Tag: Legislation

This Does Not Bode Well

It turns out that Biden was involved in negotiations for the Stimulus package, and he actively worked to keep it small.

I knew that he has fetishized deficit reduction for years, but these are extraordinary times, and Joe Biden appears unable to move behind old habits.

When Biden said, “Nothing would fundamentally change,” he meant it, and and he intends to stick to it.

This is a recipe for disaster:

If there is any consistent throughline in Joe Biden’s long career, it is his commitment to the ideology of austerity.

He has obsessively pushed for Social Security cuts for decades, and he is stocking his administration with deficit hawks — including today’s announcement that notorious Social Security cutter Bruce Reed will be White House deputy chief of staff. Biden has even threatened to veto Medicare for All legislation on the grounds that it costs too much (even though Congress says it would actually save a lot of money).

Now, in the whittling down of the stimulus legislation, we see the first concrete example of how Biden’s ideology can change policy in the here and now — and in deeply destructive ways.


However, the New York Times reminds us today that Biden was “not an idle bystander in the negotiations.” On the contrary, the paper of record tells us that the president-elect played a decisive role in making sure the legislation was cut in half. Here is the key excerpt:

With Republican and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate far apart on how much they were willing to accept in new pandemic spending, Mr. Biden on Dec. 2 threw his support behind the $900 billion plan being pushed by the centrist group. The total was less than half of the $2 trillion that Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, had been insisting on.

Mr. Biden’s move was not without risks. If it had failed to affect the discussions, the president-elect risked looking powerless to move Congress before he had taken the oath of office. But members of both parties said his intervention was constructive and gave Democrats confidence to pull back on their demands.


That last line of Biden’s statement is arguably the most disturbing foreshadow of all: He is depicting the process — which starved America for months and now skimps on benefits — as a terrific “model” for the future.


But now we see what Biden austerity means in practice. It means meager $600 survival checks instead of $1,200 checks in the same package that pours money into the Pentagon, gives rich people big new tax breaks and doubles funding for Congress’s own private health care system. It means inadequate unemployment benefits in a bill that devotes $6 billion to making business executives’ meals tax deductible and $3 billion to a tax break for landlords.

If Biden is allowed to be Biden, the way that Obama was allowed to be Obama, and the activists and progressives allow themselves to be put back into the “veal pen,” in 2024, we are going to see someone far worse, and far more competent, than Donald Trump elected in 2024.

Not enough bullets

Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson is doing his best to kill payouts to ordinary Americans in the next Covid relief bill, while in the past he has been pushing big tax breaks for himself

Republican values, neh?

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson on Friday moved to block emergency survival checks to millions of Americans, citing concerns about the federal deficit. Johnson’s move not only follows his vote for a massive $500 billion corporate slush fund — it also follows his successful effort to enrich himself with a giant tax cut that expanded the deficit.

Johnson, who is worth an estimated $39 million, led the fight in 2017 to create special tax breaks for so-called “pass-through” businesses, or real estate shell companies. Johnson was one of several Republican senators who backed the last-minute provisions inserted in the bill — and who listed income from those pass-through entities on their federal financial disclosure forms.

Based on those federal filings, Johnson stood to personally reap up to $205,000 from the tax cut provisions he championed.


On Friday, Johnson moved to block a bipartisan proposal, from Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., to give Americans emergency $1,200 checks, amid a sudden increase in poverty and mass starvation across the country.

Johnson argued that the direct payment proposal would be “mortgaging our children’s future” — an argument that he did not make when he led the fight to personally enrich himself with a massive tax cut only three years ago.

Mr. Johnson, go Cheney yourself.

A Good Start

Congress just passed a bill requiring that shell companies detail who their beneficiaries are.

This means that the shenanigans like Wyoming corporations will hopefully be a thing of the past:

The U.S Senate on Friday passed a bill overhauling anti-money laundering rules and banning anonymous shell companies, a victory for law enforcement and rights groups which have long sought changes to make it easier to police illicit money flows.

The bill requires most companies to report their true beneficial owners to the government, allows greater information sharing between law enforcement and regulators, and authorizes the use of new suspicious activity monitoring tools.

Unfortunately, it does not make this information available to the general public, which it should, but it is a marked improvement on the status quo.

