10,000 on ignore, Book 172: The Days of Reckoning, Part 31.....

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
83,251
16,753
1
Trump wanted to send Americans infected by COVID-19 to Guantanamo
Dartagnan

By now anyone who hasn’t gleaned the uniquely horrific depravity and sociopathic character of the man who 62 million Americans voted into office in 2016 (and who an even greater number of Americans voted to re-elect in 2020) in all likelihood never will. But as time distances us more and more from his tenure in office, what we learn about Donald Trump himself with each passing day since his ignominious departure only serves to more fully flesh out his ignorant cruelty and utter self-absorption.

Trump’s disregard for the welfare of American citizens was never more apparent than in his wholly self-serving response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As something that could not be specifically predicted, and thus something his staff of venal propagandists and sycophants could actually prepare for in advance, it represented the ultimate test of his personal character, one which he almost immediately realized constituted an existential threat to his re-election chances.

As reported by Dan Diamond for the Washington Post, his behavior at the outset of the crisis was a type of panic, prompting him to instinctively employ all the time-tested tactics of distraction, denial and bombast that had worked so well in getting him elected. Like any sociopath unaccustomed to confronting reality on any terms but his own, his instinct was to do anything possible to make the problem go away. The safety and health of the American people were the very last thing he was concerned about. Nor did he spare an instant thinking about such abstractions like Americans’ rights or freedoms. Which is why one of his first reactions was almost pristine in its simplicity and arrogance.

As Diamond reports:

In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, as White House officials debated whether to bring infected Americans home for care, President Donald Trump suggested his own plan for where to send them, eager to suppress the numbers on U.S. soil.

“Don’t we have an island that we own?” the president reportedly asked those assembled in the Situation Room in February 2020, before the U.S. outbreak would explode. “What about Guantánamo?”

According to a new book, “Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration’s Response to the Pandemic that Changed History,” authored by Post reporters Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta, Trump floated the suggestion of sending infected Americans to Guantanamo not once, but twice. Diamond, reviewing the book’s more startling revelations for the Post, notes that even Trump’s fawning aides were stunned by the callousness of this suggestion (the book’s authors interviewed over 180 Trump staff members and health professionals involved in the administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic).

The prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, of course, has a notorious history. Essentially a black hole designed to disguise American cruelty and torture practices during the George W. Bush administration, the prison has housed (and currently houses) inmates suspected of being foreign terrorists, including several of whom have never received a trial. It is widely viewed today as an indelible stain on this country’s pretenses towards respecting human rights, which may be why it seemed such a perfect place to place Americans in the mind of someone like Donald Trump.

After all, Americans infected with the COVID-19 virus were a dire threat — to Trump’s re-election prospects. So it’s not that surprising that Trump would want to consign such a threat to the worst hell-hole imaginable to him.

While the Guantanamo episode will certainly receive most of the media attention, the events described in the book (Diamond obtained a pre-publication copy) confirm what anyone who watched the administration’s response as it unfolded would have immediately understood: Trump’s entire focus of was not to address the crisis, but to escape blame for it.

As Diamond reports, Trump’s priorities were clearly displayed, over and over again:

“Testing is killing me!” Trump reportedly exclaimed in a phone call to then-Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on March 18, yelling so loudly that Azar’s aides overheard every word. “I’m going to lose the election because of testing! What idiot had the federal government do testing?”

In fact, he considered it an unacceptable threat to his power and position that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) was bothering to track infection rates at all: “This was gross incompetence to let CDC develop a test,” he is reported to have said to HHS Secretary Alex Azar. According to Diamond, “the book also depicts the president as ineffectual and out of touch while his health and national security officials tried to manage the worsening outbreak.”

Trump’s total disregard and indifference to the fate of any Americans infected by the coronavirus that is probably the most damning. As Diamond reports, in one case he ordered the firing of a State Department official who allowed 14 infected passengers aboard the cruise ship, Diamond Princess, to return to the U.S., complaining it “double[d] his numbers [of those testing positive in this country] overnight.” The book recounts similar instances of callousness by administration officials such as former chief of staff Mark Meadows, as well as an over-arching compulsion among Trump’s staff to belittle the importance of protective measures such as masks.

But clearly nothing was more at the forefront of Trump’s mind than how the pandemic threatened his re-election:

Trump also would call for firing Robert Kadlec, the HHS emergency preparedness chief who signed off on the Diamond Princess evacuation. Later, he would push to replace Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn when the agency chief refused to expedite vaccine approvals before the election and deferred to career FDA officials instead.

