Just Who Does Trump Owe $421 Million? Is It Russia?

The bombshell New York Times piece which exposed the fact that self-proclaimed billionaire Donald Trump paid only $750 in income taxes in 2016 and 2017, and $0 in the preceding ten years, has sparked a serious debate as to how unfair the U.S. tax code is to working families. Reasonable people will agree that when working families earning less than $50,000 a year have to pay way more in income taxes than a billionaire like Donald Trump, then it’s time to reform the broken and immoral tax code.

The New York Times bombshell however revealed something much more serious than the broken and immoral U.S. tax code and that is, in 2016 when Trump was elected President, he was deep in debt, to the tune of some $421 million. Let that sink in. In 2016, the incoming President of the United States, owed some yet unnamed individuals or organizations or governments, as much as $421 million.

Naturally, this has raised all kinds of national security red flags because it is a well known fact in national security circles that a person deep in debt, is highly susceptible to manipulation or blackmail by his or her creditors. As a matter of fact debt is one of the main reasons most people are denied top security government clearances (cannot access top secret information). The simple reasoning is that a person susceptible to blackmail will be more prone to giving away government secrets.

In Trump’s particular case, there have always been rumors that he has business ties to Americas top geopolitical foe, Russia, which U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded, meddled in the 2016 elections to benefit Trump. The question as to whether Trump is either wholly or partially indebted to the Russian government or known agents of the state, is therefore a totally valid question.

Several leading Democrats are already raising this crucial national security question even though they are not going all the way and implicating Russia.

Trump’s Democratic challenger Joe Biden must really key in on this crucial national security question during their first televised debate scheduled for tonight. Biden must not only insist that Trump disclose his creditors before the elections, but specifically zero in on Russia. Is Trump indebted to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin? Is this the reason Trump refuses to condemn Putin for anything, even when there are credible allegations that he’s paying Afghans to attack U.S. troops, or that he is poisoning his political opponents? If not, Biden should force Trump to condemn Putin’s actions at the debate stage, with millions of viewers tuned in worldwide.

Bottom line folks, even though the New York Times bombshell exposes the glaring unfairness of the U.S. tax code, it is a much bigger deal for the grave national security questions it raises. One only hopes that at the presidential debate tonight, TeamBiden will vigorously and exhaustively pursue Trump over his $421 million debt, and the serious national security questions it raises, especially as it relates to Putin’s Russia.

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Judge Amy Coney Barret Does Not Think SCOTUS 5-4 Split Decisions Are A Sign Of Political Partisanship

Federal Appeals Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett At Hillsdale College In May 2019

In an interview at Hillsdale College in May 2019, Federal Appeals Court Judge and now Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett said she does not think the increasing 5-4 split decisions at the U.S. Supreme Court are a sign of political partisanship. This is a very strange assessment given the fact that much of the public angst against the U.S. Supreme Court can be attributed to the increasing number of these 5-4 split decisions between the 5 conservative and 4 liberal justices, which people have reasonably attributed to partisan political differences.

Judge Barrett’s strange position that Supreme Court 5-4 split decisions are not as a result of partisan political differences will certainly draw the attention of Democratic Senators at her confirmation hearings, which are already expected to be the most contentious Supreme Court confirmation hearings ever.

Bottom line folks, with Justice Amy Coney Barrett in the U.S. Supreme Court, Americans better get used to “non-partisan” 6-3 split decisions on ACA, voting rights, DACA, Trump’s tax returns, 2020 election challenges…….. Simply put, get used to “non-partisan” 6-3 split decisions on steroids!!

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Amy Coney Barrett Feared “A Very Marked Shift” In SCOTUS Composition If Hillary Clinton Won In 2016

University of Notre Dame Law Professor Amy Coney Barrett giving a presentation at Jacksonville University On November 3, 2016 , five days before the general elections

An interesting presentation then Professor Amy Coney Barrett gave at Jacksonville University in November 2016, five days before the elections, begs for further scrutiny now that President Trump has formally nominated her to fill the U.S. Supreme Court seat left vacant after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In her hour long presentation at Jacksonville University, which reasonable people will agree was highly impressive, Professor Barrett delved into a whole host of issues dealing with the U.S. Supreme Court and its Justices. Of particular relevance today, is the fear Professor Barrett expressed of “a very marked shift” in the Supreme Court to the left, were Hillary Clinton to win the presidency in 2016.(see clip below)

Professor Barrett’s concerns in November 2016 are of particular concern today because the “very marked shift” in the U.S. Supreme Court she feared in 2016 has come to pass. The only difference is that the marked shift in the court has been to the right, with Trump as President. More importantly, the very concerns she had about a future President Clinton replacing Justice Scalia with a liberal, is the exact situation we currently find ourselves in, with President Trump getting ready to replace liberal Justice Ginsburg with her–a staunch conservative. Given her fears in 2016, should Trump have nominated someone more liberal to replace Justice Ginsburg? In other words, is Judge Amy Barrett only worried about the U.S. Supreme Court markedly shifting to the left but okay if the shift is to the right?

