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Showing posts with label ALTERNET. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ALTERNET. Show all posts

Friday, December 9, 2016

Trump's Playbook to Betray His Followers and Bring New Heights of Corruption to Washington



Only a month has passed since November 8th, but it’s already clear (not that it wasn’t before) that Trump’s anti-establishment campaign rhetoric was the biggest scam of his career, one he pulled off perfectly. As president-elect and the country’s next CEO-in-chief, he’s now doing what many presidents have done: doling out power to like-minded friends and associates, loyalists, and -- think John F. Kennedy, for instance -- possibly family.  
Here, however, is a major historical difference: the magnitude of Trump’s cronyism is off the charts, even for Washington. Of course, he’s never been a man known for doing small and humble. So his cabinet, as yet incomplete, is already the richest one ever. Estimates of how loaded it will be are almost meaningless at this point, given that we don’t even know Trump’s true wealth (and will likely never see his tax returns). Still, with more billionaires at the doorstep, estimates of the wealth of his new cabinet members and of the president-elect range from my own guesstimate of about $12 billion up to $35 billion. Though the process is as yet incomplete, this already reflects at least a quadrupling of the wealth represented by Barack Obama’s cabinet.
Trump’s version of a political and financial establishment, just forming, will be bound together by certain behavioral patterns born of relationships among those of similar status, background, social position, legacy connections, and an assumed allegiance to a dogma of self-aggrandizement that overshadows everything else. In the realm of politico-financial power and in Trump’s experience and ideology, the one with the most toys always wins. So it’s hardly a surprise that his money- and power-centric cabinet won’t be focused on public service or patriotism or civic duty, but on the consolidation of corporate and private gain at the expense of the citizenry.
It’s already obvious that, to Trump, “draining the swamp” means filling it with new layers of golden sludge, similar in color to the decorations that adorn buildings with his name, including the new Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House where foreign diplomats are already flocking to curry favor and even the toilet paper holders in the lobby bathrooms are faux-gold-plated.
The rarified world of his cabinet choices is certainly a universe away from the struggling working class folks he bamboozled with promises of bringing back American “greatness.” And yet the soaring value of his cabinet should be seen as merely a departure point for our four-year (or more) leap into what is guaranteed to be an abyss of inequality and instability. Forget their wealth. What their business conflicts, relationships, and ideological stances indicate about what they’ll do to America is far more worrisome. And though Trump promised (and tweeted) that he’d be “completely out of business operations,” the possibility of such a full exit for him (or any of his crew) is about as likely as a full reveal of those tax returns.
Trumping History
There is, in fact, some historical precedent for a president surrounding himself with such a group of self-interested power-grabbers, but you’d have to return to Warren G. Harding’s administration in the early 1920s to find it. The “Roaring Twenties” that ended explosively in a stock market collapse in 1929 began, ominously enough, with a presidency filled with similar figures, as well as policies remarkably similar to those now being promised under Trump, including major tax cuts and giveaways for corporations and the deregulation of Wall Street. 
A notably weak figure, Harding liberally delegated policymaking to the group of senior Republicans he chose to oversee his administration who were dubbed “the Ohio gang” (though they were not all from Ohio). Scandal soon followed, above all the notorious Teapot Dome incident in which Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall leased petroleum reserves owned by the Navy in Wyoming and California to two private oil companies without competitive bidding, receiving millions of dollars in kickbacks in return. That scandal and the attention it received darkened Harding’s administration. Until the Enron scandal of 2001-2002, it would serve as the poster child for money (and oil) in politics gone bad. Given Donald Trump’s predisposition for green-lighting pipelines and promoting fossil fuel development, a modern reenactment of Teapot Dome is hardly beyond imagining.
Harding’s other main contributions to American history involved two choices he made. He offered businessman Herbert Hoover the job of secretary of commerce and so put him in play to become president in the years just preceding the Great Depression.  And in a fashion that now looks Trumpian, he also appointed one of the richest men on Earth, billionaire Andrew Mellon, as his treasury secretary.  Mellon, a Pittsburgh industrialist-financier, was head of the Mellon National Bank; he founded both the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa), for which he’d be accused of unethical behavior while treasury secretary (as he still owned stock in the company and his brother was a close associate), and the Gulf Oil Company; and with Henry Clay Frick, he co-founded the Union Steel Company.  
He promptly set to work—and this will sound familiar today—cutting taxes on the wealthy and corporations. At the same time, he essentially left Wall Street free to concoct the shadowy “trusts” that would use borrowed money to purchase collections of shares in companies and real estate, igniting the 1929 stock market crash. After Mellon, who had served three presidents, left Herbert Hoover’s administration, he fell under investigation for unpaid federal taxes and tax-related conflicts of interest.
