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Climate urgency, ‘assertive’ New Dems, Roberts v. Voting Rights…

Tuesday, August 11, 2015





► In today’s Seattle Times — Washington state can lead on global warming and clean energy (by Rebecca Saldaña, Jeffrey Johnson, and Brenna Davis) — The dust has settled on a frustrating legislative session. Time and again, oil interests blocked broadly supported steps to encourage the transition to clean energy and cut global-warming pollution. There is a lot of individual blame to go around, but we see this as a broad failure of our state’s political institutions. Gov. Jay Inslee’s plan to use his executive authority to enforce existing limits on carbon pollution illustrates how seriously he takes the issue — yet it further underscores our lack of legislative progress. Washingtonians demand urgent action on climate. If our elected leaders won’t lead us forward, then the people will.

carbon-pollution► In the News Tribune — Let’s have conversation on state carbon-pricing plan (editorial) — Washington is about to have a public conversation about carbon. A signature campaign now under way would put a British Columbia-style carbon tax on the ballot next year. It’s being run by mavericks outside the environmental establishment. Mainstream groups, outfits like the Sierra Club and Northwest Energy Solutions, appear to prefer an Inslee-style cap-and-trade system. A squabble has begun between them. That’s a good thing, because the argument will help educate voters about the issues and the options.

► From the Reuters Foundation — Look after fossil fuel workers in shift to clean energy, union chief saysCoal, oil and gas workers need a secure future as the world moves away from fossil fuel use, and governments and companies must plan to ensure any new global climate change deal is fair for all those impacted, said Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation.

► From the Seattle Globalist — Carbon tax revenue should be spent in communities of color, Sightline says — Seattle’s Sightline Institute issued a paper this week arguing that immigrants and communities of color should get the biggest boost from any carbon charge revenue that the state generates.




pc-sanders-blm► ICYMI… from PubliCola — Black Lives Matter protesters shut down Bernie Sanders speech at Westlake — As the day began, the atmosphere at Westlake was festive. The progressive group Washington Community Action Network (and Social Security Works – Washington), which organized the Sanders rally, had tied the event to the 50th anniversary of Medicare and the 80th of Social Security…

ALSO at The Stand — Combating institutionalized racism can’t wait (by Lynne Dodson)

► In today’s Seattle Times — Should protesters have interrupted Bernie Sanders at a rally? — Writers express their opinions on whether Black Lives Matter protesters should have disrupted the rally at Westlake Park on Saturday that ended with Sen. Bernie Sanders leaving without speaking.

► From PubliCola — Inconveniencing white liberals (by Tim Harris) — The activists at Westlake were out to interrupt our sense that black lives can matter whenever we get around to it.

► From AP — 4th night of Ferguson protests brings confrontation, arrests — Police arrested nearly two dozen people in Ferguson during a protest that stretched into early Tuesday marking the anniversary of the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, although there was no repeat of the violence that scarred weekend demonstrations.

► From AP — Sanders vows to fight against institutional racism at campaign rally in L.A. — Two days after Black Lives Matter protesters derailed his rally in Seattle, Bernie Sanders’ new national press secretary, a black criminal justice advocate and strong supporter of Black Lives Matter, opened the program and talked about racial injustice.

SS-Bernie-BLM2► From Shadowproof — What Black Lives Matter stands to gain from the Bernie Sanders campaign — Undoubtedly, it turned up pressure on Sanders’ campaign to make racial justice a central part of his campaign… (but) what is missing in the critique of Sanders is a class analysis. Many of the issues Sanders talks about are economic issues, which impact working class people of color. These are issues of free public education (including college), employment for black youth, pay equity for women, discrimination against job applicants with criminal histories, and the affordability of childcare for working families. For the most part, Black Lives Matter has focused most actions on police violence and responding to horrific acts of brutality by officers. What about broadening the movement to make it more sustainable?

►A related story in the Columbian — NAACP hosts forum: ‘Our Lives Matter’ — The NAACP’s Vancouver branch is hosting a series of forums throughout the year with the theme “America’s Journey for Justice; Our Lives, Our Votes and Our Schools Matter.”




► From Politico — National Nurses United picks Sanders over Clinton — Sanders’s endorsement from National Nurses United, which represents nearly 190,000 nurses — most of whom are women — comes as he battles Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton.




vasquez-randy-dairy-victim► In the Yakima H-R — Mabton dairy appeals workplace safety fine — A Mabton dairy is appealing a state fine levied after an investigation of a drowning death in March revealed safety violations. Employee Randy Vasquez of Mabton drowned March 4 in a manure storage lagoon when his front loader became submerged in the pond, used to store cow manure before it can be sprayed onto fields. The state Department of L&I in July fined Riverview Ranch a total of $6,800 for three violations of industry safety standards.

ALSO at The Stand — Mourn Randy, fight for dairy workers’ safety (by Jeff Johnson)

► In the Skagit Valley Herald — Workers upset over wages, conditions at Mount Vernon farm — Nearly three dozen farmworkers walked off the job over the weekend at Valley Pride — a first for the farm in its 35 years — over wages, housing and living conditions.

