Thursday, February 2, 2017
► In today’s Olympian — Proposed wages and staffing levels spark picket at St. Peter hospital — Chanting and holding signs with messages such as “Patients & Workers Deserve Better” and “Living Wages Now,” dozens of unionized workers (SEIU 1199NW) held an informational picket on the outskirts of the campus of Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia on Wednesday.
► Meanwhile in the PSBJ — Providence CEO: The work of 300 caregivers affected by Trump immigration ban ‘literally saves lives’ — Renton-based Providence St. Joseph Health said it has about 300 employees across its seven-state operating zone who are affected by Trump’s travel ban, including doctors, scientists and technology workers.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Ummm… frontline nurses and health care workers also save lives, and they are demanding to be paid a fair wage and treated with respect.
► From KNKX — Northwest farmworkers wary of Trump administration’s Mexican crackdown — President Donald Trump signed executive orders to increase immigration enforcement officers, deport individuals living in the country illegally and build a wall along the border with Mexico. All while Northwest farmers say they can’t hire enough people to pick fruit or work in packing houses.
► In the Oregonian — Commercial printer will close Portland plant, lay off 91 — A commercial printer called Cenveo plans to close its Northwest Portland facility and lay off the 91 people who work there (Teamsters 117 members).
► In today’s Seattle Times — Norwegian Air CEO pledges rock-bottom trans-Atlantic fares with his growing Boeing fleet — Bjørn Kjos, chief executive of Norwegian Air, says that starting in June he’ll offer the cheapest trans-Atlantic airfares Americans have ever seen. And he plans to expand operations and buy many more Boeing jets — if he can overcome opposition from U.S. airlines and unions. The big U.S. airlines and pilot unions have accused Norwegian of unfair competition through paying lower wages, including the use of lower-paid Thai flight crews.
ALSO at The Stand — Norwegian Air permit decision ‘slap in the face’ to U.S. workers –NAI is now positioned to be the first “flag of convenience” airline allowed to operate in the U.S., skirting labor and safety laws by being headquartered in Ireland and potentially hiring foreign crews for below-market wages and benefits.
EDITOR’S NOTE — President Trump, who professes to care about American jobs, can still block this from happening. #MakeItRight
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — State Senate passes major overhaul of school taxes and spending — The Republican-led majority pushed their education plan through the Senate on a 25-24 vote, despite objections from Democrats that it represents a major property tax increase for some state residents, would short-change some students and take away some control by local school districts. Efforts to remove specific provisions changing education policy all failed on party-line votes.
► In today’s Olympian — Lawmaker’s job in Trump administration blamed for holding up Legislature’s work — Concerns about state Sen. Doug Ericksen’s temporary job at the EPA spilled onto the Senate floor Wednesday morning when a state lawmaker said his absence was hampering the work of an environmental committee. The Ferndale Republican has said he can manage both jobs. He had scheduled a press conference Wednesday morning to explain how, but had to put it off until Thursday morning when his flight from D.C. was canceled. A majority-GOP coalition leads the Senate 25-24. So when Ericksen is working in Washington, D.C., Republicans can’t pass bills in the tied Senate.
► In today’s Olympian — Some in Legislature want more leeway on Medicaid in Obamacare replacement, but not fewer dollars — As congressional Republicans in Washington, D.C., work to repeal the Affordable Care Act, state GOP lawmakers are compiling a wish list for its possible replacement. The state is at risk of losing about $2.7 billion per year for that expansion if Obamacare is repealed without a replacement.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Trump beats drum for all-out Senate fight over court nominee, says ‘go nuclear’ — The president urged the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, to abandon the 60-vote threshold for Supreme Court nominees.
► From Huffington Post — After trying everything else, Democrats have decided to listen to their voters — Before President Trump appeared before cameras Tuesday night to bestow his Supreme Court rose on Judge Neil Gorsuch, protesters were already gathering outside the Brooklyn office of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D), demanding he take a firm stand against whichever man Trump nominated. Later that evening, he did just that, announcing that Gorsuch would need 60 votes to get through the Senate, a declaration that Democrats planned to filibuster… There can be no denying that Democratic spines have stiffened noticeably.
► Counterpoint from Politico — These Democrats will decide Gorsuch’s fate — Below the initial bluster is a web of tricky political calculations that would seem to make outright Democratic obstruction of the president’s first Supreme Court pick a less-than-sure bet.
