TheFrontPageCover
~ Featuring ~  
NY Times Publication of Trump Tax
Information Violates His Legal 
Right to Confidentiality
Hans von Spakovsky  
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Trump Admin Will ‘Shed Light’ On A
Secretive Practice That Costs Taxpayers
Millions Of Dollars  
by Michael Bastasch
dailycaller.com } ~ The Interior Department will publicly list attorneys’ fees paid out, often to environmental activist groups, for legal settlements... according to a recent memo from Principal Deputy Solicitor Daniel Jorjani. Jorjani’s memo states the Interior Department will develop a webpage within 30 days to publicly list details of legal settlements and cases, which the agency says is a big step in bringing sunshine to a non-transparent practice that the public is largely unaware is happening. “This is a big deal that will shed light on the millions of dollars the DOI pays out every year in attorneys’ fees” under federal laws, an Interior Department official said in an email. “This is your tax money and only by shining a light on this process can you decide if it is being put to good use,” the official said. The memo was signed May 10, but made public Wednesday. Jorjani issued the memo in response to a 2018 order from Interior Secretary David Bernhardt while he served former Secretary Ryan Zinke’s number two. Zinke resigned earlier this year and has since been replaced by Bernhardt as head of the Interior Department. Environmental groups have been particularly successful using “citizen suits” to sue the federal government into taking an action, then getting taxpayers to pay their attorneys’ fees. A 2016 Daily Caller News Foundation investigation found federal agencies paid out $49 million for 512 citizen suits filed under three major environmental laws during the scumbag/liar-nObama administration...
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U.S. Democrats Follow U.K. Labour Party 
Down The Anti-Semitism Rat Hole  
by Erielle Davidson  
thefederalist.com } ~ This past Tuesday, yet another Labour member of the United Kingdom’s Parliament resigned from the party. After 45 years, Bridget Prentice, a former member of Parliament (MP) for Lewisham East... called it quits in a letter to the acting general secretary of the Labour Party. Prentice’s letter offered a stinging rebuke of the devolution of the Labour Party under the auspices of Jeremy Corbyn. Unsurprisingly, among Prentice’s top concerns, in addition to the party’s anti-Europe swivel, was Labour’s inability to address concerns about anti-Semitism. Prentice’s letter is a dark omen of what the future may portend for the American Democratic Party, which, similar to the Labour Party, has been reeling from accusations of anti-Semitism. Prentice writes, “Over the past three years I have watched in horror as Jewish members have begged for support against the growth of anti-Semitism both within and out with the Party.” She criticizes Labour’s “slow, reluctant and inadequate” response to claims of anti-Semitism and the mere “slap on the wrist” that was supposed to reprimand such bigotry. Luciana Berger was a prominent Jewish MP who left Labour earlier this year due to repeated and unpunished harassment. In reference to her departure, Prentice censures the general secretary, “For a pregnant woman MP to be bullied out of the party is shameful and embarrassing.” Prentice accuses Corbyn of demonstrating absolutely terrible leadership. “Leaders stand to be counted. They root out the evil, they show that such racism will not be tolerated. They don’t twist and turn to find ways of keeping their supporters on board when those self-same supporters have been shown to be racist, anti-Semitic and bullies.” Prentice then points to the whitewashing of the problem via a report the party had issued, which largely downplayed instances of anti-Semitism within the party. Prentice criticizes the “cult” of Corbyn, which won’t make room for necessary and healthy criticism: “Anyone questioning the leadership’s position is vilified; complaints sent in to the disciplinary panel like something out of a North Korean rule book that disloyalty to the leader is a criminal offense.” She alludes to the fact that “enthusiasm” and “idealism” brought Corbyn to power but says he has failed to perform on such sentiments, ignoring the needs of his constituents in favor of “attending marches and showing solidarity with regimes which are murdering their own people, harassing women and LGBT communities, and destroying their economies.”...   https://thefederalist.com/2019/05/16/u-s-democrats-follow-u-k-labou...  
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Is Our China Policy Racist? Trump State 
Official Rattles the Establishment
by Paul Kengor
spectator.org } ~ A top Trump official made a comment that has rattled our politically correct elites and foreign-policy establishment. The Chinese, in turn, are trying to turn it into a handy propaganda tool... The controversy stems from an interview given on the Trump Doctrine and China policy by Dr. Kiron Skinner, Director of Policy Planning in the Trump State Department. Skinner is widely regarded as a brilliant scholar — a rare mix of analyst, academician, and even historian and biographer. She broke on to the scene two decades ago with her seminal work on Ronald Reagan — specifically, she unearthed the lost radio transcripts from Reagan’s syndicated broadcasts in the latter 1970s. She published the groundbreaking book, Reagan, In His Own Hand. A top Reagan scholar, she had been research assistant to Reagan’s secretary of state, George Shultz, with a longtime affiliation with the Hoover Institution. She was something of a prodigy, entering Harvard at a young age, where she received her master’s degree and Ph.D. Overall, Skinner has a keen discernment of foreign policy stemming less from headlines than a profound awareness of what we learned from the Cold War. That’s her unique understanding as a historian and professor as well as a policymaker and practitioner. All of that is key background to grasping the significance of where Skinner is now and what she said at the recent Future Security Forum 2019 in an interview with Anne-Marie Slaughter, a scholar to the left of Skinner but likewise respected for her thoughtfulness on foreign policy. Skinner’s position as director of policy planning in the State Department is one of the most prestigious jobs in the federal government. The Policy Planning Staff serves a unique role as effectively the State Department’s and president’s think-tank on foreign policy, housing the leading strategic thinkers on international relations for over 70 years. Among the best-known names assuming that position in addition to Skinner and Slaughter herself were the likes of Paul Nitze, Walt Rostow, and its inaugural holder, the esteemed George Kennan. Kennan crafted the historic “X” letter/telegram, published in Foreign Affairs in 1947 under the title “The Sources of Soviet Conduct.” That statement is credited with creating the policy of containment that became the cornerstone of U.S. policy toward the Soviet Union. Skinner’s April 29 dialogue with Slaughter should be applauded for the valuable insights it gives us about Trump foreign policy, but instead has provoked handwringing hysterics from drama-queens among our policy elites because of a mere passing remark about the Chinese not being Caucasians. Before considering that remark, let’s look at what ought to be remembered from the discussion: Skinner and Slaughter began by placing their conversation within the context of the mind and work of George F. Kennan, with Skinner noting that everyone who serves in that position does so in the “shadow of George Kennan.” This means to think strategically, to look at the big picture, to be attentive always to broader doctrine...    https://spectator.org/is-our-china-policy-racist-trump-state-offici...  
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House Discharge Petition Will Test Whether 
Support For Israel Is Still Bipartisan
by Melissa Langsam Braunstein
{thefederalist.com} ~ In late March, House Speaker Nancy Pulosi told attendees at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual conference that “support for Israel in Congress remains ironclad and bipartisan.”...  After the troubling events of the last several months, reasonable observers might question that statement. Now, House Republicans are ready to test just how deep bipartisan support for Israel still runs. On February 5, the Senate passed S. 1, the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019, by a vote of 77 to 23. That’s typically considered broad agreement for the Senate. However, given the historic bipartisan commitment to Israel, the number of senators opposed— a group that included every Senate Democrat running for president, save Amy Klobuchar — was striking. That’s especially so when you consider that 22 of the 23 nays were Democrats. The package of four bills shouldn’t have been controversial, but in the current political climate, the Combating BDS Act of 2019 made it so. Democrats have had a growing generational divide on Israel for some time, but it has generally not had much of a legislative impact — until now. The boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement (BDS), which seeks to isolate and delegitimize Israel, has become politically complicated for Democrats. H.R. 336, the House’s companion bill to S. 1, has languished since Texas Rep. Michael McCaul introduced it on January 8. Pulosi has opted not to call a vote, because it would presumably divide her caucus, much as S. 1 split Senate Democrats. But bad optics shouldn’t stop a vote on a national security bill so many House members support. With that in mind, Rep. Brian Mast of Florida introduced a discharge petition for H.R. 336 on Wednesday. This parliamentary procedure is the Republicans’ opportunity to force the majority to vote on this measure. In order to do that, though, they must first collect 218 signatures...
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Iran Plans to Continue Its Oil Exports
Washington Has the Means to Shut Them Down
by Saeed Ghasseminejad and Matthew Zweig

