Nearly half of all Americans oppose the Republican tax bill, poll finds

Demonstrators take part in a protest against tax cuts for rich people as the Empire State Building is seen at the background in New York City November 27, 2017.
Demonstrators take part in a protest against tax cuts for rich people as the Empire State Building is seen at the background in New York City November 27, 2017

Opposition has grown among Americans to a Republican tax plan before the U.S. Congress, with 49 percent of people who were aware of the measure saying they opposed it, up from 41 percent in October, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday. Congressional Republicans are trying to rush their tax legislation to a vote on the Senate floor before the end of the week. President Donald Trump strongly backs the bill and wants to sign it into law before the end of the year. In addition to the 49 percent who said they opposed the Republican tax bill, 29 percent said they supported it and 22 percent said they “don’t know,” according to the Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll of 1,257 adults conducted from Thursday to Monday. When asked “who stands to benefit most” from the plan, more than half of all American adults surveyed selected either the wealthy or large U.S. corporations. Fourteen percent chose “all Americans,” 6 percent picked the middle class, and 2 percent chose lower-income Americans. The tax bill being crafted in the Senate would slash the corporate tax rate, eliminate some taxes paid only by rich Americans and offer a mixed bag or temporary tax cuts for other individuals and families. As congressional discussion on the bill has unfolded, public opposition to it has risen, on average, following Trump’s unveiling of a nine-page “framework” on Sept. 27 that started the debate in earnest, Reuters/Ipsos polling showed.

Sears’ stock soars as net loss narrows, while sales fall on store closures

Shares of Sears Holdings Corp. after the troubled department store chain reported fiscal third-quarter losses that narrowed from a year ago. The net loss for the quarter to Oct. 28 was $558 million, or $5.19 a share, compared with $748 million, or $6.99 a share, in the same period a year ago. Revenue fell to $3.66 billion from $5.03 billion, with store closures contributing to over half of the decline. Also hurting sales were reductions in pharmacies at Kmart stores and the reduction of consumer electronics assortments in both Kmart and Sears stores. Same-store sales fell 15.3%, amid a 13.0% decline at Kmart stores and a 17.0% decrease at Sears stores. There weren’t enough analyst estimates provided to FactSet to produce consensus estimates for Sears’ results. There were 510 Kmart stores and 594 Sears stores, for a total of 1,104 stores as of Oct. 28, compared with 801 Kmart stores and 702 Sears stores, for a total of 1,503 stores a year ago. Sears said it would continue to look to diversify revenue streams through third-party partnerships, and look to build on momentum around appliances and mattresses. The stock had tumbled 55% year to date through Wednesday, while the S&P 500 SPX, +0.82% had climbed 17%. Nick Bit: I don’t care if they want to rally this stock.  Its lost have a billion dollars and same store sales off 15%. Will someone please take them out back and shoot them to stop the suffering.

Sen. John McCain says he’ll vote for Senate GOP tax plan

(CNN)Sen. John McCain said Thursday he will support Senate Republicans’ tax plan, a major sign of progress for GOP leaders as the party barrels toward a vote on their overhaul of the US tax system by the end of the week. McCain, who had remained a wild card and had kept his position on the tax bill unclear even from leadership, said that he came to support the legislation because he believed it had gone through committee and would improve the economic outcome of Americans. “After careful thought and consideration, I have decided to support the Senate tax reform bill. I believe this legislation, though far from perfect, would enhance American competitiveness, boost the economy, and provide long overdue tax relief for middle class families,” McCain said in a released statement Thursday morning. “For months, I have called for a return to regular order, and I am pleased that this important bill was considered through the normal legislative processes, with several hearings and a thorough mark-up in the Senate Finance Committee during which more than 350 amendments were filed and 69 received a vote.” Republicans have 52 members in the Senate, and could only afford to lose two votes and still pass their legislation.

For GOP leaders, McCain’s decision to support the measure is equal parts major victory and relief. One senior GOP aide said earlier this week his position was “a black box,” and members and staff were consciously giving him space to come to a final decision.
McCain’s opposition to the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts, combined with the partisan nature of the recent process and the stinging defeat he provided the party on health care, left top GOP aides to speculate he may eventually oppose the measure. McCain, who at one point spoke positively of the process, was less forthcoming in recent weeks, raising concerns he had shifted his view.

Bannon Says Trump Unable to Survive Impeachment Vote – Reports

According to a poll, support for Donald Trump’s impeachment has risen among US citizens, former White House strategist Stephen Bannon has commented on Trump’s chances of surviving an impeachment vote.

U.S. President Donald Trump (R), trailed by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, arrives to speak to reporters after their meeting at Trump's golf estate in Bedminster, New Jersey U.S. August 11, 2017

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Former White House strategist Stephen Bannon believes that US President Donald Trump most likely would not be able to keep his post in the event of an impeachment vote, if it took place, the magazine Vanity Fair reported. According to the magazine, citing sources, Bannon had conducted a study, on which members of the government would remain loyal to Trump, if the 25th amendment to the US Constitution (on early termination of the president’s duties) were applied. Bannon and ex-adviser to Trump’s campaign headquarters, Roger Stone, believe that the representatives of the Republican Party “are waiting for a chance to impose a Trump impeachment,” the report said. “One thing Steve wants Trump to do is take this more seriously. Stop joking around. Stop tweeting,” a source close to Bannon said, as quoted by the publication. According to the publication’s sources, Bannon told Trump during telephone calls on Monday and Tuesday that the president needed to install an assertive lawyer to stand above his lawyer Ty Cobb, who is in charge of managing issues related to the ongoing investigations into alleged Russian interference in the election and possible collusion by Moscow with the Trump campaign. Also, Bannon discussed two methods of putting pressure on Congress, in order to deprive US Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of financing or limit its scope. The US Congress is currently investigating Russia’s alleged meddling in last year’s US presidential election. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been carrying out a similar investigation.

Scarborough: Trump Has ‘Early Stages of Dementia,’ Must Be Removed from Office

‘People close to him during the campaign told me had early stages of dementia’

President Trump has “early stages of dementia,” according to sources close to the president, Joe Scarborough claimed Thursday morning. ‘Morning Joe’ Hosts Respond To Trump Tweets With Blackmail Allegation The MSNBC morning anchor, who took angry exception to Trump suggesting Wednesday that the mysterious 2001 death of intern in then-Congressman Scarborough’s office deserved further investigation, today accused the president of being mentally unfit to remain office. Scarborough called on Trump’s cabinet to use the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. (That amendment, adopted in 1967, deals with replacing a president who is no longer able to “discharge the powers and duties of his office.”)  “He is completely detached from reality, we had a New York Times and Washington Post piece saying so a couple of days ago, and the question is Mika,” Scarborough said, “if this is not what the 25th Amendment was drafted for, I would like the cabinet members serving America, not serving the president” to act accordingly.  The host repeatedly warned that America was on the brink of nuclear war. “We are headed towards a nuclear showdown,” the anchor said. “Most insiders say, Richard [Haas] has said it matches everything we’ve heard from inside the administration, we are closer to war on the Korean peninsula that most Americans know, we heard this months ago, that we are going to have a ground war in Korea, they believe that inside the White House for a very long time.”  Scarborough called on the cabinet to remove Trump from office, saying Americans lives are “literally” at stake.

 

Yellen: $20 trillion national debt ‘should keep people awake at night’

With Congress wrestling over a tax reform plan that critics say would explode the government budget deficit, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said she also is concerned over the surging level of public debt.

A Senate committee passed the GOP-sponsored proposal, which would slash the corporate tax rate and lower individual income rates for many Americans.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen testifies on the U.S. economic outlook, before the Congressional Joint Economic Committee on Capitol Hill, in Washington, D.C., November 29, 2017.
Janet Yellen: Gradual rate increases will be appropriate

However, the price tag of the plan is in the area of $1.5 trillion at a time when the Congressional Budget Official already is projecting a deficit of more than $1 trillion in the years ahead and with the total debt level at $20.6 trillion and rising. Of that total, $14.9 trillion is owed by the public. The Trump administration contends that the lower tax rates would pay for themselves through growth. In her semiannual testimony before Congress, Yellen was asked about a proposal that would trigger tax hikes if economic goals are not met. The central bank chief did not specifically comment on the trigger plan but said Congress is right to be thinking about the future of the national debt. “I would simply say that I am very worried about the sustainability of the U.S. debt trajectory,” Yellen said. “Our current debt-to-GDP ratio of about 75 percent is not frightening but it’s also not low.” “It’s the type of thing that should keep people awake at night,” she added. The Fed has critics of its own, though, who say that the central bank helped balloon the debt through low interest rates kept in place since the financial crisis. The Fed kept its benchmark rate anchored near-zero for seven years, from December 2008 through December 2015. During that time, the national debt grew 77 percent. Under Yellen, the Fed has hiked rates four times and begun to slowly shrink its $4.5 trillion balance sheet.

