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Hometown: NY
Home country: US
Current location: Florida
Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 09:54 PM
Number of posts: 170,522

Journal Archives

Undocumented winery workers say Trump Organization waited until after harvest to fire them


Undocumented winery workers say Trump Organization waited until after harvest to fire them
Gabe Ortiz
Daily Kos Staff
Tuesday December 31, 2019 · 2:57 PM EST

The fact that impeached president Donald Trump demonizes immigrants in front of cameras while exploiting their labor behind the scenes should be one of the biggest scandals of this administration, yet The Washington Post reports that his winery in Virginia just this past Monday fired at least seven more undocumented workers—but not until after the harvest was over, in true Trump grifter fashion.

“The timing of the firings at the rural Virginia winery, 11 months after the company began purging the ranks of undocumented greenskeepers and cooks at Trump golf courses, came during the vineyard’s winter downtime,” The Washington Post said. “Workers had finished the arduous annual grape harvest, which involved working 60-hour weeks and overnight shifts under floodlights.”

The fired workers, some of whom had worked there for years, told The Washington Post that they believed the timing was intentional. “They didn’t make this decision in the summer because they needed us a lot then,” said tractor driver Omar Miranda. “I think they wanted to get their product out well, the grapes, to make sure that was taken care of, and once things were slow, they could fire us all,” said a second worker, who wanted to stay anonymous. Both worked at the winery for a decade. They haven’t been alone.

In the year since two of Trump’s former housekeepers bravely stepped forward to share their stories about working for him despite lacking permission to be in the U.S., The Washington Post reported that it “has spoken with 48 people who had worked illegally for the Trump Organization at 11 of its properties in Florida, New Jersey, New York and Virginia. These workers spent years—and in some cases nearly two decades—performing the manual labor that keeps Trump’s resorts clean and their visitors fed.”

Some of these workers were so close to Trump that they cleaned his makeup off his shirt collars, yet he has insisted he knows nothing about these workers, despite reportedly admitting in 2013, “You know, the truth is I have a lot of illegals working for me in Miami … You know in Miami, my golf course is tended by all these Hispanics—if it wasn't for them my lawn wouldn't be the lawn it is; it's the best lawn.”

It’s the best lawn, the best hotel, the best taco bowl, blah blah blah, yet he continues to attack these same immigrants for gross political gain. Trump should be hounded on this issue day in and day out. At the same time, we need to remember that the immigrants he attacks—and hires—need to be permanently protected, especially from exploitation from abusive employers like him.
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Dec 31, 2019, 06:40 PM (5 replies)

Trump Tries To Hide His Golfing With Absurd Southern White House Lie


Posted on Tue, Dec 31st, 2019 by Jason Easley
Trump Tries To Hide His Golfing With Absurd Southern White House Lie

Trump went golfing while a US embassy was under attack and then lied while calling his private club the Southern White House.

Trump tweeted:

Very good meeting on the Middle East, the Military, and Trade. Heading back to The Southern White House (Mar-a-Lago!). Updates throughout the day.
11:51 AM · Dec 31, 2019·Twitter for iPhone

The president’s lie was a cover-up that defied common sense. If Trump needed to hold meetings with the military after the embassy attack, why did he go to a golf course? He could have held the meetings at his private club. A president doesn’t go to a golf course to hold vital meetings during an international crisis.

Trump went to his golf course to play golf.

The president knows that he isn’t doing his job and that most Americans will be outraged by him golfing as an American embassy was attacked.

Trump’s private club is not a Southern White House. It is not government property. His club is a for-profit entity. There is no “Southern White House.” It is a private club where Trump hangs out and bilks taxpayers out of millions of dollars.

Instead of protecting and serving his country, Donald Trump played golf while an embassy was under attack.

Posted by babylonsister | Tue Dec 31, 2019, 06:34 PM (44 replies)

There Were More Than 100 "Billion Dollar" Climate Disasters in the Past Decade


11 hours ago
There Were More Than 100 “Billion Dollar” Climate Disasters in the Past Decade
And 6 other disturbing numbers that show just how bad the climate change crisis has gotten.

Sarah Ruiz-Grossman
Lydia O'Connor


There were more than 100 “billion dollar” climate disasters, double from the decade before

A HuffPost analysis of federal data on the costliest droughts, floods, storms, cyclones and fires in the US this decade offered a grim look at how expensive it became for the country to continue with business as usual.

