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Racist RTW, two beachheads, New Media Upside Down…

Tuesday, January 24, 2017




► In today’s Seattle Times — Misnamed ‘right-to-work’ laws exploit workers (by Linda Averill and Kirk Duncan) — Jeff Rhodes of the Freedom Foundation wrote that working folks should rejoice because right-to-work “protections” will soon be coming to Washington. But make no mistake, the protections would not benefit workers. Rather they would enhance the bosses’ ability to exploit employees to the maximum extent possible, leaving workers with few rights to collectively improve working conditions… The deceptive term “right-to-work” was coined by Texan Vance Muse, who was a white supremacist and political strategist, active in the 1930s and 1940s. He used racism to attack unions, decrying their role in bringing workers together across the color line.

► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Hundreds attend methanol hearing, major permit decision expected soon — Several hundred people attended a hearing Monday on a key permit for the proposed $1.8 billion Kalama methanol project, and the hearings examiner promised a speedy decision.




► In today’s Seattle Times — House votes to give schools one-year reprieve from ‘levy cliff,’ possible $500M shortfall — Washington lawmakers moved one step closer toward a solution to the “levy cliff” — which could cause a $500 million shortfall for school districts starting in 2018 — when the House voted 62-35 Monday to pass a bill designed to delay the cliff by one year. It moves to the Senate.

► From Slog — Miloscia calls protesting Trump ‘unAmerican’ and ‘unChristian’ — State Sen. Mark Miloscia (R-Federal Way) took to his Facebook page “shame” the millions of people who exercised their First Amendment rights over the weekend.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Trump taps Ericksen, Benton to help reshape EPA — Former state Sen. Don Benton (R-Vancouver) and state Sen. Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale) are among 10 officials who joined the EPA over the weekend as part of a transition effort. They are part of a “beachhead team” at the agency, preparing the way for permanent leadership in a new administration that is expected to vastly pare back environmental regulations. Ericksen said he does not intend to resign his state Senate seat — but instead will fly back and forth to do both jobs.

EDITOR’S NOTE — “I’ll be eating rib-eyes — er, I mean, catching red-eyes — on frequent occasions,” a winking Ericksen said.

► In today’s Columbian — Benton chosen by Trump administration to supervise EPA transitionWhen The Columbian called for comment, Benton hung up.

► A related story today from Huffington Post — EPA freezes grants, tells employees not to talk about it — EPA staff has been instructed to freeze all its grants — an extensive program that includes funding for research, redevelopment of former industrial sites, air quality monitoring and education, among other things — and told not to discuss this order with anyone outside the agency, according to a Hill source with knowledge of the situation.




► In today’s NY Times — Trump abandons TPP, Obama’s signature trade deal — With the stroke of a pen on his first full weekday in office, Mr. Trump signaled that he plans to follow through on promises to take a more aggressive stance against foreign competitors as part of his “America First” approach.

► In today’s USA Today — RIP TPP. Now let’s redo NAFTA (by Richard Trumka) — While the 2016 election was full of division, Americans across the political spectrum are united in their desire for trade deals that create jobs and empower people, not corporations… The plain truth is the TPP-NAFTA model has weakened our position with China by holding down wages, stifling investment and exploding inequality. This is a moment to come together and advance a new trade agenda that benefits working people at home and strengthens our position in the world.

ALSO at The Stand — TPP officially dead amid calls for fair trade

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Reversal on trade pact leaves some in Northwest worried, others relieved — Washington business and trade groups characterized President Donald Trump’s move Monday to back off from a proposed trade pact among Asia-Pacific nations as a setback for the state’s economy.

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Washington ag eyes better trade deals as Trump nixes trade deal — U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Sunnyside) was a strong TPP supporter. On Monday, Newhouse aligned himself with the new president, saying he hopes to work with the administration on trade deals.

► In today’s NY Times —Ditching TPP won’t solve the trade deficit (by Jared Bernstein) — One reason our trade deals have little impact on our trade deficit is that they fail to include enforceable rules on things like currency manipulation and rules of origin.




► From The Hill — Don’t let Trump roll back gains for workers (by Richard Trumka) — Trump promised to make life better for American workers. Now, as president, he has a chance to honor those promises with action. His Cabinet nominations — including a Labor Secretary who routinely violates labor law — are a bad start. But Trump can help stop the bleeding by leaving hard-won, pro-worker regulations in place. If not, millions of Americans will be dramatically worse off.

