Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News

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Saturday, December 23, 2017

The United Nations Security Council imposed new sanctions on North Korea on Friday that significantly choke off new fuel supplies and order North Koreans working overseas to return home within two years, in what may prove the last test of whether any amount of economic pressure can force it to reverse course on its nuclear program. The sanctions, adopted by a vote of 15 to 0, were the third imposed this year in an escalating effort to force the North into negotiations. China and Russia joined in the resolution, though American officials have charged that in recent months the Russians have secretly been opening new links to the North, including new internet connections that give the country an alternative to communicating primarily through China. read more

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

To the young male actors in his retinue in Santa Barbara in the 1970s, Gary Goddard was an exalted figure. A successful former theater prodigy, Goddard returned through his 20s to direct and mentor child actors in his hometown, vowing to bring the most talented with him to Hollywood. He attracted a constant orbit of devoted boys others referred to as the "Goddardites." But the seemingly idyllic setting of privilege and promise had a dark edge for several members of the theater group. Four decades later, many of them say they have been haunted by their encounters with Goddard. Since actor Anthony Edwards wrote in an online essay last month that Goddard sexually abused him as a pubescent actor in Santa Barbara, seven others from the theater group told the Los Angeles Times that their former mentor molested or attempted to molest them as boys. read more

CNBC: AT&T to invest $1 billion following tax reform passage.

AT&T was quick to respond to news of U.S. tax reform, announcing it would give some employees bonuses once the law is official. The telecom giant said in a press release on Wednesday that it would give more than 200,000 U.S. union members a special bonus of $1,000.

The company also increased its capital expenditures budget by $1 billion in the U.S. "Congress, working closely with the President, took a monumental step to bring taxes paid by U.S. businesses in line with the rest of the industrialized world," CEO Randall Stephenson said in a statement. "This tax reform will drive economic growth and create good-paying jobs. In fact, we will increase our U.S. investment and pay a special bonus to our U.S. employees." read more

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

CAMP PENDELTON -- A war game exercise that deploys a battalion-size air, sea and ground assault is playing out across Marine Corps bases in Southern California this week. The exercise, which includes more than 20,000 Marines from the 1st Marine Division and more than 600 Marine aviators and their crews, is taking place at San Clemente Island, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Camp Pendleton and at the Marine Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms. It combines the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing's "Winter Fury" exercise with the 1st Marine Division's "Steel Knight" training. Both are held annually to prepare Marines for worldwide threats and to sharpen their skills for upcoming deployments. But the combined exercise is the first in more than a decade, military officials say. read more

GOP leaders on Wednesday agreed on a final tax cut plan that would lower the corporate rate to 21% and drop the top individual rate to 37%, according to a Republican source briefed on the deal. Earlier House and Senate versions of the measure would have lowered the corporate rate to 20%, but in reconciling the two plans, leaders needed to nudge up the corporate rate in order to pay for benefits elsewhere. Among those benefits will be a drop in the rate paid by the richest Americans, a risky move since President Trump and GOP leaders have tried to portray their sweeping plan as aimed at the middle class. The original House plan retained the current 39.6% top rate while the Senate version lowered it to 38.5%. Among other compromises, the final bill will allow mortgage interest deductions on loans up to $750,000. It will also include the Senate provision that will repeal the Obamacare requirement that Americans buy health insurance. read more


Go ahead and attack the source, but even the Atlantic reluctantly admits that a vast majority of Americans will get a tax cut:

Most Americans will save money under the tax bill that the Senate passed Tuesday night and the House passed Wednesday. The size of that benefit varies, but 80 percent of households will see some benefit in 2018.
It's not just that a plurality of respondents in a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll say the cuts are a bad idea (41-24, with 35 percent unsure or holding no opinion), or might have bad long-term effects. It's that only 17 percent actually believe they'll get a break. That result is in line with other polls that have shown similar skepticism about receiving any benefit.

So why is a tax cut that benefits 80% of Americans so misunderstood? Senator McConnell griped at reporters Tuesday night, "Your job is to use the Democrats' talking points. I understand that." Coverage of the bill has been negative -- Fareed Zakaria called it "possibly the worst piece of major legislation in a generation" -- but while that can't help, placing the blame entirely on the press overestimates its influence.

A more likely factor is that many people don't understand the bill very well. Compared to other legislation of similar scope, including previous changes to the tax code, this bill moved through Congress at a breakneck pace. That was a political calculation, in two ways: First, Republicans were eager to notch a legislative victory before the end of the year, after a chaotic and frustrating 2017, and they wanted to meet Trump's deadline for a tax cut before the end of the year. Second, GOP leaders figured that moving the legislation quickly would make it hard for the bill's opponents to rally against the bill.

Though Democrats could not stop the bill, their messaging, much maligned in recent months, won the day. They were successfully able to convince the public that the bill was geared toward giving corporations a huge, permanent tax cut, while giving individuals only a temporary one; and that the benefits of the bill would accrue overwhelmingly to wealthy taxpayers. In the NBC/WSJ poll, respondents were correctly able to say that wealthy Americans and corporations would pay lower taxes, but pluralities believed the Democrats talking points that both their own families and middle-class families in general would actually pay more.

Why Don't Most Americans Realize They're Getting Tax Cuts for Christmas?

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