How The GOP Tax Plan Could Radically Reshape U.S. Housing Policy

HuffPost

How The GOP Tax Plan Could Radically Reshape U.S. Housing Policy

 

Arthur Delaney, HuffPost         September 29, 2017     

WASHINGTON ― The tax reform blueprint Republicans unveiled this week would upend U.S. housing policy if it becomes law.

Even though the plan maintains a special tax break for homeowners called the mortgage interest deduction, other provisions of the framework would basically make it useless for all but the richest homeowners.

“This proposal will take away any tax benefit for owning homes for the vast majority of people who own homes,” said Gregg Polsky, a tax expert at the University of Georgia.

Mortgage interest and property tax deductions cost the U.S. Treasury more than $100 billion a year in lost tax revenue, expenditures that are bigger in dollar terms than any other housing program. The federal government spends about $50 billion annually on housing assistance for people with low incomes, an amount that still leaves millions of people on waitlists for rental assistance. The mortgage interest deduction, meanwhile, overwhelmingly benefits homeowners with incomes above $100,000.

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The National Association of Realtors, a powerful real estate lobbying group, commissioned a study earlier this year finding the proposal would increase taxes on middle- and upper-class homeowners and reduce incentives for homeownership, thereby shrinking home values by about 10 percent.

“Plummeting home values are a poor housewarming gift for recent homebuyers and a tremendous blow to older Americans who depend on their home to provide a nest egg for retirement,” NAR President William Brown said in a press release this week.

Lower housing prices can be bad for homeowners but good for renters, roughly a third of whom deal with unaffordable rents, according to the Joint Center for housing Studies at Harvard University. Most American households are owner-occupied, though ownership rates have declined from a high of 69 percent in 2004 to 63 percent today.

The Republican tax reform outline actually maintains the mortgage interest deduction, but other parts of the plan seriously undermine it.

“They really leave it in name only,” Polsky said.

Current policy allows tax filers to choose whether they would like to reduce their taxable income by deducting the value of various expenses ― which is known as “itemizing” ― or would rather take a so-called standard deduction. For a married couple the standard deduction takes away $12,600 of their taxable income. The vast majority of filers go with the standard deduction because their expenses that would be itemized don’t exceed $12,600.

The Republican plan would raise the family standard deduction to $24,000 while eliminating most itemized deductions, including ones for local taxes. Homeowners could still itemize their mortgage interest payments and charitable donations, but only about 5 percent would have itemized deductions that exceed the value of the $24,000 standard deduction, according to NAR.

The doubled standard deduction would not necessarily be a better deal for all middle-class families, however. The Republican plan also calls for eliminating the “personal exemption,” which allows taxpayers to deduct $4,050 per family member from their taxable income. Some families with multiple children would benefit less from the higher standard deduction than they currently do from being able to claim multiple personal exemptions.

In other words, the Republican tax plan could hike taxes on some middle-class families, a possibility one presidential adviser has acknowledged. And some Republicans in Congress are already chafing at repealing the deduction for state and local taxes. It’s unlikely that the tax framework released this week can get through Congress without a lot of changes.

Liberal policy groups have advocated converting the mortgage interest deduction into a credit that more narrowly targets homeowners with lower incomes. Diane Yentel, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, said the Republican plan would only make the mortgage interest deduction “even more regressive than it is today.

Trump’s “Trickle down economics is fundamentally flawed.”

Daily Kos

September 29, 2017

“Trickle down economics is fundamentally flawed.” Never worked; never will. America’s middle class cannot drive demand for goods and services unless they have disposable living wages to spend. And because our manufacturing sector has been decimated by corporate greed, offshoring jobs, our economy depends on a retail sector comprising more than 70% of our economy. JH

Reich on Republican Tax Cuts

Trickle down economics is fundamentally flawed.

Posted by Daily Kos on Thursday, September 28, 2017

I’m Out of Empathy. I’m Out of Pity. I’m Out of Patience.

Esquire

I’m Out of Empathy. I’m Out of Pity. I’m Out of Patience.

Roy Moore is a lawless theocratic lunatic, and those who support him are destroying our democracy.

