Harsh Your Mellow Monday: ‘Tis The Season to be Harshing
Normally I try to soften the intro to Harsh Your Mellow Monday with something jovial or lighthearted, but not today. This day, we have to deal with this right here…
[HM1] A Brief List of People Who Can Go Directly To Hell
1. Sidney Powell
2. Thomas McInerney
3. Michael Flynn
4. Anyone supporting, encouraging, or tolerating their lunacy
I’m going to try my level best to get through this with my bearing intact, because this latest disgusting vileness from these cretins is reaching new depths. Also note, I’m not going to link to a lot of this information like I normally do because I’m not going to line the pockets of these wicked reprobates. All of this is easily found in a couple of clicks if you really want to wade into the conspiracy-sludge.
So the new story from the conspiracy theorist goes like this, as retweeted by Powell:
— Major Patriot (@MajorPatriot) November 29, 2020
If you are wondering what in the hell this lunatic is talking about, here’s the short version made as coherent as this nonsense can be made. Back on November 12th, a US Army Blackhawk helicopter suffered what is believed to be mechanical failure and crashed in the Sinai. Five US personnel and two allied service members where killed in the accident. All were serving the Sinai peacekeeping force that has been in place since 1981.
“So what does that have to do with Sidney Powell and the election” asks anyone with a functional frontal cortex.
Nothing. At all. But enter 83 year old disgraced conspiracy theorist, Flynn supporter, and one-time Air Force General Thomas McInerney. McInerney is so Coocoo for Cocoa Puffs he’s been banned from Fox News since 2018 when he insisted John McCain had been turned into a communist agent during his POW days, and went so off the rails on-air host Charles Payne had to spend the entire next segment apologizing. So now McInerney is feeding the conspiracy nuts this tale that the real story is those troops were killed to cover up that they had just been part of a raid on a CIA storage facility in Frankfurt, Germany to get the Dominion servers which will now unleash the Kraken of Sidney Powell and sweep Donald Trump back into power.
Let’s recap: The “election was stolen by conspiracy” crowd is now hijacking the names of service members killed in an accident in Egypt to cook up a CIA conspiracy involving Dominion servers in a CIA warehouse in Germany that will swing the US election.
This story, of course, is 10 pounds of BS in a five pound bag. As is almost anything that Team Kraken seems to be peddling these days.
Meanwhile, Michael Flynn has taken to speaking on behalf of Jesus Christ:
Forgive me. Jesus spoke again to Georgia & said, you are the light of the world. Whoever follows you will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. Georgians-follow the light.@SidneyPowell1 @LLinWood @marklevinshow @RealRLimbaugh @realDonaldTrump
John 8:12 https://t.co/WFUQwAblgo
— General Flynn (@GenFlynn) November 27, 2020
Flynn has long been a pretty good dividing line between who can be reasoned with, and who has gone off the deep end of the darkest corners of MAGA/QAnon/conspiracy theory lore. It certainly was for Sidney Powell, a once respected prosecutor and appellate lawyer who since taking on the Flynn case has become a laughingstock. Thing is, she is just revealing what was already there; it just took Flynn, Trump, QAnon, and other things to really let her be herself. You can see, even acknowledging that the federal government botched parts of their case against him, Flynn was up to no good long before Trump (Good people don’t take paychecks from Turkish thug dictator Erdogen and also kidnap folks) and his pardon will now free him to really fly his conspiracy and grifter flag high for all to see.
If you think these conspirators are about what is better for America, electorally or otherwise, you’ve lost the plot. It’s all about them: their grievances, their moneymaking schemes, their own neuroses and issues that have to be played out for their own benefit.
I’d love to give you better insight, or some explainer of the what, how, and where this goes. But I’m too disgusted by it. Having a free country means having to tolerate such insipid disregard for the very country and freedoms that allow them to be this wicked. But fortunately those freedoms also mean good folks can tell them what they need to hear from those who are not going to cede to the wanton rampaging jackassery of these folks that is hurting our country.
So, from the bottom of my heart: For what you are doing to our country, you can go to hell, Sidney Powell, Thomas McInerney, and Michael Flynn. You don’t deserve the very country that allows you the freedom to do this nonsense, and you sure don’t deserve to prosper for it. Anyone supporting, encouraging, or tolerating their lunacy can go to hell right along with them.
