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4,400 Americans died of COVID yesterday ● ‘Very specific threats’ ● Democracy and unions

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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

 

► UPDATE from the Washington Post — TRUMP IMPEACHED AGAIN — The House voted 232 to 197 on Wednesday to impeach President Trump an unprecedented second time, on a charge of “inciting violence” against the U.S. government. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) left open the possibility of voting to convict at a trial, which would occur after Trump leaves office next week.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA, 5th) was the only member of Washington’s congressional delegation to vote against impeachment. All seven Democratic representatives voted to impeach Trump, as did Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA, 3rd) and Dan Newhouse (R-WA, 4th), who were two of 10 Republicans to vote “yes.” (See the roll call here.)

 


COVID-19

 

► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, Jan. 13 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 278,544 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 2,750) and 3,789 deaths (7-day average of deaths per day: 15)

► From the Columbian — Virus outbreak at Larch prison climbs to 272 inmates — A total of 24 staff members at Larch have also tested positive for the virus to date.

► From the Columbian — COVID-19 surge pushes Clark Co. back into ‘high’ range

► From the Tri-City Herald — New case rates in Tri-Cities area are high

► From the Spokesman-Review — Spokane Co. has state’s second-highest case count

► LIVE from the NY Times — Distracted by D.C. political crisis, U.S. sets daily record for virus deaths — As America slogs through this grimmest of winters, there is no relief in the daily tabulations of COVID-19 deaths: More than 4,400 were reported across the U.S. on Tuesday, a number once unimaginable. Yet even as the disease touches thousands of families, the nation is distracted by the political crisis gripping Washington in the last days of the Trump administration. Tuesday’s death count, which set another daily record, represented at least 1,597 more people than those killed in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

► From Politico — Trump’s abrupt shift on COVID shots may sow more chaos — Trump administration health officials blindsided states on Tuesday with an abrupt and dramatic shift in how they’ll distribute coronavirus vaccines that may set up new hurdles for the Biden transition team.

► From the Seattle Times — State caught by surprise as U.S. makes abrupt shift on vaccines

► From the Washington Post — I’m 75. I had cancer. I got COVID-19 because my GOP colleagues dismiss facts. (by Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman) — Over the past day, a lot of people have asked me how I feel. They are usually referring to my covid-19 diagnosis and my symptoms. I feel like I have a mild cold. But even more than that, I am angry. I am angry that after I spent months carefully isolating myself, a single chaotic day likely got me sick. I am angry that several of our nation’s leaders were unwilling to deal with the small annoyance of a mask for a few hours. I am angry that the attack on the Capitol and my subsequent illness have the same cause: my Republican colleagues’ inability to accept facts.

 


BOEING

 

► From the Seattle Times — Boeing’s 2020 production fell to lowest level in almost 50 years — A devastating 2020 for Boeing production ended in December with a small lift for its workforce producing 737 MAX jets in Renton but another blow to those building 787s in Everett and North Charleston, S.C.  After the FAA ungrounded the 737 MAX in mid-November, Boeing managed to deliver 27 of the jets out of Renton in December, the first deliveries since the second MAX crash in March 2019. For the second month in a row, however, Boeing in December delivered zero 787s.

► From the AP — Boeing deliveries drop despite 737 MAX’s return to flight — Boeing Co. got a bump in orders and deliveries of new planes in December, but it wasn’t enough to salvage a poor year for the Chicago-based aircraft maker.

► From the Seattle Times — Boeing to pay $25M to settle fraud case at drone unit Insitu that sparked whistleblower complaint — Boeing’s drone subsidiary, Insitu, will pay $25 million to settle a federal lawsuit accusing it of fraudulently overcharging the government on no-bid military contracts by billing for new parts but using recycled ones. The whistleblower who brought the original case, D R O’Hara, who was fired by Boeing, will get $4.625 million of that sum for uncovering the alleged fraud. Insitu will also have to pay O’Hara’s legal expenses.

