House Republicans Just Brought The Senate’s Tax Bill To A Grinding Halt

Verified Politics

House Republicans Just Brought The Senate’s Tax Bill To A Grinding Halt

By Brian Tyler Cohen     December 5, 2017

Last week, Republicans set the stage for the sole legislative win of Trump’s presidency when the Senate finally passed their version of the tax bill.

Today however, a handful of House Republicans refused to sign off on the Senate bill and voted to send the legislation to conference committee where the two versions of the bill must be reconciled — putting the entire measure at risk.

Conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives are now signaling that they will block several key promises that had been installed in the measure to appease certain Republicans in the Senate.

Senators Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Susan Collins (R-ME) were given assurances by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) that their requested provisions would be included in the final version of the bill.

Collins demanded legislation that would offset the negative effects of repealing Obamacare’s individual mandate. Flake was promised that there would be protections for the children of undocumented immigrants who lost their security when DACA was rescinded by the Trump administration.

Furthermore, in the Senate version, in a mad dash to bring the bill to the floor for a vote, a provision “of the current tax code that sets an alternative minimum tax floor for wealthy individuals” was preserved. The same provision – long despised by conservatives – would be eliminated in the House bill, setting the stage for another confrontation between conservative and moderate Republicans in the two chambers.

House Republicans are clearly not prepared to deliver on any of these items, and have already suggested that they will stall the legislation until their demands are met.

“We still have the same issues. Nothing has changed in the last two months just because we’re fulfilling our promise on delivering on tax reform,” said Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC), the chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee. “I find it problematic to be promising something that the house has shunned from very early on.”

Tonight’s development is par for the course for a Republican caucus that would rather wheel and deal their way to tax reform without a modicum of unity from their party. With still no legislative victories despite majorities in every branch of government, Republicans are proving themselves unable to govern even in the most favorable of conditions.

Brian Tyler Cohen is a political writer, actor and comedy sketch director. He graduated from Lehigh University with a dual degree in English and business.

Germans see Trump as bigger problem than North Korea or Russia

Reuters

Germans see Trump as bigger problem than North Korea or Russia

Reuters Staff     December 4, 2017

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germans see U.S. President Donald Trump as a bigger challenge for German foreign policy than authoritarian leaders in North Korea, Russia or Turkey, according to a survey by the Koerber Foundation.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the Utah State Capitol, where he announced big cuts to Utah’s sprawling wilderness national monuments, in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S., December 4, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Topping the list of foreign policy concerns were refugees, with 26 percent of respondents worried about Germany’s ability to cope with inflows of asylum seekers.

Relations with Trump and the United States ranked second, with 19 percent describing them as a major challenge, followed by Turkey at 17 percent, North Korea at 10 percent and Russia at 8 percent.

Since entering the White House in January, Trump has unsettled Germans by pulling out of the Paris climate accord, refusing to certify an international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program and criticizing Germany’s trade surplus and its contributions to the NATO military alliance.

Trump’s actions prompted the usually cautious German Chancellor Angela Merkel to say earlier this year that Berlin may not be able to rely on the United States in the future. She also urged Europe to take its fate into its own hands.

In the poll of 1,005 Germans of voting age, carried out in October, 56 percent of Germans described the relationship with the United States as bad or very bad.

Despite Merkel’s pledge, the survey showed deep skepticism in the population about Germany taking a more active role in international crises, with 52 percent of respondents saying the country should continue its post-war policy of restraint.

That may reflect the fact that neither Merkel nor her main challengers in the recent election campaign talked much about how Germany should respond to the challenges posed by Trump’s disruptive presidency and Britain’s looming departure from the European Union.

Last week, Norbert Roettgen, a member of Merkel’s conservative party and head of the foreign affairs committee in the Bundestag, decried a “deplorable” lack of leadership in educating Germans about the need to invest more in their own defense and security.

Reporting by Noah Barkin; Editing by Hugh Lawson.     Our Standards:    The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Did you know that there are more living organisms in a tablespoon of soil than there are people on earth? 