So Nice that Pelosi Supported the Homophobic Campaign of Richard Neal

Because after winning the primary, and the general, Ways and Means Chairman Neal is blocking surprise medical billing legislation, because he is owned by the hedge funds who have purchased medical practices, particularly emergency medicine practices, across the country to profit from massively overcharging people in emergency rooms:

A broad bipartisan effort to pass legislation protecting patients from massive “surprise” medical bills is now on life support as House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) digs in on a separate proposal.

Democratic and Republican leaders of three committees in the House and Senate have been pushing for months to pass their measure, which would prevent Americans from unexpectedly getting hit with medical bills for thousands of dollars for common scenarios like treatment from a doctor outside their insurance network when they require emergency care.

Neal has been holding out for his own rival proposal and has not shown any willingness to budge despite concessions offered by top lawmakers on the three committees.


Supporters say they are extremely frustrated with Neal, given that lawmakers have been working on a bipartisan basis for two years to solve an issue many view as an especially egregious practice that should be low-hanging fruit for Congress. Lawmakers tried to pass the measure last December, but disagreements with Neal derailed the measure.


All sides agree that patients should be protected from getting massive medical bills through no fault of their own. But fierce divisions have emerged over how much the insurer would then pay the doctor or hospital once the patient is taken out of the middle.

The three committees — House Energy and Commerce, House Education and Labor and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions — have in general favored an approach called benchmarking, which sets the payment rate based on the median amount that insurers in that area already pay in-network doctors. That approach is backed by insurers, unions and consumer groups who say it will save both consumers and the government more money than Neal’s proposal.

Hospitals and doctors, on the other hand, warn that would lead to damaging payment cuts. They favor an alternative process where an outside arbiter would decide the payment, through arbitration. That’s the approach proposed by Neal and Rep. Kevin Brady (Texas), the top Republican on the Ways and Means Committee, with Neal touting the support of hospital groups.

Backers of the three-committee approach say they offered a range of concessions to Neal, including one that only used Neal’s preferred method — arbitration — but he still did not agree.


The fierce lobbying from powerful doctor and hospital groups has caused further problems. Private equity firms that own doctor staffing companies previously funded millions of dollars in ads against the three-committee legislation.

Surprise billing became an issue in Neal’s primary race earlier this year; his progressive challenger, Alex Morse, [Against whom Neal and the Democratic Party establishment (There is no Democratic Party establishment) ran a viciously homophobic campaign] accused him of blocking surprise billing legislation because the private equity firm Blackstone is a major contributor to Neal. Neal ended up handily defeating Morse before going on to win reelection to Congress, where he has served since 1989.

Neal is now saying he wants to again delay the issue until next year, which backers of the three-committee approach take as a sign that he does not want to address the issue at all and is trying to delay it indefinitely.

Of course he is trying to delay it indefinitely.

He sees his job as to ensure that Blackstone and their Evil Minions™ get their vigorish so that he gets his campaign donations.

Good Idea, but It Won’t Make It to the President’s Desk

The annual defense policy bill has language that requires federal agents, both law enforcement and military will be required to wear insignia and identify themselves when arresting people during civil disturbances.

I do not believe that this will make it out of Congress, but it should:

Congress is set to approve a defense policy bill that bars unidentified federal law enforcement officers from policing protests. The bill responds to a phenomenon that Mother Jones flagged in June: Unidentified federal law enforcement officers with no identifying insignia joined in the Trump administration’s coordinated crackdown on protests against police violence in several cities earlier this summer.

The 4,500-page annual defense policy bill that emerged from a House-Senate policy committee Thursday requires any armed forces personnel, including National Guard members, and federal law enforcement agents who respond to a “civil disturbance,” to display either their name or some other “individual identifier,” as well as the organization or branch of the Armed Forces for whom they work.

This provision is a direct response to the presence in multiple cities of unidentified federal officers last summer. I first reported on this issue on June 3 during a protest in Washington. Agents I approached would only say that they worked for the “Department of Justice” or the “federal government.” Other reporters elicited similar responses.

Basically, this means that they need to wear a badge identifying which agency that they work for, and a badge number so that they can be personally identified for complaints.

This is long overdue, and should be adopted at the state and local level too.

And the “Bipartisan Deal” Gets Even Worse

It turns out that the “Bipartisan Stimulus Package” that Pelosi and Schumer have caved on is even worse than I had originally noted.

It contains a provision that will completely indemnify irresponsible and negligent employers, no matter how egregious their behavior is.

