That brilliant bunch at Ark Encounter have stepped in it this time.

We believe that your client is aware that they may not be eligible for state tax incentives if the Ark Project is owned by a non-profit legal entity. Answers in Genesis, the parent company of Crosswater Canyon, Inc., and Ark Encounter, LLC clearly states on its website: “The for-profit LLC structure also allows the Ark Encounter to be eligible for various economic development incentives that would not have been available with a non-profit structure.”

Furthermore, as a the Tourism Development Agreement is between the Commonwealth and Ark Encounter, LLC, not Crosswater Canyon, LLC, the current owner, please be advised that no further incentives may accrue from sales tax imposed on sales generated by or arising at the tourism development project, as of the date of transfer of the property, June 28, 2017.

Short version: Ark Encounter transferred its property to a non-profit in order to evade ticket taxes to support fire and police protection for tourist attractions — and screwed themselves out of $18-million worth of tax abatements.

Not a smart move for a facility that’s having difficulty attracting visitors in the first place.

By the way, subsidies for religion and religious institutions are undoubtedly unconstitutional, and need to end. Let’s all hope this debacle helps more of the public see what a dishonest business the clergy actually operate.

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Is the end game at hand?

The Washington Post is reporting that the Trump administration is compiling dossiers whose purpose is to discredit Special Counsel Mueller and his investigators — and researching the power of the pardon.

Some of President Trump’s lawyers are exploring ways to limit or undercut special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation, building a case against what they allege are his conflicts of interest and discussing the president’s authority to grant pardons, according to people familiar with the effort.

Trump has asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with the probe, according to one of those people. A second person said Trump’s lawyers have been discussing the president’s pardoning powers among themselves.

The plain implication is that the Trump crowd expects the investigation to yield evidence of criminal behavior and are preparing an escape hatch for themselves.

It’s reasonable, too, to think they must believe the evidence will be in the public domain in the near future, for if they truly think they’re innocent of wrongdoing, or that their wrongdoing will remain obscure for another year or so, they wouldn’t be researching pardon now.

I can easily imagine Trump provoking a Constitutional crisis by challenging the Congress to send armed U.S. Marshals to remove him from office. I can’t imagine him prevailing in such a showdown, but I can imagine him provoking it. I can just as easily imagine him pardoning everybody in his orbit, including himself, declaring his work successful and finished and himself the most accomplished president in the history of the country, and decamping to some corrupt oligarchy where amoral and authoritarian buffoons like him are appreciated.

Whatever comes next, there will be no happy ending.

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Deranged news story of the day

Hillary Clinton: How She Framed Donald Trump’s Family

The publisher of the National Enquirer, y’all should know, is a buddy of The Donald.

Seriously: This is banana republic stuff.

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Stop blaming Ayn Rand

It has become a commonplace lately to link Donald Trump’s incompetence, conniving, dishonesty and corruption to the fulfillment of the ideals of Any Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. Apparently, as William F. Buckley, Jr., freely admitted in his geriatric years, though he had trashed her for years, a lot of people have never actually read her books.

Atlas Shrugged imagines a world where the industrialists have gone on strike. Yes, they are obscenely wealthy, one and all — but they earned it by the honorable provision of products and services that people actually want. Trump is a living, breathing exemplar for the parasitic, dishonorable, and underhanded operators that Rand’s heroes — Dagny Taggart, Hank Rearden, and Francisco d’AnConia — fought against, Wesley Mouch and Ellsworth Toohey. You can think what you like of Rand’s ideas, but Donald Trump is exactly the person she spent her life attacking; she should not be linked to the ambulatory obscenity who now poses such a danger to us.

There is one criticism of Rand which might have merit — her treatment of sex, which in her books almost invariably borders on rape fantasies. The problem here is that anybody acquainted with the romance genre is aware that a huge number of American women are apparently spunky li’l things that Gary Cooper-like cowboys find nettlesome, and with whom they forcefully entertain themselves before stalking off to shoot some bad guys and feed the horses.

So it may be that Ayn Rand just had little skill, or a lot of discomfort, setting-up and portraying sex scenes; I don’t know, but think that’s a real possibility. There should be no confusion about her attitude toward such as The Donald, however: Rand loathed them.

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From the land of the crazy

Bruce Gerencser celebrated his 39th-Anniversary in Kentucky and, while there, took some photos: Don’t miss them.

Our recent vacation found Polly and me in downtown Lexington, Kentucky. We were amazed (and disheartened) by how many downtown churches there were — mainly Baptist — and the seemingly ubiquitous homeless and panhandlers. I told Polly, “look at all these big, fancy, rich churches, yet hungry, out-of-work, homeless people abound. So much for taking care of and ministering to the least of these.”

It might help to put this madness in perspective by remembering that Mitch McConnell and Albert Mohler are from Kentucky … and they’re what passes for respectable there.

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