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Letter From An American

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  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 32,760
    Still, dominating the news tonight was another election story. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, said in an interview that Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, asked Raffensperger if he could throw out all the ballots from counties that had a high percentage of non-matching signatures. This would mean throwing out legally cast mail-in ballots, an illegal request that Raffensperger said stunned him. Graham called Raffensperger’s characterization of the conversation “ridiculous.”

    This is where it becomes obvious that Trump and certain other Republican leaders are simply trolling the American people and being sore losers.  Throw our ALL the ballots in counties that had high percentage on non-matching signatures?  First of all, what is a "high percentage" here?  (I don't know, but I'll bet it is a single digit number or less.)   And why throw out the legitimate ballots?  This is purely infantile, trolling behavior that is beginning to characterize the crumbling, self-destructing Republican party. 

    “In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result.”
    -James Allen










  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 19,287
     November 17, 2020 (Tuesday)

    It was notable today that the media was dominated not by the actions of the incoming president-elect, as one would expect after a presidential election, but by the actions of the lame-duck president, Donald Trump.

    Biden is quietly and calmly building his administration, meeting with experts, filling posts, even as Trump’s refusal to acknowledge Biden’s victory in the election means that the Biden team cannot have access to federal staff or information. Biden named nine senior White House officials for his incoming administration, all of whom are long-time political operatives who know the ropes in Washington. Biden is an institutionalist who is signaling that his administration will rebuild the governmental systems dismantled in the past four years.

    He is also signaling that he will focus on the job of the presidency, rather than on dominating the media. His Twitter feed is sparse and sterile. In today's just two tweets, he expressed sympathy for the victims of Hurricane Eta and concerns about climate change, and said he and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris had met with national security experts.

    In contrast, Trump is trying to retain relevance by creating chaos, as usual.

    He continues to insist he won the election, against all evidence. Christopher Krebs, the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, earlier pushed back against his insistence the vote was tainted, calling the election “the most secure in American history.” Today, Trump fired him. Krebs tweeted “Honored to serve. We did it right. Defend Today, Secure Tomorrow.”

    National political reporter Robert Costa says he keeps hearing from people around Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani that they are challenging the results of the election not because they think there is any chance for Trump to catch up to Biden in actual votes, but in order to try to prevent key states from certifying their votes. This would throw the election into the House of Representatives, where each state gets one vote. This, they believe, would give Trump a win.

    It’s a terribly long shot, and it doesn’t appear to be working. So far, Trump’s lawyers have already lost 25 of the campaign’s lawsuits. They won one, on procedure, not on evidence.

    Still, in Wayne County, Michigan, tonight, two Republican members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers briefly refused to certify the ballots for the county, suggesting that the votes in Detroit— where most voters are Black and which gave 94% of its votes to Biden—were fraudulent. This would have thrown the certification to the Michigan Board of State Canvassers, overseen by the state secretary of state, a Democrat, who would certainly have certified the votes.

    But after a public outcry in which attendees pointed out that the stance of the Republican canvassers was a clear insult to the poll workers who worked so hard to ensure our democratic process during the pandemic, and who had already endured the attacks of Republicans at the polls, the two Republicans reversed their decision and certified the ballots.

    Meanwhile, the story that broke last night about Senator Lindsey Graham’s interference in the recount of ballots in Georgia got more detailed. Yesterday, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said that Graham (R-SC) had asked him if it were possible to throw out all mail-in ballots from counties with large numbers of mismatched signatures, a request Raffensperger found shocking. Graham admitted the call but denied Raffensperger’s characterization of it. Now it turns out there was someone else on the call, who confirmed the conversation.

    Graham told reporters that he had also spoken with the secretaries of state in Nevada and Arizona, only to have Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs contradict the story on Twitter, saying she had not spoken with him, and Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske also deny that he had contacted her. Then he said he had spoken with the Arizona Governor, Doug Ducey, but couldn’t recall to whom he had spoken in Nevada. This whole story raises the question: why was Graham, who is a senator from South Carolina, grilling the Georgia secretary of state about an election recount in Georgia?

    Starting today, the administration allowed oil and gas companies to pick out land for drilling rights on about 1.6 million acres of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The American Petroleum Institute welcomed the move, although it is unclear how many companies will want to drill in an area so remote it will be expensive. Auctions of the leases will take place just before Biden takes office. Biden has said he would protect the refuge from drilling.

    Finally, the troop drawdown in Afghanistan and Iraq is raising the ire of lawmakers and military leaders, both. Today, the new Acting Defense Secretary, Chris Miller, who replaced the defense secretary Trump fired last week, formally announced the drawdown but refused to answer questions about it. Retired Admiral James Stavridis, who served as the commander of the U.S. European Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, told CNN’s Jake Tapper, "It's astoundingly foolish from a military, strategic, diplomatic, and political perspective.... We're kind of on the 5-yard-line here in terms of getting a peace deal."

    The Trump camp is hampering Biden’s ability to govern, weakening popular faith in our democratic systems, and illustrating to foreign nations that our country is an unreliable partner. Today, conservative commentator Bill Kristol noted that “Trump is doing his best to weaken America, our friends, and allies on his way out the door.”

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 32,760
    "It was notable today that the media was dominated not by the actions of the incoming president-elect, as one would expect after a presidential election, but by the actions of the lame-duck president, Donald Trump."

    Absolutely inexcusable.   That man is turning this country into a bad circus act.  Democracy is in peril.  Can Biden and Harris turn things around?  Only if we can get the soul eater the hell out of the White House.
    “In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result.”
    -James Allen










  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 19,287
     November 18, 2020 (Wednesday)

    Today marks a grim milestone. The official count of Americans dead of coronavirus has topped a quarter of a million. 250,000 Americans, lost. Governors, including some Republicans previously opposed to ordering measures to stop the spread of the virus, are now issuing mandatory mask requirements. New York City has reached a 3% positivity rate; schools there have closed, and will go entirely on-line tomorrow. That rate is far below that of the regions worst hit these days.

