Tuesday, December 26, 2017

CHIP funding decimated for rich real estate investors?; a young cardiologist has a cardiac arrest himself

I’ve tweeted the “Real Donald Trump” a few times on critical science topics (EMP), maybe with effect. Now Stanford student Jack Andraka (known for his science fair win on the pancreatic cancer quick test, still apparently with the FDA) has tweeted Trump on CHIP.  He writes “Children’s health should not be a political bargaining tactic ” (“chip” would be a pun); it’s time to represent the interests of the population real-time. (Senators) found $414 billion  for realDonaldTrump’s real estate windfall but chose not to find $14 billion for children.”

Forbes has a story by Bruce Japsen, here

The House did throw in $3 billion for short term funding, CNN story

David Leonhardt of the New York Times weighs in here., “Taking Health Care from Kids”. 

Here’s another shocker.  A leading cardiologist has a cardiac arrest without warning at age 52 at a conference in Dallas and survives with CPR (like in my own screenplay), and then a stent (controversial).

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Trump's tax plan almost ready to sign: trickle down will indeed trickle; why prepayment of property taxes probably won't work

The “GOP tax scam” passed today, with Trump (his artificial hair obvious) leading his choir singing “President Poopiepants” while Pence watches with glee, hoping to take on power.

Here is the Vox article by Ari Glogower on the ways rich people can game the system to take advantage of the new law.

There was a compromise of sorts to help the people a little in high-tax states, with a crimping limit on deductions they can take, as well as a compromise of sorts on limiting home mortgage interest.  Perhaps the building of luxury homes will slow down in the DC area.

Charities are said to be worried, as people will make their biggest contributions this year and then stop. People may prepay their local taxes early in 2017. 

Susan Collins is trying to get the health care reinsurance fund back in the game, as this would be a critical step in any constructive "Obamacare" replacement. 

Jonathan Coppage writes that with the tax bill, the GOP has destroyed "family-friendly conservatism" and encouraging people to form families and raise kids, link. Didn't Rubio fight for the per-child tax credit? 

Update:  Dec 27

Prepaying your property taxes probably works only if you've already gotten a bill for 2018, according to the IRS today.  Here is a story on WAMU. Here's more details at the Washington Post. 

Dec. 28

AOL and HR Block name four major deductions that disappear in 2018.  The Obamacare mandate end doesn't happen until 2019 (news story). 

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Trump reported to ban seven ideologically leading words from CDC publications

CNN is reporting a memo floating around in the Trump administration claiming that the “seven bad words” or phrases should not be used in official CDC reports.

Theese words are “Vulnerable, entitlement, fetus, diversity, transgender, evidence-based, science-based”.

This development seems ideologically based.  First, Trump himself seems to have an issue with transgenderism and gender fluidity or ambiguity (he doesn’t have a problem with [white] cis male gay men, who have competed on his reality show).

The rest of the list seems ideologically based, as if science were a way for the elites to browbeat his base, or as if people should not be allowed to use intersectionality and identity politics to get concessions in policy or make demands of others.  This story sounds like something that could come from Milo.  It seems to attack what Trump calls “losers”.

Here’s the story by Bruce Lee on Forbes, who says he expects Ashton Kutcher to walk out and say “You’ve been punked”. 

As for science, there is a European story that the Greenland ice cap is actually thickening again, because of snowfall. 
By James Gathany, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - http://www.cdc.gov/media/subtopic/library/building.htm, Public Domain, Link

Friday, December 15, 2017

Can the president be charged criminally with obstruction of justice while in office?

Is it possible for a president to be prosecuted for “obstruction of justice” while in office?

It sounds like a paradox, or an oxymoron like question.  In practice, the president could be impeached.  Remember that Sunday afternoon when President Ford pardoned Richard Nixon in 1974, right after I had moved into Greenwich Village to start my new life.

Joan Buskupic weighs in on this question on CNN with a video here. The constitution is quiet on this issue, and the Supreme Court is likely to have to decide some day.  What would Gorsuch rule? 
It would be interesting to hear Jeffrey Toobin comment now.  In July he debated Alan Dershowitz on the matter. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Could mounting sexual harassment claims really lead to Trump's resignation?

CNN aired Congressional inquiries today of Deputy AG Rosenstein, first about profiling of defendants by race, before migrating to inquiries of president Trump’s alleged acts of sexual harassment over the years. 

The tone of the questions was rather startling. 

The New York Times describes how Trump has been drawn into the sexual harassment debate with his “combative denials”. 

The odd thing that I remember from the Billy Bush tape is the president’s pride in his excitability. That’s not a bad thing in itself; it’s the idea that he can then get away with anything because of his position of power.

CNN has a list of senators already calling on Trump to resign, leaving us with the Puritanical Pence, who “wants to hang ‘em all”. 

Of course, we can wonder how Bill Clinton survived. 

Friday, December 08, 2017

A note on the Steinle verdict from an alternate juror; the sickening Moore run-off

There’s been some news in the immigration area recently.  Trump’s revised travel bans, by country (including North Korea and Venezuela) went back into effect with Supreme Court approval while the cases are heard by lower courts or appeals.  And there have been some complications in the whole H1 visa area that Cato has been reporting on. I haven’t forgotten about this, after all the attention to asylum seekers a year ago, but other issues have taken up a lot of time.
I did want to share an article by an alternate juror in San Francisco in the Kate Steinle case. She explains that acquittals were necessary for not only the murder charge but even manslaughter under California law. A lot of this has to do with the fact that the bullet ricocheted off a wall before it struck Kate, which sounds incredible.

Smerconish on CNN interviewed Phil Van Stockum of Politco on the case, and Phil agreed, mentioning that the California standard for "brandishing a weapon" first to justify a manslaughter conviction was not met. .  But there may be federal charges against the defendant, and it may be easy to deport him once and for all. 

In the meantime, the whole Roy Moore thing is pretty sickening.  We were better under slavery because of  family life?  Huh??  Here’s a Vox story on the alt-right bubble.   Yet I get emails asking me to support him with money, claiming he was framed. And the emails are manipulative and tribal. Maye they’re spam and have malware.  I wonder. 

Friday, December 01, 2017

If Trump pardons Flynn and others, 5th Amendment evasions go away in the future; tax poli

President Donald Trump probably will not be able to get away with pardoning people associated with the Russia investigation, starting with Michael Flynn, who plead guilty Friday morning December 1, 2017, at a federal court in Washington DC., to an “information”, and avoided grand jury indictment.
Flynn’s “cooperation” will probably lead to other prosecutions against former Trump campaign officials.

Once someone is pardoned, he can’t be tried again, so normally he can’t plead the Fifth, as before Congress. Sean Illing on Vox has a discussion with ten law professors on the possible consequences of future pardons, and on the past one of Arpaio.
In the mean time the Senate prepares to vote on a tax plan that seems detrimental to seniors on assisted living, families with heavy medical problems (including opioid), and college students.  Much of Trump’s base will not be pleased.  And so much for increases on the debt.  What about the debt ceiling later? 
And the Senate needs a systematic daily bipartisan tracking of the situation with North Korea. Trump cannot be allowed to make decisions on pre-emption alone.  Some people fear that Trump wants to tempt to Kim Jong Un to do something rash now rather than later when Un’s forces really can reach the US with nukes and EMP.