Putin: Syrian Chemical Attack was a False Flag, Trump to Do It Again and Again

April 25, 2017 Leave a comment

The Russian President possesses credible information that could prove the April 4 chemical attack on Syria (which killed 86 civilians including children) was staged to discredit Syrian President Assad and to launch 59 Tomahawk missiles (in retaliation, of course) at a Syrian airbase on April 6.


Though he hasn’t revealed it yet, Russian President Vladimir Putin, in 2015, claimed to possess secret satellite images that could prove the U.S. government brought down the Twin Towers with controlled demolition.

The 9/11 terrorist attacks, he declared, were orchestrated by the world’s biggest oil consumer to look like an act of aggression by international terrorist organizations. Putin said it was orchestrated to attack countries in the Middle East, the world’s chief oil-exporting region, to control more than half of the world’s oil reserves.

While conspiracy theorists brushed aside his evidence, the European Scientific Journal in 2016 concluded 9/11 was indeed a controlled demolition.

Well, Putin is back. And this time he claims to possess credible information that could prove the April 4 chemical attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun (which killed 86 civilians including children) was staged to discredit the government of Syrian President Bashar Hafez al-Assad (who renounced chemical weapons nearly four years ago). The alleged chemical attack gave the United States an excuse to launch 59 Tomahawk missiles (in retaliation, of course) at a Syrian airbase on April 6.

In a joint press conference with Italian President Sergio Mattarella in Moscow on April 11, Putin — calling on the international community to thoroughly investigate the use of chemical weapons in Khan Sheikhoun and take appropriate action — asked the world to be prepared for more chemical attacks. These, Putin suggests, will also be false flags, conducted to frame the Syrian government:

“We have reports from multiple sources that false flags like this one and I cannot call it otherwise are being prepared in other parts of Syria, including the southern suburbs of Damascus. They plan to plant some chemical there and accuse the Syrian government of an attack.

“President Mattarella and I discussed it, and I told him that this reminds me strongly of the events in 2003, when the US representatives demonstrated at the UN Security Council session the presumed chemical weapons found in Iraq. The military campaign was subsequently launched in Iraq and it ended with the devastation of the country, the growth of the terrorist threat and the appearance of Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS] on the world stage.”

Putin is already proven right, so it seems. Two prominent journalists with experience on Syria claimed the chemical attack was a false flag — designed to make the Trump administration go to war with Assad.

Former U.S. presidential candidate Ron Paul called the Syrian chemical attack a false flag promoted by the media propaganda machine to rally the people behind the United States. The odious propaganda, he added, smearing Assad as a monster for using chemical weapons is strongly indicative of a manufactured opportunity — a false flag. Former CIA officer Philip Giraldi, too, threw his weight around Putin saying:

“I’m hearing from sources on the ground in the Middle East, people who are intimately familiar with the intelligence that is available who are saying that the essential narrative that we’re all hearing about the Syrian government or the Russians using chemical weapons on innocent civilians is a sham.

“The intelligence confirms pretty much the account that the Russians have been giving … which is that they hit a warehouse where the rebels – now these are rebels that are, of course, connected with Al Qaeda – where the rebels were storing chemicals of their own and it basically caused an explosion that resulted in the casualties. Apparently the intelligence on this is very clear.”

Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump has confirmed that he will authorize additional strikes on Syria “if Assad uses chemical weapons again or deploys barrel bombs in the country.” White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters recently:

“The sight of people being gassed and blown away by barrel bombs ensures that if we see this kind of action again, we hold open the possibility of future action. If you gas a baby, if you put a barrel bomb in to innocent people … you will see a response from this president.”

Australian Father Burns His 3-Year-Old Daughter Because She’s “Too Beautiful,” Found Guilty

April 25, 2017 Leave a comment

Edward John Herbert

Courts in Australia have dumped a father’s plea to insanity because he set his three-year-old daughter on fire. The courts have found Edward John Herbert guilty of setting his three-year-old daughter on fire, and dousing his two other children with the same intent.

The reason Herbert gave for the hideous crime was because his three-year-old daughter was “too beautiful.” The man has been found guilty of destroying the lives of his family, and his plea of insanity was rejected outright.

In March 2017, the Supreme Court of Western Australia threw Edward John Herbert’s insanity plea out after he admitted wanting to kill both his daughters in their rooms. The father of two said that he was not guilty of the charges measured against him because he made the decision to harm his children while substance affected.

