The Darker Side of the News

Seen something interesting in the news or on the intertubes? Discuss it here.

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ObsessoMom
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby ObsessoMom » Tue May 30, 2017 4:43 pm UTC

So, Trump finally says something about the white supremacist who killed two men and injured a third, because they defended a Muslim teenaged girl and her friend on public transit in Portland, Oregon.

Meanwhile, the head of GOP of Multnomah County, Oregon, feels that white supremacists aren't getting enough protection, and need armed assistance help from volunteer militias. Yeah, that's exactly the conclusion to draw from this situation. Can't have Muslim teenaged girls getting away from their deranged attackers, can we?

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby sardia » Tue May 30, 2017 4:45 pm UTC

ObsessoMom wrote:So, Trump finally says something about the white supremacist who killed two men and injured a third, because they defended a Muslim teenaged girl and her friend on public transit in Portland, Oregon.

Meanwhile, the head of GOP of Multnomah County, Oregon, feels that white supremacists aren't getting enough protection, and need armed assistance help from volunteer militias. Yeah, that's exactly the conclusion to draw from this situation. Can't have Muslim teenaged girls getting away from their deranged attackers, can we?

I read that, and was really confused. Is he even referring to the same incident?

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby ObsessoMom » Fri Jun 02, 2017 3:58 pm UTC

Society's confusion of "freedom of expression" with "the power to trample others' rights" continues in tennis. This essay includes links to most of the recent jerkishness in tennis news--sometimes literally in tennis news, as in Hamou's groping of a female reporter on live TV (while her male colleagues back in the studio clapped and cheered him on, I might add):

Margaret Court, Hamou and Nastase – will tennis ever escape the dark ages?


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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Angua » Sat Jun 03, 2017 11:11 pm UTC

Messaged 4 people who live in London, one of them was there. She is ok. A second one lives in the area but was at work when it went down.

So much for going to bed early. It's still stressful just thinking how close it could have been.
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby eSOANEM » Sat Jun 03, 2017 11:34 pm UTC

My parents were in town today and my dad was on london bridge for a photography course. He's fine but he's been taken to a hotel with the other witnesses to be interviewed.

My heart goes out to all affected but I can't help but be worried about how this might play politically. This wouldn't have been stopped by having the army on the streets but May is likely to act like it would have been.
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby CorruptUser » Sun Jun 04, 2017 1:33 am UTC

UPDATE: Stabbings in a London restaurant, appears to be related.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Quercus » Sun Jun 04, 2017 3:59 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:UPDATE: Stabbings in a London restaurant, appears to be related.

If that's the one in Vauxhall, it appears it wasn't related (though still terrible of course).

Donald Trump's first response to the attacks in his own words was, predictably, absolutely disgusting.
Trump wrote:We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!


No condolences, no message of support or fellowship, just more fucking point-scoring and fear-mongering. And what the fuck does a US travel ban have to do with an attack in London anyway?

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Mutex » Sun Jun 04, 2017 10:26 am UTC

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40148737

7 dead
48 injured
3 attackers, all shot dead within 8 minutes of the first 999 call

As scary as this is, knife attacks definitely seem to be the least effective means of a terror attack. This seemed kinda desperate and poorly planned.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby sardia » Sun Jun 04, 2017 3:03 pm UTC

Quercus wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:UPDATE: Stabbings in a London restaurant, appears to be related.

If that's the one in Vauxhall, it appears it wasn't related (though still terrible of course).

Donald Trump's first response to the attacks in his own words was, predictably, absolutely disgusting.
Trump wrote:We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!


No condolences, no message of support or fellowship, just more fucking point-scoring and fear-mongering. And what the fuck does a US travel ban have to do with an attack in London anyway?

It doesn't matter if the idea actually works, or how effective the idea is. It's the thought that counts for Trump's voters.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby CorruptUser » Sun Jun 04, 2017 5:14 pm UTC

Mutex wrote:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40148737

7 dead
48 injured
3 attackers, all shot dead within 8 minutes of the first 999 call

As scary as this is, knife attacks definitely seem to be the least effective means of a terror attack. This seemed kinda desperate and poorly planned.


