Screen Shot 2017-12-21 at 9.45.45 AMThe Tax Bill Passeth: Congressional Republicans and administration officials gathered on the White House steps yesterday to celebrate the passage of their landmark tax reform bill. It’s been their Holy Grail for 30 years.

  They rushed the bill through to have something to show for their first year of controlling the House, Senate, and White House. “It’s the largest tax cut in the history of our country … really something special,” President Trump said.

 The victorious president announced that he’d just been told that because of the bill’s passage, AT&T plans to invest $1 billion in the US and give all its employees a $1,000 bonus.

  Other companies made similar announcements.

  The plan is a major risk for the Republicans. It defies all historical evidence that deep tax cuts will spur the economy to new heights. If it works, they are geniuses. If it doesn’t, they’re sunk.

  The tax bill gives deep and permanent tax cuts for corporations while providing temporary cuts for individuals. Trump said the corporate cut is “probably the biggest factor in this plan.”

  It also repeals the requirement that everyone must have health insurance, dealing a heavy blow to Obamacare.

  President Trump said, “When the individual mandate is being repealed, that means Obamacare is being repealed.”

  No Democrats voted for the bill. Representative Lloyd Doggett, Democrat of Texas, said, “We will be cleaning up this mess and the blunders in this bill all of next year.”

  The tax reform is very unpopular with the public and Republicans will have to convince the country it’s good. Sen. Mitch McConnell said, “If we can’t sell this to the American people we ought to go into another line of work.”

Taking Names: In his last cabinet meeting of the year, President Trump issued a threat to countries in the United Nations that oppose his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

  “All these nations that take our money and then vote against us at the Security Council or the assembly, they take hundreds of millions of dollars and billions of dollars and they vote against us,” Trump said. “Well, we’re watching those votes. Let them vote against us, we’ll save a lot. We don’t care.”

  He said, “People are tired of the United States — people that live here, our great citizens that love this country — they’re tired of this country being taken advantage of and we’re not going to be taken advantage of any longer.”

  Trump would be cutting off aid to some strategic allies, including Egypt, which gets $1.3 billion a year for its military.

Back Flip: Gold medalist McKayla Maroney has filed a lawsuit against the US Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics, accusing them of making her sign a confidential financial settlement to keep secret the sexual abuse she suffered as a teenager by team doctor and confessed molester Larry Nassar.

  She accused the USOC of covering for Nassar and maintaining a “culture and atmosphere that conceals known and suspected sexual abusers.”

  Maroney’s layer John Manly said, “This was an immoral and illegal attempt to silence a victim of child sexual abuse.”

  The USOC says it had nothing to do with the settlement and USA Gymnastics says it was Maroney’s original lawyer, the publicity-seeking Gloria Allred, who had asked for confidentiality. Despite receiving a reported $1.25 million settlement, Maroney wants it nullified.

  Nassar has been sent to prison for 60 years.

The Weinstein Effect: The NFL Network’s top news executive David Eaton has resigned after being found to have Twitter conversations with women who identify them as sex professionals. He was also accused of creating a hostile work environment for women.

  The NFL Network suspended analysts Marshall Faulk, Ike Taylor, and Heath Evans last week because of claims of sexual harassment and assault made by a former wardrobe stylist.

  The NY Times says it will keep it’s White House reporter Glenn Thrush, who was suspended for inappropriate behavior. He’ll be reassigned, though.

Collateral Damage: An estimated 9,000 to 11,000 civilians died in the battle to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul from the Islamic State, according to a report by the Associated Press. The news service cites a count kept by morgue workers and volunteers who retrieve bodies from the city’s bombed-out rubble.

 Neither the US-led coalition nor the Iraqi government has acknowledged the body count.

Mexico Crash: Eight Americans were among the dead in the crash of a tour bus carrying cruise ship passengers in eastern Mexico. Three of them were from one family and a married couple also was killed.

Hoop Dreams: Defending NCAA basketball champion North Carolina was toppled last night 79-75 by Wofford College. Wofford? It’s a little school in downtown Spartanburg, SC. It’s the first time they’ve beaten a top 25 ranked opponent.

1984: The Republicans had given their tax bill the propaganda title of “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” but the Senate parliamentarian scotched that because the name suggests things that have no impact on the budget. Under the rules by which it passed, the bill must influence the budget.

  So, the parliamentarian ordered that the bill must go by its formal name, “An Act to provide for reconciliation pursuant to titles II and V of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2018.”

  A name that will ring like a bell in American history.


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