The way our tribe's "bombshells" appear Over There!

SATURDAY, MAY 11, 2019

Carlson writes off Trump's losses:
Do you mind if we ask you a question about "the latest bombshell Times story?"

(We're quoting the childish language of one one of our team's professors. To confirm that she really employed that locution, you can just click here.)

That latest bombshell "story"—to us, it looked like a news report—concerns the $1.17 billion Donald Trump is said to have lost over a ten-year span starting in 1985.

He lost a ton of money, we were told in the bombshell story. Also, he paid no federal income taxes in eight of those ten years!

Do you mind if we ask a blindingly obvious question? Here it goes:

If Trump lost money in each of those years, why would be pay any income tax at all? Why would a person pay income tax in a year when he had no income?

That strikes us as a blindingly obvious question. There may even be an answer, but we haven't seen that question asked or answered during the hubbub on our own tribe's cable channels.

Future scholars are telling us that there's a good reason for that. "These successive hubbubs are actually serial novelizations," they have despondently said.

These scholars report that these perceived bombshells are part of the phenomenon which is already known, to future academics, as "the criminalization of everything."

"It's tribal scripting all the way down," we've been told. "No one knows or cares about anything beyond the loud recitation of memorized tribal script!"

Why would a person pay income tax in a year when he had no income? Questions like these don't seem to arise when the latest "bombshell" arrives within our own "liberal" world.

Meanwhile, in the realm of The Others, these "bombshells" may even seem silly, or daft. If you're willing to take a walk on the not-totally-tribalized side, consider the way this "latest bombshell story" was handled by Tucker Carlson.

Carlson reviewed the latest bombshell at the start of his Wednesday night program. Donald J. Trump was about to appear at a rally, Carlson said as his program began.

After that, Carlson said what's shown below. For his full transcript, click here:
CARLSON (5/8/19): One thing we're going to be watching for is whether the president responds to the seismic story that broke last night on cable news.

In case you weren't watching CNN at 10 PM, here's how they summarized it:

DON LEMON (videotape): This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon. Are you listening? The president of the United States is a fraud and a con man.

CARLSON: Holy smokes! This sounds like a big development. What happened?

Did the president get caught running a Nigerian phone scam? Has he been selling Bitcoin? Did he spend two full years pretending that the Russian collusion hoax was real?

Nope, nothing that sleazy.
In that way, Carlson began his mocking, perhaps insightful treatment of the bombshell about all the money Trump lost.

As he continued, Carlson played tape of embarrassing, over-the-top presentations the previous night by Lemon and Erin Burnett, a pair of CNN anchors. To watch those over-the-top presentations—and a fair chunk of Carlson's report—you can just click here.

After Carlson's viewers saw Lemon and Burnett emote, they saw Carlson critique the latest bombshell story. Our view? The latest bombshell loses a lot of its steam as Carlson takes it apart:
CARLSON: Trump lost money! Well, it's a good thing CNN is on that story. Otherwise, nobody would have guessed that Donald Trump had financial problems in the early 1990s—except people who were alive then, or people who have Internet access now.

Thirty years ago, Trump's personal debt crisis was national news:

"Inside his wallet: Trump papers reveal huge debt," read the tabloids. "Trump in a slump."

Even David Letterman mocked Trump with a top 10 list. "Top 10 signs that Donald Trump is in trouble."

In the end, Donald Trump recovered. He made the disaster part of his brand.

In fact, he wrote a book about it called The Art of the Comeback.
When he launched his reality show, The Apprentice, he bragged about all of this:

TRUMP (videotape): About 13 years ago, I was seriously in trouble. I was billions of dollars in debt. But I fought back and I won—big league.

CARLSON: So in other words, what we learned last night wasn't really news.

What is news is that you can steal someone's private tax information, put it on television, and nobody even pauses or asks whether that's a good idea, much less an invasion of privacy. Are those the rules now?
For the record, it isn't clear that anyone has "stolen" Donald J. Trump's private tax information.

That said, we'll guess that many people share Carlson's sense, which he further explored, that significant lines are being crossed when an individual's tax information is made public without his permission.

