January 22, 2009

Interesting ….

Filed under: Taxes & Government,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 11:16 pm

…. How I’m being hectored over this post from last year:

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June 26, 2008

Relating the Dots: Obama …. Soros …. Stewart …. CAIR-OH …. CCR …. and Al-Qaeda

On Tuesday, Matthew Vadum at NewsBusters exposed “Al-Qaeda’s law firm,” the so-called Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), the group that argued the case that led to the “the U.S. Supreme Court’s lawless, nonsensical decision in Boumediene v. Bush” (yet another Supreme Court opinion that a president would be fully justified in defying in future similar situations in the absence of legislation ratifying the judges’ sentiment).

Vadum noted that:

CCR donors include the Ohio branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Safa Trust Inc., and the International Institute of Islamic Thought, all of which have been accused of connections to Islamist terror groups.

Patrick Poole took it from there concerning CAIR-OH (links are in Poole’s original):

No doubt some of that CAIR-Ohio money funding Al-Qaeda’s law firm came from the fundraiser featuring 1993 World Trade Center bombing unindicted co-conspirator Siraj Wahhaj, who helped raise $100,000 for CAIR-OH as the keynote speaker at their 2006 annual banquet; and the 2007 CAIR-OH annual banquet featuring Governor Ted Strickland.

As a reminder, Ohio’s media appeared to consciously choose not to report Strickland’s CAIR-OH banquet appearance in June 2007, even though (or was it because?) CAIR-OH’s controversial terror connections were already quite well-known.

CCR supported radical lawyer Lynne Stewart, who was convicted in 2005 by a jury of giving aid to Islamic terrorists and was sentenced to 30 years. Stewart was convicted of providing material support to terrorists by serving as a communications funnel between those inside and outside of jail; those communicating from jail were convicted of various terror-related crimes. A judge later inexplicably and outrageously reduced her sentence to 28 months (HT Stop the ACLU). Stewart, thank goodness, was at least disbarred as a result (HT Volokh).

Stewart’s defense was partially funded by (/surprise) Democratic Party go-to money guy George Soros (HT Captain Ed).

In mid-March 2007, per Ed Lasky at American Thinker, Soros called “for the Democratic Party to ‘liberate’ itself from the influence of the pro-Israel lobby and ….. (stated) that America should be dealing with Hamas, the terror group that is now the governing authority of the Palestinians. This was published in the influential New York Review of Books.” Soros has also laughably “equated the abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.”

Soros has been a money tree for the presidential candidate I refer to as “Mr. BOOHOO-OUCH” (Barack O-bomba Overseas Hussein ObambiObama – Objectively Unfit Coddler of Haters) since early 2004.

Those are terror-supporting and/or terror-sympathetic relationships you can believe in.

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It’s interesting, because in just 48 or so hours of the Obama Administration, I’ve already been shown to be half right:

Obama Orders Halt to Guantanamo Trials
Obama to Close Guantanamo

These are indeed terror-sympathetic moves our now-encouraged enemies can believe in.

Obama’s orders follow on the heels of a terror-sympathetic Supreme Court decision in June of last year.

To the extent that decisions like the Supremes’ and orders like Obama’s give aid and comfort to our enemies that we can be rolled by our own legalese and hang-ups over giving hostile non-citizens who want us all dead or converted to Islam the same rights as citizens, they will first encourage fiercer resistance and and assist in terror recruiting. If increased resistance succeeds, our terrorist enemies, who have been generally on the run since 9/11 (but not completely — see Mumbai), may get back on the offensive in many more places around the world, even here in the US. If that happens — and if history is a guide, it sadly will — the decisions identified above will in retrospect be seen as not merely terror-sympathetic, but terror-supporting.

Glad that’s cleared up.

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UPDATE: Michellle Malkin on John Murtha’s push to have the Gitmo guys housed in his district — “The John Murtha Jihadi Correctional Facility.”

Dispatch: Kasich’s Time at Lehman Relevant, But Not State’s Possible Knowledge of Former Employee’s Illegal Activities

It’s on. 22 months remain.

“It” is “Ohio Media v. Any and All Viable Republican or Conservative Politicians.”

The first suckerpunch comes from Joe “Hack” Hallett and Jonathan Riskind of the Columbus Dispatch (“Wall Street ties might hamstring GOP hopeful Kasich”). The recipient is former congressman and current Fox weekend show host John Kasich, who is frequently mentioned as a possible GOP challenger to Buckeye State Governor T-Shirt Ted Strickland.

