Trump Wants CNN Sold, $1.7 Trillion in Red

Mergers and Acquisitions: Several new outlets report that the Trump administration directed AT&T to sell CNN as a condition of merging with Time Warner, which owns the news network President Trump has denounced as “Fake News.”

Neither the reason for nor the potential effect of peeling off AT&T has been explained, but Trump is certainly trying to hold sway over the future of a news organization he hates.

Time Warner owns HBO, Warner Bros. and plenty of entertainment AT&T could put through its pipelines. It’s the merger of a massive amount of what they like to call “content” with a giant distribution network. Both companies say it would not be a merger of competitors and there’s no reason to block the deal.

In addition to condemning CNN, Trump campaigned against the merger in 2016. “AT&T is buying Time Warner and thus CNN,” he said, “a deal we will not approve in my administration, because it’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few.”

Death and Taxes: The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Republican tax reform bill would increase the deficit by 1.7 trillion over the next 10 years, bringing the national debt to 97.1 percent of the gross domestic product.

That gives the Republicans trouble with members who refuse to do anything to increase the deficit. It’s also $74 billion more than they can pass with 50 votes through the process of budget reconciliation, rather than a full-fledged law.

On the other side of the numbers, some Republicans are thinking about attaching a rider that removes the individual mandate, the requirement that everyone have health insurance, from Obamacare. The CBO says that would save the government $416 billion by 2026. Fewer people on health care, less subsidies paid for the poor.

Trans Election: One of the notable things about Tuesday’s election is that five transgender people across the country were elected to public office. In Virginia, Danica Roem became the first openly transgender person elected and seated in a state legislature, beating the 13-term incumbent who called himself Virginia’s “chief homophobe” and who introduced a “bathroom bill” restricting public bathroom use to birth gender.

All five elected campaigned openly as transgender. They are: Lisa Middleton, Palm Springs, Calif. city council; Tyler Titus, Erie, Pa school board; Andrea Jenkins and Phillipe Cunningham, Minneapolis city council, and also the first black openly transgender people elected to office in the US.

Sutherland: The local cemetery in Sutherland Springs, Texas is straining to bury so many people; 26 dead in the church shooting. The entire event was a captured on in-house video, showing  Devin Kelley methodically shooting parishioners, pausing only to reload.

The Gun Beat: The NY Times “The Interpreter” blog discusses why the US has so many mass shootings, writing that “Americans make up about 4.4 percent of the global population but own 42 percent of the world’s guns. From 1966 to 2012, 31 percent of the gunmen in mass shootings worldwide were American, according to a 2015 study by Adam Lankford, a professor at the University of Alabama.”

In short, it’s the availability of guns and not just guns, but high-powered semi-automatic guns that lead to mass shootings.

The Interpreter notes that both Britain and Australia levied strict gun controls after mass shootings and pretty much put an end to the problem. In the US, pro-gun politicians just pray for the victims.

The Interpreter cites British Journalist Dan Hodges, who wrote two years ago that, “In retrospect Sandy Hook marked the end of the US gun control debate.” He said, “Once America decided killing children was bearable, it was over.”

The Weinstein Effect: A Massachusetts woman, former news anchor Heather Unruh, is publicly accusing actor Kevin Spacey of sexually molesting her son in a Nantucket bar in July 2016, when the boy was 18. Unruh said in a press conference, “Kevin Spacey bought him drink after drink after drink. And when my son was drunk Spacey made his move. Spacey stuck his hand in inside my son’s pants and grabbed his genitals.”

Unruh says a witness in the restaurant told the boy to run, and he did. Massachusetts police are investigating.

In Hollywood, Spacey is being replaced in the movie “All the Money in the World,” which has already been shot and set for release Dec. 22. Christopher Plummer is re-shooting Spacey’s scenes as J. Paul Getty.

Inside Job: Back in September the superintendent of the Air Force Academy gave a stirring speech after someone wrote racist slurs on the message boards of five cadets at the Air Force prep school. “It’s not who we are, nor will we tolerate it in any shape or fashion,” Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria said in the speech.

Now the academy reveals that the student who wrote the messages was one of the five black cadets. He’s been dismissed from the school, but there’s no explanation for why he did it.

The Deplorables: President Trump celebrated his election a year ago with a tweet featuring a picture of him with his closest staff. He wrote, “Congratulations to all of the ‘DEPLORABLES’ and the millions of people who gave us a MASSIVE (304-227) Electoral College landslide victory!”

Human Error: A self-driving shuttle bus in Las Vegas crashed just two hours after its service was inaugurated by city officials. The driver of the other vehicle was blamed. But in Vegas, everyone’s asking, “What were the odds?”

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Saturday, November 25, 2017

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

"One of the things that actually Trump has benefited from is that, on a daily if not hourly basis, there are things he says that you could never have imagined any other American president -- left, right, up or down -- saying, and they kind of bleed into each other. And you sort of forget, 'Oh, yes, 72 hours ago, he said this...'"

-Jeff Greenfield on CNN’s "Reliable Sources"

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