Edward John Herbert
Image Source: Metro UK – Edward Herbert, 43, was accused of pouring petrol over his three-year-old in front of his partner.

The Supreme Court judge was informed that Herbert was under the influence of marijuana and alcohol at the time when he poured a flammable liquid over his three-year-old daughter, in front of his partner.

Herbert then set his three-year-old daughter on fire while she slept, before pouring flammable liquid over his eldest daughter, a seven-year-old autistic girl who requires special treatment, and his six-year-old son. The court also heard how Herbert was also reported to have told a neighbour, “don’t worry, I would not have lit my boy up,” demonstrating intent to harm.

According to Stephanie Bochorsky, a police officer who lives in the same neighbourhood where the incident took place, she heard the screams of their mother crying for help. Bochorsky, who was off duty that day, ran in to her assistance and administered first aid to the child.

Edward John Herbert
Image Source: Metro UK – He told his neighbour he did it because she was too beautiful.

Two weeks ago, Judge Carolyn Frances Jenkins declared the actions of Herbert were of his own free will; that he was of sound mind on the day when he decided to burn both of his daughters alive.

However, Justice Jenkins has postponed the ruling until May pending a psychiatric evaluation.

Mara Barone, who is representing Herbert, said that a long jail sentence is now unavoidable.

Edward John Herbert
Image Source: Perth Now – Police Officer Stephanie Bochorsky leaves the District Court.

During his hearing, it was revealed that Herbert had told one of his neighbours that they were his daughters and therefore he could do as he pleased. He continued, saying he burnt his three-year-old daughter because she was “too beautiful.”

Herbert’s now ex-partner and the mother of the children said he was consuming more than thirty dollars’ worth of weed every day for over a month before the burning incident.

Edward John Herbert
Image Source: Perth Now – Edward Herbert’s former partner said he was a heavy cannabis user.

He had also developed a habit of drinking more than twenty beers a day, she said. Herbert had also taken a knife and had ran across the house threatening to blow it up before he set his daughter on fire.

Amanda Forrester, the prosecutor on the case, says the three-year-old received more than twelve percent burns to her body, and that she needs surgery and laser treatment to recover. However, the child will remain permanently scarred.

Edward John Herbert
Image Source: Metro UK – Herbert admits burning his child but claims he was insane at the time and had pleaded not guilty.

According to Doctor Bryan Tanney, the psychiatrist assessing Herbert, Herbert might have been undergoing psychosis when he attacked; triggered by his heavy drug and alcohol abuse.

Dr Tanney highlights the psychosis may have been triggered because Herbert didn’t smoke marijuana on the day he almost killed his children.

A letter written by Herbert to his former partner from the prison stated that he loved his kids more than life itself and that he had found God in prison. He further claimed he was unable to recall the memory of the attack.

“I am so sorry and I have got to live with this for the rest of my life,” wrote Edward Herbert in his letter to his former partner. “It hurts so much.”

Is It Time to Break Up Google?

April 25, 2017 Leave a comment

In just 10 years, the world’s five largest companies by market capitalization have all changed, save for one: Microsoft. Exxon Mobil, General Electric, Citigroup and Shell Oil are out and Apple, Alphabet (the parent company of Google), Amazon and Facebook have taken their place.

They’re all tech companies, and each dominates its corner of the industry: Google has an 88 percent market share in search advertising, Facebook (and its subsidiaries Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger) owns 77 percent of mobile social traffic and Amazon has a 74 percent share in the e-book market. In classic economic terms, all three are monopolies.

We have been transported back to the early 20th century, when arguments about “the curse of bigness” were advanced by President Woodrow Wilson’s counselor, Louis Brandeis, before Wilson appointed him to the Supreme Court. Brandeis wanted to eliminate monopolies, because (in the words of his biographer Melvin Urofsky) “in a democratic society the existence of large centers of private power is dangerous to the continuing vitality of a free people.” We need look no further than the conduct of the largest banks in the 2008 financial crisis or the role that Facebook and Google play in the “fake news” business to know that Brandeis was right.

While Brandeis generally opposed regulation — which, he worried, inevitably led to the corruption of the regulator — and instead advocated breaking up “bigness,” he made an exception for “natural” monopolies, like telephone, water and power companies and railroads, where it made sense to have one or a few companies in control of an industry.

