$1.5 Trillion Cut, Strange Bedfellows

Death and Taxes: The Republicans revealed a plan yesterday to cut taxes by $1.5 trillion, mostly in corporate and business taxes.

“With this plan, we are making pro-growth reforms, so that yes, America can compete with the rest of the world,” said Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. One trillion dollars of the cuts would go to businesses in the belief that they will then create more jobs.

Less prominent in the plan are changes that would raise taxes in other ways to help pay for the giant cut.

The plan trims the current seven tax brackets to just four: 12, 25, 35, and 39.6 percent for the wealthiest. It would double the standard deduction for middle-class families and eliminate the alternative minimum tax, which was aimed at the wealthy when it was created in 1969 but now hits more middle-class taxpayers because the tax’s income range was not indexed to inflation.

They would double the exemption for the inheritance tax and eliminate it entirely in six years.

The Republicans don’t plan to touch popular 401(k) retirement plans but they do attack some of the deductions on which real estate and home ownership are based. The plan would allow homeowners to deduct only up to $10,000 in local real estate taxes from their federal taxes.

They say they would preserve the home mortgage interest deduction for existing mortgages, but limit it to mortgages of $500,000 or less. The combination of those two could amount to a major net tax increase for people living in states with high taxes and real estate values.

The White House Mess: Sam Clovis, a conservative Iowa radio host who is not a scientist and denies climate change, has withdrawn his name from consideration to be a chief scientific adviser to the Agriculture department after he was dragged into the Russia investigation. Clovis was questioned by the special counsel’s office about his contacts with former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos and setting up meetings with Russians.

Clovis said in his letter to the president that the political climate in Washington “has made it impossible for me to receive balanced and fair consideration for this position,” and that, “The relentless assaults on you and your team seem to be a blood sport that only increases in intensity each day.”

Strange Bedfellows: Political analyst and former Democratic National Committee chairwoman Donna Brazile has written a book that sticks a shiv in Hillary Clinton and other leaders in the 2016 campaign.

Brazile says Clinton took control of the DNC and its finances then rigged the nomination process against Bernie Sanders.   President Trump was tweeting this morning that Clinton did something criminal. “At some point the Justice Department, and the FBI, must do what is right and proper. The American public deserves it!”

Brazile wrote for Politico., “I had promised Bernie when I took the helm of the Democratic National Committee after the convention that I would get to the bottom of whether Hillary Clinton’s team had rigged the nomination process, as a cache of emails stolen by Russian hackers and posted online had suggested,”

It should be noted that Sanders is an Independent, not a Democrat. You would expect the Democrats to favor one of their own.

Brazile is no angel. As a CNN political panelist, she was caught leaking debate questions to Clinton. Ironically she named her book “Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House.”

Silence: A Twitter employee on his last day of work disabled President Trump’s account yesterday, silencing the President for 11 minutes.

Fire Storm: The federal government has ordered the recall of 37.8 million fire extinguishers made by Kidde, the most ubiquitous of fire extinguisher manufacturers. The recall involves extinguishers with plastic nozzle parts that might fail in an emergency — like a fire. Some of them are decades old. Go to the Kidde website to learn how to trade them in.

Science Times: Scientists studying the Cheops pyramid in Egypt say scanning technology indicates there is a large previously undiscovered void deep inside the pyramid. What’s in there, they don’t know, probably a movie plot.

From Russia, With Love: Social media ads bought by Russians and their bots to influence the 2016 election reveal something interesting. Not only were many of them paid for with rubles, but some are written in fractured English that is unlike fractured American English or even the typos in The Rooney Report.

From an ad attributed to “Heart of Texas” with a misplaced modifier that hints of English as a second language: “illegals come here because they wait for amnesty promised.”

Russians deny they attempted to election influenced.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Page Two

Jaw Meet Floor

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Small President

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Cuba Diaries

Sunday, March 13, 2016

An Alphabet of Maladies

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Healthcare Confusion Act

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Freedom from Speech

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Too Big to Fire

Friday, June 19, 2015

More Probable Than Not

Thursday, May 14, 2015

It's Been Said

" 'The enemy of the people,'" was what the president of the United States called the free press in 2017 ... It is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously spoken by Josef Stalin to describe his enemies. It bears noting that so fraught with malice was the phrase 'enemy of the people,' that even Nikita Khrushchev forbade its use, telling the Soviet Communist Party that the phrase had been introduced by Stalin for the purpose of 'annihilating such individuals' who disagreed with the supreme leader."
Arizona republican Sen. Jeff Flake speaking on the floor today.

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