#newsyoumayhavemissed for August 26, 2018 knows about NAFTA, about Cohen, and about McCain. But remember that we try to bring you less well-known stories—or fresh angles on the headlines. To that end, note our roundup of work requirements for Medicaid recipients. We don’t have a lot of good news for you, but Santa Cruzans Martha Mendoza and Garance Burke have been reporting the story on immigrants discharged from the armed forces: the tide is turning. See their AP story below.
- The Americans of Conscience checklist has a pledge to vote—and not just to vote, but to take a series of steps to make it possible for others to do so.
- Our colleague Crysostom has a roundup of election news at his website.
- Active Measures has a history of the involvement Trump and his associates have had with the Russian government and wealthy Russians—if you need a refresher. Compare to the Reality Winner sentencing, below.
- Martha, the maven of public comment, suggest two important actions for this week: call your Senators and/ or comment on Kavanaugh and comment on the auto-emissions. Martha’s list is now available on a google doc from Rogan’s list.
1. No Safe Haven
Officials from the Pentagon are concerned about the U.S.’s failure to provide safe haven to Iraqi interpreters and others who have helped American forces. Locals may be more hesitant to cooperate when they notice that we don’t keep our promises. In 2016, we admitted over 5,100 Iraqi refugees who had helped our government, and in 2017, over 3,000. So far in 2018, we have admitted only 48. [Reuters/Huffpost reporter]
2. No Climate Research, Zinke’s hallucinations
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has appointed his high school football buddy Steve Howke to oversee a new grant review process for all grants over $50,000. Howke was formerly the Chief Financial Officer at several credit unions. He has no experience in climate research, but scientists at the host universities for eight Climate Adaptation Science Centers say he is crippling their efforts by holding up research funding. [Guardian]
Meanwhile, Zinke is blaming non-existent “environmental terrorist groups” for California wildfires, even though the two known arsonists are Forrest Gordon Clark, a believer in the QAnon right-wing conspiracy phenomenon who started a fire to get back at a neighbor, and Brandon McGlover, whose motive is unknown. [Reuters/LA Times (1, 2)]
3. Tariff contradictions
On Tuesday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says his department is delaying their recommendations on potential car tariffs in light of ongoing trade negotiations, but later the same day, Trump said at a campaign rally that, “We’re going to put a 25% tax on every car that comes into the United States from the European Union.” [Fortune, WSJ]
4. Does she care?
First Lady Melania Trump is planning an October trip through parts of Africa to learn about issues that African children face. Her husband, who so famously referred to “shithole countries” in Africa earlier this year, won’t be going with her. [AP]
5. Who is behind the “Space Force”?
6. Medicaid work requirement round-up
Arkansas was the first state to implement work and reporting requirements for Medicaid recipients, with the 80-hours-per-month work requirements taking effect on June 1, 2018 for some beneficiaries (the plan is being phased in, so some beneficiaries aren’t required to meet it yet; additionally, some people are exempt). The Kaiser Family Foundation notes that only 2% of the people subject to the requirements had successfully reported their hours. 69% are exempt, and the remaining 29% risk losing coverage if they fail to report, or report but fail to meet the requirements, for another two months. Many of these people are working but not reporting their hours, and may not be aware they have to. Of the 844 people in the 2% that reported, more than three-quarters (76%) were already meeting the Medicaid requirements by meeting similar pre-existing SNAP requirements. Nearly 13,000 people may lose their coverage for the remainder of the year, although a new lawsuit against the work requirements may help. [Politico/Reuters/KFF]
Mississippi hopes to become the first state to impose work requirements for “able-bodied” beneficiaries without expanding Medicaid under the ACA. To be covered, The Hill notes, “a single parent has to earn less than $3,300 a year. For a family of three, it’s less than $6,000 a year. If those individuals are required to work, they’ll likely earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, even though the jobs likely won’t offer insurance.” Mississippi plans a two-year transitional period for people who lose coverage this way. Mississippi Health Advocacy Program executive director Roy Mitchell says, “We anticipate a lot of people falling through the cracks.” [The Hill]
About a half million Kentuckians use Medicaid under the ACA’s 2014 Medicaid expansion. Gov. Matt Bevin wants to require Medicaid recipients to work at least 20 hours per week. The Trump administration likes Bevin’s plan, but a federal judge struck it down in June, noting that 95,000 people would lose coverage (or about 1 in 5 of the people added in 2014), and criticizing the government’s lack of consideration of public comments. Coverage of a group comprised of hospital executives in the Louisville Courier Journal includes a quote from state auditor Adam Edelen that the Affordable Care Act has been the “salvation” of rural hospitals.
(d) Arizona, Maine, and Wisconsin
The Trump administration plans to extend Medicaid work requirements to Arizona, Maine, and Wisconsin. [Politico]
7. Reality Winner sentenced for revealing Russian involvement in election
On August 23, Reality Winner received the 63 month sentence she had agreed to in a plea deal; she had been charged for violating the Espionage Act by releasing documents that revealed Russian involvement in the 2018 election to The Intercept. In a tweet, Trump called the sentence “unfair.” [Augusta Chronicle]
8. ICE: Random Cruelties
a) No Humanitarian Parole
ICE officials refuse to let Gloria de la Rosa visit her dying husband Arsenio in Tucson, even though a provision called “Humanitarian Parole” should allow her to come back into the country from Mexico to do so. She is only a year away from being allowed to apply for legal entry to rejoin her husband and four children, who are citizens. A 2015 documentary about their lives, separated by the border is at the second link for this story. [Latino USA with the Arizona Daily Star]
b) Handcuffed at 18
At least 14 young people appealing for asylum in Florida have been handcuffed on their 18th birthday and thrown in a jail with adults. This practice violates agreements established under three legal settlements and has been challenged in lawsuits filed by the National Immigrant Justice Center and the Americans for Immigrant Justice. If you want to read about the horrific conditions these young people were fleeing and about what happened to them when they came to the US asking for help, see the story in the Miami New Times.
9. Army reinstates immigrants
The AP reports that at least 36 immigrants discharged from the armed forces have been reinstated, and the cases of more than a hundred others are under review.
10. Released to work—and get injured.
At least 24 prisoners on work release programs have been seriously injured in industrial accidents and one has died, according to an investigation by the Southern Poverty Law Projects. In Alabama, over a thousand prisoners work in poultry processing plants, where working conditions are dangerous and the pay is minimal. The programs, common in George and North Carolina as well, are supposed to prepare prisoners to enter the workforce when they are released, but they also face safety issues and appropriation of their compensation. [The Marshall Project]
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
11. Vaccinations: Both Sides Now
The internet debate on vaccination was fueled during the run-up to the 2016 election by Russian internet trolls, who posted caustic statements on both sides, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health. The posts were published from accounts known to be used to interfere in the election. Vaccination is not a debate in Russia, where nearly 100 per cent of children are vaccinated. The comments were posted purely to keep the electorate preoccupied and angry. [NY Times]
12. Net neutrality and public safety
During the Mendocino Complex Fire, Verizon throttled internet speeds down to one two-hundredths of the usual speed just as firefighters needed all the data they could get to quickly track data about the fire along with firefighting resources and firefighters themselves. When firefighters reached out to Verizon, the company simply acknowledged that the data was being throttled and urged them to subscribe to a larger plan instead of immediately restoring speed on an emergency basis. It insists that this issue has nothing to do with net neutrality. [Ars Technica, NY Times]