Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News

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Friday, May 26, 2023

Steve Benen: The regional sweep is now effectively complete: From Texas to Missouri, North Carolina to Florida, Republicans in literally every southeastern state have now imposed abortion bans. read more

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

The idea that profits drove our current bout of inflation surfaced in the last few years among progressive economists and lawmakers but was waved away by more mainstream types as a "conspiracy theory." read more

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Elizabeth Spiers: In theory, America loves strivers - people who start with very little and through hard work and determination will themselves into success. In practice, we live in a country where people who have overcome tremendous challenges to get here are met with hostility, where people who work multiple minimum-wage jobs are shamed if they also need government assistance and where poor people are told to learn how to code as if the idea of training for white-collar jobs had simply never occurred to them. Americans think we love plucky people who pull themselves up by the bootstraps. What we really love are money and power, period. read more

Sunday, May 07, 2023

"I never imagined in 100 years I would be thrust into the position of being the first first responder on the site to take care of people," Steven Spainhouer told CBS News. "The first girl I walked up to was crouched down covering her head in the bushes, so I felt for a pulse, pulled her head to the side and she had no face." read more

Saturday, May 06, 2023

Roxane Gray: Increasingly, it is not safe to be in public, to be human, to be fallible. Every single day there are news stories that are individually devastating and collectively an unequivocal condemnation of what we are becoming: a people without empathy, without any respect for the sanctity of life unless it's our own. read more


Straight line connection FTA:

In January 2012, Leo instructed the GOP pollster Kellyanne Conway to bill a nonprofit group he advises and use that money to pay Virginia "Ginni" Thomas, the documents show ... He emphasized that the paperwork should have "No mention of Ginni, of course." The same year, the nonprofit, the Judicial Education Project, filed a brief to the Supreme Court in a landmark voting rights case.

In all, according to the documents, the Polling Company paid Thomas's firm, Liberty Consulting, $80,000 between June 2011 and June 2012, and it expected to pay $20,000 more before the end of 2012.

In December 2012, the Judicial Education Project submitted an amicus brief in Shelby County v. Holder, a case challenging a landmark civil rights law aimed at protecting minority voters. The court struck down a formula in the Voting Rights Act that determined which states had to obtain federal clearance before changing their voting rules and procedures. Clarence Thomas was part of the 5-to-4 majority.

Thomas issued a concurring opinion in the case, arguing that the preclearance requirement itself is unconstitutional. Thomas's opinion, which was consistent with a previous opinion he wrote, favored the outcome the Judicial Education Project and several other conservative organizations had advocated in their amicus briefs. He did not cite the Judicial Education Project brief.

This isn't a smoking gun, it's an exploding ammo dump. But as I noted above, Clarence was only following what he'd already made clear his position was previously. He really goes to sleep believing that all these people giving him and Ginni money aren't an ethical conflict because he's not ruling in their favor for money. He's ruling in their favor because that's how he sees the law.

I don't agree with this at all, but I truly think that that is exactly how Thomas justifies the unjustifiable as the majority of unbiased people see these seemly "gifts" and business transactions.

And I want to be perfectly clear as it regards my ire with the Thomas' complete dismissal of seemingly all ethical concerns. I could care less their ideology or party. I'd be equally upset with any judge/wife lacking the common sense to ignore the optics of being the recipient of largess from wealthy political allies and failing to report such transactions.

Doug Emhoff quit a multi-million dollar partnership with a law firm so as not to draw any negative inferences upon his wife the Vice President. He didn't take a leave of absence, he resigned. He's now a visiting professor at Georgetown Law School bringing in under $50K. This is how some Democrats deal with the appearance of conflict of interest or questionable income from directly-connected political sources.

But to me, here's the worse part of what all of this says about Clarence Thomas as a jurist. His mind is already made up - he never enters into a case with an open mind. He has his ending before it begins, he only needs to find a way to justify it through his interpretation of the Constitution and law. This is how he justifies everything he does because he doesn't do it for the money, he does it because that's how he views the law, and he's already made that perfectly clear to all his and Ginni's benefactors. So they're paying as a way to say "Thank you" for always being there for us as you've articulated in our private conversations.

There is no whiff of a quid pro quo. This is strictly gracious payments in arrears for services already rendered and a tip for whatever the next case will be that they already know he'll decide in their favor.

Read the originating charter document next time before you shoot off your mouth without having any idea what you're talking about: www.documentcloud.org

The chief function of the district charter was to remove any financial obligation for infrastructure that Disney would need for its resorts from the taxpayers of Orange and Osceola counties - which didn't have the tax base to fund all that Disney's development would need to realize what it's become today. There wouldn't be any other growth or attractions had not Disney built its park first. The charter allowed Disney to OVERTAX itself within the district.

Any imbecile can look at the history of Disney and discern that they're goal was not to escape taxes, but to use taxes generated by its own business to fund and support its own services within the district without any levy on the citizens of both counties its property lies in.

Lying liars have no clue what Florida's state legislature created in 1967. Disney has no tax abatements or exemptions. Disney pays MORE IN TAXES because they fund their own infrastructure as well as pay ALL STATE, COUNTY AND LOCAL TAXES just like every other theme parks which didn't build and maintain their own roads, utilities, fire and police departments. That's one of the chief reasons for these districts. Florida law prohibits entities from paying different tax rates, so without the district Disney could not overtax itself to fund infrastructure needs and utilities normally delivered by municipal governments.

When Walt Disney World Resort was in development during the 1960s, the closest water and power lines in Orange and Osceola counties were 10-15 miles away from the secluded property. These counties did not have services or resources to support the development of what would become a global destination resort.

Working with Disney, the Florida State legislature established the special district (then known as Reedy Creek Improvement District) in 1967 to create and manage municipal services with authority and responsibility similar to a county government.

The legislation stated that landowners within the new district, which was primarily Walt Disney World Resort, would be solely responsible for paying to provide typical municipal services including power, water, roads and fire protection.

As one of the largest taxpayers in the region, we have always paid our fair share of taxes and more, including paying and collecting a combined $1.146B in state and local taxes.

In addition to paying all state, local and district taxes, Walt Disney World Resort also donated land and financed a number of public infrastructure projects in the local community, which have benefited Central Floridians without burdening them with additional taxes for development and municipal services.

Walt Disney World Resort does not get any exemption from County real estate taxes because of the special district. Walt Disney World Resort pays the same rate for Orange and Osceola County real estate taxes as other businesses in Orange and Osceola Counties, including other theme parks and tourist attractions. And in addition, Walt Disney World Resort pays a separate real estate tax to the special district. As a result, Walt Disney World Resort's total real estate tax rate is significantly higher than the real tax rate assessed against other theme parks and tourist attractions in Orange and Osceola Counties, in some cases at least 50% higher.


The truth will set you free - or I'll be happy to pick up your deceitful carcasses during my next culling run.

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