Kushner explains how he led Trump to victory

(CNN)Jared Kushner played a key role in a sophisticated, secret data operation that led his father in-law, President-elect Donald Trump, to victory, according to a new profile in Forbes Magazine.

In the interview, which is the first time he has spoken publicly about his role in Trump’s victory, the businessman and investor discusses how he ran his efforts with a tech startup-like feel, first reaching out to digital marketing experts.
    “I called some of my friends from Silicon Valley, some of the best digital marketers in the world, and asked how you scale this stuff,” Kushner told the magazine. “They gave me their subcontractors.”
    Ivanka Trump’s husband learned how to use Facebook micro-targeting, and social media becoming a major aspect of the campaign’s voter outreach strategy.
    Kushner formally took over the data efforts for Trump in June, Forbes reports, building a secret 100-person data hub in San Antonio, Texas, “designed to unify fundraising, messaging and targeting.”
    Kushner and his team took a fast-moving, trial-and-error approach to spending in states, reflecting the Trump campaign’s famously lean spending strategy throughout the campaign. This was key to victories for the Republican candidate in states like Michigan and Pennsylvania.
    “We played Moneyball, asking ourselves which states will get the best (return on investment) for the electoral vote,” he said. “I asked, ‘How can we get Trump’s message to that consumer for the least amount of cost?'”
    “We weren’t afraid to make changes. We weren’t afraid to fail. We tried to do things very cheaply, very quickly. And if it wasn’t working, we would kill it quickly,” he said. “It meant making quick decisions, fixing things that were broken and scaling things that worked.”



      Editor says election coverage was a ‘disgrace’


    Kushner credits the campaign’s fundraising haul to machine learning. Per Forbes, his operation “(installed) digital marketing companies on a trading floor to make them compete for business. Ineffective ads were killed in minutes, while successful ones scaled. The campaign was sending more than 100,000 uniquely tweaked ads to targeted voters each day.”
    Forbes reports Kushner’s data operation ultimately made decisions about “travel, fundraising, advertising, rally locations–even the topics of the speeches,” much like Hillary Clinton’s algorithm-driven data efforts.
    He became indispensable to Trump and “wants to be an adviser” to the President-elect, per campaign manager Kellyanne Conway.
    Kushner also weighed in on support for the President-elect from white nationalist groups: “Trump has disavowed their support 25 times. He’s renounced hatred, he’s renounced bigotry, and he’s renounced racism. I don’t know if he could ever denounce them enough for some people.”
    “If even the slightest infraction against what the speech police have deemed correct speech is instantly shouted down with taunts of ‘racist,’ then what is left to condemn the actual racists?” said Kushner, who is Jewish.
    “You can’t not be a racist for 69 years, then all of a sudden become a racist, right? You can’t not be an anti-Semite for 69 years and all of a sudden become an anti-Semite because you’re running.”

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/22/politics/jared-kushner-donald-trump-campaign/index.html

    ‘Get off the square!’: The unsubtle gentrification of Jakarta’s old town

    Fatahillah Square was once a bustling hub of culture and nightlife. Now street vendors are forcibly removed, and hundreds of homes have been demolished in order to build corporate plazas. Has the area lost its soul?

    Get off the square! the security guard yells into his megaphone. The place is going to be cleaned!

    Its 10pm on Friday night in Fatahillah Square in the heart of Kota Tua, Jakartas old town, and the public are being herded out. Uniformed city workers take their place, sweeping up trash from the 1,300 sq metre pedestrianised area in the shadow of the Jakarta History Museum, formerly colonial city hall.

    After 10pm, people werent coming for tourism, says Norviadi Setio Husodo, head of the Old Town Zone Management Unit, explaining the decision to limit visiting hours to what is ostensibly a public space. They came to make out in dark corners. We saw lesbians, homosexuals. We saw people getting drunk in the square. Garbage was piling up. Now we see much less garbage.

    For decades, Jakarta has wanted to revitalise the old town, the centre of old Batavia, which once bustled with life and trade under the colonial Dutch administration. The effort has seen its ups and downs, but in the past two years has gathered steam, with a bid for the area to become a Unesco world heritage site and the city preparing to host the 18th Asian Games in 2018.

    In particular, the city has attempted to woo private investors. Buildings have been renovated, there are plans to make over the black and putrid river, upscale tenants are being encouraged to open up shops and security has been beefed up.

    Street vendors outside the old town square, where they are now forbidden to operate. Photograph: Rony Zakaria

    For the undesirables who currently live and work here, however, there is no such love. Street vendors and artists have been largely barred from the square. In April, the city demolished the homes of 400 families who had lived in Pasar Ikan for decades to make way for a food court, a plaza and a souvenir centre. In Jakartas old town, development comes with a price and the city administration gets to decide who stays and who leaves.

    In order to prevent what he calls negative things that are not specifically for tourism, Husodos team has, as well as limiting visiting hours, hired 73 men to guard the seven entrance points to the square. They work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And where there were once two cleaners, there are now 35.

