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  1. #1921

    Re: The Run to the WH

    Eric Garland

    Channel 4 in Britain is now distributing its film which shows, in detail, how Donald Trump and Russian intelligence worked to keep Black Americans from voting.

    A historic scandal - and an act of war.

    The GOP, with key help from Cambridge Analytica and Vladimir Putin, specifically fought to keep Black Americans from voting for Clinton and used frighteningly precise targeting without the consent of these victimized U.S. citizens.

    The perpetrators used Facebook's ability to target voter with "dark ads" which would then disappear. Other social media platforms were used as well.

    All to keep voters from turning out for Hillary Clinton.

    Remember how polling in Georgia was making it look like Clinton could possibly (!) take the state in 2016?

    Black voters there became a main target of suppression.

    Over half of the millions marked to be targeted with voter deterrence were Americans of color.

    Question: Did Paul Manafort give Russian spy Konstantin Kilimnik this data?

    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  2. #1922

    Re: The Run to the WH

    RW'ers have been spreading a rumor that Mr. Biden will be wearing an ear piece so he can be fed answers tonight. Now Tiny wants to have his and Biden's ears checked.

    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  3. #1923

    Re: The Run to the WH

    Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, paid nearly $300,000 in federal income taxes, newly released returns show

    Sean Sullivan
    September 29, 2020 at 3:52 p.m. EDT

    Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, paid nearly $300,000 in federal income taxes on earnings of more than $985,000 in 2019, according to returns he released Tuesday following a news report that President Trump has paid far less in recent years.

    The disclosure, coming just hours before the first general election debate, highlights the contrast Biden is seeking to sharpen with Trump over their personal finances and transparency. The New York Times reported Sunday that Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and again in 2017 and that he paid no income taxes 10 of the previous 15 years, due to losses he declared.

    “This is a historic level of transparency meant to give the American people faith, once again, that their leaders will look out for them, not their own bottom line,” Biden deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield told reporters on a conference call.

    Trump has not voluntarily released his tax records, breaking his own promise before his election and deviating from the practices of his predecessors. He has explained his decision not to release them by saying that he is under an IRS audit. But there is no law preventing him from releasing his taxes during such a review.

    With his Tuesday disclosure, Biden has released 22 years’ worth of tax records. His running mate, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), also released her 2019 taxes on Tuesday. Her return showed nearly $3.3 million in total income with her husband, Douglas Emhoff. They paid more than $1.1 million in federal taxes.

    The revelations about Trump’s taxes have added a new political layer to the final weeks of the presidential contest. At recent campaign stops, Biden has been seeking to demonstrate a kinship with working-class voters, while casting Trump as an elitist who is out of touch with them. He has touted his humble roots in Scranton, Pa., and lack of an Ivy League diploma in an effort to draw a distinction from the president, who was raised in a wealthy family in New York and attended the University of Pennsylvania.

    Since the Times story was published, Biden has tried to amplify that populist pitch. Biden is selling T-shirts and buttons on his campaign website that say, “I paid more in taxes than Donald Trump.” And he unveiled a “Trump tax calculator” online Monday.

    “Do you pay more or less in federal income taxes than our ‘billionaire’ President? Use this calculator to find out,” it says.

    Despite his wealth, Trump has long portrayed himself as a champion of White, working-class voters, and he benefited in 2016 when many of them abandoned the Democratic Party to side with him. The dueling strategies by the president and his challenger are being tested in Rust Belt battleground states that could determine the outcome of the election. Polls show Biden narrowly ahead of Trump in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, all of which were key to Trump’s stunning victory four years ago.

    Earlier this week, Alan Garten, an attorney for the Trump Organization, said in a statement that the New York Times’ story “is riddled with gross inaccuracies.” But he identified only one specific issue: the amount of taxes Trump has paid to the federal government. The Times said it believed Garten was conflating federal income taxes with other taxes. Trump, asked repeatedly about the story, has not offered any specific criticisms.

    The former vice president, who has long fashioned himself as “Middle Class Joe” and touted his status as the poorest member of the Senate when he was in Congress, experienced a dramatic increase in earnings after leaving public office in early 2017. Previously disclosed records show his family income was more than $15 million in 2017 and 2018. The money came mostly from book contracts and speaking fees.

    Trump and Biden are set to debate for the first time in Cleveland on Tuesday night. Polls in Ohio, another important bellwether that Trump won, also show a competitive race.

