Nel's New Day

February 14, 2021

Biden’s Work Leads to Popularity

Republicans are still wreaking havoc from Saturday’s acquittal of Deposed Dictator Trump (DDT): instead of declaring any victory, they are damning the seven GOP senators who voted to convict DDT for inciting violence in his unrelenting attempt to overturn the election—and democracy. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) explained best the reason for votes for conviction—“he is guilty.” His op-ed in the Baton Rouge newspaper covers the facts that DDT’s cult followers refuse to recognize.

For those who question the Democrats’ wisdom in not calling witnesses after the Senate voted in favor it, another reason has emerged. Republican senators threatened to filibuster every Biden nominee, every piece of legislation, in short everything Democrats brought to the Senate. Attempting to get 60 votes for everything with only 50 Democrats in the Senate was not worth the risk. As Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), lead prosecutor for the trial, said:  

‘We could have had 500 witnesses and it would have not have overcome the kinds of arguments being made by Mitch McConnell and other Republicans who were hanging their hats on the claim that it was somehow unconstitutional.”

DDT issued a statement about his victory and insinuated he could return in some fashion. President Joe Biden set the tone for the future of the United States. He stated the impeachment trial showed the charge against DDT is not in dispute and quoted House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who voted to acquit but still believes DDT is guilty of a “disgraceful dereliction of duty” and “practically and morally responsible for provoking” violence at the U.S. Capitol, directly killing five people:  

“This sad chapter in our history has reminded us that democracy is fragile. That it must always be defended. That we must be ever vigilant … Each of us has a duty and responsibility as Americans, and especially as leaders, to defend the truth and to defeat the lies.”

Contrasting DDT’s life in the White House with family events of the Bidens, this video shows a casual-looking Biden couple wandering the White House lawn with their two dogs looking at the Valentines that Dr. Biden had arranged to honor the day.

Conservative pundits accused Biden of avoiding the impeachment trial by working, ignoring his busy schedule which was so different from DDT’s obsession with watching television and being admired. These are a few of his accomplishments in the past week while the media focused on impeachment.

Biden reinstated the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, greatly changed and unstaffed during the previous administration. Melissa Rodgers, First Amendment lawyer and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, will head up the agency with goals including help for disadvantaged communities, advancement of global humanitarian work, and protection for “church-state separation and freedom for people of all faiths and none.”

Before the impeachment trial, nominees for secretaries of the Education Department and the Labor Department were passed out of committee with the customary few naysayers.

Biden will rescind the ability of states to mandate work requirements for Medicaid coverage. Because of DDT’s request for these rules, some states require residents work for 20 or more hours a week in jobs, job search, community service, or taking classes. Judges have already struck down some of these requirements.

Protections under the Fair Housing Act now cover LGBTQ people, allowing the government to investigate discrimination complaints based on sexual orientation or gender identity. This executive order follows an earlier one prohibiting the same discrimination in employment. Last summer, then HUD Secretary Ben Carson stripped protections for transgender people to go to federally funded homeless shelters, a policy set to go into effect in two months until Biden reversed it.

Biden said his climate-change executive order combined with “Buy American” would help create one million new jobs in the automobile industry.

The 9th Circuit Court revoked an earlier general permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ authorizing most of commercial shellfish aquaculture in Washington’s Puget Sound seriously harming the environment.  

The government has finalized deals for another 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine by summer, half from Pfizer and half from Moderna, bringing the total to 300 million. 

Biden told Congress he terminated DDT’s national emergency order diverting billions of military appropriations DDT used to build part of the southern wall. DDT issued the order because Congress refused to allocate the money. Part of Biden’s direction was to divert no more taxpayer dollars to construct a border wall and review “all resources appropriated or redirected to that end.”

The president also plans to ask Congress to eliminate $40 billion in taxpayer subsidies for the oil industry. Last year, progressive lawmakers in both chambers introduced legislation to end federal subsidies and loopholes.  

Biden has “indefinitely” shelved DDT’s deal for Oracle and Walmart buying much of the Chinese-owned video app TikTok. DDT had claimed “national security” but was really upset because the young people on the app had first ordered unused tickets for his Tulsa (OK) rally and then advertised the Georgia senatorial runoff election for younger voters in favor of the Democrats.

The DOJ notified the Supreme Court it does not regard the Affordable Care Act to be unconstitutional and considers it legal as the high court considers a challenge to the law by Texas and other GOP states. California and other Democratic states are defending the law. Although the Supreme Court earlier upheld the individual mandate in the law, some justices have been replaced by DDT’s appointments.

After the February 1 military coup in Myanmar, aka Burma, Biden announced sanctions on the leaders who deposed and detained its elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint, and others until it relinquishes power and releases prisoners. Biden will also freeze U.S. assets of up to $1 billion benefiting the Burmese government. Like the attempted coup at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, the coup was intended to destroy the nation’s democracy.

While the House works on the stimulus bill, Biden is working on a $2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package to create jobs and rebuild transportation networks, both growing the economy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In an opening meeting, four members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, two from each party, joined both Biden and VP Kamala Harris in the White House. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg participated by video while he is quarantining after exposure to COVID-19. They agreed new infrastructure must be built in both urban and rural areas. More meetings with congressional members are planned. Biden pointed out China is advancing high-speed-rail projects. Sen. Shelley Capito (R-WV) called the meeting productive. Biden has said he doesn’t support increasing the gas tax, but it has had no changes for 24 years while inflation and better gas mileage has taken its purchasing power. The current federal surface transportation expires in Fall 2021.

With Ron Bloom the new chair of the postal service board, the leadership has changed although the former RNC chair, Mike Duncan, remains as a Governor. Bloom plans to “revitalize” the USPS and restore its functionality, badly needed since DDT’s choice of the Postmaster General Louis DeJoy was intended to destroy the agency before the election. Working on the automobile industry bailout over a decade ago, Bloom was a senior adviser to the Treasury Secretary. Getting rid of DeJoy may be difficult, especially because he wants to stay, because the conservative majority of the board hired DeJoy. Biden could fill the three openings on the board, but Congress would need to confirm them.

DeJoy apologized to the board for problems with delivery and promised to do better, but his vision for the future includes even deeper service cuts, more expensive postage and services, and lower delivery commitments. Already one-time delivery of non-first class mail last month dropped to 38 percent, half of the same month in the previous year. Without DeJoy, the USPS could come back, especially if Congress passes its legislation rescinding the law requiring the agency to pre-fund 75 years’ worth of retiree benefits—something no other government agency requires. This mandate is responsible for putting the USPS billions of dollars in debt giving DeJoy and the GOP leverage for their changes. Democrats have also been pushing an expansion into postal banking to both provide more revenue and give over 7 million unbanked Americans with options for checking and savings accounts, bill payments, small loans, and low-fee ATMs instead of usurious payday lenders and check-cashing businesses.

Since the election, the favorability of the GOP has seriously dropped, completely because of changes from Republicans. For the first time in eight years, the Democrats are more favorable than Republicans by double digits. In 25 states, the only ones making voter registration available, 140,000 registered voters have dropped the GOP in the first month after the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Only 20 percent of voters think the GOP idea about the stimulus bill being “too much” is right, whereas 79 percent believe the COVID-19 relief package is either “about right” or too small.

And many Republicans, such as state GOPs and several congressional members, continue to sabotage anything Biden does.

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