Susan Collins Is Exactly Right

Senate Republicans’ Maneuver To Add Partial Obamacare Repeal To Tax Cut Bill, Helps No One But Senate Republicans

As you probably know by now, Senate Republicans plopped a measure into their version of the tax bill that would end the part of Obamacare that forces everybody to buy health insurance or else pay a penalty. The move lets them give away more than $300-billion extra in tax breaks in the next 10-years, precisely because it means fewer healthy people will be signed up for Obamacare, so the government won’t have to spend as much subsidizing it. But someone’s going to end up paying anyway…

Says Collins of the move: “for some middle-income people, it will cancel out their tax cut. The increased premium would be more than the tax reduction they would get from this bill.”

Senator Susan Collins (R) Maine

The House is expected to narrowly pass its version of a tax bill later today, just like they did with Obamacare.

Then it’s on to the Senate, where few Republicans have come out against the plan full-blast yet, and not a single Senator is a definite “no”. Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson (who toyed with the idea of going against previous failed efforts to repeal Obamacare, but then didn’t), is coming the closest right now, saying it’s too heavily favoring huge corporations over small businesses right now.




Things Trump/Republicans Say About Tax Cuts That Seem To Make Sense, But Totally Don’t

Our series continues…

Part 2: “Corporations Desperately Need A Deep Tax Cut, Because Some Of The Highest Taxes In The World Have Rendered Them Completely Uncompetitive”

First of all, if that’s really true, then how do you explain this?

Secondly, haven’t we learned by now that handing companies wads of cash just gives them wads of cash? To sit on. To hand out to shareholders. To hand out to themselves. To use for acquisitions (which usually end up costing jobs). Not usually for hiring more people.

What gets corporations to hire more people is more competition, more business, and subsidies for things like research, exploration, building, or farming. Those subsidies already get most multinational corporations’ taxes well under the 35% rate Trump keeps talking about, sometimes much lower.


Trump Shows Off New Trick He Learned From Autocratic Leaders In Asia: The “No Question” News Conference

Apparently, the surprise Tweet about a “major statement” as Trump left Asia, might’ve just been a lengthy statement saying he’d made “historic strides” in Asia and then walked off (without answering any questions about Roy Moore or anything else). The White House was criticized last week when Trump did not take questions during a joint appearance with China’s President Xi, and then saying they had deferred to the wishes of the Chinese leader. Later, in the Philippines, that country’s President, Rodrigo Duterte. somewhat playfully, but curtly, cut off attempts to ask about extrajudicial drug killings during a joint appearance with Trump. (Trump’s always seemed to enjoy the Q&A and did a bunch of it on Air Force One). Still, could be a trend in the offing.

Some people made fun of Trump awkwardly taking a sip out of a bottle of water (because he had made fun of Marco Rubio doing the same thing). We don’t care about that: what we do care about is what’s he doing drinking a Fiji water? How does that MAGA?


North Korean Soldier Who Was Shot While Defecting This Week Is Improving

The unidentified soldier made it through a second round of surgery. The account in the Chosun Ilbo seems very focused on what surgeons found when they cut him open (don’t read over breakfast), but his condition is now listed as stable.

According to an earlier account by the Washington Post, the soldier first tried to bolt through the Joint Security Area of the DMZ in a jeep, but the jeep got stuck in a ditch. So he then took off on foot. South Korean troops say they heart gunfire, and found the soldier on the Southern side of the border with multiple gunshot wounds.

Perhaps surprisingly, there were no further shots fired by either side. The Joint Security Area is where troops from both sides patrol, sometimes standing face-to-face.

Map of the Joint Security Area (JSA), solid black buildings occupied by North Korea, white buildings by South Korea and the UN


Sheriff Says He’s Convinced California Shooter Who Killed 5 People Might’ve Killed Many More If Not For Quick-Thinking Teachers Who Locked Down Their School

NPR has a great story about how those teachers and administrators in Tehama County, California, might’ve averted a much greater tragedy.


Real Reform? Or New Boss Same As The Old Boss?

That’s the question being asked in Zimbabwe today, as leader for nearly 40-years, Robert Mugabe, has apparently been overthrown. While the Atlantic warns things could go downhill fast, it also offers optimism, pointing to a time when the country was briefly run by a coalition, and briefly flourished.

Robert Mugabe

Mugabe’s been Zimbabwe’s only leader since it was recognized as a country 37 years ago. The BBC has a really good explainer about how everything that’s happening right now has to do with his attempts to put a succession plan into motion. The 93-year old ruler apparently favors his 52-year old wife, and recently fired his long time Vice-President. It also discusses the role South Africa is starting to play as mediator.

Oh and guess what? Trump’s Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s coincidentally decided it’s once again OK for hunters to bring elephant tusks from Zimbabwe back with them to the U.S. (Obama had banned it). He says he’s doing it for the benefit of the elephants: huge sums of money charged for elephant hunts will just do wonders for conservation…

The Chaos Report Is Traveling…We’ve been attending an international digital Journalism conference in Korea, so for today and tomorrow, the format of the report will be somewhat different, and the time we publish every morning might be a bit off.

We ask for your understanding: we are a very lean operation and would not be undertaking this journey if we did not strongly believe it will enhance our ability to report to you dependably on both the critical circumstances on the Korean Peninsula, and digital news in general. We will return to our regular format next week. Thank you for your continued backing.