The Baltimore brouhaha: Trump is an attention whore and the media are complicit

President Trump threw out the lure last Saturday and the media leaped at it like steelhead going after spinners. For almost a week now, the the media has been salivating over the Cummings/Baltimore story, playing right into Trump’s hands.

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I’m sure that Trump, a manipulative narcissist if there ever was one, has been absolutely loving it.

“Rep, Elijah Cummings (D-MD) has been a brutal bully, shouting and screaming at the great men & women of Border Patrol about conditions at the Southern Border, when actually his Baltimore district is FAR WORSE and more dangerous. His district is considered the Worst in the USA…..,,” Trump Tweeted to start it all..

“….As proven last week during a Congressional tour, the Border is clean, efficient & well run, just very crowded,” Trump continued. “Cumming District is a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess. If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous & filthy place.”

According to Politico’s Daniel Lippman, despite Trump’s public anti-media screeds, he religiously reads four daily newspapers — The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post, as well was a daily print-out of the Drudge Report, all of which have covered the Cummings/Baltimore contretemps like a thick blanket.

Thankfully, at least one outlet, the babylonbee.com, a satirical news site, has approached he whole tempest as a joke with stories such as, Futuristic, Utopian Paradise Of Baltimore Completely Baffled By Trump’s Attacks:

“BALTIMORE, MD—President Trump launched into a deranged attack against the city of Baltimore, calling it “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” and a place “no human being would want to live.” This caused extreme confusion within the city — as, having been run exclusively by Democrats for decades and decades, it is a nearly perfect, progressive utopia and a beacon of hope to all.”

But most news outlets have pursued the Cummings/Baltimore stories with the kind of moral outrage and hand-wringing usually reserved for stories of great import.

The New York Times, for example, has been all over the story, with headlines like, “The Rot You Smell is a Racist Potus,” “Trump Accuses Black Congressman and Allies of Being Racist,” and “Some very Specific Things the President Could do to Help Baltimore.”

The Times went so far as to run a story featuring Trevor Noah of The Daily Show defending Baltimore and Fox News asked Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Tavon Austin, who grew up in Baltimore, what he thought about Trump’s comments. Even though Austin said he hadn’t even read Trump’s comments about Baltimore, Fox gave him an opportunity to opine on the city’s tough times.

On the Sunday, July 28 talk shows, commentators couldn’t stay away from the topic, relishing the chance to fulminate ad nauseam about Trump, racism, inequality, inner-city troubles, etc.

Tuesday evening’s network news shows continued with one quoting Trump saying that living in Baltimore is like “living in hell” and interviewing residents for their reactions.

Online news outlets have latched onto the story too. On Tuesday, The Bulwark, an American conservative news and opinion website, ran a 1048-word story, Republicans Can Defend Elijah Cummings Any Time Now. Huffpost has gone wild with Cummings/Baltimore stories, too, posting eight different stories just on Tuesday.

And the whole thing has presented an opportunity for all sorts of detestable people to raise their profile, aided and abetted by the media. For example, Al Sharpton, who shows up repeatedly at hot spots like Nadia Vulvokov in the Netflix series Russian Doll, has jumped on the Cummings/Baltimore flap.

At a Monday news conference in Baltimore with former Maryland lieutenant governor Michael Steele (R), Sharpton said Trump “has a particular venom for blacks and people of color.”

The story continued to draw in the media on Wednesday (July 31). A CBSN reporter, for example, asked a Republican National Committee official whether the controversy would alienate voters of color from the Republican Party.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), also apparently unable to move on, continued the barrage on Thursday, saying Trump should ask “slumlord” Jared Kushner about Baltimore. Here comments generated multiple news stories, including a lengthy story on The Hill and television news stories across the country.

The hand-wringing continued on Friday, Aug. 2, as academics and politicians worked to find an angle they could exploit. William A. Donohue, a Distinguished Professor of Communication at Michigan State University, wrote a piece for The Conversation, an online publication, likening Trump referring to Baltimore as a “disgusting rat and rodent infested mess” to the “pattern of dehumanizing language in the lead-up to the genocide committed by the Turks against Armenians, where Armenians were “dangerous microbes.” Donohue went so far as to equate Trump’s remarks to Germans describing Jews as “Untermenschen,” or subhumans, during the Holocaust.

