Tag: New York Times

UNCONFIRMED REPORT: Marla Maples may have released Donald Trump’s 1995 tax return

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The following blog post includes a description of a female individual as an “actor”. The word “actor” is used in a gender-neutral context on this website, although most people use the term “actress” to describe a female actor.


In 2016, the 1990’s have officially come full circle thanks to a recent New York Times report on Donald Trump’s 1995 tax returns.

Trump declared a nearly $916 million loss on his 1995 tax returns. In the mid-1990’s, Trump’s business record included the failure of Trump Airlines and the mismanagement of three Atlantic City, New Jersey casinos. The kind of loss that Trump declared was a net operating loss, and it could have legally allowed Trump to pay zero income taxes from three years prior to the declaration of the loss (1992) to 15 years after the declaration of the loss (2010). In that time frame, Trump earned tens of thousands of dollars per episode of The Apprentice that he hosted, and he also earned roughly $45 million for being the top executive of a publicly-traded company created by Trump to assume ownership of his Atlantic City properties. It’s also worth noting that ordinary investors in Trump’s publicly-traded company had the value of their shares decline to a measly 17¢ from $35.50, many contractors were not paid for work on Trump’s properties, and casino bondholders lost money.

However, as fellow progressive blogger Chris “Capper” Liebenthal likes to say, there’s more…there’s always more!

Jon Lovett, who lists himself as a presidential speechwriter on his Twitter page, has claimed that actor and television personality Marla Maples, who was Trump’s wife at the time the tax return was filed (Trump and Maples divorced in 1999), released Trump’s tax returns:

While this is an unconfirmed report, what is an indisputable fact is that the tax return was a tax return jointly filed by Trump and Maples as a married couple, something that federal law and IRS rules have long permitted. It is possible, but not confirmed, that Maples may have released the tax return to the public.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz launches condescending attack on pro-choice millennials

Ladies and gentlemen, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, has, once again, insulted a large segment of her own party’s electorate. No, I’m not talking about Bernie Sanders supporters. I’m talking about millennials who support a woman’s right to make her own reproductive health care decisions, including the right to decide whether or not to have an abortion.

In an interview with The New York Times, Wasserman Schultz was asked a beltway media-type question about whether or not she thought there was a generational divide in regards to enthusiasm for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign among female Democratic voters. Wasserman Schultz didn’t directly answer the question (apparently because she’s supposed to remain neutral in the Democratic presidential race, although she’s not been truly neutral) and decided to launch a political attack against the future of her own party:

Here’s what I see: a complacency among the generation of young women whose entire lives have been lived after Roe v. Wade was decided.

I’m a proud millennial who supports a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions, and I am deeply offended by Wasserman Schultz’s offensive remarks. Us millennials are not stupid, lazy, or complacent. Us millennials strongly believe in democracy and civic engagement, most of us are very progressive on many issues, and most of us regard protecting women’s rights to be very important. There are three Democratic candidates running for president, and all three of them are strongly pro-choice when it comes to reproductive health issues.

I think that it’s past time for Debbie Wasserman Schultz to leave politics altogether and let the future of the Democratic Party lead the way on protecting women’s rights and many other important political issues. It’s clear to me that Wasserman Schultz has a deep-seeded bigotry towards young people.

No surrender

No surrender

I haven’t written much about Illinois state politics in recent months, largely because there’s not much going on due to the ongoing state government shutdown.

However, the website of The New York Times has published this report on how a handful of wealthy individuals, some of which aren’t Illinois residents, are holding the state of Illinois hostage by way of big-money politics:

In the months since, Mr. (Kenneth C.) Griffin and a small group of rich supporters — not just from Chicago, but also from New York City and Los Angeles, southern Florida and Texas — have poured tens of millions of dollars into the state, a concentration of political money without precedent in Illinois history.

Their wealth has forcefully shifted the state’s balance of power. Last year, the families helped elect as governor Bruce Rauner, a Griffin friend and former private equity executive from the Chicago suburbs, who estimates his own fortune at more than $500 million. Now they are rallying behind Mr. Rauner’s agenda: to cut spending and overhaul the state’s pension system, impose term limits and weaken public employee unions.

[…]

Many of those giving, like Mr. Griffin, come from the world of finance, an industry that has yielded more of the new political wealth than any other. The Florida-based leveraged-buyout pioneer John Childs, the private equity investor Sam Zell and Paul Singer, a prominent New York hedge fund manager, all helped elect Mr. Rauner, as did Richard Uihlein, a conservative businessman from the Chicago suburbs.

In short, Republican Governor Bruce Rauner, who spent tens of millions of dollars of his own money on his gubernatorial campaign last year, also spent millions upon millions of dollars of money from a handful of wealthy individuals, and now Rauner is holding Illinois hostage by demanding a Scott Walker-style far-right economic agenda that would hurt Illinois’s economy in return for a functional state government.

To the Democrats in the Illinois General Assembly and the people of Illinois, I have two words for ya’ll: No surrender! Illinois cannot afford busting unions, driving down wages, making it harder for working Illinoisans who are injured on the job to get workers’ compensation benefits, cuts to pension benefits, and every other item of right-wing economic policy that would hurt Illinois’s economy by taking away disposable income from Illinois consumers. Illinois cannot afford surrendering to Bruce Rauner and his big-money cronies from the finance industry.

