Anthony Weiner Gets Sentenced for 21 Months

Former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner was sentenced to 21 months in prison for soliciting an underage woman to undress and touch herself over a Skype call between the two, the New York Post reports.

  • The woman, who initiated the conversation by messaging him over Twitter, was fifteen at the time of the two-month sexting ordeal.
  • Wiener unsuccessfully attempted to plead for probation given that he continues his rehabilitation with Sex Addicts Anonymous.
  • In addition to the 21 month jail sentence, Weiner must pay a $10,000 fine and participate in three years of post-prison release supervision.

Weiner will enter prison on November 6th, but the location is still unknown. Wiener’s lawyer requested a low-security prison near New York, specifically Schuylkill Corrections Facility in Pennsylvania.

President Donald Trump’s Cuba Policy

MIAMI, Florida – In the middle of the day on June 16, 2017, President Donald Trump gave a speech in the most populous area of Cuban-Americans to unveil his new Cuban policy. In the speech, he detailed a plan to eventually bring freedom to an oppressed Cuban populace:

President Donald Trump’s Cuba Policy Limits Economic Transactions with Cuba’s Military

The Cornerstone of President Donald Trump’s Cuba Policy is completely banning any financial transactions with the many branches of the military-linked corporation GAESA. The Grupo de Administración Empresarial, President Trump says, attempts to control all profitable sectors of Cuba’s economy.

Instead of dealing with the “obstacle to the Cuban people’s prosperity and economic freedom,” President Trump is limiting all legal transactions with Cubans to the private business sector. Due to Cuba’s communist central government, much of the economy bases off government entities at the expense of the disproportionately-small private sector.

With this ban of business dealings with government-run financial organizations, President Trump is attempting to encourage a freer economy that Cuban citizens have not experienced since the Communist takeover by Fidel Castro in the mid-20th century.

Since that Communist takeover in 1961, the island nation has seen its economic freedom level drop to its current #178 ranking in the World. The Economic Freedom Index, which measures the chances of one’s prosperity without government, gave Cuba such a low score due to its “bloated government sector” and “tight government control.”

Institutes a Travel Ban – but not the one you are thinking about

President Donald Trump’s Middle East Travel Ban garners much of the media attention most days, but President Trump plans to institute another Travel Ban – this time involving Cuba. But unlike his Middle East ban, the Cuba ban attempts to limit the number of people who can leave the country and enter Cuba.

President Trump’s Cuba travel ban will strictly enforce the 12 authorized categories allowing American citizens to travel to Cuba. The list of 12 categories clearly state the situations in which you do not need to apply for a license to visit Cuba.

President Trump’s new strict enforcement would force as potential traveler to travel to the island nation with an American-run tour group, unlike the former policy that gave tourists freedom to travel alone, book their own hotels, and eat at their choice of restaurants. However, those travelling for academic reasons and those visiting family members in Cuba are exempt from the travel ban.

President Donald Trump’s Cuba Policy also forces these tour groups to design daylong itineraries that would expose the harsh lifestyles of typical Cuban citizens. To put this into perspective, most Cubans only make about $20 a month (but do “enjoy” a range of government subsidies).

Reaffirms the Cuban Embargo

Enacted during the Cold War, the Cuban Embargo is a “commercial, economic, and financial embargo imposed by the United States on Cuba.” Called “el bloqueo” (“the blockade in Spanish) in Cuba, the embargo was imposed due to a combination of Cuba’s communist government and its support of the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

The main points of the Cuban embargo are not much different from the first two points of this article, as the embargo limits the types of business deals companies can make with their Cuban counterparts and limits travel to the island.

However, this move did not come without opposition from the opposite party. Democratic operatives argue that keeping the embargo hurts Cuba’s citizens more than it hurts the government and has failed to achieve its main goals: creating better living conditions for the citizens. While all of this may be true, the main argument for the embargo is that Cuba has not remotely attempted to improve their citizens’ lives.

Cancels President Obama’s “One-Sided” Deal

Ever since former President Barack Obama entered politics, he believed the Cuban Embargo was not achieving the goals it was meant to achieve: increased human rights for Cuban citizens and ease the stringent government-run economy that impoverished many Cubans. During his eight-year Presidency, President Obama worked with the communist Cuban government in improving the relations between the two nations the lives of the citizens of the island.