Whatever! However you stand on a question like that, we'll suggest that you consider the rest of what Carlson said.

He said that everyone already knew that Trump lost tons of money in the era under review.

He said even Letterman knew! He said that Trump fashioned a well-known book around this theme in 1997.

He said Trump noted that he'd once been "billions of dollars in debt" during the very first episode of his widely-watched irreality show.

The news around which that Times "story" was based was actually news to no one, Carlson said. It was news to no one who lived in the 1990s. It was news to no one who's linked to the Internet now.

Over on our own tribe's channels, Lemon and Burnett were arguably embarrassing themselves through their over-the-top presentations. That's a question you'll have to decide for yourself.

But over on the other tribe's channel, this "bombshell story" may perhaps have seemed a bit silly once Carlson's presentations (plural) were done.

After Carlson finished his own presentation, he brought on Victor Davis Hanson to author a second critique. In our view, Hanson took some liberties as he expounded—but at one juncture, he even raised the point we highlight below:
HANSON: The New York Times is sanctimonious and, for a higher good, it's ethical to break the law, or at least traffic in people, with people who break the law.

But I don't understand the narrative, because they're basically saying that 35 years ago, when Donald Trump was in his early 40s, he either did one of two things:

The guy who now gave us 3 percent GDP plus and a record economy we haven't seen in 40 years was financially incompetent—and that matters, apparently. Or he didn't pay taxes on money he never made, or money he lost. So it doesn't make any sense.
Hanson played the familiar old game in which a president "gives us" a certain economy by some magical act of the will. But after this familiar flight, Hanson gifted Fox viewers with that blindingly obvious question:

Trump "didn't pay taxes on money he never made!" How does that even make sense?

For ourselves, we thought Carlson's critique was quite effective this night. Might we put all this in perspective?

According to a raft of post-apocalyptic scholars, many of the "bombshell stories" which thrill our own tribe may not make all that much sense Over There.

According to these future analysts, these "stories" appeal to our own instinctive desire to fashion and promote potent group "fictions." But they may look pretty silly to those in The Other Tribe.

Future TV Critics With No Cable Access tell us that this phenomenon was common in the years preceding Mister Trump's Untelevised War. Tribal liberals had almost no sense of this phenomenon, these future scholars have said.

Bowing to these surprise revelations, we offer one last point:

Representatives of Future Anthropologists Huddled in Caves (TM) have told us that no one will pay a lick of attention to what we're telling you here.

"Anthropologically speaking, we 'humans' were always deeply in thrall to the power of our lizard brains," these future scholars have despairingly said. "Your readers will thrash about, looking for ways to insist that you're silly and wrong."

For extra credit only: Rich Lowry dissected the "latest bombshell story" for Politico.

He approached it much as Carlson did. To peruse his critique, click here.


  1. "No one knows or cares about anything beyond the loud recitation of memorized tribal script!"

    There's nothing 'tribal' about liberal globalist establishment feeding their pet zombies.

  2. One practice that makes CNN's nutty reporting possible is that the mainstream media allow it. Sure, Bob Somerby and FoxNews will point out how ridiculous the "scandal" is, but the New York Times, Washington Post, NBS, CBS, ABC, PBS will not. The self-professed "fact-checkers" will not check CNN's falsehoods.

    1. TDH quotes Carlson unquestioningly and without context "When he launched his reality show, The Apprentice".

      Trump did not launch the reality show, The Apprentice, he was hired by the producer that created the show. Other personalities were approached, Trump was the one "bottom-feeder" desperate enough to sell himself in such a manner.

      Trump was fired from the reality show after he made inaccurate and bigoted remarks about Mexican immigrants.

      Trump started reporting massive financial losses in 1985. His businesses went bankrupt multiple times throughout the 90s and 2000s. Not only was Trump perhaps the worst businessman in history, his taxes likely indicate fraud of various kinds, this is just one of the reasons why Trump is being investigated by several state and federal agencies.

