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Sean Hannity’s Freedom CONcert Scam
Debbie Schlussel Blog Post ^ | March 18, 2010 | Debbie Schlussel

Posted on 03/18/2010 12:54:44 PM PDT by TRY ONE

For the last several years, Sean Hannity and the Freedom Alliance “charity” have conducted “Freedom Concerts” across America. They’ve told you that they are raising money to pay for the college tuition of the children of fallen soldiers and to pay severely wounded war vets. And on Friday Night, Hannity will be honored with an award for this “Outstanding Community Service by a Radio Talk Show Host” at Talkers Magazine’s convention.

But it’s all a huge scam.

(Excerpt) Read more at debbieschlussel.com ...


TOPICS: Editorial; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: debbieschlussel; freedomalliance; freedomconcert; freerepublic; freerepublichistory; hannity; militaryfamilies; olivernorth; scam; schlussel; seanvannity; talkradio; unbelievable
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To: Labyrinthos

Good post, and the cheerleader comment made me chuckle.


601 posted on 03/19/2010 6:47:58 AM PDT by Tijeras_Slim (Live jubtabulously!)
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To: wtc911

What is clear wtc911 is that you do not know enough about accounting principles to understand that you cannot discern what you are trying to with the statements you are looking at.

You also seem to have some resistance to getting to the facts as you fail to mention going to the Charity Navigator site and see what independent rating experts say...you will be impressed and maybe your org is on there or you can present it to them. Will help with your fundraising.

I helped set up a 501(c)3 (economic development), but you are right that I have never been involved with that kind of org tax filings. But, I have been intimately involved with my own which are some years several inches thick...and I understand what a tax statement filing compared to a cash flow statement is. You cannot discern what you are trying to discern with any clarity from a tax statement. That is why Schlussel is using them and not mentioning the fact that there are other programs Freedom Alliance does that has nothing to do with grant scholarships, in fact...some have to do with mailing expenses (shipping care packages to service men and women abroad), and travel (sending families of wounded military overseas to visit them). Over 80% of their money goes into their programs...that is efficient!

What is your “not-for-profit” about?


602 posted on 03/19/2010 6:48:08 AM PDT by Wpin (I do not regret my admiration for W)
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To: wtc911
Well, I don't create conspiracies out of thin air as the author attempted, nor do I knee-jerk as many on this thread have.
603 posted on 03/19/2010 6:54:11 AM PDT by SouthTexas (Exterminate the rats!)
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To: wtc911

“On a more general note, I am always leery of any celebrity driven fund raising event. I want to know if the celebrities are paying their own way (their contribution) or if they are using donated funds for travel & lodging and/or actually getting paid for their participation.”

Tell us what you know about your Haiti effort...how you learned about the need, how those in charge act according to your specs.


604 posted on 03/19/2010 6:56:36 AM PDT by outinyellowdogcountry
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To: Mojave
The American Institute of Philanthropy, what an organization:

Criticism

Studies of charity watchdogs' methods have raised concerns about the validity of their ratings, and suggest they may not be reliable source for charity ratings. AIP reviews only 500 charities, where Charity Navigator reviews over 5,400, and it is undetermined how AIP selects the charities it reviews. One group that AIP is critical of claims that AIP rates a large number of liberal groups, as compared to conservative groups, and only a small number of pro-military groups.[26] However, on its website, AIP posts the names of all the charities it rates; the list indicates that of the charities that have a political bias, the charities cover a wide spectrum of political beliefs.[27]

Charity rating organizations have been criticized by philanthropy experts for the validity of their evaluation methods and their conclusions. A study reported in the Stanford Social Innovation Review—an award-winning magazine covering successful strategies of nonprofits, foundations and socially responsible businesses—found that watchdog groups:

Rely too heavily on simple analyses and ratios derived from poor-quality financial data;

Overemphasize financial efficiency while ignoring program effectiveness; and

Do a poor job of conducting analyses in important qualitative areas, such as management strength, governance quality and organizational transparency.

