Donald Trump Paid $750 in US income taxes in 2016 and 2017, according to a report from New York Times.
Donald Trump paid no federal income tax in 10 of the past 15 years and only $750 in the year he was elected following a presidential campaign in which he repeatedly boasted of his success as a billionaire businessman, according to filings.
The filings show Mr Trump has been saddled for years with debt and incurred losses in ways that have allowed him to avoid paying income taxes at the rates one might expect for a self-proclaimed billionaire, the newspaper reported after sifting through documents spanning decades.
The president has fiercely protected his tax filings and is the only president of modern times not to make them public, bringing long-running legal challenges to prevent House Democrats obtaining them.
During his successful 2016 presidential campaign, Mr Trump pitched himself as wealthy property mogul with “tremendous cash flow” and business acumen that would benefit the US if entered the White House.
But his tax filings tell a much different story, according to the Times.
“Most of Mr Trump’s core enterprises — from his constellation of golf courses to his conservative-magnet hotel in Washington — report losing millions, if not tens of millions, of dollars year after year,” the paper reported.
On top of that, he is on the books for hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid loans — more than $300m over the next four years alone, bills he is personally liable for, the Times story states.
Mr Trump is also under audit by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for a $72.9m tax refund he applied for and secured years ago after he reported millions of dollars in losses. He could be liable to pay back more than $100m depending on the outcome of that audit, the Times has reported.
Congressman Bill Pascrell, a New Jersey Democrat on the House panel that has been pursuing Mr Trump’s taxes, called the Times report a “blockbuster” and said it was “disgusting” Mr Trump did not pay any federal taxes for 10 of the last 15 years.
“I have been leading Congress’s fight to get the Trump tax returns since he took office. I’m going to be reading every word of this blockbuster to see how far the crimes go. Wow,” Mr Pascrell said.
Mr Trump denied the contents of the Times report at a previously scheduled press conference within minutes of its publication on Sunday.
“It’s fake news. Totally fake news. Made up,” Mr Trump said, without addressing any of the story’s specifics.
“Actually, I paid tax and you will see that as soon as my tax returns… they are under audit,” the president added, repeating a common refrain from the White House and his campaign team use to explain why he has not released his financial files, a customary step taken by every major-party presidential candidate for decades.
“It’ll all be revealed. It’s gonna come out,” Mr Trump claimed of his tax returns.
The president’s filings show that he raked in $427.4m from his reality TV show The Apprentice and endorsement and licensing deals stemming from his celebrity image, the Times reported.
Mr Trump leveraged those earnings to invest in various business ventures and golf resorts that have, as the Times puts it, “devoured cash”.
Increasingly, the president has relied on revenues from business dealings that have created a conflict-of-interest minefield, such as name licensing fees for buildings in countries with strongman leaders such as Turkey ($1m) and the Philippines ($3m) and an uptick in business from political groups at his hotels and golf clubs.
Mr Trump’s personal businesses have made $23m from political groups — including his own presidential campaign — since 2015, according to Federal Election Commission data.
His presidential campaign has lined his personal pockets to the tune of $2.3m since he took office, using the money it has raised from major Republican donors and hundreds of thousands of individual Trump supporters to pay off the campaign’s lodging, food and rent bills at Trump hotels, resorts and business spaces.
One example of the campaign enriching him personally is his campaign committee, Donald J Trump for President, spending $37,542 per month to operate out of Trump Tower in New York.
A lawyer for the Trump Organisation, Alan Garten, told the Times that “most, if not all, of the facts” in its report “appear to be inaccurate”.
But Mr Garten only took direct umbrage with the Times characterisation of the amount of money Mr Trump had paid in taxes.
“Over the past decade, President Trump has paid tens of millions of dollars in personal taxes to the federal government, including paying millions in personal taxes since announcing his candidacy in 2015,” Mr Garten said in a statement.
However, the statement about “personal taxes” does not address the Times’ bombshell claim that Mr Trump only paid $750 in federal income taxes.
“With the term ‘personal taxes’ … Mr Garten appears to be conflating income taxes with other federal taxes Mr Trump has paid — Social Security, Medicare and taxes for his household employees,” the newspaper states.
