Mitch McConnell

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Tear Gas and The Bible

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 04/06/2020 - 3:01am in

The White House ordered Lafayette Square cleared of protesters so Trump could walk from the building to nearby St. John’s Episcopal Church. To clear the square, National Guard units attacked the peaceful protesters there with tear gas, rubber bullets, and flash-bang explosives. Continue reading

The post Tear Gas and The Bible appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

The Country Is Gone but At Least We Don’t Have a National Debt

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 06/05/2020 - 4:07pm in

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell insists that economic stimulus should either halt or slow down due to concerns about the deficit. What kind of world, he asks, will our children and grandchildren inherit? Not a good one if he gets his way.

When I moved to NYC in 1995 - 25 years ago! - I hoped to create...

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 14/04/2020 - 6:15am in

When I moved to NYC in 1995 - 25 years ago! - I hoped to create illustrations for The New Yorker. This week, I have my FIRST ONE published in the magazine! I’ve been so grateful to create cartoons for The New Yorker (both in print and online) since 2007; illustration is a whole different process. I’m honored to have my artwork accompany such an important and excellent article by Jane Mayer - you can read it at the link below. And to create this portrait for such a sweeping investigative profile of McConnell in such a prestigious publication, it seems quite likely McConnell himself will see the artwork and how I’ve chosen to depict him. That brings along with it its own satisfaction …

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/04/20/how-mitch-mcconnell-became-trumps-enabler-in-chief?fbclid=IwAR1iRxaxjll8qqG4QxE03Vx2GzJB5bq7dZpOB4P6bk24KSsc_hOXs4dt35Q

Who says Republicans have been slow to respond? My latest for...

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 31/03/2020 - 7:09am in

Who says Republicans have been slow to respond?
My latest for today’s Boston Globe:

https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/03/30/opinion/republicans-emergency-coronavirus-responses/

3 Things the Government Must Do to Avoid Economic and Social Collapse

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 24/03/2020 - 7:07am in

Image result for coronavirus closed sign

Americans don’t expect much from their government. But even by the standards of a nation with one of the flimsiest social safety nets in the Western world, the inability and unwillingness of both major political parties to manage and solve the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic is shocking.

President Trump’s lack of leadership is well documented elsewhere so I won’t go into detail here. Democrats aren’t blameless; the DNC-engineered pre-Super Tuesday soft coup against Bernie Sanders replaced a frontrunner whose prescient ideas were tailormade for this crisis with a babbling dolt without an original thought in his foggy brain.

Congress is squabbling over an economic stimulus package as if they had all the time in the world. My favorite part was Mitch McConnell letting the Senate take the weekend off. Hey, Japan, not cool about Pearl Harbor but we’ll get back to you about declaring war in a week or whatever. Meanwhile, experts predict that unemployment could go as high as 30%, significantly worse than the depth of the Great Depression.

But now is not the time to cast blame. The ship is sinking. We can make the captain walk the plank later. Right now we have to fix the problem.

First, we have to save lives.

Trump says he doesn’t want to “nationalize” American companies. Actually, no one’s suggesting that. But they should. This is still a spectacularly wealthy nation with incredible resources and brilliant entrepreneurs. Shortages of face masks, testing kits, ventilators, rubbing alcohol and so on are inexcusable. The federal government must immediately requisition factories, hire workers directly and place manufacturing of needed supplies on an emergency war footing. If a company is already set up to make something we need yet refuses to do so, it should be nationalized and put to work for the American people.

In the fight against COVID-19, the biggest danger to the privileged is the poor health of the underprivileged. You can hunker down in the Hamptons but your newly-purchased freezer full of hoarded steaks won’t protect you from infection as long as others are too vulnerable to protect themselves. Some of the 17 million vacant homes in the United States should be immediately seized to house America’s half a million homeless and other vulnerable populations. The vast majority of prisoners, many of whom are awaiting trial, convicted of minor offenses or convicted of serious crimes but safe to release, should be immediately released from facilities whose conditions create cesspools of contagion.

Healthcare must be free. Hospitals and doctors should send their bills to the government. That debate, along with the canard that we have the best healthcare system in the world, is obviously over.

Second, we have to save the economy.

