Trump’s troubles continue…

… But if he kept his mouth shut, he wouldn’t have half of them.

Donald Trump urged House members to adopt the Senate’s budget and follow through on tax reform during a House GOP conference call. “We are on the verge of doing something very, very historic,” Trump said. Trump claimed the plan “will bring back trillions” of American dollars currently overseas. Something historic like another failure in passing this legislation? Money back from overseas? Never explains his “thinking”.

The Republican tax reform framework proposes eliminating the State and Local Tax deduction, a popular tax break that affects nearly one-third of filers but 30 GOP members may balk at it. Assuming no Democrats agree, if more than 22 GOP disagree, the budget will fail.

But in the end the House of Representatives narrowly passed a budget resolution that clears the path for Congress to fast-track tax reform legislation. The vote was 216-212, with 20 Republicans joining Democrats in opposing the measure. Not a good sign even though it passed. The budget includes reconciliation rules that will allow the Senate to pass tax reform with only a simple majority rather than the usual 60 to overcome a filibuster. Cheating again.

John Kelly, before he was Chief of Staff, warned Trump at the beginning of his term not to call the widows of servicemen who died. Kelly also said that [without saying it] Trump was wrong. All presidents have written the widows but very few have called because no matter what they say, it won’t help in grieving.

Trump continue to go after Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson saying “Wacky Congresswoman Wilson is the gift that keeps on giving for the Republican Party, a disaster for Dems. You watch her in action & vote R!”. “Niger is @realDonaldTrump’s Benghazi. He needs to own it,” Wilson tweeted after. Wilson claims she heard Trump call a serviceman’s widow and said to her “[he] knew what he signed up for, but I guess it still hurt.” Sanders backtracked her “inappropriate” comments later after defending Kelly.

In an interview with Good Morning America, the widow of the serviceman who spoke to Trump said “I was very angry at the tone of his voice and how he said it. He couldn’t remember my husband’s name.” She said she also wants to know why she hasn’t been allowed to see her husband’s body. “The phone was on speaker phone. Why would we fabricate something like that?”

I’m sure it was after that interview that Trump tweeted “I had a very respectful conversation with the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, and spoke his name from beginning, without hesitation!” Why doesn’t he give up. He lied again.

Everything in the White House, from phone conversations to Emails, are recorded. So why doesn’t Trump release the recording of his conversation with the widow to finally put this issue to rest and see who told the truth and who didn’t. I can guess who didn’t.

Then Trump said “Sen.[Bob] Corker is the incompetent head of the Foreign Relations Committee, & look how poorly the U.S. has done. He doesn’t have a clue as…..” Do you have a clue? And then “People like liddle’ Bob Corker have set the U.S. way back…”

The he tweeted “Corker dropped out of the race in Tennesse when I refused to endorse him, and now is only negative on anything Trump. Look at his record!” [Does he know how to spell Tennessee?] and “Isn’t it sad that lightweight Senator Bob Corker, who couldn’t get re-elected in the Great State of Tennessee, will now fight Tax Cuts plus!” [Corker has said he is retiring from the Senate and not seeking re-election.]

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake announced that he will not seek re-election in 2018, and then promptly took the Senate floor and began a lengthy screed against the state of Republican politics in the Trump era. Among other things he talked about “the flagrant disregard for truth or decency”, “the degradation of our politics”, and “such mercurial behavior”.

With Flake, Bob Corker and John McCain all claiming that they probably will not vote in favor of any Trump legislation, the probably of any legislation passing with at least a few Democrats is unlikely.

Then Trump dismissed scathing criticism by Republican Sens. Jeff Flake and Bob Corker, saying the real reason they are retiring is because of unfavorable election odds, not dissatisfaction with their party’s standard-bearer. [So Trump admitted that Corker was retiring and not running again. Finally.]

Trump tweeted “The meeting with Republican Senators yesterday, outside of Flake and Corker, was a love fest with standing ovations and great ideas for USA!” Multiple standing ovations at a lunch? Wish there was video footage to confirm.