It takes the pair 14 paragraphs to tell us that there’s no story here — that is, unless they want to accuse Kasich’s spokesperson of lying:

“John had absolutely no role in the holding or underwriting of mortgage-backed securities or with the proprietary real-estate investments which led to the downfall of Lehman Brothers,” (Kasich adviser) Chabria said, adding that Kasich received no bonus or “golden parachute” when Lehman went under and he left.

“John was one of 30,000 employees of Lehman Brothers and, like many others, he lost much equity after years of hard work for the firm.”

The Dispatch duo then goes back eight years (!), “catches” Kasich praising former Lehman CEO Richard Fuld (see Update below), and doesn’t bother to tell us why that praise should trouble readers.

Fuld may have been overpaid, and may have mismanaged Lehman in its final years. However, as of this moment, he stands accused of no crime.

The same cannot be said for a certain former associate of Ted Strickland. The Dispatch duo kindly gave “I’ll Turn Ohio Around, But Let’s Wait Two Years” Ted their fourth paragraph:

“If he becomes a candidate for governor, I’m sure that will be part of the discussion, as will the way I’ve handled my job,” Strickland said. “I don’t know how engaged he was, what his responsibilities were. Would that likely be something I would look into if he were my opponent? I think that it’s likely that it would.”

Strickland’s speculative venture into opposition research begs the question of how “engaged” Ted was with the Governor’s Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives. Less than two years ago, he appointed Eric McFadden as Director of that office (scroll to last item in Feb. 23, 2007 press release).

McFadden was removed from that position in November 2007, and was at the Department of Corrections until March 2008, when he left state employment.

Last week, McFadden was arrested for using high-tech means to manage the world’s oldest profession (the link is from the Catholic News Agency, which explains why the story is fair and balanced):

Democratic Catholic leader arrested on prostitution-related charges

The former director of the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives for the governor of Ohio was arrested Wednesday for his involvement in an online prostitution ring. Eric McFadden, who has also formerly served as the president of the organization Catholics for Faithful Citizenship and spokesperson for Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, will face seven prostitution-related charges tomorrow in court.

Eric McFadden, 46, the former head of the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives for Governor of Ohio, Ted Strickland, was arrested this morning and faces two counts of promoting prostitution, two counts of pandering obscenity involving a minor, two counts of pandering obscenity involving a nude minor and one count of compelling prostitution, Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien told the Springfield News-Sun.

The News-Sun also quoted Keith Daily, Governor Strickland’s press secretary who described the situation as “very sad, shocking and appalling.”

According to NBC 4 in Columbus, Ohio, detectives suspect McFadden was involved in a “hooker-review” site that led to the creation of a Brewery District brothel.

Police also believe that McFadden is a man they have been tracking who posts under the name “Toby.” Authorities have been searching for him over the past two months after busting a prostitution ring on Craigslist.

McFadden used complex encoded postings on Craiglist that would look like useless or corrupted data, in which he would embed the information of the woman available, the type of sex interaction she would be willing to perform and the place to meet her. Paradoxically, McFadden’s code name in his transactions was “mcfaddencatholic.”

CNA obtained copies of the postings, but since they contain names that may be real and actual addresses in the Columbus, OH area, they will not be made public.

Police also note that on McFadden’s online posts, he claimed to be the “guru” of prostitution in Columbus, Ohio. He wrote reviews on prostitution services as well as advice on how not to get caught, reports NBC 4.

Given McFadden’s heavy use of technology to to conduct his criminal enterprise, has anybody at the Dispatch investigated whether McFadden ever used state resources (telephones, Internet, etc.) while he was employed? Have any Freedom of Information Act requests been filed for all electronic and printed correspondence relating to the McFadden’s appointment, his tenure at OFBCI, the circumstances surrounding his transfer to Corrections, or the end of his employment? If not, why not?

It’s more than fair to ask what Ted Strickland or other state officials really knew about McFadden, and when they knew it.

It’s totally unfair, based on the facts known, to even hint that John Kasich might have had anything to do with the downfall of Lehman. But, as Dan Riehl at Red State pointed out, “It’s Never Too Early To Target A Republican.”

That’s 2009 Old Media “journalism,” as practiced at the Dispatch.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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UPDATE: NewsBusters commenter Jack Bauer

So I was wondering who Fuld generally supported

Democratic $55,450
Republican $21,300
Independent $7,000
Other $4,500

Here’s a few interesting people who Fuld gave money to ….
- Chris Dodd for Senator in 1992, 1998, 2004,
- Jon Stevens Corzine for Senator in 2000
- Hillary Clinton for President in 2008

Imagine that.

