Author Topic: Tax Experts  (Read 21062 times)

AI Wessex

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Tax Experts
« on: October 05, 2016, 07:09:43 AM »
Last weekend the NY Times published an article about Donald Trump's $915M loss on his 1995 tax return that entitled him to write off up to $50M in income tax over each of 18 years.  Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie defended Trump doing that as a sign of a "genius at work" for knowing the tax code so well that he figured out a way to do that.  I'll note two things about what Trump did.

First, it wasn't his money that he "lost", it was the bank's.  Although it's speculation to put a specific dollar amount on how much of his own money was lost in the businesses he claimed losses from, from what I understand he personally may have lost as little as $1M, and the banks wrote off their loans for the remainder because there was no recoverable or sellable asset left. That appears to have been the case because the collateral for the loans was Donald Trump's signature, not the businesses themselves.  Due to the way the laws worked at the time (and may still, I'm no expert), Trump was able to declare the bank's loss as his own.  I'd be interested if anyone else here can correct anything I might have just said that is in error.

The other thing worth mentioning is what his head tax attorney at the time said about Trump's genius:
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An attorney who oversaw Donald Trump's income tax returns in the mid-1990s said the Republican presidential had little interest in the tax code — contrasting with the billionaire's claim that he understood tax "better than almost anyone."

"As far as I know, and that only goes through late '96, he didn't understand the code," said Jack Mitnick, a former tax adviser for Trump, in an interview with NBC's TODAY. "Nor would he have had the time and the patience to learn the provisions. That's a lifetime of experience."

Gaoics79

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2016, 09:01:54 AM »
What he did was either legal or it wasn't. Beyond that I couldn't care less. On the list of issues I have with Trump, this ranks somewhere around 99th, right before "bad hair".

Seriati

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2016, 09:34:53 AM »
In other news AI Wesssex claimed deduction for mortgage expense scamming US tax payers out of thousands of dollars over the years.

AI Wessex

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2016, 09:38:59 AM »
In other news AI Wesssex claimed deduction for mortgage expense scamming US tax payers out of thousands of dollars over the years.
Hmmm, I got a deduction for taxes and interest that I had paid that and every other year, and somehow I *still* ended up paying income taxes to the government.  Donald got his tax deduction for money other people lost investing in him.  Do you see any kind of difference in our circumstances?  Over the period in question he was paid about $82M in salary and bonuses and didn't have to pay taxes on any of that.  Get it?

D.W.

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2016, 09:51:25 AM »
As disgusting as I find some of the tax loopholes, does anyone really expect people to go out of there way to pay MORE than they have to?  Using Trump as a perfect example of why the system needs changed... fine.  Making him out to be a cheat or villain of the middle/lower class because of this?  That's kinda ridiculous.

Also, it would be his team of accountant's/lawyers who are the geniuses, not him.  (AFAIK)  But hey, good delegation I suppose is a positive trait in PotUS.  :P

AI Wessex

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2016, 09:55:02 AM »
It kind of (more than kind of, actually) calls into question his so-called genius abilities.  Besides his temperament, he claims that his expertise at manipulating debt will solve the country's fiscal problems.  That's like hiring an arsonist who just so happens to also be an architect to burn down your old house and design your new one.

D.W.

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2016, 09:57:04 AM »
As long as he knows all the best arson investigators and insurance appraisers, we're in business!  Architecture has a nasty habit of going over budget.  ;)

Seriati

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2016, 10:35:45 AM »
Yes AI, I get it.  My view is you don't have a small business or know anyone that does.  I have a family member who themselves had a small business that ran two products, one product utterly failed in the 70's and they lost all their capital (including borrowed money).  They didn't declare bankruptcy, and eventually paid it back.  But that loss in the 70's was large enough that it wiped out almost 20 years of gains in the remaining product line.  They are not the only person that has happened to, the tax code is specifically designed that way to allow companies to stay in business and to soften the blows of taking the risks of investing its capital.  So a small company, stayed in business and employed 4-7 people a year for 20 years without paying "taxes", and so what?  They would have loved to have made enough profits to have to pay taxes again, but it's just straight numbers.  Does it trouble me in anyway that large companies can deduct capital losses - nope, nope and nope.

Here, with Trump, all you have is a stolen return (illegal - whether stolen directly from the government or released by an accountant), what seems to be a violation of attorney client privilege and a bunch of speculation about what it actually means.  He could have been paying taxes the next year if his profit was high enough.  Unless your argument is that losses should not be deductible, which we could put on the long list of left talking points that would devastate the economy and business growth, where exactly are you going with this?

I do think its silly to call him a genius for it, but that seems to me to just a branding "talking point" to respond to the nonsense branding "talking point" pushed by the left in the first place.

D.W.

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2016, 10:41:59 AM »
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I do think its silly to call him a genius for it, but that seems to me to just a branding "talking point" to respond to the nonsense branding "talking point" pushed by the left in the first place.
While I agree it is in some ways a "talking point" and a barb to be used against Trump, it is also a tactic to get him to release his taxes.  Something I really am curious to see.  I think a president should be above suspicion of lobbyist and foreign government influence because of potential personal conflicts of interest.  A suspicion that honestly makes me uneasy about both of these candidates.

If he paid no taxes, fine.  People wake up and decide as a nation if the tax code needs changed.  If he has ties to potential conflicts of interest, it would be nice to be able to monitor them while he's in office as a form of oversight to "keep him honest".

