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Reader Carol wrote in to ask about a story in the U.K. DAILY MAIL that criticized a tax provision in the “CARES” Act as a giveaway to the rich. Specifically, it said that 80 percent of the benefit would go directly to millionaires and billionaires, including Jared Kushner and others in the “Trump circle.”

Not surprisingly, a review of the DAILY MAIL report showed it had no balance, no commentary from anyone on the other side of this issue. And predictably, the story was picked up by other left-leaning sites that presented the same simplistic take-away; namely, that the Republicans had added this provision to further enrich their “rich friends.” It took some looking, but we found an analysis in a more conservative news outlet, THE FEDERALIST, from Kyle Sammin, that took exception to this conclusion.


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The headline and subhead sum it up: “No, Boosting Small Business Isn’t Rich People ‘Looting’ Taxpayers: Far from a handout to rich guys, a small change under the coronavirus stimulus package reduces taxes on business owners so they can retain employees on payroll.” It cites Jeff Stein at the WASHINGTON POST for using the tired media narrative that Republicans care only about rich people while failing to explore the reasons Democrats went along with this (they voted for it, you know). “As usual,” Sammin writes, “there is more to the story than the class warfare angle.”

The way Sammin explains it, this is “far from a naked handout to rich guys.” The tax incentive was added because of a change that had been made in the tax law in 2017 regarding the way small business tax losses are treated. The reason taxes on business owners (those “millionaires and billionaires”) have been reduced is to make it easier to retain workers on payroll while they’re shut down. It does not apply to personal income taxes.

It also doesn’t apply to huge, publicly-traded corporations, he says, but to smaller businesses that are organized for tax purposes as “tax-throughs.” We’re talking about proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs, and subchapter S corporations, whose profits are taxed at the individual level, not the corporate level. According to Sammin, about 95 percent of all businesses in America are organized this way.

This is your locally-owned neighborhood hair salon, family-owned restaurant or clothing boutique that has been hard-hit by the quarantine. In parts of the country with a mid-to-higher cost of living, especially, these business owners are going to be in the “millionaire” category, and these are the people –- along with their employees –- who are holding on for dear life.

The tax change in 2017 meant that, starting in 2018, small businesses couldn’t write off more of a loss than $250,000, or $500,000 if it was owned by a married couple. At that time, people who lost that kind of money tended to be disproportionately wealthy. But now, many more small businesses will show a loss like this, which means they have to cut pay or lay off employees altogether. This provision in the CARES Act was intended to lighten the load on these small businesses. “Like most tax incentives,” Sammins writes, it is not perfect, but it should be marginally effective in helping all workers, not just the rich.”


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Yes, some of these small businesses are owned by quite wealthy people. Democrat Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, who did vote for the bill, complained, “It’s a scandal for Republicans to loot American taxpayers in the midst of an economic and human tragedy.” He’s hoping you don’t think too deeply about this and realize that it’s not “looting” to let small businesses write off their actual losses, especially at a time when they are faced with the very real possibility of losing it all.

As long as we’re looking at the CARES Act, here’s a less shall-we-say “charitable” look at the possible unintended consequences. It explains how the program is vulnerable to waste, fraud and abuse. (To that I would say, well, yes...isn’t every government program?) As Gary Meltz writes in the WASHINGTON EXAMINER, “These are honest and legal ways the PPP allows business owners who are not struggling due to the pandemic to make massive profits. Now think about the unethical and illegal methods that probably also exist.” To give the complete picture, I’ve included that take here:

The law has loopholes that allow larger businesses such as large restaurant chains to take advantage. For example, as Dominick Mastrangelo reports in the WASHINGTON EXAMINER, an exemption in the CARES Act allows food industry businesses to obtain loans as long as no more than 500 employees work at a single location. (I could argue, though, that it might be just as challenging, perhaps in different ways. to keep a big chain of restaurants afloat as it is to sustain a single restaurant or small regional chain.) Also, the law does not specifically prohibit aid from going to publicly listed firms.