The point of a terror attack isn't to rack up the highest body count, but to impact the largest number of people. Stabbings may not take down too many people, but it's easy to acquire and conceal a knife, and if you do it in a crowded enough area just as many people are affected.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Mutex » Sun Jun 04, 2017 6:22 pm UTC

Terror attacks aren't about affecting the direct victims, it's about affecting the rest of the population, making them feel shocked and afraid. High body counts make for more dramatic headlines, which is why terrorists try to kill as many people as possible in an attack.

That said there were a lot of injuries and an attack with knives is one of those attacks that really can happen at any time, like a vehicle attack. You can't stop people having knives and cars. So that will make people feel unnerved.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby eSOANEM » Sun Jun 04, 2017 10:11 pm UTC

There is quite a lot that can be done about car attacks actually. Lots of civil engineering goes into placing barriers between roads and areas where lots of people gather (like squares); particularly in ways that aren't obvious to people just going about their business (or at least, aren't obviously a piece of defensive architecture). The I Amsterdam sign is at least in part a defence against cars entering the park.

Edit: obviously the amount you can do is limited, because you still need people to be able to cross roads etc, but you can certainly stop car attacks on squares and potentially even a few busy roads (or bridges)
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby HES » Sun Jun 04, 2017 10:36 pm UTC

eSOANEM wrote:There is quite a lot that can be done about car attacks actually.

Except, we've already done that. You can't defend every soft target, and especially in a historic city like London there are plenty of busy and popular streets that you simply can't fit that sort of protection to. Add in the need for deliveries and emergency access and your options are further limited.

There's room for improvement, of course, but it's near a point of diminishing returns.
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby sardia » Sun Jun 04, 2017 11:04 pm UTC

HES wrote:
eSOANEM wrote:There is quite a lot that can be done about car attacks actually.

Except, we've already done that. You can't defend every soft target, and especially in a historic city like London there are plenty of busy and popular streets that you simply can't fit that sort of protection to. Add in the need for deliveries and emergency access and your options are further limited.

There's room for improvement, of course, but it's near a point of diminishing returns.

You could pour money into automated cars, and force them to hack their cars first before this could happen. You could say I'm using this disaster to further my own goals, but at least you get a robot car out of it.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:14 am UTC

sardia wrote:
HES wrote:
eSOANEM wrote:There is quite a lot that can be done about car attacks actually.

Except, we've already done that. You can't defend every soft target, and especially in a historic city like London there are plenty of busy and popular streets that you simply can't fit that sort of protection to. Add in the need for deliveries and emergency access and your options are further limited.

There's room for improvement, of course, but it's near a point of diminishing returns.

You could pour money into automated cars, and force them to hack their cars first before this could happen. You could say I'm using this disaster to further my own goals, but at least you get a robot car out of it.


But if they hack their own cars, can't they also hack all cars?

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby sardia » Mon Jun 05, 2017 2:03 am UTC

It depends on what they hack. If they just take a hack saw and attach a steering wheel, then no. But if you got a zero day systemic vulnerability, well that's gonna be an unpleasant commute. Still worth it though. I desperately want to sleep while driving to work.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Jun 05, 2017 2:09 am UTC

The self driving cars WILL have to be capable of receiving software updates, meaning they will be just as hackable as the computer you are using. Even moreso if law enforcement demands a backdoor in order to disable suspects' vehicles.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Mutex » Mon Jun 05, 2017 8:44 am UTC

Those software updates could come through a wifi network adapter the owner only enables for the purpose of receiving an update, then switches off again.

EDIT: Typo
Last edited by Mutex on Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:02 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Soupspoon » Mon Jun 05, 2017 8:55 am UTC

Through a what-what?

In other news, have you heard about the important new Microsoft patch? Get it at microsoft.wikia.co/uploads/thisisntdodgy-honest.exe and remember to grant it access to your addressbook so that it can tell all your friends about it, too.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby eSOANEM » Mon Jun 05, 2017 11:05 am UTC

HES wrote:Except, we've already done that. You can't defend every soft target, and especially in a historic city like London there are plenty of busy and popular streets that you simply can't fit that sort of protection to. Add in the need for deliveries and emergency access and your options are further limited.

There's room for improvement, of course, but it's near a point of diminishing returns.


Ah sorry, I didn't mean to imply this stuff hasn't been done appropriately, just that vehicle attacks aren't a trump card that it's impossible to defend against.
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby HES » Mon Jun 05, 2017 11:56 am UTC

eSOANEM wrote:Ah sorry, I didn't mean to imply this stuff hasn't been done appropriately, just that vehicle attacks aren't a trump card that it's impossible to defend against.

