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  1. #496
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    Re: The Run to the WH

    Quote Originally Posted by Ti-Amie View Post
    John Hickenlooper
    Winston, a.k.a. Alvena Rae Risley Hiatt (1944-2019), RIP

  2. #497

    Re: The Run to the WH

    Quote Originally Posted by dryrunguy View Post
    Hopefully the next senator from Colorado.

  3. #498

    Re: The Run to the WH

    Trump’s speech at a Shell plant drew thousands of workers. They were paid overtime to be there.

    By Marisa Iati and Morgan Krakow August 17 at 4:03 PM

    Workers at a Royal Dutch Shell plant in Monaca, Pa., were forced to choose Tuesday between attending a speech by President Trump or forgoing overtime pay that their co-workers would earn.

    Attendance was optional, but contract workers who chose not to stand in the crowd would not qualify for time-and-a-half pay when they arrived at work Friday, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. Several companies with thousands of unionized workers have contracts with Shell, one the world’s largest oil and gas companies.

    Workers at the unfinished Pennsylvania Petrochemicals Complex had to arrive at 7 a.m., scan their ID cards and stand for hours until Trump’s speech began, the Post-Gazette reported.

    “NO SCAN, NO PAY,” a supervisor for one of the contractors wrote to workers, according to the Post-Gazette.

    The contractor’s memo also banned yelling, protesting or “anything viewed as resistance” at Trump’s speech, the Post-Gazette reported.

    “An underlying theme of the event is to promote good will from the unions," the document said, according to the Post-Gazette. "Your building trades leaders and jobs stewards have agreed to this.”

    The Washington Post on Saturday was unable to immediately reach Shell or the plant’s unions for comment.

    Trump has a long history of falsely claiming that liberal demonstrators have been paid to protest. When people angrily flooded the streets of some cities after Trump won the presidency, he accused them of being “professional protesters” who had been “incited by the media.” When women protested Brett M. Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, he said they were “paid professionals.”

    And when protests bubbled up at airports in 2017 in response to Trump’s ban on immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries, he alleged that the demonstrators were “professional anarchists, thugs and paid protesters."

    Trump’s speech on Tuesday felt at times like a campaign rally, The Washington Post previously reported. Between remarks about U.S. energy production, Trump urged the workers to support his reelection and complained about a laundry list of his perceived enemies: the media, the Democrats running for president and the Academy Awards.

    About 5,000 workers attended the speech, according to Newsweek magazine.

    Shell spokesman Ray Fisher told the Post-Gazette that workers at the plant have a 56-hour workweek, which includes 16 hours of overtime pay — so workers who showed up on Tuesday were paid for the week at a higher rate.

    Another Shell spokesman, Curtis Smith, told Newsweek that workers who chose to skip the rally received “paid time off,” which does not count as hours worked and therefore does not trigger overtime pay. Trump’s speech was treated as a training that differed from other training sessions only in that it included “a guest speaker who happened to be the President,” Smith said.

    “We do these several times a year with various speakers,” Smith told Newsweek in a written statement. “The morning session (7-10 a.m.) included safety training and other work-related activities.”

    Ken Broadbent, business manager for the union Steamfitters Local 449, told the Post-Gazette his workers respect Trump for his title, regardless of whether they liked or disliked him. Anyone who did not want to go to work on the day of Trump’s speech could skip it, Broadbent said.

    “This is just what Shell wanted to do and we went along with it,” Broadbent told the Post-Gazette.
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  4. #499

    Re: The Run to the WH

    I am currently working in a Shell project. Their level of hypocrisy is off the charts.
    Missing winter...

  5. #500

    Re: The Run to the WH

    White House officials eyeing payroll tax cut in effort to reverse weakening economy

    By Damian Paletta August 19 at 4:27 PM

    Several senior White House officials have begun discussing whether to push for a temporary payroll tax cut as a way to arrest an economic slowdown, three people familiar with the discussions said, revealing the growing concerns by President Trump’s top economic aides.

    The talks are still in their early stages, and the officials have not decided whether to formally push Congress to approve the cut, these people said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to disclose internal discussions. But the White House in recent days has begun searching for proposals that could halt a slowing economy.

    Millions of Americans pay a “payroll tax” on their earnings, a 6.2 percent levy that is used to finance Social Security programs. The payroll tax was last cut during the Obama administration to 4.2 percent, as a way to encourage more consumer spending during the recent economic downturn. But the cut was allowed to reset back up to 6.2 percent in 2013.

    Americans pay payroll taxes on income up to $132,900, so cutting the payroll tax has remained a popular idea for many lawmakers seeking to deliver savings for middle-income earners and not the wealthiest Americans. But payroll tax cuts can also add dramatically to the deficit and – depending on how they are designed – pull billions of dollars away from Social Security.

