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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}


Trump Is Finally Number One — In Number Of Newly Unemployed Americans

Reprinted with permission from DCReport

Here's an awful truth our government will tell you but not for some weeks to come: as of today more than 20 percent of American workers are unemployed.

That means more than 32 million Americans in the labor force are without work, the vast majority because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Report: Deutsche Bank Officials Ignored Possible Trump Money Laundering

Employees of Deutsche Bank called attention to suspicious activity indicating possible money laundering in the accounts of organizations tied to the Trump and Kushner families, according to a report in Sunday’s New York Times. But bank officials rejected both the warnings and the recommendation that the bank call those issues to the attention of federal authorities

The Times reported:

The transactions, some of which involved Mr. Trump’s now-defunct foundation, set off alerts in a computer system designed to detect illicit activity, according to five current and former bank employees, Compliance staff members who then reviewed the transactions prepared so-called suspicious activity reports that they believed should be sent to a unit of the Treasury Department that polices financial crimes.

The paper says that five current and former Deutsche Bank employees told reporter David Enrich about concerns with the Trump and Kushner accounts. Tammy McFadden, a former employee, said she was fired from her job at the bank for raising those issues, a charge the bank denied.

Both Trump and Deutsche Bank, the only financial institution willing to lend to him over the past two decades, have been embroiled in past money-laundering charges. Both denied that the Times story is accurate, as did a spokesperson for Jared Kushner.

On MSNBC, David Cay Johnston predicted that these new findings would cause serious trouble for Trump. “We know for a fact that Donald Trump has been involved in money laundering in the past, fined for it,” he said. “We know that Deutsche Bank was fined over $600 million just for laundering money for Russian oligarchs.”

The revelations may ignite additional investigations of the bank — which is already being probed by the House Financial Services Committee chaired by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA).



Cohen Testimony Offered Roadmap Of Trump Crimes

Reprinted with permission from DCReport.

How many crimes did Michael Cohen reveal in his testimony? By my count 14.

If you missed many of the crimes, it’s not surprising. Fascinating as much of his testimony was, Cohen did not articulate the various crimes in an orderly fashion. Instead, he just threw a lot of them out there like so many dots.

And for good measure, he said, in response to a question, that he was not confident that Trump would peacefully transfer power to the next president, which would be a 15th crime if his speculation proves accurate.

Worse, the House Oversight and Reform Committee majority never connected Cohen’s dots into a compelling picture of White House criminal culture—with three notable exceptions that we will get to in a moment.

Scattered among Cohen’s 20-page opening statement and its attached exhibits, together with his hours of public testimony on Feb. 27, was plenty of evidence that Trump is running a criminal organization whose offices and key staff simply moved its headquarters from his Manhattan high rise to the White House.

To those who have followed our coverage of Trump, much of this is not news. But, to the vast majority of Trump supporters, it would be, if the committee had asked questions to give sense and context to Cohen’s revelations.

Luckily for our democracy, this was just the first hearing. Chairman Elijah Cummings, a Maryland Democrat, promised more hearings with witnesses and documents.

Cohen in detail or in passing revealed 11 kinds of fraud: accounting, bank, charity, insurance, mail, wire, federal income tax, state income tax, local property tax fraud, campaign finance disclosure and federal ethics disclosure.

Many of these were overlapping or interconnected. That’s how white-collar crime works. It’s not akin to a crude stickup with a gun, it’s a slight-of-facts designed to fool the gullible, enrich the bribable and to slip through the wide gaps in the weak legal walls Congress has erected to address financial crimes.

Fraud is, everywhere and always, a crime.

Whether any or all of these frauds, assuming they are proven, rise to the political standard in our Constitution of “high crimes and misdemeanors” is yet to be determined. But for sure they are proper subjects of criminal indictment, even if trial must be delayed until Trump is out of office in 2021 or 2025. And, to be clear, we think a sitting president can be indicted while in office—and should be if he has committed serious felonies.

Cohen also accused Trump of suborning perjury. Cohen indicated that others may have worked in concert to mislead election and ethics officials, Congress and voters.

Then there are the denials concerning a Trump Tower Moscow and hush money payments to porn actress Stormy Daniels involved more people. That also raises the specter of conspiracy, which can be a crime.

The Moscow real estate negotiations continued well into the 2016 campaign. That matters because no large project gets done in Russia without the blessing, explicit or tacit, of Vladimir Putin, the modern czar who runs his country with a criminal gang commonly called the oligarchs and a host of lesser crooks.

Lying about the tower gave Putin leverage over Trump, kompromat far more powerful than any supposed videotape of Trump watching hookers wet a hotel bed where the Obamas once slept.

Trump’s previous statements show that Cohen’s testimony about the Moscow real estate deal is accurate. After all, Donald said, if he did not win the presidency, he had a business to run and he was not going to let lucrative opportunities pass him by.

Let that sink in for a moment. In Trump’s mind, national security is secondary to profit, a view that the Star Trek Ferengi would applaud.

According to Cohen, he was instructed to lie to Congress by the person identified in his criminal case as “Individual 1.” Cohen said that person is Donald Trump.

And finally consider the biggest and most disturbing crime of all: conspiring through intermediaries with a hostile foreign power to win the presidential election.

Trump’s intermediary, according to Cohen, was Roger Stone, who boasts of both being a hedonist and a political dirty trickster. Putin’s intermediaries included WikiLeaks.

