whether that’s real estate or, now, politics.
    It was announced last week that Eric’s wife, Lara Trump, a former associate producer at Inside Edition, was joining Giles-Pascale, the digital marketing vendor for the Trump campaign, as a senior consultant. The couple is expecting a baby in September.
    Donald Trump Jr. hinted last month at the opening of Trump Vancouver that their younger sister, Tiffany, was also “soon to be within the organization.”
    However, there are no formal plans for Tiffany Trump immediately join the company, as she is currently applying to law school, a Trump Organization spokesperson told CNN.
    And their sister, Ivanka Trump, was just named special assistant to the President, working out of a West Wing office. Her husband, Jared Kushner, is a senior adviser at the White House. Both are unpaid.
    The Justice Department concluded that Kushner’s post was not in violation of federal anti-nepotism laws.
    “In choosing his personal staff, the President enjoys an unusual degree of freedom, which Congress found suitable to the demands of his office,” said a deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, which serves as interpreter of federal law for the White House.

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    Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren introduce ‘College for All’ plan


    Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday introduced his plan to provide free college tuition along with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Calif.).

    Free college for all Americans was one of Sanders campaign platforms which managed to garnerthe support of his younger audience during the primaries. The College for All act would eliminate college tuition at four-year universities for students from families that make up to $125,000 a year. Community college would be tuition-free.

    Our job is to bring forward a progressive agenda, Sanders said. We can win this fight when millions of Americans stand up and demand this legislation.

    During President Trumps first three months, he has worked to repeal Obama-era regulations that limited rates loan agencies could charge people who chose to default on their student loans. Trumps budget proposal made cuts to higher education funding for low-income Americans by a total of $5 billion. It would be difficult for a free college tuition plan to pass duringTrumps administration.

    Even during the primaries, Hillary Clinton was a strong opponent for Sanders campaign promise as it had no income cap for those who would be eligible for free tuition. Sandershas pivoted on that point.

    The plan would cost $600 billion, which would be financed by a tax on Wall Street speculation. The government would pay 67 percent of tuition subsidies. State governments would be required to pay the other third.

    Students would be able to refinance existing loans at lower rates.

    When Sanders first introduced a similar bill in 2015, he had no support from co-sponsors. Today there are five Senate members who are co-sponsoring the bill including Senators Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

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    President Trump vs. American landowners on the border

    Brownsville, Texas (CNN)Before Donald Trump can build his promised wall between the US and Mexico, he will have to take private property from thousands of US citizens – a land grab that is expected to prompt years of legal battles, cost tens of millions in taxpayer dollars and delay construction.

    A CNN analysis of lawsuits filed the last time the government seized land to build a border fence in 2006 found that property owners who fought to keep their land always lost and that the government often offered them thousands of dollars less than the land was worth.
    Many court battles dragged on for years, stalling construction at times, according to the review of more than 400 federal lawsuits. In scores of cases, the litigation continues today.
      The government’s land acquisition was also costly. More than $78 million was spent on some 600 parcels, according to US Customs and Border Protection officials. An additional $25 million is expected to be paid to settle unresolved real estate transactions and for litigation expenses, the agency said.
      And that money covers only 654 miles of sporadic fencing that lines the 2,000 mile border.
      If President Trump builds a “great, big beautiful wall” over larger portions of the border as he has vowed, there will likely be hundreds, if not thousands more landowners going to court to stop the take-over or to get a better price for their land, experts say.
      Joseph Hein, whose 580 acre ranch has been in his family for nearly 100 years, says he’s against a border wall, especially if it runs through his property.

      “I would fight this,” said Hein, standing on a ridge overlooking the Rio Grande River, south of Laredo, Texas. “A lot of us would fight.” The previous fence never got as far as Hein’s land.
        “This is so wrong, you know, this is being done based on ignorance and fear and misinformation and assumptions,” he said.
        Residents of the River Bend resort and golf club in Brownsville, Texas are also bracing for a fight. More than 300 residents live in tiny RV mobile homes or brick houses placed neatly around the golf course. While not wealthy, most are over 65, and enjoying retirement.
        “Someone asked me what heaven would look like? And you know what I said? River Bend.” said Pat Bell, who moved there from Kansas two decades ago.
        When the government built the border fence years ago, the resort presented a thorny problem, the results of which can be seen today: The fence goes right up to the edge of the resort on both sides, but leaves a large gap in-between.
          The fence would have bisected the resort.
          “If it did that, 70% of our property would be on the south side of the wall,” said Jeremy Barnard, general manager of the resort. “That would affect 15 of our 18 holes of the golf course and over 200 residences.”

