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Analysis, background reports and updates from the PBS NewsHour putting today's news in context.

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    Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump gestures as he speaks during the first debate with Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, U.S., September 26, 2016.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson  - RTSPKN3

    Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump gestures as he speaks during the first debate with Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, U.S., September 26, 2016. Photo by Lucas Jackson/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Donald Trump may or may not have paid federal income taxes for years after losing nearly $916 million. But if he did avoid paying taxes, he’s a “genius” at taking advantage of a loophole-ridden law, his supporters said Sunday.

    The New York Times on Sunday published “a very, very good story for Donald Trump,” Chris Christie said on “Fox News Sunday.” Rudy Giuliani called him an “absolute genius” on ABC’s “This Week.” And Trump himself weighed in, saying he was singularly qualified to fix a system he may have exploited.

    “I know our complex tax laws better than anyone who has ever run for president and am the only one who can fix them,” Trump tweeted on Sunday, just five weeks ahead of the election.

    Democrats said Trump’s nearly $916 million loss in one year pokes holes in his claim to be a champion for working, tax-paying Americans.

    “He doesn’t care about those small businesses he didn’t pay. He doesn’t care about the people who lost millions of dollars in all of his bankruptcies,” Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said on “Fox News Sunday.” ”Those losses represent real pain to many people who never got paid.”

    [Watch Video]

    Even as the story was published, the candidate and his surrogates were engrossed in an effort to change the subject from his feud with 1996 Miss Universe Alicia Machado and his middle-of-the-night tweet storm on the subject. On Saturday night in Manheim, Pennsylvania, Trump questioned Hillary Clinton’s loyalty to her husband and imitated her near-faint on Sept. 11 after being diagnosed for pneumonia.

    The New York Times report sheds light on some of the billionaire’s tax returns after Trump’s campaign refused to release any such documents, breaking with 40 years of presidential campaign tradition. Clinton has publicly released nearly 40 years’ worth, and Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, has released 10 years of his tax returns.

    Trump has said his attorneys are advising him to keep his tax returns private until a government audit is completed. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told a House committee Sept. 21 that people under IRS audit are free to release their returns or IRS letters informing a person they’re being audited.

    In a story published online late Saturday, the Times said it anonymously received the first pages of Trump’s 1995 state income tax filings in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The filings show a net loss of $915,729,293 in federal taxable income for the year.

    That Trump was losing money during the early to mid-1990s — a period marked by bankruptcies and poor business decisions — was already well established. But the records obtained by the Times show losses of such a magnitude that they potentially allowed Trump to avoid paying taxes for years, possibly until the end of the last decade.

    His campaign said that Trump had paid “hundreds of millions” of dollars in other kinds of taxes over the years.

    Trump’s allies defended him during appearances on the Sunday news shows.

    Giuliani, former New York mayor, said Trump “had some failures and then he built an empire” and called the businessman “a genius at how to take advantage of legal remedies that can help your company survive and grow.”

    “Don’t you think a man who has this kind of economic genius is a lot better for the United States than a woman, and the only thing she’s ever produced is a lot of work for the FBI checking out her emails,” Giuliani told ABC’s “This Week.”

    In a separate interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Giuliani noted that “poor” people take advantage of similar “loopholes,” referring to the millions of Americans who aren’t required to pay federal income taxes each year because their incomes are too low.

    Clinton’s primary rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders, who made wealth inequality a top campaign issue, said that assuming Trump’s tax strategy was legal, “what it tells you is you have a corrupt tax system which says to ordinary people, you’re supposed to pay your taxes. But if you’re a billionaire, there are all kinds of loopholes that you can utilize that enable you … not to pay anything in taxes.”

    Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, used the Times story to needle Trump about not releasing his tax returns and contending during his first debate with Clinton that not paying federal income taxes would show he was “smart.”

    Mook said in a statement Saturday: “Now that the gig is up, why doesn’t he go ahead and release his returns to show us all how ‘smart’ he really is?”

    In its story, the Times said the three pages of documents were mailed last month to a Times reporter who had written about Trump’s finances. A postmark indicated they had been sent from New York City and the return address claimed the envelope had been sent from Trump Tower, the newspaper said.

    Trump’s campaign did not directly address the authenticity of the excerpts from Trump’s tax filings. Former Trump accountant Jack Mitnick, whose name appears as Trump’s tax preparer of the filings, confirmed their authenticity, the newspaper reported.

    The post Christie, Giuliani say if Trump didn’t pay taxes, he’s ‘genius’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speak at their first presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, U.S., September 26, 2016. Picture taken September 26, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar - RTSPO7F

    Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speak at their first presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, U.S., September 26, 2016. National polls show a deep rift between the two candidates over gender issues. Picture taken September 26, 2016. Photo Mike Segar/Reuters

    National polls show a significant gender gap in the presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, with Clinton holding a large lead among women and Trump leading among men.

    Here’s a look at their positions on some issues with a major impact on women:

    Abortion

    Clinton favors abortion rights and supports Planned Parenthood, a leading abortion provider which also offers a range of other health services. Trump, who once backed abortion rights, now describes himself as “pro-life” and says he would seek to appoint Supreme Court justices who would consider overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established a nationwide right to abortion.

    Child care

    Both candidates propose tax relief for child care costs. Trump’s plan provides for a new income tax deduction for child care expenses, other tax benefits and a new rebate or tax credit for low-income families. Clinton says no family should spend more than 10 percent of its income on child care and has called for child-care subsidies and tax relief offered on a sliding scale.

    [Watch Video]

    Family leave

    Clinton calls for 12 weeks of government-paid family leave to care for a new child or seriously ill family member, which she says would be paid with higher taxes on the rich. Trump proposes six weeks of leave for new mothers, with the government paying wages equivalent to unemployment benefits. His plan would not cover fathers.

    Minimum wage

    In some respects, the debate over raising the minimum wage is a women’s issue, given research indicating that nearly two-thirds of minimum wage earners are women. Clinton supports raising the minimum wage at least to $12 an hour. Trump says he supports an increase to $10, but thinks states should “really call the shots.” The federal minimum wage now is $7.25.

    Pay equity

    Clinton backs legislation forcing businesses to disclose gender pay data to the government for analysis; the bill would allow women to seek punitive damages for discrimination. Trump says working moms should be “fairly compensated,” but hasn’t emphasized the issue of a gender pay gap.

    The post On women’s issues, Clinton and Trump have sharp differences appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    In 2002, descendants of African slaves filed a historic class-action lawsuit in U.S. federal court demanding reparations from financial, railroad, tobacco, insurance and textile companies that had benefited from their predecessors.

    Reparations lawyer Deadria Farmer-Paellmann was tasked with proving direct links between the plaintiffs and the slave trade, so she submitted to the court DNA tests that traced their ancestry to Africa.

    According to Alondra Nelson’s book, “The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation after the Genome,” Farmer-Paellmann said the testing had proven “beyond a doubt that there was a fiduciary relationship between the plaintiffs’ ancestors and the defendants’.”

    When asked by NewsHour Weekend’s Hari Sreenivasan what happened, Nelson replied, “I haven’t received my check yet, Hari.”

    Since then, as she outlines in her book, the African-American community has used these tests to help reckon with the historic injustices that obscured parts of their identities.

    She talked with Sreenivasan about the relationships between race, DNA and history. You can read an excerpt of their conversation below.

    Why are people doing this genetic testing? Is it for the identity? Is it for a story about themselves?

    Those things are related, identities and stories, you know? And I think that people want identities that they can use to tell a rich story, a richer story about their lives. And in the case of African-Americans, part of that story has been lost. “People want identities that they can use to tell a rich story, a richer story about their lives. And in the case of African-Americans, part of that story has been lost.”

    And so, what the attempt to use genetic ancestry testing to do to find a nation state, an ethnic group, information that you didn’t have access to before, before we had new technologies that helped us to make some best guesses about where people who are of African descent in the U.S. might be from then allow you to complete a story.

    So, the identity piece and the story piece are actually very much connected.

    There’s also a notion of ownership, because [they are] opting into it.

    That’s the critical piece, because we know for communities of color, that genetics has not always been a rosy piece of research. I mean, that there have been historical tragedies in the past that would lead particularly African-Americans to be suspicious of genetic testing.

    And so, the ability to opt-in, the ability to now in the 21st century use genetics to do something powerful, to tell a powerful story about your identity and your life, and to choose how you want to take that story up. So, sometimes people get information that they find useful or interesting, and sometimes they don’t. But because you have opted in as a consumer, you get to choose, you get to adjudicate whether or not you think that information is useful for your story.

    There are a couple of political dimensions to this, too. A couple of your chapters are about reparations. But how does this advance that conversation, when really America has had a pretty difficult time even just coming to terms with what’s happened through the Middle Passage?

    Yes. So, one of the things I found, I thought that genetic ancestry testing and it’s used by African-Americans, was only about the identity piece. But I found that it was also about bigger politics. So, it’s about — it was about the sort of bigger reckoning with American history.

    And what genetic testing and genealogy more generally, whether or not it’s the traditional form or the genetic form allows is a telescoping back in history in a way to get around kind of historical amnesia. So, because it becomes very personal. So, you’re not just saying, oh, you know, your ancestors might have been enslaved and they might have been owned by my ancestors. You’re actually saying, my great, my great grandmother whose name was this lived in this place and she was a former enslaved person.

    And so, it really telescopes to the past and brings history to the present in a very personal way so the history of slavery in the United States becomes not abstract but about your neighbor, your classmate and their family members in very material ways. And so, in the reparations case, you know, part of the question and the question remains is that, you know, who are the people to whom reparations might be owed if such a case could be tried?

    So, I follow in the book, 2002 class action suit for slavery reparation that winds in and out of the court and is currently stalled. And in this case, an early dismissal, a 2004 dismissal of the case, the court says, you’re merely alleging that you have a genealogical relationship to formerly enslaved people.

