When the best you've got defending you on the Sunday shows is Ron Johnson and Jim Jordan, your prospects are not looking good.
The long-awaited Trump impeachment is speeding up! Mark Zaid, one of the attorneys for the Ukrainium One whistleblower, has stated he is now representing " multiple whistleblowers. The announcement of a second whistleblower -- the second intel whistleblower, on top of the IRS whistleblower who already existed, and who is being described as "an intelligence official with first-hand knowledge" (NOT "hearsay," Lindsey Graham!) of some of the allegations outlined in the original complaint, threw a wrench on ALL the talking points of Trump's ardent defenders, to the point that nobody from the White House even showed up for the Sunday shows. But a couple of idiots from Congress did!
It was perhaps most difficult this week for GOP Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. Appearing on NBC's "Meet The Press," OshKosh M'Gosh Johnson was asked about what he told the Wall Street Journal about how EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland told him Trump was doing quid pro quos with Ukraine and basically extorting the nation for electoral assistance in exchange, but don't worry, Donald Trump told him that's a damn lie and Donald Trump always tells the truth.
It did not go well for Johnson.
Somebody's got a new labor plan, you come learn it!
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a blogger with a news hole to fill must be in want of a new Elizabeth Warren policy paper. And fortunately, they're a lot more welcome than most suitors in a Jane Austen novel. Like, take a gander at Warren's nigh-encyclopedic plan, released yesterday, to reform American labor law. Reading it, we were both impressed by the breadth of labor practices it addresses, and depressed by just how thoroughly big corporations and decades of right-leaning courts have eroded workers' rights since the relative glory days for organized labor, from the New Deal through Eisenhower.
It's a hell of a big plan, because there's a hell of a lot to fix. And it's not just a matter to be filed over in some boring slot labelled "labor policy," says Warren. Nope, it's nothing less than a matter of making America work the way it ought to, because earning your daily bread is right there at the base of what government is all about, although one party has insisted for 40 years that America is about shifting power to the already powerful.
We cannot have a truly democratic society with so little power in the hands of working people. We cannot have sustained and inclusive economic growth without a stronger labor movement. That's why returning power to working people will be the overarching goal of my presidency.
Hell, even our most pressing crisis, dealing with the climate mess, depends in part on reorienting the economy and the way we work toward energy that won't cause massive social and economic disruptions.
We won't attempt to summarize everything in Warren's plan, but it's of a piece with all her other policy proposals: America needs to work for all Americans, and that requires some fundamental shifts in political and economic power. And yet, no matter how the greedheads will insist this is a blueprint for communism, Warren isn't promoting a socialist revolution. Like FDR, she wants to save capitalism from its worst excesses and make sure the 99 percent of us have a stake, too, by empowering workers. As Vox notes, "The word 'power' is repeated more than a dozen times in Warren's proposal," and Warren lays out, throughout her proposals, the need to reform the system to unleash the potential of ordinary people. As we've said before, it's Barack Obama's "growth from the middle" -- on steroids.
To get there, Warren would use a variety of measures -- some executive actions, but mostly pushing Congress to pass laws that can't simply be reversed at a new president's whim -- to restore the bargaining power of unions. Warren doesn't say this, but it's no coincidence that the postwar period of America's lowest income inequality, from the late 1940s to the early '70s, coincided with the peak of union power, when labor was a central constituency not just in the economy, but in politics.
Several parts of Warren's labor platform have already been rolled out in one form or another. She endorses the bicameral "Protecting the Right to Organize" (PRO) Act, which would make forming unions easier, eliminate "right to work" laws, and ban companies from forcing workers to attend anti-union "information sessions" at work, but that's just a start. She would also revise the three biggest pillars of US labor law, the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), to make sure they protect all workers, which they currently don't.
Some of the reason for that stems from the ugly realities of getting the New Deal and other labor laws passed: To win the support of segregationist southern Democrats, the early labor laws excluded fields largely filled by blacks and women (especially black women), like agriculture and domestic work. Warren would also extend the right to organize to people who have been cleverly excluded from even being considered "employees," and are instead treated as "independent contractors." Screw that, says Warren, if you work for Uber, you're a goddamned employee. And maybe if you're a hot young Marine working for an online escort service, too.
