The Stand

Jobs machine, our tax concerns, partisan sheep, lonely at the top

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Thursday, June 1, 2017

 


LOCAL

 

► In today’s Seattle Times — Metro Seattle’s jobs machine keeps humming in 2017 — In April, the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett metropolitan division added 46,200 net new jobs year-over-year, the third best performance in the nation. The gain represented 2.8 percent… People are coming here for jobs. Not only that, but the growth is happening during an employment decline at Boeing. In fact, all 11 of Washington’s metropolitan areas saw job gains.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Damn you, job-killing minimum wage!

► In today’s Yakima H-R — Lawsuit has potential to upend farm worker pay — Many growers worry the long-accepted piece-rate system used for the better part of the past century could be endangered under a class-action lawsuit against Wenatchee-based Dovex Fruit Co. before the state Supreme Court. But the attorneys behind it say the intent of the lawsuit is not to decimate the long-accepted system for farmers, but to make sure farm workers are getting a fair wage.

► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Port of Longview profits, cargo soar in first quarter — A surge in grain and potash exports in the first quarter helped more than double the Port of Longview’s profits compared to the same time last year. Log exports continue to recover this year, jumping 46 percent from the same time last year. For the rest of the year, the port expects an increase in project cargo, such as wind turbines, as well as continued gains in grain and other bulk commodities.

► From The Stranger — Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor cancels West Coast tour after a Fox News report spurs death threats — Princeton University professor of African-American studies, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, was scheduled to speak at Town Hall Seattle this evening about her latest book, From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation.

 


THIS WASHINGTON

 

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — No easy fix for Washington’s broken process of legislating (by Jerry Cornfield) — Discipline is lacking in regular sessions. Leaders of the majority parties in the House and Senate seem unwilling, or maybe unable, to enforce rules intended to deal with legislation in an orderly fashion, including the budget. Every session contains deadlines, or cut-off days, by which bills must be acted upon or they die. But lawmakers largely ignore them and this year is no exception.

ALSO at The Stand — Tell legislators: Stop this political nonsense!

EDITOR’S NOTE — And today’s sign that — as they collect their $120-per-day stipends amid the second overtime session — some state legislators have nothing to do…

► In today’s News Tribune — In wake of race protests at Evergreen, Manweller proposes to privatize it — Rep. Matt Manweller (R-Ellensburg) plans to introduce a bill Thursday to ratchet down state funding for The Evergreen State College over five years. His bill follows student protests about institutional racism last week.

 


NATIONAL

 

► From Pew Research Center — Top frustrations with tax system: Sense that corporations, wealthy don’t pay fair share — A majority of Americans now view the federal tax system as unfair, including similar shares of Republicans and Democrats. Among the public overall, 62% say they are bothered “a lot” by the feeling that some corporations don’t pay their fair share of taxes, and 60% say the same about some wealthy people not paying their fair share. But only about a quarter (27%) say they are bothered a lot by the amount they pay in taxes. And just 20% say that about the feeling that the poor do not pay their fair share of taxes.

► In today’s NY Times — Steady jobs, with pay and hours that are anything but — More and more employees across a growing range of industries find the number of hours they work is swinging giddily from week to week — bringing chaos not only to family scheduling, but also to family finances. And a new wave of research shows that the main culprit is not the so-called gig economy, but shifting pay within the same job. This volatility helps unravel a persistent puzzle: why a below-average jobless rate — 4.4 percent in April — is still producing an above-average level of economic anxiety. Turbulence has replaced the traditional American narrative of steady financial progress over a lifetime.

 


TRUMPCARE

 

► From CNN Money — Few Americans think GOP health care bill should pass — Only 8% think the Senate should pass the legislation as is, according to a new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Nearly half of consumers say that their cost of health care will be “worse” under Trumpcare, compared to 16% who think the cost will be “better” and 36% who feel it will be “about the same.”

► MUST-READ in today’s Washington Post — Have Republicans turned into partisan sheep on health care? (by Jennifer Rubin) — The latest Kaiser Family Foundation poll confirms that most Americans really do not like the GOP’s American Health Care Act. And those Republicans who really like the GOP plan? They either do not know what is in it or are so partisan they feel compelled to approve of things they do not like.

One might say that lawmakers who recklessly voted for a bill they hadn’t yet scored and which did not do the things they promised were simply reflecting the blind partisanship of their fellow Republicans. Apparently it never dawned on many GOP lawmakers that their job is to make an honest, independent judgment of the bill’s particulars and then explain themselves to voters. Rather, they envision themselves as partisan soldiers who vote first and justify their actions later. Likewise, it never dawned on many Republicans to stop reflexively supporting whatever has an “R” or “Trump” next to it. Sadly, all of this confirms the degree to which rank partisanship, approaching irrational tribal loyalty, and self-selecting news have come to dominate American politics. This bodes ill for the Republic and our ability to navigate through complex challenges.

ALSO at The Stand — Rally against Trumpcare outside Cathy’s Bellevue fundraiser today — It will be from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at 10500 NE 8th St in Bellevue (near the corner of Bellevue Way and NE 8th).

