Trump tax plan has lackluster public support, poll says

President Trump and congressional Republicans begin their drive to cut taxes with lackluster public support, according to the new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. The survey shows that just 25 percent call the Trump tax plan a good idea, while 35 percent call it a bad idea. The remaining 40 percent say they have no opinion. “For what is a major legislative objective of the president and his party, tax reform is in very mushy shape,” said Bill McInturff, the Republican pollster who helps produce the NBC/WSJ poll. McInturff’s Democratic counterpart Peter Hart said: “There are a lot of things the Trump administration will have to communicate to get this done.” Among them is the most basic message of all: that the GOP plan will actually cut Americans’ taxes. As the debate gets underway, the poll shows, just 14 percent of Americans believe they’ll get a tax cut, while 25 percent expect their taxes to go up. Similarly, just 19 percent of Americans say the tax legislation will significantly improve the economy. At the same time, 35 percent expect it will substantially increase the budget deficit. The proposal starts with the least favorable public opinion landscape of any major legislative initiative since President Bush’s attempt to partially privatize the Social Security system in Dec. 2004. President Obama’s economic stimulus package and the Affordable Care Act both debuted with greater public support. Concluded McInturff, the GOP pollster: “Trump and Republicans have a long way to go.”

Bloodbath in downtown NYC after driver runs over pedestrians, starts shooting

Up to six people were killed near Stuyvesant High School in lower Manhattan Tuesday afternoon in a wild incident that involved a truck ramming into victims on the West Side bike path, police sources said. The mayhem happened at West Street and Chambers Street at 3:15 p.m. The suspect was shot and is in police custody, cops said. Witnesses described a scene of terror, saying a man in a truck ran over two people before plowing into a school bus. “Jesus! A car just ran over 2 people and then crashed into a school bus. I see two dead bodies and citibikes on the floor destroyed,” a Twitter user wrote. The suspect then got out of his vehicle with two guns, another witness said. “What happened was there was a car crash … he came out of one of the cars. He had two guns,” a 14-year-old Stuyvesant High School student said. “We thought it was a Halloween thing. He started running around the highway. There was another guy in a green shirt that was chasing him around.” “I heard four to six gunshots — everybody starts running,” she added. Video of the scene shows at least two people lying limp on the street. Photos show a smashed-up Home Depot rental truck and two mangled Citi Bikes. Counter-terror police were searching the truck for explosives. “Oh my god I just heard gun shots and ran with my dog. Downtown. F–k,” Josh Groban tweeted. Police shut down the FDR Drive south of 34th Street to rush victims to Bellevue Hospital.

Schweizer: ‘Is the Mueller Investigation Going to Cross with the Financial Dealings of the Kushner Family?’

Clinton Cash author and Breitbart News Senior Editor-at-Large Peter Schweizer joined Breitbart News Daily SiriusXM host Alex Marlow on Tuesday to discuss Paul Manafort and Rick Gates surrendering to the FBI after being charged by special counsel Mueller, as well as other elements of the ongoing investigation.

He also discussed the news that the Maryland Attorney General is investigating Kushner-owned apartments and what, if anything, Jared Kushner’s business dealings could mean for Mueller’s investigation. “Jared Kushner’s father was charged and convicted on several counts, several felonies, so he went to jail. And then Jared Kushner’s uncle was similarly charged and went to jail. So, it gives one the impression that maybe this is not the most tightly run ship and that there may be other legal problems out there.” “As of yet,” he continued, “there doesn’t seem to have been any connection made so far between Mueller’s investigation and Jared Kushner but that’s the other question because of course, we know the Kushner company has done business and financing with a lot of people around the world and that includes people that have very high connections in Russia.” Schweizer added that that is not unusual in the New York real estate world and said, “the question has always been is the Mueller investigation going to cross with the financial dealings of the Kushner family. And we’re just going to have to wait and see on that.”

North Korea nuclear base COLLAPSES ‘killing at least 200 people’ amid fears of massive radioactive leak

KIM’S DISASTER

A TUNNEL at an underground North Korea nuclear site has collapsed with up to 200 people killed, according to reports. The collapse happened at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site in the north-east of the country on October 10, according to Japan’s TV Asahi.

 The Punggye-ri test site in North Korea is carved deep into Mount Mantap, as these file images show
The Punggye-ri test site in North Korea is carved deep into Mount Mantap, as these file images show

The disaster has prompted fears of a massive radioactive leak which could spark a Chernobyl- or Fukushima-style disaster. A North Korean official said the collapse happened during the construction of an underground tunnel, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reports.Some 100 people are said to have been trapped by the initial tunnel collapse, with a further 100 lost in a second collapse during a rescue operation, Asahi reported Tuesday. The accident is believed to have been caused by Kim Joing-un’s sixth nuclear test on March 3 which weakened the mountain, according to the report. It was reported earlier this year that the mountain under which the base is believed to be hidden was at risk of collapsing and leaking radiation into the region. Experts said if the peak crumbles, clouds of radioactive dust and gas would blanket the region, the South China Morning Post reported. Chinese nuclear weapons researcher and chair of the China Nuclear Society Wang Naiyan told the Morning Post a collapse could spark a major environmental disaster. He said: “We call it ‘taking the roof off’. If the mountain collapses and the hole is exposed, it will let out many bad things.