    And so, the very smart plaintiffs in that case go to a company called African Ancestry which has just started a year before, so we’re now very used to genetic ancestry testing. You know, there’s lots of television shows. It’s in the press, in the media a lot. But at this time, the industry had only been a part of — in the United States, for less than two years.

    And so, part of what these reparation activists are doing were using a very cutting edge technology in a new way, or early adaptors of it. So, they go and get mitochondrial and patrilineal genetic ancestry testing. So, the Y-chromosome, patrilineage Y-chromosome and matrilineage testing and they submit that as evidence in the civil court case.

    What happened?

    What happened? So, I haven’t gotten a check. Have you? I haven’t received my check yet, Hari. So, it’s — they’re not successful, but it’s very interesting because the court has to consider and in some cases — you know, I think some could argue for the very first time what genetic ancestry testing means, what it can tell us, what it can’t tell us.

    So, in the end, it wasn’t specific enough. The court really wanted to be able to say, not just you have genetic inheritance that are shared with people in contemporary Nigeria, but like be able to trace your great-great-grandfather and say that this great-great-grandfather was transported on a train that was owned by CSX, or that was insured by Aetna and the like.

    So, there’s a level of specificity that these tests couldn’t offer. But, you know, genetic testing is getting more specific, particularly when you can layer it with all the big data revolution in contemporary genealogy.

    The post Can DNA tests help repair social ruptures from transatlantic slavery? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A still from "You Make Me Iliad" by Mary Reid Kelley. Photo courtesy of the artist and Fredericks & Freiser, NY

    A still from “You Make Me Iliad” by Mary Reid Kelley. Photo courtesy of the artist and Fredericks & Freiser, NY

    What voices have been lost to history? That’s a question that absorbs Mary Reid Kelley, a newly-named MacArthur fellow who leads viewers of her films through a black-and-white historical maze.

    Kelley works with her partner Patrick Kelley to create films that attempt to fill in the gaps between established facts, often telling the stories of people on the margins of history books. “I am very interested in people who do not, for some reason or other, tell their own stories, or can’t tell their own stories,” Kelley told the NewsHour. Kelley plays all of the characters as they face the challenges that come with moments of intense societal change — a struggle that resonates with the present day. But to talk to Kelley about her work is to wander with her through history.

    Her journey in film began at the Yale Alumni War Memorial, where she created found poetry out of rubbings from the names of Yale alumni who died in U.S. wars. Fascinated by these names, she traveled to France and Belgium to visit some of the soldiers’ graves and began researching Archibald MacLeish, a poet whose younger brother Kenneth died in World War I. Her first film was inspired by his story.

    “He wrote this very reductive poetry saying essentially that [Kenneth] died for something greater, a greater purpose,” she said. “Later on, he changed his mind essentially and said no, this was just a complete waste of my brother’s life.”

    A still from "The Syphilis of Sisyphus" by Mary Reid Kelley. Photo courtesy of the artist and Fredericks & Freiser, NY

    A still from “The Syphilis of Sisyphus” by Mary Reid Kelley. Photo courtesy of the artist and Fredericks & Freiser, NY

    Researching World War I led Kelley to the stories of sex workers who had staffed popular brothels for soldiers during the war. Kelley said she encountered no testimony from the women who survived those brothels, a gap in recorded history that “shocked and really disappointed” her, Kelley said.

    But then she realized: “If you had survived that experience, no one would think it was a valuable experience. The best thing that could happen to you would be to go somewhere and have nobody ever realize that it happened to you. … It would have damaged their lives to say it. This happens to a lot of women now, who suffer sexual violence.”

    A still from "Priapus Agonistes" by Mary Reid Kelley. Photo courtesy of the artist and Fredericks & Freiser, NY

    A still from “Priapus Agonistes” by Mary Reid Kelley. Photo courtesy of the artist and Fredericks & Freiser, NY

    Kelley plays all of her characters, who move through boldly-drawn, monochromatic sets in elaborate costumes, speaking in verse. The setting, meticulously crafted, gives off the lo-fi impression of early animation. Their eyes are obscured; something about them stays out of reach.

    The style of her characters, which also includes mime makeup, “makes them less like a real person and more like a mask, or a cipher, or a graffiti,” Kelley said.

    A still from "Swinburne's Pasiphae" by Mary Reid Kelley. Photo courtesy of the artist and Fredericks & Freiser, NY

    A still from “Swinburne’s Pasiphae” by Mary Reid Kelley. Photo courtesy of the artist and Fredericks & Freiser, NY

    Another key element is wordplay: in “The Syphilis of Sisyphus,” a young prostitute sits at a vanity table, applying makeup. In the mirror, she declares, “The Toilette is noble! But taste’s in the toilet.” In “The Queen’s English,” a nurse treating World War I soldiers at a tent hospital declares, “I love you darling the way a Dutchman loves a dike, the way a woman needs a man that needs a fish that needs a bike.”

    These phrases and puns often spring from the research process, she said. “I’ll read a word and my mind will kind of rebel against the forced activity, the forced hard thinking by playing with it.”

    Now based in Olivebridge, New York, Kelley currently has two solo exhibitions at Kunsthalle Bremen in Bremen, Germany, and Museum Leuven in Leuven, Belgium.

    The post Video artist, MacArthur fellow Mary Reid Kelley on recovering history’s lost narratives appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Patrick Eug‎éne appears in front of his work at "Deconstruction," a show at the Brooklyn Arts Fellowship in Brooklyn, New York. Photo courtesy of Patrick Eug‎éne

    Patrick Eug‎éne appears in front of his work at “Deconstruction,” a show at the Brooklyn Arts Fellowship in Brooklyn, New York. Photo courtesy of Patrick Eug‎éne

    Between the rushing taxi cabs and the construction cranes that cast shadows along red brick apartments, it’s easy to forget about the growing displacement of Brooklyn residents.

    But “Deconstruction,” a new series of paintings by Patrick Eug‎éne, unveils the effects of gentrification within East New York, a Brooklyn neighborhood where he grew up and still lives. The series, a display of abstract expressionism, highlights the removal of residents through indefinite shapes and intense color.

    “Affordable” by Patrick Eug‎éne. Photo courtesy of Patrick Eug‎éne

    “Affordable” by Patrick Eug‎éne. Photo courtesy of Patrick Eug‎éne

    At first glance, “Affordable” shows the viewer striking red specks along the canvas that merge into a traffic light box. The outlines of black come forth as harsh as rezoning plans for some city residents. But among the clashing swipes of red and blue, the word “Affordable” is unmistakable.

    Every day, close-knit communities of Caribbean immigrants in Brooklyn grow smaller amid the construction of high-rise buildings and house renovations. Developers in East New York are buying up cheap homes and selling them at increased prices, a venture known as “house flipping.”

    More homes were flipped in East New York in 2015 than any other neighborhood in New York City, according to the nonprofit organization Center for NYC Neighborhoods. That same year, 94 homes were sold for an average of $215,000 each. Within a year, they had resold for three times that price.

    And when new, affluent residents and increased property values appear, original residents do not seem to fit into the mold like they once did.

    We asked Eug‎éne what “Deconstruction” shows about race and society, and how it could help open dialogue between the participants of gentrification and those it has affected.

    Why did you choose to focus on gentrification?

    I think being in New York, Brooklyn, we’re surrounded by it in a daily basis. In the back of our minds, we all see and understand what is going on. Some call East New York the “last frontier.” It’s pretty much one of the last areas in Brooklyn that have not fell into this whole gentrification thing. It’s a vicious cycle. It’s something that we’ve seen in other parts of Brooklyn. No one ever imagined it to happen in East New York. So people said, “Never East New York. It’ll never happen to East New York” but it’s happening. So now, people are like, “What do we do now? We were pushed out of Bed Stuy, pushed out of Bushwick. We’re in East New York, and now where do we go?”

    It’s tough. That’s what drove me to do this series. Whether you like poetry or journalism, it’s something that touches you dearly. Being that I was affected by it, and just seeing people around me being affected by it, I felt like it was my duty to paint a series about them.

    Why did you choose abstract expressionism?

    I actually started off doing more figurative work. But to me, I just wasn’t feeling as loose and free with it [as] I feel like you should be when you’re creating something that you love. It was, to me, a little bit more contrived. I took a lot of time trying to make an eye look like it was the right way, and it was really technically. I would try to teach myself while doing these techniques. I just broke free from all of that, and I gained the confidence to do what I want to do rather than try to please others, or get validation. But then I said, I really love this. I think I wanna do this forever.

    If someone is looking at something that is not as recognizable, everyday object, and still feel something from it, then you’ve created something. In my opinion, you look at something and you may not be able to identify what you’re looking at. But you still say “Hey, this is nice.” To me, that’s magical. To me, being able to construct something that evokes emotion out of nothing, in a sense, is where it’s at. I think that’s what expressionism is. If things line up correctly, it makes a beautiful piece and evokes beautiful emotion.

    Works by painter Patrick Eug‎éne appear at the Brooklyn Arts Fellowship in Brooklyn, New York. Photo courtesy of Patrick Eug‎éne

    Works by painter Patrick Eug‎éne appear at the Brooklyn Arts Fellowship in Brooklyn, New York. Photo courtesy of Patrick Eug‎éne

    Was there a specific moment when you realized that your home, East New York, was not the same?

    Over the years, it started to progress. The violence is down, things have gotten a lot better. It’s come far from where I was. Now that developers feel like East New York is a bit safer, they feel like it’s a good time to move on in. And it’s at the expense of people who have been there for a long time.

    When I say that, I’m referring to the methods they use to force people out of their homes. To me, it’s a brutal method. Say its an elderly woman or elderly couple who owns the home. They’ll target elderly women that may not have young men around to kind of help them out when a man comes knocking on the door and offers this much cash for their home. They kind of pressure them. The elderly woman may feel vulnerable … it’s a terrible method. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been there — 10 years, 15 years, 20 years — none of that matters to these people. Because money speaks louder than anything else.

