5 U.S. Cities With the Worst Traffic

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

5 U.S. Cities With the Worst Traffic

Each year, INRIX, a transportation data firm, releases a report that lists the U.S. cities with the worst traffic. Recently, they released a new traffic congestion report. The study ranked cities based on delays caused by congestion on U.S. roads and expressways. It also adjusted the measurement according to each city’s population. INRIX determined the per capita and cost of congestion for each U.S. city as well. The result was a list of the worst cities in which to commute back and forth to work. Read on and discover if your city made the list.

Los Angeles

Credit: franckreporter/iStock

The City of Angels, Los Angeles came in at number five for the worst traffic. Known for its gorgeous weather, celebrities and thrilling night life, Los Angeles also boasts bumper-to-bumper traffic. According to Forbes, if you live in Los Angeles, you can expect to spend 128 hours sitting in mind-numbing traffic every year.

New York City

Credit: B&M Noskowski/iStock

New York City comes in fourth. Yes, it’s one of the greatest cities in the world. And, yes, you can never be bored in New York City. After all, you have theater, dance, art, museums, amazing restaurants and nightclubs all at your fingertips. But that doesn’t change the fact that you can pretty much count on sitting in some horrendous traffic if you don’t take the subway. In fact, if you drive in New York City, you’ll end up trapped in traffic jams for 133 hours each year. If you can make it in New York City, you can make it anywhere. But if you live somewhere else, you just might avoid sitting in all that traffic.

Chicago

Credit: Gargolas/iStock

Chi-Town. The Windy City. Those are two nicknames for Chicago, the city famous for Oprah, the Chicago Bulls and some seriously good hot dogs. But those aren’t the only things that put Chicago on the map. By the end of the year, Chicagoans have lived 138 hours of their lives sitting in traffic jams. That’s an annual total of $1,920 personal dollars lost.

Washington, D.C.

Credit: WLDavies/iStock

Washington, D.C. is steeped in history. No visit is complete without taking a tour of the White House, visiting the Lincoln Memorial or checking out the Smithsonian Museum. But if you plan to drive around town, be prepared to sit in traffic. By the end of the year, D.C. commuters will waste a whopping 155 hours just sitting in their cars waiting for traffic to inch along. The money each commuter loses equals $2,161 annually.

Boston

Credit: f11photo/Shutterstock

Sorry, Boston. INRIX’s study concluded that Boston has the worst commute times in the U.S. Sure, Boston is a really cool city, a town our forefathers once called home. And it’s the home of the world-famous marathon as well as Fenway Park. Boston also has the worst traffic in the country. During peak commute times, unfortunate travelers can plan on sitting in traffic for 164 hours each year. That’s just like each Boston commuter losing $2,291 annually.

On Hong Kong, the US must find its voice

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BROOKINGS BRIEF)

 

ORDER FROM CHAOS

On Hong Kong, the US must find its voice

Ryan Hass and Susan A. Thornton

Editor’s Note:This piece is part of the ongoing collaboration between the John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings and the Paul Tsai China Center at Yale Law School. Learn more here.

Many different people are looking at the ongoing turbulence in Hong Kong from different perspectives. This includes politicians in other countries and those with all manner of agendas in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, East Asia, and further afield. Most businesspeople wish for a return to stability and a restoration of the status quo ante. Many other observers are rooting for the voices of the people of Hong Kong to be heard in an overbearing political environment. Some are clamoring for a fight and want to see Beijing’s nose bloodied.

Authors

Susan A. Thornton

Senior Fellow – Paul Tsai China Center, Yale Law School

Former Acting Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs – U.S. Department of State

There is no doubt about Beijing’s agenda. In the near term, it wants the protests halted and the protesters quashed. While Beijing would prefer Hong Kong authorities to do what’s necessary to restore order, they also have removed any pretense of subtlety about their willingness to take matters into their own hands, should they deem it necessary. Over the medium term, Beijing would like to tighten control over Hong Kong and prevent it from becoming enveloped in instability again.

Hong Kong authorities likewise seek to restore calm and the protect the city’s reputation as an orderly, business-friendly, and open environment. This will be difficult. The protests have shed light on deep public dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs. Millions of people have gone to the streets to resist the erosion of civil and political rights that the Hong Kong people were promised. They have expressed anger that hopes of upward mobility are being taken away, as the trappings of the city’s prosperity increasingly are being concentrated in the hands of the politically connected. These resentments have sown the seeds of public protest, and even led some to advocate provoking or resorting to violence as a way to reach amorphous goals.

Many people in the United States and elsewhere want to use events in Hong Kong to punish or undermine Beijing. This is a dominant and understandable impulse in the West. After all, irrespective of whether the idea to ram through an extradition law was initiated by authorities in Hong Kong or Beijing, the effort was designed to support Beijing’s desire to gain greater control over events in Hong Kong.

Even as anger is warranted, sobriety is needed. Policymakers must think carefully about how the United States should respond to unfolding events. The measure of success is not projection of strength, but rather protection of American interests.

