Barack Obama

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#MagaFirstNews 8-26-19

China announces it seeks ‘calm’ end to trade war, as Asian markets tank

Trump talks Iran, ‘surprise’ visit from foreign minister at G7 Summit

Clashes escalate in weekend Hong Kong protests

Sanders slams McConnell in campaign stop at top Republican’s home turf

Thieves tie up employees in ‘massive’ heist in New York City’s Diamond District

China announces it seeks ‘calm’ end to trade war, as Asian markets tank

China signaled on Monday it was now seeking a “calm” end to its ongoing trade war with the U.S., as Asian markets crumbled and China’s currency plummeted to an 11-year low following the latest tariffs on $550 billion in Chinese goods announced last Friday by the Trump administration.

News of the possible opening in negotiations came shortly after President Trump threatened to declare a national emergency that would result in American businesses freezing their relationships with China.

Trump’s tariff barrage on Friday was a response to China imposing its own retaliatory tariffs on $75 billion in U.S. goods. At the Group of Seven summit in France on Sunday, White House officials rejected suggestions the president was wavering and insisted that his only regret was not implementing even more tariffs on China.

Trump talks Iran, ‘surprise’ visit from foreign minister at G7 Summit

President Trump on Monday said the U.S. is not seeking regime change in Iran and told reporters at the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, that he hopes to see a strong Iran. Trump’s comments came after a day of tense meetings with his European counterparts about how best to approach Iran and the recent tensions in the region. On Sunday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made a surprise visit at the summit at the behest of French President Emmanuel Macron. Trump insisted that he knew about Zarif’s appearance but did not meet with him.

Clashes escalate in weekend Hong Kong protests

Hong Kong police have confirmed an officer fired a warning shot as protesters surrounded them and said they arrested 36 people during the latest round of pro-democracy demonstrations. A police news release Monday said that one police officer fell to the ground as protesters threw hard objects at a small group of officers the previous night. The officers could be seen holding up their shields as protesters surged forward swinging sticks and rods. The incident happened after an earlier clash with hundreds of protesters who occupied a main street following a peaceful protest march. Police used tear gas to clear the street, but some protesters remained in the neighborhood. Hardliners confronted police anew after largely holding back the previous weekend. The police deployed two water cannon trucks Sunday for the first time during the 11 weeks of protests. – The Associated Press

Sanders slams McConnell in campaign stop at top Republican’s home turf

Bernie Sanders renewed his attacks on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at a rally in the top Republican’s home state of Kentucky on Sunday afternoon, demanding that McConnell stop his “cowardice” and “have the guts” to immediately take up legislation aimed at reducing gun violence, strengthening election security and raising the federal minimum wage. The blistering address in Louisville came as national Democrats, hoping to retake not only the White House but also the Senate in 2020, increasingly have set their sights on the 77-year-old McConnell.
Meanwhile, Rep. Ro Khanna, a California Democrat and Sanders’ national campaign co-chair, said on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” that he believed former Vice President Joe Biden “regretted” making a comment over the weekend about what would have happened had former President Barack Obama been assassinated while on the campaign trail in 2008. The comment stirred up controversy, but a Biden aide said the candidate has used the analogy before when speaking to younger generations who were not alive during the turbulent 1960s. Biden asserted the assassinations of King and Kennedy raised his political awareness and propelled him to run for office.

Thieves tie up employees in ‘massive’ heist in New York City’s Diamond District

The Wild West came to Midtown on Sunday when at least three armed bandits — one of whom wore what witnesses described as a cowboy hat — bound workers in a massive jewelry-store heist, according to police. The crooks coolly posed as customers at Avianne and Co. in the heart of the Diamond District, browsing the bling before pulling handguns on the four workers in the shop at the time of the high-noon hold-up, cops said. After restraining the workers with zip ties, the robbers raided the safe and display cases, dumping nearly all of the sparklers into at least one duffle bag before high-tailing it out onto surveillance-camera-lined West 47th Street, according to authorities. – Reported by the New York Post


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Presidents aren’t required by law to release their tax returns. Nevertheless, between 1974 and 2012, every president but Gerald Ford has made a voluntary release of the tax returns they filed while in office. Ford released no complete returns, but released 10 years of summary data including gross income, taxable income, major deductions, and taxes paid.