Overall, the book’s authors conclude, Trump created a “a toxic environment in which no matter where you turned, someone was ready to rip your head off or threatening to fire you,” in which every decision was made with a view towards how it would make Donald Trump look.

It’s clear from the excerpts cited by Diamond that the real “nightmare scenario” was having a person such as Trump as the head of our government during such a crisis. After leaving a trail of 600,000 dead in his wake, of whom at least 400,000 would likely still be alive if anyone other than a soulless monster had been charged with the nation’s response, one could easily conclude that the only person who should have been sent to Guantanamo at the outset of this public health disaster was Trump himself.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
83,251
16,753
1
Worst ABC 1970s Saturday Night Retro TV Reboot Idea Ever: Trump Pandemic Solution: Pandemic Island
Rule of Claw

In what could be described as a Stanley Kubrickian scenario, Trump is alleged to have considered an extreme measure to deal with the Covid virus. This was also alongside a deteriorating campaign and a meltdown among his closest advisors.

The stunning revelation is contained in a new book, Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration’s Response to the Pandemic That Changed History, by Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta, two Washington Post reporters. The Post published excerpts on Monday.

According to the paper, at a meeting in the White House Situation Room in February last year, before the onset of the pandemic in which more than 600,000 have now died in the US, Trump asked aides: “Don’t we have an island that we own? What about Guantánamo?”

While the administration publicly put up a nonchalant face, the backstage was much different:


"You f---ing moron," Kushner reportedly yelled at then-assistant secretary of the Health and Human Services Department, Robert Kadlec, who purchased 600 million masks as coronavirus infections had spiked across the country. "We'll all be dead by June!"

Kushner grew so frustrated that he threw his pen at the wall, the book reports.

Clearly people on the inside were not so sanguine about the situation as the campaign wanted to portray.

The idea of a Pandemic Isolation Camp should come as no surprise from a man who embraces his “good German blood” whatever that is, and has probably never had an original good idea.

The early days of the pandemic revealed a panicked administration with little or no clue as to how to respond. Of course a lot of this could have been mitigated if:

1. Masks and other common sense measures had been embraced.


2. Trump had not gutted pandemic response capabilities-

3. Literally anyone else on the planet had been president.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
83,251
16,753
1
House will vote to scrap some of the worst Trump-era rules this week
Joan McCarter

The Democratic Congress is taking a cautious approach on one of their most powerful tools for undoing damage wrought by Trump, the Congressional Review Act (CRA). One of the problems they face is in the nature of that tool. It allows Congress to overrule an administration's regulations within an established rule period. But like pretty much anything cooked up by Newt Gingrich (and it was created when he was House Speaker in 1996) it was designed to be more helpful to Republicans than to Democrats; it allows for total destruction of regulations (a perennial Republican goal), rather than the precision revising of regulations. The very tricky thing Gingrich did was preclude a subsequent administration from making a similar rule in the future unless it is authorized by new legislation. It also bars judicial review—meaning that a resolution of disapproval cannot be challenged in federal court. It's also another thing that Republicans determined should be expedited, not subject to a filibuster.

In the case of three Trump rules, however, the caution about using the CRA didn't overcome the need to undo Trump damage, and the House is scheduled to eliminate them this week, acting after the Senate. One of the measures restores standards for methane emissions from the Obama administration. Another overturns a banking rule that would allow payday lenders to partner with banks to make loans at high interest rates—rates the banks aren't allowed to charge. The final CRA vote in the House is on an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) rule that opponents argue gave employers unfair advantage in discrimination complaints.

These are all pretty straightforward bad things that should be undone, and don't need to be revised. But using the CRA broadly has been a concern for Democrats. As Daniel Pérez, a senior policy analyst at George Washington University’s Regulatory Studies Center, told The Hill, "It's a sledgehammer, not a scalpel," and it could do destruction beyond just striking down a rule.
.......
"The Congressional Review Act is quite possibly the worst law Congress has ever enacted," said James Goodwin, a senior policy analyst with the left-leaning Center for Progressive Reform. "Very often, using the CRA puts Republicans where they want to be at. Almost never does using the CRA put Democrats where they want to be at," he said. Hence the Democrats' caution. But these? They can go.

"This resolution is important, it's probably one of the most important things that we can do right now because methane emissions are so damaging to the climate," Rep. Diana DeGette a Colorado Democrat, told The Hill. The Senate passed the CRA on methane 52-42, with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer calling a "big deal" in fighting climate change. It reinstates the 2012 and 2016 Oil and Natural Gas New Source Performance Standards set by the Obama administration that govern oil production and processing.

