Donald Trump HAZ A CONFUZ. He seems to think that House Ways and Means Chair Richard Neal is asking to see his tax returns. That this is a polite request, which he and his lawyers will take under advisement and deign to answer if and when they see fit.

In fact, Chairman Neal will not be speaking to Trump's lawyers, because the president's personal attorneys have nothing to do with whether the IRS responds to Congress. Well, scratch that; it's not entirely true, since Trump made sure that one of his own lawyers became chief counsel for the IRS. See, between 2008 and 2012, Michael Desmond worked with Trump's longtime tax attorneys Sherri Dillon and William Nelson. During that time, Bloomberg reports that Desmond actually did work for the Trump Organization on "a discrete reporting matter for a subsidiary company that was resolved with no tax impact," which is law-talk for he managed to convince the IRS that the Trump organization had filed correctly and didn't owe additional tax or penalties. This looks like a potential conflict of interest from where we sit, since Desmond is now deciding IRS policy with regard to his own former client. But apparently ethics are like, so 2015, OMG.

Last night, the New York Times reported that the White House was so desperate to get Desmond installed as the IRS's top lawyer that Trump ordered Mitch McConnell to bring his nomination to the floor even before getting Bill Barr confirmed as Coverup Chief at the Justice Department:

President Trump earlier this year asked Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, to prioritize a confirmation vote for his nominee to be the chief counsel of the Internal Revenue Service, indicating that it was a higher priority than voting on the nomination of William P. Barr as attorney general, a person familiar with the conversation said.

And perhaps the White House was telling the truth that Desmond, who is by all reports a highly competent tax lawyer, was about to walk away from his 11-month-old nomination if he didn't get a vote. Or maybe they knew that Congressional Democrats were about to drop a demand for Trump's tax returns, and they wanted their guy on the ground at the IRS when the shit hit the fan -- Trump's little powwow with McConnell took place on February 5, when it was clear that it was a question of when, not if, Democrats demanded his returns.

As we've mentioned, there is no legal justification to withhold those returns. And without a political loyalist in the top job, the White House ran the very real risk that the acting-IRS chief counsel would pull a Sally Yates and refuse to carry out an order to stonewall a legitimate congressional demand. Particularly since Chairman Neal was so careful to couch his request in terms of Congress's oversight authority under the IRS regulation which mandates that presidential tax returns be audited every year -- in essence, he's performing an audit of the IRS's audit, not a fishing expedition in search of criminal behavior.

And speaking of audits, there seems to be some dispute as to whether Trump's returns are actually under audit as he claims. Sherri Dillon and William Nelson claim that "[his] personal tax returns have been under continuous examination by the Internal Revenue Service since 2002." She also claimed that the retainer agreement to reimburse Michael Cohen for the Stormy Daniels payment was "legally privileged," when in fact no such agreement ever existed. So there's that.

According to Michael Cohen, Trump was never under audit -- he just didn't want a bunch of tax experts all up in his shit.

But Michael Cohen is somewhat ... lacking in credibility.

As to whether Trump is actually under audit, or whether the White House had the forethought to develop A PLAN to fight the Democrats' demand for his tax returns, the jury's still out -- the guy steps on his dick daily, so take all reports of seven-dimensional chess with a huge grain of salt. But let's just say that it's highly suspicious, and if Desmond comes out next week saying the IRS can't possibly comply with a legitimate congressional request as mandated by the plain language of the statute because reasons, he may suffer a wee smidge of reputational damage for being a brazen hack. AND HE WILL DESERVE IT.

[NYT / Bloomberg]

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Five Dollar Feminist

Your FDF lives in Baltimore under an assumed identity as an upstanding member of the PTA. Shhh, don't tell anyone she makes swears on the internet!

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Once upon a time... about ten years ago, a group of entirely ridiculous men burst onto the scene wearing stupid hats and telling men that wearing stupid hats and telling men that walking up to women in bars and insulting ("negging") them would get them laid. This did not last long, as women also had televisions and computers and were completely aware of these tricks as well, so when some ass came up to us in a bar and said "Hey, nice nails, are they real?" we would laugh and laugh and loudly announce "Oh my god, this guy just tried to neg me! Can you believe that shit? HEY EVERYONE, THIS GUY JUST TRIED TO NEG ME!" and then refer to him as "Mystery" the whole night.