Modernizing Warren G.
Within the political-financial establishment, the more things change, the more, it seems, they stay the same. As Trump moves ahead with his cabinet picks, several of them already stand out in a Mellon-esque fashion for their staggering wealth, their legal entanglements, and the policies they seem ready to support that sound like eerie throwbacks to the age of Harding.  Of course, you can’t tell the players without a scorecard, so here are the top four of the moment (with more on the way).
Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross (net worth $2.9 billion)
Shades of Andrew Mellon, Ross, a registered Democrat until Trump scooped him up, made his fortune as a corporate vulture (sporting the nickname “the king of bankruptcy”).  He was notorious for devouring the carcasses of dying companies, spitting them out, and pocketing the profits.  He bought bankrupt steel companies, while moving $6.4 billion of their employee pension benefits to the rescue fund of the government’s Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation so he could make company financials look better. In the early 2000s, his steel industry deals bagged him an impressive $267 millionStripped of health-care benefits, retired steelworkers at his companies didn’t fare as well.   
Trump, of course, has promised the world to the sinking coal industry and out-of-work coal miners. His new commerce secretary, however, owned a coal mine in West Virginia, notoriously cited for hundreds of violations, where 12 miners subsequently died in an explosion.  
Ross also made money running Rothschild Inc.’s bankruptcy-restructuring group for nearly two-and-a-half decades. A member (and once leader) of a secret Wall Street fraternity, Kappa Beta Phi, in 2014 he remarked that “the one percent is being picked on for political reasons.” He has an art collection valued conservatively at $150 million, or 3,000 times the average American’s income of $51,000. In addition, he happens to own a Florida estate only miles down the road from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago private club.
While Trump has lambasted China for stealing American jobs, Ross (like Trump) has made money from China. In 2010, one of that country’s state-owned enterprises, China Investment Corporation, put $500 million in Ross’s private equity fund, WL Ross & Company. Ross has not disclosed whether these investments remain in his fund, though he told the New York Post that if Trump believes there are conflicts of interest among any of his investments, he would divest himself of them. In August 2016, his company had to pay a $2.3 million fine to the Securities and Exchange Commission to settle charges for not properly disclosing $10.4 million in management fees charged to his investors in the decade leading up to 2011.
In October, Ross assured Bloomberg that China will continue to be an investment opportunity.  As secretary of commerce, the world will become his personal business venture and boardroom, while U.S. taxpayers will be his funders. He is an ardent crusader for corporate tax cuts (wanting to slash them from 35% to 15%). As head of the commerce department, the man the Economist dubbed “Mr. Protectionism” in 2004 will be in charge of any protectionist policies the administration implements.
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos (family wealth $5.1 billion)
DeVos, the daughter of a billionaire and daughter-in-law of the cofounder of the multilevel marketing empire Amway, has had no actual experience with public schools. Unlike most of the rest of America (myself included), she never attended a public school, nor have any of her children. (Neither did Trump.) But she and her family have excelled at the arithmetic of campaign contributions. They are estimated to have contributed at least $200 million to shaping the conservative movement and various right-wing causes over the last half-century.  As she wrote in the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call in 1997, “My family is the biggest contributor of soft money to the Republican National Committee.” That trend only continued in the years that followed. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, since 1989 she and her relatives have given at least $20.2 million to Republican candidates, party committees, PACs, and super PACs. 
The center further noted that, “Betsy herself, along with her husband, Dick DeVos, Jr., has contributed more than $7.7 million to federal candidates, committees, and parties since 1990, including almost $4.8 million to super PACs.”  Her brother, ex-Navy SEAL Erik Prince, founded the controversial private security contractor Blackwater (now known as Academi). He also made two considerable donations to Make America Number 1, a super PAC that first backed Senator Ted Cruz and then Trump.
So whatever you do, don’t expect Betsy De Vos’s help in allocating additional federal funds to elevate the education of citizens who actually do attend public schools, or rather what Donald Trump now likes to call “failing government schools.” Instead, she’s undoubtedly going to promote privatizing school voucher programs and charter schools across the country and let those failing government schools go down the tubes as part of a Republican war on public education.  
ransportation Secretary Elaine Chao (net worth $25 million)
As the daughter of a wealthy shipping magnate, a former labor secretary for George W. Bush, and the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Chao’s establishment connections are overwhelming. They include board positions at Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and at Wells Fargo Bank.  While Chao was on its board, Wells Fargo scammed its customers to the tune of $2.4 million, and incurred billions of dollars of fines for other crimes. She was silent when its former CEO John Stumpf resigned in a blaze of contriteness.  
