Nel's New Day

April 10, 2021

GOP Opposes Another Popular Bill

Filed under: Legislation — trp2011 @ 12:02 AM
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Republican congressional members maintain they will not vote for any infrastructure bill no matter what—even if they haven’t seen any of the provisions–and lie about it. People need to understand what the word “infrastructure” means. Politico has put together a definition from dictionary resources:

“The system of public works of a country, state or region; also the resources (such as personnel, buildings or equipment) required for an activity.”

The word is derived from “infra,” meaning “below,” and “structure” meaning “an assembling.” Structure refers to both the physical and the social abstract, including resources, organization, and personnel who do the work. The system for building is a type of structure. “Public works” includes highways, bridges, and schools as well as parks, telephone lines, water systems, broadband, and the delivery of energy. It’s anything built for public use, enjoyment, or activity.

GOP legislators are 100 percent opposed to an infrastructure bill, but 79 percent of the U.S. people want repairs to roads, bridges, ports, and railroads. Seventy-one percent want high-speed internet, 68 percent want lead pipes replaced and tax credits for renewable energy, and 64 percent want higher taxes on corporations to pay for this infrastructure. Support for President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan for the infrastructure include 57 percent from Republicans and 67 percent from independents.

Twice as many people, 54 percent, want the infrastructure paid for with people making over $400,000 than without tax hikes; by comparison, 47 percent prefer a raise on corporations with 21 percent less likely to support it with th54% said they supported infrastructure improvements with tax increases on corporations and Americans making over $400,000,  In contrast, 47% of voters polled said that they’d be more likely to support a $3 trillion funded by a corporate tax increase, while 21% said they’d be less likely to support it.

Much has been said about the $2 trillion for the proposed bill, but that amount is covered over eight years. The cost would be about 20 percent of what taxpayers shell out for defense every years.

To kill the bill before it’s even introduced, Republicans claim only 5 to 7 percent is for “real infrastructure.” They deny inclusion of not only home-care services and electric-vehicle incentives but also of water pipes, electric wires, and railways—infrastructure that Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) promoted in 2018. In addition, Republicans deny any increase in corporate taxes that DDT shaved from 35 percent to 21 percent in 2017. Infrastructure would require a raise to 28 percent, a 20 percent decrease from pre-2017. Job growth in the last three Obama/Biden era with a 35-percent tax rate was stronger than the first three years of the DDT/Pence era despite the drop in tax rate to 21 percent.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg answered South Dakota’s GOP Gov. Kristi Noem’s complaint that “this isn’t infrastructure—it’s got money for pipes.” He explained people need water to live and pipes have lead poisoning. Broadband is infrastructure, according to Buttigieg, because of school and work via Zoom. Conservatives also slammed Buttigieg for biking from his office to the White House for a Cabinet meeting. They claimed he had “staged” a photo-op instead of using his bicycle for his own transportation. Videos show they’re wrong.

Mississippi’s GOP Gov. Tate Reeves told Biden cutting taxes would pay for infrastructure, the same falsehood used to push through the 2017 draconian tax cuts that gave no help to the U.S. economy. On the other hand, the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities reports that raising taxes on corporations will make the tax code fairer and not hurt the economic recovery. The study also pointed out the severe income inequality caused by the tax cuts. A corporate tax increase would fall on the wealthiest “people who have already recovered from (or never experienced) the recession.” “Policymakers [should] prioritize still-struggling households” affected by corporate tax hikes to fund public investments. According to Biden, “Nobody making under $400,000 a year will have their taxes increased.” Note that Republicans, refusing to create jobs through the infrastructure proposal because of giving back only 50 percent of the tax cut four years ago, are trying to pass themselves off as the party of the people.

Using his familiar incoherent language, DDT ranted that Biden was using the infrastructure proposal to “build up” China. During DDT’s term, almost every week was labeled infrastructure, but he completely failed to accomplish any building, let alone the vast rebuilding of U.S. infrastructure he promised. The objection to Biden’s plan is exacerbated by a serious case of GOP sour grapes.

Republicans will need a lot of deflections to convince they are the party of the people by opposing Biden’s American Jobs Plan. When talking about his infrastructure proposal, Biden said:

“In 2019, an independent analysis found that there are 91 … Fortune 500 companies, the biggest companies in the world, including Amazon that use various loopholes so they pay not a single, solitary penny in federal income tax. I don’t want to punish them, but that’s just wrong. That’s just wrong.  A fireman and a teacher paying 22%? Amazon and 90 other major corporations paying zero in federal taxes? I’m going to put an end to that.”

GOP senators represent states desperate for infrastructure help. Mississippi, represented by Roger Wicker, has needs in every area from roads to drinking water, and Missouri, represented by Roy Blunt, said his said the “country need[s] a significant infrastructure upgrade.” They oppose the any idea of tax increases.

Yet 80 percent of the Fortune 500 companies paid an average of 11 percent because of GOP loopholes, exemptions, and giveaways. Last year, 55 of the country’s biggest corporations paid zero federal income tax on over $40 billion in profits while receiving a combined federal rebate of over $3 billion which gave them a tax rate of negative 9 percent. Since the GOP tax cut in 2017, 26 corporations including FedEx and Nike, paid the same zero federal income tax on a combined income of $77 billion.

Republicans ignore the rich history of government infrastructure investment pushing economic growth. In the 1950s, the GOP president successfully promoted the entire interstate project. The Republicans of the Dwight Eisenhower era of the 1950s supported research and development to repair infrastructure as well as developing technologies for future economies. It was a time when government investment was a much higher share of GDP than now and far higher tax rates on both corporations and the wealthy. The top tax rate was 91 percent. Compare the tax rate difference between the Republican infrastructure of the 1950s and Biden’s proposal. 

Long before that, however, New York state built the Erie Canal between 1818 and 1825 for $7 million, the equivalent of a $1 trillion today as the share of GDP. Land grants were behind higher education and the railroads. The first Roosevelt, Teddy, built the Panama Canal, and the second, FDR, provided electricity to rural areas. All these would be considered “out-of-control socialist spending spree,” according to current Republicans. At the same time, DDT’s tax cuts not only didn’t help the economy, but it also gave money to the 40 percent of foreigners who own U.S. stocks. In addition, the 2017 tax cuts encouraged U.S. corporations to invest overseas. DDT and the GOP members of Congress wanted the bill only to save money on their own taxes and get more donations from grateful businesses.

The U.S. ranks 13th in the world for infrastructure quality, and public domestic investment fell over 40 percent since the 1960s as a share of the economy. History proves tax cuts don’t cause economic growth as wealth moved upward since Ronald Reagan, with U.S. billionaires acquiring an additional $1 trillion, a 38 percent increase, in a time of the worst poverty rate for over a half century. 

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has put himself in control of what bills will pass the Senate. With a 50-50 split between the two party factions, the Democrats need everyone in their own party on board. Manchin, however, has announced that he won’t support bills without GOP votes, and Republicans have announced their policy of rejecting every Democratic bill. It’s obvious that Manchin is enjoying all the attention: WaPo has published of his op-ed, and the Senate cannot move forward while he won’t take part. Manchin warned of doing away with the filibuster for a simple majority vote, calling it a “new and dangerous precedent,” but his personal control over every bill in the Senate, including those passed by the House, fits that same description.

Blocking the infrastructure bill will be equally hard on Manchin and the GOP. Although Democratically-oriented cities will benefit, rural communities desperately need broadband access, the deficiencies in those areas heightened during the pandemic when far more activities have moved to remote communication. Other rural benefits would be the huge investment in alternative energy, much of it outside cities and a big income source for Iowa and Kansas farmers. Another provision is two years of tuition-free community college, now quite expensive. The GOP “party of inaction” unanimously voted against the stimulus bill and then tried to take credit for it. If the same thing happens for an infrastructure bill, they could lose all credibility by the 2022 elections.

April 2, 2021

Former GOP Leader Calls Republicans ‘Morons’ Controlled by Media

Filed under: Legislation — trp2011 @ 9:06 PM
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John Boehner was a GOP U.S. House representative for almost 30 years and his party’s leader for eight of them, the last four years the House Majority Leader. Following are excerpts from Boehner’s new book, On the House: A Washington Memoir:

“[In] the 2010 midterm election … you could be a total moron and get elected just by having an R next to your name—and that year, by the way, we did pick up a fair number in that category.”

About trying to teach the 87 people “who’d never sat in Congress [about] governing”: “I had to explain how to actually get things done. A lot of that went straight through the ears of most of them, especially the ones who didn’t have brains that got in the way. Incrementalism? Compromise? That wasn’t their thing. A lot of them wanted to blow up Washington. That’s why they thought they were elected.”

“Some of them, well, you could tell they weren’t paying attention because they were just thinking of how to fundraise off of outrage or how they could get on Hannity that night. Ronald Reagan used to say something to the effect that if I get 80 or 90 percent of what I want, that’s a win. These guys wanted 100 percent every time. In fact, I don’t think that would satisfy them, because they didn’t really want legislative victories. They wanted wedge issues and conspiracies and crusades.