Yeah, fair point. And as you mentioned, these things are sometimes quite subtle. Benches, fountains, sculptures,.. if there's a row of objects less than 1.8m apart, you're looking at a vehicle barrier.

It's just another of those conflicting constraints that make my job more annoying.
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:21 pm UTC

HES wrote:Benches, fountains, sculptures,.. if there's a row of objects less than 1.8m apart, you're looking at a vehicle barrier.


And unless those benches happen to be made out of reinforced concrete, a large truck will just ignore it.



I wonder... have there been any reactions by the trucking industry to this? E.g., requiring all people renting a truck to have a CDL or whatever the European equivalent is? Or something nastier, like refusing to rent a truck to anyone with a Muslim name?

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Quercus » Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:34 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
HES wrote:Benches, fountains, sculptures,.. if there's a row of objects less than 1.8m apart, you're looking at a vehicle barrier.


And unless those benches happen to be made out of reinforced concrete, a large truck will just ignore it.


They often are made out of reinforced concrete. This is a bench you see a lot in London these days. I don't like the hostile architecture aspect of it (there's no comfortable way to lie, or even really sit on it, you can't sleep or lounge or have a comfortable conversation - perch for a bit is your only option), but it's going to make a damn effective vehicle barrier.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:39 pm UTC

That thing is hideous. Also an environmental disaster, considering that concrete production produces a hell of a lot of CO2 (part of the processing involves removing CO2 from the limestone, or something). But I was under the impression that it's hostile architecture to shoo off the homeless? I guess it has multiple purposes.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Quercus » Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:42 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:But I was under the impression that it's hostile architecture to shoo off the homeless? I guess it has multiple purposes.

Yeah, that was the (kind of messed up) purpose for making it hostile, but the effect is that it's hostile to everyone, not just homeless people (although of course that has most impact on homeless people).

I guess if one was being extra cynical you could argue that people sitting on comfortable benches aren't browsing the shops and buying things like good little consumers, but I'm not sure how much I buy into that as an intentional thing.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby sardia » Wed Jun 07, 2017 1:22 pm UTC

https://www.forbes.com/sites/danalexand ... 6670956b4a
We all know that Donald Trump has a fake charity that is used to make money and gain kudos from stealing other people's donations. But did you know that Eric Trump has a charity too? Except that charity is real and actually helps people. Or it did until the Donald found out about it. Trump freaked out and demanded that everyone gets billed, even cancer kids. Now Eric Trump foundation has been reformatted into a subsidiary of the Trump organization. What used to be free golf outings for charity are now billed, and then something overbilled. Eg what used to cost 50000$ now cost$200000. And what did Eric Trump think of how dad stealing money? He's completely ok with it because Eric and Ivanka know who's really in charge. They're loyal trumpers after all.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby ucim » Wed Jun 07, 2017 2:24 pm UTC

sardia wrote:https://www.forbes.com/sites/danalexand ... 6670956b4a
Site is blocked. What's the text of the article?

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby sardia » Wed Jun 07, 2017 3:02 pm UTC

It's not blocked, you have to disable your ad blocker.

How Donald Trump Shifted Kids-Cancer Charity Money Into His Business

Lists #​TrumpsAmericaJUN 6, 2017 @ 11:58 AM1,617,108
How Donald Trump Shifted Kids-Cancer Charity Money Into His Business

Dan Alexander , FORBES STAFF
I write about Donald Trump and the people around him.

This story appears in the June 29, 2017 issue of Forbes. Subscribe
Bobby Bank / Wireimage / Getty Images
LIKE AUTUMN LEAVES, sponsored Cadillacs, Ferraris and Maseratis descend on the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County, New York, in September for the Eric Trump Foundation golf invitational. Year after year, the formula is consistent: 18 holes of perfectly trimmed fairways with a dose of Trumpian tackiness, including Hooters waitresses and cigar spreads, followed by a clubhouse dinner, dates encouraged. The crowd leans toward real estate insiders, family friends and C-list celebrities, such as former baseball slugger Darryl Strawberry and reality housewife (and bankruptcy-fraud felon) Teresa Giudice.