In 2008, Chao ranked 8th in Bush’s executive branch in terms of net worth at  $16.9 million. In 2009, Politico reported that, in memory of her mother who passed away in 2007, she and her husband received a “personal gift” from the Chao family worth between $5 million and $25 million. In 2014, the Center for Responsive Politics ranked McConnell, with an estimated net worth somewhere around $22 million, as the 11th richest senator. As with all things wealth related, the truth is a moving target but the one thing Chao’s not (which may make her a rarity in this cabinet) is a billionaire.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (net worth between $46 million and $1 billion)
Hedge fund mogul and Hollywood producer Steven Mnuchin is the third installment on Goldman Sachs’s claim to own the position of Treasury secretary. In fact, when it comes to the stewardship of the country’s economyGoldman continues to reign supreme.  Bill Clinton appointed the company’s former co-chairman Robert Rubin to Treasury in gratitude for his ability to bestow on him Wall Street cred and the contributions that went with it. George W. Bush appointed former Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO Hank Paulson as his final Treasury secretary, just in time for the “too big to fail” economic meltdown of 2007-2008.
Now, Trump, who swore he’d drain “the swamp” in Washington, is carrying on the tradition. The difference? While Rubin and Paulson pushed for the deregulation of the financial industry that led to the Great Recession and then used federal funds to bail out their friends, Mnuchin, who spent 17 years with Goldman Sachs, eventually made an even bigger fortune by being on the predatory receiving end of federal support while scarfing up a failed bank.
In 2008, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), formed in 1934 to insure the deposits of citizens at commercial banks, closed 25 banks, including the Pasadena-based IndyMac Bank. In early January 2009, the FDIC agreed to sell failed lender IndyMac to IMB HoldCo LLC, a company owned by a pack of private equity investors led by former Goldman Sachs partner Mnuchin of Dune Capital Management LP for about $13.9 billion. (They only had to put up $1.3 billion in cash for it, however.)
When the deal closed on March 19, 2009, IMB formed a new federally chartered savings bank, OneWest Bank (also run by Mnuchin), to complete the purchase. The FDIC took a $10.7 billion loss in the process. OneWest then set about foreclosing on IndyMac’s properties, the cost of which was fronted by the FDIC, as was most of the loss that was incurred from hemorrhaging mortgages. In other words, the government backed Mnuchin’s private deal big time and so helped give him his nickname, the “foreclosure king,” as he became an even wealthier man.
By October 2011, protesters were marching outside Mnuchin’s Los Angeles mansion with “Stop taking our homes” signs. OneWest soon became mired in lawsuits and on multiple occasions settled for millions of dollars. Nonetheless, Mnuchin sold the bank for a cool $3.4 billion in August 2015. Shades of the president-elect, he also left another beleaguered company, Relativity Media, where he had been co-chairman, two months before it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2015.
Mnuchin’s policy priorities include an overhaul of the federal tax code (aimed mainly at helping his elite buddies), financial deregulation (including making the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 significantly more lenient for hedge funds), and a review of existing trade agreements. He has indicated no support for reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, which separated commercial banks that held citizens’ deposits and loans from the speculative practices of investment banks until it was repealed in 1999 under the Clinton administration.
Gilded Government
Hillary Clinton certainly cashed in big time on her Wall Street connections during her career and her presidential campaign. And yet her approach already seems modest compared to Trump’s new open-door policy to any billionaire willing to come on board his ship. His new incarnation of the old establishment largely consists of billionaires and multimillionaires with less than appetizing nicknames from their previous predatory careers. They favor government support for their private gain as well as deregulation, several of them having already specialized in making money off the collateral damage from such policies.
Trump offered Americans this promise: "I'm going to surround myself only with the best and most serious people." In his world, best means rich, and serious means seriously shielded from the way much of the rest of the country lives. Once upon a time, I, too, worked for Goldman Sachs. I left in 2002, the same year that Steven Mnuchin did.  I did not go on to construct deals that hurt citizens. He did. Public spirit is a choice.
Aspiring to run government as a business (something President Calvin Coolidge tried out in the 1920s with dismal results for America), Trump is now surrounding himself with a crew of crony capitalists who understand boardroom speak, but have nothing in common with most Americans.  So give him credit: his administration is already one of the great political bait-and-switch productions in our history and it hasn’t even begun.  Count on one thing: in his presidency he’ll only double down on that “promise.”
Nomi Prins, a TomDispatch regular, is the author of six books, a speaker, and a distinguished senior fellow at the non-partisan public policy institute Demos. Her most recent book is All the Presidents' Bankers: The Hidden Alliances That Drive American Power (Nation Books). She is a former Wall Street executive.
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Saturday, December 3, 2016

