Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Last Call For The Most Taxing Of Explanations, Con't

The Trump Tax Saga continues, this time with the NY Times zeroing in on Trump's years on NBC's "The Apprentice" and Trump monetizing his fame as a businessman while being hundreds of millions of dollars in debt.


By analyzing the tax records, The New York Times was able to place a value on Mr. Trump’s celebrity. While the returns show that he earned some $197 million directly from “The Apprentice” over 16 years — roughly in line with what he has claimed — they also reveal that an additional $230 million flowed from the fame associated with it.

The show’s big ratings meant that everyone wanted a piece of the Trump brand, and he grabbed at the opportunity to rent it out. There was $500,000 to pitch Double Stuf Oreos, another half-million to sell Domino’s Pizza and $850,000 to push laundry detergent.

There were seven-figure licensing deals with hotel builders, some with murky backgrounds, in former Soviet republics and other developing countries. And there were schemes that exploited misplaced trust in the TV version of Mr. Trump, who, off camera, peddled worthless get-rich-quick nostrums like “Donald Trump Way to Wealth” seminars that promised initiation into “the secrets and strategies that have made Donald Trump a billionaire.”

Just as, years before, the money Mr. Trump secretly received from his father allowed him to assemble a wobbly collection of Atlantic City casinos and other disparate enterprises that then collapsed around him, the new influx of cash helped finance a buying spree that saw him snap up golf resorts, a business not known for easy profits. Indeed, the tax records show that his golf properties have been hemorrhaging millions of dollars for years.

In response to a request for comment, a White House spokesman, Judd Deere, did not dispute any specific facts. Instead, he delivered a broad attack, calling the article “fake news” and “yet another politically motivated hit piece full of inaccurate smears” appearing “before a presidential debate.”

Unlocking the mysteries of Mr. Trump’s wealth has been attempted many times with varying degrees of success — an exercise made difficult by the opaque nature of his businesses, his penchant for exaggerations and lies, and his willingness to threaten or sue those who question his rosy narratives. He has gone to extraordinary lengths to maintain secrecy, most notably his refusal to honor 40 years of presidential tradition and release his tax returns.

This article is based on an examination of data from those returns, which include personal and business tax filings for Mr. Trump and his companies spanning more than two decades. Every dollar is disclosed for the first time: $8,768,330 paid to him by ACN, a multilevel marketing company that was accused of taking advantage of vulnerable investors; $50,000 from the Lifetime channel for a “juicy nighttime soap” that never materialized; $5,026 in net income from a short-lived mortgage business; and $15,286,244 from licensing his name to a line of mattresses.

In addition, it draws on interviews and previously unreported material from other sources, including hundreds of internal documents from Bayrock Group, an influential early licensing partner whose ties to Russia would come back to haunt the president as questions swirled about his own dealings there.

Together, the new information provides the most authoritative look yet at a critical period in Mr. Trump’s business career that laid the foundation, and provided something of a preview, of his personality-based and fact-bending presidency.
The argument from the right here is that Trump simply plays the game better than anyone else on the planet, that's why he's in the Oval Office. But if you don't think the tens of millions of Americans who lost their jobs this year are wondering how it's fair that "billionaire" Trump paid $750 in taxes when they paid thousands and more, then you're kidding yourself.

Trump has been spouting lies about middle class prosperity for years right now, and the fact of the matter is he's gaming the system, and signed a bill into law that allowed him to game the system even more at our expense.

Breonna Taylor's Life Mattered, Con't

In a highly unusual move, one of the grand jurors in the Breonna Taylor case has filed a lawsuit to release the grand jury transcript and recordings of proceedings. Daniel Cameron's office says it will comply.
A juror in the Breonna Taylor case contends that the Kentucky attorney general misrepresented the grand jury’s deliberations and failed to offer the panel the option of indicting the two officers who fatally shot the young woman, according to the juror’s lawyer.

The unnamed juror filed a court motion on Monday seeking the release of last week’s transcripts and permission from a judge to speak publicly to set the record straight. Hours later, the office of Attorney General Daniel Cameron granted both requests, saying that the juror is free to speak and that recordings of the session will be made public.

The grand jury did not indict the two white officers who killed Ms. Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, after one officer was shot by her boyfriend. It charged a third officer whose bullets entered a neighbor’s apartment after missing Ms. Taylor with the lesser felony of wanton endangerment.

“This is something where the juror is not seeking any fame, any acclaim, any money,” said Kevin M. Glogower, the juror’s lawyer.

The lawyer said the juror came to him last week feeling anxious after Mr. Cameron repeatedly said at a news conference that the law did not permit him to charge Sgt. Jon Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove, the two officers who shot Ms. Taylor on March 13 — and that the jury had agreed with him.