In the last 10 years, the US experienced at least 115 climate and weather disasters with losses exceeding $1 billion each, according to data from the NOAA that runs through Oct. 8 of this year.

That’s nearly double the number of such events that took place in the US during the previous decade, when the NOAA tallied 59 events that caused at least $1 billion in damage. There were 52 such events in the 1990s and 28 in the 1980s. That’s as far back as the NOAA’s data—which is adjusted for inflation—goes.

Of the five most expensive billion-dollar events in the NOAA’s records, four took place this decade. The most expensive disaster of the 2010s was Hurricane Harvey in 2017, which caused an estimated $130 billion in damages. It’s followed by Hurricane Maria at $93 billion, Hurricane Sandy at $73 billion and Hurricane Irma at $52 billion.

The devastating California wildfires in 2017 and 2018 were also the two most expensive disasters of their kind from the last four decades. The 2018 fires—which include the one that burned Paradise, California, to the ground—totaled $24 billion in damage, while the 2017 fires that scorched the state’s wine country caused $19 billion worth of destruction.

Meanwhile, we pumped a record 40.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the air in 2019

Global carbon emissions quadrupled since 1960. After emissions steadied from about 2014 to 2016, they then rose again in 2017 and have been climbing since.

Carbon emissions reached a record high in 2018 and then again this year—when scientists estimated that countries worldwide spewed more than 40.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the air. The rise was spurred in part by increased output in China and India, per a study from researchers for the annual Global Carbon Budget.

This bleak news came amid a series of reports released this year urging a dramatic cutback of carbon emissions to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

We’re ending this decade on track to warm a catastrophic 3.2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century

Like pretty much every other climate report from this decade, an emissions assessment the UN released at the end of 2019 came with a dire warning. According to a study of the so-called emissions gap—a marker of the difference between the amount of planet-heating gases countries have agreed to cut and where the current projections are headed—global temperatures are on pace to rise as much as 3.2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels by the end of the century. That’s more than double what scientists project is enough warming to cause irreversible damage to the planet.

To change that fate, the next 10 years will be crucial. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned last fall that humanity has just under a decade to get climate change under control. But as grim as the report is, it reaffirms that making such sweeping changes—however unprecedented such a drastic adjustment may be—is still possible.

Posted by babylonsister | Tue Dec 31, 2019, 06:30 PM (1 replies)

Peter Strzok accuses the federal government of violating his rights

He got such a raw deal. I'm glad he's fighting back.

Peter Strzok accuses the federal government of violating his rights
In a new court filing, the former FBI agent says the FBI and DOJ abrogated his right to privacy.
12/30/2019 01:31 PM EST

Peter Strzok, the former FBI agent who launched the bureau’s Russia probe in 2016 and was fired two years later for sending text messages critical of Donald Trump, has alleged in a new court filing challenging his dismissal that the FBI and Justice Department violated his rights to free speech and privacy.

The document was filed on Monday in response to the Justice Department’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, which Strzok filed in August. It raises pointed questions about the ability of rank-and-file government employees, as opposed to high-ranking officials, to share personal political opinions on matters of public interest — including on government-issued devices, as Strzok did.


Strzok has lambasted the administration for defending the free speech rights of its employees only when they are praising Trump, noting in Monday’s court filing that “there is no evidence of an attempt to punish” the FBI agents who, according to a newly released Justice Department inspector general report, celebrated Trump’s election victory in private texts and volunteered to work on a probe of the Clinton Foundation.

“Plaintiff does not contend that they should be punished,” the filing says. “But this vignette is yet additional evidence of this Administration’s pattern of treating critics of President Trump more harshly than his supporters.”

At the time they exchanged the texts, both Strzok and Page were working on the investigation into Russia’s election interference. They had also previously worked on the probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, and Strzok would later join special counsel Robert Mueller’s team. He was removed from that team once Mueller was briefed on the existence of the texts.


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Dec 30, 2019, 11:26 PM (5 replies)

Don't go yet, John Lewis. We need you.


Don’t go yet, John Lewis. We need you.
Atlantans take pride in their congressman. How many other Americans can say that?
Posted Dec 30, 2019 11:04 AM
Patricia Murphy


Throughout his career, those who know Lewis have described him as a man of fame without pretense, often walking alone in an airport and without an entourage at events. He stands tall, even at 5 feet 6 inches, and can command a room with just a whisper of wisdom on fairness or justice or the requirement to act for what we know is right.

