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Our black hole, Trump in town, AFSCMESEIU, birth of the riff…

Friday, May 6, 2016




cash-black-hole► From KUOW — Washington companies got $550 million in tax breaks, and that’s just the ones we know about — Boeing’s mega-tax breaks have focused public attention on the state legislature’s decisions to forgo tax revenues. The legislature offers more than 600 different types of tax breaks to businesses in the state. In Washington, 1,900 companies receive tax breaks and are required to report how much they saved. They collectively saved $550 million. An additional 600 companies receive tax breaks, but do not have to report how much they save. They do have to at least acknowledge that they received a tax break.




► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Attorney general, senator call for DOE accountability at Hanford — Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson say their patience is wearing thin waiting for Department of Energy results at Hanford. Ferguson is looking at options to accelerate a lawsuit he filed last year to protect Hanford workers against chemical vapors associated with radioactive waste held in underground tanks.

paid-family-leave► In today’s Seattle Times — Honor Mother’s Day by supporting paid parental leave (by Jaron Reed Goddard Ruchika Tulshyan) — Sunday will be a special Mother’s Day for new parents in San Francisco and New York state. Both mandated paid parental leave for their residents last month. Here in Washington state, we’re not quite as fortunate. Thankfully, paid parental leave is finally gaining critical mass. Parental leave is featuring as a significant campaign issue in the 2016 presidential race, and more politicians are finally grasping our unenviable distinction of being the only developed country in the world that doesn’t mandate paid leave for new parents. We’re encouraged to see other states and cities take action, and we believe that Seattle — the city that pioneered the $15 minimum wage, along with the city of SeaTac, before the rest of the country — can become a national leader on this important issue.

► In today’s News Tribune — Former Tacoma server sues El Gaucho, alleges company improperly paid workers — A former server at the El Gaucho steakhouse in downtown Tacoma has sued the company, accusing management of not properly paying its employees. Managers have withheld tips from employees, failed to pay them time and a half for overtime work and required servers to work while not being clocked in, the class action alleges.

► From The Stranger — Privatizing the clearing of homeless encampments — The fast-growing, progressive city of Seattle is privatizing some of the work involved in evicting its many homeless people from unauthorized camping sites to a new company — a firm specially created to clear out the places where the homeless sleep. The city is paying the company $240 per hour for “encampment cleanup in designated locations as needed.”




flesh-wound► From Politico — Sanders poised for May win streak — On the heels of his Indiana victory Tuesday, Sanders is well-positioned for wins in the upcoming West Virginia and Oregon primaries. That might explain his it’s-just-a-flesh-wound approach to the nearly insurmountable delegate math confronting him, and his dogged insistence that he’s taking his long-shot presidential campaign all the way to the July Democratic convention.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Donald Trump to hold rally in Spokane Saturday — The rally in Spokane is at noon at the Spokane Convention Center with doors opening at 9 a.m.

► In today’s Bellingham Herald — Donald Trump to visit Lynden Saturday — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump will hold a campaign rally at the Northwest Washington Fairgrounds in Lynden on Saturday, May 7. Sen. Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale), part of Trump’s state campaign team, said the event will be scheduled for 3 p.m.

trump-donald► In today’s Seattle Times — Trump plans rallies in Lynden, Spokane on Saturday; protesters expected — Visit to get your tickets.

► In today’s Columbian — No Vancouver stop for Trump

► In today’s Washington Post — House Speaker Ryan ‘not ready’ to back Trump, deepening GOP divide — The highest-ranking GOP official said he wants to support the party’s presumptive nominee for president. But Trump hasn’t been “a standard bearer who bears our standard,” Ryan said.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — McMorris Rodgers hesitant on Trump; Senate challenger Vance says no way

trump-supporters► From — The mythology of Trump’s ‘working class’ support (by Nate Silver) — It’s been extremely common for news accounts to portray Donald Trump’s candidacy as a “working-class” rebellion against Republican elites. There are elements of truth in this perspective: Republican voters, especially Trump supporters, are unhappy about the direction of the economy. But the definition of “working class” and similar terms is fuzzy, and narratives like these risk obscuring an important and perhaps counterintuitive fact about Trump’s voters: As compared with most Americans, Trump’s voters are better off. The median household income of a Trump voter so far in the primaries is about $72,000, based on estimates derived from exit polls and Census Bureau data. That’s well above the national median household income of about $56,000. It’s also higher than the median income for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters, which is around $61,000 for both.

