Who can be trusted in Washington State these days: First, our loyal, trustworthy, and close-knit Motel 6 staff got busted for snitching on undocumented guests staying in their rooms to immigration officials (specifically Immigrations and Custom Enforcement). Now it’s come to learn that our beloved, swift, and efficient Department of Licensing (say it isn’t so) has also been handing over drivers’ information to ICE. This, apparently, isn’t out of the ordinary. The DOL treats ICE just like any other law enforcement agency and, when there’s a crime cited, they provide the personal information requested. For an undocumented person, that usually includes a type of foreign ID or birth certificate they registered for a license with (Washington allows undocumented immigrants to get driver's licenses). These foreign documents alone can be grounds to start the deportation process. It’s equally fucked because a lot of times there isn’t a real “crime” that ICE cites. It’s not some episode of CSI where the team needs DMV records to match one piece of a partial thumbprint to find the murderer. They can use the misdemeanor that comes with entering the country illegally or the felony charge of returning after deportation. Whatever is happening with DOL, Governor Jay Inslee was supposedly unaware, which I hope is true since last year he staunchly declared Washington would not commit state resources to helping the feds deport Washingtonians. He has since asked the DOL to cut that shit out.
We’re not saying the Interior Secretary is playing favorites: But, it really seems like the Interior Secretary is playing favorites. Ryan Zinke released a plan last week to bring back offshore drilling along the nation’s coast, including Washington and Oregon. Florida complained because they have important coastal tourism and a recreation economy that could be ruined by a potential oil spill. Uh, yeah, okay Florida. So does every other state included in this thing. Zinke, who probably tees up with Florida’s Republican governor Rick Scott at Mar-a-Lago on the weekends, said Florida could sit this one out. Gov. Inslee is trying to get a similar meeting with Zinke to pitch him about how the same stuff applies to Washington (and everywhere else!). We’ll see what happens. After Scott had his meeting, Zinke described him as a “straightforward leader that can be trusted.” Whether Scott showed up dressed head to toe in “Make America Great Again” garb cannot be confirmed. Whether staunch Democrat and Trump critic Jay Inslee will garner the same reaction from Zinke, well, all we have are increasingly cynical hunches about how that will go.
Tacoma Mexican food is the shit: Because it’s giving people explosive diarrhea. El Toro in Tacoma is responsible for a Norovirus outbreak, a highly contagious virus that turns people into double-sided volcanoes. We’re talking explosive diarrhea and vomiting at the same time. Around 400 people have contracted the illness.
Torture conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth isn’t illegal: Yet. It could be very soon under a new Washington state law. If that seems like a no-brainer, well, congrats. You’re not completely morally abhorrent. Let’s pop our liberal bubbles for a second and try some of this messed up shit on for size. You see, conversion therapy still happens. Supposed doctors (I’d like to see their medical licenses, thank you) have used ice-baths, shock therapy and have induced nausea in attempts to make LGBTQ children straight, KING 5 reports. Now, most doctors have condemned this behavior but the bill banning it hasn’t passed yet. It’s expected to, but think about what goddamn year it is and let that marinate for a minute. Also don’t forget that vice president Mike Pence most likely supports conversion therapy.
I have this strange feeling that I’ve written this before, but: Donald Trump is a racist. If you haven’t heard, if you didn’t get a push alert from every single news agency that contained the word “shithole,” well, then I envy you. The long and short of it is that during a meeting about whether to restore protections to immigrants Trump called El Salvador, Haiti, and unspecified African nations “shithole countries.” The internet and the media are having a field day; on one side there’s this focus on the word “shithole” which really isn’t the problem here; then, we have countless people and groups, including the United Nations, confirming what everyone already knew: Donald Trump is a big, fat, racist turd.
It’s hard to tell if there will be any ramifications since people within the White House believe the comments might actually resonate with Trump’s base. He’s already reverting to his favorite defense mechanism and is deny-deny-denying everything because if Donald Trump is one thing (BESIDES RACIST) he is a spineless coward.
Cowardice Cont’d: Trump also cancelled an embassy trip to London amidst fears of protests. Trump tweeted at midnight that he wouldn’t be making the trip to open a new U.S. embassy because of an Obama era decision to move the embassy that Trump didn't agree with. Even if that was a good excuse that decision was made in 2008 while George W. Bush was still president. London seems happy about the cancellation no matter how shitty the excuse is. Sadiq Khan, London mayor, said Trump had gotten the message that he “wasn’t welcome here.” Bets are on for the next thing Trump is going to make up in order to get out of a commitment. If he needs suggestions, “my mom said I can’t” always worked for me growing up.
Finally a victory we can cling to: U.S. District judge Barbara Rothstein denied pleas to change the verdict she made against the Lakewood cops who shot Leonard Thomas in 2013. Thomas was shot by a SWAT sniper in 2013 when he and his mother had a minor domestic dispute concerning Thomas’ son. When his mother called for police an entire SWAT team showed up and treated it like a hostage situation. Thomas, unarmed and not a threat to the police or his 4-year-old son, was shot. Rothstein found ample evidence of this and of the police’s callous indifference to Thomas’ life. The Seattle Times reports that “instead of trying to help Thomas, the judge wrote, every step police took that night made it more likely he would die. The Lakewood defense team apparently kept trying to make the case about race. Rothstein said a big fuck you to that notion and made a verdict of $15 million against the Lakewood police.
Nation’s health has gone to the dogs: As a dog flu epidemic is sweeping through the country. Yep, dogs in 46 states including Washington are, uh, as sick as dogs (sorry) since contracting the flu. The symptoms — sneezing, coughing, lethargy, difficulty breathing, etc. — are similar to regular human flus and can be deadly. There’s a vaccination available now if you want to protect your pooch.
What’s up with Walmart?: Yesterday, the retail giant said it was raising its employees’ wages to $11, expanding benefits, and bonuses. How is this possible? Apparently, it has to do with the new tax bill. Walmart is expecting to see a hefty tax break and is using that assumption to make these changes. However, soon after this announcement, what many now believe to be a PR stunt, Walmart began quietly shuttering its Sam’s Club stores, another retail chain. Currently, 10 percent of Sam’s Club stores have been closed down including stores in Seattle, Renton, and Auburn. The closure affects 495 workers in Western Washington, KIRO 7 reports.
Seattle rental market may be cooling: As the number of new apartments opening outpaces the number of renters. Strong job and population growth kept the Seattle rental market booming but the apartment supply is outpacing the still-healthy rental demand. Rents still increased about 4.5 percent regionally, but in Snohomish and King County it dipped 2.9 percent. It's still no cake-walk for renters out there but this could be a sign of positive change.