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Watchdog files complaint over DNC boss Perez' donations

Fox News (Politics) - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 15:06
A watchdog group is urging the Federal Election Commission to investigate Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez for political donations that it claims to have been in violation of the law.

Mississippi Sen. Cochran returns to Washington after illness

Fox News (Politics) - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 14:54
WASHINGTON -- Sen. Thad Cochran has returned to Washington after weeks in Mississippi, where he was being treated for urological problems.

Dare to dream: ‘Constitutional law expert’ lays out Hillary’s path to the WH

Michelle Malkin - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 14:37

**Written by Doug Powers

This is such a ridiculous pipe dream that regular pipe dreams are laughing at it, but hardcore Clinton fans might be intrigued and filled with fresh hope, so here goes — Hillary’s path to the White House as it stands now:

Here’s how constitutional law expert Lessig lays it out:

If number 1: If Trump is definitively found to have colluded directly with Russia, he would be forced to resign or be impeached.

If number 2: If Trump is removed, Vice President Mike Pence would become president.

If number 3: If Pence becomes president, he should resign too, given that he benefited from the same help from Mother Russia.

If number 4: If Pence resigns before appointing a vice president, Ryan would become president.

If number 5: If Ryan becomes president, he should do the right thing and choose Clinton for vice president. Then he should resign.

“The answer seems unavoidable: He should nominate the person defeated by the treason of his own party, and then step aside and let her become the president,” Lessig writes. “Without doubt, if Ryan did the right thing, that would be the most extraordinary event in the history of America since the Confederate Army fired on Fort Sumter. But unlike that, this event would build the union, not divide it.”

Sounds like a solid strategy!

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Too bad the Clinton campaign didn’t try something like that before the election:

If number 1: Hillary doesn’t tell coal country she’s going to put them out of work.

If number 2: Hillary campaigns in Wisconsin.

If number 3: Hillary spends time in swing states instead of schmoozing rich celebs in L.A. and on the Vineyard.

If number 4: Hillary’s campaign doesn’t assume the election is in the bag three months before it takes place.

But anyway, all Hillary needs to do is put on these ruby slippers (after her broken toe heals of course) and do this three times while saying “there’s no place like the White House.” At that point… nothing will happen.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

Trump travel ban: Timeline of a legal journey

Fox News (Politics) - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 14:25
A federal judge temporarily blocked the latest version of President Donald Trump's ban on travelers from certain nations.

Judge in Hawaii blocks latest version of Trump's travel ban

Fox News (Politics) - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 14:11
A judge in Hawaii has blocked the latest version of the Trump administration travel ban just hours before it was set to take effect.

Hillary can't help herself from helping Trump

Fox News (Politics) - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 13:32
Will she ever stop?

House Republicans seek Mueller hearing testimony

Fox News (Politics) - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 13:31
House Republicans have formally asked leaders of the Senate and House judiciary committees to convene public hearings to bring Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his legal team “out of the shadows” to testify on the Russia meddling probe.

Trump and Greek PM Alexis Tsipras hold joint White House press conference -- live blog

Fox News (Politics) - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 13:30
President Trump held a joint press conference with Alexis Tsipras, the prime minster of Greece.

Ex-Trump adviser Carter Page subpoenaed by Senate committee

Fox News (Politics) - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 13:14
The Senate Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed former Donald Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, sources confirmed Tuesday to Fox News.

Trump touts new Senate plan on payments to ObamaCare insurers, after cutoff

Fox News (Politics) - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 13:07
President Trump on Tuesday appeared to back a "short-term" bipartisan deal meant to extend federal payments to health insurers that he sought to block just last week.

LGBT groups demand withdrawal of judicial nominee who called trans kids ‘Satan’s plan’

Fox News (Politics) - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 11:59
A group of LGBT advocacy organizations are demanding the withdrawal of President Trump’s nominee for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas for what they call his “brazen contempt for LGBT people,” in a three-page letter released Monday.

Trump doubles down on slain soldier comments: Obama didn't call John Kelly when son died

Fox News (Politics) - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 11:36
President Trump doubled down Tuesday on his controversial claim that past presidents didn’t properly console the families of fallen servicemembers, raising the point that Barack Obama apparently did not call now-White House Chief of Staff John Kelly after his son was killed in Afghanistan in 2010.

North Korea's nuclear weapons program has grown with each Kim regime

Fox News (Politics) - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 10:55
After North Korea launched its first successful intercontinental ballistic missile, Kim Jong Un doesn’t want to back down.

Restricting Trade after Factory Explosion Would Hurt Bangladeshi Women

Cato Recent Op Eds - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 10:48

Chelsea Follett

A tragic boiler explosion killed 10 Bangladeshi garment workers over the summer, an incident reminiscent of the catastrophic 2013 Rana Plaza building collapse, which focused public attention on working conditions in that developing country. In the wake of such disasters, many people in rich countries assume the compassionate response is to impose trade restrictions and stop buying clothes made in Bangladesh.