AARP: 5.2 million seniors could see taxes increased by GOP bill

AARP: 5.2 million seniors could see taxes increased by GOP bill
© Greg Nash

Millions of senior citizens could see tax increases under the Senate’s version of the GOP’s tax reform plan, according to an analysis from the AARP.In an article published Wednesday on the group’s website, the AARP’s vice president and policy director argue that one in five seniors, about 6.3 million taxpayers, will see either no change or a tax increase in 2019 under the plan passed by the Senate Finance Committee. Of those individuals, 1.2 million people would get a tax hike. The authors argue that number will jump “more than four times” by 2027 to 5.2 million seniors “as a result of sunsetting the [Finance Committee’s] middle-class tax cuts.” Another issue of concern for older Americans, the AARP says, is the automatic cuts to Medicare and other services under the GOP plan. “The bottom line is that even today’s 65+ as well as those who turn 65 by 2027 who benefit initially may end up paying higher and ever increasing taxes soon thereafter,” the authors write. “Further, as the result of growing deficits, they may receive reduced value from Medicare or other programs that are central to older Americans’ wellbeing.” The Senate Finance Committee approved the chamber’s tax bill earlier this month, and on Tuesday, the Senate Budget Committee advanced the bill on a part-line vote. It will now head to the full Senate floor for a vote. Protesters repeatedly interrupted Tuesday’s Budget Committee meeting, chanting phrases such as “stop the tax scam” and “kill the bill.” Thirty-six demonstrators were arrested by Capitol Police. A similar bill passed the House earlier this month, by a margin of 227-205 with no Democratic support. More than a dozen Republicans broke ranks to oppose it.

Special counsel delays grand jury testimony amid signs of Flynn deal talks

(CNN)Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team has postponed an anticipated grand jury testimony linked to his investigation into Michael Flynn amid growing indications of possible plea deal discussions. Additional witnesses were expected to be questioned soon including a public relations consultant hired by Flynn’s lobbying firm who was given an early December date deadline to appear before the grand jury, according to a person at the company. Ahead of the delay, the impression was that the testimony needed to happen soon, the source said. “Time seems to be of the essence,” said the source at Sphere Consulting, the PR firm where the consultant worked. The grand jury testimony was postponed, the person said, with no reason given. There could be many reasons for a delay, including scheduling issues.

Flynn's lawyers no longer sharing information with Trump's legal team
The consultant’s expected testimony comes as the investigation into Trump’s former national security adviser’s business dealings has taken a new turn. Flynn’s attorney told Trump’s legal team last week that he would no longer share information about the investigation, a move that signals Flynn is beginning conversations with the government that could involve a plea deal or a cooperation agreement. ABC News reported that Flynn’s attorney met with special counsel’s attorneys on Monday. Sphere’s government relations arm, SGR LLC Government Relations and Lobbying, is one of several companies Flynn Intel Group hired to work for Inovo BV, a Netherlands-based company owned by Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin, according to filing made by Flynn Intel Group under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Inovo hired Flynn to research Fethullah Gulen, an exiled Turkish cleric who Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused of being behind the 2016 attempted military coup to overthrow him, the filing said.
Inovo paid Flynn’s group $530,000 for the research, which was supposed result in a video documentary but it was never finished. Sphere’s SGR was paid $40,000. Sphere has been cooperating for months with the investigation. The inquiry was originally opened before the appointment of the special counsel, according to the source. Sphere, which was subpoenaed around June, was described as “a cooperating witness at best.” Sphere has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

Saudi prince freed after reportedly paying more than $1 billion Ransom

Saudi Prince Miteb bin Abdullah was released on Tuesday 29th November, 2017 after reportedly reaching a settlement deal with authorities of over $1 billion.

Saudi Prince Miteb bin Abdullah was released on Tuesday 29th November, 2017 after reportedly reaching a settlement deal with authorities of over $1 billion. Saudi Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, detained earlier this month in a corruption crackdown, has been released after paying authorities more than $1 billion for his freedom, according to media reports.

Once seen as a contender to the throne, Prince Miteb was among hundreds of other political and business figures rounded up in a sudden anti-corruption purge at the start of November. The 64-year old cousin of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was said to have been released on Tuesday after reaching an “acceptable settlement agreement,” Reuters reported, citing a government source .

 

One-third of US workers could be jobless by 2030 due to automation: McKinsey

Robots artificial intelligence
iLexx | Getty Image

As much as one-third of the United States workforce could be out of a job by 2030 thanks to automation, according to new research from McKinsey. The consulting firm now estimates that between 400 million and 800 million individuals globally could be displaced by automation and need to find new work. “Even if there is enough work to ensure full employment by 2030, major transitions lie ahead that could match or even exceed the scale of historical shifts out of agriculture and manufacturing,” according to a report by the McKinsey Global Institute published this month. “Even as it causes declines in some occupations, automation will change many more – 60 percent of occupations have at least 30 percent of constituent work activities that could be automated.” Professions most susceptible to automation include physical ones in “predictable environments,” including operating machinery and preparing fast food, according to the research. Alternatively, automation will have a more muted effect on jobs that involve managing people, expertise, and those that require frequent social interactions. “Unpredictable” jobs such as gardeners, plumbers, or providers of child- and elder-care are also less likely to see automation over the next decade as they remain challenging to automate and don’t usually earn high wages, according to McKinsey. This selective effect on the workforce has many worried that income inequality could continue to worsen in the United States. “Income polarization could continue in the United States and other advanced economies,” noted the research. “If reemployment is slow, frictional unemployment will likely rise in the short-term and wages could face downward pressure.”

 

Trump telling friends Mueller probe will be done by end of year: report

Trump telling friends Mueller probe will be done by end of year: report
© Getty Images

President Trump has told friends in recent days that he’s confident special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia will be done by the end of the year, The Washington Post reported Tuesday. “This investigation’s going to be over with pretty soon,” Trump told friends at his Mar-a-Lago estate and golf club in Florida, according to the newspaper. Mueller was appointed special counsel in May to investigate possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia. Last month, Mueller indicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and a former Manafort associate, Richard Gates, on money laundering charges. George Papadapoulos, a former Trump campaign adviser, has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. In the aftermath of Mueller’s first indictments in the probe, the White House said it felt confident the investigation would be wrapping up in the near future.  White House special counsel Ty Cobb said earlier this month that he believes Mueller’s teams will ideally conclude interviews after Thanksgiving, and the entire probe would be resolved in early January.

Feds issue permit for offshore drilling in U.S. Arctic waters

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — An Italian energy company has received permission to drill oil exploration wells in U.S. Arctic waters.  The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement announced Tuesday it approved an application from Eni U.S. Operating Co. Inc. to drill in the Beaufort Sea.  Exploratory drilling could start next month. The drilling will take place from Spy Island, a gravel artificial island near Prudhoe Bay. Eni already has 18 production wells on the island that extract oil from submerged state lands. Eni will use extended-reach drilling techniques to reach federal submerged lands. Environmental groups oppose additional Arctic Ocean drilling. Kristen Monsell of the Center for Biological Diversity in a statement says a major spill would threaten coastal communities and Arctic wildlife.

Wells Fargo to exit personal insurance business

(Reuters) – Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N) said it would exit the personal insurance business and immediately begin winding down marketing and product promotion activity.The sign outside the Wells Fargo & Co. bank in downtown Denver April 13, 2016. REUTERS/Rick Wilking  Wells Fargo’s personal insurance business includes auto, homeowners, renters and umbrella insurance products. The business’ financial contribution was not material to the company, according to the bank’s statement on Tuesday. Wells Fargo has been working for more than a year to recover from a sales scandal that has impacted several of its consumer businesses, including some insurance products. The bank has also been working to cut costs as profits have fallen due in part to legal and regulatory problems. Wells, the third-largest U.S. lender by assets, has already exited several other insurance businesses, including crop insurance, which it sold in 2016. It announced a deal in June to sell its commercial insurance business. That deal has yet to close. The personal insurance business is the last remaining insurance brokerage agency Wells Fargo owns.

Oil prices fall after U.S. inventory reading shows spike

Getty Images

Oil price pullesd back further on Wednesday after an American Petroleum Institute release indicated a surprise increase in U.S. crude supplies. The API reported late Tuesday that U.S. crude supplies climbed by 1.8 million barrels for the week ended Nov. 24, according to sources. The API data showed a fall of 1.5 million barrels in gasoline stockpiles, while inventories of distillates climbed by 2.7 million barrels, sources said. Prices could drop further if the API’s reading is confirmed by government figures on Wednesday. But analysts polled by S&P Global Platts expect the Energy Information Administration to report a decline of 3 million barrels for crude inventories, a rise of 1.1 million barrels for gasoline and an increase of 160,000 barrels for distillate supplies. The EIA release is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time. At Thursday’s meeting of major oil producers, an ongoing production-cap agreement is expected to be extended deeper into 2018. Most analysts see the deal as running throughout next year. Nick Note: This oil rally is doomed… its pure and simple desperation by OPEC members that need to buy weapons so they can kill each other off. If they never had oil we would never hear about these savages… who ALL murder and maim in the name of GOD.

ECB warns of global market correction after excessive risk-taking

The European Central Bank (ECB) warned Wednesday that despite the improved economic growth in the euro area there are concerns related to a sudden increase in volatility. “Systemic stress indicators for the euro area have remained low over the past six months,” the ECB said in a statement on Wednesday, but added that “the risk of a rapid repricing in global markets nevertheless remains.” Markets have been on the bullish side throughout the year and many continue to push further into record territory

The ECB believes there is the risk that this overall sense of optimism is miscalculated, which could end up shaking financial markets once money managers realize they took on more risk than they could handle.

