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WTO+20 ● The divide in Yakima ● USMCA still needs work

Tuesday, November 19, 2019




► From KUOW — ‘Smoke in the street.’ Unions grapple with the complicated legacy of the WTO protests — Twenty years ago, demonstrators converged on downtown Seattle to protest the World Trade Organization. It was supposed to be non-violent. But in a single day, the city was thrown into chaos. The “Battle in Seattle” was the final major protest of the 20th Century. And the problems it exposed have become part of the world we live in today… “Probably the biggest disappointment was that so much of the media focused on the anarchists and the violence that took place,” said Larry Brown, who was a marshal for the labor march that day. He’s now president of the Washington State Labor Council. Brown said their message was buried by the focus on property destruction and the police reaction.

ALSO at The Stand — Make plans to join WTO+20 commemoration event on Dec. 7 — Please mark your calendars and make plans to join the WSLC on Saturday, Dec. 7 at several WTO+20 commemoration events.

► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Jury: Longshore union owes $93M to former Port of Portland tenant — However, U.S. District Judge Michael Simon agreed to delay entry of a judgment for the lawsuit between the ILWU and ICTSI Oregon, Inc., until the parties submit post-trial motions. The judge also could decide to change the amount awarded, the union could ask for a new trial, or it could appeal the jury’s decision.

► In today’s Seattle Times — End the ICE secrecy in Longview (editorial) — Although Cowlitz County owns the Juvenile Detention Center in Longview, a longstanding contract with ICE allows the federal agency to detain minors there by its own rules while they await deportation proceedings. Under a federal immigration policy written months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, ICE claims sole authority over all information about its detainees. That includes the names of those held, the duration of their stays and the charges against them. The application of this strict War on Terror-era secrecy to children caught up in Trump’s crackdown on immigration is appalling. The conversion of a public facility in Washington state into a secret detention zone must end.




► Seriously. Read this. In today’s NY Times — The divide in Yakima is the divide in America — Dulce Gutiérrez heard the angry voice as she was speaking in Spanish to a group of students who had volunteered to hand out leaflets for her City Council campaign. It came from across the street, where an older white woman stood on her front porch. Gutiérrez had endured the taunt before, but this time, in front of hopeful teenagers, the words felt like fire. They actually made her hot. She wanted to scream back. She wanted to call the woman a racist. She wanted to let her know how hard she, a daughter of migrant farmworkers, had worked to be here, offering Latinos the chance to have a say in a community where they had felt shut out for so long.

“Go back to Mexico!” the woman had yelled.

“Ouch,” was all Gutiérrez remembers being able to muster in response. “That hurts.”

Gutiérrez went on to win a seat on the Yakima City Council and become among the first Latino politicians ever elected in the Central Washington community of nearly 94,000 where the number of Latinos has doubled in just one generation, now making up almost half of the total population. The changes in this farming valley, known as the nation’s fruit basket, mirror demographic trends in numerous U.S. cities where the population is becoming increasingly less white. Gutiérrez represents a major shift not only because of her ethnicity, but because of her age — she was 26 when first elected. In Yakima, young adults are nearly twice as likely to be Latino as older adults.




► From the AP — Boeing’s grounded 737 Max scores 2nd order at Dubai Airshow — Boeing’s 737 Max jet got another boost at the Dubai Airshow on Tuesday, this time with an order from Kazakhstan’s newly-launched budget carrier as the Chicago-based company works to try and win U.S. regulatory approval to get the airplane back in the sky by early next year.




► In today’s Columbian — Washington, Oregon governors sign agreement to replace I-5 Bridge — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed an agreement Monday morning to work cooperatively to replace the Interstate 5 Bridge between their two states.

