Information from the FEC and the Gun Violence Archive. Need we say more?
Before the discussion of the Clinton Foundation gets any more ridiculous – it’s time to do a bit of push back on the attacks. First, there’s the mission of the charity: “We convene businesses, governments, NGOs, and individuals to improve global health and wellness, increase opportunity for girls and women, reduce childhood obesity, create economic opportunity and growth, and help communities address the effects of climate change.”
The mission statement all but invites attacks from the radical right wing; What? The charity supports global health, places a focus on projects that help women, supports efforts to reduce childhood obesity? Oh, and then there’s the “climate change” element which generally sends the Deniers into a low orbit. We should come back to these efforts after dealing with some of the more idiotic charges leveled by the Trump Campaign.
Here’s Trump’s latest:
“It is impossible to figure out where the Clinton Foundation ends and the State Department begins,” Trump said at a rally in Austin. “It is now abundantly clear that the Clinton’s set up a business to profit from public office. They sold access and specific actions by and really for I guess the making of large amounts of money.” [NBC]
Hogwash. And we know this is hogwash because, as the article continues:
“Trump cited no evidence of any quid-pro-quo between the foundation’s donors and Clinton’s State Department Tuesday night, but still described Clinton as having been “bought and sold” and characterized the foundation as “a threat to the foundation of Democracy.” [NBC] (emphasis added)
Thus, on the basis of NO evidence whatsoever, Mr. Trump has decided that a charitable organization must be Investigated! Prosecuted! because….why? Perhaps it’s because the interminable Benghazi investigations turned up exactly zilch, and the emails proved absolutely nothing, the GOP is attempting to manufacture another “outrage” for low information public consumption.
Comparing the Clinton and Trump Foundations
Clinton Foundation: The Clinton Foundation is not rated by Charity Navigator, one of the more popular check sites available online. The rationale for non-rating is made clear:
“We had previously evaluated this organization, but have since determined that this charity’s atypical business model can not be accurately captured in our current rating methodology. Our removal of The Clinton Foundation from our site is neither a condemnation nor an endorsement of this charity. We reserve the right to reinstate a rating for The Clinton Foundation as soon as we identify a rating methodology that appropriately captures its business model. A lack of a rating does not indicate a positive or negative assessment by Charity Navigator.”
Translation: It is NOT that the Clinton Foundation couldn’t be rated, it is not rated because CN’s rating methodology doesn’t fit the business model. But, But, sputter the critics, the Clinton Foundation was put on the Watch List by CN… Not. So. Fast.
The charitable organization rating group placed the Foundation on its watch list after several negative reports were published in the news between February and November 2015. After which the Foundation was removed from the watch list because:
“In accordance with our policy for removing charities from the CN Watchlist, Charity Navigator removed the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation from the Watchlist in December 2015 because the charity provided publicly accessible information regarding their amended tax Forms for 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. This information, along with the public memorandum submitted addressing the other issues raised in the Watchlist entry, meets our requirements for removal.” [CN] (emphasis added)
Now, let’s compare the Clinton Foundation, which provides “publicly accessible information,” which and The Trump Foundation, of which Charity Navigator reports:
“This organization is not eligible to be rated by Charity Navigator because it is a Private Foundation.
Private foundations receive the majority of their money from only one individual, family or corporation. This differs from the public charities that Charity Navigator evaluates. Public charities have a broad-base of support from the general public as well as variety of other funding sources. The IRS requires that private foundations file a Form 990-PF which differs from the document public charities file. This makes it impossible for us to compare the financial performance of private foundations to public charities.” [CN]
There is a whopper sized difference between not being able to rate because of data indicating a different business model, and not being able to rate because it’s impossible to evaluate the financial performance of a private foundation. Put more simply – it’s the difference between a public charity, fully transparent, with publicly accessible information about programs and projects, and a private foundation about which practically nothing is known.
There is a way to drill down on the Trump Foundations listed but it requires more key strokes. The portal was created by ProPublica, and from thence on to the individual 990-PF downloads in PDF. The drilling exercise is instructive.
