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Name: Don
Gender: Male
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Home country: USA
Current location: Greenfield, MA
Member since: Sat Sep 1, 2012, 03:28 PM
Number of posts: 26,155

Journal Archives

Fed, wary of inflation, could lean against Trump tax cut

Source: Reuters

Wed Apr 26, 2017 | 5:08pm EDT

By Howard Schneider | WASHINGTON

President Donald Trump's plan to slash business and household taxes could shift the U.S. economy into higher gear, but it may have one effect the White House would not welcome - interest rates ratcheted higher than expected by a wary central bank.

The Trump administration says hundreds of billions of dollars fed into the economy via deep cuts in business taxes and more generous exemptions for individuals will unleash a wave of investment and make the U.S. economy more competitive than ever. But the plan, if approved in the form Trump officials outlined on Wednesday, could add inflationary fuel to an economy already running near full capacity, a risk Federal Reserve officials have been warning about since Trump got elected.

Confronted with the prospect of massive cuts that would slash the corporate tax rate to 15 percent from 35 percent and overhaul the personal tax code, Fed officials will need to start debating if they can maintain a measured pace of rate hikes or they might need to move faster, say analysts and economists who follow the U.S. central bank.

The Fed aims to hold inflation at around 2 percent, and is close to that threshold, with its target short term rate expected to rise two more times, to about 1.5 percentage points, by the end of the year.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-fed-trump-idUSKBN17S2X1

Trump Floats Breaking Up 9th Circuit Court Of Appeals

Source: Talking Points Memo

By MATT SHUHAM Published APRIL 26, 2017, 5:58 PM EDT

President Donald Trump floated the idea of breaking up the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Wednesday, misidentifying it yet again as the court responsible for the nationwide injunction issued Tuesday against his executive order regarding so-called sanctuary cities.

“There are many people that want to break up the 9th Circuit,” Trump told the Washington Examiner in an interview. “It’s outrageous.”

On Tuesday, Judge Williams Orrick III of the Northern District of California issued a preliminary nationwide injunction against part of an executive order that threatened to withhold federal funding from localities that refused to comply with Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer requests.


Trump told the Washington Examiner that opponents of his policies had gone “judge shopping” in the circuit — a suspicion shared by many Republicans who want to break it up. The Examiner noted that 18 of the circuit’s 25 active judges were appointed by Democratic presidents. “Everybody immediately runs to the 9th Circuit,” he said. “And we have a big country. We have lots of other locations. But they immediately run to the 9th Circuit. Because they know that’s like, semi-automatic.”

Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-floats-breaking-ninth-circuit

When 'This Is America' Becomes an Antigay Slur

In his approximately 100 days in office, Donald Trump has changed America — for the worse. Musician Susan Surftone recounts a harrowing experience highlighting the damage he's wrought.

APRIL 26 2017 5:05 AM EDT

Donald Trump has changed America in his first 100 days. Of this I have no doubt, as I experienced the change firsthand on a recent flight from Los Angeles to Portland, Ore.

The flight was about an hour late leaving L.A. and was full. I was seated in the back in seat 28D on the aisle. Three white males were traveling together in seats 27 A, B, and C. The flight was uneventful. Passengers deplaned in typical fashion, and with a full plane, it was slow going. I was up in the aisle ready to go with a few people including a little girl, about 4 years old, behind me also ready to go.

The three males in row 27 waited until the plane was completely empty in front of us before they even got up. The flight crew was in the front of the plane. As I went past them the man in the aisle seat stood up and blocked my way with his arm actually pushing me back a bit. I must say I was tempted to see if my FBI training, although a bit rusty, would have allowed me to inflict some damage on that arm. Our FBI trainers said you never forget. However, I wanted to go home, as did the people behind me, and that little girl didn’t need to see an altercation. I like the airline and want to continue flying with them, and I like my TSA pre-check status. I also didn’t want to be on the local news or go viral on social media, so restraint was the better part of valor. I did comment on his rudeness, and then it started.

The “dyke/lesbian” taunts. I haven’t heard those in decades, and maybe never in a place like a commercial plane. So I have these three white males in front of me calling me names. I answered, keeping it low-key and civil. Then I heard one of them say, “This is America.” What? When that is said to you it has an impact. What does that imply? This is America and I am lesser than you? I guess so.

I had to respond, and that led to more taunts. By now we were walking down the aisle and onto the Jetway. I heard one of them say, “This is Portland, not San Francisco.” Good thing he knew that, because as soon as we got into the terminal they were lost. I had my last laugh and walked to the exit while they stood there befuddled.

