NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Sunday, June 14th, 2020

For the first time ever, the Washington State Democratic Party held its convention virtually

Yes­ter­day, del­e­gates from across Wash­ing­ton state met (vir­tu­al­ly) for the 2020 Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Con­ven­tion. The del­e­gates were pri­mar­i­ly meet­ing to decide on the party’s plat­form going into November’s gen­er­al elec­tion.

After greet­ings from par­ty offi­cials and trib­al lead­ers, acknowl­edge­ments of the vic­tims of police vio­lence, and praise for the emer­gency work­ers respond­ing to the ongo­ing nov­el coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic, the con­ven­tion got down to busi­ness.

Con­duct­ing a Zoom meet­ing with almost 2,000 par­tic­i­pants is a her­culean task, and that is per­haps why no one sought to take on the unen­vi­able role of Per­ma­nent Chair of the con­ven­tion before the dead­line.

The lack of inter­est guar­an­teed that Chair Tina Pod­lodows­ki would get the job, which she car­ried out with impres­sive cour­tesy, grace, and pro­fes­sion­al­ism.

After Pod­lodows­ki had gaveled in the meet­ing (or rather, thud­ded her cof­fee cup down in lieu of a gav­el), the del­e­gates began con­sid­er­ing sev­er­al amend­ments to the par­ty’s gov­ern­ing doc­u­ments, which con­sist of a char­ter and bylaws.

These pro­pos­als, a pack­age of house­keep­ing mea­sures to ensure the par­ty could con­tin­ue to oper­ate dur­ing times of emer­gency or make do with­out precinct cau­cus­es (which have tra­di­tion­al­ly been held in past pres­i­den­tial cycles), were devoid of con­tro­ver­sy. After approv­ing all but one of them, the del­e­gates turned to the main mat­ter of the meet­ing: amend­ments to the party’s plat­form.

Nine pro­posed amend­ments to add planks to the par­ty plat­form were con­sid­ered by the assem­bly. For each amend­ment, del­e­gates pre­sent­ed five-minute argu­ments both for and against adopt­ing the planks.

The nine amend­ments heard were all backed by a minor­i­ty of mem­bers of the Plat­form Com­mit­tee and pre­sent­ed as minor­i­ty reports (where­as the unmod­i­fied plat­form as a whole was pre­sent­ed as the major­i­ty report).

The first minor­i­ty report called for lan­guage to be added that would call for inde­pen­dent inves­ti­ga­tions of police killings – the idea being that out­side inves­ti­ga­tors are more objec­tive than the local pros­e­cu­tors who have to rely on the police they are inves­ti­gat­ing in oth­er aspects of their work.

The sec­ond minor­i­ty report called for the par­ty to sup­port the elim­i­na­tion of the “per­son­al belief” exemp­tion for vac­ci­na­tions. The exemp­tion was already elim­i­nat­ed for the measles, mumps, and rubel­la vac­cine by the 2019 Leg­is­la­ture, but the exemp­tion remains in place for oth­er vac­ci­na­tions.

The third minor­i­ty report called for Democ­rats to get seri­ous about the issue of stu­dent loans: it called for lan­guage sup­port­ing the can­cel­la­tion of stu­dent debt and putting caps on the inter­est rates of stu­dent loans.

This amend­ment was bril­liant­ly pre­sent­ed by Jes­si­ca Ines, who effort­less­ly dis­man­tled the tired argu­ment that stu­dent debt for­give­ness is “wel­fare for the rich,” and called on del­e­gates to imag­ine the mas­sive eco­nom­ic stim­u­lus that would result from mil­lions of Amer­i­cans being lib­er­at­ed from their debt bur­den.

Four minor­i­ty reports focused on the envi­ron­men­tal plank of the plat­form, and all dealt with nuclear pow­er. In order, these amend­ments:

  • Called for a cost-ben­e­fit analy­sis of nuclear pow­er against increased invest­ment in renew­able ener­gy
  • Called for the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment to ful­ly fund cleanup of the Han­ford nuclear site (a nuclear weapons facil­i­ty that dates back to the Man­hat­tan Project). The Trump Admin­is­tra­tion has tried to de-fund cleanup efforts, despite the sig­nif­i­cant radioac­tive waste that plagues the area.
  • Called for a mora­to­ri­um on new nuclear plants
  • Called for an end to gov­ern­ment sub­si­dies for the nuclear indus­try.

These amend­ments to the plat­form were stu­dious­ly opposed by Steve Ver­hey, who uti­lized videos, graphs and even memes to illus­trate his points.

Anoth­er minor­i­ty report pro­posed adding lan­guage to the Labor and Eco­nom­ic Jus­tice plank of the plat­form, advo­cat­ing for a thir­ty-two-hour work­ing week.

Both speak­ers made com­pelling argu­ments for the eco­nom­ic con­se­quences of the pol­i­cy – odd­ly, both used France (which has a thir­ty-five-hour work­ing week) as an exam­ple to high­light their side of the argu­ment.

The final minor­i­ty report was intend­ed to tack­le envi­ron­men­tal racism. The amend­ment would add lan­guage to the plat­form oppos­ing the restric­tion of low-income hous­ing to areas that suf­fer from pol­lu­tion (such as areas near­by high­ways or indus­tri­al areas). The argu­ments on both sides were nuanced, and the issue is one that Democ­rats should con­tin­ue to exam­ine thor­ough­ly.

All nine amend­ments to the plat­form were approved by the del­e­gates, who then went on to over­whelm­ing­ly approve the plat­form with its amend­ments.

While del­e­gates vot­ed on each amend­ment (the vot­ing usu­al­ly took between twen­ty and thir­ty min­utes), the con­ven­tion heard from Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­dates and office­hold­ers. For­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden promised the con­ven­tion that he would restore “real lead­er­ship” to the White House, but remind­ed Wash­ing­ton Democ­rats of the neces­si­ty of hold­ing onto the House and win­ning the Sen­ate.

Many of the speak­ers remarked exten­sive­ly on the twin crises cur­rent­ly fac­ing Amer­i­ca: the anti-racist protests in the after­math of the death of George Floyd, and the ongo­ing coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic. Tom Perez, the chair­man of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Com­mit­tee, told lis­ten­ers that “civ­il rights is indeed the unfin­ished busi­ness of Amer­i­ca,” and com­ment­ed on how bad­ly the Trump Admin­is­tra­tion is deal­ing with the pan­dem­ic: “Don­ald Trump and Her­bert Hoover are in a pitched bat­tle to see who can have the worst jobs record!”

Many state lev­el office­hold­ers addressed the con­ven­tion, includ­ing Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee, every Demo­c­ra­t­ic mem­ber of the state’s con­gres­sion­al del­e­ga­tion except for Den­ny Heck (who is a can­di­date for Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor), both of Washington’s U.S. sen­a­tors, and NPI’s own Gael Tar­leton, who is run­ning to replace Repub­li­can Sec­re­tary of State Kim Wyman.

Tar­leton promised to “defend every vote and every vot­er,” remind­ing del­e­gates of the vio­lence the Trump Admin­is­tra­tion has met­ed out to peace­ful pro­test­ers.

After the plat­form was vot­ed on, Chair Pod­lodows­ki gaveled/­cof­fee-cupped out the con­ven­tion gen­er­al ses­sion, bring­ing the state par­ty’s 2020 cau­cus and con­ven­tion cycle to an end. (There did­n’t end up being any cau­cus­es due to the pan­dem­ic; del­e­gate selec­tion was con­duct­ed using an online vot­ing sys­tem… the results of which can be audit­ed because the bal­lots cast were not secret.)

Wash­ing­ton Democ­rats are now free to focus on the 2020 Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion, which will take place in about two months, as well as the mon­u­men­tal­ly impor­tant gen­er­al elec­tion in Novem­ber.

Sunday, June 14th, 2020

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (June 8th-12th)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Unit­ed States Sen­a­tors vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Fri­day, June 12th, 2020.

The House was in recess.

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Sen­ate cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress pho­to)

MAINTAINING NATIONAL PARKS, CONSERVING PUBLIC SPACES: Vot­ing 79 for and 18 against, the Sen­ate on June 10th agreed to start debate on a bill (H.R. 1957) that would great­ly increase finan­cial sup­port of fed­er­al land agen­cies includ­ing the Nation­al Park Ser­vice and also boost U.S. gov­ern­ment fund­ing of fed­er­al, state and local efforts to pur­chase and pro­tect unspoiled acreage.

To address the dete­ri­o­ra­tion of hun­dreds of nation­al parks and relat­ed areas in recent decades, the bill would allo­cate up to $6.5 bil­lion over five years for repairs and main­te­nance, with fund­ing to come main­ly from pay­ments to the Trea­sury by oil, gas and renew­able-ener­gy com­pa­nies. The bill also would guar­an­tee a $900 mil­lion annu­al bud­get for the Land and Water Con­ser­va­tion Fund, which pro­vides fed­er­al and non-fed­er­al agen­cies with funds for acquir­ing and con­serv­ing unde­vel­oped land. The LWCF is large­ly fund­ed by fees and roy­al­ties col­lect­ed from ener­gy firms engaged in off­shore drilling oper­a­tions.

Cory Gard­ner, R‑Colorado, spoke in favor of advanc­ing the bill.

“This is an eco­nom­ic and jobs pack­age as much as it is a con­ser­va­tion pack­age. For every $1 mil­lion we spend in the Land and Water Con­ser­va­tion Fund, it sup­ports between six­teen and thir­ty jobs,” Gard­ner said. “It is our chance to not only pro­tect our envi­ron­ment, to catch up on deferred main­te­nance, but also to grow our econ­o­my when our econ­o­my needs the growth.”

No sen­a­tor spoke against the bill.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Pat­ty Mur­ray and Maria Cantwell

Cas­ca­dia total: 4 aye votes, 2 nay votes

CONFIRMING CHARLES BROWN AS AIR FORCE CHIEF: In a unan­i­mous vote of 98 for and none against, the Sen­ate on June 9th con­firmed Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr., as U.S. Air Force chief of staff. The four-star gen­er­al becomes the first African-Amer­i­can to lead a U.S. mil­i­tary ser­vice, and will leave his post as com­man­der of the Pacif­ic Air Forces to assume the four-year term.

A com­mand pilot, Brown has record­ed more than 2,900 fly­ing hours includ­ing 130 hours in com­bat. There was no Sen­ate floor debate on the nom­i­na­tion.

A yes vote was to con­firm Brown to lead the Air Force.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Pat­ty Mur­ray and Maria Cantwell

Cas­ca­dia total: 6 aye votes

Key votes ahead

The Sen­ate will resume debate in the week of June 15th on a fund­ing bill for the Nation­al Park Ser­vice and Land and Water Con­ser­va­tion Fund (detailed above), while the House will be in recess. The House is expect­ed to take up a bill reform­ing polic­ing prac­tices dur­ing the week of June 22nd.

Edi­tor’s Note: The infor­ma­tion in NPI’s week­ly How Cas­ca­di­a’s U.S. law­mak­ers vot­ed fea­ture is pro­vid­ed by Votera­ma in Con­gress, a ser­vice of Thomas Vot­ing Reports. All rights are reserved. Repro­duc­tion of this post is not per­mit­ted, not even with attri­bu­tion. Use the per­ma­nent link to this post to share it… thanks!

