Empty Promises: #Deadbeat Donald Cheats Charities

If anyone was wondering why the Trump scampaign banned the Washington Post from its press pool, here’s David A. Farenthold’s latest – “Trump promised millions to charity. We found less than $10,000 over 7 years”:

In May, under pressure from the news media, Donald Trump made good on a pledge he made four months earlier: He gave $1 million to a nonprofit group helping veterans’ families.

Before that, however, when was the last time that Trump had given any of his own money to a charity?

If Trump stands by his promises, such donations should be occurring all the time. In the 15 years prior to the veterans donation, Trump promised to donate earnings from a wide variety of his moneymaking enterprises: “The Apprentice.” Trump Vodka. Trump University. A book. Another book. If he had honored all those pledges, Trump’s gifts to charity would have topped $8.5 million.

But in the 15 years prior to the veterans’ gift, public records show that Trump donated about $2.8 million through a foundation set up to give his money away — less than a third of the pledged amount — and nothing since 2009. Records show Trump has given nothing to his foundation since 2008…

In recent years, Trump’s follow-through on his promises has been seemingly nonexistent.

The Post contacted 167 charities searching for evidence of personal gifts from Trump in the period between 2008 and this May. The Post sought out charities that had some link to Trump, either because he had given them his foundation’s money, appeared at their charity galas or praised them publicly.

The search turned up just one donation in that period — a 2009 gift of between $5,000 and $9,999 to the Police Athletic League of New York City…

What has set Trump apart from other wealthy philanthropists is not how much he gives — it is how often he promises that he is going to give….

These promises seemed designed to reassure potential customers and voters and to reconcile two sides of Trump’s public persona. On one hand, Trump said he had so much money that he didn’t need more. But on the other hand, he was always selling something.

The explanation was that the money Trump was making wasn’t for him to keep…

Apparently it was for him to to pass on to his creditors– a forty-year game of financial musical chairs, which bears some resemblance to what economists call a Ponzi scheme, IIRC.

… Trump’s representatives have repeatedly said there have been many charitable donations from Trump in recent years but that he has purposely kept them under wraps.

This year, The Post got the same response when it probed a separate claim that Trump had made about his charitable giving. At the launch of his campaign, Trump said that he had given away $102 million in the past five years. That figure turned out to comprise mostly land-use agreements and free rounds of golf given away at Trump’s courses.

Trump’s campaign said that none of the $102 million it had counted was actually a cash gift from Trump’s pocket. Such gifts existed, Trump’s staff said. But they were private. If so, those gifts are remarkably difficult to find.

Of the 167 charities reviewed by The Post, 39 declined to comment. Forty others — including the Eric Trump Foundation — did not respond to The Post’s inquiries.

An additional 77 charities had no record of receiving a personal donation from Trump.

That left 11 that acknowledged receiving the kind of personal donation that Trump claims to be giving all the time.

The most recent of those was the gift to the Police Athletic League in 2009.

Insert your own jokes about the Policeman’s Ball.

Much more detail at the link. Joking aside, it looks like the late great Tunch (through his minions in the Balloon Juice community) might’ve funneled almost as much money to animal charities as Donald Trump has actually donated to charities not intimately connected to his own family (his son’s private school, his daughter’s ballet school). And Tunch never tried to use his celebrity to run for higher office.

Monday Morning Open Thread: Stronger Together

trump gop desperate to escape deering

(John Deering via GoComics.com)

Excellent argument by Jamelle Bouie, at Slate:

What Brexit suggests, to many American commentators, is that Trump could in fact win… I’m skeptical. What’s striking about the results of the EU referendum is the extent to which they matched the polls. Every survey of Brexit showed a close race between the two sides—a coin toss. The balance of the polls suggested a narrow—but far from dispositive—lead for “Remain.” The final result was in line with the projection: a contest with no clear advantage for either side in which “Leave” won an extremely modest victory. Here in the United States, our polls show a substantial Trump loss in the general election against Hillary Clinton, just as they showed a substantial Trump win in the Republican presidential primaries. The chief reason is that, unlike the U.K., the U.S. has a large voting population of nonwhites: Latinos, black Americans, Asian Americans, etc. In Britain, “black and minority ethnic” people make up about 8 percent of the electorate. By contrast, people of color account for nearly 1 in 3 American voters. In practice, this means that in the past two national elections, there has been an electoral penalty for embracing the most reactionary elements of national life. And we see this in the polling between Trump and Clinton. If the United States were largely white—if its electorate were as monochromatic as Britain’s—then Trump might have the advantage. As it stands, people of color in America are acting as a firewall for liberalism—an indispensable barrier to this surge of ethno-nationalism. Complacency isn’t called for, but confidence isn’t wrong either…