The Mission is the Message
One of the names appearing on the 2013 Trump Foundation 990-PF is Richard Ebers. whom Huffington Post has already noticed:
“A New York-based ticket broker named Richard Ebers has given more than $1.8 million to Trump’s foundation since 2011. When asked by phone what prompted the donations, Ebers, who’s been described as a high-end scalper, said he had “no comment.” Representatives for the Trump Organization also declined to answer any questions about the money from Ebers.”
The New York Times devoted a full piece to the Ticket Man. Perhaps Mr. Trump believes that foundations are for “getting something” because that’s the way he has used his? Again, the Huffington Post reports:
“…the foundation’s money has come from people and companies that do business with Trump or want something from him. In 2006, People magazine gave the foundation $150,000. Trump gave the magazine exclusive photos of his newborn son, Barron, in April of that year. NBC Universal gave the foundation $10,000 in 2007 and another $500,000 in 2012. Trump’s popular reality shows “The Apprentice” and “The Celebrity Apprentice” aired on NBC from 2004 to 2015. And in 2011, Comedy Central gave the foundation $400,000 as an appearance fee for the billionaire’s participation in The Comedy Central Roast of Donald Trump.” [HuffPo]
Perhaps this is the origin for the attacks on the Clinton Foundation? A person who believes that as he acts, thus does everyone else? Compare this to the projects associated with the Clinton Foundation, as exemplified by the following two examples:
A self help, entrepreneurial, project in Peru — “Chakipi (meaning “to your home” in Quechua, an indigenous Andean language) Acceso is a last-mile distribution enterprise that equips women in various regions in Peru with sales training and products such as nutritious foods, personal care items, pharmaceuticals, and solar lamps. The Chakipi entrepreneurs then sell these products to others within their communities – providing essential, life-changing goods that are otherwise hard or impossible to access.”
Or CHAI, Building on the work of the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), a separate, affiliated entity, to scale up HIV testing and treatment for children, CHAI’s Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) program takes a comprehensive approach to stopping new pediatric infections. CHAI supports mothers and babies “across the cascade,” meaning from pregnancy and delivery through breastfeeding and into long-term care for HIV-positive mothers and children. Unlike many PMTCT efforts that focus only on one part of the cascade, CHAI’s work is demonstrating that a comprehensive, integrated system of care will be critical to reaching the ultimate goal of eliminating new pediatric HIV infections.”
Not to put too fine a point to it, but I’d much prefer the operations of the Clinton Foundation which does things like help women establish home based business enterprises or seeks to prevent the transmission of HIV between mother and child, to the smaller and rather more self serving projects described in the Huffington Post article. As one of the two Corinthians might have said to Mr. Trump:
A final word from Matthew (7:5)
Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam in thy own eye, and then shalt thou see to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
At 9:05 AM this morning I gave up on cable news – again. I’d finished washing up the breakfast dishes and a few of their comrades from last evening, and was ready to watch some “news” for an hour or so. Five minutes into the viewing, including two channel changes, I remembered why I gave up on watching cable news broadcasts a short while back. The three V’s: Vapidity. Vacuity. Vagueness.
Vapidity: Or, in the long form, a lack of stimulation, challenge, or sharpness; tepid, insipid, and bland. This is characteristic of those broadcasters who believe that I might be remotely interested in yet another presentation of punditry discussing the semantics of e-mail transmissions. Digging actual facts out of the morass of “process” punditry reveals that FBI Director Comey was correct – there is NO indication of any criminality in Secretary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server. NONE. Done. That someone has discovered a possible discrepancy in variations of the explanations isn’t news, it’s not even new. It’s part of a continuous piece of propaganda floated by the Republican Party, and its allies among the Beltway Villagers, for some “Watergate-esque” issue to continue the Clinton assault they’ve enjoyed for the last umpteen years.
If the e-mail non-story were the only example I might not be so dismissive of cable news, but it isn’t. There have been precious few attempts by the cable networks to treat any story with any depth. Sadly, many items are mentioned and the presenter quickly shifts to “what does this mean for Senator Sludgepump’s campaign?” For example, MSNBC, to its credit, did offer some actual context for the Flint Water Crisis. And now the parallel universes take the stage – in the broadcast world the issue is “old news” even though the aftermath of the water contamination is far from over; in the real world we are discovering more communities with water supplies which do not meet the maximum contaminant levels for lead – and these are getting back page, below the fold, treatment – and not a minute on cable broadcasts.
