HomeUncategorized2/11-13 Weekend News Roundup and Open Thread
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Benny

How many of you are rooting for the Eagles tomorrow? I live in a KC household, so I’ll be rooting for them. Also, Mahomes is a “alum” (he didn’t finish, but he’s still considered one of theirs) of Texas Tech; I’m an alum of TTU too.

orlbucfan

I was going to skip the Stupid Bowl, but my sis has a former student who plays for the Eagles 🦅. So, sister solidarity. ✊🙂🏈 Plus, I’m curious about these idiot Christian ads on there.

wi65

This time of year there’s always rumblings from some craprate idiot that’s wants to PPV this game. That would be the end of the NFL as fans would organize some sort of boycott.

wi65

Wouldn’t that 7 mil per ad they dropped best be served helping the poor with food and other necessity’s?

wi65

Meanwhile in WI the Foxxconned deal by Walker continues to keep on giving;

Federal class action lawsuit alleges Foxconn not fully paying Wisconsin employees

Corrinne Hess, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Fri, February 10, 2023 at 3:00 PM CST
Foxconn employees working at the company’s Mount Pleasant facility filed a federal class action lawsuit alleging the company regularly shaved time off from their weekly timesheets and failed to pay them earned overtime.

The lawsuit, filed Feb. 7 in the U.S. Eastern District of Wisconsin, by Scotty Allen against FII USA, inc. doing business as Foxconn, alleges the company violated the Fair Labor Standards Act and Wisconsin’s Wage Payment and Collection Laws.

The lawsuit gives a small glimpse into what is happening at Foxconn where little is known, despite the company saying it employs about 1,000 people and receiving $37.4 million in state tax credits.

In a statement, Foxconn Technology Group said it would not comment on the specifics of the lawsuit.

“At this time, we are currently looking into the matter and have no comment regarding the allegation,” the statement said.

Hourly employees repeatedly not paid
Allen was hired as an hourly employee in August 2022, the lawsuit says. He was fired by the company in January after complaining about his timecard being altered, according to the lawsuit.

Allen was an assembly operator. The class action lawsuit says it represents all “current and former hourly employees who perform similarly-titled positions.”

According to the lawsuit:

Foxconn does not fully compensate hourly employees, instead the time clock rounds to the closest hour, to the detriment of the employee.

Employees were not paid bonuses, overtime and other incentive awards.

On multiple occasions employees complained to supervisors about unlawful practices of changing or altering time clocks.

On Jan. 19, Allen complained to his supervisor about altering his “clock in” and/or “clock out” times during the workday. His supervisor allegedly did not respond and Allen was instead terminated on Jan. 30 because of his complaints.

The plaintiffs are seeking a jury trial.

wi65

The Bat-shit crazyness over the 2A has no limits, This outta workout great the inner-city drug areas

MISSOURI REPUBLICANS VOTE TO AFFIRM TODDLERS’ RIGHTS TO CARRY FIREARMS IN THE STREETS
Yes, it’s exactly as crazy as it sounds.

BY BESS LEVIN

FEBRUARY 9, 2023
In the year 2023, no one expects Republicans to have a reasonable take on gun violence (like that it’s a problem), or to do something about it (like pass meaningful gun control legislation). Still, you might think that conservatives wouldn’t be so thoroughly detached from reality that they would approve of—nay, fight for the rights of—small children being able to openly carry firearms in public places. Because that would just be, to use an official legislative term, f–king insane. Can you guess where we’re going with this?

In a turn of events that absolutely defies logic, the Republican-controlled Missouri House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to reject an amendment that would have banned minors from being allowed to openly carry guns on public land without adult supervision. Which, thanks to a 2017 law, they are currently free to do. (That law, which was vetoed by then governor Jay Nixon and overridden by the Missouri House, also allows Missouri residents to carry a concealed weapon without a permit, safety training, or criminal-background check. As Sgt. Charles Wall, spokesman for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “under current state law, there is no minimum age to lawfully possess a firearm.”) To be clear: The proposal rejected this week was not seeking to ban minors from openly carrying weapons on public land, period, but simply from doing so without an adult supervising them. But apparently even that was too much for the state’s conservatives, who quite literally believe it’s fine for actual kids to walk down the street carrying guns. The proposal was defeated by 104-39, with just a single Republican voting in favor of the ban.