The banking CRA is a wonkier one, with a rule shoved through last fall that allows the Office of Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) to determine which is the "true lender" in loans issued to consumers through partnerships between nationally chartered banks and third party, nonbank lenders—usually payday lenders. Democratic state attorneys general sued to throw out the regulation in January, arguing that the rule violates consumer protection laws. Sen. Sherrod Brown, chair of the Banking Committee, championed this CRA.


“You can stand on the side of online payday lenders that brag about their creativity in avoiding the law and finding new ways to prey on workers and their families,” Brown said during the Senate debate, "or we can stand up for families and small businesses, and the state attorneys general and state legislatures who have said 'enough.'" The rule allows for "rent-a-bank" schemes, and have resulted in loans that "are still extremely high cost and extremely predatory," according to Lisa Stifler, director of state policy at the Center for Responsible Lending.

As for the EEOC rule that the House will be overturning, it would have changed the pre-litigation settlement process, requiring the Commission to provide information that would expose the identities of employees who have alleged discrimination as well as witnesses, increasing the potential for retaliation against them. Critics of the rule also said that it made extra, unnecessary work for the EEOC, forcing it to produce reams of documentation in cases for employers rather than using its limited resources to combat actual discrimination. "That rule was designed to make it easier for employers to delay or deny justice to workers who have experienced discrimination on the job," Sen. Patty Murray said during the floor debate on the CRA.

"When workers bring credible claims of discrimination to the EEOC, they deserve a fair process that protects their rights and shields them from retaliation," said House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott, a Virginia Democrat. He is the House sponsor for the resolution to toss this rule.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
83,251
16,753
1
Democrats get early boost in two critical Senate races
Kerry Eleveld

Last year, Senate Republicans were already feeling so desperate about their upcoming midterm prospects that they rushed to wish Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa a speedy and full recovery from COVID-19 so that he could run for reelection in 2022. The power of incumbency is a huge advantage for any politician, and Republicans were clinging to the idea of sending Grassley—who will be 89 when the '22 general election rolls around—back to the upper chamber for another six-year term.

GOP fortunes have improved slightly since then, with historical trends improving their midterm prospects since Democrats now control the White House and both chambers of Congress. But the Senate map is still a long ways away from a gimme for Republicans, and several recent developments have brought good news for Democrats.

The first of those is a new poll from the Des Moines Register showing that nearly two-thirds of Iowa voters (64%) believe "it's time for someone else" to hold Grassley's seat versus the 27% who want to see the octogenarian reelected to an eighth term. Women voters were especially brutal, with seven out of ten saying they were ready to give Grassley the heave-ho.
.......
Grassley's numbers with GOP voters lagged too, with just 51% committing to supporting him again, while just 7% of Democrats and 23% of independents agreed. Grassley's overall job approval clocked in at a meager 45%; it's his lowest level since 1982.

The poll, conducted by Selzer & Co., upends Republican thinking that another Grassley run could help safeguard the seat. In fact, Grassley may be a liability in the general election, or GOP primary voters may choose an alternative. In any case, Iowa's Senate race could prove more competitive than Republicans had hoped.

Meanwhile, the GOP primary race for North Carolina's open Senate seat has been scrambled by Donald Trump's surprise endorsement of hard-right Congressman Ted Budd, according to Politico. Following Trump's input at the state party convention earlier this month, former North Carolina governor-turned-Senate candidate Pat McCrory rushed to dismiss the endorsement as falling "flat" in the room.

Now, retiring GOP Sen. Richard Burr is coming to McCrory's rescue, reportedly arguing both publicly and privately that he is "the only one in the race" who can win the seat statewide. “Pat McCrory has a commanding advantage," Burr told Politico.

Burr, one of seven Republican senators who voted to convict Trump of impeachment charges, also took a swipe at Trump's rationale, or lack thereof.

“I can’t tell you what motivates him," Burr said of Trump. "I’ve never seen individuals endorse a candidate a year before the primary. That’s unusual.”

Judging by Budd's own internal polling, Burr has a point. McCrory enjoys far higher statewide name recognition, and he's leading Budd by about two dozen points, 45%-19%. Another Republican contender, former Rep. Mark Walker, garners just 12% of the vote, with 23% still undecided.

McCrory, who has been meeting with GOP senators to make his case, is running as an establishment Republican. Budd obviously occupies the Trump lane now. It's a scenario that could easily leave one side or the other feeling resentful depending on which Republican prevails, and any result on the GOP side could wind up depressing at least some general election turnout among Tar Heel Republicans.

