Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez cries at empty parking lot, but falsely implies it’s a detention camp for illegal aliens

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently made this tweet: (original, archive)

The tweet includes these four photographs:

The text of the tweet states:

“I’ll never forget this, because it was the moment I saw with my own eyes that the America I love was becoming a nation that steals refugee children from their parents,& caged them.”

“More kids died after this.”

“To date, no one has been held accountable. We need to save these kids.”

However, it was later reported that these photographs had actually been taken at a parking lot.

June 30, 2019. Tags: , , , . Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Immigration. Leave a comment.

New documents revisit questions about Rep. Ilhan Omar’s marriage history

http://www.startribune.com/new-documents-revisit-questions-about-rep-ilhan-omar-s-marriage/511681362/

New documents revisit questions about Rep. Ilhan Omar’s marriage history

Although she has legally corrected the discrepancy, she has declined to say anything about how or why it happened.

June 22, 2019

New investigative documents released by a state agency have given fresh life to lingering questions about the marital history of Rep. Ilhan Omar and whether she once married a man — possibly her own brother — to skirt immigration laws.

Omar has denied the allegations in the past, dismissing them as “baseless rumors” first raised in an online Somali politics forum and championed by conservative bloggers during her 2016 campaign for the Minnesota House. But she said little then or since about Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, the former husband who swept into her life in 2009 before a 2011 separation.

The questions surfaced again this month in a state probe of campaign finance violations showing that Omar filed federal taxes in 2014 and 2015 with her current husband, Ahmed Hirsi, while she was still legally married to but separated from Elmi.

Although she has legally corrected the discrepancy, she has declined to say anything about how or why it happened.

The new documents also detail the Omar campaign’s efforts to keep the story of her marriage to Elmi out of the press, arguing that detailed coverage would legitimize the accusations and invade her privacy.

Since the recent findings of the campaign finance board that discovered Omar had improperly used campaign money to pay a lawyer to fix her tax filings, the Star Tribune searched public records — including available databases, the marriage and divorce filing, business licenses, university records and other documents — and could find little publicly available information about Elmi. The search of records could neither conclusively confirm nor rebut the allegation that he is Omar’s sibling.

Sent a list of questions and a request to talk to her siblings and father, Omar declined to do so. Hirsi did not reply to multiple calls, texts and e-mails. Social media posts indicate Elmi is in Africa. He did not respond to multiple e-mails.

Omar’s reticence is consistent with near total silence she has maintained for three years amid questions raised through public records picked over by conservative opinion journalists intent on proving that she committed immigration fraud. Those attacks, she once tweeted, are the provenance of “fake journalists on bigoted blogs.”

Omar spokesman Jeremy Slevin issued a statement Friday asserting that the questions about her personal life are illegitimate:

“Since before she was elected to office, Ilhan has been the subject of conspiracy theories and false accusations about her personal life. Emboldened by a president who openly treats immigrants, refugees and Muslims as invaders, these attacks often stem from the presumption that Ilhan — like others who share those identities — is somehow illegitimate or not fully American.

“Ilhan has shared more than most public officials ever do about the details of her personal life — even when it is personally painful,” he continued. “Whether by colluding with right-wing outlets to go after Muslim elected officials or hounding family members, legitimate media outlets have a responsibility not to fan the flames of hate. Continuing to do so is not only demeaning to Ilhan, but to her entire family.”

The questions have nevertheless persisted as a political threat over the years while the former war refugee from Somalia made history being elected to the Minnesota House and then winning a seat in Congress.

Her ascent as the nation’s first Somali-American lawmaker has won her global praise and given her an international platform to champion human rights, criticize Israel, and challenge the Trump administration’s immigration policies — positions that have drawn further ire and scrutiny from conservative critics.

Omar’s widely condemned statements about the influence of Israel and Jewish money in American politics have only upped the stakes for her critics, who are also often passionate defenders of the Israeli government.

Throughout it all, Omar’s public persona has been informed by her biography as a refugee overcoming racial and cultural barriers. Yet she has insisted on silence on some key details.

“It’s really strange, right, to prove a negative,” she told the Star Tribune in an interview in October, before she was elected to Congress. As for Elmi, she said, “If someone was asking me, do I have a brother by that name, I don’t. If someone was asking … are there court documents that are false … there is no truth to that.”

Beyond denying the provocative allegation that Elmi is her brother, Omar has shed little light on her married life, which began in 2002, when she wed Hirsi in their Muslim faith tradition.

