Russiagate: Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III Does Not Approve of Our “Free Press”

Head of the only Department of Justice we have, by the “grace” of the GOP and its figurehead thug now squatting in the Oval Office. This things are handled so much more discretely in Putin’s Russia, he thinks. Buried in a Washington Post story, “Sessions tells lawmakers he will not discuss his conversations with Trump on Comey firing”:

At one point, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) asked Sessions if he could commit to not putting reporters in jail for doing their jobs, a reference to the president’s attacks against the media and the many leak investigations the Justice Department is conducting.

“I don’t know that I can make a blanket commitment to that effect, but I would say this: We have not taken any aggressive action against the media at this point,” Sessions said. He added: “We always try to find an alternative way, as you probably know, Senator Klobuchar, to directly confronting a media person, but that’s not a total blanket protection.”…

Of his personal confidence in Mueller, Sessions said: “I think he will produce the work in a way he thinks is correct, and history will judge.” He said he was not involved in the case even before his recusal and that he did not know if it would be “appropriate” for Trump to pardon people who were under investigation by Mueller. But he added that the “pardon power is quite broad.”…

.

Nice democracy ya got here — shame if anything were to happen to it…

I truly hope Mr. Mueller will not allow himself to be intimidated by Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III.






128 replies
  1. 1
    rikyrah says:

    Of course Attorney General White Citizens Council doesn’t approve of it.

    Lips pursed.

  2. 2
    boatboy_srq says:

    Conservatists hate a free press.

    They also detest education, religious affiliations different from their own, gender identity different from their own public personas, the poor, Blahs, Browns, women, and anything that actually makes any of those things look positive.

  3. 3
    rikyrah says:

    They want their tax cuts and they want them NOW, YOU MOOCHERS!!!
    HOW DARE you peasants question whether our overlords should get their tax cuts!

    Team Trump suggests it’s ‘hard not to give tax cuts to the wealthy’
    10/19/17 08:40 AM
    By Steve Benen
    Republican policymakers are confronting all kinds of challenges while trying to advance some kind of tax reform package, and near the top is a political problem: Americans don’t want to see the wealthy get another giant tax break, and that appears to be the centerpiece of the GOP plan.

    For the most part, Donald Trump and his allies have largely dealt with this dilemma by lying – the president has repeatedly said working-class Americans would be the main beneficiaries, which is absurdly untrue – but Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin made a very different case to Politico this week. As Mnuchin sees it, Republicans are giving the rich a big tax cut, but only because it’s too darn difficult not to.

    Mnuchin also changed course somewhat in his defense of the GOP’s tax blueprint, conceding it would slash taxes on the wealthy but that doing so was unavoidable because rich people already pay so much in tax.

    “The top 20 percent of the people pay 95 percent of the taxes. The top 10 percent of the people pay 81 percent of the taxes,” he said. “So when you’re cutting taxes across the board, it’s very hard not to give tax cuts to the wealthy with tax cuts to the middle class. The math, given how much you are collecting, is just hard to do.”

    ………………………………………….

    Republicans, as Steve Mnuchin apparently conceded, aren’t doing that at all. Indeed, not only are they pushing an across-the-board tax cut that necessarily helps those at the top, they’re adding insult to injury by adding additional tax breaks – such as cutting the estate tax – that exclusively benefit the wealthiest of the wealthy.

    This is the result of deliberate policymaking. Mnuchin presented these results this week as some kind of arithmetical necessity, but that’s ridiculous. Republicans have made a choice to help the wealthy, and that choice is reflected in their proposal.

  4. 4
    rikyrah says:

    Vox’s Matt Yglesias explained yesterday, shaping a more progressive tax-cut plan is pretty straightforward:

    You’d start with some tax policy measures that benefit people at the bottom and the middle of the economic hierarchy. An expanded Child Tax Credit, something that some Republicans support, would help an enormous number of poor and middle-class families – especially if it were made fully refundable. An expanded Earned Income Tax Credit, including provisions to allow childless men to benefit, would do the same.

    And then of course you could add in an old-fashioned rate cut. Drop the 10 percent bracket to 9 or 8 or 7 depending on your taste. Or modestly cut the payroll tax.

  5. 5
    SFAW says:

    One hopes that any indictments Mueller hands out include this evil, racist, Putin-loving motherfucker. The only uncertainty would be: before or after Shitgibbon gets indicted? Probably after, so that Lying Littledick Loser can’t pardon him to keep him from testifying. Although I imagine there’s (theoretically) nothing preventing Lying Littledick from issuing a pardon before an indictment.

  6. 6
    rikyrah says:

    The check Trump promised to send to a grieving father, but didn’t
    10/19/17 08:00 AM
    By Steve Benen

    In January 2016, Donald Trump held a fundraiser in Iowa for veterans’ charities, and at the end of the event, the Republican made a bold boast: he’d raised $6 million for vets, and he’d contributed $1 million out of his own pocket.
    A few months later, the public learned that neither of Trump’s claims were true: he’d exaggerated the total amount of donations, and the money Trump vowed to contribute from his personal finances hadn’t been sent. The then-candidate scrambled to send the money only after journalists began asking about his broken promise.

    Something eerily similar happened yesterday.

    We talked briefly about the Washington Post’s reporting on Chris Baldridge, whose son, Army Cpl. Dillon Baldridge, was killed in Afghanistan. The president called the father directly and said something unexpected.

    President Trump, in a personal phone call to a grieving military father, offered him $25,000 and said he would direct his staff to establish an online fundraiser for the family, but neither happened, the father said.

    A White House spokesperson insisted yesterday that a check “has been sent,” and described the line of inquiry as “disgusting.” But that led to an obvious question: did Trump send the money or not?

    As it turns out, the White House did send the check – yesterday. In other words, Trump kept his promise months after the fact, but only when confronted with questions, just like when he lied last year about the money he’d donated to veterans’ charities.

  7. 7
    Corner Stone says:

    I truly hope Mr. Mueller will not allow himself to be intimidated by Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III.

    I truly hope that is some kind of very deadpan snark. Because there ain’t no way in hell Bobby is backing down or off Mr. Sessions.
    In the Battle of The Three Sticks, my money is on Mueller.

  8. 8
    rikyrah says:

    THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW 10/18/17
    Trump disgrace laid bare in interactions with gold star families
    Rachel Maddow struggles to process how it could be reality that Donald Trump has picked a fight with the families of people who died in service to the United States, to whom Americans owe a debt, not an insult.

  9. 9
    Corner Stone says:

    @rikyrah: It’s just weird. Who would say they are going to send them money?