But that’s the least of the GOP’s worries, according to McCrory’s camp, which is intent on catastrophizing the ultimate result of a Budd primary win.

“If Republicans want a majority in the U.S. Senate, they will nominate Pat McCrory,” said McCrory adviser Jordan Shaw. “Otherwise, Democrats are going to take this seat and keep the majority."
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
83,251
16,753
1
Donald Trump really, really hates it when you laugh at him
Mark Sumner

ScreenShot2020-06-10at4.09.35PM.png

Alec Baldwin, reliably delivering a press conference that made more sense than the real thing

There was a point, in the later years of the Emperor Tiberius, when making a joke about the emperor could get someone killed. So could laughing at a joke about the emperor. So could failing to turn in someone who laughed at a joke about the emperor. So could … in any case, the point is that the emperor tended not to have a great deal of tolerance when it came to being made an object of derision.

Not every aspect of Roman Empire maps neatly onto modern events (for example, Americans don’t generally store their safety deposit boxes with a collection of sacred virgins). But if there is one thing that has been true across the ages, it’s that demagogues and dictators rarely have anything that looks like a sense of humor, especially as it applies to themselves. Someone whose psychological makeup is evenly divided between ego and paranoia, is just extremely unlikely to sit through a roast without taking down names.

So it shouldn’t be surprising to find that when it comes to his portrayal on Saturday Night Live, Donald Trump
was not amused. Even so, it may be surprising to find that, as The Daily Beast reports, Trump tried to get the FCC and the Department of Justice to shut down sketch comedy.
........
Trump never hesitated to give his opinion on Saturday Night Live’s take on all things Trump. That’s because 1) He apparently watched TV for 23.5 hours a day and 2) watched anything, on any channel, that was even remotely about him.

The March 2019 episode that at first had Trump tweeting about how his portrayal by Alec Baldwin was “not funny” then pondering whether the “Federal Election Commission and/or FCC” should investigate the show, was actually a repeat. It’s unclear if Trump didn’t remember its first run, or whether repetition really rubbed him to the wrong way. Considering that he tweeted (in the days when he could tweet) that the show’s cast spent “all of their time knocking the same person (me), over & over,” it’s not even completely clear that Trump understands how repeats work.

But Trump didn’t just tweet about going to the FCC, he actually insisted that someone talk to them about the “equal time rule.” Because Trump was apparently unaware that Republicans have waged a decades long war against the equal time rule, and that “lax” would be a kind description of how that rule is enforced. Also, there are a set of established carve outs from that rule, including mentions of someone in actual news events, interviews, debates, talk shows, and satire. Actually, satire is not even mentioned in the FCC rules, because multiple court cases have established that it’s protected speech under the First Amendment. So there.

Trump seems to have gotten the equal time rule mixed up with the fairness doctrine. That would be that other rule that Republicans waged a decades long war against, before actually sinking that ship back in the time when Ronald Reagan was solidly anti-fairness.

However, Trump—who obviously never spared a thought to how actual enforcement of either the equal time rule or the fairness doctrine would affect Fox, Newsmax, or OANN—apparently tried to get the FCC to do something about not just SNL, but Jimmy Kimmel and others. Trump even called up pillow-guy Mike Lindell to congratulate him for what Trump saw as a very pro-Trump appearance on Kimmel’s show. Everyone else saw it as Lindell getting his ass handed to him on a pillow.

Colbert doesn’t seem to be mentioned. As a guess, Colbert was never mentioned in Trump’s presence. If any of his aides were smart, they took CBS off the White House TVs while Trump was busy looking at his phone.


Trump also had discussions in which White House attorneys had to talk him down from sending the Department of Justice after SNL or others who dared to make fun of him. It’s not clear how Trump thought that was going to work. One of those present described an effort by the guy then sitting behind the Resolute Desk to have the DOJ chase down people for making fun of him as “more annoying than alarming,” but really … it seems pretty alarming.

One thing that is kind of funny: Over the course of four years, Trump repeatedly attacked NBC and parent company Comcast. At first, each of these attacks, no matter how obscure the threat, generated drops in Comcast stock prices, and concerns that the FTC or other agency might genuinely order the cable giant to divest itself of the network. But by 2020, Trump was making overt threats against NBC and Comcast while on his rally circuit, and the market ignored him completely. It took them four years, but Wall Street investors finally figured out that Trump was the joke.

