Friday, May 27, 2016

Pic Of The Moment: Wingnuts Of The Week: Friday Roundup



This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Energy Bill Now Full Of Horrible Environmental Provisions

Embattled pharma CEO endorses Trump

Trump 'Christian Policy' Adviser Is A 'Prophet' Who Stopped A Tsunami, Says AIDS Is Result Of 'Unnatural Sex'

Trump adviser: Trump wants a white male vice president to do all the presidenting he won't do

Great White Hope: Trump Unites Generations Of White Nationalists

Louie Gohmert: No Gay Space Colonies!

Trump Hotel Bookings Plummet 60% as Global Boycott Escalates

Tom Cahill | May 26, 2016


Donald Trump securing the Republican nomination has come at a high cost to his hotel business.

Trump has run a campaign asking voters to have confidence in a potential presidency because of his business acumen. However, bookings at his line of hotels have declined dramatically since the blustery real estate heir launched his campaign for the presidency.

According to data from Hipmunk, Trump’s hotel bookings have dropped by an average of 59 percent compared to the last year, almost directly in line with when he entered the race and began attracting international attention for his racist and sexist remarks on the campaign trail. Meanwhile, other hotels saw a rise in sales compared to last year, showing this is not merely part of an industry-wide trend.

Trump’s luxury hotels, particularly in New York and Las Vegas, are seeing steep declines in reservations when comparing the first quarter of 2016 to the first quarter of 2015.

trumphotels

Hipmunk’s data showed that in the first quarter of 2015, Trump hotels held 1.7 percent of all hotel bookings in the cities that house them. But in the first quarter of 2016, that number dropped to just 0.7 percent of all hotel bookings. While that may not sound like much, the decline becomes much more apparent in the below graph:

trumphotels2

In June, when Trump began his campaign with a simultaneous slight denigrating virtually all Mexican immigrants as rapists and drug dealers, Latino groups called for a boycott of all of Trump’s businesses, which continues today. While Trump boasts about the notoriety of his brand, many have come to view his brand as synonymous with racism, sexism, Islamophobia, and hatred.

As the billionaire continues his march as the Republican presidential nominee toward the November general election, his businesses may continue their sharp decline.

Tom Cahill is a writer for US Uncut based in the Pacific Northwest. He specializes in coverage of political, economic, and environmental news. You can contact him via email at tom.v.cahill@gmail.com.

This Wyoming Reporter Just Threw Cold Water On Trump's Coal Fantasy

MMFA

During a press conference in advance of Donald Trump's energy speech at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference on May 26, Inside Energy reporter Leigh Paterson asked Donald Trump about his pledge to restore coal mining jobs: 

 

LEIGH PATERSON (Inside Energy reporter): Mr. Trump, you've said multiple times that you would bring coal mining jobs back. And I'm a reporter in Wyoming, the largest coal -- 

DONALD TRUMP: I know. I see it. By far. I was very impressed. 

PATERSON: So but, one of the main factors those jobs are going away and the mines are closing is because of low natural gas prices. Poor decision making by coal companies. 

TRUMP: And by government. 

PATERSON: And also because of slowing international demand. So do you believe you have power as the president to actually bring those jobs back? 

TRUMP: I do. Because I think ultimately coal will be very inexpensive and it's got to get -- you got to get rid of some of the regulations. I spoke to some of the mine owners, and they were surrounded by some of their miners. And they were showing me some of the regulations where it is on a daily basis going in checking, checking, checking. And they have people that do nothing but deal with regulators and it is out of control. It's gotten out of control. 

PATERSON: And what would you do about those market forces? 

TRUMP: Well, the market forces are going to be whatever they are. You know, all I can do is free up the coal which I'm going to totally do. Get the companies back to work, market forces, that's something I don't want to get involved in, that's a beautiful -- to me a market force is a beautiful force. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

GOPer's Op-ed On Meeting SCOTUS Nom Goes Up Before Actual Meeting

TPM

“Senator Hatch has made clear from the beginning that he intends to meet with Judge Garland out of respect for their longtime friendship,” the spokesperson, J.P. Freire, said. “He looks forward to their meeting and the opportunity to explain his position on the current Supreme Court vacancy.”

Paul Edwards, executive editor of the Deseret News, called the publication of the op-ed an "unfortunate error" in statement emailed to TPM.
"This morning, the Deseret News website mistakenly published a draft of an op-ed from Utah Senator Orrin Hatch explaining his position on the Supreme Court vacancy," Edwards said. "The electronic publication of this version, awaiting edits from the Senator following his meeting with Judge Garland, was inadvertent." 