  10. 10
    SFAW says:

    @rikyrah:

    “The top 20 percent of the people pay 95 percent of the taxes. The top 10 percent of the people pay 81 percent of the taxes,” he said.

    Poor babies! How much of the nation’s wealth is owned by them, fuckwad? How much MORE have they benefited from an improved/improving economy than the non-wealthy have, you motherfucker?

  11. 11
    rikyrah says:

    THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW 10/18/17
    Maddow: What is Trump hiding about U.S. military in Niger?
    Rachel Maddow points out that for all the attention given to Trump’s disgraceful behavior toward gold star families, the actual question Trump was asked was about Niger. Why the Trump distraction?

  12. 12
    rikyrah says:

    They are not patriots. They are TRAITORS TO THIS COUNTRY.

    THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW 10/18/17
    Sessions testimony reveals no DoJ plan to protect elections
    Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, talks with Rachel Maddow about testimony from Jeff Sessions in which he reveals that the Justice Department does not have a plan to protect future elections from outside influence.

  13. 13
    rikyrah says:

    THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW 10/18/17
    Brennan: ‘Implausible’ Russians had no US cooperation on election
    Rachel Maddow shares video of former CIA director John Brennan explaining that he thinks it is implausible that Russians were not able to get some help, wittingly or unwittingly, from Americans in their mission to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election.

  14. 14
    rikyrah says:

    Trump’s health care ‘incoherence’ undermines bipartisan deal
    10/19/17 09:23 AM
    By Steve Benen

    Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) has earned a reputation for being pretty mild-mannered, and we don’t usually hear her publicly express frustrations with other policymakers. But yesterday, as the AP reported, even Murray found Donald Trump erraticism hard to take.

    President Donald Trump is proving to be an erratic trading partner as he kicks thorny policy issues to Congress and then sends conflicting signals about what he really wants.

    His rapid backpedal on a short-term health care fix this week is the latest example to leave Republicans and Democrats alike scratching their heads.

    “The president has had six positions on our bill,” an exasperated Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said Wednesday after Trump offered multiple reads on a bipartisan plan to keep health insurance markets in business, ultimately ending with a thumbs-down.

  15. 15
    SFAW says:

    @rikyrah:

    As it turns out, the White House did send the check – yesterday.

    1) Did it come from the Shitgibbon Organization, or from Lying Littledick himself? (As if there’s any doubt.)
    2) Has the check bounced yet?
    3) Was the check made payable to “That Soldier’s Father”? Or did Motherfucker-in-Chief actually get Mr. Brooks’s name right?

    What a lying motherfucker he is.

  16. 16
    rikyrah says:

    Roy Moore falsely claims kneeling protests are ‘against the law’
    10/19/17 10:00 AM
    By Steve Benen

    ……………………………………

    Senate candidate Roy Moore believes that professional athletes who take a knee during the national anthem are breaking the law.

    In an interview with TIME magazine, the Alabama Republican argued that NFL players and others who have protested police violence are violating a section of the U.S. code which outlines how people should conduct themselves when the anthem is played. (The code merely outlines proper etiquette, and there are no legal penalties outlined in the law.)

    “It’s against the law, you know that?” he said. “It was an act of Congress that every man stand and put their hand over their heart. That’s the law.”

    No, it’s not. There is no such law. In fact, if Congress tried to pass such a law, it’d be unconstitutional under existing Supreme Court precedent. As one justice famously wrote, ”[T]hose who begin coercive elimination of dissent soon find themselves exterminating dissenters. Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard.”

  17. 17
    kindness says:

    If Sessions does go before Mueller I think he’ll have a stroke. Sessions is used to Senatorial courtesy of being able to openly bullshit and not have the people he’s talking to call him on it.

    Mueller is under no such obligation. Gasket blown. Can’t happen soon enough imho.

  18. 18
    rikyrah says:

    @Corner Stone:

    @rikyrah: It’s just weird. Who would say they are going to send them money?

    It really is disgusting. Let me throw you some money. And, then, don’t send the money.

  19. 19
    SFAW says:

    @rikyrah:

    the Justice Department does not have a plan to protect future elections from outside influence.

    Protect them? Shit, they’re HOPING, if not directly asking, for more Russian interference.

  20. 20
    SFAW says:

    @kindness:

    If Sessions does go before Mueller I think he’ll have a stroke.

    From your keyboard to FSM’s noodley earlike appendages.

    ETA: Pedant alert: one assumes “he’ll” refers to Sessions, not Mueller, of course.

  21. 21
    geg6 says:

    I truly hope Mr. Mueller will not allow himself to be intimidated by Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III.

    I really don’t think we need to worry about this. The Evil Elf didn’t come off smart enough yesterday to intimidate my Lovey, let alone Mueller.

  22. 22
    eclare says:

    @SFAW: I find those percentages extremely difficult to believe.

  23. 23
    FlipYrWhig says:

    So when you’re cutting taxes across the board, it’s very hard not to give tax cuts to the wealthy

    Here’s a thought, fuckface: how about putting some THOUGHT into which taxes to cut rather than “cutting taxes across the board” because you’re a bunch of depraved greedy rich people with no imaginations and whose thought bubbles have never been filled with anything but bags of money with dollar signs on them and “gimme gimme gimme”?

  24. 24

    Military experts, what do you think of the latest memo from the army about not letting GC holders enlist? WTF is going on with that.

  25. 25
    Amir Khalid says:

    @rikyrah:
    Roy Moore, I’ve noticed, understands the law as supporting his prejudices, no matter what it says in black and white. In support of this understanding, he is quite happy to make shit up. It’s twice gotten him kicked out of a job as his state’s Chief Justice, but he is nothing if not steadfast in his beliefs.

  26. 26
    SFAW says:

    @eclare:

    I find those percentages extremely difficult to believe.

    Me, too.

  27. 27
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @eclare: I googled “top 20 percent of households pay how much in taxes” and got numbers in that general ballpark IF ALL YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT IS FEDERAL INCOME TAXES as opposed to payroll taxes and such.

  28. 28

    @eclare: It could very well be true, but it’s still a bullshit argument. You probably already know, but for anyone who’s wondering:

    Let’s say there are two people in the country: one making $10 per year, and the other making $100,000. The person making $10 pays $2 in taxes. The person making $100,000 a year pays $8 in taxes. The person making $100,000 a year pays 80% of the country’s taxes. Ta da! Fox News talking point!

  29. 29
    randy khan says:

    @geg6: @geg6:

    The Evil Elf didn’t come off smart enough yesterday to intimidate my Lovey, let alone Mueller.

