What to Know About the 2020 Presidential and Vice-Presidential Debates

by Kelly R. Smith

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Donald Trump-Joe Biden 2020 Presidential Debate
Donald Trump-Joe Biden 2020 Presidential Debate

This article was updated on 10/07/20.

The much-awaited 2020 Presidential debates are upon us at last. President Donald Trump holds sway over the Republican corner, facing off against prior Vice President Joe Biden on the Democrat ticket.

There has been a question of whether the debates would be held at all. Some pundits bemoaned the COVID-19 pandemic. Nancy Pelosi has tried to shut them down more than once. Her rationale is that Trump is to be dismissed. The Washington Examiner quotes her as saying, “I do not think that the president of the United States has comported himself in a way that has any association with truth, evidence, data, and facts. I wouldn’t legitimize a conversation with him, nor a debate.”

The word on the street, however, is that Biden’s handlers are loathe to let him speak because of his continual gaffes and losing his place, mumbling, getting facts mixed up, and forgetting where he is. As for Trump, he is expected to speak off the cuff as usual but none of his inner circle is trying to take him out of the ring. Here are topics we might expect to be addressed.

Likely Debate Topics

  • The Trump and Biden Records. No surprise here; this is akin to a job interview. Trump has had great success with the economy, foreign relations, strengthening the military, and creating a robust economy. Biden had no real accomplishments as VP under former President Obama. Biden’s record on race relations is smoke and mirrors. Showing nepotism so his son could use government resources to make personal business deals might show its ugly head.


  • The Supreme Court. This will be an interesting topic. Trump is in a hurry to appoint a new judge before the election following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The Democrats are currently in quite the tizzy over the prospect, and rightly so; United States Supreme Court Justice appointments are for life and the institution has “assumed” much more power over the years than the Constitution originally granted it. Truly, it has become a deity unto itself with virtually as much power as the executive branch.
  • COVID-19. This is where I expect to see a lot of fireworks. For a while now, Nancy Pelosi, AOC, and the Far Left Wing have been showering fecal matter on Trump on this COVID-19 timeline topic. Their boilerplate line is mismanagement. Unfortunately, this observation doesn’t hold water and they know it (another reason to keep Biden from debating). According to cnnsnews, when Trump called for a travel ban from China right away, he was labeled a racist. When it worked they said he didn’t act soon enough. Can’t have it both ways and this will become obvious if the debate goes there. Biden is on the ropes here again; go with the party-line and be creamed by fact-checkers or avoid the subject and lose credibility.
  • The Economy. Once again, Joe will have a hard time. He and President Obama held sway over one of the most tepid recoveries ever and did their best to impede progress with “progressive” policy. Trump turned it around and produced the strongest economy in U.S. history.
  • Race and Violence in our Cities. This has risen to a critical level. BLM and Antifa are beating, burning, killing, and looting every day. Trump can list his attempts to rein it in and Biden’s record this year show that he has supported or at best turned a blind eye to the anarchy. And over the years he has misrepresented his position on race relations and his part in the civil rights movement when it was politically expedient.
  • The Integrity of the Election. This is such a broad and historied topic that it could go in any direction. Hanging chads, the electoral college, misplaced ballot boxes, bused-in voters, mail-in ballots, you name it. It is fodder for accusations but facts are facts. Only a narrow space is left for spin.

When and Where are the Debates?

The presidential debates are Sept. 29 in Cleveland, Oct. 15 in Miami, and Oct. 22 in Nashville, Tenn. The vice-presidential debate is Oct. 7 in Salt Lake City, Utah. They all start at 9 p.m. ET and will run 90 minutes without commercial interruption. The debates will be shown live on channels including ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and C-Span. You will also be able to stream the debate live on WSJ.com and YouTube. Keep up with the books you love while you walk, run, or walk the dog with Audible.com.

I’m looking forward to the first of the 2020 Presidential debates, and the subsequent ones of course, although generally, the first sets the tone and is the most impressionable on voters. Stay tuned because I will be reporting on each one. Have you made up your mind? Please vote in the poll posted on the right sidebar of this page.

Results of the First Presidential Debate

Not much of substance came out of this debate. Trump supporters say he won; Biden supporters say he won. Everybody agrees that Wallace, the moderator, was in Biden’s corner. No surprise there. Since then Trump is recuperating from COVID-19 and Biden occasionally emerges from the bunker to make gaffes. His latest is that he claimed he is able to isolate himself because a black woman is keeping the grocery store shelves stocked for him. Say what?

The Vice-Presidential Debate

This will happen tonight. I don’t expect much from it but who knows? Expect Harris to attack strongly with rhetoric and Pence to have facts and figures. Stay tuned.

Update: And now it has transpired, for better or worse. In my opinion, Vice-President Pence took the gold, and Harris took the silver, and I understand that everyone’s opinion is different so hear me out and don’t judge. Harris was clearly uncomfortable. Pence was clearly in his element. That’s just setting the tone; Pence has been VP for a long time now and Harris is having to reverse almost all her opinions that she espoused when running against Biden for the nomination and accused him of many things, specifically of the Biden racist history. She is an intelligent woman looking for verbiage that can reconcile her history and her current pitch but it is an untenable position. She was either right before or she’s right now. She’s a liar either way. There is no middle ground outside of the beltway.

