Trump’s Tax Scam is here

Republicans in Congress want to ram through tax cuts for millionaires and corporations on the backs of the middle class and low-income workers. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center analyzed their plan and found that 80% of the
cuts go to the richest 1%, 25% of taxpayers would actually see their taxes go up, and it would increase the deficit by $2.4 trillion by 2027. Trump’s own budget director admitted the plan will increase the deficit, which
makes it harder for other Republicans to say with a straight face that they’re not increasing the deficit they used to pretend to care so much about.

In the meantime the Trump administration has been out parroting a new talking point: that the majority of corporate taxes are passed on to workers (e.g. “paid for” by lower wages or lower hiring). This is a critical argument to selling their corporate tax cut. The problem is it’s not true. Their own report says only 18% of a company’s tax burden is borne by workers, which is in line with estimates from the Congressional Budget Office, the Joint Committee on Taxation and the Tax Policy Center. Their response? Treasury pulled the inconvenient report from their website.

Senator Harris lambasted the GOP tax plan, and so did Senator Feinstein, who is using the hashtag #NotOnePennyMore.

Rachel led us in a very productive meeting with Senator Feinstein’s office this week. Mary Beth worked up our Talking Points, Kathleen took excellent notes that turned into our Action Report, and Gavrilah documented the event in photos. Thank you all for your continued commitment and great teamwork!

Alarmed about the direction our country is taking? Come to our next all-hands meeting! A guest speaker from Swing Left SF will tell us what we can do to win the House seat in 2018 in our neighboring district (CA-10…Tracy/Modesto). We’ll also be kicking off a broader discussion about our focus over the next
year, so don’t miss out. We want to hear from you!

Stand Up SF October Meeting
Sun, Oct 15th, 2pm – 4pm
Noe Valley Library

Stand Up SF action:

Our emotionally stunted president is throwing schoolyard taunts at an unstable nuclear dictator and threatening to “totally destroy” his country. It is crucially important that our Senators uphold their constitutional responsibility to manage war, and to unequivocally deny Trump any authority to take us into a new war with North Korea. Call both Senators with this script.

Want to get involved in CA state legislation?

California is the sixth largest economy in the world, and the legislation it enacts often leads the nation. Dems have a supermajority in both houses, yet citizen engagement in CA state politics is almost non-existent. State  legislators face almost no demands for accountability from their constituents. As a result, many politicians are more responsive to the big business lobbies, while the progressive policy changes that we might support are lost.

A new group called CA StateStrong wants to change this. They are a project of Indivisible SF, and they believe that grassroots activism has the potential to make a big difference in CA policy, potentially rippling out to influence the whole nation.

If you are interested in getting involved at the state level, we encourage you to visit the CA StateStrong website, read the notes from their recent kick-off session (I found them informative), sign up for their email list (scroll to bottom) to get alerts and stay informed, and follow them on Twitter or Facebook.

We get to keep our healthcare

The latest GOP healthcare bill is dead. Whew! A huge relief! It is dead because of the pressure we put on those who represent us. 2,233 Indivisibles made 320,552 calls to constituents of the holdout GOP Senators! We were part of this! In addition, last week alone, Indivisibles with red Senators hosted 172 events at congressional district offices. This is a major victory. Even with a unified conservative government, attempts to hurt people can be stopped by constituents exercising their power. Go Indivisibles!

Happy we won? Consider making a small contribution to Indivisible so “the mothership” can help us win more. We believe Indivisible represents a pretty strategic and critical investment at this time.

Sadly, the fight isn’t over. Trump is deliberately sabotaging the Affordable Care Act, compressing Open Enrollment, slashing the outreach budget, putting out anti-ACA propaganda, cutting assistance to local organizations who help people enroll, and more. And insurers are already starting to jack up premiums as a result of Trump’s ongoing threats to end reimbursements for subsidizing lower-income customers as required by the law (called cost-sharing reductions). FL just announced a 45% increase.

Our next long fight will be about tax reform. Republican lawmakers this week unveiled a 9-page tax blueprint that reduces taxes on the highest earners and on businesses while closing almost no loopholes. It raises the lowest tax bracket, and creates what looks like trillions in new debt. The silence from deficit hawks has been deafening.

Tax policy is a statement of our national priorities. It tells us who we are. Public opinion is on our side, with recent polls showing that what Americans would like even better than a tax break is for government to spend more to educate their children, rebuild infrastructure, and provide health care and a safety net for the elderly, veterans and the poor. A fact-check of Trump’s tax speech this week shows we are in for an onslaught of misleading statements and downright lies.