[HM2] NLRB Doesn’t Think Ben Domenech is Funny, Isn’t Amused By Him
Everyone was having a good time on the Twitter dot com, and then…
National Labor Relations Board : What do you mean, It’s funny?
Ben Domenech : It’s funny, you know. It’s a good story, it’s funny, I’m a funny guy. [laughs]
NLRB : What do you mean, you mean you talk? What?
Ben Domenech : It’s just, you know. You’re just funny, it’s… funny, you know the way joke about salt mines and everything.
NLRB : [it becomes quiet] Funny how? What’s funny about it?
Aditya Dynar, Ben’s Lawyer : John (Ring, Chairman of the NLRB) no, you got it all wrong.
NLRB : Oh, oh, Aditya. He’s a big boy, he knows what he said. What did ya say? Funny how?
Ben Domenech : Jus…
NLRB : What?
Ben Domenech : Just… ya know… you’re funny.
NLRB : You mean, let me understand this cause, ya know maybe it’s me, I’m a little messed up maybe, but it’s funny how, I mean funny like a clown in the salt mines, that amuses you? It make you laugh, your employees are here to f%$#$’ amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How is salt mines funny?
Ben Domenech : Just… you know, how I tell the story, what?
NLRB : No, no, I don’t know, you said it. How do I know? You said it’s funny. How the f#$% are salt mines funny, what the f*&^ is so funny about salt mines? Tell me, tell me what’s funny!
Ben Domenech : Just… you know, how I was tweeting the story, I was riffing of Elon, what?
NLRB : No, no, I don’t know, you said it. How do I know? You said salt mines are funny. How the f#$% are salt mines for your employees funny, what the f$%^ is so funny about labor law? Tell me, tell me what’s funny!
Ben Domenech : [long pause]…
Well, not exactly:
The publisher of conservative online magazine The Federalist unlawfully threatened workers when he said via Twitter that he’d send them “back to the salt mine” if they attempted to form a union, the National Labor Relations Board held.
“We find that employees would reasonably view the message as expressing an intent to take swift action against any employee who tried to unionize the Respondent,” the NLRB said in a ruling Tuesday. “In addition, the reference to sending that employee ‘back to the salt mine’ reasonably implied that the response would be adverse.”
The agency in recent years has policed high-profile executives’ anti-union language on social media, citing Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk for a tweet and reaching a settlement with Barstool Sports co-founder David Portnoy that required the deletion of offending tweets.
The decision upholds an administrative law judge’s ruling that FDRLST Media publisher Ben Domenech’s tweet violated federal labor law. The board ordered Domenech to delete the “salt mine” statement from his personal Twitter account.
FDRLST will challenge the NLRB’s ruling to a federal appeals court, said the company’s lawyer, Aditya Dynar of the New Civil Liberties Alliance.
“Today’s decision shows that NLRB lacks both common sense and a sense of humor,” Dynar said in a statement. “It disregarded sworn employee statements saying that they perceived the tweet as just a joke.”
In Tuesday’s ruling, an NLRB panel of Chairman John Ring (R) and members Marvin Kaplan (R) and Lauren McFerran (D) said the motive behind Domenech’s tweet was irrelevant. What matters is whether the statement tends to interfere with workers’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act, the board said.
The legal ins and outs of this I’ll leave to others. The continued litigating (The Federalist through their counsel is appealing) of how social media is used as “official” communication is as interesting as the relative labor law issues here, not to mention the overall role of the NLRB itself.
What I can speak on is from having been in management of employees in both union and non-union shops. Maybe folks like Ben Domenech, who has been a writer since 15, aren’t familiar with how labor law and union relations work. Granted, the new push and proliferation of “writers’ unions” such as what Domenech was threatening against might do things a bit differently from blue collar unions, but the laws and principles are still the same. So when you tweet something like this as the boss of a company you’re going to have problems:
FYI @fdrlst first one of you tries to unionize I swear I’ll send you back to the salt mine
— Ben Domenech (@bdomenech) June 7, 2019
The jackassery of talking about your employees like that aside — which is a question of bad leadership and being human to your employees more than a legal one — you can’t do that, and no “it’s just a joke” isn’t going to cut it. Even granting that the complaints in this case came from outside Domenech’s employees- and let’s not kid ourselves; there are a bunch of long-running personal beefs at work here as well – Ben here has done more to escalate the situation than defuse it, by his own admission.