“Continued compression of risk premia, subdued volatility and signs of increased risk-taking behavior in global financial markets are all sources of concern, as they may sow the seeds for large asset price corrections in the future,” the ECB outlined in its Financial Stability Review report.

Attorney General Sessions is reluctant to open investigations into Hillary Clinton

Conservative pressure on Sessions grows

Conservative pressure on Sessions grows
© Camille Fine

Frustration is mounting on the right over Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s apparent reluctance to open investigations into Hillary Clinton and the Democrats. President Trump has openly expressed his disappointment in Sessions and what he views as the attorney general needlessly recusing himself from the investigation into Russian meddling in the presidential election, which paved the way for the special counsel investigation that is in part probing the Trump campaign. “The fact that the Justice Department hasn’t come out and confirmed an investigation or talked about one publicly shouldn’t be interpreted in any way that the investigation does or does not exist,” the official said. “It’s only a confirmation that this Justice Department doesn’t look for snappy headlines or leak under pressure.” Independent legal experts say the attorney general is in a tough spot. There is roiling anger on the right at Mueller’s investigation, prompting new demands that Sessions open probes into Democrats as well. But special counsel investigations are exceedingly rare — Mueller’s is only the second in history. They also require a specific set of circumstances to launch. Any new investigation is sure to be seen as a partisan response to growing pressure on Sessions from the White House and conservative media. “It’s difficult, particularly when you’re the party in power, because you’ll come under criticism for using the Justice Department to damage a political opponent, in this case a former presidential candidate,” said Robert Ray, the former independent counsel during the Clinton administration’s Whitewater controversy.

 

North Korea has fired most powerful ballistic missile yet

Pyongyang has conducted its first missile launch after a two-month lull, reigniting tensions in the region

The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.
The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un. Photograph: UPI / Barcroft Images

North Korea has conducted a night test of a long-range ballistic missile which landed off the coast of Japan, triggering a South Korea test-launch in response and bringing a return to high tension to the region after a lull of more than two months. The Pentagon issued a statement saying that the weapon tested was an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Initial reports from Seoul suggested that it came from a mobile launcher, and was fired at about 3am local time. The missile was reported to have flown for 50 minutes, on a very high trajectory reaching 4,500 km above the earth (more than ten times higher than the orbit of Nasa’s International Space Station) before coming down nearly 1,000 km from the launch site off the west coast of Japan.

 

Breaking News: North Korea launches ballistic missile

Washington (CNN)North Korea fired a ballistic missile early Wednesday local time, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff. CNN confirmed the launch with the South Korean military leaders who said it was still flying. US defense and intelligence officials had been growing increasingly puzzled as to why North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had not tested a ballistic missile in nearly two months. Before Wednesday’s test, North Korea had fired 22 missiles without active warheads during 15 tests since February. US officials say North Korea is continuing to develop its missiles, rocket fuel and engines, as well as targeting and guidance systems.

The US believes Pyongyang may be able to put a miniaturized warhead on a missile — giving it the theoretical capability to launch a missile with a NUCLEAR warhead atop that could attack the US. Nick Note: This is a developing story i am told this may be  his biggest missile  yet

Pelosi, Schumer say they won’t meet Trump after his tweet

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday they won’t attend meeting at the White House with President Donald Trump, following his tweet that he doesn’t see a deal to keep the government operating. In a joint statement, they said they asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan to meet them instead. “We’re going to continue to negotiate with Republican leaders who may be interested in reaching a bipartisan agreement,” they said. The government is funded through Dec. 8. Trump tweeted Tuesday morning, “I don’t see a deal!”

Trump: ‘I don’t see a deal’ to avoid government shutdown

“Meeting with “Chuck and Nancy” today about keeping government open and working,” Trump tweeted.

“Problem is they want illegal immigrants flooding into our Country unchecked, are weak on Crime and want to substantially RAISE Taxes. I don’t see a deal!”

Democrats have demanded that a funding deal include language to protect young immigrants known as “Dreamers” who are threatened with deportation next year because of Trump’s ending of an Obama-era program.

A current funding bill, brokered in a September surprise deal between Trump and Democrats that caught Republicans off-guard, expires on Dec. 8. The deal also irritated Congressional Republicans and conservatives, which might explain Trump’s tweet on Tuesday.

In the past, Trump has flirted with the idea of a government shutdown, saying that it might be necessary in order to win support for a wall on the Mexican border.

There has been some talk of a short-term deal, lasting a matter of weeks, that could provide time for the White House and lawmakers to negotiate a longer funding deal for the rest of the fiscal year ending on Sept. 30.

 

 

Sen. Bob Corker: ‘I’ve been a deficit hawk for 11 years’ and don’t want to damage the nation with tax vote

Sen. Bob Corker
Sen. Bob Corker: We’ve been working on a ‘backstop’ in case economic growth can’t pay for tax cuts

Republican Sen. Bob Corker told CNBC on Tuesday he’s on the fence about the crucial tax reform vote because he doesn’t want to “damage the nation over the long haul.” During an interview with “Squawk Box,” Corker suggested he could oppose the Republican tax bill in a procedural Senate Budget Committee vote Tuesday. He said a trigger mechanism to curb future budget deficits could help to win his vote. The full Senate may vote this week on the tax package. Republicans hold 52 seats in the 100-member Senate, so the administration cannot afford to lose more than two GOP votes since Democrats are united in their opposition to the proposal. Since Trump took office, the GOP-led Congress has failed in several major initiatives, including the repeal and replacement of Obamacare. The Tennessee Republican, who recently spoke out against President Donald Trump, said it is “ridiculous” that anyone could claim he would vote against something “that’s good policy because of some rift that’s occurring.” “It’s just absolutely untrue,” Corker said. “I’ve been in the Senate for 11 years. I’ve been a deficit hawk for 11 years,” Corker added. “I’ve been working with the administration on almost every level throughout this entire episode.” Corker said White House Chief of Staff John Kelly called him to “thank him” for working with the administration on the tax bill. “So, it’s ridiculous statement to think that on a policy this big, that’s going to affect what you might do.” Corker, who is not seeking re-election next year, called Trump last month an “utterly untruthful president” and suggested the president should stay out of the tax-writing process. Trump at the time contended the Tennessee Republican is “fighting” tax cuts and “couldn’t get elected dog catcher.”

Elizabeth Warren ‘really couldn’t believe’ Trump’s ‘Pocahontas’ comment

Washington (CNN)Sen. Elizabeth Warren says President Donald Trump’s reference to his nickname for her — “Pochahontas” — at an event honoring Navajo veterans Monday was just a distraction from other issues. “He’d sure like to talk about something else,” the Massachusetts Democrat said Monday night in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “I just want to thank you because you are very, very special people. You were here long before any of us were here,” Trump said. “Although, we have a representative in Congress who has been here a long time … longer than you — they call her Pocahontas!” Warren said she “really couldn’t believe” Trump’s comment. “There he was, at a ceremony to honor Native Americans, men who have really put it all on the line to save American lives, to save lives of people, our allies, during World War II, really amazing people. And President Trump couldn’t even make it through a ceremony to honor these men without throwing in a racial slur,” Warren told Cooper on “Anderson Cooper 360.” Trump has repeatedly questioned the legitimacy of Warren’s Native American heritage claims, including during his presidential bid. In June 2016, Trump told NBC News in a phone interview that Warren “made up her heritage, which I think is racist. I think she’s a racist, actually, because what she did was very racist.” Warren said Monday that she had learned about her family from her parents and grandparents. “I learned about my family the way that most people learn about their families,” Warren said. “My brothers and I learned from our mother and our daddy and our grandparents who we are. And that’s it. That’s how we learned it. That’s what we know.” When asked about White House press secretary Sarah Sanders’ suggestion on Monday that Warren had used it as a way to advance her career, the senator said she “never used it to get ahead.” “Never. I never used it to get ahead I never used it to get into school. I never used it to get a job. Look, this is just a way for Donald Trump to be able to try to get somebody talking about something other than what he’s doing,” Warren said. Nick Bit: with all the issues our leaders and i use the term leaders loosely have to deal with who needs this stupid shit. Trump is becoming an embarrassment to the office… who gives a rats ass

Oil prices fall on pipeline restart, uncertainty over OPEC output cuts

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Oil prices slipped in Asian trade on Tuesday amid uncertainty over a possible extension of output cuts by major crude producers and expectations of higher supply as the Keystone pipeline restarts. TransCanada Corp said it would restart the 590,000 barrel-per-day pipeline at reduced pressure later on Tuesday after getting approval from U.S. regulators. Uncertainty over Russia’s determination to join with other major oil producers in extending crude production curbs beyond next March has weighed on oil markets.  Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other key producers, including Russia, will meet on Nov. 30 to discuss whether to continue with the cuts after they agreed last January to withhold 1.8 million bpd of output. United Arab Emirates energy minister Suhail bin Mohammed al-Mazroui said on Tuesday that while the meeting would not be easy, he was personally optimistic producers would reach an agreement that served the market. Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih said the oil market should wait for the outcome of this week’s OPEC meeting when asked on Tuesday in Dubai about how long producers might extend their cuts.