Hillary Clinton, on a 15 city book tour promoting her book “What Happened” came to the Montreal stop with a fractured her right foot talking about her book and explaining what did happen. She blames a number of reasons why she didn’t win: from her campaign errors to the Email server to the FBI investigation and others. [Yes, Trump, she did blame her campaign for mistakes made which includes herself.]

So surprising was Trump’s victory to her that she had not prepared a concession speech, she said, and was not prepared to deliver one in the early hours of November 9th. Clinton said that attending Trump’s inauguration was like a “root canal on steroids. I really did not want to go.”

She does not think Trump was qualified to be president, she said. But what she came to realize in time was that “this was the reality-TV campaign and he was the reality-TV candidate. I was the candidate of reality — and I was just not as entertaining.”

White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders is really drinking the Trump Kool-Aid. After both Presidents Barrack Obama and George W. Bush made comments about Trump without using Trump’s name, Sanders claims that both were not talking directly about Trump in their speeches as they would of used Trump’s name. Unsure about Obama but Bush has not said anything about Trump in probably over a year.

Huckabee also claimed Trump “helped defeat ISIS”. Unfortunately, ISIS abandoned Raqqa [their quasi-capitol] but are still fighting. She also said Trump “brought unemployment to a 16-year low” but it has been Obama’s final years that helped drive the drop in the unemployment rate according to experts.

With all the cases brought up of sexual harassment [and worse], a reporter asked Sanders if the White House officially thought those women were lying. Sanders offered a very short non-answer: “We’ve been clear on that in the beginning and the President’s spoken on that.”

The allegations from the White House come amid news that the Clinton campaign and DNC helped fund research that led to the dossier that included salacious allegations about Trump, his conduct in Russia and included allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Sanders sought to turn the Russia spotlight on Democrats, arguing that “if any collusion took place, it would be between the DNC and the Clintons.” She declined to answer a follow-up asking what evidence Trump has to accuse Hillary Clinton of colluding with the Russians.

Trump invited some of the kids belonging to the media and asked the kids “How does the press treat you?” I think the kids didn’t know what to say.

Trump is claiming by reducing the corporate tax it will also give an extra $4000 [and at one point he said up to $5000] to each US households. He is getting this from the economic council of advisors. But all this was based on a study from Harvard but the author says maybe $800 but under the right conditions? Trump likes to increase things.

The judge sentencing Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl had to delay his decision following Trump’s comments about the case could affect the public’s perception of the military justice system. Trump’s recent comments are preventing a fair proceeding.

Five former Presidents got together in Texas at a relief concert to help Texas. Trump? Sent a video message that was very stoic and scripted. No expression.

Trump tweeted “…9 months than this Administration. Over 50 Legislation approvals, massive regulation cuts, energy freedom, pipelines, border security….” Not 50 Legislative approvals as they were executive orders. Does he know the difference? Border security? Travel bans continue to be shot down by courts. Everything else from executive orders.

Trump also tweeted “It is finally sinking through. 46% OF PEOPLE BELIEVE MAJOR NATIONAL NEWS ORGS FABRICATE STORIES ABOUT ME. FAKE NEWS, even worse! Lost cred.” Wonder where he got that percentage from. I guess he wanted high enough to make it slightly believable and not say 76% which sounds like a dictatorship percentage.

An early Happy Halloween to The Witch, KellyAnne Conway.

Seems the Trump administration doesn’t want a NAFTA deal with Canada and Mexico. The administration wants [for example] auto content made in the US up at a least 50%. This would increase the cost and the price of autos [higher US labor costs at least] which would probably decrease auto sales and maybe even reduce jobs. Even various experts such as the US Chamber of Commerce want a proper NAFTA deal.

“This epidemic is a national health emergency,” Trump said. “Nobody has seen anything like what is going on now….. We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic. We can do it.” Worse than the 60s and early 70s with the drugs? He declared a nationwide health emergency, a designation that will not automatically be followed by additional federal funding for the crisis.

