Nonprofit Pro Media

Donald Trump Incites Russia to Hack Hillary Clinton’s Emails

It what Donald Trump is now describing as a sarcastic remark, the Republican presidential nominee prodded the Russian government to hack and release Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails from her private server at a press conference in Doral, Florida.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump said in front of reporters.

The response from across the political spectrum was one of astonishment. How could a presidential candidate incite a foreign power to commit espionage against the United States government? Critics decried the remarks as ignorant at best, treason at worse.


(Weekly Standard writer and conservative analyst Jay Cost contemplates Trump’s Russia remarks)

To contextualize the reality star’ comments, Wikileaks disclosed thousands of private emails from DNC officials last week that indicate a strong bias toward Hillary Clinton over rival Bernie Sanders in the nominating contest for the Democratic party. One email even appears to show insiders discussing how to use Sanders’ Jewish background against him in conservative regions.

The fallout from the disclosure led to the ouster of DNC chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz and a formal apology to Sanders supporters from the Democratic establishment. These emails were beyond inappropriate, and indicate a party structure in dire need of reform in order to more fairly represent its electorate

Interestingly, the emails were strategically disclosed in the run-up the DNC in Philadelphia. A cybersecurity firm hired by the Democratic party has traced the origin of the breach to two shadowy organizations named Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear, hacking groups likely sponsored by the Russian state.

Putin’s government spends lavishly on its internet espionage operations, as detailed in a lengthy report by the New York Times that explores the labyrinthine underworld of state-employed trolls and hackers tasked with disseminating pro-Russian propaganda throughout the web.

Writing for Vice, King’s College Profressor Thomas Rid explains that the

forensic evidence linking the DNC breach to known Russian operations is very strong. The forensic evidence that links network breaches to known groups is solid: used and reused tools, methods, infrastructure, even unique encryption keys.

In other words, the Russian government appears to be actively meddling with the US presidential election. The revelations about the DNC’s anti-Sanders collusion is repugnant, but the manipulations of the United States’ democratic processes by a foreign power is unsettling to say the least.

And this is where we return to Trump. The candidate’s unprecedented campaign has strung together a number of unorthodox policies that are objectively pro-Russian. Even if Trump isn’t actively courting Russian assistance, and even if his remarks were truly a joke, the fact remains that Russia’s autocratic leadership would love to see a Trump presidency.

Take Trump’s stance on NATO. In recent weeks, Trump has suggested that the US refrain from assisting NATO allies should they come under attack. Like many of his other scattershot opinions, these comments drew considerable condemnation from members of his own party. The NATO alliance has long been considered a central component to the United States geo-political strategy, enjoying broad support on both sides of the aisle. The Republican presidential nominee, however, views the organization like he does all other institutions, asking: hey, what can I get out of this?

As Zack Beauchamp explains at Vox, a US pivot away from NATO would be a massive boon for Putin:

[Trump’s NATO remark is] music to Putin’s ears. He sees the NATO alliance (correctly!) as a major bulwark against Russian expansionism in eastern Europe, and would be thrilled if it fractured. That would make it far easier to install friendly dictators in small nearby countries, like Estonia, or even annex them entirely.

While open collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia is unlikely, the fact remains that many in Trump’s coterie possess interests in Russia. Trump himself has been positively gushing in his support for Putin personally: “I will tell you that, in terms of leadership, he’s getting an ‘A,’” Trump explained of the Russian dictator, “and our president is not doing so well.”

That Trump would praise a murderous dictator and call on another nation to breach the cybersecurity of one of the United States’ major parties is beyond the pale. One is tempted yet again to see Trump’s antics as the result of the devil-may-care attitude of a performer who doesn’t really want to be president.

But then the reality that a Trump presidency is a distinct possibility sets in, and things get scary – fast.

Inspiring: 102-Year-Old Partakes in Clinton Nomination

While the DNC got off to a rough start for Democrats – with supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders offering protests throughout the first day of proceedings – a number of keynote speeches have buoyed the political party as it moves toward the general election. Michelle Obama gave a stunning and legacy-defining speech, with other well-received speeches presented by Bill Clinton (potentially the first-ever “First Gent”), Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and Bernie Sanders.