► In today’s Oregonian — Giving the green light to a new Columbia River bridge (by Kate Brown and Jay Inslee) — The only stoplight on Interstate 5 between Canada and Mexico is on the bridge over the Columbia River. As the governors of Washington and Oregon, we know that for too long the antiquated bridge has held our region back, literally and figuratively.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Bank groups sue Washington state over tax increase — Two bank association groups have sued the Washington Department of Revenue over a measure passed by the Legislature that will increase business taxes on large, out-of-state financial institutions. The tax increase, which takes effect Jan. 1, was part of lawmakers’ two-year state budget plan and is expected to bring in about $133 million for the current budget cycle.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Those with mobility-limiting disabilities hit hardest by Eyman’s I-976 (by Anna Zivarts) — It’s time we understand that, and until we figure out how to harness our state’s unprecedented wealth to pay for the essential services we need, we will continue to have to fight Eyman in every election. It’s time we listen to the will of the people and reform our regressive tax system.




► In the Washington Examiner — AFL-CIO’s Trumka says ‘still more work to be done’ on USMCA — AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said Monday that work on Trump’s U.S. Mexico-Canada Agreement on trade was not finished, pushing back against reports that an announcement of a deal was imminent. “Our allies on Capitol Hill understand that getting this done right is more important than getting it done fast,” he said. “So until the administration can show us in writing that the new NAFTA is truly enforceable with stronger labor standards, there is still more work to be done.”

ALSO at The Stand — Call Congress today: No vote on new NAFTA until it’s fixed

► From Politico — Pelosi works to placate anxious Dems with Trumka meeting — Pelosi will bring in AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on Tuesday to speak with freshman Democrats, many of whom have been privately demanding quicker action on Trump’s trade deal, according to people familiar with the meeting. The private huddle with the labor leader — at a make-or-break moment for the USMCA — is an attempt to calm concerns of swing-district Democrats who fear their agenda isn’t breaking through with the public and are increasingly frustrated by policy stalemates. The idea to bring Trumka and freshman Democrats together came after a meeting last Thursday when freshman panic reached a fever pitch, when more than a dozen moderates organized a dramatic show of support for Trump’s trade deal.

► From Politico — Congress strikes stopgap funding deal, postpones border wall fight — House and Senate leaders secured a deal on Monday afternoon that would extend government funding for four more weeks and sidestep a debilitating government-wide shutdown.

► In today’s NY Times — Stephen Miller is a white nationalist. Does it matter? (by Michelle Goldberg) — In August 2018, Darren Beattie, a White House speechwriter and policy aide, was fired after CNN revealed that he’d spoken at a 2016 conference alongside several white nationalists. We’re about to find out how far the already impossibly low standards to which we hold the Trump administration have fallen since then. Leaked emails show that Stephen Miller, Trump’s senior immigration adviser, was steeped in white nationalism before he joined the White House, where he’s had the opportunity to put his racist views into practice. The question now is, does it matter? If not, it will show us how much hate we’ve learned to tolerate.




► From the AP — Top White House aides call Trump’s Ukraine call ‘improper,’ ‘unusual’ — Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, an Army officer at the National Security Council, and Jennifer Williams, his counterpart at Vice President Mike Pence’s office, said they had concerns as Trump spoke on July 25 with the newly elected Ukrainian president about political investigations into Democrat Joe Biden. “What I heard was inappropriate,” Vindman told lawmakers.

► In today’s Washington Post — Republicans’ defense of Trump is full of holes (editorial) — The first week of impeachment hearings produced powerful testimony about  Trump’s pressure on Ukraine to investigate his political opponents, but also a number of defensive arguments by Republicans. Unfortunately for Trump, none of them is consistent with the facts. Here’s a review of the various excuses and their flaws.




► From Boing Boing — After workers tried to form a union, trans rights group ditches most of its staff — Last week, the Washington, D.C.-based National Center for Transgender Equality discharged all employees in a bargaining unit organized under the Nonprofit Professional Employees Union (NPEU); the employees were seeking recognition of a union.

► From Politico — Council staffers to officially launch union effort Monday — Nearly 150 New York City Council staffers have committed to a unionization effort. The staffers plan to begin a card campaign, taking the legislative body into uncharted political territory, with the potential to upend the way it operates.

► From The Hill — South Dakota governor doubles down on ‘meth, we’re on it’ anti-drug campaign — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) is defending the state’s launch of an anti-drug campaign with the slogan “Meth, we’re on it.”


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