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By Charles P. Pierce     September 27, 2017

On Tuesday night, the voters in the great state of Alabama pushed a lawless theocratic lunatic named Roy Moore one tiny step away from a seat in the United States Senate. Moore lost his job as chief justice of that state’s supreme court twice; on both occasions, he lost it by flouting the authority of the federal court system as though he were Orval Faubus in 1957.

Lawless.

Moore believes that homosexual conduct should be illegal, and, as he said, he believes:

“God is sovereign over our government, over our law. When we exclude ‘Him’ from our lives, exclude ‘Him’ from our courts, then they will fail We’ve forgotten that God is intimately connected with this nation. Without God there would be no freedom to believe what you want.”

Theocratic.

And, to conclude, from The Washington Post:

“There is no such thing as evolution,” he said at one point as he waited for his lunch. Species might adapt to their environment, he continued, but that has nothing to do with the origins of life described in the Bible. “That we came from a snake?” he asked rhetorically. “No, I don’t believe that.”

LunaticPeriod.

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Any report about Roy Moore that doesn’t specifically refer to him as a right-wing extremist is not worth your time. No more “firebrand.” No more impotent yap about his “controversial views.” Roy Moore is an extremist or the word no longer has meaning. If, as appears likely, he gets elected to the Senate from Alabama, then a majority of Alabama voters are extremists, too. If he gets elected, then the Republican Party ever more should be referred to as an extremist party. That, of course, is if we’re being honest about what’s really going on in this country in 2017.

If Moore gets elected, then the Republican Party ever more should be referred to as an extremist party.

And, no, when it comes to the people who voted for Moore, I don’t have to “respect their beliefs.” I don’t have to “understand where they’re coming from.” I don’t have to “see it from their side.” These people are preparing to make a lawless theocratic lunatic one of 100 United States Senators, and that means these people are about to inflict him and his medievalism on me, too. If you think that Roy Moore belongs in the Senate, then you are a half-bright goober whose understanding of American government and basic civics probably stops at the left side of your AM radio dial. You have no concept of the national interest and very little concept of your own, unless, as I suspect, you’ve made your own fears, and hating people and hawking loogies in all directions, the sum total of your involvement in self-government. You are killing democracy and you don’t know it or care. If you had any real Christian charity in your hearts, you’d keep Roy Moore in the locked ward of your local politics and not loose him on a nation that deserves so much better than him.

Why do I not have to “respect their beliefs,” besides the fact that most of those beliefs belong in a cage? I don’t have to “respect their beliefs” because the U.S. Senate to which they are preparing to send him is in the process of screwing them with their pants on and they could care less.

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The Senate’s tax plan emerged full-grown from the forehead of Mania on Tuesday. As is customary for some documents, it is vague in almost all its major details. But we do know that it eliminates the estate tax entirely—a plutocratic goodie that probably caused a postmortem emission from the grave of John D. Rockefeller that looked like the gusher from his first oil well—and it gives to the middle class with one hand while taking it away from the other, thereby robbing Peter to bribe Paul. Ultimately, the estimates are that it will cost the federal treasury $1.5 trillion over the next decade, and the people pushing it decline to say how they’re going to make that cut pay for itself, proving that the Republicans at least continue to adhere to the first half of the blog’s First Law of Economics, to wit: Fck The Deficit. The only details that are clear about the plan are the ones that benefit the country’s real owners.

What I do know is that the people who elected Roy Moore elected him to join the Senate majority that will pass this thing, if and when it ever comes to a vote. Then, come some April morn, they will be stunned to discover that they can’t deduct what they pay in state taxes anymore, and that their charitable contributions don’t count any more either. How could ol’ Judge Roy let this happen?

You are killing democracy and you don’t know it or care.

Because he’s a lawless theocratic lunatic, that’s how. Because you voted for him specifically because he was a lawless theocratic lunatic. It was the basis of his campaign, no matter how many times Steve Bannon tells you you’re part of a bold populist crusade. He very likely doesn’t know enough about tax policy to throw to the cat, so he’ll go along on that as long as they let him make his floor speeches about how Cecile Richards is an imp from hell. (Condom: The Devil’s Party Hat.) And you’ll cheer him so loudly that you won’t even notice that your pocket’s being picked again by someone with a solid-gold Rolex on his wrist.

