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Warren’s right about TPP, raises vs. tax cuts, $15 in Tacoma…

Tuesday, May 19, 2015




► In today’s Oregonian — AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka rips Oregon Democrats for Fast Track/TPP support — During a rare Portland visit, Trumka called out Oregon’s senior senator and three Congressional representatives — Suzanne Bonamici, Earl Blumenauer and Kurt Schrader — for supporting Fast Track. Said Trumka:

I’m blowing the whistle, quite frankly (on them) for being on the wrong side of this issue. This piece of legislation will affect the lives of working people more than any other out there. I’m sorry to see politicians in Oregon have decided to defy the will of 73 percent of Oregonians who oppose fast-track legislation.

► From Huffington Post — Elizabeth Warren details Obama’s broken trade promises — Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) issued a report detailing decades of failed trade enforcement by American presidents, including Barack Obama, showing that existing labor standards have not been effectively enforced.

secret-talks► From Politico — I’ve read Obama’s secret trade deal, and Warren is right to be concerned (by Michael Wessel) — President Obama’s right. The public criticisms of the TPP have been vague. That’s by design — anyone who has read the text of the agreement could be jailed for disclosing its contents. I’ve actually read the TPP text and I’ve given the president an earful about how this trade deal will damage this nation. But I can’t share my criticisms with you. I can tell you that Elizabeth Warren is right about her criticism of the trade deal. We should be very concerned about what’s hidden in this trade deal — and particularly how the Obama administration is keeping information secret even from those of us who are supposed to provide advice.

► From The Hill — McConnell vows to pass trade bill — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday vowed to pass fast-track trade legislation before the Memorial Day recess, brushing aside calls for a prolonged floor debate on amendments.

► In today’s Washington Post — Voters who lost jobs to trade deals wary of more promises — A Tennessee town starred in a 1992 Bill Clinton campaign ad, but blue-collar workers there are still waiting on vows to replace jobs lost to trade pacts.

corporate-flag-trade► From Huffington Post — Why Fast Track is a dangerous gift to corporate lobbies (by Jeffrey Sachs) — President Obama and the Republican Senators know what they are doing. They are handing gifts to the business lobbies out of sight of the American people, and attacking the opponents of fast track as anti-trade or ignorant, when in fact the opponents are merely pro-public interest. If the President and the Republicans believe these draft agreements are so good, and therefore merit fast track, let them make the agreements public.

► From Huffington Post — The incredible arrogance of the Trans-Pacific Partnership crowd (by Dean Baker) — There are few policies that show the split between elite opinion and everyone else as clearly as trade policy. On trade we see a remarkable convergence of the leadership of both parties against their base, with the elites firmly behind the leadership against what they view as the ignorance of the masses.




► In today’s Seattle Times — State forecasts more revenue, but budget talks likely to drag on — The revenue forecast projects $327 million in new revenue in the 2015-17 budget cycle and another $79 million for the current budget. Democrats question some of the forecast’s assumptions, including the large amount of marijuana tax money it assumes. Meanwhile, a trio of Republican senators argue that the state’s budget situation is so rosy, lawmakers can now cut business taxes.

public-service-mattersEDITOR’S NOTE — That’s right. While continuing to block the first pay raises in seven years for state employees and teachers, Senate Republicans want to spend the new revenue on more business tax cuts.

ALSO TODAY at The Stand — State employees to walk out in unison Wednesday over stalled raises — In the largest coordinated job action since their successful strike 14 years ago, thousands of state employees will walk out of more than 70 worksites Wednesday, May 20 to call on the Legislature to end the stalemate on state workers’ negotiated 4.8 percent pay raises.

► In today’s Seattle Times — No school for thousands of kids as teachers hold 1-day walkout — Teachers from Seattle, Issaquah and Mercer Island are staging one-day strikes Tuesday to protest what they say is too little funding for the state’s public schools. They also will hold a march through downtown Seattle.

► In today’s Peninsula Daily News — 300-plus Port Angeles, Sequim teachers come together for rally on walkout day — More than 300 Port Angeles and Sequim teachers, administrators, parents, students and a school board member turned out for an education funding rally at Veterans Park on Monday.

► From KUOW — Mental health funding a key issue for state budget writers — Gov. Jay Inslee has signed several new mental health laws in recent days. The question is whether they will be funded.

► In today’s News Tribune — Without road-and-transit bill, slow-motion derailment (editorial) — So far, the Republican and Democratic lawmakers haven’t made the necessary compromises (to pass a transportation funding package). Failure to do so before they go home would be beyond shameful.




► In today’s News Tribune — $15 minimum wage headed to Tacoma ballot if signatures pass muster — Activist group 15 Now submitted signatures for review Monday in hopes of qualifying a $15 minimum wage issue for the November ballot. The group turned in 253 pages late Monday, with a total of 4,747 signatures.




► From The Hill — Labor group escalates fight against fast food — The SEIU filed a petition Monday with the FTC seeking an investigation of the alleged practices at 14 major chains, including McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Quiznos. The action is the latest salvo in an increasingly nasty fight between unions and the fast-food industry.

wall-st-bull► In today’s NY Times — Many on Wall Street say it remains untamed — In a report, many financial professionals said they knew of wrongdoing in the workplace. And even more found regulators ineffective in stopping it.

► From Think Progress — Kansas’ governor destroyed state budget with massive tax cuts, now Kansans paying the price — Kansas lawmakers failed to strike a deal to repair a three-quarters-of-a-billion-dollar budget hole before the legislative session ended last week, prompting an extended session with a large daily pricetag.


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