Saturday, December 10, 2016

Russian Oil, Russian Hacking, and Donald Trump

Let's put this together and make sure everybody knows and understands this:

The head of Exxon-Mobil, Tillerson, the man that Trump has reportedly pegged to be Secretary of State, was very much involved with and in favor of an Exxon-Russia-oil (Roseneft) deal. The Obama administration had nixed this deal due to Russia's invasion of the Crimea. The US under Obama, Kerry, and Clinton has taken a somewhat hard line by using sanctions against Russia and its expansionist desires. Now Putin will manage to fast-track that oil deal after all (and probably get rid of the sanctions) by backing Trump. Question: Is there a smoking gun? Is there any evidence of back door dealings between Trump people and the Russians either about the hacking or about this deal and the Exxon guy? We all heard Trump calling on hackers to look into Hillary Clinton, and we know something about Paul Manafort, but that's not the same as a smoking gun. If there was such a smoking gun, would the Repubs even investigate it?



More on all of this later, including relevant links...

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Republicans Are Disgusting. Overtime Regulations.


Finally!  Overtime for 4.2 million workers who are treated like dirt by their employers!  


Well.... not so fast.  Nobody is getting out of the no-overtime trap very soon. 

I know this overtime trap well as my husband was stuck in it for several years.

Exempt From Overtime

We all know that employers are supposed to pay time and a half to employees who work more than 40 hours a week.. However, there is a loophole.  If an employer considers you a manager or supervisor, that employer may well get out of paying you overtime if your salary exceeds $24,000 a year. Yes, if you have a whizbang job that involves management activities and you make more than $24,000 a year, you may be considered EXEMPT from those overtime rules.  Your boss can work you until the cows come home and you are stuck -- until or unless you can find another job.

What this has meant is that millions of people who held the title "Manager" but only made $25,000 or $30,000 a year could be imposed upon to work 50, 60, 70 or more hours a week.. because they were exempt from overtime regulations!

Thanks, Obama!

Thanks to President Obama and the Obama-led Department of Labor, on December 1st, 2016 -- next week -- that $24,000 salary cutoff was slated to go up to $47,000 a year--- which meant that millions of overworked supervisors would actually get overtime.. finally.

Here's the way Politico framed it:
The Labor Department regulation, previously set to take effect in Dec. 1, effectively restored overtime pay to the middle class after decades of erosion had reduced it to a benefit available only to low-wage workers.
(That Politico article provides a good summary of this whole issue.)


But No!!

Except that that long-expected relief was just blocked by a Federal judge who seems to think that this shouldn't be a Labor Department regulation; that, if it was going to pass muster, it needed to be an Act of Congress.  So all of those hard-working people toiling 50, 60, 70 hours a week with no overtime are screwed.. as usual.  The sad thing is that this federal judge was an Obama appointee! 

Close to home.
  
My husband was one of those employees caught in this exempt squeeze a few years back.  When he was considered a non-supervisory employee, a sales associate, he was eligible for overtime.  But then he was moved into a management position.  The duties and the hours were really difficult.  He was a store manager for a nationwide chain, so not only was he responsible for all of the daily questions, concerns, problems, reports, money, people, etc.. But if the store alarm went off in the middle of the night, he was on call.  If someone couldn't come in and he couldn't find a replacement, he worked extra hours even if it was his day off.  He averaged about 55-60 hours a week.

His company actually did pay a pittance for those extra hours.. about four dollars an hour.  Yep.  Four bucks.

I can't imagine the absolute sadness, the despair actually, of so many people with that "Manager" title who make 30K or 35K and get no overtime.. who were looking forward to some compensation for all of the work that they were going to do during the upcoming Holiday season.  And now.. nothing.     

We have vicious people in this country.

I don't know what to say when I read some of the comments about this.  I don't know what kind of people we have in this country.  Here's an example:
It's not the governments job to interfere and over regulate the private sector.  Employees must negotiate their own benefits.

