A Good Walk Foiled

[NB: You should check the byline as always, though nobody else here at emptywheel is stupid enough to write about golf but me. /~Rayne]

The title of this post is an homage to an informative piece of work about the business of golf, A Good Walk Spoiled, written by sports writer John Feinstein. The book was published in 1995 before Tiger Woods turned pro, driving golf into a boom in tandem with the dot com explosion and the crazy amount of expendable income a certain class of people had to spend on the sport.

A Good Walk Spoiled also preceded the rise of Trump-owned and branded golf courses by a few years. Trump built his first course in 1999, the Trump International Golf Club, West Palm Beach, Florida. On brand with Trump’s litigiousness, the land was acquired after a lawsuit against Palm Beach County. Without pulling up the relevant suit and land records it’s hard to tell exactly how Trump obtained the 350 acres which became Trump’s first course. It’s certainly not clear from this interview:

In 1985 you bought Mar-a-Lago (Trump’s Florida home, a landmark that had been the estate of cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, wife of E.F. Hutton). How did that happen?

Mar-a-Lago was on the market for about five years, but they wouldn’t sell it to me. Now, they had already sold the beach in front of Mar-a-Lago–stupidly sold it–so I bought that, and then the other potential buyers didn’t want the place so much. Especially after I announced a horrendous project for that beach: big houses between Mar-a-Lago and the ocean. Did I really plan to build those houses? No. But it worked. Once I had the beach, I had them, and they sold me Mar-a-Lago. I got a good deal.

After I got it, I was annoyed by the planes going over to Palm Beach International Airport. So I sued the county. They wound up settling, and I got 350 incredible acres–the land that’s now Trump International Golf Club (An attorney for Palm Beach County says the settlement was unrelated to the land). Which has a quite expensive exit from the highway, by the way. The state’s spending $400 million on a highway (Widening and improving interstate 95), but didn’t build me an exit, and I put up quite a fuss about that. They ended up building a $30 million exit (Florida Department of Transportation says the exit cost even more $40 million) that goes to my $45 million course.

Right from the beginning of his current 17-course golf empire, the means and methods by which he operated them were sketchy.

It doesn’t help that the media has given him a pass so many damned times, even in this particular bit of sports writing. What was the settlement really about? How did Trump really acquire the land? It’s waved off in fourteen words enclosed in parentheses and that’s it. The same kind of wave off The New York Times gave him in coverage of their interview with him yesterday, 11 years after Trump’s bullshit explanation to Golf.com.

And I do mean bullshit. Read the rest of that Golf.com article and see if your eyebrows don’t elevate from the reek.

Especially the bit about playing golf with a banker.

Trump is playing golf right now, unsurprisingly, having traveled to his resort Mar-a-Lago for the weekend. I’m disappointed in one of his golf partners. Jack Nicklaus is a Republican and therefore no surprise as one of Trump’s playmates today. But Tiger Woods? Really, Tiger?

I get that Tiger may feel an affinity for someone who loves golf as much as Trump does, but you’d think Tiger would be smart enough to see the handwriting on the wall and the risk to anyone’s personal brand if they’re too tight with Il Douche.

Maybe Tiger’s going along to get along as far too many people have with Trump all his adult life.

In which case today’s round is just a good walk foiled.

Treat this as an open thread.

ADDER — 2:22 p.m. ET —

His moochery bilking us of our tax dollars to promote his golf course disgusts me to no end.

I hope he is counting his golf swings. It would be sweet justice to see one or more of his courses seized if investigations reveal he has defrauded us.

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60 replies
  1. DAT says:

    Rayne,
    Taking advantage of the openness. Someone recently (to paraphrase) said that the judges need to speed it up. There was brisk slapdown from the keepers of the blog. I understand the importance of dotted I’s and crossed T’s, but there is urgency also. I wake up in a sweat imagining that Trump has started a war, and proclaims “I’m a war President. You can’t mess with me!” I guess we’ll find out how many MAGAs there are in the military and police then, won’t we?

    • Rayne says:

      Federal judge A. B. Jackson issued an order yesterday, designating U.S. v. Roger Stone as a complex case; it’s now excluded from ‘speedy trial calculation’, in no small part because of the voluminous amount of evidence Marcy discussed yesterday.

      There’s no magic wand to shortcut this process. It’s also important for our democracy’s legitimacy for the investigations to hew to the letter of the law even if it takes more time than our ADD-addled American culture wants. The process should improve public opinion of the investigation.

