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Unstoppable Trump, FAA plan goes down, Erykarithmetic…

Friday, February 26, 2016




If you read nothing else today, please read this. It’s long, but worth every word.

rs-trump-unstoppable► From Rolling Stone — How America made Donald Trump unstoppable (by Matt Taibbi) — Absent a dramatic turn of events, this boorish, monosyllabic TV tyrant with the attention span of an Xbox-playing 11-year-old really is set to lay waste to the most impenetrable oligarchy the Western world ever devised. It turns out we let our electoral process devolve into something so fake and dysfunctional that any half-bright con man with the stones to try it could walk right through the front door and tear it to shreds on the first go. And Trump is no half-bright con man, either. He’s way better than average.

A key excerpt:

The electoral roadshow, that giant ball of corrupt self-importance, gets bigger and more grandiloquent every four years. Like the actual circus, this is a roving business. Cash flows to campaigns from people and donors; campaigns buy ads; ads pay for journalists; journalists assess candidates. Somewhat unsurprisingly, the ever-growing press corps tends in most years to like — or at least deem “most serious” — the candidates who buy the most ads. Nine out of 10 times in America, the candidate who raises the most money wins. And those candidates then owe the most favors.

Meaning that for the pleasure of being able to watch insincere campaign coverage and see manipulative political ads on TV for free, we end up having to pay inflated Medicare drug prices, fund bank bailouts with our taxes, let billionaires pay 17 percent tax rates, and suffer a thousand other indignities. Trump is right: Because Jeb Bush can’t afford to make his own commercials, he would go into the White House in the pocket of a drug manufacturer. It really is that stupid.

The triumvirate of big media, big donors and big political parties has until now successfully excluded every challenge to its authority. But like every aristocracy, it eventually got lazy and profligate, too sure it was loved by the people. It’s now shocked that voters in depressed ex-factory towns won’t keep pulling the lever for “conservative principles,” or that union members bitten a dozen times over by a trade deal won’t just keep voting Democratic on cue.

READ THE WHOLE THING!  And speaking of “on cue,” Big Media today is desperately attempting (yet again) to anoint someone — anyone — other than Donald Trump as the Republicans’ establishment candidate.

► In today’s Washington Post — Marco Rubio mocks and spars with Donald Trump in 10th GOP debate –A feistier Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida emerged on the debate stage Thursday night, taking the fight for the GOP nomination directly to front-runner Donald Trump and attacking him as a hypocrite on the immigration issue that has fueled Trump’s remarkable political rise.




house-vs-senate-Olympia► From AP — House passes Democratic budget proposal — The House in Washington passed the Democratic supplemental budget proposal on a 50-47 vote on Thursday, approving the plan which seeks money to reduce homelessness and raise the state’s portion of the lowest starting salary for public school teachers to $40,000 a year.

► From AP — Charter-school fix doesn’t get out of legislative committee — The House Education Committee decided to not consider a bill that would establish a new funding source for Washington charter schools, but some lawmakers said the issue is not yet dead.

► From the Retired Public Employees Council — Maintain Choice for Retirees on PEBB Health Insurance — The House and Senate budgets include a provision to examine the “feasibility of transferring retirees from a Medicare supplement plan to a group Medicare Advantage PPO.” This eliminates retirees’ choice, supports the privatization of Medicare, and eliminates state regulation of the plans.

TAKE A STAND — RPEC urges you to contact your state legislators and ask them to support the removal of the above language and the restoration of the PEBB Medicare benefit.

