Opinion

Dianne Feinstein’s pledge + What’s up with the Stockton VA clinic + Facing a basic issue of mental illness

Editorials

Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s assault weapons bill will never pass Congress, but it doesn’t matter. With red states haphazardly enforcing gun laws or refusing to pass them at all, her Assault Weapons Ban of 2017 is at least keeping the issue of gun control top of mind.

On behalf of The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board, welcome to The Take, your opinion-politics newsletter. Please sign up for it here.

Columns

Foon Rhee: On Veterans Day 2017, many veterans in the Central Valley have a very good question: Why is it taking so darn long to open a badly needed VA outpatient health clinic just outside Stockton?

Bill Whalen: The culture that fosters sexual harassment inside the state Capitol likely won’t change because much of what the public would deem outrageous and sickening has a hard time escaping the Sacramento bubble. And for that, you can partially blame Gov. Jerry Brown and his predecessor.

D.J Jaffe, National Review: When President Donald Trump declared that the shooting rampage in Sutherland Springs was “a mental-health problem,” he set off a barrage of denial by mental-health-industry “experts.” The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Mental Health America (MHA) and the American Psychiatric Association (APA) fired off a volley of press releases and op-eds designed to convince John Q. Public that there is no connection between mental illness and violence. But John Q. Public knows better. And so should the mental-health industry.

Trudy Rubin, Philadelphia Inquirer: President Trump clearly wants to shake up the Asia – and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un – by convincing Asian leaders he’s willing to use force to compel Kim to denuclearize. Meantime, Trump is cheering this week’s efforts by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to shake up the Mideast.

Jack Ohman works the percentages in the GOP tax plan. Do the math here.

Op-eds

Deborah Gordon: California – the state with the second highest greenhouse gas emissions – has a real opportunity to reduce hefty emissions from oil production. While policymakers have been focusing on long-term goals to wean the state from oil, they have mostly missed smart strategies to seriously shrink the petroleum sector’s climate impacts.

California Forum

Robin B. Umberg and Thomas J. Umberg: Seven pieces of Veterans Day advice for Donald Trump.

U.S. Rep. Adam B. Schiff: Silicon Valley has a duty to help with the Russia investigation. Here’s how.

U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock: If it’s going to hurt Californians, a conservative says, postpone some of the tax plan. Leave no taxpayer behind.

Their take

East Bay Times: Just when Bay Area counties, cities and housing advocates thought they had the money to start getting a grip on the region’s affordable housing crisis, along came the House Republicans’ proposed tax-cut bill to deliver a kick in the teeth: It would eliminate the combined tax credit and tax-free bond program that is the linchpin of most affordable housing projects in California in order to offset tax breaks to the rich. The Private Activity Bond Program has to be restored before this bill goes to a vote. And the GOP congressional delegation, headed by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, has the power to save it.

Los Angeles Times: For the last several years, Los Angeles’ game plan for alleviating the housing crisis has been to encourage housing construction – lots of it – near transit stops. L.A., like many cities in California, hasn’t built enough homes to keep up with population growth. The result is a housing shortage that has driven rents to record highs, fueling the growth in homelessness and forcing many workers to pay more than they can afford – or pushing them out of the area and into long commutes.

Santa Rosa Press Democrat: Released just two days after Halloween, the tax bill proposed by House Republicans was said to be filled with money-saving treats for middle-class Americans. But in realty, it’s loaded with tricks for residents of blue states like California, the dirtiest one being the elimination of deductions for personal casualty losses from disasters such as wildfires. This comes as residents of our area are reeling from the effects of the most costly wildfire in the state’s history, one that destroyed roughly 6,700 homes – 2,900 of them in Santa Rosa alone – killed 43 people and resulted in total damages of about $3 billion.

Baltimore Sun: After days of basking in the flattery of other world leaders, President Donald Trump dished out some of his own Thursday, bestowing kind words and gestures on an unlikely counterpart, China’s Xi Jinping, a communist leader who just tightened his grip on power in a country Trump accused during the campaign of “raping” U.S. workers.

Yomiuri Shimbun: To deter North Korea from continuing its nuclear and missile development programs, it is indispensable for the entire international community to apply maximum pressure on Pyongyang. In light of this, it can be said that a well-timed message has been delivered. In a speech before the South Korean National Assembly, it is significant that President Trump called on China and Russia by name to sever all ties of trade and technology with North Korea.

Syndicates’ take

Charles M. Blow: If you are supporting Donald Trump, you are supporting Trumpism and all that goes with it. It is not the job of the resistance to drag you out of that. It is the job of the resistance only to be there when and if you tire of the darkness and crawl out into the light.

Gail Collins: President Trump’s party got skunked in Tuesday’s elections, his associates keep getting tied to the Russians and the Republicans in Congress are flailing around like a bunch of panicked gerbils.

Nicholas Kristof: The first step is to understand the scale of the challenge America faces: The United States has more than 300 million guns – roughly one for every citizen – and stands out as well for its gun death rates.

Paul Krugman: The Republican tax cut bill should be renamed the Leona Helmsley Act, after the New York hotelier convicted of tax evasion, who famously declared that “only the little people pay taxes.” That, after all, is the main thrust of the bill that hugely favors the wealthy over the middle class.

Dana Milbank: Forbes reports that it dropped Wilbur Ross from its list of wealthiest Americans this year because of a “phantom $2 billion” that Ross claimed he had but apparently does not exist. He is in Trump’s Cabinet because he is a putative billionaire, and Trump respects only billionaires and generals.

Eugene Robinson: I hope the message to the Republican Party from Tuesday’s Democratic victories is clear: If you embrace Trump’s angry, nativist, white-nationalist politics of division, you will pay a price.

Mailbag

“Influencing an election is all about influencing the voter. Politicians running for office try to do it. People supporting politicians running for office try to do it. People supporting any number of diverse causes try to do it. And countries interested in the outcome of the election try to do it. Who is to sort it all out? It’s the voter, Facebook employees, or the government. And I don’t trust the last two.” – John Paul, Carmichael

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