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  1. #11446
    Director of Nothing
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    Re: Politics Random Random

    Quote Originally Posted by skatingfan View Post
    Is this your friend?
    Haha (no :/)


  2. #11447

    Re: Politics Random Random

    Quote Originally Posted by mmmm8 View Post
    Haha (no :/)
    Oh, she's Chuck's cousin so maybe she's related to your friend as well.

  3. #11448

    Re: Politics Random Random

    Merrill Lynch bans clients from investing in Silbert bitcoin fund
    Reuters Staff

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bank of America Merrill Lynch banned clients from investing in one of bitcoin mogul Barry Silbert’s top funds last month, according to a memo seen by Reuters.

    As of Dec. 8, the Wall Street brokerage stopped approving new orders for the Bitcoin Investment Trust due to concerns about the “suitability and eligibility standards of this product,” according to the memo sent to roughly 17,000 brokers at Merrill Lynch and Merrill Edge, a unit for clients who manage their own trades.

    Bitcoin Investment Trust is run by Grayscale Investments, which is led by Silbert. A former Wall Street investment banker and prominent supporter of cryptocurrencies, Silbert’s role in the world of digital coins was the subject of a Reuters special report last month.

    “We look forward to speaking with Merrill Lynch and addressing any questions or concerns they have about the Bitcoin Investment Trust,” Silbert told Reuters in an email. “We are unaware of any similar policies at other brokerage firms.”

    Wall Street has taken a cautious approach to digital currencies, which are unregulated and have very volatile trading patterns. Last month, Chicago-based derivatives exchanges Cboe Global Markets and the CME Group launched bitcoin futures, but some banks and brokerages remain reluctant to trade them.

    Millions of investors have piled into bitcoin and other digital currencies prompting warnings of a bubble from the likes of JPMorgan Chase Chief Executive Jamie Dimon, who has likened bitcoin to a “fraud” that will eventually blow up.

    Shares in Bitcoin Investment Trust jumped over 1,550 percent last year, more than the 1,300 percent plus gain of bitcoin. The fund was created for investors seeking exposure to bitcoin and trades “over the counter” in less formal exchanges than those used for typical stocks.

    Before last month’s ban, clients of Merrill Lynch’s brokerage and Merrill Edge were able to buy stakes in Bitcoin Investment Trust, which trade at a fraction of a bitcoin. The digital currency is currently valued at around $15,000.

    Merrill Lynch brokerage clients with historic positions in the Bitcoin Investment Trust fund can maintain them, but clients with fee-based advisory accounts have to sell their holdings, according to the memo.

    Reporting By Elizabeth Dilts; Editing by Carmel Crimmins and Cynthia Osterman

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-b...source=twitter
    Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth (paraphrased)


  4. #11449

    Re: Politics Random Random

    Gilles Klein‏
    @GillesKLEIN
    Follow Follow @GillesKLEIN
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    ���� The White House is banning its employees from using personal mobile phones while at work (Bloomberg) ...
    Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth (paraphrased)


  5. #11450
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    Re: Politics Random Random

    Quote Originally Posted by skatingfan View Post
    Oh, she's Chuck's cousin so maybe she's related to your friend as well.
    I know.

    My friend's relation is through marriage


  6. #11451

    Re: Politics Random Random

    Quote Originally Posted by Ti-Amie View Post
    Gilles Klein‏
    @GillesKLEIN
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    ���� The White House is banning its employees from using personal mobile phones while at work (Bloomberg) ...
    Well, there is ONE WH Employee that really should have his mobile phone taken away from him while at work. The others... not.
    Last edited by ponchi101; 01-04-2018 at 11:58 AM.
    Starry starry night

  7. #11452

    Re: Politics Random Random

    Quote Originally Posted by ponchi101 View Post
    Well, there is ONE WH Employee that really should have his mobile phone taken away from him while at work. The others... not.

    Fixed!
    Meet again we do, old foe...

