Tuesday ReadsPosted: September 20, 2016
As usual I’ve been having a difficult time figuring out where to begin my post. Then I saw the new story by David Farenthold at The Washington Post. This one has to be the story of the day: Trump used $258,000 from his charity to settle legal problems.
Donald Trump spent more than a quarter-million dollars from his charitable foundation to settle lawsuits that involved the billionaire’s for-profit businesses, according to interviews and a review of legal documents.
Those cases, which together used $258,000 from Trump’s charity, were among four newly documented expenditures in which Trump may have violated laws against “self-dealing” — which prohibit nonprofit leaders from using charity money to benefit themselves or their businesses.
In one case, from 2007, Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club faced $120,000 in unpaid fines from the town of Palm Beach, Fla., resulting from a dispute over the size of a flagpole.
In a settlement, Palm Beach agreed to waive those fines — if Trump’s club made a $100,000 donation to a specific charity for veterans. Instead, Trump sent a check from the Donald J. Trump Foundation, a charity funded almost entirely by other people’s money, according to tax records.
In another case, court papers say one of Trump’s golf courses in New York agreed to settle a lawsuit by making a donation to the plaintiff’s chosen charity. A $158,000 donation was made by the Trump Foundation, according to tax records.
The other expenditures involved smaller amounts. In 2013, Trump used $5,000 from the foundation to buy advertisements touting his chain of hotels in programs for three events organized by a D.C. preservation group. And in 2014, Trump spent $10,000 of the foundation’s money for a portrait of himself bought at a charity fundraiser.
Or, rather, another portrait of himself.
Yes, that was in addition to the $20,000 Trump spent on a six-foot tall portrait of himself. Read many more details at the link.
Next up, Donald Trump Jr. provides evidence that white supremacy is at the core of the Trump campaign. Yesterday Jr. tweeted this message:
It turns out that this is a well-known white supremacist meme. They used to use M&M’s but switched to Skittles after George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin.
Philip Bump at The Washington Post explains the mathematical fallacy behind Junior’s tweet: Donald Trump Jr. inadvertently encourages America to scoop up refugees by the handful.
If there were a bowl of delicious fruitish-flavored Skittles in front of you and three would kill you, you should not pick up a handful and start eating. That would be a very, very bad idea.
This idea easily scales downward. If you had a carton of eggs and three of the eggs were poisonous, you should absolutely not eat from that carton. If I give you three cookies and all three are poisonous, again: Avoid! I am actively trying to kill you for some reason, perhaps because you are bad at math.
The problem for Donald J. Trump, Jr. is that scaling it the other way doesn’t work as well — and that’s why the part in blue doesn’t apply.
So let’s figure out what the analogy is. The libertarian (and Koch brothers-backed) think tank Cato Institute published a report last week assessingthe risk posed by refugees. That report stated that, each year, the risk to an American of being killed by a refugee in a terror attack is 1 in 3.64 billion, as Huffington Post’s Elise Foley noted on Twitter. From the report:
From 1975 through 2015, the annual chance that an American would be murdered in a terrorist attack carried out by a foreign-born terrorist was 1 in 3,609,709. Foreigners on the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) killed zero Americans in terrorist attacks, whereas those on other tourist visas killed 1 in 3.9 million a year. The chance that an American would be killed in a terrorist attack committed by a refugee was 1 in 3.64 billion a year.
In other words, for every 10.92 billion years that Americans live — one Skittle, if you will — refugees will kill an American in a terror attack in three.
There’s more logic at the the link, but the real story here is that Donald Trump Jr. gets his news from Brietbart and probably other white supremacist sources.
The Washington Post editorial board is again excoriating Trump: Birtherism is Donald Trump’s Big Lie.
WHAT DONALD TRUMP popularized as a Big Lie — the birther myth about President Obama — is now a shibboleth among his followers and many Republicans. It matters not a whit that Mr. Trump has finally, for blatant political purposes, admitted that the president was born in the United States; large numbers of his partisans, and of Republicans generally, still don’t believe Mr. Obama has a legitimate claim to the office he has held for nearly eight years.
Birtherism, a hoax perpetrated on Americans, is proof positive of the enduring efficacy of the Big Lie, the proposition that people will sooner believe a monumental falsehood than a trivial one, especially if it is repeated often enough. The cost of such a hoax is not only to the truth but also to the democratic process, which is rendered ridiculous by the ensuing debate. Mr. Trump has revealed his own facility with fraud and deceit, and he has also exposed how vulnerable democracy is when confronted with a charlatan-celebrity, bereft of principles and willing to say anything to grab headlines.
The cancer of corruption perpetuated by Mr. Trump’s dazzling dishonesty has infected not only his campaign but also the Republican Party, which falls in line, sheeplike, to defend his every lie.