Specifically, then Professor Barrett argued in her presentation that whoever won the presidency in 2016, who she assumed like many would be Clinton, would have a chance to replace up to four Supreme Court justices, given their advanced ages. Clinton, she argued, would not only fill the vacant Scalia seat with a reliable liberal, tipping the balance of the court leftward, but would also likely replace Justices Ginsburg, Breyer and Kennedy with much younger reliable liberals, essentially turning the U.S. Supreme Court into a reliably liberal court. Trump on the other hand, Professor Barrett argued, would fill the vacancies with a “mixed bag” of justices resulting in a somewhat center-right court but definitely not a far right Supreme Court.

Reasonable people will agree that with the appointments of Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump has already shifted the U.S. Supreme Court to the right. Trump’s nomination of conservative Judge Amy Barrett to replace reliably liberal Justice Ginsburg will therefore lead to the very “marked shift” in the U.S. Supreme Court that then Professor Amy Barrett feared with a Clinton presidency. The question Democratic Senators need to confront Judge Barrett with at her confirmation hearings, is whether she is now comfortable with the marked shift in the Supreme Court to the right. Should Trump have nominated a Supreme Court justice more in the mold of Justice Ginsburg to prevent the marked shift to the right?

It bears pointing out however that Professor Barrett espoused an interpretation of the role of judges generally, and supreme court justices in particular, that many legal scholars will find very refreshing. She stated very clearly that the role of a judge is not to placate to the partisan political camps but rather to follow the law, wherever it leads. She illustrated her point with Justice Scalia, who sided with the liberal justices time and time again on criminal law issues even though as a conservative, Republican voters expected him to be a “law and order” judge, always siding with law enforcement in criminal cases. Professor Barrett said Justice Scalia did so not because he liked criminals, but because that was what the text of the constitution required him to do. This should be a warning shot to Trump Republicans who are fast-tracking her confirmation in the hopes that she will rubber stamp GOP policy positions at the Supreme Court.

Bottom line folks, as things currently stand, Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s ascension to the U.S. Supreme Court is all but certain. There’s literally nothing Democrats can do procedurally or otherwise, to stop her confirmation to the high court. One only hopes that during her confirmation hearings, Democratic Senators will confront her with tough questions, among them, her fears in 2016 of a “marked shift” in the composition of the U.S. Supreme Court. Specifically, Democratic Senators should ask Judge Barrett why she feared a marked shift of the high court to the left but is now seemingly comfortable with a marked shift to the right, thanks to her confirmation.

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Biden Scolds Trump Over Military “Suckers” And “Losers” Remarks And Shakes Up The 2020 Presidential Race

Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden

Ever since he became President in 2016, Donald Trump has repeatedly boasted about the overwhelming support he has among military families, often claiming without evidence, that he has “rebuilt the military” which was dilapidated under his predecessor Obama. However events spurred by a recent bombshell report on The Atlantic have turned Trump’s military talking points upside down, and now appear to be a serious threat to his presidency, with less than two months to go before the 2020 elections. The bombshell report on The Atlantic gives a picture of Trump that stands in stark contrast to his public pronouncements of affection towards members of the military, and instead provides troubling examples of how Trump privately harbors deep disdain for them, even referring to dead and wounded soldiers with demeaning terms like “suckers” and “losers”

In a 2018 visit to Paris for example, Trump reportedly told members of his administration accompanying him on the trip that he did not want to visit Aisne-Marne American Cemetery saying, “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.” Trump on the same trip, also reportedly referred to the 1,800 U.S. Marines who laid down their lives for the country at the battle of Belleau Wood in France, as “suckers”. These are the kinds of disgusting remarks you simply never expect to hear from an American Commander-in-Chief regarding American troops–dead, wounded or alive. As expected, Trump’s disgusting “suckers” and “losers” remarks have created a political firestorm which seriously threatens his chances for reelection because his remarks credibly call into question his fitness to serve as the U.S. Commander-in-Chief. Trump’s remarks have also thrown his 2020 reelection campaign into a tailspin with top surrogates uncomfortably trying to reassure the public that he loves service members despite his remarks.

