State attorneys general + drop Trump University fraud cases = Trump donations

Last summer, Donald Trump explained his past habit of making campaign contributions to Democratic Party elected officials as being part of a cynical effort to bribe them to advance his business interests. Perhaps coincidentally, it turns out that a couple of state attorneys general who considered formal fraud investigations into his fake university received Trump campaign contributions after deciding to drop them.

“As a businessman and a very substantial donor to very important people, when you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do,” Trump said. “As a businessman, I need that.”…

Jeff Horwitz and Michael Biesecker report for the Associated Press in their story on fraud probes into Trump University by state attorneys general…

The office of then-Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican, opened a civil investigation of “possibly deceptive trade practices.” Abbott’s probe was quietly dropped in 2010 when Trump University agreed to end its operations in Texas. Trump subsequently donated $35,000 to Abbott’s successful gubernatorial campaign, according to records…

…Horwitz and Biesecker report that “Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi briefly considered joining with Schneiderman in a multi-state suit against Trump University.”…Three days after Bondi’s spokeswoman was quoted in local media reports as saying the office was reviewing the New York lawsuit, the Donald J. Trump Foundation made a $25,000 contribution to a political fundraising committee supporting Bondi’s re-election campaign. Bondi, a Republican, soon dropped her investigation, citing insufficient grounds to proceed.

Trump is pissed-off sufficiently by prosecution of his fraud that he’s released a video pimping “satisfied” customers from Trump U. Which, of course, has nothing to do with reversing the charges against him.

And then there are bits and pieces of actual testimony against him from one of the trials.

If you wondered who started the rumor about Coke being a healthy snack?


It wasn’t this mythical dude…

If a column in honor of heart health suggests a can of Coke as a snack, you might want to read the fine print.

The world’s biggest beverage maker, which struggles with declining soda consumption in the U.S., is working with fitness and nutrition experts who suggest its cola as a healthy treat. In February, for instance, several wrote online pieces for American Heart Month, with each including a mini-can of Coke or small soda as a snack idea.

The mentions – which appeared on nutrition blogs and other sites including those of major newspapers – show the many ways food companies work behind the scenes to cast their products in a positive light, often with the help of third parties who are seen as trusted authorities…

For Coca-Cola Co., the public relations strategy with health experts in February focused on the theme of “Heart Health & Black History Month.” The effort yielded a radio segment and multiple online pieces.

One post refers to a “refreshing beverage option such as a mini can of Coca-Cola.” Another suggests “portion-controlled versions of your favorites, like Coca-Cola mini cans, packs of almonds or pre-portioned desserts for a meal.”

The focus on the smaller cans isn’t surprising. Sugary drinks have come under fire for fueling obesity rates and related ills, and the last time Coke’s annual U.S. soda volume increased was in 2002, according to the industry tracker Beverage Digest. More recently, the company is pushing its mini-cans as a guilt-free way to enjoy cola. The cans also fetch higher prices on a per ounce basis, so even if people are drinking less soda, Coke says it can grow sales.

Most of the pieces suggesting mini-Cokes say in the bios that the author is a “consultant” for food companies, including Coca-Cola. Some add that the ideas expressed are their own. One column is marked at the bottom as a “sponsored article,” which is an ad designed to look like a regular story. It ran on more than 1,000 sites, including those of major news outlets around the country. The other posts were not marked as sponsored content, but follow a similar format…

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a professional group for dietitians, says in its code of ethics that practitioners promote and endorse products “only in a manner that is not false and misleading.” A spokesman for the academy did not respond when asked if the posts on mini-Cokes meet those guidelines.

I don’t expect corporations deriving profits from selling deadly crap masquerading as food – to admit their products are deadly crap masquerading as food. And I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised they can find a number of greedy fools willing to prostitute their professional credentials to pimp their products.

I think it would be closer to ethical if [1] they didn’t get away with deliberate lies, publishing bought-and-paid-for consultants to pretend there is value to their products – and [2] it might be useful in a time and place like the 21st Century in the United States – if mass media attempted something approaching truth-telling in the adverts they’re paid to distribute.

I can hardly think of crap less likely to be a useful snack than a can of Coke.

“You’re stopping my food stamps because I won a million dollars?!”

A Michigan woman who won the lottery but continued to receive food assistance from the state government has had her benefits pulled, officials said.

Amanda Clayton hit it big playing the Michigan Lottery. Like many winners, she used her $1 million prize to buy a new house. But the Lincoln Park, Michigan, resident continued to receive money in another form — $200 a month in state food assistance, according to CNN Detroit affiliate WDIV.

…On Thursday, the state’s Department of Human Services announced that she is no longer getting the benefits.

According to Michigan law, welfare recipients must report any changes in assets or income to the agency within 10 days. The department “relies on clients being forthcoming about their actual financial status. If they are not, and continue to accept benefits, they may face criminal investigation and be required to pay back those benefits,” Director Maura Corrigan said in a statement…

“I thought that they would cut me off, but since they didn’t, I thought, maybe, it was OK because I’m not working,” Clayton, 24, told WDIV when it asked whether it was appropriate for her to receive the money…

In October, Clayton walked away with $1 million in the “Make Me Rich!” lottery game show. She also bought a car…

After taking a lump sum and paying taxes, the unemployed woman said she ended up with just more than $500,000.

Asked if she had the right to the public assistance money, Clayton answered, “I kind of do. I have no income, and I have bills to pay. I have two houses.”

Sheesh. Somewhere inside that peabrain there are an insufficient numbers of functional synapses.

What does she think she is? An oil company?