A Trump campaign source downplayed the consequences of Sunday’s report, noting the Times ran a similar story on the president’s tax filings before the first debate between Mr Trump and Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Thousands of US Immigrant Workers Forced Into Modern Slavery
While, on the one end, thousands of immigrant workers are forced into modern slavery, migrant politics is once again taking center stage in the United States.
Last Thursday, two buses carrying immigrants and asylum seekers arrived near the residence of vice president Kamla Harris. Texas governor Greg Abbott said that the state of Texas “will continue to send migrants” until the white house comes up with strict policies to secure the border.
Since April, Texas has sent over 7,000 migrants to New York and Washington, DC. Not long before, Florida’s governor sent over 50 undocumented migrants to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.
Politicians are, once again, inconsiderately using immigrant men, women, and children as political pawns. But nobody is talking about the suffering and exploitation these immigrants, even with a work visa, are facing.
The Reality of Immigrant Workers: The Operation Blooming Onion
Immigrant exploitation is nothing new in the US. The roots of forced labor — an ugly legacy of slavery — still run deep in the US labor market.
One live example is the recent crackdown in the field of southern Georgia, where 24 people were named in a federal indictment accused of Moder-Day-Slavery. For over three years, the 24 prosecutors trafficked migrant workers from Central America and Mexico and subjected them to horrendous working conditions on the farms in Georgia.
On further investigation, the authorities found that the culprits were a part of a transactional criminal organization that has been trafficking immigrant workers since 2015.
The victims were forced to live in cramped, dirty trailers with raw sewage leaking into the trailers, threatened with separation, and detained in a work comp surrounded by a work fence. And this is only a small fraction of thousands of suffering through immigrant exploitation under modern-day slavery.
The Ugly Face of Forced Labor & Modern Slavery in the US
For most natives of developing and under-developed nations, landing a job in the US is a dream come true. The same was true for Jayson, a construction worker in the Philippines, when his boss offered him a handsomely paying job in the states. But it soon became a nightmare.
Not long after he arrived in the US on a P-1 visa for athletes (as recommended by his recruiter), he realized that he was not here as a worker but as a trafficked laborer.
In the name of safekeeping, the recruiter took Jayson’s passport and asked him to pay $12,000 for a work Visa. Unaware of his rights and visa policies, he worked for the trafficker for nine months (in awful working conditions at a low wage of $400/month) until he was rescued by the FBI.
What’s worst? Jayson is not alone. Lured by the salary, status, and potentially bright future, thousands of temporary migrant workers fall into the trap of forced labor in the US every year.
The Exploitation of Immigrant Workers in the US
Immigrants from other nations make up a sizeable portion of the forced (enslaved) labor victims in the United States. Most exploited victims suffer because they don’t understand or speak English, nor do they know their rights or the laws.
They decide to immigrate to the United States in the expectation of finding more chances and a better life, putting complete faith in their traffickers, like Jayson, only to find themselves trapped in an unstoppable circle of coercion.
Most immigrants caught in the forced labor trafficking chains come to the United States via student or work (H2A) visa programs. This is where the traffickers exploit the victim’s vulnerabilities, especially when their immigrants are entirely dependent on the exploiters for their basic needs.
The Unfair Power Imbalance
According to recent estimates by State Department, 14,500 to 17,500 immigrants are trafficked into the US every year. But experts believe that the real numbers are much higher since the data on human trafficking are immensely challenging to collect.
As per the Human Rights Center at the University of California, about 10,000 forced laborers are working as slave workers in the US at any given time.
Plus, for the victims who want to take the legal route, the process is complex, arduous, and lengthy. Moreover, the majority of cases are often left unresolved. A recent report by ABC news shows how even skilled immigrant workers suffer from immigrant exploitation and workplace sexual harassment.
All this makes one thing very clear: Immigrant workers are abused, and even after 150 years of slavery abolition, the US is still struggling to eradicate modern slavery.
The Call for Better Visa and Immigrant Protection Policies
In a letter to the government, 18 grassroots legal centers from all over the nation demand essential legislative reforms, such as criminalizing wage theft, enabling migrant workers to take legal action against exploitative employers, and widening the Fair Entitlements Guarantee to every worker, including those with temporary work visas.
But, still, the requests for more robust regulation to prevent the exploitation of immigrants are yet to be addressed.
