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Pramila’s #M4A ● Curing patients not ‘sustainable’ ● Anger can be power

Thursday, June 13, 2019




► From The Hill — First major ‘Medicare for All’ hearing sharpens attacks on both sides — Supporters of “Medicare for All” notched a victory Wednesday when one of Congress’s most powerful committees debated the progressive proposal, but the venue also gave Republicans an opportunity to paint proponents as socialists. GOP lawmakers zeroed in on Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s (D-Wash.) Medicare for All bill, which has 112 co-sponsors in the House. Jayapal, who sat in the front row of the audience with a sour look on her face during Rep. Kevin Brady’s (R-Texas) testimony, at one point commented, “Wow.” She later told reporters, “I have never heard a ranking member’s statement that was filled with not a single truth.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — Delegates representing unions from across Washington state went on record in support of “Medicare for All” in 2018. As for Republicans’ lies and scare tactics at yesterday’s hearing…

► From Mother Jones — Republicans bet ‘Medicare for All’ hearings would divide Democrats. They were wrong. — The bill was debated Wednesday in its highest-profile venue yet, and instead of initiating an intraparty pillow fight, Democrats made a show of solidarity. They discredited the GOP’s attacks with a reminder of that party’s attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

► MUST-SEE in today’s NY Times — ‘We either buy insulin or we die’ (video op-ed) — Insulin has become so unaffordable that Type 1 diabetics are pushed to take risks, like rationing and buying from strangers online. The video Op-Ed above reveals the lengths to which they go to get a nearly century-old drug and how Americans are dying from a perfectly manageable autoimmune disease. Patent laws and existing regulations allow the top three manufacturers to continuously increase prices without consequences.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Which reminds us of this gem, not from The Onion, but from CNBC in April 2018 — Goldman Sachs asks in biotech research report: ‘Is curing patients a sustainable business model?’ — “The potential to deliver ‘one shot cures’ is one of the most attractive aspects of gene therapy, genetically-engineered cell therapy and gene editing. However, such treatments offer a very different outlook with regard to recurring revenue versus chronic therapies,” analyst Salveen Richter wrote in the note to clients Tuesday. “While this proposition carries tremendous value for patients and society, it could represent a challenge for genome medicine developers looking for sustained cash flow.”




► From KUOW — Trade war with China is hurting our regional economy, Ports say — The region’s seaports and airport say the Trump Administration’s trade war with China will hurt Washington state’s economy. And they say exports from the state are already suffering. The ports say that China has been retaliating by buying fewer Washington state seafood and dairy products, and our soybean exports are down 70 percent.

► In the (Aberdeen) Daily World — Herrera Beutler among 10 vulnerable House candidates GOP will help with extra cash — Republicans plan to pour extra money and resources into 10 congressional districts, including Jaime Herrera Beutler’s (R-3rd), where Republican incumbents are vulnerable amid demographic changes that could swing the elections toward Democrats.




► From Bloomberg — ‘Fortress mentality’ grips Trump Labor agency as critics circle — An expanded policy office reporting to Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta has consolidated power and effectively sidelined top lawyers and career civil servants at the agencies that write rules and enforce laws protecting American workers. “It is a fortress mentality. They don’t trust anyone else. Not just a senior career; they don’t trust anybody,” a current senior DOL official said. “It seeps through the organization and that’s why the morale is low.”

► In today’s Washington Post — Trump says he’d consider accepting information from foreign governments on his opponents — Trump on Wednesday said he would consider accepting information on his political opponents from a foreign government, despite the concerns raised by the intelligence community and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III over Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.




► In the Washington (D.C.) City Paper — Workers who make your in-flight meals at DCA vote to strike — After 30 years of Sky Chefs employment, Eyerusalem Retta still makes $13.35 an hour. The 156 workers at Sky Chefs in DCA join 11,000 other airline catering employees across the country who are voting this month to authorize strikes at the airports where they work. Dozens of workers came to the tent on their lunch break, with hair nets on their heads and over their beards. Several were sporting bright blue temporary tattoos: “I VOTED YES!”

ALSO TODAY at The Stand — Airline food workers at Sea-Tac vote by 99.7% to strike — UNITE HERE Local 8 President Erik Van Rossum: “This has reached a crisis level—airline catering workers in SeaTac need meaningful changes, and they need them right now.”

► From HuffPost — UAW gets another crack at unionizing Volkswagen plant in Tennessee — Volkswagen employees in Chattanooga, Tennessee, will decide this week whether to join the United Auto Workers and start bargaining for a contract, in an election that relitigates one of the highest-profile labor fights in years and gives the union a shot at redemption.

► From HuffPost — Strippers are turning to old-school union tactics to fight for fair wages — The change in their officially recognized employment status has left dancers in California dealing with a set of new challenges. So dozens of Los Angeles-based strippers are working to unionize dancers across Southern California and demand protections under state and federal law.

► From NBC News — New Jersey becomes 1st state to mandate panic buttons for hotel room cleaners — New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill Tuesday that he and others said is the nation’s first requiring most hotels to provide their workers with wearable panic buttons they can press to summon help quickly in an emergency. In 2018, a 51-year-old room cleaner at Bally’s casino in Atlantic City was pushed into a room by a man who then sexually assaulted her.

► From the AFL-CIO — Latest episode of “State of the Unions” podcast — Julie and Tim talked with Pride At Work Executive Director Jerame Davis as the AFL-CIO constituency group celebrates its 25th anniversary. They discussed the progress made by LGBTQ working people over the past quarter-century and the work still left to be done.




► This week, The Entire Staff of The Stand saw the walk-out song playlist chosen by each of the Democratic candidates for president at their Iowa events. There’s some good ones on there, including Mark Morrison’s “Return of the Mack” (Yang) and ELO’s “Mr. Blue Sky” (Inslee, of course). But the winner is Beto O’Rourke, who chose “Clampdown” by The Clash and says the band’s 1979 masterpiece London Calling “changed his life” — as it did ours.

TESOTS is taking Friday off to attend our son’s graduation from The Evergreen State College. He loves punk music and graduates from college at a time when abuses of authority and the truth are daily, even hourly, occurrences. So we dedicate this to him. (This sound quality from this rare video recording isn’t great, so feel free listen to the album track.) “Clampdown” calls out those who forsake the idealism of youth and urges young people to fight the status quo. “Let fury have the hour, anger can be power. D’you know that you can use it?” Congratulations, Adrian!


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