Patterico's Pontifications


Trump Paid Private Debts with Charity Money from His Foundation

Filed under: General,Stark Choice — Patterico @ 6:20 pm

It sounds criminal, not to mention utterly dishonest and slimy:

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 height 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.

We Americans don’t have to vote for someone who uses a supposed charity for their own personal gain. We always have the choice instead to vote for . . . oh, right. Never mind.


Farts, Donald Trump, the Spanish National Debt, and a Stark Choice

Filed under: General,Stark Choice — Patterico @ 7:20 am

This story was prompted by a Hot Air Headlines entry about the volume of farts. Stick with me.

Spain’s national debt reaches highest level in over century

Spain’s state debt reached €1.1 trillion ($1.24 trillion) in June, the highest level since 1909, according to the data released by the Bank of Spain.

People wait at the employment center to open in Sintra, Portugal. © Hugo CorreiaSpain & Portugal avoid budget fines
Sovereign debt has been continuing its unswerving escalation since 2008, when it was 39.4 percent of the national gross domestic product (GDP).

Debt rose 4.7 percent in June compared to a year ago when it amounted to €1,057 trillion.

The figure, equivalent to 100.9 per cent of the country’s output, is well above the target projected for the current year.

Why am I talking about the Spanish national debt when I started out talking about the volume of farts? I’m getting there.

I followed the Hot Air Headlines fart-volume item to the original article: How Big Is A Fart? Somewhere Between A Bottle Of Nail Polish And A Can Of Soda. (Saved you a click!) This passage caught my eye:

Certain foods, beans included, produce more easily fermentable residues as they break down in the stomach and intestines. More fermentation means more gas, so the “flatulogenic foods” really will increase the volume of gas in your gut and in your farts. In 2012, for instance, researchers took healthy volunteers and those who suffered from chronic gastrointestinal problems, fed them either a neutral or fart-inducing breakfast, and then put a catheter up each of their anuses to collect farts and transfer the gas to a machine that measured the volume of those farts in real time.

I decided to follow the hyperlink to learn more about this study. Specifically, I was curious to learn: did taxpayers somewhere pay for “scientists” to put catheters up the anuses of volunteers? So I went to the study, titled Anal gas evacuation and colonic microbiota in patients with flatulence: effect of diet.

Funding This work was supported by the FIS PI10/00902 grant (Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovacion, Spain), the Spanish Ministry of Education (Dirección General de Investigación, SAF 2009–07416), Fundació La Marató TV3 (MARATV3_072010), the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013: IHMS, grant agreement HEALTH.2010.2.1.1-2) and a grant from Danone Research (France). Ciberehd is funded by the Instituto de Salud Carlos III.

If your Spanish is failing you: yes, government grants were involved.

And then I noticed this morning’s story about Spain’s record debt.

This kind of thing is universal, folks. It’s not just the U.S. Government that taxes you and spends the money on idiotic stuff. It happens everywhere.

Let’s get local. We face the possibility this November of having a Democrat in office, Hillary Clinton, who is promising to spend $275 billion that we don’t have on a federal infrastructure program. Our debt is $19 trillion, and most of the infrastructure issues, to the extent they exist, are local and state issues, not federal. Nevertheless, Hillary is unfazed. She apparently thinks Barack Obama’s giant stimulus was a great idea, and needs to be repeated.

Luckily, we have an alternative: Donald Trump, a Republican stalwart and fiscal conservative who . . . says he’ll take Hillary’s proposal and double it. Remember this from a few days ago?

Donald J. Trump took a step to Hillary Clinton’s left on Tuesday, saying that he would like to spend at least twice as much as his Democratic opponent has proposed to invest in new infrastructure as part of his plan to stimulate the United States’ economy.

The idea takes a page out of the progressive playbook and is another indication that the Republican presidential nominee is prepared to break with the fiscal conservatism that his party has evangelized over the past eight years.

Nevertheless, we are going to be told that we must vote for Trump because, I don’t know. I guess because he’s a fucking clown who never means anything he says and therefore maybe he won’t actually carry out this stupid idea? Is that the argument?

It’s a stark choice, folks. This is easily the most least important election of our lifetimes.


Aetna Pulling Out of Most ObamaCare Plans As Premiums Rise

Filed under: General,Stark Choice — Patterico @ 6:45 am

USA Today:

Health insurer Aetna plans to cease its participation in the Obamacare health exchanges in all but four states.

The company’s decision, which it blamed on heavy losses tied to the insurance plans, follows similar moves by competitors such as UnitedHealth Group, the nation’s largest insurer.

Aetna said that in 2017 it would cease offering health care insurance options through the Affordable Care Act exchanges in 68.9% of the counties where it offered plans in 2016. It will continue offering certain plans in Delaware, Iowa, Nebraska and Virginia. Affected enrollees will keep their plans through the end of 2016 but must find alternatives for next year.

Aetna sustained a second-quarter pre-tax loss of $200 million on its individual health care plans, though that figure includes results from insurance offered outside of the Obamacare exchanges.

