The Trump Administration

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Re: The Trump Administration

Postby eeuunikkeiexpat » Thu Feb 16, 2017 12:27 am

Former US Congressman Dennis Kucinich's insights on the power struggle between Trump and elements within the intelligence/military/industrial/security complex

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7j_ZfKmcnSk
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Re: The Trump Administration

Postby admin » Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:29 am

Just love this.

Now the unaccountable actions by the intelligence community is a problem?

http://theweek.com/articles/680068/amer ... y-worrying

Sure was not a problem a few years ago when Snowden revealed just how out of control the intelligence community is. The same frigen morons, on the left and the right, were all up in arms about how snowden was a traitor, totally ignoring the illegal and totally out of control activities he revealed.

All this bullshit is going to implode on itself. It might take another year, 5, 10 years to come full circle, but all those unconstitutional, unchallenged, and unaccountable power grabs that so many cheered in the days after 911 are getting ready to finally pay off.

If you weaken democratic institutions and safe guards, sooner or later you wont have a democracy; and, you really will have no one to cry when it breaks.

American democracy has broken before. The problem is this time, they broke the tools to used to put it back together (e.g. independent courts, a free independent press, all the individual rights asserted over the state, via the bill of rights ).

You see, American democracy, from time to time get's a little loose. So, we tighten everything back-up by turning those screws. Just this time, the frigen morons went and strip the heads of those screws.

It wasn't the democrats. It wasn't the republicans. It was everyone that applauded and cheered things like the "patriot act", the FISA courts, Guantanamo bay, the invasion of Iraq (#1,2,3,4,5), a frigen department called the "department of homeland security", and so on.
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Re: The Trump Administration

Postby Andres » Thu Feb 16, 2017 5:03 pm

yup. What he said: ^
It's a bit of karma. What the US has done to so many countries (destruction of democracy and democratic institutions), they are now doing to themselves. It's not the only example.
Another example: The USSA government has repeatedly sponsored state and non-state terrorism, and repression over many decades, and is now inflicting it on itself. The 'American' sheeple are terrorised into doing anything the government insists upon just to keep out of trouble, out of fear.

Side comment: FISA 'court'??? Since when does a 'court' in a country supposedly based upon British law operate in secret, with even its judgements kept secret? To call it a 'court' is deliberate disinformation and propaganda, to justify its 'decisions' as supposedly legitimate and having the force of law.
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Re: The Trump Administration

Postby eeuunikkeiexpat » Thu Feb 16, 2017 5:59 pm

Back in the early years of the forum, there were a hardcore handful that would make eloquent and sometimes not so eloquent rants about this stuff but then most gave up when it was evident that it was too late for the Empire to change course. Frequently confused MSM readers and conventional thinkers labelled them at various times far leftists, far rightist, conspiracy theorists, paranoid, delusional, etc.
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Trump Tax Proposals

Postby JHyre » Thu Feb 16, 2017 6:58 pm

Except from a newsletter I just sent to clients. Starts subjective, then goes into specific tax proposals, including commentary thereon. Should upset all the right people and mildly annoy but inform the remainder.

Trump Tax Changes: How Are REI and Small Businesses Affected?

This is one of those articles I wish to keep editing. But I must finally hit “send”. Kindly tolerate the resulting imperfections.

Contents:

- Understanding Trump (Highly subjective opinion, does influence how I view his proposals, taxes included. Skip if you are oh-so-sensitive or plain do not care)
- Trump/House Tax Proposals, about a third of the way down under "Tax Law Changes Are Coming".

Understanding Trump, My Subjective View: The best quote I heard with regard to both Trump and the 2016 Election was something to the effect of “The Democrats (and the press, assuming there’s a difference) took Trump literally but not seriously. The voters took Trump seriously but not literally”. Based on present appearances, I think that the Democrats & the press shall continue to make the same error. You should not.

I am convinced that part of what Trump says is ADD, off-the-cuff bluster from a blowhard. He talks a lot of pure smack. I am also convinced that part of his often incendiary comments are meant to stake out a tough initial negotiating position and to drive his enemies to distraction. Take for example his initial rash statement on a “Muslim” ban. It drove the press into a frenzy of accusations – “racist!”, “Islamophobe!”, etc. I think that sort of thing backfired on the Democrats. A great many people are sick of the non-stop drumbeat of such accusations & insults. Many people voted for Trump as a rebellion against political correctness and the constant name-calling (and especially race-baiting) by Democrats.

