Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Raise the Minimum Wage


McDonald's needs to answer for having a "secret intelligence service" after we raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour:

For years, McDonald's has internally labeled activists and employees working with the Fight for $15 campaign a security threat and has spied on them, Motherboard has learned. McDonald's says that this work is designed to identify protests that "could put crew and customer safety at risk."

The fast food giant's secretive intelligence unit has monitored its own workers’ activities with the movement, which seeks to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour, including by using social media monitoring tools, according to two sources who worked at McDonald's who had direct knowledge of the surveillance and leaked documents that explain the surveillance strategy and tactics. A team of intelligence analysts in the Chicago and London offices keep an eye on the activities of Fight for $15 labor organizers across the world, figure out which McDonald's workers are active in the movement, and who they are working with to organize strikes, protests, or attempt to form unions. 

No McDonald's workers are currently unionized, but many of them are politically involved with Fight for $15, which has organized fast food worker strikes and protests since 2012 and is affiliated with one of the country's largest unions. To date, McDonald's has refused to bargain with workers who the company says aren't its employees because they work for franchises. 

The surveillance is particularly notable given the current political battle being fought over a $15 minimum wage, which has been proposed in Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package. An increase in the minimum wage is broadly popular nationally with both Republican and Democratic voters (and two-thirds of Americans support raising it to $15), but the proposal has become a sticking point in the stimulus legislation: West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin—a critical vote in the Senate—has said he does not favor a $15 minimum wage. The federal minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 an hour for more than 10 years.

What is depressing is that all of the large chains probably have the same anti-labor, anti-raising the minimum wage mentality that needs to be addressed by ensuring that workers have the chance to organize. You can't just raise wages without raising the quality of the job itself. You do that by addressing who gets insurance benefits, paid time off, and all of the other things that collective bargaining can guarantee for people who have never had these things. That alone should motivate people to support raising the minimum wage and improving the structure of what work looks like in the 21st Century.

I am hoping that the new Biden Administration will put someone in charge of the Department of Labor who can make it easier for workers all over the country to organize. More importantly, they need to fight the disinformation campaigns that are being run to scare people into supporting efforts to block a minimum wage increase.

Raising the minimum wage does NOT kill jobs. It raises workers out of poverty. 

Saturday, February 20, 2021

The Federal Government Must Protect Consumers From Griddy

 


This is insane:

As the Texas power grid collapsed under a historic winter storm, Jose Del Rio of Haltom City, in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, saw the electricity bill on a vacant two-bedroom home he is trying to sell slowly creep up over the past two weeks. Typically, the bill is around $125 to $150 a month, he said. But his account has already been charged about $630 this month — and he still owes another $2,600.

 “If worse comes to worst, I have the ability to put it on a credit card or figure something out," Del Rio said. ”There is no one living in that house. All the lights are off. But I have the air at 60 because I don’t want the pipes to freeze.”

When he contacted Griddy, his electric company, they advised him to switch providers, Del Rio said.

This is outright theft. If there was ever a need to protect people from being taken advantage of, this is it. There should be caps on what Griddy can charge. There should be regulation as to what Griddy can do to consumers. But there aren't! That's what's so crazy about this situation.

“The last thing an awful lot of people need right now is a higher electric bill — and that’s unfortunately something a lot of people will get stuck with,” Schulz said.

Royce Pierce and his wife, Danielle, who live in Willow Park, west of Dallas, have been watching their electricity bill tick up by nearly $10,000 in the last few days for their three-bedroom home. While the family told NBC News they consider themselves lucky because they’ve had power, the financial burden has come with additional challenges.

Since the family is on a variable rate plan with Griddy, the company automatically debits the bill as they use electricity. Danielle said she closed the debit card connected to their electricity bill because Griddy wiped it out. The family has been using separate accounts and credit cards to pay for necessities as the storm goes on.

Griddy claims that they are fighting against the rate increases. Good! Fight like hell! But when you discover that Texas politicians have set up a lobbyist-friendly situation that allows a public utility to fleece consumers, that's when it is time to say enough is enough, goddammit.

I don't care what the "variable rate plan" is because I don't think anyone should have to pay these outlandish prices. Your power bill--and, for that matter, your health care bill--should not be allowed to wipe out your credit cards and your bank account. Add "variable rate utility bill" to the list of things that needs to be fixed now that there is a Democrat in the White House.

This is exorbitant and cruel in nature. The Federal government needs to step in and protect the people of Texas from predatory utility companies that have no right whatsoever to drain the life savings of anyone. And no, I don't care if it's a legal agreement between the utility and the customer or if it's something people signed away their rights for. I think the government HAS to step in when a situation gets to this level of price gouging. It is immoral and unjust.


