Tuesday, December 05, 2017

35 Copywriting Tips & Tricks from the Pros By Helen Nesterenko

Source: https://writtent.com/blog/stuck-writing-35-sure-fire-copywriting-tips-tricks-pros/

March 26, 2017

With the constant demand for more quality content and the growing need for effective copywriting - one to attract visitors, the other to convert them to leads and customers - consistently producing powerful, high-quality copy is tough.

To help you avoid burnout, beat writer’s block, and ultimately get more results, here are 35 sure-fire copywriting tips from some of the greatest copywriters and advertisers.

1. Do more research.

All the copywriting and advertising greats know the value of research. David Ogilvy, the Father of Advertising, said to “stuff your conscious mind with information” so you have plenty to work with. One of Ogilvy’s students, legendary copywriter Gary Bencivenga (who also studied with several other great copywriters), said:

“The best copywriters are the most tenacious researchers. Like miners, they dig, drill, dynamite, and chip until they have carloads of valuable ore. John Caples advised me once to gather seven times more interesting information than I could possibly use... Research is the infallible cure for writer's block.”

The more information you have, the more possibilities you can play with.

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2. Add more interest.

When you don’t know what to write next or how to make your draft better, one copywriting hint is to add interest. As David Ogilvy once said, “Tell the truth but make truth fascinating. You know, you can’t bore people into buying your product. You can only interest them in buying it.”

So how do you make your copy more interesting and fascinating?

  • Make it scannable and visually appealing

  • Use your distinct personality or unique selling proposition

  • Make it entertaining (as long as the humor furthers your goal)

  • Incorporate controversy

  • Newsjack

  • Tell stories

3. Inject personality.

Every writer and every brand has their own unique voice, style, and unique selling proposition (USP). Ogilvy knew that building a “sharply defined personality” is the best way (and sometimes the only way) to differentiate yourself from the competition and gain a larger market share. Before publishing anything, make sure it clearly demonstrates your brand personality - including voice, style, word choice, values, and USP - as well as matches your target audience’s needs and desires.

4. Refine your headline.

On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar. ~ David Ogilvy ~

In their books on copywriting and advertising, legends like Ogilvy and John Caples wrote whole chapters on crafting powerful headlines. Here are a few of the best tips on copywriting effective headlines and subject lines to get you started:

  • Copyblogger’s Magnetic Headlines training

  • Write the copy first, then pull out the strongest phrases to use as headlines and subheadings. This ensures your headlines match your copy.

  • Opt for straightforward, simple headlines over tricky or clever ones.

  • Remember the 4 U’s: Urgent, Unique, Useful, Ultra-specific.

  • Give readers a benefit - then make sure you deliver in the body copy.

  • Paint a vivid picture or stimulate an intense emotion. These grab attention and add interest, and they can instantly convey the most important benefit.

  • Use David Garfinkel’s Shortcut Test: If you posted the headline and a phone number as a classified ad, would it generate inquiries?

Copywriting Hall-of-Famer John Caples divided successful headlines into three classes. In his experience, the third best headlines used curiosity, the second-best used news, and the best of all used the reader’s self-interest. He suggested that writers “try to get self-interest into every headline” and “avoid headlines that merely provoke curiosity... curiosity by itself is seldom enough.”

5. Simplify your content.

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Simplifying your copy doesn’t necessarily mean ditching the technical jargon or writing to a ninth-grader’s comprehension level.

It means making your message clear and concise so your target audience understands your offer and benefits as quickly as possible.

Famous copywriter Eugene Scwartz put it this way: “Write to the chimpanzee brain - simply and directly.”

6. Give your audience what they want.

Copywriter Gary Halbert tells a story about the best advantages a restaurant could have. It wasn’t great food, low prices, or a good location. The key to any restaurant’s success is the starving crowd. You start with a group of people who have demonstrated their hunger, and then you satisfy that need.

You can’t create desire; you can only stoke and channel it. Great content and copy gives your audience exactly what they already want.

7. Tell a story.

A 26-year-old raw copywriter sat down in 1926 to write an ad for the U.S. School of Music selling home-study courses for would-be musicians. He could have used a simple benefit headline, like Master the Piano at Home in 30 Days - Without a Teacher!

But he didn’t.

He dug deeper. He knew that mastering an instrument is hard work, and that the real reasons people do it is to be popular, to win their friends’ admiration and envy, and to find happiness. That copywriter realized the real product of the ad wasn’t a course or the ability to play, but popularity and happiness. With that in mind, he still could have used the classic how-to benefit headline, such as How to Be the Most Popular Guy of Any Party!

But he didn’t.

He knew that simply describing musicians’ popularity wouldn’t be enough. He needed the headline to resonate emotionally with prospects. He needed to create a vivid image of a buffoon--the kind of person no one ever dreamed could play - who left his friends stunned speechless by his performance.

His headline was “They Laughed When I Sat Down At the Piano But When I Started to Play!”

Then he used half of his entire ad space to tell the story of personal triumph, seducing prospects into reading the whole ad and giving them a vision of the possibilities.

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That copywriter was John Caples, who was inducted into both the Copywriters Hall of Fame and the Advertising Hall of Fame in the 1970s. That ad he wrote in the ‘20s launched his career and is still considered one of the pillars of the copywriting field.

It worked because it captured prospects’ attention, drew them into a world they desperately wanted to be part of, and left them hungry for more. The story presented the product as doing most of the hard work of learning to play and overcame the objection that you need a special talent to play (since even the buffoon could do it).

Consider these storyselling examples from CrazyEgg and these tips on mastering storyselling from Forbes.

8. Make the copy visually appealing.

Successful advertiser Leo Burnett developed simple icons to symbolize easy-to-understand product benefits and values (such as the Jolly Green Giant and the Pillsbury Doughboy). One of his rules of copywriting was to “make it inviting to look at” - since if the ad didn’t invite and entice the eye, no one would read it.

The same is even more true today, with the flood of content online, shrinking attention spans, and skimming readers. If your content doesn’t have what David Garfinkel calls “eye appeal,” it won’t get read or shared.

So how do you give your copy eye appeal?

  • a good typefont that’s easy on the eyes and big enough to read

  • short paragraphs

  • variety in the text, e.g. bolding, italicizing, underlining

  • bulleted or numbered lists

  • indented paragraphs or quotes

  • headings and subheadings

  • visual cues, i.e. arrows pointing at the form button

9. Don’t be clever.

As writers and content marketers, we like to play with our words. Sometimes that’s okay, depending on your brand personality and the type of content. But most of the time, being clear and concise will return greater rewards than being clever.

As million-dollar copywriter Gary Bencivenga said:

“Effective copywriting is salesmanship in print, not clever wordsmithing. The more self-effacing and invisible your selling skill, the more effective you are. Copywriters who show off their skills are as ineffective as fishermen who reveal the hook.”

10. Break the rules.

This copywriting tip might seem counter-intuitive, but the best writers know when and how to break the rules of proper grammar, syntax, and mechanics. As David Garfinkel said, “I've advised many clients who feel compelled to use ‘proper English’ in their sales letters… to ‘fire your English teacher!’"

Speaking directly to your prospect in language they’ll easily understand is always more important than writing things by the book.

11. Keep a swipe file.

One of the most well-known copywriting hints is to keep a swipe file--a collection of emails, ads, and other copy or content you love or that performed well. That way, whenever you’re stuck on a tough headline or don’t know what to try next, you can glance through your collection and jumpstart your creativity.

