Friday, December 8, 2017
► From the Senate Democrats — State Senate Democrats offer preview of 2018 legislative agenda — Topping the pre-file list is the Washington Voting Rights Act. The bill aims to create more civic engagement and better access to the democratic process throughout Washington. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Rebecca Saldaña (D-Seattle), failed to pass the Republican-controlled Senate the past five years despite bipartisan support in the House.
ALSO TODAY at The Stand — 2018 Washington Voting Rights Act introduced
► From the NW News Network — Manweller won’t resign despite allegations he sexually harassed students — Rep. Matt Manweller (R-Ellensburg), a fiery top Republican in the Washington Legislature, is facing renewed scrutiny over allegations he sexually harassed students as a professor at Central Washington University. An investigation commissioned by CWU into his conduct includes accusations that Manweller asked a young female student and her friend to have a threesome after buying them drinks at the Starlight Lounge bar in Ellensburg… Manweller on Thursday said he wouldn’t resign. “I am absolutely not going to give in to this mob mentality,” he said.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Read the investigator’s report. If you #BelieveWomen, the married Manweller not only propositioned his student, he asked her how often she has sex, whether she used condoms, and what’s the wildest sexual thing she ever did. When she skipped his next class, he sent her an email with the subject line “I missed you in class,” and then followed her around, both on and off campus. When she got home, “she put a chair up against her doorknob and told a neighbor that if he heard banging on the walls it was because a creepy professor was stalking her.” The outside investigator apparently believed the women, concluding there was credible evidence that Manweller violated CWU’s sexual harassment policy.
► A related story in today’s NY Times — What Congress can learn from Al Franken (editorial) — The Democratic Party deserves credit for its newfound determination to eject powerful men who think they can treat women however they want. But the tougher, more important task for both parties is rejecting the mechanisms and mind-set that keeps predators in power.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This editorial points out that it wasn’t the accusations themselves that brought Franken down, it was this week’s campaign of “female Democratic senators — a distinct minority in the chamber,” including our own Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), urging him to resign.
Perhaps, if the women who serve in the Legislature in Olympia — especially Republican women — want to hold men like Rep. Manweller accountable, they should do the same. The report above says state legislators have offered only a “muted response” to the latest accusations against Manweller, with House Minority Leader Dan Kristiansen (R-Snohomish) saying it’s “difficult” to respond to “anonymous claims” and House Democratic leaders refusing to respond to a request for comment.
TRUMP’S TAX SCAM
► From NPR — Tax bill could offer new way to funnel political cash — and make it tax-deductible — Wealthy Americans may get a new conduit for political money in the tax overhaul bill now being reconciled on Capitol Hill. A small provision in the House version of the bill would let big donors secretly give unlimited amounts to independent political groups — and write off the contributions as charitable gifts.
► MUST-READ in the NY times — The Republican war on children (by Paul Krugman) — Let me ask you a question; take your time in answering it. Would you be willing to take health care away from 1,000 children with the bad luck to have been born into low-income families so that you could give millions of extra dollars to just one wealthy heir? … CHIP covers a lot of children, but children’s health care is relatively cheap compared with care for older Americans. In fiscal 2016 the program cost only $15 billion, a tiny share of the federal budget. Meanwhile, under current law the estate tax is expected to bring in about $20 billion, more than enough to pay for CHIP. As you see, then, my question wasn’t at all hypothetical. By their actions, Republicans are showing that they consider it more important to give extra millions to one already wealthy heir than to provide health care to 1,000 children.
ALSO at The Stand:
Republican/Trump tax giveaway aims to force big cuts elsewhere (by WSLC President Jeff Johnson) — This tax giveaway is a set-up for defunding Social Security, Medicare, veterans’ benefits, health care, and privatizing our federal government and our natural resources.
It’s not over! Call Representatives to stop this tax scam for the rich — Call 1-844-899-9913 and tell your Representative to vote NO on this tax giveaway!