As an aside, I find it unlikely AI (or any of us) knows nobody who has a small business.  (if that's even applicable to the Trump example)

NobleHunter

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2016, 10:47:12 AM »
A genius doesn't lose almost a billion dollars. Granted, we don't know how much of that represented an actual change in assets due to screwy definitions of "losses" but still. His main argument for President is that he's a superb business man and he lost a billion dollars. Running a casino (I think that what accounts for some of the write-offs).

Not to mention he says he wants to fix the tax code but why would he? He seems to have benefitted enormously from the way it is now. Unless he wants to argue that he actually lost a billion dollars in assets. I don't see anyone arguing actual losses shouldn't be deductible; whether or not imaginary paper losses should is more complicated.

Seriati

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2016, 10:57:26 AM »
A genius doesn't lose almost a billion dollars.

Based on what, just googled "Microsoft net losses" and the first article was about a $3.2 billion loss.  Pick any long standing tech company (filled with geniuses, long standing only cause they need more than a billion to lose) and I bet you can find the same thing.  Business involves risk, calculated risk in fact, but there are no guaranties that something that looks like a good investment won't completely tank.  Are you somehow stupid if you invest heavily in say solar panel production and the companies go belly up?  Or if you invest in fracking and the government changes the regulatory environment or the Saudis take a loss on oil production to put you out of business?   Or if you merge two companies and then it's discovered that the products from one have an unanticipated medical liability associated with them? 

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Not to mention he says he wants to fix the tax code but why would he? He seems to have benefitted enormously from the way it is now. Unless he wants to argue that he actually lost a billion dollars in assets. I don't see anyone arguing actual losses shouldn't be deductible; whether or not imaginary paper losses should is more complicated.

Everyone has benefited from the tax code.  Literally everyone.

While I agree it is in some ways a "talking point" and a barb to be used against Trump, it is also a tactic to get him to release his taxes.  Something I really am curious to see.

And all I see, is a perfect example of why he should never release his taxes.  There is far more damage caused by twisting a tax return than there is benefit to what anyone could realistically get out of it.

D.W.

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2016, 11:02:16 AM »
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And all I see, is a perfect example of why he should never release his taxes.  There is far more damage caused by twisting a tax return than there is benefit to what anyone could realistically get out of it.
I agree from a strategic standpoint Trump should not release his taxes.  As a citizen electing a leader, I think he should have to do so. 

Seriati, I find it a little odd you don't see parallels between this release of info to make an informed decision and the other active topic right now about Saudi involvement potentially being kept secret. 

Not that my pro-tax release and defense of state secrecy is any less confusing.  :P

Seriati

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2016, 11:22:08 AM »
D.W., why would you think I should see a parallel between a release of government information to citizens (who are entitled to such information) and a person forced to release information to the public?   If anything, I'm surprised people who back public employees like Lois Lerner and Hillary's entire server team taking the fifth with respect to information related to their actual government service, somehow think its their right to force a voluntary tax disclosure from a candidate where no matter what it shows it will be twisted to hurt his interests. 

You understand, it literally doesn't matter what it shows, it will hurt him.  Too much profit - corporate fat cat who earned his living on the backs of the little guy, too little - failed business man with no case for the presidency.  Too many deductions, abuser of the tax code, too few, illegal violation of his fiduciary duties put him in jail.  Too little taxes paid, a thief, too much, a moron.  Any errors?  Demand for criminal prosecution.

I get why the Clinton campaign is demanding they be released, even though they don't release anything meaningful themselves (a politicians tax returns are rarely as meaningful as anyone else's).  But a candidate that wants to win won't release them.

I also think the BS fact check on this point needs to stop.  Trump has repeatedly said he's been advised not to release them while under audit, and the "fact checkers" respond that's it not illegal to do so, which is a total strawman argument.

D.W.

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2016, 11:28:41 AM »
I don’t defend her use of a private server.  I’ve commented that I doubt she broke the letter of any laws, but I think she absolutely set up the server to bend/break the intent of laws. 
As to the taxes hurting him no matter what.  I believe that SHOULD BE the price of admission for putting your name in the hat for PotUS.  Not that it is my right to demand it… but I think it should be the law of the land.

If he makes decisions that appear to short change the country yet benefit him personally I think it benefits us as a country to be able to see that occurring real time rather than speculating that it MIGHT be the case and just trusting him.  I don't believe you can (or should) trust any politician, but we should be able to evaluate what they are doing once elected and why.

Seriati

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2016, 11:33:33 AM »
And how well can you evaluate what Hillary has done vis a vis the Clinton Foundation and her service as Secretary of State?   Pretty much not at all, even though the set up is one of the worst violations of the appearance of impropriety in recent memory. 

If the law said the tax returns had to be public then he'd have to release.  However, the actual practice, as I've said before is designed to be a barrier to entry from people not of the political class.  Politicians scrubbed tax returns are designed not to be particularly damaging and reveal very little usefull information, whereas a private businessman would have to divulge hundreds of times more information in such a disclosure.  I guess, if what you're saying is that you only want professional politicians as candidates it makes sense.

D.W.

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2016, 11:40:08 AM »
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And how well can you evaluate what Hillary has done vis a vis the Clinton Foundation and her service as Secretary of State?
On the first half, not as well as I'd like, but it's not like people aren't poking and prodding the heck out of that.  On the second, I don't have many issues beyond that she is more of an interventionist than I would be.  Granted that may come with seeing a bigger picture than I can.