  3. Lowry:
    “None of this is to defend or excuse Trump’s business practices and accounting, or his conduct in office. It is merely to say that he’s an extravagantly known quantity, and will likely win or lose in 2020 based on what we already know rather than the fruits of further investigation and fact-finding. “

    This is basically Lowry’s point, such as it is: Trump’s conduct may be inexcusable, but he does it publicly, so investigating him and reporting on him is pointless and merely proceeds from the fever swamp of liberal conspiracy. Why compile a record of Trump’s behavior over time and offer it as a service to the public as a summary, otherwise known as journalism?

    Thanks for showing us the current right-wing propaganda, Bob.

    1. The True American Heroes don't need to be excused by you dembots. They are True American Heroes.

      For example, Bonnie and Clyde robbed banks, and yet they were, and will always remain, True American Heroes.

      Whether you dembots like it or not.

    2. @1:15 Rich Lowry is a Never Trumper Ridiculous attacks like this one are causing Trump's conservative enemies to defend him.

    3. "For example, Bonnie and Clyde robbed banks, and yet they were, and will always remain, True American Heroes."

      That's how Jamie Dimon became a True Republican Hero.
      "Trump's conservative enemies"

      You should change your moniker to Mark in Cal.

  4. “significant lines are being crossed when an individual's tax information is made public without his permission.”

    The DNC and John Podesta would like a word.

    And Biden says “I love it, especially later in the summer.”

  5. There is plenty of stuff we *don’t* know about Trump that he is fighting like hell to hide.

  6. Trump running businesses into the ground to the tune of losing $1.17 Billion is going to come as a total shock to all those people who were born last night.

  7. Wait until Republicans find out Robin Williams isn't from the planet Ork. They are going to be so confused.

    1. Get ready for their cries of "Fake news!"

  8. "That strikes us as a blindingly obvious question. There may even be an answer, but we haven't seen that question asked or answered during the hubbub on our own tribe's cable channels."

    If the question is blindingly obvious (why would anyone pay tax if they had no income?), perhaps the answer is also obvious. In that case, why does that need to be discussed at all?

    1. It needs to be discussed because some people, including commenters on this blog, assert that Trump failure to pay taxes means that he cheated or did something wrong.

    2. Agreed 2:06. You'd have to be a moron to think Trump could turn a profit.
      The only smart thing Trump ever did is run as a Republican. Those shit for brains will fall for anything.

    3. He did do something wrong.

  9. Being in debt and losing money are not the same thing. Somerby talks about them interchangeably, as if they were. Maybe Tucker Carlson did too.

    Being in debt simply means you have financed something using other people's money. Most people are hopelessly in debt because they are paying for a home with a 30-year mortgage. That doesn't mean they are broke or have lost money.

    Trump lost $1.8 billion. He didn't borrow that much, he lost that much. He couldn't pay his debts. In some cases, his creditors took a loss. That's why no banks would loan to him after that. Those creditors wrote off the losses against their own taxes. When this kind of thing happens deliberately, it is part of money laundering. Dirty money disappears into Trump's endeavors as losses and the lenders get it back by offsetting their own taxes, or in other ways. That's why this needs to be investigated. It can be not simply ineptitude on Trump's part, but a scheme to help those with dirty money.

    When you pay taxes, you have to come up with actual money. If you can use paper losses to reduce what you would otherwise have to pay to the government, it is a kind of profit. Trump not only profited in that way but he gave his creditors similar deductions. He may have viewed the stiffing of his contractors as a gift to them, since they could deduct those unpaid bills from their own businesses and pay less too (except that too much of this and they go out of business). You have to have sufficient income to offset the losses and make them worthwhile. Trump could do this because he used tax laws to carry forward losses from one year to the next.

    He pretends that he lost so much on purpose. Maybe he did. Maybe his role in his family business was to reduce income to the point that they could afford the taxes on it. But that doesn't make him any kind of good businessman. It makes him a fraud when he bragged and a comedic figure when he claimed to be astute. He was the family wastrel and lived like a buffoon.

    His supporters have bought into his image because they are too stupid to understand how this kind of con against the government works, and because they dislike government to the point that they don't mind it when the people (including themselves) are cheated this way. The only people who admire a thief are (1) other thieves, or (2) someone who has never been stolen from. Maybe Trump supporters have regarded him as a kind of Robin Hood up to this point, but they have to realize that he is stealing from them to give to Russia and his own cronies. The poor will never see a cent and they will be left on the hook for repairing our country after this administration's looting.