12. Have a purpose behind everything you write.

With the content marketing boom, lots of marketers create content for content’s sake. Having a large library of content can be incredibly useful, but only if each piece has a purpose and fits in the overall plan.

As David Ogilvy said, “In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative, original thinker unless you can also sell what you create.” Witty, clever content by itself doesn’t do you any good. Make sure your content engages your audience, builds trust, and encourages sales first.

13. Avoid distraction.

Sometimes when you’re stuck writing, the real culprit isn’t a lack of ideas or words, but not enough time to devote to the project. If you’re having trouble, try this copywriting hint and productivity hack from Eugene Schwartz.

First, close the door and turn off your phone. Close or sign out of email and social media. Eliminate as many distractions as possible.

Then sit your chair and set a timer for 33 minutes. The only things you can do during that half hour are think about the writing project and get to work on it.

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When the timer goes off, take a 10-minute break and repeat.

With this system, Schwartz wrote about 3 hours a day, 5 days a week--and become one of the highest-paid copywriters of the 1950s and ‘60s.

14. Think outside the box.

David Ogilvy said, “Talent, I believe, is most likely to be found among nonconformists, dissenters, and rebels.” Don’t be afraid to try something different and new, because it just might work. Find and form relationships with the nonconformists, dissenters, and rebels in your field and see what great ideas might spark. Unhook your rational thought process and allow your subconscious to make connections between ideas. That’s when you’ll come up with the best content and copywriting ideas.

15. Speak your ideal customer’s language.

Ogilvy also said, “If you’re trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language they use every day, the language in which they think. We try to write in the vernacular.”

Speaking in their language helps prospects get to know, like, and trust you because they recognize themselves in your words. That helps you connect and build relationships with them, and more easily persuade them.

If you’re stuck writing, go back and make sure everything sounds the way your customers think. Put yourself in their shoes. Make yourself invisible. Not only will your copy get better for the exercise, but getting out of your own way like this can jumpstart new ideas and illuminate what should come next.

16. Focus on benefits.

Every great copywriter advises other writers to emphasize benefits, not features:

  • John Caples said, “The best headlines are those that appeal to the reader benefits.”

  • Eugene Schwartz said, “Talk about what your product ‘does’, not ‘is’ - and demonstrate this.”

  • Bob Bly said, “Virtually all successful copy discusses benefits.”

Everybody talks about this copywriting tip because it works, and it’s a relatively easy fix if your current copy isn’t doing so well. Make every feature you mention leads to a benefit.

17. Make prospects feel like they’re already getting something.

Another great tip about copywriting from Schwartz is to make gratification instantaneous. When prospects get something valuable from you just by reading, they learn to trust you and believe that you deliver what you promise. This copywriting trick gives prospects a taste so that real desire fuels their actions, not just curiosity, and it’s also one of the reasons content marketing works so well.

18. Ask questions that get readers to say “yes.”

A classic persuasion technique used by Socrates and used car salesmen, this theory states that the more often you can get prospects to say “yes,” the more likely they are to say “yes” again. A-list direct-response copywriter Parris Lampropoulos uses this technique a different way: “In sales copy, I’ll throw in a question here and there, but more often, I’ll phrase it as a statement. You know – one of those statements that get prospects nodding their heads.”

If they’re saying “yes” and nodding their heads, you’ve hooked them.

19. Appeal to emotion.

Early in his career, Lampropoulos saw a particular copywriting gig as his chance to make it to the big leagues, so he pulled out all the stops. In addition to packing it with proof elements, testimonials, and price justifications, he also “worked every possible emotion the reader might have.” It was one of his most successful direct-mail packages, and it mailed for four years.

The trick to incorporating emotions in your copy is to ask yourself: what is my prospect’s deepest desire right now? There are lots of emotions you can appeal to, but the key driving emotions - the strongest, deepest emotions not governed by rational thought - are:

  • fear

  • greed

  • guilt

  • exclusivity

  • anger

  • salvation

  • flattery

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20. Try a unique angle or hook.

When asked about his process for writing stock stories and promotions for financial newsletters, Parris Lampropoulos said:

“First, I go to Fortune, Forbes and Business Week and read every article I can find on the company being recommended. Then I do something unusual: I sit down and start writing "fascination" bullets for those articles. By doing that, I find all kinds of unexploited sales angles. Those angles lead me to the "hook" for the stock story. And once I’ve got the hook, the story almost writes itself.”

The blogs and magazines you look at may be very different, but the principle is the same: start by researching good sources, then delve deeper to find the different, interesting, unusual, or unheard-of. Those golden nuggets become the angle or hook you need to catch attention and generate interest.

21. Hunt down the right words.

One of the oldest copywriting tips is to not use adjectives and adverbs to make an okay word good enough. Track down the very best word to convey the message, emotion, or imagery. It makes your copy stronger, makes you as the writer more invisible so the reader can feel or see or understand what you want to convey that much better.

As Mark Twain famously said, “The right word is the difference between lightning and lightning bug.”

22. Use active voice.

Stronger and usually shorter than passive construction, active voice is easier to understand and conveys your message better and faster. Passive voice makes you sound weak, reactive, or acted upon, while active voice takes charge.

For example, the passive sentence “Over 5000 customers have been helped by our services” is much stronger in the active voice: “We have helped over 5000 customers.”

23. Replace “weasel words” with imperatives and promises.

Avoiding commands and strong words like “will” and “can” are a way of protecting yourself, but it makes you sound wishy-washy and unable to deliver. Go through your copy and replace every weasel word (e.g. may, hope, could, perhaps, etc.) with the appropriate imperative or promise word (e.g. will, can, do, etc.). This strengthens your copy and makes you sound confident, which builds prospects’ trust.

24. Back up your claims.

You’ll sound even more confident and build more trust and credibility when you prove your case with reliable data. Back up your benefits and other claims with proof. This wins over skeptic readers and shows that you really do know what you’re talking about. A few copywriting ideas to back up your claims might include:

  • facts and statistics

  • methodologies

  • testimonials

  • case studies

  • success stories

25. Use specific examples.

Resume writers and school counselors tell you to include specific numbers in your resume because they quickly convey your experience and skills. This copywriting trick works in just about everything you write, and it makes your copy stronger by attracting attention and making you seem more credible - and memorable. As Bob Bly, one of America’s top copywriters, says: “Since so much advertising is vague and general, being specific in your copy sets it apart from other ads and creates interest.”

26. Evaluate your copy’s ratio of “you” vs. “we.”

Effective content marketing and copywriting always starts with the customer. That’s why no one wants to read brochures or websites that only talk about the company - and why copy that speaks directly to the prospect gets more results. When you make sure your copy uses “you” at least twice as often as “we” or your brand name, you’ll naturally focus on your customer’s needs and desires. Your copy will be stronger, and you’ll get more traffic, leads, and sales.

Derek Halpern of Social Triggers is a great example. In his post about creating amazing About Us pages, he explains why it’s important to include a benefit-driven headline... benefit-driven introduction... and social proof. To see his advice in action, check out his Social Triggers About page. There’s a lot of “I” and “Social Triggers” in there--but there’s also tons of “you.” He talks directly to his audience so they know exactly what they can expect from him.

