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My new* litmus test for 2020 - the will AND the chops to crack down on international crime

And by "international crime" I mean of the kind perpetrated in 2016 and Brexit, i.e. heavy involvement of hacking and money laundering to change political outcomes around the globe, to the detriment of democracy.

If this problem is not successfully addressed very soon, none of the rest has a chance of being solved ... not that it would matter to most people anyway.

John Kerry wrote a book a long time ago - published 1997 - called "The New War". Long before hacking was the thing it is today ... but addressing the issues of international crime raised in The New War would have put us in a far better place to protect this country. And it strikes me that what put Trump in power and caused the Brexit debacle is just the next phase in the "New War" that Kerry spoke of.

Kerry isn't going to be running - but I wonder if he will make an endorsement ... and if the international crime aspect will influence that endorsement? If so, that's who I will support. Otherwise, I will be evaluating the candidates based on whatever info I can gather about their will and ability to confront this issue, and bring these international crime families to justice. And yes, at this point I expect there will still be Trumps to be prosecuted in 2021.

OTOH, who am I kidding, I'm in a "my primary vote hardly matters" state (late primary). By the time I get to vote, my choice will be between frick and frack. I only hope that one or both of them meet my test. Regardless, of course I will vote for the Dem nominee in November. But let's not blow this, Dems.

* not really "new" actually ... just the apparent letdown of the Mueller report (which I expected), has brought it into laser focus for me.

PA state Rep. Brian Ellis resigns after allegations of sexually assaulting an incapacitated woman

Source: NBC News

Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Ellis resigns after allegations of sexually assaulting an incapacitated woman

March 19, 2019, 2:20 PM EDT
By Farnoush Amiri
A Pennsylvania state representative resigned on Monday, days after a woman made a complaint to the state's Republican caucus alleging that he sexually assaulted her in 2015 when she was blacked out.

"It is with immense gratitude to the sacrifices made by my family, the support of my constituents, and the friendship of my colleagues that I have concluded that it is in the best interest of my family, the residents of the 11th House district, and my own health that I resign from the General Assembly," State Rep. Brian Ellis wrote in his resignation letter submitted on Monday.

Ellis' resignation came after House Republicans in January called on him to step down when the Dauphin County district attorney began to investigate allegations that Ellis had sex with a woman without her consent in October 2015, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

"It truly has been a new day for survivors," the woman's lawyer, Christine Wechsler told NBC News on Tuesday. "This is an acknowledgment of the credibility of the allegation."

Read more: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/pennsylvania-state-rep-brian-ellis-resigns-after-allegations-sexually-assaulting-n984821

Another one bites the dust. Good riddance!

Who is "The Dignity of Work" candidate now?

As we all know by now, Sherrod Brown announced he is not running.

I am interested to know which candidates come closest to understanding and supporting workers' issues the way Brown does.

I have already tentatively excluded some based on what I know. But rather than list those -

Other candidate supporters, make your case.

Ground rules:

* only positive points about how a candidate supports the working class, workers' rights, protections against discrimination and abuse, worker safety issues, access to good jobs, etc.

* please provide links to credible sources that support your assertions.

Thanks. Have at it.

PIRG praises Sherrod Brown for including unpaid caregivers in EITC

(PIRG = Public Interest Research Group)




Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio proposed a change to the Earned Income Tax Credit today that would allow unpaid caregivers to benefit from this program designed to increase Americans’ economic security.

Evan Preston, U.S. PIRG’s Senior Director of New Economy Campaigns issued the following statement:

“Technological progress means that many jobs that provide the income to support a family are vulnerable to disruption. Moving forward, we need to redefine work and the role it plays in our society. With that in mind, Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio has devised a creative way to ensure that Americans can maintain their quality of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as the nature of work changes.”

“Many people work to earn money mainly to pay someone else to take care of their children or parents. That makes no sense. Why not support families who want to provide care themselves? Investing in hard-working people who provide care for their loved ones is the right thing to do.”

“U.S. PIRG praises Sen. Brown for working with Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey and with Rep. Ro Khanna of California to accurately value contributions that are essential for improving American lives, but fall outside the traditional definition of “jobs.”

“Expanding the EITC to include unpaid caregivers acknowledges the new challenges and opportunities we face as the nature of work changes. More people should thrive as improved technology brings greater prosperity. Redefining caregiving as work brings us closer to an economy that prioritizes improving well-being, so that more people can live the American Dream.”