One such top surrogate is Trump’s former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, whose attempt to defend Trump’s “suckers” and “losers” remarks was met with severe backlash on Twitter. Haley had tweeted a rare request to Trump’s Democratic challenger Joe Biden, asking Biden to take down a campaign ad saying Trump was unfit to be Commander-in-Chief based on the piece in The Atlantic. Twitter clearly did not take lightly to Haley’s request.

But as MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow correctly pointed out, Trump’s troubling behavior towards service members was evident way before the piece in The Atlantic came along. The bombshell piece in The Atlantic resonated with a lot of people because in many ways, it was simply a confirmation of Trump’s deep disdain for military service members, which many people had suspected all along. The 09/04/2020 edition of The Rachel Maddow Show took a deep dive into Trump’s troubling behavior towards service members and their families, the most notable one being his encounter with Myeshia Johnson, the wife of Sgt LaDavid Johnson, who was killed in Niger in late 2017.

The Maddow segment featured a clip from an October 2017 Good Morning America interview in which Myeshia Johnson lamented the cruel way President Trump had spoken to her on the phone regarding the death of her husband. Mrs Johnson said the phone conversation with Trump, which traditionally was meant to comfort/console military spouses who had lost loved ones, ended up being very traumatic, making her “cry even more” because Trump apparently said her dead husband “knew what he was signing up for.” Mrs Johnson was also distressed because Trump could not even remember her husband’s name, something she found very odd and annoying.

Maddow’s segment also delved into how Trump rudely dealt with Lt. Col Alexander Vindman, a wounded veteran who was a witness at Trump’s impeachment proceedings, especially the way Trump mocked his Army uniform and tweeted his rank in quotation marks, as if it was a fake title. Maddow also pointed out how Trump had derided Admiral Bill McRaven, a revered military figure most remembered for leading the attack that killed Osama bin Laden. Trump spoke disparagingly of Admiral McRaven saying he should have captured bin Laden sooner. There’s also the way Trump rudely dealt with Gold star father Khizr Khan who lost his son in combat in Iraq, and his infamous comments towards Senator McCain, suggesting that McCain was not a hero because he was captured. Simply put, even before the bombshell report on The Atlantic, there was already a mountain of evidence pointing towards the fact that Trump has very low regard for service members, especially the ones that end up wounded in combat, or dead.

It also bears pointing out that on a recent segment with Trump’s niece Mary L. Trump about her bestseller new book “Too Much And Never Enough”, Maddow brought up a section of the book which says Trump once threatened to cut his children off their inheritance if they ever enlisted in the military. The two also talked about Trump’s divorce papers with Marla Maples, Tiffany Trump’s mother. Apparently, there was a stipulation in the divorce papers that Trump would stop paying any further child support in the event Tiffany enrolled in the military. This is further damning evidence of Trump’s demonstrated disdain for the military and the people who enlist in the revered American institution as a sacrifice. It should be abundantly clear to everybody at this point that Trump’s only use for military service members, is as photo ops for his political campaign. He otherwise considers them “suckers” and “losers” for their sacrifice.

Bottom line folks, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden summed it all up with this powerful tweet, “Mr. President, if you don’t respect our troops, you can’t lead them.” Folks, if you don’t agree with Joe Biden on anything else, this should be your reason to vote for him on November 3, 2020. Our men and women in uniform deserve a Commander-in-Chief who gives a damn about them. Plain and simple!!.

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Russia Using Top GOP Senators For 2020 Election Meddling

Senator Ron Johnson(R-WI) and Senator Chuck Grassley(R-IA)

A bombshell segment on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow explored the fact that Russia (read Putin), is planning to meddle in the upcoming November 2020 elections in much the same way as it did in 2016–via a misinformation campaign. The only difference in the Russian misinformation campaign in 2020 however is that this time, instead of relying heavily on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, Putin is using two top GOP Senators namely Ron Johnson (WI) and Chuck Grassley (IA), to facilitate the misinformation campaign.