          Resident Bell said she’s a Trump supporter, but thinks his policy is misguided when it comes to the border. Fences and walls, she said, don’t work. And, she’s willing to go to court over her property.
          “You hate to say it,” she said, “I will get a lawyer if it comes to that.”
            The US Department of Justice said in a statement to CNN that acquiring land for the border wall was part of the nation’s “security policy” and that property owners would receive “fair market” compensation in exchange.
            Former Customs and Border Protection Commissioner W. Ralph Basham, who oversaw some of the fence construction under the Bush administration, said officials often tried to negotiate with land owners to come up with unique solutions when the fence bisected their property, such as constructing gates so their livestock could pass through, which he said caused some construction delays.
            “You had to deal with the property owner and work out an arrangement that made sense for both,” he said. “But when we just could not come to an agreement, then other measures had to be taken.”
            The current border fence runs in stretches with significant gaps in places. That is especially true in the Rio Grande Valley, where the government took land from many property owners.
            The reasons for the gaps are varied, experts said. Often topography dictated exactly where the fence could go. There were also concerns for hydrology, flooding or other environmental reasons. In some cases, federal officials decided to use other methods, such as surveillance technology and increased patrolling, to deter illegal border crossings in areas that posed construction challenges.
            Barnard said he was told the River Bend golf club was bypassed because authorities at that time had other priorities and didn’t want to grapple with all the residents. Funding for the fence construction ultimately was frozen before the stretch of fence at the resort could be targeted.
            In the 442 lawsuits reviewed by CNN, property owners always lost their land. Ninety-three cases remain open. The suits involved at least 678 property owners.

            The litigation in each case started after federal authorities invoked its “eminent domain” power, which under the US Constitution allows for the seizure of private land for public use only if property owners are fairly compensated.
            In most cases, property owners have little recourse to prevent their land from being taken. The litigation typically centers on whether they were offered a fair price.
            On the campaign trail, President Trump suggested property owners are paid “a fortune” for their land. Experts who have studied eminent domain dispute that.
            CNN’s analysis of the litigation found that in about a quarter of the cases a judge ordered the government to pay more to those who challenged the initial compensation offer. And, the number is likely higher because the government reached out of court settlements in many cases.
            Norton Colvin, a trial attorney in Brownsville who has represented many landowners, said those who don’t have the financial means to go to court can “get steam-rolled” by the process.
            It’s rare, he said, for landowners to get a check from the government for what their property’s worth. “It’s a struggle all the way to get anything close to fair compensation,” he says.
            Experts say Trump’s plans for the border wall is likely to result in significantly more litigation than the border fence prompted a decade ago.
            Only about a third of the border property is owned by the federal government, according federal authorities.
            Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), whose constituents own property in the projected path of a border wall, said many people are on edge and bracing for a fight.
            “The citizens and local government are going to put up tremendous resistance,” he said. “It’s a costly logistical nightmare for both sides. If they want to put this [wall] on private property, there will be lawsuits and delays.”

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            Companies are down with LGBTQ brandingbut are they doing any of the real advocacy work?

            Marketplace feminism is as problematic as youd might guess. Coined by Bitch Media founder Andi Zeisler, the term describes a focus on branding that latches onto feminist beliefs without giving back to feminism in any way. In an interview with USA Today, Zeiser explains: “Right now, especially in the wake of the election, there are many more brands that are really grabbing onto feminism and being like, OK, this is a good way to sell products that have nothing to do with feminism or progress. Marketplace feminism comes to steal the show from more explicit active feminism.

            The recent Thinx scandal has brought to light this hypocrisythe now-former CEO of the feminist-aligned period panty brand has been accused of not just creating a hostile, ageist work environment, but also of sexual harassment. However, while many think pieceshave been written about faux feminist companies like Thinx and Nasty Gal, marketplace feminism has a queer little sister that makes fewer headlines.

            Meet marketplace queerness, which exists for the same reason marketplace feminism doestheres an active, progressive-thinking audience of buyers.

            Just like women drive somewhere between 70 to 80 percent of all American consumer spending, the LGBTQ consumer block is pretty significant, too. The Human Rights Campaign reports that LGBTQ buying power rests somewhere around $830 billion in the United States. Both LGBTQ consumers and non-LGBTQ consumers are also more likely to buy from a company known for being LGBTQ-supportive. It’s not just trendy to be LGBTQ-inclusive, it’s profitable.

