Nel's New Day

November 24, 2018

DDT: Week 96 – New ‘Normal’ for Thanksgiving

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 9:03 PM
Tags: , , , ,

Between tweets and personal appearances, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) spent much of his “working” time early Thanksgiving week trying to deflect attention about real issues.

  • Issue: Investigating acting AG Matthew Whitaker; response, reference to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), new Intelligence Committee chairman, as “little Adam Schitt” while DDT’s wife continues her program against cyber bullying.
  • Issue: Concerns from retired Adm. Bill McRaven, the former commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, about DDT’s attack on the free press; response, false claim that McRaven is a “Hillary Clinton fan” and didn’t capture Osama bin Ladin in a timely fashion.
  • Issue: The deadliest fire in California history; response, lies about “gross mismanagement of the forests” because they didn’t rake the forest as Finland does. (Fact: Finland has an early warning system, aerial surveillance system, and an extensive network of forest roads; the country also pays local aviation clubs to fly over the most threatened areas of forest so that fires will be found before they go out of control. California is also much warmer and drier than Finland and has vegetation much likelier to catch on fire. During his visit to Paradise, DDT also called the town “Pleasure”—twice.) Next DDT lie: fire mitigation raises 2019 budget by $500,000. Didn’t happen and none of his officials or members of Congress know anything about this.
  • Issue: climate change; response, “I want great climate.”
  • Issue: GOP midterm election losses; response, after claiming that the election was a referendum on him, “I didn’t run. I wasn’t running. My name wasn’t on the ballot.”
  • Issue: Not going to Arlington on Veterans Day; response, “I was extremely busy on calls for the country…. I should have and I did last year.” (DDT had nothing on his schedule, he sent a large number of tweets accusing Florida of rigging the election and Democrats for dropping the stock market, and he was in Asia on Veterans Day 2017.)

Maybe Saudi’s Crown Prince did torture and dismember a U.S. journalist in its Turkish embassy, DDT said, but he’s not going to do anything about the murder. Saudi Arabia is a “great spectacular ally,” according to DDT, meaning that they give DDT lots of money for his personal use and nothing will change in the U.S.-Saudi relationship. DDT also lied about Saudi Arabia investing $450 billion dollars in the U.S. economy, about Saudi’s war in Yemen in response to Iranian intervention, about hundreds of thousands of jobs, and about right-wing smear that the murdered Jamal Khashoggi was a “member of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Facts: Only $14.5 billion in military purchases have been confirmed, and the number of jobs is under 17,500 for a full $110 billion in sales possible. Khashoggi was not part of the Muslim brotherhood. The end of the statement was DDT’s support for a foreign murdering dictator over his own nation’s intelligence that concluded Mohammed bin Salam ordered Khashoggi’s dismemberment and assassination. “It’s a shame, but it is what it is,” DDT said on his way to Mar-a-Lago today.

DDT’s message: He’ll overlook murder if somebody pays him.

DDT continued last Sunday with his long list of lies in an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox: his White House runs “like a well-oiled machine”; he “did well in France”; he didn’t know the deputy national security advisor who Melania Trump fired but “she was with me for a long time”; he didn’t know that his new acting AG Matthew Whitaker had any “views on the Mueller investigation” but Whitaker was right in “no collusion”; he won’t meet Robert Mueller as promised and he won’t give written answers about obstruction of justice as promised; he’s not responsible for Democrats elected to the House but did cause Republican elections to the Senate; and he has an “A+” for his presidential ranking.

DDT also said he refuses to hear the Jamal Khashoggi tape while he was tortured and dismembered because it’s a “suffering” tape.

Thanksgiving messages from DDT:

Criticism of a court ruling: “Justice Roberts can say what he wants, but the 9th Circuit is a complete & total disaster.” (Followed by his holiday greetings to the armed forces: “We get a lot of bad court decisions from the Ninth Circuit.”)

Khashoggi’s murder: “It’s a mean & nasty world out there, the Middle East in particular.” (Followed in person by “Maybe the world should be held accountable because the world is a vicious place.”)

Four minutes later: “HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL!”

DDT’s fury with the 9th Circuit Court came from Judge Jon S.Tigar, not a member of the 9th Circuit Court, who temporarily blocked DDT’s plan to keep asylum seekers out of the United States. Tigar wrote, “Whatever the scope of the President’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden.” DDT accused Tigar of being an “Obama” judge although he’s kept silent about his own appointments who ruled twice against him in the last week.