And he really, really hates it when you laugh.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
83,251
16,753
1
Joe Lieberman, of all people, is showing up for D.C. statehood at Senate committee hearing
Laura Clawson

Statehood for Washington, D.C., is getting a Senate committee hearing on Tuesday, two months after the House passed the legislation on a party line vote. And the hearing at the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will include a very surprising advocate for statehood: former committee chair Joe Lieberman.

In addition to testifying before the committee, Lieberman will personally appeal to Republicans and conservative Democrats, trading on his own history as “somebody who worked very hard across party lines—and sometimes to my detriment in my own party,” as he told Roll Call. That’s one way to put it.
.........
”I’d hoped that at a time when unfortunately there’s too much racial division in our society again that adopting statehood for the District would be one way to close the gap, mend the tears,” Lieberman said, apparently not understanding that Republicans don’t want that. Statehood for the plurality-Black District would help change the fact that, in the U.S., “The average Black American voting power is only 75 percent as much representation as the average white American in the Senate and a 55 percent to the Hispanic voter.” The current state of affairs helps maintain Republican power, and Republicans are all about holding on to power by any means available.

Statehood would also have made a major difference in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, because the order for the Washington, D.C. National Guard to activate would have been under local control, not left waiting for hours while the Defense Department and Trump White House allowed the attack to continue. That’s not the only major recent event in which Washington, D.C., has been denied equal treatment, the District’s government noted in making the case for statehood: “While our population is larger than that of both Vermont and Wyoming, under the CARES Act, the District was denied $755 million in emergency funds, which is the amount provided to the least populous state through the Coronavirus Relief Fund.”

The statehood bill would reduce the size of the federal district—the part not given the full rights of statehood—to the immediate surroundings of the White House, Capitol Hill, the Supreme Court, and the National Mall, and turn the rest of the current Washington, D.C., into the State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth, honoring Frederick Douglass.

Republicans are literally using one form of minority rule—the filibuster—to preserve another—a Senate that gives as many votes to the less than 600,000 people in Wyoming as the more than 39 million people in California, and gives zero votes to the 700,000 people in Washington, D.C. Republicans like it that way, because justice matters not at all to them.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
83,251
16,753
1
Georgia GOP quickly moving to oust Democrats from local election posts, foreshadowing times to come
Kerry Eleveld

Republicans in Georgia are moving swiftly to capitalize on their election-law power grab by removing anyone in local election posts who might interfere with their efforts to suppress Democratic voters and manipulate election outcomes.

Lonnie Hollis is exactly that type of troublemaker, which is why Republicans will be ousting her this year from the Troup County election board in West Georgia, according to The New York Times.

“I speak out and I know the laws,” said Hollis, a Black woman who has served on the board since 2013. “The bottom line is they don’t like people that have some type of intelligence and know what they’re doing, because they know they can’t influence them.”

.........
Hollis and election board members in at least 10 other counties across the state are victims of the Georgia GOP’s new power grabs. In Troup County, a local law signed by Gov. Brian Kemp handed over full control of the county election board to Republicans. The GOP-led county commission can now run the table on whatever changes it wants to make to the board, whereas election board members used to be chosen by county commissioners in conjunction with both political parties and the county's three biggest cities. Of the local election board members across Georgia who will likely either be replaced or eliminated, most are Democrats and five are people of color, according to the Times, but all of their seats will most likely be filled by Republicans.

Hollis, for instance, was clearly a problem—for which Republicans now have a solution. She has pushed for making voting more accessible by doing things like opening polls on Sunday and adding a new polling location at a Black church, for instance.

Georgia's statewide voter suppression law is one of 24 new election laws that Republican-led legislatures have enacted in more than a dozen states, with more likely to come. Some of those laws have included both front-end and back-end manipulations to protect against outcomes that Republicans don't like. So alongside restricting who can vote, Republican lawmakers have also taken power away from elected officials, put a stranglehold on state election boards, and empowered themselves to overturn any unfortunate election results.

But these early moves in Georgia suggest the fears of many voting rights advocates are already afoot. If partisan Republicans are already taking action to remove any Democratic and Republican local election board members who threaten to act in good faith in a disputed contest, then it's clear that they are already stacking the decks to get the results they want, regardless of who Georgia voters choose to represent them.

“It’s a thinly veiled attempt to wrest control from officials who oversaw one of the most secure elections in our history and put it in the hands of bad actors,” said Jena Griswold, chairwoman of the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State and the current Colorado secretary of state. “The risk is the destruction of democracy.”