The real star of the day is Eric Trump, the president's second son and now the co-head of the Trump Organization, who has hosted this event for ten years on behalf of the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis. He's done a ton of good: To date, he's directed more than $11 million there, the vast majority of it via this annual golf event. He has also helped raise another $5 million through events with other organizations.

The best part about all this, according to Eric Trump, is the charity's efficiency: Because he can get his family's golf course for free and have most of the other costs donated, virtually all the money contributed will go toward helping kids with cancer. "We get to use our assets 100% free of charge," Trump tells Forbes.

That's not the case. In reviewing filings from the Eric Trump Foundation and other charities, it's clear that the course wasn't free--that the Trump Organization received payments for its use, part of more than $1.2 million that has no documented recipients past the Trump Organization. Golf charity experts say the listed expenses defy any reasonable cost justification for a one-day golf tournament.

Additionally, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, which has come under previous scrutiny for self-dealing and advancing the interests of its namesake rather than those of charity, apparently used the Eric Trump Foundation to funnel $100,000 in donations into revenue for the Trump Organization.

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And while donors to the Eric Trump Foundation were told their money was going to help sick kids, more than $500,000 was re-donated to other charities, many of which were connected to Trump family members or interests, including at least four groups that subsequently paid to hold golf tournaments at Trump courses.

All of this seems to defy federal tax rules and state laws that ban self-dealing and misleading donors. It also raises larger questions about the Trump family dynamics and whether Eric and his brother, Don Jr., can be truly independent of their father.

Especially since the person who specifically commanded that the for-profit Trump Organization start billing hundreds of thousands of dollars to the nonprofit Eric Trump Foundation, according to two people directly involved, was none other than the current president of the United States, Donald Trump.

The Eric Trump Foundation golf outing brought in millions for St. Jude, billings for the Trump Organization. Grant Lamos IV / Getty Images
The Eric Trump Foundation golf outing brought in millions for St. Jude, billings for the Trump Organization.

IN ORDER TO understand the Eric Trump Foundation, you need to understand the Donald J. Trump Foundation. The president was never known for giving his foundation much money, and from 2009 to 2014, he didn't give it anything at all. Outsiders still donated, though, allowing Trump to dole out their money to a smattering of more than 200 charities as if it were his own, with many of the donations helping his business interests.

Eric Trump set out to do things differently. Coming out of Georgetown, he decided he would try to translate the good fortune he had inherited into support for children's cancer research. Why this cause, especially for a guy who still doesn't have kids? "It's a great question--it's one that I've been asked before--and I'm not really sure," he says. "I think there is something about that innocence that has always affected me." After visiting various hospitals, he chose to give to strength, St. Jude, the world's best-known pediatric cancer center.

Eric Trump set up his foundation as a public charity, a classification that allows it to raise most of its money from outside donors. In 2007, when he was 23, the first Eric Trump golf tournament took place, raising $220,000. A compelling sales pitch evolved--the free golf course and the donated goods and services assured donors that every penny possible went to charity. The Eric Trump Foundation employed no staff until 2015, and its annual expense ratio averaged 13%, about half of what most charities pay in overhead. His original seven-person board was made up of personal friends, an innocuous lot who helped sell tournament tickets, which last year ranged from $3,000 for a single all-day ticket to $100,000 for a pair of VIP foursomes.

For the first four years of the golf tournament, from 2007 to 2010, the total expenses averaged about $50,000, according to the tax filings. Not quite the zero-cost advantage that a donor might expect given who owned the club but at least in line with what other charities pay to host outings at Trump courses, according to a review of ten tax filings for other charitable organizations.

But in 2011, things took a turn. Costs for Eric Trump's tournament jumped from $46,000 to $142,000, according to the foundation's IRS filings. Why would the price of the tournament suddenly triple in one year? "In the early years, they weren't being billed [for the club]--the bills would just disappear," says Ian Gillule, who served as membership and marketing director at Trump National Westchester during two stints from 2006 to 2015 and witnessed how Donald Trump reacted to the tournament's economics. "Mr. Trump had a cow. He flipped. He was like, 'We're donating all of this stuff, and there's no paper trail? No credit?' And he went nuts. He said, 'I don't care if it's my son or not--everybody gets billed.' "

Katrina Kaupp, who served on the board of directors at the Eric Trump Foundation in 2010 and 2011, also remembers Donald Trump insisting the charity start paying its own way, despite Eric's public claims to the contrary. "We did have to cover the expenses," she says. "The charity had grown so much that the Trump Organization couldn't absorb all of those costs anymore." The Trump Organization declined to answer detailed questions about the payments. But it seems that for the future president, who Forbes estimates is worth $3.5 billion, a freebie to help his son directly fight kids' cancer took a backseat to revenue.

