Monday, October 03, 2016

Cruising the Web

Jonah Goldberg expresses everything I've been thinking this week about Donald Trump. First he analyzes why Trump was successful getting the nomination - he was punching up against targets such as Jeb, Preibus, the media, etc.
He wasn’t just the outsider coming into town to blow things up, he was Godzilla smashing all before him. In the standard Godzilla movie there’s always that scene where the hapless Japanese army tries to lure the beast toward some electric power lines. Godzilla takes the bait and bites the power lines. But the shock doesn’t kill him, it makes him stronger! That was Trump in the primaries. Mangling metaphors somewhat, people told him “You can’t chomp those power lines! Those are the third rails of American politics!” Trumpzilla cared not, bit them, and got stronger.
But the problem is that Godzilla destroys not only the fighter jets, but ordinary people. And then we're not so awestruck by Godzilla.
o it is with Trump: He wins when he punches up. He loses when he punches down.

And that’s Trump’s Achilles’ heel: He can’t resist punching down....

Everyone knows this. Hillary Clinton knew it and she baited him. She almost literally could have said, “Donald, I’m going to bait you. You would be a fool to take the bait. But I know you will.” And he still would take the bait. In fact, I think he would be more likely to take the bait if she said she were baiting him, because he would want to prove that he could take the bait and win.

I thought Trump lost the debate, but not overwhelmingly. He was clearly the winner of the first 30 minutes or so, and if he’d stayed that guy for the full 90 it would have been a hugely consequential rout. But then, Hillary implemented “Bait Trump Protocol Alpha-1,” when she brought up how he got his start with a $14 million loan from his father. (She got the details wrong, but it doesn’t matter. When you’re baiting fish or Trumpzilla, the lure doesn’t have to be real, it just has to be shiny. In fact, getting the bait just slightly wrong makes it even more irresistible, because we all have a natural instinct to correct falsehoods aimed at us, and Trump more than most.)

So Trump bit the shiny thing, and for the rest of the night, plodding, dull Hillary Clinton led Trump around the stage like a matador with a red cape. And, four days later, Trump is still charging around like an enraged bull. At first I thought Clinton’s use of Alicia Machado was odd. There are so many Trump victims out there, why use one with such a weird past? But that’s what was so brilliant about it. If Machado were a nun, it’d be harder for Trump to attack. But Trump thinks he can win this one on the merits and so he won’t let go of it. He didn’t learn the lesson of his feud with the Khan family: The only way to win such fights is to not engage in them at all. The debate wasn’t a disaster but how he handled the post-debate spin was, and continues to be.

If Trump could stay on message, if he could be a disciplined candidate, I think he’d be ten points ahead by now. But realistically, this is no different from saying if he could control anything metal with his mind, he would be Magneto.
But supporters of Trump console themselves that, if Trump were to be elected, he would leave the serious policy-making to the Republican leaders and they would be able to manage him and make him keep all his promises.
I think this is in-frick’n-sane.

Candidate Trump can’t be managed. Everyone with any contacts in or around Trump world has heard the stories about how his staff tries to impose discipline on him. The jokes about Kellyanne Conway desperately trying to hide his phone from him to keep him off Twitter are funny because they’re true.

And yet, you’re telling me that when Trump wins despite rejecting all of this advice and actually takes possession of Air Force One, and when the Marine guards start saluting him as the band plays “Hail to the Chief,” I’m supposed to believe this staggering narcissist will suddenly become manageable? Seriously?

Moreover, throughout his entire career in business, he’s made a name for himself as a promise-breaker, welcher, and snake-oil salesman, willing to say whatever he needs to in order to close the deal. “Sure this car gets 200 miles to the gallon. Sign the check and you’ll see.” That is what the art of the deal really means for him. He’ll get the White House and he’ll say to the rest of us looking to cash in his political promises, “Try and collect.”