► From TPM — Trump budget chief suggests Dem mole behind CBO’s Trumpcare score — Budget Director Mick Mulvaney has openly questioned the abilities of Holly Harvey, the head of CBO’s health analysis division, to be non-partisan. The CBO director, Keith Hall, who signed off on the CBO score of the GOP health bill, was the chief economist for the Council of Economic Advisers in the George W. Bush White House and was handpicked by then House Budget Committee Chair Tom Price (who is now Trump’s HHS secretary) to lead the CBO.

 


ELECTIONS

 

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — It’s early, but Stuckart’s heartened by polling (by Shawn Vestal) — The election is 18 months away, but Ben Stuckart is finding fodder for optimism in early polling on his effort to unseat Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers. A survey conducted by his campaign shows Rodgers with a lead of 7 percentage points over Stuckart, the president of the Spokane City Council and Democratic candidate for Congress. That’s a much narrower advantage than McMorris Rodgers – who has been an election juggernaut since taking office in 2005 – has held over any Democrat in any election. She has claimed more than 60 percent of the vote in each of her five elections, reliably winning by 20 points or more.

► In today’s Olympian — Thurston County Democrats chair resigns — Katie Nelson, who works for DSHS and serves on the executive board of WFSE/AFSCME Council 28, has stepped down.

 


CLIMATE CHANGE

 

► In today’s NY Times — World awaits Trump decision on U.S. future in Paris accord — The president said that at 3 p.m. Eastern time Thursday (noon Pacific), he would announce his decision on whether the United States would honor the landmark climate-change pact.

► In today’s NY Times — The U.S. is the biggest carbon polluter in history. Will it walk away from the Paris climate deal? — The United States, with its love of big cars, big houses and blasting air-conditioners, has contributed more than any other country to the atmospheric carbon dioxide that is scorching the planet. Against that backdrop, factions in the Trump administration are engaged in a heated debate over whether to remain a party to the 195-nation agreement on climate change reached in Paris in 2015. A decision to walk away from the accord would be a momentous setback, in practical and political terms, for the effort to address climate change.

► From Politico — How Bannon and Pruitt boxed in Trump on climate pact — The two advisers have spent months building pressure on the president to exit the Paris deal — and trying to outmaneuver Ivanka Trump.

► From The Hill — GOP rep: If climate change is real, God will ‘take care of it’

 


SWAMP

 

► From The Hill — Trump exempts senior staff from ethics rules — The White House on Wednesday evening released its list of waivers to the Trump administration ethics pledge, exempting at least a dozen White House officials from the rules.

► In today’s NY Times — Rule-benders require new rules (editorial) — Ethical regulations weren’t written with this sort of administration in mind. Tougher laws are needed to maintain the standards we’ve expected.

EDITOR’S NOTE — The swamp is bipartisan…

► In today’s NY Times — Ex-Obama officials find there’s no place like their old law firms — Former officials often don’t have to look far for work: Demand for departing government lawyers among big corporate law firms shows no signs of softening.

► From TPM — Lawyered up! Trump’s Russia scandal enters whole new chapter — The hiring of private counsel and the referral of questions to those attorneys signal the beginning of a whole new chapter in the president’s ongoing legal saga. Expect sharp internal divisions, a journey into uncharted legal territory, and an official information blackout.

► BREAKING from AP — Subpoenas to be issued for Flynn, Cohen in Russian probe; Senate panel eager to hear from Comey

 


TODAY’S MUST-READ

 

► At Literary Hub — The loneliness of Donald Trump (by Rebecca Solnit) — Once upon a time, a child was born into wealth and wanted for nothing, but he was possessed by bottomless, endless, grating, grasping wanting, and wanted more, and got it, and more after that, and always more… For seven decades, he fed his appetites and exercised his license to lie, cheat, steal, and stiff working people of their wages, made messes, left them behind, grabbed more baubles, and left them in ruin. He was supposed to be a great maker of things, but he was mostly a breaker. He acquired buildings and women and enterprises and treated them all alike, promoting and deserting them, running into bankruptcies and divorces, treading on lawsuits the way a lumberjack of old walked across the logs floating on their way to the mill, but as long as he moved in his underworld of dealmakers the rules were wobbly and the enforcement was wobblier and he could stay afloat. But his appetite was endless, and he wanted more, and he gambled to become the most powerful man in the world, and won, careless of what he wished for…

The American buffoon’s commands were disobeyed, his secrets leaked at such a rate his office resembled the fountains at Versailles or maybe just a sieve, his agenda was undermined even by a minority party that was not supposed to have much in the way of power, the judiciary kept suspending his executive orders, and scandals erupted like boils and sores. Instead of the dictator of the little demimondes of beauty pageants, casinos, luxury condominiums, fake universities offering fake educations with real debt, fake reality TV in which he was master of the fake fate of others, an arbiter of all worth and meaning, he became fortune’s fool. He is, as of this writing, the most mocked man in the world.

 


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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