It can’t be bipartisan unless it shafts ordinary workers, I guess:

In early October, Harvard researchers sounded an alarm: they released a report showing a pattern of coronavirus deaths surging soon after workers filed requests for workplace safety assistance from the US labor department. The takeaway was clear: workers are desperately begging the government to help protect them from a deadly pandemic, the government has been unresponsive, and lots of workers have subsequently died preventable deaths.

Today, a little more than a month after the study came out, the federal government is finally responding: a bipartisan group of Senate and House lawmakers have announced legislation to shield corporations from lawsuits when their lax safety standards kill more workers.

In practice, the legislation, which is being tucked into a larger Covid relief package, is a holiday-season gift for corporate donors: it would strip frontline workers of their last remaining legal tool to protect themselves in the workplace – at the same time the unemployment system is designed to financially punish those workers if they refuse to return to unsafe workplaces during the pandemic.

The legislation comes not only as workers continue to die, but also as roughly 7- 9% of the total Covid-19 death count are “take home” infections traced to employees unwittingly spreading the disease to their families and friends.

At the behest of corporate lobbyists, the liability shield initiative has spread like a virus in America’s political system: as the Daily Poster first reported, it coursed through state legislatures across the country after the New York Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo, responded to a Covid-19 mass death in nursing homes by shielding nursing home executives from lawsuits – after a healthcare lobby group funneled $1m into his political machine.


US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been one of the few Democratic lawmakers to spotlight what’s really going on. Last week, she tweeted: “If you want to know why Covid-19 relief is tied up in Congress, one key reason is that Republicans are demanding legal immunity for corporations so they can expose their workers to Covid without repercussions.”

The bipartisan initiative aims to obscure its Dr Evil level of depravity by superficially depicting the liability shield as merely temporary. But that seems like a ruse, as indicated by private equity mogul and senator Mitt Romney of Utah, who said the federal Covid-19 liability shield provision “provides a temporary suspension of any liability-related lawsuits, state or federal level associated with Covid-19, giving states enough time to put in place their own protections”.

Though full legislative language has not been released, the goal seems clear: to give state legislatures more time to permanently prevent workers from suing employers who endanger them, and to permanently block their families from mounting such lawsuits when the workers die.


With liability shields, those same employers will know that they can get away with all kinds of cost-slashing and corner-cutting that endangers workers and denies them access to basic protective gear.

In other words, corporations will know they can drive the Covid-19 body count ever higher, and they won’t even have to worry about being called into a courtroom to answer for their crimes.

This is why people think that the only way that you can get true reform is to wreck the whole thing.

The very serious people in DC only come together to f%$# the ordinary people.

Round Up the Usual Wankers

In an attempt to prevent money from getting people who actually need it, Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Angus King (I-ME), Joe Manchin III (D-WV), and Mitt Rmoney (R-UT) and Mark R. Warner (D-VA) have proposed an emergency stimulus package that does little and will be an excuse for not doing more:

A bipartisan group of senators introduced a coronavirus aid proposal worth about $908 billion on Tuesday, aiming to break a months-long partisan impasse over emergency federal relief for the U.S. economy amid the ongoing pandemic.


It would provide $300 a week in federal unemployment benefits for roughly four months — a lower amount than the $600 per week Democrats sought, while still offering substantial relief to tens of millions of jobless Americans. The agreement includes $160 billion in funding for state and local governments, a key Democratic priority opposed by most Republicans, as well as a temporary moratorium on some coronavirus-related lawsuits against companies and other entities — a key Republican priority that most Democrats oppose. The measure also includes funding for small businesses, schools, health care, transit authorities and student loans, among other measures.

It’s weak tea, and does not do anything meaningful, but for these folks, it’s a feature, not a bug.

They are not there to solve problems, they just want to preen on the Sunday gas-bag circuit, because it is always about them.

Can We Please Give Texas Back to Mexico?

In the episode of the continuing series, Of Course They Did, It’s Texas, a bill has been submitted in the state house that would tax solar and wind power, but not fossil fuels, because ……… I don’t know, maybe owning the libs?

There are fools, there are damn fools, and then there is the Texas legislature:

Power bills likely would rise next year for Texas consumers who get their electricity from wind, solar, coal and nuclear generation if the Legislature approves a bill filed this week.