Oil prices near two-year highs as supply cuts bite

Oil prices steadied on Tuesday after a week of gains as the prospect of increasing U.S. exports dampened bullish sentiment that has driven Brent to more than two-year highs above $60 per barrel.

Traders and brokers said investors were adjusting positions after price rises of around 5 percent in October.

Saudis' sweet spot for oil is $60: Helima Croft
Saudi Arabia’s sweet spot for oil is $60 a barrel: RBC’s Helima Croft

Despite generally upbeat sentiment, some analysts also warned the market was overbought, having risen too far, too fast. “U.S. shale output could keep a lid on prices over the medium to long-term,” said Shane Chanel, equities and derivatives adviser at ASR Wealth Advisers. U.S. light crude has been trading at a discount of around $6.70 to Brent making it attractive to refiners.

U.S. crude production has risen almost 13 percent since mid-2016 to 9.5 million barrels per day (bpd).

“The large differential has opened the door on regional arbitrage, driving a spike in U.S. crude exports over recent weeks,” BMI Research said in a note. Despite Tuesday’s price dip, sentiment remained positive, fuelled by a pledge by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and other exporters to hold back about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in oil production to tighten markets.

While the actual cuts aren’t quite as high as the target, analysts say overall compliance has been strong.

“The OPEC deal compliance has been very firm, with rates averaging 86 percent since January,” according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The pact runs to March 2018, but Saudi Arabia and Russia have voiced support to extend the agreement. OPEC is scheduled to meet officially at its headquarters in Vienna, Austria, on Nov. 30. Nick Bit: they have been trying to “rebalance” the oil market since it plunged below $100 a barrel. this latest try will fail to. The higher oil prices go the more US oil frackers produce.

Mueller Lawyer Called Papadopoulos Plea ‘Small Part’ of Larger Investigation

Robert Mueller / Getty Images
Robert Mueller / Getty Images

Aaron Zelinsky, a lawyer working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, told a federal judge earlier this month that the first guilty plea of the investigation is only a “small part” of a larger probe. “Your Honor, the criminal justice interest being vindicated here is there’s a large scale ongoing investigation of which this case is a small part,” Zelinsky said. Zelinksy appeared at an Oct. 5 hearing for Donald Trump’s former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos to detail his guilty plea to one count of making false statements, BuzzFeed reported:

The question arose when US District Judge Randolph Moss asked Zelinsky to explain what interests would justify the court allowing Papadopoulos to waive his rights to seek information about the government’s case against him under the Freedom of Information Act.

Papadopoulos appeared in federal court for the hearing, at which Moss detailed the provisions of the plea agreement. A transcript of the hearing details that the former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser initially was charged with one count of “deletion or destruction of records” — in addition to the “false statement” charge to which he pleaded guilty.

In resolving the FOIA issue, Zelinsky suggested just how key Papadopoulos has been to aspects of the special counsel’s investigation.

“The other important factor in this case is that in the process of his ongoing efforts to cooperate, the Government has shared substantial information with the Defendant that has provided a road map of sorts, if you will, to information that might then be sought on FOIA,” he said.

Papadopoulos’ lawyer Robert Stanley said that his client “at this time has no intention of issuing FOIA requests,” which led to the parties eventually agreeing to a provision that would limit  Papadopoulos from being able to file any FOIA requests during the rest of the Mueller investigation.

 

Catalan leader goes to Brussels, as top prosecutor calls for charges of rebellion

 With Catalonia now under Spain rule, some start to see light at the end of the tunnel

Sacked Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has turned up in Brussels, under the threat of criminal charges carrying up to 30 years in prison over his involvement in the push for Catalonia’s independence from Spain. Other regional separatist leaders are also facing the prospect of charges, and were also stripped of their cabinet posts when Spain’s government took direct control of Catalonia Friday. But the first full week of Spanish control of Catalonia has some daring to hope that the country’s worst political crisis in decades may have just turned a corner — a possibility that investors cheered on Monday. Spain’s public prosector said Monday he will seek criminal charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds against Catalan leaders behind the region’s push for and declaration of independence. The charges will target 14 members of the Catalan government, including the region’s former President Puigdemont, media reports said. Another six members of the Speaker’s Committee in the now-dissolved Catalan parliament are also listed as targets, but will be tried in a separate court, The Spain Report reported. They face up to 30 years in prison if found guilty of rebellion and up to 15 years for sedition. Misuse of public funds carries a term of up to six years. The former Catalan president, along with an unspecified number of cabinet members, is now in Brussels, media reports said, amid speculation the sacked separatists would seek protection there. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy sacked Puigdemont and his cabinet on Friday, and demoted the local chief of police, Josep Lluis Trapero. These dismissals and others came after Spain’s government received the all-clear to take over the region on Friday. It did that not long after the Catalan parliament declared independence, in a show of defiance by separatists that has plunged the country into the biggest political crisis in decades.

