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Centrist nominees, truth about trade, polyester’s comeback…

Wednesday, March 16, 2016




garland-merrick► Breaking news from Reuters — Obama nominates Judge Merrick Garland to Supreme Court — President Obama has nominated veteran appellate court judge Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court, setting up a potentially ferocious political showdown with Senate Republicans who have vowed to block any Obama nominee. Considered a moderate, Garland, 63, is currently chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. “I’ve selected a nominee who is widely recognized not only as one of America’s sharpest legal minds but someone who brings to his work a spirit of decency, modesty, integrity, even-handedness and excellence,” Obama said.




clinton-hillary► In today’s LA Times — Clinton wins big over Sanders and turns her fire on Trump — Hillary Clinton won primaries in Florida, North Carolina and Ohio, the night’s most contested prize, as her rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders, struggled to get the boost he needed to try to close the gap in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

► In today’s NY Times — Clinton, Trump are winning votes, but not hearts — Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton’s resounding triumphs on Tuesday masked a profound, historic and unusual reality: Most Americans still don’t like him. Or her.

► In today’s Washington Post — The Stop Trump movement’s last realistic hope: A contested convention in Cleveland —  A contested Republican convention looks increasingly possible, if not probable.

kaiser-predict-a-riot► From TPM — Trump: If I lose at the nomination, ‘I think you’d have riots’ — “I think we’ll win before getting to the convention. But I can tell you if we didn’t, if we’re 20 votes short or if we’re 100 short and we’re at 1,100 and somebody else is at 500 or 400… I don’t think you can say that we don’t get it automatically. I think you’d have riots.”

► From Gawker — Poll: Two-thirds of GOP voters on Tuesday support Trump’s proposed Muslim ban — According to exit polls, about two-thirds of Republican primary voters on Tuesday support Donald Trump’s proposal to temporarily ban Muslim tourists and immigrants from entering the United States.

► In today’s Columbian — Benton jumps on Trump bandwagon — Longtime Republican Sen. Don Benton, who represents Vancouver in Olympia, announced he’s endorsing Donald Trump in the GOP presidential race.

► In today’s NY Times — What’s next for both parties (editorial) — After decades of pandering to intolerance while working against the needs of working-class Americans and minorities, the Republican Party appears headed for disaster… While Hillary Clinton continues her march toward the nomination, the weakness of her appeal among the young, independents, men and some working-class voters cannot be ignored.

dont-cut-social-security► From Common Dreams — Social Security: The GOP vs. the American people — The Republican establishment will have no part of the profoundly wise policy of expanding Social Security. In fact, they want to cut benefits… Three of the four candidates — Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Ted Cruz, and supposed-moderate, Gov. John Kasich — expressed their strong desire for huge Social Security benefit cuts… Trump’s past history on Social Security also encourages skepticism of his current “no cuts” pledge. In 2011, Trump expressed support for a bipartisan deal to cut benefits.




► From KPLU — Tax limiting initiative now in hands of state Supreme Court — The court heard oral arguments about the legality of anti-tax activist Tim Eyman’s latest voter-approved initiative. I-1366 would cut the state sales tax by one percentage point unless lawmakers put a constitutional amendment on the ballot to require a two-thirds vote in the legislature for future tax increases. Two months ago, a superior court judge ruled it violated several provisions of the state constitution. The state Supreme Court typically takes six months to a year to decide whether to uphold or reverse lower court rulings.

► In today’s Olympian — Washington marijuana shoppers may now leave a tip — Tipping had previously “not been an allowable process,” according to the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board. But the Board has revisited the policy and effective immediately, “customer tipping is now an allowable practice in licensed retail marijuana stores.”




lumbergh► From The Stranger — Poll shows many Seattle voters support new scheduling protections for low-wage workers at major corporations — A majority of Seattle voters support a proposal to give workers at large companies more certainty of their schedules, according to new union-funded polling. The poll comes as the Seattle City Council considers new scheduling regulations for large businesses. Of the respondents, 41 percent said they “strongly support” these types of regulations and another 33 percent said they “somewhat support” them, totaling 74 percent in favor.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Local counties the bright spot in state’s unemployment picture — King, Snohomish and Pierce counties remain a bright spot for employment compared with the rest of the state.

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Tri-City labor market posts 34th month of growth

► In today’s Yakima H-R — Yakima City Council moves toward abandoning appeal of ACLU lawsuit over election districts — The council has scheduled an April vote in which it is expected to rescind its appeal of the ACLU voting rights lawsuit that changed elections last year.

leisure-suit► In the Skagit Valley Herald — Tesoro eyes $400M expansion at Anacortes refinery — A proposed $400 million project could add to the refinery’s product line. The refinery wants to build a 200-foot-tall xylene extraction unit and three other units on the lot. The extraction unit would pull xylene from crude oil, then ship it to Asia for making polyester fibers for clothing and other products. “The basic thought process is that polyester is coming back in style,” said refinery Vice President James Tangaro.




► From The Hill — GOP hits a wall with election-year budget plan — About two-dozen fiscal hawks vowed to oppose the House GOP’s plan before it was formally released, which will make passing a budget on the floor difficult.

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — No major issues found in ill nuclear worker program review — The Department of Labor is generally following correct procedures to decide claims to compensate ill Hanford and other workers for exposures to toxic chemicals, according to a GAO audit report.




free-trade► From Huffington Post — The new truth about free trade (by Robert Reich) — I used to believe in trade agreements. That was before the wages of most Americans stagnated and a relative few at the top captured just about all the economic gains. The old-style trade agreements of the 1960s and 1970s increased worldwide demand for products made by American workers, and thereby helped push up American wages. The new-style agreements increase worldwide demand for products made by American corporations all over the world, enhancing corporate and financial profits but keeping American wages down. The fact is, recent trade deals are less about trade and more about global investment.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Sanders’ wrong-way trade policy bad for Washington businesses, workers (by Chris Gregoire) — Every Democrat in Congress, except one in the U.S. Senate, fought against Republican attempts to kill the Export-Import Bank. The holdout who joined Republican efforts to shut down the bank was Sen. Bernie Sanders.




► In the Washington Post — When it comes to policies to raise wages, who’s singing and who’s lip syncing? (by Jared Bernstein) — One of the most important factors suppressing pay is the persistently low bargaining power of many workers, and this in turn relates to the absence of two forces that depress the ability of many U.S. workers to get paid what they should: full employment and collective bargaining.

► In today’s NY Times — China seeks to avoid mass layoffs while cutting production — Remarks by Premier Li Keqiang reflected the difficult — some say unsustainable — policy combination that China’s leaders hope to achieve.




immigration-rally► From The Nation — Undocumented immigrants contribute over $11 billion to our economy each yearAccording to the state and local tax data analysis — published by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy — undocumented immigrants contribute about $11.6 billion to the economy annually, including nearly $7 billion in sales and excise taxes and $3.6 billion in property taxes. They are, in economic terms, productive citizens, and pay a higher effective tax rate than the top 1 percent income bracket. That alone is not the primary reason they should be embraced as neighbors and coworkers. But it dissolves the myth that immigrants do nothing but drain public coffers. The notion that they do nothing but drain public coffers is a myth.


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