27. Incorporate the fundamentals of persuasive copywriting.

According to “America’s Top Copywriter” Bob Bly, the fundamentals of persuasive copwriting are:

  1. Gains attention

  2. Focuses on the customer

  3. Stresses benefits

  4. Differentiates you from the competition

  5. Proves its case

  6. Establishes credibility

  7. Builds value

  8. Closes with a call to action

Depending on your product, prospect, and type of content, you may not need to use all eight. For example, established brand names might not need to worry about proof and credibility. But keeping them in mind while you write and revise can help you create stronger, more compelling copy.

28. Use imagery.

Imagery helps readers instantly understand a situation or benefit (plus, it makes your copy more interesting to read). Copywriter David Garfinkel says one of his favorite headlines/slogans is this one for a plumbing service:

Call Roto-Rooter - that's the name -

And away go troubles, down the drain!

Describing it, he says: “Wow - is that perfection in a couple of lines, or what? You get a call to action, company identification, and a visual description of the benefit.”

The imagery of the drain instantly conveys the benefit. It’s also memorable, always a plus in great content.

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29. Lead with your strongest point.

So many writers save their most potent points for last, when it should be the other way around. More prospects will read the beginning than the end, so putting your best idea first is more persuasive. The strongest point can often grab attention better than weaker points, making it ideal for the beginning.

30. Build credibility.

Another very successful copywriter, Steve Slaunwhite, said:

“In my experience, the number one key to persuasion is this: communicate trust. If you do this well, you at least have a chance at engaging and persuading the reader. If you don’t do this well, however, no amount of fancy copywriting techniques will save you.”

You can build credibility and trust by mentioning credentials like:

  • strong guarantee, return, and privacy policies

  • testimonials and data about your track record

  • years in business

  • innovations and awards

  • publications

  • membership and participation in professional societies

  • seals of approval

  • agency ratings

  • independent survey results

  • media coverage

31. Mention the most important point at least three times.

This is Winston Churchill’s “tremendous whack” theory, which says to not be subtle or clever about your important point. Richard Perry says, “Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time—a tremendous whack.”

Successful writers and marketers use the power of three all the time.

  • Derek Halpern advises putting an opt-in form in three places on your About Page.

  • Lots of email marketers include three links in an email to drive clicks (just look at a few of the email newsletters you get).

  • Long-form landing pages often have three CTA areas.

If something’s important, say it at the beginning, again in the middle, and again at the end.

32. Stress value.

America’s top copywriter Bob Bly says, “It’s not enough to convince prospects you have a great product or a superior service. You must also show them that the value of your offer far exceeds the price you are asking for it.”

Showing the overall value is also known as the “drop-in-the-bucket” technique, where the cost of purchase is a tiny thing compared to the benefits your offer delivers. This works for email subscriptions and blog comments as well as product sales, since readers give up something they value--their time, email address, privacy--to get something of value in return.

This fundamental copywriting tip works really well in conjunction with tip #17, providing instantaneous gratification. If they already get value from your content, the value of your offer is almost certainly worth the cost.

33. Include a strong call to action.

If you don’t specifically ask people to do something, chances are they won’t do it. Everything you write, from blog posts to emails to social updates to landing pages, should close with a call to action (CTA). To get the most out of your CTAs, make sure they:

  • match the buyer persona and stage of the buying cycle

  • offer something of value

  • offer prospects something they actually want

  • reiterate your most important benefit or emotional driver

34. Make it personal.

Copywriter David Garfinkel says that successful content is personal, and it doesn’t use stilted formal English or “stickler” language of a school assignment. He recommends writing in a more personal, relaxed style, as if you’re having a one-on-one conversation with your prospect.

Research indicates that personalized emails convert better than mass messages, and most internet marketers know that the most successful blogs employ the relaxed, personal style.

35. Organize your writing with a formula.

AIDA is a popular sales letter format for a reason - it works. Using a framework like attention-interest-desire-action (or John Caples’ version, attention-interest-action) makes it easy to know exactly what to write next.

Here are a few other frameworks and formulas to help you get started:

  • Dan Kennedy’s favorite copywriting formula is PAS, or Problem-Agitate-Solution. It works because people are more likely to act to avoid pain than get gain.

  • Copyblogger promotes a simple 1-2-3-4 framework that helps you focus on the customer and incorporate the most important persuasion fundamentals.

  • Essential copywriting formulas and checklists to make your copy as strong and powerful as possible.

What copywriting tips and tricks do you use?We’d love to hear what works for you!

Helen Nesterenko is the founder and CEO of Writtent.com that is all about finding amazing writers and creating great content.

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Monday, November 27, 2017

7 Professions Facing a Labor Shortage By TPG Staffing

Source: https://www.tpgstaffus.com/professions-facing-labor-shortage/
July 12, 2017

At one time, the rising unemployment rates and the decreased availability of jobs were alarming many Americans. However, what is becoming more surprising now is that jobs are there but the workers are not. More and more industries are facing an unprecedented labor shortage.

According to a recently released report by the U. S. Department of Labor, the number of job openings reached 6.04 million, which is the highest level recorded since the government began monitoring this data in 2000. The same report indicated that the number of hires fell by 253,000 to 5.1 million.[1]

Reason Behind the Labor Shortage


The causes for the increasing number of unfilled jobs cannot be pinpointed to one precise explanation. However, one leading justification stems from the aging and subsequent retirement of baby boomers. According to a survey conducted by The Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte Consulting LLP, approximately 22 percent of skilled manufacturing workers (almost 2.7 million valued employees) will be retiring within the next 10 years. In addition, another 700,000 workers will be needed due to industry growth.[2] The aging of baby boomers not only leads to openings within the retiree’s industry, but also a rising demand in others. In some cases, aging can be associated with deteriorating of the physical condition. This would lead to greater need for healthcare professionals, such as physical therapists, nurses, home health aides and others.

Another reason stems from the negative attitude that is too often associated with “blue collar” work. Millennials are the generation that was encouraged by their parents to go to college and get a good job. Unfortunately, the definition of a good job was often limited to the white collar profession. While the advantages of getting a higher education cannot be diminished, the choice of majors led to a shortfall of manual labor workers.

The seven professions that are in the most dire straits in terms of the labor shortage are:

Housing Construction Workers

The crash of the housing market sent many in its workforce into other areas. Now, the homebuilding industry is struggling to find workers. According to the National Association of Home Builders, nearly 200,000 construction jobs are unfilled in this country. This is an increase of 81 percent in the last two years. The Department of Labor reports that the ratio of construction job openings-to-hiring is at the highest level that it has been since 2007.[3]

Truckers/Drivers

The American Truckers Association stated that the shortage of freight drivers has increased from 20,000 vacant positions to 70,000. Speculation is that this number could increase to over 170,000 by 2025.[4]

Skilled-Trades

According to a survey conducted in 2012, not only is the skilled-trade industry working at a deficit of employees, it is likely to get extremely worse with 53 percent of the workers 45 years or older.[5]

Occupational and Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides

The aging population and the need for more manual labor workers is steering the need for more occupational and physical therapists. The demand in the occupational therapy field is expected to increase by 27 percent by 2024.[6]

Railroad Engineers

A railroad engineer is not someone who sits in the caboose and toots the horn. In addition to an in-depth understanding of engineering, an individual needs to have a working knowledge of electrification and signaling. In America, only five colleges offer degrees in railroad and railway transportation.[7] So, finding qualified replacements for retiring staff may be a difficult task.

