A Parody of his press conference.
Over at Politico this morning, Michael Lind has an interesting item out that suggests Donald Trump “exposed the Tea Party.”
One line, very early in the piece, jumped out at me. Lind is quoting Trump here:
“People as they make more and more money can pay a higher percentage” of taxes.
Lind didn’t use an ellipsis (…) after percentage to show that he was cutting up the quote. This is a bit sloppy.
Here’s what Trump actually said on Sean Hannity’s show:
TRUMP: I actually believe that people, as they make more and more money, can pay a higher percentage, OK?
HANNITY: How high?….What’s the cap?
You can read the full exchange here, but Trump doesn’t answer the question, other than to suggest that hedge fund managers can afford a tax increase. (This as some surmised, and later was confirmed, had to do with the “carried interest” tax rate, which is lower than the personal income tax rate a hedge fund manager would typically pay.)
This is not a defense of Trump. He didn’t answer the question with specificity, so we still don’t really know. And specificity is a problem area for Donald.
I know what you’re thinking — who cares? “‘a higher percentage’ of taxes” vs. “‘a higher percentage’ in taxes” are six and one half-dozen of the other, right? Nope, not necessarily.
Since raising taxes is generally a no-no for the political right, a distinction is important.
To say one wants wealthier people to pay “‘a higher percentage’ of taxes” is to suggest — assuming we’re only talking income taxes — that you want their contributions to represent a higher percentage than present of the total amount of taxes that are collected.
Of course, when it comes to income taxes, the top 50% of taxpayers pay 97% of all federal income taxes. The top 1% pay 38% of it.
Now, saying one wants wealthier people to pay “‘a higher percentage’ in taxes” is saying you want to raise rates on individuals as they get wealthier, or change the tax treatment of certain types of income (like carried interest or investment income) so it is treated as ordinary income.
So, what’s the distinction? Well — Trump’s views are still a mystery, but Lind inadvertently put words in Trump’s mouth by butchering the quote.
Conservatives, rightly, claim that when you tax something, generally, you get less of it. It’s not an absolute principle, but it’s generally correct. (To those who disagree, why, then are cigarette sales declining? Could it be a $1 per pack tax increase Obama signed? OK.)
In some instances, raising taxes on certain activities or on certain individuals, could ultimately result in less of that activity or individuals doing less work. It could even result in lower tax revenues than at lower rates.
The distinction between a higher percentage of all taxes and a higher percentage in tax rates is real. But Trump still hasn’t made it clear, and Lind (wrongly, though probably unintentionally) tried to make it clear.
I guess we’ll find out when Trump releases his tax plan. Though, if it’s anything like his immigration plan, don’t expect many specific details.
Yo, check it Republicans, I have found Donald Trump’s kryptonite. You’re welcome, Jeb!
From this week’s “Daily Ledger” on One America News Network.
My favorite McNugget dipping sauce is being put out to pasture, at least locally. After securing my six free McNuggets from a recent Nationals win, I was told they’d no longer be carrying the deliciously spicy habanero ranch dipping sauce.
So, if you’re out in the DMV and can score some habanero ranch in the coming days, be sure to say goodbye.
I asked McDonald’s about my habanero ranch reserve and how long I could sit on it. I’ll update if they reply.
@McDonalds_DMV I still have five Habanero Ranch buckets saved. What is their shelf life?
— Jim Swift (@JSwiftTWS) August 12, 2015
RIP, habanero ranch. You’ll be missed.
Around the same time, film maker and activist Michael Moore confirmed that he is a Cheetos neocon:
I think if we ever ran out of Flaming Hot Cheetos that would give us cause to invade any country that had them. https://t.co/0XGxyFIU0J
— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) August 12, 2015
UPDATE 2: Caleb Brown shares this appropriate song for remembrance:
— Caleb O. Brown (@cobrown) August 12, 2015
This evening I saw this Atlas Obscura item posted on This.cm about people mailing themselves places. I don’t know why, but it got me thinking about fellow St. Dominic’s School graduate Molly Shannon.
I had thought she had snuck herself onto a plane via luggage, which is generally similar to mailing yourself.
And NPR did an interesting item on travel, which featured this Molly Shannon story.
Here’s an excerpt:
OK, parents, I would actually warn you not to let your kids hear this next story, except the thing that the children in this next story accomplish would be impossible for any kids to do today. Basically, they go to the airport, and they try to hop on a plane to go to another city. The comedian Molly Shannon told what happened to Marc Maron on his podcast, WTF, which is a great podcast. They did this in front of a live audience in November, 2011.