On the subject of:

  • Packing the Supreme Court should she and Biden win: Just as Joe Biden refused to answer to the American people on this issue during the first debate, so did Harris. The Constitution is clear; the number of Supreme Court Justices is up to the President and Congress. When pressed, she rambled about Abraham Lincoln.
  • Tax cuts: Biden has promised to eliminate Trump’s tax cuts on day 1, even during the lockdown when many Americans are not getting a paycheck anyway. Harris tried to back-peddle this. She said the plan is to double down on taxes and then distribute those funds to the people. Is this not redistribution of wealth? Of course it is. In the first place, why not let people keep the money they make? Biden says, “I’m not a Socialist,” but this is the basic tenet of American Democratic Socialism.

From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs

— Karl Marx
  • On the COVID-19 pandemic: Harris said, “The greatest failure of any president in the history of our country.” Whoa, back up here. When the Coronavirus first reached our shores, Trump enacted a travel ban with China. Biden immediately attacked him on it and called the action “xenophobic.” Now he says it wasn’t enough or soon enough.

Stay tuned for the next presidential debate. Meanwhile, please participate in the poll on the right-hand side of this page.



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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Live Free or Die by Sean Hannity — a Book Review

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Sean Hannity -- Live Free or Die
Sean Hannity — Live Free or Die

My book review of the new Sean Hannity book — Live Free or Die; America and the World On The Brink (ISBN-10 : 1982149973). I’ve got the Audible.com version which I enjoyed on my 5-mile daily dog-walks, but the hard copy is also available.

So. Sean Hannity. People either love him or hate him, they are rarely on the fence. What I like about him is that like me, at the end of the day, he’s just a working class stiff. 20+ years as a carpenter will do that to you. He was a painter and waiter among other things. Contrast that with Joe Biden who likes to project the image but has no gravitas. Hey, Man!

What the Book Covers

The title is not all that descriptive of the content in my opinion. But, in a broad sense it does describe what’s going on. The book is reminiscent of an extended Sean Hannity radio show, minus the commercials and weather reports. In other words, he gives his conservative opinion but all backed up with hard facts. In my view, this work is just as important as The United States of Trump by Bill O’Reilley. Opinion backed up with hard, documented facts.

This book is a timeline history, compare and contrast, with previous administrations and Trump’s. So how are all these facts a clarion call to Live Free or Die, you might ask yourself? The answer of course, is Trump’s vision to make all citizens more free and prosperous.

Forces Dragging America Down

Yes, there are forces dragging America down even as Trump’s economy is building up employment and home ownership. As Hannity points out, these forces are deeply embedded in and guided from the far left.

Don’t take my word for it. Hannity lays it out in excruciating detail in this book, fact after fact. If you are not a fact and trivia junkie like me, this book might not be for you. On the other hand, if you seek verifiable truth, dig in.

I really found Live Free or Die to be very informative and entertaining but it’s not light reading/listening. Take your time with it and allow time to look up references, if you like. This book is particularly timely considering tat the general elections are almost upon us. Vote Socialist or American traditional values. You have a choice.

The United States of Trump

How the President Really Sees America: A Book Review

by Kelly R. Smith

The United States of Trump book cover
The United States of Trump book cover

The United States of Trump is yet another offering from Bill O’Reilly’s stable of historical and insightful books. This book begins with a look at Trump’s childhood and family life, particularly how his father, Fred Trump’s work ethic affected his own personality and work ethic.

While it is true that The Donald worked with his father and learned his chops there, he wasn’t content with real estate work that was confined mostly to the New York City boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn. He wants Manhattan. When Trump wants something, he’s all focus and strategy.

New York Business vs Washington

O’Reilly delves into how “business as usual” differ between New York real estate and inside-the-beltway Washington. They are completely different paradigms and Trump has not been eager nor inclined to morph into a “swamp-dweller.” Unlike the career bureaucrats, his vision includes a strong sense of national sovereignty.

As O’Reilly says, “But Trump did not temper his New York style and swagger when he rolled into Washington. His inauguration was met with wide-spread loathing, and he did little to win over the DC establishment. He simply did not understand the game because he didn’t want to take the time to figure it out. In New York, it’s in your face. In Washington, it’s in your back.”

President Trump, the Biased Media, and Fake News

If there is one thing Trump has roiled about both during the campaign and after taking office, it’s the mainstream media’s tendency to produce fake news. He takes it as a personal insult, which in verified examples it is. It is broadly believed that there are two reasons for this. First, rather than being impartial, the mainstream media is left-leaning. Secondly, the press resents losing their voice to Trump’s tweets where he takes his gritty prose directly to the American people.

