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A Taxing Situation...

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Balladeer
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0 posted 02-04-2009 12:30 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer


What is up with Obama's selection of cabinet appointees?


Last week, the Senate confirmed Timothy Geithner as treasury secretary, but only after days of controversy over the fact that the man who would oversee the Internal Revenue Service had only belatedly paid $34,000 in income taxes.

Bill Richardson bowed out, too, though his difficulties didn't involve personal taxes. The New Mexico governor, who was Obama's first choice for commerce secretary, withdrew amid a grand jury investigation into a state contract awarded to his political donors.

Daschle's failure to fully pay his taxes from 2005 through 2007 had been increasing since they came to light last Friday and he has removed his name for consideration.

Killefer, an executive with consulting giant McKinsey & Co., had been chosen by Obama to serve in two roles: as the first chief performance officer in a White House and as a deputy director at the Office of Management and Budget. When Obama announced Killefer to much fanfare in early January, The Associated Press reported that the District of Columbia government had filed a $946.69 tax lien on her home in 2005 for failure to pay unemployment compensation tax on household help.

When questioned about Daschle's resignation, Obama stated.. "It's important for this administration to send a message that there aren't two sets of rules — you know, one for prominent people and one for ordinary folks who have to pay their taxes," (He's obviously never heard of Charlie Rangel)  What makes that statement seem strange is that Obama acknowledged that he had been made aware of the various tax pecadillos before he nominated them and still went ahead and nominated them, making it possible for them and him to be embarrassed by the results. Where does he think he is....Chicago???

Denise
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1 posted 02-04-2009 10:21 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

  That was my EXACT thought, "where does he think he is, Chicago?!"
Sunshine
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2 posted 02-04-2009 10:46 AM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

the guys on KSAL Radio today said, in part, that our Governor Sebelius of Kansas may be looked at by Obama for the chair of Health & Human Resources. They followed that up with "and we're pretty dang sure she's going over her tax forms right now..."

Can you see any of us getting by with stuff like that???

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3 posted 02-04-2009 04:09 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

What I am completely confused by is the sequence of events that make no sense to me.

(1) Obama selects these people.
(2) Obama is informed they have issues
(3) Obama nominates them anyway.
(4) 3 of the 4 resign when the investigation commences
(5) The White House says there was no request or pressure to have them resign
(6) Obama states ""It's important for this administration to send a message that there aren't two sets of rules — you know, one for prominent people and one for ordinary folks who have to pay their taxes"

HUH?

Will someone with a smarter mind than I (and I'll acknowledge there are many) please explain that one to me? If one were to take number 6, move it to number one and then delete all of others, I would understand. As it is, it sounds like Obama has no idea what he is saying to cover his tracks. Yes, he went on the air to say he was sorry but the question is - sorry for what? For selecting them in the first place? For ignoring the negative reports on them? For not bouncing them after the reports came to light? What in the world can justify that last sentence? This is the man we are now told to put our confidence in. I see nothing about this situation which would inspire confidence at all. Obama has been very eloquent about how he is going to "clean up" government and the White House and something like this makes those speeches look like nothing but pure rhetoric....but, then again, Pelosi was going to "clean up the swamp" in congress and look how that's worked out.

I still want Obama to succeed but I also want him to be the man he says he is and the man he is supposed to be. I'm seeing very little evidence of that so far.
Bob K
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4 posted 02-04-2009 07:49 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     The President needs guys like you, who want him to succeed and who are willing to point out the contradictions between what he says and what he does.  The country needs guys like you and Denise and the rest of you who want the country to work and who won't be happy with less than that.

     There may be something wrong with the vetting process, I don't know.  This process to me feels different than the process during the last administration, when people working for the industries they were supposed to be regulating were often put in charge of them and were confirmed over opposition complaints.

     It doesn't feel different enough to me for my comfort level.  Dashiel should have had to wait two years after leaving the lobbying business before having been offered the job.  I'd want to hear more about this business with the car rentals.  I'd want to know about his qualifications and I'd like to hear him have hearings.

     I'd like to think that the President would be able to present a better case.  Let's see what he can do to keep the tent open and inclusive enough to keep the rain off everyone's back.


