Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Virginia Watermen Get WuFlu Relief

 Just not very much: Relief is coming for Virginia fisheries, although payments likely won’t be large

Fisheries managers are close to being able to roll out relief for Virginia’s hard-hit fishing industries, although a small federal allocation to the commonwealth means payments aren’t likely to be large, Virginia Marine Resources Commission officials said Tuesday morning.

“Because there was so little funding and such great economic damage, the idea of sort of trying to make sure you make up the loss for people was not an option on the table,” VMRC Deputy Commissioner Ellen Bolen said during a presentation to the commission. “We just did not have enough money.”

Virginia’s fisheries have been pummeled by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly as restaurants, one of their primary customers, have shuttered or severely curtailed their business. Officials have estimated direct losses to the industry of at least $100 to $120 million, not accounting for trickle-down effects to associated business like boat-building.

But of the $300 million the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act directed to U.S. fisheries, only $4.48 million was allotted to Virginia. The small allocation drew ire from Virginia leaders, with Secretary of Natural Resources Matt Strickler saying it fell “woefully short” of the state’s needs.

On Tuesday, officials repeatedly noted the scarcity of funds, which are funneled from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“We tried to do the best we could with what we had to work with, which was not a whole lot of money,” said VMRC Commissioner Steve Bowman. “Maine got $20 million. Even Georgia and South Carolina, I think, did fairly well. It was a really weird computation that they came up with.”

The final fisheries relief plan devised by the commission after consultation with a working group and public input will make $3.98 million in direct payments available to eligible holders of a VMRC license. An additional $500,000 will be available for eligible applicants who do not have such a license.

Other criteria for eligibility include Virginia residence and certification both that economic losses were greater than 35 percent compared to a previous five-year average and that at least 50 percent of the applicant’s income comes from fishing activities.

“We wanted to make sure that the people who were getting the money were people who were actually fishing and who relied on the fishing industry as their primary source of income,” said Bolen.

I hadn't realized how badly the fishing industry was hit, but I do see a sudden upturn in the amount of crabbing off the beach. You can see all the buoys for crab pots in the bay behind "Whitey," slightly out of focus.

Whitey is Back at the Beach

We had a pretty good cool front came through last night with three quarter of an inch of rain, which dropped the temperatures into the low 70s with low humidity, clear skies, and not much in the way of humidity. 
The beach was all but deserted, a few of the usual walking ladies. We found a few shark's teeth, 14, to finish the month that totaled 355 teeth.

Whitey, the Great White Heron had been AWOL for the last three days, showed back up again.

There's No Debating Russiagate

 Did something happen last night? God, that was ugly. 

We have two themes bidding for top spot today, the Flynn hearing, and the newly declassified documents that show the Russians  had intelligence that Hillary had created the "Russia hoax" to take attention away from her own email scandal. This is, apparently, the big news that Lindsey Graham 2.0 has been touting. 

Starting with the second, From the Wombat's In The Mailbox: 09.29.20, Scott Johnson at Power Line, Today in Russia Hoax News.

Sundance at CTH, DNI John Ratcliffe Presents Senate With Brennan Notes Showcasing Clinton Campaign Intent to Create Russian Conspiracy Narrative July 2016… Katie Pavlich at Town Hall,  Newly Declassified Documents Show Hillary May Have Set Up the Russia Hoax, Andy McCarthy, NR, Bombshell Allegation: Hillary Orchestrated Collusion Hoax to Distract From Her Emails, According to Russian Intel, Ace,  Just Declassified: US Had Intelligence That Russian Intelligence Had Information That Hillary Clinton Intended To Launch The Whole "Russia Collusion" Smear Against Trump  Sean Davis and Mollie Hemingway have Russia Believed Clinton Was Planning Anti-Trump Collusion Campaign In 2016, And U.S. Officials Knew It

Not only were Russian officials aware of Hillary Clinton’s campaign plan to accuse Donald Trump of being a Russian asset, top U.S. intelligence authorities knew of Russia’s knowledge of Clinton’s plans, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe disclosed to congressional officials on Tuesday. Before they launched an investigation into whether Trump’s campaign was colluding with Russia, intelligence agencies learned that Russia knew of Clinton’s plans to tarnish Trump with the collusion smear.

At one point, former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director John Brennan personally briefed then-President Barack Obama and other top U.S. national security officials that Russia assessed Hillary Clinton had approved a plan on July 26, 2016, “to vilify Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by Russian security services,” according to Brennan’s handwritten notes.

Fired former FBI Director James Comey and fired former FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok were even sent an investigative referral on September 7, 2016, regarding Russia’s alleged knowledge of Clinton’s plans to smear Trump as a treasonous Russian agent, Ratcliffe wrote. Rather than investigate at the time whether Russian intelligence had infiltrated the Clinton operation’s anti-Trump campaign and sowed Russian disinformation within it, the FBI instead used unverified gossip from a suspected Russian agent to obtain federal warrants to spy on the Trump campaign.

There is no evidence the FBI ever investigated the Clinton campaign’s documented use of Russian agents and intelligence assets to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election, raising questions of whether the top federal law enforcement agency may have itself interfered in the election by using its powers to arbitrarily target the campaign of the outgoing administration’s political enemy.

Twitchy, Sen. Lindsey Graham has questions about alleged effort by the Clinton campaign to distract from the FBI’s email probe

Top 20 Tweets from BadBlue Tonight, 09.29.20: The Clinton-Obama-Biden Cabal Edition
Graham said the newly uncovered documents may suggest a double standard at the FBI.

“This latest information provided by DNI Ratcliffe shows there may have been a double standard by the FBI regarding allegations against the Clinton campaign and Russia,” Graham said in a statement. “Whether these allegations are accurate is not the question. The question is did the FBI investigate the allegations against Clinton like they did Trump? If not, why not? If so, what was the scope of the investigation? If none, why was that?”

Graham said he would question Comey about this report at the hearing on Wednesday.

