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Showing posts from April 5, 2017

Wall Street is starting to doubt that Trump will deliver on his massive tax cut

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[I'm in somewhat of a state of shock: for the very first time since his election, there weren't enough Trump stories of note in my news feed to fill a Today's Trumpery posting! Will this last for more than one day? *RON*]

Bob Bryan, Business Insider, 5 April 2017
One of the central economic promises of President Donald Trump's young administration is a large corporate tax cut. But according to a note from the equity-analysis team at Jefferies, Wall Street isn't buying that it's coming anytime soon.

The Jefferies team says that stumbling blocks such as divisions in the Republican party over the American Health Care Act — the bill to repeal and replace Obamacare — and recent reports about the possible tax plan from the Trump administration should inspire a healthy dose of skepticism.

"It doesn't require copious research to conclude that tax reform will be challenging to pass," said the note. "Disagreements o…

EPA Rejects Own Science to Greenlight Brain-Damaging Pesticide

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[The Trump EPA. "EPA chief Pruitt's move rejecting his scientists' advice to ban a pesticide? That's exactly what the pesticide maker, DowChem, asked for." *RON*]

Nika KnightCommon Dreams, 30 March 2017

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Scott Pruitt denied a 10-year-old petition late Wednesday to ban the use of chlorpyrifos, a widely-used pesticide that harms children's brains, in a decision that outraged public health advocates and environmentalists.

In greenlighting the dangerous chemical, the EPA defied its own research—and acquiesced to Dow Chemical, the maker of chlorpyrifos, which has been lobbying the agency for years to allow the pesticide's continued use.
EPA Chief Pruitt's move rejecting his scientists' advice to ban a pesticide? That's exactly what the pesticide maker, DowChem, asked for. https://t.co/TJo5wUpCCY — ProPublica (@ProPublica) March 30, 2017"Without the ban, farmwork…

Firm Hired by FERC to Review Dominion’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline Linked to Project’s Main Environmental Contractor

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[Business as usual for the Liberal Party: one big happy old boys' club. *RON*]

Itai Vardi, DeSmog Blog, 2 April 2017
A contractor working for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in its environmental review of the proposed Atlantic Coast pipeline has ties to the project’s leading environmental contractor, DeSmog has found.

Merjent, a Minneapolis-based environmental consulting company, was hired by FERC in 2014 as a third-party contractor to assist in the review of the pipeline, a 550-mile multi-state natural gas project promoted by a partnership led by Dominion Energy and including Duke Energy and Southern Company. If authorized by FERC, the pipeline will ship fracked gas originating in the Marcellus Shale through West Virginia and Virginia, and into North Carolina.

As DeSmog reported in February, several associates and members of the new Trump administration’s transition teams have ties to companies behind the Atlantic Coast pip…

Junk leader, junk country

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[The ANC has gone to hell in a hand-bucket since Mandela's time. International financial ratings agency Standard & Poor's Global downgraded South Africa's economy yesterday to 'junk' status.]
Graeme Hosken Katherine Child & Enest Mabuza, Times Live Zaire, 4 April 2017

Its decision coincided with the ANC integrity commission's calls on President Jacob Zuma to resign immediately, adding to the pressure on a man now widely reviled as a junk president.

S&P had planned to take its next decision on South Africa's investment rating in June. But in an emergency meeting at the weekend, it decided to set the rating yesterday because of the serious political instability.
The cost of interest on government debt from April 2015 to March 2016 was R128-billion, or 3.2% of GDP. S&P expects this to rise to 4.2%. In the immediate aftermath of the downgrade the rand sank by almost 3%.

In its reaction to the S&P downgrad…

North Korea fires ballistic missile ahead of Trump-Xi meeting

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["The KN-15 missile uses pre-loaded solid fuel, which shortens launch preparation times, boosts its mobility and makes it harder for outsiders to detect ahead of liftoff... It could have been a test of a new missile intended as a stepping stone toward developing a solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach the US mainland... [Such a missile] would be a greater security threat, because it can be launched anywhere from a mobile vehicle. While submarines are a stealthy way to do that, North Korea doesn't have enough of them." *RON*]
Hyung-Jin Kim, Associated Press / CP24, 5 April 2017
SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of -- The missile in North Korea's latest launch didn't fly very far, but it may have been the second test of a technology that worries experts.

The launch Wednesday into waters off North Korea's east coast came shortly before U.S. President Donald Trump's first meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jin…

Noses full of foam, eyes half closed, victims died gasping

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[Nerve gas attack in Syria shocks the world. See also: Britain, France, and Turkey condemn Assad regime for chemical weapons attack; Trump blames Obama. *RON*]

Bel Trew & Hannah Lucinda Smith, The Times, 5 April 2017

There was not much destruction to be seen in the town of Khan Sheikhoun as the warplanes vanished beyond the horizon — but any sense of relief felt by the medics who rushed in to help was short-lived. What they found instead of civilians running from flames or buried under piles of rubble were corpses; several of them in homes that appeared to have been untouched by any bomb.

In some rooms men, women and children were convulsing in their beds, foaming at the mouth. The warplanes had hit Khan Sheikhoun, in the northwestern Idlib province, at 6.30am when most people were asleep. Only when the medics and volunteers who had arrived to offer assistance themselves began to faint did they realise what had happened: the town had been gas…