FROM Bruce Baltin
Are Hotels in Downtown LA Getting Taxpayer Money for Free? The LA Times reports that two building inspectors have been arrested and a federal grand jury has issued subpoenas seeking personnel records of at least 11 current and former employees. David Zahniser co-wrote the story. He also wrote a Times' story about tax breaks for massive hotels in booming downtown Los Angeles. J.W. Marriot, which opened last year, is reportedly doing well enough to produce some much-needed city revenue in a cash-strapped city. But the Anshutz Entertainment Group, AEG, will be able to keep some $270 million in taxes through 2035. Combined with two other such deals, the city could end up giving away $640 million in the next 30 years. The Mayor and City Council approved the subsidies after analysis by PKF Consulting , which calls them "incentives" and says they're common where they will stimulate new business.
Trump's 'America First' goes missing abroad In the Middle East, President Trump is changing some policies of the Obama Administration—and reversing his own campaign attacks on Islam as a religion that "hates us." We hear about his visit to Saudi Arabia and what's at stake for the rest of his foreign excursion.
Trump's Russia ties intensify with Comey firing Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe contradicted the Trump White House today, insisting the Bureau had not lost faith in former Director James Comey. He promised to notify the committee of any interference into investigation of the Trump campaign's contacts with Vladimir Putin's Russia. What do we know about those contacts… and how they relate to Trump's business interests and those of his family?
Should we 'hack the climate' to fight global warming? The Paris Agreements won't be enough to reverse global warming, whether President Trump pulls the US out or not. Is it time to try altering the atmosphere by what's called "geoengineering?" We hear about unintended consequences, international relations… and ethics.
Concern deepens amid Trump's controversies President Trump delivered today's commencement speech to the Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut. As he praised the accomplishments of the graduates, he listed some of his own… and made reference to reports that he leaked intelligence to the Russians and tried to shut down an FBI Investigation into his associates.