Just as bad as the mainstream media is the world of social media. Twitter has taken to banning the New York Post and censoring a story exposing the corruption of Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. It is real news preceding the 2020 election. Covering it up is a blatant attempt to influence the election. Forget Russiagate, this is Twittergate.

The Presidential Election

Much of the book details the campaigns of both Hillary Clinton and Trump as well as the election itself. O’Reilly is in an excellent position to chronicle this period of time as he was behind the scenes and in fact includes many of his interviews with Trump in the book.

These interviews are perhaps the best view-ports into Trump’s vision for America and how he plans to make it great again. The businessman-oriented approach is a completely different animal than the Washington-entrenched apparatchik paradigm. His view includes an America strengthened by a robust economy, a strong military, and a southern border wall.

Although the polls and the mainstream media were all in for Clinton, they all underestimated how Trump’s unorthodox style would play in fly-over country. This is evidenced by the fact that Trump did not win the popular vote but took it by way of the electoral college. Although this book does not delve deeply into how the country has changed because of Trump’s ascendancy (those books were be written later), it does offer an insight into how the president really sees America. I’ve got to give The United States of Trump 4.5/5 stars.



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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation and financial and energy trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.


Why Trump’s Border Wall Must be Built

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Trump's Border Wall
Trump’s Border Wall

This post was updated on 12/29/18.

The proposed border wall between the southern border of the United States and the Northern Border of Mexico has enjoyed a back-and-forth history. For the most part, the Republicans favor it and the Democrats waver one way or the other depending on the political wind of the moment. At the moment the vacillators are against it. Why? Because President Trump is for it, of course. For them, it’s all about political posturing, not national security.

Nancy Pelosi has gone so far as to cal the wall “immoral.” This from the supposedly Catholic woman that champions abortion on demand? That’s rich. And consider Chuck Schumer. Factcheck.org has this to say of the Secure Fence Act of 2006, “Sen. Chuck Schumer and then-Sens. Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton were among a bipartisan majority that voted in favor of the legislation, and it was signed into law by President George W. Bush.” Uncle Chucky just can’t seem to be able to think for himself; not consistently, at least.

But let us not forget that the wall is for the benefit of the average taxpayer, not these high-and-lofty politicians that live in crime-free gated (and with WALLS!) communities. They don’t have to scrabble with illegal immigrants for social services, healthcare, and public schools like the mass of taxpayers. The American Royalty can afford to poo-poo the wall and national sovereignty but there are a plethora of reasons for building it.


Open Borders are Dangerous

The Department of Homeland Security tells us that it apprehends an average of 10 known or suspected terrorists every single day that are entering the United States. And despite claiming to support border security, Democrats in practice have blocked all efforts to secure our southern border and protect our communities.

Free Shipping Coupon for PatriotDepot.com


FBI Data Shows Terrorists are Sneaking in Through Mexico

Leaked FBI data obtained by Breitbart Texas has revealed that there were 7,712 terrorist encounters in the US  in just the past year. In the time between July 2015 and July 2016, the majority of terrorist encounters (defined as interactions with known or suspected terror watch list suspects by law enforcement) unsurprisingly happened in the southern border states. Texas, California, and Arizona ranking among the highest.

A Wall is a Physical Barrier that Hinders Human Trafficking and Drug Smuggling

Although there are some portions of wall constructed, huge gaps in other areas act as funnels through which illegal aliens, drugs, and other forms of contraband pass unhindered.

Of course Trump’s wall won’t stop everything; nothing will. But it will create such a hindrance that the Border Patrol can more easily manage the situation. Augmenting the scenario with drones and wall-mounted cameras will help to round out border security.


Rising Cost of Illegal Immigration

Border wall deniers (such as the current crop of Democrat Socialists) love to wail about the cost of construction but perhaps it is time for a reality check. Estimates vary but it is safe to say that $70 billion would get it done. Is this too much? The Center for Immigration Studies says, “if a border wall stopped a small fraction of the illegal immigrants who are expected to come in the next decade, the fiscal savings from having fewer illegal immigrants in the country would be sufficient to cover the costs of the wall.”

Currently, Illegal immigration is estimated to cost the United States millions of dollars, and according to President Trump, $113 billion each year in lost income tax revenue. Illegal immigration is recognized as a strain on government spending by overburdening social welfare, health, and education programs.

Another thing to consider is remittances, that is, money sent back to Mexico from illegal aliens to family and friends. Much of these wages come from under-the-table jobs (untaxed) meaning that these individuals are taking these jobs out of the American job pool. The inherent greed of some employers is denying jobs from some U.S. citizens while at the same time denying revenue to the government to pay for defense and public services.

But the end result is that although these illegals are consuming public services, they are taking their wages out of circulation rather than contributing back to the system. Those that think the amount of money is a pittance might be surprised.

nbcnews.com says, ” Mexico’s central bank reported Mexicans overseas sent nearly $24.8 billion home in 2015, overtaking oil revenues for the first time as a source of foreign income. Remittances were up 4.75 percent from 2014 when they totaled $23.6 billion, the Bank of Mexico said. They had never before surpassed petroleum since the Bank of Mexico began tracking them in 1995.”