    My grandmother recently brought in a young mother and her two children who were forced out of their building. She brought them into her building way below market rate because she understood the woman’s struggle. If it weren’t for people in the community that were doing that for each other, I don’t know where half of these people would go.

    Photo courtesy of Patrick Eug‎éne

    Photo courtesy of Patrick Eug‎éne

    What do people usually forget when it comes to gentrification?

    We tend to forget our older people in the community. There was a garden in East New York Brooklyn that was shut down. The garden was a community garden of mostly seniors and elderly people. That’s where they found their joy. And they’re looking to build on that property. My piece, “Sorry I Stole Your Garden,” is dedicated to them.

    We tend to forget their needs. So when you take away their garden, you’re undervaluing what they feel is valuable. Why forget about them when they’ve been here forever? They’ve pretty much created this community.

    "Negro Removal, 2016" by Patrick Eug‎éne. Photo courtesy of Patrick Eug‎éne

    “Negro Removal, 2016” by Patrick Eug‎éne. Photo courtesy of Patrick Eug‎éne

    I see you have a piece that shows the phrase “Negro Removal.” What is the meaning behind this?

    I was at this discussion about gentrification, and the speaker refused to use any other word other than “Negro removal” instead of using “gentrification” and “displacement.” Now [developers] are going to colonize this place.

    That piece has a lot of elements to it in the abstract form. So I thought to myself, “Why not just hit em with that word there, so they can at least understand what is going on?” There’s a play with the colors, there’s a play with the shapes. To me, the blackness, the pain, the suffering, the tears, the sweat, the blood dripping down. I kind of separated the green to show what’s more important than anything going on — it symbolizes money.

    What do you hope to come out of this series?

    Even though this — gentrification — is becoming a discussion, I just hope that we can start hearing the stories of people that are actually being affected by this. To me, it’s a crime. This is just my view of it, this is just my opinion, these are just my emotions, but I am not that woman who has the two children that can’t find a place to live. When are we going to start listening to the actual people that are being affected, and hearing them out?

    I felt that because of my platform as an artist, it’s something that I should use to express my personal emotional connection to what’s going on in Brooklyn. To me, I feel like we should get ahead of it before it actually happens and talk about it.

    This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

    The post East New York painter confronts the ‘brutal’ force of gentrification appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    FILE - This Oct. 29, 2012 file photo shows people standing in line to vote in the presidential election, in Miami. There’s always grousing about people who don’t bother to vote. But look at it another way: An estimated 133 million Americans will cast ballots in Tuesday’s election. That’s about 6 in 10 eligible adults. Some will persevere despite long lines, pressing personal burdens or the devastation left by Superstorm Sandy. Why do they do it? It’s not because any one voter will decide the contest between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Depending on which state they live in, the odds of casting a deciding vote for president are somewhere between 1 in a million and essentially zero. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    By Ivette Feliciano and Zachary Green

    It’s morning at Melao Bakery in Kissimmee, Florida, and Jezreel Zapata Moreno is busy ringing up customers buying breakfast for the start of their day. Like most of the customers here, Moreno is Puerto Rican, having arrived in Kissimmee from the U.S. island territory just a few months ago in July. And also like many other Puerto Ricans living in Central Florida, he came to the state in search of a better life, away from Puerto Rico’s crushing debt crisis.

    “Sadly, the situation in Puerto Rico has been very difficult, and that’s why so many of us are moving here,” he said. “We’re in search of a place where we can prosper economically and where our kids can receive quality education.”

    Central Florida’s warm weather, thriving jobs market, and built-in Puerto Rican community has been a draw for many Puerto Ricans, both from the island and from other parts of the U.S. mainland. 39 percent of Florida’s Puerto Rican population currently live in areas surrounding Orlando and Tampa, and 1,000 additional families are arriving from the island every month. This boom in the population isn’t just affecting the state’s demographics; it’s also having an effect on the makeup of Florida’s all-important Latino vote.

    Making up 15 percent of the state’s registered voters, Florida’s Latino electorate is an important demographic for presidential candidates to capture, especially in a year when polling numbers in the state between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are neck-and-neck. For decades, Florida’s Latino power base was in southern Florida, centered in Miami-Dade County with its high concentration of Cuban Americans. Often conservative-leaning, these voters helped swing the state toward Republican presidential candidates, throwing their support behind Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.

    However, in recent years, Florida’s Puerto Rican population has grown to over 1 million, rivaling Cuban Americans for the majority Latino demographic. It’s estimated that they will surpass the Cuban population by 2020. Puerto Ricans also lean more Democratic than Cuban Americans, helping to grow Hispanic Democratic registrants by 83 percent over the past decade. And Puerto Ricans are unique among recent Latino arrivals in the country: since they are already U.S. citizens, they can register to vote in the presidential election almost immediately upon reaching the mainland.

    Jezreel Moreno is one of those first-time Puerto Rican presidential voters. A registered Democrat, he intends to vote for Hillary Clinton in November. He believes that she best addresses the issues that concern him and other people in his community. “I think our priorities are jobs and economic stability for our families,” he says. “We want security for our children, to live somewhere that is quiet and secure.”

    He’ll be one of thousands of new voters in Florida who help make those decisions in the fall.

    Read the full transcript below.

    IVETTE FELICIANO: On a Tuesday morning just south of Orlando, in Kissimmee, Florida, these canvassers are registering voters outside the Unidos supermarket, on behalf of “Mi Familia Vota,” or “My Family Votes,” a civic engagement organization focused on increasing Latino political power in the United States. Jeamy Ramirez has been working to educate her fellow Latino voters since moving to the city from Puerto Rico four years ago.

    JEAMY RAMIREZ: Here you can vote on Election Day, or you can do early vote which is like 7 or 10 days before the election, you can mail in your vote. Many ways to participate.

    IVETTE FELICIANO: Latinos account for half of Florida’s population growth since 2010 and are one quarter of the state’s 20 million residents. The fastest Latino growth has occurred in the counties along the I-4 corridor from Orange, Osceola and Seminole, around Orlando, to Polk and Hillsborough Counties, around Tampa. Esteban Garces is Mi Familia Vota’s State Director, on this day, leading a registration drive at Valencia College.

    ESTEBAN GARCES: The October 11th deadline is now just a few days away, so it’s all gears, all systems running.

    IVETTE FELICIANO: Only 74,000 votes decided Florida’s 2012 presidential election. Garces says because about 500,000 eligible Latinos are not registered to vote in the state, “Mi Familia Vota” is in the field every day.

    ESTEBAN GARCES: Our staff is very much aware that the work that we do is going to impact this election. Our work is going to determine who the next president is.

    IVETTE FELICIANO: Since January, “Mi Familia Vota” has registered more than 27-thousand new Latino residents.

    44-year-old Army veteran Eric Peguero embodies the ambivalence many Latinos feel toward the presidential candidates. A registered Republican who calls himself a moderate conservative, Peguero voted for Marco Rubio in the Republican presidential primary, but says that support does not extend to Donald Trump.

    A son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic and married to a woman from Guatemala, Peguero says immigration reform is his top concern. But he rejects Trump’s call to build a wall along the U.S. Mexico border and track down and deport undocumented immigrants.

    ERIC PEGUERO: I don’t agree with Obamacare or anything like that, but going to the Republican nominee is ludicrous. Simply, you can’t count on anything he says. One, I do believe in immigration reform, but I don’t believe we can built a wall. Two, we can’t deport 11 million people, and not all of them are criminals.

    IVETTE FELICIANO: Peguero says he plans to vote for Hillary Clinton, because he sees her as more diplomatic and better equipped to handle the economy.

    ERIC PEGUERO: We have to see that the economy is working, and I think someone like Hillary Clinton that’s been running for 30 years has that kind of experience, and can make something happen realistically. I don’t think just because you have business experience that translates into government experience, because you don’t tell the congress what to do, you have to negotiate with the congress to get it done.

    IVETTE FELICIANO: Peguero’s views are typical of Clinton supporters and help explain why she is preferred by the majority of Florida Latinos, according to a recent “Univision” poll, which also found her with wider leads among Latinos in the Latino-heavy battleground states of Arizona, Colorado, and Nevada.

    Luis Martinez Fernandez, a Cuban immigrant who grew up in Puerto Rico, is a history professor at the University of Central Florida.

    LUIS MARTINEZ-FERNANDEZ: As far as a bloc, I’ve been saying for many years that there’s no such thing. For one, a bloc is sort of solid and immovable. However, when it comes to the Hispanic vote in Florida, we see that it sways from election to election.

    IVETTE FELICIANO: For decades, Cuban-Americans in south Florida were the face of the state’s Latino vote, and they were reliably Republican, supporting Ronald Reagan and both Presidents Bush. By 2012, Barrack Obama split the Cuban vote with Mitt Romney.

    LUIS MARTINEZ-FERNANDEZ: We’re talking about a generation that continues to die off, and that makes them weaker. Weaker in terms of their political presence.

    IVETTE FELICIANO: Fernandez says a younger generation of Cuban-Americans and new waves of Cuban immigrants less wedded to anti-Castro anti-communist sentiments has eclipsed the older generation, and are increasingly supportive of democrats.

    Adding to the shifts, about a thousand Puerto Rican families, U.S. citizens with an automatic right to vote, arrive in the I-4 corridor region every month…leaving the island’s economic and debt crisis that has driven the unemployment rate there to 11 percent. More than half of Orlando’s Latino population is Puerto Rican.

    LUIS MARTINEZ-FERNANDEZ: If you look at all the Hispanic subgroups, the one that leans democratic at the highest rate are Puerto Ricans.

    IVETTE FELICIANO: Fernandez says while immigration reform is a high priority among Latinos generally, it’s less of a priority for Puerto Ricans, who are U.S. citizens, and Cubans, whose legal residency applications are fast tracked.