fdd.org } ~ The Trump administration announced last month that it would not issue another set of exemptions or waivers for customers of Iran’s oil...
 This came into effect on May 2. The regime in Tehran, in dire need of hard currency, announced its intention to sell oil on the “grey market.” This opens up new sanctions opportunities for the administration. Tehran has vowed to sell its oil by any means possible. Iran’s budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year requires the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) to sell 1.5 million bpd at $54 a barrel. It allocates at least $14 billion to the import of essential goods. At the current rate, the regime is likely to experience significant shortfalls. The country is currently facing 30 percent inflation and GDP growth is expected to shrink 6 percent in 2019. One way the Iranians will try to sell their oil is by offering goods and services for oil. Masoud Karbasian, the CEO of NIOC, has invited  foreign companies that trade with Iran to do exactly that. Prior to the cessation of the waivers for Iran’s oil customers, such trade was allowed. Now such transactions could trigger painful U.S. sanctions. Karbasian has also invited foreign companies to invest in Iran’s dilapidated oil industry and get remunerated in oil. Currently, Sinopec is drawing 105,000 bpd from the Yadavaran oil field in Khuzestan province for the $2 billion investment it made in 2007. However, this is not something foreign companies can hide; the Trump administration can easily track and sanction them for their activities. Tehran has also tried to use its Energy Exchange  (IRENEX) to sell oil at competitive prices in the current sanctions environment. The exchange keeps the identity of the buyer secret to make sure the United States cannot target them with sanctions. Iran’s oil minister, Bijan Zanganeh, has made clear that this lack of transparency is essential to Tehran’s efforts. So far, the exchange has been mostly unsuccessful, but it has found some customers, even if the final price was 10 to 20 percent below market price. The United States should designate IRENEX and its shareholders. The U.S. Department of the Treasury should also clearly state that any individual or entity transacting with IRENEX risks designation...
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NY Times Publication of Trump Tax Information Violates His Legal Right to Confidentiality