Specifically, this study found that a "gotcha" mentality and lack of transparency were AIP's biggest shortcomings, saying it was "difficult to understand what specific adjustments AIP made to a given nonprofit's ratings and why."[28] This study's authors concluded that, as donors make important decisions using potentially misleading data and analyses, the potential of watchdog agencies to do harm may outweigh their ability to inform.[29] They suggested:

A more effective nonprofit rating system should have at least four main components: improved financial data that is reviewed over three to five years and put in the context of narrowly defined peer cohorts; qualitative evaluation of the organization's intangibles in areas like brand, management quality, governance, and transparency; some review of the organization's program effectiveness, including both qualitative critique by objective experts in the field, and, where appropriate, "customer" feedback from either the donor or the aid recipient's perspective; and an opportunity for comment or response by the organization being rated.[30]

A second study, Rating the Raters: An Assessment of Organizations and Publications that Rank/Rate Charitable Nonprofit Organizations,[25] provides a separate assessment of AIP, Charity Navigator, Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance, and other charity information services. The major findings are:

Approaches and criteria are not the same. The methodologies and criteria used vary significantly among the various rating and ranking organizations.

Evaluation criteria may not be readily apparent. Not all nonprofit rating and ranking groups make it easy for the donor to determine the evaluation method and criteria used. Evaluators may use criteria that are overly simplistic. Simple financial ratios and/or measurements that apply in some circumstances may not apply in others. Evaluators focus on financial measurements and overlook program effectiveness. Financial "efficiency" is assessed by most third-party ratings groups as a percentage of contributions received. This tends to be their primary focus.

Competence of the evaluator is critical and difficult to determine. It is virtually impossible for donors to determine the relevant credentials, expertise and experience of the rating organization's staff. Evaluators often derive revenue as a result of their rating reports, creating a potential conflict of interest and questioning whether these groups are motivated by the desire to inform potential donors or by the media attention that improves their revenue stream. AIP, for instance, charges a fee for a sample copy and requires membership as a condition for receiving its annual rating reports.

Some groups criticized by AIP, such as Paralyzed Veterans of America, have pointed out that they meet "all 20 criteria that the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance establishes for charities, including that a charity's fundraising costs not exceed 35 percent of contributions, a common standard."[31] The Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance charges charities to use its seal of approval.[32] Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund asserts that the criticisms leveled here against charity watchdogs all apply to AIP.[26]


A liberal organization that even Wikipedia criticizes!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Institute_of_Philanthropy

605 posted on 03/19/2010 6:58:19 AM PDT by yuleeyahoo
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To: Pharmboy

Why is it so difficult to understand that Freedom Alliance is raising money to send children of fallen soldiers to college (among other things) and most of these children are very young right now, so it’s perfectly reasonable that most of the money they raise is going into a fund and not being spent. They will spend it later when the kids reach college age.

It’s so easy to pull a few numbers off a tax return and cry foul just as it’s so easy to take a soundbite out of context. If you want to bash Hannity over this you should provide some better evidence.


606 posted on 03/19/2010 7:37:20 AM PDT by pb929
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To: yuleeyahoo
Specifically, this study found that a "gotcha" mentality and lack of transparency were AIP's biggest shortcomings

Scam artists hate a watchdog organization with a "gotcha" mentality.

Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance

According to the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance the "Freedom Alliance" is refusing to turn over requested paperwork.

Wikipedia

Good grief.

607 posted on 03/19/2010 8:15:48 AM PDT by Mojave (Ignorant and stoned - Obama's natural constituency.)
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To: TRY ONE

What I have not seen here is a true explanation of the nature of this charity. A charity like the Salvation Army delivers over 90% of their donations to the end user. With the Salvation Army, the process is the product, meaning that the people they are helping are integral to the daily operations of the charity.

Most of the “donors” to the Freedom Alliance are actually purchasing a product. They are buying tickets to concerts. That product (the concerts) costs something, actually quite a bit, to produce. So, I believe that the analysis by Debbie Schlussel may be somewhat unfair in that it does not lay out all of the facts. Clearly, there may have been excesses, and Mr. Hannity should really consider how opulently he needs to be accommodated. I just don’t think it’s fair to expect a charity of this nature, where the “donors” are receiving a benefit for their “donation” to be held to the expectation that 75% or more of the gross income should go to the end user. Clearly there are huge expenses that need to be taken care of before there is a profit to go to the end user.


608 posted on 03/19/2010 8:55:02 AM PDT by wakeup720
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To: Mojave

Let’s see, it’s okay for you to cite an organization that is known for downgrading charities with a perceived conservative bias while giving glowing reviews to charities with known liberal biases; but it discredits my argument to use a known liberal source (Wikipedia), to refute an organization so far to the left that their bias offends even Wikipedia.

Gotcha


609 posted on 03/19/2010 8:55:53 AM PDT by yuleeyahoo
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To: outinyellowdogcountry
Tell us what you know about your Haiti effort...how you learned about the need, how those in charge act according to your specs...

___________________________________________

I'm not sure what you want (I know everything about my Haiti effort) or why but if you are asking because you want to help say so and I'll make things clear for you.

610 posted on 03/19/2010 10:28:33 AM PDT by wtc911 ("How you gonna get down that hill?")
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To: Rippin
Look at it this way, you and I see a poor kid on the street begging. I ask you, "Give me ten dollars and after my expenses are deducted and I retain operating expenses for next year, I will give the kid thirty five cents.

Sounds like a good deal to me.

I admit to being skeptical about charity scams while recognizing the importance of nongovernmental charitable donations.

611 posted on 03/19/2010 10:35:46 AM PDT by JimSEA
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To: Bryan24
Are you dense? They are also administering $15,000,000 + in a trust fund that is for kids WHEN THEY GET OUT OF KINDERGARDEN, ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, GRADE SCHOOL AND HIGH SCHOOL.

I will apologize WHEN you show the proof of that statement.

612 posted on 03/19/2010 10:38:12 AM PDT by ColdWater ("The theory of evolution really has no bearing on what I'm trying to accomplish with FR anyway. ")
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To: yuleeyahoo
Let’s see, it’s okay for you to cite an organization

Multiple organizations and conservative commentators, actually.

that is known for downgrading charities with a perceived conservative bias

A "fact" not in evidence.

while giving glowing reviews to charities with known liberal biases

Air Force Aid Society (A+)
Armed Services YMCA of the USA (A-)
Army Emergency Relief (A+)

Those are charities with known liberal biases?

613 posted on 03/19/2010 10:42:15 AM PDT by Mojave (Ignorant and stoned - Obama's natural constituency.)
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To: JimSEA

Right but what if I spend $1M to build a soup kitchen on the corner and let the kid come for free whenever he wants? The soup kitchen is in a building that is listed as an asset and therefore not an expense on a tax return. I’m just saying you need to understand the whole financial picture and tax returns don’t give you that.


614 posted on 03/19/2010 10:48:31 AM PDT by Rippin
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To: Wpin
some have to do with mailing expenses (shipping care packages to service men and women abroad), and travel (sending families of wounded military overseas to visit them). Over 80% of their money goes into their programs...that is efficient!

_______________________________________________

Mailing expenses? Yep, there was a line item for mailing expense but a full reading of the return indicates that they were involved in a massive fund-raising through the mail effort. They paid over $420K to rent mailing lists (that's a lot of names requiring lots postage) and an additional $112K in caging services (for those who don't know - caging is third-party collection and tracking of donations received from mass mailings). I see no evidence that the mailing expenses were related to anything else...please point it out to me.

As for your assertion that 80% of their money (donors money in reality) goes into program services exactly how did they end the year with a net $5.2 million higher than they recorded at the beginning of the year ($10.9 million - $5.7 million)?

I said in my earlier post what my activity involves.

615 posted on 03/19/2010 11:00:44 AM PDT by wtc911 ("How you gonna get down that hill?")
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To: Mojave
Hmm, a cursory inspection of their finances, courtesy of Charity Navigator shows 2 out of 3 of those charities having more in the Bank than the Freedom Alliance. Which seems to be the reason everyone is so upset.

Additionally, both Army Relief and Air Force Aid operated in the negative for 2008, the current information on the site, at $-22,581,405 and $-25,604,867 respectively.

Yep, seems like A+ material to me especially on the fiduciary responsibility level.