    I doubt you’d even need Mueller. Any half-competent FBI agent probably would have Sessions begging for mercy within 5 minutes.

    Personally, I found it fascinating that Sessions had to read from a prepared statement to respond to (well, not respond to) Franken’s question. Among other things, it made the fake outrage even more obviously fake.

  30. 30
    SFAW says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Here’s a thought, fuckface

    He DOES have ein Backpfeifengesicht, that’s for sure

  31. 31
    eclare says:

    @FlipYrWhig: And as someone who gets a W-2 and not a trust or partnership share, I am very aware of payroll taxes.

  32. 32
    randy khan says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Of course. And if you throw in payroll taxes, the percentage changes significantly because Social Security actually is a regressive tax over the entire income range. As a percentage of income it’s negligible for someone making $1 million or more a year, and zero on any income other than wages.

  33. 33
    fuckwit says:

    @rikyrah: have some paper towels too

  34. 34
    Juice Box says:

    The Atlantic has a good piece about Facebook’s effect on the elections. We don’t know what the other side is seeing in their “news” feed.

  35. 35
    Immanentize says:

    I am starting to worry about Sessions. Before I simply despised him and thought he would end up like Meese and Thornburgh — just undermining rights and protections as they could. But his testimony yesterday was unlike anything I have ever seen before — even Gonzales did not act like such a disrespectful ass before the Senate. It seemed like Grassley was tired of his bullshit as well. He clearly does not understand the job, has very personal and petty grievances, and is getting backed into a corner on his lies. Dangerous fucking guy in a dangerous fucking moment.

  36. 36
    Brachiator says:

    Laura Rozen‏
    @lrozen

    More Laura Rozen Retweeted Julian Borger
    seemingly proving Franken’s point about changing the goal posts!

    Changing goal posts. Even more malicious than moving goal posts!

  37. 37
    rikyrah says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Military experts, what do you think of the latest memo from the army about not letting GC holders enlist? WTF is going on with that.

    Not a military expert, but I think it’s illegal.

  38. 38
    rikyrah says:

    @Immanentize:
    That bullshyt he did yesterday won’t fly when under oath facing Bobby Three Sticks.

  39. 39
    MomSense says:

    Sessions’ answers came across to this lay person as being one long perjury dodge. It also seems to me that every member of that committee knows it. Is it a possibility that the committee (Dem members anyway) is just going through the motions with him to build the case that Mueller is making against him? It seems like not being forthcoming with the committee is a form of obstruction.

    The whole thing was just bizarre.

  40. 40

    T’s minions have argued in courts, time and again that non-citizens have no rights in this country. If we are truly a country of laws as the Constitution says, then T’s antithetical to our continued existence. His approach to governance so far has been ruling like a king who is above the law.

  41. 41
    Betty Cracker says:

    @FlipYrWhig: It’s also approximately commensurate to the share of wealth the top 10% holds, so cry me a fucking river, fat cats!

  42. 42
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @eclare: IMHO the success of Republican anti-tax hysteria has been predominantly the result of creating and then amplifying confusion between “taxes” and “income taxes,” such that when people hear that nearly half the country “isn’t paying income taxes” they think “those people are getting away with something!” even when many of them are _precisely_ the ones not paying income taxes. They think of themselves as the virtuous hardworking taxpaying kind of American and not free riders _because there are taxes taken out of their paychecks_. Well, that, and because they’re white.

  43. 43

    @rikyrah: This administration believes that it is above the law.

  44. 44
    MomSense says:

    @fuckwit:

    Throw some playdoh (and I do mean actually throw it) and we have a deal!

  45. 45
    Roger Moore says:

    @rikyrah:
    Of course it’s hard to write a massive tax cut without slashing taxes on the wealthy. After all, it’s the wealthy people who are screaming loudest for that massive tax cut, and the whole point of doing it is to benefit them. The thing about Mnuchin’s comments is that he’s just assuming that there needs to be a massive tax cut; there’s no serious attempt to justify why it’s a good idea, only to justify why the one we’re getting looks the way it does.

  46. 46
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mingobat f/k/a Karen in GA: There’s also a temptation in hearing “80% of the taxes” and thinking momentarily that it means “80% of their incomes in taxes.”

  47. 47
    Immanentize says:

    @rikyrah: Agreed. The fact he has not yet been contacted is probably making him sweat more than anything else. Mueller is super smart and super careful. He builds his cases from the bottom like all good prosecutors. Those at the top just feel increasing heat from below (and then from their sides) without really knowing what is going to happen to them personally.

  48. 48
    eclare says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Also, estate tax=death tax. How ordinary people who never in a million years would be subject to the estate tax get all up in arms about it drives me insane.

  49. 49
    Immanentize says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    This administration believes that it is above the law.

    FTFY

  50. 50
    Brachiator says:

    @Immanentize:

    I am starting to worry about Sessions….He clearly does not understand the job, has very personal and petty grievances, and is getting backed into a corner on his lies. Dangerous fucking guy in a dangerous fucking moment.

    Hmmm. Who does that remind me of?

  51. 51
    nasruddin says:

    @rikyrah: WIth this reneger, the story isn’t over until the check clears.

  52. 52
    burnspbesq says:

    @rikyrah:

    Or modestly cut the payroll tax.

    Thereby setting the stage for future Republican claims that OASDI and Medicare benefits have to be cut in order for the programs to remain solvent? Umm, no thanks, Matt.

  53. 53
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @eclare: That one I think got all fused with “dying intestate” and various colloquial versions of how lottery winners end up with only half their stuff. Hence “the death tax” became shorthand for the fear that the government is always looking for a lowdown way to screw you out of half your stuff.

  54. 54
    nasruddin says:

    @Immanentize: He seemed clueless and desperate. Clueless, because he proved
    Franken’s point for him, and desperate because he babbled and retreated to a haughty attitude.

    His defense attorney should not allow him to testify.

  55. 55
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @eclare: Mnuchin is doing the usual deception of pretending that federal income tax (which falls disproportionately on high earners) is the only kind of tax. Those numbers may be accurate for 2016 federal income tax (the detailed numbers I can find are slightly lower but are for 2012, and I get the impression there was an effect of bracket creep).

  56. 56
    Immanentize says:

    @Brachiator: It’s the entire cast of Titus Andronicus! Who may end up with the same fate?

  57. 57
    japa21 says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Don’t have time to double check but I think there has been a policy change regarding how GC holders are handled. Used to be, if a GC holder enlisted, they were allowed to immediately start while a background check was being done. The background check was always there. Now, they can enlist but can’t start until background check is finished.

