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politics

Updated at 6 a.m. ET

Former FBI Director James Comey says he believed that the investigation into whether Hillary Clinton sent or received classified email from a private server while she was secretary of state was a "no-win" case for him that would further polarize an already deeply divided electorate.

Russian officials condemned the U.S.-led airstrikes on three sites in Syria early Saturday, calling the attacks "treacherous and insane" and a "clear and present danger to world peace."

The U.S., U.K. and France carried out the strikes in the early morning hours on targets that U.S. officials said were linked to a Syrian government chemical weapons program. The strikes were a response to an alleged chemical weapons attack carried out by Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime on April 7.

A Higher Loyalty, by far the most consequential book yet in the literature of the Trump presidency, is arriving as political conflict roils every aspect of that presidency. Former FBI Director James Comey's scathing review will not settle the arguments about President Trump, nor will it calm the controversy over its author. But it will furnish mountains of ammunition for combatants on all sides.

A record number of women — 309 — had filed to run for the U.S. House as of April 6. That's a nearly 90-percent increase over 2016's numbers.

That wave of women candidates has sent the share of candidates who are women skyrocketing...to 22 percent.

Mary Ann Peters, "impossible monument (flotsam)" detail
Courtesy Mary Ann Peters

Last Saturday’s biological weapons attack in Syria set off yet another wave of involuntary migration. Lebanese-American artist Mary Ann Peters says that this water-based lingo isn’t an accident. 


Updated at 3:00 p.m. ET

House Speaker Paul Ryan announced Wednesday that he will not seek re-election and will retire in January.

"You all know I did not seek this job," Ryan said, addressing reporters. "I took it reluctantly. ... I have no regrets."

Ryan, 48, cited wanting to be around his adolescent children more often.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Flickr Photo/Alessio Jacona (CC BY 2.0)/flic.kr/p/Du4kZU

In the wake of revelations that the data of 87 million users was exposed to political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify before Congress under oath.

A notoriously awkward public speaker, Zuckerberg’s primary battle may be to “stay on script while keeping his armpits dry,” writes Slate senior technology editor Will Oremus. He joined Marcie Sillman to discuss what we can expect from this week’s hearings, and what Facebook might be afraid of.

A woman walks past a large mural of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on the side of a diner, painted by artist James Crespinel in the 1990's and later restored, along Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tuesday, April 3, 2018, in Seattle.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Fifty years ago today, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered on a balcony in Memphis, Tennessee. Decades later, a motion passed in the King County Council to rename the county for King, rather than a slave owner from Alabama. 

Standard Oil depicted as an octopus, parodying its status as a monopoly.
Public Domain

In 1890, the Sherman Act was passed. Its purpose was to preserve a competitive marketplace against potential consumer abuses.

But the law isn't supposed to punish "innocent monopoly," or monopoly achieved by merit alone. So the question is: how innocent is Amazon’s monopoly? 

Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty has been outspoken about ending sexual harassment, especially within the confines of Congress, and yet she conceded on Thursday that she failed to protect her own staff and provide a "safe and respectful work environment."

The announcement of the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census questionnaire has launched calls for lawsuits, legislation and now multiple congressional hearings. In a letter written to the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which has oversight of the U.S.

Updated at 10:09 p.m. ET

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he is not appointing — for now — a second special counsel to investigate allegations of wrongdoing by the FBI and Justice Department, telling Republican lawmakers that he has already asked a veteran prosecutor to look into the matter.

Republicans on Capitol Hill, including the chairmen of the Senate and House judiciary committees, have ramped up their push in recent weeks for a second special counsel to investigate what they say was misconduct by the FBI and Justice Department in 2016 and 2017.

Fired Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin tells NPR's Morning Edition that political forces in the Trump administration want to privatize the VA — and that he was standing in the way.

"There are many political appointees in the VA that believe that we are moving in the wrong direction or weren't moving fast enough toward privatizing the VA," he said. "I think that it's essential for national security and for the country that we honor our commitment by having a strong VA. I was not against reforming VA, but I was against privatization."

The #DeleteFacebook movement is putting its money where its mouth is. Since the company's recent Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook's stock has plunged 18 percent — decimating about $80 billion from the company's total market value, according to a couple of analyses.

It looks like one of the marquee cases before the U.S. Supreme Court is about to go bust — sabotaged by a needle in a legislative haystack.