What we don’t know yet is just how the 12 indicted Russian cyber-military officers were involved, but Robert Mueller’s prosecutors charged with extraordinarily fine detail that they were central to Kremlin interference with our 2016 elections.

During the Feb. 27  hearing we heard a lot of efforts by Republicans to demonize Cohen, but not one word about why Trump would have employed him as his consigliere for more than a decade.

No Republican tried to deny that Trump had done what Cohen said, other than vague assertions that Cohen was lying.

The most illuminating testimony came during the 10 minutes spit between three freshman Democratic lawmakers: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Katie Hill of California and also Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois.

They asked pointed questions that elicited useful information about where to pursue more facts. Bravo.

If the Democrats are serious, they will tell members in future hearings by the Oversight and other House committees to stop preening for the cameras and useless recitations of facts known and instead ask what the fictional William Forrester (Sean Connery) called “soup questions” in the film Finding Forrester.

A soup question is designed to elicit information that matters.

Ocasio-Cortez, Hill, and  Krishnamoorthi, none of  them lawyers, asked concise questions about what matters. They each conducted a better examination of Cohen than any of the committee members who are attorneys.

Let’s hope the veterans in Congress learn from the newcomers because nothing less than the future of our liberty depends on it.

GOP Tax Plan Hides Trillions In Sweetheart Deals For Apple And Other Multinationals

Reprinted with permission from DCReport.

James S. Henry, an economist and expert on global tax avoidance, reports that the new Trump tax law gives Apple and other multinational companies a sweetheart deal—several sweetheart deals, actually—that could total as much as $2.6 trillion.

This is an important story that the mainstream news missed. We have it all because Jim—a DCReport senior editor and a contributing editor at the American Interest, where his story is also being published—actually read the tax bill and applied his skills as an economist, former executive and lawyer to analyze the tax payment terms.

You don’t get these terms. But if you did, they would sure make you a lot better off financially, though the country would suffer from huge increases in borrowing to pay our government’s bills.

The superficial story that the mainstream media covered: multinational companies like Apple will pay taxes on profits they earned in America, but stashed offshore to delay payment.

The real story is that these companies get layers of new tax breaks on profits they shipped overseas without paying any corporate income tax. When companies siphon profits out of the country they obtain, in effect, loans from Uncle Sam at zero interest. The loan is the amount of tax not paid.

Profits earned by domestic American companies are subject to a 35 percent tax. Profits that are technically–and we do mean technically–shipped offshore are taxed at a rate of zero unless and until the profits are returned to the United States.

Instead of paying a 35 percent tax on profits it earned in years past and sent offshore as interest-free loans from Uncle Sam, Apple will pay only a 15 percent tax. Some companies will pay less than 10%.

What you likely haven’t read before is that Apple and the other multinationals get eight years to pay their much-reduced tax bills. Imagine if Congress said you could pay your 2017 income taxes in installments, with no interest charge, over eight years. Sweet deal.

Apple’s reduced tax payments are backloaded. They pay a little this year and delay a big chunk until 2025.

Apple and others will pay only eight percent of the tax bill this year on profits they have earned over decades and then stashed–untaxed–in accounts overseas.

Those profits, by the way, are actually here in America, but the address on the tax deferral account is overseas, a profitable financial game Congress allows under President Reagan’s 1986 Tax Reform Act. You don’t get that deal because you are a human being, not a multinational corporation.

Not until 2025 will Apple pay the last one-fourth of the reduced tax bill it owes on profits from years past. Sweet deal, but Trump and Congress deny you the same deal.

Because of inflation and the opportunity to invest money to earn investment income, each dollar of tax paid in future years is worth less than a dollar paid this year. Jim Henry analyzed the real tax cost to Apple using standard financial measures that compare the cost of a dollar of tax today with a dollar of tax paid in future years.

Examined this way, what will be the real tax rate Apple will pay by these standard measures? Between negative 0.5 percent and two percent.

The number is a range because of assumptions about what Apple would do to invest its unpaid taxes. Jim’s analysis uses reasonable figures that may understate just how low the effective tax rate paid by Apple will go.

As an individual, your lowest federal income tax rate on your pay is 10 percent. And while Apple and other big multinationals got to defer past taxes and now get to defer them for years more, your taxes come out of your paycheck before you get your money.

The difference depends on the value of future dollars against today’s dollar. Because of inflation, a dollar of tax paid in 2025 is worth less than a dollar paid today.

By the way, have you asked Trump, your senator, or your congressperson to loan you the income taxes that are taken out of your paycheck so you can get these loans at zero percent interest?

And did you then ask them to cut your tax rate by more than half and spread your actual payments out until 2025?

Don’t bother. Trump is not going to give you that deal, though some of his companies should qualify.

Imagine how rich you would be if Congress loaned you 92 percent of the income taxes you paid over the last 30 years or so. Just investing that money would have made you rich. Then imagine Congress said you can pay the delayed income taxes in installments with most of the money due more than five years from now.

Here is the awful part–there is a cost to deals like that. Apple and other multinationals get the tax savings and investment income, you get stuck with the bill.

Jim calculated the financial benefits to Apple using extremely modest assumptions on how much Apple earns on the taxes it delays paying. Even applying the less than two percent annual return on investment Jim used, the hard math shows Apple will offset half of its final tax payment with investment earnings.

Use the return on capital that Apple tells shareholders, the company’s cost of capital is 9.6 percent. Apple will turn a huge profit on the delay in paying the taxes it has already delayed paying for years.

You can read the whole awful story, carefully and fully explained by Jim Henry here.