Offering asides, recommended links, blogworthy quotations, and more, In Brief is the Northwest Progressive Institute's microblog of world, national, and local politics.

Aside

Irritated by his own party, Trump makes deal with Democrats to keep government open

This is arguably the first real “deal” Donald Trump has made as President. It comes more than seven months after his regime came into power.

Donald Trump struck a deal with Democratic congressional leaders on Wednesday to increase the debt limit and finance the government until mid-December, undercutting his own Republican allies as he reached across the aisle to resolve a major dispute for the first time since taking office.

The agreement would avert a fiscal showdown later this month without the bloody, partisan battle that many had anticipated by combining a debt ceiling increase and stopgap spending measure with relief aid to Texas and other areas devastated by Hurricane Harvey. But without addressing the fundamental underlying issues, it set up the prospect for an even bigger clash at the end of the year.

Since assuming power, Trump has continuously assailed congressional Democrats as villainous and obstructionist. But his bloviating hasn’t gotten him any victories, partly because of deep fissures in the House and Senate Republican caucus.

Having spent more than half a year fruitlessly demanding that Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell ram through destructive legislation, only to watch them squander time with important fiscal deadlines looming, Trump and his inner circle have apparently decided to try something new: doing a deal with the opposition.

During a Four Corners meeting, Trump surprised Ryan and McConnell by backing the Democratic proposal for keeping the federal government open.

Congressional aides said privately that Republicans went into the meeting at the White House proposing an eighteen-month deal on government spending and the debt limit, only to run into resistance from the Democrats.

They then proposed a six-month deal as a compromise, but Democrats insisted on a three-month agreement. Mr. Trump then surprised the Republicans by agreeing to the Democratic formulation.

News of the deal is not likely to be received favorably in right wing circles.

But with wildfires burning in the West, the Texas and Louisiana coast grappling with extremely severe floods, and the biggest hurricane in recorded history headed for Florida, the griping among congressional Republicans could be minimal.

Republicans in Congress would be tying anvils around their collective ankles if they shut down the federal government this autumn on any pretext whatsoever. This deal ensures there won’t be a big showdown over fiscal matters until the holidays. Punting is what Congress usually does to postpone or defer a manufactured fiscal crisis, and so this formulation is par for the course.

Video Clip

Astonishing overnight time lapse video shows the devastating Eagle Creek fire wreaking havoc on the scenic Columbia River Gorge

Plus, here’s a summary of today’s fire developments with pictures.

Quotation

During his time as governor, Mr. Pence was the most divisive leader this state had ever seen. If he had not accepted Mr. Trump’s offer to be his running mate, he most likely would have lost a bid for a second term.

— Dan Diericks: Pence would be no relief

Recommended Link

Canada demands U.S. end ‘fire at will’ laws as part of NAFTA talks

“Canadian negotiators are demanding the United States roll back so-called ‘right to work’ [fire at will] laws – accused of gutting unions in some U.S. states by starving them of money – as part of the renegotiation of the North American free-trade agreement. The request is part of a push by Ottawa to get the U.S. and Mexico to adopt higher labour standards under the deal,” The Globe and Mail reports.

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Recommended Link

Six things that could topple Donald Trump’s border wall

In this BBC special, the British broadcasting giant explains why it’s extremely unlikely that Donald Trump’s stupid wall will ever be built.

Aside

KJR’s Mitch Levy caught in prostitution sting

Yesterday, The Seattle Times reported that Bellevue police had conducted a prostitution sting in Bellevue, opening up their own temporary brothel. Over one hundred men were swept up in the dragnet, including KJR’s Mitch Levy.

Reaction to Levy’s arrest on social media has been (not surprisingly) unkind.

“Feel cheated by Mitch Levy,” tweeted one Seahawks fan. “No host talked about his kids and wife more than him. Can’t respect men who run around on their family.”

What many people may not know is that Levy already had a checkered history that includes chauvinistic comments as well as misogynist stunts.

For example:

Mitch Levy, morning host at sports radio KJR-AM, certainly seems inclined to borrow a few moves from the [Rob] Tepper/[Andy] Savage playbook, if that’s what Seattle wants.

In addition to reporting sports news and interviewing legends such as basketball’s Magic Johnson, Levy has branched out to gab on-air with models Claudia Schiffer and Kathy Ireland, and hold an annual “Queen of the Hardwood” competition to select the best celebrity pin-ups.

In a move that must’ve sent any puritanical listeners into frothing convulsions, he even once sang an appreciative ditty about KOMO TV news anchor Kathi Goertzen. Based on “The 12 Days of Christmas,” Levy’s substitute lyrics imagined Goertzen in fishnet stockings, 3-inch stiletto heels, and (substituting for the familiar “five golden rings” refrain) “edible crotchless panties.”

Then, in 2003, there was this:

Seattle Storm standout Sue Bird canceled a wager made earlier this season with KJR talk show host Mitch Levy, who had proposed to spank her on his program if she lost the bet. […] As the bet stood, Bird would have had to cry, “Harder, Daddy, harder” during the spanking if she lost. If Bird won the bet, Levy would have had to buy season tickets to Storm games next year.

And more recently, there has been weekly segment on Mitch’s morning show with dancers from Kitten’s Cabaret.

Exploitation of women seems to be a recurring theme with Mitch Levy. Mitch is setting a bad example for men — and especially young men — everywhere.

Enough is enough. KJR should cancel his show and take him off the air.

Recommended Link

Texas Republicans lobbied against imposition of safety rules on chemical plant that exploded

“The French company that says its Houston-area chemical plant is spewing ‘noxious’ smoke — and may explode — successfully pressed federal regulators to delay new regulations designed to improve safety procedures at chemical plants, according to federal records reviewed by International Business Times.”

Quotation

Although the Trump administration forces try to deny it, the science of climate change and its impacts are clear — and accepted by the vast majority of knowledgeable scientists. And the impact of coal dust on marine life is fairly well established. The Department of Ecology should therefore take a firm stand on behalf of sound science and strike a resounding blow against unreason by denying the permit for this unpopular, poorly conceived project.

— Michael Riordan: Say no to Longview coal terminal

Video Clip

Police officer: Relax, we only kill black people

In this dashcam video, presented with context by The Young Turks, Police Lieutenant Greg Abbott can be heard saying to a motorist he has pulled over, “Remember, we only kill black people. Yeah, we only kill black people, right? All of the videos you’ve seen, have you seen the black people get killed? You have.”

Recommended Link

Brazilian court blocks President Temer’s attempt to open vast stretches of Amazon to mining

Via the BBC, a victory (at least for now) over a blatant attempt to allow the forces of greed to wreak havoc in the Amazon: “A Brazilian court has suspended a government decree that would open up a vast natural reserve in the Amazon to commercial mining. The area covers 46,000 sq km (17,800 sq miles) and is thought to be rich in gold, manganese and other minerals. On Monday, following widespread criticism, the government revised the decree, prohibiting mining in conservation or indigenous areas.”

Recommended Link

Hurricane Harvey: The link to climate change

The BBC talks to climate scientists about the connection between the catastrophic flooding in Texas and Earth’s warming climate. Global warming has resulted in an atmosphere that can hold more moisture and hotter seas, conditions which are making storms like Harvey much more severe.

Recommended Link

Amazon cuts Whole Foods prices as much as 43% on first day

“At the store on East 57th Street in Manhattan, organic fuji apples were marked down to $1.99 a pound from $3.49 a pound; organic avocados went to $1.99 each from $2.79; organic rotisserie chicken fell to $9.99 each from $13.99, and the price of some bananas was slashed to 49 cents per pound from 79 cents. The marked-down items had orange signs reading ‘Whole Foods + Amazon.’ The signs listed the old price, the new price and ‘More to come…’.

Quotation

I arranged for Ivanka to sit in Putins private chair at his desk and office in the Kremlin. I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected. We both know no one else knows how to pull this off without stupidity or greed getting in the way. Buddy our boy can become President of the USA and we can engineer it. I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.

— Excerpt from a newly unearthed email sent by Felix Sater, a Trump “business associate”, who in 2015 promised to engineer a real estate deal that would lead to a Trump electoral victory. (The New York Times: Trump associate boasted hat Moscow business deal ‘will get Donald elected’)

Photo

Manka Dhingra speaks at NPI’s Fourteenth Anniversary Picnic

Manka Dhingra speaks at NPI’s Fourteenth Anniversary Picnic

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U.S. Representative Suzan DelBene speaks at NPI’s Fourteenth Anniversary Picnic

U.S. Representative Suzan DelBene speaks at NPI’s Fourteenth Anniversary Picnic

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Happy Anniversary, NPI! Founded on August 22nd, 2003, the Northwest Progressive Institute has been working to revolutionize grassroots politics for fourteen years. This cake was made for NPI by the Salvadorean Bakery in White Center.

Quotation

Everything that we had hoped wouldn’t happen but was forecasted is happening. We have a catastrophic, life-threatening flood event taking place over southeastern Texas, including the Houston metropolitan area. It’s bad now and it’s getting worse.

Harvey brings catastrophic floods to Houston; at least five reported dead (The New York Times)

Photo

Happy 101st Anniversary, National Park Service! This photo was taken shortly after the conclusion of the Great American Eclipse at one of the lesser known treasures of the Pacific Northwest: the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument’s Painted Hills Unit

Happy 101st Anniversary, National Park Service! This photo was taken shortly after the conclusion of the Great American Eclipse at one of the lesser known treasures of the Pacific Northwest: the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument’s Painted Hills Unit

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NPI utilized three cameras to photograph the Great American Eclipse. Stills were taken with a Olympus OM-D E-M1s (a Mark I and a Mark II) and video was recorded with a Panasonic camcorder.

NPI utilized three cameras to photograph the Great American Eclipse. Stills were taken with a Olympus OM-D E-M1s (a Mark I and a Mark II) and video was recorded with a Panasonic camcorder.

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Scenes from the Great American Eclipse: Approaching fourth contact and the end of the eclipse (nearly two and a half hours in)

Scenes from the Great American Eclipse: Approaching fourth contact and the end of the eclipse (nearly two and a half hours in)

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Scenes from the Great American Eclipse: About one hundred and thirty-four minutes in

Scenes from the Great American Eclipse: About one hundred and thirty-four minutes in