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Issue #142

(Daily Clips will not publish Thursday, October 10, so that the editor can attend the monthly meeting of the 34th District Democrats., Wednesday, October 9.  See you there.)

King County

Murray dismisses talk of BNSF contributions; says he’s anti-coal train

State Sen. Ed Murray. He is taking money from coal export supporters. If elected Mayor, however, Murray says he will fight against a huge export terminal on Puget Sound.

State Sen. Ed Murray has been feted at home and office fundraisers sponsored by those working to build a huge coal export terminal north of Bellingham, and has seen money from the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad flow into his campaign for Seattle mayor. Tuesday, however, Murray stood by the BNSF tracks as a freight trail rolled through — the Gateway Pacific terminal would send 18 trains a day along the Seattle waterfront — and said that he opposes the proposed project.  Opposition has been a signature issue for incumbent Mayor Mike McGinn. Murray was given a strong supporting cast on Tuesday. State Rep. Reuven Carlyle (D-36) touted Murray’s accomplishments in Olympia.  “Relationships go to the core, the heart of our ability to stop this filthy, 19th-century technology,” Carlyle said.  Cliff Traisman, Olympia lobbyist for Washington Conservation Voters, added:  “We were enthusiastic in our early and decisive endorsement of Sen. Ed Murray.” Seattle P-I, 10-8-13.

Conlin says recently naturalized immigrant challenger has shown ‘lack of civic engagement’

Seattle City Council candidate Kshama Sawant

How’s this for an election-season squabble? Seattle City Council member Richard Conlin is accusing challenger Kshama Sawant of a “lack of civic engagement” because she registered to vote two years after becoming eligible. Conlin questioned Sawant about the timing of her registration during a recent candidate forum, and he mentioned it to a Seattle Times reporter. Sawant registered to vote not long before running for a seat in the Legislature in 2012, according to records released by King County’s election division. She has voted in three of the four elections since, skipping this February’s. “If the media is interested in tracking voting records,” Sawant replied, “I would say the important votes to track are Richard Conlin’s consistent record voting for developers and not fighting for the interest of working people.” Seattle Times, 10-8-13.

‘Judeo-Christian law firm’ sues to get faces of terror back on buses

A group that really hates Islamic terrorists (as opposed to everyone else in this country) is suing King County Metro for refusing to run a bus ad depicting mug shots of America’s 16 most wanted terrorists in world. The ad from the American Freedom Law Center (self-identified as a Judeo-Christian law firm) is almost identical to a bus ad that the FBI was running on Metro buses this spring before they were pulled under protest that it stigmatized Muslims; nearly all the men shown appear to be from predominantly Muslim regions. According to AFLC, pulling the ad amounted to America’s “incessant desire to appease Islamic terrorist apologists.” They tried to run their ad reasoning that “if the government won’t identify our enemy, we will make certain our clients can.” The private firm in charge of running Metro’s ad program in August said, “No dice.” Seattle Weekly, 10-8-13.

The State

Inslee says he’s still undecided on I-522

It’s the hottest issue on Washington’s fall ballot: an initiative to require labeling of genetically engineered foods. But Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, says he hasn’t decided how he’ll vote on Initiative 522. “I have looked at the scientific literature, and it’s quite consistent to show that there’s no observable nutritional health impacts with GMO foods. And I think there’s an overwhelming amount of evidence in that regard. But I do know many of my constituents would want to have information about that, so I need to think about this a little bit more,” the governor said. KPLU, 10-8-13.

Push for light rail over Columbia will go on, despite angry opposition

David Alt, of East Clark County, holds two signs as Columbia River Crossing and light rail opponents stage a protest starting at the Academy and moving to the Vancouver Community Library where a C-Tran meeting was being held.
David Alt, of East Clark County, holds two signs as Columbia River Crossing and light rail opponents stage a protest starting at the Academy and moving to the Vancouver Community Library where a C-Tran meeting was being held.