Mathematical Science Occupations

As more people look for numbers to support their decision making, the need for data specialists is growing. Occupations in the mathematical sciences include actuaries, operation research analysts, statisticians and mathematicians. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that this is one of the fastest growing occupations and should see a growth of 28 percent from 2014 to 2024.[8]

Medical and Clinical Assistants

Not only are these individuals employed by doctor’s offices, they are also heavily in demand in outpatient care centers and medical laboratories. The field is expected to grow to almost 140,000 jobs between 2014 and 2024.[9]

Changes from Within

One method to decrease the skilled labor gap is to improve the skills within your existing workforce. Encouraging employees to enhance their talents with on-the-job training opportunities can be a way to maintain productivity. This can save some of the costs associated with new hires. The growth and development of an employee can be stimulated by:

  • Creating employee development plans
  • Offering training in new areas of interest
  • Providing resources that promote educational advancement
  • Open lines of communication

For companies both in and out of these labor-shortage industries, getting more workers can be a costly endeavor. Efficiently navigating the search-and-hire process can be overwhelming, but the professionals at TPG Staffing are prepared to help...

Sources:

  1. https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/jolts.pdf
  2. http://www.themanufacturinginstitute.org/~/media/827DBC76533942679A15EF7067A704CD.ashx
  3. http://fortune.com/2016/09/06/housing-construction-worker-shortage/
  4. http://cerasis.com/2017/03/17/freight-driver-shortage/
  5. https://www.forbes.com/sites/emsi/2013/03/07/americas-skilled-trades-dilemma-shortages-loom-as-most-in-demand-group-of-workers-ages/#b8e7e446397c
  6. https://www.aota.org/~/media/Corporate/Files/EducationCareers/StuRecruit/Working/Workforce%20Trends%20in%20OT.ashx
  7. https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/college-search?major=2315_Railroad%20and%20Railway%20Transportation
  8. https://hcexchange.conference-board.org/blog/post.cfm?post=5200&blogid=1
  9. http://www.career.org/news/shortage-of-skills-medical-and-clinical-assistants

Friday, November 10, 2017

Happy Friday, Everybody!

Good Morning,
It has been a while since I have posted on my blog. That is, sometimes, the life of a very busy person. I will keep it short, since I have to be up, in a few hours, to head into work. Thank you, Joyce, and other who have posted.

I am currently second in command at my job, and have been for almost a year. I am the type that does both administrative duties and cover a post, at least five days a week. I am a Lieutenant for a security company, earning the title in July, 2016. I have been with such since 2014. Regardless of the uniform that I wear, I give it my best effort day in, day out. That is how I was raised, and that is how I approach each day at work. My hard work has paid off, as I have earned an award from the owner. I plan to use part of it towards going to a dinner show in December. It is a nice way to celebrate the spirit of the holiday season, in my opinion.

Speaking of uniform, Veterans Day is this weekend. If you know someone who has served or is serving, take a moment to shake their hand; or, at least, say "Thank you!" Many are humble in regards to talk about it, but I know that they will appreciate the gratitude extended. I know that Wawa is offering free coffee to all veterans on Saturday, November 11. It's the little things that count.

I will let you go here. Take care, and Blessings on your day. Happy Friday, everybody!


Bill P.

Monday, November 06, 2017

The Clinton cover-up, brought to you by the same guys who are investigating Trump By Gregg Jarrett

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/10/18/gregg-jarrett-clinton-cover-up-brought-to-by-same-guys-who-are-investigating-trump.html
October 18, 2017

Damning new evidence appears to show that Hillary Clinton used her office as Secretary of State to confer benefits to Russia in exchange for millions of dollars in donations to her foundation and cash to her husband. 

But there’s more.  It seems it was all covered up for years by the same three people who are now involved in the investigation of President Donald Trump over so-called Russian “collusion.”

The incriminating evidence was uncovered by The Hill (John Solomon and Alison Spann) and Circa News (Sara Carter).  Their dogged reporting reveals that the FBI gathered a multitude of documents, secret recordings, intercepted emails, financial records, and eyewitnesses accounts showing that Russian nuclear officials directed millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation and hundreds of thousands of dollars to Bill Clinton during the very time that Hillary Clinton presided over a governing body which unanimously approved the sale of one-fifth of America’s uranium supply to Russia. 

The corrupt scheme is said to have been financed by the Russians through bribes, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering.  The FBI and the Department of Justice reportedly had the evidence in their possession before the uranium sale, but kept the matter secret and never notified Congress which would surely have stopped the transfer of uranium to Russia.  

Indeed, the entire sordid affair remained hidden for seven long years.  Until now.

Clinton Corruption and Racketeering?

It is a crime to use a public office to confer a benefit to a foreign government in exchange for money.  It is often referred to as “pay-to-play,” but it can be prosecuted under a variety of anti-corruption laws passed by Congress, including the federal bribery statute (18 USC 201-b), the federal gratuity statute (18 USC 201-c), the mail fraud statute (18 USC 1341), the wire fraud statute (18 USC 1343), the program bribery statute (18 USC 666), and the Travel Act (18 USC 1952).

If the evidence is as compelling as reported, a second special prosecutor should be appointed to determine whether Hillary Clinton and others should be indicted for crimes of corruption.

The FBI evidence, if true, would seem to show that one or more of these illegal “pay-to-play” laws were broken.  The government would have to prove that Hillary and Bill got paid, while the Russians got to play.  And prosecutors are required to show a “quid pro quo” or “nexus” between the payments and the benefit provided.  But it appears that the FBI already possesses all the evidence it needs to make a compelling case.

If Hillary leveraged her public office as Secretary of State for personal enrichment, but also used her charity as a receptacle or conduit for money obtained illegally, that would also constitute racketeering, as I first argued in a column almost a year ago.

Racketeering is the use of a business for a corrupt and illegal enterprise.  The “Mafia” and other organized crime syndicates are often prosecuted under the “Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act” or “RICO” (18 USC 1961-1968).  Frequently, they devise a dual purpose company –one which operates lawfully from the front door, but unlawfully out the back door. 

There is little doubt the Clinton Foundation operated as a charity.  But if the FBI documents demonstrate that there was a secondary, hidden purpose devoted to self-dealing and personal enrichment, then prosecution could be pursued against Clinton for racketeering.

According to the Associated Press, more than half the people outside the government who met with Hillary Clinton while she served as secretary of state donated money to her foundation.  If Clinton was peddling access, was she also peddling influence?  Again, the reported FBI documents seem to answer that question.

But why has there been no prosecution of Clinton?  Why did the FBI and the Department of Justice during the Obama administration keep the evidence secret?  Was it concealed to prevent a scandal that would poison Barack Obama’s presidency?  Was Hillary Clinton being protected in her quest to succeed him? 

The answer may lie with the people who were in charge of the investigation and who knew of its explosive impact.   Who are they?

Holder, Mueller, Comey & Rosenstein

Eric Holder was the Attorney General when the FBI began uncovering the Russian corruption scheme in 2009.  Since the FBI reports to him, he surely knew what the bureau had uncovered.

What’s more, Holder was a member of the “Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States” which approved the uranium sale to the Russians in 2010.  Since the vote was unanimous, it appears Holder knowingly and deliberately countenanced a deal that was based on illegal activities and which gave Moscow control of more than 20 percent of America’s uranium assets.