The Star Tribune has sought to authenticate some of the most egregious allegations, using public records and available social media posts, which make up the bulk of the case against her.

Some of the original social media accounts linking Elmi to Omar after their split in 2011 appear to have been removed, and documents verifying the family relationships of refugees from war-torn countries with limited government record-keeping are notoriously hard to obtain, even by U.S. immigration authorities.

Omar declined to make her tax and immigration records available for this report.

What is known is that Omar, at the age of 19, sought a legal marriage license with Hirsi in Minnesota. Though they had three children together, they would not legally marry until January, 2018, after she had been in the Minnesota Legislature for a year and had dissolved the marriage in 2017 with Elmi.

After reaching what Omar called “an impasse in our life together,” she and Hirsi split for a period in 2008. They had two children at the time.

In February 2009, public records show that Omar legally married Elmi, who she has identified as a “British citizen.”

The relationship was brief. Omar said it ended in 2011, when she reconciled with Hirsi.

She gave birth to their third child the following June. She identified Hirsi as the father.

While Omar said she and Elmi had divorced in 2011 “in our faith tradition,” they would not legally divorce until December, 2017 — a month before she got legally married to Hirsi.

Imam Makram El-Amin of Masjid An-Nur in Minneapolis said an Islamic marriage must include the officiant and at least two witnesses, preferably one from each side of the family, to be a valid union. El-Amin, who did not perform Omar’s marriages, said he has credentials to sign a marriage certificate. But just like any wedding at a church or synagogue, it’s not legal in the state of Minnesota until processed by the county.

Similarly, an Islamic divorce requires two witnesses, ideally the same two who witnessed the marriage, plus a three-month waiting period, El-Amin said. The marriage can be then dissolved in the faith, although the divorce would require a Minnesota court to earn civil legal standing.

In her 2017 divorce, Omar attested that she had no contact with Elmi after their 2011 separation. Conservative activists say photos and other social media posted by Omar and Elmi on Instagram and Facebook suggest Omar may not be telling the truth. The Star Tribune has been unable to independently obtain the original posts, although images purporting to be screen grabs continue to populate right-leaning media sites such as Power Line Blog, PJ Media and Alpha News. They remain in public view.

One image featured on AlphaNewsMN depicts an Instagram photo purportedly posted by Elmi on June 12, 2012, the day after Omar gave birth to her third child. It shows a close-up picture of Elmi holding a newborn child the website says is Omar’s, based on accompanying text that ostensibly refers to the baby girl as “nieces.”

That and other Instagram photos have since been removed.

In her divorce, Omar said she had tried unsuccessfully to reach Elmi to respond to her court filings, including through social media. She also said that she did not know any other friends of family members who could contact him.

Omar and Elmi used a Columbia Heights address on the marriage application. Three months later, Hirsi used the same address to obtain a business license for his One-on-One Cafe Lounge, public records show.

Omar declined to offer an account of their living arrangement at that time.

Siblings who petition for a U.S. visa for a noncitizen sibling have typically had to wait more than a dozen years to obtain the document, according to the U.S. State Department. Applications for a spouse carry a minimal waiting period, but Minnetonka-based immigration lawyer Steven Thal said examples of siblings fraudulently marrying to gain immigration benefits are nearly unheard of compared to cases of strangers marrying to get green cards.

“It is so rare that you would think that it would be more easily uncovered,” Thal said.

Omar’s relatives could also clear the air, but they have remained silent about her marriage to Elmi. She declined to make her family available for this story.

In 2016, her campaign provided the names of six siblings, but only their first names, citing their need for privacy. Elmi was not among them.

In October 2018, Omar showed a Star Tribune reporter cellphone photos of family immigration papers but would not share the actual documents.

Omar’s sister Sahra Noor was a high-profile executive of the Twin Cities health care nonprofit People’s Center Clinics & Services until 2018. She declined interview requests in 2016. She currently runs her own health care consultancy in Kenya. An e-mail to her was not returned and efforts to call her there were unsuccessful.

Over the years Elmi, who attended high school in St. Paul, has had occasional contact over the internet with other friends and acquaintances, including retired DFL activist and Minneapolis city worker Barb Lickness, who lived in the same downtown Minneapolis apartment building with Elmi around 2012, before he moved to London.

She described him as “friendly in a soft way,” and a neighbor who participated enthusiastically in the building’s social scene. She recalls that he was tall, dapper, and spoke with a pronounced British accent, indicative of a foreign upbringing. He never mentioned being married, Lickness said.

