A few odds and ends as the year winds down:


Abigail Disney has this to say about the tax bill.  Walt would have been proud.

(On the same theme, in case you missed it, my friend Eric Schoenberg reveals his 2015 tax return. Worth watching.)


You often hear from Republicans about their doubling of the standard deduction, to $24,000 for joint filers.  Have you ever heard them mention eliminating the $4,050-per-person exemption?  Yes, a family with three kids sees its standard deduction jump by $12,000 — oh happy day!  And gain $3,000 from the doubling of the child tax credit.  But they also lose $20,250 in personal exemptions.    So once you do all the math, it may not be quite the bonanza for middle America that the Trump family will see (for example).  Or the Wilbur Ross or Gary Cohn families. Or the Steve Mnuchin family or the Carl Icahn family.  And us not forget the Kochs and Mercers, Betsy DeVos, and the delightful Sheldon Adelson.


“. . . Trump and Ryan have completely dissolved the norm against dishonesty to the point where . . . you just say whatever you want, and dole out favors to your friends — moving at such a rapid pace that the country’s ability to process what’s happening gets overwhelmed. . . . key regulators — almost uniformly drawn from the ranks of corporate America — are doling out favors at a pace that boggles the mind . . . ”

The thing is, he’s been looking out for no one but himself since the get-go — witness this, from 1984.  He said he’d put his knowledge of the system to work for the little people — the average American.  But guess what?  It’s all about him.  And always has been.


Mike Martin: “You touched on the Merry Christmas controversy but I don’t think you said enough.  Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see people really explaining why you should say Happy Holidays rather than Merry Christmas. When you say Good Morning, or Merry Christmas, you are not making a declaration of fact, you are making a suggestion: HAVE a good morning, or HAVE a Merry Christmas. I have friends and acquaintances here in Phoenix who are Jews and saying ‘Have a Merry Christmas’ is more than insensitive, it is more of an insult. Indeed, saying Merry Christmas as a general greeting implies a White Supremacist slogan rather than any suggestion of celebration. I have an Eastern Orthodox Christian acquaintance who doesn’t celebrate Christmas but rather waits until January 6 (or for others January 19) to celebrate the Epiphany. Some Black acquaintances celebrate Kwanzaa.  These are all happy holidays at year’s end.  Thus I say Happy Holidays to be inclusive.

“Personally I celebrate Christmas, but not as a Christian holiday, which it really isn’t, but rather as a continuation of the winter solstice celebrations historically such as Saturnalia. I keep asking my Christian acquaintances to show me the scriptures about Santa Claus, or the flying reindeer, or children receiving presents, but they never do. That is what Christmas means to me: giving gifts and greetings to friends as part of a celebration primarily about children.  [Some words about Republicans not entirely in the holiday spirit deleted.]

“We should take the time to explain to the world why Merry Christmas is exclusionary while Happy Holidays is inclusive. I say Merry Christmas to people who I know celebrate Christmas, but I give gifts to people while saying Happy Holidays so that they feel included in my expression even if they are Jews, or Hindus, or any other affiliation. If I gave a gift to a Jew while saying Merry Christmas they would think I mistakenly included them, or that maybe I was insinuating that their religion wasn’t significant.”

☞ Well, I grew up thinking Christmas was for everyone — it being (for me) in the main about the Christmas spirit — Santa and elves and human kindness — and not so much about the manger.  But point taken.



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