© 2020 Thomas Vot­ing Reports.

Saturday, June 13th, 2020

The Pandemic is Personal: Rituja Indapure on how COVID-19 has changed everyday life

Editor’s note: Wel­come to The Pan­dem­ic is Per­son­al, a week­ly series focus­ing on on how the nov­el coro­n­avirus (SARS-CoV­­‑2) is affect­ing the every­day lives of peo­ple through­out the Pacif­ic North­west. We hope to enlight­en you and reflect on what you and oth­ers are address­ing as this pan­dem­ic runs its course.

If you have a sto­ry to tell, please feel free to con­tact us.

This week, NPI Advi­so­ry Coun­cilmem­ber Rit­u­ja Inda­pure describes what her spring was like dur­ing the worst pan­dem­ic in mod­ern times. 

March 14th, 2020

It’s mid­night, and I’m at the Mum­bai Inter­na­tion­al Air­port.

The line at the lug­gage check-in counter is long.

No one is wear­ing masks. I have a cou­ple in my back­pack. My neigh­bor in Pune went to the mar­ket and brought me a cou­ple of cloth masks before I left.

I plan to wear one inside the air­plane, but don’t see the need to wear it in pub­lic. I’m hyper-vig­i­lant of some­one cough­ing or sneez­ing.

I have twen­­ty-one hours of flight time until I reach home in Seat­tle!

With the lug­gage checked in, I head to the secu­ri­ty check­point which is packed with peo­ple. There are sep­a­rate lines for men and women.

I see women in shorts, in hijabs, in jeans, in sarees.

It seems like peo­ple from all over the world are rep­re­sent­ed in that line.

With infec­tion and death rates sky­rock­et­ing in Italy and Spain, the Unit­ed States has announced that it’s shut­ting down transat­lantic flights.

Amer­i­can cit­i­zens who have been trav­el­ing abroad for work, tourism, edu­ca­tion or to meet fam­i­ly are rush­ing back. In this line too, mask wear­ing is spot­ty, but the policee offi­cer who inspects us does have a mask on.

On to the board­ing area, and I find a spot away from crowds. I put on my cloth mask now as I sit alone con­tem­plat­ing my clean­ing pro­ce­dure once I sit in the air­plane.

Even­tu­al­ly it’s 3:30 am, and we are board­ing the flight.

It’s a packed flight. I’ve done research on win­dow ver­sus aisle seats. I have cho­sen the rec­om­mend­ed win­dow seat. None of the air­line’s staff are wear­ing face masks or gloves. I’m scared for their health.

It’s just past 6 AM when we land at Dubai Inter­na­tion­al Air­port. It’s a long way to my next gate. So many peo­ple here. I start walk­ing towards my gate, but the way is roped off. I can get in only through a check­point.

All pas­sen­gers trav­el­ing to the Unit­ed States are screened for tem­per­a­ture and oth­er symp­toms of a viral infec­tion. I’m trav­el­ing alone, but feel real­ly bad for par­ents trav­el­ing with young chil­dren. Long flights with young kids is hard!

My flight from Dubai to Seat­tle is four­teen hours long. I could­n’t secure a win­dow seat, let alone a seat in a row just by myself. I’m wor­ried, but put on my cloth mask and board the plane. I sit in my assigned aisle seat next to a gen­tle­man who works as a truck dri­ver and lives in Kent.

His fam­i­ly lives in Kenya, but work is in Seat­tle. He coughs.

He is not wear­ing a mask.

We are in the air and the seat-belt sign is off.

I ask the air­line staff if there are any open seats. He says, “Why don’t you look around?” I walk around and am delight­ed when I see an emp­ty row! It’s right next to the restroom, but who cares… I can sit alone!

From the air­craft, as we cross the Cas­cades, I can see it’s a gor­geous day.

We land in Seat­tle just after 1:30 PM local time.

Mul­ti­ple inter­na­tion­al flights have arrived at Sea-Tac around the same time. There is a long line of peo­ple wait­ing to get through immi­gra­tion.

No one is wear­ing masks, and we aren’t being asked to keep space between us, either. I down­load the Mobile Pass­port App, insert the need­ed infor­ma­tion and jump ahead of the line. I wait for my lug­gage to arrive, pick it up and pro­ceed to Cus­toms. None of the cus­tom offi­cers are wear­ing a mask.

I clear U.S. Cus­toms and hop onto Sound Tran­sit’s Link light rail sys­tem. In less than five min­utes, I’m out of the air­port and on my way home!

April 14th, 2020

It’s been a month since we’ve all start­ed work­ing from home. We are tak­ing it day by day. I’m used to see­ing every­one in per­son each day, so I miss not see­ing them. For each inter­ac­tion, I now have to set up a meet­ing.

My cal­en­dar is get­ting full.

Slow­ly we’ve start­ed set­ting up our office space at home.

For some, it’s meant buy­ing a new office chair.

Many of us have tak­en our work mon­i­tors and key­boards home.

Until now, we were famil­iar only with Google Chat, but slow­ly we all are becom­ing experts at oth­er appli­ca­tions for “live” meet­ings. Zoom, Teams, Webex…

Recent­ly a team­mate had a birth­day, and we had a “vir­tu­al” sur­prise birth­day par­ty for him! We got hold of his wife, who snuck out and got a birth­day cake.

I sched­uled a “check-in” meet­ing with him and invit­ed all the oth­er team mem­bers. Once he logged in, we sang and his wife cel­e­brat­ed with the cake!

In the four weeks since we’ve start­ed work­ing from home, I’ve seen a few kids who want to “par­tic­i­pate” in the meet­ings.

I under­stand their curios­i­ty and the nov­el­ty of see­ing their par­ents work­ing from home, so I had a meet­ing with just the kids! It was fan­tas­tic — some sang poems, some just want­ed to see who was on the oth­er side of the screen!

I do wor­ry about how kids will react once the par­ents start going back to work. Will they become too attached to their par­ents and not want to go back to school?

May 14th, 2020

The Sam­mamish Y Advi­so­ry Board con­tin­ues to have its month­ly meet­ings. They con­tin­ue to pro­vide babysit­ting and oth­er ser­vices for essen­tial work­ers, but are closed as a gym. COVID-19 has impact­ed this non-prof­it on mul­ti­ple fronts.

How­ev­er, even with the reduced staff, they con­tin­ue to engage with the com­mu­ni­ty by call­ing and check­ing in on seniors and pro­vid­ing meals.

I con­tin­ue to be engaged in con­ver­sa­tions about how to sup­port the com­mu­ni­ty in their men­tal well-being needs.

With the stay at home order in place as a result of COVID-19, the rate of domes­tic vio­lence and sex­u­al abuse is on the rise.

For young peo­ple who live in homes where they feel threat­ened, they are unable to report or talk to some­one they can trust.

This real­ly weighs on my mind. How­ev­er, it was encour­ag­ing to hear at the KCSARC (King Coun­ty Sex­u­al Assault Resource Cen­ter) Hon­orary Board meet­ing that coun­sel­ing ses­sions are tak­ing place via HIPAA‑compliant video calls.

API Chaya, which pro­vides cul­­tur­al­­ly-rel­e­­vant vio­lence pre­ven­tion efforts and mul­ti­lin­gual sur­vivor ser­vices, has its twen­ty-fifth anniver­sary com­ing up!

It’s a dif­fi­cult time to do fundrais­ing. The stock mar­ket is down, peo­ple are feel­ing fraz­zled. I hope to ral­ly my friends and encour­age them to do their best.

I filed to be a precinct com­mit­tee offi­cer in my state leg­isla­tive dis­trict. Help­ing elect pro­gres­sive can­di­dates is some­thing I want to con­tin­ue to do.

Since I’m on the East­side Democ­rats Fundrais­ing Com­mit­tee, we’ve been brain­storm­ing ideas on whether to change the date of the fundrais­ing din­ner (we had a fab­u­lous event at the Sno­qualmie Casi­no last year), or move it to an online event.

For the third month in a row, the Sam­mamish Munic­i­pal Plan­ning Com­mis­sion meet­ing has been can­celled due to COVID-19.

(Almost!) June 14th, 2020

Ear­ly in the morn­ing, I dropped off our son at work.

In late Feb­ru­ary, he start­ed work­ing at a local QFC store and since he is an “essen­tial work­er,” he has con­tin­ued to work.

He has stayed healthy and it’s been inter­est­ing to see the pro­gres­sion of not being required to wear masks to now sport­ing a rain­bow col­ored mask!

All his class­es at Run­ning Start at Belle­vue Col­lege are online, but in talk­ing to him and his peers, they real­ly don’t like online class­es.

He miss­es going to the gym, play­ing vol­ley­ball with his friends and hang­ing out with his jazz and band mates at school.

My daugh­ter is fin­ish­ing off her finals for her junior year of col­lege!

She was look­ing for­ward to a study abroad pro­gram in Ghana this sum­mer, and is dis­ap­point­ed that it got can­celled.

Online class­es are not the same as in per­son, and labs are impos­si­ble online!

She is healthy and care­ful with social­iz­ing, but also joined in the march­es sup­port­ing Black Lives Mat­ter last week.

Over the week­end she’s attend­ing a teach-in on how to cre­ate a more equi­table soci­ety! I can’t wait to have her home in the sum­mer!

Our dog now looks pre­sentable.

She has­n’t been groomed since March, but she got a nice hair­cut last week.

My hus­band and I are still tak­ing turns cook­ing.

Wednes­days are “fend for your­self” days. We get super-cre­a­tive and cre­ate con­coc­tions from what­ev­er is avail­able at home. Fri­days and week­ends, we order from our favorite local restau­rants. We all now wear masks when we go out.

Mom and Dad in India are doing okay. It’s been hard on them with Dad’s dia­betes and him not being able to exer­cise reg­u­lar­ly.

At times, get­ting fresh fruits and veg­eta­bles was also a prob­lem. Mom has learned to order online and is expect­ing her fresh fruit and veg­etable bas­ket on Sun­day.

I can’t believe it’s been three months since we’ve all been work­ing from home, stay­ing home and not social­iz­ing.

Inter­na­tion­al trav­el is not yet at full capac­i­ty.

Many flights are not avail­able for non-essen­­tial trav­el. My work col­leagues are get­ting into a rhythm of work­ing from home.

Many appre­ci­ate not hav­ing to sit in traf­fic and dri­ve long dis­tances to work.

Some are get­ting lone­ly and would love a chance to be around peo­ple. We’ve put tremen­dous ener­gy into our fundrais­ing efforts, and peo­ple have been both com­pelled to sup­port caus­es for a bet­ter com­mu­ni­ty and gen­er­ous as a result.

I’ve gained an appre­ci­a­tion for sim­ple things like tak­ing a walk in the neigh­bor­hood or writ­ing a note. I’m grate­ful for heart­felt con­ver­sa­tions with friends with whom I’ve not con­nect­ed in years. I’m thank­ful for my friends who’ve shown resolve and con­vic­tion in stand­ing up for what’s right and for their val­ues.

I’m in grat­i­tude for the com­mu­ni­ty that uplifts me, holds me account­able and inspires me to be a bet­ter per­son every sin­gle day.

Saturday, June 13th, 2020

What’s happening at the online-only 2020 Washington State Democratic Convention?