Could it be that these companies — and Google in particular — have become natural monopolies by supplying an entire market’s demand for a service, at a price lower than what would be offered by two competing firms? And if so, is it time to regulate them like public utilities?

Consider a historical analogy: the early days of telecommunications.

In 1895 a photograph of the business district of a large city might have shown 20 phone wires attached to most buildings. Each wire was owned by a different phone company, and none of them worked with the others. Without network effects, the networks themselves were almost useless.

The solution was for a single company, American Telephone and Telegraph, to consolidate the industry by buying up all the small operators and creating a single network — a natural monopoly. The government permitted it, but then regulated this monopoly through the Federal Communications Commission.

AT&T (also known as the Bell System) had its rates regulated, and was required to spend a fixed percentage of its profits on research and development. In 1925 AT&T set up Bell Labs as a separate subsidiary with the mandate to develop the next generation of communications technology, but also to do basic research in physics and other sciences. Over the next 50 years, the basics of the digital age — the transistor, the microchip, the solar cell, the microwave, the laser, cellular telephony — all came out of Bell Labs, along with eight Nobel Prizes.

In a 1956 consent decree in which the Justice Department allowed AT&T to maintain its phone monopoly, the government extracted a huge concession: All past patents were licensed (to any American company) royalty-free, and all future patents were to be licensed for a small fee. These licenses led to the creation of Texas Instruments, Motorola, Fairchild Semiconductor and many other start-ups.

True, the internet never had the same problems of interoperability. And Google’s route to dominance is different from the Bell System’s. Nevertheless it still has all of the characteristics of a public utility.

We are going to have to decide fairly soon whether Google, Facebook and Amazon are the kinds of natural monopolies that need to be regulated, or whether we allow the status quo to continue, pretending that unfettered monoliths don’t inflict damage on our privacy and democracy.

It is impossible to deny that Facebook, Google and Amazon have stymied innovation on a broad scale. To begin with, the platforms of Google and Facebook are the point of access to all media for the majority of Americans. While profits at Google, Facebook and Amazon have soared, revenues in media businesses like newspaper publishing or the music business have, since 2001, fallen by 70 percent.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, newspaper publishers lost over half their employees between 2001 and 2016. Billions of dollars have been reallocated from creators of content to owners of monopoly platforms. All content creators dependent on advertising must negotiate with Google or Facebook as aggregator, the sole lifeline between themselves and the vast internet cloud.

It’s not just newspapers that are hurting. In 2015 two Obama economic advisers, Peter Orszag and Jason Furman, published a paper arguing that the rise in “supernormal returns on capital” at firms with limited competition is leading to a rise in economic inequality. The M.I.T. economists Scott Stern and Jorge Guzman explained that in the presence of these giant firms, “it has become increasingly advantageous to be an incumbent, and less advantageous to be a new entrant.”

There are a few obvious regulations to start with. Monopoly is made by acquisition — Google buying AdMob and DoubleClick, Facebook buying Instagram and WhatsApp, Amazon buying, to name just a few, Audible, Twitch, Zappos and Alexa. At a minimum, these companies should not be allowed to acquire other major firms, like Spotify or Snapchat.

The second alternative is to regulate a company like Google as a public utility, requiring it to license out patents, for a nominal fee, for its search algorithms, advertising exchanges and other key innovations.

The third alternative is to remove the “safe harbor” clause in the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which allows companies like Facebook and Google’s YouTube to free ride on the content produced by others. The reason there are 40,000 Islamic State videos on YouTube, many with ads that yield revenue for those who posted them, is that YouTube does not have to take responsibility for the content on its network. Facebook, Google and Twitter claim that policing their networks would be too onerous. But that’s preposterous: They already police their networks for pornography, and quite well.

Removing the safe harbor provision would also force social networks to pay for the content posted on their sites. A simple example: One million downloads of a song on iTunes would yield the performer and his record label about $900,000. One million streams of that same song on YouTube would earn them about $900.

I’m under no delusion that, with libertarian tech moguls like Peter Thiel in President Trump’s inner circle, antitrust regulation of the internet monopolies will be a priority. Ultimately we may have to wait four years, at which time the monopolies will be so dominant that the only remedy will be to break them up. Force Google to sell DoubleClick. Force Facebook to sell WhatsApp and Instagram.

