The Weiner Component V.2 #51 – DACA & Funding the Federal Government

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on Februar...

Never before in the history of the United States has a President been an embarrassment to the country.  Instead of making America Great Again he has diminished the nation in the eyes of the world.  Where the United States used to be the leading nation that function has now passed to Germany.

 

Recently, as President, Donald Trump got a physical to determine both his state of mental and physical health.  For a seventy-one year old man he is apparently in good health but overweight.  Interestingly there was no evidence that he had ever had bone-spurs.  These are what kept him from being drafted into the military during his younger years.  Could it be that this condition was faked by a well-paid doctor?

 

Trump’s past history is very colorful in a negative way.  It seems that Trump recently paid a porn star $120,000 to keep secret a one year affair he had with her.  After collecting the money she sold her story to a rumor newspaper.  Another woman, this one a centerfold star, was paid $150,000 for exclusive rights to the story of her affair with Trump by the Enquirer.  The story was then suppressed.  All of this was shortly before Trump ran for the presidency.  The question here is: Where did all this money come from?  If it came from his campaign funds it would be illegal.  Trump is very secret about his income and expenditures.

 

Interestingly all this occurred during Trump’s third marriage.  But there is no fear about his wife divorcing him.  Melania intends to stay married to Trump.  Presumably she had forgiven him again.  He is well into his seventy-first year now.  He may not be able to function as well as he did a few years ago or, for that matter, he may no longer function at all.  The body’s capability does wear out with age.  His fidelity may not be a problem anymore.  After all he is currently our oldest president.

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The Company, Apple, recently announced that they would be moving their headquarters to California in the United States and that over the next two years they will create at least 20,000 new jobs.  Trump has modestly taken credit for this move, stating that it has occurred because of his new Tax Reform.  Is this true?  Sort of!

 

Apple several years ago moved its major headquarters to Ireland.  They made a deal with the Irish government to pay very low taxes.  Ireland, since the inception of the European Union has been part of it.  Within recent years the European Union has been in the process of suing Apple for 20 billion dollars in back taxes for Ireland.

 

By moving back to the United States and, with the new tax laws, paying a very low rate of taxes, can Apple still be sued by the European Union?  Would the jurisdiction for the suit be in Ireland which Apple is leaving or in Europe, or, for that matter, in the United States?

 

I seem to remember that directly after the American Revolutionary War in the late 18th Century the Southern planters in the U.S. all owed large amounts of money to English merchants which they refused to pay.  Some of the merchants sued some of the planters in the new United States.  None of them won their case in the U.S. courts.  Would it be any different now if Apple were sued in an American court?  Is Apple moving because of Trump’s actions or to get out of being sued?

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As a businessman Trump liked to change the terms of the contracts he hired for his various projects like his casinos.  Generally this meant not making the last payment due to the subcontractors.  This was usually their profits.  They could, of course, sue him but the cost of the lawsuit generally exceeded the amount of money they were due.  A number of these individuals went bankrupt after working for Trump.

 

In many respects he never changed his methodology after he was elected to the presidency.  Trump, who by his own admission is the greatest deal maker alive, does not like to make deals.  And this seems to be because he might be on the wrong side of the deal.  Consequently he does not specifically lead.  What Trump likes is to give Congress and the nation a general idea of what he wants and then let Congress pass a bill which he might or might not approve.  We have seen him follow this path several times.  It is the way he has been handling the stoppage of government funding up until January 20th when a law had to be passed continuing to fund the U.S. government.

 

What, among other things, does Trump want with the new funding?  It seems that he wants Congress to vote him 18 to 20 billion dollars in order to build a 1,200 mile wall between the United States and Mexico.  Before the fund stoppage Trump has had two offers to continue funding the government.  Each contained a billion and ½ dollars to start the wall.  Apparently they have not been acceptable to Trump.  He wants the full amount in advance.

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On Friday, January 20th it seemed that the United States Government was about to run out of money.  Congress had to pass a law funding the U.S. Government.  However there were problems and no law was passed.