It gets worse.  Robert Mueller was the FBI Director during the time of the Russian uranium probe, and so was his successor James Comey who took over in 2013 as the FBI was still developing the case.  Rod Rosenstein, then-U.S. Attorney, was supervising the case.  There is no indication that any of these men ever told Congress of all the incriminating evidence they had discovered and the connection to Clinton.  The entire matter was kept secret from the American public.

It may be no coincidence that Mueller (now special counsel) and Rosenstein (now Deputy Attorney General) are the two top people currently investigating whether the Trump campaign conspired with the Russians to influence the 2016 presidential election.  Mueller reports to Rosenstein, while Comey is a key witness in the case. 

It is not unreasonable to conclude that Mueller, Rosenstein and Comey may have covered up potential crimes involving Clinton and Russia, but are now determined to find some evidence that Trump “colluded” with Russia. 

If this is true, Mueller and Rosenstein should immediately recuse themselves from the case.  How can Americans have confidence in the outcome of the Trump-Russia matter if the integrity and impartiality of the lead investigators has been compromised by their suspected cover-up of the Clinton-Russia case?

And, if the evidence is as compelling as reported, a second special prosecutor should be appointed to determine whether Hillary Clinton and others should be indicted for crimes of corruption. 

Gregg Jarrett is a Fox News legal analyst and former defense attorney.


Still no evidence of Trump-Russia 'collusion' - but Hillary is a different matter By Gregg Jarrett

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/10/30/gregg-jarrett-still-no-evidence-trump-russia-collusion-but-hillary-is-different-matter.html

October 30, 2017

Over the weekend, the mainstream media was absolutely giddy with delight upon learning there would be an indictment by special counsel, Robert Mueller.  

This was proof positive, they insisted, that Trump “colluded” with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election.  Their exuberance was the equivalent of a two day-long tailgate party. Too bad it was premature. 

Manafort & Gates

The celebration came to a crashing end when the indictments of Paul Manafort and his business associate, Rick Gates, were unsealed Monday morning.  It turns out the charges are, basically, a tax fraud case.  The two men stand accused of hiding their income from their lobbying work for Ukraine in order to avoid paying taxes, then lying about it.  That’s it.

The 31-page indictment makes no mention of Trump or Russia or “collusion.”  The media seemed as dejected as a kid who wakes up on Christmas morning, only to find there are no presents under the tree.  Gee whiz.  

The truth is, it should have come as no surprise to anyone, much less the media, that Manafort was in legal jeopardy for his business dealings.  The FBI raided his home over the summer.  It was later learned that the FBI wiretapped his conversations as far back as 2014.  And it was widely reported that Manafort had been told by Mueller’s team that he would be criminally charged.

It could be said that Hillary Clinton is the one who was conspiring with the Russians by breaking campaign finance laws with impunity.

The media became even more dispirited when they read through the indictment, discovering that nearly all of Manafort’s alleged wrongdoing substantially pre-dates his brief stint as chairman of the Trump campaign.  In other words, there is no connection to either Trump or his campaign. 

Somewhere, I’m sure, ABC’s Martha Raddatz and CNN’s Van Jones were crying.  Again.  Just like the tears they shed on camera election night when Hillary lost. 

Papadopoulos

But wait.  Shortly after the indictments were unsealed, the media’s spirits were suddenly boosted when the special counsel revealed that a former adviser to Trump pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with a Russian national during his time on the Trump campaign.  Surely this was evidence of illegal “collusion,” right?

Wrong.  George Papadopoulos pled guilty to a single charge of making a false statement to the FBI.  He was not charged with so-called “collusion” because no such crime exists in American statutory law, except in anti-trust matters.  It has no application to elections and political campaigns.

It is not a crime to talk to a Russian. Not that the media would ever understand that.  They have never managed to point to a single statute that makes “colluding” with a foreign government in a political campaign a crime, likely because it does not exist in the criminal codes.

To put it plainly, Mueller is tasked with finding a crime that does not exist in the law. It is a legal impossibility. He is being asked to do something that is manifestly unattainable.

But that did not stop them from accusing Donald Trump, Jr., of illegally conspiring with the Russians when he met with a Russian lawyer to obtain information on Hillary Clinton.  What law did he break?  None.  The Federal Election Commission has made it clear that it is perfectly lawful for foreign nationals to be involved in campaigns, as long as they are not paid and do not donate money.  Which brings us to Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton

It is against the law for the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee to funnel millions of dollars to a British spy and to Russian sources in order to obtain the infamous and discredited Trump “dossier.”  The Federal Election Campaign Act (52 USC 30101) prohibits foreign nationals and governments from giving or receiving money in U.S. campaigns.  It also prohibits the filing of false or misleading campaign reports to hide the true purpose of the money (52 USC 30121).  This is what Clinton and the DNC appear to have done.

Most often the penalty for violating this law is a fine, but in egregious cases, like this one, criminal prosecutions have been sought and convictions obtained.  In this sense, it could be said that Hillary Clinton is the one who was conspiring with the Russians by breaking campaign finance laws with impunity.

But that’s not all.  Damning new evidence appears to show that Clinton used her office as Secretary of State to confer benefits to Russia in exchange for millions of dollars in donations to her foundation and cash to her husband.  Secret recordings, intercepted emails, financial records, and eyewitness accounts allegedly show that Russian nuclear officials enriched the Clintons at the very time Hillary presided over a governing body which unanimously approved the sale of one-fifth of America’s uranium supply to Russia. 

If this proves to be a corrupt “pay-to-play” scheme, it would constitute a myriad of crimes, including bribery (18 USC 201-b), mail fraud (18 USC 1341), and wire fraud (18 USC 1343).  It might also qualify for racketeering charges (18 USC 1961-1968), if her foundation is determined to have been used as a criminal enterprise. 

Despite all the incriminating evidence, Clinton has managed to avoid being pursued by a special counsel.  Trump, on the other hand, is being chased by Robert Mueller and his team, notwithstanding a dearth of evidence. 

Robert Mueller

The indictments of Manafort and Gates now present a unique opportunity to challenge the authority of the special counsel. 

Until now, no one had legal “standing” to argue in court that the appointment of Mueller was illegal.  The criminal charges change all that.  The two defendants will be able to argue before a judge that Mueller’s appointment by Acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein violated the special counsel law. 

As I pointed out in a column last May, the law (28 CFR 600) grants legal authority to appoint a special counsel to investigate crimes.  Only crimes.  He has limited jurisdiction.  Yet, in his order appointing Mueller as special counsel (Order No. 3915-2017), Rosenstein directed him to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.”   It fails to identify any specific crimes, likely because none are applicable. 

To put it plainly, Mueller is tasked with finding a crime that does not exist in the law.  It is a legal impossibility.  He is being asked to do something that is manifestly unattainable. 

If the federal judge agrees, Mueller and his team would be disbanded by judicial order.  The Department of Justice would have to seek a new indictment of Manafort and Gates without the special counsel or drop the case entirely. 

The naming of Robert Mueller was tainted with disqualifying conflicts of interest from the beginning.  Fired FBI Director James Comey admitted he leaked presidential memos to the media for the sole purpose of triggering the appointment of a special counsel who just happens to be Comey’s longtime friend, ally and partner. 

