Dems Appalled by Corporate Response to Tax Cut Bill
This week, Congress passed and President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The measure reduces taxes on corporations from 35% to 21% and on 80% of taxpaying individuals by smaller percentages. Democratic rhetoric attacking the the legislation predicted a "massive transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich" that would lead to "Armageddon" and "the end of the world."
Contrary to these predictions, the immediate response by numerous corporations was to announce widespread employee bonuses and plans for substantial increases in investment and hiring. AT&T says it will pay $1,000 bonuses to 200,000 employees. Wells Fargo said it will raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour, and make $400 million in donations to community and nonprofit organizations next year. Boeing, Fifth Third Bancorp, and Comcast each announced additional investments.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) labeled these actions "an unfair exploitation of a socially unjust law for purely political gain. The notion that private companies should be the ones deciding whether employees get raises or bonuses rejects everything the President Obama was trying to achieve. And the idea that corporations should be the ones determining how much to invest or whether to make charitable contributions is anti-democratic."
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) called the legislation "fundamentally unfair. The 50% of Americans who currently have no jobs and pay no income taxes get nothing from this bill. It is a thinly veiled trick to try to compel those who are not in the workforce to give up their free time and get jobs if they want to get a tax cut or corporate bonus. This stinks. The GOP will pay dearly at the polls next November for this cruel tyranny over the most vulnerable segments of society."
Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló contends that "the money this bill gives to corporations and taxpayers is the rightful property of the poor. And none are poorer than Puerto Ricans. Our island is bankrupt and in greater need of these scarce resources than the businesses and individuals who worked to produce them." Rosselló vowed to "mobilize every Puerto Rican voter to elect the kind of representatives and senators who can be counted on to expropriate the profiteers and redirect money to support programs that benefit the poorest among us."
Meanwhile, New Jersey Governor-Elect Phil Murphy (D) says "the legislation is unconstitutional because parts of it are hand-written." The irony, of course, is that the original Constitution itself is entirely hand-written.
In related news, Bureau of Labor statistics showing the lowest unemployment rate for Blacks in 17 years and the lowest ever for Hispanics greatly dismayed Democrats on the Joint Economic Committee. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) characterized it as "just more evidence of the complete failure of the Trump Administration to solve the nation's economic problems. Minorities that previously got along without having to endure wage-slavery were herded into the rat-race by Trump's maniacal destruction of unnecessary regulations. We are clearly headed for dark times in this country if we don't take the necessary action to neutralize this enemy of freedom."
Evidence of Presidential Obstruction of Justice
According to a report published by Politico, former President Obama blocked the Drug Enforcement Agency's efforts to stop the Islamic terrorist group Hezbollah from developing a global narcotics syndicate. The nominal rationale for this intrusion to thwart a law enforcement operation was "to not upset delicate negotiations with Iran." Hezbollah is largely funded by the Iranian government.
Ben Rhodes, former Deputy National Security Adviser during the Obama Administration, characterized the revelation as "Monday-morning 'quarterbacking.' Are we supposed to be shocked that a president might place a higher priority on reaching a diplomatic agreement with another country ahead of a routine and less important criminal case? Is the relationship between Hezbollah and Iran really our concern? I mean, it's not as if a successful prosecution of Hezbollah's drug smuggling would have solved the drug problem in this country."
Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian-American council, questioned "the presumed link between President Obama's quashing of the drug investigation and the negotiations with Iran. Just because the Iranian government funds Hezbollah doesn't mean that it could not be trusted to adhere to whatever agreement was worked out regarding its nuclear program. The sums the US government was willing to pay Iran for the agreement far exceeded the potential profits from drug smuggling. The President could've had other valid reasons for stopping the investigation."
Former Obama State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf insisted that "any claim that President Obama would ever try to obstruct justice is incomprehensible. His commitment to social justice was far ahead of any of his predecessors. My best guess is that he might have wanted to shut down the DEA investigation because he believed that Hezbollah was driven to crime and terrorism by discriminatory hiring practices in this country. I would be willing to bet that subsequent to his intervention many of the members of Hezbollah were given jobs somewhere within his Administration."
Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) were not impressed by these efforts to exonerate the former president. "Regardless of whether one considers the agreement with Iran on its nuclear program a good or a bad idea, I don't see how letting a criminal gang of drug smugglers off the hook could have been crucial or necessary," Jordan said. "If Iran was making that a condition for obtaining its agreement I think that would be a pretty big 'red flag' that they couldn't be trusted. If it wasn't a condition we have to ask ourselves what reason could the President have had for butting into what ought to have been a normal law enforcement activity?"
In related news, Rhodes tweeted "I look forward to the day when I can read a Post story on Trump's indictment and then flip to the obits page to see that Ryan, McConnell, and Pence have checked out."