Donald Trump has changed us. In his America, white males can man-handle a woman who dares to step ahead of them. Public taunting of people deemed “other” is fine, because this is America.


Dems challenge Pence to support proposal to ban 'ex-gay' therapy

April 25, 2017 at 12:50 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson

Democrats in Congress have reintroduced legislation seeking to ban “ex-gay” conversion therapy nationwide, challenging Vice President Mike Pence to support the bill given his past comments suggesting support for the widely discredited practice.

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) in the U.S. House and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash) in the U.S. Senate reintroduced on Tuesday the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act, legislation that would ban “ex-gay” therapy by declaring it fraudulent practice. Murray said in a statement the bill is necessary given the anti-LGBT positions of the Trump administration, which among other things includes the reversal of Obama-era guidance assuring transgender kids have access to school restrooms consistent with their gender identity.

“On this and so many other issues impacting the LGBTQ community, the Trump Administration has laid out a hateful, damaging agenda to undo hard-won progress, divide our communities, hurt our friends, neighbors, and family members just because of who they are or who they love,” Murray said. “This is absolutely the wrong direction for our country — and I will continue to push for ways to make sure all people, regardless of who they are or who they love, are treated equally and with respect.”

First introduced in the previous Congress, the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act would clarify that “conversion therapy” in exchange for monetary compensation, as well as advertising of such services, is fraud and illegal under the authority of Federal Trade Commission. Additionally, the bill would empower state attorneys general with the authority to enforce the ban in federal court.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), an original co-sponsor of the legislation, said in a statement the legislation would both end a dangerous practice and protect consumers from fraud.


Meet Jared Kushner's undisclosed business partner: An Israeli investor whose uncle is under...

Meet Jared Kushner’s undisclosed business partner: An Israeli investor whose uncle is under investigation in the U.S.

President Trump’s son-in-law, a top adviser, had help building a real estate empire from a member of one of Israel’s wealthiest families.


It was the summer of 2012, and Jared Kushner was headed downtown.

His family’s real estate firm, the Kushner Companies, would spend about $190 million over the next few months on dozens of apartment buildings in tony Lower Manhattan neighborhoods including the East Village, the West Village and SoHo.

For much of the roughly $50 million in down payments, Mr. Kushner turned to an undisclosed overseas partner. Public records and shell companies shield the investor’s identity. But, it turns out, the money came from a member of Israel’s Steinmetz family, which built a fortune as one of the world’s leading diamond traders.

A Kushner Companies spokeswoman and several Steinmetz representatives say Raz Steinmetz, 53, was behind the deals. His uncle, and the family’s most prominent figure, is the billionaire Beny Steinmetz, who is under scrutiny by law enforcement authorities in four countries. In the United States, federal prosecutors are investigating whether representatives of his firm bribed government officials in Guinea to secure a multibillion dollar mining concession. In Israel, Mr. Steinmetz was detained in December and questioned in a bribery and money laundering investigation. In Switzerland and Guinea, prosecutors have conducted similar inquiries.

The Steinmetz partnership with Mr. Kushner underscores the mystery behind his family’s multibillion-dollar business and its potential for conflicts with his role as perhaps the second-most powerful man in the White House, behind only his father-in-law, President Trump.

Although Mr. Kushner resigned in January from his chief executive role at Kushner Companies, he remains the beneficiary of trusts that own the sprawling real estate business. The firm has taken part in roughly $7 billion in acquisitions over the last decade, many of them backed by foreign partners whose identities he will not reveal. Last month, his company announced that it had ended talks with the Anbang Insurance Group, a Chinese financial firm linked to leading members of the ruling Communist Party. The potential agreement, first disclosed by The New York Times, had raised questions because of its favorable terms for the Kushners.


RNC Chair: If Trump Doesn't Follow Through On Wall, GOP Will Take The Heat

By ESME CRIBB Published APRIL 26, 2017, 2:37 PM EDT

Republican National Committee chair Ronna Romney McDaniel on Wednesday said that voters will hold the GOP accountable in the 2018 midterm elections if President Donald Trump fails to keep one of his most consistent campaign promises and build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico.

“Let’s talk about the wall, because it was a little confusing yesterday,” conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham asked McDaniel in an interview flagged by CNN’s KFILE.

Ingraham cited an interview Tuesday in which Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, said that Trump would be willing to sign a temporary funding measure that did not include funding for his proposed wall. “But the President comes out yesterday and says there’s going to be a wall,” she said. “So what is the RNC doing specifically to push the Trump agenda and help it get traction in Congress?”

“I know that our voters are going to hold us accountable in 2018 if we do not keep the campaign promises that were made,” McDaniel replied.


