AUGUST 27, 2017

PRESIDENT Trump’s week in review:

 PRESIDENT Trump unveils plans to send additional 4,000 troops to Afghanistan as situation is “fast-worsening”, plunging the country into “deeper chaos”.  Who knew the chaos could get any deeper?  17 years on, goals remain undefined, media and public have tired of daily coverage, but military has convinced Trump to follow in the desert-baked footsteps of the predecessor he so strongly criticized during his campaign. 

Having driven more farmers into poppy seed production we lack a strategy for the “nation-building” President Trump so strongly disavows, but which is perhaps the only alternative for supply disruption.  As he recently said, our goal is killing terrorists, not nation building.  War without end to continue until next presidency?

Trump acknowledges things look different from Oval Office.  A perspective he would do well to remember when next asked to subsidize coal mining, the reduction of national parkland, taxes, health and social services for addiction treatment, and the literally 1,000s of issues affected by a president.  Now that he has admitted it once, the next time may be easier for our blunderbuss President.

Breitbart, to which Steve Bannon has returned, criticized the change in policy.

PRESIDENT Trump challenges Congress to tie raising deficit ceiling to funds for wall at Mexican border.  Remember  “who’s going to pay for the wall?  MEXICO!)  Republican leaders appear confident deficit will be raise without such funding.

PRESIDENT Trump pardons Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, convicted of contempt of court after refusing to stop Latinos based only upon their appearance,  Arpaio had joined Trump in questioning Obama’s citizenship.  (Roll Call,  St. Louis Post-Dispatch, New York Times, Washington Post, Reuters, etc.)

“The pardon contradicts a key theme in the movement for tougher immigration enforcement  –  that all people, no matter who they are, aren’t above the law. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 26, 2017.)

PRESIDENT Trump recognizes opioid epidemic but has not yet proposed any programs.

AND (not “but” as is popular in today’s media), alcoholism is also on the rise, especially among women, where alcoholism almost doubled from 5% to 9% from 2003 to 2013.  On average 106,765 American die each year from alcohol, with minorities and the elderly overrepresented in the heavy drinking group.  (The Economist, August 19, 2017.)

RELATEDLY, many lesser educated men have simply given up on working, with significant proportion of them living for video games.  And women are increasingly in the labor force as new jobs increasingly in and service industries.  (The Economist, August 19, 2017.)

ROLLCALL reports “7 ways Trump’s Arizona Speech Complicates Congress’ Fall Agenda”

-Threatening to shut down government if funding for border wall not funded gives Democrats a hammer;

-Calling for end to filibuster sure to gum up works in Congress;

-Attacking reconciliation process, which facilitates compromises in Congress;

-Claiming “just 1 vote” prevented repeal of Obamacare adds to Republicans’ frustration;

-“Unnamed enemies” not really anonymous, as Trump calls out both Arizona Senators;

-Insulting red-state Democrats that could form alliances with Republicans on some issues;

-Creating controversy, such as by his Charlottesville remarks.  (Rollcall, August 26, 2017.)

 AS Hurricane Harvey barreled down on Texas, Trump Administration announces:

 -ban on military transgenders’ sex-reassignment surgery (Washington Post, August 25, 2017.)  Implications a ban was coming prompted negative comment from both Democrats and Republicans, including actual real-life war hero McCain, who said there was “no reason” for the ban.  Political-wars veteran Nancy Pelosi said “prejudice, not national defense, is behind President Trump’s cruel decision to kick transgender troops out of the military”;

-pardon of infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio, convicted of violating federal court order not to discriminate; and

-resignation of right-wing firebrand Sebastian Gorka, a close philosophical ally of Steven Bannon.  (Time, August 25, 2017).

 Arpaio claimed the patrols continued due to a communications breakdown between himself and one of his former attorneys, stating his violation was a “petty crime”.  (Associated Press, August 25, 2017.)

