No Tax Returns, No Presidential Election Ballot, California Democrats Tell Trump
|| PJ Media
“Jessica Levinson, a Loyola Law School professor, has no doubt someone will back a court challenge to legislation aimed at forcing President Trump to release five years of his income tax returns before the 2020 election.
“You can bet that if Governor Brown signs it, the second the ink is dry someone will sue,” Levinson told the Mercury News.
Trump refused to release his income tax returns during the 2016 presidential campaign. He was the first presidential contender to do so since President Ford.
Senate Bill 149, the Presidential Tax Transparency & Accountability Act, was approved by the California Legislature on Sept. 15. It does not specifically mentionTrump. Any candidate who refuses to release the required returns would not be allowed on the 2020 presidential primary election ballot under SB 149.
Democratic Sens. Mike McGuire and Scott Wiener, sponsors of the legislation, saidthe bill was only intended to provide voters with the information they needed to know about a candidate’s potential conflicts of interest, business dealings, financial status, and charitable donations.
“If it’s good enough for a presidential candidate, it’s certainly good enough for a governor, and all five constitutional offices,” said Anderson.
Gov. Jerry Brown (D) might hesitate to sign SB 149, if only because during the last two election cycles he refused to release his tax returns.
But if Brown does sign the Presidential Tax Transparency & Accountability Act, and if it is challenged in court, the Mercury News reported the case is expected to center on a 1995 U.S. Supreme Court case that found states can set up requirements for candidates.
However, the justices also ruled states cannot invent new qualifications for federal office beyond what is constitutional.”
Shares of U.S. Media Companies Set for Worst Month Since 2015
|| Wall Street Journal
Traditional players struggle to adapt to shift toward streaming services
“By Michael Wursthorn / WSJ
Shares of cable providers and entertainment companies in the U.S. are suffering their worst stretch in nearly two years, as traditional players struggle to adapt to a shift toward streaming services.
Americans are ditching television subscriptions in favor of viewing movies and TV shows through online services. The move disrupts a delicate ecosystem of media companies sustaining themselves on subscription fees from pay-TV providers, and echoes Amazon.com Inc.’s upending of the brick-and-mortar retail landscape.
This development, along with disruptions related to major summer storms, has been pushing down stocks of major cable and broadcast companies.
In a sign of the diverging fortunes, Roku Inc., an early player in streaming television, priced its initial public offering late Wednesday. The IPO price valued the company at about $1.3 billion, according to a person familiar with the deal.
A group of 13 media companies in the S&P 500 have fallen 3.5% so far in September, on track for its steepest monthly decline since December 2015, while the S&P 500 has gained 1.4%.
Media shares got a bit of a reprieve Wednesday, rising 1% in their biggest gain since late July as the group joined an upswing in the broader market. Doug Mitchelson, a media analyst with UBS Group AG, attributed the gains to the Republican tax overhaul, which was unveiled Wednesday and proposed sharply reduced tax rates on businesses and many individuals.
“One of the top reasons for cord-cutting is affordability,” said Mr. Mitchelson. “A healthier consumer is a better spender for media companies.”
A selloff in the sector gathered pace on Sept. 7, when two industry giants gave updates that disappointed investors. Comcast Corp. said it expects to lose as many as 150,000 video subscribers in the third quarter.
“There’s a general level of concern around the major media companies having to do with cord-cutting and audience trends,” said Bryan Kraft, a media analyst with Deutsche Bank. “Those concerns aren’t new, but when there’s data to support they’re getting worse, you tend to see the stocks react accordingly.”
Even as the media sector over all holds on to gains for the year, up 3.9%, analysts say shares could slide further as companies cope with greater competition from rivals who are stepping up spending on content creation, such as Netflix Inc. and Apple Inc., as well as a challenging ratings environment.
National Football League games, usually considered a reliable draw for TV viewers and ad dollars, have been another headache for media companies. Ratings for this season’s NFL games have been mostly flat or down, compared with the year-earlier period, said analysts, who added that disruptions wrought by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma could be partly to blame.
NFL ratings could also be affected by players’ national anthem protests after President Donald Trump blasted players who participated. DirecTV is letting at least some customers cancel subscriptions to its Sunday ticket package of NFL games and obtain refunds if they cite the protests as the reason.
“These extraordinary hurricanes have had a pretty severe impact on viewership, but it’s difficult to quantify” the impact from those storms alone, said Mr. Mitchelson. “Investors are nervous NFL ratings could end up down for the season.”
Besides that, new online “skinny bundles”—slimmed-down packages of channels from the likes of Hulu and YouTube TV—have left out many cable channels that are part of the traditional bundle. That will put pressure on some channel owners as more consumers sign up for those services, said Mr. Kraft, the media analyst at Deutsche Bank.
“Those services are seeing a lot of subscriber growth,” Mr. Kraft said, although he added the exact size of that population is hard to peg since some companies don’t release specific numbers.
Still, analysts pointed to Charter Communications Inc. as a bright spot among the media landscape. The company last year bought Time Warner Cable Inc. and Bright House Networks, making it one of the largest cable operators in the U.S.