State representative Donna Baringer, a Democrat who represents St. Louis, said she decided to sponsor the amendment after police in her district asked for stronger regulations to stop “14-year-olds walking down the middle of the street in the city of St. Louis carrying AR-15s.” With the proposal officially blocked, said 14-year-olds, and kids half their age and younger, “have been emboldened [to carry AR-15s], and they are walking around with them,” she said. Representative Lane Roberts, apparently the only Republican with any sense in the Missouri House of Representatives, had said prior to the vote: “This is about people who don’t have the life experience to make a decision about the consequences of having that gun in their possession. Why is an 8-year-old carrying a sidearm in the street?”

A great question! And one that his fellow GOP lawmakers obviously did not have any good answers for because if you’re a sane person, there is none. In a ridiculous attempt to justify that scenario, Republican state representative Bill Hardwick argued that he “just [has] a different approach for addressing public safety that doesn’t deprive people, who have done nothing to any other person, who will commit no violence, from their freedom.” As a reminder the people Hardwick is arguing must have the freedom to carry firearms on their person, are children, some of whom cannot even buy a ticket for a PG-13 movie.

In a bit of equally absurd “logic,” state representative Tony Lovasco told The Washington Post: “Government should prohibit acts that directly cause measurable harm to others, not activities we simply suspect might escalate. Few would support banning unaccompanied kids in public places, yet one could argue such a bad policy might be effective.” Right, yes, except one small thing: A kid hanging out in public without an adult is a much smaller risk to themself and others than a kid hanging out in public without an adult and carrying a gun. Someone—not us of course, definitely not us, but someone—might suggest this is the argument of a total moron.

Of course, all of this is happening less than a month after news of a Virginia six-year-old shooting their teacher and a viral surveillance video from Indiana that captured a diaper-wearing toddler carrying a handgun and firing it.

Meanwhile, as state representative Peter Merideth noted, conservative lawmakers in the state who think kids bearing arms is fine and dandy, are currently trying to pass a bill that would make drag performances on public property or seen by minors class A misdemeanors. “Kids carrying guns on the street or in a park is a matter of individual freedom and personal responsibility. Kids seeing a drag queen read a children’s book or sing a song is a danger the government must ban,” Merideth tweeted. “Do I have that right MO GOP?”https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2023/02/missouri-republicans-minors-open-carry

Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death
Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death

smdh

orlbucfan

Word is out down here that the Tallahassee idiot squad is getting set to eventually approve OPEN carry with NO permit, period! Even the hardcore RWingers I know hate it.

Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death
Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death
orlbucfan

Who votes for these 2-legged pieces of sh1t? And of course, she gets elected in my sh1t storm of a state.💩💩💩

Benny

Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death
Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death

Beautiful!

orlbucfan

✊👏

wi65

Couldnt let this fly by😁😁

fd87307e43dedb9eff82200ea8097970.webp
orlbucfan

😂🥶

Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death
Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death

Have y’all seen this one?

MTG scream.jpg
orlbucfan

She/It insults a great iconic painting. 🙁 Still it is clever in a negative way. 🙂

wi65

Now i have Thx Aint

wi65

The toonist needed to add; Remember Honey we STILL vote the R by the name!!!!

Screenshot 2023-02-11 134257.png
wi65

Samo old GQP today,Same old GQP back then sigh….

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Benny

Matt Stoller

Bill Clinton Has Left the Building

In his State of the Union address, Joe Biden turned his back on Bill Clinton’s legacy, and got aggressive in focusing on monopolies. And then, the UK dented the Microsoft-Activision merger.