  10. This is a bombshell. Why is Somerby pretending it isn't? The idea that any sitting American President would have this kind of financial background is ridiculous. Our country is being run by a member of a crime family. Efforts to disclose that to the American people qualify as bombshell in any sense of the word.

    Trump's taxes are not private because he is a public figure and the head of our government. He should have disclosed them during the election, as every other candidate did (except Bernie Sanders -- what does that say about Bernie?).

    Criminals do not have the right to argue that investigations into their crimes constitute an invasion of their privacy. A tax return is not private. It is a public document, just like a driver's license is not private, a birth certificate is not private.

    1. "Our country is being run by a member of a crime family."

      No, dembot, it isn't. She lost.

    2. 2:15,
      Ha ha. With one-liners like that, it's no wonder you are known as the funniest guy in 2nd grade.

    3. Bernie Sanders has released ten years of his tax returns LINK. What 2:12 PM, a bitter Hillary dead-ender, was trying to say is that Sanders should have released his tax returns during the 2016 primary season. However, for instance, even though they were the last two Republican candidates to withdraw from their party's presidential nomination battle in 2016, Kasich and Cruz, also, never released theirs.

      In any event, the public has had copies of Sanders' tax filings since April 15 and clearly there is nothing in them that would have hurt his chances in 2016.

    4. CMike, do you really not see the embarrassment of talking the way Bernie does about economic disparities while being himself a millionaire?

      Bernie was presumably not a millionaire in 2016 because it was before his book came out, however, his wife was having difficulties related to her employment that might have made release of his returns problematic. We cannot know because he chose not to release his returns, despite being asked to do so during the primaries -- when it was him and Hillary running head to head, he was not part of a large field the way the Republicans were.

      Sanders of course must release them now because of the fuss being made about Trump's returns. It is now a campaign issue, not simply a norm he chose to ignore last time around.

      Why on earth shouldn't we be bitter about the way the election was stolen from Clinton? This is unprecedented, involved illegalities for which Trump may be impeached, and was certainly not fair to Clinton, Democrats or the American people. Calling me a dead-ender makes no sense, since Clinton is not running again. Given Bernie's behavior in 2015-16, I would never vote for him, even if he were the nominee against Trump. Other countries are looking pretty good to me now the US is becoming a banana republic. Sanders cannot claim transparency now, as if he never withheld his returns in 2016.

      It is a joke to claim his returns wouldn't have hurt his chances, since he had no chances in 2016. He was not even close in the primaries. And if you want to see bitter, just tap a bro. They are working their magic again, ensuring that whoever the Democrats run will be less effective in the general election, cause if Bernie can't win no Democrat will be allowed to either.

    5. I supported Hillary in 2016 and at the time I was irritated at the way Bernie supporters disparaged Hillary. Now I think Bernie is the best candidate with the best policies. I am not aware that his tax returns reveal anything of concern other than that he donated proceeds from his book to charity. Charities are, for the most part, scams.

      Bernie supports higher taxes on the wealthy, that is a good policy to deal with economic disparities, I see no reason for embarrassment.

    6. Trump's taxes are not private because he is a public figure and the head of our government.


      <quote src=“26USC§7213”>
      It shall be unlawful for any officer or employee of the United States … or any former officer or employee, willfully to disclose to any person, except as authorized in this title, any return or return information …. Any violation of this paragraph shall be a felony punishable upon conviction by a fine in any amount not exceeding $5,000, or imprisonment of not more than 5 years, or both, together with the costs of prosecution, and if such offense is committed by any officer or employee of the United States, he shall, in addition to any other punishment, be dismissed from office or discharged from employment upon conviction for such offense.

      There's a long list of authorized exceptions, but they all apply to officials of the guv in performance of their duties.

      He should have disclosed them during the election, as every other candidate did (except Bernie Sanders -- what does that say about Bernie?).

      Yup. But there’s no law requiring disclosure. And Bernie was never a candidate for President

      Criminals do not have the right to argue that investigations into their crimes constitute an invasion of their privacy.