Hey, that's today! Something good to look forward to. And Chuck Ross at Da Caller has 10 Questions James Comey Could Face During His Senate Testimony. And speaking of Russian disinformation, 'shipwreckedcrew' at Red State reports that  Jim Comey Fought to Include a Russian Spy’s Disinformation in the Report on Russian Election Interference

Recall that after Pres. Trump had won the election, Pres. Obama ordered the hasty assembly of an “Intelligence Community Assessment” (ICA) on the nature and impact of Russian interference so that he could take action against Russia for its conduct before his term expired.

The CIA, FBI, and NSA intelligence analysts quickly gathered available intelligence on the Russian efforts and began making “assessments” with regard to the motives of various Russian entities and actors involved. There was agreement among the agencies that Russia had engaged in “active measures” to influence the campaign — but not the election process itself — and there were varying levels of agreement and support on the question of the motives behind such active measures.

One issue over which there was disagreement was on whether to include in the body of the ICA any information taken from the Steele Dossier memos attributed to the PSS — the Russian Spy.

Normally, an ICA is a collection of “intelligence” gathered by the various US agencies who conduct intelligence-gathering operations. The CIA and NSA did not view the material in the Steele Dossier memos attributed to the PSS — the Russian spy — to be “intelligence” gathered by US intelligence agencies and took the position that the Dossier material should not be in the ICA.

Jim Comey disagreed, arguing that Pres. Obama had asked for “everything” the IC agencies had — not just intelligence gathered by the IC agencies themselves. The internal debate on the issue was revealed two months ago in the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the Russia Hoax affair.
. . .
McCabe and Comey are both scheduled to testify in the next several days before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The first question to each from Chairman Graham must be
“Did you know the Primary Sub-Source was assessed as a Russian Agent at the time you fought to put the Steele Dossier information from the Sub-Source in the ICA?”
There is no good answer to that question, gentlemen. Good luck.

Hollywood in Toto,  Showtime’s ‘Comey Rule’ Brings Gaslighting to a New, Frightening Level "Miniseries ignores almost everything we’ve learned about ‘Russian Collusion’" Facts are coming in fast, but they didn't even bother with the ones they had. 

I&I asks Was Russia Probe The Most Corrupt U.S. Investigation Ever? It sure seems like it. Breitbart, Virgil: The Deep State Becomes the Obvious State

And the Flynn hearing, Leslie McAdoo Gordon live tweeted it, and it worth the wade. Sullivan was every bit as bad as you might have guessed. Sidney Powell is filling a motion to have the case removed from his court. Fox, Flynn lawyer in fiery hearing tells judge to recuse self over 'abject bias,' says she asked Trump not to pardon  Sundance: Sidney Powell Discusses Today’s Flynn Persecution Hearing With Lou Dobbs – Where is this going, and why are we in a handbasket?…

The hearing today in the courtroom of Judge Emmet Sullivan was an abject showcase in judicial nuttery. The one good thing to come out of the adversarial arguments was that millions more Americans got to hear first-hand just how broken and corrupt the federal system of the judiciary has become. The judicial farce was only exceeded by the legal nonsense exhibited by Sullivan’s extra-judicial prosecutor/amicus John Gleeson.

At one point in the proceedings Sullivan even threatened Flynn’s defense attorney with a referral to the BAR association for her letter of introduction to AG Bill Barr during the transition between defense counsel. Yes, the judicial activism was that ridiculous.

Yes Alice, unfortunately the fiasco is scheduled to continue… Sidney Powell discusses the day’s events with Lou Dobbs:

After five hours spent on this today, Sullivan said he had not made up his mind about whether or not to dismiss the case. He did say he was aware the appeals court was looking for a quick decision from him. Does that mean he’s going to finally reach a conclusion this week or is he trying to drag this out until the election? I’m not sure what the strategy is here but both he and his hand-picked attorney John Gleeson are behaving like aggrieved partisan looking for a pound of flesh.

Chuck Ross at Da Caller, FBI Source’s Claim About Michael Flynn Was Inaccurate, Special Agent Said 

Barnett, who works in the FBI’s Washington field office, said that the CHS harbored suspicions about Flynn following an event the retired general attended in 2014 in which he unexpectedly left with another person.

The allegation matches closely with a rumor that appeared in the media regarding Flynn and a Russian-British researcher at the University of Cambridge in February 2014.

Barnett said in an investigative memo that was previously released in the criminal case against Flynn that the CHS claimed to have witnessed the incident in question. That memo also indicated that Flynn’s contact was Russian.

According to the latest memo, Barnett said he initially believed the information was concerning and “potentially significant” to the Flynn investigation. But Barnett said that intelligence analysts were unable to locate information that corroborated the report concerning Flynn’s contact. The bureau reached out to foreign intelligence agencies for information for the investigation but found nothing derogatory about Flynn or the other person, the memo says.

According to the memo, Barnett made it clear that he did not believe the CHS’s claim that Flynn left the event with the person. The memo does not say whether Barnett believed the source was lying about the incident.

Jim Treacher, PJ Media, No, Nobody Really Cares About Trump's Taxes

Didja hear the big story about how Trump only paid $750 in taxes? Or maybe it was $1 million. Or $1,000,750. It was definitely one of those, probably. If it even matters.

Does it matter? If so, why?

I would argue, Dear Reader, that it does not matter.

The goal of stories like the NYT’s latest “bombshell,” among our moral, ethical, and intellectual betters in the media, isn’t to convince anyone of anything. And it certainly isn’t to inform anyone. No, the goal is to reinforce the existing beliefs of their audience. People who hate Trump read this earth-shattering story and say, “See? We told you!”

Althouse, "The government allows income to be sheltered from taxation for hundreds of different reasons...."

It makes me think of my old law school tax professor who liked to say that a tax return is an offer, and you see if the government accepts it or makes a counteroffer. Trump made his offer in 2010, and the government accepted it, and sent him $72.9 million refund but also kept investigating. It's 10 years later, and they're still hovering over him, threatening to take it back — with interest and penalties.