Similarly, Warren wants to get rid of features in employment contracts designed to depress wages and encourage exploitation of workers, like mandatory arbitration, which denies workers' right to sue and nearly always resolves disputes in the bosses' favor. Her plan would also get rid of "non-compete" clauses (like those barring low-wage employees from leaving a Jimmy John's to work at McDonald's, and "no poaching" clauses, which
prevent one franchisee from hiring away an employee from another franchisee. I believe these agreements violate antitrust laws and suppress wages. I will push to prohibit them.
And speaking of franchises, Warren would also get rid of the legal fiction that protects big chains from being held accountable for labor violations if they occur at a franchise operation, which has allowed big fast food companies to look the other way and escape liability when franchise owners stiff employees for back pay or overtime, or make them work in unsafe conditions. If that reform passes, the parent corporation will be held responsible for misbehavior by franchisees. She could call that the Sir, This Is a Wendy's Act.
One of her most innovative proposals, "sectoral bargaining," involves allowing unions to bargain not just with individual employers, but to seek a contract for all workers in a particular industry -- like all fast-food workers, or all janitors. We'll just crib this explanation from Vox:
[While] sectoral bargaining is common in Europe, it's never been tried on a large scale in the US. The point is to remove the incentive for employers to stop their employees from unionizing, based on the fear that non-union competitors will have a cost advantage. Instead, all workers in the same industry would simply have the same minimum standard of pay and benefits.
Sounds like one of those "level playing field" thingies we're always hearing about.
And then there's the proposal for literal worker empowerment that scared Fox Business jerk Stuart Varney so much: Warren's Accountable Capitalism Act would require corporations with over a billion dollars in annual revenue to reserve 40 percent of their corporate board seats for employees elected by the company's workforce. Yes, she has a news hook for that:
One of the companies that would be covered by this requirement is General Motors, where 46,000 workers represented by UAW went on strike because of the company's refusal to let workers get a fair share of the billions of dollars in profits the company has made. Letting GM workers elect 40% of the company's board would help ensure that workers get the wages and benefits they deserve.
And yes, the corporations would still make profits. This is hardly seizure of the means of production, it's representation, goddamn it.
Warren would also reserve a seat at the table for unions in planning how Medicare for All would work, because hell yes unions have demanded good medical benefits. But those gains have become more and more precarious at every contract negotiation, and we're pretty sure that union workers might be persuaded to replace their good benefits -- if they can make sure single-payer would be an even better deal.
It's impressive just how detailed Warren's plan gets, addressing issues that you might not expect to see in a national platform, such as calling for an end to appearance and grooming policies that discriminate against black hairstyles. Warren would pass federal rules based on a California law that banned such discriminatory policies. But the policy proposal never feels like a grab bag; it all works into a vision for making work fairer than it's ever been. We don't know if Warren has read our Wonkette Book Club book from earlier this year, Erik Loomis's A History of America in Ten Strikes, but her plan consistently reminded me of two of Loomis's main points: Unions can only achieve rights for workers when the government isn't in cahoots with the bosses, and the New Deal regime of labor rights has largely been co-opted by employers, who have exploited the existing rules to break the back of labor. Warren's plan aims squarely at bringing dignity -- and power -- to all workers. It's a pity that sounds radical.
Yr Wonkette is supported entirely by reader donations. Please help support our excellent worker-to-CEO pay ratio of one to one.
Yes! He's got a new CEO tax!
Yr Wonkette would like to wish Bernie Sanders a speedy recovery after some chest discomfort Tuesday evening sent him off to a hospital, where doctors found an arterial blockage and inserted two stents. His campaign team has cancelled his appearances for the time being. A campaign aide told the New York Times Sanders "feels better than ever because that's how people feel after they get a stent and there's more blood flow." Now don't overdo it, OK? As Wonkette's Stephen Robinson points out, if this were anyone other than a presidential candidate, their doctor would probably NOT recommend a year of sleeping badly, eating randomly (and state fair food at that), incessant travel, and the ridiculous stress of the always-on news cycle.