► From CNN — Trump labor pick in 2011 on his fast-food workers: We hire ‘the best of the worst’ — In two speeches in 2011, Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of labor, fast-food executive Andrew Puzder, described the employees hired at his restaurants as the “best of the worst” available in the employment pool.


EDITOR’S NOTE — Urge our senators to REJECT Puzder.

► From AFGE — Trump’s federal hiring freeze will cost taxpayers and hurt Americans, AFGE says — Donald Trump is backtracking on campaign pledges to create American jobs and cut wasteful government spending by issuing an executive order to freeze federal employee hiring across the country, which will result in more work being outsourced to more expensive contractors.

► From Politico — Revenge of the bureaucrats — The president is about to find out how much power these maligned workers have to slow or even short-circuit his agenda.`

► In today’s Washington Post — Donald Trump and labor unions don’t always get along — but they did today — Amid tension with the organized labor community, President Trump met with a dozen union leaders and members Monday afternoon at the White House for a “listening session” about American jobs.

► In today’s Washington Post — Senate Democrats set to unveil a Trump-size infrastructure plan — A group of senior Senate Democrats on Tuesday plan to unveil their own $1 trillion plan to revamp the nation’s airports, bridges, roads and seaports, urging President Trump to back their proposal, which they say would create 15 million jobs over 10 years.

► In today’s NY Times — Call to create jobs, or else, tests Trump’s sway — President Trump told corporate leaders that they could face tariffs if they don’t bring back manufacturing jobs, but he is fighting against larger market forces.

► From Politico — GOP split over Medicaid imperils Obamacare plans — Top GOP lawmakers and President Donald Trump are coalescing around a plan to turn Medicaid over to the states as part of their Obamacare replacement. But the push is already driving a wedge between congressional Republicans and could gum up the repeal process altogether.

► In today’s NY Times — Trump repeats lie about popular vote in meeting with lawmakers — President Trump used his first official meeting with congressional leaders on Monday to falsely claim that millions of unauthorized immigrants had robbed him of a popular vote majority, a return to his obsession with the election’s results even as he seeks support for his legislative agenda.

► MUST-READ in today’s Washington Post — The first days inside Trump’s White House: Fury, tumult and a reboot — President Trump had just returned to the White House on Saturday from his final inauguration event, a tranquil interfaith prayer service, when the flashes of anger began to build. Trump turned on the television to see a jarring juxtaposition — massive demonstrations around the globe protesting his day-old presidency and footage of the sparser crowd at his inauguration, with large patches of white empty space on the Mall.  As his press secretary, Sean Spicer, was still unpacking boxes in his spacious new West Wing office, Trump grew increasingly and visibly enraged.




► From Buzzfeed — The right is building a new media ‘Upside Down’ to tell Trump’s story — If you’ve been paying attention during the long run-up to Trump’s unexpected victory, you may have noticed a new dynamic in the already fractured and chaotic political media ecosystem. There is a new new media. Its branding (“news you can trust,” “we report the truth”), design (sleek, media-rich webpages), and distribution (heavy social and video presences across Facebook, Twitter, Periscope, YouTube, podcasts) all feel familiar. But its message is very different. It is unedited and unabashedly pro-Trump, and it often posits an interpretation of reality dramatically different from that of the mainstream media.

Welcome to the New Media Upside Down: a parallel universe (think the Upside Down from the Netflix series Stranger Things) that operates as a mirror image of its mainstream counterpart with its own “alternative facts,” audience, and interpretation of truth. The New Media Upside Down looks a lot like the media it’s trying to undermine and replace, but it’s darker in vision — and raw. If you live in the mainstream media world, the New Media Upside Down can be hard to find — the only real crossover between the two worlds is on Twitter, where its leaders lambaste mainstream news reports often with the aim of discrediting them. It’s (reasonably) young and hungry, and has risen with Trump all the way to the White House — where Steve Bannon, who helped construct this upside-down media world while running Breitbart News, now holds sway as senior counselor to the president himself… So while CNN panels and J-school professors are debating the validity of “alternative facts,” the New Media Upside Down of the right is preparing for its land grab.


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