► From the PSBJ — Boeing sells last of the 747 freighters as jumbo era ends

 


LOCAL

 

► From KIRO — Wind storm knocks out power to thousands; topples trees, power lines — Hundreds of thousands of people are waking up without power after intense overnight winds toppled power lines, trees, and caused road closures. More than 300,000 Puget Sound Energry customers are without power across western Washington.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Hundreds of IBEW members are out right now working to repair lines and restore power. Thank you, and please be safe.

► From the Daily News — Longview schools, union says teachers ready to return to classrooms — The Longview school superintendent and the Longview School District’s teachers union leadership Monday firmly refuted a community concern that local teachers would refuse to return to classrooms when asked.

► From the Olympian — Olympia City Council approves interim police guild contract, but hints at future changes

 


THIS WASHINGTON

 

► From the Seattle Times — Washington State Patrol investigates ‘very specific threats’ to Capitol, other buildings — The concerns include not only the Capitol in Olympia but also courthouses and other government buildings around Washington. The Pacific Northwest has been a hub of activity for the far right, including different “Patriot” groups. In recent weeks, they have helped organize and increase attendance at events protesting state pandemic restrictions as well as supporting Trump’s failed bid to try to overturn the presidential election results.

► From the Columbian — Rep. Vicki Kraft unfit to serve, should resign (editorial) — State Rep. Vicki Kraft has embraced divisive anti-American views that undermine our democracy and foster the kind of discord that resulted last week in the storming of the U.S. Capitol. The Vancouver Republican has demonstrated a disdain for democracy that should result in her resignation from the Legislature. Short of that, she should be ostracized and censured by members of her party in Olympia.

► From the News Tribune — Olympia fence isn’t Berlin Wall, but closing state Capitol sadly necessary – for now (editorial) — What the fence is: an unfortunate but necessary — and temporary — response to the storming of the U.S. Capitol building last week, which killed five people and sent members of Congress scurrying for cover. What the fence is not: an affront to freedom akin to some of history’s most formidable barriers, including the Berlin Wall, which one Republican lawmaker would have you believe.

► From the News Tribune — Lawmakers’ push to reform policing begins with hearing on changes to tactics — Members of the public weighed in Tuesday on a bill that would restrict and standardize tactics police officers are allowed to use across Washington state, including banning chokeholds and preventing law enforcement agencies from buying or using tear gas.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Police Reform is among the priority issues in the 2021 Workers’ Recovery Agenda of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. An excerpt:

Charleena Lyles and Manuel Ellis were unjustly killed by police here in Washington state; two more names added to an unacceptably long list of Black people and people of color who have been victims of the overuse of force by law enforcement around the country. Policing in America is too often violent, and disproportionately directed at Black communities. There are clear, systematic root causes that lead to the hyper-policing of Black people and other people of color, and the Legislature must take action. The WSLC will support systemic reform efforts that address unnecessary use of force and accountability for officers who violate the standards of their profession, while preserving core labor principles.

► From the Seattle Times — State ferry ridership dropped to historic lows last year

 


SOUTH OF THE BORDER

 

► From the Oregonian — Rep. Mike Nearman, who allowed violent demonstrators into Oregon Capitol, issues statement with no contrition, lashes out at others — Nearman, who is among the subjects under investigation by the Oregon State Police for the Capitol breach, did not explain why he let demonstrators into the building. He also did not apologize. At least two men have been arrested in connection with the Capitol breach that morning, including one accused of dousing police with pepper spray.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Rep. Nearman is a senior fellow for the anti-union Freedom Foundation, an organization with a history of staffers involved in right-wing fringe activities. The Northwest Accountability Project is calling on Oregon legislative leaders to expel Rep. Nearman immediately.

► From the Oregonian — The legislators fomenting discord in Oregon (editorial) — The chaos last week at the U.S. Capitol showed the dangerous consequences that can result from politicians inciting mobs with lies and false narratives. Unfortunately, we’re seeing plenty of signs that Oregon politicians are happy to encourage such animosity here as well… If Rep. Mike Nearman can’t provide a reasonable explanation for his actions, he should be expelled.