  8. #11453

    Re: Politics Random Random

    More from @MikeFarb1

    MikeFarb‏
    @mikefarb1
    Following Following @mikefarb1
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    All of these subdomains follow the same route to Moscow, then take a trip to Siberia, then finally arrive at a server in St. Petersburg.



    And what about that location in Siberia?

    The coordinates point to the place where the earth was flattened by a meteor explosion in 1908.



    Signs Point To This Sever(sic) Actually Being Close To The Kremlin in Moscow!!

    WTF. Why are there STILL Trump-Owned Subdomains That Can Communicate with Computers in Russia? It Gets More Interesting.

    All of the Russian IP's these domains are Routing through are owned by Hostkey.ru, also known as Mir Telematiki LTD. Who else uses them?

    WTF!! This IP Address Goes to the Same ISP and Purported Physical Location as Two IP Addresses Used by http://WikiLeaks.org !!

    Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth (paraphrased)


  9. #11454

    Re: Politics Random Random

    Oops! White House admits it has zero evidence of voter fraud in 2016 election
    This is awkward.
    MELANIE SCHMITZ
    JAN 10, 2018, 11:17 AM

    In a court filing on Tuesday, the White House announced that it had not uncovered any preliminary findings of voter fraud in the 2016 election and that it would be destroying confidential voter data initially collected for President Trump’s controversial voter fraud commission, which was disbanded on January 3.

    The revelation stands in stark contrast to previous comments made by both Trump and former commission vice chair and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who claimed in an interview with right-wing outlet Breitbart one week ago that all investigation work would be “handed off” to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), implying that Democrats were becoming “uncomfortable” with how much Republicans had discovered thus far.

    Trump also claimed previously that the commission — created in May 2017 and charged with identifying “vulnerabilities in voting systems” that could lead to fraud — had uncovered “substantial” findings which would be handed over to DHS.

    Tuesday’s court filing contradicted those claims.

    “The Commission did not create any preliminary findings,” White House Director of Information Technology Charles C. Herndon said. “In any event, no Commission records or data will be transferred to the DHS or another agency, except to NARA [the National Archives and Records Administration] if required, in accordance with federal law.”

    He added that “no Commission member was provided access to the state voter data prior to the Commission’s termination and none has access now.”



    https://thinkprogress.org/kris-kobac...source=twitter
    Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth (paraphrased)


  10. #11455

    Re: Politics Random Random

    Trump administration opts for speed over accuracy in implementing new tax law
    By Damian Paletta January 10 at 12:34 PM

    The Trump administration is pushing American businesses to withhold fewer taxes from paychecks by February, aiming to quickly deliver the boost in take-home pay that Republicans promised their tax law would bring.

    But the rush could expose millions of workers to the risk of underpaying taxes to the government now, which means they might owe more than they are expecting when they file taxes in April 2019.

    Business and taxpayers looking for clarity will be appealing to an Internal Revenue Service that, according to an internal watchdog report Wednesday, is underfunded and ill-prepared to answer basic questions. The national taxpayer advocate, an independent official within the IRS, told Congress that the agency would need at least $495 million in 2018 and 2019 to meet the new obligations created by the GOP tax law.

    (...)

    “The IRS will have its hands full in implementing the new law,” said Nina E. Olson, the taxpayer advocate. “The IRS will have a lot of issues to work through, and taxpayers will have a lot of questions.”

    The IRS is urging employers to immediately change their tax withholding arrangements, even though doing so will require them to use outdated forms as they figure out how much to set aside for tax payments. The forms, known as W-4s, were tailored to measure tax payments under the old tax code, which was largely rewritten in the new tax law.

    In the next few days, the IRS plans to issue guidelines to companies and payroll processors on how to use the old forms to calculate tax payments under the law. But there’s no simple switch-over calculation, and the uncertainty could mean workers severely underpaying or overpaying their taxes by thousands of dollars in 2018 — something that will likely remain unknown until they file their tax returns next year.

