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Your Primary task, ‘repulsive’ Boeing, SeaTac’s boom

PRIMARY Tuesday, August 1, 2017


TODAY is the last day to drop off or mail your Primary Election ballots! — Check with your local Central Labor Council to find out which local candidates have earned labor’s endorsement. And if you live in the all-important 45th Legislative District, you REALLY need to turn in your ballot. As of last night, 23,207 45th LD ballots had been returned in the Senate race between labor-endorsed Democratic candidate Manka Dhingra and her Republican opponent. That’s about a 25 percent return rate. Some counties are reporting that they are experiencing record low turnouts. C’mon, people… VOTE!





► In the Seattle Times — While Boeing touts profits, workforce shrinks (by Robert Martinez, Jr.) — Thus far in 2017, the company has shed more than 6,000 jobs, some 4 percent of its workforce, most of them in Washington state. Over the past four years, Boeing has reduced its Seattle-area workforce by more than 20,000. Boeing’s pursuit of short-term profit for stockholders and executives is not only repulsive; it threatens the long-term viability of the entire North American aerospace industry. The Machinists Union has been sounding the alarm about this for decades. State lawmakers in Olympia should take the advice of more than 30,000 Machinists Union District 751 members who for years have advocated for common sense legislation tying the company’s eligibility for taxpayer dollars to the number of people the company employs in Washington state. Working families in the Puget Sound need this protection now.

► A related story from Mother Jones — Corporations are raking in record profits, but workers aren’t seeing much of it — In the first half of 2017 corporate profits have spiked while wage growth has been meager. Basically, corporations have manufactured profits by being stingy with workers.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing offers buyouts at South Carolina plant after June layoffs — Boeing is offering voluntary buyouts to workers on the flight line at its 787 Dreamliner plant in South Carolina, following a spate of layoffs in June.




► In today’s NY Times — Hotel boom in SeaTac is unfettered by $15 minimum wage — When SeaTac, Wash., became the first city in the nation to pass a $15-an-hour minimum wage in 2013, Jeff Robinson, the city’s director of community and economic development, said critics warned him that it would scare away businesses. But the higher minimum wage hasn’t done that at all. The hotel industry is a prime example: Nine hotels are in development, which will increase the available rooms by 25 percent, to 7,000.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Shortage of bus drivers has school districts scrambling — There’s a shortage of bus drivers and substitute drivers, in Snohomish County and nationwide. Trainers and transportation directors note that medical requirements, training and a challenging test to get licensed discourage people. The shortage also likely is related to an economic upswing.

► In the Olympian — Lacey female firefighters blazed the trail. Now they want to start others on the path. — They decided to organize Capital Metro Fire Girls Camp. They want to show young women that they can do anything they set their minds to — including drive the truck. Young women between the ages of 14 and 18 are eligible to attend the free two-day camp, where they’ll climb a 105-foot aerial ladder, rappel out of a window, and learn to use chainsaws, among other firefighting skills.

► From KNKX — Burien law protecting undocumented immigrants faces possible repeal — Burien was part of a wave of cities this year to pass laws aimed protecting undocumented immigrants. But, earlier this month, residents opposed to the law got enough signatures on a petition to force a vote on its repeal.




► In today’s Washington Post — Who saved Obamacare from the GOP? The American people. — Make no mistake: The leaders of our new, unified, conservative federal government were desperate to enact Trumpcare. But the combined political might of the president of the United States, the speaker of the House of Representatives and the Senate majority leader was no match for one simple thing: people showing up.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Voters need to push Congress toward universal health care (by Jerry Large) — Medicare and Medicaid are both good programs and for the most part so is the Affordable Care Act, but too many people fall through the gaps between the coverages they offer. If people in other countries can have full coverage, why can’t people in our wealthy country? Maybe because we haven’t demanded it. Now’s the time to do that.

ALSO at The Stand — WSLC, AFL-CIO support Medicare for All

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Repeal, replace is over; bipartisan fix is needed (editorial) — President Trump can restore some stability just by ending his Twitter attacks on the ACA and the threat to stop payments that are spooking insurers and causing uncertainty in the market. Congress can begin hearings and talks about needed reforms to the Affordable Care Act. “This will be hard,” Murray said. “All policies have consequences, so we have to know what we’re doing to move forward. We have to remake health care policy that impacts everybody, and get everyone involved.” Congress should keep the repeal-and-replace door shut and open the door to a bipartisan fix.

► From CNBC — Majority of Americans want Congress to move on from health-care reform — A majority of Americans are ready to move on from health-care reform after the U.S. Senate’s effort to dismantle Obamacare failed on Friday, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll. Nearly two-thirds of the country wants to either keep or modify the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare. A majority of Americans want Congress to turn its attention to other priorities, the survey found.

► In today’s Washington Post — GOP leaders concede it’s time for Senate to move on from health care — Pressure from President Trump has done little to convince lawmakers to keep trying to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Lawmakers say they will turn their attention to tax reform and “see if we can’t put some wins on the board.

