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marmar's Journal
marmar's Journal
December 2, 2023

The Supreme Court Case That Could Upend a Century of Tax Law

The Supreme Court Case That Could Upend a Century of Tax Law
“The winners are the rich.”

Senior Editor

(Mother Jones) The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on Tuesday in Moore v U.S., a case that nominally involves the right of the US government to tax a couple, Charles and Kathleen Moore, on foreign corporate profits they have yet to receive.

Sounds arcane, but the case, bankrolled by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, could potentially neuter Congress’ ability to tax the swollen assets of America’s shareholder class. Indeed, a decision in favor of the petitioners could potentially wreak havoc on a century of tax law, upending provisions Congress enacted to curb tax abuses by some of America’s wealthiest citizens.

To get to the crux of the matter, I reached out to Steven Rosenthal, a senior fellow with the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center and a former staff attorney for Congress’ Joint Commitee on Taxation, who has intricate knowledge of tax law and has written quite a bit about the case. (Here are his shorter and longer versions.)


So this case is just the means to a bigger end?

The Moores are really, in my view, a stalking horse to block Congress from being able to tax billions, maybe trillions of dollars in gains that now often escape taxation completely. How do I know? Well, there was a Ninth Circuit dissent by Judge [Patrick] Bumatay, a Trump appointee. Bumatay said that if the courts cannot keep Congress in check with a realization requirement, Congress could yet start taxing wealth and billionaires. ................(more)


December 2, 2023

What to America is John Brown?

What to America is John Brown?
Maybe a lesson about people who refuse to learn from the instructive dissent of social movements


(Salon) On December 2, 1859, the United States carried out its first execution of a prisoner convicted of treason: a white man who challenged slavery. Today, America still can’t imagine a nation of white people who dissent from white supremacy. That's partly because we can't imagine healthy dissent.

As a professor of peace and conflict, I am often teased about my support for the 19th-century militant John Brown. Peace Studies involves studying alternatives to violence, and certainly not the advocacy of violence, so I admit that Brown is a difficult figure to square with my work facilitating multi-partisan and multi-ethnic collaborations. Brown, who was hanged in 1859 for raiding a federal armory in Harpers Ferry, VA, aiming to support enslaved people’s escape to freedom, had also clashed with pro-slavery groups during the battles known as “Bleeding Kansas,” including an alleged midnight ambush and slaughter of five pro-slavery leaders.

After decades of giving speeches arguing against slavery, and leading conversations and appeals to the wealthy and powerful, Brown was impatient with this pacifist approach, which insisted on “moral suasion,” as mainstream abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison called it — what we'd now call “changing hearts and minds” or “changing the narrative.”


What, to America, is John Brown? Maybe a lesson about people who refuse to learn from the instructive dissent of social movements, whatever “side” they’re on. But the fact that there are only three statues of Brown in the country tells us something of a particular shame attached to his legacy. I don’t think the shame is for his violence. I think it’s for our white history of coordinated repression, instead of the moral courage needed to finally create a just, multi-ethnic democracy. ................(more)


December 2, 2023

Hunter dies after being shot by another hunter in western Lenawee County


ROLLIN TWP. — A hunter has died after being shot by another hunter Thursday morning in western Lenawee County.

The victim died at the scene in the 15000 block of Rome Road in Rollin Township, Lenawee County Sheriff Troy Bevier said in a news release. Investigators were on the scene as of 11:15 a.m. Thursday.

Lenawee County Central Dispatch received a call about the shooting at 9:43 a.m. and immediately dispatched emergency medical personnel and law enforcement officers to the scene, the release said. The Addison Fire Department, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Lenawee County Sheriff’s Office are working together on this investigation.

December 2, 2023

Florida GOP Leader, a Moms for Liberty Founder, and Allegations of Group Sex and Rape

(Mother Jones) Where to even begin? The investigative journalism outlet Florida Center for Government Accountability has a story today alleging that Christian Ziegler, the chair of the Florida GOP, sexually assaulted a woman. This would be enough to attract attention, but this woman was allegedly having a ménage à trois with him and his wife Bridget, the erstwhile crusading chair of the Sarasota school board and a co-founder of the parents’ rights group Moms for Liberty.

The accusations in the story—which Mother Jones could not independently verify—are wild, to say the least:

The woman, according to sources close to the investigation, alleged that she and both Zieglers had been involved in a longstanding consensual three-way sexual relationship prior to the incident. The incident under investigation by Sarasota police occurred when Christian Ziegler and the woman were alone at the woman’s house, without Bridget Ziegler present, the sources conveyed.

Sources also corroborated that a search warrant was executed on Christian Ziegler’s cell phone and that investigators continue to conduct a forensic examination of the electronic device. Christian Ziegler is also alleged to have secretly videotaped the sexual encounters between the couple and the woman, sources said.