Keep in mind that while we’re talking about this, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi are holding off their approval of a bill to replenish by $250 billion the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for small business loans, which in just two weeks was drained of its original $350 billion. This lack of money could affect hundreds of thousands of businesses. Again, this bill is another effort to help businesses keep people employed while they are unable to make payroll. Democrats are trying to inflate the bill to $500 billion –- for hospitals, food assistance and first responders –- and are delaying its passage.

They should go forward with this NOW and take up other funding in a separate bill. Stop bickering and playing politics; Congress has the “power of the purse” and could introduce additional legislation and debate the details of that funding separately rather than hold this bill hostage.

I would add that OF COURSE any funding bill designed to help desperate small businesses could end up benefiting some people who are wealthy –- including some who are disliked for partisan reasons. Just speaking broadly, if a bill that’s going to provide critical relief to small businesses happens to have some benefit for, say, Jared Kushner, does that mean we’re going to go on the assumption that it was DESIGNED to help build Jared Kushner’s portfolio and summarily reject it, leaving small businesses to twist in the wind? Or, are we perhaps going to do some sort of carve-out so that the program benefits everyone EXCEPT Jared Kushner (and anyone else who might be in Trump’s “circle,” or even every rich Republican)? Leftists would love to do that, but there’s a word for it: unconstitutional.

By the way, Pelosi, in a Sunday interview with Chris Wallace in which she repeatedly noted how “nonpartisan” her colleagues are being on the issue of help for small business (!), still managed to finger-point at Trump and would give no Democrats any responsibility for the delay in funding. “He’s a poor leader,” she said of the President. “He’s always trying to avoid responsibility and assign blame.” Um, Nancy, isn’t that exactly what YOU are doing in this very interview?

Last week I made the case for why the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) from January 2017, which concluded that Russia was trying to damage Hillary and help Trump win, was 180 degrees WRONG. It’s no longer just a wild right-wing conspiracy theory, but, I believe, the only logical conclusion, to say that Russia was actually trying to hurt Trump and stay on what they assumed was the winning side, Hillary’s.

Let’s start making sense: if certain “dossier” stories were Russian disinformation designed to help Trump, as recently-declassified footnotes in the IG report suggest the FBI suspected, then they wouldn’t have been anti-Trump falsehoods like Michael Cohen’s imaginary trip to Prague or Trump’s fictional romp in a Moscow hotel with a couple of full-grown Betsy-Wetsy dolls. Heck, the Russians would have been working on a “dossier” of their own, full of terrible Hillary stories (as if we didn’t have enough of those).


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It certainly makes sense to think they’d assume Hillary was going to win. (And surely they would not want the scenario of Hillary winning and then finding out they’d been working for her opponent!) Hillary was a known quantity, she headed an unfathomably-huge international political power machine, they’d supported the Clinton Global Initiative and they’d paid her husband a fortune just to give a couple of speeches. Surely they were expecting some big things in return. One of these things they’d already received, when she signed off on an agreement that led to Russia owning 20 percent of America’s uranium reserves. Do they think President Donald Trump in their wildest dreams would have gone for THAT?

But as John Solomon wrote over the weekend, “As the Obama administration was headed out the door in January 2017, its intelligence leaders concluded with moderate to high confidence that Russia’s meddling in 2016, including the hack of emails from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and the Democratic Party, was designed to help Trump defeat Clinton.” And that was their narrative (with cooperation from the media) going into Trump’s administration –- not just Russian "meddling," but that Trump's campaign had actively conspired with the Russians. They claimed this with no evidence at all, as the special counsel would determine much later.

You know, we still don’t even have hard evidence that the Russians were the ones who got those emails in the first place. The DNC never did turn over the information on their servers to the FBI, only the report from CrowdStrike. Yet for some baffling reason the FBI were okay with that and went along with the DNC’s self-serving conclusion. Others have come up with some very different possible scenarios for the hacking or leaking of that information, but these are dismissed as wild conspiracy theories.