Most of the men who tried that shit only did so a few times before realizing that it wasn't going to work, and thus moved on to other things. Perhaps things that did not involve furry hats and coming off as a huge creep. We may never know, because I would assume that those who tried it are now extremely embarrassed and would never, ever admit to this to us.

Still, there were a few men willing to eat that shit up, as well as some grifters willing to take advantage of that. Said grifters tended to be extremely misogynistic and seemed more like they were teaching men how to be as despised by women as they were than teaching them how to actually be liked by women.

Some of them, like Roosh V, a creepy weirdo who actually does live in his mom's basement, actively encouraged men to rape women who were intoxicated to the point of being obviously unable to consent.

However, even that branch of the PUA tree is wilting away. Many "self-help" style PUA forums like Nextasf and RSDnation are shutting down or have already shut down. In March, Chateau Heartiste, a batshit crazy PUA turned White Nationalist/Alt-Right blog was shut down by Wordpress. This week, rape advocate Roosh V (whom you may recall once called yours truly a "Wonkette typist/clown face, would not bang") announced that he was renouncing his PUA ways and devoting himself to Jesus. He explained to the forum he manages that he would no longer be allowing anyone to discuss premarital "fornication."

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'Baby Geniuses' star Jon Voight took to Twitter early this morning to proclaim his undying love for Donald Trump, probably because there is no one left in his life who will listen to him talk about this, or anything else, in person. In this video rant, Voight encouraged members of the Republican Party, whom he apparently thinks are the only real citizens of the United States, to stand by Donald Trump and "acknowledge the truth" that he is the best President since Abraham Lincoln.

Part ONE:

People of the Republican Party, I know you will agree with me when I say our president has our utmost respect and our love. This job is not easy. For he's battling the left and their absurd words of destruction. I've said this once and I'll say this again. That our nation has been built on the solid ground from our forefathers, and there is a moral code of duty that has been passed on from President Lincoln. I'm here today to acknowledge the truth, and I'm here today to tell you my fellow Americans that our country…

Oh no, not our absurd words of destruction!

Part DEUX:

is stronger, safer, and with more jobs because our President has made his every move correct. Don't be fooled by the political left, because we are the people of this nation that is witnessing triumph. So let us stand with our president. Let us stand up for this truth, that President Trump is the greatest president since President Lincoln.

Does Jon Voight not know there have been... other presidents? Can he name them? Because really, it does not sound like it. Does he also not know that a very big chunk of the Republican Party actually does not care very much for Abraham Lincoln? Namely those defenders of Confederate statues that Trump called "very fine people?" Also, did he intentionally diss their beloved Ronald Reagan?

Who can know? Who can even tell what he is trying to say or why he is trying to say it. He doesn't appear to have tweeted much since 2016, so I'm guessing whoever's job it was to keep him from tanking his career quit. Either that... or after filming the seventh season of Ray Donovan, he found out it's going to be canceled or his character is getting killed off or something and he is now free to be a jackass? I don't know, I haven't watched the show, although my parents are very into it and mad that I haven't watched it. Literally all I know about it is that it has something to do with Boston, because they keep mentioning that to me like it's a selling point.

It seems useless at this point to note that the people who scream their faces off about how bad it is for Hollywood celebs to support liberal causes, and how they should keep their politics to themselves, etc. etc. make a way bigger deal than normal people do whenever a Big Time Hollywood Celebrity like Jon Voight or, uh, Scott Baio, supports their cause. Mostly because they're the only ones who have elected a reality TV star and the star of Bedtime for Bonzo (who by the way, also once practically ruined a perfectly good Bette Davis movie with his bad acting. Which is not to say that Dark Victory is not fantastic and probably the best thing to watch if you want to sob your face off, but he was very bad in it.) to run the country.

But we might as well do that anyway, because it actually never stops being funny.

[Jon Voight Twitter]

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