Meanwhile, premiums are going up astronomically in places all over the country:

[T]he Rube Goldberg mechanisms of Obamacare are sending insurance premiums into the stratosphere. Pennsylvanians are looking at a 41 percent increase for 2017. In Kentucky, Humana customers will see rates rise 31 percent next year. Blue Cross in Montana seeks a 62 percent increase. Even in Connecticut, deemed one of the great successes of the Affordable Care Act, consumers will likely see rate increases rise more than 20 percent.

Needless to say, this was not what the administration and the law’s congressional sausage grinders led us to expect. As recently as last October, they were assuring the public that the cost of the average health insurance plan would rise only 7.5 percent this year.

If only we had chosen a nominee who actually opposed ObamaCare, rather than one who says he likes the mandate, and is going to take care of everybody’s health care and have the government pay for it. We face a stark choice this November, between a candidate in favor of government health care with a D after her name, and a candidate in favor of government health care with an R after his name.

Choose wisely! The stakes could not be higher lower!


Trump Promises to Give to Charity, Gives Almost Nothing

Filed under: General,Stark Choice — Patterico @ 7:35 am

Voters face a stark choice in November, between a dishonest cretin and another dishonest cretin:

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.

Also this:

Y’all are in the middle of a social experiment to see how big a cretin can be and still garner your support. The dial just keeps getting turned to the right, and meanwhile the GOP and the Democrats are both getting more fully on board with their chosen cretin, every day.


Worst Jobs Report in Years

Filed under: General,Stark Choice — Patterico @ 7:30 am

Today’s jobs report is stunningly bad. Only 38,000 jobs added. (We need over 130,000 new jobs per month to keep pace with inflation.) 458,000 people dropped out of the labor force.

But with the dishonest way unemployment numbers are reported, we are told it is a “decline” in the “unemployment rate.” The more people stop looking for work, the more that misleading number goes down. It’s just another way government lies with numbers.

Barack Obama bears a large measure of responsibility for this. By passing the job-killing ObamaCare and presiding over an explosion in entitlements like food stamps and disability payments, he has reduced the incentive to work.

Now the country faces a stark choice: between a leftist who believes in government entitlements, and a leftist who believes in government entitlements.

UPDATE: For some reason I wrote “inflation” when I obviously meant “population growth.” I have fixed the error. Thanks to those who pointed it out.


Trump Announces, Well, Not His Potential Supreme Court Picks Exactly, But…Something

Filed under: General,Stark Choice — Patterico @ 6:28 pm

From the press release at the Sniveling Coward’s site:

(New York, NY) May 18, 2016 – Today Donald J. Trump released the much-anticipated list of people he would consider as potential replacements for Justice Scalia at the United States Supreme Court. . . . Mr. Trump stated: “…The following list of potential Supreme Court justices is representative of the kind of constitutional principles I value and, as President, I plan to use this list as a guide to nominate our next United States Supreme Court Justices.”

A “plan” to use the list as a “guide” — from a liar. That’s . . . not particularly definitive or reassuring.

Pam Karlan is a giant lefty, in case you didn’t get that from the context.

So there you have it. Some of the names are good — but there’s no point in discussing them, really. This man says he is not the “John Miller” on that recording where he is a sock puppet praising his own exploits with women. Anyone who takes this list seriously — or who takes anything Trump says seriously — is a fool.

Americans face a stark choice in November, between a man they cannot trust and a woman they cannot trust. The details are irrelevant.

Bill “In Charge of Revitalizing the Economy” Clinton Earned $5 Million for Speeches Last Year

Filed under: General,Stark Choice — Patterico @ 7:46 am

Politico (cached link; no links for bullies):

Bill Clinton raked in $5 million in paid speeches last year, according to his wife’s most recent personal financial disclosure released Tuesday night, including $2.7 million after Hillary Clinton announced her presidential run.

Four days after the former secretary of state announced online last April that she would mount a second bid for the White House, Bill Clinton was paid $300,000 for a speech in front of the Oracle Corporation in Rancho Mirage, California, the disclosure shows. Over the past year, he has also given speeches to groups such as the Wyndham Hotel Group in Las Vegas; the private equity firm Apollo Management Holdings; UBS Wealth Management; and the Texas China Business Council, among other groups.

The Clintons’ lucrative speech-giving side gigs have emerged as major issues for the Democratic front-runner on the campaign trail. Hillary Clinton has refused to release transcripts of her speeches in front of Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs.

This is wonderful, in light of Hillary’s recent claim that that she will put Bill “in charge of revitalizing the economy.”

If you’re a company operating in the U.S., time may be running short for you to get in on that cash-for-favors deal, Join Oracle and the other Bubba funders. Remember, a few million in Bill Clinton’s pocket today could mean hundreds of millions, or even billions, in profits tomorrow. Don’t wait. Act now!

P.S. Meanwhile, even the corrupt Hillary Clinton will be releasing her tax returns. Trump has promised he will not do so before the election — meaning he is obviously hiding something even worse than Clinton’s corruption.

