Singer Says Trump Tax Cuts "Unfair"
This week, retired singer Barbra Streisand took to Twitter to vent against the recently passed tax cuts saying that "blue states, athletes, actors, writers, producers, and directors will be punished by this scam of a tax bill. It targets those of us who have earned millions entertaining America. It limits property tax deductions to only a single residence and caps it at $10,000 per year. I, myself, have several homes. I don't remember exactly how many, but all of them are in the multimillion dollar range and have annual tax bills far in excess of $10,000."
"What Trump fails to understand is that my fans want me to have the millions I've acquired through my talent," Streisand asserted. "Changing the law to make me pay more in taxes is an injustice. The rich that ought to be targeted are those who gained their fortunes by the crass merchandising of daily necessities like food, fuel, and housing—the kind of things government should be providing gratis to everyone. Hard-working actors and singers who had to claw their way up to where they could charge $10 million to make a movie or $150 per seat at a concert are the elite of the working class and deserve to be better treated by our laws."
Streisand said she reneged on her August 2016 promise to leave the country if Trump won the election because "traveling is just too hard. I know I could probably avoid the nasty impacts of the tax changes if I moved to another country. Checks for my millions in royalties and returns on my investments could be mailed to me, but I feel I owe it to my fans who can't escape to stay and, on their behalf, harangue Congress until they impeach the President."
It seems likely that Streisand will become even more unglued when she catches wind of longtime adviser to Hillary Clinton Philippe Reines' publicly announced fear that "millennials might become Republican if they notice they don't have to pay as much taxes. This could be a devastating blow to Democrats who need to keep these voters focused on the outrage of diverting money away from government and into the hands of those who earned it."
In related news, California Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-LA) has introduced a bill that would allow wealthy taxpayers to evade the new federal tax law by redefining payments to the State government as "donations." The gist of the plan is to establish what he calls "the California Excellence Slush Fund. Payments to this Fund would be available to the government for whatever uses we deem fit. For example, this money could be spent to defend California's sanctuary status against the invasion of federal authorities seeking to deport people it says are in the country illegally."
Gore Says Bitter Cold Confirms Global Warming
Former Vice-President Al Gore confidently brushed aside the possibility that this past week's bitter cold across much of North America might indicate that the global warming he has profitably been hyping for the last 15+ years could be mistaken.
"The theory of global warming, or climate crisis that I now like to call it, postulates that any change in the weather merely confirms the global warming hypothesis," Gore declared. "The most important action anyone can take at this time is to continue to buy copies of my books and movies explaining how it all fits together."
Meanwhile, observations of solar output show a pattern of decreasing heat reaching Earth from the sun. Many climate scientists are predicting that a global cooling trend for the next several decades seems more likely than a continuation of the warming trend Gore has been warning must be addressed by massive government regulations aimed at "lowering the excessively indulgent lifestyles enjoyed by Americans." Strangely, despite railing against the general public's bad behavior, Gore's own lifestyle is far more indulgent than that of average American consumers who possess neither energy-guzzling palatial estates nor their own personal jet aircraft.
In another holier-than-thou incident, England's Prince William urged commoners "to reduce the number of children they bear in order to save the Earth from an excess of surplus population." That the Prince's wife is currently pregnant with their third child has led some to call the Prince a hypocrite. The Prince rebuffed the accusation by pointing out that "my children are assured the means to have fruitful and meaningful lives. The same cannot be said for the common run of mankind who must despoil the planet just to make a living."
Former FBI Director Leaked Classified Memos
In July of 2016, FBI Director James Comey chastised Democratic presidential candidate for her "extremely careless handling of classified emails." It now appears that Comey himself may have been "extremely careless" when he leaked classified memos to a friend with instructions that they be subsequently leaked to the media in the hope that it would lead to the appointment of his friend Robert Mueller as Special Counsel.
This week, David Hardy, Chief FOIA Officer of the FBI, made out a sworn statement that "all of Director Comey's memos were classified when they were written and remain classified to this day. For someone as well-informed as the Director to distribute these memos to a person or persons lacking the proper security clearance would constitute gross negligence and disregard of the statutes controlling who has legal access to such information."
Ironically, an earlier draft of Comey's July 2016 chastisement cited Mrs. Clinton's criminal "gross negligence" in her handling of classified material sent through unsecured channels to her private off-site computer, a number of which ended up in the possession of convicted "sexter" former Congressman Anthony Weiner. Previously, Mrs. Clinton has said that she asked her aide Huma Abedin, who is married to Weiner, to send her emails—some of which were classified—to her home computer so they could be printed out. Last month, Abedin's cousin Omar Amanat was convicted of financial fraud. Previously, Amanat was involved in a $300 million real estate project with Vladislav Doronin, a man referred to in the British press as the "Russian Donald Trump."
