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.
What is Trump's plan for Middle East peace? On his first foreign tour, President Trump has promised "peace" between Israel and the Palestinians. Are there any details for re-starting talks that have been stalled for the past three years?
Venezuela spirals into economic and political chaos Venezuela, a country whose potential for prosperity is unmatched, finds itself on the verge of civil war. What sustains the repressive government? With time running out, guest host León Krauze looks at what the international community can do to pull the country from the edge of collapse.
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.