He has joyfully taken his fight to young people with graphic novels about the Civil Rights movement and a mobbed appearance at ComicCon. But he’s kept his fight for equality alive by expanding it to immigration and health care and criminal justice reform. Lewis led the sit-in on the House floor in 2016 to push for gun safety legislation and, earlier this year, added his voice to the call for the president’s impeachment, which started the momentum to make it a reality. When John Lewis says something is not right, Democrats always listen. Many Republicans do, too.

One voice that has been absent in the chorus of well-wishes for Lewis since Sunday has been the president’s. But that’s certainly not a surprise in light of Lewis’ impeachment vote and Trump’s 2017 tweet that Lewis was, “All talk, talk, talk — no action or results. Sad!” He added that district is “in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested).” Speaking from experience, neither is true.

But if we know anything of Lewis, it’s that he has already forgiven the truly unforgivable in the past and likely will again. He’s seen the very worst that our country can be and stayed faithful that someday it would get better. That, in essence, seems to be what the grief over Lewis’s news has been about.

John Lewis is living proof, still, that America’s darkest days can see the dawn, that hate can subside, and that there is still a place for dignity, character and truth in our country and our capital. Don’t go yet, John Lewis. We need you.
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Dec 30, 2019, 03:35 PM (0 replies)

BREAKING: Gov. Justice (W.Va.) approves firing of all involved in Nazi-like salute

That's how you do it!


BREAKING: Gov. Justice approves firing of all involved in Nazi-like salute
December 30, 2019
10:49 am

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WVVA) - Gov. Jim Justice announced today that he has received and reviewed the official report completed by the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety related to the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation Academy Class 18 and has approved the recommendations submitted by DMAPS Secretary Jeff Sandy.

“I have reviewed the factual information regarding this incident that was provided by Secretary Sandy, and have approved all of his recommendations,” Gov. Justice said. “I expressed my thanks to him and the entire Department for quickly getting this report done.

“As I said from the beginning, I condemn the photo of Basic Training Class 18 in the strongest possible terms. I also said that this act needed to result in real consequences – terminations and dismissals. This kind of behavior will not be tolerated on my watch in any agency of State government.

“We have a lot of good people in our Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety. But this incident was completely unacceptable. Now, we must continue to move forward and work diligently to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.”

Posted by babylonsister | Mon Dec 30, 2019, 02:03 PM (62 replies)

The case for letting senators vote secretly on Trump's fate


The case for letting senators vote secretly on Trump's fate
Opinion by Robert Alexander
Updated 4:54 AM ET, Mon December 30, 2019
"Robert Alexander is a professor of political science at Ohio Northern University and the author of "Representation and the Electoral College." Follow him on Twitter: @onuprof. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own. View more opinion at CNN."

(CNN)Donald Trump will go down in history as the third US president to be impeached. Yet no president has ever been convicted and removed from office as a result of impeachment, and it appears unlikely that Trump will be, either.

While no Republican senator has indicated he or she will vote for Trump's removal, prominent members of the GOP like former Arizona Senator Jeff Flake claim that at least 35 would do so if they were allowed to cast their ballots in secret.

Republican strategist Juleanna Glover has made the case for a secret ballot, arguing that it would be surprisingly simple to accomplish. She contends that it would take just a few Republican senators to demand a secret ballot on the condition that they would approve the rest of the rules governing the trial. Senator Brian Schatz, a Democrat from Hawaii, regularly points this out to his Twitter followers -- stating that it only takes "four votes for a fair trial."

The idea of a secret ballot, however, is contrary to the norm of transparency that would be expected for such a monumental decision. And it raises the issue of just how accountable elected representatives should be to American voters.

At the same time, members of the Senate have already stated the process will be highly partisan. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham has said, "I will do everything I can to make it die quickly," and added, "I am not trying to pretend to be a fair juror here."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell went further, noting that he would be "in total coordination" with the White House. This, too, is at odds with norms associated with the rule of law, separation of powers and expectations articulated by the Framers of the Constitution.


If a future president fails to obtain a majority in the Electoral College, the House would decide in a contingent election with no requirement that the commander-in-chief be selected through a public process. It seems that if transparency and accountability are not required in that instance, the same can be said of an impeachment vote.

