Donald Trump demanded (8/22) that the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation shut down, calling it “the most corrupt enterprise in political history.”

But while Trump’s own charitable giving has been repeatedly shown to be less than he has claimed, Josh Israel noted at ThinkProgress.org (8/22), the Clinton’s foundation has raised and distributed millions of dollars toward global health, empowerment of women, reducing childhood obesity, addressing climate change, and rebuilding Haiti. If Trump’s advice were followed, these works would end.

The Clinton Foundation’s 2014 IRS filings indicate some of these efforts. The organization spent more than $4 mln on climate and economic development programs in central America and the Caribbean, more than $2 mln on climate work in East Asia and the Pacific, more than $6 mln on South American economic development, and more than $8 mln lon climate and economic efforts in sub-Saharan Africa. It also gave $2 mln in grant money to the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a non-profit that works to promote healthy lifestyles for kids. An examination by CharityWatch found that at least 88% of the funds raised for the organization go to programs, earning the Clintons’ foundation an “A” rating. FactCheck.org confirmed that figure.

Indeed, Trump once praised the Clintons’ foundation and directed his own foundation’s funds to it: “The Clinton Foundation was helping with Haiti and with lots of other things, and I thought it was going to do some good work, so it didn’t make any difference to me,” he said in January, adding that he was disappointed to learn it had used some funds for “private aircraft and things like that.”

Trump came under fire earlier this year when it was revealed that his January stunt fundraising event for veterans  —  at which he had claimed raised $6 mln  —  had not come close to that figure. Only after the Wall Street Journal reported that beneficiary charities had received just a “fraction of the promised money” did Trump make good on his promise and donate the $1 mln he had previously announced. Even the conservative Weekly Standard noted that Trump’s giving to veterans had been negligible.

An April examination by the Washington Post found that Trump’s much-boasted-about charitable giving had come almost entirely from his own foundation — to which Trump himself did not appear to have donated any significant amount. Much of his “giving” consisted of free rounds of golf at Trump-owned golf resorts. The paper later reported that Trump had “used money donated for charity to buy himself a Tim Tebow-signed football helmet.” A 2011 report by The Smoking Gun dubbed him “The Least Charitable Billionaire,” though Trump’s self-proclaimed status as a billionaire has as of yet been unverified, and in 1999 the site dubbed him “The .00013% Man,” for his “paltry” charitable giving.

A week earlier, another investigation by the Washington Post found that even when Trump claimed on his NBC television show The Celebrity Apprentice that he would make “personal” contributions from his “own account,” the funds actually were transferred from either his foundation or the show’s production company in every instance the paper could document. “The Washington Post tracked all the ‘personal’ gifts that Trump promised on the show  —  during 83 episodes and seven seasons  —  but could not confirm a single case in which Trump actually sent a gift from his own pocket.”

Trump’s other personal charitable giving, if any, has not been documented because he continues to refuse to release his tax returns. Bill and Hillary Clinton donated more than $1 mln last year to charitable causes, nearly 10% of their total income.

Bill Clinton has announced that the foundation will cease accepting corporate and international donations should Hillary Clinton win in November.

WORKING FAMILIES PARTY ENDORSES CLINTON. The Working Families Party, which had endorsed Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primary race, endorsed Hillary Clinton (8/16), giving the Democratic nominee a second ballot line in several states (most notably New York, where President Obama won 141,056 votes on the WFP line in 2012). John Nichols noted at TheNation.com (8/17) the endorsement also provides Clinton with an opening to develop stronger grassroots networks in nine states (including potential presidential battlegrounds such as Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin) and the District of Columbia, where the WFP has built political operations.

The WFP endorsement was made with eyes wide open, as party leaders acknowledged that Clinton was not their first choice, Nichols noted.

“WFP was an early, enthusiastic supporter of Senator Bernie Sanders’ campaign. He demonstrated the deep hunger of millions of Americans for a ‘political revolution’—a radical restoration of democracy and participation, an end to the oligarchic power of a wealthy elite, and a new era of economic, racial and climate justice,” explained WFP national director Dan Cantor. “But elections are about choices. And when we wake up on November 9th, either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will have been elected President. We choose Secretary Clinton, as Bernie did. We make this announcement knowing we’ll need to work to hold her accountable to her campaign’s promises. But we need to elect her first.”

Clinton, who was elected to the US Senate from New York with WFP support, celebrated the presidential endorsement.

