Wednesday, September 18, 2019

The NLRB is as incompetent as Trump is. Thank God!

Stupid is as stupid does   Forrest Gump’s Mom I don’t know how many times it has to be said, but if we are to survive the full frontal assault of the Mango Messiah as a country it sure helps that Trump has the wonderful habit of hiring people who are as stupid and clueless as he himself is. Just think how much further down the road to perdition we would be if this Klown Kabal could actually write an executive or administrative order that could pass legal and constitutional muster. Trump’s blood lust to undo all things Obama, is well documented, and his administration is all-hands-on-deck 24/7 to scour out anything that can make His Lowness feel less emasculated when compared to the competent and popular Obama. As such, Trump’s National Labor Relations Board is struggling mightily, trying to overhaul and overturn expanded protections for “temp” workers that were enacted during Obama’s tenure. And of course, they’re making a complete cock up of it, cuz Trump. A quick word about temp agencies, and I know of what I speak, since when we first moved to Vegas, the first jobs Teri and I had were provided by a temp agency. When you sign up with a temp agency, they match you with jobs, some for a finite period of time, some open ended. Your paycheck is from the temp agency, not the company you’re working for. Any insurance is offered by the temp agency. If you need time off, you announce to the agency, you’re off that time and they replace you, but you don’t get paid. The main problem with temp work is workplace abuse. If you are harassed, or are given improper orders or instructions, you cannot go to the company’s human resources department, since you are not employed by the company. And if you go to the temp agency, they don’t want to hear it, since they’re getting a “finders fee” from the company for providing you. If you complain to the temp agency, they’ll likely simply pull you from that job as a poor fit, replace you with someone more agreeable, and you lose the pay if there’s no other job that they can immediately slot you into. The Obama NLRB expanded protection for Temp workers by making the employers more responsible for harassment and other forms of discrimination in their workplace. So of course, under Trump, it has to go. According to Propublica, Trump’s NLRB too a run at overhauling the rules back in early 2018, but that little farrago came a cropper when it was discovered that two Trump appointees on the board had direct conflicts of interest in the issue. But Trump and his merry minions are like bad checks, they just keep bouncing, so they’re taking another whack at it, and this time, the results are even worse. Because this time, it isn’t just a couple of NLRB board members who are conflicted, this time it’s the entire National freakin’ Labor Relations Board itself that has a massive conflict of interest! Here’s what happened. The NLRB found itself shorthanded to deal with the public and business “comments” during the public comments portion of the process, so they hired temporary staffers to handle the overflow! The temp’s job was to check the legality and substance of […]

Elaine Chao Latest Target Of House Oversight Committee Probe For Ethics Violations

Remember that sweet television show with Rock Hudson, back in the day, “McMillan and Wife” where the couple solved mysteries together? Welcome to McConnell and Wife, where every week the couple that preys together pillages the coffers of the United States government and uses their political positions to influence things to their own personal advantage. If there’s one show in Washington that needs to go on hiatus, or better yet get cancelled, this is the one. The Hill: The House Oversight Committee on Monday launched an investigation into whether Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao is using her office to benefit herself and her family. “The Committee is examining your misstatements of fact, your actions that may have benefitted the company in which you continued to hold shares, and your compliance with ethics and financial disclosure requirements,” Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) wrote in a letter to Chao. Elaine Chao didn’t divest herself of shares in a company that posed a clear conflict of interest when she accepted her cabinet position until June, 2019 — and then only because of bad publicity. New York Times: Days earlier, The Wall Street Journal, followed by other news media, reported that she had not cashed out, as promised, stock options she held in Vulcan Materials, an Alabama-based producer of crushed stone and asphalt, where she served on the board before joining the Trump administration. On Wednesday, Ms. Chao sent a letter to the Transportation Department’s top ethics lawyer, notifying the agency of the sale. In the letter, she attributed the stock holdings to an “inadvertent misstatement” made after she was nominated in late 2016 to take over the top transportation job. In various ethics agreements and financial disclosures she has filed since last 2016, Ms. Chao had said that stock options awarded during the nearly two years she served on the board at Vulcan would be paid out in cash — ending her financial ties to the company. Instead, those options were paid out last year in stock, which Ms. Chao held onto until this month, meaning she continued to have a stake in the industry. The Transportation Department placed blame for the controversy on an unnamed accountant to Ms. Chao, who apparently told agency officials that she would receive cash instead of stock. No conflict of interest here, Chao merely heads the Department of Transportation and Vulcan merely makes money constructing the materials used to build highways. Then there was the business of one of her aides coordinating federal highway grants to the State of Kentucky. What, there’s a problem with that? Of course Kentucky needs new roads, hubby Moscow Mitch has that new aluminum factory, that Manafort’s buddy Oleg Deripaska is bankrolling, to the tune of $200 Million being built. That business venture was handily approved after the Trump administration took Rusal, Deripaska’s firm, off of the U.S. sanctions list. The new plant, which is slated for construction will be the largest new aluminum plant constructed in the U.S. for decades — and Rusal will own 40% of it. Is there a problem with that? “Rusal, one of the leading global aluminium producers, and Braidy Industries Inc., a U.S. base holding company which owns both Veloxint, an MIT-incubated lightweighting solutions company, and NanoAl, a Northwestern University incubated materials research and technology company, announce an intent to establish a joint project in Ashland, Kentucky, USA to produce flat-rolled […]