Woodrow Wilson was right when he said in 1913, “If monopoly persists, monopoly will always sit at the helm of the government.” We ignore his words at our peril.

China’s Xi urges restraint on North Korea issue on call with Trump

April 25, 2017 Leave a comment

BEIJING: Chinese President Xi Jinping urged “restraint” on North Korea during a phone call Monday (Apr 24) with US President Donald Trump, days before an American supercarrier is due to arrive in the Korean Peninsula.

The conversation came amid growing concerns that Pyongyang will conduct another nuclear or missile test to mark the 85th anniversary on Tuesday of the founding of its Korean People’s Army.

“(China) hopes that the relevant parties can maintain restraint and avoid actions that would increase tensions in the Korean Peninsula,” Xi said, according to a statement from the foreign ministry.

“The only way to realise denuclearisation in the Korean Peninsula and quickly resolve North Korea’s nuclear problem is for each relevant party to fulfil its duties.”

It was the second phone call between the two leaders since their summit at Trump’s luxury resort in Florida early this month.

Speaking in Sydney on Saturday, US Vice President Mike Pence said the American aircraft carrier Carl Vinson would arrive in the Sea of Japan, bordering the Korean Peninsula, “in a matter of days”.

The ship joined other warships for joint exercises with Japan in the Philippine Sea on Sunday.

Confusion has clouded the carrier group’s whereabouts in recent days after President Donald Trump suggested the “armada” was steaming towards North Korea when in fact it was sent towards Australia.

Pence also renewed calls for Beijing — Pyongyang’s only major ally and largest trade partner — to use its “unique” position to bring Pyongyang to heel.

“The steps we’re seeing China take, in many ways unprecedented steps, bringing economic pressure to bear on North Korea are very welcome,” Pence said.

“We do believe China can do more.”

In February China announced it was halting all imports of coal from North Korea — a crucial earner for Pyongyang — for the rest of the year.

China also issued a stern warning earlier this month that a conflict over North Korea could break out “at any moment”, as Pyongyang vowed a “merciless” response to any US military action.

The comments came ahead of a failed missile test coinciding with the 105th anniversary of the birth of North Korea’s founder, Kim Il-Sung.

The North has ramped up its rhetoric in recent weeks, threatening to hit back against any provocation from the US and its regional allies, Japan and South Korea, which both host large American military contingents.

Before his latest conversation with Xi, Trump called Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, speaking to him about the joint drill between the Carl Vinson and Japan’s Maritime Self-Defence Force.

“I told him that we highly appraise US words and actions that show all options are on the table,” Abe told reporters following the call.

“We completely agreed that we strongly demand restraint by North Korea, which has repeatedly taken dangerous provocative actions.”

President Trump to host unusual meeting with UN Security Council

April 25, 2017 Leave a comment

President Donald Trump

Andrea Mitchell

President Trump will host members of the United Nations Security Council at the White House Monday, a highly unusual meeting made even more startling because of his harsh criticism of the international institution during the campaign and since taking office.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley is serving this month as the President of the Security Council, a role that rotates each month among the five permanent members: the U.S., Great Britain, France, China and Russia. There are 15 members of the group — but the others, right now including Egypt, Japan, Senegal, Bolivia, Ethiopia, Italy, Kazakhstan, Sweden, Ukraine and Uruguay are non-voting members.

Haley will be attending before the group returns to New York for scheduled Security Council meetings on Tuesday.

More from NBC News:
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Analysis: Trump’s nowhere on half his presidential pledges

The president’s budget outline proposed deep cuts in the U.S. contribution to the UN, which could dramatically impair its peacekeeping functions around the world.

Other high profile UN functions include refugee relief and vetting of refugee visa applicants to the U.S, the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna — the weapons inspectors who monitor Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal.

Diplomatic sources told NBC News the ambassadors are expecting to have coffee at Blair House — also known as the The President’s Guest House — with members of Congress Monday morning and then go to the White House to meet with the President and have lunch.

North Korea will inevitably be a major point of discussion.

China abstained on a UN resolution last week condemning the latest missile test — instead of vetoing it — a symbolic gesture. But Beijing has so far resisted tougher action.

The Trump administration could unilaterally impose much tougher banking sanctions against North Korea if it wanted to — similar to the Obama administration’s past sanctions on Iran — for instance blocking all foreign banks who deal with North Korea from trading in dollars or banking in the U.S. That would be a direct hit on China’s financing of the regime in Pyongyang.