An earlier article from PIRG supporting this policy:


The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) has a long, successful, bipartisan track record of making sure more Americans meet their needs. As the nature of work is changing, this EITC Awareness Day offers the chance to prepare for a future where we prioritize work that improves the wellbeing of Americans. U.S. PIRG urges lawmakers to expand the EITC to unpaid caregivers so we can start valuing contributions that are essential for improving American lives but fall outside of traditional jobs.

The EITC was designed to encourage people to work, to find a job and thereby contribute to society. However, a lot of jobs today can be disrupted by technology. In all kinds of industries, we can make more than ever with fewer people than ever. That ought to be an opportunity to recognize other contributions to society, but it won’t be unless we return the values behind creating the EITC in the first place.

... (snip) ...

In its current form, the EITC fails to recognize the contributions of 40 million unpaid caregivers in the U.S. When we define productivity by value captured by Gross Domestic Product, we overlook the important roles unpaid individuals play in their communities and families every day.

Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) introduced federal legislation that would extend EITC qualifications to caregivers and students. “The overlooked and often thankless work of caregiving is essential to our society,” Watson Coleman said in a statement.

More about PIRG:


What progressives need to understand about about the H-1B program.

* It is not only for truly "high skilled" workers, despite the program usually being referred to as "high skilled visa".

* Many employers abuse the program to get controllable workers who are more easily abused than Americans.

* In my direct experience, the H-1B program has zero to do with compassionate immigration policy. The people who arrive on these visas are generally from the higher classes in their home countries. These workers are coming here to get what is an enormous salary to them based on the exchange rate (at the expense of their family life in the home country of course). (To my knowledge there is no preference or consideration given under the H-1B program to circumstances warranting asylum or protection under other programs.)

* EVERY job filled under the H-1B program, removes an opportunity from the "opportunity pool" that could and instead should be directed to creating opportunities for historically oppressed and marginalized people in this country. << I would expect progressives to support creating better opportunities for African-Americans and other groups that are at a disadvantage in our society.

The below article illustrates one of the more insidious factors of the program as currently implemented (emphasis added):


U.S. citizens such as Choudhary can simply leave a job with unsavory working conditions. But for H-1B workers, the vast majority of whom are from India, walking away means being sent back to their home countries.

Yup, being sent back and probably not being able to get back in, due to the lottery system.

That's not exactly an equal power balance, huh?

Visa program rules require that the working conditions offered to H-1B applicants match those offered to U.S. workers.

That requirement was based on the idea that H-1B workers’ conditions would be improved to match U.S. labor standards, Sarasota, Fla., attorney Sara Blackwell told Bloomberg Law. Instead, it appears that employers are downgrading those standards across the board, she said.

Um, ya THINK ????

Okay, that was a naive fantasy to begin with. Here's an example of how it really works:

At TCS, “there is no such thing as overtime,” another TCS employee said in an email to Bloomberg Law. Instead, there is only “ANYTIME, meaning have to work anytime day/night/weekends.”

Another former H-1B worker at TCS said he put in “almost 12 hours a day for most of the time.” Only eight or nine hours were actually worked in the office—but employees were expected to log into the online system once they went home, and again on the weekends, he told Bloomberg Law.

Workers earned $60,000 to $65,000 per year, based on a 40-hour workweek, he said. But “the concept of overtime didn’t exist,” and no extra pay was allocated for working up to twice that amount of time, he said.

The same worker said employees were provided paid sick and vacation leave on paper, but were never actually allowed to take it. Anyone who called out sick was still expected to log in and work from home, he said.

Choudhary says these conditions not only exploit H-1B workers but create an industry that drives out everyone else. “A normal American would never be able to work for them,” he said.

Please read the full article at the link:

And this is just focusing on the work hours aspect. There is much more about the program and its consequences that is highly anti-labor.

And yet, when I searched DU to see if this article had already been posted ... I gave up after reading just a few threads on the H-1B topic ... so much misinformation - and in some cases a dismissive attitude that "these jobs pay well, so why should progressives care about this?"

- this is why I sometimes want to give up on Democrats. Except republicans are evil. But then, for people who don't care about the other things I care about (environment, women's rights, LGBTQ and minority rights, etc), the attitude of not giving a shit about workers, even workers that make a decent salary (let's not talk about hourly rate though), is one more nail in the coffin of them EVER voting for a Democrat. You don't care about me? Why the HELL should I vote for YOU?

For what it's worth, I will always vote for the better option on issues across the board, and it's been a very long time since I've seen a republican even pretend to be better than the Democrat on most issues. But in any primary, the only Dem that gets my vote, has to be a supporter of workers' rights, including understanding the H-1B program and wanting appropriate changes to it.
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