Trump Signs Tax Bill, N. Korea Sanctions
Saturday, December 23, 2017
Vol. 6, No. 344
The Dotted Line: Before flying off to his Mar-a-Lago club for the holidays, President Trump signed the sweeping tax reform into law yesterday while complaining to reporters that he hasn’t gotten credit for all that he’s done in his first year in office.
Trump said he signed the bill before Christmas because all the networks were wondering whether he would keep his promise for a big Christmas tax cut.
Significantly, Trump said, “Corporations are literally going wild over this.” The tax reform has been criticized for doing more for corporations and the wealthy than the middle class.
Trump later tweeted, “With all my Administration has done on Legislative Approvals (broke Harry Truman’s Record), Regulation Cutting, Judicial Appointments, Building Military, VA, TAX CUTS & REFORM, Record Economy/Stock Market and so much more, I am sure great credit will be given by mainstream news?”
The Hermit Kingdom: The UN Security Council voted 15-0 yesterday to place even tighter economic sanctions on North Korea because of its missile and nuclear warhead development program.
The sanctions cuts by 89 percent the amount of refined petroleum North Korea can import each year. About 100,000 North Korean laborers who work in other countries and send home hard currency, will be expelled within two years. Countries will be urged to inspect all North Korean ships and stop ship-to-ship transfers of fuel, which the North has used to sneak in fuel.
In August, the Security Council blocked North Korean exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood. In September, it blocked textile exports, curbed oil imports and called for inspections of ships that have visited the North’s ports.
Under the Sea: Russian submarines in unusual numbers have been nosing around undersea data cables, worrying NATO, The Washington Post reports. The Russians could either sever or tap the vital communications lines.
British Air Chief Marshal Stuart Peach said in a recent speech, “Can you imagine a scenario where those cables are cut or disrupted, which would immediately and potentially catastrophically affect both our economy and other ways of living if they were disrupted?”
Military officials say they haven’t seen this level of activity since the Cold war when submarine spying was at its peak. A US sub once scored a coup tapping into a Russian data cable because there was a sign on shore identifying the location of an undersea cable.
Bitcoin Bubble: After reaching a high of $20,000 last weekend, the cyber currency Bitcoin lost a third of its value yesterday. Trading firms temporarily stopped buying and selling.
The Bitcoin had grown by 1,000 percent in value just this year. Its value is based upon, well, basically nothing.
Stop Sign: Fiat Chrysler has recalled 1.8 million Dodge Ram trucks because the gear shifter might drop out of park without the driver’s foot on the brake. The company cited a “small number” of crashes that might be linked to the flaw.
The Obit Page: Bruce McCandless, the first astronaut to fly untethered in space, has died at age 80. His flight was preserved in an iconic photo of McCandless floating in space with the Earth behind him. — March Fong Eu, a California politician who crusaded against pay toilets in public by smashing a toilet with a sledge hammer on the steps of the Capital in Sacramento, has died at age 95.
Fong Eu was ridiculed, but Gov. Ronald Reagan signed her ban into law in 1974, just six weeks before she was elected secretary of state.
Animal House: USA Today reports that police in Bethesda, Md. busted a fraternity party last month at which there was so much alcohol that the air in the house registered 01. A score of .08 is the threshold for legally drunk in the state.
Next, they’re going to have a giant food fight.