Posts Tagged ‘The New York Times’

Tax evader, faux philanthropist, unsuccessful businessman: Reviewing Trump’s qualifications to serve as president

October 7, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Oct. 7, 2016

In a little more than four weeks, Americans will choose the 45th president of the United States of America. I am, frankly, not wild about the Democratic Party’s nominee, Hillary Clinton, for whom I did not vote in the North Carolina primary election. But as regular readers will know, I have no love or respect for Donald Trump.

But even though I feel somewhat jaded about this presidential contest, every few days, at least one or two items come out — usually because Trump has done or said something outrageous or because reporters have uncovered one of Trump’s past exploits — that leave me astonished that the Republican Party decided Trump was a fitting candidate to lead the free world.

Here’s a recap from the past few days, mainly prompted by The New York Times’s receipt of leaked partial tax returns. The documents showed that Trump declared a loss on his 1995 income tax returns that was large enough to exempt him from paying federal taxes for 18 years.

Trump took advantage of loopholes that, while legal, are available mainly to people who are rich or who develop real estate or both. It’s long been suspected that Trump has evaded a great deal of tax liability, but the Times story lent additional credence to that notion.

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Recent Readings for July 1, 2016

July 1, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
July 1, 2016

• “The Love Song of Robert Bentley, Alabama’s Horndog Governor.” GQ political correspondent Jason Zengerle dives into one of the recent scandals that has rocked the Alabama political world: The extramarital affair between Gov. Robert Bentley, a kindly dermatologist and grandfather whom some nicknamed “the accidental governor,” and a senior adviser. The whole thing is sordid, and includes the firing of one of the governor’s friends, a top state law enforcement official, because he crossed Bentley and his lover. Perhaps the most shocking thing about the entire affair is how Bentley’s entire character and life appear to have changed as a result of his dalliance.

• “Is Mike Hubbard the Most Corrupt Politician in America?” Gov. Bentley isn’t the only politician from the Yellowhammer State to have run into serious trouble. In 2010, former sports broadcasting mogul Mike Hubbard masterminded a Republican takeover of all branches of Alabama state government after Democrats had held the legislature for 136 straight years. In 2012, a grand jury indicted Hubbard on 23 felony counts. This article by Joe Miller was the first in a series of five New Republic stories describing the charges against Hubbard and his trial, which concluded in June with a mixed verdict.

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What the likely official (non)response to Carolina Rising’s dubious activity says about accountability in politics

October 22, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Oct. 22, 2015

I wanted to revisit Robert Maguire’s investigation into Carolina Rising, which I mentioned earlier today in Recent Readings. The group is ostensibly a 501(c)(4) social welfare nonprofit, but Maguire, writing for the Center for Responsive Politics, raises questions about whether it engaged in illegal campaign activity. Most of the organization’s $4.8 million was spent on advertisements in support of Thom Tillis, then the speaker of the state House of Representatives and now North Carolina’s junior U.S. senator.

Carolina Rising was founded by Dallas Woodhouse, a former head of the state chapter of the Koch brothers–funded Americans for Prosperity who was recently chosen to head the North Carolina Republican Party. (Woodhouse’s twin brother, Brad, is a prominent liberal; last year, their mom called C-SPAN during a segment featuring both siblings to say that she hoped they’d be able to abstain from political bickering over Christmas.)

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Recent Readings for Sept. 29, 2015

September 29, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Sept. 29, 2015

• The next Supreme Court term. Ian Millhiser of ThinkProgress has a useful primer on three cases that the Supreme Court is scheduled to consider in its next term, which starts on Monday. One of the cases could result in depriving public-sector unions of what are called agency fees or fair share fees, a vital funding stream. Another could change how state legislatures draw their districts. A third case, Fisher vs. University of Texas, which the court already considered in 2012, could affect the future of affirmative action. Millhiser also notes that the court is likely to agree to hear two major reproductive health rights cases.

• Skeptical police response to sexual assault allegations ultimately costs a young child his life. Katie J.M. Baker’s feature article about Virginia authorities’ questionable handling of a possible rape electrified my Twitter feed Sunday evening. Police didn’t believe the complainant and ended up filing charges against her and her sister — charges that were used as leverage against the sister in what turned out to be a fateful custody hearing. The next time someone is tempted to ask why a potential rape victim didn’t contact the authorities, he or she would do well to remember Baker’s chronicle.

• Can the brother of a victim in the Lockerbie bombing help bring perpetrators to justice? Patrick Radden Keefe describes the many ways in which an obsession with the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 has forever changed Ken Dornstein’s life. Only one man was ever convicted for his involvement with this act of terrorism, but after finishing Keefe’s story, I was persuaded that at least one other individual likely got away with mass murder.

Author’s note: Dornstein’s film, My Brother’s Bomber, will be broadcast in three parts on the PBS documentary series Frontline beginning tonight; the second and third segments will air on Oct. 6 and Oct. 13. MEM

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Is the conservative #BENGHAZI!!! scandal narrative ill-served by the facts of the Benghazi attacks? A brief investigation

November 22, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Nov. 22, 2014

This afternoon, I conducted a quick review of four websites — two of them mainstream news organizations, two of them avowedly conservative news organizations — and their coverage of the latest news relating to the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks against American outposts in Benghazi, Libya.

Let’s start with the mainstream coverage.

At The Washington Post, a story titled “House panel finds no intelligence failure in Benghazi attacks” was featured in prominent real estate — the top-left corner of the home page. Greg Miller’s article, posted Friday, Nov. 21, at 8:53 p.m., begins:

An investigation by the Republican-led House Intelligence Committee has concluded that the CIA and U.S. military responded appropriately to the attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012, dismissing allegations that the Obama administration blocked rescue attempts during the assault or sought to mislead the public afterward.

After a two-year probe that involved the review of thousands of pages of classified documents, the panel determined that the attack could not be blamed on an intelligence failure, and that CIA security operatives “ably and bravely assisted” State Department officials who were overwhelmed at a nearby but separate diplomatic compound.

The committee also found “no evidence that there was either a stand down order or a denial of available air support,” rejecting claims that have fed persistent conspiracy theories that the U.S. military was prevented from rescuing U.S. personnel from a night-time assault that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

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