So far, however, the Trump White House has not chosen that route but has repeatedly said “all options are on the table,” implying military action was possible.

Many experts, including former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, have discounted the viability of preemptive military strikes given the proximity of millions of people in Seoul and 28,500 U.S. troops in South Korea, all within artillery range of North Korea if it were to retaliate.

This all comes as an American citizen, a Korean-American accounting instructor, was detained Sunday at the airport in Pyongyang while trying to leave the country after having been there for a month.

The State Department has reached out to Sweden’s embassy, the protectorate for the U.S. in North Korea, to try to obtain his release.

Washington D.C. To Hold Massive “Coordinated Terror Attack” Drill This Wednesday

April 25, 2017 Leave a comment


April 26th is shaping up to be a busy day.

As we reported on Friday, that’s when Operation Gotham Shield, an exercise involving FEMA, Homeland Security and a myriad of law enforcement and military agencies and which simulates a nuclear bomb blast over Manhattan, is set to conclude.

Then, as we learned earlier, April 26 is also when the entire Senate will be briefed by Donald Trump and his four top defense and military officials on the situation in North Korea at the White House, an event which Reuters dubbed as “unusual.”

April 26 is also when the USS Carl Vinson is expected to finally arrive off the coast of the Korean Penninsula.

Now, in a statement from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, the regional association reports that “law enforcement officials and other first responders will participate in a full-scale exercise on April 26 designed to prepare for the possibility of a complex coordinated terror attack in the National Capital Region.”

The statement adds that emergency managers who work together at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) planned the exercise to help protect residents by preparing for an attack involving multiple target locations and teams of perpetrators.

The exercise will be conducted across a widespread geographical area. According to the release, the regional exercise will be staged at six sites in the District of Columbia, suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia, and will involve hundreds of police, fire, and emergency medical service personnel and volunteer actors.

The locations include neighborhoods in the northeast and southeast quadrants of the District of Columbia, Prince George’s County, and Arlington and Fairfax Counties.  Residents in those neighborhoods will be notified ahead of time to expect the exercise.

According to Scott Boggs, Managing Director of Homeland Security and Public Safety at COG, “Law enforcement officials practice and exercise their skills on their own regularly because that’s the best way to ensure we are always ready to respond quickly and professionally. On April 26, we’ll go one step further and stage a very realistic emergency event involving multiple sites and actors posing as the casualties.  However, there is no reason for residents to be alarmed because the exercise will occur in a controlled environment.

The is scheduled to take place near or at George Mason University, and last from 8;30am until 4:30pm.

The statement also advises that the only media availability will be in a one hour block before the exercise, from 7:30am – 8:30am on April 26.

Full statement below (link).

Full-scale exercise focused on preparing for complex terror attacks to include National Capital Region first responders, emergency managers

Law enforcement officials and other first responders will participate in a full-scale exercise on April 26 designed to prepare for the possibility of a complex coordinated terror attack in the National Capital Region.

Emergency managers who work together at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) planned the exercise to help protect residents by preparing for an attack involving multiple target locations and teams of perpetrators.

The regional exercise will be staged at six sites in the District of Columbia, suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia, and will involve hundreds of police, fire, and emergency medical service personnel and volunteer actors. The locations include neighborhoods in the northeast and southeast quadrants of the District of Columbia, Prince George’s County, and Arlington and Fairfax Counties.  Residents in those neighborhoods will be notified ahead of time to expect the exercise.

“Law enforcement officials practice and exercise their skills on their own regularly because that’s the best way to ensure we are always ready to respond quickly and professionally,” said Scott Boggs, Managing Director of Homeland Security and Public Safety at COG. “On April 26, we’ll go one step further and stage a very realistic emergency event involving multiple sites and actors posing as the casualties.  However, there is no reason for residents to be alarmed because the exercise will occur in a controlled environment.”


WHEN: Wednesday April 26, 7:30 – 8:30 A.M.

WHERE: Maryland National Capital Park Police Headquarters, 8100 Corporate Drive, Hyattsville, MD 20785

Contact: Jeanne Saddler
Phone: (202) 962-3250
Email: jsaddler@mwcog.org

Congress aims to avoid shutdown, while Trump presses for 100-day wins

April 25, 2017 Leave a comment

President Donald Trump

Leigh Ann Caldwell

Congress returns from a two-week break facing a deadline to keep the government operating while President Donald Trump presses harder for some legislative accomplishments as his first 100 days in office wind to a close.

