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Not above the law | Targeting the poor | corporate tax cuts

Monday, April 16, 2018




► In the NY Times — The president is not above the law (editorial) — News reports point to a growing possibility that President Trump may act to cripple or shut down an investigation by the nation’s top law-enforcement agencies into his campaign and administration. Lawmakers need to be preparing now for that possibility because if and when it comes to pass, they will suddenly find themselves on the edge of an abyss, with the Constitution in their hands. Make no mistake: If Trump takes such drastic action, he will be striking at the foundation of the American government, attempting to set a precedent that a president, alone among American citizens, is above the law. What can seem now like a political sideshow will instantly become a constitutional crisis.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Washington’s GOP congressional delegation responds.

► Today’s Washington Post update on Operation Desert Stormy — Last week the U.S. bombed Syria, but not much changed. Here’s what you need to know. — The president had no legal authority to order those airstrikes. Congress has to authorize the president to use force. This crisis came on John Bolton’s first day as the president’s national security adviser.




► In the News Tribune — Many jobs in Washington State in the cross hairs of a U.S.-China trade war — Most of the concern over the president’s escalating trade conflict with China has centered on the fallout for farmers, but an analysis by experts at the Brookings Institution finds that the West Coast — California and Washington, in particular, has far and away the most jobs on the line in the tariff tit-for-tat between the Trump administration and Beijing.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Politics and chicken farming: Meet the new GOP leader in the state House — Washington Rep. J.T. Wilcox is the new Republican state House minority leader. His first test is to guide GOP candidates through the November elections in what could be a challenging political year.

► In the Seattle Times — State lawmakers, staffers consider independent office to take harassment complaints — A group of House members, staffers, lobbyists and others is set to begin meeting this month and “will largely focus on how that could work,” said House Chief Clerk Bernard Dean.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — New state law ends singling out students who can’t afford lunch — A new state law bars school staff from taking any actions which single out students who are unable to pay for their meal or to receive it due to previously unpaid meal charges.

► From KNKX — New state child care rules aim to improve quality but will likely raise costs — The Department of Early Learning spent about 10 months hashing out an update of the regulations with representatives from child care centers, family home providers, parents and other groups. The draft rules will be open for public comment starting around the beginning of May.




► From KUOW — Seattle bans ‘subminimum wages’ for people with disabilities — Paying low wages to people with disabilities is no longer allowed in Seattle. Seattle officials have eliminated what’s known as the subminimum wage, becoming one of the first cities in the nation to do so. Said Seattle City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda: “It’s already challenging to make ends meet for low-wage workers living and working in Seattle, and even more so if one is not afforded the right to earn at least the City’s minimum wage.”

► From KNKX — Transit leaders seek feedback on future light rail link between Federal Way, Tacoma — Sound Transit leaders are meeting this week with residents in Tacoma and Federal Way this week to discuss a crucial, final link in the Seattle-to-Tacoma route.

► In the Seattle Times — Layoffs at debt-ridden dental school raise anger at University of Washington — With a $42 million financial hole to fill, the University of Washington’s dental school has laid off 22 people, triggering criticism over loss of specialty services.




► From McClatchy — Trump businesses made millions off Republican groups and federal agencies, report says — President Donald Trump’s U.S. businesses have received at least $15.1 million in revenue from political groups and federal agencies since 2015, according to a new report

► In today’s NY Times — When children grow up poor, the nation pays a price (by Dr. Mark Rank) — The United States has the weakest safety net among the Western industrialized nations, devoting far fewer resources as a percentage of gross domestic product to welfare programs than do other wealthy countries. Partly as a result, a majority of Americans will experience poverty during their lives, and America’s rate of poverty consistently ranks at or near the top in international comparisons. Rather than slashing anti-poverty programs, the fiscally prudent question to ask is: How much does this high rate of poverty cost our nation in dollars and cents?

► In today’s Washington Post — Have you noticed how poor people are bankrupting the government? Neither have we. — Yet President Trump and the Republican leadership in Congress are on an election-year campaign to “reform” means-tested safety-net programs. Trump ordered federal agencies to review all such programs — with an eye toward toughening work requirements for their recipients.




► In today’s NY Times — Kentucky lawmakers override budget veto in win for teachers — With the chants of hundreds of teachers ringing in their ears, Kentucky lawmakers voted on Friday to override the Republican governor’s veto of a two-year state budget that increases public education spending with the help of a more than $480 million tax increase. The votes came as thousands of teachers rallied at the Capitol, forcing more than 30 school districts to close as the state continued the chorus of teacher protests across the country.

► From HuffPost — Kentucky governor blames teacher protest for inevitable assault of children left home alone — Gov. Matt Bevin slammed protesting teachers with an outrageous accusation Friday evening, indicating they were responsible for the inevitable sexual assault or poisoning of children left home alone in his state because school was out.

► From CNN — Colorado teachers plan their own Capitol rally Monday — At least 500 educators are expected to demonstrate at the state Capitol in Denver on Monday to push for more financial support, the Colorado Education Association says, in what will be just the latest in a wave of teacher protests at U.S. state capitols this year.

► In today’s NY Times — 25-year-old textbooks and holes in the ceiling: Inside America’s public schools — Broken laptops, books held together with duct tape, an art teacher who makes watercolors by soaking old markers. We invited America’s public school educators to show us the conditions that a decade of budget cuts has wrought in their schools. We heard from 4,200 teachers.

► From CNN — Paid summer breaks and other common myths about teachers — As teachers in several states across the United States protest for higher pay and more funding for public education, lawmakers and onlookers are debating whether teachers deserve more money. But many of the arguments against teachers’ demands are based on misconceptions about the teaching profession and how they’re compensated.




► From CNN — GM cutting 1,500 jobs at Ohio plant amid falling demand for small cars — General Motors is cutting as many as 1,500 jobs at its massive Lordstown, Ohio, assembly plant, taking a factory that was working around the clock as recently as 2016 down to a single shift a day.

► In today’s NY Times — Arrest of black men at Starbucks was ‘reprehensible,’ CEO says — As protests continued at a Philadelphia Starbucks on Monday, Kevin Johnson, the chief executive of the company, said it was “reprehensible” that two black men were ejected from the store last week and said he wanted to meet with them personally and apologize.

► From Business Insider — Undercover author finds Amazon warehouse workers in UK ‘peed in bottles’ over fears of being punished for taking a break — Amazon founder Jeff Bezos may be the world’s richest person, with a net worth of about $112 billion, but at least some of those working on his warehouse floors are apparently so desperate to keep their jobs that they don’t even take time to use a restroom.




► From HuffPost — Corporate America is screwing you over — Taxes are due on April 17 this year, giving you a little extra time to get yours done. Whatever you’re paying in taxes, there’s a good chance it’s at a higher rate than corporate America, John Oliver pointed out on Sunday’s “Last Week Tonight.” Last year’s tax cuts didn’t change that. In fact, Oliver said, they made it worse. “We just had a huge chance to reform our tax code and we absolutely blew it,” Oliver said.


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