"I saw that Eric was getting billed," Gillule adds. "I would always say, 'I can't believe that his dad is billing him for a charitable outing.' But that's what they wanted."

It's also very consistent. The Donald J. Trump Foundation famously acted like an arm of the overall business, using the charity's money to settle a Trump business lawsuit, make a political donation and even purchase expensive portraits of its namesake. Meanwhile, Trump businesses billed the Trump campaign, fueled by small outside donors, more than $11 million to use his properties, chefs and private aircraft.

At first the extra bills did not cost the Eric Trump Foundation anything. Shortly before the spike in costs, the Donald J. Trump Foundation donated $100,000 to the Eric Trump Foundation--a gift explicitly made, according to Gillule, to offset the increased budget. Thus, the Eric Trump donors were still seeing their money go to work for kids along the same lines as previous years.

The Eric Trump Foundation declined to comment on that donation. In effect, though, this maneuver would appear to have more in common with a drug cartel's money-laundering operation than a charity's best-practices textbook. That $100,000 in outside donations to the Donald J. Trump Foundation (remember: Trump himself didn't give to his own foundation at this time) passed through the Eric Trump Foundation--and wound up in the coffers of Donald Trump's private businesses.

"His father, Mr. Trump, always, until the presidency, had a very, very tight rein on what was going on," says Gillule, referring to the company's golf courses. "The buck always stopped with him."

THE COSTS FOR ERIC'S golf tournament quickly escalated. After returning, in 2012, to a more modest $59,000--while the event brought in a record $2 million--the listed costs exploded to $230,000 in 2013, $242,000 in 2014 and finally $322,000 in 2015 (the most recent on record, held just as Trump was ratcheting up his presidential campaign), according to IRS filings. This even though the amount raised at these events, in fact, never reached that 2012 high.

It's hard to find an explanation for this cost spike. Remember, all those base costs were supposedly free, according to Eric Trump. The golf course? "Always comped," he says. The merchandise for golfers: "The vast majority of it we got comped." Drinks: "Things like wine we were normally able to get donated." And the evening performances from musicians like Dee Snider of Twisted Sister and comedians like Gilbert Gottfried: "They did it for free." So many sponsors donated, in fact, that the event invitation has carried enough logos to make a Nascar team proud.

Eric Trump, in speaking with Forbes, maintains that "our expenses on a tournament that made us somewhere in the $2 million range every year was somewhere around 100 grand," even though his foundation's tax records show costs soaring to $322,000. When asked for an itemized list of expenses, the Eric Trump Foundation declined to respond.

Thus it's hard to figure out what happened to the money. All the listed costs are direct expenses: Items like overhead and salaries appear elsewhere in its IRS filings. Even if the Eric Trump Foundation had to pay the full rate for literally everything, Forbes couldn't come up with a plausible path to $322,000 given the parameters of the annual event (a golf outing for about 200 and dinner for perhaps 400 more). Neither could golf tournament experts or the former head golf professional at Trump National Westchester. "If you gave me that much money to run a tournament, I couldn't imagine what we could do," says Patrick Langan, who worked at the club from 2006 to 2015. "It certainly wasn't done that way."

Opaque accounting doesn't help, as the Eric Trump Foundation began hosting a few other golf events and fundraisers; former board member Kaupp says some were lumped into the cost figures of the Westchester event on the IRS filings. Hundreds of thousands of dollars over this time went directly to the Trump Organization, including one payment of $87,000 to Trump's golf course in Washington, D.C., which hosted a separate event for St. Jude.

For his part, Eric Trump offers no indication that the charity is paying for much beyond the day in Westchester. "I'm sure if I hunted, I could find examples of expenses associated with the charity that aren't due to day-of activities," he says. "But I would probably have to think pretty long and hard about that."

IT DOESN'T SEEM A COINCIDENCE that at the same time the Eric Trump Foundation went from what appeared to be a clean, efficient operation to a seemingly Byzantine one that suddenly found itself saddled with costs, there was a clear shift of control.

