Mad rush to remake America | Health care for bus drivers | Just because

Thursday, November 30, 2017




► From The Hill — Senate GOP votes to begin debate on tax bill — The Senate voted on strict party lines, 52-48, to begin debate on its tax cut bill Wednesday, edging Republicans closer to their first major legislative victory under President Trump as they seek to finish the chamber’s work on the measure by the end of the week.

ALSO at The Stand:

GOP tax bills are theft from working people (by Jeff Johnson)

Call U.S. Senators to stop job-killing tax plan — Call your senator today at 844-899-9913. Tell them to oppose the job-killing tax plan that favors the super-rich and wealthy corporations over working people.

► In today’s Washington Post — Trump, Senate Republicans blowing through yellow lights on the way to tax overhaul — The clip at which the tax bill is moving reflects a decision by GOP leaders to embrace speed as a means of eschewing closer scrutiny from stakeholders, nonpartisan scorekeepers and wavering members of their own party.

► In today’s Washington Post — Deeply unpopular Congress aims to pass deeply unpopular bill for deeply unpopular president to sign (by Philip Bump) — It’s not odd that Republicans are pushing for a tax bill that’s tilted toward business and the wealthy. It’s a return to the argument that benefits at the top trickle down to workers in the form of more jobs and better pay… It’s just that everything about it is so unpopular. That’s the odd thing. There’s the legislation itself, which evolves constantly and is therefore hard to poll. Earlier this month, Quinnipiac University asked generally whether Americans supported the tax reform plan. Only 25 percent of Americans said they did.

► From Huffington Post — GOP goes for win on taxes, consequences be damned (by Leo W. Gerard) — An entire year of legislative defeats has grated on the GOP. Their promised Affordable Care Act repeal failed — again and again and again. Their Muslim ban was, well, banned by the courts. And now, in the waning days of November, their infrastructure bill, big beautiful border wall and brand new NAFTA are all missing. Republicans have lost so much, they’re downright desperate for a win. And that’s why they’re pushing a tax scam supported by a mere 25 percent of Americans. They’ve just got to rack up a win, consequences and American workers be damned.

► MUST-READ in today’s NY Times — It started as a tax cut. Now it could change American life. (by Peter Goodman and Patricia Cohen) — As the bill has been rushed through Congress with scant debate, its far broader ramifications have come into focus, revealing a catchall legislative creation that could reshape major areas of American life, from education to health care. Some measures are barely connected to the realm of taxation, such as the lifting of a 1954 ban on political activism by churches and the conferring of a new legal right for fetuses in the House bill — both on the wish list of the evangelical right. With a potentially far-reaching dimension, elements in both the House and Senate bills could constrain the ability of states and local governments to levy their own taxes, pressuring them to limit spending on health care, education, public transportation and social services… The result is a behemoth piece of legislation that could widen American economic inequality while diminishing the power of local communities to marshal relief for vulnerable people — especially in high-tax states like California and New York, which, not coincidentally, tend to vote Democratic… By 2027, people making $40,000 to $50,000 would pay a combined $5.3 billion more in taxes, while the group earning $1 million or more would get a $5.8 billion cut.

► Oh, and then there’s this, from Vox — Republicans are on their 4th attempt at ACA repeal, and they just might succeed — The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, as being considered in the U.S. Senate, repeals the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. That change, according to the Congressional Budget Office, would cut $338 billion over 10 years from Medicaid and insurance subsidies and lead to 13 million fewer people having health coverage. That will, according to the best evidence we have, lead to an increase in preventable deaths on the order of 15,600 people per year.




► In today’s Seattle Times — Health care costs are at heart of Seattle school-bus strike — Olivia Moore sees the same kids every day on the yellow school bus she drives to and from Seattle’s Montlake Elementary and Washington Middle schools. She and her riders are close. One girl is mercilessly bullied, and eagerly tells Moore if she’s had a good day or not when she steps on the bus. When Moore was diagnosed with basal- cell carcinoma, another young girl gave her a card. Moore, 26, doesn’t qualify for the health-care plan offered by First Student, the bus contractor for Seattle Public Schools, because she can’t get enough hours. So instead, she makes appointments at community health centers. She cited her health as one reason she joined the picketing Wednesday for the one-day strike called by Teamsters Local 174, the union that represents 400 Seattle school-bus drivers. The Teamsters announced the strike Tuesday after contract talks with First Student stalled. “I want to get this (cancer) taken care of so I can be there for my kids, whom I love to death, and I want to make sure they get to school safely and they have someone they can approach if they ever have any issues,” said Moore.