Now Mr. Trump says falsely that Hillary Clinton was the originator of birtherism? GOP officials say so, too. Now Mr. Trump claims credit for putting to rest an “issue” he himself perpetuated? GOP officials say so, too. No pronouncement is too preposterous for Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and the party’s other unscrupulous grandees.
Read the rest at the WaPo.
How does Trump get away with it? Dakinikat sent me this explanation from CNBC: Why Trump gets away with huge lies and Clinton gets trashed for little fibs.
…why is Trump getting a pass from the voters? No it’s not because Trump is a man and Clinton is a woman. No, it’s not because some powerful media types secretly want Trump to win. You’ll start to find the real answer when you learn a simple legal rule that boasts a rare combination of enforcing free market fairness and understanding human nature. It’s called “puffing,” and that is the official term that legally protects salespeople and businesses from making boastful claims about their products and services that no one really expects to be provable by empirical facts. Legal protections for puffing are the reasons why you can’t sue Snapple for saying it’s made from the “best stuff on Earth,” or go after Budweiser for calling itself the “king of beers.” You get it, right?
And when it comes to puffing, nobody has done it more and for longer in the public than Donald J. Trump. Every hotel he builds is the most elegant, every golf course the most beautiful and challenging, and every contestant on “The Apprentice” had a 200 I.Q. Trump’s natural state is building up his brand and properties in a way that would make a used car salesman blush. The public is used to it and accepts it just as we accept that used car salesman boasting about the 2005 SUV he’s pushing. If we ever get angry at that boasting salesman, it’s only after that car breaks down. Otherwise, we believe we look like nitpicking maniacs to quibble over every conceited claim.
The voters are giving Trump much of the same kind of a pass for the same reasons. And Trump is helping achieve this result by making sure he maintains his salesman’s image for as long as possible at every public appearance and interview.
Okay, but I don’t buy that this has nothing to do with sexism or the long history of the media viciously attacking Hillary for every tiny “misstep.”
Police around the country are still shooting and killing black boys and men, but somehow they avoided killing terror suspect Amad Khan Rahami and they often do the same when they shoot at white people. It’s just heartbreaking that cops in Columbus Ohio felt the need to kill a 13-year-old boy who was only 5 feet tall and weight less than 100 pounds as he tried to run away from them. Just look at the photo of him in this story in The National Memo:
Tyre King, the 13-year-old African-American boy recently killed by police in Columbus, Ohio, was running away when he was fatally struck by several bullets, according to an independent medical examiner hired by the child’s family. Attorneys representing the family said Monday his loved ones were not allowed to view King’s body on the night of his death and will be forced to wait six to eight weeks for official autopsy results.
The King family hired Francisco J. Diaz, a practicing medical examiner in Wayne County, Michigan, to look into the death. Diaz determined the boy was shot three times. The bullets entered through the left side of his body, any of which could have been the fatal shot. King was struck in his left temple, his left collarbone and in his left flank. King was said to be reaching for a BB gun in his waistband when he was shot three times.
Tulsa police shot and killed an unarmed man with his hands in the air:
In footage filmed from a police helicopter, Terence Crutcher, 40, can be seen slowly walking from the edge of a street north of Tulsa toward his vehicle, which authorities said had been reported abandoned at 7:36 p.m. (8:36 p.m. ET) and left running in the middle of the road.
For several seconds, an officer follows Crutcher from behind with a gun trained on him. Three more officers then converge on the scene as Crutcher lowers his hands and approaches his SUV. While standing beside the driver’s side door, he suddenly drops to the street. Moments later, blood can be seen saturating his white t-shirt.
The Tulsa Police Department also released dash-cam video of the incident. NBC News:
During a news conference Monday, Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan said that Officer Tyler Turnbough tasered Crutcher, and a second officer, Betty Shelby, fired at him after telling a dispatcher “that she’s not having cooperation from” Crutcher.
Hillary Clinton reacted the clearly unjustified shooting: Policy Mic:
Hillary Clinton expressed outrage over the video released Monday showing police shooting and killing Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man who was stranded in the road after his car broke down, saying incidents like this one are “intolerable.”
Clinton made the comments on the Steve Harvey Morning Show, Harvey’s radio show, Tuesday morning.
“How many times do we have to see this in our country?” Clinton said, according to a transcript published by CNN’s Dan Merica. “In Tulsa, an unarmed man with his hands in the air. This is just unbearable. And it needs to be intolerable.”
She went on to say that white Americans need to combat the “implicit bias” that’s led to incidents like Crutcher’s death.
She also said that she personally appeal to white Americans, saying “this is not who we are” and we need to work to end bias in policing.
I’ll add some more links in the comment thread. What stories are you following today?