In 2011, President Obama lifted restrictions on travelling to the nation and sending remittances to family in Cuba. However, only a small portion of the embargo was lifted by Obama at that time, as he did not believe the Cuban government made enough strides to improving the lives of their people to justify lifting more of the embargo.

Finally, President Barack Obama announced that the restoration of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba in 2014, a decision that was largely discussed in a private meeting between the two nations and Canada. The landmark decision resulted in the re-opening of the U.S. embassy in Havana and led to President Obama’s visit to Cuba, the first of such since 1928.

However, President Trump is keeping many of the policies enacted by President Obama during Mr. Obama’s presidency. For one, he is keeping the “wet foot, dry foot” policy that allows those who reach the United States to stay and eventually become a citizen. In addition, he is allowing the U.S. embassy in Havana to keep its doors open and operate as a diplomatic center for the two differing nations.

Promises to keep Sanctions until Cuba

President Donald Trump made one promise to the American citizens as well Cuban officials: as long as the Cuban government fails to help their own people, all of the aforementioned sanctions will remain in place.

“With God’s help, a free Cuba is what we will soon achieve.” President Trump wants the Cuban people to enjoy many of the freedoms Americans take for granted: free speech (speech is suppressed under the Community law, dissenters are typically thrown in jail), respecting human life, and promoting fair law throughout the nation.

But with the ruthless Castro family and their Communist beliefs still in power, economic sanctions may not be a compelling enough action to get the historically rigid leaders to begin the process of making their country what it was before they took power: a prospering, free nation.

Sources

Fox News – “Cuba deal rollback: Trump says he’s nixing Obama’s ‘one-sided’ pact”

Pro/Con – Cuba Embargo

WH.gov – “Fact Sheet on Cuba Policy”

Heritage Foundation – “Cuba Economy”

Policy Guide: President Donald Trump’s Infrastructure Plan

Ever since announcing that he would run for the Presidency, Donald Trump has attempted to devise a plan that would rehab a quickly deteriorating American infrastructure.

Over a week of events focusing on America’s framework, President Donald Trump laid out his five-point plan to begin the rehabilitation of the United States’ ailing infrastructure:

Some Context – America’s Infrastructure is indeed very bad

Statistics from both the President’s administration and non-partisan committees show that America’s infrastructure is indeed very bad.

According to the President’s website, America’s infrastructure is ranked 12th in the world, something that his team finds “unacceptable.”

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, a non-partisan organization that denotes a grade for America’s infrastructure every four years, gave America’s framework a D+ grade. Translation: The United States’ infrastructure is in poor to fair condition, and is deteriorating and in need of rehabilitation.

Judging solely by those figures, the United States needs a quick plan that will rehabilitate a vulnerable American infrastructure. However, President Trump and his team have devised an intricate five-part plan to fix the nation’s poor infrastructure.

Idea #1: Lower the Average Permit Time

Most of today’s infrastructure projects may take up to ten years to get the necessary approvals and permits needed to begin the project.

However, President Donald Trump’s Infrastructure Plan attempts to lower that number to two years, an eight-year reduction to “spur growth and investment.”

The President’s plan will form a single federal council to deliver the first and only “yes” or “no” to a proposed project. All proposed projects will be filed on a single dashboard for the council, and agencies that fail to hit deadlines will be penalized.

In addition, President Donald Trump’s Infrastructure Plan includes slashing many regulations that impede the progress of projects. President Trump exemplified this point during a speech on Infrastructure by dropping a 70-page binder containing a single environmental regulation that was stopping the building of a road in Maryland.

Idea #2: Rely on the Private Sector to fund Projects

While private companies spend about 4x more on infrastructure than the government (Private: about $2 trillion, Government: about $472 billion), the federal government still funds many public projects like bridges and roads.

However, President Donald Trump’s Infrastructure Plan hopes to encourage the private sector to fund many of the projects that were formerly funded by government grants.

The goal is to get private companies to invest both their large amount of collective cash and knowledge into the nation’s framework to rebuild much of the at-risk infrastructure.

Idea #3: Focus on Rural Infrastructure

Although President Trump is cutting a large amount of the funding of the Department of Agriculture in his proposed budget for the fiscal year 2018, he is planning to invest a large amount of money into the areas’ infrastructure.