DDT’s failure in this attempt follows others when court injunctions blocked his executive orders for punishment of “sanctuary cities,” denial of DACA protections to Dreamers, and “zero tolerance” separating migrant parents and their children. Other DDT losses include the Keystone XL Pipeline, press access to the White House, and the Emoluments Clause.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (D-IA), 85, may be developing memory loss. In response to Chief Justice John Roberts’ rebuke of DDT for denouncing the 9th Circuit Court, Grassley said that he doesn’t remember Roberts’ criticizing President Obama for his statement that the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United would open the floodgates of wealthy and foreign interests through donations. Roberts praised the “independent judiciary, but President Obama was right in his statements. Roberts did express “concern” for the former’s president’s comments. DDT snapped back at Roberts to claim that there are “Obama” judges; he’s ignoring the recent “Trump justice” who stated a partisan position under oath in a hearing.

DDT displayed more anger at the courts on Friday when a justice from the New York Supreme Court denied his request to dismiss the lawsuit against himself and the Trump Foundation alleging that the so-called charitable foundation violated both state and federal laws for “more than a decade.” The suit claims illegal actions such as improper political activity, “self-dealing transactions,” and refusal to “implement even elementary corporate formalities required by law.”  Justice Saliann Scarpulla rejected the arguments that “a sitting president may not be sued” and that the state court lacks jurisdiction over the president in this case. Her decision means that the case can proceed and may help other cases against DDT in New York and other states, including a defamation case from Summer Zervos.

DDT proved that he controls the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA). The featured speaker for its annual dinner on 4/27/19 is Ron Chernow, biographer of founding fathers Alexander Hamilton and George Washington. Gone are the comedians: DDT didn’t like them. The question is whether anyone else can crack jokes. Another question is how the press will continue to cave. Having gotten rid of the featured comedian at the dinner, DDT said that he might go to the dinner this year, but someone should tell him that the planned speaker called him a “demagogue.”

DDT made $4.2 million for his private businesses from GOP campaign events.

Next week, business as usual. DDT offered to keep the government from shutting down if Congress gives him a wall. Then he went golfing.

DDT kept the Senate in the recent midterm elections, but a conservative publication predicts a substantially slowing economy in the next two years. Goldman Sachs projected the GDP down to 1.8 percent and 1.6 percent in the third and fourth quarters of 2019.

After avoiding service members for 96 weeks, DDT might want to pay them a little visit. His support has fallen in the past two years over two points to under 44 percent while those disapproving of him have gone from 37 percent to over 43 percent. Female service members have a 28 percent approval rating of DDT while males have 47 percent.

This past week, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a safety alert about dangerous E. coli bacteria in romaine lettuce, calling on grocery stores to remove all the produce and restaurants to discard it. Earlier this year, five people died in 210 cases in 36 states.

Thanksgiving is a time to say what you are thankful for, and I always say, “My friends.” Most commanders in chief praise service members in harm’s way; DDT said, “I made a tremendous difference in our country.” In a Coast Guard station, he posed for pictures and told officials that he would give them $100 if they could break par at his golf course. It’s the new normal.

April 9, 2018

Equal Pay Day – Help from the 9th Circuit

Filed under: Women's issues — trp2011 @ 3:03 PM
Tags: ,

If women got the same wages that men do for equal jobs, then Equal Pay Day would be December 31 each year. But we don’t, and women on the average have to work over three months longer to equal the men’s salaries each year because women make $.80 for each $1.00 that men make. This year, Equal Pay Day is April 10, and women can celebrate a great court win today.

Almost one year ago, a three-judge panel from the 9th Circuit Court ruled that employers can pay women less than men for the same work by using differences in workers’ previous salaries. The decision overturned a lower-court ruling and was appealed. Deborah Rhode of the Stanford Law School pointed out that this decision “perpetuate[s] the discrimination” because it “allow[s] prior discriminatory salary setting to justify future ones.”

Today, the eleven members of the 9th Circuit Court unanimously ruled that employers cannot use previous salaries to justify higher payment for men than for women. Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote the majority opinion before he died last month at the age of 87. The case concerned a starting salary for Aileen Rizo, a math consultant with the Fresno County Office of Education, who was paid less than all her male colleagues. The decision applies to the nine states of the 9th Circuit Court.