      <quote src=“United States Constitution, 4th Amendment”>
      The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated….

      Even criminals have the right to argue that investigations into their crimes have not been conducted within the law.

      A tax return is not private. It is a public document….

      Nope. See above

      just like a driver's license is not private,

      Not in my state, Illinois:

      <quote src=“625ILCS5/6-117”>
      The Secretary of State shall also maintain or contract to maintain appropriate records of all photographs and signatures obtained in the process of issuing any driver's license, permit, or identification card. The record shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed except to those entities listed under Section 6-110.1 of this Code.

      The exceptions are the person owning the license, the Secretary of State’s office (which issues licenses), law enforcement officials, the state board of elections. The Secretary of State may authorize other “entities,” but that doesn’t include you or me.

      a birth certificate is not private.

      Not in my state, Illinois:

      Only the following can get an Illiinois birth certificate:

      <reference src=“410ILCS535/25”>
      (a) a court
      (b) adults requesting their own, or their parents and legal representatives, or someone having a genealogical interest; or
      (c) the guv in all its manifestations

      Genealogical interest requests will be honored only for births 75 years before the request is made.

    7. 5:04 PM writes:

      Calling me a dead-ender makes no sense, since Clinton is not running again. Given Bernie's behavior in 2015-16, I would never vote for him, even if he were the nominee against Trump.

      My bad, what was I thinking? You're no dead-ender. You are, obviously, someone who has moved on.

    8. "[D]o you really not see the embarrassment of talking the way Bernie does about economic disparities while being himself a millionaire?," asks the bitter 5:04 PM.

      The obvious answer is, "Of course not." First, Sanders talks of millionaires *and* billionaires. In doing so it's obvious to me he's not suggesting people with a million dollars or five million dollars are the people who are corrupting our political process.

      Here's some simple enough math to help anyone follow along- one billion is one thousand million. People with thousands of millions of dollars may share a special interest with people who have hundreds of millions of dollars, or even as few as fifty or seventy-five million dollars. However, the fantastically rich should hardly be seen as having anything much in common with someone who has fewer millions than can be counted on one hand let alone with someone who, in his seventies, has finally amassed assets totaling all of two or three million dollars, liquid and residential property combined.

      Second, and more importantly, Sanders believes that the power of government can be used for good, that systemic solutions, which only a government can provide, are what is needed to address inequities that have prevailed in American society now for decades. Sanders is not proposing the volunteerism of a George H. W. Bush:

      The old solution, the old way, was to think that public money alone could end these problems. But we have learned that is not so. And in any case, our funds are low. We have a deficit to bring down. We have more will than wallet; but will is what we need....

      I am speaking of a new engagement in the lives of others, a new activism, hands-on and involved, that gets the job done. We must bring in the generations, harnessing the unused talent of the elderly and the unfocused energy of the young....

      I have spoken of a thousand points of light, of all the community organizations that are spread like stars throughout the Nation, doing good. We will work hand in hand, encouraging, sometimes leading, sometimes being led, rewarding. We will work on this in the White House, in the Cabinet agencies. I will go to the people and the programs that are the brighter points of light, and I will ask every member of my government to become involved.

      The old ideas are new again because they are not old, they are timeless: duty, sacrifice, commitment, and a patriotism that finds its expression in taking part and pitching in.

      That's not the Sanders plan. He isn't calling for millionaires and billionaires to give away their money to good causes. Sanders' call is for fundamental shifts in government fiscal, labor, healthcare, and environmental policies to create a more perfect union than the one we have now.


    9. ...continued

      Surely 5:04 PM remembers that greatest of all American social democrats, Franklin Roosevelt, had inherited his own share of a great family fortune. At the 1936 Democratic National Convention Roosevelt remained so unembarrassed by his personal financial circumstances he, yet again, declared his unequivocal solidarity with the working class:

      For too many of us the political equality we once had won was meaningless in the face of economic inequality. A small group had concentrated into their own hands an almost complete control over other people’s property, other people’s money, other people’s labor—other people’s lives.