On Tuesday, Joe Biden delivered a State of the Union speech in which he centered the problem of monopoly, turning the Democrats against the legacy of Bill Clinton. On Wednesday, the UK competition authority declared officially that the Microsoft-Activision merger is in trouble. Today, Apple’s head of product design said the firm is redesigning its iPhone to make it repairable. Meanwhile, mergers and acquisitions activity in the U.S. this year is down by 76%.

It feels a bit like we are entering a time machine back to the pre-1980 model of politics, when it was a normal to disdain monopolies.


I Have A Bridge to the 21st Century To Sell You

When I was writing my book on the rise and fall of the anti-monopoly tradition in the 20th century, I spent roughly five years researching the life and times of Wright Patman, a member of Congress from northeast Texas who served in the House of Representatives from 1929-1976. The most telling document about politics I found in his archives was a campaign flyer Patman used in the 1950s to describe to his rural Southern constituents why they should vote for him, and for Democrats in general.

“Here is What Our Democratic Party Has Given Us,” it said. The idea was, Democrats deliver for you. Roads. Electricity, Telephone service. Unemployment insurance. Old Age Benefits. That’s what politics was about. In 1940, 35% of Americans did not have flush toilets, including 80% of residents of Mississippi. By 1970, nearly all of them did. That’s what politics meant. And this wasn’t just a Democratic Party frame, everyone believed it, Eisenhower and Nixon as much as LBJ. The basic notion was that we can come together and choose how we organize our society through politics, and politicians fight for votes over how best to do that.

But a new vision emerged in the 1960s and 1970s, peddled by economists, intellectuals and corporate consultants, an argument that certain inevitable economic rules dictate what is and isn’t possible. This philosophy came to be known as neoliberalism, and the premise is that “globalization and technology” were giant uncontrollable forces instead of a set of policy choices made by human beings.

Such a philosophy was cover for private financiers and monopolists gaining power over markets, but it seemed plausible at the time, when postwar abundance and public unions seemed to balance out any forms of corporate overreach. When UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher restructured Great Britain, she used the phrase, “There is no alternative” to describe why her policy victory was inevitable. And while the energy for this agenda came from the right, the left mostly agreed. Famous socialist John Kenneth Galbraith, for instance, wrote that “man’s area of decision-making is vanishingly small,” because once a society became industrialized, policy is irrelevant and all societies come to have a “broadly similar result” in how they are organized. Corporations just consolidate, and human agency is irrelevant to that inevitable fate.

This philosophy, in its right and left versions, guided the thinking of both parties in the 1980s, and a new generation of politicians emerged to redefine what politics was. No longer was it even conceivable that elected leaders might help address corporate power, that just wasn’t the job. By the 1990s Bill Clinton was centering his Presidency on bullshit themes like “Bridge to the 21st Century,” and millionaire political consultants were baffled as to why voters were apathetic and turning towards bitter cultural questions. Anyone sitting in a messaging meeting during a political campaign knows what I mean, there was just a detachment from real life.

When Joe Biden got elected, I was not expecting him to break from this tradition. Just before he won, I described Biden as a ‘mild populist’ who did not like elitism, but also as a man with no firm philosophy. So far, and to virtually everyone’s surprise, Biden has governed more like Harry Truman than Bill Clinton. Gone is the powerlessness in the face of titanic forces, and back is the core view that delivering for people is the point of politics.

This week, Biden gave a State of the Union making it clear that his populist policy choices are not an accident, but the centerpiece of what he’s trying to do. And his speech used a Patman-style tradition of having politicians discuss what normal people care about. I’ll go over some of the details in the speech, but just to give you a sense of what I mean, here’s Senator Chris Murphy, after the speech, noting that Biden essentially said “Ticketmaster sucks.”

Are crappy fees from Ticketmaster the most pressing problem in America? No. But they are actually a problem that most people know about, and these junk fees symbolize the out-of-control monopolies corrupting our society. Normal people get what Biden was discussing, just like in the 1950s they understood things like roads, electricity, and telephone service.