I’m not normally one to agree with Thomas Friedman, but he’s right when he points out that economic collapse will kill people on a scale on par with COVID-19: “Either we let many of us get the coronavirus, recover and get back to work—while doing our utmost to protect those most vulnerable to being killed by it. Or, we shut down for months to try to save everyone everywhere from this virus—no matter their risk profile — and kill many people by other means, kill our economy and maybe kill our future.”

I don’t think we really need to “let” many of us get the coronavirus. That has already happened.

News coverage that emphasizes test results is an idiotic distraction. Roughly 1/10 of 1% of American citizens have been tested. We know nothing about the COVID-19 status of 99.9% of the population. We don’t call elections based on 0.1% of the poll results and we can’t draw real conclusions from the testing so far.

However, there is reason to believe that many, many people have already had it.

Roughly one out of five people who get the coronavirus will never know it because they are asymptomatic. COVID-19 was first identified in early December in Wuhan, China. Although the median incubation period is 5 days, it can be as long as 11 days. That means we are talking about a pandemic that dates back to late November 2019.

When did it arrive in the United States? Probably in a day or two, the amount of time it took for one asymptomatic and/or incubating carrier—people like this account for about 10% of new infections—to board a plane and fly across the Pacific Ocean. Roughly 10,000 people a day flew from China to the United States at that time.

This is not a new thing—and you should feel good about that.

Let me explain.

The number of new cases in the U.S. has been doubling about every three days. Get a calculator and start multiplying by two: 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024. That’s 10 three-day periods, aka the month of December. Keep going. By the end of January you’re at over a million. By February, a billion. The U.S. population is about 330 million. So when New York governor Andrew Cuomo says that 40 to 60% of the population is going to get the coronavirus, he’s being conservative.

The rate of transmission will stop increasing exponentially at some point. Some patients will die. The virus will run out of new Americans to infect. But mostly, we are going to recover and emerge with full or partial immunity to COVID-19. Many, many Americans have already had coronavirus, recovered, and are now fine.

Must they stay at home too? Maybe not. The U.S. government must pull out all the stops to test everyone, not just for current infection, but for past infection. A team at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York has developed a promising test for acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) that lets you know if you’ve ever had it. We don’t know if it’s possible to be reinfected by coronavirus or, if so, whether a second bout would be equally or less severe. But there are promising signs that the human immune response can tackle COVID-19.

If COVID-19 patients can emerge with total or near total immunity to the strain, they can help people who are sick. There’s no risk of them transmitting the infection or of contracting it. They are the key to restarting our economy. We can’t waste a moment finding those people and getting them back to work.

Third, we have to save people’s individual economies.

As we saw after the 2008-09 Great Recession, there’s not much point saving banks or corporations or the stock market without targeting individual American citizens for direct relief. Bernie Sanders has proposed that the United States Treasury pay out $2000 per person per month until the end of the coronavirus crisis. Sounds right.

Republicans want an absurd regressive form of means testing—the poorer are you are, the less you would receive. Saying they don’t want to subsidize millionaires, Democrats like Nancy Pelosi also want means testing but from the other direction.

Both are ridiculous. There’s no time for detailed analysis or a new government bureaucracy to determine who gets what. Checks and wire transfers need to go out yesterday. So what if Bill Gates gets one?

It’s time to act, not to blame. But if there’s no action or if the action is late and/or insufficient, there will be plenty of blame to go around. And there will be no limit to the rage of the survivors who are suffering against politicians who did not do what was needed to be done.

(Ted Rall (Twitter: @tedrall), the political cartoonist, columnist and graphic novelist, is the author of the biography “Bernie.” You can support Ted’s hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.)

Moscow Mitch was hoping the fever would break

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 20/03/2020 - 3:32am in

The closing remarks of Moscow Mitch McConnell statement before the vote to spare Donald John Trump his presidency. He was talking about “factional fever” that the “framers” referred to as a concern for majorities acting in a partisan manor.  And yet, here we are.

Mitch McConnell’s Do-Nothing Republicans.Led by the...

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 04/03/2020 - 1:02pm in

Mitch McConnell’s Do-Nothing Republicans.

Led by the self-proclaimed Grim Reaper, the Republican-controlled Senate has refused to take up nearly 400 bills passed by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.

