It's not over yet.
1. Write or Call Congress about the TAX bill before its finalized.
2. Write a letter to the editor.
Don't get discouraged. Get ANGRY and write to congress and your local paper. Here's what I sent to my reps this am. What did I miss? What will you send?
"The tax bill is an atrocity. Please, as they blend the house and senate versions: make sure that
1. Personhood is not defined at conception
2. Graduate students aren't taxed on tuition waivers
3. Private school savings are not tax exempt while the state and local taxes we pay will be double taxed.
4. Remove the ACA mandate rollback which will gut the ACA 5. Stop the rollback of estate taxes.
6. Allow for continued medical expense deductions. Its a critical lifeline for the very ill and disabled.
The rest, the horrible premise of this travesty of a bill, the subsidy of the wealthy by giving them breaks on the backs of the poor, we will use against the GOP at every turn.
We the people are really, really, angry and we won't give up!" (feel free to borrow and edit). I used resistbot.
Immigration Bans are a top priority of the Trump Administration and the GOP. A little known fact is that over 50% of graduate students in Science Technology andMath in US Universities are from Abroad. Perhaps the GOP House elimination of the Graduate Student Tuition Waiver is meant to discourage all the overseas PhD candidates, who have an even smaller ability to pay taxes or tuition than US based students. Is this perhaps more of the Trump agenda immigrant phobia, essentially a back-door ban, or is this just build to crush either poor students hoping to get advanced degrees, increase student debt, or shut down universities, which are seen to be liberal leaning.
A. Backdoor Immigration Policy
B. Class war to deny higher education and salaries to the "lower class"
C. Another means to increase student debt, which is becoming more privatized or
D. Means to hurt US Universities that are seen as "too liberal"?
"International students studying in the United States on temporary visas accounted for nearly two-fifths (39 percent) of all PhDs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields in 2013 https://www.washingtonpost.com/.../Graphics/KF_Report.pdf
HHS New Strategic Plan Violates Separation of church and state, defines life at conception, allows denial of service based on religion objections, and pushes short term benefits and return to work.
There is so much to unpack here.
New Plan with comments available: https://www.hhs.gov/about/draft-strategic-plan/index.html
Old Plan is accessible on the left column (Strategic Plan FY 2014-18
Major changes marked in bold purple.
The department of Health and Human Sevices has released its draft strategic plan. It proposes huge shifts in US policy towards women, families, the disabled that show a deep lack of understanding and empathy towards the people the agency is meant to protect.
Summary: The new HHS Strategic plan has huge changes in store for the organization. Here's my first draft response and preliminary analysis:
Lets break it down, section by section: (work in progress)
Mission: NO Change
Old: The mission of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is to enhance the health and well-being of Americans by providing for effective health and human services and by fostering sound, sustained advances in the sciences underlying medicine, public health, and social services.
The mission of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is to enhance the health and well-being of Americans, by providing for effective health and human services and by fostering sound, sustained advances in the sciences underlying medicine, public health, and social services.
Organizational Structure: adds Global responsibility??
HHS accomplishes its mission through programs and initiatives that cover a wide spectrum of activities, serving Americans at every stage of life. Eleven operating divisions, including eight agencies in the U.S. Public Health Service and three human services agencies, administer HHS’s programs. In addition, staff divisions provide leadership, direction, and policy management guidance to the Department.
HHS accomplishes its mission through programs and initiatives that cover a wide spectrum of activities, serving and protecting Americans at every stage of life, beginning at conception. Eleven operating divisions, including eight agencies in the U.S. Public Health Service and three human services agencies, administer HHS’s programs. While HHS is a domestic agency working to protect and promote the health and well-being of the American people, the interconnectedness of our world requires that HHS engage globally to fulfill its mission. In addition, staff divisions provide leadership, direction, and policy guidance to the Department.
Cross Agency Collaborations and Partnerships
"Through its programming and other activities, HHS works closely with state, local, and U.S. territorial governments. The federal government has a unique legal and political government-to-government relationship with tribal governments and a special obligation to provide services for American Indians and Alaska Natives based on these individuals’ relationship to tribal governments. HHS works with tribal governments, urban Indian organizations, and other tribal organizations to facilitate greater consultation and coordination between states and tribes on health and human services issues.