I’m out of empathy for this stuff. I’m out of pity. I’m out of patience. And, not for nothing, but Moore’s opponent is a guy named Douglas Jones. In 2001, Jones convicted two men for the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963, one of the iconic white supremacist terrorist acts of that period. One of those bastards already died in prison and the other keeps getting denied parole. If you’d rather be represented in the Senate by a lawless theocratic lunatic, rather than a guy that finally got justice for four murdered little girls, well, you deserve anything that goddamn happens to you.

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The Trump administration is waging an unprecedented war on governing

Washington Post, The Plum Line

The Trump administration is waging an unprecedented war on governing

By Paul Waldman          September 28, 2017

https://img.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=https://arc-anglerfish-washpost-prod-washpost.s3.amazonaws.com/public/GXWTP42IZ4YU5FKCDV5RMJXC7Q.JPG&w=600(Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

It can be tough to keep up with all the antics of President Trump’s Cabinet, especially when its members are cruising around the country on all those private jets. But eight months into the Trump presidency, it has become clear that never in our history have we seen so many Cabinet officials who are fundamentally opposed to the mission of the department they’ve been chosen to lead.

What is happening now goes far beyond the standard Republican desire to cut government and restrain regulation. It is nothing less than a war waged on governing itself from inside the executive branch.

To illustrate what’s going on, let’s start with this report from Charlie Savage of the New York Times:

Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator who has aggressively pushed to dismantle regulations and downsize the organization, is threatening to reach outside his agency and undermine the Justice Department’s work enforcing antipollution laws, documents and interviews show.

Under Mr. Pruitt, the E.P.A. has quietly said it may cut off a major funding source for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. Its lawyers handle litigation on behalf of the E.P.A.’s Superfund program seeking to force polluters to pay for cleaning up sites they left contaminated with hazardous waste.

This is just one of the many things that Pruitt is doing, but it shows how he has utterly and completely rejected the premise that the role of the Environmental Protection Agency is to protect the environment. Just the opposite, in fact — everything Pruitt is doing seems designed to produce more pollution and a dirtier environment. He has now turned himself into a roving pollution advocate, trying to undermine environmental protection wherever it might be going on.

Before you say, “Well, what did you expect?,” remember that this isn’t how previous Republican presidents have done things. They were never fans of the EPA, but even if they were trying to loosen environmental regulations in a variety of different ways, they’d usually find some moderate Republican to put in charge at the EPA, at least for show if nothing else. George W. Bush appointed Christine Todd Whitman, one of a dying breed of northeastern moderates. His father appointed William Reilly, who had been president of the World Wildlife Fund. The worst EPA administrator up until now was undoubtedly Ann Gorsuch (yes, Neil M. Gorsuch’s mother), but even she didn’t do the damage Pruitt is attempting, and after scandal engulfed her, Ronald Reagan replaced her with William Ruckelshaus, who had been the agency’s first administrator and was a strong environmentalist.

https://img.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=https://s3.amazonaws.com/posttv-thumbnails-prod/03-16-2017/t_1489702193791_name_thumbnail_epa_0316.jpg&w=800&h=450Washington Post reporter Dennis Brady talks with Mustafa Ali, a former EPA environmental justice leader who served more than two decades with the agency, to discuss the consequences of President Trump’s budget proposal. (McKenna Ewen/The Washington Post)

Now let’s go to our next example.

Many assumed that if Republicans failed to destroy the Affordable Care Act through legislation, the administration would put some effort into making it work properly, since they’re now responsible for it and will be held accountable for whatever problems there are in the health-care system. But just the opposite has happened. In fact, the Department of Health and Human Services under Tom Price has undertaken a positively breathtaking campaign of sabotage. It is no exaggeration to say they are doing everything they can to create a death spiral in the individual health-care market, trying to discourage as many people as possible from getting insurance so that the only ones who do are the sick and the old, which will drive premiums ever higher until the market completely melts down.