“A lot of them wanted to blow up Washington. That’s why they thought they were elected…

“By 2011, the right-wing propaganda nuts had managed to turn Obama into a toxic brand for conservatives. When I was first elected to Congress [in 1990], we didn’t have any propaganda organization for conservatives, except maybe a magazine or two like National Review. The only people who used the internet were some geeks in Palo Alto. There was no Drudge Report. No Breitbart. No kooks on YouTube spreading dangerous nonsense like they did every day about Obama…

“And of course the truly nutty business about his birth certificate. People really had been brainwashed into believing Barack Obama was some Manchurian candidate planning to betray America. Mark Levin was the first to go on the radio and spout off this crazy nonsense. It got him ratings, so eventually he dragged Hannity and Rush to Looneyville along with him… Roger Ailes, the head of Fox News … got swept into the conspiracies and the paranoia and became an almost unrecognizable figure…

“[Ailes went] on and on about the terrorist attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, which he thought was part of a grand conspiracy that led back to Hillary Clinton. Then he outlined elaborate plots by which George Soros and the Clintons and Obama (and whoever else came to mind) were trying to destroy him.

“’They’re monitoring me,’ he assured me about the Obama White House. He told me he had a ‘safe room’ built so he couldn’t be spied on. His mansion was being protected by combat-ready security personnel, he said. There was a lot of conspiratorial talk. It was like he’d been reading whacked-out spy novels all weekend… And it was clear that he believed all of this crazy stuff…

“I have no idea what the relationship between Ailes and [Fox owner Rupert] Murdoch was like, or if Ailes ever would go off on these paranoid tangents during meetings with his boss. But Murdoch must have thought Ailes was good for business, because he kept him in his job for years.

“Places like Fox News were creating the wrong incentives. Sean Hannity was one of the worst. I’d known him for years, and we used to have a good relationship. But then he decided he felt like busting my ass every night on his show…

“Besides the homegrown ‘talent’ at Fox, with their choice of guests they were making people who used to be fringe characters into powerful media stars. One of the first prototypes out of their laboratory was a woman named Michele Bachmann … who had represented Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District since 2007 and made a name for herself as a lunatic ever since…

About his refusal to put Bachman on the powerful Ways and Means Committee: “This wasn’t a request of the Speaker of the House. This was a demand. Her response to me was calm and matter-of-fact. ‘Well, then I’ll just have to go talk to Sean Hannity and everybody at Fox,’ she said, ‘and Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, and everybody else on the radio, and tell them that this is how John Boehner is treating the people who made it possible for the Republicans to take back the House.” I wasn’t the one with the power, she was saying. I just thought I was. She had the power now.

“She was right, of course…

“In January 2011, as the new Republican House majority was settling in and I was getting adjusted to the Speakership, I was asked about the birth certificate business by Brian Williams of NBC News. My answer was simple: ‘The state of Hawaii has said that President Obama was born there. That’s good enough for me.’ It was a simple statement of fact. But you would have thought I’d called Ronald Reagan a communist. I got all kinds of shit for it—emails, letters, phone calls. It went on for a couple weeks. I knew we would hear from some of the crazies, but I was surprised at just how many there really were.

All of this crap swirling around was going to make it tough for me to cut any deals with Obama as the new House Speaker…

“Under the new rules of Crazytown, I may have been Speaker, but I didn’t hold all the power. By 2013 the chaos caucus in the House had built up their own power base thanks to fawning right-wing media and outrage-driven fundraising cash. And now they had a new head lunatic leading the way, who wasn’t even a House member. There is nothing more dangerous than a reckless asshole who thinks he is smarter than everyone else. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Senator Ted Cruz. He enlisted the crazy caucus of the GOP in what was a truly dumbass idea. Not that anybody asked me.”

Paul Waldman uses Boehner’s perceptions to describe the conservative world today in which “the media tail came to wag the political dog”:

“Today, conservative media isn’t just a locus of power on the right. Its own needs, preferences and incentives set the party’s agenda to a greater extent than ever.

“That’s why so many of the key voices in the Republican Party today are concerned not primarily but entirely with their next media appearance, rather than the work of lawmaking. While there have always been ‘show horses’ in Congress, the party is now oriented almost entirely toward whatever keeps the Fox viewers from changing the channel.

“So while Democrats pass trillions of dollars in new spending, Republicans spend all their time whining about ‘cancel culture’ and trying to make life miserable for transgender kids. Instead of conservative media amplifying the party’s message, it’s the other way around…

“What Boehner calls ‘the crazy caucus of the GOP’ was already taking over when he was speaker, foreshadowing their increased dominance when the ultimate performative politician—Donald Trump—became president.

“And so, with complete GOP control of Washington in 2017, you didn’t see the emergence of serious conservative policy wonks making lasting and consequential change. While it might have happened here and there—Stephen Miller succeeded at making immigration policy as racist and cruel as possible—for the most part the crazy caucus was still in charge.

“Who were the dominant Republican figures of the era, beyond Trump himself? People like Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), known for their endless Fox appearances and maniacal loyalty to Trump. They weren’t concerned with how to use power to create change; they just wanted to Own the Libs.

“Even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), the party’s leader in Congress and nobody’s idea of a telegenic presence, turned out to be an absolute dud as a legislator. After easily passing a tax cut for the wealthy and corporations (not exactly hard to do), he managed no further legislation of consequence.

“In many ways, you can draw a straight line between Newt Gingrich, the central Republican figure of the 1990s, through the tea party, then through Sarah Palin, then through Trump, and finally to the Jan. 6th rioters and far-right extremists like Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.). Boehner shows us how this through line really started to unravel.

“All those figures wanted to make politics as coarse and bitter as possible, and define Democrats as not just wrong but evil. The conflict between the right and the left, Gingrich once told a conservative audience, ‘has to be fought with a scale and a duration and a savagery that is only true of civil wars.’

“…And along the way, the destruction will continue piling up.”

Today the destruction was the killing of one Capitol Police officer and serious wounding by another because right-wing politicians—and media—demanded the outside protective fence around the U.S. Capitol be removed. 

February 21, 2021

GQP ‘Spiritual Leader’ Demands Followers “Kiss the Ring’

President Joe Biden is making decisions for the United States, but Deposed Donald Trump (DDT), declaring on conservative media that the presidential election was stolen from him, waits at Mar-a-Lago for followers to come pay obeisance to him.

Sycophant Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who calls DDT almost every day, is again going to Mar-a-Lago to golf—and get him to build up the Republican party, now badly split after the impeachment and House Minority Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) attack on DDT. Last Tuesday, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) visited DDT. Brad Parscale, fired from being campaign manager and responsible for questionable expenditures of millions of campaign dollars, went to Mar-a-Lago for a long meeting. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) held a fundraiser on Saturday night.

Absent from DDT’s side for a few years, Steve Bannon is back. During the first few years of DDT in the White House, Bannon played him like a fiddle to accomplish his ends but got forced out. Once gone, Bannon stole almost a million dollars from a GoFundMe website ostensibly to build a tiny portion of DDT’s southern border wall, but DDT pardoned him for that offense shortly before Biden was inaugurated.

Now Bannon has another plan: run DDT for the House, become the Speaker because he believes Congress will turn Republican, and impeach Biden. His accusation is that Biden “stole” the election.

Top DDTers also have other plans such as making DDT’s first White House press secretary Reince Priebus the Wisconsin governor although Tony Evers has the position for another three years. In Pennsylvania, GOP Sen. Pat Toomey isn’t running in 2022, and the Republican party has its eye on a QAnon candidate. Toomey voted for DDT’s conviction in the impeachment, and furious Republicans announced they don’t elect people “to do the right thing.” The current criterion is to follow whatever corruption DDT wants. Bannon said, “Any candidate who wants to win in Pennsylvania in 2022 must be full Trump MAGA.”

Flush with what DDT sees as a strong following, he plans to put his extremist loyalists into primaries. They may win against other Republicans, but moderate Republicans and independents could elect Democrats. For example, Arizona GOP chair Kelli Ward might lose a general election against incumbent Mark Kelly in 2022 for supporting conspiracy theories and leading her party in censuring Cindy McCain, former Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) wife, for supporting Biden. In Georgia, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, an outspoken QAnon conspiracy theorist removed from her committee assignments, could run against former Sen. David Perdue in the primary, reducing the possibility of the Republicans defeating Democrat incumbent Raphael Warnock. DDT has clashed with Republicans who might defeat Democrats for Congress, like former Sen. Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire.

The question is how long DDT will trust Bannon. Touting his new memoir Ticking Clock: Behind the Scenes at 60 Minutes in an interview, former 60 Minutes producer Ira Rosen talked about Bannon’s attempt to remove DDT from the White House by using the 25th Amendment because of DDT’s early stage dementia. Bannon told DDT’s major rightwing donor Rebekah Mercer about his concerns, including DDT’s repetition of the same stories, and quoted a David Brooks column from October 2017:  

“And the polls show that if you want to win a Republican primary these days, you have to embrace the Trump narrative…  The Republican senators greeted Trump on Capitol Hill and saw a president so repetitive and rambling, some thought he might be suffering from early Alzheimer’s. But they know which way the wind is blowing. They gave him a standing ovation.”

One sycophant couldn’t go to Mar-a-Lago. Rush Limbaugh died February 17, 2021, leaving 15 million listeners without his consistent diet of racial prejudice, misogyny, hate, and lies.

DDT also lost “my Kevin,” as he called House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), after McCarthy told people about his frantic January 6 telephone call for help when DDT refused to send assistance for congressional members under attack in the U.S. Capitol. McCarthy tried to cover up the problem, but DDT found him lacking in deferential attitude. Following that event, DDT lambasted McCarthy for not removing Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) from House leadership because she voted for DDT’s impeachment. Fox reports DDT looks at McCarthy “with disdain.”

McCarthy tried to crawl back into DDT’s favor in late January at a trip to Mar-a-Lago after he agreed DDT “bears responsibility” for the riot. Aides reported the meeting was “good and cordial,” and McCarthy he does not “believe he provoked [the attack].” DDT, however, never forgives a slight. 

