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  • October 1st, 2020

DEBATE DEATH AND TAXES

By Joel. Vance

 

Benjamin Franklin said the only two inevitabilities are death and taxes. We found out in the last few days that Donald Trump has figured out a way to cheat on the tax part of that and, given his gluttony for an hamberders and cofefe diet without so far paying the ultimate penalty for unhealthy eating, maybe he’s on the way to cheating the Grim Reaper as well.

 

Although, according to Waylon Jennings, the only two things in life that make it worth living are “guitars that tune good and firm feeling women.” Trump has solved the woman part, sometimes with force or by paying for them, but as far as I know he can’t play squat on the guitar.

 

Maybe that only works in Luckenbach, Texas.

 

For those who live by Biblical wisdom, the quote “the truth will set you free” is from the book of John (8. 32, in case you want to check it out). The evangelical right, disciples dedicated to “the truth” as Donald J Trump defines it, would do well to refer back to the good book, given the headline of the day.

 

By now, anyone in the United States who has access to print media, television, radio, or any other means of mass communication, should know that the New York Times has revealed the highlights of the last couple of decades of Donald J Trump’s tax returns and it doesn’t look good for the Orange Liemaster.

 

The truth as the Times reveals it, differs greatly from the words John quotes Jesus as saying. Instead of setting Trump free, the words of the Times reporting may very well plant Trump’s pudgy posterior in a jail cell.

 

Where the Times got its information, so carefully concealed by Trump for years, will never be revealed by the good journalists who work at the newspaper known as “The Gray Lady” in the world of journalism. Trump may unleash his battalion of lawyers on the news folk, threatening lawsuits, jail time, and for all I know summary execution, but I believe that the intrepid news hawks would rather spend time in jail so that Trump does the same. Trump may have stuffed the judiciary with like-minded puppets who may well sentence New York Times reporters to jail for refusal to reveal their sources, but you don’t get to be a New York Times investigative reporter by ratting out your informants.

 

Trump has repeatedly described the New York Times as “a failing newspaper”.  The times debuted in 1851 and has long  been considered as “the nation’s newspaper”. The newspaper has won 130 Pulitzer prizes, more than any other newspaper and is ranked third in the United States in circulation—hardly a failing enterprise. The same cannot be said of Donald Trump’s empire which has a number of properties in financial trouble and others that already have gone bankrupt. Donald Trump doesn’t live in a glass home; he lives in the White House which is not glass, but he still should not be chunking rocks.

 

There’s an old saying in newspaper circles that you shouldn’t pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel. Donald Trump is finding that out the hard way.

 

Each almost daily scandal falling like a hammer blow on the Trump regime, seems like it should be a fatal blow, but so far the Liar in Chief has dodged a lethal whack and now we are within a few days of the most perilous election in the history of the nation. If the revelations in the Times expose don’t sink the creaking ship of nation launched by Fat Donnie four years ago, I fear that nothing will.

 

Of all the revelations in the Times story, the fact that Trump paid only $750 in income taxes in 2016 and 2017, less than almost any American taxpayer, while simultaneously bragging about his enormous wealth (and living sumptuously on borrowed money and the taxpayer dollar) should piss off even the most ardent Trump devotee who chipped in considerably more to the Internal Revenue Service in that same time frame.

 

Trump, predictably, labeled the story as “fake news” but so far he has scrupulously avoided revealing even one page of his form 1040 return from the years in question which would either disprove the Times story or, more likely, reveal Trump for the tax scammer he is.

 

In 1956, for a modest investment (modest was all we could afford), new wife, Marty, and I invested in a set of haircutting implements—electric clippers and a set of plastic attachments. Since, she and more lately our youngest daughter, Amy, have functioned as my barber. I feel somewhat guilty for having deprived a multitude of barbers over the years of income (my last barbershop investment was about two bucks) but I don’t think what we have saved for the past 64 years has significantly impacted the GDP. Certainly not as dramatically as Trump’s deduction of $70,000 for hairstyling.

 

I’m a great believer in taking any legitimate deduction to minimize my income tax obligation (and in the last several years as a retiree on low fixed income I have been exempt from income tax), but I paid up for many years and never once have I felt paying my share of taxes was an onerous duty. Sure, everyone bitches about having to pay taxes, but without them we would be in chaos. They pay for the cops, the firefighters, the roads we ride on and so many other necessary national housekeeping chores that no tax, no nation.