The NYT editors say that the IRS needs more more funding so it can quickly and aggressively enforce the existing tax code. The headline speaks of "the profound inequities of the tax code," but the editors never get around to proposing eliminating loopholes and complexity. Why not? Is it because what they want is to get Trump, and changing the law prospectively is irrelevant to that goal? The only thing that relates to Trump is that the investigation is taking too long. If only the IRS could be more aggressive perhaps they could have figured out by now whether it agrees with Trump's interpretation of the over-complicated law or not.

Da Caller,  CNN Anchor Shocked After Rick Santorum Suggests NYT Story On Trump’s Taxes Is False. After 34 years of "Russian collusion", they don't get the benefit of the doubt. 

NYPo, Ron Johnson says Ukraine report will show Joe Biden’s ‘unfitness for office’. As if we needed more. And, Andrew Cuomo’s guest appearance in the Hunter Biden scandals

New Yorkers should take special note of one part of the Senate report on Hunter Biden’s shady business dealings — because one of his wealthy patrons got “economic development” tax breaks from our own Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Yes, the main implications are national: Hunter got millions from foreign sources while his dad was veep, and though Obama officials feared conflicts, they did nothing. Records “show potential criminal activity between Hunter Biden, his family and his associates” and Ukrainian, Russian, Kazakh and Chinese nationals, the report says.

And the younger Biden sent “thousands” to folks who’ve been tied to “transactions consistent with human trafficking” or have possible associations with the porn industry or prostitution. Ugly stuff.

Yet New Yorkers may care most about the section noting that Hunter’s firm, Rosemont Seneca Thornton, got $242,000 from Russian billionaire Elena Baturina, which it transferred to BAK USA — a Buffalo firm that raked in a quarter-million in tax breaks under Cuomo’s START-UP NY scheme — and then went belly up.

Rosemont, the report adds, got another $3.5 million from Baturina for unspecified “consulting,” but it’s not clear why Biden’s firm was in the middle of payments from her to BAK; New Yorkers can only wonder if Hunter profited off a deal made possible by their tax dollars.

More important, though, BAK is yet another example of Cuomo’s failed AndyLand approach to upstate’s economy: He picks winners (or at least politically connected firms) and showers them with public funds — in the hope they’ll survive and grow jobs. Alas, many deals have simply flopped.

Wednesday Wetness


Wombat has Rule 5 Sunday: Damn It, Janet ready and willing at The Other McCain.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Biden Refuses to Be Tested for Ear Piece

Matt Margolis at PJ Media, Biden Reportedly Refusing to Allow Search for Electronic Earpiece Before Debate

On Tuesday morning the Trump campaign requested a new rule for the first presidential debate: that a third party inspect both candidates for electronic devices or transmitters. President Trump had already consented to such an inspection, and the Biden campaign had reportedly agreed to this days ago, but, Ebony Bowden of the New York Post reported moments ago that they are now declining.

The Trump campaign has since confirmed this flip-flop.

“Joe Biden’s handlers several days ago agreed to a pre-debate inspection for electronic earpieces but today abruptly reversed themselves and declined,” Tim Murtaugh, communications director for the Trump campaign, said in a statement. “Biden’s handlers have asked for multiple breaks during the debate, which President Trump doesn’t need, so we have rejected that request. On top of the refusal to take a drug test, it seems pretty obvious that the Biden team is looking for any safety net they can find in the hours leading up to the debate.”

If I were the Trump campaign, I would provide the President with a small radio jammer, designed to produce a sharp squeal in the ear of anyone with a radio frequency. He can use it while Biden is getting his questions from Chris Wallace and his answers from his handlers.

True story. A few weeks ago, our garage door openers suddenly stopped responding correctly to the battery powered "clickers" we carry in the cars. Sometimes they worked, but at a very short range, sometimes they didn't. Georgia did a search today, and one of the common reports was that using LED lights in the openers interferes in the radio frequencies the openers use to receive commands from the "clickers." She had, indeed, put LED lights into the openers around the same time. She changed out the LEDs for some old incandescents we were hoarding, and indeed, it fixed them.

Beach Report 9/29/20

A very quiet day at the beach. Temperatures around 72, noticeably humid and with no wind to speak of. Clouds hinted at rain, which never arrived. 
A bunch of teeth, 27, all small or medium at best.
I guess we know who this Captain is voting for.

The Russiagate Circus

A veritable circus of stories today. In the right side ring, Michael Flynn and his attorney Sidney Powell once again go into the battle with the forces of darkness, i.e. Judge Sullivan, who seems determined to keep this case alive at least past the election. Sundance at CTH has the story and the link so you can listen live, if you want. Michael Flynn Hearing Today 11:00am – Open Discussion Thread. From John Solomon at JTN, Epic hearing: Flynn defense to confront judge in bid to get Russia charge dismissed

Armed with bombshell documents suggesting FBI misconduct, lawyers for Michael Flynn on Tuesday will try to persuade a skeptical judge to vacate the former national security adviser's guilty plea for lying and dismiss the charge.

Defense lawyer Sidney Powell will be joined in her request by Justice Department prosecutors, but she must convince U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan that the evidence warrants the dramatic dismissal of a case originally brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team.

Sullivan has solicited his own adversarial advice, ordering a report from a former federal judge in New York that recommended against dismissal on the grounds that DOJ's decision to support dropping the charges was forced by President Trump's badgering.

"In the United States, Presidents do not orchestrate pressure campaigns to get the Justice Department to drop charges against defendants who have pleaded guilty — twice, before two different judges — and whose guilt is obvious," the retired U.S. District Judge John Gleeson wrote recently. "The government's attempt to dress up a politically motivated dismissal that smacks of impropriety as a 'policy judgment,' should be rejected."