Trump is not a conservative. He has some instincts that overlap with conservatism — the importance of law and order, the value of military strength etc. — but these instincts are not derived from any serious attachment to ideas or arguments. They stem from his lizard-brain machismo and his authoritarian streak. He never talks about liberty or limited government unless someone shoves it into his teleprompter. His ideas about economics and public policy are shot-through with dirigisme. He’s learned to talk the talk about free-market solutions, but in his heart he’s still the guy who believes single-payer health care works “incredibly well.” The one adviser we know he listens to is his daughter, and she is certainly no conservative. Does anyone believe he will side with Mike Pence and against her in a fight over, say, Planned Parenthood?

....Just look at the issues of trade, entitlements, child care, and gun rights (in the form of his capitulation on the terror watch list). Look at all the formerly “true conservative” types who’ve gamely gone along with Trump so far. Do you honestly think they’ll break with a president Trump? Trump won’t crush the administrative state, he will be rolled by the bureaucrats. That’s what the heads of bureaucracies do in our system. They don’t run the agencies, they spin-up and co-opt politicians. That’s why you need a conservative president who knows things.
Some clueless Trump supporters want to argue that someone who doesn't support Trump must be supporting Hillary. As Jonah Goldberg reminds us, he's been opposing the Clintons since they first appeared on the scene. He and his family have strong credentials in the anti-Clinton camp. I wasn't blogging as long as Jonah and his mother were attacking Clintons, but I have always been disgusted by the Clintons and I think Hillary will be a disaster. However, I also think Trump will be a disaster. Here Jonah's analysis is spot on.
But here’s the thing: Conservatives know how to oppose Clinton, who will come into office the most damaged and unpopular president in American history, having fulfilled her mandate to not be Trump on Day One.

But it’s already very clear they do not know how to oppose Trump. His hostile takeover of the Republican party demonstrates that. So do the otherworldly descriptions of Trump that his more intellectual supporters conjure from thin air. If he becomes president, the Republican party will no longer be even notionally conservative. America can survive four years of Hillary Clinton, though those four years will be bad. Very bad. But America cannot survive if both parties reject the principles of limited government and constitutionalism, which would be the result of a “successful” Trump presidency or even most scenarios in which he’s a failed president. The demise won’t be instantaneous, but gradual, as a new bipartisan consensus forms between a right-wing statist party and a left-wing statist party. The body-snatched Republicans will become ever more serviceable dummies for the master of rectal ventriloquism. Principled conservatives won’t vanish — though some trolls keep telling me we’ll all be hung, gassed, or killed by the coming mobs. Rather, we will become increasingly irrelevant, cast into the same peanut gallery as our libertarian cousins.
A President Hillary Clinton is going to be facing a world of problems. The economy is still shaking and nothing she's proposing would lead to economic growth. We're still facing a genocidal mess in Syria and an increasingly dominant Iran and irrelevant United States. Putin will still be flexing his muscles in Ukraine and the Baltic states. It's going to be tough going for whoever wins in November. If, as seems likely now, Hillary is elected, she will enter as probably the least-liked and least-trusted president in history.
Her biggest problem is a near-total lack of credibility. One of the surest signs a president is in trouble two or three years into a term occurs when a "credibility gap" develops. What a president says is no longer believed. Clinton is unique in this regard: She would begin her presidency with a credibility gap. Even with the post-convention bump in her polling numbers last month, a Washington Post/ABC News survey found that 59 percent of adults think she isn't "honest and trustworthy."

The cachet of the presidency would improve her credibility, but the lack of trust wouldn't vanish. The scandal over her private emails and her negligence in protecting highly classified information would linger. Fresh emails would surface. Persistent questions about the Clinton Foundation, her family's acquisition of wealth, and her health would follow her into the White House.