The United States has direct interests in Hong Kong. Over 85,000 American citizens live there, and nearly 1,400 American businesses operate there. The U.S. trade surplus in Hong Kong in 2017 was $32.6 billion. In other words, U.S. economic interests in Hong Kong are significant.

Given these direct interests, the U.S. has a strong incentive to support efforts to preserve Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and its model of a vibrant, open, rule-of-law society that is a part of China. The use of violence by any side in the ongoing confrontation undermines American interests. It would run counter to American interests for Beijing to weaken Hong Kong, including by narrowing its autonomy, e.g., by eroding legal, judicial, media, assembly, or speech freedoms. By the same token, the peaceful exercise of political freedoms by protesters provides a stronger likelihood of long-term stability than actions that precipitate the imposition of tighter political controls.

The United States also has an interest in defending American values and its example. The world is watching to see whether the U.S. stands up for the right to free speech and peaceful political protest, rights that are enshrined in Hong Kong’s Basic Law. No matter what Washington does or does not do, Beijing will complain about American “interference” in Hong Kong’s internal affairs. There is no reward to be gained for silence on Hong Kong. But there will be significant and lasting costs if the United States abandons support for peaceful demonstrators.

There will be significant and lasting costs if the United States abandons support for peaceful demonstrators.

The U.S. response must be guided by these interests, including by:

  • Calling for calm and condemning violence. As obvious as this seems, it is not happening now. The United States government must not grow mute on its position on violent protests, violent crackdowns on protesters, or vandalism and destruction of property.
  • Defending the right to peaceful protest, while at the same time insisting that a broadly supported peaceful resolution of differences is the only acceptable endgame.
  • Urging Hong Kong authorities and protest leaders to work toward solutions. When every grievance gets expressed through mass protests, the city increasingly will become a powder keg, at which point any event could become a fuse that sets off confrontation.
  • Expressing support for stability and prosperity in Hong Kong, including by emphasizing that stability and prosperity are underpinned by an open society, maximum autonomy, transparent and fair administration of the law, and the expansion of political participation.
  • Openly and directly rejecting the canard that the United States is instigating or directing the protests.
  • Proactively and privately emphasizing to Beijing through diplomatic channels that any actions by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to leave garrison to suppress peaceful protests would cause grievous damage to U.S.-China relations. Washington also should encourage other similarly concerned countries to reinforce this message with Beijing as well.

American interests will neither be protected by complacent disregard of events in Hong Kong nor by overzealous efforts to strip away recognition of Hong Kong’s special status, which would do more to harm the people of Hong Kong than to influence Beijing’s decisionmaking. Silence on Hong Kong or praise for President Xi Jinping’s handling of the protests will not make a U.S.-China trade deal easier to achieve. By the same token, demands or prescriptions of how the ongoing standoff between protesters and authorities should be resolved would be counterproductive. The United States should not narrow Hong Kong’s space to negotiate a way out of the current impasse.

Hong Kong matters greatly to American interests. The United States needs to stand firm on principle and act steadily in defense of its interests. The United States has navigated through similar challenges in Hong Kong in the past. It needs to regain that muscle memory again in the present.

A how-to guide for managing the end of the post-Cold War era. Read all the Order from Chaos content »

3 Strange Facts About U.S. Monuments

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

3 Strange Facts About U.S. Monuments

The United States is a proud country, home to some breathtaking monuments that represent cornerstone events in our history. Many of these monuments are indelible parts of our culture, but few of us know their strange histories or the events that made them what they are today. Let’s review a few strange facts about these monuments you might not know.

The Washington Monument Is Multi-Colored

Credit: mphillips007 / iStock

Located in Washington, D.C., the monolithic Washington Monument is one of the most iconic monuments in U.S. history. Its construction began in 1848 as a tribute to George Washington’s legendary leadership throughout the American Revolution and ran for 36 years until it was finally completed in 1884.

When we think about the Washington Monument, most of us imagine a huge, pearl-white tower reaching upward into the sky — but did you know that the monument is actually multi-colored?

It’s true. Look at it and see for yourself. Although the base of the obelisk is light gray, you’ll notice a slight color shift midway up the tower (around the 150’ mark). Here, the color changes into a deeper, darker gray. This discoloration was a result of delayed construction in 1854, when political turmoil forced builders to separate construction into multiple phases. Although the initial foundation was laid in 1854, the second phase didn’t begin until 1876.

The second phase used a different type of granite than the initial base, which is why the color changes as you climb the tower. But given that the Civil War had just ended, most people had bigger problems to worry about.

Mount Rushmore Was Meant to Be Bigger

Credit: JMichl / iStock

Mount Rushmore is the world-famous monument carved into the Black Hills of Keystone, South Dakota, featuring four of America’s most revered presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt. Each of the presidents’ faces are an impressive 60’ tall, though according to early records from its construction, the current monument is only a small fraction of what was planned.

Reports suggest that there were several other ideas for Mount Rushmore that were scrapped, such as the addition of their torsos, written script, and a museum-type room behind Lincoln’s head. Of course, none of these additions made it into Mount Rushmore’s final design. Funding was an ongoing problem, and by the time the initial work began, the builders were limited to chiseling the faces in granite.