The week is shaping up to be a collision of needs between the two, and time is quickly running out on both.

Passing funding to avoid a government shutdown appeared to be an easy task just weeks ago, but new stumbling blocks have arisen in recent days as Trump has added new demands on items like the border wall and increased military spending.

Government funding ends Friday, allowing only three full days of legislative activity after the House returns late Tuesday night, and the last-minute controversial requests from the administration are threatening to make a deal harder to reach.

At the same time, Trump is pushing Congress to move quickly on another attempt to pass a repeal bill of the Affordable Care Act, even though House Republicans aren’t unified on a path forward.

To add more to Congress’ plate, Trump told The Associated Press last week that he intends to unveil his plan to overhaul the tax code, another priority for Republicans but a gesture that caught Republican congressional leaders by surprise.

All of this is making for a busy week. Here are the top issues facing Congress when it returns:

Funding the Government

Because Congress failed to come together on an appropriations bill for 2017 last year, its passed a short-term measure called a Continuing Resolution, or CR, that funds the government at 2016 levels. But the CR runs out on Friday, giving Congress a hard deadline to pass a comprehensive funding bill to finish the current fiscal year.

With time running out and the last-minute demands by the Trump administration complicating negotiations, it is likely that Congress, which isn’t interested in a government shutdown, will pass another short-term CR to keep the government open for a week or two.

Aides to Republican and Democratic members involved in hammering out a funding bill have admitted that talks had been progressing well until last week, when the Trump administration demanded politically toxic measures be put into the measure.

Those include $3 billion for border security and the construction of a border wall, as well as $30 billion more for defense spending. The administration also said it wants to withhold funding for some subsidies in the Affordable Care Act that help low-income people afford health care.

Both Republicans and Democrats in Congress have expressed displeasure with the administration’s late demands.

Rep. Tom Reed, R-New York, said politics should be kept out of the funding bill. “I hope we can avoid these ideological issues and focus on keeping the lights on,” Reed said Friday on MSNBC.

“We’ve asked the president not to interfere. If he doesn’t interfere, we can get this done,” said Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York. “So we ask him to let us do our work and to not throw in some last-minute poison pills that could undo it and we can get this done.”

Health Care

As if working up to the eleventh hour to keep the government open wasn’t enough, the White House is pushing the House to vote on a Republican health care bill to undo much of Obamacare.

Trump, who underestimated the ideological splits among House Republicans on the last go-around, would still like them to pass their signature campaign promise — repealing Obamacare — before his 100th day on Friday.

An amendment revealed last week is meant to be a compromise for the most conservative members to agree to support the bill. It’s not impossible for a vote on health care to come up this week, but leadership isn’t likely to let members vote on it unless they have a majority — 216 Republicans — to pass the bill.

In a conference call with Republican members over the weekend, House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin made it clear that while work on health care continues, the focus of the coming week will be on keeping the government open.

Tax Reform

Another wish-list item for Republicans is tax reform, which, according to their original plan, was supposed to be presented as early as this month or May. But the failure of the health care bill has complicated the timeline, pushing tax reform back to the fall.

Still, Trump, eager for the aura of success, said he would unveil his plan for corporate and individual taxes this week.

A plan is not legislation, however, and Ryan has said tax reform is much more difficult to achieve without repealing the nearly trillion dollars of taxes in the Affordable Care Act.

2018 Appropriations

While Congress is still wrangling over 2017 funding, it must make progress on 2018 funding. Congress’ main responsibility is to fund the government, and if the Republicans, who ran on the platform of fiscal responsibility, want to have government funding in place for the next fiscal year on time, their work on a dozen appropriations bills must be complete by Oct. 1.

Debt Ceiling

By August, the government is expected to reach the limit on its ability to borrow money — or pay for government programs like Social Security and air traffic controllers — forcing Congress to raise the debt ceiling.

It’s been a controversial vote in recent years as Republicans used it to paint President Barack Obama as fiscally irresponsible and nearly forcing a government shutdown over it. While the deadline isn’t pressing at the moment, it’s another part of a complicated summer calendar.

But it will be the first time Congress will have to raise the debt ceiling with a Republican in the White House. It’ll still be a difficult vote for conservatives who voted against it in the past.

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