But Powell is armed with several new bombshell documents released by DOJ in the last week, including one showing the lead FBI agent in the Flynn case, William Barnett, declared there was never evidence of wrongdoing by the retired general or Trump and the Russia probe was kept open by Mueller simply because his team had a "get Trump" goal.

Barnett's claims came in the form of an interview with DOJ officials in which he revealed FBI agents recommended closing the Flynn case both in November 2016 and again in January 2017 because there was no evidence of wrongdoing or intelligence threats, but their bosses in FBI management overruled them and decided to pursue the interview where Flynn was accused of lying.

One of those supervisors, former Assistant Director William Priestap, kept notes questioning the decision to pursue the Flynn interview. Specifically, his notes questioned whether the FBI's motive was to find the truth in the Russia case or "to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired."

Barnett's testimony suggested there was no evidentiary basis for the interview or the pursuit of Flynn. "Barnett believed the prosecution of Flynn by SCO [special counsel's office] was used as a means to 'get TRUMP,'" according to the recently released interview report.

In addition, the FBI has released text messages showing some of the intelligence analysts who worked the Flynn case were so concerned the FBI was engaging in misconduct that they bought liability insurance fearing they could be sued after their bosses continued to keep the investigation open based on "conspiracy theories."

"We all went and purchased professional liability insurance," one analyst texted on Jan. 10, 2017, just 10 days before Trump took office.

Ove on the side ring, John also has a list of 16 questions for James Comey in his testimony today befire the Senate Judiciary Committee. James Comey on the hot seat: 16 Russia probe questions he must answer Dozens of explosive pieces of evidence undercutting the entire Russia case have emerged since the disgraced FBI director last testified in public.

1. You testified in 2017 that the Steele dossier was salacious and unverified and yet you signed FISA warrants marked verified that relied on deeply flawed evidence from the dossier. Why did you do that?

A good start. Warming up for that spot, 'shipwreckedcrew' at Red State has Remember the Strzok-Page “Insurance Policy” Exchange – FBI Special Agent Barnett Exposes the Hole Card

I suspect neither has offered this particular explanation under oath — or at least they haven’t limited their explanation to this “rationalization”.

I say that because the new information from Special Agent Barnett strongly suggests the “Insurance Policy” was none other than General Michael Flynn himself. You can make their “rationalization” fit into this concept if you just accept that they weren’t going to name General Flynn individually when they offered the rationalization. But when you put the context of events into their words — and Agent Barnett’s recollection about what was done — or more importantly what was not done — there is only one conclusion. 

Sundance, Former ODNI Ric Grenell Says Additional Intelligence Agencies are Intentionally Withholding Evidence of Wrongdoing….  That's been clear for quite some time. It must be really awful for them to be as tenacious as they have. 

Also, Devin Nunes: Special Counsel and Intelligence Officials Hiding Documents Were “Straight Up Crimes”… (also video).

Sundance has some insider stuff about the old NSA contractor story, Oblique but BIG Release – OIG Horowitz Outlines Notification of FBI for Contractor Database Abuse…. This story seems convoluted, and well buried, but it may be central to all the machinations of Russia/Spygate.

John Solomon thinks the Next declassification could flip Russia collusion script, point to effort to hurt Trump

The Trump administration is preparing one of its biggest declassifications yet in the Russia case, a super-secret document that could flip the collusion theory on its head four years after the FBI first started its investigation.

Multiple officials familiar with the planned declassification, which could happen as early as this week, told Just the News that the new evidence will raise the specter that Russian President Vladimir Putin was actually trying to hurt President Trump, not help his election in 2016, as the Obama administration claimed.

The new evidence would complement a revelation last week that the primary source for the Christopher Steele anti-Trump dossier was known to the U.S. government to be tied to Russia intelligence, raising the possibility that the Russians were undercutting the GOP nominee.

 Bring in the clowns! John Sexton at Hot Air, Brian Stelter: Fox News Prime Time Hosts Are ‘Poisonous’ But CNN’s Don Lemon ‘Is A News Anchor Who Has A Point Of View’

Eventually, Hewitt came around to his main problem with Stelter’s book. He notes that Stelter is criticizing Fox for its coverage of things like the Mueller investigation but, in the end, that investigation found no evidence of the long-promised collusion. Stelter’s reaction is pretty amazing:

HH: We know the end of some stories that you criticize Fox for their coverage of. We know the end of the Mueller report, right? There was no collusion, correct?

BS: You know, I’m not going to play a game about a word that is irrelevant to the question at hand. There’s still a lot we don’t know about the President’s ties with Russia, period.

HH: But Brian, that kind of asks, that begs the question. Your criticism in Hoax, a lot of is based in the coverage of the Mueller investigation and how they downplayed it and called it a Hoax. It turns out there was no collusion, and it turns out we know this week, you couldn’t have known it during writing of Hoax…

BS: Yeah.

HH: …that the primary sub-source of the Steele dossier is probably a Russian agent, correct?

BS: I think there’s a fantasyland that Fox promotes about what you’re describing, about the Steele dossier and all of that that distracts from the key questions about Trump’s ties with Russia. We now know from the New York Times hundreds of millions of dollars of loans. Who does the President owe money to? We need to know. We deserve to know that, Hugh.

HH: Brian, that’s a deflection. The primary sub-source of the dossier was revealed last week to be a Russian agent investigated by the Obama Department of Justice in 2009 and ’10. The dossier is discredited. There was no collusion. These are factual matters. That’s my problem with Hoax.

BS: I’m reflecting, I’m a media reporter, and I’m not a Steele dossier reporter. What I know is that when you use the word hoax over and over again the way the President has, it’s dangerous and poisonous, because it makes people think there’s nothing real and nothing true anymore. And that’s what I think the problem is.

HH: Will you at least agree with me that the primary sub-source of the dossier has been revealed to be a Russian agent?

BS: I literally do not know, because I’m a media reporter.

HH: Okay.