The story links to a police report obtained through a Freedom of Information Request for information involving Christian Ziegler. Nearly every word of the report has been redacted except “raped” and “sexual assault complaint.”

If this scandal appeared in a book, it would certainly be banned by Moms for Liberty, which has called for sexually explicit material to be removed from school libraries, especially those that involve same-sex relationships of any kind. The group has been at the forefront of the movement to remove LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum from classrooms. ..........(more)


December 2, 2023

Newsom humiliates DeSantis on Fox News

Newsom humiliates DeSantis on Fox News
California Gov. Gavin Newsom not only stood up for his state but made a great case for Joe Biden on Fox News


(Salon) When Florida Gov. Ron Desantis agreed to debate California Gov. Gavin Newsom, it's unlikely he knew his presidential campaign would be flailing to the extent it currently is. But he still should have thought twice. Whatever he thought his political skills might be, he is terrible on the debate stage. He's managed to barely hold his own in the sad Trumpless GOP primary debates that have been dominated by his rival, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, but he did himself no favors on Thursday night when he finally met with Newsom on Sean Hannity's Fox News show.


The questions were all loaded with statistics in favor of DeSantis designed to put Newsom on the defensive. I don't think there was even one data point he presented that put Florida in a more negative light. So it was up to Newsom to provide context and correct the record which he did quite effectively.


For instance, DeSantis was programmed to insist that Californians are moving to Florida "in droves" which he did approximately a dozen times, and maybe those Fox viewers were convinced. But it's just not true. (As Newsom pointed out repeatedly, per capita more Floridians have actually moved to California than the other way around.)


DeSantis pretty much just stood there like a potted plant obviously wanting to get past the subject as soon as possible. Just yesterday, a poll was released showing that 62% of Floridians want to vote the right to abortion up to 24 weeks into the state constitution and that includes 52% of Republicans. He made a huge mistake in judgement on that one. ...................(more)


December 1, 2023

Chicago CTA: Yellow Line remains closed two weeks after crash, as investigation continues

Ombre West usually takes the Yellow Line as part of her commute to Oakton Community College in Skokie. But the train line has been shut down since a crash on the tracks sent nearly two dozen people to hospitals, leaving West and other commuters to rely on replacement shuttle buses or alternate ways of getting around.

West, 20, estimated the shuttles have added an hour to her trip from her home in Evanston to school in the neighboring suburb.

More than two weeks after the mid-November crash on the tracks, the three-stop line that runs from Rogers Park to Skokie, also known as the Skokie Swift, remains closed as federal regulators investigate CTA equipment design and outside conditions, and the CTA reviews operations on the line.

The closure has frustrated commutes for riders trying to get to their homes, work and school, who instead must rely on the free shuttle buses the CTA is running to replace train service, or find other transportation. And it has left questions for riders and those who were injured about why the train failed to stop before slamming into a snowplow on the tracks, and whether the crash could have been prevented. ..................(more)


December 1, 2023

The violence is Trump's goal

The violence is Trump's goal
It is both the means as well as the goal of Trump's fascist political project

Senior Writer

(Salon) Today’s Republican Party is a de facto political crime organization. And although he is now facing hundreds of years in prison and the loss of his business empire, Donald Trump remains the Big Boss. He rules through fear, intimidation, and the threat (and reality) of violence. For a recent example, those Republicans who dared to oppose Trump’s choice for Speaker of the House found out very quickly that such behavior would be met with intimidation and violence.


Salon’s Tatyana Tandanpolie summarizes Trump’s recent attacks as follows:

The office of the New York judge overseeing Donald Trump's civil fraud trial has received an onslaught of death threats and antisemitic abuse in the wake of the former president's online attacks.

New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron and his principal law clerk, Allison Greenfield have been bombarded with hundreds of threatening, harassing and disparaging telephone and social media messages, according to a new court filing reported by The Guardian. New York state court system attorneys in the filing argued for the imposition of gag orders on Trump, citing the “serious and credible” threats against Engoron and Greenfield.

Transcribed voicemails, which were disclosed in the filing, exposed the extent of the vitriol directed at the duo. Several death threats came alongside racist and sexist attacks. “I mean, honestly, you should be assassinated,” one said. “You should be killed. You should be not assassin executed [sic]. You should be executed.”

“Resign now, you dirty, treasonous piece of trash snake. We are going to get you and anyone of you dirty, backstabbing, lying, cheating American. You are nothing but a bunch of communists. We are coming to remove you permanently," said another.


Trump has even been so bold as to amplify a post made on Truth Social “fantasizing” about a “citizen’s arrest” of Judge Erdogan and New York Attorney General Tish James for the “crime” of holding him accountable for under the law. For Trump, “citizen’s arrest” means violence and other harm. Trump, now in full mob boss mode, has escalated to harassing Judge Erdogan’s wife.