The US and Israel are Weaponizing Iran Protests
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei recently blamed the US and Israel for the ongoing widespread protests in Iran. He said that the riots had been “engineered” by Iran’s arch-enemies and their allies.
The statement came after Israel and the US governments lent their support to the protests.
The US government said that it was “appalled” by the violent response to the protests. President Joe Biden expressed grave concern about reports of the “intensifying violent crackdown on peaceful protesters”. According to him, those protesters were calling for “just and universal principles”. He added that the US “stands with Iranian women” who were “inspiring the world with their bravery”. The US also hit Iran with more sanctions. Iran’s interior and communications ministers and several law enforcement leaders were targeted for sanctions.
Israel has been running a propaganda campaign on its official social media handles. The official handles shared several videos showing Israeli women standing up with Iranian women.
Widespread protests in Iran were provoked after the tragic death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody. The protests are led by women. Some men are also standing up to the women and their demands.
The supreme leader’s statement has the backing of history. Those who are unaware of Iran’s history, the US intervention in countries like Afghanistan to save women and Israel’s purple-washing in Palestine, might dismiss Ayatollah’s statement. They might think that the Ayatollah is looking for a reason to suppress protests and justify the violent repression.
However, there is more truth to the statement than meets the eye.
Iran’s Experience with the US and Israel
When we read about Iran’s recent history, for some reason it always starts with the Islamic Revolution of 1979. However, this author believes that Iran’s recent history should always begin from 1953.
In 1953, the United States and Britain launched a joint operation through the CIA and MI6 to overthrow the democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh. Mosaddegh had tried to nationalize oil companies and reclaim Iran’s oil from the British.
Further, one year after the Islamic Revolution, a CIA agent sneaked into Iran and took out six American diplomats who were staying in the Canadian embassy after the hostage crisis.
There have also been recent operations by Israel inside Iran. Israel’s Mossad assassinated Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in November 2020. Mossad carried out the assassination using A. I. and remote control. Additionally, Mossad has killed 5 and wounded one Iranian nuclear scientist in several attacks since Iran began trying to acquire a nuclear bomb.
Also Read: Is Iran really the enemy?
Weaponizing Feminist Movements
The West and Israel claim to stand up for women’s rights around the world. However, they have done more damage to these movements than anyone else by weaponizing the feminist movements.
One of the reasons given by the US to invade Afghanistan was to save the women of Afghanistan. The then-First Lady Laura Bush delivered a speech in 2001 in which she justified the invasion of Afghanistan to protect the women of Afghanistan from the brutal oppression of women.
Israel has also co-opted feminist struggles in order to justify the Zionist movement. It claims to rescue Palestinian women from the evil men of Palestine. It grabs the gender equality slogan to divert attention from its human rights abuses in Palestine.
However, when it comes to women like Shireen Abu Akleh whom Israel kills for doing their duty, Israel conveniently parts its way with feminism.
Right now, what we are seeing in Iran is no different from Afghanistan or Palestine. Israel’s government and its women are standing with women because they hate Iran. They do not care about Iran’s women. It is just that they want Iran to perish from the earth.
Similarly, the US does not care about women’s struggle in Iran. The US does not allow its female citizens the right to choose when it comes to abortion.
It is also interesting that neither the US nor Israel stands up for the feminist activists of Saudi Arabia who are languishing in jails for small acts of defiance. The US never sanctioned Saudi rulers for oppressing women.
Perhaps Israel and the US have this wishful thinking that somehow they could use this uprising to oust the current regime in Iran.
Iran’s previous president Hassan Rouhani had given more leeway to women in Iran. There was a gradual change happening in Iran. However, Mahsa Amini’s death led to an uprising that has now been hijacked by Iran’s enemies. As a result, Iran seems to consider the current uprising a national security issue.
The West and Israel should leave Muslim women for themselves. They should not be in the job of rescuing Muslim women. It would be more helpful if they do not selectively stand with Muslims of a particular country. They turn feminist movements into national security issues and hence do a disservice to the feminist struggles.
This article deals with only one aspect of the current uprising in Iran. Other aspects have been covered elsewhere.
Will China Invade Taiwan? The Looming Danger of World War 3 Explained
While the world is engulfed in the Ukraine-Russia war, global inflation, food shortage, and scorching heat, China is preparing to conclude its long-simmering plan to invade Taiwan.