As election law expert and founder of Democracy Docket Marc Elias tweeted, "This is not normal. It is wrong. It is dangerous. And, it is happening."
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
83,251
16,753
1
With New York City voters headed to the polls on Tuesday to pick a new mayor, CNN reports that Donald Trump will likely be keeping an eye on another race on the ballot that could hold a key to how bad his legal problems could grow.

Current Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. is already working in concert with New York Attorney General Leticia James investigating the former president and his Trump Org company, and Vance's successor is on the ballot.

According to a CNN opinion piece by Arick Wierson and Bradley Honan, whoever takes over for Vance will be given free rein to either ramp up the investigation or keep it running at its current pace. ...”The investigation seems to have reached a fever pitch, but Vance, who became the Manhattan DA in 2010, announced earlier this year that he would not be seeking re-election. Many experts now believe he will venture into uncharted legal terrain and bring charges against either the former president or his organization (or both) before he leaves office," the authors added, "The stakes of Tuesday's primary couldn't be higher. In a city where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans more than 6-to-1, it is all but ensured the winner of Tuesday's Democratic primary election will go on to win the general election this fall.".....
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
83,251
16,753
1
'It’s a much smaller party': How Trumpism crushed the GOP's big tent and governing capacity alike
Kerry Eleveld

In the realm of governing, large metro areas serve as a petri dish for democracy—sorting out what ideas sell best to a diversity of voters and which policies actually deliver the desired results.

In the early aughts, the Republican Party was still competing in that marketplace of ideas in big cities and states like California and New York, where the metros can dominate a statewide election. As The New York Times points out, Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger secured the California governorship in a 2003 recall election, defeating Democrat Gray Davis by winning 45% of the vote in Los Angeles County and three-fifths of the vote in San Diego County. In New York City, GOP Mayor Rudy Giuliani passed the baton in 2001 to then-Republican Michael Bloomberg, who ultimately shed his GOP party affiliation in 2007 and registered as a Democrat in 2018.
.......
But today, Republicans are so out of step with the times that they're not even viable in big-city races, not to mention the governorships in most of the country's large progressive states. Massachusetts' Republican Gov. Charlie Baker stands out as a rare exception, having won a second term in 2019. One could also argue that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is defying GOP norms, governing a state that is culturally southern but still far more diverse than most southern states—but Sunshine State politics, and even its diversity, are fairly anomalous. Democrats also run the 11 biggest metros in the country, although Republican Mattie Parker won a mayoral bid earlier this month in Forth Worth, Texas, the nation's 12th-largest city. Parker told the Times that part of her strategy was to subtly distance herself from the party's still-dominant figurehead, Donald Trump, even as her own party did the exact opposite at both the state and federal level.

“When I was asked about the president and the election,” Parker explained, “I would just say, ‘I operate differently.’”

Pre-Trump, Republicans were already on the path to irrelevance in the country's most diverse city centers and the increasingly diverse suburbs that ring the nation's largest metro areas. But Trump, both culturally and politically, managed to sever any ties Republicans still had to the reality most Americans are living today.

“It’s not the same Republican Party,” said Representative Donald McEachin of Virginia. “Trump chased off a lot of moderate Republicans, so it’s a much smaller party.”

The GOP's estranged relationship with cultural diversity has not only crippled its ability to compete electorally in city centers and their associated suburbs, it has also deprived Republicans of having any hand in governing the most innovative and productive economies in the country. Republicans’ laser-like focus on white culture is also the reason the party is beginning to lose its stranglehold on states like Georgia, where the region's biggest economic driver is a rapidly diversifying city like Atlanta.

“It’s not sustainable. It’s just not,” said Joseph Lhota, a former M.T.A. chair and the 2013 GOP nominee for mayor of New York. “There was a time when Republicans had a seat at the table when people talked about laboratories of democracy, and there’s no better place for laboratories of democracy than large cities and large states.”

So the next time you wonder why Republicans seem incapable of governing at the federal level, the answer is clear: Republicans have almost entirely given up on the complex task of governing anything but majority-white, low-density areas of the country. They’ve forgotten how to compete anywhere else, and so they have no solutions whatsoever for the problems that most Americans are facing in their communities.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
83,251
16,753
1


'Let’s do our job': Sen. Warnock gives the kind of speech we should be embarrassed he has to give
Walter Einenkel

On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate was set to vote on whether or not to debate the For the People Act. It’s a piece of voting rights legislation that would help to protect our constitutional right to vote will be filibustered by the minority Republican Party. They will do this at a time when conservative officials around the country have been working diligently to suppress the votes of millions of Americans. The legislation comes less than six months after our democracy was militantly challenged by MAGA-inspired claims of election fraud, and a violent occupation of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. was attempted by domestic terrorist groups.