    ETA: This is what I read a few days ago. Perhaps they have gone even further.

  58. 58
    FlyingToaster says:

    Test (FYWP thinks I’m spam)

  59. 59
    randy khan says:

    @nasruddin:

    His defense attorney should not allow him to testify.

    It would be a problem, to say the least, if the Attorney General refused to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

  60. 60
    Matt McIrvin says:

    …And, of course, even for federal income tax, the effective rates paid by the highest earners are not that high. They are just making a huge fraction of the income, so they pay a lot of income tax.

  61. 61
    Immanentize says:

    @nasruddin: Sessions also kept reading from a few pages of prepared notes (which he fumbled badly because they were stapled which is always a testimony no no. The Committee is entitled to a copy of his talking points — I didn’t hear anyone ask for them, however. Oversight ha!

  62. 62
    Brachiator says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    There’s also a temptation in hearing “80% of the taxes” and thinking momentarily that it means “80% of their incomes in taxes.”

    Yep. Just like “a top tax rate of 80%” does not mean that 80% of all income would be taxed at that rate.

    And the supposedly high taxes paid by the wealthy has not prevented them from amassing larger fortunes over the past few decades. You could say that the system is working well when rich people can pay taxes and still greatly increase their wealth. Directly contradicts the idea that evil government is confiscating their money.

    @rikyrah:

    An expanded Earned Income Tax Credit, including provisions to allow childless men to benefit, would do the same.

    Should be childless people! Not every working woman has a child or multiple children.

    And then of course you could add in an old-fashioned rate cut. Drop the 10 percent bracket to 9 or 8 or 7 depending on your taste. Or modestly cut the payroll tax.

    Yep. Lots of ways to cut taxes on lower and middle income people. But also in my ideal universe, we would gradually cut back some of the tax credits for people who have more than 4 kids. I’m not seeing a reason to subsidize too much “being fruitful and multiplying.” But this would be a very low priority.

    Also, estate tax=death tax. How ordinary people who never in a million years would be subject to the estate tax get all up in arms about it drives me insane.

    People can easily imagine being rich. And they want taxes to be very low in their imaginary kingdom.

  63. 63
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Mingobat f/k/a Karen in GA: It’s actually not even true: those numbers ignore all state taxes, federal payroll tax, property and excise taxes, sales taxes, etc.

  64. 64

    @Matt McIrvin: Much of the 1%’s income is unearned and thus taxed at a lower rate to start with. That always seems odd to me. Money you work for and earn is taxed more?

  65. 65
    Amir Khalid says:

    @randy khan:
    I presume the US Attorney General can be found in contempt of Congress like anybody else. Especially if he refuses, out of mere petulance, to answer pertinent questions.

  66. 66
    burnspbesq says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    The genius part of the anti-estate-tax messaging was to tie the estate tax to the supposed forced sale of family farms. There may be some “family farms” (more likely family almond groves or family vineyards) that are worth more than $11 million, but not many, and there are plenty of entirely legal ways to postpone the day of reckoning for a couple of generations.

  67. 67
    matyroshka says:

    Here in Missouri, the GOP is using the “free press” to sell their tax cut to the rubes in a series of commercials rube-‘splainin’ how great the cuts will be for the middle class.

    Sarah Kendzior has been right about everything so far.

  68. 68
    NotMax says:

    @rikyrah

    And to think I was shouted down at the time as being over the top suspicious and unseemly – in this very forum – for questioning whether the money had been sent at all for the vets not long after the ‘veterans rally’ took place, well before the revelations became public.

    Also, IIRC, the $1 million was sent to a buddy of the Dolt’s who ran an essentially one man ‘charitable’ organization of highly dubious, practically non-existent operation. There were (are?) unanswered questions about the source of the $1 million as well – whether it was ponied up by the Trump Foundation (a honey pot to which the Dolt had barely provided any monies out of pocket for quite some time).

  69. 69
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor (formerly Iowa Old Lady): Economists will give justifications for it: it’s an inducement for rich people to invest in higher-risk, higher-reward things and keep money moving through the economy, instead of hoarding it in precious metals or something. But it gives the lie to bellyaching about hard-earned riches.

    On average, across the whole population, rich people do see a higher effective rate than middle-income and poor people. But it’s just not that high–in the low twenties–and for the super-duper-rich, 0.1% and above, it does start to decline a little. Billionaires aren’t paying a significantly higher rate than the well-off salaried professionals in the surgeons-and-middle-managers stratum.

  70. 70
    Immanentize says:

    @Amir Khalid: Yes s/he can. But the process is the following — If Congress (either chamber) gets way down the road of finding someone in contempt of Congress, their next recourse is to refer it for prosecution — to the US Department of Justice. See the problem?

  71. 71
    rumpole says:

    When I was just out of school, an older lawyer that had done some criminal defense gave me some good advice: 1. Don’t let your client talk; (2) if you do talk, always have your guy tell the truth; and (3) never let your client talk to the police more than once. Even for those people who tell the complete truth, it’s difficult to tell the exact same story twice: you emphasize different things, bring out different details, etc.

    Maintaining a lie is hard. It takes brains and a really good memory. Sessions does not seem to really have either. If Mueller interviews him, he’s either going to have to admit to misleading Congress (and/or perjuring himself–depending on whether you’re under oath, it’s a felony) or possibly implicate himself in violation of a variety of federal statutes. A lot of “that’s confidential” statements reminded me of what Mark McGuire did in the steroids hearings: “I’m not here to talk about the past.”

    It’s taking the fifth without taking the fifth. Getting tough to see the smoke in that bright orange glow…

  72. 72

    @FlipYrWhig: Exactly. That’s what they want everyone to immediately think — then it sounds like the rich are practically taxed into poverty, the poor things.

  73. 73
    Brachiator says:

    @burnspbesq:

    The genius part of the anti-estate-tax messaging was to tie the estate tax to the supposed forced sale of family farms. There may be some “family farms” (more likely family almond groves or family vineyards) that are worth more than $11 million, but not many, and there are plenty of entirely legal ways to postpone the day of reckoning for a couple of generations.

    Krugman and others touched on this recently. From Factcheck.

    A study published last year and updated in March by the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that 38,328 farms would become part of estates in 2016, of which only 0.42 percent — 161 estates — would owe any estate tax at all.