If a 'real businessman' can't produce records that will hold up to scrutiny and any records that CAN do so must be 'scrubbed and belong to a professional politician', then yes.  I guess I do want the latter.  I don't believe it's an either / or, but if my choice is disclosure or not, I choose disclosure and anyone who can't withstand that type of scrutiny I want nowhere near a leadership role.


AI Wessex

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #16 on: October 05, 2016, 12:25:10 PM »
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Yes AI, I get it.  My view is you don't have a small business or know anyone that does.
I like how you disqualify me from knowing anyone who owns a small business and then use a personal anecdote as if it proves something.  In fact, I've both run small businesses as well as founded startups, so I think I should be allowed to use my own experience as a partial basis for my views on this matter, thank you very much.

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just googled "Microsoft net losses" and the first article was about a $3.2 billion loss.  Pick any long standing tech company (filled with geniuses, long standing only cause they need more than a billion to lose) and I bet you can find the same thing.
Seriously, are you going to compare Trump's real estate "empire" against the (I think) 3rd largest technology company in the world?  You're trying to compare a veritable air craft carrier with a yacht.  Try not stretching credulity and I'll evaluate your arguments more closely.

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Everyone has benefited from the tax code.  Literally everyone.
Therefore we should not question how anybody who loses nearly $1B in a single year managed to do that.  I wish I could lose that much money in a single year just to see what it feels like.  Um, never mind, because of all the people I would drag down with me, except that it made a fortune for Trump when he did it.  Never mind the peons.

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D.W., why would you think I should see a parallel between a release of government information to citizens (who are entitled to such information) and a person forced to release information to the public?
You aren't interested -- as a citizen -- to know what other countries he's beholding to?  You are absolutely wanting to know that about the Clinton Foundation, and they don't owe anybody anything.

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If the law said the tax returns had to be public then he'd have to release.
The law said Hillary could use the email server in her basement.  End of story, so why do you keep harping on it?


Gaoics79

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #17 on: October 05, 2016, 12:35:02 PM »
In other news AI Wesssex claimed deduction for mortgage expense scamming US tax payers out of thousands of dollars over the years.
Hmmm, I got a deduction for taxes and interest that I had paid that and every other year, and somehow I *still* ended up paying income taxes to the government.  Donald got his tax deduction for money other people lost investing in him.  Do you see any kind of difference in our circumstances?  Over the period in question he was paid about $82M in salary and bonuses and didn't have to pay taxes on any of that.  Get it?

I see no substantive difference. Both of you are following the law in paying the minimum amount legally possible. If there is a criticism to be made here it's with the code itself, not with any law abiding taxpayer.

I don't generally appeal to hypocrisy as a defence to alleged wrongdoing but in this case I feel very comfortable in stating that virtually 100% of the US adult population pays the minimum they can legally get away with period full stop. Whuch makes the argument avainst Trump rather ridiculous.

As for why Trump refuses to release his tax returns? My guess is because it's a lose lose proposition. I am certain he has skeletons in his closet. By the way, I am certain Hillary does too - they're just not in her tax returns. Professional politicians are all about being transparent with any documents they know won't hurt them. For the rest? That's what we have private servers and the "delete" function for. As loathsome as Trump is, this is one area where I'm with him - if she's so interested in his private tax records, let her dig up all those e-mails - you know, the ones that ought to have been publicly available in the first place but got accidentally "misplaced" (scrubbed beyond recovery, probably with a powerful electromagnet or maybe a wood chipper)

AI Wessex

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #18 on: October 05, 2016, 12:53:17 PM »
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As loathsome as Trump is, this is one area where I'm with him - if she's so interested in his private tax records, let her dig up all those e-mails - you know, the ones that ought to have been publicly available in the first place but got accidentally "misplaced" (scrubbed beyond recovery, probably with a powerful electromagnet or maybe a wood chipper)
I love it when people use false equivalences to justify their weak argument, which is a tacit admission that they really aren't defending their view, just throwing up counter measures.  That is what I've always called the FOX Equivalency Principle, that if 1 million people take a position they don't agree with and 1 person does agree with them, they argue that it's clear that there are two sides to the story and neither side is right (actually the 1 million people aren't).  So because Hillary deleted emails Trump shouldn't feel obliged to release tax returns that he still has in his possession.  Gotcha. 

He will once the audit is done, though, so we should wait.  I imagine we will be waiting until hell freezes over, even for the ones that are untouchable by the current audit, like the 1995 tax return in question.  Oh right, nobody really cares except for Hillary and the left-wing media, except that a recent poll shows that 80% of people do want to see them.  But he says that tax returns don't tell you very much, except that they are the most complete account of the annual financial activity of an individual or organization, so there is nowhere to go to find out more.  Once we run out of these excuses and misdirections, I'm sure we'll get back to more important matters, such as the fact that everybody commits adultery (Giuliani), Trump is a genius (Christie) and Hillary has been sleeping around (Trump).  Those are the things that really matter, not those stinkin' taxes.

D.W.

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2016, 12:55:19 PM »
Be fair AI.  Will you really give a *censored* about Trump's taxes once he gets flattened in the election?   ;D

AI Wessex

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #20 on: October 05, 2016, 01:02:20 PM »
I suppose if I truly despised the man I would, so I guess I will.