Now, does a speech by a politician really truly matter? The answer in this case is, yes, it does. The State of the Union isn’t just an hour on prime time where the networks show the President, it’s an entire production, a six-month project by every part of government to brag about what they’ve done, to seek more authority or funding, or to just be noticed. It’s a way for political advisors of the President to set an agenda, and for advocates and lobbyists to see who is up and who is down in the policy pecking order. Most importantly, it’s how the President tells the government and his party not just what his priorities are, but how he understands the point of politics.

And that’s why I was completely stunned at what Biden said, and how he said it. I knew there was going to be some monopoly-related stuff in the speech, there had been leaks that Biden would mention Big Tech and privacy, for instance. But what I didn’t realize is that the entire speech would be framed around the need to restore populist government, to place controls on powerful corporations, and to re-shore production.

To see if I was imagining things, I went back and read a few old State of the Union speeches by Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. I chose the third year of the Presidency for each, to do an apples to apples comparison. And what I found was that Biden’s accomplishments and his rhetoric were wildly different from his predecessors. In 1995, Bill Clinton centered his speech on what he called a “New Covenant,” which largely meant cutting government. He bragged about eliminating $250 billion of spending, removing 100,000 jobs from the public sector, and making the Federal Government “the smallest it has been since John Kennedy was President.” He sought tax cuts, a bailout for American banks in Mexico, and an attack on “our failed welfare system.”

Obama, in 2011, echoed similar themes, focusing on the deficit and reducing the size of government. Like Clinton, he discussed how Americans were struggling, but gave as an antidote the notion that the government should help fund a bit more higher education, as part of out-competing the rest of the world and making “America the best place on Earth to do business.” There was some rhetoric around infrastructure spending in both speeches, but basically, the villain for both Clinton and Obama was slothful government, or vague bad values Americans expressed towards each other.

To say that Biden changed this framework is to dramatically understate the matter – his speech started with a discussion of the government bringing back semiconductor manufacturing to the U.S., and capping insulin prices charged by “Big Pharma” at $35/month for seniors. Banning non-competes got a shout-out, as did competition in hearing aids, unionization laws, domestic production subsidies, and bans on hidden fees charged by banks, hotels, airlines, and Ticketmaster. There was no apologia for government, and the villain was big business and monopoly, from nearly start to finish. He mentioned the need for stronger antitrust laws against big tech, the first time antitrust has been in a State of the Union speech since 1979.

The way to understand political arguments isn’t about who wins the debate. It’s about who gets to ask the question. If the President proposes something about flag burning, then politics becomes defined around what people think of flag burning. If he discusses big business, then big business becomes the realm of political activity. So what Biden said in his State of the Union mattered, because it told the Democratic Party establishment what to think about.

Benny

part 2

On CNN and MSNBC, for the first time, the Democratic establishment discussed market power as if it’s a normal part of politics. David Leonhardt at the New York Times wrote up the junk fee problem, and CNN’s Van Jones and journalist Carl Hulse discussed how annoying fees are that are being tacked onto everything. It was sort of remarkable that for the first time in my memory, the political people on TV actually sounded like normal human beings. No one was saying that globalization and technology meant Ticketmaster had to do what it was doing or that it was all inevitable, or trying to define “Bridge to the 21st Century,” as if that’s a thing. They were just annoyed at being nickel and dimed.

Another way to understand the speech is to see who was infuriated. CNBC types were outraged, and the Wall Street Journal editorial page writers predictably had their aneurysms. More specifically, Airlines for America, the airline lobbying group, got angry that the President cited airline fees as ‘junk.’ Similarly, the President & CEO of the Consumer Bankers Association, Lindsey Johnson, made a video attacking the notion of limiting bank overdraft and credit card late fees.

Wall Street Democrats were frustrated as well. Steve Rattner, an Obama administration official and the current manager of Michael Bloomberg’s $75 billion fortune, attacked Biden’s plan to tax stock buybacks as “the dumbest idea of the year,” as “buybacks are actually good — the $ shareholders receive gets recycled into other, potentially more productive investments.”