Trump Campaign and GOP Allies in Full Legal Panic as Recounts Could Create Electoral College Crisis








“If a recount cannot be accomplished by the ‘safe harbor’ date [a week before the Electoral College meets], or if it is started but not finished by that date, then the State Defendants must, on or before December 13, 2016, certify to the federal government the initial elector results announced on November 28, 2016,” Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said in his lawsuit filed against the Michigan board overseeing the recount and its state election director.  

The Trump campaign filed a similar complaint Thursday against Michigan's Board of State Canvassers, saying Stein has no basis for the recount because she has no grievance and no chance of winning—ignoring that presidential candidates, even in minor parties, have standing under state and federal law.
By midday Friday, the canvassers board had met to consider the Trump campaign's motion and deadlocked along partisan lines. That means the recount will resume next week, barring other appeals and court orders. Thus, the Trump campaign’s first legal move in Michigan has delayed the start, and therefore the finish of the recount, increasing the likelihood of an upcoming legal fight over whether the state's Electoral College members can vote by December 19.

But Trump allies have filed even more eyebrow-raising lawsuits in the other states. 
In Wisconsin, where counties started recounting ballots Thursday, two super PACs supporting Trump, Great America PAC and Stop Hillary PAC, sued in federal district court to stop the recount, citing the U.S. Supreme Court’s intervention in Florida in 2000 where they stopped a recount and awarded the presidency to George W. Bush. That decision followed the twisted logic that since Florida counties weren’t following identical procedures, Bush did not receive equal treatment under the law. (In Wisconsin, counties have differing voting machinery and local officials have discretion to decide if they want to recount votes by hand or electronically.)

“The recount will be conducted in a manner that violates the requirements set forth by the U.S. Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore for recounts in presidential elections,” the pro-Trump super PACs argued. “Because Wisconsin law lacks adequate protections to ensure that similarly completely ballots will be afforded similar treatment, both within the same county and across different counties, the recount should be enjoined to prevent further Equal Protection violations from tainting the outcome of the election.”

Besides harshly dismissing the recount, the super PACS, like the Michigan attorney general, are only seeing what they want to see in the legal precedents cited. In Bush v. Gore, the Supreme Court said its equal protection ruling was not to be applied to another case. Moreover, the Greens last week sued Wisconsin’s election oversight board seeking a uniform statewide standard, hand-counting of ballots. A judge agreed that was a good idea, but said she could not order it under state law.

The pro-Trump super PACs also said that should a recount continue past December 13, when the state is supposed to certify the winner, the recount should be stopped and Trump should be declared the winner for Electoral College purposes. “Because there is no reasonable assurance the recount can accurately and carefully be conducted within that timeframe, this Court should enjoin the recount to prevent careless mistakes from tainting the results of the election, or incomplete or partial results to cast a pall over President-Elect Trump’s victory.”
Later Friday, U.S. District Court Judge James Peterson denied the super PACs' motion to halt the recount, saying there was no harm in letting the process continue. He scheduled a hearing for next Friday on the underlying lawsuit.

However, it is the Pennsylvania lawsuit, filed by that state's Republican Party and the Trump campaign, which shows the most hypocrisy. The Greens' recount has faced the roughest going in that state. The Secretary of the Commonwealth, Democrat Pedro Cortes, and other top elected Democrats are not on board. That’s prompted the Greens to file petitions signed by voters representing hundreds of the state’s 9,163 precincts, for a citizen-initiated recount. The Green Party also filed a lawsuit seeking to preserve the right to argue for a state-ordered recount once the results of its smaller effort are known.
Since filing last week, county election offices have been turning in official results and Trump’s lead has been cut by a third from more than 70,000 to 46,435 votes. It is now within 0.2% of triggering an automatic statewide recount.