The bill from state Rep. Ken King would add 1 cent to every kilowatt hour of energy generated. The tax likely would be passed on to consumers, adding about $12 a month to bills for households that use 1,200 kilowatt hours of renewable power sources each month. Power generated from natural gas would be exempt from the tax.

Wind produced about 20 percent of electricity last year in Texas, which is the nation’s leader in wind power generation, and 47 percent came from natural gas, according to the state’s grid manager, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.

Luke Metzger, executive director of the Austin-based clean energy advocacy group Environment Texas, said the bill makes no sense.

It flies against the rhetoric of Texas’ market-based system of electricity, putting the thumb on the scale for natural gas and raising taxes on Texans by $2.3 billion every year,” he said in a prepared statement. “It would also discourage wind and solar power, which are reducing pollution, helping us tread more lightly on the planet, and boosting rural economies.

Seriously, this guy should have been drowned at birth.

Long Overdue

I’m not a big fan of Representative Tulsi Gabbard, but her proposal to allow defendants to use a public interest defense in cases of releases of classified information is an idea long overdue. 

Prosecutions under the Espionage Act frequently resemble a kangaroo court, particularly in Judge Leonie Brinkama’s court, where she has consistently made a vigorous defense by the defendant impossible.

Still, I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop about it, because I do not trust Gabbard:

Legislation proposed in Congress would amend the United States Espionage Act and create a public interest defense for those prosecuted under the law.

“A defendant charged with an offense under section 793 or 798 [in the U.S. legal code] shall be permitted to testify about their purpose for engaging in the prohibited conduct,” according to a draft of the bill Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard introduced.

Such a reform would make it possible for whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, Reality Winner, Terry Albury and Daniel Hale to inform the public why they disclosed information without authorization to the press.

The legislation called the Protect Brave Whistleblowers Act is supported by Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg.

“If this long-overdue revision of the 1917 Espionage Act had been law half a century ago, I myself could have had a fair trial for releasing the Pentagon Papers in 1971: justice under law unavailable to me and to every other national security whistleblower indicted and prosecuted since then,” Ellsberg declared.


As noted, government employees or contractors prosecuted under the Espionage Act would be allowed an “affirmative defense” under the Protect Brave Whistleblowers Act that they engaged in the “prohibited conduct for purpose of disclosing to the public” violations of laws, rules or regulations, or to expose “gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.”


However, the Espionage Act Reform bill appears to do more to prohibit the Justice Department from prosecuting journalists. It specifically ensures “only personnel with security clearances can be prosecuted for improperly revealing classified information” and aims to protect the rights of members of the press that “solicit, obtain or publish government secrets.”

“When brave whistleblowers come forward to expose wrongdoing within our government, they must have the confidence that they, and the press who publishes this information, will be protected from government retaliation,” stated Gabbard.

I like the bill, though my preferred solution, adopting the Swedish concept of Offentlighetsprincipen (openness) as an explicit constitutional right.

Anything that provides more accountability and exposure to the US state security apparatus is a good thing.

How Utterly British

The British Ministry of Devense is saying that it cannot give details on payouts made in response to claims against their troops for torture and abuse because there are too many to count, which is why they want a law passed indemnifying their troops for war crimes.

This is like some twisted take on a Gilbert and Sullivan light opera:

The UK government has received so many complaints from Iraqis who were unlawfully detained and allegedly mistreated by British troops that its defence ministry says it is unable to say how many millions of pounds have been paid to settle the claims.

Ministry of Defence (MoD) officials in London say they can provide approximate figures for the thousands of Iraqis who have lodged complaints against British forces involved in the 2003 US-led invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq.

However, they maintain that they cannot disclose how much UK taxpayers’ money has been spent settling their claims, saying that it would take weeks for civil servants to collate the figure.

The department is claiming that it is unable to disclose the sums paid at a time when the UK parliament is about to debate a deeply controversial law which would introduce a partial amnesty for the country’s service personnel who have committed serious crimes – including murder and torture – while serving outside the country.

Known as the Overseas Operation Bill, the proposed new law has alarmed human rights groups, the UK government’s political opponents and many ex-soldiers, who fear that it will effectively sanction war crimes by British forces.


Even the country’s most senior retired soldier, 81-year-old Field Marshal Charles Guthrie, wrote to the Sunday Times newspaper to warn that the proposed new law would provide room for “de facto decriminalisation of torture”.
Guthrie added that the measures “appear to have been dreamt up by those who have seen too little of the world to understand why the rules of war matter”.