At the heart of the credibility problem is her refusal to take responsibility. She said last week that she's never made "excuses" for her mistake in using a nonsecure email system. In truth, she's made nothing but excuses, blaming everyone except herself. My friend Jerry Leachman says, "Winners accept responsibility. Losers make excuses." This applies to Clinton.
What does she have planned for improving economic growth except to double down on all that Obama has been doing for the past eight years? How has that been working out for us?
Her agenda won't help, especially in pulling the economy out of the worst recovery since the Depression. In her campaign, she offers no incentives for economic growth—no tax cuts, no easing of regulatory burdens, no reliance on the private sector. Rather, she would spend billions on "infrastructure" in what she touts as "a comprehensive plan to create the next generation of good jobs." This is not a governing agenda.

Clinton would finance "the biggest investment in American infrastructure in decades" by raising taxes on individuals, investors, and corporations. There's an old saying that's relevant here: When you tax something, you get less of it. With her plan, we'd get less economic growth, which means fewer jobs and very little in wage increases.

Worse still, Clinton ignores history. Infrastructure as stimulus has been tried before. President Kennedy did so in hopes of reviving a weak economy in the early 1960s. When it failed, JFK turned to across-the-board tax cuts, which spurred an economic boom. When he announced his new policy, he used the word "incentives" five times.
Remember Obama admitting that "shovel-ready" wasn't as shovel-ready as he thought it would be. And now Clinton wants to push through more of such top-down, government-selected stimulus? She wouldn't be doing it with the super majority Senate that Obama had back in 2009. She'd have to negotiate such a deal with a nearly evenly-divided Senate and probably with a GOP-led Congress. What are the chances they would give her what she wants?
But what if Clinton decided to seek a compromise with Republicans, as her husband Bill often did in the 1990s? She would quickly have an angry revolt by the Democratic left on her hands, led by senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

In seeking the Democratic nomination, Clinton morphed into a leftist. She was probably insincere, but left-wing Democrats are poised to insist she follow through with policies and appointments to their liking. To betray the left would be risky in the extreme. At worst, her presidency would be marginalized. At best, she'd struggle to keep her administration afloat with occasional aid from Republicans.

Even without a break with the left, getting along with Democrats would be a problem. She's neither gregarious nor congenial. A trip to the Clinton White House would be like visiting an unpleasant in-law.

It's not an exaggeration to say Hillary Clinton's chances of governing successfully, based on the wise exercise of presidential power, do not look promising. To succeed in the environment she would confront in 2017 and beyond would take a politician far more adroit than Clinton and blessed with natural skills she doesn't have.
Midterm elects are historically difficult for the party in the White House. And the Democrats have a difficult Senate map up in 2018 so chances are good that with a Clinton presidency, the Republicans would have a good shot at retaking the Senate if they lose control this year. There are 25 Democratic seats (including Bernie Sanders and Angus King, supposed independents who vote with the Democrats) versus 8 Republican seats. All the GOP seats, except Nevada, are in states Obama lost twice. So Hillary will be sailing against the winds. If she remains unpopular, Democrats will see a personal advantage in opposing her in order to ensure their reelection chances in 2018.

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The NYT reports
on a recording of what John Kerry told Syrians behind closed doors. He was speaking to them after his latest cease-fire had failed and the Russians refused to stop bombing Aleppo. He seemed really upset that the Obama administration wasn't going along with his recommendations for using force in Syria.
“I think you’re looking at three people, four people in the administration who have all argued for use of force, and I lost the argument.”
I'm sure that Obama appreciates his Secretary of State complaining to foreigners about the decisions he made.
Over and over again, he complained to a small group of Syrian civilians that his diplomacy had not been backed by a serious threat of military force, according to an audio recording of the meeting obtained by The New York Times.
The NY Sun comments on the argument for military involvement that Kerry says he lost.
How in the world could that be? It’s not, after all, that Americans have refused to send our GIs overseas to make the world safe for Democracy. We’ve been doing this since Woodrow Wilson made his famous vow – or even before, if one wants to feature San Juan Hill and Mexico. It may be that Mr. Kerry – or, in Secretary Clinton, his predecessor – will insist the blame lies with the dreaded neo-conservatives. But it wasn’t they who retreated from Iraq and Afghanistan and the rest of the war against Islamic terrorism.