 

At the same time Trump has been cheating on taxes and paying either nothing or a pitiful pittance, he has stuck the American taxpayers for millions to play golf. His trips to Mar-a-Lago alone have cost an estimated $64,000,000 Trump brags that he has donated his $400,000 a year salary to charity, but as of October last year he had cost taxpayers an estimated $109,000,000 to finance his golf trips, equivalent to 278 years worth of presidential salary.

 

You’d think the sheer bulk of scandal would sink the Trump ship like the Titanic, but his faithful following allows for an infinite variety of misdeed without calling the Orange Menace to account. The evangelical right, Bibles in hand (one hopes right side up) should be outraged but Mike Huckabee, father of one time and gratefully faded into the background Trump spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said this about Trump’s income tax hijinks, “so what. I didn’t elect him to be my tax accountant.” No, Mikey, you elected him to be the president and accountable for his actions. Apparently, you and your fellow evangelicals consider him to be without shame or blame. Is this a Christian attitude? I ask in the interest of one who is confused about what is morality and what is not.

 

Donald Trump has told 20,000 plus lies in his four years in office and each one of those falsehoods is a blot on the presidency and an insult to our democratic republic.  There is a reason that the first amendment to the Constitution guarantees free speech because good people believe that the truth will out and without the freedom to speak it people like Trump can ignore truth more than 20,000 times until truth becomes a faded memory.

 

Thanks to the New York Times using words of truth, backed by the First Amendment, we now know that what Trump has tried so desperately to conceal more than 20,000 times is a despicable smokescreen to obscure his criminality, his inhumanity and his insult to all that we say we believe in.

 

Where does his loyalty lie? Certainly not with those who did not vote for him but more tellingly not even with those who did. I suspect most of the ardent right wing MAGA types (and why does my computer insist on typing “maggot” instead of MAGA?), those who have jobs other than inciting violence against peaceful protesters, and who pay income tax, paid more to the IRS in 2017 that Trump did. Have they no shame, no sense of being betrayed? Or are they content to foment violence?

 

We have two daughters who are priceless, but I wouldn’t dream of trying to list them as nearly $750,000 deductions on an income tax form. Trump has no problem doing so with Ivanka who has a job as “special advisor” with duties so indefinable as to seem nonexistent. She and her equally useless husband Jared Kushner both are drains on the national economy, banking money that otherwise could be used for good causes, none of which bears the Trump name.

 

Trump has collected money from business interests in foreign countries since he was inaugurated, a situation as far as I know unique among presidents. The Times did not find any income from Russian interests, but Trump is on the hook for more than $400,000,000 in loans due to unknown lenders within the next four years. One of a suspicious nature might conclude that whoever holds the mortgage will have considerable influence over the actions of the guy who benefits from this largesse.

 

There is a strong indication that a good bit of his loan obligation is from Russian deposits in Deutsche Bank which has in turn loaned money to Trump that other banks would not. As dumb as I am about finance that situation reeks about as much as $400,000,000 worth of Limburger cheese.

 

Maybe he will decide to stiff his suspiciously generous donors the way he has stiffed countless others in his business dealings. I wonder how Vladimir Putin will feel if Duplicitous Donnie says, “oh, by the way I’m kinda short now—I’ll pay you when I drain a few more bucks from the US treasury. By the way, can you spare a few billion to tide me over?”

 

Written last night just before the first of three debates between Joe Biden and Trump:

 

Tonight Trump and contender Joe Biden debate for the first time. I don’t plan to watch—neither my psychological nor my physiological health needs the stress involved. I think there’s a good documentary on venomous snakes on the National Geographic channel, so I can get my fill of slithering menace there, rather than watching Trump coil and strike on the debate stage.

 

A while later:

 

I relented at the last moment and switched over to the debate broadcast and watched about 15 seconds Trump was bloviating, ignoring decorum, ignoring moderator Chris Wallace, common sense and spouting toxic nonsense, so I quickly turned to National Geographic where unfortunately the subject was crocodiles whose gaping mouths and belligerent attitude was too reminiscent of Trump so I switched to “Life Below Zero” where featured character Sue Aikens is nearly as paranoid as Demented Donnie, and is convinced that every large predator north  of the Arctic Circle is stalking her. Once again she escaped the perceived menace of wolverines, although in one brief shot, a ground squirrel appeared threatening.

 

 In the memorable words of Lieut. Frank Drebin in the comedy movie “The Naked Gun” as the world is exploding behind him, cars are crashing, a fuel tanker is blazing and a crowd is gawking, “nothing to see here folks! Nothing to see here!”

 

Nothing to see on television either, so I went to bed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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