BS: I hate to disappoint you. I just, I don’t cover the dossier over the air…

If you follow the conversation closely here, Stelter first denies that collusion is a settled issue. Then he calls the report that Steele’s primary sub-source was investigated as a likely Russian agent part of Fox’s “fantasyland” about the dossier. Finally, when pressed, Stelter claims he doesn’t know the details about the dossier’s source because that’s not his beat.

That’s quite a series of deflections on Stelter’s part. How can you complain a network isn’t reporting things accurately when you don’t know the facts in the first place? Stelter doesn’t seem to have an answer for that.

From atop Da Hill,  Glenn Greenwald tells Megyn Kelly he has been 'formally banned' from MSNBC. Honest liberals are more dangerous to them than conservatives. 

"And then once I became a critic of Russiagate, I basically got banned from the network, because I became a critic of their coverage of it," Greenwald said.

"Are you saying you're banned from MSNBC?" Kelly asked.

"Yeah. I'm totally, formally banned," Greenwald confirmed.

"How do you know?" Kelly followed.

"I have tons of friends there. I used to go on all the time. I have producers who tried to book me and they get told, 'No. He's on the no-book list,' " he responded.

And now, in the left ring, the "Trump Taxes" show. Via the Wombat's  In The Mailbox: 09.28.20, Legal Insurrection: NYT Debunks Three Media Conspiracy Theories With Article On Trump’s Tax Returns, Don Surber, Media exploits tax ignorance and  Monster Hunter Nation: No, You Idiots, That’s Not How Taxes Work – An Accountant’s Guide To Why You Are A Gullible Moron

So big picture time…

First off, “morality” doesn’t have jack shit to do with taxation. You pay what you legally owe. Nobody willingly pays the government more than they legally owe.

This has always been this way since America has had income taxes. There is endless court precedent. You pay what you legally owe. That’s it. If you pay less than you legally owe, then the government will fine or imprison you. If you pay more than you legal owe, the government will laugh and laugh, because you are an idiot, and you deserve to be poor.

Every single person who barks about how somebody else should be paying more? They themselves are paying the minimum they can get away with. As they should. As should you.

I remember when I was taking my first tax class back in college. This class was all accounting majors by this point. At the beginning of the semester the professor (who’d had a long career as a tax guy) gave us an imaginary family as our clients and had us do their taxes. One kid didn’t take advantage of all the obvious deductions for his clients. When the professor asked why, the kid said some mushy thing about how he didn’t think it was FAIR to keep that money from the government… Holy shit. The professor ripped this kid a new asshole. HOW DARE YOU!?! IT IS NOT THE GOVERNMENT’S MONEY! IT IS YOUR CLIENT’S MONEY. YOU OWE THEM YOUR BEST! IT IS YOUR SACRED DUTY TO SAVE THEIR MONEY! YOU DISGUST ME AND YOU SHOULD NEVER BE A CPA!

 Ace, Alex the Chick: The NYT Claim that Trump Paid $750 in Taxes is a Straight-Up Lie. By Their Own Reporting, He Paid $1,000,000 in 2016 and $4,200,000 in 2017. "Read her thread here." Doug Ross, BOOM: NYT Admits Trump Actually Paid Nearly $6 Million in Taxes in 2016 and 2017

So there it is in print, the NYT obtained the tax records of thousands of people in their desire to get Trump. Sundance, Don Trump Jr. Discusses Tax Returns, SCOTUS, Ballot Harvesting and Biden Debate Expectations…

Tanking Up for Tuesday


Wombat has Rule 5 Sunday: Damn It, Janet ready and willing at The Other McCain.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Maryland Bans Foam Food Containers

Take it off, now!

Virtue signaling. The Patch, From Sen. Cheryl Kagan And Del. Brooke Lierman: Farewell To Foam In Maryland

Beginning Oct. 1, Maryland will become the first state to ban expanded polystyrene foam, or Styrofoam, food and beverage packaging. There is a growing awareness that Styrofoam is harmful to both our environment and public health.

Made from petroleum products in factories that spew toxic fumes and pollute our air, Styrofoam often ends up in our gutters and waterways as litter. It cannot be effectively recycled and causes permanent damage to our ecosystem. Foam absorbs more chemicals than other plastics, breaking down into particles that are difficult to collect. Fish eat the pieces of foam, thinking it is food; we eat the fish and ingest the toxic chemicals.

I see that claim a lot, but I never see any science to back it up. In fact, most toxic chemicals are attracted to a wide variety of natural particles, such as sediment and organic detritus, and in virtually every case the toxic compounds were less available and toxic than if they were not adsorbed to the particles and were dissolved in the water. I have a sneaky suspicion no one has tested plastics for this because they're afraid the answer will not fit the agenda, or they have, and have found it inconvenient to tout.

Wombat has Rule 5 Sunday: Damn It, Janet ready and willing at The Other McCain.

Taxing Times at Russiagate

The New York Times has opened a new front in the war on Donald Trump with only a few weeks before the election, after obtaining what it claims to be his tax returns for the past many years. I say claim, because they won't actually show the documents, likely out of fear that somehow the person(s) who leaked the documents could be identified. There are basically three possible sources. 1) A leak at the IRS, which would be federal crime. The federal bureaucracy has not shied away from felonies in it's pursuit of Trump, as witness the leak of the transcripts of Flynn's conversations with Russian ambassador Kislyak. 2) A leak from a financial institution (eg. tax preparer) in possession of the documents for work reasons, also a crime, and a breach of fiduciary duty, or 3) a deliberate preemptive leak by Trump or part of the Trump organization, to get ahead of something coming. Seeing it's the NYT, this seems unlikely. Anyway, as Althouse  reports "Donald J. Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes the year he won the presidency. In his first year in the White House, he paid another $750."

