WHITE HOUSE: “President Trump Proposed a Massive Tax Cut. Here’s What You Need to Know”

White House File Photo

(WhiteHouse.gov – Gary Cohn – April 26, 2017 – reposted from: whitehouse.gov/blog/2017/04/26/president-trump-proposed-massive-tax-cut-heres-what-you-need-know)

We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to do something big. President #Trump has made #tax reform a priority, and we have a #Republican #Congress that wants to get it done. This is something that #Democrats should support too because it’s good for the American people.



The President is going to seize this opportunity by leading the most significant tax reform legislation since 1986 – and one of the biggest tax cuts in American history.

The President has focused on three things since his campaign: job creation, economic growth, and helping low and middle-income families who have been left behind by this economy. He understands that there are a lot of people in this country that feel like they work hard and still can’t get ahead. They are sick of turning their paychecks over to Washington and having no idea how their tax dollars are spent. They are frustrated by a tax code that is so complicated that they can’t even do their own taxes.

That’s why tax reform is such a big priority for this President.  He cares about making the economy work better for the American people.

We are going to cut taxes for businesses to make them competitive, and we are going to cut taxes for the American people – especially low and middle-income families.

In 1935, we had a one-page tax form consisting of 34 lines and two pages of instructions.  Today, the basic 1040 form has 79 lines and 211 pages of instructions. Instead of a single tax form, the IRS now has 199 tax forms on the individual side of the tax code alone. Taxpayers spend nearly 7 billion hours complying with the tax code each year, and nearly 90% of taxpayers need help filing their taxes.

We are going to cut taxes and simplify the tax code by taking the current 7 tax brackets we have today and reducing them to only three brackets: 10 percent, 25 percent, and 35 percent.

We are going to double the standard deduction so that a married couple won’t pay any taxes on the first $24,000 of income they earn.  So in essence, we are creating a 0 percent tax rate for the first $24,000 that a couple earns.

The larger standard deduction also leads to simplification because far fewer taxpayers will need to itemize, which means their tax form can go back to that one simple page.

Families in this country will also benefit from tax relief to help them with child and dependent care expenses.

We are going to repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). The AMT creates significant complications and burdens by requiring taxpayers to do their taxes twice to see which is higher. That makes no sense; we should have one simple tax code.

Job creation and economic growth is the top priority for this Administration, and nothing drives economic growth like capital investment. Therefore, we are going to return the top tax rate on capital gains and dividends to 20 percent by repealing the harmful 3.8 percent Obamacare tax. That tax has been a direct hit on investment income and small business owners.

We are going to repeal the death tax. The threat of being hit by the death tax leads small business owners and farmers in this country to waste countless hours and resources on complicated estate planning to make sure their children aren’t hit with a huge tax when they die. No one wants their children to have to sell the family business to pay an unfair tax.

We are going to eliminate most of the tax breaks that mainly benefit high-income individuals.  Home ownership, charitable giving, and retirement savings will be protected – but other tax benefits will be eliminated.

This is not going to be easy. Doing big things never is. But one thing is for certain: I would not bet against this President.  He will get this done for the American people.

Gary Cohn is the chief economic advisor to President Donald J. Trump and Director of the National Economic Council





VIDEO NEWSWATCH: “Anti-Putin Protesters Get a Smart Phone App to Help Get Out of Jail” – Reuters/ U.S. News & World Report/ Parniyan Zemaryalai/ Parniyan Zemaryalai 4.26.17

Kremlin and Saint Basil's At Night

“Anti-#Kremlin protesters who run the regular risk of being detained by the police … [can utilize a] #smartphone app … to instantly inform others where and when they have been arrested.  #Russia faces a presidential election next year … and was last month shaken by large anti-government protests. More are planned. The result of a collaboration between a Russian firm, a human rights group and an opposition movement, the notification system, called #RedButton, automatically transmits the location and emergency contact details of a detained protester. … [to] allow others to act quickly to help free them as it will include details of the police station where the individual is being held. … #Putin remains … the most popular politician in Russia, but opponents argue he keeps a check on dissent through control of the media, especially television, and limiting protest. …”





Created in St. Petersburg by Alexander Litreev, the application’s development received support from the Open Russia foundation, founded by Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and OVD-Info, a human rights organization that monitors detentions.

