10,000 on ignore, Book 160: The Days of Reckoning, Part 19.....

Ten Thousan Marbles

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...Given all the ways President Donald Trump betrayed this country — the Russiagate scandal of 2016, the catastrophic mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic, the incitement of deadly mob violence to disrupt official ratification of his 2020 loss — it’s easy to forget about the importance of the Ukraine affair.

Trump’s corruption of U.S. foreign policy to strong-arm an ally into helping his reelection is almost like the forgotten stepchild of Trump scandals, even though it got him impeached (the first time).

But the news that federal investigators have executed a search warrant against Rudolph W. Giuliani is a reminder of just how crowning a betrayal Trump’s subversion of the national interest in that scandal truly was. It’s also a reminder that the full puzzle of that complex tale is still being filled in.....
 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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'Vote no, take the dough': Pelosi calls the GOP's bluff on helping their constituents
Kerry Eleveld

Congressional Republicans are doing an epic job of talking out of both sides of their mouths right now. On one side, they're beside themselves over the price tag of the investments President Biden wants to make in the national economy. On the other side, they're all too happy to tout the relief funds that Democrats—and Democrats alone—made available to their constituents.

Taken together it's just one giant ice cream sundae complete with whipped cream, nuts, and a cherry to boot.
.......
Even before Biden delivered his first address to a joint session of Congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was digging in on the GOP hypocrisy. Remember when Republicans passed that 2017 tax gift to the wealthy that they said would pay for itself but actually added some $2 trillion to the deficit? So does Pelosi.

“All of a sudden they are deficit hawks when they were giving away money to wealthy people under President Trump,” Pelosi said of the 2017 law Wednesday on CBS This Morning.

Pelosi went on to liken the GOP initiative to a "scam," while Democrats are proposing "investments" that will pay off for the whole country.

“What we’re talking about here are investments. Nothing brings more to the Treasury than the investment in education we make,” Pelosi said. Biden's American Families Plan includes money for universal preschool, two years of free community college, and expanded Pell Grants, among other initiatives to boost education rates in the country.

But Pelosi's morning salvo to Republicans on Wednesday wasn't to be outdone by the sentiments she shared Thursday after a string of House Republicans gleefully told their constituents that new relief funding provided by the American Rescue Plan they voted against would soon be available to them.

“A number of them are trying to take credit for something they didn't vote for—that's not unusual," she said. "Vote no, take the dough—that's what the Republicans do."

Pelosi enjoyed the whole line of attack so much, she quote tweeted Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, one of the Republicans enthusiastically announcing the availability of new relief funding she sought to deny her constituents.



Republicans 'happy to announce' that funds from the Democrats' 'partisan wish list' are on the way
Laura Clawson

Zero Republicans voted for the American Rescue Plan. They acted as a united party, voting against $1,400 relief checks, unemployment benefits, relief for small businesses, and so much more. And once the law passed on the strength of Democratic votes, Republicans rushed to condemn it.

Rep. Claudia Tenney’s response came in the form of a “Statement on Passage of Partisan, Progressive Spending Bill.” Rep. Beth Van Duyne called it a “partisan wish list.” Rep. Andrew Garbarino also called it “partisan.” Rep. Madison Cawthorn tweeted about the “legislative monstrosity known as the Pelosi Payoff.” Rep. Doug LaMalfa also went for “Pelosi Payoff.”

They really, really didn’t like this law.

Until its money started flowing to their districts, as The American Independent’s Josh Israel does valuable work cataloging. Then it was a different story.
.......
Sen. Roger Wicker was an early entrant, taking credit just days after the passage of the law for its inclusion of aid to restaurants. Wicker had sponsored legislation helping restaurants, and he had voted for the amendment including help for restaurants in the American Rescue Plan. But then he voted against the plan as a whole.

Sorry, try harder next time.

That restaurant provision is a favorite of Republicans looking to associate themselves with the help their constituents are getting from the law they opposed.

”The SBA’s Restaurant Revitalization Fund provides emergency assistance for eligible restaurants, bars, and other qualifying businesses impacted by COVID-19,” LaMalfa recently wrote on Facebook. “I encourage interested applicants to click this link to find out more about eligibility and how to apply.”