    LUIS MARTINEZ-FERNANDEZ: Now, that doesn’t mean that they’re not sensitive to these issues; that doesn’t mean that we’re not offended when fellow Latinos from Mexico are called frightening names and are insulted. So it doesn’t mean a lack of sensitivity. What it means is that there are different priorities.

    IVETTE FELICIANO: The top priorities for Florida’s Latino voters are the economy and jobs, followed by immigration, education, terrorism, and healthcare.

    After losing his job in Puerto Rico, 34-year-old Jezreel Zapata-Moreno moved to the Orlando area in July and now works as a cashier at Kissimmee’s Melao Bakery, a popular Puerto Rican restaurant.

    JEZREEL ZAPATA-MORENO: Sadly, the situation in Puerto Rico has been very difficult, and that’s why so many of us are moving here. We’re in search of a place where we can prosper economically and where our kids can receive quality education.

    IVETTE FELICIANO: Economic prosperity and upward mobility are the talking points of the conservative Latino political group “The Libre Initiative.”  The group’s volunteers are phone banking daily to identify and urge conservative-leaning Latinos to vote. Daniel Garza is the organization’s executive director.

    DANIEL GARZA: You have an influx of Puerto Ricans that are leaving that economic condition in Puerto Rico not because they want to but because they have to. What you see in Puerto Rico is starting to happen here, we’re on an unsustainable path, a fiscal path here that is going to ruin the next generation.  It’s important for us to drive that conversation within the Puerto Rican community here in Orlando, because they can make a difference.

    IVETTE FELICIANO: The current Republican nominee has said some pretty controversial things immigrant communities Latino communities.

    DANIEL GARZA: To say the least.”

    IVETTE FELICIANO: Are you worried at all about what that means for conservative candidates?

    DANIEL GARZA: Look, we are part of a long-term effort. We focus on ideas. We don’t want to see our growth rise and fall based on personality. So we stay away from associating to personalities who we feel there’s a lack of enthusiasm around by the Latino voters. We see a lack of enthusiasm around both candidates, to be honest.

    IVETTE FELICIANO: President Obama carried Florida in both the last two elections. One reason: he won 57 percent of the state’s Latino vote in 2008 and 60 percent in 2012.

    Clinton’s support is not as high, around 53 percent. But she has a built-in advantage- 38% of Florida Latinos are registered as Democrats and 26-percent as Republicans.  Independents are the fastest growing contingent and make up 33 percent.

    BOB CORTES: When we came from Puerto Rico I did not understand the ideologies of the party. I did not understand what it meant to be a Republican or a Democrat.

    IVETTE FELICIANO: Brooklyn-born and Puerto rico-raised bob Cortes registered as an independent when he first moved his family to Florida 27 years ago and founded a towing company and airport passenger shuttle service.

    He’s a republican now and the first Puerto Rican from his district to win a seat in the state legislature.

    BOB CORTES: A lot of my fellow Puerto Ricans lean with the ideology of republicans because we’re fleeing an island right now that is 70 billion dollars in debt. With a size of government too big. The Republican Party is fiscal conservative and wants a smaller government. We have of course the pro-life issue I’m extremely pro-life.

    IVETTE FELICIANO: Cortes believes candidates like him with socially conservative values can improve Republicans’ standing with Latinos, who are predominantly catholic and evangelical. As a businessman himself, Cortes also supports Trump for president, whose message aligns with his own platform promoting job creation and entrepreneurship.

    BOB CORTES: When I go out to speak to somebody, whether they’re Puerto Rican, Hispanic or from south America, central America or Mexican, I can relate to their stories of what brought them here because I came here 20-something years ago looking for the same things that they’re looking for, the American dream, and I actually can give them some insight on how I did it and where I am today. The messaging has to come from the candidate themselves to make sure that Latinos vote for candidates, not necessarily for parties, which is why we’re such a swing voting group.

    The post How a shifting Latino vote in Florida could influence the election appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Demonstrators march to protest the police shooting of Keith Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S., September 26, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake - RTSPK2Q

    Demonstrators march to protest the police shooting of Keith Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S., September 26, 2016. Photo by Mike Blake/Reuters

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Hillary Clinton said Sunday that the spate of gun violence in the United States should call the nation to do more to protect “all of God’s children.”

    Clinton addressed congregants at Little Rock AME Zion Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, fewer than two weeks after the shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott touched off two nights of violent protests in the city’s downtown.

    “Protecting all of God’s children is America’s calling,” the Democratic presidential nominee said. Clinton said too many black families have been forced to deal with the same tragedy as Scott’s family.

    “Our entire country should take a moment to really look at what’s going on here and across America, to imagine what we see on the news and what we hear about, imagine it through our children’s eyes,” she said.

    Clinton had planned to visit the city last week but delayed the trip after city officials said their resources were stretched thin. North Carolina is among the nation’s top battleground states and Clinton’s campaign has invested heavily in the state won by Republican Mitt Romney in the 2012 election.

    Clinton did not mention Republican Donald Trump by name but referenced her opponent’s calls for “law-and-order” during the campaign.

    “There are some out there who see this as a moment to fan the flames of resentment and division. Who want to exploit people’s fears even though it means tearing our nation even further apart,” Clinton said. “They say that all of our problems would be solved simply by more law and order. As if the systemic racism plaguing our country doesn’t exist.”

    The former secretary of state has made gun control and criminal justice reform a centerpiece of her campaign, speaking after high-profile shootings in Texas, Louisiana and South Carolina. She pointed to the shootings of police officers in Dallas; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Philadelphia; and said their families deserved prayers.

    “It’s been a hard year, hasn’t it?” Clinton asked, as people in the congregation responded, “Yes.” ”Think about how many times President Obama has had to console our nation about another senseless tragedy, another shattered family, another distressed community and our children are watching and they feel it too.”

    During the services, Clinton invited 9-year-old Zianna Oliphant to join her at the pulpit, recalling the black child’s tearful address to the city council on race relations. Zianna recently told city leaders that she couldn’t “stand how we’re treated,” a speech that Clinton said moved her to tears.

    Clinton acknowledged the gap in how white and black children are treated. She said that while she worries about her two grandchildren, her worries “are not the same as black grandmothers” noting her daughter’s children are related to a former president and secretary of state.

    “Let’s be honest, they won’t face the same kind of fear we heard from the young children testifying before the city council,” she said. Clinton later met privately with community leaders at a downtown soul food restaurant.

    Scott was shot Sept. 20 while standing outside his vehicle. Police say he was armed but video released by Charlotte-Mecklenburg authorities was inconclusive. The officer who shot Scott is also black.

    The post Clinton says wave of shootings show need to protect children appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A field worker picks strawberries in Oxnard, California, April 16, 2013. In California, laborers from Mexico and Central America help make it the No. 1 farm state, with over $43 billion in cash receipts in 2011. The state also supplies some 85 percent of the country's strawberries, and no place is more abundant in that crop than Oxnard, 60 miles (100 km) west of downtown Los Angeles. Crews stoop in the green rows that stretch over the flat plain, plucking the red fruit with swift flicks of the wrist.  REUTERS/Gus Ruelas (UNITED STATES - Tags: SOCIETY IMMIGRATION AGRICULTURE BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT) - RTXYOHM

    A field worker picks strawberries in Oxnard, California, April 16, 2013. Photo by Gus Ruelas/Reuters

    It may seem practical to shop for the cheapest organic strawberries at farmers markets in agricultural hubs such as the San Francisco Bay Area.

    But for Swanton Berry Farm, the price difference between their competitors’ $3.50 basket and their $4.50 basket represents fair trade for the laborers that pick the fruit on the coast of California.

    Local and organic food movements have boomed in the past decade because consumers are increasingly more concerned about the quality of their produce. Though this awareness can benefit the environment and public health, it has eclipsed the working conditions of the people picking the fruits and vegetables in the fields.

    The U.S. government recognizes that farm workers continue to be among the most disadvantaged, but some researchers and farmers say that small farms are not necessarily earning the wholesome reputation that they assume. While there are efforts to certify local fair trade to ensure respectable labor practices, like credentials ensuring produce is organic, there’s no substantial label that explains what that extra $1 for Swanton strawberries means for the farm’s 25 workers.

    “Small farms are basking in the halo of the small local farm movement with their nice little stories, but that cute little story may not extend to the workers,” said Jim Cochran, who runs Swanton Berry Farm in Davenport, California. “The farmers market rules say nothing about labor and so you have no clue.”

    Organic sales from farms increased by 82 percent since 2007 to $3.1 billion in 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s most recent statistics. And the number of farmers markets have more than quadrupled to more than 8,600 since the mid ‘90s.

    farmworkers

    But farm workers and their families who stay with them have sparse protections against cruel conditions. On top of living off meager wages, they work at the bottom of one of the most hazardous industries in the country. In 2011, 570 of them died, which is seven times the rate of the national average among workers in private industries. And on average, about 113 of them are under 20 years old. If they are female, it is more likely they will be sexually harassed or assaulted.

    And while there are no statistics behind this, Cochran and other researchers say that being subject to less scrutiny means that smaller farms could get away with more labor abuses. They also have fewer resources to compete with other countries or big companies and ones that use pesticides, for low prices and mass production, making it harder to pay fair wages.

    Margaret Gray interviewed 160 farm workers in New York’s Hudson Valley – an area with a strong presence at farmers markets around New York City – for her book, “Labor and the Locavore: The Making of a Comprehensive Food Ethic.”

    She said many of them said they knew that if they were citizens, they would be treated better.

    “I heard a lot of workers say ‘They don’t care about us. They treat us like slaves,’” Gray said.

    In addition to worrying about losing their jobs for speaking out against labor abuses, they worry about deportation, she said.

