Yes, another dog video — thanks again, Mel — but this one, from Vancouver, is only 42 seconds.


I love all donors.  Realistically, I love some even more than others.  I was thinking about that recently because two things happened within minutes of each other.

The first thing was that a lawyer who works in Moscow and can rarely make it back for “events” but gives anyway emailed to ask what the new giving limit was this year.  (It goes up every two years with inflation.)  I told him, and four minutes later saw his credit card come through for $33,400.

The millions of human-size contributions we get are ultimately even more important, and way more democratic.  But facing $889 million in pledges already rounded up by the Koch brothers, every $33,400 I can grab is tremendous.

So that was donor number one.

Meanwhile, as that was going on, another email arrived from a guy I’ve known since the ’60s — a man of some means — whose help, over the last few years, I’ve been trying to enlist.

He wrote:

Subject: Hillary

I know what you are going to say but I have to add my two cents.  The Clintons seem incapable of adhering to the rule of law.  The email situation at the State Department; and now the Clinton Foundation with its 1,100 foreign donations that were not properly accounted for.  I understand that the Republicans would be worse but Hillary is not someone that I feel really good about. All the best . . .

To which I replied:

Hey, I know this comes from a good place, and am happy for a chance to answer it, but would push back on your two cents with two of my own:

  1. No laws were broken.  NONE.
  1. Yes, because they said they would, they should have disclosed the donors fully and timely, but they’re doing it now.  Here’s the website. Not sure it’s complete yet, but I see Saudi Arabia and Norway – have at it.
  1. Remember what we’re talking about: the Foundation has saved and/or improved TENS OF MILLIONS of lives here and around the world. Shouldn’t that count for something as you judge them?  What have you or I done by comparison?  Check out their annual reports.

I think your standards are too high.  In the last 20 years, F.E.C. records show, you’ve found just one candidate for President, House or Senate worthy of your support — $1,250 to Chuck Schumer in 1999.  Chuck is swell, but he’s not the only one, let alone the one who most needed help.  And I would argue that the urgency to help has become much greater since 1999, as Republicans have moved ever further right . . . even as your own capacity to help has, I hope, increased.  (Under Obama, the S&P has more than doubled.)

So surprise me: make a once-in-a-lifetime-size gift to help steer your country toward reason and inclusion, belief in science and all the rest.  If you’d enjoy some “event” to go with that, terrific.  But all I really want is to see the forces of progress win – and for that all I really need is your money.

Your friend of long standing . . .

Too much?  I’m not holding my breath, but stranger things have happened.*

*For example: I have an Amazon Echo.  You can tell it, “Alexa: play the Grateful Dead,” and she will.  You can say, “Alexa: what’s tomorrow’s weather?” and she’ll tell you.  Well . . . a few nights ago, Alexa was playing something but the conversation was getting really focused and I wanted her to be a little quieter (there are 10 volume settings) so . . . and here’s the spooky part . . . stranger, even, than if my friend of 50 years decides to make a once-in-a-lifetime contribution (though perhaps only barely stranger) . . . are you ready?  At the exact same instant as I said, “Alexa: volume four,” my friend said — so simultaneously you’d think we’d rehearsed — “Alexa: volume four.”  The same instant.  The same level.  (Why not “volume three” or two or five or one or, “Alexa: softer” or “Alexa: stop,” all of which would have been reasonable and all of which we’ve said to Alexa before.)  So — c’mon, Alan!  Give me that credit card!  What’s $33,400 when the next president may well get to replace four octogenarian Justices with 48-year-olds?  The course of our nation is in your hands.  “Alexa: make him do it!  Play God Bless America!”



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