I’m sorry, what? You want your constituents becoming part of the “Pelosi Payoff?” Shocking, congressman!
Tenney, too, suddenly set aside her opposition to the “partisan, progressive spending bill” and tweeted: “If you think you qualify for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, you are encouraged to create an account through the SBA’s application portal.” To be clear, Tenney’s stated objection to the bill was that it included too many things that weren’t purely health-focused. Like, you know, money for restaurants.

Van Duyne likewise is suggesting that restaurants in her district jump right on that partisan wish list she formerly decried.

Garbarino and fellow New York Rep. Lee Zeldin celebrated that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority “listened to our calls” and reversed service cuts—service cuts that were reversed because of American Rescue Plan funding.

Cawthorn was “Happy to announce” Department of Health and Human Services money going to clinics in his district.

Rep. Elise Stefanik’s opposition to the law will sound very familiar, and since its passage she has been a regular source of press releases touting Head Start funding going to her district (the American Rescue Plan included $1 billion for Head Start) and on Thursday, she joined so many of her fellow Republicans in touting the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

The list goes on. Republicans can never oppose something hard enough to be unwilling to turn around and try to get their constituents’ gratitude for the dollars they voted against and complained about. Someone should ask them if it’s fun to live completely without shame.





 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Yeah, I admit it: I was wrong about Biden. So, so wrong. And I couldn't be happier about it
kos

You could go back to the primary days and read headlines I wrote about then-candidate Joe Biden. They weren’t flattering. You see, he was a dinosaur, he had a history of moderation, he wanted to chase the “bipartisan” pony, he supported George W. Bush’s Iraq War and authored the hated 1994 crime bill , he was an old white guy in a party that was as diverse as America. And his primary campaign reflected that history, arguing that he could bring Republican votes to his agenda, that what America needed was a return to Obama’s America (and nothing more dramatic), and that he wasn’t interested in anything as aggressive as the Green New Deal or other such progressive priorities.

Indeed, wasn’t this a historic opportunity to finally break America’s race and gender glass ceiling, the time to elect a progressive woman, or a woman of color? Donald Trump was historically unpopular, with a campaign that reflected the chaos and incompetence of his presidency. His party had suffered historic defeats in 2017, 2018, and 2019, even losing governorships in blood-red Kentucky and Louisiana—despite Trump’s deep engagement. At long last, this was our chance to elect a true progressive!

And then Black voters in South Carolina took a look at the field, considered America’s relationship with race and gender, and said “nope, we ain’t chancing it. Getting rid of Trump is our number one priority, and the old white guy is the safest bet getting there.”

.........
It hurts so much to admit it, because it says things about America that we all wish weren’t true (mainly, that we still have a
long way to go on equality), but not only were they right to place all the chips on Biden, but he may very well be the only Democrat who could’ve beaten Trump last year. By virtue of his race, gender, and sexual orientation, Biden avoided the visceral vitriolic hatred that conservatives muster up for anyone that doesn’t look or love like them. Given the historic progressive turnout and tight margins in key states, would anyone truly want to bet that Sens. Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, or my own political love, Elizabeth Warren, would’ve done just as good or better? It truly was Biden or bust, and the South Carolina Black community pulled the right lever.

But amazingly, the types of left-on-a-Democratic-President conflict we all expected never materialized. In fact, can anyone argue that Biden’s agenda would look much different from Warren’s, or even Bernie’s? The man with an entire career of staid institutionalist centrism is now forging the most progressive presidency since FDR. And no one saw it coming. Biden didn’t even wink-wink at us during the primary. There were no dog whistles. He hoodwinked all of us progressives … in a
great way!

And Republicans are flummoxed, impotent, under this dramatic and sustained effort to redistribute our nation’s wealth. Their media organs can’t muster up anything beyond manufactured outrage over Dr. Seuss and Mr. Potato Head. Knock yourselves out, Fox News! It’s so hard for conservatives to get angry at an old white guy, that they are ignoring the substance of his (popular) agenda, and literally inventing nonsense out of thin air, such as “Joe Biden wants to take away your meat.”


Imagine anyone else with the exact same agenda. Imagine it was President Harris, or President Warren, or President Sanders, with the exact same $1.9 trillion America Rescue Plan, and the same exact multi-trillion dollar infrastructure and child care and healthcare plans. Imagine them mouthing the same words Biden has. Literally, just swap out the president and leave everything else the same. And tell me there wouldn’t be massive nationwide conservative Tea Party 2.0 protests against them. Yet with Biden, that old, relatively boring white guy? Crickets.