Trump’s lawyers and Pennsylvania Republicans filed a motion to dismiss the Greens' lawsuit, citing much the same arguments as those made by recount opponents in Wisconsin and Michigan. But shamelessly, their legal brief quotes Cortes speaking in mid-October about the integrity of the state’s election systems. That was Cortes’ response to Trump’s campaign trail rant that the election was going to be "rigged" against him.

“Before the election, Secretary of State Pedro Cortes assured Pennsylvania voters that Pennsylvania’s voting systems are 'secure,' and criticized contrary suggestions as 'not only wrong and uninformed,' but 'dangerous,' Trump’s legal team argued with a straight face. “He [Cortes] also explained that all voting systems in Pennsylvania were ‘examined and certified to federal and state standards,’ and that voting machines were ‘not connected to the Internet,’ or ‘to one another,’ thus reducing the risk of compromise.”

The Green Party would disagree with that last statement, because it knows Pennsylvania has some of the oldest entirely paperless voting systems in the nation, including countywide tabulators that have been shown by computer scientists to be vulnerable to hacking. But the bigger point, echoed by David Cobb, campaign manager for the recount, is that Trump and the GOP do not want to examine the ballots and verify his apparent presidential election victory.

“Why is he so worried about letting this recount move forward?” Cobb said Friday. “We will continue to help Pennsylvania voters make sure that the election in Pennsylvania had integrity and that their votes counted.”

Other Recount Developments
The Greens issued an update on Friday listing the vote count anomalies they are hoping a recount will clarify. In Wisconsin, they noted that two-thirds of the counties are doing hand-counts of paper ballots, which is this only way to check against machine-induced errors. One of those counties, Ottagamie, where observers noticed that an early tabulation counted 1,500 more votes than actual ballots cast, will not be doing a hand count, which is very frustrating to election integrity activists.

Their update said “there are a number of statistical irregularities in voting data, which merit heightened scrutiny given the historic level of concern over hacking during this election:
“Wisconsin: Three counties saw large discrepancies in votes between 2012 and 2016, with the margin of victory for Donald Trump in some cases being ten-fold higher than the GOP’s average in the last four presidential elections.

“Wisconsin: Another statistical analysis, done by Stanford PhD candidate Rodolfo Barragan and Axel Geijsel of Tilburg University, finds that even when taking into account factors like ethnicity and education, there is significant evidence that counties with electronic voting showed higher support for Trump than counties using only paper ballots.
“Michigan: More than 75,000 Michiganders cast no vote for president in the 2016 election—almost twice as many 'under-votes' than were cast in the 2012 election (49,840). The high number is a red flag, especially when considering that these 'under-votes' were concentrated in the heavily Democratic precincts of Detroit.”
The Greens also said the touchscreen voting systems in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin were especially vulnerable to hacking, and even cited a tweet by Edward Snowden affirming that point. “Hacking voting machines: not that difficult. Hiding a secret deviation in votes from after-the-fact statistical analysis: nearly impossible.”
“In Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, approximately two-thirds and one-tenth of voting, respectively, is done through touchscreen machines (DREs) that are susceptible to manipulation and hacking (and which many states have banned or are phasing out),” their summary said. “In Pennsylvania, whose voting system has been called a 'nightmare scenario' by one leading expert, the machines do not even dispense a paper ballot or receipt. As a result, the only way to conduct a full, foolproof audit is through a 'forensic analysis' —opening each machine to look for evidence of tampering or voter manipulation.”
“Optical scan voting—the method for all voting in Michigan, 85 percent in Wisconsin and one-third in Pennsylvania—is considered an improvement over DREs, but can still be breached without detection,” they continued. “The machines suffer from glitches and are prone to mistakes, including misreading voters’ markings. For example, in a recount of Ohio votes initiated by then Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb in 2004, almost 90,000 votes were left uncounted due to a machine calibration error. As such, manual hand recounts—as opposed to simply running ballots back through the machine—are essential, and considered the gold standard of recounts by election integrity experts.”
Steven Rosenfeld covers national political issues for AlterNet, including America's democracy and voting rights, campaigns and elections, and many social justice issues. He is the author of "Count My Vote: A Citizen's Guide to Voting" (AlterNet Books, 2008).