It is no coincidence that Rosenstein appointed Mueller.  We now know both men were overseeing the corrupt Uranium One sale which involved Russian bribes, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering.  They appear to have kept it secret, even hiding it from Congress which would surely have cancelled the transaction involving a vital national security asset.  A cover-up?  It has the stench of one. 

How can Americans have confidence in the outcome of the Trump-Russia matter if the integrity and impartiality of Mueller and Rosenstein has been compromised by their suspected cover-up of the Clinton-Russia case?   Both men should resign. 

And a new special counsel should be appointed – this time to investigate Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump.   

Gregg Jarrett joined FOX News Channel (FNC) in 2002 and is based in New York. He currently serves as legal analyst and offers commentary across both FNC and FOX Business Network (FBN).


Hillary Clinton's scheme in 'rigging' the nomination may have been criminal By Gregg Jarrett

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/11/03/gregg-jarrett-hillary-clintons-scheme-in-rigging-nomination-may-have-been-criminal.html

November 3, 2017

Hillary Clinton has spent a year crying about how the presidency was stolen from her. Turns out, she stole the Democratic nomination from Bernie Sanders.

The stunning revelation from former Democratic National Committee interim chairperson Donna Brazile that Clinton secretly rigged the primary process by commandeering the DNC should come as no surprise to anyone. Clinton is nothing, if not unethical and corrupt. She always has been. This is precisely why pre-election polls consistently showed that a majority of Americans found her dishonest and untrustworthy.

The critical question now is whether she committed crimes in her theft of the nomination. 

The Scheme

According to Brazile, the DNC went broke under the leadership of Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. This dire circumstance presented a perfect scenario for Clinton to seize command of the party apparatus by paying off its debt of roughly $20 million dollars. But in exchange, the DNC executed a written, albeit hidden, agreement transferring to Clinton the committee’s finances, strategy, and money raised -- all to the benefit of Clinton and to the detriment of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, her primary opponent.

Even more deceptions and money shuffling ensued. It was a clever and complicated stratagem, but here is the simple version. During Clinton’s joint fundraising events with the DNC and state parties held across the nation, more than $82 million was raised. The states immediately kicked back nearly all of their share to the DNC which, in turn, kicked back their share and the states’ share to Clinton’s campaign.

With Clinton in control of the Democratic party’s staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, mailings and money, she was able to overcome the serious primary challenge by Sanders in securing the nomination. The DNC, which was supposed to remain neutral, had been neutered by Clinton. It devolved into nothing more than a willing accessory to a devious scheme for Clinton’s campaign to get rich at the expense of Sanders. 

There appears to be little doubt that Clinton rigged the election process. It was so unconscionable and unprincipled, that Brazile’s discovery of the incriminating document left her in tears. So she says.     

Clinton Crimes?

The Federal Election Commission must immediately launch an investigation. So, too, must the Department of Justice and the FBI. It appears that Clinton may well have violated several laws which could constitute serious crimes. 

First, federal law sets strict limits on campaign contributions.  Financial records must now be subpoenaed to determine whether these laws were broken. Given Clinton’s past record of shady transactions such as the Whitewater land deal and her sale of cattle futures, there is a strong chance that a document trail will lead investigators to multiple violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act. 

Second, if Brazile’s account of Clinton’s artifice is true, it is likely that campaign finance reporting laws were broken under the same Act. Hiding campaign money through false or misleading campaign reports is illegal. In egregious cases it is a crime, not just a civil penalty.    

Finally, the funneling of campaign funds from one source to another smacks of money laundering. Any transaction that seeks to conceal or disguise proceeds of illegal activity constitutes money laundering. So, if it can be shown that Clinton violated campaign contribution limits or reporting requirements, then the channeling of the proceeds from one source to another would be the “laundering” of it.

Second Special Counsel

Clinton and her campaign are already suspected of playing a pivotal role in violating federal law by paying a substantial amount of money to a British spy and Russian government sources in order to obtain the infamous and discredited Trump “dossier”.  Talking to a Russian in a campaign is not a crime, but paying money to one as part of a political campaign is a crime.     

There is also evidence Clinton used her public office to confer a benefit to the Russian government in exchange for millions of dollars in donations to her foundation and cash to her husband. If the Clintons were enriched at the very time Hillary presided over a governing body which unanimously approved the sale of one-fifth of America’s uranium supply to Russia, it would amount to a violation of seven criminal statutes, including racketeering. 

Yet, despite calls by the House Judiciary Committee and others on Capitol Hill for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to appoint a special counsel, he has taken no action whatsoever. Perhaps this is because he recused himself from any matter related to Hillary Clinton during his confirmation hearing in January. 

This, however, would not legally prevent him from appointing a special counsel to handle the investigation. But it does underscore that Sessions has become so compromised on so many disqualifying matters of vital public interest, including the Trump-Russia case, that he can no longer serve in an able capacity.

As I have written before, Sessions should resign, but not before appointing a special counsel.

It is clear from President Trump’s many comments over the last several months that he has lost all confidence in his attorney general. It is time for him to go.   

Hillary Clinton has bemoaned for months that the presidential election was stolen from her and that Donald Trump “colluded” with the Russians. As with many thing in Clinton’s mind, she has it backwards.    

Evidence continues to mount that it was Clinton who may have conspired with the Russians, while also rigging the primary election process to hand herself the Democratic nomination for president. 

If she committed crimes in the process, she should be charged, convicted and punished.     

Gregg Jarrett joined FOX News Channel (FNC) in 2002 and is based in New York. He currently serves as legal analyst and offers commentary across both FNC and FOX Business Network (FBN).

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Trump Is Right About ‘Stop and Frisk’: It’s constitutional, as the Republican correctly described. Lester Holt should apologize. By Rudolph W. Giuliani

Source: http://truthfeed.com/rudy-giuliani-trump-is-right-about-stop-and-frisk-lester-holt-should-apologize/26378/

September 27, 2016
Wall Street Journal

One of the strategies that helped bring about an 85% reduction in crime in New York City between 1994 and 2013 was the careful and appropriate use of “stop and frisk.” This practice dramatically reduced the number of guns, knives and other dangerous weapons, as well as illicit drugs, in the city.

But according to candidate Hillary Clinton and moderator Lester Holt during Monday night’s presidential debate, stop and frisk is “unconstitutional.” They are wrong. In Mrs. Clinton’s case, it’s the usual misrepresenting she does when she does not know what she is talking about. As for Mr. Holt, if a moderator is going to interfere, he should do some homework and not pretend to know the law when he does not. Mr. Holt and NBC cannot overrule the U.S. Supreme Court.

Stop and frisk is based on an 8-1 decision of the Supreme Court, Terryv. Ohio. That ruling hasn’t been overturned or even modified by the court since it was handed down in 1968. Stop and frisk is constitutional and the law of the land. The majority opinion, written by then-Chief Justice Earl Warren, approved the constitutionality of stopping a suspect if the police officer has a reasonable suspicion that a person has committed, or was about to commit, a crime. If the officer also has a reasonable suspicion the person is armed, he can conduct a pat-down—that is, a frisk—of a person’s outer clothing.

In many places, this practice is called a “Terry stop,” based on the decision upholding its constitutionality. It is a police technique used by all law enforcement agencies nationwide.