    Matt Viser contributed to this report.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  4. #1924

    Re: The Run to the WH

    Tax Records Reveal How Fame Gave Trump a $427 Million Lifeline
    ‘Apprentice’ Celebrity Fueled a Myth That Propelled Him to White House

    Tax records show that “The Apprentice” rescued Donald J. Trump, bringing him new sources of cash and a myth that would propel him to the White House.
    By Mike McIntire, Russ Buettner and Susanne Craig

    From the back seat of a stretch limousine heading to meet the first contestants for his new TV show “The Apprentice,” Donald J. Trump bragged that he was a billionaire who had overcome financial hardship.

    “I used my brain, I used my negotiating skills and I worked it all out,” he told viewers. “Now, my company is bigger than it ever was and stronger than it ever was.”

    It was all a hoax.

    Months after that inaugural episode in January 2004, Mr. Trump filed his individual tax return reporting $89.9 million in net losses from his core businesses for the prior year. The red ink spilled from everywhere, even as American television audiences saw him as a savvy business mogul with the Midas touch.

    Twelve years later, that image of the self-made, self-saved mogul, beamed into the national consciousness, would help fuel Mr. Trump’s improbable election to the White House.

    But while the story of “The Apprentice” is by now well known, the president’s tax returns reveal another grand twist that has never been truly told — how the popularity of that fictional alter ego rescued him, providing a financial lifeline to reinvent himself yet again. And then how, in an echo of the boom-and-bust cycle that has defined his business career, he led himself toward the financial shoals he must navigate today.

    Mr. Trump’s genius, it turned out, wasn’t running a company. It was making himself famous — Trump-scale famous — and monetizing that fame.

    By analyzing the tax records, The New York Times was able to place a value on Mr. Trump’s celebrity. While the returns show that he earned some $197 million directly from “The Apprentice” over 16 years — roughly in line with what he has claimed — they also reveal that an additional $230 million flowed from the fame associated with it.

    The show’s big ratings meant that everyone wanted a piece of the Trump brand, and he grabbed at the opportunity to rent it out. There was $500,000 to pitch Double Stuf Oreos, another half-million to sell Domino’s Pizza and $850,000 to push laundry detergent.

    There were seven-figure licensing deals with hotel builders, some with murky backgrounds, in former Soviet republics and other developing countries. And there were schemes that exploited misplaced trust in the TV version of Mr. Trump, who, off camera, peddled worthless get-rich-quick nostrums like “Donald Trump Way to Wealth” seminars that promised initiation into “the secrets and strategies that have made Donald Trump a billionaire.”

    Just as, years before, the money Mr. Trump secretly received from his father allowed him to assemble a wobbly collection of Atlantic City casinos and other disparate enterprises that then collapsed around him, the new influx of cash helped finance a buying spree that saw him snap up golf resorts, a business not known for easy profits. Indeed, the tax records show that his golf properties have been hemorrhaging millions of dollars for years.


    As trouble loomed in the new millennium, Mr. Trump found an opportunity that would change his life forever.

    Divorced for the second time, and coming off the failure of his Atlantic City casinos, Mr. Trump faced escalating money problems and the prospect of another trip to bankruptcy court. On his income tax returns, he reported annual net losses throughout the 1990s, some of it carried forward year to year, a tide that would swell to $352.8 million at the end of 2002.

    Few people knew this, however, because he kept up the relentless self-promotion that had served him well: a half-serious 2000 presidential campaign that lasted four months but got him on Jay Leno; a TV ad touting McDonald’s new $1 “Big N’ Tasty” burger; another ghostwritten book.

    But if Mr. Trump was still living off his residual fame, his biggest splashes were behind him. Something had to change. And as fate would have it, Mr. Trump got a boost from an unexpected source, one that would do much to shape his future, if not that of the country itself.

    Mark Burnett, a British television producer best known for the hit series “Survivor,” approached him with an idea for a different reality show, this one based in a boardroom. In Mr. Burnett’s vision, a cast of wannabe entrepreneurs would come to New York and compete for the approval of the Donald, with the winner to work on a Trump project. Mr. Trump eagerly agreed to host “The Apprentice” and went on to ham it up as the billionaire kingmaker, yelling “You’re fired” each week until one contestant was left.

