Kernels – Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Daily recap of headlines & current events with a bit of opinion

Welcome to another edition of Kernels From the Cornfield – No Husks, No Hulls, No Shucks!

News with a dash of commentary to spice up your fare for Tuesday, April 25th, 2017.

1. Political Alterverse – Blocked!

A federal judge in California put a halt to a threat made by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to cut funds from sanctuary cities if not assisting federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials rounding up illegal aliens.

District Judge William Orrick issued the preliminary injunction in two lawsuits – one brought by the City of San Francisco, the other by Santa Clara County – against an executive order targeting communities that protect immigrants from deportation.

Federal funding that bears no meaningful relationship to immigration enforcement cannot be threatened merely because a jurisdiction chooses an immigration enforcement strategy of which the president disapproves,” Judge Orrick ruled.

Orrick sided with San Francisco and Santa Clara, saying the order “by its plain language, attempts to reach all federal grants, not merely the three mentioned at the hearing.”

And if there was doubt about the scope of the order, the president and attorney general have erased it with their public comments,” the Judge said.

Backing down.

President Donald Trump is reportedly backing off on his insistence that money to start building The Wall be included in a spending bill by Friday to keep the government open for business.

Rather than Republicans or the President being blamed for a shutdown, the White House is saying it can wait on specific targeting of funds for The Wall if there is an increase in money for border security and in order to keep the government functioning.

15% – that’s the tax rate the White House is proposing the corporate rate be slashed to from 35%, the current rate.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says that the lost revenue in taxes of more than $2 trillion over the next decade would be made up by increased productivity and jobs created by the tax cut.

Not everyone agrees on Capitol Hill – and not just Democrats. Republicans are not so sure either.

Experts say such a cut would be likely to increase the national debt, but Treasury Secretary said that the tax cuts, which Trump has promised will be the biggest in US history, would not hurt the federal government’s bottom line.

A proposed tax reform plan is expected to be rolled out tomorrow.

Campaign promise fulfilled?

A tariff has been slapped on…

No, not China or Mexico, but our second largest trading partner and long-time ally, Canada.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said a tariff of 3-24% is being levied on lumber coming in from our northern neighbor because the Canadian government is subsidizing the country’s lumber industry, which makes unfair competition for America’s lumberjacks.

Canada called the accusation “baseless and unfounded” and said it will take legal action against the “unfair and punitive duty.”

Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper will be the first to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee in its investigation of Russian influence in the 2016 election and of ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

The White House said “No” to a request for documents on former National Security Adviser retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn today.

The request was from the House Oversight Committee.

Questions are swirling whether Flynn may be guilty of a felony or two by not getting permission from the Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Army before traveling to Russia.

Also were laws broken when Flynn accepted money from the Russian government?

Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz said there was “no indication” that Flynn complied with the laws on the books.

The President spoke at the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony at the Holocaust Museum today and did not disappoint.

The Prez said that Holocaust deniers are “accomplices” to the evil that was perpetrated by the Nazis during the dark days of World War II.

The President and Republicans in Congress may be refocusing on the pledge to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, but the American public at-large does not agree:

First Daughter Ivanka Trump made her world stage debut at a women’s conference in Germany today, thanks to an invite from German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Ivanka pledged to push for “incremental, positive change” for women in the US economy. She told the attendees at the conference that she’s still “rather unfamiliar” with her role as First Daughter and adviser to President Trump.

Scattered groans and hisses came from the crowd as Ivanka described her father as “a tremendous champion of supporting families.”

Rod Rosenstein was confirmed by the Senate as Deputy Attorney General, making the federal prosecutor the new face of the U.S. investigation into Russia’s meddling in last year’s presidential election and whether anyone associated with President Trump played a role.

The White House announced retired Marine Corps General Randolph D. Alles, acting Deputy Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, will lead the Secret Service.

The proposed dinner with members of the Supreme Court at the White House set for Thursday has been postponed due to a scheduling conflict.

Does the 100-day mark on Saturday in the Trump presidency matter?

Give me your thoughts.

State Politics: The State of Arkansas conducted the first back-to-back executions since 2000 last night.

At least 18 states are considering bills that would make it harder for demonstrators to protest. Civil liberties groups are most alarmed by bills in Tennessee and Florida that would let drivers off the hook for hitting demonstrators who are blocking roads.

Global Politics: Hacking is now the latest in a series of frightening similarities between the French election and last year’s US election.

A Japanese cybersecurity firm says centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron’s campaign was targeted by hackers employing methods similar to the ones used against the Democratic National Committee. Macron’s camp hasn’t said if it was indeed hacked.

North Korea conducted a major live-fire artillery drill today to celebrate the founding of its military as tensions continued to rise over its missile and nuclear weapons program.

Iran and major powers met today in Vienna, Austria to review adherence to their 2015 nuclear deal as uncertainty grows about the landmark accord’s future under President Trump.

French far-right veteran Jean-Marie Le Pen said today his daughter Marine, who faces centrist Emmanuel Macron in a May 7 French presidential runoff, should have campaigned more aggressively for Sunday’s first round, following the example of President Trump.

The Province of Ontario, Canada has launched a pilot program to provide a guaranteed basic income to a few thousand people to test its effects on recipients and public finances, the Province announced Monday.

The US military has started moving parts of the controversial THAAD anti-missile defense system into a planned deployment site in South Korea, Yonhap News Agency reported today, amid high tensions over North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs.