    “Right now, we are in an absolutely dangerous situation that we have to take with the utmost seriousness,” Assistant Secretary of Health at the Department of Health and Human Services Dr. Brett Giroir told MSNBC. “This is not crying wolf. This is the worst rate of rise in cases that we’ve seen in the pandemic in the United States and right now there’s no sign of flattening.” The latest report from the White House coronavirus task force says we are facing “aggressive, unrelenting, expanding broad community spread across the country, reaching most counties, without evidence of improvement but rather, further deterioration.”

    And yet, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, maintains that no one in his department can coordinate with the incoming Joe Biden and Kamala Harris administration until the General Services Administration determines that Biden won the election. An administration official told CNN that department leadership had warned staffers not to communicate with Biden team, and to report any contact to the deputy surgeon general. Rick Bright, who was fired from the Trump administration for warnings about the dangers of coronavirus and who is now on the Biden team, told CNN: “We haven’t been able to sit down with the Trump administration at all, to be able to understand what plans are already in place, where the gaps are, where help is needed, and how we can make sure there's a smooth hand-off after January 20, where the bulk of these vaccines will be administered after that date.”

    Talking to frontline coronavirus workers, Biden said that Trump’s refusal to admit defeat is “the only slow down right now that we have.” He pointed out that the lack of information means, for example, that his team has no idea how much personal protective equipment is stockpiled. “Soon we’re going to be behind by weeks and months being able to put together the whole initiative relating to the biggest promise we have with two drug companies coming along and finding 95% effectiveness, efficiency in the vaccines, which is enormous promise,” he said. In a letter to the president, the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, and the American Nurses Association begged the administration to “work closely with the Biden transition team to share all critical information related to COVID-19.”

    Despite orders not to coordinate with the incoming Biden administration, a few Trump officials are quietly reaching out, according to CNN. As one put it: “Nothing that would get us in trouble…. Just an offer to be of help. They know what we mean, and what we can-and-can't do or say.” So far, nothing has come of these tentative offers.

    Trump appears to be doing all he can to cripple Biden’s administration before it begins. Officials have told CNN that Trump is withdrawing troops worldwide in order to box Biden in before he takes office. A senior official told CNN that the goal is “to set so many fires that it will be hard for the Biden administration to put them all out.”

    Shortly after the election, Trump purged civilian leaders at the Defense Department, replacing a number of them with people close to Devin Nunes (R-CA), who was apparently involved in conversations with Russians in 2016 that got picked up by intelligence officers, and General Michael Flynn, Trump’s former National Security Adviser, convicted of lying to the FBI about his contacts with then Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak shortly after Trump’s election in 2016.

    Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller announced today that the civilian leaders from Special Operations Command will report directly to him, rather than through the normal chain of command. Special Operations includes about 70,000 troops that undertake unconventional military operations like raids, reconnaissance, search and rescue, and psychological operations. This was a change permitted by a 2017 law, and puts Special Operations at the same level as the other military departments. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle say this elevation of Special Operations is overdue.

    But the timing of this move raises questions, since the officials now overseeing Special Operations are the ones installed since Trump’s purge, none of whom has been approved by the Senate. The acting assistant secretary of defense for special operations—the one who will now report directly to newly-installed acting Defense Secretary Miller-- is Ezra Cohen-Watnick, originally elevated to a prominent position by Flynn. Cohen-Watnick is an obscure figure who was not removed from his job at the National Security Council when Flynn resigned, apparently because he was personally protected by Jared Kushner. This was unusual: he was very young and inexperienced. He is fiercely loyal to Trump.

    Like the other new hires at the Defense Department, Cohen-Watnick is known to be eager to hit at Iran, with whom simmering conflict continues. A week ago, inspectors reported that Iran has many times the uranium stockpile it would have been permitted under the Iran deal Trump pulled the U.S. out of, and that it would take less than a year for Iran to develop a nuclear weapon (something its leaders deny they have any interest in doing). The following day, Trump asked his top aides if he could launch a military strike against Iran’s biggest nuclear facility. They talked him out of it, noting that such a strike could lead to a larger war.

    Today, Trump imposed sweeping new sanctions on Iran. Henry Rome, an Iran analyst with Eurasia Group, consultants who analyze political risk, told Reuters: “The administration is clearly, and I think transparently, trying to raise the political cost for Biden to re-engage with Iran and lift the nuclear deal sanctions.”

    Trump’s erratic behavior is starting to alarm even Republican lawmakers, who have kept silent as Trump has done pretty much whatever he wished for the past four years. His firing yesterday of Christopher Krebs, the nation’s top cybersecurity official, led some Republicans to speak out against the president. “I’m sure I’m not the only one that would like some return to a little bit more of a—I don’t even know what’s normal anymore,” said Senator John Cornyn (R-TX).

    A bipartisan group of senators is trying to block the administration’s sale of $23 billion worth of weapons to the United Arab Emirates, including F-35 fighter planes, the most technologically advanced planes in the world. It is unlikely they will be able to do so because it would take a two-thirds majority in both houses to override Trump’s veto of any measure they produce, but they have at least highlighted that Trump has violated normal procedures to make a sale that will dramatically change the balance of power in the Middle East.

    Biden and Harris will meet with the bipartisan executive committee of the National Governors Association tomorrow to talk about addressing the coronavirus.

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 32,760
    I saw her latest letter last night just before hitting the sack.  Probably should have waited til the AM to read it though.  Trump's actions are infuriating.  His minions, followers, and congressional stooges are letting him do this shit and all he wants to do is bring down the fucking country.  Fuck that guy.
    “In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result.”
    -James Allen










  • Merkin BallerMerkin Baller Posts: 4,405
    brianlux said:
    I saw her latest letter last night just before hitting the sack.  Probably should have waited til the AM to read it though.  Trump's actions are infuriating.  His minions, followers, and congressional stooges are letting him do this shit and all he wants to do is bring down the fucking country.  Fuck that guy.
    Yeah... today's was a tough one. 