Although April 10 is Equal Pay Day for all women, dates vary for different ethnic groups when compared to white non-Hispanic men:

  • Asian-American Women: February 22, 2018 ($.87)
  • White Women: April 17, 2018 ($.79)
  • Black Women: August 7, 2018 ($.63)
  • Native American Women: September 27, 2018 ($.57)
  • Latinas: November 1, 2018 ($.54)

People who refuse to believe in the existence of the gender pay gap spread these myths:

  1. Myth: Women choose lower-paying work. Women are consistently told that they cannot do as well in male-dominated fields such as finance and technology. As career fields have a higher percentage of female entering them, the salaries drop because male-centric jobs are more prestigious. For example, biology and design were higher paying when more males were employed in these fields, whereas computing paid less in early years because early programmers were women. The trend then reversed for all these fields—computing became more lucrative when men dominated, and biology and design paid less with more women.
  2. Myth: Women choose to work fewer hours and select more part-time work than men do. Again, this is not a choice because the U.S. lacks federally mandated family leave, and child care is prohibitively expensive. With salaries higher for men, households with one worker keep the woman at home. Gender biases also allow men to leave home to work, leaving women to care for the children.
  3. Myth: Women choose jobs with flexibility over high pay so they can care for families. Female-dominated workplaces—care work, primary education, and clerical—have far less flextime than other workplace.
  4. Myth: More women are getting college degrees than men, so the gap will close on its own. Women continue to select college majors with lower-paying jobs. At the current rate, the closure of the gender pay gap may not occur for another 200 years.

Take-home pay is not the only problem from the gender pay gap. The discrimination leads to trickle-down financial disadvantages causing income inequality and financial insecurity:

  1. The retirement savings gap: Women save about half ($45,614) as much as men ($90,189), and only 52 percent of women have retirement savings’ accounts such as a 401K, compared to 71 percent of men.
  2. The student debt gap: Although women have less student debt, they are less equipped to deal with this debt; 28 percent of women see their loans a “not at all manageable” compared to less than half this percentage for men at 13 percent.
  3. The financial literacy gap: Men are taught far more about managing their finance, and parents think that sons have a better understanding of their money’s value than their daughters.
  4. The work time gap: Women are twice as likely as men to have part-time jobs which fail to offer such benefits as health care, retirement investment, and transit support. Women’s expenditures are more than those for men without these advantages. Again, women are left at home to care for the children because of the myth that they have more skill in this area than men.
  5. The homeownership gap: Homes owned by men are worth more than those owned by women, and male-owned homes appreciate more. Times reported that “homes owned by single men on average are valued 10 percent higher than those of single women, and that the value of their homes have appreciated by 16 percent more than those of their female counterparts.” Women, especially those of color, are also far more likely to be targeted by predatory lenders. “In 2005, women were 30 to 46 percent more likely to receive subprime mortgage loans than men. Black women were a staggering 256 percent more likely to receive subprime loans than white men,” according to Salon.

The gender pay gap doesn’t need to exist. A new Iceland law requires employers to pay women the same as men. All public and private employers with 25 or more employees must obtain government certification of equal pay policies or face fines. The legislation was supported by Iceland’s center-right ruling party and the opposition.  The 2017 Global Gender Pay Report shows that Iceland has the most gender equality of any country in term of economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment.

The United States ranks 49th in gender equality, ahead of Kazakhstan but behind Uganda. The United States ranks 96th in political empowerment of women, behind Nepal, Algeria and Pakistan.

A major difference between the United States and Iceland is also the female participation in Iceland’s federal government. Almost 50 percent of Iceland’s parliament is female. Women make up just 19 percent of the U.S. Congress.

Iceland is smart in this legislation: equal pay can help a country’s economy. Equal pay for women can increase the GDP, adding women in senior management roles and corporate boards can boost companies return on assets, and raising women’s wage can cut the poverty rate for both working women and their children in half if women earn as much as men. The U.S. economy could add $512.6 billion in wage and salary income, equivalent to 2.8 percent of 2016 GDP.  Lifting women out of poverty would vastly decrease the need for costs in the nation’s the safety net.

Statistics surrounding U.S. pay will be unknown in the future, however, after Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) eliminated the requirement for large companies to report wages by race and gender. In Iceland, all pay data will be made public for transparency.

Conservatives claim that the 1963 Equal Pay Act covers all problems with the gender gap in salaries. Yet among the caveat for “equal” pay is “a differential based on any other factor other than sex.” This one was used when the three-judge panel from the 9th Circuit Court ruled last year that past salaries could be used to pay women less.