Hans von Spakovsky
 

The New York Times no doubt considers it quite a coup to have obtained and published President Trump’s tax return information from 1985 to 1994. But doing so violated Trump’s right under federal law to the confidentiality of his tax returns.

The Times — which reported that Trump’s businesses lost $1.17 billion during the 10-year period — has no more right to Trump’s tax returns than it has to mine or those of any of you reading these words.

Confidentiality, as the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held in 1991 in U.S. v. Richey, is essential to “maintaining a workable tax system.”

Taxpayer privacy is “fundamental to a tax system that relies on self-reporting” since it protects “sensitive or otherwise personal information,” said then-Judge (now Supreme Court Justice) Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 1986 in another case when she served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Federal law — 26 U.S.C. §7213(a)(1) — makes it a felony for any federal employee to disclose tax returns or “return information.” Infractions are punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine as high as $250,000 under the Alternative Fines Act (18 U.S.C. §3571).

Regardless of the accuracy or inaccuracy of The New York Times story, tax returns themselves, as well as tax return information such as these IRS transcripts (which are a summary of the tax returns), are protected from disclosure by federal law. And this provision applies to private individuals as well as government employees, a fact that should be considered by the New York Times’ source.

According to the newspaper, it did not actually obtain Trump’s tax returns but “printouts from his official Internal Revenue Service tax transcripts, with the figures from his federal tax form, the 1040, from someone who had legal access to them.”

The Times quotes a lawyer for the president, Charles J. Harder, as saying that the tax information in the story is “demonstrably false” and that IRS transcripts, particularly from the days before electronic filing, are “notoriously inaccurate.” However, that claim is disputed by a former IRS employee now at the liberal Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center.

The president tweeted Wednesday in response to the Times story: “Real estate developers in the 1980’s & 1990’s, more than 30 years ago, were entitled to massive write offs and depreciation which would, if one was actively building, show losses and tax losses in almost all cases. Much was non monetary. Sometimes considered ‘tax shelter,’ … you would get it by building, or even buying. You always wanted to show losses for tax purposes….almost all real estate developers did — and often re-negotiate with banks, it was sport. Additionally, the very old information put out is a highly inaccurate Fake News hit job!”

Could the editors and reporters at the New York Times be prosecuted for publishing this information?