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Daniel Hoffman, the CIA’s former Moscow station chief and one of our top experts in Russian spycraft, said he believed all along that the Obama administration’s assessment was wrong and sees the newly-declassified footnotes as confirmation. In other words, the Russians were NOT trying to help Trump get elected. On the other hand, he thinks the whole issue of whether the Russians were helping Trump or Clinton is “superfluous.” If I understand correctly what he’s quoted as saying, I disagree strongly with that because of the anything-but-superfluous political consequences of the "helping Trump" narrative chosen by Obama’s outgoing administration.

So, considering there was no evidence that Trump was “colluding” with Russians, where did the FBI get that idea? According to Solomon, Republican investigators such as Rep. Devin Nunes of California, ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, are focusing on what John Brennan’s CIA was telling the FBI in 2016.


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Hoffman said he’s always maintained that the Kremlin was tracking Christopher Steele’s information-gathering efforts. “Putin would have recognized the opportunity to infiltrate Steele’s work and plant misinformation, which would not immediately be spotted because Steele was supposed to be a reliable, retired MI-6 officer with a strong background on Russia,” he said. (I would add that if Putin thought that about Steele, he was wrong, as the FBI had been doubting him as a reliable source since 2015.)

I still say Putin was doing this to help Hillary, to gain additional favor with her, as he must have assumed she would find out after she was President about his efforts to help her win. No telling what he might get in return --- plus it occurs to me that it might be an interesting blackmail opportunity for him as well. Nobody thought Trump was going to be President (well, except for me and a few other independent thinkers.) “The Steele dossier was used as fodder in our partisan, political meat grinder,” according to Hoffman. “Putin’s goal is to exacerbate the already high level of animosity between Democrats and Republicans, with an eye towards degrading our democracy.”

Well, his effort to help Hillary with anti-Trump "disinformation" failed, but he certainly degraded our democracy, with plenty of help from Democrats.

I’ve been concerned enough about the Coronavirus that I haven’t left my home in almost 6 weeks and have taken extreme precautions to protect my family and myself. It wasn’t irrational fear about getting sick, but respect for the guidelines so we can get this over with. But there is something that scares me worse than a virus and in fact, scares me more than death itself. I’ve made arrangements both for my physical death and my eternal life once that happens. But I’m genuinely afraid that we are losing our civil liberties and our fundamental freedoms as they are ripped from our lives. Shockingly, many American are actually cheering about it. To quote Jesus, “Father, Forgive them-they know NOT what they do!”

In KY, it took a smart and “rule-of-law” federal judge on Saturday afternoon before Easter Sunday to declare that the government couldn’t forbid a Louisville church from offering a drive-in service to its members. The federal judge noted that there was irony in that people were free to visit a liquor store drive-through couldn’t attend a drive-in church service and that he doubted that consumption of alcohol was somehow considered more “essential” than attending church on Easter Sunday.

In Greenville, MS the mayor sent cops to a church to forbid the people from even sitting in their own cars in the church parking lot for a drive-in service and gave $500 tickets to each person sitting in his or her own car. The only violators of safe social distancing were the cops, who went right up to car windows and barked orders and handed tickets to startled worshippers. Thank God, Attorney General Bill Barr has decided to review clear violations of the 1st Amendment in cases like this.


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In Michigan, the Governor moved from nanny to tyrant by forbidding people to buy seeds to plant gardens, even though the seeds were on shelves in stores that were open! That resulted in hundreds of people driving around the State Capitol, honking their horns in protest. The Governor stubbornly asserted that she was right. So people planting their own gardens and eating produce they grow is somehow more unhealthy than going to a supermarket and handling produce that may have been touched by dozens of strangers?