    This dynamic exists in part because farm workers were left out of federal labor protections in the early 19th century, when most farm laborers were black. Civil rights groups say they were and continue to be a racist policies.

    “This has been at the backbone of the agricultural industry,” Gray said.

    Farm workers pick strawberries in the early morning fog on a farm in Rancho Santa Fe, California, United States August 31, 2016.     REUTERS/Mike Blake  - RTX2NQK7

    Farm workers pick strawberries in the early morning fog on a farm in Rancho Santa Fe, California, United States August 31, 2016. Photo by Mike Blake/Reuters

    Then farm workers’ labor rights were left out again during the push for organic certification during the 1990s. Consumer groups began pressuring the government for regulations nationwide and internationally, leading to the enactment of various legislation and certifications.

    Researchers have found that there was lukewarm support from farm owners to agree on adhering to certifications for fair labor practices.

    And United Farm Workers, the country’s largest farm workers union that was founded by American civil rights activist Cesar Chavez in 1962, was excluded from efforts to join the movement.

    “Those efforts, unfortunately, were largely resisted by members of the organic community,” Vice President of UFW Erik Nicholson told the NewsHour. “I think, to be honest … they did not want to have standards on how they would engage labor.”

    Nicholson said he could not make the distinction between whether big farms or local farms are worse for workers, but “frankly, some of the worst labor treatment I saw was on an organic farm,” he said. “And now the movement has kind of shifted to local.”

    Cochran, however, is one of many exceptions. He believes he has a social responsibility. In 1998, he was the first organic farmer in California to sign a union contract with UFW. Now his workers are paid between $10.75 an hour, which is higher than the state’s minimum of $10 an hour, and $16 an hour. They have health and dental insurance, stock ownership plans and a majority of them have full-time, year-round work.

    Still, most consumers at farmers markets care that the strawberries are organic and local — they rarely inquire about the workers, he said.

    There are some efforts underway to certify domestic fair trade, but nothing that is widely recognized. The Equitable Food Initiative has been certifying farms since 2014, and their labels can be found at Costco.

    Fair Trade USA, a nonprofit that has been auditing and certifying international suppliers recently certified its first farm in the U.S. – Wholesum Harvest in Arizona.

    “The more people wanting to know more about their food and support better livelihoods for workers, the more Fair Trade certified products we’ll see on store shelves,” a spokeswoman said in an email.

    Cochran and Nicholson also said that social awareness around food movements like organic agriculture starts with asking more questions at farmers markets that relate to working conditions. They suggested asking how much workers get paid, whether they have access to clean water and a system to file grievances or if they are employees or contractors.

    And if labor rights are not a concern – food safety might be. Nicholson recalled when a person died and several people were sickened by strawberries bought in Oregon carrying a strain of E.Coli from deer droppings.

    “I want to know, as a parent, did that worker have the ability to wash his or her hands? Does that worker know and will she be rewarded to not pick strawberries close to deer poop?” Nicholson said. “I think it’s incumbent on us to ask deeper questions.”

    The post Farmers markets are everywhere. But do laborers see benefits? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    The IRS says that  more than 300,000 federal workers and retirees owe billions in back taxes.  Photo by Ann Hermes / The Christian Science Monitor tax

    The IRS says that more than 300,000 federal workers and retirees owe billions in back taxes. Photo by Ann Hermes / The Christian Science Monitor

    WASHINGTON — For America’s wealthiest families, the presidential campaign presents a stark choice: A big tax increase if Hillary Clinton wins the election – or a big tax cut if Donald Trump wins.

    For everyone else? Right now, neither candidate is proposing major tax changes.

    Tax policy is one of the issues on which the two nominees differ most. Their approaches are likely to draw new attention in the wake of a New York Times report that Trump’s nearly $916 million in losses in 1995, according to tax records the paper received anonymously, means he may not have paid federal income taxes for as many as 18 years.

    On trade, Clinton has backed off her previous support for free trade agreements and, like Trump, now opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a pact involving the U.S. and 11 other nations.

    Trump has said he will spend twice as much on building and repairing roads, airports and other infrastructure as Clinton would.

    On trade and infrastructure spending, Trump has taken a populist approach that jettisons Republican orthodoxy. But on taxes, his proposed tax cuts for individuals and businesses are more in line with previous Republican candidates and elected officials. After two previous tries, he provided more details on his tax plans in a speech in New York last week – although he left one key component unclear.

    Clinton, for her part, is proposing to raise taxes for the wealthiest households to pay for traditional Democratic proposals such as expanding access to higher education.

    “Here, at least, they fall into very much traditional Democratic and Republican proposals,” said William Gale, co-director of the Tax Policy Center, a joint project of the Brookings Institution and Urban Institute.

    On taxes, the two candidates remain far apart. Here are summaries of their proposals:

    Taxes on higher incomes

    TRUMP: He would cut the top income tax bracket to 33 percent from its current level of 39.6 percent. Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan has made the same proposal, which the conservative Tax Foundation said would help boost after-tax income for the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans by 5.3 percent. Trump would also cap tax deductions at $200,000 per household.

    CLINTON: She is proposing several tax increases on wealthier Americans, including a 4 percent surcharge on incomes above $5 million, effectively creating a new top bracket of 43.6 percent. And those earning more than $1 million a year would be subject to a minimum 30 percent tax rate. She would also cap the value of many tax deductions for wealthier taxpayers. All the changes would increase taxes in 2017 for the richest 1 percent by $78,284, reducing their after-tax income by 5 percent, according to the Tax Policy Center.

    Taxes on middle incomes

    TRUMP: Would reduce the seven tax brackets in current law to three, at 12 percent, 25 percent and 33 percent. He’d also raise the standard deduction to $15,000 for singles and $30,000 for households.

    CLINTON: Says she will not raise taxes on the middle class. Her current proposals would have little impact on the bottom 95 percent of taxpayers, according to the Tax Policy Center.

    Corporate tax rate

    TRUMP: Would cut the corporate rate from its current 35 percent to 15 percent. It’s unclear however, if he’d allow “pass through” corporations, which pay taxes on revenue as personal income, to claim the 15 percent rate. Doing so would cost an extra $1.5 trillion, according to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, which supports lower tax rates.

    CLINTON: Would not change the corporate tax rate.

    “Carried interest” loophole

    TRUMP: Managers for private equity firms and hedge funds can classify their investment profits as “carried interest” and pay capital gains taxes on their income at rates that can be as low as half the regular income tax rate. Trump says he would eliminate the loophole, but hedge fund and private equity managers would be able to pay even lower tax rates should Trump let pass-throughs enjoy his lower 15 percent rate.

    CLINTON: Would eliminate the loophole and tax carried interest as ordinary income.

    Estate taxes

    TRUMP: Would eliminate the so-called “death tax” that is currently levied on estates worth more than $5.45 million ($10.9 million for married couples).

    CLINTON: Would increase the estate tax to 65 percent from 40 percent and apply it to more estates, starting with those worth $3.5 million ($7 million for married couples).

    Corporate inversions

    TRUMP: Argues his steep cut in the corporate tax rate would end the practice of corporate “inversions,” which occur when a U.S. company acquires a foreign corporation, then relocates overseas, to avoid paying U.S. corporate taxes. The U.S. corporate tax rate of 35 percent is the highest in the developed world, though many companies use deductions and other strategies to avoid paying that amount. Trump would only tax repatriated corporate money at 10 percent to incentivize businesses to bring it back into the country.

    CLINTON: Would discourage inversions by making it harder for a U.S. company to classify itself as a foreign-owned to avoid U.S. taxation. She would also place an “exit tax” on companies that leave the U.S. while still keeping earnings overseas that haven’t been subject to U.S. tax.

    Child care

    TRUMP: Wants to make child care costs tax-deductible, subject to caps based on income and the average price of childcare in a state. It would apply to stay-at-home parents as well. Would expand the Earned Income Tax Credit to benefit lower-income earners who pay little or no income tax. Current law allows parents claim a credit of up to $6,000 for child care expenses. He’d also let families put aside money in tax-exempt accounts to pay for child care.

    CLINTON: Has made several proposals intended to help limit child care expenses to 10 percent of a family’s income through a combination of expanded government spending and unspecified tax credits.

    The post Here’s how the Trump and Clinton tax plans would work appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a Pledging Conference in Support of Iraq, co-hosted by the United States, Canada, Germany, Japan, Kuwait, and the Netherlands at the State Department in Washington, U.S., July 20, 2016.      REUTERS/Joshua Roberts - RTSIWIQ

    The State Department says the U.S. is suspending bilateral contacts with Russia over Syria. That comes after last week’s threat by Secretary of State John Kerry to suspend contacts amid new attacks on the city of Aleppo. Photo by Joshua Roberts/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — The State Department says the U.S. is suspending bilateral contacts with Russia over Syria. That comes after last week’s threat by Secretary of State John Kerry to suspend contacts amid new attacks on the city of Aleppo.

    The department said in a statement Monday that Russia had not lived up to the terms of an agreement last month to restore the cease-fire and ensure sustained deliveries of humanitarian aid to besieged cities.

    As part of the suspension, the U.S. is withdrawing personnel that it had dispatched to take part in the creation of a joint U.S.-Russia center. That center was to have coordinated military cooperation and intelligence if the cease-fire had taken hold. The suspension will not affect communications between the two countries aimed at de-conflicting counter-terrorism operations in Syria.

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    What to watch for in the VP debate:

    It’s called the undercard debate for a reason. The buzz around Mike Pence and Tim Kaine’s vice-presidential debate on Tuesday pales in comparison to the anticipation surrounding the first presidential debate last week, which drew a record 84 million viewers. But that doesn’t mean the Pence-Kaine showdown, at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, isn’t important.