Next weekend, DDT will collect the faithful at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando (FL). Usually located in Washington, CPAC chose the new venue because of its lax coronavirus guidelines producing its third-highest COVID-19 death toll last week. Sponsors include Fox, Washington Times, Epoch Times, Heritage Foundation, Turning Point USA, and conservative video platform Rumble. The senators typically voting against Biden’s appointees—Martha Blackburn (TN), Tom Cotton (AR), Ted Cruz (TX), Josh Hawley (MO), James Lankford (OK), and Rick Scott (FL)—will attend along with loyalist House members Mo Brooks (AL), Madison Cawthorn (NC), Matt Gaetz (FL), Jim Jordan (OH), Devin Nunes (CA), and Steve Scalise (LA). Deposed people such as former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former HUD Secretary Ben Carson, former Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, former DOJ AG Matt Whitaker, former DDT lawyer Pam Bondi, and former press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will be there. It’s a place for the ambitious to aim at a better job, perhaps president, like South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem.

One person missing from the event is former VP Mike Pence. Sources have said Pence will stay out of the public for the rest of the year after DDT looked willing to kill Pence at the January 6 insurrection. Pence’s former chief of staff Marc Short said he and Pence now accept Biden as “the duly elected president of the United States.” Although absent from DDT’s farewell, Pence attended Biden’s inauguration.

Others may not actually show up, and sponsors are insecure because of uncertain guest bookings. The theme “America Uncanceled” is about “cancel culture,” and organizers sent a letter to Politico accused it of this practice, a form of not providing support, after journalists asked questions about the event. Organizers whined about attempts to “cancel our votes, our voices, and our values” while trying to erase all non-white people in the U.S. DDT’s repetition about a rigged election in his CPAC speech as well as his smears of Biden’s actions will be an example of “cancel culture.”

Opposing DDT’s control of the GOP, House Minority Mitch McConnell (R-KY) ignores DDT, especially after McConnell’s vitriolic attack against DDT following McConnell’s vote against an impeachment conviction based on a mythical technicality. The speech scorched DDT about his faults, how he should have been convicted and how he can be criminally indicted. Three days later, DDT’s rebuttal rained lies and blistering attacks on the man who forced over 200 highly conservative and largely incompetent judges onto federal benches. A part of DDT’s statement:

“Mitch is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again.”

Advisers talked DDT out of stating McConnell had too many chins and not enough smarts, according to one source.

Because a large QAnon following thinks DDT will be inaugurated on March 4, 2021, 5,000 National Guard troops will stay in Washington for at least another three weeks out of concern for violence. If that date doesn’t work out for them, QAnon followers picked May 20, 120 days after January 20 based on an economic recovery plan proposed over 20 years to forgive the national debt. Conspiracy theorists claim the military will take Biden from the White House on May 20 and install DDT in his former Washington home. Robert Guffey, who tracks the QAnon movement, explained more conspiracy beliefs:

“Then all the debt goes away and the IRS is abolished. And then, at that point, Trump starts releasing all these hidden patents for free energy. It’s going to be utopia and all the Democrats will be in Gitmo.”

Conservative media feeds these lies to the tens of millions of their audience:

  • The Biden’s marriage and romance is “part of a slick PR campaign devised by cynical consultants determined to hide the president’s senility by misdirection.”—Tucker Carlson, Fox 
  • The Bidens 12-year-old German Shepherd, Champ, “needs a bath and a comb and all kinds of love and care. [He] looks like … from the junkyard.”—Greg Kelly, Newsmax
  • About cutting off the video of the insurrection at the Capitol during the impeachment trial: “This is all emotional, political theater.”—Greg Gutfeld, cohost of Fox The Five
  • “[There] was no physical evidence that George Floyd was murdered…  The autopsy showed that George Floyd almost certainly died of a drug overdose, fentanyl.”—Tucker Carlson, Fox
  • About fighting domestic terrorists: “They’re creating extremists, just as we did in Iraq… And dramatically elevating the chance that something really awful is going to happen.”—Tucker Carlson, Fox
  • “If the [COVID-19] vaccine was so great, why were all these people lying about it.”—Tucker Carlson, Fox (before Biden was inaugurated)
  • [I don’t know] a single conservative or single Republican who frankly even knows what QAnon.”—Sean Hannity, Fox

Much has been said from conservative leaders telling Democrats about “moving on,” but DDT will never let that happen as long as he stays the face and voice of the GQP.

February 2, 2021

AOC Tells Her Story about Abusive GOP

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY)—frequently called AOC—was a relative unknown when she swept onto the national scene less than three years ago when she defeated a ten-term incumbent in Democratic primary election. The youngest member to serve the U.S. Congress when she was sworn in, the 29-year-old soon gained the hatred of now-Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) because of her progressive ideas.

Yesterday, 26 days after the far-right attack on the U.S. Capitol, she released a powerful video telling of her terror about being killed by the insurgents and her experience with sexual assault. It is a must watch for everyone, and her subsequent message about the sedition describes the lead up to and the events on the day itself as well as the impact on her.   

Her message:

Monday night, I hopped on IG live to talk about what happened at the Capitol. My story is one of many. It’s not the only story or the central story.

But, it’s important to share because so many of the people who helped perpetrate what happened are trying to tell us to move on and forget about what happened—saying it isn’t a big deal.

They’re asking us to move on for their own convenience. These are the same tactics used by abusers. What they are really asking is: “Can you forget about this so we can do it again?”

I’m a survivor of sexual assault, and I haven’t told many people that in my life. But when we go through trauma, whether we have neglectful parents or any kind of trauma, these episodes can compound on one another. Part of my hesitancy to tell this story until now has to do with some of my trauma. As a survivor, I struggle with the idea of being believed.

Many Republicans have done everything they can to try to rewrite history. They say we’re exaggerating or stoking tensions or even that I should apologize. Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz have had nearly a month to apologize for their role, but over and over they’ve doubled down and said they did the right thing and if they could go back, they’d do it all again. That’s why they need to resign, because they will do it again.

First, let’s dispel the idea that this insurrection happened suddenly—that there was no way for Hawley, Cruz. or Trump not to see this violence coming or anticipate their role in stoking it. Everyone knew something was going to happen.

One week before, I started to get text messages from other members of Congress saying that I needed to be careful on Wednesday. So I started thinking through a security plan with my staff.

Insurrectionists arrived in town starting on Monday. That day, as I exited the Capitol, a crowd of Trump supporters were gathered directly behind my car. All there was to protect myself and other members of Congress was a waist-high fence.

My heart was beating fast. They were yelling insults my way. I tried to lighten the mood to create enough space for me to drive away and get out of there.

Later that day, I went to the grocery store and saw all these people in MAGA hats. It felt tense. And, I guess it felt like—whether you’re from the Bronx, New York City, Queens, or wherever—you can just catch a vibe and kind of know a general sense of when things aren’t right. And things started to feel “not right” when I was in that grocery store that Monday night.

By Tuesday, 24 hours before the events on January 6th, I had already resolved that I wouldn’t go back outside except to vote. Myself and other members asked about security plans, and we were told that it was being handled by Capitol Police and couldn’t be shared.

Fast forward, Wednesday, January 6: At 12:45pm, my chief of staff called me and asked how I was feeling. In that moment, I was feeling great—Rev. Warnock and Jon Ossoff had just won. I was on cloud nine. It took a weight off my shoulders—and I hoped maybe it would take the wind out of the sails of the growing mob outside the Capitol.

Shortly after we hung up, I heard violent bangs on my office door and all the doors into our congressional office. My legislative director—G—told me to hide. I ran into the bathroom—then quickly realized I should have gone to the closet instead. When I opened the door to move, I heard that someone had already gotten into my office. It was too late. Then, they started to yell: “Where is she?” “Where is she?” “Where is she?”

This is the moment I thought everything was over. As a spiritual person, I thought: if this is the plan for me, people—you all—would be able to take it from here. I felt that things were going to be okay and that I had fulfilled my purpose.

Peeking through the hinges of the door behind which I was hiding, I saw a white man with a black beanie come into my direct office. He continued to ask, “where is she?” “where is she?” Finally, I heard G follow him and say “Boss, it’s OK to come out.”

The man in the black beanie was a Capitol Police officer—he was alone with no partner, and I never heard him identify himself as Capitol Police or anything. We weren’t sure if he was there to help us or hurt us. He was looking at me with a tremendous amount of anger and hostility.

Yelling, he told us to go to a different building where all Members would be extracted—not providing the room number or any other exact information on where in the building that extraction point was.

Still, we started running. Alone with no escort and no specific location, we could hear the rioters outside. Not knowing where to go, I ran to find the offices of members I knew in the building. After running up and down the stairs, googling frantically to find room numbers, I eventually found Rep. Katie Porter’s office and asked if we could shelter with her.

She welcomed us in, and we started searching for where we could hide. We pushed couches against the door. I found clothes and sneakers to change into in case I needed to run, jump out of a window, or blend in with a crowd. We turned off all the lights.

Shortly after we finished barricading ourselves, we received intelligence that bombs were found not far from where we were. We discussed what we’d do if the building exploded. Staffers were making decisions to put their lives on the line to save us.

When I finally learned the location of the extraction point, I didn’t feel safe going there, knowing that some Republican members were live tweeting the locations of the Speaker and others. I knew the National Guard hadn’t been called. We were in Rep. Porter’s office for hours.

After the building was secure, I walked over to Rep. Pressley’s office where she and her staffers made sure I was fed. We were at Ayanna’s office until 4:00 am as Congress finally proceeded with voting to certify the electoral college. There are more details to share at some point, but not today.