This tradition of voluntary tax return disclosure ended in 2017, when President Trump declined to release any personal tax information. Trump has offered various reasons for keeping his returns private, but he has frequently insisted that he won’t make a release while his returns are being audited by the IRS.

2. Are all presidents’ tax returns audited by the IRS?

Since 1977 the Internal Revenue Manual has required that every tax return filed by a sitting president or vice president be subject to an audit. According to IRS officials at the time, the new policy was established “in the interest of sound administration” and in light of “everything that has happened in the past.”

While Trump may be unwilling to release presidential tax returns currently under audit, that’s a prudential decision, not a legal one. There’s no legal bar to releasing returns that are under examination. In fact, every president from Jimmy Carter through Barack Obama released tax returns that were “under audit,” since those returns — generally released publicly within hours of being filed with the IRS — were slated for automatic audit under the IRM.

3. Do presidents release tax returns covering every year they are in office?

Not exactly. Typically, presidents have released tax returns that they filed while actually holding office. That means the first return filed and released by a new president has covered the year before his inauguration. Similarly, returns covering the last year of a president’s final term haven’t typically been released since they were filed after that president had left office.

Typically, presidents have released tax returns that they filed while actually holding office. President Bill Clinton is the exception to that rule, since his joint returns filed after his presidency were then released by Hillary Clinton when she made her 2008 bid for the Democratic nomination.

4. Why did presidents begin to make voluntary disclosures of tax returns in 1974?

The tradition of voluntary tax return disclosure began with a scandal. In 1973 journalists discovered information suggesting that President Richard Nixon had taken large, hard-to-defend deductions on his individual tax returns. After months of media speculation (based chiefly on documents that came to light in an unrelated court case), someone at the IRS leaked information from the president’s returns confirming that he had paid just $792.81 in federal income taxes for 1970 and $878.03 for 1971 — despite having an income of more than $200,000 each year.

To help quell the ensuing uproar — which occasioned Nixon’s oft-quoted insistence that “I am not a crook” — the president decided to make a public release of his tax returns for 1969, 1970, 1971, and 1972. That tax disclosure was the first made by a sitting U.S. president. (While running for president in 1952, Dwight D. Eisenhower disclosed a few key elements of his tax history, but no complete returns.)

Ford, Nixon’s vice president, didn’t release complete tax returns after taking office in the wake of Nixon’s resignation. Ford released a nine-year summary of his tax data when running for president in 1975 and 1976. But starting with Carter, every president through Obama has made an annual disclosure of the tax return he filed during each year in which he held office.

5. Which presidential returns are available in the presidential tax returns archive? Do you have them all?

The archive includes returns disclosed by every president from Nixon through Obama, with the exception of Ford. (Since Ford released only summary tax data, the archive includes a summary.)
The archive doesn’t include any complete presidential tax returns filed by Trump, because he has opted not to release them. However, it includes Trump’s Form 1040 for 2005, which was leaked to the DCReport.org website and later published widely. In a statement, the White House confirmed the accuracy of key figures from this 2005 partial return.

The archive includes returns filed by Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman. Those returns weren’t released during either president’s lifetime, but were later made available by their respective presidential libraries.

6. Which vice presidential and candidate tax returns are available in the archive

The archive includes returns filed by Vice Presidents Dick Cheney, Joe Biden, and Mike Pence. For Cheney, all but one of the returns (filed jointly with his wife) are incomplete, consisting of only a Form 1040. In 2001 the Cheneys released only a press statement summarizing their 2000 return. Returns filed by Pence were released while he was running in the 2016 election. Because Pence has released no returns since taking office, the last return available in the archive is for 2015. Like Trump, Cheney has cited ongoing audits as an explanation for his refusal to release later returns. Returns filed by Vice Presidents Walter Mondale, George H.W. Bush, and some by Al Gore aren’t in the archive. The returns, however, were publicly released by those officials while they held office. They are unavailable now, and we hope to add them to the archive eventually.

For primary candidates and major party nominees, we have returns (or return portions) covering the 2012, 2016, and 2020 election cycles.

7. How many tax returns do candidates typically release?

The number of returns released by presidential candidates varies widely, from a low of zero (Donald Trump) to a high of 33 (Jeb Bush). There is no “typical” or “standard” number of released returns, since disclosures have varied dramatically even within an election cycle.

