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Member since: Sun Jan 3, 2010, 12:16 AM
Number of posts: 2,147

About Me

Was once a republican. long long ago, in a far, far away place. I apologize.

Journal Archives

Postal Workers Union Endorses Bernie Sanders

Labor group calls Sanders a champion of USPS employees who will fight to preserve the mailing agency.

ERIC KATZ, Govexec.com | JANUARY 30, 2020 01:58 PM

The second-largest union of U.S. Postal Service employees endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., for president on Thursday, calling him a “true champion” of the mailing agency and its workforce.

The American Postal Workers Union threw its support behind Sanders for the second consecutive presidential cycle, endorsing the senator in late 2015 just weeks after he addressed the union’s national convention. The APWU executive board met with top candidates, except those “who oppose the public Postal Service”—a reference to President Trump’s government reorganization plan in which he floated the idea of privatizing the agency.

APWU President Mark Dimondstein said his nearly 200,000 members hold a diversity of views, but remaining silent when the Trump administration has threatened to sell off the Postal Service “would be a failure of our leadership.”

“Bernie Sanders has proven he is a fierce advocate on the side of postal workers,” Dimonstein said. “He has opposed the closures of postal facilities and reduced service standards.”


Go Bernie!

State Department removes NPR reporter from Pompeo trip

Source: The Hill

The State Department has removed an NPR reporter from a group of journalists traveling this week to Europe and Central Asia with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, days after Pompeo publicly feuded with the news outlet following a tense interview.

An organization representing correspondents covering the State Department made the announcement in a statement on Monday. The group says it believes the removal of Michele Kelemen from the press pool was a response to the flare-up between Pompeo and her NPR colleague Mary Louise Kelly.

"We can only conclude that the State Department is retaliating against National Public Radio as a result of this exchange," Shaun Tandon, president of the State Department Correspondents' Association, said in the statement.

Read more: https://thehill.com/policy/international/480188-state-department-removes-npr-reporter-from-pompeo-trip

Only tin-pot dictators and Banana Republic fascists give retribution against a free and fair press. First Amendment be dammed- these people hate the Constitution.

Michigan Poll - Epic MRA find SANDERS/BIDEN both leading

SANDERS Beating Trump by more than 5 points
Sanders 50%, Trump 45%

BIDEN in a statistical deat heat
Biden 50%, Trump 44%

, and even Michael BLOOMBERG beating Trump in Michigan by 7 points!
Bloomberg 49%, Trump 42%

More to the poll results here:


Sanders reaction to killing of Solemani. (NPR Interview- 6 minutes)

Bernie talks about the killing of Soleimani, and the effect on the region.


<iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/794461272/794461273" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player"></iframe>

Major Logging Outage Disrupts Thousands of Drivers and Carriers

Source: Transportation Nation Network

Minnetonka, MN – Thousands of drivers and carriers are once again being disrupted by a major electronic logging devices (ELD) outage.

PeopleNet’s on-board ELD devices operating on its g3 system began experiencing “rebooting” issues as the clock struck midnight on January 1 GMT (which is December 31, 2019 at approximately 7 p.m. EDT), according to a Trimble Transportation company spokesperson.

Truckers quickly began reporting the problems such as slow log-ins and other malfunctions, which has led to customer support wait times as high as four hours.
A company representative explained the problems were caused by a “discrepancy between the GPS satellite time and the g3’s internal clock.”

The outage is being described as a “repeat of Y2K.”

Essentially, the devices had an operating range between 2007 and 2019. When the calendar rolled into 2020, the servers could no longer recognize the date of the affected ELDs. Diagnostic notification messages began appearing on the devices’ displays which read, “This device is not functioning as an ELD. Paper logs may be required as back up. Check manual for instructions.”

As of Sunday morning, a recorded message from the company says a “fix” has been identified, but “customer action is required to completely resolve the issue.” A company representative says an email has been sent to customers containing the “resolution steps.”

Read more: https://transportationnation.com/breaking-major-eld-outage-disrupts-thousands-of-drivers-and-carriers/


How do we know this is a faulty log, and not a major cyber attack by Iran? Or Russia?

Affects much of the Trucking system nation wide.

Sanders delivers blowout fundraising number

Bernie's bringing in boatloads of support- The Vermont senator's campaign disclosed a $34.5 million haul for final quarter of 2019.


01/02/2020 05:59 AM EST

Bernie Sanders raised more than $34.5 million in the final three months of 2019, a substantial sum that exceeds the two other Democratic presidential candidates who have announced their hauls so far in that period.

The Vermont senator, who disclosed the amount Thursday morning, brought in a total of about $96 million last year from more than 5 million contributions. The campaign’s average donation was $18.

Sanders’ strong fundraising finish — the strongest quarter any Democratic presidential candidate announced thus far for 2019 — will give his candidacy a boost of good publicity in the weeks ahead of the Iowa caucuses, as well as the cash to power him through the primary. It also makes him a top, and perhaps the best, fundraiser of the field last year.