The shift in energy stems partly from the over-looked fact that Democrats officially made history last night with the formal nomination of Hillary Clinton, the first-ever woman to top a party’s ticket for the presidency. This milestone is often lost amidst the vitriol and acrimony of this year’s election, but for women still fighting for gender equality it amounts to a massive victory.

No one felt the weight of this moment more, perhaps, than Jerry Emmett, the 102 year-old Arizona state delegate. The Prescott, Arizona native was born before women had the right to vote, and she remembers the first time her mother voted after the 19th Amendment was ratified on August 18, 1920.

Emmett – who founded a fan club for Hillary Clinton in Arizona – was selected by Democratic officials to read off their state’s delegate allotment during the floor roll call at the convention. When it came to the Arizona delegation to cast its votes last night, a smiling Emmett announced: “51 votes for the next president of the United States of America, Hillary Rodham Clinton.”

Watch the moment below:

The viciousness and inflated rhetoric of today’s partisan politics obscure the great emotional weight behind such social progress. For Emmett – and for women across the country – last night was more than a milestone, it was a product of women’s unflagging commitment to the pursuit of equality.

Qandeel Baloch’s Death Spotlights Honor Killings

(Qandeel Baloch)

Pakistani social media star Qandeel Baloch – a 25 year-old from the Punjabi town of Kot Addu – achieved immense fame as a controversial and provocative internet figure who flaunted social norms of her home country. Her flirtatious and sexualized online postings may seem innocuous to many, especially when compared to the even more outlandish acts of US pop stars. But for Baloch it amounted to a cultural protest in a region known for social conservatism and opposition to women’s rights.

Her digital protest, according to authorities, is the reason her brother gave for strangling her to death on July 15.

In what has been labeled an honor killing – or a murder justified by one family member through a perceived social dishonor committed by another member – Baloch’s death has shined a spotlight on a cultural phenomenon that threatens the most basic human rights of women across the globe.

In 2015, Pakistan ranked second-to-last on a World Economic Forum list of countries for gender equality. Pakistan is listed among the nations with the highest rate of honor killings, with as many as 1,000 per year. While honor-based killings can stem from feuds between families and relate to a variety of issues, they very frequently affect women, and arise from sex-related justifications. Women in countries including Afghanistan even face the threat of honor killings if they are victim to rape.

Baloch’s brother discussed his own justification for his act to police: “Girls are born to stay at home and follow traditions. My sister never did that.”

Having referred to herself as a “modern day feminist,” Baloch adopted a political mantle on behalf of a younger generation of urbanized Pakistanis who see a more open future. While her death is beyond tragic, it won’t stop the social progress of younger generations.

As Pakistani columnist Rafia Zakaria argues,

They’ve silenced her in a very public way to function as a deterrent. But when you consider the fact that there are millions of Qandeels out there sitting on their computers at night, in Karachi and Lahore and Multan, it’s only a matter of time before there’s going to be more and more of this.

Indeed, Baloch’s social media persona won’t just go away, and neither will the open minds of many of her followers.

Terror in Munich: Live Updates on Multiple Shootings

(Karlsplatz, Munich)

Update: 9:10PM ET
Germany authorities have confirmed that there was one assailant in today’s shootings, an 18 year old man with dual Iranian and German citizenship.

As of now, authorities are uncertain of the shooter’s motives, though there have been reports that the individual shouted anti-foreigner epithets. In total the individual killed 9 people and injured at least 21 before taking his own life.

That’s it for today’s rolling coverage. The Tap will have more as details emerge in Munich over the coming days.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Update: 5:45PM ET

A witness has told a local media outlet that one gunman shouted anti-foreigner slurs before opening fire.

Authorities have updated the number of fatalities to 9, which may include one of the attack’s perpetrators who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Additionally, authorities are requesting that individuals with relevant photos and videos of the attack should send them to the police instead of posting them online,
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Update: 4:34PM ET
Authorities have revised the number of fatalities to 8.