Why Donald Trump mocking a physically-disabled New York Times reporter is personal for me

Why Donald Trump mocking a physically-disabled New York Times reporter is personal for me

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump mocked Serge Kovaleski, a reporter for The New York Times, by trying to mimic Kovaleski’s arm movements at a recent Trump campaign rally. Kovaleski suffers from arthrogryposis, a physical disability that limits the functionality of his joints.

While I’m not fond of the corporate media in this country (for completely different reasons than why Trump doesn’t like the corporate media, however), and I don’t have a physical disability, I was personally offended by what Trump did.

I have Asperger’s syndrome, a developmental disorder that is considered an autism spectrum disorder. While Asperger’s is not considered a physical disability, one thing that I suffer from due to Asperger’s when I get excited, angry, frustrated, nervous, scared, etc. is uncontrollable hand and arm movements. I find mocking a person for a physical trait of theirs to be highly offensive.

Make no mistake about it, Donald Trump is running a presidential campaign in order to offend many people as possible. The fact that someone as offensive as Trump is anywhere close to being elected president is an absolutely frightening thought.

 

Yes, anti-Muslim bigotry is un-American

Charles Blow, a columnist for The New York Times, wrote this column about how anti-Muslim bigotry that has become prevalent in the race for the Republican presidential nomination in the aftermath of the Paris attacks is un-American. Last time I checked, “Anti-Muslim is Anti-American”, the title of Blow’s column, is trending on Twitter, and I strongly encourage reading Blow’s column.

He’s right…opposing an entire religion is an un-American ideal.

Republican presidential candidates, most notably Donald Trump and Ben Carson, have gone all out in recent days to pander to the lowest common denominator in American society, bigots, in order to support their crackdown on an entire religion. Trump has supported closing mosques (Islamic places of worship) and creating a national registry of Muslims. Carson has publicly compared Muslims to rabid dogs. What Trump, Carson, and other Republicans are supporting is absurd and offensive. Proposals to crack down on Islam from Trump and other Republican candidates blatantly violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and comparing Muslims to rabid dogs is downright offensive. Even worse, what Republicans like Trump and Carson are saying is eerily reminiscent of the rhetoric that Nazis used to justify their hatred of Jewish people in the 1930’s and 1940’s.

Not all Muslims are members of an Islamic fundamentalist terror group like ISIS, al-Qaeda, or Boko Haram. In fact, the overwhelming majority of Muslims here in America live peacefully and regard those Islamic fundamentalist jihadists as barbaric militants who don’t represent their view of Islam. We should embrace religious freedom in this country, not crack down on it.

 

Kate Murphy whines about cold indoor spaces in New York Times piece on air conditioning

Ladies and gentlemen, we officially have a war on air conditioning in America.

Kate Murphy, a Houston, Texas-based journalist for The New York Times, recently wrote a column on air conditioning, in which she complained about indoor spaces that she thinks are too cold because of what she considers to be excessive air conditioning in places like offices, courtrooms, movie theaters, coffee shops, and department stores:

IT’S summertime. The season when you can write your name in the condensation on the windows at Starbucks, people pull on parkas to go to the movies and judges have been known to pause proceedings so bailiffs can escort jurors outside the courthouse to warm up.

On these, the hottest days of the year, office workers huddle under fleece blankets in their cubicles. Cold complaints trend on Twitter with posts like, “I could preserve dead bodies in the office it’s so cold in here.” And fashion and style bloggers offer advice for layered looks for coming in and out of the cold.

Why is America so over air-conditioned? It seems absurd, if not unconscionable, when you consider the money and energy wasted — not to mention the negative impact on the environment from the associated greenhouse-gas emissions. Architects, engineers, building owners and energy experts sigh with exasperation when asked for an explanation. They tick off a number of reasons — probably the most vexing is cultural.

[…]

Commercial real estate brokers and building managers say sophisticated tenants specify so-called chilling capacity in their lease agreements so they are guaranteed cold cachet. In retailing, luxury stores like Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue are kept colder than more down-market Target, Walmart and Old Navy. Whole Foods is chillier than Kroger, which is chillier than Piggly Wiggly.

While Murphy has a few valid points in her piece, such as wasted energy associated with air conditioning, greenhouse gas emissions associated with air conditioning, and luxury retailers using more air conditioning than low-end retailers (which is what I like to call chill inequality), I hate hot places and hot spaces with a passion. During the summer months here in the east-central part of Illinois, it can get extremely hot outside, and I would feel very uncomfortable for months on end without air conditioning. I have air conditioning in my bedroom, and that’s where I’m the most comfortable in the summer months. The only reason why I don’t set the temperature lower on my window air conditioner than I have it now (75°F) is because my parents would complain about me running up the power bill if I set the air conditioner temperature lower.

I’m shocked that a Texan like Kate Murphy would complain about air conditioning, given how excessively hot Texas can get during the summer months.