No, the architects of that retreat were President Obama, the Democratic Party, and Secretary of State Clinton. But none share such a particular portion of the blame as attaches to Mr. Kerry, who, like Mrs. Clinton, voted for the Iraq expedition but, by the time he ran for president at 2004, was already beating a retreat. He even boasted of voting against resupplying our troops after having voted for it. His 2004 campaign set the stage for Mr. Obama to run for president on the idea that Iraq was the wrong war.

Boy, the leaks keep coming. Now there is an audio out there of Hillary talking at a February fundraiser during the primary fight. She spends her time complaining about young people who are deceived by Bernie Sanders' promises of free stuff.
There is a…a strain of, on the one hand, the kind of populist, nationalist, xenophobic, discriminatory kind of approach that we hear too much of from the Republican candidates. And on the other side, there’s a just a deep desire to believe that, you know, we can have free college, free healthcare, that what we’ve done hasn’t gone far enough and we just need to, you know, go as far as, you know, Scandinavia, whatever that means, and half the people don’t know what that means, but it’s something that they deeply feel.

So as a friend of mine said the other day, I am occupying from the center-left to the center-right and I don’t have much company there. Because it is difficult when you’re running to be president and you understand how hard the job is. I don’t want to over-promise. I don’t want to tell people things that I know we cannot do. I want to level with the American people…and be very clear about the progress I think we can make.
She does seem sympathetic to the worries that young people have that they're going to be deep in debt for college while not being able to get the sort of job they were hoping for.
Some are new to politics completely, they’re children of the great recession and they are living in their parent’s basement. They feel they got their education and the jobs that are available to them are not at all what they envisioned for themselves. And they don’t see much of a future…That is a mindset that is really affecting their politics. And so if you’re feeling that you’re consigned to being a barista or some other job that doesn’t pay a lot and doesn’t have much of a ladder of opportunity attached to it then the idea that maybe, just maybe, you could be part of a political revolution is pretty appealing…

We’ve got ideals, we’ve got big goals but we also believe that the path to progress is one that you just have to get up everyday and work on. You have to make it your life’s work if you do this full time. You have to make it part of your civic responsibility for others and just keep making that case. It’s not as glamorous. It’s not as exciting. It doesn’t promise a revolution. I mean I’m still trying to understand the revolution part because here’s how I think about it—and Senator Sanders sort of alludes to this—in order to have the revolution, first we have to take back the Senate and get to 60 votes. Then we’ve got to take back the house and that may require some redistricting in order to get people out of safe Republican seats so they can be competitive again. I think we’re already in like year six or seven of a two-year term. So, you know those of us who understand this, who’ve been experienced, who have worked in it know that it’s a false promise. But I don’t think you tell idealistic people, particularly young people, that they’ve bought in to a false promise.
Well, Bernie Sanders was all for a revolution until he decided to go all in on endorsing Hillary and telling his followers not to vote for for a third-party candidate.

And she wanted to be have a practical approach without promising free stuff until she decided to just go all in and basically copy Sanders' promise to make college free. And experts are just as skeptical as she was behind closed doors of such a plan.
Hillary Clinton announced her new higher education plan this summer with a burst of fanfare, promising to invest $500 billion to eliminate tuition for millions of students at public colleges and universities across the country. The move was an expansion of an earlier, less ambitious proposal, and was seen as a conciliatory gesture to her left-leaning primary opponent, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and his supporters ahead of the Democratic Party’s convention....

