Recklessness in the House, millennials get shorted, Wayne’s weird world…

Friday, January 13, 2017




► From The Hill — House to take critical step toward repealing Obamacare — The House will vote Friday on a budget resolution that would pave the way for ObamaCare’s repeal despite some grumbling by some Republicans wary of moving forward without a firm replacement plan ready.

► In today’s Washington Post — Anxious lawmakers to GOP leaders: What’s the plan to replace Obamacare? — House Republican leaders attempted to quell concerns of a skittish rank and file before a key vote Friday to begin unwinding the Affordable Care Act. Behind the scenes, Republican leaders are urging lawmakers to look at this week’s votes as mere procedural formalities. But some rank-and-file members remain nervous about voting to start a process they might not be able to stop.

► From Think Progress — Paul Ryan confronted by cancer patient who says Obamacare saved his life — House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) was confronted at a town hall on Thursday night by a man who said Obamacare saved his life after he was diagnosed with cancer — and asked Ryan why the GOP is currently trying to dismantle the law.

► From Wired — Not even insurance companies want Obamacare repealed — No business likes an unstable market, and Republican lawmakers are in the process of creating just that: a sudden lack of subsidies could cause some healthy customers to opt out, leading to an insurance landscape flooded with (high-risk) sick people staggering under the burden of increased premiums. Advantage, nobody.

► From AP — Inslee decries efforts to repeal federal health care law

► From Politico — GOP governors fight their own party on Obamacare

► From Common Dreams — Big Pharma-backed Dems join GOP to block Sanders effort to end drug price gouging — While the Republican Party is publicly dismantling millions of Americans’ health safety net, more than a dozen Democrats late Wednesday quietly threw their weight behind Big Pharma and voted down an amendment that would have allowed pharmacists to import identical — but much less expensive — drugs from Canada and other countries. In all, 13 Democrats voted against the measure sponsored by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), siding with the Republican majority and drawing sharp rebuke from observers, who pointed out that many who voted “no” receive substantial contributions from the pharmaceutical industry. [Our own Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell were both among the 13 Democrats who voted “no.”]




► In today’s Bellingham Herald — U.S. files trade complaint targeting China’s aluminum industry — The Obama administration filed a trade complaint with the WTO on Thursday against China for allegedly “dumping” aluminum on the global market at artificially low prices. The artificially low prices were a factor in nearly closing the Intalco aluminum smelter near Ferndale. A renegotiated power deal and money for workforce training from the state helped avoid the closure last year.

► In the Seattle Times — State court rules against plans for big Grays Harbor oil terminal — The Washington Supreme Court threw a major wrench Thursday in plans for a big oil terminal on the coast, saying the proposal must be reviewed under a 1989 state law designed to protect marine life after the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Angela Davis tells Seattle crowd of need for ‘unending struggle’ — To a crowd of more than 850 fans, the American rights activist and educator urged social-justice activists to continue to fight systematic injustice against blacks, women and other minorities.




► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Ruling paves way for open bargaining (editorial) — In September, Lincoln County announced that collective bargaining sessions with employee unions would be open to the public. On Tuesday, a local union’s PERC complaint was dismissed. The bottom line is that the union failed to show how open government amounts to an unfair labor practice. PERC’s decision paves the way for other jurisdictions to do the same, and they should.

► From NW Accountability Project — Freedom Foundation violated state election law, complaint alleges — The complaint filed with the state Attorney General alleges that the right-wing group actively sought to raise money to oppose Olympia Initiative 1, and the frequent blog posts, podcasts, press outreach, and consultation with Olympia city staff indicate the group spent money on staff time to oppose the measure. However, the FF never registered as a political committee or reported expenditures.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Puget Sound educators ask legislators to fix $228M ‘levy cliff’ — Leaders from the Puget Sound region’s 35 school districts called for lawmakers to come up with a bipartisan solution to the “levy cliff,” which could cause a $228 million shortfall starting next year.




► MUST-READ from Rolling Stone — The Russia story reaches a crisis point — Have we ever been less sure about the truth of an urgent news story? Three days into the “Russian dossier” scandal, which history will remember by a far more colorful name, we still have no clue what we’re dealing with. We’re either learning the outlines of the most extraordinary compromise to date of an incoming American president by a foreign power, or we’re watching an unparalleled libel and media overreach.

► In today’s NY Times — Democrats, allies wage fight to derail Labor Secretary pick — Democrats on Capitol Hill, together with labor groups and other allies, are waging an unusually aggressive campaign to derail the nomination of Andrew Puzder as labor secretary. Puzder, chief executive of the company that franchises Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. fast-food restaurants, has been a lightning rod as an outspoken foe of the Obama administration’s overtime regulation and the Affordable Care Act.

► From CNN — Trump’s big challenge: Cutting federal workers — Trump lists cutting the number of federal workers as his No. 2 priority on his 100-day action plan. But if he really wants to downsize, he would have to look at contract workers, too.

► From AP — Trump raises millions to cover inauguration’s steep costs — Trump’s Presidential Inaugural Committee has raised a record $90 million-plus in private donations, far more than President Barack Obama’s two inaugural committees.

► From Politico — Poll: Trump’s transition is historically unpopular — In a stark break from past presidents, just 44 percent approve of the transition while 51 percent disapprove, Gallup found. By comparison, around the same time in Barack Obama’s 2009 transition, 83 percent of Americans approved of the effort while only 12 percent disapproved.




► From AP — Millennials are falling behind their boomer parents — With a median household income of $40,581, millennials earn 20 percent less than boomers did at the same stage of life, despite being better educated, according to a new analysis of Federal Reserve data. The analysis being released Friday gives concrete details about a troubling generational divide that helps to explain much of the anxiety that defined the 2016 election. Millennials have half the net worth of boomers. Their home ownership rate is lower, while their student debt is drastically higher.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Millennials: One way you can fight for decent pay is to organize a union! Find out how.

► In today’s Baltimore Sun — Baltimore Gas and Electric workers vote to unionize — BG&E employees voted Thursday night to unionize under the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, something organizers said would give 1,419 workers “a voice at the table.”




► From AFL-CIO Now — New report details systematic labor rights violations in Colombia — The U.S. Department of Labor released a report in response to the complaint filed by U.S. and Colombian unions detailing systematic labor rights violations in Colombia. The U.S. government acknowledged many of the serious issues raised in the complaint, including inadequate labor inspections and enforcement actions, abusive forms of subcontracting that prevent union organizing and keep the majority of Colombian workers in precarious jobs, and impunity for threats and violence against trade unionists, which creates a climate of fear.

► In today’s LA Times — Obama, who hoped to sow peace, instead led the nation in warThe president launched airstrikes or military raids in at least seven countries, and he vastly expanded the role of elite commando units and the use of drones and cyber weapons.




► Today, the Entire Staff of The Stand wishes a very happy birthday to Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne, perhaps the only good thing to ever come out of Sonics-stealing Oklahoma City. (Thanks again, would-be Labor Secretary Howard Shultz.) Coyne is a man who is our favorite kind of weird. If you ever have the opportunity to see his band in concert, even if you’re not a huge fan of the music, you will be treated to a visual and aural explosion of confetti, costumes, light and… puppetry. We happen to love his music, including songs like this. Enjoy!


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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