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UN chief: $4 million dispersed for energy-strapped Gaza

August 30, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday announced that $4 million would be dispersed to help UN agencies in the Gaza Strip deal with the enclave’s chronic electricity crisis. Speaking at a school in Gaza City on the final day of his first Israel-Palestine tour, Guterres described the situation in Gaza as “one of the most dramatic humanitarian crises that I’ve seen”. He also urged Israel and Egypt to lift their 10-year-long blockade of Gaza, which effectively bars access to the coastal enclave by air, land and sea. Since March, the people of Gaza have been forced to get by on about four hours of electricity a day after the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority reduced electricity payments to Israel — which […]

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Lukoil To Sell Oil Its Trading Arm Due To Russia Sanctions

August 30, 2017 Tsvetana Paraskova 0

Russia’s second-biggest oil producer Lukoil is studying the possible sale of its oil trading arm, Switzerland-based Litasco, fearing that the new U.S. sanctions on Russia will make it more difficult for the oil trader to raise new financing, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing industry sources. Litasco’s sale could take place sometime at the end of this year, a senior industry source told Reuters, adding that this could be the first move to Lukoil selling more assets abroad to focus on upstream in Russia. “One of the reasons…

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Sanders, Warren Tied For 2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination; Zuckerberg A Long-Shot

August 30, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Despite Silicon Valley’s hopes, Mark Zuckerberg remains an outside long-shot bet to get the Democratic Presidential nomination for the 2020 election. The front-runners are Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, with Joe “soul of the nation” Biden in 4th …

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Watch Live: President Trump Explains His Tax Reform Plan

August 30, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

In what is speculated to be a speech heavy on populist rhetoric and light on actual details, Trump will take the stage in Springfield, Missouri this afternoon to kick off what will undoubtedly be a long slog by Republicans to pass a tax reform bill. 

Undoubtedly the decision to start the tax legislation discussion with a rally-type event is an effort by the Trump administration to garner public support in advance… something that never happened with the Obamacare repeal effort and was frequently blamed for the epic failure of Congress to pass the legislation.

Of course, the real question is whether tax reform is even possible given the fractured Republican party in the House and a very narrow Republican majority in the Senate.  Certainly recent history would suggest not so much.

Tune in below for the live feed:

 

* * *

For those who missed it, below is our preview of today’s speech from earlier this morning.

Later this afternoon, at 2:30pm to be exact, President Trump will take the stage at the birthplace of ‘Mainstreet USA’, Springfield, Missouri, to kickoff his push for tax reform.  But, if you’re expecting details on exactly what your future effective tax rate might be and/or how your mortgage interest deduction might be impacted, then you’re likely in for a ‘yuge’ disappointment. 

As Politico points out this morning, Trump’s tax speech has been drafted by White House aide Stephen Miller, the leader of the nationalist arm of the White House staff, as oposed to Chief Economic Advisor Gary Cohn which means it will be heavy of the populist flare and light on the details.

President Donald Trump will launch a major push for a sweeping tax overhaul with a speech Wednesday in Missouri aimed at convincing his base — and the rest of the nation — that he has a fresh vision for “unrigging” the American economy and isn’t just repackaging the trickle-down economics of past Republican presidents.

 

Wednesday’s speech in Springfield is being built around the sale of tax reform as a populist policy, according to five senior administration officials.  The tax speech is being drafted by senior White House aide Stephen Miller, a leader of the nationalist wing of the administration.

 

“One of the keys to selling tax reform is the president making the point that tax reform will unrig this economy by stripping out the special-interest deductions and carve-outs that riddle this code,” said Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, a group founded by the billionaire industrialist Koch brothers that is spending heavily to push changes to the tax code.

 

“This won’t be a speech about specifics but instead about the case that we have to get growth faster and wages faster and get people to focus on that and the impact on workers’ take-home pay,” a senior White House official said. “It’s about faster growth on the corporate side and making the individual side much simpler and easier.”

After a briefing with White House aides yesterday, Axios similarly framed today’s tax speech as the “why not how” speech:

A “why not how” speech: Trump won’t mention specific tax rates or show his hand on controversial issues like whether to allow companies to fully expense equipment; instead he’ll explain why tax reform is needed.

 

Theme: “Springfield is the place where Route 66, commonly referred to as the Main Street of America, got its start,” said an official on the call. “And now it’s going to be the place where America’s Main Street begins its comeback.”

 

Bottom line: Many of the big issues on tax reform remain unsettled; and tomorrow’s speech by the president won’t provide any clarity on those. The White House wants Congress to take the lead and own these difficult decisions — e.g. the fight over full expensing — but expect Trump to put more gusto into his tax reform sales pitch than he did with health care. (He’s genuinely enthusiastic about tax cuts whereas he never was with health reform. Whether he can remain focused, however, and avoid detours into rants about “fake news” and his myriad enemies, is another question.)