It’s not hard to see how global capitalism and the elevation of financial markets have transformed the world over the past 30 years, upending our societies in ways we’re still trying to grapple with. What’s less obvious is the extent to which global capitalism has also upended racial hierarchies by degrading whatever material benefits accrue to those deemed “white.” For as much as capitalist economies entrench racial inequality, the logic of capital doesn’t especially care. It will impoverish black, white, and brown all the same.

Trump supporters are largely white Americans. Brexit backers are largely white Britons. And on both sides, they’re older, often elderly. In addition to everything else—all of the particular concerns of particular communities in the United States and the United Kingdom—we are witnessing a backlash to the weakening of a hierarchy that gave real status to people at the top, that protected them from the whims of capital or gave them prime social status as the expense of nonwhites…

Along the same lines, by all reports (including some of our most constant BJ commentors), actor/activist Jesse Williams “stole the BET Awards on Sunday night with a wildly inspirational, confrontational speech that is bound to become a cornerstone of the Black Lives Matter movement”. Excerpts via Billboard:

“There has been no war that we have not fought and died on the front lines of. There is no job we haven’t done, there is no tax they haven’t levied against us, and we have paid all of them.

“But freedom is always conditional here. ‘You’re free!’ they keeping telling us. ‘But she would be alive if she hadn’t acted so… free.’ Now, freedom is always coming in the hereafter, but the hereafter is a hustle: We want it now.

“Let’s get a couple of things straight. The burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander — that’s not our job so let’s stop with all that. If you have a critique for our resistance then you’d better have an established record, a critique of our oppression.

“If you have no interest in equal rights for black people then do not make suggestions to those who do: sit down.

“We’ve been floating this country on credit for centuries, and we’re done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil — black gold! — ghettoizing and demeaning our creations and stealing them, gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit.

“Just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real. Thank you.”

There’s video of Williams’ whole speech at the link — well worth six minutes out of your morning.

The BET Awards also included some very fine Prince tributes; I’ve embedded Janelle Monae’s below the fold, because unfortunately it autoplays. (Also, mildly NSFW, for a brief flash of Monae’s tribute to Prince’s butt-cutout costume. Other performances & list of winners at Bet.com — but, again, watch out for autoplay video!
Read more

Brexit: “I Want My Country Back”

I owe some commentor a hat tip for this rather-too-close-to-home rant. Laurie Penny, in the New Statesman:

So, here’s the thing. This was never a referendum on the EU. It was a referendum on the modern world, and yesterday the frightened, parochial lizard-brain of Britain voted out, out, out, and today we’ve all woken up still strapped onto this ghost-train as it hurtles off the tracks. Leave voters are finding they care less about immigration now that their pension pots are under threat. Maybe one of the gurning pundits promising them pride and sovereignty should have mentioned that, but they were too busy lying about the NHS. The curtain has been torn away and now we all have to look at the men behind it. They are not good men.

Anyone feel like they’ve got their country back yet? No? That, after all, was the rallying cry of the Leave campaign – the transatlantic echo of “Make America Great Again”. There’s a precedent for what happens when svengalis with aggressively terrible haircuts are allowed to appeal to parochialism and fear in the teeth of a global recession, and it isn’t pretty…

There are huge areas of post-industrial decline and neglect where people are more furious than Cameron and his ilk could possibly understand, areas where any kind of antiestablishment rabble-rousing sounds like a clarion call. In depressed mountain villages and knackered seaside towns and burned-out former factory heartlands across the country, ordinary people were promised that for once, their vote would matter, that they could give the powers that be a poke in the eye. Westminster may have underestimated how very much it is hated by those to whom mainstream politics have not spoken in generations…

In the meantime, the cackling clown-car drivers rolling this catastrophe over the wreckage of civil society are already cheerfully admitting that they lied about their key campaign statements. No, there won’t be £350m more to spend on the NHS, whatever Farage wrote on his battle bus. It turns out that the reason you can’t get a GP appointment isn’t because of immigration, but because the Conservatives have spent six years systematically defunding the health service and cutting public spending to the bone. Brexit will mean more of that, not less…
Read more