Ironically, such a response would actually harm Bangladeshi garment workers, most of whom are women, by forcing them into far worse situations than factory work.

What many people do not know is that the rise of factory work in the country has helped bring about significant positive change in many Bangladeshi lives-particularly for women. The country is home to 18.4 million of the world’s poorest people and has strict gender norms. Yet Bangladesh was recently called “the happiest economic story in the world right now,” as extreme poverty has plummeted.

Despite its dangers, factory work has slashed extreme poverty and increasedwomen’s educational attainment while lowering rates of child marriage in Bangladesh. It has also sparked cultural change towards more freedom for women, not only by enabling them to earn money but by granting them freedom of movement.

The country’s women-dominated garment industry transformed the norm of purdah, or seclusion (literally, “veil”), that traditionally prevented women from working beyond the home, walking outside unaccompanied by a male guardian, or even speaking in the presence of unrelated men.

Many Bangladeshi women now interpret purdah to simply mean modesty instead of social and economic segregation. In the words of social economist Naila Kabeer of the London School of Economics, factory work let women “renegotiate the boundaries of acceptable behavior.” Today, in Dhaka and other industrial cities, women walk outside and interact with unrelated men.

The country industrialized rapidly, growing its number of export-oriented factories from a handful in the mid-1970s to around 700 by 1985. Women now hold more than 80% of manufacturing jobs.

The expansion of manufacturing in the country met with challenges early on. In 1985, Britain, France, and the United States imposed quota limitations on imports from Bangladesh in response to anti-sweatshop campaigns financed by labor unions in the rich countries. Within three months, two thirds of Bangladeshi factories shuttered their gates and over 100,000 women were thrown out of work, many to face destitution.

The quotas were, in short, a disaster for Bangladeshi women. Britain and France removed their quotas in 1986, and Bangladesh’s garment industry has since expanded to thousands of factories employing millions. Unfortunately, protectionist sentiment is growing in rich countries, aided by sensationalized accounts of working conditions. The Bangladeshi General Secretary of National Garment Workers has warned that these could restrict Bangladesh’s growth.

Britain and France removed their quotas in 1986, and Bangladesh’s garment industry has since expanded to thousands of factories employing millions.

Despite their frequent depiction as passive victims, Bangladeshi factory women are making their own choices. Kabeer’s research found that “the decision to take up factory work was largely initiated by the women themselves, often in the face of considerable resistance from other family members.”

Yet societal change is definitely underway. “Garments have been very good for women,” a factory woman named Hanufa, whose earnings allowed her to escape her physically abusive husband, told Kabeer. “Now I feel I have rights, I can survive.”

In fact, the earning power of women is eroding the custom of bridal dowries, and earning power typically increases the weight a woman’s priorities carry within the household.

Tragedies like the Rana Plaza building collapse garner a lot of press. The garment industry’s wider-reaching effects on the material well being and social equality of women in Bangladesh receive less attention. Rich countries should not rush to impose trade restrictions on poor countries after disasters. As one factory worker put it: “The garments have saved so many lives.”

When Kabeer interviewed 60 factory women in her native Bangladesh, she found that the factories had expanded women’s options and were viewed positively overall. More and more experts share that assessment. The World Bank has acknowledged that factories play “a significant role” in reducing poverty and combating child marriage. The Financial Express’ Monira Munni stated earlier this year that factories have “socially empowered women workers in Bangladesh to have better control over their own lives.”

According to Kabeer, “it took market forces, and the advent of an export-oriented garment industry, to achieve what a decade of government and non-government efforts had failed to do: to create a female labor force.”

Chelsea Follett is managing editor of HumanProgress.org, a project of the Cato Institute.

‘Take a knee’ reaches city council level

Michelle Malkin - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 10:34

**Written by Doug Powers

It was inevitable, I suppose:

Four #a2council members #TakeAKnee during the Pledge of Allegiance at tonight's meeting https://t.co/PIG4Uv6jHS

— Lauren(Fitch)Slagter (@LaurenSlagter) October 16, 2017

At some point the whole “take a knee” movement will grind to a halt simply because it’ll become untrendy, like designer jeans that were really cool until your parents started wearing them:

Four Ann Arbor city council members chose to kneel during the Pledge of Allegiance at a meeting on Monday, Oct. 16.

Chip Smith, 5th Ward; Chuck Warpehoski, 5th Ward; Sumi Kailasapathy, 1st Ward; and Jason Frenzel, 1st Ward; moved in front of the council’s table, turned toward the flag and took a knee when it came time to recite the Pledge of Allegiance after the meeting was called to order.

Warpehoski said the move was an act of attention, concern and respect.

The “attention” part is easy to believe.

During the meeting, Kailasapathy said she knelt during the Pledge to demonstrate her commitment to upholding democratic values.

“For me, taking a knee is also showing solidarity with the group of people who have been doing this at the national level,” she said.

