Category Archives: Congress

Nevadans ‘greet’ Democrat Warren in Reno || Oct 03 2019

Fauxcahontas on the run

Trump Proposes Changes to EPA Rules on Methane Leaks || Aug 29 2019

EPA Moves to Revoke Rules on Oil Industry Leaks of Methane, a Damaging Greenhouse Gas || KTLA

 

“The Trump administration moved Thursday to revoke regulations on methane leaks from oil facilities, a proposal environmental advocates said would renounce key federal authority to regulate the climate-damaging gas.

The proposed rule follows President Donald Trump’s directions to remove “unnecessary and duplicative regulatory burdens from the oil and gas industry,” Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a statement.

Exxon Mobil and some other oil giants — wary of blowback from growing public concern over global warming — joined environmental groups in urging the Trump administration to drop the rollback on methane controls, although several state-level and national industry groups welcomed the easing.

The step would be the latest in a series unwinding the Obama administration’s efforts to cut climate-changing emissions from the oil, gas and coal industries, including a 2016 rule regulating oil-industry methane leaks as a pollutant under the federal Clean Air Act.

Trump has pushed to open vast expanses of U.S. wilderness and coastline to oil and gas drilling, speed construction of petroleum pipelines and ease regulations on the industry, dismissing calls from scientists in and out of government for rapid cuts in oil, gas and coal emissions to stave off the worst of climate change.

…President Barack Obama’s administration had cited legal authority under the Clean Air Act to require companies to detect and stop methane leaks at oil and gas sites. The Trump administration contends that Obama’s EPA skipped required legal steps in making that decision, and its proposal Thursday seeks public comment on the issue.

The Obama-era requirements to find and fix methane leaks imposed “a disproportionate effect on small businesses” in the oil industry, Milito said. “A lot of mom and pops would have their wells shut in, elderly people with wells on their properties that could be shut down” under the rules to be rescinded.

But the rollbacks on emissions from oilfields, storage sites and pipelines have split the oil industry, worrying some in the industry about growing blowback in a world increasingly mindful of climate change.”

….read more at: KTLA

Marianne Williamson Says What Nobody Else Will || Jul 30 2019

Marianne Makes Fundamentally Different Case For Change, Gets Cut Off During Debate

||  CNN

Special Counsel Falls Apart Under Tough Questioning by Rep Collins | July 25 2019

Rep. Doug Collins’ full questioning of Robert Mueller | Mueller testimony

|| Youtube

Collins catches Mueller in perjury before Congress.

Chao and McConnell Ties to China Says NYT – June 04 2019

NYT Confirms Schweizer ‘Secret Empires’ Bombshell on Elaine Chao and Mitch McConnell’s China Ties

|| Breitbart

 

“Trump Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao “repeatedly used her connections and celebrity status in China to boost the profile of [her family’s shipping] company, which benefits handsomely from the expansive industrial policies in Beijing that are at the heart of diplomatic tensions with the United States,” according to a New York Times exposé on Monday that builds off research from Peter Schweizer’s bestselling book Secret Empires.

Chao, who is also the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), has been the subject of intense criticism over the years due to the deep financial ties between her family’s shipping business and China’s communist regime.

The nearly 6,000-word Times article begins by recounting an urgent email sent to the State Department in 2017 by an official at the American embassy in Beijing. The subject line read “Secretary Chao – Ethics Question.” According to the Times, the email concerned “a series of unorthodox requests” Chao’s office made in the run-up to her first official trip to China as Trump’s transportation secretary. Her requests included “asking federal officials to help coordinate travel arrangements for at least one family member and include relatives in meetings with government officials.”

….read more at: Breitbart

 

AMAZON OFFERED JOB TO PENTAGON OFFICIAL INVOLVED WITH $10 BILLION CONTRACT IT SOUGHT

|| Intercept

IN A FEDERAL lawsuit, the tech giant Oracle has provided new details to support its accusation that Amazon secretly negotiated a job offer with a then-Department of Defense official who helped shape the procurement process for a massive federal contract for which Amazon was a key bidder.

Amazon Web Services and Microsoft are now the two finalists to win the highly contested $10 billion contract for what is known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI. The deal, one of the largest federal contracts in U.S. history, would pay one company to provide cloud computing services in support of Defense Department operations around the world.

But the contract has been hotly contested since the department began soliciting proposals last year. Two of Amazon’s competitors, IBM and Oracle, filed complaints with the Government Accountability Office saying that the winner-take-all process unfairly favored Amazon, which is seen as an industry leader in cloud computing. When its claim was rejected, Oracle sued the government in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

Since the court battle began in 2018, Oracle has aggressively lodged conflict-of-interest accusations involving a former DOD official named Deap Ubhi, who left the department in 2017 to take a job at Amazon. In a court motion filed on Friday, Oracle alleged that while Ubhi worked on the preliminary research for the JEDI program in the late summer and fall of 2017, he was also engaged in a secret job negotiation with Amazon for months, complete with salary discussions, offers of signing bonuses, and lucrative stock options.

The motion further alleges that Ubhi did not recuse himself from the JEDI program until weeks after verbally accepting a job offer from Amazon and that he continued to receive information about Amazon’s competitors and participate in meetings about technical requirements, despite a government regulation that forbids such conflicts of interest.

“Neither Ubhi nor [Amazon Web Services] disclosed the employment discussions or job offer to DOD — not when the employment discussions started, not when the informal job offer occurred, not when the formal offer occurred, and not even when Ubhi accepted the offer,” Oracle’s motion reads.

As America’s technology companies have continued to outpace the Pentagon, the Defense Department has looked to recruit talent from Silicon Valley to help enhance its information technology.