The NLRB proposed a settlement: I delete the joke, I post information on the rights of employees to unionize, and the complaint goes away. I said no.
That meant the NLRB’s case against me would be adjudicated by an NLRB employee, Administrative Law Judge Kenneth Chu. As expected, we lost. The board called no witnesses. It submitted my tweet and printouts of Federalist articles and asserted we were not a publication but an “anti-union website.”
The government lawyer claimed that “the editorial positions of the website are reasonably…understood as Mr. Domenech’s own,” even though we publish thousands of conflicting opinions under various bylines. Federalist employees filed affidavits stating they viewed my tweet as a joke. Mr. Chu dismissed their opinions as subjective and irrelevant.
I have, and have had, questions about the NLRB’s ever-evolving role since its inception. I got all sorts of issues with how both we as a people and the government are currently messing up the free speech of the internet and social media. Domenech has his own set of issues and from his past affiliations that can be taken a number of ways.
If you want to run a business, especially a high profile business like media commentary, the social media age means you get judged by what you tweet. Not just by your employees either, but regulatory agencies. If the regulatory agency says “delete the joke” if it was a joke, and you decided to fight it out on that hill, then you clearly didn’t think it was a joke at all, but a matter of principle. Calling down the thunder when you feel invincible on Twitter, then griping about your victimhood of wetness when it starts raining, is not a good look. Worst of all, it’s bad for business.
[HM3] Presented Without Further Comment
Tell me Moor… https://t.co/HPQRPq6vgg
— Andrew Donaldson (@four4thefire) November 29, 2020
[HM4] Sometimes You Wanna Comm Where Everybody Knows Your Name…
While this space has mused about how the cabinet picks for the incoming Biden administration would be mostly insiders who normal folks would need to Google, the recently announced staff moves have plenty of familiar names to folks who follow politics.
Biden is expected to nominate Neera Tanden, the chief executive of the left-leaning Center for American Progress, as director of the influential Office of Management and Budget, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the nominations freely. Tanden, whose parents immigrated from India, would be the first woman of color to oversee the agency.
The president-elect will also appoint Princeton University labor economist Cecilia Rouse as chair of the three-member Council of Economic Advisers, with economists Jared Bernstein and Heather Boushey serving as the other members. Rouse, who is African American, would be the first woman of color to chair the council, which will play a key role in advising the president on the economy, which has been ailing since the pandemic struck the country, throwing tens of millions out of work. Biden earlier named economist Janet Yellen as his treasury secretary.
Jennifer Psaki, a veteran Democratic spokeswoman, will be Biden’s White House press secretary, one of seven women who will fill the upper ranks of his administration’s communications staff. It is the first time all of the top aides tasked with speaking on behalf of an administration and shaping its message will be female.
Biden’s team will be steered by Kate Bedingfield, a longtime Biden aide who was his campaign communications director and will hold the same title in his White House.
Tanden is getting all the social media attention at the moment, due to her long-running feud with the more progressive wing of the party, Bernie Sanders and supporters in particular. I, for one, am just sooooo excited for the forthcoming rehashing of the DNC email hack (in which Tanden’s emails where also leaked) not to mention the more progressive elements of the Democratic Party who will take her selection as a giant middle finger. That’s all mostly fodder for the very online folks, and most of Biden’s picks will be installed.
But the more interesting appointment might be Symone Sanders, not to Biden’s team, but as Kamala Harriss chief spokeswoman. Sanders was one of Joe Biden’s most effective surrogates on TV in 2020, and was one of the rare talking head who seems to have enough cred in both the Obama/Clinton and Sanders/DemSoc wings of the party. Plenty of folks will be seeing that move as tea leaves for VP-Elect Harris’ own ambitions to move from Number One Observatory Circle over to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave sometime in the future. Also, Janet Yellen’s nomination for Treasury is sure to provoke a fight with a divided US Senate.
In the meantime, Jennifer Psaki will be front and center of the Biden Administration in media. While she will have a rather friendly media arrayed in the Brady Briefing Room anxious to “get back to normal” of covering only what they want to, she has had her own share of run-ins with the press corps from time to time:
For the most part, the newest batch of names is heavy on Clinton/Obama experience, most having worked with or for Biden in some capacity, and there are no real shocking picks here. The usual folks from before shuffling upwards into roles.
And so it goes.