In just 9 months, Trump has personally attacked 1 in 5 GOP senators.

Democratic mega-donor and billionaire Tom Steyer is spending more than $10 million on a national TV ad campaign calling for Trump’s impeachment.

Sen. Thom Tillis went to a lunch with Republican lawmakers carrying a bag of popcorn, ready for Trump’s visit to Capitol Hill after Trump feuded with Sen. Bob Corker.

Trump wished country singer, Lee Greenwood, a happy birthday – except he tweeted to the wrong Lee Greenwood [a New York lawyer]. Trump then deleted the original tweet [is he embarrassed?] and tweeted the right one. [Deleting a tweet by the “president” is probably illegal under American laws.]

While not even at the end of the year, Trump’s administration added $80 billion to the country’s deficit which will hit $666 billion this year [hmmm – 666]. Of note, corporate income taxes fell by $2.5 billion year over year to $297 billion while individual income taxes rose by $41 billion to $1.587 trillion.

The State Department’s inspector general has looked into complaints that the US ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, Scott Brown, made inappropriate comments to women during an official visit to the Samoan capital of Apia. He was appointed by Trump.

Alexander Nix, the chief executive of Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics company, linked to the Trump campaign contacted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in 2016 regarding thousands of Hillary Clinton’s emails kept on a private server while she was secretary of state.

Fox News leads the number of Trump interview with 19. All the others combined have one more than Fox News. The New York Times has had four interviews with the President, NBC and Reuters have had three each, and the Wall Street Journal has had two.

According to an early analysis by the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, a think tank in Washington, bottom 95% of households, by contrast, would get a bump of just 0.5% to 1.2% [average]. Compare that to the top 1% [those making $730,000+] who would see a 8.5% increase and the top 0.1% [those making $5+ million] who’s after tax income would jump 10%. But 13.5% of middle income filers as well as some in a higher bracket would actually pay primarily because the GOP framework calls for the repeal of most itemized deductions, including the lucrative state and local tax deduction.

Of course, if you reduce taxes to just about everyone, someone has to pay. Otherwise, it will be added to the debt.

Trump accidentally referred to the Virgin Islands’ governor as their President during a speech saying “I met with the President of the Virgin Islands” — even though he is technically their President.

Trump has endorsed Republican Ed Gillespie in the Virginia gubernatorial race. But the candidate appears to go out of his way to avoid mentioning his most prominent supporter. Trump’s endorsement isn’t mentioned anywhere on Gillespie’s campaign website or his social media pages. Gillespie doesn’t discuss Trump unless he’s prompted to do so. He doesn’t criticize the President, but he also doesn’t make an effort to embrace him, either.

[When was there ever a governor who didn’t want the sitting President’s endorsement before? Another first.]

CNN had a former Republican politician who claims that 1800+ false or exaggerated claims by Trump since January [as researched by the NY Times] are all exaggerated because she thinks the way they were checked. All 1800+? In addition, she claims that the period under Obama was the slowest growth in economy. This after digging out of the recession with George W. Bush. Towards the end of 2008, in Bush’s final term, it hit a low of -8%. During Obama’s 8 years it hit a high of about 5.5% in 2014.

New Yorkers with views of the East River may have spotted a row of bright-red digital numbers affixed to a building on the Queens waterfront. The mysterious display is actually a clock counting down the time left in Trump’s first term. Can it tick down faster?

A slim majority of Americans (52%) oppose Trump’s recent tax reform proposals, according to a poll, while only one-third (34%) say they support the Trump plan.

In a poll taken in mid-October, overall, 37% of Americans approve of the way Trump is handling the presidency, 57% disapprove — virtually identical to his marks in late September. But the percentage who say things in the country are going well has fallen from 53% in August to 46% now, about the same as after Trump’s tumultuous first weeks in office.

38% say the policies Trump has proposed will move the country in the right direction, 56% say the wrong direction. 32% approve of the way the President is handling his relationship with Republicans in Congress while 54% disapprove. Nearly half (47%) overall say they have more confidence in the GOP in Congress to handle major issues facing the country vs. 30% who say they have confidence in Trump. A sizable 17% trust neither.