Click here for: “Anti-Putin Protesters Get a Smart Phone App to Help Get Out of Jail” – Reuters/ U.S. News & World Report 4.26.17





NEWSWATCH: “Russia bans three Khodorkovsky-linked opposition groups; Move comes before planned protests across 30 cities on Saturday” – Financial Times/ Kathrin Hille 4.26.17

File Photo of Kremlin Wall and Tower Near River

“#Russia has banned three non-governmental groups linked to Mikhail #Khodorkovsky … ahead of planned anti-regime demonstrations as the #Kremlin tries to curb the spread of protest sentiment. The Prosecutor General’s Office … declared the Open Russia Foundation, the Institute of Modern Russia and the Open Russia movement to be ‘undesirable organisations’. Such a status allows authorities to freeze their assets in Russia and exposes anyone working with them to criminal prosecution.  …”

Click here for: “Russia bans three Khodorkovsky-linked opposition groups; Move comes before planned protests across 30 cities on Saturday” – Financial Times/ Kathrin Hille 4.26.17







 

NEWSLINK: “Russian Prosecutor Labels Khodorkovsky NGO ‘Undesirable’ Ahead Of Protest” – RFE/RL / Mike Eckel 4.26.17

Russian Map and Flag

“Russia’s top prosecutor has blacklisted a nongovernmental organization set up by former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky — a move that puts the group in legal jeopardy just days before a street protest it has been planning. …”

NEWSLINK: “#EU stands firms on #Crimea #sanctions against #Russia” – Deutsche Welle

Map of Ukraine and Environs, Including Russia

“… The #EuropeanUnion’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, told a news conference in the #Russian capital on Monday that the #EU could not pretend that #Moscow had not annexed #Ukraine’s #Crimea in 2014, and that the bloc’s sanctions over the issue would not be lifted. She insisted, however, that cooperation between the two sides was not “frozen,” but rather hampered by differences over issues such as #Ukraine and #Syria. Mogherini was speaking alongside Russian Foreign Minister Sergey #Lavrov on her first official visit to Moscow in her current role as the EU’s top diplomat. …”

NEWSLINK: “U.S. general in #Afghanistan says there is no doubt #Russia is providing weapons to #Taliban” – Telegraph

Afghanistan and Environs Ethnic Map

“America’s top general in #Afghanistan has said there was no doubt that #Russia was providing weapons to the #Taliban. In the strongest statement yet over Russia’s apparent re-engagement in the Afghanistan war, Gen. John #Nicholson said he would “not refute” that #Moscow’s involvement included giving weapons to the Taliban.
He was speaking in Kabul alongside James #Mattis, the US defence secretary, who said that America needed to confront Russia over its actions in Afghanistan, where the Soviet Union fought and lost a bloody war in the 1980s.

NEWSLINK: “Russia’s Oil Cuts Won’t Be So Easy If OPEC Deal Is Extended; Rosneft and Lukoil plan higher spending and more drilling” – Bloomberg

Oil Wells and Sunset

“For #Russian #oil companies, the historic agreement to boost prices by cutting output in conjunction with [#OPEC] was an easy win. Extending the deal will be less straightforward. Cuts so far this year came alongside the traditional seasonal stagnation in Russian production, meaning the country made relatively few sacrifices in exchange for an increase in crude prices of more than 10 percent. For the powerful Russian oil bosses who plan to discuss the OPEC accord with Energy Minister Alexander Novak this week, a decision by the government to extend the cuts beyond June would stymie plans to boost output, creating many more headaches than the initial agreement. …”

DC JOBS LINK: “Technical Manager, Public Affairs Hudson Institute – Washington, D.C.”

File Photo of Empty Desk with Computer Work Station, apdapted from image at osha.gov

“… Primary Duties. Under the supervision of the Hudson’s Public Affairs department Director, the Technical Manager will:

Be principally responsible for content management and technical maintenance of Hudson’s website and related software;
Manage the Institute’s YouTube, UStream, Instagram, and iTunes/Stitchr podcasts accounts, posting and organizing video, audio, and photos and monitoring comments;
Oversee all post-production work on Hudson events, including video and audio editing, highlight clips, standalone scholar interviews and podcasts;
Maintain and refine the organization’s extensive media archives;
Oversee and operate all still-photography, microphone, in-room or remote camera systems, and software programs employed during live-streamed Hudson-sponsored public events and media-outreach efforts;
Livetweet public events from @HudsonEvents;
Coordinate and communicate with IT consultants and outside vendors about website design and functionality; server hosting; Internet security and connectivity; A/V hardware support and repair; and
Participate in the general work of the Public Affairs office, especially where event setup and publication-related photo editing is concerned. …”

