Democrats have moved ‘too far to the left,’ says BET network founder Bob Johnson

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  • America’s political establishment is riven with partisanship that has become “very wicked and very mean,” said entrepreneur and media mogul Robert Johnson
  • Johnson describes himself as a long-time centrist and Democrat
  • He supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election but has since praised Trump

America’s political establishment is riven with partisanship that has become “very wicked and very mean,” said entrepreneur and media mogul Robert Johnson, who added that the Democratic Party has become too liberal for his liking.

“The party in my opinion, for me personally, has moved too far to the left,” Johnson, the founder of cable network BET and RLJ Companies business network, told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble Tuesday.

“And for that reason, I don’t have a particular candidate (I’m supporting) in the party at this time,” he said. “I think at the end of the day, if a Democrat is going to beat Trump, then that person, he or she, will have to move to the center and you can’t wait too long to do that.”

Johnson described himself as a long-time centrist and Democrat. He publicly supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. However, he has since expressed admiration for some of Donald Trump’s policies, particularly those related to the economy.

“I think the economy is doing great, and it’s reaching populations that heretofore had very bad problems in terms of jobs and employments and the opportunities that come with employment … so African-American unemployment is at its lowest level, ” Johnson said.

Johnson became the country’s first African-American billionaire after selling Black Entertainment Television in 2001, according to Forbes.

“I give the president a lot of credit for moving the economy in a positive direction that’s benefiting a large amount of Americans,” he said. “I think the tax cuts clearly helped stimulate the economy. I think business people have more confidence in the way the economy is going.”

Despite the U.S. dispute with China over trade, Johnson said that “overall, if you look at the U.S. economy … you got to give the president an A+ for that.”

‘No give or take’

Johnson expressed concern that there is “really no give or take in terms of trying to come to an understanding of how best to run the country” between President Trump and the Democratic Party.

“If business people are concerned about anything, it’s the clear, clear partisan politics that’s become very wicked and very mean. And that’s not helping the American people, and it’s not helping America as a global nation.”

Asked about Trump’s style of leadership —considered divisive by many in America and beyond — Johnson remarked that Trump has “got his own style,” though he perhaps needs to “step back a little bit from some of his showmanship.”

“A lot of people are not going to like that style,” he said, “but when he says he’s going to try to do something economically, you have to give him credit for taking some specific steps to do that.”

“At the end of the day, the American people are looking for someone who can deliver economically and deliver on opportunities,” he said.



Former Wharton Admissions Officer Says Trump Benefited From Family Connections

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James Nolan told the Washington Post that Fred Trump Jr. asked him to help get his brother, Donald Trump, into the prestigious Wharton School of Business.

When Donald Trump is praising himself for being a “very stable genius,” he often cites his attendance at the Wharton School of Business as proof.

Trump got his degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s business school in 1968, and he still brings it up as evidence of his intelligence.

“I went to the Wharton School of Business,” he’ll have you know. “I’m, like, a really smart person.”

However, a former admissions officer at the school said that the president got into the prestigious school mostly due to his genes rather than his genius.

James Nolan told the Washington Post that he was working in the admissions office in 1966 when a good friend, Fred Trump Jr., called asking for a favor.

“He called me and said, ‘You remember my brother Donald?’ Which I didn’t,” Nolan, 81, told the paper in an article published Monday.“[Trump Jr.] said, ‘He’s at Fordham and he would like to transfer to Wharton. Will you interview him?’ I was happy to do that.”

Nolan recalled that when he met with the future president, he saw no signs he was dealing with a world-class intellect.

 “I certainly was not struck by any sense that I’m sitting before a genius,” he said. “Certainly not a super genius.” 

Nolan said he wrote a report about Trump and said he doesn’t remember the details, but “it must have been decent enough to support his candidacy.”

Although it was common for children of wealthy and influential people to be admitted before other applicants ― especially if there were big donations made to the school ― the Post said there is no evidence that Fred Trump Sr. made a large donation to the school to help his son.

