Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Last Call For Taxing Our Patience, Con't

Trump went to Springfield, Missouri today (Hi Bon Tindle!) to talk about tax cuts for the rich and how they will help America unleash economic lasers or cash missiles or some other such flaming trickle-down supply-side Laffer curve garbage. Also specifics are for losers who don't trust Glorious Leader Trump.

President Donald Trump urged Congress to act on a sweeping overhaul of the tax system Wednesday, promoting the loose outlines of a plan that he said would ease the burden on "forgotten" middle class Americans while also reducing taxes for businesses. 
"I want to work with Congress — Republicans and Democrats alike — on a plan that is pro worker and pro American. No more fitting place to launch this effort than right here in the American heartland," Trump said, speaking at one of the city's largest manufacturing plants. 
His speech offered four vague points for reform, but did not put forth much in the way of policy specifics — something White House officials warned would be the case beforehand. 
In additional to advocating for a business tax rate of 15 percent, Trump pushed for simplifying the tax code while urging "competitive" tax codes that he said would translate to higher wages. He also called tax relief for middle class families "crucial" and highlighted the need for affordable childcare, addressing a campaign promise spurred by his daughter, Ivanka Trump, who attended Wednesday's event. 
Trump said he was "fully committed to working with Congress to get this job done" before telling Missouri voters they should vote sitting Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill out of office if she didn't get on board with his plan. 
"If she doesn't do it for, you have to vote her out office," Trump instructed the crowd. He then closed out his roughly 34-minute remarks with a plea to "at least try to put the partisan posturing behind." 
During his remarks, the president seemed to subtly slight National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn — an instrumental administration voice on tax reform — when he left Cohn out of a long list of shout outs to administration officials and state lawmakers. 
"Anybody I forgot?" he asked the crowd after listing off other White House officials like Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Cohn, who days earlier criticized the president's response to white supremacist marches in Charlottesville, Virginia, was traveling with the president Wednesday, according to the White House.

How to Trump:

  1. Some sort of tax plan, shut up FAKE NEWS.
  2. Forget your Treasury Secretary.
  3. About 5,000 square miles of Texas/Louisiana are still underwater but tax cuts
  4. Perhaps now would be a good time to talk about Republicans cutting FEMA's budget by billions to pay for The Wall
  5. Also talk about defeating Claire McCaskill at an official White House event and not a campaign rally but is so get in losers we're going to the mall.
  6. Anyone bother to ask how much Donny's tax cut plan will save Donny in 2018?
  7. I guess we'd have to see Donny's tax returns first.
  8. Oh and the tax cut plan, we'd need that too for the math part I guess
  9. MAGA, bitches.
  10. Buy Trump merchandise on the website!
Something like that.

The reality is that Republicans will finish raiding the country's tax base with massive austerity cuts, massive tax cuts for the richest Americans, and plenty of surplus military gear for cops to keep the other 99% of us in line once we figure out we outnumber them 100 to 1.  Like Trumpcare, the details will screw millions of Americans over so badly that they probably won't be able to survive, and that's the whole point, to get to the lifeboats with mountains of loot before America hits that iceberg.

Trump will be tolerated for precisely as long as he plays the game and wins.  But he's already lost on Trumpcare for now and odds are he's going to lose on this too.  His corporate masters aren't going to be happy with him for much longer, and then President Pence will be expected to toe the line.

That's when things get truly bad.

Go Google "Think Tank Corruption" And See What Comes Up

Hey folks, here's just another reminder that Google is a massive, multi-billion dollar corporate tech giant that has access to an unhealthy chunk of the world's data and their support of liberal causes comes with a pretty hefty price tag at times.

In the hours after European antitrust regulators levied a record $2.7 billion fine against Google in late June, an influential Washington think tank learned what can happen when a tech giant that shapes public policy debates with its enormous wealth is criticized. 
The New America Foundation has received more than $21 million from Google; its parent company’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt; and his family’s foundation since the think tank’s founding in 1999. That money helped to establish New America as an elite voice in policy debates on the American left. 
But not long after one of New America’s scholars posted a statement on the think tank’s website praising the European Union’s penalty against Google, Mr. Schmidt, who had chaired New America until 2016, communicated his displeasure with the statement to the group’s president, Anne-Marie Slaughter, according to the scholar. 
The statement disappeared from New America’s website, only to be reposted without explanation a few hours later. But word of Mr. Schmidt’s displeasure rippled through New America, which employs more than 200 people, including dozens of researchers, writers and scholars, most of whom work in sleek Washington offices where the main conference room is called the “Eric Schmidt Ideas Lab.” The episode left some people concerned that Google intended to discontinue funding, while others worried whether the think tank could truly be independent if it had to worry about offending its donors.