They have threatened to withhold cost-sharing payments from insurers, which has already driven premiums up substantially. They cut the open enrollment period in half. They slashed the budget for advertising to encourage people to enroll by 90 percent, and used some of what was left to create videos meant to discourage people from getting insurance. They canceled contracts with community groups that assist people in the sometimes complicated process of signing up. And in a particularly creative move, they’ll be shutting down healthcare.gov on all but one Sunday during open enrollment, for “maintenance.”

And when Vox asked HHS about its decision to abruptly pull out of all outreach events in the South, the department issued a statement that read in part:

The American people know a bad deal when they see one and many won’t be convinced to sign up for ‘Washington-knows-best’ health coverage that they can’t afford. For the upcoming enrollment period, Americans are being hit with another round of double-digit premium hikes and nearly half of our nation’s counties are facing Obamacare monopolies. As Obamacare continues to collapse, HHS is carefully evaluating how we can best serve the American people who continue to be harmed by Obamacare’s failures.

I have truly never seen anything like that in all my years of observing politics. This is the agency that is mandated by law to implement the Affordable Care Act, which includes taking all the steps it can to maximize enrollment, proclaiming that it has no intention of doing so. It’s mind-boggling.

I’d contend that this is a direct result of Trump’s personal style and approach to government, which is in large part about not bothering to pay lip service to commonly-held norms of behavior or even explicit rules. Trump doesn’t bother to pretend that he cares about Americans who didn’t vote for him, or that he has a commitment to foundational democratic principles, or that there’s something wrong in using the presidency for personal financial gain. Every element of his repugnant personality and utter lack of morality is right on the table; there is nothing hidden or subtle about him.

Just as his railing against political correctness gave his supporters permission to let their hate flags fly, his naked contempt for anything resembling integrity in government gives his appointees permission to be open about their intentions. In another Republican administration, these same people at HHS would have issued a statement saying something like, “We’re carrying out all our duties as the law requires, but this particular meeting was inconvenient.” They would have continued to find ways to undermine the ACA, but they would have done it quietly, on the assumption that attracting too much attention to their efforts would have been problematic. But now, they just don’t care.

President Trump spoke about religious freedom at the Celebrate Freedom Concert in Washington D.C. on July 1. (The Washington Post)

There are other Cabinet officials who are waging their own wars on their departments. There’s Rex Tillerson, who can’t seem to figure out why the State Department exists. There’s Ryan Zinke, who acts as though the purpose of public lands is to be nothing more than a receptacle for fossil fuels that private companies should extract at their will. And there’s Betsy DeVos, who leads the Education Department despite having devoted her adult life to the destruction of public education in America.

At the same time, we should acknowledge that some of Trump’s appointments are repugnant but not much different from what you’d expect from another Republican president. For instance, you could easily see Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz putting a coal mining executive with a history of safety violations in charge of the agency that polices mine safety, as Trump has done. Trump has also picked a lot of people for key positions who are simply unqualified, such as Ben Carson and Rick Perry.

But the kind of outright assault on the core mission of the departments many of Trump’s appointees are leading, and the unapologetic way in which it’s being done, are something new. The equivalent for a Democrat would be if they appointed the leader of Code Pink to be secretary of defense and instructed her to set about dismantling the American military. Which of course a Democrat would never do.

There’s an old saying that Republicans claim that government doesn’t work, then when they get control of it they set about to prove themselves right. But Trump is going much further than Republicans have before. And who knows how long it will take to undo the damage.

Paul Waldman is a contributor to The Plum Line blog, and a senior writer at The American Prospect.

Ryan Zinke Claims One Third of Interior Workforce ‘Not Loyal’ to Him, Trump and Flag

EcoWatch

Ryan Zinke Claims One Third of Interior Workforce ‘Not Loyal’ to Him, Trump and Flag

Lorraine Chow    September 27, 2017

https://resize.rbl.ms/simage/https%3A%2F%2Fassets.rbl.ms%2F11221426%2Forigin.jpg/1200%2C600/3oDnd6j2mQDM3Vpw/img.jpgInterior Sec. Ryan Zinke, who recently recommended shrinking a “handful” of national monuments to President Trump, said that one third of the department’s employees are “not loyal” to him, the president and the flag.

