AUGUST 11, 2017

PRESIDENT Trump’s week in review:

“FIRE and fury like the world has never seen” promised by President in adlib response to N. Korea nuclear weapon testing.  (Los Angeles Times, August 9, 2017.)  Promises of great violence and death not expected to reach President’s vacation home, however, giving relief to those overly concerned about man-boys sounding off.

One who has never served should consult with those who have before adlibbing words that could lead to the death of tens of thousands, or more. One bluff leading to another leads to one or another misunderstanding in a firestorm of tension, and then leads to the order to … to do what, exactly?

Presidents weighing these decisions in the past have been thoughtful about the potential dangers, albeit more so to our own citizens and allies.  One should not cross their arms like an angry dad saying “I’m done and you’re not going, and that’s it”!

The stakes are high, the world is holding its collective breath and Trump ups the ante.  Trump doesn’t, but should, read history.  As McCain quoted Teddy Roosevelt “walk softly and carry a big stick”.

Though President Trump may think he’s speaking to Kim Jong Un(predictable), in his own language, Trump he may just be adding tinder to the fire.

Before starting off for war, Trump should listen to advisers who’ve been there.  Worth noting that WWI and many other recent adventures were expected to be over quickly; they weren’t.  Both the British and Germans thought they would be home from WWI by Christmas when they left.  They were only 3 or 4 Christmases off.  And how long was Afghanistan to take?  And Iraq?

As is oft said “old men start wars, young men fight them”.  And women, too.

FORMER Trump adviser Paul Manafort, who also earned money working for Pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine, for example, had his house searched by FBI.  Manafort was “co-operating”, but his “co-operation” was questionable, apparently.  (Los Angeles Times, August 10, 2017.)

TRUMP calls out Senate Majority Leader McConnell, responding to a question whether McConnell should consider to serve with comments to review McConnell’s record on health care, tax reform and infrastructure spending and then Trump will comment.

Reuters reports the $1 B 10-year infrastructure plan is proposed to be funded only $200 M by government.  Remainder to be funded by municipal bonds which lose attraction is proposed tax plan ends or reduces tax-exempt status of the bonds.  This would result in municipalities paying higher interest rates to investors, making issuance of bonds less attractive.  Municipal bond issuance is down 13.9% from 2016 to 2017.  (reported on Fidelity.com website from Reuters, August 6, 2017.)

DISTRUSTING President Trump, Congress passes sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea he can’t change.  (The Economist, July 29, 2017.)

TRUMP administration and FBI to crack down on culture of leaking after leaker leaks transcripts of Trump’s conversations with 2 foreign leaders.  (Los Angeles Times, August 5, 2017.)

In other news:

RIGHT to Try law to “establish new pathway for terminally ill patients to gain access to experimental drugs that have not been approved by the FDA”.  These patients are often extremely ill and unable to participate in clinical trials, or have no other treatment options.”  (New York Times, August 3, 2017.)

MARTIN Shkreli, who gained national infamy after his company (Turing Pharmacuticals), raised the price of a generic AIDS drug from !3.50 per pill to $750 per pill, (650%), convicted on some, but not all, securities fraud charges.  Potential sentence is 20 years.  (CNNMoney, August 4, 2017.)

U.N. put new sanctions on North Korea as recently as last week, with China and Russia supporting sanctions in 15-0 vote.  U.S. representative Nikki Haley was the moving force behind the new sanctions.  (Bloomberg, August 7, 2017.)

UNFORTUNATELY, while sanctions reach Koreans setting up fake companies in Russia and China, sanctions fail to mention and bar transactions with these known counterparties.  (KPPC, August 8, 2017.)

WORLD-WIDE infrastructure requires $97 T (trillion), by 2040, according to G-20, $18 T more than likely future expenditures.  U.S. shortfall predicted to be $3.8 T.  (The Economist, July 29, 2017.)

 WELLS Fargo Chairman Stephen Sanger likely to step down, after recent debacle in which banks sold unnecessary insurance to auto loan borrowers.  (Nightly Business Report – NBR – August 10, 2017.)

Turns out the bank may also have opened more unauthorized accounts than previously thought, perhaps 1.4 million more.  (Los Angeles Times, August 5, 2017.)

FEMALE lead firms outperforming those without women in top leadership positions.  (Los Angeles Times, August 6, 2017.)

Women are often perceived as better investors because they are less hormone driven and recognize their limitations better than men.  In times like Thursday, August 10, when the DOW drops almost a full percent after President Trump promises “fire and fury”, this recognition could be important.

JOBLESS rates falls to 4.3% in July, 2017 from July, 2016.  (Los Angeles Times, August 5, 2017.)  Minimum wage workers received raises of 5% year on year from 2016 to 2017.  There were 205,000 new jobs in July.  (NBR, week of August 7th.)

PENSIONERS in Loyalton, CA learning that when city doesn’t pay premiums CalPERS will reduce pensions to workers, retired or not.  In 1 case, from $2,500 to $1,000 for former City Council member who voted to stop payments to CalPERS.  (Los Angeles Times, August 6, 2017.)

Leavers in London in similar circumstance, said people are tired of relying on experts.  The above case shows how non-experts can mess up, too.

15% of malls may close next year as internet shopping eats into mall traffic.  (The Kiplinger Letter, May, 2017.)

IRS audits couple declaring charitable deduction o $142,250, disallowing all but $250 when couple didn’t have proof.  (The Kiplinger Tax Letter, July 28, 2017.)