Still, the interview is just another example of how Trump, a self-proclaimed self-made man, benefited greatly from family connections and wealth.

Last year, the New York Times reported that, contrary to the president’s claims that he transformed a “small loan” of $1 million from his father into a “massive empire,” Fred Trump Sr. actually loaned his son at least $140 million in today’s dollars.

Trump’s dad also helped his son avoid financial ruin more than a few times, such as in 1990 when he sent one of his bookkeepers to Atlantic City in 1990 to buy $3.5 million in casino chips so his son could make a bond payment.  



Undocumented Workers Fired From Trump’s Golf Clubs Ask Him To Help Them Stay In U.S.

“You know we are hard workers and that we are not criminals or seeking a free ride in America,” nearly two dozen people wrote in a letter to the president.

Nearly two dozen undocumented immigrants fired from President Donald Trump’s golf clubs are asking him to help them stay in the United States.

Twenty-one former employees, some of whom had worked at Trump’s properties for more than a decade, requested a meeting with the president so they could make their case, according to a letter obtained by The Washington Post and published earlier this week.

“We are modest people who represent the dreams of the 11 million undocumented men, women and children who live and work in this country,” they wrote. “We love America and want to talk to you about helping to give us a chance to become legal.”

Last year, a maid at Trump’s club in Bedminster, New Jersey, revealed to The New York Times that she and some of her co-workers were undocumented immigrants. A supervisor who was aware of their status allegedly threatened to use it against those who complained about working conditions.

A Post investigation found in February that Trump’s businesses had a long history of employing undocumented workers, despite his populist rhetoric and his efforts as president to crack down on immigration.

Now, those who have been terminated are urging Trump to “recall how hard we worked for you, your family and your golf clubs.”

“You know we are hard workers and that we are not criminals or seeking a free ride in America,” the group wrote in its letter. “We pay all our taxes, love our faith and our family, and simply want to find a place for ourselves to make America even better.”

The workers concluded by saying they believe the president “will do the right thing to find a home for us here in America so that we can step out of the shadows and not deport us and our friends and family.”

The lowest-paying job in each U.S. state

(Graphic: David Foster/Yahoo Finance)

The U.S. job market is still roaring, but many American workers are stuck in low-paying jobs.

According to an analysis by Yahoo Finance — using recently released Occupational Employment Statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) — the lowest-paying jobs in the U.S. pay an annual mean wage between $18,000 and $26,000 a year.

Those jobs were predominantly in the food industry. Common jobs in the industry include cooking, prepping, and serving food. Here’s a look at each state (with job titles edited for clarity):

The second-most common low-paying job type across multiple states was related to ticket takers, ushers, and lobby attendants.

“Jobs are low-paying for one of two reasons,” David Neumark, professor of economics at the University of California, Irvine told Yahoo Finance. “There's a lot of supply and not much demand. And they're very low-skilled. I mean, how much skill does it take to collect movies at the movie theater, right?”

Lowest-paying job varies from state to state

While workers in the food industry were paid poorly from Alabama to Washington, there were noteworthy differences in wages for the same job across the U.S.

For example, while food preparation and serving earned a worker an annual mean wage of $18,680 in Alabama, the same job in Washington paid $25,550.

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - FEBRUARY 25:  Waiters serving Dinner during 2016 Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival Presented By FOOD & WINE at Casa D' Angelo Ristorante on February 25, 2016 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  (Photo by Mychal Watts/Getty Images for SOBEWFF)

Part of the reason is because of the cost of living. According to the Cost of Living Index by the Missouri Department of Economic Development, Alabama was ranked as the 11th cheapest U.S. state to reside. Washington was 38th. In other words, workers in Washington were paid more as it was commensurate with the cost of living.

The lowest-paid job among all the states was in Louisiana, where gaming and sports book writers and runners earned a mere $17,820.

And while there were only around 11,200 people in this profession, they formed a decent proportion of jobs in states like Alaska, Montana, Nevada as of 2017.