    The payroll tax cuts during the Obama administration reduced taxes by more than $100 billion each year, but the Obama administration directed the lost revenue to Social Security programs, so those initiatives didn’t lose money. The cuts added to the deficit, however.

    The size of the cut could equate to a bigger tax cut for many families than the 2017 tax law.

    The Trump administration discussions about whether to pursue a new payroll tax cut have only begun in recent days, the three people said, and specific details about the design have not been reached yet.

    Trump and top aides have spent the past few days trying to convince the public that the economy is strong and that fears about a recession are misguided. But White House officials quietly have begun scrambling for new ideas to reverse public concerns and boost business confidence.

    Some administration officials have felt that planning for an economic downturn would send a negative perception to the public and make things worse, but Trump has spent much of the past week conferring with business executives and other confidants seeking input on what they are seeing in the economy.

    There are signs the U.S. economy is slowing, and economists fear that Germany and the United Kingdom already are tipping towards a recession. So far, consumer spending has remained one of the U.S. economy’s bright spots, and White House officials are aware that Trump’s reelection chances could hinge on the economy staying strong into next year.

    Payroll tax cuts have remained popular with Democrats largely because they are seen as targeting working Americans, and the money is often immediately spent by consumers and not saved. That way, the money gives consumers more spending power, but it also helps businesses who rely on the income.

    One of the biggest causes of economic downturns is a pullback in consumer spending. That hurts businesses, which then lay off workers, who then cut back on spending — a painful economic loop.

    In the past, Democrats have strongly supported payroll tax cuts, while Republicans have been more resistent. Republicans have complained that these cuts do not help the economy and disproportionately harm the deficit.

    The Fed funds rate, which Trump is trying to tell central bankers to cut, is currently set at 2.25 percent. Slashing it 100 basis points would lower this rate to 1.25 percent, giving them very little additional wiggle room to maneuver if a full-fledged recession began.

    His directive for them to launch a new phase of “quantitative easing” is shorthand for asking the Fed to pump more money into the economy, a step that could weaken the U.S. dollar. This is also seen as an extreme step that central bankers take when they are trying to urgently address a slumping economy, not a tactic that is employed when the economy is still growing.

    Fed officials have said they do not make decisions based on political pressure, but Trump has taken his attacks on the central bank to new extremes, particularly this month amid numerous signs that the U.S. economy is weakening more than expected.

    After a tumultuous week in the markets suggested that the economy is heading onto shaky ground, Trump and his top officials have touted what they believe are the economy’s strengths, particularly consumer spending, and predicted that a recession will not occur.

    As concerns mount, Kudlow has scheduled briefing calls this week with state and local business leaders, conservative groups, and others to both guage the economy’s strength and seek more input.

    White House spokesman Judd Deere said the calls, which “have been long-planned,” will focus on Trump’s economic agenda, including issues such as deregulation and energy production.

    But even as the White House has dismissed the notion that the country may be headed toward a recession, Trump and his aides have sent mixed messages.

    In an exchange with reporters in Morristown, N.J., shortly before taking off for Washington on Sunday evening, Trump brushed aside the possibility of a downturn, saying, “I don’t see a recession.”

    “I mean, the world is in a recession right now — although that’s too big a statement,” he added, in a remark that appeared to undercut his effort to calm fears.

    - Felicia Sonmez contributed to this report.
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  6. #501

    Re: The Run to the WH

    Trump's biggest Facebook supporter is a Chinese cult pulling for the apocalypse

    Mark Sumner
    Daily Kos Staff
    Tuesday August 20, 2019 · 12:29 PM Eastern Daylight Time

    This is not the death cult you expected. While Donald Trump may regularly count on the support of people who believe that supporting Israel means making sure that every Jewish citizen of that state is handy to be either converted or slaughtered in the any-day-now End Times, this is another group of religious fanatics counting on Trump to fulfill their world (and atheist) -destroying dreams. Until recently, the contents of website The Epoch Times have been so out there, so beyond the pizzagate conspiracy theories of Gateway Pundit and the black helicopter lizard men of Infowars, that it’s been regarded as too odd to be considered part of the right-wing “mainstream.” No more. Under Trump, all bets are off. And a group that’s willing to top the online spending of Democratic candidates to express its support for Trump is definitely welcome in the fold … even if they do want him for his finger on the nuclear trigger.

    It’s easy to understand why any group looking for an apocalypse might look to Trump as just the man for the job. But not every cult manages to spend more on Facebook than presidential campaigns. The leaders of the group that is counting on Trump to begin the “Last Havoc” have now spent more than $1.5 million to buy 11,000 pro-Trump spots on social media. In April alone, those ads netted 3 billion views, making this foreign-backed group one of the top video creators on the Internet and a major player in American politics.