    The potential discrepancies are a side-effect of the expedited overhaul that the Treasury Department and IRS are seeking to implement, prioritizing speed over accuracy as the Trump administration hopes tax cuts will bolster the economy before the midterm elections.

    The rapid turnaround puts companies on a squeeze as they attempt to get employees the information they need to file their 2017 taxes — they are legally mandated to finish that process by the end of the month — while also preparing for the year ahead.

    (...)

    The law cuts income tax rates at all levels for the next several years, meaning most taxpayers will see at least modest decreases in their federal bills.

    But the law also changes the tax code’s complex system of deductions. It expanded a “standard” deduction taken by many in the middle class and a Child Tax Credit, but the law also put new caps on how much people can deduct for state and local tax payments or for interest paid on a new home mortgage.

    The deduction changes mean the tax cuts will vary widely between workers with similar wages, with the size of the relief depending on location, family size and situation.

    It is not immediately clear what type of household is at the greatest risk of having a new paycheck that does not match what their tax obligations really are. This will depend on how the IRS and Treasury Department design the new withholding tables.

    (...)

    For years, companies took some basic information from their employees into account before determining how much money to withhold from their paychecks, and this information was collected on the two-page W-4 form. But the new tax system is different, and some of the questions from the W-4 are no longer relevant.

    For example, question “G” on the W-4 asks whether someone is in a household that earns less than $100,000 to determine whether they qualify for the Child Tax Credit. But the new tax law changed the Child Tax Credit, as it now applies to married couples that earn up to $400,000.

    “It’s hard to know what information is going to be provided to payroll processors and human resources departments that can take care of that,” said Michael Mundaca, co-director of the national tax office at Ernst & Young.

    In several months, the IRS is expected to follow up by asking employers to have all U.S. employees fill out new forms that will make the tax withholding process more precise.

    They will no longer be relying on a system that tabulated the number of “personal allowances” each taxpayer had, such as the size of their family, to determine the tax withholding for paychecks.

    “With the elimination of those personal allowances, we are anxiously awaiting guidance from IRS which is scheduled to be released this month,” said Shelly Abril, head of payroll compliance at Gusto, a company that provides payroll and other services to 40,000 small businesses.

    Abril said “the difficulty will really be owned by the employees and their tax professionals to determine the implications of their 2018 tax liability.”

    If companies don’t withhold enough income tax, taxpayers could experience short-term euphoria when they receive larger paychecks but then face a stunning tax bill in April 2019.

    Similarly, if Americans underpay their taxes in February and March, the government could run up a huge budget deficit, creating a cash crunch at a time when they are under immense pressure to raise the debt ceiling.

    It could not be learned whether the IRS plans to give any guidance that would direct employers to withhold taxes at a different level based on where someone lives, even though the tax cuts will have different impacts on Americans in different states.

    (...)

    Olson warned that other changes will probably need to be made before Americans file their 2018 tax returns by April 2019. The new tax law, for example, lowers the amount of mortgage interest that can be deducted from income, but it grandfathers in all mortgages made before Dec. 15, 2017.

    “At present, the IRS generally does not know the date of a mortgage closing, the terms of a refinancing, or the date or terms of a purchase contract,” Olson said.

    (...)

    The Treasury Department and IRS have given little information about how they are designing the new tax withholding system under the outdated W-4 forms, leading to complaints from Democrats that the Trump administration could try to make the tax cuts seem even rosier than they are before the midterms only to hit Americans with big tax bills next year.

    “We oppose any attempts by the Administration to systematically under-withhold income taxes during the 2018 tax year, knowing that in 2019 taxpayers may find they owe taxes when they were expecting a refund,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rep. Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.) wrote in a letter to IRS Acting Commissioner David Kautter on Monday.

    The letter included questions seeking information about what political influence, if any, Treasury officials had in deciding how much money should be withheld in the paychecks.

    (...)

    In 1992, the George H.W. Bush administration unilaterally changed the withholding tables to allow Americans to temporarily keep more of their income, even though they would owe the money when they filed their tax returns the following April.

