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Privatization, RIP GOP, overdue OT pay, White Riot…

Friday, March 18, 2016




► In today’s News Tribune — Lawmakers debate teacher raises as budget talks drag on — A teacher shortage has created a high demand for qualified teachers in Washington state. It’s a problem that is figuring prominently in negotiations over the state budget this year. Budget negotiators remain divided on whether they also need to boost teachers’ pay this year.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Naturally, Democrats say “yes.” Republicans say “no.”

► In the Seattle Times — Obscure tax at center of attempt to end budget impasse — A change to a little-known tax provision for national network TV broadcasters could help pave the way to a budget compromise in Olympia.

► From KING 5 — State commissioner pitches ferry privatization — In his second meeting with the Transportation Commission, Mercer Island retiree Shiv Batra says the agency should talk about a dirty word around these parts: privatization. “Privatization is a worldwide phenomenon,” said Batra, who was a longtime engineer and successful business owner.

privatization-afscmeEDITOR’S NOTE — Really?! This is what passes for news among the union-busters at KING 5 these days? Like so many state boards and commissions, this one lacks any representation from the thousands of rank-and-file men and women who make our transportation system function each day. Instead of inviting some hands-on experience into the boardroom, business executives are routinely appointed to corporate-splain to us how government should operate. Privatization is only a “worldwide phenomenon” when governments are run by anti-government charlatans who refuse to maintain services and invest in infrastructure, and instead, want to auction off public assets. (See Flint.) Keep public services public! And if you want to make public services more efficient, invite some public workers to the table.




habib-cyrus-senjayapal-pramila-15► In the Seattle P-I — Would-be Jim McDermott successors put left foot forward — Three Democrats, state Sen. Pramila Jayapal, County Councilmember Joe McDermott, and state Rep. Brady Walkinshaw, spoke Wednesday night at a forum cosponsored by the M.L. King County Labor Council and Working Washington. When it was done, the MLKCLC’s executive committee huddled and recommended that Jayapal get state labor’s nod in the race. It also recommended state Sen. Cyrus Habib for lieutenant governor.

► From PubliCola — King County Labor Council endorses recommends Jayapal

EDITOR’S NOTE — AFL-CIO Central Labor Councils do not make endorsements in congressional and statewide races. The MLKCLC’s recommendations will be considered and voted upon by delegates representing hundreds of unions from across the state at the Washington State Labor Council’s COPE (Committee on Political Education) Convention on Saturday, May 21 at the Machinists 751 Hall. A two-thirds majority vote is required to for a candidate or ballot measure to earn the WSLC’s endorsement. The convention call, which notifies each WSLC-affiliated union how many delegates they can send, will be mailed next week.

ap-sanders-rally► In today’s Seattle Times — Bernie Sanders coming to Seattle on Sunday — Sanders will hold a Seattle rally at 5 p.m. at KeyArena, with doors opening at 2 p.m. Before that, he’ll be at a 1 p.m. rally at Hudson’s Bay High School in Vancouver. After the Seattle event, he’ll head to the Spokane Convention Center for a 9 p.m. rally.

ALSO see coverage in today’s Columbian and Spokesman-Review.

► In today’s News Tribune — 42 state lawmakers endorse Hillary Clinton — With Democrats’ March 26 caucuses approaching, 42 state lawmakers have endorsed Hillary Clinton, her campaign announced Thursday. There are 74 Democrats in the Legislature.




supreme-court-do-your-job-garland► In today’s NY Times — Obama says a Garland rebuff would damage Supreme Court — Judge Garland “would help to burnish the sense that the Supreme Court is above politics and not just an extension of politics, and would set a good tone for restoring — or at least increasing — the American people’s confidence in our justice system,” the president said.

ALSO at The Stand — Consensus nominee faces GOP blockade (editorial)

► From The Hill — Obama rebukes McConnell on SCOTUS: ‘The American people did decide’

► In today’s NY Times — Where Merrick Garland stands: A close look at his judicial record — His most charged cases, involving national security and campaign finance, were as likely to disappoint liberals as to please them. He has repeatedly voted against detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and he joined the Citizens United decision that gave rise to “super PACs.” In more run-of-the-mill cases, he was apt to side with workers claiming employment discrimination and against criminal defendants who said their rights had been violated.


R.I.P. G.O.P.