► In today’s Columbian — Herrera Beutler sets telephone town hall for Tuesday — Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Battle Ground) will host a telephone town hall from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Herrera Beutler will discuss tax cuts, tolling and other constituent issues.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Sens. Cantwell, Murray appointed to the tax bill conference committee — The conference is the last chance for Democrats to influence the tax bill that has moved through Congress at blinding speed.
► From The Hill — GOP wrestles with keeping prized 20 percent corporate rate — Some Republicans think cutting the corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 percent is the bill’s crowning achievement, but members are coming under pressure to bump it up a percentage point or two to help pay for other tax cuts.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Congress should spare grad students from tax hike (editorial) — Congress should step away from a plan to tax the tuition waivers graduate students receive when they work as researchers or teaching assistants. It could deter students from pursuing degrees the economy needs.
► From The Stranger — The next labor policy coming to Seattle City Hall: Domestic workers’ rights — It’s difficult to know exactly how many domestic workers — housekeepers, nannies, home aides — are employed across the country. Many work on handshake agreements without contracts. Some are paid under the table. What is clear is that domestic workers are not afforded the same protections as other workers. Under federal law, not all domestic workers are guaranteed the minimum wage. Here in Washington state, they are not guaranteed benefits like regular breaks and sick time. Labor advocates want to change that. Domestic workers and elected officials have kicked off a campaign for a new set of protections for domestic workers.
► In the Willamette Week — New Seasons Market hires same union-busting firm Trump used to fight workers at his Las Vegas hotels — Cruz & Associates, a consulting firm that started holding meetings with New Seasons workers last month, declares itself an expert in “union avoidance” and is headed by Lupe Cruz, a dissident who once worked for UNITE HERE before jumping ship to the so-called “right to work” movement.
► From The Hill — House passes bill to avoid shutdown — The House on Thursday passed a two-week stopgap spending bill one day before a deadline to avoid a government shutdown. House Republicans managed to pass the legislation mostly along party lines in the 235-193 vote, despite often coming short of securing a majority of the majority on measures to keep the government open in recent years.
► From Reuters — Trump administration sides against unions in high court fees case — The Trump administration on Wednesday said it would oppose public sector unions in a major case (Janus v. AFSCME) currently before the U.S. Supreme Court, reversing the view taken by the Obama administration in an identical dispute.
PREVIOUSLY at The Stand — Court tees up right-wing assault on unions
► From The Hill — Conservatives ramp up attacks on Mueller — Conservative efforts to discredit the Justice Department special counsel are intensifying as Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling moves steadily closer to the White House. Those efforts are being broadcast by conservative media giants like Fox News’s Sean Hannity, whose nightly show has become a sounding board for claims about Mueller’s alleged corruption.
► MUST READ in today’s NY Times — The GOP is rotting (by David Broooks) — The Republican Party is doing harm to every cause it purports to serve. You don’t help your cause by wrapping your arms around an alleged sexual predator and a patriarchic bigot. You don’t help your cause by putting the pursuit of power above character, by worshiping at the feet of some loutish man or another, by claiming the ends justify any means… Today’s tax cuts have no bipartisan support. They have no intellectual grounding, no body of supporting evidence. They do not respond to the central crisis of our time. They have no vision of the common good, except that Republican donors should get more money and Democratic donors should have less. The rot afflicting the G.O.P. is comprehensive — moral, intellectual, political and reputational. More and more former Republicans wake up every day and realize: “I’m homeless. I’m politically homeless.”
► In the NY Times — Facts have a well-known liberal bias (by Paul Krugman) — There are two central facts about 21st-century U.S. politics. First, we suffer from asymmetric polarization: the Republican Party has become an extremist institution with little respect for traditional norms of any kind. Second, mainstream media – still the source of most political information for the great majority of Americans – haven’t been able to come to grips with this reality. Even in the age of Trump, they try desperately to be “balanced”, which in practice means bending over backwards to say undeserved nice things about Republicans and take undeserved swipes at Democrats… The parties are not the same. And trying to pretend that they are the same isn’t just foolish, it’s deeply destructive. Indeed, it’s one important reason Donald Trump sits in the White House.