HHS also has strong partnerships with the private sector and nongovernmental organizations. The Department partners with the private sector, such as regulated industries, academic institutions, trade organizations, and advocacy groups. The Department leverages resources from these organizations to enable HHS to accomplish its mission through strategies that minimize the burden on, and increase the benefits to, the American public. This effort occurs through faith-based and neighborhood partnerships as well as grantees in the private sector, such as academic institutions and community-based nonprofit organizations, which provide many services at the local level. HHS collaborates with other federal departments and international partners to ensure the maximum impact for the public.
The narrative and strategies under each strategic goal and objective describe how the Department collaborates with governmental and nongovernmental groups."
New: NOT present
Strategic Plan Development - No substantive changes
Old:Every four years, HHS updates its Strategic Plan, which describes its work to address complex, multifaceted, and evolving health and human services issues. An agency strategic plan is one of three main elements required by the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993 (P.L. 103-62) and the GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-352). An agency strategic plan defines its mission, goals, and the means by which it will measure its progress in addressing specific national problems over a four-year period.
Each of the Department’s operating and staff divisions contributed to the development of the Strategic Plan, as reflected in the Plan’s strategic goals, objectives, strategies, and performance goals. A workgroup of liaisons from the Department’s operating and staff divisions developed the narrative, strategies, and performance goals for the Plan. The workgroup ensured that the Plan aligns with the Department’s annual GPRA reporting in Congressional Budget Justifications and the Summary of Performance and Financial Information, which together fulfill HHS’s annual GPRA performance reporting requirements. This Plan also aligns strategic goals and objectives with priorities of the Administration, the Department, and HHS divisions.
Every four years, HHS updates its strategic plan, which describes its work to address complex, multifaceted, and evolving health and human services issues. An agency strategic plan is one of three main elements required by the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993 (P.L. 103-62) and the GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-352). An agency strategic plan defines its mission, goals, and the means by which it will measure its progress in addressing specific national problems over a four-year period.
All OpDivs and StaffDivs within HHS contributed to the development of this draft of the HHS Strategic Plan FY 2018 – 2022 (Strategic Plan), as reflected in its strategic goals, objectives, and strategies. The Strategic Plan’s content aligns with the priorities of the Administration and HHS.
Goals - This is the "meat". What the agency wants to accomplish
Goal 1: Reform, Strengthen and Modernize the Nation’s Health Care system
Goal 2: Protect the Health of Americans Where They Live, Learn, Work, and Play
Goal 3: Strengthen the Economic and Social Well-Being of Americans across the Lifespan
Goal 4: Foster Sound, Sustained Advances in the Sciences
Goal 5: Promote Effective and Efficient Management and Stewardship
Goal 1: Changes Summary:
Actual Text- Old:
"In March 2010, the President signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148) and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-152), collectively referred to as the Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act increases access to care, makes health insurance more affordable, strengthens Medicare, and ensures that Americans have more rights and protections — and more security that health insurance coverage will be available when it is needed. The Affordable Care Act has given states the option to expand access to Medicaid for low-income adults and families. The federal government will pay for 100% of the costs of covering newly eligible adults for three years beginning in 2014. The federal amount decreases gradually and becomes 90% of the costs in 2020 and subsequent years.
HHS is responsible for implementing many of the provisions included in the Affordable Care Act that seek to expand coverage, emphasize prevention, improve the quality of health care and patient outcomes across health care settings, ensure patient safety, promote efficiency and accountability, and work toward high-value health care. The Health Insurance Marketplace, also known as Exchanges, helps consumers find health insurance that fits their budget. Every health insurance plan in the Marketplace will offer core benefits and increased protections from high out-of-pocket expenses, and consumers will be able to compare their insurance options based on price, benefits, and quality. Lower- and moderate-income families and many small businesses will be eligible for financial assistance, including a premium tax credit and cost-sharing reductions, to help pay for health insurance. In addition to increased coverage options, the Affordable Care Act protects against medical bankruptcy because it prohibits insurers from imposing an annual or lifetime dollar limit on essential health benefits, and it makes it illegal for them to discriminate against anyone because of a pre-existing condition. The goal is to lower overall health care costs by improving health status among individuals and communities.
HHS is providing the American public with the means to make more informed choices about their health care through resources such as HealthCare.gov, which provides information about health insurance options. HHS is developing evidence-based tools, health care provider incentives, and payment reforms that support the delivery of high-quality, effective, and efficient health care services; expanding coordinated care through integrated care models; and promoting the meaningful use of electronic health records and other health information technology. HHS also is working to reduce disparities in health and access to health care among vulnerable populations."
