Monday Open Thread

“The false is nothing but an imitation of the true.”

–Cicero

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  1. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    Tune: Charlie Brown

    -0-

    Who stole last election

    With the help of a Russian plot.

    Who trashed NAT0

    And paid the Russians back a lot?

    Donald Trump

    He’s a chump.

    Who always kisses

    Putin’s rump.

    We’ll vote his ass out 

    Just you wait and see.

    And throw out Moscow Mitch after our victory.

    *

    Who put pollution

    In pristine Western skies?

    Who told the voters

    20,000 lies?

    Donald Trump

    He’s a chump.

    And he kisses

    Putin’s rump.

    We’ll vote his ass out

    Just you wait and see

    And throw out Moscow Mitch

    After our victory.

    *

    You might need a court

    If you ever want to sue.

    The problem is that Trump’s judge

    Is just a kangaroo!

    Who hates real courts?

    Who likes to steal courts?

    Trump hates real courts

    And likes to steal courts.

    *

    That’s Trump on his knees

    I know that’s him

    Bringing lots of pleasure

    To North Korea’s Kim.

    Donald Trump

    He’s a chump.

    And he kisses

    Putin’s rump.

    We’ll vote his ass out

    In 36 days.

    And throw out Moscow Mitch

    For his lying, cheating ways.

  2. RepealAndReplace says:

    Well, at least the tax story distracting people from the SCOTUS nomination which distracted people from the “losers” and “suckers” comment which distracted people from the will-not-commit-to-peaceful-transfer issue which distracted people from COVID-19

    • unnamed says:

      I thought the Trump knew COVID-19 was bad was in the mix there somewhere,

    • JohnInDenverJohnInDenver says:

      I’m old enough to remember when a Democratic Vice Presidential candidate was criticized for spending $400 for a hair cut — it was an issue for a week. Now, with someone claiming a business expense of $70,000 for his hair …. well, I guess we’ll see just how bad inflation has been when we hear how much criticism there is.

      NYT is promising on-going stories from the document dump. Columbia Journalism Review summarizes:

      The paper reported that Trump paid just $750 in federal income tax in both 2016 and 2017—even less than Richard Nixon paid in 1970, when the public uproar was such that it set the precedent for presidential candidates (though not Trump) to publish their returns. In ten of the fifteen years prior to 2016, Trump paid no federal income tax at all, a result, in large part, of his persistent business losses. There are many other details in the story—from Trump’s ongoing IRS audit to his nearly-due debts to his conflicts of interest abroad—and, tantalizingly, the Times says there are more to come. That could mean an October surprise, which yesterday’s story technically wasn’t. Somehow, it’s still only September.

  3. davebarnesdavebarnes says:

    Well, today is World Rabies Day.

  4. JohnInDenverJohnInDenver says:

    In a week full of political variations on Apocalypse Now, the top diagnosis I've seen is The Bulwark: Can We Stop America’s Free Fall? by Richard North Patterson

    But, to me, the millennium bristled with the indicia of failure:

    A lack of national cohesion and a sense of common citizenship. An economy wherein a prospering stock market disguised growing economic insecurity. Our deteriorating infrastructure and public finances. A widening political polarization.

    A corrupt campaign finance system which promoted plutocracy. An increasingly politicized judiciary. The burgeoning fundamentalism which infused a major party with theocratic tendencies and contempt for science.

    The anger and misinformation spawned by talk radio. An increasingly narcissistic mass culture which cheapened celebrity and displaced true achievement. All of this, I felt, added up to a dangerous diminution of national virtue.

    Patterson holds out hope the tide can be turned and "we can return America to what it can be at its best."  If I could muster up the optimism of a remedy to all that ails the country, I would have phrased it differently — "we can build America to something better, closer to what the best of our songs and speeches point to."

  5. itlduso says:

    We’ve heard for a long time that he took 1.4 Billion dollars in tax losses which could be carried forward to offset future taxable income, if any.

    Two things are aggravating:

    1) those losses were created with nonrecourse debt, meaning he was not personally liable for defaulting on the debt; and,

    2) it was entirely legal at the time (but the loophole has since been closed).

    Of course normal people have no such thing as “nonrecourse debt”. And if we are fortunate enough to get any type of debt relief such as a reduction of credit card debt (assuming that even happens), then we must pay tax on the amount of debt forgiveness.

    It’s classic Golden Rule: Those with the gold make the rules.

    Now, it's true that there has been not allegation of tax fraud.  Not yet. Of course the US DOJ won’t indict a sitting president so the IRS is temporarily stymied. Trump lost his pathetic attempt to prevent the NY AG and the Manhattan DA from seeing his tax returns. They are moving forward quickly smelling a lot of smoke: tax evasion, money laundering, bank fraud, etc.