Open Thread: Donald Trump, Insult Muppet

As you probably know, Donald Trump went to Scotland yesterday, not as a politician but to ballyhoo his idiot son’s second vanity-project golf resort. Since his arrival coincided with the #Brexit vote, he seized the opportunity to yammer jingoistic garbage — and the Scots were quick to respond. The tweet above, via Quartz, is my personal favorite so far. (Rough translation: “Go away you hamster-topped idiot, go boil your head [to make moron soup]”.) But there’s a rich lode for mining: polyester cockwomble; weaselheaded fucknugget; tiny fingered, Cheeto-faced, ferret wearing shitgibbon…

Buzzfeed has a nice selection, too — witless fucking cocksplat! Mangled apricot hellbeast! SPOON! [as in: Too dumb to be allowed the use of a fork].

Lord Short Thumbs is such a chaos muppet, he’s even managed to break Reddit. Per Jesse Singal at NYMag:

Ever since it became clear that Donald Trump was a serious threat to win the Republican presidential nomination, people have pointed out that the man doesn’t seem to hold solid, ideologically grounded positions in the way most politicians do. Many politicians flip-flop and present a massaged version of themselves in national elections, of course, but in Trump’s case there doesn’t appear to be much there there. He speaks in the language of resentment — his platform is simply Screw you, elites and Screw you, immigrants, screamed over and over at a deafening volume.

Much the same can be said about his most dedicated online followers. They are obsessed with fighting social-justice warriors, with breaking what they see as the chafing constrictions of “political correctness.” It’s a formula that works: People can’t get enough of arguments about who is offending whom, whether people are too outraged, whether people are too outraged over other people’s outrage, and so on.

For these and other reasons, tDonald Trump subreddit, r/The_Donald, has become one of the largest, most active and most influential places for Trump fans to gather, to the point where it has garnered major media attention, hosted AMAs with alt-right heroes like Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter, and, naturally, pissed off hordes of progressives with its denizens’ over-the-top antics.

But all is not well at r/The_Donald. Earlier this week, the moderator most responsible for launching the subreddit to its current lofty perch, CisWhiteMaelstrom (known more recently as Dylan-W), was removed from his position by the subreddit’s own mods, according to a post from those mods that went up late Tuesday. His story offers a tidy online microcosm of the Trump phenomenon itself, of the question of what it means to perform outrage online and how the act of doing so can be used for selfish and manipulative purposes…

The moderator responsible for the banning explained to Singal:

… Dylan-W/CisWhiteMaelstrom privately told me about this plan of his to create an alt right subreddit, to hand it over to white nationalist celebrities Jared Taylor, Walt Bismarck, and Richard Spencer, and to promote it on /r/the_donald using /u/Dylan-W. Having a moderator of the largest pro-Trump subreddit promote people that Trump himself would disavow does nothing to help Trump. It does, however, give credibility to the left wing narrative that Trump’s campaign is built on racism. Back in February Cis was helping us to keep white nationalists out of /r/the_donald, now he’s looking into promoting them and recruiting some of their leaders to run things. I do not support white nationalists and I don’t have reason to believe that Cis personally holds the views of these people. That said, this is not about what any one person on the moderator list believes in. This is about doing what is best for Donald Trump. The people who Cis said he would hand control of an alt right subreddit to are people who promote the idea of creating a white ethnostate in the United States. They are people that Trump would want nothing to do with. Just as Trump would, we disavow them…

Just in case you were worried that the public antics of the nuttier #BernOuts made the Democrats look like the biggest bunch of self-obsessed nitpickers and conspiracy theorists in modern American politics.

Things I Wish I Had Written

This may be my favorite sentence of 2016, and it’s about the Supreme Court affirmative action case, of all things:

Half-empty bottle of backwashed room temperature Aquafina Abigail Fisher finally (!) lost her years-long bid to have the Supreme Court recognize her hawkish and pandemic averageness as fucking special.

Read the whole thing. I’m in tears.