The Statue of Liberty Was Bombed by the Germans

Credit: Nikada / iStock

Remember the days when tourists at the Statue of Liberty could walk inside the torch? Those days are long gone, though few people today remember why. Its closure is often thought to be a result of natural wear and tear that made the torch unsafe for tourists, but this is just a myth — and the actual story is much more interesting.

According to historical records, the Statue of Liberty was the victim of a WWI-era bombing campaign instigated by German soldiers. As the story goes, the Germans sought to destroy caches of weapons and munitions that were scheduled to be delivered to Allied forces in 1916. These munitions were located in New York Harbor—the same site as the Statue of Liberty, which had been dedicated just 30 years prior.

The Germans were successful. After midnight on July 30, a series of fires and small bombs set a few barges ablaze in the harbor, which caused a chain reaction of explosions from over 50 tons of TNT. The explosion and its accompanying shockwaves destroyed the nearby area, sending fragments and debris flying through the air. The shockwaves were so powerful that some of this debris made it as high as the Statue of Liberty’s torch, which was damaged by the shrapnel and subsequently closed.

Of course, it would eventually be replaced—but with a new torch that visitors couldn’t enter. So, you can thank the Germans for that one.

Welcome to Donald Trump’s Big Dumb Fourth of July Festival of Narcissism! A real show of farce.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE)

 

Column: Welcome to Donald Trump’s Big Dumb Fourth of July Festival of Narcissism! A real show of farce.

Column: Welcome to Donald Trump’s Big Dumb Fourth of July Festival of Narcissism! A real show of farce.
A worker washes an M1A1 Abrams tank on July 2, 2019, at a rail yard in Washington. President Donald Trump asked the Pentagon for military hardware, including tanks, to be displayed during Thursday’s July Fourth Salute to America celebration on the National Mall. (Mark Wilson/Getty)
Greetings, fellow Americans* (*designation of “Americans” does not apply to critics of President Donald J. Trump) and WELCOME to President Donald J. Trump’s “Salute to America” celebration of the Fourth of July and of President Donald J. Trump.

For the first time in our nation’s history, we have a president (Donald J. Trump) who is recognizing the Fourth of July and the important role it plays in American history, as well as the important role he (President Donald J. Trump) has played in finally getting Americans to celebrate the Fourth of July, a holiday never celebrated under previous presidents.

We’re so glad you decided to join us (and patriotically donate to President Donald J. Trump’s reelection campaign) and we’re VERY EXCITED to share with you all the America-loving fun you’re about to experience thanks to our great and benevolent president. (Shout his name! And buy something with his name on it from one of the President Donald J. Trump merchandise kiosks located throughout the National Mall.)

This day will be a celebration of all the things America holds dear: the honoring of one man above all others; the flaunting of giant machines of war; and soldiers marching in unison before a political leader who personally involved himself in every detail of a celebration for which he is the keynote speaker.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Big 4th of July in D.C. “Salute to America.” The Pentagon & our great Military Leaders are thrilled to be doing this & showing to the American people, among other things, the strongest and most advanced Military anywhere in the World. Incredible Flyovers & biggest ever Fireworks!

47.2K people are talking about this

While media outlets like The Washington Post are reporting that the National Park Service “is diverting nearly $2.5 million in entrance and recreation fees primarily intended to improve parks across the country to cover costs associated with President Trump’s Independence Day celebration” and the event will also “likely cost taxpayers millions of dollars,” we want to assure you that we will, as the Founders intended, patriotically call that Fake News without providing any evidence that’s true.

The last thing you should be worrying about while you’re in Washington, D.C., for the FOURTH OF JULY EVENT OF A LIFETIME (brought to you by President Donald J. Trump) is what it might be costing or whether bridges at your local parks might collapse. Lighten up! Worrying is for liberals!

The best way you can honor American greatness is to enjoy all this event has to offer, which includes:

— A first-ever Fourth of July fireworks display. The president himself had the idea to develop these decorative sky explosions that he dubbed “fireworks.” The night will conclude with a massive fireworks show, with Donald Trump Jr. lighting all the fuses himself!

— Jumbo high-definition television screens will be located throughout the Salute to America event grounds showing streaming video of DANGEROUS illegal immigrants being patriotically deprived of basic human rights in camps along the country’s southern border.

— A Virtual Reality Outrage Booster tent will allow visitors to put on VR headsets and watch as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton do some of the same things President Trump has done. Your blood will boil as you watch Obama making money off foreign diplomats staying at a Washington, D.C., hotel he owns. And you’ll be filled with anger as you see Clinton letting her daughter, Chelsea, act as a representative of the U.S. government at high-profile meetings with world leaders! Can you imagine anyone besides President Trump doing that?!? The fury will engulf you for days!

— The Indoor Skydiving Trump Donation Experience uses a giant wind turbine to simulate skydiving while also sucking all the money out of your pockets and shooting it into a life-sized replica of President Trump’s pockets. You’ll have no idea you’re being taken for a ride!

— An entire row of all-American carnival games for kids and adults, including favorites like “Whack-A-Lib”; a tricky magnetic fishing pole game called “Put the Migrant Kids in Cages”; and a high-stakes guessing game called “Who’s the Daughter Who’s Not Ivanka?”