Russia’s economy was negatively affected in October by the ongoing curbs, which saw Moscow agree to cut output by 300,000 bpd, Economy Minister Maxim Oreshkin said on Nov. 23.

Goldman Sachs said the outcome of the meeting was “much more uncertain than usual”, adding that the market faced downside risks. “We view risks to oil prices as skewed to downside this week as we believe current prices, time spreads and positioning already reflect a  Some traders are starting to consider the possibility that while producers will agree to extend the curbs, the scale of the output cuts will be reduced from the current 1.8 million bpd, said Ric Spooner at Sydney’s CMC Markets. “It would provide continued certainty for the market, avoiding the sharp sell-off that could accompany a cold turkey exit … (and) mitigate the risk to OPEC and Russia of precipitating further loss of market share by encouraging competitors with higher prices,” Spooner said. Nick Bit: Absolutely positively sooner or later this “rebalancing” will fail. And oil will collapse once again.

Wells Fargo in hot water again for overcharging clients…Key word here: AGAIN!!!

The bank, already reeling from a series of fines and penalties caused by overly aggressive management goals, discovered that it had charged 265 of 300 examined foreign-exchange customer accounts higher fees than agreed to.The fees were charged by employees hoping to hit lofty goals to keep their jobs or to gain bonuses, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported on the fees.

The overcharging was brought to light via an internal probe and discussed during a June conference call with forex bankers. Nick Bit: Help me count here. They revealed it to insiders in June and now its November 5 months later. I see is this part of their new HA HA AH transparency. They are scum bags… and be warned dead broke scum bags.

Putin could be about to send the oil markets into a tailspin

Oil traders eagerly anticipating an extension of the current OPEC-led production cut could be left sorely disappointed this week, according market analysts including RBC Capital Market’s Helima Croft

OPEC oil ministers will be in Vienna Thursday and there is widespread expectation that members will decide to extend oil output cuts beyond a deadline of March 2018, a move that has helped to stabilize prices. However, there is some anxiety that the biggest non-OPEC producer that also signed up to the output cut, Russia, could pull out of an extension, sending markets sharply lower.  Helima Croft noted that Putin had led the market on with talk of a full-year extension, saying it could disappoint traders if Russia decided to break up its oil pact with Saudi Arabia. “Before he (Putin) said that no one was thinking about a full-year extension and then OPEC went to work on a full-year extension so now that is the market expectation. So we’re set for a disappointment if Russia doesn’t show up for the ‘bromance’ (with Saudi Arabia) anymore,” she said. The price of oil collapsed from near $120 a barrel in June 2014 due to weak demand, a strong dollar and booming U.S. shale production. OPEC’s reluctance to cut output was also seen as a key reason behind the fall. But, the oil cartel soon moved to curb production — along with other oil-producing nations — in late 2016. The exporters reached the current deal last November and have already extended the agreement once through March 2018. There are differing budgetary needs between Russia and its OPEC ally Saudi Arabia that Putin has to consider. While Russia is basing its 2018 budget on an oil price of $40 a barrel, OPEC’s de facto leader Saudi Arabia needs a higher price per barrel to break-even, requiring $70 a barrel in 2018, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and as such sees cutting for longer as a way to achieve this.

Chance of US stock market correction now at 70 percent: Vanguard Group

Hazir Reka | Reuters

Don’t panic….. Bullshit their is big bad bear market coming you damn right you should PANIC!

There is now a 70 percent chance of a U.S. stock market correction, according to research conducted by fund giant Vanguard Group. There is always the risk of a correction in stocks, but the Vanguard research shows that the current probability is 30 percent higher than what has been typical over the past six decades.

Vanguard manages roughly $5 trillion in assets and is a proponent of long-term investing,  according to Vanguard’s chief economist Joe Davis, investors do need to be prepared for a significant downturn.

 

“The risk premium, whether corporate bond spreads or the shape of yield curve, or earnings yields for stocks, have continued to compress,” Davis said. “We’re starting to see, for first time … some measures of expected risk premiums compressed below areas where we think it can be associated with fair value.” Many market participants have worried in recent months about the flattening in the yield curve — the spread between 2-year note yields and 10-year yields — at the lowest level since before the financial crisis. Meanwhile, the spread between junk bond yields and Treasurys recently has moved closer to the level before the financial crash than the long-term historical average.

 

“The next five years will be challenging, and investors need to have their eyes wide open.” -Joe Davis, Vanguard Group chief economist

The Vanguard research also suggests that an allocation to bonds may prove more important in the coming years. “There is greater risk in the equity market than bond market,” Davis said. Bank of America wrote in a recent note that the current bull market will be the longest in history if it continues, while the outperformance of stocks vs. bonds, at seven years running, would be the longest streak since 1929. Right before the Great Depression! Nick Note: the warning of the crash are everywhere. Amazing how the sold out Wall Street owned financial press does not want you to know the Truth. This will reduce most prosperous people to poverty.

Billionaire hedge fund manager Ken Griffin says bitcoin has ‘elements of the tulip bulb mania’

 Citadel’s Ken Griffin said that bitcoin may be in a bubble.
The tulip craze happened in the Netherlands in the seventeenth century where the price of the flower skyrocketed. The result was a crash of that market in 1637.
Citadel’s Ken Griffin: Worried about how bitcoin bubble might end
 

“Bitcoin right now has many of the elements of the tulip bulb mania we saw back hundreds of years ago in Holland,” said the billionaire hedge fund manager in an exclusive interview with CNBC’s Leslie Picker. Griffin, however, said he does believe the blockchain technology backing the cryptocurrency is valid. “Blockchain’s a very interesting technology that will have some very profound applications for society over the years to come,” he said. Blockchain creates a quick, permanent and secure record of transactions, eliminating the need for a third party such as a bank. Banks and other large corporations are testing how blockchain can help improve everything from supply chain management to global payments. Digital currency bitcoin climbed more than $1,000 in a week to a record high of $9,732.76 on Monday morning, according to CoinDesk. The cryptocurrency has climbed 50 percent in November alone and now has a market value of about $161 billion, slightly more than General Electric. “I think what is happening is people confuse bitcoin with blockchain,” Griffin said. “I get very worried that people that are buying bitcoins don’t really understand what they’re participating in other than the headline stories that it keeps going higher and ‘I want to make sure I don’t miss this opportunity to make some money,'” the billionaire said. “So is it a fraud? No. But these bubbles tend to end in tears. And I worry about how this bubble might end.”

North Korea crisis getting WORSE warns US admiral – ‘It scares me to DEATH’

NORTH Korea’s nuclear crisis is getting worse, a former US military official has warned amid fears World War 3 could break out.

North Korea attack USAGETTY

North Korea could attack the USA, Mike Mullen warned this week

North Korea is now more likely to launch a nuclear attack than this time last year, Mike Mullen warned.  The former admiral and chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff said the situation on the peninsula scares him “to death”.  He told ABC’s This Week North Korea was working “really hard” to build up its nuclear strength and would achieve Kim Jong-un’s reckless goal to develop a nuclear missile capable of hitting the US mainland unless serious deterrents were introduced. Mr Mullen said: “I still worry about the peninsula and the potential outcome there. I worry there is more uncertainty than there was a year ago.” He warned, even with US President Donald Trump’s hard-line stance on North Korea, the situation was volatile and dangerous.  Mr Mullen said: “I know that the Trump administration has addressed this issue from day one, so they’re very serious about creating options and have created options.  “It’s still a very difficult place to know what’s actually going on. I think Kim Jong-un is really working hard to achieve the nuclear capability. And I think he’ll get there short of some deterrence.”

Donald Trump calls North Korea a ‘twisted dictatorship’

All this is leading to an increase in the likelihood of a nuclear attack, he said.  When asked whether nuclear weapons will be used, Mr Mullen replied: “I don’t know. I think it’s more probable than it used to be. And it scares me to death, quite frankly.  “They’re the most dangerous weapons in the world. And certainly if we have someone in North Korea that has a lethal legacy, is very, very unpredictable, and sees this as a way to solidify his future, that he could well not just attain them but potentially use them.” Mike Mullen said the prospect of nuclear war ‘scares me to death’ He said one option that remained open to Mr Trump was a pre-emptive strike, which could neuter Kim’s weapons before he has a chance to use them himself.  Mr Mullens said: “The president is in a position to give a legal order to use those weapons. And the likelihood that given that order that it would be carried out I think would be pretty high.
 

Sen. Schumer Warns Consumers About DNA Testing Kits

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is warning about personal DNA testing kits and allowing companies access to such private information. Schumer issued two tweets on Monday cautioning consumers to be careful:

The tweets follow a Sunday press conference where Schumer said it was unclear what companies do with the DNA data they collect from clients anxious to know about their ancestry, the New York Post reported. “Many don’t realize that their sensitive information may end up in the hands of many other third-party companies,” Schumer said.Schumer is calling for an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, the newspaper said.  However, the Post noted Ancestry DNA said it does not sell data without customers’ approval. And another company, My Heritage, said it has never sold or licensed data “to any third party,” according to the newspaper.