Objective A: Make coverage more secure for those who have insurance, and extend affordable coverage to the uninsured
Objective B: Improve health care quality and patient safety
Objective C: Emphasize primary and preventive care, linked with community prevention services
Objective D: Reduce the growth of health care costs while promoting high-value, effective care
Objective E: Ensure access to quality, culturally competent care, including long-term services and supports, for vulnerable populations
Objective F: Improve health care and population health through meaningful use of health information technology
Actual Text New:
HHS is dedicated to reforming, strengthening, and modernizing the Nation’s health care system. By promoting greater affordability and balancing spending, strengthening health care quality and patient safety, improving access and expanding choices, and investing in the health care workforce, HHS seeks to improve health care outcomes for people we serve. While we may refer to the people we serve as beneficiaries, enrollees, patients, or consumers, our ultimate goal is to improve healthcare outcomes for all people, including the unborn, across healthcare settings.
New Goal 1.3
Vigorously enforce laws, regulations, and other authorities, especially Executive Order 13798 of May 4, 2017, Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty, to reduce burdens on the exercise of religious and moral convictions, promote equal and nondiscriminatory participation by faith-based organizations in HHS-funded or conducted activities, and remove barriers to the full and active engagement of faith-based organizations in the work of HHS through targeted outreach, education, and capacity building
Goal 2 :New Protect the Health of Americans Where They Live, Learn, Work, and Play
No comparable old.
Objective 2.1: Empower people to make informed choices for healthier living
Objective 2.2: Prevent, treat, and control communicable diseases and chronic conditions
Objective 2.3: Reduce the impact of mental and substance use disorders through prevention, early intervention, treatment, and recovery support
Objective 2.4: Prepare for and respond to public health emergencies
NEW Goal 2.1:
"2.1 Strategies (ed: looks like the govt is planning to fund faith based organizations)
Ensure people have the information they need to make healthier living choices
Goal 3: Strengthen the Economic and Social Well-Being of Americans across the Lifespan
"A core component of the HHS mission is our dedication to serve all Americans from conception to natural death, but especially those individuals and populations facing or at high risk for economic and social well-being challenges, through effective human services. HHS efforts to improve human services include efforts to support socially and economically safe, stable environments for individuals, families, and communities. This strategic goal also focuses on HHS efforts to improve outcomes for children and families, older adults, people with disabilities, and people with limited English proficiency."
NEW Goal 3.1
HHS invests in safety net programs as well as programs that seek to assist specific populations who are, or who are at risk of, being unemployed or underemployed – such as youth, people with disabilities, and formerly incarcerated individuals – in preparing for, acquiring, and sustaining employment. HHS implements strategies to strengthen self-sufficiency and independence through personal responsibility and economic opportunity.
3.1 StrategiesReform safety net programs to assist disadvantaged and low income populations
Old: (Unrelated) Advance the Health, Safety, and Well-Being of the American People
Goal 4: Foster Sound, Sustained Advances in the Sciences
Objective 4.1: Improve surveillance, epidemiology, and laboratory services
Promote use of youth-focused surveillance and data collection to inform school and community actions that improve the health of adolescents
Support and enhance the collection of behavioral health survey and surveillance data to establish trends and detect aberrations, particularly in response to local or national disasters, in order to respond to community level emergencies and localized public health threats
Strengthen understanding of the opioid crisis through better public health surveillance to inform clinical management decisions for patients, including effects of opioid use in pregnancy and neonatal abstinence syndrome
Facilitate information sharing, exchange, and alignmentImplement information technology solutions that support timely information exchange among local, state, international, and federal agencies, healthcare facilities, and laboratories while ensuring that these systems minimize threats to information security
Objective 4.2: Expand the capacity of the scientific workforce and infrastructure to support innovative research
Objective 4.3: Advance basic science knowledge and conduct applied prevention and treatment research to improve health and development
Objective 4.4: Leverage translational research, dissemination and implementation science, and evaluation investments to support adoption of evidence informed practices
Compare to old goal 2 Advance Scientific Knowledge and Innovation
Objective A: Accelerate the process of scientific discovery to improve health
Objective B: Foster and apply innovative solutions to health, public health, and human services challenges
Objective C: Advance the regulatory sciences to enhance food safety, improve medical product development, and support tobacco regulation
Objective D: Increase our understanding of what works in public health and human services practice
Objective E: Improve laboratory, surveillance, and epidemiology capacity
Get vocal, very local. Meet Yard Sign ARMY, providing free, or pay what you can yard signs for progressive voices.
