GOP will cut Medicare, SS

via Newsweek

Rubio> Florida Senator Marco Rubio admits that the Republican tax cut plan to aid corporations and the wealthy will require cuts to Social Security and Medicare to pay for it.
> Rubio told reporters this week that in order to address the federal deficit, which will grow by at least $1 trillion if the tax plan passes,  Congress will need to cut entitlement programs such as Social Security. Advocates for the elderly and the poor have warned that entitlement programs would be on the chopping block, but this is the first time a prominent Republican has backed their claims.
> “We have to do two things. We have to generate economic growth which generates revenue, while reducing spending. That will mean instituting structural changes to Social Security and Medicare for the future,” Rubio told a crowd at a Politico conference. Rubio’s talk of structural change is vague, but will likely include changing the rate and age of Social Security and Medicare payouts.
> Republicans have long said that the growth generated from slashing corporate tax rates from 35 percent to 20 percent would make their tax cuts “revenue neutral,” but there’s no evidence they’re right. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Senate tax plan would increase the U.S. deficit by $1.4 trillion over the next decade, and the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation has said the plan will only boost economic growth by 0.8 percent over the next decade, leaving $1 billion in cuts unpaid for.
So where does that money come from?
> The simple answer is Social Security and Medicare, which together comprise 38 percent of the total federal budget, second only to military spending.
> “The driver of our debt is the structure of Social Security and Medicare for future beneficiaries,” said Rubio.



Senate passes tax bill
Senators okay repeal of Obamacare mandate

The Hill

Tax changes would undermine higher ed,
one of the few area where America still dominates 
The most worrying feature is that it would tax tuition waivers for graduate students as income, making it much more expensive for most students to get a Ph.D. It would also end tax deductibility for student-loan interest payments, dramatically increasing the already-crushing burden of debt for many former students, and deterring many young people from going to college in the first place.

Brexit referendum, warped by Russia, “may need to be redone” Patribotics
This blog is written by Louise Mensch, a former British MP and developer of the Murdoch web site Heat Street. She is a fierce Trump opponent and has been accused of promoting conspiracy theories. However, her Patribotics blog has correctly reported, well ahead of the mainstream media, the unfolding Russia-Trump fiasco. She obviously has good sources with connections to intelligence agencies.  With that in mind….
> Multiple sources with links to UK intelligence report that Russian corruption of the Brexit vote is far worse than previously thought. The referendum on remaining part of the EU received so much illegal foreign money and influence from Russia, these sources say, that UK intelligence is minded to recommend to Theresa May’s government that the Brexit vote be redone, as it is not thought that the vote was ‘free and fair.’

Family of Katie Steinle, killed by immigrant in San Francisco,
expresses frustration that “nothing has changed.”
San Francisco Chronicle editorial
A heart-breaking and excellent read that goes well beyond politics and into the complex heart of the issues. 

Army may forgive your pot use, dude AP
As more states lessen or eliminate marijuana penalties, the Army is granting hundreds of waivers to enlist people who used the drug in their youth — as long as they realize they can’t do so again in the military.
Can you hear the sound of millions of veterans laughing? The last part of that sentence is surely the funniest thing the AP will pump out all day.

Moodys warns cities about global warming risks NPR
One of the largest credit rating agencies in the country is warning U.S. cities and states to prepare for the effects of climate change or risk being downgraded.

Mattress startup Casper accused of “wiretapping” website visitors CBS News
> A federal lawsuit accuses Casper, the direct-to-consumer mattress startup, and a software company named NaviStone of illegally collecting information from visitors to the Casper website in an attempt to learn their identities.
> The 21-page suit, which is seeking class-action status, alleges that New York City resident Brady Cohen visited the Casper website several times over the past six months while he was shopping for a new mattress. He didn’t know the company was using NaviStone’s technology to learn his name and postal address.
> According to the court filing, Casper is able to observe the keystrokes, mouse clicks and other electronic communications and get detailed information on visitors’ habits, thanks to secret NaviStone code embedded in its site, which functions as an illegal wiretap.

Puerto Rico months away from full power, Keys still a mess

Puerto Rico won’t have full power restored until February, at earliest. Currently, a third of residents are without power. Source: Washington Examiner
Nearly three months since Hurricane Irma, Florida Keys residents are still living in tents. Source: Miami Herald

Variety unloads on Matt Lauer Variety Online
As the co-host of NBC’s “Today,” Matt Lauer once gave a colleague a sex toy as a present. It included an explicit note about how he wanted to use it on her, which left her mortified.
On another day, he summoned a different female employee to his office, and then dropped his pants, showing her his penis. After the employee declined to do anything, visibly shaken, he reprimanded her for not engaging in a sexual act.
He would sometimes quiz female producers about who they’d slept with, offering to trade names. And he loved to engage in a crass quiz game with men and women in the office: “f—, marry, or kill,” in which he would identify the female co-hosts that he’d most like to sleep with.
These accounts of Lauer’s behavior at NBC are the result of a two-month investigation by Variety, with dozens of interviews with current and former staffers. Variety has talked to three women who identified themselves as victims of sexual harassment by Lauer, and their stories have been corroborated by friends or colleagues that they told at the time. They have asked for now to remain unnamed, fearing professional repercussions.

Commie Hanoi gets first McDonald’s AFP
ronaldmcdonaldinvietnamfromvoiceofamerica> Global burger behemoth McDonald’s opened its first branch on Saturday in the historic heart of communist Hanoi, a conservative city renowned for its traditional — and cheap — Vietnamese staples beloved by food-obsessed locals.
> Hungry customers lined up for Big Macs and Chicken McNuggets at the Vietnamese capital’s first location overlooking the tree-lined Hoan Kiem lake, in a city that draws millions of tourists annually to see French-era colonial buildings and sample street-food favourites like pho noodle soup and banh mi sandwiches.

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