Lickness confirmed Elmi’s identity in an Instagram photo purportedly posted by Omar showing the two of them and three others posing in London in 2015. The photo is featured on several conservative media websites, but could not be verified by the Star Tribune.

What’s clear from the recently released documents of the campaign finance board is that the young upstart’s campaign was unprepared for any potential blowback from the questions surrounding Omar’s marriage to Elmi, first reported in 2016 on Somalispot.com, an online public affairs forum.

Omar created a “crisis committee” comprising a few DFL veteran operatives to try to respond. Their priority was preparing a dossier on their own candidate — a fairly typical task usually completed before a campaign, not after a primary victory.

“There was a lot of frustration that any of these things were not disclosed to any of the campaign staff when I decided to run for office. And so I think everybody who was doing this wanted to put a research file together that had the benefit of making sure that there weren’t any other dark things in my closet that I might not have told them about,” Omar said during a December deposition before the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.

The board would eventually fine her $500 and require her to use her own money to pay lawyers who did personal tax work.

During the deposition, Omar suggested she is disconnected from details — unaware, for instance, that she violated tax law by filing a married-jointly return with the wrong husband.

Asked if she amended her tax filings, she replied, “I don’t think so.”

The board’s staff asked again. Omar replied, “I don’t recall doing any.”

Asked about using campaign money to take political trips, Omar said they were always approved by the Minnesota House, but then placed responsibility on her staff: “They always gave me an opinion that said, sure, this looks fine. Or at least that was my understanding that that’s what my staff was doing before they would commit me to doing anything.”

Carla Kjellberg, an attorney and political adviser during the crisis period, paints a different picture of Omar’s engagement level with details: “I did nothing, I want to make that clear, without Representative Omar’s authority. And she was in these meetings where those things were decided upon and I was directed to do that,” Kjellberg said during her own deposition.

Kjellberg declined to comment.

Campaign e-mails disclosed by the campaign finance board also show a concerted effort to quash the Elmi story. An August 2016 internal e-mail written by campaign spokesman Ben Goldfarb, a veteran DFL operative, suggested reaching out to political newsletter writer Blois Olson “and shut it down with him as we do with the Strib.”

The Star Tribune wrote about the controversy the next day under the headline, “Marriage discrepancy clouds Ilhan Omar’s historic primary victory.”

Omar expressed frustration over the controversy again last October, telling the Star Tribune in an interview that like many refugees without birth certificates, “anybody can accuse me of whatever they want and I don’t have a way to defend myself.”

Rep. Mohamud Noor, DFL-Minneapolis, lost to Omar in the primary before replacing her at the Legislature when she went to Congress. He compared the attacks on Omar to claims that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.

Because he took over Omar’s state legislative office phone number, Noor’s voice mail was getting filled with hateful, racist messages until Google removed the number when people conducted Google searches for Omar.

In the end, Noor said, Omar will be judged by what she does for her district.

“Initially there were missteps, and so much focus on her rather than on what she was doing,” Noor said. “She’s made some tremendous efforts to reconnect and re-engage and focus on the district.”

June 23, 2019. Tags: , . Politics. 1 comment.

Attention banks! Do not give a mortgage to Simon Galperin!

A guy named Simon Galperin just wrote this article, which is titled, “I’m a 29-Year-Old With $235k in Student Debt. I’ll Never Pay It Back.”

Galperin’s statement that he will never pay back his student debt is not because of a medical issue that has rendered him unable to work.

Instead, his statement is proof that he is irresponsible, lazy, spoiled, and entitled.

He also says he believes that innocent taxpayers should be forced to pay off his student debt, so that he can then get a mortgage to buy a house.

If Galperin ever does apply for a mortgage to buy a house, I hope that any bank that considers giving him a mortgage will come across this article that he wrote, and realize that he is an absolutely horrible credit risk.

June 17, 2019. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Economics. 2 comments.

I just found out that recycling hurts the environment even more than I had thought

Ever since I read this 1996 New York Times article called “Recycling Is Garbage,” I’ve known that government recycling of plastic, paper, and glass wastes more resources than it saves, and that the environment would actually be better off if we put these things into landfills instead of recycling them.

Over the next 1,000 years, all of the garbage in the entire United States could fit into one landfill that was 100 yards deep, on a piece of square land which was just 35 miles on each side. Today’s modern landfills are well sealed, and when they are full, they get turned into parks. I live in Pennsylvania, which is the United State’s #1 garbage importing state. We keep approving new landfills, because we love the jobs and tax revenue that it gives us.