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Gosh, it looks as if lying about his intentions and actions, and most probably corruption, have been a part of the Don’s business model since he jumped out of the cradle and into a million bucks from dad.

    In 1985, Roy Cohn was still alive and practicing. I wonder if any of his legendary associates helped the Don with this purchase.

  3. BobCon says:

    Since this is an open thread, does anyone have recs on an Android and iOS app for free calling/messaging with family when someone is overseas?

    I’m not happy with Facebook’s ownership of WhatsApp — I assume they will be exposed any day as having handed over control of user phones to the latest version of Cambridge Analytica. Are apps like Signal or Telegram better from the perspective of ownership ethics?

    I’m not too hung up about someone eavesdropping on conversations about weather and food, although security is always nice. I definitely want something that works reliably if someone has a constantly fickle wifi connection. Also would prefer something that doesn’t kill batteries. Thanks for any advice.

  4. JD12 says:

    I’ll see if I can track down the source but I remember reading an article about that club. The primary reason he got the land, I believe, was because he knew Palm Beach needed money, so he stopped paying his taxes. And instead of a sheriff’s sale that would happen if you or I refused to pay taxes, they went to court and Palm Beach agreed to lease him the land for the club so he would pay his outstanding taxes (and not all of them, either). They couldn’t afford to battle him in court so he walked all over them.

    Also, it’s interesting that Tiger is playing with Trump. He just got good press for turning down a $3 million appearance fee to play in the inaugural European Tour event in Saudi Arabia.

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    If luxury real estate enclave Palm Beach, FL, was having trouble raising cash, what other well-heeled residents was it not collecting taxes from?  Or was the idea that its government might take a resident to court over not paying taxes so over-the-top and unthinkable no one even considered it?

    • BobCon says:

      Very possibly he got the deal from the PB government by paying someone to go along, in the way that Cy Vance Jr. took in $75K in donations from Trump people immediately after dropping a case against Don Jr. and Ivanka — a case that Vance’s office thought was a slam dunk.

      Donald Trump State Park is a notorious example of Trump cutting a deal with Governor Pataki for the state to take a parcel of land off of Trump’s hands in exchange for a big tax deduction.

      https://www.outsideonline.com/2181686/brief-history-donald-j-trump-state-park

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    A NYT story nominally dealing with Trump’s unusual relationship with Deutsche Bank, says Trump put over $200 million into Turnberry alone since 2014, supposedly with no outside funding.

    In the decade before he was elected president, Mr. Trump’s company spent hundreds of millions of dollars buying or renovating about a dozen clubs and resorts around the world. Despite Mr. Trump’s self-proclaimed fondness for relying on debt, the Trump Organization has reported that it used its own money for most of the acquisitions and upgrades.

    That means that a supposed real estate mogul – whom no reputable bank would lend to owing to his history of bankruptcies – just emerging from the greatest recession since the 1930s, went on a spending spree for golf and resort properties when everyone else was pulling in their horns.

    The NYT concludes that, “The funding of Mr. Trump’s golf empire has been something of a mystery.”  Meanwhile, the lede ot the story was that DB refused to extend further loans to Trump in 2016 because it was afraid that, if he won, he would walk on the debt and DB would be unwilling to foreclose on properties owned by a sitting American president.

    • scribe says:

      People really misunderstand how bankruptcy works out in real life and then come to incorrect conclusions as a result.

      I used to counsel clients about bankruptcy, especially when they’d sit there with the heads in their hands moaning about the disaster to their credit, etc. from the contemplated bankruptcy.

      fact #1:  the minute you either get a discharge in bankruptcy (Ch.7) or get your discharge and payment plan confirmed (Ch.13), your mailbox will be deluged with credit card offers.  Card issuers troll the Bankruptcy Court filings to find people getting discharges for precisely that purpose.  The issuers know a bunch of things from the information they generate:  (1)  these are all people who have been living poor for a while and have pent-up demand for Stuff;  (2) these are all people who, for one reason or another, cannot handle credit and/or money “responsibly” and will likely go on a spending spree once they get their hands on some;  (3) these are all people who have been told from little on up that going bankrupt is right up there with going to prison on the scale of Bad Things, such that they will quite readily accept a story from issuers, prospective creditors, that they “grudgingly” will “only reluctantly” “take a chance” to grant them credit and then “only at a much higher rate to cover that increased risk”.

      fact #2:  in reality, people just having received a bankruptcy discharge are the one, single, best moneymaking guarantee for a creditor ever invented, because (1) they can’t go bankrupt for a good 6 years, so there’s a 6-year-long money stream waiting;  (2) they are gullible enough to go along with massive service charges, fees, late fees and usurious interest rates because they were immoral and went bankrupt;  (3) to “re-establish their credit”, they will do anything and tolerate anything, thinking they need a credit rating to live…….