You’ll remember reports by right wing media outlets which suggested that former vice president Joe Biden’s son used his father’s influence to profit from corrupt deals in Ukraine. President Trump seriously played up this supposed Biden-Ukraine scandal in the hopes of knee-capping Biden’s 2020 presidential run, a scheme that didn’t work. As it became evident that Biden was poised to become the Democratic nominee for president in 2020, Senator Ron Johnson, who heads the Senate Homeland Security Committee, and Senator Chuck Grassley who heads the Senate Finance Committee, launched investigations into the Biden-Ukraine affair, investigations which many suspected were merely extensions of President Trump’s efforts to undermine Biden’s presidential campaign.

This week U.S. intelligence agencies, in addition to warning us of Russia’s attempt to meddle in our 2020 elections, specifically singled out Andriy Derkach, a pro-Russia Ukrainian parliamentarian, as the point man in the misinformation campaign. The shocking part, according to Maddow, is that the same Andriy Derkach, is the one feeding Senators Johnson and Grassley with misinformation about the Bidens for their supposed Senate investigations. In essence, Putin is running his misinformation campaign through two top GOP Senators.

Maddow specifically said, “He [Andriy Derkach] is spreading these claims by providing those claims to…the Republican U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, Ron Johnson, who heads the Senate Homeland Security Committee. The same pro-Russia Ukrainian parliamentarian named in today’s intelligence report also indicates to us that he is spreading these claims by providing them to..the Republican senior U.S. Senator from Iowa, Chuck Grassley, who runs the Finance Committee in the U.S. Senate. This is remarkable, the guy who is named by U.S. intelligence in the specific public warning today about what Russia is doing to interfere in the 2020 elections to try to reelect Trump, the way he’s been doing his work for the Russian government to mess with our election, is by feeding material to a purported investigation of Joe Biden by Senator Ron Johnson on the Homeland Security Committee and Senator Chuck Grassley on the Finance Committee in the Senate.”

Also crucially important per Maddow, is the fact that these two GOP Senators are scheduled to release the findings of their “investigations” into the Bidens, sometime in mid-September, right before the November elections. This leaves absolutely no doubt that Senators Johnson and Grassley are knowingly using their powerful U.S. Senate positions to facilitate a Russian misinformation campaign aimed at affecting the outcome of the 2020 U.S. presidential election. This is conduct quite unbecoming of U.S. Senators, and should result in their immediate resignation.

Bottom line folks, America is still coming to terms with the effects of Russian meddling in the 2016 elections. Congress has expended a lot of time and energy trying to figure out a way of preventing any future foreign meddling in our elections. Where, as here, top U.S. Senators are the ones responsible for facilitating such foreign meddling in our elections, the only solution is for them to resign from the U.S. Senate. Simply put, Americans have a right to free and fair elections, and any U.S. Senator working to deny them of such a right, does not belong in the U.S. Senate.

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Kushner Nixed National Testing Strategy Because he Thought Covid-19 Would Only Ravage Dem States

A troubling Vanity Fair report says that at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner cobbled together a team which actually managed to come up with a decent national testing strategy for covid-19. Shockingly however, instead of the plan being rapidly deployed nationwide to curb the spread of the deadly virus, Kushner and some White House political operatives decided it would be politically advantageous for Trump, if they shelved the testing plan because the virus at that time was only ravaging blue/Democratic states like New York.

As unbelievable as this sounds, Kushner and the White House operatives believed it would be politically advantageous for Trump if they let people die in blue/Democratic states because they could turn around and blame Democratic Governors for incompetence in the run up to the November elections. The author of the Vanity Fair piece, Katherine Eban, told CNN’s Erin Burnett;“There was a shared feeling which turned out to be spectacularly wrong, that the virus was receding, it was going to be under control, and at the time it was just the blue states where the virus was surging. So the idea was, why go through all the effort to surge up a national plan? It wasn’t going to have political resonance, and if there was a political response that was needed, the blue state Governors could just be blamed..”

You’ll remember a recent Washington Post piece which said Trump, who had previously downplayed the seriousness of covid-19, even calling it a hoax at one point, changed his attitude towards the deadly virus only after senior White House officials presented him with data and maps showing that the virus is beginning to ravage “our people”–Trump’s base of rural White voters in Republican states. This means Trump’s bungled covid-19 response, which has led to more than 150,000 deaths so far and counting, is not only the result of a callous political decision by his son-in -law Kushner, but also the administration’s deep seated racism towards communities of color who Trump considers not “our people”, and who data has consistently shown to disproportionately bear the brunt of covid-19, both in infection rates and deaths. A sad state of affairs indeed.