            But just like sellable feminism, marketplace queerness suffers from an authenticity problemand it doesnt have to be that way.

            . . .

            Statistically speaking, everyone knows at least one gay person. A 2015 study from the Pew Research Center reveals that 88 percent of Americans know someone who is gay or lesbian, with 43 percent reporting that they know “some” gay people and 28 percent reporting they know “a lot.”

            “While some of the low-rung marketing people might understand queerness, the people at the top making directives are less likely toand less likely to concern themselves with diverse hiring practices.”

            But those statistics don’t tell the whole story. Among millennials, only 58 percent of respondents reported having a close friend or family member who is LGBTQ. That number drops with older generations, with only 50 percent of Boomers being close to someone who is LGBTQ. Older generations also report knowing less queer people; from Generation X to the Silent generation (aka pre-Boomers), respondents are more likely to say they know “some” gay people than “a lot.”

            This becomes an even larger problem when it comes to trans people. A report from FiveThirtyEight reveals only nine percent of all Americans have a close friend or family member who is transgender. Meanwhile, a Pew Research Center study from 2016 confirms that, on average, only 30 percent of Americans report knowing somebody who is trans. And just like being gay, that number drops as age rises.

            All ofthis matters in the job market, where executives and senior brand managers are more likely to be older than younger. So while some of the low-rung marketing and public relations people might understand queerness, the people at the top making directives are less likely toand less likely to concern themselves with diverse hiring practices.

            But even if you have a queer buddy from college, it doesn’t equate to understanding queer social circles, queer politics, or queer life experiences. Nor does it mean you know what it’s like to come out, be kicked out of your parent’s house for being gay, or to face sexual harassment over who you love. So if someone is leading a public relations campaign geared toward the LGBTQ community and they are not queer, nor have they counseled with someone who is queer, this can be a major problem.


            When Thinx brought transgender model Tyler Ford for the company’s intersectionality-themed show at New York Fashion Week, the panty brand prepared them with a show script that was completely insensitive to perform. The point, Ford quickly realized, was that Thinx wasn’t trying to market to queer and trans people. It was trying to create a product that looked trans-inclusive so allies would feel comfortable purchasing Thinx. It wanted to tap into that millennial market that knows “some” LGBTQ people, but not “a lot.”

            “The script we were given for Thinx’s intersectionality-themed New York Fashion Week Show is literally two trans folks harassing each other on stage,” Ford said on Twitter. “In meeting, I why I’m uncomfortable with the script she wrote for us: I feel like a token. I feel like a prop. I don’t say this, but I feel like I’m being used so that Thinx can say that they are ‘cool’ and ‘intersectional’ and ‘feminist” and ‘inclusive.’” (When asked for comment, Ford directed the Daily Dot to their series of tweets.)

            In a reply to Fords concerns that the script didnt feel true or nuanced to her experience, Thinx director of brand Veronica del Rosario stressed that talking about intimate matters of transitioning would show what it’s like for one trans person to talk to another trans person.

            “Asking about your period, hormones, bathrooms were all only to see where you might be able to take the piece,” del Rosario told Ford in a reply email. “Please consider the impact that providing a window not into your oppression but into your life, into your experience, into, indeed, your happiness, will have for any audiencecis, trans, or otherwise. We would love to have you as part of our show, our brand, and our community.”

            (When asked bout Ford’s treatment, aThinx spokesperson told the Daily Dot, “We remain deeply sorry for the experience that Tyler described related to the Thinx fashion show. We have apologized to them directlyand again, extend our deepest apologies to Tyler and the LGBTQIA community. Thinx is dedicated to inclusive, all-embracing principles, and we strive every day to uphold these commitments. Clearly, we still have a lot to learn.Now and moving forward, we are actively working to address these and other issues related to our company culture.”)

            Whether its intentions moving forward are noble or not, Thinx’s interaction with Ford showed the company wasnt interested in showing what its really like to be trans, just like del Rosario didnt have to be trans herself to think inclusively. If del Rosario was really interested in courting a woke audience, all she had to do was listen to the trans person in front of her explaining what they find offensive.

            . . .

            While pro-human rights branding isn’t necessarily a bad thing, when a business pledges support for social justice, then proceeds to do things that aren’t inclusive or supportive, thats when a company becomes, at best, hypocriticaland, at worst, an offensive, hostile, and criminal place to work and do business.