Which means Sanders, 78, is likely to be back out campaigning within a couple of weeks, because the people who run for president are every bit as crazy as the system we use to elect them. Take care of yourself, ya nut, so you can ease back into things. Maybe, while convalescing, Sanders can come up with some nice relaxing policy proposals, like his plan, released Monday, to fight income inequality by raising taxes on companies where CEO pay is grossly disproportionate to what average workers get. (This is what we in the writing biz call a "transition." A really clumsy one!)
Get Elizabeth Warren's Government Hands Off Our Social Security! Just Kidding, Liz, FEEL IT UP PROPER!
As an Old Fart, Yr Dox Zoom is all for this!
Elizabeth Warren has a crazy idea: Instead of acting like Paul Ryan should ever have been taken seriously, even once, how about we improve Social Security? She proposes increasing monthly Social Security benefits for everyone currently receiving them by $200 a month, and also taking steps to improve the retirement incomes of those who traditionally have not been able to get much out of Social Security because the system was never very kind to some kinds of workers: "women and caregivers, low-income workers, public sector workers, students and job-seekers, and people with disabilities." Not surprisingly, it's paid for by increasing Social Security taxes on the top two percent of Americans, who currently pay a far smaller portion of their income into the system than most workers.
It's a heck of a good plan, and an economic analysis by Mark Zandy of Moody's Analytics found it would raise 4.9 million seniors out of poverty, increase economic growth, stabilize the Social Security program, and even reduce the federal deficit by a trillion dollars over 10 years. Let's take a look at this sucker, and then have a nice nap. Is there a draft in here?
Like father like disgusting son!
Donald Trump has sent to the Senate his official nomination of Eugene Scalia, son of the late Supreme Court justice murdered by Hillary's death squads, to be the next US secretary of Labor. That's about what you'd expect from the guy whose first Labor secretary nominee, Andy Puzder, was a fast food CEO who advocated replacing minimum wage workers with burger-flipping robots, then withdrew when somebody recalled he'd been accused of beating up his wife. Not that there's a pattern or anything. In July, Secretary Alex Acosta resigned -- and Trump reluctantly let him go -- over his role in helping Jeffrey Epstein get a sweetheart plea deal years ago, because it's not great when the US Attorney sides with the child-raper.
Thank goodness no one has ever accused Eugene Scalia of ever being involved in abusing women, unless you count his arguing in 1998 that companies shouldn't be held liable for supervisors who sexually harass employees -- unless the company endorsed the harassment, you see. He also explained,
Saying "You're an incompetent stupid female bitch" a single time is not actionable environmental harassment.
One time is just having a bad day, we suppose, not a pattern. Beyond that, he argued that the concept of Quid Pro Quo sexual harassment -- demanding sex in exchange for keeping a job, or getting a promotion -- should be done away with because it's "redundant and ambiguous in theory, and cumbersome and confusing in practice."
No, nobody else knew what Sean Duffy was talking about either.
The House held hearings yesterday on the student loan crisis that will likely result in a generation dying in debt. You could tell Congress doesn't take the issue that seriously because they let some random MTV reality star participate. We don't mean comedian Hasan Minhaj, who once appeared on MTV's "Disaster Date." His testimony was actually informative. No, "Real World: Boston" alum Sean Duffy, who is still somehow a congressman despite promising us all he was quitting, shared some meritocracy-based nonsense that was stunningly ignorant of reality and current events.
DUFFY: Would you agree that the smarter the kid, the better school they get into? Maybe the less smart the child, the not-so-great school they get into.
An unfrozen caveman congressman could assemble a better sentence. We have no idea what this has to do with the $1.5 trillion in debt that's breaking the backs of students who were reckless enough to get hooked on "education." Our girl Ayanna Pressley literally said, "WOW!" with an eye roll set to kill. She looked at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as if to say, "You believe this asshole?"
Panelists Ashley Harrington and Persis Yu politely pointed out that everything Duffy just said was bullshit. Harrington is Senior Policy Counsel at the Center for Responsible Lending. Yu is an attorney at the National Consumer Law Center and the director of its Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project. They're only subject matter experts, which is why Duffy dropped a firm "here's the deal" on the ladies. That's what men say when they want their uninformed opinion to trump girly facts and data.