While more moderate, centrist, and conservative Democratic officials have tried to pay lip service to the idea that there are GOP officials willing to work on compromises, the Senate minority leader and other Republicans have made it clear that a working legislative branch is not in their best interests for maintaining and wielding power. On Tuesday, Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia—a man who was able to get elected through the sheer will of hundreds of thousands of (predominantly) Black Georgians to overcome Jim Crow-era racism and institutional obstacles to be elected as the first Black senator from his state—took to the Senate floor to offer up a reasoned plea to those across the aisle.
..........
Warnock is an excellent orator in his own right. His first speech on the floor of the Senate after his historic election brought the traditionally stodgy chamber to its feet in a standing ovation. But the choice to let Georgia’s first Black senator speak was also tied to the intimate knowledge of voter suppression and the continued shadows of bigotry and white supremacy our country’s election processes perpetuate.

Warnock began by explaining that the legislation being brought up for possible debate is arguably the most fundamental piece of national discourse worth having: “What we do or fail to do will have long lasting and far-reaching implications for the health, viability and vitality of the world's greatest democracy.” Warnock explained that while there were many issues debated on the Senate floor, the voting rights issue was different because of how “formative and foundational” it is by nature. The election of our officials by
all Americans is, as Warnock puts it, “What we claim to be. That is who we are. A democracy built on that sacred idea of one person, one vote.”

It is here that Warnock delivered the most scathing condemnation of those in the Senate unwilling to at least debate the issue in front of the American public:

SEN. RAPHAEL WARNOCK: With all of the arguments taking place in the country right now, with all of the audits being ordered, and with all of the voting legislation being feverishly passed in states all across our country, clearly, ironically, there is agreement, albeit for different reasons, on the right and on the left that democracy itself is in danger. Folks on the left and folks on the right believe that there is something broken that needs to be fixed. And if that is, indeed, the case, what kind of Congress would we be in the whole history of congresses if seeing that discussion out there, we refuse to even debate the matter in here?

It goes to the heart of the matter: The idea that everybody in our country, regardless of their opinions on the facts, are having this debate. Whether or not people’s minds can be changed is immaterial if you are unwilling to actually lay your cards down on the table and explain your position. It is the point of a democracy. Warnock continued pounding this fundamental flaw in the GOP’s insistence on filibustering such important conversation.

WARNOCK: Who are we and how are we to hide in a moment like this? And so I rise, Mr. President, with what I think is a simple request to my colleagues: Let's do our job. Resist the easy route, the temptation to hide behind Senate procedure, and let's have a principled conversation in front of the American people about voting rights. Let's have that conversation right here right now.

And the alternative, the GOP filibuster, is not simply bad policy or a disagreement in approach, it’s antithetical to the reason we are supposed to have a Senate in the first place. “How could we do otherwise? It is said that we are the most important, deliberative body on the planet. Well, folks, how derelict would we be if in this defining moment we refuse to even have a debate—a debate about how best to preserve and protect that which is most precious, the democracy itself?”

And while it would fall on ears clogged up with big donor money and moral compasses stuck in the sludge of fear and bigotry, Warnock very eloquently tried to remind the Republicans in attendance what being an elected official in a democracy is supposed to be: “This is not our house. This is the house of the people. We are stewards of that trust. We have to ensure that the voices of the people can be heard in their own house.”

Warnock is also a Christian pastor in his Atlanta, Georgia, community, and connected his spiritual beliefs with the constitutional right to vote, saying: “I believe in democracy with all of my heart. I believe that democracy is the political enactment of a spiritual idea. That we're all children of God. That we have within us a spark of the divine and therefore to determine our country's direction. I believe in democracy, government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” And goes on to remind the Senate chambers that it has been through the right to vote that marginalized people have achieved the rights they now have.