Ubhi is a venture capitalist and technology entrepreneur who worked for Amazon before his time in government. He took a job working on a Defense Department initiative aimed at collaborating with Silicon Valley to modernize the Pentagon’s information technology systems. After working as part of a four-person team to help shape the Pentagon JEDI procurement process, he left the department and returned to Amazon in November 2017.”

….read more at: The Intercept

 

Back to the Future: U.S. Senate Debate 2016 Kamala Harris | Apr 09 2019

The Complete Debate:

|| KPBS

“Our California Counts collaborative will host a U.S. Senate debate with California Attorney General Kamala Harris, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, Duf Sundheim, Tom Del Beccaro and Ron Unz 7 p.m. at KPBS in San Diego Tuesday, May 10. The debate will air live on 88.5FM and stream on KQED.org.”

 

Amidst Record Profits Amazon and Netflix Paid No Fed Taxes | Feb 18 2019

Amazon puts the smile in federal income taxes — by not paying any

|| Seattle Times

“”Last week I suggested that Amazon isn’t so much a Seattle company as “sovereign, borderless nation-state.” It turns out I left a key descriptor out of that phrase.

That would be “taxless.”

The nation’s third-largest company booked record profits last year. But paid nothing in U.S. federal taxes.

“Zero, as in not a cent,” says Matthew Gardner, of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a D.C.-based think tank.

Amazon did pay taxes to state and foreign governments (more on that in a minute). But the financial statements mean that one of the most powerful corporate entities in the world paid fewer dollars to the upkeep of the national government than tens of millions of individuals — such as, say, your average lowly newspaper columnist.

That’s right – I’m paying more to the U.S. government for 2018 than Amazon (I’m talking about the corporate entity, not its mass of employees). So, probably, are you.

Gardner says the internet giant was able to zero out its bill — actually go below zero, as it qualified for a rebate of $129 million — in large part due to Congress and President Donald Trump’s year-old tax-cut law.

“That law didn’t reform much of anything; it was simply to slash taxes,” Gardner said. “So it isn’t surprising this is happening. Cutting corporate taxes was the whole point.”

All the way to nothing?

The company also got a series of tax credits (for equipment purchases, for example) and booked allowable business deductions (the largest of which was writing off stock options).

Businesses often pay little or no tax when they make low profits. But Amazon’s total U.S.-booked profit for 2018 nearly doubled to more than $11 billion.

Gardner isn’t saying Amazon did anything wrong, and of course its hundreds of thousands of employees pay income taxes. But last year total corporate taxes paid to the U.S. government plummeted 31 percent, a drop described by a debt watchdog group as unprecedented during a time of economic growth.”

The freight paid by U.S. businesses is already down another 18 percent in the first quarter of the 2019 year (the fiscal year for the government started last October). It’s part of the reason why the federal deficit soared 42 percent in that same quarter, despite a booming economy and no major war straining the budget.

The latest head-shaking factoid about our red ink is that the federal government next year will spend more on interest on the debt than it will on children. As one critic put it: more on the past than on the future.

Amazon’s financial statements also show it’s only the U.S. that’s letting the company contribute nothing of late.

Amazon’s total taxes paid to the U.S. and all U.S. states the past two years amounted to just $267 million (counting rebates, on more than $16 billion in profit). While its taxes paid to foreign governments totaled $1.3 billion. So a company we call “ours” contributed nearly five times as much into the kitties of countries abroad as it did here at home.

Gardner says he calls out when rich, successful companies pay nothing not because he thinks they’re evil. But because it’s “spurring a crisis of democratic legitimacy.”

It isn’t just that vital public services might go wanting (though they may). It’s that everyone else may eventually say: If even Amazon doesn’t have to pay, then why the bleep should I?

“It’s an extremely potent reinforcement of distrust,” Gardner said. “It signals strongly that we have a system that’s tilted to benefit the big and powerful, not the rest of us.”

Gardner said the obvious answer is to actually reform the tax system, so that those with an ability to pay at least contribute something.

We’re so distant right now from that more democratic ideal — the notion of asking not what your country can do for you, but what you could do for your country. Unless you’re a sovereign, borderless, taxless nation-state. Then what’s going on makes perfect sense.”

….read more from Danny Westneat at the Seattle Times

 

Netflix paid NOTHING in federal or state taxes in 2018 despite posting record profits of $845million – and even got a $22million rebate

|| DailyMail UK

 

“Netflix didn’t pay a cent in state or federal income taxes last year, despite posting its largest-ever U.S. profit in 2018 of $845million, according to a new report.

In addition, the streaming giant reported a $22 million federal tax rebate, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP).

Senior fellow at ITEP Matthew Gardner said corporations like Netflix, which has its headquarters in Los Gatos, California, are still ‘exploiting loopholes’ and called the figures ‘troubling’.

Netflix says they paid $131 million in taxes in 2018 and this is declared in financial documents. But Gardner says this figure relates to taxes paid abroad, according to a separate part of their statements.

Gardner added: ‘Fortunately, however, there is another, more complete geographic disclosure of income tax payments.

‘The notes to the financial statements have a detailed section on income taxes. And what this tells us is that all of the income taxes Netflix paid in 2018 were foreign taxes. Zero federal income taxes, zero state income taxes in the US.’

Gardner said the public is now ‘getting its first hard look at how corporate tax law changes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act affected the tax-paying habits of corporations’.

He said: ‘With a record number of subscribers, the company’s profit last year equaled its haul in the previous four years put together. When hugely profitable corporations avoid tax, that means smaller businesses and working families must make up the difference.’

….read more at: Daily Mail UK