► From Politico — Democrats want to change the Democratic Party. They just disagree on how. — With a potentially historic number of Democrats getting ready to launch a bid for their party’s nomination in 2020, the DNC has barely 18 months to institute any reforms the Unity Commission recommends. Politico asked strategists, academics and members of Congress to weigh in on whether the party needs to change, and if so, how. Here is what they said about superdelegates, open primaries and renewing a party struggling with internal divisions and minority rule.
► In today’s Baltimore Post-Examiner — Labor leader Tefere Gebre awarded Peace Prize — Tefere Gebre, a stalwart of the cause of organized labor, was given a “Roving Ambassador for Peace” award in a ceremony, near Capitol Hill on Tuesday. Gebre, a native of Ethiopia, is an Executive Vice-President of the AFL-CIO. According to the program notes, he became in 2013, the “first immigrant, political refugee, black man and local labor council leader elected as a national officer of the AFL-CIO.”
► In today’s Seattle Times — A union body blow in what was once an organized-labor bastion (by Jon Talton) — Last month, employees at Fuyao Glass America in suburban Dayton, Ohio, voted by a wide margin to reject joining the UAW… The decline of unions in America is a complicated story, but one of the chapters is about workers voting against their self-interest. How many at Fuyao voted for Trump? They got the wealthiest cabinet in history, more deregulation and hostility to workers, and soon tax legislation that will cause lasting damage to the middle class. “Great Again,” in the minds of Trump voters, was the Nifty Fifties. But apparently without the strong unions.
► In the Wichita Eagle — Where will Spirit AeroSystems find 1,000 new workers? — In two years, Wichita’s largest employer will need to increase its 11,000 employee workforce by 9 percent, or 1,000 jobs. In addition to training programs at area colleges, Spirit to work with the Machinists and other unions through apprenticeship programs to help fill those jobs.
► In the Dallas News — U.S. airlines hired over 4,000 pilots this year. Here’s why they’ll be hiring even more. — After a decade of instability and bankruptcies that saw hiring slow to a crawl, U.S. airlines have been adding pilots at a breakneck pace over the last three years amid rising revenues and renewed growth ambitions.
► In the Washington Post — Bankrupt Toys R Us can pay executives millions of dollars in bonuses, judge rules — With the holiday shopping season approaching and bankruptcy proceedings underway in federal court, Toys R Us went to its creditors in November with an unorthodox request. To boost sales, the insolvent company asked: Let us pay out millions of dollars in bonuses to our top executives. On Tuesday, a bankruptcy judge approved the request.
► Had he not passed away in May, Southern rock legend Gregg Allman would have celebrated his 70th birthday today. In this 2014 clip, he performs one of The Entire Staff of The Stand’s favorite Allman Brothers songs with his buddy, Jackson Browne. The song’s namesake came to Allman at a 24-hour grocery store in Pensacola, Fla., late one night in 1967, as told in his memoir:
There were two people at the cash registers, but only one other customer besides myself. She was an older Spanish lady, wearing the colorful shawls, with her hair all stacked up on her head. And she had what seemed to be her granddaughter with her, who was at the age when kids discover they have legs that will run. She was jumping and dancing; she looked like a little puppet. I went around getting my stuff, and at one point she was the next aisle over, and I heard her little feet run all the way down the aisle. And the woman said, “No, wait, Melissa. Come back — don’t run away, Melissa!” I went, “Sweet Melissa.” I could’ve gone over there and kissed that woman. As a matter of fact, we came down and met each other at the end of the aisle, and I looked at her and said, “Thank you so much.” She probably went straight home and said, “I met a crazy man at the fucking grocery.”
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.