      For too many of us life was no longer free; liberty no longer real; men could no longer follow the pursuit of happiness.

      Against economic tyranny such as this, the American citizen could appeal only to the organized power of Government. The collapse of 1929 showed up the despotism for what it was. The election of 1932 was the people’s mandate to end it. Under that mandate it is being ended....

      Today we stand committed to the proposition that freedom is no half-and-half affair. If the average citizen is guaranteed equal opportunity in the polling place, he must have equal opportunity in the market place.

      These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power. Our allegiance to American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind of power.

      In vain they seek to hide behind the Flag and the Constitution. In their blindness they forget what the Flag and the Constitution stand for. Now, as always, they stand for democracy, not tyranny; for freedom, not subjection; and against a dictatorship by mob rule and the over-privileged alike.

    10. There are many qualifiers to unreasonable search and seizure and surely we are all familiar with how low the bar is, the reasonable in reasonable suspicion is pretty broad, for example.

      Some think it is their duty to complain, without realizing no problem is being solved, they are just stuck in a psychocognitive prison. Constantly complaining, often over nugatory matters, can suggest a disorder related to compulsive thoughts and/or nefarious intentions. This will fall on deaf ears to those not open to seeking help.

      Trump misled, saying "I will absolutely give my return, but I'm being audited now for two or three years, so I can't do it until the audit is finished, obviously."

      There is historical context to the issue of releasing tax returns, they have not always been private, currently there are qualifiers, and indeed legally Trump is compelled to release them, although he is fighting this.

      Bloomberg: Trump’s Taxes Are Fair Game

      CMike, good quote from FDR, a decent communicator, one could learn from, were one open to such things.

    11. " do you really not see the embarrassment of talking the way Bernie does about economic disparities while being himself a millionaire?"

      Engels was a millionaire.

      I love it when dembots start spewing stalinist talking points.

      Yeah, and what about the psycho-witch and her hubby Bubba, with their $200 million net worth?

    12. This all begs the question, what was Bernie hiding?

    13. Stalin did not have talking points, he presided over a system of state capitalism with hierarchic authoritarianism.

      Marxism is about diminishing hierarchies, particularly in the workplace. Stick with it, the drums will kick in.

      Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow

      Bernie released ten years of tax returns, he was not hiding anything.

  11. Bob’s Readers, Thrashing AboutMay 11, 2019 at 3:36 PM

    "Your readers will thrash about, looking for ways to insist that you're silly and wrong."

    Welcome to the Internet, Bob. Would you like a cookie?

  12. Bob Woodward has stated it several times: "There's too much of an emotional investment by journalists in Trump." Too many of them simply cannot keep their personal hatred of the man - a sentiment which I understand - out of their reporting. Not only can't they keep it out, it's clear that CNN in particular encourages it. Zucker is clearly encouraging this type of coverage. As the saying goes, Trump brings out the worst in people. Journalists are near the top of that list.

    1. "There's too much of an emotional investment by journalists in Trump."

      Nonsense. The phenomenon is of the entirely institutional nature. The establishment journos do their job, they do exactly what they are paid to do. In this case: to lie, mislead, smear, demonize.

      If tomorrow they're told to glorify him, they'll switch to doing that, without skipping a beat.

    2. I think you need to re-examine your position.

    3. If there is anyone who knows about the establishment paying folks to glorify Trump, it's Mao.
      Reading something in a book is one thing, living it is another.

    4. I kikka your ass.

  13. CNN calling Trump a fraud isn't necessarily hyperbole ,but it's probably bad journalism in the sense of context. The Times article didn't prove that Trump committed tax fraud,but there's a huge amount evidence of different types of fraud.This article in Fortune is one many examples.

  14. The Art of the Deal came out in 1987 which was directly in this period, so no the country didn't know he was losing money during the entirety of this period. In point of fact he wrote an entire book claiming the opposite. Also for many of mere financial mortals it is quite possible to have to pay taxes despite having lost money in the course of a year a problem made worse by Trump's tax bill. Say you own a 200,000 house and it gets destroyed in a disaster that the government doesn't declare. If you make say 50k that year you will pay taxes on that 50k despite having lost 200k.

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