And has anyone else noticed that probably the three most powerful people in the United States are Marines: Jim Mattis (Secretary of Defense, the “warrior monk,” and one who has been incredibly deft at staying above the political fray), John Kelly (White House Chief of Staff and more recently a politically divisive figure), and Robert Mueller. The Marines: The Few, The Proud, and (now) The Super Powerful.
IN A NUTSHELL: MUST READ
Trump Nominates Jerome Powell To Head The Fed: President Trump tapped Fed Governor Jerome Powell to become head of the US central bank, breaking with precedent by not re-nominating Janet Yellen for a second term. Powell was appointed to the Fed board in 2012 by President Barack Obama. Trump described Powell as a smart and committed leader who would build on Yellen’s achievements in steering the US economy after the 2007-2009 financial crisis. Powell has worked alongside Yellen for the past five years, supporting her positions on monetary policy, and Trump’s choice thus signals a likely continuation of those policies. Powell will take over an economy that has been growing for more than eight years and that boasts an unemployment rate at a 16-year low. His nomination will go to the Senate for confirmation.
NUTS AND BOLTS: SHOULD READ
Highlights Of The GOP Tax Plan: Republican House speaker Paul Ryan unveiled his party’s tax plan Thursday. The “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” is much more about tax cuts than jobs. Those who will benefit most? Big corporations, the super-rich, people paying the AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax), and “pass through” companies. The top corporate tax rate would be slashed from 35% to 20%; the estate tax would be eliminated by 2024; the alternative minimum tax would go away; and sole proprietorships, partnerships, and LLCs tax rate would plummet from 39.6% to 25%, and only on 30% of business income.
The losers under the proposed tax code overhaul? Homebuilders, some small business owners, people in high-tax blue states, charities, and the working poor. The mortgage interest deduction on new mortgages would be cut in half; some small business owners would pay 70% of their taxes at a rate of 35%; the state–and-local-taxes deduction would be almost eliminated; and although kept, the earned-income tax credit for low wage earners would not be expanded.
Suu Kyi Makes First Visit To Rohingya Conflict Zone In Myanmar: Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace laureate who heads Myanmar, visited conflict-ridden Rakhine State for a one day trip, her first since an outbreak of violence in August forced over 600,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to Bangladesh. Myanmar has denied it is working to force the Rohingya from Rakhine, instead arguing that the military is carrying out necessary countermeasures to protect innocent civilians against “brutal acts of terrorism” perpetrated by Rohingya extremists. Critics say that Suu Kyi, in the “most charitable interpretation of her actions,” has allowed herself to be blinded to the realities of ethnic cleansing in Rakhine. “Important is the need for Aung San Suu Kyi to understand what happened. Some scales need to fall from her eyes about northern Rakhine State, and one hopes that this could be the beginning of that,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch. Suu Kyi’s governing party has not investigated the stories of the Rohingya who have fled.
KEEPING OUR EYE ON
Breaking News From Ancient Egypt: The Giza pyramids were built outside Cairo approximately 4,500 years ago as royal burial grounds. The largest, the massiveGreat Pyramid, is the last of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still standing. Soaring to a height of 479 feet, it’s a testament to a great ancient civilization, the tallest structure built by humankind until the Eiffel Tower in Paris in 1889. How the pyramids were constructed is still debated, and minor discoveries generate great interest. The latest discovery utilizes an imaging technique called muon tomography. Researchers announced Thursday they discovered a hidden internal structure at least 100 feet long. It is located above a hallway measuring about 155 feet long called the Grand Gallery, itself one of a series of passageways and chambers inside the immense pyramid. Now if they only knew what the structure was for and what was in it.
Someone Needs To Enlighten Secretary Perry: At an energy policy event on Thursday, Energy Secretary Rick Perry explained how burning more fossil fuels in Africa could help prevent sexual assaults. “From the standpoint of sexual assault, when the lights are on, when you have light that shines, the righteousness, if you will, on those types of acts,” Perry said, adding: “So from the standpoint of how you really affect people’s lives, fossil fuels is (sic) going to play a role in that.” Burning more fossil fuels isn’t a problem in Perry’s mind because he doesn’t believe human activity is causing climate change. A former three-term governor of Texas, Perry ran for president two times. In a 2011 debate he vowed to eliminate three federal agencies if elected, but could only remember two. In December 2016, president-elect Trump tapped Perry to lead the Department of Energy, which was the third agency Perry wanted to eliminate, if only he could have remembered its name.
November 2017 and only two months left this year. It feels like just last week we were formulating New Year’s Resolutions. It is incredible how fast this year has flown by. The pace of life and the fact that time waits for no one, especially those entering middle age, reminds us of this great post about various ways to measure time. Here are some productivity oriented articles for the weekend if you are looking to finish the year strong. We enjoy occasionally reading productivity pieces as they are inspirational and informative. These fit that mold.