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Daily Reads: SCOTUS Allows Trump to Enforce Travel Ban; GOP Accidentally Killed Corporate Tax Breaks in Late-Night Rewrites

A roundup of stories we're reading at BillMoyers.com HQ...

GOP Accidentally Killed Corporate Tax Breaks

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A big win for xenophobia –> “The Supreme Court is allowing the Trump administration to fully enforce a ban on travel to the United States by residents of six mostly Muslim countries,” reports Mark Sherman for the Associated Press.

Keystone Cops write a tax bill  –> As they were hastily writing changes in the margins of their massive tax bill early Saturday morning, Senate Republicans appear to have abolished virtually all corporate tax deductions by accident. Eric Levitz explains how for New York magazine. Republicans will fix the error, but doing so precludes the possibility of House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) passing the Senate bill in its current form through the House to avoid another vote in the Senate.

And several of the more pragmatic Senate Republicans made various demand of leadership in exchange for their support of the bill, but Andrew Desiderio reports for The Daily Beast that House conservatives are already “shooting down” several of the key measures which they were promised.

Jim Tankersley reports for The New York Times that in the hours before the vote, “Senate Republicans opened an assault” on Congress’ nonpartisan scorekeeper, the Joint Committee on Taxation, “and its analysis, which showed the Senate plan would not, as lawmakers contended, pay for itself but would add $1 trillion to the federal budget deficit. Public statements and messaging documents obtained by The New York Times show a concerted push by Republican lawmakers to discredit a nonpartisan agency they had long praised.”

And economist Larry Summers estimates that if the bill becomes law, 10,000 Americans will die unnecessarily each year as a result. It’s a fairly straightforward epidemiological analysis: the Congressional Budget Office estimates that repealing the individual mandate will result in 13 million people losing insurance coverage, and empirical studies have determined an approximate number of excess deaths associated with the uninsured. But Ian Millhiser writes at Think Progress that their estimates vary to a degree, and according to one oft-cited study, the number may be more like 15,000.

A red line for Muslims” –> The mere possibility that Trump will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital absent a peace deal is causing a major diplomatic crisis between Tel Aviv and Ankara, reports Noa Landau for Ha’aretz. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said “that the possibility that US President Donald Trump will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital ‘is a red line for Muslims,'” and promised to severe diplomatic ties with the Jewish state if Trump pulls the trigger.

Over the weekend, Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit warned that the move “would fuel extremism and violence,” and Nahal Toosi reports for Politico that “the State Department has warned American embassies worldwide to heighten security ahead of a possible announcement Wednesday by President Donald Trump that the US recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”

Russia developments –> A couple of months ago, we mentioned that Deutsche Bank had refused repeated requests from congressional Democrats probing Trump-Russia to turn over documents related to some $300 million in outstanding loans to Trump’s companies as he entered the White House. Now Steve Arons reports for Bloomberg that special counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed those same records.

And Mueller has accused Paul Manafort of violating the terms of his bail agreement by collaborating on an op-ed with someone connected to Russian intelligence. Alex Ward writes for Vox: “Why Manafort chose to put his cushy house arrest in jeopardy to ghostwrite a piece is very puzzling. There was likely very little upside — but clearly there was a lot of downside.”

A day of reckoning? –> Frances Stead Sellers reports for The Washington Post that “Trump may face a reckoning” in a defamation case filed against him by one of the women who accused him of groping her in 2007, and is now suing him for calling her a liar. Trump’s lawyers have filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, and a judge in New York will decide today whether the case can move forward. Stay tuned.

Bill O’Reilly and Fox News are facing a similar lawsuit, according to Lloyd Grove at The Daily Beast.

This land is their land –> Michael Walsh reports for Yahoo! News that “Trump flew to Utah Monday to announce that he is cutting some 2 million acres from two national monuments in the state to make way for oil drilling, mining, and other development.”

Somewhat related –> “The Trump administration has terminated a cross-agency group created to help local officials protect their residents against extreme weather and natural disasters,” reports Christopher Flavelle for Bloomberg. “The group is the latest in a series of federal climate-related bodies to be altered or terminated since Trump took office.”

The religious right’s continuing fight against LGBT rights” –> This week, the Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments in the case of a baker who refuses to make cakes for LGBT people. Sarah Jones reports for The New Republic that because Colorado law explicitly bars discrimination based on sexual preference, a number of lower courts have already ruled against the baker.

Sweet home… –> Weeks after announcing that it would not support Roy Moore’s candidacy for the Senate, CNN reports that the Republican National Committee has reversed course and will start spending money in Alabama.

The Washington Post poll finds the race between Moore and Democrat Doug Jones neck-and-neck, and offers this interesting split: Moore is leading among white Evangelicals by 59 points, but Jones holds a 15-point lead among all other whites who identify as Christian.

But it may be black turnout that decides the outcome, according to Kevin O’Leary at The American Prospect. He wonders if Jones is doing enough to encourage African-Americans to go to the polls next Tuesday.

And Katie Glueck and Alex Roarty report for McClatchy that “whether their candidate, Roy Moore, overcomes multiple on-the-record accusations of child molestation and sexual misconduct to win on Dec. 12 or not, top [GOP] officials concede that Alabama has been a disaster for the national brand — and either result will put the Republican congressional majorities in jeopardy.”

>Getting creative with voter suppression –> In New Hampshire, residents aren’t required to have a state-issued driver’s license to vote, and many college students from out of state don’t have one. Mark Joseph Stern reports for Slate that Granite State Republicans’ “insidious new scheme to disenfranchise college students” is a new bill that “would impose steep fees on all voters who lack a New Hampshire driver’s license… The measure is tantamount to a post-election poll tax. It stands an excellent chance of becoming law.”

Meanwhile, former Colorado Republican Party Chairman Steve Curtis, who once said, “Virtually every case of voter fraud that I can remember in my lifetime was committed by Democrats,” is currently on trial for a rare instance of actual voter fraud. Rob Low has more on that at Denver’s Fox News affiliate.

 
Daily Reads was compiled by BillMoyers.com staff and edited by Kristin Miller.

 


 

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