Trump

 

Meanwhile, after an abysmal failure on the Obamacare repeal effort, it seems that the Trump White House is becoming better at the whole ‘political thing’ and has even polled which phrases are best for selling tax reform to the public.

In Trumpian style, he’ll try out new phrases for selling the policy like “Jump-start America” and “Win again.”

 

Republicans have polled the phrase “tax reform is about unrigging the economy,” and it’s done well with swing voters, people familiar with the data said. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has been using the phrase repeatedly.

So what actual details might we get, if any?  Beyond highlighting a couple of deductions that may be eliminated (sorry about that electric car deduction, Elon) and calling for ‘lower’ tax rates for corporations and middle-income folks, not much.

The speech is expected to frame the issue around wiping out some deductions that benefit mostly higher-income taxpayers, making the U.S. corporate system more globally competitive and simplifying the individual system. He is expected to discuss lower rates for middle-income taxpayers as an instant pay raise for everyday Americans, while arguing that lowering the corporate tax rate would make it easy for companies to expand — improving Americans’ quality of life.

 

Trump, however, is not expected to go into much detail about deductions and loopholes on Wednesday as congressional Republicans and the White House continue to haggle over which ones to target. The administration is leaving much of the detailed work to Hill Republicans on the major tax-writing committees.

 

Among possible deductions that the White House could support eliminating are those for the use of electric cars, historic preservation and fashioning a ranch into a cattle-breeding facility.

 

Some Senate Republicans and the White House want to continue the practice of businesses deducting the cost of investments along a steady schedule, which could allow for a bigger cut in the top corporate rate from its current 35 percent level, administration officials said.

Of course, the real question is whether tax reform is even possible given the fractured Republican party in the House and a very narrow Republican majority in the Senate.  Certainly recent history would suggest not so much.

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Is Cactus Gas The Future Of Biofuel?

August 30, 2017 Haley Zaremba 0

The prickly pear cactus (locally known as nopal) is ubiquitous in Mexico. Farmed in massive quantities across the nation, it’s a local food staple, an ancient sacred symbol, and the centerpiece of the nation’s flag. Now, it could be the key to the nation’s energy future. In the past, the spiny outer layer of the cactus has always been a waste product, but no longer–a group of scientists in Mexican green energy start up Suema discovered a way to turn it into a completely sustainable biogas. The pilot project dedicated to developing…

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Sudan’s al-Bashir pardons jailed human rights advocate

August 30, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has issued a presidential decree pardoning Dr Mudawi Ibrahim, a prominent rights activist arrested last year for alleged spying. Last December, Ibrahim was detained — and held without trial — after being accused of conducting “espionage” against the Sudanese government at the behest of foreign entities. A court accused the activist of “fabricating” information that was later used in an Amnesty International report about Khartoum’s alleged use of chemical weapons in the restive Darfur region. Along with a handful of his colleagues, Ibrahim had also faced accusations of attempting to undermine the Sudanese state, making unauthorized contact with foreign embassies, and treason — all offenses that can potentially carry the death penalty. Ibrahim’s lawyers hailed the […]

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“There Will Be Blood”: S&P Warns Failure To Raise Debt Ceiling Would Be “More Catastrophic Than Lehman”

August 30, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

With just one month left until the Treasury “X-date”, or the moment when it would run out of cash without a debt-ceiling resolution…

… the time has come for dire, apocalyptic threats to spook Congress into action and specifically reaching a compromise on a debt ceiling resolution, and S&P – which infamously downgraded the US in 2011 during the last debt ceiling fiasco – is happy to be the source of bad news.

In a report published on Wednesday titled “With A Shutdown, There Will Be Blood”, U.S. chief economist at S&P, Beth Ann Bovino, writes that “failure to raise the debt limit would likely be more catastrophic to
the economy than the 2008 failure of Lehman Brothers and would erase
many of the gains of the subsequent recovery.

Not even bothering to focus too much on the implications of a debt-ceiling breach, which would result in a technical default of the US, and potentially imperil the reserve status of the US Dollar, Bovino instead analyses the other key event due in a month, the potential government shutdown and writes that If it began early in the quarter, a shutdown would shave at least $6.5 billion off of real 4Q GDP each week it continues. Her analysis is based in part on 1995-1996 government shutdown and 16-day shutdown in October 2013.

 

However, agreeing with Goldman’s analysis released earlier, the S&P analyst said that the likelihood of a federal shutdown in late September remains “slim” with the fallout from Harvey reducing the chances further.

Still, S&P is unwilling to assume a happy ending, with Bovino adding that “betting on a rational US government can be risky.” Judging by today’s latest blow out in the spread between September/October Bill yields, the market agrees.

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Test 8.30

August 30, 2017 New Videos 0

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