    The stakes are high for both candidates. Democrats are hoping Kaine, the junior senator from Virginia, can follow Hillary Clinton’s successful first debate with a strong showing of his own. Meanwhile, Mike Pence, Indiana’s governor, is under pressure to deliver a steady, policy-heavy debate to make up for Donald Trump’s erratic performance last week at Hofstra University. Here is what we’ll be watching for from both candidates in tomorrow’s debate:

    Who can out-Midwest the other?

    There’s an old-fashioned debate metric — one that may have little context for those under 25 years old and unaccustomed to how politicians disagreed in debates before the advent of reality television. Watch for which candidate does the better job of bringing the nice. Who can be more relaxed and civil in confronting sharp issues?

    This goes to who these two candidates are at their core: polite Midwesterners. One was raised in Kansas City, Missouri (Kaine), the other (Pence) in Columbus, Indiana. They were formed by a region where civility is basic currency. Add to that, both men grew up in the Roman Catholic Church, where a sense of respect and honor for others – especially those in authority – is ingrained. Think of this as the opposite of the last presidential debate, where we suggested viewers watch for who interrupts the most. Watch instead for who wins the good manners contest.

    The relatable factor

    In a similar vein, remember that Kaine and Pence are running alongside historically unpopular presidential nominees. Clinton and Trump have unusually high negatives with voters, and polls show that isn’t going to change in the next five weeks. Pence and Kaine, in comparison, have less personal baggage than Clinton and Trump, both of whom have spent decades in the national spotlight. That gives the vice presidential nominees an ability to connect with voters in a way that Clinton and Trump have struggled to do on the campaign trail and in their first debate.

    But this comes with its own set of challenges. Kaine will have to strike the right balance. He has been criticized for sometimes coming across as too relatable — a harmonica-playing every man who lacks presidential gravitas. Pence has drawn criticism for his low-key demeanor. It will be interesting what approach both men take in their biggest prime time appearance.

    DANVILLE, KY - OCTOBER 11: Republican vice presidential candidate U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (L) shakes hands with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden before the vice presidential debate at Centre College on October 11, 2012 in Danville, Kentucky. This is the second of four debates during the presidential election season and the only debate between the vice presidential candidates before the closely-contested election November 6.  (Photo by Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images)

    Paul Ryan and Joe Biden shakes hands before the vice-presidential debate in 2012. Approximately 54 million people watched the debate. (Photo by Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images)

    Policy, policy, policy

    One of the biggest knocks on Trump has been his lack of policy knowledge. That weakness came through in the first debate against Clinton, when he struggled to display a command of foreign and domestic policy. Pence, a former congressman, is an experienced elected official who has spent years working on complex issues The debate is a prime opportunity for Pence to showcase his policy chops, and convince undecided Republicans and moderates that he gives the GOP ticket some much-needed depth.

    Kaine, a former mayor and governor, is also an experienced policy hand, however. That sets up the likelihood of a very wonky debate — especially in comparison to Clinton and Trump’s upcoming town hall-style debate in St. Louis on Oct. 9, which could descend into an ugly, highly personal confrontation if Trump follows through on his promise to bring up the Clinton’s marital history. On Tuesday, look for Kaine and Pence to challenge each other on everything from immigration to gun control. They hold vastly different positions on these and other hot-button issues, setting the stage for a substantive, albeit dry, policy clash.

    Who is the better clean-up man?

    It’s the classic job of the running mate. The quarterback goes on offense, while the VP provides the defense. And no set of vice presidential candidates has ever had so much to defend. In the past two months, both Pence and Kaine have shown they are extremely capable of answering for their bosses’ various gaffes, email scandals, unreleased taxes, and health and temperament questions. But until now, they’ve never done so in a face-to-face debate. Following a weekend of tough stories for the Trump campaign, Pence could face tough questions about the GOP nominee’s business career.

    It’s the classic job of the running mate. The quarterback goes on offense, while the VP provides the defense. And no set of vice presidential candidates has ever had so much to defend.

    The obvious tip: Watch to see who is able to genuinely respond to criticism of their running mate and then who can most quickly turn to another topic. Less obvious: Watch for facial expressions as the candidates do this. Do the seconds-in-command reveal any defensiveness (a problem for their presidential candidates)? Similarly, listen for the first words they use when responding to a critical question. Conversational words like, “look…”, “you know”, “hey” or “well” sometimes indicate the candidate is on the defensive, giving themselves time to come up with an answer or trying to appear extra casual in response.

    Why viewership matters

    As a rule, fewer voters watch the vice presidential debate than the three main events. But in some years the undercard draws nearly as many viewers. When that happens, it’s a sign of the public’s above-average interest in the race for the White House. In 2008, for example, about 70 million people watched the vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin, who injected new energy into the contest after John McCain chose her as his running mate. Four years later, 54 million Americans watched the debate between Biden and Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick.

    Kaine and Pence haven’t generated Palin-level excitement on the campaign trail this year. And neither man has the national stature of Ryan, who went on to become the House Speaker. Still, the intense interest around this year’s election could trickle down to the vice presidential stage. If Tuesday’s debate gets good ratings, it could signal a high turnout on Election Day. And there’s another reason why viewership matters this time around, especially for the GOP ticket. Pence has arguably been Trump’s most effective defender. Assuming he does a good job on Tuesday, the voters who watch could emerge with a better feeling about the Republican ticket. If the ratings are low, that’s bad news for Trump, because it means millions of voters — including many who watched him flub the first debate — will have missed Pence’s comeback performance.

    The post WATCH LIVE: The 2016 Vice Presidential Debate appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Video by Donald Trump Speeches & Events

    HERNDON, Virginia — Donald Trump is drawing scorn from veterans’ groups after he suggested that soldiers who suffer from mental health issues might not be as strong as those who don’t.

    Trump was speaking at an event organized by the Retired American Warriors political action committee Monday when he was asked about his commitment to faith-based programs aimed at preventing suicides and helping soldiers suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and other issues.

    “When you talk about the mental health problems — when people come back from war and combat, and they see things that maybe a lot of the folks in this room have seen many times over, and you’re strong and you can handle it. But a lot of people can’t handle it,” he said.

    “And they see horror stories. They see events that you couldn’t see in a movie, nobody would believe it,” he added.

    The comment drew condemnation from critics as well as veterans’ groups that have been working for years to reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues in an effort to encourage soldiers to seek treatment.

    David Maulsby, the executive director of the Texas-based PTSD Foundation of America, told The Associated Press that, at first, he hoped Trump’s remarks had been taken out of context. But after watching a recording of the exchange, he said the Republican nominee’s words were detrimental to veterans struggling with PTSD symptoms.

    “At the very least, it’s a very poor choice of words. PTSD is basically a rewiring of the brain as the result of trauma or prolonged trauma. That is not a reflection of a person’s strength, character, stamina — any of that,” Maulsby said.

    “Our veterans who are struggling with post-traumatic stress as a result of their combat need to be encouraged to seek help, and not be told they are weak or deficient in character in any way, shape or form,” he said.

    Zach Iscol, a Marine veteran and executive director of the nonprofit Headstrong Project, which helps provide free care for veterans suffering from PTSD, said Trump’s comments weren’t “just wrong, they’re dangerous.” “PTSD is basically a rewiring of the brain as the result of trauma or prolonged trauma. That is not a reflection of a person’s strength, character, stamina — any of that,” PTSD Foundation of America said.

    “The biggest barrier we have to people getting help is the stigma of getting help,” he said. “It just shows a complete misunderstanding of what post-traumatic stress disorder is.”

    Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a top Trump adviser, responded with a statement that accused the media of taking the GOP nominee’s words out of context “to deceive voters and veterans.”

    Flynn said Trump has been highlighting the challenges veterans face when returning home and “has always respected the service and sacrifice of our military men and women.”

    Trump has vowed to make improving veterans’ mental health services a top priority if he makes it to the White House.

    Trump previously angered veterans when he suggested that Sen. John McCain, a former POW, was only considered a war hero because he was captured.

    Colvin reported from Washington.

    SUBSCRIBE: Get the analysis of Mark Shields and David Brooks delivered to your inbox every week.

    The post Trump draws criticism for comments about PTSD and veterans appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    One way or another, tax proposals by whoever becomes president will affect most Americans. Photo by Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

    One way or another, tax proposals by whoever becomes president will affect most Americans. Photo by Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

    WASHINGTON — Politicians love trying to use the tax code to highlight their goals to voters. This year, it’s a battlefield between Hillary Clinton, who wants to boost levies on the rich to pay for expanding social programs and Donald Trump, who says cutting taxes would gird the economy. The clash has consequences for the rich, poor and those in the middle.

    WHERE THEY STAND

    Trump: The Republican trotted out an initial plan but has pared it back twice so far. He’d slice individual income taxes across the board: the current seven brackets, which peak at 39.6 percent, would collapse into three tiers with a maximum 33 percent rate. The corporate tax rate would fall from 35 percent — which few companies pay because of deductions — to a maximum 15 percent. There would be new tax breaks for some expenses for caring for children or the elderly. And he’d eliminate the estate tax, which hits inheritances exceeding $10.9 million this year for married couples. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center says the proposal would likely bestow “outsized benefits” to the wealthiest families, but it lacks sufficient detail to be too specific.

    Clinton: The Democrat’s proposal is more detailed than Trump’s and targets the rich — big-time. She’d slap a 4 percent surtax on incomes over $5 million, impose a minimum 30 percent tax on those earning over $1 million and cap itemized deductions for higher earners. She’d impose the estate taxes on inheritances starting at $7 million for couples. Clinton would leave corporate tax rates alone, though she’d raise levies on U.S. companies shielding overseas income and would eliminate tax breaks for fossil fuel producers. She’d help some families pay for child care but without involving the tax code. The Tax Policy Center says the bottom 95 percent of taxpayers — those earning under $300,000 — would see little if any change in their tax bill.

    PBS NewsHour co-anchor Judy Woodruff speaks with Neil Irwin of the The New York Times and David Wessel of the Brookings Institution about the candidates’ tax plans.