Well now we have this brand new article from the Guardian, which shows that our recycling hurts the environment even more than I had thought. It says that a lot of the plastic that we put into recycling bins gets sent to poor countries in Asia. Much of this plastic cannot actually be recycled, either because it’s contaminated with food debris, or it’s the wrong kind of plastic. These poor Asian countries mismanage much of their garbage, and much of this plastic ends up in the ocean. This other article, from the New York Post, says that 90% of the plastic in the ocean comes from 10 rivers, eight of which are in Asia, and two of which are in Africa. So much of the plastic that we recycle actually ends up in the ocean.

If the goal is to virtue signal, then by all means, we should continue to recycle our garbage. But if the goal is to protect the environment, we should put it into landfills.

June 17, 2019. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Environmentalism. 1 comment.

Rep. Omar Filed Joint Tax Returns Before She Married Husband

https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2019/06/11/us/ap-us-congress-omar-tax-returns.html

Rep. Omar Filed Joint Tax Returns Before She Married Husband

June 11, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota campaign finance officials said last week that U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar misused campaign funds in violation of state rules. They also revealed that she had filed joint tax returns with her husband years before they were legally married and at a time when she was married to another man.

The revelation put the freshman representative under more scrutiny from critics who have taken issue with her marital past. One tax expert says if the issue has been corrected she’s unlikely to face any criminal consequences.

Some questions and answers about the tax issue:

Q: What did Omar do wrong?

A: The Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board said Thursday that Omar and her husband, Ahmed Abdisalan Hirsi, filed joint tax returns for 2014 and 2015 — before they were actually married and while Omar was legally wed to another man. While some states allow for joint filing for “common law” marriages, Minnesota does not, and filing joint tax returns with someone who is not your legal spouse is against both federal and state law.

Q: How did this become public?

A: Last year, a Republican state representative accused Omar of misusing campaign funds, alleging among other things that she used $2,250 in campaign money to pay a lawyer for her divorce proceedings. The campaign finance board investigated and found she didn’t use the funds to pay for a divorce lawyer as alleged, but other irregularities were found. The board’s final report said “there was an issue with her tax returns that needed to be corrected” and that some campaign funds went to an accounting firm.

State officials ruled last week that Omar must repay her campaign committee nearly $3,500, including $1,500 for payments made to the accounting firm for services related to joint tax returns for 2014 and 2015. Omar must also pay a $500 penalty to the state.

Q: What has Omar said about this?

A: Very little. In response to questions from The Associated Press, her campaign sent an emailed statement saying, “All of Rep. Omar’s tax filings are fully compliant with all applicable tax law.” The campaign did not make Omar available for an interview or answer specific questions from the AP. In response to the overall campaign finance investigation, she said in a statement last week that she will comply with the state board findings calling for her to repay money and pay a penalty.

Q: Hasn’t Omar faced criticism on other issues?

A: During her brief time in Congress, Omar has been outspoken on issues such as U.S. policy toward Israel and the Middle East. As one of the first two Muslim women in Congress she has faced heightened scrutiny and has been accused of making anti-Semitic remarks. In response to some of her comments, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution condemning hate speech against all groups. She has denied her comments were anti-Semitic and says she has come under political attack because she is a Muslim and woman of color.

She has also been dogged by conservatives who have raised questions about her past. She came to the United States as a refugee from war-torn Somalia. In 2016, as Omar was running for a seat in the Minnesota House, conservative bloggers alleged she was married to two men at the same time. Marriage records show that’s not the case. Conservatives also alleged that one of those men, Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, was her brother — allegations that Omar called “disgusting lies.”

According to marriage records, Omar applied for a license in 2002 to marry her current husband, Ahmed Abdisalan Hirsi, who Omar says went by Ahmed Abdisalan Aden at the time. A marriage certificate wasn’t issued and Omar has said they didn’t pursue a civil marriage but instead married in their Muslim faith tradition. Omar and Hirsi had two children, but ended their relationship in 2008.

Omar then married Elmi, whom she said is a British citizen, in 2009, according to a marriage certificate. Omar said that relationship ended in 2011 and the two divorced in their faith tradition, but Omar didn’t take legal action to divorce him until 2017. Divorce records say Omar and Hirsi reunited and had a third child together in June 2012. Omar legally married Hirsi in early 2018, a month after her divorce from Elmi was finalized.

Q: Did Omar gain something by filing jointly?