Memo to Joe Hallett and Jonathan Riskind: Next time, consider doing something more than taking transcription from longtime Democratic operative and dirty-trickmeister Chris Lehane.

UPDATE 2, Jan. 27 — Another hacky element is that the Hallett-Riskind piece “just happened” to appear when a poll showing Kasich, who I suspect half of Ohioans have never heard of, within six points of Strickland appeared. They couldn’t let THAT just sit there without some kind of response.

The Other Inauguration

I received this in an e-mail from a Ken Joseph Jr. (link is to home page; about page here). I have verified that it is from him (Update: Here is the post at his blog).

It is appropriate to post this on the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. You’ll see why (the opinions and observations are Mr. Joseph’s; the bolds are mine):

The Other Inauguration
Washington DC

The much vaunted, post-racial, ‘come together’ campaign culmination was neither.

I for one waited and waited and then waited some more for someone to tell the truth.

After watching enough fawning to make me nauseous, I had to say something.

I was there from the very beginning in the middle of the National Mall, on the day before as well as the whole inauguration.

The crowd was overwhelmingly african american. That is a simple fact that anyone there knows and should be honest enough to say.

It was a mess. Extremely poorly organized crowds moved in different directions with no idea where they were going .

There was no ‘coming together.’ The atmosphere was extremely racist and if you didn’t look right, they let you know.

It took hours to get into the mall and in spite of being the ‘peoples inauguration’ was far from it.

All the ‘big people’ had special passes that they got in their special area while all of the  ‘regular people’ had to go under a nearly quarter mile tunnel under the mall, where it was difficult to breathe just to get into the National Mall.

The event itself though was far from what it was described.

I felt very, very uncomfortable. Regular glances and snide remarks sent the message very clearly ‘what are you doing here – this is our event’!

Further, the booing and dancing and hate filled comments when President Bush and Vice President Cheney came out were unacceptable.

The speech insulted President Bush over and over and honestly was neither profound nor well written.

The extremely racist ‘prayer’ by an out of date Joseph Lowry would have caused a major scandal. Instead, it brought loud guffaws from the crowd who didn’t seem to know or really care what a ‘prayer’ actually was. No heads were bowed during any of the prayers.

For whatever it(s) goal, the much vaunted group of people that filled the mall was a mean, hateful, rough crowd.

Not only the mall but all of Washington was taken over by this group. From hawking everything from t-shirts to all kinds of buttons bordering on ‘buy something or you don’t pass’, the atmosphere was a far cry from the disgusting descriptions that I have had to watch nonstop on TV and read in the paper.

Frankly, I was completely sickened by it all and exhausted entered the lobby of a hotel in on Capitol Hill bracing myself for another flood of the angry, mean crowd.

I came upon the strangest of situations. There were two distinct groups of people who were mobbing the hotel lobby, the restaurants and up the escalators.

One group was clearly leaving. This was the same mean, nasty group from the National Mall.

Another huge group was on their way in, lined up at the Check-In counter and the two groups were mingling going in their different directions.

The two groups though were dramatically different.

In contrast to the first group, the new group was dramatically different. They were bright, cheerful, smiling and brightened the otherwise mean atmosphere.

I was curious. Who could they be?

A quick question to a small group waiting in the lobby..

‘Oh, we’re here for The March of Life’.

Now it all made sense!

What a difference. One group with a leader promising one of his first acts would be to rescind the restrictions on abortion wholesale.

In contrast the leaders of the other group, dedicated to saving life.

‘Look over there’ the lady said ‘it is a baby that was saved from an abortion’.

There lay a little child in the arm of a nun.

Then I suddenly focused and there seemed to be Priests, Nuns and bright cheerful kids, seniors and just about everything in between.

What a contrast!

Somehow, I found the tears coming. It had been a tough and miserable two days with the ‘thugs’ having taken over the city.

How refreshing to have some brightness, faith and above all, hope – the real kind!