    The desire to revitalise the old town which spans more than 300 hectares from Chinatown in the south to Sunda Kelapa harbour in the north is not new.

    In recent decades, however, the area became notorious for bad traffic and disreputable nightclubs. The distinct Dutch colonial architecture had begun to decay, as owners found it too expensive to renovate in compliance with heritage building regulations. As the buildings deteriorated, the seedy karaoke lounges, clubs and prostitutes moved in. Investment fled south, into Jakartas golden triangle: the streets that enclose the central business district.

    So in 2007, the city renovated the square, making it a pedestrian area and encouraging museums and historical societies to hold events. It was a huge success. Fatahillah Square became a popular free gathering area for people from all walks of life, especially precious in a city with very little public space. Most of its visitors were from middle to low-income brackets, arriving via the Transjakarta BRT bus, commuter trains or motorbikes.

    The sterilisation scheme has changed the atmosphere of Fatahillah Square. Photograph: Rony Zakaria

    With its increasing popularity came the informal economy. Street vendors packed the square, sharing space with pedestrians, selling food, drinks, T-shirts, bags, shoes and accessories, and relying on busy foot traffic for sales. Mascots posed with tourists for pictures; performers wearing elaborate historical costumes acted as statues; there were street buskers, toy hawkers, traditional travelling performers, men carrying exotic snakes, reggae bands, pickpockets and a Dutch-style bicycle rental service.

    With the square bursting at the seams, the historical and museum societies complained they were being sidelined. Three museums surround the square the Jakarta History Museum, the Puppet Museum and the Art and Ceramics Museum and they did not enjoy as much popularity as the square itself.

    In 2013, the city invited in the corporate world. The Jakarta Old Town Revitalisation Corporation (JOTRC) is a consortium of nine companies, among them property giants, who each gave $1m considered a donation or corporate social responsibility to renovate more than a dozen buildings in cooperation with the owners, mostly state-owned companies. Once the JOTRC finished renovating a building, it would get a 20-year lease from the owner and rent the space to a retail tenant clothing chains or restaurants at a lower rate than Jakartas upscale shopping malls.

    Street artists wait outside the old town square in Jakarta. Photograph: Rony Zakaria

    We want this to become a creative and tourism city. We want this place to be built by young people, we want co-working spaces and a marketplace for young people to develop a creative place, says Andy Budiman, a JOTRC spokesman. We will have museums, performing art halls, like in European old town areas.

    Profit was not the companies aim, Budiman says. Rather, they want a sustainable development of the area, and to expand the market to include upper-income visitors as well.

    The city administration had its own plans, too. The ambition of Jakarta governor Basuki Ahok Tjahaja Purnama was to create Jakartas very own Cheonggyecheon the modern public park built along what was once a clogged and filthy river in Seoul, South Korea. Renowned architect Budi Lim was hired to turn 600 metres of Jakartas foul-smelling waterway Kali Krukut into a water tourism space, by filtering and cleaning polluted wastewater that is dumped into the river by houses upstream. The project cost Rp 270bn (16m), which was provided by the building corporation Sampoerna in exchange for permission to add more floors to their towers in central Jakarta.

    Many street vendors have been relocated to a semi-deserted market area. Photograph: Rony Zakaria

    In September this year, the city sterilised the square, prohibiting street hawkers and performers, but allowing bicycle rentals, statue performers and street painters to stay. They have something to do with art and culture, and the bicycles and statue performers are an iconic part of the old town, says Taofik, the head of the security detail.

    Some visitors like it better this way. Teenagers still congregate here to eat instant noodles and drink orange juice. Others think the square has turned into a boring, sterile place.

    Before, there were street performers, pantomimes, pencak silat [traditional martial arts], says Andrew Kansil, a 25-year-old auditor and amateur photographer who used to visit Fatahillah Square regularly to take pictures. They were creative people. Every time, there was something new. There was a good dayak dance and music group, there was cosplay. We didnt go there only to stare at the buildings.

    A relocated street vendor takes a rest in her new location. Photograph: Rony Zakaria

    The street vendors roughly 400 of them were relocated to a nearby empty lot in a swampy area that is mainly used for parking rubbish trucks: a place that few people have a good reason to visit. The vendors say there were left there to die.

    Murni, 43, is lying on her piles of stuffed animals. Since being relocated here two months ago, trade has plummeted. I hardly sell anything here, no one comes here. Before I could earn up to Rp 1m (61) a night. Here, getting Rp 50,000 is already good. These days, she says, most of her sales came after 10pm, when the girls working in nightclubs bought her stuffed bears.

    To the authorities, the nightlife that once unfolded here after dark was negative and immoral. But for the street vendors, the revelers were customers. Aking, a corn seller in his 40s, says that over the past three years the old town was more bustling at night than during the day. Although some people were drunk, the area felt safe.

    There are new plans to expand the revitalisation to the harbour, by creating a sea-themed public space near the Maritime Museum in Pasar Ikan.

