In the News 10.03.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


In the News 10.03.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 10.03.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 10.03.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Trump Engaged In Suspect
Tax Schemes As He Reaped
Riches From His Father

President Trump participated in dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud, that greatly increased the fortune he received from his parents, an investigation by The New York Times has found.

Mr. Trump won the presidency proclaiming himself a self-made billionaire, and he has long insisted that his father, the legendary New York City builder Fred C. Trump, provided almost no financial help.

But The Times’s investigation, based on a vast trove of confidential tax returns and financial records, reveals that Mr. Trump received the equivalent today of at least $413 million from his father’s real estate empire, starting when he was a toddler and continuing to this day.

Much of this money came to Mr. Trump because he helped his parents dodge taxes. He and his siblings set up a sham corporation to disguise millions of dollars in gifts from their parents, records and interviews show. Records indicate that Mr. Trump helped his father take improper tax deductions worth millions more. He also helped formulate a strategy to undervalue his parents’ real estate holdings by hundreds of millions of dollars on tax returns, sharply reducing the tax bill when those properties were transferred to him and his siblings.

These maneuvers met with little resistance from the Internal Revenue Service, The Times found. The president’s parents, Fred and Mary Trump, transferred well over $1 billion in wealth to their children, which could have produced a tax bill of at least $550 million under the 55 percent tax rate then imposed on gifts and inheritances.

The Trumps paid a total of $52.2 million, or about 5 percent, tax records show.

The president declined repeated requests over several weeks to comment for this article. But a lawyer for Mr. Trump, Charles J. Harder, provided a written statement on Monday, one day after The Times sent a detailed description of its findings. “The New York Times’s allegations of fraud and tax evasion are 100 percent false, and highly defamatory,” Mr. Harder said. “There was no fraud or tax evasion by anyone. The facts upon which The Times bases its false allegations are extremely inaccurate.”

Mr. Harder sought to distance Mr. Trump from the tax strategies used by his family, saying the president had delegated those tasks to relatives and tax professionals. “President Trump had virtually no involvement whatsoever with these matters,” he said. “The affairs were handled by other Trump family members who were not experts themselves and therefore relied entirely upon the aforementioned licensed professionals to ensure full compliance with the law.”

Read the rest of this article at: The New York Times

In the News 10.03.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Lie Generator: Inside The Black Mirror World Of Polygraph Job Screenings

In the News 10.03.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Christopher Talbot thought he would make a great police officer. He was 29 years old, fit, and had a clean background record. Talbot had military experience, including a tour of Iraq as a US Marine, and his commanding officer had written him a glowing recommendation. In 2014, armed with an associate degree in criminal justice, he felt ready to apply to become an officer with the New Haven Police Department, in his home state of Connecticut.

Talbot sailed through the department’s rigorous physical and mental tests, passing speed and agility trials and a written examination—but there was one final test. Like thousands of other law enforcement, fire, paramedic, and federal agencies across the country, the New Haven Police Department insists that each applicant take an assessment that has been rejected by almost every scientific authority: the polygraph test.

Commonly known as lie detectors, polygraphs are virtually unused in civilian life. They’re largely inadmissible in court and it’s illegal for most private companies to consult them. Over the past century, scientists have debunked the polygraph, proving again and again that the test can’t reliably distinguish truth from falsehood. At best, it is a roll of the dice; at worst, it’s a vessel for test administrators to project their own beliefs.

Yet Talbot’s test was no different from the millions of others conducted annually across the public sector, where the polygraph is commonly used as a last-ditch effort to weed out unsuitable candidates. Hiring managers will ask a range of questions about minor crimes, like marijuana use and vandalism, and major infractions, like kidnapping, child abuse, terrorism, and bestiality. Using a polygraph, these departments believe, increases the likelihood of obtaining facts that potential recruits might prefer not to reveal. And like hundreds of thousands of job candidates each year, Talbot was judged to have lied on the test. He failed.

Read the rest of this article at: Wired

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Toward A Unified Theory
Of Bradley Cooper

Fame came to him in waves, and with wildly varying degrees of prestige. Starting in 2009, the three-volume Hangover franchise established him as an uncouth leading man perfect for the sort of bro-tastic hard-R comedies Hollywood doesn’t much make anymore. With 2012’s Oscar-bait dramedy Silver Linings Playbook, he kicked off an unofficial trilogy of David O. Russell flicks that gave him depth, and a wounded grace, and a couple of Oscar nominations. He joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the voice of a profane, gun-toting raccoon. In 2011, he was named Sexiest Man Alive; in 2013, he was photographed reading Lolita to then-girlfriend Suki Waterhouse, 17 years his junior, while she sat on his lap in a park in Paris. It’s a rich tapestry.

