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October 21, 2008


Oh God! I'm a furriner!

I admit it, when I donated last week, it was $10.23

In my defense, it made my bank account a whole number, which gave me a fuzzy feeling that was inexplicable. Whole round numbers have that effect on me.

Isn't it amazing that when those foreigners convert from local currency, the number tends to end up with a small number of cents? Many people donate $20.01 or $25.01, but nobody donates $20.77 or $25.82. But if they really were doing currency conversion, you'd expect the number of cents to be distributed more randomly. Didn't Mr. Genius Timmerman find that surprising?

Even if those donations were converted from foreign currency, that would be no guarantee that they were from foreign nationals. It may come as a surprise to some people, but there are American citizens who live abroad and do much of their day-to-day finances in the local currency wherever they live. Those expats have the right to contribute to the campaign of their choice, too.

Purchases from the campaign's on-line store, which are considered political contributions, are also unlikely to be whole dollar values.

Obama really brings out the xenophobia in these guys.

And, of course, every Republican contribution was an exact number of dollars.


There were also several drives earlier this year where people were encouraged to give, for example, $xx.47 on Obama's 47th birthday. I think people did this on several important dates this year-- Digg promoted a few.

I'm all in favor of paying respect to All Internet Traditions, but I suspect ulla's on to something (heaven knows I sometimes regret that I've given a truly appaling amount through John Cole's ActBlue page rather than going to the store and getting swag for the same money). Still, the funniest thing here is that these are the itemized donations this Sherlock of the internets is looking at ... the ones that Say Where They Came From. As in, if their return addresses were all to caves in Peshawar or the red light district of Amsterdam (or, oddly, both), this investigative genius would have. seen this and be drowing over it. Or does he think there's been a massive conspiracy of furriners to donate using US names and addresses (that will somehow pass muster, naturally) and nonetheless donate in Bolivars? Is this a conspiracy of people with similar methodology or one half-bright foreign mastermind who can only get foreign-denominated credit cards at their Volcano Island Lair? In the immortal words of Bugs Bunny, What a maroon.

"Ken Timmerman has a rather breathless article.."

Ken Timmerman took one breath at birth and hasn't exhaled since.

And thus the line is drawn between folks who still have something to learn about the world (and who would therefore ask questions) and those whose brains have fossilized to the point that all data merely confirm what the rocks in their heads are already telling them.

I just realized, we've been having fun at the expense of this Schmoe from NewsMax, and it never even occurred to me ... why was Hilzoy even reading NewsMax? I mean, the last person's writing I remember her shredding at this site was E O Wilson, and then she goes from there to some writer a site that functions as a home for those considered Not Ready For Primetime even by the standards of the Wingosphere. Isn't demolishing this guy's "argument" picking on a guy who's in the wrong intellectual weight class? Is Hilzoy just slumming to procrastinate or something?

22 SSH
79 Finger

Warren Terra: I was reading the Corner, and someone there had this link where the text was something like "$63 million might have come illegally from foreigners", and I thought: I wonder by what fascinating argument they came up with that?, and clicked the link, and as soon as I read it, I thought of all those $20.04 donations and got the giggles. Then the giggles decided to turn themselves into a post, and here we are.

Today's WaPo debunks myth that Obama's campaign is funded primarily by small donations.

"Lost in the attention given to Obama's Internet surge is that only a quarter of the $600 million he has raised has come from donors who made contributions of $200 or less, according to a review of his FEC reports. That is actually slightly less, as a percentage, than President Bush raised in small donations during his 2004 race, although Obama has pulled from a far larger number of donors."


I actually, you know, thought about this for a minute and even the premise of random-cent foreign donations doesn't make any sense. Obama's campaign doesn't take foreign currency: you donate in US dollars.

If you go to his website and you're an American working in, say, Spain, you donate 50 US dollars by credit card and the bank will convert it to Euros. You can't donate 40 euros and have it come out weird in dollars. If you send them a check or money order, it will be in US dollars, and you usually tell them the amount you want the check for, not throw a bunch of money at the clerk and see what it comes out to. The only case I can think of is some sort of event where people donate local cash, which doesn't seem awful likely.

So we've got an attack where the premise is seriously flawed, there are huge gaping holes in the analysis, and the conclusion is ridiculous enough that anybody that believe it would also buy the conclusion that Obama was getting money from Martians. Just another day in the Grand Old Party.

And what's more: as if those scheming foreigners wouldn't have the wherewithal to convert X Euros into Y dollars + Z cents, and then only send the Y dollars. Durrrrrrrrrr.

