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Thursday, June 21, 2018


NO JANUS DECISION TODAY — The U.S. Supreme Court released opinions today, but not in the Janus v. AFSCME case. The next possible date for this announcement will be TOMORROW (Friday, June 22). Stay tuned and get ready!




► In today’s NY Times — Trump retreats on separating families, but thousands may remain apart — President Trump caved to enormous political pressure on Wednesday and signed an executive order meant to end the separation of families at the border by detaining parents and children together for an indefinite period. But ending the practice of separating families still faces legal and practical obstacles. A federal judge could refuse to give the Trump administration the authority it wants to hold families in custody for more than 20 days, which is the current limit because of a 1997 court order. And the president’s order does nothing to address the plight of the more than 2,300 children who have already been separated from their parents under the president’s “zero tolerance” policy.

► In today’s Washington Post — Trump administration changed its story no fewer than 14 times before ending the border policy — First it was a deterrent. Then it wasn’t. It was a new policy. Then it wasn’t. The administration was simply following the law. Then it said separations weren’t required. It could not be reversed by executive order. Then it was.

► From The Onion — Political scientists baffled by Trump’s ability to end something he had no control over just days ago

► MUST-READ in today’s Washington Post — Repugnant (editorial) — Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) is no bomb-thrower or name- ­caller. But when President Trump this week said immigrants would “infest” the United States, she called the comment “repugnant, reprehensible and repulsive.” Trump’s policy for the past weeks has been repugnant, reprehensible and repulsive. It could be justified only by those who view Salvadorans and Hondurans not as humans who deserve to live but as animals — as pests — who “infest.” … All the damage can’t be undone. The zero-tolerance policy was implemented so chaotically, with so little forethought — with about as much care as you would expend on infesting animals — that one former U.S. immigration chief warned that some parents may never find their children again.

It’s important to note that even now, as he promised on Wednesday to reverse his policy of breaking families apart, Mr. Trump and his administration continued to trade in larger untruths about immigration to dehumanize and spread fear. In fact, immigration rates are not soaring. In fact, dangerous criminals are not streaming in from the Middle East. In fact, immigrants — legal and illegal — commit crime at a lower rate than native-born Americans. In fact, most immigrants are doing what they have always done: helping to build up America and secure a better life for their children. A more honorable president would respect their hard work and humanity.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Jailing families together is not immigration reform (editorial)

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Trump decision doesn’t end the crisis at border (editorial)

► Meanwhile, from Politico — GOP immigration bills on brink of collapse — Speaker Paul Ryan’s carefully crafted immigration bill appears headed toward defeat after tensions boiled over in the House ahead of Thursday’s vote. In a rare dispute on the House floor Wednesday, Ryan and House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows argued loudly with each other over what exactly was going to see a vote. At one point, looking down his glasses, Meadows angrily gestured at Ryan.

► From the AFL-CIO — Broken immigration system hurts working people (statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka) — America’s broken immigration system is causing real pain for working families. Instead of embracing a real, comprehensive solution, the kind championed by the labor movement, some politicians in Washington instead are pushing two bills that actually would make the problem worse. These bills fail to protect families, slash channels for permanent immigration and expand abusive temporary work visa programs, and we will fight against them.

► From Crosscut — ICE agents and the ethics of following orders (by Pete Jackson) — The vigil’s subtext is radical, that ICE agents should stand down and engage in Thoreau-style civil disobedience. This strategy freights ICE — federal workers who love their families and chafe at their household bills — with the moral burden. In the United States, the onus should be on the political class, specifically the president and members of Congress. So what to do when the president is a govern-by-Twitter authoritarian and Congress is paralyzed? … The jarring part is that it has come to this. Civil society breaks down when political norms and institutions begin to erode. The injustice and cruelty of Trump’s policy is a crucible for public servants, for all of us.




► In today’s Seattle Times — What happens to families already separated? Relatives, advocates await specifics — Trump’s executive order said nothing about whether families already separated would be reunited. It was one of the many questions local immigrant advocates, faith leaders and others had about the executive order. While all said they were glad no more families would be separated at the border, most were wary of what happens now. “That’s not the solution we’re looking for,” said Jorge Barón, executive director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Inslee slams Trump White House as ‘den of deceit’; Republicans quieter in criticism of border separations — President Donald Trump’s ostensible reversal on separating immigrant children from their parents did little to satisfy Gov. Jay Inslee and other state Democratic elected officials. The governor, visibly upset, called the separation of families “an intentional infliction, abusive behavior to punish innocent children.”

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Inslee announces emergency state funding for nonprofit providing immigration legal services

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — State Dems may abandon caucus chaos in time for 2020 — Washington may have a meaningful presidential primary in 2020. If it happens, Bernie Sanders and Ron Paul will be among those to thank. This week the state Democratic Party signaled a greater openness to allocate delegates based on the results of the primary rather than caucuses, which it’s never done before. Nor is it opposed to holding the vote in early March rather than late May as now scheduled, a move that could amplify voters’ voice in the quadrennial selection process.

► From KNKX — Seattle educators call for a two-year moratorium on standardized testing — Representatives in the Seattle teachers’ union have voted to call for a two-year moratorium on standardized tests, building on a history in Seattle of protesting over this issue.




► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Trios bankruptcy approved, saving 1,000 jobs. You’ll still be taxed. — Kennewick’s public hospital district emerged from bankruptcy Wednesday with a firm plan to keep Trios Southridge Hospital open. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Frederick Corbit approved a plan in Spokane that sets the stage for the hospital district to sell the hospital and other assets to RCCH Healthcare Partners. The district’s interim CEO said if the plan hadn’t been approved they would have had to close the hospital and lay off its 1,000 employees. Under terms of the RCCH purchase agreement, all Trios employees will be terminated and RCCH will have the authority to rehire them subject to its customary hiring process, including background checks and drug screenings.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Boeing’s tardy $44.3 billion tanker nears milestone after spat — Boeing and the U.S. Air Force anticipate delivery in October of the first KC-46 aerial refueling tanker, settling a disagreement over timing for the much-delayed $44.3 billion program.

► In today’s Columbian — Washougal union gives outgoing superintendent vote of no confidence — The Washougal Association of Educators expressed a “vote of no confidence” for Superintendent Mike Stromme, who is stepping down this month to return to Vancouver Public Schools, where he will become the associate superintendent for administrative services. According to the union, 94 percent of members passed the vote of no confidence on Monday.




► This morning from the NY Times — NFL players to Trump: Here’s who you should pardon (by Doug Baldwin, Anquan BoldinMalcolm Jenkins and Benjamin Watson) — President Trump recently made an offer to NFL players like us who are committed to protesting injustice. Instead of protesting, he suggested, we should give him names of people we believe were “unfairly treated by the justice system.” If he agrees they were treated unfairly, he said, he will pardon them… But a handful of pardons will not address the sort of systemic injustice that NFL players have been protesting. These are problems that our government has created, many of which occur at the local level. If President Trump thinks he can end these injustices if we deliver him a few names, he hasn’t been listening to us. As Americans, it is our constitutional right to question injustices when they occur, and we see them daily: police brutality, unnecessary incarceration, excessive criminal sentencing, residential segregation and educational inequality. 

Of the roughly 185,000 people locked up in federal prisons, about 79,000 are there for drug offenses of some kind — and 13.5 percent of them have sentences of 20 years or more. Imagine how many more Alice Johnsons the president could pardon if he treated the issue like the systemic problem it is, rather than asking professional football players for a few cases… President Trump could order the release of any drug offender over the age of 60 whose conviction is not recent. That would be the morally right thing to do. Apart from using the pardon power, there are policies the president and the attorney general could implement to help. For instance, they could eliminate life without parole for nonviolent offenses.

► In today’s Washington Post — White House to propose merging Labor and Education into one agency as centerpiece of federal government overhaul — The White House on Thursday will propose merging the Education and Labor departments into one federal agency, the centerpiece of a plan to remake a bureaucracy that President Trump and his supporters consider too big and bloated.

► In today’s Washington Post — Why Republicans have long wanted to shut the Education Department (analysis) — The Trump-DeVos theory that the first purpose of education is to create skilled workers contrasts with other purposes of education propounded by educators and philosophers, including the notion that public education is meant to help young people develop into active citizens who can participate and contribute to the democratic process and American society.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Trump to propose reorganizing the government, targeting safety net programs — The plan includes relocating many social safety-net programs into a new megadepartment, which would replace the Department of Health and Human Services and include the word “welfare” in its title. Trump and conservative think tanks have sought to redefine and rebrand as welfare subsistence-benefit programs like SNAP and housing aid by linking them to unpopular direct-cash-assistance programs that have traditionally been called welfare.




► BREAKING from AP — Supreme Court: Online shoppers can be forced to pay sales tax — The Supreme Court says states can force online shoppers to pay sales tax. The 5-4 ruling Thursday is a win for states, who said they were losing out on billions of dollars annually under two decades-old Supreme Court decisions that impacted online sales tax collection. The ruling is also a win for large retailers, who argued the physical presence rule was unfair.




► Today from the NY Times — A question of legitimacy looms for the Supreme Court (by Linda Greenhouse) — Forgive my cynicism, but the (Janus v. AFSCME) attack on public employee unions has little to do with the Constitution and a whole lot to do with politics. The path of the Janus case to the Supreme Court exemplifies the politics of the issue. It’s now been six years since Justice Alito, in a case called Knox v. SEIU, first revealed his eagerness to find the right vehicle for overturning Abood and effectively issued an open invitation to anti-union forces to bring him the right case. It seemed an aggressive move then. It still does but, watching the world outside the Supreme Court, I have a different thought. Is it just possible that the court’s timing is off?

Here’s what I mean. Remarkably, in the past few months, the public seems for the first time in years to be appreciating its public employees, especially teachers. Teacher walkouts in red states like West Virginia and Oklahoma received widespread attention and resulted in higher salaries… Is it possible that just as the Supreme Court is about to take a hammer to the teachers’ unions, teachers are back in favor? A Supreme Court decision, needless to say, is not a popularity contest, nor should it be. At the same time, the court necessarily skates on thin ice when it comes as close as it has here to serving an agenda that is not the public’s but its own — and by a 5-to-4 vote.

PREVIOUSLY at The Stand:

Janus (Part 1): The fix is in at the Supreme Court

Janus (Part 2): Get ready to defend your freedom


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

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