Laura Clawson Archive

The Women did the Heavy Lifting, the Man Got all the Credit, or, How the Republican Repeal Failed

Laura Clawson Labor Editor, Daily Kos

John McCain provided a crucial vote to kill “skinny” repeal of Obamacare Thursday night, and he deserves credit for doing the right thing. But we need to talk about how much credit he’s getting—and who’s being overlooked. Because this:

Senate Republicans originally put together an all-male panel to kill Obamacare, shutting the six Republican women in the Senate out of the process. Then that group fell apart and the repeal bills, such as they were, were crafted in secret—still without input from the very women who were making clear that their votes would be hard to get. 

Collins and Murkowski voted against Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s series of poorly thought through, cruel bills from the beginning. Donald Trump’s interior secretary was dispatched to threaten Alaska's energy industry over Murkowski’s vote. She and Collins withstood days if not weeks of pressure, and without them, McCain’s vote wouldn’t have been decisive. Let’s also not forget that McCain provided the crucial vote to get the Senate to the skinny repeal vote in the first place. And now the headlines are all about the night John McCain killed the GOP's health-care fight, or say that McCain, two other GOP senators join Democrats to reject last-ditch effort to repeal Obamacare. And the cable news channels (minus Fox) are oohing and aahing over him.

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Texas Republicans look to pass a new parental consent law ... for unions

Laura Clawson Labor Editor, Daily Kos

People under the age of 18 have to get parental permission for a lot of things. In Texas, that list includes getting married, getting an abortion, and joining the military. Soon, it could include joining a union. Moshe Z. Marvit reports on a bill that’s been pre-filed for the Texas legislature’s session starting in January that would do just that. Anyone under 18 years of age would need parental permission to join a union, because unions are a thing teens desperately need to be protected from. But, uh:

If the bill passes, children as young as 14 will be able to enter into an employment agreement with most employers without parental consent, but they will not be permitted to join a union without a signed parental consent.

The purpose of such a bill is not immediately clear. There appears to be no problem for which this bill is a solution. Texas has long been a right-to-work state, which means that any worker who is represented by a union can choose to pay no dues. It is also not clear how many unions even have minors as members in Texas.

Teens can and do die on the job, but let’s by all means protect them from unions, which make workplaces safer by bargaining for improved training, working conditions, and safety equipment. Of course teens don’t need protecting from unions—but passing a law is a good way to to create the impression that there’s some big problem of unions endangering kids.


Shared from Daily Kos.

Trump's Federal Hiring Freeze Plan Won't Work — Unless the Point Is Damaging the Government

Laura Clawson Labor Editor, Daily Kos

Donald Trump has pledged a federal hiring freeze, because … uh, corruption. Yeah, that’s it. Reducing federal employment through attrition will reduce corruption, aside from how, as the Washington Post’s Joe Davidson points out:

To the extent there is corruption, it certainly is not the fault of those who have not yet been hired by the government. Yet that’s the main group a freeze would affect.

As Davidson goes on to detail, a hiring freeze also wouldn’t necessarily cut jobs. How could that be? When Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan implemented hiring freezes:

In their drive to fulfill their missions, agencies circumvented the freezes, the GAO found. Some agencies hired part-time and temporary workers. Some used contractors and increased overtime. Some simply hired more people than allowed. Furthermore, with the military, public safety and public health agencies exempted, much of the government would be excluded from Trump’s freeze, meaning that whatever impact he foresees would be sharply restricted. The Defense and Homeland Security departments alone account for almost half of federal civilian employees. There are, of course, thousands of public safety and health staffers in other agencies.

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Democrats Are Racking Up Some Good Early Voting Numbers

Laura Clawson Labor Editor, Daily Kos

Millions of people have already voted this year—close to 1 million in Florida alone—which means election observers have lots of tea leaves to read. If you read the whole cup of tea leaves at once, things look good:

Most of them voted during a period when Clinton had a national lead — a narrow lead, if they voted a few weeks ago or a large lead if they voted more recently. So while it's probably not a surprise that early vote tallies in several swing states show a shift to the Democrats since 2012, it still means that Clinton has a greater percentage of banked votes than President Obama did at this point four years ago.

State by state, there’s some definite good news:

Democratic early turnout has stayed steady in North Carolina compared to 2012, while Republicans have dropped by about 14,500. In Nevada, Democrats have a smaller early voting deficit today than they did at this point in 2012. And Democrats are slightly ahead in Arizona in the early vote so far, though they are lagging Republicans in the tally of how many Arizonans have requested ballots.

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What you need to know about debate fact-checks: Donald Trump lies. A lot. Tremendously. Big league.

Laura Clawson Labor Editor, Daily Kos

Throughout the presidential campaign, from the primaries to the general election, Donald Trump has been a special kind of liar. So why would things change during the third and final debate of the campaign? Trump continued to lie an astonishing amount, according to fact-checks. He repeated his many-times-debunked claims to have opposed the invasion of Iraq and to have been endorsed by a government agency. He claimed that the stories of women who say he’s sexually assaulted them have been largely debunked, which they haven’t, and that he hasn’t said they weren’t attractive enough for him to sexually assault anyway, which he has definitely said. He made a series of outlandishly false statements on the Middle East. But as much as the content of his lies is important and eyebrow-raising, their frequency is maybe more noteworthy. 

So let’s look at a couple key numbers:

  • NBC News fact-checked 36 statements from the debate, 29 of them by Donald Trump. They found 25 of them to be some variation on false or wrong, with an additional “half right.”
  • The New York Times fact-checked 29 statements, 18 of them by Trump. Classifying the statements red, yellow, or green, Trump got two greens, seven yellows, and nine reds. By contrast, Clinton got eight greens, two yellows, and one red.
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