      In other words, bankruptcy is not bad.

      Moreover, in Trump’s case the lenders went in  knowing his history.  They also didn’t extend him unsecured debt.  There was always collateral.  And they would go after it.  Finally, NYC real estate is about as rough a business as can be without the cops getting involved.  (Occasionally, people do wind up floating face-down in the harbor, but usually it’s just their careers ending that way.)   That he was involved in it over a period of more than 30 years, at the highest levels and still standing at the end of that stretch says (a) he always made sure the people who really mattered got paid, (b) he didn’t overpay, (c) he didn’t irreversibly cross the wrong people, and (d) he never extended himself beyond a point of no return.

      There’s an old joke about a businessman, facing ruin, who decides the only thing to do is turn to God.  He goes to the house of worship, sits down, tells God it’s all going to pieces and asks for guidance. He picks up the scripture, opens it randomly, and sees the large type:  “Chapter 11”.  He realizes “getting rich by going bankrupt” is a long-standing reality and leaves the house of worship a renewed man.

      • JD12 says:

        because they were immoral and went bankrupt

        Aren’t medical bills the leading cause of personal bankruptcies these days?

  7. Laura says:

    @Rayne – Tiger Woods is a cipher, IMHO. Weird guy. But really, why would anyone choose to spend time with Donald Trump? Ugh, his voice makes me want to jam an icepick in my ear canal.

    @DAT – Remember ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy?’ DON’T PANIC! In large, friendly letters.

    I recently reread John Dean’s ‘Blind Ambition’ and found myself thinking that Watergate seems so simple now. Perhaps I’m engaging in hindsight bias, but just compare the Watergate mess – even with the whole Spiro Agnew sideshow – to the international financial tangles, internet espionage, and social media influence campaigns that describe the Trumpian mess. The latter is a tesseract-scale clusterfuck. Everyone needs to trust the prosecutors and judiciary to follow established processes to make the findings airtight as possible, because any hint of of sloppiness or prosecutorial bias will send the right wing into frothing QAnon conspiracy awfulness. (Then we will really be fucked and husband and I will be taking the dogs to Canada.)

    Also, counterintelligence investigations are slow and deliberate. I work in a government agency and was once questioned, very politely, as part of a sprawling CI investigation. From my one hour exposure to CI, I learned that the investigators are deliberate & thorough collectors/evaluators of information. I wasn’t any help to them – I’d apparently blown off a Foreign Adversary’s Sneaky Attempt at Contact with a polite “fuck off I’m busy” – but the glimpse into the CI work was pretty fascinating.

    Anyway, if Garrett Graff’s count is correct (Marcy would know), investigators are dealing with some seventeen separate lines of inquiry, involving terabytes of data that span both counterintelligence and criminal investigations. We can help the prosecutors and judiciary by staying calm and tamping down reckless talk of Trump overthrowing the Constitution, the need for immediate impeachment, “treason,” etc.

    Also, get out the vote in 2020.

    (edited to fix spelling)

    • Rayne says:

      Tiger Woods is a cipher, IMHO. Weird guy.

      Being mixed race myself, I have always thought he struggled with trying to be too many things to too many people in a world that really would rather he was a nice rich white boy like the rest of golf’s cohort.

  8. scribe says:

    Sorry to disagree on how assholey his putting together the property and facility was, but that’s just the way NYC real estate dealings go.  It’s all hardball, all the time.

    People who don’t want to sell, you put in a position to have to sell.  The contractually-agreed-to price is just the beginning of the negotiation over how much, if anything, you’re actually going to pay.  Municipalities want to get those unpaid taxes resolved, lest they wind up with a white elephant (like, fer instance, that gas station with the leaky tanks the prior owner abandoned to the tax man) that will cost them more to clean up than its worth.  Building a new exit is a great thing to do, especially when you get to play golf there.  I want it, you got it, let’s see if you can keep it.  All that and more.