About $25 billion will go to rebuilding the “crumbling” infrastructure of rural areas as part of his initial $200 billion investment into America’s infrastructure. Over the span of his Presidency, Mr. Trump wants to spend at least a total of $1 trillion on rehabbing the United States’ framework.

Idea #4: Invest in “Transformative” Projects

While the President is unclear in the details of his plan, President Trump wants to invest $15 billion into “transformative projects.”

With the definition of transformative as “causing a marked change in someone or something,” it can be assumed that the projects the President is alluding to are of grand scale and will benefit a large amount of citizens.

However, neither the President nor his team have described what the projects will be.

Idea #5: Step up Number of Apprenticeships

An apprentice is a “person who is learning a trade from a skilled employer, having agreed to work for a fixed period at low wages” (Source: Google Dictionary). Along the same lines, an apprenticeship is “the position of an apprentice” (again, Google Dictionary).

This system of apprenticeships is a large part of President Donald Trump’s Infrastructure Plan, as he wants to add 1 million apprentices in the next two years.

The goal: “make America ready for the future with a work-force training initiative focused on skill-based apprenticeship education.”

Sources

WH.gov – “President Trump’s Plan to Rebuild America’s Infrastructure”

Trump promises ‘massive permit reform’ in infrastructure bill

American Society of Civil Engineers – 2017 Infrastructure Report Card

Following President Trump’s Plans, a new Coal Mine opens in Pennsylvania

(RWB) After vowing to “Make Coal Great Again” and bring back coal jobs, a new mine opened under President Donald Trump. Here are the facts of this opening:

Following President Trump’s Plans, a new Coal Mine opens in Pennsylvania

On Thursday, June 8, 2017, a new mine run by Corsa Coal Company opened its doors.

Operating in Somerset County, PA (just outside of Pittsburgh), the mine represents a return to the roots an area that once produced a large amount of coal for the United States.

It “will be a boon to the struggling local economy”

During a video to laud the new opening, Corsa CEO George Dethlefson said that the mine “will be a boon to the struggling local economy.”

A longtime host on a Harrisburg radio station, R.J. Harris, reiterated Mr. Dethlefson’s thoughts by stating that the mine will be a “shot in the arm” for the economy.

Mr. Dethlefson also said that about 400 people applied for the 70 initial job openings, and there may be up to 100 full time jobs as production picks up.

This new Mine follows one of the President’s campaign promises

During his campaign and following presidency, President Donald Trump has promised to support coal miners and revamp a dying industry.

On March 28, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order that reversed a ban on coal leasing on federal lands, end rulings curbing methane emissions from oil and gas consumption, and reduces the weight of climate change and carbon emissions in policy and infrastructure permitting decisions.

During a speech announcing his plan to pull out the Paris Climate Deal, the President alluded to the opening of the mine: “We’re having a big opening in two weeks … a big opening of a brand-new mine.”

The President originally planned to attend opening, but instead recorded a video that played during the opening.

He said: “One by one, we’re eliminating the regulations that threaten your jobs, and that’s one of the big reasons you’re opening today: Less regulation.”

He also added: “We have withdrawn the United States from the horrendous Paris climate accord, something that would have put our country back decades and decades, we would have never allowed ourselves to be great again.”

In addition to his statements on the matter, a few Trump-esque “Make Coal Great Again” items were spread throughout the event.

The Opening Contrasts the Actions of the current PA Governor

During the opening of the mine, Democratic Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf said the “mine was part of an effort to bring back jobs and industry to the state.”

He also said, “We have not always capitalized on our standing as one of the world’s leaders in these resources, but we’re changing that.”

Mr. Wolf also granted about $3 million to the project, helping fund the total $15 million undertaking.

However, his words and funding for the program during the event contrast to his prior actions on the issue.

During the Presidential election campaigns, Mr. Wolf was an avid supporter of Hillary Clinton, who promised to “put a lot of coal miners out of work.”

The Pennsylvanian governor is also a firm supporter of the Paris Climate Accord, which levies regulations on industries like coal in an effort to reverse the effects of climate change.

The Coal Industry has been rapidly declining recently

In recent years, coal was been in a downturn due to a combination of cheaper natural gas and severe environmental regulations put into place by former President Barack Obama.

Many mines are closing (over a dozen are planning to close this year) and many former miners are out of jobs, but openings like this offer a glimmer of hope for both companies and workers.