Appearing at the United Nations in New York City, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson provided the following statement:

Everybody is shocked and saddened by what has taken place. Our thoughts are very much with the victims, their families, with the people of Munich, and the people of Germany more widely.

If, as seems very likely, this is another terrorist incident, then I think it proves once again that we have a global phenomenon now and a global sickness that we have to tackle both at source – in the areas where the cancer is being incubated in the middle east – and also of course around the world.

Authorities are yet to identify the motive or background of the perpetrator(s) of today’s shooting.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Update: 3:24PM ET
Local media outlets are now reporting that at least one of the shooters has died from self-inflicted gun shot wounds.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Update: 3:09PM ET
US President Barack Obama has issued a pledge of support for Germany:

We don’t yet know exactly what’s happening there, but obviously our hearts go out to those who may have been injured. We are going to pledge all the support they may need.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Update: 2:32PM ET
Authorities are requesting that social media users refrain from posting video/photo of police operations so as to not help the perpetrator(s). The US consulate in Munich has issued an emergency message to US citizens advising them to seek shelter. The city of Munich has declared a state of emergency and has urged citizens to remain indoors.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Update: 2:18PM ET
Unconfirmed witness reports indicate three gunmen active in the area near the Olympia shopping centre in Munich. Authorities now confirm at least 6 dead.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Reports are coming in from Munich, Germany, where an undisclosed number of gunmen have opened fire at multiple locations.

Authorities have confirmed three dead so far. Current unconfirmed reports indicate the locations of the shootings to be Karlsplatz, Stachus, and Odeonplatz.

A police spokesperson has said issued the following statement:

We believe there was more than one perpetrator. The first reports came at 6 pm, the shooting apparently began at a McDonald’s in the shopping centre. There are still people in the shopping centre. We are trying to get the people out and take care of them.

Authorities have informed Munich residents to avoid public areas.

The Tap will issue updates as further details emerge.

Failed Coup in Turkey Provides Cover for Erdoğan

(Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan)

Turkey faces an uncertain future following a failed coup attempt last week. World leaders denounced the attempted overthrow of the government, launched by dissident elements of the country’s military against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Amidst appeals for faith in the democratic process and a return to dialogue, however, is the specter of Erdoğan’s increasingly totalitarian regime. Critics fear that the coup – which lacked a strong ideological basis and included some soldiers who were not even fully aware of what they were participating in – has laid the groundwork for a speedy consolidation of power.

Events over the past few days may prove those critics correct. Following the arrest and detention of 6,000 people allegedly involved in the coup attempt, the government initiated a mass purge of government and education workers. More than 1,500 university professors have been asked to resign and authorities have revoked the licenses of 21,000 teachers. As many as 35,000 public servants have now been removed as part of the government’s aggressive turn.

To top all of this off, the government has banned all academics from travel in a nod to polices practiced by the Soviet Union.

The perpetrators of the coup attempt certainly have blood on their hands. At least 161 individuals – including many police officers – were killed, with thousands more wounded. Furthermore, these numbers do not include civilians killed in clashes with renegade military forces. But Erdoğan’s overreaction is morphing into a general round up of dissidents, which is in total contravention with the supposedly pro-democratic rationale for defying the attempted coup.

A statement from Amnesty International called for justice relating to unlawful killings stemming from the coup, but warned against the extreme reaction currently underway:

The sheer number of arrests and suspensions since Friday is alarming and we are monitoring the situation very closely. The coup attempt unleashed appalling violence and those responsible for unlawful killings and other human rights abuses must be brought to justice, but cracking down on dissent and threatening to bring back the death penalty are not justice.

Turkey’s actions may lead to greater isolation from Western bloc countries, and further dampen its prospects at EU membership. The nation, a NATO member, has long been considered an invaluable ally and asset in a region fraught with war and strife. Indeed, the US has nuclear weapons strategically placed in Turkey, which now pose a big question: how secure are these weapons with view to Turkey’s worsening political crisis, happening concurrently with the intransigent conflict in neighboring Syria? How does all this factor into the increasingly visible terrorist attacks perpetrated by ISIS throughout the world?