However, while holding an anonymous vote may allow senators the freedom to make decisions they believe are in the best interest of the country, the need for trust, transparency, and accountability are critical in our current environment. Recognizing that senators would likely vote differently depending on the openness of their decisions is telling, revealing that the impeachment process of the Framers is deeply flawed.
In this way, Hamilton fully understood the need for the Senate to be free of political retribution in order to be an independent and impartial jury. This now seems impossible given how our politics have evolved.
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Dec 30, 2019, 10:49 AM (29 replies)

Trump impeachment trial drags Roberts into spotlight


Trump impeachment trial drags Roberts into spotlight
By John Kruzel - 12/30/19 06:00 AM EST


Trump and Roberts have at times had a difficult relationship.

The chief justice pushed back in a speech after the president branded a judge on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals "an Obama judge" for a 2018 decision that Trump disagreed with.

"We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges," Roberts responded at the time, defending the federal judiciary.

Trump would later say that he held "a lot of respect" for Roberts, even as the president doubled down on his criticism of the appeals court decision.

The political drama surrounding Roberts as he prepares to preside over the impeachment trial is likely to heighten his sensitivity to the public perception of the high court and the judiciary.

“One of his goals will be to preserve the image of the Supreme Court as a kind of neutral arbiter so that the legitimacy of his institution is protected,” said Ian Ostrander, a political science professor at Michigan State University. “Stepping into a partisan battle within a different branch is not ideal.”


“Here is perhaps the most controversial issue Roberts might be asked to rule upon, and yet it’s also one of the most important to issues of basic fairness,” Tsai said. ”The problem is that the politics, which are unavoidable, make things explosive whichever way he rules.”
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Dec 30, 2019, 10:32 AM (9 replies)

What they're saying: Obama leads messages of support for John Lewis


Rebecca Falconer
7 mins ago
What they're saying: Obama leads messages of support for John Lewis

Former President Barack Obama led messages of support for Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) after his office announced Sunday the civil rights icon is being treated for Stage IV pancreatic cancer.

If there’s one thing I love about @RepJohnLewis, it’s his incomparable will to fight. I know he’s got a lot more of that left in him. Praying for you, my friend."

— Obama's tweet

The big picture: Obama presented Lewis, 79 with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. He helped lead the 1963 civil rights March on Washington and has served in the House since 1987.

Per Axios' Zachary Basu, Lewis' endorsement of an impeachment inquiry in September "was seen as one of several significant turning points in the impeachment of President Trump."

Lewis has been regarded for a generation as "the conscience of the House" and has won the respect of many across the aisle, some of whom offered messages of support to him Sunday.

What they're saying:

Former President Bill Clinton tweeted, "If there’s anyone with the strength and courage to fight this, it’s you, John. Hillary and I love you, and we join with millions of other Americans in praying for you and your family."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a Twitter post, "we are all praying for you following this diagnosis. John, know that generations of Americans have you in their thoughts & prayers as you face this fight. We are all praying that you are comfortable. We know that you will be well."

Former Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), who was on the receiving end of a warm tribute from Lewis when he retired this year, tweeted, "Praying for my friend, @repjohnlewis as he begins his fight against cancer. They don’t make them stronger or braver, and I’m confident he will take on this challenge as he has every other he’s faced: with courage and determination fueled by his strong faith."

Posted by babylonsister | Sun Dec 29, 2019, 10:07 PM (1 replies)

Rep Eric Swalwell We Must Hold Trump Accountable For Embracing Anti-Semitism

The Forward - News that Matters to American Jews
December 29, 2019
Rep Eric Swalwell | We Must Hold Trump Accountable For Embracing Anti-Semitism

Hate is on the rise in America, oozing like poison into our national dialogue — and even into our government’s official business. It’s on all of us to call it out, and tone it down.

FBI data shows hate crimes reached a 16-year high in 2018. Even California, which has some of the strongest hate crime laws in the nation and proudly celebrates diversity and inclusiveness, isn’t immune to this troubling trend. Anti-Jewish hate crimes rose in California by nearly a quarter from 2017 to 2018, even while overall hate crimes in the state remained flat.

Anti-Semitic robocalls made the rounds in the East Bay, in and near my district, during the 2018 election cycle. And just this past August, fliers accusing Jews and Israel of masterminding the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks were posted at several locations in Novato, also near the San Francisco Bay.

This isn’t happening in a vacuum. It’s happening as President Donald Trump and his allies dabble in hate-baiting propaganda. From refusing to unconditionally condemn the 2017 neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville to accusing American Jewish Democrats of disloyalty, President Trump has tacitly or explicitly empowered extremism in ways not seen in generations.


Posted by babylonsister | Sun Dec 29, 2019, 06:12 PM (5 replies)
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