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif) called this recent turn of events "extremely frightening. Technically, Comey may have broken the law by sharing classified info with the media, but he was in a tough spot. A man who the FBI did its utmost to try to prevent being elected president was his boss when he leaked those memos. I believe he was trying to save the nation from a grievous error committed by voters who were duped by Russian propaganda into to turning against Secretary Clinton. I feel more strongly than ever that we have to oust Trump and get someone in there who will pardon Comey and those other patriots who tried to save the nation from falling into the hands of this madman."
In related news, James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence during the Obama Administration, called President Trump's complaints about the FBI spying on his campaign and manufacturing false "evidence" aimed at undermining his Administration "reprehensible and disturbing. While the agency's actions may not have strictly adhered to the law, there can be no question that their intentions were honorable. As they saw it, Trump threatened everything they fought for during their years in government. At worst, they are guilty of justifiable intervention in an attempt to save the country from a madman."
Dire Economic News Heartens Dems 2018 Election Hopes
A trio of recently released economic statistics have boosted Democratic hopes of retaking the majority in the House and Senate later this year. First, in December, private employers increased payrolls by stepping up hiring and reducing layoffs. Second, unemployment among blacks fell to the lowest level since 1972. Third, the number of Americans on food stamps fell by two million.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez labeled these statistics "the starkest of warnings concerning the sad fate in store for average Americans under Republican government. Millions are being forced out of the social safety net so meticulously constructed for them by the Democratic Party and into the harsh world of imposed self-sufficiency. In just one year alone two million Americans have been bumped from the food stamp program. Instead of having the government put food on their tables these poor souls will now have to do it themselves."
"We are especially concerned about the racist implications of herding more blacks into the labor force," Perez said. "This return to the type of slavery to which blacks were subjugated prior to the Civil War is a barbarous reversal of the freedoms Democrats extended under the Great Society welfare programs initiated when Lyndon Johnson was president. Republicans should be ashamed."
"As tough as these policies may be on our base over the next ten months, they bode well for our chances of prevailing in November," Perez continued. "If we can successfully portray the election as a choice between labor vs. leisure we believe we can muster a majority of voters to reject the changes the GOP is foisting on our constituents. Admittedly, motivating a base that has already rejected effort as their responsibility seems daunting. Getting people unaccustomed to supporting themselves to make the minimal effort to cast a ballot will be no easy task, but it is one we must undertake if we want to keep America on the path laid out by successive generations of Democratic government."
To help promulgate this message, Congressional Democrats are planning to conduct "teach-ins" on Martin Luther King Day. "We plan to rally Americans against the Trump tax cuts that are overturning a way of life that requires the redistribution of wealth by government," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) said. "We need to boost government spending on social benefits to ensure that a person's choice to take a job is not due to the duress of needing money to support herself and her children. The option to work or not work must be free from any form of coercion. Only generous and unconditional entitlements can do that."
Cars Burned to Celebrate New Year
In France, burning cars on New Year's Eve is becoming more popular. This year's toll of 1,031 vehicles torched, predominately by Muslims residing in the country, topped last year's 935. French Sociologist Michel Wieviorka maintains that we should consider these arsonists as "playful rather than criminal in nature. The vandals are mostly young men of foreign heritage coming from countries where automobiles are rare. On the one hand, there is a genuine and warranted expression of rage at a society in which cars are available to some, but not all. They are hitting out at the injustice of a system that distributes these vehicles based on the ability to pay for them."
"On the other hand, setting vehicles on fire and running away seems like great fun," Wieviorka observed. "And the risk of arrest is minimal. Burning cars are such a normal event on New Year's Eve now that police shrug them off. For example, last year, when more than 900 bars were set ablaze the Interior Ministry reported that the New Year's celebrations had gone off 'without incident.' Rather than get ourselves worked up over it, we should adapt to the cultural enrichment these immigrants are bringing to France."
Meanwhile, a fire at the Chappaqua home of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is reported to have destroyed all of the personal emails from her tour of duty at the State Department. A heartbroken Mrs. Clinton expressed regrets that "my decision to delete these precious memories from the official files I turned over when I left now means that there is no way to recover the correspondence leading up to my daughter's wedding or the heart-felt chats I had with my yoga buddies and Clinton Foundation donors."