New Developments Further Discredit Trump Dossier
In private testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe couldn't remember anything about the dossier or where it came from. Neither could he recall ever having discussions with Strzok or Page on the topic of the election or Trump.
Christopher Steele, the former British spy who previously asserted that his dossier proved there was collusion, now says that "the limited intelligence I have only indicates that such collusion may have been possible. Obviously, given the communication technology available today it's possible that everyone has the means to collude with anyone who has a phone or a computer. Since both Putin and Trump have access to both we can't definitively say that they didn't collude."
Mary Jacoby, wife of Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson, bragged about her husband's "creativity" and proudly claimed that "the whole Russia collusion story wouldn't have ever existed if it were not for my husbands efforts." The "efforts" seem to have mostly entailed rehashing a gossip piece that Simpson and Jacoby wrote for the Wall Street Journal ten years ago.
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif) dismissed the possibility that the accusations of collusion between Trump and Russia could be undermined by these developments, saying "the seriousness of the charges is what ought to concern every American. Until someone proves there was no collusion we must proceed on the assumption that there was. Practically everyone I talk too is convinced that there is something suspicious about Trump's election. Every poll showed him losing big time. The only logical explanation is some sort of dirty trick. I have no doubt that such a thing could have taken place. It's too risky for us to allow a devious and dangerous man like Trump to ride roughshod over the rights of the American people on the flimsy pretext that he is innocent until proven guilty."
UN Rebukes US for Embassy Move
First, the United Nations Security Council voted 14-1 to rebuke the United States for its decision to move the US Embassy to Israel's capital in Jerusalem. Later, the UN General Assembly voted 128-9 to condemn the US decision. Voting with the US were Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, and Togo. Major US allies like Britain, France, Germany and Japan voted against the US.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel explained that "seventy-five years ago Britain, France, Russia, and the United States ganged up on Germany. Now the shoe is on the other foot. Let's see how Mr. Trump likes that."
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki said the UN "passed an unprecedented test. History will remember those who stand by what is right. With the whole world aligned against the Zionist occupiers and their Satanic ally the day will soon come when a final solution to the Jewish problem can be accomplished."
Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, was undaunted by the the UN's action. "Each nation chooses its own capital," Haley declared. "There is no moral basis for denying Israel this prerogative. Neither is there one for denying the United States the prerogative to respond as we see fit. The unseemly alliance of the anti-Semitic states who would evict every Jew from Israel and the effete Europeans who would acquiesce in such an injustice will not overrule our own best judgment."
For his part, President Trump welcomed "the unmasking of these ingrates. Not so long ago Europe was overrun by Nazi invaders. Then the United States did the right thing and came to their aid. Israel is surrounded and besieged by enemies. Now we are coming to their aid. If this displeases the UN—well, we can save a lot of money if we stop subsidizing them."
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif assailed Trump's stance as "a demonstration of his contempt for democracy. The representatives of the vast majority of the people of the world freely voted to condemn the United States for its attempt to impede the elimination of Israel. For Trump to use financial extortion to try to influence us is tyrannical. He has no right to withhold the wealth that rightfully belongs to everyone for any reason, much less as an inducement for us to reject Allah's command to rid the Earth of unbelievers, especially Jews."
In related news, in Illinois, Cook County commissioner Richard Boykin has asked the UN to send peacekeeping troops to Chicago to help quell the gun violence that continues to set new records for fatalities. Pointing out that "most of the victims are blacks killed by other blacks," Boykin maintains that "our mostly white police force doesn't have the kind of ethnic understanding required. If we can get African troops to patrol our streets I think the outcomes will improve."
Ethical Confusion at the University Level
Osaka University's Kazue Muta alleges that the princes in Snow White and Sleeping Beauty were guilty of sexual assault. "Stories about kissing a comatose person without her permission promote sexual violence," Muta said. "This is the wrong message for children to hear. These men had no right to force themselves on these women. A better lesson would be a story where these men respect the women's right to be left alone."
The University of California San Diego is weighing whether to impose disciplinary sanctions on Gregory Lu, a student who who put up posters of Kate Steinle (the young woman shot to death in 2015 by Jose Inez Garcia Zarate--an illegal immigrant) with the caption "she had dreams too." Che Lopez, an investigator with the University's Office for the Prevention of Harassment & Discrimination, called the poster "possibly a 'hate crime.' Let's not forget that Mr. Garcia is a member of a legally protected racial minority." At the same time, Lopez declined to even look for the students who tore down and ripped up the posters because "we can't suppress freedom of speech."
In related news, the University of California Los Angeles hosted a "Muslim American Workshop" where participants proposed policy suggestions that would help Muslim Americans. Among the suggestions were "banning anti-sharia laws" and "eliminating First Amendment protections against hate speech." One participant explained that "Muslims won't truly be free in this country until they can live under their own laws and prevent unbelievers from openly criticizing them."