There will be, as the president promised, “the brand-new Sherman tanks” on display in the Definitely-Not-Overcompensating-for-Something Dome of Manliness. (Don’t believe the LYING MEDIA claims that Sherman tanks were last used in the 1950s. These Sherman tanks will be new, and they will be MAGNIFICENT!)

Rex Huppke

@RexHuppke

BREAKING: Donald Trump has now ordered the U.S. Navy to “sail two huge air craft carryings” onto the National Mall for his Fourth of July celebration

29 people are talking about this

There will be powerful military jets flying overhead, accompanied by Eric Trump making “ZOOOOOOOM!!!!” noises over the loudspeakers.

And of course, the highlight of the night will be a speech by our great leader, the best president in the 1,000-year history of America.

Best of all? Everyone will have great seats to hear President Trump detail how great he has made America and how grateful we should be for his greatness. And by “everyone,” we mean everyone who has done their civic duty and donated large amounts of money to President Trump.

In keeping with our all-American ethics, the White House has reserved prime seats for Republican donors and political appointees. This is truly “the people’s event,” and the people seated closest to the president will be the ones who donated the most money, as well as those who served their country by not responding to congressional subpoenas or flipping like rats.

So welcome to President Donald J. Trump’s glorious Salute to America. Enjoy your day, donate money until you feel American glory coursing through your veins and give a full-throated cheer to CELEBRATE ALL AMERICANS, except for: the pro-crime liberal LOSERS; the late Sen. John McCain; Robert Mueller; certain Gold Star families who have criticized the president; anyone who has ever criticized the president; all the president’s ex-wives; all former presidents; and the entire U.S. women’s soccer team.

God Bless (Certain Parts of) America!

My Gripe About Georgetown University ‘Slave Reparations’ Being Charged To Students

My Gripe About Georgetown University ‘Slave Reparations’ Being Charged To Students

 

Earlier this evening I read an article on the web site of ‘Newsone’ along with that of CBS and the New York TImes about an event going on at Georgetown University that I personally am not in favor of. Back in the year 1838 the University was deep in debt and the Jesuit Priest who was in charge of the University at the time sold 272 slaves (Black Folks) to a Louisiana Plantation which gave the University the means in which to pay off their debt. There are a lot of people who say they are descendants of these 272 former slaves alive today who say that the University should have to pay these descendants $1 billion in “reparations,” what do you think about this issue?

 

Here is my take on this issue. It is said that the University has a $1.5 billion endowment fund that the University could supposedly access if they so chose to do so. So, if this is true should the University by either choice or by law take a billion dollars from that fund and use it to pay this to the descendents of those 272 slaves? My belief is that the University can pay it if they choose to, its their money, not mine, yet I do not believe that they should in any way be forced to do so. The University (in my opinion) pulled a total B.S. move when it came to this issue, they totally passed the proverbial buck completely onto the current and future students at the School. The University had the students vote on whether to pay the ‘reparations’ cost via a $27.20 added fee to every student every semester. The voter turnout was said to be %58 and that %66 of those who did vote said yes but now it seems that a lot of the Black students feel that they shouldn’t have to pay it. Seems like some voted yes with the belief that they themselves would be/should be exempt. Should they be? I don’t know, do you?

 

To give you more information to help you with your decision I offer you the main reason that I said no and still do to the University paying these descendents one billion dollars. Via the information from CBS News and the New York Times if you took the amount the University received for those 272 slaves and computed it into today’s currency the amount would be $3.5 Million, not one Billion. So, my opinion is that the University shouldn’t “have” to pay the descendents anything as the event was 181 years ago, at least a minimum of nine generations ago. If this type of thing became a law that they had to pay for this then I believe that every White, Black and Asian person in the U.S. today should have to leave this Country right now, no if and or but about it. Why would I say such a ridiculous thing you may think yet my answer is simple, they are called Indians or NATIVE AMERICANS! Should not everything be turned over to the “Red Man” who settled here first? There is one thing that I do believe though and that is if the University were to be forced by law to pay these reparations that the amount should not be more than the $3.5 million I mentioned earlier.

 

Now, for the last part of this article, a new twist for you to consider which might help you in your decision-making. Just as I was setting down to write this article to you I came across an article in “Teen Vogue” about this very issue and I would like to share some of their words with you. First in their article they said that the amount in today’s dollars would equal $3.3 Million instead of the aforementioned $3.5 Million. Their article also stated that the University says the amount collected each year would be about $380,000. Their article also stated the following which is a quote. “The money would go toward the education and health care programs in Louisiana and Maryland where according to the New York Times many of the 4,000 known living descendents of those slaves live today.” Personally I don’t have any problem with that program accept that I do not believe that the current and future students should have to pay that bill. If anyone was to be “forced” to pay out that $380,000 dollars per year it should have to be the University but I do not believe that any law should ever force them to have to pay that. The biggest reason for me saying this the fact that in 1838 slavery was legal in this country and by the laws of the time the University did not do anything legally wrong in selling their slaves. There is nothing about slavery that I agree with, the laws of the land at that time were wrong and thank the Lord they were changed. Yet when a person or business does not break the law in their actions the law should NEVER be allowed to punish descendents by making them pay for the LEGAL actions of their descendents.