    I once had a client who had a piece of nice, developable rural property (in pasture) and wanted to go forward with houses on it.  The municipality had other ideas.  This was a ritzy neighborhood that routinely turned down highway improvement aid.  They deliberately kept municipally-maintained roads unpaved gravel so as to discourage outsiders from using them as shortcuts and disturbing The Quality’s enjoyment of rural vistas and living at The Country House.  When the town nixed his project, I suggested to our client letting float the idea that he was going to invoke the Freedom To Farm Act and put a hog-finishing operation on the property, which happened to also be upwind of several municipal officials’ homes.  Our client was already quite wealthy, therefore didn’t need to turn the property over immediately and could wait until the offending officials moved out of office.  And he was quite a gentleman who took my suggestion as a joke on the situation, one he could tell people who’d get it back to the town (making my youth and inexperience the butt of it) but still get the same effect as my suggestion.

    This was almost 30 years ago – and I think the town bought it for a substantial profit to the client to keep it open space.  Maybe not as much as if it’d been turned into houses and then reinvested (this guy was quite a businessman), but still a handsome profit.

    • Laura says:

      I suggested to our client letting float the idea that he was going to invoke the Freedom To Farm Act and put a hog-finishing operation on the property, which happened to also be upwind of several municipal officials’ homes. 

      I literally laughed out loud.  Brilliant.

        • Laura says:

          We moved to a rural area about 20 years ago to escape a fascist HOA.  Turns out the new neighborhood of 15 small ‘gentleman farming’ lots did have a set of covenants,  but the only covenant being enforced was NO HOG FARMING.   Which was fine by me.

          • scribe says:

            Every little village in Germany smells like hog manure, but you never see them.  They are there, though.

    • JD12 says:

      Some of it’s just hardball. Buying the beach first so the mansion has no beach access and is therefore worth less? A bit of a dick move, but okay. Filing frivolous lawsuits for tens of millions of dollars that demand the county move the airport and county jail? That’s just ridiculous. He knows they’re not moving the airport or the jail, those are bad-faith, unethical, frivolous lawsuits that the county has to spend the other taxpayers’ money to defend.

    • Rayne says:

      …that’s just the way NYC real estate dealings go. It’s all hardball, all the time.

      This attitude might explain why NYT slacked off so much during 2015-2016. It’s just The Donald, he’s an asshole like all our other Noo Yawk assholes, fuhgeddaboudit! Except that’s not the way the rest of the country is uniformly from Maine to California. We needed to know he was going to be a Noo Yawk douchebag all the time like he has been all his life and treat us like a fucking mark, just another pussy to grab.

      It’s his scummy unethical sleeze Mark Burnett and Jeff Zucker hid with that POS reality TV show.

      I appreciate Donny Deutsch finally coming out and telling us his long-time friend Cohen’s client is a bottom-feeder in a slimy industry, but it would have been nice for the public to know that in detail and in adequate time before November 2016.

      • BobCon says:

        The Times is tightly connected to the NYC real estate world, and they cover it like they cover the Knicks. They may be critical from time to time, but they will never, ever do anything to put their access at serious risk.

        That’s why they write articles like this about the Porzingis trade, framing it as a great opportunity to pick up Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.

        https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/31/sports/basketball/knicks-trade-kristaps-porzingis-mavericks.html

        Of course, who wants to play for such a badly managed team that makes its rising superstar so miserable he demands a trade? But Dolan wants to hear that he’s on the right track, so that’s what the Times writes.

        Likewise with Trump’s dirty dealings. If the Times exposed him before 2016, they’d get on the bad sign of all the other developers with skeletons in their closets. That’s a huge risk in terms of access for reporters, and a huge potential hit for their business side too.

        The dumb thing is that the Knicks need the coverage from the Times more than the Times needs locker room access to cover the team, and a developer would quickly find that freezing out the Times would be incredibly risky to their own business. The Times has far more leverage than it thinks it does, but the leadership bungles its ability to use it.

  9. AitchD says:

    Nicklaus has more titanium in his hips than there is in all three players’ bags.

    I went to college outside Columbus when Jack turned pro (1962). A few factoids: Jack stopped attending Ohio State after his third year, and he was expelled for not registering or completing his degree (I read that in either the Citizen-Journal or the Dispatch). Of course that was since ‘corrected’. (And 35 years later, Tiger also stopped attending Stanford but was not expelled.) Jack was fat, reportedly ate five pork chops for breakfast. Throughout his career he smoked a pack a day, but only out of sight. He made ‘the Majors’ the Holy Grail, but he included his two USGA Amateur Championships among his major wins because his model was Bobby Jones. Come Tiger (three consecutive Amateur Championships!), and grandma Jack commissioned a new Grail without the amateur wins.