DirecTV Offers Refunds After Customer Service Bombarded With Cancellation Demands Over Anthem Protests
“Angry Americans are cancelling their Sunday NFL packages with DirecTV and some are receiving refunds after citing anthem protests for their reason.
Social media was set ablaze after President Trump lashed out at NFL players protesting the national anthem on Friday while at a campaign rally for Senator Luther Strange (R-AL).
The NFL protests EXPLODED Sunday and spiraled into an all out war between patriotic Americans and anti-American leftists.
On Saturday the NFL Commissioner lectured President Trump — not the jackass players kneeling during the national anthem.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell attacked Trump saying the president’s comments show “an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL.”
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that DirecTV customer service received a high volume of calls from angry people cancelling their Sunday NFL packages after the anthem protests spiraled out of control. According to a few customers WSJ spoke with, they are getting some refunds.
DirecTV subscribers contacted by The Wall Street Journal showed the satellite broadcaster was offering at least some refunds.
Marc Hoffman, a longtime subscriber to Sunday Ticket, which gives sports fans the ability to watch every Sunday game, said in an interview he was able to cancel his subscription and receive a refund on Monday. The package costs around $280 per season.
“I honestly didn’t think I’d get a refund,” Mr. Hoffman said. “I know their guidelines, I just wanted to make a point.”
Chris Baker, who lives in Indiana, reluctantly canceled his Sunday Ticket subscription, but not precisely as a response to the protests.
“I explained to them I was tired of politics in sports, and it’s not how I want to spend my Sunday, watching all that transpire,” he said he told a DirecTV representative. He said the representative “insinuated there was a high volume of calls calling into cancel.”
NFL-owned RedZone which also provides Sunday football games was bombarded by cancellations as well according to the WSJ.
Chuck Plavk, a veteran who resides in Wisconsin, canceled his subscription to the channel from Charter Communications ’ Spectrum Cable. He said when he called, the customer service representative said, “everybody’s calling about that today.” Unlike Sunday Ticket, which is only available through DirecTV, RedZone is available through a number of cable providers and streaming outlets.“
UC Doles Out Generous Pensions, Forcing Students to Pay With Higher Tuition
“As parents and students start writing checks for the first in-state tuition hike in seven years at the University of California, they hope the extra money will buy a better education.
But a big chunk of that new money — perhaps tens of millions of dollars — will go to pay for the faculty’s increasingly generous retirements.
Last year, more than 5,400 UC retirees received pensions over $100,000.Someone without a pension would need savings between $2 million and $3 million to guarantee a similar income in retirement.
The number of UC retirees collecting six-figure pensions has increased 60% since 2012, a Times analysis of university data shows. Nearly three dozen received pensions in excess of $300,000 last year, four times as many as in 2012. Among those joining the top echelon was former UC President Mark Yudof, who worked at the university for only seven years — including one year on paid sabbatical and another in which he taught one class per semester.”
Trump Denies Visas to Seven Countries Which Conceal Their Citizens’ Identity
“President Donald Trump has identified the foreign governments which have failed to provide “baseline” identification about their citizens who ask for visas to travel to the United States.
The announcement clears the way for customs officials to deny visas to citizens of the countries, which are Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen. In addition, citizens of Iraq and Yemen who request visas will also face extra scrutiny because of the religious and civil wars under in those two countries, says the new policy.
“Following an extensive review by the Department of Homeland Security, we are taking action today to protect the safety and security of the American people by establishing a minimum security baseline for entry into the United States,” Trump said in a statement.
The new policy will likely be described as a “Muslim Ban” by Islamic advocacy groups in the United States because seven of the nine countries in the announcement are predominantly Islamic. However, according to the Trump statement, all other countries — including roughly 60 countries with either partial or majority Muslim populations — complied with the new baseline requirements to share information about their citizens who request visas to visit the United States.
The policy will apply to foreign citizens who are seeking to visit the United States for business or tourism and will also cover people applying for visas as would-be refugees or immigrants.
To frustrate activist judges, the policy does not apply to visitors who got vises prior to September 24. Officials also released a detailed description of the new rules, which included a legal justification of the president’s policy to set entry rules. The legal explanation is needed because left-wing judges are trying to create new rules to allow foreigners into the nation despite opposition from the President and the federal government.”
An NBC/WSJ poll released Thursday reveals that more Republican voters consider themselves a “supporter of Donald Trump” rather than a “supporter of the Republican Party.”
A whopping 58 percent of respondents indicated they considered themselves Trump supporters, while only 38 percent indicated they considered themselves supporters of the Republican party. 2 percent see themselves as both, while 1 percent said they were neither.
After watching the Republican “majority” being held hostage by the thoroughly loathsome John McCain for the last two months this shouldn’t surprise anyone.
Despite the Republican domination at the federal and state level, the party is a bit adrift. It is nigh impossible to quickly state what the GOP stands for anymore.
Are they the small government party? No, they simply favor a slightly less bloated federal bureaucracy than do the Democrats.