NEWSLINK: “#Russian Military Planes Crowd the U.S. for a Fourth Day; U.S., Canadian fighters intercept long-range bombers” – Wall Street Journal 4.21.17

Russian TU-95 Bear Bomber File Photo

“#Russia flew long-range combat aircraft near American airspace for the fourth consecutive day, the Pentagon said Friday, marking the first such string of incursions since 2014, but prompting little concern from the White House. American and Canadian jet fighters intercepted a pair of Russian “Bear” long-range bombers in international airspace near #Alaska on Thursday, said … a spokesman for North American Aerospace Defense Command, or #Norad. …”

NEWSLINK: “#Beslan school siege: #Russia ‘failed’ in 2004 massacre” – BBC 4.13.17

Russian Map and Flag

“The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that #Russia failed to protect the hostages of the #Beslan school siege in which about 330 people died in 2004. … Chechen rebels took more than 1,000 hostages, mostly children. The operation by Russian forces to end it used disproportionate force, the court added. It also said that officials knew an attack was imminent but did not act. … Witnesses described the operation by Russian security forces as chaotic, saying that the troops used excessive force and heavy weapons. … the court said Russia had sufficient specific information that an attack was being planned in that area, but did not act. It criticised the authorities for being unable to prevent the militants from meeting and travelling on the day of the attack, and failing to increase security at the school or warn the public of the threat. …”

NEWSLINK: “Russia’s new Arctic Trefoil military base unveiled with virtual tour” – BBC

Arctic Map

“… The Arctic Trefoil permanent base is in Franz Josef Land, a huge ice-covered, desolate archipelago. The Russian military sees the resource-rich Arctic as a key strategic region. President Vladimir Putin visited the new base, on Alexandra Land, last month. It is built on stilts – to help withstand the extreme cold – and will house 150 personnel on 18-month tours of duty. Winter temperatures typically plunge to minus 40C. …”

NEWSLINK: “#Russian State TV Says #Trump Is More Dangerous Than Kim Jong-Un” – Bloomberg 4.17.17

File Photo of Kremlin Wall and Tower Near River

“#Russian state television has no doubt who is unpredictable enough to bring the world to war in the North Korean crisis … In the latest sign of the Kremlin’s abrupt about-face on its erstwhile American hero …. * * * Kiselyov and his colleagues on other channels also went after #Trump’s family, noting that Kim hadn’t given his four-year-old daughter an office in his residence, in contrast to Trump’s appointment of his 35-year-old daughter, Ivanka, to a White House role ….

NEWSLINK: “#Russian bombers again fly near #Alaska” – Fox News 4.19.17

Russian TU-95 Bear Bomber File Photo

“… For the second consecutive night, #Russia flew two long-range bombers off the coast of #Alaska on Tuesday, this time coming within 36 miles of the mainland while flying north of the #Aleutian Islands …. The two #nuclear-capable Tu-95 bombers were spotted by U.S. military radar at 5 p.m. local time. Unlike a similar incident Monday night, this time the U.S. Air Force did not scramble any fighter jets. Instead, it launched a single E-3 Sentry early warning aircraft, known as AWACS, to make sure there were only the two Russian bombers flying near Alaska, and not other aircraft flying underneath the large bombers. …”

NEWSLINK: “The lawyer who will oversee the Russia inquiry for Justice Dept. has experience investigating the White House” – Los Angeles Times 4.23.17

FBI Building file photo

“As a young federal prosecutor in the 1990s, Rod J. Rosenstein played a key role in the highly charged independent investigation of the president and first lady, Bill and Hillary Clinton, over their investments in a failed real estate company known as Whitewater. Rosenstein now is poised to take over another sensitive investigation: the FBI counterintelligence inquiry into whether President Trump’s current or former aides colluded with Russian intelligence to interfere with last year’s election. …”

NEWSLINK: “#Russia upset over being blocked from #Syria chemical weapons investigation” – Fox News

Syria Map

“#Russia has protested the U.S.’ refusal to allow its inspectors to participate in a formal investigation into a chemical weapons attack that struck the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhan in northern Idlib, #Syria, earlier this month.”