 

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How tax reform benefits Trump

The White House announced a sweeping plan to cut a variety of taxes that would overwhelmingly benefit the wealthy.

“I don’t benefit. I don’t benefit” Donald Trump said. “In fact, very, very strongly, as you see, I think there’s very little benefit for people of wealth.”

And yet he will greatly. According to a New York Times analysis using his 2005 tax return [the one that was leaked and showed him to be worth about $2.86 billion], they discovered that he’d save over $1 billion a year in taxes. This also includes:

  • If his assets — reportedly valued at $2.86 billion — were transferred after his death under today’s rules, his estate would be taxed at about 40 per cent. Repealing the federal estate tax could save his family about $1.1 billion, though it could still be subject to New York estate taxes.
  • The decades-old alternative minimum tax is meant to prevent America’s wealthiest from using deductions to pay very low or no federal income tax. In 2005, it accounted for about 80 per cent of Trump’s overall income tax payment. His plan to repeal the tax would save him $31.3 million.
  • Individuals could qualify for a significantly reduced tax rate of 25 per cent on certain types of income they receive through business partnerships and similar entities. That is up from the original proposal in April of 15 per cent, but far lower than the top tax rates currently faced by high-income earners of 39.6 per cent. Trump could save as much as $6.2 million on business income and $9.8 million on income from real estate and other kinds of partnerships under this plan, compared with his tax burden under current law.
  • The proposal to reduce the highest tax rate to 35 per cent from 39.6 per cent would save high-income earners similar to Trump a relatively small amount compared with the repeal of the alternative minimum tax. The $500,000 in savings is a rough estimate because Trump has not specified income levels for his proposed tax brackets.

 

A semi-quieter Trump this week after 100 days

Of 38 specific promises Donald Trump made in his 100-day “contract” with voters, he’s accomplished 10, mostly through executive orders that don’t require legislation. He hasn’t started on 15 of his 100-day promises, which include several immigration laws, college affordability, infrastructure incentives and punishment for companies that move jobs overseas.

While Trump claims he doesn’t seem to care about the 100-day mark of his administration, he plans a whirlwind of activities seeking to highlight accomplishments. What those are, few know. Bombing Syria twice. After that? He claims job creation but how many were already in place prior to his election? Pipeline? Debatable. Trade?

Exiting TPP may or may not be a positive thing. Regulation cuts? Again. Debatable as some will make things easy to be done with little approval. He claims ethics. He should look in his own backyard. He claims travel restrictions but other than the electronics ban, it’s been a dismal failure. He claims constructing the wall but not an inch has been built. He claims new hires for immigration enforcement but he can’t find people to hire for border security. He claims helping women but he is killing planned parenthood.

On the 100th day – same day as a possible government shutdown – he will be in Atlanta for a National Rifle Association event as well as sign more executive orders while aides fan out around the country to promote the administration. There he said the second amendment was under “assault” for 8 years.

Trump, not surprising, is fuming over the less than stellar reviews of his first 100 days. Add to his tarnishing of the office [claiming that Obama tapping phones, illegal voters voted for Hillary Clinton, insulting allies] and failure to pass some executive orders [travel ban twice ]or to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Many campaign initiatives have been changed, failed or just ignored. Others such as comments about NATO, China and Russia have changed. He also has lost quite a few people he hired after the election like Michael Flynn and a few others aren’t doing well either.

Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, did not disclose foreign payments, despite a warning from the Pentagon in 2014. Spicer blamed the Obama administration, saying Flynn got top security clearance last year [they vetted him]. Spicer said Trump’s White House didn’t review Flynn’s security clearance, but rather relied on previous clearance from the Obama administration. Yup. Put the blame on someone else.