A: It’s hard to say. In most situations, filing jointly may reduce taxes for married couples. But Eric Johnson, an attorney who practices tax law in St. Paul, Minnesota, said that’s not always the case and filing jointly might actually increase a tax bill for some.

Omar has so far kept her tax returns private. While she has called for President Donald Trump to release his tax returns, her campaign did not acknowledge the AP’s request to release hers. Her campaign also did not answer a question about whether there might be issues with other tax returns prior to Omar’s marriage to Hirsi in 2018.

Q: Is Omar now in trouble with the IRS?

A: That’s not clear. The IRS says federal privacy law prohibits it from commenting.

Jeff Sigurdson, executive director of the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board, said that while the board has authority to refer matters to a county attorney if it discovers an issue, there were no referrals made in this case. Sigurdson said the board did not look into the legality of the joint tax returns, but only “whether it was appropriate to use committee funds to get a copy of them.” Sigurdson said the board never saw the returns in question.

Johnson, the tax attorney, said if taxpayers incorrectly file tax returns as “married filing jointly” where there is no legal marriage, it is typically not a criminal matter unless taxpayers have a strong intent to cheat on their taxes, or unless they directly provide false factual information.

“If the IRS discovers the error, they send the resulting tax bill to the taxpayers,” Johnson said. “If the taxpayers discover the error … amend their returns and pay the tax, there is typically no further consequence.”

Q: Will the public ever know what happened?

A: Probably not, unless Omar decides to talk about it. Taxpayer information is protected under federal law. Johnson said the IRS can’t disclose the status of anyone’s tax issues or directly release information about Omar’s tax situation.

June 11, 2019. Tags: , . Politics. Leave a comment.

AOC and Bernie Sanders Don’t Understand Math

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajDfQ-hd3pQ

https://medium.com/@SenSanders/senator-bernie-sanders-and-representative-alexandria-ocasio-cortez-s-plan-to-stop-big-banks-and-1817c205587b

Senator Bernie Sanders’ and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Plan to Stop Big Banks and Payday Lenders from Ripping Off Americans

By Bernie Sanders

May 9, 2019

If you get a credit card from a store like Macy’s, Kohl’s, or Lowe’s, interest rates are even higher. Stores like these are charging customers an average interest rate of more than 27 percent. And many of the stores rely on these high-interest-rate cards for more than a third of their revenue. Incredibly, Macy’s earned almost 40 percent of its revenue from these cards and Kohl’s recently made 35 percent of its total profit from high-interest-rate cards.

What this means is that if you buy a $500 refrigerator from Lowe’s or Home Depot on one of their credit cards, you will likely owe an additional $136 in interest.

June 9, 2019. Tags: , , , , , . Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Economics, Politics. Leave a comment.

Black Brooklynites Attack Hasidic Jews, De Blasio Blames Trump And ‘White Supremacy’

https://dailycaller.com/2019/05/13/blacks-attack-hasidim-brooklyn-deblasio-blames-trump-white-supremacy/

Black Brooklynites Attack Hasidic Jews, De Blasio Blames Trump And ‘White Supremacy’

May 13, 2019

In a recent spate of hate crime attacks on Hasidic Jews in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, virtually all the perpetrators have been African-American, according to local activists, elected officials, and victims.

Yet at a recent news briefing reporting an 82 percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents in the city, when New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was asked about the attacks, he connected the attacks to national trends, blaming “white supremacy” and “nativism.”

“It’s really clear that forces of white supremacy have been unleashed,” de Blasio said in a press conference earlier this month. “A lot of folks used to be told it was unacceptable to be anti-Semitic, it was unacceptable to be racist and now they’re getting more permission. We’ve got make it very clear it’s unacceptable in our society. And the best way we do that here is by finding the perpetrators and prosecuting them and ensuring that they feel the consequences of their acts.”

Yet there is no evidence any of the perpetrators in Brooklyn (“here”) were nativists or white supremacists. In most of the attacks caught on video, it is clear the perpetrators are black.

For example, in a prominent case late last year, a black teenager was arrested after being caught on tape furiously beating a Hasidic man with a wooden stick.

Then, in late January, three men were caught on video shoving a Hasidic man violently to the ground, punching him and leaving cuts and bruises. Three African-American men — Nazar Walters, Teshon Bannister, and Joshua Peters — were arrested for the attack and face hate-crime charges. The three are also suspects in another attack the same night.

And last month, a Hasidic man who said hello to an African-American man smoking a cigar says the man cursed, punched, and choked him, saying he hates Jews and blames them for his economic problems. The attack was caught on security video.