NEWSLINK: “#Russian Journalist, Putin Critic Dies After Severe Beating” – RFE/RL 4.19.17

Kremlin and St. Basil's at Night

“A prominent #Russian journalist known for articles criticizing the country’s government and President Vladimir #Putin has died in St. Petersburg after being beaten up, his lawyer was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying. Nikolai #Andrushchenko, a 73-year-old co-founder of the weekly newspaper Novy Peterburg, was found unconscious with what colleagues described as head trauma on March 9. …”

VIDEO NEWSWATCH: “Syria, Russia Would Be ‘Insane’ to Retaliate Over U.S. Airstrikes, Former U.S. Ambassador Says” – Fox News

Syria Map

“… In the wake of the airstrikes on a military base in Syria after a deadly chemical attack on civilians, Russia announced it was suspending cooperation of its communication link with the U.S. that protects pilots flying missions over the war-torn country. ‘I think that is a major mistake on the part of Moscow… they’re actually putting their own forces in greater jeopardy,’ Crocker said. ‘It would be to Moscow’s benefit to have these basic lines  of communication. So they will lose more than we will.’ …”

Click here for: “Syria, Russia Would Be ‘Insane’ to Retaliate Over US Airstrikes, Former US Ambassador Says” – Fox News





NEWSWATCH: “Russian naval activity in Europe exceeds Cold War levels: U.S. admiral” – Reuters

File Photo of Russian Aircraft Carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, Steven C. Welsh adaptation of U.S. Navy Photo at defense.gov

“Recent Russian naval activity in Europe exceeds levels seen during the Cold War, a top U.S. and NATO military officer said, voicing concern that the distributed nature of the deployments could end up ‘splitting and distracting’ the transatlantic alliance. Navy Admiral Michelle Howard, who heads NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command in Naples and commands U.S. naval forces in Europe and Africa, said Russia had clearly stepped up its naval actions in recent years although the size of its navy was smaller now ….”

Click here for: “Russian naval activity in Europe exceeds Cold War levels: U.S. admiral” – Reuters







[featured image is file photo]

NEWSLINK: “Palm Sunday attacks: 44 dead, more than 100 injured in church bombings carried out by ISIL in Egypt” – Fox News

Egypt Map, adapted from image at export.gov

“… at least 44 people were killed and more than 100 more were injured in two Palm Sunday suicide attacks at Coptic Christian churches, each carried out by the ISIS terror group. Sunday’s first blast happened at St. George Church in the Nile Delta town of Tanta, where at least 27 people were killed and 78 others wounded, officials said.
Television footage showed the inside of the church, where a large number of people gathered around what appeared to be lifeless, bloody bodies covered with papers. A second explosion – which Egypt’s Interior Ministry says was caused by a suicide bomber who tried to storm St. Mark’s Cathedral in the coastal city of Alexandria — left at least 17 dead, and 48 injured. The attack came just after Pope Tawadros II — leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria — finished services, but aides told local media that he was unharmed. …”

HEALTHLINK: “When is the Pollen Count Low? Planning ahead will make the outdoors more enjoyable.” – Zyrtec

Pollen Grain Microscopic Image, adapted from image at nasa.gov

“On an average day, #pollen counts rise during the morning, peak about midday, and then gradually fall. So the lowest pollen counts are usually before dawn and in the late afternoon to early evening. But this is all relative — if the pollen count is very high, a moderate decrease later in the day may still leave a high concentration of pollen in the air.  Weather and environmental factors also heavily influence the pollen count throughout the day. Wind stirs up pollen into the air, keeping counts high, while rain dramatically lowers airborne pollen any time of day. And in urban areas, pollen counts tend to rise and fall later than they do in the suburbs. “

NEWSLINK: “U.S. airstrikes on Syria followed international condemnation of chemical attack” – Fox News

Eastern Mediterranean Satellite Photo

“President #Trump’s decision to rain Tomahawk missiles on #Syrian airfields in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack being pinned on Damascus followed near-unanimous international condemnation of the Syrian government. Just hours before the move, the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, Turkey and even China, whose president, Xi Jinping, was at Trump’s estate in Florida, all blasted the Syrian government over its suspected use of chemical weapons this week. …”

 

NEWSLINK: “U.S. missiles target #Syria airfield in response to chemical weapons attack” – Fox News

Syria Map

“The United States launched nearly five dozen cruise missiles at a #Syrian airfield early Friday in response to a chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of civilians, the first direct assault on the Damascus government since the beginning of that country’s bloody civil war in 2011. ‘It is in the vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons,’ President Donald #Trump said in a statement. ‘Tonight I call on all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria, and also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types.’
Fifty-nine Tomahawk missiles targeted an airbase at Shayrat, located outside Homs. The missiles targeted the base’s airstrips, hangars, control tower and ammunition areas, officials said. …”