The remarks were made at the National Petroleum Council meeting in Washington, DC on Monday.

According to an Associated Press report:

Zinke, a former Navy SEAL, said he knew when he took over the 70,000-employee department in March that, “I got 30 percent of the crew that’s not loyal to the flag.”

In a speech to an oil industry group, Zinke compared Interior to a pirate ship that captures “a prized ship at sea and only the captain and the first mate row over” to finish the mission.

“We do have good people” at Interior, he said, “but the direction has to be clear and you’ve got to hold people accountable.”

To help steer this proverbial pirate ship, Zinke has appointed a crew from the fossil fuel industry, including former oil lobbyist David Bernhardt as the deputy interior secretary.

He has also reassigned senior officials to completely unrelated positions, including climate change expert Joel Clement, who was notoriously transferred to an office that oversees fees and royalty checks from oil and gas companies.

“I’m the climate change guy, and they moved me to the accounting office that collects fossil fuel royalties,” Clement wrote in the Washington Post. “They couldn’t have found a job less suited for me, or that sent a clearer signal that they were trying to get me to quit.”

Zinke has said before that he wants to cut his department’s workforce by 4,000 employees, or about eight percent of the full-time staff, as part of budget cuts to downsize the department.

During his speech to oil execs, the former Montana Republican senator said he is working to change the Interior Department’s regulatory culture to be more business friendly, and is working on a major agency reorganization so that decision-making would go outside Washington, according to the AP.

The secretary also wants to move several agencies, including the Bureau of Reclamation and Bureau of Land Management, to states in the West.

In the same wide-ranging speech, Zinke said he wants to speed up permits for oil drilling, logging and other energy development; that the Endangered Species Act has been “abused” by bureaucrats and environmental groups and needs to be reformed to be less “arbitrary”; and, oddly, “Fracking is proof that God’s got a good sense of humor and he loves us.”

Dallas Sportscaster Dale Hansen Explains what Trump Doesn’t Understand

Occupy Democrats

Dale Hansen on NFL protests

WOW. Watch these 3 minutes from Dallas sportscaster Dale Hansen talking about what Trump doesn't understand about the national anthem and the right to protest. Compare this to any right-wing media whining and that's why this is one to remember.

Posted by Media Matters for America on Monday, September 25, 2017

Trump Evangelical Adviser: NFL Kneelers Are Lucky They Aren’t ‘Shot In The Head’

HuffPost

Trump Evangelical Adviser: NFL Kneelers Are Lucky They Aren’t ‘Shot In The Head’

“I think what these players are doing is absolutely wrong,” says Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress.

By Antonia Blumberg   September 25, 2017

 https://img.huffingtonpost.com/asset/59c973921900004e5d565925.png?cache=z2rbpwycxk&ops=scalefit_630_noupscaleFox News : Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress is among President Donald Trump’s top evangelical advisers. He says the players are lucky they don’t live in a country like North Korea.

A conservative pastor on President Donald Trump’s informal evangelical advisory council thinks NFL players who kneel during the national anthem to highlight racism should “be thanking God” they haven’t been “shot in the head.”

Southern Baptist pastor Robert Jeffress, who leads the First Baptist Church in Dallas, made the comments during a “Fox & Friends” segment Monday on Fox News amid debate over the athletes’ protests.

“I think what these players are doing is absolutely wrong,” Jeffress said. “These players ought to be thanking God that they live in a country where they’re not only free to earn millions of dollars every year, but they’re also free from the worry of being shot in the head for taking a knee like they would be if they were in North Korea.”

Jeffress referenced North Korea, known for suppressing dissent and operating political prison camps, on the same day the Asian country’s foreign minister accused Trump of declaring war. His comments come several weeks after the pastor claimed God had given the U.S. president “full power” to launch an attack on North Korea.

