President Donald Trump’s net worth is estimated at approximately $2.5 billion.
Despite being among the wealthiest people in the world, Trump paid little or, in some years, nothing in federal income taxes, according to tax filings covering most years from 2000 to 2017, obtained by The New York Times. Trump paid only $750 in federal income taxes in 2016, the year in which he was elected President, and 2017, the year in which he was inaugurated as President. Although The New York Times was the first media outlet to report on the revelations, CNN has an extensive, non-paywalled report here.
Trump’s record of tax avoidance includes claiming tax deductions on expenditures like housing, aircraft, and a whopping $70,000 worth of hair care:
It’s important to note that most people deemed essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic pay, on average, more in federal taxes each year than Trump did in the year he was elected to our nation’s highest office:
Already, the Joe Biden campaign is making Trump’s tax avoidance a major issue, with the first of three general election debates for the major-party presidential nominees being scheduled for Tuesday night. This is the Biden campaign’s response on Twitter:
Donald Trump is a total fraud. He claimed to be a successful businessman, when his tax returns showed that he was losing money and was using, if not violating, federal tax laws for his own personal and financial gain.
Regarding the development of a Covid-19 vaccine, he said: “It’s so many of our children that are being vaccinated and paralysed … So when they say the way we’re going to fix covid is with a vaccine, I’m extremely cautious. That’s the mark of the beast.
“They want to put chips inside of us, they want to do all kinds of things to make it where we can’t cross the gates of heaven.”
On education, he said he wanted to reinstate “the fear and love of God in all schools and organisations” and criticised Black History Month as “torture porn”. He added: “The schools, the infrastructure, was made for us to not truly be all we can be, but to be just good enough to work for the corporations that designed the school systems. We’re tearing that up … we’re not going to tear up the constitution; what we will do is amend.”
We already have a President in the White House who opposes public health and religious freedom in Donald Trump. Replacing Donald Trump with Kanye West would fix none of our country’s problems, and a Kanye presidency would be as much of an unmitigated disaster as the Trump presidency, if not worse.
As America slowly reopens while the COVID-19 pandemic continues to claim lives, there is one question on my mind. Is this chaos a preview post-COVID-19 pandemic normal in America?
America has faced turbulent times before, and America is facing turbulent times right now. Racism is as old as America, but it is now being recorded on video, and it is horrifying the sensible people of this great country. The sight, forever recorded onto video, of Officer Derek Chauvin forcing his knee onto the neck of George Floyd, depriving him of air and killing him, is horrifying to watch.
Use of lethal force by law enforcement should be the last resort, not the first resort, and should only be used when officers’ lives are being clearly threatened by suspects. Those who have the responsibility for enforcing the law in this country should not be above it, and that those in law enforcement who abuse their power and hurt or kill others in doing so should face very serious consequences.
While journalists should not be above the law, they shouldn’t be arrested or attacked for simply doing their jobs. The American system of government and way of life is dependent on an existence of a free and adversarial press. By free and adversarial press, I mean that journalists should be free to hold those in power accountable to the truth in a journalistic manner.
The President and other political leaders in this country should not be using the trappings of their offices to incite violence and encourage authoritarian behavior by themselves and others in positions of power. Use of the military against U.S. citizens should be reserved for armed rebellions against the United States by treasonous individuals or in self-defense of their own lives. I do not, in any way, encourage rioting and looting, but looting property, while a serious crime, shouldn’t automatically result in the perpetrators being killed.
These past few days have led part of me to believe that America might simply be better off if we went back to full stay-at-home orders across the country, like the ones we were under just a couple of months or so ago. However, there will be, someday, a new, post-pandemic normal, but hopefully not one where chaos, racism, destruction, brutality, violence, hate, and tyranny rules over justice and equality.
America is burning. It is past time for justice and equality to prevail over racism and brutality. However, chaos, destruction, violence, and tyranny isn’t going to make America a more just and equal union one second sooner.
Just when the corporate media thought they could get away with trying to erase U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) from the field of candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination, Warren, at the ninth Democratic presidential debate of the 2020 election cycle, delivered a debate performance that will be remembered for a very long time, and, in doing so, may have just ended any chance of former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg winning the Democratic presidential nomination.
