Daily Archives: Jun 23, 2018

    Amid the carnage of Republican misrule in Washington, there is this glimmer of good news: The family-shredding policy along the southern border, the most telegenic recent example of misrule, clarified something. Occurring less than 140 days before elections that can reshape Congress, the policy has given independents and temperate Republicans — these are probably expanding and contracting cohorts, respectively — fresh if redundant evidence for the principle by which they should vote.

    The principle: The congressional Republican caucuses must be substantially reduced. So substantially that their remnants, reduced to minorities, will be stripped of the Constitution’s Article I powers that they have been too invertebrate to use against the current wielder of Article II powers. They will then have leisure time to wonder why they worked so hard to achieve membership in a legislature whose unexercised muscles have atrophied because of people like them.

    Consider the melancholy example of House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.), who wagered his dignity on the patently false proposition that it is possible to have sustained transactions with today’s president, this Vesuvius of mendacities, without being degraded. In Robert Bolt’s play “A Man for All Seasons,” Thomas More, having angered Henry VIII, is on trial for his life. When Richard Rich, whom More had once mentored, commits perjury against More in exchange for the office of attorney general for Wales, More says: “Why, Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world . . . But for Wales!” Ryan traded his political soul for . . . a tax cut. He who formerly spoke truths about the accelerating crisis of the entitlement system lost everything in the service of a president pledged to preserve the unsustainable status quo.

    Ryan and many other Republicans have become the president’s poodles, not because James Madison’s system has failed but because today’s abject careerists have failed to be worthy of it. As explained in Federalist 51: “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place.” Congressional Republicans (congressional Democrats are equally supine toward Democratic presidents) have no higher ambition than to placate this president. By leaving dormant the powers inherent in their institution, they vitiate the Constitution’s vital principle: the separation of powers.

    Recently Sen. Bob Corker, the Tennessee Republican who is retiring , became an exception that illuminates the depressing rule. He proposed a measure by which Congress could retrieve a small portion of the policymaking power that it has, over many decades and under both parties, improvidently delegated to presidents. Congress has done this out of sloth and timidity — to duck hard work and risky choices. Corker’s measure would have required Congress to vote to approve any trade restrictions imposed in the name of “national security.” All Senate Republicans worthy of the conservative label that all Senate Republicans flaunt would privately admit that this is conducive to sound governance and true to the Constitution’s structure. But the Senate would not vote on it — would not allow it to become just the second amendment voted on this year .

    This is because the amendment would have peeved the easily peeved president. The Republican-controlled Congress, which waited for Trump to undo by unilateral decree the border folly they could have prevented by actually legislating, is an advertisement for the unimportance of Republican control.

    The Trump whisperer regarding immigration is Stephen Miller, 32, whose ascent to eminence began when he became the Savonarola of Santa Monica High School . Corey Lewandowski, a Trump campaign official who fell from the king’s grace but is crawling back (he works for Vice President Pence’s political action committee), recently responded on Fox News to the story of a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome taken from her parents at the border. Lewandowski replied: “Wah, wah.” Meaningless noise is this administration’s appropriate libretto because, just as a magnet attracts iron filings, Trump attracts, and is attracted to, louts.

    In today’s GOP, which is the president’s plaything, he is the mainstream. So, to vote against his party’s cowering congressional caucuses is to affirm the nation’s honor while quarantining him. A Democratic-controlled Congress would be a basket of deplorables, but there would be enough Republicans to gum up the Senate’s machinery, keeping the institution as peripheral as it has been under their control and asphyxiating mischief from a Democratic House. And to those who say, “But the judges, the judges!” the answer is: Article III institutionsare not more important than those of Articles I and II combined.

    Read more from George F. Will’s archive or follow him on Facebook.

    El rendimiento de la estrella argentina está lejos del que exhibió en Brasil 2014.

    La imagen de un desencajado Lionel Messi entrando directamente al vestuario luego de que Argentina fuera derrotada por 3-0 por Croacia la noche del jueves en Nizhny Novgorod ya es una de las más emblemáticas de la Copa Mundial 2018.

    En dos partidos, el cinco veces mejor jugador del año no pudo anotar ni un solo gol ni dar una asistencia. De hecho, falló un penal en el partido inaugural contra Islandia.

