CURRENT EVENTS – JUNE, 2019

Mueller on Second Thought

The more I’ve thought about the Mueller Report, which came out in April, the less independent and less conclusive I think it was. It clearly states that after 22 months and $35 million, they found no evidence of collusion on the part of the Trump campaign or administration with the Russians in the 2016 election.

The conclusions on obstruction of justice were a somewhat muddled and disingenuous cop out. It appears they wanted to throw a bone to the Democrats in the House of Reps to keep the case open.

There was no underlying crime and there should have been no reason they couldn’t reach a conclusion on obstruction of justice.

A job left undone with a little partisanship.

We’re Not the Happiest or Healthiest

There’s a lot of great things about our healthcare system. [But] we’re spending trillions of dollars [and] life expectancy is 23rd in the world. Life expectancy has dropped three years in a row in the United States.

One word that comes up in the series is stress.

Other countries that have lifestyles that maybe aren’t that different than the United States continue to go down in mortality and up in life expectancy. Why? They have structures and systems in place to allow people to have reprieve from stress. They assign real value to it. In the rugged individualist society in the United States, we take great pride in not getting a break from that stress.

Joe Biden Joins the Democratic Crush

The former V.P. says he wants to be president. Not sure how hard he’ll work to prove it. He’s running an old-fashioned campaign so far, out of touch with all the other 22 hopefuls, as well as the new millennials…and all the social media gurus, flip flopping along the way, it’s almost as if there are two primaries—the one Joe Biden is in and the one all the progressives are in.

Housing in America

Much has changed in America over the last 60 years. When it comes to housing, we have witnessed a dramatic, downward shift in accessibility and affordability.

Houses are more expensive—the average cost in 1960 was $98,000; today it’s $225,900.

Housing costs are rising faster than incomes—homeowners earn 50% more than in 1960; home prices have gone up 112%. Nearly half of renters struggle to afford their housing. Renters spend more than 30% of their income on housing.

No Religion Rising

According to the General Social Survey, the number of Americans who identify as having no religion has risen over 26% since 1991 and is now tied evenly with the number of Catholics and Evangelicals. According to the survey, people with no religion account for 23% of the U.S. population in 2018, about the same as Catholics and Evangelicals.

No More Passports

The tech genies tell us the day is coming when we’ll no longer need passports. Our computers will know us by our style and usage.

I can’t wait!

Enough Already

We’ve had touching, hugging, harassment, assault. It’s all getting tiresome, redundant and some questionable.

If it wasn’t important enough to go public five years ago, why is it so important now?

Will going public heal anything? Time to move on.

The Epidemic of Racehorse Deaths

Since December, something like 29 horses have died or had to be euthanized at the famed Santa Anita Racetrack, and nobody knows why.’

It’s alarming, sad and mysterious.

At least until you hear the report from Real Sports on HBO. They claim that all over the U.S. some 2,000 horses die or have to be euthanized every year. What a gigantic blot on the sport of kings.
The HBO report goes on to compare racing in France, where there are essentially no deaths. The difference, they point out, is in France horses are not allowed to have any drugs the day they race.

In the interest of trying to get more winners, thoroughbreds here are drugged heavily and often to keep them running at the expense of the horse’s health and safety.

One other factor, horses here are given lots of growth stimulants to make them bigger, which make them more vulnerable to leg injuries. Not so in France, where horses are smaller and sturdier.

How deplorable!

Nobody Likes Tariffs

Except Trump, who has used the threat of tariffs effectively as a negotiating tool as with Mexico and maybe China, if that comes to pass.

Private Equity’s Part in Hollywood’s Civil War

As writers feud with their agents over compensation, some claim that investment giants played a role in turning talent agencies into businesses that squeeze their client’s earnings, Noam Scheiber of the NYT writes.

Firms like TPG Capital and Silver Lake took big stakes in talent agencies. TPG bought a majority stake in Creative Artists Agency, while Silver Lake invested in Endeavor, the parent company of WME.

And they helped transform the agencies’ business models, with a move from representing talent toward producing content. They also encouraged “packaging” deals, where agencies bundle multiple clients into a single production.

Those practices are problematic, writers argue. Agencies or their parent companies are now “in the position of simultaneously negotiating on behalf of writers and hiring them, a dynamic that could hurt their pay,” Mr. Scheiber writes.

Some agencies concede that thy have been “too aggressive” in seeking packaging fees. But thy deny that private-equity investments fueled the practices.

BY THE WAY, the House Judiciary Firebrand Chairman Nadler is not going to get an unredacted copy of the Mueller report, nor will his subpoenas of AG Barr or former White House Counsel McGahn go anywhere and all this constant talk about impeachment isn’t going anywhere either. You can’t be impeached for being obnoxious.

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