            Traditionally, Bank of America is seen as one of the most LGBTQ-inclusive banks in the United States. It sponsored a float in the Charlotte Pride parade and sharply criticized North Carolina over its the anti-trans House Bill 2. Even the Human Rights Campaign gives the bank a 100 rating on its Corporate Equality Index. However, BOA has been plagued by LGBTQ discrimination cases on a local level.

            According to the Employment Law Group, Bank of America customer service employee Shelly Flood experienced “a campaign of harassment and discrimination” at the hands of her boss, Diana Castle, because shes a lesbian. Flood was ultimately fired from the company after Castle said she had abandoned her job. Flood and her partner later took the case to court, which ruled that Bank of America created a hostile work environment through discriminatory behavior, with the judge arguing that the bank “actually fired Flood because of her sexual orientation.” Bank of America eventually settled.

            Then in 2013, Bank of America was caught up in another anti-LGBTQ settlement. As BuzzFeed News reports, Bank of America denied a Florida lesbian couple a Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgage because they weren’t married.

            According to the settlement, even though the coupleprovided all of the necessary loan application documents and was assured by BOA that they were likely to receive a mortgage, one day prior to closing, BOA denied the mortgage because “it did not consider the loan applicant and the co-applicant directly related because the applicant and her partner were not married.”

            At the time, gay marriage was illegal in Florida, so the bank effectively discriminated against the two women for their sexual orientation. The Department of Housing and Urban Development immediately stepped in, since a 2012 policy prohibits any form of sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital discrimination in FHA-insured mortgages. BOA was fined.

            In a statement to the Daily Dot, a Bank of America spokesperson said the company “has been steadfast in its support for the LGBT community. Diversity and inclusion are central to our company’s values, and we are proud to be widely recognized for our progressive workplace practices and initiatives that promote inclusion.” It went on to note that BOA was the first financial institution to incorporate sexual orientation into its nondiscrimination policies and to provide domestic partner benefits.

            So for a company that essentially promotes marketplace queerness, why would Bank of America have such a troubled past history with LGBTQ lawsuits?

            Well, its a bank. In fact, its one of the biggest banks in the United States. And big banks are prone to suffer from the stifling corporate structure, bureaucracy, and economic exploitation that Wall Street poses on the American people. A slap of rainbow paint wont fix that.

            “Companies make money bringing in middle-class allies who feel like theyre giving to a company that cares.”

            For instance, in 2014, Bank of America began freezing Iranian and Iranian-American bank accounts for no explicit reason. The National Iranian American Council quickly became concerned that the bank was “discriminating against Iranians and Iranian-America. In 2016, Bank of America faced a RICO class action lawsuit over its Home Affordable Modification Program, taking $45 million in bailout funds, only to propagate a scheme to squeeze every dollar from BoA customers and wrongfully foreclose thousands of homes in the process, according to lawyers. In January, the FDIC sued Bank of America for the $542 million the bank owes to the deposit insurance fund.

            In other words, theres a clear pattern here, one in which Bank of America actually plays fast and loose with the law when it suits its interests.

            On Bank of Americas diversity page, it says, “diversity and inclusion are central to our company’s values. But a bank doesnt make money by taking on risky queer customers who have faced workplace or housing discrimination. It makes money bringing in middle-class allies who feel like theyre giving to a company that cares.

            . . .

            While consumers, if really concerned with progressive practices, are free to do their homework on every company they do business with, it’s unfair to blame Americans for setting up checking accounts with Bank of America or purchasing Thinx panties. Not everyone is afforded the time, accessibility, and financial means of choice.

            “The problem with ‘choice’ as the key metric for feminism is that not everyone is actually free to make those choices,” Sarah Jaffe writes in New Republic‘s look at Andi Zeisler’s marketplace feminism. “The point for feminism as a movement, then, is not to get into endless battles about whose choice is the feminist-est of them all, but to critique the ground were walking on, to change the rules of the game, not to hate the player.”

            Same goes for marketplace queerness. Sometimes, cheap, affordable, or approachable brands are the only options people have without disposable income. Is it really Jane Doe’s fault if she bought Thinx’s panties to handle her period?

            Thinx’s problems stem with how the company was run from the start. And in Bank of Americas case, successful LGBTQ-targeted marketing campaigns have fixed the banks image, effectively pushing anti-LGBTQ and anti-consumer lawsuits out of the publics eye. When Jaffe and Zeisler say they want to change the rules of the game, that means giving less free passes to big banks like Bank of America, and supporting work environments that champion LGBTQ buying, hiring, and customer service as a fundamental part of their enterprises from start to finish.

