Friday, April 6, 2018
► In today’s Washington Post — 1 in 5 Americans have joined protests or rallies in past two years, often in reaction to Trump, poll shows — For tens of millions of Americans, their activism is often driven by admiration or outrage toward President Trump, according to a new poll showing a new activism that could affect November elections.
► Today’s MUST-READ in the NY Times — Will we stop Trump before it’s too late? (by Madeleine Albright) — Today, fascism — and the tendencies that lead toward fascism — pose a more serious threat now than at any time since the end of World War II… Instead of mobilizing international coalitions to take on world problems, President Trump touts the doctrine of “every nation for itself” and has led America into isolated positions on trade, climate change and Middle East peace. Instead of standing up for the values of a free society, his oft-vented scorn for democracy’s building blocks has strengthened the hands of dictators. No longer need they fear United States criticism regarding human rights or civil liberties. On the contrary, they can and do point to Trump’s own words to justify their repressive actions.
At one time or another, Trump has attacked the judiciary, ridiculed the media, defended torture, condoned police brutality, urged supporters to rough up hecklers and — jokingly or not — equated mere policy disagreements with treason. He tried to undermine faith in America’s electoral process through a bogus advisory commission on voter integrity. He routinely vilifies federal law enforcement institutions. He libels immigrants and the countries from which they come. His words are so often at odds with the truth that they can appear ignorant, yet are in fact calculated to exacerbate religious, social and racial divisions. Overseas, rather than stand up to bullies, Trump appears to like bullies, and they are delighted to have him represent the American brand. If one were to draft a script chronicling fascism’s resurrection, the abdication of America’s moral leadership would make a credible first scene.
What is to be done? First, defend the truth. A free press, for example, is not the enemy of the American people; it is the protector of the American people. Second, we must reinforce the principle that no one, not even the president, is above the law. Third, we should each do our part to energize the democratic process by registering new voters, listening respectfully to those with whom we disagree, knocking on doors for favored candidates, and ignoring the cynical counsel: “There’s nothing to be done.” I’m 80 years old, but I can still be inspired when I see young people coming together to demand the right to study without having to wear a flak jacket.
► In today’s Washington Post — Why I’m suing for my right to flip off the president (by Juli Briskman) — The First Amendment bars retaliation against me by Trump. But Trump doesn’t need to punish me for my speech if fear of him spurs my employer to do it. And a private employer can’t suppress my freedom of expression on my own time out of fear of illegal government retaliation without violating Virginia employment law, which is why I filed a lawsuit against my former employer this week… This sort of behavior is familiar to people living in Egypt, Hungary, Thailand, Turkey and Russia, where the ability to do business increasingly depends on being seen as favorable to the regime. As a result, companies in each of these countries do not hire or do business with known dissenters. And that pressure — making citizens choose between their pocketbooks and their principles — starts a downward spiral that ultimately dismantles a democracy.
► From The Nation — Oklahoma teachers strike for a 4th day to protest rock-bottom education funding — The Oklahoma legislature has approved an increase in teacher pay, but teachers still haven’t returned to their classrooms, demanding more funding for education in a state that has slashed it dramatically—and paid the price.
► This morning from AP — Oklahoma teacher walkout stretches into 5th day
► From HuffPost — The striking teachers’ biggest supporters are their own students — “This walkout is for us ― the teachers are just leading it,” said Natalie Hurt, a senior at Midwest City High School. Oklahoma is one of a string of red states now dealing with a teacher revolt after years of austerity. While the educators have closed schools and flooded their state capitol buildings, they have found a powerful ally in their own students, many of whom are just as weary of deep budget cuts and underfunded schools.
► In today’s Washington Post — Teacher strikes may be more powerful now than ever before (by Jon Shelton) — The media loves a good labor stoppage. The nonstop coverage of teacher demonstrations in West Virginia earlier this year and now in Oklahoma and Kentucky proves it. But these walkouts are more than publicity stunts. Public school teachers have enormous bargaining power, and some of the lowest paid have clearly realized it. Just as happened in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, the price of peace will come from treating teachers like the important professionals they are.
► From Willamette Week — After more than a year of campaigning, Burgerville agrees to allow employees to vote to unionize — Burgerville announced that it will allow Portland employees to vote to on whether or not they want to unionize.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Under the National Labor Relations Act, it is the workers’ legal right to vote on unionization, not something that employers can “grant” when they see fit. (You’re Burgerville, not Burger King.) After a year-plus of ignoring the law and filing NLRB appeals to try to block or delay a union vote, the company has simply agreed to obey the law.