In 2010, the year the economics of the tournament suddenly pivoted, four of the seven original board members, who were personal friends of Eric, left. Those 4 were eventually replaced by 14 new board members, the majority of whom owed all or much of their livelihoods to the Trump Organization. Six of them were effectively full-time employees, including Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and executive vice president Dan Scavino Jr., who both serve in political roles for President Trump. Another owns a company that billed the Trump campaign $16 million. Add in Eric himself, as well as his wife, Lara, and 9 of the 17 Eric Trump Foundation board members had a vested interest in the moneymaking side of the Trump empire. The foundation had become a de facto subsidiary of the Trump Organization.

"They were wearing two hats," says Langan, the former director of golf, who says he sat in on meetings where he couldn't tell where the business ended and the charity began. "You're dealing with people talking about the event and the charity who also at the same time are thinking about it as a corporation and as a business. It's a for-profit club. You know, they're trying to make money."

.

Until this board turnover, the Eric Trump Foundation pretty much did what it told its donors it would: send its money to St. Jude. But starting in 2011, more than $500,000 was redirected to a variety of other charities, many of which were personal favorites of Trump family members and several of which had nothing to do with children's cancer--but happened to become clients of Trump's golf courses.

In 2012, the Eric Trump Foundation sent $5,000 to a charity called Abilis, which provides services to people with disabilities. That same year, Donald Trump's nephew Fred Trump, whose son has cerebral palsy, hosted the inaugural Golf for Abilis fundraiser at the Trump National Westchester. Over the next five years, Abilis spent an estimated $240,000 hosting tournaments at the property.

In 2013 and 2014, the Eric Trump Foundation paid $15,000 for tables at a gala for the Little Baby Face Foundation, according to a spokesman for the latter foundation. Over the next three years, Little Baby Face spent an estimated $100,000 to hold golf outings on the Trump course. The foundation denies any direct connection between the two transactions.

Janet McHugh, the founder of a small charity named Julie's Jungle, was delighted to receive $25,000 in total donations from the Donald and Eric Trump foundations in 2013--money she figured came from Eric and Donald Trump personally. Two years later, her charity hosted a golf tournament at Trump National Hudson Valley. McHugh says the decision to hold her tournament there was unrelated to the donation. "They didn't comp us the golf course," she says. "We paid."

Altruism as a business-development strategy isn't necessarily illegal. But a situation in which outside donor money is redeployed away from the core mission in ways that seem to ultimately benefit the family that pays the majority of the board is--at best--an appearance problem.

Other extra expenditures raise eyebrows. In 2013, for example, Eric Trump used his foundation's money, rather than his own, to pay $1,600 to the American Society for Enology & Viticulture for a copper wine still and an antique bottle washer at a trade event and fundraiser that he was keynoting. Eric runs the family vineyard in Charlottesville, Virginia, about an hour down the road from where the event took place. "I have no idea what that is," says Eric Trump, referring to the payment.

In 2012, the Eric Trump Foundation wrote a check for $25,000 to the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts. That same year, George Rodrigue, who had said that his famous "blue dog" paintings sometimes sold for about $25,000, created a portrait of Donald Trump for the auction at Eric's event. That portrait ended up hanging over the couch in Eric Trump's house, where he was photographed sitting beneath it two years later.

Perhaps Eric bought the painting for himself at the auction or on the aftermarket. Perhaps Rodrigue gave or sold him a copy. What does Eric say about the donation? "Let's follow up later on," he replies, when asked about it in a phone call, before getting off the line.

Later the next day, after being told Forbes had several other questions, he sent a paragraphs-long text message, which read in part: "I was reflecting on it last night and have to say I was really disappointed when you said the story would be 'fair.'... It seems like there is a motive against either myself or my family. And if that is the case, I would simply rather disengage." A spokesperson for the Trump Organization similarly declined to respond further to questions about Eric and Donald Trump.

THE ULTIMATE TRAGEDY HERE is that the Eric Trump Foundation has done so much good. Yes, Eric has indulged in the family trait of vainglory, from Eric Trump bobblehead dolls at the tournament to statements that leave the impression he's giving the money personally, even though tax records suggest he's donated six figures total, at most. (Trump wouldn't tell Forbes how much he's given to his own foundation. "I think it's totally irrelevant," he says, citing the fact that "we never charge" for use of the courses.) But in 2015, a new intensive-care unit at St. Jude opened with Eric Trump's name on it, and the foundation's money has funded research into a rare form of cancer.