Crown Heights residents confirm those and many similar videos are representative of the spate of violence.

For example, District Leader Geoffrey Davis, an elected official in New York’s 43rd assembly district, said the attacks are due to black racism against Jews. Davis, who is African-American, called the violence “a misplaced anger by black people who have a tendency of lashing out at Jewish people under the assumption that they are creating havoc in our community — which they are not.”

Crown Heights has been the site of ongoing tensions since a three-day race riot in 1991 in which black youth attacked Jews on the street, killing one rabbinical student, although Davis said he does not see a direct connection between those riots and today’s violence.

Nonetheless, one Hasidic hate-crime victim said all three of his attackers were African-American. Mendy, a Crown Heights resident who asked that his last name not be used, described walking down the street late at night when a black man punched him in the face “quite hard” and ran off with two other men.

He said in his opinion “the vast majority” of the recent attackers have been African-American: “it’s completely one-sided. People in the Jewish community aren’t walking down the street attacking others. We’re not interested in fighting with our neighbors.”

The racial makeup of the perpetrators of the hate crimes does not appear in question. For example, City Councilman Chaim Deutsch, who represents part of Brooklyn, confirmed that most of the Crown Heights attacks were by African-Americans, and community activist Rabbi Yaacov Behrman, director of Operation Survival, said that of at least two dozen cases of anti-Hasidic attacks he’s aware of in the last year, all but two were by blacks. (The other two were by people of indeterminate race.) Behrman complained that the media blames the spike in hate crimes “on the far right” whereas locally people understand the attacks in the local context.

Every Brooklyn resident interviewed for this story strongly rejected the idea that forces often linked to President Trump had anything to do with the attacks. Mendy said that the attackers “aren’t white supremacists wearing MAGA hates and shooting up black churches.”

As for de Blasio, New York Councilman Kalman Yeger, who represents a district in Brooklyn, praised the mayor for “standing up tall and forcefully against anti-Semitism” but said he did not see a causal link between the president’s rhetoric and the attacks.

Mayor de Blasio, in fact, has not delineated the connections he sees between white supremacy and black-on-Hasidic crime in Brooklyn, but his reference to “white supremacy … unleashed” and “they’re getting more permission” echoes language he’s used in the past linking President Trump to white supremacy and nativism.

June 9, 2019. Tags: , , , , , . Racism, Violent crime. Leave a comment.

Ilhan Omar violated campaign finance rules, investigation finds, as more questions about tax filings arise

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/ilhan-omar-violated-campaign-finance-rules-investigation-finds-as-questions-about-tax-status-arise

Ilhan Omar violated campaign finance rules, investigation finds, as more questions about tax filings arise

June 7, 2019

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., repeatedly violated state rules when she used campaign funds to pay for personal out-of-state travel as well as help on her tax returns and must reimburse her former campaign committee nearly $3,500, Minnesota campaign finance officials ruled Thursday.

The Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board said the first-term congresswoman also must pay the state a $500 civil penalty for using campaign money to travel to Florida, where she accepted an honorarium.

“Rep. Omar must personally reimburse the Omar committee $3,469.23,” the report concludes. “This reimbursement payment is the total amount of campaign funds that were used for purposes not permitted by statute in 2016 and 2017. Rep. Omar must provide documentation within 30 days from the date of this order showing the deposit of the reimbursement into the Omar committee’s account.”

Additionally, conservative commentators pointed out that the Board’s report revealed Omar and her current husband, Ahmed Hirsi, filed joint tax returns in 2014 and 2015, when Omar was reportedly married to another man. Omar engaged in a civil marriage with Ahmed Nur Said Elmi in 2009, and the couple separated in 2011 without formally petitioning for divorce until 2017.

Prior to her marriage with Elmi, Omar had reportedly wed Hirsi in the Muslim “faith tradition,” but the couple separated shortly afterwards. Omar did not officially marry Hirsi until 2018, after reconciling with him and splitting with Elmi.

Tax experts say the IRS only permits joint filings if a couple is in a state that legally recognizes the couple as married.

“Time to get federal IRS officials involved?” asked conservative blogger Michelle Malkin. “What say you all?”

“A sitting congresswoman may have filed EIGHT YEARS of fraudulent, felonious, tax returns,” added writer David Steinberg, who authored a Twitter thread flagging the issue.