Section (a)(3) of the law makes it a felony for any person who receives an illegally disclosed tax return or return information to publish that return or that information. But it’s unknown if the bar on publication by a media organization could survive a First Amendment challenge.

What we do know is that in previous incidents, the government did not attempt to prosecute the publisher of tax return information. In 2014, the IRS agreed to pay the National Organization for Marriage $50,000 to settle a lawsuit after an IRS clerk illegally disclosed the organization’s tax return.

The clerk gave the tax return to Matthew Meisel, a former employee of Bain & Company, who gave it to the Human Rights Campaign (a political opponent of the National Organization for Marriage).

The tax return was then posted on the HRC website and published by the Huffington Post. Although the IRS paid to settle the lawsuit, none of the individuals or organizations involved in the illegal disclosure and publication were prosecuted.

If such a prosecution were attempted, there is no doubt that a First Amendment challenge would be filed.

The courts would then have to answer an important question: Are the interests of the government in an effective tax system and that of citizens in maintaining the confidentiality of their financial information outweighed by the First Amendment right of the press, and by and the public’s interest in obtaining financial information on elected officials?

In the midst of this illegal disclosure to the New York Times, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced Monday that he would not comply with a demand by the House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass, to provide the committee with copies of tax returns filed by Trump and eight of his companies for the last six years.

Mnuchin sent a letter to Neal telling him that “the Supreme Court has held that the Constitution requires that Congressional information demands must reasonably serve a legitimate legislative purpose.”

The Treasury secretary is correct. Numerous court decisions hold that legislative investigations must have a legitimate legislative purpose. Mnuchin says that Neal’s request “lacks” such a legitimate purpose.

The court decisions supporting Mnuchin’s decision include the 1957 decision in Watkins v. U.S., in which the Supreme Court told the House Un-American Activities Committee that “there is no congressional power to expose for the sake of exposure” the “private affairs of individuals.”

Rep. Neal has claimed that the legislative purpose of getting the Trump tax returns is to examine how the IRS audits presidents. But as Trump’s legal counsel has pointed out, Neal didn’t ask for the tax returns of any other presidents and hasn’t asked any questions of any kind about IRS policy and procedures for such audits.

Mnuchin tells Neal in his letter that he is willing to provide the congressman with complete information on “how the IRS conducts mandatory examinations of Presidents, as provided by the Internal Revenue Manual.”

If examining how the IRS audits presidents is really Neal’s legislative purpose — as opposed to simply wanting to expose anything embarrassing the committee finds in Trump’s tax returns — IRS information on its policies and procedures would be the only information the House committee would need.

So the Treasury Department has put House Democrats in check for now. It will probably be up to the courts to see who achieves checkmate when it comes to the Trump’ tax returns.

Now the interests of protecting the privacy of taxpayers warrants the opening of a government investigation to find the leaker who provided the Trump tax information to The New York Times.

The IRS and the U.S. Justice Department should investigate how this disclosure happened, find out who did it, and prosecute anyone who violated the law.  ~The Patriot Post

https://patriotpost.us/opinion/62942?mailing_id=4270&utm_medium...  

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LIGHTER SIDE

 

Political Cartoons by AF Branco

ALERT ALERT

SICK: Anderson Cooper Says Demographic Decline Of White Americans Is “Exciting”

“It’s an exciting evolution.”

Embedded video

[Click To Watch]

CNN’s Anderson Cooper said during an interview with Univision anchor Jorge Ramos that he found the demographic decline of white people “exciting”.

“The idea that, you know, whites will not be the majority, I mean, that’s — it’s an exciting transformation of the country, it’s an exciting evolution and you know, progress of our country in many different ways,” said Cooper.

Ramos agreed that whites becoming a minority in America was inevitable and a positive development.

The Judge@V8POW

Anderson Cooper barely able to contain his excitement about Whites becoming a minority.

Not thrilled about being replaced in the country your ancestors founded: you're a "Supremacist"

Understand White People, you're already in a race war.

“There’s nothing really they can do against this incredible demographic revolution. And in 2044, everyone is going to be a minority,” he said.

The media has repeatedly asserted that even raising the “conspiracy theory” of “the great replacement” or the demographic decline of white people puts you on a par with mass shooters and terrorists.

However, it’s apparently completely fine to talk about the issue so long as you proclaim the demographic decline of whites to be a positive thing.

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