► In the Washington Post — Trump insults and threatens GOP senators in long rant after health bill failure — “They look like fools,” the president wrote on Twitter — and unless they tried yet again to repeal and replace Obamacare, they would be “total quitters” too.




► In the Chinook Observer — Stop playing chicken with the capital budget (editorial) — Rep. Brian Blake (D-Aberdeen) formulated a bipartisan compromise in which well permits would be issued for the next two years, while a longer-range solution was negotiated. Senate Republicans rejected this idea. Blake’s proposal deserves immediate support. Legislators should agree to it, come back for a final and brief special session in August, and get the capital budget passed. It will be extreme legislative malpractice if capital projects continue being held hostage to a permanent Hirst fix.

ALSO at The Stand — Senate GOP’s brinkmanship suspends construction, kills jobs (by Sen. Bob Hasegawa)

► In today’s Bellingham Herald — Without state budget, money for Blanchard Mountain put on hold — The state Legislature’s failure to pass a capital budget this month has left several public lands projects in limbo, including the state Department of Natural Resources’ need for $7.7 million to permanently preserve the central recreation area in the Blanchard State Forest.

► From KUOW — Washington state tells DOJ voter rolls are ‘accurate’ — President Donald Trump has alleged widespread voter fraud in last year’s election. The state’s response says Washington state routinely compares its voter registration database to lists of deaths and felony convictions. And the state looks for duplicates every night.




► From Politico — Senate Democrats set conditions for tax reform — Senate Democrats laid down a marker Tuesday for any future tax reform legislation, urging President Donald Trump and the GOP to seek a bipartisan bill and outlining the conditions to secure their votes. Democrats say they will not back any bill that gives new breaks to the wealthiest individuals and will not back any legislation that adds to the deficit.

► In the Washington Post — The man who may disenfranchise millions (editorial) — After last fall’s presidential election, Kris Kobach got to work. In an email plotting action items for the new Trump administration, Kobach, the Republican secretary of state in Kansas and a champion of voter suppression campaigns there and nationally, said he had “already started” drafting a key legislative change that would enable states to impose rules complicating registration for millions of new voters — exactly the sort of rules he had advanced in Kansas.

► In today’s Washington Post — Trump dictated son’s misleading statement on meeting with Russian lawyer — President Trump’s personal intervention, described by people with knowledge of the deliberations, is part of a series of actions that some advisers fear could place him and some members of his inner circle in legal jeopardy as the probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election proceeds.

► From the Hill — Scaramucci shocker roils Washington — Anthony Scaramucci’s abrupt ouster on Monday capped an extraordinary stretch of turmoil at the White House. Yet some within the president’s orbit argued that it was one of those rare Washington events that was simultaneously shocking but unsurprising. Scaramucci lasted only 10 days in a job he had long coveted, that of White House communications director.

► From The Onion — Nation not sure how many Trump ex-staffers it can safely absorb




► From CNN Money — The U.S. has a staggering pilot shortage — Over the next two decades, 87 new pilots need to be trained and ready to fly a commercial airliner every day in order to meet our insatiable demand to travel by air. That’s one every 15 minutes. Retirements at U.S. airlines will start to rise precipitously starting in 2021 as the current crop of pilots turns 65, the mandated age of retirement. More than 42% of active U.S. airline pilots at the biggest carriers will retire over the next 10 years, about 22,000, according to a recent report.

► In the St. Louis Post-Dispatch — Court sides with Missouri unions in ‘right to work’ dispute — A union-led attempt to dump Missouri’s new “right to work” law scored a victory in court Friday. The Missouri Court of Appeals Western District overturned a lower court decision that said the language of a proposed ballot initiative seeking to nix the new law was unfair and insufficient.

► In the NY Times — Hot spot for tech outsourcing: The United States — For years, American companies have been saving money by “offshoring” jobs — hiring people in India and other distant cubicle farms. Today, some of those jobs are being outsourced again — in the United States.

► From AFL-CIO on FacebookChicago Local #1 Iron Workers remake the iconic “Lunch atop a Skyscraper” photo from 1932.




► From Project Syndicate — Why tax cuts for the rich solve nothing (by Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz) — If corporate tax reform happens at all, it will be a hodge-podge brokered behind closed doors. More likely is a token across-the-board tax cut: the losers will be future generations, out-lobbied by today’s avaricious moguls, the greediest of whom include those who owe their fortunes to scummy activities, like gambling. The sordidness of all of this will be sugarcoated with the hoary claim that lower tax rates will spur growth. There is simply no theoretical or empirical basis for this, especially in countries like the U.S., where most investment (at the margin) is financed by debt and interest is tax deductible…

In a country with so many problems – especially inequality – tax cuts for rich corporations will not solve any of them. This is a lesson for all countries contemplating corporate tax breaks – even those without the misfortune of being led by a callow, craven plutocrat.


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

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