Still, many experts on the subject believe that the addition of jobs is only temporary, as automation is expected to be able to replace many of the workers.

Sources

Metro (UK) – “Donald Trump flanked by coal miners as he reverses climate change policies”

Fox News Insider – “First New Coal Mine of Trump Era Opens in Pennsylvania”

The Hill – “Trump celebrates coal mine opening in Pennsylvania”

Philadelphia Inquirer – “New coal mine touted by Trump opens in Pennsylvania”

President Donald Trump’s Tax Reform: The Definitive Guide

As part of his promised “America first” political agenda, President Donald Trump has proposed a series of massive tax cuts for businesses and citizens alike.

Here are the facts of President Donald Trump’s Tax Reform:

Personal Taxes will be lower and simpler to file

As the tax plan currently stands, there are seven separate tax brackets with tax percentages peaking at a bit over 40%. In addition, the federal tax code is an overwhelming 73,954 pages (as of 2013; Source: CNN Money).

Statistics show that the current tax code is far too difficult for the average citizen to understand. According to the White House’s official website, “Taxpayers spend nearly 7 billion hours complying with the tax code each year, and nearly 90% of taxpayers need help filing their taxes.”

However, President Donald Trump’s Tax Reform aims to simplify the current mind-puzzling tax code to make filing taxes a less taxing process.

The President’s first order of business is to reduce the number of tax brackets form seven to three; instead of brackets that top out at over 40%, the President’s plan makes three simple brackets: 10%, 25%, and 35%.

His next order of business includes condensing the number of pages in the tax code and the number of forms in the IRS tax code. Instead of the nearly 200 forms in the tax code and the 211 pages in your typical 1040 form, President Trump wants to condense each case into one.

Overall, the President’s goal is simple: allows Americans to keep more of their money to spend on other important aspects of their life.

Corporate taxes will be significantly lowered

The current business tax code has rates ranging from 15% to 35% and includes many tax breaks that allows companies to engage in their own special interests.

The President wants to eliminate the range of percentages and have a simple 15% flat tax rates for all business sizes.

In addition, President Trump’s Tax Reform includes following through on a huge campaign promise: protecting American workers by emphasizing American businesses over its foreign competition.

Through a combination of a Territorial tax system and a one-time tax on overseas dollars, the President is looking to make the American homeland the #1 spot for businesses to build their new factories.

Lastly, the President wants to eliminate the tax loop holes that allow companies to pay lower than their “fair share” of taxes. Ironically, the company that has been bashing Trump about paying no taxes, the New York Times, used corporate loopholes to pay zero taxes in 2014.

Eliminates taxes and tax breaks that hurt the average citizen

The wealthy in the United States are notorious for hiring an army of lawyers to find every single loophole to get out of paying for their taxes.

As one who has been able to chop off chunks of his taxes during his time as a business owner, President Trump knows these loopholes and is now planning to use his newfound power to close them off.

All loopholes will not be sealed off, however, as “Home ownership, charitable giving, and retirement savings will be protected.”

In addition, President Trump wants to eliminate a series of taxes that he believes are either duplicative or plain theft of the citizens’ money.

First is the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), a two-part system that requires each taxpayer to do their taxes twice to determine the higher amount. The President’s team thinks this makes “no sense” and wants to enact “one simple tax code.”

Second is the death tax, a tax that takes a portion out of one’s estate after he or she dies. President Trump is looking to eliminate this tax to assure “their children aren’t hit with a huge tax when they die.”

Third is perhaps the lowest tax, but a highly impactful one for President Trump: the Obamacare tax. Although the tax is a measly 3.8%, Mr. Trump wants to destroy this “direct hit on investment income and small business owners.”

What is and is not included in the reform

In addition to all of the aforementioned parts of President Donald Trump’s Tax Reform, there are a few notable exceptions from the plan.

For one, President Trump is leaving his ambitious Infrastructure plan, which includes investing $1 trillion in American Infrastructure, out of his tax reform plan.

However, some of the parts he included in his plan are highly impactful as well.

The most prominent example is the President’s plan to double the standard deduction, meaning married couples will have to pay zero dollars in taxes on their first $24,000 of income.

Experts say the reform will lower the federal revenue and heighten the deficit

With the lowering of taxes comes a shortfall in government revenue.