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5 posted 02-04-2009 09:09 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Bob, I thank you for your comments...sincerely.
Balladeer
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6 posted 02-05-2009 03:55 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

It's interesting that some of our more vocal members who never fail to show up in threads that are anti-conservative or pro-liberal find reasons to take a hiatus when threads like this arise....which makes me appreciate you even more, Bob. Ar least you are willing to look at both sides, even when one side may be disappointing. Best to you, sir....
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7 posted 02-05-2009 04:15 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

They're out gathering up their own links, I would guess...

Ron
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8 posted 02-05-2009 06:09 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

I don't think anyone is likely to consider me either anti-conservative or pro-liberal. Some, however, might want to throw me in that "more vocal" group.  

Still, I'm not one to make a mountain out of a mole hill, either. Anyone here willing to call up the IRS and ask them to audit you? I suspect most people who do anything more advanced than take the standard deduction would just as soon not have their return looked at too closely. Not because they intentionally did something wrong, of course, but just because seven out of ten people audited end up paying more when the IRS gets through with them. Less than one in twenty get money back.

These things are regrettable, to be sure. Compared to the issues we've faced in the recent past and the problems we have yet to face, a few semi-controversial picks for the cabinet isn't likely to get me too stirred. Or . . . too vocal.  

I heard a great story the other night, Mike. It seems, in heaven, they have clocks for every person throughout history. The hands of the clocks only move, however, when the person assigned to it tells a lie. Mother Teresa's clock was still set to high midnight, with hands that had never stirred. The hands on Honest Abe's clock had only moved twice. And Bush's? Someone was using it as a ceiling fan.  


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9 posted 02-05-2009 06:57 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     Thanks, Mike.

      Nobody has a monopoly on truth,  This was brought home today for me when I was reading a collection of essays by Greg Palast, the Journalist.  Among a series of essays about the causes of the Iraq War and generally Liberal things, I found some pieces that really did a number on one of my Liberal heros, Bill Richardson — an uncomfortable eye opener, and some pieces that talked about how economic forces tended to push political forces around, Liberal and Conservative alike.  Some of these pieces made sense for me about the Iraq War in ways that a straightforward Blame the Conservatives Scenerio simply did not.

     I don't want to go into this stuff here, since the thread is about taxes, but you might find some of the stuff of interest.  Armed Madhouse is the title, and since you might want to pick and choose among the essays, you might try the library.  Overall, it's probably still got too much of a left wing slant to it to be on your Amazon wish list, but it is a fun read.  

     Thanks for you kind comments.  Bob Kaven
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10 posted 02-05-2009 08:07 PM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

It does stinketh that those who could more easily afford to pay the IRS without having to opt for the payment plan option, didn't pay. Dunno. Doesn't make sense, but I don't know the entirety of their situations either.

The one that really puzzles me is Killefer, owing just shy of $1000. If you can afford household help, why not pay the taxes instead of having the debt placed as a lien upon your home? To me, this means that several notices to pay went into file 13.

The fact remains: They will each have to pay interest and penalties. So they've not skated and the IRS will collect.

seems even the empty seats are hot seats, and I wonder who got the IRS all fired up with their streaming audio/audits and their kick-start v-twin calculators?

Why stop at just the nominees?

I say audit the whole White House.

I'm sure Willie Nelson would be honored to perform during the event for free.

I mean heck, the IRS needs to earn their wages since they slept over the bogus bottom lines offered up by the banks we're bailing out.

better yet, let's audit the IRS.



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11 posted 02-05-2009 09:03 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Thank you, Ron, for the expected "no big deal" response and the attempt at levity. I heard basically the same joke years ago but it was about "pinwheel" Bill.

Regina, I'm certain the White House would NEVER pass an IRS audit!
Ron
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12 posted 02-05-2009 11:09 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
Thank you, Ron, for the expected "no big deal" response ...

It should be expected, Mike, because it really is no big deal. You didn't hear me flinging insults when Bush choked on a pretzel, either, or even when he tried to leave a Beijing press conference through a locked door. As far as I can remember, I never commented on his military excursions or all the partying he did in college. And I didn't bat hardly an eye when more than few of President Bush's appointment attempts, like Holsinger and Mukasey to name more recent ones, brought embarrassment to the White House.

Some things matter. Some thing's don't. And no man, including President Obama, walks on water or turns water into wine.

Should we hold this Administration to a higher standard? You bet. Should we expect Obama to live up to the promises he made while campaigning for the office. Absolutely.

Just as we did for President Bush.

"During the year and a half that I covered George W. Bush's 2000 presidential campaign, I must have heard his stump speech a thousand times. The lines changed little over the months, and the ending almost never changed -- Bush would raise his hand, as if taking an oath, and promise to restore honor and dignity to the White House.

"He also vowed to restore civility to the poisonous atmosphere of the nation's capital, declaring at a GOP fundraiser in April 2000 that 'it's time to clean up the toxic environment in Washington, D.C.

"A few months later, Bush told voters at a campaign event in Pittsburgh that his administration would 'ask not only what is legal but what is right, not what the lawyers allow but what the public deserves.'"


Terry M. Neal washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Balladeer
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13 posted 02-05-2009 11:38 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Should we hold this Administration to a higher standard? You bet. Should we expect Obama to live up to the promises he made while campaigning for the office. Absolutely.

Some things matter. Some things don't


Ok, Ron. if you don;t feel that it matters that Obama selected people that he knew beforehand would have problems getting nominated and did so anyway, which caused him to have to say he was sorry afterwards, fine. If you don't think that him knowingly nominating tax evaders and people like Richardson to top cabinet posts is any big deal, ok. If you want to equate them to Bush trying to exit out the wrong door, fine by me. If you can't recognize this as character flaws he should not have, no problem.

btw, I checked my original post again and could not find George Bush's name anywhere and yet a large part of your reply centers around him. I can assure you he had nothing to do with Obama's cabinet selections.
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14 posted 02-06-2009 12:56 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
If you don't think that him knowingly nominating tax evaders ...

Tax evaders go to jail, Mike. People who make mistakes, even seemingly careless ones, pay a fine and appropriate interest. There's a huge difference between the two.

I haven't had a moving violation on my driving record since 1969. I did, however, date a woman in California who had a lead foot and got speeding tickets with alarming frequency. I wish she hadn't. But, clearly, I didn't feel it made her a bad person. And, Mike, in my opinion a person who gets a speeding ticket is far more culpable than someone who mistakenly underpays their income tax. Or do you really think any of these people knowingly intended to defraud the U.S. government? For a few thousand dollars?

I will be the first to agree that some of the people Obama nominated are definitely not right for the job and shouldn't be confirmed. That assessment is based on their ability and character, though, not on silly mistakes they made. I want competence, not perfection.

quote:
I checked my original post again and could not find George Bush's name anywhere and yet a large part of your reply centers around him.

It seems that way, doesn't it? If you check again, however, you'll find the noun subject of most of those sentences in my reply isn't Bush? I was, rather, talking about why I didn't sweat the petty stuff then and don't sweat it now.


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15 posted 02-06-2009 02:30 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Interesting...if you didn't sweat what was in that article,or considered it petty, why reprint the article?

We'll leave it at that, good sir. You don't believe selecting people for cabinet positions who have a history of failing to pay their share of taxes or who are involved in bribery and misappropriations of funds investigations is anything but small potatoes. You don't believe a president who does not have the foresight to see that selecting people with their history would be a black eye for the administration and would also put his own creditability in an unfavorable light is any big deal, then so be it. We can agree to disagree.
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16 posted 02-06-2009 03:40 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



quote:

Ok, Ron. if you don;t feel that it matters that Obama selected people that he knew beforehand would have problems getting nominated and did so anyway, which caused him to have to say he was sorry afterwards, fine.



Dear Mike,

          What is the likelihood that you do or do not know what Ron feels?

     Even if you do know what Ron feels, you state as an assumption of fact what President Obama knew or did not know about his Nominees beforehand.  I suggest that only President Obama could have the knowledge of the truth or falseness of this assertion; unless you are able to offer some source as knowledgeable about the President's mental process as the President himself, you may be getting way ahead of your data.  

     The same observation applies to your assertion that he did nominate them anyway.

     Richardson may not have been the right man for the job, for reasons I passed over above.  I understand your upset about Daschel, and I feel some sympathy for it, though I happen to like much about both men.

     My understanding of the term tax evader is somebody who have been convicted of the charge of tax evasion.  As I understand the current situation, none of these people has even been charged with tax evasion.  Even if they had been charged with tax evasion, they would still be presumed innocent, though that hasn't even come up.  Exactly how President Obama could knowing nominate somebody  who was guilty of tax evasion charges that he had not yet been indicted for, much less tried on is a real brain twister.  It is also an impossibility.

     These are not the equivalent of President Bush trying to exit out the wrong door.  That was a bad briefing and confusion, and might have happened to anybody.  It was the sort of thing that happened to Ford on occasion, and to Jimmy Carter as well.  Everybody loves it when a President looks like a dork, especially their political enemies; but even their friends, a little, because it makes them more human.  Schadenfreude, if I have my spelling right, is the German word for it; there's no real exact equivalent in English that I've found; and it means the pleasure taken in somebody else's discomfort or comeuppance.

     I'm sure that President Obama has more than his share of character flaws, and they're probably large ones.  I'm simply not sure that you've found them here, though I must admit you perception may be better than mine at this early date, and that you're my best clue as to what's what about problems developing in the administration.  I'm still feeling pretty hopeful.

Sincerely, Bob Kaven
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17 posted 02-06-2009 09:25 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Bob, it's not an assumption of mine that Obama knew beforehand of the situations with his nominees. He stated that exact thing on a television interview this past week.

Tax evaders have to be convicted? In a perfect world, I suppose. Murderers have to be convicted, too....tell that to O.J. No, they haven't been charged with tax evasion, rather just failure to pay their taxes and, no, they were not presumed innocent at all and, obviously, they weren't since they had to make up the taxes along with penalties. They would not be charged with actual evasion since they could claim "Oops!" in much the same way you or I could say, "Gee, officer, I didn't know it was a school zone." Wouldn't really be possible to prove I DIDN'T know....but we would be ticketed anyway.  As one of my cheating golf partners says on occasion, "It ain't cheating if you don't get caught." Unfortunately for them, these fellows got caught and only tried to make amends AFTER they were named cabinet nominees.

I have had misgivings about Obama's lack of experience and his call for "change" since he threw his hat in the ring and I believe problems from that are surfacing now and it concerns me. He is now losing his cool. After diplomatically stating he was going to meet with Republicans to confer with their thoughts about the package, and after having done so and not getting the results he wanted, he is now literally shouting in anger in his press conferences and predicting doom and destruction that the country will never recover from if his package is not passed NOW. He gives the impression that he is becoming unglued after two weeks in office and that is a disheartening thing to see. The stimulus package is at a 38% approval rating as of last night so there are many that do not share the doomsday scenario he and Pelosi are advising the American people of. Yes, I know the other 62% are all dummies but there just may be something there.
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18 posted 02-06-2009 06:15 PM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

For what it's worth I haven't commented mainly because I'm totally with Ron on this.  It's no big deal, it's hardly worth discussing.

Obama messed up an appointment or two, had the grace to admit he screwed up, and is no doubt moving on to deal with the real and huge problems the US and the world face right now.

Have we really got nothing better to do than pick over the non-stories of a new administration feeling its way into power?  


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19 posted 02-06-2009 08:18 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

If I had the time or desire, moonbeam, I would list all of the non-issues you have been very vocal about over the past couple of years.....but that was the old you, I suppose. The "no big deal" only seems to walk one side of the fence.

SInce I don't have either the time....or the desire...I'll leave it at that.
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20 posted 02-06-2009 08:58 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

LOL. Yea, Mike, but we could probably list all the reasons why any Presidential embarrassment is really just an unwarranted attack by the media?

What you haven't done yet, Mike, is tell us why this should be an issue. I mean, besides trying to characterize these people as murderers like OJ? They made mistakes and -- because the bar is higher right now -- removed themselves from consideration for some pretty important posts in government. I'll bet some of them have speeding tickets, too. Heaven forbid!

Taxes are a debt we owe the U.S. government, just like the mortgage on our house. In either case, deliberate fraud will get a person sent to jail. Getting behind on our payments isn't fraud, however, and I don't think we should characterize it as a crime against humanity. It really is no big deal.


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21 posted 02-06-2009 09:10 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Ron, what YOU haven't done is recognize the topic of this thread. It's not about Daschel or the others skipping out on their taxes and being nogoodniks. I'll reprint the actual topic for you...

What I am completely confused by is the sequence of events that make no sense to me.

(1) Obama selects these people.
(2) Obama is informed they have issues
(3) Obama nominates them anyway.
(4) 3 of the 4 resign when the investigation commences
(5) The White House says there was no request or pressure to have them resign
(6) Obama states ""It's important for this administration to send a message that there aren't two sets of rules — you know, one for prominent people and one for ordinary folks who have to pay their taxes"

HUH?
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22 posted 02-06-2009 09:13 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Dear Mike,

           Tax Evasion, as I understand it, is a Felony.  It is tried by the same rules that other felonies are tried by.  None of these people have been charged with Tax Evasion, though you keep making the assertion that they were.

     Your comments about how you feel President Obama is dealing with this are matters of opinion and observation, and are useful for offering me a different point of view than my own.  Your comments about how the tax bill is popular or not popular are useful to me, and your notion about where the sticking point are or may be is also useful.  I don't have much of a sense of these things, and you have insight about these things that I don't have simply because you see things differently.  You are a valuable resource to me and to others when you do this, and I appreciate the effort and time you put into it.

     When you say that these people are Tax Evaders, these nominees, and I see no prosecutions or evidence of any, I think you are venturing onto different ground. I have seen evidence that the government has asked these people to pay interest and penalties for underpaying —or what the government feels in underpaying— their tax obligation, and it appears to me that you are right and the government is right, though I can't tell for sure.  I have had the government ask me for money a year or two after I've paid taxes.  I disagreed with their judgement on one occasion, and I made an error on another.  I paid up on both, without a fuss.  The government knows that most of us can't afford to keep tax lawyers on tap all the time, and the deck is stacked.

     I do not see that there is sufficient evidence that the government has pressed actual legal charges of Tax Evasion against any of these Nominees to justify your use of the term with any accuracy.  Pressing charges, it would seem to me, would be the absolute minimum requirement that would be necessary to make such an assertion, since we are a nation that still holds to the innocent before proven guilty theory (outside of our treatment of political prisoners, where apparently it does not seem to hold).

     In this case, charges have not even been brought.  This seems somewhat excessive.

     In the case of your speeding ticket example, giving the ticket is bringing the charge, isn't it?  And for me to call your example driver a reckless driver is more than a bit out of line, since I have no knowledge of Mr. E.D. being guilty of such an offense.  And Mr. E.D. would certainly have a right to defend himself if charges had been brought.  Nor would I have the right to assume that the charges were for vehicular homicide rather than for going five miles over the speed limit.

     To make such assumptions is probably not useful if we are to safeguard our American legal system, O.J. or no O.J.

     To blame O.J. for the defects in the prosecution case seems a bit silly, by the way.  It is the Prosecution's job to make the case to the jury.  They had a hand in jury selection, just as did the defense.  Simply because the defense had excellent funding doesn't mean that the State should have lost.  It means that the state should have presented the case in such a way as to be impossible to turn down.  The State was simply used to working with all the advantages on their side, and did not prepare with the thoroughness necessary to win  when their home court advantage wasn't as great as they were counting on it to be.

     By the way.

Sincerely yours, Bob Kaven  
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23 posted 02-06-2009 09:34 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Very well, Bob. You stated that case eloquently and yet simple enough that I can identify with. I shall change the title tax evaders to persons who evaded paying their taxes, whether by deliberate or accidental means. In the case of the lady, since leins were placed on her property it would be a stretch to claim she was not aware of her obligations. In the case of Daschle, ignorance of the tax laws and not knowing the vehicle usage was income is palatable enough but now it has come to light that there was another 86,000.00 in income he completely failed to report and paid no taxes on.

Be that all as it may, as I just explained to Ron, the nominees' shortcomings were nit the main focus of this thread. Obama's actions, selections and handling of it is...and what that may or may not tell us about the man.
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24 posted 02-06-2009 11:53 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
...and what that may or may not tell us about the man.

He suggests to me that Obama initially didn't think it was a big deal, either.
 
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