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.
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.
AUTHOR’S NOTE #1: Consuming bleach and/or other disinfectants, by ingestion, injection, or any other method, can be fatal. Please do not ingest, inject, or otherwise consume disinfectants into your body.
AUTHOR’S NOTE #2: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.
Earlier today, Donald Trump publicly suggested that those infected with the coronavirus COVID-19 inject bleach and other disinfectants, which are commonly used to disinfect clothing and/or hard surfaces like tables and countertops:
President Donald Trump on Thursday suggested exploring disinfectants as a possible treatment for coronavirus infections — an extremely dangerous proposition that medical experts warn could kill people.
After a Homeland Security official mentioned the ability of disinfectants like bleach to kill the coronavirus on surfaces, Trump remarked on the effectiveness.
“And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning?” Trump said during his daily briefing at the White House. “Because, you see, it gets on the lungs, and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it’d be interesting to check that. So that you’re going to have to use medical doctors, but it sounds — it sounds interesting to me.”
What the President of the United States told COVID-19 patients to do is extremely dangerous and should never be attempted by anyone under any circumstances. This is a comparison that I hoped that I would never have to make, but Trump’s actions are comparable to Jim Jones ordering the Jonestown cult members to drink a cyanide-laced beverage. I hope that not a single American takes Trump’s advice.
This is not the first time that Trump has promoted extremely dangerous medical quackery during the COVID-19 pandemic, and, sadly, it probably won’t be the last.
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.
Normally, politicians in this country don’t break the fourth wall of American politics. You usually don’t hear one politician explicitly point out that another politician is preparing to commit war crimes in an attempt to boost their approval ratings at home. You usually don’t hear one politician explicitly mention that the sitting President is bombing a foreign country in an attempt to distract from political scandals at home.
Well, Donald Trump is not a conventional President, and Elizabeth Warren is not a conventional challenger.
Last night on Twitter, Warren directly called out Trump for wanting to commit war crimes by bombing cultural sites in Iran:
Earlier today on NBC’s Meet the Press, Warren pointed out that Trump ordered the strike that killed Iranian Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani to distract from the upcoming impeachment trial of Trump:
Usually, you don’t hear politicians be brutally honest admit the cold hard truth about their political opponents. However, Elizabeth Warren isn’t afraid to admit the cold hard truth about how Donald Trump puts his own political and financial interests first and is willing to commit war crimes to do so.
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.