The question in the case is whether a U.S. technology company can refuse to honor a court-ordered U.S. search warrant seeking information that is stored at a facility outside the United States.

Oral arguments took place at the Supreme Court last month, and they did not go well for Microsoft, the tech giant that is challenging a warrant for information stored at its facility in Ireland.

Despite numerous requests for a veto, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday signed a controversial bill to privatize the state’s homecare provider system. The Democrat’s signing of the measure followed a contentious fight in the Legislature and accusations that it amounted to a power grab by the Service Employees International Union.

The Facebook scandal over misuse of user information has reached a Canadian data analytics company. And a whistleblower says he believes the firm, which has ties to the Trump presidential campaign, may have swayed the U.K.'s 2016 Brexit vote.

Updated at 2:21 p.m. ET

President Trump signed a massive spending bill Friday, hours after threatening a veto that would have triggered a government shutdown.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Flickr Photo/JD Lasica (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/dp7WwB

KUOW's Kim Malcolm talks with The Stranger associate editor Eli Sanders about how micro-targeting of Facebook ads has been used in Seattle elections. 

Sanders has written about misleading Facebook advertisements put out by Scott Lindsay, a candidate for Seattle City Attorney last fall.

Courtesy of Red Hen Press

If you’re familiar with the Dear Sugar advice column, you know who Steve Almond is. For the uninitiated, he was the first “Sugar” — a purportedly female advice columnist on The Rumpus. After a while, Almond says, that got weird.

"Why have you become, people say, the most hated Cabinet secretary?" Lesley Stahl asked Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in a 60 Minutes interview that is drawing lots of attention.

"I'm not so sure how exactly that happened," DeVos responded in the interview, which aired Sunday night on CBS.

Christopher Sebastian Parker and Arlie Russell Hochschild at Seattle University, Feb. 12, 2018.
KUOW Photo/Sonya Harris

We hear all the time about the social-political divide in the United States, mostly from the comfort of our respective bubbles. When UC Berkeley-based sociology professor Arlie Russel Hochschild realized the extent to which she didn’t understand the experience of right-leaning Americans, she decided to do something about it. She choose to embed herself in Lake Charles, Louisiana, for an ethnographic experiment.

KUOW photo

If you listen to David Barsamian’s long-running public affairs program Alternative Radio, you know his distinct voice, full of passionate analysis and notable raspiness. But while as host he always introduces his featured speakers, a who’s who of progressive thinkers, we don’t normally hear Barsamian himself at length.

Updated at 7:40 p.m. ET

Walmart and Dick's Sporting Goods say they won't sell guns to customers under 21, and both are putting new restrictions on ammunition sales.

Dick's Sporting Goods, one of the largest sports retailers in the U.S., has announced it is immediately ending its sales of military-style semi-automatic rifles and is requiring all customers to be older than 21 to buy a firearm at its stores. Additionally, the company no longer will sell high-capacity magazines.

Paid time off to care for a new child or a sick family member used to be a part of the Democratic Party platform. Now, Republicans are making paid family leave a legislative policy.

"Let's support working families by supporting paid family leave," President Trump urged Congress in his State of the Union address last month.

Lawmakers in Washington and Tallahassee have discussed a lot of ideas to reduce school shootings, but on the hardest questions — like what to do about guns — there is just no clear consensus.

There are few signs of clarity from President Trump, who has taken a leading role in the debate without providing strong direction to solve the problem.

KUOW Photo/Sonya Harris

Journalist David Cay Johnston has known and reported on President Donald Trump for nearly 30 years. When they first met in Atlantic City, Johnston says he recognized Trump as “the P.T. Barnum of our age.” He has also said about Trump, and repeats in this talk, that “Donald doesn’t know anything.”

The White House
Flickr Photo/joswr1ght (CC BY NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/JeAj3d

Here’s a test for you. Who was the first U.S. President to be born an American, i.e., after the Revolution? Hint: He is the same man who said “As to the presidency, the two happiest days of my life were those of my entrance upon the office and my surrender of it.”

That would be President Martin Van Buren.

The U.S. Presidency is marked by pomp, circumstance and widespread reference to its occupant being “the most powerful man in the world.”

Flickr Photo/Andreas Eldh (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks to Samuel Woolley, director of the Digital Intelligence Lab at the Institute of the Future, about how social media bots have influenced and driven conversations online and what can be done to stop the flow of disinformation. 

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