Taxes, Gender Identity and Robert Mueller – What a Week! The Fourth 100 Days (Trump Briefs: Nov. 25-Dec. 1/Day 317-323) Week 45

By Michael Hernandez

 

Saturday, November 25 (Day 317):

Goldman Sachs:  America’s unemployment rate will drop even lower

Goldman Sachs,  the Wall Street investment bank says the nation’s unemployment rate is likely to fall to 3.5 percent by the end of 2019. In a report issued last week, Goldman’s economists predicted that unemployment would keep falling because of increasing optimism helped along by tax cuts. Wage growth should also pick up, the bank said.

The U.S. would have undergone a transformation from the “weakest labor market in postwar U.S. history” in the early years of the Obama administration to “one of the tightest.”

Goldman Sachs sees U.S. growth in the next couple of years as the highest among developed nations.

Consumer Agency under turmoil with two acting heads

The Department of Justice released a statement Saturday giving President Trump the authority to appoint an acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Trump took to Twitter on the matter to air his grievances with the CFPB, calling the agency “a total disaster.  The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, has been a total disaster as run by the previous Administrations pick,” Trump said in the first tweet. “Financial Institutions have been devastated and unable to properly serve the public. We will bring it back to life!”

The agency’s director, Richard Cordray, resigned on Friday and appointed his own successor. Meanwhile, the president appointed someone else, Mick Mulvaney, who is also the director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Cordray, who was appointed to the position by President Obama, nominated the agency’s chief of staff Leandra English to succeed him. Under the Dodd-Frank Act that created the CFPB, English would assume the role of director — which Cordray specifically cited when he moved her into the spot.  English is a longtime CFPB employee and ally to Cordray, while Mulvaney has been a critic of the agency and has wanted its authority reduced.

Cordray’s move would allow his choice of successor to continue running the agency for as long as possible before the president’s long term nomination could ultimately be confirmed by the Senate.  However, Trump used his authority to designate Mick Mulvaney as the acting director.

The CFPB was created as part of the laws passed following the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent recession. The agency was given a broad mandate to be a watchdog for consumers when they deal with banks and credit card, student loan and mortgage companies, as well as debt collectors and payday lenders. Nearly every American who deals with banks or a credit card company or has a mortgage has been affected by new rules the agency put in place.

Public schools being forced to teach, practice gender ideology

Progressive activists are forcing public schools to teach and practice gender ideology in the name of civil rights, but more American students and their parents are saying “no” to the demands made on behalf of a minority who claim to be the opposite sex.

In Portland, Oregon, parents of high school students have filed a federal lawsuit over the school district’s policy that allows a biological female student who claims to be male to use the boys’ locker room and bathroom.

The Portland lawsuit claims the Dallas School District’s policy to allow a 16-year-old female – Elliot Yoder – to use the boys’ facilities violates the civil rights of the majority of the students who are not gender-confused, the Associated Press reported.

Two years ago, when the Dallas school district first informed parents it would be accommodating a biological female who claimed to be male by allowing her to use the boys’ facilities, parents came together to protest at a school board meeting.

In May 2016, students at Green Mountain Union High School in Chester, Vermont also pushed back against the school’s transgender policy that was allowing a female student who claims to be male to use the boys’ facilities as students argued it is unfair to make the majority of students feel uncomfortable to satisfy the demands of a small minority.

Similarly, in September of 2015, 150 students in Missouri organized a protest against their school principal’s decision to force gender ideology on them following the demands of one male student who claimed his gender identity was female.

In Seattle, students in grades K-5 will be assigned books and short lessons that teach the new gender ideology according to updated state health education requirements, reports public radio station knkx.org.

The state of California, is the first to use what it terms “LGBT-inclusive history” textbooks in the nation and embraces Planned Parenthood which teaches gay and transgender sexuality in its sex education programs.

As the Los Angeles Times reports, “The California State Board of Education … approved 10 textbooks for kindergarten through eighth-grade students that include coverage of the historical contributions of LGBT people, and rejected two that failed to include such coverage.”

The textbooks were rejected because they failed to address the sexual orientations of historical figures who were LGBT, or widely speculated by historians to have been LGBT. They include poets Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, authors Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne, and President James Buchanan.

Polls show that a strong majority of ordinary Americans oppose the progressive claim that unverifiable “gender” is more important than a person’s sex. Polls also show that Americans want sexual privacy in bathrooms and shower rooms and especially in K-12 schools.  Also, the polls show that most Americans want to be polite and helpful to the very few transsexual people who wish to live as members of the other sex. According to one study of the 2010 census, the population of transgender people amounts to one in every 2,400 Americans, or 0.03 percent of the adult population.

 

Sunday, November 26 (Day 318):

State Department Secretary to avoid India Global Summit

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is withholding high-level support for Ivanka Trump’s Nov. 28-30 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in what a State Department official said is “another rift between the White House and State Department.”

The Summit’s theme is “Women First, Prosperity for All” and will support female entrepreneurs.  Ivanka is being billed as the “star attraction” of the summit in the Indian press.   This will be her first visit to India.