White House to continue Obamacare payments

Source: Politico

By HEATHER CAYGLE and BURGESS EVERETT 04/26/17 10:43 AM EDT Updated 04/26/17 12:00 PM EDT

Update 2:42 p.m.:

The White House has told lawmakers that it will continue paying Affordable Care Act cost-sharing subsidies, removing the biggest remaining hurdle in the negotiations to avoid a government shutdown.

A congressional source said Wednesday the administration was spreading the word among lawmakers. It was not immediately clear how long the White House planned to keep the money flowing.

Original story:

Nancy Pelosi and President Donald Trump’s budget director clashed in a phone call over Obamacare subsidies on Tuesday evening, threatening delicate bipartisan negotiations to fund the government, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The House minority leader told Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney that she cannot support a spending bill that doesn’t include a commitment to continuing the subsidies for Americans with low incomes, according to a high-ranking Republican source briefed on the conversation. Mulvaney responded that Trump would not sign a bill to fund the government through September that includes those payments, called cost-sharing reductions, the source said.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/04/26/nancy-pelosi-mick-mulvaney-clash-budget-237630

House GOPers Scramble To Explain Why O'Care Repeal Bill Doesn't Apply To Them

Source: Talking Points Memo

By ALICE OLLSTEIN Published APRIL 26, 2017 11:57 AM

Republicans huddled Wednesday morning in the basement of the Capitol, their first meeting following a two-week recess, and emerged with mixed messages about a provision in the latest version of their Obamacare repeal bill that could exempt members of Congress and their staffers from some of the most radical changes to the law.

Those changes—drafted in hopes of bringing the American Health Care Act back from the political grave—include the ability for states to waive certain regulations, allowing insurers to charge older and sicker patients much more for coverage, and allowing states to require insurance plans cover fewer essential health benefits.

The text of a new amendment released Tuesday night includes a carve-out for members of Congress, allowing them to retain all of the essential health benefits and cost protections under the Affordable Care Act.

Several members of Congress, all of whom are required by law to be on D.C.’s health care exchange, admitted Wednesday that they have no idea if they can be protected from these waivers.

Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/obamacare-republicans-exemption-waiver-ahca

White House Proposes Slashing Tax Rates for Individuals and Businesses

Source: New York Times


WASHINGTON — President Trump on Wednesday proposed sharp reductions in both individual and corporate income tax rates, reducing the number of individual income tax brackets to three — 10 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent — and easing the tax burden on most Americans, including the rich.

The Trump administration would double the standard deduction, essentially eliminating taxes on the first $24,000 of a couple’s earnings. It also called for the elimination of most itemized tax deductions but would leave in place the popular deductions for mortgage interest and charitable contributions. The estate tax and the alternative minimum tax, which Mr. Trump has railed against for years, would be repealed under his plan.

As expected, the White House did not include in its plan the border adjustment tax on imports that was prized by House Republicans. However, it did express broad support for switching to a so-called territorial tax system that would exempt company earnings abroad from taxation but would encourage companies to maintain their headquarters in the United States.

The plan would include a special one-time tax to entice companies to repatriate cash that they are parking overseas.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/26/us/politics/trump-tax-cut-plan.html?emc=edit_na_20170426&nl=breaking-news&nlid=57435284&ref=headline&_r=0

The FCC just released a plan to undo its own net neutrality rules

Source: The Washington Post

By Brian Fung April 26 at 2:07 PM

Tech companies and Internet providers are poised for another dramatic showdown as the head of the Federal Communications Commission revealed a plan Wednesday for rolling back his predecessor's rules mandating a free and open Internet.

The proposal from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai marks the first step toward undoing a key decision of the Obama era, one that forced Internet providers to behave more like legacy telephone companies. The stricter rules for ISPs had made it illegal to block or slow down websites for consumers — and they paved the road for other policies, such as one governing online privacy, which was overturned in a separate controversial move by Congress and President Trump earlier this year.

Pai's attempt to reverse the net neutrality regulations rekindles a high-stakes debate over the future of the Web. Internet providers argue they need weaker rules in order to continue upgrading their networks and to find new ways of making money. Consumer groups say giving ISPs freer rein will cause them to abuse their powerful position as gatekeepers between customers and the rest of the Internet, controlling what Web users can see and do, and at what cost, online.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said that his predecessor's net neutrality rules were "all about politics," in a speech at the Newseum in Washington on Wednesday.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2017/04/26/heres-the-fccs-plan-to-undo-its-own-net-neutrality-rules/?utm_term=.d43cbb522a93&wpisrc=al_alert-COMBO-econ%252Btech&wpmk=1
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