Economists are saying that the drastic tax cuts the President is planning to pass would “significantly reduce federal revenue” and “balloon the federal debt.”

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a bi-partisan organization, estimates that the cuts would cause a loss of approximately $3-7 trillion in federal revenue over the next decade.

However, President Trump already has a plan to combat this situation. In addition to cutting taxes, the President is looking to cut a large portion of federal spending over the next decade to balance the budget and reduce the debt.

With this year’s budget and future budget plans, President Trump is looking to cut about $3.6 trillion in federal spending over the next decade.

While the numbers are not exact, they show that a combination of tax cuts and government spending cuts will balance each other out and not increase already monumental federal debt.

Sources

“ABC – What we know (and don’t) about Trump’s tax reform plan”

CNN – “The 1-page White House handout on Trump’s tax proposal”

WH.gov – “President Trump Proposed a Massive Tax Cut. Here’s What You Need to Know.”

The Hill – “Trump to leave infrastructure out of tax reform”

ABC – “What’s in the Trump tax plan that promises ‘massive’ cuts”

The Hill – “Five tax reform issues dividing Republicans”

Chicago Tribune – “Trump budget cuts spending by $3.6 trillion over 10 years, with deep cuts to safety net”

The Definitive Guide: President Donald Trump’s Border Wall

President Donald Trump wants to build a Wall to Keep Illegal Immigrants – and the Problems associated with them – out

During his campaign, President Donald Trump promised to build a wall along the American-Mexican border to keep illegal immigrants out of the country.

However, included in his plan to halt the flow of people is to also stop many of the problems associated with the illegals, many of which are negative for the United States.

Some facts on illegal immigration and illegal immigrants.

  1. Illegal Immigrants cost a collective $113 Billion per year
  2. Illegal Immigrants Cost Each Native, Tax-Paying Household About $1,117
  3. Illegal Immigrants are 3X More Likely to Commit a Crime
  4. Illegal Immigrants Reduces Wages in a Field in an Area
  5. ¾ of people on ‘Most Wanted List’ are Illegal Immigrants

A main argument against the wall is that it will not actually deter illegal immigrants from entering the country. However, the President has attempted to assure everyone that it will: “Walls work. Just ask Israel.”

The Border Wall will be a Costly Venture

During the campaign trail, President Donald Trump estimated the border wall would cost about $12 billion to build. Republicans Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell put the figure a little higher at $15 billion.

Democrats, on the contrary, have been saying the cost would be much higher than what the Republicans estimated, putting the number at $70 billion and above.

However, a Department of Homeland Security report seen by Reuters put the cost at about $21.6 billion, a figure higher than the Republicans estimated and much lower than the Dems hypothesized.

In addition, the same report also showed that the wall would take up to 3.5 years to be fully constructed.

Sources: Reuters – “Exclusive – Trump border ‘wall’ to cost $21.6 billion, take 3.5 years to build: internal report,” NBC – “Donald Trump’s Border Wall: A ‘Progress’ Report”

The Source of Funding is Unknown at this point

During his campaign, now-President Donald Trump promised to make Mexico pay for the wall. As expected, Mexican President Enrique Nieto forcefully told Trump that his country would not.

Of course, Mr. Nieto was mistakenly thinking that he would have to send a check to Capitol Hill, but there are varieties of other options:

  1. The Border Wall Funding Act of 2017: Proposed by Mike Rogers (R-Ala), the bill puts a 2% tax on the approximately 24.3 billion sent to Mexico in remittances each year. Source: NPR – “A Proposed New Tax, Mainly On Latinos, To Pay For Trump’s Border Wall”
  2. Taxing Imports from Mexico: By levying taxes on imports from Mexico, the United States would gain a large portion of new tax revenue that would eventually pay off the full price of the wall. Source: Washington Post – “Yes, Trump can make Mexico pay for the border wall. Here’s how.”

The current plan is to have taxpayer dollars cover some of the early costs, and enact a later plan to cover the costs. However, most believe that taxpayers will end up footing the bill for the entire project.

Other Pertinent Information on the Wall

  1. The Mexican-American Border is approximately 2,000 miles in length, with about 694 miles of that length already blocked off by a fence or a wall.
  2. One of the biggest challenges of building the wall is acquiring the land along the border, much of which is owned by private businesses or private citizens.
  3. President Trump wants the wall to be physically imposing, proposing a plan to build the wall up to 30 feet in some areas.
  4. Construction for the wall has not started yet, and a start date is unknown at this point.
  5. Contrary to what the President has said before, much of the border will be guarded by a fence as opposed to a full-fledged wall.