    Some of Mr. Burnett’s staff members wondered how a wealthy businessman supposedly running a real estate empire could spare the time, but they soon discovered that not everything in Mr. Trump’s world was as it appeared.

    “We walked through the offices and saw chipped furniture,” Bill Pruitt, one of the producers, told The New Yorker in 2018. “We saw a crumbling empire at every turn. Our job was to make it seem otherwise.”

    Mr. Burnett wasted no time spinning the illusion of a successful and high-minded Mr. Trump, telling The Times in October 2003 that the new show was all about “Donald Trump giving back” by educating the public on how his can-do spirit had provided jobs and economic security.

    “What makes the world a safe place right now?” Mr. Burnett said. “I think it’s American dollars, which come from taxes, which come because of Donald Trump.”


    A surge in popularity brought Mr. Trump’s reality-TV persona to ring tones, hamburgers, even laundry detergent.

    Mr. Trump himself had not owed federal income taxes in years, thanks to the regular large business losses that smothered whatever income he had.

    But the ratings success of “The Apprentice,” and the advertising dollars it generated, quickly pushed him into the unfamiliar position of declaring positive adjusted gross income on his I.R.S. Form 1040. After netting $11.9 million from the show in its first year, he really hit the jackpot in 2005 with $47.8 million, the tax records show. He made so much that over three years he paid a total of $70.1 million in income taxes (later refunded, with interest, via an aggressive accounting maneuver now under audit).

    The windfall, which continued — though in ever-dwindling amounts — until Mr. Trump became president, reflected an unusual arrangement that entitled him, as the show’s star, to half its profits. That included money from product placements on each episode that sometimes numbered more than 100 a month, with household names like Pepsi paying millions of dollars split between Mr. Burnett and Mr. Trump.

    When they conceived the idea in 2002, however, the show’s success was far from certain. If nothing else, as Mr. Trump told an NBC executive at the time, it would allow him to market his other endeavors: “Even if it doesn’t get ratings, it’s still going to be great for my brand.”

    Those benefits began flowing almost immediately. As early as July 2004, internal marketing plans for various Trump projects called for “exposure through casting on ‘The Apprentice,’” and by 2006, his New York hotel, Trump SoHo, was featured as the winning contestant’s project.

    Product endorsements and speaking engagements rolled in as never before.

    In the two years preceding the debut of “The Apprentice,” Mr. Trump’s side income was mostly confined to $500,000 for appearing in the Big N’ Tasty burger ad and a small amount of book royalties. But over the next two years, his tax records show, he collected $5.2 million from 11 different ad campaigns and speaking gigs, all propelled by his growing popularity as a reality-TV businessman.

    Mr. Trump was not terribly discriminating in his choice of endorsements. He slapped his name on everything from steaks and vodka to a board game and cologne. For the benefit of “consumers interested in experiencing the Trump lifestyle at an affordable price,” as a news release put it, he signed a licensing deal with the Serta mattress company that eventually netted him more than $15 million. Another $15 million would pour in from Trump neckties, shirts and underwear by clothiers like Phillips-Van Heusen.

    No endorsement was too small. Warner Music paid $100,000 to feature Mr. Trump in a collection of cellphone ringtones, with the Donald uttering phrases like, “You’re getting a phone call, and believe me, it better be important. I have no time for small talk, and neither do you.”

    Unilever, which was looking to promote a new version of its All brand laundry detergent, concocted an entire multiplatform marketing campaign around Mr. Trump. In addition to $850,000 the company paid him directly, tax records reveal, he earned $250,000 more from a public-relations firm Unilever hired to help run an ad campaign coined “Softness fit for a Trump.”

    Unilever staged a publicity stunt outside Trump Tower in Manhattan, where Mr. Trump hoisted a laundry basket with an ad for “All Cleans & Softens” stuck to the front. He had taken a break from the rigors of “The Apprentice” to wash donated clothes for charity, Unilever claimed.


    With his penchant for using what he called “truthful hyperbole” to play on people’s desires, Mr. Trump had always skated close to the edge of fraud. Soon, he would be accused of crossing the line completely.
    Around the world, the self-made-billionaire myth became a product to lure those in need of money.


    Unmentioned in the mythologizing were the millions in bailout money from his father or the losses he was reporting to the I.R.S. Nor was there any sense of the gigantic payday — revealed only through an examination of the tax data — that Mr. Trump was enjoying in exchange for lending his imprimatur to an increasingly cynical array of business ventures.