Rep. Pressley told me that night that what I experienced was traumatizing. Hearing her say that, it forced me to pump my brakes. If you have experienced any type of trauma, just admitting and recognizing it is already a big step. The moment you admit that a thing happened to you is hugely important.

I look back on this and Ayanna really helped my healing. Telling your story is an important tool for healing, which is why I’m telling mine. Together, we have 435 stories and we need to tell them because every time a Republican gets on television and tells us to forget, these stories are reminders of what they’re trying to absolve.

What happens now should not be a partisan issue. This moment is not about a difference of political opinion. This is about basic humanity.

We knew that violence was expected on January 6. We knew the rioters depended on someone upholding the lie that the presidential election was fraudulent. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley chose to tell the lie because they thought it would be politically advantageous.

Six people have lost their lives, eyes and limbs have been lost, and many more people traumatized. Even after all of that, not even an ‘I’m sorry.’ Not even an: ‘I didn’t realize what I said would contribute to this violence and if I had known, I wouldn’t have done it.’ Instead the response has been, ‘I did the right thing and I would do it again.’

If that is their stance, these members will continue to be a danger to their colleagues. Given the same conditions, they will choose to endanger their colleagues for political gain again. That’s why we need accountability.

It’s not about revenge, it’s about creating safety. We are not safe with people who hold political power who are willing to endanger lives for political gain.

Today the U.S. House adopted rules to keep conservatives from carrying guns onto the chamber floor and intimidating others. Instituting large fines for violating these rules was necessary because gun carriers stepped around metal detectors, pushed Capitol Police officers out of the way, and asked other members to carry guns for them. Campaign funds or congressional office budget funds cannot be used to pay these fines. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said, “The People’s House must and will be safe, so that we can honor our responsibility to do the People’s work.” Weapons have been banned from the House floor for over 50 years, but the new conservatives think they, like DDT, are above the law.

Tonight, the remains of Brian Sicknick, killed by the January 6 mob in the U.S. Capitol, were taken to the Capitol rotunda, allowing people, including President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden, to pay their respects. 

The U.S. has passed 27 million verified infections from COVID-19, and the nation had 3,672 deaths today from the disease. 

December 24, 2020

DDT, GOP Leave Coal in Stockings

Today is the day before Christmas, and all the GOP members of Congress should be “nestled all snug in their beds; While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.” After all, all except one senator happily voted not to impeach/convict Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). The House Republicans unanimously voted against impeachment on December 18, 2019, and all 53 GOP senators exonerated him of abuse of power on February 2, 2020. Sen. Mitt Romney (UT) was the only Republican senator to vote in favor of convicting DDT for obstruction of Congress. Justifying their votes for not convicting DDT of these crimes, GOP senators proudly said he had “learned his lesson.”

Two days after the Senate vote, DDT fired witnesses Ambassador Gordon Sondland and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who had testified in the impeachment inquiry, along with Vindman’s twin brother Yevgeny, who had nothing to do with the impeachment. That retaliation began the downward spiral of DDT’s vicious behavior. By now, some of those supporters may have learned their lesson—that DDT will make life hell for anyone opposes him and anyone connected to his opposition.

Republicans are finally losing their temper openly after they faithfully followed White House orders on the stimulus/spending bill, and he—again—betrayed them. Never matter that 126 House members faithfully followed DDT down the rabbit hole by joining a seditious lawsuit in the Supreme Court to overturn a legal election for president, furthering polarizing a badly-divided, formerly democratic country. Angry messages from congressional members inundating White House aides claim, correctly, that DDT abandoned them after the White House told them it supported the bill and asked for their votes. DDT has repeatedly told they can’t trust him: one of his favorite statements, “You knew I was a snake when you took me in.”

House Democrats now support DDT, and the bill, by unanimously voting in favor of increasing the stimulus checks to $2,000, but House Republicans procedurally stymied the vote. One can imagine DDT grimly chortling on his Florida golf course about his latest chaos. Democrats support people while the GOP wants money and power. Republicans gave DDT everything he could have wanted to get their conservative judicial activists, including support for overturning the election in his favor and protection in concealing his finances. In return, they found coal in their stockings. Santa didn’t like Republicans this year, and DDT blocked them from “Merry Christmas!” Apparently, enabling and sycophantism didn’t pay off in 2020.

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) was so disgusted with Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) rejected the amendment that she banged the gavel, saying “Merry Christmas!” in a less than positive way. The House is adjourned until Monday afternoon for a floor vote on DDT’s request for $2,000 checks. Dingell’s statement after the adjournment:

“It is Christmas Eve, but it is not a silent night. All is not calm. For too many, nothing is bright. And for too many, they are not sleeping peacefully. I gave a town hall last night that had people crying, people terrified of what is going to happen… I’ve been talking to people who are scared they’re going to be kicked out from their homes during the Christmas holiday, and still might be if we don’t sign this bill.”

McCarthy tried to make Pelosi the scapegoat by attacking her in a letter for trying to “use the American people as leverage to make coronavirus relief contingent on government funding.” He also framed himself as protector of people in the U.S.:

“The top priority must be our families, communities, and small businesses as we get through this pandemic and restore our country.”

Yet he refuses DDT’s call for more direct payment which Pelosi supports and accused Democrats of “selective hearing” for not cutting the $2 billion in foreign aid DDT opposes. McCarthy plans a bill to cut that funding while not providing anything for people in the U.S. It’s “austerity” time for Republicans with President-elect Joe Biden in the White House.  

On CNN Sunday, Romney mourned the loss of the Republican party, how the GOP he knew even eight years ago when he ran for president is gone:

“I represent a very small slice of the Republican Party today. We were a party concerned about balancing the budget. We believed in trade with other nations. We were happy to play a leadership role on the world stage, because we felt that made us safer and more prosperous. And we believed that character was essential in the leaders that we chose. We have strayed from that. I don’t see us returning to that for a long time.”

Romney plans to stay a Republican, saying he wants to work within the party instead of from outside. Member of the anti-DDT Lincoln Project Kurt Bardella, however, explained why he changed his registration from GOP to Democrat:

“I appreciate where Romney is coming from, but there comes a point where an institution is so thoroughly broken it must be rebuilt someplace else. The party’s true platform has become a toxic combination of authoritarianism and white nationalism. Rebuilding the party will require dismantling it. And helping in that cause doesn’t mean becoming an Independent or agitating for a third party…

“At the start of the Trump presidency, anti-Trumpers who identified as Republicans stayed with the team hoping that their policy positions would still form the basis of a Republican agenda. That experiment is over.

“If you were a Republican because you believed in fiscal restraint, under Trump the debt and deficit have exploded. If you were a Republican because you believed the GOP was stronger on national and homeland security, just look at what Trump said this week in cynically downplaying Russia’s cyberattack against our country. If you are a Republican because you believe in law and order, examine the records of the corrupt people Trump just gave pardons and commutations to. If you are a Republican because you are pro-life, there are 324,000 Americans dead from COVID-19 to call into question the GOP’s commitment to the sanctity of life.”

By Christmas Eve, the number of people dying from the virus in the U.S. is 327,000, and an additional 100,000 people died in the U.S. during the first nine months of 2020. The leadership of the “pro-life” party made the U.S. the deadliest year in history, topping three million deaths. The over 400,00 mortality increase over 2019 is a percentage leap not seen since the 1918 flu epidemic and World War I deaths. The number of deaths fell in 2019 with reductions in heart disease and cancer fatalities, and life expectancy crept higher for the second straight year. In 2020, the increase in deaths will force life expectancy up to three full years lower.

DDT may have spent the day on the golf course, but he took time out to tweet threats of military conflict against Iran. Last weekend, a weekend rocket attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad injured one Iraqi but no Americans. DDT wrote:

“Some friendly health advice to Iran: If one American is killed, I will hold Iran responsible. Think it over.”

Iran denied perpetrating the attack and warned DDT against “dangerous adventurism.” DDT is running out of ways to overturn a legal presidential election—court cases, appeals for state legislatures taking over electoral votes, declaration of martial law for a new election, even “requests” for VP Mike Pence to overturn the election at the congressional joint session on January 6. DDT doesn’t understand Pence merely presides over the proceedings and doesn’t make the final decision. DDT’s next ploy may be to start a war using the warped belief people will be forced to leave him in the White House in the midst of a war.

Foreign policy analysts have cautioned for weeks about DDT attacking Iran to sabotage any diplomacy and return to the nuclear deal in the Biden administration. Last month, DDT checked on ways to bomb Iran’s primary nuclear energy site, and earlier this month, the U.S. flew two B-52 bombers over the Persian Gulf to threaten Iran.

Some new House GOP representatives, including QAnn members Laurie Boebert (CO) and Marjorie Greene (GA), want to bring their guns onto the House floor. Greene wants every place in the nation to be “gun free zones,” including visitors’ galleries in congressional chambers.

The media is suspicious about the photoshopping of DDT and Melania Trump’s last Christmas portrait. His expression is identical to the one of a series taken last year with the Prince of Wales, and a photo expert compared the image to a paper cutout. Is it possible the two can’t even get close enough for a joint photo op? No doubt, Melania finds the next 27 days waiting to leave the White House as difficult as people in the U.S. do. 

November 30, 2020

Dems Back; GOP Reverses to Cry Austerity

Filed under: Budget — trp2011 @ 1:07 AM
Tags: , , , , , ,

During President Obama’s two terms, Republicans bitterly complained about the national debt, giving that as a reason to vote Republican. While bragging about his wonderful economy, Dictator Donald Trump brags about his “best ever” economy but pushes the U.S. into greater debt, especially with a massive tax cut for his wealthy friend and huge corporations before he completely mismanaged a pandemic and forcing expensive stimulus bills.

