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Daily Clips: March 7, 2016

NYT Editorial—Muslim Ban Lite: 

The new order no longer bans citizens of Iraq. It also exempts people from the remaining six countries who have a valid American visa. The revised ban includes no mention of religious preferences and makes the ban on Syrian refugees temporary. Like the initial order, the new one reduces the number of refugees the United States is willing to admit this year to 50,000, down from last year’s ceiling of 110,000.

Democrats urge EPA not to reopen vehicle fuel efficiency rules:

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and 11 other Democrats said on Tuesday it was “critical” that the Trump administration leave in place new vehicle fuel efficiency rules, saying the higher standards were achievable.

Solar power growth leaps by 50% worldwide thanks to US & China: Amazing.

Study—Statewide legal same-sex marriage reduced suicide attempts for gay, bisexual youth: Including people leads to better results, folks.

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Daily Clips: March 6, 2017

Americans are confused on climate, but support cutting carbon pollution: Fun fact about the climate—it doesn’t care what we think!

4 Washington state firms interested in building Trump’s border wall: Nope.

Fed is likely to raise this month: Very interesting and very controversial decision.

The myth of the fiscal conservative:

Take boots, for example. [Vimes] earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was … on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles. But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.

A party not ready to govern: Krugman has been so good the last couple of years—I often take his perceptions for granted. Today he delivers another great piece.

But the broader Republican quagmire — the party’s failure so far to make significant progress toward any of its policy promises — isn’t just about Mr. Trump’s inadequacies. The whole party, it turns out, has been faking it for years. Its leaders’ rhetoric was empty; they have no idea how to turn their slogans into actual legislation, because they’ve never bothered to understand how anything important works.

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Daily Clips: March 3, 2017

Retailers had a dismal Christmas: Interestingly, in an article which bemoans lack of consumer expenditure, these authors somehow find a way demean the very policy…that would put more money in people’s pockets.

Retailers are getting hammered on multiple fronts. States have been passing minimum-wage increases that are putting pressure on labor costs.

Huh. Maybe increasing a minimum wage isn’t always a net loss to retailers. Just a thought.

Sessions steps back from campaign probes:

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on Thursday he would stay out of any probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election but maintained he did nothing wrong by failing to disclose he met last year with Russia’s ambassador.

David Brooks reckons secularism made America worse:

There used to be social conservatives, who believed that the moral fabric of the country had been weakened by secularism and the breakdown of the family.

Rethinking mass incarceration in America:

The fact is that whether crime is high or low, prison is not the most efficient way to respond to it, and I think we need to start telling a story that there are better ways—even if violent crime is rising, say, “Look, even if this is a real upward trend, prison is not what is going to rein it in. We can do this much better, much more smartly, in a much less costly way by focusing on well-established interventions that are good at disrupting violence.”

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Daily Clips: March 2, 2017

Jeff Sessions said that people who commit perjury must be removed from office: Because American politics was getting too boring.

U.S. initial jobless claims drop to lowest in almost 44 years:

The latest tally marked 104 straight weeks of claims below 300,000, the level economists consider consistent with a healthy labor market. The 161-week period that ended in April 1970 was the longest such streak in records back to 1967.

No soda tax for diet sodas?

Many researchers now say that drinking diet soda does not help with weight loss, and could in fact contribute to obesity and type 2 diabetes, just like regular sodas. There are more questions than answers regarding the long-term effects of consuming these artificial sweeteners, but there is enough concern for the Harvard School of Public Health to conclude: “Diet soda may not be a healthy substitute for sugary soda.”

Wells Fargo v Seattle:

If the city really wants out, the bank will sever its contract with the city immediately, with no penalty, and will help the city find a replacement, Phillip Smith, head of government and institutional banking for Wells Fargo, stated in a letter delivered to Murray and council members Tuesday.

