Sunday, November 14, 2021

Last Call For Insurrection Investigation, Con't

Jonathan Karl, like Bob Woodward and Robert Costa before him, has a book about the Trump regime to sell, and that means doling out "book-exclusive" tidbits of criminality and sedition to a public that should have been informed months ago, in this case a Trump regime memo instructing VP Mike Pence exactly how he was expected to steal the 2020 election in January.

In a memo not made public until now, then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows emailed to Vice President Mike Pence's top aide, on New Year's Eve, a detailed plan for undoing President Joe Biden's election victory, ABC News' Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Karl reports.

The memo, written by former President Donald Trump's campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis, is reported for the first time in Karl's upcoming book, "Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show" -- demonstrating how Pence was under even more pressure than previously known to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Ellis, in the memo, outlined a multi-step strategy: On Jan. 6, the day Congress was to certify the 2020 election results, Pence was to send back the electoral votes from six battleground states that Trump falsely claimed he had won.

The memo said that Pence would give the states a deadline of "7pm eastern standard time on January 15th" to send back a new set of votes, according to Karl.

Then, Ellis wrote, if any state legislature missed that deadline, "no electoral votes can be opened and counted from that state."

Such a scenario would leave neither Biden nor Trump with a majority of votes, Ellis wrote, which would mean "Congress shall vote by state delegation" -- which, Ellis said, would in turn lead to Trump being declared the winner due to Republicans controlling the majority of state delegations with 26.

The day after Meadows sent Ellis' memo to Pence's aide, on Jan. 1, Trump aide John McEntee sent another memo to Pence's chief of staff, Marc Short, titled, "Jefferson used his position as VP to win."

Although McEntee's memo was historically incorrect, Karl says, his message was clear: Jefferson took advantage of his position, and Pence must do the same.

The plan was for Pence to steal the election by scrapping the electoral count in enough states to send it to the House delegations where Trump would have won. The planned insurrection was political cover. We were supposed to look at the footage of terrorists storming the US Capitol as heroes, as an expression of the people's will that Donald Trump should have been granted another term.

It failed only because Pence chickened out at the last minute.

We only have a democracy because Mike Pence got cold feet.

That's how close we came, but we're going to give this country back to the insurrectionists anyway it seems, because Junior doesn't want to feel bad about slavery.

Jesus wept.

The Job-Jobbing Job

In a 2021 America heading into 2022, there's a record number of job openings. But employers still want a 2018 workforce: overqualified, underpaid, and overworked, doing the work of three people in the office, making a 2-hour daily commute without overtime, 6 days and 60 hours a week.

If you've been unemployed for more than a few months, you don't even get a first look.

Laviana Hampton spent years mixing drinks as a bartender at a popular nightclub in downtown San Antonio, but the pandemic has made her rethink her job. Hampton has seen covid infections hobble and kill some of her friends, making her far less willing to take any risks. A friend’s 70-year-old mother, who was like a second mom to Hampton, died last month of covid after spending three months in the hospital. Another bartender that Hampton knows contracted covid after returning to work and ended up in the hospital on a ventilator. Few in Texas wear masks in bars and restaurants.

For months Hampton, 40, has been scouring job sites for work-from-home positions in customer service and other fields so she won’t have to return to bartending in a packed club.

“I have every right to work in a safe working environment,” she said. “I want to work from home, I want to keep safe.”

There’s a growing preference for remote work among job seekers. Some 55 percent of people on ZipRecruiter reported looking for a job that would allow them to work from home. The vast majority said either workplace safety concerns or child or family care needs were driving their preference for remote work.

Hampton has not been able to land anything and is getting desperate since her unemployment ended over the summer. With no recent experience in many of the jobs she is applying for, companies are reluctant to give her a chance.

“I send out so many applications a day and nobody gets back to me. In the past eight months, I’ve only had three telephone interviews,” she said. “It’s affected my mental health greatly. I cry all the time. I’ve never been on unemployment before.”

Hampton is among 2.3 million Americans — about a third of the unemployed ― who have been out of work more than six months. The Labor Department refers to them as “long-term unemployed.” The nation has only had this many long-term unemployed twice before — during the Great Recession and during the early 1980s downturn.

Black and less-educated Americans are disproportionately likely to be long-term unemployed, but during the pandemic crisis, White women with college degrees have also had unusually high numbers of long-term unemployment due to women who stopped working to care for children. Older Americans and those with an arrest or felony record face additional struggles to get hired, research and interviews show.

Complicating the job search for the long-term unemployed is the explosion of companies using robots to sort through job applicants, at least in the first round. This highly automated process excludes anyone who is not a near perfect fit on paper for a job. Nearly half of employers say they quickly reject candidates who haven’t worked in more than six months, according to a recent Harvard Business School study.

