Ethics experts see national security concern in Trump’s debt

Revelations that President Donald Trump is personally liable for more than $400 million in debt are casting a shadow over his presidency that ethics experts say raises national security concerns he could be manipulated to sway U.S. policy by organizations or individuals he’s indebted to.

New scrutiny of Trump, who claims great success as a private businessman, comes after The New York Times reported that tax records show he is personally carrying a staggering amount of debt — including more than $300 million in loans that will come due in the next four years.

AP

Christian group raises over $500K for Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse

They probably consider themselves “pro-life” but donate to an accused murderer.

A Christian crowdfunding site has raised more than $520,000 to help cover legal fees for Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse.

The GiveSendGo site, created shortly after Rittenhouse shot three Black Lives Matter protesters in the Wisconsin city on Aug. 25, killing two, is sponsored by a group called “Friends of the Rittenhouse family,” which is based in Atlanta, Georgia.

NY Post

Trump Secretly Mocks His Christian Supporters

Former aides say that in private, the president has spoken with cynicism and contempt about believers.

One day in 2015, Donald Trump beckoned Michael Cohen, his longtime confidant and personal attorney, into his office. Trump was brandishing a printout of an article about an Atlanta-based megachurch pastor trying to raise $60 million from his flock to buy a private jet. Trump knew the preacher personally—Creflo Dollar had been among a group of evangelical figures who visited him in 2011 while he was first exploring a presidential bid. During the meeting, Trump had reverently bowed his head in prayer while the pastors laid hands on him. Now he was gleefully reciting the impious details of Dollar’s quest for a Gulfstream G650.

Trump seemed delighted by the “scam,” Cohen recalled to me, and eager to highlight that the pastor was “full of shit.”

“They’re all hustlers,” Trump said.

The Atlantic

Trump’s Taxes and Finances

It was revealed that Mr Trump paid just $750 (£585) in federal income taxes in 2016, the year he was elected, and the same amount in his first year in the White House. In ten of the previous 15 years, meanwhile, he paid no income taxes at all, on account of having lost more money than he made.

In other ways, however, the news of Mr Trump’s meagre tax exposure merely brings the US up to speed with what has long been evident in Scotland. If anything, the overarching legacy of the New York Times exposé will be to lend even greater urgency to questions surrounding the Trump Organisation’s finances.

One thread has remained constant. In that entire time, not a single one of Mr Trump’s companies has paid a penny in corporation tax to authorities in the UK. The reason? Not a single one has ever turned a profit.

The Scotsman

They wanted disruption in 2016. Now they’re Trump defectors

The more Jensen learned about Trump, the less she liked. For the first time in her life, she was uncomfortable with a Republican.

Over the course of Trump’s first term, as Jensen grew more alarmed by the president’s actions, her stance on many issues started to shift. She began to read different news sources, scour new types of books. She watched MSNBC along with Fox News, and read about media bias and immigration.

Everything she thought she believed was in question. She’d loved George W. Bush and was a strong critic of Barack Obama. Now? She found herself warming to U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive Democrat from the Bronx, which was about as far away from suburban Texas as you could get.

AP

Why Are Conservatives More Susceptible to Believing Lies?

An interplay between how all humans think and how conservatives tend to act might actually explain a lot about our current moment.

Many conservatives have a loose relationship with facts. The right-wing denial of what most people think of as accepted reality starts with political issues: As recently as 2016, 45 percent of Republicans still believed that the Affordable Care Act included “death panels” (it doesn’t). A 2015 poll found that 54 percent of GOP primary voters believed then-President Obama to be a Muslim (…he isn’t).

Then there are the false beliefs about generally accepted science. Only 25 percent of self-proclaimed Trump voters agree that climate change is caused by human activities. Only 43 percent of Republicans overall believe that humans have evolved over time.

And then it gets really crazy. Almost 1 in 6 Trump voters, while simultaneously viewing photographs of the crowds at the 2016 inauguration of Donald Trump and at the 2012 inauguration of Barack Obama , insisted that the former were larger. Sixty-six percent of self-described “very conservative” Americans seriously believe that “Muslims are covertly implementing Sharia law in American courts.” Forty-six percent of Trump voters polled just after the 2016 election either thought that Hillary Clinton was connected to a child sex trafficking ring run out of the basement of a pizzeria in Washington, D.C., or weren’t sure if it was true.

…the right seems to specialize in it. “Misinformation is currently predominantly a pathology of the right,” concluded a team of scholars from the Harvard Kennedy School and Northeastern University at a February 2017 conference. A BuzzFeed analysis found that three main hyperconservative Facebook pages were roughly twice as likely as three leading ultraliberal Facebook pages to publish fake or misleading information.

Slate.com

Religious data platform ‘targets mentally ill, vulnerable people’

So somebody brought a whole bunch of evidence about who Cambridge Analytica collaborated with in the United States other than the Trump campaign.
It turned out to be far-right-wing churches, conservative churches in the US. And they’ve built a platform that targets mentally ill or vulnerable people in order to draw them into church, to monetize them through donations. That’s the short-term goal. To help them is the facade for it, but ultimately the aim is to convert them to the politics of the far right.

What initially happened is that a Koch brothers-funded charity commissioned Cambridge Analytica, along with a software company called Glue, to build a software platform that could be used by churches in order to target vulnerable people.

And these are people who are suffering from addiction, financial distress, who might be struggling with opioid dependence or they might be dealing with bipolar issues. And all of these options are available in the software that has been deployed to the churches. And once those people are identified, they can target them with social media. And once brought into the church, they can also be recruited into the politics of the far right.

It was initially rolled out as a marriage program to save marriages at 16 major campuses, and some of those are megachurches. Some of them are as small as village churches, now that it’s available to pretty much everybody, and across all faiths: Catholic, Protestant, but mainly evangelical and dominion Catholics.

DW.com

The documentary People You May Know