A consistent argument against the Paycheck Fairness Act in the United States is that men make more money because they work harder and their jobs are “riskier.” That came from GOP state Rep. Will Infantine in New Hampshire. He added, “[Men] don’t mind working nights and weekends. They don’t mind working overtime, or outdoors in the elements.” As if that wasn’t enough, he said that “men are more motivated by money than women are.” That was in 2014. The state house gave “preliminary approval to the Paycheck Equity Act,” and the law took effect in 2015. Infantine is no longer in the state legislature.

Women can also be destructive to decreasing the gender pay gap:

  • Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), now a candidate for Senate, said that women “don’t want” equal pay laws.
  • Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) said it is “condescending” towards women to work on policies intended to prevent wage discrimination.
  • Phyllis Schlafly, before her death, wanted the pay gap to be larger so that women could find a “suitable mate.”
  • Kirsten Kukowski, RNC Press Secretary in 2014, could think of any policies her party could support to improve pay equity.
  • Cari Christman, head of Texas PAC RedState Women, said that women were too “busy” to find a solution to the gender pay gap.
  • Beth Cubriel, the 2014 executive director of the Texas GOP, said that women needed to become “better negotiators” if they want equal pay.
  • Fox network’s Martha MacCallum declared, “Many women get paid exactly what they’re worth.”

GOP men are equally dismissive. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) wanted to know what gender pay fairness would do for men, and Rick Perry, Secretary of Energy, called the debate “nonsense.”

Many people on the far right are even questioning women’s right to vote.

  • White supremacist leader Richard Spencer said that women voting in U.S. elections isn’t “a great thing.”
  • Casey Fisher, a Davis County (UT) GOP precinct chairman, called voting rights for a “grave mistake.”
  • Davis County GOP chairwoman Teena Horlacher, Fisher’s colleague, defended him by saying that Fisher was following the beliefs of the Founding Fathers.
  • Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore co-authored a textbook that was critical of the women’s suffrage movement.
  • Ann Coulter also opposes women’s right to vote, but her net worth was almost $9 million in 2016.

Imagine the gender pay gap if women couldn’t even vote. Happy Equal Pay Day!

June 10, 2016

9th Circuit Court Upholds Gun Safety Law, Opposes NRA

Gun safety advocates won a big victory yesterday when the entire 9th Circuit Court of Appeals suspended a three-judge panel of the same court in a decision that the 2nd Amendment does not guarantee the right to carry concealed weapons in public places. This 7-4 decision covering nine states upholds a California law  requiring concealed carry applicants to demonstrate “good cause” for carrying a weapon. The ruling was narrow: it does not state that concealed weapons are unconstitutional and makes no ruling about openly carrying weapons in public. California also bans open carry in public. Gun owners who brought the lawsuit after being denied permits in Yolo and San Diego counties have not said whether they would appeal to the Supreme Court.

The opinion stated:

“The right of a member of the general public to carry a concealed firearm in public is not, and never has been, protected by the Second Amendment. Therefore, because the Second Amendment does not protect in any degree the right to carry concealed firearms in public, any prohibition or restriction a state may choose to impose on concealed carry — including a requirement of ‘good cause,’ however defined — is necessarily allowed by the Amendment. There may or may not be a Second Amendment right for a member of the general public to carry a firearm openly in public, but the Supreme Court has not answered that question.”

The court ruled that the states are to decide on any restrictions regarding concealed weapons.  The complete ruling is here. Kamala Harris, state attorney general and candidate for U.S. Senate, said the ruling “ensures that local law enforcement leaders have the tools they need to protect public safety by determining who can carry loaded, concealed weapons in our communities.”

The high court ruled in 2008 (District of Columbia v. Heller) that people can have guns in their homes but noted in the opinion that gun ownership is not absolute. Justice Antonin Scalia, who authored Heller and voted in the majority, cited restrictions on concealed weapons as an example.

The 9th Circuit Court decision joined other federal appeals courts that rule for state and local governments to put restrictions on granting concealed-carry licenses. Three other federal appeals courts upheld California-like restrictions in New York, Maryland, and New Jersey, and another one struck down Illinois’ complete ban on carrying concealed weapons. The decision in Peruta v. San Diego is the last word on the subject unless the Supreme Court takes the case. It does not normally take cases unless lower courts are split on the issue. The court could take it anyway but probably not without a ninth justice.