Former South Bend (Ind.) Mayor Pete Buttigieg said he brought in $24.7 million in the final three months of 2019, while former Vice President Joe Biden raised $22.7 million. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has not yet announced her donations, but lowered expectations when she revealed a goal of bringing in $20 million, which is less than the amount she pulled in during the previous quarter.

Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said she raised $3.4 million in that period.

Sanders’ team is seizing on his haul in order to argue that he is the strongest candidate to take on President Donald Trump.

“He is proving each and every day that working-class Americans are ready and willing to fully fund a campaign that stands up for them and takes on the biggest corporations and the wealthy,” said campaign manager Faiz Shakir in a statement. “You build a grassroots movement to beat Donald Trump and create a political revolution one $18 donation at a time, and that’s exactly why Bernie is going to win.”

The Sanders campaign said it received contributions from 40,000 new donors on the last day of the year. Its best month was December, when it reaped more than $18 million from 900,000-plus contributions.


Here it comes: Get Ready for a Stop-Bernie Onslaught Like You've Never Seen

Beware. Because disparaging and minimizing Bernie in 2019 didn't work, the next step in 2020 will be to trash him with a vast array of full-bore attacks.
by Norman Solomon

A central premise of conventional media wisdom has collapsed. On Thursday, both the New York Times and Politico published major articles reporting that Bernie Sanders really could win the Democratic presidential nomination. Such acknowledgments will add to the momentum of the Bernie 2020 campaign as the new year begins—but they foreshadow a massive escalation of anti-Sanders misinformation and invective.

Throughout 2019, corporate media routinely asserted that the Sanders campaign had little chance of winning the nomination. As is so often the case, journalists were echoing each other more than paying attention to grassroots realities. But now, polling numbers and other indicators on the ground are finally sparking very different headlines from the media establishment.

"When the Bernie campaign wasn't being ignored by corporate media during 2019, innuendos and mud often flew in his direction. But we ain't seen nothing yet."
From the Times: “Why Bernie Sanders Is Tough to Beat.” From Politico: “Democratic Insiders: Bernie Could Win the Nomination.”

Those stories, and others likely to follow in copycat news outlets, will heighten the energies of Sanders supporters and draw in many wavering voters. But the shift in media narratives about the Bernie campaign’s chances will surely boost the decibels of alarm bells in elite circles where dousing the fires of progressive populism is a top priority.

For corporate Democrats and their profuse media allies, the approach of disparaging and minimizing Bernie Sanders in 2019 didn’t work. In 2020, the next step will be to trash him with a vast array of full-bore attacks.



Medicare for all? How about this:

One way to get to Medicare for All May be to
Actually allow it to be adopted by a state- one state at a time.

How about this- We propose creating the actual structure of a national program, capable of being scaled up, but premise it on these conditions:

1. In order to participate, a state must vote to participate. If the majority of voters in that state decide, then a process to begin to transition to a single-payer Medicare for all system begins.

2. The transition happens over a three year period. The first year, all public employees and anyone who changes jobs becomes covered under the new system. In addition, it takes a one-year waiting period to come under the new system, to prevent sick people from other states from simply moving in to obtain coverage. The second year, any private company or individual can opt in. The third year, it becomes mandatory for all. The State and the Federal Government both create a Medicare for all tax, with tax credits for those remaining under private insurance for the transition period.

3. As Medicare for All is rolled out, the best ideas from different states are shown and highlighted, so the program can be tweaked based on experience. A participating state is also given money to establish expanded medical schools, nursing and technician training, and medical public service career assistance.

This way nobody can say their state was forced into it; people can see how it actually works, and cost savings are highlighted across the country.

OPM announces Federal Employees don't have to be paid State Minimum Wages

New Memo out this morning.

Since some localities have enacted higher than Federal Minimum Wage ($7.25), OPM announces that Federal Employees are exempt from any such state minimum wage. Federal employees, even in the largest cities, can now be legally paid as low as $7.25 an hour.

(Thanks Trump).

Here is the memo:




Inapplicability of a State or Local Minimum Wage to Federal Employees

An increasing number of State and local governments are establishing or increasing a jurisdictional minimum wage that is higher than the nationwide Federal minimum wage established under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). As a result, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has received inquiries regarding the applicability of minimum wages established by State and local governments to Federal employees stationed in affected locations. This memorandum provides agencies with necessary guidance.

Federal employees are covered by the FLSA, which is a Federal law. (See generally 29 U.S.C. 201, et seq.) The FLSA includes a minimum wage provision. (See 29 U.S.C. 206.) Thus, the FLSA minimum wage is generally applicable to Federal employees unless they are exempt from the minimum wage requirements as provided under the FLSA exemption provisions. (See 29 U.S.C. 213(a) and (f).) Under the exemption provisions of section 213(a), the FLSA minimum wage does not apply inter alia to employees who meet the executive, administrative, or professional exemption criteria; criminal investigators paid availability pay under 5 U.S.C. 5545a; certain computer employees; or border patrol agents, as defined in 5 U.S.C. 5550(a). (See 5 CFR part 551, subpart B, for more information on exemptions.) Under the exemption in section 213(f), the FLSA minimum wage does not apply to employees who perform services during a workweek solely in foreign areas outside the United States. (See also 5 CFR 551.212.)