Frank Ledwidge, a former army intelligence officer and military historian, warns that the bill – which he calls a “squalid piece of legislation” – could cause more problems than it solves for the MoD and British government ministers.

Ledwidge, who has experience of tracking down war criminals in Bosnia and Kosovo, points out that the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is currently conducting a preliminary investigation into allegations of British war crimes in Iraq, is unlikely to target the interrogators.

“When the ICC does come for us, which it will if this bill is enacted, it won’t be the soldiers they’ll be after,” Ledwidge says. “The men we hunted down in Bosnia were not the trigger-pullers. They were the commanders, the generals and the politicians who sent them and allowed these crimes to happen.”

There are a whole bunch of people who should be in the dock at The Hague for crimes against humanity during the Iraq invasion, and the important ones are the, “Commanders, the generals and the politicians who sent them and allowed these crimes to happen.”

Mandy Rice-Davies Applies*

Of course they are.  They are opposed to anything that would make it harder for them to monetize our privacy:

The trade group representing many of the largest technological security companies is urging regulators not to overreach on facial recognition restrictions even as U.S. lawmakers push to rein in police use of the software.

The Security Industry Association, which represents NEC Corp., France’s Idemia Group, Japan’s Ayonix Corp. and others, will release on Tuesday day a 10-point framework urging policy-makers, companies and governments to embrace the benefits of the technology, while upholding certain ethical principles.

SIA is defending government use of facial recognition at a time when some civil rights advocates, companies, and lawmakers are calling for police departments to stop using the technology. Critics want better guardrails to ensure facial recognition doesn’t promote racial biases in the criminal justice system.

Calls to curb law enforcement’s use of the technology grew louder during widespread public outrage over racial inequities following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, in Minneapolis police custody in May.

SIA’s policy principles, obtained by Bloomberg News, caution lawmakers not to adopt a “one-size-fits-all legislative framework.”

Here is a quick rule of thumb:  When businesses start proposing regulatory forbearance, or suggesting that, “One Size Fits All,” legislation (mark your bullsh%$ bingo card) would be a bad thing, and that they are proposing, “Policy Principles,” it means that they want business as usual to continue, typically by sucking the marrow out of the public space.

These folks want to make money by being evil, and they don’t care if they sell to corrupt and brutal cops in the USA, or Chinese authorities enforcing a genocide against the Uighurs. 

*Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he? Seriously, know your history.

Vacation Cancelled

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is recalling the US House of Representatives early from its summer recess in a bid to protect the US Postal Service from efforts to block funding and suppress mail-in voting in November’s election.

Several states were also considering taking legal action to stop the service being run down to a level where it cannot deliver enough mail-in ballots in November, when almost half the country is expected to vote by post because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Pelosi said the House would return later this week to vote on a bill prohibiting the USPS from changing its operations or service levels from what it had in place at the start of 2020. Previously, the House had not been scheduled to vote until 15 September.

She said late on Sunday that Donald Trump was trying to sabotage the election by manipulating the postal service, and called postmaster general Louis DeJoy “a complicit crony” by bringing in changes that degrades the service and delayed mail.


Her comments echoed those of Bernie Sanders, who told NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday that Trump’s attacks on mail-in voting and his administration’s efforts to block funds for the US post office amounted to “a crisis for American democracy” ahead of the November presidential election.

Needless to say, Mitch McConnell has no plans to bring the Senate back into session, because he doesn’t give a sh%$.

Thanks, Andy

Cuomo’s sellout to negligent nursing homes was so egregious that Republicans copied and pasted it into their bill:

Senate Republicans copied key parts of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s controversial corporate immunity law and pasted it word-for-word into their new coronavirus relief proposal released on Monday. The provision could shield health care industry CEOs, executives and corporate board members from COVID-related lawsuits in the event that their business decisions end up injuring or killing health care workers and patients.

Among all federal lawmakers running for reelection in 2020, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is the top recipient of campaign cash from the hospital and nursing home industries. One of the biggest career donors to Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn — the author of the bill — is a private equity firm that owns one of the nation’s largest hospital staffing companies. Additionally, a super PAC defending Senate Republican incumbents also just received $10 million from a private equity billionaire whose firm owns another major medical staffing conglomerate.