616 posted on 03/19/2010 12:14:59 PM PDT by yuleeyahoo
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To: pb929

If the money for scholarships was being placed in a trust fund until a later date, wouldn’t that be mentioned somewhere on the tax documents? To have non-profit status, you have to show that your expenses match your revenue. You can’t just take a few million and keep it under a mattress for later without accounting for it.

It also shows the scholarship amounts. The average amount seem to be about $3000. 10 million a year will buy a thousands of such scholarships, and there seem to be about 70 of them. And that’s just for one year. One assumes they pull in 10 million EVERY year.


617 posted on 03/19/2010 12:45:36 PM PDT by Hilda
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To: Labyrinthos

Thanks for your information. I thought that’s how all large foundations operate. They use the interest to fund, while investing the donations.

**Hey, I was a “Blond Cheerleader” in high school. ;)


618 posted on 03/19/2010 12:52:09 PM PDT by machogirl (First they came for my tagline.)
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To: pb929
Our scholarship program is managed with the understanding that it will be needed for at least the next 20 years as there are children who will ultimately receive a scholarship who are now only a few years old. As indicated on our Federal Form 990, these funds are restricted and used only for future scholarships.
619 posted on 03/19/2010 1:09:16 PM PDT by smokingfrog (You can't ignore your boss and expect to keep your job... WWW.filipthishouse2010.com)
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To: All

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2474855/posts?page=1

freedom alliance statement


620 posted on 03/19/2010 1:12:50 PM PDT by machogirl (First they came for my tagline.)
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To: ColdWater

http://spectator.org/blog/2010/03/19/freedom-alliance-statement-on

So much for all of the big mouth posts on this thread.

Freepers are supposed to be thinking people.

Time for some of the dumb posters of last night to try thinking.


621 posted on 03/19/2010 1:16:26 PM PDT by old curmudgeon
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To: wtc911
Mailing expenses? Yep, there was a line item for mailing expense but a full reading of the return indicates that they were involved in a massive fund-raising through the mail effort.... I see no evidence that the mailing expenses were related to anything else...please point it out to me.

2008 990 .PDF page 34:

Form 990, Page 2, Part III, Line 4b (continued)
"Sent thousands of gifts of home care packages to troops deployed overseas."

"...and sent 5,200 Christmas gift bags to wounded troops at warrior transition units across the country."

622 posted on 03/19/2010 2:23:51 PM PDT by GizmosAndGadgets (That given freely is charity; Taken by force, theft; Stolen by the government, tyranny.)
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To: GizmosAndGadgets

thanks.


623 posted on 03/19/2010 2:30:22 PM PDT by wtc911 ("How you gonna get down that hill?")
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To: old curmudgeon

“Thinking” doesn’t mean flat out dismissing the statement of one side and taking the other as gospel. Debbie responds to your link in the comment section of her original article (March 19, 2010 at 3:26 pm). She basically writes it off as a non-response.

Fraud or not, it’s good that this gets looked into. Donors and veterans alike deserve that. At the very least it seems some funds could have been put to better use. At worst - well, they’re done for.


624 posted on 03/19/2010 2:40:28 PM PDT by Wyoming Cowboy
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To: yuleeyahoo
Which seems to be the reason everyone is so upset.

No, the excessive overhead is the problem.

625 posted on 03/19/2010 2:45:46 PM PDT by Mojave (Ignorant and stoned - Obama's natural constituency.)
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To: old curmudgeon

Can you break down how the $5,317,970 was spent?

4. In 2008, Freedom Alliance spent a total of $6,745,717. Of that:

• 79 percent ($5,317,970) was spent on Program Activities

•14 percent ($945,950) was spent on Fundraising

•7 percent ($481,797) was spent on Management


626 posted on 03/19/2010 3:56:32 PM PDT by ColdWater ("The theory of evolution really has no bearing on what I'm trying to accomplish with FR anyway. ")
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To: pb929

In my later posts I acknowledge being educated by freepers. This is obscure stuff to most of us...but the tax records appeared to be damning. Now I know that they’re not...


627 posted on 03/19/2010 4:48:16 PM PDT by Pharmboy (The Stone Age did not end because they ran out of stones...)
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To: Wyoming Cowboy

“dismissing the statement of one side and taking the other as gospel”

Good. Glad to see that everyone hre has an open mind.

