Trump Scammed Millions From His Not-Very-Bright Supporters


Mandel Ngan/AFP

One of the more ironic aspects of Donald Trump’s improbable election win in 2016 was that many of his supporters declared they were voting for him because unlike career politicians, he actually told the truth. In reality, of course, he lied about everything all the time. Whether it was a big lie like the one about how Mexico was going to pay for his wall; a weird lie like the one about having been named Michigan’s “Man of the Year”; an insane lie like the one about windmills causing cancer; a sad, pathetic lie like the one about his inauguration crowd being bigger than Barack Obama’s; or a truly WTF lie like the one about the Boy Scouts of America calling to tell him his crazy speech in front of thousands of children was the best one they’d ever heard, the man spent his entire time in office lying through his caps, to the tune of 30,573 lies in four years. (Or 7,643 lies a year, or 21 lies a day.)…

The Save America PAC “is probably the most lucrative thing he’s had in terms of cash flow since the Plaza casino in Atlantic City,” Tim O’Brien, a Trump biographer, told the Post. “This is just as lucrative. He has recognized because of what happened after the election—he can make money as a candidate.”

Sad, but, true. In this case, the old aphorism still counts. You get what you paid for. Give some of your money to a proven crook…you may discover, later, he kept milking your bank account…like the dumbass cow who doesn’t notice they’ve been switched from the milking barn to the slaughterhouse..

The ACLU got $24 million in donations this weekend — response to their courage!


Anthony Romero, ACLU head, on the streets, in the courts, all weekend

❝ In the weeks after the Nov. 8 election, when Donald Trump secured a surprise victory to become president of the United States, the American Civil Liberties Union received so much money in online donations — more than $15 million — that an official with the 100-year-old organization called the flood “unprecedented in our history.”…

…then Trump spent his first week as president signing executive orders and making good on some of his campaign promises, spurring massive protests across the country and the world — about women’s rights, the environment and what Trump calls his “extreme vetting” of travelers to the U.S. from seven predominantly Muslim nations…

❝ This weekend alone, the civil liberties group received more than $24 million in online donations from 356,306 people, a spokesman told The Washington Post early Monday morning, a total that supersedes its annual online donations by six times.

In an interview with CNN, the ACLU had a one-word reaction: “Wow.”

Having lived through a couple of attempts to bring fascism to power in the United States, I’m encouraged. Groups like the ACLU are usually a front-row target of lard-brained right-wingers like Trump and Bannon. Civil liberties – and their defenders – are an automatic target of creeps who front themselves as “strong leaders” and other code words for wannabe dictators.

Early days of McCarthyism,there were beaucoup folks with good intentions, civic understanding – and no guts – who would donate “cash only” to an organization of constitutional lawyers willing to fight for preservation of American standards. That folks have more courage – and greater willingness to drop their hard-earned buck$ on the barrel-head to support the fight for freedom is more than encouraging. It bodes well for the continuing battle.

Trump promised millions to charity — remove half of those zeros!

Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold is investigating how much Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has given to charity in recent years. Here’s what he found…

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 weeks, The Post tried to answer the question by digging up records going back to the late 1980s and canvassing a wide swath of nonprofits with some connection to Trump.

That research showed that Trump has a long-standing habit of promising to give to charity. But Trump’s follow-through on those promises was middling — even at the beginning, in his early days as a national celebrity.

In the 1980s, Trump pledged to give away royalties from his first book to fight AIDS and multiple sclerosis. But he gave less to those causes than he did to his older daughter’s ballet school.

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

The Post contacted 188 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.

There are a number of credible claims that Trump is a pathological liar. It’s compulsive and he makes no attempt to control his obsession with making himself sound larger than his miserly life really is.

Maybe it’s true after all.

The fools content with voting for him don’t care. About Trump’s lies – or the truth.