Sunday Night Open Thread: Happy “Relationship: It’s Complicated” Father’s Day…

I loved my old man, to use a phrase he taught me, this side idolatry. I inherited his sense of humor, so he introduced me to Gore Vidal’s critical essays, H. Allen Smith, John D. MacDonald, MAD Magazine, and Gilbert Shelton (the Wonder Wart Hog comics in the back of his motorcycle magazines). His extensive paperback library led me to love science fiction and fantasy. (Although he was dubious about my eventually teenage discovery of fandom: “I used to hang out with those guys in the Village clubs, before you were born. But they weren’t as friendly as the bikers, or as well-read as the jazz fans. In fact, some of them weren’t as literate as the bikers, and were even ruder than the jazzmen!”)

He told me that my sister might be the pretty one, but I was the smart one, and smart was better than pretty — and he demonstrated that he meant it, too. (After he died, my sister and I compared notes and discovered he’d said exactly the same thing to her.) He taught me that it was always wise to be skeptical, but that being only skeptical was also a trap. And despite his parental failures (which were many), he gave his kids another great gift by letting us know that it wasn’t our fault — neither he nor our mother were very good at parenting, was all.

And he also taught me “Remember, this’ll make a great story someday.”

Nicole Cliffe’s tweet-stream today got a lot of deserved attention…

… and it gets wilder from there, finally ending with one of the great punch lines of our era. By all means, read the whole thing (you don’t need to sign up to read Twitter). If reading bottom-to-top is too challenging, click on the blue ‘View conversation’ link, and you’ll get a pop-up showing the whole series start-to-finish.

Sunday Garden Chat: Front Yard Gardening

mental masala Bee on coriander flowers

From commentor Mental.Masala:

The most exciting thing to happen in my S.F. Bay Area garden is the result of my laziness and the unstoppable drive of plants to make seeds. The parsley plants in my raised beds have been exceptionally healthy and are flowering profusely. I also have some volunteer cilantro that quickly bolted and is also flowering. Both plants make wide platforms of tiny flowers, much like a Queen Anne’s Lace. The bees, flies, butterflies, dragonflies and other pollinators love the parsley and cilantro, especially the small native bees like the one in the photo. Once it warms up each day, the area around the flowers is abuzz with many species flying around and feeding.

After my last plea, I got an email from commentor Peter Cook:

I’m a longtime reader, occasional commenter, and all-around fan. I put up a post on my blog today about ripping out my front yard and replacing it with a big vegetable garden. I’m hoping you find it worthy of mention in the next Garden Chat…

peter cook acookblog pergola

Front yards are overrated. Sure, it’s good to have some grassy space to kick a ball or toss a disc with the kid, but otherwise lawn is a waste of square feet and resources, especially water. Rip out the grass, run a nice fence around it, and build some raised beds, though, and you’ve got yourself a one-stop shop for food, physical activity, neighborly sharing, and epic curb appeal.

This garden takes up just about the entire former front yard of the new house, including the path to the front door from the driveway. We and any visitors have to walk through it every day, and I wouldn’t have it any other way… It provided enough vegetables to get us through this entire last year without buying anything but a few guilty pleasures like artichokes. (I know they can be grown here, but it’s a two-year job and I haven’t gotten around to it yet.) Between the freezer, which held vacuum-bagged greens of all descriptions plus a ton of pre-chopped mirepoix, pestos, salsas, and chutneys from our modest fruit haul and all of the various fermented things—kimchis, sauerkraut, shredded carrots with coriander, minced leeks with Thai chilies, pickled beets—which sat in the basement and/or fridge, we were fully provisioned with enough plant food to inspire hundreds of excellent meals…

The garden is divided into three main zones. The first is the 28 raised beds that make up the bulk of it. Of these, two are now devoted to strawberries; initially it was just one but they’re too good. I also transplanted a bunch of runners into the blueberry bed. That bed, plus the perimeter beds both inside and outside of the big fence, make up the second zone: fruit. Various currants, plus gooseberries and jostaberries (a currant-gooseberry hybrid) make up the underplantings, while above them I have espaliered plum, pear, and cherry trees. Hardy kiwis live in one little corner bed, and I have three kinds of native table grapes planted along the outside of the fence near the pergola; they made it close to the top last year and should begin to cover it (and fruit) this year. There’s a thornless blackberry patch outside the other corner, and a bed each of rhubarb and asparagus. The old garden in town had those two crops outside the fence and the deer ignored them; the deer here in the woods are hungrier, with less landscaping to eat, so they go after everything. I wish I had known that before I locked in this design, since the retrofitted fencing is not beautiful.
Read more