Good morn­ing, and wel­come to our live cov­er­age of the 2020 Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Con­ven­tion… the first state con­ven­tion in par­ty his­to­ry to take place exclu­sive­ly online instead of in-per­son. This bien­ni­al event is, accord­ing to the par­ty’s char­ter, its most impor­tant gath­er­ing and assem­bly, with the author­i­ty to mod­i­fy the par­ty’s plan of gov­ern­ment and the respon­si­bil­i­ty to adopt a plat­form.

Today’s con­ven­tion gen­er­al ses­sion will run from 9 AM until a time to be deter­mined. We will bring you high­lights through­out the day; the par­ty also invites you to watch the livestream your­self using YouTube.

The main busi­ness of the con­ven­tion gen­er­al ses­sion will be as fol­lows:

  • Hear­ing from can­di­dates and par­ty lead­ers;
  • Con­sid­er­ing char­ter and bylaws amend­ments;
  • Dis­cussing, debat­ing, and vot­ing on a plat­form.

Notably, del­e­gates to the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion will not be elect­ed as part of today’s gen­er­al ses­sion. Some del­e­gates were already elect­ed at the con­gres­sion­al dis­trict elec­tion using an online elec­tion process a cou­ple of weeks ago. (Note that secret bal­lots were not used for nation­al del­e­gate selec­tion, which means the results are auditable even though the vot­ing took place online.) The remain­ing at-large and PLEO nation­al del­e­gates will be cho­sen by the par­ty’s leg­isla­tive dis­trict state com­mit­teemem­bers today and tomor­row.

Our live cov­er­age begins below.

Read More »

Friday, June 12th, 2020

Scramble for the Senate: Can Democrats secure a seat — or two — in Georgia?

Don­ald Trump’s polit­i­cal out­look isn’t look­ing good at all.

In recent weeks he has oscil­lat­ed between pet­ty insults to elect­ed offi­cials, grand­stand­ing and threat­en­ing his polit­i­cal oppo­nents, and com­mit­ting acts of casu­al bru­tal­i­ty. While none of this marks a notice­able change of course for an admin­is­tra­tion that began putting migrant chil­dren in cages with­in months of tak­ing office, the reac­tion of the Amer­i­can peo­ple to Trump is rapid­ly chang­ing.

Ras­mussen – often described as “Trump’s favorite poll­ster” – recent­ly released a poll that showed Trump’s approval rat­ings under­wa­ter by a whop­ping 13%.

This steep decline in Trump’s pop­u­lar­i­ty is bad news for the cur­rent occu­pant of 1600 Penn­syl­va­nia Avenue, but it could also spell cat­a­stro­phe for his par­ty.

As Amer­i­cans have swung fur­ther to the polit­i­cal left over the years, the Repub­li­can Par­ty has lost inter­est in craft­ing mean­ing­ful pub­lic pol­i­cy and has instead become whol­ly focused on gain­ing and keep­ing pow­er for pow­er’s sake.

Repub­li­cans are par­tic­u­lar­ly bent on tak­ing per­ma­nent con­trol of the judi­cia­ry by appoint­ing judges and oth­er offi­cials who can stymie pro­gres­sive reforms at every lev­el. Repub­li­cans have used their con­trol of the U.S. Sen­ate to seat Trump’s nom­i­nees. The Sen­ate, of course, over-rep­re­sents the thin­ly pop­u­lat­ed, rur­al states that are the only places the Repub­li­cans still reli­ably con­trol.

How­ev­er, Trump appears to be han­dling the var­i­ous ongo­ing crises he is faced with so bad­ly that the odds are increas­ing that the Repub­li­cans could lose the Sen­ate despite the struc­tur­al elec­toral advan­tages they enjoy.

The Democ­rats need to take three more seats (or four, if Mike Pence is still Vice Pres­i­dent in Jan­u­ary) to reach a major­i­ty. Accord­ing to Cook Polit­i­cal Report, at least four Repub­­li­­can-held seats are “toss ups” in 2020: Col­orado, Maine, North Car­oli­na and Ari­zona. Worse still for con­ser­v­a­tives, some seats that appeared to be reli­ably red in Jan­u­ary are becom­ing alarm­ing­ly com­pet­i­tive.

Geor­gia is the best exam­ple of such a state. For twen­ty years, the Peach State has been a Repub­li­can strong­hold. Gen­er­a­tions of Demo­c­ra­t­ic politi­cians, strate­gists and activists have worked tire­less­ly to chip away that con­trol, aid­ed by the state’s rapid­ly chang­ing demo­graph­ics. As the state becomes younger, more diverse and more urban, Democ­rats have inched clos­er to suc­cess.

In 2017, the nation­al spot­light fell on a spe­cial elec­tion in Georgia’s sixth con­gres­sion­al dis­trict. The elec­tion – which spi­raled into the most expen­sive House elec­tion in U.S. his­to­ry – ulti­mate­ly went in the Repub­li­can candidate’s favor, but the mar­gin of vic­to­ry (under 3%) gave Democ­rats cause for hope.

The fol­low­ing year, Stacey Abrams’ guber­na­to­r­i­al run came even clos­er to vic­to­ry. She ulti­mate­ly lost by a mere 1.5%.

Her Repub­li­can oppo­nent, then-Sec­re­­tary of State Bri­an Kemp, only man­aged to win by thor­ough­ly purg­ing like­ly Democ­ratic vot­ers from the vot­er rolls.

Two years lat­er, state Democ­rats are telling every­one who will lis­ten (and they very much want nation­al Demo­c­ra­t­ic lead­ers to lis­ten… plus send mon­ey) that 2020 is the year that Geor­gia can final­ly be flipped blue.

More sur­pris­ing­ly, Repub­li­cans seem to believe them.

At the end of April, the state’s senior U.S. sen­a­tor, David Per­due, gave his sup­port­ers a shock­ing assess­ment: “Here’s the real­i­ty. The state of Geor­gia is in play.” Both Perdue’s seat and that of his col­league, Kel­ly Loef­fler, will be up for grabs this year. Per­due is look­ing for re-elec­­tion to the seat he won in 2014, while Loef­fler is look­ing ahead to a “jun­gle pri­ma­ry” (a spe­cial elec­tion that does not take account of par­ty affil­i­a­tion) after her appoint­ment to the seat last Decem­ber.

Both sen­a­tors face chal­leng­ing elec­tions. Elec­toral­ly, Per­due is the stronger of the two; he has the advan­tage of being an incum­bent, he has a sub­stan­tial war chest amount­ing to over $9 mil­lion, and he is the cousin of two-term Geor­gia gov­er­nor and cur­rent sec­re­tary of agri­cul­ture, Son­ny Per­due.

Jon Ossoff and Rep. John Lewis

Jon Ossoff and Rep. John Lewis (Pho­to: Jon Ossoff, repro­duced under Cre­ative Com­mons license)

How­ev­er, David Per­due faces a tough and for­mi­da­ble oppo­nent in Jon Ossoff, a thir­ty-three-year-old inves­tiga­tive reporter and film­mak­er.

If you fol­low nation­al pol­i­tics, you may remem­ber Ossoff, who rock­et­ed to nation­al fame dur­ing the 2017 GA‑06 spe­cial elec­tion.

He was the Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­date who nar­row­ly lost the dis­trict.

Ossoff (who won the Demo­c­ra­t­ic sen­ate pri­ma­ry on 9th June, nar­row­ly avoid­ing a runoff) raised more than $23 mil­lion in his 2017 run.

He has used the left­overs from that year to kick-start his 2020 run, and is like­ly to be able to keep up eas­i­ly with Perdue’s fundrais­ing. He also has the endorse­ment of sev­er­al promi­nent Geor­gian fig­ures, includ­ing U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Hank John­son, and the leg­endary civ­il rights-hero and con­gress­man, John Lewis.

Ossoff is a high­ly charis­mat­ic fig­ure and, hap­pi­ly for pro­gres­sives, has adopt­ed a more pro­gres­sive set of plat­form planks than he did in 2017, empha­siz­ing the issue of civ­il rights. His expe­ri­ence as an inves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist spe­cial­iz­ing in cor­rup­tion could also make him a lethal cam­paign­er against Per­due, who has a long and sto­ried his­to­ry in the world of inter­na­tion­al busi­ness.

Sen­a­tor Kel­ly Loef­fler is in an even less sta­ble posi­tion than Per­due, with chal­lengers from both sides of the polit­i­cal spec­trum.

She also failed to do her­self any favors by becom­ing embroiled in a scan­dal involv­ing insid­er trad­ing; hav­ing sat in on secret coro­n­avirus-relat­ed Sen­ate com­mit­tee brief­in­gs, Loef­fler quick­ly moved to dump shares before the pan­dem­ic crashed the stock mar­ket, mak­ing a for­tune for her­self.

Her most imme­di­ate chal­lenger is Doug Collins, a right-wing con­gress­man who made his name des­per­ate­ly suck­ing up to Don­ald Trump dur­ing the House impeach­ment hear­ings. Collins isn’t afraid to attack a mem­ber of his own par­ty, and has ampli­fied the accu­sa­tions against Loef­fler.

“Instead of work­ing for the peo­ple of Geor­gia for the past five months in D.C., she seems to have been work­ing for her­self,” Collins has charged.

The con­test between the two Repub­li­cans has degen­er­at­ed into insult-swap­ping, with Loef­fler call­ing Collins a “do-noth­ing career politi­cian,” and Collins retort­ing, “it’s amaz­ing she can read a cue card from her con­sul­tants.”

Loef­fler doesn’t only have to wor­ry about the snip­ing from her right. She also faces a seri­ous Demo­c­ra­t­ic chal­lenger: Reverand Raphael Warnock.

Rev. Warnock addresses supporters

Rev. Warnock address­es sup­port­ers (Pho­to: Raphael Warnock, repro­duced under Cre­ative Com­mons license)

The sen­ate race is Warnock’s first entry into elec­toral pol­i­tics, but a life­time as a Bap­tist preach­er with a rep­u­ta­tion for fiery ser­mons advo­cat­ing jus­tice and equal­i­ty has pre­pared him for the bet­ter than most career politi­cians to take Loef­fler to task. Warnock’s posi­tion as the head pas­tor of Ebenez­er Bap­tist Church – Mar­tin Luther King Jr’s for­mer con­gre­ga­tion – gives him a pow­er­ful moral posi­tion that none of his rivals (Repub­li­can or Demo­c­rat) can touch.

He also enjoys sup­port from influ­en­tial Democ­rats: Stacey Abrams, the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­to­r­i­al Cam­paign Com­mit­tee, U.S. Sen­a­tors Cory Book­er, Sher­rod Brown and Chris Mur­phy, have all endorsed his cam­paign.

The sen­ate seat Loef­fler cur­rent­ly holds will be up for elec­tion on Novem­ber 3rd, but there could be a runoff in Decem­ber between the top vote get­ters.

On the sur­face, the sit­u­a­tion in Geor­gia looks very promis­ing for the Democ­rats: two Repub­li­can incum­bents are on shaky ground, strong Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­dates are run­ning against them, and there is a wide­spread, ongo­ing effort to counter Kem­p’s vot­er purges (around 700,000 new vot­ers have reg­is­tered since 2018).

If 2020 turns out to be the year that state Democ­rats hope it will be, it could become the basis of a road map to vic­to­ry in the rest of the South, revers­ing the years of Repub­li­can dom­i­nance that began with the “South­ern strat­e­gy”.

