Posts tagged with "The Daily Beast"

Last-minute Trump Administration law will enable restaurant owners to pull wait staffers’ tips

Dece4mber 24, 2020

One of the final pieces of legislation rolled out by the Trump Administration will reportedly allow restaurant bosses to save money by taking tips away from their serving staff to help pay “back-of-house staff” such as cooks and dishwashers, The Daily Beast reports.

According to Business Insider, the new rule was published on Tuesday, December 22, by the U.S. Department of Labor.

“This final rule provides clarity and flexibility for employers and could increase pay for back-of-the house workers, like cooks and dishwashers, who have been excluded from participating in tip pools in the past,” said Wage and Hour Administrator Cheryl Stanton in a statement released by the DoL. “Newly allowed tip sharing may incentivize the inclusion of these previously excluded workers and reduce wage disparities among all workers who contribute to customers’ experience.”

Restaurant managers and owners would not be permitted under the law to keep any portion of the tips for themselves.

The new rule won’t take effect until after President Donald Trump leaves the White House, so it’s possible that President-elect Joe Biden could work to rescind it. Tipped staffers can earn as little as $2.13 an hour in wages from their employer.

Research contact: @thedailybeast

Mike Pence backs away from the Trump election ‘fraud’ train wreck

December 4, 2020

Vice President Mike Pence has been a go-to fundraising draw for the president’s campaign. Indeed, during October and early November, he let no more than a day pass without sending out an email requesting a handout to support the Trump 2020 election fraud crusade, as well as the Trump 2024 re-election effort.

But that changed late last month. According to a report by The Daily Beast, since November 25, not a single fundraising email from the Trump campaign or its Republican National Committee fundraising account has featured Pence’s name in the “from” field.

And this week, that Republican National Committee joint fundraising committee, the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, made another subtle change: A handful of its emails swapped out the official Trump-Pence campaign logo for one featuring just the president’s name.

At first blush, The Daily Beast, says those may seem like minor tweaks to gimmicky portions of Team Trump’s fundraising strategy. A source familiar with the process said the fundraising emails do not go to Vice President Pence’s team for clearance and an RNC official said the digital team was merely testing a new logo around the end-of-the-month deadline. Indeed, some of the joint fundraising committee’s emails this week have included the original campaign logo with Pence’s name below Trump’s.

But several high-level sources say that the graphics change, along with Pence’s disappearance from the headers of President Donald Trump’s increasingly frantic and conspiratorial pleas, actually are not coincidental. According to four people with knowledge of the matter, they reflect an effort by the vice president and his team to distance Pence from some of the president’s more outlandish claims about a conspiracy to undermine the election and illegally deny him a second term in office.

“It is an open secret [in Trumpworld] that Vice President Pence absolutely does not feel the same way about the legal effort as President Trump does,” s a senior administration official told The Daily Beast. “The vice president doesn’t want to go down with this ship… and believes much of the legal work has been unhelpful.”

The Trump campaign declined to comment on this story. Devin O’Malley, a spokesperson for Pence, said Wednesday night, “As he has for the last four years, the vice president is proud to stand with the president—in this case to ensure every legal vote is counted and every illegal vote is rejected. The Daily Beast’s anonymous sources have no real insight into what the vice president thinks on these matters.”

Research contact: @thedailybeast

Trump orders advisers to ‘go down fighting’

November 6, 2020

As Election Day turns into election week, Donald Trump has delivered a simple message to his closest political and legal advisers as they began charting a plan to challenge results in several key states: Give them a court fight that “they’ll never forget.”

The president’s remarks, relayed by two people familiar with them, came as election results seemed trending Joe Biden’s way. And for Team Trump, it was meant as a clarion call to use every possible legal resource and bit of political organizing to help re-tip the balance of the scale, The Daily Beast reported.

Trump told his advisers that, even if Biden were to claw the presidency away from him, he wanted them to “go down fighting” harder than they ever had before, one of the sources with direct knowledge said.