 

NEWSWATCH: “Trump Orders Missile Attack in Retaliation for Syrian Chemical Strikes” –

U.S. Navy Cruise Missile Fired at Night, adapted from image at defense.gov, Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Robert S. Price

VIDEO: U.S. strikes in #Syria launched from USS Porter –  The guided-missile destroyer USS Porter conducts strike operations while in the #Mediterranean Sea. Porter, forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, is conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe. Navy video by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ford Williams



(Department of Defense – Jim Garamone DoD News, Defense Media Activity – WASHINGTON, April 6, 2017 – article also appeared at defense.gov/News/Article/Article/1144601/trump-orders-missile-attack-in-retaliation-for-syrian-chemical-strikes)

The United States fired Tomahawk missiles into Syria today in retaliation for the regime of Bashar Assad using nerve agents to attack his own people.

President Donald J. Trump ordered the attack on Al-Shayrat Air Base, the base from which the chemical attack on Syria’s Idlib province was launched. The missiles were launched from U.S. Navy ships in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross fires a tomahawk land attack missile while conducting naval operations in the Mediterranean Sea, April 7, 2017. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Robert S. Price

The attack is in retaliation for the Syrian dictator for using banned chemical agents in the April 4 attack.

“Bashar al-Assad launched a horrible chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians,” Trump said in a statement to the nation. “Using a deadly nerve agent, Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children. It was a slow and brutal death for so many. Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack. No child of God should ever suffer such horror.”

Vital National Security Interest

Trump ordered the targeted military strike on the airfield that launched the attack. “It is in the vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons,” the president said.
No one disputes that Syria used banned chemical weapons of the people of Idlib, he said, adding that this is a violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Syria also ignored United Nations Security Council resolutions.

“Years of previous attempts at changing Assad’s behavior have all failed and failed very dramatically,” Trump said. “As a result, the refugee crisis continues to deepen and the region continues to destabilize, threatening the United States and its allies.”
Trump called on all civilized nations to join the United States in seeking an end to the slaughter in Syria, and to end the threat terrorism poses in the blighted nation.



Details of Strike

Shortly after the president’s address, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis issued a statement providing details of the strike. It took place at about 8:40 p.m. EDT — 4:40 a.m.  April 7 in Syria, he said.

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross fires a tomahawk land attack missile while conducting naval operations in the Mediterranean Sea, April 7, 2017. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Robert S. Price

The strike was conducted using Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles, or TLAMs, launched from the destroyers USS Porter and USS Ross in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, Davis said in his statement. A total of 59 TLAMs targeted aircraft, hardened aircraft shelters, petroleum and logistical storage, ammunition supply bunkers, air defense systems, and radars.
“As always,” Davis said, “the U.S. took extraordinary measures to avoid civilian casualties and to comply with the Law of Armed Conflict.  Every precaution was taken to execute this strike with minimal risk to personnel at the airfield.”

The strike was “a proportional response to Assad’s heinous act,” the Pentagon spokesman said, noting that Shayrat Airfield was used to store chemical weapons and Syrian air forces. The U.S. intelligence community assesses that aircraft from Shayrat conducted the April 4 chemical weapons attack, he added, and the strike was intended to deter the regime from using chemical weapons again.

Russian forces were notified in advance of the strike using the established deconfliction line, Davis said, and U.S. military planners took precautions to minimize risk to Russian or Syrian personnel at the airfield.

“We are assessing the results of the strike,” Davis said. “Initial indications are that this strike has severely damaged or destroyed Syrian aircraft and support infrastructure and equipment at Shayrat Airfield, reducing the Syrian government’s ability to deliver chemical weapons. The use of chemical weapons against innocent people will not be tolerated.”



NEWSLINK: “Discovery! Atmosphere Spotted on Nearly Earth-Size Exoplanet in First” – SpaceCom

File Photo of Stars in Space, adapted from image at nasa.gov

“For the first time, scientists have detected an atmosphere around a planet beyond our solar system that’s just a little bit larger than Earth. The exoplanet GJ 1132b, which orbits the dwarf star GJ 1132, is located about 39 light-years away from Earth. It has a radius about 1.4 times that of Earth and is 1.6 times Earth’s mass, according to the new study. When the planet was first discovered, researchers called it a potential Venus twin because it’s a rocky world with a very high surface temperature — and now, they’ve found that the planet and Venus might have a thick atmosphere in common, too (although it would have a different composition). ”