America's top educational medium depicts a domestic worker

As we look forward to the eventual end of the Bad Orange Times, Democrats keep rolling out ideas that should become part of the national agenda, at least once the Current Unpleasantness is flushed. Like for instance Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's proposal for a "Green New Deal" that would both tackle climate change and create hundreds of thousands of jobs, or any of the many bills by Kamala Harris.

Democratic Senator Kamala Harris and Rep. Pramila Jayapal have co-introduced another good idea, the National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, which would extend legal protections and worker rights to the roughly two million people currently working as in-home health aides, cleaners, nannies, and so on. Yes, even the ones who don't have sitcoms based on their zany antics. It's not just a great deal for some of the lowest-paid workers in the country, it also provides a model for how work rights could be extended to a lot of people working in a variety of nontraditional labor markets.

As Harris and Jayapal point out in a CNN op-ed, (co-written with Ai-jen Poo, executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance), protections for domestic workers were deliberately excluded from the New Deal as the price of getting racist Southern Democrats to support the legislation. Damned if the Good Old Boys wanted sharecroppers or the cleaning lady to get any ideas about unionizing or being paid minimum wage. Likewise, the Civil Rights Act doesn't apply to most people working in homes, since it excludes employers with fewer than 15 employees. For chrissakes, domestic workers aren't even covered by the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1970, probably because some clever Republican fretted Big Government would force you to provide your babysitter a Hazmat suit for diaper changes. Science fact: Many babies do emit toxic slime.

And no, however much Mrs. Brady reassures Alice she's like part of the family, she really can't be on duty 24/7. She needs her some Sam the Butcher time, know what we mean?

Eight states and the city of Seattle have already passed domestic workers bills of rights, and so far, not one of them has been plagued by mobs of unionized au pairs running wild in the streets and holding children hostage for overtime pay. A national bill to extend some job rights is an excellent idea, considering that as Boomers get older and Millennials have kids (and more two income families need childcare help), there is expected to be a national shortage of some 350,000 domestic workers by 2040, unless of course those jobs offer decent wages and worker rights. (Plus of course there's the whole "right thing to do" argument, if we're even allowed to mention something so nonutilitarian.)

So what all is in this thing? Let's deploy a Bulleted List of Wonkishness! The domestics' Bill of Rights would guarantee:

  • Overtime pay for workers who put in more than 40 hours a week
  • OSHA protections
  • The right to unionize
  • Legal recourse against discrimination and sexual harassment, including protections against retaliation for reporting harassment or other workplace problems
  • Written employment agreements
  • Advance notice of scheduling
  • Scheduled meal and rest breaks
  • Paid sick days
  • Privacy protections for workers who live in employers' homes
  • Affordable healthcare and retirement savings

The text of the bill hasn't yet been filed, but we'd assume benefits an individual employer couldn't afford, like the health and retirement plans, would be paid into a pool, unemployment-insurance-style, to provide group benefits. At least, that's how we'd do it.

All in all, this all sounds like what you might call basic decency toward a class of workers who have been excluded for far too long from the protections most people in nine-to-five jobs take for granted. For that reason, you should probably expect to see some asshole like Ted Cruz yelling that these damned socialists want you to pay for your 14-year-old babysitter's own Depends in 60 years, and how is that fair?

Also, as the Nation points out, if this gets passed -- in 2021, say, with a Democratic president who'll sign it -- it could be adapted to provide rights and protections for

many different kinds of workers who work for multiple bosses without traditional employment structures, all of whom belong to the so-called "gig economy." Its retirement fund or enforcement task force could be deployed for, say, Uber drivers or contract workers in Amazon warehouses.

So yeah, duh. Let's do this! Workers in the home, unite. You can even keep your witty comic observations on the foibles of the middle class!

[CNN / Kamala Harris on Twitter / Nation]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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Yeah, that's definitely a repurposed animatronic Hillary (YouTube)

A whole bunch of protests were held today against the fake "president's" fake "emergency" declaration, with people turning out in cold crappy weather to call attention to the general nastiness of the guy who claims he absolutely had to do that declaration that wasn't necessary. Organizers with said over 250 rallies were planned nationwide. So far, the national State Of Emergency doesn't appear to have caused any of the rallies to be cancelled, despite the very real possibility that terrified Honduran refugees fleeing violence in Central America might suddenly show up and ask for asylum.

Are there still actions taking place in your area? Check at MoveOn!

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Before Manafort pleaded guilty and signed up as a cooperating witness who didn't actually cooperate, we wrote this:

We have always kind of figured that Paul Manafort is the one who knows the whole Trump-Russia conspiracy story. He was the first big fish indicted, and they hit him for A LOT. Also note that just about all the other prosecutions that have come from the Mueller investigation so far have been farmed out by Mueller to different jurisdictions. Manafort, on the other hand, Mueller has kept squarely in his office. There has to be a reason for that.

Perhaps it's because, as this Josh Marshall podcast suggests, Paul Manafort, a foreign agent who worked for Oleg Deripaska, AKA Putin's favorite oligarch, and who got sideways financially with Deripaska, was literally sent into the Trump campaign by the Kremlin to do its dirty work. Perhaps the Steele Dossier is right when it suggests that the entire Trump-Russia election-stealing conspiracy was run by Manafort on the Trump side, and that others like (perhaps!) Michael Cohen only had to take over when Manafort's shit started to stink and the news media started reporting on his weird-ass Russian connections in the summer of 2016.

If it's possible, we are beginning to suspect it may be even worse than that.

On Friday, special counsel Robert Mueller issued his sentencing recommendations for Manafort, after DC district court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled conclusively that the shady motherfucker very intentionally lied and blew up his cooperating agreement. Because Manafort defaulted, Mueller is no longer bound to recommend that Manafort's sentence be reduced, and is free to throw the book right at Manafort's face. HARD.

And that is what Mueller did! To be clear, the sentencing memo is harsh.

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