Trump’s pick of Wilbur Ross for Secretary of Commerce seems to have escaped media scrutiny, but here’s what you need to know about him:
1. Ross has specialized in buying up steel mills, textile mills and coal mines, then getting rid of their unions, slashing wages, dropping health care, reneging on pension obligations, and cutting operating costs down to the bone.
2. Running a coal mine on the cheap has consequences. On Jan. 2, 2006, 12 miners perished at Ross’s Sago Mine. Just a year before the disaster, the Mine Safety Administration of the Department of Labor cited the mine for 208 safety violations, 96 considered “serious and substantial,” including roof falls, improper ventilation, blocked escape passages and piles of combustible materials. Nineteen days before catastrophe struck, a federal inspector cited the company for “a high degree of negligence” for allowing potentially explosive coal dust to accumulate in the mine. After the Jan. 2 underground explosion trapped miners in a smoke-choked shaft, they discovered their emergency air packs were inoperable. (The mine foreman was later indicted for falsifying safety check reports.)
But despite the findings that the mine was unsafe, Ross refused to shut it down. The mine’s executives said Ross had been intimately involved with the company and knew all about its safety problems, but pushed them to show profits (see below).
3. Forbes magazine lists Ross as one of the world's billionaires with a net worth of $2.9 billion.
Trump portrays himself as the voice of working people, including coal miners. Wilbur Ross is the embodiment of greed that has shafted working people, and, not incidentally, murdered coal miners.
What do you think?
Trump will pick Andy Puzder as his Secretary of Labor. Here’s what you should know about him:
1. Puzder is the CEO of a CKE restaurants, the parent company of fast-food burger chains Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s. Last year, Puzner made more in one day ($17,192) than his typical full-time minimum wage worker made all year ($15,130).
2. Puzder is a sworn foe of raising the minimum wage.
3. Puzder says expanding access to overtime pay diminishes the prestige of entry-level management jobs.
4. In his frequent op-ed and cable news commentaries, Puzder has championed every aspect of right-wing trickle-down economics.
5. Inspectors from the Department of Labor have found that more than half of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s restaurants violate the nation's wage and hours laws.
6. Puzder told a Fox Business news anchor a couple days before the election that serving in a Trump administration would be “the most fun you could have with your clothes on.”
7. Puzder has said that if it were possible, he'd replace human workers with robots because robots are “always polite, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex, or race discrimination case.”
8. Puzder is a member of the Job Creators Network, a group of CEOs that promotes a conservative business agenda and has ties to anti-union astroturf operative Richard Berman.
A personal note: Having served as Secretary of Labor, I cannot imagine someone more unsuited to the job of advancing the cause of working people in America than Andy Puzder. Because of this nomination -- as with almost all of the rest of Trump’s nominations -- all working people, including those who voted for Trump, will suffer.
What do you think?
Greg Lake, legendary prog rock bassist, dies aged 69
(Progressive rock (shortened as prog; sometimes art rock, classical rock or symphonic rock) is a broad subgenre ofrock music that originated in the United Kingdom and United States throughout the mid to late 1960s.