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The Week Magazine

The Week Magazine October 9, 2020

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The Week makes sense of the news by curating the best of the U.S. and international media into a succinct, lively digest.

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The Week Publications, Inc.
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48 Edities

in deze editie

2 min.
editor’s letter

As further proof that our tax system is broken, consider this recent revelation by reporters at ProPublica.org: If you’re a member of the working poor—people who earn less than $20,000—you are nearly as likely to be audited as people whose earnings put them in the top 1 percent. It might seem foolish of the IRS to chase after low-paid taxpayers for a few hundred bucks rather than, say, a reality TV show host claiming a suspect business loss of $72.9 million. But years of withering budget cuts by congressional Republicans have left the IRS so stripped of experienced staff that it can only audit 1.56 percent of the richest Americans’ returns. Auditing the poor is simpler—they can’t afford tax lawyers—and is thus “the most efficient use of IRS’s limited examination…

5 min.
trump’s taxes: massive losses and looming debts

What happened In a blockbuster story on Donald Trump’s long-hidden tax returns, The New York Times revealed this week that the president is deeply mired in debt and has over the past 18 years claimed massive business losses while paying next to nothing in federal income tax. Working from extensive tax data provided by an unrevealed source, the paper reported that Trump paid only $750 in federal income tax in both 2016 and 2017, and in 11 of 16 prior years paid no federal income tax at all. To reduce his tax bill, Trump wrote off not only hundreds of millions in business losses—including $315 million hemorrhaged by his golf courses—but extensive personal expenses he claimed as business deductions, including the cost of private planes and $70,000 in hairstyling for his…

3 min.
an ugly first presidential debate

What happened The first presidential debate between President Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden deteriorated into a chaotic melee of interruptions and insults this week, during which Trump appeared to offer encouragement to a far-right hate group and invoked the possibility of a “fraudulent election.” Trailing in national and swing-state polls, Trump tried to dominate the conversation, repeatedly talking over Biden, who at one point snapped, “Will you shut up, man?” The former vice president lambasted Trump’s handling of the pandemic, saying that even after 205,000 Covid-19 deaths the president “still doesn’t have a plan,” and that Trump should “get out of the sand trap” and come up with a bipartisan strategy to save lives and the economy. Seeking to paint Biden as a tool of the “radical left,” Trump insisted…

2 min.
it wasn’t all bad

An African pouched rat is being rewarded for saving lives in Cambodia by sniffing out dozens of land mines. Magawa is the first rat to be awarded the prestigious gold medal from the charity People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA). At 2.6 pounds, Magawa is larger than the average rat, but still light enough to step over mines without setting them off and able to get through a tennis court–size field, searching for the scent of explosives, in 20 minutes. He has helped clear nearly 35 acres of land, discovering 39 landmines and 28 unexploded bombs. Christian Bagg became paralyzed from the waist down when he broke his back snowboarding in Canada in 1996. A nature enthusiast, Bagg, 45, didn’t let his limitations stop him. In 2008, he designed a modified…

3 min.
amy coney barrett: what are her judicial beliefs?

Republicans’ shamelessness in ramming through a Supreme Court nominee this close to the election is bad enough, said Barbara McQuade in NYMag.com. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s “hypocritical power play” will be even harder for liberals to swallow since President Trump’s nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, is a far-right conservative “more extreme than Antonin Scalia.” Barrett, who will likely replace the late feminist champion Ruth Bader Ginsburg, belonged to a Notre Dame Law School group called “Faculty for Life,” and at 48 could sit on the court for the next half-century. Like Scalia, Barrett is both a legal “originalist” and a devout Catholic, said Ruth Marcus in WashingtonPost.com. “Your legal career is but a means to an end—building the Kingdom of God,” she told a graduating class at Notre Dame.…

1 min.
good week/bad week

Good week for: Making stuff up, after a federal judge threw out a defamation suit against Fox News host Tucker Carlson, agreeing with the network’s lawyers that “no reasonable viewer” takes what he says seriously. Finders keepers, after a visitor to the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas found a 9-carat raw diamond lying on the ground. “It looked kind of interesting and shiny,” said Kevin Kinard, 33, adding he “honestly teared up” when informed his find was the second-largest diamond in park history. Getting a bigger boat, after four Arkansas alligator hunters caught a record-breaking 13-foot-11-inch, 800-pound gator. “It drug the boat around for almost two hours,” said hunter Travis Bearden. Bad week for: Feedback, after U.S. citizen Wesley Barnes faced years in a Thai jail for posting negative TripAdvisor reviews about a…