ELDERUPDTATES.COM, NO. 161

FLYNN OUT – McMASTER IN AS NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER; LAW SCHOOL DEAN NOMINATED FOR LABOR SECRETARY; RACISM OUT FROM UNDER THE RUG?; RUSSIA RUMORS SIZZLE; TECHNOLOGY DESTROYS OIL DRILLING JOBS; I-PADS IN L.A. SCHOOLS; MORE… ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 161 FEBRUARY 24, 2017 PRESIDENT Trump nominates “cerebral, widely respected” Army Lt. General H.R. McMaster to be his National Security Adviser, after Michael Flynn was forced to resign after allegedly discussing U.S. sanctions on Russia with Russian ambassador during the election and lying about it. However, it took President Trump 15 days to tell Vice-President Pence about the lie, leaving Pence to defend Flynn on national television in the meantime. McMaster “turned his doctoral dissertation into a book ‘Dereliction of Duty’, which described the failings of senior presidential aides as well as the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Viet Nam War”.  (Los Angeles Times, February 21, 2017.) Result: 4 top staffers, Defense Secretary Mattis, Secretary of State Tillerson, Secretary for Homeland Security Kelly and now NSA McMaster don’t share Trump’s rosy view of Putin.  Praise for the McMaster selection was strong and bi-partisan. ON February 22nd, Russian government personnel acknowledged contacts with Trump’s aides before the election.  Such contacts are not unusual, but these occur in the unusual circumstances of Russia trying both to affect U.S. election and get sanctions lifted (New York Times, February 22, 2017), which they knew Hillary Clinton would not do. The allegations by Russian Foreign Minister Ryabkov were immediately disputed by Trump spokesperson Sarah Sanders, who stated “this is a nonstory because to the best of our knowledge, (italics added), no contacts took place,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a...

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 160

ANOTHER NEW DRUG FOR RARE ILLNESS AT EXORBITANT COST; MEDICARE AS WE KNOW IT UNDER ATTACK?; WHAT TO DO WHEN ILLEGALS UNDER 16 CROSS THE BORDER AND MAKE NEW LIFE?; PUBLIC SECTORS PENSIONS; WATER, WATER, NOWHERE AND AQUIFERS GOING DRY; 2 TRUMP NOMINEES APPROVED, FLYNN RESIGNS; MORE…   ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 160 FEBRUARY 17, 2017   FDA approves Marathanon Pharmacueticals’ drug for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy; with annual price expected to be $89,000, more than 70 times the cost of the drug when sold overseas.  (Nightly Business Report, February 11, 2017.)  On Monday NBR reported the company was reviewing the price. Will President Trump send a tweet re: the price?  Do anything more?  Children with this disease are a very vulnerable population. BANKS spend $36 B to comply with Dodd-Frank Act, but benefits to public and financial system include: Larger capital reserves in event of future economic crisis; Increased transparency in the derivatives market that lead to the 2008 Great Recession; and “Living Wills” required so big banks can, if necessary, die without jeopardizing the economic system. World’s 5 biggest banks are still American.  Regulatory relief is possible, but only to banks which “meet a very high capital bar” (i.e., keep even more in highly liquid securities and cash).  (The Economist, February 11, 2017.) PRESIDENT Trump has signed Executive Orders calling for a “sweeping review” of the Dodd-Frank Act and, separately, the Department of Labor’s fiduciary regulation requiring investment advisers to put their clients’ interests first and foremost when giving advice re: retirement investing.  (The WEEK, February 17, 2017.) GENERAL Flynn resigns after much discussion whether he had discussed sanctions with Russian...

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 159

TRAVEL BAN LITIGATION CONTINUES AS 9TH CIRCUIT RULES AS EXPECTED; TRUMP OPPOSES “JOHNSON” LAW SEPARATING CHURCH AND STATE; CARBON MONOXIDE & YOU; THE PRICE OF HEARING; COLON CANCER: A FAMILY AFFAIR; MORE… ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 159 FEBRUARY 10, 2017 PRESIDENT Trump promises to reverse law prohibiting political speech and endorsements at and by tax-exempt churches, (the 1954 Johnson Amendment) challenging fundamental platform on which our government is built; ignoring many pilgrims came to this country to escape religious-political oppression. Repeal would require Congressional approval, (New York Times, February 2, 2017), possibly problematic for the 50+% who did not vote for Trump.  Possibly, President Trump thinks Muslims mix church and state too much and we don’t mix it enough.  Should Muslims make endorsements at mosques, this proposal may require rethinking. PRESIDENT Trump’s travel ban is supported by 55% of the population (AOL.com, February 8, 2017); it is currently being considered by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.  The losing side will likely appeal to the Supreme Court. (On Thursday the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously refused to lift the stay on the travel ban.  The decision “focused on the narrow question of whether it should be blocked while court’s consider it’s lawfulness”.  New York Times, February 9, 2017.) At the Supreme Court level, one can surmise that each of the 4 “liberal” justices will find the ban, which includes green card holders and permanent residents, unconstitutional. The 4 “conservative” justices may be more unpredictable and other factors may enter into their judgments.  Trump has insulted the whole federal court system by referring to a District Court Judge as a “so-called” judge.  The...

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 158

TRUMP NOMINATES SUPREME COURT JUSTICE; PRESIDENT TRUMP’S HOLOCAUSE STATEMENT DISAPPOINTS JEWS; OPTION FOR MODIFYING OBAMACARE PUT FORTH; FORMER HIROSHIMA MAYOR INVITES TRUMP FOR VISIT; MEXICANS HAVE THEIR OWN DEMANDS TO MODIFY NAFTA, MORE… ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 158 FEBRUARY 3, 2017 PRESIDENT Trump nominated Colorado Court of Appeals Court judge Neil Gorsuch.  (The WEEK, February 10, 2017.)  Some Democrats may say tongue in cheek it is too late in his term to nominate a new Justice and we should wait for a new election.  Most are seriously stewing over the delay in voting for President Obama’s nominee on the grounds it was too late in his term. PRESIDENT Trump’s Chief of Staff discussed White House statement recognizing Holocaust Day that mentioned only “those that suffered”, but made no specific mention of Jews, as not slighting Jews (although gypsies, the handicapped and others suffered, as well, and also were not mentioned in the statement).  (Meet the Press, January 29, 2017.) Read in light of Trump’s popularity with anti-Semitic groups, one could easily interpret the statement as catering to them by not mentioning that Jews were the primary group affected by the holocaust. Additionally, this is the President who believes his Jewish son-in-law has what it takes to bring peace to the Middle East.  Every Jewish group has condemned the Holocaust Remberance Day statement. TRUMP Chief of Staff Reince Priebus also responds to criticisms of “Muslim Ban” Executive Order by claiming only 109 out of 325,000 international travelers arriving in U.S. were stopped on day of implementation.  (Meet The Press, January 29, 2017.)  Sadly, this group includes interpreters who assisted the U.S.  (Los Angeles Times,...