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You turn to Democracy Now! for ad-free news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines, or for in-depth stories that expose government and corporate abuses of power. We produce our daily news hour at a fraction of the budget of a commercial news operation, all without ads, government funding or corporate underwriting? This is only possible with your support. Right now every donation to Democracy Now! will be doubled by a generous supporter. This means if you give $25 today, Democracy Now! will get $50 to support our daily news hour. Please do your part. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you and everybody else in the coming year. Thanks so much. -Amy Goodman
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President Trump is slated to announce his tax plan today. The plan proposes to slash the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to a mere 15 percent. The plan would also grant the 15 percent tax rate to companies known as “S corporations,” which include both small family businesses and massive corporations, such as hedge funds and real estate empires, such as Trump’s own companies. The Washington Post reports other big winners of Trump’s proposed tax cuts would be construction and retail companies.
The tax plan would sharply increase the national deficit. A Tax Foundation analysis found the proposed cuts to the corporate tax rate alone would reduce revenue by $2 trillion over 10 years. Democrats have vowed to refuse to work with President Trump on any tax plans until he agrees to release his own tax returns.
Turkey carried out a series of airstrikes in Iraq and Syria Tuesday that reportedly killed up to 20 U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters. U.S. officials say they are “deeply concerned” about the Turkish airstrikes. Two U.S.-backed Kurdish groups, the YPG in Syria and the Peshmerga in Iraq, say the airstrikes hit their camps and killed their fighters. The YPG says the airstrikes also hit a radio station, media center and communication facilities. Turkey says the airstrikes were targeting camps of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, known as the PKK, which Turkey claims is a terrorist group.
The journalistic monitoring group Airwars says 17 civilians, including nine children, reportedly died in U.S.-led coalition airstrikes on the Syrian city of Tabqa in Raqqa province on Monday. The victims reportedly included the 6-month-old baby Abd al-Salam and the toddler Ali Abu Aish, along with their entire family. The local journalistic group Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently says the civilians were killed when coalition warplanes bombed their cars and then attacked them with machine gun fire as they were trying to flee the besieged city.
Meanwhile, in more news on Syria, two Democratic lawmakers—Virginia Senator Tim Kaine and California Congressmember Adam Schiff—sent a letter to the White House Tuesday demanding President Trump provide a legal justification for the U.S. attack on the Shayrat air base earlier this month.
Back in the United States, a federal judge in California has dealt a major blow to the Trump administration’s attempts to withhold billions of dollars of funding from so-called “sanctuary cities.”
On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick issued a nationwide preliminary injunction against the administration’s efforts, writing that Trump had overstepped his legal authority and that only Congress could make such funding conditions. The Trump administration has been trying to force “sanctuary cities” to mobilize local law enforcement to work with federal immigration agents to carry out Trump’s mass deportation plans.
In a statement, the White House slammed the ruling, saying, “Today, the rule of law suffered another blow, as an unelected judge unilaterally rewrote immigration policy for our Nation.” This morning, President Trump tweeted, “First the Ninth Circuit rules against the ban & now it hits again on sanctuary cities-both ridiculous rulings. See you in the Supreme Court!”
The California ruling comes as immigrants and their allies continue to organize nationwide against President Trump’s crackdown. In Boston, 20 people were arrested Monday at a protest and sit-in outside Boston’s South Bay Detention Facility. In Baltimore, advocates have launched a new $500,000 legal defense fund for undocumented immigrants who get arrested in ICE raids.
And in Tacoma, Washington, imprisoned immigrants have relaunched a hunger strike at the for-profit Northwest Detention Center, after the strike organizers say the prison’s operator, GEO Group, reneged on the conditions of the negotiations and actually worsened, rather than improved, the food. Click here to see our full interview about the Tacoma hunger strikes.
Two senior lawmakers on the House Oversight Committee—Utah Republican Congressmember Jason Chaffetz and Maryland Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings—say former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn may have broken U.S. laws by receiving payments from the Russian and Turkish governments and then failing to disclose these payments when seeking security clearance. Flynn received tens of thousands of dollars from the Russian government for a 2015 speaking event. He was also working as a foreign agent for the Turkish government last fall as he served as a top adviser to Donald Trump’s campaign. This is Congressmember Jason Chaffetz.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz: “As a former military officer, you simply cannot take money from Russia, Turkey or anybody else. And it appears as if he did take that money. It was inappropriate. And there are repercussions for the violation of law.”
In Berlin, Germany, President Trump’s daughter and White House adviser, Ivanka Trump, was booed during a panel discussion at a meeting of women business leaders, when she claimed that her father was a champion of families.
Ivanka Trump: “I’m very, very proud of my father’s advocacy. Long before he came to the presidency, but during the campaign, including in the primaries, he’s been a tremendous champion of supporting families and enabling them to thrive. In the new reality of—”
Miriam Meckel: “You hear the reaction from the audience.”
That was panel moderator Miriam Meckel. Ivanka was sitting alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel and managing director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde. The panel came as The Washington Post reported that the Chinese factory workers who produce clothing for Ivanka’s brand earn just over $60 a week, for nearly 60 hours of work—or about a $1 an hour.
A new investigation by The Intercept reveals how major corporations, including Koch Industries and Nestlé, lobbied directly for some of President Trump’s key Cabinet nominations. Koch heavily supported now Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt. The clothing manufacturer trade group, the American Apparel & Footwear Association, lobbied to support Andrew Puzder, Trump’s first pick for Labor Department head. Nestlé lobbied for Sonny Perdue, now the secretary of agriculture, while the New York City police sergeants union backed the confirmation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
In Japan, protesters gathered in Okinawa Tuesday to oppose the first day of construction of a highly controversial new U.S. military base on the island. For decades, residents have called for the expulsion of U.S. troops from Okinawa, which houses about two-thirds of the 50,000 U.S. troops currently stationed in Japan.
In Venezuela, two more people have died after being shot at political demonstrations Tuesday, as political unrest continues. Both government forces and armed opposition members have been responsible for deaths during demonstrations in recent weeks. A total of 26 people have died. Among those who have been killed was trade union leader Esmin Ramírez, whose body was found after he was kidnapped over the weekend. Ramírez had been participating in marches in support of President Nicolás Maduro. His friends say his death was politically motivated.
In Brazil, more than 3,000 indigenous people demonstrated in front of Congress Tuesday, protesting ongoing theft of their land and resources, which they say has worsened under President Michel Temer. The demonstrators carried hundreds of coffins to symbolize the genocide of indigenous nations in Brazil. The protests turned into clashes after the police attacked the demonstrators with tear gas, prompting some to respond by throwing spears and shooting arrows at the police.
Back in the United States, in Seattle, prosecutors have charged a married couple with attempted first- and third-degree assault for the shooting of an anti-fascist protester at a demonstration against a speech by white nationalist former Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos at the University of Washington in January.
Joshua Dukes, a member of the Industrial Workers of the World, was critically injured when alleged shooter Elizabeth Hokoana fired a single shot from a Glock semi-automatic handgun into his stomach. Prosecutors say Hokoana and her husband, Marc, went to the protest armed, intending to provoke the anti-fascist protesters.
Marc messaged a friend on Facebook, writing, “I’m going to the milo event and if the snowflakes get out off hand I’m going to wade through their ranks and start cracking skulls.” “Snowflake” is a derisive term used by the far right to refer to leftists and liberals. Joshua Dukes is still recovering from the shooting and says he’s seeking a restorative justice process—not incarceration—for the alleged shooter.