► From The Stranger — UW student denied release from Tacoma Immigration Detention Center — Most of the University of Washington students who arrived by bus to a protest outside the Northwest Detention Center this morning never saw their classmate as he spoke to an immigration judge at a hearing for his release on bond.




► In today’s Columbian — EFSEC makes right call (editorial) — Tuesday’s decision by the state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council was a victory for Vancouver, the Columbia River Gorge and residents who value this region’s strengths. As the council gave a unanimous thumbs-down to a proposed oil terminal at the Port of Vancouver, it provided the punctuation to years of outspoken public opposition while reinforcing a simple notion: This is the wrong plan at the wrong time in the wrong place.

► From The Stranger — ACLU to state lawmakers: Quit blocking your constituents on social media — The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington says some state lawmakers are “unconstitutionally censoring and/or blocking constituents” from their social media pages.




► From the AFL-CIO — Trump’s TPS decision is literally tearing families apart — This week, the Trump administration made the cruel announcement that it will strip away rights and work permits from 50,000 men and women from Haiti by ending their Temporary Protected Status. Our UNITE HERE sister, Marie Parfait, is one of the tens of thousands of Haitian immigrants who will be facing deportation in 18 months—even though she and others have been living and working here legally for nearly a decade.

ALSO at The Stand — UNITE HERE urges Reichert, Congress to save TPS program

► From The Hill — Moore says lesbians, gays, socialists behind sexual misconduct allegations — Multiple women have accused Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual misconduct. The Washington Post reported earlier this month that a woman claimed Moore initiated a sexual encounter with her in 1979, when she was 14 and he was 32. Other women have also come forward to accuse Moore of a range of behavior, from pursuing relationships with them when they were teenagers to sexual assault. Moore has denied the allegations and has vowed to remain in the race and is now blaming members of the LGBT community, liberals and socialists for the sexual misconduct allegations leveled against him.

► From The Hill — Convicted ex-coal exec releases first ad in Senate campaign — Former coal executive Don Blankenship has launched his campaign for the United States Senate with an advertisement asserting his innocence in a mine disaster that killed 29.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Who does he blame for the disaster? You guessed it. Obama.

► In today’s Washington Post — Our political foundation is rotting away (by E.J. Dionne) — Great nations and proud democracies fall when their systems become so corrupted that the decay is not even noticed — or the rot is written off as a normal part of politics. President Trump has created exactly such a crisis. He has not done it alone. The corrosion of norms and values began long before he propelled the nation past the edge, and his own party is broadly complicit in enabling his attacks on truth, decency and democratic values.




► From HuffPost —  The Janus case: “Kill shot” for unions, or shot in the arm? (by Keith Kelleher) —  Many look at the Janus case or other Supreme Court cases and see the death knell for labor, or they look at the myriad ways that the Trump administration and Republican governors have at their disposal to stop dues checkoff, withdraw union recognition, weaken wage, hour, health and safety, and many other hard-won laws in an effort to take away the few rights that we have remaining — and they may be right. But from a union that has already survived a similar legal “kill shot” from Harris v. Quinn, the Janus case just could be a shot in the arm for labor and our allies. Only time will tell if we can rise, like the United Mineworkers did in the wake of the Great Depression, and rebuild not only our union, but help form unions with the tens of millions of other workers across the United States who want and need a voice of their own.

► From The Nation — Trumpism infects California schools — The impact of this distrust starts early, as Muslim American children have come to expect a range of hostility from their own neighbors. An advocacy group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, has cataloged the types of anti-Muslim hate facing California’s Muslim students, revealing a pervasive culture of bigotry and anxiety from the schoolyard to the principal’s office.




► Because we need some awesome dance music to lift our spirits amid the daily drip of horrible news, because we love superhero movies, and because we have young-adult children who’ve probably been to “parties” like this, The Entire Staff of The Stand presents Beck’s “Up All Night.” (P.S. If you ever have the chance to see Beck live, do it.)


TESOTS is taking Friday off. We’ll be back on Monday, Dec. 4.


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

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