Beginning of Trump’s End?

Veteran reporter Adam Davidson sees similarities with the Iraq invasion, the 2008 financial meltdown and the Trump presidency. The New Yorker published this just before the Sean Hannity news.

“I am unaware of anybody who has taken a serious look at Trump’s business who doesn’t believe that there is a high likelihood of rampant criminality. In Azerbaijan, he did business with a likely money launderer for Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. In the Republic of Georgia, he partnered with a group that was being investigated for a possible role in the largest known bank-fraud and money-laundering case in history. In Indonesia, his development partner is “knee-deep in dirty politics”; there are criminal investigations of his deals in Brazil; the F.B.I. is reportedly looking into his daughter Ivanka’s role in the Trump hotel in Vancouver, for which she worked with a Malaysian family that has admitted to financial fraud. Back home, Donald, Jr., and Ivanka were investigated for financial crimes associated with the Trump hotel in SoHo—an investigation that was halted suspiciously. His Taj Mahal casino received what was then the largest fine in history for money-laundering violations.”

Read the whole thing here.

 

Celebrating Tax Day

As you no doubt know, your tax return must be filed by April 15. When that due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the filing deadline is delayed until the next business day. If you’re wondering why tax day is the 17th in 2018, you’re probably not familiar with Emancipation Day, a legal holiday in Washington D.C. Abraham Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act on April 16, 1862. This Act freed the more than 3,000 slaves in the District of Columbia. (Slavery was outlawed in the rest of the nation by constitutional amendment in 1865, after the end of Civil War. Mississippi ratified the amendment in 1995.) Emancipation Day became an official D.C. holiday in 2005.

War is expensive. Also in 1862, President Lincoln created the position of Commissioner of Internal Revenue and enacted an income tax to pay for the war. The tax was abolished ten years later. Income tax was legislated again in 1894, but the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional. The 16th Amendment, providing for a tax on income was ratified in 1913. The rate was 1% and increased to 7% on incomes above $500,000. (The equivalent of $12.6 million in 2018.) With the onset of the Great War a couple years later, the rates doubled.

And here we are. One wonders about Donald Trump’s tax returns. Is money laundering taxed as ordinary income or does the more favorable “carried interest” rate apply?

WTFJHT

A fair – and slightly unbalanced – news aggregator, WTFJHT will put a summary of the day’s (mostly political) news in your electronic mailbox every afternoon. Or you can check in for an update at any time. The JHT part of the name represents “Just Happened Today.” It’s free, but you can help support it with any amount you choose. (I did.)

Flying United

Many years ago, trying to get home from a business conference somewhere, I missed my United Airlines connecting flight in Denver because of inclement weather. (Snow in Denver – who’da guessed?) A nice United person helped me get re-booked. She also pointed to a nearby counter telling me I could go there and receive a voucher for some food because of the delay. I patiently waited in line. When my turn came, the United Airlines representative spoke to me as if I was a schoolboy disrupting class, telling me they had no control over the weather and were not required to give me anything. When I explained the person who re-booked my flight sent me over, she emphatically repeated they weren’t going to feed me and I should not have expected they would. That was my last flight on United Airlines; I have been able to avoid their friendly skies since that experience.

You may have seen United Airlines in the news recently when they dragged a passenger off a plane after he refused to give up his seat for an airline employee. (Read here why travel writer Joe Brancatelli consistently calls United the “Worst Airline Ever.”) Or the demise of a French Bulldog whose owners were ordered by a flight attendant to be put in an overhead bin. (But don’t get me started about animals on airplanes.)

The trade group Airlines for America and the Trump administration are now doing their best to roll back regulations that made air travel a little less unpleasant, such as:

  • Prohibiting airlines keeping passengers on the plane sitting for hours on the tarmac without food, water or access to rest rooms
  • Quoted fares must disclose additional fees and taxes
  • A refund without penalty if a reservation is canceled within 24 hours
  • et cetera

According to United, “Many of the regulations/initiatives adopted or issued at the end of the previous administration are extremely costly, will be unduly burdensome on the airline industry, and should be repealed or permanently terminated.”

Happy flying.

Fair and Balanced

Remember our previous President Barack Obama? He went on record that he would be willing to meet “not just with our friends but our enemies,” including North Korea. The reaction from Fox News was predictable. Fox talking heads were outraged about “bowing and scraping before dictators” because there’s no “discussing issues with Kim Jong-un.”

Our current President has impressive diplomatic and negotiating skills. When he announced that he will meet with the North Korean leader. According to Sean Hannity, “The world will probably be a little bit safer. The media should be giving President Trump credit for that.”

Watch it here.

American Skin

Sacramento Kings (Paul Kitagaki Jr./Sacramento Bee/TNS via Getty Images)

Sacramento police officers, no doubt well trained in the use of deadly force, fired twenty shots at Stephon Clark after they chased him into his grandparents’ back yard. Eight of the twenty bullets hit Clark.

If armed – and well trained – classroom teachers hit 40 percent of their shots intended for a school intruder, what or whom will the other 60 percent of the bullets hit?

Is it a gun, is it a knife
Is it a wallet, this is your life
It ain’t no secret …
No secret my friend
You can get killed just for living in your American skin