The political, economic, and security implications are immense. The Tap will continue covering events in Turkey as they relate to the social good.

Plagiarism at the RNC: New Low for Trump Campaign

(Donald Trump appearing with his wife Melania Trump at a campaign event)

The first day of the RNC in Cleveland was certainly eventful. From the last ditch effort of the #NeverTrump movement to derail Trump’s nomination to the rampant fear-mongering of the convention’s bizarre speaker lineup, the day threw into sharp relief the divisions within the GOP as well as the rather desperate tactics that the party is leaning on to propel its reality star nominee to the White House this November.

As part of this most unconventional convention, Trump himself made an appearance to introduce his wife, Melania Trump, who held the primary speaking slot for the evening.

This was an unprecedented move. The presumptive nominee for both parties has hitherto appeared only on the final night to formally accept the nomination. And while Trump’s campaign may say otherwise, last night’s shakeup of convention tradition doesn’t stem from Trump’s self-styled spontaneous approach to politics. The breach of tradition instead reflects the party’s inability to fill the speaking slots with high-ranking republicans, who have exhibited historically high levels of reluctance to appear at the convention (or to vocally support the presumptive Republican nominee at all).

But what made the evening’s closing speech most remarkable was the fact that Melania’s speech was plagiarized.

In what may amount to one of the most embarrassing moments of Trump’s entire presidential campaign, Trump’s wife repeated nearly verbatim two paragraph’s from the First Lady’s 2008 DNC speech.

Melania’s speech last night including the following words:

From a young age, my parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise.

That you treat people with respect. They taught and showed me values and morals in their daily life. That is a lesson that I continue to pass along to our son, and we need to pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow, because we want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.

Following the speech, journalist Jarrett Hill was quick to point out the stolen lines:

While Melania herself likely had nothing to do with the speech’s composition, this blatant plagiarism is yet another example of Trump’s flippant and juvenile organization, which has struggled to exercise the basic functions of a presidential campaign. How his handlers and aids could have overlooked something so egregious is beyond comprehension.

Following the revelations, Trump and his surrogates have offered many excuses, from somehow blaming Hillary Clinton to pointing out that English is Melania’s second language. Mistakes this lazy and unprofessional, however, result from an inward-looking campaign that has prided itself on its lack of political orthodoxy. In the end, there is no one to blame but Donald Trump himself.

Brexit & Job Growth: Strong Forecast for Year-End Giving Season

While Brexit has generated anxiety among economists and world governments (which has already abated somewhat), there are some signs that the short-term consequences could actually be a boon for the United States, and in turn may have a positive impact on 2016 year-end giving for nonprofits and fundraisers.

As has already been well-documented (and discussed in detail here on The Tap), Brexit has amounted to a self-inflicted wound for Great Britain, which is reeling in the EU referendum’s aftermath. Britain’s departure from the EU has sent the pound plumetting to a 30-year low. Various industries, including car manufacturing, face an uphill battle as companies’ dollar and euro-denominated debt worsens due to Britain’s monetary collapse. The nation’s trade deficit is also set to expand, as the already high-consumption Britain is set to lose ready access to the EU market for its own goods and services. Various European financial institutions are also planning on relocating London offices to other European cities, such as Amsterdam.

Additionally, the United Kingdom itself could very well dissolve, leaving a diminished and economically anemic England. Scotland – which overwhelmingly voted to stay within the EU – may make another bid for independence. There are also stirrings in Northern Ireland for unification with Ireland, an EU member state. If both of these divisive political developments occurred, Britain would consist only of England and Wales – a mere shadow of Britain’s former self.

While the United States is in some ways affected by the general financial fallout of Brexit, the nation may actually stand to benefit. Economists are predicting that the U.S. real estate market may receive a boost as investors weary of the British economy flock to the United States. With this unexpected stimulus, there is also speculation that the Federal Reserve could forgo raising interest rates for a while longer to take advantage of this unplanned advantage (as well as to quell investor concerns over the general economic impact of Brexit).