Things I’d Like to Post About Today ….. (012209, Morning)

Filed under: TILTpatBIDHAT — Tom @ 9:02 am

….. But I Don’t Have Any Time For:

  • Right message, less-than-perfect messenger — “Gingrich urges GOP to fight Geithner.”
  • Howler of the Day — Newsweek editor Jon Meacham says that “A lot of people think we’re left of center. I think it depends on the week and the issue.” Yeah, left-leaning issues only come out during months containing three or more letters.
  • Known since Novemer 25 (HT Hot Air), not followed up by the media or Senators since — “Because the Fed conducts much of its work in secret, details about Geithner’s role in the Citigroup debacle remain hidden. But a review of publicly available records shows that the New York Fed, in a key period, relaxed oversight as Citigroup went on a risky spree ….” It’s enough to make you wonder whether Geithner allowed Bob Rubin at Citi and others at money center banks to take those companies down in an effort to take the economy down so that a Democrat would be elected president and someone like Geithner would be named Trea- ….. no, “obviously” not. What am I thinking?
  • Whiff of Sanity Dept — “Caroline Kennedy Ends Senate Seat Bid” (HT Michelle Malkin). LAT’s Top of the Ticket Blog: “Which could well mean she understood she wasn’t going to get it anyway.” Instapundit adds a whiff of dynastic realism.
  • Understated word of the day, via Kevin G. Hall and David Lightman at McClatchy — “Beyond failing to pay his portion of self-employment taxes for nearly four years when he worked for the IMF, Geithner also made numerous errors that are somewhat baffling, such as claiming a child-care tax credit for time that his children spent in summer camp.” I posted on a slew of other such baffling items early this morning. As Yoda might say, “A pretty picture they do not make.”
  • Heartache (HT Romenesko via Instapundit) — “An ASU journalism professor using satellite images calculated that 800,000 people attended President Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremony.” At a minimum (HT Hot Air), “it is unclear if the crowd surpassed the record believed to have been set three and half decades ago at Lyndon B. Johnson’s 1965 inauguration.” That’s so even if you add the 4,000 or so erroneously kept out. So how many of the 35,000 stories on the inauguration told their readers it was a record, or that the number was 2,000,000?

Geithner’s Tax Troubles: There’s Much More, and the Press Is Virtually Ignoring It

Sometimes you learn a lot from commenters.

I was going through the comments tonight at my Pajamas Media column about the Geithner nomination that went up earlier today, and came across this at Comment 39 from “Mike M”:

The deduction he took for the summer camp as a day care expense is EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED IN THE IRS CODE! That’s out and out tax fraud. Even Leona Helmsly (sic) is jealous in her grave ….

Summer camp!?

It turns out that there is a lot more to the Geithner story. It has been sitting right there in details that were made public last week, but were mostly ignored by the Washington press. While the amounts involved aren’t anywhere near as large as those relating to Geithner’s self-employment taxes from 2001 through 2004 on his earnings at the International Monetary Fund — taxes he didn’t pay until audited by the IRS (2003 and 2004) or until just before his nomination was announced (2001 and 2002) — they are nonetheless revealing, infuriating, and disturbing. They make the claims of “honest mistakes” that his defenders up to and including Barack Obama continue to employ look much, much weaker (paragraph image is from Pages 3 and 4 of the relevant report stored here as a PDF; a larger JPEG image is here):

GeitherAddlTaxProblemsSmall0109

Let’s start with the 10% early withdrawal penalty. One of the dumbest things anyone saving for retirement can do is to withdraw, or “cash in,” part or all of their tax-deferred retirement plan balance. When someone does that, they have to report the amount withdrawn as taxable income to Uncle Sam and most states (including Maryland, where Geither apparently lived during his years with the IMF). On top of that, the taxpayer has to pay a penalty of 10% of the amount withdrawn. It appears that Geithner reported the amount withdrawn as income, but “forgot” to pay the penalty.

Once again, something Geithner and his supporters want characterize as an “honest mistake” looks like tax evasion. It is virtually inconceivable that a financial guy like Geithner would not have learned about the penalty on tax-deferred retirement plan withdrawals in his 20-plus year career. His failure to record and pay the penalty on his return is more than mere negligence.

But this situation goes beyond tax evasion, and provides a possibly troubling window into Geithner’s personal financial situation.

Congress created the current taxable treatment of withdrawals, and added the 10% penalty, to prevent retirement savers from whimsically liquidating funds meant to be used during one’s golden years. It forces those who go this route to pay a very steep price in hopes that they will be deterred (all too many aren’t).

Since it is mentioned first in the report, I suspect that the penalty represents the largest element of the $4,334 of tax that was not paid. If the penalty was, say, $2,000, this would mean that Geithner withdrew $20,000, and paid about $7,000 in federal and state taxes (assuming federal rates of 28% or 33% plus roughly 5% for Maryland). If he had paid all of his taxes and the penalty on time, Geither would have ended up salvaging about $11,000 of the original $20,000. Since he didn’t pay the penalty until audited, he initially came away with $13,000.

