Despite Senate Majority Vote, No Sick Leave for Rail Workers - The Friday AM Quickie 12/2/22

It's cold and I'm tired. Have a nice weekend. Jack's back Monday. - Corey

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Congress: No Sick Leave for Essential Workers in a Pandemic

A majority of U.S. Senators -- 52 out of 100 -- voted yesterday to give seven days paid sick leave to struggling rail workers, one day after a majority of the House voted to pass the same bill. However, majority approval in both chambers of Congress is not currently enough to change the law, thanks to arcane Senate rules that serve to ensure nothing good happens.

Six Republicans sided with Democrats on the vote. The only Democrat to vote against sick leave for the rail workers was... just guess... that's right: West Virginia coal Sen. Joe Manchin III. You may remember Manchin as one of the key voices against changing Senate rules to weaken the filibuster and allow the passage of bills by simple majority. In voting to sell out workers, he also, once again, acted to preserve his unwarranted, undemocratic power. But Manchin isn't the only villain here, or even the main one. The supposedly pro-labor President Joe Biden, who campaigned on paid sick leave for all, could have sided with the workers from the beginning and prevented this entire situation.

A second bill that will force rail workers to accept the terms of a labor contract dictated by the White House passed by an overwhelming margin, 80-15. According to the Intercept, that deal will give rail workers one additional paid day off. Biden is expected to sign that bill quickly in hopes of preventing a strike that could disrupt nationwide supply chains.

To be clear: despite what Congress and the White House have done, the rail workers can still organize to withhold their labor from their greedy bosses. But if they do so -- and that's reportedly unlikely -- it will be what's known as an illegal "wildcat" strike. Which would be quite something to see. However, the armchair quarterbacks cheering for that outcome don't seem to have the rail workers' interests and demands foremost in mind. It's up to the workers and no one else how to handle this situation. But what's clear now is that the highly polarized, barely functioning U.S. political system snapped into action when given an opportunity to crush workers' demands and weaken organized labor in general. Some centrist Democratic pundits will have you believe yesterday's vote to "avert a strike" was a victory for the White House and a good thing for the American people. Quite the opposite. It was a betrayal.

It's Come to This: GOP Youth Outreach Stars Heil Hitler

After 55 days, the House Judiciary Committee Republicans yesterday removed a Twitter post praising "Kanye. Elon. Trump." All it took was for top-ranking Billboard artist and recent Donald Trump dinner guest Kanye West to go on Alex Jones' Infowars show with new pal Nick Fuentes and heap praise on Adolf Hitler and the Nazis at great length while spreading hateful lies about Jews. You could call it a mask-off performance, but Ye wore a bizarre full-face mask throughout the segment. Fuentes and Ye also said they were "very pro-Putin," to which I say, Russia is accepting foreign volunteers -- enlist, boys! Your leader needs you to die in a trench in Ukraine for the glory of the empire.

Warnings of 'Complete Doomsday Scenario' for Colorado River

Climate change is depleting the massive Lake Powell reservoir threatening not only the water but also the power supply for 4.5 million people in the American southwest, the Washington Post reports. The "once unfathomable" scenario of falling water levels shutting down the turbines in Arizona's Glen Canyon Dam "could come as soon as July," according to new federal projections. Officials also fear a "dead pool" scenario involving severely depleted water levels that could devastate the Colorado River infrastructure as well as the ecosystem, turning the river into something "more like an irrigation ditch." The upshot is: substantial cuts in water consumption are required, and may soon become mandatory.


  • Supreme Court Will Take Up Biden's Student Loan Relief Plan The court will hear arguments in February and leave in place a lower court injunction blocking the $20,000 debt forgiveness program until then. via the New York Times.
  • Federal Appeals Court Halts 'Special Master' Review in Trump Stolen Documents Case "The ruling removes a major obstacle to the Justice Department’s investigation." via CNN.
  • 'Fintech' Companies Abetted Pandemic Loan Fraud A new Congressional report says online middlemen including Blueacorn, Womply and Kabbage made huge profits by flooding the federal pandemic relief programs with billions of dollars worth of fraudulent loan applications. via the Washington Post.
  • Matt Gaetz Crony Gets 11-Year Sentence for Sex Trafficking, Stalking, Theft Florida tax collector Joel Greenberg cooperated with investigators in their ongoing investigation into Rep. Gaetz. via the Times.
  • Tigrayans Allege Pro-Ethiopia Forces Are Looting, Making Mass Arrests Despite Peace Deal "Ethiopia's conflict has seen more casualties than the war in Ukraine, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Thursday on a visit to the country to meet with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed." via the Associated Press.



That's how many immigrants "fleeing torture and persecution" had their personal information published in an "unintentional" online data dump this week by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, putting their lives at risk, the Los Angeles Times reports.


12/2: It's Casual Friday! Sam and Emma host Ryan Grim, DC Bureau Chief at the Intercept, to round up the week in news.


Kanye STUNS Alex Jones, Says Hitler Was 'Good'

Well, he couldn't have been that surprised, considering Ye's recent commentaries.

Arizona Becomes Ground Zero for Right-Wing Nut Jobs

Wait until there's no more water to fill all those suburban swimming pools.


"I knew in my mind that there was a benefit to the company."

-- Longtime Trump Organization accountant Allen Weisselberg, in testimony at the company's Manhattan fraud trial, where closing arguments are being heard. Trump laywers are claiming that Weisselberg cooked the company's books for his sole financial benefit; a guilty verdict hinges on whether jurors believe that's the case, or that the accounting fraud was in fact carried out on behalf of the company.

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