Goaded by White House messaging, his base responded:

The Michigan Republican Party did not return a request for comment from The Daily Beast.

Trump’s legal team—including George W. Bush campaign veteran Mark “Thor” Hearne—asked a court in Michigan to halt absentee ballot counts because it alleged its observers had not been granted full access to the tally, and were not permitted to watch video footage of “remote and unattended dropboxes.”

It brought a similar suit in Pennsylvania, fighting to stop the tabulation on the grounds that its overseers had not been allowed within 25 feet of the counting effort.

Further, Trump’s lawyers filed to enter an ongoing Supreme Court case, hoping to convince jurists on the highest bench to overturn a state policy that would allow counties to count votes postmarked on Election Day and received as late as Friday. Jay Sekulow, a personal attorney and confidant of Trump’s, is overseeing the Supreme Court effort.

“Lawyer city,” Joe Grogan, formerly a top domestic policy adviser to President Trump, said, describing the situation on Wednesday afternoon. “It’s going to be really ugly.”

Research contact: @thedailybeast

Vladimir veers left: Putin rejects Trump’s criticism of Biden family business

October 27, 2020

Russia, are you listening? Russian President Vladimir Putin said on October 25 that he saw nothing criminal in Hunter Biden’s past business ties with Ukraine or Russia—openly breaking with Donald Trump on one of the POTUS’s key attack lines in the U.S. presidential election.

Putin was responding to comments made by Trump during televised debates with Democratic challenger Joe Biden ahead of the November 3 election.

According to Reuters, the Russian leader made his position clear, saying: “[Hunter Biden] had at least one company, which he practically headed up, and judging from everything he made good money. I don’t see anything criminal about this, at least we don’t know anything about this.”

The unexpected statement of support for the Bidens “could be interpreted as the Russian president trying to offer an olive branch to Joe Biden days out from the election,” said The Daily Beast.

Trump, who is trailing in opinion polls, has used the debates to make accusations that Biden and his son Hunter engaged in unethical practices in Ukraine. No evidence has been verified to support the allegations, and Joe Biden has called them false and discredited.

Putin, who has praised Trump in the past for saying he wanted better ties with Moscow, has said Russia will work with any U.S. leader, while noting what he called Joe Biden’s “sharp anti-Russian rhetoric”.

However, in a clear effort to distance himself from Trump’s claims, the Russian leader added, “Yes, in Ukraine he (Hunter Biden) had or maybe still has a business, I don’t know. It doesn’t concern us. It concerns the Americans and the Ukrainians,” said Putin.

Putin also reacted with visible irritation when asked about comments Trump has made concerning Putin’s ties to the former mayor of Moscow, and to an alleged payment made to Hunter Biden by the ex-mayor’s widow. Putin said he knew nothing about the existence of any commercial relationship between Hunter and the woman. Joe Biden says the accusation about his son is not true.

U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russia tried to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election to tilt the contest in Trump’s favour, an allegation Moscow has denied. Russia has also dismissed accusations by U.S. intelligence agencies of trying to interfere with this year’s election too.

Research contact: @Reuters

Biden on Trump’s attack on him for not imposing mask mandate: ‘To be clear, I am not currently president’

September 17, 2020

On Tuesday night, Sepember 15, during an ABC-TV Town Hall broadcast targeted at those registered voters “who have not made up their minds yet” about whom to vote for in the presidential election, President Donald Trump lashed out at the opposition candidate, Democrat Joe Biden—rebuking him for not instituting a nationwide mask mandate.

According to a report by The Daily Beast, Trump remarked: “They said at the Democrat convention they’re going to do a national mandate. They never did it, because they’ve checked out and they didn’t do it. And a good question is, you ask why Joe Biden—they said we’re going to do a national mandate on masks.”

There was just one thing wrong with that statement: Trump apparently had forgotten that Biden is not the sitting U.S. president.