Is there no end to the FAIL?

Is there no end to the FAIL?


November 4th.

the easiest way to make sure your blog got "credit" for driving donations was to have your readers append a certain amount of cents to every donation.

In other words, they are obviously converting from Democrat currency to RealAmerican dollars.

I bought a bumper sticker and was offered the option of rounding up my order to include a donation. I rounded to $30 but then shipping and handling was calculated and pushed me over $30 so I went back in and took down my donation so that my total would be $30 after stickers, donation and s&h. That meant my donation was not a whole number.

There are roughly 4 million expatriate Americans living abroad right now, or roughly 1.2% of the U.S. population.

The 36,000 donations in question are roughly 1.2% of the people who donated to Obama.

Hmm. Sorry, I don't see anything suspicious there even IF the money did come from overseas. Expatriates are Americans and have just as much right to donate to presidential candidates as any other American. Oh wait, I forgot, according to Sarah Palin if you have a passport and have ever travelled outside the country (outside of a political junket) you're not a "real" American. Alrighty, then!

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Not to defend an idiotic thesis, but it is fair to say that Bill Clinton and Al Gore's fundraising activities in the 1990s have conditioned Republicans to suspect cheating on the part of the Democrats.

Sense of history, there you go.

But Obama is a different kind of political animal entirely from his slimy Democratic predecessors.

This is hilarious! So, now I'm a foreigner because I donated a random number to the campaign?

See... It was like this:

My sister sent me a prepaid Visa gift card for my birthday. I could never remember to use the damned thing, force of habit with my regular mastercard (and its 1% cash back deal). Plus, I figured the gift card people have a scam going where you end up with some small amount left at the end that you can't use for anything. Anyway, just to get the damned thing out of my wallet, I figured out just how much was left on it, and donated the whole remaining balance to Obama '08. $77 and change.

I've still got the empty card lying around if anyone wants to verify it. Sheesh. Stupid, stupid, paranoid Republican lusers... *mumble*, *mumble*

I wonder how many contributions were someone emptying out the coin jar in their kitchen, or their pin money, or the result of penny drives? The Republicans wouldn't recognize grass-roots participation in democracy if it bit them on the nose. Oh, wait... -- it's going to!

Meanwhile, I think I'll go donate another nice, round $100. Maybe that will make them happy.

Anyone else remember the anecdote Obama shared about the older woman who sent him $3.01 because that's all she could afford? There was a wave of people donating multiples of that number back in the January/February timeframe.

now I finally think I understand the meaning of pawn3d, or fail, or whatevs

I used the new RNC/GOP small donation database.

Did you know a William Ayers donated to the RNC and McCain at least 3 times.

McCain and the RNC have been "palling around with terrorist" and accepting "terrorist" money. McCain is a terrorist, too!

I suggest that anyone making further donations to the Obama campaign add $0.63 in honor of this fine piece of investigative journalism.

I didn't know about the hallowed intarnetz tradition, but I'm glad my several donations of $20.08 during the primaries--no reason; just feeling frisky--have contributed to consternation on the right.

And, yes: the fail ends in 13 days....

Perhaps the odd numbers reflects a donor buying from the Obama store and when paying shipping results in an odd (not rounded) number, as I myself made a purchase which ended in $50.01 which included an additional donation.

I suggest that anyone making further donations to the Obama campaign add $0.63 in honor of this fine piece of investigative journalism.


Thanks -

ActBlue itself can cause donations to be unusual multiples. Donate $100, split among 7 candidates, and each gets $14.28.

As commenter ericblair points out above, the whole premise is faulty. Donations are received in dollars - you say how much will be RECEIVED and then it will take out whatever amount that is in the foreign currency. A German giver would still give $50, only it would be 39.05 EUR on his side.

Damn, these guys really have NOTHING on Obama, do they?

fwiw, i donate $20.08 to obama every month.

and i live in the foreign country of utah.

I wish someone would actually challenge Timmerman on this.--the problem with right-wingers is that they've created their own little bubble, including the Cornerites, and reality is NOT allowed to penetrate it. I know, because I've sent intelligent, polite, but pointed emails to some of them talking about G. Gordon Liddy. No one on The Corner will even acknowledge Liddy's existence. Attention Cornerites! Your Presidential candidate of choice supports a man, and took donations from a man, who wants federal law enforcement agents to be murdered. Worthy of condemnation, no?

I made a visualization of the data that clearly shows that these numbers do not come from currency conversion. It was a bit of a challenge to find the data, but it was worth it.

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