Garland -- a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit -- has met with more than a dozen GOP senators, at least one of whom was willing to break with party line and say he deserved to go through the typical consideration process. The Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, on which Hatch sits, have pledged to refuse to give any nominee of Obama's a hearing, because, they say, the successor to the late Justice Antonin Scalia should be picked by the next president.

Coincidentally, days before Obama announced Garland as his selection, Hatch said the President wouldn't nominate a "moderate" like Garland, whom Hatch called a "fine man."
In the op-ed that was taken down Thursday, Hatch continued his praise for Garland, while reiterating his claim that the blockade was actually benefitting the appeals court judge.



"[H]olding the confirmation process amid the clamor and commotion of the current presidential election would thrust Judge Garland into a punishing political gauntlet that is below the dignity of a Supreme Court nominee," Hatch wrote. "Because I care for Judge Garland personally and want to maintain the integrity of the Supreme Court, I believe the Senate is right to fill the current vacancy after the political season has ended."

Update: This story has been updated to include a statement from Paul Edwards, the executive editor of the Deseret News.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The U.S. Is Running Part of Its Nuclear Forces on 8-Inch Floppy Drives

NEWSWEEK


The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a startling report on the state of the government’s information technology infrastructure on Wednesday. According to the report, the Department of Defense (DOD) “coordinates the operational functions of the United States’ nuclear forces, such as intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear bombers, and tanker support aircrafts” with a 1970s computer system that uses 8-inch floppy disks.

The total amount that the government requested for information technology services in 2017 is $89 billion. The government plans to spend the vast majority of this IT budget on operations and maintenance, the report says.

Keeping up old systems, it seems, is getting more and more expensive. Even as the overall budget for IT systems in government is rising, the amount of money being spent on upgrading systems is declining, down $7.3 billion from 2010, according to the GAO report. The rest is being spent on ancient relics that still power important systems.


In some cases, agencies have been forced to hire retired employees to maintain systems that are decades out of date.

At the Department of the Treasury, for instance, the Individual Master File, the “authoritative data source for individual taxpayers where accounts are updated, taxes are assessed, and refunds are generated,” was programmed to run in assembly language, an expensive, hard to maintain programming language that runs on an IBM mainframe.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) tracks “claims filed by veterans for benefits, eligibility, and dates of death,” using COBOL, a computer language several decades beyond its prime.

While the DOD is planning to upgrade the system that uses floppy disks by the end of 2017, both the Treasury and the VA don’t have any plans to replace their systems, which means more maintenance costs in the long run, the report says.

The report recommends that Office of Budget Management call on individual agencies to identify and prioritize legacy information systems that are in need of replacement or modernization.

Monday, May 16, 2016

BREAKING: Trump Lied On Candidate Disclosure Form

Last Updated on May 16, 2016


There’s a reason Donald Trump is refusing to release his taxes, and it’s not just because of an ongoing audit at the IRS.
Recently it has just been discovered that Trump, in an effort to show the world how rich he is, valued one of his properties at “more than $50 million,” yet his attorneys, for tax purposes, tried to argue that it is really only worth $1.35 million. The property in question, The Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County, New York, is a sprawling 147-acre private club with manicured lawns, stone bridges, and has a 101-foot waterfall.

If Trump’s attorneys are legitimately trying to value the property correctly, then that means Trump lied on his candidate disclosure form.

But, here’s the thing: chances are what’s really happening is that Trump is drastically undervaluing the property in order to not pay his fair share of taxes on the property. Either way, he’s lying.
Here’s what we know: Trump bought the property for $8 million in a foreclosure sale and then immediately spent $45 million to build an 18-hole golf course, as well as a  75,000-square-foot clubhouse. Those improvements are quite substantial. That begs the question then, how on earth would Trump’s tax assessment decrease from the purchase price even with all of those upgrades?
That’s exactly what the town of Ossining is trying to figure out. Dana Levenberg, the town supervisor, says this is hurting their town’s revenues.
“Trump says he represents the little guy, but the little guy is going to have to pay his taxes for him here in Ossining.”
If Trump gets his way then that means he would be cutting his tax burden by 90 percent, dumping the burden on everyone else.
Further investigative research reveals that Trump’s lawyers are taking the same approach at Trump’s other properties around the country, in an attempt to limit how much taxes the billionaire actually pays.
Everyone is well aware of the loopholes that currently exist in the complicated environment of tax policy in the United States but this is something entirely different. On one hand, Trump is publicly boasting about how rich he is, and how much his properties are worth, but on the other hand, is trying to say they’re worth just a fraction of that when it comes time to pay Uncle Sam. And – it’s just wrong.
No wonder Trump is the only presidential candidate since 1976 to not release his tax returns. It all makes sense now.