The C-Tran Board of Directors Tuesday stood by a controversial contract with TriMet to operate light rail in Vancouver, after a boisterous rally and a parade of speakers mostly against the agreement. Before the meeting, about 150 people gathered in a space in the Academy building to protest C-Tran, the agreement with TriMet, and the Columbia River Crossing project that would bring light rail to Vancouver. In a special meeting two weeks ago, the C-Tran board narrowly approved a plan that spells out the terms under which C-Tran and TriMet would operate the planned light rail extension to Clark College. The contract itself was finalized the day of that meeting; the heads of the two transit agencies signed it the next day. Clark County Commissioner David Madore, among those who have strongly opposed the contract, introduced a resolution Tuesday to repeal it. The motion was defeated by a 5-3 tally, with Madore joining Washougal City Councilor Connie Jo Freeman and Battle Ground City Councilor Bill Ganley in the minority. County Commissioner Steve Stuart, Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt, Vancouver councilors Larry Smith and Jeanne Harris, and La Center Mayor Jim Irish voted against the resolution — the language of which included numerous inaccuracies and legal issues, said Stuart and others. County Commissioner Tom Mielke was absent. The end result: The contract stands. Vancouver Columbian, 10-8-13.

Government shutdown: Employment Security furloughs 418 staff, puts another 415 on part time

Employment Security Commissioner Dale Peinecke

The federal government shutdown has prompted big cutbacks at the state Employment Security Department, which on Tuesday put half of its 1,669 staffers on furlough or reduced hours. Dale Peinecke, the commissioner who runs the agency, is among those on reduced hours. About 833 workers are affected by the cutbacks, including about 415 who are working at 50 percent or 60 percent of full time and 418 who are furloughed indefinitely. “The bulk of the furloughs are here in Olympia. I’d say the bulk of the reduced hours are out in the field,’’ agency spokeswoman Sheryl Hutchison said Tuesday. “We’re about 87 percent federally funded. Any blips in the federal funding really affect us,’’ Hutchison said, noting that layoff notices had gone out Oct. 1 when the shutdown began. Olympian, 10-8-13.

Contingency plans being developed at Hanford in case shutdown continues

Work continues to remove gloveboxes from the Hanford Plutonium Finishing Plant.
Work continues to remove gloveboxes from the Hanford Plutonium Finishing Plant.

Contingency plans are being developed at Hanford to keep the nuclear reservation in a safe condition if the federal government shutdown continues. How long work can continue as usual is uncertain. Since the start of the current fiscal year, Oct. 1, Hanford environmental cleanup has continued, at least in part, with carryover money from the previous fiscal year. But the Department of Energy has not said how much money is available. And questions remain about how much flexibility DOE will have to move money among projects to provide flexibility to allow cleanup work to continue. DOE has produced a department-wide plan that addresses federal employees, but not contractor employees, the majority of the approximately 8,000 workers at Hanford. Tri-City Herald, 10-7-13.

Thurston auditor relents on ballot drop box for Evergreen college campus, agrees to try one as pilot project

Thurston County Auditor Gary Alexander

Thurston County elections officials have changed their minds on the merits of a ballot drop box at Evergreen State College. Auditor Gary Alexander says his office is putting one inside the college library building as a pilot project for the Nov. 5 election. “The question is, does this increase voter participation – not only with the student body but with the faculty? We’ll look at it next year and see what to do,’’ Alexander said Tuesday. “We’re hopeful this pilot project will result in a permanent drop box located on campus, but it will depend on the usage of the box.” Alexander was appointed to fill the auditor’s vacancy after Kim Wyman was sworn in as secretary of state in January. He now faces a challenge from Democrat Mary Hall for the year remaining on Wyman’s unexpired term. Olympian, 10-8-13.

Gun control supporters to turn in some petitions Wednesday

Sponsors of an initiative to require background checks for more gun sales will turn in some of the signatures Wednesday that they need to send the measure to the Legislature next year. Members of the Initiative 594 campaign said Tuesday they plan to turn in about 225,000 signatures. or about 70 percent of their goal, as a way of “demonstrating tremendous support” for the proposal. It would require background checks for most private gun sales or transfers, beyond the current requirement of background checks for sales by dealers. Also gathering signatures this year is I-591, a separate initiative to the Legislature that would forbid gun confiscation without due process and require a national standard for expanded background checks. Spokesman-Review, 10-8-13.