Here’s an in-depth report:
Will China Invade Taiwan: An Overview
China’s goals for Taiwan are well known. Tensions between the two nations have been stoked for years by opposing perspectives over the sovereignty of the little island country. And now, they are reaching boiling point.
Beijing sees Taiwan as a breakaway province even though it has never been a part of China. Moreover, the so-called reunification with Taiwan has been a top priority for the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, ever since he came to office. And he hasn’t ruled out using force to do this.
Taiwan’s military, which has 169,000 active soldiers, is outnumbered by its superpower neighbors’ million-strong army by over a 20 to 1 margin. And, with the looming danger of China’s invasion of Taiwan; expert fear, the world is inching closer to a World War situation.
Why does Taiwan Matters to the World?
If China were to Invade Taiwan, two nuclear power heads, China and the US, could war head to head into what could escalate into world war three.
But why is Taiwan so important for the world, especially for the US?
South China Sea Dispute
The South China Sea is one of the most important regions for global trade because over 30% of the world’s shipping passes through the passage, which amounts to $3.37 Trillion in trade per year. The sea also homes 11 billion barrels of untapped crude oil and 190 Trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
And most important of all, the country controlling this region will have significant military benefits.
For years, China has been keenly taking control of the region. To an extent, where the Sino military has created an artificial island to claim the South China Sea as its own.
So, if China succeeds in invading, it will have the upper hand in the second most important region in the world, handing China significant military dominance in the area.
US’s Promise in Question
The US does not recognize Taiwan as an officially different state. But, the Taiwan Relations Act 1979 does require the US to aid Taiwan in self-defect. President Bidden also testified that in case of Chinese assault, Washington would protect Tawain with force.
Though Biden has framed US support for Taiwan in terms of ideals, such as the defense of democracy against despotism, many analysts point out that Washington also views the island as strategically significant.
Furthermore, if China invades Taiwan, the US will be forced to reciprocate to honor its promise. Failing to do so would put Washington in question even with its strongest allies, including NATO.
Taiwan: The Semiconductor Hotstop
From laptops to game consoles and automobiles, most of our electronic equipment is powered by semiconductors chips manufactured in Taiwan.
Taiwan alone has 63% of the market share in the global semiconductor industry. By one measure, TSMC (Taiwan semiconductor manufacturing company) holds over 54%. It’s a vast industry worth over 100 billion USD in 2021.
Therefore, Taiwan is the world’s semiconductor hotspot that powers significant tech companies, including Apple, Intel, and Nvidia. And, with China in control of Taiwan, it will directly take over one of the world’s most vital industries.
Can China Takeover Taiwan By Force?
The People’s Liberation Army has significantly improved under president Xi Jinping to an extent where invading Taiwan is possible.
However, one key determiner is how close PLA is to mastering the skills required to deploy thousands of troops to Taiwan by air or sea, take over the island and push over to size crucial areas like railways, ports, and communication.
However, even if LPA- the biggest military force in the world- wanted to annex Taiwan, doing so would be fraught with danger.
While subjected to naval and aircraft bombardment, the Sino military will have to cross Taiwan bay with over 100,000 soldiers. And, even if the military were to reach Taiwan’s coast; landing aircraft to unload armored personnel carriers, artilleries, and tanks would be a challenge because of the island’s rocky shoreline.
The invasion will further provoke large-scale combat between the US and China.
Taiwan Brace for China’s Invasion
With China’s aggressive military power demonstration near Taiwanese borders and Nancy Pelosi’s visit, the Taiwanese authorities are preparing for the invasion. Now, allies are pumping in more military aid while the neighbors are arming with new fighter jets.
According to Chinese officials, live-fire sea and air exercises are being conducted in six different regions around Taiwan. The drill includes over 100 planes, including ten warships, bombers, and fighter jets.
However, Taiwan is also setting the stage for strong retaliation.
Last week, Taiwan conducted its largest ever military drills that stimulated the repulsion of an invading force. City across Tawin shut down for thirty minutes for nationwide military exercises.
And now, with China set to orchestrate fresh military drills near Taiwan; the island nations say, “Our military will be ready but will not ask for war.“
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