    Jack, more than anything or anyone, is singularly responsible for the slow play that infected (and destroyed) the great game. He was the ‘name’ player who started using yardage ‘books’ to determine how far, exactly, the hole was from his ball (usually in the rough but a mile from the tee). The effect was that he avoided three-putts and could win 18 majors. He won his first pro event at the 1962 U.S. Open at Oakmont, beating Palmer in an 18-hole playoff. Palmer had three-putted some ten times in regulation, Nicklaus zero times.

    My impression is that the press kvetched a lot more (adjusting for ‘news’ inflation and bloat) about Eisenhower’s playing too much golf. In 1965, Ike told his good friend Arnold Palmer to quit smoking (his brand was L&M), which Palmer heeded and never won another major.

    The 1980’s included Jack’s winning three of his last majors, Trevino winning a few, and the likes of Tom Watson and his best decade, Greg Norman’s dominance, Nicks Faldo and Price, and you know the rest. But the best player of that decade was Calvin Peete (Players Championship, Vardon Trophy!!, tons of $$). In contention at Pebble Beach for the final round of the 1982 U.S. Open, he said on TV that he never grew up playing on country club greens, and it’s not easy getting used to very fast greens. He didn’t mention that on the Tour he always played with death threats.

    I’m not surprised, as I consider Tiger among the old rich white dudes who love the tax cuts and want to keep getting richer. Whatever became of Tiger’s golf resort-home project (Mississippi or Tennessee)?

    • scribe says:

      For perspective:  Ike smoked 4 packs a day until he had his heart trouble while President.  He knew from how it affected everything.

      If Ike was playing golf, it meant things were running well enough without him having to micromanage.  He had People to handle things.  He was showing the country it could be confident its government was competent.  And from a good-government perspective, US government in the 50s was – within the bounds of what was expected of/from government – pretty good.

      • scribe says:

        Speaking as one who smoked a pack a day for >15 years, I cannot imagine how one could tolerate 4 packs a day.  But Ike ( and Sinatra) did.

        • P J Evans says:

          For a year or so, I worked with a woman who smoked two packs a day, at least – chain smoking. (She got throat cancer that had spread to her spine before she found out. It killed her about three months later.)

      • AitchD says:

        I speculate that Ike had to learn golf so he could have a seat at the table when the drawing of the first circle wedded the military and industry into a complex of political, economic, and social interests. Obviously WW2 had already been a proof of concept. He was a member of Augusta National, as is Secretary Rice.

    • bmaz says:

      Calvin Peete was one of the fan favorites every year at the Phoenix Open and would talk to anybody and everybody every year. He won it one year (think 85) when I was in law school.

  10. NorskieFlamethrower says:

    We in this country are so ignorant of the what’s goin’ on in the real world beyond Washington D.C, and Mar A Lago that we have missed the complete collapse of Great Britain. Even watching contemporary British TV series leaves one with a depressing ache in the stomach for those who can’t afford to leave. “Somethin’s happenin’ here…” Britain’s collapse is due to the inability of the political system to save itself and is a warning to us of what is in store for us if we don’t get it right in the next two years. As it is, if we are successful in 2020 we will find ourselves completely isolated from the rest of the world politically and economically.

    • Rayne says:

      The situation in the UK and Trump’s devastating effect on the US are not separate things. They came about with the concerted effort of the same people.

      And white people’s too-long buried xenophobic hate was used as a weapon against them. It will continue to be used against them if they don’t face it and acknowledge it and deal with it.

      • P J Evans says:

        I’ve been reading comments elseweb from someone who lives in the UK. Apparently the “leave” people were the whiter, more affluent voters – not the more rural/ethnic ones.

        They don’t have any good paths forward, at this point.

        • Rayne says:

          Yup. Leavers were a mix of wealthy toffs who don’t want to face the EU’s implementation of anti-tax avoidance regulations, and lower income whites like the Ukip members who don’t want any non-white or non-English speaking immigrants and certainly none of the refugees from Syria and Libya.

          Leave violated campaign finance laws, Facebook was used to pump racist anti-immigrant messaging, and the UK gets far too much of its news from The Sun, DailyMail, and Facebook. It was a recipe for disaster.