"Yard Signs help you inform your community, gather like minded people and win progressive causes."
Speaking to a Progressive Audience at Netroots Nation, Warren Argues we must UN-RIG the system, together.
This great speech by Elizabeth Warren got buried on Saturday...lets bring it into the light. Ignore the Medias spin...they try to pitch it as a move left, but if you read Warren's words, I see it as a call for a bigger tent. She is responding to an article that calls for Democrats to move back to the center. She rejects that
"Because the Democratic Party isn’t going back to the days of welfare reform and the crime bill. It is NOT going to happen.We’re not going back to the days of being lukewarm on choice..We’re not going back to the days when universal health care was something Democrats talked about on the campaign trail but were too chicken to fight for after they got elected.
And we’re not going back to the days when a Democrat who wanted to run for a seat in Washington first had to grovel on Wall Street.
Democrats are heading forward. We are looking ahead – and we will not, we shall not, we must not allow anyone to turn back the clock."
She calls for all Democrats to work for those in need. If that's progressive, then I'm progressive.
"We are not the gate crashers of today’s Democratic Party. We are not a wing of today’s Democratic Party. We are the heart and soul of today’s Democratic Party. But, boy, we’ve inherited a hell of a challenge, haven’t we?
We’re gathering here in Atlanta in a moment of crisis for our country. And I’m not just talking about Donald Trump and his Twitter account. More and more working families today are hanging on by their fingernails in a country with an economy and a government that works only for those at the very top."
And then she talks about what unites us
"How about you? By applause: Who got into the fight because they were passionate about economic justice? Who came to fight for reproductive rights? How about clean air and clean water? How about immigration? Civil rights? Human rights? Anti-war? Campaign finance reform? Net neutrality? Any other bankruptcy nerds in the house?
That’s one of the things I love about coming to Netroots. We all came to this fight from different experiences. We all get fired up about different issues."
She makes the case that Democrats need to unite and stop the in-fighting:
"But if we’re going to be the people who lead the Democratic Party back from the wilderness and lead our country out of this dark time, then we can’t waste energy arguing about whose issue matters most or who in our alliance should be voted off the island.
We need to see each other’s fights as our own. And I believe we can."
We have to UN-RIG the system -That is who we are as Democrats, thats what we should stand for
"For so many Americans, every day is a battle against powerful interests. It’s time for us to pick sides and get in the fight.So let’s talk about picking sides:
It’s time for us to say: Democrats are on the side of working people, on the side of Moms and Dads who dream of a better life for their kids, on the side of people in every part of this country and people of every race, gender, and religion who just want a level playing field and a chance to build a future."
Please read it here: At Politico
"The Secret Weapon Democrats Don’t Know How to Use" - Michael Kruse Politico
No Democrat in the House of Representatives did what Cheri Bustos did last November. She wasn’t the sole member of her party to win in a congressional district Donald Trump also took—there were 11 others—but she was the only one to post a 20-point landslide, and she did it in agricultural, industrial, blue-collar northwestern Illinois. In the kind of place where Hillary Clinton lost big last fall and where Democrats have been losing in droves for the last decade, Bustos has done just the opposite.
Here are some tips:
A democrat in Illinois is very different than a democrat in San Francisco. We have to live with it. We have to have a very big tent, and not have "purity tests"... If we want to win back the house.
Read it here:
Sometimes you can't tell the players without a program. This image is circulating on social media. It helps me a lot Alt-Right, Fascists, White nationalists, white separatists, Nazi and KKK You still can't tell who's who.
https://www.vox.com/2017/8/12/16138246/charlottesville-nazi-rally-right-uva is a good article about the many right groups in Charlottesville the agent to the "United the right" Rally.
"According to the Charlottesville police affidavit put out before the rally, planned attendees included the Klan; the militia movement (a right-wing movement that gained traction in the 1990s, whose members include the activists who took over a federal nature reserve in early 2016); the “3%”, a right-wing anti-government movement; the Alt-Knights, an alt-right “fight club”; and others."
From Steve on Facebook. A helpful? guide.
#resource University of WA graduate students have created an awesome tool to enable us to harness public comments on Federal Agencies. Public comments are required by law, and can be important in swinging regulatory policy. Very often private citizens don't comment because the aren't aware of the issues, the comment periods, and the importance. Go forth and comment where you have knowledge. https://publiccommentproject.org
This Photo is going around Facebook. It is true, but it only touches the tip of the story. We pay far more for prescriptions in the US than other nations.