Seriati

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #21 on: October 05, 2016, 01:03:52 PM »
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Yes AI, I get it.  My view is you don't have a small business or know anyone that does.
I like how you disqualify me from knowing anyone who owns a small business and then use a personal anecdote as if it proves something.  In fact, I've both run small businesses as well as founded startups, so I think I should be allowed to use my own experience as a partial basis for my views on this matter, thank you very much.

Okay, so use it.  Did none of your businesses ever take a tax loss that you used to offset income?  Are you going to restate your tax returns to pay those taxes you unfairly avoided?

How about the "unfairness" that we only tax net revenue, we allow people to deduct all those "unfair" expenses they incur.  Should that be changed too?

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just googled "Microsoft net losses" and the first article was about a $3.2 billion loss.  Pick any long standing tech company (filled with geniuses, long standing only cause they need more than a billion to lose) and I bet you can find the same thing.
Seriously, are you going to compare Trump's real estate "empire" against the (I think) 3rd largest technology company in the world?  You're trying to compare a veritable air craft carrier with a yacht.  Try not stretching credulity and I'll evaluate your arguments more closely.

Which companies do you think are run by geniuses generally?  Happy to go out and show they took losses.  I explained why I picked the industry I did - ie filled with geniuses - and why I picked the scale - had to have a $billion -  to lose.  And I also compared it with a small business on a local scale - you didn't like that analysis either.  Not to mention the other references to industries and losses that you ignored.

Unless you think you can substantively dispute that companies run by smart people have had losses in the billions before, again, not clear where you think you're going with this.

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Everyone has benefited from the tax code.  Literally everyone.
Therefore we should not question how anybody who loses nearly $1B in a single year managed to do that.  I wish I could lose that much money in a single year just to see what it feels like.  Um, never mind, because of all the people I would drag down with me, except that it made a fortune for Trump when he did it.  Never mind the peons.

You don't know how it happened?  Thought it was already linked to the issue with the Casinos in Atlantic City?  Having a major entity fail is going to cause massive losses.  Which "peons" are you concerned about anyway?   All the peons that have been employed by Trump over the years?  Or some other peons you've identified?

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D.W., why would you think I should see a parallel between a release of government information to citizens (who are entitled to such information) and a person forced to release information to the public?
You aren't interested -- as a citizen -- to know what other countries he's beholding to?  You are absolutely wanting to know that about the Clinton Foundation, and they don't owe anybody anything.

Honestly, I doubt he's beholden to any other country, may be wrong.  Whereas, I'm convinced Clinton is and can be bought.  I get she's on your team, but the idea of having the Clinton foundation taking massive donations from countries and people while Hillary makes decisions as Secretary of State that impacts their interests is so insanely a violation of good governance that there's no credible way you could defend it as a model for other politicians going forward.  Please, explain how you think it would be okay for future Republican Secretaries of State to create foundations and receive such bribes, I mean donations, while performing their impartial duties as Secretary of State.

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If the law said the tax returns had to be public then he'd have to release.
The law said Hillary could use the email server in her basement.  End of story, so why do you keep harping on it?
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Really, cite the law that said that.  I double dog dare you (take as long as you want since it doesn't exist).

AI Wessex

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #22 on: October 05, 2016, 01:07:37 PM »
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You don't know how it happened?  Thought it was already linked to the issue with the Casinos in Atlantic City?
There was also the Trump Airline and may be other company losses that he brought forward into that year.  None of that is on those three pages, but would be in the other 997 pages.

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Honestly, I doubt he's beholden to any other country, may be wrong.  Whereas, I'm convinced Clinton is and can be bought.
A perfectly partisan position to take, though somewhat lacking in supporting evidence why you're convinced about her.  Let's not talk about the money Trump owes to foreign banks, as it might suggest a weakness in your doubt about his beholdentude.

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Really, cite the law that said that.  I double dog dare you (take as long as you want since it doesn't exist).
You have it backwards, and you expect me to find a law she violated that the FBI couldn't?  Maybe you can help your side out and find it for them.

D.W.

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #23 on: October 05, 2016, 01:08:49 PM »
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Honestly, I doubt he's beholden to any other country, may be wrong.  Whereas, I'm convinced Clinton is and can be bought.  I get she's on your team, but the idea of having the Clinton foundation taking massive donations from countries and people while Hillary makes decisions as Secretary of State that impacts their interests is so insanely a violation of good governance that there's no credible way you could defend it as a model for other politicians going forward.  Please, explain how you think it would be okay for future Republican Secretaries of State to create foundations and receive such bribes, I mean donations, while performing their impartial duties as Secretary of State.
It would be legal and tolerable (I don't know if I'd use OK) because we could view their decisions through the lens of, "Is this a kickback influenced by X donation?"  When we know of potential conflicts of interest or corruption we can watch for it, identify it and stamp it out.  When we can only suspect that it MAY be the case we have no oversight and no tools to check against it.

D.W.

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #24 on: October 05, 2016, 01:10:39 PM »
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Really, cite the law that said that.  I double dog dare you (take as long as you want since it doesn't exist).
You have it backwards, and you expect me to find a law she violated that the FBI couldn't?  Maybe you can help your side out and find it for them.
Actually you did word that wrong/poorly AI.  They did not find sufficient proof she broke a law and therefor decided not to prosecute her.  That's entirely different from there being a law approving the action.