          And Theresa May is spectacularly incompetent as has been her Brexiteer cabinet; what makes this even worst is Jeremy Corbyn’s wishy-washy closeted racism as he leads Labour to faff about instead of competently resisting May’s mayhem.

          It’s been a slow-moving train wreck they could stop but the smart people who could do it aren’t in a position of power — like MPs David Lammy and Damien Collins. SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon can only look out for Scotland. Celtic gods help Ireland; there was a car bombing a week ago, a portent of potential ahead.

      • posaune says:

        Rayne,

        This is a beautifully succinct comment, encapsulates the past and the future:  “xenophobic hate  . . . will continue to be used against them if they don’t face it and acknowledge it and deal with it.”   This is the work for all of us now and will be for the next generation.  Thank you for your insight and eloquence.

        • Rayne says:

          Thanks. I want to point to the Northam situation — the persistent denial by Northam, the shallow to outright false anti-racist opining from conservatives — as an example of what persons of color have been able to see all along.

          Same when it comes to misogyny, anti-LGBTQ bigotry, and ableism for that matter, denied yet there. But ethnic and racist xenophobia is deployed as a primary social wedge.

  11. Jenny says:

    When I see Trump golfing, cheating surfaces. Samuel L. Jackson and others claims he cheats at golf. In 2016, Samuel L. Jackson was on “Late Night with Seth Myers.” Seth asked who the better golfer was: Himself or Trump. “Oh, I am, for sure. I don’t cheat,” Jackson replied.

    • AitchD says:

      Gary Player was a cheater sometimes and was called out for it. Vijay Singh cheated to make a cut. Chella Choi cheated, Lexi Thompson cheated. All knowingly.

  12. Laura says:

    @Rayne

    Well, and then there’s Earl Woods, too. What was the book he wrote about child rearing… “Training a Tiger?”
    What a way to fuck up your kid.

    Anyway, thanks for helping me procrastinate today, I’m off to clean the refrigerator. Which is still preferable to spending any time at all, whatsoever, anywhere, with fat-snarling-ratman Donald Trump.

  13. OldTulsaDude says:

    As long as Individual Comrade-1 is in office, we are all Yossarians in a Colonel Cathcart world.

    • Rapier says:

      We’ve all been Yossarians in a Cathcart Korn world since WWII ended.  The organization men won the peace.  The climbers, the suck ups and the yes men rule. I would hazard a guess and say 75% of junior execs  at S&P 500 companies in 1959 were Army officers in the war and I would further guess most were noncoms.  Some of them quite good I am sure and some who were absolutely terrible.

      Growing up in the 50’s as a kid with zero military in my family I was well aware that there was a deep wellspring of contempt for the military as an organization. How could you watch Phil Silvers and not know that. You youngsters look it up. It took decades to forget the huge amount of resentment that former GI’s had for segments of the officer corp, top to bottom.

      Of course the Milos went right to the top.

      Actually Trump isn’t an organization man. That’s one of his appeals but won’t try to get into it here.

      • Jockobadger says:

        Good one Rayne!  I’m from a family that was military starting with WWII and you are dead right about the deep wellspring of contempt.

        But, there was also this underlying understanding that the service(s) allowed a lot of people to climb out of the mire.  Phil Silvers, etc., was sort of morbid humor (that’s not right exactly but my head’s frazzled.)  I hope you know what I mean?  Both my Grandpas talked about it.  They all knew a Yossarian, a James Garner in the Great Escape, a Sargeant Schultz, etc.

        The GI Bill could be a hammock but also a godsend – a real Great Escape.  Several of my family used it to good effect.  The real problem is it didn’t help the guys in the Big Red One, did it?  It’s criminal how all those guys were treated.  A True black mark. They deserved so much better.

        • Rapier says:

          I’m not Rayne and my forever habit of trying to make too big a point in a short space I freely admit to. The one point I was trying to make but it got lost is how the people who had talent in bureaucracy in a hierarchical institution, the Army, went on to have talent in corporations. For better of for  worse but one thing is certain. They suppressed their individuality, their  individualism, the supposed hallmark of Americans, for the buck.

          I will repeat, into the 60’s the company man, the corporation man, the man in the grey flannel suit was held in a certain contempt by the ‘working class’. Hourly worker may be a better differentiation.

          Yossarian to me is the anti hero. Railing against the bureaucracy which was insane. Producing the likes of dead Doc Daneeka to the medals for the perfect bomb pattern and of course, Catch 22.