    El equipo sudamericano podría no pasar la fase de grupos por primera vez desde el torneo de Corea y Japón 2002. Depende de que Islandia no gane ninguno de los dos partidos que le restan.

    También sería la primera vez que Messi no alcance la segunda ronda desde que participa en Mundiales.

    A los 31 años, Messi tiene, en teoría, cuerda para al menos una Copa del Mundo más.

    Sin embargo. para muchos expertos, Rusia 2018 era su última oportunidad llegar en condiciones de ganar un título importante con Argentina.

    Lionel Messi no ha logrado marcar un gol ni hacer una asistencia en este Mundial.

    El único galardón del capitán argentino con la albiceleste hasta ahora es la medalla de oro de los Juegos Olímpicos de Beijing en 2008.

    Tampoco ha sido una gran temporada para él en el Barcelona: a pesar de ganar un doblete (La Liga y Copa del Rey).

    En la Champions League fueron eliminados en cuartos de final por tercera temporada consecutiva mientras observan a los archirrivales del Real Madrid dominar el continente.

    Hay varios factores que podrían explicar por qué Messi mantiene este rendimiento mediocre y sufre en el Mundial.

    Los enumeramos a continuación:

    1. Está físicamente agotado

    En la temporada europea 2017/18, Messi jugó 54 partidos, su mayor número desde la 2014/15 y uno de los más altos en los últimos cinco años.

    Según el sitio de estadísticas Transfermarkt, jugó 4.468 minutos y pasó un promedio de 82,7 minutos en el campo por partido.

    Terminó la temporada con 45 goles y 18 asistencias para el Barcelona

    2.Una lesión molesta

    En abril de 2018, el diario argentino Clarín citó fuentes del equipo nacional para decir que Messi estaba luchando con una lesión en el muslo en su pierna derecha que estaba afectando su capacidad para acelerar y cambiar de ritmo.

    Los problemas se hicieron públicos después de que el argentino se retirara de importantes amistosos del equipo nacional contra Italia y España.

    En este último solo pudo ver a sus compañeros perder 6-1 ante los españoles.

    3. Argentina podría no ser tan buena

    Argentina tuvo una campaña terrible en las eliminatorias sudamericanas para Rusia 2018 y aseguró un lugar en el Mundial gracias a una combinación de resultados.

    Messi fue el máximo anotador de Argentina en la competencia, con siete goles, pero eso no evitó que los fanáticos y los medios criticaran las actuaciones del equipo.

    Por ello la relación de los futbolistas de la selección con la prensa está rota.

    El astro argentino Diego Maradona no puede creer la derrota del seleccionado de fútbol frente a Croacia.

    Aunque llegaron a la final de la última Copa del Mundo, que perdieron ante Alemania por un solo gol en el tiempo extra, la última gran victoria de Argentina en la competencia tuvo lugar en 1986. Era el equipo que lideraba Diego Maradona.

    Desde la Copa América de 1993 no han ganado un trofeo relevante.

    Los títulos olímpicos consecutivos de 2004 y 2008 no mitigaron el hambre de grandes triunfos del pueblo futbolero argentino.

    4. Ronaldo en la cabeza

    Messi no solo tiene que lidiar con sus problemas sino con la sensacional actuación del hombre que es considerado su mayor rival; Cristiano Ronaldo.

    La comparación entre ambos, para bien o para mal, dura una década más o menos.

    Cristiano Ronaldo brilló en su debut en Rusia, con un triplete contra España. El último gol fue un tiro libre que será recordado por años.

    Continuó con el solitario tanto que le dio la victoria a Portugal contra Marruecos: un cabezazo que pareció un balazo.

    Ronaldo ha sido un factor clave en la marcha de Portugal, parece imparable hasta ahora, en un torneo donde el único momento memorable de Messi fue la falla de su penal frente a Islandia.

    Y hace dos años, Ronaldo hizo lo que Messi no pudo hacer: llevó a su equipo a la gloria internacional, en la Eurocopa 2016.

    Ronaldo estuvo deslumbrante durante todo el partido, pero en la final se lesionó en el minuto 22.

    Desde ese momento pasó a ser una especie de jugador-entrenador, parado al borde de la cancha y dirigiendo al equipo con el director técnico reducido a una sombra que gruñía detrás.

    Messi corre el riesgo de convertirse en un espectador también, pero sin una lesión que le sirva de excusa.