The broadcasters are content, it seems, to offer a stream of sequels to stories of limited interest to the general public instead of presenting stories involving critical national issues. Case in point: Immigration policy reform. There is a bill, passed by the Senate, languishing in the House which offers comprehensive immigration policy reform, and the GOP House leadership can’t or won’t move it. Instead of seeing and hearing intelligent discussions of the POLICY issues we are being treated to “how is the Hispanic Outreach project of the Trump campaign” doing? How is the Clinton campaign doing in the polling among Hispanic American voters?
Vacuity: In order to hit this level a broadcast needs to wade through Shallow and into Inanity. Here we go again, we all know that U.S. national elections are composed of 50 individual state elections, and still the cable news networks – months from the general election – tout their national polling. This adds a new level of nothingness to the abyss. I might as well inform readers that I have five fingers on each hand and try to pass this off as “news.”
Vagueness: This is the point in a campaign when the parties should be sharpening their messages, and providing actual examples of policy statements and plans on offer to the voters. We’re not getting that from the Trump side of the ledger – we get speeches, analysis of the speeches, and follow up interviews with surrogates who inform us that the details will be provided later. When’s ‘later?’ At what point will the reporters on camera demand some solid answers? And, should that fail, when do they point out that those Statues in the Park have no more ‘clothing’ than the policy non-statements issued by the Trump campaign and its surrogates.
There’s nothing that pleases the Press quite so much as whining about the treatment of the Press. The current whine is that Secretary Clinton hasn’t had a “full blown press conference” for X number of days and counting. Really? Since when was August a major month for press conferences by any national campaign? And, Secretary Clinton attended a fund raiser and the Press wasn’t invited! Oh dear, and we saw Governor Romney’s comment about the 47% in pool tape? Or, uh-no, it was from a bootleg tape and the press hadn’t been invited to that fundraising event. How this tells us anything about the POLICY of and plans for an administration is anyone’s guess; but, what it does tell us is that the media loves to talk about the media.
At least I know I’m not alone. There’s some comfort in reading this analysis of the situation in Crooks and Liars,
“People want truth. They don’t want talking points, or “both sides do it.” Donald Trump has broken all of the rules of party politics, and also the cable news formula. Some, like Stelter, Bolduan, Keilar and Reid have taken the cue, choosing to aggressively pursue truth-telling. Others are not.
To those who refuse to pay attention, beware. Consumers have moved on from the political pablum you serve. Only those who are bold enough to speak truth to the professional liars will survive.”
And Salon’s article about the long-lived conservative obsession with all things Clinton, especially from Judicial Watch:
“This is the same Judicial Watch that currently has the press panting over every release of the Clinton State Department emails they’ve received from their FOIA fishing expedition, rushing on the air and to print based upon the organization’s often erroneous and misleading press releases. Tom Fitton, the organization’s current president and author of the book “The Corruption Chronicles: Obama’s Big Secrecy, Big Corruption, and Big Government” proudly declared, “Judicial Watch has had more success investigating the IRS, Benghazi and Clinton email scandals than any House committee.”
Considering the outcomes of the IRS and Benghazi “scandals,” it would behoove the press to show a little skepticism. The history of this group is very clear. The first time it waged its campaign of character assassination against Bill and Hillary Clinton, it’s perhaps understandable that the press failed to recognize they were being manipulated by political operatives. The trumped-up Obama scandals added up to nothing as well. There’s no excuse for the media to fall for it again.”
However, it’s my guess they will fall for it – as long as the Three V’s are the mainstays of cable broadcasting practice.
Now, think about the general tone and substance (or lack thereof) apparent in 2016 campaign for the Presidency on the part of Donald J. Trump. Consider his avoidance of venues in which he could have directly addressed African Americans – the Urban League, the NAACP? Consider his speeches to nearly all white audiences while telling African Americans “Vote for me, because you’ve got nothing to lose.” Think of the surrogate on television suggesting a burning car would be a good backdrop for appeals to the African American community? Remember his comment about Mexican “drug smugglers and rapists?” His verbal assault on a Judge of Mexican American heritage? His supporters chanting “Build the Wall?”
