Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News

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Saturday, May 11, 2024

Former President Donald J. Trump used a dubious accounting maneuver to claim improper tax breaks from his troubled Chicago tower, according to an Internal Revenue Service inquiry uncovered by The New York Times and ProPublica. Losing a yearslong audit battle over the claim could mean a tax bill of more than $100 million. read more

Barron Trump, former President Donald J. Trump's youngest son who has stayed out of the spotlight since his father entered politics, will not serve as one of Florida's delegates to the Republican National Convention, the office of Melania Trump announced on Friday. read more

Cassidy Dipaola: A bombshell complaint filed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) last week reveals that Scott Sheffield, the former CEO of Pioneer Natural Resources - one of the largest oil producers in the Permian Basin - colluded with OPEC officials in an attempt to artificially limit supply and jack up prices. read more

Thursday, May 09, 2024

The Washington Post reports on Donald Trump's meeting with top oil executives. Trump reportedly told them they should raise $1 billion to help him win back the White House and during the same meeting Trump vowed to reverse President Biden's environmental rules. "Giving $1 billion would be a 'deal,' Trump said, because of the taxation and regulation they would avoid thanks to him," WAPO reports. read more

The refusal to commit to accept elections results is "deeply concerning," said Steven Levitsky, a government professor at Harvard University who studies democracy around the world. "Accepting the results of elections is in effect the cardinal rule of democracy. It is the first rule of democratic politics. If a major party is not willing to accept defeat in elections, democracy cannot be stable." read more


That cost all of us when the Saudis did what Trump wanted, resulting in higher prices at the pump.

And the reason why Trump quid pro quo'd Saudi Arabia was to protect American frackers just like this Sheffield maggot who gives less than a dump about the welfare of non-wealthy Americans when his bucks are at stake. Totally transactional, just like his buddy Trump.

Trump told Saudi: Cut oil supply or lose U.S. military support - sources

April 30, 2020

The threat to upend a 75-year strategic alliance, which has not been previously reported, was central to the U.S. pressure campaign that led to a landmark global deal to slash oil supply as demand collapsed in the coronavirus pandemic - scoring a diplomatic victory for the White House.

Trump delivered the message to the crown prince 10 days before the announcement of production cuts.

The effort illustrated Trump's strong desire to protect the U.S. oil industry from a historic price meltdown as governments shut down economies worldwide to fight the virus. It also reflected a telling reversal of Trump's longstanding criticism of the oil cartel, which he has blasted for raising energy costs for Americans with supply cuts that usually lead to higher gasoline prices. Now, Trump was asking OPEC to slash output.


And I understand the reason why this was done at the time it was in the early months of the pandemic. But shouldn't a policy change like this have come from Congress and not simply through the White House? And what about American citizens who were forced to pay higher prices for fuel due to direct market manipulation? (something supposedly anathema to Republicans and Conservatives everywhere ... unless it's used for their benefit personally)

More on Sheffield:

A potential constraint on OPEC/OPEC+'s ability to curtail production and increase crude oil prices globally is production from the United States, and in particular from the Permian Basin in West Texas and New Mexico, where Pioneer operates as the largest crude oil producer.

(R)ather than seeking to compete against OPEC and OPEC+ through independent competitive decision-making, Mr. Sheffield's goal in recent years at Pioneer has been to align U.S. oil production with OPEC and OPEC+ country output agreements, thereby cementing the cartel's position and sharing in the spoils of its market power.

Mr. Sheffield has not been shy about those goals, and has instead publicly told competitors that they should be "disciplined" about capacity growth and "stay in line." He further threatened: "All the shareholders that I've talked to said that if anybody goes back to growth, they will punish those companies."

5. But Mr. Sheffield did not limit himself to public signaling to U.S. counterparts - he has also held repeated, private conversations with high-ranking OPEC representatives assuring them that Pioneer and its Permian Basin rivals were working hard to keep oil output artificially low. For example, Mr. Sheffield messaged on WhatsApp to (redacted)

6. This was not a one-off event but rather part of Mr. Sheffield's sustained and longrunning strategy to coordinate output reductions - Mr. Sheffield has over the past several years held repeated in-person meetings and other discussions with (redacted)

For example, Mr. Sheffield has exchanged a series of text messages with (redacted), discussing crude oil market
dynamics, pricing, and output.


If that is what Ian actually happening expect lawsuits to follow.

Seems like the FTC investigators have strong evidence that this is precisely what happened, although for their needs this complaint is simply to stop the Exxon/Pioneer merger.

As part of its proposed acquisition of Pioneer, Exxon agreed to "take all necessary
actions to cause Scott D. Sheffield ... to be appointed to the board of directors" of Exxon
("Appointment Clause") after the Proposed Acquisition closes. By giving Mr. Sheffield a larger
platform from which to pursue his anticompetitive schemes - as well as decision-making input
and access to competitively sensitive information of Exxon - the Proposed Acquisition violates
Section 7 of the Clayton Act because it would meaningfully increase the likelihood of
coordination, and thereby harm competition, in the market for development, production, and sale
of crude oil. Increases in crude oil prices are passed on to Americans through higher gasoline,
diesel, heating oil, and jet fuel prices.