    As the years went on, and the success of “The Apprentice” made Mr. Trump a household name far beyond New York, the chasm between truth and hyperbole widened. It was one thing to bray about his late mother — a multimillionaire with a maid and a Rolls-Royce — using All laundry detergent. Now, he was flogging things that could hurt people economically.

    In what would be his most lucrative side deal, he teamed up with a multilevel marketing company, ACN, whose clients were told they could make a living from home by selling video phones, satellite television and other services. Investigated in several countries, ACN has left a trail of complaints that people were suckered into spending far more than they earned trying to peddle the company’s products.


    His tax returns reveal just how much the company was paying him for the happy talk: $8.8 million over 10 years, including $1 million in 2009 — the nadir of the Great Recession, when desperate people were drawn to promises of a fast payday. In fact, Mr. Trump actively capitalized on the economic anxiety.

    Mr. Trump lent his name to buildings he didn’t own, collecting big fees as his investors lost millions.

    Bayrock proposed to bring the Trump brand to hotels around the country and overseas, where Mr. Trump’s flamboyant taste for gold and glitz played well among wealthy foreigners with a caricatured notion of American success.

    Years later, in a lawsuit deposition, Mr. Trump said that he discussed “numerous deals all over the world” with his new partners, and that “this was going to be Trump International Hotel and Tower Moscow, Kyiv, Istanbul, etc., Poland, Warsaw.”

    At the same time, Mr. Trump asserted that because he was not actually the developer, he knew very little about what Bayrock was doing just two floors below his office. But internal Bayrock documents reviewed by The Times show that the company, right from the start, went looking for financing from Russia to pay for its Trump-branded hotels.

    A draft plan from November 2003 titled “Russian fee agreement” called for an unnamed broker to provide $50 million for three Trump hotels in the United States and potentially “raise capital for all” of Bayrock’s Trump projects. A former Bayrock executive said the proposal never panned out, although the company later received $50 million from an Icelandic bank suspected of having Russian ties.


    Unlike his Chicago tower, where he became embroiled in lawsuits over hundreds of millions of dollars in construction loans, Mr. Trump’s SoHo hotel was essentially risk-free for him. His tax records show that, between licensing and management fees, Trump companies involved in the project ultimately netted as much as $9 million, even though they did not build or finance it.


    Questions have repeatedly been raised about Mr. Trump’s choice of projects, which often fell apart amid allegations and disputes.

    In Rio de Janeiro, where his tax records show he deducted $14,000 for the cost of a background investigation when signing onto a hotel deal, Mr. Trump was later forced to pull out amid a bribery investigation into the developer. In Azerbaijan, where there is a history of corruption, developers with ties to a cabinet minister paid Mr. Trump $5 million to brand and manage a hotel that was never completed after a major backer dropped out of sight.

    And buyers of units in a planned Trump condo-hotel in Mexico were burned after putting up some $32 million in deposits, only to see the project canceled with no refunds. In a lawsuit that was eventually settled, some of the buyers claimed they had been duped into believing Mr. Trump was an active participant in the project.


    In what became a recurring theme, Mr. Trump’s defense was that he had merely licensed his name, and therefore had no responsibility for the project’s collapse. As he explained in a deposition for another lawsuit, this one by investors in a failed Trump hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., “the developer is really the one that is responsible.”

    “We’re like a hotel company, Ritz-Carlton or Four Seasons or Waldorf Astoria,” Mr. Trump said. “We are a name.”


    Flush with new cash, Mr. Trump bought luxurious golf courses that would fall deep into the red.

    While Mr. Trump’s tax returns tell the story of how reality TV and its reflected glow made him rich, they also shed some light on an enduring question that has generated much head-scratching, if not dark speculation: Where did he get hundreds of millions of dollars to buy and prop up his golf resorts?

    Mr. Trump had only two open golf courses and two more undergoing renovations at the time of his plunge into television, but golf — a pastime that he “spent an inordinate amount of time on,” his niece, Mary Trump, wrote in her recent family tell-all — always seemed destined to become his next financial sand trap.


    Beginning in 2006, and continuing over the next decade, he would accumulate 11 more golf courses, forming a new core of what he describes as his empire.

    ...During a three-year period starting in 2014, he pumped $144.5 million into his Turnberry golf course in Scotland, his tax returns show, even as the property has continued booking losses year after year. He has put $213 million into his Doral resort in Florida, with similar results.

