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Easier, not harder | Crying ‘trade war’ | Oklahoma is not OK | GOP silence is assent

Tuesday, March 20, 2018




► From AP — Inslee signs legislation to pre-register some teens, allow same-day voter registration — Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday signed a package of bills aimed at increasing voter access in Washington state, including a measure to preregister 16- and 17-year-olds and another that allows in-person voter registration to occur the same day of an election. “I’m proud of our state for making it easier to vote, not harder,” Inslee said.

ALSO at The Stand — Inslee: ‘Every community, voice, vote counts’

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Democrats eye West Plains seats following departure of Sen. Michael Baumgartner — Three newcomers to state politics are hoping a rejuvenated Democratic Party is enough to give the region a new shade of blue.




► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Salary cap for Spokane city employees part of budget reforms proposed by Stuckart — No Spokane city employee could earn more than $182,000 annually under a package of changes to City Hall’s budgeting process being proposed by Council President Ben Stuckart. He said his research indicated the restriction would only potentially apply currently to two people working at City Hall – the police and fire chiefs.

► From KUOW — Why the teachers’ union wants to delay search for new Seattle superintendent — The top job at Seattle Public Schools will open up in June, when superintendent Larry Nyland’s contract ends. The school board is preparing to hire a new superintendent by the end of April. Labor representatives, however, say the board needs to slow down and take time to involve people of color in the search process.

► From KNKX — Feds demand documents from contractor on safety of Hanford steel — The U.S. Department of Energy is demanding thousands of pages of documentation from one of its top contractors at Hanford. They want to know exactly what grade of steel is being used in a massive radioactive waste treatment plant at the decommissioned nuclear site.

► In today’s Wenatchee World — PUD launches bitcoin moratorium to ease pressure on staff, power grid — The Chelan County PUD on Monday flipped the off-switch for bitcoin mining hopefuls by immediately halting applications for power to new cryptocurrency operations.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Read why.




► From Politico — Border wall Dreamers deal implodes — The White House and congressional Democrats traded immigration offers futilely over the weekend, leaving little chance of an immediate deal to protect Dreamers.

► From Politico — Koch groups urge Trump to accept Democrats’ immigration deal — A trio of organizations supported by Charles and David Koch is urging Trump to accept congressional Democrats’ weekend offer, which would deliver $25 billion for a border wall and security in exchange for a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million young immigrants.

► From Bloomberg — U.S. Supreme Court rejects Arizona on driver’s licenses for immigrants — The court refused to let Arizona deny driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants who are protected from deportation under a program started by President Obama.




► In the Washington Post — The politicians screaming about a trade war are beholden to Wall Street (by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka) — Wall Street’s hair is on fire about steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by President Trump, because closing mills and factories in the United States and moving them overseas is how investors enrich themselves. And those wealthy investors reap even fatter profits when offshore mills and factories violate trade laws. Wall Street doesn’t care about the social and economic costs of unfair trade, because working people and our communities pay the price. We care about working people and our jobs, and we care about holding bad actors accountable. That’s why the AFL-CIO has consistently made the case for the use of tariffs to crack down on trade law violations. In the case of steel and aluminum, it’s not just about unfair trade practices, it’s also about national security.

ALSO at The Stand — Enforcing trade rules is not a “trade war” (by Stan Sorscher)

► In today’s Washington Post — Trump prepared to hit China with $60 billion in annual tariffs — President Trump is preparing to impose a package of $60 billion in annual tariffs against Chinese products, following through on a longtime threat that he says will punish China for intellectual property theft and create more U.S. jobs.




► From The Hill — GOP leaders see finish line on omnibus deal — House GOP leaders said they’re putting the finishing touches on an enormous 2018 spending bill, predicting the few remaining snags will be ironed out as early as Monday night. Finalizing a bipartisan omnibus agreement would set the stage for both chambers to vote on the $1.2 trillion package before Friday, when government funding is scheduled to expire.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Sound Transit lobbies Congress to keep Lynnwood line funded — As federal lawmakers negotiated the final content of an omnibus spending bill late Monday, the leader of Sound Transit kept close tabs to see if a critical source of funding to extend light rail to Lynnwood would make the cut. President Trump has threatened to cut such funding.

