UN Condemns US Move, Trump and Taxes

The Jerusalem Business: Despite President Trump’s threat to cut off financial aid to some of America’s major allies, the United Nations General Assembly voted 128-9 to condemn his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.  Thirty-five countries abstained.

The votes against the US position included Great Britain, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Egypt, and Jordan.

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley threatened, “We will remember it when we are called upon once again to make the world’s largest contribution to the United Nations. And we will remember when so many countries come calling on us, as they so often do, to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit.”

Former CIA Director John Brennan tweeted, “Trump Admin threat to retaliate against nations that exercise sovereign right in UN to oppose US position on Jerusalem is beyond outrageous. Shows @realDonaldTrump expects blind loyalty and subservience from everyone—qualities usually found in narcissistic, vengeful autocrats.”

House Business: Congress yesterday passed a temporary funding bill to keep the government open into January. The bill includes money for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which insures millions of children and is running out of cash. Congress otherwise has shown little interest in it.

The President Business: President Trump referred in a tweet yesterday to “the very popular, just passed, Tax Cuts.”

They are not popular. Going into Wednesday’s final vote, a CNN poll showed that 66 percent of Americans think the bill benefits the wealthy more than the middle class. The taxpayers are skeptical, even though it’s believed 80 percent of them will get a tax cut. Despite that, the voters are also worried about deepening the national deficit.

Trump has claimed that the bill is bad for him and he’ll pay millions more in taxes. That goes against all analysis of the bill’s benefits for the rich. But because he refuses to reveal his tax returns, no one knows for sure.

Trump’s personal tax rate will drop from 39.6 percent to 37 percent. He will also benefit from the personal corporation “pass-through” deduction of 20 percent. Such businesses pass along their income to be reported on the owner’s personal taxes.

Nearly all of Trump’s 500 private businesses including his umbrella company, the Trump Organization, are pass-throughs.

The Russia Business: FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe faced 14 hours of congressional questioning this week about the agency’s Russia investigation and inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

According to news reports. McCabe corroborated Comey’s statement that President Trump asked for his “loyalty” in what may have been an attempt to shut down the Russia investigation.

President Trump denies that he plans to fire special Counsel Robert Mueller, but someone is beating the bushes to stir up discontent against the investigation into Russian election influencing.

Attempting to turn the tables, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul tweeted yesterday, “Time to investigate high ranking Obama government officials who might have colluded to prevent the election of @realDonaldTrump! This could be WORSE than Watergate!”

He offered no evidence or proof of his claim.

Much of the discontent is based on anti-Trump text messages traded between two FBI employees.

A new CNN poll says public opinion on the Russia investigation is pretty much split on party lines but, “A majority of Americans, 56%, say Trump’s comments on the Russia probe have been mostly or completely false vs. only 35% who say they’ve been true.”

Death at an Early Age: Life expectancy in the US dropped for the second year in a row, largely because of the opioid addiction crisis. From 2014 to 2016, life expectancy fell from 78.9 years to 78.6.

Last year alone 63,000 Americans died of opioid overdoses.

The Obit Page: Clifford Irving, author of one of the great literary hoaxes of all time, has died at home in Florida at age 87. Irving wrote what he said was an authorized autobiography of the reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes.

Betting that Hughes would never speak up, Irving got a publisher by forging letters from Hughes and making phone calls from exotic locations where he said he was interviewing with his subject. McGraw-Hill paid an advance of $750,000 for the book. Life magazine bought serial rights for $250,000, and Dell got the paperback rights for $400,000.

Then Hughes came forward and said the whole thing was made up.

Irving spent time in prison and later wrote a book about his escapade. At first called “Clifford Irving: What Really Happened,” it was later retitled “The Hoax” and made into a movie.

>Hall of Fame Broadcaster Dick Enberg, known for exclaiming “Oh my!”, was found dead in his San Diego home. He had his bags packed to go to Boston and appeared to have died of a heart attack. He was on the air for 60 years covering everything from football to boxing.

Goodbye, Al: Minnesota Sen. Al Franken said on the Senate Floor yesterday that he will resign on Jan. 2 because of accusations of sexual misconduct. In his final address he said, “As I leave the Senate, I have to admit that it feels like we’re losing the war for truth. Maybe it’s already lost. If that’s what happens, then we have lost the ability to have the kinds of arguments that help build consensus.”

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Wednesday, January 24, 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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