 

Up until the end of December 2017, with the exception of a bill to apply new sanctions upon Russia for messing in the 2016 Presidential Election, the Congress had passed one other important piece of legislation.  That dealt with so-called tax reform.  It was passed by Republican votes in both Houses of Congress.  No Democrat voted for it.  In addition the tax cuts are based upon deficit spending.  The bill after five years will increase the National Debt by 1 ½ trillion dollars.

 

The Democrats would support nothing the Republicans do unless they could get something out of the legislation.  Currently the Republicans wanted to extend the functioning of the government for a short period of time, until February 8, 2018, and they didn’t want to give the Democrats anything.  The Democrats wanted a major spending bill for infants and young children, CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program), which had recently expired and the Republicans were allowing it to lie dormant.  They wanted to reduce government spending on entitlement programs for the poor and middle class in order to help pay for their tax program.  This program funds the health of about nine million poor children whose parents can not afford proper medical care for their children.

 

In addition the DACA Program (Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals), which was set up by President Obama, is close to expiring.  It needs to be extended.  There are multi-thousands of people who were brought to the United States as young children and know no other country, who are legally considered aliens and can be sent to Mexico, a country they know nothing about.  Many of these individuals are today in college or the military.  It does not seem right that they should suffer for what their parents did.

 

This was what the Democrats wanted in exchange for extending government funding.  On Monday, January 22, after assorted discussions enough Democrats supported funding the government to pass the bill.  In return he Republicans in the Senate promised to consider both Chip and DACA.  Both of these issues could have been resolved well before the issue of funding the government arose.  The probability at that time was that even if the Senate complied with the Democrats the House of Representatives would kill the bills.

 

In the House of Representatives the Republicans have a fair majority while in the Senate they have a majority of one senator. In order to pass a funding bill the Senate needs some Democratic support.  The Democrats would not vote for the bill unless they get extensions of CHIP and DACA.  The Republicans just want a short extension of the funding bill; they have stated that they will negotiate after they get a spending extension bill.

 

But both CHIP and DACA should have been extended before the Federal Government needed a new law extending spending.  Are the Republicans telling the truth?  House Speaker Paul Ryan has stated more than once that ways have to be found to reduce government spending and that these monies should come out of “entitlement  programs;” that is programs slated to fund the poor and middle class.  Are the Republicans just gaming the Democrats or are they telling the truth?  There has been a lot of stalling going on with both these programs so far.

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In addition to this morass President Trump wants to fund an 18 billion dollar fence for twelve hundred miles between the U.S. and Mexico.  While he wants an extension of the funding bill he doesn’t seem to know what else he wants.  His basic attitude is that if the bill is not funded it’s the fault of the Democrats.  Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, has stated more than once, that if Trump will just tell them what he wants they will attempt to turn it into a law.  The probability is that Trump does not know specifically what he wants but it will be the Democrats fault if he doesn’t get it.

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Main while a 39 year old man was deported after 30 years in America.  The man’s comment: “It wasn’t my choice to come.”  The man, Jorge Garcia, was married to an American citizen and has a family.  He has no criminal record and has been spending his life working and taking care of his family.  He is now in Mexico while his family is in the United States.  Hopefully he may be allowed to return to the U.S.

 

Trump in a general meeting in a highly derogatory way denounced all immigrants from Haiti and the African states as coming from “shithole” countries.  His statement indicated that none of these nations had functioning toilets which is, of course, total nonsense.  What we wanted he stated were more people from Norway.  The problem here is that all the people from Norway have total medical coverage from birth to death and they also have a decent basic standard of living whether or not they are employed.  Norway has no homeless problem.  Someone coming from Norway to the United States, actually someone coming from most of Western Europe to the United States, is coming to a country with a lower standard of living than from the one in which they are living.  The United States has been criticized by the United Nations for the negative conditions of many of its citizens, particularly for those present in every large city living out in the streets, generally under bridges.  There is an inordinate number of homeless in the United States and the number seems to be increasing.  The wealth produced mostly goes up to the upper one percent.

 

Trump has added to this state by continually lowering standards of living throughout the country by limiting Affordable Health Care (Obamacare) and diminishing other protections for the poor and middle class.  He is actually attempting to make the United States into what he accused Africa of being.