    This is where the most hardheaded evictees hold their ground. On demolition day in April, residents clashed with more than 4,000 officials, police and soldiers who were sent to accompany the bulldozers. Some Pasar Ikan residents refused to move to social housing, which is more than 12 miles away from their homes, and have spent the last seven months living in makeshift tents and shacks on the rubble of their old houses. They have filed a lawsuit against the forced eviction in Central Jakarta district court.

    Why cant we share the land? The city wants a plaza, fine, but share the space with us, says Dharma Diani, 40, a Pasar Ikan resident. She says she has paid taxes to the government for decades and finds it unfair she could not be part of the revitalisation. We have been part of the tourism here. They want to build beautiful things here, why dont you create something good from us, too?

    Evi Mariani is the city editor at the Jakarta Post

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    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/nov/23/fata-square-unsubtle-gentrification-jakarta-old-town

    Woman Snaps Photo Of Skinny Dog On The Road Then Learns Shes Half Wolf

    While out on a walk in her Los Angeles neighborhood, a woman spotted a skinny, shambling, and filthy dog on the side of the road. She wanted to help, but based on what she saw, she also wanted to keep a safe distance.

    So she snapped a photo on her phone and texted Hope for Paws, an LA-based animal rescue specializing in saving animals from neglect and abuse and the poor animal on the side of the road certainly seemed to have suffered both.

    When the folks at Hope for Paws saw the photo, though, they knew immediately they were not dealing with an average dog.

    Based on what they could see, they determined that the animal in question was actually a wolf-dog hybrid, which is not something they usually handle.

    But still, the wolf-dog was in desperate need, obviously very sick and disoriented. So they set out to find her.

    Wolves and dogs can mate and produce offspring, but these hybrids can’t ever really be at home in the world of wild wolves or domestic dogs. And sadly, many people think it’s “cool” to have a dog that’s part wolf, but don’t understand the special needs these animals have.

    Luckily, there are several rescue organizations specializing in wolf-dogs, providing care and space for them to live and socialize with others of their kind.

    Right now, though, the people from Hope for Paws knew that the first order of business was finding the wolf-dog and getting her the care she so desperately needed.

    [H/T: The Dodo]

    This was the dog spotted wandering, disoriented, around a neighborhood in Los Angeles.

    When she looked carefully, the woman who saw her noticed that she was no ordinary dog, but a wolf-dog hybrid.

    She immediately contacted rescue organization Hope for Paws.

    The rescuers from Hope for Paws managed to corral the dog in a gated front yard. Up close, they could tell that she was in even worse shape than they’d initially thought.

    The poor dog was bleeding from swollen and infected wounds, and she was emaciated, just skin and bones. She was also confused and fearful.

    Lisa Chiarelli from Hope for Paws, though, was determined to make her feel at ease. Chiarelli knelt on the ground and reached out to her with treats.

    Slowly, the dog began to come closer.

    Hope for Paws founder Eldad Hagar was also on the scene, and remarked that even though she was sick and starving, the dog was gentle when taking the treats from Chiarelli’s hand.

    Eventually, the dog let her rescuers give her some reassuring pets, even though she’d likely come from a bad situation.

    Hagar knew this because of the ragged, dirty piece of rope tied around her neck. “[It] indicates to me that someone owned and neglected her to a criminal degree,” hesays.

    After getting a proper leash on the dog, who by this point had been named Julia, they led her back to the car, complete with well wishes from the very confused owner of the yard they’d all been in.

    She looks a little more hopeful already in this photo!

    Julia might have been a little wary of the car, but at this point, it looked like she was ready for a major change.

    When Juliagot to the vet’s office, she was given a full checkup, where it was found she was suffering from demodectic mange, which was causing patches of her fur to fall out and inflaming her skin.

    Her nails were also severely overgrown, which caused pain and swelling to her paws.

    But the vets reassured her and kept her calm, and tried to make her as comfortable as possible.

    For the mange, Julia was given a medicated bath. The water made it even more apparent how skinny she was, and it also caused the scabs on her infected skin to open and bleed.

    It looked alarming, but Julia was fine. The medicated bath would clean away the grime and give her skin a chance to heal.

    And even after everything she’d been through, Julia seemed to know that she was safe. She rested her head on Chiarelli’s arm while being gently towel dried.

    “She was happy it was over,” Hagar said. After the bath, Julia was given a soft blanket to sleep.

    Over the following weeks, Julia, who was determined to be about two years old, began to show signs of improvement.

    She was eating healthily and gaining weight, and was opening up to her new friends in her own way.

    “Julia is still not wagging her tail,” Hagar reports. “She just shows her appreciation by rubbing her head on me. What a special girl.”

    “Julia has special calm, wise eyes,” he adds. “I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s something so special.”

    Still, Julia had a lot of healing to do. The infections had given her a fever, and for a few days, her appetite flagged.

    Hagar, though, had faith in her. “When we found her she was in a total state of starvation,” he says.

    The severity of her situation meant that she’d need extra time to heal and regain her strength.

    Luckily, and with the help of Hagar and his dedicated team, Julia pulled through.

    She was soon well enough to meet Chiarelli’s dogs, Frankie and Lola, and had fun getting to know some other pooches.