The Nation

Government shutdown: Boehner calls short-term deal ‘unconditional surrender’

House speaker John Boehner (R-OH)

House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-OH) flatly ruled out a potential short-term deal to reopen the government Tuesday, saying it would amount to “unconditional surrender.” Boehner, responding to President Obama’s hour-long news conference, said he remained “disappointed” that Obama refused to consider talks centered on House-passed spending measures that included provisions tied to the healthcare law and that would “provide fairness” to Americans. He also insisted that any action to raise the nation’s debt limit should be in concert with steps to limit future borrowing. “There is going to be a negotiation here,” Boehner told reporters. “It’s time to have that conversation, not next week, not next month; the conversation ought to start today.” Asked about Obama saying he would be open to a potential short-term spending bill and debt limit increase that might allow the parties time to discuss a broader budget deal, Boehner bristled. “What the president said today was, if there is unconditional surrender by Republicans, he’ll sit down and talk to us. That’s not the way our government works,” he said. Los Angeles Times, 10-8-13.

Government shutdown: Reichert backs clean bill to end shutdown — or does he?

Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA)

U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA) is among a renegade group of House Republicans willing to vote for a no-strings attached spending bill to reopen the federal government. Or is he? CNN and the Washington Post Tuesday both counted the Auburn Republican as supporting a “clean” spending bill to fund government — without delaying Obamacare and other conditions that have provoked a stalemate with Democrats. The New York Times last week reported that Reichert privately questioned the GOP’s end game in the standoff. But Reichert has repeatedly declined to confirm it. And his public statements have been ambiguous at best. Seattle Times, 10-8-13.

Government shutdown: U.S. Chamber: Raise debt limit ASAP or economy will suffer ‘substantial damage’

Bruce Josten, executive vice president of the US Chamber of Commerce

America’s most powerful business organization once again urged Congress and President Barack Obama to end the government shutdown and raise the nation’s debt limit. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s top lobbyist, Bruce Josten, said the chamber “understands the serious issues” raised in the debate over funding the government, including “the desire of some lawmakers to use every opportunity to alter the nation’s fiscal course toward more sustainable policies. In the back and forth of legislative wrangling, Congress and the administration should not lose sight of the fact that both the continuing resolution and the debt ceiling are and remain must-pass legislation, and that the debt ceiling specifically must pass on a timely basis to avoid inflicting substantial and enduring damage on the U.S. economy,” Josten said in a statement issued by the chamber. Puget Sound Business Journal, 10-8-13.

Government shutdown: Bishops asked House Republicans to hold nation hostage over birth control mandate

Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan
Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan

When House Republicans shut down the government last Tuesday, they did so with the blessing of Catholic bishops. One week before the shutdown, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote a letter to the GOP House. The letter asked them to hold America hostage until Democrats kill birth control rules set by the White House. The rules require insurance companies to include birth control coverage for all employees, regardless of the religious beliefs of employers. This didn’t sit well with Catholic bishops and conservative Christians, who want the right to deny their female employees contraception. So as part of their ongoing temper tantrum over women having access to birth control, the bishops sent a letter  to House Republicans urging them to shut the government down until they get their way on contraception coverage.

“[W]e have already urged you to enact the Health Care Conscience Rights Act (H.R. 940/S. 1204), the letter declared. “As Congress considers a Continuing Resolution and debt ceiling bill in the days to come, we reaffirm the vital importance of incorporating the policy of this bill into such ‘must-pass’ legislation.”

The Conference of Catholic Bishops wants the government shutdown to continue, and for the US to default on its debt … Unless they get special treatment in regards to birth control access. To deny women contraception, they’re willing to deny families critical food assistance, take childcare away from working parents, and threaten the financial well-being of millions of Americans. Addicting Info, 10-8-13.

