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Ex-President's Club
Author: TriSec    Date: 12/15/2018 12:02:54

Good Morning.

More than a week after President H.W. Bush was laid to rest, this image still remains with me.


One day, Mr. Trump will be a member of that ex-president's club. Many of us hope that being ex-president will come with a nice striped suit and a lovely cinder-block view from his front door, but I digress.

As of this writing, just four persons who have been President are still alive. That's a more exclusive club than men who have walked on the moon. Let's see how they did.

President Carter is beyond reproach. Nearly 40 years after leaving office, Mr. Carter remains active and involved, and at age 94 is still out and about doing physical labor for the good of the underpriviledged. You can take a look at the Carter Center masthead and see what he's been doing for a very long time.

The Carter Center, in partnership with Emory University, is guided by a fundamental commitment to human rights and the alleviation of human suffering. It seeks to prevent and resolve conflicts, enhance freedom and democracy, and improve health.

We've now got to jump quite a few years to find President Clinton. While he had his foibles in office, he too has been busy since leaving the beltway. Of course, he's his wife's biggest cheerleader, and despite all efforts, we never did see a second President Clinton. He did launch the Clinton Global Initiative after leaving office, and maintained a surprising relationship with his predecessor, George H.W. Bush. Clinton's foundation is alive and well today, and they have a masthead, too.

Building on a lifetime of public service, President Clinton established the Clinton Foundation on the simple belief that everyone deserves a chance to succeed, everyone has a responsibility to act, and we all do better when we work together. For nearly two decades, those values have energized the work of the Foundation in overcoming complex challenges and improving the lives of people across the United States and around the world.

As an operating foundation, we work on issues directly or with strategic partners from the business, government, and nonprofit sectors to create economic opportunity, improve public health, and inspire civic engagement and service. Our programs are designed to make a real difference today while serving as proven models for tomorrow. The goal of every effort is to use available resources to get better results faster – at the lowest possible cost.

We firmly believe that when diverse groups of people bring resources together in the spirit of true cooperation, transformative ideas will emerge to drive life-changing action.

Remember when we thought George W. Bush was a pariah, and all the terrible things he did while he was in office? Oh, the longing for those days!! We thought he was the worst president of our lifetimes, and his life before the Presidency smacked of wealth and privilege before he ever took the office. Since he left Washington, Mr. Bush has perhaps wisely kept a low profile. His works since then have been more personal; writing books, making art, and making the ocassional public appearance as a kind of motivational speaker. But he too has a Presidential Foundation, based out of his library at Dallas. Perhaps more characteristic of the Bush Presidency, there is no clear mission statement. But there is a laundry list of things the center does, visible directly at the library website. (Click on the "our work" drop-down.)

The newest ex-president is of course, Barack Obama. The youngest of the bunch, he's actually still been doing "dad" things. Mr. Obama is a frequent visitor to this part of the country, as his eldest daughter is attending his alma mater here at Harvard University. Mr. Obama's foundation is somewhat less-developed than others that have existed for years, or decades, but nevertheless....here it is.

Our Mission is to inspire, empower, and connect people to change their world.

That mission begins at home, on the South Side of Chicago, where we are building the Obama Presidential Center. But it extends to all our work, whether its holding leadership training sessions in communities throughout the U.S., bringing local leaders together in countries around the world, working to support the global education of girls, or ensuring young men of color have pathways to opportunity.

Which now brings us to the current occupant. Mr. Trump strikes me as a classic robber-baron. He would not be out of place a century ago. You know I'm a disaster-phile, so I'll throw an obsure one at you. Look up Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon, and check out how he made out on board the Titanic. He is the Donald Trump of his era. Or Trump is our Duff-Gordon.

President Trump has already had a 'foundation', and it seemed to be one of the many streams of income for him and his family. It's unclear if they ever actually did any charitable works.

The Donald J. Trump Foundation was a New York-based private foundation founded and chaired by Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States.

Trump originally created the foundation to his proceeds from his book Trump: The Art of the Deal to charitable causes. However Trump stopped contributing personal funds to the foundation in 2008 and instead solicited donations from outsiders.

During the 2016 presidential election campaign the foundation's activities came under intense media scrutiny, initially by the Washington Post's David Fahrenthold, who went on to win the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for his investigatory work. The foundation and its directors have since been accused of committing various ethical and legal violations, including self-dealing. In December 2016, Trump effectively closed the foundation, although New York State officials immediately blocked its legal dissolution pending completion of its then ongoing investigation.

On June 14, 2018, New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood filed civil suit against President Donald Trump and his three eldest children, Donald, Jr., Ivanka, and Eric, alleging "persistently illegal conduct" with respect to foundation money, accusing them of engaging in campaign finance violations, using foundation money in their self-interest ("self-dealing"), and illegally coordinating donations with Donald Trump's presidential campaign. She ordered the charity dissolved and demanded $2.8 million in restitution and penalties. She also made referrals to the Federal Election Commission and the IRS.

On June 18 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's office announced that the governor would refer the civil case to New York's Department of Taxation and Finance if it is requested to do so by the AG's office. The AG's office is not legally allowed to make the referral. Given the violations alleged in the civil case, some experts believe a tax investigation could lead to state criminal charges filed against President Trump.

On June 14, 2018, the new New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood filed a civil lawsuit against the foundation, Trump himself, and Trump's three adult children, Ivanka, Eric, and Donald Jr., alleging that they had engaged in "extensive unlawful political conduct" and that Donald Trump had been using the foundation "as his personal checkbook," to, among other things, settle his personal legal debts and support his presidential campaign.

Like everything he touches, even his own foundation turned into shit. Years from now, it will be interesting to view the dynamic at the next occasion for these men to gather at a somber event.

2 comments (Latest Comment: 12/16/2018 13:39:26 by BobR)
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