But while the liberal wing of the party has cheered the idea as a needed antidote to soaring tuition and student loan debt, many in education have questioned how such a plan would work. More government influence in the sector could lead to unintended consequences, they fear, and some details of Mrs. Clinton’s proposal remain murky.
I can predict one unintended consequence. Making college free or very inexpensive will lead universities to raising costs just as it has for the past decades. There are also concerns that making the money available for public schools will cause a deep drop in enrollment at private colleges, dooming many of them.
At Trinity Washington University, a small Catholic school in Washington, D.C., about half the students currently pay no tuition because they are covered by scholarships or other subsidies to accommodate people from low-income families. Patricia McGuire, the president of Trinity, says it is not right for a relatively rich state school, like the nearby University of Virginia, to receive an infusion of government money while its low-income students struggle to pay for books and living expenses.

“It’s an unjust idea about who needs a subsidy to go to college,” Ms. McGuire said. “This was something that was done as a politically expedient way to satisfy that group that has been harping on free college.”

Other potential consequences of Mrs. Clinton’s proposal include public universities’ increasing their tuition fees at the expense of taxpayers, stalled migration among states as students are incentivized to stay home and a shortage of classroom space to accommodate the larger enrollments at state schools.
But who cares about unintended consequences when there is political pandering for votes to be done?

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Kyle Smith reviews the WSJ's chief foreign correspondent Jay Solomon's new book about how the Iran deal came about, The Iran Wars: Spy Games, Bank Battles, and the Secret Deals That Reshaped the Middle East. John Kerry appears as a man who would do anything to get the deal. He was thus perfectly suited to be Obama's Secretary of State.
Kerry emerges as a classic schmoozer, the Dr. Pangloss who sees nothing but good in every foreign warlord and mass murderer. Based on his genial four-hour 2009 dinner with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and both men’s wives, Kerry — then a Massachusetts senator — spent years trying to sell the idea that Assad was a Western-leaning “reformer.” That would be before Assad exterminated 500,000 of his own people.

“Kerry’s characterization of Assad seemed grossly exaggerated,” someone who was at the dinner told Solomon. “But the senator promoted it unchecked.”

Kerry wasn’t even yet secretary of state but was busily forming a patty-cake foreign policy, with Obama’s encouragement, even as the much less gullible Clinton supposedly led our foreign affairs. In 2011, still in the Senate, he secretly began crafting a nuclear-arms agreement with Iran, using the back channel of a diplomat from Oman.

Instead of negotiating from strength — US-led sanctions, some of them passed by Congress against Obama’s wishes, had cut Iranian oil exports nearly to zero, and its economy was reeling — Kerry began handing out bargaining chips like sticks of Juicy Fruit. Right up front, Kerry told Iran it would be able to continue enriching uranium. It was like encouraging your kid to eat his vegetables by first handing him a slice of chocolate cake.

Kerry’s move was in harmony with repeated, obsequious moves by Obama, who since his first weeks as president had secretly been sending fawning letters to Iran’s supreme ruler, the Ayatollah Khamenei, emphasizing that the US no longer sought regime change in Iran. Which was an awkward position to have considering pro-reform, pro-Democracy demonstrators took to the streets of Tehran that same year demanding a more Western-friendly orientation for Iran. Obama not only didn’t offer help but specifically ordered the CIA to stand down and even yanked funding from reform backers in the US. Mass rape and torture in Iran ensued as the regime cracked down on dissent, and Khamenei blamed the US for the revolt anyway.

Kerry, by now secretary of state, arrived in Geneva in 2013 to negotiate a deal with Iran in the company of five other key countries, who found themselves essentially frozen out as Kerry gave Iran one concession after another. Ballistic missiles? Arms dealing? The US had adamantly opposed them. Now it backed down. Even before the deal was concluded, the US was lifting sanctions, causing $700 million a month to flow into a crippled economy.

The Iranians played us with a simple good cop/bad cop game: Offstage, the frightening Khamenei blustered that Iran would never back down from its nuclear program, while Kerry’s man-crush, the engaging and gentlemanly US-educated negotiator Mohammad Javad Zarif, essentially said he was really sorry but his hands were tied.

Unfortunately he just had to insist on keeping Iran’s underground enrichment facility at Qom, its heavy-water reactor (commonly called a bomb factory) at Arak and its 5,000 centrifuges (used for enriching uranium) at Natanz.