Over a 20-year use of this policy, spanning the administration of two New York City mayors and four police commissioners, stop and frisk played a material part in reducing homicides in New York City. It helped to change New York City from the crime capital of America to the safest large city in the country. In each of those 20 years, approximately six of 10 murder victims in New York City were African-Americans. In other words, stop and frisk saved many black lives.

In the case discussed during Monday’s debate, federal Judge Shira Scheindlin found in 2013 that the way Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Commissioner Ray Kelly applied stop and frisk was unconstitutional. The practice had been expanded to 600,000, the vast majority being of African-Americans. Previously, during my administration, for eight years under Commissioners William Bratton, Howard Safir and Bernard Kerik, the stops and frisks always fell short of 100,000.

During my administration, the U.S. Justice Department spent two years examining stop and frisk and it filed no case. After continued use of the practice during the administration of Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly, Judge Scheindlin found that the volume of stops and the focus on the African-American community made the practice not unconstitutional in general but unconstitutional as applied. This is the distinction that is so important—yet was misunderstood by Mr. Holt and misrepresented by Mrs. Clinton.

During the debate, Donald Trump described the history of the case correctly. He said that after the judge decided the case, the city appealed and asked for a stay of the lower court’s decision. The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in a scathing opinion, criticized Judge Scheindlin for improperly steering the case to her courtroom. It issued an unusual stay to allow the Bloomberg-Kelly form of stop and frisk to go forward until the court could decide the appeal. And in a rare action, it removed Judge Scheindlin from the case.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals decision underscores Mr. Trump’s position that stop and frisk is constitutional and plays a critical role in saving lives. The Court of Appeals issues a stay or injunction only if there is a likelihood of success on the merits for the appeal and the lower-court ruling will create irreparable damage. The likelihood of success means the court believes there’s a good chance that the judge’s ruling of unconstitutional as applied was going to be reversed. And irreparable damage means that the court came to the same conclusion as Mr. Trump, that stop and frisk plays a critical role in reducing crime.

Donald Trump was right. Hillary Clinton was wrong. Lester Holt should apologize for interfering and trying so hard to help Mrs. Clinton support her incorrect statement that stop and frisk is unconstitutional.

Mr. Giuliani was mayor of New York City from 1994 to 2001. He is an adviser to the Trump campaign.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Obama’s Campaign Paid $972,000 To Law Firm That Secretly Paid Fusion GPS In 2016 By Sean Davis

Source: http://thefederalist.com/2017/10/29/obamas-campaign-gave-972000-law-firm-funneled-money-fusion-gps/

October 29, 2017

Former president Barack Obama’s official campaign organization has directed nearly a million dollars to the same law firm that funneled money to Fusion GPS, the firm behind the infamous Steele dossier. Since April of 2016, Obama For America (OFA) has paid over $972,000 to Perkins Coie, records filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) show.

The Washington Post reported last week that Perkins Coie, an international law firm, was directed by both the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton’s campaign to retain Fusion GPS in April of 2016 to dig up dirt on then-candidate Donald Trump. Fusion GPS then hired Christopher Steele, a former British spy, to compile a dossier of allegations that Trump and his campaign actively colluded with the Russian government during the 2016 election. Though many of the claims in the dossier have been directly refuted, none of the dossier’s allegations of collusion have been independently verified. Lawyers for Steele admitted in court filings last April that his work was not verified and was never meant to be made public.

OFA, Obama’s official campaign arm in 2016, paid nearly $800,000 to Perkins Coie in 2016 alone, according to FEC records. The first 2016 payments to Perkins Coie, classified only as “Legal Services,” were made April 25-26, 2016, and totaled $98,047. A second batch of payments, also classified as “Legal Services,” were disbursed to the law firm on September 29, 2016, and totaled exactly $700,000. Payments from OFA to Perkins Coie in 2017 totaled $174,725 through August 22, 2017.

FEC records as well as federal court records show that Marc Elias, the Perkins Coie lawyer whom the Washington Post reported was responsible for the payments to Fusion GPS on behalf of Clinton’s campaign and the DNC, also previously served as a counsel for OFA. In Shamblin v. Obama for America, a 2013 case in federal court in Florida, federal court records list Elias as simultaneously serving as lead attorney for both OFA and the DNC.

OFA, which managed Obama’s successful re-election campaign in 2012, retooled after that campaign to focus on enacting the president’s agenda during his final term in office. The group reorganized again after the 2016 election and planned to use its staff and resources to oppose President Donald Trump. During the entire 2016 campaign cycle, the group spent only $4.5 million, according to FEC records.

Federal records show that Hillary Clinton’s official campaign organization, Hillary For America, paid just under $5.1 million to Perkins Coie in 2016. The DNC paid nearly $5.4 million to the law firm in 2016.

The timing and nature of the payments to Perkins Coie by Obama’s official campaign arm raise significant questions about whether OFA was funding Fusion GPS, how much Obama and his team knew about the contents and provenance of the dossier long before its contents were made public, and whether the president or his government lieutenants knowingly used a partisan political document to justify official government actions targeting the president’s political opponents named in the dossier. According to the Washington Post, Fusion GPS was first retained by Perkins Coie on behalf of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in April of 2016.

At the same time that Hillary’s campaign, Obama’s campaign organization, and the DNC were simultaneously paying Perkins Coie, the spouse of one of Fusion GPS’s key employees was working directly for Obama in the West Wing. Shailagh Murray, a former Washington Post reporter-turned-political operative, was serving as a top communications adviser to Obama while the Obama administration was reportedly using information from the dossier to justify secret surveillance of Trump campaign staff. Murray is married to Neil King, a former Wall Street Journal reporter who was hired by Fusion GPS in December of 2016. While at the Wall Street Journal, King worked alongside Fusion GPS’s core team, even sharing bylines with Glenn Simpson, the Fusion GPS executive who personally hired Steele to probe Trump’s alleged Russia connections.

The importance of the dossier funded by Democrats, commissioned by Fusion GPS, and compiled by Steele, is difficult to overstate given that its contents were reportedly briefed to both President Obama and then-President-Elect Trump. The dossier was eventually published in full by BuzzFeed on January 10. On January 6, then-FBI Director James Comey had briefed Trump on the allegations in Steele’s dossier. Steele admitted in court filings that he had shopped much of the information in his dossier to numerous media outlets beginning in September of 2016.

Fusion GPS, which has been accused of illegally operating as an undisclosed agent of foreign governments, is currently facing multiple congressional inquiries into its activities and its clients. Bill Browder, whose attorney was allegedly murdered by Russian authorities after publicizing explosive allegations of Russian fraud and money laundering, alleged in congressional testimony last July that Fusion GPS was paid by Russians to undermine U.S. sanctions against the country. Late last week, Fusion GPS reportedly struck a deal with U.S. House investigators regarding a federal subpoena of the firm’s bank records. And in September, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who serves as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, reportedly requested that the U.S. Treasury Department’s financial crimes unit provide his committee with all suspicious activity reports related to Fusion GPS’s bank transactions.

Following reports of Perkins Coie’s role in funneling money to Fusion GPS, the Campaign Legal Center, a non-partisan campaign finance watchdog, filed a complaint with the FEC alleging that the secret funding schemes violated federal campaign disclosure laws.

Fusion GPS is also facing a separate defamation suit in federal court related to claims in the dossier. That case, which was brought by three Russian businessmen who claim to have been libeled in the Steele dossier, was filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., in early October. Fusion GPS is yet to respond to those allegations in court.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Top Fifteen Tips to Be a Successful Administrative Assistant By Brande Michelle Eburn

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Source: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/most-valued-person-office-administrative-assistant-eburn

March 4, 2015

Get the inside scoop on office expectations.