    This infuriated millions of Americans who didn’t like the idea of being hit with a big tax bill all at once, and many people asked to be exempt from the changes.

    A person involved in the process of reworking withholding tables said the IRS and Treasury dismissed the concerns raised by Wyden and Neal, saying the process is being handled with care and without political interference.

    The IRS reported in April that Americans filed 135.6 million tax returns for income earned in 2016. Almost 100 million of those filers received a tax refund, which averaged $2,763.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/busin...=.b173875d7acb
    Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth (paraphrased)


  11. #11456

    Re: Politics Random Random

    Trump administration opens door to let states impose Medicaid work requirements

    By Amy Goldstein January 11 at 10:32 AM


    The Trump administration issued guidance to states early Thursday that will allow them to compel people to work or prepare for jobs in order to receive Medicaid for the first time in the half-century history of this pillar of the nation’s social safety net.

    The letter to state Medicaid directors opens the door for states to cut off Medicaid benefits to Americans unless they have a job, are in school, are a caregiver, volunteer or participate in other approved forms of “community engagement” — an idea that some states had broached over the past several years but that the Obama administration had consistently rebuffed.

    The new policy comes as 10 states are already lined up, waiting for federal permission to impose work requirements on able-bodied adults in the program. Three other states are contemplating them. Health officials could approve the first waiver — probably for Kentucky — as soon as Friday, according to two people with knowledge of the process.

    The guidance represents a fundamental and much-disputed recalibration of the compact between the government and poor Americans for whom Medicaid coverage provides a crucial pathway to health care.

    The idea of conditioning government benefits on “work activities” was cemented into welfare more than two decades ago, when a system of unlimited cash assistance was replaced by the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families with its work requirements and time limits. The link between government help and work later was extended to anti-hunger efforts through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, as food stamps are now called.

    But most health policy experts, including a few noted conservatives, have regarded the government insurance enabling millions of people to afford medical care as a right that should not hinge on individuals’ compliance with other rules.

    The Trump administration has signaled from the outset that it wanted to set a more conservative tone for Medicaid, a 1960s-era program that was part of Lyndon Johnson’s anti-poverty Great Society. On the day in March when she was sworn in as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Seema Verma dispatched a letter to governors encouraging “innovations that build on the human dignity that comes with training, employment and independence.”

    While some conservatives pressed her agency to quickly issue guidelines, lawyers within the Health and Human Services and Justice departments jockeyed for time to construct a legal justification that they hope can withstand court challenges.

    The legal issue is that states must obtain federal permission to depart from Medicaid’s usual rules, using a process known as “1115 waivers” for the section of the law under which the program exists. To qualify for a waiver, a state must provide a convincing justification that its experiment would “further the objectives” of Medicaid.

    Unlike the 1996 rewrite of welfare law, which explicitly mentions work as a goal, Medicaid’s law contains no such element, and critics contend rules that could deny people coverage contradict its objectives. To get around this, the 10-page letter argues that working promotes good health and repeatedly asserts that the change fits within the program’s objectives. The guidance cites research that it says demonstrates people who work tend to have higher incomes associated with longer life spans, while those who are unemployed are more prone to depression, “poorer general health,” and even death.

    “[A] growing body of evidence suggests that targeting certain health determinants, including productive work and community engagement, may improve health outcomes” the letter says. “While high-quality health care is important for an individual’s health and well-being, there are many other determinants of health.”

    The critics are prepared to pounce on that rationale.

    “This is going to go to court the minute the first approval comes out,” predicted Matt Salo, executive director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors, whose members reflect a spectrum of views about requiring work.

    Once CMS gives one state permission, “we would be looking very, very closely to the legal options,” said Leonardo Cuello, health policy director at the National Health Law Program. “It’s not a good idea, and it’s illegal.”

    Cuello said the argument that work promotes health is “totally contorted . . . It’s a little like saying that rain causes clouds. It’s more that people [with Medicaid] get care, which helps them be healthy and makes them able to work.”