All of the country’s major news outlets, and many secondary ones, have been rabidly pursuing the Cummings/Baltimore story, elevating it to major coverage, as though it matters.

If the media had simply ignored Trump’s blathering, it would have died a natural, and appropriate, death.  OK, maybe the Baltimore Sun had a reason to go with news coverage and a scathing editorial, but that’s it.

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Instead, major media have seen in Trump’s tweetstorm an opportunity to promote rancorous public disputes and contrived mud fights, just as the Eugene Robinson, a Washington Post columnist, observed that the “clear intent of the (CNN) moderation was to spark fights” in Tuesday night’s Democratic debate.

Atlantic magazine writer Adam Serwer got it right. “The mainstream press has internalized Trump’s own reality-show standards for what counts as a significant political development,” Server wrote. “All the world is trashy television, and the president and his opposition are merely producers.”

Trump’s Cummings/Baltimore tweet storms were designed to be a distraction, and they’ve worked particularly well with an American media with a hive mentality, a kind of “On est tous dans le même bain, ” and a consistent race to the bottom. It’s likepornography has gotten more and more crude and explicit in order to compete for attention.

Trump’s outrageous tweets divert the world’s attention, and reporters, from real issues that matter. He manipulates the media by transforming out-of-the-blue poisonous rants into free, must-cover press opportunities. “I remain astonished by the ability of this former reality TV star to be our assignment editor,” bemoaned Kyle Pope, editor of the Columbia Journalism Review.

Frankly, Trump has led the media by the nose, as they’ve pursued audiences with ferocity, their eyes more than ever on the bottom line in this difficult time for journalism.

As a Wall Street Journal opinion column by Holman W. Jenkins Jr. put it, “He delights in making us dance to tunes he wantonly types out in the wee hours.” Jenkins went on to mourn “…the apparent ease with which he elicits ritualized behavior from our media.”

When are the media going to wise up?

Enough already! Random modern annoyances.

Enough already!

Killing me softly with kindness

I get it that businesses want to keep their customers happy. But do they need to follow up every interaction with emails cluttering up my inbox asking me if I liked their service and urging me to rate them?

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Usually the rating offered is a 1-5 star scale, but sometimes it’s a lengthy questionnaire that would take an entire lunch hour to complete.

Today I received not only a ranking quiz, but a full-on e-newsletter from my optometrist. I was, of course, thrilled to learn from an almost 300 word bio on a new optometrist that “…in his free time, you can find him with his wife, two young daughters, and large dog adventuring outdoors, dreaming up new house and yard projects, and honing his culinary and barista skills.”

Isn’t that special?

Please, just leave me alone.

 

The last straw

Banning plastic straws in the U.S. is more about virtue signaling than preventing plastic pollution.

The fact is, five Asian countries – China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand – account for up to 60 percent of the plastic waste leaking into the ocean, according the Ocean Conservancy and the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment.

More than 8 million tons of plastic waste ends up in the ocean every year. Most of it is washed into the ocean by rivers, with 93% of it coming from just 10 of rivers, according to the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research in Germany. The Yangtze is the main culprit, pouring more plastic into the sea than the other nine rivers combined.

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The infamous 10 rivers

I’ve spent some wonderful time in the Philippines, one of the major plastic polluters, but you can’t miss the streams and coastal areas inundated with waste.

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A waterway in Manila, the Philippines

The waste got so bad on on Boracay, a stunningly beautiful small island I’ve visited in the center of the Philippine archipelago, that the government shut down tourism for six months in 2017 so a massive clean-up could take place.

So let’s get off the pointless plastic straw bans. As Angela Logomasini, a researcher at the Competitive Enterprise Institute said, while plastic buildup in waterways and oceans is a problem, it’s not one that will be affected by straw bans (emphasis in original).

“The problem is a disposal problem,” she said. “Most of it is in Asia and Africa because they have open dumps and they pour tons of trash into the ocean. They don’t have the proper disposal methods. If you dispose of something properly, it’s not a problem.

 

Here’s a tip

Gone into a shop lately and found yourself confronting a tablet screen or phone-like device with various generous tip options? One option is “No tip”, but that requires a purposeful action the cashier and other customers in line behind you can see. So out of guilt, you hit one of the % options instead. The practice is particularly egregious at businesses where you didn’t used to tip at all, but now feel pressured to do so.

It’s plain and simple coercion.