Jeffress also claimed the athletes would be executed for protesting in a country known for its human rights abuses, apparently arguing that they should celebrate their freedom of speech by remaining silent.

In a response to a request for clarification, the pastor said: “I stand by my comments as taken within their full context.”

He continued:

It is an absolute fact that in many countries of the world professional athletes would be imprisoned ― or worse ― for publicly opposing their nation’s anthem or disrespecting their national leaders. If any member of the press doubts this fact, then I would encourage them to take a trip to North Korea themselves, publicly shame Kim Jong Un and then see what happens. All of us should thank God every day that we live in a country where we do not have to fear government persecution for expressing our beliefs.

In his comments on “Fox & Friends,” Jeffress defended Trump, who encouraged football fans to boycott the NFL if the league does not “fire or suspend” the protesting athletes.

“I think tens of millions of Americans agree with President Trump when he says they ought to be called out for this,” the pastor said. “I know this president. President Trump is not a racist. For President Trump this is not about race. It’s about respect of country.”

The president, who has a long history of sharing and endorsing racist comments, followed up his call for a boycott in a tweet on Monday saying: “The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!”

But for athletes who choose to kneel, race isn’t secondary to their protest.

“We will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country,” wrote the Seattle Seahawks team, who stayed off the field during the national anthem Sunday. “Out of love for our country and in honor of the sacrifices made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic freedoms. We remain committed in continuing to work towards equality and justice for all.”

Jeffress also minimized the athletes’ statement on racism by comparing the “social injustice” of systematic racism to Christian bakers being forced to prepare cakes for same-sex weddings.

“They didn’t respond by calling then-President Obama a bum,” said Jeffress, who once claimed the country’s first black president was “paving the way for the Antichrist.”

Climate deniers cheer study that shows Trump’s policies will destroy America

ThinkProgress

Climate deniers cheer study that shows Trump’s policies will destroy America

Widely misreported study confirms that only immediate and deep cuts in carbon pollution can avert a climate catastrophe

Joe Romm     September 25, 2017

A widely misreported new study finds — just as many studies have found before — that without sharp and nearly instantaneous emissions reductions in carbon pollution, the world is headed towards catastrophic levels of global warming.

But the authors’ original framing of their analysis — “Why the 1.5 degree C warming limit is not yet a geophysical impossibility” — led to Alice-in-Wonderland headlines, such as this one from Politico on Monday: “Climate skeptics find new favorite talking point.”

Sure, it’s “not yet a geophysical impossibility” that the world could take the actions needed to keep total warming to about 1.5°C (2.7°F). It’s also “not yet a geophysical impossibility” that I could become the next President of the United States. But neither of those things are going to happen, and so neither merit a headline.

“The study has been readily misrepresented by the usual suspects in the climate denial echo chamber as calling into question the urgency of carbon emissions reductions, when it does absolutely no such thing,” climatologist Michael Mann explained in an email to ThinkProgress.

Of course, it bears pointing out that the climate change deniers invariably push absurd talking points (which Skeptical Science does a great job of debunking).

This study, which found that super-aggressive emissions reductions could prevent total global warming from hitting 2.7°F would raise alarm bells in a more normal media environment. After all, the world has not embraced instantaneous and sharp emissions reductions. Instead, President Donald Trump has said global warming is a hoax and has adopted policies aimed at undermining U.S. and global climate action.

The authors explain that there is a chance of limiting warming to 2.7°F, the level scientists and governments have declared is the safest — but only if we see “a straight line decrease in CO2 emissions from today’s values to zero in about 40 years.”

This is what America will look like if we follow Trump’s climate policies. Leaked draft reveals a devastated America, up 8 feet of sea level rise, 18 degree F Arctic warming-unless we embrace Paris climate deal

https://i2.wp.com/thinkprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/choice.jpg?resize=1280%2C720px&ssl=1Projected warming under aggressive climate action (left) versus Trump climate policies (right). CREDIT: National Climate Assessment, final draft

“It’s worth noting that this budget explicitly considers a scenario that assumes strong action to reduce the contribution of non-CO2 gases (such as methane) to future warming is also undertaken alongside limiting CO2 emissions,” the authors add.