“Working families are the engine behind our economy, the heart of our democracy, and the core of what makes America great. But today, it’s too hard for working people to get ahead and stay ahead,” said Clinton. “That’s why the Working Families Party is so important. For almost two decades, they have fought to make our economy fairer and our country stronger. They’ve fought to raise the minimum wage in states and cities across the country; combat climate change and create new, good-paying jobs in clean energy and energy efficiency; and train and elect trailblazing progressive leaders.”

In accepting the WFP endorsement, Clinton embraced key elements of the group’s agenda, declaring, “As President, I’ll stand with working families like I have my entire career. We’ll build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top, and finally make the minimum wage a living wage. We’ll overturn Citizens United and protect every American’s right to vote, not every corporation’s right to buy elections. We’ll end the era of mass incarceration and replace the school-to-prison pipeline with a cradle-to-college and career pipeline. We’ll make sure every American can afford a college education and tackle our country’s student debt crisis. And we’ll finally enact policies that support how families actually live and work today—with paid family leave, affordable childcare, and equal pay for women.”

The party conducted a national membership vote, and 68.2% of the participants voted to endorse former secretary Clinton. The WFP’s national board, which includes representatives from each of the party’s state organizations around the country, also voted to back the Democratic nominee.

Cantor said, the WFP has developed a four-part plan for the election season and its aftermath:

1. Defeat Trump and Elect Clinton. This means working to mobilize every voter to come to the polls in sufficient numbers to elect Clinton, especially in hotly-contested states. We will not give up on working class white voters who are being played for fools by Trump.

2. Elect the best down-ballot progressives. No President alone can win the change we need. That’s why we are backing candidates for Congress who will be leaders in the fight for Bernie’s agenda, like (New York congressional candidate) Zephyr Teachout and (Florida congressional candidate) Tim Canova. And it’s not just Congress—just as important are State Houses. Just last week, WFP candidate Josh Elliott, a Bernie-backer in Connecticut, won the Democratic primary for a State House seat formerly held by the moderate Speaker.

3. Hold Secretary Clinton accountable to the promises she made in 2016 by continuing to organize in 2017. We cannot rely on any single candidate to deliver the change we seek, but we can build the power that turns promises into policy. Together with allies, we aim to build a powerful coalition that can keep the pressure high on our progressive priorities. (In the short term, we will mobilize to make sure Secretary Clinton continues to oppose the TPP and stop that bad trade deal in its tracks this year.)

4. The next generation of progressive leadership. We’re going to double down on our candidate pipeline project. This is perhaps our most important task. We need to recruit, train and elect the next generation of progressive leaders, and work with them to help build the political revolution.

MATERITY DEATHS DOUBLE IN TEXAS AFTER HEALTH BUDGET CUTS. Pregnancy-related deaths nearly doubled in Texas between 2010 and 2012, according to a new study, published in the September issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and researchers say the spike in the mortality rate is difficult to explain “in the absence of war, natural disaster, or severe economic upheaval.”

But the alarming development coincided with the state’s decision to slash its family planning budget by two-thirds in 2011 — an attempt to shut down abortion providers that ultimately forced 82 clinics, many of which never performed abortions, to close, Nora Caplan Bricker noted at Slate.com (8/18). The study’s authors do not posit a correlation between this draconian policy change and the shocking increase in pregnancy-related deaths, but women’s health professionals have. Many of the shuttered clinics provided an “entry point into the health care system” for women, especially low-income women, Sarah Wheat, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, told the Dallas Morning News. “Chances are they’re going to have a harder time finding somewhere to go to get that first appointment. They may be delayed in getting that initial pregnancy test and then a prenatal referral.”

The Texas maternal death rate ticked up only slightly between 2006 and 2010, from 18.1 deaths per 100,000 live births to 18.6 deaths, according to the Obstetrics and Gynecology study. It leapt to 33 per 100,000 in 2011, and in 2014, the last year covered in the study, it was 35.8 per 100,000. Put another way: In 2010, 72 women died from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth in the state of Texas. In 2012, that number was a staggering 148 women.