How­ev­er, the Democ­rats should not be over­ly con­fi­dent about their prospects in the Peach State. 2018 was also expect­ed to be a turn­ing point, and would have been if not for the ram­pant vot­er sup­pres­sion com­mit­ted by shame­less Repub­li­can Bri­an Kemp – who is now the state’s gov­er­nor.

Kemp seems to be up to his old tricks already.

The pri­ma­ry elec­tions on 9th June were a sham­bles, with hours-long queues, mal­func­tion­ing equip­ment, poor train­ing for elec­tions vol­un­teers and even miss­ing vot­ing machines. Unsur­pris­ing­ly, the hard­est places to vote were in Demo­c­ra­t­ic-lean­ing areas and com­mu­ni­ties of col­or. Jon Ossoff – who was kept wait­ing for three hours at an ear­ly vot­ing loca­tion – called the process an “embar­rass­ment” and “an affront to our con­sti­tu­tion­al prin­ci­ples.”

If Democ­rats want to win in Geor­gia, they will not only need to cam­paign against the state’s two incum­bent Repub­li­can sen­a­tors, but also keep ahead of the state government’s efforts to keep their vot­ers away from the polls.

This will take a gar­gan­tu­an effort, involv­ing orga­niz­ing on the ground, help­ing dis­ad­van­taged vot­ers to reg­is­ter, tak­ing legal action, and many oth­er steps.

It remains to be seen whether the Democ­rats are up to the task.

Wednesday, June 10th, 2020

Neofascist Donald Trump once again turns to Twitter to make threats, this time aimed at us

The occu­pant of 1600 Penn­syl­va­nia Avenue (who resides near the recent­ly chris­tened Black Lives Mat­ter Plaza in our nation’s cap­i­tal) is at it again.

In a series of tweets post­ed just before mid­night on the East Coast, neo­fas­cist Don­ald Trump issued anoth­er vague­ly word­ed threat direct­ed at Demo­c­ra­t­ic lead­ers. But this time, rather than tak­ing aim at one of his favorite tar­gets, like Nan­cy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, or Chuck Schumer, Trump went after Wash­ing­ton State Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee and Seat­tle May­or Jen­ny Durkan.

“Rad­i­cal Left Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee and the May­or of Seat­tle are being taunt­ed and played at a lev­el that our great Coun­try has nev­er seen before,” Trump’s account yelped. “Take back your city now. If you don’t do it, I will. This is not a game. These ugly Anar­chists must be stooped [sic] imme­di­ate­ly. Move fast!

(Words in bold­face were cap­i­tal­ized in Trump’s tweet; we do not use all caps on the Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate except for cer­tain sub­head­ings, so we have con­vert­ed the case to bold­face to sig­ni­fy Trump’s empha­sis.)

“Domes­tic Ter­ror­ists have tak­en over Seat­tle, run by Rad­i­cal Left Democ­rats, of course. Law & Order!” Trump’s account added in a sub­se­quent tweet.

Since putting “Law & Order” (which is a media fran­chise cre­at­ed by Dick Wolf) in all caps was appar­ent­ly not enough empha­sis, a third relat­ed tweet has been made a pinned tweet, this one sim­ply read­ing: “Law & Order!

We don’t nor­mal­ly write about Trump’s tweets here on the Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate as a mat­ter of orga­ni­za­tion­al pol­i­cy; we pre­fer to focus on what Trump does rather than what he (or some­one with access to his account) says. But it is very unusu­al for Trump to take aim at our region through his social media mega­phone.

Though Trump has feud­ed with Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee before, he has rarely com­ment­ed on events tak­ing place with­in the Pacif­ic North­west, which is a region of the coun­try that he does not seem to pay much atten­tion to. But some­how, tonight, the Emer­ald City got his atten­tion, or the atten­tion of one of his min­ions, pos­si­bly because it was the sub­ject of a Fox Noise Chan­nel seg­ment.

Rejoin­ders arrived swift­ly from Seat­tle’s elect­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

“Don’t you have a bunker to be in?” Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Prami­la Jaya­pal asked.

“Make us all safe. Go back to your bunker. #Black­Lives­Mat­ter,” added Seat­tle May­or Jen­ny Durkan, who had been ref­er­enced (but not called out by name).

“A man who is total­ly inca­pable of gov­ern­ing should stay out of Wash­ing­ton State’s busi­ness. ‘Stoop’ tweet­ing,” Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee said.

As ridicu­lous as Trump’s tweets are, it is worth paus­ing here to reflect on where we are as a coun­try. We have fall­en into a deep and tan­gled pit these last few years. We don’t have a pres­i­dent or even a pres­i­den­cy in the Unit­ed States any­more; rather, we have a wannabe author­i­tar­i­an pre­tend­ing to be pres­i­dent.

Take back your city now. If you don’t do it, I will.

What is that even sup­posed to mean?

This is not a Red Alert II: Yuri’s Revenge bat­tle and Seat­tle is not being occu­pied by a clone army that needs to be dri­ven from its streets. The peo­ple protest­ing and march­ing on Capi­tol Hill live here. They’re Seat­tleites; Seat­tle is their city and they are the peo­ple that May­or Jen­ny Durkan is account­able to.

It is so like Trump to attack, threat­en, and oth­er­ize peo­ple who don’t sup­port his extreme­ly destruc­tive neo­fas­cist agen­da. He sad­ly does it all the time, but that does­n’t make his behav­ior any less deserv­ing of con­dem­na­tion.

Trump embod­ies pret­ty much every vice imag­in­able, and yet the Repub­li­can Par­ty — once the par­ty of Abra­ham Lin­coln, wide­ly regard­ed as the Unit­ed States’ great­est-ever pres­i­dent — wor­ships him like a cult. It’s just sick­en­ing.

May this ter­ri­ble error in our nation’s his­to­ry come to an end as swift­ly as pos­si­ble, and may it nev­er be repeat­ed to any extent what­so­ev­er.

Tuesday, June 9th, 2020

Senator Manka Dhingra: Our communities need guardians on our streets, not warriors

Edi­tor’s Note: Sen­a­tor Man­ka Dhin­gra serves as the Deputy Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader, as Vice Chair of the Sen­ate’s Law & Jus­tice Com­mit­tee, as Chair of the Sen­ate’s Behav­ioral Health Sub­com­mit­tee, and is a found­ing board­mem­ber of NPI’s sib­ling, the North­west Pro­gres­sive Foun­da­tion. On Sun­day, June 7th, she addressed atten­dees of the Wood­inville Peace March for Black Lives Mat­ter at DeY­oung Park. The fol­low­ing are her pre­pared remarks. 

In a just world, George Floyd, Bre­on­na Tay­lor, and Ahmaud Arbery would be alive today. The unfor­tu­nate truth in Amer­i­ca is that the dark­er your skin col­or, the hard­er life is for you. It is also true that the dark­er your skin col­or, the more like­ly you are to suf­fer vio­lence at the hands of the police.

That is not jus­tice.

I had hoped that Wash­ing­ton had made progress over the last sev­er­al years to make this kind of injus­tice less like­ly here.

In 2018, Wash­ing­to­ni­ans over­whelm­ing­ly passed Ini­tia­tive 940 to hold police offi­cers account­able for exces­sive use of force.

In 2019, the Leg­is­la­ture unan­i­mous­ly passed leg­is­la­tion to affirm the initiative’s intent and make it legal­ly work­able.

Just this year, the Leg­is­la­ture cre­at­ed the very first statewide Office of Equi­ty in the nation, to focus our state gov­ern­ment on address­ing the his­tor­i­cal lega­cy of racism that impacts our cur­rent insti­tu­tions.

And for 2021 and beyond, we have a strong new agen­da from the Pover­ty Reduc­tion Work Group to undo struc­tur­al racism in state pol­i­cy by tack­ling income inequal­i­ty; decrim­i­nal­iz­ing pover­ty; and reduc­ing reliance on the crim­i­nal and juve­nile jus­tice sys­tems.

But today, I am hor­ri­fied at the aggres­sive, para­mil­i­tary response by the Seat­tle Police Depart­ment to peace­ful pro­test­ers. That exces­sive response is not jus­tice.

Espe­cial­ly when there are law enforce­ment agen­cies in com­mu­ni­ties across our state and our coun­try that are respond­ing so much bet­ter.

This is espe­cial­ly heart­break­ing to me because I have worked so hard to change the cul­ture of law enforce­ment. We don’t need war­riors polic­ing our soci­ety, we need guardians for our com­mu­ni­ty. I have been a part of cri­sis inter­ven­tion train­ing for law enforce­ment for over a decade and have seen first­hand how well these train­ings can and do work. And I have worked in the Leg­is­la­ture to reform our law enforce­ment and crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tems.

But the injus­tices we are see­ing now are a stark reminder that we have a lot more work ahead of us. So how does change come about?

Change will come when each and every one of us acknowl­edges this injus­tice; when each and every one of us grieves for this injus­tice; and when each and every one of us works to dis­man­tle the sys­tems of oppres­sion and racism.

The peace­ful protests right here and around our coun­try are a great upwelling of this right­eous grief.

Right now, we are tak­ing the first, nec­es­sary step toward real change.

But it will take us many more steps to get to the just world that we all want.

I want to first acknowl­edge and ful­ly rec­og­nize that our own state Sen­ate lacks the voice of even a sin­gle Black leg­is­la­tor, a voice that needs to cen­ter us today and always. Not one! There is one per­son run­ning, but not yet elect­ed.

It is imper­a­tive that our leg­isla­tive agen­da be shaped by the com­mu­ni­ty. Suc­cess­ful efforts toward change have always had their ori­gins at the local lev­el.

Thank you for start­ing us on our jour­ney for real, mean­ing­ful change, by acknowl­edg­ing this injus­tice and griev­ing this injus­tice.

I look for­ward to work­ing with you to cor­rect this injus­tice.

Tuesday, June 9th, 2020

Carolyn Long’s rematch with Jaime Herrera-Beutler could be Washington’s hottest race

An elec­tion that astute observers have their eye on in Wash­ing­ton this year is the con­test for the 3rd Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict in the state’s south­west com­mu­ni­ties. Washington’s 3rd encom­pass­es Lewis, Wahki­akum, Pacif­ic, Clark, Ska­ma­nia, Cowlitz and Klick­i­tat coun­ties along with a por­tion of Thurston Coun­ty.

Cowlitz Coun­ty, home to Kel­so and Longview, is a key bat­tle­ground with­in the dis­trict, where com­pa­nies like Wey­er­haeuser play a large role in the econ­o­my.

Chron­ic eco­nom­ic inse­cu­ri­ty in the area has altered the region’s elec­toral dynam­ics. While south­west Wash­ing­ton has long been home to a blue col­lar union­ized work­force, that work­force has shrunk in recent years.

The 3rd Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict has elect­ed both Democ­rats and Repub­li­cans to the Unit­ed States House in the past twen­ty years. Demo­c­rat Bri­an Baird rep­re­sent­ed the dis­trict before incum­bent Jaime Her­rera-Beut­ler, and he was pre­ced­ed by Repub­li­can Lin­da Smith, who gave up her seat to run against Pat­ty Mur­ray.