Trump said that he will move forward with terminating NAFTA if negotiations don’t success. For now, however, he is focused on reworking the agreement with Mexico and Canada. This even though he spoke to the Mexican President and Canadian Prime Minister and said he wouldn’t. Sounds a bit like a spoiled brat.

Trump hosed Canada’s softwood lumber industry when Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the tariffs, or taxes, were being imposed after trade talks on dairy products fell through. The tariffs — also called duties — ranged from 3% to 24% on five specific Canadian lumber companies. For all other Canadian lumber companies, there’s a nearly 20% tariff on exports to the US. Of course why lumber when dairy products negotiations failed? It was in early February when trump met Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that NAFTA would only be “tweaked” with Canada.

Canada is expected to file a complaint with the trade dispute court. They did in 2004 after a similar huge tariff imposed and the US lost. They also filed 4 other times and Canada won all of them.

The lumber tax is expected to hike the price of lumber used in home building by an average of 6% [$3,000], according to the National Association of Home Builders, the trade group for the U.S. industry. Builders argue that higher prices will translate into a slowdown of construction activity that could cost 8,000 U.S. jobs and $500 million in lost wages. With the possible lack of lumber, it will drive up prices across the US.

So the Trump administration is “helping” the lumber industry at the expense of new home owners and builders. An executive for the U.S. Lumber Association says that $3,000 is nothing if the average home is $225,000 [where?]. But that is about 1.5%, not 6%. 6% would be about $13,500. He’s dropping the increased cost so it doesn’t look as bad.

World Trade Organization ruled in Mexico’s favor, allowing it to impose trade sanctions worth $163 million a year against the US. The WTO says that’s how much money Mexico has lost from the US unfairly penalizing Mexican tuna. Mexican officials insisted for years that US laws discriminated against their tuna, and that other countries didn’t face the same level of enforcement.

In more fibbing from Trump, he claimed that after he threatened to do the preliminary work to kill NAFTA [even though he always said he would “tweak” it], he said that the Canadian Prime Minister and Mexican President called him to work on fixing NAFTA but at least the Canadian Prime Minister said Trump initiated the call. Who would you believe?

The killing of NAFTA would cause major havoc with the economies of the 3 countries that could affect other economies. It may not be as complicated as Brexit but it would be complicated and would need approval from Congress [which trump has issues right now]. At least 33 states trade heavily with Canada – many voted for Trump.

Trump plans on announcing tax reform which would drop the corporate tax rate from 35 per cent to 15 per cent and drop the personal tax as well. But some experts doubt that by dropping the tax rate can the current deficit [about $560 billion] not increase even if it helps the economy to improve as it would need a big jolt to do so. Also whether or not the Automatic Minimum Tax will be changed or removed . This tax is applied to the wealthy as the minimum they must pay, no matter what they deducted in charities, loopholes, etc. In one year Trump could of saved over $30 million if AMT wasn’t around.

With a higher deficit, the Trump plan could damage the credibility of Republican lawmakers who spent years railing against the rising national debt under former President Barack Obama. Could be harder to pass lasting tax reform, since any policy that increases the debt above its baseline either requires Democratic support or — if passed by a slim majority of Republicans in the Senate — would expire in a decade.

Republicans who slammed the growing national debt under President Barack Obama have said they are open to Trump’s tax plan, even though it could add trillions of dollars to the deficit over the next decade. Republicans argue the cuts would spur economic growth, reducing or even eliminating any drop in tax revenue. But some had a change of heart after they saw the changes. The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation said a big cut in corporate taxes, even if temporary, would add to long-term budget deficits.

In the brief outline for tax reform, it will slash the business tax rate on pass-through entities to 15% from 39.6%. [Pass-throughs’ profits flow through to the owners, partners and shareholders, who then report and pay tax on them through their individual tax returns.] All Trump family holdings are pass-throughs. So for every $1 million earned, Trump would pay $150,000 under his own plan instead of $396,000 today. From his leaked 2005 tax return, he would of saved $27 million.

Trump brought the complete Senate to his shack for a meeting to discuss North Korea. But “We learned nothing you couldn’t read in the newspaper,” Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley. Trump himself was only there for 14 minutes of the 60 minute briefing.