Meanwhile, does Trump have any serious history of “racism” or “Islamophobia”? Not as far as I can tell. Indeed, he received awards for his assistance to the black community in the presence of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. That’s hardly the stuff of a committed racist. The cries of “racism” really only started once he ran for office on a Republican ticket – nothing new there. Once in office, he issued an executive order that targeted 7 Islamic-majority countries instead the approximately 45 that exist. And all of the seven countries have a lot of jihadi presence along with governments that are unwilling (Iran) or unable (the other six) to meaningfully control their nut-jobs. Indeed, that list of countries was not created by Trump. Rather, it was created by a Republican Congress and signed into law by President Obama. The executive order was delayed (incorrectly, in my opinion) by the very liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The 9th Circuit is often over-turned by the Supreme Court due to putting its preferred politics ahead of doing its job, which is to rule on the meaning of the law, whether or not it likes the political outcome. My bet as to Trump’s response: He will more carefully craft a replacement order, and he will simultaneously fight the ruling on the original order in court. He adapts, but he also hits back.

My point: The man often starts with both bluster and an extreme negotiating position. He then backs off under the influence of advice, or as otherwise needed. His general direction (“Islamic terrorism is a problem, we need to do something about it, including more screening”) does not change, though the specifics definitely do (From “ban them all” to “temporary ban from a few countries identified as problems under existing law” and likely to “redraft the order to go around the 9th Circuit” added to “and fight the BS court decision”). Look at other things he has said & done (“Mexicans as dirty & rapists” who will “pay for the wall” is now “build the wall, we’ll pay for it now, maybe we’ll tax remissions of cash to Mexico to reimburse ourselves later on, let’s deport the illegals with a criminal record”). To reiterate: Pay less attention to the specifics of what he says, more to the general direction of his comments, and most of all to what he ends up doing.

Regulatory law: This country is grossly over-regulated and grossly mis-regulated. Trump is the first president since at least 1929 with the guts to fight the bureaucracy head-on – and boy, is that part of the Establishment pushing back! Leaks and rebellion galore! I will write more on that in the next newsletter. Add Trump’s proposed tax changes to the regulatory rollback, and he is easily the most economically libertarian and business-friendly President since the 1920’s. Don’t be distracted by his tweets or the Democrat’s meltdown of the day. Let me repeat: Trump is the most economically libertarian and business friendly President since the 1920’s.

Tax Law Changes Are Coming: John Mauldin, a writer for whom I have a great deal of respect, stated that the tax changes proposed by Trump and the Republican House of Representatives are an order of magnitude greater than the 1986 tax reforms. That is a highly, highly non-trivial statement, especially coming from such an understated and knowledgeable man. As another author (whose name I no longer remember, could have been Mauldin) said, the choice between the two plans is between “really, really good” and “excellent”. These characterizations are accurate. In the remainder of this article, I mean to summarize the present proposals. As things move, change, and ultimately pass on Capitol Hill, I will keep you informed if and as time permits. Perhaps the new & improved website will include a link for “What Trump and Those Heartless Republicans Did Now”. Sounds like good, clean fun.

Trump’s plan and the House plan are quite similar. I will make note when they are significantly different.

Tax Brackets: The current seven tax brackets would be collapsed into three lower tax brackets. The top rate would go from 40% to 33%. This change would both simplify the Code and reduce taxes overall, especially for high earners who pay far more than their so-called “fair share” under the present system. Wealthy business owners would have less disincentive to grow their businesses, create jobs, etc. That, and the federal government has simply grown too large and powerful. Starving it of revenue is just. You did make that, you should get to keep more of it.

Itemized Deductions: The standard deduction would increase to $50,000 for a couple filing a married & joint return. The increase in the standard deduction would be smaller under the House plan. All itemized deductions except those for charity and mortgage interest would be eliminated. Itemized deductions would also be capped at $200,000 per couple, which would “claw back” some of the tax cuts for the very wealthy. Overall, these changes would significantly simplify the tax code. It would also eliminate income taxes for roughly “the bottom half” of taxpayers. I dislike the latter feature, which is largely already embedded in the system. All citizens should contribute some as a matter of civic virtue and fairness. People who do not feel the cost of the system are likely to vote for more spending since they figure others will bear the brunt of it.

Elimination of the Marriage Penalty: Various tax code provisions result in more taxes for a married couple than for two single individuals who file separately. This is bad social policy. We should either encourage marriage (generally the conservative position) or neither promote nor discourage it (the libertarian position).

Elimination of the Carried Interest: Basically allows certain savvy investors from small REI to large hedge fund managers in LLC’s or partnerships to pay themselves via lightly-taxed long-term capital gains instead of via much more heavily taxed salaries. I structure a fair number of these partnerships/LLC’s. I think lower taxes a good thing in general, and lower taxes to encourage investment a good thing in particular. I do not personally favor repeal of the present treatment of carried interests, but think it likely to either compromise with Democrats or help reduce the revenue loss of the various tax cuts. It is a politically popular thing to do; hating hedge fund managers is to populists what little black dresses are to formal parties.

Childcare provisions: Too complex to go into here. Bottom line, Trump would like to increase deductions for those with children, especially if they are in lower-income brackets. Given that those in lower brackets pay little or nothing in taxes, I am against this sort of provision. But Trump didn’t ask me.

Repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax: This tax adds immense complexity to the law, is almost impossible to avoid in certain situations, and applies mostly to upper-middle-class wage earners who are already taxed at disproportionate rates. It is long, long overdue for repeal. Buh-bye, good riddance.

Repeal the Estate Tax (and presumably the Gift Tax): Would greatly simplify the law. Given that the present estate & gift tax only applies to estates of over $11 million per couple and that the very wealthy tend to plan around it, only about 6,000 such tax returns are filed per year. The tax is politically popular and easy to demagogue (“stick it to the rich”). If Democrats are involved in the process (questionable, more on that in the next article), I’d expect this tax to survive as a “gimmie” to get them to vote for the remaining reforms. Under the Trump plan, the “step up” in basis of heirs’ assets on the death of the descendant would be limited to around $10M.

Long-Term Capital Gains, Interest and Dividends: Trump would continue the present favorable rates for long-term capital gains & dividends (15%, 20% for “the rich”), but would decrease the amount of income it takes to be “rich”. The House plan would cut rates for capital gains (presumably including short-term capital gains), interest (this is new) and dividends to ½ of the taxpayer’s bracket, which under the House plan means rates on these sorts of income of 6%, 12.5%, or 16.5%. That is low. The idea is to encourage investment. Should be popular with retirees. Expect the Trump plan to prevail if Democrats are involved. There is no way they will agree to the House plan, and they will demagogue the issue for all of the considerable mileage they’ll be able to squeeze out of it.

C-Corporation Tax Rate reduced from 35% for income over $100k to 15%. This is huge. It has vast implications for both small and large businesses. It would make C-Corporations much more attractive for small businesses as well as pension plans that own active businesses (i.e. – UBIT buffer). It would make the US much more attractive for large companies. Believe it or not, we have the highest corporate tax rates in the developed world – and that includes so-called “loopholes”. That’s why so-called “inversions” are so attractive. This isn’t about corporate greed. Rather, it’s about voters’ greed. Dropping corporate tax rates would provide planning opportunities for small businesses as well as make the US a much more attractive market for larger ones. All good.

The House plan would only lower corporate rates to 20%. Interestingly, they would also limit small-business and/or pass-through (S-Corporation, most LLC’s) to 25% rates. This idea is vague, and would be subject to some serious details. Still, I do not see the downside. The problem is that it would “cost” the government a lot of revenue. That makes it politically challenging to pass.

Elimination of Corporate Alternative Minimum Tax (“AMT”). See my comments on individual AMT.

Repatriation of Overseas Profits. Corporations do not tend to repatriate cash made overseas because it would then be subject to very high US corporate tax & dividend rates on income not earned here. Think of “cash repatriation” as the near-opposite of “inversion”. Trump has proposed a 10% repatriation tax, and the House an even lower rate. While I’d prefer it be lower, that would provide a large incentive for some of the trillions of dollars corporations to be brought into the US. Unlike the government, they will likely invest that money in truly productive assets. That’d be one heck of a stimulus. And a real one, unlike the one spent by the prior Administration.

Manufacturers Expensing of Equipment. It means that small, medium, large, and very large assets (“factories”) could be written off immediately instead of depreciated over time. Expect the definition of “manufacturer” to be broad – for purposes of Code Section 199 it presently includes rehabbers and home builders, to name one example. It would spur investment. Expect pushback from Democrats, because it would also mean a number of companies would pay no taxes. The tradeoff is that such companies would lose many other deductions, including for interest on debt.

The House plan would allow businesses (not just manufacturers) to right off “capital investments”. The details will matter. For example, under a very broad definition of “capital investment”, landlords could write off properties in the year purchased. While an interesting idea, I do not see it happening. The revenue loss to the government would be too large to be politically feasible. Caveat: The House proposes to eliminate “special interest” deductions to offset the revenue loss from lower business rates and capital investment write-off. While a good idea in concept (much simpler tax code and lower rates and encouragement for businesses to expand and hire), the lobbying to keep “special interest” deductions will be utterly vicious. I expect a watered-down version of this structure to pass – and that’d be overall a good thing.

Border-Adjustment Tax. House proposes (I am simplifying) to exempt exports from income tax and to tax imports (which we already sort-of-kind-of-in-theory do). Most other countries do this via Value Added Tax (VAT) this is essentially a sales tax on steroids. We lack a VAT, and so would try to get the same effect via an income tax. Trading partners will complain. Companies that profit off of importing into the US will lobby viciously to keep this tax from happening. Personally, I think it is a good idea in terms of both incentives and equalizing our system with that of other countries. But I repeat: The lobbying will be utterly brutal. Think Celebrity Death Match without the rules & etiquette.