Monday, February 15, 2021

Grover Norquist is Crying Like a Little Baby

 


One of the consequences of throwing Trump and a bunch of Republicans out of office for failing to govern is that now we get to fix the tax code. I am hoping President Biden let's Senator Elizabeth Warren stick it to the rich and signs legislation that specifically targets the wealthy. I hope they are taxed into oblivion. Let them go live in the Caribbean. Let them deal with foreign banking officials who are corrupt and will walk off with their wealth because their banks are just Ponzi schemes.

I mean, is it fair and reasonable to want people like Grover to have a big sad all over the place? I think it would be irresponsible not to hope and pray for someone to relieve him of whatever bullshit untaxed wealth he's been hoarding throughout the Trump years. The man who said that he wanted to shrink government down to the point where it could be drowned in a bathtub is now going to get super serious about regulating the behavior of America's wealthy elites. 

Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of fucking criminals.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Distractions Abound

 


Now that the Republican Party has been thrown out of power at the Federal level, it is important to watch how the bullshit culture wars are going to be obsessed over by the media while Democrats try to fix the country.

This is a classic example of a bullshit story/event/situation. Comedian and film actor Seth Rogen is an activist in the real world. He uses his social media presence to hammer home the fact that Republicans are a bunch of dicks. 

Here, he has slammed some journalist who isn't even worth naming and made it so the man's mother has to defend him. Wah, wah. Welcome to the stupidest country on Earth.

Rogen has also gone after dipshits like Ted Cruz. I am pleased with this development. I think more celebrities should pound home the indisputable fact that the Sedition Caucus of the Republican Party is full of grifters, cheats, assholes, and jackoffs.

In and of itself, if a United States Senator like Canadian-born Cruz can be completely thrown into fits of screaming and panic by something Rogen says about him, then that goddamned Senator is a worthless clown. In other words, Cruz needs to focus on the fact that he'll be in the minority for a while and his beard makes him look like a deranged circus performer with a scat fetish.

None of the things that really matter, which are economic in nature and should be organized around getting people relief, getting them jobs and better wages, and getting a COVID vaccine into their bodies, are affected by the standoff between Rogen and Cruz. But you have to credit Rogen for getting Cruz so freaked out that he is probably curled up in a sleeping bag filled with his own feces. It keeps Cruz from developing anything that resembles a coherent argument against helping the American people.

And that's a good thing.

Friday, January 29, 2021

There Are No Consequences For Losing Everything

 


What's pathetic is that nothing in this article is true, even the parts that are supposed to be:

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel grew emotional talking with former Vice President Mike Pence the day after Trump supporters stormed the United States Capitol building and called for his hanging.

The Washington Post reports that McDaniel personally called Pence the day after the infamous Trump-incited riots at the Capitol led to the deaths of five people, including a Capitol police officer.

"On the phone, the next day, talking about what happened, McDaniel became emotional," the Post writes. "She wanted Pence to know he was still welcome to come to the RNC meeting. He did not go. McDaniel fought back tears."

So, the Washington Post is trying, desperately, to prop up Romney McDaniel and provide some sort of lifeline for the Republican Party. What we are watching is the implosion of the party in real time. As I have said many times to myself and out loud, how the fuck did Liz Cheney become the voice of reason? How did we end up in a place where you could amplify the batshit crazy raving and drooling of the various people who now serve in Congress as Republicans and not end up in a straitjacket?

The money is drying up. Romney McDaniel is responsible for losing the House in 2018, a Senate seat in Alabama (briefly), the Senate in 2020 and the presidency. In any other era, she would have been fired for incompetence before any of these things happened.

And yet, here we are. She's still in control of the Republican National Committee and corporate America is now waking up to the fact that the GOP is the most toxic brand in America. Martin Pharmaboy Shkreli is more marketable. The Manson Family is more well-liked. Virulent strains of herpes have broader appeal to more Americans and a better outreach to rural communities. The Republican Party is the Shingles Party, and that's only because getting shingles is easier to deal with when it shows up at your home.

Talk about job security. If you end up with a job in the RNC, you can wake up next to Don Junior, his crazy girlfriend, her lap dance chair, and eleven dead hookers in a vat filled with meth and cream cheese and you can still expect another two years of raking in the big bucks.


Saturday, January 23, 2021

And, Just Like That, Russia is Coming Apart

 


Maybe Vladimir Putin should think about living out the rest of his days in the South of France, surrounded by all of the other oligarchs. A nice pension of five rubles a day would be appropriate.