 


TRUMP’S MOB

 

► From Politico — Top lawmakers alarmed by torrent of new threats — Top lawmakers say they are increasingly alarmed by a rash of new threats that could once again endanger their lives on the job, days before the U.S. Capitol braces for potentially huge crowds for the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. Chilling details of these ongoing threats have emerged in a series of private lawmaker briefings this week, including one on Monday night in which Capitol Police and other officials warned House Democrats of multiple plots to harm lawmakers.

► From Politico — Right-wing extremist chatter spreads on new platforms as threat of political violence ramps up — Law enforcement nationwide is on high alert after last week’s riot at the Capitol, with reports suggesting that several extremist groups have planned armed demonstrations across the country to protest the end of Trump’s presidency.

► From HuffPost — Online police communities rife with conspiracies, support for the Capitol riot — Unable to grasp how Trump supporters could turn against cops, many officers are blaming antifa for the deadly violence.

► From the Seattle Times — Seattle man who served in Washington National Guard is among first indicted in attack on U.S. Capitol

► From the Seattle Times — Seattle police union president won’t resign after Capitol attack remarks, blames ‘cancel culture’

► From the Washington Post — A ‘Stop the Steal’ organizer, now banned by Twitter, said three GOP lawmakers helped plan his D.C. rally — Right-wing activist Ali Alexander said he hatched the plan for a rally coinciding with Congress’s vote to certify the electoral college votes alongside Republican Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Mo Brooks (Ala.) and Paul A. Gosar (Ariz.), all hard-line Trump supporters.

 


THAT WASHINGTON

 

► LIVE from the Washington Post — House poised to impeach Trump for ‘incitement of insurrection’ — The House is poised to impeach Trump for a second time as it meets Wednesday to consider an article charging him with “incitement of insurrection” for his role in last week’s takeover of the Capitol by a violent pro-Trump mob.

► From the Columbian — Herrera Beutler says she will vote to impeach Trump — 3rd District representative says evidence against president is “indisputable.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — We’ll update this page with how Washington members voted following this morning’s vote.

► From the Washington Post — Several senior Republicans join impeachment push — Several senior House Republicans joined the Democratic effort to remove Trump. “The president of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack,” said Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.). “There has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.”

► From the N Times — McConnell is said to be pleased about impeachment, believing it will be easier to purge Trump from the GOP

► From The Hill — House passes measure calling on Pence to remove Trump — The bill passed 223-205. One Republican lawmaker, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), joined with every voting Democrat in approving the measure.

► From The Hill — Pence rejects calls to invoke 25th Amendment to remove Trump

► From the NY Times — Pence reached his limit with Trump. It wasn’t pretty. — “You can either go down in history as a patriot,” Trump told Pence,”or you can go down in history as a pussy.” But after four years of tongue-biting silence that critics say enabled the president’s worst instincts, the vice president would not yield to the pressure to overturn the election.

► From the Washington Post — Trump defiant and unapologetic about his role in inciting Capitol mob attack — Trump emerged Tuesday from six days out of public view defiant and unapologetic about his incitement of last week’s mob attack on the Capitol and warned (read: threatened) that his impeachment could lead to more violence.

 


THAT WASHINGTON

 

► From the Washington Post — Biden team briefs Congress on emerging stimulus plan, aims for bipartisan deal — The proposal, which Biden intends to unveil on Thursday, is expected to include $2,000 stimulus payments, an extension of enhanced unemployment insurance, money for vaccine distribution and delivery, funding for cities, states, schools, child care and more.

► From Politico — Schumer pledges to confirm Biden’s Cabinet, press for more COVID relief amid impeachment — “The Senate Democratic Majority … is committed to delivering the bold change our country demands, and the help that our people need.”

► From Vox — McConnell is already sabotaging Biden’s presidency — The Senate hasn’t held a single confirmation hearing on Biden’s nominees. That’s not normal.

► From The Hill — AFL-CIO calls on Biden to appoint racial equity czar — “We need someone dedicated to leading an interagency task force that directly addresses racial injustice in all the places it exists,” Trumka said. He said the position would coordinate on racial justice across the administration, and also place the issue of racial inequity at the forefront.

