Trump Poised To Sign Tax Plan
We’re witnessing the wholesale looting of America. Vox: "Over the course of 2017, both in Congress and in the executive branch, we have watched the task of government devolve into the full-scale looting of America. Politicians are making decisions to enrich their donors — and at times themselves personally — with a reckless disregard for any kind of objective policy analysis or consideration of public opinion. A businessman president who promised — repeatedly — that he would not personally benefit from his own tax proposals is poised to sign into law a bill that’s full of provisions that benefit him and his family. Congressional Republicans who spent years insisting that 'dynamic scoring' would capture the deficit-reducing power of tax cuts are now plowing ahead with a bill so fast that they don’t have time to get one done, because it turns out they can’t be bothered to meet their own targets. Meanwhile, in the background an incredible flurry of regulatory activity is happening out of public view — much of it contrary to free market principles but all of it lucrative for big business and Trump cronies."
GOP, Dems Edge Away From Budget Showdown
Fearful of a shutdown, Congress inches toward stopgap spending bill. NYT: "An end-of-the-year showdown that was once promised over delicate issues like immigration, health care and surveillance appeared to fizzle on Wednesday as key Republicans dropped their demands to shore up shaky health insurance markets and Democrats appeared to abandon their goal to force adoption of a measure protecting young undocumented immigrants from deportation. Instead, Congress moved toward a one-month punt that would keep the government funded into January and once again put off policy confrontations."
Dems Back Away From Action On DACA
Democrats' refusal to play hardball paved Salon: "In the end, nothing may have been able to effectively prevent the Republicans from achieving their desired tax plan, but the Democrats bought them some ample time to throw something together before the end of the year, which is precisely what the Trump administration wanted... Senate Democrats up for reelection in 2018 have caved on the Dreamers and will yet again avert a government shutdown by helping pass spending legislation by midnight on Friday. A small handful of Democrats and independent allies have vowed to vote against the continuing resolution that would keep the government funded in the short-term, in the name of saving DACA. Along with the No. 2 Democrat, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois are Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.; Kamala Harris, D-Calif.; Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass... Voters who are looking to push back against the anti-immigration, pro-corporate Trump administration agenda are yearning for someone to stand in their corner."
DREAMers Face Deportation If DACA Fix Delayed
DREAMers protest DACA delays, looming deportations. The Guardian: "A handful of Democrats in both chambers have said publicly they will withhold their votes on any spending bill that does not also address protections for Dreamers. But whether the party is willing to risk the political blowback of a government shutdown is unclear. As lawmakers approach a deadline of midnight on Friday to pass a bill that would keep the US government open, immigration advocates are increasingly concerned by what they view as equivocal statements from top Democratic leaders... with each passing day, roughly 122 Daca recipients lose their protections, including the authorization to work legally in the US. As the clock winds down, hundreds of activists have descended upon Washington from dozens of states across the country as part of efforts to urge Congress to act. They held peaceful sit-ins in the offices of Congressional lawmakers, and some were arrested in an escalation of their tactics, and more protests and marches are expected throughout the coming days."
Protesters Prepare To Take Streets
Protesters stash bullhorns and hot chocolate, just in case Trump fires Mueller. LA Times: "Organizers have stashed bullhorns in apartments and offices near Manhattan’s Times Square. They’ve stockpiled hot chocolate mix and sleeping bags in Salt Lake City. And they’ve started arranging carpools in Houston. Across the country, activists are making plans, collecting supplies and raising money to swiftly launch hundreds of street protests if President Trump fires Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel who has been investigating the Trump administration. ]The last thing we want is to be caught unprepared,' said Elizabeth Beavers, a Washington-based policy manager for Indivisible, one of several liberal groups involved in the protest plans. 'We’re on red alert,' agreed Zac Petkanas, a Democratic consultant working with the organizers. Never mind that Trump and his legal team insist there’s no plan to oust Mueller or otherwise interfere with the investigation into whether the president’s associates helped Russia meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Trump’s opponents don’t buy the denials, especially as some Republican lawmakers and conservative commentators have escalated demands for Mueller to get the boot."
Trump Frees Money-Laundering Meatpacker
Trump commutes sentence of kosher meatpacking executive. Politico: "President Donald Trump on Wednesday commuted the sentence of an Iowa kosher meatpacking executive who had been sentenced to 27 years in prison for money laundering, marking the first time he’s used the presidential power... Rubashki was convicted in 2009 for submitting fake invoices to a bank that made Agriprocessors’ finances appear healthier than they were so that it could borrow more. His prosecution came after federal authorities raided the plant and arrested 389 illegal immigrants in 2008."