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Daily Clips: March 1, 2017

The three failures of Trump’s speech: David Frum, a speechwriter for George W. Bush, provides an in-depth analysis of Trump’s completely vague and ridiculous speech. I cannot believe that the media is eating his bullsh** up. Pathetic.

Only 6.6 percent of the cost of Trump’s campaign tax plan goes to cuts for the middle fifth of taxpayers , 47.3 percent goes to the top 1 percent.

The fictitious economy that’s hiding how the economy really works:

If you can make people use a vocabulary and concepts that make it appear that when the 1% gets richer, the whole economy is getting richer – or when GDP goes up, everybody is improving – then the people, the 95% who did not improve their position from 2008 to 2016 somehow can be made to suffer from the Stockholm syndrome. They’ll think, “Gee, it must be my fault. If the whole economy is growing, why am I so worse off? If only we can give more money to the top 5% or the 1%, it’ll all trickle down. We’ve got to cut taxes and help them so they can give me a job because as Trump and other people said, Well, I never met a poor person who gave me a job.”

Graphic of the day:

6evytH0

Moving Forward Together to Address Seattle’s Homelessness Crisis

I’ve been asked recently, by reporters, stakeholders and individuals why I’m participating in the call for a measure on homelessness to address the issue in Seattle. Let me be super clear – people are dying on the streets of Seattle. Our homeless crisis is dangerous and not improving fast enough. That’s why I’ve joined Mayor Ed Murray and many other political and civic leaders in working to craft a bold proposal for the August ballot to urgently address our city’s homelessness emergency.

Mayor Murray’s administration and my team have come together in pursuit of this shared goal. I am proud of this partnership, and honored to be appointed by the Mayor to co-chair his advisory committee.

Seattleites agree—this is a time for bold action, a time to save lives and protect public health and safety. Mayor Murray has been taking action to address the crisis and talking publicly for months about the potential need to go to the ballot to get the resources we need to fill the gaps in our fragmented homelessness services system, and we here at Civic Ventures saw this as a perfect opportunity to apply our unique ability to work outside the normal “Seattle Process” to help catalyze change.

But of course when you try to shake up established systems, some defenders of the status quo will get offended. The Seattle Times this week published a story that questioned my motives and obfuscated what has been, to date, a streamlined and drama-free process. The story ignored Mayor Murray’s calls for action and implied that I had forced him into committing to an August ballot measure on homelessness. That is plainly and simply not the case.

But let’s focus on what actually matters:  The need to quickly and effectively move people off the streets and into permanent housing is too urgent to be distracted by politics as usual.

I cannot tell you how honored and excited I am to be standing with Mayor Murray in leading this critical effort, and I invite anyone who shares our passion and focus to join our campaign—we will need volunteers and grassroots donors and door knockers and phone callers to make this campaign a success.  But to make progress on this issue we need to recognize that it is larger than any of us, and humbly set to work.

That’s my commitment, and I know our allies—good people in City Hall, the stakeholder advisory committee assembling this package, and service providers who address the humanitarian crisis on our streets every day— feel the same way.  Let’s not lose focus on what matters.  For the sake of the homeless people on our streets, let’s make sure we continue to put people before politics.

Daily Clips: February 28, 2017

US News ranks WA state as #5 in country: They ranked states in terms of infrastructure, economy, crime, opportunity, health care etc…MA came in first, while NH came in second.

Diversity rankings of US cities! I’m in a ranking sort of mood. Where do you think Seattle comes?

Solar now employs twice as many people as the coal industry: Hurray!

What a fed rate hike in March would mean:

On Monday, a combination of domestic and international factors contributed to a significant reassessment by market participants of the probability of a Federal Reserve interest rate hike in March. Now the markets are pricing in a more realistic probability of 52 percent, up from less than 40 percent last week.

 

Paul Constant describes what patriotism means to him: Progressives around the country are marking President Donald Trump’s first state of the union address with videos, tweets, and Facebook posts marked with the “#ProudPatriot” hashtag. Here, Mr. Constant wrote a moving Medium piece where puts forward a very admirable vision of patriotism.