► In today’s Washington Post — As he pivots to November, Trump flips on key issues — Throughout the primary contest, the Manhattan mogul bragged that he was the only contender unencumbered by alliances to rich backers. But facing a $1 billion general-election tab, Trump’s attitude toward big donors is softening.

► From The Onion — Trump supporter still planning on rioting at national convention anyway — “I guess there’s not going to be a contested convention thing, but I definitely still want to head over to Cleveland and smash some stuff,” said David Kearney.




TPP-NAFTA► From The New Republic — The free trade consensus is dead — The same day U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said the U.S. is fighting for strong labor and environmental standards at the core of trade deals, leaked documents indicated that U.S. negotiators working on a trade deal with the European Union have actually been pressuring their trading partners to lower those same standards. This distance between Froman’s words and the contradictory reality is at the heart of the disintegration of the global trade consensus. In short, the center of gravity holding together a policy framework that prioritizes corporate dominance over democratic governance has collapsed. And this week’s leak is another nail in the free-trade coffin.

► A related story in today’s Washington Post — Obama’s elusive promise to deliver 1 million new manufacturing jobs — Factory jobs haven’t gotten the bump the president strived for: Only 331,000 of those many millions of new positions created since the start of his second term have come in manufacturing. American manufacturers have actually shed 20,000 jobs since January 2015 amid difficult economic circumstances. Progress has been stymied by larger economic forces… some companies continue to move factories outside the United States where labor costs are lower.

► From the AFL-CIO — TPP on Mother’s Day: Katrina Dizon Mariategue tells her storyMariategue explains how the TPP will take away her ability to chose healthy food for her baby. The TPP is a trade agreement that would require us to limit food labeling and to import meat and poultry that do not meet U.S. food safety standards. Text TRADE to 235246 for updates on TPP and other issues.




► From TPM — Grassley pressed on made-up ‘Biden Rule’: ‘We don’t have a written rule’ — Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) struggled to explain the so-called “Biden rule,” when pressed at an Iowa town hall. Asked about when the clock kicks in for a president to no longer be able to nominate a Supreme Court justice, he demurred. As chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which typically hosts hearings for Supreme Court nominees, Grassley is on the front lines of the GOP Senate’s refusal to go forward with the consideration of President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland.




AFSCME-SEIU► In today’s NY Times — Two big labor unions share efforts to gain power and scale — The leaders of two of the nation’s biggest, most powerful labor unions — the Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees — are completing a plan that calls for unusually close cooperation in political campaigning, organizing and bargaining in states and cities across the United States. The effort begins a process that could lead to a merger of the two organizations, an outcome that would create the nation’s largest labor union, with some 3.6 million members.

► From Reuters — Striking union workers protest at Verizon shareholder meeting — Dozens of Verizon Communications landline workers, on strike since mid-April after contract talks hit an impasse, marched on the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Thursday. The unions for the strikers said they also planned hundreds of protests across the United States against Verizon, the No. 1 U.S. wireless service provider.

► From Reuters — Walmart’s closed-door meetings with workers unlawful, says NLRB complaint — A new NLRB complaint says Walmart violated federal law by barring employees who went on strike from having coworkers present at disciplinary meetings, potentially paving the way for a decision expanding the rights of nonunion workers.

California-fight-for-15► In the Washington Post — Here’s a really, really, ridiculously simple way of looking at minimum wage hikes — Researchers ignored “counterfactuals” and rates of change [which seem to produce conflicting results, perhaps by design, depending on who is funding the research]. Instead, they looked at each of the 22 instances since 1938 in which the United States raised its federal minimum wage, and simply asked one question: One year after the wage went up, were there more jobs or less? They found that 68 percent of the time, total jobs went up across the economy. Retail jobs increased 73 percent of the time. Hospitality employment rose 82 percent of the time. The researchers say business cycles explain the instances when employment fell: Each of those times, they write, the economy had entered or just come out of a recession, or was about to enter one.




► The Entire Staff of The Stand wishes a very happy birthday to the greatest riff on the history rock ‘n’ roll! On this day in 1965, in a hotel room in Clearwater, Florida, Keith Richards worked out the opening guitar riff for what many consider one of the greatest rock songs ever recorded. The Rolling Stones first recorded the track on May 10, 1965, at Chess Studios in Chicago — a version featuring Brian Jones on harmonica. That’s the version the Stones lip-synch to here, the first time they debuted the song on ABC’s Shindig! They re-recorded it a few days later with a different beat and a fuzzbox adding sustain to the sound of the guitar riff. Enjoy!


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