Tuesday, September 26, 2017
► From the WEA — Strike begins at Bellingham Technical College, classes canceled — College employees are seeking a modest pay increase to keep up with the rising cost of health care and other living expenses. Negotiations continued all day Sunday without a contract settlement. Union President Alex Pieke-Dahl said the 56 members of the Bellingham Educational Support Team (BEST) are on strike because college President Kim Perry, Human Resources Director Camille Gatza and the BTC Board of Trustees continue blocking a fair contract settlement.
► From BTC.edu — Classes are cancelled for Tuesday, September 26 — BEST will be striking Tuesday, September 26. BTC faculty voted to not cross a staff picket line, therefore all classes are cancelled for Tuesday, September 26.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing’s next all-new jet moves closer to reality — Boeing has set up a new airplane program office to move one step closer to a decision on a “New Mid-market Airplane” — but still short of launching the proposed jet, often referred to as the 797.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Wood products to bring 150 jobs to Spokane Valley — Menlo Park-based Katerra plans to open a 250,000-square-foot manufacturing facility near Interstate 90 and Barker Road early next year. The plant will make engineered-wood products, employing about 150 people initially with potential for growth.
► From The Oregonian — Precision Castparts welders OK unionization — Precision Castparts welders in the Portland area voted Friday to join a union (International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers), a decision that directly affects only about 100 employees but could have an outsized impact on one of Oregon’s largest companies.
► In today’s Washington Post — Senate GOP effort to unwind the Affordable Care Act faces critical test Tuesday — Senate Republicans will decide Tuesday whether to hold a vote on unwinding the Affordable Care Act, even though they lack the votes to achieve the policy goal that has animated their party for more than seven years. While one top Republican senator held out the possibility that the Senate might still vote on a bill sponsored by GOP Sens. Bill Cassidy (La.) and Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), others accepted the reality that the push had sputtered out after Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) joined two of her colleagues in formal opposition.
► From HuffPost — Nearly 200 protesters arrested demonstrating against GOP health care bill — A total of 181 protesters were arrested on Monday for demonstrating against Republicans’ latest beleaguered attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
► From KUOW — ‘Millions’ fewer would have coverage under GOP health bill, says CBO analysis — The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office did not have enough time to estimate specifically how many people’s insurance would be affected as it has done when it scored previous repeal bills.
► From CNBC — Last-ditch Obamacare repeal could kill more than 500,000 jobs, cost $240 billion in lost economic activity, S&P says — Those job and economic activity losses would ensure that growth in the U.S. gross domestic product “remains stuck in low gear of around 2 [percent] at best in the next decade,” according to the analysis from S&P Global Ratings. The Graham-Cassidy repeal bill also poses a “threat” to the fiscal outlooks of state and local governments, as well as to not-for-profit health-care organizations, according to another analysis from S&P.
► From Murray.Senate.gov — Murray calls on Republicans to drop partisan Graham-Cassidy bill, resume bipartisan path on health care
► In today’s Olympian — Washington state would lose $10B through 2026 with latest Obamacare repeal plan, study says
► In today’s Seattle Times — Health-care reform that cuts Medicaid fails children (by pediatricians Rupin Thakkar Elizabeth Meade) — Our state has worked hard to cover all kids — currently, nearly all children in Washington (97 percent) have health-care coverage. Nearly half the children in our state have coverage thanks to our state’s Medicaid program, Apple Health for Kids. Health-care reform that cuts Medicaid funding fails children. The Graham-Cassidy bill limits Medicaid funding to states through block grants and caps funding. This poses a significant threat to our state’s Medicaid program… We should not be reforming health care by taking it away from our most vulnerable citizens.
► In today’s NY Times — The GOP is trapped in its own lies on almost every substantive policy (by Paul Krugman) –Republicans have spent years routinely lying for the sake of political advantage. And now — not just on health care, but across the board — they are trapped by their own lies, forced into trying to enact policies they know won’t work.
► From AP — Republicans, Trump eye deep cuts to corporate tax rate — The White House and congressional Republicans are finalizing a tax plan that would slash the corporate rate while likely reducing the levy for the wealthiest Americans, with President Donald Trump ready to roll out the policy proposal at midweek.