I hopped a plane when I was 12. We told my dad– me and my friend Anna were like, we’re gonna hop a plane to New York. And he was like– he dared us.
How old were you?
We were like 12.
Oh, good. That’s good.
We went to the airport, and we had ballet outfits on, and we put our hair in buns. And we wanted to look really innocent. And this was, again, when flying was really easy. You didn’t need your ticket to get through. And we told my dad, and we were just like– we saw there were two flights. We were either gonna go to San Francisco or New York, and we thought, oh, let’s go to New York. It’s leaving early.
So we went. We said to the stewardess, we just want to say good bye to my sister. Can we go on the plane? And she was like, sure. And then she let us on, and it was a really empty flight, because it was out of Cleveland, Ohio.
And we sat back there, and then all of a sudden, you just hear, like, vroom. The plane takes off, and we were like– And we had little ballet outfits, and buns. And I was like, hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women. And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
And then the stewardess that had given us permission to go say good bye to my sister came by to ask if we wanted snacks or beverages. And she was like, can I get you ladies something to eat? She looked like she was like, oh, mother [BLEEP].
So we wondered if we were going to get in trouble, but she ended up not telling anyone. And then when we landed in New York City, she was like, bye, ladies. Have a nice trip.
I just, like, I’m– it’s such an exciting story, but the irresponsibility of all the adults in this story is somehow undermining my appreciation of it. You were 12-year-old girls in ballet outfits, and everybody was sort of like, have a good time! What world was that?
It was crazy! It was a crazy world.
What did you do in New York?
Well, again, because I had a crazy childhood, we called my dad, and we were like, we did it! And he was like, oh God! Molly! Oh, jeez, well, try to– so, basically, he couldn’t–
Try to what?
He didn’t know what to do. He said, try to see if you can stay– go find a hotel that you can stay in, and me and Mary– my sister– we’ll come meet you. We’ll drive there.
But basically, we didn’t have that much. We just had our ballet bags and a little bit of cash. So we went to a diner, and we dined and dashed, and we stole things. We were like little con artists.
Wait, did you actually make it to the city?
We made it to the city. I was like, how do you get to Rockefeller Center? Because I had just seen TV specials.
Nobody said, are you girls lost? Nothing like that?
No. Nothing. So we did try to go to hotels, and my dad would call and ask, could they just stay there until we get there? And none of the hotels wanted to be responsible. So he was like, all right. You’ve gotta come home. And he was like, but I’m not paying for it, so try to hop on one on the way back. So we tried to hop on many planes, but the flights were all so crowded. So we ended up having to have him pay for it, and he made us pay it all back with our babysitting money. The end.
So that was the big punishment?
Yeah, that was– there was no punishment.
Well, no, I know. I mean, clearly.
He loved that kind of stuff. Like I said, he was wild.
I love the– the sort of strange, nostalgic excitement you have for– for this borderline child abuse.
Molly Shannon, talking to Marc Maron on the WTF podcast, which I recommend, and which you can find on iTunes or through an internet search. We spoke with the other girl in that story, who has not talked to Molly Shannon in a while, didn’t know that she was telling that story publicly, who confirmed all the crazy details in the story. She says they held hands and prayed while the plane took off.
Growing up in Shaker, I also had parents who would let me do crazy-by-today’s-standards things. Like walking home from school, or biking all over Cleveland. (In first grade I biked about a mile to my new classmate Liam’s house, and his mom was surprised my mom let me.)
The Shannon story is just pure, unadulterated awesome. And while we think it wouldn’t happen nowadays, it has — though it has to be much less common.
I often wonder what the world will be like when my children are 12. And I worry.
The email posted (in full) below is perhaps the best email I have ever read.
A few observations:
What citizen wants to be told they have to co-exist (time to update the bumper sticker!) with a dangerous wild animal?
There is a bear on the loose in McLean, Virginia this week. If the Fairfax County Animal Control Services bureau sent out an email with the subject line “How to Co-Exist With Bears” the fine people of McLean would revolt. Tell us your plan for neutralizing the threat, or if killing them is too cumbersome/costly, at least tell us your plan for getting them out of here and into the Shenandoah Valley. (But seriously, D.C., stop trying to give us your rats.)
Whoever wrote this email is either a troll or a genius: “At this time we are recommending the use of humane “hazing techniques” designed to re-instill the fear of people for the coyotes.”