► MUST-READ from Vox — The difference between the Republican and Democratic parties has never been clearer (by Ezra Klein) — There is a deep pull in political punditry toward asserting symmetry between the two political parties — whatever sins one party is guilty of, surely the other party is no better. But this was a week in which the pretense of symmetry between the modern Democratic and Republican parties fell away. The Democratic Party is acting like the political parties we have traditionally known in American politics: It is backing familiar politicians with deep institutional ties and, amidst divided government, nominating compromise figures with the potential for bipartisan appeal. The Republican Party, however, is moving in a different and worrying direction: It is nominating an inexperienced demagogue whose appeal is precisely that he has no institutional ties, and it is refusing to even consider compromise with the sitting president.

► In today’s NY Times — Republican elite’s reign of disdain (by Paul Krugman) — The Republican elite can’t handle the truth. It’s too committed to an Ayn Rand story line about heroic job creators versus moochers to admit either that trickle-down economics can fail to deliver good jobs, or that sometimes government aid is a crucial lifeline. So it ends up lashing out at its own voters — white working-class Americans — when they refuse to buy into that story line.

► In today’s NY Times — Crackpot party crackup (by Timothy Egan) — The Republican National Convention in Cleveland will be a personality cult, without a hint of optimism, and certainly no overarching governing philosophy. If you’re young, nonwhite, science-based and civil, there will be nothing in it for you. And it will be rejected in every precinct of the United States where hope still beats hate, which is a majority, albeit a shrinking one… The choice for honorable Republicans — should I stay or should I go? — is obvious, though not easy. Leave this summer, or forever live with the consequences.

onion-marco-weeps► From The Onion — GOP leaders assure sobbing Rubio it’s not his fault party splitting up — “Marco, trust me, this isn’t about you — we’ve been having problems for years,” said RNC chairman Reince Priebus, who consoled the weeping Florida senator by repeatedly telling him that the party’s breakup had nothing to do with anything he had said or done. “The fact is, we tried our best to work through our issues, but we just fought all the time. There’s nothing you or any of the other establishment candidates could have done about it. Okay, buddy?”




► From AFL-CIO Now — AFL-CIO urges administration to finalize overdue worker protections — Following the U.S. Department of Labor sending the much-needed overtime rule to the Office of Management and Budget, the AFL-CIO renewed its call for final action on these worker protections to improve the lives of working people across the country. These regulations include rules on fiduciary responsibility, silica and the persuader rule.

► From The Hill — Labor chief pushing White House over overtime, silica protections — AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on Thursday called on the White House to quickly approve new standards for overtime, silica exposure and retirement investing.

► From AP — DHS using unpopular raids to curb border crossings — The Obama administration is openly stepping up efforts to find and deport immigrants who were part of the 2014 surge of illegal crossings by unaccompanied children and families.




► From The Hill — Equal pay top issue for working women, survey finds — In a national survey of 25,000 working women, the AFL-CIO found that 46 percent of women named pay equity as a barrier they plan to take action on. “Women are delivering a message loud and clear: We want equal pay and equal say,” said Elizabeth Shuler, the labor group’s secretary-treasurer. “We’re going to make sure it reverberates in Congress and throughout the presidential campaign and beyond.”

iain-flint-cartoon► From Gawker — America’s most biting editorial cartoonist is this 10-year-old from Flint — Iain MacIntyre, a 10-year-old from Flint, traveled to Washington, D.C. to watch his governor Rick Snyder testify before Congress today. Snyder is in D.C. to face questioning about the state’s handling of the Flint water crisis. According to the Detroit Free Press, the EPA will “place the blame squarely on the state; criticizing decisions not only by state regulators but by Snyder’s hand-picked officials in Flint.” Iain MacIntyre is there, too. His family is one of five which traveled along with the AFL-CIO and the activist group Flint Rising to attend the hearing, and MacIntyre drew the devastating caricature you see above while watching Snyder testify.




► This week Donald F—ing Trump, the leading Republican candidate for the presidency, whose rallies of almost exclusively white people have become havens for overtly racist and violent behavior, predicted riots if the party establishment succeeds in its efforts to deny him the GOP nomination.

On this day in 1977, The Clash released their first-ever single, “White Riot.” Although some people thought it was advocating some kind of race war, the song is about actually about class economics. Joe Strummer said he was trying to appeal to white youths to find a worthy cause to riot, as he felt black people in the UK already had: “Are you taking over / Or are you taking orders? / Are you going backwards / Or are you going forwards?”

Here’s to going forward in 2016. Rather than backwards to the 1960s.


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