    Separate research by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center puts the number even lower. TPC estimates that only 50 farms and closely held businesses will pay any estate tax in 2017.
    Part of the reason the numbers are so low is that there are exemptions for farmers and small businesses written into the estate tax code that allow most farmers — with a bit of estate planning — to avoid the estate tax altogether.

    This is the lie that won’t die. The evil federal gummit does not steal away the family ferms from po’ widders and their kiddies.

  74. 74

    @matyroshka: The same Sarah who is too good to be a Democrat?

  75. 75
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @burnspbesq: Agreed. I was mainly trying to point out that there has to be a preexisting mythology about a rapacious, confiscatory government looking for excuses to loot good people’s hard-won fortunes, so that the idea of The Government seizing swaths of (also-mythologized and faraway) tidy, virtuous family farm seems plausible in the first place.

  76. 76
    gene108 says:

    I have a tax plan. All wealth above $1 billion held by an individual goes to the government. Your max wealth is $1 billion.

    If you bitch and complain that having one billion dollars in net worth is not enough, you will be deemed mentally unfit, because $1 billion is a helluva a lot of money for any sane person. You will then lose all your money. EDIT: Because you are not sane enough to manage that much money.

    You will then be sent to a psychiatric hospital for evaluation. Upon release you will be placed on SSI, given a Section 8 housing voucher, and wished the best of luck.

  77. 77
    Immanentize says:

    @burnspbesq: There have been, in our past, wealthy people absolutely opposed to inherited wealth as anti-American and the likely source of aristocratic claims on power. Bill Gates is of that mind. By my favorite was Andrew Carnegie:

    I would as soon leave my son a curse than the almighty dollar.

    ETA corrected quote from memory to actual quote

  78. 78
    Yutsano says:

    @Brachiator:

    But also in my ideal universe, we would gradually cut back some of the tax credits for people who have more than 4 kids.

    That’s easy: subject it to the same restriction as the Earned Income Tax Credit. Three kids max.

    I am also open to a maximum of two properties subject to the mortgage interest deduction. Anything else is a sop to the super-rich/RE developers.

    EDIT: eliminate the SS payroll cap as well.

  79. 79
  80. 80
    NotMax says:

    @FlipYrWhig

    Also too, very simply put, the estate tax is not a new invention and farmers are not immortal.

    There wouldn’t be any of those oft touted family farms still around if the tax was as pervasive and rapacious as claimed.

  81. 81
  82. 82
    Corner Stone says:

    @gene108: Confiscation of obscene wealth sounds good to me. In this era of populism it sounds like something a majority of voters should be able to get behind.

  83. 83
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Immanentize: Carnegie was a real piece of shit in many ways, but he sounded almost lefty radical on this one subject. It was more of a rich-man’s-burden thing, though: he wanted rich people to have an incentive to give it all away instead of keeping it in the family.

  84. 84
    burnspbesq says:

    @Brachiator:

    My law school tax prof, Michael Graetz, co-wrote an excellent book on the politics of the estate tax.

  85. 85
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Immanentize:
    It would be absurd to allow Beauregard any say in whether or not to prosecute Beauregard. If Congress were to refer to the DoJ a case that involved prosecuting him, surely any decision would have to be taken by the deputy USAG.

  86. 86
    ruemara says:

    @Immanentize:

    Dangerous fucking guy in a dangerous fucking moment.

    That’s the motto of this administration.@japa21: They’ve gone a bit further.

  87. 87
    Brachiator says:

    @gene108:

    I have a tax plan. All wealth above $1 billion held by an individual goes to the government. Your max wealth is $1 billion.

    A former co-worker felt that no one should make more than $300,000. But I gotta ask, what business is it of yours (or mine) to specify how much a person should earn or win or whatever? It just seems weird to think that anybody should care how rich a person might become.

    Also, I joke that we need multi-billionaires because they are the only ones who can afford yachts filled with supermodels.

  88. 88
    matyroshka says:

    @schrodingers_cat: The same, but I was not aware of her voting history–only the articles she has written about how things would progress.

  89. 89
    stinger says:

    @Yutsano: I’d make an exception for families who have adopted kids. They are doing a service to society and I’d support tax credits beyond a 3-kid limit.

  90. 90
    Brachiator says:

    @burnspbesq:

    My law school tax prof, Michael Graetz, co-wrote an excellent book on the politics of the estate tax.

    Is it Death by a Thousand Cuts: The Fight over Taxing Inherited Wealth? Read some reviews and it’s on my reading wish list.

  91. 91
    Yutsano says:

    @stinger: There’s a separate adoption credit but that’s for the process. Plus do you limit it to adopted or allow fosters as well? Also: are you encouraging people to overextend their means for a fat tax credit?

  92. 92
    Brachiator says:

    @stinger:

    I’d make an exception for families who have adopted kids. They are doing a service to society and I’d support tax credits beyond a 3-kid limit.

    There are some good and worthy credits for adopted kids and adoption of special needs kids. I would retain these. But even here, I would question the wisdom of subsidizing huge households of adopted kids.

  93. 93
    MCA1 says:

    @eclare: Agreed. It’s also amazing to me that so many people simply don’t see the connection between inherited wealth and the self-reinforcing growth of economic inequality in America. Doing away with estate taxes entirely would just accelerate the concentration of wealth and power to a tiny few in society. It’s the opposite of meritocracy.

  94. 94
    trollhattan says:

    File under “H” for Holy shit. Did not see this coming.

    Former President George W. Bush warned Thursday that the United States of America was being ripped apart by external and internal strife — citing both Russian operations and white supremacists.

    “Parts of Europe have developed an identity crisis,” Bush said in a speech sponsored by the George W. Bush Institute in New York. “We have seen insolvency, economic stagnation, youth unemployment, anger about immigration, resurgent ethno-nationalism and questions about the meaning and durability of the European Union. America is not immune. In recent decades public confidence in our institutions has declined, our governing class has often been paralyzed in the face of obvious and pressing needs, the American dream of upward mobility seems out of reach to some who feel left behind in a changing economy, discontent deepened and sharpened partisan conflicts, our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication, there are some signs that the intensity of support for democracy itself has waned — especially among the young.”

    “We’ve seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty. At times it can seem like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together. Argument turns too easily into animosity, disagreement escalates into dehumanization,” Bush continued.

    The former Republican president then referenced a number of issues that have circulated around President Donald Trump and his supporters.
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    “We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism, forgotten the dynamism immigration has always brought to America, the fading value of trade, we’ve seen the return of isolationist sentiments forgetting that American security is directly threatened by the chaos and despair of distant places where threats such as terrorism, infectious disease, criminal gangs and drug trafficking tend to emerge. In all these ways, we need to recall and recover our own identity.”