Bottom line folks, as it currently stands, the coronavirus pandemic is arguably one of the biggest crisis ever to befall the United States, especially if you consider the fact that it has claimed more than 150,000 lives in the U.S. in less than six months, led to levels of unemployment most of us have never witnessed in our lifetimes, dealt a severe blow to the U.S. economy leaving economic giants such as the airline industry teetering on the brink of collapse, changed the manner and format of our beloved professional sports leagues, just to mention but a few. Reasonable people will agree that given the seriousness of covid-19, the American public is totally justified in expecting that the Trump administration, without regard to partisan politics or race, will spare no resources, and do everything in it’s power to fight the deadly coronavirus pandemic. Sadly, the Vanity Fair piece saying Kushner shelved a covid-19 national testing strategy for political reasons, and the Washington Post piece saying Trump has not been serious about the pandemic because it’s not ravaging “our people”, prove beyond any reasonable doubt that partisan politics and racism are guiding Trump administration’s covid-19 response. All Americans of good conscience must loudly rebuke this immoral and callous disregard for people’s lives. We owe that to the families of the 150,000-plus people who have needlessly succumbed to covid-19.

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Texas Lt. Gov Dan Patrick Wants To Limit Mail Voting To Voters Over 65 Because Covid-19 Mostly Kills Them

Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick(R)

Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick appeared on Fox News’ America’s Newsroom show and parroted the falsehood currently being spread by President Trump that mail-in ballots are prone to massive voter fraud. Lt. Gov Patrick argued that because CDC data has established that it is people over 65 who are mostly losing their lives due to covid-19 , only Texas voters over 65 should be allowed to vote by mail. As shocking as this sounds, Lt Gov Patrick is literally telling Texas voters under 65 not to worry about contracting covid-19 at the polling places because even if they do, it will not kill them–it only kills people over 65. This is sadly, the kind of reasoning you get from a guy who’s second-in-command to the Texas Governorship.

Lt. Gov Patrick said when asked about voters’ valid fears of covid-19, “I want to go back to what the CDC said. 80% of people who have died from the virus [covid-19] are over 65. Anyone over 65 in America can vote safely from home. That’s already the law virtually everywhere–some states have all mail-in ballots on the west coast. So anyone 65 who is really vulnerable can vote from home. This idea that we want to give you a disability claim because ‘I’m afraid to go vote’ if you are under 65 is laughable. You have more chance of being in a serious auto accident if you are under 65 on the way to vote, than you do from catching the virus and dying from it by voting.”

One of the biggest flaws in Lt Gov Patrick’s reasoning (it’s actually totally flawed), is this idea that covid-19 affects one’s life only if it kills you. A leading pulmonologist Dr Andrew Martin, told Heathline, a medical journal that, “Patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), seen often in severe COVID-19 illness, sometimes develop permanent lung damage or fibrosis as well.” So voters of color who are especially vulnerable to covid-19, have a valid reason to fear contracting covid-19 because even if it does not kill them, there’s a good chance it will leave them with long-term medical problems. It is not unreasonable, or “laughable” as Lt Gov Patrick put it, for them to opt for mail-in voting.

Lt Gov Patrick also pointed out in the same Fox News segment that some states in the west coast already conduct all their elections by mail. Notably, he didn’t point to any reports of widespread voter fraud in elections conducted by the said west coast states.

Another eye-catching moment in Lt Gov Patrick’s interview was his unprompted revelation that he knew of ways someone can easily steal votes to swing a close election. This was an eye-catching revelation because Texas voters to this day, have a lot of questions as to how Senator Ted Cruz narrowly defeated his Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke in the 2018 elections.

Lt. Gov Patrick told host Ed Henry, “We [Texas] have so many elections that are so close…….you can swing the balance easily Ed. I can give you ten scenarios but I won’t because I don’t want to give anyone ideas how you can easily steal thousands of votes…” Actually Lt Gov Patrick, Texans would like to find out what you know about easily stealing thousands of votes.

Bottom line folks as we’ve seen numerous times before, Republicans in Texas and elsewhere, will do everything in their power to get as few people as possible to vote. Republicans nationwide have come to terms with the fact they are increasingly becoming a regional party, totally out of step with mainstream American political thought. Lt Gov Patrick’s desperate attempts to stop voting by mail has nothing to do with voter fraud and everything to do with voter suppression–ensuring as few Texans as possible vote in November. It is truly a sad way to “win” an election, but that’s exactly where we are with Trump’s GOP.

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