That kind of comment frustrates me because it is so obviously wrong.  It is the kind of thinking that has been used against workers' rights, minimum wage, overtime rules, for generations now.. As if an employee is really able to negotiate equally with an employer.  As if an employee can always pick up and leave and find a same or better job if the conditions are not right.  

How can people still think that way?  

How can people vote for Donald Trump?

Now, since I mentioned Trump, let me take up that comment about Republicans...  This was blocked by an Obama appointed federal judge.  So why blame Republicans?  Because Donald Trump had said that one of the first things he wanted to do was to roll back this rule, assuming it had gone into effect December 1st. Because you can bet your bottom dollar that the plaintiffs in this lawsuit are mostly Republican voters.  Because the reason that the current ridiculously low bar for overtime pay has remained so ridiculously low for decades is mostly due to Republican legislators and administrations.

There is no joy in Mudville...

Somewhere tonight, in up to 4.2 million households in this country, there is no joy as workers who thought they were going to get some relief, some compensation for those 50 and 60 hour weeks they usually work during the holiday season, are not going to be getting anything.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Things We Can Do

Watch this space for continual updates of Things We Can Do to innoculate the country and the world against the Donald Trump presidency.


If you have other ideas or have seen other relevant links, please comment here or on
my Molly Facebook page.  I plan on updating this page at least once a day through the Inauguration.


Peaceful anti-Trump protest.
Photo from peopledotcom .

1. The long Hail Mary pass: Write to the electors to throw that very long Hail Mary pass of getting the Electoral College to vote for the popular vote winner, Hillary Clinton, vs. Trump. Writing to the electors directly is better than signing petitions, though I will include links to the largest petitions here later today. 

More information and links here:
Here's the big 4.5 million name petition on Change.org.  Remember though that the Electoral College doesn't meet in a group; they meet in the state capitals.  We need to appeal to Republican electors in the states that are able to vote as they see fit.  We need about 44 Republican electors to change their votes.

2.  Sign one of the many petitions to Department of Justice to investigate the election, Trump's ties to Russia, etc.  Better yet, CALL the DOJ to insist that they investigate the election. From one of my friends: 

Call the DOJ, Department of Justice at 202-353-1555 and you can speak to a person who will take your information, and it will be forwarded to the correct person to call you. You can ask the questions we've all been asking, like is this Election being investigated for fraud,Comey, Russians, Wikileaks?

3.  Call or write to your CongressCritters, both your Senators and your Representatives.  Make an initial contact.

If you have Democratic CongressCritters, congratulate them on being elected/reelected.  Remind them that they are the only block between Trump (and his merry band of racists and misogynists) and the American people.  Tell your Democratic Congressperson that you are counting on them to do whatever they to help the American people and encourage them in their fight. Mention your key issues; that is, how you may personally be impacted by one of Trump's "promises".

If you have Republican CongressCritters, keep your letters respectful, but remind them that you will be keeping track of their votes.  Also mention your one or two key issues, again, how you may personally be impacted by Trump's "promises".

Keep your letters and emails short, just a paragraph or two.  You may wish to try snail mail; Congresspeople get fewer of those than emails or phone calls.

4.  Donate/work to get Foster Campbell, the Democrat from Louisiana in the December 10th Senate runoff, elected to the US Senate.  His election STILL won't give the Democrats the majority, but it will be REALLY close.  His win would mean a 51-49 split, and the Democrats would be one seat closer to gaining control in 2018.  This will put a lot of pressure on ALL Republicans in preparation for 2018.  A Democratic Senator from Louisiana?  Well, remember that Louisiana elected a Democrat, Jon Bel Edwards, as governor just last year.  Look, $5 to $10 can mean a lot.  Consider five bucks!  More if you can!  


More information about Foster Campbell at the links below:  


6.  Keep Trump's favoribility rating low.  Bill Palmer discusses that here at the Palmer Report:
Other ideas and plans:

I haven't yet reviewed this New York Times article, but I'm including the link anyway:

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Let's Stop With Hillary's "Flaws"

Please, people, let's stop with the "Hillary's flaws" stuff.



