Monday, January 29, 2018

GEORGE SOROS: Trump Presidency Will ‘Disappear’ in 2020 — or ‘Even Sooner.’

Trained as an anthropologist and medical doctor, Mr. Kim now says that the world of high finance is “some of the coolest stuff I have ever looked at.”
Mr. Kim is, by nature, a cheery person, but there was no mistaking the edge to his voice when he started talking about the World Bank economists whose pay is tied to how many loans they churn out. In his view, the bank needs to reward staff, Wall Street-style, for devising innovative financial solutions.
“One of the most difficult things to do in a large bureaucracy is to change incentives,” Mr. Kim told the financiers. “And if you have a large bureaucracy full of economists it is especially hard, because it turns out that economists really hate it when you change the incentives.”
That is What is new at the World Bank? via Landon Thomas Jr. at the NYT, there is much more in the story.  And in case you hadn’t heard, Paul Romer is no longer working there

Tax Controversy Attorney Rettig To Be Nominated IRS Commissioner 

Chuck Rettig, here, a prominent and respected player in the tax controversy (including tax crimes) arena is reported to be Trump's pick for Commissioner of Internal Revenue.  Here is one article:

David M. Katz, Trump Tax-Returns Defender on Tap to Head IRS: Report (CFO 1/25/18), here.
President Trump is reportedly on the verge of naming Charles P. Rettig, a Beverly Hills tax lawyer who wrote that candidate Trump’s lawyers shouldn’t advise him to release his tax returns, as commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service. 
“Is there any legal impediment to Trump publicly releasing his tax returns? Absolutely not,” Rettig, a tax litigator who has served more than 35 years at Hochman, Salkin, Rettig, Toscher & Perez and has represented clients before the IRS, said on February 28, 2016  in one of a number of columns he’s written for the “IRS Watch” section of Forbes. 
“Would any experienced tax lawyer representing Trump in an IRS audit advise him to publicly release his tax returns during the audit? Absolutely not,” Rettig added. To date, President Trump, who Forbes reports as having a current net worth of $3.1 billion, hasn’t made his returns public.   
On Tuesday night,  Politco, citing multiple sources with knowledge of the selection process, reported that President Trump will nominate Rettig to head the IRS. Rettig would then have to be confirmed by the Senate.
Now for some of you who are not tax litigators, I think Rettig's hypothetical advice was solely from the perspective of a tax controversy lawyer advising Trump with the sole focus on representing him under audit.  I think most tax controversy lawyers would advise Trump that, solely based on the needs of that representation in the audit, there would be nothing to be gained from  disclosing his tax returns.  Rettig's advice did not address anything other than the hyptothetical tax controversy lawyer's perspective.

GEORGE SOROS: Trump Presidency Will ‘Disappear’ in 2020 — or ‘Even Sooner.’

The extermination camps were different. The Nazis built only six, and for just one overriding purpose: the destruction of European Jewry. The vast majority of the 1.1 million Jews deported to Auschwitz never entered its concentration camp at all. They didn’t last the few weeks that most other prisoners did. They lasted less than an hour. When their trains arrived, these Jews (and it was only the Jews who were brought this way) were pulled from the lethally packed cars, stripped, and separated into men, women, and children. A few adults were pulled aside if they looked healthy or were known to have special skills. The rest were marched a few hundred yards down the line to the gas chambers. The largest held 2,000 people at a time. They were made to look like showers, but the pipes were filled not with water, but with a delousing pesticide called Zyklon B. Once released, the gas took only 20 minutes to kill everyone inside. It took half a day for the Sonderkommandos(Jewish prisoners forced to run the crematoria) to haul the bodies upstairs to the furnaces for burning.
Dead within an hour of arrival and, the same day, nothing but ash in the air. Some 960,000 Jews died at Auschwitz. That is more than the total combined number of American deaths in every war fought since 1865. If buried in 5-by-8-foot graves (the average dimensions at Arlington National Cemetery), they would fill an area larger than New York’s Central Park. Their names would fill the panels of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial more than 16 times over.
But there are no mass graves at Auschwitz, no physical markers that convey the magnitude of what happened. All that a visitor can see are the ruins of a half-sunken gas chamber, which the Nazis blew up as they retreated before the Red Army. It is less than half the size of a regulation basketball court. There were six other such chambers at the camp— all together making up an area no larger than a high school gymnasium. One looks at their mangled ruins—some charred brick, a bit of twisted metal, an empty hole in the ground—and the mind reels. How could a million souls have disappeared into a space so small?
Human beings are simply not equipped to handle such a mismatch in scale. We need visceral guideposts and personal experiences to understand things emotionally. The Nazis exploited this truth to diabolical ends.