Pence family boondoggle in Ireland cost U.S. taxpayers $600,000 for the limos alone

Vice President Mike Pence went to Poland to stand in for Donald Trump, who decided to stay behind in the U.S. for a weekend of monitoring Hurricane Dorian from his golf cart. Pence met with Polish...

White House Walks Back Trump’s Comment About Melania Knowing Kim Jong Un — Maybe...

Members of the mental health community and laypeople alike have speculated on what goes on in Donald Trump’s head. My take on it has always been that his mental landscape resembles a Hieronymus Bosch painting with shades of H.P. Lovecraft, which is to say — chaotic and disturbed? For openers? In any event, demonstrable lies fall from this man’s lips like scales from a molting reptile. Today’s gaffe du jour was to tell reporters after the G-7 conference that Melania, “has gotten to know Kim Jong Un.” That’s quite a feat, considering she’s never met him — at least, not that anybody knows about. Needless to say, fact-checkers and reporters were all over this one like white on rice, so the White House was forced to say something. Interesting job Stephanie Grisham has: how to cover up Trump’s idiotic off-the-cuff comments, and spin them in such a manner that they sound 1. intentional and 2. reasonable. UPDATE! “President Trump confides in his wife on many issues including the detailed elements of his strong relationship with Chairman Kim – and while the First Lady hasn’t met him, the President feels like she’s gotten to know him too.” Stephanie Grisham says in a statement. https://t.co/m3OzXMGh88 — Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) August 26, 2019 So, their pillow talk is so profound and detailed, that Melania feels that she’s (music please) “getting to know Un, getting to know all about Un…” That’s one theory. The other theory, is that he’s thinking about his wife-daughter, Ivanka, who has met Kim Jong Un, and who took it upon herself to play Stateswoman Barbie, at N. Korean Summit II, the sequel to N. Korean Summit I — both of them disasters. If anybody ever decides to make a movie out of these two debacles, call Irwin Allen. Here’s what happened, to refresh your recollection. New York Times: On Sunday, Ms. Trump, the president’s elder daughter, used an impromptu meeting between her father and Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, to further slip into the role of unofficial spokeswoman and budding stateswoman for the Trump administration. With her husband, fellow senior adviser Jared Kushner, at her side, Ms. Trump delivered news interviews, posed for photos and met Mr. Kim. Earlier in the day, Ms. Trump had repeated what her father has often said about dealing with the North: that it would be free of crippling sanctions and clear for an economic boom if Mr. Kim were to dismantle his nuclear program. Scant evidence suggests that Mr. Kim is taking the steps to do this, but on Sunday, two Trumps rewarded him with a visit. “We are on the precipice of ushering in potentially a golden era for the Korean Peninsula,” Ms. Trump told Bloomberg News in the hours before her father took the historic step of crossing into the North. But by the time she emerged from a building designed for negotiations hours later, she only had one word for journalists about her encounter with North Korea. She called it “surreal.” So, are you, sweetie. Watching you in action is definitely like an hallucination or a dream, a bad one. Her actions in Korea caused immediate blow back. “Ivanka Trump is not on the National Security Council — she is not an adviser on the issues being discussed,” Michael A. McFaul, an ambassador to Russia […]