It's hard to imagine how the early incarnation of the golf tournament--big hauls, understandable costs--would have any problem continuing to spew out millions for years to come. Last year, the Eric Trump Foundation donated $2.9 million, according to St. Jude.

But in December, Eric Trump said he would stop fundraising. Running an event with an increasing commingling of business and philanthropy created the kind of conflict-of-interest (not to mention image) concerns that similarly plagued Ivanka Trump's aborted attempt to auction off a coffee date on behalf of Eric's foundation.

More recently, the foundation has rebranded itself as Curetivity. A spokeswoman for the organization said it would continue hosting golf tournaments to raise money for St. Jude. A Curetivity event was held this past May outside Washington, D.C., with Eric Trump in attendance, at the Trump National course.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby elasto » Wed Jun 07, 2017 5:25 pm UTC

An investigation by the FBI has concluded that Russian hackers were responsible for sending out fake messages from the Qatari government, sparking the Gulf’s biggest diplomatic crisis in decades.

It is believed that the Russian government was not involved in the hacks; instead, freelance hackers were paid to undertake the work on behalf of some other state or individual. Some observers have claimed privately that Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates may have commissioned the hackers.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain launched an unprecedented campaign to isolate Qatar diplomatically and economically over links to the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Iran. All four countries withdrew their ambassadors. They also launched an economic blockade, including denial of air space, leading to panic-buying in the capital, Doha.

In a further tightening of the diplomatic screws on Wednesday, Qataris were banned from landing at any airports in the UAE, even to transfer to another international flight. The UAE has also banned its citizens from using social media to express views sympathetic to Qatar.

In its first statement since the crisis erupted, the Muslim Brotherhood rejected the Saudi accusations, saying that Riyadh should not listen to “the corrupt princes of oppression” in UAE. Hamas said it was shocked by the UAE’s stance.

In contrast, the US president weighed in with a series of tweets on Tuesday backing Saudi Arabia and asserting that Qatar was funding terrorism, a claim it vehemently denies.

There were signs that Trump’s enthusiasm for the Saudi-UAE assault on Qatar has unnerved the Pentagon and European capitals. The serving US ambassador to Qatar appeared to openly challenge Trump’s view that Qatar has been aiding terrorism.

What the hell is going on in the world? It's like we're inside some computer game now. Is WW3 going to start from some spotty teenage hacker's basement?

link

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Jun 07, 2017 6:20 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
An investigation by the FBI has concluded that Russian hackers were responsible for sending out fake messages from the Qatari government, sparking the Gulf’s biggest diplomatic crisis in decades.

It is believed that the Russian government was not involved in the hacks; instead, freelance hackers were paid to undertake the work on behalf of some other state or individual. Some observers have claimed privately that Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates may have commissioned the hackers.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain launched an unprecedented campaign to isolate Qatar diplomatically and economically over links to the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Iran. All four countries withdrew their ambassadors. They also launched an economic blockade, including denial of air space, leading to panic-buying in the capital, Doha.

In a further tightening of the diplomatic screws on Wednesday, Qataris were banned from landing at any airports in the UAE, even to transfer to another international flight. The UAE has also banned its citizens from using social media to express views sympathetic to Qatar.

In its first statement since the crisis erupted, the Muslim Brotherhood rejected the Saudi accusations, saying that Riyadh should not listen to “the corrupt princes of oppression” in UAE. Hamas said it was shocked by the UAE’s stance.

In contrast, the US president weighed in with a series of tweets on Tuesday backing Saudi Arabia and asserting that Qatar was funding terrorism, a claim it vehemently denies.

There were signs that Trump’s enthusiasm for the Saudi-UAE assault on Qatar has unnerved the Pentagon and European capitals. The serving US ambassador to Qatar appeared to openly challenge Trump’s view that Qatar has been aiding terrorism.

What the hell is going on in the world? It's like we're inside some computer game now. Is WW3 going to start from some spotty teenage hacker's basement?

link


How is this new? In 1871, Bismarck sent a fake letter to France which caused them to invade Prussia, only for the Prussians to unite all of Germany and open a can of whoop ass on France. Then in WWI, France faked a letter from Germany to Mexico to make the US hostile to Germany.