Voters have a clear and stark choice this November: the corruption you can see, vs. the corruption you know is there but is being hidden from you.

I’ll leave you with this fun piece: The Five Trump Supporters You Meet on the Internet. Let’s see how many show up in the comments below!


Americans Face a Stark Choice This November: Supporting Hillary for President Edition

Filed under: General,Stark Choice — Patterico @ 10:26 pm

Americans have a clear choice in the upcoming presidential election.

Do you want the candidate who thought Hillary Clinton should be president in 2008? (Hillary, because she ran?)

Or the candidate who thought Hillary Clinton should be president in 2008? (Trump, because he donated to her.)

P.S. Thanks to DRJ for the link. I know, there is nothing new here. But it bears repeating.

P.P.S. This is Part Three of the ongoing Stark Choice series. A new semi-regular feature! Read them all!


Potential Charity Fraud Exposes the Stark Choice Facing Voters in November

Filed under: General,Stark Choice — Patterico @ 9:17 pm

Americans face a clear choice this November, between a candidate who may have committed charity fraud, and . . . another candidate who may have also committed charity fraud.

Via redc1c4 comes a link to a shocking report that suggests — hold on to your hats, folks, because this one is going to floor you — that something might not be quite on the up and up with the Clinton Foundation:

The Wall Street analyst who uncovered financial discrepancies at General Electric before its stock crashed in 2008 claims the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation has a number of irregularities in its tax records and could be violating state laws.

Charles Ortel, a longtime financial adviser, said he has spent the past 15 months digging into the Clinton Foundation’s public records, federal and state-level tax filings, and donor disclosures. That includes records from the foundation’s many offshoots—including the Clinton Health Access Initiative and the Clinton Global Initiative—as well as its foreign subsidiaries.

According to Ortel’s reports, the contribution disclosures from the Clinton Foundation don’t match up with individual donors’ records. He also argued that the foundation is not in compliance with some state laws regarding fundraising registration, disclosure requirements, and auditing rules.

The linked article is worth reading in full. This guy is no joke, and his concerns sound like they have a solid basis.

Meanwhile, Trump still can’t account for about half of the money he supposedly raised for veterans — you remember, his little stunt where he was avoiding tough questions from Megyn Kelly in a debate?

So, voters, you’re going to have to choose. Do you really want to let the presidency go the candidate who might be engaged in charity fraud? Or will you instead cast your vote for the other candidate — you know, the one who, um, also might be engaged in charity fraud.


The Art of the Deal: Trump Says He Will Raise Taxes After Negotiating With Democrats

Filed under: General,Stark Choice — Patterico @ 9:08 am

We have a clear choice in November: a candidate who will raise taxes on the wealthy, or a candidate who will raise taxes on the wealthy:

This Week host George Stephanopoulos asked Trump if he wanted taxes to go up or down on the rich, despite them going down in his proposed tax plan.

“They will go up a little bit, and they may go up—” Trump started.

“But they’re going down in your plan,” Stephanopoulos said.

“No, no, in my plan, they’re going down, but by the time it’s negotiated, they’ll go up,” Trump said. “When I’m negotiating with the Democrats, I’m putting in a plan. I’m putting in my optimum plan. It’s going to be negotiated, George. It’s not going to stay there. They’re not going to say, ‘There’s your plan, let’s approve it.’ They’re going to say, ‘Let’s see what we can do.’ It’ll be a negotiation.”

Donald Trump is an experienced negotiator who knows that showing your opponent your hand before you sit down to negotiate always results in the very best deals. That I can tell you. Tipping your hand right at the beginning is so smart, believe me. So smart.

Trunp’s low-information and low-income base will eat this up, because fundamentally they are resentful class warriors just like the Bernie crowd. The rhetoric of making the fat cats pay their fair share will sound peachy to them.

It will never occur to them that the “wealthy” people whom Trump will tax into oblivion will be the small businessmen and entrepreneurs who work their asses off and provide the jobs in this country. There is no free lunch; every dollar the government is a dollar an entrepreneur now cannot use to expand his or her business. That means fewer jobs.

And when the jobs disappear, because of this taxation, they’ll blame CHI-NAH!!!1! And then we’ll get those job-crushing 45% tariffs. Everyone’s standard of living will lower as they pay more for basic goods. The dollar will devalue as foreigners flee our currency under Trump, who has talked about keeping entitlements at unsustainable levels, and short-changing bondholders to deal with the resulting crushing debt. That will also cause interest rates on U.S. bonds to rise, meaning an ever-increasing chunk of the national debt will be interest payments.

We’ll probably get that crash I have been warning you about sooner rather than later under a President Trump. And nothing beats a nationalist with a xenophobic cult following being in charge when a giant inflationary crash occurs. As history shows, those scenarios always turn out great.

Best part is, this time the cult leader has nukes, and an itchy (if stubby) trigger finger motivated primarily by personal slights rather than the national interest.

Man, I can’t wait.

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