Here We Go Again, Mike Pompeo Might Hold Two Jobs In Trumpworld, Replacing Bolton

I thought at the time that Watergate was the nadir of democracy, the worst possible thing that had ever happened to the country, or ever could happen to us, a corrupt and crooked president, lying to the American people. Now, I am starting to regard Watergate as merely a quaint pre-echo of Donald Trump. Watergate parallels have always abounded in this administration, and here’s the newest one. Richard Nixon had Henry Kissinger play the role of not only Secretary of State, but National Security Adviser as well, for two years. Now Trump is thinking of giving Mike Pompeo a double role, and an interesting consolidation of power, by considering putting him in the newly departed John Bolton’s job. Raw Story: “We are learning that administration officials are considering the possibility of giving Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, an ally of the president, two hats. He would assume the role as National Security Adviser to the president, and he would remain Secretary of State,” “Now, what’s unclear right now is how seriously President Trump is considering this possibility, because he told reporters at the White House today that there were five people who wanted this job as national security adviser, and they were good and qualified people,” [Kylie] Atwood continued. “So we don’t know where he is right now, but this is something that is being discussed at the White House.” “He wants someone who’s close to him and who sees things through his lens,” added Atwood. “That obviously was not the case with National Security Adviser John Bolton, and that’s why he was let go.” This is how it goes in Trumpworld. People are fired or leave and then they aren’t replaced, because Trump can’t find enough yes-men to fill the void. Sarah Huckabee Sanders left and Stephanie Grisham doubled up as both spokeswoman for Melania and now White House Press Secretary. She has yet to give a single press conference. Mick Mulvaney is “acting” Chief of Staff, still, standing on the ashes of Reince Priebus and John Kelly. Mulvaney already had two jobs as head of the federal Office of Management and Budget, as well as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, when he got the third — and for a while he was considering becoming president of the University of South Carolina. Bear in mind that Trump has already canned nine cabinet members in less than three years, plus six communication directors, and three or perhaps four national security advisers, if you count Keith Kellogg’s brief stint as acting national security adviser for a few weeks after McMaster left and before Bolton took over. You remember the cocky, overconfident character, Bottom, in “Midsummer Night’s Dream” who wanted to play all the parts in Pyramus and Thisbe? Shakespeare wrote it as farce, but to Donald Trump, it makes sense. He lives it.    
Los Angeles District / Flickr Ajo Border Patrol Station Groundbreaking...

Administration Considering “Camps” For L.A. Homeless Population!

Please, read, from the Washington Post: A team of Trump administration officials toured a California facility once used by the Federal Aviation Administration this week as they searched for a potential site to relocate homeless people, according to three government officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private tour. Anytime one hears the term “relocate” within the same sentence discussing a marginalized group in society, it ought to send the shock of fear bolting within your body. This is the same administration, after all, interring migrants on the border, in “camps,” where people sleep sitting up for lack of space, cannot have access to a toothbrush, and drink toilet water. No one should trust this administration to provide “camps” for yet another group that “troubles” Trump. Notice the warning signs here: Trump has asked aides to figure out “how the hell we can get these people off the streets,” one senior administration official said. The FAA facility toured by administration officials is located in or near Los Angeles, but its precise name or whereabouts — or whether it is a current or former government facility — were not immediately known. Temporary housing for homeless people could be a good thing, perhaps a great thing. But good things start with a discussion like this: “Figure out how the hell we can help these people get off the streets and back into life.” Coming from Trump, the goal appears to be “cleaning up” these people’s presence in order to benefit the other citizens of Los Angeles. Moreover, why the cagey secrecy? If this were a well-thought out plan, one that truly could solve the problem in a well-intentioned manner, one would expect the administration to be revealing every detail possible, practically running ads in Los Angeles. They do have a specific facility in mind, there surely are other details that exist, yet they do not want the public informed. That ought to scare people, too. Of course, there is more, and you knew that: The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the administration is considering razing tent camps, creating new temporary facilities or refurbishing government facilities as part of Trump’s directive on homelessness. The changes would attempt to give the federal government a larger role in supervising housing and health care for residents. Policing, especially these types of problems, has always been entrusted to the states. Indeed, Republicans are the people that lead the charge to get the federal government out of “state business,” returning power to the states. Except maybe not so much here, with this administration. It appears that Trump’s people want to “impose” the solution. “Attempt to give … a larger role in … supervising housing for residents.” Perhaps in some other administrations this sentence wouldn’t be so terrifying. But the administration is not offering help to Los Angeles or the state of California, it is not “offering” money or a partnership. It seeks to “supervise.” If this attempt were well-intentioned, explain this: Los Angeles officials were blindsided by news of the sweeping plans being considered by the administration for the city’s homeless population. Some had thought White House officials were arriving this week to simply learn more about the issues. The administration’s delegation divulged little information to city officials about what they were doing in Los Angeles when they were not with […]
@EdKrassen / Twitter Brett Kavanaugh looks terrified rightfully so 1538536728.jpg...