Jobs report tells him to eat it.
Get excited for the Jobs Numbers! President Norms Molester was hyping them up yesterday, in yet another attempt to goose the market to make himself look better.
A regular president doesn't talk about employment data before its release to the public, since his comments can cause market swings. But when you're a washed up reality TV star, they let ya do it!
Trump 2020! For people who really ARE sick of winning!
More bad "economy" news happened to Donald Trump today:
Trump's economic record took another turn into dangerous territory Tuesday with a widely tracked gauge of the U.S. manufacturing sector contracting for the first time in more than three years, walloping the stock market and reigniting fears of a recession. It added to mounting concerns about a global economic slowdown under the weight of Trump's trade war.
Does Wonkette know exactly what that means? Of course not, we're not ECONOMY NERDS. But it sounds bad! Especially for all the factory workers Donald Trump swore up and down he was going to protect and revive and Make Great Again.
That line comes as the opening salvo in a new Politico piece on how more and more people are talking about how Donald Trump sucks these days, and as he enters the final year of his
first term presidency, things are not looking good for him to have any sort of economic record to run on in 2020, owing to how he is a failure. From what Politico says, it sounds like all the king's horses and all the king's men know what a Trumpty Dumpty the president really is, and are losing hope they'll ever be able to put him together again.
With no butter.
Donald Trump is highly unlikely to lose the farm vote in 2020. Although he is giving it the old college try! Seriously, what the hell is this?
Suck it, FARMERS! If you only knew how to agriculture good, you'd find someone else to buy your soybeans when the Chinese close their markets in retaliation for yet another round of punitive American tariffs. Russia, if you're listening ... oh, whoops, Russia is ramping up its soybean sales to China to take advantage of the trade war. Excuses!
DO NOT CONGRATULATE.
It's gotta suck to run for president, only (barely) get elected because Russia and James Comey let you ride on their shoulders so you can reach your miniscule paws up and touch 270 in the Electoral College, and STILL lose the vote of the people by almost three million. And then it's gotta suck to get into office and quickly become the laughingstock of the entire world, a failure who's too stupid and lazy to accomplish anything, and in year three of your malignant "presidency," look around at the ruins of everything you've touched, see it's all turned to shit, and wonder how to replicate your "success" in the next election. (Comey won't be there. Russia will, obviously. Trump and Moscow Mitch have made sure of that.)
CNN has a report out about called "A rattled Trump scrambles for victories ahead of election," which is slightly nicer than Wonkette's headline, because CNN has to be fair and balanced and shit. And he does sound rattled! (As you can tell if you read his Twitter at any given moment, because at all times, he's on there, poopin' and tweetin', tweetin' and poopin', and seldom working. OK factcheck, we don't actually know if he poops every time he tweets. We just assume he does sometimes.)
So easy to win.
This is no way to run a railroad. Even when he's overseas, humiliating us all at the G7 meeting in France, President Thirsty Bitch found time to fan the flames of a Chinese trade war, while simultaneously taking credit for ending the trade war by signing all the agreements! That train is never late.
On Friday, China announced it was doubling tariffs from five to 10 percent on $75 billion of American imports, such as soybeans, beef, pork and crude oil, starting in September. Duties on American vehicles and car parts will increase from five to 25 percent on December 15. That's in addition to its already planned ban on all agricultural imports from US America.
Naturally, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro was dispatched to CNN to discuss what sounded like it could be his browser history, saying, "They signal once again to the American public that China wants to buckle our knee so that they can keep having their way with us." And Donald Trump tweeted out that Chinese President Xi Jinping is an enemy of America, perhaps an even greater enemy than Jay Powell, the man Trump himself appointed to run the Federal Reserve. So, you know that Xi is a bad hombre!
It's the Sunday Show Rundown, starring Larry Kudlow!
Today's edition of the Sunday Rundown will focus on CNN's "State Of The Union" with Brianna Keilar, which featured the
triumphant return of Trump's economic advisor and reverse Midas, Larry Kudlow.
After last week's very reassuring denials of the possibility of a recession, a reporter asked Trump at the G7 in France about his retalitory tariffs on China:
QUESTION: Do you have second thoughts about escalating the war with China?