Bidn’s team later chipped in with a helpful reminder to Trump, writing on Twitter: “To be clear: I am not currently president … We can change that in November.”

Research contact: @thedailybeast

Workers reveal Disney is using ‘Mickey Mouse’ pandemic rules, covering up its COVID cases

September 8, 2020

In early July, the Walt Disney Company reopened parts of two amusement parks— Walt Disney World near Orlando, Florida; and Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Although they reopened within days of each other, the two parks worked with wildly different resources—and, employees have told The Daily Beast on the lowdown, disturbingly different results.

Disney World reopened to house the tightly controlled 13-week experiment known as the NBA Bubble, in which staff, players, coaches, and personnel adhered to strict social distancing guidelines and isolation requirements, paired with regular on-site testing. By contrast, Disneyland welcomed back its workers with less grandiosity—opening up a sprawling outdoor shopping district called Downtown Disney, with a select staff of several hundred.

Unlike the Bubble, the Downtown Disney district had no on-site testing. In a letter to the unions in June, Disney Labor Relations Director Bill Pace called testing “not viable” and prone to “false negatives,” in spite of the fact that it has been implemented in Orlando.

Likewise, the district did not contain its visitors, but allowed streams of thousands to pass in and out of the area with little more than a temperature check. But the most alarming difference, cast members told The Daily Beast, involved the district’s shadowy contact tracing. 

Four sources familiar with the matter told The Daily Beast that Disney has kept the total number of positive cases at the district under wraps.

Indeed, sources say,  that Disney has alerted unions only to the positive test results of their members—often days after the fact, risking further exposure—and leaving workers to guess for themselves why colleagues disappeared for days at a time. (Or why 11 people from the 12-person Horticulture Irrigation team didn’t show up to work for a full week.)

“We want to know if any cast members have tested positive. But Disney has taken the position that they’re only going to tell us if our cast members do,” Matt Bell, a spokesperson for UFCW Local 324, one of a dozen unions representing workers, or “cast members,” at Disneyland, told The Daily Beast in an interview. “What is supposed to happen is contact tracing—find out who was exposed and quarantine them as well. I can’t confirm that they’ve done that.”

“Basically all of our COVID information has come from word of mouth,” said Alicia*, the spouse of a cast member whose contract prohibits them from speaking to the press, “co-workers texting each other, co-workers talking to each other, and things that my [spouse] has seen on the job. None of this is from any of the managers. Disney management is not really officially acknowledging that any of this is happening.”

Disney did not respond to more than eight requests for comment.

Matt*, who requested anonymity out of fear for his job, has worked at Disney for four years as a plumber. Back in March, he was furloughed with the vast majority of Disney’s workers, cashing out vacation days to make ends meet. When Disney recalled workers to reopen parts of the park in late June, Matt was not too concerned. He worked outside mostly, often alone. The job already required wearing a mask and latex gloves, because of the pesticides in Disney’s soil. “It looks pretty,” he said, “but it’s a bunch of chemicals.”

The first week back, two sources familiar with the situation told The Daily Beast, one gardener went home sick. He had come back to work, only to find—after getting tested on his own time—that he had caught the virus from a relative. Two sources told The Daily Beast that Disney did not confirm the positive case until the following Monday, letting a week lapse before his co-workers knew they may have been exposed. Representatives for the workers’ union, LiUNA Local 652, did not respond to requests for comment.

Alicia did not have faith in Disney’s ability to pull off a safe reopening without regular on-site testing, touch-free temperature and bag checks, and a strict contact-tracing protocol—especially in a moment when Orange County was seeing a spike in positive cases. On July 8, ten days after the cast members returned to work and one day before the district opened, she wrote messages to both the City of Anaheim and California Governor Gavin Newsom, flagging the danger on behalf of several cast members. “Unknowingly, [the cast members were] working next to an employee who was exposed to COVID-19,” she wrote. “Although the Union urged him to not return, he still worked his entire shift, thus exposing ALL of [them].” 