The council members apparently wanted to show solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, and they’re now just like him, at least in the sense that none of the above are currently playing professional football.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

Background check laws having little effect, gun violence researchers discover

Fox News (Politics) - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 10:30
Strict gun laws passed in two states to require background checks for every firearm sale had virtually no effect, a new study has found.

Trump to declare opioid epidemic national emergency – here’s what that means

Fox News (Politics) - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 10:30
President Donald Trump will formally declare the country's growing opioid problem to be a national emergency next week.

South Carolina governor race: Who are the candidates?

Fox News (Politics) - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 10:15
President Trump headed to South Carolina Monday to lend his support for Gov. Henry McMaster’s reelection campaign.

Report: Russians used bribes, sought to pad Clinton charity amid Obama-era push to expand US nuclear footprint

Fox News (Politics) - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 09:29
The FBI had evidence as early as 2009 that Russian operatives used bribes, kickbacks and other dirty tactics to expand Moscow’s atomic energy footprint in the U.S. – but the Obama administration approved a controversial uranium deal benefiting Moscow anyway, according to an explosive new report.

The Progressives Are Cheating in the Argument against Donald Trump's Tax Cuts

Cato Recent Op Eds - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 07:50

Ryan Bourne

Has anyone noticed how “tax cuts for the rich” has become a moniker for all and every income tax cut?

When the Conservatives dropped the top rate of income tax from 50p to 45p, that was predictably lambasted as a tax cut for the rich. George Osborne’s promise to raise the starting threshold for the 40p rate? Tax cut for the rich.

Even proposing to raise the personal allowance further was described by progressive economists in the 2015 election as a tax cut for the better off.

So I’ve been getting deja vu here in the US listening to the debate about Donald Trump’s self-proclaimed “giant, beautiful, massive… tax cut”. The President wants to double the “standard deduction” for the income tax (the equivalent to personal allowance), and compress the number of income tax rates from seven to three, while lowering them.

Has anyone noticed how “tax cuts for the rich” has become a moniker for all and every income tax cut?

This will be financed in part by eliminating a whole bunch of other income tax exemptions and allowances. And his opponents are already presenting this package as “a giveaway to the wealthy”.

As with all misleading statements, there is a grain of truth here. In pure cash terms, richer households look as if they would benefit from the income tax package more than poorer ones.

But that is a fig leaf for a whole bunch of chicanery which misleads on the broader arguments for tax cuts like this - and which you should be aware of next time the debate arises in Britain.

First, economists believe that efforts to lower marginal income tax rates and eliminate deductions can raise the level of GDP. Tax reform can improve incentives to work and produce, simplify filing returns, and lead to less tax-induced distortion of the economy.

But this improved efficiency won’t show up on any assessment that looks solely at the static impact of tax changes on an individual’s finances. As such, it is misleading to look at who is left “better” or “worse” off through the prism of individual circumstances, because doing so ignores these growth effects.

In the US, analysis like this also ignores the effect of Trump’s corporate income tax cut, which more and more academic analyses suggest will raise productivity and wages in time.

Second, analysis from the US Treasury Department shows that the bottom 50 per cent of households, on average, do not pay net income taxes. Meanwhile, the top 20 per cent of households pay 95 per cent of federal income tax receipts, with the top 0.1 per cent of taxpayers alone paying 24 per cent.

It is highly unsurprising that, if marginal tax rates are cut, the people who will benefit directly are those who actually pay the tax.

Opponents to rate cuts on these grounds are criticising tax changes on the basis that they do not help people who are already completely exempt from them. This is bizarre. It effectively implies that they are against all tax cuts, of any sort.

Third, left-leaning policy analysts often get slippery when describing whether a proposed tax change is “progressive” or “regressive”.

Usually, a policy is described as progressive if it increases the relative disposable income of poorer households by a larger proportion than richer ones. But when things like the personal allowance are raised, analysts move the goalposts by looking at the absolute cash changes instead.

This, of course, makes it look as though people on upper incomes benefit more, rather

than the tax cuts being proportionately more beneficial to those on middle incomes.

There are two lessons here for Republicans and Conservatives.

Most obviously, tax reform is hard. Unless it is complemented by other tax changes elsewhere that make everyone financially better off in cash terms, it leads to strident opposition from the losers. But cutting taxes for all will raise deficits, merely delaying subsequent future tax rises, unless government spending can be sustainably cut.

Perhaps more importantly, Republicans and Conservatives should leave the class struggle to the other parties when they make the case for tax cuts.

Progressive analysts have effectively shown that they do not believe income taxes should ever be cut. Given that poorer households tend to pay no to little income tax, the focus on messaging for income tax changes should be about how they would support durable economic growth for the nation as a whole.

In Trump’s case, selling income tax cuts as middle class relief when the middle class pay so little in income tax in the first place is a fool’s errand. Instead, his government should focus on why eliminating deductions and lowering rates will improve incentives and grow the economy.

Ryan Bourne occupies the R Evan Scharf Chair in the Public Understanding of Economics at the Cato Institute in Washington DC.

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