    There are also plans to do a DNA test on Julia to see if she really is part wolf (although that is the prevailing theory), or if she’s just an unusual-looking husky.

    Knowing this will better help the folks at Hope for Paws find her a proper forever home where she can thrive.

    Julia is still looking for a forever home, and she’s become a favorite with kids, adults, and other dogs for her sweet and gentle nature.

    She’ll have to continue her medicated baths and antibiotics for the time being, but she’s on the mend!

    See more of the good Hope for Paws does for animals on their website, as well as on Facebook, and consider making a donation to help even more animals.

    AndSHARE Julia’s story with anyone who loves seeing an adorable pup pull through!

    Read more: http://www.littlethings.com/julia-the-wolf-dog/

    Woman Senses A Shadow Following Her Every Move, Then Realizes Its Just Her Dog

    Labrador Retrievers: friendly, affectionate, loving, protective… stalkers?

    Every dog seems to have a cute little quirk about them, which can both drive you crazy, yet pull at your heartstrings all the same. That seems to be the case with this woman who filmed her yellow lab, Peanut, stalking her every move throughout the day.

    Peanut got his popularity when he comforteda newborn when it was crying. But Mom wanted to show the other side of Peanut.In the opening scene, she shows herself casually flipping through a magazine, minding her own business, but then notices a shape out of the corner of her eye.

    She pans the camera up towards the figure lurking in the corner to reveals a mopey Peanut, sitting with his back resting against the lime green kitchen cabinet, looking up at her with a why dont you love me look in his eyes.

    But thats just the beginning. Everywhere she turns throughout the day, hes there. Just staring. She tries to hide in the bathroom he finds her. She tries to hide behind her laptop and hope he gets bored he lays there, and his puppy eye game is strong, but she manages to resist!

    Momstarts to work on piles of laundry, but as shes loading the washer, a sensation of something behind her causes her to spin around. Hes standing there in the doorway, waiting.

    She tries to make her escape through the pantry, but he nudges the door open and looks at her with a stare that would cause anyone to melt.

    Finally, Mommakes it outside. But as she stands on the porch, the little flap on the pet door flutters, and out pops Peanut! He glances up and seems to smile in a manner that says, youll never escape me.

    Peanut truly is the definition of love knows no bounds regardless of his stalker-like tendencies, hes a sweetheart in our book.Please SHAREif you have a special bond with your dog like this!

    Due to restrictions, this video cannot
    be viewed in your region.

    Read more: http://www.littlethings.com/stalker-dog/

    Dad Refuses To Ask For Help, Then Daughter Hears Hes Closing His Business

    In 1999, Brad Ptacek was broke. He asked the owner of Minneapolis’ oldest diner, the Band Box, if he would bewilling to sell him the restaurant. The owner wasn’t looking to sell, but instead offered Ptacek a serving job and a stake in the company.

    Eventually he became owner of the small business, where his daughter Bailey Jimenez works as a waitress. The Band Box Diner became a staple of the community over the years, but Ptacek told his daughter he would soon have to close its doors.

    The 30-year-old grill stopped working. It was too expensive to replace, and Ptacek was prepared for the worse. However, Jimenez wasn’t going to give up on the family business.

    While her father refused to ask for help, Jimenez knew the diner’s community would be eager to help. She was right. Jimenez made a Facebook post and set up a GoFundMe.

    The grill costs a few hundred dollars, but within days they had raised over $5,000. Ptacek was in disbelief.

    “He really didn’t know what to do or say,” Jimenez says. “He’s just like, ‘I can’t believe it, people care.’ Yeah Dad, people care.”

    Needless to say, Ptacek is grateful to his daughter and his community for stepping in.

    “Sometimes you need a little motivation, a push,” says the Band Box’s owner.

    Now the Band Box Diner, a small franchise built in 1939, can live another day.

    Due to restrictions, this video cannot
    be viewed in your region.

    Read more: http://www.littlethings.com/band-box-diner/

    EpiPen manufacturer will be a no-show at Senate hearing

    Pharmaceutical company Mylan is refusing to testify at a congressional hearing next week on a settlement between the company and the Justice Department over its life-saving EpiPen.

    In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, an attorney for Mylan said company executives wouldn’t testify at the Nov. 30 hearing because the settlement is a pending matter and the Justice Department would also not be attending. Mylan has agreed to pay $465 million to settle allegations that it overbilled Medicaid for EpiPen. At issue was whether the product should have been classified as generic under a Medicaid program.

    In September, a House panel grilled Mylan CEO Heather Bresch about the skyrocketing cost of the devices, which many parents rely on when their children have allergic reactions. The list price of EpiPens had grown to $608 for a two-pack, an increase of more than 500 percent since 2007.

    In nearly four hours of questioning, Bresch declined to answer many questions about the company’s finances and profits, infuriating lawmakers. She defended the company’s business practices and signaled there were no plans to lower prices.

    Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the committee, said he would continue to investigate what happened, saying taxpayers have paid — and may still be paying — more for EpiPen than they have to.