► From The Hill — Two GOP senators to vote no on Betsy DeVos — Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) in dramatic back-to-back speeches Wednesday said they would oppose confirming Betsy DeVos as Education secretary. The defections set up a potential 51-50 vote in the Senate to confirm DeVos, with Vice President Pence breaking the tie.
► In today’s Cleveland Plain-Dealer — Sen. Rob Portman – Stand up and reject Betsy DeVos (editorial) — As became manifestly clear in DeVos’ confirmation hearing, she has no qualifications even remotely suited to the job. Portman has a rare opportunity to show that he will be an independent thinker, not a party hack, and to save the country from a terrible choice.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Have any friends or family in Ohio? Tell them to call Sen. Portman’s office TODAY at 202-224-3353 and tell him to reject Devos.
► In the NY Daily News — Gov. Scott Walker advising White House on how to drastically weaken federal employee unions — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Wednesday that he spoke with Vice President Pence about how the White House can implement on a federal level parts of the Republican governor’s contentious policy that all-but eliminated collective bargaining for public sector unions in the state.
► From The Hill — Fifth labor group breaks with AFL-CIO to back Perez for Dem party chairman — The Bricklayers (BAC) broke with the labor giant on Thursday to back former Labor Secretary Tom Perez over Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) in the race to be the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee. The union joins the UFW, UFCW, UA and IAFF in backing Perez.
► In today’s NY Times — White House Inc. (editorial) — Congress shouldn’t stand by as the most powerful office in the world is reduced to a marketing scheme.
OUR MAD KING / THE MARCH TO WAR
► From Reuters — U.S. military probing more possible civilian deaths in Yemen raid — U.S. military officials told Reuters that Trump approved his first covert counterterrorism operation without sufficient intelligence, ground support or adequate backup preparations. As a result, three officials said, the attacking SEAL team found itself dropping onto a reinforced al Qaeda base defended by landmines, snipers, and a larger than expected contingent of heavily armed Islamist extremists. U.S. Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens was killed in the raid, which the Pentagon said also killed 14 militants. However, medics at the scene said about 30 people, including 10 women and children, were killed.
► From Politico — Trump team building a wall inside National Security Council — President Donald Trump’s national security adviser is planning to rely on a new layer of hand-picked aides to serve as a “barrier” between the professional staff of the National Security Council and top White House officials.
► In today’s Washington Post — Combative tone set for Trump’s foreign policy as Flynn puts Iran ‘on notice’ — The White House is putting traditional diplomacy aside and concentrating decision-making among a small group of aides who are quickly projecting their “America First” approach to the world.
► From AP — Trump to Mexico: Take care of ‘bad hombres’ or U.S. might — President Donald Trump threatened in a phone call with his Mexican counterpart to send U.S. troops to stop “bad hombres down there” unless the Mexican military does more to control them.
► In today’s Washington Post — ‘This was the worst call by far’: Trump badgered, bragged and abruptly ended phone call with Australian leader — President Trump blasted Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over a refugee agreement and boasted about the magnitude of his electoral college win, according to senior U.S. officials. About 25 minutes into what was expected to be an hour-long call, Trump suddenly ended it… Following the call, Sydney Morning Herald’s chief political correspondent Mark Kenny described Trump as “the Mad King: volatile, vainglorious, and untrustworthy.”
► From Huffington Post — South Dakota GOP repeals anti-corruption act passed by voters (by Josh Silver) — Today, the Republican-led South Dakota legislature completed a brazen plot to use emergency powers to repeal a landmark Anti-Corruption Act passed into law by voter referendum less than three months ago. If you’re one of the countless Americans fretting over our decaying democratic institutions, buckle up for another story of politicians hitting new lows.
► From Rolling Stone — The anti-refugee movement is America at its most ignorant (by Matt Taibbi) — Forget about the obvious deficits of humanity, empathy and generosity, always a given with Trumpian politics. The president and mouthpieces like Michelle Malkin are also deficient when it comes to values they profess to care a lot about, specifically patriotism and self-interest… The overwhelming majority of refugees have been through significant hardship. They’re grateful, civic-minded and anxious to contribute… It’s a win-win. Employers, specifically small-business owners, tend to get personally invested in the project of helping a family in need. And they usually get a skilled and diligent worker who is urgently motivated to succeed and give back. The program is, exactly and down to the very last detail, the ideal of what our country is supposed to stand for. It’s tragic that we’re raising a generation of people who don’t understand that.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.