Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

This blog will be written from an orthodox Christian point of view. There may be some topic that is out of bounds, but at present I don't know what it will be. Politics is a part of life. Theology and philosophy are disciplines that we all participate in even if we don't think so. The Bible has a lot to say about economics. How about self defense? Is war ethical? Think of all the things that someone tells you we should not touch and let's give it a try. Everything that is a part of life should be an expression of worship.

Keep it courteous and be kind to those less blessed than you, but by all means don't worry about agreeing. We learn more when we get backed into a corner.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Opus 2017-181: Headlines: Trump Follows the Rules

I know that is not what the headline actually said.  We are still staying in a hotel and it follows the trend in hotels by supplying a free copy of USA Today.  I usually pick one up and at least look at the headlines.  This one, 6.14.17, really led with “Trump property buyers shield their IDs” (sic).  Shock of all shocks:  The President’s business trust, run by his sons, have been hiding that it is Trump selling property.  Let me share what they say, “...the majority of his companies’ real estate sales have been to secretive shell companies that obscure the buyers’ identities.” p. 1.  Well duh.  Actually that is duh, duh, duh, duh. 

Trump is expected to be disconnected from the trust.  I don’t know the details but one of the things that wealthy people are expected to do when they assume office is to distance themselves from their financial interests in order to avoid conflict of interest and corruption.  That goes two ways.  You don’t want the president taking advantage of his power.  You don’t want people trying to take advantage of him.  He is following the rules.

Many companies hide their identities to keep from price gouging.  This is not unusual.  If you are Soros and want to buy up a large group of properties for a redevelopment project, you hide who you are.  You don’t want the last property owner raising his asking price because he knows he has you over a barrel.  The seller still gets the fair market value.

The purpose of incorporation is to protect investors.  Imagine demanding a list of everyone who owns stock in a major corporation.  It would go into the thousands.  They invest that way to divide the risk as well as the reward.

Limited partnership are old news.  In the first paragraph I quoted the phrase “secretive shell companies”.  That is a very loaded way of describing what the next paragraph tells you are “limited liability companies”.  Later it admits that this is common practice.

On page 5A the USA Today writers finally sandwich in the disclaimer:  “USA TODAY found no sales by Trump’s companies that were obviously above the market rate,...”  This allows them to claim that this is not Trump bashing.

If you read the entire article with an open mind you learn a lot about limited partnerships.  We learned the hard way.  When we were young we lost about $20,000 in one.  We were young enough to recover but I will always remember a room full of people in their seventies who were going to be forced to find jobs because the investment went bust.  We were young enough to recover.  They were not.  The managers of the LLC went to jail but that didn’t help all us “rich investors”.

What was also of interest to me was on page 1A, “USA TODAY journalists spent six months cataloging every condo, penthouse or other property Trump and his companies own - and tracking the buyers behind every transaction.”  Good for them.  That is what journalists used to do.  I salute them for their dedication and am willing to overlook the reality that they were simply looking for dirt on Trump.  Wouldn’t it have been better for the country if they had spent that time looking into any one of the Obama or Clinton scandals.

Since that is too much to hope for I will just ask them to rewrite the headline:  Trump Follows the Rules.

homo unius libri

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Comments are welcome. Feel free to agree or disagree but keep it clean, courteous and short. I heard some shorthand on a podcast: TLDR, Too long, didn't read.