 

 

(Poem) It’s Just Wrong

It’s Just Wrong

 

It’s just wrong to be all bad, and out of place

If ya ain’t got no brain power you gotta grace

Life can be quite the beautiful mess, some times

Don’t be the one with the ignorant look on your face

Everywhere, and in life itself, seems all is out of place

 

D.C. Monkeys, Scowling, as they are lying to our face

They start a War then decide to take all your guns away

Loyalty is seems only goes up, to the highest dollar

How much crap will a working person have to swallow

The Poor do all the work to give the rich their Caviar

 

It is wrong to say “I Do” as you’re looking eye to eye then lie

The Strong from the Weak, that’s how it is and will always be

The day is coming when we will have to fight for table scraps

We Worship our Selfies with ignorance beyond even primal belief

Our World, have we lost it, is love no more, I believe your wrong

Trump, LIAR IN CHIEF Made Up B.S.: Trump’s mystery tax cut puzzles Washington

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF POLITICO NEWS)

 

WHITE HOUSE

Trump’s mystery tax cut puzzles Washington

The president has spoken twice about a tax plan no one else seems to know anything about. ‘I guess I’ll hear about it when I get to work on Monday,’ one official said.

Call it the mystery middle class tax cut.

In recent days President Donald Trump has twice promised a new “major tax cut” ahead of the November midterm elections, mystifying White House officials, congressional leaders, and tax wonks around town who mostly have no idea what he’s talking about.

The pledge — which Trump repeated Monday afternoon — came as news to House and Senate lawmakers, who’ve already returned to their home states to campaign for the elections and have no plans to consider new legislation before then.

White House officials spent the day trying to decode what Trump meant because no one knew the substance of any such tax cut, or had seen any policy proposal related to it. Aides were left wondering what Trump had read in newspaper clippings, or seen on Twitter, to inspire this grand promise from his rally podium.

One senior administration official on Sunday night had not even heard about the president’s tax cut remark on Saturday in Nevada and said they had no idea what he was talking about. “I guess I’ll hear about it when I get to work on Monday,” the official said.

Trump said that House Speaker Paul Ryan was involved in crafting the plan. But Ryan’s office shed no light, referring questions back to the White House.

Trump first floated the idea on Saturday, saying that his administration is “studying very deeply right now round the clock a major tax cut for middle income people.” He upped the ante before leaving for a campaign trip to Texas on Monday, telling reporters at the White House that the administration plans to produce a “resolution” calling for a 10 percent tax cut for middle income earners. It was not clear what he meant by resolution. There are no current plans in Congress for any kind of large new tax cut for the middle class.

The GOP is already scrambling to avoid criticism for the ballooning debt and deficit under Trump’s watch. The president’s own Treasury Department reported last week that the deficit hit $779 billion in the 2018 fiscal year, the highest level since 2012, following the GOP tax cut bill and a massive spending increase in Congress. Jason Furman, who served as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Barack Obama suggested a 10 percent middle class tax cut would cost roughly $2 trillion over ten years.

“This is the height of cynicism,” Greg Valliere, chief global strategist for Horizon Investments, said of Trump’s tax cut talk. “Number one, I think even Republicans would be gun shy about adding this much more to the deficit. And the public actually seems pretty indifferent to tax cuts. This doesn’t pass the smell test or the laugh test.”

One potential clue to Trump’s thinking: Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) released a tax proposal aimed at the middle class late last week. Some Republicans close to the White House speculated that Trump is trying to one-up his potential 2020 presidential rival.

Regardless of the origin of the president’s comments, they nonetheless set off a scramble in official Washington to de-code his exact meaning.

One senior administration official stressed that the president was left hungry for more even after his White House pushed tax reform legislation through Congress for the first time since 1986. “He’s wanted to do more,” the official added. “But on those specifics, you may have to wait a bit because they have to go through Congress.”

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady already unveiled a tax reform 2.0 bill earlier this fall, which now must wait for consideration from the Senate. Brady’s bill contains many of the tweaks and fixes to the individual side of the tax code, so much so that one Republican congressional staffer said: “What else can we really do?” when asked for reaction to Trump’s comments.

Tax wonks, too, were left to speculate about the policy machinations. Some suspect Trump was referring to a proposal from the Treasury Department to index capital gains to inflation, a move the department could do unilaterally.

“We think Mr. Trump could have been hinting that the administration may propose indexing capital gains for inflation,” Brian Gardner, an analyst at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods wrote in a note to clients on Monday. “While indexing capital gains for inflation might not meet many people’s definition of a ‘middle class tax cut,’ it is an idea that National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow supports and has pushed for many years and which the administration floated during the summer.

Or Trump could have been referring to a proposal out of his Department of Labor that would expand access to 401(k)’s for people who work for small businesses, said Stephen Moore, an informal economic adviser to the Trump campaign and distinguished visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation who, despite his own deep relationships in the White House, was also left wondering about Trump’s ‘major tax cut’ rhetoric.