U.S. Attorney General honors slain Border Patrol Agent

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions along with a delegation of officials and law enforcement officers joined the family of deceased Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez to honor his life at a funeral mass held at a Catholic church in El Paso, Texas on Saturday.

“It’s sad to see that he made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Border Patrol agent and spokesman Ramiro Cordero.  “But it honors me, and it honors very single law enforcement agent that he was willing to do that—to protect our nation, to protect our borders and to protect those who serve.”

Border Patrol agents found Agent Martinez and his partner after they responded to “activity” near the West Texas town of Van Horn on Nov. 19th.  Martinez was found with serious injuries to his head and body and would later be pronounced dead from those injuries and his partner also sustained serious injury.

“I’m angry,” Olivia Barnes, Martinez aunt said, “How many agents have to die to give security to the country?”

Martinez father, Jose Martinez, said his son told him, “I want to defend my country from terrorists…I want to prevent terrorists and drugs from coming into the country.”

Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez was the 116th law enforcement officer to give his life in service to this country during 2017.  Since his death, two other law enforcement officers have died including Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Damon Allen who was shot and killed on Thanksgiving day.

Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez

 Monday, November 27 (Day 319):

Saudis vow to “wipe terrorists from the earth”

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince vowed to “pursue terrorists until they are wiped from the face of the earth” as officials from 40 Muslim countries gathered Sunday in the first meeting of an Islamic counter-terrorism alliance.

“In past years, terrorism has been functioning in all of our countries…with no coordination” among national authorities, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi defense minister, said in his keynote address to the gathering in Riyadh.  “This ends today, with this alliance.”

The summit is the first meeting of defense ministers and other senior officials from the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition, which officially counts 41 nations and identifies as a “pan-Islamic Unified front” against violent extremism.  Countries participating include Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Uganda, Somalia, Mauritania, Lebanon, Libya, Yemen and Turkey.

Several military coalitions including the United States are battling to push the Islamic State group from its last remaining bastions in Iraq and Syria.  The alliance is mostly comprised of Sunni-majority or Sunni-ruled countries.  It excluded the Shiite-dominated Iran, as well as Syria and Iraq.

Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of supporting armed groups across the Middle East, including Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah and Yemen’s Huthi rebels

Roy Moore leads by five points in Alabama; vows to fight for Trump

A poll released by Change Research shows that conservative Republican candidate Roy Moore leads liberal Democrat candidate Doug Jones by five points in the December 12 Alabama U.S. Senate special election despite the support for Jones by the Alabama Media Group—owned by Advance Publications, the New York City media giant controlled by family members of S.I. Newhouse who founded the company in 1922 (which also owns Conde Nast Publications)—which ran editorials in the state’s three largest newspapers last week.

Meanwhile, Roy Moore vows to fight for President Trump’s agenda if elected Senator, especially on immigration and pro-life issues.

“I have vowed that when I go to Washington, D.C., as a United States senator to take acknowledgement of the Constitution and the God upon whom it was founded.   They (my opponents) don’t want to hear it.  Politicians today are not out to serve.  They certainly don’t know how to talk about morality.”

Judge Roy Moore

Tuesday, Nov. 28 (Day 320):

Pence:  Trump considering moving US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

“President Trump is actively considering when and how to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” said Vice President Mike Pence at the an event commemorating the 70th anniversary of the United Nations vote that led to the creation of the state of Israel.

“The days of Israel-bashing at the United Nations are over, because her cause is our cause, her values are our values and her fight is our fight.”

The 1995 Embassy Act requires the American embassy to move to Jerusalem, but ever president since then has signed a six-month waiver delaying the decision.

NPR:  Press Corps covered up Congressional misconduct ‘for years’

National Public Radio’s Cokie Roberts admitted that “for years” the female press corps has covered up sexual misconduct on Capitol Hill.

According to Roberts “every” woman in the press corps knew that there was sexual misconduct going on in Congress, knew that it was so brazen and so permissive that not even a female reporter was safe on an elevator.  Congress had paid $17 million to cover it up.

 

Wednesday, Nov. 29 (Day 321):

NBC News fires Matt Lauer over allegations of sexual misconduct

Matt Lauer, the anchor of NBC’s Today Show, was fired over allegations of sexual misconduct, according to the New York Times.  Along with Charlie Rose at CBS, Lauer is the second morning anchor to lose his job over sexual misconduct allegations.  Last month NBC fired political commentator Mark Halperin after numerous women claimed he had behaved inappropriately with them while he was working at ABC/Disney.

Lauer, who has been married since 1998 and has three children, allegedly “sexually assaulted a female NBC staffer during the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014.” Lauer had been under investigation by the New York Times for weeks and  the allegations involve “multiple victims.”

Also resigning over allegations of sexual misconduct, are National Public Radio’s chief news editor David Sweeney and Michael Oreskes, NPR’s Senior Vice President and Garrison Killor, host of the public radio variety show A Prairie Home Campanion, as well as Gleen Thrush of the New York Times.