How many hundred posts were there last night condemning Hannity for being a fake, taking trips on donor’s money, scamming the public, wasting funds on his children traveling with him....

That is an open mind?

The smart posters were the posters who said “Lets wait and see the facts and the response.”

It would be generous to say that 2% took that position last night.


628 posted on 03/19/2010 5:09:49 PM PDT by old curmudgeon
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To: ColdWater

14 plus 7 is 21%.

So then 79% went into various program activities, the trust fund which was carefully explained today as required because many of the kids are so young that it will be 20 years before they are ready to go to college.

Red Cross rating is lower by a lot.

http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=3277

If you will check this link, you will see that the Freedom Alliance has a 10 point higher rating than the Red Cross and this report shows that 81% of the money goes into activities with only 19% going to overhead.

http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=6590

If you look up United Way, you will see that it is composed of many small units in each locality and each are rated separately. There are quite a few 4 star United Way units, but most of them are 3 star and a few are 2 star.

So to say that the Freedom Alliance is a scam and that Hannity is a scammer, which is exactly what that nutcase said, is really a bald faced lie.

And also note that the Freedom Alliance makes it clear that Hannity is not even a member of the Freedom Alliance. He donates his public image in order to make their events successful. It is the same thing Bob Hope used to do.

Further, they itemize several very large donations Hannity has made out of his own pocket.

They also state that the Freedom Alliance has never paid for a single plane trip or hotel bill.

Now I don’t listen to him as much as I used to because there are now quite a few others preaching the conservative philosophy, but I do admire him for being a real patriot.

Some of the comments on this thread are shameful in that they were made with no knowledge of the facts.

Calling the Freedom Alliance a scam is the sound of a fool’s voice.

We have a real scam in progress in the congress as I write this. It would be wise to work on that rather than going ape over a nut case’s lies.


629 posted on 03/19/2010 5:35:21 PM PDT by old curmudgeon
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To: Wyoming Cowboy

Suites and luxury SUVs are salient facts. What would be the response if Maher or Rosie faced accusations of this kind?


630 posted on 03/19/2010 5:35:37 PM PDT by 185JHP ( "The thing thou purposest shall come to pass: And over all thy ways the light shall shine.")
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To: old curmudgeon
So then 79% went into various program activities, the trust fund which was carefully explained today as required because many of the kids are so young that it will be 20 years before they are ready to go to college.

Link please.

631 posted on 03/19/2010 6:33:01 PM PDT by ColdWater ("The theory of evolution really has no bearing on what I'm trying to accomplish with FR anyway. ")
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To: ColdWater

629

Read it.


632 posted on 03/19/2010 6:47:09 PM PDT by old curmudgeon
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To: ColdWater

Maybe 621 is the link you should read.

It does not do much good to put links up if you don’t read them.


633 posted on 03/19/2010 6:50:12 PM PDT by old curmudgeon
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To: wtc911

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2475155/posts


634 posted on 03/19/2010 8:24:43 PM PDT by Wpin (I do not regret my admiration for W)
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To: old curmudgeon
It does not do much good to put links up if you don’t read them.

It does more good if you post relevant points with your link ...

"Our scholarship program is managed with the understanding that it will be needed for at least the next 20 years as there are children who will ultimately receive a scholarship who are now only a few years old. As indicated on our Federal Form 990, these funds are restricted and used only for future scholarships."

635 posted on 03/19/2010 9:10:05 PM PDT by ColdWater ("The theory of evolution really has no bearing on what I'm trying to accomplish with FR anyway. ")
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To: ColdWater

Excuse me.

The paragraph you quote as being your guiding light is only one of many contained therein for those who have enough interest to read it.

Had I known I had to lead you by the hand, I would have hired a nanny.

“Nannying” is not my thing.


636 posted on 03/19/2010 9:35:36 PM PDT by old curmudgeon
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To: old curmudgeon

>Had I known I had to lead you by the hand, I would have hired a nanny.<

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass%E2%80%93energy_equivalence


637 posted on 03/19/2010 9:37:03 PM PDT by ColdWater ("The theory of evolution really has no bearing on what I'm trying to accomplish with FR anyway. ")
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To: ColdWater

Fascinating and certainly relevant to this topic.


