Tuesday, June 2, 2015
► From WFSE — House Democrats latest budget plan respects state employees, would avoid shutdown — In stark contrast to the Senate Republican leadership, the House majority Democratic leaders released a new budget plan Monday that shows compromise without a shutdown, layoffs or holding our contracts hostage. The new House plan would fund all of our contracts as negotiated, the full 4.8 percent over two years. It does not harm health insurance for spouses. In contrast, the new Senate plan released last week wanted you to give up many of your fundamental bargaining rights forever as a condition of getting those raises for the next two years. And the Senate wanted thousands of spouses to incur additional surcharges for health coverage. The House plan on our contracts is right. The Senate plan on contracts is wrong.
TAKE A STAND — All union members and community supporters of quality public services are urged to click here to send your legislators a message urging them to stop playing political games and fully fund the state employee contracts.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Democrats’ new budget trims spending, keeps capital-gains tax — As time grows short for lawmakers to reach a budget agreement, Democrats on Monday released a new budget plan that comes down in spending — and preserves a proposed tax on some capital gains.
► From HA Seattle — What Olympia needs is a two-thirds compromise (by Goldy) — The Democrats control two-thirds of state government. And if they want to hold on to the two-thirds they have, they can’t disillusion the Democratic base by rewarding the three-seat Senate Republican majority for their uncompromising obstruction… The Republicans control only one-third of government. Give them a third of what they want. If Republicans want anymore than that, force them to make a case for it at the polls.
► From The Hill — Obama woos Dems on Fast Track — The White House effort is expected to be similar to the Senate push that included personal calls from President Obama, last-minute talks off the Senate floor, briefings by Cabinet officials and perks from the Oval Office.
ALSO at The Stand — Wednesday is ‘Stop Fast Track’ Call-In Day
► From the United Nations — UN experts voice concern over adverse impact of free trade and investment agreements on human rights — A group of UN experts have issued a statement to express concern about the secret nature of the TPP and TTIP and the potential adverse impact of these agreements on human rights. They are urging that “all current negotiations of bilateral and multilateral trade and investment agreements should be conducted transparently with consultation and participation of all relevant stakeholders including labour unions, consumer unions, environmental protection groups and health professionals… All draft treaty texts should be published so that Parliamentarians and civil society have sufficient time to review them and to weigh the pros and cons in a democratic manner.
► From Huffington Post — Menendez urges House to keep Malaysia out of Obama’s trade deal — Citing Malaysia’s abysmal slavery record, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) urged the House on Monday to ensure his provision blocking the country’s membership in the TPP makes it into final legislation that would give the president fast-track authority on such agreements. He said the discovery last week of 139 graves at a prison camp run by human traffickers along the Thailand-Malaysia border should “strengthen our resolve to add this fundamental human rights principle to our trade policy.”
ALSO at The Stand — Larsen back Fast Track, but will he fight slavery, Medicare cuts?
► In today’s Washington Post — Hastert case shows it’s no time to cave on child sex trafficking (by Marc Thiessen) — With former Republican House speaker J. Dennis Hastert under indictment over hush money to cover up the alleged sexual abuse of a minor while he was a high school wrestling coach, now is probably not the best time for House Republicans to be weakening proposed laws against sex trafficking of minors. But that is exactly what the House GOP is apparently preparing to do with the TPP.
► From Huffington Post — TPP reduces human trafficking, child labor to misdemeanors (by Stan Sorscher) — Ultimately, trade deals are moral, social, political and economic documents that express our values as a country. Our own labor and environmental standards are already under downward pressure. “Setting the rules” at the level of Malaysia’s human trafficking would be a miserable and ironic outcome for President Obama’s 21st Century trade deal.
► In today’s NY Times — Poll shows Americans favor overhaul of campaign financing — Americans of both parties fundamentally reject the regime of untrammeled money in elections made possible by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling and other court decisions and now favor a sweeping overhaul of how political campaigns are financed, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll. The findings reveal deep support among Republicans and Democrats alike for new measures to restrict the influence of wealthy givers. And by a significant margin, they reject the argument that underpins close to four decades of Supreme Court jurisprudence on campaign finance: that political money is a form of speech protected by the First Amendment. Even self-identified Republicans are evenly split on the question.
► From The Hill — Texas court upholds labor board’s union election rule — The Obama administration should be allowed to speed up the process by which employees unionize, a federal judge ruled Monday. A U.S. District Court judge for the Western District of Texas tossed out a lawsuit from business groups challenging the NLRB union election rule.
► In today’s LA Times — L.A., Long Beach ports losing to rivals amid struggle with giant ships — The ports are scrambling to respond to rapid changes in global shipping, most notably the advent of giant cargo ships now clogging the docks with massive loads.
► From Think Progress — New data offer first infuriating glimpse at how the top 0.001 percent pay income taxes — People who make tens of millions of dollars enjoyed falling income tax rates and ballooning wealth for a decade as middle-class taxpayers floundered. In the last year of the Bush tax cuts, there were well over a thousand people who reported more than $60 million in earnings but paid federal income tax rates far below 20 percent… There are nearly 14,000 tax filers who earned more than $12 million in 2012 as members of the best-paid 0.01 percent of all taxpayers, according to the IRS, and about 1,360 who earned over $62 million that year. Their vast earnings were not taxed any more heavily – and indeed, they paid a lower overall income tax rate than their merely one-percent brethren… It is the first time the IRS has ever broken out income tax data at the very top end of the earnings spectrum.
► From Huffington Post — Comic strip nails why poor American’s aren’t just ‘asking for handouts’ — America’s poor don’t have it easy. They’re subjected to a range of false stereotypes: They’re accused of being lazy and of abusing drugs, among others. “On A Plate: A Short Story About Privilege” by Toby Morris challenges many of these damaging ideas.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.