  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 19,287
     November 19, 2020 (Thursday)

    Today Trump continued his assault on our democracy, trying to overturn what at this point is a very clear victory for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris.

    Today, Trump’s lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell alleged—without evidence—widespread fraud in the election and that Biden won because of “the massive influence of communist money through Venezuela, Cuba, and likely China and the interference with our elections here in the United States.” On his Fox News Channel show, personality Tucker Carlson noted that Powell refused to produce any evidence for any of her outlandish claims. The Washington Post described the press conference in which Trump’s lawyers made these allegations as “truly bonkers.”

    Rick Hasen, an election law expert, wrote, “This is very dangerous for our democracy, as it is an attempt to thwart the will of the voters through political pressure from the President…. Even though it is extremely unlikely to work, it is profoundly antidemocratic and a violation of the rule of law. It's inexcusable.” And yet, the official Twitter account of the Republican Party endorsed Powell’s statements.

    The goal of Trump’s team is not to make a coherent argument; they have lost 31 lawsuits so far, and have racked up only 2 quite minor wins that do not affect the outcome. They are simply creating a narrative to muddy the waters, apparently either to get legislatures to replace Democratic electors with Republican ones, or to delay the certification of ballots to throw the election into the House of Representatives, where they think Trump has a chance of winning. They are making no pretense that Trump is the choice of a majority of voters-- Biden is ahead by almost 6 million votes. Rather, they are trying to game the Electoral College.

    This is a long shot that gets longer every day. Today, Trump invited to the White House Michigan lawmakers and the Republican canvass board members from Wayne County who first certified the ballots that elected Biden, and then, after Trump reached out to them, declared they wanted to “rescind” their approval of the ballot counts. But it was too late to change the certification of the ballots.

    Tonight, the Republican secretary of state from Georgia, Brad Raffensperger, announced the result of the hand audit of ballots there, too. He confirmed that Biden has won Georgia. It turned out there were indeed some minor errors in the original count, but they were concentrated not in Democratic counties, but in Floyd County, which is Republican.

    Today, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform called out Emily Murphy, the administrator at the General Services Administration responsible for refusing to acknowledge Biden’s victory. Her refusal has kept Biden’s people from access to intelligence and federal staffers who could help them prepare to hit the ground running when Biden takes office in January. The committee members wrote a letter pointing out that Biden has won by nearly six million votes and has been identified as the winner of the 2020 election by all major news media outlets. At this point, members of the committee say, “there is no conceivable argument that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are not ‘the apparent successful candidates for the office of President and Vice President,’” the standard the law sets for recognizing an incoming administration.

    The committee wrote: “[T]here is no legitimate path forward for President Trump—regardless of how many baseless lawsuits he files or his irrelevant refusal to concede. He has now lost dozens of cases in multiple states as many of his own attorneys abandon his effort.” It went on, “Your actions in blocking transition activities required under the law are having grave effects, including undermining the orderly transfer of power, impairing the incoming Administration’s ability to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, hampering its ability to address our nation’s dire economic crisis, and endangering our national security.” The committee demanded Murphy brief them no later than Monday on why she is refusing to grant the Biden-Harris team access to the critical services and facilities required by law.

    Trump’s attempt to steal this election is a fundamental attack on our democracy.

    It is prompted in part, perhaps, by the fact that, as soon as he leaves office, Trump can no longer claim protection from indictments. Tonight the New York Times noted that two different investigations by the state of New York into Trump and his businesses have expanded to include tax write-offs for about $26 million in consulting fees, some of which appears to have gone to Ivanka Trump. She lashed out on Twitter, calling the investigation “harassment pure and simple… motivated by politics, publicity and rage.”

    Even some Republican lawmakers are calling out Trump’s assault for what it is. Today Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said “It’s outrageous. It’s an assault on democracy…. It’s bad for the Republican Party.” Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) issued a statement pointing out that the president’s lawyers have refused to allege any fraud while under oath in a court, “because there are legal consequences for lying to judges.” “We are a nation of laws, not tweets,” he said.

    Tonight on Twitter, Mitt Romney (R-UT) wrote, “Having failed to make even a plausible case of widespread fraud or conspiracy before any court of law, the President has now resorted to overt pressure on states and local officials to subvert the will of the people and overturn the election. It is difficult to imagine a worse, more undemocratic action by a sitting American president.”

    Trump’s attack is not the first assault our democracy has withstood. In the 1860s, southern slaveowners sought to destroy the United States of America in order to create their own nation, based on the principle that white men were better than women and people of color, and naturally should rule over them.

    On this date in 1863, at the dedication of a national cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, for the men who had died there in a terrible battle the previous July, President Abraham Lincoln reminded Americans what was at stake. Packed in the midst of a sea of men in frock coats, he spoke for just two minutes.

    Lincoln reminded the audience that America was “conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” The raging civil war was a test to see whether America, or indeed whether any nation based on that revolutionary principle, could survive.

    Lincoln honored “the brave men, living and dead,” who had fought at Gettysburg, but noted that their struggle there had already consecrated the ground “far above our poor power to add or detract.”  

    Instead, he told the audience, the dedication ceremony was for the living. “It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us,” he said, “that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 19,287
     November 20, 2020 (Friday)

    The news today remains Trump’s unprecedented attempt to steal an election in which voters chose his opponents, Democratic candidate Joe Biden and his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris, by close to 6 million votes, so far. A close second to that news is that the leadership of the Republican Party is not standing up to the president, but is instead seemingly willing to let him burn down the country to stay in office.