This is just one minute of Warren’s debate performance tonight:
This is only part of a debate exchange between Warren and Bloomberg over Bloomberg’s history of sexually harassing women and discriminating against women:
Those two video clips only consist of part of Warren’s debate performance tonight, but those two clips should give everyone a general idea of how phenomenal Warren’s debate performance was tonight. Furthermore, Warren reminded us all how Donald Trump can be defeated in the general election.
Bloomberg may be worth tens of billions of dollars, but no amount of money and no amount of television ads can hide the fact that Bloomberg has a long history of sexism, racism, and opposing efforts to increase access to affordable health care, among other things. Furthermore, no amount of money is going to hide the fact that Bloomberg’s response to Warren pointing out that Bloomberg has a long history of disgustingly sexist behavior, including sexual misconduct, was absolutely insulting to those who were wronged by Bloomberg.
Elizabeth Warren wasn’t the only person on the debate stage tonight who held Mike Bloomberg to account, but she did the most effective job tonight of holding Bloomberg accountable.
Earlier today, an obscure polling firm called Neighborhood Research and Media released a poll of Iowa Democratic voters in the lead-up to the February 3rd Iowa Caucuses. You can view the results of the poll here if you wish to do so.
Anyways, the poll was enough to move the FiveThirtyEight poll aggregate to show a narrow Joe Biden lead in Iowa; the aggregate prior to the poll showed a narrow Bernie Sanders lead in Iowa. FiveThirtyEight lists Neighborhood Research and Media as a B/C-graded pollster, so the pollster is deemed by FiveThirtyEight to have not conducted enough polling to receive a proper grade.
I will now make several observations about the recent poll out of Iowa.
The poll was conducted for the far-right website Breitbart
Any attempt by a right-wing organization, such as the far-right, pro-Donald Trump website Breitbart, to poll Democratic voters about an upcoming Democratic nomination contest is immediately suspicious in my view. Breitbart may be trying to drive a Democrats-in-disarray political narrative, a narrative that benefits Republicans politically, in more mainstream media outlets, and, at the very least, has certainly influenced FiveThirtyEight’s polling aggregators, by paying Neighborhood Research and Media to poll Iowa Democrats.
The poll sample was DRASTICALLY older than the 2016 Iowa Democratic caucus electorate
The poll sample was drastically older than recent Iowa Democratic caucus electorates, including the 2016 Iowa Democratic caucus electorate. In 2016, entrance polls, the caucus equivalent of exit polls, showed that 37% of the Democratic caucus electorate in Iowa was 44 years of age or younger, with 28% older than 65 years of age. The pre-2020 caucus poll for Brietbart had a sample with less than 19% of likely caucus participants under the age of 50, with more than 58% of likely caucus participants over the age of 65. The median age in poll for Breitbart was likely more than a decade older, maybe as much as a decade and a half older, than the median age in the 2016 entrance polls!
The poll included Donald Trump as if he were a Democratic presidential candidate
Donald Trump is seeking re-election as a Republican presidential candidate. However, the poll for Breitbart listed Trump as if he were a Democrat and a candidate in the Iowa Democratic caucuses, which he is not. While Iowa Democratic caucus participants may have an uncommitted option (I’m not sure if the Iowa Democratic caucus rules allow for that), Trump will not be a candidate in the Iowa Democratic caucuses. The poll had Trump, who is not a Democrat and is not seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, at 4.7% among likely Iowa Democratic caucus participants.
The poll was in the field during the January 14 Democratic presidential debate
The poll for Breitbart was in the field from January 14 to January 17. This means that the poll was in the field during the January 14 Democratic presidential debate that was televised by CNN and sponsored by the Des Moines Register. One day of sampling, January 14, was pre-debate, with the other three days being post-debate. The poll had Biden losing a ton of support from the pre-debate sample to the post-debate sample, with Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren, respectively, being the largest beneficiaries of an apparent loss of support for Biden. The pre-debate sample was a one-day sample that included 103 likely caucus participants, whereas the post-debate sample was a three-day sample that included 197 likely caucus participants, or an average of 66 likely caucus participants sampled per day. Given Iowa’s population, samples of less than 200 individuals have a very high margin of error.