► From The Hill — A tax plan that works for the people, not Wall Street (by AFL-CIOP resident Richard Trumka) — Working people are tired of hearing how tax giveaways for Wall Street billionaires and corporations will supposedly trickle down to the rest of us. Too many politicians and pundits want us to believe our country is broke, and we have no choice but to demand sacrifices from working people, yet they have no trouble finding trillions of dollars to waste on tax giveaways for people who do not need them. They want to cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education and infrastructure to pay for tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy. Here is what a plan that actually works for working people looks like…
► From The Hill — Poll: Just 28 percent back Trump’s tax plan — The ABC News/Washington Post poll also finds that 65 percent of respondents think large corporations don’t pay enough in taxes.
► In today’s Washington Post — The problem that complicates Trump’s push for tax cuts — Overwhelmingly, across party lines, people feel that the current tax system is rigged in favor of the wealthy and that the wealthiest are likely to be the biggest beneficiaries.
► In today’s NY Times — A Trump travel ban we’ve seen before (editorial) — The new ban may look more modulated, but it’s a direct descendant of the Muslim ban President Trump called for from the start.
► From Politico — Trump hires campaign workers instead of farm experts at USDA — President Donald Trump’s appointees to jobs at Agriculture Department headquarters include a long-haul truck driver, a country club cabana attendant and the owner of a scented-candle company.
► From Politico — Pence group rakes in corporate PAC money — As President Donald Trump pushed away CEOs this summer, Mike Pence quietly pulled big business closer. The vice president’s new political group raised money from at least three dozen corporate PACs in June, July and August. The companies — including giants like AT&T, Boeing, FedEx and General Electric — are eager for access to the vice president and have embraced his leadership PAC as a way to win favor with the White House, according to interviews with a dozen Republican fundraisers and lobbyists with ties to the business community.
DRIP, DRIP, DRIP
► From HuffPost — Trump says Russians didn’t help him win. His intelligence agencies say yes they did. — President Trump is now directly disputing a conclusion by U.S. intelligence agencies. Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller, as well as the intelligence committees in the House and Senate, are examining the scope of Russian assistance to Trump, and are further trying to determine whether the campaign colluded with that assistance.
► From TPM — Roger Stone releases statement ahead of House intel panel testimony — Longtime Donald Trump associate and self-described dirty trickster Roger Stone said that Russia did not interfere in the 2016 election. The 47-page document is pure Stone: a combative, bomb-throwing screed that insists the “mantra-like repetition” that Russia carried out an influence campaign to swing the election to Trump “does not make it so.”
► In today’s Washington Post — Russians used Facebook ads to exploit divisions over Black Lives Matter and Muslims — A batch of more than 3,000 ads bought during the 2016 election highlights the sophistication of a Russian campaign crafted to mimic and infiltrate U.S. political discourse while also seeking to heighten tensions between groups already wary of one another.
► In today’s NY Times — At least 6 White House advisers used private email accounts — At least six of President Trump’s closest advisers — including Jared Kushner, Stephen Bannon, Reince Priebus and even Ivanka Trump — occasionally used private email addresses to discuss White House matters, current and former officials said on Monday.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Lock ’em all up! And soon! Please…
► From Time — North Korea says Trump’s latest Twitter threat is a ‘declaration of war’ — North Korea’s top diplomat said Monday that a weekend tweet by U.S. President Donald Trump was a “declaration of war” and North Korea has the right to retaliate by shooting down U.S. bombers, even in international airspace.
TODAY’S MUST-READ & MUST-SEE
► In today’s Seattle Times — Seahawks get it right, kindle hope for ‘equality and justice for all’ in anthem statement (by Jerry Large) — I was proud of the Seattle Seahawks for the statement that they put out before Sunday’s game:
“As a team, we have decided we will not participate in the national anthem. We will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country. Out of love for our country and in honor of the sacrifices made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic freedoms. We remain committed in continuing to work toward equality and justice for all. Respectfully, the players of the Seattle Seahawks.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — We, too, were proud of the Seahawks. Their players union is a longtime affiliate of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO.
► And this.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.