The legacy of Cherie Berry: Employers stealing from workers

And of course it's the bottom rung getting shafted the worst:

This report looks specifically at employers’ failure to pay the minimum wage to their employees at in the 10 most populous states, including North Carolina, and reveals the magnitude of the impact of wage theft on the low income workers who are least able to withstand it.

Workers in the food and drink industry suffer the highest rates of minimum wage violations, followed by agricultural workers (some of whom are not covered by minimum wage laws), leisure and hospitality, and retail workers. Unsurprisingly, women, young people, people of color, non-citizens, workers with lower levels of education, unmarried, workers, and workers without the protection of a union contract are disproportionately affected, though that is primarily because they are also more likely to be low wage workers.

For some reason, this reminds me of those cat videos, where the feline is perched on a counter top, steadily knocking items off onto the floor in contempt. Berry is that cat, knocking off various groups of workers whom she judges not worthy of her care or consideration. But this national report comes as no surprise to those who have been following her dereliction of duty for so many years:

Monday News: Unraveling the safety net

TRUMP'S BUDGET WILL SLASH MEDICAID AND OTHER FUNDING FOR THE POOR: For Medicaid, the state-federal program that provides health care to low-income Americans, Trump's budget plan would follow through on a bill passed by House Republicans to cut more than $800 billion over 10 years. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that this could cut off Medicaid benefits for about 10 million people over the next decade. The White House also will call for giving states more flexibility to impose work requirements for people in different kinds of anti-poverty programs, people familiar with the budget plan said, potentially leading to a flood of changes in states led by conservative governors.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article151860397.html

Five arrested in Alamance County during face-off at pro-Confederacy rally

Welcome to life in Trumpistan:

Shouting members of activist groups traded verbal jabs Saturday in Graham’s Court Square, though physical altercations only took place between a few protesters and law enforcement. The event, Alamance County Taking Back Alamance County’s Confederate Memorial Day observance, along with the Triangle Industrial Workers of the World’s counter-demonstration, began with arrests of three IWW protestors.

Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson said some ACTBAC members arrived with muskets, as they had been encouraged by the organization’s leadership to bring, and some IWW protestors had knives. Demonstrators on both sides were instructed to take their weapons back to their vehicles. None appeared to have been brandished the rest of the day.

It was inevitable that this crop of rednecks would eventually be confronted by the more radical elements of the Left, and I am glad there is pushback of a more vocal level. But this escalation greatly increases the likelihood that violence will occur at one of these events, something I will not condone. I understand frustration is high, and people are being hurt by the backwards slide into Conservatism. But physical violence (always) changes the dynamic in situations like this, by attracting violent people like moths to a flame. But that flame won't burn out, it will just grow bigger. Here's more:

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

BUDGET AMENDMENT AIMED TO PUT BLACK SENATORS IN THEIR PLACE: Angered at some legislators’ efforts to amend their budget dictates, Sen. Brent Jackson, a hog farmer from Sampson County, and the Senate leadership shifted hundreds of thousands of dollars away from schools in poor areas of the state to non-education programs in areas largely represented by Republicans. It was a spiteful act aimed to put Democrats, particularly African-American senators, in their place. It strips $316,600 from early college high schools in Northampton and Washington counties and prohibits using state funds to support a summer science, math and technology program in the area. This action will, according to state Sen. Erica Smith-Ingram, shut the program down. There is no shading of the truth here. This astonishing act of unvarnished racism is more reminiscent of 1917 North Carolina than 2017! It was about punishing those uppity black legislators in the Senate because they stood up and opposed the Senate leadership’s budget.
http://www.wral.com/editorial-budget-amendment-aimed-to-put-black-senators-in-their-place/16710250/

Saturday News: Experience not necessary

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TREASURER DALE FOLWELL HIRES UNQUALIFIED DIRECTORS FOR STATE HEALTH PLAN: State Treasurer Dale Folwell has placed two officials with no previous experience in health insurance or health care into director-level positions with the State Health Plan and is seeking greater control over hiring and firing. Folwell defended the new hires, characterizing the health plan as broken and saying it sorely needed people with financial know-how rather than health plan experience to improve its finances and reduce costs. He said he had hired people with “integrity, ability and passion” who could implement the changes that are needed. The hirings and dismissals – including the hiring of a director who until recently was treasurer of the state Republican Party – raise questions about whether the Treasurer’s office is becoming politicized. Folwell says it’s not.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article151587352.html

Notes from the Commander-In-Chief

Yeah, nevermind the McCarthy hearings, or even the ludicrous Benghazi hearings; everything that happens to Trump is somehow "the greatest" success or injustice. As much as I hate to reproduce this idiot's rantings, studying psychosis is the only way to cure it:

Friday News: Privatization mayhem

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NC'S MANAGED CARE MENTAL HEALTH CEO RAKES IN HUGE UNAUTHORIZED SALARY: Cardinal Innovations Healthcare Solutions had been under fire from legislators and the former head of the state Department of Health and Human Services for paying its CEO Richard Topping more than $635,000 in salary this year. He makes more than leaders of the six other regional mental health offices and more than state policy allows. The report from State Auditor Beth Wood’s office said Cardinal decided on Topping’s pay without getting required approvals from the state Human Resources office. That office established about $187,000 as the maximum salary for that job in 2010, according to the audit.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article151236432.html

Putting the pieces together in the #Russiagate puzzle

Exposing the clear intent to circumvent national security watchdogs:

Michael Flynn and other advisers to Donald Trump’s campaign were in contact with Russian officials and others with Kremlin ties in at least 18 calls and emails during the last seven months of the 2016 presidential race, current and former U.S. officials familiar with the exchanges told Reuters.

Conversations between Flynn and Kislyak accelerated after the Nov. 8 vote as the two discussed establishing a back channel for communication between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin that could bypass the U.S. national security bureaucracy, which both sides considered hostile to improved relations, four current U.S. officials said.

Bolding mine, because this isn't a fricking business partnership, it's the most powerful man in the world intentionally deceiving his own country's security officials. He doesn't get to decide which laws to follow and which ones to ignore, those national security rules and procedures were developed over decades, and many of them are in place due to Russian efforts to subvert our Republic. Trump couldn't pull a more inappropriate stunt if he tried.

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