    Bush said the United States needed to harden its defenses against Russia, which has used social media in a disinformation campaign targeting Americans. He also said the U.S. government needed to ensure its voting system was protected from cyber attacks.

    Uh, did not see the post upstairs. Move along.

  95. 95
    rikyrah says:

    @burnspbesq:

    There may be some “family farms” (more likely family almond groves or family vineyards) that are worth more than $11 million, but not many, and there are plenty of entirely legal ways to postpone the day of reckoning for a couple of generations.

    Someone actually looked it up.
    Last year it was 80.

    EIGHTY in a country of 300+ million people.

  96. 96
    Doug R says:

    @gene108: @Corner Stone: According to you two, Robespierre was too kind.
    Up in Canuckistan we don’t tax lottery winners and charge a little bit more taxes and we don’t have riots. Except when hockey teams lose the Stanley Cup, that is.
    As Martin Luther King Jr and Nelson Mandela used to say: “We are all cut from the same cloth” and even wealth performs a function. We just need them to stop being so dysfunctional and contribute more to the common good by soaking them a bit more.

  97. 97
    rikyrah says:

    @NotMax:

    He literally has a slushfund of OVER $50 MILLION from the Inauguration THAT IS UNACCOUNTED FOR.

  98. 98
    El Caganer says:

    @Roger Moore: Perhaps he wishes to replicate the Kansas Miracle.

  99. 99
    stinger says:

    @Yutsano: The existing adoption process includes some means testing. At least in my state. As to a “fat” tax credit, $1000 doesn’t get you a set of braces.

  100. 100
    MCA1 says:

    @Matt McIrvin: “Billionaires aren’t paying a significantly higher rate than the well-off salaried professionals in the surgeons-and-middle-managers stratum.”

    They’re not paying a higher rate at all. Since the vast bulk of their income is capital gains, carried interest or other unearned income, their effective rates are significantly lower than the average well-off salaried professional’s. The latter get hammered by the alternative minimum tax and pay the highest effective tax rates of anyone in the population. I can attest to this from personal experience, once a year, when I see the AMT add a 5-digit number to my return. With FICA, ACA, federal and state rolled together, I push dangerously close to 30% of overall income. Which is fine – I’m all for progressive taxation and I voluntarily live in a blue state, etc. But then I see guys who run p.e. shops and hedge funds getting carried interest treatment and deriving most of their income (2-10x mine) through capital gains through their funds, with an effective rate closer to 20%, or real estate developers writing down income by depreciation or booking losses to offset what they pay themselves, and it’s infuriating.

    I wish someone had told me at age 21 that being a lawyer/engineer/corporate management type was a sucker’s game, and to go get an MBA and go into private equity because the income tax system is completely rigged for them.

  101. 101
    stinger says:

    @Brachiator: How are you defining a “huge household”? I grew up in a family of 6 kids, none adopted. (And we weren’t even Catholic.) These days that would seem large; are you defining it as huge?

  102. 102
    randy khan says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Well, the House did that for Eric Holder (although it’s never been clear to me that he was in contempt so much as not giving the committee the answers it wanted), so the Senate certainly could do it for Sessions.

  103. 103
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Brachiator: Because extreme wealth is extreme power. You can leave them alone but they won’t leave you alone; they will find ways to take even more of your money, and prevent you from doing anything about it.

    We seem to have exhausted all avenues for keeping wealthy people from controlling the political system short of confiscating their wealth.

  104. 104
    Brachiator says:

    @stinger:

    How are you defining a “huge household”? I grew up in a family of 6 kids, none adopted. (And we weren’t even Catholic.) These days that would seem large; are you defining it as huge?

    As another poster noted, I think that tax credits should max at 3 kids, which is currently what happens with the Earned Income Tax Credit. There is currently no limit on the Child Tax Credit. Also, I would reduce this credit, not eliminate it entirely.

    But as I noted, this would be a low priority. The $500,000 maximum for bonus depreciation for small businesses has not been shown to stimulate the economy and seems to be a waste of money. I would reduce or eliminate this and prevent it from being used to generate net operating losses.

    The existing adoption process includes some means testing. At least in my state. As to a “fat” tax credit, $1000 doesn’t get you a set of braces.

    The maximum adoption credit for 2016 is $13,460 per child. It is currently a non-refundable credit, but can be carried forward.

  105. 105
    Corner Stone says:

    @Brachiator: I am more interested in guaranteeing a low end/bottom level than I am at restricting a top level. However, ISTM that as long as we have a $10Billionaire fighting tooth and nail to become an $11Billionaire, by advocating and buying non/regulations that harm the commonweal, maybe we should discard the accepted dogma and consider what it actually means to live in a society.

  106. 106
    Corner Stone says:

    @Doug R: Robespierre was a squish.

  107. 107
    Brachiator says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    Because extreme wealth is extreme power. You can leave them alone but they won’t leave you alone; they will find ways to take even more of your money, and prevent you from doing anything about it.

    We seem to have exhausted all avenues for keeping wealthy people from controlling the political system short of confiscating their wealth.

    Exteme wealth is potentially extreme power. So is the power of the mob using the government to decide how much a person can earn, or how much wealth they can accumulate. You seem to be turning having wealth into a kind of “pre-crime” and assuming that all wealthy people will do evil.

    Carnegie was a real piece of shit in many ways, but he sounded almost lefty radical on this one subject. It was more of a rich-man’s-burden thing, though: he wanted rich people to have an incentive to give it all away instead of keeping it in the family.

    Yep, Carnegie exploited his workers and worked hard to defeat his competitors. But he came from a radical family and wrote about his ideas that the wealth of the rich should be redistributed for the greater good in an essay, “Wealth” (later titled “The Gospel of Wealth”). You could have an interesting debate on whether he should just have been taxed heavily and governments make a decision about what to do with his money, or whether his endowment of schools, libraries, etc., was a more effective use of his money.

  108. 108
    Brachiator says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I am more interested in guaranteeing a low end/bottom level than I am at restricting a top level.

    I agree with you very much here.

    However, ISTM that as long as we have a $10Billionaire fighting tooth and nail to become an $11Billionaire, by advocating and buying non/regulations that harm the commonweal, maybe we should discard the accepted dogma and consider what it actually means to live in a society.

    Sometimes making that extra billion is easy/peasy and has a side benefit of products and services that benefit society (like the increasing revenues of Apple or google). I think it a waste of time, and potentially dangerous to try to artificially limit increases of wealth.