In other words, American hard currency that should have been at least partly spent here is going to support the infrastructure of Mexico. The next time you go to the polls and the open border-types are soliciting your vote, remember that those they are inviting with open arms are building roads, bridges, and hospitals in Mexico while yours crumble.

These are just a few reasons why Trump’s border wall must be built. There are many others. The problem is that although the Democrats supported it when it was politically expedient to their careers, they have been on the fence since 2006 as they try to reshape America, Mexico, and Canada into a facsimile of the EU. We know how well that’s working.

End of 2018 Border Update

The assault on our border by Central American invaders seems likely to continue. A new caravan originating out of Honduras is planned for January 15, 2019. At the outset is is estimated to be comprised of 15,000 people with more expected to join as they make their way north.

This puts Mexico in a bad position. They have always been content to get flush and fat with all the money generated, both legal and illegal, counting on former U.S. administrations to just open the floodgate that is our mostly unprotected border. The fly in the ointment now is That President Trump is having none of it. That puts the onus on Mexican authorities to feed, house, and provide social services and possibly work for the invaders.

Now that their social services are being stretched and their jobs are going to invaders, the Mexican citizens are getting fed up with the situation. “Well, now the government does something. That work is for Mexicans that need it,” said Anna Pérez from Palenque, Mexico, on Facebook. “Opportunistic people who just want to take advantage of the Mexicans.” That reeks of sour grapes to U.S. citizens that have lost their jobs over the years due to the opportunistic policies from the likes of Pelosi and Schumer.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government remains in a state of partial shutdown as the Democrats refuse to protect our borders. And rather than doing her job to work on a solution to Trump’s wall, Nancy Pelosi continues to party down in Hawaii. For shame.


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About the Supreme Court

What You Need to Know: History, Constitutionality, Usurping Power

Photo of Kelly R. Smith   by Kelly R. Smith

Supreme Court 2018
Supreme Court 2018
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This article was updated on 04/28/21.

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When Judge Anthony McLeod Kennedy, appointed by President Ronald Reagan, announced his retirement from the Supreme Court, that freed President Trump to appoint his successor.

The Supreme Court is a unique institution in all the world. If you live in this country (USA), this article will explain what you need to know about the Supreme Court, or as it is sometimes called, SCOTUS, (Supreme Court of the United States).

Supreme Court Justice is a Lifetime Gig

Once seated, a supreme court justice can hang up his or her resume. There is no expiration term on this job unlike regular judges who must pander for your votes at each election cycle. The president appoints SCOTUS justices according to his or her political persuasion. For this reason some have argued that the ability to appoint supreme court justices is one of the most powerful tools that sitting presidents has. Presidential terms in office are fleeting, a mere four to eight years, but their policies embedded in their SCOTUS selection endure far beyond their years.

This is the reason why President Obama’s appointment of Sonia Maria Sotomayor was so disturbing to constitutionally-aligned Americans and even foreign-born critics.  She indicated that she intended to pass rulings based on her personal sentiments (“empathy,” she said) rather than on the basics of the constitution which she is bound by oath to comply with and defend. This is to say, not even contemporary sentiments, no, just her own as she defined herself, a woman of color. In other words, incrementally change the country based on her personal life experiences, not the citizens.

I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.

Sonia Maria Sotomayor

Well, that statement is just sexist and racist.

An unabashed left-wing liberal radical, she also ruled against the Stolen Valor Act which prevents individuals from portraying themselves as armed forces heroes for false personal gain. This (from my perspective as a veteran) is a poor choice for this high office. What possible reason could the be to oppose this other to discredit veterans? Shame.

So there’s that.

President Biden and Court-Packing

Joe Biden, when “campaigning” for office from his basement bunker, claimed that he was not a fan of packing the court with leftist judges. However, after the “election” was over, he began to conceptualize the process. Or perhaps his staff did; it’s not clear.

Congressional Democrats have introduced legislation to expand the Supreme Court from 9 to 13 justices, joining progressive activists pushing to transform the court in order to render “woke” judgments and mold the country into one that complies with Critical Race Theory guidelines. President Donald Trump and Republicans appointed 3 conservative justices in 4 years, including one who was confirmed just days before the 2020 election. Thus, the left is seeking not only to rectify that but to do it in a most unorthodox way. The time-honored tradition, honored by both sides is “retire and replace.” It is a kind of gentleman’s agreement that with this administration has been relegated to the trash-heap of history.

However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters on Thursday she has “no plans to bring it to the floor. I don’t know that that’s a good idea or bad idea. I think it’s an idea that should be considered,” she said of the court expansion plan. “And I think the president’s taking the right approach to have a commission to study such a thing. It’s a big step.” In other words, she’s being a mugwump, playing both sides of the fence. She wants it but knows she will be partially culpable for setting a precedent when the Republicans take the reins in the White House.