Meanwhile, progressives can’t believe what’s happening. “One thing that I will say is that I do think that the Biden administration and President Biden have exceeded expectations that progressives had,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said. “I’ll be frank, I think a lot of us expected a lot more conservative administration.” Sanders said, “[Biden] was a moderate Democrat throughout his time in the Senate, who had the courage to look at the moment and say, you know what? The future of American democracy is at stake, tens of millions of people are struggling economically. They’re really in pain. Our kids are hurting. Seniors are hurting. I’ve got to act boldly. And Biden deserves credit for that.”

Meanwhile, not only is Biden’s national popularity in positive territory—48-46 in Civiqs, and much higher in some other polls (something Trump never managed to do), but the legislation and policies he’s pursuing poll off the charts. And as Kerry Eleveld pointed out a couple of days ago, there is nary a grassroots oppositional response—no new Tea Party or Women’s March or any other organized opposition. All we have is a dead-ender Q “movement,” and a seditionist militia movement being systematically dissembled by the FBI and Justice Departments. Mighty convenient of them to out themselves with their failed putsch.

And best of all, no one outside of West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin is playing the “bipartisan” game anymore. Certainly not Biden, who has successfully and accurately redefined “bipartisan” as “supported by most Americans, including Republicans.” Senate ghoul Mitch McConnell no longer gets to unilaterally determine whether something is bipartisan because, spoiler alert, nothing of substance will ever be on his watch. And Senate Democrats are happily fueling that new narrative.


Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), a close Biden ally, has little hope that Democrats will reach an agreement with Republicans on the “big, bold” agenda the party is touting. He predicted the likeliest path forward will be one large package, all done through so-called budget reconciliation to work around a Senate filibuster.
Democrats don't have to “pass something just so we can say ‘Well, that piece over there was bipartisan,’ and wait for the pat on the back,” Casey said. “People want us to get big things done — and if that means we can do it in a bipartisan fashion, that’s great. I just don’t have confidence that that’s going to happen.”

In case you had forgotten, Casey is considered a Senate “moderate.” He’s no Bernie- or Warren-style firebrand. And even he’s given up the “bipartisan” fantasy.

Republicans used that Democratic desperation for bipartisanship to great effect in the past, delaying passage of Obama’s Affordable Care Act by
14 months by pretending to be good-faith negotiators in the process. Biden was right there in the middle of that mess, and he learned from it. He didn’t let us in on it! Not even a hint!

But he learned from it.

And thus, at 100 days, we’re witnessing a transformative presidency, more consequential than anything since forever. (I’ll let historians pin an actual date on that.) And he’s done so despite a 50-50 Senate with zero Republican votes, freakin’ Manchin gumming everything he possibly can, and Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema utterly misreading her state. Imagine what we might be able to do if Democrats can get some breathing room in the Senate next year and hold the House.

So here’s a toast to being wrong, so utterly wrong, so wrong wrong wrong. So were you, even if you supported Biden. You didn’t see this coming. That’s okay! So was everyone else. Even if he never let on, it was progressive energy that delivered Biden’s victory, and he is repaying that effort back. That doesn’t mean we let our guard down or give Biden a pass when he strays, but wow, it’s nice waking up in the morning to see what
good things have been announced, as opposed to dreading the damage the last guy would wreak.

And let’s remember that everything hangs precariously on an edge, with an unfavorable redistricting environment ahead of us. If we want this party to continue for
years, get ready to rev up next year. Now we know what we’re fighting for, and it’s damn good.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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The Bitter GOP Response to Biden's Well Received Speech Sounded Like a Trump Rally Rant (Analysis)
News Corpse

President Biden's long anticipated address to Congress was delivered Wednesday night with the grace, compassion, and appeal for unity that has become the hallmark of Joe Biden's presidency

Biden spoke to the full array of issues that have been at the top of the American people's list of priorities, including the coronavirus pandemic, economic recovery, jobs, climate change, healthcare, infrastructure, race, police reform, education, tax equity, gun safety, immigration, and foreign policy. It was a speech that radiated the calm resolve of a confidant and competent leader, as opposed to the fire-breathing bluster and lie-riddled babbling of the Former Guy, Donald Trump.