Add to this toxic mixture his selection of a foreign policy adviser who opined that “there weren’t enough ovens,” in Nazi death camps to murder 6 million people. [McClatchyDC] The Trump campaign is focusing on discussing people, people as the “other” – African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Jewish Americans, Native Americans, Muslim Americans…
There’s also the matter of how the Trump campaign addresses policy issues. (1) Make a speech with slogans and buzz words; (2) Talk about the speech in social media formats; (3) Announce that more details will be revealed later … and later seems never to arrive. Mr. Trump is obviously willing to discuss people, periodically willing to discuss events (although his commentary on the situation in Ukraine was patently shallow), but never quite manages to have a serious policy debate – one containing those IDEAS that drive a candidacy and a party.
There are a matter of weeks left before the general election – and still Mr. Trump hasn’t demonstrated he has anything other than a small mind.
Nor has his party been of any assistance. The GOP clings to the “e-mails” as though they were indicative of some major issue – or related to Secretary Clinton’s veracity – they weren’t, they aren’t, and they are nothing more than the product of the Radical Right Wing Outrage Machine. The manufactured “scandal” is propped up solely for the purpose of attacking the Secretary personally.
Their health care plans are re-heated Health Savings Accounts left over from campaigns past. Their economic plans and tax reform proposals are a repetition of the failed policy, old fashioned Trickle Down theories. Their foreign policy pronouncements are stolid sloganeering in the face of asymmetrical and nuanced threats and issues. Their trade policy defies the logic of their own economic core. They slavishly recite the NRA talking points on gun violence in America. It seems when one can’t address ideas, or present new ones for consideration, then the only thing left is the personal attack. The small minds will continue to discuss people.
Americans deserve better.
“Las Vegas, NV – Today, at a campaign event in Henderson – at which a participant reiterated debunked conspiracy theories Congressman Heck has espoused – Donald Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, officially endorsed Congressman Heck’s campaign. In response, Catherine Cortez Masto for Senate spokesperson Zach Hudson released the following statement:
“After he criticized Republicans who are not supporting Donald Trump’s candidacy last week, the Trump campaign returned the favor and officially gave Congressman Heck its seal of approval today. But this should come as no surprise. Donald Trump, Mike Pence, and Congressman Heck all share the same extreme agenda that would tear immigrant families apart, eliminate a woman’s right to choose, and ship more American jobs overseas.” [CCM]
This raises the question: Why would anyone WANT an endorsement from the Trump-Pence Campaign? Especially when it’s associated with statements like:
An ‘extremely credible source’ has called my office and told me that Barack Obama’s birth certificate is a fraud”
“You know, it really doesn’t matter what the media write as long as you’ve got a young, and beautiful, piece of ass.”
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best. They’re not sending you, they’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bring crime. They’re rapists… And some, I assume, are good people.” [MCUK]
Then there’s the infamous disparagement of John McCain’s service: “He’s not a war hero,” Trump said at the Family Leadership Summit, during a discussion. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” […] Trump almost immediately denied saying McCain was not a war hero, and then criticized the senator for not doing enough for veterans.” [Politico] This from a man who got several deferments from service during the Viet Nam war – and who was comfortably at home while McCain was imprisoned.
Followed by the Major Whopper:
“I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.” [Newsday] This has been thoroughly debunked!
“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot people and I wouldn’t lose voters,” Trump said at a rally in Iowa, pointing his finger at the crowd like he was shooting a handgun, as he expressed confidence that he would remain atop the Republican field.” [Newsday] The statement reads like it came from a cult leader, not a mainstream politician? And, then there’s this:
“In the Middle East, we have people chopping the heads off Christians, we have people chopping the heads off many other people. We have things that we have never seen before — as a group, we have never seen before, what’s happening right now. The medieval times — I mean, we studied medieval times — not since medieval times have people seen what’s going on. I would bring back waterboarding and I’d bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.” [Newsday]
I’m not sure anyone will ever be able to explain to Mr. Trump that the reason the United States and other nations signed the Geneva Accords was to PROTECT THEIR OWN TROOPS from inhumane treatment. But, wait, we can’t leave out Trump picking a fight with a Gold Star family.