The specifics may not matter, though, in the days before an election — especially as the media echoes his message, often uncritically.

“Trump says ‘major tax cut’ on the way for the middle class” read one headline on Fox News business on Oct. 22. “Trump: Working on tax cut for middle class,” an MSNBC chyron declared during his remarks Monday. Making headlines like those may have been Trump’s clearest plan all along.

And for Republicans making the final sprint to the midterms, Trump talking about tax cuts – even fanciful ones with no chance of happening – is better than Trump talking about much of anything else.

“It’s not a serious proposal. It wasn’t kicked around a whole lot, he just tossed it out there,” said one conservative lobbyist with close ties to GOP leaders on the Hill. “Nobody is taking it seriously, but we’d rather have him talking about tax cuts than some of the crazy stuff he usually talks about.”

Wake Up World: Government Of ‘The Peoples Republic Of China’ Is No One’s Friend

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTE)

 

Editor’s Note:Richard Bush was the Chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan from 1997 to 2002, based in Washington, D.C.

On the morning of June 12, Taipei time, there will be a ceremony to mark the opening of a new office building in Taiwan’s capital city. But it is not just any office building. It is the new building of the American Institute in Taiwan. With the opening looming, there has been much speculation whether the Trump administration would send of senior official to Taiwan to mark the occasion. That idea has also evoked strong opposition from China.

Author

The AIT opening—and even the name American Institute in Taiwan—is entwined in the “one-China policy” of the United States. When the Carter administration established diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China in 1979, it agreed to terminate diplomatic relations with the government on Taiwan, known as the Republic of China, and to conduct relations with Taiwan on an unofficial basis. Congress created AIT to conduct those unofficial relations. Taiwan has its counterpart mechanism in Washington, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office.

Despite the circumlocutions, it’s no secret that AIT’s Taipei Office works for the U.S. government. In their interactions with Taiwan government agencies, AIT personnel promote U.S. interests and carry out an array of U.S. programs.

Since AIT opened in 1979, the men and women of AIT have worked out of a facility in Taipei that was built in 1950 and used to be the office of the Military Assistance Advisory Group. They have long deserved a new building, and now they are getting it. For Taiwan, moreover, this new, not inexpensive building signifies a strong and enduring American commitment to the island and its people.

China is not happy with the scope and scale of the U.S. relationship with Taiwan, particularly in the security field. If it had its way, it would probably prefer that Washington have a simple trade office in Taipei, as other countries have. But one of the interests on which AIT officers labor is maintaining peace and security in the Taiwan Strait, which should be in China’s interest as well.

Beijing also objects to U.S. actions that suggest that its relationship with Taiwan is actually official. So when reports surfaced that the Trump administration might send a Cabinet-level official to Taiwan for the AIT opening, China undertook a campaign to stop that idea in its tracks, claiming that such an action would violate the “one-China principle.”

It happens that successive administrations have interpreted the U.S. one-China policymuch more flexibly than the strict fashion in which China defines its one-China principle. As long ago as 1992, the George H. W. Bush administration sent Secretary of Commerce Barbara Franklin to visit Taiwan, and later administrations sent people at that level.

Naturally, the Taiwan government and public would appreciate the affirmation that Cabinet-level attendance would represent. Just as naturally, the government and the public would be disappointed if a Cabinet-level head does not attend.

China chose the path of confrontation when conciliation was possible.

Yet it is important to view the administration’s decision on this specific issue in light of the poor state of Taiwan-China relations. China does not like Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan’s democratically elected president, because it fears that her Democratic Progressive Party will lead Taiwan down the road of legal independence, thus foreclosing its goal of unifying Taiwan. Actually, China’s fears of independence are unfounded. President Tsai has repeatedly said that she will maintain the status quo between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. Beijing still chose contention over coexistence, and has taken a number of steps to punish Taiwan for electing President Tsai: stealing away the countries with which Taiwan has diplomatic relations, restricting its role in the international community, conducting military exercises near Taiwan, and so on.

To repeat: China chose the path of confrontation when conciliation was possible. Going back to the 1950s, U.S. administrations have stressed that the peaceful resolution of differences between China and Taiwan is an “abiding interest” of the United States. The Trump administration has reaffirmed that position and made clear that it is China that is currently engaged in destabilizing behavior. It should therefore seize opportunities to signal its opposition to China’s punitive tactics. Sending a senior U.S. official is one of those opportunities.

The Gators In ‘The Swamp’ Are Being Drowned By Trump’s Sewage

 

During the Presidential campaign season of 2016 one of the many slogans that Donald Trump spoke of was about how he would ‘drain the swamp’ which were the politicians in Washington D.C.. We are now a little more than six months into this total disaster which is the Trump Presidency so I ask you the question, how is that promise of his coming along? I am a registered Independent voter who last November could not get my self to vote for Mr. Trump of for Mrs. Clinton so I voted for Mr. Johnson. The reason I could not vote for either of the ‘big two’ was because I knew that both are habitual liars and I believed that both were/are crooks. Personality wise I have long believed that both of these two candidates are hate filled egomaniacs and I did not want either of them to be our President even though I knew that one or the other would win the job. Now six months in I believe that I should have voted for Mrs. Clinton as sickening as that prospect sounds to me. I base this thought on the reality that I believe that Hillary is at least an intelligent person who does have basic knowledge of world events and realities. I knew that Mr. Trump was an idiot but he has proven himself to be the most ignorant person to sit in the Oval Office in my lifetime.