About $1000 per person per year, but that's in part because WE ARE PRESCRIBED MORE Drugs. By a lot. Thats right.
Why do americans have so many damn prescriptions too? Overall, Americans use more medicines than people in other developed countries. They rank first for their use of antipsychotics as well as drugs for dementia, respiratory problems and rheumatoid arthritis. This is partly explained by medical needs: The burden of disease in the U.S. — as measured in “years of life lost” — is higher than in many OECD countries for the most common forms of heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. Several factors may explain this, including high levels of obesity and high rates of diagnosis. PBS summarized the high cost of prescriptions, but only touched on the over-prescribing. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/americans-spend-much-pharmaceuticals/
BREAKING: Wondering if there's something you could do to help Democrats win control of the Washington State Senate? Do you wish our kids' schools had better funding? Then check out this new project that Barak Gaster and two friends put together. It collects all the info you need to make a difference right now. Sign up for monthly newsletter updates, to flip the State Senate now. Sign up now to learn about 2 special elections which are just 6 months away. Did you know that we are just one seat away from flipping the Senate to Democratic control? To help our schools, to promote clean energy, to protect our health care, and more. So copy and paste this to your timeline. Together let's turn Washington blue!
Today Trump will sign an executive order to repeal the Clean Power Plan of the EPA. Become your own Clean Power Plan. Share please. Tip of the hat to globalstewards.org for the 20 ways. photo and meme are my own.
This is one of the most subversive ways to undermine the Trump climate agenda, with personal and community action.
Another Great Resource: https://www.ourstates.org
"AS WE WORK TO BLOCK TRUMP'S AGENDA IN CONGRESS, HIS AGENDA IS ALREADY BEING IMPLEMENTED IN MANY STATES. " - What is happening in Your state?
Reported today in Reno News: Equal Rights Amendment Passes Nevada Assembly, Senate Likely to Concur.
Celebrating News that today the Nevada legislature voted to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). In order to make the ERA the 27th amendment of the Constitution, 38 states are needed ratify the amendment, and now with Nevada, only two additional states are required. The ERA was my first political activism. I went door to door in 8th grade and went to rallies. So glad to see momentum on this issue.
The ERA is a bipartisan bill to amend the constitution to guarantee equal rights for women!
More on the ERA at http://www.equalrightsamendment.org
History from Wikipedia on the ERA
In February 1970, NOW picketed the United States Senate, a subcommittee of which was holding hearings on a Constitutional amendment to lower the voting age to eighteen. NOW disrupted the hearings and demanded a hearing on the Equal Rights Amendment and won a meeting with Senators to discuss the ERA. That August, over 20,000 American women held a nationwide Women's Strike for Equality protest to demand full social, economic, and political equality. Said Friedan of the strike, "All kinds of women's groups all over the country will be using this week on August 26 particularly, to point out those areas in women's life which are still not addressed. For example, a question of equality before the law; we are interested in the Equal Rights Amendment." Despite being centered in New York City—which was regarded as one of the biggest strongholds for NOW and other groups sympathetic to the women's liberation movement such as Redstockings—and having a small number of participants in contrast to the large-scale anti-war and civil rights protests that had occurred in the recent time prior to the event, the strike was credited as one of the biggest turning points in the rise of second-wave feminism.
In Washington, D.C., protesters presented a sympathetic Senate leadership with a petition for the Equal Rights Amendment at the U.S. Capitol. Influential news sources such as Time also supported the cause of the protestors. Soon after the strike took place, activists distributed literature across the country as well. In 1970, Congressional hearings began on the ERA.
Representative Martha Griffiths of Michigan achieved success on Capitol Hill with her House Joint Resolution No. 208, which was adopted by the House on October 12, 1971, with a vote of 354 yeas (For), 24 nays (Against) and 51 not voting. Griffiths's joint resolution was then adopted by the Senate on March 22, 1972, with a vote of 84 yeas, 8 nays and 7 not voting. The Senate version, drafted by Senator Birch Bayh of Indiana, passed after an amendment proposed by Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina that would exempt women from the draft was defeated. President Richard Nixon immediately endorsed the ERA's approval upon its passage by the 92nd Congress.
Ideas and Commentary on the Resistance by K Cleland