EcoWatch

Did you know that there are more living organisms in a tablespoon of soil than there are people on earth? 

Happy #WorldSoilDay🌍🌱

Start a regenerative agriculture movement in your community:http://bit.ly/2B0D3Yr

See More

Did you know that there are more living organisms in a tablespoon of soil than there are people on Earth? Happy #WorldSoilDay! 🌍🌱Start a regenerative agriculture movement in your community: http://bit.ly/2B0D3Yrvia Regeneration International Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Organic Consumers Association

Posted by EcoWatch on Tuesday, December 5, 2017

What the world would look like if all the ice melted

EcoWatch

Countries and cities submerged.

December 3, 2017   Read more: ecowatch.com/2017-state-beach-report

Countries and cities submerged.Read more: ecowatch.com/2017-state-beach-report

Posted by EcoWatch on Sunday, December 3, 2017

Roy Moore’s Spokesperson Just Brought His Senate Campaign to a New Low

Esquire

Roy Moore’s Spokesperson Just Brought His Senate Campaign to a New Low

And, with seven days left, Moore’s team will likely sink further.

CNN

By Jack Holmes     December 5, 2017

It’s easy to forget that, even before multiple women came forward to allege sexual misconduct against Roy Moore, his United States Senate campaign was already insane. The former Alabama state supreme court judge, thrown out of office twice for disregarding the rulings of higher courts, is uniquely unqualified for public service. If you needed a reminder of that, take a look at the people who have agreed to work on his campaign, such as his spokesperson, Jane Porter. She joined CNN Tuesday morning and kicked things off with a totally normal pregnancy congratulations for anchor Poppy Harlow:

“That’s why I came down as a volunteer to speak for Judge Roy Moore,” Porter said. “He’ll stand for the rights of babies like yours in the womb, while his opponent will support killing them up until the moment of birth.”

Moore’s campaign is hitting the abortion issue hard. Doug Jones, Moore’s Democratic opponent, is firmly pro-choice, though he opposes late term abortions. So, in a true shocker, Porter’s riff is shall-we-say, inaccurate. It brings to mind those Planned Parenthood “sting” videos from the 2016 campaign, which Carly Fiorina harped on incessantly. (Much of the contents turned out to be fabricated.) It also rings a bit hollow when you talk about protecting unborn children, but support a candidate whom one woman says lured her to his house when she was 14 years old and he was 32 and tried to get her to touch his genitals through his tighty-whities.

That woman, Leigh Corfman, is one of at least eight women to accuse Moore of sexual misconduct. We’re getting to the stage where some standup comedian would say, “Anyone here not a Roy Moore accuser?” Actually, that’s close to what Porter said on national television:

Yes, many women have accused Moore of sexual misconduct. But there are 150 million American women who haven’t. Why won’t the Fake News talk about that? This is both shameless and unsurprising. Oh, and that claim about Corfman’s mother undermining her story? That’s based on an attempted Breitbart smear job that admits(remarkably far down the page) that Corman’s mother clearly said the original Washington Post report was “truthful and it was researched very well.”

Sadly, the campaign’s relentless extremism is successful. Moore still incredibly has the support of 6 in 10 white women, evoking the triumph of Donald Trump in that category last year. It’s a stirring reminder that the motivating factor in the Alabama Senate race—as in every contest of this political era—is identity. Specifically, white, Christian, Real American identity versus The Other. White Alabamians will vote for Roy Moore because, like Donald Trump, he’s the White Candidate. Doug Jones, who prosecuted members of the Ku Klux Klan after the Birmingham church bombing, is the candidate of The Other. No matter that Moore is accused of molesting a 14-year-old. He’s tough on crime, while Jones is weak. Maybe that has something to do with who the crimes’ perpetrators are.