    “This happened because either the agencies in charge dropped the ball, the company gamed the system, or both,” Grassley said.

    The senator on Monday released the letter dated Nov. 18.

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/11/21/epipen-manufacturer-will-be-no-show-at-senate-hearing.html

    Council ponders workplace parking levy – BBC News

    Image copyright Getty Images

    A controversial levy on workplace car parking is being considered by councillors trying to cut road congestion in Oxford.

    The proposal to charge firms a fee per employee car parking space faces tough opposition from businesses.

    Oxfordshire County Council is set to fund a study of plans to replicate a scheme in Nottingham which is raising 9m a year for public transport.

    A levy is also being considered in Cambridge.

    Supporters say such schemes will cut traffic, reduce pollution and liberate commuter parking spaces for shoppers.

    Powers for councils to impose a workplace parking levy were introduced by government 16 years ago.

    New schemes

    The firms can choose to pay the fee themselves or pass it on to employees.

    Each time a council considers the levy, it is fought by businesses warning that jobs will be lost. So far only one council – Nottingham City Council – has taken that risk.

    Four years into the scheme the council’s transport chief Nick McDonald says cash from the levy has allowed the authority to complete two new tram lines, install widespread cycle schemes, introduce electric buses and create the UK’s biggest municipal bus fleet.

    New business parks were being built on tram lines, he told BBC News. What’s more, he said, the scheme has actually helped business.

    “The reality is that we haven’t seen a single business leave the city as a result of the workplace parking levy” he said.

    “If you look at our inward investment, it’s gone up. Start-up businesses have gone up as well.

    Image caption Nottingham City Council said it spent the proceeds from the levy on expanding the tram network

    “It’s never an easy thing to introduce policies strongly resisted by the business community. But in this case we felt confident that it was the right move and we have been proved correct. Firms can now see the advantage of being in a forward-looking city that’s developing world-class public transport.”

    The actual impact on jobs is disputed. One firm, Games Workshop, did cite the levy as one reason for shifting to Derby. But the council says other firms have arrived in its place.

    Still, other local politicians are cautious about the scheme. Birmingham rejected a levy after opposition from business. In Oxfordshire, the council is stepping gingerly forward with a study into the potential impacts.

    The Oxford-based retail consultant Keith Slater calls it a tax in disguise.

    “My main concern is that it’s just another cost for businesses in Oxford who are already paying for any car parking spaces they have because they are subject to business rates,” he said.

    “So they’re paying out money but not getting anything back from doing so.”

    ‘Lost business’

    But supporters of the scheme say business does benefit – from less congestion and pollution, and better public transport.

    And here’s an intriguing development: the employers’ group, the East Midlands Chamber, which originally fought the Nottingham levy when it was imposed, is now neutral on the issue.

    Its policy director Chris Hobson said: “Now the tram’s in place it’s undoubtedly beneficial for the areas served, although there are still some areas that feel they have lost business as a result.”

    The chamber said most businesses did not understand when the levy was imposed that it could be offset against other tax demands.

    “In a way it became just a different means of collecting tax, but with the money going straight to Nottingham instead of central government,” a spokesman said.

    The AA remains strongly opposed. Its president Edmund King said: “In essence the levy is a tax on work. It either increases the costs of running a business or puts an extra burden on drivers who already pay almost four times as much in motoring taxes as is spent on roads.”

    He said shift workers who needed to use their cars could be disproportionately hit by a levy.

    But public transport campaigners hope discussion over the levy will prompt broader reform of workplace car parking.

    ‘Bus bonus’

    Accountancy firms like Deloitte charge their employees for using valuable car park spaces in order to ensure fairness between drivers and people who walk to work.

    Stephen Joseph from the group Campaign for Better Transport says the chancellor should consider this in his forthcoming Autumn Statement.

    “Employee car parking is completely untaxed as a benefit, while if employers give public transport season tickets to their workers they are fully taxed,” he said.

    “Even the USA, land of the car, taxes some car parking and gives a benefit for public transport commuting. We want at the minimum the chancellor to introduce a “bus bonus” to support those who commute by bus, but get no tax benefit.”

    Green groups point out that even public transport pollutes – so the greatest incentives should be given to those who walk or cycle to work.

    The Treasury wouldn’t comment.

    The other UK city where a parking levy is being actively discussed is Cambridge.

    The county council said it was staging a detailed consultation with employers to reach a solution matching the needs of the Cambridge region, which it noted, were “very different” from Nottingham.

    A decision on the scheme would be made in January, the spokesman said. Cambridge, too, is facing push-back from firms which label the idea a tax on business.

    So, is Nottingham the only city where a workplace levy will improve public transport and cut congestion and pollution? That seems unlikely.

    Is it the only city that will take a political risk to find out? That is a different question.

    Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-38056897

    Why can it take so long before starting your new job? – BBC News

    Image copyright Thinkstock
    Image caption Contractors sometimes have to wait weeks before they can start the job they’ve been offered

    Great news – you’ve been offered the contract. Kerching. Now you just need to be vetted by your new employer.

    They want to check you’re not a terrorist, bankrupt, serial killer that sort of thing. Shouldn’t take long – you’re none of those, last time you checked.

    But weeks later, you’re still waiting for a start date. And all that time you may not have been earning, putting off other jobs in the interim.

    Such delays could cost you hundreds, if not thousands, in lost income.

    If this scenario sounds familiar, you’re one of many self-employed professionals getting stuck in the bureaucratic mire of “onboarding” – the process of vetting people before they can start work.

    “It can take two or three weeks for a recruiter to find a suitable candidate then perhaps the same time again to go through all the background checks – it’s the grit in the machine,” says Simon Bichara, founder of HiredByMe, a firm aiming to address this issue.

    These checks can include criminal record, bankruptcies, credit record, and getting to the bottom of any career gaps in your curriculum vitae (CV) or resume.

    Image copyright HiredByMe
    Image caption Simon Bichara hopes his start-up, HiredByMe, can speed up recruitment checks

    So HiredByMe spent more than two years developing a way to streamline the process, effectively carrying out all the pre-employment screening (PES) checks in advance to create a kind of portable ID that contractors can take with them from job to job.

    This entailed studying the screening requirements of more than 50 businesses, coming up with a single standard that would satisfy them all, and finding ways to access all the data they needed to as quickly as possible, says Mr Bichara.

    It was “a difficult problem to solve”.

    While there is a lot of technology going on in the background, the major challenge was “convincing employers and recruiters to trust our system,” he says.

    Image copyright HiredByMe
    Image caption HiredByMe also offers a cloud-based document store for all your relevant certificates

    HiredByMe says its portable PES passport helps cut job start delays by five-to-seven business days, reducing workloads for recruiters and helping contractors start new jobs earlier, thereby increasing their earning potential.

    “Our research shows that around 1.2bn ($1.5bn) of productive capacity is lost in the UK every year through delays in this process,” says Mr Bichara, “and in the financial services industry around 180m is lost every year.”

    Blackmail threat

    Samantha Hurley is operations director for the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (Apsco), whose clients specialise in recruiting white-collar professionals. She says: “In the finance sector – banking and insurance – they have to be extremely careful about the people they’re taking on, and those checks can be very onerous.

    “If a new employee has money problems, for example, it could leave them open to blackmail.”

    In the education and social work sectors, where safeguarding children is a priority, carrying out checks on prospective recruits can cost “about 200 per candidate”, she says.

    Image copyright Thinkstock
    Image caption Ideally, contractors would finish one job and be able to start a new one immediately

    So could a service like HiredByMe help?

    “I imagine their data protection policy is going to have to be pretty robust for contractors to trust them,” says Ms Hurley.

    “But giving all your data to one firm seems an attractive proposition, because a lot of contractors don’t like giving private information away to many different recruitment firms.

    “So it does seem like a good idea.”

    Simon Bichara emphasises this point, saying that contractors who pay for the HiredByMe service get to see all the data that is held on them, whereas they don’t usually see the data recruitment firms have dug up. They can also use the service as a cloud-based store for all the documents and certificates they need to apply for jobs.

    Image copyright Thinkstock
    Image caption Wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t have to fill in paper forms each time we applied for a job?

    But will they be prepared to stump up 200 for the portable PES and the 99 top-up fees each time the report has to be updated?

    Since its launch in September, HiredByMe has focused on the financial services sector and has signed up nearly 40 recruitment firms and “a few hundred contractors”, says Mr Bichara.

    The aim is to expand to other sectors, such as healthcare, education, government and telecoms.

    Telling porkies

    Verifying whether job applicants are telling the truth is a huge headache for recruiters and human resources departments.

    Around 100,000 UK workers had lied about their qualifications on their CVs, a recent survey by best practice qualifications firm Axelos suggested.

    And checking references may not reveal the truth about such exaggerated claims either.

    Image copyright Getty Images
    Image caption There must be an easier way to tell if job applicants are telling the truth?

    One solution is to issue digital badges like those operated by Acclaim in partnership with major brands, such as IBM, Autodesk and Adobe. These prove that employees achieved the certifications they said they did and can be verified easily online, speeding up the “onboarding” process.

    The digital badges can be embedded or attached to CVs making it easier for recruiters to verify that you’re telling the truth.

    Another is to use specialist vetting firms, such as Candidate Vetting.

    Digitising a traditionally paper-based industry is another way to save time – and create a digital audit trail of someone’s career. Scanned versions of certificates and online application forms are preferable to snail mail and pen and paper.

    Gig economy

    As self-employment continues to grow worldwide in the era of the “gig economy”, this onboarding issue is likely to grow in importance, says Andy Chamberlain, deputy director of policy at Ipse, an association for freelancers, consultants and contractors.

    There are nearly five million self-employed people in the UK and 15 million in the US – and the numbers continue to rise.

    Image copyright Thinkstock
    Image caption Freelancer frustration: “Why is all this taking so long?”

    “As more people become more dependent on piecemeal work, recruitment delays that stop people working could be very problematic for them and the economy as a whole,” says Mr Chamberlain.