In reality, this behavior is part of a much larger strategy and goal by the Republican fascists and larger “conservative” movement and white right of ending American democracy and civil society by undermining the rule of law and replacing it with corrupt power. ................(more)


December 1, 2023

George Santos gets one thing right about Republicans: Their expulsion vote is "theater"

George Santos gets one thing right about Republicans: Their expulsion vote is "theater"
Whatever happens to the New York congressman, Republicans are still a party of grifters and con artists

Senior Writer

(Salon) Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y. is probably not winning that Oscar, but it's not for a lack of trying. With the enthusiasm of a drag queen channeling Joan Crawford, the embattled GOP congressman has given us three over-the-top performances of outrage over the possibility that he could become the sixth person ever to be expelled from Congress. Last week, facing growing pressure from Republicans after his 23 felony indictments for fraud, Santos refused to resign in a 3-hour diatribe on X-Spaces. Insisting that Congress has "felons galore" who get "drunk every night," Santos argued that he is being unfairly singled out and compared himself to Mary Magdalene. Then on Thursday morning, he held a self-pitying press conference, accusing his colleagues of "bullying" him by planning to hold a vote on whether to expel him, likely on Friday.

"It's all theater," he raved.


Santos is almost certainly faking his umbrage. He's well aware that, in addition to the federal charges against him, the House investigation found "substantial evidence" that he stole campaign donations and spent them on designer clothes, Botox injections, and OnlyFans. Plus, he has a history of using the tactic of wildly exaggerated rage to intimidate people out of asking questions about his alleged fraud. In the case where Santos is accused of using a sick dog to raise money, only to abscond with the cash, the dog's owner claims Santos blew up at him when asked about the promised veterinary care. Basically, Santos screamed at the guy until his alleged victim gave up. Wielding fake anger like a weapon is unlikely to work in this case, though what do I know? Donald Trump uses the same move to keep Republicans in line quite effectively.

But as silly as this display was, in one small sense, Santos is right: If Republicans do move to expel him, it's nothing more than theater. Republicans don't care if one of their own is a fraud or a criminal. The most obvious example is Trump, whose indictment count sits at 91 charges across four jurisdictions, making Santos look like a piker. And that's not even counting the financial crimes Trump has committed. Trump is currently in a civil trial regarding his decades of fraud. The judge has already ruled that he's guilty in that case, and the only real question left is how serious the penalties will be. ..............(more)


December 1, 2023

Kentucky reaches a new low in white Christian nationalism

Kentucky reaches a new low in white Christian nationalism
There’s no proof that Kentucky Christians are being persecuted — and yet many seem determined to believe otherwise.

Nov. 30, 2023, 5:34 PM EST
By Teri Carter

(MSNBC) Here in Kentucky, we have reached a new low in white Christian nationalist politics.

Barely a week after Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear decisively won re-election in our deep-red state, parents Brad and Stacy Briscoe marched their teenage daughter to the front of an Anderson County Schools Board meeting — and effectively outed her.

Hundreds packed that Nov. 13 board meeting, held less than 15 miles from the state Capitol. They came, they said in speech after speech, to support the Briscoes, who had filed a complaint stating that their daughter was groomed by a school counselor, and to demand the superintendent and counselor be fired.

“The counselor acted inappropriately by encouraging the student to seek a legal consultation regarding emancipation without her parents’ knowledge or consent,” according to the Lexington Herald Leader’s summary of the complaint. “In February, the student told her parents that she and her female classmate were in a romantic relationship and had been since the fall of 2022. The Briscoes expressed to (their daughter) their strong opposition to homosexuality, which was based upon convictions derived from their Christian faith.” (The Briscoes, reports the Herald Leader, “insist that the reason for the daughter’s punishment was her dishonesty with her parents, not her sexuality.”) ..............(more)


November 30, 2023

Idaho asks supreme court to decide on law penalizing abortion providers

(Guardian UK) The US supreme court is on the verge of being dragged back into the abortion wars.

Eighteen months after the court’s conservative majority overturned Roe v Wade and abolished the national right to abortion, the state of Idaho, represented by the conservative legal powerhouse the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), has asked the nation’s highest court to allow a law that penalizes abortion providers. The state is requesting that the court halt a federal court decision finding that Idaho’s ban conflicts with government rules governing the provision of emergency care.

Justice Elena Kagan has asked for additional briefing in the case by Thursday afternoon. The justices may rule anytime after that.

Idaho has implemented a near-total abortion ban that only permits abortion to save the life of a pregnant woman. Doctors have said that this kind of language is too vague and ignores the complex reality of pregnancy; in practice, they say, exceptions like Idaho’s force them to wait and watch until patients become sick enough for doctors to legally intervene, imperiling their long-term health and even risking their lives. .........(more)


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