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Occupy Seattle arrests, state park closures, taxing ‘richest’…

Today’s news links:



► In today’s Seattle Times — Occupy Seattle protesters clash with police — Seattle police swept through Westlake Park on Wednesday, making 25 arrests as they clashed with protesters and hauled away tents set up by the Occupy Seattle movement.

► In today’s Columbian — Occupy Portland vows not to get a permit, plans ‘disruption’ — Organizers for a noontime event today say they will not be obtaining a permit and will not share any information on a march route or locations that the march may “occupy” along the way.

In today’s Tri-Cities Herald — Occupy Tri-Cities to meet at 10 a.m. today — An “Occupy Tri-Cities” group plans to meet for its first general assembly at 10 a.m. today in John Dam Plaza, across from the Federal Building at 505 Swift Blvd. in Richland.

► More local coverage from the Seattle P-I, and national coverage in the New York Times and Washington Post.

► At Huffington Post — Occupy Wall Street: From march to melee — Wednesday’s anti-Wall Street protest in New York City was not one march but two. The first was an orderly, permitted procession on Broadway led by leading local labor unions that boasted 10,000 participants. The second was a quick-moving series of confrontations that resulted in around 28 arrests, accusations of police brutality and fears that Zuccotti Park could soon be cleared out by force… “They can’t arrest us all,” a girl nearby said. That’s also what someone told a New York Times reporter before she and 743 other people were arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge.

► In today’s Seattle Times — What Occupy Wall Street wants (by Jon Talton) — This is an entirely predictable outcome as more Americans lose the American Dream, which is not so much a house as the right to rise through hard work and merit. A return to American fair play. Not a privileged few who game the system, loot the treasury, lay off millions, enjoy tax cuts, shred the social compact, cut wages, demand the end of pensions and health benefits — and call it “just business” and “the free market.”

Washington’s 99% on Facebook: Occupy BellinghamOccupy OlympiaOccupy Seattle (website) – Occupy SpokaneOccupy TacomaOccupy Tri-CitiesOccupy WenatcheeOccupy Yakima

► The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart examines the hypocrisy of conservative corporate media support for the Tea Party while ridiculing and dismissing the Occupy Wall Street movement.





► In today’s Tri-City Herald — State parks board plans for cuts — All options are under consideration as the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission starts planning for a worst-case scenario of cutting an additional 20% of its budget. That could include closing state parks.




► At Publicola — McKenna isn’t standing up to banks, Pelz says — Attorneys general nationwide are collectively negotiating with banks to pursue lesser punishments against banks for illegal mortgage foreclosure practices if the banks agree to ease loan payback requirements for strapped debtors. Democratic AGs have criticized the deal for being too soft on banks. State Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz says: “He [McKenna] claims that his top priority is standing up for consumers, but now we learn that he [is] negotiating a settlement that provides a horrendous deal for the victims of abusive Wall Street practices.” McKenna says: “The deal we are negotiating will not give banks a get out of jail free card.”




► At — Hertz workers: We were suspended because of our religion — Dozens of workers at Sea-Tac Airport say they’re being punished because they pray. The employees at Hertz Rental Cars have been suspended without pay, and they don’t know when they’ll be allowed back to work.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Swedish, Providence to join forces — Citing economic challenges in the region and country, two of Western Washington’s largest hospital systems announced a plan to combine forces, creating a new, nonprofit entity that would operate the largest health-care system in the state.

► In today’s News Tribune — First 787 reported to be 21,500 overweight — An aviation journal reports that the plane is the subject of a diet that is gradually squeezing excess pounds out of the the later planes in the production process. It may take until plane 90, however, that all the extra poundage is eliminated.

► In today’s Peninsula Daily News — “Not too late” to avert layoffs, county administrator says — If Clallam County is to avoid the 30 layoffs recommended by its chief administrator to cover a $2.4 million budget shortfall, county officials and the eight unions that represent the employees will have to get back to the bargaining table soon.




► In today’s N.Y. Times — Democrats seek tax on ‘richest,’ aiming gauntlet at GOP — In proposing a 5% surtax on incomes of more than $1 million a year to pay for job-creation measures sought by President Obama, Senate Democratic leaders escalate efforts to strike a more populist tone and to draw Republicans into a confrontation over how much affluent Americans should pay to help others cope with a struggling economy.

► In today’s N.Y. Times — Where’s the jobs bill? (editorial) — The sharp contrast with the Republican plan to do nothing can only be made if Democrats are clearly united behind a plan to invigorate the economy. Mr. Reid insists the millionaire’s tax will unite Democrats and produce a vote on the jobs plan in the next few days. It cannot come soon enough.

► In The Hill — Labor board delays rule requiring posters in workplace — The NLRB postpones a regulation requiring employers to post notices that would inform workers of their right to form a union. The rule was slated to go in effect Nov. 14 of this year, but has now been postponed until Jan. 31, 2012, to give NLRB more time to educate companies about who and who is not covered by the rule.

► In The Hill — Trade deals were cash cow for K Street — Justice Department records shows that the Washington embassies of Colombia, Panama and South Korea, foreign ministries and trade agencies have  spent at least $15 million on lobbying, legal and PR work to press for passage of the free-trade agreements. The sum includes at least $2.3 million spent by the countries so far in 2011.




► In today’s NY Times — All Quiet on the Southern Front (by Veronica Escobar, a county judge in El Paso, Texas) — Many Republican politicians — and not a few Democrats, too — use the bogeyman of border violence to justify exorbitant security measures, like the ever-lengthening border fence that costs $2.8 million per mile (for a total of $6.5 billion, including maintenance, over the 20-year lifetime of the fence). Rick Perry’s brainchild, security cameras, have so far cost $4 million to put in place and maintain.

These measures do little besides waste money. Tunnels already run below the border fence. During their first two years in operation, Mr. Perry’s cameras led to the arrest of a whopping 26 people — that’s $154,000 per arrest. And once undocumented immigrants are apprehended, costs continue to mount: in this fiscal year alone, the federal government is budgeting $2 billion just for detention.

While candidates talk about getting tougher, border cities like mine will continue to talk about becoming smarter. Let’s just hope they join our conversation soon.


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