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Friday, September 16, 2016

11 Tips For Giving Great Head



11 Tips For Giving Great Head

They don’t call it a “job” without reason.
Photo Credit: Ilya Andriyano/Shutterstock

Blowjobs are good, wholesome, and very sexy fun. While they are enjoyable, I think we all know they don’t call it “job” without reason. It is a J-O-B.
From the complications of lockjaw and the gag reflex, to the integration of the ball sack and your trusty hands, there are a lot of factors to consider when you want to take your blowjob skills from mediocre to the stuff of legends.
Whether you’re a beginner or a blowjob queen, and at the risk of sounding like a cheesy women’s magazine: Here are 11 amazing BJ tips that will drive your man* completely wild.
1. The head of the penis is your safe place.
If you’re relatively new to blowjobs or are even just a bit uncoordinated with the whole hand/mouth situation, the head of the penis will be your savior. Treat it like a lollipop. Lick it, suck it, get it.
Under the head is small, valley-like groove; there are a shitload of nerves in this area of the penis. Run your tongue over it. No matter what your hands are doing, your man will love everything about this.
2. The taint is your friend.
The taint, or perineum, is the stretch of skin between the penis and the anus. It doesn’t look or feel like much, but it’s full of ~nerve endings.~ Whether you’re a blowjob beginner or a genuine connoisseur, the taint is often left unattended.
This is a travesty! You should most definitely incorporate the taint into your blowjob. It increases stimulation significantly and, let’s be real, can cut blowjob time in half. Trust me, it will have his eyes rolling into the back of his head. It’s fun and unexpected.
3. Tongue vibrators exist and they are life-changing.
I discovered the tongue vibrator when an editor of mine brought it to the office for me to “try.” Let me tell you, that shit is legendary. Tongue vibrators are cheap and easy to find. You can even order one off Amazon. You just slide it on your tongue on like a cock ring, flip it on and go for it.
The buzzing sensation will have your man tripping all over himself. Vibrators are super fun additions to any sexual scenario, even blow-jams.
4. Change up the positions.
Although porn would lead you believe otherwise, there are other ways to give head besides on your knees. Don’t get me wrong, being on your knees can be totally hot, but when you’ve got knee-pain or hardwood, it can be less than ideal. Instead, try something a little more manageable.
Have your partner lie on his back so you can go down on him at your own pace, while avoiding strain on your body.
5. Get some ball play up in there.
The difference between a good blowjob and a GREAT blowjob is getting all up in those balls.
Okay, so this is entirely my opinion, but I stand by it.
Get all up in his sack. Put your mouth on those bad boys. Lick them. There’s something so erotic about balls. They have this musky aroma that is just so fucking male. I can’t get enough. Join me.
Are you a ball-sack neophyte? Here is a helpful guide to handling your boyfriend’s scrotum like the true champion you are.
6. Deep-throating is fun, but not a requirement.
Whenever I ask friends of any gender why they avoid giving blowjobs, I get the same answer: the gag reflex. I feel that struggle. Engaging in a sexual act that makes you want to puke is not exactly sexy.
Listen, you don’t have to deep-throat. You may have heard otherwise, but you simply do not have to deep-throat a dick to make a blowjob good.
Is it nice? Yes, but if it sucks for you, it’s not worth it. If it makes you nauseous, just don’t do it.
7. When in doubt, consistency is key.
Changing it up with speeds and rhythms is great, but it can be pretty exhausting. I’m not the most coordinated lady in the land. Sometimes trying to keep my hands engaged on the shaft while my mouth is focused on that set of balls can be complicated.
If you’re having trouble doing a bunch of things at once, just be consistent. Use your hand to supplement your mouth on the shaft. Keep in time. You don’t have to get fancy.
8. Use your hand, baby.
Your mouth is not the only player in the blowjob experience, and thank goodness for that. Integrate your hand into your blowjob to avoid lockjaw. It’s completely okay to come up for air and jack your boyfriend off for thirty seconds if your jaw is getting sore.
BJ’s are a lot of work and can take a long time to finish. Not everyone has a mouth made of iron.
9. Wear whatever makes you feel hot.
Mood is essential when it comes to giving a blowjob. If you’re not feeling it, it won’t be fun for anyone. There are little things you can do to get you into it.
What you wear during a blowjob should be about you and only you. Get yourself some lingerie that makes you feel sexy. If you feel like a hot dominatrix, in charge of your partner’s pleasure as opposed to an awkward turtle with a dick in your mouth, it’s going to be a lot better for all parties involved.
10. Dirty talk is definitely not off limits.
Another great way to avoid lockjaw: dirty talk. How can you dirty talk with a mouth full of penis, one might ask? It’s all a clever mind game.
If your jaw is getting tired, just jack your boyfriend off. Start saying some dirty things to him. It keeps the mood alive while distracting him from the fact that you’ve paused the mouth action. If you’re not great at dirty talk, just describe what’s happening.
Say things like, "I love when your cock is in my mouth." Or, "You’re so big, it makes me hot."
You know what all guys love? Being told their dicks are huge. I can say that with complete confidence.
11. Flavored lube is loads of fun.
Dick taste is not for everyone and that’s totally okay. Flavored lube makes blowjobs a lot more engaging and palatable. Flavored lube also supplements your natural spit reserves. Your mouth can definitely get dry during a lengthy blowjob, and this puts a damper on overall satisfaction.
I’m a big fan of Good Head’s mint lube. It takes blowjobs from simply bearable to really fucking fun.