    Robespierre was a squish.

    And ended up squashed.

  109. 109
    burnspbesq says:

    @Brachiator:

    That’s it. You might also like 100. Million Unnecessary Returns.

  110. 110

    I truly hope Mr. Mueller will not allow himself to be intimidated by Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III.

    I get the impression that prosecutors don’t intimidate easily. And face it, Sessions isn’t much of a man in the first place; he’s enjoyed wielding power that he’s been given, but he’s not a powerful person, and that’s probably a piece of what makes him such a bully.

  111. 111

    @Brachiator: You’re not entirely wrong: a good, spendthrift billionaire can do good things for the economy.

    A graduated income tax is still a great idea – but not all the way to 100%, ever.

    Still: I remember that, when the top tax rate was 70%, there were more attempts to evade them by using the money. The joke about the businessman and the three martini lunch was, it was called a business lunch, and written off as an expense. So the business people get a nice lunch, they can even run up a big bar bill, and they don’t have to pay taxes, so instead of $50, it’s $15 in actual lost income. That encouraged consumption, which helps make the economy grow. That was also the basis for the private pension plan. A defined benefit plan would often move more than 30% of the funds to the partners/owners, and since they were getting a 70% tax deduction, giving their employees a nice pension actually *saved* them money.

    So not even a high top rate is an entirely bad thing.

  112. 112
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Brachiator:

    You seem to be turning having wealth into a kind of “pre-crime” and assuming that all wealthy people will do evil.

    I’m saying that there seems to be no way to prevent them from doing evil, short of just taking the money. The current ideological and judicial environment seems to have established that “freedom” means you can do anything with your money that you want, no matter who it hurts. All the checks that used to exist on money in politics are effectively gone, organized labor is effectively gone, consumer and environmental regulations are going away.

    My attitude is more or less Rawlsian: I would be fine with increasing inequality if it meant the low end was doing better, but in practice, I think I’ve seen enough to conclude that it doesn’t mean that.

    The right will often phrase this as a hypothetical: “would you soak the rich even if it meant everyone is worse off?” but there’s absolutely no evidence that the causality actually runs that way, and some evidence that it’s the opposite. They’re always mentally comparing the US and the Soviet Union circa 1985 and concluding that redistributionism always leads to the Gulag, but it requires leaving out the rest of the world.

    In the real world, for every Bill Gates or Warren Buffett who seems mostly benign you get a bunch of Trumps who live to screw people, and Tillersons who are destroying the earth to maintain their cut, and Kochs who are just trying to tear all institutions down so they have all the power–all wielding their money to get it done. Beyond some point there’s no net social utility in having these people around. I don’t know if decreeing maximum wealth works, but I think I’d be fine with a maximum income, or something close to it–have the marginal rate go gradually up to 100% at, say, 10 or 20 million dollars a year. That’s a ridiculously high income, total rich-guy money, and I don’t think it would be too great a drag on the economy to put the cap there. If you’re mad at the government taking it all, why not have the company you’re probably the CEO of plow more of its money back into capital investments, or give some of it away?

    What makes it worse is that these same people will make noises about how “the country is broke” and “there isn’t enough money in the world” to feed all the useless eaters.

  113. 113
    Matt McIrvin says:

    I should say, in practice I’m being maximalist here–I know it’s never going to happen, but I figure if enough people advocate for a 100% top marginal rate we might be able to get it up to 50% or 60%. Right now, it’s theoretically 39.6% and the rich act like they’re being bled dry and have to wear barrels.

  114. 114
    Dupe70 says:

    @SFAW: Please note by taxes they mean “income taxes.” They ignore payroll, FICA, sales tax, property taxes, local/state income taxes etc.

  115. 115
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Dupe70: Of course, even if you put all that stuff in, the super-rich are probably paying a pretty substantial fraction of total tax, but it couldn’t be any other way because they’ve got all the money! Can’t get blood from a turnip.

  116. 116
    Brachiator says:

    @Matt McIrvin: It’s funny. I can’t say that I agree or disagree. There are points where we are in total agreement. So, the main thing is that I want to say thanks for the thoughtful reply, especially because it made me think and evokes further questions. Definitely a post to save and refer to later.

    A couple of cautions. I think you go too far into thinking, “yes, there are some good rich people, but many others are venal, so best to set up a system that restricts them all just to be on the safe side.” I’m not sure I agree, or think that would be the best for society overall. When you say

    I’m saying that there seems to be no way to prevent them from doing evil, short of just taking the money.

    I’m not certain that the government or the we who would take the money would necessarily do good. And I certainly would not trust them if the leaders were people like Trump.

    My attitude is more or less Rawlsian: I would be fine with increasing inequality if it meant the low end was doing better, but in practice, I think I’ve seen enough to conclude that it doesn’t mean that.

    I am uncomfortable with some of the current emphasis on inequality because I don’t think that is the real problem. That is, the main problem is making sure that you have an economy in which people can participate and earn, save and invest. That I have less money than Warren Buffet is immaterial.

    Your comments here also brought to mind the Communist Party leadership meetings currently going on in China, where the leaders believe that an authoritarian society with strict government controls, but which recently has also permitted billionaires to bloom, can somehow be a model of an alternative to the prosperity which flows from capitalism and free societies.

  117. 117
    SFAW says:

    @Yutsano:

    Also: are you encouraging people to overextend their means for a fat tax credit?

    Yeah, no shit. That whopping $5000 tax cut we got for spending $15K-plus for our son’s adoption really convinced us to go for it again and again and again and …..

    @Brachiator:

    The maximum adoption credit for 2016 is $13,460 per child. It is currently a non-refundable credit, but can be carried forward.

    Well, with the average adoption cost these days at well over $30K, I can see why people would try to adopt as many children as they can, just to screw the IRS/Treasury, and help them keep up their lavish lifestyle.

  118. 118
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Brachiator:

    But I gotta ask, what business is it of yours (or mine) to specify how much a person should earn or win or whatever? It just seems weird to think that anybody should care how rich a person might become.

    A few years ago I would have agreed with you. Now I absolutely believe thar taxes should be structured to limit how rich is someone can become. The Kochs and Mercers et al. taught me that lesson. No one in a free country should be permitted to have enough wealth to suborn democracy itself

  119. 119
    Brachiator says:

    @SFAW:

    Well, with the average adoption cost these days at well over $30K, I can see why people would try to adopt as many children as they can, just to screw the IRS/Treasury, and help them keep up their lavish lifestyle.

