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Labor appeals, economics of Ferguson, humans need not apply…

Tuesday, August 19, 2014




► From KPLU — Unions appeal judge’s ruling, seek separate votes on Seattle pre-K, child care plans — A union-backed advocacy group for Seattle childcare workers has appealed a lower court ruling that pits a voter initiative the group favors, Initiative 107, against a city-endorsed pre-kindergarten proposal on the November ballot. The advocacy group, Yes for Early Success, asked the state Court of Appeals to review a King County judge’s decision that states Seattle voters cannot cast votes in favor of both I-107 and the city’s proposed preschool plan.

► At HA Seattle — Still no retraction on Seattle Times’ bogus ‘death tax’ editorial (by Goldy) — Still no word back yet from Seattle Times editorial page editor Kate Riley regarding my request that the paper retract and correct its blatantly erroneous “Death Tax” editorial.




ericksen-infrequent► From KPLU — Legislative ethics panel to consider free-meals rule — How many free meals is too many? That’s the question an ethics panel aims to answer at a public hearing Tuesday in Olympia. The Legislative Ethics Board will consider a draft proposal to limit how many free meals lawmakers can accept from lobbyists. Washington law allows lawmakers to accept gifts of food and drink on infrequent occasions. But that word “infrequent” has never been defined.




► At Think Progress — Five children murdered after they were deported back to Honduras — Between five and ten migrant children have been killed since February after the United States deported them back to Honduras, a morgue director told the Los Angeles Times. Lawmakers have yet to come up with best practices to deal with the waves of unaccompanied children apprehended by Border Patrol agents, but some politicians refute claims that children are fleeing violence and are opting instead to fund legislation that would fast-track their deportations.

lat-honduras-deport► In the LA Times — In Honduras, U.S. deportees seek to journey north again — By the time Isaias Sosa turned 14, he’d already seen 15 bullet-riddled bodies laid out in his neighborhood. He rarely ventured outside his grandmother’s home. But what pushed him to act was the death of his pregnant cousin, who was gunned down in 2012 by street gang members. Sosa loaded a backpack, pocketed $500 from his mother’s purse, memorized his aunt’s phone number in Washington state and headed for southern Mexico. Crossing the Rio Grande into Texas, Sosa was apprehended almost immediately by Border Patrol agents (and deported back to Honduras). “Everywhere here is dangerous,” he said. “There is no security. They kill people all the time. It’s a sin to be young in Honduras.”

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Justice for child immigrants (editorial) — Last week, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson exhibited judgment and political courage, arguing to the U.S. District Court in Seattle that unaccompanied immigrant children in Washington should not be forced to represent themselves in their removal hearings. “The consequences these children face are dire if they return to their countries,” Ferguson said. “I am calling on the federal government to ensure every child who faces deportation has an attorney by his or her side in order to receive a fair hearing.”

► From ABC News — Possible immigration rift for Obama with Democrats — If Obama takes the broadest action under consideration — removing the threat of deportation for millions of people in this country illegally — the short-term risks appear greatest for Senate Democrats in conservative-leaning states. Wary of what could be coming, some of those lawmakers have said Obama should act with caution.





► In today’s NY Times — Tax burden in U.S. not as heavy as it looks, study finds — We’ve been told repeatedly that the U.S. has the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world — 35% — which is higher than the nominal tax rates in places like Ireland (12.5%), Britain (21%), and the 24.1% average rate of all countries that are part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. All of that’s true, but USC Professor Edward Kleinbard, a former chief of staff to the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, contends that most U.S. multinational companies don’t pay anywhere near 35%. Companies paid, on average, 12.6%, according to the Government Accountability Office, by deliberately stashing piles of cash abroad.

► In today’s Washington Post — Whoever wins the Senate, we probably won’t know who picked up the tab — An analysis by the pro-transparency Brennan Center for Justice finds that 51% of the funds spent in the top nine Senate races so far comes from groups that don’t disclose or that partially disclose donors.

► In today’s NY Times — Among the poor, women feel inequality more deeply — Not only are they more likely than men to be in a minimum-wage job, but women are also much more likely to be raising a family on their own.

► In The Hill — The courthouse is closed (to you) (by E.J. Hurst) — American children are taught that everyone can have their day in court, and justice will prevail. The cold reality, though, is that an average American citizen often cannot afford to challenge other citizens — never mind corporations — in U.S. courts.




► In today’s Seattle Times — National Guard enters Ferguson; police, protesters clash again — Although the Missouri National Guard was deployed and a curfew was lifted Monday, what began as a peaceful demonstration here turned restive after dark, as this racially polarized St. Louis suburb hunkered down for another night of painful protests stemming from the police killing of Michael Brown.

wiki-ferguson-protest► A MUST-READ in the Seattle Times — The economics of Ferguson (by Jon Talton) — This inner-ring suburb is emblematic of many unfortunate economic trends in America. In 2010, the town was more than 67% African-American, a demographic particularly hit hard not only by the Great Recession but by disruptions with a longer arc. The poor of all races are burdened by low-wage, dead-end jobs (we ended “welfare as we know it” under Bill Clinton). Mothers lack free day care, America being the only advanced nation with this impediment to rising. Things many Americans take for granted — a trip to the doctor, paying the rent or mortgage — are grindingly difficult or fearful monthly events for the poor. Today, the Tea Party and right-wing media scare whites who are seeing their incomes stagnate or fall into believing it’s because people of color are getting something they don’t deserve. In fact, struggling whites and blacks are being hammered by the same forces of oligarchy, industry concentration, financialization, de-industrialization, rent-seeking and offshoring of jobs. As in the Jim Crow South, it is interest of the elites to prevent whites and blacks from seeing their common foes.




Humans need not apply — The robots are coming. And not just for the next generation of Boeing jobs. Skeptics should check out this video: “This isn’t science fiction. The robots are here right now… We have been through economic revolutions before but the robot revolution is different… We need to start thinking now what to do when large sections of the population are unemployable through no fault of their own.”


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