December 29, 2017

President Trump apparently confused about the difference between “weather” and “climate change”. “In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!”   Can’t wait until Mar-a-Lago is four feet underwater…

Homeland Security grants reportedly fueled massive amount of wasteful spending. “The Keene, New Hampshire, police department justified using federal funds to purchase a BearCat (armored vehicle) because of rowdiness at a local pumpkin festival…. A police department in Washington state used its BearCat to ‘pull over drunk drivers’.”

Apple concealed slow-down battery fix from customers. “(Customers) accuse Apple of violating fraud laws by purposely limiting performance without informing iPhone owners that the problems might have been fixed by replacing the device battery. This, they argue, forced them to spend more money to buy new iPhones.”

Federal tax reform causing anger and confusion over property taxes. “Many are desperately trying to prepay their 2018 property taxes in the hopes they’ll be able to deduct those payments on their 2017 federal returns.”

Chicago’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability finds fatal shooting of Quintonio LeGrier and Bettie Jones unjustified. “(Officer Robert) Rialmo opened fire and both LeGrier and Jones were killed. Chicago police acknowledged at the time that Jones was shot accidentally.”

Black woman gang raped by six white Alabama men in 1944 dies. “…(Recy) Taylor’s six assailants were never prosecuted.”

Russian comedians prank U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. “We’ve been watching (the situation in Binomo) very closely, and I think we will continue to watch that as we deal with the issues that keep coming up about the South China Sea.”

Young Israelis protest occupation by refusing military service. “Sixty-three draft age youngsters from around Israel sent a letter Thursday to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Education Minister Naftali Bennet and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot declaring their refusal to enlist in the IDF due to their belief that it serves to oppress the Palestinian people.”,7340,L-5063496,00.html

Few companies likely to take advantage of tax deal to repatriate profits. “The offshore money got a particularly sweet deal under the legislation that President Donald Trump signed right before Christmas: The entire $1.6 trillion (some estimates place it higher than $2 trillion) will incur a onetime U.S. tax of just 15.5 percent on offshore profits invested in liquid assets and 8 percent in harder-to-sell assets like real estate.”   Beware of headlines claiming firms are taking huge “hits” from tax reform bill! Without this special rate cut they would have paid far, far more tax.

Private prison companies to reportedly receive big ‘real estate investment trust’ tax cut. “The companies have argued that by housing inmates for the government, they operate in the same way as any company that charges a tenant rent.”

Gap in pay between U.S. workers and CEOs is reportedly the highest in the world. “CEOs of companies listed in India’s Sensex Index… earn 229 times more than the average worker there, the second-biggest gap worldwide after the U.S.’s ratio of 265, according to a separate Bloomberg ranking.”

UNICEF denounces targeting of children during conflicts. “In conflicts around the world, children have become front-line targets, used as human shields, killed, maimed, and recruited to fight.”

Pharmaceutical firm accused of raising price of cancer drug 1,400% “… lomustine was marketed under the brand name CeeNU by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., which charged about $50 a capsule for the highest dose, before selling the product in 2013. Now, the same capsule costs about $768, after nine price increases by a little-known Miami startup, NextSource, which supplies lomustine in a deal with the drug’s new owner, manufacturer CordenPharma.”

Trump administration proposes scrapping post-Deepwater Horizon oil drilling safety rules. “The rollback “is literally going back to business as usual,” a former federal official told the (Wall Street) Journal, which obtained the BSEE’s proposal.”

5 1/2 months after Justine Damond shooting, Hennepin County district attorney says he needs more time to decided whether or not to prosecute officer. “The investigation and review of the case will not be rushed.”

Mississippi teenager jailed for four years without a trial. “Tyler didn’t fall through any cracks. Mississippi didn’t lose track of him. A review of available records suggests that Mississippi may well have the worst record of any state for prolonged stays in jail for inmates awaiting the most basic psychiatric evaluation.”

Banned banker reportedly hired by former customer, EPA director Scott Pruitt, to oversee Superfund program. “… Pruitt, who had received loans from Kelly’s bank, apparently didn’t find Kelly’s unfitness to serve in the financial industry as disqualifying his longtime friend from serving as a top official at the EPA.”

Wall Street’s carried interest tax loophole survived tax reform – surprise! “The loophole allows finance industry titans to avoid paying roughly $2 billion of taxes a year, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Billionaire Warren Buffett has described the situation as allowing Wall Street executives to pay a lower effective tax rate than their secretaries pay.”

U.N. official describes Saudi Arabian airstrikes on Yemen as “indiscriminate”. “According to the organisation’s human rights office, one of the strikes hit a crowded public market in the Taiz governorate in the country’s south-west, killing 54 civilians and injuring 32 more. Eight children were among those killed.”

As many as 6,000 former IS fighters facing death penalty in Iraq. “The United Nations said last month that Iraq does not have jurisdiction to try Islamic State atrocities and that Iraqi investigators, prosecutors and judges do not have the capability to ensure due process.”–including-foreigners–to-the-gallows/2017/12/22/b65d903a-e598-11e7-9ec2-518810e7d44d_story.html

Trump administration loosens rules on nursing homes. “Advocates for nursing home residents say the deregulation threatens to roll back years of hard-fought progress in improving care and deterring neglect and mistreatment of elderly residents.”

Judge claims no rise in crime after she ruled New York City’s stop and frisk policy was unconstitutional. “…the stops dropped by 97 percent as a result of my ruling—so it went down from 700,000 to less than 50,000—with no rise in crime.”

December 29, 2017

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