Matt Lauer

Five women testify about sexual harassment in California State Capitol

Five women gave two hours of testimonies before the California Assembly Rules Subcommittee on Harassment Discrimination, and Retaliation Prevention and Response about their own experiences with sexual harassment in the Capitol.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the women told the State Assembly committee that the capitol’s sexual harassment policy protects the guilty and allows records of investigations to be discarded before the accused lawmakers leave office.

Alicia Lewis, one of the female victims who testified tweeted:  “The Capitol’s handling of harassment complaints has been offensive to not only victims but flies in the face of California’s value for transparency and public accountability.”

 

Thursday, Nov. 30 (Day 322):

More sexual misconduct allegations made against elected officials

An Army veteran became the fifth accuser of sexual misconduct against Sen. Al Franken (D-MN).

Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called on Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) to resign.  Multiple women have accused Conyers of sexual harassment, who has admitted to a $27,000 settlement with a former congressional staffer in 2015.  Conyers has said he will not seek re-election in the 2018 midterm election. He recently resigned from his position as the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee.  Conyers is the longest-serving active member of Congress and a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

In California, Democrat Raul Bocenegra (D-Pacioma) announced that he will resign immediately in response to sexual harassment allegations made by six women against him.  Democrat activist Bonnie Corwin, announcd her intention to run for his seat.

Chinese fake trees impacting U.S. Christmas tree growers

Competition from Chinese fake trees is driving U.S. growers of real Christmas trees out of business and causing the prices for the shrinking supply to increase.

Currently there are approximately 350 million real Christmas trees growing on farms across the United States to service annual demand for about 25-30 million according to the National Christmas Tree Association.  The average customer will spend about $82 for a real tree this year—a jump of 10 percent from last year.

The largest supplier of Christmas trees is Oregon.  However, artificial trees (Chinese companies produce over 85 percent of fake trees) have caused the annual number of trees cut and sold by Oregon growers to drop by 26 percent between 2010 and 1015.  As a result, the number of active growers dropped during this period by more than 30 percent from 699 to 485.

 

Friday, Dec. 1 (Day 323):

Donald Trump:  Verdict in Katie Steinle case ‘travesty’; ‘Build the wall!”

“The jury was not told the killer of Kate was a 7 time felon,” President Trump wrote on Twitter the morning after the verdict was released on Thursday.   “The Kate Steinle killer came back and back over the weakly protected Obama border, always committing crimes and being violent, and yet this info was not used in court.  His exoneration is a complete travesty of justice.  Build the wall!”

The defendant, Jose Ines Garcia Zarate was an illegal immigrant who had been deported several times but returned to San Francisco because it was a sanctuary city.   Zarate, who was homeless at the time, claimed in court that he found the gun and it accidentally fired killing 32-year-old Kate Steinle in front of her father and her friend who were walking on Pier 14.  Zarate was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

“The Schumer/Pelosi Democrats are so weak on crime that they will pay a big price in the 2018 and 2020 election,” Trump said.

California lawmakers have now made California a sanctuary state with many law enforcement agencies refusing to cooperate with immigration customs enforcement officials.

U.S. Senate passes Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

The U.S. Senate passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act 51-49, almost entirely along party lines, with Vice President Mike Pence presiding over the vote. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) voted against the bill, and 48 Democrats voted against the tax reform legislation as well.

Reluctant Republican senators such as Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) voted for the bill after last minute changes were made. Senator Flake received a commitment from Republican leadership and the White House that they would pursue a permanent solution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) illegal aliens, while Senator Collins received a provision that would keep the deduction for state and local taxes (SALT).

The Senate agreed earlier this month to move forward on the motion, 52-48, to proceed on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The Senate Budget Committee passed tax reform legislation on Tuesday, even after Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) expressed skepticism about the bill’s current form. Corker reported that he was reassured about the Senate bill including a “fiscal trigger” that will dial back the tax cuts should the tax bill fall short of revenue projections.

The Senate bill retains the current income tax system’s seven brackets, while the House version collapses the seven brackets into four. The wealthiest Americans would have their income tax fall to 38.5 percent, while the lowest tax bracket will fall to ten percent. Similar to the House tax bill, the Senate version will double the standard deduction for individuals to $12,000, and $24,000 for married couples.

The Senate bill also raises the child tax credit from $1,000 per child to $1,650. Unlike the House draft, the Senate tax bill eliminates Obamacare’s individual mandate to purchase health insurance. The House passed their version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act earlier in November.

Now that the Senate passed their version of the tax reform legislation, the House and Senate will have to convene a conference committee to reconcile the differences between the two bills. Once the two chambers of Congress draft a unified bill, the House and Senate will have to pass the same bill to send the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to President Donald Trump’s desk to sign the bill into law.

President Donald Trump said that passing the tax reform bill would ensure a “Merry Christmas” for the country.

Editor’s Note:  To finish the week, Michael Flynn charged with lying to the FBI about contact with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak after the election.

 

Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service, founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor. He has worked 23 years as a middle school teacher.  Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email: [email protected]

 Mr. Hernandez is dedicating himself to advance the 13 spheres –as a “City Upon A Hill”; developing an interactive California citizens news platform as an alternative to mainstream media; while building local school-community partnerships and supporting constitutional awareness and active citizenship.


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