Though Texas is an outlier, maternal mortality is a growing problem for the US in general, Bricker noted. The study, which analyzed national data, found that the rate of deaths per 100,000 live births for 48 states and the District of Columbia — excluding Texas and California, which the researchers considered separately — “increased by 26.6%, from 18.8 in 2000 to 23.8 in 2014.” The US is one of the only countries in the world where the problem of maternal mortality is getting worse, not better. (California has seen a decline, from a rate of 21.5 per 100,000 in 2003 to 15.1 per 100,000 in 2014, in part due to “concerted efforts,” including a statewide review in 2006 and coordinated “quality improvement initiatives,” as the study notes.) In comparison, the World Health Organization puts the average maternal mortality rate in developed countries at 12 deaths per 100,000 live births.

The Texas Legislature created a task force in 2013 to study pregnancy-related deaths and severe complications in the state. It’s set to release its first report to lawmakers on Sept. 1.

JILL STEIN: NEITHER TRUMP NOR CLINTON IS FIT TO BE PRESIDENT. Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein said (8/17) she doesn’t believe either mainstream candidate is fit for the White House, brushing aside criticism that her bid could help elect Donald Trump, CNN reported.

“I will have trouble sleeping at night if Donald Trump is elected. I will also have trouble sleeping at night if Hillary Clinton is elected. And as despicable as Donald Trump’s words are, I find Hillary Clinton’s actions and track record is very troubling,” said Stein, sitting alongside her running mate Ajamu Baraka at CNN’s Green Party town hall event.

Stein blasted the logic that voters should discount her candidacy, and citing her opposition to money in politics, Stein said that her party stood alone on the national scene totally independent of corporate influence.

GREEN VP NOMINEE: OBAMA IS ‘UNCLE TOM.’ Vice-presidential nominee Ajamu Baraka said President Obama was a disappointment who “allowed his commitment to neoliberal policies and a neoliberal worldview to undermine the possibility of greatness.”

Baraka defended his strident comments about Obama, like calling the president an “Uncle Tom.”

“You have to basically call it as you see it and be prepared to speak truth to power,” Baraka said. “Obama had an historic opportunity to transform this country,” but the nation’s first black president did not live up to his historic opportunity.

“If we were concerned and serious about how we could displace white power, we had to demystify the policies and the positions of this individual,” Baraka said, referring to his attempt to “shock” people out of faith in Obama’s transformative potential.

He conceded that his language sounded “inflammatory” to some, but said, “I stand by that.”

GORE: ‘IF YOU CARE ABOUT CLIMATE, DON’T VOTE FOR THIRD PARTY.’ Al Gore lost the 2000 presidential election to George W. Bush in part because of votes lost to third-party candidates, Joe Romm noted at ThinkProgress.org (8/22). He has a simple message for fellow climate hawks who are contemplating a third-party vote in 2016: Please don’t.

In an interview, Romm asked Gore what he would say to voters concerned about climate change but dissatisfied with both major candidates and considering voting for a third party, such as the Green Party. He replied:

“First of all I understand their feelings and misgivings. But if they are interested in my personal advice. I am voting for Hillary Clinton. I urge everyone else to do the same.

“I particularly urge anyone who is concerned about the climate crisis, sees it as the kind of priority that I see it as, to look at the sharp contrast between the solar plan that Secretary Clinton has put forward, and her stated commitment to support the Clean Power Plan, and the contrast between what she has said and is proposing with the statements of the Republican nominee, which give me great concern.”

Romm, founding editor of Climate Progress, noted that Donald Trump has called global warming a hoax, denied the reality of California’s devastating drought, promised he would kill all domestic climate-related regulations (like the EPA’s Clean Power Plan), and vowed “We’re going to cancel the Paris climate agreement”  —  which Romm called “humanity’s last best chance to avoid catastrophic climate change lasting centuries.”

MAJORITY OF ECONOMISTS FAVOR CLINTON ON ECONOMY. A National Association of Business Economics survey (8/22) finds that 55% of professional economists said they believe Hillary Clinton would be the best choice to oversee the US economy as president. Donald Trump had just 14% support, behind Libertarian Gary Johnson (15%) and “Don’t Know/No Opinion” (15%). (PoliticalWire.com)

TRUMP’S BUSINESS A MAZE OF DEBTS AND OPAQUE TIES. Companies Donald Trump owns have at least $650 mln in debt — twice the amount than can be gleaned from public filings he has made as part of his bid for the White House, Suzanne Craig reported in the New York Times (8/20). The *Times* also found that Trump’s fortunes depend deeply on a wide array of financial backers, including one he has cited in attacks during his campaign.