History Behind the Supreme Court

The Constitution wisely permitted Congress to decide on the make-up of the Supreme Court although it seems like a conflict of interest. The three branches of government are the executive (the United States President), the legislative (Congress), and the judicial (SCOTUS). The legislative branch first exercised this power with the Judiciary Act of 1789. The act, signed into law by President George Washington, specified that the court would be made up of 6 justices who would serve on the court until they died or retired.

Today there are 9 sitting justices and together they hold more power than arguably anyone on the planet. An odd number makes it hard to reach a tie vote on a ruling. They serve and issue edicts until they retire or die.

Anthony Kennedy Retires

For example, when Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement it set the stage for President Trump to appoint a successor.

Why does this matter? Whoever Trump places on the bench will wield power for years, even decades, long after the presidential torch has passed. This is why the power of the president can last far longer than his term. It doesn’t always work out that way and there is no denial that some justices are flawed.

For example when Justice Roberts “interpreted” Obamacare non-compliance to be a “tax” rather than a “fine” he usurped Congressional authority. Specifically, the Supreme Court has no such authority but they have “assumed” it over time. Like, if I jaywalk enough times without getting busted, it becomes legal. Bullcrap, but there you go.

The Supreme Court Justice Nomination Process

As we mentioned, there are nine Supreme Court justices. One is designated as the Chief Justice and the other eight are Associate Justices. When any one justice dies or retires it makes for a vacancy. Article 2 of the U.S. Constitution makes it clear that the president has the responsibility of nominating a Supreme Court Justice replacement.



The reason for using nine, an odd number, is so when SCOTUS hears a case and rules on it there will not be a tie.

Next the Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing to approve the nomination, or not. Following a lengthy question and answer, the committee votes on the prospective justice. If approved, all is good. If not, the process begins anew.

However, there is a fly in the ointment. Republicans usually appoint conservative judges and Democrats, liberal ones. It is very possible that one party will unanimously oppose. In fact, it is not inconceivable that outright political chicanery will take place.

The Nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh

The last nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh is a good example. After other Democrat stalling techniques had failed, they brought Christine Blasey Ford out of the wings to accuse him of sexual misconduct (he allegedly unsuccessfully tried to force himself on her) some thirty five years ago at a high school party.

One problem is that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee had received a letter from Ford regarding the alleged misconduct. But rather than share the letter with the committee as one might expect would be part of the process, she deliberately withheld it, perhaps to use as ammunition when all other delaying tactics had failed.



Ford was found to be making false statements and working with the Democrats to disrupt the process. This “make it up as you go” tactic failed, but not before causing he and his family irreconcilable harm. This is how the radical Democrat left party operates. Can’t win with the facts? Just make it up. Pay stooges to bear false witness. It certainly almost worked when Hillary and the DNC scripted and paid for paid for a fictional dossier in an attempt to impeach President Trump. Yet, no one went to jail. Go figure.

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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at Considered Opinions Blog where he muses on many different topics.


Trump Bonus Checks & More Scams

Freedom Checks, Biden Senior Benefits, the Foreign Lottery Scam, the 501(k), and More

Photo of Kelly R. Smith   by Kelly R. Smith; © 2021

Get rich fast schemes
Get rich fast schemes
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This article was updated on 09/18/21.

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Get rich fast schemes have been around for a long, long time. Why? Because everybody wants something for nothing (Socialism in America is a hot topic right now), or at least by expending the least effort possible. People want to hear what they want to hear. If not, we wouldn’t be such a ripe crop for fake news. If it sounds too good to be true…

The fact is that the digital age has ushered in a whole new generation of shady characters determined to separate us from our money. It is just a lot easier to reach a lot more suckers. As P. T. Barnum said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” Let’s take a look at a few email and other scams that are taking up space in our email accounts.

Trump Bonus Checks

I’ve been getting this one for a while now. As with most of these messages, you have to watch a real snoozer of a long, long video while the narrator skirts around the meat of the matter until the very end.

Despite the name, he stops just short of claiming that President Trump actually legislated or recommended this “bonus” although he certainly implies it.

President Donald Trump thumbs up
President Donald Trump thumbs up

Of course, there is an often-repeated call to action (CTA) to create a sense of urgency by telling you that you need to get yourself on the list by May 14. Or what? Some other poor slob will get my money? OK, got it. After all, there is a limit of exactly $15 trillion of cold, hard cash available!

The bottom line? He wants to sell you $502 worth of information for a low, low price of $49. Basically he is going to sell you investment tips. What does that have to do with Trump? Nothing; he’s just riding on the Donald’s coattails.

Now, just for the sake of having some fun, how long do you think it will take for this particular scam to morph into Biden Bonus Checks? Smart money says it will not be overly long.

Biden Senior Benefits Program

Update 09/18/21: I was right as usual. Today I was watching YouTube and lo and behold, here’s an ad for a Biden Senior Benefits program. Well, methinks, if this is a thing, why is it that the only one hawking it is seniorbenefitsworth.com? I’m amazed that I haven’t seen Public Service Announcements (PSAs), commercials, or government propaganda about this. Curious, I went to the site and found:

——-Snip——

Seniors May Qualify For As Much As $97,246 In Benefits

Answer These 7 Questions To See How Much You Could Receive:

More resources and Relief Programs are only available through E-Mail – Sign-Up now to access: (here’s where you fill in all your personal information.)