Apparently, the American people are relieved to finally have a sane president after four years of lunacy, incompetence, rancor and chaos. They appreciated hearing a speech that wasn't crammed with flagrant falsehoods, vicious insults, and the pathological, undeserved bragging of malignant narcissist.

A CBS News poll found that Biden's speech was received with overwhelming favorability. The poll showed that a huge majority of those who watched the speech approved of it (85%). They thought Biden was
"presidential" (89%), "caring" (89%), "inspiring" (84%), and "bold" (80%). They said the speech made them feel "optimistic" (78%), and that his plans would "mostly help" them (74%).

However, it didn't take long to be reminded of the GOP's way outside Trumpian view as Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina stepped up to deliver the Republican response (video below). He began by throwing some passive-aggressive shade saying that
"We just heard President Biden's first address to Congress. Our President seems like a good man. His speech was full of good words."

"Seems like"
a good man? That's the sort of backhanded "compliment" someone might say about Ted Bundy. Scott went on to disparage Biden's promise to "unite a nation," "lower the temperature," and to "govern for all Americans." "But three months in," Scott complained without any basis, "the actions of the President and his party are pulling us further apart."

Scott also vowed that he wouldn't "waste your time tonight with finger-pointing or partisan bickering." What came next was fourteen minutes of finger-pointing and bitterly partisan rhetoric. For instance:

"Democrats wanted to go it alone. They spent almost $2 trillion on a partisan bill that the White House bragged was the most liberal bill in American history!"
That was the COVID relief and stimulus bill that had the support of 76% of the American people, including 60% of Republicans.


"Less than 6% of the President's plan goes to roads and bridges. It's a liberal wish-list of Big Government waste... plus the biggest job-killing tax hikes in a generation."
Except that most analysts agree that the broadly popular plan would create millions of jobs in emerging technologies that transcend the conventional and crumbling definition of "infrastructure."


"Tonight we also heard about a so-called 'Family Plan.' Even more taxing, even more spending."
More Republican "tax and spend" talking points. Never mind that most voters (64%) want corporations and the wealthy to finally pay their fair share. And once again, that includes a majority (53%) of Republicans.


"Now, he says your tax dollars should fund abortions. He's laying groundwork to pack the Supreme Court."
These are not just GOP talking points, they are blatant lies.


"Democrats used the filibuster to block the debate from even happening."
It's always cute when Republicans project their own flaws onto others. Their rampant obstructionism when they held the Senate majority reached unprecedented levels. And if the GOP is upset that Democrats used the filibuster to block legislation, then why are they complaining when Democrats are volunteering to abolish it?


"Republicans support making it easier to vote and harder to cheat."
They have a funny way of showing it. They are passing bills across the country to suppress and/or disenfranchise voters, especially people of color. And they still can't show any evidence of any significant voter fraud.


"Our best future won't come from Washington schemes or socialist dreams."
You can't have a Republican rant without throwing in baseless allegations of socialism. Even though they don't know what it means. To them it's just a buzzword intended to stir irrational fears.


However, perhaps the most disturbing part of Scott's harangue was when he raised the matter of race. As the only Black Republican in the Senate he has some license to speak on the subject. Sadly, he wasted it. He forcefully beseeched the nation to "Hear me clearly: America is not a racist country." But that came just two minutes after relating this real-world experience of most Black Americans:



"I have experienced the pain of discrimination. I know what it feels like to be pulled over for no reason. To be followed around a store while I'm shopping."


So which is it? it's hardly possible to undergo those indignities and prejudices in a country that isn't racist to some notable degree. And add to that the way too frequent incidents of police shootings of Black people; the recent Capitol insurrection that featured Confederate flags and rioters shouting epithets at Black officers; the growth of white nationalist groups and militias. At least Biden actually referenced that brand of domestic terrorism in his speech, saying that...

"We won't ignore what our own intelligence agencies have determined – the most lethal terrorist threat to the homeland today is from white supremacist terrorism."

The speech by Scott could have been written by Donald Trump, or more likely one of his speech writers, since Trump is borderline illiterate. It was hostile, dishonest, and littered with right-wing rhetoric and invective. There wasn't a hint of any policy proposals because Republicans don't have any actual ideas other than hating on Democrats. That was the resounding message contained in the GOP response. And the American people saw it and will have their own response when election time comes again.