Cuccinelli loses his long war against oral sex

Virginia Attorney General and candidate for Governor Ken Cuccinelli

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s quest to uphold his state’s anti-sodomy law ended in failure Monday, after the Supreme Court rejected Cuccinelli’s plea to overturn a lower court ruling finding the law unconstitutional. The law carried a penalty of between one and five years in prison for sexual acts that the National Center on Health Statistics estimates nine out of ten Americans between the age of 25 and 44 engage in. Still, getting shut down by the Supreme Court is the least of Cuccinelli’s current political problems. His bid to become Virginia’s governor has been hampered by Republicans shutting down the government, his association with current Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell, who is under investigation over gifts received from a campaign donor, and by an ad campaign hammering Cuccinelli over his socially conservative views. According to recent polls, Cuccinelli now trails Democratic rival Terry McAuliffe, a man who once took rum shots on live television, by five points or more. MSNBC, 10-8-13.

Congressmen arrested as marchers urge Congress to pass immigration reform

Marchers for immigration reform at Tuesday's demonstration on the Mall.
Marchers for immigration reform at Tuesday’s demonstration on the Mall.

Protesters converged on the Mall Tuesday afternoon to call on Congress to pass a comprehensive overhaul of the nation’s immigration and border control laws by year’s end. At least 100 people were arrested, including several members of Congress, after demonstrators sat down in the street in front of the Capitol. Protesters had vowed to engage in civil disobedience, and their fellow marchers cheered as each person was led away in handcuffs by Capitol Police. Among those arrested were several lawmakers, including Reps. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL), Charles B. Rangel (D-NY), John Lewis (D-GA) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL). Gustavo Torres, head of Casa de Maryland, immigration lawyers, priests, and labor activists also were taken into custody. The protesters were charged with “crowding, obstructing and incommoding,” a spokesman for the Capitol Police said. An immigration bill is stuck in the House, and its prospects have dwindled as lawmakers are preoccupied with the government shutdown and budget talks. Washington Post, 10-8-13.

Threat of Capital Beltway shutdown is a hoax, trucker says

The Capital Beltway near Tysons Corner.
The Capital Beltway near Tysons Corner.

It can be hard to get attention for your agenda in a town like Washington, but Georgia trucker Earl Conlon figured out a way: take the Beltway hostage. Conlon’s comments in a U.S. News & World Report story that he and thousands of truckers from across the country (and possibly Canada) planned to come to the nation’s capital Friday and bring traffic to a standstill on the inner loop of the Capital Beltway zinged across the Web and were picked up by outlets ranging from Fox Pox News to the Huffington Post. The rally was dubbed “Truckers for the Constitution.” But it is a hoax. “The comments to U.S. News were designed to do one thing and one thing only: stir the feather of the mainstream media,” said Conlon. “Nothing gets the attention of the mainstream media like some sort of disastrous threat. I knew it was going to ruffle some feathers.” Washington Post, 10-8-13.

To Think About

Obama and the debt

Republicans in the House of Representatives who declare that they may refuse to raise the debt limit threaten to do more than plunge the government into default. They are proposing a blatant violation of the 14th Amendment, which states that “the validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law” is sacrosanct and “shall not be questioned.” Yet the Obama administration has repeatedly suppressed any talk of invoking the Constitution in this emergency. Last Thursday Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, said, “We do not believe that the 14th Amendment provides that authority to the president” to end the crisis. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew reiterated the point on Sunday and added that the president would have “no option” to prevent a default on his own. In defense of the administration’s position, the legal scholar Laurence H. Tribe, who taught President Obama at Harvard Law School, has insisted, as he put it two years ago, that “only political courage and compromise” can avert disaster. These assertions, however, have no basis in the history of the 14th Amendment; indeed, they distort that history, and in doing so shackle the president. In fact, that record clearly shows that Congress intended the amendment to prevent precisely the abuses that the current House Republicans blithely condone. Sean Wilentz, New York Times, 10-7-13.

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