    Meanwhile, Mr. Trump’s main source of income — “The Apprentice” and licensing deals — went into a steep decline starting in 2011, falling, along with the show’s ratings, from $51 million that year to $21 million by 2014, and eventually to less than $3 million in 2018.

    Which is where those unsubstantiated theories of secret payments from Russia or the mob come in.

    His tax records provide more mundane answers. They reveal that as he was pouring money into the golf resorts, he also pulled money out of other places in ways that suggested an immediate need. In 2012, he borrowed $100 million against his equity in Trump Tower in Manhattan, one of his more valuable properties. A year later, he withdrew $95.8 million from his share of a real estate partnership that owns buildings in New York and California. And in 2014, he sold $98 million in stocks and bonds.

    These one-time maneuvers, coupled with the more than $427 million from “The Apprentice” and licensing deals, would probably have provided enough cash to cover his golf course investments. But they cannot be repeated, and in at least one case — the Trump Tower mortgage — they need to be paid back.

    In addition, he has huge balances on loans, soon to come due, from Deutsche Bank, including $160 million on his Washington hotel in the Old Post Office building and $148 million on the Doral golf resort. Neither of those businesses is turning a profit.


    As the president enters the final weeks of his re-election campaign trailing in virtually all the polls, he is a man politically and financially challenged.

    Many of the old financial escape hatches have closed. After he announced his candidacy in 2015 with racist comments about Mexicans, NBC, which carried “The Apprentice,” cut ties with him and he sold his interest in the Miss Universe pageant, another reliable moneymaker. Hotel licensing deals have mostly dried up.

    Last month, as he prepared for a Republican convention that would market him as America’s savior in this dark and disordered hour, Mr. Trump turned to two entertainment industry veterans with experience generating the kind of razzle-dazzle that had worked so well in the past.

    Both had helped produce “The Apprentice.”
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  5. #1925

    Re: The Run to the WH

    This is from a Politico article about ballots thus far:

    THE EARLIEST VOTERS — We’re still a day away from the first presidential debate, but nearly a million people have already cast their ballots. Over 944,000 people have either returned their mail ballot or voted early in-person through Sunday, according to data compiled by University of Florida professor Michael McDonald for his site U.S. Elections Project.

    The number represents a small portion of how many people will ultimately vote — it is 0.7 percent of the 2016 general election turnout — but with some crucial battlegrounds having not yet even sent out mail ballots yet, that number is expected to balloon soon enough. (And the number of people who have actually voted is likely higher: It doesn’t include ballots that are in transit, and not every state updates their voter data daily.)

    In terms of raw number of voters, the current leader is Virginia, where just over 284,000 voters have already made their selection. But two critical swing states have also seen more than 200,000 voters already make their picks: North Carolina (247,000) and Wisconsin (213,000). That’d equate to 5.2 percent and 7.2 percent of 2016 turnout in each state, respectively. (The state with the highest percentage of 2016 turnout is South Dakota, at a whopping 9.5 percent.)

    North Carolina also releases a lot more data than some other states on its mail ballots, giving us an interesting look into who is requesting (and returning) ballots. Nearly 1.1 million ballots have been requested, with Democrats absolutely swamping Republicans in both requests and returns. Democrats have requested just under 522,000 ballots, while Republicans have requested 194,000 (the remainder is either independent voters or those registered to a minor party). Democratic voters are not just returning ballots at a higher raw number — 133,000 to 40,000 — but as a higher percentage as well, with 25.5 percent of Democratic voters who requested a ballot having already sent it back, versus 20.8 percent of Republicans.

    One concerning datapoint: Black voters are getting their ballots marked deficient (in North Carolina, voters can cure their ballots) at a higher rate than white voters. The overall ballot rejection rate across the state is 1.7 percent. But for Black voters, there’s a 4.3 percent rejection rate, compared to 1.1 percent for white voters.

  6. #1926

    Re: The Run to the WH

    I got my ballot in the mail today. There are two envelopes. The directions on how to fill your ballot out are clear. The barcode has to appear in a window of the top envelope. The envelope you put your marked ballot in has to be signed and dated. The inner envelope doesn't look like something you'd mail so I don't think there will be too many mistakes in that regard.

    Even though I know how I'm voting I'm going to sleep on it tonight before filling it out and mailing it.

    I don't plan to watch the debate.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

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