    Never before in our history has a president who has lost by such a convincing amount tried to claw out a win by gaming the system. Biden has not only won the popular vote by more than any challenger of an incumbent since Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s win in 1932, but also has won crucial states by large margins. He is ahead by more than 80,000 votes in Pennsylvania, almost 160,000 votes in Michigan, and between 11,000 and 34,000 each in Georgia, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Nevada.

    And yet, only two Senate Republicans—Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Ben Sasse (R-NE)-- have called Trump out for refusing to accept the results of the election. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has simply said he is willing to let the process play out. In the House, only two Republicans have said they oppose Trump’s attempt to steal the election. Kay Granger (R-TX) and Fred Upton (R-MI) said there is no evidence of fraud and it is time to move on.

    State leaders, though, have refused to do Trump’s bidding. Today, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, certified Georgia’s vote for Biden. Also today, two top Republicans in the Michigan legislature, whom Trump had invited to the White House apparently to enlist their help in overturning the vote in their state, issued a statement about what happened in their meeting with the president.

    Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and Michigan Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield said they used their time with the president to press him for more money to help Michigan fight the coronavirus, which continues to rage across the country.

    As for the election, they said “We have not yet been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan and as legislative leaders, we will follow the law and follow the normal process regarding Michigan’s electors…. Michigan’s certification process should be a deliberate process free from threats and intimidation. Allegations of fraudulent behavior should be taken seriously, thoroughly investigated, and if proven, prosecuted to the full extent of the law. And the candidates who win the most votes win elections and Michigan’s electoral votes.”

    Central to Trump’s argument is that Democrats have cheated, even though his own former director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Christopher Krebs, said the election was “the most secure in American history,” and “there is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.” Krebs was the first director of CISA, an independent agency established within the Department of Homeland Security in 2018, and he worked hard to protect the election from foreign intervention despite the fact the president appeared to be angling for just such intervention.

    Krebs’s defense of the security of our elections led to Trump firing him—by tweet—with Trump falsely asserting: “[t]he recent statement by Chris Krebs on the security of the 2020 Election was highly inaccurate, in that there were massive improprieties and fraud - including dead people voting, Poll Watchers not allowed into polling locations, ‘glitches’ in the voting machines which changed votes from Trump to Biden, late voting, and many more.”

    Trump’s attempt to throw out Democratic votes and lay claim to victory in an election that he lost by quite a lot is the culmination of a generation of Republican rhetoric claiming that Democratic votes are illegitimate.

    Beginning in 1986, Republican operatives began to talk about cutting down Black voting under a “ballot integrity” initiative in hopes that would depress Democratic votes. They bitterly opposed the Democrats’ expansion of voter registration in 1993 under the “Motor-Voter” law, which permitted voter registration at certain state offices. By 1994, losing Republican candidates insisted that their Democratic opponents had won only through “voter fraud,” although voter fraud remains so exceedingly rare as to be virtually non-existent. They fought for voter ID laws that tended to disfranchise Democrats, and immediately after the landmark 2013 Shelby v. Holder decision in which the Supreme Court gutted the 1965 Voting Rights Act, Republican state officials introduced voter ID laws and bills restricting voter registration.  

    In addition to suppressing Democratic votes, recent Republican leaders also took the manipulative system of gerrymandering to new extremes in order to make sure Democrats could not win power. In 2010, party operatives raised money from corporate donors to make sure that state legislatures would be controlled by Republicans that year, as states redistricted for the following decade. After 2010, Republican controlled the key states of Florida, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Ohio, and Michigan, as well as other, smaller states, and they redrew congressional maps using precise computer models. In the 2012 election, Democrats won the White House decisively, the Senate easily, and won a majority of 1.4 million votes for House candidates. But Republicans came away with a 33-seat majority in the House of Representatives.

    Gerrymandering meant that Republicans did not have to attract moderate voters. Instead, Republican candidates had to worry about challenges from further right. Over time, they became more and more extreme. At the same time, without competition, they fielded increasingly weak candidates, who doubled down on inflammatory rhetoric rather than advancing viable policies.

    Increasingly, Republicans insisted that Democrats were anti-American “socialists,” a theme Trump picked up and ran with in his 2020 construction of his opponents as “radical left” extremists who would destroy the country. Trump said "I'm not just running against Biden — Sleepy Joe — I'm running against the corrupt media, the big tech giants, the Washington swamp. And the Democrat Party is a part of all of them — every single one of them. They flood your communities with criminal aliens, drugs and crime, while they live behind beautiful gated compounds." When the Democrats won, Trump promptly insisted that Democrats had cheated.

    Aside from the outcome of this particular election, this attempt of Republican leaders to delegitimize the Democratic Party is an assault on our democracy. Here’s why:

    Democracy requires at least two healthy political parties, so there is always an organized opposition to the party in power. Having a party that stands in opposition to those in power does two things: it enables people to disagree with current leadership while staying loyal to the nation, and it provides a means for oversight of the people running the government.

    Until the early 1700s, in Europe, the monarch was the state. You were either loyal to the king or you were a traitor. Gradually, though, the British political thinkers from whom Americans drew their inspiration began to object to the policies of the British monarchy while remaining loyal to the government. They developed the idea of a loyal opposition. This was an important development in political thought, because it meant that a person could be loyal to the country (and keep his head firmly on his shoulders) while criticizing government policies.

    It also meant that the people in power would have oversight to keep them on the straight and narrow. There’s nothing like opponents watching you for any potential scandal to keep corruption to a minimum.

    During the establishment of the early American republic, the Framers of the Constitution briefly imagined that since the colonists had thrown off the king they would no longer need an opposition. But almost immediately—as early as President George Washington’s administration—men who disagreed with Washington’s policies organized their own party under Thomas Jefferson to oppose those in power. Jeffersonians offered to voters an alternative set of policies, and a way to put them into practice without overthrowing the government itself. This recognition of a loyal opposition was key to more than 200 years of peaceful transfers of power.…

    until now.  