    Mary Beth Musucemi, associate director of the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Program on Medicaid and the Uninsured, said the new approach “will penalize individuals by having them lose health coverage, rather than incentivize them, as a voluntary program with adequately funded supportive services necessary to overcome barriers would.”

    Calling the new policy “unconscionable and illegal,” Eliot Fishman, senior health policy director at the liberal consumer health lobby Families USA, said in a statement: “Today’s announcement isn’t about work. It is about taking away health insurance from low-income people.”

    In a CMS call with reporters Thursday morning, Verma countered, “This policy is about helping people achieve the American Dream.” She quoted from a speech President Lyndon Johnson gave a half-century ago, when he said that Medicaid’s aim “ is not only to relieve the symptoms of poverty but cure it.”

    Verma also said that any drop in Medicaid rolls as a result of work requirements would stem from people no longer needing it. “We see people moving off of Medicaid as a good outcome,” she said.

    The most recent federal figures show that Medicaid enrolls more than 68 million low-income Americans, including children, pregnant women, people with disabilities and the elderly. Under the Affordable Care Act, the program has expanded in more than 30 states to cover residents with somewhat higher incomes.

    In states that now choose to link Medicaid to work, the requirement would apply only to able-bodied adults as defined by each state.

    Sixty percent of Medicaid’s non-elderly adults already work, according to a recent analysis of census data by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Of those without a job, more than a third are ill or disabled, 30 percent are caring for young children, and 15 percent are in school, the analysis shows.

    The CMS guidance gives states a great deal of flexibility to define their own exceptions to a work requirement, as well as what counts toward work. “Each state is different,” the letter says, and such activities “include, but are not limited to, community service, caregiving, education, job training, and substance use disorder treatment.”

    The guidance specifies only that pregnant women and “medically frail” people be exempt — though frailty is not defined — and that people with opioid addiction be either exempted or allowed to count time in drug treatment toward work activities. It also suggests that states take into account the local availability of jobs in creating requirements. People receiving TANF cash assistance or SNAP food benefits who meet those programs’ work requirements will be considered in compliance with Medicaid’s rules.

    Whilestates should help people on Medicaid meet their requirements — for instance, by helping them find child care, transportation or job-training — they may not use any Medicaid funds to do so, the letter says.

    In the states that adopt such requirements, critics say, the effect will spread far beyond the healthy adults who do not already comply. Those who have a job, are in school or care for young children will need to document to their state’s Medicaid agency that they are in compliance — or risk losing their benefits.

    Under Kentucky’s waiver application, for instance, people on Medicaid would be required to report income changes within 10 days, noted Cara Stewart of the Kentucky Equal Justice Center. For low-wage workers, such as waitresses with fluctuating wages, “it boggles my mind,” Stewart said.

    Before she became the CMS administrator, Verma was a health-care consultant who specialized in helping states redesign their Medicaid programs. She was an architect of Kentucky’s waiver application once a Democratic governor who had eagerly embraced the ACA was succeeded by Matt Bevin, a Republican who campaigned on a pledge to reverse the program expansion there.

    Verma also had a major role in designing an un*or*tho*dox approach to Medicaid in Indiana, which had asked the Obama administration to approve a work requirement. In the end, that state included in its Medicaid expansion only an encouragement of voluntary efforts by beneficiaries to train for work or find jobs. Indiana rewrote its waiver request last summer, this time asking for federal permission to compel work activities.

    Verma has recused herself from ruling on those two states’ requests but has imported the ideas behind them into the new federal policy.

    Washington Post - https://t.co/0wf4LB711y

  12. #11457

    Re: Politics Random Random

    If you go to the article, there's a map of the states with pending applications for this already -

    Kentucky
    Maine
    New Hampshire
    Utah
    Arizona
    Indiana
    Wisconsin
    Kansas
    Arkansas
    North Carolina

    And Alabama, South Dakota, and Idaho are considering the same move

  13. #11458

    Re: Politics Random Random

    SIGH
    Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth (paraphrased)


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