 PRESIDENT Trump sanctions Venezuela by prohibiting purchase of their government bonds, among other measures.  (Various.)  Inflation has reached 1,000%, and the President’s measures were cited as 1 possible response in an earlier issue of The Economist.  (July 29, 2017.)

 In other news:

 31 Senators have written to CMMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services), Administrator requesting she abandon plans to allow nursing homes to require mandatory arbitration clauses in their admission agreements.  (Los Angeles Times, August 22, 2017.)

 PRESIDENT Trump is often at war with Republican Party leaders and many seek to distance themselves from him, but Americans will continue to see him as the Republican Party leader (Los Angeles Times, August 20, 2017.)  The “violence from many sides” and statements that “the history and culture of our country are being ripped apart” while protecting and even promoting white supremacists, seems more dangerous to the country than the alt-left, comprised of the unarmed and those armed with an occasional baseball bat.

 TRUMP’S Director of White House Economic Council, Gary Cohn, in “stunning critique” told Financial Times the administration “can and must do better…to heal the deep divisions that exist in our communities”.  Cohn also said the administration “must do better in consistently and unequivocally condemning these groups”.  Cohn, who is considered a leading contender to replace Janet Yellin, should President Trump not reappoint her (New York Times, August 25, 2017), showed a conspicuous courage even as other (including Jewish) members of the administration have remained relatively silent, apparently never having heard the phrase “never again” or understanding it takes more than saying so to make it so.  Trump was reported to be “furious”.  As is your blogger, although for different reasons.

 PERHAPS feeling ignored, North Korea launched 3 missiles into sea between North Korea and Japan, with Kim Jong Un stating Korea “should think of mercilessly wiping out the enemy with arms only and occupying Seoul” (capital of South Korea).  (Washington Post, August 25, 2017.)  The 1st and 3rd missiles failed in flight, the 2nd blew up almost immediately.  (New York Times, August 25, 2017.)

 CATHOLIC Church documents released showing Thomas Obrien, then bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix, admitted sheltering 50 priests accused of sexual abuse.  13 years later same priest accused of abusing grade school boy in lawsuit filed last September.  (USA Today, August 25 – 27, 2017.)

 IN separate matter, preacher admitted being a Klansman in 1970s.  He had been convicted for lighting crosses on 1 family’s lawn, but never paid the fine or apologized to the black family he victimized.  When President, Ronald Reagan visited the family and expressed concerns about racist acts.

 TEACHER, 45, at elite Brentwood School arrested for having sex with teen.  (Los Angeles Times, August 21, 2017.)  Sex between teens is experimentation, sex with teens when you’re 45 age is abuse.

 IN India, religious leader convicted of 2 rapes, riots ensue.  That the leader was convicted may show even in far off lands, over time the fight for equal treatment of women makes (some) progress.

HURRICANE Harvey rips into Port Ansasa and Port O’Connor, Texas, as Category 4 storm.  (Time, August 26, 2017.)  As of Saturday at 4:00 p.m. western time, the category 4 hurricane had reduced to a category 1 and a  with tropical storm with as much as 40 inches of rain expected by Wednesday.  (CNN.com, August 26, 2017.)  President Trump monitoring storm in part to prevent his own Hurricane Katrina event, remembered for President Bush’s lack of concern regarding the thousands of stranded victims, often minorities. 

END of life law enabling physicians and other health care providers to have conversations with patients extending to other care the patients want.  (Los Angeles Times, August 21, 2017.) 

GERMAN Marshall Fund reports 3 Russian propaganda sites (True Pundit, the Gateway Pundit, and Imperialist U),, are part of a “Twitter propaganda network aimed at American audiences [spreading] links to Breitbart and other right wing websites or conspiracy theorists that boost President Trump and bash Democrats”.  (USA Today, August 25 – 27, 2017.)