I'm tired of the allusions to Hillary's "flaws" that I have seen in so many posts, so many comments and articles as people try to deconstruct this election. 


Democratic Senators. Photo via C-Span. 

Look, every candidate or politician has flaws, Bernie Sanders, Obama, Elizabeth Warren, every last one. Hillary's flaws are like a hangnail compared to Trump's gangrene. But we got gangrene! 

Perhaps we need to realize that this country is a lot more "flawed" than we ever thought it would be. People watched the man, Trump, mock the disabled reporter; they heard him talk about p#ssy grabbing on the bus and they voted for the man anyway. Meanwhile Democrats say "but Hillary was flawed!" 

Any One of a Dozen Things..

We can all point to any of a dozen things that made the difference in an election this close. It does no good to speculate on which of those things made the "most difference".

So....

A Good, Solid Liberal Progressive Agenda...

We need a good solid liberal agenda that a majority of the people in this country will agree with. And we need to fight against voter suppression so that that majority can actually get to the polls and VOTE.

I don't know how we win over racists and misogynists, the same people who have flocked to Trump. I don't know whether or not we should try to win over these people. I don't know how we win over people like coal miners who believed Trump's lies about reopening the coal mines.. Lies from the man who talked about assaulting women.  I would bet that most of these miners have wives, daughters, sisters.. but they didn't care that the man was a sexual predator; they didn't care that he lied continually; they really think that he is going to reopen coal mines. I don't know how we win over the uneducated white men, of whom 72% voted for Trump. Let's remember that these people have been lied to for decades now by Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and they probably only read rightie blogs like Breitbart.  I honestly don't know if we can fight against ignorance and racism.  I don't know that it is worth the fight.     

Now the Democratic Senators...

All of the Democrats have to come together and figure out a way forward.. And we have to give our Democratic Congresspeople support to do whatever they can to block the Republican destruction of our country. I can't imagine what it is like to be one of the 48 Democatic Senators right now.  I hope they realize that they are all that stands between the majority of the people.. as more people voted for Hillary than Trump... and total chaos.

God bless all of them as they work to save the country from itself.

Trump Plus 8 Days and Nights


I have started about a dozen articles since Trump won the Electoral College last Tuesday.  I'd write and dump, write and dump some more, and then I just gave up.   None of those articles sounded very good, so I didn't publish anything.  

From Political Noodle



I have, however, been collecting links to great rants from websites, Facebook friends, people at the Kos, other people who (at least for now) are more articulate than I have been able to be.  I will post these links, about 4 or 5 at a time, over the next few days.

I will say that my emotions have been spiraling up, down, in, and out at an incredible pace.  I wake; I see the sun; I feel good; the holidays are coming.. and then I remember that Trump is the President-elect.  How can that be?  I'm still incredulous; still in a state of disbelief.  I feel as though I'm watching a sci-fi show about a parallel universe..  A universe in which the Germans won WWII, a topic with which many sci-fi shows have played.

But, no, this is now, 2016, and this is the United States of America.  And a reality television star, a man with no experience in government, a man who is crude, racist, and ignorant, is going to move into the White House.. well, at least part time.  President Pussy-grabber.  He's going to make the government of this country into a reality show.  He's going to make the whole world into a big reality show with him as the star.  Except it's really real, unlike most reality shows.  And the outcome just might be deadly.         

I feel better when I check in with my friends on Facebook.. There is comfort in numbers, but the misery, the fear, is everywhere.    

I will write nothing more for now, but the title of this blog, "Both Parties Are NOT The Same", has never been more apt.  After a few years of Trump, maybe we will no longer have to convince people that "Both Parties Are NOT the Same" because the difference will be so, so, so crystal clear.  

   

Monday, November 7, 2016

That's it, Folks!

Dear, dear friends.. I think I've just about had it. I can barely click a like on a Tweet tonight, nor can I even consider sharing one more article to my Facebook page. Maybe I'll feel differently tomorrow morning, but I feel as though I am all "electioned" out. So just a short rant before I check out for the night.. Or maybe for the next two nights!