"He had paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years — largely because he reported losing much more money than he made. As the president wages a re-election campaign that polls say he is in danger of losing, his finances are under stress, beset by losses and hundreds of millions of dollars in debt coming due that he has personally guaranteed. Also hanging over him is a decade-long audit battle with the Internal Revenue Service over the legitimacy of a $72.9 million tax refund that he claimed, and received, after declaring huge losses. An adverse ruling could cost him more than $100 million.."

The NYT reports, saying that it "has obtained tax-return data extending over more than two decades for Mr. Trump and the hundreds of companies that make up his business organization, including detailed information from his first two years in office."

Also, from NYT, via Althouse. "Ultimately, Mr. Trump has been more successful playing a business mogul than being one in real life.". In both posts, most of the fun is in the comments.

It's very interesting that the NYT, strongly motivated to find tax crimes and connections to Russia, seems to have only found that Trump might be a faker — not the billionaire business genius he purports to be. But, it seems, the main thing he is doing is putting more money into his businesses than he takes out, and that may be a wise or at least legally authorized way to run his affairs. Now, he's forced to explain that to us, and maybe we will be outraged that the tax laws are currently arranged to allow people to escape taxes, but maybe we will accept instruction that the outrage should be directed at Congress... even at Joe Biden.

Really, it's no secret that both real estate investing, and entertainment, Trump largest areas of endeavor, offer ample opportunities to shield income from taxes, largely due to tax breaks from Congress, passed with Democrats complicity.

I&E, Will Media Ever Ask About Biden’s Corrupt Deals As Vice President?. Not only no, but hell no. Sundance at CTH, New York Times Fails at Outlining President Trump’s Taxes Again…
In the article the Times completely obfuscates the way income taxes are strategically offset by depreciation, mortgage interest and the entire reason why real estate ownership is viewed as a business.

John Carney writing for Breitbart gets it:
[…] So imagine our guy took out an $8 million mortgage at five percent, paying $2 million cash. Now he’s got to pay $400,000 in mortgage payments. He wants to make at least that much so he charges tenants an aggregate of $425,000, which after upkeep comes out to $410,000 of net income. (Remember, if the bank didn’t think he could make more in rent than the mortgage payment, it probably wouldn’t have lent him the money.) The interest payment on the loan–let’s call it $390,000–is deductible from his income, leaving him with $20,000 in net income. He gets to keep that and pay no taxes on it, however, because he still gets to apply the $370,000 depreciation charge. He tells the IRS he lost $350,000.

Under our tax code, ordinary business expenses can be deducted in the year they are incurred. But when a business pays for a long-lasting item expected to produce income–like machinery, vehicles, or an apartment building–it is considered a capital investment. Instead of getting to write-off the cost all at once, the business is required to write it off over the course of decades. After the 1986 tax code, this was set at 27.5 years for residential real estate. (more)
Anyone who has ever operated a business knows that offsetting income is one of the primary reasons to be self-employed. Additionally, the Times completely skips over the tens-of-millions in payroll taxes paid by the Trump organization and tens-of-millions in property and sales taxes paid by all of the various Trump properties.

The National Pulse, NYT’s 10,000-Word Trump Tax ‘Exposé’ Reveals NO Russian Links, NO Illegality, And Admits Left Will Be ‘Unfulfilled’ By The Report  Insty,  NYT EXONERATES TRUMP: Hoping he'll fix the link. Stacy McCain, @RealDonaldTrump: Still #Winning

When your enemies keep breaking the law to attack you, we can conclude that your enemies are bad people:

So getting back to more traditional Russiagate, sadly, (via Sundance), Bartiromo: “Sources Confirm No Interim Durham Report or Indictments Before Election”… video at link. 

What Ms. Bartiromo encapsulates is in-line with my own research and interactions with people very close to the DC events. In essence, this sentiment; in combination with AG Bill Barr having a keen awareness of the undercurrent frustration outside the DC bubble; is at the heart of why USAO Jeff Jensen has been channeling information to Michael Flynn’s defense counsel Sidney Powell.

Breitbart, FNC’s Bartiromo: Durham Report Before Election ‘Unlikely’. 'Shipwreckedcrew' at Red State digs deeper, Why No Durham Activity Before Election — Likely the Interview of Agent William Barnett

Bill Barr and Robert Mueller have been friends for 30+ years, going back to their days together in the Reagan Justice Department.

It is my belief that Bill Barr sees the work of the SCO, and the drafting of the SCO report, as being not the product of the Robert Mueller he has known since the 1980s, but instead, the work of anti-Trump Democrat partisans who Mueller brought to the SCO. As a private citizen — and former Attorney General — he sent a scathing legal memo to Rod Rosenstein in the summer of 2018 challenging the public reports about the nature of a criminal “obstruction” investigation against the Office of the President that was being conducted by the SCO as a surrogate for DOJ. When he was confirmed as Attorney General — and the SCO staff knew they would be reporting to him now and no longer to Rosenstein — the SCO announced in just a matter of a few weeks that the investigation would be shut down.

Were those two events connected? Well, Andrew Weissmann provided the answer to that question yesterday in an excerpt from his book published in a Politico story:
But the limitations of our report were underscored on the night of March 24, 2019, as I stood in the doorway of my apartment in Washington, reading Barr’s four-page letter on my iPad. Just two days after Mueller had handed in our final report—the product of 22 months of intensive work by 59 prosecutors, agents and analysts—Barr issued a letter purporting to summarize our report.

Barr’s letter was a shot across the bow, signaling that the checking function Mueller provided on the actions of the president had come to an abrupt end.
Weissmann “gives away the game” without even realizing the evil in his presumption.

Where in the Special Counsel regulations does it say that such an appointment by the Attorney General is to serve as a “checking function” on the “actions of the President”?

Jerry Dunleavy, WaEx,  'More damning': Lindsey Graham hints at significant declassification related to Russia investigation

Graham offered some insight into what the declassified records might contain. 

"There’s three buckets here," he said of alleged wrongdoing in the Trump-Russia investigation.