158 families own the 2016 presidential election — or so they think

They are overwhelmingly white, rich, older and male, in a nation that is being remade by the young, by women, and by black and brown voters. Across a sprawling country, they reside in an archipelago of wealth, exclusive neighborhoods dotting a handful of cities and towns. And in an economy that has minted billionaires in a dizzying array of industries, most made their fortunes in just two: finance and energy.

Now they are deploying their vast wealth in the political arena, providing almost half of all the seed money raised to support Democratic and Republican presidential candidates. Just 158 families, along with companies they own or control, contributed $176 million in the first phase of the campaign, a New York Times investigation found. Not since before Watergate have so few people and businesses provided so much early money in a campaign, most of it through channels legalized by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision five years ago.

The majority of it guided by ideology not economics. BTW.

These donors’ fortunes reflect the shifting composition of the country’s economic elite. Relatively few work in the traditional ranks of corporate America, or hail from dynasties of inherited wealth. Most built their own businesses, parlaying talent and an appetite for risk into huge wealth: They founded hedge funds in New York, bought up undervalued oil leases in Texas, made blockbusters in Hollywood. More than a dozen of the elite donors were born outside the United States, immigrating from countries like Cuba, the old Soviet Union, Pakistan, India and Israel.

But regardless of industry, the families investing the most in presidential politics overwhelmingly lean right, contributing tens of millions of dollars to support Republican candidates who have pledged to pare regulations; cut taxes on income, capital gains and inheritances; and shrink entitlement programs…

In marshaling their financial resources chiefly behind Republican candidates, the donors are also serving as a kind of financial check on demographic forces that have been nudging the electorate toward support for the Democratic Party and its economic policies. Two-thirds of Americans support higher taxes on those earning $1 million or more a year, according to a June New York Times/CBS News poll, while six in 10 favor more government intervention to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor. According to the Pew Research Center, nearly seven in 10 favor preserving Social Security and Medicare benefits as they are.

RTFA. Please. A solid piece of research.

I doubt it will hold any surprises; but, it may also reinforce your resolve to continue the change that the majority of Americans endorse. Even if that bothers the nouveau riche.

New York State Attorney General finds charity telemarketers keep 62% of what you donate

boiler room

In 2012, New York charities raised nearly $249 million, but telemarketers kept about 62 percent of the donations, the state attorney general says…

Often telemarketers target seniors or the disabled because they are home, answer the phone and are usually socially isolated and eager to speak with people because they are lonely. However, many are on fixed incomes and these donations are a real sacrifice that eats into funds needed for healthcare, food, prescriptions and heat.

Charities in New York City received the highest rate of return, with telemarketing campaigns taking in $42 million and returning $22 million, or 53.9 percent, while Long Island organizations fared the worst, pulling in a gross of $8 million and a net of $2 million or 25 percent…

Some of the non-profit groups with the worst percentage of money to the charity and fundraising expenses are law enforcement and veterans groups — two areas that seniors are apt to donate.

For example, the Department of New York Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States collected 15 percent from the fundraising money, the Police Conference of New York also gained 15 percent and the state Association of Chiefs of Police received 20 percent.

For those considered a donation via a telemarketer, Schneiderman advises asking the caller making the solicitation to describe the programs conducted by the charity, how much of a donation will be used for those programs, how much the telemarketer is being paid and how much if any of a donation the charity is guaranteed to receive.

Checking up on folks asking for charitable donations should be number one. Cynicism aside, charities are a great source of marks for any hustler. The NY AG’s report [.pdf] is available over here – and it’s useful whether or not you live in the Empire State.

The super donor All-Star trading cards

Collect ’em all: Super donor trading cards

Backer of Democrats and hedge fund billionaire James H. Simons jumps to No. 8 on The Center for Public Integrity’s list of top donors to super PACs, surpassing his former protégé,GOP supporter Robert Mercer, who ranks No. 9.

Democrats also came up with a counter to pro-Republican homebuilder Bob Perry (No. 3), who backed efforts in Texas to pass laws that lower jury verdicts. Husband-and-wife trial lawyers Steve and Amber Mostyn, also of Texas, make their first appearance on the list at No. 10.