Michael Flynn’s lawyer meets with members of special counsel’s team, raising specter of plea deal

The lawyer for President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn met Monday morning with members of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team — the latest indication that both sides are discussing a possible plea deal, ABC News has learned.Trump’s legal team confirmed late last week that Flynn’s attorney Robert Kelner alerted the team that he could no longer engage in privileged discussions about defense strategy in the case — a sign Flynn is preparing to negotiate with prosecutors over a deal that could include his testimony against the president or senior White House officials.  That process would typically include a series of off-the-record discussions in which prosecutors lay out in detail for Flynn and his lawyers the fruits of their investigation into his activities. Prosecutors would also provide Flynn an opportunity to offer what’s called a proffer, detailing what information, if any, he has that could implicate others in wrongdoing. When reached Monday, Kelner declined to comment on the nature of his morning visit to Mueller’s offices in Washington, D.C. Sources familiar with the discussions between Flynn’s legal team and Trump’s attorneys told ABC News that while there was never a formal, signed joint defense agreement between Flynn’s defense counsel and other targets of the Mueller probe, the lawyers had engaged in privileged discussions for months. The New York Times broke the news, calling it an indication that Flynn may be cooperating with prosecutors.

 Sources familiar with the Flynn investigation have told ABC News the retired lieutenant general has felt increased pressure since prosecutors began focusing attention on his son, Michael G. Flynn, who worked as part of the Flynn Intel Group, the consulting firm founded by the elder Flynn, a former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Michael G. Flynn also traveled with his father to Russia in 2015 for his now famous appearance at a Moscow dinner where he sat next to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Democrats in Congress have told ABC News they forwarded information to the Mueller team alleging that Michael T. Flynn illegally concealed more than a dozen foreign contacts and overseas trips during the process of renewing his security clearances. “It appears that General Flynn violated federal law by omitting this trip and these foreign contacts from his security clearance renewal application in 2016 and concealing them from security clearance investigators who interviewed him as part of the background check process,” Reps. Elijah Cummings and Eliot L. Engel, both Democrats, wrote in a letter to Flynn’s attorney. The letter highlights information House investigators collected from executives at three private companies advised by Flynn in 2015 and 2016. The companies were pursuing a joint venture with Russia to bring nuclear power to several Middle Eastern countries and secure the resulting nuclear fuel before Flynn joined then-candidate Trump on the campaign trail. Flynn is a decorated military officer who served as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency from 2012 until his retirement in 2014. He was out of the spotlight only briefly. He joined the Trump campaign as an adviser in 2016, and Trump later named Flynn as his first national security adviser. He was forced to resign, however, after just 24 days on the job, when it was revealed that he misled Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with Russian officials during the presidential transition.

Continue reading “Michael Flynn’s lawyer meets with members of special counsel’s team, raising specter of plea deal”

The Most Expensive US Hurricane Season Ever

Image: The Most Expensive US Hurricane Season Ever: By the Numbers
A man returns to his flooded home in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Bonita Springs, Fla., Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. (Photo by Gerald Herbert/AP)

This year’s U.S. Atlantic hurricane season is officially the most expensive ever, racking up $202.6 billion in damages since the formal start on June 1.The costs tallied by disaster modelers Chuck Watson and Mark Johnson surpass anything they’ve seen in previous years. That shouldn’t come as a complete surprise: In late August, Hurricane Harvey slammed into the Gulf Coast, wreaking havoc upon the heart of America’s energy sector. Then Irma struck Florida, devastating the Caribbean islands on the way. Hurricane Maria followed shortly after, wiping out power to all of Puerto Rico. And the season’s not over yet: It officially ends on Nov. 30. A construction boom along U.S. shores in recent years acted as a damage multiplier this year, when nature threw its worst at beach homes, waterfront resorts, power grids and Gulf Coast refineries.

NYT: Trump questions authenticity of ‘Access Hollywood’ tape

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump has questioned the authenticity of the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape in which he bragged about being able to grope women, The New York Times reported over the weekend, despite the fact that Trump immediately apologized for his remarks when the video surfaced.

See for yourself here is the Acess Holywood tape. Warning its nasty!  It sure as hell is him:

 

AND here is his apology where he acknowledges the tape:

 

And here is where he questions the tapes authenticity

Trump’s decision to stick with Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore despite sexual harassment allegations against him is rooted in the President’s own sexual harassment scandal during the 2016 election. “He sees the calls for Mr. Moore to step aside as a version of the response to the now-famous ‘Access Hollywood’ tape, in which he boasted about grabbing women’s genitalia, and the flood of groping accusations against him that followed soon after,” the Times reported. “He suggested to a senator earlier this year that it was not authentic, and repeated that claim to an adviser more recently.” CNN has not independently confirmed the New York Times’ reporting. The White House has not responded to CNN’s request for comment. During the election, several women accused Trump of previous instances of sexual harassment and the 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape of Trump released in October 2016 caught him saying on a hot mic: “And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything … Grab them by the p****. You can do anything.”
Trump’s reported denials mentioned in the New York Times directly contradict his apology following the tape’s release.
He said in a short video statement hours after the video surfaced: “I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize.”

Russia warns of ‘apocalyptic scenario’ on Korean Peninsula

People watch a television broadcast reporting the North Korean missile launch at the Seoul Railway Station on September 15, 2017 in Seoul, South Korea.
Getty Images People watch a television broadcast reporting the North Korean missile launch at the Seoul Railway Station on September 15, 2017 in Seoul, South Korea.
Tensions between North Korea and its closest neighbor South Korea appear to be ratcheting up again just as a senior Russian official warned of an “apocalyptic scenario” developing on the Korean Peninsula. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov said Monday that the world could not ignore the crisis surrounding North Korea and fears over the country’s suspected nuclear missile development, but that he hoped a peaceful solution could be found.

“A scenario of the apocalyptic development of the situation on the Korean Peninsula exists and we cannot turn our blind eye to it,” Morgulov said speaking at the opening of the eighth annual Asian Conference of the Valdai discussion club in Seoul, according to Russia’s state-run news agency Tass. “I hope that a common sense, pragmatism and an instinct of self-preservation would prevail among our partners to exclude such negative scenario,” the Russian diplomat said. The comments come as the international community watches for the next move from the secretive and unpredictable regime in North Korea and its leader Kim Jong Un. There have been repeated demands for the country to stop its suspected nuclear weapons development program but Pyongyang has repeatedly appeared to have ignored these, carrying out a string of missile and nuclear tests. President Donald Trump has warned North Korea that the country was prepared to go to war but Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned the U.S. not to use military might against the Communist regime, insisting that a peaceful solution can be found.

 

Ireland on edge of COLLAPSE: Could see snap election NEXT MONTH

TALKS between Ireland’s main political parties will continue today as the country stands on the brink of a Brexit-blocking snap election after the government was rocked by a no confidence motion.

Leo Varadkar and Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin
PA – GETTY Leo Varadkar and Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin held talks this weekend
If Fine Gael Taoiseach Leo Varadkar fails to end the stand-off with main opposition party Fianna Fáil by tomorrow, the government could collapse – forcing a snap pre-Christmas election. And if the Irish are forced to go to the polls this would throw the British Government’s Brexit talks with the European Union into uncertainty. Mr Varadkar and Fianna Fail leader Michael Martin held talks over the weekend to try to avert a government meltdown, as the opposition prepares to submit their motion of no confidence on Tuesday. Sources close to the pair say “some progress was made” but the country’s deputy premier, Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald, remains under intense pressure to quit over a controversy involving a bid to discredit a Garda whistleblower. The main party leaders are still in talks and the Irish president would have to agree to dissolve parliament before an election could take place. But both Fianna Fáil and the ruling Fine Gael party plan to select their election candidates within the next 10 days amid fears a snap election could be forced within weeks. Gary Murphy, Professor of Politics at Dublin City University, said the current confidence and supply agreement is “done and dusted” – and warned the country may have to go to the polls in December to avoid the issue being dragged out until the new year.

 

OPEC Clash With U.S. for Oil Supremacy Near Day of Reckoning

The U.S. shale revolution is on course to be the greatest oil and gas boom in history, turning a nation once at the mercy of foreign imports into a global player. That seismic shift shattered the dominance of Saudi Arabia and the OPEC cartel, forcing them into an alliance with long-time rival Russia to keep a grip on world markets.
  So far, it’s worked — global oil stockpiles are draining and prices are near two-year highs. But as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia prepare to meet in Vienna this week to extend production cuts, ministers have little idea how U.S. shale production will respond in 2018. “The production cuts are effective — it was absolutely the right decision, and the fact of striking a deal with Russia was crucial,” said Paolo Scaroni, vice-chairman of NM Rothschild & Sons and former chief executive officer of Italian oil giant Eni SpA. Nonetheless, “OPEC has not the same power. The U.S. becoming the biggest producer of oil in the world is a dramatic change.” For OPEC members, the stakes couldn’t be higher. Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is embarking on a radical economic transformation of the kingdom, including a partial sale of its state oil company that could be the largest public offering in history. Venezuela, reeling from years of recession and a crushing debt burden, is on the brink of political implosion. The producers’ efforts to clear the oil surplus are starting to pay off. They’ve drained excess inventories in developed nations this year by 183 million barrels, or more than half of the glut, which now stands at about 154 million barrels, according to OPEC data. That has revived London-traded crude futures, which sank below $45 a barrel this summer, to a two-year high of $64.65 on Nov. 7. The outlook for shale is so clouded that when OPEC officials invited industry experts to brief them on the topic last week, they were disturbed by the diversity of opinions.  Yet, the basic paradox confronting OPEC is that the more it succeeds in bolstering prices, the more it emboldens shale explorers and other competitors, said Mike Wittner, head of oil market research at Societe Generale SA in New York.
Increases in U.S. oil production next year will be big enough to cancel much of the sacrifices made by OPEC and Russia, leaving the surplus more or less intact, forecasts from the International Energy Agency show. The recent rebound in prices could energize shale even further.