Even the number of returns released by major party nominees has differed widely.

Tax Returns Disclosed by Major Party Nominees, 1976-2016
1976 1
Jimmy Carter
0 (summary data)
Gerald Ford
1980 5
Jimmy Carter
1
Ronald Reagan
1984 11
Walter Mondale
5
Ronald Reagan
1988 5
Michael Dukakis
14
George H.W. Bush
1992 12
Bill Clinton
18
George H.W. Bush
1996 19
Bill Clinton
30
Robert Dole
2000 8
Al Gore
9
George W. Bush
2004 20
John Kerry
13
George W. Bush
2008 7
Barack Obama
2
John McCain
2012 11
Barack Obama
2
Mitt Romney
2016 24
Hillary Clinton
0
Donald Trump
Sources: Contemporaneous media coverage; Julie Jennings, “Memorandum: Federal Tax Returns Disclosed by Selected Nominees for President and Vice President Since 1916,” Congressional Research Service (Jan. 30, 2019); Ryan Kelly, “Chart: Presidential Candidates’ Tax Returns,” Roll Call (Oct. 21, 2016).

Disclosures have also varied considerably in their completeness. While all major party presidential nominees through the 2012 election released complete (or nearly complete) returns, several candidates in 2016 chose to release only their Form 1040, omitting other required elements of their tax returns, including various schedules and forms.

8. What happened to the tradition of voluntary disclosure?

The voluntary tradition of tax return disclosure — by candidates, nominees, vice presidents, and presidents — was strong until 2016. President Trump’s decision to keep his tax returns private was the most serious challenge to this tradition, but it wasn’t the only one. The decision in 2016 by several candidates in both parties to release incomplete returns was a break with the usual practice of full disclosure. Moreover, while numerous candidates opted for a partial release in 2016, Cheney had already set a precedent for limiting annual disclosures to just a Form 1040.

9. Can Congress compel disclosure?

Whether Congress can compel disclosure of presidential (and vice presidential) tax returns remains to be seen. A law enacted in 1924 empowers key leaders of the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees to request tax return information from Treasury, including individual returns filed by just about anyone. Such a request doesn’t necessarily involve public disclosure of the requested information, and indeed, the law requires lawmakers to treat that material confidentially. But the law also gives lawmakers a procedure for making that information public should either committee decide, after a formal vote, that disclosure is warranted.

The Ways and Means Committee is seeking tax returns filed by Trump, as well as returns from several of his businesses and related audit and administrative materials developed by the IRS. To date, Treasury has declined to provide that information, and the standoff seems likely to find its way to a courtroom sometime soon.

The law requires lawmakers to treat tax return information confidentially. But the law also gives lawmakers a procedure for making that information public should either committee decide, after a formal vote, that disclosure is warranted.

In a related development, the House passed legislation in March that would require presidents, vice presidents, and major party nominees for both offices to publicly disclose 10 years of tax returns. The legislation is awaiting action in the Senate.

10. Where else can people find presidential tax returns?

Tax Analysts maintains the largest database of publicly available tax returns released by American national politicians.

In theory, tax returns released by specific presidents and vice presidents should be available in the various presidential libraries scattered around the country. In practice, it can be difficult to retrieve those returns, because their sensitive nature often causes them to be flagged for special security screening. Getting that screening done can take considerable time, given staffing shortages at presidential libraries.

The story for candidate and nominee returns is even worse. Because those returns have typically been released by campaigns, not government agencies, official archiving practices don’t apply. Some released returns can still be found online through various news organizations, which occasionally host returns on their own websites.

For the most part, however, candidate returns tend to disappear from public view once the voting is done; technically public, they become effectively private.

Is Joe Biden a Racist?

Harris puts Biden’s race record on trial in Round 2 of Dem primary debate
Democratic presidential primary front-runner Joe Biden ran into a formidable challenge at Thursday night’s debate from U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, who tapped into her prosecutor toolbox to put his race record on trial following the controversy over his comments on segregationist senators. In perhaps the most heated momentof the night, Harris told Biden she doesn’t believe he is a “racist” but See More considers his recent comments about being able to work with segregationist senators early in his career “hurtful.”

