Monday, September 6, 2021

The Big Lie, Golden State Edition

Of course California Republicans are going to drown the state in lawsuits and "citizen investigations" of the "corrupt" recall election as the polls show Democratic Gov. pulling away and keeping his job. The point was never actually getting rid of Newsom, it was justifying the violence coming after the recall and to lat the groundwork to terrorize Democrats in the biggest blue state of them all.

Looking to oust the governor? Ed Brown has just the right merch for you.

Camouflage Recall Newsom hats and Recall Newsom masks. He’s got Recall Newsom yard signs. A stack of Recall Newsom pamphlets.

But just days before California voters decide whether to push Democrat Gavin Newsom from office, the trailer off Golden Chain Highway was mostly a shrine to former President Trump.

“As far as I’m concerned, Trump is the president,” said Brown, 67.

And as for the recall election?

“They’ll probably do something to cheat,” he said of Newsom’s supporters, adding that he will vote for Larry Elder because “he’s more like Trump; he’s for the people.”

The Republican-backed recall election could not be more consequential for California. Set amid a deadly wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, with record-breaking wildfires and a relentless drought drying fields and faucets, it gives the GOP its best shot in over a decade at governing the nation’s most populous state.

And if there’s a symbolic heart of recall mania, it may be here in Amador County in the Sierra foothills, where about 1 in 5 registered voters signed petitions to give Newsom the boot. That’s the highest concentration in California.

The most fervent support for the recall has come from Northern California, where rural conservatives say that their voices are drowned out in Sacramento by urban Democrats and that they would be better off seceding to form their own state called Jefferson.

And yet, in many ways, this election is still about a man named Donald J. Trump.

Conservatives talk about the recall effort through the lens of Trump’s lies that he won the 2020 election. By and large, they refuse to cast their ballots by mail, believing his false claims that mail-in voting leads to rampant voter fraud. If Newsom prevails, many won’t trust the results — just as they didn’t after Trump lost.

In Newsom, they have found an avatar for the Democratic Party and everything they hate about it — a political entity in opposition to many of the things they hold dear, including (and sometimes especially) Trump.

“In many ways, the recall was never really about Gavin Newsom in particular,” said Kim Nalder, a political science professor at Cal State Sacramento.

Rather, she said, recall supporters are fueled by a “laundry list of complaints that Republicans had about liberals.”

“If you’re a Republican, especially a Trump-supporting Republican, in California, it’s a rough time in state politics,” Nalder said. “You feel really disenfranchised, and [if] you combine that with the high anxiety we all have about the fires and the pandemic and homelessness, you get a high level of motivation to do something about it.”
The "something" is violence, deadly, mass political terrorism. It's coming.  The recall is the excuse. "We tried the ballot box. Now we use the bullet box."

From the Bluest state to the reddest state, Republicans simply don't believe elections where Democrats win are legitimate, and this illegitimacy will absolutely be used to fuel violence against Democrats and their voters.

We've already seen it.

More is coming, and it will be a lot worse.

Labor, Dazed And Confused

This Labor Day weekend, we look at the US labor market, and how the pandemic accelerated decade-long changes into a year or two. As millions of Americans lose extended unemployment benefits this week, we're going to see how long American workers hold out from going back to jobs they gave up for various reasons in the last 18 months.

At heart, there is a massive reallocation underway in the economy that’s triggering a “Great Reassessment” of work in America from both the employer and employee perspectives. Workers are shifting where they want to work — and how. For some, this is a personal choice. The pandemic and all of the anxieties, lockdowns and time at home have changed people. Some want to work remotely forever. Others want to spend more time with family. And others want a more flexible or more meaningful career path. It’s the “you only live once” mentality on steroids. Meanwhile, companies are beefing up automation and redoing entire supply chains and office setups.

The reassessment is playing out in all facets of the labor market this year, as people make very different decisions about work than they did pre-pandemic. Resignations are the highest on record — up 13 percent over pre-pandemic levels. There are 4.9 million more people who aren’t working or looking for work than there were before the pandemic. There’s a surge in retirements with 3.6 million people retiring during the pandemic, or more than 2 million more than expected. And there’s been a boost in entrepreneurship that has caused the biggest jump in years in new business applications.

“The economy is going through a big shift overall and that has ramifications,” said Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chair from 2006 to 2014. “We are reallocating where we want to work and how we want to work. People are trying to figure out what their best options are and where they want to be.”

It doesn’t help that the abundance of job openings right now are not in the same occupations — or same locations — where people worked pre-pandemic.

There is a fundamental mismatch between what industries have the most job openings now and how many unemployed people used to work in that industry pre-pandemic. For example, there are 1.8 million job openings in professional and business services and fewer than 925,000 people whose most recent job was in that sector. Leisure and hospitality, as well as retail and wholesale trade, also have more openings than prior workers, and many workers who lost jobs in those industries have indicated they don’t want to return.

There’s a similarmismatch in education and health services, where there are 1.7 million job openings and only 1.1 million people whose last job was in that sector.

In recent months, heath care workers and educators have quit their jobs at the highest rate on record, stretching back to 2002, Labor Department data show.

“This is typically the time of year we recruit for the upcoming school year, but we literally can’t get enough candidates, and we’re seeing tenured people leave,” said Cindy Lehnhoff, a 36-year veteran of the child care industry who currently heads the National Child Care Association. “If you get one good candidate, there are 10 others contacting that same person. It’s a crisis. People can’t work without child care.”

Lehnhoff has been helping a child care center in northern Virginia recruit more staff. Their infant room remains closed, because they don’t have enough people, and one of their veteran workers was just poached by a nearby elementary school. As she spoke with The Washington Post, Lehnhoff pored over the job portal. It showed more than 2,000 job posts in the Fairfax County, Va., area for child care teaching assistants. Most paid $12 to $13 an hour, a bit less than many nearby fast food restaurants and retail stores.

Nationwide, most industries have more job openings than people with prior experience in that sector, Labor Department data show. That’s a very different situation than after the Great Recession, when the number of unemployed far outstripped jobs available in every sector for years. To find enough workers, companies may need to train workers and entice people to switch careers, a process which generally takes longer, especially in fields that require special licenses.

While companies say they are struggling to find workers, many unemployed say they are having trouble getting hired, especially if they haven’t worked for a year.

Forklift driver Brandon Harvey and his wife used to work in a warehouse outside Atlanta that closed during the pandemic and never reopened. Harvey, 33, searched for a job for months, looking online and driving around South Fulton. He submitted countless applications but rarely got calls back.

“I fear that employers are pretty hesitant to give you an opportunity right now if you haven’t worked in a while,” Harvey said over the summer, when his search seemed especially frustrating.
Counting on the market being flooded in September with workers who need jobs now, employers are betting on "everything goes back to 2019" rules, where long-term unemployed have to take near-minimum wage jobs and have to take whatever opportunities they are offered. 

But it won't be that way for everyone. We'll see, but it's going to take time for all this to be sorted out, maybe years.
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