Since 2011, the 3rd has been rep­re­sent­ed by Repub­li­can Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, as men­tioned. In 2016, Her­rera Beut­ler won with 61.8% of the vote against her gen­er­al elec­tion oppo­nent, for­mer state leg­is­la­tor Jim Moeller.

But in 2018, Her­rera Beut­ler won with a much small­er major­i­ty (52.7%) against Car­olyn Long, a tenured pro­fes­sor in the School of Pol­i­tics, Phi­los­o­phy and Pub­lic Affairs at Wash­ing­ton State Uni­ver­si­­ty-Van­­cou­ver.

Carolyn Long at a summer house party

Con­gres­sion­al hope­ful Car­olyn Long lis­tens to a ques­tion from a sup­port­er at a sum­mer house par­ty (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

Long’s cam­paign turned heads with a sur­pris­ing­ly strong show­ing in the August 2018 Top Two elec­tion, caus­ing many observers to start watch­ing the 3rd Dis­trict more close­ly. Although Long did not ulti­mate­ly pre­vail over Her­rera-Beut­ler in 2018, she is now run­ning for Unit­ed States Rep­re­sen­ta­tive again… and this time, she has the ben­e­fit of hav­ing start­ed much ear­li­er.

Her­rera-Beut­ler’s oth­er oppo­nents include Devin Gray, Davy Ray, and Mar­tin Hash.

They are like­ly to be elim­i­nat­ed in the August Top Two elec­tion, leav­ing only Her­rera-Beut­ler and Long in the Novem­ber gen­er­al elec­tion runoff.

SwingLeft, a group that works to elect more and bet­ter Democ­rats, char­ac­ter­izes the 3rd as winnable and argues Long is well posi­tioned to be vic­to­ri­ous in 2020.

The group notes (PDF):

WA-03 is usu­al­ly compet­i­tive, with the areas near Port­land lean­ing more Demo­c­ra­t­ic than rur­al areas. Trump won the dis­trict by 7 points (49.9% to Clin­ton’s 42.5%). In 2000, Bush won with 48% and was re-elec­t­ed with 50%. Oba­ma swung the dis­trict in 2008 with 52% of the vote. Redis­trict­ing extend­ed the dis­trict fur­ther to the east, result­ing in a high­er con­cen­tra­tion of Repub­li­can vot­ers. Rom­ney won with 49.6% in 2012.

Car­olyn Long has a strong back­ground in edu­ca­tion. She has been a pro­fes­sor at Wash­ing­ton State Uni­ver­si­ty for twen­­ty-four years, and has worked at the Uni­ver­si­ty in var­i­ous admin­is­tra­tive and lead­er­ship roles since 1995. Long grew up in a rur­al com­mu­ni­ty on the Wash­ing­ton state coast and was a mem­ber of the UFCW 555 while a stu­dent, which allowed her to fund her under­grad­u­ate edu­ca­tion.

Long has amassed an impres­sive war chest for a chal­lenger.

As Ore­gon Pub­lic Broad­cast­ing report­ed back in April:

Long raised $538,375 over the past three months, com­pared with Her­rera Beutler’s $435,615. Dat­ing back to Octo­ber, Long has raised a total of $1.6 mil­lion to Her­rera Beutler’s $1.3 mil­lion.

How­ev­er, Her­rera Beut­ler holds an advan­tage in over­all funds. The incum­bent had a six-month head start in fundrais­ing, help­ing her raise close to $2 mil­lion in her cam­paign since last year. She still has more cash-on-hand, too: $1.3 mil­lion to Long’s $1.1 mil­lion.

Long has empha­sized her sup­port for vote at home, a pub­lic health­care option, and get­ting big mon­ey out of pol­i­tics as major themes of her 2020 cam­paign.

She has also spo­ken out in sup­port of police reform and Black Lives Mat­ter, while Her­rera-Beut­ler has been con­spic­u­ous­ly silent even as oth­er Repub­li­can incum­bents fac­ing dif­fi­cult reelec­tions weigh in.

Run­ning dur­ing a pres­i­den­tial elec­tion year, and with a well fund­ed and high­ly regard­ed Demo­c­ra­t­ic oppo­nent, Her­rera Buetler is in the fight of her polit­i­cal life. Though the con­test in the 3rd does­n’t receive a lot of atten­tion in the Seat­tle media mar­ket, it could eas­i­ly be Wash­ing­ton’s hottest race this cycle.

Monday, June 8th, 2020

Book Review: “Dawn of the Code War” looks at the modern age’s cyber battlegrounds

Two cen­turies ago, the Pruss­ian gen­er­al Carl von Clause­witz famous­ly wrote, “War is a con­tin­u­a­tion of pol­i­tics with oth­er means.”

The nice thing about apho­risms is that they are so easy to re-inter­pret for fresh pur­pos­es and present cir­cum­stances. In that way, apho­risms are unlike new tech­nol­o­gy, which often change the world around it far less than is cred­it­ed to it pure­ly by virtue of being nov­el and there­fore more vis­i­ble.

For­mer Assis­tant Attor­ney Gen­er­al John P. Car­lin and jour­nal­ist Gar­rett Graf­f’s 2019 book Dawn of the Code War focus­es on the new chal­lenges posed by cyber threats to nation­al secu­ri­ty. Sub­ti­tled “Amer­i­ca’s Bat­tle Against Rus­sia, Chi­na, and the Ris­ing Glob­al Cyber Threat”, it dives deep into some of the cas­es Car­lin dealt with dur­ing his rough­ly twen­ty years in fed­er­al law enforce­ment for the FBI and U.S. Depart­ment of Justice’s Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Divi­sion, par­tic­u­lar­ly those threats direct­ed by Iran, North Korea, Chi­na, and Rus­sia.

Dawn of the Code War

Dawn of the Code War: Amer­i­ca’s Bat­tle Against Rus­sia, Chi­na, and the Ris­ing Glob­al Cyber Threat, by John P. Car­lin and Gar­rett M. Graff (Hard­cov­er, Pub­li­cAf­fairs)

There’s some val­ue and some inter­est in this, explain­ing how indi­vid­ual human errors are often the key to, for exam­ple, find­ing an indi­vid­ual Daesh/Islamic State group “cyber jihadist” recruiter based on con­nec­tions to oth­er, less care­ful cyber crim­i­nals or that Chi­nese hack­ers were the ones behind a par­tic­u­lar net­work intru­sion for intel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty because they did­n’t always cov­er their tracks as well as they were capa­ble of.

The his­to­ry of cyber­crime and cyber­crim­i­nals traced from its hum­bler begin­nings when com­put­er net­works were large­ly the realm of niche aca­d­e­m­ic pur­suits ver­sus now where every aspect of our lives is inter­twined with them does show again and again the human ele­ment of what it takes to hold mali­cious actors account­able for their actions, even when those actions are key­strokes half a world away.

But the book’s pri­ma­ry lim­i­ta­tion is that, to be crass, Car­lin is a cop; his insights are main­ly lim­it­ed to a cop’s insight of solv­ing par­tic­u­lar cas­es.

It’s enter­tain­ing to read through North Kore­a’s attack on Sony Pic­tures in 2014 over their griev­ance of the Seth Rogen film “The Inter­view” because the plot includ­ed the far­ci­cal assas­si­na­tion of North Kore­an leader Kim Jong-un.

It reminds you how seri­ous this attack actu­al­ly was, which was obscured at the time and has most­ly fad­ed from pop­u­lar mem­o­ry now.

But Car­lin was­n’t with the for­eign-focused CIA or NSA, so his view is from the view of a cop catch­ing incom­ing crim­i­nals.

When focus­ing on oth­er nations with bad designs on the Unit­ed States, a major miss­ing piece is what the Unit­ed States itself is already doing. I say this only because I read about the Iran­ian cyber attacks as an exam­ple of the asym­met­ri­cal war­fare they favor, but there was only one off­hand ref­er­ence I saw to Stuxnet, the joint U.S.-Israeli com­put­er worm designed in the mid-aughts to tar­get Iran’s nuclear pro­gram and cause phys­i­cal dam­age to cen­trifuges in infect­ed facil­i­ties.

Clear­ly, the Unit­ed States is aware of the many ways that cyber­at­tacks can be used to tar­get a nation’s infra­struc­ture because we’ve done and no doubt are doing it to oth­ers. Sim­i­lar­ly, as Car­lin acknowl­edges, the prob­lem with Russ­ian elec­tion inter­fer­ence was­n’t so much that there was a lack of secu­ri­ty with­in polit­i­cal par­ties or state elec­tion sys­tems, although that’s accu­rate.

The prob­lem was that when the attacks were dis­cov­ered, traced back to Russ­ian intel­li­gence agen­cies, and the infor­ma­tion was brought to Con­gress, then-House Speak­er Paul Ryan and Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader Mitch McConnell were per­fect­ly OK with the attacks because it meant they had a bet­ter chance for their par­ty to win the pres­i­den­cy and achieve their pol­i­cy goals of dis­man­tling the wel­fare state, hurt­ing unions, and entrench­ing vot­er sup­pres­sion.

The Unit­ed States has sim­i­lar­ly made com­mon cause with local polit­i­cal par­ties to con­tin­ue pol­i­tics with oth­er means.

We’ve been aware that some­one might do the same to us, but what’s changed is hav­ing a polit­i­cal par­ty whol­ly embrace such a for­eign alliance.

You can even look at the role of pro­pa­gan­da and how lit­tle has changed in sev­en­ty years. Dur­ing the Cold War, the CIA fund­ed Radio Free Europe for years as anti-Com­mu­nist pro­pa­gan­da whose radio waves could pierce the Iron Cur­tain.

Its effec­tive­ness com­pared to the Sovi­et equiv­a­lent Radio Moscow was that the Sovi­et Union had struc­tur­al issues exploitable by radio broad­casts by RFE’s broad­casts, such as includ­ing less strict cul­tur­al cen­sor­ship and infor­ma­tion (or mis­in­for­ma­tion) that seemed more trust­wor­thy than the local gov­ern­ments that so bald­ly lied about what was going on, such as Cher­nobyl.

How­ev­er, now Radio Moscow has become Sput­nik, and what makes Sput­nik effec­tive is that it can ampli­fy forty years of con­ser­v­a­tive ide­ol­o­gy while being ampli­fied in turn by them. If Radio Moscow had had the equiv­a­lent of Fox News and AM talk radio pick­ing up its pro­pa­gan­da and push­ing it, or if Nixon had asked the Sovi­ets to do Water­gate for him and the Repub­li­cans had con­trolled the Sen­ate and been fine with it, it’s hard to see what would be so dif­fer­ent.

For that rea­son, the new­ness of what cyber­at­tacks rep­re­sent is less con­vinc­ing, includ­ing what our nation’s new respons­es should be.

Gov­ern­ments uti­liz­ing inde­pen­dent hack­ers to attack oth­er coun­tries does­n’t seem too dif­fer­ent from eigh­teenth-cen­tu­ry pirates get­ting their let­ters of mar­que to be des­ig­nat­ed pri­va­teers. Intel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty rights seem to have changed more in the past one hun­dred years than nations’  theft of intel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty.

Pro­pa­gan­da, use­ful idiots, agent provo­ca­teur — these were all around in the past and per­haps less iden­ti­fi­able. But in the great ide­o­log­i­cal strug­gle of the Cold War, the Sovi­ets felt com­pelled to side with the plight of Black Amer­i­cans in an effort to under­mine cap­i­tal­ism. Maybe if they’d helped South­ern con­ser­v­a­tives resist the Civ­il Rights Move­ment, they’d have found more will­ing part­ners.