RETIREES , may, in some cases, maximize overall economic benefit by taking benefits at earlier than 70 and buying a single life insurance plan social security to protect the lower earning spouse.  (Kiplinger’s, September, 2017.)

60% of workers vote against union at Mississippi plant.  Commentator noted it’s hard to be pro-union when you don’t know anyone in a union, and “it’s very clear people in unions like them”.  (New York Times, August 5, 2017.)

LOS Angeles school board elections relied on “last-minute” donations from wealthy donors to turn school district to one favoring charter schools  (Los Angeles Times, August 7, 2017.)

Charter schools have many issues, including cherry picking the best students, and then comparing results to the average, but shouldn’t be dismissed without serious discussion.  Such discussion unlikely to occur as unions see schools and anti-union and charter school advocates believe no change can be made in regular school districts.

Last year School District Superintendent stated goal was 100% of students graduating. Programs such as schoolwork at home can be a farce, as your blogger has personally witnessed.  Students may not really need to understand Algebra in the real world, but ability to make change from a dollar would be good.

AUTISM Speaks has compiled a list of resources and strategies to help children get off to a good start in the new school year.  Contact Autism Speaks at [email protected], the Autism Response Team at 888-288-4762 or, for Spanish speakers, 888-772-9050.)

TRANSGENDER 8 year old sues private school which wouldn’t let her use the girls’ restroom.  (Los Angeles Times, August 7, 2017.)

Just wondering, do today’s parents give in to, and magnify, children’s supposed transgender issues when arrived at an early age, encouraging and making permanent a passing phase? Is there too young an age for a child to be convinced her or she has been assigned the wrong genitalia?  The implications of which are…certainly unknown to me but my deceased mother, a therapist, thought many children were encouraged to make sexual abuse allegations by therapists and parents’ influence.

SOLE homeless shelter in Lancaster to close after proposed parcel tax fails to pass.  (Los Angeles Times, August 5, 2017.)

LITERALLY, directly below this story was second part of “Council to Vote on 2028 Olympics Pact”.  Taxpayers are “on the hook for cost overruns if unforeseen expenses arise.  (Los Angeles Times, August 5, 2017.)

No money for the homeless but the Olympics are another story.

MASS transit taking step toward integrated living goal as Culver City to have $300 M project with apartments, offices and commuter parking.  (Los Angeles Times, August 8, 2017.)  Such projects heretofore just gleams in planners’ eyes.

IMMIGRATION appeals court gives reprieve to man arrested after dropping his daughter off at school.  Los Angeles Times said the ruckus made the man a “cause celebre”.  (August 8, 2017.)

MEANWHILE, detention center in Adelanto has had 5 suicide attempts this year and treats refugees, some fleeing international gangs, as criminals.  (Los Angeles Times, August 8, 2017.)

NEVERTHELESS, should not be forgotten the father, who otherwise lead mainly blameless life, was convicted of drunk driving.  Drunk driving kills, and what if he had killed someone?  He could have.  Should or would that change his deportation?  Should the mere charge? Today’s blog is rife with questions.

DEPARTMENT of Homeland Security increases number of temporary worker H-2B visas by 15,000 for the remainder of 2017.  (The WEEK, July 28, 2017.)

KIPLINGER’S columnist argues against “outsourcing your conscience”, but fails to show returns from socially conscious funds necessarily meaningfully different from typical funds.  (Kiplinger’s, September, 2017.)

25 year old with $16,000 in retirement investments needs to invest only $310 a month can end up with $1 M by 65.  (Kiplinger’s, September, 2017.)

VENEZUELAN income per person at 1950 levels as oil prices tank, people literally starving and inflation running at 1,000%.  Black market price for dollars 900 times the official price.

TRADE agreements between U.S. and Britain liable to disappoint those who say “America First” and those who salute “global Britain”.  Britain unlikely to comply with U.S. regulation while British people unlikely to “be prepared to swallow” [chlorinated chicken, for example], the requirements of a deal.  (The Economist, July 29, 2017.)

DEMONSTRATORS in Poland take some solace their actions vetoed 2 of 3 bills limiting courts.  EU gave Poland 1 month to address concerns regarding limitation of judiciary.  (The Economist, July 29, 2017.)

Formerly, it was the U.S. which often raised its voice to protect human rights. Temporarily, as least, those days are gone.

AS noted in earlier blog, sperm counts in men in “rich countries” is down 50% in the last 4 decades.  (The Economist, July 29, 2017.)

COINCIDENTALLY(?), menswear fashion turns to 1-piece RompHim, (The WEEK, July 28,2017), treating men like 2 year olds (women thinking, “they are like 2 year olds”.)

PASSINGS:  GLEN Campbell, who toured after learning of his Alzheimer’s (calling it “part-timers”), even as his symptoms worsened, died last week.  Always a great musician (“Galveston” and “Witchita Lineman”, for example), Campbell was a member of the “Wrecking Crew” which appeared on many albums of different styles.  He also became a great man by undertaking his last tour with courage and humor.


The times are so newsworthy it has become impossible, due to limitations of space, time, energy and ability to cite all matters worthy of mention.  I apologize in advance for any oversights, grammatical or other errors.  According to some readers, I make more than my share of them.

Note: Citations generally refer to material before the citation.  Comments after a citation are generally my own.  Citations are not necessarily the only news sites your blogger has seen reporting on a story or issue.

I focus my practice on probate, estate planning and conservatorships, with some mediation.  You can reach me through the website at “BrianSheppardLaw.com” or at “[email protected]”.

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