638 posted on 03/19/2010 9:41:56 PM PDT by old curmudgeon
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To: SoConPubbie

Televangelist!?


639 posted on 03/19/2010 9:55:07 PM PDT by zeaal
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To: ColdWater

Are you dense? They are also administering $15,000,000 + in a trust fund that is for kids WHEN THEY GET OUT OF KINDERGARDEN, ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, GRADE SCHOOL AND HIGH SCHOOL.

I will apologize WHEN you show the proof of that statement.

Your #612

It looks like it is time for you to apologize.

The paragraph you quoted to me clearly settles this matter.


640 posted on 03/19/2010 10:03:06 PM PDT by old curmudgeon
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To: Labyrinthos
As the facts come out, your post 597 seems to have proven very accurate.

I'm not a big fan of his show, but it seems he is in fact a very, very good guy with this charity.

The exact ratio of direct aid to operating expenses doesn't appear out of line, but whatever it is, Sean Hannity is obviously giving more or his time and money to the troops and their families than anyone I know.

I was predisposed to believe Debbie Schlussel as I've enjoyed her writings, but I was wrong.

641 posted on 03/19/2010 11:05:29 PM PDT by SupplySider
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To: ScreamingFist

you are a very funny young fellow I will give you that. 37?


642 posted on 03/19/2010 11:16:03 PM PDT by bobby.223
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To: Wyoming Cowboy

The problem with Debbie’s screed and her response is that she’s writing from a position of ignorance. She’s assuming you can give unlimited amounts of money to active duty service members without any negative repercussions for those service members. She doesn’t understand how the DOD operates and it makes her look kind of stupid.


643 posted on 03/19/2010 11:36:56 PM PDT by jess35
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To: old curmudgeon
Are you dense? ... The paragraph you quoted to me clearly settles this matter.

Are you dense? I pulled that paragraph out of your link to settle the case.

644 posted on 03/20/2010 10:13:26 AM PDT by ColdWater ("The theory of evolution really has no bearing on what I'm trying to accomplish with FR anyway. ")
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To: ColdWater

My last post was in reference to this post you made:

“To: Bryan24
Are you dense? They are also administering $15,000,000 + in a trust fund that is for kids WHEN THEY GET OUT OF KINDERGARDEN, ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, GRADE SCHOOL AND HIGH SCHOOL.

I will apologize WHEN you show the proof of that statement.

#612

You owe Bryan24 an apology.

It is interesting that none of the junk yard dogs who jumped on Hannity with the accusations that he enjoyed luxurious freebies at the expense of others have had the balls to post that they were wrong.

But then what do you expect of junk yard dogs.


645 posted on 03/20/2010 10:46:04 AM PDT by old curmudgeon
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To: old curmudgeon
You owe Bryan24 an apology.

I don't apologize to those that sling personal insults here.

646 posted on 03/20/2010 11:59:03 AM PDT by ColdWater ("The theory of evolution really has no bearing on what I'm trying to accomplish with FR anyway. ")
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To: ColdWater

In #612 you said ..........


647 posted on 03/20/2010 1:45:32 PM PDT by old curmudgeon
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To: McGruff; Biggirl

She can’t even hold a job a World Net Daily, enough said.


648 posted on 03/20/2010 2:03:44 PM PDT by Springman (Rest In Peace YaYa123 and Westlander)
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To: MichiganConservative; CSM

Thought she was from Southfield, not sure however.


649 posted on 03/20/2010 2:24:27 PM PDT by Springman (Rest In Peace YaYa123 and Westlander)
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To: Springman
She can’t even hold a job a World Net Daily, enough said.

Well she certainly got everyone’s attention. Maybe that was her motive but it was self defeating. Ollie North would have been guilty by association also and I can't believe Ollie would ever do anything that wasn't on the up and up. Especially regarding our troops.

650 posted on 03/20/2010 2:36:52 PM PDT by McGruff (Don't criticize. Explain to me who I should support other than Sarah Palin.)
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