    For years, President Trump personally signed the tax returns for his charitable foundation, scrawling his signature just below a stern warning from the IRS: Providing false information could lead to “penalties of perjury.”

    By: David Fahrenthold

    But a lawsuit filed last week by New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood alleges that four of the tax returns Trump signed contained incorrect statements, confirming previous reports by The Washington Post.

    In 2007, 2012, 2013 and 2014, the Donald J. Trump Foundation stated that none of its money had been used to benefit Trump or his businesses. But the New York attorney general found that, in each of those years, Trump had used his charity’s funds to help one of his businesses. In 2013, the attorney general alleged, Trump also failed to disclose an improper gift to a political group.

    In the suit, Underwood also accuses Trump of turning his charity into a tool of his 2016 presidential campaign, despite prohibitions on political activity by nonprofit entities. She also laid out her findings in a letter to the IRS, suggesting that federal authorities investigate further.

    It is a felony to knowingly file a false tax return, with potential penalties of up to $100,000 in fines and up to three years in prison. In rare cases — where prosecutors could prove the falsehood to be deliberate — people have been convicted of signing false tax returns.

    The IRS declined to comment.

     

     

    If the government does try to prosecute Trump — a very big “if,” given the difficulty of such cases and the debate about whether sitting presidents can be prosecuted — Trump would face questions about whether he knowingly broke charity laws.

    If federal officials do not pursue a criminal case against Trump, legal experts said, the tax agency could face its own quandary. Why should other taxpayers be punished for violating the same rules that the president has now been accused of breaking?

    “The IRS depends on citizens not lying on their tax returns,” said Marc S. Owens, the former head of the IRS’s nonprofits division. If the IRS does not take visible action on Trump’s false statements, he said, “it kind of calls into question, ‘If they don’t prosecute him, does everybody get a pass?’ ”

    The White House, the Trump Organization, Trump’s tax lawyers and Trump’s longtime accountant did not respond to requests for comment.

    Last week, Trump described the lawsuit as a political attack by New York Democrats, although the current New York attorney general, Underwood, is a nonpolitician who was appointed to her post. “I won’t settle this case!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

    In filings to the IRS, Trump’s foundation offered a separate defense: Clerical errors caused the foundation to make payments it should not have, and Trump knew so little about charity rules that he broke the law without knowing it. “Neither the Foundation nor [Trump] knew,” the group wrote in an IRS filing, it was wrong to use foundation money to buy a portrait that hung on a wall in one of Trump’s golf resorts.

    The annual tax returns Trump signed, called the IRS Form 990, are intended to give regulators and donors a look inside a charity’s books. They list the donations and expenditures and include several dozen questions that ask whether the charity broke any tax laws in the past year.

    Through the 2000s and this decade, Trump repeatedly asserted on state and federal forms that his foundation was following the law.

    Underwood’s complaint alleges otherwise.

    In 2007, for instance, Trump used $100,000 from his foundation to settle a legal dispute between his Mar-a-Lago Club and the town of Palm Beach, Fla., The Post previously reported. As part of the settlement, the for-profit beach club had pledged to make a donation to a veterans charity.

    But the Trump Foundation made the gift instead, according to the town of Palm Beach. Trump’s club gave nothing.

    When the charity filed its tax return for the year, it did not disclose the nature of this payment, records show.

    One of the questions on the 990 asks whether a charity has transferred “any income or assets to a disqualified person.” The term “disqualified person” refers to a category of person including an officer of a charity.

    Trump was an officer: He was the charity’s president. So, the New York attorney general said, the charity had just transferred money in a way that saved Trump’s business $100,000. Because Trump controls the business, Underwood said, this amounted to transferring assets to a “disqualified person.”

    But on that question, the Trump Foundation checked the box marked “no.”

    Trump signed the return.

    The same thing happened in 2012, when Trump used foundation assets — this time, $158,000 — to settle a legal dispute with a man who had sued one of his New York golf clubs over a negated hole-in-one prize.

    The golf club agreed to make a donation. The charity made the gift instead, according to the lawsuit.

    Then, in 2013, the Trump Foundation paid $5,000 to put an ad for Trump’s hotel chain in the program for a charity gala. And in 2014, Trump used $10,000 of the charity’s money to buy a portrait of himself, which his employees hung on a wall in a sports bar at a Trump golf resort in Florida. Both instances were first reported by The Post and confirmed by the attorney general’s investigation.