Jerry Vimont, 62, thinks his age is working against him. He wants a retail job in San Antonio and has over two decades of experience working for many of America’s biggest retailers as a cashier and manager, but he has not been able to get a job. He’s been applying actively on websites like Indeed and the Texas Workforce Commission since June, after he was vaccinated.

A big problem for Vimont is he stopped working before the pandemic, back in 2019, due to a wrist injury. He is cleared to work again, but the vast majority of retail jobs require an online application and he is finding it hard to get past the algorithms that scan applicants, since he now has a large gap on his resume. He has only had three interviews since June and no job offers. In one interview, a store manager bluntly stated that he only wanted to hire someone who would be around a long time, implying Vimont might not because of his age.

“With their algorithms, the hiring system is simply weeding out a lot of applications so companies don’t even see them,” Vimont said. “These are applications for jobs that I’m very well qualified for.”

He was recently rejected from an $11 an hour assistant retail manager job that he said would have been ideal.

“People are applying to job postings thinking a human being is going to look at their submission, but they rarely get through if they have a gap in their job history or don’t have the exact right key words,” said Joseph Fuller, a management professor at Harvard Business School and lead author of the recent study that found more than 90 percent of major employers now use automated screening of job applications.
Jobs are going unfilled because huge corporations can still afford to ignore applicants who actually want more than wage slavery. They then complain about supply chain issues, and blame workers for not taking crap jobs with crap wages.

But enough Americans are fighting back that it's noticeable now.

Sunday Long Read: Nowhere You Gotta Go

Our Sunday Long Read this week is from Elizabeth Zuko at Bloomberg's CityLab, answer your burning questions about the absolute lack of public bathrooms in a post-lockdown America.
Surviving a pandemic has a way of forcing people to focus on the basics: health, food, shelter, the need for human connection — and going to the bathroom.

This became evident during the Great Toilet Paper Shortage of 2020, when panic buyers emptied store shelves in the first weeks of U.S. stay-home orders. As Covid closures continued, the pandemic revealed a different toilet-related problem that predated the novel coronavirus: a dire lack of public restrooms. Though facilities in bars and retail establishments are often thought of as “public,” widespread shutdowns served as a stark reminder that they’re really not — and that few genuinely public bathrooms remain in American cities.

That reality was underscored as the pandemic dragged on. Infection fears led cities to padlock the few public restrooms that were available. Stories emerged about Amazon and Uber drivers resorting to peeing in bottles, while unhoused individuals relied on adult diapers or five-gallon buckets filled with kitty litter. Public urination complaints spiked in cities like New York and Washington, D.C., especially when crowds flooded the streets in the summer of 2020 to protest the murder of George Floyd.

“The state of public restrooms in the U.S. is pretty deplorable, with certain exceptions,” says ​​Steven Soifer, president and co-founder of the American Restroom Association. “Public restrooms are a half-assed job. This is a public health concern, especially with Covid. It’s been a mess.”

The lack of public restrooms in the U.S. hasn’t gone unnoticed. In 2011, a United Nations-appointed special rapporteur who was sent to the U.S. to assess the “human right of clean drinking water and sanitation” was shocked by the lack of public toilets in one of the richest economies in the world. A full accounting of truly public facilities is elusive, says Soifer, but government-funded options are exceedingly rare in the U.S., compared to Europe and Asia; privately owned restrooms in cafes and fast-food outlets are the most common alternatives. According to a “Public Toilet Index” released in August 2021 by the U.K. bathroom supply company QS Supplies and the online toilet-finding tool PeePlace, the U.S. has only eight toilets per 100,000 people overall — tied with Botswana. (Iceland leads their ranking, with 56 per 100,000 residents.)

The presence or absence of restrooms in public spaces has long been an indication of a particular group’s place in society, says Laura Norén, a postdoctoral associate at New York University and co-editor of Toilet: The Public Restroom and the Politics of Sharing. From women to people of color to those with disabilities, vulnerable communities have struggled to have this most fundamental of needs accommodated. Most recently, transgender individuals have found themselves targeted in bathroom-backlash debates.

“It's basically the same script that just plays over and over and over again — and these social tensions often meet in the bathroom,” Norén says. “Who gets access to the bathroom really could be summarized as who should have access to public space and public discourse. Somehow, that crystallizes around the bathroom, because people’s fears are the highest in the bathroom.”

So how did Americans end up with so few places to go? Understanding this requires a look back at the societal and sanitary conditions behind public restrooms in American cities — and the moral panics that propelled both their creation and downfall.
The answer is like every other infrastructure need in America since Reagan, nobody wants to pay for them, nobody wants to pay for people to maintain them, and cities and counties want to save money by closing them because too many local governments are busy giving billions away in tax incentives to corporations rather than, you know, cleaning up park bathrooms.

Still, the history of the public bathroom in America is pretty interesting.  Give it a read.
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