    Trump is rejecting the idea that Democrats can legally win an election. As this crisis drags on, more and more of his followers are echoing his insistence that the Democrats could not possibly win except by cheating. There is no evidence to support this claim. Trump’s lawyers have repeatedly admitted as much in court. It is rather a rejection of the possibility that Democrats can legitimately govern.

    Our democracy depends on our ability both to criticize our government and to believe that we can legitimately elect a different set of leaders to advance different policies. If we lose the concept of a loyal opposition, we must all declare allegiance to the king.

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • Merkin BallerMerkin Baller Posts: 4,405
    Heavy stuff. 

  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 19,287
     November 21, 2020 (Saturday)

    We are faced with the odd prospect of a president fighting desperately to keep a job he evidently doesn’t want. Trump has continued to insist he did not lose the 2020 election, and yet seems to have given up on governing. He has not taken any questions from reporters since Election Day and has spent a great deal of time golfing. Today the G20, the “Group of Twenty,” consisting of the leaders of developed or developing countries from around the world, met virtually. After speaking briefly, Trump turned his attention back to tweeting false information about the 2020 election. Then, while members of the G20 began to talk about responses to the global pandemic, Trump went golfing. This was his 298th golf trip during his presidency. Today America surpassed 12 million coronavirus infections.

    While the president golfs, President-Elect Joe Biden is trying to pressure Congress to pass another coronavirus bill as the economy lurches toward another drop. Incoming presidents usually want to hold their influence in reserve to take credit for new policies, but Biden is pushing forward because he is so concerned about the economy. Unless Congress passes a new bill, about 12 million Americans will lose their unemployment benefits at the end of the year. Hunger and homelessness will follow.

    The image of a political leader insisting he deserves a crucial leadership role he has little interest in filling echoes South Carolina Senator James Henry Hammond in 1858. Hammond stood up on the floor of the Senate in the midst of the sectional crisis and told his colleagues he had not studied the issue that was tearing the nation apart, but felt able to vote on it anyway. He would simply vote as his southern friends did, he said, because they were leaders and he trusted them to have done the work he hadn’t. In any case, it didn’t matter much what anyone said, according to Hammond, because the Constitution had limited the government so it could do nothing but protect property. Even if an overwhelming majority of Americans wanted the government to do something more expansive, it could not.

    Hammond went on to explain that men like him and the other white slave holders who directed the Democratic Party in his era belonged at the top of society. They were naturally supported by the masses, whom he called “mudsills” after the timbers driven into the ground to support the plantation homes above. “In all social systems there must be a class to do the menial duties, to perform the drudgery of life,” he explained. Those people were dumb and unskilled, but they were strong and loyal. So long as their betters directed them, the mudsills would labor effectively, producing capital which moved upward and permitted “that other class which leads progress, civilization, and refinement,” to move the country forward.

    Elsewhere, Hammond made his principles clear: “I repudiate, as ridiculously absurd, that much-lauded but nowhere accredited dogma of Mr. Jefferson, that “all men are born equal.” In his mind, Hammond belonged in the Senate because he was a member of the ruling class.

    The following year, aspiring politician Abraham Lincoln answered Hammond with the vision that would become the intellectual underpinning of the newly formed Republican Party. Lincoln rejected the idea that society moved forward thanks to the efforts of a few rich men. He denied that most people belonged to a lower, menial class into which they were, as he said, “fatally fixed” for life.

    Instead, Lincoln argued that, if properly organized, society progressed thanks to the hard work and innovation of ordinary men. While rich men had no incentive to think up new ideas, he said, ordinary Americans worked and innovated so they could provide for themselves. As they did, they made more money than they and their families needed, so they would use the surplus to buy goods that would support merchants, shoemakers, and so on. In turn, those people would work hard and accumulate capital, which in turn would support a few financiers and industrialists, who would use their own accumulated capital to hire men just starting out, and the cycle would begin again. The heart of the system was not wealthy men, but hardworking ordinary ones.

    Central to this system was government’s guarantee that all men were equal before the law and that all men had equal access to resources. This meant that the government must not protect the very wealthy. It would require a government that did more than protect property; it must keep the economic playing field between wealthy men and ordinary men level.

    These two versions of America appear, once again, to be on the table.

    [Photo, “Partners,” by Peter Ralston]

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

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  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 32,760
    In the future, people here and around the world will look at the presidency of the last four years in utter disbelief and question how this was even possible.  Come to think of it, many of us already are. 
    “In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result.”
    -James Allen










  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 19,287
     November 22, 2020 (Sunday)

    I had gotten half-way through a post tonight about what seems to me a looming split in the Republican Party, when this jumped out from my Facebook timeline. Four years ago today I responded to my inclusion on the brand-new “Professor Watchlist.”

    I will never forget standing in my dark kitchen in my pajamas, at the counter, reading my laptop in shock as I found out that some young grifter named Charlie Kirk had found my name online and put it onto his new website as a danger to students (send money to resist left-wing professors like Richardson!). As I stood there, watching in horror, messages came in from all over the country telling me people had my back. And then I wrote a post to reassure my friends that I was used to this sort of harassment and it would be okay, and then that post went viral, and I came off the list within days.

    We have lived a lifetime in the last four years, and god knows far, far worse things have happened to others than happened to me, but I am still angry about this. And yet, my inclusion on the Professor Watchlist did its job, although perhaps not the job Kirk intended. I had been a fairly quiet academic, but once I knew I was a marked woman, I resolved to fight these vile, unAmerican grifters to the end.

    Four years ago, I knew how bad things could get over the course of Trump’s term. What I could not have imagined was how many wonderful people would join forces to restore America. It’s a movement I’m proud to be part of.

    I’ll see you tomorrow.

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 19,287
    mickeyrat said:
     November 22, 2020 (Sunday)

    I had gotten half-way through a post tonight about what seems to me a looming split in the Republican Party, when this jumped out from my Facebook timeline. Four years ago today I responded to my inclusion on the brand-new “Professor Watchlist.”