No matter how hard some people wish, the 2nd Amendment right to “bear arms,” like almost all other rights, is not unlimited. Throughout the first two centuries of the U.S. Constitution, courts determined that keeping and carry guns was not an unobstructed right. Before the Revolution, the 1689 English Bill of Rights, “protected the rights of Protestants to have arms”—but “flatly prohibited” concealed carry. The majority of 19th-century courts determined that prohibitions on concealed carry were lawful, and the number of states banning open carry increased after the Civil War. In 1897, the Supreme Court of the United States even asserted that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms is not infringed by laws prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons.” Even the most recent Supreme Court cases don’t guarantee a right to carry a gun for self-defense outside the home.

Not until 1977, when extremists took over the NRA, did the so-called “right to bear arms” become more and more unregulated. As the NRA focus shifted from hunting to unlimited gun ownership and carrying, law review articles were written supporting the current radical perspective—over 27 between 1970 and 1989. More than half these articles were written by a few lawyers employed by the NRA and other pro-gun groups. At the same time, the number of conservative justices in federal courts burgeoned.

When Republicans took control of the U.S. Senate in 1981 for the first time in 24 years, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) claimed to have found proof that the 2nd Amendment is unlimited. The NRA showed more power to elect presidents, and John Ashcroft, George W. Bush’s attorney general, finished the revisionist history about limited gun rights by reversing the Justice Department’s stance. But in time, the NRA’s power to elect presidents began to shift executive branch policies, too. In 2000, gun activists strongly backed Governor George W. Bush of Texas. After the election, Bush’s new attorney general, John Ashcroft, reversed the Justice Department’s stance.

Although the 9th Circuit covers nine western states, only California and Hawaii are affected by the ruling. The other seven, including Oregon, do not require permit applicants to cite a “good cause.” Anyone in those states with a clean record and no history of mental illness can get a permit.

Scalia, a justice pushing unrestricted gun ownership and carrying, departed from his professed belief in “originalism,” a position that the words of the constitution are sacred, to following the new political and social movement.

At the same time that the NRA demands no restrictions on purchasing, owning, and carrying guns, the organization is incensed about the possibility of felons voting in Virginia. Wayne LaPierre, NRA’s executive VP, commented:

“Tentacles of the Clinton machine are out registering those felons right now. They’re releasing them, and then they’re registering them. Heck, when they sign their release papers, they might as well at the prison door … give ‘em a Hillary Clinton bumper sticker.”

While bitterly complaining about giving the vote to ex-felons, the NRA has put great effort into giving these same “violent rapists and murderers,” as they call them, the “constitutional right” to own and possess guns. Much of the support for the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 came from the NRA and undid many provisions in the 1968 Gun Control Act, passed shortly after Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King were shot dead.

One provision in the law allowed felons convicted of gun crimes and other violent offenses to petition to have their gun rights restored. Many of these ex-felons permitted to own firearms were again arrested for committing other violent crimes. The only successful part of the law, defunded in 1992, was an amendment forbidding the sale of machine guns to civilians.

In arguing for the “Protection Act,” NRA representative Richard Gardiner said:

“There’s no reason why a person who has demonstrated they are now a good citizen should be deprived of their right to own a firearm. We ought to recognize that some people can change.”

What the NRA didn’t address in its complaint about Virginia is that 80 percent of the states already give voting rights to ex-felons after they have completed their sentence and other responsibilities connected to the crimes for which they were convicted. Two of the states even allow felons to vote while they are in prison.

As the NRA complains about California gun safety laws, it doesn’t oppose gun bans at the upcoming GOP convention in Cleveland. Ohio is an open carry state, but the arena doesn’t allow firearms inside. An open carry group wanted Ohio Gov. John Kasich to override the gun-free loophole in state law; Cleveland is known as one of the most dangerous cities in the world. There was no uproar when he didn’t. No guns were allowed at the 2012 GOP convention either, despite Florida law that prevents cities “from acting to limit guns.”

Donald Trump claims that he’s a strong 2nd Amendment supporter, but many of his hotels and golf courses ban guns. A Trump Organization official denied any restrictions on Trump facilities, but security and staff disagree. Florida’s Jupiter, Mar-a-Lago, Trump International Golf Club, and Trump National Doral all prevent guns on the property. Trump International Hotel Las Vegas refused to comment, and Trump Winery said it allowed people to carry guns on the premises—if they weren’t drinking. Both Trump International Hotel Waikiki Beach Walk in Honolulu and Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago have “gun-free zone” policies.

Maybe it’s time for far more places to follow Donald Trump’s lead. The 9th Circuit Court ruling is a starting place.

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