 

What is even more worrisome to me is that I now believe that Mr. Trump as well as almost all of his direct family and several of his appointees are actually traitors as far as their dealings with Russia’s President Putin is concerned. As we have all witnessed Mr. Trump lies to the American people, all of our Nations Allies and to the rest of the world daily. None of our Allies now trust anything that he says because he changes the BS he says everyday. Mr. Trump by no means has emptied any of the D.C. swamp, all he has done is to empty his toilet water into that swamp. Mr. Trump has proven that he does not give a damn about the American people or anyone else except himself. I believe that if the Congress somehow were able to force him to release his taxes for the past ten years that they would find that not only is he guilty of massive tax fraud but that he has deep financial roots in Russia and now he and his family are using his position to make more billions dealing with the Communist leaders in China. As bad as most of ‘we the people’ know that the Congress and the Senate have become all that this idiot and his group of traitors have done during this past six months is to make themselves richer at the expense of  the freedom of the people of Our Country. The only thing that Mr. Trump has done as far as cleaning out the D.C. swamp is if he is trying to do this by having all the Gators gag and die on all the feces he is daily dumping into that swamp.

D.C. and Maryland to sue President Trump, alleging breach of constitutional oath

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

D.C. and Maryland to sue President Trump, alleging breach of constitutional oath

Attorneys general for D.C. and Maryland say they will file a lawsuit against President Trump on June 12, alleging that he violated anti-corruption clauses in the Constitution by continuing to retain ownership of his company as president. (Amber Ferguson/The Washington Post)
June 12 
Attorneys general for the District of Columbia and the state of Maryland say they will sue President Trump on Monday, alleging that he has violated anti-corruption clauses in the Constitution by accepting millions in payments and benefits from foreign governments since moving into the White House.The lawsuit, the first of its kind brought by government entities, centers on the fact that Trump chose to retain ownership of his company when he became president. Trump said in January that he was shifting his business assets into a trust managed by his sons to eliminate potential conflicts of interests.

But D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine (D) and Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) say Trump has broken many promises to keep separate his public duties and private business interests. For one, his son Eric Trump has said the president would continue to receive regular updates about his company’s financial health.

The lawsuit, a signed copy of which Racine and Frosh provided to The Washington Post on Sunday night, alleges “unprecedented constitutional violations” by Trump. The suit says Trump’s continued ownership of a global business empire has rendered the president “deeply enmeshed with a legion of foreign and domestic government actors” and has undermined the integrity of the U.S. political system.

“Fundamental to a President’s fidelity to [faithfully execute his oath of office] is the Constitution’s demand that the President … disentangle his private finances from those of domestic and foreign powers. Never before has a President acted with such disregard for this constitutional prescription.”

The suit could open a new front for Trump as he navigates investigations by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and congressional committees of possible collusion between his associates and the Russian government during the 2016 presidential campaign.

If a federal judge allows the case to proceed, Racine and Frosh say, one of the first steps will be to demand through the discovery process copies of Trump’s personal tax returns to gauge the extent of his foreign business dealings. That fight would most likely end up before the Supreme Court, the two said, with Trump’s attorneys having to defend why the returns should remain private.

“This case is, at its core, about the right of Marylanders, residents of the District of Columbia and all Americans to have honest government,” Frosh said. To fully know the extent of Trump’s constitutional violations “we’ll need to see his financial records, his taxes that he has refused to release.”

Racine said he felt obligated to sue Trump in part because the Republican-controlled Congress has not taken the president’s apparent conflicts seriously.

“We’re getting in here to be the check and balance that it appears Congress is unwilling to be,” he said.

The constitutional question D.C. and Maryland will put before a federal judge is whether Trump’s business ownership amount to violations of parts of the Constitution known as the foreign and domestic emoluments clauses.

What you need to know about Trump and the Emoluments Clause
D.C. and Maryland plan to sue President Trump for violating a little-known constitutional provision called “the Emoluments Clause.” (Video: Jenny Starrs/Photo: Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

To guard against foreign countries gaining sway over the new republic’s ambassadors in the late 1700s, drafters of the Constitution prohibited any “Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust” from accepting “any present, Emolument, Office or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”

In another part of the Constitution, framers sought to prevent a president from favoring one state over another, forbidding him from receiving any gift or emolument from a state and instead, only the compensation approved by Congress.

The lawsuit, to be filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, will be the latest and most significant legal challenge to Trump over the issue of emoluments. The first was filed in January by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a D.C.-based watchdog group. In March, a D.C. restaurant sued Trump, alleging the new Trump International Hotel in D.C. benefits from unfair advantages because of its close association with the president. And last week, a group of Democratic members of Congress said they plan to file suit soon. Each, however, has faced legal hurdles over standing to sue the president.