These are all the people you want to be mad, if the goal is to make the country work reasonably well again. We’ll see how far Biden takes his populism. There are reasons for skepticism, namely the entire government has been run for four decades as if being slightly disrespectful to a Wall Street banker will cause bridges to collapse everywhere. Civil servants, understandably, have been trained to be wary of restructuring markets. But it’s shocking that Biden has taken us where he has. It feels both radical, and strangely quite normal.

Is the Microsoft-Activision Merger Falling Apart?
The morning after the State of the Union, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority told Microsoft that it has to either abandon or seriously rework its proposed $69 billion acquisition of gaming publisher Activision.

The CMA argued that Microsoft has an incentive to make games exclusive to its own platforms, and Activision – particularly because of its control of the Call of Duty franchise – is an important game publisher. More interestingly, this case seems to be less about consoles and more about cloud gaming services, which is how gaming will happen in the future. People will play games on whatever device they have, and the computing will happen elsewhere. Microsoft has 60-70% of the market in that area, and the CMA believes this acquisition will cement its dominance. Like the Meta-Within acquisition, this case is about preventing monopoly in a market that isn’t a big deal now, but is poised to become important.

The CMA’s move follows on the EU Competition Authority offering its own ‘Statement of Objections’ to the merger. Unlike in the U.S., courts in Europe and the UK play a much smaller role in merger challenges. Over the next few weeks, Microsoft will respond to regulatory concerns with proposed changes to the merger. If they don’t satisfy the CMA and EU, the merger will be blocked. There’s an appeal process, but it’s not easy.

So now, the American, European, and British enforcers have all said that this merger is highly problematic or should not go through. Just a few years ago, the near collapse of the biggest merger of the year would have been a massive story. But there’s an endless amount of populist policy coming from the Biden administration, so this kind of action has become normalized.

For instance, just this week, there was not only the State of the Union, but CFPB Director Rohit Chopra banned pay-to-play arrangements in digital comparison mortgage and finance websites, the Antitrust Division blocked a merger in the seamless tubing and production casing industry for oil pipelines, and enforcers withdrew three policy guides allowing health care middlemen to collude with one another.

Nevertheless, the coming apart of the Microsoft-Activision merger isn’t a small deal. Antitrust is impacting policy in unseen ways; the head of Apple’s product design team just let it slip that the iPhone is being redesigned to be more repairable. I doubt Apple would admit it’s because of American and global scrutiny around the ‘right to repair,’ but that’s clearly what’s happening. Similarly, the mergers and acquisitions game has changed, with dealmakers expecting “deep antitrust scrutiny because that’s just how things now work” on transactions that used to go through without a hitch. Maybe that’s one reason mergers in the U.S. are down 76% year to date. It’s not the only reason; financing arrangements have changed.

But the environment for monopolies, both domestically and abroad, is getting more and more inhospitable.

Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death
Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death

Goodbye, Bill C. You look good gone. Ya got diamonds in ya back.

Benny

Gosh I hope so. But I would not be surprised if Chelsea runs for some public office in a year or two.

Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death
Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death

Video Raises Questions About Tortuguita’s Death at “Cop City” Amid Permit Appeal
The release of body camera footage and permit challenge come as one Atlanta Police Foundation board member steps down.

Terán, whose chosen name was Tortuguita, was shot and killed by police on January 18 during a violent raid on a protest encampment in the South River Forest that has blockaded construction of what Atlanta-area activists have dubbed “Cop City,” an 85-acre, $90 million police militarization and training complex spearheaded by the Atlanta Police Foundation that, if built, would be one of the largest police training facilities in the country. The site would contain several shooting ranges, a helicopter landing base, an area for explosives training, police-horse stables and an entire mock city for officers to engage in role-playing activities.

The GBI initially said Tortuguita was shot and killed after allegedly firing a gun and injuring a Georgia state trooper during the raid, but APD’s newly released body camera video appears to show officers suggesting that the trooper was shot by friendly fire in the initial moments after the shooting. In one video, after gunshots ring out through the forest, an officer can be heard saying, “That sounded like suppressed gunfire,” implying the initial shots were consistent with the use of a law enforcement weapon, not the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield nine-millimeter the GBI alleges Tortuguita purchased and fired upon the trooper with, which did not have a suppressor.