—— Snip ——

The site goes on to say:

—— Snip ——

Seniors are able to get hundreds of thousands of dollar in benefits that they typically never would work.

In 2021, new policies have been put in place to help those seniors in need.

If you meet 2 of these requirements, you will be eligible for significant benefits.

  • Be an American resident or citizen
  • Live in a qualified zipcode
  • Be a homeowner
  • Have significant debts and/or health issues that need resolution immediately
  • Currently paying too much for electricity and home repairs

—— Snip ——

Where’s the scam tip-off? First off, “More resources and Relief Programs are only available through E-Mail – Sign-Up” Aha, that’s why this is the only place you can find out about the benefits you deserve. This info is so tight-to-the-chest that even the Biden’s government can’t tell you ― only seniorbenefitsworth.com has been entrusted to disseminate this information.

Next, peruse the come-on sentence, “Seniors are able to get hundreds of thousands of dollar (Big-Time typo, where’s the plural?) in benefits that they typically never would work. (what the heck does this phrase even mean, ‘benefits that they typically never would work?’)” This page was clearly posted by the same guy that has been running the Nigerian Prince scam!

I can only say shame on YouTube for selling ad space to this obvious scam artist. Where’s the oversight and vetting?

Freedom Checks

Freedom Checks have been around for at least a few years now, or at least that is when they started showing up in my email. Lately, they have also been running ads on the radio. To finance that they must be finding some gullible takers. The radio spots are mercifully shorter than the video that accompanies the email.

I had to sit through the agony of the entire thing (for the sake of research for this post; see, I took a bullet for you), before the narrator got down to brass tacks about what it is really all about. Bottom line? The same basic Trump Bonus model although the investments seemed to focus more narrowly on the mining industry.

This is another pitch to sell $49 newsletters. The question I had to ask myself is, “If this guy some investment genius, why is he spending time with newsletters? How does he have the time or inclination?”

Phishing Scammers Posing as YouTube

Yes, it was just a matter of time, wasn’t it? This one wants all your sensitive YouTube information. Sometimes they can make it look quite legit. This video explains it:

The 501(k)

Bankonyourself.com explains that the 501(k) plan is “a safe savings and wealth-building strategy based on a specific type of high cash value dividend-paying whole life insurance.” Now while this is true, these scammers are not interested in guiding your financial market investment, they just want your money.

An organization called the Palm Beach Research Group markets it under the guise that it is a tax shelter for the rich. The implication here is that if it is good enough for the likes for the very rich it ought to be good enough for a poor Joe Shmoe like me. After all, this is America, right?

Got a blog or website? Want more revenue? Monetize it!

Although the 501(k) is a legitimate investment vehicle and it can be quite lucrative, the approach taken b y the Palm Beach Group is to print and sell newsletters. These will set you back from $199 for the basic publication to $4,500 for the “Palm Beach Confidential.” Pssst, this is between you and me, OK?

The Foreign Lottery Scam

This foreign lottery scam is one of the most often received email scams. You receive what appears to be an official email from a foreign lottery company. The subject line offers a congratulatory announcement (yea, you), and might include the supposed amount of money you’ve “won.” Tip-offs:

  • The sender is a person, NOT a lottery company.
  • Your name is not listed in the “to” field of the email header.
  • The lottery doesn’t even exist. Do a search.
  • It asks for sensitive personal information.

The bottom line? Most of us would do better to steer clear of these schemes and consult with a professional investment adviser face-to-face or sign up with a broker like Ameritrade. Don’t be a rube. There is no get-rich-quick in life no matter what a bunch of newsletter quacks say. Please take a moment to participate in the poll on the right-hand sidebar of this page. I’m conducting a study and your response is important.



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About the author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation and financial and energy trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Trump and Kim Jong Un Played Chicken; Kim Blinked First

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Kim Jong Un's ballistic missile policy
Kim Jong Un’s ballistic missile policy

This article was updated on 8/18/18.

This morning we awake to yet another chapter in the unfolding global melodrama between President Trump and Kim Jong Un, the unhinged dictator of the hermit kingdom.

Kim Jong Un, or the “Pillsbury Doughboy with a really, really bad haircut” has been very vocal about his plans for the U.S. unincorporated United States territory of Guam. Specifically, he has been threatening to fire four missiles in order to surround the U.S. territory of Guam in “enveloping fire.”

Undoubtedly this is a trick right out of his father Kim Jong-il’s playbook. Rattle that rusty old saber, make a few headlines, and sit back and wait for humanitarian food aid.

Historically, US presidents back down from North Korean threats. For example, as recently as 2009 the Obama administration said that it will not enforce a UN resolution allowing the interdiction of North Korea’s shipping when suspected of illegal arms traffic.  Instead, the US will ask permission to inspect, and retreat when refused. This weakness did not bode well for Obama’s legacy.