The Unit­ed States spent an unknown amount of resources to devel­op our cyber­weapon Stuxnet, designed to phys­i­cal­ly break part of the infra­struc­ture of Iran. But it turns out the most cost-effec­tive worm for under­min­ing Amer­i­can hege­mo­ny and infra­struc­ture is mak­ing sure Trump and pri­va­ti­za­tion-hap­py Repub­li­cans stay in pow­er, by what­ev­er means nec­es­sary.

Some­times pol­i­tics is a con­tin­u­a­tion of war with oth­er means.​

Sunday, June 7th, 2020

COVID-19 Update: Food, transparency, and the fallout in our hardest hit communities

It’s time for anoth­er install­ment of of our spe­cial series COVID-19 Update, bring­ing you the lat­est devel­op­ments on the nov­el coro­n­avirus out­break that pub­lic health author­i­ties here and across the coun­try are work­ing to mit­i­gate.

Wash­ing­ton

Food pro­cess­ing con­tin­ues to be a focal point for devel­op­ment and spread of COVID-19. A fac­to­ry trawler, the FV Amer­i­can Dynasty, present­ly docked in Belling­ham, had eighty-five of one hun­dred and twen­ty-six crew mem­bers test pos­i­tive for COVID-19 as of June 1st, end­ing its fish­ing sea­son.

There are con­cerns, as a result, that the north Pacif­ic fish­ing indus­try could be crip­pled for the fore­see­able future. In light of this and oth­er inci­dents regard­ing food proces­sors and the pan­dem­ic, Gov­er­nor Inslee has imple­ment­ed new rules for agribusi­ness that were made effec­tive as of June 3rd.

They require hand wash­ing sta­tions clos­er to orchards and fields and masks and oth­er PPE avail­able at no cost to employ­ees, among oth­er items.

Work­ers at Mat­son Fruit, who had been on strike since May 12th over COVID-19 con­cerns, returned to work on Mon­day after reach­ing a set­tle­ment on Fri­day, June 6th. Yak­ma Coun­ty has been, per capi­ta, one of the hard­est coun­ties hit in Wash­ing­ton state by the pan­dem­ic, and it and oth­er fac­tors may cur­tail the growth and pro­cess­ing of spe­cif­ic fruit crops for years to come.

Also on Fri­day, a num­ber of coun­ties were upgrad­ed in sta­tus with respect to Gov­er­nor Inslee’s “Safe Start” pro­gram.

King Coun­ty was upgrad­ed to a mod­i­fied Phase 1 sta­tus. Clark, Okanogan, Pierce, Skag­it, Sno­homish and What­com coun­ties moved to Phase 2 sta­tus.

Colum­bia, Fer­ry, Garfield, Lin­coln, Pend Oreille, Stevens and Wahki­akum coun­ties moved to Phase 3 sta­tus. An updat­ed risk assess­ment board for COVID-19 with­in Wash­ing­ton state was avail­able as of Wednes­day, June 3rd.

Ore­gon

On June 3rd, four­teen pro­duc­tion work­ers at Bob’s Red Mill in Mil­waukie were found to have caught the dis­ease. That same day, state pub­lic health offi­cials dis­closed that almost one hun­dred employ­ees had become ill at two Port­land facil­i­ties of Townsend Farms, one of which had hap­pened in late April. Pacif­ic Seafood, in the coastal town of New­port, has devel­oped 124 cas­es of COVID-19, accord­ing to inves­ti­ga­tions by local pub­lic health author­i­ties between June 2nd and 7th.

Idaho

The Mag­ic Val­ley area of Ida­ho, which includes the city of Twin Falls, has Lati­nos and His­pan­ics make up over 50% of their cas­es of COVID-19, which are a result of many issues with­in the com­mu­ni­ty.

After some ear­li­er con­tro­ver­sy with the Ida­ho States­man news­pa­per, the Ida­ho Depart­ment of Health and Wel­fare start­ed report­ing week­ly the num­ber of COVID-19 cas­es at long-term care facil­i­ties on Fri­day, June 5th.

British Colum­bia

The provin­cial gov­ern­ment has raised almost one thou­sand vol­un­teers from gov­ern­ment employ­ees, who are present­ly on rota­tion to min­i­mize viral load per vol­un­teer, to enforce quar­an­tine rules at all inter­na­tion­al bor­der cross­ings.

The hard, cold numbers

Wash­ing­ton state has had 24,733 cas­es and 1,162 attrib­ut­able deaths.

405,056 peo­ple have been test­ed.

Ore­gon has had 4,808 cas­es and 164 attrib­ut­able deaths.

148,400 peo­ple have been test­ed.

Ida­ho has had 3,139 cas­es and 83 attrib­ut­able deaths.

56,041 peo­ple have been test­ed.

British Colum­bia has had 2,632 cas­es and 167 attrib­ut­able deaths.

153,359 peo­ple have been test­ed.

Sunday, June 7th, 2020

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (June 1st-5th)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Unit­ed States Sen­a­tors vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Fri­day, June 5th, 2020.

The House was in recess.

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Sen­ate cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress pho­to)

CONFIRMING VOICE OF AMERICA CHIEF: Vot­ing 53 for and 38 against, the Sen­ate on June 4th con­firmed con­ser­v­a­tive doc­u­men­tary film­mak­er Michael Pack to lead the U.S. Agency for Glob­al Media, which over­sees the Voice of Amer­i­ca, Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia and oth­er ser­vices that report news about Amer­i­ca and glob­al devel­op­ments to for­eign audi­ences.

Don­ald Trump has repeat­ed­ly crit­i­cized the VOA for its cov­er­age of Chi­na, Rus­sia and his admin­is­tra­tion, prompt­ing Democ­rats to warn that Pack will seek to infuse pro­pa­gan­da into the VOA’s typ­i­cal­ly inde­pen­dent and unbi­ased cov­er­age.

For­mer­ly named the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors, the glob­al media agency has an annu­al bud­get of $750 mil­lion. Pack­’s nom­i­na­tion also proved con­tro­ver­sial over deal­ings between a non­prof­it he runs, Pub­lic Media Lab, and a for-prof­it film com­pa­ny, Man­i­fold Pro­duc­tions, oper­at­ed by his wife.

Democ­rats said in debate the non­prof­it improp­er­ly chan­neled $4 mil­lion over many years to the for-prof­it com­pa­ny in trans­fers he failed to accu­rate­ly report to the Inter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice and lat­er acknowl­edged to be “over­sights.” The office of the Dis­trict of Colum­bia attor­ney gen­er­al office is inves­ti­gat­ing the trans­ac­tions.

Jim Risch, R‑Idaho, said debate over Pack reflect­ed “the dif­fer­ence of polit­i­cal phi­los­o­phy between the two par­ties. Regard­less of the breast-beat­ing and the rend­ing of gar­ments over what an awful per­son [he] is, and how awful his busi­ness­es have been, keep in mind, this is all pol­i­tics. If you see the kind of work that he has done, he makes Amer­i­ca proud when he makes a doc­u­men­tary.”

Jeff Merkley, D‑Oregon, said Pack’s IRS fil­ings in 2011 through 2018 “did not accu­rate­ly dis­close a rela­tion­ship between his non­prof­it and his for-prof­it.”

“When he was asked if, in fact, there were com­mon offi­cers between the two, he answered no when the answer was clear­ly yes,” Sen­a­tor Merkley stat­ed. “He did not dis­close that his for-prof­it ben­e­fit­ed from the set­up of the non­prof­it. Mr. Pack did admit to the [Sen­ate] that he made over­sights; that is the term he used, ‘over­sights.’ But he has refused to cor­rect his tax fil­ings.”

A yes vote was to con­firm the nom­i­nee.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Pat­ty Mur­ray and Maria Cantwell

Cas­ca­dia total: 2 aye votes, 4 nay votes

CONFIRMING CORONAVIRUS INSPECTOR GENERAL: Vot­ing 51 for and 40 against, the Sen­ate on June 2nd con­firmed asso­ciate White House coun­sel Bri­an D. Miller as the chief watch­dog over the admin­is­tra­tion’s dis­tri­b­u­tion of tril­lions of dol­lars in coro­n­avirus relief funds. Demo­c­ra­t­ic Leader Chuck Schumer, D‑New York  said in a let­ter that Miller’s close­ness to Pres­i­dent Trump dis­qual­i­fies him to over­see huge pan­dem­ic expen­di­tures under White House con­trol.

But the Sen­ate con­duct­ed no floor debate on his nom­i­na­tion to become spe­cial inspec­tor gen­er­al for pan­dem­ic recov­ery.

A yes vote was to con­firm the nom­i­nee.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Pat­ty Mur­ray and Maria Cantwell

Cas­ca­dia total: 2 aye votes, 4 nay votes

CONFIRMING DEPUTY UNDERSCRETARY AT PENTAGON: Vot­ing 78 for and 18 against, the Sen­ate on June 3rd con­firmed Dr. James H. Ander­son as deputy under­sec­re­tary of defense for pol­i­cy, a civil­ian post that involves help­ing to devise and exe­cute nation­al-secu­ri­ty, nuclear-deter­rence and mis­sile-defense strate­gies, among oth­er duties. He had been an assis­tant defense sec­re­tary over­see­ing sev­er­al areas mil­i­tary pol­i­cy.

No sen­a­tor spoke in sup­port of Ander­son the Sen­ate floor.

Chris Van Hollen, D‑Maryland, said he vot­ed against the nom­i­nee because of Sec­re­tary of Defense Mark Esper’s com­ment that the U.S. mil­i­tary needs to ”dom­i­nate the bat­tle­space” to quell protests and riot­ing on Amer­i­can streets. Van Hollen said he had “lost con­fi­dence that any nom­i­nee can be trust­ed to stand up to the pres­i­den­t’s attempts to weaponize the Defense Depart­ment for his per­son­al and polit­i­cal ends.”

A yes vote was to con­firm the nom­i­nee.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Pat­ty Mur­ray and Maria Cantwell

Cas­ca­dia total: 2 aye votes, 4 nay votes

Key votes ahead

In the week of June 8th, the Sen­ate plans to take up a bill renew­ing the Land and Water Con­ser­va­tion Fund, while the House will be in recess.

Edi­tor’s Note: The infor­ma­tion in NPI’s week­ly How Cas­ca­di­a’s U.S. law­mak­ers vot­ed fea­ture is pro­vid­ed by Votera­ma in Con­gress, a ser­vice of Thomas Vot­ing Reports. All rights are reserved. Repro­duc­tion of this post is not per­mit­ted, not even with attri­bu­tion. Use the per­ma­nent link to this post to share it… thanks!

© 2020 Thomas Vot­ing Reports.

Saturday, June 6th, 2020

The Pandemic is Personal: Nadine Brumbaugh on giving up her massage therapy practice

Editor’s Note: Wel­come to The Pan­dem­ic is Per­son­al, a week­ly series focus­ing on on how the nov­el coro­n­avirus (SARS-CoV­­‑2) is affect­ing the every­day lives of peo­ple through­out the Pacif­ic North­west. We hope to enlight­en you and reflect on what you and oth­ers are address­ing as this pan­dem­ic runs its course.