            Brands that try to look “inclusive” without doing any of the hard work are only misleading the consumer. Or, as Zeisler calls it, they just “steal the show from more explicit active feminism.” And in a political landscape where peoples rights are being threatened, fake activism is not acceptable.

            Editor’s Note: A previous version made reference to the recent claims made againstThinx’s CEO; she is now the former CEO. BOA has responded to our request for comment, which has been added.

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            Donald Trump, Xi Jinping and the Mao factor

            Beijing (CNN)When US President Donald Trump greets his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in person for the first time in Florida this week, the two men may find an unlikely historical figure looming large as they attempt to rebalance the world’s most important bilateral relationship.

            On the surface, and politics aside, Xi and Trump appear a world apart.
            A real estate mogul turned reality television star before winning the White House race in a major upset, Trump relishes the spotlight and combats his political enemies — including the news media — through bouts of insulting tweets shared with his millions of Twitter followers.
              Xi is Communist royalty thanks to his father’s stature as a comrade-in-arms of Mao Zedong, whose ironclad reign over the People’s Republic lasted for nearly three decades until his death.
              The Chinese president rarely strays from jargon-filled scripts and has no presence on any global social media platforms, many of which — including Twitter — are blocked in China by his internet censors.
              Yet, in an ironic twist, some observers say Trump, the world’s ultimate capitalist leader, seems to have adopted the kind of populist language or even tactics that were once hallmarks of Chairman Mao, Communist China’s founding father whose ideology many say Xi has been increasingly embracing.
              “Trump and Mao have a very similar anti-establishment and also anti-intellectual tendency,” said Orville Schell, a leading US scholar on China who has been visiting the country since the Mao era and now heads the Center on US-China Relations at the Asia Society in New York.
              “They have the same kind of concepts like ‘overturning society,’ the same kind of idea of ‘you can’t have construction without destruction.'”
              Both men also view politics as something extremely personal, yearning to be respected while having little idea how to act respectfully, Schell added.
              “I think Trump, like Mao, has a kind of very visceral antipathy or antagonism toward people who don’t agree with him or cannot be bullied,” he said.
              “He’s very much in the Maoist tradition, bypassing educated people, the media, artists and, in many ways, even bypassing science, resisting any kind of restraint on him.”
              Both He and Schell see a silver lining in Trump’s “Maoist” mentality when it comes to recalibrating US-China relations, which have been strained by China’s stubborn trade surplus over the US and Beijing’s increasingly assertive military stance in territorial disputes with American allies in Asia.
              For too long, they argue, the Communist leadership in Beijing has been taking advantage of successive administrations in Washington — benefiting from an open global trade system advocated by the US, and then using its rising economic might to reinforce an authoritarian political system at home and fund its strategic expansion abroad — all at the expense of American interests.
              “Such an imbalanced relationship is simply terrible,” said He. “Trump may be …illogical or clueless about politics, but he knows that things have to change — and the only way to do so is through unconventional means.”
              “As he turns the world upside down, China must feel nervous.”

              Hands off

              Despite Trump’s fiery attacks on the campaign trail — accusing China of “raping” the US economy and stealing millions of American jobs, among other things — his administration has taken a relatively hands-off approach in dealing with Beijing so far.

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              Trump has not followed through on campaign promises to label China a “currency manipulator” on day one of his presidency or to impose steep tariffs on all Chinese imports.
              After initially questioning it, he has since endorsed the so-called “one China” policy, which for decades has governed delicate relations between the United States, China and Taiwan — a self-ruling island that Beijing regards as a rebel province that must be reunited with the Chinese mainland, by force if necessary.
              One of the few areas that Trump still keeps poking China on seems to be Beijing’s inability or unwillingness to rein in its unruly neighbor North Korea, as the Pyongyang regime continues to defy UN Security Council bans with its missile launches and possibly a new nuclear weapon test.
              Xi has compelling reasons to work with Trump, as the Chinese leader prepares to start his second five-year term as the head of the ruling Communist Party in the fall.
              As he focuses on further consolidating power, Xi may find external distractions like a flare-up in US-China relations undesirable as he, like Trump, tries to address myriad domestic challenges. In Xi’s case, these range from a slowing economy and widening income gap, to persistent political corruption despite his crackdown.
              “All of Trump’s contradictory rhetoric has put China somewhat off balance and that’s not a bad thing,” Schell said.
              “If he plays his cards right, if (US Secretary of State Rex) Tillerson and (US Secretary of Defense James) Mattis play their cards right, they could restore some sort of balance to the relationship — and make it more stable and more functional.”

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