As for this case? Freelance? Hardly. Financed under the table, plausable deniability, etc.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby elasto » Wed Jun 07, 2017 6:54 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:How is this new? In 1871, Bismarck sent a fake letter to France which caused them to invade Prussia, only for the Prussians to unite all of Germany and open a can of whoop ass on France. Then in WWI, France faked a letter from Germany to Mexico to make the US hostile to Germany.

It's new in the sense that I think with Trump, Brexit and so on that information wars have truly come of age.

Just like nuclear weapons were not 'new' in the sense that mankind has been killing each other since the dawn of the species, none-the-less when they were invented we entered a truly dangerous period where a very small number of people could cause a grossly disproportionate amount of carnage.

Likewise, the WMD-style weaponization of modern disinformation and hacking tactics I think is a qualitative step-change from the past, with a very small number of people now able to cause a grossly disproportionate amount of damage to the social fabric of both liberal and illiberal societies.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Soupspoon » Thu Jun 08, 2017 9:54 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Then in WWI, France faked a letter from Germany to Mexico to make the US hostile to Germany.
This isn't the Zimmerman Telegram you mean, is it? I've seen many theories about that, pretty much debunked by testimony and physical evidence that it was actually sent, and can't seem to find a reference to a French attempt to frame Germany as getting into the mess that it did for itself anyway.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Mutex » Sat Jun 10, 2017 8:54 pm UTC

The man can't catch a break:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40234865

Ex-Top Gear host Richard Hammond has been airlifted to hospital after a crash while filming in Switzerland.

The 47-year-old was on a practice run for a race in an electric car for Amazon Prime show The Grand Tour.

Mr Hammond "climbed out of the car himself before the vehicle burst into flames," the show said in a statement.

Co-host Jeremy Clarkson tweeted that it was the "most frightening" accident he had ever seen but said Mr Hammond was "mostly OK".

The show's statement said: "Richard Hammond was involved in a serious crash after completing the Hemburg Hill Climb in Switzerland in a Rimac Concept One, an electric super car built in Croatia, during filming for The Grand Tour Season 2 on Amazon Prime, but very fortunately suffered no serious injury."


Interesting the electric car burst into flames, the battery must've been badly damaged.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Sableagle » Sun Jun 11, 2017 11:14 am UTC

So he was racing in a supercar and rolled it? How's that dark? 650 children killed or seriously injured in RTAs every year here, those fools get paid a fortune to encourage people to buy cars with bigger engines and to believe those bigger engines entitle them to go fast, their audience seriously believe the police go out with speed guns just to spoil people's weekends because they're c___s and that guy calls one "no serious injury" rollover incident the scariest accident he's ever seen. That I could call dark.
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Mutex » Sun Jun 11, 2017 11:23 am UTC

A car crash is still on the darker end of the spectrum even if there's much darker stuff in the world.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Grop » Sun Jun 11, 2017 2:33 pm UTC

Likewise, Prometheus 2 was not dark enough.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Weeks » Sun Jun 11, 2017 3:49 pm UTC

Local forums poster brings us terrible news:
Sableagle wrote:650 children killed or seriously injured in RTAs every year here, those fools get paid a fortune to encourage people to buy cars with bigger engines and to believe those bigger engines entitle them to go fast, their audience seriously believe the police go out with speed guns just to spoil people's weekends because they're c___s and that guy calls one "no serious injury" rollover incident the scariest accident he's ever seen. That I could call dark.
Seems dire, I'll post any followups I can gather
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby SecondTalon » Sun Jun 11, 2017 4:49 pm UTC

Fuck it, no one is allowed to post here unless there's at least a bodycount of 1400 children under the age of five.

Otherwise, it's not dark enough.

(In case it's not clear, I'll explicitly say that this is a joke designed to remind Sableagle that he is not the arbiter of what is and is not dark, and if the news of some probably overpaid asshole whose job is to drive cars fast was injured while driving a car fast isn't dark enough for his taste, he is reminded that shutting the hell up and keeping it to his goddamn self is the preferable option)
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby pseudoidiot » Sun Jun 11, 2017 10:09 pm UTC

No posting dark news, because it's not dark enough.

And no posting happy news, because there's definitely happier events going on somewhere.

Also, no being angry, because someone somewhere has far more cause to be angry.

In fact, no emotions at all. Someone, somewhere, is feeling that emotion more strongly.
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