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Jim Fawcette
Like tennis, wine, and bad sci-fi.
Like tennis, wine, and bad sci-fi.

Jim's posts

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USA Today: Trump Friends Already Raking in Millions

This is "draining the swamp"? USAT: "WASHINGTON — Former campaign aides, fundraisers and others with ties to President Trump and Vice President Pence have attracted dozens of new lobbying clients in Washington, raking in more than $2.2 million in lobbying fees in the first months of the administration, a USA TODAY analysis shows"

An example is a Trump fund-raiser named Brian Ballard. He's cashing in on the crackdown on immigrants with a $110 million federal contract to build the first immigration-detention facility of the new administration. Ballard's companies also landed new deals with the ruling Socialist Party of Albania and the Dominican Republic, continuing the trend of Trump supporters on the payroll of shady foreign governments.

Nor is the money flow going solely to Trump's team. Bill Smith, who served as Pence’s chief of staff in Congress and the Indiana governor’s office is with a firm that reported earning $125,000 during the first three months of 2017 to represent five new corporate clients, including Microsoft and telecom giant AT&T. The only office he has lobbied so far is -- that of VP Mike Pence, his old boss.

Trump, Pence allies rake in millions as new Washington lobbyists via @usatoday

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Uber Got People's Lyft Data from Email Scanning Service

To anyone that hasn't realized this yet, if you get something for free online, you're not the customer, you're the product being sold.

People that signed up for, a free service to unsubscribe from email lists, didn't realize information in their email was being sold. ", a free service to unsubscribe from email lists, can scour people’s inboxes for receipts from services like Lyft and then sell the information to companies like Uber." Slice/ Unroll claims the data is anonymized, but with no oversight we have only its word for that.

", which was bought by Slice in 2014, is a tiny player in the personal data market. The larger data brokers — with names like Acxiom, CoreLogic, Datalogix and ID Analytics — have been the subject of inquiries by a congressional committee and the Federal Trade Commission."

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U.S. Middle Class Shrunk for 20 Years

America's middle class is being hollowed out while those in other developed countries are not. Plus, while the U.S. continues to lead in median household income, those in the middle are seeing their income rise faster in Europe than in the U.S., according to Pew. 

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Today’s Energy Jobs Are in Solar, Not Coal

NYT: "It's important to note that power creation isn’t the only source of energy employment. The Energy Department report found another 2.3 million jobs in energy transmission, storage and distribution, a number that includes powerline and pipeline workers and more than 900,000 retail jobs, such as gas station workers and fuel dealers. If non-traditional energy workers are included in the mix – those involved in manufacturing and installing energy-efficient products – the total number of energy-related jobs swells to 6.4 million."

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U.S. State Department Web Site Now Has Glowing Ad for Mar-a-Lago

"Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) pointed to the travelogue-style blog piece Monday, asking in a Twitter message why the State Department would spend “taxpayer $$ promoting the president’s private country club.”

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Trump: Cut Corporate Tax Rate to 15%

Corporations already pay the smallest share of federal taxes since corporate income taxes were introduced, less than 2% of GDP and less than 9% of federal tax revenue. But Trump wants to lower it substantially.

Candidate Trump also said the rate cuts would be revenue-neutral because of loopholes that would be closed. As best I can tell, President Trump has not yet proposed closing a single corporate tax loophole. "President Donald Trump has ordered White House aides to draft a tax plan that slashes the corporate tax rate to 15%, even if that means a loss of revenue "

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Rich Living Longer and Costing Government More

While rich and middle class Americans' lifespans are getting longer, in some areas, poor American's lifespans are shrinking. One byproduct is that the rich are getting more from Social Security.

Life expectancy from Bloomberg: "...the poorest fifth of 50-year-old American men can now expect to live just past 76, six months shy of the previous generation. The richest 50-year-olds should make it almost to 89, seven years longer than their parents' generation."

Economic impact: "Three decades ago, the richest and poorest retirees could expect about the same amount of benefits out of government programs. ... In 1980, a wealthier 50-year-old could expect to collect $103,000 more than a poor American. Thirty years later, the gap was $173,000."

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AT&T's Predatory Behavior

• In Nashville and in Louisville, Ky., AT&T has been suing to make it harder for broadband providers to use utility poles;

• In Missouri, Tennessee and North Carolina, the company has been pushing for laws that block municipal broadband providers;

• And in San Francisco, it has been pushing back at efforts to open up apartment buildings to more internet service providers.

NYT: “Antitrust officials may have a hard time buying AT&T’s argument that it will expand broadband competition and not seek to harm competitors if they find the company is actively working to block new broadband players from entering the markets AT&T already dominates,” said Gene Kimmelman, the president of Public Knowledge, a consumer group. Mr. Kimmelman is a former senior antitrust official at the Justice Department, and he opposes the merger.

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Trump Saved Carrier Jobs. These Workers Weren’t as Lucky.

Many still support Trump

"Pat Saylors, 57, is still employed, but her days here are numbered, as they are for more than 700 other blue-collar workers. Production is set to end by late December at the plant, this town’s largest private employer, and each month several dozen of them are being let go.

... "Huntington’s mayor, Brooks Fetters, admits when pressed to being frustrated that he never heard back from Mr. Pence’s office after he called late last year to find out why Huntington was not helped."
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