Get detailed profiles on all and view “trading cards” of this election’s biggest super PAC donors.

Folks at the Center for Public Integrity get nothing but kudos from me. They work diligently at some of the most boring data mining possible – dedicated to turning up decisions, behavior based on what passes for ethical standards in our political life. Practically mutually-exclusive terms, nowadays.

Charity refuses donations from former Navy SEAL’s book profits

The former Navy SEAL who wrote No Easy Day under the pen name Mark Owen has promised to donate a majority of his profits to charities, but one of the non-profit groups he touted – the Navy SEAL Foundation – has ruled out accepting his donations.

“The Navy SEAL Foundation is committed to providing immediate and ongoing support and assistance to the Naval Special Warfare community and their families.

“With this principled mission in mind, the Foundation will not be accepting any donations that are generated from the book or any related activities,” the group said in a statement on its website…

The book has shot to the top of bestseller lists amid an avalanche of publicity, but Owen’s decision to publish his first-hand account has angered many fellow SEALs, including the commander of the elite units, who say he has betrayed the ethos of the special operators to be “quiet professionals”.

The Pentagon has accused the author of revealing classified information and violating non-disclosure agreements he signed while in uniform, which it says require him to submit any manuscript to the defence officials before publication.

NDA’s are something often regarded lightly by my fellow geeks. And perhaps in the world of tech that is so.

I say with equal consideration that is not the case in the life of those military women and men charged with defending their nation.

Any regular visitor here knows well of my feelings about the misuse of military power by our country and others, over time, over history — and today. I joke a bit about being a citizen of Earth more than I am of any political entity. But, I have always respected the charge of non-disclosure sacred to the lives of those brave or foolhardy enough – or sufficiently dedicated – to commit to a military life. I extend that to those I have known and lived alongside in military service – even in wars I have opposed.

Malawi school kitchen will honor 9-year-old lunch blogger

A school kitchen being built in Malawi is to be named in honour of a nine-year-old blogger who has raised £85,000 for charity.

Martha Payne started the NeverSeconds blog six weeks ago, posting daily pictures of, and opinions about, her school lunches…On Friday Martha was told by Argyll and Bute council to stop taking photos for her blog as media coverage had apparently left catering staff fearing for their jobs. But the council reversed its decision after a barrage of negative publicity in the media and on social networking sites.

The ban led to thousands of donations flooding in to Martha’s JustGiving site, which she had set up to raise money for Mary’s Meals. The charity runs school feeding projects in communities around the world where poverty and hunger prevent children from gaining an education.

Martha’s fundraising total rocketed from £3,000 to almost £85,000 in just four days. It means a kitchen will be built at Lirangwe primary school in Blantyre, Malawi, and all 1,963 of the pupils will be fed for a whole year, as part of the charity’s Sponsor a School initiative.

Martha has chosen to name the kitchen Friends of NeverSeconds, in recognition of the worldwide support she has received.

She said: “It’s really good because it can feed lots of children for a long time.

“Calling the kitchen Friends of NeverSeconds is important as it’s a thank you to everyone who has supported me and Mary’s Meals. Mary’s Meals is a very simple charity and can achieve so much with so very little…”

The charity said it costs on average £10.70 to feed a child for an entire school year in Malawi.

It provides a daily meal to more than 650,000 youngsters every school day in 16 of the world’s poorest countries, including Malawi, Liberia, Kenya, India and Haiti.

Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, founder and chief executive of Mary’s Meals, said: “I am humbled by Martha and her friends…”Because of what they are doing, and all those generous people who are donating, the lives of thousands of the world’s poorest children will be transformed.

I can only second that emotion. While I’ve spent a significant portion of my life encouraging folks to take those few steps forward into activism needed to really change our society into something more useful than a machine for producing profit for damned few – I have to recognize the many simple charities which achieve very much with very little.

Mary’s Meals is one of those. Martha Payne is one of those valuable children who lives her young life by a standard few ever really get round to embracing. She’s worth her weight in happiness.