ALSO see news coverage from Familias Unidas por la Justicia.

kilmer-derek► In today’s Kitsap Sun — Labor agreement at Bangor draws praise — A labor agreement being used to help build the second explosives handling wharf at Bangor is drawing praise from U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, who is pushing for greater use of Project Labor Agreements like the one at Bangor. It was the first time the Department of Defense signed a PLA, a pre-hire collective bargaining agreement that sets the basic terms and work conditions for the project, and is being extolled for hiring locals and finishing on time. The Navy agreed to employ workers from Olympic Peninsula Building and Construction Trades Council and Northwest Regional Council of the National Construction Alliance II on what was originally billed as a $715 million project.




► In today’s Yakima H-R — Inslee dismisses talk of trouble in his first term — Stung by assertions from some quarters that Republicans “won” the 2015 legislative session, Gov. Jay Inslee dismissed Monday any notion his administration is on the ropes, saying he “wrestled Republicans to the ground.” He said “90 percent” of the Democratic agenda was reached in the new budget, including cutting K-3 school class sizes, a gas tax increase to fund transportation, and closing millions in tax loopholes.

ALSO at The Stand — WSLC’s 2015 Legislative Report decries ‘shutdown politics’




big-pharma-cash► In the Washington Post — A debate over U.S. pharmaceuticals is snagging the TPP — No issue caused more conflict in the latest round of TPP talks than the question of intellectual property and other protections for the U.S. pharmaceutical industry. Many critics of the proposed deal argue that Big Pharma, abetted by President Obama’s negotiators, is trying to use the TPP to grab greater control of the world market in medicines. This is not only economically inefficient but also morally repugnant, the argument goes: The patent infringement and market-access rules U.S. drug manufacturers are demanding would raise prices for cutting-edge cures in poor TPP countries such as Peru or Vietnam, and even put pressure on developed nations such as Australia or New Zealand to weaken drug cost controls embedded in their single-payer health systems.

► From Reuters — TPP puts profits over people, labor activists sayCampaigners for workers’ rights complain that they have been denied a voice in the trade talks, and have raised concerns about part of the deal that would allow corporations to sue governments for the potential loss of future profits.




scared-donkey► MUST-READ from Politico — New Democrats plan ‘assertive’ new presence in House — The New Democratic Coalition, a group of pro-business Democrats who allied with President Obama and Republicans to pass “Fast Track” trade legislation, are angling to cut more deals with the GOP and White House as a way to assert themselves — and force the Democratic Caucus to the center. They’ve accused the White House and party leaders of focusing too much on niche economic issues like the minimum wage and pay equity… Two of them have introduced a “dynamic scoring” bill — an issue normally favored by Republicans — that would encourage budget scorekeepers to score tax cuts favorably… The coalition, which announced Wednesday it had reached $1 million in fundraising through its PAC at the quickest rate ever, is also refocusing on business groups that have traditionally been Republican allies.

EDITOR’S NOTE — All but one of Washington’s Democratic Congressional delegation are members of this pro-business New Democratic Coalition. Its 46 members include Reps. Suzan DelBene, Denny Heck, Derek Kilmer, Rick Larsen, and Adam Smith. Only Rep. Jim McDermott is not a member. DelBene, Kilmer and Larsen voted for Fast Track.

► From The Hill — Air traffic controller schedules resulting in fatigue, report says — Work schedules set by the Federal Aviation Administration are leading to fatigue among air traffic controllers, according to a new report. The study found that air traffic controllers suffer from “chronic fatigue” that has resulted in flight navigation errors, like allowing airplanes to fly too closely together.

► From Politico — Immigration crackdown splits GOP — Ted Cruz and other Senate Republicans are pushing an aggressive immigration crackdown, proposing tougher penalties against foreigners who repeatedly try to enter the United States illegally. But there’s stiff resistance — from fellow Republicans.




► In the NY Times — Unpredictable hours, chaotic life (by Teresa Tritch) — The tyranny of erratic work schedules is obvious to employees who don’t know what their schedules will be tomorrow or have to call in to see if there is work. In the United States, it is not uncommon for employers to give little advance notice of work hours and instead require workers to call in or wait to be called to find out if they need to report to work. Such scheduling is most prevalent among the nation’s 20 million low-wage workers, most of whom are women and many of whom work in retail or food service.

► From The Onion — New standards requires teachers to forever changes lives of 30% of students — Based on the annual assessments, if 30 percent of students don’t recall a particular teacher’s name when asked to identify the most influential and inspiring person in their lives, that instructor would be promptly dismissed.




roberts-john► From Politico — Inside John Roberts’ decades-long crusade against the Voting Rights Act — Fifty years after the passage of the landmark civil rights law, and 35 years after he first worked so hard to dismantle it, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts remains at the center of an impassioned debate about voting rights in America, one that shows no signs of ending anytime soon.


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