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And it gets worse. If you buy a $2.85 espresso and the screen offers 15%, 20% and 25% tip options, you are likely to hit 15%, generating a tip of 43 cents. If a business wants to jack that up, it can give you $1, $2, or $3 options on purchases below $10, instead of a percentage. If you pick $1, you have paid a 35% tip. Devious, but effective.

It might make some sense at businesses like restaurants where the waiters and waitresses are getting state-approved hourly pay less than the minimum wage, with the expectation they will make up the difference in tips. But everywhere?

Give me a break!

 

Nickel-and-dimed

The store clerk ambushed me, asking if I wanted to round up my bill to the nearest dollar and contribute the difference to a non-profit of the store’s choice. Another case of checkout charity., which also includes direct requests for non-profit donations at the cash register.

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More than $486 million was raised in the United States in 2018 by a group of 79 point-of-sale fundraising campaigns that each garnered in excess of $1 million in contributions, according to Engage for Good, a cause marketing organization. That was up from the $441.63 million raised by 73 checkout campaigns in 2016.

Even online shoppers are being hit up.

eBay for Charity has held the top spot on the online checkout charity list since its inception in 2012, Engage for Good reports.  In 2018, the program raised $69 million in the United States and $101.6 million globally by allowing sellers to contribute a portion of their sales to charity and inviting buyers to make a voluntary donation to one of more than 66,000 charities.

My question – why should I contribute to an obvious effort by the company to burnish its corporate social responsibility (CSR) credentials? If the company cares, let it donate its own money.

Moreover, why should I donate to a cause with limited transparency, with no information in front of me on where all the money’s going, the past performance of the charity or its impact?

And what about transparency? The Better Business Bureau has asked:  What role does the store play in supporting the charity besides your donation? Does the store receive a match for any of the donations? Does the store get a tax write off? Does the store charge the charity administrative fees? What percentage is donated directly to the charity?

Sure, my donation isn’t likely to be much, but it may well end up being part of a multi-million dollar campaign. Checkout charitable giving also tends to be done without thoughtful consideration, similar to often derided impulse buying.

My thinking? Better to skip the checkout donation appeals. Instead, sit down once a year, decide what you care about, research what non-profits do a good job of addressing your concerns, then give to them. That’ll do it right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Camouflaged “news” outlets: Is Oregon next?

Fake news. Biased news. Slanted news. Real news. What’s the difference? It’s getting harder to tell them apart.

Maine knows that. Now Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Wisconsin are about to confront the same confusion.

Maine became a test site for camouflaged news in 2018 when a “news” website of anonymous origin, the Maine Examiner, popped up.

Leaked Email: Ben Chin Says Lewiston Voters “Bunch of Racists”According to a legitimate news outlet, The Bangor (ME) Daily News, the website gained attention in the run-up to a December 2018 mayoral runoff in Lewiston, ME. when it posted several negative articles about the progressive candidate, Ben Chin. One article contained real, leaked campaign emails in which Chin said he encountered “a bunch of racists” while campaigning. Chin lost the election, partly because of the Examiner’s reporting.

(It later turned out that the emails were leaked to Chin’s Republican opponent, Shane Bouchard, by a woman working as a mole in Chin’s campaign who was having an affair with Bouchard. Bouchard resigned as mayor in March 2019 after the woman leaked some of his text messages. They included one in which he described elderly black people as “antique farm equipment”  and another in which he appeared to compare a meeting with his fellow Republicans to a Ku Klux Klan gathering. And you thought only states like New York and Illinois had juicy political scandals)

A top Maine Republican Party official later admitted to state ethics watchdogs that he was behind the Maine Examiner.

Progressive Democrats in Maine lambasted the Examiner’s deceptions, but national progressives and Democrats are apparently preparing to emulate the Examiner’s approach.

Priorities USA, a Democratic Super PAC, is planning to put $100 million into a project to flood swing states — many of which have lost their local papers — with stories favorable to the Democratic agenda, Vice News reported on July 24, 2019.

Four “news” outlets staffed by Democratic operatives will publish state-specific information across social media in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Wisconsin, Vice News said.

Priorities USA Communication Director Josh Schwerin tried to gloss over the sabotage effort with a disingenuous statement that Priorities’ “news” was a necessary response to the sharp decline in local news outlets.

“This should be covered by local news, but local news is dying,” Schwerin told VICE News. “Our hope is that we can help fill that hole a bit with paid media…”

What’s not clear is whether the true sponsor of Priorities’ “news” coverage will be completely or partially hidden, as is the case with a conservative-leaning national “news” site called The Free Telegraph.

Only if a viewer clicks on a barely discernable “About” at the bottom of the site is it revealed The Free Telegraph “is a conservative news and commentary platform made possible through the generous support of the Republican Governors Association.”

Then there’s Virginia, home of the Dogwood, “your source for Virginia news.”

Home - The Dogwood

If readers click on “About,” they get this: “As the number of local news outlets declines in Virginia and across the country and the amount of digital information surges, it’s hard to know where to turn. We want to fill the gap – and your social feeds – with content that is thoughtful, engaging, inspiring and motivating. We’ll bring you the story behind the story and explore how our readers’ lives are impacted by the news of the day. Our reporting is honest, to-the-point and in the service of our readers.”

If readers want to know who’s behind the news site, they can click on this: Owned by For What It’s Worth Media, Inc.. This will tell them something similar to Priorities USA’s stated rationale for its jump into the news business: “As the number of local news outlets declines across the country and the amount of digital information surges, it’s hard to know where to turn. We want to fill the gap – and your social feeds – with content that is thoughtful, inspiring and motivating.”

What the Dogwood doesn’t say is it also wants to fill the gap with progressive-leaning “news” coverage. Nor does it say that progressive non-profit digital organization, Acronym, has pledged to invest $1 million in the Dogwood and says it plans to invest in other state-based news properties, which could include states such as Arizona, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

If you prefer your news with a more conservative bent, there’s The California Republican. Here you can read a story about how the Washington, D.C. chapter of Antifa sent a message to Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz by chasing him out of a restaurant, telling the Texas senator that he is “not safe” or an item headlined, “In-N-Out boycott fails miserably in Central Valley.” You can even read about signings by Fresno State’s football program.

But you won’t know the identity of the site’s publisher unless you see the barely visible text at the bottom of the home page, “Paid for by the Devin Nunes Campaign Committee – FEC ID #C00370056.” Nunes is a Republican representative of California’s 22nd District in Congress.

With a steadily shrinking cadre of legitimate news staff and outlets and the rise of political actors willing to play fast and loose with ethics, could Oregon be far behind in this race to the bottom in camouflaged “news reporting”?

One step by Gov. Brown; one giant leap in thwarting democracy in Oregon

Dirty-politics........

 

Where’s the outrage?

Gov. Kate Brown signed a bill today that effectively cancels petitions signed by thousands of Oregonians calling for a public vote on the Democrats’ $2 billion business tax (HB 3427).

In Oregon, that’s called democracy in action. In the rest of the country, that would be called dirty politics.

In June, the Governor signed a $2 billion $2.6 billion business tax bill (HB 3427).  Distressed Oregonians responded by starting a referendum petition (Petition #301) that would have put the tax on the ballot. The Democrat supermajority in the State Legislature cut off the nascent effort at the knees by passing a bill (HB 2164) that retroactively changed the language and wording of the original tax, canceling out the petition to that point because it referenced the original text.

“HB 2164 is designed to look like a cosmetic language change to a 40-page tax bill, but it contains poison words designed to murder the voter campaign to pass petition #301 (the repeal petition),” the Taxpayer Association of Oregon said on July 17. “….it is borderline criminal to rob the people of their right to vote on matters they care about. Politicians should not be able to subvert and void the people from using their initiative process to petition their government.”

“This subversive tactic of changing the laws in the middle of the process while people are trying to change the laws has never been done before in modern Oregon political history,” the Taxpayer Association said today.  “This subversive and vote-canceling attack can now be used to stop ANY petition effort that the public might wish to bring to the ballot.” (bold in original)

Having achieved a supermajority in the 2019 Legislative session, the Democrats have ignored their ethical responsibility to Oregonians and abused their power

“What kind of fool do you take me for?”, asked one of the Three Stooges in Saved By The Belle. Oregon voters should be asking the same thing of Democratic legislators and Gov. Brown.

 

 

 

“America is an idea, not a geography,” says Lyft

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The ride-hailing company Lyft, apparently deciding that it needs to reinforce its progressive bona fides, is out with slick copy announcing that it plans to provide $150,000 in ride credits to 50 immigration/refugee groups around the country. Portland-based Unite Oregon  will be the Lyft credit recipient in Oregon.

“As part of our Lyft Relief Rides program, we have provided each organization with Lyft credit to help with their transportation needs, including but not limited to, getting immigrants and refugees to legal/court appointments,” Lyft announced on July 10, 2019.

The company claims it is “Taking a stand for immigrant rights,” but the tagline for the campaign,  “America is an idea, not a geography”, is sophistry that undermines the country’s legitimate efforts to enforce immigration law.

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The Democratic candidates for their party’s presidential nomination may be advocating policies that are almost the equivalent of open borders, but the fact is, America is both an idea AND a geography, and Americans want that geography protected and immigration laws enforced.

Businesses have been trying to position themselves as good corporate citizens for years in order to bring about a more favorable operating environment, but earlier efforts focused on neutral moves like raising public awareness of such things as charitable contributions, employee volunteerism and hiring veterans.

Lyft’s move is just the latest example of companies more willing to take public stands on truly controversial issues in order to raise their public profile… and sell more products.

In this case, though, it is naïve in the extreme for an American corporation to proselytize in a kind of hippy-dippy, enlightened way that borders have no place in international relations in the modern world in order to position itself as “woke.”.

All recent presidents have taken the position that protection of U.S. borders is essential.

“All Americans, not only in the states most heavily affected but in every place in this country, are rightly disturbed by the large numbers of illegal aliens entering our country,” which is why “our administration has moved aggressively to secure our borders,” President Bill Clinton said in his 1995 State of the Union address.

“That is our direct message to the families in Central America: Do not send your children to the borders,” President Obama said in a 2014 interview with ABC News. The U.S. Border Patrol, he said, should be able to “stem the flow of illegal crossings and speed the return of those who do cross over … Undocumented workers broke our immigration laws, and I believe that they must be held accountable.”

It’s true that most Americans oppose deporting all the immigrants in the U.S. illegally, but, according to Gallup, about 75 percent want an increase in border patrols to stop the flow of more undocumented immigrants.

They do NOT want an immigration free-for-all based on the concept that “America is an idea, not a geography.”

Taxes and Oregon’s 2019 legislature: a new low in abuse of political power

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“Political expediency corrupts moral integrity, language and truth itself,” journalist Dorian Lynskey writes in a new book on George Orwell’s “1984.”

The Democrats running Oregon’s state government have shown the truth of that.

Efforts by Oregon’s Democrats to derail a public vote on a gross receipts tax reveal that, as put by conservative writer Jim Swift, “Being an asshole has now become a feature, not a bug,” in politics.

Setting a new low in political shenanigans in the 2019 session, Democrats began by passing a gross receipts tax on sales inside the state’s borders that exceed $1 million, whether or not the business makes a profit.

The tax, equivalent to a sales tax, is expected to raise $2 billion per biennium. This less than three years after almost 60% of Oregon voters rejected Measure 97, a ballot measure that would have imposed a state gross receipts tax.

In an insulting, arrogant move to protect their revenue-raising blitz, the Democrats then passed a bill (SB 116) setting a particularly inconvenient election date if a tax repeal petition then seeking signatures qualified for the ballot. Rather than having the vote take place during the general election in 2020, when there’s likely to be high interest and participation, the bill provided for a special election on January 21, 2020.

I guess they figured picking Christmas or New Year’s Day for the vote would be too obvious an attempt at manipulation.

Adding insult to injury, the Democrats then passed another bill (HB 2164) which changed the language of the original tax. At the time, The Oregonian reported only that the bill “makes largely technical changes to the new business tax lawmakers passed earlier in the session to fund education.” But it was much more significant than that. If Gov. Brown signs the bill, it will invalidate all the signatures already gathered on a repeal petition referencing the previous language.

“HB 2164 is designed to look like a cosmetic language change to a 40-page tax bill, but it contains poison words designed to murder the voter campaign to pass petition #301 (the repeal petition),” said the Taxpayer Association of Oregon.  “….it is borderline criminal to rob the people of their right to vote on matters they care about. Politicians should not be able to subvert and void the people from using their initiative process to petition their government.”

Having achieved a supermajority in the 2019 Legislative session, the Democrats proceeded to ignore their ethical responsibility to Oregonians and abuse their power, vividly illustrating the observation of Lord Acton, the 19th-century British historian: “Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

As Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, said at the end of the Legislative session, “I thought we were overreaching before we started. I think we did.”

