Cartoon: Trump says…

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Thanks, gocomics.org

Is there anything about taxes that Trump doesn’t lie about?

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Click to enlargediscovered by Univision reporter Enrique Acevedo

An adviser to Donald Trump on Tuesday offered a new explanation for why a portrait of Trump — paid for by the Republican nominee’s charitable foundation — wound up on display at a Trump-owned golf resort in Florida.

Trump, the adviser said, was actually doing his charity a favor, by “storing” its painting on the wall of a bar at Trump National Doral, outside Miami…

MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson pressed Boris Epshteyn. Was he really talking about the $10,000 portrait that was recently discovered — by an Univision journalist — at the Champions Bar and Grill? “You’re telling me that that is storage, for Mr. Trump?” Jackson.

“Right, of course, he’s doing a good thing for his foundation,” Epshteyn said.

That appeared to be the first time that anyone connected to Trump has explained the rationale behind the placement of the portrait, which was discovered by Univision’s Enrique Acevedo last week.

Trump bought the painting at a charity auction in 2014, with a winning bid of $10,000. Later, he paid with a check from the Donald J. Trump Foundation — a small charity, whose tax records show no personal donations from Trump himself since 2008.

By law, tax experts said, the portrait then belonged to the Trump Foundation, and Trump was required to find a charitable use for it. If he did not, Trump risked violating laws against “self-dealing,” which prohibit leaders of nonprofit groups from using their charities’ money to buy things for themselves or their businesses.

Tax experts were not impressed by this reasoning.

“It’s hard to make an IRS auditor laugh,” Brett Kappel, a lawyer who advises nonprofit groups at the Akerman firm, said in an email. “But this would do it.”

I’m confounded by Trumpkins who say they’re looking for a champion to fight against government lies and corruption – and they choose one of the most corrupt pigs slopping at the corporate real estate trough in the whole nation.

A list of the excuses Trump offers for why he won’t release his tax returns

❝ Republican presidential nominee and self-described billionaire Donald Trump says he makes a lot of money, gives millions of dollars to charity and has no investments in Russia. But when it comes time to give evidence, he refuses to release the independently verified documents that could support (or refute) all of those claims: his tax returns.

All major presidential nominees over the past 40 years, including Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, have released their tax returns. They are important documents reviewed by accountants and federal auditors, and they must be accurate under penalty of law.

But instead of sharing his returns, Trump and his supporters have relied on a growing list of excuses to defend keeping them hidden. Those excuses are listed below, along with reasons to question them.

❝ Trump: “I’m being audited … so I can’t.” (See next section.) (Repeatedly since February)
Trump: “There’s nothing to learn from them.” (Fact checkers say this is false.) (February, February, May, May)
Trump: “Mitt Romney looked like a fool when he delayed and delayed and delayed and … didn’t file until a month and a half before the election and it cost him big league.” (February, July)
Trump: His tax rate is “none of your business.” (May)
Paul Manafort, former campaign chairman: American people “wouldn’t understand them.” (May)
Manafort: The only people who want them “are the people who want to defeat him.” (May)
Trump: “I don’t think anybody cares,” which is false. (May, September)
Eric Trump, son: Would be “foolish” to release; “you would have a bunch of people who know nothing about taxes trying to look through and trying to come up with assumptions on things that they know nothing about.” (August)
Mike Pence, vice-presidential nominee who released his tax returns: They’re a “distraction.” (September)
Donald Trump Jr.: “Would detract from (his dad’s) main message” (September)
Kellyanne Conway, campaign manager: “I just can’t find where this is a burning issue to most of the Americans.” (September)
Jeffrey Lord, commentator: Tax returns are “a political gimmick, a gotcha … Political opponents are going to go through there and look to make issues out of things.” (September)

What we would learn from Trump’s tax returns

❝ How much (or how little) money he makes
How much (or how little) he gives to charity
How much (or how little) he pays in taxes
How much (or how little) money he keeps in foreign accounts (including in Russia)

RTFA for many more reasons why voters need this kind of information. And for more excuses from Trump, of course.

Trump’s bluster about election rigging is more criminal and cowardly than his previous populist garbage

Donald Trump has said and done a lot of outlandish things while running to be president of the United States, but perhaps none as dangerous as this. “I’m afraid the election is going to be rigged, I have to be honest,” the Republican nominee told supporters at a Monday rally in Columbus, Ohio. Appearing on Fox News later that night, Trump elaborated in his usual evidence-free way…

Trump, of course, is no stranger to making fact-free assertions and spreading conspiracy theories for his own political and personal benefit. He laid the groundwork for his current presidential campaign by beating the Birther drum for years, and more recently hinted that President Obama was an ISIS sympathizer and suggested that Ted Cruz’s father was somehow involved in the assassination of JFK. Spreading those falsehoods — as well as a whole host of others about Hispanics, blacks, and Muslims — has done an unquantifiable amount of damage to the nation’s political discourse. His suggestion that the 2016 election will be illegitimate, though, could do damage to the republic itself.

Trump’s latest allegation is, in the words of the usually staid Associated Press, an “unprecedented assertion by a modern presidential candidate,” one that could “threaten the tradition of peacefully contested elections and challenge the very essence of a fair democratic process.” Trump has laid the groundwork for only two possible outcomes in the eyes of his most passionate supporters: He wins the presidency, or he has it stolen from him…

This is not the first time Team Trump has suggested that violence would occur if a “rigged” system prevented their man from getting his way…At this point it should be clear these are not off-hand comments; this is a political strategy.

The worst, though, doesn’t need to happen for Trump’s “rigged” narrative to do lasting damage to American democracy. Even if we set aside the prospect of widespread violence from his supporters, Trump’s comments risk delegitimizing a Clinton victory — and as result, an ensuing Clinton presidency — in the eyes of many Americans…Until now, the greatest dangers posed by Trump were predicated on him winning this November. Now he’s dangerous even if he loses.

True Believers cannot accept rejection. No matter how outlandish, unfounded, demented and bigoted their ideology, the demagogue and his loyal-to-the-death followers must find a conspiracy as root to their defeat.

Last night, I watched a moment with a journalist interviewing a Trumpkin at some rally or other. Asked if there was anything that might turn him away from voting for Trump, his reply was, “I suppose I’d have to reconsider if he murdered someone.”

Then he added, “It would depend, of course, on who he murdered.”

George W. Bush wasn’t duped — he lied about WMDs

The best estimates available suggest that more than 250,000 people have died as a result of George W. Bush and Tony Blair’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003. A newly released investigative report from the UK government suggests that intelligence officials knew ahead of time that the war would cause massive instability and societal collapse and make the problem of terrorism worse — and that Blair and Bush went ahead with the effort anyway.

The correct response to this situation is to despair at the fact that the US and UK governments created such a horrific human tragedy for no good reason at all. However, partisan grudgefests run deep, and some on the right have argued that the UK’s Chilcot report proves the real dastardly actors are liberals who accused Bush and Blair not just of relying on faulty intelligence suggesting Iraq had WMDs but of lying about the intelligence they did have.

To some extent, this is beside the point; even if they had been totally cautious and careful in characterizing the intelligence, the war still would’ve been a catastrophic mistake that took an immense human toll. But the truth also matters, and the truth is that there were numerous occasions when Bush and his advisers made statements that intelligence agencies knew to be false, both about WMDs and about Saddam Hussein’s nonexistent links to al-Qaeda. The term commonly used for making statements that one knows to be false is “lying.”

A single example out of several in this article:

In December 2002, Bush declared, “We do not know whether or not [Iraq] has a nuclear weapon.” That was not what the National Intelligence Estimate said. As Tenet would later testify, “We said that Saddam did not have a nuclear weapon and probably would have been unable to make one until 2007 to 2009.” Bush did know whether or not Iraq had a nuclear weapon — and lied and said he didn’t know to hype the threat…

The Bush administration on numerous occasions exaggerated or outright fabricated conclusions from intelligence in its public statements. Bush really did lie, and people really did die as a result of the war those lies were meant to build a case for. Those are the facts.

The failure of Iraq was not merely a case of well-meaning but incompetent policymakers rushing into what they should’ve known would be a disaster. It’s the story of those policymakers repeatedly misleading the public about why, exactly, the war started.

RTFA for more of what the Republican Party and obedient Blue Dog Democrats would like you to forget.