His Marvel gig aside, he has struggled in recent years, his roles all cut from the same hacky cloth of volatile-but-sensitive jerks. Bad Bradley Cooper movies tend to announce his character’s sexy dangerousness outright: In 2015 alone came the wayward Cameron Crowe Hawaii romance Aloha (“Call it what you will, Captain. I go hard. I go deep. Sometimes I break things. OK?”) and the kitchen-nightmare foodie drama Burnt. (“It’s like sex. You’re always headed to the same place, but you gotta find a new and dangerous way of getting there.”) Too many sheepish bad boys seeking redemption. It was time to break that mold, or at least radically reshape it.

Read the rest of this article at: The Ringer

In the News 10.03.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Bad, Good Lawyer

In the News 10.03.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

One day in November 2000, David Boies was in his backyard in Westchester planting a copper-beech tree with the help of a client, a billionaire real-estate developer, when he received an unexpected phone call. It was someone from Al Gore’s campaign begging him to take on the most important case in America. Gore was trying to overturn his 537-vote loss in Florida and, with it, George W. Bush’s lead in the Electoral College. Boies, a Democrat who was one of the country’s most skilled — and feared — courtroom litigators, ended up arguing Bush v. Gore all the way to the Supreme Court, losing valiantly in a decision with many fateful ramifications. For Boies, one was an introduction to a man who would become one of his most devoted clients, the movie producer Harvey Weinstein.

Within the legal profession, Boies was already a legendary figure. But Bush v. Gore gave him a taste of national celebrity. Bill Cosby cold-called to introduce his agent, who pitched him on writing a memoir. Tina Brown, who was then running the magazine Talk, pursued him as a potential author for a new, Talk-related publishing imprint. She invited Boies to lunch with her financial backers, Weinstein and his brother, Bob.

They offered Boies a substantial advance for his memoir, and before long, Boies was also acting as their legal counsel. “That’s how Harvey pursued things,” says an attorney who worked for Weinstein. “Give him a book deal and then he’d have a relationship with the greatest fucking lawyer there is.” With others, Weinstein may have acted like a crass bully, but he treated Boies with great deference, calling on him for matters large and small.

Read the rest of this article at: New York Magazine

“Papá, I Don’t Think You Should Go To Work Today.”

In the News 10.03.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Three teenage girls, American-born daughters of migrants, led the marchers on a day so polluted and hot that there were warnings to stay inside. They chanted, “No KKK! No fascist USA!” Few people saw the group parading past cantaloupe fields, but it was the most visible outcry against a terror growing in California farm towns.

Undocumented workers are a part of life in the Central Valley. California agriculture employs at least 500,000 farmworkers, and an estimated 60 to 70 percent have fake papers. Most years, it’s just an inside joke about how Benny got deported and came back Ricardo. But there are times when anti-immigration forces truly shake this region. Eleven years ago, raids destabilized the city of Mendota. The last straw for townspeople was when the father of a special-needs daughter was scheduled for deportation. “People got angry,” recalled Joseph Riofrio, the former mayor. “They flooded City Hall. They said, ‘No more. Not here.’ ”

*Names have been changed.

This year, towns like Mendota feel under attack again. Within blocks of Riofrio’s pool hall live two fathers and two young sons. One pair coming, one pair leaving. Rodrigo*, the Salvadoran father of 9-year-old American-born Julio, picks crops. He said he likes the fields because it’s the natural world and he likes to use his muscles. But on some days, Julio tells him, “Papá, I don’t think you should go to work today. I feel scared,” and Rodrigo listens. He said there have been more raids in the past five months. His friend told him about a cousin who was arrested during a sweep of a packing plant. The cousin protested that she had a baby son at home. The ICE agent asked, “How old is your baby?” The cousin told her, “Five years old.” The agent said, “He’s old enough to take care of himself.”

Could this be one of the rumors that whips through fearful towns after each sweep? Rodrigo doesn’t think so. He heard it from his good friend, who heard it directly from the cousin. It’s hard to verify stories about ICE, a federal agency that operates under fewer requirements of public disclosure than local police. But both raids and rumors have caused lines at notário offices of parents wanting to name guardians for their children in case they are rounded up at work. About 12 percent of California schoolchildren have at least one undocumented parent, according to a 2014 Pew study.

Rodrigo is saving money to move to El Salvador with Julio out of fear of separation. They need to leave by the broccoli harvest, before Julio’s Salvadoran passport expires. He knows going back is dangerous. In El Salvador, two of Rodrigo’s brothers were killed by the army, two others killed and one wounded by gangs (in his box of keepsakes, Julio has a newspaper clipping about the murder of one of his uncles). Rodrigo’s own father, a farmer, was killed by the army over a field of pumpkins he wouldn’t relinquish. Rodrigo was 10 when his older brothers told him what had happened to their father, how all that was left was one boot and his hat.

Read the rest of this article at: The California Sunday Magazine

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