In reality, the world has not come close to adopting such policies. Worse, Trump’s domestic and global climate policies, which include leaving the Paris climate agreement, make them all but unattainable.

The analytical team at Climate Interactive has a chart showing where we are headed, and what is required to get on the lower warming path. The “national plans” that more than 190 countries committed to in Paris only require action through 2025 or 2030. If action is frozen after that, then total warming would be a disastrous 6.0°F. If Trump’s policies triumph now, we would be headed for an unimaginable 7.6°F warming.

https://i1.wp.com/thinkprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/climate-scoreboard-paris.jpg?w=1024&ssl=1

The Paris goal is to stay “well below” 3.6°F, the threshold beyond which scientists project impacts rapidly shift from dangerous to catastrophic. To do that requires adopting policies that are considerably more ambitious than Paris — and doing so as soon as possible. Again, by abandoning the treaty, Trump makes such goals wildly implausible, even if they are still “geophysically possible.”

Bottom Line: Far from being an analysis that vindicates the deniers, the study underscores what a disaster their preferred climate policies continue to be America and the world.

Battle of the Century

John Hanno September 23, 2017

             Battle of the Century

The war of words between Donald J. Trump and Kim Jung Un should really be fought in an arena familiar to both of these antagonists, an MMA ring in Las Vegas.

https://thehornnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/trump-kim-jong-un-1-600x315.jpg

                                              Nicknames                          
                                        The Dotard v. Rocketman
                                                  Country
                                        USA              North Korea
                                                    Age
                                           71                 33
                                                 Height
                                        6’2″             5’9″ with Cuban heals
                                                Weight
                       236 or 267 lbs           20 Stones or 280 lbs
                                                 Reach
                          Small Hands            Short Arms
                                                 Fights
  Over 4,000 Court battles             No one lived to tell tale

A Conor McGregor v. Floyd Mayweather rematch would certainly take second billing to any MMA fight between The Dotard and Rocketman. Worldwide viewership would be off the charts. Naturally, the Art of the Donald would try to negotiate a favorable pay per view deal, with an 80-20 split; but Rocketman would surly threaten lobbing a missile at Guam unless he gets equal treatment.

The purse should be set by the United Nations. Winner take all. If Dotard wins, Rocketman will have to give up his maniacal plans to join the list of nuclear juggernauts and also use that money saved from cuts in onerous military spending to actually feed every North Korean citizen more than a small bowl of rice every day. If Rocketman wins, The Dotard will have to actually appoint highly qualified State Department folks, who would then sit down with the North Koreans and negotiate an effective and lasting peace accord. Both fighters must stipulate to parking their oversized egos and stopping the crazy escalation of boastful and reckless hostilities.

This fight must be shown in Prime Time on broadcast and cable TV so all the world would be able to view it for free.

As soon as this fight would be announced, Las Vegas and other book-makers would quickly establish the odds. Based on the all important jowl factor, The Dotard with 4 chins and Rocketman with no chin at all, this would be a plus for Dotard. And the fact that Rocketman broke both his ankles because he put on two much weight and insists on wearing shoes with Cuban heals so that he looks taller than he is, another plus for Dotard. Since Dotard hates any type of exercise and Rocketman does a lot of parading before his military troops, Rocketman gets an advantage. Rocketman smokes and drinks to excess but Dotard loves fast food so I guess that’s a draw. The Dotard gets a boost from his past experience in professional wrestling. Since Rocketman is almost 40 years younger, that should be an advantage for him. But to be fair to The Dotard, considering his advanced age and his elevated PSA levels, both fighters would get two covfefe breaks; but The Dotard would get two additional breaks. Considering the physical condition of these two participants, if either fighter makes it past the second round, it will be a miracle.

Rocketman would have Dennis Rodman for his cornerman and The Dotard would certainly use Vladimir.