    While digitisation, automation and machine learning have been transforming the recruitment industry – more efficiently matching job vacancies with suitable candidates – there is a limit to how much technology can help with the onboarding part of the process, Mr Chamberlain believes.

    “While digital platforms can shave off bits of time here and there, you still need real live people to handle many aspects of the vetting process,” he says.

    “You wouldn’t want to leave high-level security clearance to an algorithm.”

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    Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-38049166

    President Obama Expanded Overtime Pay For Millions Of Workers. President Trump Could Take It Away.

    President Barack Obama likes to say he’ll use the power of the pen to do whatever he can for American workers. But now that Donald Trump has won the White House, the real estate mogul can use the same pen to undo one of Obama’s most far-reaching reforms: bringing overtime protections to millions of workers.

    Most hourly workers in the U.S. are automatically entitled to time-and-a-half pay when they work more than 40 hours in a week. But because of the way the rules have been written, millions of salaried employees like retail store managers and white-collar professionals haven’t enjoyed the same rights. That’s given employers an incentive to work those employees longer hours at the same base salary.

    Earlier this year, the Obama administration overhauled those rules for the first time in years. Under the changes, far more employees who work on salary will be guaranteed overtime when they work extra hours.

    The administration achieved that by raising what’s known as the “salary threshold.” All workers paid salaries below the threshold are entitled to time-and-a-half pay when they top 40 hours. The previous threshold was just $23,660. The new one is $47,476, or roughly double. That means just about any salaried worker earning less than that is ripe for overtime pay, regardless of their job duties, as of Dec. 1.

    But all of that is now in limbo after the election. Republicans or the Trump administration could undo the changes though it wouldn’t be easy.

    Faced with higher labor costs, business groups have fought the overtime reforms ever since the White House first floated them. The changes leave businesses with a difficult choice: Either limit eligible workers’ hours to 40, or be ready to start paying a premium on their labor. The Obama administration hopes that dilemma will leave workers with either bigger paychecks or shorter workweeks and a better work-life balance. Employers simply see higher labor costs.

    By the White House’s estimate, the changes are bringing overtime protections to an additional 4.2 million workers, though some economists anticipate the real number will be even greater. Under the new rules, the Labor Department will update the salary threshold every three years to make sure it keeps pace with inflation and that the share of salaried workers getting overtime pay doesn’t fall.

    HuffPost readers: Have Obama’s overtime reforms personally affected you? Email us. Please note if you’d be willing to be interviewed.

    After they were rolled out, business groups sued to block them from going into effect. Tom Perez, the labor secretary, told HuffPost last month that the administration likes its chances in court, where the case is now playing out. But the greater threat now comes from President-elect Trump and the GOP-controlled House and Senate. There are a few ways one of Obama’s signature achievements could be wiped out or neutralized.

    Republicans could potentially pass a law that kills it. Both chambers have already had their sights on the reforms. The House majority passed a bill last month that would delay it from going into effect, and Senate Republicans have previously passed a motion of disapproval trying to block it. A Democrat in the White House assured that any such bill would be vetoed if it reached the president’s desk. The only thing standing in the way of repeal by Republicans now is a Democratic filibuster in the Senate.

    A filibuster would leave Republicans relying on the appropriations process to halt the reforms, said Ross Eisenbrey, vice president of the Economic Policy Institute, a proponent of the overtime changes. Congress could attach a “rider” to a spending bill that prevents the Labor Department from enforcing the overtime rules. In that case, Eisenbrey said, it would fall to businesses to observe the new rules voluntarily, “and businesses would feel compelled to comply.”

    “But, eventually,” Eisenbrey adds, “a Trump [Labor Department] will issue a new regulation to reverse it.”

    In other words, if Congress doesn’t block the reform on its own, Trump could write his own reform that undoes Obama’s. That’s one of the inherent limitations of executive action: It can be reversed by a subsequent administration.

    Trump has made clear that he intends to undermine much of Obama’s legacy, from Obamacare on down to more modest regulations, and the Trump transition team has called for a moratorium on new regulations. This is not a simple route, however. It requires crafting a new rule that must then undergo public comment a process that can take months and even years.

    As Politico reported Monday, there’s also the outside chance that Republicans could scuttle Obama’s reform using the Congressional Review Act, a rarely successful maneuver. That tactic hinges on whether the GOP can tighten up the congressional calendar before the holidays. (Politico has an explainer here.)

    But if he really wants to reverse Obama’s overtime expansion, the toughest hurdle for Trump might be a political one. He campaigned as a president for the working class. After being told they will have new overtime protections, millions of workers won’t like to hear “just kidding.” Reversing the reforms would undermine Trump’s claims that he’s a president who will raise wages for low- and middle-income workers.

    “While reducing [the salary threshold] may not be troubling for a lot of Republicans in Congress, it would make Trump’s attempts to reach out to the working class look a little hollow,” said Marcia Goodman, a lawyer at Mayer Brown who handles employment cases.