TRUMP: I have second thoughts about everything.
It seems this existential despair answer (or simply that Trump doesn't actually know what "second thought" means) sent the White House went into spin mode, insisting Trump regrets not raising the tariffs HIGHER instead.
So naturally, Keilar began the interview with Kudlow by asking what Trump meant. After Kudlow basically went with the approved story, Keilar asked him to clarify this week's Trump royal decree to American businesses regarding China:
KEILAR: He also said he's no longer planning on forcing U.S. businesses to leave China. So, it does seem as if he is softening on this issue broadly.
KEILAR: You disagree with that?
KUDLOW: Hang on, if you -- well, a little bit. […] Regarding the larger point, OK, so he -- what he said last week in the tweet is, he can't order business. He's not ordering business. There's no emergency powers being invoked right now.
KEILAR: Well, he said he has the authority to do that.
KUDLOW: He merely said -- he may. As I said, there's nothing right now in the cards. Ultimately, we do have such authority, but it is not going to be exercised presently.
Nothing to see here, folks! Just a Trump Administration official floating the idea he'll use "emergency powers" to seize control of businesses. I mean, it's not like he has declared a bullshit "emergency" to go around the Constitution already. What's it called when the government controls the means of production again? You know, that thing Republicans are always falsely accusing others of?
President Chosen One is having a day, y'all.
And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! (Matthew 27:29-30 KJV)
President Chosen One is having a day. You probably don't want to look at your 401K right now, because China just announced $75 billion in retaliatory tariffs meant to hit Trump right where it hurts (on his ego, and also on his base), which started the markets off fucked this morning. This made Orange Shithole Jesus very angry, and when Orange Shithole Jesus is very angry, he summons all the powers in his tiny little hamster paws, and starts screaming at the world on Twitter. Of course, in so doing, he said something that made all of America and the rest of the Twitter-connected world keel over laughing at him, and not with him:
Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha LOLOLOLOLOLOL go fuck yourself.
It's Your Sunday Show Rundown!
After years of Trump coasting on the economy he inherited from the Obama Administration, the Dow Jones fell more than 800 points last Wednesday. Economic indicators from Germany, Trump's trade wars with China and others, Trump tax cuts for the rich and an inverted yield curve (which historically has been a warning sign of an impending recession) are combining into a bad sign for the "successful" "businessman" who's hitched his wagon so close to the economy. So much so that it prompted the White House to send out their economic duo of Larry Kudlow and Peter Navarro to every single Sunday show.
Let's first focus on chief economic advisor and world's saddest Penguin cosplayer, Larry Kudlow.
Burn baby burn.
Donald Trump would set fire to the last glacier on earth if it meant he could win Pennsylvania again in 2020. He spent the entire day yesterday in the swing state getting high on the fumes of burning hydrocarbons and his own flaming ego. And you, the lucky American taxpayer, paid for the matches! Because the White House isn't even pretending to segregate the people's business from campaign events, as every president since Reagan has done. They just book him at a Shell plant in Monaco, Pennsylvania, stick a regular MAGA rally speech on the Teleprompter, and call it Remarks on American Energy and Manufacturing.
Ooops, make that Monaca, Pennsylvania. Thanks, crackerjack professionals in the White House Press Office!
Trade wars are dumb. And really, really dumb.
Bad Santa strikes again! After sending global stock markets reeling with his August 1 Twitter declaration that the remaining $300 billion of un-tariffed Chinese imports would face a 10 percent levy starting in September, our demented leader has just announced that some of those tariffs will be delayed. So don't say he never gave you anything!
The US Trade Representative's website explains, "Certain products are being removed from the tariff list based on health, safety, national security and other factors and will not face additional tariffs of 10 percent." Which of these public welfare exceptions cover the "cell phones, laptop computers, video game consoles, certain toys, computer monitors, and certain items of footwear and clothing" that will escape tariffs until December 15? Not clear! Perhaps it dawned on the Stable Genius that adding 10 percent to the cost of every gift under the tree might not endear him to the Real Murikans in the White Jesus Heartland.
Aw, we're just funnin' ya! Everyone knows it's the Chinese who pay those tariffs, while Americans get richer and richer.
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