It is our duty as Americans to make America better than it was yesterday.This can seem like an impossible task in a time when immigrants and trans Americans face life-threatening consequences from discriminatory, shoddily written executive orders. But I also see people every day who are working to improve the nation, from government employees doing their jobs in uncertain circumstances to protesters fighting for LGBTQ rights to politicians who are trying to do the best they can by their constituents.

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Daily Clips: February 27, 2017

George W. Bush: Media essential to democracy: We live in odd times.

The Treasury is considering 50-year bonds: 

Having a liquid market is valuable, but the market is telling other bond issuers that it wants lots more long-term debt. The Treasury should sell more 30-year bonds, and even 50-year or 100-year bonds to meet that demand.

Ireland, Belgium and Mexico have recently sold 100-year bonds. Ford, Disney and Coca-Cola have sold 100-year bonds as well. The Canadian Pacific Corp. sold a 1,000-year bond.

And many governments, such as the U.K., have issued bonds that have no maturity date at all: Called perpetuals or consols, these bonds continue paying a coupon year-after-year until the principal is redeemed. The U.K. recently redeemed the consols that had financed its earlier wars against Napoleon and the kaiser.

The subtle force of Tom Perez: I, for one, I am quite pleased with the Perez selection and I’m on the far-left flanks of the Democratic Party. Justin Miller at American Prospect has a very good piece on the DNC’s new chair:

Perez has proven himself an able handyman, steering a dizzying array of labor rules and regulations through Washington’s often-stymied bureaucracy despite constant political threats and general hostility coming from Republicans and the business lobby. Those include not only the overtime rule, but an expansion of federal labor protections to cover home-care workers; a long-shot crusade to establish new standards in the retirement-advising industry; an executive order to use the federal government’s contracting process to create good jobs; and a stern guidance aimed at stopping rampant worker misclassification.

These Iowans voted for Trump. Many of them are already disappointed: Morons. I’m not apart of the liberal crew that think we need to “level with” Trump supporters. I know this is a contentious position to hold. Charles Blow had a fantastic column the other day which summarized my feelings better than I could ever hope to articulate:

This is why I have no patience for liberal talk of reaching out to Trump voters. There is no more a compromise point with those who accept, promote and defend bigotry, misogyny and xenophobia than there is a designation of “almost pregnant.”

Trump is a cancer on this country and resistance is the remedy. The Trump phenomenon is devoid of compassion, and we must be closed to compromise.

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Daily Clips: February 24, 2017

CPAC attendees waved Russian flags: What is happening to the Republican Party?

How the Democrats can hijack the tax-reform debate: Harold Meyerson over at American Prospect puts together a deep analysis of the economy and how Democrats (particularly in ’18) can win the economic debate.

America’€™s monopolies are holding back the economy:

Monopoly is a main driver of inequality, as profits concentrate more wealth in the hands of the few. The effects of monopoly enrage voters in their day-to-day lives, as they face the sky-high prices set by drug-company cartels and the abuses of cable providers, health insurers, and airlines. Monopoly provides much of the funds the wealthy use to distort American politics.

Obamacare popularity highest in nearly seven years as repeal talk mounts: I cannot describe how frustrated this makes me.

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Daily Clips: February 23, 2017

Kevin Brady is this week’s Trickle Downer: I’m sure it’s very difficult to choose just ONE trickle downer per week, but somehow Justin Miller manages. This week he highlights House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady. Brady and Paul Ryan are “hawking a “border adjustment” tax (BAT) that would levy what is essentially a tariff on imports and a rebate on exports.”

Trump again vows to bring back U.S. jobs, but offers few details: Has he ever offered any details?

Boehner: Republicans won’t repeal and replace Obamacare

Philly, PA: Soda companies, supermarkets report 30-50 pct. sales drop from 1.5 cent per ounce soda tax

While transit use declines elsewhere, it’s booming in Seattle

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