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Name: Sam
Gender: Male
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Current location: Aix-en-Provence
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 16,937

About Me

Moved to France in September of 2018 after buying our apartment in 2017 after the debacle of the election. We're glad to be here, but we continue to be involved with what's happening in the US.

Journal Archives

And another tax exemption goes away to screw people -

The following was just posted on Facebook by a friend:

This is a story about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, commonly called the “Trump Tax Cuts.”

On October 16, heavy rains in the Junction, Texas area caused a rapid rise in the water level of the Llano River. The rain pattern tracked east along the path of the river, adding more water. Soon, the water was forty feet above flood stage in Llano, Texas. The raging flood continued east, and completely destroyed the highway 2900 bridge at Kingsland, Texas. Just east of the 2900, the Llano River confluences with the Colorado river, which flows south from Buchanan lake. Buchanan was already at max level, so the Colorado was flooding as well, and the two floods converged at Kingsland, with catastrophic effect.

My little lake place, a “cottage” as my Canadian friends would call it, a workshop and carport and two-slip boathouse is located on a small cove just off of the Colorado and just east of the confluence of the two rivers in Kingsland.

The flood waters lifted the workshop off of its pier foundation and moved it several feet. The water completely submerged a pickup truck I keep in the carport at the lake.

The water level inside the cabin rose to about 3 inches from the ceiling. Everything inside the cabin and workshop was destroyed.

I soon discovered that my property was not insured for flood damage.

An aside: I am not without culpability here. In my old-age, I have a lot of my life automated. Virtually all of my monthly bills are paid through automated arrangements between the creditors and my banks. Utility bills, credit card balances, insurance premiums. All paid automatically when they come due. Except, apparently, the premiums for the national flood insurance program. Through some weirdness in that system, those premiums must be paid manually. And I discovered that my policy had lapsed three years ago.

Okay, so I am uninsured and it’s my own negligence to blame. You know how you get a rut-roh moment when you finally remember you left the water hose running in the garden and you think, oh, boy, my water bill is gonna be high this month? Like that only different.

This is gonna be a six-figure ruh-roh.

Somewhere in the preceding paragraphs you may have wondered, “Sad tale, but what has any of this got to do with the Trump Tax Cut act?”

Well, glad you asked.

I was peripherally aware of, but had the good fortune to never use, a provision in the tax code that allowed people to deduct catastrophic expenses from a natural disaster, like, say, a tornado or fire or …flood. (Subject, of course, to only those expenses that exceeded insurance payments.) In the case of, for example, a six-figure uninsured loss, those tax deductions could soften the blow. Oh, there’d still be plenty of pain to go around, but it would be a glimmer of goodness, like finding a wondrous bargain price on a new TV on black Friday, but magnified by a LOT. What if you don’t make enough money this year to fully take advantage of the deduction? Well, if the loss were so great that it was more than you could use in this tax year, you could carry it forward to future years, or even modify previous year’s returns and take the losses there. Like I say, not redemption, but a softening of the carnage.

Well. It turns out that those evil Republican sumbitches in congress, while searching diligently for ways they could soften the blow to the federal budget that would result from giving a huge tax break to their wealthy cronies said, “Hey! Here’s something! Lets eliminate the catastrophic deduction for everybody who isn’t in a Presidentially-declared disaster area! We couldn’t eliminate it altogether, because in a big-news event, the outcry would be too great and we’d look bad. But a small disaster? Or even an individual singular event? Nobody will ever know or care! It’s genius!”

So, effective for the tax years 2018 through 2026, if you have a catastrophic loss and you are not in a President-declared disaster area? Zilch is what you can expect from your federal government in tax relief from your loss.

I won’t keep you in suspense. Has the Orange Toad declared the area of central Texas devastated by this flood a disaster area? The answer is….not yet.

But the governor of Texas, a staunch Republican sycophant, has sent a fancy, detailed request to his highness asking for it, so you’d think there will be a good chance it’ll get done. But, that assumes fatass will act rationally and reasonably and with compassion…

But, think about it. Even though my financial blow may be softened by some small percentage through a tax deduction--if the edict does indeed come down from on-high that this area truly is deserving of his wave of the scepter--even if that occurs, what about some farmer in Iowa who has his house and barns and cattle pens and silos and fencing and equipment destroyed by a single touchdown of an F5 tornado?

Here’s the answer from your buddies in congress and the White House, Farmer Brown. A collective smile and a dismissive wave of middle fingers.

It's Armistice Day. And in honour of the many who lost their lives in all the terrible, bloody wars

And in honour of the many who lost their lives in all the terrible, bloody wars , I think the words of Wilfred Owen (18 March 1893 – 4 November 1918) say it best.


Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.
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