Donald Trump is the New Sheriff in Town

No doubt Kim Jong Un imagined this tried and true strategy would keep working with his threat to attack Guam as he sipped 100-year old whiskey and cavorted with his concubines. However he was ill-prepared to hear President Trump warn Pyongyang last week that the U.S. military was “locked and loaded” and could engulf the North in “fire and fury.”

Kim’s response after having a look at a military plan presented to him by his senior officers was telling. He seems to have had an uh-oh moment and realized he wasn’t dealing with Obama anymore. This isn’t the former guy that spends his working hours playing on the golf course, this is the guy that owns the golf course.

Kim is now in full backpedaling mode and says he has resolved not to launch the attack on Guam just yet but instead advised the U.S. “to take into full account” whether the current standoff was to its benefit. He also said it was incumbent on the U.S. to “stop at once arrogant provocations against the DPRK and unilateral demands and not provoke it any longer.”

He went on to say, “If the Yankees persist in their extremely dangerous reckless actions on the Korean Peninsula and in its vicinity, testing the self-restraint of the DPRK, the [North] will make an important decision as it already declared.”

Sanctions Against North Korea Also a Factor

The recent UN-mandated sanctions against North Korea are likely a factor figuring into Kim’s come-to-Jesus moment. Although he usually scoffs at sanctions, this time even Russia and China committed.

China is the real surprise. It is Kim’s largest trading partner and cheerleader. The Chinese customs agency specified that on Monday it will cease processing imports of North Korean coal, iron and lead ores and fish at midnight on September 5.

The latest sanctions, considering all the nations that are participating, are expected to block exports valued at more than $1 billion. This is significant since total exports are valued at $3 billion last year.

Over the years Kim has used various means (other than ruthless treatment and starvation of his countrymen) to keep his grip on power. One of these is the state propaganda of the Kim Jong Un as a mystical figure. Perhaps he can use some of that mojo to channel his father and ask for advice.

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Antifa, Obama’s Shadow Government, Resistance Against Trump

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Antifa activists

This article was last revised on 08/12/18.

While there have always been fringe political groups, they are much more obvious today due to the internet, and of course, 24/7 cable news coverage. The range and scope of the organization of these groups on an internal level varies widely. Many are grass-roots groups that are self-funded; others are bankrolled from external sources that set the agenda to some extent and even issue paychecks to demonstrators (George Soros comes to mind).

Antifa has been Garnering Attention Lately

The Antifa moniker is shorthand for Anti-Fascism. The original movement began in Europe in the 1920s. Notably, Benito Mussolini’s propaganda machine used the term anti-fascist to label their opponents.

Anti-fascist groups also rose up to counter the Nazis such as the Red Front Fighter’s League. As you might infer from the term “Red” they were organized by the Communist party.

The political takeaway from these early anti-fascist groups is that they were resisting truly repressive regimes.

The current incarnation of Antifa in the United States is a bit different. Resisting a diplomatically-elected president such as Trump (or Clinton if that had of transpired), neither fascist by the way, is a bit of a stretch from the original intent.

www.thenation.com explains it like this,  “Antifa combines radical left-wing and anarchist politics, revulsion at racists, sexists, homophobes, anti-Semites, and Islamophobes, with the international anti-fascist culture of taking the streets and physically confronting the brownshirts of white supremacy, whoever they may be.”

Antifa encouraging killing police officers.
Antifa encouraging killing police officers. So brave; why the masks?

Their current target is Trump although none of the above-mentioned terms actually fit him or his politics. Rather, it would seem that members of this organization (and others) are being used as dupes.

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Is Antifa Going off Message?

Despite all their claims, they talk the talk but fall short of walking the walk. Recently, on Aug. 4, 2018, Paul Welch took the American flag with him when he went to Portland to oppose a right-wing rally being held at the Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

Sounds patriotic as apple pie, right? Standing up for fundamentalist anti-stormtrooper government types. But not for the thugs as he said two people dressed in black and covering their faces (did we mention cowards covering their faces?) approached him and demanded he give them the “fascist symbol” he was carrying. When he refused, the Antifa duo tried to rip the flag from his hands.

Another masked counter-protester then approached Welch and began striking him from behind with an unidentified weapon concealed in black fabric.

“It strikes me as the worst sort of political theater,” Welch said of what happened to him. “It’s kind of like you’re playing into your opponent’s hand when you do that sort of thing. That’s not what I was there for.”

Effie Baum, a spokesperson with Popular Mobilization, a group that helped organize the counter-protest at City Hall, declined to comment.

Of course Effie, because you are covering for a bunch of cowards with political Napoleonic complexes. Who live in their parent’s basements. And stuff their gobs with Cheetos. When they are not chasing Pokemon with their establishment iPhones. Please.

At least three people were hospitalized after clashes between right-wing demonstrators and Antifa protesters. Anger after the fact was largely directed at Portland police, who used “less-lethal” riot-control weapons.

Is there an Antifa Connection with Obama’s Shadow Government?