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The current Republican dominated Congress has done nothing except exacerbate the problem of unequal incomes in the United States.  They have been too busy to pass any laws to attempt to improve conditions in the country.  Their only ability has been to criticize Democratic presidents.

 

The country is now at a point of total non-functionality with President Trump attempting to blame everything upon the Democrats.  Currently many of the women are marching in protest against the President’s racism and sexism.  These women and their men will all vote Democratic in the November Midterm Election.

 

Chuck E. Schumer, the Democratic minority leader in the Senate has commented that negotiating with Donald Trump is like negotiating with jello.  It doesn’t matter what he says because one never knows what he’s going to do or say later on.

 

The great issue of funding the Federal Government was resolved three days later on Monday, January 22nd  with an agreement by moderate Senators, both Democrats and Republicans, who called themselves the Common Sense Coalition.  The Senate voted 81 to 18 to pass the bill refunding the Federal Government.  It included a six year extension to the Children’s Health Bill (CHIP) which had expired in September.  Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader also promised to bring up DACA for a vote before the current three week extension of government funding expires.

 

No sane person does not want the government funded.  Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives brought the bill up in the House where it passed and it was signed by President Trump that same evening.

 

If the terms of the DACA agreement are carried out when the new bill to fund the government comes up on February 8th the Federal Government will be funded for another year.  We are now left with four days before the Federal Government has to be funded again.  DACA has not been brought up in Congress.  The coming week should be exciting.

 

 

 

The Weiner Component #166 – Trump, the IRS, & His Tendencies for Sexual Assault & Harassment

On Sunday, October 2, 2016 the New York Times published a copy of three pages of Donald Trump’s 1995 New York State tax return that it had received anonymously.  They published this information and its meaning to Trump’s income taxes for the last 18 years.  Trump for almost a full two decades has legally paid no income taxes due to a $916 million loss reported on his 1995 tax return.  This accusation was not refuted by Trump or anyone associated with his election bid.

 

Chris Christie and Rudy Giulani, who are both helping to manage his campaign, called Trump a genius in running his businesses.  Hillary Clinton has stated that if he considers himself “smart” to be able to not pay taxes, then what does that make the rest of us?  Trump, himself, finally acknowledged that he did it for the benefit of his employees and fellow investors.  If this is true then why is he still refusing to release his tax records?

 

In 1995 his New Jersey Taj Mahal Casino buildings went bankrupt.  From what I have been able to glean he had earlier at numerous times taken multi-million dollar bonuses out of his casino.  I assume, but don’t definitely know, that  he paid taxes on his bonuses or found ways to shield the money from taxes.  This is probably true of other properties he owned or partly owned and managed.  Presumably the real estate business almost collapsed in the early 90s.   Could this have been the cause of his bankruptcies; that is, the drop in property values and the fact that he had been helping himself to innumerable bonuses?  Had all that almost cost him his building ownership collapse in the late 1980s and early 90s?  Or was it greed and poor management of his properties?  

 

The New York Times report, late Saturday, October 1, 2016, showed how Trump has used the laws to cancel out his income taxes after his real estate and casino empire collapsed in the late 90s.  The times estimated that he had avoided income taxes for 18 years.  It also exposed the unfairness of the Federal Income System.

 

What I find interesting here is the question of who leaked the information?  It had to come from a source that worked on those taxes; it had to come from someone who either worked for Trump or for the state government.  In any case it was someone who felt that he wasn’t qualified or fit to be President of the United States.

 

The last few days of September 2016 and the first weekend of October exposed his true taxes, his shaky debate performance with Hillary Clinton, his negative dealings with a former Latina beauty queen, his 3am tweets, and on Saturday, October 1st, his rambling speech where he couldn’t stick to his teleprompter speech but kept rambling off in different directions.  Finally in that speech he decided that Hillary Clinton may have cheated on her husband.

 

According to the Times he took advantage of special rules for real estate investors that legally allowed him to offset $50 million a year for 18 years.