Executives from those industries stand to benefit from the corporate immunity provision that Senate Republicans spliced into their legislation.



TMI previously reported that in April, Cuomo worked with a major health care industry lobby group to slip language into his state’s budget designed to block lawsuits against hospitals and nursing homes during the pandemic, as the casualty count exploded in New York. The provisions did not just cover frontline health care workers — it included language extending that protection to any ”health care facility administrator, executive, supervisor, board member, trustee,” or other corporate manager.

Cuomo pushed the provision after his political machine received more than $1 million from the Greater New York Hospital Association.


“Governor Cuomo brushes aside criticism for his mishandling of nursing homes as Republican partisan politics but as it turns out he has inspired Republicans to follow his policies,” said New York Democratic Assemblyman Ron Kim, who has fought to repeal the immunity provision in New York. “Giving nursing home executives and health care corporations early blanket legal and criminal immunity was just wrong, plain and simple.”



Amid growing outrage over the corporate immunity law, Democratic lawmakers in Albany passed Kim’s bill to narrow their state’s liability shield.

But if Senate Republicans pass their legislation in Washington, the New York statute will effectively become the law of the land in every state in the country.

“Rat Faced Andy” Cuomo is a cancer on the Democratic party.


Good. To quote XTC, “People will always be tempted to wipe their feet, On anything with ‘welcome’ written on it.”

A revolt is brewing among Bernie Sanders delegates three weeks from the Democratic National Convention.

More than 360 delegates, most of whom back Sanders, have signed on to a pledge to vote against the Democratic Party’s platform if it does not include support for “Medicare for All,” the petition’s organizers told POLITICO. They argue that single-payer health care is an urgent priority amid a worldwide pandemic and the biggest unemployment crisis since the Great Depression.

“This pandemic has shown us that our private health insurance system does not work for the American people. Millions of people have lost their jobs and their health care at the same time,” said Judith Whitmer, a Sanders delegate and chair of the convention’s Nevada delegation who helped spearhead the pledge. “There’s people leaving the hospital now with millions of dollars in medical bills. What are we going to do about that?”

Good.  It’s rational to make this a fight on principle.

First, taking a stand on principles helps the progressives’ long game, and second, a fight over this at the convention, even if it is a sparsely attended remote event, is just the sort of flash that the press loves to cover.

This is a Direct Result of the Pandemic

California child care providers have overwhelmingly voted to unionize.

We have seen an explosion of union activities in the United States since the start of the pandemic, and this is because employers have shown themselves to be completely disinterested in the well-being of their employees, which leaves a union as the only way that those workers can protect themselves:

Today California child care providers announced they have voted to be represented by the statewide child care provider union, Child Care Providers United. This result, which comes after providers succeeded in their 17-year battle to win authorizing legislation from the state, gives care providers the ability to bargain together for higher pay, better training, and the kind of improvements that mean their families will no longer have to struggle just to pay for necessities. With an overwhelming vote for CCPU, the 45,000 family child care providers will gain official recognition and bargaining rights with the state of California.


The 97% CCPU yes vote also comes as child care providers are increasingly recognized for their essential role in California’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and its widespread economic fallout.


Child care providers, many over the age of 55, have continued to work daily, providing essential early learning for the children of grocery store clerks, nurses, and other frontline workers. At the same time, they’ve faced added financial pressure from reduced enrollment. Providers said winning this union election means they will have a strong platform from which to work with the state to keep their home-based child care businesses open to parents who are counting on them now more than ever. The pandemic has also revealed the need for providers to have a voice to bargain for the kind of training and protective equipment needed to keep their families and those they care for safe.

For a workforce that is mostly women and 74% people of color, succeeding in winning union representation is also a significant step forward in their fight for racial justice for their own families and the young people they educate. Last Monday, providers in Los Angeles, Sacramento, and San Francisco led children in their care in art projects and discussions on the theme of racial justice as part of the Strike for Black lives, calling on the government to value each child equally, whether brown, Black, white, API or Native American. Doing so, they said, requires rebalancing the economy and creating opportunity for children of color by ensuring corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share so our communities can invest in early care and education.


Today’s vote culminates providers’ decades-long fight for union rights. Last fall, after many years of being denied the rights that other workers have — the right to form a union and bargain for higher pay, family-sustaining benefits, and other improvements — the legislature passed and Governor Newsom signed into law AB 378 (Limón) which enables child care providers to bargain for important, lasting improvements to the child care system.