    I will never forget standing in my dark kitchen in my pajamas, at the counter, reading my laptop in shock as I found out that some young grifter named Charlie Kirk had found my name online and put it onto his new website as a danger to students (send money to resist left-wing professors like Richardson!). As I stood there, watching in horror, messages came in from all over the country telling me people had my back. And then I wrote a post to reassure my friends that I was used to this sort of harassment and it would be okay, and then that post went viral, and I came off the list within days.

    We have lived a lifetime in the last four years, and god knows far, far worse things have happened to others than happened to me, but I am still angry about this. And yet, my inclusion on the Professor Watchlist did its job, although perhaps not the job Kirk intended. I had been a fairly quiet academic, but once I knew I was a marked woman, I resolved to fight these vile, unAmerican grifters to the end.

    Four years ago, I knew how bad things could get over the course of Trump’s term. What I could not have imagined was how many wonderful people would join forces to restore America. It’s a movement I’m proud to be part of.

    I’ll see you tomorrow.


    So, yes, I have the dubious honor of being on the "Professor Watchlist," a list published recently by a young alt-right provocateur who knew that such a list would get media traction because of Senator McCarthy's attacks on academics during the Red Scare. I made the list not because of complaints about my teaching, but because of my public writing about politics.

    It is ironic that this list would label me "leftist." In fact, in my public life, I do not identify with a political party, and I work with politicians on both sides of the aisle. I also teach the history of American conservative beliefs, as well as those of liberalism. I believe that the nation needs both the Democratic and the Republican parties to be strong and healthy.

    It is even more ironic that the list would label me "anti-American." In fact, I do what I do-- all the teaching, writing, speeches, and media-- because I love America. I am staunchly committed to the principle of human self-determination, and have come to believe that American democracy is the form of government that comes closest to bringing that principle to reality. This nation is not perfect-- far from it-- but when it is at its best, it has more potential for people of all genders, races, and ethnicities to create their own destinies than any other governmental system. I work to teach people about that system, its great triumphs... and also its hideous failures. We must learn from the past because the miracle of America is that it is always reinventing itself, giving us the potential to remake it, better, every day.

    I am dangerous not to America but to the people soon to be in charge of it, people like the youngster who wrote this list. I teach that the American government only works when it is based on the principle that every single American is equal before the law. Since 1997, I have argued in print and in public that, throughout history, ideologically-driven politicians have undermined that fundamental principle in order to shift the economy and the power structures of this country in their own favor. For the last several years, as I took on a more and more public role, I have focused on the present, hammering on the idea that the ideologically-driven Movement Conservatives who have taken over the nation through the Republican Party are not real Republicans; they are a cabal concentrating wealth and power into a ruling class that is crushing the rest of us. I truly believe that most Americans want not this extraordinary upward redistribution of wealth and power, but rather the same sort of government known in the 1950s as the "liberal consensus," established by FDR and Eisenhower, that regulates business, maintains national infrastructure, and provides a basic social safety net, while still leaving ample room for private enterprise and the innovation it sparks.

    That the only way Movement Conservatives have managed to stay in power is to game the system through gerrymandering and voter suppression, hatred, and now the intimidation of people like me says to me that even they know they are in danger of losing control of the country. As a friend of mine says, a dying mule kicks the hardest.

    People have asked what they can do in this moment. Across the political spectrum, I would urge everyone who believes in this nation to focus on the mechanics of government and constantly to call out official actions that you would find unacceptable if they happened to "your" side, especially if it's "your" side doing them. Call attention to law-breaking that is actionable at a state or national level, rather than focusing on individual outrages (that Russia interfered in the 2016 election is important; a keyed car is not). Do not believe or share any sensationalist stories until you have confirmed them through a site like Snopes.com, and call out those who make assertions without factual evidence. Do not mistake legal practices like peaceful protests or government petitions for wrongdoing. If you see something illegal, document it with photos and witnesses and take it to police even if you suspect they will ignore it: continue to demand that the system operate properly. Call your representatives constantly to register your opinions (it matters-- most get fewer than a dozen calls about issues at hand).

    And try to stop demonizing political opponents who fall within the normal political spectrum so we can all stand together against those who are trashing our institutions and our legal system. There are both Republicans and Democrats in my FB feed and you have far more in common than you are different, I promise you. What no one on my FB feeds wants, though, is for this nation to commit suicide, and if those of us who believe in America turn against each other, we will permit precisely that.

    I have been touched and overwhelmed by all of your messages of concern and support over my inclusion on the Professor Watchlist. And for those of you who worried: no, I will not shut up. America is still worth fighting for.

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 19,287
     November 23, 2020 (Monday)

    At about 6:00 tonight, Emily Murphy, the Trump appointee at the head of General Services Administration who has been holding up the transition to a Biden administration, notified President-Elect Joe Biden that she recognizes his status and will release the money set aside for the transition. This should launch the formal transition process between administrations, as Biden’s people meet with Trump’s people to learn about the issues over which they will be assuming control on January 20, 2021.

    Murphy’s decision appears to have been prompted by Michigan’s certification of its election results. Biden won the state by 150,000 votes, fourteen times Trump’s margin there in 2016, and now can officially claim the state’s 16 electoral votes. This makes it almost impossible for Trump somehow to eke out a win. The Trump campaign vowed to fight on.

    Murphy went out of her way to say that she was not pressured by the White House, but Trump promptly contradicted her, saying that the call to release the funds had been his. For all his bluster, the Trump campaign has bowed to reality, and this might indicate a new era in politics.

    Trump is unique, but he is also the product of a distinctive era of Republican history. Beginning in 1968, the party began to win power through the Southern Strategy, picking up racist southern Democrats who opposed the Democratic Party’s embrace of Black rights. After Congress passed the 1964 Civil Rights Act, those voters supported Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater for president thanks to his insistence that federal protection of racial equality was unconstitutional. The 1965 Voting Rights Act, signed by Democratic President Lyndon Johnson, put their loyalty up for grabs. Richard Nixon claimed it by promising he would not use the federal government to enforce racial justice.

    This strategy worked, but it changed the trajectory of the post-WWII Republican Party. It had been Republican Supreme Court justices nominated by President Dwight Eisenhower who advanced civil rights by insisting that states were bound by the Constitution’s Bill of Rights, but the Republican Party now needed to court voters motivated by white supremacy. That ideology promoted an image of white men as the hardworking producers in the country, taking care of their wives and children, while people of color and independent women who wanted equal rights were demanding government program that sucked tax dollars.

    That formula became the driving narrative of the modern party, embraced by business leaders who needed to marshal voters behind policies that increasingly benefited not ordinary Americans but those at the very top of the economic ladder. Over time, this new breed of Republicans bled out of the party traditional Republicans who objected to the extremist turn the party was taking. And extremist it was: aided by talk radio and the Fox News Channel, party leaders increasingly demonized their opponents, until by 2016, the leader of the party opened his presidential campaign by alleging that immigrants were criminals, boasting of sexual assault, and welcoming the support of white supremacists.

    And yet, despite a clear pattern of voter suppression, a majority of voters rejected Trump in 2020, suggesting that demographics and reality have finally caught up with the Southern Strategy.

    In the wake of the election, Trump’s followers have embraced his distrust of our electoral system and are flocking to the conspiracy theories put forward by QAnon. They are joining Parler, a social media website that permits conspiracy theories to spread unchecked, although, interestingly, their leaders remain on more mainstream platforms like Twitter.

    While defeated incumbents tend to lose power in their party, Trump has tried to assert his continued control. He has attacked loyal Republicans like Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Ohio Governor Mike DeWine who have refused to support his attempt to steal the election; is hoping to keep his handpicked Republican National Committee chair, Ronna McDaniel, in office; has packed state level party positions with loyalists; and is trying to keep control over the voter data he has compiled over the past four years. Trump is primed to control the direction of the party for 2024. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) have signaled their support for this plan by endorsing McDaniel for another term in office.

    But while followers marinate in fantasies about secret servers and hidden ballots, and congressional leaders endorse Trump, other Republican Party leaders recognize that his refusal to accept the results of the election is unprecedented and dangerous.

    On Sunday, leaders began to pressure Trump to concede. Trump’s former National Security Advisers John Bolton and HR McMaster agreed that Trump’s disdain for the election was eroding democracy, which plays into the hands of our adversaries. The Republican former governor of New Jersey, Thomas H. Kean and a former Democratic lawmaker from New Jersey, Tim Roemer, both of whom were on the 9/11 Commission, were more explicit. They warned that the transition delay from Bill Clinton to George W. Bush contributed to the 9/11 terrorist attack.

    At about 6:00 last night, the Trump campaign abruptly jettisoned the attorney who has been making even more crazy claims than Trump’s longtime lawyer Rudy Giuliani. A statement from the Trump campaign, signed by Giuliani and Jenna Ellis, a senior legal adviser to the Trump team, said “Sidney Powell is practicing law on her own. She is not a member of the Trump Legal Team. She is also not a lawyer for the President in his personal capacity.” Powell, who is openly a QAnon believer, has been out in front of the Trump recount effort, making simply outrageous claims. It seems her craziness finally went too far.

    Today more than 100 former national security officials from the Republican Party issued a statement saying that Trump’s refusal to concede “constitutes a serious threat to America’s democratic process and to our national security.” They called “on Republican leaders—especially those in Congress—to publicly demand that President Trump cease his anti-democratic assault on the integrity of the presidential election…. By encouraging President Trump’s delaying tactics or remaining silent, Republican leaders put American democracy and national security at risk.”

    Tonight, Emily Murphy finally admitted that Joe Biden won the 2020 election.

    It’s hard to imagine this admission will bring the extremist Trump supporters back into the fold. At the same time it’s hard to see how establishment Republicans horrified by the excesses of Trump’s regime will be willing to move toward the extremists. If this is indeed a split, establishment Republicans will have to move back toward the center to pick up the voters the party has lost at the fringes. Its extremist adherents will regroup outside the mainstream, and the power of the Southern Strategy to win elections will be broken.

    We’ll see.

    While Republican leaders have struggled, Biden has stayed above the Trumpian fray, emphasizing the need for coordination to distribute the coronavirus vaccinations but focusing on jumpstarting his administration rather than challenging Trump in the public forum. Last night, word began to leak of the president-elect’s Cabinet picks. They are a very clear sign of his determination to rebuild the nation by putting experts back into power.

    Biden’s nominees are people who have spent long careers inside the government, making them good candidates to rebuild what Trump gutted, beginning with the State Department, which manages our foreign policy. Biden began by naming a secretary of state, a sign to the world that America is back and wants again to be a reliable partner. His pick is Antony Blinken, who served as Deputy Secretary of State and Deputy National Security Advisor under President Barack Obama. Blinken also worked with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when Biden chaired it, and served as Biden’s National Security advisor when he was vice president. He will be an informed, strong voice at State.

    The rest of Biden’s candidates show similarly impressive credentials. They also reflect the longstanding Democratic principle that the government should reflect the American people. Biden is proposing Cuban-born Alejandro Mayorkas, a former deputy secretary, to head the Department of Homeland Security. He proposes Avril Haines, former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency, for Director of National Intelligence, and Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a 35-year veteran of the foreign service, who is Black, for ambassador the United Nations.    

    Thomas-Greenfield went to college with David Duke, who would go on to become the grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and who endorsed Trump for president in both 2016 and 2020. In at least some very important ways, it is a new era in politics, indeed.

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

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    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
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    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 19,287
     November 24, 2020 (Tuesday)

    The stock market, which has been strong thanks to the good news about coronavirus vaccines, jumped to a record high today on news that President-Elect Joe Biden is planning to nominate Janet Yellen to head the Treasury Department. She will be the first woman to lead the department, and is considered an especially strong pick, particularly at this moment. Yellen is a labor economist and monetary policy expert who cares deeply about issues of inequality, and is respected by members of both parties. She served as the Chair of the Federal Reserve from 2014 to 2018, and headed the White House Council of Economic Advisers under President Bill Clinton.

    Yellen’s strong piloting of the Federal Reserve won her support on Wall Street, while she is also popular with labor interests: many analysts credit her with the strong labor market of the Obama years that continued until the pandemic. Former Goldman Sachs executive Gary Cohn, who advised Trump on economic policy, tweeted that Yellen “is an excellent choice…. [S]he will be the steady hand we need to promote an economy that works for everyone, especially during these difficult times.” Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), known as a progressive, tweeted that the choice of Yellen is “outstanding…. She is smart, tough, and principled…. [S]he has stood up to Wall Street banks….”  

    Yellen’s expected nomination is yet another Biden pick that emphasizes stability and a return to a government to which Americans had become accustomed before Trump’s election. The Biden-Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris administration appears ready to use the government to help ordinary Americans.

    That return to our traditional position appears popular among financial markets as well as with ordinary voters. The Dow Jones industrial average jumped with the Yellen news, but it had topped 30,000 earlier, shortly after Pennsylvania certified its votes for Biden. Investors like political stability. Trump’s erratic behavior threatened to make business success depend not on ability but on political favoritism, which business leaders actually don’t like because it enables a political leader to pick winners and losers. Recently, the president’s attacks on our democratic system have undermined confidence so that Biden’s certified win was a relief (although later in the day Trump tried to take credit for the stock market high).

    Yesterday, officials at General Motors noted that the Trump years had made the government lag behind popular opinion. They abandoned their former support for Trump’s rollback of emissions standards and sided with California in its quest to modernize our automotive fleet. CEO Mary Barra wrote to leaders of environmental groups, saying: “We believe the ambitious electrification goals of the President-elect, California, and General Motors are aligned to address climate change by drastically reducing automobile emissions,” she wrote. “We are confident that the Biden Administration, California, and the U.S. auto industry, which supports 10.3 million jobs, can collaboratively find the pathway that will deliver an all-electric future.”

    The outgoing Trump administration is not taking the rejection of their policies lying down. It appears officials are trying to use their last months in office to undermine Biden and Harris, making sure they enter office with crises at hand and a limited number of options for dealing with them.

    As coronavirus roars across the country, the administration remains committed to the idea of simply letting the virus take its toll until vaccines are available. Vice President Mike Pence, the head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, briefed reporters last Thursday for the first time since July, assuring them that while infection rates are rising, “[W]e approach this moment with the confidence of experience. We know the American people know what to do.”

    In the last week, the United States has seen 1.2 million new infections, bringing our total to more than 12.5 million. We are approaching an official death count of 260,000, and are losing about 1500 people every day. Doctors in Utah are having to ration care; Minnesota, Kansas, and Missouri are short of beds in intensive care units; Texas had to mobilize 36 National Guard personnel to help clear an overflow of bodies at the El Paso morgue.

    Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warns that fatalities could get worse. “Two to three thousand deaths a day times a couple of months, and you’re approaching a really stunning number of deaths," he told Yahoo News. But, he noted, “It isn’t inevitable…. We can blunt the curve” by wearing masks, washing hands, and social distancing until the newly announced coronavirus vaccines are widely available.

    And yet, Republicans continue to downplay the dangers of the virus, although 8 of the 53 Senate Republicans have themselves tested positive for it. Last week Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) called a request from Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) that another senator wear a mask to protect nearby staffers “idiotic” and “an ostentatious sign of fake virtue.”

    More than 125 economists this week wrote an open letter calling for a new coronavirus relief package to tide the country over until coronavirus vaccines can stem the economic crisis, especially as measures passed back in March will expire with the end of the year. They are simply echoing the many calls for such a measure, including ones from Trump-appointed Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. But while the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passed a new $3 trillion bill back in May, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has declined to take it up, and has not been able to bring Senate Republicans together to back their own version. Now, he has sent senators home for Thanksgiving without taking up a bill.

    Today negotiators for the House and Senate hammered out a deal to keep the government funded past the December 11 shutdown date, but while Democrats still remain hopeful they can include coronavirus relief measures in the package, Republicans are pessimistic.

    Last week, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin went further to divorce the government from supporting the economy in this perilous time. He announced that he was suspending the Treasury’s lending powers at the end of the year, taking away a crucial backstop for businesses and local governments. He is also clawing back from the Federal Reserve about $250 billion appropriated under the original coronavirus relief bill in an apparent attempt to keep it out of the hands of the Biden team. That money will go back to Congress, which would have to reappropriate it in another bill to make it available again, which the Republican Senate shows no sign of being willing to do. Republicans have expressed concern that the Biden administration could use the appropriated money to bail out states and local governments, which by law cannot borrow to tide them over.

    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce objected strongly to Mnuchin’s actions. In a public statement, it said: ““American businesses and workers are weary of these political machinations when they are doing everything in their power to keep our economy going. We strongly urge these programs be extended for the foreseeable future and call on Congress to pass additional pandemic relief targeted at the American businesses, workers and industries that continue to suffer. We all need to unite behind the need of a broad-based economic recovery.”

    David Wilcox, who holds a PhD in Economics from MIT and is the former chief economist for the Federal Reserve, was blunt. He told journalist Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, “The most obvious interpretation is that the Trump administration is seeking to debilitate the economic recovery as much as possible on the way out of the door.”

    This is why Yellen’s nomination is being greeted with such relief. Observers expect her to back government spending to address the devastating effects of the coronavirus on the economy, while her background in monetary policy will help her craft a coordinated response between the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department.

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
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