Considering the impact, you don’t withdraw a retirement-plan balance as Geithner did unless you’re financially unsophisticated (supposedly not the case here; after all, the New York Times’s Andrew Ross Sorkin called him “a 47 year-old wonder boy“), or unless you’re in very difficult financial straits. What caused him to do something so financially dumb?

Perhaps the answer lies in the second item, the recapture of the Section 179 depreciation deduction in a discontinued business. What happens here is that tax law allows a business to immediately deduct expenditures on capital equipment that would ordinarily have to be depreciated (i.e., gradually deducted over time). But if the taxpayer does that, the business needs to keep and use the equipment over its estimated useful life. If that doesn’t happen, either because you sell the equipment or go out of business before the end of its estimated useful life, you have to “undo” a certain percentage of the deduction originally taken, and pay tax on that amount.

This amount of tax involved may be minor, but the larger question is whether Geithner lost money on a business venture, and how much. There’s obviously nothing wrong with that, but it would be nice to hear what happened, and how much it might have cost him.

If business losses didn’t cause him to withdraw retirement-plan money, what did?

Let’s skip the next few items and go to the final one, the dependent child care credit. As Pajamas commenter “Mike M” said, the IRS’s explanation is very clear cut (bold is mine):

Parents Can Get Credit for Sending Kids to Day Camp

Here’s a tax break for the busy summer. Many working parents must arrange for care of their children under 13 years of age during the school vacation period. A popular solution — with a tax benefit — is a day camp program.

The cost of day camp can count as an expense towards the child and dependent care credit. Expenses for overnight camps do not qualify. If your childcare provider is a sitter at your home or a daycare facility outside the home, you’ll get some tax benefit if you qualify for the credit.

This Geithner gambit caused the Washington Post’s Marie Cocco to hit the roof last week at the paper’s Post Partisan blog:

It’s the sleep-away camp that goes beyond the definition of simple mistake.

….. It’s the audacity that’s the problem.

Millions of families do without decent child-care for their children while they’re at work. Millions send their kids to untrained and unlicensed daycare providers. Some put older siblings — kids who are ten or twelve, sometimes younger — in charge of younger brothers and sisters. The child-care tax credit is a small and hardly adequate way in which a limited portion of expenses can be recouped, but only if they’re incurred when parents are working or looking for work.

Sleep-away camp sure doesn’t count. It’s a luxury for affluent kids, not a necessity the taxpayers subsidize. ….. this one reeks of something worse than sloppiness. It’s that sense of entitlement we’ve seen all too often.

If this is all news to you, it’s not your fault. As far as I can tell, with the exception of Cocco’s critique and this January 21 Bloomberg article, the Associated Press, the New York Times, and other media outlets haven’t mentioned any of this.

The non-coverage excuse that the amounts involved are relatively trivial compared to Geithner’s self-employment tax problems simply doesn’t fly. There’s a 15-year record of nonpayment of taxes, including frequently failing to pay them even when advised that they are due; deduction-mongering ranging from overly aggressive to obviously wrong; and a terribly expensive retirement plan-related financial move that is ordinarily a telltale sign of financial distress. To use favored media phraseology, we’re seeing a “disturbing pattern that leaves many questions unanswered.”

Not the least of those questions is why Barack Obama, if he really knows all of these things, wants Geithner so bad, and is willing to risk his own credibility and his perceived squeaky clean reputation among a large percentage of the populace (yeah, I know it’s undeserved, but it’s there) to get him.

It would be nice if the press and/or cowed Republicans would hold the hosannas long enough to find out.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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Previous Posts:

  • Jan. 21 — AP Geithner Hearing Report: No Mention of IMF ‘Reimbursements’ for Taxes Not Paid, Related False Statements
  • Jan. 19 — He Should Be Out ….. Because He ‘Can’t Explain’
  • Jan. 19 –- NRO’s York: Geithner ‘Can’t Explain’
  • Jan. 17 –- AP’s ‘Q&A’ on Geithner’s Taxes Has Excuses Galore, No Mention of ‘Reimbursements’ Pocketed
  • Jan. 16 –- Geithner Must Go
  • Jan. 15 — Tax ‘Goof’ Update: Geithner Was ‘Reimbursed’ for Taxes He Didn’t Pay; AP Story Buries, Then Deletes
  • Jan. 14 — Geithner Update: AP’s Early-AM Revision Flushes Many Details, Calls His Tax Problems ‘Goofs’
  • Jan. 13 — Treasury Nominee Geither’s Persistent Tax Problems Getting the Glossover Treatment; AP Coverage ‘Forgets’ at Least Chavez, Baird