The vote was a mail-in secret ballot election conducted by the American Arbitration Association under the direction of the California Public Employment Board. Family child care providers have been working to win their rights since 2003 by organizing in their communities, forming their union, and working with elected officials.

It took 15 years for the legislature to grant basic labor rights to child healthcare workers.

That’s 15 years too long.

Bowing to the Inevitable

After the FBI arrests for corruption related to the nuclear power bailout in Ohio, Governor Mike DeWine has reversed himself and called for a repeal of the bill:

Gov. Mike DeWine reversed himself and called for the repeal of the House Bill 6 on Thursday, saying Speaker Larry Householder’s alleged bribery scheme “forever tainted” the $1.3 billion nuclear bailout law.

DeWine, who signed HB6 a year ago Thursday, reiterated that he supports the policy laid out in the bailout, saying it’s needed to preserve jobs at the Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear plants and keep carbon-free sources of energy.

“While the policy in my opinion is good, the process by which it was created stinks. It’s terrible, it’s not acceptable,” DeWine said during his televised coronavirus briefing.

The governor’s announcement marks a reversal from just the day before, when he stood by HB6 despite the federal charges against Householder and four allies regarding their acceptance of more than $60 million from FirstEnergy Corp. to get HB6 passed and thwart an anti-HB6 referendum effort.

It’s not that he has had a meaningful change of heart, he still supports bailouts for the rich and lectures for the poor, it’s just that his position in this has become politically toxic.

Republican Governance

Ohio State House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Perry County) has been arrested for bribery involving a massive state bailout for two nuclear power plants in the state:

Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder was arrested Tuesday morning ahead of an announcement about a $60 million federal racketeering case related to Ohio’s new nuclear bailout law, according to sources and media reports.

FBI agents, who were assisted by the Perry County Sheriff’s Department, were deployed to Householder’s property in Glenford, the Dayton Daily News reported. The investigation centers on House Bill 6, the $1 billion-plus ratepayer bailout of two Ohio nuclear power plants owned by FirstEnergy Solutions (now Energy Harbor) that Householder helped push through last year with the help of millions in dark money, according to the Toledo Blade.

Besides Householder, four others have been arrested, according to sources and media reports: former Ohio Republican Party Chair-turned-consultant Matt Borges, prominent lobbyist Neil Clark, FirstEnergy Solutions lobbyist Juan Cespedes, and Householder aide Jeff Longstreth. All are currently in custody, according to a source.


The news comes as the FBI and U.S. Attorney David M. DeVillers called a news conference in Columbus at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday to announce charges related to $60 million bribe to a “state official” and “associates.”

The campaign to pass HB6 — as well as their brutally successful effort to stop opponents from hold a statewide referendum to overturn it — included a wave of campaign donations from FirstEnergy Corp., as well as a multi-million-dollar ad campaign paid for with dark money.

It’s not the first time the FBI has looked into Householder’s activities. In 2004, during the Republican’s first stint as speaker, the FBI opened an investigation into Householder after receiving an anonymous tip that the speaker and aides received kickbacks from vendors doing business with the Ohio House GOP’s campaign arm. That investigation closed in 2006 without any charges being filed.

The details seem to indicate that this was more of a shake-down by Householder and his Evil Minions rather than the graft naturally flowing from the utility:

Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder’s political operation accepted more than $60 million in bribe money from FirstEnergy Corp. to secure the company a $1.3 billion public bailout, according to a federal complaint filed Thursday.


“(It) is likely the largest bribery, money-laundering scheme ever perpetrated against the people in the state of Ohio,” said David DeVillers, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, during a news conference Tuesday.

In all, Householder received more than $500,000 for his personal benefit, according to DeVillers.

More than $100,000 of the bribe money from FirstEnergy Corp. was used to pay costs associated with Householder’s Florida home, and at least $97,000 was used to pay expenses for Householder’s 2018 House campaign, the complaint stated.


DeVillers said there’s a “strong inference” in the complaint that Householder and his allies approached FirstEnergy, rather than the other way around.

“This enterprise went looking for someone to bribe them,” DeVillers said.


Other money went to fight an (ultimately unsuccessfully) attempt by HB6 opponents last summer to organize a statewide referendum to repeal HB6, which Gov. Mike DeWine signed in late July 2019.