“NO ONE,” she concluded, “‘needs’ to ride Dumbo during a plague!”

The governor never got back, but the City of Anaheim responded. “We’re sorry to hear of what you shared,” they wrote, according to messages reviewed by The Daily Beast. The next day, however, the city posted on its Facebook page about Downtown Disney, celebrating the district’s reopening “in a safe and responsible way.” Downtown Disney, they noted, is “a major generator of sales tax revenue.” 

“We understand the concerns of anyone working or going back to work,” Chief Communications Officer for the City of Anaheim Mike Lyster told The Daily Beast. “But we are unaware of any concerns at Downtown Disney.”

Workers disappear; word-of-mouth indicates COVID

From there, Alicia said, more workers began to disappear. In an extensive thread of text messages sent between late July and mid August, all of which were reviewed by The Daily Beast, three workers discussed positive cases on the Horticulture Irrigation team and their fear of going into work.

On July 23, one worker told another about two sick members of their team, one of whom tested positive, the other of whom was waiting on test results. The other worker responded with word that two machinists and a roofer on another team had also gone home sick. The following day, they discussed a third gardener who had gone home ill. On July 26, one cast member, Wilson (not his real name) confided that he had tested positive for COVID himself; his wife would get the same result four days later.

By July 27, according to the messages, six of the 12 members of their team were home sick or isolating. By July 29, that number had grown to nine.

On Aug.ust2, Wilson alleged in a text message that just five days after he tested positive for COVID-19, Disney had cleared him to return to work. At this point, Wilson claimed he had not isolated the recommended 14 days, nor received a negative test result. Nevertheless, he wrote, he returned to work on August 3. The following day, according to the text messages, two more members of the 12-person team had reportedly gone home, leaving just Wilson and one other worker.

Throughout this time, The Daily Beast reports, fear was escalating among the workforce. On behalf of her spouse, Alicia sent five messages to Governor Newsom’s office, to all of his social media accounts, and through his online comment portal.

“In addition to [Disney’s] unscrupulous suppression of their COVID-19 case numbers, they have ‘highly encouraged/recommended’ employees to not anger ANY customer in Downtown Disney,” Alicia wrote. “Regardless of the new safety rules, so long as the customer is wearing a mask, [cast members] are discouraged from ‘ruffling feathers,’ meaning social distancing enforcement has become fairly scattershot at best.”

Her messages were not returned–nor were further steps taken to protect either the workers or the park visitors.

The question at this point is, are those who return to Disney, either for work or play, “being taken for a ride”—and not the popular type, like Thunder Mountain?

Research source: @thedailybeast

Trump called U.S. WWI war casualties buried at French cemetery ‘losers’ and ‘’suckers’

September 7, 2020

President Donald Trump called American soldiers who died on French soil during World War I “losers” during a trip to France in 2018, according to multiple sources cited by The Atlantic.

The comments, reportedly were made ahead of a planned visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France that was ultimately canceled, with the excuse that Trump had worried that a rain storm in the area “would mess up his hair,” reports The Daily Beast.

Trump later referred to World War I Marines who were killed at Belleau Wood, where American and allied troops successfully halted the German advance towards Paris in 1918, as “suckers” for dying at at the hands of the enemy. Trump reportedly expressed confusion about the United States’ involvement in World War I, asking aides, “Who were the good guys in this war?”

Responding to the report in a statement, the White House said, “This report is patently false. President Trump holds the military in the highest regard. He’s demonstrated his commitment to them at every turn.”

However, an investigative reporter for the Associated Press tweeted that a senior Defense Department official “confirmed this story by Jeffrey Goldberg in its entirety.”

In a statement, Joe Biden, Trump’s Democratic opponent in the upcoming presidential election, said if the report were true, the president’s comments represented “yet another marker of how deeply President Trump and I disagree about the role of the President of the United States.”

