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GOP’s corporate giveaway, America’s truth crisis, Tash’s genius

Friday, November 3, 2017




► From The Stranger — Seattle will begin proactively investigating industries that may be ripping off workers — Seattle’s Office of Labor Standards will soon begin an important new type of labor law investigation. “Directed investigations” is the incredibly unsexy term for a type of labor law enforcement that can have hugely important effects.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Group that sent flier targeting immigrants in Burien is mostly funded by out-of-staters — Respect Washington, a political committee that sent a letter listing purportedly undocumented immigrants’ names, addresses and crimes to more than 3,000 Burien residents, is mostly financed by non-Washington residents — mainly a nonprofit in Michigan founded by a man some describe as racist.




► From the AFL-CIO — Republican tax bill nothing but corporate giveaways — AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka: “This tax bill is a job killer. It gives hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks to companies that outsource jobs and profits. No matter how it’s spun by Republican politicians, their tax bill is nothing but giveaways to Wall Street, big corporations and millionaires, paid for on the backs of working families. It is astounding that a tax bill that will encourage offshoring is even under consideration. It’s shameless to propose cutting Medicaid, Medicare, education and infrastructure to pay for tax breaks for the 1%. History tells us, commonsense tells us and careful analysis of this tax bill tells us that these tax giveaways for the wealthy and big corporations will never trickle down to the rest of us. Real tax reform actually can put money back in the pockets of working people, but this is not that kind of plan.”

► From AFL-CIO blog — The top reasons why the Republican tax bill is bad for working people2. Republicans are proposing to (partially) pay for tax cuts with drastic cuts to Medicaid, Medicare and education. The GOP budget includes $5 trillion in budget cuts, including $1.5 trillion in cuts to Medicaid and Medicare, an increase in the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67, and an end to Medicare’s guarantee of health coverage.

► From The Hill — Poll: Americans oppose tax plan by 17-point margin

EDITOR’S NOTE — Wait until they get more of the gory details.

► From the AP — GOP tax plan may offer little aid for many in middle class — How much of the House GOP tax plan is tailored to benefit America’s middle class? That’s uncertain based on the details that have been provided so far. What is clear is that many of the benefits for the middle class could dwindle over time, even while companies and wealthy individuals could enjoy lasting tax advantages.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Republican tax plan would hit Seattle, Eastside homebuyers dealing with pricey market — The GOP tax overhaul, if it becomes law, would reduce itemized mortgage-tax benefits for new owners of expensive homes — like the typical house selling today in Seattle or the Eastside.

► From Politico — Conservatives push to repeal Obamacare mandate in tax package — President Donald Trump also indicated his approval of using the tax vehicle to scrap the mandate this week. The CBO estimates that 15 million more individuals would be uninsured in 2026 if the mandate is repealed.

► In today’s Washington Post — GOP’s bill is ‘a sensible framework’ — but ‘still a deficit-exploding tax cut’ for the rich and corporations (analysis) — At heart, the GOP plan cuts taxes on large businesses and pays for those reductions by raising taxes on individuals.

► In today’s NY Times — Would tax cut create jobs, or mostly benefit rich investors? (analysis) — Even some ardent supporters say expectations about growth and job gains are exaggerated. There is a divide over whether the plan is likely to revitalize the economy or merely bestow a windfall on the wealthiest investors.

► In today’s Washington Post — The Republican tax plan puts rich donors ahead of working families (by Sen. Elizabeth Warren) — We can build an economy that grows faster and provides every American family with basic economic security. That work starts by shutting down the McConnell-Ryan $2.5 trillion corporate giveaway.




► Read this… from Vox — America is facing an epistemic crisis (by David Roberts) — An increasingly large chunk of Americans believes a whole bunch of crazy things, and it is warping our politics… What if Mueller proves the case that Donald Trump colluded with Russia and it’s not enough? What if there is no longer any evidentiary standard that could overcome the influence of right-wing media? Epistemology is the branch of philosophy having to do with how we know things and what it means for something to be true or false, accurate or inaccurate. The U.S. is experiencing a deep epistemic breach, a split not just in what we value or want, but in who we trust, how we come to know things, and what we believe we know — what we believe exists, is true, has happened and is happening. The primary source of this breach is the U.S. conservative movement’s rejection of the mainstream institutions devoted to gathering and disseminating knowledge (journalism, science, the academy) — the ones society has appointed as referees in matters of factual dispute. In their place, the right has created its own parallel set of institutions, most notably its own media ecosystem.

The insular partisan far-right media is full of nonsense like Pizzagate that leaves the base continuously pumped up — outraged, infuriated, terrified, and misled. At this point, as the stories above show, the conservative base will believe anything. And they are pissed about all of it.

EDITOR’S NOTE — And lest you think the Republican Party establishment is not actively involved in this deliberate obfuscation of truth, Politico reports today, “Top House GOP campaign strategists met with former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon on Friday morning… at the Capitol Hill townhouse that serves as a base of operations for Bannon and his Breitbart News website.” That’s right, they go to him now, cap in hand, and ask this horrible racist POS not to take out “establishment-oriented House incumbents in the 2018 midterm elections.”

Is America great again yet?




► In the Idaho Statesman — They broke labor rules. We gave them $8M in farm subsidies and 8,000 foreign workers. — Some Idaho agriculture businesses with a history of problems have continued to get approval to import workers from other countries through the H-2 program’s two visa types, H-2A and H-2B. Those temporary employees do jobs that are among the most dangerous in the U.S., based on worker injury and death rates. Many businesses also received farm subsidies, which are not contingent upon an employer’s willingness to follow labor laws, wage laws or safety laws. Several agriculture businesses with one or more fatalities in the past decade currently have federal approval to use foreign workers to fill their jobs, and they have continued to receive monetary benefits through federal farm-aid programs.

► From The Stranger — What happens when a Trump-supporting, anti-union billionaire runs a media company — Joe Ricketts, founder of Ameritrade, owner of the Chicago Cubs, and an avid Trump supporter, recently wrote, “It is my observation that unions exert efforts that tend to destroy the Free Enterprise system.” But for Ricketts, all it took was an instant and the push of a button to destroy the work of hundreds of online journalists covering valuable local news stories in their neighborhoods, possibly forever.

► From Buzzfeed — Organizing director of The Fight For 15 has resigned amid harassment investigation — Two more top organizers have left the SEIU Thursday — one resigned, one was fired — in connection with an ongoing investigation into harassment.

► In today’s Washington Post — NYC strippers strike: Dancers say nearly naked ‘bottle girls’ are grabbing their cash, cite racism




► A couple of weeks ago, The Entire Staff of The Stand saw Tash Sultana perform at the Neptune in Seattle. This 22-year-old Australian multi-instrumentalist/busker amazed us all with her “one-woman band.” Discovered by the recording industry thanks to YouTube videos like the one below, she earned a record deal and sold out shows on her worldwide tour. She is a genius. Enjoy.


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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