President Trump wants to make the Wall environmentally friendly

In addition to attempting to keep illegal immigrants from entering the United States, President Donald Trump proposed a plan that would help the environment, too.

In a meeting with congressional leaders, the President proposed covering his border wall with solar panels, a move that he believes would help pay for the wall.

This proposal came shortly after President Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate deal, a pact between hundreds of nations in an effort to reduce pollution and reverse global warming.

The President stated that he would like Congress to discuss the matter, but only if the credit was given to him for concocting the idea.

In response to the news (which was first reported on Axios), that there are already at least two proposals to help with this plan.

Thomas Gleason, founder of solar energy company Gleason Partners LLC, submitted a formal proposal in April, long before the President proposed the idea. He said the project would pay itself back in about five years.

Sources: AOL – “Trump floats idea of a ‘solar’ border wall — and proposals are already on the table,” CNN – “Trump suggests border wall with solar panels”

Dodd-Frank was signed under False Reasoning, and now hurts Small Businesses. Here’s why.

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was passed in response to the 2008 Recession

In 2010, then-President Barack Obama passed the 800-page Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act into law.

The bill branched off the belief that unregulated financial markets caused the Recession of 2008.

Proposed by Senator Christopher J. Dodd (D-CT) and Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) (hence the Dodd-Frank name), the bill attempts to avoid future recessions by regulating the “big” banks.

However, research from multiple institutions indicates that the 2008 Recession did not stem from an unregulated market, but instead from the government’s faulty housing policies.

The Act Regulates the Financial Market

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act’s main purpose is to place major regulations on the financial sector.

The Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) was created by this act, and “provides comprehensive monitoring of the stability of our nation’s financial system. The Council is charged with identifying risks to the financial stability of the United States; promoting market discipline; and responding to emerging risks to the stability of the United States’ financial system,” according to their website.

The council represents the “too big to fail” concept, as they identify the troubled big banks and bail them out with taxpayer dollars.

In addition, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created as part of the bill to “aim to make consumer financial markets work for consumers, responsible providers, and the economy as a whole,” “protect consumers from unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices and take action against companies that break the law,” according to their website.

The CFPB aims to protect consumers against unruly transactions, but it instead offers fewer choices for consumers and higher prices for credit.

The Act has helped “Big” banks – but hurts the small ones

By embodying the “too big to fail” concept, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act has protected the big banks that support big businesses.

However, the bill has negatively affected the smaller businesses. The small banks – which mainly supply loans to smaller businesses – do not enjoy the same projections, and have therefore experienced very small growth since the Recession.

Since small businesses are a large part of the foundation of the United States’ economy, the growth of the US economy since the Recession has been the lowest since the 1960’s.

President Trump has been rolling back the Regulations

On Friday, February 3, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to roll back Obama-era regulations on banks.

This comes as no surprise considering President Trump’s opinion on the bill (he has called it a “disaster”).

However, his moves do not align with his anti-Wall Street sentiments during his campaign.

Instead of fighting against the big banks, the President worked with JP Morgan CEO Jaime Dimon and other big bank officials to roll back the regulations that have put more restrictions on the companies.

The Republican-led Congress is looking to end the majority of Regulations

On June 8, 2017, the GOP-led Congress will vote on a new bill that would roll back many of the regulations of the Dodd-Frank Act.

Called the Financial Choice Act, the Republican bill allows the President to fire members of the CFPB and allows Congress to completely defund the CFPB if they so wish.

The bill needs at least 218 votes to pass through the House, and many of the Republican leaders are counting on it passing.

It would then move onto the Senate, where Republicans would need to sway eight Democrats to pass the law. Democrats have been highly critical of the GOP’s bill.

Sources

CNBC – “Dodd-Frank Act: CNBC Explains”

Heritage Foundation – “The Dodd-Frank Act”

The Atlantic – “Trump Begins to Chip Away at Banking Regulations”

CNN Money – “House to vote on killing Dodd-Frank today”

AG Sessions shuts down Obama’s Illegal Slush Fund Scheme

What is a “Slush Fund?”