► In today’s NY Times — As DeVos faces Congress, officials say she hid plans to overhaul department — Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will go before a House panel on Tuesday to defend her agency’s budget, including a sweeping overhaul of the Education Department that has strained relations within her agency and with Congress — and defies the White House’s budget office.




► MUST-READ in today’s Washington Post — It’s not your imagination. Trump is getting worse. (by Eugene Robinson) — It’s not your imagination. Donald Trump’s occupancy of the White House is every bit as insane, corrupt and dangerous as you might fear. Witness this jaw-dropping message to the sitting president of the United States from the former CIA director:

“When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America… America will triumph over you.”

► In today’s NY Times — The wrong people are criticizing Donald Trump (editorial) — Seeing someone stand up to a bully is cathartic. That feeling is magnified when the bully is the president of the United States and his abusive behavior cries out for a response from honorable people. The problem is that a vast majority of the people in the best position to put weight behind such a response, Republicans in Congress, have kept silent… Republicans should be pushing back on Trump now in part to keep him from firing Mueller, a move that could strain our institutions past their breaking point.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Washington GOP Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Dave Reichert, Jaime Herrera Beutler, and Dan Newhouse respond.

► From Politico — ‘I thought there would be more Jeff Flakes, more John McCains, more Bob Corkers’ — Rep. Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat, who chief witness to the dysfunction of the Republican-led panel’s Russiagate investigation:

“I think one of the really sad realizations over the last year is not what kind of a president Donald Trump turns out to be — I think it was all too predictable — but rather, how many members of Congress would be unwilling to stand up to him, and more than that, would be completely willing to carry water for him. That is a very sad realization. I did not expect that. I thought there would be more Jeff Flakes, more John McCains, more Bob Corkers — people who would defend our system of checks and balances, would speak out for decency, who would defend the First Amendment.”




► In the NY Daily News — Thousands of JetBlue flight attendants to vote on joining Transport Workers Union — Nearly 5,000 JetBlue flight attendants began voting Monday in an effort to join the Transport Workers Union. Ballots will be cast electronically or by phone in an election that will run until April 17. According to the TWU, an “overwhelming majority” of flight attendants last year signed cards declaring they wanted to unionize.

► In today’s NY Times — Their pay has stood still. Now Oklahoma teachers could be the next to walk. — When she woke up one morning last week, Tiffany Bell, a teacher at Hamilton Elementary School here, had $35 in her bank account. On take-home pay of $2,200 per month, she supports her husband, a veteran who went back to school, and their three children, all of whom qualify for the CHIP, a federal benefit for low-income families. The couple’s 4-year-old twins attend a Head Start preschool — another antipoverty program… When West Virginia teachers mounted a statewide walkout last month, earning a modest raise, it seemed like an anomaly: a successful grass-roots labor uprising in a conservative state with weak public sector unions. But just a few weeks later, the West Virginia action looks like the potential beginning of a red-state rebellion.

ALSO at The Stand — The way forward for a new labor movement (by Jonathan Rosenblum)

► From AP — GOP confronts another failed tax experiment in Oklahoma — When the GOP took full control of Oklahoma government after the 2010 election, lawmakers set out to make it a model of Republican principles, with lower taxes, lighter regulation and a raft of business-friendly reforms. Conservatives passed all of it, setting in motion a grand experiment. Now it’s time for another big election, but instead of campaigning on eight years of achievements, Republicans are confronting chaos and crisis. Agency budgets that were cut during the Great Recession have been slashed even deeper. Rural hospitals are closing, and teachers are considering a statewide strike over low wages… Oklahoma’s woes offer the ultimate cautionary tale for other states considering trickle-down economic reforms.

► In today’s Washington Post — Supreme Court refuses to block new congressional maps in Pennsylvania — The decision means that this year’s elections are likely to be held under a map much more favorable to Democrats, who scored an apparent victory last week in a special election in a strongly Republican congressional district.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Tougher climate policies could save a stunning 150 million lives, researchers find — According to the study, premature deaths would fall on nearly every continent if the world’s governments agree to cut emissions of carbon and other harmful gases enough to limit global temperature rise to less than 3 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century.


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

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