  14. Jockobadger says:

    Hey Rapier, my mistake and I apologize. I can just see the rolling eyes and sighing. I deserve it and will shut up.

  15. joulie says:

    Fox-Con To Produce Individually Wrapped American Cheese Slices.MAKE WISCONSIN GREAT AGAIN! Thanks Scott Walker. you dirty prick.

  16. I Never Lie and am Always Right says:

    Since this is an open thread, I’m going to provide some comments regarding the tax lien notice filed by the IRS against Roger Stone. I am not linking to that notice here– it is easy enough to locate on the net. Use these comments as you see fit. They generally represent educated guesses only.

    First, the lien notice is for six successive years (2006 through 2011), and five of those years (2006 through 2010) have six figure liabilities. Per the lien notice, the liability for year 06 was not billed to Stone until 9-29-08, well after the last date on which he could have timely filed his 06 return. There is a similar pattern for year 07 and 08. The 07 liability was not billed to Stone until 8-3-09, and the 08 liability was not billed to Stone until 5-17-10. This suggests that he filed his returns late for these three years. It is possible that the delay in him being billed for the taxes owed for these three years resulted from audits of these returns after the returns were timely filed, but that is less likely given the “pattern” reflected on the lien notice. It is more likely that the returns were filed a month or two before the date of the first bill for each year, which would have been the “date of assessment” in column (d).

    If he filed late, the late filing penalty would have been about 25% of the tax, unless he managed to get the penalties removed. Thus, you may be able to ball park his net tax owed (and thus do a backdoor approximation of the minimum possible amount of his taxable income for each year, using tax rate tables) for each of these years through simple math. I would estimate that the “unpaid balance” in the far right column to be perhaps 135% of the net tax owed, to take into account interest, penalties, etc, if the amounts on the lien notices represent balances owed on tax returns that were filed shortly before the initial billing dates. Keep in mind that the actual tax per the return could have been higher than the net tax owed at the time of the filing of the return, if payments were made towards the gross tax owed before the IRS sent out the first bill for the year.

    Also keep in mind that, if Stone did not file tax returns for these years at all before he got billed by the IRS, it is possible that the bills for these years were generated by the IRS itself, as the result of audits. If that is what happened, and Stone did not pay attention to what the IRS was doing, then the IRS numbers billed to Stone for these years were very likely inflated. If that is what happened, Stone would have been motivated to file returns to lower the amount owed, if his actual returns showed a lower amount owed.

    For the 2009 year, the first bill went out on 10-22-12, some two years after the due date of the 2009 return. That could be due to a late filed return or an audit. For the 2010 year, the bill went out in late 2011, which almost certainly indicates that a balance due return was filed in October of 2011. For the year 2011, the bill went out in December of 2012. This amount was small. That could mean a low taxable income reported on the return, but not necessarily, if payments were made towards the gross tax owed per the return before the IRS sent out the first bill for that year. it could mean that, starting with this tax year, he finally started paying most of his taxes by the due date.

    IRS probably did not have a collection officer assigned and working on the case until shortly before the lien notice was filed, May of 2014. When a collection officer begins working on a case, usually one of the first things that they do is file a lien notice. That seems like a long time for the IRS to let things slide, but the IRS, including the field collection division, has been seriously understaffed for a long time. So the delay between the date of the first bill in September of 08 and the filing of the lien notice in May of 2014, almost six years later, is something that could realistically happen. Stone or his representative also could have done things to slow down the assignment of the case to a field collector. There are other possible scenarios that are less likely to have happened.

    Once a field collector got involved, Stone would have had a very strong incentive to file and pay on time from that point forward. IRS won’t do a payment arrangement over time or a settled for less than what is owed (called an offer in compromise) unless you are in current tax compliance and remain in tax compliance going forward.

    As for how the liabilities might have been resolved, if there was an offer in compromise, there is a public record of that maintained by the IRS. Any other resolution, such as installment agreement, or even payment in full, would remain private. If the IRS does not “renew” its tax lien notice by filing a new document with the county by the “last date for refiling” in column e on the lien notice, this usually indicates that the liability has been fully paid or that the ten year statute of limitations on collection has expired. So it would be useful to determine if the IRS renewed its lien notice before October of last year, which was the “last date to refile” the lien notice for the 2006 tax liability.