According to the Dictionary, a slush fund is “a reserve of money used for illicit purposes, especially political bribery.”

The Obama Administration Created an illegal fund

Multiple reports show that the Obama administration created a slush fund and directed billions of dollars to leftist activist groups through a Department of Justice scheme.

As head of the DOJ, former Attorney General Eric Holder was at the forefront of the illegal scheme.

Evidence shows that the illegal practice was used by the Obama administration to siphon billions of dollars from companies and funnel the money to leftist activist groups.

The Fund took Money from wrongdoing Companies and gave it to Leftist groups

Fox News explains it this way: “When big banks are sued by the government for discrimination or mortgage abuse, they can settle the cases by donating to third-party non-victims.”

Some say that these banks are urged, or even incentivized, to give the money away to these non-profits. The only other option is to give the money to consumers, a route few, if any, banks take.

For example, Bank of America was forced to pay $17 billion to non-profit third parties to quell an investigation into their selling of mortgage-backed securities in the days leading up to the 2008 Recession.

Volkswagen provides a prominent non-bank example, as the company invested $1.2 billion into companies researching zero emission technologies. It should be noted that the Republican-majority Congress denied this action twice, and Volkswagen ended up paying 4x what the Obama administration originally requested.

Investigators have already accounted for $3 billion in this illegal fund

Thus far, into the probe of the slush fund, investigators have accounted for $3 billion paid to “non-victim entities.”

These “non-victim entities” are third parties not involved in the respective case, and they are believed to have been leftist activist groups with ties to members in the Obama administration.

No receiving companies have been identified yet.

However, there are two problems with this amount of money: the cash is unrecoverable and there is no way to know how any companies spent it.

At least some of the money came straight from taxpayers, said Ted Frank, director of The Competitive Enterprise Institute Center for Class Action Fairness, in a statement to Fox News. Mr. Frank also calls these actions an “abuse of power.”

The Attorney General ended the practice on 6/7/2017

On June 7, 2017, Jeff Sessions sent out a memo to all United States attorney’s offices stating that he would “end the process that allowed companies to meet settlement burdens by giving money to groups that were neither victims nor parties to the case.”
The official statement from Mr. Sessions: “When the federal government settles a case against a corporate wrongdoer, any settlement funds should go first to the victims and then to the American people – not the bankroll third-party special interest groups or the political friends of the whoever is in power.”

Conservatives in Congress have been pushing for this move for months now, and are delighted that the funnel has been sealed off.

Sources

Fox News – “GOP wants to eliminate shadowy DOJ slush fund bankrolling leftist groups”

Fox News – “DOJ ends Holder-era “slush fund” payouts to outside groups”

Former FBI Director expected to speak in front of Senate Intelligence Committee

Mr. Comey will testify on June 8, 2017, and is expected to speak about Various Topics

On Thursday, June 8, 2017, former FBI director James Comey will speak in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

It will be his first public statements since his firing, discounting the fake “Comey Memo” that multiple news agencies reported on yet never saw.

Mr. Comey is expected to speak on a variety of topics relating to the Trump administration, specifically if President Trump asked him to end the FBI investigation into Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security advisor.

However, Mr. Comey is expected to avoid talking about the FBI investigation into any Trump/Russia collusion.

Trump Allies are setting up a “War Room” to counter Mr. Comey

Allies of the President are preparing to take shots at the former FBI director, including peppering him with questions about his handling of the Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal.

The Republican National Convention already has a few points to make going into the hearing, including why Mr. Comey, if he was so concerned, did not notify Congress about his conversations with the President.

The Trump-supporting Great American Alliance will run an advertisement on both CNN and Fox News in the next few days that labels the former FBI director as a “showboat” who was “consumed with election meddling.”

President Trump: “I wish him luck”

One reporter asked the President about the upcoming hearing, and the reporter received a vague response: “I wish him luck.”

It is unclear what the meaning of the statement is at this point, but it is no secret that the President is no fan of James Comey.

Shortly after firing the former FBI director, Mr. Trump tweeted out threatening tweets aimed at Mr. Comey, including that he had tapes about their conversations.

AP and NYT sources said Mr. Comey does not want to be alone with Mr. Trump

Two highly credible news agency, the Associated Press and the New York Times, received Intel from their sources that James Comey asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to assure him that he would not have to be with the President alone.