Trump claimed again that he was directly responsible for helping save $700 million on a February order of 90 F-35s — adding that costs will continue to shrink as more planes are delivered despite warnings from a non-partisan federal watchdog agency that testing delays could increase costs by more than a billion dollars. The program itself is worth $400 billion. So that’s a savings of 0.175%. He doesn’t explain what he did. Maybe he got had them remove the landing gear or something else less vital.

Trump tweeted “The Democrats don’t want money from budget going to border wall despite the fact that it will stop drugs and very bad MS 13 gang members” Not quite. More like the cost [estimated over $15 billion] is too much. As of this time, nothing yet built even though Trump had promised in his campaign. He also said that Mexico would pay but that won’t happen.

Bidders for the wall must have designs able to repel pickaxes and sledgehammers for at least an hour and be esthetically pleasing from the north side. One bidder suggested adding solar panels which would generate 2 megawatts of electricity an hour. Another bid suggests building a wall large enough for a deck that would offer tourists scenic views of the desert.

A federal judge blocked the Trump administration from enforcing a threat to take away funds from sanctuary cities — the latest blow from the federal judiciary to Trump’s immigration agenda.

“First the Ninth Circuit rules against the ban & now it hits again on sanctuary cities-both ridiculous rulings. See you in the Supreme Court!” Trump tweeted. Of course he wants to send everything to the Supreme Court [especially since he has his new lackey appointed]. But the judge who handed the ruling is not on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Ninth Circuit would hear the case next if appealed.

Democrats and Republicans voted overwhelmingly on a bill to keep the federal government open through next week, averting a shutdown while negotiators hammer out a broader deal to fund agencies through September. Trump’s wall building request wasn’t included.

After a gunman killed a police officer on the Champs-Elysees, an attack the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for, Trump tweeted: “Another terrorist attack in Paris. The people of France will not take much more of this. Will have a big effect on presidential election!” Some suggest he was referencing far-right Marine Le Pen and her party [known in the past to be anti-Semitic, anti-immigration, anti-EU].

So Ivanka was whining on the Today Show recently saying that it is a human crisis regarding the Syrian refugees. Meanwhile what has her father done? Banned them. Maybe they should do some coordinating.

The US economy only grew at an annual pace of 0.7% in the first three months of the year under Trump, according to the Commerce Department’s report on the GDP. It was the slowest quarter of growth since the first quarter of 2014.

“Our rights are under attack like never before,” the NRA says on its website. But from where? They have a supposedly conservative “president”. The gun industry grew from 166,000 employees in 2008, the year Obama was elected, to 301,000 last year. But since Trump has been in charge, gun sales have dropped.

In a recent poll, 32% still believe that Obama spied on Trump and it jumps to 52% when Republicans are asked. This considering that there is no evidence to support this.

A new CNN/ORC poll finds Trump reaches this milestone holding on to the lowest approval rating of any newly-elected president after 100 days. Overall, 44% say they approve of Trump’s handling of the presidency, 54% disapprove.

In an AP poll, eighty-six per cent of Democrats and 57 per cent of independents oppose new spending for a border wall with Mexico. Republicans break about 2-1 in favour of the wall, but that’s more narrow support than on other priorities. By a 64 per cent to 19 per cent margin, most oppose decreasing spending on scientific and medical research. Most Americans also oppose cuts to spending on the environment and on climate change, by a 52 per cent to 28 per cent margin. Finally, Americans are more likely to oppose than favour cutting spending for public television, radio and the arts, 44 per cent to 32 per cent.

Only 32 percent of millennials approve of his performance so far, according to a poll released by the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics. About 40% said they would give Trump an “F” on his first 100 days, and only a third said they support his handling of ISIS and Obamacare. Nearly 70% of young people, regardless of political ideology, said Trump’s tweeting is “not appropriate” and expressed reservations about cracking down too hard on immigration and jettisoning Obamacare.