    WHY IT MATTERS

    One way or another, tax proposals by whoever becomes president will affect most Americans.

    Clinton would hit the wealthy hard and use the money to bolster public works, medical research and other domestic programs. The Policy Center says the top 1 percent of households, with annual incomes averaging $2.1 million, would pay over three-quarters of the $1.1 trillion extra federal revenue her proposal would raise over a decade. Her plans would have a “relatively modest” tax impact on everyone else, the Policy Center says. She’d help working families pay college costs and cut taxes for companies that share profits with workers.

    The Policy Center said last year that Trump’s original plan would reduce revenue by $9.5 trillion over 10 years. His campaign says his newest, scaled-back version would cut taxes by $4.4 trillion over that same period. The Policy Center hasn’t estimated the price tag of Trump’s new proposal, citing a lack of detail, but says some of its estimates are unsubstantiated.

    Under Trump’s earlier proposal, people from all income levels would enjoy tax cuts but the best-off would benefit most, the center said. The top 0.1 percent of earners — with incomes exceeding $3.7 million — would have gotten tax breaks averaging over $1.3 million, or 19 percent of after-tax earnings. Though lacking enough detail to be precise, the group said, Trump’s new plan “is probably somewhat less regressive,” meaning it’s less tilted toward helping the rich.

    Major tax overhauls are enacted infrequently because they spark brutal battles over winners and losers, especially if Congress and the White House are controlled by opposite parties.

    Yet with Republicans expected to retain House control next year, Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has already outlined plans to cut families’ and businesses’ taxes. He’d no doubt find it tougher to find common ground for reshaping the tax code if Clinton, not Trump, wins the White House.

    READ MORE: The candidates and your taxes in one graphic

    The post Where do the presidential candidates stand on taxes? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump attends a campaign event at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, Florida. Photo by Eric Thayer/Reuters

    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump attends a campaign event at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, Florida. Photo by Eric Thayer/Reuters

    ALBANY, N.Y. — The New York attorney general’s office has ordered the Trump Foundation to immediately stop fundraising in the state, saying it isn’t registered to do so.

    James Sheehan, head of the attorney general’s Charities Bureau, wrote in a letter dated Friday that the failure to stop immediately and answer demands for all delinquent financial reports within 15 days “shall be deemed a continuing fraud upon the people of the state of New York.”

    Democratic Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has been investigating Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s foundation following Washington Post reports that foundation spending personally benefited the candidate. The newspaper, citing tax records, also reported that the charity has been funded entirely from outside donations since 2008, when Trump made his last contribution to it.

    The attorney general’s office said the foundation had a registration for an organization with assets in New York, but the law requires a different registration for those that solicit more than $25,000 a year from the public.

    “Based on information received by the Charities Bureau to date, the Trump Foundation was engaged in solicitation or fundraising activities in New York State in 2016 and was not registered with the Charities Bureau pursuant to Article 7-A, and thus was not permitted to engage in such activity during this period,” Sheehan wrote.

    The Trump campaign said the foundation intends to cooperate with the investigation. The campaign has previously called Schneiderman “a partisan hack who has turned a blind eye to the Clinton Foundation for years and has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president.”

    [Watch Video]
    Hillary Clinton has been scrutinized for questions about the Clinton Foundation. Now Donald Trump is catching heat for how his own foundation operates. Judy Woodruff speaks with The Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold, who has spent the past few months researching Trump’s charitable donations and seeming lack of personal contributions to his own cause.

    SUBSCRIBE: Get the analysis of Mark Shields and David Brooks delivered to your inbox every week.

    The post Under investigation, Trump Foundation ordered to stop fundraising in NY appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Teow Lim Goh's book "Islanders" is a collection of poems about the Angel Island Immigration Station. Photo by Kit Hedman.

    Teow Lim Goh’s book “Islanders” is a collection of poems about the Angel Island Immigration Station. Photo by Kit Hedman.

    Between 1910 and 1940, Chinese immigrants who came to America were detained and interrogated at the Angel Island Immigration Station in the San Francisco Bay. The conditions at the prison were grim and often the immigrants would spend months — sometimes years — waiting to see if they would be granted a visa. To pass the time, they wrote poems on the walls of the barracks. The men’s poems have survived, but the women’s barracks burned down and their poems were lost forever.

    Poet Teow Lim Goh has just published a collection of poetry in which she imagines the voices of those detained women. It’s called “Islanders” and Goh says some of the characters are directly based on people she discovered during her research, while some are purely fictional. She also writes about family members waiting on shore, the workers at the detention center and society people in San Francisco.

    READ MORE: Seeing a culture of fear, poet explores the immigrant dream

    “If there’s one thing I want people to take away from the book, it’s how intertwined we all are with the immigration system. That’s why I wrote in all of the different voices. Each and everyone one of us carries with us our own set of beliefs, our own fears, our own prejudices. And it all feeds into the system.”

    Goh herself is an immigrant from Singapore, although she is quick to say that her circumstances were very different from the women at Angel Island. She came to the United States when she was 19 to attend the University of Michigan. Still, years later when she entered a lottery to try to get a work visa, she said she was both fascinated and unnerved by the process.

    “I was certainly a lot more privileged. But I understood the uncertainty and arbitrary nature of how immigration decisions are made. I can only imagine how unsettled those women must have felt on Angel Island.”

    In a prologue to her book, Goh — who is now a U.S. citizen — acknowledges that in some ways, the Angel Island story is also her story.

    This is my history.
    I crossed the sea.
    I sat on a plane.
    I came with the dream
                          of freedom
                                                to speak
                                                                      to believe.
    It is here I begin to write.
    This is my legacy.

    Goh said that as she wrote the poems, she was struck by the parallels between the immigration issue at the beginning of the 20th century and the debate today. The Angel Island detention center was created to stem the flow of immigrants because many Americans felt they were taking jobs away from the people who were already in the United States.

    “Immigration sentiment hasn’t changed in the last 100-150 years. The demographics of who is targeted has changed. But excluding certain groups and the rhetoric that is used against them has not changed at all.”

    “What I came to realize was that immigration sentiment hasn’t changed in the last 100-150 years. The demographics of who is targeted has changed. But excluding certain groups and the rhetoric that is used against them has not changed at all.”

    Goh recently began work on another project taken directly from the history books. In 1885, at least 28 Chinese immigrant miners were killed during a race riot at a Rock Springs, Wyoming, coal mine. Although she hasn’t definitively decided what form her project will take, she’s inclined to again, using character driven poems.

    “What I really enjoyed about my first book was that I could enter the experience of this history. Not just what happened, but how people felt. How did they live? How did they think of themselves? These are the questions that poetry allow me to ask.”

    The Walls Speak

    The year I turned fourteen,
    Father took me out of school.

    I scrubbed the floors,
    washed the clothes.

    At night, by candlelight,
    I snuck in my brother’s books,

    dreaming of a faraway land
    where I could read and write.

    *

    Here the fog obscures
    the full moon and the stars.

    The sea spins a song
    of solitude and pain.

    I wait for my turn to enter
    the land of the free.

    At night, by candlelight,
    I write in a notebook I hide.

    *

    On the walls I see poems,
    brushed in ink, carved on wood,

    laments of lost women
    stumbling in the world.

    I read their stories
    and weep.

    *

    Each time
    I pick up the knife,

    ready to etch my words
    into the wood,

    my hands tremble
    and I step back.

    *

    At night I lie awake.
    Will I always be a secret?


    Teow Lim Goh is a poet, essayist and critic. Her first collection of poetry is “Islanders”, a volume of poems about the Angel Island Immigration Station. Her work has appeared in PANK, Pilgrimage, Winter Tangerine Review, The Rumpus, Guernica, and Open Letters Monthly. She also makes letterpress editions of poetry at her imprint Black Orchid Press. Goh makes her home in Denver.

    The post If the walls of an immigrant detention center could speak appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    INDIANAPOLIS — A federal appeals court has upheld a lower court’s order blocking Indiana Gov. Mike Pence from barring state agencies from helping Syrian refugees resettle in the state.

    A three-judge panel for the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago on Monday agreed with an injunction a federal judge issued in February. The judge found Pence’s directive “clearly discriminates” against refugees from the war-torn nation.

    The appeals court says federal law doesn’t allow a governor “to deport to other states immigrants he deems dangerous.”

    Donald Trump’s running mate, Pence, was among dozens of governors from mostly Republican states who tried to block Syrian refugees after the Paris terror attacks last November.

    Indianapolis-based Exodus Refugee Immigration, which helps Syrian refugees with medical and social services and job training, challenged Pence’s order.

    READ MORE: Where do the presidential candidates stand on Supreme Court nominees?

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    ERIE, PA - AUGUST 12: Republican presidential candidate  Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a rally at Erie Insurance Arena on August 12, 2016 in Erie, Pennsylvania. Trump continues to campaign for his run for president of the United States. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

    Donald Trump may have paid no federal income tax for nearly two decades, writes Steve Rosenthal, a senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

    Yesterday, the New York Times reported Donald Trump may have paid no federal income tax for nearly two decades. Leaked excerpts of Trump’s 1995 tax returns showed huge losses that the real estate mogul could have used to offset other income and zero out his income tax liability for many years.

    Donald Trump may have paid no federal income tax for nearly two decades.

    The Times published one page from each of Trump’s 1995 New York, New Jersey and Connecticut personal tax returns in which Trump claimed a staggering $916 million of net operating losses, which he transferred from his federal tax return for the year.

    Net operating losses arise when a business has deductible expenses greater than its gross income for the year. For a business organized as a partnership or a limited liability company, the business owner can deduct the net operating losses against other income to lower his taxes. If those deductions wipe out taxable income entirely, his tax bill is zero. And if the net operating losses exceed other income, the business owner can carry the unused losses forward 15 years (and back three years) until they used up.

