Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, April 13, 2019

MVNews this week:  Page B:3



 Mountain Views News Saturday, April 13, 2019 


Mountain Views



Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 


Joan Schmidt


LaQuetta Shamblee



Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 




Mary Lou Caldwell

Kevin McGuire

Chris Leclerc

Bob Eklund

Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Rich Johnson

Lori Ann Harris

Rev. James Snyder

Dr. Tina Paul

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Jeff Brown

Marc Garlett

Keely Toten

Dan Golden

Rebecca Wright

Hail Hamilton


 So after spending 22 months investigating, On March 
22, Special Counsel Robert Mueller submitted his report to 
Attorney General William Barr. The investigation garnered 
199 criminal charges, 37 indictments or guilty pleas, and 5 
prison sentences, and cost to the American taxpayer about $25 
million—A bargain compared to the $25 million spent in 1974 
dollars on the Watergate investigation. Mueller’s report has not 
yet been made public.

 Two days later, On March 24, Barr sent a four-page summary to Congress 
detailing the what he called the “principal conclusions” of special counsel’s findings 
to key members of congress. Barr wrote in his summary “that the report is divided 
into two parts: the results of the investigation into Russia’s interference into the 2016 
presidential election, and an examination of whether the president obstructed justice.” 

 Barr said that the special counsel “did not find that the Trump campaign 
or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to 
influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and an examination of whether the 
president obstructed justice. He quoted directly from the report:”The investigation 
did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated 
with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

 Barr said that Mueller’s team did not determine whether Trump illegally obstructed 
justice either: “while this report does not conclude that the president committed a 
crime, it also does no exonerate him.” In his summary, Barr wrote that he and Deputy 
Attorney General Rod Rosenstein “determined that the special counsel’s investigator’s 
did not have enough evidence to prove Trump had obstructed justice.” 

 There seems to be some confusion over what the standard of proof Mueller 
should have been using. Grand juries, unlike petit criminal trial courts, where beyond 
a reasonable doubt is the standard. Grand juries use this, not the higher standard. They 
are generally impaneled with 16 to 24 jurors for extended periods time to investigate 
serious, more complicated crimes. 

 For a quorum to vote 2/3rds of the grand jurors have to be present, or 8 to 
16 respectively, the same number needed to indict or charge a person with a crime. 
Not meeting this threshold of proof was the reason why the president and other 
administration officials were not held accountable—not that President Trump and his 
cronies have been exonerated! 

 AG Barr reported by Politico indicated: “…he’s prepared to share a redacted copy 
of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report with lawmakers and the public by mid-
April ‘if not sooner’ and indicated he’s prepared to testify to Congress by early May.” 

 Yet why the need for any redactions at all? The committees members can 
use the un-redacted copies in closed, non-public sessions. My understanding is that 
all members of the House and Senate committees holding hearing on the Mueller 
investigation have sufficiently high security clearances to read the un-redacted version 
of the report.

 The Politico article also noted that “Barr’s initial summary of Mueller’s conclusions 
also omitted central swaths of the areas Mueller investigated, including whether he 
reached counterintelligence findings that might show whether any Americans were 
compromised by Russians even if they committed no crimes.” 

 Donald Rumsfeld, Former Secretary of Defense under President George W. Bush, 
once said, “Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to 
me, because, as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know that we 
know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we 
don’t want to know, and there are things governments do not want you to know. ”This 
is what I call Rumsfeld’s General Theory of Relative Unknowns. 

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If you’re like me, you’re probably going to sit down on Sunday 
night, popcorn and adult beverage in hand, to watch the 
start of the final season of “Game of Thrones.”

And if, like me, you’re one of the roughly 33 million other 
Americans last year who were expected to cut the cord with 
their cable companies, then you’re probably watching “Game 
of Thrones” on your laptop or streaming device.

So, Mother of Dragons, you’re going to need to pay attention to some recent developments 
in Washington.

This week, the majority-Democrat U.S. House voted to reinstate Obama-era “net 
neutrality” rules that prevent internet service providers from meddling with web 

The “Save the Internet Act,” sponsored by Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pa., passed on a 232-
190 vote, largely along party lines. One Republican, Rep. Bill Posey, of Florida, broke 
ranks with the GOP to side with Democrats.

President Trump’s Federal Communications Commission reversed the rules in 2017 
- a major win for big telecom like Comcast and Verizon, who were effectively freed 
to charge super-users more for their data consumption and cut off the competition 
at the knees.

But the bill is in for a bumpy ride in the Republican-controlled Senate, where, according 
to Slate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has pronounced it “dead on 

As an added bonus, Slate reports, aides to President Trump have recommended 
a veto. Which is a shame, because if there’s anyone who needs access to streaming 
high-quality historical documentaries about the basics of American history, it’s 

Last year, the Senate approved a resolution to undo the administration’s rule reversal, 
with the support of Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, John Kennedy of 
Louisiana, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Every Democratic senator backed the resolution. 
Even still, it failed to get the votes for passage in the Republican-controlled 
House, Slate noted.

According to Doyle, it’s likely that lawmakers will face some significant pressure 
from the folks back home to approve the legislation, something that’s backed up by 
polling data.

As ZDNet reports, 80 percent of respondents to a recent Comparitech Poll said they 
supported net neutrality. The support, according to ZDNet, cuts across party lines: 
87 percent of Democrats and 77 percent of Republican respondents said they supported 
net neutrality.