In the Trump administration’s most detailed response yet, the Department of Justice filed a 70-page legal brief on Friday arguing the CREW lawsuit should be dismissed. The administration said Trump’s businesses are legally permitted to accept payments from foreign governments while he is in office. The filing held up the lack of past complaints — going all the way back to farm produce sold abroad by George Washington — to assert that market-rate payments for Trump’s real estate, hotel and golf companies do not constitute emoluments as defined by the Constitution.

Racine and Frosh, however, argue Trump’s violations are on scale never seen before and that both D.C. and Maryland are being adversely affected by the Trump hotel near the White House.

After hiring staff and holding events to cater to foreign diplomats, the Embassy of Kuwait held an event at the hotel, switching its initial booking from the Four Seasons. Saudi Arabia, the destination of Trump’s first trip abroad, also booked rooms at the hotel through an intermediary on more than one occasion since Trump’s inauguration. Turkey held a state-sponsored event there last month. And in April, the ambassador of Georgia stayed at the hotel and tweeted his compliments. Trump himself has appeared at the hotel and greeted guests repeatedly since becoming president.

As a result, the hotel may be drawing business away from the taxpayer-owned D.C. convention center and one in nearby Maryland subsidized by taxpayers, Frosh and Racine argue.

Norman Eisen, who served as the chief White House ethics lawyer for President Barack Obama and is CREW’s board chairman, said jurisdictions such as the District and Maryland are among the “most perfect plaintiffs” to sue over emoluments because they have a coequal say in making sure the Constitution is being enforced.

“In the emoluments clauses, we have these ancient air bags that were placed in the Constitution by the framers that are now being deployed,” said Eisen, who has been advising the District and Maryland on their suit. “Trump is the framers’ worst-case scenario; a president who would seize office and attempt to exploit his position for personal financial gain with every governmental entity imaginable, across the United States or around the world.”

On the domestic side, the suit alleges Trump has received unconstitutional financial favors from the U.S. government. It says the U.S. General Services Administration, which handles federal real-estate, wrongly allowed Trump’s company to continue to lease the Old Post Office building, where Trump built his D.C. hotel, even though a clause in the contract said no elected official could remain on the lease.

The GSA initially said Trump would have to fully divest from the hotel after the election. But after Trump proposed increasing GSA’s budget, the suit says the agency issued a letter saying Trump was in full compliance.

The suit also alleges that Trump is violating domestic emoluments by creating a situation in which states feel compelled to compete for Trump’s favor, perhaps by offering zoning exemptions, waivers or other benefits to help his businesses.

After initially saying the Trump organization would not pursue new deals while he was in office, Trump’s sons announced last week that the company would begin building a network of new hotels in mostly red states that he won in last year’s election.

The suit by D.C. and Maryland says the two jurisdictions are faced with an “intolerable dilemma” to either go along with the Trump Organization getting special treatment, including possible lost local revenue or “deny such requests and be placed at a disadvantage vis-à-vis states and other government entities that have granted or will agree to such concessions.”

The District and Maryland file the suit at great peril, Racine and Frosh allege, because the two have a disproportionately large percentage of federal workers and could be acutely affected by federal budget cuts that Trump could seek as retribution.

But Maryland argues that it has special standing to sue. As one of the original states that approved the Constitution, Maryland gave up a clause in its own state declaration that had required its governors not to take any gifts from foreign governments or other states.

“This case represents another storm, not just a dusting of snow, but a blizzard of trouble for Trump,” Eisen said. “Who better than governmental actors to say our deal was, our fundamental democratic bargain was, we would get a president who would follow the Constitution.”

Racine and Frosh say that unless Trump is reined in under the emoluments clause, Americans can never be certain that “underlying his travel ban, withdrawal from the Paris Accord climate deal or proposed tax cuts” that he is acting in the country’s best interest and not his own.

Strict adherence to the emoluments clauses, D.C. and Maryland argue, “ensure that Americans do not have to guess whether a President who orders their sons and daughters to die in foreign lands acts out of concern for his private business interests; they do not have to wonder if they lost their job due to trade negotiations in which the President has a personal stake; and they never have to question whether the President can sit across the bargaining table from foreign leaders and faithfully represent the world’s most powerful democracy, unencumbered by fear of harming his own companies.”

The suit seeks an injunction to force Trump to stop violating the Constitution, but leaves it up to the court to decide how that should be accomplished.

Simply Pao.

A Journal of Trauma, Healing, and Motherhood

Blogging Theology

Exploring Life, the Universe and Everything

Two on a Rant

Rants, humor, sarcasm, and a haiku-like substance? It's hard to know what's going to come out of our minds next.

Charlie's Bird

living the dream with Charlie and Thandi and chirping all the way back to the nest.

By Hook Or By Book

Book Reviews, News, and Other Stuff

TOKIDOKI (NOMAD)

a world travel photo blog by Jackie Hadel

sketchuniverse

Arts resource, sketches and drawings classified by subject

The BookWorm Drinketh

Give Tea to the Tillerman, But Booze to the Bookworm!

Rhapsody Bohème

A warriors journey

Good Old Boots

"Not all those who wander are lost"

%d bloggers like this: