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Randy Bryce’s Campaign Is Not Just Pro-Union—It’s Unionized

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Randy Bryce’s Campaign Is Not Just Pro-Union—It’s Unionized

Wisconsin congressional candidate Randy Bryce is a union man. He’s a proud member of Ironworkers Local 8 in southeastern Wisconsin. He has organized with workers, marched picket lines, and rallied against Republican assaults on labor rights. Bryce maintains a heart-and-soul faith that working men and women have a right to representation.

Including, he says, the working men and women who staff congressional campaigns.

So when Nate Rifkin, the digital director for the Democratic challenger to House Speaker Paul Ryan, brought up the idea of organizing workers on the campaign, Bryce recalls that his immediate response was: “Let’s do this.”

Rifken and other Bryce campaign staffers contacted the Campaign Workers Guild, a new national union that organizes non-management campaign staff. “We met with the unit and negotiated our first collectively bargained contract on a political campaign,” recalls Meg Reilly, a national student organizer for the 2016 Bernie Sanders campaign, who serves as vice president of the guild.

Under the groundbreaking contract, the eight members of the Bryce campaign staff secured a 1 percent pay raise and reimbursements for health-insurance premiums. In addition, the contract provides for a formal grievance process and a third-party reporting system for sexual harassment.

All of this is “very unique in campaigns,” says press secretary Lauren Hitt, a union member who served as communications director for Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney before joining the Bryce campaign.

But it may not be unique for long. Reilly says that, while “campaign workers have been talking about unionizing for decades,” organizing bargaining units to represent specific campaigns is to her knowledge a new front for the labor movement. Now that it’s happening, however, she says interest and enthusiasm is growing fast.

“We’re currently bargaining a few other contracts, and encourage other campaign workers who are ready to unionize to reach out to us. This is a movement. Labor abuses on campaigns have gone on for far too long so together, as the Campaign Workers Guild, we’re all standing up to protect each other,” says Reilly, who argues that: “For far too long, candidates have sought labor endorsements while mistreating the labor on their own campaigns. Candidates need to practice what they preach by bringing their own labor standards in line with the Democratic platform.”

That makes sense to Bryce, one of two contenders for the Democratic nomination to take on Ryan. (The other Democrat, Cathy Myers, is a longtime teachers’ union member and local official, who currently serves on the Janesville School Board.)

“If I’m talking about the importance of unions on the campaign trail, it makes sense that the people who work on the campaign should have representation,” says Bryce, who encourages other candidates to get to know about the efforts of the Campaign Workers Guild to assure that campaign staffers are treated with respect. That goes for the campaigns of Democrats and Republicans, says Bryce.

Does that mean that Paul Ryan should welcome union representation of his reelection campaign staff? “Absolutely,” says the challenger. “I would encourage him to do so.”

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Trump: ‘Criminal deep state’ caught up in ‘major spy scandal’

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Trump: ‘Criminal deep state’ caught up in ‘major spy scandal’

President Trump on Wednesday lashed out at the “criminal deep state” and continued to press his claim that a spy was embedded within his campaign, dubbing it “spygate.”

“Look how things have turned around on the Criminal Deep State. They go after Phony Collusion with Russia, a made up Scam, and end up getting caught in a major SPY scandal the likes of which this country may never have seen before!” Trump tweeted.

“What goes around comes around!” he added.

The president went on to declare that “spygate” could be one of the biggest political scandals in history.

The president has spent the last several days pushing a claim that an FBI informant was embedded within his campaign for political purposes. He has, without evidence, suggestedthe Obama administration planted the individual in his campaign in an effort to help Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton win the 2016 presidential election.

Trump on Wednesday morning also quoted Judge Andrew Napolitano, a Fox News contributor, as saying “it’s clear they had eyes and earls all over the Trump Campaign.”

Trump’s allies, including Fox News personalities and conservative lawmakers, often reference the “deep state” as a group of government staffers working to undermine the president.

The president’s tweet follows a meeting with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray after the president had called for an investigation into the surveillance of his campaign.

Trump agreed with the Justice Department’s decision to expand its inspector general probe to include “any irregularities with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s or the Department of Justice’s tactics concerning the Trump campaign.”

The White House also brokered a meeting between top intelligence officials and conservative lawmakers who have sought information on the informant’s identity. That meeting will take place Thursday.

No Democrats were invited, and no members of the White House are slated to attend.

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Suddenly, Robert Mueller is NOT Trump’s worst nightmare. Keep an eye on this.

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Suddenly, Robert Mueller is NOT Trump’s worst nightmare. Keep an eye on this.

 

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You know, watching His Lowness desperately trying to keep the SS Trumptanic from sliding under the surface reminds me of a cartoon I used to watch when I was a kid. The character is standing in front of a dam, and POP! goes a stone, water shooting out. He sticks a finger in the hole, and POP! goes another stone. The next thing you know, the poor slob has all his fingers, his toes, and his nose in holes, trying to stem the oncoming flood. That’s Trump.

But there was a stone that flew out of the dam last week, and Trumpelthinskin is fresh outta digits. And this hole has the potential to bring the whole dam crashing down around his fluffy little orange head. And you most likely completely missed it in the deluge of higher profile stories of more sensational sins.

Remember these two names going down the road, Summer Zervos and Gloria Allred. Summer Zervos was a contestant on The Apprentice, and one of the downsides of that gig is that it meant that you had to spend time around Trump himself. Zervos was one of the surge of women who all came out in a rush to accuse Trump of sexually assaulting her when she was a contestant. And of course, dipshit that he is, The Orange Julius derisively branded her, like all of the other accusers, a filthy liar. Which was music to the ears of Gloria Allred, who immediately filed a defamation suit against Trump. I have no doubt that this is why Don of Orange was so careful to make no such public statements about Stormy Daniels.

Trump has been on his hind legs trying to get Zervos’ suit tossed from court. As with all things Trump, he couldn’t care less about the accusations, to his mind, that just adds a splash of panache to his reputation. What Trump is terrified of is the discovery that would come in the lawsuit, including having to sit for a deposition. When the lower court judge ruled that the case could go forward, and discovery commence, Trump immediately appealed the ruling.

Well, guess what? Last week, the appellate court judge in New York wiped his ass with Trump’s appeal. The court ruled that the case could indeed go forward, and that discovery could commence. And, sadly for Der Gropinfuror, the Supreme Court has already ruled on this issue. They ruled that Bill Clinton, as President,had to sit for a deposition in the Paula Jones civil case, which eventually made his impeachment trial possible. But, believe it or not, having to sit for a deposition opposite of Gloria Allred, whom personally I would not want asking me if I stole that candy bar when I was 7, is the least of Trump’s worries.

Gloria Allred knows where The Tiny Thumbs Diktator’s true culpability lies, and it isn’t in any of the stupid, rambling, incoherent, lying shit that he says while under oath in a deposition. Allred is demanding access to the unedited video archive of the complete footage of tape from the season that Zervos was a contestant on The Apprentice. Not just the episodes, but the uncut footage that didn’t appear on the program, and the outtakes. Any footage in which Trump either speaks to, or about Zervos, Allred wants to see, and possibly introduce into evidence. And, considering the fact that she is limiting the scope of discovery only to portions that deal specifically with Summer Zervos, she will likely get what she asks for.

The critical difference here is that this is not a criminal trial, it is a civil trial. For all we know, Mueller may have already indicted Kushner or Donnie Redux, but the indictments are “under seal,” so they’re secret, and we don’t know about them. The judge is extremely unlikely to place evidence collected in a civil trial under seal, and a trial will not be held in secret, any incriminating footage she finds will likely become public record.

Look at the damage that the Access Hollywood tape did. It literally helped to fuel world record protest crowds on January 21st, 2017. And that was just one tape, which Trump could unconvincingly fob off as “locker room talk.” Knowing Trump’s affinity for imperious, sexist braggadocio, how many instances do you think that there may be of Trump, either speaking derisively, or in an overtly personally insulting or sexist nature to Zervos, or even worse, bragging about his attempted conquest of her, or her physical attributes when she wasn’t present? Does anybody here really doubt that Trump at least attempted to sexually assault Summer Zervos? And if he did, does anybody here honestly doubt that he could resist bragging about it, or at least alluding to it in what he thought was an unguarded moment, safe from prying ears? Lawrence O’Donnell said in his handoff from Rachel Maddow when she touched on this, that when he was in LA, it was common knowledge in town of what a treasure trove of embarrassing conduct those archives contained about Trump.

This has the potential of going far beyond the size and scope of any monetary damage payments Trump may have to make. Pretty much the entire GOP congressional delegation was able to excuse Trump’s churlish behavior on the Access Hollywood tape by buying into Trump’s lame ass excuse, it was “locker room talk.” Definitely bad behavior, but no real damage done. But what happens when multiple audio and video tapes start surfacing, with the same disgusting, vile rhetoric and bragging. At what point does the needle move from “locker room talk” to a graphic admission that your President is an admitted sexual predator? Knowing that discovery is almost certainly going to proceed, do you think that maybe Republican incumbents, even in state offices, are already starting to dread turning on their televisions in late September of October, unsure of what video or sound bite might scream out over the airwaves at them?

The current wisdom has always been that the GOP would continue to support Trump up until the point that it became politically perilous for them to do so. But, what if it wasn’t Robert Mueller, and the Trump-Russia investigation that finally made Trump politically toxic to the GOP? What if it turns out to be Summer Zervos, and Gloria Allred who can accomplish what Robert Mueller cannot, to make Trump so radioactive that supporting him becomes an act of political suicide? Watch for this story, it is going to explode, and hopefully sooner than later.


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Michael Cohen was paid at least $400,000 by Ukraine to set up meeting with Trump

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Michael Cohen was paid at least $400,000 by Ukraine to set up meeting with Trump

 

BipHoo Company / Flickr How Michael Cohen cashed in...
BipHoo Company / Flickr

The BBC has a big scoop here:

Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, received a secret payment of at least $400,000 (£300,000) to fix talks between the Ukrainian president and President Trump, according to sources in Kiev close to those involved.

The payment was arranged by intermediaries acting for Ukraine’s leader, Petro Poroshenko, the sources said, though Cohen was not registered as a representative of Ukraine as required by US law.

The meeting at the White House was last June.

Shortly after the Ukrainian president returned home, his country’s anti-corruption agency stopped its investigation into Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort.

Wow, what a coincidence. The report says there’s “no suggestion” Trump knew about the payment, which one source actually put at $600,000.

Cohen was reportedly approached because Ukraine’s registered lobbyists (the ones playing by the rules) could secure “little more than a brief photo-op with Trump.” So Cohen was serving as a “backchannel” to the pr*sident.

Poroshenko was apparently trying to get back in Trump’s good graces after reportedly approving a leak from Ukraine’s anti-corruption bureau that showed Manafort receiving millions of dollars from pro-Russian forces in Ukraine.

Poroshenko appeared relieved as he beamed and paid tribute to Trump in the Oval Office.

He boasted that he had seen the new president before Russia’s leader, Vladimir Putin. He called it a “substantial visit”. He held a triumphant news conference in front of the north portico of the White House.

A week after Poroshenko returned home to Kiev, Ukraine’s National Anti Corruption Bureau announced that it was no longer investigating Manafort. […]

One source in Kiev said Poroshenko had given Trump “a gift” – making sure that Ukraine would find no more evidence to give the US inquiry into whether the Trump campaign “colluded” with Russia.

This is how American foreign policy is made under Trump—sold to the highest bidder who might also just grant Trump a gigantic political favor.


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