Getty

That’s been a running theme of Moore’s public career, where he has enforced the most reactionary line on every public policy issue available. Moore is lawless, as his defenestrations from the state supreme court for disregarding higher courts suggest. He is a theocrat, in that one of those removals involved his insistence on keeping a statue of the Ten Commandments on the courthouse grounds, in obvious violation of the First Amendment. He refused to recognize the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, an assertion that Christian law reigned supreme over United States civil law. Then, in a wicked piece of irony, he yelled and screamed that Sharia law was on the loose in Illinois, with the frightening idea that religious law was taking precedence over civil law. And of course, he once said Muslim Americans elected to Congress should not be seated because they are Muslim.

Oh, and he said women should not be permitted to serve in public office, either.

Getty

Moore is probably the worst American politics has to offer, although one hesitates to draw the line based on what’s happened over the last two years. His continued presence in our politics is only possible because the Republican Party has allowed it. That began with the Alabama GOP’s steadfast defense of the candidate, which involved some officials citing the Bible to defend Moore even if he did indeed sexually assault a 14-year-old. It has continued with the national party’s decision to re-enter the race on Moore’s behalf this week, after making a big show of pulling support. That mirrors Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Moore’s future colleague who went from declaring he believed Moore’s accusers and would demand an ethics investigation into him if he won to simply saying he’ll leave it up to Alabama voters. Oh, and the President of the United States fully endorsed him.

Truly, there is no bottom to the depravity. Moore will likely win the election, and McConnell will seat him in the Senate. His Republican colleagues will probably welcome him as another vote for plutocratic tax “reform,” and for conservative judges nominated for the federal bench. They might think twice about next year’s Bring Your Daughter to Work Day, though.

Missouri man thrown from pick-up truck in suspected DUI found dead next day by police.

The Charlotte Observer

Missouri man thrown from pick-up truck in suspected DUI found dead next day by police.

A Missouri man was flung from a pickup during a DUI crash, but wasn’t found until hours later when two friends who had survived told his family he was missing. File photo National

‘What if he just laid there?’ He was flung from a DUI crash, but cops missed his body, family says

By Jared Gilmour, McClatchy   December 5, 2017

His body had been lying in the woods, unknown to police, for hours by the time his father’s phone rang.

On the phone was Travis Moore, one of the best friends of Russell Eynard’s 28-year-old son Kevin. Moore was calling from the hospital Sunday afternoon, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports.

“Travis said he was in a drunk-driving crash, he totaled his truck and he and the other guy got airlifted to a hospital,” Eynard’s sister, Jessica Farmer, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “He doesn’t know where Kevin is.”

Moore, 27, had been rushed to the hospital on Saturday at 11:30 p.m., after he lost control of the pickup he was driving and crashed the vehicle in St. Charles County, Mo., according to the Missouri Highway Patrol.

As soon as police arrived, Moore and another passenger, Joseph Olivastro, 31, were taken to the hospital, KMOV reports.

But police didn’t realize Kevin Eynard had been in the car, too — and that he was sent flying from the vehicle when it overturned.

Once Eynard’s father got off the phone with Moore, he started calling around to local police departments and hospitals to locate his son, the Post-Dispatch reports. Eventually he got a hold of highway patrol — and learned that his son wasn’t even included in the law enforcement report on the crash.

Police went back to the scene to look for Eynard the day after the crash, KMOV reports. They found Eynard’s body at about 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, roughly 13 hours after the crash.

Eynard was pronounced dead at the scene, and was taken to the St. Louis County morgue, according to highway patrol records.

His body had been about 150 feet into the woods, according to the Post-Dispatch.

“There was a thick wood line in the area, and he was inside the wooded area,” Cpl. Juston Wheetley of the Missouri Highway Patrol told the Post-Dispatch, explaining how the body had been overlooked. “He was ejected a long distance from the vehicle, up in a wood line, in the dark.”

Moore had been driving drunk, highway patrol records said, and none of the passengers had been wearing a seat belt when the pickup crashed.

Moore has been arrested on preliminary charges of driving while intoxicated and second degree assault, as well as on drunk driving charges related to Eynard’s death, according to the highway patrol.

Police told Eynard’s family that he died instantly after he was flung from the vehicle when it crashed, the Post-Dispatch reports.

Still, his family wonders. “In our minds, what if he just laid there?” Farmer, his sister, said in an interview with the Post-Dispatch. “I keep thinking he hears helicopters and they’re rescuing everybody else and he’s just laying there.”

Wildfires have spread to 31,000 acres in California

CNN

“It looks just like a movie.” Wildfires have spread to 31,000 acres in California

Latest updates: http://cnn.it/2BJpCt9

Wildfires in California

"It looks just like a movie." Wildfires have spread to 31,000 acres in CaliforniaLatest updates: http://cnn.it/2BJpCt9

Posted by CNN on Tuesday, December 5, 2017

These corporations are helping elect an alleged child sex abuser to the U.S. Senate

ThinkProgress

These corporations are helping elect an alleged child sex abuser to the U.S. Senate

Follow the money.

Josh Israel, Danielle McLean,     December 5, 2017

ALABAMA REPUBLICAN SENATE NOMINEE ROY MOORE AT A NOVEMBER RALLY. CREDIT: AP PHOTO/BRYNN ANDERSON

Last month, after several women came forward and accused Alabama Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore of child sexual abuse and other sexual misconduct, the Republican National Committee (RNC) said it had cut ties with the candidate and terminated a joint fundraising program aimed at helping his campaign. In the time since, more women have come forward with similar stories and evidence of their relationships. Yesterday, after Donald Trump offered his full support to Moore anyway, the RNC reversed course and reportedly will resume its efforts to elect Moore in next Tuesday’s special election and will devote party resources to the effort.

A ThinkProgress review of contributions to the Republican National Committee so far in this 2017 to 2018 campaign cycle, at least 15 companies have donated $15,000 or more each from their corporate political action committees (PACs) to the party, and are thus contributing to the pro-Moore efforts. The totals include donations through the end of September. According to Federal Election Commission data from the subscription online Political MoneyLine, these include:

  • Comcast Corporation & NBCUniversal with at least $100,000.
  • AT&T Inc with at least $60,000.
  • Leo A Daly Company with at least $30,000.
  • Amerisourcebergen Corporation with at least $15,000.
  • Lockheed Martin Corporation with at least $15,000.
  • Honeywell International with at least $15,000.
  • Pricewaterhousecoopers with at least $15,000.
  • AFLAC with at least $15,000.
  • Pfizer Inc. with at least $15,000.
  • Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company with at least $15,000.
  • Textron Inc with at least $15,000.
  • Exelon Corporation with at least $15,000.
  • The Boeing Company with at least $15,000.
  • Microsoft Corporation with at least $15,000.
  • BNSF Railway Company with at least $15,000.

While federal campaign finance law prohibits corporations from donating directly to national parties and federal candidates out of their company treasuries, corporations have long influenced politics by establishing political action committees and pooling donations from executives and other employees.

ThinkProgress reached out to each of these companies to ask them if they are comfortable with their donations being used to help elect Moore. None immediately responded.

Iceland’s new PM is a 41-year-old anti-war feminist and environmentalist

Metro News

Iceland’s new PM is a 41-year-old anti-war feminist and environmentalist

Joe Roberts for Metro.co.uk        December 2, 2017

Iceland's new PM is a 41-year-old anti-war feminist and environmentalistKatrin Jakobsdottir becomes Iceland’s new PM after a snap election (Picture: AP)

Iceland’s new prime minister is a 41-year-old anti-war feminist, democratic socialist, who is also an expert on crime literature. Katrin Jakobsdottir plans to make the small island nation a world-leader in fighting climate change.

Her Left-Green Movement will lead a coalition government with two parties across the political spectrum in the hope it gives Iceland some ‘stability’. The country has been rocked by a cycle of scandals that have triggered three elections in the past four years. A snap election was called by former PM Bjarni Benediktsson in September over a furore caused by his father suggesting a paedophile, who repeatedly raped his stepdaughter for 12 years, should have his ‘honour restored’.