The president has a long history of attacking military service members, even those in his own party, including the late Republican leader Senator John McCain (R-Arizona), whom he called a “fu***ing loser” upon seeing flags lowered to half-mast in McCain’s honor after his death in 2018. “He’s not a war hero,” Trump said of McCain in 2015 while running for the Republican presidential nomination. “I like people who weren’t captured.” The president reportedly told his staff, “We’re not going to support that loser’s funeral” after McCain’s death. Trump was not invited to the memorial service, The Daily Beast notes.

During a 2018 planning meeting for a White House military parade, Trump reportedly refused to allow wounded veterans to march, especially not amputees. “Nobody wants to see that,” he was quoted saying.

On a visit to Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day 2017, Trump reportedly joined John Kelly, then Homeland Security secretary and soon-to-be White House chief of staff. Kelly’s son Robert, who was killed in Afghanistan at the age of 29, is buried at the cemetery. While standing before the grave, Trump is said to have asked the elder Kelly, “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?”

Kelly thought the remark was a joke at the time but later realized it was not, according to The Atlantic.

In 2016 he also attacked the Gold Star mother and father of a U.S. Army Captain, Humayun Khan, who received a Purple Heart for bravery after being killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom. In the same tirade, he called his own work as a businessman a “sacrifice” similar to dying in combat. Khan’s parents spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

Trump himself, of course, did not serve in the military, having received a deferment from service during Vietnam due to the alleged presence of bone spurs in his feet.

Research contact: @thedailybeast

The sandals that are making a splash in the fashion world this season are called ‘Fish Flops’

July 29, 2020

Like goldfish, themselves, this trend may not be long-lived—but this summer, Goldfish Flops (AKA Fish Flops) are becoming the “new wave” in fashion.

The Daily Beast reports that Goldfish Flops are one of several novelty shoes available on Coddies.com—a site with a tagline that says it all: “Unusual shoes for people with imagination.”

The fish flops come in several colors, including hot pink, green, blue, and silver. (For those among us who cherish a matching set, you can also buy an adorable two-pack of face masks with a scale pattern on them!)

And it’s not just fish that Coddies offers for your feet. Other popular products, according to the site, include Bread Loafersshoes in the shape of bananas, and slides designed to look like cut mangoes. Also: cabbage creepers!

And although virtually every garment has been subject to some novelty craze or another, shoes do seem to have become the nexus of a certain kind of deranged imagination. Looking back, the hottest craze among the elementary school set during the mid-’90s was Jellies—available in a rainbow of plasticized colors! Then in marched the light-up sneakers. Then Heelys skated onto the scene.

And as just about anyone who’s ever visited Etsy knows, you can get just about anything painted on a Vans slip-on.

As Daily Beast writer Laura Bradley notes, “At a time when I have to constantly cover my face, I view the tacky, dead-eyed fish on my feet as a statement piece. I want to let others know that I, too, am losing my mind with bored, impotent desperation.

“Still,” she says, “I can only hope that next time I see these neighbors, they’ll all be wearing Cabbage Creepers and Bread Loafers and Banana Splits. Because I have to say: $27.98 might sound steep for a pair of ugly, fish-shaped novelty shoes—but it’s already the most joy per dollar I’ve found in my life. And right now, that’s priceless.”

Research contact: @thedailybeast

Trump Administration plots crackdown by Feds in Democrat-managed cities nationwide

July 22, 2020

The crackdown by federal law enforcement in some American cities is about to ramp up and go national, according to interviews by The Daily Beast with “knowledgeable Trump Administration sources.”

The move is President Donald Trump’s latest effort to use Customs and Border Protection officials, as well as the Department of Homeland Security—an agency created after 9/11 to protect the country from terrorism—to intimidate and remove protesters, without the approval of local or state authorities.

What’s more, both The Daily Beast and Fox News noted, Portland and Kansas City were just the beginning.