Later, another officer can be heard muttering to himself, “You fucked your own officer up.” The officer walks up to two other officers and asks, “Did they shoot their own in there?” to which another officer replies, “We don’t know what he got shot by,” followed by inaudible dialogue. An officer responds and says, “The first one, they said, was suppressed.” At another point in the footage, a drone can be overheard, indicating that GBI may have more direct footage of Torguita’s shooting.

In a statement to the media on January 18, anonymous protesters and community activists dubbed “Forest Defenders” reported hearing “dozens” of gunshots around 9 am on January 18, indicating it wasn’t clear who fired the first shot, and alleging they had “reason to believe” Tortuguita was killed after a friendly fire incident. Police continued the raid after Tortuguita’s shooting, using tear gas and rubber bullets to remove protesters from tree houses and bulldozing forest around the camp.

There’s more at Truthout –
https://truthout.org/articles/video-raises-questions-about-tortuguitas-death-at-cop-city-amid-permit-appeal/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=f5d37ca8-c79d-4d74-bff0-101aabaeae8a

orlbucfan

Aint, has any kind of positive fallout happened from this yet?

Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death
Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death

Love me some Bernie. Love me some Lula. Loved me some Brazil in 2002 but I could never take a non-stop, 15 hours in the air, flight again.

Here’s today’s email from Bernie –

Yesterday I had the honor of meeting one of the world’s greatest champions for working people, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, better known as Lula.

During our meeting Lula and I discussed the importance of defending democracy, advancing worker’s rights and increasing environmental and climate cooperation around the world.

Lula came to Washington to meet with President Biden, but what he did during the rest of his visit speaks loudly to who he is and has always represented. He spent time, not only with me, but also with members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and with labor leaders at the AFL-CIO.

When world leaders visit our nation’s capital, almost all of them focus their attention on establishment figures: wealthy and powerful individuals, corporate CEOs or mainstream politicians. Lula did it differently. He met with progressive and labor leaders, because that is where he comes from and who he has represented throughout his entire life.

Lula, who left school after the second grade, was a metal worker who became president of Brazil’s steelworker’s union. At the time a CIA-backed military dictatorship ruled Brazil. Those who opposed them were jailed and often tortured. Lula risked his life leading strikes and protests against the undemocratic regime. In 1980 he founded the Workers Party. Remarkably he was elected president of Brazil in 2002. Because of the policies he put in place as president, 20 million Brazilians were able to rise out of poverty, while inequality, infant mortality, and illiteracy all declined. Lula demonstrated to the world the power and popularity of a government that stands for working people. When he left office in 2010 his approval rating was over 80%.

Lula was elected to a third term in October, defeating incumbent president Jair Bolsonaro, who was called the “Trump of the tropics.”

In July, several months before their election, a group of civil society leaders from Brazil visited my office and spoke with me about the threat to Brazilian democracy coming from Bolsonaro and his supporters. Just like Donald Trump, Bolsonaro was telling lies about the election being stolen months before anyone cast a ballot. They asked me to speak out, not in support of Lula, but in support of democracy.

That is why, along with Senator Tim Kaine, I introduced a Resolution in Support of Brazilian Democracy. This bill unanimously passed the Senate sending a clear message that the United States would stand with the people of Brazil and would not accept any attempts to undemocratically overturn the results of their election.

This threat turned out to be very real. On January 8, thousands of Bolsonaro supporters stormed the buildings housing all three branches of government in Brazil calling for a military coup to bring Bolsonaro back to power. Since that day many questions have surfaced about the role of members of Bolsonaro’s government and of the military in these riots.

Lula and I spoke in our meeting about the need to work to stand up for democracy around the world. This means not only standing against those who would try to overturn the results of elections, but also against the oligarchs who only care about their ability to exploit working people for profit.

Progressives around the world need to work together and that is exactly what Lula and I will continue to do. Now more than ever we need international solidarity.

orlbucfan

Got that, too, and read it. Don’t we wish we could vote for a Lula for POTUS? Sigh………