    As NBC News reports, The Epoch Times may look like just another online conspiracy site belonging to another small cult of slavish Trump followers itchin’ for some good old-fashioned smiting from above. But this “small New York-based nonprofit” is actually controlled by Falun Gong, a Chinese religious group aiming to both bring down Beijing and democracy while cheering for the end of all things. If on the surface they look like another fundamentalist site attacking science, reason, and “humanists,” it’s because they are.

    Falun Gong members have been subject to some genuinely terrible oppression and abuse by the Chinese government, so it’s easy to understand why members of the group would pull for anything that might bring down Chairman Xi and his totalitarian regime. What’s less understandable is how that translates into support for Trump, considering his refusal to call out the Chinese government on anything related to human rights, and his expressed willingness to allow Xi to have his way with Hong Kong and anyone else that is “his problem.”

    The connection seems to be that group members believe Trump is the guy who is ready to hate the people that they hate and maybe push the not-a-Coke button on the Resolute Desk. Their core beliefs include an upcoming judgement day in which all the Chinese officials who directed punishment their way get sent to a very special communist hell. Of course, American unbelievers, liberals, and scientists will go with them.

    The level of spending and the number of views generated by The Epoch Times’ ads has turned it into a Trump favorite. They’ve been frequently retweeted by Donald Trump Jr. and by Donald Trump’s Facebook page. And “at least half a dozen times this year,” stories have been written for this fringiest of fringe sites by members of the Trump campaign.

    That’s not all. The Epoch Times earned an interview with daughter-in-law Lara Trump in Trump Tower. They’ve been rewarded with interviews of Trump cabinet members. They even took the stage at CPAC and interviewed Republican members of Congress including Mark Meadows, along with “conservative stars” like new Michael Flynn attorney Sidney Powell.

    The religious group still runs the occasional ad or YouTube video on religious freedom in China, but by far the majority of its work is dedicated to defending everything Trump. That means freedom-love of this group from China hasn’t stopped them from screaming about the horrors of immigration, or joining in the attacks on the religious beliefs of Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. And it hasn’t kept them from running thousands of ads about “spy gate” and calling for indictments against the usual list of Trump targets.

    There’s little doubt about why Falun Gong is hanging tight with the Trump campaign. Beyond cheering for Trump to bring it all down during what’s known as “the final period of the Last Havoc,” their beliefs mingle pseudo-ancient mysticism with “extremely conservative cultural worldviews.” That includes a belief that all atheists are bound for a properly evangelical level of eternal torture, that evolution is “a deadly idea born of the Red Specter,” and that homosexuality is a crime equivalent to international terrorism. In a strong parallel with Trump, the group teaches about “the blind arrogance of the world scientific community" and the “limits of the scientific paradigm” and attacks both archaeology and geology to defend a kind of creationism akin to that expressed by the most fundamentalist churches in the United States. The leadership emphatically does not believe in climate change, and supports climate change deniers. They support racial “purity” including miscegenation laws. Falun Gong also has no fondness for the basic idea of democracy, which is seen as too “individualistic.”

    Other highlights include a belief in shape-shifting aliens who once inhabited the Earth and that Falun Gong’s leaders can both levitate and walk through walls. How that fits in with a support for Trump is unclear … but it certainly sounds like a story that would work well on Infowars. And they run a dance troop that sings about the evils of evolution, feminism, and race-mixing. If all this sounds like someone sat down in 1990 to gather up the worst of fundamentalism and Scientology then lightly covered the whole thing with a veneer of “rediscovered” ancient beliefs that never existed … you got it in one.

    The persecution that Falun Gong has received in China is more than regrettable, it’s criminal. Tens of thousands of its practitioners were arrested at Tiananmen Square, and the group was deeply involved in efforts to end the rule of the totalitarian Chinese leadership … even if they were less than interested in replacing them with a secular democracy. The abuse of Falun Gong within China represents exactly the kind of human rights abuse that Trump should be fighting.

    But actions in the United States show that a group ostensibly founded to defend religious freedom in another country can become a major player in the politics of the United States … so long as it puts aside those original goals and concentrates on hating the right people. And buying enough media.

    This comment stood out for me:

    One clue is that all the End Times movements around the world, no matter what religion they are rooted in, seem to be homophobic and bitterly opposed to feminism. The road from religion to “let’s blow it all up” is paved with gender angst.
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  7. #502
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    Re: The Run to the WH

    I was very surprised after reading the beginning that the group was Falun Gong, as they've, of course, long been known for their persecution by the Chinese government and, in news about that, were always described as a very peaceful religion mostly being about meditation.

    Since the image I previously had in mind showed them as humble and somewhat powerless, I was wondering how they're funded to do all this big spending...

  8. #503

    Re: The Run to the WH

    It seems Inslee is dropping out. I liked his focus on climate change.
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  9. #504

    Re: The Run to the WH

    Adam Parkhomenko
    Devastating ad for McConnell
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

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