Harrah's Las Vegas Hotel box dealer. (Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

California, Florida, and Texas pay below minimum wage

Nearly 60% of American workers are paid at hourly rates, according to the BLS. And out of those workers, nearly 1.3 million earned wages below the federal minimum wage.

And with inflation creeping up, many of these workers could see their purchasing power decline as the government has kept the minimum wage at $7.25 for the 12th year in a row.

The industries that often paid workers below minimum wage were the leisure and hospitality industries, followed by education and health services, according to BLS data.

The states that had the biggest proportion of people making less than the minimum were Texas at 12.5%, Florida at 8.1%, and California at 5.5%.

One person who has sympathy for these workers is JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon.

“I'm in favor of generally minimum wages going up,” Dimon told Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer a recent interview (video above). “We got to give people more of a living wage. And I think if the federal [minimum wage] maybe raises, then states should do more locally so it doesn't damage the economy too much.”

Dimon added that he was also in favor of expanding the earned income tax credit.

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 20: A car pulls into the Vegas Auto Spa where workers are on strike on January 20, 2015 in New York City.  Eight workers from the popular car wash have filed a federal lawsuit against their employer and have been on strike for two months over issues of pay, hours, safe working conditions and the right to join a union. The suit alleges that they were paid less than minimum wage and it demands $600,000 in overtime and other back wages. The car wash industry has a long history with issues of worker exploitation in America.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Automation a big risk

And with businesses automating rapidly, some of these jobs could no longer exist in the near future.

Generally, “the jobs that can be automated and are getting automated are the ones that are very routine,” Neumark said.

Referring to the example of ticket takers, he said that “you can get anyone to do that job… because it'll make your business more productive. You'd love to replace those people with a machine if you could, but they haven't yet for some reason.”

But to those who worry about automation causing millions of job losses, Neumark had a simple response: “We've been automating for 200 years. And we're getting richer, not poorer.”



California Gov. Gavin Newsom Signs Bill Banning Hair Discrimination

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The Democratic governor’s signing of the CROWN Act makes California the first state to protect black people from hair discrimination.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a bill that makes California the first state to protect black people from hair discrimination.

The Democratic governor signed the CROWN Act ― which stands for Creating a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural hair ― into law on Wednesday, after the state Assembly passed it June 27 and the state Senate passed it about two months before that.

“[This issue] is played out in workplaces, played out in schools,” Newsom said at the signing. “Every single day, all across America in ways subtle and in ways overt.”

The new law introduced by state Sen. Holly Mitchell (D), a black woman, outlaws policies that punish black employees and K-12 students for wearing their hair in natural or protective styles. Workplaces and public schools will be banned from enforcing grooming policies that disproportionately affect people of color, especially black people who wear braids, dreadlocks and Afros.

It is already illegal to discriminate in employment practices based on certain protected categories, such as race, under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. The CROWN Act mandates that the definition of race under the employment law also include traits historically associated with race, such as hair texture and protective styles.

“Eurocentric standards of beauty have established the very underpinnings of what was acceptable and attractive in the media, in academic settings and in the workplace,” said Mitchell, according to the Los Angeles Times. “So even though African Americans were no longer explicitly excluded from the workplace, black features and mannerisms remained unacceptable and ‘unprofessional.’”

The new law makes California the first state to ban natural hair discrimination. New York City passed similar legislation in February, saying hairstyles fall under the city’s anti-discrimination laws because attempting to control black hair is considered a form of racism.

Historically, black people have been punished in workplaces and classrooms across the country for wearing their natural hair. Mitchell introduced her bill after Chastity Jones, a black woman from Alabama, asked the U.S. Supreme Court last year to hear her case about a company that withdrew her job offer because she would not cut her dreadlocks.

Newsom said he, “like millions and millions of Americans, was brought to a consciousness around this issue” last year. Wrestling referees told Andrew Johnson, a teenage black athlete, to either forfeit his match or cut off his dreadlocks. A video showing his dreadlocks being hacked off went viral at the time, sparking discussion about the trauma black people experience over the racist policing of natural hair.




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