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Ben drops his bid, BPA for sale, unions in court’s crosshairs

Wednesday, June 7, 2017




► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Stuckart drops out of congressional race, citing family medical issues — Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart is dropping his bid to unseat Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers in Congress, citing family health issues, the Democrat’s campaign confirmed Tuesday. Stuckart denied his decision to withdraw had anything to do with rumored opponents in next year’s election.

► From CrossCut — WA’s Mainstream Republicans hope to survive Tweeter-in-Chief — So what are reasonable GOPers to do? That was one of the big questions for the weekend at the Mainstream Republicans’ annual Cascade Conference. If Democrats are hunkering down into resistance mode, these Republicans are trying to show their fellow Americans that there’s a better way to be conservative, holding on to civility and common sense. Both parties want to model how to do things better in the face of an unpredictable and perhaps incompetent central government.




► In the Columbian — Northwest lawmakers oppose selling BPA transmission linesThe Trump administration’s proposal to sell the Bonneville Power Administration’s transmission system is meeting strong opposition from both Washington and Oregon’s congressional delegations.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — BPA grid sale tied to fantasy budget — Simply put, privatizing the BPA grid would devastate the Northwest economy. And for what? Another budget proposal that isn’t grounded in reality.

► In today’s NY Times — When companies lead on infrastructure, taxpayers often bear the costs — Experts agree that while some public-private partnerships may result in near-term savings, there is little hard evidence that they perform better over time. Whether through fees like parking meters and tolls on a road, or through government payments to the contractors, such projects are ultimately supported by taxpayers… Private firms and local governments can have fundamentally different interests. The government has broad concerns, like improving overall regional transportation, reducing traffic and curbing pollution. The companies have a narrower concern — maximizing financial returns.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Privatizing air-traffic control won’t fly (by Jon Talton) — If it ain’t broke, break it? … Counterintuitively, the privatization scheme is the rollout of Trump’s infrastructure initiative — recall he promised to spend $1 trillion on it during the campaign. But there are no plans for the high-speed trains that other advanced urbanized nations have — indeed, Trump’s budget  wants to gut Amtrak. No plans for investing in the water systems of cities such as Flint, Mich. Instead, “infrastructure” is Trumpian newspeak for “giveaway to the private sector.”

ALSO at The Stand — America for sale — CHEAP! (Needs work.)




► From CBS News — New high court challenge to labor unions follows 4-4 split — Conservative groups are wasting little time in trying to deal a crippling blow to labor unions now that Justice Neil Gorsuch has joined the Supreme Court. A First Amendment clash over public sector unions left the justices deadlocked last year after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. But union opponents have quickly steered a new case through federal courts in Illinois and they plan to appeal it to the high court on Tuesday. The groups say unions representing government employees violate the free speech rights of workers by collecting money from people who don’t want to join. If the high court agrees, it could threaten the financial viability of unions and reduce the clout of labor, one of the biggest contributors to Democratic political campaigns.

► In today’s NY Times — U.S. presses China to free activists scrutinizing Ivanka Trump shoe factory — China faces growing pressure to release three labor activists detained for investigating conditions at factories that make Ivanka Trump’s shoe brand, as experts warned that the detentions could make it more difficult for other Western companies to take a clear look at the practices of their Chinese suppliers.

ALSO at The Stand — UW students score victory on Nike factories (by Hannah Dolling)

► In today’s NY Times — States, cities compensate for Trump’s climate stupidity (editorial) — President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris compact on climate change was barely four days old when more than 1,200 governors, mayors and businesses promised to do whatever they could to help the United States meet the climate goals President Barack Obama had committed to in the agreement. In a letter, titled “We Are Still In,” they declared that global warming imposes real and rising costs, while the clean energy economy to which the Paris agreement aspires presents enormous opportunities for American businesses and workers… Progress is possible, even with Trump standing in the way.

ALSO at The Stand:

It’s our responsibility to lead on climate change (by Leo W. Gerard)

“A stunning display of ignorance and hubris” (by Jeff Johnson)




► From The Hill — Georgia GOP House candidate: ‘I do not support a livable wage’The Republican candidate in Georgia’s special House election on Tuesday said she does not support a livable wage. “This is the difference between being a liberal and a conservative. I do not support a livable wage,” Karen Handel said during a debate with Democrat Jon Ossoff.

► In today’s NY Times — Kansas lawmakers override Brownback veto, undoing tax cuts — It was a remarkable rejection of the state’s tax-cutting approach after years of mounting uncertainty and unhappiness in the state over whether the tax cutting was working. That led to all-out revolt by Republican lawmakers who had grown increasingly frustrated over limits on the state’s spending on education and over state budget shortfalls.

► In today’s Pittsburgh Business Times — United Steelworkers wins adjunct faculty contract with Robert Morris — United Steelworkers struck its latest victory Tuesday in its fight to unionize Pittsburgh’s professors. The USW announced it had reached a contract agreement with Robert Morris University to cover its adjunct faculty — made up of about 430 part-time faculty.

► From Vox — They’re on Obamacare, they voted for Trump, and they’re already disappointed — But they’re still voting Republican. “You know, thinking about it, I’m not even sure what I expected. I just thought it would miraculously work out wonderful for everybody,” said Bobbi Smith, a 62-year-old Obamacare enrollee who voted for Trump. “So I guess maybe I didn’t put enough thought into what I would expect from a health care act.”




► From The Nation — America’s freedom to protest is under attackA recent audit by an international human-rights monitor reveals that, even before Trump’s buffoonery took over the White House, Washington was failing dramatically to live up to its reputation as a beacon of democracy. UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Assembly Maina Kiai’s dissection of the nation’s systematic betrayal of basic human rights centers on America’s shrinking public square. Her report concludes that over the past year a growing swath of communities of color, workers and immigrants, and other marginalized groups have felt deterred from engaging in social movements, staging protests and other forms of citizen action, or campaigning to defend community and workplace rights.


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

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