Repeal Obamacare Taxes (Distinct from Repealing Obamacare Itself). The Net Investment Income Tax on the “rich” (those showing net income over $250k if married & filing jointly) of 3.8% on passive income such as interest, rental profits, dividends, royalties and capital gains will likely be repealed. Ditto the .9% “Additional Medicare Tax” on certain people earning high wages. Ditto the Cadillac Plan tax on certain “gold-plated” healthcare plans. Ditto the truly idiotic medical device tax (“Hey, let’s tax one of things America is competitive on! Sounds like a great idea!”).

Comments welcome. I may or may not respond to them. Time, time, time.

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Re: The Trump Administration

Postby admin » Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:10 pm

What the hell? No FATCA repeal?

:lol:

Did you guys catch that press conference/lecture/i have no clue what that was today?

holly shit. Who in any senior government position jokes about using nuclear weapons, let alone the frigen president from the white house?

Or, jokes about blowing up a Russian ship in international waters?

You don't do it. The same reason you don't yell fire in a theater, unless there really is a fire; Or talk about bombs on planes; or while standing in line in security. Shit will get misunderstood.

Can you imagine the number of world leaders that had to hear that shit in a second or third language?

I am sure more than a few translators pissed themselves before trying delicately pass that on to their boss this afternoon with some proper context.

I can just imagine it going something like this in capitals all over the world:

TRANSLATOR: o.k., boss, don't do anything until I have time to explain this to you. He just literally said he was going to nuke Russia, but I don't think he really means it because he is smiling.

wait. no. He just said he was going to sink the Russian war ship off the coast of the United States.

Wait. No. I don't think he meant that either. He now wants to be friends with Russia.

No, now he says he can not be friends with Russia because he does not like the reporter that asked the question in the first place. I think he was just mad at that reporter.

Now he is doing a parity of Putin. I don't think Putin is going to like his impression of him, it is not very good.

wait.

Never mind.

We should probably put our military on high alert just in case I didn't understand anything he said.


Never mind the stupid grade school arguments with CNN, BBC, or any number of the other reporters in the room.

It totally reminds me of the Chavez rant show. He doesn't like the mainstream press, so he should just start his own daily talk show like Chavez did, where he can rant for hours about everything and nothing at the same time. At least then all the Trumppets can tune in, and everyone else can properly tune him out and get on with their life.
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Re: The Trump Administration

Postby seawolf180 » Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:56 pm

Wow!
Trump should never take questions from press again. Ever.
That was so bad. Far worse than blowing them off, like he should.
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Re: The Trump Administration

Postby admin » Fri Feb 17, 2017 7:56 am

so now these nut jobs want to diagnose the mental state of president Trump. Don't you think that should have been before he was elected?

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/13/opin ... trump.html

and why it is a bad idea to do that

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/17/opin ... y-ill.html

Now, I would like to point out one thing about this assertion that public figures should not be evaluated from afar by Psychologists. Evaluating the mental health of an adversary has been standard military practice for thousands of years. I believe the Romans did it as I recall, writing long treatise sometimes on the craziness of their enemies, and Sun Tzu in 'the art of war' specifically brings it up on numerous occasions. For example, "know yourself, know your enemy". It was not a defined scientific field, but it was used in some very crude forms that got refined over time.

Every military and intelligence organization in the World has a small army of dedicated psychiatrist that will spend a lot of time, from afar, evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of Donald J. Trump, and they are not going to be afraid to use it because it is "unethical". So a 'ranting and raving' President not only makes for good SNL skits, it also provides way, way too much information for foreign intelligence services to work with.
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Re: The Trump Administration

Postby admin » Fri Feb 17, 2017 8:26 am

I think I like this take better on Trump's mental health, from the guy that wrote the section on narcissist for the DSM:
http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-ne ... nt-n721766

In short, he is just an 'a-hole', and not even a particularly interesting one at that. Diagnosing him as mentally ill let's him off the hook.
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Re: The Trump Administration

Postby Andres » Fri Feb 17, 2017 9:26 am

There are several (supposedly) erudite psychological analyses of personalities that are best boiled down to the conclusion that someone is an arrogant, self-centered a**hole. Nothing new there.
The only thing that might add value to the analysis is whether they are also a psychopath, or just a sociopath.
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Re: The Trump Administration

Postby JHyre » Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:52 am

EEUUexpat: I saw the term "deep state" for the first time in the MSM today, WSJ article by Peggy Noonan. But I read it here first.....

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Re: The Trump Administration

Postby at46 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 11:14 am

JHyre wrote:EEUUexpat: I saw the term "deep state" for the first time in the MSM today, WSJ article by Peggy Noonan. But I read it here first.....

Deep state, aka "entrenched power structure" as Trump calls it. Meaning he knows very well what he's dealing with, if not how to deal with it.


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