Our system lists things that are illegal.  It doesn't list all the things that are legal.

NobleHunter

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #25 on: October 05, 2016, 01:22:23 PM »
If Bill Gates declared a billion dollars in losses, I'd question whether or not he was a genius at business. Trump's primary argument is that his skill at business is why he should be President.

Has everyone's benefit from the tax code (which seems to imply tax breaks are a privilege to be granted rather than taxes being a burden to justify) equaled over $100 million?  Or more, depending on what rate the billion or so of income would be taxed at? Does everyone's prescription for reforming the tax code include closing loopholes they personally benefit from (and that almost everyone else is denied)?

Trump has millions of dollars invested in other countries. How can he avoid the appearance of impropriety if his decisions affect those investments? He can't exactly turn the Trump brand into a blind trust.

Seriati

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #26 on: October 05, 2016, 01:34:38 PM »
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Honestly, I doubt he's beholden to any other country, may be wrong.  Whereas, I'm convinced Clinton is and can be bought.
A perfectly partisan position to take, though somewhat lacking in supporting evidence why you're convinced about her.  Let's not talk about the money Trump owes to foreign banks, as it might suggest a weakness in your doubt about his beholdentude.

Lol, your concerned about bank loans to businesses?  That's what you're complaining about?  I owe more money on my mortgage than I personally have, doesn't make me likely to act on my lender's interests.  In fact, given your claims about Trump abusing the bankruptcy code previously, the idea that he's beholden to creditors is not terribly convincing.

There's no doubt I'm partisan about Clinton, but you can't respond to every fault she has by trying to divert attention to something that's "remotely" similar.

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Really, cite the law that said that.  I double dog dare you (take as long as you want since it doesn't exist).
You have it backwards, and you expect me to find a law she violated that the FBI couldn't?  Maybe you can help your side out and find it for them.

You should reread the testimony.  The FBI found that the law was violated, they chose not to prosecute because they didn't believe they could show intention (which interestingly enough is NOT A REQUIREMENT under the law).  They hung their hat on the lack of intention point on Secretary Clinton's incompetence and apparent ignorance (notwithstanding her attestations to understand the requirements, which others have been prosecuted on) of the actual rules.  Meanwhile, you'd have to be Forest Gump to not notice the immunity deals (covering everyone, without getting any testimony), destroyed data, failure to exercise subpoenas (in one case giving immunity for a computer that could have been gotten with a subpoena), convenient timing of the meeting between Bill and Lynch, and revelations about the extent and timing of destruction of data, that make it absolutely clear there was in fact criminal activity.  At the best, you could believe that Clinton personally did not direct it, though even that takes a leap of faith.

There is no non-partisan reading of the law for which this was not a prosecutable offense.

Gaoics79

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #27 on: October 05, 2016, 01:50:38 PM »
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So because Hillary deleted emails Trump shouldn't feel obliged to release tax returns that he still has in his possession.  Gotcha

Ahh but he *isn't* obligated to release his returns, is he?

So where I stand on this issue is on one side we have a businessman who probably has 1,001 things to hide refusing to release tax records he has in his possession probably because the records will embarass and hurt him politically- yet he is within his rights to take that position.

Conversely, on the other side, we have a career politician who had an obligation to preserve (and possibly disclose) thousands of emails that she can't anymore because she deliberately destroyed them, probably to conceal information that would embarass and / or hurt her politically.

One party was smart enough to bury her skeletons so she *can't* reveal them, which somehow in your view makes her the morally superior party, lol.

Please stop. You are forcing me to defend Trump and I don't want to. Can't you just be decent and pick on the fact that he's a sleezy narcissistic megalomaniac? Isn't there enough good ammunition lying around that we don't need to scrape the bottom of the barrel with this tax return puffery? The guy hands you a loaded gun, pushes it up to his temples and helps you pull the trigger six times a week, and you want to go hide his Tums pilks so he'll get a tummy ache.


Seriati

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #28 on: October 05, 2016, 01:52:29 PM »
If Bill Gates declared a billion dollars in losses, I'd question whether or not he was a genius at business. Trump's primary argument is that his skill at business is why he should be President.

Don't know that there's anything more to add on this.  Already said declaring him a genius is silly.

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Has everyone's benefit from the tax code (which seems to imply tax breaks are a privilege to be granted rather than taxes being a burden to justify) equaled over $100 million?   Or more, depending on what rate the billion or so of income would be taxed at?

No.  Has everyone had a potential burden of over $100 million in taxes to pay?  Willing to bet, no matter what the actual number is, that Trump's paid more taxes than everyone discussing it here.  Congress intentionally set different rates for different types of income.

If you are part of the over 40% of the population that pays no federal tax, and in fact may receive a refund greater than your withholdings did you not expressly benefit from the tax code?  Are negative tax liabilities not a real benefit?

If you are middle class and can afford to own a home because of the tax break is that not a benefit?

The tax code is riddled with special interests provisions, and there are in fact an awful lot of them that benefit people at the bottom end of the scale and specifically phase out when you make more money. 

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Does everyone's prescription for reforming the tax code include closing loopholes they personally benefit from (and that almost everyone else is denied)?

What do you think everyone else is denied?  As far as I'm aware, capital losses are usable by anyone, and most small business owners have benefitted from them at one time or another.  It's small compensation for taking a risk in creating a business that fails or has a big set back.

Not sure which provisions you object to.  Lowering corporate taxes, and killing the penalty for returning capital to the US should be on everyone's agenda.  The only reason they are not is because its easier to paint corporate taxes as taxes on evil corporations than to explain the truth that they are regressive taxes disproportionately borne by the poor and middle class. 

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Trump has millions of dollars invested in other countries. How can he avoid the appearance of impropriety if his decisions affect those investments? He can't exactly turn the Trump brand into a blind trust.

He can't avoid the appearance of impropriety.  It's not possible, not anymore than it was for Dick Cheney with Halliburton.  No matter the firewalls, no matter the facts, he can't avoid the appearance.  Whether he actual acts improperly, on the other hand, is a different matter.

But if you care about this issue at all, why would you think Clinton is your candidate, when not only has she made no effort to avoid the appearance, her actual set up would facilitate bribes?  Would you be okay, with Trump having White House staffers who were still working for Trump enterprises in a dual hat role (which is exactly, what Clinton did with foundation staff at State), would you be okay, with Trump integrating his government communications on a single server with his business ones and only turning over the ones he deems to be "official government" ones and not those that are personal or related to his businesses?  Would you be okay, with his appointment calendar materially overlapping with business counterparties from Trump enterprises?

Every concern you could possibly have here, has already been done by Clinton.  I'm not seeing how this is a real issue.

NobleHunter

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #29 on: October 05, 2016, 02:09:50 PM »
Don't you think $100 million is going to distort decisions more than a couple of thousand dollars?

Trump wasn't claiming those losses against capital gains, he was claiming them against personal income. It's a loophole only open to real estate professionals. He wasn't claiming loses to offset corporate taxes, he was claiming them to avoid taxes on the money he made from all sources. A small business owner doesn't get to claim he made no money from his day job because his business went under, he just doesn't have to pay taxes on whatever cash he did get.

I think it's a partial mitigation that the Clinton Foundation is not a business. It does not exist to make a profit for the Clintons but instead to do real, valuable charitable work. That doesn't mean there isn't the suggestion of impropriety if donations are seen as a means to influence Clinton. But at least it's not a means to pay the Clintons. There's perceived benefits, sure, that's why it's a problem but it's not actual bribery.

On the other tentacle, anything that affects Trump's business directly affects his personal income. It says so on his tax return. How is that not worse than requiring donations to charity? Not to mention, the Clinton Foundation will stop accepting donations from 2017 on (though it should stop now). Is Trump going to dissolve Trump Enterprises? Nah, he'll let his children run it. It totally won't influence his decisions.

The issue is that where Clinton is bad, Trump is worse.

AI Wessex

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #30 on: October 05, 2016, 09:15:48 PM »
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Please stop. You are forcing me to defend Trump and I don't want to. Can't you just be decent and pick on the fact that he's a sleezy narcissistic megalomaniac? Isn't there enough good ammunition lying around that we don't need to scrape the bottom of the barrel with this tax return puffery? The guy hands you a loaded gun, pushes it up to his temples and helps you pull the trigger six times a week, and you want to go hide his Tums pilks so he'll get a tummy ache.
One of the best posts I've read in a long time :).  I didn't quite spit out my gin and tonic on the keyboard, but it was close.  We haven't yet scraped the bottom of the barrel, it's more like we're taking core samples and at every level finding that his world was polluted as far back as we can take samples.

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If you are part of the over 40% of the population that pays no federal tax, and in fact may receive a refund greater than your withholdings did you not expressly benefit from the tax code?  Are negative tax liabilities not a real benefit?
Honestly, are you trying to compare people on the low end of the income ladder who can't afford to buy basic commodities or minor luxuries with what Trump would do with his $916M?  Imagine what would happen to our consumer economy if half of the people in the country suddenly cut back their spending by say 10%.  Not a pretty thought, is it?

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He can't avoid the appearance of impropriety.  It's not possible, not anymore than it was for Dick Cheney with Halliburton.  No matter the firewalls, no matter the facts, he can't avoid the appearance.  Whether he actual acts improperly, on the other hand, is a different matter.
You're more than willing to have Hillary and other Dems go the extra mile at every opportunity.  You raised two of the most significant potential conflicts of interest in the past 20 years, one of which directly is tied to the longest, most costliest and stupidest war in US history.  Why don't you want to know?

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Every concern you could possibly have here, has already been done by Clinton.  I'm not seeing how this is a real issue.
Hyper, super-duper, over the top partisan thinking.  Hillary blah blah blah criminal, blah blah corrupt, blah blah Vince Foster.  OMG, she is evil! Trump, eh, just a crook, not the same.

yossarian22c

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #31 on: October 05, 2016, 11:12:30 PM »
The issue is that where Clinton is bad, Trump is worse.

That pretty much sums up my feelings about the election this year.

Gaoics79

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #32 on: October 06, 2016, 05:20:09 AM »
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That pretty much sums up my feelings about the election this year.

That's the thing, I don't quite believe it.

I do think Trump is worse at concealing his misfeasance (probably because up until recently, there  hasn't been a need!), but do I actually believe that he's more corrupt than Clinton? No.

I'll concede that's just a feeling on my part. A hunch.

My reason for thinking that Hillary would be a *slightly* better President isn't because I think she's less corrupt than Trump. It's because I think Trump is unstable and borderline mentally ill. A ringing endorsement for Clinton on my part :)

AI Wessex

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #33 on: October 06, 2016, 08:06:04 AM »
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I do think Trump is worse at concealing his misfeasance (probably because up until recently, there  hasn't been a need!), but do I actually believe that he's more corrupt than Clinton? No.

I'll concede that's just a feeling on my part. A hunch.
You just encapsulated one of the great mysteries of the age: Why do people think Hillary is corrupt when she has been investigated more than any other public figure in history and has never been found to be corrupt, except by people who call themselves conservatives and refuse to accept the findings of all of those investigations?

The answer (I think) is: They don't like her.  Either it's because she has been a militant feminist, has put public service ahead of "womanly pursuits", or she talks like a wonk, which is what she is.

OTOH, Trump is almost subhuman in his lack of empathy, ruthless business practices, self-aggrandizement and disregard for the truth.

Seriously, Jason, my dog has better insight into the character of the two of them than you are showing, and I don't even have a dog.

D.W.

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #34 on: October 06, 2016, 09:14:03 AM »
Trump isn't corrupt.  He's a corrupter.  So I think it's fair to say that Hillary is more corrupt; at least until the moment Trump holds an office.  Then I think the scale would tip so fast you'd think it was a catapult.   ;D

Seriati

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #35 on: October 06, 2016, 09:45:37 AM »
Don't you think $100 million is going to distort decisions more than a couple of thousand dollars?

No, actually I don't.  Think about the impact of getting rid of a couple thousand dollars in tax credits that benefit 60% of America voters, do you really think $100 million to one voter has any chance of being more impactful?  Taxes are a personal item that we all hate, and hundreds of dollars on a personal level is sometimes enough to sway hundreds of thousands of voters.

Heck, I've watched a local election be lost over a decision to buy uniforms for a group of union employees rather than give them a cash uniform allowance.

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Trump wasn't claiming those losses against capital gains, he was claiming them against personal income. It's a loophole only open to real estate professionals. He wasn't claiming loses to offset corporate taxes, he was claiming them to avoid taxes on the money he made from all sources. A small business owner doesn't get to claim he made no money from his day job because his business went under, he just doesn't have to pay taxes on whatever cash he did get.

Maybe or maybe not.  A sole proprietor or partner in a partnership certainly does, in fact they don't have salary in the way you are thinking of it, they have draws, which they don't necessarily have to have profits to take.  Without profits they don't pay taxes either.

I don't have personal knowledge of the tax credits that Trump used, but if they offset against ordinary income that is a big benefit, that was created intentionally to incentivize specific behavior.  Congress generally tells you exactly why they do that, do you disagree with their rationale in this case?  You've asserted its a loophole, I'm curious what your basis is for that assertion.


LetterRip

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #36 on: October 06, 2016, 10:30:25 AM »
AI,

Lawyers who plan to break the law and expect to be investigated tend to have the skill and desire to avoid leaving incriminating evidence, and even when they leave incriminating evidence know that without a confession, most cases are unwinnable and the law enforcement won't have a strong enough case to press charges.

It amazes me that 'has been investigated a lot but not enough evidence to press charges' means 'totally innocent of any wrong doing' to many people.

I'd say it is almost 100% certain that she has knowingly and willingly broken the law.

AI Wessex

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #37 on: October 06, 2016, 10:49:48 AM »
AI,

Lawyers who plan to break the law and expect to be investigated tend to have the skill and desire to avoid leaving incriminating evidence, and even when they leave incriminating evidence know that without a confession, most cases are unwinnable and the law enforcement won't have a strong enough case to press charges.

It amazes me that 'has been investigated a lot but not enough evidence to press charges' means 'totally innocent of any wrong doing' to many people.

I'd say it is almost 100% certain that she has knowingly and willingly broken the law.
Isn't that a logical problem tantamount to an oxymoron?  She's investigated repeatedly by her political opposition, using the power of Congress to spend literally years digging into every hint of wrongdoing, but you believe they didn't "find anything" because the operational aspects of investigating her were guaranteed to fail.  But she's guilty anyway, so the principle at work is guilty even if not proven.  That's why people don't like her, that because they didn't find anything means she hid it too well.  Frankly, if she's really that good I would think you'd want her to be President.  Trump is being exposed for everything he's done wrong, which makes him a loser in terms of his political viability and vulnerable to all sorts of manipulation.

D.W.

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #38 on: October 06, 2016, 11:13:32 AM »
If a "criminal" is unprosecuteable then it's a problem with the laws not the person.  It's fine to dislike and mistrust someone who games the system in such a way that everyone expects wrongdoing yet are unable to prove it. 

If someone can withstand this level of scrutiny for this long and still not be locked up or fined, then the problem isn't with her.

LetterRip

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #39 on: October 06, 2016, 01:02:38 PM »
For the latest scandal - proving 'knowingly, willingly, or gross negligently' - are extremely high thresholds that without a direct confession (either written, or admitting to a coconspirator) are essentially impossible to prove in court.

She also lied repeatedly under oath - there were all sorts of falsehoods in her testimony.  Proving they were lies is again, essentially impossible without a confession.

We should probably change the laws on perjury so it is easier to prosecute

1) Were there falsehoods uttered under oath
2) Were these falsehoods material (ie if the court had relied on them would they likely change the outcome of the hearing/proceeding)
3) Were these falsehoods serving the interests of the individual who uttered them and would the truth have significantly harmed the interests of the individual

If all three are affirmative, it should be sufficient to prove perjury, and by that standard - Clinton definitely committed multiple counts of perjury.

AI Wessex

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #40 on: October 06, 2016, 02:24:12 PM »
LetterRip, with all due respect, come up with significant examples of your claim that "she lied repeatedly under oath".  Make sure that the examples have no subjective element such that she could be just saying something you don't believe.

"I remind the witness that you are under oath."
"Yes, sir. I understand."
"Good.  How are you today?"
"Fine, thanks for asking."
"That's a lie!  A bold-faced falsehood!  Anyone can see that you don't look fine.  Your Honor, the witness has perjured herself!!!"

LetterRip

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #41 on: October 06, 2016, 03:33:34 PM »
“The search terms were everything you could imagine that might be related to anything, but they also went through every single e-mail.”

They didn't go through every single e-mail.  They didn't even go through most emails.  They exclusively relied on search terms.

“There was nothing marked classified on my e-mails, either sent or received.”

There were emails marked classified that were both sent and received (to my knowledge she didn't originate the emails).

http://theantimedia.org/hillary-clinton-perjury/

AI Wessex

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #42 on: October 06, 2016, 04:31:30 PM »
That's it? Hardly rises to the level of
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She also lied repeatedly under oath - there were all sorts of falsehoods in her testimony
And as you say,
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.  Proving they were lies is again, essentially impossible without a confession.

LetterRip

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #43 on: October 06, 2016, 10:08:23 PM »
Those were two excerpts - during that line of questioning she made similar statements.

She also made similar statements in a separate case.

So certainly counts as both 'repeatedly' and 'under oath'.

They were absolutely false statements, they were extraordinarily false statements that materially mislead the public and the Senators, and the judge in the civil suit.  Proving that they were 'lies' - rather than 'mistatements' or such is where it is impossible to prove.  The falsity and degree of falsity are well established.

AI Wessex

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #44 on: October 06, 2016, 10:40:25 PM »
LR, where do those statements rank in the pantheon of dishonest statements by politicians or elected officials?  Note that she was neither when she was the SoS.

yossarian22c

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #45 on: October 06, 2016, 11:02:43 PM »
Probably somewhere around Alberto Gonzalez not remembering a thing about why he fired several US attorneys.

Gaoics79

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #46 on: October 07, 2016, 05:26:49 AM »
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LR, where do those statements rank in the pantheon of dishonest statements by politicians or elected officials?  Note that she was neither when she was the SoS.

Where there's smoke, there's fire.

The difference is, I can see the flames shooting out of Trump's head, whereas with Clinton all I get is a very strong whiff of sulphur every time her mouth opens.

I guess I just trust the guy whose more transparent win his dishonesty  :o

AI Wessex

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #47 on: October 07, 2016, 08:04:40 AM »
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LR, where do those statements rank in the pantheon of dishonest statements by politicians or elected officials?  Note that she was neither when she was the SoS.

Where there's smoke, there's fire.
Not a good analogy, because the entire government is smokin'.  Why waste water putting out this one over so many others?

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The difference is, I can see the flames shooting out of Trump's head, whereas with Clinton all I get is a very strong whiff of sulphur every time her mouth opens.

I guess I just trust the guy whose more transparent win his dishonesty  :o
You would go with the guy who points a gun at your head?  Fascinating.

Between you and LetterRip, I can see that people don't like her, but you both have to realize that neither one of you has the goods on her, just deep suspicion.  You even would take Trump's outright dishonesty over her possible misdeeds in a much more limited area.  Very revealing.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2016, 08:06:57 AM by AI Wessex »

Wayward Son

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #48 on: October 07, 2016, 10:37:33 AM »
Say, Letterrip, would we be able to hold the Congressional panel to the same standards of perjury if your idea was implemented? ;)

I mean, if one of the Congressmen made a statement (before asking his question, or even as part of his question) that was a material falsehood in their benefit, could we punish them for perjury?  Even if they did so believing it to be true, but because of bias, the slipperiness of determining facts, our faulty memories, and/or our tendency for hyperbole, was provably untrue?

Or would only those testifying be held to this high standard, while the inquisition would be free to lie like a dog? :)

Doesn't seem quite fair, does it?

AI Wessex

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Re: Tax Experts
« Reply #49 on: October 07, 2016, 11:31:29 AM »
Well, demagogracy is the norm for the Republican Congress.  They don't have to tell the truth, and sometimes the bigger the lie the more potent it is.  I wouldn't be surprised if Trey Gowdy had the proof but was unable to bring it because, well, Clinton had his witnesses "Fosterized":
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With Congress officially in recess, Americans are anticipating the return of the House to Washington and the resumption of Congressman Trey Gowdy’s committee hearings on the September 11, 2012 terror attacks against a U.S. diplomatic mission and nearby CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

A number of previous investigations have taken place, but failed to uncover all of the relevant facts that Americans want and deserve to know. Gowdy has promised to uncover the truth surrounding the attacks and their immediate aftermath, and the number and fame of some of the witnesses he may call to do so could be remarkable.

Unfortunately, however, there are 15 witnesses that he might like to call but cannot. All 15 of them have been killed in the two years since the attacks under investigation.