Instead of being able to declare victory next year and restore the production they’ve halted, OPEC may find itself trapped in an open-ended struggle, Wittner said. With U.S. crude exports climbing from close to zero three years ago to now exceeding the combined shipments of OPEC’s smallest members, it increasingly looks as if the face-off between the cartel and what was formerly its biggest customer “has an endgame,” Morse said. “And the endgame is there’s an awful lot of shale in the world.” Nick Bit: Don’t let them shit you OPEC is dead meat. Funny they are celebrating $55 WTI oil as great success… I seem to remember $150 oil……  then  $100 and i heard this same bullshit as the market slid through $80 ……..Down down she goes and where she stops  i know……

North Korea and Syria are growing closer: That’s bad news for the US

Closer ties between two of the world’s most acute political powder kegs — North Korea and Syria — are fanning fears of deeper cooperation on missile technology and chemical weapons.

The longstanding bilateral relationship, which stretches back to the late 1960s, has prospered this year even as both countries face international sanctions. Syrian minister of social affairs and labor Rima al-Qadiri met with North Korean ambassador Jang Myong Ho last week to discuss enhancing bilateral links, Syrian state media reported, with Jang saying his country wanted to help President Bashar al-Assad’s regime with reconstruction efforts.

August 31, 2015: A ceremony to name a park in Damascus after Kim Il-sung, North Korea's founding father in the Syrian city's Kafar Susseh neighborhood
AFP/Stringer/Getty Images August 31, 2015: A ceremony to name a park in Damascus after Kim Il-sung, North Korea’s founding father in the Syrian city’s Kafar Susseh neighborhoo

Increased North Korean involvement in a nation hit by violent civil war, which includes Islamic State brutality, doesn’t bode well for a U.S. government already concerned about the ongoing military alliance. President Donald Trump’s administration is increasingly worried “that [North Korean leader] Kim Jong Un is not only profiting from Syria’s six-year war, but also learning from it,” Jay Solomon, a visiting fellow at American think tank The Washington Institute, wrote in a recent note. North Korean exports of military equipment to the Arab nation, including propellants for Syria’s Scud ballistic missiles, protective chemical suits and respirators, are believed to have occurred for years. And with state revenue increasingly strained under fresh sanctions, Pyongyang is widely expected to continue such sales.

“Syria continues to rely on North Korean and Iranian assistance for its missile programs, according to official U.S. accounts,” said a 2016 report by the Congressional Research Service, a research arm of the U.S. Congress.

Allegations have also surfaced that North Korean military advisers are inside Syria — a charge that both countries have denied. The secretive Asian state is also widely believed to have helped develop a Syrian nuclear facility, which was destroyed in a 2007 Israeli airstrike. At least two North Korean shipments to a Syrian government agency responsible for the nation’s chemical weapons program were intercepted this year, Reuters reported in August, citing a confidential United Nations report. “Previous shipments from North Korea are not known to have contained chemicals or chemical weapons production equipment,” Rod Barton, former director of strategic technology at Australia’s Defense Intelligence Organisation, wrote in an August note published by the Lowy Institute.

Oil prices slip from 2-year high as traders brace for OPEC meeting

U.S. oil futures pulled back from two-year highs on Monday, as investors turned their attention to OPEC meeting and hopes for an extension to a production-cut deal later this week.

 

WTI crude prices have been driven higher in recent sessions as U.S. inventory data showed crude stockpiles falling and on disruption to the Keystone pipeline in the U.S. after an oil spill in South Dakota.

For now, investors are looking ahead to Thursday’s meeting of members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and nonmember oil producers. Some expect the gathering will produce an extension to the output-cut deal announced in January. In a note to clients on Monday, though, analysts at Barclays warned that investors may be focusing on the wrong thing. “We expect a six- or nine-month extension of the OPEC deal to be agreed to on November 30, but the extension length is less important than the quota level,” said Michael Cohen, head of energy research at Barclays, and his team. “Whether or not the countries extend and the duration of the deal are not the relevant questions in our view. We believe the level of the cut is what really matters, and we assign a low likelihood to this detail being announced on November 30,” he said in note. Cohen added that the meeting is unlikely to come up with any clarity on production levels for next year, which could mislead some investors into thinking that cuts will remain intact. Barclays analysts do not expect those production levels to remain “static” in 2018.

Japan Turning the Pacific Ocean into a Nuclear Waste Dump

 Japan is poised to flood the Pacific with one million tons of nuclear water contaminated by the Fukushima power plant

  • Japan urged by experts to gradually release radioactive water into Pacific Ocean
  • Comes more than six years after tsunami overwhelmed Fukushima nuclear plant
  • The water is stored on site in around 900 large and densely packed tanks 
  • But if the tank breaks, the contents may not be able to be controlled 
Experts note that the release of a small amount radioactive tritium water is allowed at other nuclear plants.

The amount of contaminated water held at Fukushima is still growing by 150 tons a day The reactors are damaged beyond repair, are still in melt down. That is why  cooling water must be constantly pumped in to keep them from overheating and exploding.  That water picks up radioactivity before leaking out of the damaged containment chambers and collecting in the basements. There, the volume of contaminated water grows, because it mixes with groundwater that has seeped in through cracks in the reactor buildings.  After treatment, 210 tons is reused as cooling water, and the remaining 150 tons is sent to tank storage.  During heavy rains, the groundwater inflow increases significantly, adding to the volume. The water is a costly headache for Tokyo Electric Power Co, the utility that owns the plant.  To reduce the flow, it has dug dozens of wells to pump out groundwater before it reaches the reactor buildings and built an underground ‘ice wall’ of questionable effectiveness by partially freezing the ground around the reactors. Another government panel recommended last year that the utility, known as TEPCO, dilute the water up to about 50 times and release about 400 tons daily to the sea – a process that would take almost a decade to complete.

House Intelligence Committee Trying to Find Out Why Fusion GPS Paid Journalists Who Reported on Russia

Recently filed court documents revealed that Fusion GPS, the firm that produced the Trump dossier, paid three journalists who reported on Russia issues, and the House intelligence committee is trying to find out why.

The payments to journalists occurred between June 2016 and February 2017 and raise questions as to whether the firm paid journalists in connection with its efforts to advance the narrative that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia. The payments were revealed in court filings by the deputy general counsel for the House intelligence committee on November 21 to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to request more information from Fusion GPS’s bank about the payments. The filings were obtained by Breitbart News. The committee is requesting 112 more relevant transactions, including the payments to the three journalists and/or researchers.

“The Committee is aware that Fusion GPS’ specialty is seeding its opposition research into news stories,” the documents say.

“Given the clear relevance of journalists and researchers to Fusion GPS’s activities of relevance to the Committee’s investigation, the Requested Records therefore include records related to nine payments to three additional journalists and/or researchers who have reported or written on matters within the scope of the Committee’s investigation,” the papers say.Getting to the bottom of who paid Fusion GPS for work on the dossier, as well as whom Fusion GPS paid in relation to the dossier is part of the House intelligence committee’s investigation into Russian interference in the election and whether there was any collusion with the Trump campaign.

The House committee has begun to zero in on the dossier to find out what role it played in the FBI’s investigation into whether there was any Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.

Last month, it was revealed that the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid for the dossier through its lawyer Marc Elias’s law firm Perkins Coie. Perkins Coie paid Fusion GPS seven payments from May 24, 2016, to December 28, 2016. In total, Perkins Coie paid Fusion GPS just over $1 million in what appears to be one of the firm’s most lucrative contracts in mostly redacted bank records turned over to the committee. After Perkins Coie hired Fusion GPS, Fusion GPS hired ex-British spy Christopher Steele to work on the dossier. The dossier was reportedly used by the FBI to launch its investigation and obtain a surveillance warrant on a Trump campaign member, despite making salacious and unverified claims. “This is simply another desperate attempt by the president’s political allies to discredit Fusion GPS’s work and divert attention from the question these committees are supposed to be investigating: the Trump campaign’s knowledge of Russian interference in the election,” he said.