He ended by bringing it back to the egos on display in the Senate, and the sin of vanity so nakedly manifest in the GOP filibuster: “Who are we and how are we to hide at a moment like this? Why are some people hiding? To what end? For what purpose? At whose behest? From whom are they hiding? The American people, who sent us here in the first place? And so I hope we can take a bipartisan vote to begin debate on this important piece of legislation because that's what democracy is all about. History is watching and the future is waiting to see if we are who we say we are. The United States Senate, a serious-minded deliberative body. The United States of America, a nation built on that simple but sublime principle: one person, one vote. Mr. President, I yield the floor.”
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
83,251
16,753
1


Deeply insincere and incoherent Kyrsten Sinema defends her choice to disenfranchise us
Joan McCarter

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, the Arizona Democrat—who apparently has decided that securing the legacy of mavericky John McCain for herself is … doing Sen. Mitch McConnell's work?—chose the eve of the procedural vote on the most consequential legislation for restoring our democracy to double down on her support for the Jim Crow filibuster with an op-ed in The Washington Post. In it she exposes just how unserious she is about this job she has taken on, ignoring history, oblivious to reality, and yet glibly triumphant in declaring principles that are absolute bunk.

It mostly boils down to one idea: Democrats shouldn’t pass things because Republicans might rescind them. What that translates into in practice with the For the People Act is that the rights of the Senate minority are more important than the voting rights of millions of Americans. The Senate will vote on a motion to proceed to debate on the bill Tuesday afternoon.

"Arizonans expect me to do what I promised when I ran for the House and the Senate: to be independent—like Arizona—and to work with anyone to achieve lasting results," she writes. (They probably also expected her to look out for their economic interests, but look where that got them.) "Lasting results," she continues, "rather than temporary victories, destined to be reversed, undermining the certainty that America’s families and employers depend on." The way to achieve "lasting results," she apparently believes, is gridlock. "The filibuster compels moderation and helps protect the country from wild swings between opposing policy poles," she says.
.........

Sinema: Why make it easier to attack voter rights than protect them? + New TV ads
Mother Mags


 
Last edited:

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
83,251
16,753
1
Senate Democrats press forward with voting rights bill despite guaranteed Republican filibuster
Laura Clawson

The Senate is set to vote Tuesday on the For the People Act, but, with Republicans already enacting one vicious voter suppression bill after another in the states, a federal voting rights bill will fall to the filibuster. If Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin decides to vote for it—after proposing changes last week which other Democrats largely embraced—Republicans will nonetheless be able to block the bill using the filibuster as a tool of minority rule.

Former President Barack Obama endorsed Manchin’s proposal Monday, and hammered home the importance of the legislation, saying on a call with supporters, “We can't wait until the next election because if we have the same kinds of shenanigans that brought about Jan. 6, if we have that for a couple more election cycles, we're going to have real problems in terms of our democracy long-term.”
.........
Manchin has insisted that he doesn’t want to see voting rights legislation treated in a partisan way, as if he can’t see Republicans doing exactly that in the states. He suggested that his watered-down version of the bill might be enough to garner some Republican votes, but thus far no Republican rush has materialized to end gerrymandering, introduce automatic voter registration, and expand early voting. How surprising.

“The real driving force behind S. 1 is the desire to rig the rules of American elections permanently—permanently—in Democrats’ favor,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. “That’s why the Senate will give this disastrous proposal no quarter.” Two things here are old news that remains noteworthy: McConnell sees anything that makes it easier to vote and harder to gerrymander as rigging elections for Democrats, which tells you something, and McConnell is deeply committed to rigging the rules of elections, just for Republicans.

Sen. Lindsey Graham has been whipping up the Republican base’s fear of the bill by lying about the anti-gerrymandering provision, claiming it “would take away from states the ability to draw congressional lines, and give it to an independent commission created in Washington.” In fact, the provision would task states with creating their own independent, nonpartisan redistricting commissions. But to Republicans who have gained power in recent decades through ruthless gerrymandering—in Wisconsin in 2018, Scott Walker lost reelection as governor statewide but won in 63 of 99 state Assembly districts, for instance—making the process nonpartisan and independent is almost as bad as putting it in the hands of partisan Democrats.

Democrats are moving forward with the vote, though. Right now, the hopeful outlook is, “We won’t get 10, but we may get a couple” Republican votes, as Sen. Jeff Merkley said on CNN Tuesday morning. And that is a very optimistic scenario, with McConnell out there declaring the voting rights bill “disastrous.”


This is the power of the filibuster to give Republicans a veto: Unless something can be passed through budget reconciliation, which most Democratic priorities cannot be (but most Republican priorities can be, go figure), all Republicans have to do is hold 40% of the Senate, at a time when Republicans can hold an outright majority of the Senate while still representing fewer overall voters than Democrats do. In the current 50-50 Senate, Democrats represent 41 million more people than Republicans do. And they’re using that minority power to continue to solidify minority power for themselves, by blocking voting rights, blocking statehood for Washington, D.C., and packing the courts in their favor.