*This article was written with partners of cisgender men in mind, but Ravishly would like to acknowledge that not all men have penises and not all penises are attached to men.
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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Philippines: Dozens Killed in First Four Days of "Death Squad" Duterte's Drug War


At least 45 dead after new Philippines president pledged major operation against drugs and criminality.

Philippines: Dozens Killed in First Four Days of "Death Squad" Duterte's Drug War

He earned his nickname as the vigilante-loving mayor of  Davao City. Now, Rodrigo Duterte encourages citizens to kill drug dealers themselve
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Dozens killed in first four days of Duterte's drug war

At least 45 people with suspected links to drug trafficking have been killed in four days since Rodrigo Duterte was sworn in as president of the Philippines, according to authorities.
ABS-CBN, the Philippines' largest TV channel, reported on Monday that at least 29 drug and robbery suspects were killed in Bulacan province, near the capital Manila, since June 30, when Duterte took over the presidency.
Authorities said the suspects resisted arrest and shot at police officers.
Nine other killings were reported in Manila.
Duterte won the election in May on a platform of crushing crime. But his rhetoric has alarmed many who hear echoes of the country's authoritarian past.
After his oathtaking on Thursday, Duterte said he wanted to get rid of drug traffickers, telling supporters to "go ahead and kill them yourself as getting their parents to do it would be too painful".
Duterte's top police commander Ronald dela Rosa also told officers accused of drug links that he would not hesitate to change their birthdays to November 2, referring to the Day of the Dead, a major religious holiday in Catholic Philippines.
In Manila, Oscar Albayalde, regional police chief, said five drug dealers were killed on Sunday in a gun battle with police in a shantytown near the Malacanang presidential residence.
Rodrigo Duterte: Shoot a drug dealer, get a medal
"My men were about to serve arrest warrants when shots rang out from one of the houses in the area," Albayalde told reporters, saying police returned fire and killed five men.
Four guns and 200g of crystal methamphetamine were recovered, police added.
Two other men were shot dead in separate sting operations in the Pasig district.
Two bodies were also found under a well-known Manila bridge on Saturday morning. Their faces were bound with duct tape and their shirts bore signs in Filipino saying "don't follow my example. I am a pusher".
A local reporter posted a photo of the bodies on Facebook.

Elsewhere, at least six alleged drug dealers and a policeman linked to drugs syndicates were killed in six other provinces across the country.
Media reports said more than 100 people had already died, mostly suspected drug dealers, rapists and car thieves since Duterte's election on May 9.
Azadeh Shahshahani, a human rights lawyer who has monitored rights abuses in the Philippines, told Al Jazeera that the killings set a "worrisome trend" in light of the comments issued by Duterte.
"The president and his subordinates should remember that the accused should be afforded a fair process in an independent court of law regardless of the severity of the offence, per well-established principles of international law," Shahshahani, a director of the US-based group Project South, said.
Edre Olalia, secretary-general of the Manila-based National Union of People's Lawyers, also said the killings must stop.
"The drug menace must stop. Yet the apparent serial summary executions of alleged street-drug users or petty-drug lords which appear sudden, too contrived and predictable must also stop," he said in a statement to Reuters news agency.
"The two are not incompatible."
In the northern province of Cagayan, officials said $19.23m worth of drugs from either China or Taiwan were seized on Monday.
The shipment was unloaded at sea and brought to shore by small fishing boats before delivery to Manila's Chinatown, according to dela Rosa.
On Sunday, the communist armed group New People's Army, issued a statement supporting Duterte's all-out war against drugs, saying it might conduct its own drug operations against soldiers, police and local officials.
With reporting by Ted Regencia: @tedregencia 



Sunday, June 5, 2016

Muhammad Ali: An American Muslim


Muhammad Ali: An American Muslim
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He was more than a boxer, he was an anti-establishment icon.
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A waxwork of Muhammad Ali on display at Madame Tussauds on Oct 21, 2012 in Bangkok, Thailand.
Photo Credit: Panom / Shutterstock.com
Muhammad Ali, the greatest boxer this world has ever known, is no more. The fact that he is gone is difficult to come to terms with; for years, Ali was renowned as a larger than life figure, the greatest, as he called himself, and the demise of a man of such a high stature is surely a void that can never be filled.
In the world of sports, Muhammad Ali will forever be known as the boxing legend who won 56 bouts over the period of a 21-year career. In popular culture, he will be remembered as the man who was not afraid when it came to speaking his mind -- someone who was not shy of talking about things unrelated to boxing, and would always take the right stand when needed.
But that is not the only reason the world will miss Muhammad Ali.
Muhammad Ali: An American Muslim
Back in 1964, Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr changed his name to Muhammad Ali.
Cassius Clay is a slave name. I didn't choose it, and I didn't want it. I am Muhammad Ali, a free name—it means beloved of God—and I insist people use it when speaking to me and of me.
He was, at that time, one of the most high-profile Americans to revert to Islam. As a Muslim, Ali could free himself from the racial bias that the American society in 1960s was known for. Islam offers no room for racism and this gave Muhammad Ali a chance to be truly independent. “Indeed, there is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab, nor of a non-Arab over an Arab, nor of a white over a black, nor a black over a white, except by piety and good action.” (Prophet Muhammad PBUH) 
Ali would then go on to get involved with the Nation of Islam, but eventually, in 1975, he left NOI and turned toward mainstream Sunni Islam.
The Anti-Establishment Icon
Muhammad Ali risked his career and reputation by opposing the US-Vietnam War. Furthermore, he refused to serve in the US Army and in the process, was accused of committing a felony.
His reasons were simple. The Vietnam War was a proxy war to propagate US hegemony in Asia, and Ali wanted nothing to do with it. As he stated:
I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong—no Viet Cong ever called me nigger.
Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs?The above remark provided enough fuel for many people to oppose the military draft. Compelling civilians and soldiers to enter into a war just to satisfy the ambitions of the ruling class -- this surely was not something Ali wanted to be known for.
Ali was stripped of his titles and had his boxing license suspended. The US Supreme Court later overturned this decision, but by that time, Ali had lost four years of his boxing career.
However, while it did damage his boxing career, Muhammad Ali’s refusal to take part in the War had deep-reaching effects on the social level.
In Memoriam
I do not weep simply for the death of Ali because death is an inevitable fact, and Muhammad Ali lived an illustrious life. He was a boxer par excellence, a social reformer, a fighter, and a Muslim.
It was his status as a Muslim that urged him to correct misconceptions about Islam and raise awareness among the masses. When Donald Trump played with the idea of a ban on Islam in USA, it was Muhammad Ali who stood tall against this ridiculous concept.
I weep because Ali was universally loved. Every single time Islamophobia rose in the West, with people questioning Muslims everywhere, he would be there to prove the haters wrong. No one, and truly no one, could despise or hate Ali as “that extremist Muslim.”
I weep because now that Muhammad Ali is no more, the list of Muslims whom the world does not hate has grown even shorter.
Whether it be his in-ring career, or his refusal to be a part of the US invasion of Vietnam, or his life as a Muslim, Muhammad Ali stood up for ideas he believed in. Even to this day, criticizing your country’s foreign policy can have disastrous effects. But Ali was one of the very few bravehearts who had the courage to criticize US foreign policy back in the 1960s.
Now that he is gone, this world is left with memories, and a void that cannot be filled. In Ali’s own words:
I won't miss fighting, fighting will miss me.
Rest in peace, Muhammad Ali.
Sufyan bin Uzayr is the author of “Sufism: A Brief History.” He writes for several print and online publications and blogs at Political Periscope. Connect with him on Facebook or Google+.


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