Updates and Quick Takes

The passing of an American icon, Russia gets a hard slap on the hand, the latest update on sanctuary cities and states, kids can now legally be kids and other news of note that you will want to read to keep informed:

Passing Of An American Hero

Yesterday Linda Brown, the central figure in the historic Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court case that ended separate but equal, passed away.

To the family of Ms. Brown, may your personal memories sustain you and may the knowledge that Linda Brown fought injustice and forever changed our country in a positive way be a remembrance of a life that made a difference to millions of people.

Thank you Ms. Brown and may you rest in peace.  We are better for you living your life as you did.

A Coordinated Response To Russia

In an unusually widespread, coordinated response to Russian actions, at least 20 countries have expelled Russian diplomats in response to the March 4 poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury, England (A British law enforcement officer was also affected).

British Prime Minister Theresa May announced that an investigation into the incident had revealed Russian involvement, which was actually very similar to another incident involving a former Russian living in the UK a number of years ago.  The UK then expelled a number of Russian diplomats who, the Prime Minister said were using diplomatic passports to spy.  In support of the British and as a reaction to the Russian attempt to commit murder on another country’s soil, the United States expelled 60 Russian diplomats which was more than any in history.  Expulsion announcements on the same day included almost all members of NATO and the European Union, along with a number of other countries. Continue reading “Updates and Quick Takes”

Friday Quick Takes–It’s Taxing

End of the week quick takes focus on comments about the recently passed tax plan.  Some different perspectives and…interesting opinions in this edition…

Do What I Say, Not What I Do

Former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, who served during the Obama Administration, said that the recent tax bill was a ‘ticking time bomb’ because of the large increase in the national debt that will result.

That is a very legitimate concern and the largest drawback to law Over 10 years, even if optimistic estimates of increased economic growth play out, the debt will increase by hundreds of billions of dollars (the initial estimate by the CBO is $1.5 trillion). At some point, that will have to be addressed.

However, it’s ironic and strangely odd that this concern would come from the Treasury Secretary who helped form economic policy during an Administration where the national debt doubled, rising roughly $10 trillion, in 8 years.

But That’s My Money!

New York governor Andrew Cuomo said earlier this week that the recently passed tax reform bill was bad, in part, because it unfairly penalized high tax states by limiting the deduction for state taxes to $10,000. Well, yes, yes it does.

Or said another way, others will no longer be subsidizing people from high tax states by allowing them to pay less in federal taxes.

There is, of course, one obvious solution: stop having such high taxes.

 

That is just too much to consider for Cuomo.  So he has announced that he is having the state of New York sue the federal government in an attempt to invalidate the law, saying its unconstitutional.   Unconstitutional?  How is that, you may ask.  Good question, but that has sort of become ‘the thing’ to do when you disagree with a law may threaten to not give you as much money as you have started to feel entitled to getting.

So, we have one government suing another government, taking up a courts time and resources because…well, because it’s so important to settle the question of who gets more of the taxpayer’s money.

Friday Quick Takes

News of note from the last week, from Thinking Man’s Politics…

Palestinian ‘Days of Rage’

Yesterday, President Trump announced that the US was moving its Israel embassy to Jerusalem after declaring that Jerusalem was the capital of Israel. Hamas and other Palestinian groups announced that they would hold “three days of rage” in protest.

Hamas has declared that their goal is the elimination of Israel as a nation and dedicated itself to the killing of Jews. Tell me how again the ‘three days of rage” are going to be different than any other day?

Penalties for Defrauding Customers–Wells Fargo

President Trump took to Twitter today to knock down rumors that US consumer finance agency was reviewing fines levied against Wells Fargo for abuse of mortgage lending laws and opening bogus accounts.

In his tweet, the President said “I will cut regs but make penalties severe when caught cheating!”

Wells Fargo had been found to, among other things, reward its employees for new accounts which resulted in thousands of new accounts being opened by employees in customer’s names but without customer’s knowledge.

When large companies and their leaders have no consequence for their actions, then those actions are repeated (see bank bailouts).  Wells Fargo should not only pay but so should the leadership that knowingly defrauded their customers.

Finally, the Powerful Held Accountable

Former US Representative Corrine Brown was sentenced to five years in prison this week for multiple counts of fraud after setting up a charity to provide education for low income children and then using it as a personal slush fund.

Brown, who has faced ethics charges throughout her career, represented one of the poorest districts in Florida. Yet somehow she had no problem stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from her low income constituents to fund her vacations and lavish lifestyle.

The Bible and almost every major religion comments on rich people who take from the poor. May Corrine Brown feel the weight of her actions.

We Can’t Figure Out Birth Certificates?

A judge in Arkansas today said the state could no longer issue birth certificates until the state and same sex couples worked out an agreement on how to conform to Supreme Court rulings.

I’m sure that I don’t get all the nuances of this particular case and I’m sure somehow it involves who is a ‘husband and wife’, but how have we gotten to the place that even issuing a birth certificate is controversial? It just can’t be that hard. No matter what the ‘PC police’ say, you can’t change basic biology and a birth still requires two people of opposite sex.