Tax cuts for the rich + Opioid emergency, sort of + Russian meddling + Medical malpractice

Our take


When Trump talks big tax cuts, California’s middle class should check its wallets. What is on the table is clearly a windfall for the wealthy and offers precious little for the middle class. Also on the chopping block is the deduction for local and state taxes, claimed by nearly 6 million California taxpayers.

California’s Central Valley needs a lot more than Trump, Republicans are offering on opioids: President Trump declared the nation’s opioid epidemic a public health emergency. But without money, states can’t do much.

Jack Ohman checks out the Flakes in Washington, D.C. Identify them here.

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California Forum

Shawnda Westly: Doctors said it was just a migraine – then a friend had to save my life. Here’s why suing is pointless. A 42-year-old California law, Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act, caps damages for pain and suffering in medical malpractice suits at $250,000. That $250,000 amount hasn’t changed one cent since 1975. Lawmakers need to fix it.

Sasha Abramsky: Donald Trump isn’t Stalin. But the Republicans still need to find their inner Nikita Khrushchev. Khrushchev gave the ‘secret speech’ denouncing Stalin 61 years ago. Sens. Jeff Flake, Bob Corker and John McCain speak out now. But which Republican will risk it all to stand up to Trump and restore civil discourse?

Ron Nehring: Americans should learn what Eastern Europeans know: Vladimir Putin weaponizes social media. We use news for information. Our adversaries use news, real and fake, as a means of incitement to further their goals.

Jay Lund: A shrunken Delta tunnels project? Decision time is upon California. WaterFix project could shrink to become a single-tunnel state-only project supported mostly by urban water users and some Tulare basin agricultural contractors. We’ve been here before.


Erika D. Smith: Tanya Faison, the founder of the local chapter of Black Lives Matter, might not be the leader Sacramento wants, but she’s certainly the leader Sacramento needs.

Bill Whalen: Tom Steyer can clean up California – if he runs for governor. The billionaire activist flirting with a challenge to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, but if he truly wants to buck the establishment, a Senate run is a waste of our time and his considerable resources. Steyer should redirect his outrage and run for governor instead.

Andres Oppenheimer, Miami Herald: The decision by four newly elected opposition governors to cave in to dictator Nicolas Maduro’s demand that they be sworn in by the unconstitutional Constituent Assembly has caused the biggest setback to Venezuela’s opposition coalition in at least a decade.

Trudy Rubin, Philadelphia Inquirer: Unless more Republicans have the guts to confront President Trump, they will share the blame as the president degrades U.S. politics and lurches heedlessly toward war.


Kish Rajan: Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed Senate Bill 649, which could have paved the way for 5G to spread across the state, because local governments want control over where the small cell towers go. But it is in everyone’s interest for California to upgrade to 5G.

Take a number: 1

Today, we introduce the Melendez Line, in recognition of legislators who push through no more than one bill in a year. Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, won passage of a resolution commemorating Sept. 11. A half-dozen other Republicans hit below the Melendez Line, meaning they got no bills or resolutions through. One was Assemblyman Travis Allen, who aspires to occupy the Horseshoe suite. Another was Assemblyman Vince Fong, the Bakersfield protege of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Then there’s Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda. Glazer was campaign manager for and political adviser to Gov. Jerry Brown, and so understands the score. He voted against legislation early in the year to raise the gasoline tax set to go into effect on Nov. 1 to pay for road maintenance. He was second author on a few noteworthy bills signed by Brown, and added amendments to legislation asking voters to raise tolls on Bay Area bidges. His one clean hit was a Senate Concurrent Resolution related to Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Awareness Month. It will look like a line-drive in the box score.

Their take

Kansas City Star: Middle-class Americans deserve a tax cut. Will Republicans in Congress deliver? After passing a budget blueprint, congressional Republicans are poised to begin working in earnest on tax reform. They should focus on the middle class, protect 401(k) retirement savings plans and reduce the payroll tax.

The Mercury News: We still don’t know what started the horrific wine country wildfires that killed 42 people and destroyed 8,000 structures this month. But whether or not they were sparked by PG&E’s arcing wires, a California Public Utilities Commission audit shows the utility cannot be trusted. It’s time for California to act.

Santa Rosa Press Democrat: The numbers are still staggering. If one adds up all the households lost in the fires – 6,800 total – it’s equivalent to Sonoma County losing all of Healdsburg and half of Cloverdale. Some of these individuals have already found a place to rent. Many are still searching. Still others will leave the rebuilding to others and accept employment elsewhere, making the communal loss from this fire all the more profound.

Raleigh News & Observer: Anger seems to fuel President Trump, and lately, with Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake and Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, he’s had the pedal to the metal. In a display not seen in recent times, if ever, Trump has been engaged in utterly vicious commentary over Twitter about the senators.

Syndicates’ take

Charles M. Blow: Where are the real heroes, those with skin in the game and planning to keep it there? Where is the true courage? Well, not in the Republican Party. Political heroism and displays of principled valor have been banished from its ranks. In their stead stand the craven and the corrupt.

Gail Collins: Republicans in Congress generally try to just soldier on, but some of them are starting to snap. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., denounced his party’s president in a dramatic “I’m outta here” speech that President Trump shrugged off.

Michael Gerson: Nearly every elected Republican (with a few exceptions such as Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Ben Sasse of Nebraska) has been complicit or silent in the face of President Donald Trump’s crazed and cruel political rise. Which means that nearly every future recruit to Trump skepticism could be termed a hypocrite.

Dana Milbank: This is no longer the GOP of Jeff Flake, who carried the flame for Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan. It’s not even Donald Trump’s; he was just using it. The GOP is now the party of Roy Moore.

Eugene Robinson: President Trump is in charge of the Republican Party because he’s more in touch with the base than the GOP establishment is – which means the party’s leaders have lost contact with the country. But meanwhile, where are the Democrats? Basically nowhere.

Bret Stephens: It’s instructive to read the high-minded defenses of President Trump offered by writers in Breitbart, The Washington Times, The Federalist and the rest of the pro-Trump press. Their chief argument for Trump is that he won and is therefore a winner. Their argument against Never Trumpers is that we failed and are therefore losers. What about Trump’s character?


I’m no fan of when President Donald Trump leads by tweet, but toning down our message creates conditions all too familiar to North Korea, with equally bad results. That means letting North Korea join the nuclear club, which I’m not ready to accept. The U.S. should not look to start a war, but we should not look to de-escalate tensions essential to removing a significant threat. – Andrew Grant, Folsom, is a Republican candidate for California Congressional District 7

Tweet of the day

“@POTUS declaration of a public health emergency is the bold national leadership our country needs to fight this epidemic. #Opioids” – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, @GOPLeader