Among the list of cities— “all run by liberal Democrats”—in which the president said on July 20 he intends to “quell protests” are New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Oakland, and Detroit.

As previewed by White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows over the weekend and President Donald Trump on July 20, the Administration intends to send federal law enforcement into Democrat-run cities—whether those cities want federal police help or not. Multiple sources expected Chicago, a flashpoint of white anxiety, to be a focus, as the Chicago Tribune first reported.

Indeed, it is rumored a force of 150 DHS agents will be deployed to Chicago this coming weekend.

In Portland, Customs and Border Protection agents, kitted out in military-style camouflage uniforms and obscured insignia, detained unarmed and largely peaceful protesters in unmarked vans and used pepper spray, tear gas, and batons against them. Oregon’s governor, both of its U.S. senators, and Portland’s mayor have denounced the federal deployment as an unwanted escalation. Its attorney general has sued DHS and the U.S. Marshals Service.

“What is happening in Portland—armed occupation by federal agents—is totally unacceptable,” Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) told The Daily Beast. “Donald Trump’s unconstitutional test run in Portland cannot be the precursor to a nationwide invasion of cities across the country. Republicans and officials at DOJ and DHS need to think long and hard about whether they want to be party to this gross abuse of power.”

Wyden and his fellow Oregonian in the Senate, Democrat Jeff Merkley, on Monday introduced an amendment to the annual defense authorization to disallow the federal law-enforcement deployment. Their amendment, supported by Oregon Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Suzanne Bonamici, restricts federal efforts at crowd control to the “immediate vicinity” of federal property unless requested by local authorities and bans the use of unmarked vehicles or obscured insignia.

According to The Daily Beast, “Trump’s full-on embrace of this type of election-year posturing came after a brief period earlier this summer when the president flirted with emphasizing supposed police reform and related criminal-justice matters, in his increasingly uphill fight against presumptive 2020 Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Naturally, Trump quickly grew bored with playing the role of reformer.”

These days, his campaign is sounding a different tune. “Many presidents have used the military to stop riots, so this is nothing new and in accordance with the law,” said longtime New Hampshire State Representative Al Baldasaro, the New Hampshire co-chair of Trump 2020. “Our police have taken a beating, and they don’t deserve this. I fully support what President Trump is doing,” he continued, adding that Trump should quickly send “federal help” to other cities such as “Chicago [and] Detroit.”

In Chicago, where police reactions to Black Lives Matter protests have been violent, a Fraternal Order of Police president requested Trump’s assistance. That move drew strong rebuke from local elected officials. Mayor Lori Lightfoot, often the subject of ire from the protesters, has said she doesn’t want outside federal law enforcement assistance.

“We don’t need federal agents without any insignia taking people off the streets and holding them, I think, unlawfully. That’s not what we need,” Lightfoot said Monday. 

Research contact: @thedailybeast

Oh, rats! A London Tube cleaner has destroyed Banksy’s latest public artwork

July 16, 2020

With all of the emphasis on “deep cleaning” public facilities during the spread of COVID-19, we can only commend the maintenance staff of the London Underground for doing their job: A cleaner in London recently unwittingly destroyed the latest pandemic-inspired work of anonymous British graffiti artist Banksy on an Underground train, The Daily Beast reports.

On his Instagram page on Tuesday, July 14, the secretive artist posted a video showing that he’d boarded a Tube carriage to paint a mural of sneezing rats.

However, on Monday the Evening Standard reported that, rather than finding some way of preserving the potentially very valuable work, it was removed just like any other form of common graffiti.

An unnamed source at Transport for London said: “When we saw the video, we started to look into it and spoke to the cleaners. It started to emerge that they had noticed some sort of ‘rat thing’ a few days ago and cleaned it off, as they should.”

The anonymous statement appeared to shift blame on to the cleaners after the transport provider was accused of “cultural vandalism” for removing the Banksy work.

Research contact: @thedailybeast