As the United States’ trade deficit swings in its favor, with more money flowing into the comparably safer US markets, inflation rates may also shrink, increasing the buying power of US citizens.

This could have two positive implications for nonprofits: with larger financial institutions receiving an influx of investment, companies may be poised for more generous corporate giving; additionally, increased buying power for US citizens could encourage greater philanthropy, especially as low income individuals are already more predisposed to giving than other income brackets.

While increased expenditures on loans and mortgages may result in more savings for average consumers, there is yet one more factor that could lead to a successful year-end giving season: a consistently improving job market. Despite pessimistic outlooks, it appears that employment in the United States is likely to continue improving throughout 2016, according to McVean Trading & Investments LLC.

With a diminished unemployment rate, consumers emboldened by a more competitive dollar, and greater financial investment, nonprofits could see a particularly profitable year-end giving season. Even if the US populace looks toward saving during this momentary economic reprieve, that could still result in stronger giving in FY2017.

The Tap will continue to provide economic insight through the lens of today’s hottest issues for the benefit of fundraisers and nonprofit professionals.

Despite Aquaculture, Overfishing Continues

Bad news for the world’s oceans.

The UN just released its biannual State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture report. According to the report’s findings, rampant overfishing continues to accelerate, depleting the seas of vital fish populations while threatening other sea creatures including dolphins, whales and sharks.

For the first time, aquaculture – the farming of fish in tanks or designated coastal areas – provided the globe with the majority of its fish stocks for consumption. Wildfish populations, however, are still overexploited. The numbers are staggering: one-third of global fist stocks face biologically unsustainable levels of fishing. In the Black Sea, 59 percent of stocks face the same hyper-exploitation.

This stems largely from an increase in the globe’s daily fish diet. Per capita consumption of fish is now around 44 pounds per year.

Overfishing has long plagued the seas. The persistence of destructive and illegal fishing practices, such as the use of wide drift nets that indiscriminately capture all creatures within an area, continue to threaten the survival of aquatic birds and mammals.

In addition to ravaging the biodiversity of the oceans, overfishing takes a heavy toll on coastal communities that depend on fishing for their local economies. Newfoundland in Canada, for example, may never witness a comeback of the once economy-sustaining cod, largely due to altering ecosystems that may prevent populations of the formally abundant creature from bouncing back.

Now is an important time to not only think about your own sea food consumption, but to consider the importance of conservation as well. Organizations such as the World Wildlife Federation runs programs aimed at aquatic conservation. Consider supporting this or another affinity organization in order to help stave off a complete collapse of the world’s oceanic ecosystems.

Brexit: What’s in Store for Next PM Theresa May?

(The Home Secretary and soon-to-be Prime Minister Theresa May)

It’s official.

Theresa May will be the next British prime minister. Following the departure of Andrea Leadsom from the Tory leadership race, May is poised to take over the reins from Cameron, who announced his intention to step down following the disastrous Brexit referendum vote that has plunged Europe and world markets into turmoil.

May’s task to extricate Great Britain from the European Union is no small matter. A first for the multi-national body since its foundation in 1958, one of its members will withdraw using Article 50, the legislative tool that British authorities will need to formally trigger in order to follow through with Brexit.

Those wises, however may have changed a bit over the past few weeks. As we discussed on The Tap, many British voters began regretting their decision to vote ‘no’ almost immediately after polling for the referendum ended. Talks of independence and unification are buzzing in Scotland and Northern Ireland respectively, both of which voted to stay within the EU.

Enter Theresa May, the UK’s home secretary and soon-to-be prime minister. This Wednesday, Cameron will formally end his tenure, beginning the next chapter of the Brexit saga as May navigates the way forward as Prime Minister.

Since her entry into the British political scene as a parliamentarian in 1997, May has operated as a social liberal within her party, supporting equal pay for women and backing gay marriage. She strikes a much harsher line on immigration, for which she initiated draconian rules during her tenure as home secretary that have hurt the British economy and unduly burdened LGBTQ refugees.

May supported the ‘remain’ camp during the referendum, though in an halfhearted fashion. British political insiders consider this a deliberate strategy to position herself as a palatable leader for both the pro- and anti-Brexit camps within the party.

And make no mistake about it, she has every intention of following through with British voters’ shocking decision to leave the EU.

“Brexit means Brexit,” May has repeatedly said. In an interview with the BBC, she remarked that “as prime minister, I will make sure we will leave the European Union,” stating further that there will be “no attempts to remain inside the EU.”

She also maintains that Britain does not need to trigger Article 50 immediately. Pro-Brexit leaders are interested in delaying the process in order to negotiate the best deal possible to keep access to the EU market.

For its part, the EU has no interest in making things easy for Britain as it does not wish to send the message to other nations within the bloc – including struggling members such as Greece – that leaving is good idea with minimal consequences.

This could amount to a politically impossible position for May. As the drama over Brexit continues, we’ll see what path she takes from the current place of ambiguity and uncertainly she currently occupies.

Making Sense of Dallas: Violence, Racism, and Guns

This week, three separate incidents have monopolized the headlines. Two separate police shootings of non-threatening black men in Louisiana and Minnesota brought activists out across the country, decrying the disproportionately violent and harsh treatment directed by police at people of color.

Then, last night in Dallas, at one of scores of marches against police brutality happening across the nation, at least one gunman ambushed police officers who were on scene to direct the march. The shooter killed five officers and injured 7 people, including both police and protestors. The primary gunman was killed by a bomb detonated remotely by the police, while another three suspects – with as of now unknown affiliation to the incident – remain in custody.

During the lengthy negotiations with police that led up to the detonation, the 25 year-old gunman identified as Micah Johnson expressed anger at the recent shootings, his frustration with the Black Lives Matter movement, and his desire to kill white officers in retaliation for recent events.

This week’s events – both delicate and difficult, dealing with some of the most heated debates of our times – have already stirred the pot, heightening tensions over guns and race during an already fraught political season.

The former House Representative Joe Walsh posted an ominous threat to Obama and Black Lives Matter activists, tweeting: “This is now war. Watch out Obama. Watch out black lives matter punks. Real America is coming after you.”

By murdering officers as they helped facilitate the expression of protesters’ first amendment rights, Johnson and whoever else was involved in the heinous shooting in Dallas deserve unequivocal condemnation, and any surviving participates in the attack should be prosecuted.

The victims in Dallas deserve justice. So, too, do Alton Sterling and Philandro Castile, the men shot to death in Louisiana and Minnesota respectively.

But understanding the complexity of this issue is difficult for many Americans. Consider the pandering of public figures like Walsh, whose vicious tweet itself deserves condemnation. The former congressman has leant his voice to a false narrative – just as the New York Post did with its cover this morning – that there is an unsealable divide in our country that will necessarily result in violent conflict. His pandering is reckless and, yes, racist. What exactly is “real America?” Are people who are outraged over senseless police violence directed at black people somehow outside of that classification?

As for rhetorical excess, it is worth mentioning the dehumanization that anti-police jargon generates. While police forces as institutions are flawed and some officers possess prejudice, police departments are run by many well-meaning people from all backgrounds and ethnicities who have families and aspirations. “Fuck the police” may be a cathartic chant, but it is reductive.

While politicians work to fit this week’s events into their narratives, it’s worth acknowledging the objective horror and injustice of violence generally, and gun violence specifically. It’s possible to both adamantly oppose racist violence against black citizens, and to also wholeheartedly oppose the exercise of violence against police officers, many of whom have provided countless hours of civic service for communities across the country.

At the heart of all of this rests that specter of American violence – the gun. As yet another week yields more gun deaths, the United States government cannot bring itself to define the issue in terms of public health. By granting adequate resources to studying and weeding out violence in our communities, we can look at the variegated factors that contribute to this persistent menace, instead of pitting Americans against each other and ignoring institutional flaws that perpetuate injustice.

PricingPrivacy PolicyRefund Policy