2019 replays some of the worst of 2018 with new Kavanaugh sexual assault revelations

The weekend felt like a flashback to a year ago as sexual assault allegations against now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh were in the news again. And once again, Republicans leaped to insist that eyewitness...
Washington Post / YouTube The allegations against Brett Kavanaugh...

Rehashing the FBI’s sham Kavanaugh ‘investigation’ is a net plus for Democrats in 2020...

House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler has already thrown cold water on impeaching Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, but he also said Democrats would grill FBI Director Chris Wray about the FBI’s supposed "investigation" into sexual harassment claims...

Moscow Mitch won’t let Congress know how Russia interfered in 2016 or do anything...

This week, Rep. Stephanie Murphy, a Democrat representing Florida's 7th Congressional District and a former national security specialist in the Department of Defense, alerted the nation in an op-ed in The Washington Post that there's...
CNN / YouTube President Trump salutes US military...

Here We Go: Trump Administration Increases Tensions, Pointing at Iran

If we know anything, it is to expect a war in the Middle East by a Republican president. One of the few redeeming values we thought Trump possessed was an unwillingness for the U.S. to engage in foreign wars as the world’s policeman. But, we know who has been surrounding Trump, and we know what the Republican “community” wants. This is what they do. So, following up upon yesterday’s tweet, we have the expected “analysis” regarding Iran’s responsibility: The US government has produced satellite photos showing what officials said were at least 19 points of impact on Saturday at two Saudi energy facilities, including damage at the heart of the kingdom’s crucial oil processing plant at Abqaiq. Officials told US media the photos show impacts consistent with the attack coming from the direction of Iran or Iraq, rather than from Yemen to the south. Iraq denied that its territory was used for an attack on the kingdom. US officials said a strike from there would be a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty. The US officials said additional devices, which apparently didn’t reach their targets, were recovered northwest of the facilities and are being jointly analysed by Saudi and American intelligence. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, did not address whether the weapons could have been fired from Yemen, then taken a round-about path, but did not explicitly rule it out. Now, all of that could be true. Absolutely. The problem is, how the hell would we know what is or is not true coming from this administration? Do we take this administration’s word over Iran’s at this point? Even though all the above might be true, I have absolutely no reason to trust them and assume its is a fair evaluation. He lies about the weather!! But even more worrisome is that even IF it is true, is there some reason that protection of Saudi Arabia – that country that has bought billions of defense armaments from the U.S. – and a nation that has near unlimited resources, needs the US to defend it? IF Iran had bombed or threatened a U.S. ship going up or down the Straight of Hormuz, or even some other innocent country’s ship, that does impact U.S. policy and interests. We need free passage throughout the world to move our goods/needs as we want. But that has not happened, and I seriously doubt it would happen unless or until the U.S. starts to shoot directly at Iran. So, it is highly disturbing to once again hear war drums beating from a Republican administration. It is especially true when Trump finds himself trailing every Democrat in the polls by double digits, and may think that his best shot at rising back up is to be our “leader” in a “fight for freedom” (as it will be called). We knew this would happen. We have no idea what is really happening, we just know what seems inevitable. Republican presidents start wars in the Middle East. American lives will be lost. Innocent Iranian lives – many innocent lives – will be lost, all in pursuit of oil interests, all in pursuit of keeping that defense interest pumping out new shit. I hope that I am wrong. Obviously. But who doesn’t think this sounds just so familiar, and […]

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