Today’s “letter” from Heather Cox Richardson explains the history of Republicans’ faulty policy of tax cuts driving the U.S. into a fiscal hole while in power and then moving to austerity the instant Democrats have any power:

 

“One story jumped out at me today. The Hill reported that as soon as a Democrat is back in the White House, Republicans intend to retrench and be careful about how the country spends money, although during Trump’s term, even before the pandemic, they spent huge sums without worrying about it.

This is a pattern. Since President Ronald Reagan’s presidency in the 1980s, Republicans have insisted that tax cuts will pay for themselves by stimulating economic growth, thus increasing tax revenues as everyone gets richer. At the same time, they have dramatically increased military spending without ever suggesting a way to pay for it. Then they complain about the debt and insist that the only way to get our finances back into whack is to cut domestic spending.

There are two important metrics involved in figuring out our national expenses. One is the deficit, which is the difference between the money the government spends every year and the money it takes in. The other is the debt, which is the total amount the government owes.

Until the late twentieth century, the government took on large debt during the Civil War, WWI, WWII and during the Great Depression, when Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt initiated a new kind of government that regulated business, provided a basic social safety net, and promoted infrastructure. But leaders of both parties believed that deficits should reflect emergencies and that debt should be held at a low percentage of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, used to estimate the growth of the economy. It was to pay down the national debt that the Republican Party created national taxation, including the income tax, during the Civil War, and that Republican Dwight Eisenhower kept the top income tax bracket at 91% during his administration. Eisenhower was the last Republican president to balance a budget.

After the Great Depression, taxes and the social welfare programs they funded created what economists call the “great compression” when economic inequality in America shrank.

But the stagflation of the 1970s drove white families into higher tax brackets without giving them more buying power at the same time that politicians eager to end business regulation and social welfare programs told them that their tax dollars were going to the civil rights protesters that featured so prominently on the evening news. In 1980, they voted for a president who promised to cut the taxes that he insisted were going to “welfare queens” and to put money back in their pockets.

Ronald Reagan promised that cutting taxes would actually produce more revenue. As business leaders—the supply side—had more money, they would invest in businesses which would hire more workers, at better wages. Rather than focusing on the demand side of the equation—the workers—as governments had done since FDR fought the Depression with the New Deal, Reagan said he could jump-start the economy by putting money into the supply side. The man who would become his own vice president, George H.W. Bush, called this idea “voodoo economics,” but who would complain about a plan that enabled Americans to have the government programs they had come to depend on, without having to pay for them?

Unfortunately, it actually was voodoo economics. In 1981, Congress cut $35 billion from the next year’s budget and cut the top income tax rates from 70% to 50%, as well as cutting capital gains and estate taxes. At Reagan’s urging, it also added $17 billion in new defense spending. In the next five years, it would increase defense spending by 40%. As that money (and more, from the deregulation of savings and loan banks, and from lower interest rates) boosted the economy, it seemed that supply-side economics worked.

An up-and-coming Republican spokesman named Grover Norquist insisted that voters did not want to be taxed to pay down deficits, and it was clear they didn’t have to be. When Democrats called for higher taxes and defense cuts to balance the deficit, Republicans accused them of being anti-business and soft on communism.

But the booming economy was paid for by extensive borrowing. During Reagan’s years in office, the federal debt tripled from $994 billion to $2.8 trillion, and America went from being a creditor nation to a debtor nation. Republican leaders insisted that the Democrats were responsible for the rising debt because they would not make sufficient cuts in domestic spending, but in fact increased defense spending meant the administration itself never submitted a balanced budget.

When he took office, George H.W. Bush tried to take on the national debt, which was costing Americans $200 billion a year in interest payments. In 1990, facing a $171 billion deficit for the next year, Bush agreed to raise taxes if Democrats agreed to steep spending cuts. Republicans led by Georgia Representative Newt Gingrich signed onto the deal in private, but in public began to force those willing to raise taxes, people they called RINOs—Republicans in Name Only—out of their party. The belief that economic growth depended on cutting taxes had become the test of Republican purity.

In 1993, to deal with budget deficits, President Bill Clinton convinced Congress to raise tax rates on incomes over $250,000—affecting about 1% of Americans—to 39.6%, increase the highest corporate tax rate by 1%, and increase the gas tax. Not a single Republican voted for the measure, but under it, the economy boomed and the annual deficits began to shrink. In 1997, Clinton expanded domestic programs and cut the capital gains tax rate, but even still, in 1998, the government was producing a budget surplus.

Even before he took office, President George W. Bush prepared a $1.6 trillion tax cut to wipe that surplus out. Norquist explained to a reporter that so long as there was money to spend, it would go to social welfare legislation, and the Republicans were determined to starve the government, not feed it. Bush did not get the full cut he wanted, but in June 2001 Congress passed a bill cutting $1.3 trillion over ten years.

Immediately after 9-11, Congress appropriated $358 billion for security before Bush dramatically increased military spending—by $48 billion—while slashing domestic spending. When the administration launched more tax cuts the following year, Bush’s Treasury Secretary, Paul O’Neill, worried about a fiscal crisis. Vice President Dick Cheney disagreed: “Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter.” Bush took the country into war in Afghanistan and Iraq but, for the first time in U.S. history, did not raise taxes to pay for the military actions. Instead, Congress cut taxes again. By 2009, the Congressional Research Service estimated the cost of those wars at $1 trillion.  President Barack Obama took office in early 2009 with the Great Recession in full swing. Deficit spending to restart the economy put the deficit at more than $1.4 trillion that year. As the economy recovered, deficits dropped to $585 billion.

Under Trump, though, they rose dramatically again despite the fact he inherited a growing economy. In 2017, he pushed through a tax cut which increased the 2019 deficit to $984 billion. It was projected to be $1.02 trillion in 2020—a 74% increase in four years of a strong economy—when the coronavirus hit. This meant that interest payments on the federal debt—before coronavirus—were estimated to cost $382 billion, 8.2% of total government spending. [Comparison of deficits for Obama’s last three years with DDT’s first three years. DDT’s tax cuts aren’t paying for themselves.] 

The pandemic, of course, required a huge relief package. The CARES bill appropriated $2.2 trillion, making this year’s deficit projected to be at least $3.7 trillion.

Measured against GDP, our accumulated debt is now higher than at any time except in 1946, during World War II. In June 2020, it was $20.3 trillion.

Economists are of two minds (at least!) about the economic effects of deficits and the federal debt, but there is one very clear political meaning to them. This pattern of government spending and taxation since 1981 has moved wealth upward dramatically. In 1979, the top 1% of Americans held 20.5% of the nation’s wealth. In 1989 the top 1% held 35.7%.

By 2017, the top 1% owned 40% of the country’s wealth, more than the bottom 90% combined. The top 20% in 2017 owned 90% of the wealth, leaving just 10% for the remaining 80%. The bottom 20% of Americans have no wealth; they are in debt.

When Republicans today say they are going to turn their attention back to the deficits and the debt, what they are saying is that they intend to continue to cut taxes. Then they will blame the Democrats for being fiscally irresponsible when they call for the infrastructure and social welfare spending that used to keep the American economic playing field somewhat level.

[Note: As you can see, the U.S. is moving forward on the same circular pattern. Republicans make a horrible mess, and Democrats get elected. Democrats clean up the mess. The minute the country gets in better shape, the Republicans make another mess. And so on.

October 31, 2020

DDT: Week 197 – Violence, Fraud

Armed domestic terrorists carrying flags in support of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) ambushed and attacked a Joe Biden caravan of cars and a bus traveling from San Antonio to Austin on I-35 for a campaign event yesterday. The DDT vehicles surrounded the Biden group, and observers took video of DDT cars attacking ones in the Biden group. A watching police officer refused to help the people being attacked, saying it wasn’t his “jurisdiction” although 911 calls brought other law enforcement to help. The almost 100 vehicles in the attack came from a “Trump Train group,” supporting DDT throughout Texas. People in them yelled profanities and obscenities while blockading the Biden entourage, slowing the group to 20 mph on the interstate highway. On the Biden bus was Texas Congressional candidate and former state senator Wendy Davis. DDT’s tweeted response about the travesty was “I LOVE TEXAS!” with an image of the attack. DDT’s supporters have made threatening actions across the United States to intimidate Biden supporters, but this event escalated the violence.

Other desperate Republican attempts to rig the election in their favor are using the USPS, now led by DDT’s appointee Louis DeJoy, to delay or eliminate mail delivery. Key swing states have the worst mail delivery in the U.S. This past week, on-time rates for ballots in 17 postal districts representing 10 battleground states and 151 electoral votes was 5.9 percentage points lower than the national average; over ten percent ballots are arriving later than the postal service’s maximum three-day delivery time for first class mail. Thanks to Republicans and GOP courts, 28 states refuse to count ballots received after Election Day even if they are postmarked by that time. The Black-predominant Detroit area delivered only 72.8 percent of ballots on time last week, compared to 84.3 percent delivery in the Greater Michigan district. In most of Kentucky, about 20 percent of ballots were delivered outside the three-day promise. Last Wednesday, three-day delivery occurred in Philadelphia for 58 percent of the time; Detroit dropped to 52 percent

The national average is 95 percent, two percent below the former 97-percent on-time delivery. Over 52 million people have voted by mail instead of in person, and over 37 million mail ballots are outstanding. Judge Emmet G. Sullivan in the U.S. District Court in D.C. ordered the USPS to provide a written explanation for each district delivering less than 80 percent of ballots on time each day or less than 90 percent of ballots on time for two days in the same week. Wisconsin and Minnesota ballots are not accepted after November 3. Courts have ordered ballots legally arriving within the allotted time after Election Day in Minnesota, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania set aside, setting the scene for courts to exclude these votes from the total. Compounding problems in Minnesota is its ballot tracking system going offline for maintenance today. A video at the Miami-Dade Post Office showed piles of undelivered mail, including ballots both completed and blank, more than a week overdue.

As part of its war on democratic voting, Republicans are suing to invalidate legally cast votes; i.e., over 100,000 votes in Harris County (TX) cast at drive-through voting centers. In Nevada, the GOP lawsuit demands detailed information about workers counting ballots, including their names, party affiliations, and work schedules as well as copies of every signature on mail ballots returned to elections officials and used to authenticate ballots. The hearing is Monday.

DDT’s failures of the past week make him appear more of a failure. His campaign events spread the virus in almost every area he goes and sent people to the hospital with hypothermia (Omaha) and heat stroke (Tampa). In Tampa, at least 17 people needed medical attention, and a dozen of them were taken to the hospital. DDT rescheduled a North Carolina to Monday because of high winds. Again today, he left members of his audience in the dark and cold while waiting two hours for buses at Butler (PA) after sitting outside for four to five hours. At another performance he ridiculed faithful follower Laura Ingraham (Fox network) for wearing a mask. 

Reports released this week covered DDT going easy on a Turkish bank allegedly breaking U.S. sanctions law when the bank funneled money to Iran and helped fund the country’s nuclear weapons program. Turkey provides millions of dollars to DDT for his businesses there. Bolton had said DDT would favor foreign leaders over government regulations to get personal returns from them. To protect DDT, AG Bill Barr had fired U.S. attorney Geoffrey Berman, keeping him from pursuing the case against Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.  

U.S. taxpayers have also given DDT at least $2.5 million for excessive charges at DDT properties in addition to another $5.6 million paid by DDT’s campaign and fundraising committee.

Four years ago, James Comey sank Hillary Clinton’s election chances with a last minute accusation about her emails. This October, Steve Bannon and Rudy Giuliani tried the same schtick by trying to smear Joe Biden with infamous laptops supposedly containing salacious and damning material from Biden’s son, Hunter. On his Fox show, Tucker Carlson tried to help the scheme by saying UPS “lost” the damning laptop documents when a producer mailed them to Carlson’s home. UPS supposedly found the package, but Carlson complained about a missing flash card. Then he admitted he had copied the documents before he said they were missing. Asked about their contents, he first said he had not yet reviewed them and then said he didn’t want to be “piling on” Hunter Biden. Carlson’s story fell apart after the announcement that a fake “intelligence firm,” Typhoon Investigations, had disseminated the fake 64-page document about China. It was written by a self-identified Swiss security analyst, a fabricated identity with a profile photo created by artificial intelligence.The contents, highly promoted by the New York Post, were available on the internet a month before its article.

Federal prosecutors in New York are investigating Giuliani about potential violation of lobbying laws in dealing with Ukraine and payments from Florida businessmen Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, indicted last year for illegally funneling money to Republican political candidates. Bannon was arrested for conspiring to defraud people in the “build the wall” scheme and working with Chinese national to violate securities laws by bilking investors in a private offering. DDT has indicated he will be pardoning Bannon.

Republicans are trying to spin last quarter’s GDP figures into a positive for DDT, but that attempt appears to have fizzled. The 33-percent increase might look good, but economist Jay Shambaugh explained some “basic math”:

“If you own a stock priced at $100 and it drops 30 percent, it is now worth $70. If it gains back 30 percent, it is then worth $91 (the gain is just $21 because 30 percent of 70 is 21).”

Another economist, Dean Baker, explained “the economy would have to grow at a 53.3 percent annual rate in the third quarter to make up the ground lost in the first and second quarters.” Growth this next quarter will be minimal if not minus: the second quarter benefited from stimulus checks, unemployment benefits, and perks for businesses. With a recalcitrant GOP Senate, chances of another stimulus bill after the election are slim to none because they would do it only to help their election prospects. Projections for the 2020 GDP is a minus 3 percent to 4 percent. DDT brags about his 11 million new jobs during the last quarter, but these are only half the 22+ million lost in the previous quarter. DDT has gained absolutely zero new jobs since he was elected.

COVID-19 is a major reason people are giving for their Biden’s votes. Yesterday, the U.S. broke the 100,000 number for new cases, almost 3,000 more than India with its population over twice that of the U.S. Deaths still average almost 1,000 a day, a figure Donald Trump Jr calls “almost nothing.” Hospitalizations have also skyrocketed although accurate numbers are difficult to find since DDT’s administration twisted the data collection system by giving it to a private contractor owned by DDT’s friend. The figures are no longer publicly available for all states.

In DDT’s rabid campaigning, he claims doctors inflate the number of deaths for financial gain. Calling DDT’s lies “malicious” and “completely misguided,” the AMA released a statement about how “physicians, nurses, and frontline health care workers have risked their health, their safety and their lives to treat their patients and defeat a deadly virus. They did it because duty called and because of the sacred oath they took.” AMA President Susan R. Bailey continued by asking people to use “public health steps” based on knowledge instead of following “the dangerous wave of misinformation.”

Data for this interactive map is here. 

 

DDT has also emphasized the “positivity rate” as the gold standard, and Dean Baker’s data shows GOP-governed states have the highest COVID-19 test rates, more than states governed by Democrats. Mississippi has a 100-percent positive rate, the number of positives for the tests.  

Ignore COVID: DDT’s final campaign message.

October 30, 2020

GOP Limping toward Finish without DDT

Filed under: Elections — trp2011 @ 11:28 PM
Tags: , ,

A dozen senators struggle in their 2020 reelection, and Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) attacked some of them, perhaps because he doesn’t like “losers.” At a private party for donors, he said:

“There are a couple senators I can’t really get involved in. I just can’t do it. You lose your soul if you do. I can’t help some of them. I don’t want to help some of them.”

GOP strategists believe DDT’s divisive rhetoric and low poll numbers may endanger a GOP Senate majority. DDT also thinks the Republicans “are going to take back the House.” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) summarized DDT’s problem:

“In retrospect, I wish the president might have turned his marketing genius from his red MAGA hats to red MAGA masks.”

Fighting to keep their jobs, some of them in states turning blue, most of these GOP senators have turned vicious or pathetic–but always lacking in respect for their opponents.  

Lindsey Graham: Once highly respected in both his state of South Carolina and in the Senate when he and the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) were a pair, Graham turned to total devotion for DDT, even losing the scraps of his reputation by pushing Amy Coney Barrett through the confirmation process in 10 days from the first day of committee hearings to the final floor vote. Once Graham completed the task as DDT’s boy, Lou Dobbs told his Fox audience not to vote for Graham in his tightly-contested race. Dobbs used DDT’s words from 2016:  

“I think Lindsey Graham is a disgrace and you have one of the worst representatives of any representative in the United States. I don’t think he could run for dog catcher in this state and win again.”

Democrats can support Dobb’s conclusion: 

“Graham … has betrayed the American people and his oath of office, he’s done absolutely nothing … except to tell everyone ‘stay tuned,’ time and time again, ‘stay tuned.’ Senator Graham needs to be tuned out in South Carolina.”

“It’s about time” for Graham to be defeated, commented a writer at the right-wing American Greatness website. They whined Graham followed DDT’s marching orders only 97 percent of the time, the highest percentage for any vulnerable senator.

Frustrated after his opponent, Jamie Harrison, brought in more donations for his campaign than he did, Graham proposed an investigation into ActBlue, a way to make small donations to Democratic candidates on the internet comparable to the less successful WinRed for Republicans. Graham cheered up when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) poured tens of millions of dollars into Graham’s campaign for his support of Barrett and the former Constitution Party senatorial candidate supported him. Some polls, however, show Harrison still two points ahead.

Answering a question about protests in a televised “conversation” with Harrison, Graham said Black and immigrants can “go anywhere” in South Carolina” if they are “conservative.” He denied any racism in his state because a Black can “go to the Senate” if they “share our values.” Both his opponent and the state’s junior senator, Tim Scott, are Black. Graham refused any debates. A Confederate state during the Civil War, South Carolina has a long history of institutionalized racism exacerbated by the Jim Crow era.

Barbara Bollier: After GOP incumbent Pat Roberts, 84-year-old congressional member for 40 years, decided not to run again for U.S. Senate, the Kansas race was open. Bollier, who changed parties to become a Democrat in the traditionally red state, didn’t appear to have a chance until GOP Roger Marshall became her opponent. He failed to answer repeated requests to participate in a debate with Bollier and then accused the moderator of a set-up by lying he hadn’t been contacted until the day before. The moderator showed the receipts for multiple certified letters she sent him and his tweet about a prior commitment for the time of the debate. Bollier pointed out the GOP Senate Leadership Fund used actors pretending to be Kansans in commercials lying about her positions on health care, guns, and taxes. She is ahead in the race by one point.

David Perdue: He has had two recent videos go viral, the first when he mocked Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) by repeatedly mispronouncing her name of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA). Perdue spent four years with Harris in the Senate and should be familiar with the name of a vice presidential candidate. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) said:

“This is a sitting U.S. senator who he’s mocking and who is the first woman of color on a major party ticket—that’s not all a coincidence. That’s not only planned, but it’s the result of a president who has done everything he can to otherize and rile up crowds to do the same.” 

Jayapal suffered the same abuse last summer from her opponent, Craig Keller, who not only repeatedly mispronounced her name in a candidates’ forum this past summer, even after she asked him to correct it, but also sent the Washington Post an email that repeated calling her “Jail a pal.”  

The second viral video came from the Perdue-Ossoff debate. John Ossoff (above right)called Perdue a “crook” and said Perdue might have had time to respond to COVID-19 if he hadn’t “been fending off multiple federal investigations for insider trading.” Last winter, Perdue used classified information to buy and sell stocks. Ossoff told the television audience Perdue said the virus “was no deadlier than the flu” and allowed “insurance companies to deny policies to Georgians with preexisting conditions.” He also declared Perdue was “lengthening my nose in attack ads to remind everybody that I’m Jewish, … started calling me some kind of Islamic terrorist, [and] started calling me a Chinese communist.” Perdue backed out of the last debate, and Ossoff is up by three points. 

John Cornyn: Calling his race with MJ Hegar “too close for comfort,” Cornyn tried to separate himself from DDT with a comparison of DDT to abusive husbands whose wives can’t change them after they marry. Cornyn’s sexism isn’t helping him with female voters; he also described “women as civilizers, cunningly trying to domesticate their spouses.” In an ad, Cornyn shows his opponent swearing and himself being polite, his style when taking children from their parents at the border and health insurance from cancer survivors. Cornyn is above Hegar by five points, but the vote in Texas is already above 2016.

Martha McSally: After she faithfully followed DDT, often to her detriment among Arizonans, DDT treated her like a dog at his latest campaign rally in the state. He said:

“Martha, just come up fast. Fast. Fast. Come on. Quick. You got one minute! One minute, Martha! They don’t want to hear this, Martha. Come on. Let’s go. Quick, quick, quick. Come on. Let’s go.”

McSally did get only one minute, but her opponent, Mark Kelly, said, “The president of the United States should have respect for an Arizona senator.” Polls were good for Kelly earlier, but they vary within the past few weeks. At the time of the rally, she was behind over four points, and DDT’s behavior didn’t help her.

Susan Collins: In trouble for her votes in favor of Justice Brett Kavanaugh and the disastrous tax cut for the wealthy, Collins finally came through with a vote against Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court—when her vote made no difference. Earlier, information surfaced about one of her votes providing millions of dollars for a donor after he embezzled millions from funding from the COVID-19 stimulus bill. Maine voters now learned about her authoring contracting reforms to directly benefit her future husband’s lobbying and consulting firm with tens of millions of dollars. Collins is behind two points.

Joni Ernst: Like most Republican candidates, she wants to hide what she really thinks—like getting rid of Social Security. She ran attack ads about her opponent calling the police racists when Ernst used the same term for police in her last debate. DDT barely gave Ernst a mention at his Omaha rally where thousands people were left out in the cold. “Joni doesn’t know beans” trended because she failed to answer a question at the debate about the “break-even price” for soybeans. Her opponent, Theresa Greenfield, had no trouble with a similar question about a bushel of corn. The exchange is well-worth watching. Ernst has picked up a two-point lead.

(Photo by Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)

Mitch McConnell: Despite the excellent campaigning by the Senate Majority Leader’s opponent, Amy McGrath, McConnell is still leading Kentucky just because he’s a Republican. He deliberately sabotaged the proposed stimulus bill behind the scenes giving each poor Kentuckian—and there are a lot—thousands of dollars from checks and unemployment and laughed at McGrath when described it a “dereliction of duty” before interrupting her.  

Photographs of McConnell’s hands and extensive bruising, multiple bandages, and yellowing around his eyes give the appearance of a serious illness. Two weeks earlier, he had no marks. The bruising around his mouth could be from intubation, placing an airway into his mouth, and the purple hands could be from blood thinners and IVs. McConnell is up nine points.

 Other vulnerable senators: Thom Tillis, down ten points (NC); Steve Daines, up one point (MT); and Cory Gardner, down nine points (CO).

A hint for early Sunday morning, turn your clocks back for the end of Daylight Savings Time 2020. Just think of Amy Coney Barrett. 

October 26, 2020

Congressional Civil War: A Play in Three Acts about the Supreme Court

Today, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) proudly showed off his new Supreme Court justice, showing the country that she is his third Republican member of the high court who join another three right-wing “justices” for a radical-right supermajority. To prove which side she’s on, he orchestrated her swearing-in at the White House as he did for his first two confirmations. No president has done that.

Act One of the Supreme Court drama began only 38 days ago with the death of wise, intelligent jurist Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The action moved quickly with DDT nominating Amy Coney Barrett almost immediately, before the nation had any time to mourn. With raw bullying power, Senate Republicans rapidly moved her confirmation proceedings through before the public could learn more about her background, and GOP senators deemed her brilliant because she could spout judicial jargon and supposedly care for a family of seven. Their fixation on her children looked like an interview for teacher or day-care worker. None of the “brilliance” came from her answers: she answered almost no questions although admitting that she knows little about science when asked about climate change.

Much was said about her willingness to overturn women’s rights to their own bodies because of the right-to-life positions, preserving life from fertilization to birth. Rights for persons after that are up for grabs except for corporations. Barrett supports the rights of felons to own as many guns as they want but not to vote. Workers lose in her court, but police are rewarded for excessive force. In a dissent from the entire 7th Circuit Court, she argued for a “separate-but-equal” arrangement in a discrimination case. Barrett’s defenders claim no evidence for her rulings against Roe v. Wade, giving women the right to an abortion in the first trimester, but she made two decisions opposing a woman’s right to choose.

Barrett’s religion, the 1,700-member People of Praise “covenant community,” requires “submission” to both its leadership and her husband. As a member of the off-shoot evangelical Catholic group,  Barrett served on the board of its private schools banning children of same-gender parents and refusing to hire openly gay and lesbian teachers. Knowing her discrimination against LGBTQ rights, including her ties to the anti-LGBTQ+ hate group Alliance Defending Freedom, same-gender couples have been lining up to get married before he confirmation. For example, a St. Louis (MO) pastor offered four days of “pop-up elopements” in which 16 same-gender couples married. Florists, bakers, photographers, and other vendors offered free services. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito have already written about their opposition to marriage quality, claiming Obergefell v. Hodges had “ruinous consequences for religious liberty.”

The hypocrisy of Barrett’s appointment and confirmation was well documented in the media, complete with videos of several senators who claimed four years ago that “the people” should make the decision this soon before an election. Two extremely conservative lawyers who served for Ronald Reagan and W. Bush called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) a hypocrite after he demanded, four years ago, “the American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice.” They accused Republicans of politicizing the high court modern-day and undermining public trust in the Supreme Court.

Despite massive protests against the Senate process at this time, Act One ended today with her swearing in by Clarence Thomas, Barrett’s choice.

Act Two began today when five of the eight Supreme Court justices refused to reinstate a lower court order mandating the counting of mailed ballots received up to six days if postmarked by Election Day after the 7th Circuit Court, Barrett’s old home, put the order on hold. The Supreme Court has refused to make decisions about voting within months before Election Day because of the “confusion.” That was when it might benefit Democrats; now all cases benefiting Republicans can be heard in court—even one week before Election Day.

Brett Kavanaugh supported DDT’s myth about “chaos … if thousands of absentee ballots flow in after election day….” To them, late ballots make people believe “the election has been stolen,” instead of understanding that voting is not to be taken lightly and voters are not to be disenfranchised. Justice Elena Kagan responded to Kavanaugh:

“But there are no results to ‘flip’ until all valid votes are counted. And nothing could be more ‘suspicio[us]’ or ‘improp[er]’ than refusing to tally votes once the clock strikes 12 on election night. To suggest otherwise, especially in these fractious times, is to disserve the electoral process.”

Kagan also wrote:

“On the scales of both constitutional justice and electoral accuracy, protecting the right to vote in a health crisis outweighs conforming to a deadline created in safer days.”

“Must have final total by November 3,” DDT tweeted after he slowed down the mail delivery to ensure late ballots cannot be included in the vote, according to his Supreme Court. Neither Kavanaugh nor DDT has any proof for their conspiracy theories. Eighteen states plus DC have allowed ballots to be delivered after Election Day for decades with no problems before DDT began ranting. The six-person Supreme Court radical right could overturn all those laws to put DDT back into the White House. Or make other decisions for the same end.

The Supreme Court has refused to make decisions about voting within months before Election Day because of the “confusion.” That was when it might benefit Democrats; now all cases benefiting Republicans can be heard in court—even one week before Election Day.

That’s Act Two.

Act Three? With the confirmation, Democratic senators pointed out to their Republican “colleagues” they had lost all rights to complain if Democrats take the majority and change rules. In 2017, Republicans dropped the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees, knowing they couldn’t get 12 Democratic votes for any of DDT’s nominees. In 2019, Republicans reduced the debate time for lower court and executive picks, the only way they could get 215 of DDT’s judicial appointments confirmed. Barrett’s confirmation has picked up support within the Senate for expanding the number of justices on the Supreme Court

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) said:

“Do we just unilaterally stand down and not choose to use the same tools that Republicans did in the majority? … I think there are now new rules in the Senate, and I think Republicans have set them.”

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) warned:

“With this vote, my Republican colleagues forfeit their right to call procedural fouls.” 

And that could be Act Three of DDT’s Supreme Court drama.

McConnell’s win for the Supreme Court and loss of all ethical reputation was at the loss of any stimulus help for the vast majority of people in the U.S. in need. His decision wasn’t good for today’s stock market, DDT’s sole marker for his economy; by closing the Dow Jones clawed its way from a 900-point drop to only 650 points below its opening. In addition to no assistance, COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are soaring. Oil prices also dropped because of the world’s rising infections. Investors may move their money to Europe where countries are using methods to limit the coronavirus.