 


NATIONAL

 

► From the Washington Post — ‘Shocked, disheartened, devastated’: Restaurant and hotel workers reel as layoffs soar again — The pandemic has ravaged the hospitality, travel and retail industries since its outset in March, when shutdowns and restrictions meant to contain the virus cost more than 520,000 U.S. service workers their jobs. This workforce is under renewed pressure amid a resurgence in coronavirus cases: 498,000 leisure and hospitality jobs disappeared last month. Restaurant and bar workers comprised the bulk of those losses, roughly 3 in 4, an onslaught that disproportionately affected women and workers of color. Overall employment in the sector has fallen 23 percent during the pandemic, outpacing every other industry.

The Stand (March 30, 2020) — Donate to UNITE HERE’s local hospitality worker relief fund — As frontline workers in the hospitality, food service and transportation industries, nearly 5,500 UNITE HERE Local 8 members in Washington and Oregon and the families they support are among those most affected by the coronavirus. Thousands of union members are laid off in the face of decreased travel, cancelled meetings and hotel bookings, closures, and suspended sporting events. While the affected industries and corporations will rebound, this will be catastrophic for workers facing a totally unexpected loss of their livelihoods. Please make a donation today to support these union families in our community.

► From CNET — Driver lawsuit says Uber and Lyft’s Proposition 22 is unconstitutional — A trio of ride-hail drivers filed a lawsuit in California’s Supreme Court on Tuesday alleging that Proposition 22 is unconstitutional. The proposition was voted into law by California residents in November and ensures gig workers in the state are classified as independent contractors, rather than employees. Proposition 22 was authored by gig economy companies, including Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and Instacart, which spent more than $205 million to get the ballot measure passed. It exempts the companies from a state law requiring that they treat their workers as employees.

EDITOR’S NOTE — The California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO says: “We stand in solidarity with these brave essential workers in their fight to stop this exploitative, unconstitutional law that hurts workers and their families.”

► From the Washington Post — Chicago school system locks out some teachers, withholds pay for not returning to in-person instruction — A lawyer for the Chicago Teachers Union said the district is in violation of its contract and state law for withholding pay from educators who are providing remote instruction during the pandemic and said the union will file a class-action grievance.

► From the AP — Michigan plans to charge ex-Gov. Snyder in Flint water probe — Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, his health director and other ex-officials have been told they’re being charged after a new investigation of the Flint water scandal, which devastated the majority Black city with lead-contaminated water and was blamed for a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease.

► From Vice — Whole Foods is cutting some workers’ paid break time from 15 to 10 minutesWhole Foods has announced a new break policy in the United States, which could result in thousands of employees losing paid time to rest and recuperate during their shifts and working longer hours to maintain their earnings.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Give yourself a break. Get a union! Learn more about how you can join together with co-workers and negotiate for basic protections on the job and a fair return for your hard work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!

 


TODAY’S MUST-READ

 

► From the Chicago Sun-Times — Democracy and the labor movement are one and the same (by Richard Trumka) — Our democracy, like our labor movement, is not a building. It’s not a piece of paper like our Constitution. Our democratic republic lives in us. In the days before and after the election, I made it clear that the survival of our democracy depends on the determination of working people to defend it. That’s because democracy and the labor movement are one and the same. Without the labor movement, there would be no democracy. And democracy defines what the labor movement is. Our unions run, like our country, by voting. All members get to vote, and each vote counts the same.

When a mob attacked our Capitol, they were attacking working people. Whether they knew it or not, Trump was using them to try to create an America where only the rich and powerful have any say in what happens. That is what happens without democracy. Working people go from being citizens to subjects. But if our democracy is to be safe, we must understand the role racism played in last week’s attack on the Capitol. Every aspect of the attack on our Capitol on Wednesday was shot through with racism. The mob brought Confederate flags. They wore Nazi symbols and sweatshirts celebrating death camps. It’s clear their real problem was never voter fraud. Rather, it was that people of color, in cities like Detroit and Philadelphia, had been allowed to vote — and their votes had been counted… White supremacy and democracy cannot coexist. White supremacy and the solidarity of workers cannot coexist. And we choose democracy and solidarity. The better angels of our movement always have.

 


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

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