    The IRS is required to release its lien once a liability is paid in full or the statute of limitations expires. They don’t always file a separate release of lien document however, because they treat the failure to refile the lien notice by the date in column e as a release of the lien as to a liability for a particular year. So I would do a search for any new lien notices filed and for any lien releases filed. Any additional documents may yield additional information, and the absence of any such documents also gives a hint as to what happened.

    • Rayne says:

      This is really interesting. I have sooo many questions now, not the least of which is whether tax liens were used to compromise his performance or if they represent something else altogether — like just plain fruit batty attitude toward taxes.

  17. Eureka says:

    OK, so is this just Trump being regular-wow-level-what-are-you-thinking!?!, or are they trying to sell that he won on campaign finance violations instead of also RU-assistance:
    Donald J. Trump: “Ed Gillespie, who ran for Governor of the Great State of Virginia against Ralph Northam, must now be thinking Malpractice and Dereliction of Duty with regard to his Opposition Research Staff. If they find that terrible picture before the election, he wins by 20 points!”

    Also, Dr. Feelgood back in town in time for the big exam:
    Josh Dawsey: “In a Saturday news release, Trump says he will name Ronny Jackson, the nixed VA Secretary nominee, as his chief medical adviser. And he is pushing for him to get a promotion in the military.”

  18. Michael says:

    I laughed ’til I cried at Robin Williams’ stand-up routine about “the manly game of golf” (“Where you can dress like a pimp and nobody cares!”) It’s on YouTube (if you dare). For those who don’t, here is text of Williams’ impersonation of a scot, complete with brouge, who describes a great idea he has for a sport.

    Hey, I got an idea for a f***ing sport: I knock a ball into a gopher hole.

    Oh, you mean like pool?

    F*** off pool! Not with a straight stick, but with a little f***ed up stick! I whack a ball and it goes in a gopher hole.

    Oh, you mean like croquet?

    F*** croquet! I put the hole hundreds of yards away! Oh, f*** yeah!

    Oh, like bowling?

    No, f*** bowling! Not straight, I’ll put s*** in the way! Like trees, and bushes and tall grass, so you can lose your f***in ball and go whacking away with a f***in tire iron! Each time you miss, you feel like you’re gonna have a stroke! F***, that’s what we’ll call it: A STROKE! Cuz every time you miss, you feel like you’re gonna f***in die! Oh f***, this is brilliant! Near the end, we’ll put a flat place … and a flag ……..to give you f***in hope! But I’ll put a sandbox to f*** with your ball again!

    You do this once?

    F*** no!! 18 f***in times!

  19. dwoolly says:

    Hi Rayne, I love the open threads! Thanks for doing them. It gives me a chance to pose a question or two in a place where I’m not going off topic.

    I am wondering if anyone else has been feeling a bit of a sense of relief since the Dems took over the House last month? The 1st two years of this abomination of a presidency has been such an incredible cause of constant stress. But since early January, I feel like, “ahh. Someone is actually acting like humane human beings and is reigning this insanity in”.

    For the first time since trump took office I am not stressed every time I read the news.

  20. DAT says:

    Rayne and Blog,
    I trust my meaning won’t be lost or misconstrued.
    When I say “urgency” I’m not asking ABJackson, or any judge, to govern from the bench. Nor am I asking for any lawyer in any jurisdiction to cut any corners. I agree that the toadies of the gilded Gauleiter, on finding any “I” without it’s dot, will hold it up to the light and gravely intone that they have proved it’s all a witch hunt, and that it is important, even crucial, that they have no chance to do that.
    My urgency is stoked by Bolton bustling around with his yellow pad with only two lines on it, and one of them, “5,000 troops to Columbia.” Our State Department (such as it is) keeping our Ambassador in Venezuela suggest to me that they are hoping for “Bengazi Lite,” which they will employ as a reason to declare a war. The recent return of the death squads’ friend to the halls of power is the cherry on the top of this particular shit sundae.
    If our plan as Citizens for taking on DJT and the Republican party consists of waiting… waiting for a ruling, waiting for a report, waiting for Inauguration day in 2021, then my urgency comes from making sure that all recognize the costs of this as a strategy.
    We do have two examples of partially effective responses to the President*. One is the airports clogged with citizens preventing (for a time) the Muslim Ban being effected. The other, more recent and more effective, is the air controller’s shutdown of the shutdown.
    As has been said by others more eloquently, “It is not permissible to despair of the state of our experiment in self-government.” So, I won’t say I have no answer. Instead I’ll swallow hard and bravely claim that addnl posts will follow.

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