We’re now at a point where there’s a nexus between the content-creators and the 
content-providers. And anything that further cements that relationship - and chokes 
off choice - is a bad thing.

“In other words, major ISPs will be able to promote the media companies they own 
… while punishing competitors’ offerings,” Paul Blumenthal wrote for HuffPost in 
2017. “That will force consumers, who often have no choice in internet service providers, 
into walled gardens of content that the ISPs create.”

The other issue is that while many Americans have access to broadband internet, 
there are many thousands more - particularly in rural areas - who do not.

As ZDNet also reports, research by Microsoft found that 162.8 million people (that’s 
half the nation, by the way) don’t have access to broadband-speed access.

The digital divide is one of the starker reminders of the gap between the haves- and 
the have-nots in Donald Trump’s America.

It’s nearly impossible to do anything these days - from registering to vote and paying 
your electric bill to shopping or obtaining access to basic information - without an 
internet hook-up. And there is nothing less patriotic than balkanizing Americans 
and cutting them off from a civic debate that occurs largely online, simply because of 
an accident of geography.

In the early 1990s, when the first blush of this thing called the internet was upon us, 
it was viewed as a liberating force, one that would level the playing field by democratizing 
the flow of information and opening channels of communication to everyone.

It has been successful - and failed - beyond our wildest expectations. For every social 
media campaign that’s resulted in policy change, there’s been the revelation of foreign 
meddling and the unsettling, but inevitable, reality that the concept of “online 
privacy” is now an oxymoron.

While the early days of the internet are long gone, the restoration of net neutrality 
rules would at least restore some fairness and preserve consumer freedoms.

And that doesn’t seem like a whole lot to ask.

Call your Senator and let them know winter will be coming if they don’t vote to support 
the House bill.



I don’t care about President Trump’s tax returns. 

With the filing deadline approaching, I’m far more interested in 
my tax return. Because as fascinating as the contents of the president’s 
returns might be, it’s my own that give me agita.

Of course, I do realize that some Americans, most of whom are 
House Democrats, care deeply about Trump’s tax returns.

They thought Robert Mueller had delivered them a present in the 
completed Russian collusion investigation. It was all wrapped up 
in a nice shiny package with a pretty red bow. But inside, the Democrats found only 
irregular underwear. 

Undaunted, the members of the House Financial Services Committee, led by Rep. 
Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), who hates Trump more than a canker, now have another 
object of their obsession – Trump’s tax returns. 

Because the president has told the Democrats to go pound sand, the Financial Services 
Committee gave the IRS a Wednesday deadline to hand the returns over. 

On Wednesday, Trump said he won’t provide six years’ worth of returns for which the 
Democrats are asking because he’s under audit. He also pointed out that he got elected 
with this issue hanging over his head and those who voted for him didn’t seem to care. 
There’s no reason to believe that isn’t still the case.

All of this is likely to degenerate into a long, rancorous legal battle.

But that’s the Democrats’ problem.

In the meantime, I have to write a fat check to the IRS this year. 

My father, who was a CPA, used to say that if you owe money, be thankful because 
it means you’ve had a pretty good year. That’s a far better approach than my usual -- 
tearing my garments, followed by the first four of the five stages of grief. (I can’t seem 
to make the jump from depression to acceptance.)

In the Bible, in Matthew (22:21) Jesus said “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.” 
That’s a tough one, especially when you know that sound financial stewardship 
is not one of Caesar’s strengths. 

Still, I take my responsibilities seriously. I might have to do it but I don’t have to like it.

By the way, I’d like to make the offer now to who anyone wants to see my returns. 
They’re all yours. 

In fact, my accountant put them in a smartly bound, blue folder. It all looks perfectly 
professional and official. Production values aside, there’s nothing in there that’s particularly 
interesting, just in case the IRS is reading this.

I didn’t claim my dog as a dependent or my big screen TV as a business expense. My 
returns are above board and boring. Others, however, are far more creative.

How about hiring an arsonist to burn down your business and deducting the $10,000 
fee paid to the arsonist? True, according to TurboTax. Or trying to deduct a tattoo as 
a medical expense? Also, true.

There are some unusual, legal deductions of which you might not be aware. If you 
haven’t filed yet, consider these for next year.

If you are the captain of a whaling vessel, you are eligible for up to $10,000 in ship 
repairs. I hope Captain Ahab didn’t waste all that time chasing Moby Dick without 
getting a tax break.

Under very specific circumstances, you can deduct cat food. “The IRS allowed a junkyard 
owner to deduct the cost of cat food as a business expense,” according to CNBC. 
“In this case, the taxpayer asserted that the food was necessary to attract feral cats, 
which kept the junkyard’s pests - wild rats and snakes - in check.”

Exotic dancers have deducted breast augmentation surgery. Hey, it’s a legitimate business 

And thanks to a 1962 case in which an orthodontist said playing the clarinet would 
correct an overbite, you might be able to deduct your kid’s clarinet lessons, assuming 
you’re willing to listen to a lot of off-key squealing while you’re waiting for his teeth to 
straighten. Could be a long year.

But whaling is illegal (unless you’re Native American), I don’t own a cat or a junkyard, 
and I’m not willing to endure a protracted period of bad B flats. 

I’ll just write my check and hope Caesar appreciates it.

Rich Manieri is a Philadelphia-born journalist and author. He is currently a professor of 
journalism at Asbury University in Kentucky. His book, “We Burn on Friday: A Memoir 
of My Father and Me” is available at You can reach him at manieri2@


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