This week wacko birther extremist Roy Moore won the GOP primary to take the Senate seat Jeff Sessions vacated. Who knew a single Senate candidate could make so many headlines. Moore is especially dangerous as he believes his personal religious views should supersede our civil laws, and far-right Christian religious culture should infuse our institutions. He is a zealous bigot against rights for gays and women among others. He is fact-challenged, was a columnist at the conspiracy-theory site World Net Daily, and just this week said there is sharia law in the US right now — “as I understand it, in Illinois, Indiana.” He compared a congressman taking the oath of office on a Koran to doing so on Hitler’s “Mein Kampf,” and said 9/11 was punishment from God. He also brandished a revolver at a campaign rally. Super cool! Some are afraid his election will start a trend. Let’s hope he doesn’t win the general election on Dec. 12.

Also this week it was revealed that six white house advisers including Kushner have been using personal email for official business (as well as disappearing messaging apps), and the FBI revealed it is investigating about 1,000 cases of white supremacist domestic terrorism.

Stand Up SF actions:

  • The Dept of Homeland Security (DHS) has introduced a new regulation that would allow the agency to collect info from immigrants’ Tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram uploads, and search results. The proposed rule would also
    allow DHS to monitor the social media accounts of green card holders and naturalized citizens, and, according to an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, U.S. citizens who communicate with immigrants, File a public
    comment on this invasion of privacy.
  • Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, the former Verizon lawyer who wants to repeal net neutrality rules, has to be re-confirmed by the Senate now that his term is up. This could happen any day. Call Senators Feinstein and Harris
    and tell them to vote NO on Ajit Pai for another term as head of FCC.
  • GOP House leaders say they will vote on a bill next Tues to ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, with doctors facing up to five years in jail for providing care. Call Congresswoman Pelosi and ask her to make sure all House Dems vote against this invasion of women’s rights.

Actions with other groups:

  • ACLU is going on the offense at the state and local levels to expand access to the ballot and make our democracy more representative. Their first step is to host events where volunteers can watch a “Let People Vote” Livestream
    Training that covers everything needed to immediately get to work locally to protect our voting rights. Sign up to host an event on Sun 10/1 at 4pm. If you decide to host an event, let us know and we will get the word out to Stand Up SF members!
  • Mon 10/2 5:30-8:30, The SF Immigrant Rights Commission is holding a special hearing on the latest travel ban.
  • Wed 10/4 6-9pm Mission: We are all invited to join Swing Left’s party and fundraiser at El Rio, 3158 Mission St in San Francisco. The event will feature David Chiu, CA State Assemblymember, Lucia Nuñez, CA-10 District Organizer for the CA Dem Party, and Dan Hoyle, an actor and writer who has entertained many of us at the Marsh Theater and elsewhere. The Swing Left organizers are putting together a build-your-own taco bar for us all to enjoy, and there will be a cash bar. RSVP so they know how much food to buy. They ask attendees to donate what you can ($10 – $20 – $50 – $100) either ahead of time or at the door. Funds support their effort to take back the House in 2018.

Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill

The new Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill in the Senate is in many ways worse than bills that came before. For one thing, it would punish states like California and New York that have done the most to increase access to health care.

Patient and provider groups have lined up to condemn the bill. On Monday 16 groups condemned it. Tuesday the American Medical Association piled on. Physician groups, hospital and health insurance associations and AARP have all denounced it.

Jimmy Kimmel shared his thoughts on the bill in this video, which so far has had 1.2M views.

Yet Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy are telling people they have the votes. As of this writing, only one GOP Senator, Rand Paul, has said he will definitively vote against it. Republicans in Congress know it is likely their last chance to repeal the ACA, and that (rather than how the bill helps or hurts people) is what is motivating many of them. Unfortunately for Americans, this is not a drill. The threat is very real.

As the NYTimes put it, it is hard to overstate the cruelty of the bill:

  • If you’re nearing retirement, you will likely see your premiums shoot up as insurers can now charge an older person 5X what they charge a young person. Some would see their premiums TRIPLE.
  • If you have a pre-existing condition, you’re out of luck. While insurers have to offer you a plan, they can charge whatever they want to treat your pre-existing condition.
  • If you get sick with an expensive condition, too bad. Caps are back. Hit your lifetime cap and your insurance ends forever.
  • If you rely on a tax credit to afford health insurance, tough break for you. Those are gone.
  • If you or someone you love relies on Medicaid, tough luck. The bill guts Medicaid by cutting hundreds of billions of dollars, and then caps it. 60% of long-stay nursing home residents are on Medicaid. 39% of US children are on Medicaid. The most vulnerable among us will be hurt.
  • You may be one of millions who can no longer afford health insurance (we’ll find out how many tens of millions when the full CBO score is released).

