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House Begins Markup Of Tax Bill

House begins revising Republican tax bill to quell dissent. Reuters: “Facing pockets of discontent in their own Republican ranks, tax negotiators in the U.S. House of Representatives will seek this week to brook differences over their far-reaching tax bill and stick to a self-imposed deadline of passage this month. The House tax-writing committee begins revising the bill on Monday with tweaks and some more substantial changes expected to a number of individual and corporate tax proposals. House Republicans last week unveiled the first draft of a 429-page tax bill that, if enacted, would be the biggest overhaul of the U.S. tax system since the 1980s. It proposes a range of tax cuts aimed at helping businesses, including slashing the corporate rate to 20 percent from 35 percent and establishing a new 25 percent tax rate for “pass through” businesses, which are currently taxed at rates as high as 39.6 percent.”

Leaked Documents Expose Tax Scams of Global Elites

Leaked documents reveal Trump-Russia links and piggy banks of the wealthiest 1 percent. ICIJ: “A trove of 13.4 million records exposes ties between Russia and U.S. President Donald Trump’s billionaire commerce secretary… and more than 120 politicians around the world.The leaked documents, dubbed the Paradise Papers, show how deeply the offshore financial system is entangled with the overlapping worlds of political players, private wealth and corporate giants, including Apple, Nike, Uber and other global companies that avoid taxes through increasingly imaginative bookkeeping maneuvers. One offshore web leads to Trump’s commerce secretary, private equity tycoon Wilbur Ross, who has a stake in a shipping company that has received more than $68 million in revenue since 2014 from a Russian energy company co-owned by the son-in-law of Russian President Vladimir Putin. In all, the offshore ties of more than a dozen Trump advisers, Cabinet members and major donors appear in the leaked data.”

Kansas Tax Debacle Presages National Woes

Want to Know What Happens with Large-Scale Tax Cuts? Just Take a Look at Kansas. Alternet: “Kansas Governor Sam Brownback successfully sold (his) home state the lie that tax cuts lead to economic growth. Under the governor’s leadership, Kansas passed cuts so deep that they were called experimental.Brownback said his tax plan would be “like a shot of adrenaline into the heart of the Kansas economy.” He promised the cuts would help create jobs — similar to what the national GOP claims the Trump tax bill will do. But instead, it devastated the state’s economy. Now, only five years later, the state legislature is reversing the policy, widely considered a failure.”

Commerce Secretary Ross Under Pressure for Putin Oil Business Links

Documents reveal ties between Wilbur Ross and Putin-linked business. New York Magazine: “Trump’s commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, has close business ties with members of Vladimir Putin’s inner circle that he never revealed during his Senate confirmation hearings, according to a massive document leak whose details were published on Sunday. Ross retains significant investments in Navigator Holdings, a shipping company he once controlled. One of Navigator’s most lucrative activities is transporting gas for Sibur, an enormous Russian energy company whose second-biggest shareholder is Kirill Shamalov, Putin’s son-in-law. The company’s ownership also includes Gennady Timchenko, a friend of Putin who has been sanctioned by the U.S. Ross disclosed his connections to Navigator to the Senate, but not the company’s dealings with Sibur.”

U.S. Touts Fossil Fuels as “Solution” To Climate Change

Climate talks open amid anger over Trump’s coal support. BBC: “The latest round of UN led climate talks have opened in Bonn with delegates from almost 200 countries in attendance.
Over the next two weeks, negotiators hope to clarify the rulebook of the Paris climate agreement. It is the first major meeting since President Trump announced plans to take the US out of the Paris pact last June. Many delegates are unhappy with White House plans to promote fossil fuels here as a ‘solution’ to climate change. An adviser to the president is expected to take part in a pro-coal presentation in the second week of this conference, which is officially known as COP23. Separately, a group of governors will say that the US is still committed to climate action despite Mr Trump’s rejection of the Paris agreement. Under the rules, the US cannot leave the agreement until 2020 so they have sent a team of negotiators to this meeting.”

CBO Releases Damning Climate Report

How the Trump White House wound up releasing dire climate report. Bloomberg: “The Trump administration has dismissed the threat of climate change, proposed cuts to climate research and remade scientific advisory boards. Yet it released a report on Friday that said climate change is real, dangerous and man-made… The 477-page report – mandated by law to be issued every four years – was written by dozens of scientists from government agencies, national labs and universities. It concluded, ‘this period is now the warmest in the history of modern civilization,’ and documented how that’s leading to melting glaciers, extreme storms and sea-level rise. Public drafts of the report have circulated for months, making it politically perilous to tinker with the findings. So, with editing a high-risk affair and the report required by Congress, the administration may have just decided to downplay it, said John Holdren, who ran the Office of Science and Technology Policy under President Barack Obama. ‘It would do more harm to block this report than to let it out,’ Holdren, now a Harvard University environmental policy professor, said in an interview. ‘They’re letting it out on a Friday afternoon, which is pretty much the standard approach for letting out something that you don’t want to get a lot of attention.'”

St. Louis Protests Racial Injustice

St Louis protests: ‘The new Selma’. Al Jazeera: “When heavily armed police donning riot gear moved in on protesters on September 17, St Louis police officers broke up the march and taunted its participants… Clinton Stancil, a St Louis-based reverend who has been involved in mobilising protests in the wake of an acquittal of a white police officer who killed an African American man in 2011, remembers the violence clearly. When police blocked peaceful marchers from crossing the street by allowing traffic to proceed, a local clergywoman went back to inform the officers that more demonstrators were en route to cross the intersection. The officers grabbed the woman, prompting Reverend Darryl Gray to come to her rescue. ‘They threw him to the ground, stepped and broke his glasses, and that was the spark that set off the whole thing,’ Stancil, 65, who has lived in the city for four years, tells Al Jazeera. As demonstrators moved to intervene, Stancil recalls the officers then ‘indiscriminately’ attacking them with chemical agents, such as pepper spray, and wantonly beating people with batons. They subsequently kettled march participants and bystanders before detaining them. ‘They arrested everyone who was on the street, and that’s what caused many of the problems,’ he says, explaining that bystanders, journalists and others were among those rounded up. That was the third night of ongoing protests, which were sparked by the September 15 not-guilty verdict for Jason Stockley, a former policeman who shot dead 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith in December 2011.”

More from OurFuture.org:

Nine Reasons To Stop The GOP’s Giant Tax Gift Bucket. Isaiah J. Poole: “Americans for Tax Fairness has just published “Nine Terrible Things About the Republican Tax Plan.” All are good reasons for you to call 877-795-7862 and tell your members of Congress to vote against this travesty of a tax bill.”

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