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Trump Nominates Anti-Labor Anti-Regulation Lawyer Who Calls Ergonomics ‘Junk Science’ to be Labor Secretary

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President Donald Trump’s pick to become his third Secretary of Labor (fourth if you count Acting Secretaries) is well-known in Washington, D.C. as an anti-labor lawyer who is an expert at suing the federal government to eliminate regulations.

Eugene Scalia, who also happens to be the son (and one of nine children) of the late, far right Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, is the President’s latest nominee.

Eugene, or “Gene” Scalia is an attorney in private practice, working for the same law firm that positioned George W. Bush in the Oval Office by winning Bush v. Gore at the U.S. Supreme Court. Scalia worked at that same firm at the same time his father was on the Court deciding the case.

Scalia is known for successfully defending one of the nation’s largest employers, Walmart, in a case that ultimately struck down a law requiring large companies to spend at least 8% of their payroll expenses on healthcare. Walmart went on to become known as an employer who pays low wages and is effectively subsidized by the government which provides welfare for its workers.

A 2014 Mother Jones article reveals Eugene Scalia “spent most of the ’90s focused on labor law, primarily opposing workplace safety rules for white-collar employees.”

He defended SeaWorld against federal safety rules implemented after an orca killed a trainer during a live show in 2010. (Scalia has argued in court that the company has no more responsibility to protect its trainers than the NFL has a duty to combat on-the-field injuries.)

Scalia is also known for suing the federal government at least seven times over the Dodd-Frank law that increased regulations on the financial industry.

A 2012 Bloomberg article titled, “Suing the Government? Call Scalia!” begins with this anecdote:

Staffers inside the Securities and Exchange Commission have a nickname for the massive Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law, which imposes hundreds of new federal rules on business: They call it the “Eugene Scalia Full Employment Act.” Funny, right?

Finally, Scalia has a history at the Labor Dept., having worked there as its chief legal officer thanks to a recess appointment by President George W. Bush. Scalia was not confirmable in the Democratically-controlled U.S. Senate because of his anti-labor positions, including calling ergonomics – an important field of study and industry that reduces human error and protects workers’ physical and mental health – “quackery” and “junk science.”

At this point it’s important to note the role of the Dept. of Labor is to protect workers, not Walmart. Not corporations. Not employers. Workers. That’s why for over a century, since 1913, there has been a Dept. of Labor, not a Dept. of Employers.

Trump’s pick, which reportedly was suggested by, among others, far right wing GOP Senator Tom Cotton, will continue the work – striking down regulations faster than you can say “OSHA” – his disgraced predecessor, Alex Acosta, started.

 

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Trump Deploying Border Patrol’s Highly-Armed Elite Tactical Agents to Round Up Undocumented Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities

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Continuing his attacks on his enemies one week after being acquitted on articles of impeachmenmt President Donald Trump on Friday ordered a group of the Border Patrol’s elite tactical agents to deploy in major sanctuary cities to round up and arrest undocumented immigrants, The New York Times reports.

Agents from the U.S. Border Patrol’s Tactical Unit, BORTAC, are being sent to sent to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, Boston, New Orleans, Detroit and Newark, N.J.

BORTAC “acts essentially as the SWAT team of the Border Patrol.”

These are top border patrol agents, who use stun grenades and other weapons usually reserved for warfare “in the most rugged and swelteringly hot areas of the border.”

BORTAC agents receive “enhanced Special Forces-type training, including sniper certification,” and “the officers typically conduct high-risk operations targeting individuals who are known to be violent, many of them with extensive criminal records.”

“Their presence could spark new fear in immigrant communities that have been on high alert under the stepped-up deportation and detention policies adopted after Mr. Trump took office,” the Times notes.

Former CBP commissioner Gil Kerlikowske calls the decision a  “significant mistake.”

“If you were a police chief and you were going to make an apprehension for a relatively minor offense, you don’t send the SWAT team. And BORTAC is the SWAT team,” Kerlikowske, a former chief of police in Seattle, told the Times. “They’re trained for much more hazardous missions than this.”

 

Image by Kristoffer Grogan/U.S. Customs and Border Protection via Flickr 

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‘Ethical Hemorrhagic Fever’: Experts Stunned as McConnell Brags He’s Handing Control of Impeachment Trial to Trump

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is bragging that he’s handing over control of the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump to President Donald Trump.

“Everything I do during this, I’m coordinating with White House Counsel,” the Kentucky Republican Leader told Fox News’ Sean Hannity Thursday night. “There will be no difference between the President’s position and our position as to how to handle this.”

“We’ll be working through this process, hopefully in a fairly short period of time, in total coordination with the White House Counsel’s Office and the people representing the President in the well of the Senate,” he said, presumably referring to Republican Senators.

To be clear, this is effectively the jury foreman taking orders from the defendant’s attorneys to determine how the trial will play out, how long it will go on for, who – if any – the witnesses will be, and how it will end.

In short, McConnell just admitted there will not be a real trial.

NCRM was the first outlet to report earlier Thursday that White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and White House Legislative Affairs Director Eric Ueland had walked in to McConnell’s office this afternoon.

Related: Trump White House Already Scripting How Impeachment Trial Will Play Out? WH Counsel Just Walked Into McConnell’s Office

Later, NBC News reported they in fact did meet with McConnell for an hour to plan how the impeachment trial will go forward.

Legal, political, and ethics experts seeing McConnell admit to relinquishing control of a co-equal branch of government to the person who will be on trial in the Senate are expressing shock.

 

 

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Mike Pence Now All In: Defends Trump’s ‘Appropriate’ Phone Call to Ukraine

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Vice President Mike Pence insisted on Thursday that President Donald Trump’s controversial call to Ukraine’s president was “appropriate.”

During an event in Arizona, Pence was asked if it was “appropriate” for Trump to ask Ukraine’s president to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Earlier on Thursday, Trump had also asked China to investigate Biden and his son.

“Is it appropriate, as the president did this morning and with a phone call to Ukraine, to ask foreign governments to investigate his political rivals? China, for example,” a reporter said to Pence.

“I am vice president of the United States, and I was elected to this job along with President Trump,” the vice president droned. “One of the major reasons we were elected was to drain the swamp. I think the American people have right to know if the vice president of the United States or his family profited from his position as vice president during the last administration. That is about looking backwards and understanding what really happened.”

According to Pence, Joe Biden and his son are “worth looking into.”

“And the president made it very clear that he believes our other nations around the world should look into it, as well,” he continued. “The simple fact is, when you hold the second highest office in the land, it comes with unique responsibilities. Not just to be above impropriety but to be above the appearance of impropriety. There are legitimate questions that ought to be an asked. We will continue to ask them because the American people have a right to know whether or not the vice president of United States or his family profited from his position.”

Pence also insisted that there “was no quid pro quo” offered when Trump called the president of Ukraine.

“I think that’s of the American people would expect and anticipate but this is going to continue, to advance what we were elected to advance,” he said. “That includes draining the swamp and demanding that our allies operate in an upright way, as well.”

“The president was raising issues that were appropriate that were of genuine interest to the American people,” Pence said of the Ukraine call.

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