What is a shadow government? In general, it consists of groups and individuals who exert some degree of control over the official government. The groups may include the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the Tri- lateral Commission, the Bilderbergers, the Federal Reserve, the World Bank, or the International Monetary Fund. The liberal mainstream media is certainly involved.

The individuals involved are the un-elected Obama era bureaucrats littered throughout the federal government. The judiciary and certain levels of state government are also involved. Undoubtedly many of these individuals (who wield quite a bit of power) are still loyal to Obama and his liberal policies.

Does Obama give them direct marching orders? That is unclear but to think so might be a bit too conspiracy theory-ish. However it’s no secret that he has remained very active politically since he left the White House and he is certainly sending out signals.

Is the failed Obama legacy the reason he just can’t accept the fact that he is not in charge anymore? It seems that this might be at least part of the reason. He is still trying to make his mark.

Now for the Antifa connection. It is extremely doubtful that the shadow government is directly pulling their strings. But the bottom line is that some of their goals coincide. In particular, foiling and if possible deposing President Trump. One way or another, they are marching in lockstep.

Democrats Fueling the Fire

Many Democrat Congress members seem to have abandoned doing the nation’s business in order to focus almost full-time on taking Trump down. For example, Elizabeth “Pocahantas” Warren, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.

The shadow government takes their cues from these folks. In a loose way the end result is a very real coordinated resistance effort against Trump and his administration.

The bottom line is that all this is very bad for the American people. Their interests are not being served. The Trump election was a mandate for the changes he ran on. The problem is that the Democrats are resisting all these changes because it threatens their lofty positions in society.


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Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation and financial and energy trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.


Why is the Democrat Left so Angry?

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This post was updated on 07/30/20.

Joe Biden's attitude; systemic, arrogant anger
Joe Biden’s attitude; systemic, arrogant anger

The mainstream left, since President Trump’s election, would be better described as the alt-left. Even previously reasonable citizens have jumped on the crazy bus. These people acted normally when President Obama was holding sway, signing constitution-adverse executive orders and playing hooky to hit the golf links. But now that the tables have turned, the alt-left has reduced itself into a saliva-slinging frenzy.

Just Can’t Accept Hillary’s Defeat

I was surprised when none of these Saul Alinsky wannabes didn’t let a single sigh escape their collective mandibles when it was shown that Hillary effectively stole her nomination by rigging everything against Bernie Sanders in collusion with the DNC and Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Neither did they cry foul when it was revealed that she gamed the system by having the debate questions spoon-fed to her beforehand. Neither did they cry foul when it was revealed that her “foundation” skimmed the donations meant for starving Haitians. She also dipped into those funds to pay for Chelsea’s wedding. OK, I could go on and on but you get the idea. The bottom line is, “Elect me because I’ve got a vagina, I’m entitled, and it’s my turn.”

But she lost. Forget the left and right-coasters; fly-over America spoke.  The electoral college has been much bemoaned. Middle America want its jobs back. They want off Obama food stamps and free cell phones. They want their dignity.

The problem now is that the activists (many professional activists paid by George Soros) are still looking for that free meal ticket. Supposedly from the party and philosophy of “inclusiveness, diversity, and respect for the rights of others,” they feel that it is OK to destroy public property and physically beat the crap out of people that don’t march to their brown-shirt tune. Antifa thugs relate to the Democrat party today just as the KKK did when they were the party’s enforcers.

When All Else Rails, Resort to Vulgarity

Conservatives may be a basket of deplorables but the Anti-Trumpers on the left enjoy getting down in the the pit of verbal excrement and have a good roll.

Case in point: Mark Roberts, an Oregon independent congressional candidate, caught fire with his canard calling the First Lady a “hoebag” during a bizarre series of Tweets whilst feuding with Republican House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. One must wonder if he kisses his mother with that foul mouth.

The first lady Melania Trump’s spokesperson Stephanie Grisham said in a statement to CNN, “This is just more hypocritical intolerance from those who oppose her husband’s administration. To say such ugly words about a mother, wife and our First Lady is not just a pathetic attempt at getting himself in the news, it is disturbing and despicable.”

What Can be Done in Government?

Unfortunately, not much. The geriatric Democrat party (Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi exemplify this in their state of senility) is still being marionette-string-controlled by the likes of Pelosi and God-help-me feces-for-brains Chuck Schumer. The average Democrat seems now willing to toss them on the dung-hill of historical have-beens but there isn’t really any new talent to replace them. These guys have been around since the Democrats sponsored the Ku Klux Klan and their heels are dug in. 

Face it, they are mad, mad, mad. The leftists don’t want jobs. They don’t want their neighbors to have jobs. They are not interested in safe neighborhoods. They don’t care about social justice unless it is their particular flavor (otherwise they will beat your ass, especially if you are wearing a “Make America Great” hat). What they really want is more free stuff, paid for by someone else. Their new rallying cry is, “Socialism now! Everything is for free!”

Wake up America. Have some self-respect, and for crying out loud, pull up your britches, yo. Nobody wants to see your ghetto boxers. The Democrat left continues to be angry.




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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.