This afternoon a US Navy submarine armed with nuclear weapons and guided missiles also arrived off the coast of the Korean Peninsula.

The USS Michigan, which is designed to carry ballistic missiles and cruise missiles, came as a US aircraft carrier strike group steamed towards Korean waters in an effort to deter North Korea from a sixth nuclear test or more missile launches in defiance of United Nations sanctions.

There is no limit to the strike power of the People’s Army armed with our style of cutting-edge military equipment, including various precision and miniaturized nuclear weapons and submarine-launched ballistic missiles,” the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said in a front-page editorial.

2. Incredible Shrinking Middle Class – If you are feeling the pinch, it is not your imagination.

A new study has found that over the past two decades the Middle Class has been contracting.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/24/business/economy/middle-class-united-states-europe-pew.html

3. Rising Tides – In the Arctic, ice is melting.

In Florida, the sea is rising.

Based on new evidence, the Arctic Council – a cooperative effort among eight nations to monitor climate change – concluded that the Arctic warmed faster between 2011 and 2015 than any time on record, with glaciers and sea ice melting faster than expected.

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/environment/article146511584.html

4. Hep Crisis – An estimated 325 million people are living with hepatitis B or C and few are aware of their condition, with death tolls from the viruses rising, the United Nations said last Friday.

The World Health Organization’s latest hepatitis report identifies the condition as a grave public health threat that needs an “urgent response.”

More: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-04-cases-hepatitis-million.html

5. Come Back – Measels, once nearly eradicated, are making a come back.

But why?

Find out: http://www.popsci.com/why-are-measles-coming-back

6. Trump Economy – The week started with a rally among the markets, which is expected to continue.

Today the markets opened with a robust continuation of yesterday’s surge.

The Nasdaq jumped 0.7%, sending the index above 6,000 for this first time. The Dow rose nearly 250 points, with Caterpillar contributing the most gains. The S&P 500 advanced 0.65%, with financials and materials rising more than 1% to lead advancers.

Earnings thus far have been good,” said Peter Cardillo, Chief Market Economist at First Standard Financial. “That’s a good sign that Corporate America is on a renewed path toward growth.”

More: http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/25/us-markets.html

7. Back to the Future – Flying cars are becoming a reality.

Google co-founder Larry Page’s aviation startup, Kitty Hawk, unveiled the prototype of its long-rumored “flying car” project, an “ultralight” multi-rotor aircraft that can lift off and land vertically.

Read all about it: http://money.cnn.com/2017/04/24/technology/larry-page-flying-car/

8. Busted! – A ring that was illegally trading in protected eagles was busted.

Federal officials in South Dakota have indicted 15 peopled for illegally trafficking eagles and other migratory birds after a two-year undercover operation potentially involving hundreds of birds.

Read more: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/eagle-trafficking-case-busted-undercover-operation-15-indicted-n750551

9. Wasting Money – We are bombarded by emails, snail mail and ads on television and radio for this insurance product or that one.

But are they worth it?

Take a look at 14 products that are deemed a “waste of money“: https://www.moneytalksnews.com/10-dumb-insurance-buys-that-waste-your-money/

10. Cool Down Coming – After starting the week with summerlike temperatures, a cold front will be moving into the Heartland.

Midweek and the weekend promises late night severe storms as well.

Get forecast: http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-blogs/en/central-us-violent-storms-flash-flooding-may-threaten-people-as-they-sleep-this-weekend/70001492

Tidbits: Incidents of anti-Semitism are on the rise:

Maoist rebels in India killed at least 25 security officers in an attack on a police patrol on Monday. Another seven officers, members of the Central Reserve Police Force, were wounded.

A United Airlines plane had a “terrifying” emergency landing after one of its engines overheated over the ocean, according to a reporter who was on board the plane. United Flight 1516 bound for Houston, Texas, from Liberia, Costa Rica, because of the engine problem on the Boeing 737-800.

Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, announced plans for a crowd-funded news website offering stories by journalists and volunteers working together, an initiative he hopes will counter the spread of fake news.

The Coast Guard said in a statement that the Captain of the Tamar, a 623-foot Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier, reported an explosion in the forward storeroom Monday morning. Two crew members were killed and at least three others were injured in the blast.

A 4-year-old girl fell through the open back door of a moving church bus onto an Arkansas state highway, but was rescued from the road by a volunteer firefighter who happened to be driving behind.

A major earthquake of magnitude 7.1 struck off the west coast of Chile on Monday, rocking the capital Santiago and briefly causing alarm along the Pacific Coast but not producing any serious damage.

Waymo, the autonomous car company owned by Alphabet, parent company of Google, has begun offering free rides to the public in Arizona in a new fleet of self-driving minivans.

Coca-Cola plans to slash 1,200 jobs after a challenging first quarter this year.

Three Islamic State militants setting up an ambush in a bitterly contested area of northern Iraq were killed by a herd of stampeding boars, local leaders say.

A school bus crash in southeast Kentucky has injured 15 people after the driver swerved off the road to avoid hitting a deer.

That’s what caught my attention this Tuesday, April 25th, 2017.

Tune in tomorrow for another edition of Kernels From The Cornfield.

Catch up on all of last week’s shenanigans in the Alterverse with Politics Roundup!

Politics Roundup: April 17 – 23, 2017

I am Mark Ivy
Good day!