Are they the party of lower taxes? As I mentioned in this video earlier, they are the party that likes to talk about lower taxes. A lot.
If pressed, most Republicans would probably just say that the Republicans are “not the Democrats” when trying to describe their own party. The Democrats are even more adrift after Barack Obama left the party’s cupboard bare, so that is enough for a lot of people.
The people voting Republican all over America these last few years have very little in common with the Republicans in Washington and the latter group is almost completely unaware of that. They better get a grip on that soon.”
Tucker Carlson Destroys Leftie Hollywood Hack Rob Reiner Over Crazy Russia War Ad
“Tucker Carlson invited Hollywood director Rob Reiner tonight to discuss his latest Russia War video ad he released with Morgan Freeman and a group of leftie and anti-Trump RINOs.
Morgan Freeman told Americans this week in the latest anti-Trump Hollywood production, “We are at war with Russia.”
The Committee to Investigate Russia produced the video this week. The committee includes Rob Reiner, James Clapper, and Max Boot.
Tucker Carlson had Rob Reiner on his show and destroyed him over this Hollywood conspiracy.
Tucker Carlson: I agree with you we are very divided. And maybe this is one of the reasons. A lot of this is disingenuous. Anyone who looks at cyber warfare will tell you, any honest person, will tell you the Chinese military is the primary culprit in the United States, hacked into the White House not too long ago… Nobody said anything. You guys in Hollywood sell your movies in China. You bow to the imperatives of their propaganda and censorship office. You change your movies to suit them. And yet no one says we’re at war with China.”
“China has never been shy about its desire to acquire “soft power” – the kind of cultural and economic influence that can’t be wielded by military might. And Hollywood has often been a partner in its project.
China’s bid for soft power was on show this week, as Sony Pictures Entertainment formed an alliance with Dalian Wanda, a Chinese company that has become one of the world’s largest media empires, in a deal announced Friday. While the partnership was smaller than some of Dalian Wanda’s previous acquisitions, it attracted attention as the Chinese company’s third major deal in Hollywood this year.
These deals have sparked concern over whether China’s expanding influence in Hollywood could lead to more pro-Chinese propaganda in U.S. films. The Chinese government tightly controls media content, and Hollywood studios have been known to alter films to feature China or the Chinese government in a more flattering light to gain access to the country’s lucrative film market.
For Hollywood, China provides the blockbuster combination of a huge movie market and cash-rich equity funds that are eager to invest in films and companies. The Chinese box office is on pace to soon surpass the U.S. as the world’s biggest market, perhaps next year.
On Sept. 15, 16 members of Congress mentioned the Chinese company by name in a letter that called for greater scrutiny of foreign investments. The 14 Republicans and two Democrats said that Dalian Wanda’s acquisitions have raised concerns “about China’s efforts to censor topics and exert propaganda controls on American media.”
The partnership — in which the Chinese company will help promote Sony films in China and co-finance some of Sony’s biggest China movie releases — comes on the heels of two major acquisitions. In January, Dalian Wanda announced the acquisition of Legendary Entertainment, the Hollywood production company behind such blockbusters as “Jurassic World” and “The Dark Knight.” In March, AMC Entertainment, a U.S. cinema chain previously acquired by Dalian Wanda, made a bid for Carmike Cinemas that would make Dalian Wanda Group the owner of the biggest cinema chain in the United States.
The Chinese company is expanding elsewhere, acquiring cinema chains in Australia and Europe in steps toward its goal of controlling 20 percent of the global film market by 2020. It is also heavily investing in China’s domestic industry, including a 400-acre film studio slated to open in 2017 that will have 30 soundstages, an underwater stage, and a permanent set of a New York City street.”
The NFL Is Dying As Middle Class Americans Say “TURN IT OFF”
“The first two weeks of ratings for the NFL were down twelve and then fifteen percent respectively.
That’s a huge drop and a downward trend that has owners and the league worried as advertising profits are certain to slide as well.
The timing of the decline in ratings is clear – as some players chose to use their platform to push an anti-American/anti-police/anti-military/anti-Trump agenda, millions of fans responded with a collective HELL NO and found other things to occupy their free time.
Last season then San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance as it played before the game. His protest was a Black Lives Matter inspired gesture – the same Black Lives Matter group that has on more than one occasion called for the killing of police and white people.
Kaepernick now finds himself on the outside of the NFL looking in. He was dropped by the 49er’s for his poor play. Other players this season are now staging similar protests even as an increasing number of fans would clearly rather those players focus on playing football for which they are paid millions of dollars per season for doing so.
And so the ratings continue to drop by double-digits. A New York Post report indicated a ten percent drop in ratings will cost the major networks of CBS, Fox, ESPN, and NBC $200 million in lost operating income.
That’s real money.
Should ratings decline by twenty percent the league would experience a full-blown fiscal crisis that could threaten the very viability of the league itself. Players are protesting themselves right out of a job. A handful of spoiled millionaire athletes taking on the traditional values of millions of Middle Class Americans isn’t good for business.”