The Proposed Acquisition accordingly violates Section 7 of the Clayton Act
because it would meaningfully increase the likelihood of industry coordination to artificially
reduce growth in the development, production, and sale of crude oil. Crude oil makes up the
largest cost of transportation fuels. Increases in crude oil prices will lead Americans to pay.


The question now is whether the DOJ has taken what the FTC found and is looking into it for charging purposes. And ancillary to that comes this question: Who do you see as having legal standing to sue for the price fixing itself?

And lastly, peruse the complaint itself. It goes into great detail on how Sheffield colluded with many entities in his successful attempt to keep oil prices inflated for profiteering's sake.

Trump is the perfect example of what Democrats should get on their soapboxes about and preach to the masses. Why is it that the very same people willing to spend billions lobbying Congress to get what they want from the tax code STILL refuse to pay their fair share while simultaneously always blathering about "deficits and debt" caused by out-of-control spending, usually blaming poorer people claiming THEY'RE THE ONES not paying taxes yet greedily sucking at the government spigot?

This case has potentially far-reaching ability to educate Americans on precisely WHY the GOP keeps trying to defund the IRS' auditing abilities so that wealthy tax scofflaws can keep avoid payment of billions upon billions in what should be legally owed taxes.

It's fairly simple. Trump is only one billionaire, and within the short span of a decade he was not only able to recoup 3/4 of a billion dollars from US taxpayers and offset earnings in the hundreds of millions from any tax liabilities, he resold his claimed "worthless" company to himself under a different LLC and then took another $168 million in duplicate tax breaks.

Even MAGAts can understand this simple math. And even if it doesn't cause some to leave his side, no one will listen when he whines about "out of control government spending" towards the working and underclasses. What's truly out of control are the billions and billions not being paid by the wealthiest successful companies and people in America because the IRS does not have the manpower nor resources to keep them from illegally gaming the system.

It's greedflation, stupid

And oil price fixing led by an American Permian Basin company's former CEO:

Big Oil's Un-American Scheme to Price-Gouge Consumers

A bombshell complaint filed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) last week reveals that Scott Sheffield, the former CEO of Pioneer Natural Resources - one of the largest oil producers in the Permian Basin - colluded with OPEC officials in an attempt to artificially limit supply and jack up prices.

The FTC's complaint alleges that Sheffield exchanged private WhatsApp messages with leaders at OPEC, assuring them that Pioneer and other Permian companies would pump the brakes on output in order to keep prices high. He even threatened to "punish" any companies that dared to ramp up production.

Haven't MAGAts been screaming about gas prices ever since Trump left office? High gas prices are one of, if not the single biggest influence on inflation since energy costs permeate completely throughout the production/distribution/consumption economy.

And now we learn who's behind those high prices: American grifters, just like the head MAGA himself.


When Mr. Trump sought to reap tax benefits from his losses, the I.R.S. has argued, he went too far and in effect wrote off the same losses twice.

The first write-off came on Mr. Trump's tax return for 2008. With sales lagging far behind projections, he claimed that his investment in the condo-hotel tower met the tax code definition of "worthless," because his debt on the project meant he would never see a profit. That move resulted in Mr. Trump reporting losses as high as $651 million for the year ...

In 2010, Mr. Trump and his tax advisers sought to extract further benefits from the Chicago project, executing a maneuver that would draw years of inquiry from the I.R.S. First, he shifted the company that owned the tower into a new partnership. Because he controlled both companies, it was like moving coins from one pocket to another. Then he used the shift as justification to declare $168 million in additional losses over the next decade.

From 2011 through 2020, Mr. Trump reported $168 million in additional losses from the project. During 2011-2017, he reported $184 million in income from "The Apprentice" and agreements to license his name, along with $219 million from canceled debts. But he paid only $643,431 in income taxes thanks to huge losses on his businesses, including the Chicago tower. The revisions sought by the I.R.S. would require amending his tax returns to remove $146 million in losses and add as much as $218 million in income from condominium sales. That shift of up to $364 million could swing those years out of the red and well into positive territory, creating a tax bill that could easily exceed $100 million.

DJT: Man of the people.

And therefore you saw no option but to become a knuckle-dragging fascist.

Just another projectionist who sees a movie about the right but always claims it's really about the left. If the scales ever fall from their eyes perhaps they'd notice that there isn't and never will be any rigid dogma adhered to universally by anyone on the left.

Individually, none of us have monolithic viewpoints nor do we demand fealty to singular points of views as expected from the lemmings on the right marching in lockstep to whatever idiocy is espoused by their leaders on any given day. I have disagreed with every single lefty poster on this thread as they have with me depending upon the issue. The freaking 11th commandment on the right is to never criticize Republicans. Many Democrats criticize each other on a daily basis.

It's telling how distorted this poster's view of reality is. They never realize that the criticisms they level more pointedly are faults they themselves display openly and proudly as badges of honor. And they never tire of taking potshots at any and all whose viewpoints differ from their own - caught in a zero-sum black hole fueling their misplaced anger as they pursue an endless search for the right to have their self-serving claims of superiority taken seriously while they thrust unserious policy after unserious policy into the public square.

Their leader lies like breathing but it's Joe Biden who should be strung up because he tries to express optimism, yet they ignore every single lie Trump made about "his economy" being unparalleled when every measure of growth pales in comparison to that realized by Biden coming out of Trump's fatal mishandling of the covid pandemic which truly did place our economy onto temporary life support.

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