Iceland's new PM is a 41-year-old anti-war feminist and environmentalistHer Left-Green party will form a coalition with two parties from across the political spectrum (Picture: AFP)

Iceland's new PM is a 41-year-old anti-war feminist and environmentalistJakobsdottir campaigned on a platform of restoring trust in government (Picture: Reuters)

Less than a year earlier, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson stepped aside as prime minister amid public fury over the Panama Papers revealing his family had sheltered money in offshore tax havens. In an attempt to break with the past, Jakobsdottir campaigned on a platform of restoring trust in government and leveraged a boom in tourism to increase public spending.

‘It is important that we try to change the way we work together,’ she said announcing the coalition on Thursday. ‘This agreement strikes a new chord.’ Jakobsdottir comes from a family of prominent poets, and before getting into politics, she studied literature with a special interest in Icelandic crime novels.

Iceland's new PM is a 41-year-old anti-war feminist and environmentalistKatrin Jakobsdottir becomes one of the world’s youngest leaders (Picture: EPA) She is now among the world’s youngest leaders.

Jakobsdottir’s cabinet will be comprised of three members of her Left-Green party, five from the right-wing Independence Party and three from the Progressive Party. ‘In the new government, parties spanning the political spectrum from left to right intend to establish a new tone,’ a statement issued by the new prime minister’s office said.

Roy Moore Is a ‘Liar’ And Here’s Proof, Says One of Alabama Senate Candidate’s Many Accusers

Newsweek

Roy Moore Is a ‘Liar’ And Here’s Proof, Says One of Alabama Senate Candidate’s Many Accusers

 Marie Solis, Newsweek     December 4, 2017

The paper trail continues.

One of Roy Moore’s accusers has uncovered a note the Alabama Senate candidate allegedly wrote to her when she was a senior in high school, the latest in possible written evidence of Moore’s alleged inappropriate relationships with minors.

“Happy graduation Debbie,” the message, written on a graduation card Debbie Wesson Gibson found in her senior year scrapbook, reads. “I wanted to give you this card myself. I know that you’ll be a success in anything you do. Roy.”

Wesson told The Washington Post she found the scrapbook when she was sorting through her attic last week, but she said she didn’t immediately come forward for fear of receiving more threats, which began when she first went public with her account of dating Moore when she was 17 and he was 34. But Wesson changed her mind when she saw Moore hold a rally in an Alabama church, where he vehemently denied the allegations against him.

“He called me a liar,” Gibson told the Post. “Roy Moore made an egregious mistake to attack that one thing—my integrity.”

Gibson, however, says she knows who the real liar is: The man nine women have accused of sexual misconduct.

Gibson said she remembers Moore handing the graduation card to her in person. She then wrote in her scrapbook: “Roy Moore inspires me because he is such a successful man himself. Also he is about the only person I know of who seriously believes in me. I appreciate that. He’s got to be one of the nicest people I know.”

In the scrapbook, Gibson also marked down that Moore had attended her commencement ceremony, along with her mom and dad, given her $10 as a gift.

In another entry, Gibson recalled her first date with Moore on a page titled “best times,” and writes that they went to eat at Catfish Cabin in Albertville and had a “great time,” underlining “great” twice. She told the Post she’s able to remember the age when she dated Moore because that’s when her “braces were off.”

Last month, Beverly Young Nelson, who accused Moore of attempting to rape her, became the first to uncover a written message suggesting his misdeeds.

In a press conference with attorney Gloria Allred, Nelson displayed the note, which she found in a high school yearbook. It read: “To a sweeter more beautiful girl I could not say Merry Christmas,” ending with the signature, “Christmas 1977. Love, Roy Moore… Roy Moore, DA.”

President Donald Trump threw his unequivocal support behind the Republican candidate Monday morning, tweeting that the Republican Party needs Moore to fight crime, illegal immigration and other right-wing causes. Later, he reportedly called Moore personally to give him a vote of confidence: “Go get ’em, Roy!”