Biden has said he disagreed with the senators on segregation, but was still able to work with them in the Senate. But that explanation did not deter Harris during Thursday’s debate. “You worked with them to oppose busing,” Harris said, referring to efforts to limit orders for school desegregation by busing. In an emotional moment, she told her own story of being bussed as a little girl in California. Biden fired back that Harris’ comments were a “mischaracterization of my position across the board.”

Biden, though, mostly kept his focus on the candidate he really wants to face — President Trump. He repeatedly invoked the name and record of his popular running-mate Barack Obama and brushed back swipes at his age from long-shot candidate Rep. Eric Swalwell,who repeatedly called on him to “pass the torch.” It’s unclear whether the clash with Harris might damage Biden — considering most prior controversies have not dinged his poll numbers — or simply give Harris some needed momentum.

Meanwhile, Sen. Bernie Sanders avoided any direct clash with Biden. He spent much of the night defending his big-government agenda against questions from moderators and criticism from more centrist leaning – and lower-polling – candidates. Several rivalstook issue with some of Sanders’ socialistic policies, like “Medicare-for-all” and free college tuition. South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg broke with Sanders in saying while he supports free college for children of low and middle income, “I just don’t believe it makes sense to ask working-class families to subsidize even the children of billionaires.”

Still, the debate also made clear how Democrats have moved to the left on issues relating to immigration. All 10 Democrats raised their hands when asked if their government health care plan would cover illegal immigrants. Pollster Frank Luntz summed it upthis way on “The Ingraham Angle” on Thursday: “This is not your parents’ Democratic Party.” Click here for former Clinton strategist Mark Penn’s list of winners and losers from Thursday night’s Democratic debate.

Trump likes what he saw in the Democratic debate from afar
At one time, some pundits were predicting that Democrats could defeat President Trump and the Republican Party on health care. However, thanks to the Democratic Party’s stance on health care for illegal immigrants, Trump and Republicans are feeling very confident. While attending the G-20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, the president said Democratic White House contenders’ willingness to extend government health care to illegal immigrants in America will get him reelected. Trump tweeted: “All Democrats just raised their hands for giving millions of illegal aliens unlimited healthcare. How about taking care of American Citizens first!?” He then added: “That’s the end of that race!”

Friends of missing Utah student spot activity on Instagram account
The search for missing Utah student Mackenzie Lueck has taken a peculiar twist. Friends of Lueck told Fox News that they noticed activity on her Instagram account on Wednesday and turned the information over to authorities. Lueck’s personal Instagram account liked a page called “fatherless,” around noon, and her friends quickly took screengrabs to document the activity and turn over to police. The @fatherless handle had more than 47,000 followers as of early Friday but was following only 15 accounts — not including that of Lueck.

The 23-year-old woman was last seen meeting an unknown individual around 3 a.m. June 17 at a park in Salt Lake City after being dropped off by a Lyft driver. She hailed the ride after flying in from Los Angeles – where she had attended her grandmother’sfuneral. While the Lyft driver has been cleared, police searched the Salt Lake City home of the man they said is a “person of interest”for about 19 hours the past two days. Police said they are also looking for a mattress and box spring removed from the home last week.

Iraqi general: Accused Navy SEAL did not stab ISIS prisoner
The Iraqi general at the scene of an alleged murder of an Islamic State prisoner in Iraq in 2017 testified in a deposition video played in court Thursday that Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher never stabbed the teenage detainee. In a recording made earlier this month, Maj. Gen. Abbas al-Jubouri testified he never saw Gallagher stab the detainee in the neck. Gallagher served alongside Abbas’ unit in an advise-and-assistcapacity in Mosul. Abbas told the defense lawyer if had he witnessed improper conduct from SEALs, he would have taken action. Last week, a Navy SEAL, Special Operator 1st Class Corey Scott, testified that Abbas’ unit tortured, raped and murdered prisoners. Scott said he killed the ISIS prisoner by putting his thumb over the detainee’s breathing tube in order to save him from falling into the hands of Abbas’ unit.

France highly motivated in Women’s World Cup showdown with Team USA
The United States has its ranking and its trophies, and that’s all the motivation France needs. The Americans face the French on Friday night at the Women’s World Cup, a match that’s been described as a final in the quarterfinals. It really has it all: The defending champions against the upstart hosts. The City of Lights. A sellout crowd. “They’ve got a great trophy cabinet and we still have everything to prove,” French captain Amandine Henry said. The only downside? The country is in the midst of a heat wave and temperatures are expected to soar into the 90s, although a 9 p.m. local time start should bring some cooling. France is seeking to become the first nation to simultaneously hold the men’s and women’s World Cup trophies. (The men won last year in Russia.) The United States already has three FIFA Women’s World Cup trophies, most of any nation.