    I suspect that Melania will be applying for Innocent Spouse status.  Melania should be practicing her Sgt. Shultz: “I know Nothingk!”

     

    • Early WormEarly Worm says:

      It tells you all you need to know that most of the things Trump did to avoid taxes were completely legal. The tax code is set up so that, with a little planning and creativity, the wealthy often pay next to nothing, and always pay less, as a percentage of income, than the middle class.

      Writing off payments to his daughter as consulting fees, writing off costs for his vacation retreat as business expenses, and claiming a refund he was not entitled to are clearly contrary to the tax code. But, are they fraudulent? He has attorneys and accountants to cover his ass. At worst, he will owe the tax, plus penalties and interest. Creative "tax strategies" are what the wealthy do. The system not only tolerates it, it encourages it. 

      • harrydobyharrydoby says:

        All true.  But in Trump's case, he likely took it too far with the dual valuations of his properties — one for tax purposes and the other for bank loan collateral.  Since those documents leave a permanent paper trail, it should make for an airtight case by the New York prosecutors.

        Trump will be eluding bill collectors for the rest of his life.

  6. MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

    Pascale.  Perhaps the ghost of Herman Cain is haunting him? 

    Former Trump campaign manager taken to hospital after report of suicide threat, police say

    A former campaign manager of President Trump’s was taken to a hospital on Sunday after authorities received a call that he was threatening suicide at his Florida home, the Fort Lauderdale Police Department said in a statement.

    Greenlaw said that the incident occurred about 4 p.m. Sunday and that police arrived at Parscale’s home in Fort Lauderdale in response to a call about “an armed male attempting suicide.”

    The police were called by Parscale’s wife, who told the officers upon their arrival that “her husband was armed, had access to multiple firearms inside the residence and was threatening to harm himself.”

  7. harrydobyharrydoby says:

    The other blockbuster story in the New York Times today explains exactly who will be hurt (hint: almost everyone) if the new ultra-right wing “You should know better than to get sick” SCOTUS overturns the ACA.  Turns out, you’re not even safe if you have Medicare!

    Medicare beneficiaries would face changes to medical care and possibly higher premiums

    About 60 million people are covered under Medicare, the federal health insurance program for people 65 and older and people of all ages with disabilities. Even though the main aim of the A.C.A. was to overhaul the health insurance markets, the law “touches virtually every part of Medicare,” said Tricia Neuman, a senior vice president for the Kaiser Family Foundation, which did an analysis of the law’s repeal. Overturning the law would be “very disruptive,” she said.

    If the A.C.A. is struck down, Medicare beneficiaries would have to pay more for preventive care, like a wellness visit or diabetes check, which are now free. They would also have to pay more toward their prescription drugs. About five million people faced the so-called Medicare doughnut hole, or coverage gap, in 2016, which the A.C.A. sought to eliminate. If the law were overturned, that coverage gap would widen again.

     

    • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

      Can you imagine what things could be like if we drove public policy by a metrix that maximized our health, not the bottom line of corps? (Friedman was wrong, btw).  

      We’ve built a food system based on empty calories by subsidizing every shitty crop on the planet via the Farm Bill, exploding obesity, leading to skyrocketing health costs near-and-long term.  We pushed coal-fired power like a cocaine dealer, socializing the health externalities while privatizing the profits.  We’ve let Big Oil keep aromatics in our liquid fuel supply, even though we know the health effects of that decision, again, externalized, is costing us something near $250bb annually in health costs.  We’ve poisoned our rivers with agricultural and industrial run-off; we’ve allowed far-too much lead in the crumbling urban water infrastructure.  

      We know how to fix this.  We don’t have to invent one new thing. 

      We really need to stop doing stupid things. 

  8. ParkHill says:

    WOTD from Mahablog: "Depreciate This: Trump is a Massive Security Risk"

    Great article from Barbara O'Brien.

    Yeah, Trump scams the IRS, calling the family compound an "investment property", and paying his daughter "consulting fees" in order to get a tax break. There's probably a LOT of illegal shit, but mostly, Trump's business strategy is to shift income from income and into assets. THAT'S HOW THE SYSTEM IS DESIGNED TO WORK.

    But, that is a distraction from the real problem.

    That’s the real issue, folks. His not paying taxes is small potatoes compared to his security vulnerabilities. It’s the debt, more than the nonpayment of taxes, that is the primary concern here. Because, it turns out, we still don’t know who holds that debt. Whoever holds that debt owns Trump. By extension, the secret creditor(s) owns us. And that creditor(s) is almost certainly a foreign entity. Or several foreign entities.

  9. kickshot says:

    I took my ‘Fire the Liar’ yardsign for a walk to day down a stretch of one of Boulder County’s main thoroughfares this afternoon. Lots of honks and thumbs up and even a polster who rolled down his window and yelled out his handle.

    Good to see you too!!

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