The first focuses on whether there was "any legitimate reason" for special counsel Robert Mueller to be investigating the Trump team for a crime regarding Russia. "In 2017, there was no evidence that anybody on the Trump campaign was working with the Russians," Graham said.

The other two areas, according to Graham, relate to how the FBI "lied its a-- off" to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court to obtain warrants to wiretap a member of President Trump's 2016 campaign and the case against retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who was briefly Trump's first national security adviser.

Jeff Charles at Red State, Sen. Lindsey Graham Drops Another Bomb About FBI Misconduct During Russia Investigation. Insty cites the WSJ editorial 

The FBI’s Bad Intelligence: The bureau relied on a suspected Russian agent for its 2016 wiretaps.

It was worse than we thought. We’re referring to the FBI’s 2016 investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia, as new documents this week reveal.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham on Thursday released newly declassified FBI documents that contain this stunner: The bureau relied on a suspected Russian agent for the information it used to obtain a secret surveillance warrant against former Trump adviser Carter Page.

Four years into accusations about Russia-Trump collusion, we finally learn that Russia’s main conduit for disinformation may have been America’s FBI. Vladimir Putin must be howling with laughter.
While the Democrats and NeverTrumpers were accusing Trump of being Putin’s tool, actually it was the Resistance that was Putin’s tool all along. . . .

The National Pulse has an EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT: ‘The Russia Lie’ Was A Washington Political Hit On An Outsider

Chuck Ross, Comey Says He Has Not Read Recent Report About Steele Dossier Source, But Will Testify About It Next Week


Laura Italiano, Michael Cohen living large in ‘home confinement’ as he takes a stroll in Central Park. Why it's almost as if authorities aren't taking his crimes very seriously.

Speaking of crimes, at Am Think, Jack Cashill is still talking about Seth Rich: The Murder Washington Doesn't Want Solved. I'm a skeptic, but it really could be that he was the source of the DNC hacks to wikileaks. 

Your Monday Morning Stimulant


Sunday, September 27, 2020

Maryland Fisherman Headed for the Hoosegow

Prison for York County man who 'plundered' sport-fishing club in Maryland
Sarah Salt

A Windsor Township man has been sentenced to prison for embezzling more than $130,000 from the nonprofit Maryland sport-fishing association where he was executive director.

David Jeffrey Smith, 40, of the 1600 block of Rosebrook Drive, appeared in Maryland's Anne Arundel Circuit Court on Thursday and was sentenced to five years in prison, with all but 18 months of that sentence suspended, according to court records.

He also was sentenced to five years' probation and ordered to pay $136,200 in restitution to the Maryland Saltwater Sportfishing Association, records state.

"He's going to have to live with what he's done," said Maryland attorney Stephen Shechtel, who represents the MSSA and who was a member for more than 30 years. "He put us out of business. … There's nothing left to save."

Gale Force Twins
Despite the MSSA not being in existence anymore, it still has significant debts. The organization had about 8,000 members, the attorney said.

"It owes so much money to so many people and so many entities," Shechtel said. "There's almost a hundred grand just in bank loans."

If Smith fails to pay restitution, he will be in violation of his probation and could be jailed for the balance of his prison term, the attorney said.

For years, MSSA hosted a hugely popular spring trophy season tournament, with the largest Striped Bass (or as we call them in Maryland, Rockfish) brought back winning pretty significant prize money.

One of my fishing friends on Facebook commented that by going belly up, MSSA did more for Striped Bass than they ever did as a conservation organization.

Wombat has Rule 5 Sunday: Damn It, Janet ready and willing at The Other McCain.

9/27/20 Beach Report

Skye and I got started after noon, but before lunch. On the way down Skye consented to my taking a picture of this tiny Pearl Crescent. This photo made me realize how they got the name. Do you see it?
A Calvert County style conversation
Pretty weather, low 70s, and lots of fluffy clouds, but no wind to speak of. It was almost dead high tide, so shark's tooth hunting wasn't too good. Only 14 smallish teeth.
A good day for a paddle.

Russiagate still Festering

Not too shockingly, most of today's items are still related to the themes from the past couple of days, the new release of documents from the DOJ via the Flynn defense team, which show the upper echelon of the FBI eager to get Trump and hurt Flynn as a means to do so, and the revelations by Lindsey Graham 2.0 that the main source for the stories in the Steele dossier was a suspected Russian spy, the FBI knew it, and didn't bother to inform the FISA court.

Chuck Ross at Da Caller, FBI Failed To Tell Surveillance Court About Investigation Of Primary Dossier Source, Senator Says

Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, formally notified James Boasberg, the judge presiding over the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) about the information in a letter on Thursday.

“This letter, and the attached summary, details what appear to be further failures on the part of the FBI to fully inform the court of all of the facts related to the probable cause determination for the Carter Page FISA applications,” Graham wrote.

“I feel that it is my duty to alert the court to this information so that it can consider it as part of its ongoing review of this matter.”

Eric Felten, RCP, Dossier Source Was a Suspected Russian Spy, and the FBI Knew It When It Spied on Carter Page

From Fox, Gregg Jarrett: Stunning revelations expose FBI’s Trump probe as dirtiest political trick in US history

It was always a witch hunt designed to “get Trump.” Collusion was an illusion invented by a suspected Russian spy but zealously embraced by malevolent actors at the FBI and later by scheming prosecutors on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team of partisans.

These are the stunning revelations contained in two sets of newly declassified documents that pull back the curtain on the Russia Hoax, the dirtiest political trick in American history.

In testimony that is corroborated by records, FBI Special Agent William J. Barnett has exposed how the bureau’s collusion investigation of Donald Trump was based on nothing more than “supposition on supposition” and devoid of any credible evidence.

Assigned to lead the bureau’s original investigation into former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, Barnett came to realize that the case against Flynn was being engineered or manipulated as way to damage President Trump. Flynn, whose life and livelihood were ruined, became collateral damage.