“While there are six possible homicide charges under Kentucky law, these charges are not applicable to the facts before us because our investigation showed — and the grand jury agreed — that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in the return of deadly fire after having been fired upon,” Mr. Cameron said, one of several moments in the news conference where he emphasized such a consensus.
As I said yesterday, the evidence appears to support the theory that Kentucky AG Daniel Cameron lied when he told reporters that the 9mm bullet that hit Mattingly in the leg could not have been fired by any other gun than the one Taylor's boyfriend was using, as he had the only 9mm weapon present at the scene.
But the ballistics report says that Hankinson had been issued a 9mm Glock by the LMPD. It was the bullet that hit Mattingly that led to the officers returning fire, fearing for their lives.

If the bullet could have come from Hankinson's Glock 9mm however, and the grand jury was never told about it, well..Cameron is in a lot of trouble.

Gov. Beshear has called for the transcripts and recording of the grand jury proceedings, but if one of the grand jurors themselves is suing to make that happen, then Cameron is possibly in unbelievable amounts of trouble here. Prosecutorial misconduct is a thing, folks. The kind of thing that gets you disbarred.

Let's not forget that Beshear was Kentucky's previous Attorney General too. He knows what this means.

This case is far from over.

Breonna Taylor's life mattered.

It's About Suppression, Con't

 Good morning.

The Trump campaign used Steve Bannon's Cambridge Analytica company to profile and target 3.5 million Black voters in 2016 to stop them from voting for Hillary Clinton, according to UK Channel 4 News.

Channel 4 News has exclusively obtained a vast cache of data used by Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign on almost 200 million American voters.

It reveals that 3.5 million Black Americans were categorised by Donald Trump’s campaign as ‘Deterrence’ – voters they wanted to stay home on election day.

Tonight, civil rights campaigners said the evidence amounted to a new form of voter “suppression” and called on Facebook to disclose ads and targeting information that has never been made public.

The ‘Deterrence’ project can be revealed after Channel 4 News obtained the database used by Trump’s digital campaign team – credited with helping deliver his shock victory to become president four years ago.

Vast in scale, it contains details on almost 200 million Americans, among more than 5,000 files, which together amass almost 5 terabytes of data – making it one of the biggest leaks in history.

It reveals not only the huge amounts of data held on every individual voter, but how that data was used and manipulated by models and algorithms.

In 16 key battleground states, millions of Americans were separated by an algorithm into one of eight categories, also described as ‘audiences’, so they could then be targeted with tailored ads on Facebook and other platforms.

One of the categories was named ‘Deterrence’, which was later described publicly by Trump’s chief data scientist as containing people that the campaign “hope don’t show up to vote”.

Analysis by Channel 4 News shows Black Americans – historically a community targeted with voter suppression tactics – were disproportionately marked ‘Deterrence’ by the 2016 campaign.

In total, 3.5 million Black Americans were marked ‘Deterrence’.

In Georgia, despite Black people constituting 32% of the population, they made up 61% of the ‘Deterrence’ category. In North Carolina, Black people are 22% of the population but were 46% of ‘Deterrence’. In Wisconsin, Black people constitute just 5.4% of the population but made up 17% of ‘Deterrence’.

The disproportionate categorising of Black Americans for ‘Deterrence’ is seen across the US. Overall, people of colour labelled as Black, Hispanic, Asian and ‘Other’ groups made up 54% of the ‘Deterrence’ category. In contrast, other categories of voters the campaign wished to attract were overwhelmingly white.

The 2016 campaign preceded the first fall in Black turnout in 20 years and allowed Donald Trump to take shock victories in key states like Wisconsin and Michigan by wafer-thin margins, reaching the White House despite losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton.

Trump’s digital campaign, called ‘Project Alamo’ and based in San Antonio, Texas, involved a team from the now defunct British company Cambridge Analytica, working with a team from the Republican National Committee. Two senior members of the Cambridge Analytica team are working on the Trump 2020 campaign.

Cambridge Analytica collapsed after investigations by Channel 4 News, The Observer and the New York Times in 2018.
We knew Cambridge Analytica was doing this back in 2017. The new information is that they were working directly with the Trump campaign and with Facebook to build these voter profiles of 200 million Americans and targeting them with such pinpoint accuracy that Trump won exactly the states he needed by exactly the margins he needed.

And now we know precisely what the purpose of those profiles were: to categorize tens of million of Americans in order to find and attract the voters they needed with Facebook and social media, and suppress those they needed to stay home in key states with targeted ads.

They nailed the entire electorate. They divided us like never before. They used this and voter ID laws and they got away with it. They had our number, all 200 million of us, and bought an election.
Here's the thing though. For this deterrence plan to work, and it did, Black turnout was cut by 19% overall in PA, MI, WI and OH, for this to have worked at all, it had to be close enough for them to cheat.

It never should have been close enough for them to do so.

But Trump voters made it so.


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