Tax Bill Helps Wealthy While Creating Debt That ‘Our Kids Will Bear’

During Thursday’s Democratic Weekly Address, Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) criticized the Republican tax plan, saying it benefits the wealthy at the expense of others, and “even more stunning is that it does this while adding at least $1.5 trillion, and perhaps as much as $2.5 trillion, to our debt. Our kids will bear that burden and the debt will restrict their future.” “Hello everybody. I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving. And we extend a special thanks to the incredible men and women serving every day to protect us from harm and defend the freedoms we cherish.In many ways, this has been a difficult year, and our politics can often seem irredeemably broken. But Thanksgiving is also a time to step back and remember that we have so much more in common than the partisan bickering that fills our television screens.I know that all of us sitting around the Thanksgiving table want something better for our kids and our grandkids–to leave them a country with a future brighter than its past. But that will only be true if we do for them what our parents and grandparents did for us. We now face a test of our commitment to providing that future. As early as next week the United States Senate may vote on a tax bill — an incredibly consequential piece of legislation affecting our entire economy for decades to come. Written in secret, this bill is being rushed to the floor without hearings or the chance for the American people to weigh in. As the vote approaches, I’m reminded of a mom I met in the small town of Rifle, Colorado at an early childhood center. In the course of our conversation, she said to me, ‘I have a job so I can have health insurance, and every single dollar I earn goes to pay for this early childhood center, so I can work.’ Too many Americans face this cycle, living each day with impossible choices their parents and grandparents were never asked to make

Yet, under the Republican tax plan, people making over $1 million a year would receive tax cuts of about $59,000 per year, while families earning $50,000 or less would see just $160 — or $7.50 more each paycheck. Tens of millions of middle class families would actually see their taxes go up.

And even though sabotaging our health care system has no place in a tax bill, Republicans doubled down by adding a provision at the last minute that would cause 13 million Americans to lose health insurance and premiums to rise by 10 percent. The central challenge with our economy is not that people at the top don’t have enough. It’s that incomes for everyone else — like that mom in Rifle — haven’t kept pace with rising costs of housing, health care, higher education, and childcare.

The question before us is: are we going to ease that burden, or add to it? This bill helps the relatively small number of families that make over $1 million a year and adds to the burden of others. That alone should be enough for us to scrap this approach, but what’s even more stunning is that it does this while adding at least $1.5 trillion, and perhaps as much as $2.5 trillion, to our debt.

China’s debt is out of control despite years of efforts to contain it

 China’s central bank just warned of a sudden collapse in asset prices  

China's central bank just warned of a sudden collapse in asset prices

  For years China’s top officials have touted their ambitious policy priority to wean the world’s second-largest economy off high levels of debt, but there is not much to show for it. On the contrary, a Reuters analysis shows the debt pile at Chinese firms has been climbing in that time, with levels at the end of September growing at the fastest pace in four years. The build-up has continued even as policymakers roll out a series of measures to end the explosive growth of debt, including persuading state firms and local governments to prune borrowing and tighter rules and monitoring of banks’ short-term borrowing. China’s overall debt is now more than three times the size of its economy.

Without a comprehensive strategy to tackle the overhang, there is a growing risk China will have a banking crisis or sharply slower growth or both, the International Monetary Fund said last year.

China’s central bank governor, Zhou Xiaochuan, made global headlines with a warning last month of the risks of a “Minsky moment”, referring to a sudden collapse in asset prices after long periods of growth, sparked by debt or currency pressures. On the sidelines of a key, twice-a-decade Communist Party Congress in October, Zhou referred to relatively high corporate debt and the fast pace of growth in household lending. While also pledging to fend off such risks, Zhou has acknowledged it will take some time to bring debt down to more manageable levels. Reuters analysis of 2,146 China listed firms showed their total debt at the end of September jumped 23 percent from a year ago, the highest pace of growth since 2013. The analysis covered three-fifths of the country’s listed firms, but excluded financials, which have seen the brunt of government de-risking and deleveraging efforts so far. The analysis revealed that debt in the real estate sector multiplied the most over last five years, followed by industrials. The share of industrials in the total debt for the companies covered went up by 3 percentage points since the end of 2012, while that for the real estate sector went up by 7 percentage points. As of September, state-owned enterprises (SOEs) reported a comparatively faster pace of growth in their debt. Total debt at 75 of the CSI Central SOE 100 index companies, which excludes financials, increased by more than 27 percent from a year ago, the biggest increase in many years.

Americans Are Arming Themselves For Civil War

 Black Friday alone, 200,000 applied to buy guns in US, setting a new record

The FBI was flooded Friday with more than 200,000 background check requests for gun purchases, setting a new single day record, the bureau reported Saturday.In all, the FBI fielded 203,086 requests on Black Friday, up from the previous single-day highs of 185,713 last year and 185,345 in 2015. The two previous records also were recorded on Black Friday. Gun checks, required for purchases at federally licensed firearm dealers, are not a measure of actual gun sales. The number of firearms sold Friday is likely higher because multiple firearms can be included in one transaction by a single buyer.  Last year, the FBI official overseeing NICS was forced to transfer personnel from construction projects and units that oversee the gathering of crime statistics to keep up with the surge of requests for background checks. The office processed a record 27.5 million background checks in 2016. Nick Bit: Americans are arming to the teeth. On all sides of the political spectrum. They are not buying these weapons to kill paper targets. I am afraid a  charismatic politician will pit these armed groups against one another and he will come out the winner.

Kushner dismisses possible White House departure: ‘We’re here to stay’

Kushner dismisses possible White House departure: ‘We’re here to stay’
© Greg Nash

President Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner said in an interview published Saturday that he and first daughter Ivanka Trump will stay in Washington, D.C. “We’re here to stay,” Kushner told The Washington Post. “At the current moment, we’re charging forward.” Kushner went on to say it was “a good sign” that Ivanka Trump had asked him if the family should look at new houses. The family, which hails from New York City, had originally agreed to reassess after the first six months of the administration whether they would stay in Washington, according to the Post. Kushner’s publicized comments come as The New York Times reported Saturday that White House chief of staff John Kelly discussed the possibility of Trump’s eldest daughter and son-in-law departing the White House by the end of 2017, which Kelly disputed.

“There was honestly never a time when I contemplated getting rid of Jared and Ivanka,” Kelly told the Times.

Kelly has reportedly limited the couple’s access to the president since becoming chief of staff, having them go through him first. Kushner has become a major subject of the continuing federal and congressional probes into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia’s election meddling.  Special counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly looking into Kushner’s past contact with foreign officials as part of the probe. Kushner participated in two meetings with Russians in the month prior to Trump’s inauguration — one with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and another with Sergey Gorkov, the chairman of a state-owned Russian bank.
Kushner, alongside Donald Trump Jr. and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, among others, also attended a meeting during the 2016 election at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer who had promised damaging information on then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Kushner has maintained he did not participate in any wrongdoing or have any improper communications with Russia during the 2016 election. Nick Bit: i would suggest they rent in Washington. And maybe they should by a cottage for Ivankia near Butner North Carolina. This is the Federal minimum security Prison. That way she can stay in the cottage during visitors day! See it will be hard for Trump to pardon him since he will have to pardon Trump Junior while he is facing impeachment……..

Wal-Mart executives sold $11 million worth of stock as soon as they were allowed

 After the biggest stock price surge in 9 years, 5 executives sold shares as soon as their trading ‘window’ opened
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Five Wal-Mart Stores Inc. executives took advantage of the stock’s biggest rally in nine years to a record high last week to sell a total of $11 million worth of shares, as soon as they were allowed to trade. The stock WMT, +0.22%  had shot up 10.9% on Thursday to a record close of $99.62, after the discount retail behemoth reported fiscal third-quarter earnings, revenue and same-store sales that beat expectations. That was the biggest one-day percentage gain since Oct. 28, 2008. The next day, the stock pulled back by 2.2%, trading in an intraday range of $96.58 to $100.13 before closing at $97.47. Some time Friday morning, President and Chief Executive of Walmart International David Cheesewright had sold 55,000 common shares at $99.29, in an open market or private sale, to raise $5.46 million, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. John Furner, president and chief executive of Sam’s Club, and David Chojnowski, a senior vice president and Wal-Mart’s controller also sold shares at the same price. Furner sold 1,200 share to raise $119,148, while Chojnowski sold 684.2 shares to raise about $67,932.

FactSet, MarketWatch

Executive Vice President of corporate affairs Dan Bartlett raised $194,780 by selling 2,000 shares at $97.39 and Greg Foran, chief executive of Walmart U.S., raised $5.11 million by selling 52,793 shares at about $96.86. Wal-Mart executives are only allowed to trade their shares during certain “windows” after they have pre-cleared the trades with the Corporate Secretary, according to the company’s proxy statement. The five executives sold their shares just as the current “window” opened, which was one day after earnings were reported. The window will remain open until Dec. 29, said company spokesperson Randy Hargrove. Nick Bit: More and more people are realizng its time to cash in your chips and head for the hills!