The fight would conform to unified MMA rules. They would be designated Super Heavy Weights. No No’s include

  • No groin attacks.
  • No knees to the head on a grounded opponent.
  • No strikes to the back of the head or the spine.
  • No head butts. (Sorry, soccer fans.)
  • No eye gouging.
  • No fish hooking.
  • No fingers in an opponent’s orifices. (Eww!)
  • No biting.
  • No hair pulling. (Besides, that’s so second grade.)
  • No strikes or grabbing of the throat.
  • No manipulation of the fingers or toes.
  • No intentional grabbing of the ring or cage.
  • No intentional throwing of your opponent outside of the ring or cage. (That stuff belongs in professional wrestling.)
  • And considering the reputation of these two fighters, No grabbing below the waist, no spitting, no lying and no demeaning name calling.

My prognostication? Late in the 1st round, Dotard grabs Rocketman by the bul-al (Korean for testicles) and refuses to let go. Rocketman finally screams no mas. Dotard does a disjointed victory dance but is quickly disqualified for unsportsmanlike conduct. Dotard goes on a twitter rant and claims Referee HRC fixed the fight.

It appears both of these flawed and unlikely leaders probably wouldn’t think twice about sending young men and women into battle for the slightest of provocations or insults, but does anyone actually believe either one would lead the charge.

North Korean leader Kim called Trump a what? A ‘dotard’

Associated Press

North Korean leader Kim called Trump a what? A ‘dotard’

Hyung-Jin Kim, Associated Press,              September 22, 2017

https://s.yimg.com/lo/api/res/1.2/60hXezqfQCenMsIV9QHPaA--/YXBwaWQ9eW15O3E9NzU7dz02NDA7c209MTtpbD1wbGFuZQ--/http://globalfinance.zenfs.com/images/US_AHTTP_AP_NEWSBRIEFS/12a3d008ae4b462db4625ce9a38eb172_original.jpg

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Famous for using bombastic, derogatory and often-awkward English slams against enemies, North Korean state media sent people scrambling for dictionaries Friday with a dispatch that quotes leader Kim Jong Un calling President Donald Trump “the mentally deranged U.S. dotard.”

The what?

Dotard means a person in a feeble or childish state due to old age. It’s a translation of a Korean word, “neukdari,” which is a derogatory reference to an old person.

It was used in an unusual direct statement from Kim that the Korean Central News Agency transmitted verbatim in response to Trump’s speech at the U.N. this week, in which he mocked Kim as a “Rocket Man” on a “suicide mission,” and said that if the U.S. is “forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”

Past KCNA reports have used the Korean word against South Korean conservatives, but they rarely translate it as dotard.

Sometimes, it is translated into the neutral “old people” or omitted, depending on the context or the importance of the statement. KCNA last used the word in February to describe supporters of ousted South Korean President Park Geun-hye, whom it also called “neukdari” and a “prostitute.” Before that, KCNA called Park’s conservative predecessor, Lee Myung-bak, “the traitor like a dotard.”

So why did KCNA use the word again?

It may have simply resorted to a Korean-English dictionary. Putting “neukdari” into a popular online Korean-English dictionary in South Korea returns two English equivalents: an “aged (old) person” and a “dotard.”

There has been a widening linguistic divide between the rival Koreas, but “neukdari” has the same meaning in North Korea as in the South, according to a South Korean organization involved in a now-stalled project to produce a joint dictionary.

The Korean version of Friday’s dispatch places “michigwangi,” which means a mad or crazy person, before “neukdari,” so a more accurate translation might have been a “crazy old man” or an “old lunatic.”

In the past, KCNA has occasionally not published English versions of crude insults directed at U.S. leaders or officials in an apparent effort to differentiate its statements for domestic audiences and outsiders.

KCNA called President Barack Obama a “monkey” in 2014, but attributed the remarks to a factory worker and did not issue an English version. Later the same year, an unidentified North Korean defense commission spokesman called U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry a wolf with a “hideous lantern jaw,” but again only in Korean.

After Trump threatened North Korea with “fire and fury” in August, Gen. Kim Rak Gyom, commander of the North’s strategic rocket forces, was quoted in a KCNA Korean dispatch as saying Trump showed his “senility” again. But the KCNA English dispatch omitted that word.

This story has been corrected to fix KCNA’s last usage of “dotard.”