 

Another consideration, which no one seems to have mentioned and the New York Times seems to have ignored, is the fact that Donald Trump seems to take credit for using other people’s money.  He seems to have co-investors on most of his projects.  But until recently he’s never mentioned that.  Was the $916 million all his money?  Did the IRS check that so-called fact out?  His foundation, to which he hasn’t donated a dime in years, contributed other people’s money to causes that settled his personal. political, and business problems.  Would his business losses be any different?

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In the early 1980s a graduate student somehow got hold of a copy of President Ronald Reagan’s income tax returns.  She published them.  Reagan paid nothing in oncome taxes that year and the same would be true of earlier years.  During his Presidential Campaign he told everyone that they had to “tighten their belts” that year.  Reagan was naturally very upset over the release of his tax information.  In a speech to the American public he promised that he would tell his accountant to find a way for him to pay income taxes in the future.  And, I understand, he was able to accomplish this goal for the rest of his term in office.

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With the release of information about Trump’s taxes I was reminded of the Enron Scandal.  In October 2001 news of this led to the bankruptcy of that large energy corporation and the dissolution of the auditors who had guaranteed their solvency.  What had apparently happened was that money at Enron was considered limitless by the executives and they kept drawing it out, investing it in nefarious schemes, and then covering up their-loses until the large but finite fund could no longer pay the company expenses and it consequently collapsed.  Enron was the largest bankruptcy reorganization in American history up to that point.  The CEO, numerous executives and some members of the defunct accounting firm ended up in jail.

 

It struck me that Donald Trump and possibly some other executives may have done similar things to cause Donald’s casino and building Empire to almost collapse.  We do know that he got numerous bonuses from the Taj Mahal, his New Jersey casino.  We also know that he’s been involved in at least four bankruptcies.  A negative temporary change in the real estate market could have brought about his crisis.  This would be easily done if he was milking his possessions for extra funds.

 

During the first stage of the Presidential Campaign, when he was competing to be chosen as the Republican candidate, he stated, in answer to a question or accusation that the others involved in his bankruptcies could afford and deserved to lose the money they had invested.  This, incidentally, would be his stockholders who had invested in Donald J. Trump shares of stock.  One would wonder how much he really lost, certainly not the 916 million dollars for which he took credit on his tax return.

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In 1995, Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary, took home a salary of $202,423.  He was President of the United States and she was unemployed.  They also gained $88,441 from a blind trust.  

 

He and his wife paid $75,437 in federal income taxes that year.  There are decades of tax returns on line for the Clintons, detailing every tax bill and charitable donation over the last twenty years.  Trump has released nothing; leaving everyone to wonder about his taxes.  Now three crucial pages of his 1995 taxes have come to light and Trump and his cohorts are busy explaining them away.  He still has not released his IRA tax forms.

 

In the late 1970s in order to get his casino license Trump had to release several years’ worth of tax returns.  They showed that Trump paid no taxes for two years and a total of $71,943 for the other three years.                      ****************************************

The Clinton campaign, Sunday, exploited the tax discovery.  They argued that Trump is both unqualified and temperamentally unfit to be President and that he took advantage of rules which ordinary workers cannot use.  They also exploited his comment in the first debate that not paying taxes made him “smart;” saying that if he was “smart” not paying taxes then what does that do for the rest of us who do pay our income taxes!

 

Mo Elleithee, a Democratic strategist who runs Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service, stated that, “Political operatives and strategists are going to study the last week of September 2016 for generations as the textbook case of self-sabotage.”

 

Senator Harry Reed, the Senate minority leader said, “Trump is a billion-dollar loser who won’t release his taxes because they’ll expose him as a spoiled rich brat who lost the millions he inherited from his father.”  Reed went on to call Trump “a racist, incompetent failure who managed to lose a billion dollars in a boom year.”

 

Bernie Sanders stated on CNN that this is “exactly why so many millions of Americans are frustrated, they’re angry, they’re disgusted….You’ve got the middle class people working longer hours for low wages – they pay their taxes, the support their schools, they support their infrastructure, they support the military.  Trump goes around and says, ‘Hey, I’m worth billions!  I’m a successful businessman!  And I don’t pay any taxes.  But you – you make 15 bucks an hour – you pay the taxes, not me.”