US moves to block AT&T’s takeover of Time Warner

The US Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit to block telecoms giant AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner, the owner of CNN and HBO. The department said the merger would reduce competition and lead to higher consumer prices. AT&T vowed to fight the move, calling it a radical departure from US competition practice. US President Donald Trump objected to the deal during his campaign last year, fuelling the controversy. AT&T chief executive Randall Stephenson said he thought the acquisition had been on a good path “until recently”. He referred to concerns about possible political influence as the “elephant in the room”. President Trump is a vocal critic of CNN which is owned by Time Warner. Mr Stephenson said: “There’s been a lot of reporting and speculation whether this is all about CNN. And frankly I don’t know. Nobody should be surprised the question keeps coming up.” In its lawsuit, the Department of Justice claimed that the deal – valued at more than $85bn when it was announced last year – would harm American consumers. Assistant attorney general Makan Delrahim of the Department of Justice’s antitrust division, said: “It would mean higher monthly television bills and fewer of the new, emerging innovative options that consumers are beginning to enjoy.” Mr Delrahim said the combination would hurt the emergence of new online television options and give AT&T the power to force rival pay TV companies to pay “hundreds of millions of dollars more” for Time Warner content. The department has also denied political interference. The decision to take legal action sets up a high-profile fight over US anti-trust law, which has rarely been tested in cases involving companies that do not directly compete. During his presidential campaign last October, Mr Trump said that the deal would not be approved “in my administration because it’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few”. AT&T called Monday’s lawsuit “a radical and inexplicable departure from decades of antitrust precedent”. The company’s general counsel, David McAtee, said: “Vertical mergers like this one are routinely approved because they benefit consumers without removing any competitor from the market. We see no legitimate reason for our merger to be treated differently.”

 

North Korean dictator outlaws drinking and singing in bid to tighten grip on population

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has reportedly banned gatherings involving drinking and singing in new measures designed to increase control over the population. According to intelligence briefings given to South Korean lawmakers on Monday, the move is intended to stifle the impact of crippling economic sanctions imposed on the country. The sanctions are in retaliation for the country’s ongoing development of nuclear devices and ballistic missiles.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has reportedly banned gatherings involving drinking and singing in new measures designed to increase control over the population
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has reportedly banned gatherings involving drinking and singing in new measures designed to increase control over the population

‘(Pyongyang) … has banned any gatherings related to drinking, singing and other entertainment and is strengthening control of outside information,’ the South Korean National Intelligence Service is reported as saying.  The move compounds the already heavily controlled conditions North Korean citizens live under. Travel abroad is curtailed, conversations monitored and harsh punishments are regularly imposed for being in possession of media from outside of the state. The ban comes just a few months after the Pyongyang Beer Festival was cancelled amid reports of a drought.  Meanwhile the South Korean intelligence agency also reported that top officials inside the North Korean regime were punished following an inspection of the military’s General Political Bureau – which ensures soldier’s adhere to the party line. Those reportedly punished were the bureau’s chief Hwang Pyong So and his deputy Kim Won Hong. According to intelligence briefings given to South Korean lawmakers on Monday, the move is intended to stifle the impact of crippling economic sanctions imposed on the country It remains unclear the scope of the punishment but it could suggest a power struggle among Jong Un’s key aides.  South Korean intelligence officers are also monitoring for signs of new missile launches in the North under the guise of a space programme development.  ‘The agency is closely following the developments because there is a possibility that North Korea could fire an array of ballistic missiles this year under the name of a satellite launch and peaceful

Gov. Cuomo wants to bring driverless cars to New York City

NEW YORK — Uber said  that it plans to buy up to 24,000 self-driving cars from Volvo beginning in less than two years — and New York’s governor wants to bring driverless cars to the Big Apple even sooner. Mix millions of cars, pedestrians, bicyclists and delivery trucks and you get Manhattan driving. At its best, it’s unpredictable. At its worst, it’s chaos. For today’s self-driving cars, that mixture might be too much. “So this cop that’s flagging traffic here, right now — that would confuse the current generation of the self-driving cars?” CBS News transportation correspondent Kris Van Cleave asked. “Yes, we’re not there yet because the brain is not advanced to be able to understand what that person is doing,” said Brad Stertz, Audi’s director of government affairs. Self-driving cars use sensors to detect their surroundings and are programmed to follow traffic laws. But a dense city environment might overwhelm the current technology.   “If it weren’t for humans, I mean, autonomous vehicles would work perfectly,” said Sam Schwartz, the former New York City traffic commissioner. “The two things that autonomous vehicles have not figured out yet are what are pedestrians about to do and what are bicycle riders about to do,” Schwartz said. This is one vision of how self-driving cars could work in Manhattan: dedicated autonomous thoroughfares leading into the city and cutting across town, potentially allowing some roads to go unused and become green space. John Meyer, from design firm EDG, entered the idea into a contest organized by New York City. Getting the pedestrians and the drivers out of the way allows it to achieve true efficiency — efficiency that will require time, upgraded infrastructure, smarter self-driving cars, and patience in a city not known for it.

Russia finds 1,000-times normal level of radioactive isotope after nuclear incident claims

 MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s meteorological service said on Tuesday it had measured pollution of a radioactive isotope at nearly 1,000 times normal levels in the Ural mountains, the first official Russian data supporting reports that a nuclear incident had taken place. The data appears to back up a report by the French nuclear safety institute IRSN, which said on Nov. 9 a cloud of radioactive pollution over Europe had indicated some kind of leak had taken place at a nuclear facility either in Russia or Kazakhstan in the last week of September. Neither Russia nor Kazakhstan has acknowledged any accident. Russian state weather service Roshydromet said in a statement it had found “extremely high pollution” of ruthenium 106 in samples from two meteorological stations in the southern Urals region in late September and early October. At the Agrayash weather station the levels were 986 times those of the previous month, while at the Novogorny station they were 440 times higher. The weather service did not rule out that the radioactive isotope could be absorbed into the atmosphere and reach Europe. Western scientists said the ruthenium 106 levels disclosed did not by themselves indicate any major health threat, although it was still unclear what had happened. “Ruthenium is very rare and hence its presence may suggest that an event of some nature has occurred. That being said, the natural abundance is so low that even a factor of 900 up on natural levels is still very low,” said Malcolm Sperrin, director of the Department of Medical Physics and Clinical Engineering at Oxford University Hospitals in England.

Merkel election U-TURN: German chancellor ‘DOES NOT favor’ new vote amid coalition crisis

ANGELA MERKEL continues to fall flat from her coalition nightmare after confessing she does not want another general election – just days after joining calls for one to be triggered. The U-turn marks a deepening crisis for the Chancellor as hopes of a coalition officially fell apart when her Christian Democratic Union (CDU), its Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU), the pro-business Freedom Democratic Party (FDP) and the Green party failed to come to an agreement earlier this month. The embattled Chancellor spoke out against holding another election, saying she intended to form a government as soon as possible. Speaking at a CDU party conference in Kühlungsborn in Northern Germany, she said: “The people have voted.  “And I absolutely do not favour, if we can’t do anything with the result, asking people to vote again.”

Angela Merkel germany

Germany has been left at a political stalemate for more than two months after the September 24th election failed to return a good result for Mrs Merkel. The parties had locked horns on key issues such as immigration and security but the collapse meant Merkel had just two choices open to her – form a minority government or head back to the polls. SDP leader Martin Schulz refused to back Mrs Merkel in any deal and called for further elections in the hope of regaining seats. But the SDP decided Friday to help resolve a deadlock in talks to form a coalition government, dropping its earlier refusal to consider governing with Merkel’s conservatives.  Angela Merkel previously joined called for a fresh election to be triggered Hubertus Heil, the party’s general secretary, said: “The SDP is deeply convinced there should be discussions. The SDP will not refuse to talk.” Mrs Merkel told the party covered she was ready to talk to the SDP, but said the discussions should be based on mutual respect, it has been reported. She said: “Europe needs a strong Germany, it is desirable to get a government in place quickly.” She insisted that her acting government is able to carry out its day-to-day business. Angela Merkel told members of the CDU conference she does not want another election. Mrs Merkel’s change of mind comes as a recent poll revealed nearly two-thirds of Germans would back another general election. Of the 1,011 people surveyed, 63 per cent of Germans believe there should be a fresh general election while 29 per cent believe there should be a minority government. Another 32 per cent believe the FDP are responsible for the failure, which came just days after Christian Lindner, the party’s leader, dropped out of talks after parties failed to agree on key issues including immigration and Europe.

Trump could be on track to triple Obama’s time on the golf course

Trump in 2016: ‘I don’t have time’ for golf

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump could be on track to spend as much as triple the time former President Barack Obama did on the golf course in his first year in office — and to play more than former President George W. Bush did in eight years in office.
Trump spent Saturday at his Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, marking the 81st day that the President has visited one of his golf courses — and his fourth straight day at a club. It is unclear, however, whether Trump golfs each day he visits or how many rounds he plays when he does. White House aides rarely confirm that the President is golfing, but Trump did so himself on Friday, announcing that he was playing with golfing stars Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson. By comparison, Obama played 333 rounds of golf during his eight years in office and at this point in the first year of his term had played 26 rounds, according to Mark Knoller of CBS News, who keeps detailed statistics of presidencies. Knoller told CNN that Bush played only 24 rounds of golf as President and stopped playing golf after October 13, 2003, after he was criticized for golfing while the nation was at war. At this point in his presidency, Bush had golfed seven times. Many Americans — and more than a few presidents — play golf. Trump’s golf outings are notable only because he repeatedly mocked Obama for the time he spent on the golf course and said he wouldn’t have time if he were elected president.
“If I win I may never see my property — I may never see these places again,” Trump said at an August 2016 event. “But because I’m going to be working for you, I’m not going to have time to go golfing, believe me. Believe me. Believe me, folks.”