HAZING? It’s a problematic buzzword! You can’t support hazing can you? Now we’re supposed to haze coyotes? If one memory is ingrained in my brain from college, is that hazing does instill a fear of people, usually active members of the fraternity you’re pledging. (Just kidding, TKE! I was not ever hazed ever by anyone. Promise!)
Let’s jump ahead to the methods of hazing the City of Los Angeles suggests:
- Yelling and waving your arms while approaching the coyote
- Noisemakers: Voice, whistles, air horns, bells, “shaker” cans full of marbles or pennies, pots, lid or pie pans banged together
- Projectiles: sticks, small rocks, cans, tennis balls or rubber balls
- Other: hoses, water guns with vinegar water, spray bottles with vinegar water, pepper spray or bear repellent
The yelling and screaming part is standard fare, and reads like a Mike Birbiglia skit. However, the part about noisemakers is pure gold. I still have a lifeguard whistle somewhere in my closet. If you’ve forgotten what one of these sounds like, don’t Google it. I’ll put it this way: they’re not your run of the mill freshman orientation rape whistles — they will make your ears bleed.
Air Horns? Really? This email pretty much just deputized any Angeleno to walk around town with an air horn like they use in Billboard Top 40 songs.
“What seems to be the problem, officer?”
“Oh, my coyote self-defense air horn? Yeah, I had to use that to scare off a coyote and then he ran away.”
Anyone who has a dog knows that a leash, a poop bag and treats are a bit of a hassle to carry around in addition to the keys, wallet, and cell phone. So, it’s heartening to see a government agency suggesting you carry an air horn, bells, tin cans full of noisy things, or a pot/pan and (presumably) a spatula as well.
Some entrepreneur needs to invent a keychain coyote deterrent tin can. This is America. Make it happen. Or maybe even an air horn that you can wear around your neck like a LifeAlert. Nevermind! The email kindly informs “you can purchase small air horn ‘necklaces.'” Because that’s where I want an ear-drum shattering air horn, on a necklace. Near my face.
The email links to a Canadian ecology webpage that suggests home-made coyote deterrents, but nobody thought to check the link to see if it still works. It doesn’t, but it did three years ago. The suggestions are helpful: Tie five or six cans to a string and carry it behind you like you just got married while walking your dog! Dogs love noises like that.
Or, put 40 pennies in a pop can, duct tape the mouth of the can shut, and perhaps fashion a necklace to facilitate easy carrying of a penny can around your neck. Coyotes hate that shit.
NOTE:It is critical to use a variety of different hazing tools so the coyotes don’t get used to a single device, sound, or action.
In case your local coyote is a real dick, be sure to wear the air horn necklace and the penny can necklace.
Great suggestions so far. What’s next?
Keep the cover on the spa and keep the gate to the pool closed.
Literally everyone I know in Los Angeles has a “spa.” Is a spa like a hot tub? I always thought spas were indoors, but I am a rube from Ohio — what do I know? And these days, I hear pools are big in California.
Generally coyotes are reclusive and like to hide in brush or thickets. Thinning or clearing the undergrowth removes hiding places.
One thing that grows like crazy during a drought is grass. Make sure you don’t let that grass get too high, Angelinos! Brush is a real problem these days.
The coyote may run away, but then stop after a distance and look at you. It is important to continue to go after the coyote until he completely leaves the area.
If you’re a true American, you better charge after that coyote until he is somebody else’s problem*. (*=Unless you live on the border of town near woods or something.)
When walking your dog, make sure to follow this advice:
[Use] sticks or other objects to throw towards (but not at) the coyote
We wouldn’t want to harm the coyote or provoke it with stick throwing — we know sticks, like stones, may break our bones — but be sure run directly at it so it knows you mean business. But since words will never hurt us, be sure to yell “Go Away Coyote!” unless the coyote doesn’t speak English. My Spanish is rusty, but I think it’s something along the lines of “¡Márchese el coyote!”
All of this silliness reminds me of a famous inside-the-beltway fight between Don Young (R-AK) and George Miller (D-CA). The long and short of it was that wolves were killing dogs in Alaska, and Alaska allowed aerial hunting of wolves. Miller thought this was tragic, and his spox decried Young’s attempts to scuttle Miller’s efforts by saying:
“Americans love dogs, but they detest the cruel treatment of wolves. Alaska’s aerial hunting program is a blatant effort to skirt federal law. Fortunately, Mr. Young’s letters are helping us build overwhelming bipartisan support for Miller’s PAW Act.”
Perhaps call it the “How to Co-Exist with Wolves Act.” As for me, I side with Young and the President Thomas J. Whitmore approach: Kill them. Kill the bastards.