The petri dish named White House saw an outbreak of five members of VP Mike Pence’s staff, two of them close to him—his chief of staff and his “body man” whose job is to accompany him 24 hours for help with multiple duties. Pence’s task force requires quarantine for exposure to the virus, but DDT declared Pence an “essential worker” because he flies across the U.S., campaigning for DDT while infecting people in the airplane and at the rallies. Even staunch Republican and former New Jersey governor Chris Christie thought Pence should be in quarantine. Christie spent a week in the hospital, experiencing COVID-19 first hand. Although Pence claims he tested negative, he uses rapid testing equipment, wrong about 30 percent of the time.   

Another disaster over the weekend was an admission from the White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows that the White House has no plan regarding COVID-19. He said the administration isn’t “going to control the pandemic.” The plan to just quit trying to stop the killing of hundreds of thousands of people happened the day before GOP senators confirmed their Supreme Court appointee who will kill health care for tens of millions of people. Tomorrow, the U.S. will surpass 9 million reported cases and kill over 230,000 in the United States.

The official GOP policy regarding coronavirus: It is what it is. No relief for suffering people and no health care for the afflicted, but a new “Christian” in the Supreme Court to push her religion onto everyone. Meadows also said that the White House was hiding the positive virus cases of Pence’s staff.

Pence has a history of not wearing a mask, and he intended to go to the Senate today for Barrett’s confirmation vote. After widespread criticism, he decided to not go.

Shorts of the whining DDT on last Sunday’s Sixty Minutes show his whining and constant interruptions of interviewer Lesley Stahl. as he constantly interrupts and tries to direct interview Lesley Stahl. President Obama said, “If you have to walk out of a 60 Minutes interview, you’re never going to stand up to a dictator.” DDT tried to defend his health plan by giving Stahl a four-inch thick volume—that had no plan. Both DDT’s and Joe Biden’s Sixty Minutes interviews are here. 

September 27, 2020

Supreme Court Nominee: Destroy Workers’ Rights, Rig the Election

Today, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) put a radical right Christian cult member on the Supreme Court while Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wasn’t even put to rest in her grave at Arlington Cemetery. The pick by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), Amy Coney Barrett, has espoused:

  • Roe v. Wade: an “erroneous decision.”
  • Sexual assault against college students: Barrett’s appellate decision allowing students, mostly male, to ease challenges against university cases in accusations against them. 
  • Legal career: a means to “building the kingdom of God.”  
  • Catholic judges: obligated to “to adhere to their church’s teachings on moral matters.” 
  • Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit: an “assault on religious liberty.”
  • Immigration: supports DDT’s rule blocking green cards if people may need future public assistance.
  • LGBTQ rights: paid a speaking fee by Alliance Defending Freedom, a nonprofit defending forced sterilization for transgender people and been dubbed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. She would not answer a questions about whether she would overturn marriage equality.
  • Brett Kavanaugh: good choice for the Supreme Court.
  • Religious beliefs: member of People of Praise, calling female leaders “handmaids” until the publication of the dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale, and believing in supernatural occurrences such as prophecy, miraculous healing, and speaking in tongues. Group members swear to uphold so-called “covenants,” are held accountable to advisors, and believe dark forces abound in the world. (Comments from someone who escaped the cult.) 

While much has been said about Barrett taking reproductive, LGBTQ, and healthcare rights from people, DDT has an even darker reason for selecting Barrett—other than her youth. DDT and GOP senators care nothing about abortion and marriage equality, but they use those subjects to push their real agenda, bringing in donations from businesses for campaigning and, in DDT’s case, more money for his businesses. [Explanation for Sauron.]

Businesses can make more money by denying workers’ rights and regulations, and DDT’s judicial appointees will help them. One of his appointments in Pennsylvania used Lochner v. New York to open up all the businesses in the state, despite spreading COVID-19, with the position that the U.S. Constitution has no provision for controlling businesses. Using Lochner, other conservative justices, Barrett and other conservative justices, claiming to be “originalist” and “textualist” unless they prefer the other side, can destroy labor unions, environmental regulations, minorities’ voting rights, safety of food, education, and government health care while allowing the wealthy to purchase politicians with unlimited secret donations. In the future, DDT’s conservative judges can rule to eliminate minimum wages, equal pay, number of hours worked, union rights, etc.

Corporations can return to their golden days of the early 20th century with sweatshops, enforced labor for children, etc. Businesses started plotting in the 1930s after Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “New Deal” gave workers’ rights and help for the poor. Incomes improved by the 1950s and 1960s. After the 1964 Civil Rights Act women gained more employment rights: companies could no longer choose men over women for jobs just because gender.

In the 1970s, Bob Dole persuaded evangelical Christians to drop its policy of staying out of politics and put them together with corporations. The radical right Christians, enraged by the Supreme Court legalizing abortions, were used by corporations to elect conservatives. Corporations gave conservatives large campaign donations, and candidates used “moral” issues to get elected. By the 1990s, conservatives blasted the conservative Bill Clinton, who managed to bring the country back to a balanced budget for a short time, and in 2000 the Supreme Court chose George W. Bush to it in the Oval Office despite an examination of Florida’s “hanging chads” giving the majority to Gore.

To keep their voters happy, conservative politicians went farther and farther right, and Democrats had to follow along. The political philosophy of Democrats today is the same as that of Republicans in the 1950s, and the Republicans have dropped below the bottom of the charts for conservativism.

DDT, firmly entrenched with about 40 percent of the voters, has total control over GOP congressional members with his vicious habit of retaliation against anyone who disagrees with him. On Trump TV (Fox & Friends) he threatened retribution at the ballot box for anyone who didn’t vote for his choice. DDT doesn’t care about abortion or LGBTQ rights: his only concern is money, and he’ll do anything to make more of it. The same goes for almost all the Republicans in Congress. They can’t afford to give up donations from businesses, and they spout conservative values to keep getting the money for their coffers.

Poll numbers continue to be lower for DDT than those for Joe Biden, and DDT is terrified he will lose the election. The loss means courts can look into DDT’s finances, which are extremely suspicious, and he might even go to prison. At the least, DDT’s adoring public will discover the kind of shyster and con artist he is. For that reason, he is desperate to seat his next Supreme Court nominee before November 3. He will cause so much chaos at the ballot box that the high court may give him another four years.

It’s the GOP rule of thumb: take power at any cost. The GOP senators did that four years ago when they blocked President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, almost eight months before the election and are working on perfecting it now when DDT made his appointment under six weeks before Election Day. David Axelrod called the appointment “a tyranny of the minority.” If DDT’s replacement succeeds, the majority of Supreme Court justices will have been appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote and confirmed by senators who represent under half the country.

A fact-checker about the lies Republicans use to excuse their hypocrisy:

Four years ago when several GOP senators looked for a “rationale” to refuse Merrick Garland as a Supreme Court nominee, they claimed Joe Biden had proclaimed no nominee should be considered in the last year of a president’s term. Biden actually said he might question making a nomination after the primaries began in the last year of a president’s term. DDT’s nomination today came over three weeks after people started voting in the general election. Contrary to the false claim of Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) about no justices being appointed in an election year, at least 14 Supreme Court justices were confirmed during an election year with three others nominated in the December lame duck session after the election. 

Four years ago, the Republican senators made a big deal of letting the people decide by voting for the president. Now will of the people makes no difference to Republicans, who discount people having a choice in the process if the Senate majority and the president belong to the same party. Once again, Republicans moved the goal posts to win.

GOP senators are saying they didn’t “block” Garland’s nomination, but most of them, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), refused Garland even the courtesy of meeting with him.

GOP presidents have not always been completely partisan in their selection of justices. In the 1950s, Dwight Eisenhower worked for equal justice when he nominated five Supreme Court justices who opposed discrimination. School desegregation, unanimously determined in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, came in 1953 when Earl Warren was chief justice. (One of DDT’s confirmed judicial appointments, Wendy Vitters, would not agree that Brown was correctly settled.) Other equality decisions included the requirement that state voting districts be roughly equal in population. At that time, Nevada had one district with 127,000 and another with 568 people. Under Warren’s court, the Miranda decision required police to give charged people their rights, Loving v. Virginia decriminalized interracial marriage, and Griswold v. Connecticut legalized birth control for married couples. (Single women couldn’t get birth control pills until seven years later.)

Although Richard Nixon had less interest in people’s rights, the 1973 Roe v. Wade was passed 7-2 with an all-male Supreme Court. Five of the GOP-appointed justices supported Roe.

Evangelical Christians voted for Ronald Reagan, and he frequently complained about “judicial activism,” a problem for conservatives who object to human rights. Right-wingers don’t describe decisions benefiting the radical right as “activism.” Reagan loaded the Supreme Court with appointments he claimed would strictly follow the Constitution with their “family values.” His confirmed nominees of 4 Supreme Court justices and 368 federal court judges is, at this time, an even higher number than DDT, but he had eight years in which to do it.

Republicans became angry when David Souter, appointed by George H.W. Bush, was moderate, but Clarence Thomas, the replacement for civil rights activist Thurgood Marshall, has been much more satisfactory to the anti-civil rights activist GOP. After 29 years, Thomas remains the most conservative justice on the high court.

At this point, it’s a miracle the United States has made any progress in a half century: a majority of justices for the last 50 years have been nominated by Republican presidents who become increasingly conservative. In addition losing individual rights, people will suffer huge losses to feather the nests of big business and the wealthy.

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