Between July and October of last year, FirstEnergy Solutions wired more than $38 million to Generation Now to help defeat the referendum effort, which the group did through a barrage of TV ads and schemes to prevent opponents from collecting the necessary signatures, including hiring people to intimidate petition canvassers.

When they say, “Hiring people to intimidate petition canvassers,” they mean paying money to get the canvassers to quit, and having people harass, and in some cases assault, petition gatherers.

Nothing the see here, just Republican Party governance in its purest form.

How Is This Not Attempted Bribery and Extortion?

In response to Maryland Delegate Gabriel Acevero promoting legislation repealing the so-called “Maryland Police Bill of Rights”, his employer, Montgomery County Government Employees Organization Local 1994, browbeat him over his bill, and then fired him when he refused to withdraw the bill. (Local 1994 has a few Montgomery County deputy sheriffs among its members)

When Mr. Acevero noted that the meeting was completely inappropriate, they fired him:

The movement for greater accountability in policing poses a dilemma for organized labor. Union federations include and indeed welcome police organizations. Yet police unions can use their clout to win protection from complaints of officer brutality and other misconduct.

We offer no advice as to how union leaders should address this conundrum, but it is clear what they should not do: expel unionists who take a principled position in favor of police reform. And that is what Local 1994, which represents Montgomery County’s public employees, stands accused of doing to one of its salaried employees.

The staffer, Gabriel Acevero, 29, doubles as a member of Maryland’s House of Delegates, having represented District 39 in Montgomery County since January 2019. Mr. Acevero, who is black, has been outspoken against police abuses and is sponsoring a bill to provide greater transparency on misconduct cases: A key provision gives complainants access to previous documented allegations against accused officers. Mr. Acevero calls his bill Anton’s Law, after a 19-year-old African American from Caroline County, Anton Black, who died in policy custody in September 2018 under still-unclear circumstances.

In December, Local 1994 president Gino Renne, whose union also includes Montgomery County deputy sheriffs, summoned Mr. Acevero to meet with him, as well as deputies and an official of the county’s Fraternal Order of Police unit. The topic, according to an email from Mr. Renne: Mr. Acevero’s “support of legislation that interferes with our members’ employment rights” and “is in direct conflict with [the union’s] representational obligations and responsibilities.”

Mr. Acevero reiterated his position and said he considered the meeting inappropriate — whereupon Mr. Renne fired him. “I can’t have someone on my payroll who is slandering the very people who pay his salary,” Mr. Renne told us in an interview. Mr. Renne offered Mr. Acevero $35,000 severance if he would promise in writing not to discuss his firing publicly. Mr. Acevero refused, and instead filed a formal complaint against Mr. Renne’s union at the National Labor Relations Board last month. 

Gino Renne should be under criminal investigation, because this was a clear attempt to offer something of value to influence the actions of a public official.

Renne should be frog-marched out of his offices in handcuffs.

Ditch Mitch

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel, never does anything unless it presents an opportunity to screw ordinary people to favor his patrons.

Case in point, Moscow Mitch wants to take away the rights of ordinary people to benefit big business in the next stimulus package:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) outlined new details Monday of what he wants to see in the next and potentially final coronavirus relief package, including a five-year liability shield for businesses and a possible new round of stimulus checks aimed at workers making $40,000 a year and less.


“I can’t comfortably predict we’re going to come together and pass it unanimously like we did a few months ago — the atmosphere is becoming a bit more political than it was in March,” McConnell said. “But I think we will do something again. I think the country needs one last boost.”


McConnell has consistently said the next bill will include liability protections for businesses, health-care providers, universities and schools. He offered a time period for these protections on Monday, saying he envisioned a “narrowly crafted liability protection” for activities related to the novel coronavirus that would kick in December 2019 and last through 2024.

“Unless you’re grossly negligent or intentionally engaged in harmful behavior, you shouldn’t have to be penalized by getting sued on top of everything else, so that’ll be in there, I guarantee it,” McConnell said.


The new markers McConnell laid down will make the next round of negotiations even tougher than the last ones, especially as the election nears and partisan tensions rise. In addition to his comments on liability protections, McConnell has privately stressed to top administration officials that the price tag on the next bill should not exceed $1 trillion.

So basically, McConnell’s pet lobbyists want to take away the right to sue, and McConnell is doing back-flips for them.

This man is a cancer on the Body politic.