‘The crisis committee had Frederick & Rosen prepare releases for Rep. Omar and Mr. Hirsi to sign in order for Frederick & Rosen to obtain Rep. Omar’s and Mr. Hirsi’s filed joint tax returns for 2014 and 2015,” the report notes. “Frederick & Rosen then reviewed the documents obtained from the Internal Revenue Service on behalf of the Omar committee. However, there is no substantive evidence in the record to show that the services benefitted the Omar committee, and the Omar committee has failed to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the services from Frederick & Rosen were a permitted noncampaign disbursement under Minnesota Statutes section 211B.12. Rep. Omar must reimburse the committee the $1,500 that was paid to the Kjellberg Law Firm for the services from Frederick & Rosen, Ltd.”

That reference to Omar and Hirsi’s joint filing, however, was not investigated or addressed further in the report.

June 9, 2019. Tags: , , , , . Politics. Leave a comment.

Trump’s Tariffs Have Already Wiped Out Tax Bill Savings for Average Americans

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/trump-tariffs-wiped-most-families-080000425.html

Trump’s Tariffs Have Already Wiped Out Tax Bill Savings for Average Americans

June 7, 2019

(Bloomberg) — President Donald Trump’s trade wars have already wiped out all but $100 of the average American household’s windfall from Trump’s 2017 tax law. And that’s just the beginning.

That last $100 in tax-cut gains could soon completely disappear — and then some — because of additional tariffs Trump has announced. If the president makes good on his threats to impose levies on virtually all imports from China and Mexico, those middle-earning households could pay nearly $4,000 more.

Subtract the tax cut, and the average household will effectively be paying about $3,000 more in taxes through additional levies on the products they consume.

“It’s giving with one hand and taking with the other,” said Kim Clausing, an economics professor at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, who has written a book promoting free trade.

Here’s how the math works. Middle earners got an average tax cut of $930, according to the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. The tariffs already in effect cost the average household about $831, according to research from the New York Federal Reserve.

China Goods

Add in the additional tariffs on another $300 billion in Chinese goods that Trump proposed in May and that increases the cost for the average family of four to about $2,294 annually, according to research from Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, a coalition of business groups that oppose tariffs.

Trump has also threatened to levy tariffs on all imports from Mexico, starting with a 5% tax beginning as soon as Monday that would increase monthly to 25% by October. If the tariffs reach their highest level, that would increase costs for households by $1,700 annually, according to Gary Hufbauer, a senior fellow at the centrist Peterson Institute for International Economics.

The full force of the Chinese and Mexican tariffs and subsequent retaliation would mean that consumers are paying an additional $3,994 because of tariffs, more than four times the $930 tax cut for middle earners that the Republican Party touts as its signature legislative achievement.

The tariffs are “clearly demolishing” the benefits of the tax cuts for both businesses and consumers, said Daniel Ikenson, who directs trade policy at the libertarian Cato Institute. “Many households and consumers have been spared so far, but the next round of tariffs will be more problematic.”

In the beginning of the trade dispute, Trump and his advisers sought to put tariffs on imports that consumers don’t directly buy, such as steel and aluminum. But as the trade feud with China has escalated, they ran out of non-consumer goods on which to put levies. The most recent round of announced tariffs includes consumer products, such as apparel, sporting goods and kitchen ware.

Trump’s most recent threat on all imports from Mexico would increase prices on cars and auto parts, televisions, phones and air conditioners, as well as produce, such as avocados, citrus and pineapples.

Only the top 5% of earners would continue to see a net tax cut of more than 1%, according to the right-leaning Tax Foundation. Tariffs would also depress wages by about 0.5% and result in the loss of nearly 610,000 full-time jobs, according to the foundation.

That creates political problems for Republicans in Congress who have continued to back Trump even as they disagreed with his trade policies. Republicans have cited the passage of the tax-cut law, low unemployment rates and wage increases as signs that Trump’s policies have buoyed the economy. But there are signs that support is beginning to fracture.

The tax cuts “vaulted America back into the most competitive economy,” said Representative Kevin Brady, a Texas Republican who led the passage of the tax cut legislation in the House. “Higher tariffs and the uncertainty that comes with trade disputes” hurt the economy, he said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urged the administration this week to delay imposing the tariffs until Republicans in Congress could plead their case to Trump. Most Senate Republicans have objected to Trump’s use of tariffs to force tougher border enforcement by Mexico. Lawmakers are weighing moves to block the levies.

“This is a man-made disaster, because Donald Trump is not focused in any way on advancing a well-thought-out doctrine,” said Representative Hakeem Jeffries, a top Democrat from New York. “He seems to be carrying out at times personal vendettas, at other times political objectives and sometimes an effort to distract from the news of the day.”