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MINDING YOUR BUSINESS
Supreme Court blocks citizenship question on 2020 census for now.
Apple’s iPhone designer Jony Iveto exit company.
These US cities have the most seniors age 65 and over working.

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IRAN Says The Channel For Diplomacy Is Closed ‘Forever’ Should We Or Trump Worry?

Iran blasts new US sanctions, says channel for diplomacy is closed ‘forever’
A spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry said in a tweet Tuesday that the new U.S. sanctions that target Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other officials close any channel for diplomacybetween the two countries “forever.” President Trump signed an executive order Monday issuing See More “hard-hitting” financial sanctions against Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his associates. The U.S. and Iran have seen tensions increase exponentially in the past few weeks after an initial U.S. sanctions squeeze that Washington said led to the attacks on two oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. The situation became increasingly dire last week after Tehran admitted to downing a $100 million U.S. Navy drone. Trump said the sanctions “will deny the supreme leader and the supreme leader’s office and those closely affiliated with him and the office access to key financial resources and support.”

Trump wonders if Biden has a ‘big secret’
Ahead of the first Democratic primary presidential debates on Wednesday and Thursday, President Trump has renewed his attacks on Joe Biden, this time questioning why former President Barack Obama hasn’t endorsed his former vice president. In a new interview with the Hill, Trump wondered if there was a “big secret” as to why Obama has not backed Biden. “How he doesn’t get President Obama to endorse him, there has to be some reason why he’s not endorsing him,” Trump told The Hill. “He was the vice president. They seemed to have gotten along. President Obama not endorsing him is rather… a big secret.”

Report: White House moves to prevent Conway from testifying about alleged Hatch Act violations
The White House has reportedly moved to prevent counselor Kellyanne Counselor from testifying before Congress about allegations of violations of the Hatch Act, the Washington Post reported Monday. The House Oversight Committee, anticipating a lack of cooperation from Conway and the White House, plans to vote Wednesday on a subpoena to force her testimony. In an interview with “Fox & Friends” on Monday, Conway pushed back against a finding that she violated the Hatch Act and dismissed a recommendation that she be fired as an attempt to “silence” her and prevent her from working toward President Trump’s re-election.

Newly-released video footage show Jussie Smollett with rope around his neck
Chicago police released hundreds of files and nearly 70 hours of video footage on Monday from the investigation into Jussie Smollett’s claim back in January that he was attacked by two men — an allegation that police later characterized as a hoax. In one ofthe videos, police body-cam footage showed Smollett — with his face blurred — wearing a white rope that he told detectives his attackers looped around his neck. When one of the officers asked Smollett if he wanted to take the rope off of his neck, the 37-year-old actor did while stating: “Yeah. I do. I just wanted you all to see it.” The release of the footage, marked the latest chapter in a story that began with Smollett’s allegations that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack. He eventually was arrested on charges that he lied to police, but prosecutors later dismissed the charges.

Missing mother’s family denies her case is a ‘Gone Girl’ disappearance
Family and friends of missing Connecticut mother of five Jennifer Dulos on Monday countered a claim from her estranged husband’s lawyer that the author was “deeply troubled,” and rejected any suggestions that she was faking her disappearancein a plot similar in the 2015 cinematic thriller “Gone Girl.” In a Fox News interview on Friday, lawyer Norm Pattis said his client, Fotis Dulos, was “emotional, tired, distraught” over the “exhausting ordeal” and disappearance of his estranged wife. He said Jennifer Dulos “had a troubled past,” describing her as a writer who “wrote a manuscript similar to ‘Gone Girl,'” a thriller that later became a hit Hollywood movie. In response, Carrie Luft, a spokeswoman for family and friends of the missing mother, said: “This is not fiction or a movie. This is real life, as experienced every single day by Jennifer’s five young children, her family, and her friends.”

TODAY’S MUST-READS
Prosecution witness admits no evidence of stab wound in Navy SEAL trial.
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