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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?

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.

If you’re like me, you get an initial impression of a story but then, after thinking about it for another day or so, you sometimes realize there are even more far-reaching implications than anyone is talking about. Such was the case for me and my research staff after reading about the newly declassified footnotes from the IG report on the FBI’s FISA warrant applications.

Yes, we know that Russia might have been running a disinformation campaign on Christopher Steele. (This could be true even though we have reason to believe that a lot of it actually came from Glenn Simpson with Steele’s name attached.)  We know the Russians had information by summer of 2016 that he was working for Fusion GPS to help Hillary.

Yes, we know that the FBI knew about this possible Russian involvement --- BEFORE the FISA warrant application was renewed to spy on Carter Page and before the Mueller special counsel had been appointed. (I believe they were duty-bound to alert the FISA Court of any problem with information in their original application, but they ignored that and blithely went on to renew it three more times.)

But there’s something MORE we know: that, contrary to what the FBI said and the Intelligence Community concluded in their January 2017 report, Russia was NOT doing this to help Trump. They weren’t even doing it just to “create chaos,” although that was a plus.


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So what was their actual goal? Well, class, if they were doing it to help Trump, if they were “colluding” with Trump to win the election, wouldn't they have been spreading damaging stories about HILLARY?  Why would they be spreading phony stories like the one about Trump attorney Michael Cohen going on a suspicious trip to Prague (he never went), or the one about Trump frolicking with incontinent hookers in a Moscow hotel (it didn’t happen)? These are two examples of stories, as revealed in the IG footnotes, that the FBI thought might have come from a Russian disinformation campaign. Who does that kind of story help? I’ll give you a hint: not Trump.

And why would Christopher Steele’s sub-source be a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton, as is revealed in the footnotes? Who would his information be intended to help? Hint: Not Trump.

Why would Steele himself, an ardent Clinton supporter who was hired by Hillary and the DNC, who was “desperate” to make sure Trump didn’t win and who had a deadline of Election Day to get his anti-Trump “dossier” out, be doing this project in the first place? Who was he trying to help? Not Trump.

So where does anyone get the idea that the Russians were trying to hurt Hillary and help Trump?

That was the FBI’s narrative in the summer of 2016 and onward, and it led to years of ridiculous investigation, but the truth was actually just the opposite. Everyone connected with this scheme --- Steele, his sources and sub-sources, Glenn Simpson and Fusion GPS, the Democratic National Committee, Hillary’s lawyers, the top echelon of the FBI, the director of the CIA, the special counsel team, Democrats on the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, allies at the DOJ and State Department, and, obviously, RUSSIA --- was aligned with Hillary. They were all trying to hurt Donald Trump and help Hillary Clinton, whom they surely believed would be the next U.S. President. This isn’t a wild conspiracy theory; with all we know now, any other conclusion defies logic.


RELATED READING:  More IG footnotes show the FBI was NOT "duped" by Russia


I would add that with a group of this size, power and scope aligned with Hillary, the then-President of the United States was aware of their activities. Hard to prove, but, again, it defies reason to think he wasn't informed about a lot of it. As Lisa Page texted to Peter Strzok in September 2016: “POTUS wants to know everything we’re doing.”

Here’s a concise report on what the footnotes, just released by acting Director of National intelligence Richard Grenell, reveal:

It was so important for the FBI and whoever else was working with them to “get” Trump that they violated the rights of innocent Americans such as Carter Page and George Papadopoulos, who were literally caught in the “Crossfire.” Papadopoulos even got jail time. 

And speaking of George Papadopoulos, Lindsay Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has just declassified and released documents and transcripts relating to him and the FBI’s targeting of him. The material he released falls into three categories:

1) Declassified information related to “Crossfire Hurricane.”

2) Timeline of correspondence sent and received by the Committee regarding FISA abuse investigation.

3) Corrective action taken by the DOJ and FISA Court as a result of FISA abuse investigation.

We learn from the correspondence that the DOJ has produced the following documents:

–- Transcript of conversation between Papadopoulos and the FBI confidential human source (CHS, or “SPY”).

–- Another transcript of conversation between Papadopoulos and the aforementioned SPY.

--- The original FISA warrant application to spy on Carter Page.

--- Renewals one, two and three of the original Carter Page application (written AFTER the FBI knew of the problems with the “dossier” used therein).

--- A July 2018 letter from the DOJ to the FISA Court alerting them to some of the errors and omissions in the Carter Page application.

You can read the transcript of the conversation between George Papadopoulos and the SPY here, at the link.

When Papadopoulos was informed that this material had been declassified, he had an interesting reaction. A big question, of course, is who sent Hillary supporter and Australian diplomat Alexander Downer to London to meet with Papadopoulos in the spring of 2016? Recall that the FBI said their conversation, in which Papadopoulos reportedly said the Russians had damaging information about Hillary (which appears to have been fed to him by another CHS), is what sparked the opening of “Crossfire Hurricane.” Here’s what Papadopoulos tweeted on Thursday evening:

"Senator Graham in his letter to Australia made it clear that Alexander Downer was instructed to meet with me. Mueller’s team acknowledged he was recording me after I reported him to them (the irony). The key question is, who put the Clinton errand boy up to it? DURHAM KNOWS.” (Emphasis mine.

Papadopoulos Reacts to Declassification of Spygate Transcripts: "Durham Knows" Who Sent Clinton Errand Boy to Meet with Me in London

So we can add Alexander Downer --- and whoever sent him to London --- to the massive column of Spygate characters who were out to HELP HILLARY WIN. And, yes, we can add Russia, too.  Much more to come, because Durham knows.