► In today’s Washington Post — Trump seeks tariffs on $100 billion more in Chinese goods as trade fight intensifies — President Trump’s threat, which came after China unveiled tariffs against $50 billion in U.S. goods, moves the world’s two largest economies closer to an open brawl on trade. It is certain to spook allies in Europe and Japan as well as U.S. business leaders desperate for a resolution of the dispute.
► In today’s NY Times — White House tries to pull NAFTA deal back from brink — After months of stalemate, American negotiators are eager for quick progress on the North American trade deal as deadlines loom.
ALSO at The Stand — NAFTA should work for everyone – not just investors (by Stan Sorscher)
► From TPM — McConnell: Blocking Garland was most ‘consequential decision’ of my career — After serving more than three decades in Congress, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) counts blocking the nomination of President Obama’s Supreme Court pick Merrick Garland as the “most consequential decision” he’s made in his “entire public career.” McConnell effectively blocked Garland’s nomination by refusing to grant a committee hearing for the Obama nominee after Supreme Court Justice Anthony Scalia died in February 2016. That move eventually led to the appointment of Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s nominee, maintaining the majority conservative ideological divide of the high court.
► In today’s Washington Post — Pruitt fights for his job amid a barrage of new ethics issues — The president has resisted calls from aides to oust the head of the Environmental Protection Agency but has complained privately about Scott Pruitt for days, advisers said.
► From KUOW — More than 500 pregnant women in ICE detention, after reversal of Obama policy — Immigration authorities have detained 506 pregnant women since December, when the Trump administration ended a policy to release most pregnant women while their immigration cases are pending.
► From Take Care — The NLRB’s Recusal SNAFUsal (by Charlotte Garden) — Inspector General concluded that Trump-appointed Board member William Emanuel should have recused himself from the (Browning-Ferris) case, depriving the Hy-Brand majority of its required third vote. Member Emanuel’s participation in Hy-Brand was a serious error – one that will be difficult to fully unwind – but there is a bigger story here, about the Trump Board GOP majority’s rush to judgment in Hy-Brand and a handful of other recent cases… The IG’s investigation revealed a decision-making process that barely looks like a process at all — instead, it looks more like a last-minute push to erase an important Obama-era case before former Chairman Miscimarra’s term expired.
► From Variety — SAG-AFTRA slams Sinclair’s ‘fake news’ scripts — SAG-AFTRA has slammed Sinclair Broadcast Group (KOMO/Seattle, KIMA/Yakima) in the wake of a company-wide directive forcing anchors to warn viewers about the prevalence of unsubstantiated news reports:
“SAG-AFTRA has been in contact with Sinclair to express our concerns with this campaign, and we stand with our members and journalists everywhere in challenging corporate directives that call into question the journalistic integrity of the news presented to the public. SAG-AFTRA opposes such directives in the interest of defending the professionalism of journalists and preserving the basic rights of a free and independent press.”
► In today’s Washington Post — Sinclair’s remarkable gaslighting operation (by Erik Wemple) — What Sinclair and Trump are doing transcends mere channel preferences. They’re trying to sever an entire population — their followers, that is — from the truth about their deeds.
► From Vox — Workers don’t have much say in corporations. Why not give them seats on the board? — Americans largely support the idea. A poll of more than 3,300 American likely voters by Civis Analytics finds that a majority (53 percent) would support allowing employees at large companies to elect representatives to those companies’ boards of directors, thus giving employees a direct, democratic say in how the company is run.
► From HuffPost — Want to carry on Martin Luther King Jr.’s work? Join a union. (by Lindell Lawrence) — In the final years of his life, King shifted his work to focus on improving work and pay conditions for people regardless of the color of their skin. Half a century after he was assassinated in Memphis following his march with those sanitation workers, the fight for civil rights continues to intersect with the struggle for workers’ rights. Organizing a union is still one of the most powerful ways for workers of color to win respect at work. I know this because I am organizing a union, and it’s for the same reason the workers in Memphis did: I Am A Man.
ALSO TODAY at The Stand — MLK knew unions are vital voice for workers (by Tina Morrison of the Spokane Regional Labor Council)
► In lieu of our usual music video, we present Stevie Wonder’s inspirational video posted Thursday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. — and his dream.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.