    You are barking up the wrong sarcasm tree. I am for a generous adoption credit, especially for special needs children. I would like to see more people adopt kids and would consider all reasonable incentives to make it affordable.

    And people can have as many biological kids as they want. But I think that government credits should max out at three kids.

    The question of credits, exemptions, benefits, is about government policy, not impugning or approving of people’s motives. In some ways, I am against some benefits just because people get married. But I don’t assume that people get married just so they can get a tax break.

  120. 120
    Brachiator says:

    @Citizen Alan: RE: But I gotta ask, what business is it of yours (or mine) to specify how much a person should earn or win or whatever? It just seems weird to think that anybody should care how rich a person might become.

    A few years ago I would have agreed with you. Now I absolutely believe that taxes should be structured to limit how rich is someone can become. The Kochs and Mercers et al. taught me that lesson. No one in a free country should be permitted to have enough wealth to suborn democracy itself

    Keep in mind that some people work cheap. Judas was willing to give Jesus up for 30 pieces of silver, still not a lot of money when adjusted for inflation.

  121. 121
    SFAW says:

    @Brachiator:

    You are barking up the wrong sarcasm tree.

    No doubt. I’m sure your comment to stinger was merely your way of ensuring he/she had the the correct figures, which you have dutifully researched.

    And people can have as many biological kids as they want. But I think that government credits should max out at three kids.

    Thanks for casting that pearl before us as well. Who do those brood sows/baby mills think they are, anyway?

    The question of credits, exemptions, benefits, is about government policy, not impugning or approving of people’s motives. In some ways, I am against some benefits just because people get married. But I don’t assume that people get married just so they can get a tax break.

    It seems that you want more regulation (in the sense of “OK if you do that, but it will cost you more”) of some things, especially those which have a greater potential benefit for the non-wealthy, and less regulation of certain other things (“oh noes! Don’t raise the marginal rate on people whose income exceeds XX Million dollars!”).

    Good to know.

  122. 122
    dm says:

    Preet Bharara, talking with Lawfare’s Benjamin Wittes on Bharara’s podcast, talked about how Trump is interviewing prospective US Attorneys for districts where Trump has financial involvement. Sessions was asked about this yesterday, too, but it kind of got lost in all the other stuff.

    Presidents don’t do this (well, Presidents put their assets into trust, but…).

    Bharara and Wittes also discussed an interesting speculation about Bharara’s firing: evidently Erdogan asked Biden to do it (Bharara started an on-going investigation into a friend of Erdogan’s that Erdogan wanted quashed). One of the things that tripped up Michael Flynn was being an unregistered agent for the Turkish government…..

  123. 123
    Brachiator says:

    @SFAW:

    No doubt. I’m sure your comment to stinger was merely your way of ensuring he/she had the the correct figures, which you have dutifully researched.

    Didn’t have to research it. I’m in the tax business. I’ve probably helped hundreds of people with adoption and related credits. And taught hundreds of tax professionals who have helped thousands.

    It seems that you want more regulation (in the sense of “OK if you do that, but it will cost you more”) of some things, especially those which have a greater potential benefit for the non-wealthy, and less regulation of certain other things (“oh noes! Don’t raise the marginal rate on people whose income exceeds XX Million dollars!”).

    You have clearly misread what I have written here.

    But let me help you here. I have written many times here about fools who confuse the top marginal rate with the effective tax rate. I’ve also written about all of the crappy benefits written into the tax code to benefit the wealthy. I also wrote pretty damn clearly that every fucking word written about how wrong the estate tax is by conservatives is bullshit.

    Seems that you climbed down from the sarcasm tree and climbed up the ignorance tree.

    Sad to know.

    But yeah. I don’t think that the tax code has to be “pro family” or “pro Christian.” That ain’t got nuthin’ to do with having a beef with the “non wealthy.”: And I will happily scrap with you about it any day of the week.

  124. 124
    SFAW says:

    @Brachiator:

    I’ve probably helped hundreds of people with adoption and related credits. And taught hundreds of tax professionals who have helped thousands.

    Good. And thanks!

    I have written many times here about fools who confuse the top marginal rate with the effective tax rate.

    Unfortunately, I am not one of those persons, but thanks for your concern.

    Seems that you climbed down from the sarcasm tree and climbed up the ignorance tree.

    Well, my not following your every pearl of wisdom (re: tax policy) with bated breath does not equal “ignorance.” But I can see how that distinction might confuse you, and so your quasi-ad hominem lashing out is not unexpected. Disappointing, but not surprising.

    And I will happily scrap with you about it any day of the week.

    I would love to oblige you, because FSM knows how little opportunity you have to demonstrate how much you think you know. But, sad to say, I have more pressing matters. But thanks so much for your generous offer.

    And, to be clear: despite my subsequent comments in this particular reply, my first one (re: your helping adoptive parents) was absolutely sincere. As an adoptive parent (as you doubtless figured), anything that helps others adopt is (to me) a good thing.

  125. 125
    Brachiator says:

    @SFAW: RE: Seems that you climbed down from the sarcasm tree and climbed up the ignorance tree.

    Well, my not following your every pearl of wisdom (re: tax policy) with bated breath does not equal “ignorance.” But I can see how that distinction might confuse you, and so your quasi-ad hominem lashing out is not unexpected. Disappointing, but not surprising.

    A reasonable person who simply read my comments in this thread would not have made the wrongheaded assumptions that you did.

    And, to be clear: despite my subsequent comments in this particular reply, my first one (re: your helping adoptive parents) was absolutely sincere. As an adoptive parent (as you doubtless figured), anything that helps others adopt is (to me) a good thing.

    Great that you are an adoptive parent. Lots of children that need a loving family. It is good to know that you were able to provide one.

  126. 126
    SFAW says:

    @Brachiator:

    A reasonable person who simply read my comments in this thread would not have made the wrongheaded assumptions that you did.

    Well, since you’re even more long-winded than I am, and there’s only so much I can read, I made the unreasonable decision to not bathe myself in all of your “wisdom,” and merely skimmed the more relevant portions.

    Lots of children that need a loving family. It is good to know that you were able to provide one.

    My son might disagree with that second sentence, but “you know how kids are these days.” Or, rather, he might disagree, if we let him out of his confinement long enough to be allowed to read it.

  127. 127
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Brachiator: They’ve got potentially the worst of both worlds: all the authoritarianism without the equality you’re supposed to get from “Communism”. It’s become a farce, if it ever wasn’t.

  128. 128
    Matt McIrvin says:

    … That said, I get the definite impression that many Chinese people regard the present moment as a golden age, compared to most of the 20th century.

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