For example, an office building on Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan, of which Mr. Trump is part owner, carries a $950 mln loan. Among the lenders: the Bank of China, one of the largest banks in a country that Trump has railed against as an economic foe of the US, and Goldman Sachs, a financial institution he has said controls Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, after it paid her $675,000 in speaking fees.

Real estate projects often involve complex ownership and mortgage structures. And given Trump’s long real estate career in the US and abroad, as well as his claim that his personal wealth exceeds $10 bln, “it is safe to say that no previous major party presidential nominee has had finances nearly as complicated,” Craig noted.

“As president, Mr. Trump would have substantial sway over monetary and tax policy, as well as the power to make appointments that would directly affect his own financial empire. He would also wield influence over legislative issues that could have a significant impact on his net worth, and would have official dealings with countries in which he has business interests.”

Yet the *Times*’s examination underscored how much of Trump’s business remains shrouded in mystery. He has declined to disclose his tax returns or allow an independent valuation of his assets.

DEMS HOPE TO REGAIN SENATE, BUT NEED A WAVE TO TAKE BACK THE HOUSE. In Senate races, where Democrats need to pick up four or five Republican seats to regain the majority (four if they win the White House and have Tim Kaine as the tie-breaking vote; five if they need a majority without the vice president), at least 10 Republican seats are seen as vulnerable.

Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia sees likely Democratic pickups in Illinois, where US Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D) is challenging Sen. Mark Kirk (R), and Wisconsin, where former Sen. Russ Feingold (D) is in a rematch with Sen. Ron Johnson (R).

Tossups include Florida, where incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio reversed his decision not to seek re-election after his presidential campaign failed, faces homebuilder Carlos Beruff in the Republican primary and the winner of a Democratic primary including US Reps. Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson; Indiana, where former Sen. Evan Bayh (D) jumped into the race with Rep. Todd Young (R) for the seat Sen Dan Coats (R) is giving up; New Hampshire, where Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) is challenging Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R); Ohio, where former Gov. Ted Strickland (D) is challenging Sen. Rob Portman (R); Pennsylvania, where former candidate for governor Katie McGinty (D) is challenging Sen. Pat Toomey (R).

Other possible Democratic pickups include Arizona, where Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D) expects to make a strong challenge against Sen. John McCain (R); Missouri, where Secretary of State Jason Kander (D) is challenging Sen. Roy Blunt (R); and North Carolina, where former state Rep. Deborah Ross (D) is challenging Richard Burr (R). Also, Democrats hope former Lt. Gov. Patty Judge will be able to unseat Sen. Chuck Grassley, but that would be a major upset. And Democrats have to defend the seat Sen. Harry Reid (D) is giving up in Nevada, where former Atty. Gen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) faces Rep. Joe Heck (R) in a race seen as a tossup.

When it comes to the Democrats’ chances of gaining the 30 seats they’d need to wrest the speaker’s gavel away from Paul Ryan,.redistricting consultant Stephen Wolfe noted at DailyKos.com (8/16) that the deck is stacked against Democrats because of redistricting. In 2012, he noted, 224 congressional districts voted for Mitt Romney and just 211 for Barack Obama, even though Obama won the national popular vote by 3.9%. “If we ranked every district from reddest to bluest according to how they voted in the last presidential election, the median seat—the one that would get Democrats a bare majority of 218 if they won every seat bluer than that mid-point seat—you’d land on Arizona’s 2nd District, which Romney carried by a margin of 1.6%.

“If you could imagine every district in American shifting exactly in step with every change in the national presidential vote (it wouldn’t, but this concept of a ‘uniform shift’ is still helpful in thinking about this problem), Obama would have had to win the popular vote by 5.5% just to carry half of the districts in the House. In other words, with a 1.6% bump in the popular vote, Obama would have theoretically carried Arizona’s 2nd, just barely turning it blue. And in this polarized era, another 1.6% of the vote is a lot to ask for.”

Wolfe concluded, “we really can’t say with much precision what popular vote margin Democrats need to win the House in today’s environment, but 7 to 8 percent seems reasonable. What we can say with confidence is that, if 2016 is anything like the polarized elections of 2012 and 2014, Democrats could need a true wave election like 2006 or 2008 for a majority. That margin could be difficult—but Donald Trump just might make it possible.”

TRUMP CAUGHT LYING 30 TIMES IN DEPOSITION. In his presidential campaign, Donald Trump has sought to make his truth-telling a selling point, David A. Farenthold and Robert O’Harrow Jr. noted in the *Washington Post* (8/10). Trump nicknamed his main Republican opponent “Lyin’ Ted” Cruz. He called his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, “A PATHOLOGICAL LIAR!” in a recent Twitter message. “I will present the facts plainly and honestly,” he said in the opening of his speech at the Republican National Convention. “We cannot afford to be so politically correct anymore.”

But Trump has had a habit of telling demonstrable untruths during his presidential campaign, Farenthold and O’Harrow noted. The *Washington Post*’s Fact Checker has awarded him four Pinocchios — the maximum a statement can receive — 39 times since he announced his bid last summer. In many cases, his statements are specific, checkable — and wrong.

Trump said he opposed the Iraq War at the start. He didn’t. He said he’d never mocked a disabled *New York Times* reporter. He had. Trump also said the National Football League had sent him a letter, objecting to a presidential debate that was scheduled for the same time as a football game. It hadn’t.

Trump claimed that he had seen footage — taken at a top-secret location and released by the Iranian government — showing a plane unloading a large amount of cash to Iran from the US government. He hadn’t. Trump later conceded he’d been mistaken — he’d seen TV news video that showed a plane during a prisoner release.

But, even under the spotlight of this campaign, Trump has never had an experience quite like a deposition on Dec. 19 and 20, 2007.

He was trapped in a room — with his own prior statements and three high-powered lawyers.

“A very clear and visible side effect of my lawyers’ questioning of Trump is that he [was revealed as] a routine and habitual fabulist,” said Timothy L. O’Brien, the author Trump had sued.

Trump had brought it on himself. He had sued a reporter, accusing him of being reckless and dishonest in a book that raised questions about Trump’s net worth. The reporter’s attorneys turned the tables and brought Trump in for a deposition.

For two straight days, they asked Trump question after question that touched on the same theme: Trump’s honesty.

The lawyers confronted the mogul with his past statements — and with his company’s internal documents, which often showed those statements had been incorrect or invented. The lawyers were relentless. Trump, the bigger-than-life mogul, was vulnerable — cornered, out-prepared and under oath.

Thirty times, they caught him.

Trump had misstated sales at his condo buildings. Inflated the price of membership at one of his golf clubs. Overstated the depth of his past debts and the number of his employees.

That deposition — 170 transcribed pages — offers extraordinary insights into Trump’s relationship with the truth. Trump’s falsehoods were unstrategic — needless, highly specific, easy to disprove. When caught, Trump sometimes blamed others for the error or explained that the untrue thing really was true, in his mind, because he saw the situation more positively than others did.

“Have you ever lied in public statements about your properties?” the lawyer asked.

“I try and be truthful,” Trump said. “I’m no different from a politician running for office. You always want to put the best foot forward.”

In 2009, a judge dismissed Trump’s case against O’Brien. Trump appealed, but in 2011 that was denied, too, the Post reported.

Along the way, this once-confidential deposition became part of the public record when O’Brien’s attorneys attached it to one of their motions.

Trump said he felt the lawsuit was a success, despite his loss.

“O’Brien knows nothing about me,” Trump said. “His book was a total failure and ultimately I had great success doing what I wanted to do — costing this third rate reporter a lot of legal fees.”

O’Brien, now executive editor of Bloomberg View, said Trump got that wrong. The publisher and insurance companies covered the cost.

“Donald Trump lost his lawsuit and, unlike him, it didn’t cost me a penny to litigate it,” he said.

US ARMY FUDGED ACCOUNTS BY TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS, AUDITOR FINDS. The US Army’s finances are so jumbled it had to make trillions of dollars of improper accounting adjustments to create an illusion that its books are balanced, Scot J. Paltrow reported for Reuters (8/20).

The Defense Department’s Inspector General, in a June report, said the Army made $2.8 tln in wrongful adjustments to accounting entries in one quarter alone in 2015, and $6.5 tln for the year. Yet the Army lacked receipts and invoices to support those numbers or simply made them up.

As a result, the Army’s financial statements for 2015 were “materially misstated,” the report concluded. The “forced” adjustments rendered the statements useless because “DoD and Army managers could not rely on the data in their accounting systems when making management and resource decisions.”

From The Progressive Populist, September 15, 2016


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