    READ MORE: Why seeing Trump’s tax returns really matters

    The Times concluded that Trump could have used his cache of losses in 1995 to wipe out more than $50 million of other income every year from 1992 through 2010. Additional losses in years after 1995 could have wiped out even more ($16 million of new losses arose in 1995, with the balance of the losses carried over from prior years).

    The Trump campaign’s response said nothing about whether the candidate has ever paid income taxes. It only claimed that he “paid hundreds of millions of dollars in property taxes, sales and excise taxes, real estate taxes, city taxes, state taxes, employee taxes and federal taxes.”

    Leaked excerpts of Trump’s 1995 tax returns showed huge losses that the real estate mogul could have used to offset other income and zero out his income tax liability for many years.

    Presumably, Trump’s losses are largely attributable to the disastrous performance of his businesses in the early 1990s, including his Atlantic City casinos, the Trump Shuttle and the Plaza Hotel. He reported huge losses for these enterprises to casino regulators. But we really do not know how and when the losses arose or whether the IRS accepted them, as the numbers on the returns are pre-audit.

    But we do know the tax laws contributed to Trump’s large losses. A dizzying array of tax write-offs for real estate development — including generous deductions for interest, depreciation, real estate taxes and maintenance expenses — can all help build up tax losses.

    READ MORE: Trump losses may mean he didn’t pay taxes for years, report says

    As a result, real estate developers get to write off the decline in the value of their properties even as their properties appreciate. Ordinarily, rising value shows up as capital gains, which is taxable in principle — albeit at much lower rates other income. However, real estate investors often use special “like-kind exchange” rules to defer taxes. These rules apply to real estate, but not stocks or bonds. If a real estate investor exchanges property long enough and dies, the gains are never taxed. President Obama has proposed to limit the like-kind exchange loophole, which Hillary Clinton has endorsed.

    President Obama has proposed to limit the like-kind exchange loophole, which Hillary Clinton has endorsed.

    In 1986, Congress enacted laws to prevent investors who are not actively involved in a business from deducting losses and expenses attributable to that business against their income from other activities. Congress also added “at-risk” rules, which prevent a taxpayer from deducting losses in excess of his actual economic investment in an activity (that is, his out-of-pocket). Those laws wiped out a lucrative tax shelter business used by doctors, dentists, lawyers and other high-income taxpayers.

    But Congress largely exempted real estate developers and professionals from these rules. They continue to deduct their business losses against all of their income, both passive and active. And they are not subject to the at-risk rules. The result: Real estate professionals can use losses against non-real estate income, both in the year the losses arise and in some earlier and subsequent years. This means that Trump’s net operating losses can shelter not only any real estate gains, but also income from reality TV, Trump-branded products, books and speaking from tax.

    Without seeing more of Trump’s tax returns, we cannot tell how much of his losses are attributable to poor economic results, favorable tax rules or tax evasion. But we can tell that something is seriously broken in our tax laws.

    READ MORE: Here’s who’s seen Trump’s tax returns (and it’s not just his accountant)


    Editor’s Note: This story first appeared on TaxVox, the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center’s blog. Find the original story here.

    The post Column: The tax rules that let real estate moguls like Trump pay no federal income tax appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    polimon (1)

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, as we look forward to tomorrow night’s vice presidential debate, I’m joined by our Politics Monday team, Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report and Tamara Keith of NPR.

    So, hello to both of you.

    Only six weeks to go, tomorrow counting, until this election. Let’s talk about these vice presidential candidates.

    Amy, this is not a contest that’s generated nearly as much, this debate, interest as the first presidential debate. How much is at stake?

    AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: Yes.

    It’s almost impossible for these two to generate any more enthusiasm. Right? I mean, you have two candidates in Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump that have outsized personalities, that suck up the oxygen in the room completely.

    These two candidates haven’t just simply been overshadowed when it comes to the debates, but they have been overshadowed on the campaign trail throughout the course of this campaign. And, as you pointed out, these are already two candidates that aren’t particularly known.

    But, look, I think the stakes are pretty high here, especially for Mike Pence. It is going to be his challenge tomorrow night to keep the attention away from all the problems that Donald Trump has had this last week or so, many of which have been self-inflicted, and to focus back on the issues and the message that Trump and the Trump campaign would like to be focused on, mainly to prosecute the case against Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and the path forward.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, so, Tam, if that’s what Mike Pence has to go, what does Tim Kaine have to do?

    TAMARA KEITH, NPR: Well, he has to come out and not have any sunlight between himself and Hillary Clinton, which he has done a very good job of falling in line.

    They didn’t necessarily agree on TPP, but, by the time he was announced as V.P., he — they agreed. And I think also he intends to come out and try to show separation between Mike Pence and Donald Trump, and show that there are areas where Pence and Trump do not see eye to eye, where, you know, Pence has said that this isn’t a name-calling kind of campaign, at the same time that Donald Trump was calling people names on Twitter.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, and we know vice presidential debates may get attention at the time, but ultimately they have not had a great deal of effect. But we will see.

    AMY WALTER: Yes.

    No, I think there’s still — it’s still going to be an important discussion. And the question is, for how long will we have this discussion? Will by the next morning there be another tweetstorm or another front-page story that detracts us from what came out of this debate?

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, you both have referred to Donald Trump’s controversies of the last week, Tam, most recently over his income taxes.

    New York Times broke the story over the weekend.

    TAMARA KEITH: Right.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: He lost over $900 million on his — indicated on his return, in 1995, suggesting he could have gone 18 years without paying any income taxes.

    Is this something that’s likely to affect this campaign?

    TAMARA KEITH: This is a fascinating question to me.

    The Hillary Clinton campaign is already out with an ad criticizing him about this. In the last debate, he said, “It makes me smart.” And the ad now says, if you’re smart, what does that say about the rest of us?

    But Donald Trump is out today saying, yes, I took advantage of the system. That’s the system. And I can fix it because I know the system.

    And this $900 million loss in a single year is part of his story. It’s part of the story that he’s been telling about himself, that he went on tough times and then he built himself back up and was able to become this successful businessman once again from the ashes of his previous businesses.

    So, it’s unclear whether this changes the narrative in any way. And it almost feeds the story that Donald Trump has been telling about himself all along.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Is that how you see it?

    AMY WALTER: Yes, or that’s it’s sort of already — to your point, it’s already, like, baked in, into how voters perceive him.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Right.

    AMY WALTER: And the reality is — and you have seen this on the campaign trail, too — you talk to voters about his issues, whether it is — because we have known for a while now, thanks to public records, that there were years where he didn’t pay taxes.

    We know that he had many of his products outsourced to foreign companies. These are the sorts of things that should hurt a traditional candidate. Obviously, somebody like Mitt Romney was by making these statements.

    TAMARA KEITH: Severely by it.

    AMY WALTER: Severely by this.

    And yet he still has tremendous support among people who see him as a success, and to the point that Tam made, that he’s saying the only person who can destroy the system, a rigged system, is somebody who’s benefited from a rigged system.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, let’s talk quickly about some of the other stories that have been out there about Donald Trump.

    Tam, the Associated Press report today that the women who work for him on the reality TV show “The Apprentice” say that he used demeaning remarks against a number of them, used sexist language.

    Amy, and the ongoing story about Miss Universe, that is something that has just dominated the news for the last number of days. Are we watching — and then some polls have come out showing some damage to him in some states.

    Is this the kind of thing that is — if the taxes aren’t going to resonate, what about this?

    AMY WALTER: Well, throughout this campaign, what we have seen is, wherever the focus is, wherever the spotlight is, that hurts that candidate.

    And so, a couple of weeks ago, it was about Hillary Clinton, and it was about the pneumonia and the video and the FBI and the e-mails, and you saw her numbers sink.

    Now we have had a very bad couple of weeks for Donald Trump. His numbers start to get a hit. And the question, of course, is, how long will this continue? And, more importantly, how long does Donald Trump help it continue?

    He’s done a masterful job throughout this campaign of taking a one- or a two-day bad story and turning it into a weeklong terrible story.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But can you draw a line, Tamara, from all this focus on this and how he’s doing?

    TAMARA KEITH: Yes, well, I think that you can clearly say that the Alicia Machado story, the Miss Universe story, and the story about “The Apprentice” and the possible sexual harassment on the set, that is already feeding into a narrative that has existed for a long time, that the things that he said on “The Howard Stern Show” — Donald Trump is not performing well with women.

    He is not performing well with college-educated Republican women even, is not performing as well as he should be. So, I think that we can’t say that it hasn’t had an effect. It seems like there is an effect. It’s just sort of baked in.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: You’re saying it just feeds the narrative that’s already out there.

    TAMARA KEITH: Yes.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Just quickly, Hillary Clinton has her own worries, Amy, and the polls continue to show difficult getting younger voters excited, wanting to vote.

    I was just in Georgia this weekend talking to a number of young voters who just say they’re not going to vote, even among African-Americans.

    AMY WALTER: Yes.

    I think Hillary Clinton’s biggest challenge is the fact that she’s an emblem of the status quo at a time when people dislike the status quo more than anything. And I think her biggest challenge with younger voters isn’t that she’s not liberal enough, but it’s that she’s saying the system will be able to solve your problems, when the very people she’s trying to appeal to say the system is rigged and broken.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And just quickly, Tam, her campaign’s aware of this?

    TAMARA KEITH: Obviously, they’re aware of it. They have been doing a lot of events that are targeted at millennials. Her message is targeted at millennials.

    On Friday, no one noticed because Donald Trump tweeted a lot the night before in the middle of the night. But she did a big rollout related to national service, which is targeted at the very hopes of millennials to give back to their country.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: All right, we are going to leave it there, a whole lot going on, six weeks to go.

    Tamara Keith, Amy Walter, thank you both.

    AMY WALTER: You’re welcome.

    TAMARA KEITH: You’re welcome.

    The post What to expect in a Pence-Kaine debate showdown appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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