FBI investigators, who concluded there was no plausible case against Flynn, were ignored. Instead of closing the investigation down, the critical decision to move forward was made “top- down.” Then-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who had a contentious past relationship with Flynn, was calling the shots. The retired three-star Army general didn’t stand a chance., Democrats' Russian farce update

Follow that thread. . . . Scott Adams (of Dilbert Fame) comes around to the notion that it was an outright coup attempt in Episode 1135 Scott Adams: Details on the Coup Plotters Emerge, BLM Focuses on Revenge Over Solutions, Hacking Voter Brains. You can skip the "simultaneous sip" and go straight to the heart by going to 7 minutes into the podcast.

At the paywalled ET, Roger L. Simon exclaims Basta! Time to Dismantle the FBI, but Insty has a big excerpt. from which I will excerpt.
Most recently, it has been revealed the sub-source for the Steele Dossier—the guy Christopher Steele relied upon for his vile lies—had already been investigated by the FBI as, of all things, a Russian agent, making the Dossier itself likely deliberate Russian disinformation that was accepted by the FBI anyway because… well… by any means necessary. (The shameless liars at Mueller’s operation claimed the Russians favored Trump, which is ludicrous given this revelation plus the content of the Dossier.)

It’s amazing it took three years for us to learn this.

But Sean H. evidently made one, I regret to say serious, mistake, probably because he’s basically a nice guy from a law enforcement family. He insisted all along that the problems in the FBI were only at the top, the so-called “Seventh Floor,” the domain of Comey, Strzok, McCabe, and the others.

Unfortunately, no. Also just revealed after three years are 302s (near-contemporaneous notes made after an interview) and texts that show lower-ranking FBI agents too were aware of the malfeasances that were occurring in the early stages of the Michael Flynn case.

In fact these agents were so alarmed they were considering professional liability insurance lest they be sued for the dishonest—one could even say treasonous— activities in which they were being forced to participate.

Frankly, I never imagined a FBI agent could even buy such insurance. The implications are unpatriotic on their face. But live and learn.

From Da Hill, Liberal Federal prosecutor speaks out, says Barr 'has brought shame' on Justice Dept.

James Herbert, an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts, said he was compelled to issue the stunning rebuke Thursday over concerns Barr was politicizing the Justice Department.

"While I am a federal prosecutor, I am writing to express my own views, clearly not those of the department, on a matter that should concern all citizens: the unprecedented politicization of the office of the attorney general," Herbert wrote in The Boston Globe. "The attorney general acts as though his job is to serve only the political interests of Donald J. Trump. This is a dangerous abuse of power."

Herbert cited Barr’s summary of former special counsel Robert Mueller's report downplaying its findings in the Russia investigation and remarks echoing debunked claims from President Trump over concerns about widespread fraud in mail-in ballots to argue that the attorney general is using the DOJ to further the White House’s political interests.

“William Barr has done the president’s bidding at every turn. For 30 years I have been proud to say I work for the Department of Justice, but the current attorney general has brought shame on the department he purports to lead,” Herbert wrote.

Well, the AG works for the President. I suppose he objected when Eric Holder did what Barack told him to do?

Herbert said he was inspired to speak out after Barr gave a speech earlier this month at Hillsdale College, a conservative Michigan institution. The attorney raised eyebrows in the speech by claiming virtual absolute power within his agency.

“What exactly am I interfering with? Under the law, all prosecutorial power is invested in the attorney general,” Barr said in the speech at Hillsdale College in response to claims he was interfering in cases involving Trump associates.

“Letting the most junior members set the agenda might be a good philosophy for a Montessori preschool, but it is no way to run a federal agency,” he said.

And then, there's the Biden crime family. Seamus Bruner at JTN, Senate exposes a rogues' gallery of shady foreign associates behind Hunter Biden's lucrative deals. Matt Vespa at Town Hall, This Is Probably Why Joe Biden Called It A Day Before 10 AM Yesterday...And Hunter Might Be the Reason.

If anything, this is a time when Joe should be out there talking about SCOTUS and of all things, paying his respects to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The Democratic base isn’t enthused by him. This is an issue that could gin up support. Look, I’m not complaining. Keep the bunker mentality going, Joe. Battleground states are only trending more towards Trump.

Yet, there could be another reason. The liberal media, which acted as the Biden rapid response team, says he’s doing debate preparation. Yes, the first debate is next Tuesday, but I think we’re forgetting the disastrous interview Joe recently had with Axios. Yeah, Hunter Biden was brought up by Mike Allen, the site’s co-founder. Joe didn’t handle it well.

I mean come on! 

The witness protection of Joe Biden by the media is starting to look like election interference.

Exhibit A: The Senate interim report released Wednesday detailing millions of dollars Joe Biden’s son Hunter received from corrupt foreign oligarchs and companies while his father was vice president.

Despite its obvious news value, the report immediately was pilloried by influential media outlets such as The New York Times and The Washington Post as “inconclusive” partisan echoing of Russian propaganda.

“Republican Inquiry Finds No ­Evidence of Wrongdoing by Biden,” was the Times’ headline.

“GOP’s Hunter Biden report doesn’t back up Trump’s actual conspiracy theory — or anything close to it,” said The Washington Post.

“GOP senators’ anti-Biden report repackages old claims” was another typical headline dismissing the ­report, this from Politico.

Yet there are new and damning allegations in the report about Hunter’s ability to leverage his father’s position as vice president into riches for himself and his friends.

The old allegations were damning enough, anyway, despite the fact they have been flushed down the memory hole. Take Hunter’s $50,000 monthly payment for sitting on the board of Ukrainian natural-gas firm Burisma Holdings, despite no relevant experience and a history of drug problems, at a time when his father was in charge of US policy toward Ukraine.

But here’s just one of the new revelations: Hunter received a $3.5 million wire transfer in 2014 from Elena Baturina, the wife of the former mayor of Moscow, and a billionaire friend of Vladimir Putin.

Now that’s real Russian collusion.