I am so, so sick of crap like "Hillary is corrupt." I'm sick of Wikileaks. I'm sick of people who can't see the hypocrisy of Wikileaks.. Do they really think the internal communications of the Trump people.. or even the Bernie Sanders people... are that different? I'm tired of people who try to make mountains out of molehills due to incomplete emails. They publish stuff and I can't figure out how they got to A from B due to the words in that email.


I'm tired of people who are fact-challenged. If your only sources are Fox News, Breitbart, Gateway pundit, Rush Limbaugh, etc etc, you have no idea what the facts are. Speaking of "Truth", I'm convinced that any website that has "Truth" in the title is bullsh!t and needs to be taken with a grain of salt.  So ignore anything coming from a website that is named "Truth".  It likely isn't.

Finally, I'm tired of people who actually think that Trump would be a good President. He's a vile human being and the few policies that he has promoted are horrible. Privatizing the highway system? You really think that's a good idea?

So for now that's it. We have an easily brainwashed ignorant public, and politicians are allowed to lie with impunity. A dire combination.
I think Hillary will win, but it will be a very tough term for her and little will get done. But if she can keep the Republicans from enacting policies that increase income inequality and start wars and recessions, reduce Social Security, voucherize Medicare, privatize highways, well, that might be good enough.

Later, mates!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Denial is a River in Trumpland: Taking on Hillary Haters- Or Not?

Denial is a river in Trumpland:  Taking on Hillary Haters.. Or not?

Why We Are A Backwards Country


Our country, the United States of America, despite our technological development and our wealth,   is backwards.  We are starting to have a hard time keeping up with many other developed countries, some of which are passing us up socially and technologically.

Our problems are based in ignorance. Ignorance is the cousin of propaganda and brainwashing.

I posted a silly political Halloween cartoon on my Molly Facebook page over the weekend.  
It was a hit; so far thousands of views, dozens of shares.  (Well, a hit for my page. We haven't yet gone supernova!)

However, one of the people who shared my silly Halloween cartoon got into a "discussion" with a Hillary Hater.

Hillary Haters

There is no use arguing with Hillary Haters.  They have been brainwashed by 30 years of Republican propaganda.

How do you know that someone is a really brainwashed Hater?  Well... just look at this, a comment and discussion on a share of my cartoon.  I did not correct the spelling or grammar.






I
Same old; same old

They believe that:

  • Hillary is a murderer.
  • Hillary is a thief.  (?)
  • Hillary took money from a mid-East country (probably referring to Saudi Arabia here) for her own personal use.
  • Democrats steal from Middle America instead of working.
  • The Clintons are like the Mafia. 
  • Her list of wrongs is so long (that the commenter can't even list a couple of specifics with sources.)
  • Democrats created racism and sexism.  
  • Democrats created "illegal actions".
Nothing on this list is true, unless you go back to the Democrats of the Civil War era..  Even then, they did not "create" racism; it was here since before the Revolution.

The Braindead Millions

I thought of answering her comments, but it really isn't worth it.  She is completely braindead about Hillary; she will refuse any information or any fact-check to the contrary..  It's just no use.  You just can't argue with Hillary Haters.  It is a waste of time and energy. 


There are some people that do not WANT to know the Truth.  Perhaps she really wants a savior and thinks that Trump is the man.  She really thinks that this man.. who has all of his Trump good manufactured abroad.. will actually somehow compel manufacturing plants to open up again in Ohio and Indiana.

Perhaps she is a serious racist who believes that minorities are all sponging off of her and her family and they don't work.  And she thinks that the ones that do work are going to take her jobs.  Perhaps she just gets her news from Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and right wing blogs and doesn't realize that they consistently peddle lies, just as their Leader Trump, the King of Liars.

I'm very saddened that so many people in this country are so...ignorant?  brainwashed?.. that they don't know what is true and what is not true.

I just don't know.  But we all bear the cost of the millions of people in this country who think (and write) as my "friend" here.

For the record, here's my Molly Halloween cartoon, based on a cartoon initially published by someecards:  



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