Oh, and after 10 years, Iran will be able to scale up to an industrial-strength uranium enrichment program ostensibly just for power plants but which could easily be used to make weapons. By which time several other Middle Eastern countries, anticipating an imbalance of power, will have joined the nuclear club to counter Iran. Meanwhile, Russia took advantage of the accord to announce it would sell Iran missile defense systems to repel any future attack by the US or Israel.
This is the deal that Obama and Kerry are so very proud of and which Hillary Clinton endorses. And yet this is an administration that won't admit that Jerusalem is in Israel.

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The Democrats' corruption of the federal bureaucracy continues.
Political operatives within the Obama administration wrongly punished conservative legal group Judicial Watch, stripping it of “media” status and trying to force it to pay higher fees for its open records requests, the General Services Administration inspector general said in a letter released Thursday.
The GSA botched several high-profile open records requests, delaying them for months while political appointees got involved, Inspector General Carol F. Ochoa said. The findings were released while the administration was facing charges of slow-walking open records requests for Hillary Clinton’s emails, as well as other requests.
In the case of Judicial Watch, the order to strip it of media status came from political operatives with long ties to Democratic causes — and even from the White House.
The inspector general said the decision came at the behest of Gregory Mecher, a former Democratic campaign fundraiser who at the time was liaison to the White House. He is married to Jen Psaki, a longtime spokeswoman with the Obama administration and its election campaigns.

Ms. Ochoa said stripping Judicial Watch of media status violated several agency policies and things got worse when the GSA denied an appeal by the group.
The same person who ruled on the initial request also ruled on the appeal, “contrary to GSA procedures,” the inspector general said.
Now that Trump's tax return from the 1990s has been released, does anyone think that Clinton-sympathizing people weren't involved? And would such behavior be beyond the scope of the IRS under a Clinton presidency?

Jazz Shaw comments on all the "might have," "could have," and "may not have" analysis in the NYT's publication of Trump's state tax returns from 1995.
That’s because the actual document only shows a massive loss which Trump claimed in 1995. What’s been established is that the loss in question opened the door to Trump potentially not owing any federal taxes over a considerable period of time because of the $916M loss. What’s also mentioned in decidedly muted tones is that if Trump wound up not owing any federal tax, that it was completely legal.

Let’s assume for a moment that Trump took full advantage of the tax laws in the way being described. (And frankly I’d start questioning his sanity if he didn’t.) This means that the Times has “caught” him following the tax code to pay the smallest amount of tax possible under the law. I mean, it’s not like anyone else does that, right? If Trump were A Good Person he would have massively overpaid his taxes and then we could all celebrate what a wonderful fellow he is, just like the people who handle the tax returns of the New York Times. Oh, wait… in 2014 the Gray Lady paid zero taxes and received millions in refunds despite having declared a substantial profit. (Forbes)
More recently, for tax year 2014, The New York Times paid no taxes and got an income tax refund of $3.5 million even though they had a pre-tax profit of $29.9 million in 2014. In other words, their post-tax profit was higher than their pre-tax profit. The explanation in their 2014 annual report is, “The effective tax rate for 2014 was favorably affected by approximately $21.1 million for the reversal of reserves for uncertain tax positions due to the lapse of applicable statutes of limitations.” If you don’t think it took fancy accountants and tax lawyers to make that happen, read the statement again.
Shaw then goes on to hypothesize that whoever illegally leaked Trump's tax documents gave more than a few pages of state returns and so the NYT is sitting on a lot more and are ready to release them leak by leak whenever Hillary seems to be in trouble over the next five weeks. Sounds completely possible.

I guess I just don't see what the big deal is. We knew that Trump suffered big losses on his businesses in the 1990s. Why shouldn't or wouldn't he have done what the law allows in deducting those losses? Did anyone think that Trump or any other businessman would have not reduced his taxes to the full extent that the law allows. The WSJ comments that the outrage coming from the Democrats now must mean that they want tax reform.
Who would have believed it? Donald Trump has driven his political opponents to embrace the cause of tax reform so the wealthy have fewer loopholes to exploit. That seems to be the inescapable logic of the media and Clinton campaign’s reaction to the weekend story that Mr. Trump may have used large income losses to reduce his tax payments....

The Times concludes from these losses and after consulting those it called “tax experts” that the resulting tax deduction “could have allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income taxes for up to 18 years.” Cue the synthetic shock and outrage.

Note that word “legally.” No one, not even the Clinton campaign, is claiming Mr. Trump broke any tax laws 20 years ago. Had he done so you can bet the IRS would have noticed, since the tax agency doesn’t routinely ignore tax losses that large.

The details from three pages are scant and don’t reveal the specific tax deductions that Mr. Trump might have exploited in 1995 or other years. But even average taxpayers who declare self-employment income know that business losses are deductible, often across several years. This reflects that the cycle of business investment and sales isn’t confined to a calendar tax year.

The real-estate business is also notorious for complex accounting and depreciation practices that can reduce tax liability. Developers borrow heavily, and the interest on that debt is deductible. Mr. Trump didn’t write the tax laws he was exploiting, though President Bill Clinton did have a hand in writing them since he pushed a major tax bill through Congress in 1993 with a Democratic Congress. Maybe Hillary Clinton should blame her husband and party for tolerating such rules.
They have some advice for what Trump should be saying in response, but don't count on him doing what is smart. After all, there are still late night tweets to be doing.
Mr. Trump hasn’t helped his cause by boasting about how “smart” he is for paying little tax. This is the vainglorious Trump who can’t stand to be criticized. He should be saying instead that the tax code is dumb. He could say he’s fortunate to have the means to hire lawyers and accountants who can maneuver through the tax maze to cut his payments. But he knows most Americans aren’t so lucky.

He could also say that Mrs. Clinton’s tax plans all but guarantee that the rich would pay less in taxes. She wants to raise rates, which would invite the rich to lobby Congress for more loopholes, which it would eventually pass, which would be fine for the Clintons and Donald Trump but be terrible for middle-class Americans and the economy.
Of course, Hillary knows all about taking the maximum deductions that are allowed. I remember the ridicule that arose when we found out that the Clintons deducted $2 apiece for used underwear donated to charity. And isn't it ironic that Hillary Clinton used the very same legal deduction for losses in 2015 that Trump used 20 years earlier?
However, a look back at Hillary Clinton's tax returns from 2015 (here), proudly displayed by the campaign proving she has nothing to hide - shows something awkward on page 17...While not on the scale of Trump’s business “operating loss”, Hillary Clinton – like many ‘wealthy’ individuals is taking advantage of a legal scheme to use historical losses to avoid paying current taxes.
And the Clinton Foundation last year had to refile its returns because they just happened to have "forgotten" to report donations from foreign governments.
Hillary Clinton's family's charities are refiling at least five annual tax returns after a Reuters review found errors in how they reported donations from governments, and said they may audit other Clinton Foundation returns in case of other errors....

The charities' errors generally take the form of under-reporting or over-reporting, by millions of dollars, donations from foreign governments, or in other instances omitting to break out government donations entirely when reporting revenue, the charities confirmed to Reuters....

For three years in a row beginning in 2010, the Clinton Foundation reported to the IRS that it received zero in funds from foreign and U.S. governments, a dramatic fall-off from the tens of millions of dollars in foreign government contributions reported in preceding years.

Those entries were errors, according to the foundation: several foreign governments continued to give tens of millions of dollars toward the foundation's work on climate change and economic development through this three-year period. Those governments were identified on the foundation's annually updated donor list, along with broad indications of how much each had cumulatively given since they began donating. Link via Conservative Treehouse)
If it was a legitimate loss that is what he is supposed to do. Trump and his businesses pay property taxes, payroll taxes, sales taxes, motor fuel taxes and all the other taxes and fees the government entities charge. Therefore, it is either pure ignorance or intentional lies for Hillary and others to say he pays no taxes to support schools, the police, the roads and all other government functions. Why doesn't the media fact check that lie instead of repeating it?

Amazon, which is led Jeff Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post, lost $1.41 Billion in 2000 and that offset their minimal income for years. Would Hillary and the NYT say Bezos paid no taxes and did not support government activities?

Solar City and Tesla, which are owned by one of the heroes of the left Elon Musk, have never made a profit and therefore never paid income taxes and they are also heavily subsidized by the taxpayer. Where are the media stories ripping Musk for not supporting the government?

If anyone wants to look at pure abuse of the income tax system they should look at what President Obama did for GM in 2009. We not only bailed out GM to the tune of $50 Billion, Obama gave GM an exemption from income taxes on their next $45 billion of income for up to twenty years. Why doesn't Hillary bring that one up as she campaigns in states with auto facilities?

The New York Times has had some financially troublesome years. Do they voluntarily pay income taxes when they lose money or do they carry back and carry forward the losses? That is all Trump did and it is pathetic that the Times would do a hit piece on what is and what should be a legal practice.

Can the New York Times find any company or individual that had a loss that didn't use the loss to offset income taxes for years? What about Buffet when he was a major shareholder of US Air? I bet they can't find any.

Jack Hellner comments on the leaked Trump tax returns.

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This is what the liberal idiocies have brought us to.
A conservative student at the University of Michigan has fairly brilliantly subverted a new campus-wide policy intended to force professors — and the entire campus community — to use exotic pronouns to refer to students who insist they belong to some alternate, fictional gender.

The student, Grant Strobl, has declared that he shall henceforth be referred to as “His Majesty, Grant Strobl.”

Strobl was able to announce his new pronoun because the taxpayer-funded school launched a new web page allowing students to declare their preferred, “designated” pronouns....

A conservative student at the University of Michigan has fairly brilliantly subverted a new campus-wide policy intended to force professors — and the entire campus community — to use exotic pronouns to refer to students who insist they belong to some alternate, fictional gender.

The student, Grant Strobl, has declared that he shall henceforth be referred to as “His Majesty, Grant Strobl.”

Strobl was able to announce his new pronoun because the taxpayer-funded school launched a new web page allowing students to declare their preferred, “designated” pronouns.
We'll see how the University of Michigan treats Strobl's request, but there is this warning.
West Virginia University’s Title IX office recently warned students that referring to someone by the “wrong” gender pronoun is a violation of federal anti-discrimination law under Title IX.
You can check out the debate at #UMPronounChallenge to see how heated this debate is. There are those who are deeply hurt that some are making fun of trans people and those responding that defenders of Michigan's policy against cis ridicule will have a hard time making it in the real world.

For what it's worth, here is the SNL satire of the presidential debate.

So the Knicks' new center Joakim Noah skipped a dinner that the team was having with West Point cadets. The team is holding its practice camp at West Point but Noah didn't feel comfortable eating the dinner with the cadets.
“It’s hard for me a little bit. I have a lot of respect for the kids who are out here fighting,” Noah said, according to the New York Daily News’s Stefan Bondy. “But it’s hard for me to understand why we have to go to war, why kids have to kill kids around the world ... So I have mixed feelings about being here. I’m very proud of this country. I love America but I just don’t understand kids killing kids around the world.”
He's been willing to meet with the cadets, just not eat with them. Of course he was willing to play basketball and have a barbecuewith Barack Obama who is, by the way, the commander-in-chief who orders those "kids" to "kill kids around the world."
That was all fun and games for a good cause, right? Can we say hypocrisy alert?

Frank Isola comments,
Noah is anti-war, which is great. Most right minded adults oppose war and that would include the young men and women at the U.S. Military Academy. You can still be a conscientious objector while earning $72 million over the next four years and spend quality time with the people who are dedicated to serving and protecting the country.