Under OPM’s FLSA minimum wage regulation at 5 CFR 551.301, an employee’s “hourly regular rate” as defined in 5 CFR 551.511(a) is used to determine compliance with the FLSA minimum wage provisions. The current minimum wage under the FLSA is $7.25 (except in American Samoa, where it is $5.21 for government employees). By operation of Federal law, the FLSA minimum wage would supersede any lower amount of pay that would otherwise be provided under the applicable Federal employee pay system. Since the hourly regular rate reflects an employee’s rate of basic pay (including locality pay) and since the lowest General Schedule (GS) rate (GS-1, step 1) is above $7.25, GS employees generally are already paid in excess of the FLSA minimum wage requirements. (To illustrate, at GS-1, step 1, the base rate is currently $9.13 and the lowest locality rate in the United States is currently $10.56 (expressed as hourly rates).)

State and local government minimum wage laws are not binding on the Federal Government and its component agencies since, under the preemption doctrine which originates from the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, Federal law supersedes conflicting State law. (See U.S. Const. Art. VI. cl. 2.) This is the case when Federal employee pay rates are specifically fixed under Federal law (e.g., GS employees) and when Federal agencies are given discretion in setting rates of pay under Federal law.

In the case of a Federal employee pay system such as the GS pay system in which pay rates are fixed by statute, a statutory change would be needed to allow payment of a State or local minimum wage. There is no administrative authority under which OPM could allow State or local minimum wages to supersede GS statutory rates.

In the case of a Federal employee pay system under which the employing Federal agency has discretion in setting rates of pay, the agency may apply State and local minimum wages to covered employees as a matter of agency policy or through a collective bargaining agreement (where applicable). However, the agency should make it clear that employees are not actually covered by the State or local minimum wage law or any appeal mechanisms established under such a law.

OPM administers the Federal Wage System covering prevailing rate (blue collar) employees in multiple agencies. OPM administratively determines the pay schedules for these employees. OPM has issued regulations (based on a policy choice, not a statutory obligation) requiring payment of applicable State or local minimum wages to Federal Wage System employees. (See 5 CFR 532.205.) Under this regulation, the highest State or local minimum wage in effect in the local wage area is applied in setting wage schedule rates unless there is a higher FLSA minimum wage under Federal law. In other words, if there are multiple State or local minimum wages in effect in different jurisdictions encompassed within the same local wage area, the highest minimum wage will be used in setting wage schedule rates for the entire local wage area, if that minimum wage rate exceeds the FLSA minimum wage rate.

Additional Information

Agency headquarters-level human resources offices may contact OPM at pay-leave-policy@opm.gov. Employees should contact their agency human resources office for further information on this memorandum.

cc: Chief Human Capital Officers (CHCOs), and Deputy CHCOs

Medicare Tool Gives Seniors the Wrong Insurance Information

The $11 Million Dollar Medicare Tool That Gives Seniors the Wrong Insurance Information

The Trump administration redesigned the online Medicare Cost Finder for seniors to compare complex health insurance options. But consumer advocates have identified instances when the tool has malfunctioned and given inaccurate plan and price data.


The federal government recently redesigned a digital tool that helps seniors navigate complicated Medicare choices, but consumer advocates say it’s malfunctioning with alarming frequency, offering inaccurate cost estimates and creating chaos in some states during the open enrollment period.

Diane Omdahl, a Medicare consultant in Wisconsin, said she used the tool Friday to research three prescription drug plans for a client. The comparison page, which summarizes total costs, showed all but one of her client’s medications would be covered. When Omdahl clicked on “plan details” to find out which medicine was left out, the plan finder then said all of them were covered.

So she started checking the plans’ websites, and it turns out there are two versions of the same high blood pressure medication. One is covered. The other is not. The difference in price: $2,700 a month.

In Nebraska, miscalculations offered through the new Medicare Plan Finder were so worrisome that the state in late October temporarily shut down a network of about 350 volunteer Medicare advisers for a day because without the tool, narrowing the numerous choices — more than 4,000 Medicare plans are available nationwide — down to three top selections would be nearly impossible.

Days later, EnvisionRxPlus, a prescription drug plan, sent an email to independent insurance brokers nationwide recommending they not use the Medicare Plan Finder because of incorrect estimates on drug prices and patient deductibles. (It’s a warning they had yet to retract some two weeks later.)

Minnesota’s Association of Area Agencies on Aging said in a news release on Nov. 14 that the Medicare Plan Finder “continues to produce flawed results,” including inaccurate premium estimates, incorrect prescription drug costs and inaccurate costs with extra help subsidies.


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