 

Netflix’s new junk bonds are already under water

 Spending ‘that shows no end in sight..with negative free cash flow will result in significantly more debt issuance,’ says fund manager
MarketWatch

Netflix Inc.’s newly issued junk bonds continued to slide Friday, reflecting investor concerns about the company’s growing debt burden and negative free cash flow.

The bonds were last trading at 98.875 cents on the dollar to yield 5.015%, according to MarketAxess. On Thursday, they were quoted at above 99 cents on the dollar. Netflix NFLX, -0.93%  sold $1.6 billion of 10.5-year bonds earlier this week at a yield of 4.875% to mark its biggest bond deal to date. The deal exceeded its May issuance of €1.3 billion ($1.53 billion) of euro-denominated bonds that mature in May 2027. Moody’s rates Netflix at B1, while S&P rates it at B-plus, both four notches into speculative, or “junk,” status. The proceeds of the sale will be used to finance the company’s aggressive spending plans. The company said last week it is planning to spend $7 billion to $8 billion on content next year, up from $6 billion in 2017. Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said plans include the release of 80 films in 2018, a particularly startling number when compared with the 106 films the six major Hollywood studios combined released last year.Netflix has $4.8 billion in long-term debt, and expects to generate negative free cash flow of $2 billion to $2.5 billion in 2017, indicating a cash burn of $750 million in the fourth quarter at the midpoint, according to CreditSight analysts. The company’s next maturity is in 2021, when its 5.375% notes will come due.

U.S. House tangles with top tax issues, bill’s timetable in doubt

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As a self-imposed mid-week deadline for unveiling a tax-cut bill loomed, Republicans in the U.S. Congress were still grappling with key provisions and some lobbyists expressed concern that a bill might not be ready as expected on Wednesday.Asked by reporters if Republicans would release a bill or a detailed summary, House of Representatives tax committee Chairman Kevin Brady said: “Our plan right now is the bill.” He added that the number of issues still unresolved was “very, very few,” but the Texas Republican did not elaborate. But other lawmakers and lobbyists said major elements were up in the air.

Any significant delay in unveiling a bill could jeopardize the Republicans’ goal of getting it through Congress and onto President Donald Trump’s desk before January 2018. In an effort to fulfill 2016 campaign promises and score their first significant legislative achievement since winning the White House and majorities in Congress, Trump and the Republicans have vowed to enact the first comprehensive tax reform since 1986. But their plan for up to $6 trillion in tax cuts for businesses and individuals over a decade faces challenges, not only from Democrats, but from rank-and-file House Republicans. One example is whether to keep the popular tax deduction for state and local tax (SALT) payments. Over the weekend, Brady said he would preserve the deductibility of property taxes under a potential deal with lawmakers from high-tax states such as New York and New Jersey who oppose ending the SALT deduction. Analysts say eliminating the SALT deduction would disproportionately hit upper middle-class families in high-income tax states. Republicans from those states alone are numerous enough to derail tax legislation.

 

Russia’s election posts reached 126 million people, Facebook will tell Congress

About 40 percent of Americans saw the posts

Russia’s surreptitious campaign to meddle in the US election reached 126 million people through posts on the social network, according to prepared testimony obtained by The Verge. That figure, which is more than 10 times the number of people reportedly exposed to Russia-linked advertising on the site, indicates that more than half of US Facebook users saw Russia-linked posts in the months leading up to the election. The figures are disclosed in prepared testimony scheduled to be delivered Tuesday by Facebook’s general counsel, Colin Stretch, at a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing. “The foreign interference we saw is reprehensible and outrageous and opened a new battleground for our company, our industry and our society,” the testimony says. “That foreign actors, hiding behind fake accounts, abused our platform and other internet services to try to sow division and discord — and to try to undermine our election process — is an assault on democracy, and it violates all of our values.” The foreign interference we saw is reprehensible and outrageous The testimony says that 29 million people were directly served 80,000 posts linked to Russian actors between January 2015 and August 2017. Likes, shares, and comments on those posts delivered them to the additional 97 million people. Facebook has 213 million monthly users in the United States. The activity was not limited to Facebook — the company also will testify that it deleted 170 Instagram accounts, which posted about 120,000 pieces of content. The testimony does not say how many people were reached by the Instagram posts. Google will testify it found 18 channels “likely associated with Russian agents” In his testimony, Stretch plans to lay out Facebook’s plans for addressing future attempts at foreign election meddling, including new tools designed to purge inauthentic accounts and adding 1,000 new employees to review political ads manually.