    Each year, the form asked the same question about whether the charity had transferred assets for the benefit of a disqualified person.

    Each year, the “no” box was checked.

    In 2013, Trump gave $25,000 of the charity’s money to a political committee supporting Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (R). By law, charities are not allowed to make political gifts.

    On that year’s return, as always, the IRS asked whether the Trump Foundation had spent more than $100 for “political purposes.”

    The box checked was “no.”

    Also, the Trump Foundation omitted any mention of the gift to Bondi’s group when the form asked it to list all outgoing donations. Instead, Trump’s charity listed a different gift in its place: It told the IRS it had given $25,000 to a separate group, in Kansas, with a name similar to Bondi’s political group. But the Kansas group told The Post it never received a donation.

    At the end of that form was rgw same signature box and the same warning about providing false information.

    “Under penalties of perjury, I declare that I have examined this return . . . and to the best of my knowledge and belief, it is true, correct and complete.”

    Trump signed it.

    If the IRS decided to investigate the Trump foundation, one key question would be whether Trump knew the forms were incorrect, tax experts said.

    “There’s the adage, ‘Ignorance is no excuse.’ That’s not true in tax law. In tax law, ignorance is an excuse for criminal violations,” said Guinevere Moore, a Chicago attorney specializing in tax cases.

    The idea, Moore said, is that tax law is so complicated that prosecutors cannot presume people know they are breaking it.

    Federal prosecutors have charged people with filing false charity returns. But in many those cases, they had slam-dunk evidence indicating the defendants understood their returns were false, such as defendants who omitted personal payments or conspired via email to omit embarrassing information from the public filings, experts said.

    The president’s strategy, so far, has been to plead ignorance. In filings with the IRS — detailed in the New York attorney general’s suit — Trump blamed the gift to Bondi on a clerical error and said another clerical error had resulted in a nonexistent gift being listed in its place.

    “Mr. Trump learned of the mistake from the news media,” much later, the foundation wrote to the IRS.

    After The Post’s reporting and the launch of the New York attorney general’s investigation, Trump repaid his foundation for its expenditures. His golf club took down the portrait. He also assessed himself $4,000 in penalty taxes in total on three of the transactions — the portrait, the gala program and the donation to Bondi.

    But some tax-law experts said that in the unlikely event Trump winds up in a criminal court, it may be hard to convince a jury that a man of his business experience was so unsophisticated, for so long, about his own charity.

    “You could try. But I think it’s probably a loser,” said Christopher Rizek, an attorney at Caplin & Drysdale who has defended clients in tax cases. “You’ve got a guy who’s bragged for years about how smart he is, and how much tax law he knows. And now all of a sudden he doesn’t know anything?”

    If, on the other hand, the IRS does not pursue any public punishment against Trump — but, rather, does nothing or pursues civil penalties in secret — lawyers said they worry the effect would be to erode other taxpayers’ willingness to follow the law.

    “Our system of taxation relies on people believing that it’s fair and just and — above all — equally applied, no matter if you’re rich or poor,” said Moore, the Chicago attorney. “It would have an extremely detrimental effect” if Trump faced no obvious punishment for flouting the system.

    Already, Moore said, she sees signs that taxpayers have been influenced by Trump’s approach toward his charity, as well as the way he bragged during the 2016 campaign that trying to avoid taxes “makes me smart.”

    When she meets with new clients facing demands from the IRS, Moore said, they often say of Trump: “He doesn’t pay his fair share and gets away with it. Why are they coming after me for this?”

    El delantero fue a pedir explicaciones a Kuipers tras recibir muchas faltas de jugadores ticos en la primera parte.

    Neymar ha sufrido mucho en la primera parte del Brasil – Costa Rica de la segunda jornada de la fase de grupos del Mundial de Rusia 2018 en el que ha sido objetivo constante de las faltas de los jugadores ticos.

    El brasileño pidió al árbitro holandés Kuipers varias tarjetas y no las mostró para tratar de parar esta actitud y en el descanso, el delantero del PSG llegó a encararse con el colegiado pero el asunto no llegó a más gracias a la intervención de Marcelo.

    Neymar ya es el jugador que más faltas ha recibido en el torneo con 12 y le sigue de cerca el delantero de Portugal Cristiano Ronaldo con 9.

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