Administrative Assistants are the gasoline fueling today's offices. From office supply inventory to professional powerpoint presentations, Administrative Assistants deftly juggle multiple roles and responsibilities.

There is a broad general description of what Administrative Assistants do, as well as multiple variations of the job title. And every office has unique needs and systems in place for their particular specialty. Their common threads are the importance of organization, attention to detail, time management, accountability and dependability. Professional Administrative Assistants live by these principles and have learned to adapt their tasks accordingly.

With over a decade of administrative experience in offices big and small, I've compiled a list of what I think are:

The Top Fifteen Tips you need to know to be a Successful Administrative Assistant.

1. Reception Management: Even if your company has a receptionist, you'll be screening phone calls, making phone calls, greeting clients, visitors, and vendors. Your primary goal is to be the smiling face and friendly 'first impression' of your company to all who call or come in. A professional appearance and pleasant phone voice are expected. Second, minimize interruptions and deflect whomever/whatever your boss doesn't have time to deal with right now. Take accurate, detailed messages that allow your boss to save time when calling the person back.

2. Coffee Management: You'll be responsible for keeping the coffee station stocked and clean. And maybe decorative, if you can which is nice when your customers share the station with you. Got a Kuerig or other instant, pod dropping machine? Keep options simple. Still working with the old fashioned drip brew? Be resourceful. Invest in one or two of those large dispensers like in hotel lobbies, that keep coffee hot and fresh for several hours. Everyone will appreciate the good coffee. And coffee makes people happy.

3. Go-For Management: You'll be the Go-For; go for coffee, for copies, for lunch, for bank runs, for break room goodies, for anything that's needed. In time, you will begin to anticipate the needs of your Boss, co-workers and customers and spend less time go-for-ing and more time preparing for the support they require.

4. Equipment Management: You'll be expected to know how to troubleshoot every piece of office machinery, including parts maintenance, upgrades and lease renewals. *Savvy tip: Create calendar entries for all your office equipment as well as continuing maintenance like carpet cleaning with dates, times, service needed, amount spent and all the pertinent information from the company that was used. You can quickly generate follow up reminders. At the end of the quarter or year, create a quick-view spreadsheet with the information and place in the corresponding file. Now you have a current history and accurate record.

5. Supply Management: You'll be expected to keep inventory of office supplies, bathroom supplies, kitchen/coffee/breakroom supplies and party supplies while staying in budget. Bulk stores can save the company money on certain items. Take time to research what you're buying. Amazon can save you a ton too.

6. Event Management: You may be responsible for coordinating off-site events, like industry shows, fairs or expos. Also, you may be tasked with all the 'office party' planning. This can include celebrations for promotions or reaching goals, birthdays, anniversaries - the work kind, wedding/baby, and retirement/leaving occasions. Be sure to establish a budget with your boss prior to planning. This can present you with a great opportunity to showcase your creative side and cost-cutting skills.

7. Agenda Management: You'll be scheduling appointments, conferences, lunches, meetings and rearranging all of the above effectively due to unforeseen circumstances. Some offices require you to make travel arrangements. Use a travel agency to assist you in saving time, money and frustration.

8. Presentation Management: For prospective clients or new employees you'll be responsible for selling your company's accomplishments, awards, future growth, unique attributes and the reasons behind why this is the best place to do business or work. For meetings you'll be the note-taker, report-maker, and brilliant, creative, well organized, meeting presentation-compiler.

9. Buzz Management: You will hear most of everything that's going on with everyone, in every department. All the juicy gossip, nasty rumors and running tabs on who is - insert label here -. Even if you don't want to know any of this mostly mean, damaging information there is always a know-it-all in every office spreading the buzz. Just don't be that person. Be the person that builds others up. If there is a conflict with a coworker, talk openly and honestly and be willing to compromise in an effort to resolve the issue. Maintain your professionalism.

10. Information Management: You'll be writing office memos, emails, business correspondence, reports and responding to requests for information and data. You'll also maintain electronic and hard copy filing systems, prepare and distribute mail, and may assist with record-keeping for staff including expense reports and/or petty cash.

11. Multi-tasking Management: You'll be juggling several roles and responsibilities at once and will be expected to adapt, transform, compromise, camouflage, and implement solutions in the moment. Smile. Be gracious. You can do it.

12. Micro-Management: Some bosses will bring every mistake they find, big or small, yours and everyone else's to you. You'll be expected to point them out to your co-workers, so she/he doesn't have to. You'll also need to relay the 'correct' procedure according to the boss, to everyone who doesn't do it their way. I mean, the 'right' way. Some bosses are all about results. They empower their employees to complete the designated task however it works best for them, as long as the assignment is handled properly. If you do make a mistake, be honest and accountable for it. Then immediately learn how to fix it and what not to do next time.

13. Time Management: Most office environments are fast paced and you'll be expected to adapt. Accuracy and efficiency are what you should strive for. Prioritize your workload so you have ample time to pay attention to the details that matter. Get creative and provide solutions or ‘hacks’ that save you and everyone else precious time that can be spent on selling your product or service and catering to your customer’s satisfaction.

14. Impact Management: Developing your unique skill set makes you indispensable to the staff you provide primary support to and vital to the overall efficiency of the office. Listening is a key component of communication. Communication is essential to success.

15. You'll need to tuck in your cape though, being the end all, be all in the office goes over much better when you're humble. Administrative Assistants are the life force of modern business offices and the more demonstrable skills you have, the more valuable you are to a prospective employer. Now, you can beef up that resume with the insider knowledge you've gained here and practice those interview skills.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, salaries can range from $25k - $45k per year, depending on location and level of education and/or work experience. The BLS also reports (as of Jan. 2014) this occupation as having an overall expected job growth of twelve percent from 2012 - 2022, which is as fast as average for all occupations. More and more companies are relying on their Administrative Assistants to learn and assume tasks performed by Executive Secretaries as a means of saving money, and many managers are now performing some administrative tasks themselves.

With approximately 12 variations of the same job title*, the subtle differences between them pertain to specific industries and levels of education. Another variable is the size of the company, and you’ll find an expanded list of responsibilities unique to each office/place of business specified in the employment ad. In the corporate world of business, there is a distinct difference between Executive Secretaries and Administrative Assistants and as such, a separate article.

As an Administrative Assistant, you are the support system for the office and the higher up, i.e. department manager. The foundation for Administrative positions begins with having strong typing skills and in depth knowledge and understanding of most modern computer software, database maintenance, and project management. There are degree programs available for Administrative Assistants, with coursework including classes in database management, word processing, computer applications and office etiquette. If you want to enter a specific industry, such as Law, Medical, Insurance, or Accounting for example, you’ll need higher education to get the prerequisite skills to apply for and enter that field. Entry level positions expect the minimum skills and are usually willing to train you on the job for that specific industry and office.

* Variations of the job title include: Administrative Assistant, Administrative Support, Administrative Associate, Administrative Specialist, Administrative Coordinator, Administrative Clerk, Administrative Aide, Administrative Secretary, Office Assistant, Office Clerk, Office Support, Office Aide

This article was originally published on Hubpages, February 2011 by Brande M. Eburn.