The New York Times reported on the issue first, and noted that the request came soon after President Trump allegedly asked Mr. Comey to end the FBI investigation into Michael Flynn.

In addition, the former FBI director stated that the conversations were “inappropriate,” but cited no specific information about the talks.

Mr. Sessions responded that he could not guarantee that Mr. Comey would not be alone with Mr. Trump.

The former FBI Director was fired, but there is still a debate why

On May 9, James Comey was fired from his role of FBI director for failure to settle any major cases, at least by the Trump administration’s standards.

Soon after the firing, Democrats were quick to quip that the President fired Mr. Comey as part of a large cover-up of any Trump/Russia collusion. However, this collusion is a far-left conspiracy theory at best, as believers in this theory have presented zero proof for their argument.

As noted earlier, Mr. Comey is not expected to speak about any links between the Trump administration and Russia.

Sources

Fox News – “Comey reportedly told Sessions: Don’t leave me alone with Trump”

Reuters – “Cautious Comey expected in U.S. hearing on Trump-Russia probes”

NYT – “Comey Told Sessions: Don’t Leave Me Alone With Trump”

AP – “Trump wishes Comey luck, allies aim at lawman’s credibility”

Reality Leigh Winner, Former NSA Security Contractor, arrested for Leaking Classified Intel

According to a new report, the FBI arrested a confirmed leaker of classified NSA Intel to a press source. Here are the facts of the case.

The Leaker leaked a classified NSA Document

The leaker leaked a classified National Security Agency document regarding a Russian military intelligence operation that took place last year.

The document details how Russian intelligence sent phishing emails to over 100 local and employees officials just a few days before the election, which in turn gave the Russians access to some U.S. voting software.

Of the over 100 targeted officials, only one is reported to have been compromised by the cyber attack.

The classified document also notes that the operation was ongoing for months before the 2016 election and culminated with the phishing attack on a large amount of Democrat officials.

The leaker: Reality Leigh Winner, an Air Force Veteran and Private Security Contractor

The leaker has been identified as Reality Leigh Winner, a former Air Force linguist (she knows Pashto, Farsi, and Dari, according to her mother) and private security contractor for the NSA.

Winner, who worked for Pluribus International Corporation, worked at a National Security Agency government facility in Georgia and held a top-level government security clearance.

Examining her social media accounts shows that she was a critic of President Donald Trump, posting several complaints about Mr. Trump during his campaign and after his election as President of the United States.

Even before she got her hands on the documents on Russian influence, she invoked the far-left conspiracy theory that the Trump administration colluded with Russian officials.

She printed out the document, and delivered it to the Press

Winner stole the documents from both her company and the government by printing out the classified documents and sending them to the press.

The Department of Justice released a statement on the issue, stating that:

“On or about May 9, Winner printed and improperly removed classified intelligence reporting, which contained classified national defense information from an intelligence community agency, and unlawfully retained it.”

The statement details the event further:

“Approximately a few days later, Winner unlawfully transmitted by mail the intelligence reporting to an online news outlet.”

Due to her actions, she is being charged with “with removing and mailing classified materials to a news outlet,” according to the same DOJ report, which carries a possible 10-year sentence.

She leaked the Document to the Intercept, an online news agency

The online news outlet in question in this case is the Intercept, a website launched in 2014 to report on documents released by former NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

Despite receiving the classified Intel at the beginning of May, the Intercept did not report on the documents until Monday (read their report here).

The Intercept and Winner both deny knowing that the documents were classified.

This follows President Trump’s promise to crack down on Leakers

After several highly critical tidbits of information were leaked from the White House to the press, President Donald Trump has promised to crackdown on leakers.

This issue will surely be a primal focus of the President, as it details as an issue that has been plaguing his administration for months – Russian influence in the election.

However, this document does not detail any collusion between the Russians, a far-left conspiracy theory and a claim that the President has vehemently denied.

Sources

Axios – “FBI arrests contractor over leak of classified Russia hack report”

NY Post – “Federal worker busted for leaking top-secret NSA docs on Russian hacking”

Daily Caller – “NSA Leaker Is A Bernie Supporter Who ‘Resists’ Trump”

DOJ – “Federal Government Contractor in Georgia Charged With Removing and Mailing Classified Materials to a News Outlet”

Guardian – “NSA contractor Reality Winner accused of leaking file on Russia election hacking”