Those worries seemed to be substantiated a couple of days later, when Ms. Slaughter summoned the scholar who wrote the critical statement, Barry Lynn, to her office. He ran a New America initiative called Open Markets that has led a growing chorus of liberal criticism of the market dominance of telecom and tech giants, including Google, which is now part of a larger corporate entity known as Alphabet, for which Mr. Schmidt serves as executive chairman.

Ms. Slaughter told Mr. Lynn that “the time has come for Open Markets and New America to part ways,” according to an email from Ms. Slaughter to Mr. Lynn. The email suggested that the entire Open Markets team — nearly 10 full-time employees and unpaid fellows — would be exiled from New America
While she asserted in the email, which was reviewed by The New York Times, that the decision was “in no way based on the content of your work,” Ms. Slaughter accused Mr. Lynn of “imperiling the institution as a whole.” 
Mr. Lynn, in an interview, charged that Ms. Slaughter caved to pressure from Mr. Schmidt and Google, and, in so doing, set the desires of a donor over the think tank’s intellectual integrity. 
Google is very aggressive in throwing its money around Washington and Brussels, and then pulling the strings,” Mr. Lynn said. “People are so afraid of Google now.”

In the end, Google is a corporation that makes an ungodly amount of money, and they use it to lobby regulators and governments just like every other corporation on earth.  They just happen to have a lot more money and influence than everybody else, so the kinds of things they can accomplish with that influence can carry far more impact.

Getting an entire policy team fired from a think tank for a mean article seems a bit excessive, however. Even for a company worth tens of billions that donates heavily to said think tank.

Corporate rule of think tanks isn't new or anything, but I can't recall people getting canned over an opinion.  Then again, Google pays for opinions that are good for Google, that's how think tanks work, guys.

Google is no different from Caterpillar or Union Carbide or ExxonMobil in that regard, and that's something to keep in mind.

Where Google is different is that as a tech company that influences greatly what Americans see and hear and read, effectively silencing critics like this and burying their opinions is dangerous on an unprecedented scale.  An information technology company that can control information critical of it to this extent is a company that is probably too large to be allowed to exist.

I stand by that.  Google, Amazon, Facebook, Comcast, Disney, Charter, they all control the flow of information in the information age to tens of millions daily.  And we have the Trump regime to ride herd on them?

What do you think is going to happen?

General Disarray In The Pentagon

Defense Secretary James Mattis has apparently put his foot down on Trump's transgender troop policy and is holding off on taking any action to expel the country's estimated 11,000 currently-serving transgender soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines pending further study.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis late Tuesday announced that transgender troops will be allowed to continue serving in the military pending the results of a study by experts.

The announcement follows an order from President Trump — first announced in a tweet — declaring that transgender service members can no longer serve in the military, effectively reversing an Obama administration policy. The order also affects the Department of Homeland Security, which houses the Coast Guard.

"Once the panel reports its recommendations and following my consultation with the secretary of Homeland Security, I will provide my advice to the president concerning implementation of his policy direction," Mattis said in the statement. "In the interim, current policy with respect to currently serving members will remain in place."

Mattis' move buys time for the Pentagon to determine how and if it will allow thousands of transgender troops to continue to serve, whether they will receive medical treatment, or how they will be discharged.

As Defense Secretary, Mattis has emphasized that he has little tolerance for policies that detract from military readiness or the Pentagon's effectiveness on the battlefield. At the last moment in June, he delayed the Pentagon's plan to accept new transgender troops. His reasoning: He demanded more study to determine the effect of recruiting them on the Pentagon's ability to fight and win wars.

The thing is that the Pentagon studies are already available from 2016.

Last year, the Pentagon commissioned a study by the non-partisan RAND Corp. to examine the effects on military readiness of allowing transgender troops to serve openly and the cost of providing them medical treatment. The study estimated that a few to several thousand transgender troops are on the active duty force of 1.3 million. Researchers found that paying for their health care needs would amount to about $8 million per year and their effect on readiness would be negligible.

I'm of course very glad that Mattis is slowing this train down, but the reality is eventually he's going to have to either say "yes sir" and follow through on Trump's orders or resign his cabinet position.  I'm going to have to say given the past several months it's going to be option one.  The study isn't a freeze, Trump's order was always that Mattis was going to make the decision as to how to implement the plan, but the study does give both Mattis and Trump political cover.

So sometime next spring, the ban will go back into place.  What will happen as far as legal challenges to the ban from the ACLU and other rights groups, I couldn't tell you with this Supreme Court, but it's very possible that they won't even take the case.

We'll see, but I don't have very high hopes for this at all.


Related Posts with Thumbnails