If you have a sto­ry to tell, please feel free to con­tact us.

Nadine Brum­baugh is a long­time mas­sage ther­a­pist and “mas­sage geek” by trade. She lives in Seat­tle and loves learn­ing all she can about health and heal­ing.

After near­ly a decade as a mas­sage ther­a­pist, the COVID-19 cri­sis has made it nec­es­sary for me to part ways with an avo­ca­tion I dear­ly love.

Help­ing oth­ers is impor­tant to me and it’s a part of my per­son­al­i­ty.

I remem­ber look­ing in the win­dow of a neigh­bor­hood mas­sage ther­a­pist’s office as a child and it spark­ing my inter­est. As an adult, I stud­ied at the Nation­al Uni­ver­si­ty of Health Sci­ences and honed my ther­a­peu­tic mas­sage skills to an expert lev­el. It was very reward­ing to help peo­ple recov­er from car crash­es or be the per­son who could mas­sage an elder­ly client and know that your work allowed them to walk for two weeks or remain mobile and pain free for the next month.

It is with great dif­fi­cul­ty that I have left some­thing which allowed me to impact oth­er peo­ple’s lives in such pos­i­tive ways. How­ev­er, I see no oth­er choice.

As a mem­ber of the health­care com­mu­ni­ty, my duty is to ensure my clien­t’s safe­ty above all else. At this moment, ther­a­peu­tic mas­sage is an extreme health haz­ard which puts clients’ and ther­a­pists’ lives in seri­ous jeop­ardy.

I’m deeply dis­ap­point­ed that Wash­ing­ton State has clas­si­fied mas­sage ther­a­py as a “non-essen­­tial med­ical ser­vice” avail­able as ear­ly as Phase I of Wash­ing­ton state’s “Safe Start” reopen­ing pro­gram.

I’m upset that our state Depart­ment of health has declined to pro­vide guid­ance regard­ing how Gov­er­nor Inslee’s Procla­ma­tion 20–24.1, which reduces restric­tions for non-essen­­tial med­ical providers, applies to mas­sage ther­a­py.

Every­thing I have read from the CDC and oth­er cred­i­ble sources clas­si­fies being with­in six feet of anoth­er per­son that is ill or asymp­to­matic for longer than fif­teen min­utes as “pro­longed expo­sure”. It is these pro­longed expo­sures in which the virus is not only trans­mit­ted but can expose a per­son to a lethal dose of the virus.

Increased dose of the virus (prox­im­i­ty x time) direct­ly cor­re­lates to COVID-19 sever­i­ty and fatal­i­ty. I can see no way that a mas­sage ther­a­pist or client would­n’t even­tu­al­ly fall ill with COVID-19 in this set­up.

Phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing is impos­si­ble in mas­sage ther­a­py — no one is typ­i­cal­ly wear­ing N95 masks or the eye pro­tec­tion required by the guide­lines pro­vid­ed by Wash­ing­ton state’s Labor & Indus­tries Coro­n­avirus Haz­ard Con­sid­er­a­tions for Employ­ers.

These guide­lines cat­e­go­rize mas­sage as “an extreme­ly high risk” for COVID-19 trans­mis­sion. So why is a job defined as “an extreme­ly high risk” for COVID-19 trans­mis­sion able to be open before low­er risk jobs?

If it’s con­sid­ered so safe at this point, why is it that my trade asso­ci­a­tion, the Wash­ing­ton State Mas­sage Ther­a­py Asso­ci­a­tion, appar­ent­ly believes that we can only per­form our jobs with a full set of PPE gear?

We have a very real poten­tial to be super spread­ers of a dan­ger­ous infec­tious dis­ease to our clients, our fam­i­ly and friends, our co-work­ers and to the pub­lic.

I fear that ther­a­pists will be forced to work in enclosed, poor­ly ven­ti­lat­ed rooms for up to two hours per ses­sion wear­ing a cloth mask (since N95 masks may be impos­si­ble to acquire as we’re con­sid­ered “non-essen­­tial”, and thus less like­ly to receive access to them) and with full skin con­tact… gloves or no gloves.

With many elder­ly clients, peo­ple with under­ly­ing health con­di­tions and some who are can­cer sur­vivors; those clients would have upwards of a 10% to 27% chance of death should they con­tract COVID-19.

I have also received a let­ter from my lia­bil­i­ty insur­ance that they are “high­ly unlike­ly” to cov­er any claims relat­ed to COVID-19 trans­mis­sion.

Know­ing all this, is it even eth­i­cal to pro­vide mas­sage ther­a­py dur­ing this time?

Sad­ly, I’ve con­clud­ed it isn’t.

Friday, June 5th, 2020

Scramble for the Senate: Can Democrats take out Maine’s Susan Collins with Sara Gideon?

There are now less than six months to go until Novem­ber 3rd, 2020 and the events of each pass­ing day are a painful reminder to many Amer­i­cans that Don­ald Trump needs to be replaced: his incom­pe­tent COVID-19 response, his hor­ri­fy­ing med­ical “sug­ges­tions”, his lack of remorse over police bru­tal­i­ty, his shame­less abuse of reli­gious sym­bols for polit­i­cal pur­pos­es, and his threat to unleash the U.S. mil­i­tary on peace­ful pro­test­ers, to name but a few from the past few weeks.

How­ev­er, the Democ­rats need to do more than defeat Trump if they are to get the coun­try mov­ing for­ward towards a more pros­per­ous future. Don­ald Trump’s pres­i­den­cy is mere­ly a symp­tom of a decades-long right­ward lurch in U.S. pol­i­tics on every lev­el of nation­al pol­i­tics, and even if Joe Biden wins the White House, cor­rect­ing the lurch will be impos­si­ble with­out a Demo­c­ra­t­ic major­i­ty in the Sen­ate.

There are a lim­it­ed num­ber of chances for the Democ­rats to pick up Sen­ate seats, and they need to net three or four more seats for a major­i­ty. One of the best oppor­tu­ni­ties they have to do so is in the north­east­ern state of Maine.

Maine has a long his­to­ry of inde­pen­­dent-mind­ed pol­i­tics, and U.S. Sen­a­tor Susan Collins has held her seat for over twen­ty years (she was first elect­ed in 1996) by por­tray­ing her­self as a rea­son­able Repub­li­can who cross­es par­ty lines.

As recent­ly as her last elec­tion in 2014, Main­ers reward­ed her hand­some­ly for this record, giv­ing her over two thirds of the vote.

Senator Susan Collins

Susan Collins, U.S. Sen­a­tor, (R.-Maine), U.S. Sen­ate speak­ing at For­tune’s Most Pow­er­ful Women sum­mit. Pho­to­graph by Stu­art Isett/Fortune Most Pow­er­ful Women

Unfor­tu­nate­ly for Sen­a­tor Collins, the Trump era (or error…) has made her pro­fessed desire for bipar­ti­san­ship impos­si­ble. Since Don­ald Trump’s inau­gu­ra­tion, her pop­u­lar­i­ty among her con­stituents has plum­met­ed, to the point that she is now the most dis­liked U.S. Sen­a­tor in the coun­try – even more despised by her con­stituents than the open­ly loath­some Ken­tucky sen­a­tor, Mitch McConnell.

The irony is, Collins has made every­one unhap­py by try­ing to make every­one hap­py. In 2017, she was one of three Repub­li­can sen­a­tors to vote against the “skin­ny repeal” of the Patient Pro­tec­tion Act, block­ing Mitch McConnell and Don­ald Trump’s attempt to take away the health­care of mil­lions of Amer­i­cans.

For that act of defi­ance, she earned the eter­nal hatred of Trump’s fan­base, who val­ue loy­al­ty to their cult leader above all else (even self-pre­ser­­va­­tion).

Collins was also unable to use the oppor­tu­ni­ty to bur­nish her rep­u­ta­tion as an inde­pen­­dent-mind­ed politi­cian, as her role in the out­come was entire­ly over­shad­owed by the dying John McCain’s dra­mat­ic thumbs down vote.

Hav­ing alien­at­ed the Trump base, Collins went on to alien­ate her more pro­gres­sive con­stituents as well as lib­er­als across the coun­try.

She vot­ed for the 2017 Repub­li­can tax scam bill (a bill that con­ve­nient­ly ben­e­fit­ed her more than most Main­ers), but what real­ly drew fire from pro­gres­sives – espe­cial­ly women – was her vote to con­firm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, despite cred­i­ble alle­ga­tions of sex­u­al assault against him.

Collins’ deci­sions dur­ing the Trump years have not only destroyed her approval rat­ings, but also dri­ven key allies away from her.

In pre­vi­ous elec­tions, Collins could count on the endorse­ments of a num­ber of right-lean­ing Demo­c­ra­t­ic sen­a­tors (includ­ing Joe Manchin of West Vir­ginia and Diane Fein­stein of Cal­i­for­nia) as well as orga­ni­za­tions such as the League of Con­ser­va­tion Vot­ers. In this elec­tion, that sup­port is ebbing away.

Demo­c­ra­t­ic law­mak­ers see Collins as “in the way” of a Demo­c­ra­t­ic major­i­ty, and the LCV has endorsed one of her Demo­c­ra­t­ic oppo­nents, point­ing direct­ly to the senator’s rela­tion­ship with Trump: “We have an extreme and rad­i­cal pres­i­dent who has so lit­tle inter­est in what’s good for places like Maine.”

The Demo­c­ra­t­ic pri­ma­ry to choose a chal­lenger to Collins will take place on July, 14th, and two can­di­dates in par­tic­u­lar poll strong­ly against the incum­bent.

The most like­ly can­di­date to take on Collins in Novem­ber is Sara Gideon, the forty-eight-year-old speak­er of the Maine State House. Gideon has the enthu­si­as­tic sup­port of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic party’s estab­lish­ment, man­i­fest­ed through the endorse­ment of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­to­r­i­al Cam­paign Com­mit­tee (DSCC).

Gideon cap­i­tal­ized on that sup­port imme­di­ate­ly, gath­er­ing over $1 mil­lion in cam­paign dona­tions with­in a week of declar­ing her run. Gideon has gone from strength to strength in the polling against Collins. Back in March, a sur­vey by NPI’s poll­ster Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling put Gideon 4% ahead of Collins. By the end of last month that lead had grown to 9%, accord­ing to a poll by Vic­to­ry Geek.

Maine Senate candidate Sara Gideon

Maine House Speak­er and Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­ate hope­ful Sara Gideon (Cam­paign pho­to)

Pro­gres­sives might get excit­ed at the prospect of unseat­ing the woman who put Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, but that is about all they will find excit­ing about Sara Gideon. Gideon’s pol­i­cy posi­tions seem more focused on avoid­ing con­tro­ver­sy than work­ing towards actu­al solu­tions.

While mak­ing lib­er­al use of terms like “reform” and “cham­pi­on,” her web­site omits to men­tion pro­gres­sive poli­cies such as the Green New Deal or Medicare for All, or even com­mit remov­ing the archa­ic and regres­sive leg­isla­tive fil­i­buster.

This lack of con­vic­tion has been picked up by the oth­er promi­nent Demo­c­rat in the bat­tle for Maine’s Unit­ed States Sen­ate seat.

