Topics and articles chosen with care. Linked articles in bold purple
◆ The story today that will most affect Americans for years to come: a proposed big tax cut for business, with a special focus on small businesses.
The Washington Post frames it this way “Trump to propose large increase in deductions Americans can claim on their taxes”
President Trump on Wednesday plans to call for a significant increase in the standard deduction people can claim on their tax returns, potentially putting thousands of dollars each year into the pockets of tens of millions of Americans, according to two people briefed on the plan. . . .
Trump will call for a sharp reduction in the corporate tax rate, from 35 percent to 15 percent. He will also propose lowering the tax rate for millions of small businesses that now file their tax returns under the individual tax code, two people familiar with the plan said.. –Washington Post
The New York Times is far grumpier. “Trump Tax Plan: Low Rate for Corporations, and for Companies Like His” and “The ‘Voodoo Economics’ of the Laffer Curve Return”
Comment: The NYT slant reminds me of the old joke about their front page headline: “World to End. Poor Affected Most”
Where’s Perry White? Save the editorials for the editorial page.
◆ No Sanctuary? Another judge from the 9th Circuit nixes a major Trump policy, this time blocking policies that could defund Sanctuary Cities
The ruling from U.S. District Judge William Orrick III in San Francisco said Trump’s Jan. 25 order targeted broad categories of federal funding for sanctuary governments and that plaintiffs challenging the order were likely to succeed in proving it unconstitutional.
The Republican president’s moves on immigration have galvanized legal advocacy groups, along with Democratic city and state governments, to oppose them in court. –Reuters
Fox counters, predictably (but interestingly): Judge Who Blocked Trump Sanctuary City Order Bundled $200K for Obama and personally donated more than $30k to groups supporting him.
Comment: I’m going to make a wild guess here: the DOJ will appeal. Since this case will go to the 9th Circuit, which will rule predictably against Trump, this one will go up to the Supremes.
◆ Iran Nuclear Deal: Politico publishes a major investigation headlined, “Obama’s Hidden Iran Deal Giveaway” The article goes further, effectively saying the Obama Administration misled the American public about the scale of their giveaways in their desperate effort to get a deal with the Mullahs.
In his Sunday morning address [January 17, 2016] to the American people, Obama portrayed the seven men he freed as “civilians.” The senior official described them as businessmen convicted of or awaiting trial for mere “sanctions-related offenses, violations of the trade embargo.”
In reality, some of them were accused by Obama’s own Justice Department of posing threats to national security. Three allegedly were part of an illegal procurement network supplying Iran with U.S.-made microelectronics with applications in surface-to-air and cruise missiles like the kind Tehran test-fired recently, prompting a still-escalating exchange of threats with the Trump administration. Another was serving an eight-year sentence for conspiring to supply Iran with satellite technology and hardware. As part of the deal, U.S. officials even dropped their demand for $10 million that a jury said the aerospace engineer illegally received from Tehran. –Josh Meyer investigation in Politico
It gets worse–and more dangerous:
In its determination to win support for the nuclear deal and prisoner swap from Tehran — and from Congress and the American people — the Obama administration did a lot more than just downplay the threats posed by the men it let off the hook, according to POLITICO’s findings.
Through action in some cases and inaction in others, the White House derailed its own much-touted National Counterproliferation Initiative at a time when it was making unprecedented headway in thwarting Iran’s proliferation networks. In addition, the POLITICO investigation found that Justice and State Department officials denied or delayed requests from prosecutors and agents to lure some key Iranian fugitives to friendly countries so they could be arrested. Similarly, Justice and State, at times in consultation with the White House, slowed down efforts to extradite some suspects already in custody overseas, according to current and former officials and others involved in the counterproliferation effort. –Josh Meyer in Politico
One immediate effect: House Foreign Affairs chair, Ed Royce, asks DOJ and State to revive probes that the Obama Administration “may have” killed. (Politico)
Comment: If you think the major networks gave this major story any play at all, you still believe in the tooth fairy. Story on non-reporting here
While ABC, CBS and NBC on Monday and Tuesday found time to celebrate the return of “easy-going,” rested Barack Obama to the public scene, none of them covered the release of a blockbuster expose that reveals the buried secrets of the ex-President’s Iran deal giveaway. –Newbusters
Comment: The fact that people riot at this is simply insane. This was once the home of the free-speech movement. Now, it’s “free speech for me but not for thee.”