“What kind of fool do you take me for?”, asked one of the Three Stooges in Saved By The Belle. Oregon voters should be asking the same thing of Democratic legislators.

 

 

 

Despite pledges, politicians fail to shed tainted donations. Surprise!

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) says he’ll offset $7,000 in campaign contributions he’s received from accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein by donating an equivalent amount to anti-sex trafficking and anti-violence against women groups.

Don’t count on it.

In 2017, when multiple women went public with accusations that Harvey Weinstein had sexually harassed them, Democratic politicians, including Schumer, leaped to disassociate themselves from him. In particular, they promised to donate Weinstein’s now-tainted campaign contributions to charity.

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Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

Schumer was prominent among numerous politicians scurrying to say they would make amends. Federal Election Commission (FEC) records show that Weinstein donated $20,700 to the Friends of Schumer campaign finance committee during 2013-2017.

“Sen. Schumer is donating all of the (Weinstein) contributions to several charities supporting women,” Matt House, a spokesman for Sen. Schumer, told the Washington Post in October 2017.

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Harvey Weinstein

Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel praised Schumer  for doing the right thing.

She was too quick in her praise.

FEC records reveal that Schumer’s campaign committee didn’t donate one thin dime to charities supporting women in 2017 or 2018.

During that same period, Schumer’s committee also received contributions from the DNC Services Corp (Democratic National Committee), to which Weinstein had donated $203,458.

There’s no evidence that Schumer’s committee re-distributed any of that money to women’s groups either.

To its apparent credit, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) said it would donate $30,000 of the funds it had received from Weinstein to three non-profits:

  • Emily’s List, a political action committee that aims to help elect pro-choice Democratic female candidates to office.
  • Emerge America, an organization that recruits, trains and provides a network to Democratic women who want to run for office, and
  • Higher Heights, a national organization working to elect Black women, influence elections and advance progressive policies.

FEC records of the DNC’s expenditures in 2017-2018 reveal that it lived up to its promise.

On Oct. 30, 2017, the DNC sent Emily’s List $10,290.15.  (The DNC also sent $5,000 to Emily’s List on May 25, 2017, but that was before the Weinstein scandal erupted.)

The DNC also sent $10,290.15 to both Emerge America and Higher Heights on Oct. 30, 2017. It sent $1250 to Higher Heights on Sept. 29.

But there was a hitch. The DNC collected $300,000 in donations from Weinstein, not $30,000. It kept the other $270,000.

Other Democratic politicians, including some who are now running for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, also had received funds from Weinstein and also made a lot of promises to send the money to deserving non-profits. The announced recipients, however, were largely organizations that would launder the money right back to Democrats and their causes.

Even then, not all the politicians followed through on their commitments.

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D- MA) said she’d donate $5,000 she received from Weinstein to Casa Myrna, a nonprofit group in Massachusetts. The FEC’s records on expenditures of the Elizabeth Warren Action Fund during 2017-2018 don’t show any payments to Casa Myrna.
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) said she would donate $10,000 received from Weinstein to RAAIN, (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), an anti-sexual violence organization. No such donation is reported in FEC records of expenditures by Gillibrand’s 2017-2018 campaign finance committees.
  • Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) said he’d send Weinstein’s donations to the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center. According to OpenSecrets.org, Weinstein donated a total of $17,300 to Franken and his Midwest Values PAC. None of Franken’s campaign finance committees recorded on FEC.org show a donation to the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center during 2017-2018.
  • Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) said she would give $5,000 she received from Weinstein to a women’s rights nonprofit, Equal Rights Advocates. FEC records on Harris’ campaign finance committees do not show such a donation during 2017-2018.
  • Bob Casey (D-PA) said he’d give $2,190 he received from Weinstein to the Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh. FEC records on Casey’s campaign finance committees do not show such a donation.
  • The Clinton Foundation’s website says Weinstein has donated between $100,001 – $250,000 to the Foundation. In Oct. 2017, the Foundation announced it had no plans to return Weinstein’s contributions, saying they had already been spent on charitable programs. According to the Foundation’s Form 990 report to the IRS, it had net assets of $323,470,879 at the end of 2017.

Looks like a lot of politicians’ promises are no more than empty public relations gestures.  Surprise!