The CBO has said it will provide a preliminary analysis by early next week. We are hoping that bringing the bill into the sunlight with real data that shows how it hurts people in their states might shame some GOP Senators
into voting against it. In the meantime, we continue to try to try to pressure GOP Senators into doing the right thing for their constituents, and for all Americans.

Stand Up SF actions:

  • The future of the ACA likely hinges on the votes of a few Republican Senators. Indivisible has given us a call tool so we can make calls from home to progressive voters in these districts. We need to urge these folks to call
    their Senator right away. It only takes a minute to sign up for the call tool, then you can make calls for 10 minutes or 10 hours.
  • Make sure your friends, family and colleagues know how the bill will affect them. If they live in a red state, ask them to call their representatives.
  • Educate any contacts you have in other states, not only on the bill but on the need to call their Senators. (Remember that polls showed a high % of the people with negative views of Obamacare had positive views of the
    Affordable Care Act. After eight years of misinformation campaigns, people are confused.)
  • Consider a quick donation to an organization that is running ads against the Senate bill in red states, such as MoveOn, so they can run as many as possible this weekend.

Actions with other groups:

We will not stop resisting

We were cautiously happy when we heard that Democratic leaders today struck a tentative deal with Trump to protect DACA recipients from deportation in exchange for increased spending on border security (but not a wall). We now wait for details, and are hoping to see a fast track to permanent citizenship for these young people.

A team from Stand Up SF met with Congresswoman Pelosi’s office this week. Here are the talking points we went in with, and the discussion that ensued. Many thanks to Kathleen who led the action for us, and to all the Stand Up SF volunteers who work behind the scenes to make these visits easy and productive, like our policy team and our Member of Congress trackers.

In other developments this week, the Justice Dept announced that none of the Baltimore officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray would face federal charges. This follows similar decisions in two other civil rights investigations this year where men died at the hands of police officers: Alton Sterling, a black man shot to death in Louisiana, and James Boyd, a mentally ill man shot to death in New Mexico. This is very disturbing, especially in light of Trump’s July remarks where he urged the police not to be “too nice” in transporting  suspects.

On the unfolding saga of Russia interfering with our elections, this week we learned that Russia used Facebook to organize anti-immigrant rallies on U.S. soil. This on top of using social media bots and fake accounts to spread fake news harmful to Clinton.

This week Congress also passed a bi-partisan resolution calling on Trump to condemn hate groups, in response to his “on many sides” shameful defense of white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

I will close with something Charles Blow said so well:

“We, patriots, will not stop resisting this destruction. It is we who will Make America Great Again by trying to limit the damage Trump can do to us.”

Stand Up SF actions:

  • The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has given preliminary permission for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to begin routinely destroying 11 types of records, including those related to sexual assault by guards, substandard medical care, overuse of solitary confinement, threats and physical assault by custody staff, and even death while in custody. The proposal is open for public comment through Friday 9/15. Here is an easy way to submit a comment.
  • H.R. 2810 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 (NDAA) has passed the House and is up for a Senate vote soon. It authorizes $700B in war-mongering (base budget of $632B for the DoD and the national
    security programs of the DoE, $60B for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), $8B add’l requested for “other defense activities.”). We are concerned about dumping billions into defense while stripping critical programs from our citizens. Call both Senators about this (script).
  • And speaking of war, Trump has an itchy trigger finger and unrestricted power to launch nuclear weapons at will. S. 200 – Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017 would require a congressional declaration of war in order to use nuclear weapons, except in response to an incoming nuclear attack. Call and ask Senator Harris to cosponsor the bill (Sen Feinstein already has).

Troubled by the direction our country is taking? Come to our next monthly meeting and help steer and power our resistance!

Pre-meditated murder

Today the Senate approved $15 billion for victims of Harvey as part of a deal between Trump and congressional Democrats that will also raise the federal borrowing limit and keep the government open until Dec. 8. The House is expected to vote on it tomorrow. With Hurricane Irma barreling down on Florida, it is expected to pass. Republican leaders are fuming at the surprise move by Trump. They also were hoping to extend government funding for a longer period so they could avoid additional votes before mid-term elections.