Bet­sy Sweet, a life­long human rights cam­paign­er and for­mer guber­na­to­r­i­al can­di­date, has the back­ing of pro­gres­sive groups – most notably the Jus­tice Democ­rats. Sweet has crit­i­cized Gideon’s lack of pol­i­cy com­mit­ments, say­ing “peo­ple are hun­gry for real poli­cies and they’re hun­gry for real ideas.”

Sweet has her­self called for bold pro­gres­sive poli­cies on the cli­mate cri­sis, health­care and end­ing polit­i­cal cor­rup­tion. She also polls ahead of Susan Collins, although her lead is far nar­row­er than Gideon’s – she leads Collins by only 1% in the same poll that showed Gideon ahead by 9%.

Despite her lack of inspir­ing ideas, Sara Gideon looks set to become the Demo­c­ra­t­ic nom­i­nee. This is par­tial­ly thanks to her estab­lish­ment back­ing, but she is also like­ly helped by Main­ers’ desire for rep­re­sen­ta­tion that embraces bipar­ti­san­ship.

The past four years have been exhaust­ing for many Main­ers, as Susan Collins has repeat­ed­ly drawn scorn and deri­sion for her speech­es and votes (she has mem­o­rably been par­o­died by Sat­ur­day Night Live’s Ceci­ly Strong in a series of dev­as­tat­ing sketch­es). Should Pine Tree State vot­ers decide to dump Collins, they could play a piv­otal role in flip­ping con­trol of the Sen­ate to the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty.

Thursday, June 4th, 2020

Wannabe governor Tim Eyman: Unfit for office and a threat to civil discourse

This sum­mer, for the first time ever, Tim Eyman him­self will appear on Wash­ing­to­ni­ans’ bal­lots as a can­di­date… a can­di­date for gov­er­nor.

The fifty-four year old has spent the last few decades heap­ing abuse on Wash­ing­ton State’s elect­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tives while leav­ing them to deal with the con­se­quences of his destruc­tive ini­tia­tives and dis­miss­ing the notion of run­ning for office him­self… as recent­ly, in fact, as Novem­ber 2019.

But now Eyman is a can­di­date, and not just for any office, but for the most impor­tant office in the land, which heads the state’s exec­u­tive depart­ment.

To say that Eyman despis­es incum­bent Jay Inslee would be an under­state­ment. While Eyman also dis­liked Inslee’s pre­de­ces­sors Chris­tine Gre­goire and Gary Locke, he par­tic­u­lar­ly can’t stand Inslee, no doubt because Inslee has repeat­ed­ly refused to capit­u­late to Eyman’s demands to shred pub­lic ser­vices, gut our cher­ished tra­di­tion of major­i­ty rule, and yank invest­ments in mul­ti­modal trans­porta­tion projects.

In Jay Inslee, Eyman has an oppo­nent who stands on prin­ci­ple and makes deci­sions based on sound sci­ence and what is best for the peo­ple of the state.

And that real­ly, real­ly both­ers him.

Tim Eyman’s fore­most skill is manip­u­lat­ing peo­ple, and when he runs into some­one he can­not manip­u­late, that per­son typ­i­cal­ly becomes a foil for him to use in the course of manip­u­lat­ing oth­er peo­ple, whether that’s reporters, vot­ers, or even Eyman’s own admir­ing fan club, who he con­stant­ly requests mon­ey from.

It is impor­tant to under­stand that Tim delib­er­ate­ly makes provoca­tive com­ments like the ones he made this week because he is always in pur­suit of atten­tion and media cov­er­age… good or bad. (For ref­er­ence, Eyman’s com­ments were: “Jay Inslee has his knee on the neck of mil­lions of peo­ple he deems non-essen­tial. And he calls them heart­less and self­ish for beg­ging him to get off.”)

I have on sev­er­al occa­sions heard reporters ask Eyman why be behaves the way he does… why he is so the­atri­cal, why he dress­es up in cos­tume, why he embraces hyber­bole and con­fronta­tion, why he is con­sis­tent­ly rude and dis­re­spect­ful.

And I’ve heard Eyman respond to this effect: Because that’s what I know works. That’s how I know I can get you guys to pay atten­tion to me. 

While much of what Tim Eyman says is false, I believe he was telling the truth when he said that he acts out in order to get atten­tion. It works.

Eyman views media events as per­for­mances, and he always shows up ready to per­form. Provo­ca­tion is a strat­e­gy for drum­ming up inter­est, a tried and test­ed strat­e­gy that has been proven to work over the course of decades.

For any­one read­ing who works in the mass media, please under­stand this: As long as you cov­er Eyman, he will con­tin­ue to behave this way.

This is hard­ly the first time that Eyman has made offen­sive com­ments. He has pre­vi­ous­ly called Jay Inslee “a lying whore”, and refused to apol­o­gize for those com­ments even when oth­er top Repub­li­cans urged him to. He has used an image of a woman hold­ing a gun to a child’s head to denounce King Coun­ty Exec­u­tive Dow Con­stan­tine, which prompt­ed the Wash­ing­ton chap­ter of the Amer­i­can Acad­e­my of Pedi­atrics to issue an unusu­al pub­lic state­ment of con­dem­na­tion.

More recent­ly, Eyman urged his fol­low­ers to put their lives at risk for his ben­e­fit, exhort­ing them to come to a meet and greet for his guber­na­to­r­i­al can­di­da­cy by say­ing: “Let’s stick our fin­ger in the eye of Jay Inslee… 251 is the # of patri­ots I hope will join me @ Oak Har­bor today. I’m bring­ing a six-pack of Coro­na!”

Don­ald Trump is also a mas­ter of media manip­u­la­tion and of hurl­ing mem­o­rable put-downs. It is clear that Eyman deeply admires and appre­ci­ates Trump’s abil­i­ty to run scams, con peo­ple, and demo­nize peo­ple who object.

Eyman in 2016 got his pic­ture tak­en with Trump and effu­sive­ly told his fan club that when he met Trump, he said: “I admire your courage.”

Yeah… the courage to dupe and scam and trick peo­ple.

It is pos­si­ble that Eyman changed his mind about run­ning for office in part because of Don­ald Trump’s 2016 vic­to­ry in the Elec­toral Col­lege.

Trump got elect­ed to the high­est office in the coun­try with­out ever hav­ing pre­vi­ous­ly served in a posi­tion of pub­lic respon­si­bil­i­ty, unlike pret­ty much every oth­er pres­i­dent before him, who had either local and state gov­ern­ment expe­ri­ence, con­gres­sion­al expe­ri­ence, mil­i­tary expe­ri­ence, or expe­ri­ence as Vice Pres­i­dent pri­or to becom­ing the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca’s Com­man­der-in-Chief.

Tim Eyman is like­wise unfit for office… and not just gov­er­nor, but any office, any­where, ever. The peo­ple of this state and coun­try deserve elect­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tives who are hon­est, who are kind, who under­stand the mean­ing and val­ue of ser­vice, and who adhere to the Plat­inum Rule.

Pub­lic ser­vice is a noble and impor­tant call­ing, but it isn’t for every­one. Some peo­ple sim­ply don’t have what it takes to serve ably, or in Eyman’s case, at all.

It is telling that Eyman has not got­ten any trac­tion in his cam­paign for gov­er­nor beyond the appre­ci­a­tion of his fan club. In fact, if KING5’s polling is accu­rate, he is expe­ri­enc­ing neg­a­tive momen­tum. In Jan­u­ary, Eyman reg­is­tered at 11% in a Sur­veyUSA poll on the guber­na­to­r­i­al race; last month, he reg­is­tered at 8%… which is in the sin­gle dig­its. By way of com­par­i­son, four years ago, Inslee’s even­tu­al Repub­li­can oppo­nent Bill Bryant was polling in the thir­ties.

While Eyman has found some suc­cess run­ning cons against Wash­ing­ton vot­ers in the form of bal­lot mea­sures, there’s a big dif­fer­ence between run­ning a bal­lot mea­sure and run­ning for office as a can­di­date. It will be Eyman’s name and his par­ty affil­i­a­tion on the bal­lot this time, not a decep­tive, bad­ly writ­ten bal­lot title that Eyman mas­saged out of the Attor­ney Gen­er­al’s office.

It is my hope that Eyman’s can­di­da­cy not only fails, but fails spec­tac­u­lar­ly, so that we can affirm as a soci­ety that Eyman’s tox­ic pol­i­tics are not in keep­ing with Wash­ing­ton val­ues. Tim Eyman brings noth­ing to the table. Noth­ing.

Not once in his career has he done any­thing that I would con­sid­er con­struc­tive. All of his ini­tia­tives have sought to under­mine or destroy pub­lic ser­vices.

Eyman is utter­ly uncon­cerned with wor­thy caus­es like end­ing sys­temic racism, improv­ing access to hous­ing, reduc­ing cli­mate dam­age, and improv­ing mobil­i­ty for Wash­ing­tons. He has instead used his tal­ent for manip­u­la­tion for destruc­tive ends.

Eyman’s own fol­low­ers have been injured the most by Eyman’s greed and dis­hon­esty. Eyman has repeat­ed­ly lied to them, cheat­ed them, and brought out the worst in them. For exam­ple, Eyman has:

  • Steered mon­ey they gave him for cam­paigns into his own per­son­al pock­ets with­out ask­ing them or even telling them;
  • Con­duct­ed cam­paigns of harass­ment against elect­ed Repub­li­cans who took an action Eyman did not like, there­by frac­tur­ing Repub­li­can par­ty uni­ty;
  • Used funds raised for one ini­tia­tive to qual­i­fy a sec­ond, unre­lat­ed ini­tia­tive with­out the knowl­edge or per­mis­sion of his donors;
  • Asked peo­ple to give mon­ey to a tax-exempt char­i­ty run by a friend with the under­stand­ing that the mon­ey would end up in Eyman’s pock­ets, with the char­i­ty func­tion­ing as a pass-through enti­ty, in vio­la­tion of fed­er­al law.

As a con­se­quence of Eyman’s will­ful and repeat­ed vio­la­tions of pub­lic dis­clo­sure laws, he has been left in a posi­tion where he owes the peo­ple of the State of Wash­ing­ton hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars. As Eyman has no occu­pa­tion oth­er than run­ning polit­i­cal cons, the mon­ey to pay those penal­ties will be com­ing from his admir­ing fol­low­ers, includ­ing his wealthy bene­fac­tors.

Iron­ic, isn’t it, that the man who built a rep­u­ta­tion as anti-gov­ern­ment polit­i­cal activist must now devote a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of what he is able to raise so he can make pay­ments to the Wash­ing­ton State trea­sury.

Despite his blus­ter and pro­jec­tion, this sit­u­a­tion is entire­ly of Eyman’s own mak­ing. He has begun to reap what he has sown.

An empath­ic rejec­tion of his can­di­da­cy would send a strong and nec­es­sary mes­sage that Wash­ing­ton wants lead­er­ship that is hon­est, car­ing, and inclu­sive… lead­er­ship that seeks to unite every­one behind our finest val­ues and prin­ci­ples, not divide peo­ple and pit them against each oth­er for self­ish polit­i­cal gain.

We need and deserve effec­tive gov­ern­ment and respect­ful civ­il dis­course here in Wash­ing­ton State, just like every­where else.

We won’t get either if Tim Eyman’s guber­na­to­r­i­al can­di­da­cy is suc­cess­ful.

I have faith that it won’t be.