IN likely her last press conference, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellin supported many of the legal changes enacted since the Great Recession, also acknowledging some rules can be relaxed, particularly as they affect mid-sized and smaller banks.  (Reuters, reported on Fidelity Investments, August 25, 2017.)

RIDERS want to know why there aren’t defibrillators on Metrorail trains.  (Los Angeles Times, August 21, 2017.)  Trains should also carry epi-pens, insulin, oxygen and other emergency medications when there isn’t even adequate and basic safety protection?  Who, exactly, will pay for these defibrillators even as trains lack basic and adequate security?  (Note: $10.7 B in bonds on the next statewide ballot, much of which will pass by a hair, if at all.)

CAP and trade, under which polluters buy and sell pollution credits has successful auction.  (Los Angeles Times, August 23, 2017.)  This market-based solution recently passed the California legislature with the support of Republican leader, now former Republican leader.  Even market-based solutions to pollution not satisfactory to modern Republican leadership.

HOME sales down 21% in west over last year while national sales price averaged  $313,700, a record.  Trump considers proposing reducing the tax deduction on home purchases from $1 M to $500,000.  2 matters that might affect home sales and prices are interest rates and inflation, (Nightly Business Report,  August 25, and 26, 2017), both of which may be going up, but not down.  The tax proposal is designed to raise money and penalize coastal residents,  where housing is more expensive and Trump supporters less common.

PASSINGS:  JERRY Lewis, known for his slapstick comedy before then becoming famous for his work on behalf of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, died at 91, of natural causes.  Lewis’ work as a director was overshadowed by his zany comedy and DMA work.  Lewis’ death follows that of fellow comedian Dick Gregory just 1 week ago.


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 “BianSheppardLaw.com” or at “[email protected].

You can learn more about me and my practice at BrianSheppardLaw.com, avvo.com (two “v”s) where I am rated “10″, LinkedIn.com and martindale.com, where I am rated “4.9″ out of a possible 5.

 Beware of non-attorneys who draft legal documents for you cheaply so you can “save money by avoiding attorneys”.  It may end up costing more than you thought it would to fix the problems created by the non-attorney.

 If you have a legal problem outside of my areas of practice, please feel free to call me at 818-342-5799, for a referral to another attorney who can possibly assist you.

 Beware of emails from vendors with whom you do not do business, do not have an account or which refer to orders you have not made, all of which may be attempts to obtain your personal information to commit identity theft. 

 NEVER give out your confidential information to someone who calls you.  Get the number, double check with the institution at a number you know is good, before considering sharing.  Identity theft is rampant and the criminals are very smart.  You will not outsmart them by speaking with them. Don=t try, just hang up. 



 Again, thank you for taking the time to read this blog, which I realize is sometimes lengthy.  We all have busy lives and I hope you found it interesting and useful.  If you enjoyed this post, please forward it to your friends and associates, or suggest they subscribe.

 DISCLAIMER: This blog is intended to contain information of interest to my clients, colleagues and friends.  The information in this blog is not to be exclusively or primarily relied upon in making any decisions relating to any matters addressed in this blog.  Readers should always consult with a relevant professional (Attorney, Investment Adviser, CPA, Doctor, etc.) before making any decisions.  Due to limitations of space, information may not be complete or include exceptions.  Every situation has the potential to be different and call for different solutions.  ALL READERS ARE EXPLICITLY ADVISED TO CONTACT THEIR RELEVANT ADVISERS BEFORE MAKING ANY DECISIONS BASED ON ANY INFORMATION IN THIS BLOG.






Attorney At Law

18075 Ventura Blvd., Suite 109

Encino, CA  91316

Phone: (818) 342-5799

Fax: (818 342-2470

E-mail: [email protected]

website: BrianSheppardLaw.com

blog: Elderupdates.com

Also on Avvo.com, LinkedIn, Martindale.com, and Facebook

Rated A10 B Superb@ by Avvo.com and (A4.9 of 5, >Pre-eminent=@), at Martindale.com.