    Goodman isn’t convinced that Obama’s overtime reforms will be erased. After all, many companies have already started adjusting to them, thanks to the Dec. 1 deadline. And even with the uncertainty of an incoming administration, she expects employers will act as if the rules are here to stay, at least for the time being. Walmart, for one, already announced that it will be raising its managers’ pay above the threshold to avoid paying overtime an announcement that would be hard to walk back.

    “Don’t hold me to any predictions,” Goodman said. “My own view is that there’s going to be a lot for the Trump administration to address in terms of things they want to do differently. They won’t be so eager to spend a lot of time and effort repealing this rule that has gone into effect. I just think that’s not where the priorities will be.”

    Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/obama-expanded-overtime-pay-for-millions-of-workers-trump-could-take-it-away_us_58334ba0e4b058ce7aac5ee5

    Trump Says Any Conflicts Of Interest Were Priced Into Your Vote

    WASHINGTON Thirteen days after winning the presidential election, Donald Trump announced on Twitter that no one should worry about the potential conflicts of interest he could face over his range of global properties because everyone knew about them when they elected him. He blamed any questions of impropriety on the media for reporting on them.

    The evening tweet from the president-elect reads: “Prior to the election it was well known that I have interests in properties all over the world.Only the crooked media makes this a big deal!”

    The declaration that he currently has global properties comes after promising that he would separate himself from his Trump Organization and hand the company off to his adult children Ivanka, Donald Jr. and Eric Trump in a so-called blind trust. He has so far done no such thing. In fact, his tweet is a statement in the present tense “I have interests in properties all over the world” that affirms his current ownership and management of his business empire.

    The children continue to take part in their father’s presidential transition despite their supposed work leading the Trump Organization. Ivanka Trump even appeared at a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and reportedly was handed the phone to speak to Argentinian President Mauricio Macri when he called to congratulate her father. Trump is working to build an office tower in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

    During the campaign, Trump stated, “[I]f I become president, I couldn’t care less about my company. It’s peanuts.” He added, “I wouldn’t ever be involved because I wouldn’t care about anything but our country, anything.”

    “President-elect Trump seems to think that he will be able to enrich himself as president and blame the press when he is caught,” said John Wonderlich, executive director of the pro-transparency group The Sunlight Foundation. “He’s going to learn soon that campaigning is very different from leading a country built on integrity and the rule of law.”

    Trump is responding to the parade of stories detailing his immense portfolio of potential conflicts of interest. He met with his Indian business partners one week after winning the presidency. He continues to hold a government lease for his Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., even though the lease declares that it cannot be held by a government official. Last week, the hotel held an event to pitch its luxury rooms to foreign diplomats as a way to ingratiate their countries with the president-elect. And there have been reports about Ivanka Trump’s appearance at the meeting with Abe and her talk with Macri.

    The New York Times further reported on Monday that Trump told British Parliament member Nigel Farage, the former head of the right wing anti-immigrant UK Independence Party, and other UKIP leaders that they drum up opposition to the kind of offshore wind farms that are proposed for construction near his golf course in Scotland. They did exactly that.

    Andy Wigmore, a media consultant present when Trump spoke to Farage, told the New York Times, “He did not say he hated wind farms as a concept; he just did not like them spoiling the views.”

    Trump owes hundreds of millions of dollars to the Bank of China, which is owned by the government of China. The Constitution’s emoluments clause states that no government official shall receive favorable payment from a foreign government, foreign government-owned company or foreign official without the consent of Congress. Trump also rents space in his Trump Tower, where he is managing his transition, to the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, another government-owned bank.

    He also owes hundreds of millions of dollars to Deutsche Bank, a privately held German bank. While the emoluments clause does not apply to payments to Deutsche Bank, there is a major potential conflict because the bank is facing a multibillion-dollar settlement with the Department of Justice over its illegal mortgage practices. Trump will soon be selecting the top leadership of the Department of Justice. There are also questions over whether Deutsche Bank will be able to survive the hefty settlement without government support. Will Trump save his lender?

    Similar potential conflicts exist at the National Labor Relations Board, which Trump will also soon be able to staff. The independent labor regulatory agency ruled on Nov. 3 that Trump’s Las Vegas hotel had violated its workers rights to organize a union when it refused to recognize their affirmative vote. Trump’s hires at the NLRB will likely be colored by his ownership of properties with unionizing workers.

    Technically, federal conflict-of-interest laws do not apply to the president. This does not mean that his business holdings do not manifest as conflicts of interest, just that he is not mandated to place his assets into an actual blind trust managed by an independent trustee. He has done no such thing. He has also failed to disclose his tax returns, the first elected president in nearly 60 years to not reveal them, which would provide insight into his investors and lenders.

    Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) introduced legislation that would extend the federal conflict-of-interest laws to cover the president and vice president. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduced legislation to require all presidential candidates and the president to file their three most recent years of tax returns.

    The Wall Street Journal has called on Trump to liquidate his business and put the proceeds into a true blind trust. His tweet clearly suggests he is not willing to give up control.

    Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-conflict-of-interest_us_5833b971e4b058ce7aacbb56