While Trump’s move will offer relief to Harvey victims, he has taken many other steps that will increase the human suffering from future storms:

  • Just days before Harvey pummeled Texas and Louisiana, he signed away the requirement that future building must comply with the tougher flood standards set by President Obama. He did this despite the evidence that flood standards are outdated. Houston alone saw three “500-year” floods in the past three years.
  • He proposed devastating cuts to climate change research as well as huge subcuts to programs that collect data and model storms.
  • He directed the EPA to revisit (that is, loosen) vehicle efficiency standards, despite the fact that about a third of the global warming pollution created in the US comes from transportation. And doesn’t it just seem incredibly antiquated to defend gas guzzlers?
  • He ordered the evisceration of the Clean Power Plan, which was to cut carbon pollution by nearly a third from the dirty power plants that account for 40% of our nation’s carbon footprint.
  • He created a “red team” to challenge the conclusions reached by climate scientists across the globe over decades of research. The red-team approach makes sense in the military and in consumer companies, where you have to make assumptions about the opponent’s plans. But climate science is well understood, with massive consensus on the link between carbon dioxide and climate change. The link is as certain as the link between smoking and lung cancer. One science professor called the red team plan a “dumb
    idea” that’s like “a red team-blue team exercise about whether gravity exists.
  • He has assigned one of his former campaign managers to screen EPA grants for the words “climate change.” The EPA spends half of its ~$8B budget on grant awards.
  • Add to this list Trump’s better-known offenses like putting climate deniers in cabinet positions, expanding fossil fuel development and extracting the US from the Paris climate accord.

The Nation calls this fossil-fuel expansion and climate denial ‘pre-meditated murder.

Earlier this week Trump also rescinded Obama’s DACA policy that let undocumented kids who arrived in the US before they were 16 apply for two-year renewable amnesty. DACA recipients must have a spotless record to be eligible for the program, and about 9 out of 10 are working taxpayers. Trump gave Congress six months to come up with legislation before the plug is pulled on DACA. While this puts 800,000 young people in fear of being deported to a country they’ve never lived in, there is some hope. A recent NBC News poll shows that 64% of Americans support DACA, and 71% want to offer undocumented immigrants who are already working here a chance to  apply for legal status. So the public opinion tide is turning.

In addition, 700 business leaders from across the country signed an open letter calling on Congress to pass the bipartisan DREAM Act or similar legislation, including CEOs from Amazon, AT&T, eBay, Microsoft, Wells Fargo and many other household names. And in a separate letter, 1,800 community leaders including numerous governors, 130 mayors, 200 state legislators, and a host of faith, legal, community, and law enforcement leaders called on Congress to enact legislation that “replaces fear and uncertainty with permanent protection for Dreamers.”

Attorneys general from 15 states have filed a lawsuit against the administration over DACA. Our Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, plans to file a separate suit since about 1/4 of DACA recipients live in California.

If you live in San Francisco and want to change the course of this country, we invite you to join us.

Come to our Sept monthly meeting!
Sunday Sept 17th, 2-4pm
Noe Valley Library
451 Jersey St, San Francisco
Register now!

Stand Up SF actions:

  • We need more, not less, funding for programs that keep communities safe in the face of catastrophes like Hurricane Harvey. Call all 3 MoCs and say ““My name is ___ and I am a constituent. I am calling to ask the Senator, as she gets ready to vote on a spending package, to please vote “no” to any bill that would cut the funding for agencies and programs that help communities prepare for and respond to disasters—including funding for FEMA, NOAA, NASA, and the EPA.”
  • Trump just nominated anti-science climate denier Jim Bridenstine to run NASA. Bridenstine is not a scientist, and he has an ugly history of anti-science rants. On the House floor in 2013, he demanded President Obama apologize for spending NASA money on studying climate change. NASA’s earth sciences division is at the forefront of climate change research, and its satellites provide critical data on weather events like hurricanes. Call Senators Harris and Feinstein and oppose Bridenstine. “My name is ___ and I am a constituent. I am calling to tell the Senator that NASA needs to be run by someone who respects science, not someone who rejects science. Please oppose Jim Bridenstine as head of NASA. He is a climate denier.”
  • One of the most effective tools for winning the fight for DACA youth is to gather personal stories. if you have a personal story about how DACA has helped you or someone you know, share it with Senator Harris, who is
    a champion of immigrants, here on her special form.

Actions with other groups: