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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Those taxes

Provisionally, I tend toward the view that Trump himself sent his 2005 taxes to David Cay Johnson. Who else would have access?

The release does little or no damage to Trump, and serves as a marvelous diversion from Russiagate. As a bonus, Trump gets to proclaim that "the dishonest media" stole the documents -- which, of course, they did not -- and that publication was illegal -- which, of course, it was not.
The purported tax documents, which were aired live on MSNBC, bore a stamp that read “Client copy.” Johnston said the documents were sent to him, but said he did not know where they came from. At one point, as he spoke to Maddow, Johnston seemed to imply that Trump himself may have sent him the returns.

"It's entirely possible Donald (Trump) sent this to me," he added. "Donald has a long history of leaking material himself."
A sound theory. Also see here:
Whoever has access to "client copy" of Trump's 2005 tax returns likely has access to others. So why only leak that year's. I smell a rat…
Also, Trump refused to confirm the negative 1995 taxes published by the NYTimes. BUT, they confirmed these favorable taxes in hours. #fishy
Trump is not a stupid man, despite appearances.

It's late and I'm too tired to dig up the links, but we've seen these taxes before. He was being sued around that time and had to provide the tax returns in discovery. The STATE version leaked during the campaign. A considerable amount of blogger and media energy was expended analyzing these sparse tidbits, finally reaching the conclusion that:

- He used a tax gimmick (since made illegal) to create a $900M+ Net Operating loss
- He "probably" used the carry-forward to offset 18 years of taxable income (at $50M/year)

The only new tidbits here are (a) the amount of Federal taxeas paid (The earlier leak was his State return), and (b) the Alternative Minimum Tax angle.

I'm amazed that Rachel was able to generate a whole hour of hullabaloo over these slim pickings.

(No I'm not. That's her specialty - dragging every story out to the nth degree.)
Yes, Trump is not stupid. His whole Twitter persona (the misspelled words, the multiple exclamation marks, the random all-caps exclamations) is a careful put-on, in my opinion. He knows how to sell himself to the kind of people who read supermarket tabloids. It's no accident that he gets the most positive coverage from the National Enquirer. Its readers are his true constituency.

No doubt, he is just dumb enough to authentically inhabit the role. But I've been telling liberals I know for more than a year that there is a deeply cunning man behind the mask.

The cunning is in understanding what Hitler said in My New Order, one of the few books Trump is said to have read: all propaganda, or what we today call "messaging," must be tailored not just to the lowest common denominator but to the lowest, period. These are the lumpenproletariat - the masses that Marx said were hopeless, could never be organized. Well, they can be, especially in times of crisis and by celebrity, and they are far more numerous than democracies acknowledge.
A Sunday morning TV news show I'd watch (I can't recall ever watching any) would have seated at a table like authors or movie directors: Rachel, Marcy, Louise, Naomi, and Naomi. Maybe the best journalists, reporters, and opinion writers would always join them. As likely as not one or another would quote Cannonfire once in a blue moon, which is nothing to sneer at.
I agree - I think he leaked them himself also.

While I don't find Trump brilliant, he's smart enough. My prayer is that he's had his fingers in so many dirty pies, eventually something will break.

I don't think he's smart enough to handle it all at the same time. My hope anyway.
What We Can All Learn from Maddow's Trump Taxes Broadcast
If it was indeed a White House distraction, it's up to us not to be distracted.
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