► From Huffington Post — How Republicans are blocking local minimum wage hikes — Republicans in the Alabama legislature apparently don’t trust the state’s cities and towns to govern themselves, at least when it comes to the minimum wage. On Thursday, state legislators passed a bill blocking local governments from enacting their own wage floors. The measure was aimed in particular at Alabama’s largest city, Birmingham, where the city council had passed an ordinance that would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour next year. [In Alabama, the minimum wage is $7.25/hour, or just $2.13 if you earn tips.]

baumgartner-michaelEDITOR’S NOTE — Sen. Michael Baumgartner (R-Spokane), who would love for Washington state to have the same lower-the-floor wage laws as Alabama, has led the charge in our GOP-controlled Senate to do the same. His bill would block other cities from doing what Seattle, SeaTac and Tacoma have already done — raise their minimum wage — because Republicans in the Legislature have refused to do what the people want. His bill passed from the Senate Labor Committee on a party-line vote, but missed the cutoff deadline for a Senate floor vote. But, as they say in Olympia, nothing is ever dead until the final gavel falls. Stay tuned…




► From The Hill — House GOP grounds plan to spin air traffic control from FAA — House Republicans have pulled the plug on a controversial plan to separate the nation’s air traffic control system from the FAA. They are scrapping the proposal in favor of a short-term measure to prevent an interruption in the FAA’s funding, which is set to expire on March 31. But House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) insisted the broader effort to restructure the air traffic control system [on behalf of his pool buddies] isn’t over.

ALSO at The Stand — Congress: Fix FAA funding, don’t privatize our airways

kilmer-derek► From Huffington Post — Protecting American workers from outsourcing (by U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer) — The H-1B program that was designed to keep businesses competitive in a global economy has been abused. Outlets like the New York Times have uncovered layoffs that were tied to outsourcing firms as a result of the use of these visas. What happened here goes against what this temporary visa program was designed to do. And it’s time we put a stop to it.

► From AP — Obama eliminates loophole that allows imports of products made by children, forced labor — President Barack Obama signed a bill Wednesday that includes a provision banning U.S. imports of fish caught by slaves in Southeast Asia, gold mined by children in Africa and garments sewn by abused women in Bangladesh, closing a loophole in an 85-year-old tariff law that has failed to keep products of forced and child labor out of America.




mlk-rtw-quote► From Governing — ‘Right-to-Work’ laws top Republican wish lists — With the recent addition of West Virginia, a majority of states now make it harder for unions to collect dues. More could soon be added to the list.

► From AFP — VW, Tennessee workers at loggerheads over recognizing union — Volkswagen is embroiled in a standoff with employees at its plant in Chattanooga, where labor officials say it has refused to recognize a union chosen by workers to represent them. Chattanooga, with some 1,600 workers, is the only Volkswagen plant in the world without union representation, the UAW said.

► From Huffington Post — Snyder aides urged moving Flint bck to Detroit water system — Quality problems prompted two of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s (R) top lawyers to urge that the city of Flint be moved back to the Detroit water system just months after a decision to draw water supply from the Flint River. Flint switched its water supply from Detroit to the Flint River in April 2014 in a bid to cut costs when the city was under a state-appointed emergency manager.

flint-water► From Think Progress — Snyder aide says governor knew about Flint water issues a year before action was takenOne Snyder aide called the idea of getting drinking water from the Flint River “downright scary.”

► And finally, from AP — Cruz, GOP block vote on bill to resolve Flint water crisis — Presidential candidate Ted Cruz of Texas and other Republican senators are holding up bipartisan legislation to address the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

ALSO at The Stand — Government run like a business has poisoned our children (by Leo W. Gerard)




► Happy 44th birthday to Erica Abi Wright of Dallas, better known as Erykah Badu or “The First Lady of Neo-Soul.” This was the first single from her classic debut album, Baduism. It sold 3 million copies, won her two Grammys and comparisons to artists like Billie Holiday and Diana Ross. Like some of her peers from that era — D’Angelo, Jill Scott, Maxwell, Macy Gray, to name a few — that quick mainstream success was followed by some personal and creative struggles. But in the end, her 360 degrees of knowledge — “three dollars and six dimes” — have carried her through. (Yeah, you might laugh ’cause you did not do your math.) Enjoy!


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