Monday, March 14, 2016
► From KUOW — Budget sparks fly as Washington lawmakers begin special session — Senate Republicans went public with their latest budget offer and House Democrats quickly cried foul. House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan questioned why the offer wasn’t made privately before the clock ran out on the regular session.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Sharing in the pain of state budget inaction (editorial) — Whether his [veto] remedy works or not, Inslee’s diagnosis is correct: The Legislature has required special sessions to finish its work in six of the past seven years. Seeking a better position from which to negotiate, talks on the most contentious issues among House and Senate, Democrats and Republicans, are routinely put off until the final days, if not final hours, of a session, forcing extra innings, a record three 30-day sessions last year.
► In today’s NY Times — Justice Dept. condemns profit-minded court policies targeting the poor — The Justice Department on Monday called on state judges across the country to root out unconstitutional policies that have locked poor people in a cycle of fines, debt and jail.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Courts across Washington state impose crushing debts on poor people with charges that accrue at 12 percent annual interest — the highest rate in the nation — even while they are incarcerated. Those who cannot afford to pay are sometimes locked up, creating costly modern-day debtors’ prisons and making it harder to pay victims restitution. HB 1390 would reform this ineffective system. It passed the House unanimously, but was blocked from a vote in the Republican-controlled Senate. It could be resurrected during the special session, but only if Senate Republican leaders who are blocking a fair vote commit to ending the practice of punishing poor people for being poor. Learn more.
► From AP — Law lets Washington legislators keep emails private — Top lawmakers in Washington largely exempt themselves from the state’s public records law, and their offices did not release emails sent and received by their government accounts when requested.
► In the Spokesman-Review — Aviation tax break makes stranger bedfellows (by Jim Camden)
► In the Bellingham Herald — Haggen selling its stores to Albertsons — Haggen has accepted Albertsons’ offer to be purchased, but many questions remain on what will become of those 29 core stores, including five in Whatcom County. For the hundreds of grocery workers at Haggen’s 29 core stores wondering about their future, this deal could be a hopeful sign. When Albertsons and Haggen were nearing a deal, at least one union leader expressed optimism. “This news will hopefully end the uncertainty for our members and our communities. Our members look forward to continuing their unparalleled dedication to the neighborhoods and their customers,” said UFCW Local 367 President Denise Jagielo.
► In today’s NY Times — The era of Free Trade might be over. That’s a good thing. (by Jared Bernstein) — We should welcome the end of the era of F.T.A.s, which had long devolved into handshakes between corporate and investor interests on both sides of the border, allowing little voice for working people. With such noise behind us, we might be ready to foster the next generation of advanced production and help our exporters fight back against currency manipulators. That would be more productive than fighting tooth and nail over the next big trade deal.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Isolationist politics a boondoggle for Washington trade (editorial)
EDITOR’S NOTE — This editorial is yet another uncritical, dismissive pat-on-the-head from the state’s media establishment, dumbing down one of the most important economic issues of our time into simplistic name-calling. As always, it conflates opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership or any other FTA with opposition to trade or trade-dependent jobs. As always, it conflates opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership or any other FTA with opposition to trade or trade-dependent jobs. As always, it completely ignores the demonstrable negative consequences of previous FTAs on America’s working class, the U.S. manufacturing sector, and the environment. It dismisses the resulting anger and opposition to FTAs as “politics.” And it takes the weakest intellectual road of all, dismissing TPP critics with labels — Isolationist! Protectionist!
As WSLC President Jeff Johnson recently wrote:
Here in Washington state, we never seem to have a serious debate about whether these free-trade deals are really good for people or the planet. Our state’s elected officials often willfully ignore the clear connections between decades of globalization under these deals, the growing crisis of climate change and an out-of-balance U.S. economy that has decimated the middle class.
Instead, the debate gets dumbed down to this: “Washington is a trade-dependent state. This deal will increase trade. We should support it.”
Let’s dig deeper. This is too important. We need to get this right.
► In the Seattle Times — Schools chief Randy Dorn may run for governor, says no one has plan to fund schools — State schools chief Randy Dorn is considering an independent run for governor, arguing Democrats and Republicans alike have failed to adequately fund public schools despite a Supreme Court contempt order.
► From Politico — Top Democrats turn to Perez as sleeper VP — The Labor secretary has emerged as a vice presidential sleeper pick, with chatter building among top Democrats — including Elizabeth Warren.
► In the Providence Journal — Trump would rip nation apart at the seams (by Richard Trumka) — There is no denying that Trump has tapped into the very real and understandable frustrations of working people… But here is the catch: Trump’s policies would make life exponentially worse for those who count on a paycheck. Trump says he loves “right to work” legislation that would make it harder for workers to speak up on the job. He cheered and bankrolled Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s assault on teachers and nurses. He has routinely attacked the rights of workers at his own company. And despite the fact that American workers haven’t gotten a real raise in 40 years, Trump says wages are too high.
► From Reuters — U.S. labor powerhouse to launch anti-Trump ad campaign — The AFL-CIO will launch digital attack ads targeting Republican front-runner Donald Trump next week as part of a multi-pronged effort to derail the New York billionaire’s bid for the White House and dampen union workers’ enthusiasm for him.
► In the Washington Post — Trump has profited from foreign labor he says is killing U.S. jobs — The billionaire businessman is waging a populist presidential campaign in which he accuses companies of killing U.S. jobs by moving manufacturing overseas to take advantage of cheap labor and lax workplace regulations… Today, Donald J. Trump Collection shirts — as well as eyeglasses, perfume, cuff links and suits — are made in Bangladesh, China, Honduras and other low-wage countries.
► From TPM — The furies unleashed — Trump rallies have emerged now as a stage where supporters feel empowered to take in-the-moment action against the “the other” that Trump so fervently rails against from the stump. While the huge events have often attracted chaotic crowds, the events have taken a turn for the dangerous.
► In the Washington Post — Obama reportedly is down to three finalists for Supreme Court vacancy — The three under consideration are Merrick Garland, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit; Sri Srinivasan, a judge on the same court; and Paul Watford, a judge on the California-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
► From The Hill — RNC launching task force to stop Obama Supreme Court nominee — The Republican National Committee has formed a task force to launch radio and digital attack ads, petitions and media appearances to back up Senate Republicans, who have pledged not to hold hearings or votes on Obama’s replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
► From Think Progress — The war against Obama’s potential Supreme Court nominees takes an ugly, offensive turn — We do not yet know who President Obama will name to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia. We do know, however, that anyone the president names will be subjected to a brutal campaign to discredit them in the eyes of the public.
► In today’s NY Times — Labor protests multiply in China as economy slows, worrying leaders — As China’s economy slows after more than two decades of breakneck growth, strikes and labor protests have erupted across the country. Factories, mines and other businesses are withholding wages and benefits, laying off staff or shutting down altogether. Worried about their prospects in a gloomy job market, workers are fighting back with unusual ferocity.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.