Here are just some of the bills dying in McConnell’s legislative graveyard:

House Democrats’ first major legislative initiative, the For the People Act, has been languishing on McConnell’s desk since March 2019. The bill tackles a host of corrupting influences in our democracy. It aims to reform campaign finance laws to curb the influence of big money, strengthen ethics laws for federal officials, and bolster voting rights by enacting automatic voter registration and ending partisan gerrymandering.

Before the bill even passed the House, McConnell declared he would not take it up in the Senate, decrying it as a “power grab that’s smelling more and more like exactly what it is.” It is a power grab — it grabs power back for the people. But McConnell is the one grabbing power away from the majority of voters, who elected members of the House to tackle real issues.

Here’s another: The Bipartisan Background Checks Act has been wasting away in McConnell’s graveyard for almost a year now. It tightens background checks on all gun sales, including private firearm purchases, online purchases, and purchases made at gun shows. McConnell also pronounced this bill dead on arrival in the Senate. Since passed in the House in February 2019, there were 371 more mass shootings that year alone. Mitch McConnell and his spineless Republican colleagues are too afraid to stand up to their NRA backers, and it’s costing Americans their lives. This is in spite of the measures having support of a vast majority of the American public.

A third item in the McConnell graveyard: House Democrats passed the Raise the Wage Act, which would lift the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, phasing in increases over seven years. This would raise the pay of 27 million Americans and lift 1.3 million households out of poverty. But as soon as the bill was passed, Mitch McConnell took to Fox News to declare, “We’re not going to be doing that in the Senate,” claiming that raising the minimum wage would hurt jobs and businesses.

Mitch McConnell and his gang of do-nothing Republican senators have also blocked legislation on climate change, the Dream Act, net neutrality, protections for the LGBTQIA community, tribal sovereignty, AND election security — the list goes on and on. 

Even the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act is stalled in the Senate. 

They do all this without even a debate. Remember how you learned in school that one house passes legislation and the other considers it? McConnell is throwing those civics lessons out the window.

So what is McConnell really doing in the Senate? Ramming through a spate of unqualified, hyperpartisan judges who will shape the courts for decades to come.

Trump has so far installed 187 judges to lifetime positions on the federal bench – many with fringe, extremist views. One in four court of appeals judges are now Trump appointees, and he’s showing no signs of slowing down. Who’s the architect behind this full-blown takeover of the judiciary system? Mitch McConnell, of course.

Let’s not forget that it’s thanks to McConnell that Trump was able to install two Supreme Court justices. McConnell single-handedly blocked Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland in 2016, refusing even to hold a confirmation hearing for him and keeping the seat open until Donald Trump took office. McConnell and Senate Republicans then invoked the “nuclear option” – requiring only a simple majority to confirm Supreme Court justices, and steamrolling the Democrats.

Even before Democrats gained control of the House and began passing hundreds of bills to benefit the American people, Congressional Republicans’ only significant achievement was a massive tax cut for the wealthy and corporations. Despite all their claims, their tax cut has not spurred the growth it promised, it’s added to the national debt, business investment is contracting, manufacturing is shrinking, and wages are barely rising. 

As usual, nothing has trickled down. The only winners are people who were already winners. Everyone else has been shafted. But none of that matters to McConnell and his do-nothing Republicans as long as Trump and the Party’s billionaire donors and corporate backers stay happy.

Oh, and McConnell’s do-nothing Senate Republicans refused to hold a fair and impartial impeachment trial for Trump. McConnell – who is supposed to act in the role of impartial jury foreman for the Senate – said, “And everything I do during this I’m coordinating with White House Counsel.” While Trump continues to break the law and seize power from Congress, the Senate refuses to serve as a check on his power.

America used to have a Senate that served the people. But under Mitch McConnell’s leadership, what was once the world’s greatest deliberative body has become a partisan circus. He and his Republican colleagues have done nothing to benefit the American people, ignoring the voices of their constituents to serve the will of Donald Trump and Republican fat cats. History will not be kind to them. Hopefully, come November, American voters won’t either.

Bill Moyers and Steve Harper on Lawyers, Liars and Trump on Trial

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 05/02/2020 - 5:22am in

Just bring an informed skepticism to whatever evidence each side brings to the question. And if one side is not willing to bring you any evidence at all, that should tell you something. Continue reading

The post Bill Moyers and Steve Harper on Lawyers, Liars and Trump on Trial appeared first on BillMoyers.com.