This poll that was conducted for Brietbart is complete junk, in part due to the poll’s sample being drastically older than what an Iowa Democratic caucus electorate would be expected to be.
With 24 days remaining until the Iowa Caucuses, the latest Ann Selzer Iowa Poll for CNN and The Des Moines Register has Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren running first and second, respectively, among likely Iowa Democratic caucusgoers, with moderate candidates Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden struggling to stay at or above the 15% threshold to receive elected pledged delegates at the statewide level:
It’s clear that, when voters learn more about progressive candidates, progressive policy proposals, and progressive political values, the more that they see themselves as not just Democrats, but progressive Democrats. However, with the leading candidate in Iowa just five percentage points above the threshold to receive statewide pledged delegates, and with three other candidates at or above that threshold, the next 24 days are going to be absolutely critical to the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is a blog post about a breaking news event. Any information and analysis in this blog post is based on information of the author’s knowledge at the time of the blog post being published.
In response to a recent attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, the United States launched a strike in Iraq that killed Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. The Quds Force is Iran’s primary vehicle for carrying out their military and intelligence operations outside of Iranian territory; as a result, Soleimani was one of the most powerful people associated with the Iranian regime.
If the United States is not already at war against Iran, it likely will be in the very near future, and this would be a logistical nightmare for the United States and/or any other country, in no small part due to Iran’s geography, which has long been an obstacle for Iran and its predecessor states, as well as, conversely, any entity that has tried to invade Iran:
It is not immediately clear how this will impact Donald Trump’s re-election chances here in the U.S., although the recent events in the Middle East will likely have massive political ramifications not just in the United States, but in many other countries as well.
In a scenario that is more politically favorable to Trump, Trump would get a sizable rally around the flag effect, similar to the affect on U.S. public opinion that politically benefited George W. Bush after the 9/11 attacks. Remember that defeating a sitting U.S. president while he is up for re-election during a major war has historically been extremely difficult, and, in many cases, virtually impossible. One thing that would likely benefit Trump politically is if a large coalition of nations is assembled for a large-scale war effort against Iran.
In a scenario that is less politically favorable to Trump, few nations would decide to formally support a U.S. war effort against Iran and/or significant domestic political opposition to a U.S. war effort against Iran forms. There is already some evidence of domestic political opposition to a U.S. war effort against Iran trying to form, with U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) issuing this statement via Twitter voicing concerns about potential consequences of the strike against Soleimani. It is not immediately clear how traditional U.S. allies like the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Canada will react, nor is it immediately clear how nations like Russia and China will react, to a looming war in Iran.
One advantage that Trump has, from a political standpoint, is that it is easier for Trump to, despite serious concerns about the strike’s legality, portray the strike against Soleimani as justified than, for example, George W. Bush’s attempts to justify his war against the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq. The strike against Soleimani was in response to an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad perpetrated by groups aligned with the Iranian regime, whereas it was harder for GWB to portray the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq as a threat to U.S. national security before the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
However, Trump probably has more political disadvantages than political advantages going into a war against Iran. First, due to Iran’s geography, invading Iran would likely result in another U.S. military quagmire. Second, the U.S. is a more war-weary nation nowadays than it was in the early 2000’s. Third, the Vietnam War, the post-9/11 War in Afghanistan, and the 2003 Iraq War serve as cautionary tales of military quagmires that are relatively fresh on the minds of many Americans. Fourth, Trump is seen as a far more unstable leader than most previous U.S. presidents. Fifth, Trump is facing a pending impeachment trial over trying to use the U.S. foreign policy apparatus for his personal political benefit, and many Americans will view Trump’s actions in the Middle East as an attempt to distract from his political corruption. Sixth, Trump’s actions are expected to have ramifications threatening U.S. national security, as retired U.S. Army Captain Jason Kander pointed out on Twitter.
I am a loyal American and always will be, but I have grave concerns about a war against Iran under Donald Trump. While Soleimani was a bad guy and a half, the strike that killed Soleimani may have just gotten the United States into a situation that jeopardizes our nation’s national security in a huge way.