“I saw him. He was, you know, very emotional. And probably looked like — a nice guy to me. His wife, if you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably — maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say.” [Newsday] Oh, please, that’s been explained, and Mr. Khan is the furthest thing from a misogynistic caveman of the Trump variety one can think of.
“I’m afraid the election is going to be rigged, I have to be honest.” [Newsday] We ought to take a closer look at this one. He continued: “She can’t beat what’s happening here,” the Republican presidential nominee told the crowd in Altoona on Friday night. “The only way they can beat it, in my opinion, and I mean this 100 percent, if in certain sections of the state they cheat, OK?” [NBC] (emphasis added) Now just where might those “certain sections” be located? We’ve moved from dog whistle into bull horn territory here – he’s obviously speaking of urban, predominantly African American or minority, neighborhoods. The premise here is that if a candidate gets votes from “others,” like Hispanic, African American, or other ethnic minority voters then the election is “rigged.” Alternately, only white voters cast legitimate ballots – ergo, only elections with all white voters are legitimate. White Nationalism/Supremacist thinking on parade for all to see.
But wait, there’s more! With the addition of Stephen Bannon to the Trump-Pence campaign we can expect more of this.
“Andrew Breitbart despised racism. Truly despised it. He used to brag regularly about helping to integrate his fraternity at Tulane University. He insisted that racial stories be treated with special care to avoid even the whiff of racism. With Bannon embracing Trump, all that changed. Now Breitbart has become the alt-right go-to website, with Yiannopoulos pushing white ethno-nationalism as a legitimate response to political correctness, and the comment section turning into a cesspool for white supremacist mememakers.” [Wire]
So, let’s review. Candidate Heck has been endorsed by a campaign which has insulted __ Women __ LGBT__Native Americans__African Americans __Hispanic Americans __ Veterans __Muslims__ The US Military __ The US Intelligence Services (check all boxes). Further, the campaign refuses to release Trump’s Tax Returns. Remember the fuss Trump raised about Obama’s birth certificate and records from Columbia University? Evidently, the rules that apply to other candidates and incumbents do not apply to the Mighty Trump.
“The Republican vision for American banking calls for establishing transparent, efficient markets where consumers can obtain loans they need at reasonable rates based on market conditions. Unfortunately, in response to the financial institutions crisis of 2008-2009, the Democratic-controlled Congress enacted the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, otherwise known as Dodd-Frank.”
“The worst of Dodd-Frank is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, deliberately designed to be a rogue agency. It answers to neither Congress nor the executive, has its own guaranteed funding outside the appropriations process… If the Bureau is not abolished, it should be subjected to congressional appropriation.”
You read this correctly – all the protections in place to correct the banker’s reckless actions leading up to the last Recession will be wiped away along with any protection from predatory lenders.
“Minimum wage is an issue that should be handled at the state and local level.”
Translation: No increase in the federal minimum wage.
“We endorse the First Amendment Defense Act, Republican legislation in the House and Senate which will bar government discrimination against individuals and businesses for acting on the belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.”
Translation: Freedom to discriminate.
“We support firearm reciprocity legislation to recognize the right of law-abiding Americans to carry firearms to protect themselves and their families in all 50 states. We support constitutional carry statutes and salute the states that have passed them. We oppose ill-conceived laws that would restrict magazine capacity or ban the sale of the most popular and common modern rifle.”
Open carry, of anything, anywhere in a nation coping with mass shootings and tragic loss of life.
“We assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to children before birth.”
This is about as anti-choice as it gets.
“Impose no changes for persons 55 or older. Give others the option of traditional Medicare or transition to a premium-support model designed to strengthen patient choice, promote cost-saving competition among providers.”
Translation: “Premium Support” = Coupons. My, my, I seem to remember an advertisement from the Heck camp recently telling me that he supports Medicare? Maybe not quite??
Representative Heck is now associated with not only an unpalatable platform from a reactionary party, but also with a white-nationalist, misogynistic, bigoted, abrasive, bullying campaign. It will be interesting to see how candidate Heck responds to his recent endorsement.