In addition, a father was arrested and handcuffed for playing catch with his own daughter in a completely deserted public park. People have been threatened with arrest for setting foot in their own backyards. The New Jersey Governor, when asked about what gave him the right to suspend the Bill of Rights, said, “that’s above my pay grade…we weren’t thinking about the Bill of Rights when we did this.” Obviously not! Well we all need to be thinking about it!

I don’t want any of us to get sick or die from a virus that probably came not from bat-soup, but a Chinese bio-lab. But if we freely surrender our basic civil liberties now, don’t think we will ever get all of them back. I don’t trust government. I was in government long enough to know that the only thing between freedom and tyranny is a vigilant citizen who remembers that government works for us—not the other way around.

I fully understand the Biblical mandate to obey civil authorities, but I also understand that when civil authorities demand of me to do something immoral or against the law or Constitution, I have not merely a right, but a responsibility to resist and to willingly suffer the consequences. Thank God for Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and for that matter the entirety of our Founding Fathers who revolted against racism, Nazism, and tyranny but willingly suffered for doing so because they valued liberty and the law more than life itself.

It’s fine to be afraid of the virus. It’s wise to take precautions. But be afraid of a government that can take your life, your liberty, and these days, even your freedom to worship your Lord.

At a time when the news is full of speculation about what will happen when we take the first “baby steps” towards opening the American economy, an intriguing article appeared about a study on infection rates around the world that our epidemiologists might want to take into account.

Professor Yitzhak Ben Israel of Tel Aviv University did a study of new coronavirus infection rates in the US, UK, Sweden, Israel, Italy, Switzerland, France, Germany and Spain. What he found is is very...well, it’s hard to know what to make of it.

When he compared a quarantined nation such as Israel with a business-pretty-much-as-usual nation such as Sweden, the coronavirus peaked and subsided in exactly the same way. And ALL the graphs looked the same.

"His graphs show that all countries experienced seemingly identical coronavirus infection patterns,” reports Marina Medvin in her piece for TOWNHALL, “with the number of infections peaking in the sixth week and rapidly subsiding by the eighth week.” The Wuhan virus follows its own fixed infection pattern, the professor suggested, that is not dependent on freedom or quarantine. In other words, even if people are having contact with each other, there is a natural decline in the number of infections.

"Expansion begins exponentially but fades quickly after about eight weeks,” he said. He doesn’t know why this happens, but speculates that it’s climate-related or is just the life cycle of the virus. (I would add that if it's climate-related, we would likely have a "second wave" in the fall and winter. But maybe by then we'd have a much better idea of how to treat it.)


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The professor even has a possible explanation for Italy’s staggering 12 percent mortality rate: the health care system there. “The health care system in Italy has its own problems,” he said. “It has nothing to do with coronavirus. In 2017 it also collapsed because of the flu.” And Italy does have high flu mortality rates as well, especially compared with a country such as Germany, which has low coronavirus infections and mortality rates and also low flu rates. (I'm no epidemiologist, but I would add that Italy also has a population that skews very old.)

Although he does recommend moderate social distancing, Prof. Ben Israel says his data from the past 50 days do not support the quarantine or the economic shut-down. He calls the reaction in Israel “mass hysteria,” saying, “I have no other way to describe it...4,500 people die each year from the flu in Israel because of complications, so, close a country because of that? No. I don’t see a reason to do that because of a lower-risk epidemic.”

Of course, he has the benefit of hindsight, as well as the data he’s collected over the past 50 days. At the start of this, there was no way to plot the “life cycle” of the virus on a graph. For all we knew, the infection rate would increase exponentially and then just continue...exponentially. The British computer model used by Dr. Fauci was developed by a researcher named Professor Neil Ferguson, who reportedly has a history of wildly overestimating mortality rates. It was his model that predicted we’d have 2.2 million deaths in the United States and 500,000 deaths in the U.K. Both those figures have been revised very dramatically downward.

Certainly we had to err on the side of caution rather than risk millions of deaths. But this professor's research should be weighed now in any decision on when and how to start living our lives.

Here is his original interview with the Israeli news outlet Mako.