Little Noticed

The effects of tariffs have yet to become noticeable to average consumers. That could soon change. The tariffs on goods from Mexico are slated to go into effect Monday, barring a last-minute deal between Mexican and U.S. negotiators. The Chinese tariffs hitting consumer goods could go into effect in the coming months.

Negotiators met for a second day Thursday to try to come to some agreement that would avert the tariffs. Mexico pushed for more time, but Vice President Mike Pence said the U.S. plans to impose tariffs on Monday.

“It’s not like all of sudden prices will jump 25%, but they could increase 10% or 11%,” said Brian Yarbrough, a senior equity analyst at Edward Jones, said of tariffs of 25% or more. “At some point, price increases will choke off demand, resulting in fewer sales.”

Republicans are hoping to campaign in 2020 on the message of a strong economy buoyed by their tax reductions and deregulation, which began two years ago. But the fresh sting of tariffs risk erasing any economic goodwill those policies generated.

“For the average household it will be a net loss, no doubt,” the Peterson Institutes’s Hufbauer said. “It will be painful.”

June 7, 2019. Tags: , , , , , , . Donald Trump, Economics. 2 comments.

Mom of 4 holds intruder at gunpoint for a terrifying 13 minutes until police arrive

https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/mom-of-four-holds-intruder-at-gunpoint-for-a-terrifying-13-minutes-until-police-arrive-220537761.html

Mom of 4 holds intruder at gunpoint for a terrifying 13 minutes until police arrive

June 4, 2019

A Tampa Bay mother held an intruder in her home at gunpoint for a terrifying 13 minutes until police arrived at the scene. Lauren Richards, a mother of four, initially made a call reporting a suspicious person on her property 21 minutes before police arrived.

On Saturday, May 25, 2019, Richards called 911 at 12:41 a.m., according to a Pasco County Sheriff’s Office representative.

“I tell [911] somebody just came into my door. He’s unfamiliar. I don’t recognize him,” Richards told WFLA.

While waiting for officers to arrive to the suspicious person call, Richards looked outside her home in Rolling Oaks Estates in Hudson, Fla., and noticed her mini-pig, Milton, had his nose to the ground. She realized the animal had picked up a scent and that someone either had been in her garage or was currently in her garage.

Richards, already afraid the man would break into her home, took her gun and entered the garage. Eight feet away was the intruder, identified as Devin Cooke, 25. Richards realized that her typically open garage door was now shut.

She placed a second call to police at 12:54 a.m.

In audio obtained by the station of the police call, Richards says, “I have a gun pointed and I need the police to show up immediately. I called 10 minutes ago and nobody has shown up.”

“The two calls were merged by dispatch approximately 90 seconds later, at 12:56 a.m., and additional units, including Air, K9 and a Sgt., were dispatched,” the representative of Pasco County Sheriff’s Office tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Given the priority of the second call, those units responded with lights and sirens, as opposed to the first unit, who was en route following normal traffic laws, given the fact that the suspect had left the area and the call had been subsequently downgraded.”

While waiting for police, a neighbor, Hector Nieves, grabbed his gun and went over to help. His wife, Melodie, also called 911 during the incident.

“I want to make sure the cops know my husband went… with a gun over there to protect her,” Melodie told dispatch.

Hector told WFLA: “I’m just like I gotta help, you know. She’s got little kids. We held him at gunpoint until the cops showed up.”

The first unit, a sergeant, arrived on the scene at 1:07 a.m.

“Had she not had a gun and been ready to protect herself or call the neighbors, she might not be standing here,” Melodie told the outlet. “Who knows what would happen.”

In a police report provided to Yahoo Lifestyle, the intruder was allegedly under the impression that his grandparents had been murdered and he was distraught. He was transported for a mental health evaluation.

“On May 29, upon further investigation, a probable cause order was issued for Devin Cooke for the burglary charges. The medical facility where he was staying was alerted to this and a police hold was placed on him. This means that when he is able to be released from the facility, the facility will notify PSO and he will be released to our custody, under the burglary charge,” the representative says.

The representative continues: “Our priority is ensuring the safety of all parties involved. On May 25, our priority was to secure the scene and ensure both the caller and the suspect were unharmed. Given the substantial amount of witnesses during the incident, and the fact that the suspect remained in medical custody during that period, the investigation could be completed at a later date than the incident date.”

June 6, 2019. Tags: , . Guns. 1 comment.