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In addition to his tax games on Friday, October 7, members of the press acquired a microphone recording that caught Donald J. Trump in 2005, relatively newly married for the third time, boasting to Billy Bush, the then host of Access Hollywood, about his sexual propensities with attractive women.  “I just start kissing them…I don’t even wait.  And when you’re a star they let you do it…You can do anything.”

 

The 2005 tape, which also had some video attached to it, hit the news broadcasts on Friday and became the main item of news that night.  Trump was uninvited from his Saturday Unity Rally with Paul Ryan in Wisconsin. 

 

Trump called it “locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago.  Among others, many Republican politicians have called the tape lewd and vulgar.  The New York News, a sensationalist newspaper, ran the headline about grabbing their “p_ _ _y.”

 

Trump initially said that he apologized to anyone who felt offended by the audio tape.  Later on Friday night or Saturday morning he released a 90 second TV statement, personally apologizing for his comments, stating that meeting people across the United States has humbled him, and verbally attacking the Clintons. 

 

Many Republicans have suggested that Trump resign as the designated Republican candidate.  He has stated that he wouldn’t quit “in a million years.”  Many Republican leaders and Congresspersons want the Republican Party to stop supporting him and concentrate on the congressional and state elections.  They want to keep their power base even if they lost the presidency. 

 

Interestingly Paul Ryan was booed when he announced in his opening address at the Wisconsin Unity Rally that Donald Trump had been uninvited and would not be there.

 

Trump also stated that he was younger then, only 59 years old, now at 70 years of age he is more mature.  He did not concede or apologize for any actual behavior that he described in the tape.  Legally what he describes amounts to sexual harassment and assault.

 

Jill Harth, a pageant owner who worked with Trump in the mid-1990s, filed a suit against him in the federal court in Manhattan in 1997, accusing him of a relentless campaign of sexual harassment and assault that included one incident of grabbing her crotch under the table during a meeting at a New York restaurant with other people present.  That case, which included other items also was settled by Trump with another case involving the pageant for $100,000.

 

Miss USA pageant winner, Temple Taggart, a former Miss Utah, told the New York Times last May that Trump kissed her on the lips without her permission.  She believed he did the same with other contestants.

 

It would seem that if he has reformed, he did so less than a year ago.  We all know how Trump went ballistic over Hillary Clinton’s comment during the first Presidential Debate about the 1996 Ms. Universe winner, Alicia Machado.  He tweeted negative comments about her at 3:30 a.m.  He had called her Miss Piggy because she ate too much and Miss Housekeeper because she was a Hispanic.  All this was last month.  Has he really reformed? 

 

He may or may not be currently groping women anymore but his basic attitudes toward them have not changed.  Trump reminded me of some of the former G.I.s I met when I was in the military in the mid-1950s.  These individuals always scored sexually when they went into town, according to them.  They lived rich fantasy lives.  Trump tends to exaggerate everything about himself.  He seems to always try to make himself look bigger than he is.

 

There are mountains of TV tapes which contain negative comments by Trump that have been edited out of “Celebrity Apprentice” tapes.  There is also quite a bit of exaggeration about Trump’s prowess toward women, including his elder daughter that exists from when he was on Howard Stern radio broadcasts from the first decade of this century and earlier.  These are suddenly very valuable; even short sections can be worth thousands of dollars to whoever can get hold of them.  I’m sure the press is willing to pay for the information. There may be many more people willing to testify that they have been harassed and groped by Donald J. Trump.  I would imagine the news will be quite colorful this week.  Some of the cases might be very recent.

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I’s like to end this blog with a note of humor.  Trump charges people who fly on his plane with him.  As of about three weeks ago he has made a profit of about 6 million dollars.  As a Presidential Candidate he has Secret Service guards protecting him.  The Secret Service is billed every time they fly with him.  The Press pays for the privilege of flying with him in his airplane.  The campaign pays for his children accompanying him on the plane.  In addition whenever possible Trump holds many of his campaign rallies and other functions in buildings he owns or controls.  He has stated that even if he loses the election he will still show a profit on his campaign.